Phantonics: An Ongoing Web Serial

“Am I dying again?” Adam asked himself. His voice echoed in his head.

“It figures Faith was only delaying the inevitable. I was meant to die in these woods, wasn’t I?”

“It’s getting cold again…”

“I like the cold. It’s so… calming…”

“Just a beautiful sleep in a beautiful void. That’s all I want.”

“I remember… something… Fai… who? Who was that?”

“Someone… was here before…”

“They had something… something…”

“It was… warm?”

“I like the warmth. It’s so… calming…”

“F… f… fire…”

“F… fire… Fai…”

“Faith?”

“Right… her…”

“I remember. Of course I remember.”


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Phantonics: An Ongoing Web Serial

“Dude, what happened to your phone?” Brandon asked. Adam looked at him nervously. He wanted to tell his friend what had happened the night before, yet a public setting was not the place to do this.

“I, uh… dropped it. On the…” Adam looked to his side toward the floor. “On the floor!”

“Did you drop it off a freaking skyscraper? I didn’t think that kind of phone you have would break that easily!”

“It was… a very powerful floor.”


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Chapter 2.5: Lightning vs. Air

Brandon stood across from Trevor, alone in the large empty room. Everyone else had moved up above to view the match behind the window.

“You don’t have to be nervous—” Trevor stated, noting Brandon’s body shaking. “I simply want to see what you’re capable of.”

“W-Well I haven’t done anything like this before, excuse my cold feet!”

“Cold feet? I feel like that’s something you usually wouldn’t say…” Trevor theorized.

“He’s right—” Faith nodded her head. “Must be the anxiety’s stirring up his brain?”

“Hey, don’t act like you know me!” Brandon angrily pointed at Trevor.

“I’m sorry. It’s part of my job to analyze the behavior of a person to figure out how they would act in various situations.”

“Huh? What—are you some kinda detective!?” Brandon asked, stomping his foot.

“You’re pretty naive, aren’t you? Do you even know what you’re getting yourself into by joining Unity?”

“Naive…?” Brandon recalled that Adam used the same word recently. “…well, not like I have a choice!”

“If I recall the details—” Trevor began to walk around. “You went right up to Sir Rizzo and displayed your Ability, knowing exactly what would happen. I would say it was your choice, was it not?”

“But—but if I didn’t—”

“You would have gotten in trouble? True. Although Unity would have caught you eventually, you have quite the potential with your Ability… do you realize that?”

“What do you mean…?”

“Electricity. The amount of things you can pull off with that kind of power… just how do you choose to use it? I’m curious. If I had it, I could think of all sorts of tricks to avoid Unity’s detection. You didn’t even try though, did you?”

“Look man! Why are you speaking like my Ability is all high-and-mighty? Is your’s that bad?”

“Oh, I’m not saying that at all. Why don’t you come at me, and you can see what mine is like?”

Brandon sighed. “People with their wording… anyway. Fine! Whatever you want! I want to get stronger, and the best way to do that is to kick everyone’s ass!”

Trevor smirked. “It seems your heart is in the right place. But, how about your mind?” He raised his arm, beckoning Brandon to strike.

“Show me.”

Blue sparks began to form around Brandon, lighting up his body.

“Woah, so cool looking…” Faith watched Brandon’s Ability in awe, as this was the first time she saw it in person.

“Surrounding your body with it? I see—”

Brandon roared, charging at Trevor with swift speed. He raised his fist and swung it directly at Trevor’s face, landing a hit.

Or, at least he thought he did.

Before it made contact, Brandon’s punch was stopped dead in its track. It felt as though Brandon had just hit a wall, jumping back and wagging his hand in agony.

“Gah! God damn—what the hell just happened!?”

That’s how you use your Ability?” Trevor asked, disgusted. “Honestly, do you think giving your opponent a slight shock added to your fist will change anything?”

“Well, you’ve gotta admit, it would be quite surprising to the average guy—”

Trevor positioned his right palm toward Brandon. The air around it began to circulate, concentrating into the center of his hand. He then unleashed it, the pressure colliding with Brandon’s body, sending him soaring into the wall behind him, shattering the concrete it was composed of.

“Brandon!” Faith attempted to run out of the room to go and help him, only to be stopped by her mother.

“You can’t interfere, honey.”

