BlackCrown

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  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Thirty

    After a few hours of waiting, they finally got loaded onto a bus. It was two to a seat, and Nick was sitting by Freya.

    Right across from them was Matthew who just so happened to be next to Katherine. Katherine had a book in her hand, and she was absorbed into reading it.

    Freya adjusted herself in the seat to find a comfortable position then closed her eyes.

    “Wake me up when we get there if you don’t mind Nick.”

    “It’s no problem, just make sure to dream of me.”

    Freya smirked a little at his reply; she would just let her mind wander.

    “If it happens, it happens.”

    Nick wanted to keep the conversation going, but it is better if she gets her rest. It was six in the morning after all, and they had to wait outside for an hour before this.

    His class had three buses, Darius was on this bus, but he was in the front. He was having a conversation with two of the female students that seemed to be intrigued by what he had to say.

    He turned his attention to Katherine, and he asked himself what was so special about her. Besides her seeming to be cold towards others, he could not find a fault with her.

    He gave up trying to think of a reason, no need to rack his brain on this matter.

    Nick rested his eyes, but just because he could not see what was going on did not mean he couldn’t sense it.

    “What is so special about him?”

    Katherine who was staring into her book asked.

    Matthew was the only person next to her, so she had to be talking to him. He glanced Nick’s way and saw that Freya’s head slowly tilted until it rested nicely on his shoulder.

    “What do you mean? Why do you think he is special?”

    “He has to be special to be trained by Furuta-sensei, but I just can’t figure out what makes him so special.”

    Katherine started nibbling on her fingernail. Anyone would think the way she was acting now was cute.

    “Who is this Furuta person?”

    Katherine looked up from her book, glanced at Matthew then back to her book again.

    “Nevermind, forget I said anything.”

    Was she talking to him, or was she just talking out loud to herself? Matthew was not sure of the answer.

    He rested his cheek on his arm as he gazed at Katherine. If he had to pick a person to become his future wife, he would pick her. Granted, earlier she ignored him… and now… she also seemed to ignore him. However, he could not get rid of this strange feeling in his heart.

    Out the window, he saw a small light that seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as it got closer. His body felt something was wrong with that light; it kept telling him ‘move away, it is dangerous to be here.’

    A vast majority of the students were sleeping; still, he seemed to be one of the only ones to notice.

    Darius who was seated in the front snapped his neck in the direction of the light.

    “Matthew!”

    Nick shouted his name. He knew, there was no need to say it.

    “I know already!”

    Matthew hurried and replied with a shout of his own.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Thirty-One

    Up on the rocky mountains, two men dressed casually were standing around. On the back of one was an overly large black bag.

    “You sure you can do it?”

    One man asked, only his green colored eyes could be seen. He had an entire scarf covering his face.

    “Please, I'm the best damn sniper there is.”

    The man with the overly large black bag bragged about his skills as he sat the bag down and started unloading what was inside.

    There were six different pieces nicely spread out in the bag.

    He started picking up pieces and assembling them together.

    “I’m not asking about your skill; I'm talking about the target. Are you sure you can kill a kid?”

    He just finished putting together the massive rifle. He locked together the two feet of the rifle and let it lay on the ground.

    “It’s just another target. Age doesn’t matter when there is money to be made.”

    As he finished his sentence, he reached into his pocket and grabbed a cigarette. Although the time was further ahead than the twenty-first century, these things were still around and popular.

    “This is not just any target; it is the child of the one who could jeopardize our mission. She escaped our clutches last time, but this time we will finish her off. Did she think we wouldn’t find her?”

    The man with the scarf said.

    With his cigarette lit, he took a long drag on it before he puffed out smoke.

    “I don’t care about the details, just make sure our tracks are covered after. Now is not the time to start a war, especially with one of the academies.”

    “Don’t worry, from this distance no one can see us and just to be sure I've placed an illusion around us. No one will spot this coming.”

    He reassured the sniper.

    “Better get to work, the buses are headed this way.”

    The sniper took one last drag on his cigarette then he flicked it away. Laying down on the ground next to the sniper rifle he got in a comfortable position and looked through the scope.

    This sniper rifle was custom made just for him. It enhanced his ‘Hawkeye’ ability by twenty percent. Everyone through this scope was as big as a balloon; he was not going to miss.

    He glanced through the first bus; she was not there. The second, third, fourth… tenth, he looked through them all. All he needed was a face that matched the picture he was given, as long as he saw that he would shoot.

    Finally, he saw the target he was looking for on the fifteenth bus. She was in her seat reading a book, and her eyes were completely focused on it. He looked at her picture, but now that he was seeing her through this scope he had to admit it would be a shame to kill her.

    This rifle was made to take down a demon beast, taking out a teenager would be no problem.

    He steadied his aim and steadied his breathing.

    “If you don’t hurry up and shoot.”

    The sniper did not respond with words; he did so with his actions. Small little blue lights went into the vent of the sniper rifle. The gray meter on the side was being filled up with the EXO essence in the air.

    He heard a ding sound, and he pulled the trigger. His body jumped a little due to the recoil, and a small blue light blasted out from the sniper rifle.

    He let out a cool breath as he got up from his position. He started taking apart the sniper rifle, putting the pieces back into the bag.

    “Is it done?”

    The sniper laughed at his question.

    “No one is surviving that, the output was a bit higher than required, but since she is a medium threat level target… I believe the output should not matter. With this, our problems are done.”

    He himself did not need to see the end results as he knew his skills. Those were children who were just learning about their abilities. He was a veteran, no one on that bus would be able to stop his bullet.

    “Let u-”

    The man with the scarf covering his face felt something. It was like something scanned his body, but that could not be the case. No one was capable of breaking through his illusion, and with the speed of the bus, no one would be able to see them up on this mountain.

    “Get it together man; we’ve finished the job.”

    The sniper threw the black bag over his shoulder.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Thirty-Two

    In a small room, there was a small coffee table, a shelf filled with books, and a computer desk. The room overlooked the city, and outside the city was filled with lights on this dark night.

    The computer was on, and the screen light lit up an older aged man's face. His face had a few wrinkles signifying his old age, but it did not stop the charm of his facial features. Instead, it added a certain touch to it.

    The metal door to the room opened up as a middle-aged man entered wearing a black and red suit. A folder in his hand, he walked up to the computer desk and threw the folder it.

    “What is this?”

    He questioned the older aged man.

    “A manila folder, I did not think they made them anymore. Where’d you find it?”

    The older man did not have a smile on his face, and it did not seem like he was joking. He placed his hands on the folder inspecting it, and then he opened the folder up. Revealing the image of a young man and sheets of paper.

    “I’m not talking about that! Why was he sent out on the mission? He just graduated the academy his skills are not ready! This task is too important for it to fail!”

    The older aged man rubbed his temple. He was having a bad day already, and now with all the shouting going on, he was going to get a headache.

    “Do you have any rights to question me? You put two agents in a dangerous position causing them to nearly lose their lives. They are severely wounded and barely alive. I think your actions are no different than mines, and he is a lot more ready than you think he is.”

    The older man argued against his point. He would not send an agent to the field unless he was confident they were ready. His position is not just for show, and he has been sitting in this seat for more than a decade.

    “No, he is not!”

    “You are only saying that because he is your son! When he joined he knew what he was getting himself into, you knew what he was getting into. He is a soldier, stop treating him like some child.”

    Although the middle-aged man in the suit was shouting, the older man was calm. He would not lose his temper over this matter; everything was already put in place all that was left was for the pieces to start moving.

    “He is a child! Did you forget his age, or need I remind you?”

    “That is only if we consider him human, and frankly I'm not a hundred percent sure he is. You’ve seen his mother, and she was no human.”

    “That does not deny the fact that he was born human, it doesn’t matter if she was one of them. We’ve ran the test, checked the DNA and kept him under surveillance. He is human.”

    The middle age man paused as he pointed at the folder on the desk. Then he continued his sentence.

    “We do not know how he will react when he goes through puberty. For all, we know he could get too attached to the subject and cause the mission to fail. There are a lot more people more qualified for this operation; I demand the immediate deactivation of him. He needs to be replaced with a more suitable soldier.”

    Standing up from his seat, the older man walked over to the window. With his hands behind his back, he glanced at the multiple lights.

    “Do you know why he was chosen for this task? It is because he just graduated because his skills although ahead of many others his age can still be compared. He knows what his mission and he has been trained to execute that mission. The threat to our world is no laughing matter; I will not accept any other person for this task. End of discussion.

    Do not think of contacting the president; this mission is unofficial. If you want his cover to be blown as a student of the academy then, by all means, go ahead. But the second his cover is blown, and all those close to the president finds out, the mole will also know. Then this whole mission will be a bust and the time we’ve invested in this will go to waste! No one and I mean no one will get in the way. Believe in that son of yours he has not let us down yet.”

    “One-day old man, I'll overthrow your position. Just you wait.”

    “Until then, I'll be waiting son.”

    The middle-aged man left the room with his fist clenched. He could not accept this. It is just that his child's behavior does not fit the temperament a student should have. He listens to everything his superiors say and gets the task done with outstanding performance. As his father, he was sure that if something was standing between him and his goal he would lose control of himself. The moment he did, he would be unstoppable.

    He reached tapped his ear where a small microphone was embedded.

    “Do you have anything to report?”

    “I’ve placed myself well within the student body, and I have found one thing that could be considered noteworthy. I’m sending it to the lab now.”

    A voice said from the other end of the line.

    “There was no need to call for that. Only contact me when it is something about ‘Delirium.'”

    “Roger that.”

    Feeling as though the call was about to end, the middle-aged man could not help but stop him from hanging up. There was still something on his mind.

    “Eh… wait. Has he been behaving well? This is his first time interacting with anyone his age I'm worried people will notice that his behavior is not normal.”

    “Nothing to worry about chief, he is fairly popular and befriended quite a few people so far. If you did not tell me he was an agent, I would think he was a normal civilian.”

    “Right. Just make sure he doesn’t make you out.”

    “You’re kidding, right? He’s never seen my face before I doubt he would know who I am.”

    “Don’t get ahead of yourself. That kid's specialty is finding things that do not want to be found.”

    “Oh? Then maybe I should show out a bit more.”

    “Just make sure you restrain yourself.”

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    TO BE CONTINUED…




  • Nick Wilson - Main Character
    Geno - Delirium ranker
  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part One

    Gray smoke rose into the air. The blue and white bus was flipped upside down. A massive hole appeared on the side of the bus.

    The buses that the schools used were not standard everyday buses. Their outer shell was difficult to penetrate, not even medium graded EXO weapons could cause such a hole to appear. Medium graded EXO weapons would find it hard to put a dent on the bus, let alone create such damage.

    It all happened in an instant; this caused the buses following behind it to come to a sudden stop. All the students rushed out of the buses they were in to check the damages.

    Everyone was standing around with faces full of shock. No one was moving; they were stunned.

    Finally, one person spoke up; it was a young man with long blonde hair.

    “What are we standing around for? Check the damages.”

    The surrounding students seemed to realize that they were just standing around doing nothing. They needed to check for survivors if there were any.

    “Over here!”

    A voice echoed causing a ton of students to rush over to where they were standing.

    From inside the bus, Nick’s vision blurred. He checked to his side where Freya was. Due to his shouting, he woke her up but now she lay with bruises covering her face.

    He moved his hand to check her pulse.

    ‘Good, she’s still alive.’

    Glancing over to where Matthew and Katherine was he saw a strange sight. Matthew had blood spattered across his face, and most of his body was against the roof.

    He did not have his safety belt on, but it is thanks to him that they were all safe. Before the blast hit the bus, Matthew shifted the bus, but it was not enough for them to get out of the radius of the blast. If that attack landed directly on the bus, they would all be dead.

    There was a giant hole leading towards the outside by the window next to Matthew’s seat. Thick smoke was coming up, so it was hard to make out what was going on outside.

    Nick could use his EXO ability, but due to the shouting, he heard he knew that others were assessing the situation.

    Katherine coughed, and blood came out of her mouth.

    From Nick’s eyesight, he could see that her left arm was missing. If she did not get treated right away, then she was more than likely going to die.

    As he was worried about her because his sensei told him to look after her, a green light flashed over her body. Her left arm started to regenerate as if it was never gone in the first place. The bruises across her body also began to heal.

    ‘What is that?’

    Nick asked himself. He used his EXO ability to check the flow in her body, but it was light blue in color. That was a control type EXO ability, and what was happening now was categorized as a healing ability.

    Nick recalled that there was no known healing EXO ability that allowed one to regrow limbs. If there did happen to be one, it would not regrow a person's limbs at such an alarming rate as Katherine has done.

    Even for one the highest ranked healing EXO it at most would be able to treat her wounds, but that would take at least ten to twenty minutes depending on the person using it.

    Nick was not going to ask anymore questions, at least not now. They needed to escape from here first before anything.

    While thinking of a way to escape Nick felt the bus started to tilt. Someone or a group of people were flipping the bus back on its wheels.

    They could have extended the hole that was already in the bus, but it seems they were using more brawn than muscle.

    The bus rocked back and forth once before it was finally on its right side. The entrance to the bus did not open by itself, two of the students had to pry it open with their hands.

    Once the door was open two students rushed in to check on everyone.

    Nick now had a better view, now that everything was not upside down. He unsheathed his sword and cut the straps off of himself. Once free he laid Freya’s head against the window that was still intact.

    Nick was a bit weak, but he was better than most of the others. He made his way towards the front of the bus, using the seats to help hold his balance.

    A student saw Nick walking towards the front of the bus, and he rushed over to Nick’s side. Nick was bleeding on his forehead and using the seats to keep himself stable; the student did not know what this guy was thinking. After an accident like this, it was best to stay still and wait on a healer.

    “Stop, you are in no shape to move. Let me help you back to your seat so you can wait on one of the healers to come.”

    He told Nick as he grabbed his shoulder, yet in response to his kindness, he got a deathly glare. To him, Nick looked like a demon that would murder anyone in his way. He took a step back away from him and let him be.

    “Fine! Go on then.”

    While walking towards the front of the bus, Nick also checked on the students he passed by. So far so good, they were injured, but it was not anything too severe. As long as they got to a healer, they would be fine. Sure this experience would be with them for a lifetime, but at least they get to keep their lives.

    ‘Darius, where are you?’

    Nick asked himself.

    Darius was in the front, but now he was not there. The seat was empty; it was like it has never been filled. Nick couldn’t help but click his teeth.

    Nick slowly made his way down the stairs, and outside the bus, the people surrounding him were giving him strange looks.

    The majority of the people that were here were students. Almost all of the professors were on the first buses, or they arrived at an earlier time.

    Alyson pushed her way in front of the crowd along with eight others following behind.

    “Nick, wait up. You’re in no shape to move your body, let me heal you.”

    She told him as she approached.

    Nick fanned his hand at her.

    “I know my condition, the others inside at in worse shape than me. Check on them first; I can wait.”

    Honestly, his head was banging almost like it was about to explode. He knew he was not in his best condition, but there was something he needed to check.

    Alyson did not listen to him; she told the other healers to go on the bus and check on the others, she was going to follow Nick.

    Nick looked far into the distance where there was nothing but mountains. Alyson who was next to him did not say anything but also looked where his eyes were focused. She knew he had some type of eyesight EXO ability, but for the specifics of it, she was not too sure. However, if he was looking off into the distance, that had to mean he could see something she could not.

    From the corner of her eye, she saw his hazel colored eyes turn icy blue. Those eyes of his gave her a chill; it was like he could see right through her soul even though he was not looking at her.

    Nick’s eyesight increased dramatically; he could see up to ten kilometers. This was the maximum he could see, and even this was pushing him to his limits.

    Nick could see a light purple wave in the shape of a sheet hovering in the air. He knew this was not normal, especially if those mountains were ordinary mountains.

    It was an illusion or a projection of some sort to hide what was actually going on. However, it was useless in front of his EXO ability. The light purple sheet seemed to vanish, and Nick could make out two small colored objects. They were outlined like a human, but they were two different colors. One was light purple; Nick knew that this person was the one who put up the projection. The other one was gray, and it did not take a scientist to figure out that he was the sniper.

    Suddenly Nick felt a surge of pain course through his body. Blood started to come out of his nose, and he felt it hard to breathe. He clutched his hand on his chest.

    Alyson hurried and grabbed Nick’s hand.

    “Rejuvenate.”

    Alyson said softly.

    A green light emerged from her palm and was absorbed by Nick’s hand. The light traveled across his body giving him a cooling sensation.

    Alyson did this a few more times, and a few of the bruises on Nick’s body started to heal.

    “Thanks.”

    Nick said as the pain in his body subsided.

    “It’s my job, no need to thank me. Now as your nurse I recommend that you get some rest.”

    Nick gave her a soft smile, causing Alyson’s cheeks to turn red.

    The look on her face was the last thing on Nick’s mind. His head was filled with questions that he did not have the answers for.

    This was not an accident; it was an attack.

    Nick glanced back up at the vast amount of mountains in the distance. From that range, you had to have a very powerful weapon to be able to have it travel such a distance. Not only was the weapon powerful, but the bullet it shot out would turn an average EXO user into mincemeat.

    He did not know who those two people were, but he knew they were no AEU members. The people in AEU were ordinary civilians that used advanced cold iron weapons. They did not have a trace of essence in their body, but these two were something else.

    For them to make an attack on the academy, Nick could only think of two possible options. This was either a declaration of war or an assassination attempt.

    Neither one of those thoughts were good, especially when they were going into this camp. Once those people find out that their attack was not very successful, they would return.

    “Come, let us get you on another bus. It is not very likely the one you were on will be moving anytime soon.”

    Nick was woken up from his thinking when he heard Alyson’s voice.

    “Alright, but first I would like to check on my friends.”

    He was in a hurry to see if he could spot the people or person who attacked them. He could now regroup with his friends and assess their condition.

    “So caring, you’re friends must mean a lot to you.”

    “They are silly at times, but they are fun to be around. Without them around I think I would sometimes forget I'm human too.”

    Alyson tilted her head a bit at this sentence. What exactly did he mean by ‘sometimes forget I'm human too?’

    “Nick, what do you mean?”

    Nick seemed to understand her question because of his word choice.

    “Nothing, forget I said anything.”

    Alyson did not think about it anymore, and she led Nick over to where his friends were.

    “Alyson! Why did you run off leaving us to handle all the work?”

    One female student questioned Alyson as her hands were placed on her hips.

    “There was someone else who was injured, he insisted on moving around, and I could not leave him alone.”

    Alyson answered her right away.

    The female student looked at Nick and nodded her head a few times.

