Chapter 1.19

Previous: Chapter 1.18

Next: Chapter 1.20

Derek shook his head, frustrated at the current situation. Adam stood before him, ready to face what was about to happen. There was nothing Derek could do—reasoning with the young man seemed out of the question.

“Maybe I can spook him…?” Derek looked on the ground and picked up a small pebble that was near his feet. “All right, then. Let’s see how you feel after you see this.”

Sky-blue energy formed around Derek’s hand. With a mere flick of his wrist, the stone was shot at remarkable speed, barely missing the top of Adam’s head as it struck the cave above where he had entered the room. An avalanche of stone formed a blockade—it was only then that Adam was able to react to what had happened.


“I barely put any effort into that. It’s all thanks to this very world we live in. ‘What do you mean by that?’ I’m glad you asked! Well, you see—”

“—Phantons…? Pure phantons…” With his eyes, Adam could see the particles appear, emerging from within Derek and concentrating around his hand. “How is that possible? Only Ouderkirks can use them in that manner…!”

“…If you’d let me finish, I’d be glad to tell you. And since that move didn’t seem to rattle you enough—” 

With a swiftness that Adam could not follow, Derek appeared right in front of him. A single strike with his palm sent Adam flying toward the pile of rubble behind him. Upon impact, the stones dug into Adam’s back, causing massive damage—pain unimaginable to an average human.

“Oops. Your durability isn’t all that great—that power healing you made me forget that. Whatever, I guess that means I don’t have to worry about being a little nasty toward ya.”

Adam struggled to break free from the stones that had stuck into him. The World Mirror’s energy eventually caused them to crumble as he tumbled onto the ground in front of him in agony. 

“…I call my Concept ‘Storage.’ All of the natural phantons that flow throughout the world gather toward me, and I ‘absorb’ them—in a way. Over time, it builds up, and I have enough power to be able to strengthen me. I merely ‘unlock’ the energy and send it to whatever body part I want to use it with—like my hands and feet, arms and legs—that sort of thing.”

Derek watched as Adam struggled to stand. He sighed, walking over toward the boy. “I tell you this, why? Not to gain your trust, really. I feel like I can’t do that in your current mental state. I simply—” 

Gathering energy in his foot, Derek showed no hesitation as he stomped Adam’s head into the ground.

“—Want you to see how futile it is. I’m sorry. Based on your behavior, you seem incredibly ignorant toward the cruelty of this world. Yet…” Derek removed his foot and took a step back. “You desire to save someone—someone you don’t even know—no matter the cost. I respect that innocent determination. Once, I was like that. I met a wall, however, one that I could not get past no matter how much will I had.”

Adam was barely moving—his body merely twitched around as the aura around him had weakened tremendously. 

“I’m not sure if you’re conscious right now—I don’t want to check. That face is probably torn apart. So—”

“I…” Adam began to squirm, attempting once again to get up on his feet. 

“Oh, good. Please stay down, though. Right now, for the sake of my eyesight, more than anything. Anyway…” Derek stretched his body while glancing around. “What does one do when they can’t get past a wall? When they deplete every option that was in their arsenal? They should either give up—which is silly—or retreat and find other ways to go about it. This is what I found in my search.”

Derek motioned his arms around the mine. “I believe in the power that we can obtain. You see—what’s beyond that wall for me is something I’ll risk everything for! Sorry, but I just can’t see you having that kind of willpower originate from some stranger. Learn what reality is, suffer like hell, and grow from it. Find something logical you want to save or protect, and stop living in a fantasy, like some hero!”

“Hero… huh?” Adam chuckled. “Ah, okay. I get it. Thanks for the advice.”

Adam gained some footing and was now kneeling in front of Derek. Something peculiar began to occur as he struggled to stand. His aura was growing once more, although it was slowly turning red as opposed to white.

“Chaons…?” Derek took a step back. “No… it’s nothing like that. His blood. His freaking blood is mixing in with that stuff?”

Despite not being actually chaonic in nature, Derek could not help but feel an immense, dark pressure now radiating from Adam. His blood swirled around in the torrent of energy, becoming an incredibly vibrant crimson in color. Holding his face—covering what had yet to heal—Adam was now on his feet. His ghastly white eyes peered through the ominous aura, emitting a “force” that Derek could only describe as death itself.

“If I can’t be a hero, then I’ll just be a villain.”

Derek barely had any time to react as Adam lunged toward him, grabbing hold of his arm while dashing forward. He was along for the ride as the two soared out of the room, into a brand new section.

The cavern had opened up, becoming much more spacious as opposed to the narrow sections from before. Stalagmites shot up from the earth while stalactites descended from above.

Derek took notice of the former, swinging his body around and slamming Adam directly into one as they flew through the cave. Remarkably, he managed to land on his feet as he slid to a stop, thanks to the phantons flowing within his limbs. 

“This part… Seems we’re no longer in the maze, are we? Which means we’re close to that, huh?” Derek brushed the dirt off of him and looked toward Adam, who was swinging his arms around savagely to free himself from the rubble. With the amount of energy he was producing, this was an easy task.

“I’ve got to stop him here. If he manages to reach that place, then everything we’ve worked for up until now will be in jeopardy.”  

A thin outline of phantonic energy formed around Derek as he took a stance, ready to fight. Adam, who had lost all rationale at this point, sprinted forward with the fury of a wild beast.

Derek stepped to the side as Adam shot past him, colliding with another large stalagmite nearby. 

“You know, I’m quite nimble in this state. Even if you have speed, simply jumping at me won’t mean much if I can get out of the way—”

Adam jumped out of the dust and dived toward Derek, who managed to evade the boy slamming into the ground. Immediately, the attack continued as the pursuit began.

Swing, swing, swing. Adam was not even attempting a legitimate punch at this point, he was merely flailing his arms around as he tried to strike Derek. The man read the erratic moves quite well, managing to move his body enough to dodge while conserving energy simultaneously. As this continued, he began to compare the attacks to an animal attempting to claw at him. 

“He’s legitimately reverting back to primal-like behavior. His mind has given up, hasn’t it? Why did he allow himself to get to this state…?”

Derek maneuvered around a few boulders that were in the path of the battle to get Adam off of his tail. These were torn through quickly—the bloodied aura of the World Mirror reducing the stone to dust. 

“How is his body still intact? With the amount of raw power he’s emitting, it would take an expert level of control to not have his own body vaporize. His clothes are even still on—thank god. But…”

Derek took a quick glance around while he moved. It was barely noticeable, but there were tiny veins of crimson within the ground and ceiling. He knew little details surrounding this mine, even unaware that their plan seemed to center around some little girl that the raging young man before him was aiming to save. 

Despite talking big moments prior, Derek knew that there were faults in what he was fighting for. It was evident from the get-go, yet he had no choice but to help out with this project.

He noticed a tiny shadow form near his shoulder as Jason began to speak. 

“This is getting out of hand, isn’t it?”

“You’re keeping an eye on everything going on, yeah?” Derek asked. “Which means, Carl’s there watching as well?”

“Yep, we’re both watching everything…” Jason gulped. “I better not tell him that Chris just got knocked out…”

“Carl, what the hell do you think is happening? How is he controlling this power?” Derek jumped back as Adam attempted to stomp him into the ground—his leg seemingly undamaged.

“Yes, yes, yes! Derek, you and I have similar thoughts!” 

“We’re not similar.”

“Anyway—” Carl’s voice echoed from Jason’s shadow. Adam did not seem to react to the discussion whatsoever as he continued his assault. “Here’s an interesting question for you, Derek. Being one that studied archeology, you’re aware of how difficult it is to explore anything pertaining to the Ouderkirks?”

“Yeah, we rarely ever had any clearance to check those places. Why?”

“Although it is meant to keep things a secret, there actually is a bigger reason why people are not allowed near those locations.”

“Which is…?” Derek dodged a swipe from Adam and managed to land a punch on him. He was pushed back for only a moment, resuming his flurry of strikes.   

“It’s something known as ‘Authority.’ You can think of it like how a Concept operates. One takes control of something—anything. Almost identical to a Concept, except for one main difference. Concepts naturally form within one’s self and are released, while an Authority is one’s self taking hold of something that exists on the outside.”

“All right, I’m following…” Derek said while leaping off of the nearby wall, evading a rocketing Adam.

“Usually, only one who has complete control over either phantons or chaons can create an Authority over something. In fact, our leader and Jason both share Authority over these mines. That’s how we control it.”

“Not right now, we don’t…” Jason interrupted in dismay.

“Right right right, I was getting to that point,” Carl responded to the disembodied voice. “You see, Derek, despite the Ouderkirks no longer existing—for the most part—Authority over where they ruled remains. Mainly where their power was at display the most, like their forts off to the east. Someone entering that does not belong means terrible danger, such as the very terrain sucking out your life force—fun stuff like that!” 

“Hmm… So why is Jason saying we no longer have control here?”

“I don’t know how it happened…” Carl paused. “But the mine has fallen under that boy’s control. He mysteriously placed Authority here, ripping it from us. It has to relate to that unknown power, cause that’s something that can’t just happen normally. Hey, kid! You listening!?”

Adam was, in fact, not listening—whatsoever. His body was simply going berserk. Derek was not sure that he was even conscious at this point.

“It would be good to ask him some things…” Carl sighed. “I wonder, could it be due to his blood? I’m talking genetically. That could easily make sense, but we have to wait for an answer to that.”

Derek had begun intercepting blows directly. He had become accustomed to the amount of force that Adam was creating and managed to respond with an equal amount of energy radiating out of him. 

“…No,” Jason spoke up. “It doesn’t have to do with that. Trust me, this place was built to keep everyone out.”

“If Jason says so, then…” Carl pondered. “It… It’s astounding. I have a theory…! Oh! A crazy, crazy, crazy theory! It does have to do with his blood—his literal blood that’s spewing from him!” 

“What do you mean?” Derek asked as he was struck with the back of Adam’s hand. This did little to Derek, who held his ground.

“Concepts. Authority. These things encompass everything that exists. Everything, including actual concepts—things that aren’t tangible, such as names. Everyone knows that the name ‘Adam’ belonged to the ‘first man’ that existed, yes? There are other meanings behind it. Meanings that pertain to the earth… the red earth.”

“Y-Yeah…? That means something?”

“Look around—a place within the earth fueled with crimson! As his blood seeps into the stone, his power acts as a medium for these concepts to intertwine, acting as a way for his being to ‘merge’ with the area. The red earth fuses with the red earth! Thus, Authority is conceived. How it overrides our Authority, however, is alarming…” 

“…That’s a stretch, don’t you think?” Derek found an opening, smashing his fist into Adam’s gut, sending him into the wall. 

“When one is in an area with their Authority active, the terrain does aid them. Despite chaons being a different type of power, energy is energy—Concepts, in general, do not care. You’ve seen my research, you know what I’ve always wanted to present to those bastard scientists…”

“Concepts can be born from chaons, not just phantons. Yeah, I know. I’ve seen enough to believe that. The absurdity of those people… I guess our hatred for them helps you and I get along, at least. Crazy-ass scientist.”

“Heh… For now, I’m classifying Adam’s strange power in the same class as phantons and chaons. Even if he has neither, can he actually use Concepts? Intriguing… Intriguing, intriguing, intriguing!”

“He might as well. Clearly, he uses a power that a normal human does not possess. So, why not?”

Adam limped forward from his spot in the wall. Throughout the fight and discussion, it seemed as though Derek’s effort to stop him had been working. His aura weakening, blood dripped from his face—remarkably healed up at this point.

“Authority, huh…?” Adam mumbled. It was loud enough for Derek to hear, who was in shock.

“How… did he hear all of that!?”

“It’s not too surprising,” Carl responded. “The Authority he has is allowing him to pick up all kinds of stimuli—all throughout the mine, I’m guessing. But… no. No, no, no! Even so, in his current state, how could he process anything—freaking how is this kid still standing!? I don’t even think my body could withstand what he’s dealt with!”

Derek looked at Adam’s eyes. The malice they had unleashed started to dim, yet something was still off.

It was not fear that Derek felt at that point. Instead, curiosity flowed through him, much like his phantons had been doing. He recalled the first thing that came from his own mouth upon entering the mine.

“Déjà vu… I feel it quite often. Carl, you said it’s from the residual information that phantons have as they enter me?”

“Hm? Yes, that’s correct. All kinds of information, regardless of its size, flows into you daily as you store it away. It would make sense that you tend to ‘recall’ events that did not actually happen to you personally.”

