Ch. 21: Proof of Worth

Ch. 21: Proof of Worth

A Chapter by Brenden Brown

Frank proves his worth to himself.

Anna and Frank had just split up from Scarlett and JT. They took the rightmost path of the fork-in-the-road.
"Hey, thanks for healing me back there, Anna," Frank said. "I shouldn't have been so reckless."
"Don't mention it," Anna insisted. "We should get mo-"
"I wish I could be reckless like Seth..." Frank was talking to himself. Everyone was used to him acting like this recently. "Or able to turn invisible like Scarlett and JT, or do as much damage as-"
"Frank!" Anna yelled. "Now's no time for moping around!" Her voice became calmer. "You don't need to do lots of damage, or be able to turn invisible, or be reckless. You have your own special abilities that make you unique in your own way. Besides, you support, like me. We aid the ones that are fast and do all the damage. I just do it differently than you."
"Support... you mean like my vines?"
"Yeah! And you've been so focused on making yourself deal damage, that you've forgotten your own role! I bet if you came up with some kind of trap ability, it'd be way better than your Nature Slash, because the Nature Slash doesn't fit your role."
Frank stood in the silence of the ice cave for a bit.
"Y'know," he finally said, "you're right! Why would I need to deal all the damage like Tara and Scarlett and JT? Why not instead be able to place traps to slow the enemy down, or provide protection to the ones that deal the damage?" Frank thought for a bit. "I think... I think I'm going to ask Tanaka about an armor change."
"How come?" Anna asked.
"Well, how can I support my friends if my armor can't soak up a decent hit?" Frank responded. "Besides, there's five of us with light armor right now and only three with heavy armor, or four if you include John."
"Yeah that makes sense," Anna nodded. "Alright, let's quit standing around and get through this thing!"
Frank nodded, and him and Anna started to run forward. They ran in silence for a while but it was eventually broken by Anna.
"I hope they're doing okay," Anna said. "Scarlett and JT, I mean. Especially since JT hasn't had much battle experience."
"I'm sure they'll be fine," Frank responded. "They're probably better off than-"
"Shhh," Anna interrupted. "Do you hear that?"
Frank and Anna put their ears on the left side of the cave.
"Scarlett!?" They heard a muffled voice say.
"That's not good!" Frank stiffened. "Scarlett might be in trouble!"
Frank ran for the entrance of their side of the cave, leaving Anna behind.
"Ugh, he did it again..." Anna ran after Frank. After a while of running, she heard a loud thud.
"Frank! Are you okay?" Anna yelled. "Was that you?"
"Yeah, that was me," Frank yelled back. "Seem's like we're trapped."
Anna caught up to where Frank was. He was lying on the floor in front of where the entrance should've been. Instead there was another thick ice wall, far too thick to break through.
"Joshu must've done this," Anna muttered. "Well, I guess we aren't going to be able to help them at all."
"We might," Frank objected. "Maybe the two halves connect at the ends of them."
"True." Anna thought for a second. "There's only one way to find out for sure, right?"
Frank nodded, and him and Anna went back to running forward. They ran for a bit.
"Wait!" Anna whispered. "Frank, look up there!"
Frank looked forward and saw a Shredder, which seemed to be by itself.
"Try making a trap!" Anna whispered.
"Right," Frank nodded.
He focused his energy into creating any kind of trap. Suddenly, in his hand was a disc that looked like a coiled up vine. He threw it forward onto the cave floor. When he did, the disc rooted itself to the floor and grew many spikes.
"Hey, demon freak!" Frank shouted. "Come and get some!"
The Shredder looked forward, then started sprinting at Anna and Frank. Before it could reach them, it stepped onto the trap, which dug its spikes into the Akuma's foot, making it impossible for it to move. The Akuma fell forward because of all the sudden friction.
"Yes!" Frank cheered. "You mind freezing this thing?"
"On it," Anna nodded, bending down and freezing the Shredder, trying not to get slashed in the process. "There."
"That trap worked so well!" Frank gave Anna a high-five. "Y'know, you and me make a pretty good team."
"Yeah, I guess we do," Anna smiled. "Okay, back to moving forward."
Frank and Anna yet again continued running forward until they saw another Akuma. This time it was a Titan, and it seemed to be guarding some kind of grey room.