    “Indeed, I wouldn’t leave him alone either. Alyson, your friend over here, is pretty hot.”

    Alyson rolled her eyes and grabbed the female student's arm, urging her to move along.

    “I’ll see you later Nick, and I hope nothing too serious happened with the others.”

    “His name is Nick? Haha, on a first name basis, don’t tell me you two are alre-”

    Alyson couldn’t take it anymore and hit her friend. She was talking a bunch of nonsense that would cause anyone to misunderstand.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Two

    Nick spotted Matthew and Freya by the bus little ways away from the crowd. Matthew was leaning against the bus and Freya had her arms crossed. She was not wearing her white framed glasses. Nick figured that during the accident they must have broke.

    “Hey, you two feeling alright?”

    Nick asked them as he walked over.

    “Better than before, and where’d you run off to?”

    Matthew replied back to Nick as he moved forward a bit to stop leaning against the bus.

    “I did a little scouting.”

    “And, how’d it go?”

    “Two of them, couldn’t make them out at least not from this distance.”

    “I hate snipers.”

    Matthew said as he let out a breath of cold air.

    Freya glared at him.

    “And this sniper hates you. Next time you need some support, I’ll just leave you be.”

    “You know what I mean, I hate the bad snipers.”

    “Have you two seen Katherine or Darius?”

    Nick just realized that Katherine was not over here and he was still curious as to where Darius was.

    “Katherine? Yeah, she went into the bus over there. Don’t tell me you’re interested in her Nick.”

    Freya had this sly grin on her face when she said those words.

    “A bit.”

    Nick responded instantly. He was interested in that ability of hers which healed her almost instantly.

    Freya was startled, she was just teasing him. She did not actually believe Nick was interested in Katherine. Sure the girl had one hell of a body, but her personality or at least what she showed so far was far too cold.

    “What the hell man? Now you’re interested in her too? Since when?”

    “When we were flipped upside down, and everyone was harmed. She was the only thing on my mind at the time.”

    “Fine, you can have her. She seems drawn to you as well, asking what makes you so special.”

    Matthew said as he leaned against the bus once more. There was finally this girl that he felt could match him, but she was interested in someone else. Now that person she was engrossed in also had emotions for her. His luck was weak, but Matthew was not one to stand in the way of his friend's romance.

    Hearing what Matthew said, Nick was curious as to what he meant by that. Could it be that Katherine noticed?

    “Now that everyone is healed up let us get you back on the road.”

    A loud voice ordered them. Nick turned his head and spotted an older white-haired man, he was the source of that sound.

    “Merge onto the other buses, and do not pile up in one bus. Don’t just stand there, get to moving!”

    Under the older white-haired man’s urging all the students piled back onto the buses. Nick, Matthew, and Freya all went into the same bus as Katherine.

    Nick took a seat next to Matthew, and Freya sat next to Katherine.

    “You never said anything about Darius, so you have not seen him?”

    Nick asked about Darius once more.

    Matthew shook his head gently.

    When he got off the bus, the only ones he noticed were the ones that were already on it, minus Darius and Nick.

    “No. I’m sure he has his reasons.”

    Nick nodded in agreement.

    “So, what do you think?”

    Matthew questioned him.

    He was intrigued to know what Nick thought about the attack that occurred. An assault like this just does not happen out of the blue, there was a goal behind it.

    “Declaration of war, or assassination attempt.”

    Matthew rubbed his chin upon hearing Nick’s answer.

    It could be either one of those, but who would want to go up against the academy?

    “Personally, I’m leaning towards an assassination attempt. If this was an attack on the academy, why would they stop at only attacking one bus? They would have continued shooting until multiple buses were down.”

    “While I'm also inclined to believe that, you can’t deny the fact that there were only two of them. That attack could be sent as a warning.”

    “Did you think of the third option? It could be a diversion. Get everyone’s attention focusing on this camp while they attack another location?”

    “That is a long shot, considering the only teachers that came with us are from the first year classes. What could be so important that they would try to draw the teachers attention on this camp? If anything they only made themselves a target. So it is unlikely that a diversion is what they were after.”

    “Whatever their goal was, it sure has everyone shook.”

    Matthew used his thumb and pointed behind him at all the students sitting on the bus.

    Nick looked at them, they were shaken.

    This was the first time they underwent an attack of this caliber. At school, the matches they fight in are not life-threatening, but this one was. A person’s first time on the battlefield is always the hardest, but that does not mean it gets easier.

    Once they also came to the realization that this was an attack on their school, they will worry about their safety inside Mt. Hessian. If they thought it was an assassination attempt, then that would mean they will keep their distance from the people who were on the targeted bus.

    Either one was not good as it would considerably lower the performance of others. While Nick did not care about the other classes, for his own class he did show a little concern.

    They each had their own responsibility, and if they did not do it, then the whole class will suffer.

    The bus made its way to the entrance of Mt. Hessian. There was a giant wall erected that enclosed the whole area.

    “That has to be like forty feet tall.”

    Matthew said as he got off the bus and viewed the wall. The tan colored barrier was covered in orange colored dirt, it made it blend in with the surrounding mountains.

    “Stop acting like a child that has just saw something amazing. It is only a wall.”

    Freya commented.

    “You always have something to say don’t you.”

    Freya flipped her curly purple hair.

    “Only for you.”

    “Don’t start, we have to stay alert.”

    Nick told the two of them.

    Freya and Matthew both humphed and let out a breath of cold air.

    All four of them followed the crowd of students and walked towards the wall. There was an entrance located there, but first, they had to listen to the person in charge of the Mt. Hessian.

    When they arrived closer to the entrance, they were in the middle of the crowd.

    There was a wooden platform at the front of the masses. On the platform were five individuals, who were wearing a black and gold coat. The teachers in charge of all the first years could not be seen from where Nick was, but he knew they were in the front.

    Once all the students made their way towards the crowd, a well fit middle-aged man with black hair stuck the wooden platform with the end of his sword that was still in its sheath.

    A wave of energy spread out going over all the student's heads, causing them all to be silent.

    He did not use any sort of ability, that was just his usual strength. However, that force of his was filled to the brim with energy.

    “Welcome to Mt. Hessian.

    Behind this wall is where you will live for two weeks, and inside this wall is an environment you have never been to before. I don’t care what your rank is, I could care less what your EXO ability is. The only thing that matters is power, and power comes in many forms. It is not only displayed with brute force.

    I’ve been informed that there was a small problem on your way here, that predicament has been taken care of. You need not worry about any sort of assaults, this place is safe.

    As you can see there are four other individuals up here with me, each one of them is a high ranking official. No threat can get past them; each one of them will be guarding an entrance.

    Mt. Hessian while it is under the care of the military, it is used to train some of our new recruits. Unlike you, they stay in there for two months. Inside you will find everything you need to survive. As long as you have those things it will take you a long way.

    I will now answer three questions.”

    A whole wave of hands emerged from the crowd of students.

    The man pointed to one student.

    “If you use this place to train military recruits, then why are we here? We are only students, not part of the military.”

    “What do you think you are going after you graduate? You don’t look smart, your ability is more than likely trash. Now, with your prospects, do you actually think you will go far in life?”

    The middle-aged man stopped looking at the student directly and gazed at the entire crowd of them.

    “Don’t have such narrow minds like this fellow. You will more than likely work for the government in some sort of way. Those of you with low potential shall be drafted into the military, and those who show a bit of promise will have a chance to go into a different field. I’m not sure what you thought precisely, but you are a weapon and weapons must be taken care of properly.”

    A grin appeared on his smile.

    “Don’t look so sad, I’m only speaking the truth. You want to rise above the rest? It is simple, put forth more effort than the person next to you, behind you, and in front of you. Show the world you are more than just a weapon for them to use, that is the only way to have a life of your own.”

    The truth was revealed to them. Those who thought they were going to live a lavish life now knew that was not the case. However, not everyone was like them, there were some who knew what they were getting themselves into.

    It was not like they had a choice in the matter. School was not an option, you had to go. If you did not, there would be a suitable punishment for you once the government found out.

    The middle-aged man watched the hands, there were fewer raised this time. He pointed to another person in the crowd.

    “Sir, what are you?”

    “I am human. What did you expect me to be?”

    The students laughed when the man responded. What kind of question was that?

    “No, I mean your rank or well… job.”

    The student was a little embarrassed as he corrected himself.

    “That is classified when you graduate, and if you have the opportunity, you will find out.”

    Seeing that the middle-aged man had answered his question a few more students raised their hands.

    Once again the man pointed to another student.

    “What kind of beast will we encounter in there?”

    “Depends on what entrance you go into. There are different kinds in each, but the highest ranked beast you will encounter is a minotaur. Grade two demon beast.”

    The jaws of the students dropped. This was insane!

    “What sort of logic is that? We are only first-year students, how do you expect us to handle a demon beast? And a grade two one at that?”

    The students started to complain. If he said a Beta, they would have no problem with it. An Alpha, they would be slightly shaken, but a Demon beast was a whole level above.

    That was not something they could handle.

    Hearing the complaints of the students, he slammed the butt of his sheath on the platform.

    With the wave of energy going over their heads, they became silent.

    “I’ve said it before, this is used to train some new military recruits. Your grades do not define your capabilities, it is only used as a measurement. If you think you can’t handle yourselves, then die. I could care less, just means one more weakling I don’t have to deal with.

    Get into your groups, and be prepared to enter Mt. Hessian, because it will be one hell of a stay.”

    Nick looked at Matthew and shook his head slightly. The student council president fed them the wrong information, something they could handle? A vast amount of the students never fought a mutated beast before, let alone one of the demon rank.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    A woman with long black hair led Nick’s group towards the north entrance, which was on the other side of the wall. This group was composed of six different classes; two were from the offensive division and three from the defensive division. There was another class from the support division besides the one Nick was in, making it a total of seven different classes.They silently followed the woman.

    It took them roughly an hour and a half to make their way around to the other side. When they finally arrived, they lined up so they could enter Mt. Hessian.

    There was a silver gate that was ten feet tall.

    Slowly, they made their way inside, but before they entered they had to stop at an armory to pick up EXO weapons. There was a check in and check out center.

    Those who had their own weapons did not need to wait and could enter the gate directly. However, how many of these freshman students had their own weapons?

    Katherine and Freya surely did not have their own. Nick and Matthew waited for the two of them to grab their weapons before they went through the gate as a small group.

    Freya was checking her black sniper rifle as they were entering. It was sixty inches in length, but she could break it down into three different parts.

    There was no ammo for it, as she supplied it with the essence in her body. It would convert her essence into a bullet. The more essence she provided, the greater the power of the bullet.

    However, since it was an older model, it would take time for it to fully convert into a bullet, leaving her wide open for any attacks.

    Katherine, on the other hand, picked out a handful of silver throwing knives. Sheathed in a small belt, Katherine strapped the small belt around her right thigh. Her skirt covered a vast majority of it; if you did not see her put it on, you would not be able to tell she had a weapon.

    “Over here, if you are in class ten, meet over here!”

    Matthew shouted and waved his hand in the air to create a rallying point. They were not far away from the gate, so it was easy to spot them as soon as someone entered came in. Slowly students started making their way towards him.

    Once the whole class was gathered, Matthew went over what was going to happen.

    First, they were at the edge of the mountain; they would make their way towards the center. There would be more grass, trees, and animals. They would set up a base there, where they would live for these two weeks.

    Freya nudged Nick in the arm.

    “Look at him, if I did not know his true self I would think he was some mighty leader.”

    Matthew was serene when he was giving out instructions to the class, and everything he said was thought out. In the eyes of everyone, it looked like he had done this many times before.

    “He’s a great leader; he needs to be if he wants to become a Crusader.”

    Nick told her.

    Matthew acted differently when he was around Freya and Nick. Without those two around he truly seemed like he was fit to be a leader.

    “Look at them Nick; they act as they’ve never lived alone before. The look in their eyes are like they are listening to a prophet.”

    “You’d be surprised. A child cannot walk right from the start; they need to crawl. To them, Matthew has something they do not, and they want it. The best way to find it in themselves is to watch and learn from him.”

    At Nick’s explanation, Freya giggled. Nick sounded like he was an old man preaching to the young.

    “Nick don’t talk like that; it makes you seem old. You are not bursting with infinite wisdom.”

    “Freya I don’t understand how you can be in such a cheerful mood when our bus was just attacked earlier.”

    “I’m not exactly cheerful; I am just reacting to the situation in my own way. Being super serious is not exactly my thing.”

    Nick glanced at Freya and checked out her body. Without her wearing glasses, she looked even more beautiful.

    “You know, if you were a bit more serious, when you grow up you’d charm many men. Mature women have this appeal to them that no one can replace. Even if you were some supermodel at a young age.”

    “Please Nick, you think I want to be popular with the guys? They are the last thing on my mind.”

    Nick smiled at her, at least her priorities were in order. A vast majority of young ladies wanted to find a strapping young lad to marry. That was all they could think of, as long as they had a powerful partner they need not worry about anything. Their life would be set.

    To him, those kind of women were a turn-off. Especially if they could not protect themselves.

    “Alright, let's get moving now.”

    Matthew told them as he led the way deeper into Mt. Hessian.

    Freya walked by Nick who was towards the back of the crowd. He had his eye on Katherine who was ahead of him.

    She had not spoken to anyone since the accident, at least not to him.

    “Freya, have you talked to her?”

    Nick asked Freya, as he pointed towards Katherine.

    Freya shook her head.

    “No. She is not much of a talker. She has this mysterious air around her; I'm quite curious as to why.”

    After an hour of walking, they finally made it to a suitable location. It was a spacious grassland area, and off in the distance, you could hear water rushing.

    Matthew stood up on a tree stump and overlooked his peers.

    “As you can see there is no shelter, so we’ll break off into smaller groups and gather supplies. Those of you who are good at foraging, make your own group and find us something to eat for dinner.”

    The students moved to his command. While a lot of shifting was going on, Nick grabbed Katherine by the arm and pulled her aside. He led her into a denser part of the area, where it would be hard to see them.

    Matthew came down and found Freya by herself. He saw Nick holding onto Katherine’s arm as she was pulled into the forest.

    “Where are they going?”

    Freya shrugged her shoulders. How would she know the answer to that question?

    Matthew saw that she seemed a little down and he thought it would be nice to tease her a bit.

    “Bet he went to do that.”

    Matthew said as he made an ok symbol with his left hand and kept making his right index finger go in and out of it.

    “Shut up! Is that all you think about?”

    Freya asked him with her cheeks a bit red.

    “Mostly. I’m a guy so… that's like all we think about.”

    Matthew replied with his hands behind his head in a relaxed manner.

    “Shouldn’t the all mighty leader be, you know… leading by example.”

    “The good thing about being a leader is that I can give orders and not work as hard.”

    Freya rolled her eyes at him, what kind of leader was this? She wished the students could see his real face.

    Inside the denser part of the forest, Nick was leading Katherine away from the rest of the students. She suddenly snapped her arm back from him and gave him a cold glare.

    “What do you think you are doing?”

    She questioned him.

    “Obviously getting us away from the crowd, what does it look like?”

    “Smartass. Why?”

    “I’m interested in you. You are not human are you?”

    He asked her in a pressing manner.

    Katherine did not take kindly to his question.

    “Of course I'm human. Do I not look like one?”

    “Looking like one and being one are two different things. A human cannot do what you did; they cannot regrow a whole new body part.”

    From the look on her face, he knew he hit something. She bit her lip and clenched her fist together.

    “How?”

    “On the bus, I saw you. My EXO ability lets me see the flow inside a person's body, you are a control type, but you used a healing type of ability. That ability was one that far surpassed anything a normal EXO user can do, so what are you?”

    Katherine leaned against the tree.

    “I guess you were not trained by Furuta-sensei for nothing. I happen also to be interested in you as well, why did she train you who seems to be ordinary? What makes you so special?”

    Nick gave her a gentle smile.

    “Nothing, we just happened upon each other by chance. That is all. Now answer my question, what are you?”

    “I heard you the first time, no need to repeat yourself. Since you are her disciple, I think it is fine to inform you. Just to be clear, I am human. My mother is Dania Wells, as for my father… I do not have one.”

    She could tell by the look on Nick’s face that he did not understand what she truly meant.

    “Do you know what a modified human is?”

    “Yes, but they go through body modification to enhance their strength. You do not have anybody modifications, not from what I can see.”

    “My mother experimented on herself, or should I say the egg that was inside of her. It was a project the government deemed too dangerous, and they would not fund, or allow her to test it on any other human being. Since they would not let her experiment on others, she was left with no choice but to use her own body.

    She is a genius beyond anything the world has ever known. She manipulated my DNA, giving me a one hundred percent chance to become an EXO. However, that is not what makes me so unique. In my genetic code, I've been given various abilities of demon lord ranked beasts. One of which is regrowing my body parts, as you have seen.”

    Nick was stunned by what he heard. How was that even possible, changing the genetic code? Manipulating it so that it will mix with a demon lord ranked beast?

    There was no way he could believe such a thing was possible. There were reasons as to why he thought that way as well.

    “There is no way that is even possible; a person is only capable of handling one EXO ability. Having two is the maximum limit, but the amount of people who have two are barely pushing the thousands. A person with one can go unstable if they are not careful, a person with two is like a walking bomb. I cannot imagine anything more than that.”

    Katherine removed her black jacket and unbuttoned her blue top. Nick did not turn away from her; he could see her black colored bra and her smooth skin.

    What caught his eye was not her full breasts. Instead, it was the various markings on her slim stomach.

    “A seal?”

    Katherine nodded.

    “I’m sure you are aware that there are two types of locks that can be placed on a person. One type is a limiter, which limits the person's power they can use. This limiter can be unlocked and locked again at any time, as the person who has the limiter has complete control over it. The second kind of lock is a seal, which seals away a person's full power. The only way to undo the seal is to have the person who put it on you take it away.

    I have one seal for every ability I have. Besides my natural ability which does not have a seal, there are four seals all over my body. However, as time goes on they slowly weaken. The seal here on my stomach is the one that seals the ability you saw earlier. It is called ‘Rebirth’ as long as I'm not dead I'll heal from any wound. The more damage I take, the weaker the seal becomes.”

    Katherine explained to Nick.

    “A genetically modified human, you would be very valuable.”

    When Nick said that he meant it. If humans could be sold for money, Katherine would be worth billions. Considering the power of those abilities sealed within her, they will more than likely pass on to her children as well.

    “Not valuable to everyone it would seem.”

    She said in a low voice, but it caught Nick’s ear.

    “That attack earlier, it was not a declaration of war. It was an attempt to end your life wasn’t it?”

    He asked her.