“Adam Grayson,” Derek stepped forward—Adam barely able to react. “This is going to sound strange, but your gaze gives off an absurdly strong sense of déjà vu—it surpasses any side effect of my own Concept.”

“Sounds like a freaking awful pickup line. You hitting on me…? In some weird-ass way?” Adam wobbled around, struggling to stay steady.

“Sorry, I’m already married…” Derek glanced down at his finger. “My ring was destroyed, unfortunately. But that’s all a story for another day…” He glanced around for a moment, proceeding to chuckle. “What the hell is up with place…? Honestly?”

Adam’s sanity slowly returned to him as he resonated with the peaceful aura that Derek had started to give off. For some reason, they had both grown comfortable interacting with each other.

“…Regardless, I have to complete this task. You need to leave this place. Jason told you not to dig into this. It’s beyond a miracle that things have happened in the manner that they have—you’re still alive.”

With his Authority, Adam glanced off to the right. He managed to sense a location toward the end of the mine, unable to process what was in there.

“He knows the location, Derek!” Jason’s shadow flew around Derek’s head like an irritating insect.

“…It’s pretty straightforward at this point, I’m sure anyone could find it—Authority or not.”

“S-Still! You’ve gotta stop him!”

“I know that…” Derek swatted Jason away, returning his attention to Adam. “I’ll give you one last chance. Will you leave?”

Adam, remarkably, managed to give a genuine smile as he responded.

“I can’t do that.”

Derek smirked. Jason floated back a bit—he and Carl taking note of the sudden shift in the behavior of the two young men. 

With a flex of Derek’s arm, phantonic energy surged from it—pure power ready to make the final strike. “I knew you would say that.”

Adam copied Derek’s action perfectly—the World Mirror summoning an equal amount of power in his own arm. While the aura was still crimson from his blood, the vibe coming from him was much more calmer.

A mere moment passed, and the two jumped forward—red and blue, clashing upon impact as the sound of colliding energy echoed throughout the mine. The men known as Adam Grayson and Derek Sommers had an identical thought toward the final push:

“Why can’t we be on the same side and help each other out?”

Next: Chapter 1.20

Previous: Chapter 1.18

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.18

Previous: Chapter 1.17

Next: Chapter 1.19

Brandon was flung from the shadows onto the dirty basement floor. Jerry, who had been attempting to stand up, almost fell back over upon hearing his friend yelp in pain.

“Brandon…!?” He looked over at the black mass hovering above the front of the barrier. “What is that!?”

“Oh, good. Spiky red-hair guy—” Jason’s voice cracked. “Excuse me. I’m getting a little exhausted from warping all over the place. Keep this guy from barging back in here. It’s dangerous. Okay? Okay.”

Before Jerry could respond, Jason’s shadow had vanished. However, his voice did echo out one last comment.

“How in the hell is this thing still visible? What caused that to happen? Oh well. We’ll fix it…”

Jerry forced himself on to his feet, limping over to Brandon, who had begun to move. “Hey, are you okay? What happened?”

“Jerry…” Brandon looked up at him. “Adam’s still in there. He’s probably going to start fighting some guy. He’s already injured and is probably going above and beyond what he can do alone…”

“Why?” Jerry asked. “What for? Tell me whatever you know!”

Brandon held his head while nodding to his friend. As he told Jerry what had unfolded inside the mine, sheer pain continued to surge throughout his body. By the end of the quick catch up, Jerry noticed this.

“If what you’re saying is true, then your body was affected pretty badly by those chaons. You’re probably poisoned. We’ll have to fix you up before it’s too late.”

“…Is it possible to get possessed by some demon or something?” Brandon asked. He stood up, feeling incredibly dizzy.

“Careful—” Jerry held onto him to prevent him from falling back down. “And, yeah, absolutely. That’s how they do it. Your body becomes riddled with chaons, giving them a ‘home’ that they can safely nest in. If one becomes poisoned, your system will naturally cleanse the chaons, eventually. In the meantime, your body’s not only taking damage, but it’s also at risk of possession.”

“Do you think I was possessed…?” Brandon questioned. Jerry pondered the possibility based on what he had been told.

“It’s possible… it would explain a hole in your memory. When you ran into that barrier… the chaons that would have gotten into you shouldn’t have been in you for too long, but…”

Jerry took out his phone and opened the app that he used before. He motioned it around Brandon as it picked up signs of chaonic influence. “Okay… you’re definitely poisoned. Not too bad, actually. You’re certainly not possessed, though.”

“Why does it feel like my head’s splitting open…?” Brandon questioned, holding his hands around his temples. “Like… my head is an egg, and something’s trying to break out, but it lacks the strength to.”

“That’s… quite the comparison.” Jerry was utterly perplexed at Brandon’s condition. 

Jerry’s brain went into overdrive. He had to brainstorm all the possible moves that could be made in the current situation so that everyone could get out of it safely. 

Miraculously, Jerry Peck happened to be one to work extraordinarily well under pressure.

Fighting through the pain—which was slowly subsiding—Jerry began to walk Brandon toward the stairs.

“W-Where are we going…?” Brandon began to squirm like a pet trying to break free and run off. “We’ve gotta help Adam…! Jerry! We’ve gotta—”

“We’ll save him, relax!” Jerry yelled. “Listen—whatever you’re going through right now… whatever Adam is going through, I swear… I’ll figure out a solution to everything!

The confidence that radiated from Jerry seemed to affect Brandon, as he had finally calmed down. Despite his desire to rush back in and help Adam, he repressed it and placed his trust in the best place possible.

As Jason opened up a portal inside the mine, a young man dived out of it. Only a few meters from the ground, he managed to somehow slow down and calmly land on his feet. Adjusting the goggles he was wearing, which were a part of what looked to be an old pilot hat, he took a glance around.

“Hey, uh, Jason?” He looked up at the shadow, which seemed to be groaning in annoyance. “Where exactly did you put me?”

“These guys keep messing with the mine…!” Jason cursed. “I can’t even place you in the right place! Well, whatever. The girl should still be in the same section, just a little bit ahead. I’ll leave it to you, Chris.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Chris waved as Jason faded away. He looked around—a shiver going up his spine upon taking in the surroundings. 

“These are the mines, huh? Creepy. Creepy creepy. Ah—shit! I’m starting to repeat words just like Carl! No, don’t do that.” He took a deep breath. “Father. Sister. Keep me safe. Not only from whatever’s in here but from that guy back at the base…”

Chris began to walk at a brisk pace. He wanted to get out of the dark caves as quickly as possible, aware that he had to accomplish his mission to do so.

It was then that Christopher Serpenti had realized something. Never in his nineteen years on this planet did he once encounter a ghost. There were many other horrifying things he had met, but not a mere spirit. He had no idea how to proceed with his task.

“Do I… talk to her first? Carl said she should be easy enough to fight against, but how do you fight against something already dead? Does that make any sense!? Demons… Chaonic Entities—to be more precise. I’ve dealt with those, but… they’re technically living.”

As Chris spoke to himself, he was unaware that the torches he passed had begun to be blue in color as opposed to the usual red. 

“I’m thinking that talking to her—asking if she’ll just come with us—is the better option. I’m not sure how to fight against a ghost. If you can fight them just like a normal human, then what’s honestly the difference? They might as well be alive at that point…”

He stopped. What Chris encountered was something that shook him to his very core. 

Tiny azure flames danced around Charlotte, who was sitting right in the middle of the cave floor. She was humming—her way of focusing her energy into moving the sprite-like specters of energy as if they were dancing. 

Although disturbing, it had no malicious intent, as Chris assumed it did. Charlotte initially did not notice him as she was deep in thought regarding her power.

“I can make phantonic energy from chaons…?  How does it work? Well, it’s now in a form I can use, so maybe I can —”

She glanced up to see the man standing before her. There was no greeting—no acknowledgment, aside from the two staring at each other in silence. Chris, eventually, broke the silence with the snap of his finger.

“…I won’t let you get away with your cursed rituals, demon!”

A spark flew from his fingertips, growing in size and flying at Charlotte, exploding upon contact. Chris leaped backward, gaining height as he made contact with the ceiling. Mysteriously, he held onto the rocky surface as if there was a place to grip onto.

A blue wave of energy ripped through the smoke, revealing a completely unharmed Charlotte. The flames that were around her had reformed, enveloping her in a ghastly aura. 

“That was extremely rude of you,” Charlotte said with a serious expression. “Do you just attack women willy-nilly like a savage!? Wait—willy-nilly… what does that mean…?”

“I’ll attack anyone if they’re in the middle of a cave performing dark arts like you are!” Chris yelled, flicking his finger repeatedly. A spark formed each time as Charlotte was bombarded by multiple attacks. She created a large circular shield, which blocked the explosions from making contact with her. 

“Is that your Concept?” Charlotte asked, moving the shield to her side as it floated in mid-air. She quickly formed a javelin in her right hand and, with remarkable speed, chucked it toward Chris. He evaded it by releasing his hold on the ceiling, jumping onto the wall as the javelin smashed his previous location into pieces. 

“See if you can figure it out! It tends to stump people, but it’s quite simple!” Chris sent more sparks at Charlotte, who once again blocked all of them. He continued to shoot at her as he landed back onto the ground and sprinted right toward her swiftly. 

“What is he—” Charlotte used her power to force the floating shield forward, bashing right into Chris. She figured he would be rather easy to send hurdling, considering his slender physique. However, he did not budge, and the shield met with fierce resistance.

“Well, you’re a ghost, after all. And with that attire, I’m guessing you’re quite old. Not sure how much science you would actually know!”

With the initial force of Charlotte’s attack diminished, Chris adjusted his footing and leaped back, managing to gain significant distance from the shield. He rubbed his forearms, which had made contact with the phantasmal object. 

“Yeesh, thought I was gonna lose there for a sec. Definitely had to get away before you tried something fishy. What is your Concept? Or—er—wait. Ouderkirk… Ah, yeah! You can control phantons, can’t you? Is that how you’re making those weapons?”

“I believe so,” Charlotte moved her hand, causing the shield to return to her side. “I don’t have to think too hard about it. I call it ‘Royal Armory’ because the weapons seem to already be made, ready to go. Summoning them and using them is what drains me.”

“Ah. See, maybe I misjudged you. You seem to talk normally. This is what I wanted to begin with—talking is much easier. Although, it seems as though fighting you isn’t as difficult as I initially thought.”

“Are you the one who owns this mine?” Charlotte asked as the shield faded away. In its place, a longsword formed, which she grabbed without hesitation. “Tell me exactly what’s going on here.”

“Uh, no, I don’t own it. I work for the guys who own it, I guess? Listen, I was just told to capture you. I didn’t really want to actually fight, but I’m not sure you’re gonna listen at this point. I did start it, after all…”

“Capture me…?” Charlotte raised her sword. “You’re right. I won’t listen to someone who wants to do that—why the hell would I?” She dashed forward and, in a split second, began slashing at Chris. He managed to evade the attacks—his body meeting no resistance to the air around him. 

“I get it, I get it! The guys I work for aren’t all that bad, actually! I’m sure talking things out with them will work out! I’ve just gotta bring you to them!” Chris sent several sparks at Charlotte, who whacked them away with her blade. “Ah, geez. This is on me. I had to freak out and begin fighting—you do realize it looked incredibly creepy, though!? What were you even doing down here? What are you doing down here, overall?”

“My friend ended up in here somehow, and I’m here to get him out… that’s all.” Charlotte lunged at Chris, taking a mighty swing that shattered the ground beneath them. He dodged, grabbing onto the ceiling once more.

“Right, right… My friend Derek should be working on that part right now. So, you don’t have to worry about that.”

Charlotte brushed dust off the illuminated blade, chuckling softly. “And why do you think I should trust your word? If I just surrender now and go with you to have this hypothetical discussion with the people you work for so that everything can end ‘peacefully’… how will I know my friend is safe? How will I know that I’ll be safe?”

“…Yeah, I messed this one up. Dammit. Oh well… I guess I’ll just have to do this the hard way.” Chris jumped a few yards back, readying his fingers. “I know it won’t do much at this point to gain your trust, but my Concept is ‘Friction.’ I can move around quickly with no resistance, or I can gain lots of resistance like I did against your shield. I can hold onto walls and ceilings easily, as well.”

“Well, that is good to know…” Charlotte resumed a battle stance while the inside of her processed this new information. “…Friction… friction. I swear I’ve picked up that term before, but what is it!? I think I can figure it out, based on what he’s said… Freaking memories. No—this is this era’s fault! Science has gone too far!”

“And with these sparks that I’ve been making… I make enough friction with my fingers to create it, but it continues from there. The spark moves like a bullet—all the resistance it meets building up heat, forming a tiny explosion upon contact.”

