Chapter fourteen: Mortal fury

Chapter fourteen: Mortal fury

A Chapter by Thatonedawg
"

Here we learn how lesser beings, AKA humans, defend themselves against the supernatural evil that is negative darkness. Hope someone out there enjoys this nonsense!

"

Chapter 14: Mortal fury

 

 

A dull, incoherent, groan scratched at my dry throat, as I struggled to breath. Each and every motion caused my body to be washed in anguish. Nothing was clear and moving my head, even a little, blurred my vision dramatically. Deep within my chest, past all the pain, I could feel my soul trying to spill forth and soothe my afflicted body. Though I tried, it was impossible to focus on anything other than the critical aching, which strangled my body like a noose. Attempting to sit up made it feel like my stomach was full of glass and my spine had been twisted into a knot. A sharp skirl of suffering burst from my lips, as I felt my muscles lock up and I desperately thrashed to avoid this feeling. Both my legs kicked uncontrollably in reaction to the unavoidable pain, which tossed my body in a whirlwind of suffering. Even breathing became an agonizing process, which caused me to wheeze out short, whimpering breaths.

 

"Vyon? Hell man... are you awake already?" Hiro's voice suddenly whispered, but I couldn't turn to look around.


"Hir... Hiromasa...?" I struggled to say, wrestling misery into submission.


"Yeah, I'm here kid." He said seeming to struggle emotionally. "How ya feeling?"

 

"I-is... everyone alright?" My meek voice was barely even a whisper.


"Yeah they're fine! Just scared and confused, but safe." He replied, appearing above me and giving a faint smile. "I'm far more worried about you..."

 

"Thanks for helping them..." I wheezed feeling infinitely lighter all of a sudden. "I'm... sorry you had to rescue me..." Adding this hurt my pride, but I truly felt bad.

 

"Christ kid, you think I would let you perish this close to home? We're a little more professional than that." His humor was heartwarming, but the laughter hurt incredibly.

 

"Does everyone... know what happened?" I asked unsure if he would get what I meant.

 

"Well, yes and no..." Hiro began putting his head in his hands, as I felt him lean on the bed. "They don't know anything about the near perfect fuzen you destroyed." He took on a cheering tone and nudged me, much to my shoulders dismay. "I just told them you have something to tell them and they were begging for answers until they fell asleep."

 

"W-wait... what?" A raspy shout blurted forth. "You mean... I'm just gonna tell them?" I struggled out each word, as I lay twitching and gasping in the bed.

 

"Well... yeah, we don't really have a choice here..." Hiromasa peered down at me with a half frustrated and half furious eyes. "The boys saw everything..." He added flashing me a menacing stare.


"That isn't my fault... They had already seen it pick up Lyra." I stated, but he simply looked away and sighed.

 

"That can be brushed off eventually. Bad drugs, optical illusion, paranormal stuff, whatever... They just saw her levitate for a few seconds." Hiromasa waved his hand around as he spoke. "They did not need to see their best friend, as a living inferno, in a one on one death match, with Satan!" His voice rose until it was at a loud whispery shout.

 

"Sorry... I thought I wouldn't see them again..." Was all I could manage to say, as his spotlight eyes scoured my weakened emotions.


There was a moment of silence. Hiromasa leaned back from the bed and I heard him sigh. It was impossible to look over at him, as I realized my neck was in a brace of some kind. The stillness of the midnight hued ceiling above me was calming, but the silence was unsettling. A gentle breeze rolled through the opened window and I heard the trees outside brushing and scratching. My thoughts drifted to tomorrow and the days to come... What do I tell them? How do I explain it so they will understand or even believe me?

 

"You need to sleep kid. We'll figure this out when you feel better, alright?" Hiromasa broke the stillness and I felt a bit relieved.

 

"Deal... and thank you again." My rasping voice was weak, but I tried my hardest to inflect sincerity.


"I'll bring you some water. Hina will fix you up tomorrow morning." Hiromasa sounded assured, but I could not believe him right now.


The sound of Hiro leaving the room paired well with the rustling trees. I have felt a little loopy to be honest... I think they may have given me some kind of pain killer. The fact that I could hear a chorus of snoring in the other room made me feel like dancing! They were alright! I did my job when it really mattered and no one, self excluded, got hurt! God I hope Lyra is alright, I hate the thought of her frightened... Maybe Hiromasa has some tips for them on avoiding fuzen? Does a fuzen touching someone harm them?

 

I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew, it was early morning. Several hours had passed, but sleep only felt like minutes. My body was feeling more numb now and the neck brace was gone, which felt nice. My limbs were less stiff, but the pain was still present, if not worse... From my scalp, to my ears, to my chin, every inch of my face ached. All around my torso, cuts and scrapes stung atop throbbing internal injuries. Both legs felt paralyzed and the trembling motions I achieved, only brought terrible misery. Still, I could sense the presence of Hina's magic medicine and I knew she has been taking care of me. It exhausts her so greatly to heal others wounds, so helping me has probably been rough. I will have to do something to thank her when I'm feeling better.

 

A soft knock hit the door. "Vyon? Are you awake?" Lyra's voice cooed into the room.

 

Craning my neck, I winced with pain, but upon seeing her I smiled deeply. Her eyes welled with emotion and became glassy sheets of solid blue. Her knees almost buckled and she fell against the doorway weeping. Long deep gasps of somber grief were coughed out, as she tried to stare at me through tear strewn eyes. Instantly I felt myself starting to cry and I tried to sit up, but only slumped a little. She ran to me and threw her arms around my neck, which caused me to grunt from pain. Her cryinging on my body wasn't warming, but seeing her and knowing she was alright made up for that. I put my arms around her and tried to console Lyra with a strong hug.

 

"Lyra... please don't cry." I said after a moment, but she didn't stop. "Everything’s fine, please... I hate seeing you cry." I added rubbing her back as best I could.


"Shut up, you have no idea how scared I am!" She shouted, beating a balled up fist against my chest. "Why are you smiling? You a*s-." I cut her off with a solid kiss, which I was able to lean up for.


Her eyes were wide and her tear strewn face turned cherry red for a moment. I fell back against the headboard, slightly elevated and more at her level. Even though that left me in a worse state than before, it was worth it. The kiss had resonated with her and it silenced the argument I saw still gathering in her eyes. Her suffering hurt me unendingly, but I couldn't avoid the joy seeing her brought me. Running my hand down her face caused a moment of normality. My injuries didn't hurt, my body didn't ache, and my head was clear, so long as I held her. Feeling her sob in my arms, weep gently upon me... it was actually kind of nice. Just being able to feel her body and soul made me complete...

 

"I suppose you want an explanation..." A coy smile crept up my face and she slapped me softly.

 

"The others said you were on fire and... and had a sword..." She was shaking terribly, but I held her tightly to try and calm her down. "The guys said you were flying around, trying to kill the devil, but you couldn’t... then you exploded..." She added suddenly overwhelmed, her head falling.

 

"Just try to stay calm. Nothing is wrong Lyra." I held her hands tightly and looked her deep in the eyes, with my one un-bandaged eye. "That's normal for me!"

 

"WHAT?" She pushed me back, her eyes filling half her face. "NORMAL?"

 

I sighed, seeing that I had shaken her again. "Just let me explain. Is everyone else awake?" I referenced the open door.


"No, but I'm waking them up!" She sniffled, kicking off the bed to stand up. "Hold on, be right back." Lyra leaned back in with a few stray tear trails lining her cheeks.

 

Her shoes clopped on the wooden floor causing an echoed thud each time. The raspy voice was strained with the weight of sadness and worry, causing her to speak strangely. As Lyra woke everyone up, I leaned further up and covered the bloodier bandages on my stomach. The pain had returned and I wasn't prepared for it, but it was manageable enough to use my powers.

 

Inside my thoughts, I was hard pressed to find words... What the hell do I say? I guess I will break it down as simply as possible, to keep them on the same level. F**k the tension makes it hurt more... Something I have wanted for so long, but saw as taboo, is now going to happen... This is gonna be so surreal… None of them will believe me, but that is to be expected.

 

"Vyon, bro!" Zen grabbed my head and looked into my good eye. "Dude are you alright? Everything work properly?" His worry was touching, considering he was showing maturity, which is rare.

"My god it's good to see you awake!" Shio cried, the crack in his voice made me smile.


"Are you alright? Is anything broken? Something has to be broken..." Maxwell stayed a bit back, his eyes shining with curiosity and fear. "What happened? Wh-what was that?" This question was repeated by the others several times.

 

"I'm alright guys, thanks." A surge of pain made me grit my teeth and I chuckled through the grief. "I'm mostly good..." My correction made them more worried, but I just sighed, knowing this wouldn't be easy.

 

"What the hell happened..." Shio was paler than printer paper.


"You were fighting Satan man... I swear we watched Vyon kill the devil!" Zen excitedly assured Lyra, but his foggy eyes betrayed his cool demeanor.

 

"You were completely ignited, but you don't have any burn marks... What is going on?" Max noticed quickly, his observation leading me to sigh softly.

 

"Vyon... What do you have to tell us?" Lyra asked taking one of my hands gently.

 

"It isn't going to be... easily accepted..." I muttered bowing my head.

 

The looks they gave me were awaiting and dire. Shio and Lyra were grim stricken, but Shio was more alarmed, where Lyra was frightened. Maxwell seemed mystified and cautious all rolled into one. His dark eyes flashed when our gazes met, signaling his inner concern. Zenex was obviously disturbed, but his inviting and intrigued smile masked it well. In essence the mood was very tense, but I knew it would be divided into disbelief and shock soon enough.

 

"Alright listen..." I began and they all leaned a little closer. "All around you, around us... are hidden creatures. They are made from and feed on, negative emotions... and human souls." Each set of eyes burst with confusion, judgment, and astonishment. "I know it sounds insane, but Hiromasa, Hina, and I are what's called sin splitters." Each of them was now awaiting me to crack, break the joke and tell them something real... "Essentially you saw me using my powers to kill a strong fuzen, demon, uhh... monster..." I fumbled for the correct word, but it didn't matter, they were aghast by what I just said.

 

"Now ya know how I felt." Hiromasa leaned into the doorway causing the others to jump. "How ya feeling Vyon?" Hiromasa asked handing a tall glass of water my way.

 

"Not great, but better..." It wasn't the pain so much, I felt like an idiot or a freak.


The faces of disbelief were expected, but not what I wanted... Even though I understood, it didn't feel right being patronized secretly. I put my life on the line almost every night, but I'm treated like s**t, great... What the hell has Zenex ever done? Who is Maxwell to judge? Discovering this about myself has royally screwed with my social life and often takes me from them. It just feels wrong to be mocked mentally and I know that is happening! Wait, I'm being a bit extreme... I'll show them I'm telling the truth! Once I'm better...

 

"So wait you're both are serious? Vyon have you lost your mind?" Maxwell shook his head, wide eyed, shoving a thumb toward Hiromasa.

 

"Hey you..." Hiromasa looked Max dead in the face and summoned his aura.