"You stay here," Frank said. "I've got this."
"You sure?" Anna asked, but she knew the answer. "Alright, I'll be right here."
Frank ran forward, leaving Anna behind on purpose this time. She sat down on the ground.
"Alright, I've got this," Frank said as he got to the Titan.
Frank whipped the Titan from afar, getting its attention. Once it turned around, Frank slid under its legs and placed a trap down, the same one from earlier(which he named Root Disc). The Akuma turned around again, causing it to step on the Root Disc. Frank then whipped it again, causing it to fall over. When it did, Frank took the rope part of his whip and wrapped it around the fallen Titan's neck, and snapped it, killing the Titan.
"I really need a better weapon," Frank gasped. "Did you see that, Anna? ...Anna?"
Frank went back to Anna and saw that she was unconscious.
"Ugh, really?" Frank groaned, picking up Anna and carrying her on his back, with her arms dangling over his shoulders. "This'll have to do until she wakes up, I guess."
Frank continued forward, into the grey room. Inside looked like another part of the cave, but more man-made.
"This looks like the room Kobun kept us all in," Frank muttered. "Hopefully there aren't any traps or anything."
"Hm? Anna?" Frank looked at Anna over his shoulder, but she seemed to still be passed out. "You awake?"
Anna rubbed her eyes.
"Oh yeah," Anna got off of Frank's back. "I was tired."
"That was it?" Frank sighed. "You had me worried!"
"Worried, huh?" Anna stood in front of Frank. "You sure seem to care a lot about me, huh?"
"Well yeah, you're my frie-"
"Don't play that card on me!" Anna pushed Frank against a wall, her arms on his chest. "You love me, don't you?"
"W-what? I-I..."
"So that's a yes, huh?" Anna laughed. It didn't sound like Anna, though. It was much higher and wicked-sounding than Anna's. "Tell you what, you fight my uh... boyfriend Seth, and you can have me!"
"I-I couldn't!" Frank's face was beet red. "I-I'm..."
"You're... what, too much of a wuss?" Anna laughed.
"No! I'm-"
"Scared that you'd lose to Seth? You probably would, considering how weak you-"
"I'm gay!" Frank shouted. The whole cave shook. Frank was washed over with embarrassment.
"Ugh..." Anna sighed. "Well, this has been a huge waste of time, hasn't it?"
Just then, pinkish-purple mist seeped out of Anna, causing her to slump to the ground. It floated in front of Frank, and transformed into...
"J-Joshu!" Frank yelled. Sure enough, that's who it was, but he was about half his normal height. "You were controlling Anna this whole time, weren't you!?"
"Ooh, a clever one, are we?" Joshu laughed. "Dingdingding! Gold star!"
Joshu snapped his finger, causing a grey wall to form behind Frank and Anna.
"Now, your scream probably alerted my friends up ahead, so good luck with that!" Joshu said. "I'm a busy demon, so I'll see you later. Say... kissing my shoes in the Underworld?"
Joshu laughed and teleported away. Before Frank could comprehend what had just happened, he heard some loud footsteps coming closer. He looked forward and saw some Akuma off in the distance. He couldn't make them out, because the cave was poorly lit and Anna's Ice Lamp had turned off when she passed out. They appeared to be Standards. There were 5 of them.
"These are his 'friends'? This should be easy!" Frank ran at the Akuma. Once he got close to them, though, all the sudden bravery drained from him. "W-what?"
The Akuma were unlike any he had ever seen or heard of. They had the appearance of Standards, but their whole body was covered with thick metal scales, and their eyes glowed a bright yellow.
"That's uhhh..." Frank turned around and ran in the other direction, but then remembered the wall that Joshu made, trapping him and Anna with the metal Akuma.
"I-I... can't do this!" Frank was terrified. There was no way his whip could slash through metal, nor his Root Disc could penetrate the Akumas' feet. They walked slowly to Frank and Anna, their yellow eyes glowing in the distance. Shaking, Frank stepped forward to keep them away from Anna, who could not defend herself.
"Anna! Now would be a good time to wake up!" Frank yelled. "I can't fight these things alone!"
The metal Akuma reached Frank. He tried whipping them to keep them away, but all it did was scratch their metal exoskeletons and push them back a tiny bit. One slashed Frank in the chest. Another slammed into Frank with its immensely heavy body, causing Frank to stagger and nearly fall. He ran around to the other side of all of them, trying to keep their attention away from Anna.