Charlotte was perplexed at Chris’ explanation. “…Okay. I think even if I did understand modern science, I wouldn’t understand how something like that works…”

“From what I’ve been told, Concepts don’t have to fully make sense!” Chris explained. “They bring a factor that exists in this universe under your control, so through one’s influence, things can get a little tricky!”

“I see… In that case—” Charlotte swapped her longsword for another javelin. “I’ll end this before things get too tricky!” 

She chucked the weapon with remarkable force, rocketing toward Chris. At the last moment, he moved his body slightly to the left, just enough to dodge the incoming strike.

“I practice subtle movement all the time! And with how much resistance I can make if I let an attack hit me, you’ll have to do better than that!” 

“I’ll need both stealth and strength to take you down, huh?” Charlotte noted as Chris flicked his fingers once more. This time, several sparks erupted from him—a volley of flaming projectiles flying toward the ghost girl.

Charlotte took a deep breath. The azure torches surrounding them began to dim as she phased through the ground beneath her as if she dropped into a body of water. The sparks soared passed when she was a moment prior, and the remaining light on the walls faded, leaving the surrounding area in darkness. 

“What!? Damn!” Chris looked around in a panic. “The torches… were red up to this point,” He glanced back where he could see a tiny crimson light in the distance. “Right… They’re supposed to be that color. The ones around here were tampered with by her…!”

“—And I’m not restricted by the space inside of these caverns…” Charlotte’s voice echoed all around Chris, who was trying his hardest to guess her location. 

She shot out of the wall off to the side—the raging azure from her weapon garnering Chris’ attention. A giant war hammer had formed, ready to strike.

“I’m a ghost, after all!”

The head smashed into Chris’s side—an impact was made that tore the stone around them. He had enough time to activate his Concept, creating enough resistance for his body to stay in place.

However, there was astounding power behind Charlotte’s swing as phantonic energy was exploding out of her weapon. Even if he could put up a fight, the struggle was futile. His body would break before the attack ended.

“Well, shit—”

Chris was slammed into the wall of the mine—the shockwaves ripping everything in the area to pieces. As his consciousness faded, regret took hold of his remaining thoughts.

“I’m… not gonna die, am I…? Did I… lose everything, again…?” 

Next: Chapter 1.19

Previous: Chapter 1.17

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.17

Previous: Chapter 1.16

Next: Chapter 1.18

Jerry awoke, still slumped over the stairs. His body ached from where he had leaned on each step—the sharpest pain near the back of his neck. Immediately, his mind kicked into gear. 

“What happened…!? Okay—need to think, need to think…” He stepped onto the cellar floor and looked around the left corner. “The barrier’s still there…? What happened to Brandon? Something knocked me out—did it get him as well? Did it take him? Why just him? Why—”

He paused, taking a deep breath as he tried to focus. “Calm down. Think rationally. Nobody seems to be down here…?” Surveying the damaged basement, Jerry began to formulate a few ideas while taking his phone out of his pocket. 

“Okay… I was out of it for twenty minutes. Charlotte hasn’t returned, so something must be going on inside that cave to delay her for so long. Brandon’s missing—he wouldn’t just leave me lying on the stairs like that if I passed out. Why would he be kidnapped, while I’m just knocked out? I would conclude that another party is involved, to some degree. Many, many questions. I could ponder for hours… but I’ve got to act before it’s too late.”

Jerry turned and began to dash up the stairs. That was what he attempted to do, although he immediately ran into a problem. He collapsed onto his knees, leaning on the bottom step. The pain in his neck had spread to the rest of his body, preventing him from moving any further.

“…I was able to move fine for a moment, but now… Gah—what happened to me!?”

Brandon ran behind Adam as he took note of the energy—now calmer than before—surrounding his friend. 

“Hey. Uh… are you okay? That power… it heals you—if I remember correctly?”

“Yeah,” Adam held out his arm. “I’ll be fine, for now. We need to wrap this up quickly. Charlotte’s in here, you said? Where’s Jerry?”

“I’m not sure… after Charlotte came in, my memory’s kinda fuzzy. I hope whatever possessed me didn’t hurt him.”

“Let’s hope not. If Charlotte’s in here, we need to group up. With her, I’m sure we can get this done fast enough.”

“Speaking of fast… you’re running quicker than me. That’s a first.” Brandon noted.

“I told you this power also gives me a boost in my physical capabilities. That includes something like this…” Adam glanced down at his legs. “I don’t know how to use it, but since it’s active as it heals me up, I guess that works.”

“Wait… it doesn’t look like you need healing. You’ve got blood all over you, but your wounds should be—”

“The World Mirror’s aura…” Adam hesitated. “It’s given me protection from the chaons, in the manner that phantons protect everyone else. It’ll only stay active as long as it heals, though. So when it diminishes enough… the chaons start eating away at me again. It’s a cycle. You probably can’t notice it, but I can feel it, believe me…”

“…S-Should we do this?” Brandon asked nervously. “I don’t like the idea of you constantly getting messed up like that, man. “Maybe we should go back and think this through.”

“…Let’s find Charlotte,” Adam suggested. “She’ll probably have the best idea on what to do. I’d rather find her anyway before we think about leaving.”

The setting that had repeated for quite some time had finally changed. Adam and Brandon entered a more substantial area—a circular room with boulders, mine carts, and metal track scattered about as if they were randomly chucked in there. The familiar torches were still lined up on the wall surrounding the place.

“This is… new.” Brandon stopped to glance around as Adam took an extra few steps before slowing down.

“Yeah…” Adam’s eyes surveyed the new location noticing the chaons did not seem to act differently.  

That is until he glanced upward.

At the center of the stone ceiling, a black swirling mass appeared. The chaons swarmed around it, seeing to dissipate upon contact. Jason began to speak.

“How did you two join up…? That’s not supposed to happen! And how did you get here!? This is supposed to be one of the safe rooms kept out of the cycle!”

“Adam… it’s talking. What is that—why is it talking!?”

“Just stay behind me, Brandon,” Adam raised his guard. 

“Oh, boy…” Jason let out a sigh. “Well, let’s get this over with, quickly.”

A figure emerged from the darkness, descending down toward the two boys. Adam backed up, pushing Brandon as he did. Derek landed effortlessly, staring at the two with a blank expression. 

“Hmm…” Derek glanced around the room for a moment before returning his focus to them. “Oh. Oh, yeah. I’m getting that feeling. Jason, that déjà vu feeling is at an all-time high right now.” He pinched the area between his eyes. “I don’t like it. Carl said it’s a side effect from how my Concept works, but I don’t really trust his judgment. He started scratching the inside of his ear wildly while explaining the current situation. For what reason?

“That’s why you wanted to warp so quickly? I get it,” Jason chuckled from the abyss. “Should I send Chris too? He’s ready to dive on in, as well. Carl’s dancing around him… H-He’s just dancing.”

“Let Chris take a shot at the other ‘point of interest’ that’s in here. I’ll back him up once I’m done.” Derek shrugged as his attention returned to the boys in front of him. “Oh, hi, yeah—I’m Derek. I’m here to escort you out of here.”

“…Who are you? Where did you come from?” Adam asked—his body twitching from the pain he was in.

“I’m Derek, are your ears okay? Are you okay? Why are you covered in blood? Is that your blood? What the—what the hell? And that energy…”  

“I think it heals him, Derek,” Jason responded from above. “It looked like his arms were growing back when I tried to warp him earlier. That energy—I think—is the reason why I couldn’t get it to work.”

“I know the gist of it,” Derek rubbed the side of his head. “He doesn’t have phantons. That caused the chaons in here to hurt him. This power of his healed him, luckily, but he’s still in danger. Well, Jason, just shift the sections accordingly, open up the barrier, and I’ll walk them right out before they get hurt any further.”

“…I’m not leaving,” Adam stepped forward. “I’m not leaving until I save that little girl! Where is she!? What the hell even is this place!?”

“Woah. Yelling. Stop that.” Derek said. “What girl? Jason?” He looked up. “Got any idea who this ‘little girl’ is that he’s talking about?”

“I don’t know how, but it seems he knows of it…” Jason replied. “Listen, kid. The mine was set up this way to protect that girl. So, don’t worry about it. Trust me when I say this: Don’t get involved. At all. It’s for your own good.”

Adam went silent. Derek looked at him and shrugged. 

“Well, our shadowy boy said so. I’m… kinda concerned as to how a little girl is involved, especially considering…” Rage temporarily filled Derek’s voice before he stopped speaking.

“Adam, what should we do…?” Brandon patted his friend on the shoulder—the World Mirror’s energy not resisting this action. “I don’t know how to approach this…” 

“I don’t really understand how this other guy got in—I didn’t pay attention, unfortunately—but he seems to not have awakened phantons. So…” Jason’s shadow quickly flew downward, coving up Brandon before either of them could react.

“Let me warp you out, at least.” 

Adam reached out his hand, but it was too late. The shadows vanished, and Brandon was nowhere to be seen.


“Hey. It’s okay. We just got him out of here before the chaons started eating away at him. Look—I know how frustrating it is to want to save someone, and you can’t… trust me. But she’s safe. I know these ominous-looking caves don’t help reassure that. But I trust the people I’m working with. Expect Carl. He’s a creep.”

Adam’s arms drooped down—the aura around him starting to surge, which caused a chill to run right through Derek.

“She appeared in front of me… first time in Ann’s—nothing to note of her expression then. But then, in my basement… she was crying. She asked for my help before she faded away. There is some girl in here? She asked me for help…

Derek did not say anything in response, as the feeling Adam radiated resonated with him. He knew what situation was about to unfold. In many ways, it would be one of the most challenging tasks he’d dealt with up to that point. 

Jason was preoccupied elsewhere, yet had a tiny sliver of his shadow remain. He could hear the words that were exchanged.

“She manifested in front of this kid…? How in the world is that possible…? I gotta go get him. I know he’s busy, but this is a horrible predicament we’re getting into!”

“Look, Adam. That’s your name, yeah?” Derek stepped forward. “Let’s relax. Not only is this situation stressful, just look at yourself. Your body has gone through a lot. Even if it can heal, you still feel the pain. Great pain, I’m assuming? Do you know what that can do to your head? Please, let’s end this before it begins…” He pleaded while reaching out his arm.

“I don’t want to get violent.”

Adam knew Derek was absolutely correct. In most cases, Adam tried to look at things rationally. Several times, that act had failed. Ever since the girl first appeared to him in his basement, he had been relying strictly on his emotions. Despite trying to keep a cool head, the strain his body had taken was far beyond what an average person could handle. 

It was only half a year prior that a mere slice to the wrist was too much for him.

Now, in the span of a few days, he had shattered bones, had his body burn apart, and had limbs vaporized by his own uncontrollable power. Not to mention, the process of regeneration was almost just as painful as receiving the injuries.

It was all too much for Adam Grayson’s combat-rookie mind to handle.

He gave up all rationale. Saving the little girl from her pain, whether she was dead or alive, was his top priority. Even if it meant fighting the man in front of him, who only wanted to help, then so be it.

Taking a quick glance at his hand, Adam raised his fist in front of him. Derek was met with the World Mirror’s icy glare.

“Get violent, then.”

Next: Chapter 1.18

Previous: Chapter 1.16

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.16

Previous: Chapter 1.15

Next: Chapter 1.17

Brandon Shepherd stopped upon hearing a voice call out to him. It was one only he could listen to—one that did not originate from the mine. He shook his head frantically as if he wanted to shake the voice out of him.

“Shut up… I’m out right now. The curse is probably the reason why—where am I? Don’t worry about it—I’ll sleep soon—I have to rescue Adam—he’s important… Yes, I used it—how do you think I’m in such a place? I’ll use it again, too—it’s all troublesome—I’m so unlucky… cause of you… Remember that, as I’m used up in your abysmally pathetic game…”

He began to sniff the air—a sinister grin forming on the face of one that should not be fueled by malice whatsoever. “Smell that? Misfortune. That’s gotta be him—I’m gonna bring him here—I’ll use it.”

Pausing for a moment, his mouth resumed moving. Not a single sound could escape, however. The crimson energy of the mine had gathered, forming a demonic hand around his throat. Several others immediately proceeded, grappling onto his limbs. They squeezed as if they wanted to crush Brandon like a can.

“…! D-Dammit…!” His voice could barely come out. It broke through, however, and Brandon Shepherd screamed louder than he ever did before. The bloody roar was accompanied by a fierce glare of dark amber irises, directed toward the world. 

“…So loud.”

