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Tyrant Raver

The Dragon
Joined
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  • Nothing's Like Before
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  • Whirlwind Lancer
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Author's Note:

Hello again, I have been gone for quite awhile since the last chapter of Alteisen Record: The Other Side. Here I am again with a new title! But what about the previous title? Fret not! I'm 70% done with the new chapter and no it's not dead yet. Alt will still continue his adventures upon the unknown reaches.

But for now, this title has been sitting for quite some time now in my laptop and figured, why not give this one a chance? So here it is in all its glory. Bit something different for you guys and gals. Hope you enjoy! :D


-------------

My name is Walter Olven. I am not the fastest man alive, I am not the impossible, not a man of tomorrow, nor an ever-vigilant dark knight that looms over the night.

I'm just an average kid, the nerd, the one that everybody picks on if they would see me in their
foulest of mood. I live in a world where men fly, gods live among mortals, and even beings from other dimensions--planets even walk our realm. My parents didn't have Superhero backgrounds exactly, I live in a simple home, middle-class family.

Yes, I am living in an old world comic book fan boy's wet dream. I would share the same sentiment, but not all of us here in the New World are Superheroes, I'm just a potential Superhero/heroine's damsel-in-distress, and an innocent bystander that is forced to run whenever there's danger or supervillain afoot.

They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. But I'm beginning to doubt whoever said that proverb. Just this last month I got curb-stomped so bad, that it chipped by vertebrae. I had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks after that incident. I knew who did it, but I chose to keep my mouth shut or our resident jock, Richie Marcus might do something worse. So no thank you.

You know what's worse? Richie Marcus is a Novus, or to what we call ascended humans, or put it simply, he's a superhero. Goes by the moniker of Boulderdash. And he's even open about it on school, that's his status quo, no secret identity code whatsoever.

Because he was confident that even though his identity was an open-book, no supervillain nor criminal could threaten him. His family's rich, his Impact Man, one of the head of the Metro Sentinels, one of biggest superhero team to rival the Supernova League, the prime league of superheroes,

You would be wondering why they would pick on me when he's a superhero, don't ask. Because I am just as confused as you are. Not all Superheroes are what the media tell them they are. Most of them just put on a pretty face on the cameras to feed their need for popularity. They're not only fighting crime, but also fighting amongst each other through popularity politics and all that.

They're not fighting crime nor fighting supervillains just to help people but only just so they could get money, sponsorship, and
all that. It's sad, but it's the ugly truth. You would think these Superheroes would've made the world a better place but it's the other way round.

In a world where you can be a superhero, whether through science, freak accident or mutation, you would think it would be easy to just give yourself a good chemical bath and then bam! Instant superpowers! But no, it's not as easy as it sounds. Because... I've tried... but it just did more harm than good to me.

I am no scientific genius, only dabbled in basic electrical-engineering; I've
tried throwing myself into a pool of whatever chemicals I've mixed up on our house, only to burn my left arm upon discovering that I've only concocted hydrochloric acid.

I've tried and tried, nothing, no mutations and no superpowers. Plus the constant bullying and being a personal gopher for Richie Marcus didn't help either. Not one bit. I hated my life.

...until... she came to my life... the superheroine that saved me from this never-ending daily life of torment. And helped me find a new reason to keep on living. This is not an epic story of a superhero that saves the day, but how one mortal changed both a goddess' life and others, how a male damsel-in-distress became one after a heroine's heart.

This is how her path
and mine crossed through the ends of the universe and back.


-------

Chapter 1: The Woman in Red



It was the year 2777...


An astronomical phenomena or anomaly known as the White Bang has occurred widespread throughout the galaxy, as the Cadeus Nova star, the white star that centered the Milky Way galaxy, collapsed and went supernova. Its massive white rays erupted throughout the galaxy, recorded as the biggest supernova in eons, and considered it as the 2nd Big Bang.

But instead of the White Rays destroying everything in its path, it just enveloped everything within the encompasse of the White Storm for a few seconds, then just vanished, like a light bulb going off.


Among the heavenly bodies that were consumed by this massive light surge was our solar system. The planet Earth bathed in its rays, exposing every living thing to the radiation. Two years after the event subsided, people of Earth began to exhibit various mutations that either augmented their physical state and attributes, or warped them into horrible monstrosities.


The ones that were blessed with either superpowers and became the Nova, claiming themselves as the next step towards human evolution. Maybe even the full potential of human evolution. Those whom were... less fortunate, became the Anomalus, freaks of nature and rejects of human society. More than 80% of them became known supervillains and arch-rivals to the Nova.


There were blessed, there were cursed, then there were ones that were... well not to call them unfortunate nor blessed. They were exposed to the White Storm, but it either didn't worked on them or they were in a slow process of developing.

Though through the years that gone by, even those without powers became superheroes of their own. Either through peak training or martial arts, these "normals", as the Nova call them, strive to fight and protect citizens ranging from petty crime, to organized criminal syndicates.


Though some Superheroes are reluctant to acknowledge them, there work and results were undeniable. The most prominent of them, Grey Knight, has been recognized and even worked hand-in-hand with the most powerful of the Nova too.


Over the years gone by, the 7 of the most powerful of the Nova, banded together and formed the Supernova League. A massive, and organized superhero association, sponsored by the United Nations and other multi-billion corporations to help protect the citizens from crime and supervillains.

As years went by, the Supernova League ranged from 7 members to more than 7000 and still counting. Aspiring superheroes set their goal to becoming full-time member of the League. The Supernova League was also undiscriminating to both Nova and Normals to join, so long as they had what it takes or be picked/scouted by founding members or high-tier members.


Since then, off-shoot superhero bands and teams began to form around the Supernova League, both affiliated and unaffiliated. Most of these teams were stepping stones for would be Supernovas to join the League itself. These new superhero teams ranged from diversity-based, age-based, gender-based and even theme-based but all of them had the Supernova League as the ultimate goal.


-------


York State University, Class 2-D



"--and on the date of October 8th, 2777; the astronomical event known as the White Storm consumed the galaxy--"


It was history class for the twelfth-grade students of class 2-D, every doting eye of each student has their eyes on the board and their attention to the lesson, while others just slack off and doing extra curricular activities just hidden from the eyes of the teacher.


Third row, 10th seat on the left, sat a troubled teen scratching his horrible itch on his fringes. He was scratching it so profusely that his attention to the teacher slowly slipping away and his glasses slipping down, making a mess of himself as the itch went on.


"Grrr... the itch! Goddammit I knew I should have drank that substance! I thought I was done with the crazy experiments, but noooo... my impulse had to kick in!"


The teen quietly regretting his action prior to this, and berating himself for doing so.

"Wh-wha..."

Before he could itch anymore, he noticed that the hair falling out of his head were white as snow. Ignoring the itch, he quickly reached into his bag to grab a mirror. As he looked as his reflection, majority of his bangs were white as if it's slowly losing pigment.


"A result!? Hmm..."


He wondered for a bit if his effort to have superpowers begin to yield significant results.

"Maybe if I..."

He slowly held out his hand, pointing to the trash bin near his seat.

"Hmmmm!"

Concentrating, he attempted to move the object. Tried hard as he might but the thing didn't budge, not even an energy blast or something. "Or maybe--" He balled his hand into a fist and then slammed it unto his desk.


"OW!!!!"


The immediate sting of pain swallowed his knuckles, and his cry was heard by the entire classroom.

"Mr. Olven, do you have a problem with the lesson? And how many times I've told you, no playing with paint in class! Just look at your hair!"

Loudly lectured the teacher, and the entire class laughed at his expense. "B-But--!" He tried to reason out, but he stuttered before he could let it out.


"No 'buts', Mr. Walter Olven, one more stunt like that and it's detention for you for disrupting class--"


Before the teacher could finish his lecturing and state the punishment, the ground suddenly shook, an explosion from streets, just beyond the classroom windows. Security protocol sirens began ringing throughout the establishment, signaling a monster/Supervillain threat afoot. Two of the students within class stood up with their hero badges lit up.


"Mr. K, we have a job to do, can we be excused for a moment?"


Asked Richie Marcus, aka Boulderdash the resident Superhero of Class 2-D. "Of course, of course, proceed." The teacher hastily responded, with a bit of dismay.

"Yes, let's rock this mother!" Roared Richie as his suit formed around him, transforming him into his superhero persona. As the two teen Nova zoomed out of the classroom the classroom's blast shielding on the windows folded down as part of security protocol. The teacher then attempted to take control over the class before proceeding back to the lesson.


Bit troubling that these threats were becoming more and more frequent each passing day, there was fear that when these events continue to persist, the administration might close the University down and transfer the students to another school. Walter himself was already transferred three times because his past alma matter were either closed down or became collateral damage to superhero/supervillain fights.


As the class concluded, the threat outside has also been neutralized. It was dismissal, and every student were now preparing to make their way home. Walter slumped himself and his heavy bag towards his locker. The itch was gone but the white fringes were still there.

"Ugh... this'll never come off." he grunted as he brushed up his hair. As he sorted his textbooks on his locker, suddenly, the locker swings shut.


"AAARGHHH!"


Walter's hand was caught and pinned in the locker door.


"Well, well. Our good friend, Walnut. Got the time?"

Two tall male figures loomed over the squirming teen.

"Yes! Yes! Just let go of my hand--ow! ow!" A snappy response from Walter followed, his threshold at his limit and his knuckles slightly swollen and slightly bruised. It was like being caught on a toothless bear trap.


The two male figures, Brute and Chipper, were one of Walter's resident bullies in and out of the school. And both of them answer to Richie. Or to put in a straight-forward manner, they're just two of the members of Boulderdash's "Fan Club", basically it makes up 70% of the entire student body. Had a very size-able influence over the faculty and school administration that they made the Student Council redundant.


"That's a good gopher. Gymnasium Shed, 20 minutes. Be there, and make it snappy."


"See ya, loser!"


Chipper slapped off his glasses to the ground then proceed to kick it under the locker. Distraught and distressed, Walter fished his glasses under the small slit of the locker. He didn't utter a word as he made his way to the Gymnasium. It was a daily thing for him, but, the look in his eye says that he had enough. He just got out of the hospital last week and he knew he was about to be beaten again.


Walter made it to the intended place, but he was 40 minutes late.


"Oi Walnut! Ya bloody late!"


Brute then kicked the back of his knee, forcing Walter to kneel down. He then held his head, face-down to the concrete.


"Now now, Walter, I thought I was clear back there. I said 20 minutes. Here! Now you're late, and we missed the bus home!"


Spat the bully towards Walter with unimaginable hostility.


"Got something to say for yourself, huh? Ya bloody disgrace!"

One insult over another, Brute then held both Walter's hands and then bound them.


"Since we missed the bus, we have no choice but to take the tram. Cost 80 bucks for one ticket, me... and Brute over here."


Said Chipper, when in truth, a single ticket to the tram only costs 10 bucks per head. What he demanded was way over the intended mark.


"I--don't have that much--money!"


Stammering, Walter gritted his teeth as he tried to spoke whilst his face down on the dirt.


"Search him."


The skinny bully nodded unto his muscle. The two then frisked him of his pockets, and turns out, he wasn't lying. Walter had exactly 10 bucks on his pocket... with some few paper clips and erasers.


"This's it?"


Questioned Brute to the teen, voice cracked with his cockney accent. "That's--what I've been trying to. Tell. You. Ugh..." Said Walter, his tone muffled and mouth pinned.


"Hmph, useless as always. We'll let you slide this time. But... don't expect us to be, tomorrow. Or else you'll be frequenting more in the hospital than in school."


The two bullies then loosened their grip and let him go. Him being robbed again of the only means to get home. As the bullies went on their way, Walter then easily escapes the bind that Brute made. Him not being able to make a good knot worked to Walter's advantage. Picking himself up, yet again, Walter dusted himself up and went on to a pedestrian route towards the Yorker Suburbs.


The pedestrian route itself is littered with thousands of non-commuters, not to mention always congested due to the pedestrian traffic. It was also a good route to get robbed of your purse without being noticed but luckily, there was nothing to steal from Walter, other than paper scraps and books and school supplies.


You would think, all these monster/anomalus incursions and attacks in addition to unavoidable collateral damage would've caused the human population to plummet but no. The population boomed even greater, mostly on metropolitan cities--maybe on yellow zones too.


---


Since the emergence of these superpowered beings, Nova and Anomala, the world, most importantly, the society has changed. Majority of countries of the United Nations had segregated Nova, Humans and Anomala into castes. The White Storm also had a significant effect on animals and plant life, mutating them also.

Portions of each country, states had become inhospitable due to the drastic change in the ecological biosphere. These environments/areas deemed unfit for human habitability. Hence each state had been split into three zones. The Metro, Yellow and Red Zone.


The Metro Zones were where majority of the human and nova population take residence. These populated zones made up 70-90% of a single state. The Metro, through the help of the government and the nova, maintained its self-sustainability, although the increasing population within the zone was beginning to prove to be a problem. Hence why majority of means of transportation was abolished completely, so instead, the residents of the Metro were advised to take the mandatory sky tram lines with a very strict schedule. They operate from 5 in the morning 'til 8 in the evening; with the last ticket line assembles at 6. Those who didn't make it will have to take the pedestrian lanes.


Yellow zones are the slums. Breeding grounds for Anomala, humans that couldn't afford to live in the metro resides here. Criminals, cartels and supervillains all reside here. The very picture of broken dreams and promises, the Yellow Zones stands on the ruins of the old world; rundown buildings, shantytowns, and makeshift houses comprised the entirety of the Yellow Zones.


Though some these zones had fertile soil, human residents could not make use of them because of High Criminal Syndicates and Supervillains owning the land. In these lawless lands, you are in constant watch for both your belongings and your life.

Red Zones. Inhospitable areas, unfit for human life. Most Nova and Anomala steer clear of this place and only a select few of them can venture within these barren hells. Local talks among the Metro that beings that surpass Nova and maybe even worse than Anomala reside within these zones but couldn't prove it otherwise. Red Zones were basically either barren wastelands, or ground zero of irradiated seas. Mutants, monsters and very powerful Anomala often sighted within these forbidden borders. Supervillain overlords also use these areas as places of exiles for their useless minions and worthless accomplices. Basically leaving them in the mercy of either the gamma radiation that floods the air, soil, and waters; or the horrible inhabitants of the said place.


---


"What the hell?"


A gathering commotion suddenly commenced in the middle of the busy lane. Heavily congesting the path further, people stopped at their tracks and looked up on the night sky.


"H-Huh? Hey! What's going on?"


Walter bumped at the person in front of him, baffled as everyone else. He quickly noticed a bright light from up above. Tearing through the night sky like a slow-moving shooting star. Only then that crowd noticed that this unidentified object's trajectory was heading right at them.


"It's coming right at us!"


"Run!"


It didn't take long before the entire pedestrian lane descended into chaos. With sheer panic of the thick crowd, Walter was easily mobbed, neither forward nor back could he proceed. His fragile frame was being shook by the tide of the panicked crowd. He was then knocked over his feet by a stray bag that tripped him over.


"Oh no-no-NO--OH SHI--!!! Aaah!!!"


The unidentified object was closing in fast, and majority of the populace has fled the scene. Before Walter could pick himself up and run for cover, the bright object plummeted just a few feet from him. And the impact sent everything flying including his fragile frame. His body rolled through the concrete and debris, hurting both his shoulder and back.


Minutes passed, it seemed like an eternity for Walter. The sound of crackling fire, the ash and smog that filled the air, and sirens of incoming Metro Authority Police. The impact of the crash rendered Walter's hearing, temporarily deaf. He pulled himself out of the rubble, thankfully his limbs were still in one piece, although slightly bruised and wounded.


He slowly stood up, and quickly noticed that the place of impact was a few feet away from him. The impact caused a size-able crater that punched through the solid concrete. And from the looks of it, the object itself "melted" through the solid rock like a hot ball of nickel on an ice block.


Walter climbed the debris, and saw the unidentified object: a woman. But from the looks of her outfit, although scathed from the impact, looked like she was a Nova, a Superhero even. The unconscious woman wore a pad-layered suit of elastic material with red glowing contours that drew across her body. She dons armored gauntlets and boots and wears a full-head helmet with a red face visor.


The teen carefully approached the unconscious woman in red as residual energy was still being emit from her suit. Slowly he reached his hand to her visor, and the visor immediately opened, revealing her facial features.


"She's---"


Mesmerized by her beauty, Walter found himself entranced by her. But before he could say or do anything, the woman's eye opened, her eyes glowing like two orbs of lightning. And with great speed, she lunged herself at Walter, moving him out of the way for an incoming attack from behind.


"Ugh--ah! Lookout!"


Walter reacted quickly as he saw another attack from an unknown looming figure behind them. He went for her and embraced her to move her out of the way. This time, he saved her in turn.


"Thanks. Now, get out of here. As far away as those legs can take you!"


The woman in red thanked Walter and she quickly stood up. Her visor slid close and turning her attention to the looming figure. A monster, an abomination. She clenched her fists as she emitted red electricity upon her gauntlets and took stance.


Walter obliged and quickly hid from the nearest debris. He peeked his head up, and made a quick look at this woman in red one more time. From her get-up she looks like one of the members of Supernova League, maybe even member of the off-shoot branches of it.


But then she would have to have her own crest, and it would appear that she had none. And from the extent of his knowledge of Superheroes and their respective teams, since he is a very big fan of the Supernova League, Walter couldn't recognize her in any of the Superhero roster. Maybe a new recruit?


The teen would've bolted out as quickly and as far as he can but curiosity came over him. As he was very intrigued by both who this woman in red was and what was she capable of.


The abomination and the woman in red took their stances and prepared to square off. The gleaming two sets of eyes of the abomination was set upon its opponent, the noticeable cuts and damaged exterior of the abomination marked it, the result of the attacks of the woman in red. Without any more second to spare, the abomination charged and dragged its lumbering claws through the ground and began maiming at its opponent at a surprising speed. It may look big and cumbersome but this monster was agile and fast, a quality of an apex predator.


Using her powers, the woman in red exhibited her superspeed through her reflexes. She was moving so fast that she would appear as if she was blinking from one spot to another. Leaving lightning after-images of herself as she skillfully dodged every swing of the abomination's claws. The after-images she was trailing behind helped her keep the monster disoriented. But disoriented as it may be, the abomination was persistent.


Using her superspeed, she evaded a massive thrust. With her reflex and momentum, she spun around and then connects a powerful swinging lightning uppercut, right at the abomination's jaw. The impact of the punch was enough to make it flinch, exposing its torso. She then connects multiple lightning punches, all hitting like a high-powered machine gun, heavily damaging the monster's torso. With one last punch, she pushed the monster back. The woman in red then went into a squat stance and then jumped right at her enemy, using the momentum to deliver an explosive blow that sent the abomination flying.


"Wow... Superspeed. So ummm..."


Amazed and surprised by the exhibition of ability, Walter hastily reached in his bag and pulled out his special notebook.


"Superspeed... energy? Lightning generation?" He then quickly wrote this unknown superheroine's abilities as he observed the ensuing fight. "But how fast is she? Is she as fast or faster than Lightspeed? Rapidez? Maybe Cheetah-Man?" Even with the ensuing chaos, Walter was comparing and calculating data to the woman in red. He then peeked out of the debris shelter again, "But does she have super strength too? Maybe she's using her speed and built-up momentum to augment her every attack--" And the analysis and hypothesis went on and on.


Meanwhile, back at the fight, the abomination quickly recovered and was now angrier than it was before. Its bio-luminescent blood boiled as it manifested glowing veins upon its body. With a huge bellow, it then grew a pair of massive bone-like talons on its arms. With a single swing, it launched a long-ranged slash upon the woman in red. The attack was devastating as she thought it would. She would've been hacked into pieces if she took that attack.


As Walter was furiously writing data, the support on his debris shelter began to gave away because of the monster's attack. Everything went silent as he noticed the debris toppled to the ground and him completely exposed. The sound was enough to have caught the monster's attention. Its glowing set of eyes now set upon the helpless Walter.


"Uh... hi?"


Confused, he made a mistake of making a small gesture.


With a fearsome roar, the abomination went straight after the teen. "Crap-crap-crap!!!" He panicked and quickly grabbed his bag and made a run for it. But as soon as he made a dash for it, he was quickly corned as his cover was quickly blown. The abomination was as fast as it was big, as it took mere seconds for it to be caught up with Walter.


With a huge swing, the monster dragged its massive talon through the ground. There was no margin Walter could escape to, nor did he had any ability to. He was just a human after all. He braced for the worst and shielded his eyes with his arms. Before the massive talon could touch the defenseless teen, the woman in red suddenly appeared between the two, and blocked the incoming attack with her right arm and shoulder. The attack chipped off a nice portion of her shoulder armor. The fragments of her armor ricocheted and hit Walter on his chest.


"Huh...?"


Walter cleared his eyes and fixed his glasses, as he felt the armor fragments from the woman in red, slapped his chest. He picked some of the fragments and examined them.


"Why are you still here!? Go!"


She yelled at Walter, "Right! Sorry! --Going!" He stumbled as he pulled his bag out of the debris and then ran as fast and far as he could. He then made it onto a safer distance, supposedly, and observed them from there. Instead of taking notes like last time, he had his full, undivided attention to both adversaries going at it.


The woman in red then deflects the talon and then takes stance to build her momentum. But the abomination connects an overhead swing of its talon upon her. Using her superspeed, she emitted a light-speed vibration unto her arm as she held it up. Using the intense oscillation, she easily vibrated the air molecules, creating an invisible force-field solid enough to deflect the massive blow.


Recklessly, the abomination tried to follow up with another swing. But the sloppiness of it enabled its adversary to catch it with her two hands. With a powerful heave, the woman lifted the monster 10 feet off the ground and then slammed it to the ground. In


mid-spin, she vibrated her right arm in light-speeds again, accumulating red lightning streaks, and mass on it like a small tesla coil.

"HAAA!"


She connects the final blow unto the abomination's chest. The force of the blow imploded upon the monster's frame. There was no shockwave, but the impact, if given more momentum could level an entire city block as the blow itself made the solid ground cave in.


The dust cleared and the aftermath was revealed. The monster was nowhere to be found, just its blood spatter on the impact crater.


The woman in red's final blow literally just erased the abomination's physical presence from existence. There was none to be found, other than the woman in red standing triumphant.


Walter quickly rushed to the impact crater, towards his savior.


"--Whoa!"


He was gonna slide down the impact crater but it was deeper than he originally thought.


"Wh-Who--"


Walter was about to ask question to her, but the woman then launched herself up in the air with a trail of red lightning then instantly disappeared in mid-air. She was gone without a trace.


After the incident, the authorities and a few superheroes moved in to the area. Apparently too late for the action, and most of them even had the gall to claim credit. Sewing made-up stories, fights with a particular enemy--the usual Superhero publicity.


There was no other witnesses on the incident other than Walter, but he had fled long before the commotion arrived as he was uncomfortable being interrogated by authorities. The area was closed off for the time being and only a hand-few superheroes held the area for investigation.


Walter on the other hand, made it on his home without any more further incident. As he laid on his bed, he noticed he still had the armor fragment from the woman earler.


"Hmmm..."


Back, front, and side to side; he examined closely the fragment. It looked like some kind of crest, like a part of a whole. The fragment had a shaped of a dragon head and what looks like its wing. He can't make it out since its just a part of whole.


"Who is she? Where'd she come from--"


Questions upon questions, queries upon queries. Walter drowned himself of the mystery of that is the woman in red. Even until he fell asleep, exhausted from both school and the incident. Even as he slowly drifted to sleep, all he could think about was her face and her vague-ly blonde hair.


----


"Alright class, we have 2 new transfer students here in our class. Our first transfer student hailed from Mojave State University from Nevada--"


The next day in school, 2 new students were introduced in Walter's class. One was a girl with a very statuesque presence, her stance was strong and her figure well-defined like a goddess. She sports blonde hair and has red eyes, which implied that she was a Novus. Needless to say, her presence quite easily caught the male members of the class, except Walter who was busy with his personal notes.


"Why don't you introduce yourself first."


The teacher prompted the first one to take center stage. And that she did.


"Hello! My name's Ailana from Nevada, I just transferred here in Yorktown State just last week! Nice to meet all of you~!"


Sure enough that the male and female members of the class were swooned by her personality, like a leading candidate of a prestigious beauty pageant. And before the teacher could continue...


"Ailana, your eyes--are you a Novus?


"Yeah, are you one of the Superheroines?"


"What's your superhero name?"


Questions began piling up, it was as rowdy as a press conference. Ailana giggled at the warm reception.


"Well... Yes I am a Novus, but I'm not a registered heroine yet, but I'm working on it! Don't worry!"


She replied, but only to be followed by a mob of more questions. The majority of the class were just woo-ing and screaming for her like some sort of celebrity. But Walter's attention was caught by her answers and her appearance.


"Wait a minute..."


He pulled up a rough sketch of the woman in red, and compared his clues to Ailana. "Is it her? But... Hmm... it can't be. Or maybe... hmmm... She said she doesn't have a pass yet to be superheroine, and her hair. I need to investigate further." Walter said to himself, adding more data unto his notes. His pen busy scribbling and writing details.


"Alright! Class, settle down! Quiet! Now... our last transferree student came from--uh..."


The teacher then looked at the next transferee's entrance paper. But couldn't continue.


"It's okay, sir. I'll take care of the rest of the details."


The 2nd transferee took over and took the stage. She was short, roughly 5 feet flat in height, she was simply-dressed with her cardigan over her blouse. She has slightly messy red-hair and had big glasses on, she had a slightly tanned complexion and had a slouched stance about her.


"H-Hello, I'm Thea Eissen from Point Lookout county, Maryland. Uh... umm... nice to meet you all!"


If Ailana was proud and powerful, Thea, on the other hand was weak and awkward; a complete opposite. And just like Ailana, the class began to stir up a commotion of whispers and quiet gossips. Then finally, Richie Marcus stood up from his seat and pointed at Thea.


"Point Lookout, that's a Yellow Zone! How were you granted residence here in Yorktown? You some kind of Anomalus?"


"Yeah! Are you some kind of freak!?"


"Don't get any ideas, freak! We have 2 superheroes here who will whoop your butt!"


It was the complete opposite also. Instead of admiration, it was disgust, insult and rejection. Thea hugged her textbooks tight, and her fist clenched, utterly holding her tears back from the shame and heckle of her own class.


"Alright, class that is enough. Both of you, take your seats--"


The teacher quickly doused the commotion and took control over the class. He then searched the classroom for vacant seats for these two new students.


"Ah! Both vacant seats on either side Mr. Olven."


He then assigned the girls to the two vacant chairs beside Walter. Ailana sat on the left while Thea on the right facing the window.


And so Walter had just crossed paths with the girl that will change his life, forever. But who was she? Was it Ailana or was it Thea? Or maybe none of the two? Only time and fate can tell.




To be Continued...
 
