BlackCrown

Novel i'm writing where volume one and two are finished. (Please note that this is a draft, things are subject to change in an edited/rewritten copy.)

Three hundred years ago multiple meteors broke into earth's atmosphere and landed in various places. The meteors change the world. By releasing strange substances into the earth, air, and water the planet started to change. It was not until ten years later that the first batch of superhumans was born. They had abilities that could not be explained. Superspeed. Superstrength. Magic. The superhumans showed the world that all of it was possible. They called the abilities EXO and the people who wielded such an ability, EXO users.

They quickly found out that not every EXO was the same. One EXO user had one EXO ability and what that ability was could be categorized into one of three types. Offensive, Defensive or Support.

The government was the first to act after five years. Every EXO user must be subjected to whole new laws and they must get their abilities under control. Specialized schools were built all across the world that were made to train them. Under the pretense of saying it was to develop their abilities, the government was actually building an army. Humans were not the only ones to change…


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  • Volume One Cover

    Nick Wilson - Main Character

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part One (Chapter One)

    In the world, there are two kinds of humans.

    One is the kind you see in your everyday life, those who work at the office, in stores, etc.

    The other kind is the one you do not see, but you know they are there. They are trained, and they protect the country from all invaders.

    Sure, you can call them superheroes if you must, but they are not that. They are like you and me, expect in their world ordinary is anything but.

    People call them EXO users.

    People think being an EXO user means you would be treated like a king no matter where you go. What they don’t know is that even EXO users are classified into ranks. Based on your rank depends on how you are treated in the world.

    Sure it may be possible to increase your rank based on achievements, but that can only get you so far. What you were born with you cannot change. Thus no matter how hard you try, you can only go so far with your EXO.

    EXO’s can be classified into three different types. Offensive. Defensive. Support. Each has their own perks and limitations, but supports have it the hardest as they don’t specialize in either offense or defense. Yet they are the most versatile.

    What is an EXO? An EXO is a unique trait or ability that a person awakens somewhere between the ages five and thirteen. The earlier you awaken an EXO, the higher the talent you have.

    Countless kids want to have one because having one is a symbol of status. Even if it is a weak one, you are still better than ordinary humans.

    Today like every other year marks the start of the school year. The beginning of a new story is just about to begin.

    EXO users go to a specialized school to hone their abilities, but even their schools have rankings. A person does not pick their school; they are instead chosen to attend one. The only ones who may pick their school are those with S ranked EXO’s.

    How does one determine an EXO rank? When you reach the age of fourteen, you may take an exam. This exam happens once every year at the end of the year. The testee will stand in front of twelve examiners who will ask them to display their EXO ability.

    After showcasing their ability, they are asked to place their hands on the essence reader. The essence reader will decide the growth rate of the essence within their body.

    Based on the growth rate given and the ability shown it is then used to decide the starting rank of the EXO and the possible rank.

    An invitation is given to the test taker to join one of the schools used to train EXO users.

  • edited January 9

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Two

    There were a total of twelve academies in the United States; each has their own ranking. Each academy has their specialties, but there were four that stood out from the rest.

    Ares, Zeus, Hades, and Athena.

    Today numerous people poured through the large metallic school gates.

    All of them were wearing the same black and light blue uniform. Males wore a suit fitted just for them. Females wore a blue button up shirt with a black blazer and black skirt.

    This was the only authorized uniform students could wear during the period they attended class.

    The people coming in were the newly admitted students, freshman. With the start of a new school year, there were bound to be many talented individuals joining the school's ranks.

    The older students couldn’t wait to see who their juniors would be this year.

    Standing around watching these new students come through the school gates were some of the older youths.

    One could tell which year they were in based on the badge color located on the collar of their uniform. White means they were a freshman or a first-year. Purple meant they were a sophomore or a second-year. Orange meant junior or third-year. Finally blue, which means you are a senior or a fourth-year student.

    These were not just for show, with each grade you go up you will naturally learn more. Thus it increased your battle power making it hard for one of a lower year to contend with you. Did this mean that anyone who was younger than you could not defeat you? Not at all, it only meant the challenge would be more difficult, but not impossible.

    Most of the older students standing around were in their second year, the majority of them were males. However, there were a few females as well. Even a couple of third-year students could be made out of the crowd.

    Why were they here? Each had their own reason; it could be to look for some good looking first-year student to feast their lustful eyes on. Or dream of their prince charming who would sweep through the various challenges causing numerous other females to look his way, but he would only have eyes for one.

    Whatever they were thinking was not known to the others, and naturally, their fantasy more than likely would not come true.

    When you were admitted to one of these schools, you had to live on campus. Each year had their own separate section which was divided by various buildings and streets.

    Males and females both had their own separate dormitories that they stayed in. These two dormitories may be in the same general area, but they too were separated by buildings and streets.

    The size of this campus would put ordinary college campuses to shame. It spanned over a dozen miles wide making it seem like a small town.

    Because one had to stay on campus their entire four years, some shops catered towards the students. Although the students would be let out for vacation and be able to return home, that was only three or four times a year. Other than that every day they would spend here on campus.

    Through the crowd of new students, someone stood out. When they walked, it was like a natural path was made for them. One could not help but give them a second look.

    When she walked, she left behind a sweet fragrance that lingered in the air for a moment. When she tossed her long black hair back that glistened under the bright sunlight it was like she sparkled in the eyes of countless males.

    Those azure blue eyes of hers seemed to shine. Just by looking at those eyes, one's heart would be held captive. Her small cherry red lips that reflected the light coming from the sun made countless males lick their lips with anticipation. Those two black stockings gripped her long slender legs tightly. Her creamy smooth skin was flawless which made many females envy her. There was no need to comment on her looks because even the males could tell that she wore no makeup but looked like a fairy.

    “The queen has returned.”

    One of the older students commented. His eyes contained hearts in them as he watched the way she walked. He would have no regrets if he died at this moment. She was truly breathtaking.

    When the others heard him, they could only agree.

    “It seems in these two months that I haven’t seen her, she became even more gorgeous. Pity the heavens have blessed me with these looks.”

    One plump male said.

    “Damn right! I’m surprised your family even claims your ugly ass. How does your mirror even withstand your looks on a daily basis?”

    Someone that heard him quickly responded, causing the plump male to become furious.

    “Who said that?”

    “Shh, the queen is coming this way.”

    Hearing those two guys one of the females near them could no longer take it. They needed to be quiet, but she did not mean to speak her mind. Those words slipped out of her mouth causing her cheeks turn a bit pinkish.

    The orange colored badge on her collar sparkled under the sunlight as she walked. That golden badge had an appeal to it, making others who looked at it be charmed.

    In the batch of these freshman students, she truly stood out. Walking by, she bumped into somebody.

    “Ah, my bad.”

    He hurried and apologized to her; it was his fault as he was not looking where he was going.

    It was just the first day, but when he was going through the gate people suddenly stopped moving forward. He had to push his way through them, and when he finally got through, he happened to bump into a person.

    As he looked at her, he was stunned by her looks for a moment. It was only a moment before he returned to normal.

    “It’s fine; I should be more aware of my surroundings.”

    She told him. She thought his hazel eyes matched well with his curly brown hair. With the school uniform on, it complimented him in every way.

    He held out his right hand as he scratched his cheek with his left.

    “Nick Wilson.”

    She didn’t refuse his handshake as she reached out and grabbed ahold of his hand. To others who were too shy to come up to her, they called her an ice queen. If they knew her, they would understand that she was anything but that.

    “Iliana Rose, nice to meet you, Nick.”

    He seemed to notice the orange badge on her collar and realized that she was older than him. Previously he thought that she too was a freshman, but it seemed that was not the case.

    He could sense the deathly stares of the people around him, but he didn’t care. He did nothing wrong, if these people moved instead of standing still he wouldn’t need to push his way through.

    “I guess I'll see you around then.”

    He bid his farewell as he walked northwest.

    Grabbing the white hilt of her sword that was dangling from her waist, she looked at his figure walking off into the distance.

    To be more accurate, she was staring at the sword hanging from his waist. A smile crept up on her face; she finally found another one.

    Iliana took another look at him before she continued on her path.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Three

    Within each year, there were three divisions. They were based on the type of EXO abilities a user had, and the professors within each division would help students develop their abilities to the next stage.

    They were the offensive division, defensive division, and support division. The divisions were then broken down into grades, novice, intermediate, advanced, master.

    Freshman started out in the novice grade and worked their way up until they reached master grade. By the time of their graduation, all the seniors reached master rank.

    There are a few cases of freshman being able to skip novice grade classes if they were truly that skilled, but only the very best were accomplish such a feat.

    No matter what division you were in, you were specialized in something. An example would be an offensive EXO user who used ice as their ability. They would then study under someone who had the same EXO ability or had a vast amount of knowledge about it.

    The freshman were now attending their first and only class.

    The thing with normal schools were that they gave you multiple classes which you had to take, usually taking up eight hours of your day. However here, you only had one class that took up six hours of your time.

    The teacher you had stayed with you the entire year.

    These teachers were highly skilled; some had prestige in the EXO community while others were new. One thing could be said about them all though; each one was strong enough that they were sought after, even by the president.

    Yet working for the country and working for an EXO school had two different meanings.

    In the support division, the freshman students just got settled into their seats. They were all glad that they did not have assigned seats like their previous school. Here they were able to sit next to someone they may know, or one they previously talked to.

    Nick was seated next to the window in the very front row. While his classmates were busy making friends he was silently waiting for class to start.

    Seated next to him was a young woman with curly purple hair. Her light purple eyes glanced in his direction.

    He seemed to have noticed her gaze as he looked at her.

    He never paid much attention to who was seated next to him before, but now that he looked at her he was shocked slightly. She was wearing white framed glasses.

    Now it wasn’t unusual for a person to wear glasses, but for an EXO user to wear them was a different story. Generally speaking, an EXO user genes were stronger than an ordinary human causing their body to be tougher as well. They were immune to most diseases, and they could easily have perfect vision.

    ‘Strong eyesight? She must be able to see the flow in the air, and the glasses must help her control her eyesight. Or it could be something else entirely.’

    “Why aren’t you talking to the others? It’s the first day many people would take this chance to make friends, yet you are here being all quiet.”

    “There is nothing strange about that; I could just be a loner that enjoys staying to himself. Besides, do you have any room to talk? I haven’t heard you speak to anyone next to you as well.”

    “That's different. I chose not to speak to them.”

    “And, what if I choose not to speak to you?”

    “That’s rude don’t you think so bud.”

    A handsome young man butted into their conversation. His short black hair seemed to take on a natural curl, and his green eyes matched him perfectly.

    He was sitting behind Nick.

    “Ah, my bad I didn’t mean to listen in on your conversation, but with you two sitting so close it is kind of hard not to hear.”

    “There’s no need to apologize; it was indeed rude of me to say such a thing. But I only meant it in a teasing manner hopefully the young lady took no offense.”

    “This young lady has a name you know.”

    Nick smiled gently at her.

    “Care to give your name young lady?”

    “Freya Smith, and you are?”

    “Nick Wilson.”

    “Matthew White.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Four

    Freya seemed very surprised as she looked at Matthew.

    For her to be surprised, it must mean that either something unusual happened or something unexpected happened. Although she was in the support division, she had every right to be here. However, she would have never dreamed that Matthew would be here as well.

    She’s never seen him before, but she did hear that he was strong. Strong enough to be named as one of the four freshman royalty.

    Freshman royalty was a term given to the strongest freshman entering the academy. From the professor's point of view, they could easily dominate over their competition given enough resources.

    Normal freshman could not even compete against them; they’d stand no chance in a fight.

    She liked to keep track of the rankings; it gave her something to do when she was bored. Plus it was nice to know who your competition was. But Matthew was not a competition; he was a monster.

    She couldn’t believe that he was here.

    One must know that an EXO user takes a test to show off their abilities, they are then chosen to join one of the academies. These academies then broke them down into a ranking based on the skills they displayed. When starting out everyone would pay attention to the ranking as it showcased a lot about a person.

    Usually, these ranks would stay the same, but sometimes they would shift slightly.

    Even though there were four freshman royalties, she only knew of two of them. Matthew was one, and Scarlet was the other. As for the other two, she had no clue as they wanted to conceal their identities.

    In a normal situation, these four would belong to either the offensive or defensive division, but never had their been one that belonged to the support division.

    Matthew noticed the change in her expression but didn’t say anything.

    “Why are you here? Well, why are you in the support division?”

    “It seems that controlling gravity is not listed under offense or defense. This is because previously there were only two other people who could control gravity, but what they could do with it was only place pressure down on their targets. It would never be enough to crush their foe, but it was enough to support their teammates. My control over it is more powerful than theirs, and I'm able to do much more. However, as gravity control is listed as support and known as being a support type EXO throughout the world… here I am.”

    “What rank is you EXO?”

    “Somewhere between A and S, one professor said that if I developed it correctly, I'd have a chance to make it S+, but if I didn’t then, i’d at most develop it into S-. Whatever the case is, he was sure by the time I graduate my gravity control would be an S rank. How about you Freya?”

    “Eh, mines is only B+ with a chance to break into the A rank. But I'm nothing like you; I'm not only able to see the essence that flows in the body. But, I can also copy a skill I've seen before.”

    The two of them glanced at Nick. They already said what they were capable of so it was natural for them to suspect that he would do so as well.

    When he saw their looks, he could only sigh inwardly. It had to be known that giving away your EXO ability rank could cause for discrimination. If it was too low, then people would pay you no mind. If it was too high, everyone would treat you with respect.

    Nick did not want there to be any change in this small relationship that they just built. Thus he didn’t want to tell them his rank. He was not ashamed of his rank as he knew rank did not correlate to skill. Even if this was the case, many people did not believe such a thing.

    “It’s called Providence; it allows me to see the channels inside the body which shows the flow of the essence of EXO and the type. It is only D rank.”

    What Nick didn’t tell them was that Providence was also capable of seeing the weak points in that flow, causing either disruption or crippling of his target.

    He was the not the only person who had this type of EXO, but there was only one other person that he knew that did. That person was his mother. Very little was known about this type of EXO. If he didn’t experiment with it before even he would believe that it was only capable of seeing the flow of the essence of EXO.

    Freya and Matthew seemed to pay the rank no mind. Given the fact that Matthew could crush people with his support skill he knew first hand that the type of EXO you had and the rank of it did not determine the outcome of a fight. What mattered was how you used it.

    Freya, on the other hand, didn’t really care for ranks. All she cared about was who was at the top. She believed in hard work. If one trained hard enough, then they could overcome what people believed they could not do and achieve an even greater height.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Five

    The classroom doors opened up, and a man walked into the room. His ash grey colored hair flowed down to his neck while his light brown eyes swept over the classroom.

    Many of the female students felt their hearts throb upon seeing him. He wasn’t wearing anything too stylish as he wore the same uniform the male students wore. Except his diamond studs made him stand out a bit more than the males. But even without that, no one could deny that he was incredibly handsome.

    He could be mistaken as a student; Nick figured that he was not much older than them.

    He walked until he stood in the middle of the front row.

    “As you may have guessed, or what you are wondering, I am your teacher for this year. You may call me Mr. Hellbane, or Darius. Even if we are the support division, I want you all to know that being a support EXO is much more harder than being an offensive or defensive EXO. You have to put in more work at tempering your EXO, and most support EXO’s have various paths they can go down. I know many of you think a year is a long time, however here it is extremely short.

    This year, we’ll cover EXO essence control and EXO development. Depending on what type of support EXO you have, we will have to discuss what type of path you want to focus on. I’m sure as the year goes on, I'll learn each of your charming personalities, but for now, I think it is best we start with a simple introduction.”

    The way he spoke was calm and collected, his words were not fast nor were they slow.

    EXO essence is in every EXO user's body; it is what allows them to use their skills. Some people have more than others, and that is what determines how long or how often you can use your EXO ability. If you have a superior EXO but low essence, you may only be able to use your ability once.

    The more of it you have, the better off you’ll be in the long run. The thing about EXO essence is that when a person awakens their EXO, they also obtain a certain amount of essence as well. The earlier a person awakens their EXO they also have a longer time to collect more essence.

    There are three ways you can increase your essence pool. One way is by meditating and slowly gathering the EXO essence that is in the world. Another is by exhausting all your essence in your body then gathering it up and exhausting it again. You repeat this over and over, and your essence pool will grow steadily. The last method is through various fights, it arouses the essence in your body to create more and allows you to make an even bigger essence pool for yourself.

    As for EXO development that is similar to a game term called a skill tree. Although you and a friend may pick the same class, you two may pick different skills from that class. The further you develop it, the more unique your EXO becomes.

    In the support division, there are five types of support EXO. Self-enhancement, Healing, Essence sense, then you have your variants of those three types which are categorized as their own type. Finally, you have the abnormal types such as Matthew’s gravity control, which is weak at a low rank but highly valuable at a high rank and able to do much more than just support.

    Nick already knew he was categorized in Essence sense. He wondered how Darius was going to split the class up and teach them all.

    For just these two things they were going to cover in this one year may seem simple, but it was the very foundation for their future. If one didn’t lay down the proper foundation then as they grew stronger their power could become unstable limiting their growth.

    As far as Nick was concerned, he already knew which direction he wanted to go down for his essence sense. Yet he was still curious as to what other things he would be able to do with his ability.

    To be honest, the path he wanted to develop into was extremely difficult as it required high concentration all the time. It was also rare for someone to develop into this path as most people who had essence sense usually supported from the backlines entirely out of sight from any enemy.

    Strangely enough, he was not the type do fight from behind.

    There were reasons as to why he didn’t want to fight from behind. One is that he wanted to become a Special Forces agent. If he couldn’t become one, then his plans for the future would completely fail. Although becoming a Special Forces agent was hard for a Support type, it wasn’t impossible. One just had to have enough skill and stand out above the rest. Second reason went with the first; his primary goal was to pay for his mother's surgery to allow her to recover the usage of her legs.

    This was highly expensive and unless you were rich then it useless to even try. Special Forces agents were paid enough to afford the surgery, but even then it would be hard to collect enough money.

    However, for him, it didn’t matter because he had a special agreement with his father. As long as he can become a special forces member, then he would take care of his mother's surgery.

    He and his father had a complicated relationship as his father did not live with him or his mother. The reason being that his mother was not his wife, she was not even his mistress. Things happened, and his parents had a one night stand and months later Nick was born.