Brandon stood in pitch blackness. He could not even see his hands.

“Is that… me? What am I shouting for? Oh… wait. This seems… familiar.”

He let out an agitated sigh that echoed in the void.

“It’s been a while since this happened. I get like this sometimes whenever I get really anxious. Think the last time was a few years ago in high school? During practice… I’m surprised it didn’t happen recently. Or… did it? I almost had a heart attack when I first heard Adam tried to… Oh… wait. Oh! Adam!” 

Brandon looked around, yet his vision remained the same regardless of what direction he turned toward.

“Adam got sucked into some cave… and I tried to run in there to help him. Right, I guess that’s a good reason to freak out? What is… going on, exactly? It feels… different this time. Hmm…”

He began to ponder, tapping his foot on the “ground.”

“Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… Yeah, this shit is weird. That’s about all I can come up with.”

Upon hearing his disembodied screams once more, he jumped in shock. 

“…Well, I’m smarter than I look—I… I hope. I can come up with something. I think… I should probably wake up first. How to do that…?”

Adam’s vision returned to him. The first thing he noticed was the gigantic white aura that had formed around him. His body ached immensely, yet the World Mirror had saved him from burning away. 

“It… can help me regenerate lost limbs, I know that. But I figured something that constantly ate away at me would be a bit too much…” 

Looking ahead, Adam was still in the mine, right where he had collapsed. Blood was all around him, and it covered his body from head to toe. He noticed something odd occurring.

“I can see clearly, even though you’d think this energy around me would blur my vision. Hell, my eyes lighting up should blind me, but they don’t…? How the hell does that work?”

Phantonics, as a whole, tended to contradict many other fields of science. It seemed that his unknown power of the World Mirror did this as well. To what degree, Adam was unsure. 

The aura guarded him—chaons seemed to be lighting up as they made contact with his power. They could not get in, at least for the time being. 

“It activates whenever I’m injured. More healing equals more energy coming out. Right—okay. That sucks. I should really figure out an alternate way to unleash it. Cause, clearly, this power is hella strong. It… can make a difference. I know it can.”

Adam began to walk, noticing immediately that, along with the intense pain, he was quite dizzy. 

“I lost quite a lot of blood, didn’t I? In fact, when I originally tried to… you know, they noted that I had lost a ton of it. Hmm… I think I can regenerate blood, as well, but it’s a much slower process compared to everything else. Damn, okay. Gotta watch out for that, I suppose?”

His arms twitched as he raised them in front of himself. “How to control this power…? What have I been doing thus far when I can ‘control’ it?”

In the fight with Charlotte and during his attempt to break the barrier, the World Mirror did work in the way he had intended it to. Energy had gathered around the limbs he wanted to use, mainly due to his injuries, yet the explosion of power was something to take notice of.

“What did I do in those moments? How did it feel when I swung my fists…? It’s way too soon for me to be entering combat with this thing, but…” Adam’s eyes gazed into the darkness ahead. “I might have to if I proceed with this weak-ass rescue attempt.”

He shook his head. “That girl was a ghost anyway, Adam. She’s dead. What’s there to save…? No, that’s contradictory. You’re helping Charlotte, who’s also a ghost. Who can… basically be considered alive, with how she acts. Gah…” 

Scratching his hair fiercely in his frustration, blood gushed out of it. 

“Guh…! What the fu…!” 

With the World Mirror’s power active, he was much stronger right now. Adam did not take into account a simple action, such as scratching the top of his head.

“P-Pretty sure I almost dug into my brain… Damn this…”

Adam stumbled forward. What happened next was an incredibly lucky circumstance that fate decided to give him. He would not know the details for quite some time, but by stepping on a certain spot of the cave with the World Mirror active, something occurred.

He had stepped on a border—a spot where two sections of the cave that were constantly swapping had met. All of the sections frequently shifted to keep a person lost in the crimson maze, yet one could easily set foot on this spot at the right time.

Nothing would happen—or even be noticed—if it was anyone else. Adam was the one capable of making the change. By stepping on this border, the entire framework of the mine was rewritten. Adam’s desire to rescue the little girl resonated with the World Mirror, and with its power, the cave was now—unbeknownst to him—under his control. 

Nothing could be kept from him now. Adam continued to stumble on the rocky path, trying his best to keep his composure. Blood dripped from his head while the scratches slowly healed. The aura surrounding him was like a white flame casually passing between the tinier crimson ones located off to the side. 

He heard groaning—seemingly out of nowhere. Walking a few meters ahead, Adam quickly located the source of the sound. A sizeable crimson cloud was directly in front of him—ghastly red hands occasionally popping in and out of the mass. 

“What the hell is this thing…?”

The groaning turned into the sound of someone crying—a young man that sounded familiar to Adam.

The voice began to speak. Adam recognized it—his eyes widening not only from the realization but from the words that exited the mist.

“Kill… me…”

“Brandon…?” The World Mirror’s aura was like a storm—the power unleashed instantly caused the stone walls of the cave to crack. The regular red fog that was around him was blown away, yet the mass that had trapped his friend remained. 

“Kill me… Kill me… Kill me, kill me, kill me, KILL ME, KILL ME!!”

With each repetition of those words, the crimson hands unleashed as a countermeasure to Adam’s power. They grabbed onto him, despite beginning to break apart against the pressure of the World Mirror.

He waved his own hands around in retaliation, whacking the appendages off easily. The white energy had no choice but to bend to his will—Adam’s desire to save his friend, as well as the confusion toward why Brandon would say those words. Out of everyone he knew, Brandon Shepherd was the least likely to spew such nonsense.

Or—was he? This brief hesitation led Adam to get punched a few times by the hands, sending him several feet backward. He realized that it was no time to consider something like that. The time was after—after Brandon was safe.

Remaining on his feet, Adam blitzed the crimson energy—the hands unable to affect him whatsoever as he charged through. Coming into contact with the cloud, the struggle began. Despite being a gaseous phenomenon, it was rather difficult for him to break through. 

Still, Adam pressed forward, attempting to tear it apart.

Inside the pitch-black world, Brandon had given up. His screams from the outside had ruined him, as he sat in the fetal position with his ears covered.

“W-What the hell…? I can’t do anything to get out of here, can I? What the hell, what the hell, what the hell…?”

The Brandon that was on the outside and the Brandon on the inside were now synced together. Both of them, in their own respective darkness, were unsure of what to do aside from giving up. 

Tiny cracks of light appeared before him. Brandon slowly glanced up at the phenomenon—pieces of darkness falling around him like they were shards of glass.

The blackness shattered. The white entered the realm, enveloping him. Brandon was astonished to see Adam appear from the light, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt.

“I don’t know how you got in here… but whatever. What’s important right now…” Adam looked as though he was about to cry out of sheer rage. Brandon’s eyes, flickering between yellow and blue, were focused on his friend.

“I’m not going to let anyone go through anything remotely close to what I did! Especially my best friend! Don’t ever say such shit like that when your life’s so important, you goddamn moron!”

The crimson cloud faded as Brandon stared at Adam in awe. He felt as though he could cry, but this feeling was suppressed by a surge of emotions—ones that left him more confused than anything.

“I-I appreciate that, dude. But… W-What’s happening here…? Where am I? What’s going on!?” Brandon shot up onto his feet, glancing around the area. Despite being captured by the strange mass, he seemed fine physically—the mysterious “alter ego” that had formed out of nowhere had rested knowing Adam was safe.

“You… what? You don’t know—oh, okay. I think I might get it…?” Adam crossed his arms. “Were you possessed by something? All of these chaons in here could have caused something… That being said, how did you get in?”

“I… I don’t remember! What’s been going on!? You said that stuff to me, but I don’t know the context!”

“D-Did it legit leave your memory? What the…?” Adam pondered what could have possibly happened. “Whatever! As long as you know that I meant that stuff I said, then fine! Let’s just forget about it.”

“I… I know you mean it. We don’t have to get into all that sensitive stuff right now, at least, for my sake. If you ever need to talk about it, though…” Brandon was clearly embarrassed by the topic. He threw any nonsensical pride off to the side, however. “I’m here. I’ll always be here… I-I should have made it clear that I was always there for you, to begin with!”

Adam was astonished to hear those words come out of Brandon’s mouth. He’s heard him say similar things before, but it felt different this time. Adam understood why, as he noticed his friend begin to tear up.

“I don’t want you to die… dude, don’t die. Please… no matter what the cause is, you can’t. We have to see things through to the end!”

Adam looked toward the ground below. He noticed that blood had been dripping from his body, and tiny puddles began to form around him. The World Mirror was healing him, yes, but the strain on his body was starting to show.

The sight made Adam begin to shake in a panic. However, the scene also helped Adam recall words he had heard before—similar to Brandon’s.

“You can’t die…! Adam, please! Stay with me! You… have to stay… with me, don’t you remember…!? We have to live, so we can…”

Through the sheer force of his will, Adam calmed himself. He glanced up at Brandon, who could notice the fire that had formed in his eyes.

“Do you know how I feel, Brandon?”

“About what, exactly…?”

“I hate suffering. Whether it be myself or seeing someone else go through it. I tried killing myself cause I hated suffering in loneliness that much. If I had to choose between my suffering or someone else’s, however… I’d take on all of the burden. I think that’s part of the reason I got to that point. It’s not going to change, though. I’m stronger now. I’m someone who conquered death itself, after all. I’ll keep going. It’s like you said, we have to see things through to the end!”

Brandon did not know how to respond. He felt incredibly proud that his friend had found this inner strength to press forward. However, he was incredibly concerned with how far Adam would go. 

“There’s something in here that needs help. It’s simple, really. I’m going to go rescue her. It’s dangerous as hell, and I’m not sure how well you can manage with these chaons, but…” Adam held out his fist.

“After what you’ve said, how can I turn you away? Do you want to stay? In that case, will you help me?”

Brandon hesitated for a moment before a cocky grin formed on his face. He bumped his own fist against Adam’s. 

“Why not? Let’s show this person just how far these two idiots can go for them!” 

Next: Chapter 1.17

Previous: Chapter 1.15

Table of Contents



I Haven’t Made a Site Update in Quite Some Time, So Let’s Talk!

Hi everyone, long time no talk.

Over the past few weeks, my will to write has returned to me, and we are back in the game. I did start this newer version of the web novel back in January, so I’m certainly a lot further behind than I want to be. The delays in chapters are mainly contributed to mental health-related issues that have been amplified by everything happening this year. I can say they’re definitely still affecting me, but at least I’m making progress once more.

The chapters are being released weekly, with one new chapter for everyone. On Patreon, I now have it so we are two chapters ahead of everywhere else, which a new chapter posted there weekly as well. If you’re caught up with the story, and that interests you, then two bucks a month will grant you access. It is greatly appreciated if you do so, but as I’ve stressed in the past, simply reading the series is fantastic support on its own.

Don’t be shy about asking questions, by the way. If something in the story confuses the hell out of you, ask. I’ll answer as long as we don’t dive into spoiler territory. That is the thing though: there are loads of things that won’t make sense right away. Like what I’m doing with this new version involving Brandon *recent chapter spoilers* and his strange “alter ego” that has taken him over. It’s a new idea I have, yet it will all lead to the overall plot surrounding him that I’ve had all along. It will make sense in the long-run, just please be patient with it, just like you would with other points of the story.

I’ll admit it right now. One of my pet peeves is people who are not patient. In general, but also with writing. As this is a series that releases by the chapter, not everything is going to be covered right away. There’s a lot of content overall that needs to be covered, so it’ll take time. So, if you ask a question with the clear intent of “just tell us what the hell is happening” then it’ll probably be ignored. Genuine innocent curiosity, however, will loop back to what I discussed above: I’ll definitely answer you as long as we don’t get into spoiler territory.

I think I mentioned this on Royal Road, but this version of the web novel takes the comedy aspect of the series a lot more seriously. Comedy has been a thing with Phantonics since the beginning, so I figured that I would officially make it into a core part of what makes up the Phantonics universe. So, whacky antics will now be a more common part of the story. There are moments that will be quite stressful to read in the future, so a good balance of humor will be needed to help the reader not get too sad. Timing for this humor is something I’ve been working on; mainly involving Brandon. I hope to keep at it and make the “interlude” sections of the story in between arcs a lot more entertaining.