"How am I going to do this!?" Frank shouted. "Anna's out cold and my weapon doesn't do a thing to these guys!"
Frank tried hitting the Akuma with his whip again while dodging their attacks, but of course, to no avail.
"Think! Think!" Frank repeated. "There's gotta be a way out of this!"
Frank was tackled by an Akuma, and was getting clawed at from all sides.
"I'm not useless!" Frank yelled. "I... know... I can... save us!"
Just then, the Akuma near Frank, including the one on top of him, were knocked away from him, and his whip started to glow bright green. It flew up and started rotating at an alarming speed. This caused the whip's string parts to spin together to form a very long pole, and the sharp bits at the end to come together to form a very sharp, cone-shaped blade. It slowly went back down into Frank's hands as he sat up.
"This is..." Frank's eyes widened, "a spear!"
Frank got up off the ground and rushed at the metal Akuma with his newfound spear. They were still staggered from being knocked back. Frank went up to one and impaled its chest with his spear. The long, thin blade passed through the metal scales with ease. He then ripped the spear out of the Akuma, killing it. He killed the others in a matter of seconds, and then collapsed from exhaustion.
"So..." Frank gasped. "That's what Tanaka meant... about an Alternate Weapon."
Frank laid there for a few seconds and was about to close his eyes when...
"Help!!" A voice shouted.
"That... was JT!" Frank shot up off the ground and sprinted forward. He turned a corner and saw a lever and a see-through wall. Passed the wall, he saw a horrifying sight: JT and Scarlett about to be crushed by a wall of spikes! "Hold on guys!"
Frank instinctively switched back to his whip and wrapped it around the lever. He then pulled it with all his might, just barely getting it to the other side. Once the lever was pulled, the spiked wall stopped, and a doorway appeared on both sides of the see-through wall: one in front of Frank and one in front of JT.
"JT, you're safe!" Frank shouted.
"F-Frank!? Where are you?" JT asked.
"Can you not see me?" Frank knocked on the wall.
"No, can you see me?"
"Yeah, the wall must be one way," Frank looked at to JT's left. "What happened to Scarlett?"
JT explained how Joshu possessed her into getting both of them into the trap, then Frank explained his similar experience, but he intentionally left out the part about his confession. Frank then went and got Anna, and they all went through the two doors, which connected the two halves of their half of the cave together. Lucy jumped down into the hole and followed JT.
"Wait, did you say metal Akuma?" JT asked, then remembered that Joshu referred to them as "Steelscales". "How did you even beat them?"
In response, Frank threw his whip into the air. It spun and slowly went back down into Frank's hands as a spear.
"I used this," Frank smiled.
"Woah, is that..." JT studied the spear, "an alternate weapon?"
Frank nodded.
Just then, Scarlett woke up and slowly stood up. Anna did the same a bit later.
"So, Frank saved the day, eh?" Scarlett chuckled, rubbing Healing Snow on her leg injury. JT did the same. "Guess I shoulda let you lead after all."
Frank scratched the back of his neck. "C'mon, it was nothing."
"Nothing? You were amazing!" Anna cheered. "Now you have a new weapon, too!"
Lucy barked.
"Thanks, but it's not time for celebration yet," Frank started walking forward. "We've still got to group back up with everyone else and defeat... Jo...shu..."
"Frank? What's wrong?" JT asked.
Everyone else ran forward and saw a large room. Inside it was Brenden, Tara, Seth, Drew, and Joshu. Unfortunately, everyone except Tara and Joshu seemed to be on the ground, not looking so good.
"We've got to help them!" Anna shouted, running forward. While running, Anna ran into a see-through wall, much like the one from earlier.
"Anna!" Scarlett caught Anna before she could fall.
"We can't get to them," JT said with despair. "Th-that means..."
Lucy whimpered.
"Yup," Frank grieved. "All we can do is watch."

© 2018 Brenden Brown

Author's Note

Brenden Brown
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Added on October 11, 2018
Last Updated on October 11, 2018
Tags: The Sun's Rebirth


Brenden Brown
Brenden Brown

Buffalo, MO

I like to write and make music. Currently focusing on school and TSR. more..