    Given what she just said, he was sure that they were after her.

    “If I am not mistaken, it should be. Before I can control each ability, I am the definition of a walking time bomb. If I overflow, there would be hardly anything that would be able to kill me.”

    Nick could not refute her words. Rebirth alone would make her difficult to kill if her other abilities were on the same level… he could not even imagine such a scene.

    “Wh-”

    “Nick!”

    Freya shouted out causing Nick to turn around. Freya’s face was flushed red, and her finger was shaking as she pointed at Nick. Matthew who was next to her took a glance at Katherine.

    “Damn. I’ll take her and leave, sorry for interrupting.”

    Matthew grabbed on Freya and turned the opposite way.

    They came to find Nick and Katherine, but what they caught was Katherine with her top almost off and Nick looking at her almost naked body. This was not something two people would do unless something were going on in between them.

    “As much as I like gazing at your breasts you should put your top back on before it causes others to misunderstand. Now that I know, you can bet that once they find out you are still alive, they will return.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Four

    Learning about Katherine changed things for Nick. That assault earlier was not done by AEU, this point was certain. It was caused by some organization whose goal was to get rid of Katherine, and it would seem that anyone caught in the crossfire would also die.

    However, Nick could not recall of any organizations that would collide with Katherine being around. Nick was not, he could not keep this to himself. This camp held a greater danger than AEU.

    Nick arrived back at their base with Katherine, who was adequately dressed again.

    He walked over to Matthew who was directing the other students.

    “Finally done? That was somewhat quick if you know what I mean.”

    Matthew commented as he spotted Nick coming his way.

    However, he realized that him and Freya did interrupt the moment, so who would be able to finish in a situation like that?

    “Misunderstanding, we were just talking.”

    Nick did not want there to be any misunderstanding in his relationship. Sure, Katherine was a beautiful young woman, but his interest in her allied elsewhere.

    “No need to tell me that, might be best to tell her though.”

    Matthew replied as he pointed to his right, where Freya could be seen seated down. She was sitting on the tree stump Matthew was standing on earlier.

    “Yeah, I should. Can you look after Katherine for a bit?”

    Nick asked him.

    It was almost time for him to meet up with the members of the Disciplinary Committee. This meeting was not supposed to be known, and they were not suppose to be here. There was no way Nick could show up with Katherine just because he had to watch over her.

    Matthew shrugged his shoulders, he did not see why he could not do this.

    “Sure. I don’t know why you two do not get together yet.”

    He did not forget to throw in that last comment.

    “Our relationship is nothing like that.”

    Nick told him before he left to check on Freya.

    Nick looked at Freya, who looked at him. She looked better without her glasses on, but even with them on she still was beautiful.

    “Mind if I take a seat?”

    “I do not care Nick. Do whatever you want.”

    From the tone of her voice, he could tell she was disappointed.

    “Look, what you saw was not and is not what you are thinking. Katherine and I have nothing going on.”

    “Nick, I'm your friend, not your girlfriend. You do not have to explain yourself to me.”

    “While that is true, I still did not want you to misunderstand.”

    Nick gave her a warm smile as he looked at her.

    Freya could not stay mad at him, they were not together, so why should she be upset? What did make her upset? Nick was apparently looking at her butt, she felt that smile he was giving her was not normal.

    “Where are you looking?”

    “I think we both know. While Katherine has a better chest than you, Freya, you win in another area.”

    Freya’s cheeks turned red. What was this bastard saying to her?

    She threw a punch his way but only touched air. Nick dodged her attack which caused her to become furious.

    “Why are you dodging!? Come back here!”

    “No, I'm not stupid enough to sit there and let you hit me. I’ll come back after you calmed down. See you later Freya.”

    Nick told her as he walked away.

    He needed to get moving, time waits for no man.

    If others saw Nick, they would surely be upset. From the very start, he has done no work to help out with the base. They were over here logging wood, finding food, getting water, yet here he was doing nothing.

    Nick himself did not care much about the base. He was okay with or without a roof over his head. He has lived out in the heat, rain, and snow before. This camp would not be challenging for him, nor would it be his first time being outside all day long.

    He finally arrived in a dense part of the mountain. In this part of the mountain, the grass was up to his waist. Moss was growing all over the trees, and Nick could hear the flapping of wings.

    The strangest thing was that he did not encounter any beast coming this far into the mountain.

    He should have at least come across one, but he did not find any.

    Better for him, he saved time coming this way.

    The deeper he went in, the more spacious the area got and the grass shrunk in size. He left the grass that was waist high and entered into an open area where the grass could be considered average height.

    In his sight was a wooden cabin.

    It did not look like it was old but Nick knew he was built a while ago.

    ‘So this is why I did not encounter any beast.’

    Nick thought to himself as he walked towards the cabin.

    The wooden cabin itself was small in size, Nick figured it would only be able to fit three or four people. However, it had a mysterious air around it. It gave off a feeling as if it was telling people to ‘back off, come any closer and you’ll die.’

    Nick entered the cabin from the front door, and he noticed that there were already three others inside.

    “Well look who decided to show up.”

    Darren said as soon as Nick walked into the cabin. He was laying down in the twin size wooden bed.

    “Welcome Nick, you are just on time.”

    Fred said he was seated at the wooden table with two others.

    One of the people seated at the table along with Fred Nick knew the other person he did not.

    Nick would not mistake that messy blue hair and that smug look anywhere.

    “Why is this loser here?”

    Arthur asked. They were waiting here for one more person, but he did not imagine that person would be Nick.

    “Same reason an overly arrogant prick like you is here.”

    Nick expressed himself as he strolled over and took his seat at the table.

    Darren who was laying on the bed laughed.

    “Arthur, you’re going to let him talk to you like that? Go on, teach the newbie a lesson.”

    “Shut it, Darren. We don’t have time for your games today.”

    A young man with short silver hair said calmly. However, it also had this power in it that made you feel like you should not disobey him. His blue eyes swept over Nick before he stretched out his hand.

    “Names Roland Harris, a pleasure to meet you, Nick. We have not been introduced officially yet.”

    Nick shook hands with him.

    Nick was not introduced to everyone in the Disciplinary Committee and due to him not showing up that often he never got to know all their names.

    “Likewise.”

    Arthur who was seated made a tsk sound. He understood what was going on, the person they were waiting on, the member of the Disciplinary Committee was Nick.

    Arthur had a prestige among the freshman, and everyone respected him. He was invited to the Student Council, this alone made him stand out from all the others from his same year.

    There was no doubt in his mind he was superior everyone in his year. He had everything a man wanted, and what he did not have, he could get it easily.

    Yet here he was, seated with a bunch of others whose status was above his own. They had more experience than him, and they each had their individual title that was recognized by the entire school. He was among a few of the elites.

    However, there was this sensation in his heart. The moment Nick walked in he felt their mood change. To him who was not in the same club as them, he was not as valued.

    He thought highly of the Disciplinary Committee before, but now things were different. If a person like Nick was able to enter, then the club was desperate for members.

    Arthur could not help but laugh to himself, he was so glad he chose the Student Council over the Disciplinary Committee.

    To all the others sitting down, they did not know what Arthur was thinking. If they knew that he was glad about his decision to join the Student Council instead of their club, they would laugh at him. He was never even invited to join, so what nonsense was he spouting?

    “It is nice that you are safe Nick. When we heard about the attack on the bus, we were worried.”

    Fred said with his arms crossed.

    “Before we get into that, the Student Council decided to send him?”

    Nick questioned Fred.

    It was not that he disliked Arthur, it was just that he did not like him very much.

    “There was a slight change in plans when we were notified about the attack. Alicia thought it was wise to increase the number of personnel who knew about this task.”

    Nick understood, he figured that was why Arthur was here. How could they sit back and do nothing? However, he still wanted confirmation on the matter.

    “That attack on the bus, what do you think about it?”

    Nick asked.

    Now that he knew they were after Katherine, he wanted to see what the others thought. He was not going to inform them of her, the fewer people that knew, the better.

    “We do not have much information about it. There are two possible reasons as to why one being it was an attack on the school. This I find unlikely, as why would they not attack the first buses to pass and instead attack a certain bus? I believe it was an attempt at someone or multiple people's lives. Whoever was on that bus is being targeted, why? I can’t tell you, but I can tell you that from what we have learned it is more than likely they will show up again.”

    Fred explained his thoughts.

    “Impossible! The threat has been taken care of, and there is no way they would be able to enter.”

    Arthur shouted out, denying what Fred said.

    “What makes you think the threat has been taken care of? Because someone with higher status than you said so? Don’t be stupid Arthur, he said that so the students would calm down. The shadow of doubt in their minds have disappeared, but that does not mean it has vanished completely.”

    Roland turned to Arthur and said.

    “Kid, think about it. If this place is so difficult to get into, how would they get in? A child would not let a murder into their home, but they still got in. How does that happen? Either A, they are a part of the family or B, someone let them in. Different situation, same answer.”

    Darren yawned after he got done saying what he had to say.

    He wondered why this kid was even recommended, he seemed to be stupid in Darren’s eyes.

    “Enough explaining, we have a bit more information on the matter at hand, and it would be suspicious if the two of you were gone for so long. I’ve decided who will take what quadrant. The two of you will be responsible for your own quadrants, which is quadrant two and quadrant four. Darren, you will take care of quadrant three, and I will handle one. Roland, you will stay here and provide backup support.

    The mission is still the same, we are to eliminate the threat before it reaches the students. However, if they happen to reach the students, we are to change the mission. Safety for our own comes first.

    We do not know when or if they will come so be prepared at all times. We are no longer dealing with AEU. Whoever launched an attack on the bus used an EXO weapon and a high ranking one at that, no AEU member could do such a thing. While AEU may show up given the perfect bait they have, the true threat is something else, someone else.”

    Nick listened to Fred talk about everything. He came up with a plan, as well as safe points they could lead the students to if matters got out of hand. From the safe point, Roland would be able to cover the entire area by himself. If it was anything further than that, then Roland could only provide support fire.

    Fred dismissed them all, Arthur and Nick both took their leave from the wooden cabin.

    “Which one of them do you think will shine?”

    Roland asked Darren and Fred as he placed a suitcase on the table.

    “The newbie has some skills. The way he manages himself is better than Arthur.”

    Roland laughed at Darren's answer.

    “That may be so, but don’t be so quick to judge. While Arthur may not be the brightest at analyzing the situation but, you cannot forget that this is only his first year here. Once then matures he you’ll see.”

    Roland replied to Darren’s opinion.

    Fred himself did not answer, he wanted to keep his opinion to himself. Between the two of them, while they both were above their own classmate's something was off about one.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Five

    Outside the wooden cabin, Nick and Arthur were about to head in separate directions. Before Nick left, Arthur stopped him with his voice.

    “Wait loser.”

    Nick looked at Arthur; he really wished he could teach this guy a thing or two. He knew it was not the time, but Arthur’s face just made his blood boil. Nick did not know why Arthur thought of himself so high, in Nick’s eyes this guy was just a little above average.

    “What do you want?”

    Nick asked him in a cold tone.

    “Do not think I will take this, the laughing, being made fun of. I will repay it all back to you, tenfold.”

    “Arthur, I don’t like you, there is no getting around that. I don’t like you because of the way you act, you are not some high noble’s child, and your skill is probably subpar at best.”

    “At least we have one thing in common, as I do not like you either. As for my skill, do you have the balls to find out?”

    “Not really, you’re not worth my time.”

    “There is no need to run away; we will settle this score.”

    Nick shook his head lightly.

    “Listen, I have no grudge against you, so I want to know why are you coming after me? What exactly have I done to anger the great ‘King’ Arthur?”

    Nick asked sarcastically, practically making fun of Arthur's title.

    To Arthur his title was no laughing matter, it was not something you could play around with as you pleased. He was above all the others at this academy. His skills were better. If they knew who he really was, they would grovel at his feet.

    While it may be true he did not have a grudge against Nick himself, that look in Nick’s eyes reminded Arthur of someone. That person was a thorn in his side, and he could not stand them.

    They doubted Arthur, teased him, bullied him. He did not forget what they had done to him, and he was going to get revenge on them.

    Nick saw that Arthur was not about to answer him anytime soon, so he just left. He did not have time for this drama; it would not benefit him in any way.

    The troubles that Arthur had, Nick would let him solve them by himself. If they happened to cross each other on the battlefield, great. If not, then it was no problem.

    Nick could not stand for the arrogant types that always looked down upon others. Those types always got underneath his skin, but it was best to live them in their own delusions. The moment you countered them, they would react with either words or their fist.

    While Nick did counter Arthur, he was not concerned. At school, those types could only go so far because they were restricted by the rules. He knew Arthur did not have the guts to react when the Disciplinary Committee president was in the wooden cabin.

    Nick made his way back to the base, and it was looking better than before. It was no longer a spacious field with nothing on it. Instead, there were six long and wide wooden houses.

    The overly large green leaves on top made the roof to protect them from rain.

    Right now people could be seen hauling logs of wood to the center of the base.

    “Where did you go?”

    Matthew questioned Nick when he arrived. He was gone for a while, and no one saw him anywhere.

    “Nowhere important, I was checking out the surroundings. Have you noticed anything strange since we have arrived?”

    “Besides you going off, not really.”

    “Exactly that. This place is supposed to be infested with mutated beast, but in the time I was gone I have not encountered one, and none have come this way.”

    “Now that you mention it, I almost forgot about them. That is strange…”

    A mutated beast is still a beast at heart. With the amount of students wandering around it is surprising that there has not been one attack yet. Most mutated beast are not smart and only rely on their wild instincts.

    “What are you two talking about?”

    Freya walked up to them and asked.

    “Mutated beast. Have you seen any?”

    “No, but I also have not been walking around. Why are you looking for them?”

    “It’s just weird Freya, that is all.”

    “Have you seen Katherine?”

    “Last time I saw her she was headed into that cabin over there. She has not left, I'm assuming that she has retired it is getting late.”

    “Don’t think about going in there either, it is off limits for males.”

    “Freya, what you do think I am?”

    “Nick I think we both know your lewdness knows no bounds. With those eyes of yours, who can tell where you are looking?”

    “What do you expect, we are guys. It’s only natural to look at beautiful women, not that anyone is looking your way.”

    Freya cracked her knuckles, and an ominous air appeared around her. The way she was looking at Matthew seemed like she would kill him.

    “Want to repeat that?”

    “Not really, but if you insist. It’s only natural for us guys to look at beautiful women, but no one is looking your way.”

    Matthew was not in close proximity of her anymore, he knew what was going to happen but how could he pass up a chance like this?

    Nick could have sworn he saw sparks appear in her light purple eyes. She took slow steps towards Matthew, but each one was powerful.

    A smile appeared across his face; these two were at it again.

    “Nick, do me a favor and assign people to night watch.”

    Matthew told him as he dodged Freya.

    Nick nodded and left those two be. Since he has not done any work so far it was only fair that he could assign people to stand guard at night. This was not really considered hard work, but it was worth nevertheless.

    They would be here for thirteen nights, fourteen days. Given the number of people in their class, Nick thought it was only right to assign four people every night.

    The other classes they were grouped in this area with were further away from them, but they could still make contact. Tomorrow Nick would go over and see what they were like. While they may not all be from the same division, they would still have to work together if something happened. It was best to at least know what kind of allies you had.

    While a few of the students were building a bonfire in the middle of their base, Nick gave four male students the role of standing guard.

    He knew them, but not quite well. He could care less if they worked well together, all he cared about were the abilities they had. As long as they could see any incoming danger and react to it fast enough, that was good enough for Nick.

    The first day was all set up, and the second day that followed they did the same as the first.

    The days that came after were calm, and the students got really into the camp. It did not seem like survival training or combat training, more like a social gathering. A large majority of Nick’s peers relaxed, the event that happened when they first arrived was now at the back of their head.

    Nick himself watched over his peers while he hung out with his friends. The playfulness they were having right now would not last long. There was this ominous aura in the air.

    “Matthew.”

    Nick said calmly as he stared off into the distance.

    “I know, I feel it too. The winds have changed.”

    “Tonight, change the people on guard duty.”

    Nick left, leaving Matthew standing there silently. Matthew’s hand combed through his hair, and he let out a long breath.

    His classmates did not even notice, at least most of them did not. In Matthew's eyes, he could see the change in a few of them. They could also tell something was about to happen.

    Later that night inside the wooden cabin, Nick shot up like a spring. His icy blue eyes seemed to glow as he glared at the wooden wall.

    He grabbed his long blue button up shirt and threw it on quickly. He grabbed his katana and woke up Matthew.

    “Wake up.”

    Nick said as he pushed Matthew who was curled up on the floor.

    Due to the push, Matthew woke up quickly. He rubbed his eye and looked at Nick.

    “What?”

    He asked him. It was late in the night, and he was having a wonderful dream. Yet here Nick was waking him up from it.

    Matthew was not fully woke, if he were, he would not have asked why he was woken up. He knew that Nick would not wake him up for no reason.

    Nick himself did not answer Matthew. Instead, he went outside of the cabin.

    One of the young men put on guard was sitting down with his legs crossed. He did not notice Nick had come out.

    The young man did not have any essence within his body; it was like he was an empty bottle.

    ‘Essence depletion.’

    Nick thought to himself as his eyes scanned over the area.

    In the distance, he saw a blue light moving quickly through the trees. It landed on the ground and worked its way around.

    Nick saw a person with blight brown essence in their body in the same direction as the blue light was headed. From the speed of the blue light, it would arrive in less than thirty seconds.

    Nick rushed off to intercept the blue light. This blue light as not a person, it was a spirit.

    Ordinary people and EXO users who did not have the ability to see or control spirits would not feel their presence. Spirits were made up of essence, and since Nick could see essence, he could see spirits.

    The spirit sensed Nick’s approach and changed its target.

    Nick’s hand was over the hilt of his katana when he caught sight of the spirit. It was a transparent blue monkey with no eyes. The moment it arrived in front of Nick, it opened its mouth wide, and a suction force emerged.

    Nick swiftly cut the spirit, and it dispersed into the air.

    This was no ordinary Mutant beast; it was a Soul Eater. They were spirits who ate the essence in an EXO user's body causing them to become weak. When there was no more essence to absorb they ate their soul.

    These type of monsters evolved the more essence and souls they absorbed.

    The ground underneath Nick’s feet started to rumble and fissures appeared in the ground. Students that slept woke up quickly and exited the cabins. A lot of them were half dressed.

    Nick tapped his left ear, where his mini microphone was.

    “Roland, I believe the attack will happen in quadrant four.”

    Nick stated calmly.

    “What? Are you sure?”