Speaking of, I’m not sure if I want to start doing interlude specific chapters. I’m still thinking about how I’d go about doing those. One thing I am heavily considering is beginning short stories of alternate “what-if” scenarios that could happen. I’d probably just call it “Phantonics Alternate” or something simple like that. Here, I’ll give away an idea for one: it would be called “Phantonics Alternate: Ash” and be a what-if scenario if Faith and Emma weren’t saved from the fire and they both died. It would be quite dark, so—naturally—it would be fun to write. Also, taking into consideration the humor thing, another side story thing I’d consider is one strictly for that kind of thing, that detaches itself quite far from the normal story. Maybe call it “Phantonics Fool” or something like that—idk I just pulled that title out of my ass. Right before this sentence that I’m writing right now, I took a small breather for a moment and noticed I had typed exactly 666 words, so that’s fun. Thought I’d mention it, just cause.

Side story-wise, Phantonics Sakura is still one that I will do whenever we reach 10 supporters on Patreon. Still only at one at the moment (shoutout to Novagirl93 for the support you’ve given so far) so, for those of you who do want to go that extra mile, that will be one of your (eventual) rewards. If you want to see Alexander Strauss in his own story (readers of the previous web novel will know him quite well—he’s a fan favorite from the few people I’ve talked to) then tell your friends! And for you lovely folks that read the story normally, rest assured. It will be released to the public upon completion. I mention on Patreon that it will be released in chapters, much like the normal story, specifically on there. Random note: I’m pretty sure the side story for Faith will be called “Phantonics Flare” and I have a good idea as to where I want to place it in the timeline. It’s… quite far off, however. We’ll deal with that once we get to that point. Random note 2: Alexander’s side story is called “Phantonics Sakura” due to his Psycho Matter matching the color of cherry blossoms—I know, creative. It has nothing to do with that one person from that one series about ninjas.

I think I’m going to make chapters a bit longer again so that more content is released weekly. When this version started, I wanted chapters to be shorter so that people could sink into the story easier and not be as overwhelmed. It was also to help me keep up with a schedule, but we all know how that went. I’m going to keep it up as long as I can, and we can hopefully start to see some growth in the series as we get through this second half of the year (how is 2020 already halfway over wtf). The current Crimson Mine Arc should be done by the end of July and the arc after that will hopefully be done by the fall. That will get us through Book 1, perhaps around 2 years after I started the original web novel (October 27, 2018 will always be considered Phantonics’ birthday, btw). I’m doing a really rough estimate here (especially considering how I am) and I’m guessing Book 2 will go into 2021. If I do well enough, maybe we can reach the territory of new new content like… a year or so from now? It’s kind of rough to type that out, but who knows? I could pull off something crazy and write much more before then. It all depends.

I should clarify, as I said before, there’s plenty of new content before we reach that point. The Crimson Mine Arc currently in progress is completely new, surrounding that two chapter fight with Derek in the previous version. It’s much more expanded than before, taking place in an entirely different setting. Fun fact: this mine was actually something from the original Phantonics that I wrote a decade ago. It’s kind of nice to go back to it when I’m actually somewhat competent with writing (somewhat). The following arc will have extra content expanding on that fight with Carl in the woods. Book 2’s first arc will be roughly the same (done better, though—I honestly did not care too much for how I wrote that), then there will be another completely new arc, followed by the arc the last version left off on. That one will be similar, with some differences with how some of the fights play out. Once we get past the point of the Chris fight and the situation that was going on with Emma, we’ll be in new territory. I’ve mentioned this before, but I, unfortunately, did pull the plug right before the super crazy stuff went down. It motivates me to get back to that point, but I know I have to take it slow. Or, just be careful with my writing. If I want to go off with writing, I certainly can if I’m in the right mindset. This simple update, for example, is WAY longer than I thought it would be. It’s a lot of rambling, but I’ve felt like I’ve covered some good points. Not only for you guys to read, but for me to think about.

Anyway, I think I’ll end it here, on that note. If you actually read through this entire thing, bless your soul. This update alone is about an average length of a chapter, and it took me about an hour to write (that does count the small breaks though). So, can I keep this up and work on an actual chapter right now? Or will I go to bed? Both sound tempting. We shall see.

Thank you,




Chapter 1.15

Previous: Chapter 1.14

Next: Chapter 1.16

Brandon stumbled as he walked through the shadows—the torches near him dim. His usual blue-eyed gaze—fixated on the ground—was unseen to the world.

“My head has never been so clear… My heart has never been in such turmoil—I’ve got to find Adam and end this quickly—I can’t be here—I have to hide again—I’m just a tool—so unlucky—so unlucky…

The incoherent mumbling continued. Having mysteriously passed the barrier, Brandon continued through the cave. He had no way of knowing that sections of the cavern were continually swapping places with one another—the mine was deliberately keeping him separated from any other forms of life. 

Charlotte had noticed this. While analyzing her aura and how it reacted to this unique environment, she felt the presence of two others lost in the caves. 

“One is Adam… I can feel the World Mirror’s energy rather easily now ever since it surfaced the other night. What’s this other one, though…? It gives off phantonic energy in the manner that a human does, but… what is this dark pressure I’m feeling from it? That’s not normal.” 

She shook her head as she began to walk. “Regardless, no matter how often these sections switch places, they’re keeping us all apart. If I detect Adam in a nearby area, I can’t get there in time. The shift occurs too quickly. I can fly fast—if I do say so myself—but it’s not enough. I risk losing this form if I put too much power into flight.”

Glancing from left to right, Charlotte focused on the crimson torches on the wall. “It doesn’t make sense for them to be lit if nobody’s normally down here. I wonder…” Raising her hand, tiny specs of phantonic energy ascended. She notices how they seemed to strengthen—growing in size. This was not her doing.

“Let me see if I can try something. Hang in there, Adam…”

The shadow that had tried to grab Adam was no longer in the mine. In an entirely separate location, many miles from Prelude, there was a remote white brick building deep within a lush green forest—blanketed with vines as nature tried to claim it. Inside, there was nothing but a single sizeable empty room—literally no item in sight.

Underneath the floorboards was where everything was. The center room was an eerie laboratory with little light. Large test tubes gave off a cerulean glow while several monitors lit up the silhouette of a figure covered in a black cloak. The shadow was floating near this person as it had just relayed information to them. 

“I see, I see, I see…” The man in a shaky voice leaned on the desk in front of him. “That’s no good. Our leader is preoccupied with another important task right now. We can’t interrupt him, even for something like this.”

“I know,” The shadow responded, annoyed. “That’s why I warped to you, Carl. I assume you can help me come up with something. I’m not sure what will happen if the kid somehow finds the main room, but I’m pretty sure he’ll die before that happens.”

“This strange energy coming from him intrigues me…” Carl commented as he began to chuckle. “What an interesting power, to be able to resist your shadows. This family is just full of surprises!” 

“His mother, Rebecca Grayson…” The shadow seemed to ponder. “From what I know, she was strong, but not that kind of strong. A power like this kid’s shouldn’t exist… unless of course, there’s an influence because of—”

“We should cut the chit chat,” Carl interrupted. “If you can’t warp him out of there, then we’ll have to send someone in personally. You can control how the sections change, yes? Just open up the barrier from the inside so that someone can walk them out. We’ll have to figure out a good spot to do so…”

“There’s a hole in the basement of his house, but the kid had friends over. Walking into one of them would be troublesome…” 

“Warp them out of the way? Let your power drain their phantonic energy just enough so they lose consciousness. No struggle involved.”


“Jason, what is it?” Carl sat up and hovered over the shadow. “You in there, you disembodied freak?”

“I-I just went and checked again…” Jason paused. “Somehow, one of his other friends got inside. And… another person, too.”

“Well, that’s not good… Not good, not good, not good.” Carl began pacing around the room. “Who’s this other person? Just warp the two of them out—we’ve gotta focus on getting that kid out of there—”

“I’m not sure how it’s possible, Carl. But the other person… is an Ouderkirk.”

Carl went silent. He slowly lowered his hood, revealing an extremely pale man with unkempt black hair. His eyes, crimson in color, glared at the shadow. 

“Are you serious?”

“I’ve never met one of them before myself, but it completely matches. White hair, blue eyes, phantonic energy that’s off the charts… but, there’s something peculiar about how she moves.”

“What does that mean?”  

“A pure-blooded Ouderkirk shouldn’t exist anymore. How this girl seems to control her power… She’s careful with it. I think—”

“A ghost…?” Carl began tapping his finger on his arm. “Why, yes! Yes, yes, yes! That would make sense! Incredible! She sounds like a great specimen!”

“You looked fearful a moment ago…” Jason noted. “What’s with that change?”

“She must be much weaker as a ghost! Keeping a spiritual form stable, especially in the environment the mine has, is tremendous work! If we can capture her, you do realize how quickly we can set our plan in motion!?”

“That’s right…!” Jason shouted cheerfully as his shadow began to dance around. “We need an Ouderkirk’s power! Yes! Let me see if I can—wait, the kid!”

“Right! The kid, the kid, the kid!” Carl ran around in circles, furiously scratching the hair on his head. “We can’t let him die… I think?” He stopped abruptly. “We may or may not be in deep shit if that were to happen!”

A metal door off to the side suddenly swung open as a muscular man with short black hair entered the room. His brown eyes glared at them, clearly irritated.

“What on earth is all this noise about? I know you like to shout at random times of the night, but Jason, too?”

“Ah, Derek! Perfect timing!” Carl ran up to the man, shaking his hand repeatedly. We need your assistance with something! Actually, is Chris busy? We might want him to tag along. This could get a little nasty…”

“He isn’t…?” Derek tilted his head in confusion. “I want to say no, but I feel like that’s not going to be much of an option. Just what are you getting us into this time, you crazy scientist?”

Adam’s eyes had finally begun to open—their ghostly gaze looking toward the crimson light on the walls. He could barely move at first but slowly sat up.

“My arms…?”

They had mostly healed at this point—a tiny white aura indicating that the World Mirror was doing the finishing touches, which Adam could not make out on the surface. He moved his fingers around without issue and clenched his fist as he hit the ground, using it to prop himself onto his feet.

“This is what was beyond that barrier, huh? What’s with these…?” Adam analyzed the torches. With the World Mirror active, Adam’s vision picked up what appeared to be a faint red smoke from the flames, which was not visible to the naked eye.

“Well, I’m in here. I went through the trouble of busting in when I could have easily approached it much differently. Why did I feel like, at that moment, I had to get in here? Who is that girl…? Why did her voice…” Adam shook his head. “Whatever. I’m clearly in a ‘do now, think later’ mindset—for whatever reason—so, let’s just go find her.”

He began to run, still feeling pain from being sucked into the mine. “It was pitch-black behind me… Did I seriously get pulled in that far? Even though I don’t want them here, I’m surprised the others didn’t show up. Something’s weird about all of this. No shit, Adam. But…”

Adam slowed down, almost tripping before coming to a complete stop. 

“I let something within me—some feeling I didn’t know existed—pull me into this. Is it…?”

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

Faye’s words echoed in Adam’s mind as he shook his head. 

“It’s not something that cliche, is it? I heard a little girl cry for help, so I rushed in to save her? I mean… t-that sounds like something any person with a heart would do! I…”

There was a reason Adam was hung up on this. He could tell the moment he started running through the cave. Adam wanted to come up with an admirable excuse for his actions—one that would outweigh the complete loss of a logical approach. This “excuse” was legitimately what he felt in his heart, so things would have worked out in the end. As long as Adam survived and saved the unknown girl, it would be a happy ending.

The moment Adam realized what was happening to his body, everything was ruined. He paid attention in school—enough to know what chaons were—enough to know of their crimson and scarlet auras.

Adam knew the role phantons had in counteracting chaons. Awakened phantons were utterly immune to their potent toxicity, while normal phantons could at least hold up a good enough resistance for some time.

Adam Grayson was the boy who mysteriously lacked phantons. Sure—the World Mirror was powerful and gave Adam quite a boost in capabilities. But he was still new to everything. He did not know how to properly use it.

There was nothing to protect him from the crimson mist surrounding him—visible with the World Mirror’s eyes. His skin began to burn as it lit up in a blood-red blaze. 

Holding his breath did nothing. He had already taken in the strange substance—it now circulating inside his lungs. Blood burst from Adam’s mouth as he coughed violently—gasping for air that could no longer enter him. 

Adam Grayson’s naive actions won heavily against his feeble attempt at being a “courageous hero.” He fell to his knees as death was once again beckoned by the appearance of his blood.

Next: Chapter 1.16

Previous: Chapter 1.14

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.14

Previous: Chapter 1.13

Next: Chapter 1.15

“Hmm… hmm… hmm…” 

Faye quietly hummed to herself as she strummed the strings of her guitar. She lay in bed with a notepad next to her—red headphones over her ears, which were connected to her phone as she listened to tunes. With free time on her hands, she was attempting to write a song.