Last edited:

KingdomKey

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Oh man, this was freaking perfect and epic in all sorts of portions! Please tell me you've got more! <3 It reminds me a lot of My Hero Academia, but way better, because our protagonist is going to meet the love of his life. Who may potentially get super powers? *rooting for it* And man, I feel bad for Walt getting bullied so much. The explanation of the world, the dynamics of society were explained extremely well too. I love the mysterious female fighter and the different receptions of the two transfer classmates. :)
 

Tyrant Raver

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Location
7th Street, Cerberus' Row
  • Nothing's Like Before
  • Writer of Writers
  • Crafty Soul
  • Whirlwind Lancer
  • This is Halloween
Re: Astonished / Amazed

Oh man, this was freaking perfect and epic in all sorts of portions! Please tell me you've got more! <3 It reminds me a lot of My Hero Academia, but way better, because our protagonist is going to meet the love of his life. Who may potentially get super powers? *rooting for it* And man, I feel bad for Walt getting bullied so much. The explanation of the world, the dynamics of society were explained extremely well too. I love the mysterious female fighter and the different receptions of the two transfer classmates. :)
Haha, yeah I still have 5 chapters of this. I wrote this one when I'm loose at work, then I write Alteisen Record at home. And it's inspired by Gotham Academy, The Runaways and Spider-Man loves Mary Jane.
 

Tyrant Raver

The Dragon
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
2,200
Location
7th Street, Cerberus' Row
  • Nothing's Like Before
  • Writer of Writers
  • Crafty Soul
  • Whirlwind Lancer
  • This is Halloween
Re: Astonished / Amazed

Chapter 2: Conviction

It had been a long day of class, dismissal. The halls and corridors of the Yorktown State University were as bustling as ever. The entire student body getting ready to go home. Locker corridors were as busy as the peak rush hour on the Sky Tram stations.

"Hmm... this one, and this, and this. Nope not this--"

Walter sorted his textbooks and review materials, some books he needed to return to the library. While going on about his things, he was expecting Richie Marcus' thugs to come charging in, bang his head unto his locker door or something. He would be troubled by it, but he was shrugging the thought off because of incident yesterday. He may be silent about it, but the image of the woman in red's face kept popping in his mind. So much so that he felt that his arms and body began moving on its own and his mind being drifted off to God knows where; daydreaming.

As the teen closed his locker, his footing suddenly went off-balance. Utterly, his right leg fell asleep whilst standing for too long.

"Ah!"

"Ah...!"

Walter snapped back to reality as he fell towards to an oncoming person in front of him. It was Thea, Thea Eissen, one of his new classmates, whom was carrying a pile of books that time. As they were about to bump on each other, Walter closed his eyes shut. Then as he closed his eyes shut, he suddenly felt still for about 10 seconds or so.

"...huh? Wait, what the?"

As he opened his eyes, the teen found himself steady on his balance and was just lunged upright.

"I could've sworn--I was falling was I?"

He thought to himself. Thea was then behind him, tending to her locker that was just beside his.

"Huh. Weird, must be daydreaming too much, I'm losing focus."

Walter said to himself, scratching his head, dismissing the weird occurrence; though, he was still flabbergasted a bit by it. He then turned his attention to his new locker neighbor, Thea.

"Uh, hi! You're Thea right? I-I'm Walter! I haven't had the chance to introduce--myself?"

He quickly noticed that Thea wasn't even paying attention to his introduction. She just went on to her business sorting her things. Walter looking over her shoulder, waving his head from side to side. As Thea closes her locker, Walter thought it wouldn't hurt if he gave her just a light tap to catch her attention.

"Hey--"

"Ah! What do you want?"

Both startled, Thea abruptly shuts her locker door. Walter on the other hand, startled to the notion that he might have approached her the wrong way.

"My name's Walter, your seatmate. I uh... nice to meet you."

Walter whilst scratching his head, confused, offered his hand to shake hers. He can't even look at her directly, lips shaking and now in a peak awkward stance. Thea, on the other hand, just stared at his hand and then looked at him with a troubled look.

"--Thea. Now what do you want?"

Still questioning him, her expression changed from startled to slightly annoyed. Cold sweat, began trickling down Walter's face and a chill from his spine to his forehead. Mental blocked, nervous and confused to what to say.

"I-I-I just wanted to.. uh.. I... hi!"

If his brain was an engine, it would've blown its gasket as the teen just lost composure and his brain just sending out random words. And like a track skipping, his voice can't stop stuttering and stammering, he can't even form sentences.

"Hmm... right. Is there anything else? Because I really have to get going."

"I-- Sigh... No, nothing."

"Okay then. Goodbye, Walter."

Thea then left, with Walter just frozen on where he stood. Walter then let out a big sigh as he bumped his head to his locker. Frustrated. He would've thought since Thea's on the rejects of his class, he would've been close to her. But that's his fault on misjudging someone's character by status quo, and not completely knowing and understanding their traits and personality. But really, his intentions were pure, he wanted to make friends with her and know her better, but the approach ruined it. Such is his weakness to social interaction to the opposite sex.

"Sigh. Oh well."

Walter sighed again. He noticed that Brute and Chipper were none to be found anywhere, if they were then he would've found himself trashed long before he initiated conversation with Thea.

"Hmm?"

The teen then saw a white and pink handkerchief on the floor, just facing Thea's locker. He picked it up and dusted it for a bit. He unfolded it a bit, and saw the words "From Althea, with love" embroidered in cursive on the cloth. As he was about to chase Thea to ask her, she was already nowhere to be found. Walter then folded the handkerchief and put it inside his checkered polo. Maybe he'll just return it tomorrow.

Before he could turn around and call it a day. An arm slammed next to his leaning head on the locker.

"I guess I said it too soon."

He said to himself, dismayed that he would call it a day without them popping out of nowhere just to beat the money out of him.

"Alright, alright..."

The teen said it out loud, frustration was evident on his tone.

"Just give me wedgie or a swirly and I can go--home?"

As he turned to whose arm was leaning close to him, he was again startled but quietly this time. Actually, more curious and amazed this time and at the same time, shocked. It was Ailana, smiling widely at him. Her long blonde hair, her eyes, her glowing face, it was awe-inspiring up close.

"Abababababa~ ababa--baba..."

If Walter's brain blew a gasket with Thea, it was like being shredded with Ailana. His jaw, mouth, shaking that he can't even speak. Ailana couldn't help but giggle at his expense, she then placed her hand on his chin to stop his mouth from chattering like a wind-up toy.

"Hey calm down. Didn't mean to startle you. Hi I'm Ailana."

"...huh."

Walter's face and expression was frozen, like he's about to have a stroke.

"I'm just handing out my card. Here's yours! Please support me when finally get my license!"

"Hai..ah. Hai...ah."

"Wait. You're the one Marcus was telling me about."

Ailana recognized him. From shock, Walter's expression finally calmed down when Ailana uttered Richie Marcus' name. He was less amused to hear his name, even from Ailana herself.

"Yeah you're the one who has notes on the Supernova League, and other Superheroes, right? Walnut Olven."

"I-It's Walter. And yes, but my notes are just based on my observation. Not really a reliable source. Not to mention, majority of the input were my personal comments/opinions about them. Veeerrry Sloppy."

Walter corrected her. Ailana suddenly piqued his curiosity of to why she was interested in his notes. It was just personal notes, not exactly an elaborate database, moreso than a reliable nor credible source on Superheroes.

"That's even better! If I am to be a superheroine one day, would be a good start to have someone's everyday opinion rather than the media, right? Actually, would you care to walk with me for a while?"

"Well, sure! I'd be glad to."

Ailana may not see it, but Walter was basically smiling from ear to ear at that moment.

As they walked through the hallway, they discussed the background, and history of the Supernova League and each giving their own favorite Superheroes and least favorite ones. Both of them giving their own opinions on each given Nova. Walter giving his notes to Ailana, and in turn, Ailana actually reading it and querying about his opinions on his recorded data, and even giving her own input.

---

As Walter and Ailana walked away, a lonesome figure peeked out behind the vacant space beside the lockers, Thea, whom was there the whole time, since she shoved off Walter with her passive-aggressive behavior earlier. Her expression now tells a different story however, regret.

Thea walked back to her locker and sorted her things. As she closed the metal door, she glimpsed upon Walter's locker and let out a sigh. She was more sad than regretful now. He was the first person whom has shown kindness to her ever since she arrived here at Yorktown State.

Everyone but him treated her like an escaped wild beast, such as other immigrants from the Yellow Zones were. For Thea to begin her new life in the Metro Zone, this was her major obstacle she needed to overcome. But she wasn't expecting someone like Walter though, someone whom was willing to know her, looking past her origins and past the majority of the negativity.

"I... hope I wasn't too harsh on him."

Thea thought to herself, secretly hoping that Walter would talk to her again. Admitting to herself that she got off the wrong foot.

"I have yet to learn how will I properly respond to kindness. Such thing was unheard of from where I came from."

She slung her bag on her shoulders and walked through the now quiet corridor.

"Had to make it by 9, for my first job."

Looking at her watch, she pulled out a time-piece card where it listed her complete schedule for the week.

"Huh?"

As she was walking towards the end of the hall. She saw a lone shadow standing by the pillar. As if this shadow was waiting for Thea in particular.

She shrugged it off as first, averting her attention to it and began to walk at a faster pace, her eyes affixed to the immediate exit. But then just as Thea was about to reach another step, the shadow stood on her way. The red-head became nervous and utterly frozen to where she stood. She couldn't see this man's face but she could feel that this figure was looking down on her.

"Wh-what do you want?"

Thea asked, nervous, a chill crawled up her neck. The shrouded figure then walked into illumination.

He was tall, about almost the same height as Richie Marcus. He sported a brown spiky hair; a black leather jacket with white embroidery and a steel-plated crest on his back; and baggy pants with combat boots. Almost looking like delinquent. He also had a visible scar that drew from his forehead to his right eye; his right eye's pupil was white and with the lighting, it almost looks like it was glowing.

"--I saw you."

The tall boy began to spoke, in a soft but brooding tone. He began walking around Thea, looking directly at her nervous expression while he did.

"I saw what you did back there."

"W-What the hell are you talking abo--"

"The guy threw his balance off, was about to bump you silly. Then you quickly restored his balance, and even caught your things in mid-air with such precision that you made it seem like nothing happened. That takes skill."

The black-jacket stated what he had witnessed earlier. Walter may not noticed it, but Thea did used her ability at that moment. Thea bowed her head, her fringe now shrouds her expression. She couldn't respond, nor she had an appropriate reaction. She may not answer it, but her silence says he was right otherwise.

"The question now is: are you an ally? Or one of those degenerates from the Yellow Zone?"

The black-jacket teen asked with conviction. He faced Thea, hands in his pocket, waiting for a concrete response from her.

"--I'm leaving."

She responded with a blank expression. Her nervous tone, completely faded; on a mindset to hurry out before the situation may escalate any further.

As Thea walked past him, he suddenly brandished an engraved sword from his jacket sleeve in attempt to attack Thea from behind. His right eye now glowing, sign that he is now currently using his innate ability. But before he could even make the full swing of his blade, it was stopped by an invisible force.

"What the--"

He tried to move his sword, but he felt the blade was being firmly gripped. As he look at the blade, he then saw an armored feminine construct form from nothingness, or rather shedding its cloak from Thea's shadow. This construct was about 7 to 8 feet tall and had a physical form made out of pure energy, contained within an armor. It had a red-glowing pony-tail flailing upwards and pointed feet.

The construct then shoved the blade away and then swung its massive fist towards the black-jacket teen. He smirked as he stood his ground. He clenched his fist and formed his gauntlet on his entire right arm, and then finally forming a kite shield. The shield was solid enough that it repelled the incoming attack.

"Enough."

Thea declared. The construct then retreated to its master's side, leaning over her like a tame pet. The red-head then turned her head towards the black-jacket teen. Her glowing pupils now visible in the shade.

"Let's make this clear, if you want to push me and punch me around, then do it with your own strength and conviction. But I will warn you and hopefully every 'Hero' you come across, if you do so threaten me or anyone, Human or Novus, with the misuse of your powers then I will obliterate you with everything I have."

Recalling her construct, Thea narrowed her vision to the black-jacket teen. Her eyes now illuminating as bright as before. The teen glanced at his kite shield to see the spot where Thea's construct hit it began distorting the entire shield. Like a piece of paper being crumpled, the shield was warped into an indistinguishable ball of metal.

"This is my first, last and only warning. If you're gonna kill me, do it, I don't have time to be bothered with empty threats."

Turning away, the red-head exited the scene and left the black-jacket teen in the shadows. With his attention on his crumpled shield. He let out a scoff and reverted his armor back to a glove. He could only ponder what was Thea's natural-born power that could've crumpled solid steel like that.

-------

It is already given that the chosen of the White Bang, the Nova were gifted with supernatural powers of all forms. Whether it would be from mutation, elemental, extra-dimensional, to even cosmic. But alll of these abilities and powers are called upon their medium of power, the Nexus.

The Nexus is the nova's natural energy and life force that encompasses and unlocks various benefactors within them. In which benefactors would include various forms of energy to be harnessed at their disposal. The Nexus manifests by the supernatural glow of their eyes. Usually, if a Nova exhibits his/her abilities, his/her eyes will glow.

The glow will depend upon their trait and mastery of their ability. And every Nova or Superhero has their own glow color, it's like their own additional unique trait, like DNA. Some Nova even exhibited multi-colored Nexus which means they can harness more than one benefactor. And basically, the brighter and the bigger the glow encompasses, the more powerful the benefactor that Nova will wield.

Through the Nexus, the nova can also summon their Nex Frame, or their "suits". These suits serves as their alternate forms; it comes with different forms and sizes, forms around their bodies as protection for intense battles. Only full-fledged nova, or Superheroes can acquire them.

-------

Meanwhile, Walter and Ailana continue their suprisingly engaging conversation. From the class corridors to the gymnasium to the massive track and field venue. They were so into the conversation that they didn't noticed that they had already circled the field in two laps of walking. Exchanging banter left and right regarding the entire nature of Superheroes and their lifestyle. Ailana giving her experience and life as a Novus, and in turn, Walter giving his inputs and experience from a human stand-point.

During the exchange, Walter didn't even stutter nor awe-struck that he was talking to one of the popular girls. He just talks to her as if she was on his level. While Ailana found it refreshing to have someone talk to her without her partner kissing her feet every minute. Insights, laughs, and aspirations shared without the bother of status quo of both parties.

"Oh!"

The blonde girl noticed the time, it was getting late.

"As much as I love to continue, Walter, I need to go home."

"Oh! Right, right! I... uh, heh. I was carried away."

The teen was flustered, yet was somehow satisfied. It has been a while since he had someone to talk to, let alone listen to him; and a popular girl no less.

"So umm... catch you tomorrow then? I-If that's--I mean if you wanna still talk to me--"

"Hmm?"

"I-I-I mean, maybe we could hang out again tomorrow?"

Walter now begins to stutter, under the nervous impression that he's pushing his luck; but at the same time, hoping that he could talk to her again. He couldn't even look straight in her eye, he was so flustered by her giggle.

"Here."

The blonde pulled out a gold card from her pocket and offered it to Walter.

"What's this?"

"It's my own personal privilege pass on our manor. Just present the card to the wards then you can gain access."

"...wow--I..."

"Oh and to answer your question, yes! We can still hang out! Just don't be afraid or shy to approach me. Okay then, gotta go! See ya!"

Walter just froze and was entirely speechless. As Ailana said her goodbyes, he just waved his hand of farewell and silently watched as she made her way out.He looked at the card again. The card was so brilliantly designed with a serial code embedded unto the exterior, and it has weight to it. It was not plastic like one of those credit cards, that's for sure.

Then a wide and hearty smile drew across his face, he couldn't help it. The shaky hands and knees, the crooked walking pace, he was trying to keep himself from rolling himself on the grass from sheer excitement and happiness. He felt as if he has done something fulfilling today. But like it was said earlier, he should take caution, don't expect too much and most certainly don't push his luck. But he couldn't help but to feeling that particular 2 hours of his time was priceless. Walter put the card into the inner pocket of his polo shirt and shoved off home.

As he exited the field, five silhouettes sat on the far bleachers of the track field. These men watched the whole scene, and followed the two, Walter and Ailana throughout the entirety of their conversation.

"Hmph..."

The tallest of the five stood up and spat to his side. Utterly disgusted by the entire affair.

"That runt pushed his luck. Look at that smile on that pitiful face, makes me wanna rip off his cheek."

He added, clenching both his teeth and fist with boiling rage.

"Well boss? What're we gon' do abou' it?"

Cracked one of them with a crisp cockney accent, two of the figures have been revealed to be Chipper and Brute. Two of the most frequent... clients of Walter.

"Yeah, Richie. Damn shame that our lil' Walnut getting th---uuurgh!"

Before Chipper could utter another word, he suddenly found a large hand clenching his cheek. Being a Novus, Richie Marcus is gifted with a very muscular physique, apart from his enhanced attributes and powers. If he wanted to he could very well tear Chipper's face off.

"Another word and I'll squish your head like an orange."

Richie's eyes were glowing, signifying that his Nexus is active. Which would mean he has the means to kill the two on the spot.

As Boulderdash, apart from his strength and durability, his Nexus allows Richie to utilize kinetic shockwaves and sonic booms with his attacks. With enough force, he could level an entire 5-story building. He can also transfer kinetic energy on any object and make it like a shockwave grenade, but he could only do it on small scale objects; any larger would absolutely drain his entire energy from his body.

"--Not another wise-ass retort, got it?"

"Mmh-Mmh!"

Richie finally loosened his crushing grip and let go of Chipper. The teen hurriedly backed away in terror, Richie's grip was so tight that it actually bruised Chipper's face.

"After the bell rings, bag him. Take him to the school warehouse, then we'll proceed from there. Understood!?"

The angry novus raised his voice on his posse. All 4 of them only replied with a jumbled "Yes Boss" response; and the gang went about their ways.

----------

Another class concluded.

As the last bell rung, Walter hurried himself out of his seat and literally dashed towards the lockers. Outrunning everyone else. It is as if this was the first time he actually felt good going to school, completely ignoring the members of the higher status quo. The teen was full of energy and life, because this was the first time that he was actually looking forward to something. With a big smile on his face, he dashed towards his locker.

"What the---mmmfff!!!"

As energetic and happy as he may be, it would be very very short-lived. Just as Walter was about to open his locker, his vision went completely black all of a sudden. As if the entire surrounding area disappeared in a snap. He was about to assess what was going on, he suddenly something bumped him at the back of his head, with enough force to render him unconscious.

"Kyaah---!"

Moments passed, Walter suddenly heard a scream ringing in his head. He opened his eyes and it was still pitch black. He then felt both his hands and feet was tightly bound. He couldn't even breathe as he felt strangely claustrophobic.

"The runt's awake, bring 'im to boss."

Brute then ripped off the bag that was covering Walter's head. As soon as the bag was off, he let out a huge gasp for air.

"Wha--what's going on!? Where am I?"

The teen was thoroughly disoriented and confused. Panicking to the reason that he was abducted, snatched away from school just like that.

"Quit your whining, get over there!"

Brute and Chipper grabbed him by his collar and shoulder, forcibly marching him towards the center aisle of the warehouse. Walter looked around, there was a considerably sizeable crowd circling around the center like some kind of an underground fighting pit. As they reached the pinnacle, Brute planted his foot on his bum and kicked Walter to the center.

As he was pushed to the center, the crowd began their boisterous activity. Heckling, cussing, and throwing small objects at Walter. He then noticed an unconscious figure with him on the pinnacle, he quickly approached the unconscious one, knelt down and carefully cradled her in his arms. The crowd teased and roared with obnoxious wolf-whistling and heckling as he helped the passed out stranger. He turned his back to the crowd and covered the stranger from being stoned by the noisy crowd. Walter used his body to cover her from thrown objects; cans, discarded items, debris, and even rocks.

"Th-Thea!?"

The teen immediately recognized the stranger. She was badly hurt, bruised and injured; beaten into submission.

"P-please no more... I just want to go home..."

Thea softly grunted, she slowly opened her eyes. But her blurred vision obstructed her from recognizing who has her. Walter then noticed her glowing pupils.

"Sh-She's--"

"An Anomalus!"

Before Walter could finish, a loud voice was heard among the obnoxious crowd. The crowd then fell silent as the sound of footsteps approaching the pinnacle, where Walter and Thea was.

"Richie Marcus..."

The teen hissed. He knew Richie was an unpleasant person but beating a helpless girl, that's something that a supervillain would do.

"Well I'm flattered that you know me, a reputation hard-earned. I am after all a Superher--"

"Don't. Dare call yourself a Superhero. What is this!? Beating helpless civilians? You're supposed to be helping people!"

Walter didn't even showed fear and shock. He was more angry and disgusted. A huge smirk drew on Richie's face as he turned to the crowd whilst pointing a Walter, utterly doing insulting gestures at him.

"I am all about helping people. That's why I took care of our Anomalus problem. She is from the Yellow Zone after all, and she has that dangerous Nexus emanating from her to boot!"

The boastful superhero explained to Walter, plain and simple.

"She didn't even do anything! She's just an immigrant from there!"

"Oh spare me the heroics, olven. What do you even know about her? You guys never spoke nor got along. Who are you to question my authority as a superhero? Hm? You're not even a Novus, nor a Superhero at that. Who are you to tell that she's innocent?"

"I..."

Walter was left speechless. As much as he abhorred to admit it, Richie Marcus was right. Him and Thea never spoke nor got along yet; it only has been 3 days since they met, yet he was defending her. Adding to the fact that in these times, there was no clear distinction between Anomala and Nova. Only where they lived, and there was no records of a Novus being born on a Yellow Zone. It was still possible that a Novus can be born from any part of the world; Metro, Yellow, or even in Red Zones, but there were no records yet to back him up.

Facts and pointers aside, in his heart, he felt that this was all wrong and really messed up. Sure it has been still 3 days since she entered Yorktown State University, but Walter saw that Thea was trying her best to learn, and live like normal girl. Despite the negative reception.

"I thought so..."

Richie Marcus scoffed, putting Walter in his place.

"Now then, before you ask, I'll bring you up to speed--you have something that doesn't belong to you."

The novus continued his approach to Walter.

"What? What're you talking about?"

The teen questioned, confused to what was really going on, why was he there in the first place.

"Ailana's card. Give it to me."

Richie answered immediately, completely devoid of any details to why.

"Wh-what? How did you--"

"Getting chummy with new girl huh? I should've known. I'm willing to turn a blind eye and let you have the slip. Just give me her card, and I'll let you go."

The novus stated. Walter then became hesitant, he cupped his inner pocket and felt the card's contour, it was still sitting in his pocket.

"Well? I did said it clearly, didn't I? I see no reason to repeat myself. Unless you see a reason for me to take you to the hospital again---in intensive care."

Richie's patience was wearing thin, it was obvious that he didn't want to stay for any minute more. He looked at both Walter and the unconscious Thea, his figure standing tall and his shadow looming before them like foreboding figure.

Walter held the card, and looked at Thea. Contemplating on what would be the most important action to be taken now. If he was a Novus, he could've challenged Richie, but he's just a human, he can't go up against him, let alone fight.

"...alright---but under one condition."

Walter slowly stood up and met his eyes with Richie's, despite the novus' intimidating aura, he looked at him straight into the eye to show that he's sincere to what he has to offer. Richie kept quiet with his dagger-like glare.

"I give you the card, and we're walking out of here. We, as in me and Thea."

Mustering up his courage and conviction, Walter laid his conditions to Richie; simple and fair.

"....pfffft--hahahahaha!"

After a brief pause, Richie Marcus suddenly bursted into laughing fit with the crowd followed. Him pointing at the teen, gesturing a 'can you believe this guy?' gesture.

After a spell, the novus suddenly slammed Walter to the ground, face-down. He was done laughing. He then turned him over and and picked him up like a dirt rag. As Richie picked him up, he ripped Walter's polo shirt with his grip. The card easily slid down from his torn shirt.

"Always the hard way... what the?"

As Richie went to pick up the card, he noticed something underneath it. It was the broken piece of armor Walter had acquired, from the woman in red, just a few days ago. Richie was about to examine it when he felt Walter's hand on his feet.

Walter was barely conscious, because of the injury he sustained. His body was numb and his face swollen from the impact. Persistent, he dragged and crawled towards Richie Marcus and held his feet.

"Uhh...uuurrrh...--ive it back!"

The teen couldn't talk with his torn lip and swollen nose and cheeks. His entire front teeth, shattered and from the looks of it, his skull sustained a frontal fracture on the nose bridge area.

Richie Marcus became furious, as he punted Walter so hard that it sent him flying through the crates. The crowd was... oddly silent within the duration of Walter's ordeal, mostly out of fear. The teen was still breathing, but he couldn't move a muscle dur to his sustained injuries.

The novus approached the battered teen when he suddenly felt someone was stopping him. Thea regained her consciousness, and was holding her arms around Richie Marcus' hips.

"N-no! Don't hurt him!"

She grunted as she tried to overpower Richie.

"Why, you--get off!"

The angry novus then began beating Thea with his elbow to make her let go. Thea then summoned her construct to reinforce her grip and somehow help her overpower him. But before she could do it, Richie grabbed her arm and then wrestled her around, followed by a knee to the gut. He then held both her arms and threw her off.

"Oof!"

He then connects a punch that created a shockwave from it, sending Thea flying to the pile of crates.

"Ow!!! --the hell!?"

The piece of armor began glowing and accumulating heat. It was so hot that it scalded Richie's palm, making him let go of it. His expression changed into shock as he sustained 2nd degree burn on his palm. And with his Nexus durability, he could've withstood over 2000 degrees Celsius of temperature.

"How in the--no matter. I'm gonna end you now, villain."

Wrapping his handkerchief on his burned palm, Richie Marcus again picked up the scalding-hot armor fragment. His eyes glow and he began imbuing the armor fragment with kinetic energy. If he's gonna make it like a frag grenade, it would be devastating. Seeing Richie prepping the hot frag, made the crowd bail on the spot, they knew better than to get as far as possible when Richie begins to showcase one of his strongest feats.

Although injured, Walter was still conscious. Mustering what was left of his strength, he got up on his knees and saw Richie approaching Thea. He was gonna finish her off on the spot, he has to do something.

"Perfect."

Richie Marcus smirked as he completed imbuing the armor fragment with overloaded kinetic energy.

"Hmph."

He then lobbed the armor fragment towards the downed Thea.

"AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!"

Summoning all of his strength, Walter then launched himself to obstruct the shockwave grenade's trajectory. But before he could catch it, the armor fragment exploded into a big explosion of shock wave. The explosion completely reduced it into tiny, white-hot frags, like some sort of a fragmentation grenade.

Walter couldn't hamper its trajectory in time, so he shielded his face and used his body to somehow suppress the blast. The sharp, white-hot fragments easily cut through his arms. Due to it being scalding hot, the tiny fragmentation buried itself on Walter's arm like shards of glass, completely shredding his flesh. The force of the blast sent him flying through 2 piles of crates, knocking him unconscious and his right arm, mangled by the frags. Thea was buried by the piles of crates above her.

Richie Marcus could get out in time, one of the fragments scratched his cheek so deep that it almost ripped off his face.

"Arrgh! Son of a---!!!"

The novus roared in pain. This was the first serious injury anyone has inflicted on him. Furious, Richie Marcus muscled his way through the obstructing debris whilst walking towards the unconscious Walter.

"You'll pay for this, Olven."

Manifesting tremendous amounts of Nexus energy, Richie formed his superhero suit around him. Assuming his Superhero identity, Boulderdash. He finally snapped, devoid of reason and distinction between villain and ally; nothing but pure, unadulterated rage He balled up his fist and began channeling energy unto it. As he reached the teen's seemingly lifeless and torn body, he raised his fist.