 

Everyone gasped and scrambled away, Zen shouting more like a girl than Lyra. It was funny because to me, he simply caught fire and walked to the doorway. But to the others, he disappeared entirely then reappeared moments later. What I was now curious about is whether or not they could hear our teleporting as well, since we are visible for moments before and after. Do humans see our fire or do we simply blink out of existence? Everyone looked back at me astounded and sort of scared. This fear was combined with various other emotions, each paired to a different person.

 

"Now you know why I run off sometimes. I kill these things so no one gets hurt... Well, less people get hurt." My response was much less confident than I would have hoped for.

 

"So wait then, we weren't all tripping balls?" Zen said after a moment of silence.


"Yeah I thought the pot was laced or something..." Shio seemed to admit rubbing his head and sighing.

 

"How is this even possible?" Maxwell shook his head and put his face in his palm. "None of this makes any sense..."


"I didn't believe or understand any of it at first..." I told him directly, then looked to the others. "But I want to protect you all and that's what mattered!" My voice cracked with a twinge of emotion.


"No. Wait. Stop. Hold on!" Zen blurted out, as Lyra was about to speak. "Vyon, you can do that?" He referenced Hiromasa and I nodded to him happily.

 

"We can do a hell of a lot more than just that..."Hiromasa laughed a bit himself.


"Vyon, you got hurt... protecting me? Right, us?" Lyra was near tears again, a stark contrast to the others.


"No! Don't think about it that way! Lyra, I've been doing this almost the whole year... The fact it was you guys, just made it more important!" I tried to stand, but collapsed on the spot and fell back in bed.


"Oh god..." Lyra whimpered, but I laughed as best I could to try and calm her down.


"Lyra, come on! This is nothing, my fake dad can do more than this!" I joked, trying to make sitting up look like easier than it was.


She giggled, wiping her eyes and stepping forward to sit next to me. "I'm so glad you're alright. I thought... I thought you died." She almost cried again, but I put my arm over her, to silence that storm.


"Relax, I'm fine." I assured her, trying to keep a lid on my affection. "I'm not going anywhere!" She looked up at me when I said this, then gave me a tight hug.

 

"Vyon's right actually. We naturally live about double a humans life span, sometimes much more." Hiromasa informed me, much to our interest, especially mine.

 

"This all sounds so hard to believe..." Maxwell put a hand to his chin and thought deeply.

 

"I'm not saying I don't believe him... It's just heavy man..." Shio added, shaking his head slightly.


"Bro, did you not see Vyon? He killed the devil himself!" Zenex shouted at them both, waving his arms over his head.


"I believe Vyon and I wasn't even awake!" Lyra, who had been skeptical before, was now defending me.


"What I saw was painfully convincing, but this just doesn't seem possible..." Max continued sharper and more aggravated. "We've known Vyon for years and now I'm supposed to believe he's a... a... spirit warrior or something?" His doubtful tone sort of felt like he was mocking me.

 

"You don't have to believe anything Einstein, but you better thank your friend for what he did!" Hiro jumped to defend me and I was speechless at how effective he was.


"I... you... but... the thing is..." Maxwell stuttering was like hearing Shio shout, it just isn't normal. "You're right... Thank you Vyon." He added, bowing his head.


Another pause in the conversation made me nervous, but that was quickly put to rest. Everyone now held specific levels of perplexion, instead of incredulity. Neither of the biggest skeptics, Maxwell and Shio, were staring judgmentally. Instead they stole quick glances, like they were checking for danger or asking for answers. Each face I met, I gave a full hearted smile. Something inside told me that they were afraid of me now and that was the single worst thing I could have imagined. Things suddenly felt dire, like I had something to prove or fix... Even Lyra examined me with a certain apprehension, like I was an wild animal or a shady stranger. I would prefer them to just not believe me!


"So... you two aren't... human?" Max broke the silence, his face still tight with uncertainty.

 

"Never have been before..." Hiromasa joked, as I was preparing my response.

 

"We blend in pretty well, don't we?" Hina added, stepping into the room suddenly. "How ya feelin?" She took my temperature using the back of her hand.


She looked wasted tired. Hina's normally bright gaze was dull, she wore her pajamas, and her hair was a mess. Her eyes were encased in thick bags and stretching crows feet, but her smile was still present. I felt terrible, as I knew she was probably exhausted from treating my wounds and using her energy to help me. It made me feel warm inside, knowing she got out of the comfort of bed, just to check on me. Now that I think about it, I bet we woke her up...

 

"Not great, but getting better, thanks to you." I tried to convey as much gratitude as I possible could to her.

 

"Surprised you are this active to be honest..." Hina faded off thinking for a moment, then giggled. "Damn, I'm good!" She pretended to polish her nails.


"Excuse me... Are you the one helping Vyon? Ya know, healing him or whatever?" Lyra asked, stepping up to Hina.

"Yeah I am... Wait you’re-." As Hina began to answer, Lyra locked her arms around her tightly.

 

"Thank you!" Lyra's voice wavered with sadness and I saw tears forming. "Thank you so much..." She repeated softer, causing my eyes to become misty.


"Relax, he's fine..." Hina consoled, hugging Lyra back. "Don't worry, he'll be back up in no time."

 

Everyone had a differing reaction to Hina, but everyone was equally disarmed. Not knowing how acquainted they were made things a little weird, but I was certain Hina made them feel right at home. Hiromasa on the other hand... who knows... My soul lifted to its highest point, as I watched Hina care for Lyra now as well. Lyra was done crying pretty soon though and I had to slyly wipe my own tears away, as the attention was put back on me.

 

"Are you a... Are you like Vyon?" Shio asked Hina and she nodded.

 

"Yup, the technical term would be twin soul." She offered to shake hands with him and he did reluctantly.


"So please explain something to me. What exactly is a... a, uh, fuzen?" Maxwell seemed so lost, I felt bad for him a little.


"I'm too tired for Q and A..." Hina lifted her hands defensively, then clapped herself out like a card dealer, before leaving and pointing to Hiro.


"When humans feel negative emotions, they sometimes produce a form of energy. This power is pure evil and it will gather until it can take control of a human beings soul. Once this happens, the fuzen will use that body, to hunt down more souls and sources of negative power." Watching them react to Hiromasa's cold words, brought trembling pain to my heart.


"C-can we avoid it somehow?" Zenex shouted, raising both hands in shock.

 

"Do you just... die?" Shio asked wide eyed and tensed.


"That is impossible, nothing known to science or medicine can attest to any of this!" Maxwell replied firm in his beliefs, but I could see fragments of fear in his eyes.

 

"Listen, please..." Hiromasa began, but they were panicking now.

 

"We... we hurt people?" Lyra was mortified. "Will we try to... kill you guys?" Her throat tightened and I saw tears coming again.

 

"How do we stop it? There has to be a way!" Zen demanded answers.


"This is scary man... Wh-what do we do?" Shio's stare was twitchy, as he grabbed his head in fear.


"I don't want to hurt anyone!" Lyra whimpered falling against my shoulder.

 

"This is complete nonsense..." Maxwell scanned the floor, deep in thought, unwilling to accept what he has seen and heard.

"How do we survive?" Zen exclaimed.


"Are you alive... when it happens?" Shio asked, a small patch of wetness flourishing on his face.


"I don't wanna hurt you, Vyon!" Lyra sobbed, throwing herself on me.


"QUIET!" Hiromasa's voice was powerful enough to shake the frame of the room.


Everyone jumped a full foot, at least. They were all dead mouthed, wide eyed, and paying close attention. If only our teachers could induce such a reaction! Hiromasa sighed and fixed his bangs out of his face before smiling back up at them reluctantly. His violet eyes softened and I saw a moment of concern spread and die, in an instant.


"Humans cannot see fuzen naturally, so unless one of us is around... you are completely defenseless." Hiro's words made them gasp and murmur with fear. "Relax! Hina, Vyon, and I are well equipped for the job. You're a lot safer than you think." The way he spoke made me feel like a champion, not a broken up fool.

 

"Where were you then? Why did Vyon have to fight alone?" Maxwell jeered causing Hiromasa's eyes to ignite with fury.

 

"He almost died protecting us!" Lyra interjected over Hiromasa, a small streak of anger edging her voice.

 

"Yeah, no offense V, but bullshit! He fought the freaking devil! You need, like..." Zen began counting then shook his head. "Like, at least five guys, or something!" I couldn't avoid laughing at Zen's mannerisms.


"Fuzen who achieve ultimate form usually appear as, what you would perceive to be devils or demons. That was not "the" devil." Hiromasa also found Zenex entertaining, but much less so.

 

"That isn't the point!" Zen cried back, his voice bordering upset.

"What can we do about these... fuzen? How do we help?" Maxwell asked, desperately stressing the word "we".

 

"Is there anyway we can defend ourselves?" Lyra asked, her voice still verging on tears.

 

"Yeah, there has to be!" Shio's loud whisper barely made it across the room.

 

“The best way is to simply stay positive. Live good wholesome lives and try to avoid all negative emotion.” Hiromasa was sugar coating this, four people wouldn’t change a thing.

 

“We mean combating these creatures, not just avoiding them.” Maxwell had a harsh tone of annoyance, as he hated being patronized.


“Yeah, f**k that!” Zen declared waving a hand through the air.


“How do we fight back?” Lyra punched the bed, her voice crackled with anger.

 

"Well... actually... There are ways humans can fight fuzen." Hiromasa thought awhile, but the second he said this the room erupted with gasps. “Humans have assisted sin splitters in the past…”


"Then we want to help!" Zenex declared, jumping forward.

 

"Help? Are you serious?" Hiromasa was astounded enough to ask this aloud.

"Yeah!" Lyra leapt up from the bed. "We want to fight the fuzen too!" Her words made me choke on plain air.


"Wait, no! No, please don't you guys!" I begged them, my heart emptying of all the happiness I had gathered.


"Why not? You obviously need the help!" Lyra flung her hand over my battered body.


"I don't want you guys getting hurt! It's... really brutal out there!" Tears burned at my eyes, as I said this.


There was a moment of silence, save some heavy breathing. "I don't want to see you hurt ever again..." Lyra's soft voice was still like a cannon ball to me.


My heart dropped a little. "Please don't do this... I couldn't live if anything happened to you guys!" I felt weak for crying in front of the guys, but I couldn't help it.

 

"Vyon, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't your main goal to protect your friends?" Hiromasa asked and I nodded to him, sniffling softly. "Well, if they are with you all the time, you wouldn't have to worry!" It was difficult to disagree with that logic, but part of me needed to desperately.


"But they don't know how to fight! They haven't had any training!" It felt wrong trying to block out my friends, but it was for their safety.

"Neither did you boy." Hiromasa taunted me, which was messed up at a time like this!


"Then it's settled, we will help you fight the fuzzen!" Zenex threw a fist overhead and posed triumphantly.


"It's fuzen! This isn't a game!" Maxwell gave him a nudge, but it was endearing on some level.

 

"You know me man, everything's a game!" Zen replied, his eyes bright as stars, once he saw Max smile back.

 

"Seriously though, I'm not dying because you were screwing around!" Maxwell spoke adamantly after that momentary weakness.


"You aint gonna die, period!" Zenex mocked, poking Max in the chest a few times.


"How are they supposed to fight though? They can't even see fuzen!" I interrupted the two of them to ask a serious question.


