“But sir! He’s never had a day of combat in his life!” Pam could not hide the concern in her voice.
“I won’t fight the boy seriously. I just want to see what he is capable of. If my theory is correct, even one quick spar will show it.”
“It’s okay, Pam.” Adam raised his hand to calm her down. “I accept.”
“Oh?” Rizzo smiled. “I like the confidence.”
“Why would you, though?” Pam asked, stepping forward. “You’ve never fought before. And this is the Leader of Unity!”
“He did say he wouldn’t fight me seriously. I think this would be a good learning experience, as I’m uncertain about what I would like to do with my life anyway. Who knows? Maybe I have it in me to fight?”
Adam started to stretch his body. Although he was obviously putting up an act, he was telling the truth at the same time. He had no clue what path to take so he and the others could learn more about the secrets of the World Mirror and Charlotte’s memories.
It was also a perfect opportunity for Adam to see the strength of the Leader of Unity, as well as vent his frustration against the man.
“Adam!” Brandon ran up next to him. “Are you… Are you sure? Are you really gonna… You know?”
“Don’t worry, Brandon. Just trust me, all right?”
Despite his hesitation, Brandon nodded at Adam in understanding. Pam walked up behind Brandon, holding him by the shoulders. After a mutual glance, she escorted Brandon off to the side.
“You two, get the others to move the vehicles out of the parking lot. I think that’ll be a nice space for this test.” Rizzo demanded the two Brown Suits. They immediately nodded and ran off to complete their task.
A few minutes later, Adam and Rizzo stood face to face on the black pavement. Brandon, Pam, and Thomas were off to the side to view the event unfold. Before anything started, Emma had appeared. She ran right up to her mother.
“What’s going on? What’s Adam doing with Rizzo?”
Before Pam could speak, Brandon answered the question for her. “He wants to test Adam out in a fight, just cause his mom was apparently really good. It’s crazy!”
“What!? Adam doesn’t know how to fight!”
Brandon nodded in agreement, even though he knew Adam has had experience. He was aware the small amount of training he had done would mean nothing against an opponent like this.
Pam kept her eyes on the two who were about to engage in combat. She was terrified of what would happen.
“Becca… I’m sorry. I can’t do anything to stop this. Even if Adam refused, Rizzo would have still made him fight. Please… Keep him safe from whatever happens…”
Rizzo tossed his coat off to the side, revealing a short-sleeved black shirt. The scars on his face were in fact not the only ones on his body, as his arms were utterly torn up as well. He took off a small silver ball that was attached to his belt.
“Do you know what this is, Adam?”
“Yeah. Little balls of phantonite called ‘Cores.’ Phantonite can change its shape and expand as much as it wants depending on how the phantons operate. You basically code into it what kind of weapon you want, and with a response to the person’s phantonic output, it forms.”
“That’s correct. Very impressive. It was around the early nineties we developed this. Took a while to get it down, however.”
A blue light began to slowly form around the ball. After a few seconds, the energy erupted, causing Adam to put his arms up in defense.
“Whatever he has planned… I can’t use the World Mirror. I’ll do this without the help of an Ability!”
As the light faded, a long silver sword had appeared in Rizzo’s hand. He held the hilt and began spinning the blade around with ease.
“You can use this for our battle. Don’t be afraid to come at me with everything you have.”
Rizzo tossed the sword into the air, spiraling toward Adam at a swift speed. The four off to the side gasped, fearing it would strike Adam.
To everyone’s surprise, Adam caught the sword. Rizzo in response grinned, while everyone else caught their breath.
“Well, that action itself was not bad.” Rizzo took a step forward. “I won’t be needing a weapon. But don’t worry, I won’t be serious, like I said.”
Adam raised the sword in front of him, taking a somewhat awkward battle stance.
“That seemed slower than the attacks Derek and Alexander were throwing at me. I’m getting better, bit by bit.”
“Despite how many openings you have right now, you are keeping a keen focus on me. That’s good. You’ll need that.”
There was silence—not even the wind was blowing through Prelude that day. Rizzo raised his hand and beckoned Adam to attack.
Without hesitation, he did. Kicking off the ground, Adam dashed forward, taking care not to use his Ability in the process. Swinging the sword, Adam slashed its blade right at Rizzo’s neck with great force.
Nothing happened. Rizzo simply stood there, analyzing Adam’s movements.
“What the? What kind of Ability does he have!?” Adam, surprised, leaped back swiftly to keep a safe distance between himself and Rizzo.