“He just got shot into a wall! Please, can I just—”

“Young lady.” Rizzo interrupted her plea. “We are ones who possess Abilities. Our phantons are in an awakened state. Do you honestly think phantons of that level would let their vessel get damaged so easily? We can handle pain like this. I would have assumed you knew that already.”

“I-I know that… it’s just, he—”

“She’s just concerned with how he handles it, sir.” Pam explained. “He is new to combat, after all.”

“That’s fair.” Rizzo responded. “However, do not fear. Trevor would not purposely kill a fellow Unity member.”

Brandon managed to get himself out of the small hole that formed on the wall upon his impact, collapsing onto the floor, coughing horribly.

“What… the… what… the hell was… that!?”

“I call my Ability ‘Air Force’. As you can manipulate electricity with your Ability, I can manipulate air with mine!”

Up above, Faith seemed to be pondering something, which Winona noticed.

“What’s up, Faith?”

“You know—a lot of the time in video games—lightning and air are grouped together with fire, earth, and water as the five natural elements.” She pointed at herself and then to Winona. “I’m fire, and you’re earth. Those two with their lightning and air… all we need is water, and we’d be a complete set!”

“Huh… that’s pretty weird, actually.” Winona nodded at her friend’s analysis.

“You ladies make a good point—” Rizzo remarked. “That certainly is interesting. I wonder what it could mean…?” He ended his question with a rather creepy grin, which caused the two to take a step away from the man.

“Come on! Air Force, like the plane thing!? Get creative!”

“Yes… like the plane thing.” Trevor sighed. “You call your Ability ‘Shepherd Surge’, correct? I honestly don’t see the creativity in that one myself.”

“Oh come on! It’s using my last name, and both words start with the letter ‘S’, and—”

“Alright, enough of this!” Trevor yelled. “Let’s go! Show me something more impressive!” He motioned his hands toward the floor, causing a gust of wind to kick up around the room, almost knocking Brandon off of his feet.

“Okay—gotta get past this guy’s wall-thing he’s making! Let’s get up close and personal!”

Brandon, electrified, dashed at Trevor once again. He sent his fist flying once again, colliding with the invisible barrier Trevor was creating. Instead of flinching from the pain, Brandon continued to attack, whacking at the wall with a barrage of punches and kicks.

“You trying to see if you can find a weakness in my barrier? I hate to tell you this, but you won’t find one!” Trevor formed more pressure around himself, pushing Brandon a few feet away.

“I will! I’ll show you!” Brandon leaped upward, getting quite high into the air. He positioned himself, ready to land a kick. As he descended on Trevor, electricity concentrated in his leg, lighting his attack up just like a lightning strike.

Trevor’s eyes widened, astonished at the sudden boost in not only power, but speed. He could barely react as Brandon collided with his barrier, electricity scattering all around them.

“Oh? This is more like it!” Trevor swing his arm around, his palm connecting with Brandon’s leg. The force he built up was powerful enough to break right through Brandon’s electricity, knocking him away.

Brandon rolled on the ground a few times, attempting to stop. He was able to, but not after causing several red-hot sparks to form under his feet.

“Gah! Shit shit shit!” He stomped his feet several times, trying his best to prevent his shoes from catching on fire.

“Even after pulling off something impressive, you still act like that?” Trevor noted.

“I’m trying not to lose these shoes, man! Do you know how much to cost—ow!” Brandon held his leg in pain. It had taken damage from Trevor’s attack, and felt like it was sprained.

“Well, you’re not gonna be fighting much more on that leg. I guess we’ll call it—” Trevor began to cough violently, clutching his chest.

“Uh, dude? You okay?” Brandon cautiously limped toward Trevor.

“You—” Trevor attempted to calm his cough, holding his hand to his face. A grin slowly formed. “You’re not as stupid as you look, I see.”

“Huh? What did I do?” Brandon looked at Trevor in curiosity.

“You took advantage of my Ability… and you used your own to ionize the very air I was manipulating. Quite clever. It would be hard to breathe under these conditions.”

Brandon gave Trevor a blank stare.

“…so, uh. What… does ionize mean, exactly?”

Trevor glared at his opponent in disbelief.

