Volume 1’s Completion! + Reminders

In case you missed it, Chapter 1.21 was released late last night. This is the final chapter of Volume 1, which means the very first volume is now complete!

As a reminder, I will be re-posting the chapters with minor edits starting on Monday. It will be considered a countdown for Volume 2’s debut, which will be on March 12th. When this volume begins, chapters will become accessible a week early on my Patreon.

The plan is to have the first chapter posted on the site immediately, along with the second one on Patreon. That Friday will have the third chapter on Patreon, aaaaaaand the following Tuesday will have the second chapter on the site, as well as the fourth on Patreon. That’s the schedule I’m going to rock with (at this current time). So, every Tuesday and Friday will have updates for the story!

I plan on doing my own personal review of Volume 1 soon, which will help me reflect on how well I did with working on it, as I have difficulty with introductions to things. I’m already going to start on Volume 2, so I’m well prepared for its scheduled release (I’m bad with schedules, so I gotta take extra care with this lol).

Thank you for your support, as always. Here’s to continuing to grow, and getting closer to gaining some serious traction for this series!

-Kyle

Chapter 1.21: XYZ!

Back to Chapter 1.20

“Charlotte!?  You’re okay!”

Brian was shocked to see Charlotte enter the store.  He had been stocking a shelf near the entrance and almost knocked a box of cookies over.

“Hi, sir.  I’m okay…” Charlotte was nervous, yet relieved to see that her old boss seemed to care about her well being.

A boy that stood behind the counter chuckled.  Charlotte recognized the messy blonde hair and cocky posture immediately.

“Hello, Roy.  I see you haven’t been fired yet?”

“Hey good lookin’.  Nah, I’ve been busting my ass ever since you quit.  Brian’s been thankful to have me.

“It actually is remarkable.”  Brian commented. “He seemed to suddenly get a lot better at his job since you left.  Although, flirting with the customers is still a thing. You’d already be fired if we weren’t so short staffed.  Remember that, Roy. Continue to do well and not be… yourself, and we can get past that.”

Charlotte frowned.  “I’m so sorry… even though I put in my two weeks… I just up and left like that.  And… I heard about what happened yesterday. I should have been there-”

“Charlotte, it’s okay.  You young people have a lot going on.  It’s understandable. And…” Brian approached Charlotte, leaning up so he could whisper to her.

“I mean… you were here, weren’t you?  You saved me last night, right?”

“How did-”

“Relax.  Your secret’s safe with me.  Those Unity guys already questioned the hell out of me and left anyway.  Don’t worry about it.”

“Hey!”  Roy shouted, slamming his hands on the counter.  “You tell me not to flirt, and here you go leaning up close to women, freaking old man!”

“Oh, I was just uh… what is the term people use these days?  Roasting you! Yeah, I was just roasting you so bad, I didn’t want you to hear.”

“Huh?  How the hell do you know what that means!?”

“Roy-”  Charlotte interrupted.  “Just get back to work. Don’t you have to save up for college next year?”

Roy sighed heavily.  “Yeah, yeah.” He sat down in a nearby chair, pouting.

“Glad to see you got the whole ‘working’ thing down.”  Charlotte said mockingly.

Brian coughed, to get her attention.  “Do you need anything, Charlotte? If you just came here to apologize, you did not need to worry about that.”

“Actually… if it isn’t too much trouble, can you help me get some stuff?”

 

Brandon, Jerry, and Emma sat around Adam’s living room, each with a bowl of stew in hand.  Emma especially seemed to be enjoying her meal.

“How did Sis just walk out when this was in here!?  This is freaking delicious!

“Her and Adam wanted to go for a walk to talk in privacy, I guess?”  Brandon responded, slowing down on his food consumption. “Damn, Adam.  Trying to gain the upper hand, huh?”

“What?”  Jerry stared at Brandon with a confused expression.

“Don’t worry about it.”  Brandon sighed. “Anyway, I’m full!  Emma, wanna fight in, well… Phight?”

“Sure.  I need a break after everything today.”  Emma and Brandon stood up with their empty bowls and took them over to the sink.  Jerry heard his phone buzz, which he instantly investigated.

“Oh, wow.  She’s actually free?”

He stood up, dialing a number on his phone.  “You guys enjoy that, I gotta talk to someone.”

“Oh?  Alright.”  Brandon nodded, dashing over to the television in the living room.  “Emma! Prepare to be defeated by my Gladiator skills!”

“I’ll be using the Dragon, so I doubt you can do much against that.”  Emma stated mockingly, sitting next to him.

“Oh come on!  That’s the most broken character in the game!”

Jerry walked down the hallway as the phone rang on the end.  It was answered after three rings.

“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.  If it isn’t my arch nemesis.  Why do you call upon me-”

“Yeah hi, Laura.”  Jerry groaned. “Listen, I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Oho?  Ask away!”

 

Charlotte had left Ann’s with several bags in tow.  Although they seemed heavy with a glance, she had no trouble carrying them.

“My body, as of right now… is totally fine.  That power Adam gave to me… just what was it?  Where did he get it? It honestly feels… familiar…”

“Charlotte!”  Winona ran up to her, with a cheerful demeanor.

“Winona… you’re okay?”  Charlotte asked, concerned.

“Yep!  All better!  Just needed to rest up!  Whatever that energy was… it was powerful.  I’m glad I put enough energy into my defense, or else it would have blown all of us away.”

“That… that was…”  Charlotte sat the bags down on the ground, almost ready to cry.  “I’m certain… that was me, who did that. I’m so sorry… I didn’t know how my power would work when I got serious, and it slipped right through the guy I was fighting, and… and I’ve been lying to all of you… and I hurt you, and-”

Winona quickly embraced Charlotte, closing the distance between them.

“You’re… cold.  Then, it’s true what Faith said, isn’t it?  I’m not sure if she was supposed to tell me, but she did.”

“That’s okay… you should know.”  Tear began to run down Charlotte’s face.

“Charlotte, you don’t have to worry.  Obviously, you have quite the situation going on, and you tried to keep it from us so we wouldn’t get hurt, right?”

Charlotte did not saying anything.  She simply nodded confirmation into Winona’s shoulder.

“You can talk to me about it.  About everything. If you want to, I would like to hear it.  Is that okay?”

“Yeah… yeah, it is.”  Charlotte took a step away from Winona, yet still held onto her.

“You know, that’s the same kind of thing you said to me when we first met.  Nobody talked to me when I first entered your school. You were the first one.  You came up to me, introduced yourself, and said I could always talk to you about anything.  That’s how we became friends.”

Winona smiled.  “And it still stands.  Come on, let’s go over there-”  Winona pointed toward a bench off the side of the road.  “Nobody should bother us over there.”

Charlotte agreed.  Winona helped her carry the bags over to the bench.  They sat down, and started to talk.

 

“Adam Grayson?”

Alexander stood in an office near the top of Soul Tower in Nexus City.  This minimalist office was owned by Rizzo, who had it as a spare outside of the main Unity building a few blocks away.

Rizzo sat at his desk, glaring at Alexander who was a few feet away from him.  Although, Alexander could barely tell, as the lights in the office were out.

