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Power Given: Chapter Thirteen
By Myths n’ Wraiths
Edited by Vindea
How are you doing this? Remedy asked in astonishment. Her mind struggled to take in the enormous display of mental focus that was being shown to her. Before her eyes the entire army of rogue civilians and the two small bands of Heroes hung in eerie stasis. On the verge of the massive collision between the two forces, the entire scene simply froze in an instance.
The devoted empath turned to face the only other people who seemed to be immune to the peculiarity of the situation. One was the leader of the Dogs of War. The young, white haired mutant paid no head to her confusion, but began to pace the cavern, looking into the eyes of his adversary and allies alike with a gaze that seemed to be weighing their very souls. The other was the older mentalist. The cleaner, bald man kept his gaze fixed steadily on her with blue eyes that were as calm as ice.
How are you holding so many of them like this? She persisted.
I am not affecting them at all. Why slow down other people’s minds when ours are capable of moving so much faster? The man responded in telepathic kind. The voice of his thoughts entered her mind so subtly and gently it seemed to resonate within her like that of an old friend. Her mental defenses rose instinctively against his telepathic subtleties but her curiosity far outweighed any misgivings she may have had about the man.
But why link me to your thoughts? Why show me this? Remedy questioned.
To show you that there is more to the actions that have taken place this day than meets the eye. He replied, the presence of his thoughts as strong as ever despite her resistance to him.
Remedy Heart’s mind felt little comfort in the presence of this other mentalist. His powers were too invasive for her liking, too subtle to be trusted. It was hard to tell how powerful his mind truly was, but the ease with which he used what powers he did display was beyond impressive. Remedy knew her companion Brain Fried to be a telepathic illusionist of the highest degree, but even he could not direct his abilities so precisely. Despite her reservations however, she forced herself to turn her attention away from Lusion and look after the empath that focused so intently on the faces of the people around him; the people that he would wage war with, and those he would wage it against.
He doesn’t know you have shown me this, She decided, and moved to follow the young mutant. Lusion, who was suddenly by her side, placed his hand on her arm to stop her.
Don’t move please. He is very attuned to my abilities. Lusion said with a slight grimace. Remedy conceded, remaining still and honoring the man’s desire to remain innocuous.
Why does he do it? Why put faces to his adversaries?
The point is not why he looks into each face, but simply that he does it. What you are about to witness will be…unsettling. Despite our aggressive tactics, our actions are not made without regard for those around us.
It then occurred to her that what she was seeing had nothing to do with whom she was watching, but who was showing it to her. Lusion was petitioning her to consider himself, not his leader. The inexplicable mysteries that had plagued the Onami this day suddenly faded in realization and she turned to look into Lusion’s deathly cool blue eyes.
It was you that erased the memories of the Heroes at the prison truck, and the man we found in the apartment. She voiced her realization just as it dawned on her.
Lusion did not respond. He did not even look over at her. His gaze followed the young man that still passed the crowd.
Why…would you do such a thing to those innocent people? Who are you? Remedy asked, taking a step away from the all too calm mutant.
Slowly, after a long moment of relentless silence, Lusion turned to her. Remedy nearly gasped when she saw a single tear running down one of his cheeks.
As for who I am, He began slowly, his eyes meeting hers pleadingly. I leave that for you to decide. I wish I could explain the why, but I simply cannot. My heart tells me that the Dogs of War’s actions this day will not long remain secret but if they do ever see the light of day it will not be by my lips. I just wanted to show you, partially because I think you would have figured it out eventually anyway, but mostly because I just need someone to see, that what is considered wrong is not always unjust, and what is considered right is not always righteous.
I don’t understand you. Justice is what our civilization is built on. Seeking it is what the Onami was founded on. It is the entire purpose behind our profession, Remedy Heart nearly shouted with her mind.
Indeed, justice is a noble pursuit. Outweighed only by the pursuit of truth perhaps, but if a man was lying on his death bed and his only wish was to know that his grand-daughter was well, would you tell him that she had been killed that morning by a drunk driver? Lusion countered.
Do not try and hide your actions behind a fog of doubt and false justification, Remedy shot back quickly.
Lusion shook his head slightly and Remedy thought she sensed the faintest frustration in his action. But still his eyes remained calm, and strangely concerned.