    His mother being who she is didn’t want him to find out about his child, but he ended up finding out anyways. Granted he figured that his mother could be smart and not go to the hospital his father owned when she gave birth, but it seemed that she still had a few feelings for the guy.

    Even if his father was not in his life, he still knew who he was. When his mother was injured, and he asked his father to help Nick was instantly shut down.

    Nick even said that he would show himself to his father's wife. However, his wife already knew about his many scandals and rarely cared. Nick tried countless methods to get his father to agree. As his father seeing him trying so hard must have moved him, but just enough to give him specific conditions. Only if he did that, then he would pay for her surgery.

    With that, he gave Nick a katana and told him good luck.

    As for anything other than what he knew about his father, which wasn’t much. Nick was clueless about how powerful the guy was. But he did have his assumptions.

    Everyone introduced themselves to the class. There were around two hundred people in this classroom.

    Nick did not bother to remember everyone in the classroom. It was the first day, and he was sure not to be able to put names to faces the next time he met some of them. The only ones he would surely remember was Matthew and Freya.

    Speaking of Matthew, it seemed that Freya was not the only one to take note of the four freshman royalty. Many of his classmates thought he would be in one of the other divisions as well, and some even asked him who would win if he fought Scarlet.

    Scarlet was the only person they could compare him to since she was the only other known freshman royal. Once the other two were found out, they were bound to be a heated discussion for the students.

    Everyone liked to compare strength. Naturally, they were no exception, and none of the freshmen could wait to see what would happen.

    “I know today is the first day and many of you are eager to get out and check out the campus. Therefore I will not keep you much longer as I would like to explain what we will go over tomorrow.

    Tomorrow we will get into the many ways to gather EXO essence. Many people have different methods. However, I will show you all the most efficient way. We’ll get more into it tomorrow, but it will allow you up to three times the effect compared to ordinary means.

    With that being said, There are also two more things we must get out of the way right now. We need to set up the class president and vice president; they will represent our class for the year. This will take place next week. Although it is far away in the future, there is a freshman competition that you should all prepare for. That is six months away, but it is always best to prepare early on.

    That is all; class dismissed for today.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Six

    Darius walked out of the classroom, and the students left inside began to chatter once again.

    Multiple people walked over to where Matthew was seated; it was not like they would get a chance to be involved with one of the four fresh royalties in a typical situation. This was not a regular situation, and they wanted to take full advantage of it.

    “Well isn’t someone Mr. Popular. It looks like it’s just Nick and me on our own now.”

    Freya commented as she watched Matthew get bashed with a boatload of questions. She was not angry with him, she was saying it in a teasing manner.

    Matthew mentally prepared himself for this already, but he didn’t think he would have this much of an impact. He didn’t want to be the center of attention.

    He could only smile at Freya’s teasing comment.

    Even Nick couldn’t help but laugh lightly at Matthew’s situation.

    “Nick, why don’t we check out the campus? I’m sure Mr. Popular needs time to enjoy this moment as it won’t last forever.”

    “Alright, lead the way.”

    Both Freya and Nick got up from their seats and walked towards the exit.

    “Shameless! Both of you! You see me pleading for help, and you leave? Kick a fellow while he’s down why don’t you.”

    Matthew told them as he watched them walk away.

    Freya turned around and stuck out her tongue at him before continuing on.

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    Matthew’s mouth twitched slightly when he saw this. He would repay her for this moment!

    Outside the classroom, Nick and Freya walked around. They saw many other students being let out early just as well.

    Eventually, they made their way outside the support building.

    Freya stretched her arms out and took in a deep breath of fresh air.

    “Freedom! How I missed you.”

    Nick chuckled when he saw this.

    “You’re a strange one aren’t you. It’s not like you were locked up for ten years finally being let outside for the first time.”

    “What do you mean strange? I’m perfectly normal. Although I may look like this, I am not the type of girl to sit around and study. The best way to learn is not by textbook but through hands-on experience.”

    “I agree with you on that, but there is nothing wrong with absorbing the knowledge of others. You never know, something they say could cause you to have some sort of enlightenment.”

    Freya tapped her lips with her index finger in a cute manner.

    “Nick… you’re a nerd aren’t you?”

    “Haha, something like that.”

    “Perfect! You’ll let me copy your homework, and I'll give you something in exchange.”

    Nick looked at her well-developed body, her chest wasn’t small but wasn’t big either. She had a tiny waist, and she had a cute face. Not to mention her small pink lips glistened under the sunlight.

    Freya covered her chest seeing the way Nick was looking at her, and her cheeks turned slightly red.

    It wasn’t as if he was hiding his gaze either; he was looking at her with perverted eyes right in the open. If he were at least trying to hide it, she would pay him no mind. However, this fellow did no such thing!

    “I think we can make it work.”

    “NO!”

    “I’m only kidding. I’m not interested in your body.”

    Freya puffed her cheeks out seeing as he started laughing at her. It wasn’t that funny, a girl's chastity was her most cherished thing.

    Seeing Freya like this, Nick patted her on the head.

    “Seriously, I was only kidding. Let’s go check out some clubs next.”

    Freya kicked him in the leg and ran off in front of him.

    “Stuupid!”

    Nick chased after her.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Seven

    In the academy, there were a wide variety of clubs a student could join. You did not have to join a club, but it was highly recommended to join one. There you could meet people from different years and learn something from them.

    Clubs were also a way to grow your skills, as most clubs were combat oriented. Since it was the start of a new year and there were many freshmen ripe for the picking, many clubs started recruiting new students.

    The school allowed them five days to advertise and show off their club activities. Letting the new students visit as many clubs as they could before finally deciding to join one.

    But during this time there would always be some troublemakers that wanted to show off in front of the new students.

    Power is what ruled most of the time, and as long as you had it, you were allowed the right away. That rule meant nothing in this academy. The academy had a set of rules that every student must follow. One of the most serious rules was that students must not fight outside of the school arena or outside of club activities if the club allowed it. If this rule was broken, you were subjected to punishment. The people who controlled such punishment was the student disciplinary committee.

    At first, the student council did it, but they didn’t have enough time to handle such cases as they were busy with other things. So they decided to implement a group to handle such cases.

    “With that sword by your side, i’m guessing you plan on joining the swordsman club?”

    “Not necessarily. Although I have this sword that does not mean I'm interested in swordsmanship at all.”

    “Then why wear it?”

    “It reminds me of my goal.”

    “I see, as I said before the best way for me to learn is through experience. So I'm probably going to join one of the combat clubs.”

    “There are so many of those; I hope you have something in mind. Not all support users can do close combat, so I hope you are admitted into one.”

    “How’d you know I do close combat?”

    “The calluses on your hand, although most people wouldn’t notice them I did. Also, the flow of essence inside of you is slightly violent. Everyone has a different type of flow inside them, some calm like the ocean, others unstable, and a couple like a raging storm. I’m able to see it all, over time I was able to match the type of flow with combat.”

    “Wow, given what you said you’d be a valuable asset to any team. If you can identify your target with it as well, it would match well with covert operations. If you train for distance and you can distinguish between friend and foe, you’d make a great sniper. Or even a scout! What’s the upper rank for your EXO?”

    “Somewhere between B or A. My mom has the same EXO, and hers is A-.”

    “Oh, it’s a genetic EXO. From my knowledge only very dominant EXO’s can carry over from the parents into their children. That is why there are some cases of incest. Because their family only wants that ability in their clan.”

    That was indeed the case when an EXO was superior and had the dominant trait. Cousins married each other, and sometimes even brother and sisters married. If it meant that the clan could grow stronger, they would do it.

    As the two of them walked over campus, they saw many students shouting out for the newer students to visit their club. Nick and Freya ignored most of them because they were not combat related. The combat clubs had their own small section on the campus compared to the other noncombat oriented clubs which were scattered all over.

    When Freya asked him if he was interested in the swordsman club, he did have a slight interest, but it wasn’t much. He mostly kept this sword to remind him of his goal to help his mother recover, but if he found that he enjoyed the swordsman club, he would join them.

    The combat club section was packed with students. There was a constant flow of people going in and out of club buildings.

    Freya tugged on Nick's sleeve.

    “Look, see those two. If I'm not mistaken, they should be apart of the disciplinary committee.”

    Nick took notice of the two who she was talking about. One was a tall well built young man with two side arms hanging from his waist. He had smooth black hair and black eyes.The other was a young woman with a sword dangling from her side. Her long wavy black hair flowed in the wind as it brushed past. She had beautiful legs, but Nick found her amber colored eyes to be much more appealing. On their collar was a red badge and an orange colored badge.

    Other than badges being able to identify the year you were in, there were a few exclusive clubs that had their own badges. One of these was the disciplinary committee which had a red badge.

    “It seems that they are looking for something.”

    Nick commented as he watched those two look through the crowd of students as they walked.

    “Hehe, we might get to see a show. Let’s stick around, something good is bound to happen.”

    They watched them, but nothing seemed to happen as they only looked over the crowd but didn’t act. Those two were also coming closer to Nick and Freya.

    The well built young man seemed to notice their gaze as he glared in their direction. He made eye contact with Nick and his walking pace increased.

    “Strange, they seem to be making there way over here. Do you know them, Nick?”

    “No. Never saw them a day in my life.”

    Nick replied to her as he shook his head.

    He didn’t know why they were coming this way when him and Freya did nothing. He also didn’t know these two, could it be that one of them knew him?

    The two disciplinary committee members stopped in front of Nick and Freya. The male glared coldly at Nick. He seemed to have a grudge against him, but Nick didn't understand what he did.

    “You’re that kid who talked to Iliana earlier; it is best you watch yourself.”

    He told Nick in a cruel tone. He saw what happened earlier and frankly he was jealous. The Queen talking to a first-year student? Even exchanging handshakes? He couldn’t believe such a thing!

    Freya looked at Nick with her mouth wide.

    “Nick! You talked to the queen? And you didn’t tell me!?”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Eight

    In the community of EXO’s, there were titles that were held by certain people. Most of the titles that were created were fan-made, but if enough people acknowledged, then they would become real.

    Having a title was not just for show if you had a title you were a very talented individual.

    If no one could distinguish you by your looks, they could easily do it by your EXO ability.

    For a student to hold a title that was something different altogether. Having one meant that you were superior to the others in your year. It did not matter if you had an ultra-rare ability that outshined the others. If you were able to reach the top of your year, you had a title.

    These titles would be known throughout all the academies. Even some EXO companies would pay attention to these students. That way after their graduation they would understand what they were capable of.

    In every year, there are ten students who are given a title. They are the top ten students in their year, and no one denied that. In every academy, there were only forty students that held an official title.

    Nick himself did not realize that the person he spoke with briefly was one of those people. No wonder he could feel the death stares emitting from the student's eyes at that moment.

    He talked to one of the top ten students and even shook her hand. Not to mention she was an outstanding beauty.

    For him a first-year student to do such a thing while most of the upperclassmen never did, caused many of them to be envious of him.

    “Iliana, the queen? I didn’t know she was such an amazing person. If I knew I would have surely told you.”

    “Tell me, which hand did you touch her with? Quickly!”

    Nick did not know why she asked him such a question. It was weird. This might just be the weirdest thing she has ever said today.

    He stuck out his right hand, and Freya instantly grabbed hold of it. She rubbed her face on his palm as it seemed like she was in utter bliss.

    Nick tried to pull his hand back, but her grip was like vice grips.

    Freya seemed to enjoy his palm enough as she let go of it. She tilted her head sideways slightly, and by the look in her eyes, Nick could tell she was curious about something.

    “Nick, are you going to do… that tonight?”

    Nick furrowed his eyebrows as he quickly caught on to what she meant by ‘that.'

    “Only if you’re joining in, then we can do that together.”

    “Hey! Did you hear me?”

    The young male from before placed his hand on Nick's shoulder. To him, it was like Nick and Freya completely ignored him. He was a disciplinary committee member; he was a junior. The number of people that had the right to ignore him were only those who had a higher status than him.

    Nick lightly pushed off the young male's hand off of him, and the air around him seemed to drop in temperature.

    “Why are you touching me? Why are you here in front of me? You should ask yourself these questions before saying anything else to me. So what I talked to another student, what does that have to do with you?”

    He didn’t think Nick would react in such a way if he let things stay as they were right now he would lose a lot of respect from his peers.

    But he also couldn’t deny what Nick had said; he honestly did not have a reason for approaching him besides him being upset at the fact that he spoke to the queen and even shook her hand. It was not like he was engaged to her or anything. So what right did he have to be upset at Nick?

    Standing next to him was his disciplinary partner, she tapped him on the shoulder and shook her head. Her long wavy black hair had a natural shine to it.

    Her amber colored eyes looked at Nick as she slightly bowed.

    “Sorry for his behavior, that is unlike him. Usually, he is more well behaved than that. I’m Cassandra Day, Vice President of the disciplinary committee. And this young man is Dustin Holmes.”

    Cassandra pointed her hand at Dustin who was now silent, but his gaze was still on Nick. He could not let this matter go; he just got embarrassed by someone younger than him. He did not need to look around to feel the gazes of the surrounding students on him. They were snickering, his gut told him so.

    If he did not think so highly of himself, he would notice that no one was even paying them any attention. Let alone heard their conversation.

    “Nick Wilson, a pleasure to meet you.”

    “Freya Smith, don’t mind Nick’s behavior.”

    “You two are new, what division do you belong to? I’m assuming the offensive division from that sword by your side.”

    Nick grabbed the black and green hilt of his sword and raised it a little.

    “This thing? It’s only a decoration; I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it.”

    Cassandra took a step closer to Nick as she blinked her amber eyes.

    “May I?”

    “Sure, I don’t mind.”

    Nick handed her his sword, and she was amazed at the quality of just the sheath. The black sheath had three green lines on it, but the material used was unquestionably the best. The way she slowly slid her hands across it seemed as if she was rubbing a baby. She was even careful when she unsheathed the sword a little bit as she gazed at the black blade itself.

    “My family runs a lower tier weaponsmith, so I've seen a ton of weapons, but I've never seen anything of this caliber. The amount of detail on the sheath alone is enough to make it worth thousands. As for the blade, I think it is made of some special substance; you can’t find a blade this well made on the market. However, I can’t put my mind on where I've seen this symbol before…”

    Cassandra told Nick as she appraised the sword and passed it back to him.

    “I see, it was a gift.”

    For the actual value of his sword, Nick did not know, all he knew was that it was unique compared to other swords. He doubted if there was another one just like it out in the world.

    What he did know was that there were only eleven other weapons just like his out in the world. They were not the same kind, and they all looked different, but from a forging standpoint they were all made by the same weaponsmith.

    In the EXO world being a weaponsmith meant a few things, and not everyone could become one. Every weapon had a specific mark to show it was made by a specific person or company and each weapon had its own trait.

    Even for a job such as that they also were divided into ranks based on their skill level. At the top, there were five individuals who stood out from the rest and each weapon they crafted as like a work made for the Greek gods.

    People would pay a vast amount of money to obtain one of their works; some would even kill for it.

    An alarm like sound rang out as Cassandra glanced down at her phone.

    “It was nice meeting you two; I hope you find what you are looking for regarding the combat clubs. We may meet again, but you never know the campus here is fairly large.”

    Cassandra took her leave as Dustin followed behind her.

    “Nick, let’s follow them. I smell something juicy!”

    “I thought we came to look for a club to join?”

    “Who cares about that! They will still be recruiting when we come back, but we may never get to see a show like this again.”

    Nick rolled his eyes when he heard her; it seemed that she only wanted to see a good show between the students. That's probably why she was joining a combat club. To fill her amusement of watching people get beat up.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Nine

    Following Freya’s nose for drama did indeed lead them to an open area in front of a cafe.

    There was a large circle surrounding two students; it looked like they didn’t want either of them to escape. However, those two did not seem to mind as they were up in each other's faces arguing.

    The two of them were males, and by the white badges on their collars, they were clearly freshman students.

    The number of students who cause the most problems every year are always the freshman. They are new to the area, and they need to make a stand. Due to this many freshman students were very arrogant thinking that they were better than the rest, and when two of them met it usually ended in a fight.

    While not everyone was stupid enough to start a fight on the first day of school, there are many exceptions. These two were definitely an exception.

    Unlike Freya who went by the rankings of the current battle rating, there are those who don’t follow it. Why should they care about a ranking made up by the professors? Just because someone has a better EXO than them did not mean they were better at utilizing it.

    Four freshman royalties? Who crowned them royals? I’m just as great if not better than them. That is what those people thought, and they would surely show it to their peers.

    Nick watched as Cassandra and Dustin pushed their way through the crowd.

    The fight did not start yet, but he was sure it was bound to happen at any moment. It just needed a kick starter.

    “Stop, what do you two think you are doing?”

    Cassandra was the first one to speak up causing both the boys to look in her direction.

    The rousing from the crowd died down a little when she arrived. Some people took notice of the red badge on her collar. Everyone did not always read the booklets the schools gave out, so not everyone understood what that red badge signified. Especially the freshman who spoke with their fist instead of their words.

    “Who the hell are you? It’s best to back off before you find yourself in trouble!”

    The one that spoke was a freshman with a heavy build. His muscles looked like they could burst out of his uniform at any moment.

    “How about you two calm down if the situation becomes worse the consequences will be dire.”

    “If I want to burn his face off, I'll burn his face off. Just try to stop me!”

    The young male ignored Cassandra's warning, and his attention focused on the youth in front of him. He made a motion with his hand.

    “He is going to launch a fireball.”

    Nick said in a low voice. His small comment did not get past Freya’s ear as she heard what he said. Yet she made no comment on it.

    A bright red light emerged from his palm and shot forward. The other youth did not have time to react as he did not think that he would be attacked so suddenly especially when a disciplinary committee member was right in front of them.

    Even he was not stupid enough to make a move with them around.

    No one could see it because no one was looking at Nick, but if they did glance at him, they would notice a change. His hazel eyes turned icy blue as he watched what was going on.

    He saw various lines appearing on everyone's body; these lines spread all over. These lines were essence channels. They were like veins, but instead of carrying blood they carried EXO essence.

    Everyone had a different speed at which the essence flowed in their body. When a person used their ability the essence would rush to that part of their body and build up before it was released. The rate at which this happened was fast, fast enough to let a person cast a skill in under a second.