    Roland asked.

    In the background noise, Nick could make out sounds of bullets being fired.

    “Don’t tell me; there was an attack in another area as well?”

    “Quadrant one, Fred is taking care of them before they reach the camp, but he is not responsible for the beast. Hold up Nick.”

    Nick started thinking, why would there be two locations that were under attack? It was not by humans. Instead, it was by the mutated beast, and it was happening at the same time.

    This was no random attack, it was planned.

    “Sorry Nick, it seems like the situation has changed. All of the mutated beast are attacking all four areas. We cannot determine where the main attack will come from with all this chaos going on. Fred says stay alert and notify us at any strange sight. I’ll provide support from here. Sadly we did not bring more snipers.”

    “Roger that.”

    Nick went to Matthew’s side.

    “Keep the healers in the back, everyone who has a strength-based body enhancement to the front. Snipers provide support fire, those who are too shaken to do anything make give moral support.”

    “Better for them to stay out of harm's way. You act as the vanguard; I'll make contact with the other groups that came with us. No need to face this alone.”

    Matthew turned and rushed off.

    While the support division may have a variety of things they can do, they cannot replace the main roles that the offensive and defensive divisions have. Support was mainly for backup; they would not be able to tank waves of mutated beast like a defensive user would.

    Freya came over to Nick with her black sniper rifle. She was wearing her blue button up shirt, that covered her bottom properly. Considering she was not wearing her skirt.

    “Freya, where are your clothes?”

    “What do you mean?”

    She glanced down at herself and noticed that she was not wearing her skirt. Her cheeks turned red.

    “Stop looking!”

    “I can’t.”

    Nick said honestly.

    “You don’t have time to change, go on top of the cabin. I trust you more than the others to provide me with support fire.”

    Nick gave her an order.

    “Gotcha. Don’t die out there.”

    Nick lightly laughed.

    “Wouldn’t count on it.”

    He watched as Freya went over to the cabin and started climbing on top.

    Once she was settled, Nick made sure to spot Katherine. She was buttoning up her jacket getting ready for the wave of monsters approaching.

    Nick could not lose sight of her, whoever wanted her dead would surely come again.

    Nick stepped in front of all the other students from his class; some were shaken. This would be the first time most would face mutated beast, and the air of death lingered over them.

    When Nick came forward, he gave many of them a new hope. He was strong and if he was scared why should they be?

    “I’m not good with speeches, so I won’t give you one. Just know what you are capable of and what you are not. Now here they come.”

    Eyes that were golden, red, silver, and blue could be seen from the darkness of the forest.

    The students were not surrounded, as they only came from one side.

    Nick’s aura rose, but he looked the same as usual.

    Multiple mutated beast rushed out of the darkness, roaring or howling. The channels inside a mutated beast was smaller compared to a human, but he could still see them clear as day.

    Nick took a few steps forward, with his hand gripped onto the hilt of his sword. A silver furred wolf with light blue eyes lunged at Nick. Nick himself seemed to stay in the same spot, but the wolf missed its attack. The wolf did not turn around to bite Nick, instead blood spurt out of its body and it fell to the ground.

    Nick’s movements were swift. With every step he took closer towards the horde of monsters, the more bodies dropped.

    His peers found courage in their souls watching him. In their eyes, Nick was like the god of war, and they were his soldiers.

    “UGHHH!”

    The students on the front line let out a warcry as they charged towards the mutated beast. With Nick at their side, what did they have to fear?

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Six

    Nick’s eyes were unwavering; his eyes never left the sight of his prey. Those icy blue eyes of his gave off this murderous aura. The beast that were rushing his way started to hesitate.

    With a simple flick of his sword he beheaded any beast in front of him.

    He did not feel any threat coming from them. To him, they were easy pickings, but to others, they were a difficult challenge.

    While most of the beast were easy kills, there were some with higher standing. Nick’s peers found it harder to take them down alone, so they had to gang up on it.

    A small blue light swept past his face and entered into the head of a mutated wolf. It’s black fangs oozed silver acid, and its red eyes would cause a normal person to shiver in fear.

    The head of this mutated wolf exploded causing blood to splatter around. Nick was already dyed in blood, but no harm was done to him.

    His icy blue eyes scanned the field assessing the situation. Data was automatically transferred into his mind, all he had to do was react.

    Behind him, he could hear the unsteady steps of people charging forward. Fireballs, ice blast, were thrown towards the mutated beast. Causing them to catch fire, or freeze in place.

    “Give em hell!”

    A voice shouted out, as the masses of people who just arrived rushed into the horde of mutated beast.

    “Let's go! Set up a defensive barrier, cage them in. None shall escape!”

    Another voice erupted as walls of dirt emerged from the ground, enclosing the mutated beast horde. A transparent barrier was placed on top to keep any from fleeing.

    Almost all the snipers stopped shooting as they could no longer see their targets well. There were only a few who continued to shoot, as their bullets pierced through the wall and transparent barrier inflicting damage on the mutated beast.

    Those were the ones who would not be obstructed by any type of barrier. As long as their target was outlined, or they were able to see the essence flow inside their bodies. Those mutated beast were no different from a caged animal that could be killed with the simple pull of the trigger.

    Under the bombardment attacks of the students, the mutated beast that were caged started dying faster.

    Suddenly the ground started to shake, and a vicious roar could be heard.

    The wall and transparent barrier had cracks appearing on them. The defensive students used all their strength to keep the barrier up, but a large black fist broke through. Using both of its hands it ripped the wall apart, revealing its shiny white fangs that glowed red.

    Those golden eyes caused the students to become petrified. Although they were winning, just the sight of this one beast caused them to become unstable. Its roar inflicted them with a fear they’ve never known. The eyes of that beast pierced through their hearts.

    “Damn it. It’s evolving. Hurry and kill it before it evolves fully!”

    A voice shouted out, causing the students to throw attacks at the monster's face. The attacks were weaker than before; some vanished before they could even hit the beast.

    Nick saw that they were shaken, this beast was on a different level than the ones before.

    The beast emerged from the wall. It’s black fur shined all across its body; it had a charm to it that could not be explained.

    Its tail crashed against the defensive division members who were trying to hold up the barrier. Their bodies were split in half, and the transparent barrier broke.

    “Oh my god!”

    “We’re fucked!”

    Cries emerged from the crowd, and many students started to retreat.

    The essence within the mutated beast was violent; it’s evolution was unstable. Nick pushed off the ground headed towards the beast direction.

    “What are you doing? That is not something we can handle!”

    Various voices emerged to voice their opinion out as they saw Nick rush towards the mutated beast.

    Matthew’s threw one of his sickles at the mutated beast.

    It was about to swipe the small sickle away when the beast suddenly felt a strange weight overcome it. Small craters in the ground emerged under its two large feet.

    The sickle dug into the mutated beast right shoulder.

    It screeched, causing the surrounding students to cover their ears.

    Freya who was lying down looked through the scope of her sniper rifle.

    She saw the monster and took aim. She saw the red aura around it, but her eyes pierced deeper into its body. She could not control her eyesight well unless she had her glasses.

    Every time she looked at someone she could see through them. She would not only be able to see their flow of essence, she would be able to see their essence core.

    Although the essence core is located in the stomach region of EXO users, for mutated beast it could be anywhere.

    It gave her a strange feeling when she saw it. The essence core was like a heart; it continued to beat.

    With her ability not being held she could now aim at this essence core that was usually hidden away by muscle and skin.

    She took a deep breath as she recalled upon a skill she saw before.

    Her ability ‘Insight’ let her store and use an ability she has seen before. As long as she understood it, she was able to use it.

    The essence she was supplying her sniper rifle was blue in color. Now, it started to have purple sparks bounce between her fingers.

    The muzzle of the sniper rifle was covered in a purple light. An electric current ran down the muzzle.

    Freya supplied the sniper rifle, and it condensed the essence into a bullet.

    She pulled the trigger, and a loud bang caused a ringing sensation in her ear.

    The bullet was covered in purple sparks and seemed to get smaller in size until it looked like a small bolt of lightning.

    Nick sensed something dangerous and turned his head slightly. He saw the small lightning bolt headed in his direction. More precisely it was headed towards the mutated beast.

    A slight grin appeared on his face as he increased his speed a bit.

    Nick’s explosive speed caught the eyes of the students, and they could not help but be amazed.

    His hands were quick as he appeared underneath the monster's legs and cut its tendons.

    As quick as he approached the monster, he vanished just as fast. The small bolt of lightning pierced the left chest of the beast. Under the weight and injuries, it could not do much.

    Blood leaked out from its mouth, nose, and eyes. Those vicious roars it was unleashing stopped, leaving behind nothing but deathly silence.

    The beast crashed into the ground unmoving.

    “Wow!”

    “That was awesome, who is that guy?”

    Many of the students who did not know who Nick was asked very curiously. They saw how bravely Nick rushed towards the mutated beast and how it died.

    The students seemed to forget about Matthew who helped bind the monster.

    However, it was not Nick who actually killed the beast. It was Freya who was not in their sights. That attack of hers would kill off any one of them, but she used it for this beast.

    Nick could only imagine the amount of essence she used inside her body.

    Nick’s eyes swept across the field; there were a dozen or so bodies that belonged to the students. However, the majority of the field was dyed in the blood of the mutated beast.

    Although they survived this attack, it showed Nick that the students were not ready for a real confrontation. This was still early in the school year, and they had a lot more developing they needed to do.

    A crowd of students surrounded Nick and asked him a boatload of questions. He ignored them and made his way over to Matthew instead.

    Matthew was just finishing his conversation with another male.

    The male bowed a little before he left.

    “That was Anthony; he is a part of the offensive division.”

    Nick did not really care about the male. What division they were from did not matter, as long as they were skilled. He was not even interested in what the two were talking about.

    “I believe this situation is a bit abnormal.”

    “Same, there is no way a horde of mutated beast would attack us. A dozen or so, maybe. However, not that many, they were prepared.”

    “Right, I feel this is just the beginning.”

    Freya walked over to them, and she heard the end of what they were talking about.

    “There was something strange about them. Normally an essence core would be bluish in color, but theirs were pure black. Like it was corrupted or something.”

    Freya stated what she saw.

    Nick could not see their essence core, but with him being able to see the flow and type it is easy for him to determine where it is located.

    When a person used the technique Darius taught them; they would be connected to each other. So it is easier to sense the core inside their body and focus on it.

    For Freya to actually see it without being connected to them was something else. It gave her an advantage over her peers, and if she could damage or destroy their essence core that would be the end of them.

    A mutated beast heart was its essence core, but that does not mean that it would be in the same location as a heart would be. Sometimes it could move around making it hard for one to determine the exact location.

    This caused Nick to look at Freya in a whole new light.

    “Black?”

    Nick started to think about what she said. He never heard of an essence core being black in color, nor about one being corrupted.

    His sensei taught him various things about being an EXO as well as what some were capable of. Corrupting an essence core was not one of them.

    Although his sensei did not tell him everything she knew, she taught him all the important things he needed to know. For her not to tell him of this would mean she did not know about it.

    Matthew himself was different than Nick as he seemed to recall something. He snapped his fingers together causing both Nick and Freya to look his way.

    “That's right if I remember correctly there is an organization called Frost that worships the demon gods. They were working on a potion of some sort that had something to do with the mutated beast. This could be the results of their work.”

    Nick shook his head.

    “No, I don’t think so. What would they gain from having these beast attack us? It has to be someone with a motive. However, it could be that these beast stumbled across some foreign substance that changed them.”

    “All of them?”

    Freya gave Nick a questioning look.

    How would they all become that way? They did not all eat the same kind of food, and the water was clear as day.

    Nick shrugged his shoulder.

    “Let’s not think of how they changed, for now; we should determine why they attacked us specifically. Do you two have any ideas as to why that might be?”

    Matthew asked them.

    Freya shook her head.

    “No.”

    “Useless.”

    Matthew told her.

    “What? You’re the useless one!”

    Before they could start anything, Nick stopped them. They should focus on the matter at hand.

    “Honestly I don’t see how, or why someone would do something like this. With our abilities, these mutated beast stood no chance against us. Granted, the students were afraid at first but still, it was within our capacity.”

    Matthew said as he sighed.

    “If a person was capable of controlling these mutated beasts and they knew of our strength. The most this would do is buy them time.”

    Matthew added.

    Nick felt like a bolt of lightning hit him. He was focused on fighting that mutated beast that was evolving and figuring out why it was happening.

    He glanced over his surroundings, and sure enough, she was missing.

    He let out a cold breath and looked past the masses of people.

    She was silent, and she was new, not many people really talked to her. Whoever wanted her dead now had a perfect chance to finish the job.

    “Freya, I'm just curious but aren’t you cold?”

    Matthew asked her.

    She furrowed her eyebrows trying to catch the meaning.

    Matthew motioned with his eyes, and she nearly forgot.

    It was not that she forgot on purpose, it was because it was not really chilly outside. In fact, there was a warmth in the air that made her feel comfortable, which made her forget about the fact she was not wearing her skirt!

    She tightened her fist and got ready to punch Matthew.

    There was nothing showing that people could see because her shirt covered it. Even if they could see something, they would be disappointed, because she was wearing boy shorts.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Seven

    While the students were still cheering about their win over the mutated monsters, Nick was going in the direction to find Katherine.

    He was disappointed in himself for losing sight of her; it was his responsibility to keep an eye on her. However, he was too emerged into the fight to keep track of her.

    Nick did not expect anyone would make a move on her during that time, when the students were around. He did not even detect a new presence in the area.

    In his sight, he saw light blue color moving at a fast pace. From the outline of the figure, he could see that they were being carried. However, he could not see the color or the outline of the person carrying them.

    He couldn’t help but click his teeth together as he increased his pace.

    If Katherine were dead, she would not have any essence left inside her body.

    Since there was an attempt on her life earlier, shouldn’t this also be a chance to kill her? Why would this person carry her around if they only needed to end her life?

    Nick started racking his brain for answers. Yet, he could not come up with any.

    As he drew closer to them, he heard a small click sound. With haste, he moved out of the way, and an explosion happened. Nick was thrown backward, but his body was not harmed.

    He realized that the other party had caught sight of him and placed a trap. They did not want him to catch up to them.

    All the more reason for him to do so.

    Nick fixed himself and rushed off once again.

    “Nick, Fred has cleared his side and has discovered something. It would seem that all the monsters are under some sort of control.”

    Roland’s voice echoed in his ear.

    Nick did not forget about him, but the guy did not have much of a presence. He recalled that during the fight against those mutated beasts a few shots were fired, but they were not from any of the students surrounding him. It could only come from Roland.

    “Yes, I’ve also come to that conclusion as well. I just do not know how.”

    Nick told Roland as he continued at his quick pace.

    “Wait a minute; I'll connect us all to the same frequency.”

    It was only a few seconds before Nick heard a small buzz sound in his ear. After he heard some voices.

    “There we go. Everyone is connected.”

    Roland said in a relieved voice. It would seem that this would make his job easier, he did not know why he did not think of this before.

    “How’s the newbie doing?”

    Darren’s voice came through.

    “Alright, how are you hanging?”

    Nick replied.

    “Too much work, I kill one and two more appear. Honestly, I just let them go past me and head towards the first years.”

    “Darren!”

    Roland shouted.

    “What? Look, there is an even bigger target, and these beast are not hard to kill. The freshman students should be fine.”

    “He is right. Our time could be used more wisely. Instead of fighting off these beast we could have found the source.”

    Fred agreed with Darren.

    Although Fred cleared his side single-handedly, if he used the students to his advantage there were other things he could have done.

    “Fred, if you would.”

    Roland said in a calm tone. He was no longer upset at what Darren did.

    “Right. The waves of beast are not natural; it was caused by someone.”

    Fred stated.

    “Yes, but how could they control them? I don’t think any EXO user is capable of such a feat, and what kind of organization could make an item that will control mutated beast?”

    Nick questioned Fred.

    Darren on the other end started to laugh lightly.

    “Newbie, there are still some things that you don’t understand.”

    “Darren stop it. This is only his third week of school; I doubt Nick has a grasp over everything.”

    Roland commented.

    Nick was confused as he listened to them. They knew something he did not, but what was it?

    “Nick, there are some things that are kept a secret in the EXO community. Although it is not that much of a secret, they do not like it to reach the children's ears. As the children might get corrupted by it.

    We learn the bright or holy path of EXO abilities, but there are also dark sides to EXO abilities. Your ability is strengthened far more compared to that of an ordinary EXO user, but the cost of doing so is your life.

    When this path is unlocked to you, your essence core changes. The essence you have is no longer pure but is more demonic. It is known as V-State.”

    Fred explained to Nick.

    During the time that Nick hung out with his sensei, he has never learned about V-State. If Fred knew what it was, then his sensei definitely knew about it.

    “It is simple. If an ordinary control user can manipulate inanimate objects, a user in V-State is able to control the living. To turn all the mutated beast in this place against us, the person is not normal.”

    “Normal? The person doing this is a monster. They’d make a great target.”

    Darren added in.

    Nick was honestly surprised. If a person had achieved a state such as that, then the power they hold would be immense. Why did they have to give up their life?

    He has heard of people signing devilious deals in exchange for something more significant. However, he never heard of anyone giving up their life.

    Although he wanted to know more about it, he would not actually ask them. Since it was not told to him by his sensei, she must have wanted to keep him away.

    The world does not seem to be kind to him though, as it has brought what she wanted to keep away towards him.

    “If you spot anything, let us know. That is not something a first year could deal with.”

    Roland said, but sounds of bullets being shot were heard in the background.

    “You’re still shooting?”

    “Arthur's side seems to have met with some trouble.”

    Roland replied instantly. He did not seem bothered by the shooting; it was like this was natural to him. He could concentrate on his target and talk to others at the same time.

    “That guy.”

    “I can hear you.”

    Arthur's voice echoed in Nick’s ear as he quickly replied in a slightly angered tone to Darren.

    “So? Hurry up and finish, what is taking you so long?”

    Hearing the way Darren was speaking to Arthur, Nick was sure that Arthur’s eyebrows were twitching. That guy did not like to be looked down upon, and that is exactly what Darren was doing to him.

    Arthur did not reply to Darren, but bullets could still be heard.

    “Tha-”

    As Darren was going to say something, a loud explosion could be heard in the background. Static came through from Darren’s side, but he did not say anything, or he could not say anything.

    Nick glanced up, and he was able to make out dark smoke rising in the air. It was still dark out, but he was able to see it.

    “Darren, you alright?”

    Roland asked.

    “I’ll go. He might have stumbled upon the person behind this mess.”

    Fred commented before he headed off in Darren's direction.