“Shit, man!  Why are the damn lights off!?”  Alexander stomped his foot, creating a glowing pink liquid that covered the entire floor within a second.  “There! Now I can see your ugly-ass face.”

“Just make sure you dispose of that when we’re done here.”  Rizzo demanded. “Anyway, yes. Adam Grayson. Does that name ring a bell?”

“Nah.  Although, wasn’t there a Rebecca Grayson in Unity years ago that was some hot shit?”

“Correct.  She would be the mother of this boy.  He seemed to know you, from what I gathered today.”  Rizzo stood up from his seat, stepping in the pink liquid below him without an issue.

“Just like yourself, Code 2819 came back negative for him.  There was no phantonic value found whatsoever.”

“Huh?”  Alexander was curious.  “What a minute… could this Adam kid possibly be the kid from last night!?  Shit, I never caught his name!”

“So, as I did with you, I took precautions so that his power would not affect others in Unity.  As of tomorrow, he is banned from his hometown of Prelude, and must do whatever it is he wants to do on his own.  Seemingly, taking me down is part of that agenda of his.”

Alexander smirked.  “Well, add him to the list of people who wanna do that to ya!”  His expression quickly changed to a serious one. “Also, what kind of bullshit are you spewing?”

“Hm?  What’s that?”

“As you did with me?  You never banished me from anywhere!  I’m just not allowed in Unity cause ya don’t want me gathering people together to take ya down, seeing as though I know things!  Me keeping that shit a secret and my duty with the Blue World is simply a deal so ya leave my sister alone. So his power would not affect others?  That was never a reason!”

“If that’s what you want to believe, then believe it.”  Rizzo turned to stare out the windows behind him. He gazed down at the evening blue of the city.  “Also, would you happen to know what happened in the sky last night? It was clearly a distortion from the Blue World.”

Alexander shrugged.  “Beats the shit outta me!”

Rizzo remained silent for a moment.  “…fine. Very well. That’s all for now.  You may continue your work tomorrow. Soon, I’ll want you changing objectives.  I’ll give you the details on that within the next few days.”

“Alright, sure.  Whatever.” Alexander started to walk toward the door as the liquid began to fade.  “Looking forward to it, shitbag.”

As Alexander slammed the door behind him, the room was dark once more.  Rizzo continued to stare out the window with a blank expression on his face.

“I was surprised today.  That was the first time you altered what I said.  I would have simply forced the boy to join Unity, like usual.  But this… just what’s so special about this boy, enuexse-

As if his voice glitched like a computer error, Rizzo coughed up blood out of his mouth, splattering all over the window in front of him.  He collapsed onto his knees, in agonizing pain.

“You- you made me… speak, like that-”  Rizzo continued to cough violently as he attempted to calm himself down.  After a minute, he was able to. He breathed calmly.

“…I guess things are finally starting to set in motion for you, aren’t they?”

 

Muraco hopped around the Requiem wilderness, underneath the clear night sky.  He had his arms crossed, deep in thought.

“When that hole above Nexus opened up… I sensed all kinds of things.  Things that concern me… however, I think, that human survived whatever happened.  The question is, where is he now? Is he still in there? Is he back in this world?  I can’t tell from here.”

Muraco gazed upward, viewing  the clouds as they passed over the moon and stars.

“If I find you again, human, what do I do?  Shall I continue where I left off, or… those words.  Are those words you spoke genuine? If so, then maybe… just, maybe…”

 

Adam followed Faith through the dark woods, heading northeast from his home.  Both had remained silent for several minutes, only listening to each other’s footsteps.

“Hey, Faith?”  Adam decided to speak first.

“What’s up?”

“Are you… mad at me?”

“Why would I be?”

“Cause of what I did today…”

“I’m not…”  Faith stopped, hesitating for a moment.  She then turned to him.

“I’m… thankful, to be honest.  That you would go so far for us… although, I’m also scared.  Scared for what will happen to you. This banishment from our town… it’s not normal.  Just what is Rizzo planning?”

“I take it you know that I have an Ability now, right?”

Faith frowned, nodding at Adam’s question.  “To be fair… I knew you’ve been hiding something for awhile.  But I trusted your judgement, and why you would keep it a secret from us.  Seems there’s something serious involving Charlotte being a ghost and a Ouderkirk as well?”

“Yeah… my Ability is actually related to that.  The night I awakened it… it was due to Charlotte.  She’s lost her memories, and has been trying to figure things out for awhile now.  Apparently my Ability, called the World Mirror, is important.”

“The World Mirror…?”

Adam’s hand lit up in white light, as he raised it in front of him for Faith to view.  “It’s some strange energy, that has a lot of mystery to it. Right now, I know that it can give me lots of strength and also heal any injuries I take.”

“It’s beautiful… like moonlight.”  Faith stared in awe. “…injuries?  You’ve been injured?”

“I’ve… actually almost died a few times already.”  Adam laughed awkwardly. “It’s certainly helped get out of some sticky situations… although it’s the reason I got into them in the first place.”

“Adam… I really wish you told me.  Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why you didn’t.  You didn’t want my family, Winona, and others getting involved.  But still… you know how my I despise Unity as well! I would have joined you, and we could have fought it toge-”

“Faith, it’s more complicated than that.  We’re both weak right now. When it comes to our Abilities, we have much to learn.  We can’t make a move yet, despite how much we want to.”

Faith looked down at her hand, forming a small flame.  Adam noticed that she started to shake.

“Yeah… it’s still not perfect.  I’m not completely over the fear yet… but I’m getting there.  I’ve taken huge steps. If we’re to do something, we have to be strong enough.”

“Right.”  Adam smiled.  “Even Brandon realized that, with his Ability.  He wants to join Unity just so he can get the best training he can, for when the time’s right.  Rizzo’s aware of all of this though… I’m afraid of what will happen to you guys. He says your development is important, which is the main reason I’m being sent away, but still I-”

“Even though we need to get stronger, Adam, don’t worry.  We still are strong.  Don’t worry about us.  You have… a lot you have to do.  With whatever it is you’re going to do next.  Charlotte’s going with you regardless of Rizzo’s rule, right?”

Adam nodded.  “Yeah, I figured she’d be able to help me out, as well as easily hide with her powers if Rizzo decided to track me.  I’m… expecting that to happen, honestly. Just… a lot of this doesn’t make sense.”

“You’re right-”  Faith agreed. “But, what part are you referring to?”

“I’m not sure exactly.  But, it just feels like there’s a lot more going on with Rizzo, and the entirety of Unity than we realize.  Even deeper than the obvious as day corruption.”

“I’m sure there is.  Which is why we have to be careful.”  Faith lifted her flame that was still in her hand toward Adam’s which was still shining brightly.

“You know… it’s like your Ability and my own… are the sun and moon.”

“Huh?  I- I guess they kinda are?”  Adam chuckled at Faith’s comparison.

They both lowered their hands, as their respective Abilities faded away.  Before Adam put his hand back down at his side, Faith grabbed it with her own.

“You know why we’re out here, right?”

Adam smirked.  “Yeah. This path seems familiar.”

“Well then, let’s go!”

“Wrong.”  Adam wagged his finger, confusing Faith.  “It’s XYZ, remember?”