It is not my actions that I am hiding. Quite the contrary, I simply wished for you to look beyond the legality of what we… what I have done and see the soul of the matter. Lusion said in his almost disconcertingly calm manner.
His eyes left her and sought out Myth’s form, which was standing in front of PhoenixHawk. The young man stood still, with his hand resting on his chin and his head cocked slightly.
Thank you for hearing me. Things are about to speed up now, Lusion said simply then gave Remedy a slight nod.
* * *
The first sounds that met Brian Sutter’s ears when he fell suddenly into consciousness were not unlike those that had placed him in the darkness in the first place. For a brief and terrific second he thought he was being attacked again. When he managed to open his eyes though he quickly saw that a personal beating would have been far more pleasant than his current situation.
Chaos and destruction had poured their very souls into the cavern. Everywhere the mob of super-powered civilians unleashed their frustrations against everything and nothing at all. The mob had split, gathering towards the entrance and around the mound of rubble where their leader had been. In those two locations major conflicts had arisen between the crazed civilians and two unknown groups. Everyone that still gathered in between those two areas still vented their aggression and expended their powers aimlessly to encourage their comrades along. Some shouted and moved slowly toward one of the focal points of the assault while others simply shot off varying forms of energy into the air aimlessly, causing the caverns already crumpling roof to release small bits and pieces of itself.
The disoriented reporter found himself dangerously close to the reckless brawl that had broken loose by the head of the cavern. He backpedaled on all four of his limbs when a massive, dark skinned goliath tossed a writhing and enraged woman in his direction. The woman would have landed on top of Brian if he hadn’t rolled away in fear. It was nearly impossible for him to believe that this woman was probably an average working woman only days earlier when he saw her shake off the blow quickly then jumped to her feet. A blood-curdling scream erupted from her cracked lips and she bounded back into the battle at the feet of the huge man. She raised her hands into the sky, surrendering to brilliant rays of energy that were pulled from the dark air of the cavern and into her body.
Sensing what was to come next, Brian shielded his eyes from the pending explosion. The woman’s intended target was not quite so hesitant however. The large man swung his massive fist in a wide low arc and landed a devastating uppercut to the woman’s abdomen. Her limp form went sailing through the air, a trail of radiant energy in her wake. She was nearly at the ceiling of the wide tunnel system when the energy that had built up within her erupted violently. A rain of deadly debris quickly followed the shockwave, which knocked the breath from Brian’s lungs. Small boulders that crashed down from the collapsing ceiling cast all around the now cowering man the shadow of death.
Brian scrambled to his feet and burst into a desperate run towards the entrance of the cavern. Without a plan or idea of how he might make it through the murderous battle that was taking place there, still he charged the fray. His only thought or concern was for escaping the cascading cement that was crashing all around him. Panic had taken him. A raw and evil fear clutched his very soul and spurred him to run like mad.
It was before he even realized he had escaped the falling debris that he made it to the ruthless battle that clogged his escaped route. Without slowing his pace he dove into the throng, pressing the unsuspecting brawlers out of his way with a strength that was born from pure terror.
Perhaps the mob mistook him for one of their own who was simply overzealous to reach the front lines; perhaps they paid him no mind at all, too consumed in their own aggression to pay head to one casually dressed bystander that toppled recklessly through their midst. Whatever the reason was that he was not assaulted as he made his escape, Brian could not guess, but he was beginning to hope that he might survive long enough to ponder that question at his leisure once he was out of that hell whole of a tunnel.
Ducking low, with his arms up over his head, Brian made a desperate lunge through the last line of powerful and crazed civilians, and into the Heroes’ ranks. A surreal sense of composure and order met him there when he finally fell into the midst of the protectors of Paragon. It was a pervasive and unnatural feeling. How such an aura of resolute discipline and fearlessness could exist when faced with the reckless hate of their adversaries was beyond his panicking thoughts. He refused to look up despite the sudden absence of fear, and continued to press on toward his escape with his head covered desperately by his arms.
It wasn’t until a young Heroine fell directly in front of him that Brian’s pace slowed a single step. The desperate journalist nearly toppled over the woman in his mad rush but managed to miss her by diving to the side. Gaining his footing, he fought off the urge inside his mind to keep running, and without a thought or conscious decision, tried grasp the Heroine by her waist to drag her along with him in his escape. It was not until too late that he realized the fatal move he had made.