    Nick himself saw that Katherine stopped moving and was placed on the ground. It would seem that he was also catching up to his target as well.

    He could not sense the other figure, but he was sure they were somewhere by Katherine's body waiting.

    Nick approached her; he noticed dried blood on the side of her lips.

    She did not appear to be harmed other that the dried blood he found. Nick glanced around his surroundings. It was an open field filled with short grass, no flowers and trees enclosed the space.

    If Nick were not using his ability, he would not be able to see past the trees due to the darkness.

    At his feet thick black fog rose, covering the entire area.

    “So you are the one following me.”

    A voice called out, but Nick still could not sense anyone.

    The black fog rose up to his Knees; it shrouded Katherine making her body not visible to the eye.

    “It would be nicer if you showed yourself, rather than hiding in the shadows.”

    Nick stood up from the ground; he already looked her over. She was unconscious but still alive.

    “That would be nice, wouldn’t it. I did not expect a mere student to be able to track me.”

    The voice called out in a calm tone.

    They did not seem upset at Nick for following them; it sounded a bit like they were surprised.

    “I did not expect someone to steal Katherine from under my nose.”

    “Katherine? Is that what she calls herself now?”

    The voice asked.

    “If not that, then what else would she be?”

    “Subject number five.”

    “Subject? Nonsense!”

    “You talk like you know, but I only speak the truth. Since you do not know, I shall not tell. Instead, you shall die.”

    Nick felt a cold wind go past his neck sending a shiver down his spine. Instantly he backed away. A second later, a swoosh sound could be heard. Nick saw the blade move if he did not move his head would not be attached to his body.

    He looked up and saw those deep red eyes that contained no emotion. An orange glow emitted from his chest area, and his dark blue wafuku was half worn.

    Due to the orange glow that came from the sphere that seemed to be etched in, Nick could make out the circular tattoo on his chest.

    Nick’s eyes opened wide, as he recalled a moment from his past.

    “Nick you have potential, and you work hard, but if you continue to look at my butt, your mother will find herself without a son.”

    The long black haired woman said as she hit the young boy on the head with what seemed to be a wooden stick.

    The young boy grabbed his head to try to ease the pain.

    “Aka- I mean sensei I can’t help it. You wear those clothes everyday knowing I'm a man, what do you expect me to do.”

    Her glare told him not to call her by her first name. Their relationship was strictly that of Master and Disciple, nothing more.

    “You’re lucky I even stumbled upon you. Without me, your talent would go to waste.”

    The young boy laughed.

    “No one is stronger than me!”

    The woman glared at the young boy and drew a symbol in the dirt.

    He watched her with great interest.

    “No, there are stronger people out in the world. The world is wide, never think you are the strongest person. The moment you believe you are that is the time you are at your weakest.”

    She pointed the wooden stick at the symbol.

    “There are a few people your sensei try to avoid. Anyone with this tattoo is one of them.”

    The young boy studied the symbol, and let it etch itself into his memory. If his sensei said it, then he best avoids them too.

    “Sensei, who are they?”

    She glared at him again. He knew asking questions was forbidden, but she did not think that it would harm him if he knew.

    “They call themselves, Delirium.”

    “Delirium?”

    Nick muttered to himself, but the red eyed man heard him.

    Those eyes that seemed to pierce into a person's soul narrowed.

    “So you know.”

    Truthfully, Nick did not know much about them. He only knew that they were a worldwide terrorist group with unknown goals. If Xeno users were number one on the government's watch list, then these guys were number two.

    “A little. Did not think the first encounter I would have with one would also be one that's a modified human.”

    The orange sphere in his chest told Nick all he needed to know. He knew what modified humans were, and he knew that what they did to their bodies were not normal.

    The government could not stop them from messing around with their bodies, but that did not mean they looked brightly on them either.

    A person who went through an experimented with their body could turn into anything. Unless you saw what they were capable of first hand, it was hard to get a grasp on their real strength.

    “That's right.”

    He took a step forward, but Nick could not feel any essence inside his body.

    A person who has the ability to peek into others body and find out their essence can be strong. However, if a person has the capability to hide their essence from them, what would they become?

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Eight

    Only a few experienced EXO users could hide the essence inside their body. When they fought the essence would leak out, but that depended on the person.

    Nick felt the air around the man change, the man was not holding back. Nick could feel the essence being released by him, however, Nick could not sense it.

    The more Nick tried to sense the essence, the deeper he found himself being drawn away from his original goal.

    “It is best if you don’t look too deep, or you might find yourself being devoured.”

    The man calmly spoke.

    It was like he figured out what Nick was doing. Although Nick was only looking at him with his icy blue eyes, the man was able to tell what his ability was, or at least what it was capable of.

    Nick unsheathed his sword and took a ready stance.

    He was not shaken by the foe in front of him. He might not be able to sense the essence within the man’s body, but his ability still let him see the weak points.

    “We both know how things are going to end. I must praise you for standing up and trying to fight back.”

    He told Nick as he waved his katana and spread his legs slightly.

    The muscles in his body were relaxed as if he did not think Nick was a threat to him.

    “For that, i’ll let you know my name. You may call me Geno, as it will be the last name you hear before your death.”

    He sneered as his red eyes stayed focused on Nick.

    Nick let out a cold breath as he calmed his breathing. The muscles in his legs bulged as he blasted off from the ground.

    During the fights for class president, Nick showcased how agile he was. Now, his speed was only a different level. If any of his classmates were around, they would be shocked at how fast he was moving. His speed was on par with a low ranking agility EXO user.

    This was Nick’s true speed. In front of Geno, he would not hold back.

    Geno did not move from his position. His eyes moved to the left followed by a swift movement of his katana. A spark emerged from the collision of the two swords.

    Nick’s attack was parried. He landed on the ground and quickly somersaulted backward to dodge the incoming attack.

    Nick felt his blood pump wildly as he praised Geno’s reaction speed.

    Keeping track of Nick was not exactly hard as long as one had trained their eyes, but reacting was a different story.

    Nick’s sensei could not keep up with him at full speed and even praised him. Although Nick was not an agility EXO user, he was still able to harness a speed that the low ranking agility users would have. This placed Nick as one of the fastest non-agility EXO users alive.

    Geno’s body blurred causing strands of grass to fly up in the air.

    Nick’s left ear twitched and his body automatically moved. Nick’s katana clashed with Geno’s blade, causing another spark.

    The force behind Geno’s swing was intense causing Nick’s hand to go numb. He clenched his hands harder than before and did a series of sword slashes.

    Every one of his strikes was parried, or countered by Geno.

    The two of them were moving at a fast pace, their hands left afterimages.

    Once the two of them had their blades collided with each other, a spark would light up the night.

    With the pace of their fight, it would leave others stunned.

    Geno had yet to release his EXO ability and was overpowering Nick with brute force alone. Nick felt sluggish. His body was moving at a fast pace, but it could not keep up with the speed of Geno.

    When Nick wanted to dodge left, his body would be one step behind him mind leaving it open to an attack. Even with his years of training, he was able to hold his own but just barely.

    Nick knew how strong he was and he never envisioned himself as the strongest EXO user alive. However, Geno was on a whole new level. Nick felt that he might have to evolve himself if he wanted to stay alive.

    Nick tried to hit the weak points in Geno’s body, but he was stopped every time.

    Whenever the two of them clashed, Nick would gain a new cut on his body.

    Clenching his teeth, he started to let his body move by instinct.

    Katherine’s fingers started to twitch as she laid on the ground. Her eyelids moved slightly.

    Nick dodged backward away from Geno’s sword slash, but roots wrapped itself around his feet.

    He was immobile for only a second but Geno kicked him in the right temple sending him flying into a thick tree.

    The tree branches moved elegantly as they wrapped themselves around Nick’s arms. The rooms in the ground-bound Nick’s ankles, restricting his movements.

    “I’ll congratulate you for lasting this long, but our duel ends now.”

    Geno started to swing his sword, but Nick was calm. He was not afraid as if he knew everything would be fine.

    “I think you have to worry about something else other than me.”

    Nick grinned as he told Geno.

    Katherine pounched towards Geno in a crazed manner.

    Her eyes were not their normal color, they were dark blue. A tribal symbol was spread across her face, emitting a purple glow.

    Geno quickly reacted as he kicked Katherine away, causing blood to come up from her mouth.

    The force was not enough to kill her, but she would be feeling the pain for a while.

    However, due to her current state, she did not feel anything. She swiftly recovered and threw two silver throwing knives at Geno. Geno knocked them away as if they were nothing.

    The two silver throwing knives spun around in the air and aimed at him once more.

    Katherine was a control type, simply knocking away the knives would not do much. She could control them and have them attack once more. You either had to wait until she ran out of essence or you would have to knock her out to stop the assault.

    While Geno dodged the incoming attack, Katherine quickly threw out two more knives. Making the total four. With one knife in her hand, Katherine rushed towards Geno. She gripped it like a kunai.

    Katherine was like an untamed beast, her movements were unrefined. No matter how much damage she took, she would recover and charge again.

    Under the assault of the four silver knives floating in the air, Geno clicked his tongue as he continued to knock them away. His movements picked up a bit more speed as he dealt with Katherine.

    Geno cut her arm at the shoulder, sending it flying in the air. Blood spurted out, but Katherine continued on with her attack.

    Her arm regenerated itself as if it was never missing in the first place.

    She threw her knife, but Geno moved his head slightly causing it to miss him completely.

    She was not aiming at him, as the knife went towards Nick. It cut the branch that bound his arm.

    Nick grinned as he freed himself from the restrictions.

    He pushed off the ground and charged at Geno once more. Hopefully, Katherine would be able to tell the difference between friend and foe.

    He doubted it, but he still had a little room for hope.

    With Katherine here, he would be able to sense the flow inside her body so he would use his ability to match her movements.

    When her knives attack Geno from the back, Nick would attack from the front.

    Geno had to focus his attention on multiple things at once, but he was still calm. His movements had an increase as he parried and dodged the attacks. The damage he took was light compared to Nick and Katherine.

    Katherine found a chance to attack Geno and she took it.

    Nick shook his head, as he realized it was not an opening. He wanted to speak up, but with Katherine in her current state, he figured she would not listen to him.

    Geno stabbed his sword into Katherine's legs, and knocked her away, causing her to slide against the ground.

    Nick swung his katana, but it hit an afterimage.

    Geno appeared behind Katherine he grabbed the sword that was embedded in her leg. Geno cut through her leg and sent a powerful roundhouse kick her away. Katherine flew and crashed into a tree.

    The tree fell over and Nick heard bones break.

    “Just because you are needed alive, does not mean you need to be brought back fully intact.”

    Geno commented as he cracked his neck.

    The knives in the air dropped to the ground.

    Katherine helped against Geno, but she was unconscious again. The damage she took this time was surely more than what she encountered previously.

    Geno unsheathed his second katana.

    “Ready for round two.”

    Nick sighed to himself.

    Nick put his katana back into the green sheath and took in a large amount of air.

    Away from the field that Nick and Geno were located, a figure was seated on a thick branch. The leaves covered them, making it hard for a person to spot them if they were not careful.

    Their eyes were focused on the field Nick and Geno were at. A grin spread across their face when they saw that Nick was about to face off against Geno once more.

    “Finally.”

    They said to themselves as they adjusted their position trying to get comfortable.

    If Nick saw this person, he would recognize him instantly. It was Darius his teacher.

    Nick would ask if Darius knew no shame, as he did not help his student, he even left before they were attacked on the bus.

    “Emily, record this.”

    Darius said as a crow flew out of the tree and into the air. It’s golden eyes gazed over the field.

    The way Nick was looking at Geno, it made it seem as if he was upset.

    “There are a few things I hate in the world. One of which is using someone else’s power to help myself.”

    Geno did not understand what Nick was saying.

    “Break!”

    Nick reached his hand in front of him. A black lock appeared and Nick gripped it as tight as he could. Cracks spread across the black lock before it was shattered into pieces.

    Nick’s essence shot up causing all the black fog to disperse and the leaves on the trees to sway.

    Geno was firmly planted on the ground, but under the sudden release of the essence, he slid back a few feet.

    “So you had a limiter.”

    Geno was surprised, he did not expect Nick to have a limiter placed on himself.

    The essence in the air concentrated. The blue essence in the air turned black as it swirled around Nick’s body and engulfed him.

    “Manifest, Ninetails.”

    Nick’s curly brown hair turned jet back and his whole body had a dark blue aura around it.

    Two black fox ears appeared on top of his head, and nine black furry tails emerged from his tailbone. His fingernails sharpened and were blackened as if they were painted.

    Nick looked like a whole new person, once the essence dispersed.

    Geno’s face changed, and it was not because of Nick’s sudden increase in essence. It was instead due to the ability Nick released.

    “You are part of the Guardian Family? It was not on my plans to start a war with them, but plans change.”

    Geno licked his lips, as he gripped his swords tighter. He felt his heart skip a beat.

    “No, I am not.”

    Nick replied in a cold tone.

    His eyes were not hazel nor were they icy blue. They took on a different color, being golden now.

    “Impossible.”

    Geno refused to believe Nick’s words.

    Nick also knew it was impossible, but what he said was true. He was not apart of the guardian family, and he would never want to be.

    Nick was one of the rare types that were born with his EXO ability already awakened. ‘Providence’ is the ability he was born with, and it came from his mother. Nick’s father genes were very dominate and almost all of his father's relatives had the same EXO ability. They all awakened it at a very young age, the youngest one being his half-sister who awakened her EXO at age four. Since Nick showed no signs of awakening ‘Manifest’ his father showed very little interest in him. Nick’s mother had her EXO ability overshadow his father's.

    At a young age, he came across his sensei who saw Nick’s true potential. An ordinary person would awaken their EXO when they were around five to thirteen. Nick was abnormal as he was born with his EXO ability.

    She taught him and found out that he had a second EXO ability. She did not know why it was hidden behind his ‘Providence’ EXO ability, as ‘Manifest’ was the stronger of the two. If Nick did not become enraged at the time, she would never have found out about this ability.

    She knew about his circumstances and told him until he was able to take care of himself he should hide it.

    With his vast amount of essence and a second EXO ability, she knew that no one would be able to compare.

    Nick asked her to help place a limiter on himself, which sealed away half of his essence and his second EXO ability. She agreed to his request.

    During the evaluation for school, Nick broke his limiter to demonstrate his full power, however, he hid away this ability.

    He wanted to save it for a special occasion.

    Nick was sure that if his father saw this ability he would welcome Nick with open arms. That was because this ability was not only rare, it was claimed to be one of the strongest EXO abilities.

    It was not just claimed by the United States, it was assessed from a worldwide standpoint.

    ‘Manifest’ can be classified into any of the three types, offensive, defensive, or support.

    ‘Manifest’ allows the user to have multiple abilities.

    When the user uses this ability their body changes and takes in the spirit of a mythical creature or being. In Nick’s case, the creature that manifested itself in his body was the nine tailed fox.

    “Nothing is impossible in the world.”

    Nick said as his figure vanished, blending in with the shadows.

    Nick had four new abilities he could use. Shadow Fade, Fox Fire, Fox Illusion, and Torment.

    Shadow Fade allowed Nick to blend into the shadows and move around. Fox Fire let Nick harness a dark flame that would burn his foe. Fox Illusion trapped a person into a powerful Illusion that they could not escape. Torment showed the person in the illusion a terrible fate as it unleashed the wrath of the nine tailed fox on them.

    The sphere in Geno’s chest glowed, and golden lines appeared across his body.

    Geno turned and shaped his sword behind him, causing a black shadow to fade away.

    Nick materialized and kicked the sword in Geno’s hand.

    Geno was slightly off balance but he swung his other sword. Nick stepped on the tip of the sword and flipped into the air.

    In the air with the moon shining down behind him, Nick unsheathed his sword. A black flame engulfed the sword as Nick unleashed a series of sword slashes.

    Black crescent arcs flew towards Geno.

    Geno dodged the arcs. The black arcs crashed into the ground creating large lines to emerge and flames to spread on the ground.

    Geno countered with his own attack.

    The two of them changed the environment around them, as trees started dropping one by one.

    Geno sent a heavy kick towards Nick sending him flying back into a tree. Nick bounced off the tree and launched himself towards Geno.

    The black flames on Nick’s blade caused Geno to shiver, as he swung his sword to parry the attack.

    Nick’s katana cut through Geno’s blade like butter. The sword strike continued until Nick’s sword stuck itself in Geno’s shoulder.

    Geno’s red eyes flared.

    Vines and roots emerged from the ground and grabbed Nick.

    Before Nick could move, Geno sent a strike towards Nick’s stomach.

    Nick felt nauseous all of a sudden, as he saw two of Geno.

    With one blade still in his hand, Geno movements were swift. His blade seemed to glow with this white light, and with each strike of his sword, a white line appeared in the air.

    A hundred white lines appeared all over Nick’s body, as blood splattered all over the place.

    Nick’s nine tails and two black fox ears disappeared. His black hair turned back brown.

    A rustling sound was heard, and two students emerged from behind the trees.

    One was Darren the other one being Fred.

    They saw Nick’s clothes torn to shreds, with cuts all over his body.

    Darren was the first to react as he vanished from his spot, with his gunblade in hand.

    Geno glared at Fred, then looked at Katherine's body.

    “We’ll meet again.”

    Geno whispered to Nick, who was trying to hold down the blood that was coming up his throat.

    Black fog appeared above the ground, then it covered Geno’s body.

    Darren appeared and cut the black fog, but no one was in it. Geno was gone.

    “Who was that guy?”

    Darren asked in a cold tone as his gunblade disappeared from his hands.

    Fred walked over to Nick and checked over his wounds.

    “If my guess is right, should be one of the people who caused this mess.”

    Fred answered Darren, as he picked up the unconscious Katherine.

    “And, what does she have to do with all of this?”

    Darren asked another question.

    Fred shrugged his shoulders.

    He had answers to questions, but he did not have all the answers. Before Geno left, he saw that look in his eyes. It was filled with bloodlust.

    Fred was surprised that Nick did not die in the exchange, but he was even more surprised at how Katherine held up. Unconscious yes, but her injuries were healing at an alarming rate. He wondered who was this girl, and why were her healing abilities so great?

    “No idea, once Nick gets treated we’ll find out. Take Nick back to the cabin first, have him be checked over. I’m no expert when it comes to healing, best to let someone else take a look.”

    Darren looked at Fred in a confused manner.

    “She came?”

    Fred nodded his head.

    Darren sighed.

    “I hate her.”

    Fred laughed at his response.

    “You two are getting married in seven months. You should not hate your wife to be.”