Faith burst into laughter.  “Oh my god, I can’t believe you remember that!”

“Of course I do.  We used to say it all the time before adventures.  I’m not even sure where you came up with it.”

“Oh, you probably wouldn’t.  I don’t think you ever watched that show.”

“It’s from a show!?”

“Yeah!  Kitty Kid and Puppy Pal!”

Adam was bewildered.  “It… was from that show!?  That show was awful!”

“Hey!  No it was not!  It was my favorite!  Take that back Adam Grayson!”

“No!  It was horrible!  The plot was too obvious!”

“It was a kid’s show, of course the plot wouldn’t be that great!”

“Then… wait- what does XYZ even mean!?”

“I don’t remember, but they always said it when they went on an adventure, so I thought I would use it for us as well!”

“Well…”  Adam paused for a moment.  Suddenly he started to laugh cheerfully.  “Ah, what the hell? It can be our thing, regardless if that show was good or not!”

Faith could not help but from smile ear to ear upon hearing Adam’s laughter.  “Of course. It’s our thing. Anyway, come on! XYZ!”

She dragged Adam along through the woods, as he quickly matched her pace.  A few moments later, they emerged from the trees. What met them was the side of a cliff that dipped off into a wide valley filled with nothing but grass.  Miles away, on the other side, the blue light from Nexus City could easily be visible to them.

“Ah, dang it!”  Faith pouted. “I was hoping we could see the aurora again… too bad!”

“I knew that’s what you were after.”  Adam chuckled, taking a step forward. He did not let go of Faith’s hand.  “This is still great. The clouds are starting to go away, and you can see all of the stars.  And that breeze… can you feel it? And look at it blow the grass down there.”

Faith nodded, taking in the view as well.  “It’s like a sea of green. And the light from the city adds to it.  It’s… quite the feeling you get… looking at this place. Aurora or not.”

“Jerry told me about that.  It’s different from the Northern Lights.  Actually, it really only happens due to the phantonic technology used in the city.  Once in awhile, a pure blue aurora will form somewhere in the skies of Requiem, made out of pure phantonic energy.”

“Yeah, it’s got a more complicated name… but uh, it’s also called the Requiem Lights, right?”

“That’s what I call it.  I wish I could see it again.  That night with you was the only time so far.”

“That night… yeah.”  Faith turned toward Adam, and looked directly into his eyes.

“Just like I dragged you here, back then… you were the one who dragged me.  It was the first time in ages… I felt happy.  After everything that happened with the fire… you saved me with your kindness and your cheerful self.”

Adam sighed.  “I’m sorry I’m not all that cheerful anymore.”

“That’s okay!  You can still show it sometimes!  And… after everything recently, I truly believe that, despite all the changes that have happened, the heart of the boy who saved me is still there within you…”

“You think so?  Maybe… I’m not so sure myself.”

“Adam.”  Faith placed both of her hands on Adam’s shoulders, moving in closer.  “I want you to know, that no matter what happens… even if you don’t believe me or not… I want you to know…”  Faith hesitated.

Then, she spoke.

“You are my hero.”

Adam’s eyes widened.  The directness of what Faith had just said struck him.  Within its simplicity, “You are my hero” held so much power.  It was at the level that only an “I love you” could have possibly competed with.

He took note of that comparison, as simply thinking about it caused a sudden warmth in his chest.

“…and I’m going to also be your hero, Adam!”  Faith declared.  “Like when we were little, we’ll keep on exchanging roles!  Sometimes you’ll be the hero and I’ll be the princess. And then sometimes you’ll be the princess and I’ll be the hero!”

“I- I guess that’s how it can work?”  Adam sighed. “But, Faith. I trust you.  Right now, I have to go down a certain path, and you have to go down another.  Those paths will merge once again, when the time is right.”

Faith removed her arms form Adam, nodding with a mighty grin.  “Mhm! They will!”

Adam raised his fist, putting it in front of Faith, which confused her.

“Faith, I’ve known you longer than anyone.  I’m pretty sure words between us aren’t needed when it comes down to it.”

“Heh… yeah, I see what you’re saying.  Although, I do love talking to you.”

She had understood Adam’s gesture, and raised her fist up as well.  “Let’s show this world not to mess with us!”

“You know what to say, Faith.  What have we been talking about this whole time?”

“Oh, right!”  Faith giggled.  Adam could not help but chuckle.

As their fists joined, they mutually shouted the simple phrase that always started their adventures.

“XYZ!”

 

From the shadows of the woods, two eyes gazed at the boy and girl, hidden behind a clock-shaped mask.  A whisper of a young woman could be heard.

“Will I exist in this world?  It’s all up to you two…”

 

Volume 1 END

Back to Chapter 1.20

Back to Volume 1

Chapter 1.20: Aftermath and Preparation

Back to Chapter 1.19

“Phew, glad he’s finally gone.  That guy talks way too much!”  Brandon walked over to Adam and Emma, starting to laugh.  Adam’s gloomy expression ended this quickly.

“Brandon, why would you… why did you do that?”

“I already said!  Didn’t you hear!? I want to learn more, and I think it would be the best place to do so!”  Brandon patted Adam’s shoulder, walking by him.

“I’ll talk to you more about it later, okay?  Relax for right now. You’ve got a lot you have to do starting tonight.”

Before Adam could say anything, Brandon walked by him and approached Emma.

“Hey, uh… so, I need to apologize.”

Emma looked at him curiously.  “What for?”

Brandon hesitated for a moment.  “Well… I know about your back.”

“I mean, who doesn’t?  I’ve told you guys all about it before.  I was in the freaking hospital for months as a kid after all.”

“I mean, yeah.  But…” Brandon sighed.  “I know a lot of the details.  It was kinda an accident how I found out… so I’m sorry for that.  But I do know that electricity messes with you. And I ended up using my Ability like that with you nearby.  So, I’m sorry if it hurt you.” He chuckled. “I guess it’s a good thing I’m going to Unity, huh? This Ability won’t mess with you, whenever I use it.”

“I…”  Emma tried to think of a response, but could not.  “I… T- thanks for sticking up for me. I was kind of scared after he heard me.  But you and Adam sticking up for me… it made me feels safe.” She turned away.

“So thanks!  And… whatnot.”  Emma pulled out her phone.  “I gotta update my sis on everything, unless you want to do that, mom-”

As Emma looked back, her and Brandon watched as Pam embraced Adam without hesitation.

“I’m… I’m so sorry, Adam…”  Tears were falling rapidly from Pam’s face.  “I swore to myself that I would protect you… as if you were my own child.  But I couldn’t do anything but stand there! Why… after all of this time… am I-”

“Pam-”  Adam calmly pushed Pam away from him.  “It’s not your fault. I’m an adult now.  I knew the risks, and it was my fault I lost my cool.  Now, I’m being punished for it.  Although, this honestly what was going to end up happening anyway.”

“But…”  Pam tried to dry her eyes.  “I don’t want you to be alone… with whatever you do.  This is what Rizzo does. He plays these games. I think he believes forcing you to be by yourself would hinder your growth, so you wouldn’t become a threat to him.  I doubt he actually does want you to grow.”