A stout and burly Hero, with a grim face and bloodied fists landed suddenly next to Brian and the injured woman. Time seemed to slow for the reporter as one of those broad fists cocked back over the Hero’s head. At first he didn’t understand it; he couldn’t figure out what the Hero was doing, or why. He was helping one of the good guys; surely this Hero was protecting him in some way. That is what Heroes do. When the hammer of a fist began to fall inevitably towards him however, Brian slowly grasped the cold unjust reality of it all.
“No, I am not-!” Brian screamed in protest and defense. But it was too late.
His last thoughts lingered in his mind long after the rest of reality had fallen away and darkness settled in.
I should have kept running.
* * *
“Dear Lord!” Remedy whispered. The shear shock and awe at what she was witnessing causing her to break away from her usual vocal silence. For a brief moment she forgot the immediate danger that surrounded her, and placing a slender blue hand to her lips, looked out across the cavern to the horrific fight that was taking place around the beleaguered Dogs of War. It was not however, for the other Heroes that she felt such tremendous concern, but for those that assailed them.
The mob pressed in hard around the small band of mutants, and the mutants pushed back even harder. Even from this distance bodies could easily be seen getting hurled away from the group by the dozens like rag dolls. Devastating lances of energy shot out from the center of the group cutting rows into the assaulting hordes of once peaceful civilians. Over the Dogs of War hung an unnatural cloud of murky dark shadows. One of the mutants, the young one with dark hair, leapt up into the cloud. He disappeared for a long moment into the darkness before reemerging, gripping a pail gaunt man by the throat. The pair fell crashing to the ground, the ferociously ruthless mutant on top. They quickly disappeared into the mob but not before the dark haired man began to pummel his victim even as they fell.
A sudden bolt of energy shot past her, catching her friend and companion, Shadow Pain off guard and casting her backwards. A particularly disheveled and wild looking man lunged through their defensive lines and tried to tackle Shadow Pain while she was down, but Stateside quickly caught up with the man and with one solid swing of his broad fist, sent him sprawling across the ground, unconscious.
PhoenixHawk’s steady and assertive voice shouted out of the din of the mob and under his control the defenses were quickly reestablished. Shadow Pain bounced gingerly back to her feet, more dazed than hurt, and lunged back into the fight alongside of her brother.
“Those are no Heroes,” Kwang Ghe shouted out to his leader and teammates. “They’ll kill more people than they save today!” His voice a mask of rage at the injustice of what he saw.
The very thought terrified Remedy and she reached out with her empathic powers, desperate to believe otherwise. To her shock and relief, she found no death in the air. The tunnel was a swelling hurricane of rage, fear and pain, but no death. Even with her senses so overwhelmed by the emotion of the crowd she knew that she would have felt it if someone had passed away. Death left its own unmistakable taste in the air. A taste so potent that it cut through all other flavors of emotion and struck at her senses. It was impossible to miss, unless it simply wasn’t there.
They’ve killed no one, The Empath countered, focusing her thoughts specifically on her leader, PhoenixHawk. The man’s emerald eyes gleamed brilliantly as he looked out across the tunnel at the grim sight. Doubt hung like a cloud around his mind.
“Focus on controlling this mob,” He shouted, forcing his mind on the battle that raged at arms length. “Brain Fried, Remedy, Thauma, get these people subdued!” He demanded.
The trio worked in unison, combining their various magic and mental manipulations to disorient, immobilize or in some way disarm their attackers. The numbers threatened to overwhelm their abilities though and it was all they could do to hold the front line of their enemies under their sway.
“Shadow Pain, you’re in charge of the defenses here. Kwang Ghe, you’re with me!” PhoenixHawk ordered. His voice left no room for question, not that his companions would have even considered questioning at this point. Both nodded solemnly to him and each other.
“Good luck,” Shadow Pain whispered to PhoenixHawk as he took flight and turned to leave.
With stern resolve, the leader of the Onami caught Kwang Ghe under his arms and lifted the man high above the mob. The pair shot through the cavern at immense speed, a trail of their combined energies swirling in their wake.
Despite the desperateness of the situation, Remedy once again split her focus and followed PhoenixHawk’s path with her eyes. It would only be a matter of seconds before the pair landed amongst the Dogs of War. She felt his resolve flowing from his heart in waves, but it did not help to settle the doubt that flowed from hers.