    In seven months time, Darren would be eighteen. Although the times have changed and you could get married when you were sixteen, his family still wanted him to wait. He had no say in his marriage. Even if he says he hates her, he does not truly mean it. As the girl is wonderful, but she always wants him to use his ability to make traveling faster.

    He did not want to be her personal taxi!

    Far away from where Fred was standing, a figure appeared in a dark room.

    The glowing sphere in his chest looked a bit faded. The silver scales across his body were no longer there.

    “Geno, you’re injured.”

    The part where those black flames cut him was now spread all down his arm. Geno did not shout in pain, nor was there a tear in his eye.

    Geno’s red eyes looked at the man leaned back in his seat.

    If the freshman students saw this man, they would recognize him easily. He left a deep impression on them before they entered into Mt. Hessian. He was the one talking to them on that wooden platform.

    Geno used his right hand and wielded his sword. One of his swords were broken, but this one was still usable. He cut his left arm off from his shoulder and the black flames ate away at it.

    “Minor injuries.”

    Geno responded back to the man.

    “Who was it that stopped you?”

    “Some kid from the guardian family.”

    The man narrowed his eyes. He checked the list, there was no one listed on the roster that was from the guardian family.

    “Don’t look at me like that, I know what I saw. If it was only him, I could have finished the job, but with both our essences exploding about it attracted three more problems.”

    “Should have just killed her off. She is bringing more trouble than she is worth. First the ‘Phoenix,’ now the guardian family?”

    Geno closed his eyes as he thought about something.

    “It is fine, not like she’ll get away from us. Darius is still at the academy, under his watch she won’t escape.”

    “True, but he does not like getting his hands dirty.”

    “He will. For our cause, he will do anything. Afterall, we are using his wife to produce these subjects.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Nine

    At the cabin, Darren opened the door while Nick was holding on to him. Roland was seated down cleaning his sniper rifle, but there was another person in the room. It was not Arthur, it was someone who was not there before.

    She had long turquoise hair and green eyes. Her white floral dress made her charm skyrocket. She looked to be very cheerful as she bounced her way towards Darren.

    “Darren!”

    She shouted.

    “What?”

    Darren asked in an annoyed tone.

    The young lady hugged him, not minding Nick at all. Her soft breast pushed up against Darren's side. He tried to pry her off of him, but she was like a leech.

    “I missed you.”

    “More like you missed me being your taxi!”

    Roland coughed a little to hide his laughter.

    “Shut up!”

    Darren yelled when he heard Roland’s cough.

    Roland was not married or engaged, but the moment he was he would understand what Darren was going through. At that time Darren would have his revenge.

    “I didn’t even do anything.”

    Roland responded.

    Darren sighed as he struggled to move. When he finally reached the edge of the bed, he laid Nick on it.

    “Emilia, heal him.”

    “Darren, where is the, please? I traveled all this way just to see you and you didn’t even say hi. Mother raised you better than this!”

    The young woman named Emilia puffed her cheeks and crossed her arms.

    “Wait. How did you even get in here?”

    Emilia rocked back and forth on her heels and tippy toes.

    “S-E-C-R-E-T.”

    “Whatever, just heal him.”

    Emilia looked at Darren in his light purple eyes.

    Her eyes said everything, she was telling him he knew what he had to say.

    “Please…”

    Darren said softly, almost embarrassed.

    “Sure.”

    Roland burst into laughter. Darren who was rude and seemed like a grumpy old man that liked to mess with others never bowed to anyone. However, in front of this girl, he was brought to his very knees.

    Darren erupted with bloodlust, as he glared daggers at Roland.

    Emilia leaned over on the bed and glanced at Nick’s face. The wounds all over his body pained her. Her cherry lips came closer to his face and she planted a kiss on his cheek.

    From the spot she kissed him, a green aura enveloped his entire body. The bruises and cuts started to heal.

    Emilia brushed her hair back behind her ear as she rose. She pounced on Darren and attached herself to his arm.

    “Let’s go. I want to go shopping.”

    “No.”

    “Yes.”

    “I am not taking you shopping. I am in the middle of something very important, you should leave.”

    Darren felt pain coming from the arm she was attached to. However, Emilia looked like a perfect angel, seeming to not hurt him at all.

    “The bad guy is gone, right? Then you have free time. So, take me shopping!”

    She urged him as she put more strength into her grip. Darren felt that if she put in any more strength he might pop a blood vessel so he reluctantly agreed.

    “Fine.”

    When he agreed her grip loosened and the cabin door opened once more. Fred walked in by himself.

    “Where’s the girl?”

    Darren asked him.

    Emilia had a murderous aura around her.

    “What girl?”

    She questioned Darren.

    The last time Darren hung out with a female and Emilia found out, the girl mysteriously vanished. Since that day, his life has been filled with men.

    Emilia was not going to let anyone take Darren away from her. They were the perfect couple in her eyes. She had her wedding dress picked out, she made it herself when she was twelve.

    If you ask Darren who proposed or how this marriage came to be, he would look depressed. He always wanted to go back in time, but he could not. If he could, he would beat his younger self up.

    Back when Darren was still a child, he played with Emilia a lot. It was on the spur of the moment, but he told her he would marry her when they grew up. Only later did he realize what he had done, but it was too late as both families had agreed.

    “No one.”

    Emilia glared into his eyes, but Darren did not dare to look into hers.

    “She woke up and went back to the other first-year students.”

    Fred sat down at the table.

    “Once he wakes up, we’ll send him back to join the others. If he is gone for too long they may become suspicious. It would also seem that the threat has passed for now, but once we are back I want to look into this. I have a strange feeling about that man.”

    It did not take long for Nick to wake up after Emilia healed him. The first thing he did besides check his surroundings was check his body.

    “Glad you’re awake.”

    Nick looked over at Fred.

    “You don’t have to look like that, you did well.”

    Nick let out a cold humph as he massaged his neck.

    “Did you catch his name?”

    “Geno, he is from Delirium.”

    Fred raised his eyebrow.

    Out of all the organizations, he pictured to show up, they were not on his list. The academy may be powerful, but they were not weak. He heard of Geno, but he has never seen his face.

    Fred looked Nick over and wondered why he was not dead. For Nick to survive a fight against Geno, he had to admit Nick had some skills.

    “Not bad, he is one of their rankers. Did not imagine they would send him over, know what he was after?”

    Fred questioned Nick.

    He saw Katherine, she must have had something to do with whatever was going on. Fred did not know if Nick had some idea about what was happening, but it never hurt to ask.

    “No. Me and Katherine were trying to find the source of all the chaos that was going on and we happened to run into that guy.”

    Nick didn’t hesitate to lie. He did not know Fred all that well and he was not planning on letting people know about Katherine. He still had to question her about what Geno said to him.

    What exactly did he mean when he said she was subject number five?

    “Ah, I see. You should have contacted us as soon as you found him.”

    “He did not exactly give me time to put up a signal, or make contact. His first reaction was to see us dead.”

    “Nick, you’ve shown great promise. I’ve already talked to Katherine she does not plan to tell anyone about what happened here. I expect you to do the same. Go back to your friends and enjoy the rest of your time here. When you go back to the academy come see me. You’re dismissed.”

    Nick nodded his head and left the cabin. There was no need for him to stick around anymore. The threat left, he doubted that Geno would be back.

    As soon as Nick left, Fred pressed his finger against his temple and started rubbing it.

    He had a feeling that Nick was lying to him, but he could not really go against him. He was not at the scene when it happened so he can’t say exactly how things went down, the only one who knew was him and Katherine. Both of them kept their mouths sealed, only revealing limited information.

    Katherine’s response was to ask Nick, and Fred did not know if he could believe him.

    However, Fred felt it from afar. There was an overpowering surge of essence that extended out. Fred only felt essence like that a few times, he wondered where it came from.

    Geno was not emitting it when he arrived, and Nick was not either.

    If that was all he would not be so agitated. From the cuts on Nick’s body and the fact that Geno was using a sword, he could not have the power to corrupt those beast. There was another person working with him, if not more.

    What really bothered him was that he had to report all of this. That was a lot of paperwork which he did not want to do.

    When Nick returned, the sun could be seen rising off in the distance.

    “What happened to him?”

    Students who were up early started whispering and asking questions. The saw Nick come into the camp with his clothes in tatters.

    Their faces were darkened, and fear could be seen in some of their eyes. A few of the students that died were now covered up. The piles of beast corpses were being buried.

    Nick ignored the whispers of the students and walked into his cabin.

    He brought extra clothes, so it was not a problem for him to switch out of the ones he was currently wearing.

    Matthew saw Nick come in as he was talking to a few of the other male students in the cabin. He stopped his conversation with them and strolled over to Nick.

    “What happened to you?”

    “Nothing, I'll tell you later. For now, I need to wash myself off.”

    Nick told him as he grabbed a new set of clothes and left the cabin.

    Matthew was about to chase after him, but he decided against it. It was a good idea to let Nick face some hardship once in a while.

    Matthew was not sure if Nick knew it or not, but now was the time the females were allowed to bathe. Tempting as it was to go spy on them, the males did have their own morals. That and the females had guards posted to stop any male from going to spy on them.

    Matthew figured Nick would realize it when he stumbled upon one of the female guards.

    Nick knew the times that they agreed upon for bathing, however, his sense of time was a little off. Not to mention there were females already at the base hanging around, Nick thought that their time was over.

    If Nick knew what the exact time was, he would have waited. He did not know because his phone was dead and he did not wear a watch.

    Nick approached the river, where the students did their bathing. There were no guards around, he figured it was safe to enter. When male students washed no guards would be placed because no female student would want to check out males.

    The few that did want to check out the ‘goods’ of the ones they had a crush on were disappointed. Unlike females who took their time bathing, males washed fast. Around the time that the female would peek and look for their crush they would already be gone, and all that would be left were the male students they did not want to see. Thus they would hurry up and run away.

    Nick stopped in his tracks, his ears twitched a little. He heard laughter and it was not males laughing. His brain processed what was happening and multiple scenarios popped up in his mind.

    He was a male, and there were no guards. If he was quiet, no one would notice him.

    While he thought it over, he felt an ominous presence.

    He turned his head and saw Freya cracking her knuckles. Her hair was wet and her skin seemed to shine. Nick could tell she just got done with her bathing.

    Next to Freya was Alyson who had a towel wrapped around her neck. She appeared to be calm compared to Freya.

    “Nick, mind explaining what you are doing here?”


  • ??????????

    Part Ten

    The days passed by and the students headed back to the academy. The camp they had set out to do what it was meant to. They went out to train and experience real combat. The experience may not have been what the chairman and student council had in mind, but nevertheless, it was still something that would make them stronger.

    Today just so happened to be the start of a new month, as well as the day Nick and the other freshman student vice president and presidents got to use the essence pool. Once Nick settled what he had to do, he would go see Darius about it.

    Nick was seated by Katherine on the bus who was staring out of the window. With her head rested against her hand.

    “Katherine, you know I asked you previously what are you and you told me you’re a human. I want to ask you once more, what are you?”

    Nick asked in a cold but low voice, enough for just Katherine to hear.

    Katherine turned towards him and stared into his hazel eyes. It did not cross her mind that Nick would ask her again.

    “I already told you.”

    “I do not like it when people lie. If they wanted you, you must be something special. It would also seem that they did not know of the name ‘Katherine’ instead he called you subject number five.”

    Katherine froze when she heard Nick. Her being called subject number five was what they called her, but her mother gave her a much nicer name. She was not one of their tools they could use whenever they wanted, she was her own person.

    Nick read the expression on her face, from her not answering him, to the quivering of her lips. Katherine would not be able to lie to him again. This time, he was going to pay attention to her expressions.

    Nick learned how to tell if a person was lying from his sensei. He was always caught up in his lies when he visited her or tried to sneak away. One day he asked her how, and she said it was better for him to learn.

    Experience was always the best teacher.

    “Your facial expression gives you away. Lie to me again and I might kill you myself.”

    The murderous look in his eyes let Katherine know he was serious.

    Nick did not understand why his sensei told him to look after Katherine, but if he was going to, he wanted to know why someone was after her.

    Delirium wants her, it seems to be that she was created or brought to life in their hands. Another organization wants her dead, reason being is unknown. Nick is in the middle of something serious, and if he does not know exactly what he is dealing with he won’t be able to protect himself let alone others.

    “I already told you, I am the daughter of Dania Wells and that she manipulated my genetic code. What I may have left out is that her research may have been rejected by the government, but another group found a use for it.”

    “That group would be Delirium, I take it.”

    Katherine gave a light nod.

    “They came to her with the funds and equipment she needed to help experiment on her theory. On the outside, they act like an unofficial government agency. On the inside, they are an evil, a vile organization that has their own goals. My mother was lead astray by their vast wealth and top-notch equipment. She was blindsided in her own research to realize what was actually happening. It was not until the first experiment was a success and all her data was taken from her did she register everything.”

    Katherine grabbed her arm tight, causing wrinkles to appear on her jacket.

    “They used her, then tossed her aside. When she stood up against them, they captured her and used her own data on her. However, she had a safety measure in place when she is in real danger. A friend owed her a favor. That friend is your teacher Nick. She is the one that saved my mother, but it was too late for the others.”

    Nick furrowed his eyebrows. Who exactly were the others she was speaking of? Nick’s sensei appeared in his mind for a moment, he wanted to know exactly how she was connected to the ‘Wells’ family. When he had time, he would find out.

    “Others?”

    “If I am number five, then there are four more. My mother did not birth all of them, only me. The other four came from other women. They are already under control of Delirium. Your sensei torched the lab and saved my mother, but if it is that woman. If it is that woman… she’ll be able to recreate my mother's research.

    I was then raised by my mother. Live like a normal child, move from place to place, stay out of the spotlight. That was what I did, I did not want anyone to find us. However, that did not work and we were eventually found.”

    Nick seemed to understand the rest. After Delirium was getting close to getting her exact location, Diana contacted his sensei once more. They must have had some sort of agreement and transferred Katherine to this academy where Nick could look after her.

    He got all of that, but there was still something on his mind.

    “Who were the ones that wanted you dead?”

    Katherine shrugged her shoulders. She looked down with her silver eyes, she only knew of Delirium. Katherine did not have a good understanding of the other organizations, as she was in fear of only one.

    “I do not know. My mother's experiments are not widely known, the only ones who should know are Delirium, my mother, your sensei, you and me. One thing is certain, once they know I'm still alive, they will be back.”

    “What are you two over there whispering about?”

    Matthew asked them from across the aisle. He had his body turned so his legs were in the middle of the aisle.

    Nick turned to look at him.

    “Trying to see if we’ll be attacked again on the ride home.”

    The students on the bus heard Nick and looked at him weirdly. They recalled the moment when their bus flipped over and shivered. Did Nick think that was an ok joke to make?

    “Don’t even joke about that!”

    Six of the students on the bus said in unison, while the others agreed with them by nodding their head. It was not funny, they couldn’t understand why Nick brought it up when they wanted to forget it.

    The bus finally arrived back at the academy, and students unloaded everything.

    “Finally back. Now I can take a real bath.”

    Freya said as soon as her feet touched the ground. She spun around as if she was in her own little world.

    Matthew followed behind her and pinched his nose.

    “I did not want to say anything… but ye-”

    He was interrupted in his sentence as Freya kicked him in the leg. She had a good idea of what Matthew was going to say, and she did not want to hear it. If she did not stop him now, she would not be true to herself. That, and it would be nice to let out a bit of energy on him.

    “What did you do that for!”

    Matthew shouted at her as he rubbed his leg.

    “You were about to say something stupid. I’m just stopping you from embarrassing yourself.”

    Freya responded back.

    Matthew was going to get her back for this, and he could not wait. She wanted to hit him? Freya was going to be in for a surprise.

    Nick yawned, these two were going to be back at it as if nothing happened.

    “I’m going to go put my luggage up, I'll meet up with you guys later.”

    Nick told them as he walked off with his luggage.

    Fred told him to meet him once he returned, and now he returned.

  • ??????????

    Part Eleven

    Inside the disciplinary office, Fred was seated at the head of the large table but there were a few added guest.

    “When you said you wanted to meet me, I did not think you would invite others.”

    Nick said as he took his seat at the end of the table.

    Fred slid a black and white card down to Nick’s end of the table. Nick stopped the card with his hand and glanced it over.

    It was an ID card, with his information on it.

    “What is this?”

    Nick asked.

    He knew it was an ID card, but why was it given to him?

    “I’m not going to beat around the bush, you’ve heard of that ‘Secret’ society that is on campus. Not like it is a big secret, you have been invited to join.”

    Fred honestly told Nick.

    Nick inspected the ID card, there was nothing strange about it. He set it down on the table and locked his fingers together.

    “Why would I join? Is there any benefits?”

    Cassandra who was standing by Fred opened her mouth, but Fred put his hand up letting her know not to say anything.

    “Nick you skills as an EXO user are clearly far above that of your peers, there is no doubting that. However, do you think you’ll be able to progress if you only train on campus? From watching you, I believe I understand what you want. The Special Forces right?”

    Fred asked.

    “Yes.”

    “Then you should not ask any questions and just accept the ID card.”

    Fred responded.

    Nick looked over the students that were in the room. All of them were not from the disciplinary committee, he saw a few golden badges, signifying they were from the student council.

    Nick looked over at a beautiful young lady. He recalled that he met her at the entrance of the school gates.

    She saw him glance in her direction and gave him a smile.

    “I am only going to help you achieve your goal Nick, not send you down the wrong path. We all want the same thing as you, but we are taking a shortcut.”

    Fred said as he glanced over at Iliana.

    Iliana nodded her head as she received his gesture.

    “I had a feeling we’d see each other again Nick. As Fred has said, we all have the same goal in mind. We operate under Director Campbell as an independent unit tasked to protect district four. From various ranks of mutated beast to foreign invaders, and a few other jobs.”

    “Independent unit?”

    Iliana gave a slight nod.

    “We call ourselves ‘Shadow’, we do the same jobs as the special forces but on a much smaller scale. This unit was created to do the task they couldn’t do without being suspicious. It is also a form of training to prepare us, every academy has a unit like ‘Shadow’ that takes care of a district.”

    Iliana explained to Nick.

    “This unit just so happens to be made up of a mixture of Disciplinary Committee students and the Student Council members. No one would suspect you to have other activities going on when you are so busy during the day.”

    Nick commented.

    Nick thought about it for a second, this would only bring him closer to his goal. If it let him reach his goal faster, then so be it.

    “Alright.”

    A few members seated at the table let out a cold breath of air.

    “Honestly, I thought it would take a little more than that. You all seemed so suspicious when I joined.”