    Normally one would only be able to see the channels and flow, but Nick was able to see the color of flow and where the essence was going to go. His experience lets him understand what type of ability was going to be released and the general direction of it.

    No other person would be able to do what he is doing. Simply because reading the flow of essence as well as understanding the nature of it took a massive amount of time. Yet for him, he could do read and understand it before the ability was even released.

    That was not the only thing one had to know if they wanted to do what Nick did. They also must know which ability could be released and narrow it down by type. The vast number of abilities in the world made it so that no one would be able to understand the structure of each one. But he was different; he could do it with ease.

    It was not like he actually did it, but more like his ability did it for him. It scanned the flow of essence inside a person's body and detected the nature of the essence then it turned that flow into a specific color. This color would represent the type of EXO ability located in the body. An example would be a red flow meant that person had a fire type EXO.

    Providence was like a natural database for every ability out there. It stored, analyzed and decoded many abilities. Which would then be called upon when finding out the what sort of skill was being used.

    This all happened in under a second. It actually processed it before the person themselves could use their own ability.

    It was like foresight; he knew what ability they were going to release before it happened. As for whether someone would be able to counter or dodge it in time, that depended on them.

    The essence flow in Cassandra's body rushed to her legs; it was brown in color. The flow rushed into the ground before disappearing.

    A rock wall appeared from the ground as the fireball crashed into it. This rock wall also separate the two youths.

    “Oh, she’s not bad.”

    Freya commented on Cassandra’s skills.

    “If I'm not mistaken she should be a vanguard type. Didn’t expect her to be one of those, guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover.”

    Dustin’s body blurred before he appeared behind the youth who shot off the fireball. He gave him a swift chop to the back of the neck causing him to become unconscious.

    Before he fell to the ground, Dustin grabbed him by the collar.

    “Shows over, all of you leave now!”

    Maybe it was the way he spoke, or maybe it was the due to the strength he displayed. Whatever the case may be, it caused many of the surrounding students to disperse.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Ten

    Nick yawned as he rubbed his eyes. He did not get much sleep last night.

    “You two have the nerve to sit over here and act like nothing happened yesterday? Truly shameless!”

    Matthew was still a little upset at both of them leaving him here yesterday. Even when he left the classroom people still came up to him. It seems that someone took a picture of him and sent it around.

    Who the heck has so many numbers on the first day?

    While those two were out having fun, he was getting hammered with questions. There were so many weird ones too.

    At first, he thought he would enjoy it, but he disliked it instead. Being in the limelight was not for him, and he would rather never enter it again. At least not now maybe when everything died down would he want to be in it once more.

    “Quit crying; it’s not like it’s the end of the world. Even my baby brother doesn’t cry as much as you Matthew.”

    Freya replied to him.

    “Whatever! So, what clubs did you two join?”

    “Eh, it was more of looking. We happened to go to look at some, but then we found a good show to watch instead. After that, we ate some dessert at a cafe. It was so good; you should come with us next time.”

    Matthew had a strange grin spread across his face when he heard her words.

    “So basically you two went on a date?”

    Freya suddenly stopped playing with her phone and froze in place when she heard that. Indeed from what she said it did sound like a date.

    “No!”

    “Yes!”

    Freya instantly said no, but Nick replied with a yes.

    “What do you mean yes!? That was not a date; it was just two friends hanging out nothing more.”

    “Two friends of the opposite gender hanging out all alone. Com’on there is no need to be shy about it.”

    Matthew added his two cents into the mix.

    Their voices were loud causing many of the students around them to look their way. It would seem that all the attention was now on them.

    Matthew made an ok sign with his left hand and kept moving his right index finger in and out of the hole.

    “C'mon, you two definitely did that right?”

    Freya’s face turned red; she couldn’t take it anymore and threw her phone at his face.

    Matthew dodged it causing the phone to hit the window. As he was gloating, he missed the other object that was being thrown his way.

    Her shoe hit him directly in the face.

    Matthew grabbed the shoe as it slid down his face.

    “You threw a shoe at me! Didn’t your parents teach you any better?”

    “They taught me exactly what I need to know.”

    “You should be happy that anyone would go out with you. Chest as flat as fresh pavement.”

    Nick couldn’t help but laugh at these two.

    “What are you laughing at, this is all your fault!”

    “That may be the case, but I'm not the one whose bickering like old lovers.”

    “I’d never date him/her!” The two of them said in unison.

    Both of them turned away from each other and humphed.

    “Stop all the talking, take your seats.”

    A voice called out as the classroom door opened up and Darius walked in. He took his place in the middle of the front of the class and looked at his students. From the looks on their faces, he knew they were ready to learn.

    “Give me two assistants.”

    There were at least fifteen students who raised their hands. They were eager to get up there and show off in front of their classmates.

    Darius pointed at two of them, one male the other female. They made their way down to the center of the room where he was.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Eleven

    “The name of this method is called inner Yin and Yang; it can only be done with a person of the opposite sex. There are several steps you can take to increase your essence with this technique, but I'll only explain to you the simplest one.

    Now you two, hold each other's hand with both hands. Good, just like that. Close your eyes and focus on your partner. Try to feel the essence within their body, once you have a good feel for it pull it towards you. Use your right arm as a channel to guide the essence into your own body.

    Don’t worry if you can’t get it on your first try; it does take some time before the average person can utilize this technique.”

    Sweat emerged on the foreheads of both the youths. One could see how hard they were concentrating.

    Shortly after they both let go of each other's hands.

    “This is a method I found when I was in Paris years ago. I slightly adjusted it to my own standards to get the same effect. The reason this is so special is because you can do it with anyone as long as they are the opposite gender.

    In ancient China, they also had a method like this which allowed one to increase their inner chi up to five times the normal rate. That method is a little inappropriate for students, but it can also be applied now for the same growth rate. I would not recommend it unless you have a permanent partner because at that point you are no longer channeling each other's essence you are mixing them together and absorbing it. Due to that reason, you can only have one partner and if you try to do it with anyone else your essence will become chaotic.”

    Darius went further into detail, explaining that finding a random person you’ll have an increase of at least two time your normal rate. However, if you find someone with the same attribute as yourself, you can obtain three times the effect.

    He explained the type of each essence in a person's body.

    Most EXO essence followed the same standard. Red essence in the body would mean that the person had a fire type EXO. Blue meant water, silver was ice, and the list went on and on.

    “Mr. Hellbane, what happens if your partner's essence is much greater than your own? Will the benefits be the same?”

    One of the females asked this question.

    “No, it is ideal you find someone who has the same amount of essence as you as well. This will stimulate your own growth at a regulated speed allowing both parties to benefit.

    If one person had a larger pool than the other, only one person would benefit. True, that person’s essence would increase at a much faster rate than usual because it is channeling essence from a much more prominent source. However, the quicker the increase, the higher the risk you would have as well. Your essence has a high chance to become unstable, meaning that at any time you’d have a chance to overflow.”

    When she heard him say that you’d have a chance to overflow she knew how high the risk was then. As an EXO user, the last thing you wanted to do was have an overflow of essence.

    Overflow was when your essence was greater than your body's capacity. A person’s body can only hold a certain amount of essence, this amount will increase over time, but it always increased slowly.

    Think of it as a cup. A cup could only hold so much water, when it was full, it cannot hold any more water. Water can still go in the cup, but it will cause an overflow making the water inside leak out.

    Where does that water go? You’d clean it up of course.

    For EXO essence it is different, your body is the cup. You cannot clean it up if it overflows. When an EXO user overflowed one of two things happened. You either died because your body could not handle the amount you were trying to give it. Or your body mutated and you lost a vast majority of your reasoning becoming something else entirely.

    People who mutated ended up becoming monsters who couldn’t help but feed off others for more essence. They became addicted to it. These mutants needed to be put down, and they had a specific force that handled such task.

    “What would you say the percentage is for a person to succeed in that method and not overflow?”

    “Give or take, around two percent. Under the right circumstances, that's only if everything about the two people were almost the same. Your rate would increase to five percent.”

    Darius gave his honest answer.

    “What do you believe the chances are for a person to survive an overflow?”

    Nick asked him since they were currently on the topic of overflow, might as well ask.

    “You mean their body mutates, but they keep all their reasoning and are still in control of their body?”

    Nick nodded his head.

    Darius tapped his chin with his index finger as he thought about such a case.

    For a person to survive such an ordeal was highly unlikely, but that did not mean they couldn’t.

    “I can’t give you an exact percentage, but if a hundred million people were to overflow. There is a chance one of them will keep their sanity.”

    Nick asked Darius a follow-up question. How the difference in mutated beings and ordinary people there had to be a gap. He was curious as to how large of a difference did Darius think it was.

    “Given a comparison, how would you rate them compared to the top EXO users? I mean, if they survived I'd imagine that the power they hold is immense. The gap between the two in my eyes should be huge.”

    “Indeed, currently in the world, there are five such individuals on record who have survived an overflow and maintained all reasoning. If you want to a comparison, think of a D ranked EXO user going against an S ranked EXO user. I’d say it would be that wide of a gap if not more. But, each one of them are under surveillance and so far none of them have made any moves that caused the government to be concerned.”

    Darius explained to the whole class. Not everyone knew about these type of people who survived an overflow. It was not like it was a national secret or anything, but not everyone knew they existed.

    Just one of these people had the power to wipe out an entire country, so why didn’t they?

    They were in a league of their own, and the government called them Xeno class EXO users.

    “Alright, enough discussion for now. I want you all to partner up and try out the method you’ve just learned. If you can, try to find someone with the same flow as you. If you can’t, fear not and just partner up with someone random. I just want you all to test this method out and see if it is for you or not.”


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twelve

    Inside the classroom, it got a little bit noisy once more, but it did not get out of control. People started making pairs and doing what Darius showed them earlier.

    There were a few female students that did not want to hold hands with males, but under the constant urging of the others they finally gave in. It was weird; there seemed to be an even number of male to female ratio in the classroom.

    Nick suspected that Darius either requested for it to become like this or he just had good luck.

    Because Nick could see the type of essence people had, it was easy for him to spot potential partners for other people. He did not tell them if they were a match or not as he figured they would learn as time progressed.

    The flow in Matthew's body was black in color, not one person in the room would be a match for him. Freya had a couple of potential partners who she could pair up with from Nicks view as the color of her flow was grey. Nick himself had a grey colored flow, but he thought these two were better suited for each other.

    Given the nature of Freya, he doubted she would pair up with some random person.

    “I think you two would make a nice pair, for this training of course.”

    Nick told them his opinion. Since grey and black were close in color, the relationship between them shouldn’t be too bad. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it was better than what the other students were doing. Which was picking either one of the people close to them to partner up with or pick a friend.

    They didn’t care about the relationship between the two flows which would be key to increasing the amount of essence you would absorb.

    “I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

    “I guess I can work with this guy.”

    The two of them agreed, and they did not seem to have any complaints.

    A few of the females that were working there way over towards Matthew instantly stopped and turned around when they saw the scene before them.

    Their small chance at romance was now crushed, they glared at Freya before they left. She would genuinely be hated in the future by these female classmates.

    Given his various talents and ability, he wondered if there would be anyone that could be his partner who hasn’t already been picked up.

    His hazel eyes turned icy blue as he scanned the room quickly. He was at least expecting to find one person who hasn’t been grouped up yet with the same color as his or some very similar. Nick was a bit special as his flow was not exactly the standard grey. It was a lighter shade of grey.

    Nick was surprised there was one person in this room that had almost the same flow color as him. His eyes turned back to their natural color as he got up from his seat and walked over.

    She had a two handsome looking males asking her to partner up with them, but she declined them both. Although rejected neither of them gave up. They knew that the more time passed, the more people would group up, leaving others with a limited amount of partners. Eventually, she would have to accept one of their offers.

    Nick walked up to her desk which was five rows behind his own seat. He gazed into her green eyes that seemed to hold a complicated feeling.

    “Do you want to partner up with me?”

    She pushed back a piece of her long light brown hair as she looked at Nick. She examined him for a moment before she spoke.

    “Sure.”

    “Wait a moment. You reject me, but you chose this buster? Seriously!?”

    One of the young males shouted in anger. His handsome face turned ugly in a moment. He’s tasted rejection once before, but given enough time those girls always came around. This time it was different.

    He had set his eyes upon this beautiful young woman the moment he walked into the classroom. He even picked a seat next to her so they would be able to have more interactions. His plans that he had to capture her heart were slowly scattering in the wind.

    He ground his teeth together; he was a support user just like everyone else in this classroom. His prospects for the future wouldn’t be grand, but who was to say that any support users prospects were? They were support users! Highly versatile? In what manner? The only ones in the support division who would stand a chance in a fight were the ones with abilities that actually helped them in a fight. Development of EXO abilities? He didn’t believe in it, you were born with an ability and that there determined if you would have a status in the world. If you were one of the lucky ones, who were born with an ability that allowed you to stand your ground in a fight, then nice going. But the ones who didn’t have the luck as you were looked down upon in the EXO society. The chances of them having a partner in life who was an Offensive or Defensive user was slim. Their best bet was to marry another support user.

    Yet here she was being stuck up about who she wanted to partner up with. So what if she was pretty? She probably had a worse EXO ability than his own!

    “Yes seriously. It would not be right for the two of us to partner up as the natural flow in our body does not match up. Neither one of us will benefit much thus it would limit our growth. It is not that I do not wish to partner up with you, it is just much better to do so with someone who suits me much better.”

    She did not get upset at his reaction. Instead, she talked to him in a calm tone. With these type of guys, she felt it was best to give them an explanation as to why they were being rejected than just flat out say no.

    “Whatever!”

    The youth growled in anger as he stormed off.

    The other youth didn’t persist any longer and also left. Although he did have the same idea as the other male before him, he wouldn’t act in the same way.

    “I did not mean for you to see such a scene.”

    She told Nick as she gave him a small smile.

    “Don’t mind it. It is only natural for a guy to take a fancy to someone as beautiful as you.”

    “I’m not that pretty; I believe that your friend over there is much more charming than I am.”

    She pointed her finger in the direction where Freya and Matthew were.

    “She does have her points. I’m Nick, you are?”

    “Alyson West.”

    “Oh? You are apart of the West family; I did not think a member of their family would attend our school. With your families EXO abilities I'm sure that you could go to any school, what made you choose Demeter Academy?”

    “I don’t think my family is that great for many people to know about us. We aren’t like the “Wells’ or the ‘Robinsons’ that are more well known. I did not choose this academy; my father decided it for me.”

    “I wonder why he chose this place? Although they are ranked lower than us, the medical department at Apollo academy is way more advanced than here.

    Anyways, let’s begin.”

    Grabbing ahold of each other's hands, they closed their eyes and concentrated.

    Nick focused on the core of her essence. It was like the heart of any EXO user, constantly pumping the essence throughout their body. If the core was damaged in any way, it could be the end for any EXO user. They would go from extraordinary to ordinary in a flash.

    He sensed the way it flowed through her channels like a river. The steady pace at which it was pushed out was like a rhythm.

    His own flow started to match hers to the point that the rate at which they were pushed out was the same. It was like her essence was an extension of his own.

    Being as gentle as possible he pulled her essence towards him.

    Alyson let out a small moan as her body started to heat up. The inside of her body felt like it was moving along a steady pathway. Everything was so smooth, and it gave her a pleasurable feeling.

    The sensation she was feeling in her stomach became stronger.

    When they were focusing on training, their sense of time became lost. They were in their own realm.

    Time in the classroom ticked by, seconds turned into minutes as minutes turned into hours.

    Darius only wanted them to try this technique out, but he never imagined that there would be three couples that would have such a deep concentration.

    Except for these six everyone else in the classroom finished hours ago. He couldn’t continue his lesson until all the groups were finished, so he continued to wait.

    “Mr. Hellbane, why haven’t they finished yet?”

    One of the female students asked in curiosity. The longest time one of them lasted was at most twenty minutes, yet here are these six going on for hours!

    “They have reached a point where their two bodies are acting as one. They are feeding off of each other and growing at a steady pace. It is called synergy. This is a crucial point that even I wouldn’t wake them. When they finish, the essence in their body will at least increase by fifteen percent. Ha, I'm so lucky to have such talented students!”

    When he realized what he said, he looked over the other students. They were talking lightly or on their phones.

    “Stop, stop, stop! Go back to training!”

    He urged them to continue if they didn’t then they would be outdone by these six students. He couldn’t let that happen!


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Thirteen

    Nick could feel his essence increase, granted it was still slow but he could tell it was much faster than before.

    On the other hand, Alyson felt a surge of essence rush through her channels. The amount she was getting was definitely more than she was giving, yet the strange thing was that the amount was coming in a controlled manner.

    She wondered who Nick really was to be able to control the amount of essence he was distributing to her. He clearly had a higher capacity than her, but she didn’t feel as if she would overflow with him here.

    Everything went white to her as she felt something inside her burst open.

    The connection between the two of them broke. Alyson’s hair was slightly messy, and sweat was dripping from her face. She was panting as well.

    “Congratulations.”

    She smiled sweetly at his words; she knew this would not have been possible if he wasn’t here. Well, she wouldn’t be able to make such a large breakthrough in her capacity so soon.

    If her capacity was like a mug before, it was now in the shape of a round bowl.

    “It’s all thanks to you.”

    “No, this is because of your talent and our affinity. Let’s do this again sometime.”

    Nick wiped the little sweat he had on his forehead off as he returned to his seat. On the way, Darius looked at him and smiled, but Nick ignored that look of his.

    Freya and Matthew were both done with their training when he made to his seat. Yet right when he was about to sit down, Darius dismissed the class.

    “Let’s go, boys! There are a few places I want to check out, and this time you are not leaving me behind!”

    Matthew was the first to hop up out of his seat. Yesterday he was left here all alone; he would not be left out today.

    “Well, we better hurry before your fan club comes along.”

    Freya chuckled and replied. Seeing him like this, she couldn’t help but think this side of him was cute.

    “Then get up and get moving.”

    The three of them made their way outside of the support building.

    “Where are we going first?”

    Nick asked Matthew who seemed to be the one to lead today's adventure.

    “Well unlike you two I actually joined a club yesterday, so we aren’t going to do that.”

    “When did you find time to search for a club? Your fan club didn’t stop you?”

    “Stop me? Pft, they followed me around like some lost puppy. I was not going to let that stop me from going to search for a club to join.”