"Humans can be taught to see fuzen, with special training." Hiromasa replied, his face in a blaming scowl. "It will just take time and effort..." Something seemed to dawn on him, but he shrugged it off.


"Wait, you're seriously going to train humans now?" Hina burst into the doorway, even more frazzled than before. "Our job may get easier then, ey fellahs?" She saw the tension and dissolved it with a quick joke.

 

"I suppose it will..." Hiromasa pondered something a moment, but just sighed and hung his head. "Let me just say, I'm a conscientious objector to this, but I wont stop you..." My mouth dropped open and my eyes pleaded with Hiro.


"Look, guys... You know how dangerous this is right?" Hina asked taking a few steps toward them. "We may look like you, but it takes a hell of a lot more to kill us. You may die first night." Hina's morbid words caused my chest to tighten up.


"We've survived this long though..." Shio said with a small smile, once he saw Hina grin.


"He has a point there Hiro." Hina sounded frank, as Hiromasa rose his face out of his hands.


"Alright, let's make this simple. If you're willing to risk your neck say it now or get outta my house." Hiromasa was very straight forward, sounding disappointed.

 

"Sign me up!" Zenex was the first to react to this open invitation.

 

"No turning back now." Shio looked down, taking a moment to think.

 

"Someone has to look after you two..." Maxwell glanced between Zen and I, then added Lyra to his joke.


"Count me in!" Lyra took my hand from the bed and held it firmly, which felt good considering the circumstances.

 

"Alright then, let's get started..." Hiromasa stood up quickly and began to leave. "Just a moment everyone." His voice called from down the hall, but his sigh was louder…


The mood was tense for me, but I could sense the excitement from all my friends. In my mind, I was petrified... What the hell had I gotten them into? This is a nightmare! Literally, I have had nightmares about my friends becoming fuzen... Still it was hard to not harbor a little joy in my heart. This had to be one of the most exciting things imaginable for them! Not only is an entirely new world going to open, but they are experiencing it together! This will make our bond so much stronger, as long as I try my hardest to take care of everyone. From now on... It's my life for theirs... No doubt or questions... If I am the one who got them into this, I will be the one to die in place of them.


Lyra suddenly hugged me and this was followed by everyone else, even Hina. I nearly collapsed at first, the pain and weight were becoming unbearable. But, I was held up, each arm doing there part. My heart rose from the darkness and I felt the true light of this situation. If my friends can fight off fuzen, then a lot of worry is lifted from me. They can even call me when they are in real danger now, no more mindless worrying and checking! Not to mention all the conversations this will open! We will always have stuff to talk about and do together! Not that I want them to willfully seek out fuzen... Lyra took both my hands, as the dog pile hug disbanded.


"You watched out for us." Lyra kissed me on the cheek and I felt myself blush. "Thank you, Vyon."

 

"Yeah, thanks man, but seriously... How could you keep this from me?" Zenex fell against the wall, pretending to be distraught.


"So this is where you are when you aren't at school?" Maxwell teased, with a small smirk.

"Hey, hey, hey... This is a class! It's hero training 101! You oughta see the homework!" The laughter from the room felt good, deep in my soul.

 

"I suppose that's where you've been getting all those wounds from?" Lyra sent a small frown my way, but I just laughed and rubbed my head as best I could.


"Thaks for helping us legit, but... Can you really... fly?" Shio suddenly asked, as if this had been on his mind for a while.

"HELL YES!" I shouted, forcing me to cough several times.


"Dude! No way, can we?" Zen asked Hina, his face like the sun.


"No, but we can carry you, if you wanted." Hina replied and he suddenly became the moon.

 

“I will not.” Hiromasa called from down the hall.


"A'ww man!" He threw a mini tantrum, but wasn't all that upset.


"Do you, uh... know, um... How will... we can…. Never mind..." Shio stumbled over every letter as he tried to ask Hina something.


"Well ok then... get back to me." She patted his belly with a scrunched up smile.


"Alright boys and girl, listen up and try to keep open minds." Hiromasa stepped back in, his loud voice and commanding presence snatched all our attentions. "I haven't ever trained a normal mortal, so this may be slow at first, but we will manage." Hiro admitted with an uncomfortable laugh.


"You haven't trained many sin splitters really." Hina added fixing her hair back, but Hiromasa's scornful stare shut her up quickly.


"First thing first, who here is religious or spiritual?" Hiro asked, causing Lyra and Shio to raise their hands. "Interesting... Now I want you all to tell me what you see here." Hiromasa set a jar down, but it was barely full of anything at all.

 

Hiromasa had a jar about half full of pure negativity... The thick red smoke swirled and congealed unnaturally in the jar, as everyone examined it closely. As each person got closer, the smoke would gather as if trying to reach them through the glass. Hiro shot a quick glance my way and smiled, seeing that I understood what was going on. My heart got a little cold, when I saw Lyra leaning so close to pure evil. It gathered and pulsated against the inner jar, trying to take control.


"It's empty..." Maxwell was the first to respond, but the others scoffed.


"No it's full of water, see?" Zenex tilted the jar around and pointed at it randomly.


"I see red, almost pink." Lyra told Hiromasa, her voice lightened with wonder.


"My eyes maybe messed up, but it looks all murky to me... Like paint water..." Shio finally added after he had a moment to examine the vile gas.


"Alright... now..." Hiromasa began thinking, but then checked a large book next to him. "Who thought it was empty? You, what's your name again Einstein?" Hiromasa asked with a smirk.


"Maxwell, pleasure to meet you too." The sarcasm was flying free, but neither seemed to mind.

 

"Pleasures all mine." They shook hands and Hiro gave him the jar. "Now close your eyes and look at it again." He instructed Max, but he seemed skeptical.

 

With a small shrug, Max shut his eyes and refocused himself. Holding the jar in front of him, he sighed upon hearing the whispers and snickers. Hiromasa stood up and moved to Maxwell's side. Waving a hand in front of his face, Hiro seemed to test his vision. He quickly did this again, only this time he coated his hand in a violet blaze. Maxwell reacted to this second passing and he darted his closed eyes around in a searching motion. His breathing became uneven and everyone fell silent. Hiromasa snapped his fingers a few times, causing Max to dart his head around. It was as if he could sense the aura with his eyes closed, but yet was still unable to actually see it, if that makes sense...

 

Hiro moved closer and gently touched Max's forehead with two fingers, causing him to tense with shock. Max’s fingers clawed at the jar for a second and he grit his teeth, as Hiromasa continued to apply pressure with two fingers. With a short gasp, Max's eyes sprung open and Hiromasa pulled his hand away. Max appeared a little disoriented, but when he looked down at the jar, he nearly dropped it from shock.


"Wait a second... No way! That's a cheap magic trick, I've seen this before!" Maxwell set the jar down, to examine it further.

"What is it?" The three of them asked at once, moving closer.


"It's full of water, but... I didn't feel any weight change or anything..." Maxwell seemed to weigh the jar, but then just seemed dumbfounded.


"No tricks, you are one step closer to seeing the supernatural! That was a hell of a lot easier than the book said it would be!" Hiromasa laughed returning to the pages, as the others discussed what just happened.


"So wait, you can see the water now?" Zenex asked as they both shook it slightly.


"Yeah, but it's like how Shio described it... sort of murky..." Max replied, not looking away from the bizarre substance.

 

"What did you do?" I asked him, stunned that they are actually going to be able to see fuzen...

 

"I'm essentially trying to make the contents of the jar, something humans can perceive." Hiromasa's reply made sense, but he continued giving more insight. "If I can get them to see something they understand, then they will be able to see fuzen. Or at least that's what the book is telling me! A lot of opening the third eye, expanding the consciousness, and all that jazz." Hiromasa smiled defensively, as I don't think he really knew the ins and outs.


"What... what do you guys see?" Shio asked the two of us, causing the others to stop their chatter.

 

"Forget it, moving on. Let's try again, we have to get through all of you!" Hiromasa instructed and Max picked up the jar of evil once more.

 

Watching the process again I think it made more sense. Hiro would wave split-spirit energy into his closed eyes and the reactions seemed to further his sight. When he touched Max's forehead it seemed to gather the power, through his eyes and into his brain. I'm unsure how this granted them enlightened vision, but I would assume something involving the seed of consciousness... The act of touching the forehead seemed to be some kind of on switch, for it always made him open his eyes, usually in an alarmed way. Not that it harmed Max, just seemed to startle him. Again, I am unsure what was actually taking place, but I didn't want to interrupt with questions...

 

Hiromasa proceeded to repeat this strange vision testing with each of my friends. Over the course of two, three hours tops, each person had a chance to try and see what was really there. It was very slow going at first, a shade lighter at a time, but some of them picked it up quickly. Lyra's progression was especially rapid and with just two sight sessions, she was able to see it as blood red liquid. Each person eventually ended up on the same consensus about the contents of the mason jar. Apparently humans see pure negative power as a type of sludge, not unlike what a fuzen dissolves into upon death. A red, but near black, paste of viscous texture. Though they got the color correct, none of them saw it, as it actually was... Negative power takes the form of smoke, all the better to possess you with, I suppose…

 

"Alright next, you all should..." Hiromasa faded out choppily, frowning at his book. "Oh s**t... None of you mind going blind, do you?" He suddenly added turning back to them and they became silent instantly. "Just kidding... Relax!" Hiromasa threw up his hands defensively, the book floating in place, via two smoldering handprints.

 

"Not funny!" Lyra exclaimed, waving a hand his way.


"No, that was great!" Zen admitted, but was still recovering.


"Alright, enough games though. What's next? It changed color... So what?" Maxwell cut the comedy to ribbons, instantly jumping back to the project.


"Oh right, of course!" Hiromasa smiled and continued reading... was he actually enjoying this? "Everyone watch closely, tell me what you see." Hiromasa spoke and acted at once, opening the jar!

 

Virulent red smoke poured upward and swirled like a small galaxy. Everyone erupted with reactions. Each voice rang out in alarm and questions flew like bullets in a bank robbery. Lyra hid behind Shio, but Max and Zen stood, shoulder to shoulder, in front of them. My head swung rampantly between my friends and the congealing orb, blurs cutting out the in between images. Hiromasa seemed pleased, but they cowered, watching the substance rise and move with a ghostly freedom. Soon though, they settled down, and the orb just drifted about aimlessly. I am unsure, but it felt as if the negative force was being controlled by Hiromasa or held in check by his power. Each of them looked on in wonder, watching and waiting for something else astounding to happen.

 

"Wh-what is this stuff?" Zenex stepped forward, Lyra following shortly behind.

 

"How is it... floating?" Lyra asked, leaning a bit closer to the vile substance.

 

"Plenty of chemicals react to oxygen, but... this is..." Maxwell's voice faded and I saw him shiver in reaction to the negative force.

 

"Why does it feel... so... awful?" Shio wasn't willing to move closer, but he examined it with the same intensity as the others.


"So this is a fuzen? It doesn't look like the devil..." Lyra seemed unimpressed with the baseball sized cloud of bloody mist.

 

"No, this is pure negative energy. This is what turns humans into fuzen..." Hiromasa shattered their cheery investigations with dark words. "Our kind call it sin, but it has nothing to do with religious teachings at all." Hiromasa explained, but they were too scared to pay close attention.