“Alright. I apologize in advance for this, but you deserve it—”

Trevor formed air around Brandon’s feet, swiftly launching him upward. He collided with the ceiling before he could even process what was happening. As he began his descent, Trevor concentrated more air around Brandon, this time using it to slam him right into the ground below.

Now we’ll call it.”

“And that’s the match! Trevor is the victor!” Rizzo declared, casting his voice throughout the room.

“Brandon!” Faith, now allowed to, ran out of the room, with Winona quickly behind her. The two swung dashed down two flights of stairs, opening up the door into the training room.

Brandon lied there in the floor’s debris, unconscious. Trevor did not hold back in his final attack on the boy.

“Trevor, how could you!?” Faith yelled, holding Brandon’s hand.

“It was a match, it’s what happens. Especially when I was faced with danger. The guy could have completely shut off any attempt for me to breathe—I had to take action.”

“You were about to call the match before you started having difficulties breathing,” Winona commented. “It would only make sense for you to end it even sooner, wouldn’t you think?”

Trevor shrugged. “What’s done is done.” He approached Faith, glaring at her. “I gave him an honorable fight, seeing as though he had the courage to face me. You wouldn’t understand that though, would you? You don’t even have the courage to use your own Ability.”

Faith stood up, forming a flame in her hand inches away from Trevor’s face.

“You were saying?”

“Oh? Nice progress. Although—” Trevor pointed at Faith shaking body. “You still have some things to work on, it seems.”

“Trust me—next time you hurt my friend like that, I will use my flame on you.”

“Is that right? Looking forward to how that will go.” Trevor began to walk toward the exit, waving back. “Sir Rizzo, I’m going to take a break.”

“Very well.” Rizzo responded. “Faith and Winona, take Mr. Shepherd to the infirmary. We want to make sure he’s all patched up for tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll hold off on discussing all the Unity-related topics I had for all of you.”

“Here… let’s get him up.” Faith told Winona, as the two picked up Brandon, carrying his unconscious body out of the room, taking care not to catch up to Trevor.

Pam stepped close to Rizzo. “Sir, is that how you raised that boy?”

“Yes. He’s given great dedication to his training, and his curiosity only leads to even greater success. Honestly, his family should be proud of him.”

Pam sighed. “I know he was born without blue eyes, like the rest of the Ouderkirks had. Even if they considered that ‘the end of the bloodline’, he still had tremendous power. If he’s pushed too far, it could go to his head.”

“That’s alright. I want the boy to desire power. He’s who I plan to have succeed me in the future, once my body begins to finally wear down. I want him to feel like he’s truly one of their family members, and I want him to hold authority, just like his family should still be doing.”

Pam looked at Rizzo in astonishment. “Sir… does that mean—all along—you didn’t compete against Becca for your own benefit? It fact, it was all for—”

“Paul—” Rizzo cut Pam off, facing the boy off to his side. “What did you think of your partner’s capabilities?”

“He’s certainly new at all of this. But he was actually able to make Trevor of all people cough like that? I’m really looking forward to working with him!” Paul responded, almost cheerfully.

“Glad to hear. Teamwork is the most important thing here in Unity. You must always prioritize that over anything else.” Rizzo beckoned Paul to follow him. “Come. I want your help with something.”

Paul nodded, following the man out of the room. He turned to Pam, giving a wave.

As Pam waved back, her hand slowly formed into a fist. When the two were down the stairs and out of sight, she slammed it on the nearby wall.

“God dammit Rizzo…!”


Next: Chapter 2.6

Previous: Chapter 2.4

Volume 2

Sunday Salutations #4

Here’s the new Sunday Salutations update! Patreons can access it here!

Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Chapter 2.4: Welcome to Unity

“So, this is Unity, huh?”

Brandon stared out the window next to Winona, the massive headquarters of the infamous group coming into view.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to this part of the city, yet this building looks familiar…”

“Have you seen it on TV?” Faith asked him.

“Nah, it didn’t have that huge has blue U thing in the center up there—”

“Our headquarters was built based on neoclassical architecture—” The Brown Suit interrupted Brandon. “You can tell by the pillars around the front entrance. Aside from Unity’s symbol up above, the entire structure is composed of limestone.”

“Huh? If you guys are Unity, shouldn’t you use that phantonite stuff?”