    “What did you join?”

    Nick asked Matthew. Judging by Matthew’s nature so far Nick was sure he would join one of the combat clubs. He did not seem like the type to crack a book open and do some intense research.

    “Arena.”

    “Seems like something you would do. Fighting all day long, figures.”

    “Hey! It’s more than just fighting. It is an art!”

    “Whatever you say.”

    “You’re always on my back like a bad itch you can’t reach.”

    “I don’t think you two will ever go a day without arguing. How about we just go grab something to eat?”

    Nick suggested to them, and he took the lead.

    On his way back to his dorm yesterday he passed by a certain street, and he smelled something good. But because it was so late the place was closing, and he failed to get something to eat.

    Now was his chance it was still early as well so they would have time to find something else to do.

    They arrived in front of a small brick building. There were seats outside, but on such a beautiful day plenty of people would like to enjoy the gentle cool breeze.

    This place had a small crowd of people hanging around, from all different years. Some were mingling with each other, while others were on their phones.

    “I like this place; it has a nice vibe. Doesn’t give you that feeling as if you were on a school campus.”

    “For once I'll have to agree with her. Let’s hope the food is as good as the atmosphere.”

    The three of them entered the restaurant. Inside it wasn’t anything too fancy; there was a counter with stools place around and tables in various places.

    At the counter were three students wearing aprons while taking orders. Two of them were females that almost looked like twins. The other was a young male. You couldn’t tell which year they were in, but they were not a freshman.

    Above the counter was a list of different types of foods and drinks you can order as well as their price.

    EXO students were different from other students as normal students would have to receive an allowance from their parents to pay for their lunches. As an EXO student, you received a certain amount of money (That could only be used on campus) every month to pay for your daily living expenses and other things.

    “I think I'll get one of those toasted subs, they look good.”

    “You shouldn’t try something new just because it looks good. The best thing to get is Teriyaki Chicken Donburi; now you can never go wrong with that.”

    Freya gave her suggestion to Nick who was looking at the menu. She did not forget to throw in her favorite meal as an option either.

    “No thanks, I've had enough Asian food. It’s good to try new things every now and again.”

    Matthew threw his arm around Nick’s shoulder as he pointed to a picture of some wings on the menu. When Nick saw those red wings covered with some volcanic sauce, he started to sweat.

    In this day and age spices were taken to a whole new level. Those people out there in the world who just couldn’t get enough of that tingling sensation that was left in their mouth wanted more. They were not let down as more and more sauces came out each one hotter than the previous.

    Volcanic sauce couldn’t be considered the hottest one around, but it was in the top ten. Nick hated spicy food.

    “Real men get the spicy wings. Ten for me, ten for you. Deal?”

    “No!”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Fourteen

    The three of them were seated at a small black round table inside the restaurant. Nick got his toasted sub with chicken, bacon, pickles and various other toppings. He couldn’t believe how well made the sub was, and the smell it was emitting was not just for show.

    Freya had her small plate of teriyaki chicken donburi, and she seemed to be enjoying it very well. Her little hands elegantly held the two chopsticks.

    Nick knew she must have eaten Asian food on a daily basis to be able to wield them in such a manner.

    On the other hand, Matthew was drinking large amounts of water.

    His hands moved at a rapid pace grabbing one boneless chicken wing, putting it into his mouth and swallowed it. As soon as he finished eating one, he reached for a glass of water and downed it to cool his mouth down.

    Nick did not understand why he would get some hot wings if he could barely handle it.

    “You eat like an animal; you need to learn table manners.”

    Matthew just popped another wing inside his mouth when he heard Freya’s side comment. He wanted to say something, but instead, he started coughing hard, as he pounded his chest.

    Freya grinned as she took his glass of water away from him. Matthew reached for it, but she had it far away and the only way he could get it is if he jumped across the table.

    He was not going to jump across the table for a glass of water. At least… not in public.

    His mouth started burning. Previously there was a sensation in his mouth, but since he always washed the taste away with water, he didn’t feel it as much. Now he could really feel the heat. More and more sweat appeared on his forehead as it slid down. He started panting a little bit as well.

    “Such a real man you are.”

    Freya mocked him a little.

    “Knock it off and give him the water. You two are worse than my little cousins on Thanksgiving.”

    Nick was halfway done with his sub sandwich when he started drinking his pink lemonade. Freya finally had her fun and gave Matthew his water back, to which he drank it as fast as he received it. From the look in his eyes, Nick knew that he would want to get revenge on her.

    “Evil! You’re such an evil person. Nick, I think we should leave her next time, just us bros go out.”

    Matthew told Nick, but Nick himself felt like laughing at Matthew’s facial appearance. Matthew's lips were red and a bit more plump than before. This was because of the wings he was eating.

    “Matthew, what a surprise to see you here.”

    Nick turned his head and caught sight of a petite girl who was only a bit taller than him while he was seated. Her red ponytail flowed down her back while her red eyes looked at Matthew.

    Her arms were pushing up her small breast making them look bigger than what they actually were. Honestly, she looked like a middle school student in Nick’s eyes.

    “Scarlet...”

    “A mighty royal is sitting here acting a fool, don’t you think that is a bit uncalled for?”

    She came here for dinner with a friend, but she spotted Matthew. She saw the way he was acting, and she felt disgusted.

    Matthews attitude changed when she arrived. That playful look on his face was gone, it was now replaced by one that told everyone around that he was serious.

    “I never said I was a mighty royal; titles are just that titles. I could care less about such a thing, only someone like you would want one. It would seem that you were bound to never change.”

    “A pity you are wrong, I have changed.”

    Scarlet did not let his words faze her.

    “Adding a layer of new clothes and pretending to be different doesn’t make you a new person. What are you doing here anyways?”

    “What I can’t come to a restaurant and eat? Who died and made you the ruler?”

    “No, what are you doing over here at this table? Don’t you have something better to do? Or can it be that all those friends of yours left you when you arrived?”

    “Act-”

    Scarlet was about to say something, but another voice cut her off.

    “Scarlet, who are these people?”

    A young man with messy blue hair appeared behind her. His light blue eyes swept over the three people seated at the round table before he focused his attention on Scarlet. He had a black and blue lance on his back that made others feel as if it was a warning not to approach lightly.

    “Arthur this is another one of the four freshman royals, Matthew White. We were just having a small reunion.”

    “A royal huh? He seems a bit weak to be one. The pressure around him can’t even be felt.”

    Matthew stood up from his seat and faced Arthur.

    He started releasing a bit of his essence from his body causing the people in the restaurant to take notice of him.

    “Want to go?”

    “Why don’t we calm down here, there is no need to put on such a show.”

    Nick butted in as he got between the two of them. He couldn’t let a fight happen here. One, there were too many people someone was bound to get hurt. Two, students were not allowed to fight outside of the arena or else they would be punished. He was not going to let Matthew face punishment.

    “Who is this loser? I barely even noticed him.”

    Arthur was a whole head taller than Nick so when he said those words he looked down on him.

    “Some of Matthew’s friends. Pay them no mind they aren’t even threatening.”

    “You know at first I was going to ignore you since you seemed to have a grudge against Matthew and I wanted to see what would happen. But don't’ think you can just say whatever you want just because you are a little famous. I think it’s about time to you down a notch.”

    Freya’s aura rose as she placed herself in front of Scarlet.

    The doors to the restaurant opened, and two people walked in. They walked right over to Nick’s group.

    Wearing an orange and red badge on their collar, they were members of the disciplinary committee. One was a huge male with short brown hair and green eyes. His whole body could compare to those Olympic weightlifters. The other was a beautiful young woman with long black wavy hair. The two of them together released a pressure that could be felt in the entire restaurant.

    Nick recognized one of them; she was Cassandra who he saw yesterday. Yet it was not Dustin who was with her this time, as it was a young man who had this charm to him. One couldn’t help but look at him when he walked into the restaurant.

    It would seem that Cassandra noticed Nick as well as she took a glance his way.

    Arthur turned around and started walking away. He knew who they were and he was not looking to start a problem in front of these two. There was a time and place for everything.

    “We’ll settle this at the freshman competition. I’ll show you why you will never be on my level.”

    Arthur told them as he continued to walk away.

    Scarlet had a mocking smile on her face as she waved her hand.

    “Cya around Matthew, don’t fall too low before the competition.”

    Cassandra looked at Nick, while the young man with her watched Scarlet and Arthur leave the restaurant.

    “Care to explain what happened?”

    Nick scratched his cheek. He started to recall everything that happened to the point of them showing up.

    “Well… and that's what went down.”

    The young man next to Cassandra nodded his head when he heard what the situation was.

    “Arthur Kidd, he is an arrogant fellow, but he does have the skills to back it up. If we are talking about potential alone, he has the second highest rating in this year's new batch. However, Scarlet Chapman is not bad either. She has a natural talent that not many have achieved even in our year. But if we were to compare her to the queen, there would be no competition.

    It would seem that this year's freshman four royals will put on quite the show. Don’t worry too much, this sort of thing happens every year when all four royals meet up. Someone always thinks they are better than the others.”

    The young man told them, not seeming to pay much attention to the problem at all.

    “Excuse me, but who are you?”

    Freya asked him. She knew many of the people in the freshman rankings, but she was not that knowledgeable about the upperclassman. She knew a few of their titles but not their faces.

    “Ah my bad I forgot to introduce myself, I am Fred Bullock. Disciplinary Committee president. A pleasure to meet you.”

    Fred made a small bow to show his respect for the ones younger than him.

    “Wait, what do you mean when all four meet? Arthur, Scarlet, and then you have Matthew. That only makes three of them.”

    Freya told Fred.

    Fred looked at her and seemed to understand something.

    “The one with the highest potential and talent this year is standing right next to you. Nick Wilson, they said that even the queen's talents couldn't match his own.”

    Fred explained.

    Freya and Matthew both looked at Nick in a questioning manner. Previously he told them his EXO ability and its rank. No matter how you look at it, his growth would be low. Even Freya had better potential than him.

    Fred himself did not bother to go into more detail as Nick did not tell them his own status. It was likely that he did not want to show off his abilities so soon.

    “Anyways, we heard that there was a chance of a problem occurring here, so we came to stop it. No need for that now. But since I'm here, and I've met you, Nick. Would you be interested in joining the disciplinary committee?”


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Fifteen

    On campus, there were three well known and highly respected clubs that any student would want to join. One was the student council, which was the face of the academy. They handled all the student affairs and planned for future events. These students only took direct orders from the president of the academy.

    The second club was one that everyone feared, it was known as the disciplinary committee. They were known for distributing punishment to students who acted out. If you dared to act out in front of them, you were bound to be humiliated.

    Since the student council did not have time to solve all the trouble students caused, they took the lead on that end.

    Having the chance to join either one of these two, anyone would jump at the chance. But the requirements to join them were high and not just anyone was allowed to join.

    As for the final club, its name was shrouded in mystery. Little was known about their activities. What people did know was that the members of this club were allowed outside the school gates and they seemed to handle a special task.

    The students started calling this mysterious club the secret society. If the top-ranked student was not in a club on campus, they were undoubtedly in this secret society.

    The professors did not deny the existence of such club.

    Ask a majority of students which club they would join if they could join any club. Sixty percent of them would say they would join the secret society.

    Because it was so shrouded in mystery, the popularity of it outshined both the disciplinary committee and the student council.

    Freya couldn’t believe her ears, if she was in Nick’s shoes, she would say yes instantly. She wasn’t him, so she did not know what his answer would be.

    However, if Nick really did join the disciplinary committee, then they would not have as much time to hang out as they did now. Suddenly Freya felt a bit sad, but she would not voice her opinion.

    “Can I ask you what exactly does the disciplinary committee does? If I do join, what kind of benefits do I gain?”

    Nick asked Fred. For him, such a club would take up a lot of his time, but if it did not benefit him, then he would decline.

    “The disciplinary committee handles any problems that occur on campus; we are the first ones to respond. Being on the committee gives you the right to suppress your target by any means necessary, as long as there are no life-threatening injuries. If you use more force deemed necessary then you’ll be punished. Lastly, any EXO user that is on the disciplinary committee has close relations with the special forces. Because our work is similar to there's in a way, our members have a higher chance to join them.”

    For him whose goal was to join the special forces, there was no need to say anything else.

    “Alright, I'll join.”

    Fred nodded in approval. Reaching into his pocket, he passed Nick a red badge.

    “Wear that at all times. Today, you don’t need to show up for any activities, but starting tomorrow, you will report to our headquarters.”

    “I don’t know where the disciplinary committee headquarters is located.”

    Fred turned around and walked away going towards the exit.

    “Sorry about that. Nick, we’ll send you a message later tonight about the location.”

    Cassandra said as she also took her leave from the restaurant.

    “Congratulations then Nick.”

    “Thanks. Don’t worry I won’t forget about you guys. We’ll still have time to hang out with each other.”

    “Sorry about earlier, I didn’t mean to start any sort of commotion. It’s just Scarlet… she gets my blood boiling sometimes. Also congratulations bro.”

    “What’s the deal with her anyways? It seems that you two knew each other already.”

    “It’s complicated.”

    Freya lightly laughed as she slapped Matthew on the back.

    “What’s so complicated, it is not you two dated each other. Right?”

    Matthew’s face darkened at those words, and he did not deny them. Freya made an O face.

    “We didn’t date exactly, she’s… my ex-fiancee.”

    “Brighten up man; you have us now.”

    Nick tried to cheer him up seeing as how he did not want to really talk about it. Given enough time he would come around.

    “Freya, Matthew has Arena, I have the disciplinary committee. What plans do you have for a club?”

    Nick changed the subject.

    He was also curious as to what she would join. Yesterday they went to visit combat clubs but they never actually went inside because Freya wanted to follow her nose to see the drama.

    They had time now to check out some clubs if she wanted.

    “Oh, I ugh found something else. After we went our separate ways yesterday evening, I ran into this amazing girl. She invited me to visit her club, and somehow I ended up joining. It slipped my mind as I forgot to tell you about it.”

    “What club is it?”

    “The sharpshooter club, but Nick. Don’t you think you should tell us why you never told us you were a royal? I mean that is big news.”

    “Titles don’t really suit me, and my EXO is not that great. I believe saying I'm a royal is a little too much.”

    “Pft, if your EXO isn’t that great then why are you ranked the highest? It can’t be just for show.

    I can’t believe it; I've been talking to you all this time and never knew. I mean Matthew is one thing, but you’re different.”

    “Hey! What’s that suppose to mean?”


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Sixteen

    It was late in the night as Nick just got out of the shower. A white towel was draped over his shoulders, and his curly brown hair was wet.

    Every student on campus had their own room, so they had their own privacy. There was no curfew on campus, but at a certain time, males could no longer make their way over to the female dormitories.

    Nick’s phone started vibrating on his brown wooden dresser.

    He looked at the ID; it was his mother calling him. Answering the call, he placed his phone to his ear.

    “Hello.”

    “Hi, mom.”

    “How are you sweety? Made any friends yet? I hope you are not starting any trouble.”

    Nick walked over to his full-size bed and sat down on the edge.

    “Asking so many questions right away, that’s just like you. I’m fine; I'm actually enjoying the campus. Yes, I've made two friends. One guy and one female, and why would you think I would make any trouble?”

    “A girl huh? You plan on bringing back a girlfriend the next time you see me?”

    “It’s not like that; we are just friends. How did your appointment go? What did the doctor say?”

    “Same as last time, if I want to use my legs again I'll have to go through surgery within five years. Any later than that and I can forget about walking again.

    Sweety, I've also spoken to your father yesterday…”

    “He came to see you? It’s been awhile since you two have met.”

    To be exact the last time Nick saw his father was three years ago. His mother was another story as they have only met three times since Nick was born.

    “Yes, he did drop by. He told me that he had made some arrangements with you and that if you achieved what he asked you to then, i’d be able to walk again no problem. What kind of arrangements did you make?”

    “For me to become a special forces member. Don’t worry; there is no doubt in my mind that I'll become one.”

    His mother was silent for a moment. Nick had to make sure he didn’t lose any sort of connection, so he checked his phone to see. Yup, they were still chatting she just was not speaking.

    “Did you… you know?”

    “I had to. Only the high ranking individuals who excel in the academy have a chance to become special forces members. It was an individual exam, so only twelve people know. I’ll make sure no one else finds out.”

    “It’s not that I don’t want you to, I just feel that it is best you don’t. Better to keep your connection with your father a secret.”

    “I know. Was that all he dropped by to tell you?”

    “Mostly, he told me a few other things. This was supposed to be a secret, but he said if you were able to be on the twelve gods competition and manage to take a spot in the top three he would reward you in some way.

    I think this is his own way of showing affection for you. Besides, he should know by now that I wouldn’t keep a secret from you.”

    Nick sighed when he heard this. Making it into the top three, his father thought that would be impossible. Nick himself did not doubt his own talent, but the world was so vast that anything was possible. The competition this year was sure to be tough.

    “He knows that is almost impossible that is why he said it. He must not have realized the weight of his own words. How does he think I'm going to compete against her? That demoness…”

    Those last words made Nick have a flashback of someone. The words she spoke to him that day forever changed him.

    “Don’t talk bad about her; she is not that bad of a young lady. Besides, she is also your sister.”

    “Half! Half sister.”

    He corrected his mother. They may have the same father, but they had different mothers. Her mother was like a poisonous snake and Nick’s mother was like a pure white bunny.

    “Family is family. You have to treat them well.”

    “When you are fully treated then I'll treat them well. Until they I could care less.”

    “Don’t be that way. It’s getting late I'm going to let you get some rest. Remember to work hard.”

    “Alright, I'll talk to you later mom.”

    The phone call ended, and Nick’s phone vibrated once again. He received a text message from an unknown number. He opened it up and read the message.

    It was from Cassandra, telling him the location of the disciplinary committee and letting him know what time he should report.

    He knew it was from her because it stated so in the message, but what he did not know was how she got his number. They did not exchange numbers in the two times they met.

    It seemed to him that the disciplinary committee had some kind of power to be able to get ahold of a student's number.

    Throwing his phone to the side, he laid back on his bed.

    He closed his eyes as he let his mind wander around thinking about the past and present.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Seventeen

    Nick stood in front of a large long black table. His hands were behind his back, and he looked at the person sitting at the head of the table.