"Oof!"

Before he could unleash a powerful, quaking shockwave, Boulderdash was slammed to the ground with an unknown force. easily overpowering him. He was hit so sudden that this unseen force hit him with a blink of an eye. The force was so strong that he was sent splat on the floor, like he has been hit by a train crashing from orbit going mach 50.

Then from above, something or someone landed in front of Boulderdash. Sounds of a thousand chirping can be heard, lightning. As Boulderdash recovered, he found a tall and armored feminine figure standing over him.
"Who the hell---???"

She dons armored arms and legs and a mechanical helmet with a glaring red visor; series of red lines drew her entire body like a network of power lines; had a sleek red suit and overalls. The woman in red...

[Queue Theme]

To Be Continued....
 
Last edited:

KingdomKey

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

The woman in red arrives! What a cliff hanger, Tyrant Raver! I hope Walter can recover from the amount of injuries Richie gave him. Seriously, this guy is one heck of a super villain than a super hero. Atop of that, it was interesting seeing how Walter got along with Ailana. I hope after the aftermath of this incident, Walter and Thea can talk again, maybe get further than before, and Walter can return the handkerchief he found of hers. Weirdly enough, it occurred to me it could be possible the red woman is actually a sibling to Thea or Ailana too. (Random guessing.) And what's even more peculiar is Thea not fighting back with her powers like she did earlier.

Overall, this was awesome and well worth the wait!
 

Tyrant Raver

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Note: This chapter is supposedly chapter 3 and 4, but I just decided to edit them a little and merged it together. Chapter 4 was left unfinished, so I just finished it. I only went up to chapter 4 (unfinished) before I started working on The Alteisen Record. Actually THIS was the supposed Alteisen Record, its prototype.

This story was supposedly to be my manuscript to be submitted on a contest last 2012. But lost the interest when I was too late to make it on the deadline, and by that time, I was also leaning more on high fantasy than science fiction. So I just left it buried on my files on my old laptop. I may continue this or not. But can't deny that I missed writing it, especially Walter's character.


---------------------------------

Chapter 3: Crossroads

What happened?

I feel... conscious? But my body was numb.

I feel the overwhelming pain palpitating throughout my body.

I wanted to groan, even scream. I can't even open my mouth to let it out.

Little by little, I try to move my fingers by I can only twitch it at best.

So far, so good.

I should let go by now, and just let death claim me. But somehow a part of me was still fighting.

I was in so much pain, lying on a puddle of my own blood. I guess I was stubborn as I deemed myself to be...

As my sense of touch began returning on my fingertips. The palpitating, twitching pain began beating on my nerves like a wild fire spreading through a forest of wick.

My vision was too narrow and sight blurry. But I can see my mangled right arm resting beside me. I can still twitch my finger tips on on my battered limb.

Suddenly, I noticed the fragmentations that shredded my flesh began... "sinking" into my destroyed limb.

It was so blurry but I feel each of the painful shards digging through my grinded flesh. As if... they are all... merging with me.

It was indistinguishable, maybe I was hallucinating from the pain, but I can feel it. It feels weird.

Seconds later, I try to open my eyes just a little bit. I can still feel my face swollen and numb.

It was a blur but I can feel... a familiar and strong presence before me.

I try to open my eyes but I didn't have to know who was it.

She came for me.

Or at least what I think her purpose was, I don't know.

My strength began fading again, but this time, I felt contentment yet not complacent. Again, my consciousness drifted off.


--------

Boulderdash has finally snapped and transformed. For a superhero, he was absurdly vain about his self-image that he would lash out to anyone who would dare so much as to tamper it in the slightest. This was the reason why he was withheld on any Superhero organizations, and was forced to work on his own. Using his status alone, he built up popularity in his own school to feed is utterly insatiable need for attention. Consolidating considerable amount of influence throughout the campus that he easily trampled rival Nova/Superheroes within the entire student body.

But for how long is he going to keep the torch held up high?

With the sudden arrival of the woman in red, things had gotten blurry for Boulderdash. He did not know who she was, but her presence alone struck deep in his seemingly impenetrable ego. He did not know whether she was a Hero or Villain, but the apparent sense of dread he was feeling speaks in tremendous amount of volumes.

The woman in red turned her attention to the seemingly lifeless Walter.

"...!"

She quickly noticed the poor teen's arm being warped, assimilated by a black matter being formed on the numerous frags lodged into his flesh. The woman in red then noticed one of the shards littered near Walter, the very same foreign object that was being assimilated unto the human's arm.

"..."

The woman in red didn't utter a word, but her soft mumble tells a different tale, as she scanned the shard with her helm's heads up display. It was then she realized that the foreign shard came from her suit or armor or rather used to be. It bore the same composition, down to its basic element.

Not wasting any second, she waved her hand and brought up a small holographic console. She pressed a trifecta combination of keys, and then a small circular device materialized on her palm. She then jabbed the device unto Walter's shoulder on his mangled arm. The device then began to beep to life as it channeled a current of unknown energy unto his arm. It was somehow quelling or suppressing the black matter's assimilation process.

"HEY!!!"

Boulderdash roared behind the Woman in Red, on the gesture that he was being ignored.

"..."

The woman in red stayed her tongue, not even uttering a word worth hearing. Instead she continue to tend to Walter's condition.

"Oh? Ignoring me, huh? Well then. 'Guess this is just as understandable."

Ticked off, Boulderdash began channeling huge amounts of energy; his arm ringing and vibrating with condensed kinetic energy. Gritting his teeth in pure, unadulterated anger, he was gonna level everything around him.

"Getting in my way--I ought to put you in your--"

Boulderdash winds up his incoming massive attack. But before he could dish it, he felt the mass amount of kinetic energy was snuffed out in an instant.

"What--"

The Woman in Red was standing inches towards him, before he could even blink. Her palm was holding his fist in an eased grip. But the accumulated energy disappeared in an instant.

Before the disgruntled superhero could take another breath, he saw the Woman in Red's palm inching towards his chest. He couldn't react, it was so fast that a second hasn't even past yet. She was going for an attack, but Boulderdash can't react in a split-second. As her palm touched his chest. He suddenly disappeared on the spot. Boulderdash was sent flying through the warehouse.

He was sent flying through five city blocks until he finally plunged through the harbor. With just a slight push, he was sent flying hundreds of kilometers from where he was standing. All that, with one slight tap.

Meanwhile, Boulderdash's unconscious body laid beaten and and trashed on a pile of debris. Like what he did to Thea just a few moments ago. They say that karma can strike you at any time, but it arrived before Boulderdash can even expect it coming; in a form of the Woman in Red. And all it took was one blow to send him flying through a vast distance from where he was standing. Emphasizing the difference in power between the two of them; with the Woman in Red leagues above her... adversary.

Though the distance of Boulderdash's trajectory barely pronounced her strength, the damage dealt to both the environment and to Boulderdash himself spoke volumes. His Nex Frame or suit was completely obliterated with an apparent hand print on his torso.

Now that the nuisance has been dealt with, the Woman in Red turned her attention back at the beaten Walter. His current state was not getting any better. The assimilation has completely mutated his right arm; from human to a technological amalgamation of flesh and steel.

"..."

She let out a soft sigh underneath her visor. It would seem she has no option left. It would seem that she was willing to dismiss this off as an accident, a freak accident at that. So, she laid her arms underneath Walter's body and carefully lifted him up; cradling him safe in her arms.

"Mmmh..."

Walter moaned, a sign of life. He was coming to again.

-----

"Ugh..."

After what seemed like a day without consciousness, Walter was finally waking up for the first time in what seemed like hours.

As he come to, he felt as if he was floating from where he was lying lax on. But he brushed it off as maybe a daze of some sort. His eye lids still felt heavy, as if he wanted to snooze but his mind told him not to otherwise.

"What--what---"

Eyes now wide open, Walter was taken aback by everything before him. He was still in the school warehouse but everything, from where he was to the far horizon, was completely enveloped in black and white, a monochrome void. With everything and everyone but him were stuck in suspended animation.

"Is this the after-life...? Am I in Limbo--am I dead?"

Walter asked himself. He was about to panic, but the strange sense of tranquility somehow calmed him down a bit.

As he was about to get up, he noticed that he was actually floating and not just because he was dazed. He was lying down on a transparent holographic slab, mimicking a bed and riddled with glyphs.

"Hawawa--oof!"

Panic began to take hold, with his sudden movement, he fell down where he lied. Hyperventilating and on the brink of a breakdown.

As he lifted his right arm to cup his face, his expression went from bad to worse.

"Aahh!!! What--what's happening!?"

His right arm was not what it once was. Instead of flesh and bone, it was now more machine made out of black steel plates and dark and red matter-like material. He tried moving his fingers on it and even ran his left hand on it, Surprising enough, this new arm of his felt like a normal arm. It didn't felt like a prosthetic limb of some sort at all.

"Huh..?"

More curious now than panicked, Walter patted himself all over. Other than the majority of the right side of his torso, he seemed okay.

"Where am I? What happened to me?"

The teen continue to question.

"You survived.",

"What?"

Before he could pick himself up back on his feet, Walter was startled by the sudden appearance of the Woman in Red.

"It's you... from last time."

The teen was quick to recognize her guise. Though he didn't knew her name.

"Who are you? What is this place? What--"

Again, his queries began to flood. The Woman in Red reached out her hand and grabbed Walter's assimilated right arm.

"She feels... warm."

Walter was slightly flushed to have felt her touch for the first time.

"Hmmm..."

Furling her helmet into her suit mechanism, she again revealed her full facial features to Walter. But her glowing complexion and pearlescent hair made it hard for him to recognize her. But it confirms that the Woman in Red was not from their school. She was an entirely different person.

After a brief inspection, the Woman in Red went back to her station, that comprised of multiple floating and transparent consoles and keys. Furiously typing strings of multiple algorithms and data, roughly more than 1000 characters per second.

"Where are you now, is the invisible domain of frozen time. A parallel thread of space. You've been sleeping exactly 72 hours in real time---",

"Wait wait wait! Frozen time? Parallel thread? Three days!?"

As she was entertaining his query one-by-one, he abruptly interrupts. Which made her stop typing and just glare at Walter with a brow raised.

"--sorry.",

Ashamed for butting in, the teen quickly apologized for the rude gesture.

"Anyway, yes, frozen time. Because in this thread of space, the time continuum is void and nil. There is no flow of time here. Thread because even though it looked like it encompasses the entire area, there are still borders. This thread of space is no larger than a normal room."

The Woman in Red did her best to give Walter her explanation whilst typing on her console. Despite her being very occupied at the moment she continued...

"--to get to the point, you being here is the least of your worries. That assimilation or what's left of that arm of your is what you should be worried about."

She said to the teen. Walter inspected his assimilated arm for the second time. Clenching his fist and running his fingers through the flowing red lines that seem to palpitate with an unknown kind of energy; like exposed vectors of blood vessels or nerves.

"What... happened, exactly? To my arm, I mean. Am I--"


Curiosity rang once more. But before he could finish, the Woman in Red threw him an object. Just less than a blink of an eye, suddenly, he caught it in a fraction of a second. Without him even aware of it. Much to his surprise.

With the speed of the object thrown, it could've hit him square on the face. But it didn't thanks to his newly-found reflex; that seem to not in sync with his own perception.

"Recognize that?"

The Woman in Red asked, stopping her commotion completely and turning her attention to Walter. The teen opened his palm and looked closely. It was the missing half of the crest that Richie destroyed. The one he found on the day him and the Woman in Red first met.

"Any Finite or Mortal soul that would touch that would have their flesh seared through the bone."

The Woman in Red added. The sudden statement made the teen to almost drop it.

"What!? But... I don't feel anything. It looks like a plain object to me."

He tried gripping the crest from both hands. But not a slightest prick of heat was felt.

"Exactly the case. This is the first time I've seen the Mantra actually accepting a mortal soul to touch it--let alone assimilate.",

"Mantra?",

"Yes, that's what your arm is. And that's what I am."

Said the Woman in Red. Needless to say, it didn't made any sense at all to Walter.

"What? So you're saying... you're neither Novus nor Human?",

"The Mantra, is a collective entirety of universes beyond. The God Particle, life beyond life, and the building block of the cosmos. Think of it as... technology. Like technology, it has its use but for the highest cause--beyond good and evil. Can be either Sentient or not, but it's very very unpredictable even to me."

She added. Walter did not followed at all. He could only shake his head in response.

From what he understood, basically, his arm was now assimilated as a piece of technology beyond mortal comprehension and has capabilities that can be catastrophic when misused.

"But--what... this... ugh."

He was so confused and flustered to the point where he could even form audible sentences.

"Just put somehow, in some odd method, someone has managed to use the searing fragment, and stab it on your arm. In simple terms, simply put, part of me is now part of you. Now, hold out your arm."

The Woman in Red ordered. It would seem that even that last ditch summary was also in vain because it still made no sense to Walter. It was just too difficult to grasp, given his current state. Giving up on his queries, Walter just did what he was told. He didn't thought that mere mundane questions would enlighten his situation to the slightest.

The Woman in Red seemed more knowledgeable on the matter and his current condition than he was. So instead of obstructing any further, he thought it would be best to let her do the appropriate measures.

She went back to her work station again and typed the few remaining data and algorithms before concluding. From the holographic console, materialized a compact device of compact and complicated technology. About roughly the size of Walter's fist.

She then grabbed his assimilated right arm and slid the device at the back of his palm. The device unfurled to life as it formed protective assembly of plates all over Walter's assimilated arm; similar to how Superheroes form their Nex Frame or suit.

"What's this?",

"The Finite Nullifier. This device should hamper and suppress the assimilation process by 98.5% and completely block it from reaching your brain.",

"That's a pretty effective for a suppression. But what will happen if it fails and the... assimilation reaches my brain?"

Walter followed up. The Woman in Red responded with a brief pause.

"Remember the abomination that I fought when we first met?"

She responded. The response made Walter cast a rather grim look at the Woman in Red.

"...so I'm to be end up like that?"

Just when it could not get any worse. Walter couldn't help but bow his head in negativity.

"Perhaps, that's only one of the many plausible outcomes. But its immediate effect may take hold soon enough, such as unlocking a dormant feat or maybe consume you from the inside-out. Like I said, the Mantra is thoroughly unpredictable."

"That's not very reassuring.",

"I never said it was! Until I deduct the root, you're gonna have to live with it."

The Woman in Red immediately shot him down with a scolding with his rebuttal.

"--sorry."

Embarrassed, dismayed, the teen awkwardly apologized.

"Until I can find a way to extract or stop the assimilation, we can only do so much as to suppress it. We can never tell what it can do, or what the assimilation can consume or accept."

With a swipe of her hand, the Woman in Red swept off her entire work station. She approached Walter and made one last quick inspection of his right arm.

"I would enlighten you further, but 72 hours is long enough for you to stay here in the frozen time continuum. Time for you to go back."

She raised her hand and touched the middle of his forehead with her thumb. It was now due to send Walter off. But before she could proceed, the teen grabbed her arm, startling her a bit.

"Wait."

The two then met each other's eyes. Walter thought to seize the opportunity to know one thing about her before he goes back in real time.

"Will you at least tell me your name? When can I see you again?"


His vision was now slowly blurring. He felt his body floating and being drained of strength. His bodily functions shutting off one-by-one like light bulbs dying off.

"Soon, I will come find you. My nam...--is---A-th------a---"

Before Walter could hear her name, his hearing was already dulled. He only heard very vague syllables. The rest were indistinguishable and muffled echoes.

"Atha..."

He muttered as his consciousness again faded. But unlike the last time, it wasn't as discomforting.

-------

"Ah!"

Walter felt a sudden jolt as he woke up, in a snap. He sat up gasping for air. As if he was pulled out of safety from drowning.

He then patted himself all over. He was still in one piece. His new right arm was still present, he wished that moment that it had been all a bad dream.

"What time is--oh!"

As he was about to reach for his watch, the device on his new arm flashed an intricate holographic console around his arm, similar to Atha's workstation. It flashed a holo-watch set in real time.

"8:01 pm... talk about convenience."

Walter thought in amazement as he interacted with the console. It seem that it wasn't built just to suppress he assimilation but also comes with an advanced personal holo-console too.

"This is nice and all but how am I gonna explain this to my par--ah!"

Again, the device triggered its function, catching him off-guard once again. The plates and the complicated frame of his new arm compacted, furled and reassembled themselves to form a simulated human flesh. With the daunting black coat faded into a different color, matching his own skin complexion. Although, the red lines were still visible and some parts untouched.

"She was right. It IS unpredictable."

Walter finally picked himself up. He was unconscious for 3 days in frozen time. But it was only a minute passed in the real world.

The teen walked 3 steps forward, and he stumbled upon his bag. Now torn and worn because of the ensued disaster earlier. He opened his torn bag and found his notebook, thankfully unscathed. He salvaged what’s left of his things and laid out his torn bag. He then pulled out both of his shoelaces off his footwear and tied it to the worn bag, creating a make-shift knapsack.

As he was trying to recall his whereabouts prior to meeting Atha, the Woman in Red, or at least from what he heard her name was, a thought struck him like a brick.

"Oh my god, Thea!"

Walter immediately bolted off to the pile of debris, and quickly dug through the rubble with his bare hands.

"Thea! Thea..!"

He yelled as he cleared one debris at a time. As he went on, he finally found Thea; buried and pinned beneath massive crates. Without hesitation, and with zero effort at all, he lifted the massive crates and threw them aside. These massive crates were 10 times heavier than him yet he just lifted them off like they were cardboard boxes.

He did not noticed nor paid attention to what he just did. His mindset at the time was to get Thea to safety.

"Thea? Thea! Hey! Wake up!"

Walter elevated her body and checked her pulse and breathing. She was out cold and covered in bruises, but she was still breathing. Not before long, police and ambulance sirens were heard, approaching from the distance.

"Hold on, Thea."

Carefully, he carried the unconscious red-head in his arms. He quickly rushed outside to meet with the paramedics and authorities gathering outside the warehouse. The medics on the scene quickly took Thea on a stretcher and prepared her to be boarded on the ambulance.

After a brief questioning by the authorities on the scene, Walter followed the ambulance to the hospital, as they rushed Thea on the emergency room.

The teen anxiously waited in the hospital hallway as the doctors worked on Thea's immediate care.

An hour passed, the attending doctors finally emerged out of the room, concluding their treatment procedure. One of them went to Walter, since he came in with the red-head.

"Is she gonna be okay, doc?",

"She sustained serious injury, fragmented ribs and a broken arm at first. But thanks to her Nexus energy, it repaired most of the damage and dire injury she sustained."

The doctor stated as she looked at her papers. Walter sighed with relief, happy that Thea's gonna be okay.

"You're with her, right? Does she have family members or relatives to contact to?"

The doctor asked the teen. He couldn't recall that she had relatives or guardian present at the moment.

"I... don't know. She's new in town. Is she gonna be fine?"

"--she a novus?"

He hesitated for a brief moment when he heard the question. But he wasn't gonna deny Thea her privileges, didn't matter where she was born or grew up, she is a novus to him.

"I--yes! She is. I can vouch for her."

He stuttered a bit, but subtle enough not to be noticed by the doctor. The doctor then looked at him with her brow raised and a slight smirk.

"So... are you perchance, her lover~?"

Asked the doctor as she rested her hands on her hips, looking at Walter with a snide expression.

"Wha-wha-what?! No! No--I mean she is beautifu--I mean, no I--argh!"

Walter found himself thoroughly flustered and stuttering, stumbling through his words. Much to the amusement of the doctor.

"Hmhmhm... Oh relax, kid. I'm just teasing you. But I can tell, you went to all sorts of trouble just to help her. That is so sweet~"

She commended the teen for his effort. Walter could not respond properly, he was still blushing like a ripe tomato.

"Back on the matter, yes, she'll be fine. She would need plenty of rest. Exhausting that much Nexus energy has fatigued her.",

"Thank you, doc.",

"You are welcome, prince charming~",

"Please, stop..."

After concluding with his meeting with the attending doctor, the teen then peeped through the glass slot of the door to see Thea resting soundly. He could only sigh as he cast a worried look on her.

The night was getting late, Walter picked up what's left of his things and head on home. On the way back, he could only think of visiting her tomorrow night or after class.

He may have been alone at school and social life, but Thea was alone all her life. He thought she could use some company.

-----

As he reached his house, Walter's head bumped the top of the doorway.

"Ow! What the hell?"

It immediately bothered Walter, wasn't the door way taller than he was? He checked to see if there's an elevated step that he did not noticed, if his shoes' sole was thick or something. None of the given were found. His height definitely increased. Before he could bother with the issue further, as he stepped inside, he heard a very familiar call.

"Walty-kins? Is that you?"

A gentle and motherly voice was heard across the living room.

"Yeah! I'm home, mom!"


He responded. As he stepped in further, two weary and familiar faces welcomed him. A beautiful buxom lady and a stern-looking gentleman. The lady gave him a big hug while the gentleman crossed his arms while staring daggers at him.

"Mom, Dad...",

"Don't 'Mom, Dad...' me, young man. Where have you been?"

Walter's dad sounded a bit furious. He has once again went home pass curfew time.

"Oh hush, dear! Our little boy is tired.",

"Mom...",

"You keep doting him like that, he's gonna be spoiled!"

Before any more statement thrown, Walter went to the sofa and sat down.

"I'm sorry, just came from the hospital--",

"What!? What happened? Oh goodness did you get in a fight again? Were you injured? Sick?",

"Sweetie, please let the man finish talking."

A typical scenario on the Olven household. Usually, Walter's parents are always assuming the what, where and why of everything he has been doing. Since he was their only child, both his parents dote him like no tomorrow. Making it hard for Walter to even open up to them.

"No, no! Friend of mine got injured on a crossfire between some superhero and villain. I helped rush her to the hospital."


Walter explained. Though made up, it would be for the best. After all, if he reveals everything that had transpired, they might go ballistic beyond reason.

"Wait, did you say... 'her'?"

His mother gasped. The couple looked at each other in both excitement and shock.

"...yeah?",

"Ooohoho! Did you hear that, sweetie? Our boy's dating!",

"So who's the lucky girl? Oh, my little Walty-kins is now a man!",

"What!? Oh no... not you guys too!"

Walter groaned as he cupped his face with his palm. He should've figured that they would de-rail the conversation sooner or later. The conversation went on for quite some time, until it was finally time to call it a night.

"Good night, dear!",

"Alright, mom!"

Removing his polo and shirt, Walter hastily flopped his body on the bed. It really has been a long day. Probably the longest day of his life so far.

He stared dead at the ceiling, as he thought about the events that had happened on this day.

"I lost Ailana's card after all that. Maybe I'll just talk to her about it tomorrow."

He thought to himself. Even after the incident, he had hoped that Ailana's card would still be somewhere in the warehouse. But no use on dwelling on it now.

"...I should also pay Thea a visit. She could use some company. I should get some bouquet on mom's flower shop to help her get better, cheer her up."

He observed his right arm again, still assuming a pseudo-disguise. Although he was looking at his new arm, his mind was being flooded with thoughts about Thea.

"Why do they even think that we're together? I mean... she is pretty, smart and she looks adorable without he glass--"

Before he could finish the thought, his face lit bright red again. He was so flustered that he smothered his face with his pillow. As if to hide his embarrassing expression to someone.

"Aaaarrrgghh.... jeeeez! What the hell am I saying!?"

Walter screamed while being muffled by his pillow. Strongly denying what he was feeling at the moment. He smiled at the warm thought. After all, even before that incident with Richie Marcus, he had originally planned to talk to her again. He hoped that she won't be as hostile as last time, now that he has mustered up some confidence and courage to talk to her.

With his priority set for tomorrow, he slowly drifted off to sleep.

-----

The alarm clock rings but the sun's rays were nowhere to be found. Cold but not damp, enough to pin a person comfortably on his bed. It was a rainy morning of 7 am.

As Walter slowly opened his eyes, he felt as if his body was being fueled with energy, invigorated by a well-rested sleep. Though still in just woken up, he felt strangely energetic.

He was still in a mood to snooze but he couldn't. He picked up his shirt and stood in front of the mirror. His eyes were suddenly sprang wide open with disbelief.

"Holy..."

Before he could pull down his shirt, he noticed a drastic change in his physique. From flabby and out of shape, to chiselled and super toned. Clad with lean muscles like that of a greek colossus or a model, or even an Olympic athlete.

He scratched his eyes as he did a double take in front of the mirror. He immediately darted towards his bathroom and furiously splashed his face with running water, trying to make sure that he was wide awake.

He grabbed his towel and just as he washed his face, he thoroughly wiped it as if he's smudging his face off. Walter once again stood before the mirror, it was no daze nor dream, nor hallucination. His physique was ripped.

"But how..."

He was speechless. He noticed that the red lines on his right arm now drew across his body. But not as worse as his right arm, must be a residual assimilation.

It may have been suppressed but the small percentage was enough for it to persist. He panicked at first, but after taking one good look at it, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. He didn't feel any pain nor discomfort, other than being conscious about his new body morph.

"Hmm..."

The curious teen tried flexing a bit, and poking his muscles. They were solid as steel. Pectorals, lats, abdomen, shoulders, not a trace of fat was pinched. It would seem the assimilation has drastically accelerated his metabolism and muscle growth in one night.

"...I think I can get used to this."

He uttered as he continued flexing, curiosity turned pride. Suddenly, he was startled by a knock on his door.

"Walty-kins! It's almost 8! Are you awake?"

Walter's mother called from the other side of the door. The teen hurriedly rushed to his closet to grab some fresh clothes.

"Y-yeah! Just a minute!"

He hurriedly put on his school uniform and fixed his short do.

"Are you alright in there, dear?"

His mother continue to ask him on the other side of the door. It looked like a minute more and she would make her way in by unlocking the door. Walter now found his polo a bit tighter on the chest area due to his bulging pectorals. It felt like his polo shrunk after the change.

As soon as he put on his shoes, he made his way out. Once out, he gave his mom a quick peck on the cheek as a morning gesture, and rushed on the dinner table.

"Breakfast first, dear!"

She nagged. It was 7:40 am already, it would take him an hour to wait for the sky tram, so he was on the rush.

As he reached the table, he took his plate of bacon and eggs with toast and wrapped the sunny-side up with the strips of bacon, then downed it with one gulp. Walter left the toast hanging on his mouth as he slung his knapsack over his shoulder.

"Bye Mom---!",

"Please, take care!"

Before he could hear his mother's response, Walter was long gone.

---

As he rushed his way towards the sky tram station, his attention was at the holo-watch projected on his wrist. It was 7:43 am, all he could think about was how late is he gonna be when he arrives at school.

"--oof!!!"

Walter's body suddenly bumped on what seemed to be a solid wall.

"What?"

He was about to apologize when he was struck with disbelief. He was already in front of his school, the thing that he bumped to earlier was one of the pillars of the entrance gate to the campus.

"D-did it change address, or..."

Walter looked around, he was utterly flabbergasted that he was attracting some attention of other students passing by him.

"No, no... same street, same uniforms, same name--- this is my school!"

He thought to himself, confused. He looked at his holo-watch and it was only 3 seconds passed. How did he get there so fast that it seemed like only a few steps since he left his house?

Much less arrive exactly in front of the school. And it was not like the way from his house to York State University was in a linear direction.