“What just happened!?” Brandon was even more shocked than Adam was. He turned to Emma, who couldn’t hide how nervous she was.
“Nobody knows exactly what Rizzo’s Ability is. That’s one thing, right there. It’s nearly impossible to damage him.”
“He can do other things too!?” Brandon almost ran into the duel happening in front of him out of instinct to help Adam. He was able to stop himself, although he was clearly frustrated.
Adam continued to slash at Rizzo. Each attack connected with ease yet were unable to do a thing. The only progress Adam made was being able to cut into Rizzo’s shirt a few times.
“Not yet!” Adam roared, charging into Rizzo with the tip of his blade. Unable to move him, Adam was flung back, falling on the warm pavement below.
“Your attacks are actually not too bad for your level. Yet, I’m sorry, but… You can’t hurt me.”
“Yeah? Well, I’m not done yet!” Adam leaped into the air, descending his blade toward Rizzo.
Adam did not make it to the ground.
“Huh?” He was confused. Without any indication of movement, Rizzo had grabbed his sword, stopping it with his fingers. Adam’s feet had touched the ground before he could even process how it happened.
“I think that’s enough for now.”
Once again, without any noticeable motion, the blade shattered. The force sent Adam flying back, hitting the ground hard. So hard, that it knocked the wind out of him.
“Adam!” Brandon and Emma both yelled his name, about to rush over to him. Pam stopped them from doing so.
“You two stay back… I don’t want you getting involved in this.”
“What are you saying, mom!? He’s hurt!” Emma tried to squirm past her mother to no avail.
“He’ll be all right. It’s over now…” Pam gritted her teeth, furious at not only Rizzo but herself.
Rizzo walked over to Adam, who had already started to calm his breathing.
“I can see great promise in your already. Your strikes are strong, and I could see you improve with each swing. I’d be happy to offer you an entrance to Unity if you so desire. You can definitely—”
Adam stood up slowly, clenching both of his fists.
“I’m gonna make sure you feel the pain that you inflicted that day…”
A young Adam ran into the police station in a cheerful mood, almost bumping into one of the officers. This was the norm, as Adam would often come here to see if Faith and Emma were with their mother, wanting to play outside.
“Sorry, mister!” Adam dashed off toward Pam’s office.
“Hey, Adam! You shouldn’t—”
Adam was already out of view. The officer sighed.
“I hope he doesn’t get in trouble…”
The fire at the Roswell household happened two months prior. Adam did not understand the situation that well, especially with how they got their house back seemingly the next day.
Yet, he knew the real damaged it caused.
Faith and Emma’s father was dead, Emma had been in the hospital the entire time, and Pam had to work overtime to catch the group that had caused the inferno in the first place.
Due to this, Faith was alone most of the time, struggling to deal with the aftermath. Adam took it upon himself to keep her company as much as possible and to continue their adventures together.
To put her mind at ease. That was his goal.
This day was no different. He had the perfect idea for an adventure this time, as Faith apparently had not heard the fairies speak to her recently. Therefore, it was up to Adam to plan things.
“She’s gonna love it! We haven’t spoken with the stars in so long! They’ll know where the fairies went!”
As Adam approached Pam’s office, he stopped immediately upon hearing shouting.
“Please, sir! Not today!”
It was Pam’s voice. Adam almost rushed right into the room but decided against it as he saw a bunch of ominous-looking men surrounding Pam.
“Pamela, you know how close the investigation is. And you’ve been one of our greatest resources. Do you honestly think I can let you have free time now?”
Adam hid on the side of the door and glared into the room at the man directly in front of Pam, who was like a mountain in height compared to the rest of them.
“But they think they might be able to do something for Emma! Please, I have to be there for my girl, especially with how risky the procedure could be! I don’t want to lose her—”
Adam watched in horror as Pam fell to the ground. The image of Rizzo’s hand striking her was etched into his mind, while the sound of the impact, as well as the agonizing scream Pam unleashed, made Adam want to tear his ears right off of his head.
“We must purge the darkness of this world. To do so, you must follow my orders.”
There was a desire within Adam to charge right into the room and attack the man.
However, he was a wise child. He knew that it would amount to nothing, and it would make things worse.
Shedding tears, Adam ran away from the scene. There was nothing he could do.
It wasn’t any better for him now. He had the potential to do something. To use the World Mirror. Knowing how much power it harbored, surely it could take down Rizzo?