 

"Nothing to worry about everyone! All humans produce this, pretty regularly..." Hina palmed herself in the face, realizing she failed miserably to lighten the mood.

 

"Don't worry you guys! We see this crap all the time! I'm amazed you all can see it too!" I laughed broadly, but coughed, then chuckled softer to avoid pain.

 

"Yeah, you can do something that normally takes adults years! Congrats!" Hina threw her hands up, pleased with their progress.

 

"Yes, you all are making astounding progress, but I think I know why." Hiromasa stood and seized the orb with cage like fingers. "Vyon is technically a supernatural being, something most humans do not come into contact with often. The fact you all grew up together, has probably had a flourishing effect on your own souls. You are more aware of spiritual presence, even if you don't know it." Hiromasa explained as he forced the sinister mist back into the jar.

 

"So if a human lives around otherworldly stuff or what have you, they will develop the ability to see fuzzen?" Zenex asked, his intellect shining through briefly.

 

"More than that. According to this book, humans have reported being able to predict the future, commune with nature or the dead, and even read other peoples thoughts." Hiromasa adding this amped the rooms energy up to eleven.

 

"NO WAY!" Zen exploded, tugging his hair softly.


"That's... that's incredible..." Maxwell added, equally appealed. "So people can actually be psychic?" His eyes looked like individual galaxies, burning fiercely in the distance.

 

"Yeah, it isn't normal to just spring up though. Most people who experience this in your culture are considered insane or viewed as not normal." Hina added to explain away Max's usual questions.

"Well... we aren't that normal!" Lyra replied, sticking her tongue out at Hina.


"Right on Lyra!" Zen added mock punching her shoulder. "Damn this kicks a*s!" He did a little jig.

 

"This connection you share will make combating the fuzen easier. A strong spiritual bond is the first step to transcending mortal coils." Hiromasa spun the jar on his finger and spoke in a quoting tone. "Follow me everyone, Hina will you assist Vyon?" He asked, waving to the others.


"Can I help?" Lyra asked as the others followed without so much as a glance.


"Yeah, if you need help, I could lift him." Shio bashfully offered, peeking back into the room.

 

"No you guys, I could probably walk! Don't worry." I smiled up at them, trying to swing my legs out of the bed, but I only move a bit.

"Here and... there! Now we all can help!" Hina helped me up and hung me over them.


Hina then used her own energy to keep my wounds from being overbearing. Using my friends as crutches and the sensation of being numbed as fuel, I walked through the house still completely crippled. We headed outside and Hiromasa instructed them to wait. This gave me a moment to be set down on the porch, propped against a support beam. Once I was settled in, my friends gathered around and praise rained upon me relentlessly. They expressed the deepest gratitude toward me for, not only protecting them, but for opening these doors to them. Each set of eyes beamed with limitless excitement, but I was still worried... This may end up being a major mistake that I regret. For now though, they are happy, so I am happy. I am not going to be the loser who is to worried to enjoy this!

 

"You're a hero man! Damn bro, you're like... cosmic level or something!" Zenex had a little freak out moment.


"How did you hide this? How in the hell did you manage to keep this a secret?" Max was dumbfounded, but I just grinned.


"Like y'all would've believed me! Man, I was having problems understanding all this myself!" Waving a hand at them after my comment, broke us into laughter.

 

"A demonstration would've changed our minds." Shio's voice of reason made me stop laughing to think of an answer.


"That's hero rule one, secret identity!" Hina added and although some were still wary of her, Zen's laughter disarmed the tension.

 

"Yeah, I didn't want you guys getting hurt, which is why I am still against this... sort of..." I replied to Hina's spunky comment and they all laughed.


"Vyon, I was just offered the chance to go and hunt demons, instead of do homework... You would have to break my legs to stop me!" Zenex's smug smirk made me grin in an annoyed way.

 

"Keep talkin like that, I just might!" My growling threat made him yip comically.

 

"Alright gather round everyone!" Hiromasa appeared at the door with a musty old box and the jar of negativity. "These things are rare, so each of you can only pick one. Try to use your heart, let your gut instinct tell you what to choose." He flipped the lid off the box, which was labled "stuff", and a wall of backs blocked out my vision.

 

"What is all this junk?" Zen asked innocently, but I saw Hiromasa's aggravation.


"Are these things... magical?" Lyra asked with her eyes fixated on the boxes contents.


"More or less, yeah. They have the ability to pick up on spiritual resonance and emotional content." Hiromasa explained to the cluster of excited faces. "This allows them to connect to the users soul and produce extraordinary effects." A small wave of spastic energy swept over them, as they scoured the box.

 

"But what do they do?" Maxwell tried to understand how these were weapons at all. "How can these things fight off a threat?"


"Pick something and I'll show you! Follow your heart and pick on faith, it works better that way!" Hiromasa's reply set them off on a race of searching.

 

Scouring the box, I watched each one of my friends fight to find something special. Watching through the moving bodies, I caught glimpses of the contents in question. Nothing stood out particularly, but my heart told me something was different about this motley assortment of items. The box held a few unique looking items and a few plain as day objects. There was a silver bracelet, a wooden spoon, a hand mirror, a small pebble, a strange symbol on a necklace, some spare clock arms, a segment of chain, two carved wooden charms, and a steel bell on a red ribbon. Everyone’s energy and excitement fell several octaves after going through all this random assortment of clutter.

 

"What is this thing?" Lyra picked up the silver loop and began examining the charm, which hung from it.

 

"It appears to be a bracelet of some kind..." Zen's painfully simple response was obviously not what she wanted.


She slipped her delicate wrist through the etched silver ring and then stopped dead. Her eyes expanded and stared blankly across the yard. On her face I could read a deep inner turmoil, but she didn't seem frightened or injured. Lyra shivered a moment, then took a deep breath and sighed sharply. After a split second, she shook her head and the color returned to her face. Her eyes peered forth, blank and confused, as if she had just woke up.


"That was... weird..." She muttered, looking down at the strange piece of jewelry. "It felt like I was falling for a second..."

"As I said, these items react to spiritual stimulation. Handling and using them will feel strange at first." Hiromasa's words were paired with a friendly laugh.

 

"Now that I'm wearing this, I feel a little different. Lighter maybe or..." Lyra stood up and examined herself, but quickly turned her gaze to the bracelet.


"A lot of humans claim that items of this nature make them feel "closer to god", but it is simply the feeling of having your soul empowered." Hina added on interrupting Hiro, who I think was going to say the same thing.

 

"It feels so strange..." Lyra rubbed her wrist beneath the magic metal. "Is this what you guys feel?" She asked the three of us.


"I'm unsure if the two sensations are similar, to be honest." Hiromasa took up a pondering face as he answered.

"I suppose it must be on some level!" Hina exclaimed, though I doubt she was entirely sure.


"How can a bracelet kill a demon though?" Maxwell asked, unable to see the weapon within, not that I could either.

 

"I'll show you! Lyra, was it? Please come here dear." Hiromasa held an arm open inviting her to join him.


"Alrighty!" She hopped up and went to Hiromasa's side.

"Now I want you to focus on this and only this." Hiromasa referenced the little diamond that hung from the bracelet.


Everyone watched with a level of anticipation usually only given to a good film, show, or game. Lyra didn't really do anything, but she caused a reaction within minutes! By simply standing and staring at the bracelet, the pale white gem began emitting a soft light. A startled gasp cut her focus and the gem faded, but everyone exploded with cheers! Even though that was practically nothing, they were happy to have seen something out of the ordinary. Lyra repeated this action, with heightened results! The gem not only illuminated, it began to float gently, like it was on invisible waves. Lyra held her wrist with one hand, while her other palm delicately balanced the floating gem in the center. After a few seconds of concentration the little crystal began humming and it seemed to shake with stored intensity. Lyra laughed uproariously, dancing in place with her glorified flashlight.

 

"Great work, but this is only step one. Now you need to grab the stone, using the hand that holds the bracelet, but avoid touching the stone directly." His instructions made her brow furrow with confusion. "I know that doesn't make sense, but trust me. You'll understand..." He added backing away with an encouraging smile.

 

After a shrug, she began trying to snatch the floating crystal from her upturned palm. Lyra swung her fingers for the glowing gem repeatedly, but nothing happened. Most times the crystal didn't react and other times, she would zap herself and wave that hand like she had been shocked. I hated watching her in pain, but even my boyfriend side couldn't avoid how funny it was. Watching her being super serious made the inevitable cursing and pained noises, that much more hilarious. Though I chuckled off and on, the others were focused like their lives depended on it. To them, this must be the most exciting thing that has ever happened! It doesn't exactly sit right with me, but the sheer joy each face radiated, was palpable. Even stubborn Hiromasa couldn't avoid cracking a few smiles!


Eventually Lyra hit the nail on the head and the bracelet reacted in a big way! She gripped at the crystal and her fingers appeared to move through it! An energetic wailing spat from the gem, which faded into near transparency for a few moments. Lyra's palm now radiated enigmatic light and strands of sparking power. Once this died down, I could see that the diamond like crystal was now embedded in her palm! Floating where the gem had been, was an orb of pulsating white light. It had all the same features as the gem, but it was unbound and had no solid form. Lyra's mystified face simply peered at the orb, which bobbed in the air and constantly changed shape. Gently reaching up, her other hand sparked against a type of barrier, which the sphere was surrounded by. A short giggle accompanied her sudden jolt and she tried again, with the same results.


"You're doing amazing! Now just throw it." Hiromasa seemed a bit surprised, but happy as could be.


"Go for it Lyra!" I cheered and got the others going with me.


Though unsure at first, Lyra was never one to back down. Without hesitation, she took a step forward and slung her hand with a light grunt. Like it went from a baseball to a bullet, the orb shot forward at an astonishing speed. Launching forth, the orb of light let out a screeching whistle, as it split through the air. Upon collision with a tree across the yard, it burst outward like a beach ball being blown up in an instant, but thinned and vanished as it grew. It was silent as the tearing echo died down and we were left to contemplate what we had just seen. I would compare the sound to a firework, but the force and impact to a missle! That was amazing and… she barely did anything!

 

"Hell yeah baby!" Lyra shouted in a monsters voice. "That was awesome, I so call this!" Lyra peered at her palm, examining the free floating bracelet.

 

"DUDE! That was freaking tight!" Zenex practically rolled over himself in excitement.


"Wow..." Shio said softly, examining the box of oddities again.

 

"Was that... did that really just happen?" Maxwell took a few meek steps toward the damaged tree.


"Oh my god, did you see that? Holy s**t, that thing flew like a rocket!" Lyra pranced in place, waving her sparkling hand like a madwoman.

 

"I feel a little less worried now..." My nonchalant attitude made her rush over to me, laughing the whole way.


"There is a bit more I want to show you, once everyone else is settled and practicing." Hiromasa whispered to Lyra, who nodded and gave him a big hug.

 

"Thank you for letting us help!" Hiro's face turned pink and he stared down at her with a sheepish smile. "We promise to do our best!" Lyra saluted and Hiromasa returned it with an added "at ease".