“There’s no need to waste it on the building.” Pam responded. “It costs too much money to produce that amount of phantonite—and even then—phantons can alter its structure. Intentional or not, phantons from Ability users within and ones relating to the Nexus Network would warp the building, causing it to collapse.”

“Limestone, along with quartz—” Winona started to explain. “—are two natural minerals that do have a relation to phantons. With the building made up of limestone, it can suppress the phantons from within and keep unnecessary interference from the outside.”

“She’s right.” Pam nodded. “Studying how quartz and limestone interact with phantons was how phantonite came to be in the first place.”

“Interesting, interesting…” Brandon seemed to understand what was explained to him, although he wasn’t so sure about the “interesting” part. “Anyway, I guess let’s head in?”

“Yeah, I suppose it’s time, huh…?” Faith said nervously.

Pam escorted the three inside the front doors of the building, leaving their bags in the van to be picked up later. They walked into a giant lobby, filled with several tables and chairs. There was a main reception desk, with two large door on each side.

A lone woman sat at the desk. Her blond hair completely covered her face—currently focused on a laptop in front of her. As the group approached, blue eyes barely became visible, glaring out at the world.

“This is Veronica Wilton, part receptionist—part guardian of Unity.”

“Hi, hi.” Veronica greeted them in a monotone voice. She took out a paper from one of the many pockets covering her white coat, matching the other colors Unity had. “This is the schedule, Mrs. Roswell.”

“Thank you.” Pam accepted the paper, glancing through what it had to say. “Alright, this doesn’t seem too bad. Nothing that different from my own orientation years ago.” She looked at the three next to her, giving them a grin. “No need to worry, guys.”

“What does it say, mom?” Faith moved next to her mother to look at the list herself.

“See—nothing too exciting. A bunch of information today, then tomorrow you’ll begin doing some training exercises with your group leaders.”

“Group leaders?” Brandon asked.

“Oh that’s right—Brandon, you’re not too familiar with all of this, so let me give you a quick rundown on that part—” Pam cleared her throat. “Basically, you’ll be put on a team with someone else that’s new here—in your case—someone with an Ability. Then, someone who’s already graduated Unity will be assigned to lead the two of you.”

“Right. I think I remember something about Faith and Winona being on a team together?”

“Yep!” Faith answered Brandon’s question. “Winona and I have done a few miscellaneous activities here already, and seeing as though we already know each other, we were put together.”

“Miscellaneous activities?” Brandon was confused. “What would those involve?”

“Basically just testing our Abilities.” Winona responded. “Although, Faith hasn’t had much time doing that yet, as she’s only recently begun to get her Ability down.”

“Right, right…” Faith giggled awkwardly. “Yet, we’ve also been her for various classes on general Unity-related things. Especially martial arts classes—now those are fun!”

“You know, it doesn’t seem all that ba—” Brandon stopped speaking at Pam placed her finger on her lips.

“Remember, Brandon. Try to avoid talking like that here.” Pam turned toward Veronica. “Anyway, we’re gonna head on in. Thank you again, Veronica.”

“It is my pleasure.”

Pam led the three into the giant doors on the left, leaving the lobby behind them just as quickly as they entered. They began to walk down a long, dimly lit gray hallway with a few doors on each side.

“Sheesh—she was kinda creepy. You said she was also part guardian of Unity? Is she some kind of robot or something?”

“No, nothing like that.” Pam chuckled. “Wearing the white coat indicates that she simply does typical office work here, fooling the average public. But since you guys are entering Unity now, you can know that she’s actually incredibly powerful, with an Ability of her own.”

“Oh!?” Brandon’s eyes lit up. “What Ability is it!?”

“Even I don’t know that, actually. I’ve never seen it, or heard any details. Rumor has it, that she—power wise—rivals even Adam’s mother.”

“Woah… I heard Adam’s mom was a big shot here, is that right?”

“That’s right. She… She had the potential to easily be the Leader of Unity. Although, that was cut short, unfortunately…”

“Ah, man. Poor Adam. My mom was kinda crazy, but at least I knew her before the divorce happened. Can’t imagine what it was like not having a mom at all…”

Faith’s eyes fell to the ground upon hearing that statement from Brandon.

Pam sighed. “Right. You’re doing this to eventually help him, right? You must really care about him.”