“That wouldn’t sound too good… Maybe a different type of song?” 

While she shuffled through her playlist, attempting to find inspiration, Emma walked into her room—the door on the opposite left side of the room, wide open. Her hair was down, which she was playing with—a habit she had when it was not wrapped up in its usual ponytail.

“Hey, Faye?” She waved at her sister to get her attention while glancing around the room.

“What’s up, Em?” She asked, uncovering one ear to listen.

“Where did you put that medicine? I got a killer headache all of a sudden…”

“Uh… oh—right here,” Faye leaned over to her nightstand, brushing the wrapper of a snack she ate earlier out of the way. She picked up the pills and shook it. “These?”

“Yeah, thanks.” Emma took the bottle and looked at it. “Hope this helps…”

“You’ve been playing loads of games the last few days,” Faye noted, wagging her finger. “I’m not one to talk whatsoever, but you’ve gotta be careful. Take breaks every now and then.”

“Dude, Shadow Sea Adventures has too many secret levels to unlock! It’s only the first game, as well. These developers are crazy!” 

“We need to 100% the Super Samurai games, remember? We’ve got to get to that pretty soon… There are only two months left before I leave.”

“I know, I know…” Emma walked over and sat on the edge of Faye’s bed.

“You’re not taking those?” Faye pointed at the bottle of pills.

“In a sec. I just wanna see what you’re writing…” With a mischievous grin, Emma leaped for the notebook. 

“H-Hey! Emma!”

“Writing a love song of some kind?” She snickered as she looked at her sister’s writing.

“I-I…” Faye was too flustered to speak.

“W-Woah…” Emma was bewildered at the words on the page in front of her. “This could totally be some kind of love song! You’re usually not the best at this kind of style, but…”

“When were you one to care about this type of music? You’ve told me before that it’s crap!” Faye asked.

“Usually, it is. Cause love is just…” Emma paused, placing the notebook down. “Crap… But, you’re good at making this stuff sound good. I wish you… could have been a musician…” 

“Well, I’ve got to work for Unity, for the time being…” Faye sighed, putting her headphones down. “I won’t really have time for this sort of thing.”

“…Hey,” Emma got into a fetal position, clearly distraught at the conversation topic. “Do you think Conceptors can ever be ‘free’ from this whole thing? With powers, like the ones you have, you should be responsible—for sure. But… being tied down by a group that is definitely not responsible… How do we fix this?”


“You have the opportunity to fight for good—sure. But it just seems… wrong, not having a choice. We don’t see Mom as often as we should, and even when we do, she’s exhausted from all of it.” Emma chuckled. “Not that that’s any different from having a parent with a demanding job. But it is different. There’s so much danger and uncertainty that—”

“Emma,” Faye tapped the notebook next to them. “Wanna know something? This song I’m working on…” She moved some of her hair behind her ear as a tender smile formed. “It’s actually inspired by a poem I wrote when I was little. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I remember it vividly. Trying to add proper music to go with it is the tricky part… It’s gotta be perfect.”

“T-That’s interesting and all, but what does that have to do with—”

“Look at the lyrics again. You can see it as some kind of love song—sure—but the main theme is centered around ‘hope.’ Hope that the person singing and the person they’re singing to can come together and conquer anything that gets in the way…”

“…no matter if the skies are gray.” Emma glanced at one of the lines, twirling her hair around her finger. “Hmm… Well—” Emma stood up from the bed. “I guess I’ll hope things turn out for the best.”

“Take those pills and lie down, for now,” Faye suggested. “Don’t worry. Leave everything to your big sis.”

“I don’t want you to bear that burden…” Emma mumbled to herself.

“Hmm?” Faye was trying to hear what her sister was saying.

“My birthday’s in a few days,” Emma changed the topic. “I’ll be seventeen. Just a reminder in case you forgot. Hopefully you’ll have enough time to get something.”

“Right, right…” Faye sighed. “Anything you want specifically?” 

Emma began to leave the room as she stopped and leaned up against the door frame. “Well, aside from things relating to the topic we just discussed…” She placed her hand on her chin, going deep into thought. “Games… You can check my wishlist to see what you’d think I’d like.”

“I can do that…” Faye nodded, picking up the notebook and taking a quick glance at it.

“Oh, that’s right…” Emma stared at Faye’s large wooden desk, which was to the left of the door. She had her attention on the two drawers on the right side. “Your own birthday was over two weeks ago—feels much longer than that. You’re eighteen now…”

“I am,” Faye began to put her headphones back on. “I can now legally vote for whatever political nonsense Requiem wants to get itself in.”

“You’re also old enough to legally… you know…” Emma tiptoed toward the drawers. “Did Mom get you any…? You gotta be safe, you know?”

“W-Wha…” Faye was flabbergasted at what Emma was bringing up. “W-Why do you need to know!? You’ve gotta wait a year before you start thinking about anything like that!”

“Oh, it’s not about me,” Emma responded with a sinister grin. “I just want to make sure you’re prepared in case any—let’s call it—’Gray Sky’ situations happen.”

“I-I don’t have anyone who I would want t-to…”

Emma stared at Faye with a brooding judgemental glare. Faye knew the emotions her sister was expressing through it.

“I-I…” Her hands began to shake as she raised them in an attempt to protest. 

Emma’s glare continued. While Faye’s flustered face was comedic at this point, surprisingly, flames began to form from the top of her head. Emma’s eyes lit up in horror.

“Oh. Well, they’re not burning anything. She doesn’t seem to notice… I shouldn’t tell her… I don’t want to freak her out. Cute quirk, Sis.” Emma slowly back walked out of the room so Faye could cool down. 

“Geez…” Faye noticed the heat on top of her head, yet the fire had already dissipated. “Huh…?”

Around the corner, Emma pressed her hand gently on the wall. “Right here is…” She slowly exhaled as she seemingly had held her breath. “That’s a good birthday wish. I don’t want you to fear those flames anymore, Faye. They didn’t take me, after all…”

Torches lit with crimson energy decorated the walls of the cave. Aside from that, it was merely stone in the immediate vicinity—nothing to indicate that this was once a prosperous mine that helped put Prelude on the map. 

The debris that was sucked in with Adam was, oddly, not near him. He lay on the ground unconscious—his arms almost entirely healed from his attack on the barrier. It had been several minutes, yet there was no sign of Charlotte.

If Adam was awake, he would notice every few seconds the strange “shift” occurring around him. The entire mine shook as sections seemingly swapped places with one another.

Charlotte, in an entirely different area—this one with a few broken tracks and a minecart off to the right—had stopped flying. She was well aware of the situation at this point.

“An abandoned mine underneath Prelude… sealed off by that strange barrier,” She began to walk around, taking note of the torches on the wall. “This bitter energy permeates the air… It keeps these things fueled, that’s for sure. Is it also causing the area to move around in the manner that it is…?”

Charlotte looked up and then down, clenching her fist. “Even though it’s a wall surrounding the outer area, its influence extends all around… like a ring around an invisible sphere. The barrier itself was invisible until just recently. I never sensed it at all… How is that possible?”

Although it was for a brief moment, she recalled the scarlet symbols that were on the barrier before she broke through. “I swear I’ve seen that writing before… Come on, Charlotte. You losing your memories is quite the inconvenience, ain’t it?” She paused. “Ain’t…? I’m picking up words like that? Strange…”

Taking a glance at her body, Charlotte realized something. 

“My power… isn’t weakening?” She took a closer look at the blue aura surrounding her, which seemed to be much more active than usual. “What… is this?”

From the ceiling of Adam’s current location, a peculiar black portal seemed to form. It slowly descended toward him while a childish voice began to echo on the walls.

“Oh boy… I sensed that someone broke in, but you of all people managed to do it, huh? Well, that’s not good. I should probably get you out of here…”

The darkness surrounded Adam as it began to swirl around. “Let’s warp you out of here… Huh?” 

A faint white light emitted from Adam’s body. It was enough to shield him from the shadows grabbing hold of him. 

“Huh…!? What the hell is this power!? I figured you awakened some cool Concept that let you bust through things, even our barrier. This is… different. Yes, that’s right. You don’t have phantons. This is definitely different.”

The shadows ascended. The voice began to chuckle as they faded away. “All right. We might have to get a little rough with you, depending on how you respond. Let’s see how this works out, Adam.”

Next: Chapter 1.15

Previous: Chapter 1.13

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.13

Previous: Chapter 1.12

Next: Chapter 1.14

Adam ran over and pushed the cabinet off to the side, which was a lot lighter than he had anticipated. It was almost tipped over—the metal wobbling as it readjusted its position firmly on the ground. 

He began slamming his fist on the stone wall repeatedly in a thoughtless attempt to break through. It only took a few hits before he began to bleed, although he could not notice the red stain on the wall, as his vision was still filled with the crimson energy the strange barrier was emitting.

Eventually, the pain became evident to Adam—slowing him down. He grimaced as he stared at his wound. The World Mirror was already active—the silvery-white power forming as his body began to regenerate.

“This energy…” Adam took a step back while looking at his hand. “It appears when I’m injured. Not only can it heal, but it can also…”

Taking a deep breath, Adam whacked the wall once more, this time with the World Mirror’s power still surrounding it. The stone cracked this time—a tiny fragment falling off. Recalling his fight with Charlotte, Adam started putting the pieces together.

“If I can unleash this power, it can be used to destroy this wall—I’m sure of it. That part I’m not concerned about. This barrier, though…” Adam started to punch the stone, this time with both of his fists. 

“I’ll need tremendous strength to bust through. World Mirror—whatever the hell you are—let’s put you to the test. Let’s see just how special you are.”

As the pain surged through his hands, the World Mirror’s energy began to flow out at a faster rate. He was surely breaking his fingers at this point, yet that was—morbidly—Adam’s goal. 

“What am I doing…?”

The wall began to crumble as Adam chipped away. Although Adam could not tell, the red energy had now become entirely visible as he continued to clash against it. Scarlet sparks scattered about in an attempt to knock him back, yet he kept on punching.

“Why don’t I just go get the others…? Why am I doing this…? What’s driving me right now…?”

Brandon and Jerry had heard the commotion at this point and began to run toward the basement door. 

Adam had created a hole in the wall, which seemed to lead into a cave-like area. The barrier remained—Adam’s final obstacle. His fists completely enveloped in white—he was ready to bust it down.

As he pulled back his right arm, the energy erupted out of him—immense power that, for this brief moment, was his. He slammed his fist into the barrier—the force blowing back everything behind him into the opposite wall. The washer and dryer had begun to bend from the sheer might.

Adam could tell that this was not enough. He also noticed that his hand was close to vaporizing from its own power. Something had to be done at that moment, while the barrier was pressured.

Energy exploded from his shining left fist as he gave a mighty uppercut to the barrier around the same place where his right had connected. This was enough—the crimson before him shattering asunder. 

At that moment—like a vacuum—the opening swallowed Adam whole as he rocketed into the cave on the opposing side. Everything on the opposite side of the room was sucked in along with him. Brandon had almost taken a step into the area affected but was luckily safe. The two watched in absolute shock as their vision filled with dust.

“G-God d—” Brandon coughed, trying to catch his breath. “W-What the hell just happened!?”

When the two could finally see once more, they were horrified to see that almost the entire basement had vanished into the cavern. All that remained were a few scraps of metal near the entrance, seemingly charged with crimson electricity.

“This is…!” Jerry ran over to inspect what had just occurred, making sure to keep a safe distance. “This red… It can’t be!?”

The two only saw a bright white light as they entered the basement moments prior. They had no clue as to what exactly transpired. Brandon began to look around in a panic.

“D-Did Adam get sucked up in there!? Where did that hole come from!? What’s this red stuff around the entrance!? I—” Brandon started to run into the darkness.

“Wait, Brandon! Stop! You’ll—”

Brandon slammed against the crimson energy as it immediately began to reform into the shape it was before. He fell onto the ground hard, blood flying out of his mouth upon impact.

“Idiot! It’s dangerous!” Jerry went to inspect his friend’s injuries, only to stop before he made contact. “This has to be…” He pulled out his phone and moved it toward Brandon. “I know Dad helped me get this app… Where is—oh, there!”

Tapping on the phone a few times, Jerry opened up a program that seemed to be composed of a grid. Many dots appeared—mainly blue in color. A few were red, which seemed to indicate where Brandon was.

“Dammit, you got some in ya… It should be okay, though. Your own phantons should help flush them out.”

“The… hell are you talking about…?” Brandon attempted to sit up while holding his head in agony.