 

With Lyra near me now, I was able to examine the bracelet and what was happening up close. As I stated before, the diamond shaped gem is now inlaid within Lyra's frail hand. The chain, which connected the gem to the bracelet, has now separated and each link slowly orbits around hers hand. The band itself is a tapered silver circle with curls at the opening. On the surface are several detailed and decorative floral carvings. Hiromasa informed her that she could "push the gem free", to return it to a bracelet. Doing so caused a flash of light, which shrunk inward, bringing the segments of chain with it. They unified with a ghostly metallic ringing and the bracelet was incognito once again! To anyone unaware, this would look like any other piece of vintage jewelry.

 

"That is so awesome! Why did you wanna hide this from me!" Lyra swatted me playfully.


"What the hell? I didn't know humans could do this stuff!" My defending hands were struck softly. "You were incredible bab- Lyra!" Barely caught that!

 

"Damn man, I want something cool too!" Zenex pulled his spiky hair and scanned the boxes contents again.

 

"That's awesome Lyra! How do you... What is it..." Shio was speechless, his wide amber eyes completely lost in amazement.

"What does this do?" Maxwell picked out the looped cross, much to Zen's disapproval.


"A'ww dude, I wanted that!" He whined absently, his hands waving about.

 

"Stop being such a child!" Max complained back, turning away from Hiro.


"Boys... please... The idea of training humans already gives me a headache." Hiromasa put two fingers against his temple. "This isn't exactly normal for me either, so just... come on, alright?" Admitting this made Zen laugh and his nonchalant tone caused Max to smirk.


"Whatever, I'mma find something way cooler anyway!" Zenex returned to the box, sticking his tongue out at Max.


"Directing our attention to the artifact." Maxwell said rather snide, as if to bite back at Zen.


"This one is relatively straight forward, but it is based on faith, so..." Hiro frowned, but Maxwell shrugged un-phased by this. "Well alright then, this one is simple. Just hold it here and put your hand atop the loop, then flick your wrist upward." He offered a little demonstration, his hand moving like a trashcan lid.


Following instructions, he gripped the bottom of the cross like a handle. Maxwell placed his palm on the top, then jumped slightly, pulling his hand away. He blew on his hand and declared it was too hot... What the hell? After a few more touches it appeared to cool down, but when he tried the motion Hiro showed him, nothing happened. Worse yet, in failing to cause a reaction, the bulky necklace was apparently heating rapidly. From here I could barely make out the pendant on dark steel chain. It was gold, unsure if it was real, but it looked the part. The middle was indented and had thin black lines lining the portion of the cross. At the top, where it formed a loop, black and faded teal tiles were arranged evenly. The chain connected at the top of the loop, from a small ring. The chain itself was dark colored metal, almost scorched looking.

 

"Ouch, damn it!" Max waved his hand and blew on it gently, then waved the cross itself.


"The burning is your soul trying to reject the item. Open your heart, your mind... try to find something inside the object." Hiromasa’s instructions were cryptic at best, but I think it helped none the less.

 

Maxwell was like an atheist librarian! So asking him to suddenly accept the supernatural and get in touch with it... That’s like asking a stripper to become a nun, or vice versa! All jokes aside… I can understand the difficulty for him. This was hard for me to believe and I was able to see it all first hand! Regardless, I want nothing more than for my friends to be able to, if not help, at least defend themselves! Max took a deep breath after another string of failed attempts, then grit his teeth, bit his lip, and held his hand firmly on the unpolished gold icon. I swear I heard a sizzling... Grunting with pain he held for a moment, then released his hand upward.

 

Silver light radiated from his palm and began shooting outward like miniature comets. Each lengthy, sparkling strand darted out a differing angle only to arch back and join within the loop of the ankh. For a moment the necklace began producing a field of light from the top of the pendant! This sadly didn’t last long, as Maxwell fell to one knee and had a moment of delirium similar to Lyra’s. After about a minute, he rose and took a deep breath then shuddered out a small “wow”. Rising quickly, Maxwell had most of disbelief washed away.


“That was a very strange sensation indeed…” He muttered more to himself, but we all laughed.


“Told ya it felt weird!” Lyra commented, still attentive to her bracelet.


“Keep trying. That was a positive reaction.” Hiromasa awaited Lyra to finish before speaking.

 

“Still think I’m crazy?” I mocked him, but the smile he gave me was sincere and emotional.


Maxwell took a deep breath and gently put his hand atop the pendant. His grip tightened around the handle and while a part of him appeared in pain, a small smile formed. Lifting his hand with a calm grace, I gasped to find a wide, tender burn spanning the width of his palm. This appeared to be enough tribute as the necklace reacted again, showing its true power. Clusters of star like sparkles gathered from his palm, to the center of the ankh loop. His grip tightened as the necklace began producing a dull moan, like a chorus of dying voices. Once the loop was entirely full, a shape danced upward from where his palm had been seared. Moving like the ghost of a snake, it slithered upward, momentarily becoming invisible every few seconds. Once it reached about twenty inches, maybe more, it flashed into solidity and took on a new form, as the ghostly cries came to an end.

 

The ankh itself had changed little, but the length of it had extended slightly to serve as an actual handle. Atop the ankh was a long, curved, single edged blade. This supernatural scimitar was a faded steel color, with a glowing scarlet edge. Its wicked curved design made me cringe at the thought of it slashing into something. The edge of his sword didn’t appear to be solid however… When it moved, a trail of thinning distortion revealed it to be heat or energy of some kind! It still produced a faint moaning sound, but only when it was swung through the air. At the base of the blade, three small gold seals were etched in a triangular stack. The chain now hung from the base of the handle, in two divided strands.


Maxwell stared in awe as the weapon hummed softly and gleamed in the casting sunlight. His burned hand gently grasped at the handle, but it barely was able to close at all. With a sharp swing of the weapon he created a surge of sound and a wave of red light was thrown forth. After a small display of using the weapon, he turned back to us and gave an unsure smile, but we applauded.


“Dude! That’s awesome too!” Lyra leapt up.

 

“Holy crap!” Zenex was now visually disturbed, but also impressed.

 

“Man… that looks dangerous!” Shio added approaching with Lyra.

 

“It feels like… I’m not sure how to describe this…” Maxwell began lifting the sword to his face again. “It’s like what I’m holding isn’t solid anymore… It feels like warm sand or something…” His explanation was vague, but that didn’t matter.

 

“Can I touch it?” Shio reached for the glowing portion.


“I wouldn’t…” Hiromasa reached for his already retracting hand.


“That thing is sick! Let me see it!” Zenex asked reaching for it, but failing to take it.

 

“Pick your own!” He pushed him away, then gasped with pain.


Curling his burned hand back, he dropped the weapon, causing it to revert forms in a flash. Hina approached and put an arm over him, but he shrugged her away. She looked at me hurt, but I think a simple shake of my head explained things. All of us knew to leave Max alone when he was upset, angry, hurt… He just dealt with it easier on his own. But Hina wasn’t having any of that. She got in front of him and took a hold of his wrist, causing him to wince with pain.


“Just stop, it’s pretty bad!” She told him firmly and he stopped, his swollen red hand twitching in her grasp. “Relax alright?"

With one hand raised in front of his face, she began concentrating a healing spell. I have come to know the bursts of green sparks and long strands of flowing silvery light, very well. She gently ran this over his hand and he tensed up, his other hand flying to the now shaking arm. A growing shout rose until he was forced to gasp in a deep breath. After this, he sighed deeply and clenched his hand shut, the white light fading back into Hina’s palms. Maxwell was still shaking a bit and staring at his healed palm. Zen slapped the necklace in his once burned hand and pat his shoulder.

 

“That was incredible…” Lyra whispered to Shio, then leaned toward me with the same astonishment.


“Did you just, like, lay on hands or some s**t?” Zenex asked Hina, once he saw Max was alright.

“Shut up Zen…” Maxwell replied, hushed by the moment and the real magic.


“I can heal wounds with my power! Ooh, I’ll give you my cellular telephone number, in case you get hurt!” Hina’s excitement made me laugh, as she rushed inside.


“Cellular telephone number… really?” Zen couldn't avoid laughing.


“She’s an odd girl.” I replied. “You alright man?” Max’s eyes snapped to me suddenly.


“Yeah, thanks…” Maxwell was still rubbing his palm, flexing his fingers.

 

“I think you’re now aware of the powers we deal with. How do you feel Eins-… Maxwell?” Hiromasa spoke fondly, though he almost insulted him.


“Good… Holding this, the ankh, makes me feel more... I don't know, ready? Alerted?” Max’s explanation was interesting, as he shook himself out.

 

“Alright, that’s it… I’m picking! What does this do? Is this gonna hurt?” Zenex pulled out the wooden charms, then the wooden spoon.

 

“Just because you pick something doesn’t mean you have to take it.” Hiromasa informed him, the smile unavoidable.

 

“Alright, yeah, of course… But what does it do?” He delicately held the pair of clock arms this time.

 

“You know what, fine… This is perfect for you!” Hiromasa pretended to show insight, which made me snicker.

 

“Really?” Zen’s eyes dazzled with hope.


“Yeah, it may take some practice however.” Hiro was being pretty loose with his descriptions again.


“Really?” Zen’s voice became softer and elongated with curiosity.

 

“You’ll see, it takes a unique form. Let me see it.” Hiro’s voice was becoming impatient.


“Really?” He repeated, I think just to be a s**t.


“That’s it, nothing for you!” Hiromasa announced much to Zenex’s horror. “Shio, what have you chosen?” He continued on, ignoring Zen’s whining.

 

“No way! Dude come on!” Zenex begged. “I’m sorry! I am!” He crossed his hands into a little prayer.


“Just because this is fun or cool, doesn’t change the fact it can kill you.” Hiromasa’s stone solid words came out like bullets.

 

“Try to be a big boy, alright?” Hina appeared at the door laughing.

 

“I understand, I’m really sorry!” Zenex responded, with a small smirk still in tact.

 

“If only I could get him to do that…” Max muttered to Lyra, who laughed.


“This ones easier, but you can also hurt yourself, so pay attention.” Hiromasa informed him, but Zenex was listening carefully. “Keep them in your palm and try to picture them accurately moving with time. Don’t take your eyes off of them, understand?” These strange rituals made me thankful my power stems from varying degrees of focus.

 

Zenex followed instructions closely, but still nothing happened right away. Unlike the others, he near immediately caused a faint reaction. It was small at first, the pair of clock arms simply hovered for a moment above his palm. After several honing efforts, Zen was able to make them rotate in his grasp, like his hand was a clock face! This was painfully slow at first, each tick moving slower than we would count seconds. Over time, pun intended, he was able to speed up this process and create a tiny whirlwind of metal. It sort of looked like a party trick or a toy, since all it seemed to do was orbit around one another. Still this had to be building to something good! All my powers have become somewhat second nature to me, but this is completely new! How have I never known about this stuff?


“This is neat and all, but… what now?” Zen asked with a sliver of disappointment.


“If you think you’re ready. Try to place your hands together, but keep these rotating, even if it hurts.” Hiromasa made him cringe comically, but he tried it without hesitation.