“It’ll be okay either way.”  Adam reassured her. “And besides… you honestly think I’m going to listen to him?  I’m not going to be alone.” He stepped a few feet away from the group, looking off toward the woods.

“I’m tired of that.  I’ve put myself in the situation where I had nobody beside me before… and you think I’m gonna let someone else force that upon me?  Hell no. But don’t worry, none of you guys will get involved.” He turned back to them, giving a wink and a cocky smirk in Brandon’s direction.

“After all, he specifically said that I can’t be with any living human being.”

Brandon had no clue what Adam meant, along with everyone else.  A few seconds later, it hit him.

“Oh!  Oh, you’re right!  Haha! Take that, rules!”

Pam, Emma, and Thomas were clueless as to what the two were talking about.  Adam approached the teary-eyed woman, giving her a confident smile.

“I’m going to put an end to all of this.”

Pam could not believe what Adam had just said, for the words matched ones that a young girl had told her once before.

 

“I’m going to put an end to all of this.”

 

She could not help the tears that had started to form once more.

“Becca… your will is still here, isn’t it?”

Thomas gave Pam a pat on the head, then turned to Adam.  “That’s great and everything. But, kid, how are you going to do that with a missing hand?”

“Huh?”  It took Adam a second to realize what Thomas was referring to.  A quick glance down his right arm made him understand.

“Oh.”  The World Mirror’s aura formed around the stub.  A few second later, Adam’s hand had begun to reconstruct itself.

“Woah, you can heal yourself!?”  Emma watched the event in awe. “What even is this Ability?”

“It’s called the World Mirror.”  Adam answered. “It’s got a lot more to it then one would think.”

Thomas analyzed the Ability carefully.  “It’s true. After all, Abilities are always phantonic based.  And they determined that it’s not. Just what is it?”

“That’s one thing I’m trying to find out.”  Adam stretched out the hand that had finished forming.  “It’s related to the Ouderkirk Royal Family in some way, though.”

“What?”  Pam could not hide the concern in her voice.  “How do you know that?”

Adam sighed.  “Charlotte’s an Ouderkirk.  She doesn’t have memories aside from knowing the World Mirror’s important for something.  Oh, and she’s also a ghost by the way.”

The group was speechless.  Adam walked over to Brandon, and flicked his forehead.  “Come on. Before we do anything else, I’m hungry.  Let’s go to Mona’s.  I’m getting myself an applesauce burger.”

As Adam started to walk off, Brandon looked at the others and shrugged.  He then followed close behind.

“You know, I keep telling you that thing is disgusting!  Even the people working there give you a weird look when you order it!”

“Well, maybe they shouldn’t have it on the menu, then.”

Emma ran up to her mother, squeezing her tightly.  

“Come on, mom.  Let’s leave those two weirdos to their thing for now.  How about some coffee?”

Pam let out a long sigh.  “Yeah… yeah. I think I need one right now.  Want some, Tom?”

Thomas nodded nonchalantly.  “Sure. Even I’m burnt out from all of this.”

 

Carl’s eyes opened, staring at the stained gray ceiling above him.  He sat up, the creaking of his worn out bed echoing through the almost empty room.

“Glad to see you awake, Carl.”

Carl looked off to his right, and a tiny wooden table.  There, a man sat in the shadows, moving a glass of whiskey around in his hand; the ice’s clatter was the only noise at that moment.  

“Oh, hey.  I’m hoping it went well?”

“Yeah.”  The man sat the glass on the table.  “He was able to siphon the Ouderkirk girl’s power from what was left in your body.  It worked.”

“Oh?”  Carl grinned.  “Excellent. So that test wasn’t in vain after all.”

“That’s right.  In fact, it was good that things ended up this way.  That creature you created would have never found the seal.”

“Oh?  Yeah yeah yeah?  Interesting! We finally found it?”

Carl could hear a small chuckle come from the man.  “Yes. Although, it was where we originally thought it was all along.”

“Is that right?”  Carl started to laugh.  “After all that testing we did!  That sure is remarkable! Although, this does raise the question…”  He stood up from the bed and began to pace around the room.

“What exactly were we catching on the radar, then?”

“That’s still an important piece.  I believe it to be a sort of a key that we need for the seal.  Seeing as though even between myself and Jason we were unable to crack it open.”

“A key that moves around?  Who exactly created this seal in the first place?”

There was a moment of silence, to the point where it almost became awkward.

“A powerful man.  One that we still don’t have a chance against.  Which is why we need this power.”

Carl chuckled.  “Works for me. I’m just here to learn everything I can.  I have no limits to the knowledge I want to obtain. See what I did to my body?  I’ll do anything for the truth!”

“The truth, huh?”  The man picked up the glass of whiskey, hesitated, then took a sip.

“The truth is something nobody should really strive for.  It’s not worth it.”

 

“I can’t believe you two!”  Charlotte was wagging her finger rather violently toward Adam and Brandon.  “We’ve been trying so hard to keep these things a secret, and you two just go and reveal it all like that!?”

“Well, to be fair-”  Adam caught Charlotte’s finger.  “You also revealed yourself to people last night as well.”

“That was different!  People were in danger!  That wasn’t the case for you!  You just had to keep your cool, and you wouldn’t be in this situation!”  Charlotte sighed, taking her finger back from Adam.

“…from what you said though, I see why you did it.  It still sucks.”

Brandon cautiously tiptoed forward.  “Glad to see you full of energy. You looked as though you were going to die on us earlier- oh, wait… yeah.  You’re already-”

“Brandon.  Are you sure you want to join Unity?”  Charlotte asked with slight worry. “You know what goes on there…”

“I know.”  Brandon scratched his head.  “But, to be honest… as we trained these last few weeks, it wasn’t really doing much for me.  It just felt like extreme exercise. I didn’t get any closer to learning more about my Ability or how it works.  If I go to Unity, where they’re experts… well, hopefully that’ll help.”

Charlotte frowned.  “I just wish I remembered more… maybe I would have been able to teach you properly.”

“Don’t worry about it!  One of the reasons we’re doing all of this to begin with is to figure out your memories.  It’s all good.”

The three heard a cough come from the kitchen.  Jerry stood in front of Adam’s stove, mixing up some food in a pot.  The smell of meat and spices and started to fill up the house.

“Not much of this is good, Brandon.  Now, before the others get here, and before this beef stew is done…”  Jerry sat the spoon he was using to stir the food down on the counter.  “Adam, here’s my gift to you.”

Adam reached out his hand as Jerry handed him what appeared to be a flash drive.  It was silver in color, and didn’t seem like something that would be too expensive to purchase.

“What’s on it?  Did you find out anything?”

“I did not.”  Jerry sounded frustrated.  “It turned out that I certainly could have hacked into things very easily.  Yet, I would have been caught. What you have there is a little thing I created.  I call it a ‘god drive’.”

“Uh, alright.”  Adam analyzed the device more, attempting to figure out what was so “godly” about it.  “What’s it for, though?”

“It’s just a simple flash drive on the outside.  However, I added my own personal touch to how it can work.  If you plug that sucker into any computer, it can rip the data right out of it without an issue.  That’s what we need to do.  It’s too difficult to gain the data wirelessly, but if we use that right at the source, it’ll give us everything.”