    On each side, there were ten seats with one seat at the head of the table. All of the seats were filled but the one closest to him at the edge.

    “Nick reporting for duty!”

    Fred who was seated at the head of the table grinned.

    “Nick just take a seat; there is no need to be so formal. We are all students so just treat us with the same respect as you would your friends.”

    Cassandra who was seated on the right side of Fred said. Nick nodded his head as he took his seat in the black leather chair.

    “As all of you can see, we have a new member who has joined our ranks. His name is Nick Wilson, and he is also the top student so far for this year. As assessed by the chairman his potential and talent rivals that of the queen. Although he is just a freshman, we believe in his abilities, so we invited him to join us.

    Nick, we want to welcome you with open arms here. As you can see most of us are second or third years with only one person, Aiden being a senior. I won’t introduce everyone as that will take time, and I'm a pretty lazy person. I’m sure that they will introduce themselves to you while you stay with us here.”

    Fred gave Nick an introduction into the committee.

    Yesterday when Nick saw him he looked like a stern guy, yet today he had dark circles under his eyes. He was not sure if Fred was even able to stay awake.

    “Lazy bum.”

    One of the members commented on Fred's welcoming speech with a smart remark.

    “Now don’t you start Darren. I don’t have time for you today.”

    Fred looked his way and replied.

    “Why don’t you tell the kid what we really do. Sit on our butts all day doing absolutely nothing. This year is really starting off to be boring, last year there were a ton of fights on the first day. This year, there was like three? No one has the guts to do anything; it's such a shame.”

    He had his legs crossed on the table as he leaned back in his chair. His green medium length hair along with his sunglass gave him the look of a cool person.

    “Although I hate to agree with him, this year's freshman are well behaved. Back in my year, everyone wanted to show out. What are they teaching kids these days?”

    “Kid, I suggest you tell your friends to start a riot or something. At least let give us work so we can do our job. I’m tired of sitting in this room with these ugly guys.”

    “Shut yo ass up; we are tired of smelly yo ass. Every day we come here we smell that same funky ass cologne you put on but guess what we don’t say anything.”

    Fred slammed his hands against the table, and his voice erupted.

    “One day! I ask you guys to behave for one day, and you can’t even do that right. I’m so done with you guys; I'm going to take a nap.”

    Fred stormed off in a manner Nick has never seen before. He also saw the guy with a pillow in his hand. Nick did not even try to question where he got that from.

    “Kid, this is the true state of our club. I’m surprised those guys from the student council did not pick you up. They are well more organized over there.”

    Hearing this Nick honestly wondered what did he get himself into.

    People at the table started taking out some portable gaming devices; some even left the room. Nick scanned the room and found a member was sitting down watching a computer screen.

    She was a small little girl with golden hair in pigtails. Her eyes were focused entirely on the screen in front of her, not even minding the others. She was in her own world.

    Cassandra walked over to him with a small microphone that went over the ear. She noticed where he was looking as she handed him the microphone.

    “That is Autumn; her EXO is called Overwatch. She can keep track of the countless images that flash by. Those images are live surveillance from the campus so she is able to see what is going on as fast as it happens and report it to us.

    Before she came, we had to have multiple people watch the surveillance, but now we only need her. You could also say that she is partially the reason no one really makes trouble on campus.”

    Grabbing the microphone from Cassandra, he placed it on his ear.

    “Four students are making trouble in front of the freshman bookstore.”

    Autumn’s voice rang out reaching everyone’s ears.

    “Hey, it’s your turn to go.”

    “Fuck you, you go.”

    None of the members seemed eager to move a muscle when she said those words. Nick was confused, just a moment ago these guys were complaining that there was no work to do. Now that there was something to do they did not want to go?

    “Darren, take Nick and go settle it.”

    Cassandra gave the young man called Darren an order. Darren pushed up his sunglasses and looked at Cassandra. It was like he was asking her, ‘You really want me… to do something?’

    She gave one nod, and Darren got up.

    “Let's go, newbie.”

    Darren walked over to Nick and placed his hand on Nick’s shoulder. Nick himself had no time to react as he did not think Darren would suddenly touch him.

    Before he could react the two of them vanished from the room.

    “I never get tired of seeing him do that.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Eighteen

    Appearing from thin air were two young men. When they appeared, they were in the middle of the street a small distance away from the book store.

    These two were Nick and Darren.

    From where they were they could see the four young men who were making trouble in front of the bookstore. They were two different groups and considering that Nick was able to hear them from where he was standing he was sure they were bound to explode at any moment.

    Darren leaned on the brown brick building behind him and yawned.

    “Alright newbie go handle the situation. I’ll be right here if you need any help.”

    Nick’s walking speed was slightly faster than normal; he wanted to handle the problem before something actually occurred. That would be the best outcome. No one would get hurt; no one would get punished.

    Since he found out that being a member of this club means you are one step closer to becoming a special forces agent, he told himself that he would do his best on each case. To him impressing the staff or the students did not mean much, the only ones he needed to catch the eye of were those at the very top.

    Nick was not going to go settle the dispute without being prepared; he activated his EXO ‘Providence’ causing his hazel eyes to turn icy blue. Seeing the flow of essence circling through their bodies he was able to determine what type of EXO they had. If any of them activated, their EXO Nick would be able to tell instantly.

    “Hey, what is the problem here?”

    Hearing that voice, the two groups looked in Nick's direction. When they spotted the red badge on his collar, they knew he belonged to the disciplinary committee. It made them think twice about acting out, but then they noticed the white badge on his left collar. He was a freshman; there would be no need to fear him.

    There were four of them, one of him. He definitely would not be able to stop them if something broke out.

    The group on the right side of Nick had a well built young man. At his waist were three small daggers. He had a scar on the left side of his cheek. His black jacket was not buttoned up, and his shirt was untucked. He was wearing a purple colored badge on his collar. His black hair was in a style that was not popular in this day and age. It was a pompadours type of hairstyle. Nick thought it looked funny on this guy, but he had to be serious he could not make fun of him.

    Nick saw many of these types in his first year of middle school. Those delinquents always caused trouble wherever they went. It was like they lived to torment others, and rules meant nothing to them.

    Behind him was another young man who was also dressed the same as the other delinquent. From his posture, Nick was able to tell that the leader here was the young man with the scar on his cheek.

    The left side of Nick was a young man who was even shorter than Nick. His short blonde hair reminded Nick of a friend he had years ago. He had his left hand on the grip of his EXO gun. Showing he would react as soon as he felt it was necessary to.

    On the right side of him was a young lady, the look on her face told Nick she was scared. Inside her body, the essence that was flowing through her channels were slightly unstable.

    For an EXO user, there were times when your ability would not work no matter how hard you tried to activate it. Having your emotions be unstable would cause your flow to weaken. You couldn’t concentrate as you usually would, and due to that, you were less likely to be able to use your ability.

    “Apologize.”

    The young man told the delinquent group as he looked up at them.

    “The little baby should be telling us sorry; she’s the one that bumped into us. Look at this mark on my face. You think I did this? That little bitch hit me if anything I should tell the disciplinary committee on her.”

    He turned to Nick and showed the red mark that was on his face.

    “See this, that girl did this to me. I believe it is your duty to give out a punishment for this.”

    “Is that true?”

    Nick asked the other party.

    “She only hit him as a natural reaction. We were walking by, and he grabbed her butt. What sort of girls first response would not be to turn around and hit that person. It is like first nature to them.

    Then he became all cocky seeing as she took steps back when she saw his face. With that hideous face of his, I would step back too.”

    The young man covering the girl explained to Nick what went on. Nick looked at the young lady. The look on her face was not something just anyone could make. Unless you were a world class actor, he doubted anyone else could make such a look unless they were really assaulted.

    Nick focused his attention on the two delinquents. When the guy first explained what happened and that he was hit, he just knew Nick would be on his side. Now that Nick heard the other side’s story things changed.

    “Alright, I get it. Why don’t you two come with me?”

    “Bump that; you side with them just by taking their word? What sort of justice is that?”

    “I don’t need to explain myself to you. We will see what the others say and let them decide the course of action, all I'm saying is come with me.”

    His voice changed instantly. He would not stand for this, especially from someone younger than him.

    “You’re only a first year student, do you really think you can force me a second year to go with you? Dream on!

    You want me to go with you? Make me!”

    Nick could see the yellow essence in his body go to his feet. A spark shot off his foot; its target was Nick.

    He was expecting the electric spark to hit Nick, but it did not. It completely missed him, but it only did so by a small amount.

    The muscles in Nick's legs tightened as he pushed off of the ground dashing towards the two delinquents.

    More electric sparks were shot towards Nick, but each one missed him just by a hair.

    The delinquent refused to believe that he would miss at such a close range. Even a child would be able to hit such a target at this range. So why was his attacks missing?

    In Nick's eyes, he could see the change of flow inside his body as a large concentrated amount of yellow essence was gathering at his hand. It was already too late for the delinquent as Nick was right in front of him.

    Nick hit him two times swiftly and the power the delinquent was gathering depressed.

    This angered him as all the essence in his hand suddenly vanished. He wanted to launch a surprise attack with his EXO ability, but that was no longer possible. He grabbed the dagger hanging at his waist, but he felt powerless all of a sudden. The world started to turn black, the dagger he just grabbed dropped to the ground. His body fell forward and fell to the ground.

    Nick looked at the other delinquent that was still standing there. At one point during the fight he was gathering essence, but then he suddenly stopped. Nick wondered why but he would not bring it up.

    Nick grabbed the fallen delinquent by the collar and looked at the other one.

    “Come with me, or do you want to resist as well.”

    Holding his hands up in the air to show he did not want to resist the delinquent shook his head.

    “You two are free to go.”

    Nick dragged the fallen delinquent in the direction Darren was, and the other one followed him without a word.

    The young male was stunned, everything that happened took less than a minute. It was actually a matter of seconds from start to finish. He was also a freshman, and he did not know anyone that was able to end a fight as fast as Nick did. He asked himself, ‘Is that really a freshman?’

    From a sideline point of view, he was able to see everything that happened. However, if he was the one facing Nick he highly doubted he would be able to make sense of what occurred.

    If it was not due to his interest in an EXO user's body, he would not understand what happened.

    In an EXO user's body, there were sixteen points that could cause disruption to the flow of essence in one's body. Hitting any of these points could either disperse any essence that you’ve gathered or began to gather. Or it could cripple you. Making you unable to flow any essence through that channel again.

    If a person hit certain points with an exact amount of force, it could cause the flow in the body stop for a moment. Stopping the flow of essence was worse than disrupting it. Stopping essence was like stopping the flow of oxygen in the body.

    The reason that the delinquent passed out was because his body which was used to the constant flow suddenly stopped receiving that flow. He himself would not feel like he was suffocating but that did not mean the same for his body.

    Being able to hit these sixteen points at will would make anyone extremely dangerous. He did not know whether to call Nick lucky or a complete monster.

    Just that very thought made him shiver.

    Back where Darren was at, Nick arrived with two people.

    “Well done newbie, you’re not half bad.”

    Darren took a quick glance at the delinquent who was still standing, but no one could see what he was doing under his sunglasses.

    “That one can go, we only need to take this one with us.”

    “Thanks.”

    “You’re mistaken; I'm not letting you go because I want to. I’m letting you go because you have not broken a rule. You see that large building over there, yes the blue one. I hear a word about you messing with any females I'm dropping you from that building.”

    Darren placed his hand on Nick's shoulder, and they disappeared.

    The delinquent was stunned as he stared off to where that blue building was located.

    “That thing has to be at least thirty stories high… he wouldn’t drop me from there… would he?”

    The three of them appeared in the same spot they left. The long black table had a lot more empty seats.

    Darren walked over to his chair, sat in it and placed his legs back on the table. In the exact same way, he was when Nick first arrived here.

    “Well done Nick.”

    Cassandra congratulated him on his first arrest.

    “It wasn’t much. What are we going to do with him?”

    “Leave that to me; he’ll get his punishment.”

    “How is punishment exactly given? Who determines what type of punishment is acceptable for the crime?”

    “That is right, Fred did not explain to you the system we have here. There are two important positions in the disciplinary committee. One is the president; they are responsible the overall direction the committee takes. The other title they are given is the ‘Executioner.' If a crime is deemed too severe, then that is when they take over to make sure the problem never occurs again. The current president may look like he is lazy, and I'm not going to deny it either. But, that position is not just for show. As the president of the disciplinary committee rather than being voted in by the school like the student council. You are it as long as you are the strongest member here.

    The second position is the vice president. The other name for them is ‘Judge’ as they hear the crime and decide what punishment should be given out. The vice president does not have to be one of the strongest members, but they should be the fairest out of everyone.

    Since I'm the vice president, I decide what sort of punishment this guy here will get.”

    “And the jury?”

    “Every other member of the committee. Since you were there on the scene, you naturally know what took place first hand, and you decide if their crime is worth coming to me or not. If they broke a rule, then you’ll naturally bring them back here.

    Autumn over there plays what is happening when a member goes out to make an arrest or stop anything from happening. Here we can watch it as well and see if they actually did anything wrong or if everything was just a misunderstanding.”

    Cassandra explained the system of the disciplinary committee as well as told Nick to place the delinquent in the chair that was positioned in the corner of the room.

    “You and Darren make a nice pair; I think you two should stick together from now on. He didn’t have a partner anyways since we always work in pairs when we make an appearance.”

    Darren looked at her, but Cassandra only smiled at him.

    “Nick you can leave if you want, there is no need to actually stay in the room. Today was just a special day as we were getting a new member which is why you saw everyone here today. As long as you are on campus, then you are working. If Autumn sees something getting out of hand, she will notify the closet person.”

    “Alright, it was nice seeing you again. Guess we will be seeing each other a lot now.”

    Nick left the room.

    Cassandra sat down in her chair and looked down at the piles of paperwork.

    “Darren, what do you think?”

    “Kids not bad, he moved slightly before each attack so it always barely missed him. Also seems that he is able to to hit the sixteen weak points in the body, that alone makes him a valuable asset.

    If you’re asking me if he is on the president's level… I'd save give him another year or two.”

    Cassandra stopped the movement of her hand which held a pen.

    “I wasn’t asking that. Do you think he is good enough to join?”

    “That guy in the corner was fairly weak, so it is to be determined. The best way to test the kid out is to let him face a real threat. Are we still keeping track of that terrorist group that's recruiting on campus?”

    “I don’t think they plan on making a move anytime soon; we were told to watch not act. Seriously, why do we even keep them around?”

    Darren shrugged his shoulders.

    “Just haven Brandon hypnotize a couple of them so they’ll act on their own.”

    “Honestly it might just be better to have him duel Arthur. The student council president does owe me a favor; I'm sure she would not mind lending out one of her members.”

    Darren laughed when he heard Cassandra’s suggestion.

    “What's so funny?”

    “You’re kidding, right? That kid vs. Arthur?”

    Darren held up two fingers.

    “He’d last at most twenty seconds. You can’t even compare them, why bother putting them in the same sentence.”

    “I don’t know; Nick is a lot stronger than you are making him seem. I have faith he’ll last a lot longer than twenty seconds.”

    “Nick? No, I'm talking about that Arthur guy. That kid would crush him easily. Twenty seconds tops, if that kid uses that sword, he carries around ten seconds. That’s only if he is serious.”

    “That is a little too biased don’t you think. Sure you don’t like Arthur, but he is not that weak.”

    Darren shook his head.

    “It is not that he is weak, it is the fact Nick is too strong. You would actually have to see him up close to realize how strong he actually is. Looking through a monitor does not count. And have you seen that sword? That is not just for show.”

    When Darren said that Cassandra furrowed her eyebrows.

    “I can’t tell you the exact name of that katana, but my eyes would never fool me. That is one of the mythical Katana’s that was crafted by Abel. That guy made twelve weapons, and that sword at his side is one of them. Just look at the symbol on it.”

    Darren placed his hand in front of him, and a weapon appeared in front of him. At first glance, you would think it was a sword, but it had the cylinder of a revolver at the bottom along with the grip of a handgun.

    This sort of weapon was known as a ‘Gunblade.' Being able to slash and shoot, one could take the fight up close or keep a distance.

    “See this mark; it means it was crafted by Abel. All of his weapons have a mark, but his mythical weapons have a distinct mark on them.”

    Cassandra just realized that is where she knew that symbol from. She knew it seemed familiar before, but it was one of Abel’s work.

    “But like I said if you are comparing him to the president give him a year or two. Comparing him to any freshman in his class is like saying a child will win a fight against an adult. I can’t speak for the other schools, but here in the freshman class I doubt anyone would stand a chance.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Nineteen

    Time flowed, and clubs were no longer showing off to the freshman students. Their grace period was now over so they would no longer be able to recruit as actively as before.

    It was the start of a new week which meant that many first-year students now felt more comfortable at their new home. Cliques in each classroom were being made, and it was easy to spot a few of the loners.

    Now that all the new students settled in, it was now the time for classes to select the class president and vice president.

    There were around ten different classes for each division, each class having two leaders. Giving a total of sixty students who were put in a leadership position.

    These sixty students would then be broken down once again at a later date to determine the representatives for that year.

    In the minds of many first-year students, they already knew who their representatives would be. The freshman four royals. News spread fast as three of the royals were known throughout the freshman community. But there was a mystery as to who the fourth royal was.

    People always wanted to draw attention to themselves to feel proud, to gain popularity, or for another reason. With no one claiming the last position many students claimed they were the last royal. The class clown, a famous delinquent, a top talent.

    On the school's internet board, this was a highly viewed and talked about topic. Everyone had their assumptions as to who the last royal was, but the people who truly knew were not many.

    The support division had Matthew as a royal. It caused many the chance to look at the support division in a new light.

    Matthew’s fame also spread across the freshman community like a wildfire. Along with his charming appearance, many female students took a fancy to him. It should also be known that his might in the arena drew the attention of even the upperclassmen. Besides being recognized as a freshman royal he gained a new title. Being dubbed the ‘Arena Prince.' So far he has only lost two matches since joining the club.

    With him leading the charge the support division was bound to be successful this year and the coming years.

    Scarlet was apart of the offensive division. Her childish face matched well with her small body, but she had a hot temper. Males loved her sassiness, and most of the females adored her. With her whip and her firey fighting style, she was a hot topic.

    If you asked anyone who could be the perfect match for her, many would say Arthur.