“F**k, ow!” Zen shot his hand back, a small cut dripping blood down his finger. “Damn, that’s sharper than it looks!” He added feeling the little metal strips.

 

With a great deal of caution, Zenex began trying to cup his hands together, only to hurt himself several times in a row. Like Maxwell, Zen had to pay a painful price to attempt to summon this weapon. Unlike Max, Zenex had to pay with blood… Each time he tried, a louder shout of pain caused him to fling his bleeding hand backward and clutch it heavily. This process was the hardest to watch by far… During this trial and error, Zenex was given his first dose of magic medicine, which he explained as “better than drugs”. This got the crowd to laugh, even uneasy Shio who still nervously poked through the box of magical trinkets.

 

“Alright, I got it this time!” Zenex announced lifting his flat palm slowly and hovering his other hand atop it. “F**k, oh Christ!” Zen cried out, flinging the bloodied clock arms to the ground.

 

His hand was sheared badly. Three deep, extensive gouges lined his palm and coated his arm in blood. Zen fell to one knee and grit his teeth, his eyes squint shut to keep back tears. As he turned away, I glimpsed his disappointment, the tears breaking free from his eyes and rolling down his cheeks. It was a little heart breaking, Zenex is always so happy, why does he have to be hurt so badly. I guess you could call this tough love, a way of teaching him what it may be like. Zen has been hurt before, but lacerations, deep flesh splitting wounds…

 

“Relax bud, you’re trying to hard.” Hina explained, healing his slashed up hand once more. “You know you can do it, right?” She picked up the ornate metal tabs, wiped the blood away, and folded them into his hand.

 

“Y-yeah…” He replied while still wincing from the pain of having wounds removed.

 

“That’s all it takes bud. You got this, just have faith!” She took a few steps back, leaving a spark of enthusiasm for him to work with.


“You’re a pretty good teacher…” Hiromasa whispered to her, once she returned to the porch.


“Oh please, that was from a fortune cookie!” She bit back lightly, but he nudged her, obviously entertained.


“Oddly specific fortune…” I added and the two of them smirked my way.

 

Though they both laughed, Hiro’s face still held slivers of disappointment. I knew he couldn’t stay mad at me for long, but I still felt bad. This cannot be something he ever wanted to deal with… Hina on the other hand was ecstatic about the whole situation! She seemed eager to make my friends hers as well, but I think they already liked her on some level. How can you not gravitate toward people with super powers? Not to mention the two of them are very different and my motley family has always held that in high regards. I cannot stress how good it felt to not have any secrets… The fact that my friends are not only aware of my powers, but gaining abilities of their own made my heart feel like steel!

 

In true Zenex nature, he interrupted our minor conversations, as he managed to finally unsheathe the weapon within his charm! The metal clock arms gave off a circular wave of rainbow hued light and emitted a wild array of sounds. Like a firework going off in reverse, all the color it had scattered by whirling around, concentrated and all sound cut off. With a small circular pulse, a figure formed in his grasp, both hands grabbing a hold greedily. In his grasp was a metal handle, surrounded by a large brass cog. The sheen of this copper colored gear made it stand out against the black handle and markings on the cog itself. Extending at an angle from the cog evenly, were the clock arms! They had changed size, as did Max’s necklace, but they also became thicker finer steel! It was a bow! The two clock arms were fitted in the gear at angles, which caused the tail ends to touch at the front of the cog. Connecting the two bracketed clock arms was a thin, glimmering, taught chain. The sparkling string was a gleaming platinum color, which stood out against the black metal of the clock arms. Each arm now revealed the intricate detail of its construction, they were formed from perfectly worked flat rods of dark colored metal. Each was curved outward to a square shape, but thinned after a short distance to form flared points. The chain was hard to stare at, it gave of so much energy that it made noise when it moved! Zenex was slack jawed and his eyes opened to image mirroring size. Reaching forward he gently gripped the string and as he pulled back, the gear around his hand rotated gently.

 

A spark of light formed just above, where you would rest the readied arrow. As Zen pulled the chain backward a large stream of light stretched to his moving hand from this point above the handle. It looked similar to warp drive in sci-fi movies, but I choose to describe it as light being caught in slow motion. Or maybe time moving slower than light can handle… Whatever happened, when it caught up and formed, Zen had an arrow! It was an copy of the clock arms! It’s the second hand! It was thinner, longer, sharper and shaped perfectly. Zenex let out a howl of joy, swinging the weapon sky ward and releasing the arrow. Instead of a solid metal arrow, a burst of multi-colored energy was radiated from the flight path of the disintegrating projectile! What a freaking cool weapon! Man… I get a stupid sword with a tail on it… Zenex cheered, danced, pranced, and overall praised his choice. It was pretty awesome to see Maxwell crack a tiny smirk. Seeing his idiotic dancing made the others laugh out loud, but not nearly as much as Zen.

 

“Hell, to the f*****g yes!” He threw his hand in the air, holding the heavy looking bow overhead. “Dude, this thing is freaking tight!” Zenex held it by the bow body, examining it in both hands. “Ouch, what the…” He drew a hand back, tensing the other one in a delicate way.


A few small drops of blood ran down his hand, to his fingers, but he just laughed. Hoisting the weapon up to its proper grip, he examined it from this position, to announce it was bladed. The edges of the clock arms were not only sharpened, but serrated at some points. Zen howled with joy, whipping the weapon overhead, like a lasso. The bowstring within his grasp extended, causing the bladed bow to circle around perfectly a few feet wider. He repeated this spinning, only to slow and catch it awkwardly by the handle.

 

“I think I may regret arming this young man…” Hiromasa said gently palming himself in the face.

 

“I don't know, enthusiasm is a powerful emotion!” Hina nudged Hiro, who seemed to react to this positively.


“I’ll keep an eye on him don’t worry!” I insisted, still fighting to keep the pain from escaping my body in a visual way.

 

“You better mister!” Hina leaned forward to give me a funny glare.

 

“Hey Vyon, think fast!” Zen had an arrow aimed my way and I gasped, throwing up my hands. “SIKE!” He shot it into the air again, creating a display of temporal fireworks.


“See what I mean?” Hiromasa and Hina said in near unison.


“I’m gonna punch you in the nuts when I can walk again, you jerk!” I shouted, but he simply pretended to be scared, then fake shot at me.


“Yeah man that wasn’t cool…” Shio muttered.


“Yet again, you show us how immature you can be.” Maxwell pinched his nose and shook his head.

 

Lyra had been walking over to Zen since the insults began raining upon him. Zenex turned to respond, an obviously foolish remark on his mind, but Lyra prevented him from even blinking. She landed a solid, sailing slap that traced the air from behind her head. It clapped with a great amount of impact, causing Zen’s head to be tossed sideways. He stared blankly at the house for several seconds, then blinked as he slowly returned his gaze to reality. My own laughter started it, but everyone joined in except the two of them. She glared at him, kindles of hatred burning out in her eyes. He whimpered, quivering lipped and soft eyed, but she didn’t flinch. As if to warn him, she rose her hand sharply and he backed away, raising the bow.


“Alright, I’m sorry! I get it!” He swatted at her fist, as she went to punch him this time!

 

“You. Better. Focus!” Lyra got louder, as each punch got heavier. “Stop f*****g around!” She delivered one more as he began to run away.


“Alright, Jesus Christ! Get away from me ya psycho!” He was sent scurrying away, his weapon fading away into trails of light.

 

“I like her! She’s got the fire!” Hina whispered loudly down to me.

 

“Thanks Lyra!” I called to her, but she just shot me a smirk as she chased Zen.


“Moving on, Shio what calls to you?” Hiromasa asked his smile still vibrant at Zen’s expense.


“I’m really bad at deciding…” Shio admitted poking at a few objects and gauging reactions.


“Want me to pick for ya?” Zen offered brightly, holding up his bow.


“Shut it!” Lyra shouted and he was silent instantly.


“How about this?” Shio seemed scared holding the perfectly round pebble in his palm. “What’s this got to offer?” He asked with a minor amount of confidence.


“Perfect, this one is awesome!” He helped Shio up by grabbing his extended, stone laden, palm.


“Really? What do I do? Will it hu-.” Hiromasa made him drop the pebble before he could finish.


In a cloud of scattered dust and a small quake something formed. A solid rod of stone blasted up from the ground where the pebble had made impact. Like a minute meteor, it had created a crater! In the center it had produced a jagged, but pronounced handle about four feet long. Shio stared completely opposite of Zen and Max, he was afraid. Slowly reaching forward, he tapped the misshapen monolith a few times, but Hiromasa laughed and coaxed him further. Watching Shio grab the stone at its smoothest point, I was reminded of king Arthur removing Excalibur from the stone. It looked impossible to move as it appeared to be part of the earth!

 

“This one isn’t complicated, you just gotta be strong enough.” Hiromasa jabbed at him once he seemed to give up.

 

A lopsided frown grew across Shio’s face, but he quickly smirked. Rolling up his sleeves, Shio slapped his hands together and approached the rough stone spire once more. With a great deal of effort, he began struggling to pull the sword from the stone, or whatever the hell is going on exactly… It was something I could have probably done with my supernatural strength, but Shio was a big dude and I had confidence! Though tubby, he was pretty muscular underneath it all!

 

One attempt to remove his weapon from the ground, caused a noticeable rumble! Like a locational earthquake, I felt the house shift and everyone feet shuffled lightly. Shio’s face illuminated with extra hope and he began grappling to fight the weapon free. Shio being excited and the strain this was putting on him, made him turn red and lose his breath a few times. We quickly talked him back into trying, both as friends and as interested onlookers.

 

It was sort of funny to watch Shio lose himself, as he tried to raise the weapon from the earth. His defining effort was no different than any other, so maybe he was literally loosening it. With a massive, ground shaking blast of loose earth, Shio fell backward. A scattering cloud of dust gave way to raining blobs of mud and rock. They pelted all around and some of the others had to duck and dodge to maintain safety. Lyra rushed to the porch and I put my arm over her, she was shaking lightly, but it was excitement! Within Shio’s grasp was a large lump of gray rock. It was made of one solid piece of stone, but a carved handle had clearly been made. It was a hammer… I think…

 

One would not think it was a hammer from the rough and unshaped length, but once the head was seen you could tell. A flat, circular striking surface had been expertly shaped into one side. One the reverse, three jagged spikes protruded outward with even spacing. Looking closer, I saw they were mountains! Tiny snow capped, tree covered, animal inhabited mountains… Wow man that’s trippy… They even had little clouds and weather patterns. Shio looked over the weapon pleased and fascinated at the same time. He stood up and silently lifted it to his shoulder with a deal of effort. A big grin slid down to a tiny one and he held up a peace sign.

“That’s wicked man! Those spikes oughta do some damage!” Zenex threw a fist in the air.


“No, they’re mountains… They have little animals on them.” Shio shook his head and seemed sad. “I don't want to hurt them, ya see?” Shio defied all natural laws, to produce a tiny bear with pinched fingers.

 

“Wow… no way… Dude, that’s bizarre!” Zenex and Maxwell both declared, but Max left out the end part.


“I can’t lie that weapon is sort of a mystery to me. I have no idea how it was created or where it came from. I traded someone for it a while back and they didn’t know very much either.” Hiromasa explained, much to Shio’s interest.