    One of the members spoke up.

    The doors to the Disciplinary Committee opened up.

    Nick turned his head and spotted a middle-aged woman with long black hair tied in the back. She was dressed in a black and red striped uniform, with a rapier at her side.

    Her black eyes swept over the table and stopped when they saw Nick.

    She walked over to him and leaned over a little.

    Nick could not help but look at her chest before he looked into her eyes.

    “Like what you saw?”

    She asked him in a cold tone.

    “A little too big for my taste, but yeah they are nice.”

    Nick responded to her.

    She grinned.

    “You sure are his kid. Except for your hair, yours is much nicer than his. However, stare at my chest again and you’ll find yourself without eyesight.”

    She leaned back up and stood straight.

    “Fred, he’ll be assigned to squad four.”

    Darren who clicked his tongue, causing the woman to shoot a glare in his direction.

    “Got something to say?”

    Seeing as how Darren did not utter a word, she took it as a no.

    “Dir. Campbell, what brings you here in person?”

    Iliana asked curiously.

    Dir. Campbell was in charge of ‘Shadow’ and all of the missions they accepted. She strived to achieve perfection but failed short.

    As a director, she has proved herself to her country and superiors, but she did not want to walk down this path. Talking to generals, officers, the president, and other high ranking officials was not something she wanted to do. She would rather be sent into the field like her comrades.

    Usually, she never leaves the office for anything unless they were off of work.

    “It is a nice change of scenery. I wanted to see the new recruit in person since I've heard some things about him. You are all dismissed, except you Nick.”

    All of the students were confused, especially some of the Disciplinary Committee members. This is where they worked, how could she just throw them out?

    She was in charge of them, so they made haste and left the room.

    It was weird for her to suddenly dismiss them without any reason. It was even rare for her to show her face in public. None of them questioned her but they gave her a strange glance before they left.

    Multiple questions popped into their head.

    Once the room was cleared out, Dir. Campbell sat on the table.

    “I’m curious Nick Wilson, I've read over your files but I want to hear it from you. Are you able to use ‘Manifest’?”

    She questioned him as she analyzed his face.

    She had her eyes on Nick for a while now, even before he came to this academy. She might not have been able to get her hands on him if he attended another school, but she was in luck. As Nick came here and was placed in district four which was under her watch.

    Nick studied her black eyes.

    “He may be my father, but that does not mean I inherited his ability. You should know that not every child has the same EXO as their parents.”

    Nick’s father who barely came into his life was the cause of this. Nick’s father’s family had strong genes compared to ordinary families. This could be due to the ability called ‘Manifest’ that they all have, but he was not too sure about it.

    Almost every child that was born in that family had the EXO ability called ‘Manifest’. It could be considered rare but how powerful it truly was depended on the person using it.

    Nick only saw one other person use it, and when they did someone died.

    Dir. Campbell laughed.

    “Who are you trying to fool, we both know that the guardian families genes are quite strong. The chances of you not having ‘Manifest’ is less than ten percent. There is no need to hide it, as I already know you are able to. I just wanted to know how you would react.”

    Dir. Campbell saw the confused look in Nick’s eyes. It was understandable as the people who knew about his ability were limited. He himself has probably only told one or two people. He never saw her, so how could she know about his ability.

    Dir. Campbell decided to clear things up for him.

    “Furuta-sensei or my little sister, your teacher informed me. Don’t worry about the last names, we have different mothers.”

    Nick seemed to relax himself.

    “What do you want?”

    He questioned her.

    There was no reason for her to bring ‘Manifest’ up unless she wanted something.

    “I’m just curious about the strongest EXO ability. You should know, a person that awakens two EXO abilities has a greater chance to overflow than a person who awakens one EXO ability. What does not change is the amount of essence they hold in their body. You, however, have what, three times the average amount a person your age should have?”

    “What does that have to do with anything? If you are just going to ask me questions, then I see no point of me staying here.”

    “Fine, let’s talk about something else. Like the role, you will play in the upcoming events.”

    “The freshman competition?”

    Dir. Campbell nodded her head at Nick’s question.

    “That's right, so far only a few people have been keeping tabs on you. Currently, there are more individuals who they believe will be outstanding.”

    Nick gave her a light smile.

    “I was already planning on taking the crown. With people as skilled as Arthur around, I don’t have much to worry about.”

    “Arthur? Oh, that guy. I was not worried about him, he uses his mother's name to make himself look better. Sad for him, being thrown out of the Wells family before he was even born.”

    Dir. Campbell commented as she recalled who Arthur was.

    “Wells family?”

    Nick laughed a bit.

    “No wonder he looks down on others. They are one of the ten families. You said he was thrown out before he was born? Why was that?”

    Dir. Campbell shook her head.

    What the Wells did was their own personal business, she had no right to talk about it with others. She already said too much mentioning that he was thrown out of the family.

    “We are not here to get sidetracked, Nick. While they may pay attention to him, there are two more individuals that came into the school. I want you to monitor them if you know what I mean.”

    Nick was still thinking about Arthur's circumstances when Dir. Campbell told him to monitor those two people. Nick wanted to know what really happened in the Wells family for him to get thrown out.

    “What is so special about these two?”

    Hearing Nick say that, Dir. Campbell could not help but have a grin on her face.

    “One, they are keeping a low profile. They act normal but they are not. Alex Brown for one. His uncle is a member of Frost and his brother was a member until recently.”

    “With two members of the family already being members, you believe that he is also a member. Why let him onto the campus then? I do not get the way that you people think.”

    Nick told her.

    How could an academy allow terrorist to enter their school grounds? That was just calling for a disaster.

    “When they are within your palm they are easier to monitor.”

    Dir. Campbell responded to him.

    “Have you noticed anything strange that is happening on campus?”

    She asked him.

    Nick thought about it, then he remembered something.

    “Now that I think about it, when I go for my nightly run there is this person that wearing sweats and a long sleeve shirt. I’ve seen them a few times but I did not think about it much until now.”

    “Nick, what does that have to do with this?”

    “I did not finish. I usually get back to the dorm close to midnight, and I've spotted them coming out around the same time. That would not be strange, but I've smelt ‘Crow’ on them.”

    “Really?”

    Nick nodded.

    “That is strange. Crow is concentrated essence that is in a liquid form mixed with other chemicals. It can be used for a few things. Why haven’t you brought this up?”

    “Honestly, I was not bothered by it. Finding out what others are up to is not in my current job description and it does not benefit me in any way.”

    Dir. Campbell rolled her eyes at his response.

    “And who is the other one?”

    Nick asked her.

    “James Alexander.”

    Nick raised his eyebrow, he knew that guy.

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Twelve

    Nick left the Disciplinary Committee office and headed towards the classroom. Class was not going on today but Darius should be in there still. It was his office hours in case any student wanted to drop by and ask questions.

    Before the camp, Darius called certain students to come see him about their future development. Nick is supposed to contact him, to see about the path Darius came up with for him as well as to go to the essence pool.

    Nick’s phone vibrated in his pocket. Pulling it out he checked it and saw that Matthew left him a message. Telling him that he was on his way to the essence pool.

    Nick slid the phone back into his pocket, he was already at the door to the classroom.

    Opening the door, he saw something he never thought would occur.

    An older woman had her blouse undid, and Darius had his hands on her well-shaped breast.

    Nick stood still at the door, his gaze was met with Darius’ and the womans.

    It was like time had frozen the classroom.

    The woman's face turned red, and Darius coughed.

    Nick heard the cough, he figured that Darius wanted him to close the door.

    Nick did a cough of his own, letting them know that he was not going to leave and if they wanted they could continue.

    Darius shook his head in disappointment. How could anyone be in the mood to continue? His hands told a different story as they continued to squeeze her breast.

    Darius felt like if he took it any further she would lose all her dignity. He moved in front of her to block Nick’s view. At least this way she could fix herself with a little privacy.

    The woman took less than thirty seconds to put her clothes back in order. With her entire face dyed red and her head hung low, she moved quickly out of the classroom.

    This was so embarrassing. How could she show her face again in front of her students? Although Nick was not her student, he was bound to gossip about what happened here.

    In her head, she was already picturing turning in her resignation letter.

    She knew that they should not do anything in the classroom, but under Darius' sweet words she did not resist. Now she was regretting not listening to her mind. She bit her bottom lip and cursed Darius for being so handsome and charming. If it was any other male she would not have given them any time.

    She did not want to resign, but how could she go on living? Maybe she could persuade Nick into not saying a word, but if she did that it would go against everything she valued.

    “Do you not know how to knock?”

    Darius asked Nick.

    Darius was chasing after her for a whole two weeks, and she was finally letting him in. Just when Darius felt that he would dive into the pleasures of adults, Nick interrupted him. He knew he should have locked the door, but what student comes in on a Sunday?

    “Do you not know how to lock the door?”

    Nick retorted.

    “Nevermind. What are you here for? Shouldn’t you be at the essence pool?”

    Nick gave a small nod.

    “Yes, but you never told me where it was located. Also, you told me before we left for the camp that I had to see you when I returned. I’ve returned, so here I am.”

    Nick told him.

    Darius suddenly remembered he did tell Nick that. Honestly, it has been two weeks so he forgot. Other important task needed to be completed so he was busy dealing with those.

    “Right, take a seat.”

    Darius told Nick as he walked over to his desk. He opened a drawer and pulled out two pieces of paper.

    Darius set them both in front of Nick. Nick picked up one, which was titled ‘Foresight’ and read it over.

    “From the skill you’ve shown I came up with two paths you could go down. You already seem to be going down the foresight pathway, but we both know how hard that is. If a person does manage to complete the advancement, then they have potential to be any role. With your skill, I believe it is possible for you to complete it sometime in the near future.”

    Darius watched Nick as he read all over the paper.

    Nick was going down that pathway, as it allowed him to easily dodge his opponents attacks. Combined with his EXO abilities natural ability, it would allow him to land devastating blows.

    “Personally, I like the other path. ‘Absolute Eye’. It not only allows the user to read their opponent's movements with or without essence, the user will also be able to locate the five points of death. I believe you’ll find enjoyment in this path.”

    Nick grabbed the other paper, and read it over.

    He never heard of this pathway before. Nick spent countless hours in the past studying different eyesight pathways he could go down, and he determined that ‘Foresight’ was the superior choice. At least for his battle style, it was.

    Nick heard about the five points of death, which were the absolute weak points in or on a person or object. When a massive force hit one of these points, the body or object would start to break apart internally. There was no way to stop it from happening, only death awaited.

    A sword would crumble into pieces, a person would feel all their organs stop working and blood would no longer flow.

    Having the ability to hit these points at will, along with the sixteen points in the channels of an EXO user would make a person one of the deadliest beings alive. However, Nick could not recall of anyone in the world that was able to see these five points.

    The location of these points were different in everyone and every object.

    “Where did you learn of this?”

    Nick was suspicious about this ‘Absolute Eye’ pathway.

    “Researched it on my own. Back when I was living in Japan, I came across some ancient text and studied it. The eye techniques they use there are actually branched off of this, so it is likely you have not heard of it. I don’t believe you have been outside of the country yet.”

    Darius paused for a moment.

    “Whatever you chose, is your decision. I’m just helping guide you to the most suitable path, you can go down a completely different pathway if you want. No matter what, it does not affect me in any way. Now, you should go to the third building on your left by the gate. That is where you will find the essence pool, tell them your name and you’ll be allowed to enter.”

    Darius got up from his seat.

    “Now if you’ll excuse me, I did have a prior engagement going on.”

    Darius strolled out of the classroom, leaving Nick alone in thought.

    Nick did not take a second look at the training for ‘Foresight’ he crumbled up the paper and threw it away. He already knew what was needed for him to go down that pathway. However, he folded up the paper for ‘Absolute Eye’ and put it in his pocket.

    It was tempting, but he would not take Darius’ word for it. He would conduct his own research.

    As Darius walked down the hallway he had a sly grin on his face.

    ‘We all have a role to play. Nothing but pieces to a very large puzzle, and your piece has just been put into effect Nick.’ Darius thought to himself.


  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Thirteen

    Nick followed the directions Darius told him. He arrived in front of a small white brick building. There were two small windows each on the side of the pure white door. A small pigeon statue was on the edge of the window sill, and outside there were two students standing guard.

    Nick walked over to them.

    The two were males, with a blue colored badge on their color signifying they were seniors. The expressions on their faces made them seem lifeless.

    Countless students passed by them but they did not even look at them, their eyes stayed focused on one point. It was not until Nick came up to them did they both turn their head.

    “Name?”

    They asked him in unison.

    “Nick Wilson.”

    They both nodded their head, and the student on the left opened the door for Nick.

    Both males were briefed earlier and they already had a list of names. One of the males remembered the names of all the students on the list, while the other remembered faces. It would be difficult for someone to lie to them about who they really were.

    Nick entered the building, but there was nothing inside but a flight of stairs leading downward. He started to descend the stairs at his own pace. The further down he went to darker it became.

    When he finally made it down, his feet touched the rocky floor. The place looked like a cave. There were dark rocks scattered across the floor, and above his head, he saw various helicities of dark brown color. A greenish colored glow emitted from them, causing one to be attracted to them.

    In front of Nick was a straight path, which led deeper into the cave.

    He heard the splashing of water and various voices.

    Nick arrived at the end of the path, where there was a more spacious area. It was still a rocky ground under his feet, but there was a large pool of green colored watered.

    Some students were inside the water splashing around for fun, while others were seated in a meditative position absorbing the essence.

    The essence in this area was more concentrated than outside. It allowed a person to absorb the essence at a faster rate. While a person could go inside the pool to meditate, there would not be much of a difference if you were in it or not. As long as you were near the pool, you would be able to tell the difference in the rate you absorbed essence.

    Nick did not bring with him a change of clothes, so he was not going planning on going into the pool. He found himself a ways away from the others and sat down close to the edge of the pool.

    He closed his eyes and was about to meditate.

    “Yo, I see you finally made it.”

    Yes, he was about to meditate but then he heard a familiar voice. He opened his eyes and greeted Matthew, who was in the pool.

    “I just arrived.”

    Matthew hopped out of the pool and stood next to Nick. Matthew was wearing some black swim trunks, and his black hair stuck to his head.

    “You should have brought something to get wet in, you’re missing all the action.”

    Matthew told Nick as he pointed to the females in their swimwear. They were giggling and splashing water on each other as well as the other males that were around them.

    With teenage hormones raging about Nick was sure something more was bound to happen besides splashing water all over. With the students showing off their well-developed bodies and the atmosphere they were creating it was likely a few would hook up after.

    Nick thought it was a waste to just have fun when they should use this time to increase their essence pool. He was not interested in picking up females that he would not hold dear.

    “Nah, some other time.”

    “C’mon man, girls are not scary.”

    Seeing how Nick declined, Matthew thought Nick was afraid of talking to girls. Freya was a different story as Matthew did not picture her as much of a girl. From his perspective, Nick has only talked to a handful of female students, so it would not be a bad thing for him to increase it. The more connections he had with them the more likely something was bound to happen.

    A harem is a man’s dream and the law did not exactly forbid a person from having one. Be it a male with a bunch of wives, or a female with a lot of husbands.

    Matthew had his own opinion on the topic. He personally would not mind having more than one wife, but he knew things would not go that way.

    Having one wife was already hard to deal with, he already knew of a number of troubles that would come if he had more than one.

    “Matthew, I'm not scared of girls, and I don’t think you have the right to say that when you are avoiding a certain someone.”

    Nick motioned with his eyes, towards a petite girl, wearing a red two-piece swimsuit. Her red hair was no longer in a ponytail, she let it flow.

    For her size she had the right sizes in the right places, and wearing her swimsuit brought them to light. Although she was on the shorter side she still managed to attract the gazes from various males.

    Matthew looked in the direction Nick motioned and saw Scarlet. He rolled his eyes and let out a small sigh.

    “What’s up with you two anyway? She glanced in this direction at least four times since you came over here.”

    Nick said while Matthew took a seat next to him.

    “Like I said, she is my ex-fiance.”

    Matthews' voice was low, almost like he did not want anyone to hear him.

    His engagement with Scarlet was not something widely known in this academy and he would very much like to keep it that way.

    “There’s a reason you’re saying ex.”

    From the look in Nick’s eye, Matthew gave in. Nick would find out one way or another, and it was not a big secret. He could at least tell him this much to deepen their friendship.

    “Well yeah, our two families had a grudge against each other in the past. That feud went on for generations, but now they wanted to put an end to it. What is the best way to put an end to it? A marriage that would tie together the two families. So me and Scarlet got engaged to each other, at first we were both against it. Our parents forced us to hang out, but over time we came to like each other.”

    Matthew paused, his eyes were showing a deep emotion.

    “Scarlet was the popular girl in school despite her size, but it seemed like she changed. She started to bully the less popular, isolate them and make them feel like they were not wanted. Not going to lie and say I was the perfect schoolboy, since I did nothing to stop her. However, towards the end of our middle school or junior high whatever you want to call it, graduation. A female Scarlet was bullying ended up taking her own life. It really affected everyone in the school but no one got in trouble for it. It was like it was swept cleanly under the rug as if it never happened.

    After that event, she did not change. I confronted her about why it was covered up, but she ignored me. I already know her family used their power to take care of the problem. As they did not want to stain their family name. With the previous event happening and talking to Scarlet, I realized I could do so much better and my family could do better. If I actually stopped it or intervened then the girl might not have died. I do not want anything to do with her or her family, I won’t be that same person that stands by and watch. Things will be different this time.”

    Nick placed his hand on Matthew’s shoulder.

    “I understand.”

    Matthew looked at Nick and laughed a little.

    “You understand being engaged?”

    When Matthew asked that question he realized that might be the reason Nick does not interact with a lot of females. He might already be engaged to someone and they are both waiting for marriage.

    “No, I had a similar experience with my own family. To make a long story short, my sister killed someone close to me. While it was not on purpose, it was the words that came after that hit me hard. I felt helpless, and I could do nothing but watch as they died. My sister laughed as I wept over her death. She is a demon and I am the one who’ll put her down.”

    Nick still could not forget that blonde haired young girl and her beautiful smile. As soon as he saw her emerge in his mind, it was replaced by a dreadful scene of her bloody corpse. Nick saw those azure blue eyes of hers seem to lose their color.

    He had the power to stop what happened, but he was afraid he would be the one who would die. It was his greatest regret.

    That version of him no longer existed, he was far stronger and had more courage than before. It has almost been ten years since that time, but he would never forget.

    “Seems we both have trouble with girls.”

    Matthew said in a light tone.


  • ??????????