Brandon took the god drive out of Adam’s hand to look at it.  “How the hell did you get it to do that?”

“You really think you can understand, even if I explain it to you?”

Brandon sighed.  “Fair enough.”

“Anyway.  I’m sorry this is all I can do…”  Jerry started to tap the counter in an agitated manner.  “I don’t know enough. If I had the proper knowledge, you wouldn’t have to dive right into enemy territory.  But, this is the only way at the moment.”

“Don’t worry about it.”  Adam put his hand on Jerry’s shoulder.  “You’re still going to college, I’m assuming?  You’ll absorb all that smart stuff quickly.”

“Yeah… there are areas I really need to work on.  I realized that as the process kept taking longer and longer.”

“See, Adam?”  Brandon wrapped his arm around Jerry.  “He and I both have to work on our own thing.  But we’re not abandoning you for a second! We’ll be back stronger and smarter than ever before!”

“That reminds me-”  Jerry calmly moved Brandon’s arm off of him.  “You’ve gotta talk to your dad about all of this.  He assumes you’re still going to New Age with that soccer scholarship.”

“Yeah, please don’t remind me.”  Brandon groaned. “And what I’m planning on actually doing isn’t gonna help the situation.  But, that’s alright. I’ll get it to work. Oh, right-” He turned to Adam. “I’m assuming Rizzo’s not gonna allow you to attend classes while this whole thing’s happening?”

“I wasn’t planning on it anyway.”  Adam responded. “I’ve got a cool superpower, and I’m teaming up with a ghost to conquer evil.  Pretty sure school isn’t as important right now.”

“That’s right-”  Charlotte walked up to Adam.  “I’ll be there for you. Whatever direction you end up going, I’ll follow.”

“You know, that is a good point.”  Adam looked at Jerry. “Where should I even go to obtain this information?  Somewhere in Nexus?”

“Nah, that’s too risky.  Nexus City is pretty high tech when it comes to security.  However, you may have a good source in Minuet.”

“That close?”  Adam put his hand on his chin.  “Where in Minuet exactly?”

“The library.”  Jerry picked up the spoon and checked on the stew.  “Our high school simply connected to Minuet’s library through that underground tunnel, in order to save them from building a library of its own.  However, what I did end up finding out through my digging…”  He reached into his pocket and took out his phone.  After some swiping, he showed the others a map that seemed to show multiple pathways.

“You wouldn’t need an underground map this convoluted for one simple tunnel.  There’s more down there. And it’s being covered up.  Whenever I tried to look into it, the information definitely meant to lead me away from it.  I feel like it could be something to investigate.”

“I mean, sure, it sounds interesting.  But even if there is some sort of information source down there, would it have stuff we actually need?”  Adam asked.

“I have a feeling it very well could.  You know what happened right next to Minuet all those years ago, right?”

“Of course I do.  The incident with the Fisher family?”  Adam paused. “…it’s where my mom lost her life, after all.”

“Yeah… Unity fought so hard and investigated for so long after the fact.  Information wasn’t as easy to move around two decades ago, even with phantonic technology starting to boom.  They had to have a base of operations close enough to the site where they could work easily. No public records ever state where that was, so… this is my theory of where it could be.”

“Right.  Pam didn’t want anything to do with the case after it happened, so she wouldn’t know.  Besides, I’m ‘supposed to do this without help’, so I can’t ask her. Rizzo could find out if I did.”

Jerry looked on the counter, picked up a bottle of spices, and poured some into the stew.  “I’ll do my best to avoid Rizzo’s eye, cause I want to see the data you hopefully end up obtaining.  I’ve also… been really curious about something.”

“What’s that?”

Jerry stirred the stew slowly, before putting the top on the huge pot.  “The guys you encountered… they had some really state-of-the-art tech on them.  And after what I heard today… I’m really concerned. They could track your power, Adam.  Remember? That’s how they found you in the first place. And seeing as though your Ability isn’t phantonic based… just what kind of technology do they have on their side?”

“That’s true…”  Adam sat down on the couch, stretching out.  “I’m gonna have to watch out for those guys as well.  After last night, they’re definitely trying to do something.”

Adam felt his phone vibrate in his pocket.  He took it out to see what he had received. It was from Faith.

“Win and I are all good.  We’re about to head back. I heard Jerry’s making stew?  I can’t wait! But… yeah. I heard everything for Em. We need to talk later, please.”

“Uh oh, that’s not good.”  Brandon said, gazing at Adam’s phone from the other side of the couch.  “Whenever a girl says ‘we need to talk’ it doesn’t end well.”

“Well, obviously there are things we have to talk about, after what happened today.”  Adam attempted to shoo Brandon away. “And don’t look at my phone. I might have secret stuff on here.”

“Huh?  What would you have to hide?”  Brandon suddenly gasped. “Does she send you nudes!?”

Adam poked Brandon’s face to shut him up.  Charlotte grabbed Brandon by the neck, pretending to choke him.

“Cold, cold, cold-”

“Adam, is that what we’re going to try first?  Seeing if there’s anything in Minuet? Once you leave tomorrow, my advice is getting started right away.”  Charlotte let go of Brandon, whose teeth were starting to chatter.

“That’s probably our best bet.  I don’t have enough control over the World Mirror yet as to where I can move as freely as I want to.  Along with that… if I do get caught, I’ll probably get the normal punishment of trying to, you know, break in somewhere to steal something.  Considering this top-secret info as well, it’s not gonna be a pretty sentence.”

Brandon shrugged.  “I mean, the law says you’re supposed to join Unity if you have an Ability, right?  And you’re already not doing that, so might as well go break other laws!” He laughed sarcastically.  “That’s not good advice… but anyway. Do you think Rizzo has ulterior motives to forcing you to do this?”

“Oh absolutely.”  Adam responded bluntly.  “Although it could be a valid argument that my Ability could mess with the development of others, I know there’s something more.  Could…” He paused. “…could he know about what happened to me? Like… how being alone can mess me up?”

“I’ll go kick his ass right now!”  Brandon cracked his knuckles. Charlotte held his shoulder to calm him down.

Jerry walked over to his laptop on the nearby chair and picked it up, flopping down on the seat.  “Stew just needs a few more minutes. And, yeah. This situation is odd, to say the least. I wouldn’t drop your guard for a second, Adam.  Actually, that goes for all of us. Anyone connected to Adam could be used to Rizzo’s advantage. This all… seems like some strange game to me.”

Brandon smirked.  “Well, good thing I’m good at games!”

“I think it’s more serious than that, Brandon.”  Adam sighed. “…look. I’m sorry, guys. For getting you dragged into this.”

“Don’t be.”  Brandon reassured Adam.  “It was my decision to show Rizzo my Ability in the first place.  I got myself wrapped up in this, to be honest.”

“I think it’s a good thing you did.”  Jerry stated. “I feel like those of us close to Adam who don’t have any ‘value’ in Rizzo’s eyes would be in more danger.  With an Ability, you’re more valuable. Luckily, or unluckily, I know Rizzo. He’s aware of my talents with phantonics, and even said I’d be extremely useful some day.  I think I’m okay?  Let’s hope.”