It would seem that he just traveled so fast that his perception lagged before it can even process. Before he could pry any further, the school bell rang and it was time for class.

---

In class, during the teacher's lecture, almost half of the class' attention were being directed at Walter. Most of them were awe-stricken by the ongoing commotion. Even Ailana, whom was present and sitting beside Walter, was speechless to what she was witnessing.

Soon the entire class' attention was now at the intriguing commotion at Walter's desk. It didn't took long before the teacher finally notice it.

"What's going there?!"

The teacher yelled at the class. He noticed the center of the commotion was point towards Walter Olven.

"Mr. Olven! What is going o--ah!"

Before he could give the teen an earful, the teacher found himself shocked.

On his desk, Walter was flipping pages and writing important notes at a lightning-fast pace at the same time. It was so fast that it was like watching an enactment of how a supercomputer process a load of data in a short span of time.

As he finished two large textbooks, he finally noticed the attention directed at him.

"...what?"

Baffled, he asked his classmates. The air was filled with uncomfortable silence, as they all stared at him like they are staring at a new museum exhibit or attraction.

"What!?"

He asked again, now more annoyed by the excessive attention. With that, the class seem to snap out of their trance-like stare. The class resumed as normal.

---

Throughout the class hours, it had been rather uncomfortable for Walter. He could feel as if his classmates were catching glances at him, on and off. He was used to being teased around, but this was different. Regardless to say, it scares him a bit.

But to Ailana, her attention was glued to Walter through and through. She noticed the changes he had underwent, from his outlook to his mannerisms. She was curious otherwise. Curiosity turned to admiration. And there was no doubt about it, she thinks Walter had finally became a Novus like her.

And just the other day, from her assessment, he was crooked, awkwards and a bit of a klutz. Not that she did mind, she found it endearing at most. But now he was straight, fierce and charming in a way.

After class, Ailana hurriedly packed her things on her locker. She then hurriedly went towards Walter's locker, see if he was still there. But as she close in, she was forcefully bumped by two hooligans making their way also towards him.

"Ow! Hey!"

She grunted as these hooligans just bumped and ignored her like she was a nobody. She was about to tell them off, but the two had already initiated conversation with Walter. In which the teen completely ignored the two. It was Chipper and Brute.

Walter was about to wrap up, his senses then suddenly sent out a danger signal. He sensed two presences, familiar ones at that, approaching him. Normally, he would hurry about his business. But for some reason, he felt calm and... indifferent.

Just as he stood up to close his locker, the locker door was slammed shut by Brute; a supposed primer for his daily beating. But instead of taking it, he ignored it like it was supposed to happen.

He turned around, and threw his padlock up and over his shoulder without looking.

"Yeowch!"

The padlock hit Chipper's head and slid through the lock on the tiny slot of his locker door. It was a one out of a thousand probability to pull off something like that, yet Walter just did it naturally.

The teen continue to ignore the two bullies, and held his bouquet meant for Thea close to him. The two hooligans didn't like this, not one bit.

"Why you smug little--rrgh! Hrgh!"

Chipper quickly reached out his hand to grab him and force him to turn around. But he didn't budge one inch and just kept walking on a normal pace. He couldn't even anchor him to stop, he was being dragged by the seemingly unstoppable momentum by Walter.

"Don't just stand there! Help me, you dolt!"

Yelling at Brute, both bullies grabbed Walter by the shoulder. But even at their full effort, they couldn't hamper his pace, nor stop him. It was like trying to stop a very slow-moving train by hand.

The students gathered around them, watched in amusement as the two bullies fail in every effort exerted. It was like watching a funny video on the internet right in front of you.

Grumbling in frustration, Brute picked up a chair from a nearby classroom and barreled at Walter in full speed.

"Ou' the way!"

He roared as he close in. Chipper quickly moved out of the way. The onlookers quickly steered clear too. Things were about to get ugly.

"Arrgh...!!!"

The two bullies were sent flying backwards. As the chair made contact with Walter's back, instead of breaking or bending, the chair and Brute himself was blown away by the same amount of force and momentum he applied. The supposed impact was redirected and repelled.

The impact incapacitated both Chipper and Brute. Walter then finally stopped on his tracks and looked at both of his bullies, with eyes looking down on them like he was looking at littered gutter trash.

With his newly-found power, Walter not only changed physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

"If you're thinking of putting me to the ground like you guys always do, then let that speak for itself. I was always helpless, now, I have the means to go up against it. I would return the favor but seeing you like that is enough. Unless you two want a further demonstration?"

Walter said with a stern stance and with an aura of intimidation.

"I'm not one to rub it on your faces. But the sooner you accept reality, the better we can move on. Otherwise, keep trying.",

"...wait!"

As Walter was about to go on his way, he paused as he heard Chipper called him.

"There's no denying it, with your power--you r---eally are the one who beat Richie."

Chipper struggled to even stand up straight. The impact really did a number on them, despite Walter not even lifting a finger. He did not object to the claim that he was responsible for beating up Richie either.

"...but you don't get it... word of Richie Marcus' defeat had already reached the entire school... They have already made their move."

The bruised bully added, he was about to regain his footing but he suddenly fell down on his knees. Walter's curiosity was piqued as Chipper mentioned 'they'.

"'They'?",

"The Nova Reform... The underground school administration. Wanna know why we ordinary citizens are allowed to go to school? It's because Richie fought for our rights to attend the same school as the nova. He was the only brave enough to go up against them... and he chose to rule the school to keep both us and the nova in check.”

Chipper continued, crawling to the nearby locker to prop himself up.

Ailana was also still present at the scene. though at the distance. While the teen novus was now intrigued by this group.

"Nova Reform? What're you talking about?",

"I don't know much about them personally, but from what Richie told us, they are a group of elitist nova, who once attempted to reform our curriculum exclusive to the nova only. Richie was the only one who stood against them and won. That's how he became a full-fledged superhero."

Although in a dull and hopeless tone, he continued his story.

"...that's how he protected the integrity of the school. He kept us all in line, humans and nova---"

Chipper looked at Walter with his teary eyes and a scorned look, he stood up once again and limped himself towards him.

"--without Richie, we're prey out in the open! That's what you did!"

He then grabbed Walter by the scuff of his collar that he ripped on his buttons.

Meanwhile, from the crowd, a tall and slender figure made her way through. This silhouette towered over every person she loomed over. As this figure passed through Ailana, she felt a tingling and frightening aura. Ailana couldn't even flinch, she was frozen in fear.

"--you endangered us! That's what you did! *You're* the one who needs a reality che---AAAAAGGGHHH!!!"

Before Chipper could utter another word, his neck was suddenly coiled by a long and scaly tail. With zero effort, he was thrown by this tail away from Walter.

"I think he already covered the introduction. Sloppy, but I'll accept it."

A sultry tone spoke from the crowd. The silhouette emerged and made herself seen.

This silhouette wore a power-dress blazer and a pencil skirt, signify that she was one of the upper class students; had a very statuesque figure, taller than Walter and everybody else present. She has a fair complexion with a long braided blonde hair. Her reptilian tail slowly being retracted from her back.

Walter's expression didn't flinched, but he recognized this lady. She was listed on his notebook as one of the Nova enrolled on his school.

"Siegra Nidhogg, also known as Wyva the Dragoness."

The teen novus stated her name and her superhero designation.

"Ah... how flattering to be recognized. Charmed. I suppose those flowers are for me?"

The sultry lady giggled, flattered by his gesture. Thinking the bouquet was for her. She walked towards Walter. Ailana hurriedly pushed her way towards the front of the crowd. Just in case things get out of hand, she'll be ready to jump on Walter's aid.

Siegra drew her face closer, and smelled the sweet and soothing fragrance of Walter's bouquet. Whilst also sniffing the teen very subtly. Tulips all laced together with lavender. He was intent on bringing roses, but his mother personally picked it for him.

"What do you want?"

Walter asked, he was getting impatient as he had places to be. So he cut to the chase.

"Mhm... Well as that low-life's been saying, unfortunate news of Mr. Marcus' defeat as reached our attention."

The lady circled Walter as if she was sniffing him of traces of fear, like a curious predator who wandered into a new prey. Eyeing him from head to toe while wearing that venomously sadistic and subtle smile.

"I'm here to personally extend our... gratitude and invitation to the one responsible. I can feel potential oozing within you, a promising and fitting member to our... mhmhm... social club."

Siegra coyly said. Her aura was intimidating yet seductive at the same time. She then pulled out a calling card from her breast pocket and offered it to the teen.

"You don't have to answer right away. Please, think it through and meet us to your own convenience. You are a valuable asset after all, you deserve it."

The Nova Reform was considerate enough to give Walter his convenience. Especially to a newly-awoken novus. As she began to walk away, concluding her business...

"--and if I refuse?"

Walter suddenly felt a brush of wind in front of him. Siegra suddenly appeared in front of him, with her claws and scaled hand pointing at his head. The claws extended slowly from her hand as if it was growing from the root.

"--then you'll make one powerful enemy, Mr. Olven."

The dragon lady hissed. Ailana was about to jump in, but her instinct halted her to do so. She was still frozen in place with fear. She would use her powers to retaliate for Walter but her lack of composure at the moment made her unable to do so.

"Like I said, answer us in your own convenience. Be thankful that we are civil and plenty considerate. Because once civility is out of the picture, we will hound any obstacle indiscriminately. To the depths of hell if needed be."

She finally eased her stance, and whipped her hand back. Retracting her claws and reverting her scale-clad hand to normal.

"I just saved you from a poor decision, Mr. Olven. I hope you use your time wisely to think as many times as you want. We are after all... Superheroes."

Walking away one last time, Siegra bid her farewell to Walter, with an invitation, a laugh and a warning. The teen kept silent, unfazed and looked at the calling card as he too walked away.

The onlookers resumed their business, and the hall was busy once again. Ailana spaced out in shock to what just transpired. Unlike Walter, she was thoroughly intimidated by Siegra that she was just paralyzed.

"Ah! Walter!"

Finally coming to her senses, she gave chase to Walter, whom was already making his way out to the campus grounds. But with the thick flow of the crowd, it was already too late. He disappeared from the crowd.

---

From the entrance of the campus, two notable individuals stood watch. They both closely every student that came out of the gate.

One was the belt-clad jacket teen, the one who confronted Thea, a few days ago. And the other, a short girl.

The short girl was a fair-skinned girl with orange eyes and long, dark velvet hair worn in pigtails located on her side burns, held by hair that has been knotted. It has a few black clasps and a pink gradience nearing the bottom. She wears a very small black tube top under an opened white jacket with a bright orange, black, and white tie. She also wears a pair of pleated shorts worn with a pair of thin black suspenders, and open to reveal her orange underwear, and also black fingerless gloves over a pair of orange and black sleeves, matching socks, black shoes and a pair of black leg warmers with buckles on them.

"Neh! Neh! Are you sure he's gonna come out soon? I'm getting hungry."

The short girl grumbled as she held her hands at the back of her head while leaning on the wall. She had been growing a bit impatient, maybe because they have been standing there for quite some time.

"No doubt. We were in the same class. He should be out any minute."

Said the black-jacket teen, unlike the short girl, was patiently waiting and eyeing everyone that comes out of the gate.

"Mmmf... Why do I have to be in this? Couldn't you just approached him when you guys stepped out of the classroom?"

The girl groaned, puffing her cheeks like a meat bun. She casted a rather bored expression to her companion.

"Jeez... You're the one who said to meet him personally as, the club president. Act like it for once.",

"Mmmmh? I said that? Oh right."

Scratching her nose to her companion's lecture, the short girl's pout grew increasingly insipid... and cute. Much to her companion's dismay.

"Ah! Is that him?!"

Her expression lit up as she spotted their target. It was Walter, whom was now in a hurry.

"Yes, that's him.",

"Oooyy!"

The two called out for his attention, but all in vain as he was already too far for him to hear them.

"Jeez... I know he's the main character of the story and he needs to be in the next scene or plot point. But come on!"

The short girl let out a small rant as both her and her companion raced through to catch up with Walter. Determined that they somehow reach him.

-----

With the weather still cloudy, it was impossible to tell that the sun had already set. It was already past 6 pm in the afternoon. Thea, who just woke up a few hours ago, her eyes lingered upon the glass windows.

She had been like this ever since she woke up. No gifts, no messages of good will, no visitors, Thea was lonely ever since she had been admitted into the hospital. There were occasional visits from nurse and doctors to monitor her condition, but none of them even spoken to her.

The result of the incident, caused Thea’s complexion to turn from tan to pale. She used up a good volume of her nexus energy just to repair her injuries and mend her wounds. Her red hair now faded into a fuchsia and her body thinner. It would take a long while for her recover.

Thea had no recollection of what happened after she got pummeled by Richie Marcus in the warehouse incident. She did remember Walter begging for her safety, but was harmed in process.

As the rain began to pour, so did her tears. She may be a stubborn woman, but she yearned for someone, anyone to come visit her. Despite her stone-faced expression, sadness welled up inside her. The twinge in her chest felt like her heart was shriveling into a raisin. She always knew everyone that came to care about her were either harmed or killed.

“That idiot...”

She muttered, thinking about the teen who had to stand up for her.

“He should’ve just stayed away.”

She grabbed the pillow behind her and embraced it tight. Her watery eyes now soaking the pillow.

“I left Point Lookout, so that I could have a chance of a new life here in the Metro Zone. But all I did was endanger others...”

Thea was bothered that Walter might be in a life-threatening condition right now, thanks to Richie Marcus’ beating. All the pain and suffering he was experiencing now was because of her.

“...they were right. I’m no novus, I bring only suffering wherever I go. I’m just an anomalus. No one would would ever dare to care for---”

Thea was then startled as she noticed someone was at the door. She saw a person with his face hidden behind the flowers from the glass slot of the door. As this person opened the door, he revealed his face to her.

“Y-you!”

(queue music)

Much to her surprise, it was Walter. Holding a basket of fruits and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. The sight itself seem to left her speechless.

“Hi!”

Walter greeted her with a wide grin on his face.

“May I?”,

“Uh--”

She tried to prompt a response, but it never came. Thea was at a disbelief. The teen placed the fruit basket beside her bed. He pulled the nearby chair and sat beside Thea.

“Here, this is for you. My mother owns a flower shop and she hand-picked them for me. I don’t know what to get for you so.... yeah.”

Walter handed the bouquet to her, to which she accepted in return. Her eyes were now welled up in tears. But instead of sadness, she felt warmth, she was happy.

“...tulips. It’s been so long since I last saw one. Th-Thank you, I guess.”

Thea didn’t know what was the appropriate response. She did not expected Walter himself would be here safe and sound, much less even visiting her. She kept her head down the entire time, hiding her flushed face, shy to even make eye contact with him.

“Here, let me.”

Walter then put the bouquet into the bedside vase. As he sat down again, an awkward silence ensued once again. Just like the first time they met. All the courage Walter thought he mustered since yesterday seemed to have diminished.

“So--”,

“Why are you here?”

Before Walter could finally broke the ice, Thea asked the first question. Her expression seemed to went back into a blank slate.

“Why did you have to stand up for me? I saw what happened to you. Why did you have to be so stupid and tried to save me?”

Thea pressed her questions unto him. She didn’t sound angry or anything, but she asked nonetheless. Walter bowed his head and kept silent.

“You heard them. I’m an anomalus. I hurt people, everyone that sympathizes with me suffers and di--”,

“No.”

Walter stopped her before she could continue her self-deprecation. Regardless that did not stopped Thea from questioning him.

“Why? You don’t even know me! What I have been through or what hellhole I’ve been in! What? Because you want me to owe you my life? Is that it?”

She was now questioning Walter’s motive on standing up for her. Walter stood up from his seat and peered through the window. He wasn’t looking at something, just blankly stared at the gradient of yellow and orange that painted the sunset sky.

“I’ll be honest with you, I don’t even know. Really. I thought at first because of the matter of Ailana. But when I saw you all lied there defenseless, I couldn’t help myself.”

Walter stated as he lifted and looked at his right arm.

“If it was about Ailana then I would have complied to his demands in a snap. But I couldn’t just leave you like that. Yes, there were no means yet to separate anomalus from the novus other than place of origin. Yes, I didn’t know you well enough, and yes, I didn’t know what you have been through--”

He turned to face Thea again, with a sincere smile on his face.

“But I know what it means to be pushed around and stepped on. That’s reason enough that Richie was in the wrong.”

He continued his statement. Thea just stared at him with a surprised look, she was at a disbelief to what she was hearing from Walter at the moment. She would stop him there, but she felt somehow... moved.

“--and I genuinely think, you’re a nice person.”

Slightly flushed, Walter had to look away whilst scratching his nose as he said that. Thea’s gasped in reaction, her face went bright red as she heard that compliment. She bowed her head and forcefully restrain herself from smiling. Drew her face to her knees.

“So uh... Yeah that’s about it. I don’t really see a supervillain nor superhero when I see you. Just a normal girl. Besides, the only person who knows who you truly are is you yourself. Life is life, and you’re still you. And from a different person’s perspective, you’re too far from being a villain, inside and out. That is if you count me. It doesn’t matter what people say about you, what’s important is what you want to do.”,

“Walter...”


Shyly, her lips slowly curled into a smile. Eyes swimming left and right, catching quick glances if he was looking at her. The tension was at its peak, the two couldn’t even glance at each other. Another moment of awkward silence ensued.

Walter didn’t knew one thing about cheering others up but he just empathized with Thea and tell what’s on his mind. But for Thea, his statement was heartfelt, she could feel her cheeks warm up.

“Well, I’ll just leave the homework here.”

Walter decided to wrap up his business there. Since he had already said what he wanted to say. He opened his knapsack and placed the homework notes beside the flower vase.

“Well if you don’t have anything else to say, then I’ll just--”,

“--ah!”

Before Walter could step, he paused and noticed that Thea was about to say something. His attention focused only to her.

“I-I love them.”

Thea finally spoke, but in a hesitant manner.

“Huh?”,

“The tulips! I mean. Th-thank you.”,

“Well you gotta thank my mother for that, she’s the one who insisted on tulips.”,

“But you did thought of giving me a bouquet right? S-so thank you.”

Still flushed, Thea thought it would be appropriate to at least give Walter some gratitude for his effort on giving her the flowers, and bringing her the homework she was supposed to take. So when she comes back from the hospital, she’ll just submit it to their homeroom advisor.

“You’re welcome.”

Walter gave her a warm smile once again. A reciprocate appreciation from him to her.

“A-Actually... I’m gonna need help on the homework. S-so i-if you have to go--I mean, if you feel like it. C-can we study together?”

Thea twitching whilst looking away from Walter, hiding her extremely flushed expression from him. She couldn’t stop her words from trembling.

“I-I mean, if you just feel like it. Or maybe... visit me again t-tomorrow. Not like I’m gonna be l-lonely or anything...”

Pressing her fingers together, her back turned and stumbling through her words. She openly asked a favor for Walter. The teen just smiled, pulled back the chair and sat back down with Thea.

“I’d be happy to.”

He replied, now feeling comfortable that Thea now accepts him.

“A-Are you sure? Well if you’re just s-saying that because--”,

“I promise.”

Walter said with reassurance. With such conviction and truthfulness. Thea did not expect that response at all. As if it was this was her first time hearing that word.

Promise. The word sounded fragile to her, and yet when Walter said it, she felt like she could count on him.

“Eh? You... You promise..? I mean, y-you better! Hmph! If you’re lying I-I... I--”,

She did not intend to, but as soon as she accidentally made eye contact with him, she immediately looked away. Catching a glimpse of Walter’s smile, plunged her deeper into an awkward position.

“Heh heh...”

A quiet chuckle escaped Walter’s breath.

“Wha... Why are you laughing?”

Thea glared at him with a pout. He avoided looking at her pout directly as it looked too adorable to be taken seriously.

“Nothing... Nothing! Heh... Well, we better get started.”,

"Hmph!"

Not dilly-dallying anymore, and out of words to say, Thea quickly grabbed the homework notes and just went on with their homework. Both her and Walter helping each other out.

Almost two hours passed, Thea and Walter’s study time had gone smoothly. There were instances where they would occasionally break away from studying to make small talk but it was productive nonetheless. Both of them bid their farewells with Walter promising to visit her again. She did not need ask, he was planning to visit her again.

With her prognosis, Thea was not going to leave the hospital any time soon, she needed about 3 days max to recover her strength before taking up daily activities again. After Walter left, she stood by the window, her expression was brighter than the one she had a few moments ago. For the first time, she felt content, happy that there was someone who genuinely cared for her. She did not notice it but her faced was flushed with crimson the entire time, with one hand resting on her cheek.
Needless to say, even though she was still up and denial about it, Thea looked forward on Walter’s next visit.

Same case with Walter, he left the establishment with the same feeling and anticipation as Thea. He felt despite their still awkward disposition to one another, he was comfortable being with her.

Once in a while, he would catch glances of her smile while they were studying. Of course, she would immediately avert it every time she catches him. But there was one thing made up in his heart and in his mind, now that he has the power and the means, he would gladly protect that smile with his life. After all, if he could protect her, then he could also protect everyone from any thing.

---

As Walter was almost out of the hospital grounds, he suddenly spotted two imposing figures standing by the tree near the entryway.

Who were they? The first question that came up his mind. Walter could only guess that they’re from the Nova Reform, came to watch over him. A short girl of 5 feet, 5 inches, and a jacket-clad boy.

As the two individuals spotted Walter, he stopped and crossed his arms and slightly tilted his head. With his newly-acquired powers, he could sense Nexus Energy resonating within them, these two were nova, there was no doubt about it. He asserted his presence and asked.

“And you guys are?”

Walter raised his brow, casted a rather laid-back yet annoyed expression. No beating around the bush, he wanted to get it over with.

“WALTER OLDEN!!!”

The girl shouted with all her spirit. The teen’s expression then changed from annoyed to straight up weirded-out. Her spirit, not to mention her mispronouncing Walter’s surname, had completely taken him by surprise.

The jacket-clad teen leaned over her ear and whispered something at this girl’s ear. The girl’s eyes snapped open, as if realizing something important.

“What? Oh... *ehem* WALTER OLVEN!!!”

Like an actor being told off by the director, she re-did her opening spiel again.

“We’ve heard your recent exploits and deeds!”

Feet apart, straight posture, and chest puffed, she once again delivered her over-the-top line.

“The SA Brigade is here! To invite YOU, promising individual!”

She thrusted her finger forward, pointing at Walter. Hers was flowing with energy with every word that poured from her lips. She has the energy of an entire cheerleading team. And she said SA Brigade, a different club apparently.

“SA Brigade?”

Walter asked the energetic girl. He had assumed that they were from the Nova Reform, but he didn’t knew that there was another club that has novus as its members.

“I’m glad you asked! SA Brigade or as I like to call it, SUPER AWESOME Brigade! Because everyone in it, like me, are Super Awesome!!!”

Aaanndd... Just like that, the club’s integrity was out the window. The girl’s companion could only pinch his forehead and shake his head in embarrassment.

Walter could only empathize with the jacket-clad boy, it was somehow embarrassing for him too. He began to regret his earlier question. Nonetheless, this girl was unfazed by the uncouth reactions and continued.
“Oh! Ore wa Kuromé Hinokami! Sanjou!”
クロメ

The girl spoke in a foreign tongue. It was then Walter recognized her, and her companion.

Kuromé Hinokami, Japanese-American student, third year. She was a former PR Officer of the student council last year, and former Pep squad captain. Hence her pronounced persona and charisma. As embarrassing to admit it himself, Walter had a crush on her at one point. But he did not knew that she was a novus too until now.

And the jacket-clad boy was, Kurszt Schwarz. He was one of the two nova in his class other than Richie Marcus. But unlike Richie, he was not as active and he always keeps to himself. Born of german descent, he was also known by the name of Ironclad. With his Nexus Energy, he can summon various melee weapons at will. Word has it that he was once a normal, a superhero with no powers, and was Gray Knight’s sidekick.

Walter knew the gist of their backgrounds, but he didn’t knew that they were in a club together. He also knew nothing of this ‘SA Brigade’. Kuromé stood in attention and looked at Walter with a big smile, as if waiting for him to inquire.

“I might regret asking this but, what do you guys do in your... club?”

Hesitant, Walter asked anyway. Kuromé eased up her stance and seemed mellowed a bit. She casted an honest look directly at him.

“We are fairly new club. And we mediate relations between nova and non-nova student relations by helping both sides whatever we can.”

The girl stated in a direct manner. Walter was surprised to hear this, he did not expect such noble intentions. He would call them out, but he saw Kuromé’s gaze, it was true-to-heart and earnest. Unlike the Nova Reform, who used intimidation in attempt to persuade him, the SA Brigade used more amicable means and a convincing objective.

He was interested to the least at the SA Brigade, but he was not ready to give a concrete answer yet.

“Well color me interes--”,

“Not so fast!”

Just as he was about to express his thoughts on the invitation, Kurszt cut him off. Stepping forward to face Walter.

“I can see you are interested, but the question is, are you a friend or foe?”

He asked the teen, it almost sounded like a threat. It was the same question he asked when he confronted Thea a few days ago. Walter tilted his head once again, not taking his question kindly.

“Wait, you’re inviting me to join, yet you’re questioning me?”

Walter was baffled, annoyed was more like it. They had the gall to invite him then question him at the same time.

“Justice is our goal. But so you know, each person has his and her own sense of Justice. Does your own match ours? Is yours about helping people even without power? Or is yours defined by one?”

Kurszt then raised his arm aloft, in a flash, a blade materialized on his grasp with a glint of black and gold. He was raring for a fight. Hinokami would stop him but she chose not to, still wearing that big smile and bright expression.

Gomenasai, but in the SA Brigade, every member has a say and do. It’s our first step to our goal. If we can’t help ourselves then we can’t help anyone.”

Hinokami was not entirely opposed of the notion. Her statement reminded Walter of his newly-found reason to fight for, to protect someone’s smile and happiness is to protect others’ too. Walter was about to protest, but he swallowed his words before he could manage. He just silently agreed.

“Kuromé.”

As Kurszt called his companion, she nodded in response and stood back. She balled up her fist and then began channeling her nexus. A velvet aura enveloped her entire body, spheres of light rose and fade around her. She focused and then released her welled up energy.

Virtua Field

With a swipe of her hand, the entire environment in a gradient blanket of purple. The ground was replaced by series of grid tiles. It was like being in an un-rendered video game. It was also quite obvious that they were not at the hospital anymore. It was like a pocket dimension. This was just a fraction of Kuromé’s ability, The Virtua Force.

“Don’t worry, I have set you guys up a battleground. My domain should be more than enough.”,

“Hmph... Show off as always, Hinokami.”

Kurszt sighed, scratching his head. Even though this was only a fraction, he still thought that she was going overboard with this. Kuromé could only respond with a giggle. With their battlefield set, the jacket-clad boy swung his sword across, drawing a line boundary between him and Walter.

“My question earlier can only be answered through action. I challenge you to cross this line and land a single hit to me. Whatever your means is up to you, and how shall you do it will help me see what would be your sense of Justice.”

He stated. Pointing his blade to him, Walter haven’t actually seen him action, but if he recalls correctly, Kurszt is adept, if not a master of melee weaponry and martial arts, a result of his training under Gray Knight’s tutelage before he became a novus. He can’t afford to underestimate him. He preferred not to use his newly found powers, but he hasn't have much of a choice.

“Very well, then this’ll have to do.”