“Well, there’s that—” Brandon scratched his head in embarrassment. “But… I also owe him.”

“Owe him?” Pam asked.

“Eh, it’s not important right now.” Brandon laughed.

“I hope he’s doing alright…” Faith said with a worried look.

“Relax, he’s got—” Brandon hushed himself. “He’s… He’s got us in his heart! Yeah! Totally nobody else helping him, haha!”

Faith and Winona glared at Brandon, while Pam stared at them in confusion.

“Anyway, here we are—”

At the end of the hallway, Pam opened up a heavy steel door. It led into a huge gray room, that was around the size of an average gymnasium, with two other doors off to the left and right. There was a long, single window on the other side of the room above them, which seemed to have several monitoring stations within.

“Well, there’s a lot of empty space, but it sure is gloomy in here…” Brandon stated.

“This is one of the training rooms used here. If we took the right door back in the lobby, we would have ended up in the other one.” Pam explained.

“Welcome!” Rizzo’s voice echoed throughout the room. The group looked up to see him standing in the center of the window, glaring down at them.

“What the hell!? How is he doing that!? What is his Ability!?” Brandon looked around in a panic.

“It’s… it’s a microphone, Brandon.” Faith sighed, patting his shoulder.

“Oh… yeah, that’s a thing.”

“Winona Collins. Faith Roswell. Brandon Shepherd. In that order, you three have awakened marvelous Abilities. One could assume the gods themselves granted them to you. But, how did this come to pass?”

“Well, I wanted to stop the Brown Suits from taking my sister and ruining our family’s garden.” Winona responded bluntly.

“I had the person most precious to me dying in my hands, and through that stress, it awakened. Sure kept him warm until I got him to safety, at least.” Faith shrugged.

“Eh, k-kinda like her’s, except that he was getting stomped on by a man.” Brandon sighed, glancing at Faith.

“Person most precious to you, huh…?”

Pam looked upward at Rizzo, grinning with her hands on her hips. “That answer your question?”

“…interesting group. Although it was a rhetorical question, I appreciate the honesty.” Rizzo cleared his throat. “Perhaps it was due to these circumstances, or it involved a force similar to fate? Regardless, you are here today, ready to being your quest. What quest? Your quest to learn all the values of Unity, and to protect our country of Requiem!”

“Uh huh. I’m sure that’s the glorious reason.” Brandon said sarcastically, followed by a nudge from Pam.

“I told you not to—”

“You’ve got quite the mouth, Brandon Shepherd.”

A different voice was heard on the speakers. Approaching the window, Trevor revealed himself.

“What the? Who are you? And what’s with your hair?” Brandon stepped back nervously.

“That’s Trevor Benjamin—” Winona began explaining. “He’s a year ahead of us in his Unity development, and incredibly strong. I’ve had a few practice matches with him before, and have lost every time.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, Winona.” Trevor stated. “Out of the four new recruits this year, you’ve certainly shown the most potential.”

“Huh? Wait—four?” Brandon questioned.

“Yes—” Pam held Brandon’s shoulder. “As you know, Faith and Winona are on a team. If it was only the three of you, we would have just paired you all together. But, since there’s another person, we can keep the traditional setup.”

“Where is this other person I’m supposed to be with—and who ruined a perfect threesome!?”

“Threesome, huh…?” Faith held her head, sighing at Brandon’s wording.

“He’s right here, actually.” Trevor responded. “Here—Paul, introduce yourself to your new teammate.”

As Trevor gestured to the side of him, nobody appeared.

“Oh, I get it!” Brandon’s face lit up. “This person’s got invisibility! That’s a cool Ability!”

“No—” Trevor sighed, reaching down toward the floor next to him, out of sight of the others below. “He’s just lying here—he does that.”

Trevor pulled up a person in his arms. The boy moved like a rag doll—swinging around loosely.

“Sorry, Trevor. Had my hearing turned off. These machines in here were bugging me too much.”

The young man placed his feet on the ground, finally standing up straight. He adjusted his round glasses, which did not seem to fix their crooked placement over his brown eyes.

“Hi, I’m Paul. Paul Callahan.” He fidgeted with his hair, which was wrapped up in a bun behind his head. “Nice to meet you.”

“Interesting guy—hi, I’m Brandon Shepherd! I guess you and I are gonna be working together?”