    Also being from the offensive division in the hearts of all the freshman there, he was their leader. His smile could melt the hearts of any female he came across. His elegant but powerful fighting style was unique in its own way.

    He was the only freshman to join the student council. The student council which overlooked the future development of the students! His status among his peers rose dramatically, and even the professors claimed he had the best potential they’ve ever seen for a male.

    From looks to power to status, he seemed to have it all. They no longer looked at him the same; he was someone they looked up to. He was not merely Arthur anymore; he was ‘King’ Arthur!

    With both of these divisions having at least one of the freshman royals it left many suspecting the defensive division had one as well. This was a natural assumption, but if they knew the truth, they would be gravely mistaken.

    Darius was standing in front of the classroom; he would not give them a lecture. Today he was not planning on teaching them anything at all. That was because today was the day they would gain their classroom’s representatives.

    The classroom was quite noisy today, as friends met up once again to talk about their weekend and other subjects teens talked about. Although it was a Monday no one seemed tired.

    In ordinary schools, kids would complain about coming to school on a Monday, and you would see many of them yawning throughout the day or sleeping. That was not the case here.

    Darius clapped his hands together causing a vibration to spread across the classroom. The students stopped what they were doing and focused on him.

    Maybe it was due to the fact that they had a bit more freedom with Darius, but he was a well-liked teacher. He explained things clearly, and if you did not understand he would use real-world examples if he could.

    That and his lectures did not last all day long; he taught them something for an hour or two then he gave them time to put what he taught to use.

    Unlike the others in the same year as them who had to sit through six hours of constant talking, they were lucky.

    “Today is the day we’ll choose a class president and a vice president. These two will represent our class in any future meetings as well as be my aid if I need help with anything.

    I have not been in a normal high school in a long time, so I'm not really familiar with how they would pick their representatives. Here, however, it is the two strongest students.

    These two students will also the responsibility of directing their classmates if needed. If any problems occur in the classroom or with one of our students, you can contact one of them.”

    From the looks on the students faces Darius could tell that many of them did not want to become the president or the vice president. Every year a similar situation would happen which would make the students perform lower.

    This year things would be different, the chairman was going all out for this year's new students as he prepared a special gift for the representatives.

    “Because of the burden of representing the class, the chairman has allowed each class representative the use of the essence pool. On the first of every month, they are allowed to use the pool for three hours.”

    “Darius, what is an essence pool?”

    The name sounded interesting so one of the male students could not help but ask.

    “Just as the name implies, it is a pool made of essence. Because the essence is highly concentrated, it actually made a liquid form. If a person soaks in the pool for one hour, it would be like training for three days. Any person looking to make an advancement should take this opportunity and run with it.”

    Instantly the looks on the students faces changed. Who didn’t want an increase in power? Three hours in that essence pool would be like nine days of constant training! This was a cheat they were willing to use.

    The burning passion in all of their eyes increased, they were not willing to pass up this chance.

    Seeing the faces of his students, Darius couldn’t help but feel a bit of joy. He always likes a nice friendly competition as it could help stimulate growth. Those other professors in the support division always bragged about their students.

    Since Darius was the youngest professor as well as the newest, the others always looked down on him. Coming into the support division, Darius did not have much hope as even he knew how hard it was being a support user. They had a wide variety of skills, but the actual use of those skills could only be used in certain professions.

    He would have been delighted to have one decent student like the other support professors. However, he had six of them!

    It was not that he was discriminating against his other students, it was just that they could be compared to the average EXO support user. Their growth rate was slow, their talent could be considered average, and they put in just enough work to get by.

    Inside their heads, they already knew the limitations a support user had, as well as their own strengths. A large majority of them would not be able to compete with anyone from the other divisions. The looks on their faces and the determination in their eyes told Darius that they really wanted to try harder. For once he was ecstatic to see what his students would be able to do.

    Although he enjoyed all his student's charming personalities, for this freshman competition that was coming up, Darius placed all his hope on six of them.

    “Alright follow me, we are going to the practice field. Weapons are allowed, and if you do not have your own, there are ones you can use on the field.”


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty

    There was a practice field in each divisions building. It was located where the basement would be, but since they did not have a basement they had this instead.

    A practice field is a giant space where students can practice their EXO abilities. It was made with the purpose of having students duel each other on different types of terrains under different settings.

    The large space was built with a special type of material. Essence ore. These ores were formed from pure essence, it took roughly a hundred years for one of these ores to form. The purity in each depends on how long it has been around for. With each essence ore having their own rating ranging from D to S rank.

    The practice field was built like a gladiator arena. The walls that were made of essence ore were silver in color and twelve feet high. It was built in a circular manner, and the boundary stretched a little over a mile. Inside the practice field were small blue circles placed in various places.

    These are the bread and butter of the practice field, as it makes it what it is. They project a visual image across the field to set up different terrains, buildings, animals, etc. The images are not real meaning if you kill an animal you can’t skin it or eat it. If there is a steak in a house, you can’t go inside and eat it.

    What you can do is feel the projections. You can touch them and feel the texture; you can destroy the environment surrounding you.

    Just being inside the space makes everything seem real, but it is not. Feels real, looks real, does not equal must be real in this situation.

    There are seats on the outer edge where spectators can watch a match. This area overlooks the whole field giving the spectators a bird's eye view of what is happening. If a person misses an attack and it just so happens to go to the spectator's area, they will not be harmed. A barrier protects them from any harm being able to withstand almost all S ranked EXO abilities.

    Lastly, there was a terminal which activated the field. There you could determine the setting. It made it seem like you were the creator of your own world.

    Darius led his students to the stands where they would be seated.

    “The matches will be set up in a tournament style single elimination. I have already broken you guys down into a bracket. When your name is called proceed to the field and prepare yourself to duel. I want each of you to take this as a serious match, although it is only to determine which of you will become class president and vice president. This is a learning experience that everyone can benefit from as long as you take advantage of it. Try your best and learn from your mistakes. Cover your weaknesses while making the best use of the environment to help you win. Every one of you can use a weapon. As much as it is tempting to want to try every single weapon, there is, stick with something that would suit you.

    First two up Nick and Frank.

    If you do not have a weapon, there is a rack down below right after you enter to field. Good luck.”

    Nick was followed behind by a bulky man with spiky hair. They both made their way from the stands to the field.

    Nick watched as the bulky man walked over to the rack with the weapons.

    Not everyone could afford a personalized EXO weapon. It was not rare for a student to have their own, but the ones who did were mostly in their third year or higher.

    Reason being was that compared to standard weapons, EXO weapons are made for EXO essence which can be channeled from the body or in the air. Different types used different forms of channeling.

    An EXO weapon could penetrate the hardest substance with ease. While a regular weapon would barely make a scratch.

    Because the school was funded by the government, they had a lot of money to spend. Most of this money was used to buy materials to forge EXO weapons, which could then be brought on campus.

    A sophomore student would need to save up for one, while juniors only needed a month's worth of money to buy one. If you excelled in school, then you had a chance to be chosen to get one for free.

    Each EXO weapon had their own grade; the schools offered only the lowest rank. While you could buy a higher grade weapon once you graduate.

    The bulky man held up a few two-handed weapons before he finally decided the Warhammer was good enough for him.

    They both stood five meters away from each other.

    Standing in the stands hovering over the terminal Darius started pressing buttons.

    The plain white floor under Nick’s feet changed to a light brown color. Grass emerged in certain parts of the field.

    Giant trees grew out of nowhere, and one could hear the chirping of birds. The Bulky man who was in front of Nick disappeared as a large patch of grass-covered him.

    Nick could feel the wind push against his skin as he stood still. The sun off in the distance gave this place a realistic feeling. That was not what was noteworthy, what one had to take notice of was the position of the sun as it was going down. Making the environment a bit dark.

    Nick activated his EXO; he did not need to have a visual on the big male. In this somewhat dark environment, he was glowing. Light red essence flowed through his channels. As long as Nick could see his channels, there was nowhere for him to hide.

    He was moving through the large grass with his body lowered. From his slow movements, you could tell that he was trying not to make any sound.

    Placing his hand on the sheath of his sword Nick dashed in his direction. His body was slightly lowered, he moved like was a swallow.

    The bulky man ears twitched, he heard Nick approaching. He was not in the same spot; he even changed direction. So how in the world did Nick find him, and so quickly?

    He gave up on trying to go stealth. He roared while the muscles in his body grew bigger.

    ‘You think you can charge at me? Think again!’ He thought to himself as he rushed towards Nick’s direction.

    He caught an image of Nick and swung his hammer with all his might. He would send this guy flying!

    Bang!

    A figure went straight up in the air.

    The grassy environment changed back to plain white.

    Nick walked out of the field and headed back to the stands.

    The bulky young man suddenly jumped up from the ground and shook his head a few times. The Warhammer that was in his hand was some distance away from him now. A ting of red could be seen on his face as he walked to pick up the Warhammer.

    He could hear a little laughter coming from the stands which caused his entire face to turn red.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-One

    Everything that transpired did so in almost an instant. From Frank swinging his Warhammer to Nick’s quick roll.

    Before Frank’s hammer even began to swing Nick already rolled forward. Using that same momentum, he shot up like a spring. His two feet landed against Frank’s chin propelling him in the air.

    Due to Nick’s agility, Frank did not have any time to respond. He didn’t even know what hit him!

    Back at the stands, Nick’s classmates congratulated him on his win. During the first week in class Nick only really hung out with two people. He asked questions during lessons, and he was polite if you spoke to him. No one had any problem with him, and some girls even liked the way he presented himself.

    “That’s our ‘Silent Prince’ for you! Showing off even though it’s the first match.”

    Freya spoke as she watched Nick stroll back to his seat.

    “Can you stop calling me that? I’m not any type of prince or royalty Freya, i’m just so-so.”

    “I doubt the average support user could what you did.”

    She clicked her teeth making a sound as she looked disappointed.

    “The Arena Prince and Silent Prince, it’s not fair. I want a title too!”

    She protested.

    Matthew who was leaning back in his seat laughed at her. When they first met up no one knew who they were. Now him and Nick were widely known in their class, but she was not. Their classmates were giving them their own personal titles, he bet she felt left out since she was the only one in their group who did not have a title.

    “Just call yourself ‘Annoying Princess’ that suits you just fine.”

    Freya kicked Matthew in the leg, causing Matthew to get upset.

    “Just calling it like I see it.”

    “Just shut up, you… ugh, I can’t even find the word i’m trying to use.”

    The matches went by smoothly; the longest one took ten minutes and the shortest only a dozen seconds. As the number of people who climbed up the brackets shortened, it finally reached the final four.

    Everyone was talking about who they thought would win and become vice president. No one talked about who would become the president because in their minds they already knew Matthew was more than likely going to take that spot.

    He had a record in the arena as a freshman student. He was known to beat offensive and defensive EXO users in a duel. No one had any doubt that he was the strongest support user in their year.

    So far everyone knew what the top four EXO abilities were, as for what they did they knew two of them. Nick’s was the most mysterious as his had something to do with his eyesight so unless he told them no one would be able to guess its actual use. The other was Isabel’s whose ability also had something do to with eyesight. They’ve seen her use it in her fights but no one could figure out what it exactly did.

    Freya was upset that she was not in the final four, but she did make it high on the list. Making an appearance in the top ten, but once again her two friends left her behind.

    She was sulking in her seat with her legs tucked up to her chest.

    “It is not that bad Freya; you were just at a disadvantage. Next time things will be different.”

    “Ya, if the field would have been different you would have easily won.”

    Nick and Matthew tried to cheer her up, but they failed. She could accept it if one of the freshman four royals beat her, but she lost to someone who had a self-enhancement type EXO. She only lost that not due to her skills, but because of the environment.

    Choosing a sniper rifle was not a good choice in a spacious field with no hiding spots. No high ground was available either. She was doomed to lose unless she was able to quick scope. Sadly she was not able to do that.

    Freya was able to fight in close quarters, but fight barehanded against someone who had an ax? She was skilled, but so was her opponent. It was not likely she would be able to detach the weapon from his hand and win.

    Darius called up the next two. The winner would make it to the finals, and they would become president or vice president.

    “Lance and Nick, you two are up.”

    Once more Nick took the field. Across from him was a black haired male with a mirror in his hand.

    Lance was different from the rest of the people in his class as he did not use the same form of support skills. He was gifted with a control type EXO which allowed him to manipulate objects.

    The surroundings changed from plain white into an abandoned factory. With parts of machines scattered all over the place this was a perfect setting for Lance to show off. He could not help but smirk.

    “Nick I'll admit you are good, but this field was practically made for me. Look around; I can control anything here. If this was a different field I know I would lose, but god has blessed me! Give up now.”

    “No thanks. I’ve never given up anything in my life, and I don’t plan on starting now.”

    “You’re loss. Let the best man win.”

    Lance opened his arms wide as if he was looking for a hug. The shattered glass that laid on the concrete floor rose in the air along with metal bolts.

    If these hit Nick, he would not be damaged by them, but he would still feel them. If the field deemed Nick took enough damage to actually cause harm to him, then Lance would win.

    All Lance had to do was shoot these objects towards Nick. Dodging one or two was possible, but dodging them all? Lance did not believe Nick was capable of doing so. He just had to launch these, and once they hit, he would be crowned victorious.

    Lance moved his left hand forward causing all the objects on his left to shoot forward.

    Blasting off into the oncoming attack, Nick skillfully dodged each object that came his way. Some nicked his clothing causing a slight tear but no harm was done to him.

    He did not keep a straight course; he changed directions several times.

    Each piece had a small amount of light blue essence surrounding it. He was able to see which direction he should go in to dodge the various pieces. If they did not have a little bit of essence flowing through them, Nick would not be capable of doing what he is doing now.

    Because he is able to track the flow of essence he can determine where the attack is headed and dodge beforehand. He made the impossible, possible.

    His speed was quick, but that did not mean he was superior to others.

    What made it seem as if he was moving at an accelerated pace was the fact that he was dodging with the slightest movement. To others, his speed looked like it could compare to agility type EXO users.

    Lance was taken back by Nick’s movements. He was getting closer and closer; he had to do something to stop him.

    His right hand moved, and all the objects on the right side flew at under his control.

    Lance did not think it was possible to dodge every single object. In his mind he was going to win this with one move, so he did not need to hold back on controlling the amount of essence he used.

    The first attack used about a quarter of his total essence up. Now that he launched another attack, he was left with half the amount he started with.

    Even if he won this duel, without a proper rest, he would not win the next one.

    Nick was already dodging the objects flying at him directly; now there were more coming at him from the right side.

    As soon as his right foot hit the ground, it was like everything stopped. His eyes moved at a rapid pace determining what path the objects would fly in. Multiple faint images of him appeared.

    Each one of those images were in a different location in a different pose. The figures lead up to Lance.

    Nick moved his body to match himself up with each image.

    At times he would spin in the air, other times he would quickly remove his sword slightly from its sheath to deflect one of the small objects coming his way.

    Darius who was up in the stands was watching with wide eyes. Those movements, the way he controlled his speed. Everything was nearly perfect. If this was a test he would give Nick seven out of ten.

    Darius saw many types of EXO abilities and he was quickly able to detect what kind of ability Nick was using. It did not boost his body's strength. He could not manipulate objects, gravity or wield any type of element. He could not even heal himself or others. He was only able to ‘see’ it.

    There was no doubt in his mind that this was a strong ability, but just as quick as he caught on to the strength of such a skill. He also found out the weakness as well.

    “I wonder how he will overcome it…”

    Behind Darius all the students were amazed at what they were seeing. They just could not believe what their eyes was telling them.

    “Insane, i’ve never seen anyone move so fast.”

    “Handsome, silent but cool, and he has skill. I think I'm in love.”

    “Back off, my eyes were on him first!”

    Even Matthew was in a slight daze.

    ‘I can’t believe it, his natural ability… i’ve never seen anything like it. This is nothing like his previous fights, but even moving like that he isn’t even breaking a sweat.’

    Lance was in trouble, and his plan was a bust. He gritted his teeth as he did not want to lose this match. Above him were steel pipes held together by chains. He used all the essence in his body to make them fall.

    The chains started to vibrate, but it was already too late.

    Nick was in front of him. Body lowered, legs spread apart in a strong stance.

    His palm was placed on Lance’s abdomen.

    “Erupt!”

    Lance felt all the essence in his body explode causing him to lose his balance as well as the control of his essence.

    He lost, he knew it. Everything was over for him. At least he gave it his all… right?

    The students in the stands exploded with cheers and praises. What they saw was something people would see in movies!

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Two (Chapter 6)

    Nick was already making his way back to the stands when Matthew was coming down. Nick could see that Matthew had a fire in his eyes that he has personally never seen before.

    Matthew was walking by with his left hand in the air. It was like he was saying something to Nick. Maybe, tag me in?

    Nick smiled and hit Matthew’s hand with his own as he walked by him.

    “See you in the finals.”

    Matthew did not say anything as he continued to walk forward. As for his opponent, it was a young lady with silver colored long hair that was curled at the end. The tips of her hair were dyed greenish blue.

    She had a holster attached to her long slender legs. She walked a few feet behind Matthew. When Nick said ‘See you in the finals,' she was not angry as Matthew would be a tough opponent for her. No one thought she would win, but she would prove them wrong. All of them.

    Flipping her hair lightly as she passed by Nick she said some words very softly.

    Nick heard it as clear as day; she threw his words right back at him.

    “See you in the finals.”

    He laughed to himself as he continued his way to the stands. He was curious as to how she would make it to the finals.

    If she could make it this far, it showed she had skill. Nick saw her previous fights. Just like him and many others, her EXO had something to do with her eyes. There were so many different things a person could do with an eye ability and even for himself there was no way to tell what the ability would be.

    Nick was no idiot; he knew that his EXO had its own flaws and one of them would be what would he do if he could not see or sense the essence flowing through others body?

    He would not be able to tell what her eye ability did precisely, and since she would only use the essence for her eyesight, he could not dodge her attacks.

    No matter who won this next match, Nick thought they would be a good opponent for him.

    Darius saw Nick’s figure come up the stairs and he called him over. Matthew and the young lady whose name was Isabel both were on the field. Darius pressed a few buttons on the terminal, and the environment down below started to change.

    An enclosed area, no exit in sight. Broken pillars leaning to the side and spiderwebs all around. The white area below now looked like ruins.