Walter put down his bag away from him and rolled up his short sleeve on his right arm. Red glowing lines began to drew themselves his right arm, changing its color from flesh to black. The armor plates decompressing and unfurling, his arm then crackled with red lightning; similar to how Atha, the Woman in Red, manifest her power. He did not know how will he use the Mantra for this, but it’s better than just charging head-on.

“...!”

Kurszt was taken aback when Walter had revealed his right arm’s true form. As he felt the tremendous pressure resonated on his arm, his senses screamed, it felt foreboding. Hinokami, however, was ecstatic when she saw it. She could not contain her excitement, words escape her lips.

“Uho! This is gonna be a challenge to be remembered!!! Maybe in the next chapte---”






To Be continued...
 
Last edited:

Ruby Rose

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

I have been reading this for quite some time now, PLEASE more chapters! :D

I feel like I'm gonna like Hinokami, I mean she broke the 4th wall 2 times!? And what's this Kurszt deal? I feel like he's being overzealous. First Thea, now Walter? Oh speaking of which, I like Thea's interaction with Walter, they're so adorable together. That Tsun-Tsun moment! *Squeeeee*

And finally! Walter has powers! Yay!
 

KingdomKey

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

I want to applaud you for writing this chapter so much! I was floored by the reveal of the red woman being neither girl's that Walter had interacted with. Furthermore, I love the fourth wall breaking by Hinokami. Talk about charisma right there. I wonder if Thea has a crush on Walter now, or if it's still friendship? Probably a bit of both. And goodness gracious, what a way for Walter to deal with his bullies! It's like he hit puberty, except it has to do with his powers. Seriously this is awesome and outstanding. I really can't wait to see the fight. And Siegra is somewhat scary. I like how you've introduced characters in this as well as kept it flowing so well! I can't tell you enough how good this is! I hope to see more whenever you have the time, Tyrant Raver.
 

Tyrant Raver

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Thank you both so much for the feedback. I know I'm going on a limb here, to be honest, Hinokami was a last-minute addition. While she's not fully fleshed-out yet, I had the idea of a character with a charisma so OP that she can punch through the 4th wall Gurren Lagann style. Always positive and always smiling. Sorta like Kamina, only more naive, childish and is a girl.

I guess I could still keep this story running for a good amount. :D And since Walter is Alt's predecessor, it would be bad if I just left his character unchecked and unfinished. Any way, here's some Extra. :D

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Walter's Notebook of Heroes pg. 1

Nexus

-Refers to a universal energy present in both Nova and Anomala; the by-product of the White Storm to the entirety of the Milky Way Galaxy.
-Each Nexus is unique to its own trait, used as a universal medium to manifest supernatural powers or extra-dimensional abilities and attributes. The Nexus Energy is only limited to one medium, depending on the trait of its wielder. For example, the Superhero, Boulderdash/Richie Marcus uses his Nexus as medium to unleash kinetic shockwaves which would mean if he’s to harness another medium, like say Energy Absorption, it’s impossible.
-There were some extremely rare cases that there are Nova and Anomala who can harness multiple mediums at their disposal. One of the Supernova League members may possess such a trait but it’s only rumors.
-Apart from being able to harness a medium, the Nexus also grants the basic physical augmentations to its wielder. Namely enhanced strength, being able to lift 2 tons at the minimum, enhanced durability, agility, and heightened senses.
-If left unchecked or if the wielder is unable to control it or rejects it, the Nexus can cause physical abnormalities and overpowering mutations, along with mental and emotional deterioration which can result to extremely aggressive behavior, to demented and destructive mannerisms. A common trait of the Anomalus and Monsters.

Nex Frame

-Refers to the materialized manifestation of Nexus. These are the super-suits, superheroes don as their alternate persona.
-Similar to how Nexus is unique to each individual, Nex Frames varies greatly in forms, shapes and sizes. It can be as simple as a tights, to armor, to even bulkier forms.
-Nex Frame manifests itself by the wielder entering metamorphosis or transformation. The transformation can range from simple as forming the suit upon the wielder’s body, to as drastic as altering the wielder’s physical look (I.e. physical growth, mutation, muscle growth, etc.).
-Not all wielders can manifest their Nex Frame, as it requires for the Novus/Anomalus to be adept at wielding their Nexus. In other words, to be a Superhero, the first thing you would need is to being able to manifest your own Nex Frame.
-These forms also greatly augment not only the Novus/Anomalus’ already enhanced physical attributes, but also greatly increase their superpowers’ efficiency and potency.

Nex Arms
-Like the Nex Frame, the Nex Arms are also manifestations of the Nexus. Only instead of a suit or armor, a weapon based on the wielder’s trait.
-Like the Nex Frame, these weapons can vary based on the wielder’s trait, in all shapes, sizes and forms.
-The only difference with this and the Nex Frame (besides being a weapon instead of a suit), is it draws power from both the Nexus and the wielder’s own Willpower. Which means the stronger and more iron-willed the wielder is, the more powerful the Nex Arm would be.
-Basing on the wielder’s willpower also, the Nex Arms can change forms at any given time, as long as the wielder wills it so.
-It can be also be summoned in quantities. From dual-wielding to full arsenal. But it requires tremendous amounts of Willpower and Nexus to do such a feat.
-Mastering how harness the Nexus, the wielder can manifest both Nex Arms and Nex Frame at the same time. But in most cases, if one forces it to do so can put a tremendous strain on the wielder’s body and can prove fatal if taken with disregard.

Nexus Regulator Driver

-A device to which some Nova use to activate their Nex Frame or Nex Arms.
-These devices are made by the Supernova Committee and multi-billion companies to superhero trainees or just Novus who have a highly sensitive Nexus energy and newly-awakened Nova. A restraint, more or less.
-Despite being a restraint, these devices also helps the wielders, channel their Nexus and regulate its flow throughout their body. Without restricting the basic Nexus attributes to the user.
-The NRD are built mostly in a form of a small and compact device, slightly bigger than a belt buckle. It is often built to clip in belts, but there have been a number of variants, suited to the preference of the Novus. It can be a pendant, a ring, earring, to even a scepter or wand, a phone, and many others. So long as it serves as an accessory.
Walter's Superhero Files

Wyva, the Dragoness

Real Name: Siegra Nidhogg

Background

-Third-year student of Yorktown State University. A woman of Scandinavian descent, she is the proud heir of the Nidhogg Family, one of the most influential and well-known family of the European Metro Zones.
-"I cannot say certain what her major background was, but I heard she's a member of an underground school administration, as the rumors stated. Though there was no evidence to be held."
-Even before the White Storm phenomena, the Nidhogg family was well-known to be a family descended from a proud Nordic heritage. That they came from a long line of viking warriors.
-"Word has it, that through her influence, she could easily overthrow Richie Marcus in his position but decided not to."

Nexus - Dragonblood

- Like her name says, Wyva can manifest her Nexus by transforming her entire body into a Human-Dragon hybrid. A sight to be feared and behold.
- She can also transform specific parts of her body into one too at a whim. For example, she can grow dragon claws on her hands, grow a tail, spikes, scales and even her eyes for enhanced vision.
- With her armored scales, she can shrug off most attacks, and can even withstand an armor-piercing shell or round with so much as a scratch. She can also withstand heat above a normal novus can handle, as one of her feats was she once dove into a mouth of an active volcano then came back unscathed.
- "I haven't seen the benchmark for her strength, but I saw her once lifting half of a building and seem to have no problem of holding it for 10 minutes straight."
- Her arsenal includes her highly muscular tail, one feat note-worthy of it was she used it once to cut and dent a 12-inch steel door. And since she's a dragoness, she can also breathe a jet of fire, hot enough to turn boulders to lava and steel to molten matter.
- One rare feat of hers was, she can also absorb fire and either redirect it or replenish her energy. (needs more citation)
- She can also grow wings with such muscular density. Her maximum flight speed is clocked at mach 10. With one full swing of her wings, she can unleash a powerful gust of wind like that of a tornado. She can also create a tornado with one full swing span of her wing.
- Her dragon eyes also grant her with an enhanced vision. As well as thermal vision, similar to reptiles.
 

Tyrant Raver

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Chapter 4: Ahead

Meanwhile, a few hours earlier from today…

Building A, second floor, upon the opposite end of the class corridor stood a small room. Its door majorly blocked off by a janitor’s cart, almost hidden from view. From inside the room, it was no larger than a maintenance storage room; cramped yet furnished. A few shelves, drawers, and a table placed in the middle with a couple of chairs, yet no white or chalkboards, it was hardly fitting to be a function room; more like a re-furnished maintenance room. It had a single sliding glass window at least. This was the club room of the newly-founded club of the SA Brigade.

Occupying the room were three students from different classes and levels, each wearing their uniforms either rather disheveled or improper. All of them were Nova. In the current universal curriculum of the metro zones, students whom are either Novus or Member of a superhero team are allowed free rein and privileges on during their class hours. They can dress as casually or informal as they want, attend class any time as they see fit, and many others. It’s what separates them from the average students of their alma matter.

An unsettling silence envelope the atmosphere of the already cramped environment. On the table, laid a notice that came from the school administration earlier. The two club members looked at the velvet-haired girl that peered through the window, as if waiting for her to speak or issue an order. This girl was none other than the SA Brigade’s Shogun, or just the club president, Kuromé Hinokami.

“Psst… Hey narrator, it’s Shogun!”

While she stood peering out the window with her smile and positive aura beaming and resonating from within her, her colleagues did not shared the same aura. Because the paper that laid at the center of the table, the notice was the source of their troubles at the moment. It was a club dissolution notice.

“Uh… President? Who’re you talking to?”

One of the club members asked as he was startled by the sudden notion of their… shogun. The boy had a pony-tailed blonde hair, his rather petite frame covered by his custom-tailored uniform blazer. He also had a rather effeminate face. He also wore a forehead protector that covers his fringe and majority of his forehead, almost like a visor of some sort; he also wore metal-plated gloves.

Yakanashi! None worthy of your concern, Max, my loyal shinobi! Your shogun is thinking…”

Kuromé immediately roared back at the small inquiry, much to this club member’s surprise.

“Ah…! sorry.”

The ninja almost fell on his chair with the sudden response, their president is truly unpredictable.

Maxi Jesse Fellows, or just Max as his club-mates call him. Born in the Midwestern Metro Zone of former Wisconsin State, first year junior and the youngest member of the newly-formed club. He was still a newly-awakened Novus, just last year.

His Nexus is the Shadow Stroke, which enables him to channel and manipulate his Nexus Energy to execute various Ninjutsu techniques, manifesting through shadows. Max can produce "ink" without the need of a brush using shadows as his material, can just swipe his fingers to draw his ninjutsu seals and powers. He can also call upon shadow-drawn energy circles in any medium; he can also draw it on mid-air using the air itself as a canvass. He can also call upon pseudo-elemental attacks, faux magic but just as devastating as the real one, using drawn seals.

“But regarding the matter, Hinokami. How shall we approach this? Deadline is two weeks from now and we still haven’t even taken our first act as a club.”

Shrugging off the earlier burst, Max pressed the issue to his club president. It has been only last week since Kuromé had founded the club, they had been taking measures of fulfilling their main objective as a club. But same cannot be said with their recruitment drive, they have been struggling with it for a good while now.

As far as school regulation dictates, a school club must consist of a minimum of 7 members and an adviser. But so far there have been only four of them in their roster and they’re not getting any more members by the day. Kurszt blames it on the extremely-cheesy club name as opposed to their supposed goal. They tried to convince one of the faculty to be their club adviser but they were still holding their breath to it.

One week had already passed since their club registration, and the lack of members of the SA Brigade has caught up with the School Administration’s notice. Hence, the dissolution notice. With its arrival at their doorstep, things grew dire and turned for the worst. They were now desperate. But Kuromé, being the perpetual force of positivity, was not ready to give up on the club just yet.

“Kukuku…”

The velvet-hair let out a confident chuckle as she crossed her arms and stood firm in front of her colleagues.

“One step at a time, Max-chan. We still have two weeks to comply. First! We’re gonna need to find the rumored newly-awakened novus who beat Richie Marcus!”

Her ambition really resonated through her.

“Wh-what? But isn’t that a bit… early, or maybe forceful? We still don’t even who that was. Or if we’re sure enough that he’ll join our club.”

Max leaned back on his chair and raised a brow on the suggestion. He then followed it with another query.

“--and why him? Of all people.”,

“Because I believe he’s the leverage we need. Think, my loyal shinobi, aside from the Nova Reform, he was the only one who had the guts to stand up against the abusive clutches of Boulderdash! And beat him in the process!”

Kuromé once again turned to peer out of the window once more, as if taking in the universal energy around her. Her reasoning might be a little hard to wrap around but there was fire in her eyes that this particular novus would help them get the club on its feet. There was no need for explanation why, she’ll just leave it to fate how will it fall in place. But first she would need to acquire his aid to do so, then they can begin their work.

“What about you, Xiu? Do you have any concerns? Protests? Waiver? Rally?! …desires?”

Kuromé slammed both her hands at the table and shot a wide-eyed expression upon the quiet individual just sitting adjacently to Max. She had been quiet for a while now, arms crossed and her head bowed a little, as if in a deep thought.

Apart from her usual uniform, her blazer she wore was red in color and a bit shorter. Half of her face is mostly covered by a thick red scarf that coils comfortably around her neck and shoulders. She had a rather blank expression on her face, with golden pupils that almost seem to illuminate from the shade. Unlike Max whom has a rather meek attitude, she was ice cold, but not to the point of dismissive.

The velvet-haired girl slumped her entire body unto the table facing Xiu, waving her hand in front of her face. A normal person would’ve been annoyed by the slightly boisterous display, but she kept a stone-faced composure. From what it seems, she was used to her club president’s attitude, maybe even welcomed it.

“Sigh… We are out of options here, we’ll just gonna have count on senpai’s decision.”

The silent brunette finally spoke, but with a sigh. Her tone was soft, slow and a bit shy, almost a mutter but it was audible enough to be heard.

Another member of the SA Brigade, Xiu Qiang. A Chinese-American transfer student, born from Shanghai, 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] year and at the same class as Kuromé; and also a very good friend of hers. Rumor has it that she was the supposed heir of the Hei Long Chinese Triad that ruled over the New Angeles Metro and Yellow Zone, but she ran away and assumed a new identity.

Thanks to her hidden connections, she was able to secure a legitimate citizenship here in Yorktown Metro Zone, to start a new life, very much like Thea, except she had a solid backing. She and Kuromé were the best of friends ever since she moved in Yorktown. Both of them neither care about each other’s pasts, and that was all that mattered to them.

Her Nexus trait, the Guncaster. Almost mirroring Kurzst’s ability, except hers was various firearms. And unlike Kurzst’s Nex Arms take on a solid form, Xiu’s Nex Arms were part construct, part solid. As she uses her Nexus energy to materialize firearm constructs, and even use the energy itself as ammo. Her usual Nex Arm constructs were a pair of chain pipe-like revolvers that were roughly arm length. She can also materialize melee weapons too but only fist-type weapons. From brass knuckles to full-arm gauntlets.

“Ah…~ Senpai~ Oh… Xiu-chan you truly are my bestie best!”

She purred. From the table, Kuromé just reached her arms to grab Xiu and just buried her face unto her chest, rubbing her cheeks unto it, overjoyed that her best friend just knew what to say. Perhaps a bit exaggerated. But Xiu doesn’t seem to mind it.

Then a few seconds later, a knock on the door was heard.

“I’m back, and I have something of importance.”

From outside, in came Kurzst, who just left his class to approach a very important find to his colleagues. From his leather jacket, he pulled two memos, three pages each. As he laid both of the memos, to the table, the SA Brigade members gave their full attention to him, Kuromé was still lying down on the table.

“I’ve found the perpetrator of Marcus’ defeat. And a potential recruit. Both are sitting in my class.”

The velvet-haired girl read both memos carefully and held them both up. A smirk drew on her face as she saw one of the memos, intrigued and curious.

“Walter… Olven.”,

“Yes, although there weren’t any concrete evidence yet, his display in class earlier shows that he is most likely the one who beat Marcus. His Nexus energy just emerged recently, a newly-awakened novus.”

Like Kurzst said, there weren’t any evidence that Walter was the one who did it, but he was just basing it solely on his acquired information. And based on his findings, Walter was the only one left in the warehouse when Marcus went on a full rampage. And his display of his ability earlier on his class was a solid evidence.

“Hmm? Is this..?”,

“Oooaaahh!!! Ailana!? Ailana Lotton?! The Nova Idol!?”

With lightning-fast hands Max immediately swiped Ailana’s memo off Kuromé’s grasp, before she even noticed. Surprised and ecstatic nonetheless. Max has been a huge fan of Ailana since her rise to fame last year.

“Nova… Idol?”

Kuromé was surprisingly clueless about this, she asked as if her energy earlier has been taken by Max.

“Did you even watch TV or read the papers? Ailana Lotton was the first hand-picked novus by the Supernova League! She was one of the most talented and promising novus to date! She even has a spot in any major superhero team once she becomes a full-fledged superheroine!”,

“...huh? And why is that? Did she beat someone powerful or showcased some of her powers or whatever?”

Despite Max’s brimming enthusiasm about Ailana, his idol, Kuromé and the others did not shared the same sentiment. Unlike Walter who she even personally staked the future of the SA Brigade with, she was blank when it comes to Ailana, not convinced even for a minute. Kuromé and Xiu just looked at Max, both with puzzled expressions and indifference.

“Well she wasn’t hand-picked by Mercuria of the Supernova League, for nothing! That’s for sure--it’s a big deal!”,

“Eh… Not really buying it. I appreciate your enthusiasm, my dear shinobi, but I’m not the one to be impressed by someone just because a someone famous had personally picked them. Nope!”

She crossed her arms and raised her brow, whilst shaking her head, Kuromé was just that unconvinced.

“Aw… what? But… Kurszt help me out here.”

Feeling that his idol might get neglected, the ninja turned to Kurszt for back up.

“I’m afraid I would have to agree with Hinokami. We should focus more on someone who has done something note-worthy, rather than someone who’s just in it because of accolades.”,

“Aww…”,

“But both of them can serve a great deal to our club, if we can convince them to join. So if you’re bothered by one of them being neglected then I suggest you ease up a bit.”

The jacket-clad gave Max a pat in the back as gesture of reassurance. After all, these two candidates for recruitment aren’t options, they’re necessities.

“Alright!”

Kuromé then stood back to her feet and stretched up a bit, cracking her knuckles and neck. She was fired up, brimming with motivation.

Yosh! Listen up, my beautiful subjects! Since we have our stepping stones laid out for us, we’ll gonna need to step up before they sink. Here’s the plan…”

She might be in a exaggerated mood, but the energy and charisma that resonates within her says so much. Her feelings and motivation laid bare for her colleagues, this was the kind of leader Kuromé was.

“Xiu, you’re with me on Walter Olven. Kurzst and Max, you try your hand on Ailana. If didn’t go well, report it to me and we’ll think up of a plan B. Any questions?”

As Kuromé asked, she immediately noticed Kurszt’s expression as he was eyeing Walter Olven’s memo. An expression all to familiar to her, a response was not needed.

“Hmhm… Alright, Kurszt, you’re with me. Xiu-chan, I’m counting on you with Max.”,

“Wha--mmpf!”,

“Ah. Sure thing, senpai.”,

“Oooouuuuhhh…. I love it when you call me that! Yosh! Minna, ikuzo!

Before Max can take offense, the scarfed girl covered Max’s mouth with her hand. Kuromé gave her best friend, one last tight hug, the SA brigade left the club room and went on their separate objectives.

Ailana Lotton, and Walter Olven. If the SA Brigade manages, to just recruit or convince one of them, it’ll be the breakthrough Kuromé has been waiting for. Though some of them are counting on recruiting Ailana, the velvet-haired girl was rooting for Walter with all her heart and soul, and future of her club.

As they left the club room, it was about a few minutes before class dismissal. Kuromé and Kurszt waited outside the campus, just by the entryway, and the others, Xiu and Max were by the stairs by the corridor, beside Class 2-D.

---------------------

The club has went to their separate objectives, Kuromé and Kurszt has tracked down and pursued Walter from the campus entryway to the hospital. They could only assume that the other two, Xiu and Max, had already met Ailana and are now in talks with her.

As they reached the hospital, the two decided to give Walter some time to tend to his personal matters here in the said establishment. They waited patiently just outside by the tree. The two were strangely quiet than they were back at the campus. Kuromé was keeping to herself, humming some random tune, hands on the back of her head and smiling at the cloudy weather above them.

Eventually, as Walter made his way out of the hospital, they finally met him face to face. It would’ve been easy if Kuromé handled the negotiation, but Kurszt silently insisted to put Walter’s principles to the test. Through battle, might be a minor setback on her part but if this proves successful, it would be an assured victory.

The jacket-clad boy was the type of person to be unswayed with words. He gets to know people on how they act and handle day-to-day problems/situations. It’s a bit demanding and high-bar but Kuromé keeps his opinion to heart; this way she can be sure that they recruit true allies or friends, reassure loyalty.

Hence why, they are here now, with Kurszt facing Walter. Kuromé had placed herself at lets two metes away from them to get a better view of the fight. With a bright smile on her face, she watched them with suspenseful excitement welling up in her.

“I’m not sensing his Nexus energy, yet…”

Kurszt’s eyes were affixed on the teen’s black arm. It was resonating with a foreboding power he has never felt before. It was completely alien to him, he couldn’t identify it.

“What is that arm of his…? I better watch out for that. I’ll approach this strategically and with caution. The rule still stands, if he can land a single hit on me, made me cross the line, or him crossing the line, then it’s decided.”

He thought to himself as he entered a state of complete focus. Along with his blade, Kurszt materialized his Nex Frame on his right arm, in a form of a full-armored gauntlet. As it formed around his arm, his Nexus energy began coursing through it, augmenting his strength by ten fold.

In the exact moment, he saw Walter beginning his advance, approaching him step by step. Kurszt took stance attempted to ascertain any sudden movements.

“...this guy…”

He couldn’t read his movement, Walter was calm and composed even with the way he walked; no malice nor hint of intimidation, he was really gonna walk straight to him. But it was either him or Walter, he had to make the move.

Kurszt shifted his grip on his blade, the weapon extended its grip into a javelin. Seeing Walter still haven’t made any change in his movement, he took the initiative.

“Hmph!”

With a fast heave, he threw the javelin with power and precision. The projectile tore through the air leaving a trail of shock wave and swath of destruction. With this velocity Kurszt can penetrate through tank armor with ease.

Walter then just weaves to the right, evading the projectile.

“As expected, but he’s unfazed by the impact. With that force, he should’ve be at least grazed by the shock wave. Well then…”

Kurszt was impressed, the initiative was merely to test the waters. But seeing how he was unfazed by the projectile’s destructive path, it was time to get serious.

Instantaneously, another javelin materialized on his armored grasp. With his incredible strength, speed and sync, he hurled 3 consecutive projectiles. Each with more destructive power than the first.

“Ugh… what?”

Kurszt was taken by surprise. Stunned by the showcase of lightning reflexes, he was at a disbelief when he saw Walter effortlessly evaded all three at once.

“Try this!”

He followed it immediately by hurling a continuous volley of javelins. Not letting up for a second. He aimed if he can just put some pressure unto his opponent, he can seize even the slightest margin to catch him off-guard.

Unfortunately, he saw his opponent not even letting up like he was. Allowing no gap nor margin for an opening. Walter was breezing through each projectile with pin-point accurate focus. Weaving and putting his entire body to work, whilst advancing little-by-little; using his body’s full range of motion to maneuver effectively.

“Hah…!”

Throwing another projectile, Kurszt aimed for Walter. The teen jumped and flipped sideways to evade it.

“There!”

It was the opening Kurszt was waiting for, not even blinking for a second, he materialized his next javelin. With a full swing, he threw it while his opponent was still in mid-air. From up until now, Kurszt has observed that Walter was grounded whilst weaving through his projectiles. If he could just catch him jump, it’ll be the perfect opening. No matter how fast he was, if he’s in mid-air there’ll be no way to follow up with a delayed pace… or so he thought.

(Queue Walter's Theme)

As he saw the projectile inched to Walter, the teen finally brandishes his black arm. Shifting his weight and spinning his body while still in mid-air performing a corkscrew. Walter then connects an uppercut right at the spear’s tip. Causing the projectile itself to spin in place on mid-air.

“...!”

The jacket-clad boy gasped as he witnessed how his supposed opening was averted in one fell swoop. As Walter landed, he pulled his left arm back, opening his palm and was looking at Kurszt as if aiming to a target. Then it occurred to Kurszt, his stance, he was gonna redirect the spear unto him!

Walter slid his foot forward, then with a full swing, his palm hit the spinning javelin directly at its blunt-end. As his palm made contact, red lines began to channel through his left arm.

“His Nexus Energy!”

Kurszt’s senses screamed, the sudden manifestation of Walter’s Nexus energy had taken him by surprise. That speed, agility, and projectile path prediction earlier, he was still not using his Nexus to do those inhuman feats!? He was at a disbelief, the entire time, Kurszt thought he was holding back. As it turns out, his opponent was the one holding back. So much so that he hasn’t even begun to manifest his Nexus until now.

He was completely clueless what would his Nexus Energy’s medium would be, Kurszt would have to improvise. Instead of another javelin, he focused his will to materialize a shield, as strong and as sturdy as he could will it, there was no time.

With a full heave, Walter used an ample amount of upper body strength to push the projectile back with 10 times the speed and power. Reflect and redirect. Using his opponent’s weapon to counter-attack. The javelin flew through, piercing through the air, with a trail of red lightning in its wake. It was like an incoming heavenly lightning bolt. The air smelled of ozone as it close in, creating a swath of destruction much greater than Kurszt could ever muster in his state.

“...!”

Kurszt was overwhelmed by the feat. Clenching his teeth as he couldn’t will his Nex Arms strong enough to block this incoming force of wrath which was formerly his own weapon.

“If I try to stop this, I’ll be skewered!”

There was only one thing he could do. He held up his shield and angled it in front of him, then as the raging projectile reached its desirable distance, the jacket-clad boy swiped his shield upwards in attempt to deflect it.

“...RRRRRGGGGHHHH…!!!”

The velocity of the projectile was very hard to deflect, it was taking all his effort to deflect it, much more so than he expected. The ringing of scraping metal and the rapid cacophony of lightning crackles blared through the surrounding.

“RRRRRAAAAAARRGGHH…!!!”

With one powerful heave, he redirected the projectile upwards. The projectile shot upwards like a bolt of lightning returning from the heavens. Kurszt twirled his last javelin in hand as he raised his head. Sure enough, Walter was there in full stance, about to strike him.

“Got you!”

He knew he was gonna use that redirected spear to buy him some time to close in for a brawl. Unlike the attack prior, Kurszt was read for it. He slid forward to maneuver through the possible range of attack, aiming for his blind spot, below!

“Huh...!”

He caught a glimpse of Walter as was about to complete his attack. He was not making any moves to counter his incoming attack. Instead it would seem like the teen was finally lowering his guard, but what caught Kurszt’s attention was his opponent was looking directly at his eyes. As if he was telling him that he could counter his attack right about now but chose not to.

“Don’t think I’ll ever--Agh..!?”

Before it connects, he felt his spear’s swing interrupted abruptly, like it hit a solid object.