“It would appear so! I apologize in advance if you have to carry me around sometimes.”

“…carry you around?”

“Yep. My body has gotten used to not using any unnecessary energy, so a lot of the time I’m just on the floor for the hell of it!”

“That sounds like an extreme case of Adam…” Brandon sighed.

“Well, then that’s good!” Faith gave him a thumbs up. “Maybe it means you two will be able to work well together?”

“I-I’m not sure… hopefully?”

“Well, that will be put to the test starting tomorrow!” Rizzo stated. “You’ll be meeting the Unity member in charge of each group, and you’ll be facing off against them—working together with your partner.”

“Facing off!? L-Like a real fight!?” Brandon asked anxiously.

“No, nothing serious—” Faith explained. “It’s simply to test how well you use your Abilities, and how well you work on a team. You should be okay on that front—having so much experience in sports after all.”

“I’m not used to trying to inflict pain on others—although I have kicked a few guys in the nuts before… as well as taken a few hits myself…”

“Good to know!” Pam chuckled, as the other two girls giggled awkwardly. “I think you’ll be okay. There’s a lot more you’ll have to worry about in the future.”

In the room above, Trevor turned toward Rizzo. “Might I request something?”

“What is it?” Rizzo asked, keeping his eyes focused below.

“I’m curious about this guy’s Ability. It involved electricity, correct? I would like to see how mine fares against it.”

Rizzo smirked. “At his current level, your Ability will fare extremely well. However—if you’re curious about it—then I don’t mind.”

“Thank you, sir.” Trevor looked down directly at Brandon. “Did you hear that, Brandon Shepherd?”

Brandon did not say anything—his terrified face answered Trevor’s question for him.


Next: Chapter 2.5

Previous: Chapter 2.3

Volume 2

Phantonics: An Ongoing Web Serial

“…I didn’t always play the hero.” Adam started to pick up random photos and go through them. There was silence for a few moments.

“Well, I think you have.”

“Huh?” Adam turned toward Faith, confused at what she meant.

“The hero. You’ve always been like one…”


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!

Adam Grayson’s Birthday

Today, March 20th, happens to be our protagonist’s birthday! If we go by the timeline given in the story, he was born on March 20, 1994. That would make today his 25th birthday. In the story, currently set in 2012, he’s got a ways to go before actually reaching this age.

So, Happy Birthday Adam! Hopefully you’ll get… lots of apples? Yeah, he’d probably enjoy that the best, let’s be real.

Here’s a picture TsunamiCoRyan made last year for his birthday. Hopefully he will figure out how to use the World Mirror soon, so he doesn’t have to resort to losing his arms with every attack he dishes out…

DYt7KiAVoAASs-o

Chapter 2.3: Eyes That See Through Lies

“So let me get this straight—” Charlotte sighed. “You have an Ability for temporarily taking someone’s hearing capabilities and adding them to your own? Alright, that’s fine. But what I don’t get is how you took no precautions for someone actually seeing you?”

“I sure did!” Muraco yelled. “I kept my hearing in focus! If someone were to approach, I would have sensed it!”

“So, why did you allow that couple to almost see us? Surely you should have heard them long before they got that close?”

“I-I was distracted! I wasn’t expecting… yourself to have had a bad past as well…”

“I see…”

Charlotte had used her powers to get Adam and Muraco out of the hotel. They were now sitting on the floor of the forest north of Minuet.

“Listen—” Adam stretched out his body, which was up against a tall oak tree. “We’re out of there now, and the important thing is we’re all safe-”

“Adam, why did you agree to something so stupid!? At least take it outside somewhere, like right here! Nobody would be around!” Charlotte said, clearly irritated.

“Remember our conversation earlier? I love to wing things. The little guy right here challenged me, and I knew his strength, so I couldn’t just say no, tell him to have a nice day, and walk off.”

“Unbelievable.” Charlotte held her head in frustration. “Good thing I found the security room for the place, so I can handle any CCTV footage. But seeing the damage around the door… this will still alert someone.”

“Relax. They’ll probably think it’s just sudden asbestos damage.”

Charlotte looked at Adam, puzzled. “I… I don’t think I actually know what that is? Can’t recall coming across it in my investigation…”

“Good.” Adam nodded. “So you won’t know I totally made up that being a potential cause for something like that.”