“So when do we kill Fuzzen!” Zenex interrupted Shio, hanging his arms over the bow, which was on his shoulders.


“You will need a lot of practice. You have never done battle… Not one of you has ever been in a life or death conflict.” Hiromasa shook his head at Zen, but then looked over the others uneasily.


“It isn’t as easy as the movies make it look. So let’s get started shall we?” Hina cracked her knuckles and hopped off the porch.

“Hey, time out, wait!” I shouted. “You can’t be serious? Hina, you would kill them like a hawk on a hamster!” I blurted out my concern, but she just laughed.


“What?” Zen and Max blurted out together.

 

“Whatever bro, she’s a little girl!” Zen threw a hand toward her, broken pride lining his face.

“Illogical Vyon, either one of us could easily…” Max understood, he caught on near instantly. “She is a higher form of being. Perhaps we should take her seriously.” He admitted to Zen.


“Yeah, like, just because she’s a girl doesn’t mean a thing!” Lyra stepped away from me, her voice a touch aggravated.

 

“That isn’t what I meant! I said that cuz she’s, like, five years younger than us!” Zenex replied, but Hina scoffed.

 

“I’m only three years younger than you chief!” Hina called over the brewing argument. “Tell you what… Try to hit me. I’ve got fifty bucks for the first one who can.” She folded her hands behind her back and smirked at them deviously.


Each face lifted into varying degrees of excitement. I could tell this was a tempting offer to all of them, even Lyra who’s back was to me. The excitement was in the air, you could feel it. That small spark in a persons eye when they’re going to get exactly what they want lustered into being on each face. Hina was a good teacher, she knew what would really intice them to try! I can honestly say that this offer was not tempting to me… All money means to me is food and drinks, I want for very little. When you have supernatural powers you can draw upon, a lot of other stuff just seems lame. Not that I am dissing anyone who wants the cash! I’m no playa hater.

 

“No mercy!” Zenex screamed, drawing an arrow and taking aim.


It was hilarious when he realized it was more of a shotgun than a longbow. The energy explosion, which the projectile became, didn’t go as far as a traditional arrow would’ve. He scoffed and laughed a moment, as Hina stood there with nothing more than a shrug. At this point the others reacted. Maxwell rushed toward her, the sword raised over his head and Lyra concentrated a ball of light into being. It was crazy how little Hina had to try though! She just flashed across the yard, bypassing both of them, then flipped over Zen, who swung the bow at her. Landing next to Shio, she strolled casually backward, watching him fumble to ready the hammer. I don’t think Shio wanted to hurt her, though I doubt he could greatly.

 

This was a baited test from the very beginning. Hina is inhuman, a sin splitter! We’re elusive as ghosts and sharper than razor blades! How can normal people possibly hope to catch her? Still, they put up a good effort! Zen shot holes in the canopy and the ground trying to hit her with the magical explosive arrows. Maxwell was a bit more coordinated, striking firmly and with caution, yet no form. I felt bad for Shio, as he didn’t really know what to do… Poking with the end of the handle and only swinging the hammer once, he put little effort into his attacks. Lyra was both the most effective and the least prepared. She just stood there, which is never good, but the constant barrage of energy bolts was the closest they came to hitting Hina. It was soon apparent to them, that a team effort would be the only way to get the cash. Zen didn’t want to cooperate though and this sort of doomed the whole plan.


Zenex gave the biggest effort overall though. He ran like a soccer star, constantly chasing Hina from one end of the yard to the other. Each arrow went varying distances, only to dissipate and break into light. A few shots came close, but simple leans and twirls allowed Hina to evade his attacks. Once or twice he even jumped straight up, trying to hit her with the bow itself! Nothing worked though and soon he fell flat on his butt, panting and leaning on the bow. It was hard to not smile, as he shot me a quick glance and gave me a thumbs up.

 

Maxwell appeared uncomfortable, but yet I could sense he was having fun. Small laughs, unsure smiles, and moments of intense effort, showed me he was trying. The curve of the blade split the air perfectly and made for effortless looking swipes. Small, quickly disappearing waves of red force accompanied each slash and to my surprise, Hina actively avoided these. I wonder what would happen if it hit a Fuzen? Regardless of Max’s hesitation and lack of overall skill, this weapon had a lot of flair and looked awesome!

 

Shio seemed so upset with this whole situation by comparison. He barely attacked or tried to pursue her. At one point he even had Hina cornered, weapon ready, but just apologized and didn’t follow through. She pat his shoulder, but quickly vanished from place to avoid a cluster of Lyra’s bolts. Overall though, I would say Shio could be the most effective, as his weapon, size, and strength could easily crush an enemy to nothing! I was just unsure if he would be willing to actually fight a monster to the death, rather than run and hide… They all may run and hide, if they see a Fuzen in the flesh… I didn’t think about that, the sheer terror they may feel.

 

Lyra seemed like she was having a great time and was looking hot too… Each swipe of her arm sent a variety of bolting spheres, as well as caused her shirt to ride up… Lately, I have had a really hard time keeping my mind on track around Lyra. I’m not a perv or anything, but I just… man, instincts… Still she was doing good, getting her aim down and learning to throw quicker. Watching these elegant swings of her hand turn into frustrated baseball pitches was comical, but she became annoyed as hell.


“C’mon, this is nothing boys!” Hina rolled over in the air, her hair inches away from Zen’s bow. “You got good form and I like your enthusiasm, but you…” She praised Max and Zen, but pointed a finger at Shio. “Don’t worry, I wont break so easily! Whoa!” Twirling in the air she was again interrupted by Lyra. “Sneaky, sneaky! Good try!” Hina mocked as she lifted higher into the air.

 

“Damn it!” Lyra shouted with lacking vigor.

 

Hina was doing a really good job of making this hard on them. She pulled off some aerial maneuvers I have never seen before. Her accuracy was so incredible, I watched her worm through congested branches of trees with little effort. Projectiles rained around her, but did not hit. She intentionally flew close to them, Maxwell and Shio specifically, yet no one was able to hit her. The effort trickled down, until only Zen was still giving chase. After another arrow failed to even go a few feet, he sat down and then fell flat.


“Oh wow! That’s all you guys got, come on!” Her taunts feel on deaf and weary ears. “Go on home kids, this is probably to much for you!” She continued, but quickly had to dodge a bolt from still sitting Lyra.

 

“God my freaking arm is killing me…” She groaned, rubbing her shoulder.

 

“I’m so tired… Can we pick this up tomorrow?” Zen whined, his shoes untied, his hair a mess, and his shirt stained with sweat.

 

“Alright, alright, but it drops ten bucks a day!” She warned them causing a few to become upset.


Zen was suddenly on his feet and shot an arrow straight at her, but it fell short and splintered into nothing. This inspired the others to try again for a brief amount of time, but it did little good. Humans could never hope of beating one of us… Did I really just think that? I’m human, sort of…. They each have just as much a chance as I did. Except they are frail physically and weak supernaturally by comparison. This whole day has been a whirlwind of constantly clashing ideas and desires! Please be safe… Oh my god, please guys!

 

“Now that I have a basic assessment on your individual skills, I would like to instruct each of you further.” Hiromasa stepped forward, as Hina landed and approached cautiously.

 

“Alright, sure, sounds good.” A collection of voice gave various responses.

 

“I’m gonna head downtown. Better get a jump on things being alone and all.” Hina announced, mainly to grab Hiromasa’s attention.


“Be safe dear. I’ll join you as soon as I can.” He responded, the way he spoke, it was almost apologetic.

“Take your time. You worry to much Hiro!” Hina waved off his worry. “It was awesome getting to meet you guys! Hope to see ya again soon!” Hina waved to them before vanishing away, leaving only a dissipating column of fire behind.


“Wow…” Zenex said rather plainly, simply tracing the fire with his eyes.

 

“Incredible…” Maxwell added, his gaze shifting down to me for a moment.

 

“Is it difficult? Flying, I mean?” Shio asked me, then turned to Hiromasa.

 

“Well, at first it was! But I got a pretty solid grasp on it now.” My answer was enough to make Shio smile.


“You have gotta fly me around sometime!” Lyra rushed up and grabbed both my hands. “We can go to the beach anytime now!” She added with a even bigger grin.

 

“Of course! As soon as I am better we can go anywhere you want!” It hurt my bones, but I squeezed her hand to show conviction.

 

“As soon as you are better it is back to training boy!” Hiromasa said over our conversation, everyone looking back at him. “All of you are going to be training regularly if you hope to survive.” Why is Hiro always such a downer?

 

“Hey, you be nice!” Lyra poked him in the chest, speaking sternly. “Vyon’s hurt real bad and he did a lot to keep us safe! He said he’s been helping for most of the school year, so you had better give him some time to rest!” It was adorable to see stone face Hiromasa staring down pouting Lyra without a hint of concern.

 

“No. The second you can walk, we continue in field training. Understood?” Hiromasa didn’t not have an ounce of humor about him, as he turned to me.

 

“Yes, of course.” I nodded, looking down afterward.


“Hey now, you better-.” She began, but Hiromasa placed a finger to her mouth, not comically, to literally shut her up, which was angering.


“You all need practice as well. What you will experience with us, as fuzen fighters, is worse than nightmares. No movie, video game, television program, or book can even begin to describe some of the horrific things I have seen.” Hiromasa put my rage in check, as I remembered the chasm of a challenge they all approached.


“Y-yeah… alright…” Lyra bowed her head, rubbing her elbow uneasily.


“Now, allow me to show you more about that bracelet.” His voice lightened greatly and her puppy dog frown began changing. “The sphere you are able to produce is incredibly volatile, as you have seen.” Hiromasa referenced the battered tree. “This power can take different forms, with other properties. If you would please, hun.” He invited her to use the bracelet.

 

“Oh, alright…” After a few shocks, she forced the stone in her palm and the true power sprang forth.

 

“Now the orb is by far the most dangerous, it explodes, but it may not always be the best option. You are also able to produce the other basic shapes, make a fist.” Hiro instructed.

 

Lyra’s closing hand forced a new form and behavior to the magic produced by the bracelet. Once her hand fully closed the sporadic sphere had collapsed and almost solidified into a block. It was just short of being a rectangle and it no longer produced light or hummed loudly. It was as if Lyra now had a ghostly knuckleduster floating inches above her hand. It didn’t take her long to realize and she threw a wide hook punch, complete with “pow” noise. After a little shadow boxing, she giggled happily showing the others. It could change shape with mechanical precision, from free formed orb, to tight pulsing cube, but in an instant!


“This is pretty sweet!” Lyra stated after one extra jab at the air.

 

“Badass! It does more? That’s so cool! Holy crap…” We all had something to say about the bracelets extra powers.


“That isn’t all you are also able to produce a triangular shape by pressing your fingers together.” Hiro informed her and she instantly tried.

 

With this form, the magic inside the bracelet crackled and scattered from its blockish form. As it regrouped it now behaved like a blowtorch or some kind of jet engine! From the bracelet on her wrist to about one foot ahead of her fingers a transparent triangle of constantly flowing force blocked out her hand entirely! It moved so rampantly that her swiping her hand caused a little trail of white light to follow, like an intense glow stick. She made a game of whirling this around and laughing as she raved in the dying day light.