Charlotte started to walk toward the door.  “Adam, I took some of the money I gave you. I’m going to head to the store and get some supplies I think we may need.  Just relax for now. I’ll be back in a few.”

“Oh, alright?”  Adam leaned over the couch to look at her.  “You’re actually gonna go to Ann’s though-”

Before he could finish his question, Charlotte had walked right through the door.

Brandon walked up to the door, trying to figure out how exactly Charlotte pulls off her ghostly powers.

“Hey.  Do you think she even knows how to use a door knob?”

 

A few minutes later, Adam sat on his bed.  He was going through various things that he had found under the bed.  The envelope that Pam gave to him had already been placed in a backpack he was preparing.

Jerry peered around the doorway, knocking on the wall.  “Stew’s all ready. I know you just went to Mona’s, but feel free to come get a bowl.”

“I’ll be out there in a few.”  Adam gave Jerry’s a smile and a nod.  As Jerry left, his expression grew gloomy.

“Can… can I do this?  Just up and leave? Everyone had just re-joined my life recently, and already I’m abandoning them.  What is Rizzo going to end up doing? Not just with me, but them. I can’t let him hurt them…! But… how can I stop him?”  

Adam held his head in frustration, feeling a headache come on.

“I should rest, but I don’t have time for that right now!  What do I do!?”

“Adam?”

He glanced at the doorway, where Faith stood.  She gave him a warm, gentle smile. Although, he could see the concern in her eyes.

“Hey, Faith.”

Back to Chapter 1.19

Back to Volume 1

 

 

Will Be Changing Chapter Pages to Posts

With the previous site theme I had, I made it so each chapter had its own specific page, and THEN I made a post saying that the chapter was released. My plan is to re-release each chapter simply within a post, and get rid of the original pages. This will help me out with some clutter, and organize the site better.

Pretty sure I’ll make it a countdown thing. I’ll post a chapter each day for Volume 1 all the way to Volume 2’s debut. For these last two chapters of Volume 1, I’ll simply make a separate post for them saying “Hey, I’m done re-posting the chapters, but these last two are already posts, so go check them out blah blah blah”.

Basically, I’m getting a better feel for WordPress as I go, and with the change of my site’s theme, I now want to make it look better overall. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Speaking of chapter releases, Chapter 1.20 will be posted later today. Woo!

-Kyle

As We Reach the End of Volume 1… IMPORTANT Info Regarding Volume 2!

I am officially working on the last chapter for Volume 1 of Phantonics! The chapter I just completed will be posted tomorrow (or today, depending on where you are).

The plan is to ease my way into Volume 2 very soon. There will be more creative freedom, as I can freely move characters around without having to do a lot of introductory related crap. I’m looking forward to it, especially since it will have a plot similar to the previous book of Phantonics that I’ve written (which is unreleased). Things are going to get wild.

As Volume 1 was named “Genesis”, Volume 2 will also have a name. I’ve officially decided that it will be called “Verity”, as many themes relating to truth will take place throughout it.

Starting with Volume 2, Phantonics will OFFICIALLY be on a scheduled release! This schedule has not been solidified yet, however I do plan on having chapter releases once or twice a week.

Here’s something I’m going to start doing with this upcoming volume. Although the series will remain free to read on this site, you will be able to read chapters a WEEK early if you pledge to the Red Apple tier on my Patreon. It will be a mere US dollar per month, and I believe it to be a fair price for early content. If you have any comments or concerns on this decision, please feel free to contact me about it.

That’s all for now. More details will be discussed as we actually dive into this second volume. First things first, let’s wrap up Volume 1!

 

If you’re up for it…

Support the series on Patreon!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my streams on Twitch!

 

Changes to the Site

As you can tell with a simple glance, I have changed the theme for the site. I’d just like to let you guys know that I’ll be messing around with it for a bit, figuring out how I’m going to be releasing chapters from now on. I originally made a page for each individual chapter, and THEN made the post to say it’s released. My plan is to now post the chapter right in the update, and have that as the page people can always go to in order to read the story.

If you don’t really get what I’m saying, that’s okay. I’m trying to type this out so I can understand myself. Basically, things are changing, but it should not have an effect on how you read the story. HOPEFULLY, it’ll even make it easier.

Alright, thank you for reading my nonsense. Been working on the next chapter, should be out soon. Once again, Volume 1 is almost done. Woo!

Chapter 1.19: Versus Absolute Power

New chapter! I put a lot more into this one than I originally intended. A lot of things go down, setting up for the end of the first volume and the beginning of the second. Only one or two more chapters left!

 

“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.”

“But-”

“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 on 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, alright?”

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 do 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 at 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 completely 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 awhile 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 silver longsword 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 rather 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 was clearly frustrated.

Adam continued to slash at Rizzo.  Each attack connected with ease, yet were unable to do anything.  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 of 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 alright.  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 entrance to Unity, if you so desire. You can definitely-”

“Shut up.”

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 spoke 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 now 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 galred 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 even 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 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.  “Like 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 unnatural 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 I 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 clear 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 of the current situation on the outside.

“You’ve been around these people for awhile.  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 a huge 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 very interesting 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.

“You okay?”

“No, I’m not.  This is too much.”

Rizzo gathered the Brown Suits surrounding the parking lots, 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.”

Within a few seconds, the Brown Suits had drove off, leaving the police station at last.  It was as if they were never there. Yet, they were. And they left their mark.

 

Check out the rest of Volume 1!

If you’re up for it…

Support the series on Patreon!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my streams on Twitch!

Chapter 1.18: So Many Questions

New chapter! This will be the first chapter that I’ll straight up put right here on the chapter release post, so enjoy!

 

“Adam… hey, Adam!”

Brandon’s voice echoed inside Adam’s head.  He had told Brandon on countless occasions to only wake him up if there was an emergency.

Adam opened his eyes, ready to grab a hold of Brandon’s throat.

“Dude!  You’re awake!  What the hell happened to you!?”

“Huh?”  Adam’s hand lowered, falling onto his chest.  It was then he noticed the state of his clothing and how torn apart it was.  

Then it all came rushing back to him.  He jolted upward, almost smashing his head against Brandon’s.

“Shit!  What did happen!?  I’m alive!?  I’m back in my house!?”

Brandon took a few steps back, uncomfortable with the unusual amount of energy his friend was displaying.

“You went somewhere?”

Adam was breathing heavily, trying to gather his thoughts.  Brandon approached him, making sure he was alright.

“I… yeah.  A lot happened.  I need to tell you guys about it.  But, uh… what are you doing here?”

“We’ve been trying to find you since last night!  Did you get caught up in all the shit that happened in town?”

“Huh?”  Adam moved to the edge of the bed.  “I… no. I was kidnapped, and-”

“Kidnapped!?  Huh!?” Brandon let out a large sigh.  “Well, come out into the living room. Jerry’s out there.  Before we discuss everything… there’s something more important we have to deal with.”

“A- alright…”  Adam stood up, following Brandon out into the hallway.

“Something happened here?  Did Muraco come back after I got dragged into the portal?”