“You know what phantons are, Brandon. Since I helped you out in school so much, I know you’re also aware of their counterpart. The opposite of a phanton is…?” Jerry leaned in, expecting an answer. Brandon did not respond, unable to focus properly under the current circumstances.

“…I’ll let it pass this time since you’re suffering.” Jerry sighed. “A chaon. Opposite of phantons are chaons.” He used his phone to scan the surrounding area. “Phantons make up life, so you can see how chaons are harmful to people.” 

Unknown to Jerry, Brandon’s senses had begun to fade.

“With the phantons that your own body produces via your phantonic network, chaons that get inside you will be released slowly. As long as you’re not constantly exposed to them, they’re not too toxic to humans. They hurt like a bitch, but you should be fine. If you have awakened phantons, like you do with a Concept, you’re actually completely immune to them. W-Wait a sec…”

Jerry was not paying attention to Brandon. The science he knew led him to conclude that, although it was a hard hit, his friend would be okay. While Jerry’s concern grew on Adam, Brandon sat there in a complete trance.

As if being exposed to chaons had caused something to stir within him.

“A… Adam doesn’t have phantons! Shit! Shit! Phantons help as a defense mechanism from chaons! Even if they’re not awakened, phantons are still vital to keeping someone safe. If he doesn’t have that layer of defense… what’s going to happen to him!? What even happened here in the first place!? Gah!” Jerry began to rustle his hair in a frenzy. 

The current commotion happened to be just enough. From the basement ceiling, a certain spirit had begun to descend toward the two. Charlotte—half-awake—glanced around. 

“What did you guys do…?” She landed, startling Jerry as he tumbled to the floor.

“Charlotte! You’re actually up!? I’m not sure, but we think Adam got sucked into that—” He pointed at the hole in the wall, where the barrier had reconstructed itself. “That’s made of chaons!”

Jerry briefly explained to Charlotte what he thought he had told Brandon. Her eyes widened upon the realization that Adam could potentially be in tremendous danger. 

“If that’s the case, then… there’s no reason to hesitate.”

Charlotte entered her white-haired form instantly. Manipulating the phantons that were emitting from her body, a gigantic glowing axe was created. “Move Brandon out of the way! Did he lose consciousness or something!?”

“He shouldn’t have—” Jerry finally noticed Brandon’s state. “B-Brandon…? Did you hit your head too hard or something…? Well—” He dragged his friend toward the stairs, doing what Charlotte had requested. “If you’re going in, be careful! I’m not sure how chaons will affect you.”

“This red, ominous power…” Charlotte inched closer, raising her axe into the air. “I feel like… I remember something about it. You call it ‘chaons’ in this day and age? Hmm…”

Despite the animosity radiating from the crimson before her, Charlotte was not afraid. She felt like this was something not worthy of her fear. 


With a single slash downward, the azure split the crimson apart. As it opened, the same force attempted to drag her in. Although it had little effect on her, she still flew into the cave immediately, dropping the axe as it faded away. 

“There she goes…” Jerry stood on the stairs looking around the corner as the event unfolded. While he watched the barrier once again reconstruct itself, he decided to finally focus his attention on Brandon. “Okay, what happened to you—”

Brandon stood, while Jerry slowly lost consciousness. It seemed as though a mere wave of black-haired boy’s hand near the back of his friend’s neck did the trick.

“You don’t need to involve yourself in this,” Brandon spoke in a stern voice, something he never did. He walked over toward the barrier—head looking down. 

No one, not even Brandon himself, understood what was happening. Words exited his mouth—ones that were his own, yet were not simultaneously. 

“All right, moron. Let’s go save Adam. I can’t trust anyone else with this, can I? Man, how unlucky can I be…?” 

Next: Chapter 1.14

Previous: Chapter 1.12

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.12

Previous: Chapter 1.11

Next: Chapter 1.13

Jerry watched the screen of his laptop display a jumbled mess of numbers as it was attempting to process the information he was looking into. Currently, he and Brandon were at Adam’s house—Jerry relaxing in the cozy navy-blue recliner that was bought the day prior. As you walk into the home, the living room is directly ahead with the kitchen off to the right. To the left of that is the hallway that leads to the remaining rooms. 

“So, you actually bought this thing…” Jerry leaned back. “You really can’t stand sleeping on that couch?”

“Have you felt this thing?” Adam slapped the tan cushions repeatedly—the sound nearly identical to hitting a stone. “I can’t sleep on this. I won’t allow it.”

Jerry leaned forward and placed his laptop on the glass coffee table in front of him, glaring at Adam to his left. “Well, what you choose to do with the money that Charlotte gave you is none of my business. Although with the situation we’re in, you should be somewhat wise with it.”

“Sleeping well is always a priority,” Adam looked at his brand new smartphone, which was in a case that had a space-like design. “As well as having communication that won’t break… You sure this thing is sturdy enough?”

“Best one on the market right now,” Jerry answered.

“Well, that’s good,” Adam raised his arm and patted Brandon on the back, who was sitting next to him. “Aren’t you glad I bought ya a new one as well?”

Brandon was looking down at his phone with the same case Adam’s had—his with an electrical design. “Yeah, I do appreciate it a lot…”

“And like I told you, don’t think me getting that for you is a persuasion to help me out…” Adam paused. “It’s been two days since I told you everything. How are you processing it?”

“Huh?” Brandon looked up, quite confused at Adam’s question. “How are you processing it—that’s the better question. You’re right in the center of all of this shit.”

“I’m taking it one day at a time, I’d say,” Adam answered. “I can’t really figure out this World Mirror thing while Charlotte’s sleeping. I’m hoping she can wake up soon.”

Jerry tapped his laptop in frustration. “I’m trying to come up with code so I can begin my hacking process. It’s all flimsy crap so far—I’d get caught the moment I even tried. So, while I wait for the rest of this to process, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking now.”

“What you’re thinking…?” Adam leaned forward, ready to listen.

“Brandon—” Jerry pointed at him. “It’s like Adam said. We’re not going to try to drag you into this. You were told cause you’re our friend. If you do get involved, just realize… your life probably won’t be normal from that point onward.”

That was a fact which Adam himself had not adequately taken into consideration. A Concept alone would be an obvious game-changer for someone if they were to obtain one, leading them into an abnormal life. Adam had something else going on entirely—something that set him outside the known realms of possibility.

Despite that, two of his closest friends—ones not even classified in an abnormal realm, were here with him. One had already agreed to assist in this situation, striving to achieve their own goals while doing so.

The second one—Brandon Shepherd—did not hesitate with his response to Jerry.

“Of course I’m gonna help. Even if I’m completely useless, I’ll find a way! A normal life…?” Brandon chuckled as he shook his head. “I could probably have a fancy one becoming a professional soccer player if I gave it my all. But honestly… why the hell should I do something that I hate!?”

Jerry was shocked to hear those words, while Adam could not help but burst into laughter. 

“You finally said it, god damn I’ve been waiting for that.”

“You don’t want to do soccer…?” Jerry began to chuckle. “When did that happen?”

“I’ve always hated it! My parents made me do it when I was younger. I didn’t enjoy it, but I was really good. Baseball and lacrosse too—I was good, but… not my thing. Eventually, I took my main sport, soccer, and tried to roll with that. There was nothing else I wanted to do, so I figured I could at least go somewhere with it.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard you say a single positive thing about it,” Adam added. 

“Yeah, now that you mention it… you really do hate it, huh?” Jerry nodded. “I see. Even if you have talent, you still don’t want to pursue that… It’s strange. I have talent with technology, yet I love it. There’s nothing else I’d rather do.”

“We humans are complicated creatures,” Adam shrugged. “It’s just the way it is.”

“Well, back to the topic at hand,” Jerry cleared his throat. “Since you seem to want to help, Brandon, I’ll keep my explanations simple enough so that you can understand them.”

“H-Hey, what’s that supposed to mean—”

“I’m going to get straight to the point. Adam, I assume you’re aware of this, but no matter how we proceed with everything… Unity will become our enemy.”

“Yeah, no shit,” Adam sighed loudly, leaning back on the rock-solid cushions. “There would be little to no pressure if it wasn’t for them.”

“My dad has never been an official member, he only does work involving the technical field. ‘Medically,’ watching over you and Emma would be his only assignments. What I’m getting at is… well, he’s important, but not vital. I’m sure things could still turn south for him if he didn’t comply with the rules. So, we might very well be on a timer for this stuff…”

“I’m well aware… And if the others, who are actual members, get involved, I’m sure they could be forced to fight like puppets.” 

“I’ve got a question!” Brandon raised his hand like he was in a classroom but proceeded to ask regardless. “Just what makes Unity this dangerous-ass thing to deal with?”

“Two major things—” Jerry put up two of his fingers. “One: Their leader. His Concept is… well, unknown. But it holds great power and makes him practically unbeatable. I can detail what’s known about it, however…”

“Let’s just hope we don’t have to face him any time soon,” Adam said while tapping the side of the couch. “At least let me unlock my super-secret OP ancient powers, first.”

“Right. Fighting an unknown with another unknown. That always makes for an interesting event.” Jerry nodded while folding his arms.

“The second thing is pretty obvious—to me—so I’ll explain…” Adam paused, gritting his teeth. 

“Clover, right?” Jerry asked.

“Huh? Like the plant-thing?” Brandon also asked.

“Yeah… the plant thing. They’re a special group within Unity themselves that work under the leader directly. Named ‘Clover’ cause they wear green-colored suits, I guess?”

“I-I think I’ve seen those guys before!” Brandon stood up. “Those creepy dudes with the weird goggles?”

“Yep…” Adam groaned. “They’re like some cult-like police force. So many bastards walking around enforcing dumbass rules. Usually, they only get involved with Unity business, but they could easily, easily get tyrannical if they desired to. I’m surprised the government hasn’t been taken over by them yet.”

“Maybe they already took over…?” Brandon suggested with a horrified look on his face. “Maybe they wear green to symbolize the fact that they’re secretly lizard people!

Adam, with no force or malice behind it whatsoever, reached upward and smacked Brandon in the face. “Okay, Mr. Conspiracy Theory. I mean, who knows? With Concepts, I guess anything could be possible…? His eyes widened. “Shit, maybe they could be lizards!”

Jerry slowly shook his head. “I’m surprised Brandon can sometimes swallow you up in his nonsense. Anyway, I think you get the picture. Not easy to move around when you’ve got guys like that all over the place, hiding in the shadows.”

“Well, at least we don’t have some super high-tech surveillance watching us 24/7.” Brandon chuckled, sitting back down as the smile slowly faded from his face. “…R-Right?”

“There are ways to, easily,” Jerry responded while rubbing the back of his head. “It’s nothing, at the moment, that I couldn’t handle. However, it could become a third thing we’d have to deal with if Unity steps it up.”

“With all the phantonic technology there is, I am surprised they don’t use much of it outside of combat and research…” Adam commented. “Actually, I’m not surprised. It fits them. Increasing their own strength instead of helping people better their lives.”

“Definitely one thing I’d like to do after I’m done studying…” Jerry sighed. “If we get to the point where that’s allowed. Oh! Yeah, that reminds me. Adam, what are you going to do about school?” 

“Huh? School?” Adam chuckled. “I thought that was obvious. I’ve awakened to an awesome magical power. Screw school, I’m saving the world!” A mere chuckle turned into almost villainous laughter.

“Your words and your actions contradict one another…” Jerry smiled. “That’s what you want to do? Save the world?”

“…Well, this thing is called the ‘World Mirror,’ after all. I think it’s a given I’ve got to do something like that. The size of that ‘world’ I would want to save in the end…”

The ones Adam considered his family, regardless of blood relations, flashed in Adam’s mind. He did not say anything else, he merely glanced toward the floor with a gentle smile on his face.

“I guess I can continue with school bullshit, for the time being…” Brandon shook his head in disgust. “Until I have to leap in and save the day.”

“You, saving the day? Yeah, sure.” Adam snickered as he rose from the sofa. “It’s starting to get late. You guys staying?”

“I suppose,” Jerry answered. “I can work on everything right here, after all.”

“We should stay together anyway, in case the lizards try to attack us!” Brandon yelled, punching the air a few times.

“Right, yeah… the lizards.” Adam began to walk toward the hallway. “In that case, I’ll get you guys some sleeping bags. I get the chair, no questions asked. I don’t suggest sleeping on the stone structure right there.”

“You know, I totally get why you hate this thing! My ass hasn’t hurt this much in a long time!” Brandon whined. 