 

“This form is more like a chainsaw. It can cut through fleshy material, but metal or stone will probably damage it.” Hiromasa said over us, avoiding her flailing arm.


“OH MY GOSH! No way! It’s like that one badguy with the buzz saw hand!” Lyra pretended to saw through something or... someone.

 

“Right, well… I suppose…” Hiromasa thought a moment, then shook his head scoffing. “Comic books aside, you cannot ever touch another living human with this form. They will be severely wounded, possibly even dead.” His eyes were like wildfires, as he towered over her awaiting a response.


“Right, of course!” Lyra nodded, like that was apparent all along.


“Me next, me next! Oh my lord, what else can this bad boy do!” Zenex leapt forward, as Hiromasa appeared to be finished with Lyra.

 

“Nothing really...” Hiromasa said with a small smirk, as he dangled the clock arms in his face. “You do need to learn how it works though.” A small chuckle followed Zen’s momentary disappointment.


“Alright, well what am I doing wrong? Never shot a bow and arrow before, especially not one this heavy.” He admitted, rubbing the back of his neck and smiling for innocence.


“Not a problem, as the arrow docking and holding is essentially done for you. The problem is your lack of focus.” Hiro’s response was serious, but Zen couldn’t avoid joking.


“Why does everyone say that…” He shook his head and stared at the ground with a funny half chuckle.


“Just get the bow out, alright?” Hiromasa sighed shaking his head, as Zen continued laughing.

 

It is really funny watching Zenex be completely serious. The fear of wounding ones self is enough to make the biggest jokester as dedicated as a drill instructor. However, sadly, he did cut himself trying to grasp the weapon within. He cried out endless curse words, swiping his bloody hand around. It didn’t deter him, though maybe it should have… The pain and trembling his wounds caused, threw him off mark. It ended up being pretty brutal… The pain was enough to make him give up and claim he wasn’t good enough, such a sad sight.


“Alright, alright… C’mon let me see…” Hiro crouched in front of Zen, who whimpered and clutched his quivering hand.


In the back of my mind, I was acutely aware of the fact Hiromasa has not been all that concerned with Zen’s injuries. I do not think he hates him or wants to see him hurt, but something tells me he told Zenex to choose this artifact on purpose. Like the sacrifice would be enough to bleed out some of his hysteria. That’s just wrong, but I see the importance of preparing them, especially with Zen. Oddly enough, during this mental rant, I watched Hiromasa use magic medicine for the first time! It was just strange, as normally that sound and sight is attributed to Hina, though he surely taught her.

 

“You alright Zen?” Shio asked softly.


“Yeah, is it better now?” Max’s voice was emotional, like he did really care.

 

“Y-yup… Sorry for being such a p***y…” Zen didn’t let them respond, just turned away and kept trying.

 

With a few minor scrapes, he achieved his goal and the bow was born from practically nothing. The ringing it made echoed outward, but seemed to reverberate back into the instrument of archery. Hiromasa instantly began changing his stance and form, each little tweak apparently making it easier for Zen to use the bow.


“Now, the arrows distance and accuracy is not based on the draw of this particular bow. All you need to do is focus on where you want the arrow to travel. If you have a sharp enough focus, you may be able to fire arrows at inconceivable angles, in theory.” Hiromasa’s extra info made Zenex explode with joyous revelation.

 

“So that’s why it just breaks up! I gotta guide it, or something?” Zenex asked, still prepared to fire the arrow.


“Precisely, your draw strength and physical aim are irrelevant. Your heart and mind guide this arrow.” Hiro nodded, pleased with his understanding.

 

Without another word, he released his grasp and the arrow sailed with a faint whistling sound. Though it was heavy and made entirely of metal, it flew without falter all the way across the yard, into the woods, and into a tree a great distance away! Zenex leapt and threw his free hand into the air, hollering a loud cry of joy!

 

“Ho yeah! Look at that range!” He posed with the bow, his head held high.

 

“The only other thing you need to know is, firing at too close a target can cause the arrow to structurally collapse into magical energy instead of pierce through as a physical object.” Hiromasa explained causing Zen’s face to shift with concern.


“You mean it explodes…” He was sort of startled. “Cool!” He sounded like a three year old, but it made me chuckle.


“Yeah, just be careful with it alright? Practice shooting multiple targets quickly and try fighting with these sometime.” Hiromasa finished with Zenex, referencing the edged front of the bow arms.

 

“Yes sir!” Zenex held the bow like a rifle and saluted. “I am already eager to fight Max, so you can be certain I will practice.” The way Zenex spoke and looked at Hiromasa reminded me of a child meeting Superman.

 

“His excitement scares me a little. I do hope you have something to tell me as well…” Maxwell stood up, as Zen rushed off to “play”.

 

“Actually no, sorry.” Hiromasa seemed disappointed, but not nearly as much as Maxwell. “All I really know is that you shouldn’t touch the edge, it’s extremely hot. Similar to the inside of a volcano, if I would compare it to anything.” This made Max grin in a pleased way and look to Zenex.

 

“Ok then, let’s spar. You confident now?” Max approached slowly, his necklace in hand, but not weaponized.

 

“Pssh, like you would even be able to hit muah!” Zen placed his fancifully splayed fingers on his chest, then drew and aimed his bow in a flash.

 

“You two jokers…” I chuckled, trying to shake Hiromasa’s worried scowl back into a plain one.

 

“Unfotunately I don't have much to tell you either, Shio. Like I said before, I barely know anything about this thing.” Hiro completely ignored the two of them fighting behind him, while Lyra cheered.


“That’s alright, it’s pretty straight forward.” Shio’s response was paired with a “thank you” smile.

 

“One interesting thing to know is the animals you see, don't actually produce life force of anykind. I think they are illusions of maybe spirits… Ponder that on your free time.” He pat Shio’s shoulder, who looked down at the pebble with renewed interest and fascination.

 

“Really? I… wow, ok…” Shio was speechless, dumbfounded by what he just heard.

 

“Now that you all know what you are holding, go practice. Try to make it a snap action, as fast as possible! Come here after school tomorrow and we will continue. Hopefully, Vyon may be walking by then.” Hiromasa took on an announcers voice, getting the attention of everyone, even Max and Zen who still play fought.

 

“Hiro… can you bring me home? I don’t think I can fly…” I said under my breath to try and address just him.


“You can stay here kid, you really shouldn’t be moved right now.” Hiromasa flashed a glance my way, but I just nodded.


“Oh if Vyon’s staying, can I for a bit?” Lyra asked instantly, her pose and voice bordering on begging.


“Yeah, we can have a sleep over!” Zen shouted brightly, throwing his arms up.


“I would like to stay and make sure Vyon is alright. Maybe learn a little more about your kind.” Maxwell spoke admiringly, like he wanted to win over Hiro.

 

Hiromasa turned his gaze to Shio, who instead of speaking just fidgeted and shrugged. “No! Go home!” Hiro shouted blatantly, throwing his arms to the sides.


“A’www… well, see ya Vyon!” Zenex was the first to accept leaving, hugging me and patting my shoulder. “Wont be the same smoking without you!” Hiromasa’s face gnarled up upon hearing this, but I just over laughed to ignore it.

 

“Hope you feel better soon Vyon, thank you again for… everything.” Maxwell still seemed a little lost, but he was accepting our bizarre reality and that’s a good sign.

 

“Y-you-you’re…” Shio began, his face a little upset, but he just lowered it and whispered. “You’re the strongest person I ever met… Thanks bro.” He quickly darted off to join the departing group.

 

Lyra hugged me tightly, not caring that the others were right there. A small kiss on the cheek followed and I had to say something in my defense. “Wh-what was that for?” I asked pretending to be startled.

 

“For being our watch dog, but you don’t gotta protect us anymore.” Lyra folded her arms tighter, pushing against me.

 

“I will always protect you…” My whisper still got a murmur from the guys, but I doubt it was anything major.

 

“Thank you Vyon.” She kissed me again, but slyly, as she pulled away.

 

“See ya guys tomorrow! Enjoy school!” I taunted them, as I waved to the disappearing figures.

 

“I will, thank you!” I heard Max call.


“Enjoy your crippling injuries!” Zen added after.

 

“Get well Vyon!” Lyra cried long and loud.

 

“See ya man!” Shio’s voice rose just enough to be heard and I appreciated it.

 

Though deeply upsetting to have my friends leave, the main idea of today resonated with me… That new and very unique concept that human beings can fight back against fuzen is like a divine treasure with no real form. Just knowing they are on there way lifts a great burden from my shoulders. Not to mention the fact, my unique heritage is what made this so easily accessed. I opened the door and saw them inside without realizing! Though mastery will take a long time, just as my own powers will… I’ll be honest, I doubt anyone of them could even hurt a fully transformed fuzen, but with time they should grow stronger! I want to help them become stronger! God, please, I just want them to be alright…

 

“Good kids, even the spazzy one.” Hiromasa said after a they had vanished over the horizon.

 

“I promise, as soon as I can, I’ll have a really serious talk with them.” My deepest sincerity filled every ounce of my voice.

 

“Eh, don’t sweat it. You got enough troubles kid.” Hiromasa was trying to be nonchalant, but I could see he was still upset with me.

 

“Thank you… For giving them a chance…” My brittle voice gave away that I was having difficulty keeping it together. “You don’t know what that means to me…”

 

“A’ww Vyon…” Hiro took a seat next to me on the porch. “They need you kid and… you need them just as much.” These words made more sense than any textbook ever has. “Having friends as close as yours has to be fueling that fire, it will make you stronger than you could ever imagine.”


“Th-thank you… I wont ever forget how much I owe you.” Though I didn’t look him in the eyes, his weighted gaze burned into me.

 

“I already have kid.” He added putting his arm over me roughly. “Come on, I gotta get to Hina.” Hiro lifted me one-handed, then flashed into his house. “Sleep well Vyon. You should feel a bit better tomorrow.”

 

“Thanks again Hiromasa, be safe tonight.” It felt awkward being placed into bed by a fully grown man.

 

With a silent nod and a flash of flame, he was gone. The heavy silence afterward was broken by sudden rain. Regardless of how relieved I felt, knowing my family is safer now, my current situation is demoralizing. Staring out through the somber rain, I watched the fog rolling out from the trees. Something about it felt like a sign, or a warning. This overwhelming, all consuming blank wall was like my future. It is impossible to predict or even plan for tomorrow anymore… Nothing has been certain since I discovered who and what I really was. I’m scared… I don’t want to be alone right now...



© 2017 Thatonedawg


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Added on August 12, 2017
Last Updated on August 12, 2017
Tags: Split, Eternity, Novel, Violent, Gory, Chaotic, Destructive, Heroes, Journey, Fuzen, fantasy, action, adventure, fun, good, bad, love, hate, fire, sin, please, for, the, of, god, read


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Thatonedawg
Thatonedawg

Sacramento, CA



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I have been writing for a long time. My father was a writer and he always encouraged me to do so as well. Sadly he never read any of my work or even cared for that matter. I just need to know that som.. more..

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