As the two entered the living room, Adam noticed Jerry sitting in what had become his chair.  Although this time, he was not on his laptop. He had his focus on something else. Adam looked over to the couch, his eyes widening.

“Charlotte!?  Are you okay!?”  Adam rushed over to her, realizing that his body ached from the sudden movement.  Charlotte was sweating and breathing heavily. She looked up at Adam, returning his concern.

“Adam… thank goodness.  You’re okay. I was worried that those guys got to you while we were off fighting in the forest.”

“What!?  Those Derek and Chris guys?  Did they come back? Is that why you’re in that state right now?”

“Not them…”  Charlotte coughed a few times before continuing.  “Although, the person who I fought seemed to be working with them.  He’s the reason why I’m weakened… I used up a lot of power.”

“Something… entirely different happened to me last night.”  Adam sat down next to the couch.

“Yeah, he said you were kidnapped!?”  Brandon turned from Adam to Jerry. “What the hell?  Both sides seems serious. But first… what do we do about Charlotte?”

Jerry was silent, clearly deep in thought.  Brandon looked at the couch, concern all across his face.

“She needs some rest, that’s all.”  Adam reassured him. However, Brandon shook his head.

“No dude… it’s more complicated than that.”

Before Adam could respond, Charlotte let out a small yelp.  Adam quickly turned his attention to her, noticing that for a moment, she had become completely invisible.

“It’s… tough to remain in the world of the living.”  Charlotte paused for a moment to steady her breathing.  “Even with my blood, it’s turning out to be too difficult.  I think…”

Adam knew what Charlotte was about to say, yet could not prepare himself for it.

“…I think I might disappear…”

“No!”  Adam quickly grabbed her hand, surprising her.  “Everything is just beginning! We’re gonna figure out the secrets behind your lost memories!  Behind the World Mirror! We’re gonna stop whatever bad nonsense happens in the future!”

“Yeah… I know.  That’s what I want to do, obviously, but I’m not sure if-”

Brandon suddenly shouted, tipping and falling onto the floor.

“Uh, Adam?  What are you doing!?”

“Huh?”  Adam had no idea what Brandon was talking about.  The frightened boy slowly pointed at the ceiling. A mass of blue energy had emitted itself from Adam, floating high above his head.

Before anyone in the room could respond, the bizarre aura descended, and merged with Charlotte.  Adam tried to swat it away, but it had already done its job. Charlotte gasped loudly, as if she was impaled by a sword.

“Dammit!  Dammit!  What’s happening!?  Why is so much random shit happening!?  I”

Charlotte raised a finger in Adam’s face, silencing him.  She had a dazed look on her face, yet had seemed to calm down from her previous symptoms.

“That… wasn’t your power, was it?  Someone gave that to you, right? What happened to you last night?”

Adam paused, glancing at Brandon and Jerry.  The three sighed simultaneously, expressing both relief for Charlotte, yet annoyance at everything happening.  Jerry pulled out his laptop, seemingly out of nowhere.

“Yeah, let’s catch each other up, please.”

 

“Al!?  Is that really you!?  You’re actually home!?”

An irritating voice awoke Alexander from his slumber.  He was facing a ceiling that seemed somewhat familiar to him.  Before he could move to investigate, a face had block his vision.

“Al, are you okay!?  Your clothes are a mess!  What kind of stuff has Rizzo been making you do now?”

“Laura, get out of my face.”  Alexander pushed his younger sister off of him.  She immediately retaliated, going back to where she just was.  This time, her long, curly hair that matched Alexander’s filled his face.  

“No, not until you tell me what happened!  You never come home, and I find you collapsed on the couch this early in the morning with clothes all torn up?”

“Don’t ya have something else to do?  You need to get ready for college, yeah?  I know it’s all a cinch for ya, but ya gotta at least pretend to show some effort.”

“Hmph!  I’ve been doing college work for a few years now.  Actually starting isn’t gonna be that much different.  Why can’t you tell me what happened?”

“Cause, it doesn’t concern you.”  Alexander sat up, as Laura moved onto the cushion next to him.

“You… you don’t have to keep protecting me, you know.”  Laura paused for a moment. “I’m an adult now, so you don’t have to-”

“Ya know this is more serious than that.  This is the deal he and I had between each other.  I keep investigating the disturbances the Nexus Network is causing to form using my Psycho Matter, clearing any spirits that are around here in the Blue World.  Ya stay alive, capable of doing all your research, just like good ol’ mommy and daddy did.”

“It still doesn’t make any sense… simply clearing the spirits won’t help fix the issue the network’s causing.  Why isn’t he…” Laura clenched her hands. “Why isn’t he using you for something else?”

“Yeah, it’s all pointless for me.”  Alexander smirked. “He’s just trying to get some kind of bullshit information out of it.  I go to report all the calculations I took, yet nothing changes. Obviously it’s to try and hold be back from getting stronger.”  Alexander stood up, starting to chuckle.

“He’s scared of what I am!  And you’re too vital toward Phantonic research for him to off you!  I could just charge into his office and end all of this right now!” He paused, slowly pointing toward Laura.

“Yet… that’s not how it works.  I might have great power, but as things are at the moment, Rizzo has absolute power.  That’s what I need… absolute power.  I can’t risk the chance that he’ll still come after you if I make a move.”

“I… I’ll get stronger!  I’ll-”

“Ya just keep doing your research, ya smart ass.  I’ll work on what I need to do. Once I understand how my Psycho Matter truly operates, Rizzo is dead.  All the Brown Suits are dead. Anyone who fucks with me and my sister are dead.”

Alexander started walking away, entering a hallway to the left of the couch.  Laura sprang up, clearly pissed off.

“And where do you think you’re going!?”

“Gonna shower.  I smell like shit.”

As she watched her brother enter the shadows, Laura flopped back down on the couch.

“Why do you have to deal with all of this on your own…?”

Alexander slammed the bathroom door behind him, leaning against the door.

“I wonder if that kid survived… he was looking to be a great source of info.  Yet… what happened at the end there…” Alexander gritted his teeth.

“It might be a reach, but… if it’s how I think it is… Rizzo might not be the only one with absolute power right now.”

 

Adam was walking toward Prelude’s police station at a quick pace.  Brandon followed close behind, as well as Jerry who was struggling to keep up.  Adam took out his phone and look at a message he had just received.

“Faith and Winona are okay.  They’ll probably be coming home later tonight, actually.  They just need to go through some questioning about what went down.”

“Well, that’s a relief.”  Brandon glanced over his shoulder to see Jerry, who had his phone out as well.  “Did you find anything?”

“There’s nothing on the news about what happened here at all.”  Jerry responded. “The main headline is the weird light that appeared above Nexus City last night.  And they’ve already concluded that it was some kind of… joint test? By the Requien Military and Unity?  Haven’t heard that one before.”

“Did I really use that much power as to where it was seen in the real world?”  Adam seemed somewhat fidgety. I noticed that my power ripped right through the Blue World… and then everything went dark.”

“This ‘Blue World’ you mentioned…”  Jerry put his hand on his chin. “I’ve honestly never heard the phrase before.  And that Alexander Strauss guy… I’m not sure who that is. Although the last name is familiar…”  Jerry shuddered for some reason.