“A wooden sword--Hinokami!?"

He saw Kuromé just standing beside Walter, with her wooden sword locked in his grip; preventing him from swinging his weapon any further. She was standing there nonchalant and beaming her big smile unto him.

“I think it’s decided, cool guy. Walter won.”

The velvet-haired girl loosened her grip on her wooden sword and rested it on her shoulder.

“What!? But it’s not over yet! He hasn’t---”,

“Baka.”

Kuromé lightly bonked him on the forehead with her wooden sword. She then pointed her sword at the line boundary, where Kurszt and Walter were standing on either side. She pointed and traced the skid on the ground that went beyond the line and it traced back to his boot.

“Walter won, fair and square. You should’ve noticed it when he eased up seconds ago, y’know?”

She lightly stomped her feet while shooting a puffed pout on her companion.

“Hehe… Well I guess I got carried away. Sorry.”

Kurszt then finally eased up and released both his shield and weapon. His Nex Arms disappeared and his Nex Frame disassembled. He just accepted his defeat although a bit grudgingly.

“Mooouuu… I know you’re my VP, but try to be a bit more calm when it comes to these things, neh? We’re here to help people not go up in arms against them.”

Kuromé lectured her companion whilst repeatedly being bonked on the head by her wooden sword. Much to Kurszt’s irritation, but he had to admit he went a bit too far on his methods.

Recall

Now that things have become civil again, Kuromé snapped her fingers and in an instant, the Virtua Field shattered, returning them back into the real world. She then sheathes back her wooden katana back into its scabbard. Talk about unnecessary.

“I beg your pardon!”

Kuromé suddenly shouted above her as if she was telling off someone beyond her scope of reach. Yet aware of his/her presence beyond their own encompasse of reality. Which caught both Kurszt and Walter by surprise.

“Uh… Hinokami?”,

“Huh? Right! Oh right! So how about it, Mr. Walter? You really have to forgive my VP here. He’s too gutsy for his own sake. And there were 10 ways you could have countered him in that stance, but you chose not to. You stuck with rules and won fair and square! That’s…. so cool!”

The velvet-haired girl tugged Walter’s arm whilst jumping up and down. As if she just encountered a celebrity. She was mighty impressed nonetheless. But something what she said had caught Kurszt’s curiosity.

“Ten? Hmm… I know she was observant, but 10 ways to counter? Yet he chose not to. Hmph.”

He felt a blow on his pride as he heard that. He was doubtful but the way Walter just looked at him, as he eased his stance earlier was proof enough that he could have dealt a more serious counter attack. Brushing it off, he just crossed his arms and waited for Kuromé to conclude the negotiations.

“Well, I would applaud you of your honesty. Instead of resulting to empty threats and petty intimidation, you guys just spearheaded right through. If you guys are all about helping both average people and novus, then I’ll still stand by my decision.”

Walter reverted his black arm into its pseudo-normal state and rolled back down his sleeve. He looked at both Kurszt and Kuromé with a sincere expression.

“Count me in.”

He said with conviction. Whilst beaming an eager smile.

“Kyaahahaha! Yatta! Hahahaha…!”

Kuromé, couldn’t contain her happiness, just launched herself towards Walter. Clinging unto him whilst rubbing her face unto his pecs, while fluttering her feet. She was like a kid who got her most desired birthday present. She may be third year but with her overtly cheerful attitude was comparable that of a 10 year old child.

“Uh… Hinokami let go of him now, this is embarrassing for me too! Have some common sense for the love of--”

Kurszt grabbed her feet, trying to pull her out of Walter. But despite her petite frame, her grip was something formidable about her. He felt like he’s babysitting more than being a club member.

While he was trying to pry off the overly-excited Kuromé off of Walter, the teen, on the other hand, was being shook his brains out by her. Despite her small frame, her strength is enough to even scramble Walter’s head whilst two bullies couldn’t.

Normally, he would’ve ripped her grip off him. But instead, Walter just gestured at her companion of letting her calm down. Kurszt then just let go of her feet and let him handle it.

“Kyah!”

Kuromé let out a tiny squeak as she was suddenly cradled by Walter. It surprised her a bit, her face flushed red as she was slowly put down to the ground, back on her feet.

“Ara ara~! Look at you, taking control~ at least ask me out first before carrying me to the threshold.”,

“*Ahem* You were saying…?”

Ignoring her sly comment, Walter crossed his arms and looked at her as if he was scolding a little girl. But instead of being shameful or resentful to what she did, Kuromé just beamed him with a wide smile. Not an ounce of shame can be seen nor felt.

“Heeeh… So anyway, glad you’re with us! Again, I’m Kuromé Hinokami, yoroshiku!”

The velvet-haired girl just grabbed Walter’s hand and began shaking it as if she’s pumping gas. She still hasn’t calmed down. She could power an entire space station with that energy, an entire metro zone even. But Kuromé was happy nonetheless.

“Uh… right, nice to meet you too. So uh… do I have to fill out a form or something or…?”

Not sure what to follow up next, Walter asked the both of them. He felt he was back in his old self. Kuromé then tilted her head and looked at her companion.

Eh? Chotto… have you been in a club before?”

The velvet-haired girl raised her brow and crossed her arms. Baffled how was he asking the obvious.

“Uh…”

The awkward disposition says it all. Walter rubbed his nape and looked away. Was he embarrassed? Kuromé looked back at Kurszt. He didn’t said a word in response, but rather just shook his head in gesture. Save Walter the embarrassment.

“Oh…”

A surprisingly quiet response by Kuromé, just out of discretion. She wasn’t aware of Walter’s status quo prior to this.

“Very well! Just meet Kurszt after class tomorrow, then he’ll lead you right into our… secret base! We’ll take care of the rest! Daijobu desu!

Kuromé smacked Walter’s back two times. A supposed pat of reassurance. The loud smacks looked like she could’ve broken someone’s spine with those pats, or maybe made someone threw up their innards or something. She was always overly dramatic.

And so as they conclude their business, Kuromé and Kurszt bid their farewell to Walter. As she waved with a big smile on her face, Kurszt suddenly spotted a black silhouette standing by the dark heights of the hospital building, shrouded completely by the blackness of the night. The silhouette looked like it was wearing a large hoop skirt and holding up a parasol.

As soon as he made eye contact with this mysterious silhouette, he felt a sudden spike of pressure, Nexus energy. Pure malice… an anomalus? Maybe, but something was off.

It was pitch black but he could feel--sense that this figure was glaring at him. Maybe even through him. An icy stare from the darkness. This must be the feeling when the abyss stares back at you.

Kurszt felt his body petrified, he couldn’t move nor breathe. The clock has only seconds passed but it felt like forever. Was this fear he was feeling right now? Slowly, he felt as if he’s nauseated, his strength being drained; he felt like he was gonna drop on his knees any moment now.

“Hey cool guy! Let’s go, shall we?”

Kuromé patted Kurszt on his back. It was a friendly gesture, but to Kurszt it felt like he really needed it. He snapped back into reality. He slumped a bit, almost wobbling down. The velvet-haired girl didn’t seem to notice, he just shook his head and followed her.

“Ah! Y-yes.”

He stuttered a bit on his words and began walking beside Kuromé, who seemed still oblivious to what happened to him. When he looked back at the spot where he saw the silhouette, as expected, it was gone. He sighed and rubbed his fore head. It felt like waking dream--no, a waking nightmare more or less.

“...so you saw it too.”

Kuromé suddenly blurted out. She spoke in a serious tone, while keeping her rather happy expression and carefree strut. This surprised the jacket-clad teen, and could only look at her as they kept walking.

“No doubt. It was them.”,

“Yes. The Nova Reform.”

The air and atmosphere became tense and heavy as they brought it up. It would seem that Kuromé has some background to who they were. And judging from her tone, she would’ve implied that she ran into them before or maybe knew one of the members of that underground school administration.

“No doubt, they’ll be coming for him. They’ve been watching since your scuffle with him earlier.”

Kuromé was referring to Walter, she had noticed someone was watching them. Even with her Virtua Field, their gaze could still peer through. Her cheerful face now felt like a mask, a facade, as she continued to speak in a rather low and serious tone. Kurszt was still awestruck to what happened to him earlier.

“Listen, since Walter’s agreed to join us. We would need to be extra careful from here on out.”,

“Understood.”,

“---and Kurszt…”

Kuromé paused and looked at her companion. Her cheerful expression now completely vanished, replaced with a glaring serious expression.

“I know it would be hard to ask a favor. But being the knight that you are, I could trust you with this duty. No matter what happens we must not let them harm Walter.”

She said as she leaned backwards a bit, her hands in her pocket. Unlike earlier, Kuromé was like an entirely different person with the way she was speaking right now.

Earlier, she was like an oblivious, childish, otaku ball of positive energy. Now she was like a mature battle-hardened, battle-scarred, pragmatic warrior queen whom has fought countless battles, a hard stoic woman. She was president of the SA Brigade for a reason; it is unknown to what she is capable of, she could even assume her Nex Frame like Kurszt. And he doesn’t follow her just to babysit her immature tendencies.

“Understood.”

Without question, Kurszt responded as if his honor and his life were on the line. Looks can be deceiving, in serious situations like this, Kurszt knew that Kuromé will rise above it and stomp it flat on its face.

“Let’s do our best, okay? Ganbaru, Kurszt-kun!”

And the next thing he knew, she was back to her usual self. He could only chuckle and shrug. Sometimes he wonders which was the real her. They then bid their farewells and went their separate ways.

---------------

Meanwhile…

Zenith Executive Towers. A tri-peak skyscraper located just one block away from Yorktown State University. One of the most expensive residences in the entire Yorktown Metro Zone.

A massive structure of 65 stories, it was riddled with cascading gold-tinted glass windows. It was also the most secure landmarks of the said metro zone. Only privileged nova citizens can live here, that includes superheroes.

Living on the 60[SUP]th[/SUP] floor, super executive suite, an entire floor of one room, 6 powerful figures. Apart from living the life of luxury, these figures define the term “bizarre”.

A brazen, tall man with a golden hair peered through the massive window pane just across the indoor pool; overlooking the city below. The night lights dot the landscape like stars from above, it was a beautiful and breath-taking view. He was dressed in a sleek, three-piece suit. A sharp gentleman.

Then not far from him were 4 figures sitting on a large, round glass table. These figures each held cards, they were playing some Old Maid to pass the time.

“...took you a while.”

The gentleman spoke as he felt a presence behind him. Sure enough, a woman dressed in victorian-style dress materialized out of a shroud, surrounded by fragrant flower petals. She was carrying a parasol that seem to match the motif of her outfit.

“Oh do beg your pardon. A lady needs to attend her business in her own time.”

The lady spoke with the utmost formality. Haughtiness and arrogance dripped from her tone, like a 15[SUP]th[/SUP] century noblewoman.

“Oy.. oy… We were supposed to have our meeting an hour ago.”

One of the 4 figures playing cards spoke. A man of a gruff and rather rude tone.

“Oh? Must have been a talking insect. Talking without permission.”

The parasol lady replied with utter hostility, snubbing and brushing him off as a mere insignificant being.

“Huh…!? Are ya seriously picking a fight right now, huh!?”

Taking offense to the response, this gruff man stood up from his seat. His massive frame easily towered over his fellow colleagues who seated with him on the table. But the other figures didn’t seem to be fazed by his intimidating presence, neither was the parasol lady.

“Oh my! The crickets sure are rude and noisy tonight!”,

“Why you little bitc---”,

“Both of you… please. Let us all be civil here.”

Before the two could clash, the golden-haired gentleman intervened. Immediately defusing the situation. His rather composed stature and gentle tone seemed to calmed them both down.

“Tch..! Whatever!”

The gruff man clicked his tongue in resignation and sat back down on his seat. The parasol lady just gave him a loud scoff.

“Now, I trust that you did not came here late just to tend to some evening tea party, didn’t you?”

The golden-haired man asked her. He was polite and calm about it too, it was almost flattering.

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

With a snap of her fingers, a bag of carefully-picked tea leaves appeared on her grasp.

“There was one curious leaf that caught my eye. Here.”

The parasol lady then pulled out one specific leaf from the small bag and handed it unto the golden-haired man. She placed the supposed leaf with her fist closed unto his palm and immediately closed his.

“Sigh… you and your tea parties.”

One of the 4 figures from the table spoke. Another woman, she spoke with a crisp french accent as she laid one card down the table.

As the golden-haired man took the “leaf” from the parasol lady, another figure made her entrance. She came bursting out of the pool.

As this figure emerged out of the pool, water splashed everywhere. The parasol lady opened her parasol to shield her from the huge splash. While the water was supposed to splash the table, it instantly froze itself before it could even reach the table. Frozen into a tall ice structure.

The figure that had emerged from the water landed right at the edge of the indoor pool. It was a woman of a bombshell figure. She sported a perfect hourglass figure, worthy of envy, with huge supple breasts that seem to fit well with her aqua blue, two-piece swimsuit. She had a long, flowing blonde hair that seem to glimmer while still soaked.

“Argh! Rude! Siegra, splashing indoors is a terrible etiquette for a lady!”

The parasol lady yelled at her. The woman who emerged from the pool was none other than Siegra Nidhogg. The one who approached Walter just earlier today. Which would mean the entire suite itself was the very base of operations of the Nova Reform. These powerful nova here its members.

Siegra just ignored the parasol lady’s protest and went to grab a nearby towel to dry her hair. She put on her long bath robe and noticed the golden-haired gentleman holding something.

“Hmm…”

Slowly, he opened his palm to take a good look at this “leaf”. And sure enough it was, but what caught his attention was what was underneath it: a piece of paper. His expression was shrouded as he read the content of the tiny piece of paper.

“---how unfortunate.”

The golden-haired man muttered. In his tone, a subtle dismay. Siegra and the parasol lady suddenly took a step back; the 4 figures on the glass table had to stop their game and cast their attention to him. They felt a sudden change in atmosphere, it was heavy and suffocating. The trace of gentleness in his presence earlier had vanished, in an instant.

Siegra and the parasol lady took a few steps back whilst their expression consumed by sheer terror. Then suddenly, a bright and massive bolt of lightning struck his palm. It was so bright that it was like the sun itself appeared before them within a split-second then disappeared. The heat reduced the leaf and the paper to ash and the chandelier explode into numerous glass shards.

The people around the golden-haired man didn’t even uttered a single word, as if they were being choked to keep them from saying something.

“And here I was willing to accept him with open arms and as my equal... Such shame, even with my consideration, my willingness to compromise…”

The golden-haired man walked back towards the massive window balcony peered outside. He looked down and set his eyes upon a single structure just in front of the tower, the Yorktown State University Campus. He was calm, but his colleagues were still uneasy about him. This was the first time they saw their leader... upset.

“And still he would choose to be with her. How interesting.”

The man crossed his arms, from what it looked like, he was more intrigued now than dismayed.

“Siegra.”,

“Yes.”

The sultry lady immediately stepped forward as he called her name. Disregarding all modesty aside, since she was still on her swimsuit.

“Tell me, you did offer a compelling condition when you talked to him. Am I right?”,

“Y-yes…”,

“Then why did he still chose them over us? Us! Who held the absolute endeavor for this curriculum. And in addition, our fine associate, Lady Nobuki Aoda, said that he had accepted their invitation in a heartbeat? How would you answer that, Siegra?”

The golden-haired man spoke with absolute authority. While he did had a gentle nature, he spoke with sheer intimidation; expressing his disappointment by questioning the performance of his subordinate.

Siegra was petrified, her knees quivering as she knelt down while keeping her head down. She couldn’t answer him, she was being scolded like a student who failed an exam in front of her parent. Though their leader did not resort to violence, the shame cut deeper unto the very fabric of her being. The parasol lady, Nobuki Aoda, watched in amusement as Siegra was scolded in front of everybody.

“Siegra!”

The golden-haired man raised his voice, yelling at her. Much to her and the other members’ shock.

“I… I don’t kno--”,

“You don’t know. Of course! You don’t know… sigh…”

Before Siegra could voice her response, she was cut off by her leader’s disappointed remark. The golden-haired man could only grumbled as he rubbed the creases on his forehead.

“Come on, you guys! I gave you one! Simple! Instruction! Invite him, if he wasn’t convinced or having second thoughts, convince him! Through valid pointers! That’s it!”

He cast a frustrated expression unto his colleagues while slapping the back of his hand. His raised tone had completely dominated the atmosphere.

Siegra could not contain it no longer, before she could even hold it back, it came rushing in. Tears. She bawled, hiccuping as she cried. She clutched her hands as she cried while still keeping her head down. She really felt like she had let her leader down.

“I… sorry…”

Siegra was crying so much, she couldn’t even form sentences. Nobuki just watched her anguish, utterly savoring the moment of weakness. One of the figures who sat by the glass table stood up, dropped her cards and rushed unto Siegra’s side.

“Oh mon dieu… hush…”

The woman with the french accent held Siegra close to her in attempt to console her from her failings. She gently patted her back and let Siegra cry her eyes out on her shoulder. To think a strong woman like her would be brought down to tears, seemed like even when they’re like gods among men, they still have feelings and weaknesses.

It was like a typical scene from a broken home. A dismayed patron looking down at his disappointing daughter. At this moment, Siegra would have preferred if Ruger had just raised his hand against her. She was always the achiever, never settling for less and aiming for perfection especially when it was for the Nova Reform.

But whenever she fails in something it just wounds her deeper than a stab to the heart that she would break down and cry. Humiliation wounds her so deeply.

“It was a mistake, forfeiting to Richie Marcus. But now he’s temporarily indisposed of. We should grab this opportunity while it’s still in front of us.”

The golden-haired man again turned his back from the commotion, aware that it would get him nowhere just asking Siegra on how her approach went with Walter. He clutched his right hand and his knuckles cracked as he did.

“About that, Ruger. Boggles the mind when you could’ve easily stomped that wannabe, Boulderdash and snatch his control over the school. Why forfeit? We could’ve just sent Don here and put him in the gutter without much resistance.”

Nobuki asked the golden-haired man, as she waltz over to his side. Considering Ruger, was in fact in an entire different league than Richie Marcus. He could’ve just easily trampled him if he really wanted to. But chose to forfeit in the end. Giving him the authority over the entire campus.

“Simple, my fair maiden. A mere 15 minutes of fame. I was… curious to how far and what heights will he climb just to keep his delusion of power over the school. Sure enough, I was not expecting someone to beat him so easily. Could have done a better job myself, but this man deserves recognition.”

Ruger Kings, aka Apollon, the absolute figurehead of the Nova Reform. Originally from the Super Society, a rival and first superhero team outside of the Supernova League. He was one of the youngest superheroes to be recognized. After going on hiatus on his superhero duties to pursue his academic goals, he settled down here in Yorktown Metro Zone. Using his power and influence, he gathered a team of nova to form his own team.

To others, Ruger was a kind-hearted and gentle-natured, a man of character, one of the few role models of the Superhero industry. But to some, he was a loose-cannon, an extremist and idealist. There were even nasty rumors were he would berate and toy with Normals or superheroes weaker than him.

“Sigh… such a shame. Pains me to think that he would be a casualty by the time we finally take action.”

Ruger uttered with a straight face, referring to Walter. He was all out of ways to express his disappointment in him, that he might resort to extreme measures.

“So… ‘bout this boy you were rootin’ for. Want me to check up on him?”

Another figure approached Ruger’s side. A massive and gruff giant of more than 8 feet tall. His massive frame towered over Ruger and Nobuki.

“Seems a lil’ curious that this guy was even worth your damn. I wanna see what’s he like… maybe. Heh… get to know him better?”

The man’s face was featureless. It was covered with a steel plate from his forehead to his jaw. It was a mask, but this mask was not even worn. It was bolted shut on to his skull. His voice was coming out of the tiny slots on his chin.

“I prefer not to touch him for now. But since we’ll need every measure to take action. Then please. And knowing you Mr. Don, I would advise that you refrain from killing him in the process.”

Ruger replied to Don, another member of the Nova Reform. Reluctant, but he gave him permission otherwise. It there was a reason for it, call it “curiosity”; whatever the reason was, he was ready to justify it as mere curiosity. He was aware of Don’s strength and violent tendencies, but he was curious nonetheless on much restraint was Don going to perform.

“Heh… Hehe! Ah don’t worry, I’ll make sure to get along with him. I’m a people-person of this group, remember?”

Laughing at Ruger’s statement, Don just waved off and exited the room. The way he said that last bit was tinged with a sadistic tone.

-------------------------------

Next day, at the SA Brigade club room.

It was afternoon, class hours concluded and club hours now in session. The first attendant, the early bird had entered the club room. It was the girl with the red blazer and scarf, Xiu Qiang. The other members were either still wrapping up or had to tend to other business before attending to club hours.

She was always the early bird both during club hours and class hours. A bit of a loner, while being apart from her best friend, Kuromé, she was one quiet individual. Deadpan and emotionless, and seem to dislike crowds or crowded places.

“...”

Xiu ceased the quiet opportunity to pass the time, while waiting for the other members of her club. She pulled up a thick book from her side and began reading it. It was a very serene scenery, since their club room was situated on the far reach of the hall, almost zero to nil noise can be heard. It was like a solitary chamber without Kuromé’s loud presence, but Xiu welcomes the peace and quiet.

“...?”

As she finished reading two pages of her book, the scarfed girl heard approaching footsteps. It must be Kuromé or the others. She hoped to have more time reading but the short solace was to her satisfaction. As the door opened, she tucked her book back into her bag.

“Uh… excuse me? Is this the SA Brigade?”

An unfamiliar voice spoke by the door, hearing it froze Xiu for a moment. She was not expecting visitors today. She couldn’t respond out of nervousness. Slowly, she just turned her head to face this guest. Half her face was covered by her scarf.

“Uh--hi! I’m Walter Olven, a new member here. I was supposed to be accompanied by Kurszt but he was called by Hinokami. Am I in the right room?”

It was Walter, poking his head from outside while holding a piece of paper given to him by Kurszt. Written on it was the room number of their club room. The teen did a double check on the designated room number posted outside and what was written on the paper.

“Ah… mm…”

Xiu just nodded, barely even uttering a word. Half her face may be covered with her scarf but she felt her cheeks radiate heat as she laid her eyes on him. She was dumbfounded, her face flushed red.

“Can I sit here?”

Walter was in a good mood today, he politely asked Xiu. But same cannot be said with her, she was utterly consumed with a nervous spell.

“Ah…”

Again, she could barely utter a proper response. Her heart was racing as if being suffocated.

“Thanks.”

Accepting her reply as a ‘yes’, Walter pulled up a chair and sat beside her. Xiu inched away to give way to him. The room was a bit cramped but that only worsened her situation.

About five minutes passed, Xiu was restless. It was only a short while but it felt like hours. She was just prodding her thumbs together for quite a while now, wishing Kuromé would just arrive now to break this unnerving tension.

“So uh…”,

“...!”

The scarfed girl gasped and turned to him. This was bad, he was about to initiate conversation with her. Her thoughts swam around, she was silently freaking out.

“I’m Walter, you are…?”

Walter reintroduced himself to Xiu. With a warm a expression on his face, he was eager to meet new faces and the other members of his new club. He thought being loose and friendly would make a good first impression.

“Ah--ah--ah…!”

Xiu was in utter torment, suffering to even talk to him, why? She asked herself, she had no trouble talking with people who approach him but this was the first time she felt tongue-tied and nervous. She could only question the feeling, beads of cold sweat began trickling down her forehead.

“Hmm? Are you alright? You’re growing pale.”

Walter finally noticed something was wrong. He noticed her face was hot red and was sweating profusely. He leaned over and slowly put his hand on her forehead to check if she had a fever.

All this feeling welling up inside her, her mind and heart screamed as she saw him drew closer to touch her. Xiu’s feet twitched and was about to deny Walter of the gesture.

“Ah-Ah… AH!!!”,

“Woah! Oof…!!!”

Her feet jerked so suddenly that she accidentally kicked the base of Walter’s chair, causing it to topple. Her wild movements also caused her chair to suddenly topple back, slipping on the freshly cleaned floor. She fell flat on her back while the teen fell on top of her. Thankfully, he held his arms to the ground to somehow support his weight, keep her from being flattened by him.

Walter grunted and slowly lifted his upper body up with his arms, Xiu was still underneath. Both their bodies were pressed together, the teen pinned the scarfed girl to the ground.

“Are you alright? Are you hurt?”,

“Uugh… Sorry--”

Her eyes were clenched closed as she felt a pain on her bum, nothing serious. But as she opened her eyes, she was again petrified and was now way worse than earlier. Xiu found herself lying on the floor with Walter on top of her. Her face lit red like a light bulb, he was too close to her personal space. She caught a glance of his tight buttoned-down shirt, her eyes sprang wide open.

Then just outside, Kuromé was making her way towards their club room, happy and jolly as she always. Eager to start the club session, she came bursting forth from the door.

“Good afternoon, my loyal sub….jects?”

Kuromé suddenly paused, what stood before her took her by surprise. Walter on top of her best friend, Xiu.

“Ah! Senpai!”

The scarfed girl was faced with sheer dread as she saw her best friend witnessing this unlikely scene. The velvet-haired girl just stared at the both of them, her eyes locked on the scene.

“Heh~~”

Then suddenly, her expression was ripped into a mischievous grin. She turned about and casually walked out of the door. As she got out, she saw Max and Kurszt on their way towards the club room.

“Oh, hi pres--wha!?”,

“Oy oy… what the hell, Hinokami”

The two was taken by surprise as Kuromé both wrapped her arms around their shoulders and lead them away from the club room, still with that coy smirk on her face.

“Well boys~ would be rude to interrupt a love nest at this point and time.”


She giggled. The two boys looked at each other, figuring out what she was saying.

“AAAAHHHH….!!! SENPAI NO!!! IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!!!”,

“HAHAHAHAHA!!! XIU’S GOT A BOYFIE!! HAHAHA!!!”

Xiu came barreling out of the door, screaming her lungs out. She began to give chase to her best friend, while Kuromé was just laughing all the way, teasing her with all her energy. Prancing across the busy hall like a kid playing on the pastures.

“Goodness those two…”,

“Heh… Heh…”

Kurszt just scratched the back of his head while Max chuckled nervously at the scene. Behind them, stood Walter. He leaned against the doorway and watched the wacky scene unfolded. He crossed his arms and sighed, then let out a smile.

“Looks like it’s gonna be a long year. But if this is what’s gonna be like everyday. Maybe it’s not so bad.”

Walter thought to himself, happy and eager for the days to come. Now begins his term as a member of the SA Brigade.

(Queue ED song)


To be continued...
 
Last edited:

Ruby Rose

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Oh my goodness the ED song really fit with Hinokami's scene at the end. Can we confirm Hinokami for best girl? Loljk. Xiu is so adorable, is she dandere or kuu?

And there's something about Ruger Kings, he has a placed respect on Walter. Yet he's willing to run him down maybe he acknowledges him as a rival? Something really foreboding about him. Ah so many new characters, can't wait! So far, I loooove the different POV of this chapter, especially Hinokami's. We get to see the other character's view of Walter.
 

Tyrant Raver

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Oh my goodness the ED song really fit with Hinokami's scene at the end. Can we confirm Hinokami for best girl? Loljk. Xiu is so adorable, is she dandere or kuu?