“I would respond with a remark that’s on your level of ‘humor’ but, nah. I’ll leave it at that.” Adam entered the dark corridor, opening a door that was on his left. He proceeded to walk down the creaky wooden stairs that appeared.

At the bottom, Adam’s mold-infested basement greeted him. He only came down here to do laundry, the washer and dryer on his left. The right was a small section with loads of cardboard boxes—Adam assumed many of them had gotten damp just by looking at them. He didn’t really care to salvage what was inside. 

He turned left and then left again. This side of the basement was larger and had a bench with tools off to the right. Directly in front of him were a few more boxes and a metallic red cabinet up against the stone wall. 

“Think the sleeping bags are in one of these…” Adam glanced back at the washer, which had a white basket filled with his clothes. “Eh, guess I should do that while I’m down here…”

As Adam turned back toward the cabinet, someone was there. Someone who was not there a moment prior. At the sight of the little girl that appeared out of nowhere, Adam leaped back in horror.


Adam stumbled, knocking the basket over. Articles of clothing tumbled to the floor while he tried to regain his composure. Upon looking up, the girl was still there. He then recognized her.

“Y-You’re from the store… That night—right! I saw you right before Charlotte walked up to me—”

Tears were falling from her face as she looked at Adam. For some reason, it felt like Adam’s chest was ripping apart. He could feel the emotion radiating from her. 

No. It was not an odd source of energy, causing Adam to feel this way. He himself was about to cry, no supernatural phenomenon involved. The girl was upset—he tended not to care if a random child started crying. It annoyed him, in fact. Why was this one, in particular, however, tugging at his heart?

“Who… are you?”

The girl, who had remained there made no sound. She slowly began to fade away—tiny blue spheres flowing from her.

“H-Hey… Wait!”

As she vanished, a thin glowing thread appeared. It began to move through the air like a fish swimming in water, going inside the cabinet. While this occurred, Adam’s head had started to ache. He recognized this feeling—the same feeling when Charlotte used her power. The World Mirror was active.

His eyes—irises ghostly white—watched as the wall behind started to light up. A fierce crimson color appeared, expanding all the way to each side of the basement. No, it stretched far beyond that. Adam could not tell in his current position, but the red barrier surrounded the entire area underneath Prelude.

Strange symbols began to appear—scarlet as opposed to crimson. They were odd shapes—Adam compared them to squiggles that a child would draw. These had covered the wall, moving from right to left like a roll of film.

“I-I gotta go get those guys. Screw it, I gotta wake Charlotte the hell up!”

Adam attempted to run yet only took a few steps. A voice echoed from within the wall. It was clearly a child’s voice, which he assumed belonged to the young girl. A simple word was heard. It was enough. Enough to make Adam forget about going to get his friends. He had to do something now for her.


Next: Chapter 1.13

Previous: Chapter 1.11

Table of Contents



Chapter 1.11

Previous: Chapter 1.10

Next: Chapter 1.12

Winona took a stroll around the garden in her backyard. Daisies, daffodils, peonies, tulips, pansies, and petunias were a few flowers out of the enormous variety that the vibrant garden held. 

She had put a lot of effort into growing everything over the last six years with her father. It was an important place for her, and she took extra care to make sure it wasn’t ruined.

Winona leaned over a spot where a few sunflowers were growing. They seemed to be one of the only plants that were struggling. She put her hand on the ground in front of the flowers, as she closed her eyes.

“The soil seems… yeah—the soil is fine. It must be something else.” She stood up and gazed around at the colorful display surrounding her.

“My Concept involves the earth itself… I’ve done so much to this soil to help everything grow, but…” She played with one of the gemstones in her hair—this time, choosing the blue jewel. “Maybe it’s too much?”

Winona lied down on the soil, placing her ear against it. “The plants help each other grow, and at the same time, do not hinder each other. That’s the network I’ve been working on for years now. I’ll have to think of what could be causing this.” She could feel the vibrations of the earth—something she had begun to learn recently. Using this power, she senses an area below the garden.

“I wonder if it has anything to do with that…

She felt footsteps approach her—familiar ones that did not alarm her whatsoever. With the tapping of a cane as it made contact with the ground, Winona’s father—Jericho Caldera—approached her.

“The earth talking to ya? What’s it saying, honey?” He chuckled as his dark brown eyes peered through the lens of his black-rimmed glasses at his daughter’s antics.

“You know I like to focus on everything, Dad,” Winona pouted. “I can’t miss a single detail…”

Jericho’s cane—silver in color with a dark blue handle and tip at the end—struck the soil next to Winona. She slowly began to levitate off the ground, waving her arms frantically as her father used his Concept of gravity to lift her up onto her feet.

“You’ll get dirty down there. Wait…” Jericho scratched his chin. “You could just control the dirt and get it off of you that way… Huh. I’m not used to you having a Concept.”

“It’s been a few years now, Dad,” Winona sighed. “How are you not used to it by now? I’m always using it out here.”

Jericho chuckled, glancing around at all the hard work Winona had put into the garden. “In an odd way, I guess forgetting you have these powers helps me remind me of raising you. Like your sister, once you awakened your Concept, you gained an understanding of the real world. You—in a sense—grew up…”

“Dad…” Winona shook her head with a bittersweet smile. “I’m just getting started. My work with Unity begins soon… I’ll be closer to Cynthia again. And once we settle things, we can all return here… as a family.”

“Settle things…” Jericho looked up toward the sky. “I truly hope you, Faye, and the others can finally do something about the mess Unity is. Going into it with the intentions the organization is supposed to have—protecting the people—will certainly be a good starting point. Cynthia couldn’t do that… My generation couldn’t do that. Truth be told, I would love to kick the crap out of that man for what he’s done, but…”

“Yeah, your back…” Winona peered off to the side, looking at a red rose that gently blew in the breeze. 

“I’ve had to walk around like an old man for years now! I’m not that old! I’m the same age as Pam, and she’s still active.” 

“Pam… Cynthia… and—you, to be honest. How bad has it been? For real? You never go into detail…”

Jericho tried to think of what to say, with a sigh involuntarily coming out in response. “W-Well… I still have to go on missions, even with my back the way it is. Even with my Concept helping me, I still can’t draw out my full potential. And it sucks. It really does.”

“I… feel like ‘it sucks’ doesn’t do it justice.” Winona paused. “Cynthia… hasn’t been the same. Ever since they took her by force… She refused—she wanted to stay, but…”

“Yeah, it doesn’t work that way, at the moment…” Jericho shook his head. “You have no idea how much I curse my own weakness, sweetie… I want to keep you two safe, but—”

“It’s okay, Dad,” Winona assured him as she clenched her fist. “You stay here and relax with Mom. You’ve done enough. It’s my turn. I’ll do my best—I’ll get Cynthia to help as well!”

Jericho could not help but smile at the courage his daughter possessed. “Heh… I’m not sure if I can relax, exactly. I’ll try. And in any way possible, I’ll help you two.”

Winona embraced her father, snuggling up close to him. “Thank you… I know how hard it is for you.”

“Heh… I’m glad I raised you right. If only…”

She looked up at him—an earnest expression on her face. “You raised Cynthia right, as well. Don’t you worry.”

Jericho sighed, patting his daughter on the back. “I sure hope so, kiddo…”

“Oh!” Winona jumped up. “I wanted to ask something!”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“The abandoned mine below the town… How much do you know about it?”

Emma sat in the waiting room at Thomas’ office. She furiously mashed buttons on her handheld gaming console, humming to the chiptune of the game she was playing.

“Is that Shadow Sea Adventures? Man, that’s an old game.”

Roger Oaks was a friend of Emma’s who was here for an appointment as well. He looked over and adjusted his glasses to try to see her progress in the game. 

“Wow, that’s gotta be one of those hidden bonus levels. I’ve never seen that one before.” Roger rustled his curly black hair as he attempted to remember the specifics of each level.

“Yeah, it took me a while to finally unlock it.” Emma sighed. “Now I can’t even beat it! That’s stupid eye thing keeps getting in my way!” 

The door leading into the exam room opened up, as Thomas entered—yawning loudly.

“Roswell. Emma Roswell. You’re up next, whoever you are.”

“Haha, very funny.” Emma sat up from her chair. “I really hope you know who I am at this point.”

“Yeah… It’s just not a good joke. Didn’t work with Adam, either.” Thomas sighed. “Well, head on in whenever you’re ready.”

“Good luck, Emma! I know this is serious stuff for you.” 

Emma turned to Roger and smiled. “Thanks. I know I do.” She held up the game she was playing in front of Roger. “Here, wanna try the level out while I’m in there?”

“Huh?” Roger was surprised. “But if you’re having trouble, I doubt I can do anything!”

Handing Roger the game, Emma walked over to the door. She looked back and grinned.

“It’s your turn now. You got this!”

Emma sat in the office with Thomas. She had her shirt removed so that her front was covered, yet her back was bare, showing a massive scar that went from the top to the bottom of her spine. 

Thomas held a handheld device capable of scanning the inside of a person, almost like an x-ray. Yet this device was made using phantonic technology and could get a reading of how things looked based on the phantons within a person, and how they circulated around the body.

Thomas pressed the scanner up to Emma’s back, starting to carefully move it around. He had a laptop off to the side, which monitored the process.

“Hurt anywhere?”


“That’s good. I know we had that issue for a while where it hurt whenever it was touched.”

Emma remained silent throughout the process. After a few minutes, Thomas was already finished with the scan.

“All right, very good. No issues. That’s the Miracle Girl for you.”

Emma sighed as she got herself dressed. “Seriously, what a stupid nickname.”

Thomas chuckled. “Well, nobody ever expected a spine to be completely rebuilt like that. Even with the advances in the last decade, it’s still nearly impossible.” 

“Well, they should seriously work on that. I know there’s a lot of people out there who could use this kind of thing.”

Thomas began writing notes on a piece of paper—smirking as his mind immediately thought of Jericho. “Well, that whole incident involving that fire was bizarre. If only…” He shook his head. “Nah, nevermind.”

Emma stood up, thinking of the events that led her to obtain her scar.

“I know the exact part of the house that fell on me. It hurt so much. I thought my fragile little body was gonna be split in half. Somehow, the house got fixed. My body didn’t. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have a normal life. Yet somehow, here I am.”

Thomas tapped his pen on the desk. “Well, if you are gonna go into Unity, there is the obvious problem that remains.” He turned toward Emma. “If you end up awakening to a Concept someday, it might affect how your artificial spine works. I’m sure your mother has talked to you about it.”

Emma nodded. Thomas got another piece of paper and began to draw on it. 

“The artificial metal created known as phantonite. It was named that due to how it interacts with phantons, and can even change its shape. I’m sure you not only learned that in school but with your Unity training as well. As you know, most weapons used are created with phantonite.”

Thomas has drawn a sword on the left side of the paper, while he worked on a spine on the right side.

“With your spine, we did some tweaking with phantonite to reform it. A lot went into its design, and miraculously it worked out. We ran into an issue pretty quickly, however.”

Emma stretched her body. “My own phantons interfering with it.”

“Yeah. We had to come up with a little ‘shell’ around your spine that would prevent interference. It was… very tricky. But we managed. Now, the only issue you seem to have at this point is a little discomfort during thunderstorms, right?”

“Freaking hate electricity,” Emma stated. Thomas chuckled at her response.

“So, if you go without unlocking a Concept, you’ll probably be fine. However, if that happens, we’ll have to re-examine that shell and do some major modifications, since obtaining a Concept makes a drastic change in phantonic activity.” Thomas was stern in his expression.

“I can’t promise you that things will go as well this time around. It’s very sensitive stuff to deal with.”

Emma smiled. “Well, if it ever happens—” She flexed her arm as the smile turned into a huge grin. “I’ll just face whatever becomes of it!”

Thomas seemed content with Emma’s response. “You definitely have optimism. You get that from your mother—actually, no. More so from your father.” 

“Well, I remember him being so charismatic. I can’t believe my mom married a guy like that. But still, I miss him…” Emma walked over toward the exit and leaned her back against it.

“Faye and I know how Unity is. Our mom has shared all of that with us. But still, it’s an opportunity to make things right at the same time. We both want to go through with it and protect everything special to us.” She nodded.

That’s why I’ll face whatever happens—like I said. Even if I lose any means of mobility, I still won’t give up!”

Initially, Thomas smiled at her. Upon turning to write down a few more notes, his expression grew incredibly somber.

“Losing your mobility is one thing… I’m not sure you understand how deep this goes. It’s just another reason as to why I…” He clenched his fist around the pen, almost snapping it in two.

Next: Chapter 1.12

Previous: Chapter 1.10

Table of Contents