“Well, I was in some kind of bizarro world, that’s for sure.  And the guy had some kind of powerful Ability… he grabbed me right through this portal that formed and dragged me right in.”

“-after a mutant white rabbit kidnapped you?”  Brandon did a quick chuckle. “Honestly… stuff is starting to seem more and more believable.  We always knew weird things like Abilities existed, but after seeing all that sort of stuff up close for almost a month now?  It’s changes ya.”

“It has been crazy…”  Adam sighed. “We gotta be careful.  I’m not sure what that weird bunny’s gonna do next.  He was keen on throwing me into that Blue World, so maybe he thinks that seeing me go in means his job is done?”

“Are you sure leaving Charlotte alone is a good idea?”  Jerry looked back toward the other side of town. “What if something happens?  The stuff about him against the Ouderkirk family does raise some questions for me.”

“Charlotte wanted to make sure she got some rest.  Before I could say anything, she passed right out. Guess that weird power’s gotta sink in.”

“Right…”  Jerry put his phone in his pocket.  “You two keep heading to the police station.  I’m gonna go check on how my home computer’s doing at processing something.  Be careful though, I’m sure Unity’s swarming the place right now.”

“Alright.  And don’t worry, right now we’re just some innocent kids.”  Adam reassured Jerry.

“Innocent?  I’m not sure about that one.”  Jerry laughed, waving at the two before walking off to his house nearby.

Adam and Brandon continued to their destination, which was only another minute away.  Jerry’s hunch was correct. Several SUVs with the infamous blue “U” on the side were parked in front of the station.  

As the two approached the front door, they encountered two male guards standing outside.  They wore brown from head to toe; brown suit, brown pants, and brown shoes. Outside of this, they wore a light blue tie that had Unity’s symbol on it in black, along with strange brown cyberpunk-styled goggles with blue lenses.

“Brown Suits?  Shit, they’re actually seriously investigating this…”

“What business do you have here?”  The guard on the left asked with a stern voice.

Brandon stepped back slowly, clearly nervous.  “Oh, uh! N- nothing! We were just passing through is all-”

“We’re here to see Pamela Roswell.”  Adam responded to the guard with no hesitation.

“She is currently in a meeting with Mr. Rizzo.  No outsiders are allowed into the police station until the meeting, as well as the events that transpired last night, are investigated thoroughly.”

“Rizzo’s here!?”  Adam started to get angry.  

Brandon grabbed Adam’s shoulder.  “See? She’s in a meeting right now!  We can talk to her after-”

“Do you even know how your leader acts?  The things he does?” Adam asked the two Brown Suits bluntly.  “Working so close to him… you have to know, right?”

“Young man, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the premises at once.”  The guard on the right spoke up, as both began to raise their guard.

Brandon in the meantime started swatting Adam’s shoulder repeatedly.  “Dude, come on! Let’s not start something!”

“Brandon.  If he’s in there with her, I can’t just sit back and wait.”

“What the hell are you talking about?  They just said it’s a meeting-”

“You’re naive, Brandon!”

Brandon stood in shock at his friend’s words.  Adam turned and glared back at him, yet his eyes were different.  It looked as though Adam was about to break down and cry.

“Young man, if you have some sort of hatred toward our leader, then you are allowed to put in a complaint at our office in Nexus City.  However, with direct threats, we will show no mercy. Leave, now.

Adam felt the World Mirror rising to the surface.  He knew that he should not use it, as everything would fall apart the moment he did.  Yet, the burning fury within him told him to just do it.

Before Adam came to a decision, the front doors of the police station opened up.  A tall, giant man came out, his jet black hair almost rubbing against the head jamb.  His empty green eyes glared down right into Adam’s.

“What seems to be the problem here?”  The man scratched at his face, which was covered in scars.  They extended downward, and one could assume that there were more hidden underneath his black coat.

“Sir, this boy here, he-”

“Your eyes are gray…”  The man bent down, getting close to Adam’s face.  Adam could not help but freeze.

“No… they’re a certain kind of gray.  Yes, they match her eyes… you’re Adam Grayson, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”  Adam responded, taking care not to get too riled up.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.  Elliot Rizzo, Leader of Unity.” Rizzo extended his hand out.  Adam hesitated, yet decided to shake his hand in return.

“It’s thanks to your mother’s efforts that we’re here today.  Great ruin could have fallen upon this country, yet she made the noble sacrifice to save all of us.”  Rizzo gave a creepy grin. “She was easily one of the greatest fighters Unity ever had, without a doubt.”

“So I’ve heard.”  

Rizzo smirked.  “That’s right. You were just a baby when it happened.  I apologize that you never got to know her. Truly, she was magnificent.  Many people, including myself, thought that she had something in her blood that made her so powerful.”

Before Adam could say anything, Pam walked up behind Rizzo, as well as Thomas.

“Jerry’s dad?  What are you doing here?”  Brandon seemed surprised at his appearance.  

“They needed my help with some data that was collected last night.  You do know I just recently became a doctor on the side, right? Phantonic technology is what I’m really good in.”

“Damn!  How is the Peck family so damn smart!?”

Rizzo chuckled.  “You make a good point, young man.  Perfect timing, as it relates to what I was just discussing.”  He walked past Adam and Brandon, raising his hands up to the sky.

“This world is filled with so much mystery.  Not just regarding phantons and their counterpart, chaons.  The world goes so much deeper than that. For example, let’s take Adam’s mother and Thomas here.”  He pointed at the group.

“How can one hold such great skill in combat?  How can one possess such limitless knowledge? I feel like it’s something that goes beyond what the phanton can do!  Thomas’ son is pretty gifted as well, correct? I think it could be something within our genetics… within our own flesh and blood.”

“Where are you going with this?”  Adam asked, gritting his teeth at how much enthusiasm Rizzo was showing.

Rizzo nodded at Adam, and turned to Pam.

“Pamela.  Mind if I test how this boy is in a fight?”

 

Check out the rest of Volume 1!

If you’re up for it…

Support the series on Patreon!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my streams on Twitch!

 

What I Might Start Doing + Other Updates

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I would like to actually start posting the chapter right in these updates. I usually create their own unique page and simply give you the link to that. That’ll still happen, however you’ll now have the chance to just read the chapter without having to click any link.

I’ll start with the next chapter. I mentioned on Twitter that once Volume 1 is completed, I would go back and change some minor things that have been bothering me in the story, so I’ll be making a post detailing those when that happens. Also, I may go back through the volume and do a sort of review post for each chapter before Volume 2 begins. That could be cool.

Also, if you guys happen to like The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, I’ve been doing a lots of randomizers of the game on my Twitch recently. As I get back into it, I’m hoping to grow both Phantonics and my Twitch at the same time. Being successful with both are my dreams at the moment, and I’m glad to say 2019 has definitely been a good year so far when it comes to making progress in doing so. I’m actually doing things, which has always been a difficult part for me.

Hope you all have been well! Let’s keep the grind going! But also, remember that taking care of yourself is the most important thing.

-Kyle

 

If you’re up for it…

Support the series on Patreon!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my streams on Twitch!