And there's something about Ruger Kings, he has a placed respect on Walter. Yet he's willing to run him down maybe he acknowledges him as a rival? Something really foreboding about him. Ah so many new characters, can't wait! So far, I loooove the different POV of this chapter, especially Hinokami's. We get to see the other character's view of Walter.
Ahahaha... Well too early to say yet. I did enjoyed fleshing her out, and I already have her complete character structure in my head. She's gonna be the Kamina, or Gainax-esque character here.

Xiu... hmm... well you could say she's kuudere majority of the time. Just borderline dandere to Walter, because reasons. :)

Regarding Ruger, you'll know soon enough. Let's just say, Walter's the only one who can push his buttons. Walter joining SA Brigade has already flipped the switch. It won't be long.

Already working on Chapter 5 along with the prelude to the major story arc, plus the first sub-arc to the said major arc (hope that wasn't as confusing lol), please look forward to it. :)
 

KingdomKey

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Upon reading Walter's Super Hero Files, it occurred to me we don't know what Wyva's weaknesses are. Will we learn about heroes and villains weaknesses at some point? I assume we'll find out later on! :)

Anyways, I'm really happy Walter joined the SA Brigade. I almost thought Kurome was always happy go lucky until the Nova Reform was spying on them. So it's really cool to see how serious she is as a leader of their club. Furthermore, loved the battle between Walter and Kurstz. I was holding my breath, and on the edge of my seat in suspense with how the battle grew more intense with Walter holding back his powers till the very end. And Ruger Kings, what a intimidating villain he'd make. I feel like we'll be seeing more of his fellow club members in future chapters. I wonder why Walter matters so much to him in terms of power and strength. It'd be cool to see them go toe to toe. Either way, loved reading the new chapter too! <3
 

Tyrant Raver

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Chapter 5: Flight

After the wacky first impressions and horsing around, Kurome gathered the members of the SA Brigade Club, which now included Walter and began conducting a proper introduction for him in their cramped club room. There, Kuromé went about her spiel and presented their new member, Walter to the rest of the club.

“Class 2-D, Walter Olven, looking forward to working with you.”

The teen was prim and proper with his introduction, he greeted Max and Xiu with a sincere smile and enthusiasm.

“Maxi Jesse Fellows, good to have you!”

Max shared the same air of warm welcome to the new member. He stood up from his seat, and reached to shake Walter’s hand. Walter obliged and gave him a firm handshake with his right hand.

“Whoa…”

A small gasp escaped Max’s throat, as he felt a jolt on his hand on the handshake. The teen quickly noticed and immediately eased his grip.

“Ah! Sorry, I still don’t know what my new strength was.”,

Walter quickly apologized, self-conscious about having a bad impression on his first day on the club.

“Ah no, no, no! Not at all! I was just taken aback by the Nexus surge.”

Reassuring him that nothing of malice was done, Max looked at his hand that had shook Walter’s. He was in awe.

“I felt your Nexus, it’s pretty something!”

Half-flattery and half-truth, Max put it in words how he felt. But it actuality, he couldn’t describe it. The surge he felt was foreboding, powerful and… unreal? He just felt a glimpse of it and yet his danger senses screamed.

“<I see now, why pres wanted him on board. I would hate to have him as a rival or enemy.>”

Max thought to himself. Mighty convinced of why Kurome had a special eye on him since the incident. And also clearing the doubt of how he had beaten Richie Marcus.

Walter then just responded with a wry smile and a chuckle, he was happy nonetheless. His attention then turned to the scarfed girl he met earlier in… an awkward circumstance. Seeing her still flustered from the event, eyes sidelong, expression worried and pressing her index fingers together.

“Hey, Ms. Xiu! Mr. Olven’s waiting on ya.”

Noticing the new member’s eye on her, Max nudged the scarfed girl to respond.

“Ah! Mm…”

A bit hesitant, but not in a mean-spirited way, Xiu slowly stood up from her seat. Her knees trembling and lips shaking under her scarf. Blushing from ear-to-ear, she slowly raised her hand to reach for Walter’s. Although hesitant, she just found her hand moving to reach his.

“Uh… Ahhngg… Xiu Qiang. Salutations.”

Hand visibly shaking, she held hers in an awkward pace. Walter just smiled and noticed her disposition, which he found somewhat adorable and endearing. She reminded him of him before all these shenanigans that had ensued.

Careful not to give her an unintentional hard grip, Walter reached for her hand and faced her palm downwards and gently placed her hand over his, then placing his right on top of it.

“Xiu Qiang, nice to finally meet you. Looking forward to be on board!”
<Xiu Qiang, it was nice to finally meeting you, my love. Looking forward for being with you, forever on board.>

Walter gave a proper greeting, but in Xiu’s ear’s the statement came out much more different. She was so flustered that she was practically hallucinating. She’s seeing Walter surrounded by fragrant flowers, eyes sparkling like flawless jewels, flowing silken hair, and smile so bright that it takes her breath away…

“Aaahhh…”

Flushed crimson, Xiu slumped back on her chair. Her eyes swimming, and holding up her hand that Walter shook, she was lost in her own little world. Walter’s touch still lingered upon her hand and her mind.

“Umm… She’s not sick, is she?”

Walter tilted his head in confusion, but a bit concerned about Xiu.

“Ah… ahaha… She’s shy on people.”

Letting out a rather nervous laugh, Max spoke up for Xiu. With the introductions over with, Walter took a seat next to Xiu and faced to turn to Kurome in their full attention.

“Sah! Ippo no hajimaru. To start, since we still have time. I think we shall now start our campaign with or without the last member slot being filled in.”

Kurome quickly took control over the atmosphere and addressed the members of the SA Brigade on their main task at hand. With a big bright smile on her face and eagerness on her voice, she was bursting with positive aura.

“Wait, we’re not gonna filled that spot? But what about--”,

“We’ll just tackle it when the opportunity presents itself.”

Max was about to point that out but Kurszt quickly shot it down. Max didn’t pressed any further, he was aware that if he is interjected by Kurszt, means there’s something of a bigger priority just ahead. Walter was about to point that out too, but he decided to save it after the discussion. The jacket-clad boy nodded to Kurome, prompting her to continue.

“There’s no time beating around the bush. Word has spread of Richie’s vacating the seat, indisposed temporarily. First and foremost, to tell you all the truth, there was no ‘Student Council’ to begin with, since Richie’s hold over the entire school. After the school board dissolved the former council body, under his behest, Richie Marcus made himself the sole enforcer of the Yorktown State Student Body.”

Beginning her statement, Kurome still has that bright smile on her face. If these were normal individuals, they would’ve just shrugged her off. But even though she’s putting a cheerful air for her beloved club, the contents of her statement were not to be taken lightly.

And it was true, Walter thinking about it, Richie’s influence had completely overshadowed the majority of the school authority. He knew that he held the Student Council and even the administration on his palm, but hearing that he hogged the majority to the point that it dissolved the Student Council was news to him. This was the first time he’s hearing the extent of Richie Marcus’ former influence.

“Although, many people-- particularly the Nova populace of the student body -- could have taken him out easily. They chose not to, which I admit was too small-minded. Bakagemashita.”

Kurome’s voice intentionally trailed off at that last sentence.

“...because I know, I did too. I was so focused on higher matters that I failed to notice the damage done and suffering under his shadow. Hence, why I formed this club to correct that mistake. It was an affront to my former colleagues but as a Superhero, I just could not let it stand. That’s why I invited people and nova alike. But most of them were hesitant to even oppose or lift a finger on the matter.”

The velvet-haired girl continued. Walter continued to listen and reflected on it. He was fully aware that not even the nova populace of the student body would even challenge Richie Marcus outright. He knew that there are others that can easily stop him, but chose to be ignorant about it. Hearing that Kurome herself decided to step up on the matter moved him a bit. He would doubt her but her words had weight unto them, she was sincere on the matter.

“But we all know what happened! Before we could take a step, someone else with a stronger resolve stepped up in our place and just socked Boulderdash where it hurts! Pow!”

She jerked her fist towards Walter’s direction, a way of pointing him out.

“Ah… ahaha… well I--”,

“Ah, ah! Say no more, my stud-muffin. Not saying it’s a bad thing but it was refreshing to see that we aren’t the only ones who shared the same goals and resolve. That’s why we just have to have you!”,

“Well if you put it that way… I guess I’m grateful.”,

“Desshou?”

After exchanging weird pleasantries to Walter for a bit, Kurome continued the discussion.

“Ahem. Well, which brings us now to the present. Since Richie Marcus is now out of the picture, most societies and clubs are now moving in to compete for that vacant spot that he took for granted and left behind. They’re now moving in to secure their own place of being the Student Council. And being the former Personal Relations Officer of the said council, it’s a pretty big deal!”

Kurome spread her arms in gesture to emphasize her statement. Particularly on being the Student Council.

It was true, in the curriculum of Yorktown State University, the Student Council holds power over the majority. The majority, being the entire student body. They work hand-in-hand and was treated as equal by the school administration; as they represent the student body itself, such is the political hierarchy of the school.

For Walter, it was no surprise that anyone would vie for a position in the council. But he wasn’t aware that a certain school society or club can fill in that leading role. He guessed after Richie Marcus lead the dissolution of it, changes were made.

“Like I said, various clubs and societies had their eyes on that spot. We can bet that they’re gonna fight it out tooth and nail just to get to that goal.”

Kurome added, the air of optimism around her seem to diminish little by little as she was getting to the meat of the discussion. Couldn’t contain his inquiry any longer, Walter spoke up.

“...Are we talking about-- a civil war?”

The moment he asked, the members of the SA Brigade Club turned their eyes on him. Even Kurome was taken off-guard. But she immediately regained her footing.

“Kukuku… This is why I like you, Wal~ter, you’re the sharpest sword on the scabbard. That’s putting it bluntly, but yes! That’s the gist of it.”

Kurome pretty much confirmed it. Even though her positive aura was still lit like a torch, the same cannot be said to the others. The fact that it was gonna be a war against other clubs/societies means things might not end well. Everyone except for Kurome and Walter grew listless by the revelation. Until…

“But, that’s just scratching the surface. The real problem…”

The overtly bright smile and cheery aura vanished, Kurome’s expression relaxed and her brows slowly knitted. Her eyes now radiating with a grim foreboding. This seem to now fill Walter with unease.

“The Nova Reform.”

Everyone just went silent as she mentioned it. The once bright atmosphere courtesy of Kurome’s charisma seemed to set like the dusk beyond the horizon.

“They’re now moving to either absorb, integrate, or worst… absolve clubs and societies.”,

“What? But i-if they do that--”,

“Yes, given their influence, and power, they will effectively seize control both the school administration and the student council. The school will be theirs for the taking.”

Kurome confirmed Max’s fears. It made them even more weary and wary about the terrible consequence that hangs above the school if the Nova Reform successfully fulfills their goal.

Walter knew this very well, one of the Nova Reform approached him. He knows not of what they were and what were they after, but he had a feeling that they will bring doom to the student body. Much much worse than Richie Marcus’.

“Walter, I know you had a run-in with one of them. But let me run you down of their goal, their ultimate goal is for normal citizens to be ousted here in Yorktown State University. They are the everything that is wrong with the Superhero and Nova populace. That or utter discrimination towards every non-novus here in the school, the ones that they should be serving and protecting, to be cast out. They seek to reform the school into their own idealistic image, all for the sake of vanity. It makes me want to hurl just thinking about it.”

Kurome slowly clenched her fists on the table while bowing her head. Walter’s attention to her was in full. This was the first time he was seeing Kurome in her serious state. She then approached his seat and took his hand and held it with both her palms.

“That’s why, Walter. You were the one I chose, because you represent everything we fight for in this club. We want to protect people who shared your resolve and people who were willing to stand up against this oppression and discrimination. Remind them that they are not alone and we the novus can also stand side-by-side with them through the face of one-sided adversity. That is why I founded this club. This is the SA Brigade.”

The velvet-haired girl’s iron will and steel resolve pierced through Walter. The statement moved him, due to the fact that even though that he had given up on Superheroes and Nova’s vanity and discrimination towards citizens. There were still others who wished to fulfill their roles as protectors of the weak and upholders of justice. Not for vanity, fame, or money, but for keeping them safe from harm.

Soon the other members placed their hands on top of Kurome’s; Xiu, Max and Kurszt. All of them facing Walter with a reassuring smiles, let him know that he’s not alone anymore. Walter can’t help but smile as he was touched by the gestures. He met Kurome’s gaze, and she smiled warmly at him.

“Ah… mm… ahem!”

Walter’s face suddenly felt hot, feeling self-conscious about it, he quickly averted his eyes away from her. Seconds more, his crush on her might re-ignite, since Kurome was once before during her stint on the Student Council and Cheerleading Pep Squad.

Breaking off, they immediately returned to their seats. Kuromé pulled up a large paper roll and unfurled it behind her, and hanged it on the wall. She then brandished her wooden sword and tapped it on the post, like a teacher about to start her class session. The content was a list of clubs and societies here in Yorktown State University.

On the list, there were two highlighted names, the Nova Reform and of course, the SA Brigade. The Reform was highlighted with blue ink, while theirs was red. Using her wooden sword, Kuromé highlighted other clubs and societies with blue and linked it all together to the Nova Reform. The results were troubling to say the least.

Not counting the newly-formed clubs of this year. There were 7 major clubs and societies all in all, except for the sports club which comprised of 4 clubs altogether. Looking at the list, the Nova Reform has already integrated the majority, the entire sports club specifically. The rest that were marked blue were known supporters of the Reform. And the rest unmarked were either fiercely independent to compete for the Student Council spot, or just indifferent.

“Sah! Here’s our main objective!”

Kurome was back at her jubilant old self, pointing the post with her wooden sword.

“According to my sources, these unmarked clubs were either oblivious or indifferent-- or also competing for the student council spot. The Nova Reform is working to integrate the remaining clubs into their side. From what I have heard, they also resorted to force these clubs into submission, which is a BIG no-no for me. In order for us to secure our place as the Student Council…”

She laxed her stance and held her wooden sword in front like a a cane.

“...we would just do what we do! Be ourselves! Be the SA Brigade!”

Max and Walter tilted their heads to Kuromé’s plan of action. It was too vague to begin with, Max even thought that she might be putting on airs again. Both of them were about to ask their queries, but they were cut off by Xiu.

“So you mean to say, senpai. By ‘Be Ourselves’, you mean help them?”

The scarfed girl asked in earnest. She was sure that was it. Kurome giggled in response.

“Kukuku… Sharp as ever, Xiu-chan! Basically yes, we can earn or win their support by helping them. In any way that we can, of course. Even if it means doing odd-jobs for them, then so be it! A duel of destiny? Accepted! A test of strength? Sure! Anything under the sun to help them.”

Kurome began pacing in front of them as she explained the details of their plan of action.

“But what if they refused us outright?”

Walter raised his hand and stated his query. They knew that would be a most likely case, it was an inevitable question.

“Ah, but you see, my stud-muffin, not all problems are at face value. Persistence is key. And from my experience, it’s not just the Student Council who suffered during Richie Marcus’ stint. Through his constant meddling and pestering, he forced these clubs to answer to him. Taking all the credit from them for his personal gain.”

Kurome answered in earnest. This revelation was also news to Walter. He knew very well that the Student Council was effectively indisposed of during Richie’s control over the whole school but to hear that he had abused even the school clubs, it nonetheless disgusted him. The more he hears about the negatives of Richie’s rule, the more of the reason of him being defeated was justified.

“I’m sure most of them are still recovering from the ordeal. That’s why the Nova Reform quickly exploited that lingering weakness in order for them to ‘integrate’ on their cause. So like I said, persistence!”

Not before long, her expression tensed up again, whilst peering at the window. Watching the sun finally set. Gripping the hilt of her wooden sword tightly.

“We can’t let them win, so I’m counting on all of you.”

Her tone had a sense of finality. Which meant all that’s left was to conclude the club session. Kurome then eased her expression and turned her attention back to her colleagues.

“We’ll start by Monday, since it’s Friday today. Now! To finish, I would be assigning you to your designated clubs and posts. Two of you will handle the negotiations with our first club, and the rest of us will scout out the next. We would need to keep track of them, if we were to help them. And so by Monday…”

Kurome then slowly sheathed back her wooden sword and thrust her finger forward towards Walter.

“...Walter! You will handle the negotiations. Along with Max!”

Walter was caught off-guard. He almost fell over his chair with the sudden declaration.

“Wh-what? But I’m not really good at--”,

“Ah daijoubu! Daijoubu wa yo! you’ll be fine! I have faith in you. And besides, you will not handle it alone, so I also chose Max to assist you with this task.”

Kurome immediately replied. It was not really that reassuring but him being accompanied by one of them at least eased his tension a bit.

“Let’s do our best, Mr. Olven.”

Max offered his hand once again, with a bright smile on his face.

“Well… Alright. Let’s.”

For some reason, all that nervousness seem to dissipate as he saw the determination on Max’s eyes. Despite the dire situation, all of his colleague seemed to be all fired up. A new fire lit on his heart, Walter could really learn a lot from them. Maybe because this was the first time in a while, that someone was counting on him.

“<I won’t let them down.>”

He just asserted to himself. The first time, he ever felt that he wasn’t alone.

“As for your designated club… well just report here first thing during club hours. Minna ja ne!”

With that closing statement, Kurome dismissed them. They dispersed and went their separate ways. It was 6 in the afternoon, there was still time.

“I should visit her again.”

First thing that entered his mind. He thought about Thea still at the hospital. And tomorrow, on the weekend, would be the day she would be released from being hospitalized.

-------

Along the way to the hospital, Walter stopped by the nearby candy shop and bought a small basket of sweets. Since he already brought her some flowers, he thought it would be a great sentiment. Eating sweets did cheer him up in his lonesome, and Walter was hoping Thea could share the same thing.

Arriving at the hospital building, he was already greeted by nurses and doctors who tended to Thea while she was still here. It has been a short while but Walter’s presence was already known in the hospital. He wasn’t sure if it’s a bad or good thing, but one conclusion came to his mind that him visiting a girl he saved, even tho Thea was the one who saved him, was a rare thing nowadays.

As he spotted the Thea’s room, he looked at his basket of sweets again. Nervous and excited to share it with her. As he slowly opened the door, an unpleasant figure met him face to face. A towering white armor with flowing luminescent hair. It wasn’t a person but rather an armored construct, or maybe even a Nexus Manifestation.

“...!”

Walter was startled by this figure’s sudden appearance. But what really startled him was that if this construct was standing there the whole time, why didn’t he sensed it? He was about to take stance, when he noticed that the construct stepped aside, making way for him as if it was waiting for him. As the construct stepped aside, a sleeping Thea came into his view.

He took caution of stepping inside Thea’s room and slowly closed the door. The door clicked and the construct dissipated into a fog-like translucent form and returned to Thea’s body.

“I see…”

So Walter was right, it was Thea’s Nexus Manifestation. A sigh of relief escaped his throat. For a moment there, he thought she was in danger. He was glad to be wrong in this case.

Nexus Manifestation is somewhat similar to Nex Frame and Nex Arms. Nexus Manifestations always appear as living constructs, sometimes even sentient to a degree. They stand as avatars of the wielder, and moves in-sync with them. To summon one, the novus must have either complete mastery of their Nexus energy or have a unique Nexus trait.

Nova with Nexus Manifestations are extremely rare and often more powerful than a full-fledged Novus, or Superhero. To learn how to manifest one takes a lot of time and not to mention deadly if taken for granted.

He approached her bed and saw Thea sleeping soundly.

“Ahaha…”

Walter then went into a quiet chuckle as he saw her sleeping in a rather messy bed. She was still in the hospital and yet she slept like she’s in her own bedroom. Books scattered about the sheets, the blanket and sheets thrown into disarray, it was a mess.
Walter picked up one of the books scattered about, and inspected it. One book to another.

“Novels huh?”

It looked like she had been reading novels. Romance, fantasy, and adventure. Though he was more into comic books, manga, or magazines, Walter found it quite endearing.

He sat on the bed side, put the basket of sweets beside the flower vase and lifted the blanket to properly tuck her in. He didn’t want to wake her up on such notice so he thought he could just be here beside her.

As Walter put the blanket over Thea’s shoulder, she slowly reached for a pillow beside her and snuggled it tight. She wiggled over the sheets while hugging the pillow tight.

“mmm… mnya~ oh Walter~”

Thea began sleep-talking, she was dreaming. Walter’s attention shot forward as he heard his name in her sleep.

“Hmhm… wonder what she’s dreaming abou--”,

“Hee… Hee… Not there~ Hee Hee~”

And innocent thoughts were tested, much to Walter’s embarrassment. A chill jolted through his spine as he shuddered to think what she was dreaming about.

“Ahem…!”

Saving her the embarrassment, Walter decided to wake her up by coughing up loudly.

“Waah!”

The sudden cough sent Thea jumping 10 centimeters from the bed, as if she had woken up on a bed of nails.

“Wha--who--oh Walter!”

Thea immediately cast her gaze unto Walter, who was quietly sitting on the bed side, wide-eyed and blinking rapidly.

“Uh… how long have you been sitting there?”

Unknowingly, she immediately asked the question she shouldn’t. Her face now bright crimson up to her ears. Walter was too, but not as flustered as she was.

“Y-y-you got it all wrong! I-I… I was just dreaming of our… u-umm… last homework! Yes, yes! Our last homework! I-It’s not like I was dreaming of us running---AAAAHHHH!!! No, no, no, nope!”

Thea began stammering loudly on her own words as she poorly constructed an excuse for her sleep-talking earlier. Walter wasn’t even asking, nor spoke about it but decided to just naturally let go, he just broke into laughter.

“Wh-What’s so funny!? Hmmmmph…!”

Feeling insulted by his laugh, Thea puffed up her cheeks. She was now more angry than flustered.

“Ah no, no. I’m just glad. With that energy, I’m rest assured that you’re fine now.”

Walter scratched his head as he gave her a wry smile. It was true, seeing her like this really puts his worries to rest.

“Geez… you should’ve at least knocked before you entered.”,

“Ahaha… Sorry. Just didn’t want to interrupt your beauty sleep. Oh! Yeah I bought these on the way here.”

Defusing the situation, Walter reached for the small basket of sweets and laid it on her lap. He thought she would’ve been delighted but her reaction was… quite unexpected.

“Umm… What are these?”

Thea just stared at the basket, brows raised and head tilted. She picked up one of the candies and looked at it like some kind of alien artifact or ancient relic.

“Uh… Those are candies. You… never had one before?”,

“...”

Walter was about to tell her to drop the act, but from the looks of it, he can see that she was thoroughly baffled by it. The way she inspected it, and even smelling it, it looked like she was appraising a newly discovered cut of gem.

“Have you not tried one before?”

Walter asked out of curiosity, no malice yet no consideration, unintended. Thankfully, Thea didn’t took it to offense and just shook her head lightly in response. Walter then took one candy from the basket.

“Here…*munch* try it.”

He unwrapped it and slipped it in his mouth. He gave her a nod, prompting her to try one.

“...”

Thea carefully unwrapped one then slowly slip it in her mouth. The solid strawberry drop slowly sucked in her lips making its way to her tongue.

“Well? It’s good right?”

Walter asked with a wry smile, somehow sweat began to bead on his forehead. He shouldn’t be nervous at all, yet he was for no particular reason.

“...hm.”

She was silent, letting out an abrupt and quiet hum. Slowly, her head tilted down, her eyes blank and expression unreadable. Soon cold sweat began to trickle down Walter’s temple and his face beginning to drain of color, he was in denial seconds ago, but now he’s really nervous.

“Umm… Thea? Did you not like it? I-I’m sorry I just thought--huh?”

He was about to apologize but he suddenly noticed her shoulders beginning to tremble, her hands slowly balling into fists, wrinkling her blanket.

“Uh, Thea? What’s--”,

“.…”

Soon tears began pouring down her cheeks. She was clenching her eyelids as if to stop the flow of her tears, gritting her teeth as if to stop her from bawling.

Walter was in a slight panic, fear and worry now fighting over his emotions, guilt. He tried to speak but it seemed like the words were stuck on his throat. Then slowly, he just reached out his hand to pat her shoulder. He hesitated a bit, but that was the only thing he could do.

“Uwah… ha.. ah… Walter…! Waah…”

As he did, Thea threw herself in his arms and wrapped hers over his shoulders. The raw emotion and tears had been released like a dam bursting. This took him off-guard, Walter didn’t know what to do or what he did for her to act like this. So he just smiled and gently patted the back of her head.

“Hey now…”

He whispered softly as he tried to calm her down. He could feel his polo was now getting soaked with tears on his shoulder, but he didn’t mind. He didn’t know what caused her into brink of tears, but he knew at that moment, he had but only comfort her.

To Thea, it wasn’t the sweet taste of the candy that drove her to tears. But the sudden realization that came shortly after she tasted it. It was the fact that Walter cared enough to give it to her.

=======

All her life, living in the Yellow Zone, her life was nothing but suffering. Things were not handed to her even as a matter of reward, she had to fight to earn it. Whether it would be food, clothes, or a roof over her head, life in the Yellow Zone was like something a little girl should never experience. She would eat as minimum as small scraps of food every day, with rags on her back. And every night she would be tortured by hunger, waiting for it to subside before she could fall asleep.

As for her parents, she didn’t have one. She did not have any memories of them nor did she have any prior to the White Storm event. Like most nova were. Since pretty much the White Rays has wiped their memories clean prior to the said event. Hence why majority of original nova have no recollection of their former lives.

As she come of age, she had awakened her Nexus Trait. It was then, she was picked up by one of the big anarchy factions within the Yellow Zone, which comprised of both exiled Novus and Anomalus as its members. She would serve as one of their attending medical personnel. Thea doesn’t have medical experience nor certificate, but her Nexus Trait to heal and restore made her a good asset.

It was supposed to be a turn-around for her but the members of the faction aren’t really a fellowship nor a brotherhood. Members would always be at each other’s throats, especially when alcohol is thrown into the mix. Its male members, drunk, sober or just plain malicious, would take advantage of her and abuse her. They would leave her food and money in return but she never wanted it. She was also offered a place in a harem several times, but she would out-rightly refused it every time.

Then Thea just decided that she had enough. One fateful day, she took advantage of the faction leader and manage to steal one solid gold bar from the vault. Then came night, she snuck in a cargo rail car without knowing where it would take her. She did not have a lot of things to bring with her, just the gold bar she stole from the faction’s vault. Then finally arriving to the Yorktown Metro Zone.

Using the gold bar she stole, she sold it for a hefty amount of 450,000 Metro Dollars; almost half-a-million. But even with that amount, it was no closer to the net worth of living in at least middle class here in the Metro Zones. She spent the majority of it for her rent, and her tuition, the rest were for her necessities. She had live with a tight budget but it was better than her old life was.

Thea has been living her in Yorktown for a month now, she was still on the process of adjusting and getting used to the lifestyle here.

=========

This was the first time, someone had given her something without asking anything in return. She felt like she was being rewarded for the first time. It felt bliss from the bottom of her heart.

“Are you okay now?”

Walter asked as he noticed that her sobbing has finally subsided. He relaxed his arms, he didn’t want to pry himself away from her thinking it would be rude.

Thea loosened her arms and slowly broke her hug to Walter, their gazes met but she didn’t overreact. She kept her head down, her eyes red and her cheeks wet from tears.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just couldn’t help it. It’s not your fault, do not worry. I’m just happy.”