    Part Fourteen

    A few months passed by and with it came a small two-week break for the students of Demeter academy. The academy allowed them a few times every year to go off campus and return home. This would give the students a relief and a chance to catch up with their family members.

    While many students already planned trips to go on during this break, others would rather stay at home.

    Katherine was picked up by Nick’s senior brother, who would look after her during the break. Nick has not seen him in a while so he wanted to catch up. It was already in Nick’s plans to give him a visit when he had the chance.

    He told Nick not to worry about visiting, but Nick insisted on it.

    Although Nick’s sensei’s son was lazy and could not hold down a job, he was a powerful EXO user. If he actually put his skills to use, Nick was positive he could grab a high ranking position working for the government.

    For this break, Matthew decided to go home. He gave Nick his address and told him to swing by if he wanted to. Matthew was not planning on going anywhere he would instead be working with his father learning more about the family business.

    It seemed like he was a little reluctant to go home due to a previous engagement he had with his father. However, after a phone call between the two of them, things got settled.

    Lastly, Freya. She was going on a short trip with her family to go sightseeing. Her family was going to go without her but due to the academy having a break it ended up working out for Freya. Allowing her to tag along.

    Nick, on the other hand, did not have any plans for this school break. Other than training he could not think of anything else he could do. His sensei was gone, and he had no way to contact her. Asking her any sort of questions was out of the picture.

    Nick did not have any people he could call a friend in his neighborhood.

    Nick shrugged his shoulders as he thought about it. Something was bound to happen eventually.

    Nick was speeding along the highway on a black motorcycle. The side of the bike glowed neon red, while the tires went smoothly across the road.

    Nick was weaving in and out between cars, causing a few of them to beep their horns. However, as soon as they honked Nick was already past them.

    The only thing that they could make out was a red streak.

    Nick received this bike from Dir. Campbell as it was the main transportation for members of Shadow. It was custom made being made for ground and air transportation. She called them Archwings, being slim but agile.

    They were quiet barely making any noise as they ran making them perfect for stealth type missions. The Archwings were also fast, at its top speed it would close into three hundred miles per hour.

    Archwings were designed by a friend of Dir. Campbell but she brought it and had it made.

    Nick drove for a few hours before he turned onto a side street.

    He parked the bike on the side of the road, as he took off his black helmet. Brushing his brown hair back he took in a deep breath.

    He has not been home in a few months, he wondered how his mother has been doing.

    Nick opened up the black metallic gate as he walked up the small path.

    Nick’s house was not that big, it was pretty average. Being a two-story blue and white house, with various flowers planted.

    He took out his house key from his back pocket and opened up the door.

    “Mom, I'm home.”

    Nick shouted out as his voice echoed throughout the house.

    He heard footsteps running towards him. Around the corner coming from the living room was a white Bichon Frise. The small tail was wagging back and forth as it jumped on Nick’s leg.

    Nick leaned down and petted the small dog's head.

    “Hey Jill, long time no see.”

    Nick got up and walked into the living room as Jill followed behind him.

    Upon entering he was momentarily shocked.

    A man wearing a tan suit was seated on the lazy boy chair. In his hand was a cup that emitted steam. His black hair was messy but in a good way. His black eyes made him seem gentle.

    Nick’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the man.

    “Klyde.”

    Nick said in a cold tone.

    It has been three years since Nick last saw this man in front of him.

    Klyde raised his eyebrow as he stared at Nick.

    “Nick. I see you’ve grown since the last time we met.”

    Nick took a quick glance at the woman in the silver wheelchair. She was wearing a white one-piece dress that had flowers on it. Her hazel eyes matched her long brown hair well.

    When she saw Nick’s glance she gave him a soft smile.

    “What are you doing here?”

    Nick questioned Klyde, as he walked over next to his mother.

    As he strolled over to her side he could not help but look at her two legs. She was kind, gentle and treated everyone with respect. Beautiful for her age, but not being able to use her legs crippled her image.

    Klyde sat his cup down on the brown stand next to him. Crossing his legs and his arms, he looked at Nick.

    “Can’t a father see his son once in a while?”

    It was almost comical to Nick, this guy had plenty of chances to see him. However, he hardly came around and when he did come around it was a short visit.

    Nick knew that some kids never got a chance to see or meet their parents, so he should take this chance to bond. That would be nice, but it would not happen with Klyde.

    “What do you want? You just can’t come back whenever you feel like.”

    Nick’s mother grabbed onto his hand.

    “Sweetie, calm yourself.”

    Her voice was soft.

    “Mo-”

    “Olivia, let him speak his mind. I’m curious as to what he has to say.”

    Klyde interrupted the two of them.

    Nick wanted to say so much, but he held himself back. He told himself there was a time and place for everything.

    Klyde saw that Nick was silent, so he decided to speak up.

    “As I was telling your mother before you arrived, you two should move in with me. It is much better than this area, there will be someone to take care of your needs no matter what time, and you’ll be welcomed.”

    Klyde explained.

    Nick felt something was off, no one shows up and offers a person a place to live out of the blue. Especially when you’ve had minor contact with the other party.

    “No thanks. We are fine where we are.”

    Nick paused for a moment.

    “You may have more money than us, but that does not mean we have to accept it. We are not some charity case. Also, that wife of yours would she really approve of us coming to live with you? I think not! What will the other members of the family say when you bring home a woman they don’t know and a child you’ve been hiding for fifteen years? I highly doubt the welcome will be ‘warm’.”

    “You are mistaken. I do not think of you as that, and I already talked it over with my wife. She does not care about my personal affairs as long as it does not interfere with her work. You’ll be attending school most of the time so this offer does not matter to you as much as it matters to your mother. As for the other family members, you need not pay them any attention. I may not be the head of the family yet, but next year that position is passed on to me. They will not say or do anything to cross me.”

    “Klyde I already told you I do not want to move. This house means a lot to me. I have many fond memories here if I were to just leave it would be like a piece of me is vanishing as well.”

    Olivia told Klyde.

    Klyde shook his head slightly.

    Why did she have to be so stubborn?

    He knew he has not really been in either of their lives, but he was always looking out for them. Even now, he wanted both of them to be safe.

    Olivia’s eyes opened wide.

    “Oh that’s right Nick, Akari-san sent you something. Let me go grab it.”

    Klyde got up from his chair.

    “Let me, where is it?”

    Olivia pointed towards the kitchen, and Klyde started walking in that direction.

    “What is it?”

    Nick asked his mother.

    Olivia smiled, but did not say anything.

    Nick was curious as to what his sensei would send him, and why was his mother smiling?

    Klyde walked back into the living room with an envelope in his hand.

    “This girl, she reminds me of that one girl you use to play with.”

    Klyde said as he recalled a moment from long ago.

    “What are you talking about?”

    Nick questioned him.

    Klyde passed Nick the envelope.

    On the front of the envelope was a small picture of a blonde haired girl, with these azure blue eyes.

    Nick felt his heart tighten, as he remembered a girl from his past.

    He felt that if she lived till now, she would look similar to this girl in the picture. However, she was dead.

    Nick opened the envelope and grabbed the paper that was inside. He quickly read it, before he looked at his mother.

    “Surprise.”

    Olivia said with a huge smile on her face.

    “Why?”

    Nick asked her.

    “What do you mean why? You’re my son, naturally, I want the best for you. She just happens to be the perfect lady for you.”

    Nick rubbed his temples after hearing what his mother said.

    “Mom. I don’t want to be engaged, I have other plans.”

    Klyde coughed when he heard Nick say he did not want to be engaged. He took the paper from Nick’s hand and read over it.

    “Honestly, you should be glad. Now I don’t have to worry about your future.”

    Nick clicked his tongue, what did Klyde mean worry about his future? He never worried about him in the first place.

    “Sweetie ever since Alex died you’ve never been the same. Me and Akari-san talked it over and we both decided on this young woman for you. Just see if you like her, for me… alright?”

    His mother gave him ‘that’ look. Nick gritted his teeth and nodded his head.

    He could not believe it, he just agreed to get married to some woman he does not even know.

    However, for his mother, he would do anything. She gave him the world and asked for nothing in return. The least he could do was accept this request of hers.

    Previously Nick had planned to find someone to settle down with in the future after he had a stable life.

    Nick glanced at the envelope with the picture attached to it one more time. This lady really did look like that little girl, Alex who he use to play with a long time ago. It was scary how well they resembled each other.

    Klyde clapped his hands causing Nick and Olivia to look in his direction.

    “Then it’s settled. You and your sister will both get married next Christmas!”

    Nick couldn’t believe his ears, who would want to marry her?

    Klyde sat the paper down on the table and walked towards the door.

    “I’ll talk this over with my wife, and Olivia do reconsider my offer.”

    Klyde walked out the door and glanced at his golden colored watch. A black car pulled over to the side of the road and an elderly man got out of the driver's seat.

    The elderly man walked over to the back door on the passenger side and opened it.

    “Sir.”

    He calmly said as Klyde got into the backseat.

    As the door closed Klyde unloosened his tie and pulled out his phone.

    “Sir, did it go well?”

    Klyde looked up through the tinted window at the driver.

    “Everything is on track, just as I previously planned. He’ll do whatever his mother says no questions asked.”

    “Sir, might I say you are the reincarnation of Satan?”

    Klyde laughed a bit.

    “That’s the third time I've heard that. I wouldn’t deny it, after all, I did hypnotize her. I did have this thought that he would see through it, but he was captivated by his mother's charm. If things go as planned I'll have my foot in the royal family.”

    “Where are we going next?”

    The elderly man asked Klyde.

    “I heard that the Wells were showcasing their new project later this evening. Let us see what they came up with this time. After that incident with Diana, they have been secretly experimenting with the little data they managed to recover. I’m quite curious as to what they’ve managed to come up with.”

    “And Rebecca? She has been trying to get in touch with you for a while now.”

    “Oh that’s right, she should be returning home today. I’ll call her later.”

  • ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Part Fifteen

    In the northern part of New York City, a major event was taking place. In a few hours, the Wells would unveil their new project, one that could change the world. All of the major families and high ranking government officials were going to show up.

    Inside of a laboratory, a man with smooth black hair and black-rimmed glasses was holding a clipboard.

    “How much longer until we can awaken him?”

    He asked.

    A gorgeous female wearing a white lab coat was next to him with a tablet in her hand. Hearing his question she started to move her fingers, making them dance on the tablet.

    “Five more minutes before he is fully functional. We’ve really outdone ourselves this time.”

    The man nodded his head, as he gazed over four large tubes.

    Inside of the tubes was a person floating in a liquid substance. All four were naked but they did not have any private parts, and their chest was flat as a board. Over their mouths was a breathing tube that connected to the upper part of the large tube, allowing oxygen to flow.

    Their bald heads had a shine to it.

    “With just this amount of data, we were able to replicate Diana’s discovery. Luckily Mary was able to tweak it, allowing us to create the perfect specimen. When the others arrive we’ll show off ‘Z’, after we will start the bidding.”

    The man could not help but laugh.

    The Guardian family thought they were the strongest? They had the best EXO ability?

    Think again. Tonight, the Wells will rise above the ranks and take their spot. While he might not be apart of the main branch, but with his abilities and love for science, he was able to put everything they had into use. Tonight he would rise from the sub-branch to the main branch, then he would be able to use all of their privileges.

    The man was already having thoughts of having the head of the family grant his wish. Which was to marry the love of his life. Too bad she was apart of the main branch, so he was not able to interact with her much.

    “Are you ok?”

    The woman asked him.

    Seeing him laughing caused her to shiver. She did not know what his thoughts were, but she knew they could not be anything good.

    He coughed a bit.

    “Nothing, pretend you did not see anything.”

    He told her, as he walked over to a terminal.

    Watching the vitals for ‘Z’ stabilize his heart started to beat faster. Only another minute before he could awaken ‘Z’.

    He knew his success was only going to go up from here. He helped create the first self-evolving specimen.

    This species did not need to be taught anything, as they would learn on their own as time went on. Their essence would increase naturally without any type of training, and they would have the ability to duplicate almost any EXO ability. Not to mention the shapeshifting ability they had.

    They would become the ultimate weapon given enough time.

    However, he had a kill switch put into place. In case they acted out or went against their owner's order, they could die. The original plans did not have this switch, but once he saw the potential that these beings had he knew there would be a great regret if one was not put into place.

    Watching the time slowly tick down a drop of sweat rolled down his face.

    The timer finally hit zero, and the front tube released gray gas.

    He turned his head and watched ‘Z’ open his eyes for the first time.

    ‘Z’s’ green eyes moved about slowly as he scanned the room. Countless eyes were watching his every move.

    “Open the tube!”

    The man with the clipboard yelled, causing the other members to react quickly.

    The substance within the tube was drained, and ‘Z’ dropped to the ground. ‘Z’ clenched his hands a few times, seemingly trying to get used to his body.

    The glass tube retracted itself.

    ‘Z’ undid the oxygen tube, and took his first step. The man with the clipboard walked forward approaching ‘Z’.

    He stared into 'Z's' green eyes. 'Z's' seemed to glow for a moment before his green eyes returned to normal.

    “Welc-”

    The clipboard man’s head went flying off as blood started to squirt out.

    ‘Z’ had an emotionless face as he glanced at his hand that had blood on it. Quickly he fanned his hand and blood splattered on the terminal not too far away.

    All of the scientist below were stunned. They were not expecting ‘Z’ to react in the way he had done.

    In the presence of ‘Z’ they felt their feet were glued to the ground. When they tried to move even an inch, it was like they were trying to move an entire building.

    ‘Z’ slowly walked to another tube. He stared at the figure inside with longing eyes. His palm touched the tube gently and cracks appeared on the tube.

    “Where’s the switch? Who has the damn switch!”

    One of the scientist screamed.

    He did not know what kind of error happened in the progress of making ‘Z’ but he could not let ‘Z’ awaken the others. If they were all like him, every single person in this room was going to die.

    ‘Z’ already killed the strongest one of them with a slice of his hand. How could they stand up to that?

    Hearing that scientist voice caused everyone to look around. Somehow they felt the pressure they were feeling lighten up as they scattered.

    A siren noise appeared along with a red flashing light.

    The sound of glass shattering was heard, as the second specimen dropped to the ground. It swiftly woke up and looked at ‘Z’.

    “Fuck! Hurry and find that switch, ‘E’ has woken up!”

    Under the urging of the man's voice, the scientist in the room started to move even faster. Some of them rushed to the door and tried to open it, only to fail.

    Once the sirens went off the room was automatically locked, to prevent anything from escaping.

    “Why! Why won’t it open?”

    Two young scientist started banging on the door loudly.

    ‘Z’ and ‘E’ both approached the next pair of tubes and broke them. Releasing the last two specimen.

    As fast as they were released, they woke up just as fast. Causing the hearts of all the scientist to drop.

    ‘Z’ spoke to them in a language unknown to the scientist. Most of them in the room were proficient in more than one language, but they could not make sense of what they were saying.

    “Brothers, tonight we feast on those around us.”

    All four of them looked alike, there was no way to differentiate them. If it was not for the letters engraved no one would be able to know who was who.

    The scientist saw the looks those four gave them, and that's when they knew it was the end.

    ‘Z’, ‘E’, ‘R’, and ‘O’ had all woken up.

    The showcase of these four were not until three more hours and the guest had yet to arrive. If any of the major families were here they would at least be protected.

    How they wished they held out on starting the awakening process before the show began.

    All four of the self-evolving specimen blurred.

    Screams echoed throughout the room, as it was painted red.

    A black car was cruising down the road when a large explosion happened. The car came to a sudden stop as it skid across the road.

    Klyde who was in the backseat rolled down the window and a glint appeared in his eyes.

    “Sir, is that not the building you were supposed to go?”

    The elderly man asked Klyde.

    “It is. It would seem like whatever the Wells wanted to show off today will no longer be available. What a waste of a trip.”

    “Do you know what they were going to show, Sir?”

    Klyde gave a slight nod.

    “I know a little bit of the details.”

    Klyde narrowed his eyes as he stepped out of the car.

    “Stay put.”

    “Yes, Sir.”

    The elderly man replied.

    Klyde left his jacket in the car so he was only wearing a white button-up shirt.

    A figure appeared in front of him.

    It seemed to be a bald and naked human. However, Klyde could not tell the gender of it. Its green eyes glared at Klyde.

    Klyde smiled gently as he looked at the figure in front of him and at the location of the explosion.

    “What are you?”

    Klyde asked.

    ‘O’ stood there as it analyzed Klydes every move. ‘O’ felt a heavy pressure appear and took a step back.

    ‘O’ knew the man in front of him was strong, ‘O’ felt a threat to his life.

    Klyde took a step closer.

    “Where do you think you are going?”

    Klydes black eyes glowed red.

    “Kneel.”

    ‘O’ felt his body move against his will, as he kneeled on the ground. He gritted his teeth and used all the power he had to try and get up, but he could not move.

    Klyde placed his hand on ‘O’s’ head.

    “You’re going to show me everything.”

    Klyde squeezed ‘O’s’ head and veins showed up on Klyde’s hand. A blue light went up his arm. Various images appeared in Klyde’s head.

    Klyde put pressure on ‘O’s’ head causing ‘O’s’ skull to shatter.

    Reaching into his pocket Klyde grabbed a tan cloth. He wiped his bloody hand clean and threw the cloth on the ground.

    When he returned to the car, he had a sly grin on his face.

    “Sir, where to next?”

    “We return home. There is nothing for us here.”

    Klyde told the elderly man, as he started thinking about the information he received from ‘O’.

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    In a separate direction from where ‘O’ was headed, ‘Z’ causally roamed the streets. The night was dead, barely anyone could be seen.

    ‘Z’ heard light laughter and turned his head in its direction.

    He saw a young teenage boy holding an object in his hand. The teenage boy kissed it multiple times.

    The teenage boy was so happy that he finally got his copy of a new game. He stood in line for two hours, but it paid off. It was the last copy of the game they had. He could not help but kiss it as he made his way home.

    Suddenly a naked person appeared in front of him. His heart clenched.

    ‘Z’ stuck his five fingers in the teens head. ‘Z’ extracted all the knowledge the teen held before he retracted his fingers. ‘Z’s’ body twitched and cracked as he started to change.

    He shrunk in height and grew medium length black hair on his head. His green eyes turned blue, and his muscular build vanished. In between his legs a penis appeared.

    ‘Z’ grabbed the teens clothes and put them on.

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Nick was seated on his bed meditating when his phone buzzed. He opened his eyes and checked it.

    It was a message from Dir. Campbell telling him to return to HQ.

    ☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

    TO BE CONTINUED.....


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