    “Yes, Darius, did you need me for something?”

    Nick asked him.

    Nick thought it was strange for Darius to call someone over as he has never done so before. Besides him having interactions with his students inside the classroom, he never once called anyone to his desk. It didn’t even bother him if his students were arguing. Unless he got annoyed, he would not tell them to stop.

    Darius did not look at Nick as he watched the field below.

    “I’m curious as to who you think will win this match. Care to give me your opinion?”

    “It may sound a bit bias, but I'm inclined to think Matthew will win the match. With his control over gravity even I would have a hard time dueling him. Since Isabel’s EXO has something to do with her eyesight, I can’t determine the exact usage of it. Unless it is something that can negate his control or see the weak points in the flow of essence, it is hard to believe she will win this.”

    Darius nodded his head. Many people would come to the same conclusion as Nick had.

    “She is like you in a few ways. It is quite hard to get a grasp on her ability from a bystander's point of view. If you don’t know what to look for or have a deep understanding, you will mistake her EXO for something else. That is the reason why she is not what your class calls one of the freshman four royals.”

    Nick himself could not determine the ability of her. He was not some god, but with his EXO it would help him find out what her EXO was. Darius sounded like he understood exactly what her ability was.

    He was planning on paying attention to this match, but now it seemed like he needed to pay attention to all the details.

    Unlike others who used melee weapons, Matthew used a medium range weapon. He could use it for melee combat, but that rarely happened.

    He reached behind his back underneath his jacket pulling out two small sickles like objects. At the base of each sickle was a metal chain.

    Matthew pulled them apart, and the chain unwound itself.

    This type of weapon was known as a Kusarigama. They were not widely produced since not many people used it. Even in its home country Japan they were barely used.

    With the sickle itself, he was able to attack at close combat and unleash a flurry of attacks. Now that the chain was attached he was able to swing it as well.

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    “I hope you’re ready.”

    Isabel grabbed her sidearm from the holster revealing a revolver.

    “Bring it on.”

    Her black eyes turned golden in color.

    Matthew unleashed pressure on her causing Isabel to feel like her body weighed a ton. Her body lowered as she withstood the weight, she forced herself to look up at Matthew.

    Matthew felt something off when he gazed into those golden irises of hers. A grin spread across her face, he did not mistake it.

    He started finding it hard to breathe, then the pressure around him suddenly increased dramatically. His legs began shaking about to give way at any moment.

    Isabel stood up as if she was perfectly normal. A few of her bones made a popping sound, but other than that she was okay.

    Nick was surprised at the scene he saw before him.

    “Essence manipulation?”

    Darius couldn’t help but smile when he heard Nick’s words. This child was indeed something else in his eyes being able to see the real worth of Isabel's EXO ability.

    “As I said, she is just like you in some ways. The stronger her opponent, the easier it is for her to use her ability. If it her opponent's ability is not strong she won’t be able to manipulate it much. However, if her opponent is stronger than she is and has a good control over their ability, it is much easier for her to reverse the situation. In front of her, it is useless to use your ability.”

    Darius explained as he continued to watch the fight.

    “However there is a fatal weakness in her ability.”

    At this point, Darius once again agreed with Nick.

    “Every EXO has its strengths and weakness’ yours is no different. I’m curious as to how you overcome yours.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Three

    Essence manipulation.

    As the name implies, it is the ability to control and manipulate essence. No one could really get essence under their complete control. Just like a bullet, you could pull the trigger and watch the round go forward, but you had no control over its exact course. If a strong enough force came by, the bullet would drift away from its original path. The same could happen with essence.

    Isabel was under pressure from Matthew’s gravity at first. However, she redirected the gravity to a new target.

    Since Matthew was the one supplying this ability with his own essence, she didn’t lose much. He was fundamentally harming himself. The more he kept feeding his ability; the more pressure would be put on himself.

    Isabel's ability had a fatal weakness. He could just stop using his EXO ability, and she would no longer be able to manipulate it.

    That would mean those two would have a fight with their weapons instead. EXO abilities would be useless in front of her meaning it was no longer about who would have the superior EXO rank or control. It was all about their physical abilities.

    Matthew’s quick thinking, caused him to figure out what happened. He knew she did not have the same ability as him so how could she control gravity? She used some sort of ability to redirect the flow of his attack.

    He merely stopped supplying his ability making the pressure around him decrease.

    He would no longer be able to control gravity in front of her.

    “I've-”

    Isabel started to move as she shot her silver revolver.

    Matthew gripped his Kusarigama tighter; he quickly moved to the left. His left-hand grip loosened up a tad bit as he was now holding onto the chain attached to the Kusarigama.

    “Now that was rude, don’t you think?”

    Swiftly he threw the sickle in her direction.

    Isabel didn’t even flinch as she shot her a bullet that collided with the oncoming attack.

    “Not at all.”

    The sickle flew back, but it did not fall to the ground. It instead hovered in the air as it flew backwards. Matthew used the momentum in which the sickle was flying back to his advantage. He swung the sickle over his head before throwing it once again.

    Isabel did the same thing and shot a bullet.

    Matthew did not waste any time as he rushed towards her. The sickle flew back into his hand as he was charging and Isabel started shooting in his direction.

    Matthew might not be able to use his gravity to attack her, but he could use a small amount to change the direction at which her bullets were going. Once again he threw his kusarigama at her, this time she dodged it as she quickly reloaded her revolver.

    He threw the other sickle at her while she was dodging and reloading.

    “Throwing away your weapon in the middle of a fight? Don’t tell me you’re giving up already?”

    Matthew grinned and slammed his palm onto the ground.

    “Nope!”

    Isabel suddenly felt her body become lighter. She slowly lifted up off of the ground and floated in the air.

    She did not have the same control over her body as she once had. On the ground she could quickly move her body to her will, now she could not. Isabel did not have the ability to fly. She found it hard to even move. There was nothing to step on that would propel her forward or let her skilfully dodge. In the air, she was a sitting duck to any attack.

    “Go on, use your ability.”

    Matthew told her as he floated in the air along with her.

    This was something he has not shown yet in any fight. He was planning on saving it, but he could no longer do that.

    Zero Gravity. It cost him more than half of the essence in his body to use this skill. If he used it on a single person, he wouldn’t even bother to care about the amount. But this kind was different; it covered the entire area.

    She could manipulate the essence all she wanted, but how would she reverse it on him? He was already in the air.

    “You’re still forgetting; you have no weapon. Neither one of us can attack, and you can only maintain this ability for so long. You are just dragging this out.”

    Isabel’s bullet would just float in the air because of this ability. They were both away from each other so how would they attack?

    “I think you are forgetting; I control gravity. Do you really think I would throw away my weapons?”

    Isabel realized what he meant as she turned her head. His Kusarigama was behind her floating in the air. In her eyes, it looked like a twin-headed snake that found its prey.

    Matthew made a pulling motion with his hand, and the two sickles flew in his direction. The only thing between them was Isabel, who was a perfect target.

    Clenching her teeth, her golden eyes looked at the incoming attack. She manipulated the essence within the weapon, making the attack that was going straight drift to the right.

    Breathing a sigh of relief, she looked back in the direction Matthew was at only to find he vanished.

    Then it hit her. She played right into Matthew's hand. Already having a hard time controlling her body that was in the air she turned her attention to his weapons. She made a mistake, taking her eyes off her opponent.

    She was not able to move as she pleased in zero gravity, but for someone who controlled gravity as if it was second nature, they would have no problem moving around.

    The right side of her body was hit, causing her to be sent flying.

    The instant before she was hit the gravity around her returned to normal, making her weightless body suddenly feel the weight of her body again. With the gravitational pull of the earth, she was going to fall to the ground.

    Instead, she was hit by Matthews attack instead.

    In zero gravity the attack would not hurt as much, but since the gravity turned back normal, she would feel the full force of the attack.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Four

    Matthew was exhausted as he kept taking deep breaths. The ruins which were simulated disappeared turning the field pure white. He walked over to Isabel who was sitting flat on her butt and offered her a hand.

    She reached out her white hand, and Matthew lifted her up.

    “I didn’t think you would be so strong. I won’t underestimate you again.”

    He told her as he fixed himself up.

    Isabel pouted a little bit when she heard him; she honestly thought she was going to win.

    “For now you’re ahead of me, but I'll catch up and get you.”

    Biting her lower lip, she made a vow to herself.

    She saw his previous fights and prepared for everything he had to offer. She knew her chances of winning were high, but she truly underestimated his control over gravity. It was her own fault; she would work harder to ensure she would win the next time.

    “She’s pretty cute when she bites her lip. Maybe I should tell her that.”

    Matthew said to himself in a low voice. He wasn’t paying attention as he seemed a little lost in his own world. He didn’t even realize he was thinking out loud.

    Isabel who heard him couldn’t help but blush. Turning her beautiful face red like a rose.

    Isabel grabbed her silver revolver lying on the ground and placed it back in her holster. After which she left the field going back up to the stands.

    As she exited, Nick entered.

    “You are full of surprises, zero gravity? Even I'd find that hard to deal with.”

    He complimented Matthew in his own way.

    Matthew scratched the back of his head; there was no need for that compliment. He wouldn’t even be able to use it now! The amount of essence left in his body was enough to stop someone in place for about two seconds. His tank was running on empty.

    He was really looking forward to his fight against Nick. Finding people who were on your level to compare notes with would only help both of them improve. However, it seemed he was not destined to fight Nick today.

    Sure he would be able to recover his essence if he meditated, but that would take hours. Class would be over when he was fully rested, and at that time no one would be around.

    “You’d be surprised at what I can do.”

    Matthew responded back to Nick.

    “I’m tempted to find out; I've never fought a gravity user before. It will be good for my training. However… “

    Nick stopped mid-sentence as he turned to where the stands were located.

    “I forfeit.”

    Nick shouted out causing many of the students to yell in anger. What was this? They wanted to see a good show, not this! The battle of the titans, two male lions going at it. A fight would make them hop out of their seats, something that would make their blood boil until it exploded out of their bodies. That is what they wanted, not this crap!

    Matthew was confused; he was just thinking about doing the same thing. He had all reason to forfeit as he was not in his best shape. However Nick? He had plenty of time to recover the essence he used, so why would he give up this chance?

    “Nick, what are you doing?”

    “There is not much of a difference between the two positions, we both get to use the essence pool for the same amount of time. If it was not for the essence pool, I wouldn’t even try as much as I did today. Being class president or even vice president will not help me towards my goal. This position just puts more stress on the student as they will have to help cultivate their classmates, which takes time away from them. I could be using that time for other things; you are much more suited for the task than me.”

    Nick explained to him. This position did not give the person any benefit, and Nick only wanted benefits. He was happy that he was getting to use the essence pool, but he didn’t really care about this position.

    “Besides you are in no position to fight me, make it to the finals during the freshman competition. Then let's go all out and give them a real show.”

    Hearing Nick’s explanation, Matthew felt something warm inside his heart. He gave Nick a nod, and they both left the field.

    This friend of his was too kind. Nick has set the stage for them to duel again, all Matthew had to do was answer the call. He would work even harder from this day forward.

    Since the beginning, he never really had a goal or ambition. Just attending school, dueling others for fun, graduating and landing himself a job in the military would have been enough for him. That was no longer the case; he thirsted for more.

    In his eyes, he saw Nick as a bright light burning with hopes and dreams. It was something Matthew lacked, and he wanted it. Today was the birth of a new Matthew!

    He set the highest goal for himself he could think of, although he might not reach it. He had something to work towards, and on this path, he knew that him and Nick would meet again.

    They both walked back to the stands. As soon as the students caught sight of them, they started battering them with questions.

    “Why didn’t you two duel, it is such a shame.”

    “They probably came up with this plan. C’mon tell us, you did didn’t you?”

    “Personally I think Nick is too scared to face off in front of a mighty royal. It is true right Nick?”

    No one said it, but there was another thought going on in a few of the females heads. ‘It may be that the two were a couple and they didn’t want to fight each other.’ When they pictured those two together their hearts started beating fast.

    Nick and Matthew knew nothing about it, but later tonight they would the main characters in those females boy love stories.

    They took their seats next to Freya who was no longer sulking about her loss. She looked at both of them for a moment before she nodded her head.

    “I’ve decided. I want to become a Cardinal, and don’t tell me I can’t make it. I’ll rise above you both, just you watch.”

    The two guys couldn’t help but burst into laughter. She wanted to become a Cardinal? They just couldn’t picture her wearing such a holy outfit. It was not like her temper fit such a position either.

    Freya punched them both in the arm. Why were they laughing? She could do it! It was possible; nothing is impossible in the world.

    Neither of them doubted her ability to be able to become one as it was not extremely hard. It was just them picturing her as one that made them laugh.

    “It’s not that we doubt you Freya, it’s just that I don’t think it suits you.”

    Nick explained to her as he wiped the tear forming in the corner of his eye.

    “I agree, it doesn’t suit you. Do you really think you would act in a manner that one of them should? I mean… they work for the Bishop! The Bishop, they are like the embodiment of holiness. I just can’t see it, I mean look at you…”

    Freya bit her lip and threw punches at Matthew. She was like this now but who knew how she would be in the future.

    “Matthew… I hate you, I really, really do.”

    “Don’t be like that. Look, I'll tell you my goal. I want to become a Crusader. Can you picture me as one of those guys?”

    Hearing his goal, Freya, sure enough, couldn’t help but laugh. That was one of the highest positions an EXO user could have. Even the president treated them with the utmost care.

    “See, there is nothing wrong with laughing. Nothing to be ashamed about, I just want to see how high I can climb. I might not reach it, but at least I'm trying.”

    “What about you Nick, what sort of goal do you have?”

    “Me? I just want to enter the Special Forces.”

    Freya and Matthew looked serious when they heard Nick’s goal. He would not look funny in their uniform. His potential was seen as one of the highest by the chairman of the school. Yeah… it was possible… seems like something he would do. That is what both of them thought when they heard him.

    “Wow, we have three different goals. If you think about it, we probably would have never met if my ability was not considered a support type. Or if we were placed in different classes. Man… this one week felt like a day to me, these four years are going to fly by. Before you know it, we’ll all be going our separate ways.”

    Matthew told them as he leaned back in his seat thinking about this one week he already spent at the academy. Middle school was fun, but it did not mean as much as high school. High school is where you would meet friends, make memories that would be in your heart for ages. It was the best time to live, but it was also a small part of your life.

    There was no college after this for them. They would become working men and women, and due to the paths they’ve chosen, they may never see each other again once they graduate.

    He took all of this in. Their time together may be short, but he felt a strong connection with these two.

    Matthew wished time would slow down, even if it were only for a moment.

    “Don’t be so worried about it; we still have four years ahead of us. Just enjoy the moment while we still can.”

    Nick told him that, but he could feel the weight of his words. Time would fly by, and before they knew it, they would be living in the real world. There was no time to dwell on such thoughts; it was best for them to enjoy the moment they were living in now.

    No one knew what the future foretold it was just a page they have yet to come to in the story.

    “Calm down there is no need to be upset.”

    Darius’ voice erupted causing the students who were having heated discussions to become silent. He knew everyone wanted to see them fight, one of the four freshman royals vs. another student who might just be as strong. Even he wanted to see what his students were capable of, but given the circumstances, he understood that the well being of his students came first. Matthew was running low on essence while Nick had a lot more stored up. Even if it were not Nick who was down there, any one of these students would have a high chance of beating Matthew when he had such low energy.

    “Congratulations to you both. There aren’t any special badges that identify as the class president, but everyone in the class knows, so that is the only thing that matters. Starting next month, you two will be able to use the essence pool along with the other class representatives.

    Now I would hate to throw responsibility on you two already, but there is a meeting with the board in two days. Arrive early and make sure you are adequately prepared as they will inform you of the objective this year.

    Lastly, I want to tell you all what a fantastic job you have done today. I have an even better understanding of your abilities and will work on a plan for every one of you. If you feel the path I have chosen for you does not align with your goals in life let me know and we can work something out.

    Since we have an hour left to kill, how about I treat you all to dinner?”

    “Darius you’re so cool!”

    “Teach I love you. Number one teacher of the year!”

    The only thing on their mind was free dinner. Who would be stupid enough to pass this up?

    Darius did not know it, but he would regret his words when he got the bill.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Five

    Later that night a figure could be seen running across the pavement. There was not any specific destination.

    They came to a stop by a bench. Grabbing their phone that was attached to their armband, they looked at the screen.

    The number was not one they knew, but they still answered it.

    “Hello? Is this thing connected?”

    A voice called out from the other end of the phone. It seemed to be there first time using a phone by the way they spoke.

    “Sensei?”

    “Haha, it worked! I see you can still recognize my voice, Nick.”

    “Of course, how could I forget you? You taught me everything I know.”

    “Indeed. Listen, I wanted to tell you I won’t be in the States for a while.”

    “Why?”

    “Just listen, will you. I am going back to my hometown in Japan; I don’t know how long I'll be there so make sure you continue with your training. I’ll be sure to have your senior brother keep an eye on you. That unemployed lazy bum, I feel sorry for his parents.”

    Nick wanted to reply, but he held his tongue back. The parent you were feeling sorry about was yourself!

    “Alright. Was that all you called for?”

    “No, you attend Demeter academy right?”

    “Yes.”

    “Good. My friend's daughter will be transferring in, make sure you take good care of her.”

    “How’d… never mind.”

    Nick wanted to ask his sensei how would she transfer in when the academy was no longer accepting applicants. Nick gave up asking about it; his teacher's connections were vast it wasn’t unlikely that if she pulled a few strings, she could get someone to attend the academy.

    “Whats her name?”

    “Katherine McDonald.”

    “McDonald?”

    When he heard his sensei say one of her friend's daughters were transferring in, he was sure it was someone from one of the ten families. However, he has never heard of any family with the last name of McDonald.

    The ten families were the ten most influential people in the states. Their EXO abilities were passed down through genes since it was so strong and dominant. If a child was not born with their families ability, they were either tossed to the side or given a chance to be apart of the side branch. Which was not much different from being thrown aside, the only difference was you got to use their last name.

    “Don’t think about it too much, I have to go now. This guy keeps begging for his phone back and talking about calling the cops.”

    The phone call ended, and Nick stretched his legs out.

    Why did his sensei want him to watch someone else’s child? She could have at least asked him if he would do it instead of telling him to.