Charlotte facepalmed. “Adam, you’re grounded.”

“You can’t ground me!”

“I’m going to. Anyway, Muraco—” She shifted her attention toward the rabbit, who had been watching their exchange curiously. “There’s a flaw with that hearing stealing Ability you have.”

“And what would that be?”

“If someone were to completely lose their hearing out of nowhere, wouldn’t that cause alarm?”

“I’ve considered that…” Muraco responded. “Usually, I just hope they don’t notice? I also can’t get it to work on people with Abilities, since we’re on the subject.”

“A-Alright, so basically, what I’m coming to understand today, is that both of you just like to wing things!?” Charlotte let out a huge sigh. “This is ridiculous. I’m taking a nap. If there seems to be limited activity at the hotel later, we can go back.”

“Shouldn’t you take care of the security cameras first?” Adam asked her.

Charlotte groaned, sinking into the ground. She headed off toward the hotel to take care of the duty only she, unfortunately, could accomplish.

“So, Muraco—” Adam stood up from his spot. “What kind of information do you have? Anything that can help us out?”

Muraco seemed uncomfortable with the question. “I… I’m going to be honest, not really. I was freed from my experiments all those years ago, by someone. Then, I wandered around Requiem. That’s all I’ve been doing, while fading in and out of existence…”

“That sounds like what Charlotte dealt with as well…” Adam put his hand on his chin. “It’s familiar, but you don’t seem to be a ghost…”

“That’s correct. Still, my body hasn’t changed in the slightest. And I mean… when it comes to memories, I do have some that picked up over the years, although they have nothing to do with what you two are trying to figure out.”

“Anything would help. Besides, I want to learn more about you regardless.”

“Human… I-I mean, Adam…” Muraco sighed. “Very well. I’ll tell you about them later, once Charlotte returns. For now, let’s take it easy.”

“Alright, sounds good.” Adam wandered over to a small clearing within the trees. He peered out and gazed at the small city of Minuet.

“I’ve always liked this place. It’s larger than Prelude, but not by much. They like to build wooden houses here, and they look really nice. I wouldn’t mind living in one, someday…”

Muraco hopped over next to him. “Although, that hotel you’re staying at looked kind of hideous.”

“It’s alright, you can’t barely see it since the school’s blocking it.” He pointed off toward the right, where a large-red bricked building stood nearby them. “That’s our high school. Let me tell you, I don’t have fond memories of that place.”

“And a tunnel connects it to the library—that building over there?” Muraco gestured at the tall gray building that was slightly to the left of the school, almost directly in front of them.

“Yep. Our school didn’t have a library of its own, so we always had to walk through it to get books, or whatever.” Adam sighed. “To think, there was something of importance down there this entire time.”

“Well, let’s get some rest for the time being.” Muraco suggested. “We’ll figure it out later.”

Adam agreed with a small nod. Muraco lied down right in the grass beneath him, stretching out. As Adam walked back to the tree he had been resting against, he felt a cool breeze pass him, rippling through the leaves above. He gazed up at the top of the forest, where warm sunshine descended down upon him.

“The atmosphere really is nice here, huh?”

His vision shifted toward the right of him.

“Although… that’s near here as well…”

 

Roy was moving boxes all around the store floor, attempting to fill up empty shelves as fast as he could. Brian currently manned the cash register, tapping his finger on the counter in boredom.

“Boss! You really gotta hire some new people! This is too much work for one guy like me!”

“We have to get people to apply first-” Brian sighed. “There aren’t too many people in Prelude who would want a job like this, unfortunately. Besides, it’s not that bad. Look at you. I’ve never seen you work this much!”

“Cause you’d grill me if I wasn’t working!” Roy finished placing bottles of dish soap on the shelf, crushing up the box that they came in. “Anyway, I gotta piss.”

“Enjoy your piss. While you’re in there, can you clean the toilets?” Brian asked.

“Now that’s just cruel!” Roy stomped off toward the back of the store where the restrooms were located.

“I mean, I would have done it, but since you’re being so nice…” Brian grabbed a magazine that was on display next to the counter. It featured several trending topics that had been headliners in the news lately.

“Let’s see… this is just crap young people are talking about. I don’t care about this celebrity couple—I’ve never even heard of them before!” Brian scanned the pages.