However, he was a wise young man. He knew it would amount to nothing, and it would make things worse.
Rizzo approached Adam, leaning down to his level.
“Pain? I see. I sensed a presence that day. It was you, wasn’t it? I figured it was but a mere child, so I didn’t bother to take action. But if it affected you that badly, let me just say this…”
Putting his hand on Adam’s shoulder, Rizzo ominously glared into his eyes.
“That wasn’t even considered pain compared to what she’s gone through. And then you compare it to the rest of the suffering in the world… It’s nonexistent. So, let me ask you, Adam Grayson. What are you getting so worked up about?”
Adam took a deep breath.
There was a long pause.
“You know what? Honestly? Fuck it.”
The blinding white light from his right hand collided with the side of Rizzo’s face, and in an instant, sent the Leader of Unity catapulting out of the parking lot and into the nearby northern woods.
Everyone was speechless. Even the nearby Brown Suits showed uncharacteristic emotion seeing their leader hit like that. It was at a speed that they could not see.
Adam did not hold back, as shown by the lack of his hand as the light faded. He moved his head toward the others who had been watching, glaring at them with his white eyes.
Pam inched her way forward, eyes widened in horror. “Adam… That… power. You had an Ability? Or, did Rizzo set it off by whatever he was saying to you?”
Thomas grabbed Pam and held her back. “It doesn’t matter, he just attacked Rizzo. This is bad. Especially…”
He pointed at the Brown Suits, who had snapped out of their amazement at the event and pulled out pistols that were hidden under their clothes.
“Men—do not bother.”
Rizzo had already re-entered the parking lot, rubbing his face where he was struck. “Did my words awaken your Ability? Or is this something you had? We’re still working on technology to determine the length of time a person who has had an Ability, so it really doesn’t matter either way.”
Adam glanced at Rizzo, then back to the group.
“I’m really sorry, everyone. I’ll even say sorry to you, Rizzo. But I can’t even fathom to work on a side with you in charge. So, I’ll fight. I’ll either defeat you now with the power I currently possess—or die trying.”
Rizzo stared at Adam, who had returned his gaze back to him. Eventually, the man started to chuckle.
“You actually caught me off guard. And then, that was the first time in ages I’ve felt pain, even if it was just a little. Impressive. Truly, impressive. Men, use the network. I want you to check Code 2819. This Ability of his intrigues me.”
A Brown Coat nodded, taking out what seemed to be a tablet.
Brandon took this opportunity to run up to Adam, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt.
“I… I don’t even know what to say to you. What about…” Brandon felt as though he was about to come to tears. “What about…?”
“Brandon—” Adam placed his left hand on his friend’s shoulder. “As I said, I’m sorry. I… lost my cool. I couldn’t hold it in. But it’s true, I can’t be on the same side as him. So, I’ll see what I can do. If I die, then it’s my fault for getting too emotional.”
“You’re not going to die! I’ll—”
“Sir, the readings come back negative. Does this boy really…”
Rizzo seemed pleased with the Brown Suit’s response. “Yes, soldier. It seems this boy’s Ability does not have phantonic values involved with its structure. I felt the same feeling in his attack that Psycho Matter had.”
Adam was astonished. “He knows that Alexander guy?”
“Since that seems to be the case, then I’ll make a deal with you, Adam Grayson.”
Adam brushed Brandon off and approached Rizzo, his eyes still lit up.
“What kind of a deal?”
“It’s difficult to raise an Ability like yours in the curriculum we have at Unity. So, that’s not where you’re going to go. In fact, you’re free. Free to do what you please. However, you must leave this town and abandon every living person close to you.”
“What the? Why would I do—”
“Cause the people around you are promising. You may be the most promising of all, from what little I’ve seen today. But with an Ability like that, it doesn’t bode well for their development. It has unknown properties, seeing as though Code 2819 was negative. I don’t want it interfering with Unity’s development. I could always send you to a lab, but I’ve tried that before, and it’s not how to go about this sort of thing.”
“I can’t leave them! They’re the reason I want to take you down! I want them to live a peaceful life, without having to do your bidding 24/7!”
“Adam…” Pam felt tears form up in her eyes. “You’re going this far… for us?”
Emma slowly approached the scene, standing near Brandon.
“I… relate to that, actually.”
“Huh?” Brandon looked at her curiously, seeing as though she was keeping her voice down.