    Once he stretched his legs out, he continued with his night run.

    At this time the campus was empty of night, not one person could be seen. Nick made his way back to his dorm as he noticed someone coming out. They were wearing sweatpants and a long sleeve shirt. They both walked right past each other.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Six

    Before he knew it, he was standing in the middle of a gymnasium. It was filled with students who were all freshman.

    Up on the stage were five students, three of them had blue badges the other two had orange badges on their collar. Those badges were not the first thing you would notice about them. Instead, it was the bright golden badge that signified they were student council members.

    A young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes stood at the podium as she adjusted the microphone.

    Knocking on the microphone a few times to make sure it was working fine, she fixed her posture a bit.

    “Hello, my name is Alicia Hill. I’m the president of the student council, and I would like to say…

    Welcome and congratulations to each and every one of you. You’ve shown that you are one of the many elites we have on campus and we would like to encourage you all to continue working hard. Your campus life may have just begun, but just like us, it will come to an end before you know it.

    All of us standing on this stage were in the same spots as you. I think I speak for us all when I say that standing there listening to us is boring, but in a few years you’ll look back and realize it still was. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you; you’ll learn something from listening to us. We are not here to teach you anything; we are just here to inform you of what the objective is for your class this year.

    Unlike the previous years, we have implemented new ideas. One of them is a camp. You and your classmates will be sent to Mt. Hessian and live there for two weeks. None of the professors will be around to support you; you’ll have to fend for yourselves during that time.

    With you guys, we want to take a different approach and improve your abilities not only through long lectures but actual experience. Our goal, your objective is to be combat ready by the time you all graduate.

    The world is not as calm as it use to be.

    Every year our academy’s ranking goes down, but the question is why? Are we not as good as the others? Do we not use enough resources? No! That is not the case; it is because our students lack live combat experience. We are sick and tired of being on the bottom, this year we shall become the black horse and rise in the ranks! This year marks the day of our comeback!”

    Her voice was rejuvenating causing the students to cheer with joy. They’ve never felt so motivated before; it felt like they were immortal.

    Nick had to compliment her; she had a way with words. Getting everyone here pumped up was not something just anyone could do.

    Alicia continued to talk, but every word that slipped off her tongue made others feel empowered.

    She informed them that the camp will start this Saturday and that every one of their classmates should be prepared. Mt. Hessian may be under their control, and everything inside of it would not pose that much of a problem for them. But it was best to be prepared for the worst than not be prepared at all.

    They would also be going to different parts of Mt. Hessian throughout the year so they could continue to gain live combat skills. As going once would not prepare them much.

    The board meeting ended as each of the students in the gym was given a folder that talked about what happened as well as what was going to happen. It was detailed and each activity built off of the previous one.

    Matthew and Nick walked out of the gym with the folder in their hands.

    “So that's the president huh. I was expecting… a little something more.”

    “What were you expecting exactly?”

    “Honestly… an overwhelming pressure. Something that would make me realize how far the distance is.”

    “You wouldn’t be able to feel it from her; she was restraining herself. Not everyone will want to let others feel how strong they are. There are some that like to hide their own strength. Being underestimated has a few perks as well.”

    Matthew sighed at Nick’s response.

    “Man, I really hope our class does not run into Scarlet's class during the camp.”

    “Well, that sucks for you.”

    Nick pointed forward were the petite red ponytailed girl was standing with her arms crossed.

    “Great!”

    “Matthew… you just can’t stay away from me can you?.”

    “What are you talking about? This is the only exit closest to our division if anything you can’t stay away from me! The offensive division is on the west side, so why are you over here?”

    “Humph! Keep dreaming. I was just waiting here for Arthur and happened to see you looking in my direction not to mention you were walking over here.”

    Matthew made a variety of hand motions, and he wanted to say something to her, but he didn’t. He knew it was best not to say anything and just move along.

    “Let's go, Nick. I don’t have time for this; there are better things to do.”

    Matthew went ahead of Nick. Nick felt like he should say something, but he did not understand exactly what happened between them.

    He looked at Scarlet's face for a moment; he could see a complicated look in her eyes.

    “You should try a different approach next time.”

    Nick softly told her before he walked off.

    Scarlet did not know what he was talking about.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Seven

    The two of them made their way back to the classroom. Darius was watching over the student's practice and guided them if they made a mistake.

    He noticed Nick and Matthew enter the room.

    “We’ll stop our lesson here for today.”

    Darius told the two young students before he walked over to Nick and Matthew.

    “So, what do you have for me?”

    “There is a camp they want us to go to and live there for two weeks, called Mt. Hessian. We need to start packing for it now; we move out on Saturday.”

    Matthew replied as he handed Darius the folder which explained all the details.

    Darius flipped through the pages quickly and handed the folder back to Matthew.

    “Alright then, inform your classmates of what is going on. Class is over as soon as you are finished, I am going to start preparing as well.”

    Darius exited the room, giving those two the control of the room.

    “As you know we went to a meeting that was to discuss what will happen with our class and what we will be doing in the future. It turns out we are going to live at a camp for two weeks, and we will have to fend for ourselves.

    We as a whole class will group up with a couple of other classes from different divisions. It is to help us interact with each other and prepare for future situations. We do not know of what other groups will be going along with us, but if we find out, we will be sure to inform you.

    To survive, we need to work together. So I'll be dividing the class up to take care of the task, if you are good at something let me know. If anyone has any problems, they don’t want to bring up in front of the class see me after and we will try to settle it.

    Lastly, we will be given EXO equipment once we get to the camp. That is because inside the camp, called Mt. Hessian there are various types of beast. As you are aware, we are not the only ones who have awakened these special abilities. Although they do not pose us that great of a threat at Mt. Hessian you should always be vigilant.”

    Matthew explained to the class what was going on and what was going to happen.

    The classroom started getting loud as many students began asking various questions.

    “Are we allowed to bring our own personalized EXO weapons?”

    “What about hygiene, will there be places to wash? What about living arrangements?”

    “When you said fend for ourselves, does that mean teachers are not allowed to come with us?”

    “What is the purpose of this camp? What happens if something goes wrong?”

    Questions came one after another not giving Matthew any time to reply to them.

    “We will send out a detailed report at a later time until then hold your questions. What Matthew forgot to inform you of was that we leave in two days time. I suggest you start packing now.”

    Nick cut in. They had time to answer questions, but with all the questions being thrown at them one after another, they would never have a chance to answer them. Instead, they’ll give them all the information that they knew. Hopefully, it answered a majority of their questions.

    “Class is dismissed for today, use this time wisely.”

    As soon as they heard that class was done for today, they packed up and dismissed themselves.

    “So, what are you two going to do now? My club has no activities this week.”

    Freya asked them as she walked over.

    “I got called in to go to the Disciplinary Committee. I was planning on visiting them since it has been a while since I've last been there.”

    “My club does not have anything going on today, so I'm free.”

    “Then how about you tag along with me since you’re free.”

    “Do I have to? I think I'll be able to find an attractive young lady to spend my time with instead.”

    “What do you mean, Freya’s lacking in some area’s but she is still attractive.”

    Nick gave a gentle smile, causing Matthew to look at him strangely.

    “Nick… no, look at her. She is not even girly, if not for that small lump that stuck out on her chest I'd mistake her a guy.”

    “Oh shut it. I’ll have you know there are a few guys who’ve tried to court me before.”

    “Something must have been wrong with them in the head.”

    Matthew threw in a small comment, causing Freya to roll her eyes.

    “Thanks for the…. Complement(?) Nick. At least someone here can see true beauty for what it's worth.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twenty-Eight

    Nick walked into the Disciplinary Committee office and spotted Cassandra having a discussion with Fred.

    Fred did not look like he was sleepy today and the way he was acting was not like last time either. He seemed to be more professional.

    “So you’ve decided to show up again huh newbie?”

    Darren spoke to Nick while he was lazing around in the leather chair with his legs laid out on the table. In his hand was a black card that he continued to make appear and disappear.

    “Well, I am a member. Why wouldn’t I show my face?”

    Cassandra noticed Nick come into the room.

    “Nick, come here for a second.”

    She told him just as he was about to take his seat.

    “Cassandra, do you need me for something?”

    Nick asked as he arrived in front of her.

    “Yes, it has to do with a few things. Fred, if you would.”

    Fred tapped a button on the desk in front of him. From the center of the desk the top was split, and they moved towards the edge revealing a transparent board underneath.

    “A virtual computer?”

    “Yes.”

    Fred moved his hands on the transparent screen, and a 3d model appeared on the screen.

    It showcased a fairly large mountain range that was enclosed by a giant wall.

    “This is Mt. Hessian. The student council has decided to divide the entire range into four quadrants. Each one will hold a mixture of students from different divisions. We don’t know what quadrant your class will be located in, but we will need you to meet up with us at the center.”

    Fred moved his pointed at a location, and the coordinates appeared.

    “Here, this is where we will meet up on the first day.”

    Nick furrowed his eyebrows, why are they going when this camp is only for freshman?

    “I thought this camp was only for freshman students?”

    “The camp is, but do you think the school will allow students to roam around freely with no sort of protection in place? Four of us from the Disciplinary Committee has been tasked to protect the students from the shadows.”

    Fred answered Nick’s question.

    “The camp should be fairly safe, no?”

    “Should be, but nothing can be too certain. Lately, there has been movement from certain organizations, such as AEU (Anti EXO User).”

    AEU or Anti EXO Users was an organization whose goal was to kill off all EXO users from the face of the planet. EXO users while they are powerful that does not mean everyone uses their powers for good.

    There have been many cases of EXO users killing ordinary people for their own goals. During war as well, EXO users are to be blamed for any sort of damage by these people.

    AEU wanted to take the fight back to those who have harmed them and their families. They built themselves into a mighty empire that has been trained to take down EXO users.

    While they want justice the way they are going about it is wrong, and they are considered terrorist.

    “AEU? I thought they were being taken care of by the ATU (Anti Terrorist Unit)? Why would they target a school built to train EXO users? That is simply foolish.”

    ATU or Anti Terrorist Unit is a specially designed group of elite soldiers mixing with both ordinary Civilians and EXO users. Their objective is to get rid anyone who commits terrorist acts on US soil.

    “Because there will be no one to stop them if they get inside Mt. Hessian. They’ve been trained to take down EXO users, and a whole lot of freshmen students who have yet to develop fully are the perfect target.”

    Cassandra gave him the answer.

    Nick had to admit that this was a perfect target for such a group to strike. Kill them before they can bear their fangs.

    “We’ve surveyed the area and narrowed down four possible points of entry, which just so happen to be separated by a large distance. It is impossible for a single person to cover all four entryways, and if you dispatch a small team to the four points. It will cause the students to worry.”

    Fred spoke as he changed the 3d image to show four different entryways.

    “And the student council president is allowing us to go knowing we’ll be a target.”

    Nick didn’t understand how the student council president could put the students in danger. Her job is to protect and guide them, not lead them to their deaths. He couldn’t help but remember that face of hers, and she talked right to them knowing what was going to happen. She’s a cruel person.

    “It was not like she had a choice in the matter, none of us did. It came from the chairman himself.”

    “Terrific. So what is the plan?”

    He wondered why the chairman himself would put them at risk.

    “Locate and eliminate. We are working from the inside, but around the border, there will be various elite EXO users who will be waiting on standby. The moment you see anything strange, signal them and they’ll come rushing in. If everything goes as planned, none of the other students will know about this, and the training can proceed as it was meant to.”

    “A pity we know nothing ever goes as planned. What is the chance for them to actually show up and how did they find out about this?”

    Just because they were making preparations for AEU to show up does not mean they actually will. If they did show up then it would be a suicide mission, there would be no way they would be able to leave. However for there to be preparations means they have a high chance to show up.

    “This camp is no secret; all the academies know we are going to Mt. Hessian to train our freshman. To put you all in danger was not what the chairman wanted or any of us, we are just being pressured.

    Just when you think you are free from all restraints, someone comes and chains you down again. There is always someone with more authority than you; we just have to do as we are told.”

    Fred explained why they knew about the existence of a camp. All of the academies knew about it and if they knew organizations that wanted EXO users gone, also knew.

    What interested Nick more was the fact that someone had the power to pressure the chairman into making this decision. If such an influential person was the one moving the pieces around, he thought about who it could be. AEU while they are not a group to be taken lightly, it would not cause for one of the more powerful figures to make a move like this.

    “And the likely chance?”

    “Seventy-five percent.”

    “Darren will transport two others with him. Travelling such a distance with two others will deplete him of his essence. This is to be kept a secret, be sure to keep it that way. You’re dismissed.”

    Fred let Nick go; there was no need for him to stay. He was already informed of the matter at hand; now he just had to prepare for it physically and mentally.

    “Well, what do you think?”

    Cassandra couldn’t help but ask Fred his opinion.

    “About?”

    “The current status of our academy. To use our students as bait to lure in AEU is a bit uncalled for.”

    Fred turned off the virtual computer, and the desk returned to normal. His facial expression darkened.

    “I’m not even sure if we are going to be dealing with AEU.”

    “Look on the bright side, at least this way you can see if the newbie is ready, right?”

    Darren told them what he had to say. They wanted to know if Nick was able to join, and a perfect opportunity presented itself.

    “This matter is not something to be taken lightly!”

    Darren seemed like he was making a joke to Cassandra, so she could not help but get angry at him.

    “So, who are we sending?”

    Not minding Cassandra’s shout, Darren asked Fred a question.

    “Roland, his skills will be needed, and I'll be going as well.”

    “If you go, who is going to lead the other activities?”

    “I think she is more than capable of handling those matters. She didn’t inherit the title ‘Queen’ for no reason.”

    “It’s safe to assume we can take off the safety?”

    “I approve.”

    Fred nodded his head; there was nothing wrong with them taking the safety off their EXO weapons.

    The phone in his pocket vibrated. He checked to see who it was, and answered it.

    “Hello, chairman.

    Yes, I've picked members as you’ve requested.

    Nick Wilson? He is aware of the situation.

    A transfer student? Now? Right… I'll be there.”

    As he hung up the phone, a couple of members turned to look at him.

    “I’ll return shortly.

  • ??????????

    Part Twenty-Nine

    The weekend came, and all the freshman students were up bright and early in the morning. The sun was not up yet, and it was slightly chilly outside.

    With their luggage, the freshman lined up in multiple lines. There was a line for each different division, and the people in each line were filling up buses which would transport them.

    Freya yawned as stretched her arms out.

    “Why’d they have to make us get up so early? A beautiful woman such as I needs her beauty sleep.”

    Matthew was standing behind her chuckled upon hearing what she said.

    “What sort of beauty calls themselves a beauty?”

    Freya turned around to look at him but did not react as she usually would.

    “It’s too early for this Matthew, just wait until later when I've had my proper rest. Then I'll kick your ass, ok?”

    “Get as much sleep as you need, we have a whole ten hours ahead of us before we make it to Mt. Hessian.”

    Nick told her as he was seated on his large suitcase.

    The lines were moving slowly as they had to take down everyone's name to make sure students were accounted for. He was not in a rush anyways, and they would be waiting for instructions once they reached the camp. Today was nothing but a hurry up and wait type of day.

    “What kind of beast do you think we are going to run into?”

    Matthew asked Nick for his opinion.

    The beast had ranks, and these ranks were given to them by the government based on the threat level they pose. While each one is dangerous and able to kill ordinary humans off swiftly, to an EXO user some are not worth their time.

    “Nothing too serious as this is just training. More than likely there will be some lower ranked species hanging around, but nothing we can’t handle.”

    “That would suck bro; I don’t want to face any Omega’s. They are like the bottom of the food chain.”

    “You’d be the first one running if anything higher ranked appeared.”

    Freya replied in a somewhat lazy tone. She did not even have the energy for this.

    “Whatever, I'd crush any Beta.”

    “Yeah… yeah… yeah. Keep bragging, tell us more about how powerful our Arena Prince is.”

    “Still jealous because you don’t have a title. If you want, you can have mines.”

    This time Freya did not respond to Matthew. Instead, she looked forward and stayed silent.

    “Whats her problem?”

    “Probably got tired of dealing with you, she’ll be at it again in no time.”

    Nick told him. The amount these two went at it he was surprised neither of them got tired of each other yet. They always found something to fight over.

    “And who is that behind you?”

    Nick turned and saw Darren standing behind him. His sunglasses on at this time of day didn’t give him a cool kid feeling.

    “Darren, what do you need?”

    “I was told to drop her off to you. Fred said that you must look after her with care since that is what he was told.”

    Darren moved to the side revealing a beautiful young woman. Long straight purple hair that looked like it would never get tangled and gorgeous silver colored eyes. The school uniform stuck to her body like glue revealing her womanly features. She had a body many girls would die for.

    “Anyways newbie take care of her.”

    Darren vanished leaving no trace of his presence.

    “Katherine I'm assuming?”

    “And you must be Nick. Sorry to inform you, but you do not need to pay me any mind, and I don’t require any sort of protection.”

    Her voice was angelic if she had wings on her back someone would mistake her for an angel.

    “Alright then.”

    Since the lady did not want his protection, that was less of a burden for him. He would pay her less attention, but he would still keep an eye on her to make sure she was safe. His sensei told him to take good care of her; he knew what that meant.

    Katherine could fuss if she wanted to, but Nick would still do what he was told.

    “Hold up Nick, how do you know such a lovely lady?”

    Matthew made his appearance and slid in front of Nick.

    “Katherine, that was your name, right? I’m Matthew, nice to meet you.”

    He stuck out his hand, but she showed no signs of taking it. Instead, she took one glance at him then looked back at nick.

    “A friend of yours I take it. Why is he trying to befriend me? His approach is weak, and his hair is a mess. He does not seem like someone you would hang around but then again who am I to judge when we barely met.”

    Katherine barely looked at Matthew for five seconds, but she already had an opinion of him.

    “Hear that Matthew, you don’t suit us.”

    Freya couldn’t help but laugh when Katherine's words hit her ear. This was the best thing she heard so far; she already liked this new girl.

    “I think he fits, and you should not be so quick to judge.”

    Katherine shrugged at Nick’s response. Why was she exactly transferred to this school? Her mother would not tell her; the school was the safest place for her to be. Any school would have been fine, so why change?

    From the corner of her eye, she looked at Nick. What was so special about him that she needed to be in eyesight of him?

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