“Nothing about what’s happened recently… they don’t even go into that thing over Nexus City at all! Is this Unity censoring things…?”

The front doors of Ann’s slid open, as two Brown Suits entered the store.

“Speaking of the devil—listen, fellas. I already told you everything I saw after I reported it that night. Unless you’re here to shop? In that case, we have fifty percent off-”

“My, my. What a gloomy little store we have here.”

Brian heard the voice of a young woman behind the two Brown Suits, who moved off to the side to reveal her.

“Purple short hair? Man, young people these days-”

“Young? I’m a fresh graduate of Unity, after all.”

“Hmm?” Brian noticed the usual black coat, and eventually located the blue pin, which was placed in her hair above the left ear.

“Still, that’s pretty damn young. Anyway, what do you want? Like I said—”

“Brian Carpenter, yes? You’re the manager of this store? My name is Monica Teske. I am the Unity member in charge of the Brown Suit squad that is to patrol your town while Pamela Roswell is away for a few days.”

“I was wondering why I was seeing more of them around today…”

Monica approached the counter, her gray eyes ominously peering into Brian’s.

“You said something interesting a moment ago. You said you already told us ‘everything you saw’ after reporting the incident the other night?”

“That’s right.” Brian responded, unfazed. “Mind telling me what’s so interesting about that?”

“A creature like you reported was clearly one created out of chaons. Do you understand how rare that is these days? That was more common way before you and I were born, around the time when witches existed, and rituals were performed.”

“Well, there was that one incident close to two decades ago—”

“And it seems the Rewrite Phenomenon is related as well. You’ve heard about that, correct?”

Brian sighed. “Yeah, I have. I figured it was something like that when the town seemed to be fine after that huge explosion.”

“That’s correct. You see that there are a lot of serious matters regarding this case. Therefore, I take everything quite seriously.”

“That makes sense. So, why would you question me after I—”

“Have you ever heard of ‘Past to Present’?” Monica tilted her head, with a sly expression.

“Is that a band or something?” Brian shrugged. “Never heard of them.”

“It’s not. I was curious as to how much Unity actually let out to the public, but I guess the name of my Ability was kept a secret.”

“Your Ability?”

“Yes.” Monica giggled. “There are a lot of complexities that you wouldn’t understand, but here’s a basic trick I can do—”

Monica’s eyes shot wide open, looking as though they were about to pop right out of their sockets.

“That’s kind of disturbing.” Brain chuckled, hiding his extreme discomfort.

I can see into the past.”

“…huh?”

“I can go back in time about a month or so and see exactly what transpired in any location I investigate.” Her gaze shifted toward the front doors. “I already checked outside before I walked in here. You reported that the creature took off in the direction of the woods north of town, yes?” She began to laugh.

“You were lyyyyyyyyying!

“Uh, what?”

“A girl saved you. She dragged the disgusting creature away from here. And what’s most interesting out of anything we’ve discussed so far, is her. White hair? That blue armor? If she’s who I think she is, then we must look into this immediately!

“You—how—”

“She seems awfully similar to a girl who worked here at the counter… what does her name tag say? Charlotte?”

“That’s—” Brian began to panic.

Bingo! Your reaction says it all. Alright, you two!” Monica beckoned the two Brown Suits. “Take this man into custody. We’ll question him further at the police station.”

“W-Wait!” Brian did not hesitate to show his fear, yet cooperated fully with the Brown Suits. Instead of handcuffing him, they simply held one arm each and dragged him out of the store.

“Sorry, Mr. Carpenter. But Unity’s rule is absolute. And I will not have anyone tear that down. I will check every detail there is.”

As Monica exited, the store was left empty. All that remained was the lone boy hiding in the back, who had witnessed the entire ordeal.

“Dammit! They can’t take the boss away like this! Besides—” He ran up an aisle right toward the cash register. “There’s no way you’re leaving me to deal with this store by myself!”

Roy rustled his hair, struggling to figure out what to do.

“I should close the store, I guess? Then… then… I’m not sure! Unity… police station… I know! I can ask her what to do!” Roy let out a heavy sigh.

“This is going to be awkward…” 


Next: Chapter 2.4

Previous: Chapter 2.2

Volume 2