“I know how much this job has messed up my mother, and I worry that Faith’s going to end up dealing with the same thing. So, Ability or not, I want to join Unity to be by their side. And…”
“And… what?” Brandon asked with an incredible amount of compassion in his voice while Emma struggled to get the words out.
“I know what he’s done. Mom’s told Faith and me everything. I don’t blame Adam at all for slugging the guy. I would love to do the same.”
“Such interesting goals all around.” Rizzo snickered. Emma looked up in shock as he was looking directly at her.
“I… I… How did he?”
Rizzo took a step toward Emma, as Brandon got in front of her and raised his guard. Adam did the same, putting up his left arm in between Rizzo and his friends.
Brandon approached Adam, cautiously patting his shoulder. He gritted his teeth and pointed directly at Rizzo.
“Don’t even think of messing with her. You do, and I’ll be the one to take you down!”
Adam panicked, holding Brandon back after the apparent threat to the man. “Brandon, stay back! You—”
“You’ve got spunk, kid. I’ve had some spunky fellows in Unity before. In fact, Pamela’s late husband was quite the character if I recall correctly?”
“Rizzo…” Pam let her anger rage inside of her, yet kept her worry about the current situation on the outside.
“You’ve been around these people for a while. Ability or not, your phantonic energy could potentially be quite powerful. How about it? Want to join Unity?”
“Don’t get anyone else wrapped up in this,” Adam demanded. He then felt his friend’s hand on his back. As he looked, Brandon gave Adam an enormous grin. After a moment, he walked right up to Rizzo.
“Sure, I’ll join.”
Adam was shocked. Before he could say anything, he heard Emma make a small yelp.
“Emma, what’s wrong—”
Turning to her, he immediately looked back at Brandon due to a crackling sound. He now had electricity emitting out of his body, almost to the point where it made contact with Rizzo.
“And don’t worry, I have an Ability. I call this thing ‘Shepherd Surge.’ You wanna use it? Fine, be my guest.”
Adam was speechless. All he could do was raise his hand toward his friend, not knowing what to say at what he had just done.
Rizzo grinned. “Electricity? Well now, that’s a fascinating Ability you’ve got there. Also, it was rather smart of you to come forward with it. Unity would have had to arrest you if we found out any other way—”
“I’m not smart.” Brandon interrupted Rizzo, turning off his Ability. He glanced back at Adam. “I’m naive, like you said, Adam. I have much to learn. And I’m willing to dive headfirst into everything so I can learn more. So that I can fight by your side when the time is right.”
“Well, this has been quite the eventful day.” Rizzo walked over to his coat on the ground and put it back on. “After all the bad news about last night, I sure did learn quite a lot.” Rizzo pointed at Brandon.
“Very well. You may start orientation when Faith Roswell and Winona Collins start theirs in a few weeks. Pamela—” He looked over at Pam, who had an empty look in her eyes at this point. “Make sure you make all the necessary preparations for the boy.”
“Yes, sir,” Pam answered, apathetically. Thomas poked the side of her face, snapping her back into reality.
“No, I’m not. This is too much.”
Rizzo gathered the Brown Suits surrounding the parking lot and ordered them to prepare for departure. He then focused his attention to Adam.
“Adam Grayson. 11 AM tomorrow morning, you must leave this place. I don’t care where you go, or what you do, but you may not have any help from your friends. They need to be monitored carefully, so their potential isn’t ruined by your unknown capabilities.”
“Fine,” Adam responded bluntly. “Also, is this what you did to Alexander Strauss? His power has mystery behind it as well, so did you send him away from everyone?”
“Oh? You know him? Interesting. But yes, although I do get him to do a few odds and ends for me. It’s part of our deal. You have yet to ruin anything of mine, so you have the amount of freedom that you currently have. But get in the way of Unity, or obtain any help from your friends, and that will change.”
Rizzo finally walked to one of the vehicles, opening the door.
“Will you survive? Will you perish? It all depends on how valuable that Ability of yours really is, and if it wants you to remain in this world.”
Adam couldn’t help but notice that several times throughout this entire event, Rizzo seemed to glance off to the side, as if he was keeping an eye on something. He did one final time while entering the car—a somewhat nervous expression on his face.
“Something seems… off…” He noted to himself.
Within a few seconds, the Brown Suits had driven off, leaving the police station at last. It was as if they were never there. Yet, they were. And they left their mark.
Next: Chapter 1.20
Previous: Chapter 1.18