She held her sleeves with her four fingers and wiped her eyes with it. As she did, a single tear rolled down her cheek. Walter quickly reached his hand and wiped it with his finger.

“...”

The sudden feel of Walter’s palm sent a jolt through Thea’s body. It was rough but it felt warm against her soft and smooth cheeks. Somehow she felt… secured. It was different from what she used to experience. Her face began to fill with hot pink color up to her ear.

“I’m sorry too if I put you off like that.”,

“No! No! I-It’s fine. I… just… eheh…”


And just like that, she was back to her old self again. She had to admit, it was so unlike her to have an emotional outburst like that.

So the two went on their small talk, since it was the weekend, Friday. They had time to make conversation, which Walter looked forward to.

“So by the way, Thea, been meaning to ask you this.”,

“Yes?”

Walter decided to change topic, something he was curious for a while now. He was a little nervous to bring it up, but with Thea’s full attention to her, he decided to press on.

“Well… since you are a Novus yourself. What’s your Nexus Trait? Or rather what powers can you exhibit?”

Even though she’s from the Yellow Zone, Walter thoroughly and strictly insists that she was a novus.

“Oh. Hmm… I guess you’ve met Corona earlier. I felt it.”,

“Hmm? Corona? Who’s that?”,

“My guardian, she’s always there for me.”,

“Oh you mean the constru--”

Walter would continue but he spotted an honest frown forming on her face. Thea’s expression implied that she hates someone calling her guardian a construct.

“Uh… I mean. That was a she?”,

“Well, yes and no. I just named her after my first doll I ever had as a kid. I don’t think Corona’s a she, I just assumed that she came from my Nexus, so I just assumed that she’s a she. So yeah…”

Thea explained. Walter breathing an internal sigh of relief, he didn’t mean to call Corona a construct. On Thea’s side, she just let it slide, she trusts him enough to make that honest mistake.

“Ah, I see. Then what else can you do?”

He quickly followed it up, eyes locked in on hers. He was now showing clear interest on her Nexus Trait. Just as his old habit goes. He may be a novus now, but his geek side when it comes to everything superhero and superpowers, was still apparent.

“I… well, I can also heal and restore wounds and injuries no matter how grave they are. Basically… hmm… I can also revert anything down to their basic components.”

She sounded a bit prideful, because she couldn’t help it. As she saw Walter’s swelling admiration, Thea could not help but feel proud of herself but not to the point of arrogance.

“Oh! That reminds me.”,

“...?”

Before she could elaborate, Thea was abruptly stopped by Walter. Walter then pulled out an envelope from his bag and laid it down her lap.

“I would like to take this chance also to invite you into our club. I just got in and we need one more member, I figured you’d be willing to join.”

A bright smile radiated on Walter’s face as he extended his invitation to Thea. She then picked the envelope and opened it, inside she pulled out the membership form. Bold capital letters of the club name immediately caught her eye, and was surprisingly well-designed; from the logo to the typography. It was all thanks to Max’s expertise in design.

“Oh a club? Oh I… I don’t think I’m fit to join. I mean I don’t have any particula--”

Suddenly, her bashful expression changed as she read the club’s name. It was so eye-catching that she had to say the name out in voice.

“Super-- Awesome Brigade…?”

Thea read the club out loud, her brows knitted and her head tilted, baffled by the name choice of the club. It was almost as if Walter was setting her up for a prank or something. The name was something you would name your friends while playing make-believe heroes on a tree house.

Walter, on the other hand, cringed as he heard her read the full club name. He gave a wry smile and a rather embarrassed expression.

“Uh… Ahaha… Well, not really the best name for a club that is.”

Pains him to admit it. Although he was all for the club’s main objective, but he was really not a fan of the club name himself; that or he’s just not used to it yet. Even just citing the full club name in his mind caused for his face to force a rather sour smile.

“Uh huh… So what do you do in this club?”

Thea asked as she read through the club overview on the paper. The change in atmosphere rendered Walter unusually nervous, with a thought hanging above him that he may be pulling her leg on this.

“Well ignoring the cheesy club name, it’s a fairly new club, composed of others like us, the nova. It aims to help both novus and ordinary students in our school get accustomed to each other, and act as a medium between the two.”

Walter said it, as it was on paper. The goal is good but Thea’s not that all impressed until…

“...we also aim to abolish the existing discrimination of ordinary students to the nova student body. By effectively destroying hierarchies established by Richie Marcus. The non-nova deserve much better than either being underlings or objects of oppression or bullying.”

Walter added, there was no trace of nervousness in that statement. He meant every word of it, having experienced it first-hand, he spoke about it with an apparent passion. With that statement, Thea’s attention was piqued.

“I… I don’t know, Walter.”,

“...I see.”

He assumed that she would refuse, Walter tilted his head down with a disappointed gaze down at the floor.

“N-No. It’s not that… it’s just I’m--I’m afraid of my own powers.”

Concerned with his disappointed look, Thea immediately corrected herself. It was true that she was still don’t know what was the extent of her powers, and it was not like she outright refused his invitation, she was just hesitant.

“Why? what’s wrong?”

Concerned, Walter inched himself closer to her; offering his full attention on the matter.

“You can heal and fix wounds and injuries. What’s so bad about that? Wanna talk about it?”

The question came out a bit naive, Thea would have shot him down with a statement but since he was willing to listen, she trusted him to do so. Adding to the fact that she’s already softened up to him. She now almost regret telling him half the gist of her power earlier, because of she was just amused.

“Well yes. But with a slip of hand or a wrong mood swing, I can easily distort the molecular make-up of a matter into something more… unpleasant.”,

“So you’re saying, your Nexus is unstable?”

Walter asked, and she nodded. It was true that some nova have highly unstable Nexus energy and sometimes even volatile. And this often results in disaster, and some times can cause the novus to become an anomaly or anomalus.

“There were a few times, back in my days at Point Lookout, I was forced on duty with tending to the mercenaries’ wounds and injuries sustained during turf wars. But instead of healing them, my powers would do the exact opposite and was way worse. Warping flesh into twisted proportions, disarraying bones, and that one time I turned a man inside-out just by attempting to heal his flesh wound--”

Thea’s shoulders began to tremble as she recalled the freak incidents she had caused. A dark sense of dread hung over her as she slowly held her knees together. Before she could continue, Walter placed his hand over her shoulder.

“You don’t need to tell me everything, Thea. But mark my word, as long as I’m here, no one’s going to force you or abuse your power. I’ll make sure no one, not even in school do that to you.”

Walter responded with conviction. As Thea’s gaze met his, she could see the fire in his eyes, the determination. It somehow dispelled the dread hanging above her away, a sense of relief came over her, yet doubt still lingered on her heart.

“Walter…”,

“Your powers are your own, Thea. You are the only one who can use them however you please. And I trust that you also have the responsibility to use it to do the right thing…”

Walter then stood up from the bedside and peered through the glass windows. The beautiful twilight dot the night sky, the moonlight faintly illuminated his burly figure.

“Besides, it’s not about superpowers or being a superhero or a novus. It’s about doing what needs to be done and doing the right thing.”

As he said it, he turned back to Thea with a bright smile on his face. Thea just found herself awe-struck, he was right. It never really was about who’s got powers or who’s afraid, it’s about who’s going to do what needs to be done.

She raised both her hands and reflected upon herself and what Walter said, as she looked at both of them.

“<That’s right. My powers are my own now. No one’s gonna own me, from now on. I am my own person, and with this power, I choose to do what’s right!>”

Thea asserted to herself. Though she still didn’t know what could be the extent of her power, she felt like Walter would be there to support her, or at least that’s what she thought. She was self-conscious to say it, especially since she’s feeling all these butterflies whenever he’s around.

“Umm…”,

“...?”

Walter inadvertently averted his gaze for a moment while lightly scratching his nose. It looked like he has still something to say, so Thea paid attention.

“Well… I… I joined the club because--mainly because I want to protect you.”,

“Ah?”

Thea was so surprised that she let out an audible response, which made Walter flustered even more than he already was.

“I-I mean… I didn’t like the way they treated you on our class so. I figured if I could join them, I could do something about it and…”

Walter grew ever so uncomfortable with each word he uttered. He completely forgot what brought him to say it, but he just continued anyway.

“Mhm… Hmhmhm--hahahaha!”


After holding it in for a while, Thea finally let out a laugh, a genuine laugh that she hasn’t had for as long as she can remember. Walter just turned around, pouting and puffing his cheeks.

“Aha… Aha… Hahahaha…!”,

“Y-you don’t have to laugh. I know it’s a pathetic reason--ah.”

Walter suddenly froze as he felt a warm sensation on his back. Thea leaned herself unto his back, her forehead and both her hands rested on his back. It felt really nice. The cool breeze fluttered her beautiful red hair like satin.

“...do you mean it?”,

“Huh?”,

“When you said you want to protect me, do you mean it?”

Thea sounded serious, and yet there was a sense of hope and yearning in her voice, as she asked Walter. He took a deep breath, casting his doubt and fear aside to muster his honest answer.

“Yes.”

There was not a hint of hesitation to his response. No sugar-coating, no messing around, and no flattery, just one word of sincerity. A warm smile drew on Thea’s face, as Walter’s answer resonated on her heart.

“Then, I’m counting on you. Walter.”

She said from the bottom of her heart. This was the first time she never felt sure of putting trust on someone, even for someone who had been through nothing but betrayal, suffering and death. Thea felt that her trust was well-placed to him.

Slowly, she mustered herself just so she could break off from that. Any minute more, she could’ve hugged him and she’s not about to do just that… yet. Walter turned around and saw her giving the club invitation back to him, with her name and signature filled in.

“And I’ll see you on Monday!”

With a genuinely happy expression, she uttered those words unto him. Which in turn made him glad.

“Oh uh… I was wondering also.”

Walter quickly followed it up, before he forgets. It was five minutes until 9, and he had to wrap up his visit soon and go home before curfew.

“You are gonna be discharged tomorrow right? Since you’re new in town, maybe I could show you around town tomorrow? Since it’s weekend--ah! If you’re not busy by then.”

Walter said it to her straight, unlike earlier, he wasn’t stuttering nor stammering on his words. But same can’t be said about Thea. She was again taken by surprise.

“<I-Is he… asking me out!? Wait-wait-wait-wait!!! No, No, No! It can’t be! Or…>”

Her mind wrestled with complicated of what Walter could have meant with that invitation. Her head was spinning and was slowly going blank by the suddenness.

“So… is that a no?”

Walter noticed that change of her expression, he took it for something else.

“Ah! Oh no, no, no! I mean I guess I could take you up on your offer, if you really w-want to. N-Nothing wrong with that right? Ohoho!”

And just like that Thea was back into usual wiles. She really has recovered from her injuries.

“I do want to.”,

“...ah.”

An unexpected serious answer escaped from Walter’s lips, which completely taken her off-guard. She just went into an abrupt silence, blushing from ear to ear.

“Well what time are you gonna be discharged tomorrow?”,

“...around 9 in the morning.”,

“Okay then! I’ll be here as early as I can. Then we’ll just take off from there.”,

“...Ah.”,

“Well, see you tomorrow.”

As Walter waved her farewell, Thea was still unusually… docile and quiet at that. She wanted to speak but she was still awe-struck by his last statement.

‘I do want to.’

His statement replayed on her mind over and over. From the tone of his voice, to the way he said it. Thea remained dumbfounded even after he left. She couldn’t even make out what just happened.

She slowly sat down her bed, grabbed the nearest pillow she could reach and held it close to her chest.

“Mmmmmmmmhhh…!!!”

Thea dug her face to the fluffy surface of the pillow and let out a muffled scream. It was not out of terror nor frustration, it was from pure joy.

“Ah…~ Walter… and me on a date.”

The very thought of it sent jolts through her spine, and her body flushed in crimson. Needless to say, she was very excited.

She was so ecstatic, that she could break into a song or dance like those fantasy princesses she saw on Z-Ray movies. But there was no way in a million years she would do that. Emotionally exhausted, she lied down her bed.

“Ah… I can’t stop my heart from beating. What is this feeling?”

Thea asked herself, holding her beating chest with both hands. The thumping was so loud that she felt like her chest would burst.

She didn’t even performed strenuous physical activities during the day, yet she felt drained. As if she just came back from a long jog.

“Walter…”

As she closed her eyes, she could still visualize his face. And the way he said those words over and over, kept replaying unto both her mind and imagination.

‘I want to protect you.’,

‘I do want to.’


Walter had said it on separate instances, yet she was convinced that he said it in one complete statement.

A warm smile drew on her face as she thought about it. Thea felt happy with him around, but she felt that it was more than that.

“Kya! Mmmmmhmmmmhh…!!!”

Again, she dug her face unto her pillow to let out another muffled scream. This time, she had her feet fluttering up and down against the sheets, as if swimming a very bad backstroke.

Meanwhile…

The same can be said to Walter. As he made his exit, he just found himself smiling from ear-to-ear.

“Aww man…”

A sigh of exasperation escaped his lungs, then he just slapped his forehead.

“No matter how you look at it--IT IS a date!”

He said to himself, as if scolding himself from being unusually bold earlier. Dispelling that unusual smile on his face. It didn’t look like it earlier, but at the time he said his farewells to Thea, he had to leave as soon as possible.

“...I just hope I wasn’t too forceful.”

Walter breathed a long sigh. He was not concerned about the deed nor the statement, he was more bothered on how he said it.

“Argh… but I said it either way! I had to take responsibility! Come on, you’re an Olven! Be a man!”

Walter roared out loud. Speaking as if his surname was of any significant reputation. He slapped both his cheeks with his hands, sandwiching his face between them.

Failing to notice the people around him, they looked unto him with puzzled and weirded-out expressions. Whispers began to hiss the air like wick being stoked as they began to gossip.

“Ah! Eheh… Ehehe--excuse me.”

Finally taking notice, he let out an embarrassed smile to the onlookers. He hasten his walk pace to bail out of this awkward moment.

“If I was still the old me, I wouldn’t have had the courage. I guess I’m glad that I was able to express what I felt.”

It was true, if he was still a normal guy, he wouldn’t have the bearings to do so. And let alone actually talk to her in a straight manner.

Maybe it was the Mantra or his Nexus’ doing. But he like to think that he has grown and matured so much ever since that incident, and not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. He had to break out of his shell, sooner or later.

Opportunities like that are always so fleeting. If there was one thing he had learned from all these years, life waits for no one. So he must seize that opportunity the moment he sense it.

As the night drew late, the two called it a day. Thea finishing a chapter of her book and Walter concluding his club activity notes for Monday.

The two eagerly awaited for tomorrow.

-----------------

“Ah… man.”

A yawn and a deep sigh, Walter dragged himself out as he made his way to the hospital. Eyes drooped slightly, and bloodshot. He rubbed his eyes and rubbed his nape as tried to shake off the drowsiness.

“Didn’t even slept a wink last night. Ugh…”

He was so excited for today, that he found it really hard for him to sleep last night. Just then a thought entered his mind.

“Hmm… Atha. I haven’t seen her for a couple of days now. Just when I just learned of her name.”

Walter was referring to the Woman in Red, or Atha as he like to call her.

“If I recall, she said she’d find me. I still don’t know what do I do with this arm.”

He raised his right arm and flexed it, inspecting the frame of it from his point of view.

“Well I have been fine so far with this. I haven’t even felt any side-effects. Ah well, I guess we’ll just cross that bridge when we get there.”

Dismissing the thought, Walter kept his pace towards his destination. Not before long, the hospital came to view.

As he close in, he grew more tensed with each step closer to the premises. He felt his drowsiness subsiding and his posture straightening.
It was a rather chilly morning. It was sunny out and the weather’s fair, but they were still on the rainy season. Hence the breeze was nice and cool, sometimes damp but it was just right.

Aside from his white t-shirt, which was now rendered tight because of his muscle growth, he also donned his old Supernova League fan jacket. An item he won in a cereal box raffle just last year.

It was not as flashy as Kurszt’s, but it was decent enough as casual wear. Although it was tight around the shoulder area and the sleeves. He also wore his favorite pain of jeans.

Ever since becoming a novus, Walter’s wardrobe choices shrank considerably; figuratively and literally. Most of his clothes, particularly tops, were now either tight or small.

His polo uniforms are all tight around the chest area that he feels as if he does so flexes, he could rip or burst buttons. Same case with the jacket he was wearing now, he couldn’t even zip it up, so he just left it open.

Finally, Walter reached the hospital entry. Out of impulse, he hid himself behind the pillar and peeked his head out to scan the premise.

“...!”

Walter felt his heart skipped a beat as he spotted Thea waiting just by the entrance. She had no belongings with her when she was rushed here, so she wasn’t carrying any large baggage with her.

But what took him by surprise was the way she was dressed. She wore a checkered knee-length skirt, with high knee-socks. She also wore a white long-sleeved blouse with frills that run down the button placket.

Her red hair flopped beautifully on her shoulders. Half her fringe were fastened by two slips, giving a neat look about her.

“She looks so cute.”

Walter whispered to himself. Feeling self-conscious, he hid back unto the pillar and fixed his hair. Combing every cow-lick he could feel.

Meanwhile…

“Is he coming? Oooh…”

Thea was anxious. Like Walter, she barely had any sleep last night. That and she was discharged earlier than expected.

“Still 8:15 am… I said I’ll be out by 9 am. Oh…”

She had been out since 7:30 in the morning. After eating her last breakfast, she immediately got changed and packed up. She need not worry about the paperwork, as her attending doctor already took care of it for her, which was a relief.

“I hope this is okay.”

Thea said to herself as she straightened out the wrinkles on her blouse. She didn’t brought that much clothes with her when she was out being admitted on the hospital.

Actually, the one she’s wearing now was just her extra clothes for emergency. She was still wearing her knee-socks and shoes from her school uniform.

“Brrr… Oooh.. It’s too cold.”

Taking out her scarf, she wrapped it around her neck.

“Ugh… still cold.”

It had only but covered her shoulders and neck. Her blouse’s cloth was too thin to suffice.

“...ah!”

Thea’s expression suddenly lit up as she saw a familiar face coming into her view.

“Walter…!”

She quickly ran up to him, her expression was as bright as day, while waving to him. She could not contain her excitement.

“Hey!”,

“Hi!”

The two exchanged smiles and greeting as they ran up to each other. The stress and the drag of lack of sleep from the night before, completely vanished from the moment they saw each other.

“Uh… hey.”,

“Hi… eheh.”

As they finally closed the gap, tension created a rather awkward atmosphere.

“Umm… This is the first time I saw you in a different outfit. I uh… you look great.”

Walter couldn’t even meet her eyes as he said that. He thought he steeled himself on the way here, but it was a totally different air when he was now face to face with her.

“Well… Th-thank you. It’s just my extra, didn’t have anything else to wear.”

Same can be said to Thea. She responded to the compliment whilst twirling her hair. She took it warmly yet she was still flustered.

“Oh really? I think it looks really cute.”

Walter kept his compliments to heart. While Thea kept averting her gaze, hiding her embarrassed expression. Both of them bashful to each other.

“Well umm… let’s go! It’s still early, so some places I know are ripe for stroll.”,

“Ah!”

Mustering his courage, Walter reached for her hand. Thea let out a quiet squeak as Walter took her hand and began leading her.

She was about to point that out but for some reason, she couldn’t and wouldn’t want to. His hand was rough but it felt warm. It didn’t took long before she felt her face grew hot. It was still chilly outside yet beads of sweat began forming on her forehead.

“You have to see--uh, Thea?”

Breaking from his eager self, Walter noticed that she fell silent. As he turned to her, he saw her face flushed crimson.

“Are you okay? You’re not sick are--ah! Oh goodness, I am so sorry.”


It was then he noticed that he was firmly holding her hand. He quickly let go and deeply apologized for the rude gesture.

“Ah! Oh no, no! It’s fine. I-it’s just… mmh…”

Thea suddenly came to. She then held the hand that Walter held, his touch and warmth still lingered.

“I didn’t mean to be so rude. It’s just I was so excited, I got carried away.”

Walter just scratched his head as he followed it up with an awkward chuckle. But as he thought about it, compared to his, her hand was small and soft. He felt as If she was fragile that she break if he does tighten his grip further.

“*giggle*… It’s okay, Walter. I know I am too. Let’s just take things at a more leisurely pace, yes?”

She giggled. Putting her hands behind her, she strode in front of Walter and gave him a warm smile. He nodded in response.

The two then went off together strolling the different areas of interest around the neighborhood. In their case, they enjoyed the journey more than the their intended destinations, while talking about nothing in particular.

-------------------

US Supernova Central Intelligence Hub (SCIH), Location: Prime Metro Zone, Washington DC


The Supernova CIH, United States Branch, central hub of intelligence for the Superhero populace of the US. These hubs were establish by the Supernova Committee to serve as watchtowers and lookouts for any impending terrestrial threat. Through these intelligence hubs, they monitor not only the Metro Zones, but also the Yellow and Red Zones for any anomalies and or incoming threats that can endanger populated areas.

Once an anomaly is detected, they instantly relay the information and raise an alert to whoever superhero/superheroine available to take up the task.Whether it be a petty crime, a monster attack, or a full-scale Anomalus invasion; no threat, no matter how small or big, escapes their watchful eye.

Each country has each their own SCIH, signifying the area of jurisdiction for each country. For example, the US Branch can only relay with intel within the US only, the Canadian Branch with Canada, etc. Although these hubs mark the territorial flow of intel, they also work together when it calls for it. The attending Superhero may also take up any task/assignment from any branch of their choosing.

The Supernova Committee acts as the superheroes’ primary authority, working hand-in-hand with the government and the United Nations. They act as medium for the Superheroes to the government to keep them in check, and preventing them to becoming vigilantes. A full-fledged novus acting under the radar and without authority from the committee is a against the Prime Nova Codex, or the standard regulations for superheroes.

Unlike the corporate sponsors, the committee also serves as the superheroes’ primary sponsor. As they get paid fairly and equally when completing a task or mission. Taking credits, for them was irrelevant. So long as both superheroes were able to respond at the scene, they were rewarded equally.

The halls of the SCIH were on a constant bustle, working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. It was a thankless job to those who work there, but knowing that the safety of the entire world was at stake every time, recognition and fame becomes tertiary.

In the middle of natural flow of work environment, suddenly, the klaxons blared throughout the hall. The people looked up, startled by the sudden alert.

“All control room personnel, report to the command center immediately.”

The PA Systems boomed in unison with the klaxons. Personnel began mobilizing towards the command center as instructed by the order.

In front of the marching crowd, three sharply-dressed men lead the personnel towards the command center.

“Situation.”

One of the men in suits spoke up as they hasten their pace towards their destination. A woman emerged from the crowd and hurriedly ran to his side. She produced a sheet of paper containing the printed out status report.

“Sir, we’ve detected gravitational anomalies converging on Yorktown Metro Zone.”,

“Plural?”,

“Yes sir. Two of them.”,

“My goodness…”

Immediately, the man’s expression went grim as he heard the overview. He went over the readings printed over the report, yet he can’t take comfort in that. Two of them, no less, this event alone was unprecedented, the Anomala were getting crafty.

The door to the command center swung open, a flood of personnel immediately swarmed the room, taking their stations in a hurry. The man earlier took the center aisle and looked over the massive monitor right before them.

“Bert, talk to me!”

The man called out a name among the crowd of personnel. A standing figure on the front row of operators turned to answer the call.

“Sir, the gravity anomalies are gaining energy fast, we can confirm that these are gateways.”,

“Give me numbers, Bert! Coordinates, exact location.”,

“Yorktown Metro Zone, X=00, Y=-97---oh dear God.”

Bert was so shocked that it made him abrupt his urgent status report. He went over the readings and coordinates and things were not looking pleasant to say the least.

“Bert! What’s wrong?!”

The man yelled at him on the distance.

“You have to see this sir, put it on the main screen.”
Bert pointed his finger and ordered one of the operators to bring up the readings on the main monitor so that everyone could see. It brought up the entire map of the Yorktown Metro Zone then zoomed in to the exact coordinates of the two gravitational anomalies.

“The gateways are set to open on the vacated premises of the industrial harbor district. But on the immediate 500 meters from its location…”,

“Sweet mother of mercy… Liberty Brilliant Park”,

“Approximate Gateway emergence, within 15 minutes.”

The tension in the huge hall hung heavy as they realized if these gateways open, the anomala that would emerge there would immediately wreak havoc upon a very populated area. The Liberty Brilliant Park, a weekend theme park. Innocent lives were in danger, immediate contingencies were in order.

“Code Red. Contact the Yorktown Metro Authority, relay the intel to them, pronto! I want list of available Superhero right now!”,

“Yes, sir!”

The alert was raised, the operators worked double-time on their tasks. Typing furiously on their consoles and talking non-stop on their head pieces. A few seconds later, the front row operators managed to pull up a list of available superheroes near the locale.

“Volt Striker, reporting for duty.”,

“Pixie Lass, at your service, chief!”


Two faces popped up at the side panel of the monitor, along with their respective voices. The man wished they could’ve picked up more but he was glad nonetheless that someone had responded. Sometimes superheroes are a bit fickle when it comes to responding to distress calls like these, they often pick the ones which would benefit them the most.

“Good to have you two, now, let’s cut to the chase. We have an emergency situation at hand. Two gateways has been spotted on these given coordinates. Your mission is to deal with the ones who will emerge from these gateways, while the Yorktown Metro Authority evacuates the populated area 500 meters ahead.”,

“Coordinates, confirmed. Proceeding to designated location…”,

“Oh my, near the Liberty Brilliant Park. Might be a tricky one, but count on us, chief!”,


“Then Godspeed, you two.”

After relaying the briefing, the man paused for a while, seemingly praying that everything will go well.

The convenience of these central hubs, are the superheroes didn’t need to be there in person to receive their briefings. They just relay it over to them through their state-of-the-art, vast network of communication. Holographic technology courtesy of partner and sponsor, EmpireTech, a multi-trillion conglomerate of companies.

“Bert!”

Not before long, the man again called out for Bert. Their work was far from finished, the alert was still raised to red.

“Yes, sir?”

“I want those gateways analyzed, studied and monitored. We’ll gonna need to trace it to its original source. Results or none, I want a full report, understand?”,

“Understood, sir!”

As the task was given, Bert began working on it immediately. The operators and personnel continued their work and the man on the center aisle kept close watch on the progress.

--------------------

Walter and Thea spent the entire morning strolling through numerous locations of the city. It was the weekend so the usual rush hour crowd was nowhere to be found, so they had no trouble of just walking easy throughout.

From parks, shops, tourist districts, land marks to even favorite spots. The two really did enjoyed both each other’s company. They haven’t noticed it yet, but from how they are enjoying the company, they almost seem like a couple.

It was now noon, Walter and Thea both settled on a small restaurant nearby to grab something to eat. The sun was high up and the heat was toasty but the wind was still as chilly as it was in the morning, it was like fall.

They both have quite a lot of bags with them. Buying souvenirs and food as they came across one. Both have genuine happy faces towards each other.

“That was so much fun! It’s only been half a day, yet it felt complete.”

Thea was a bit exhausted from all the walking, but she was very happy nonetheless.

“Since I moved in, some time ago, I just spent most of my time on my apartment. I’m glad you invited me out. So nice to breathe some fresh air for once.”,

“Yeah. Haha… Well, I don’t usually go about my way in doing so. But I’m glad I did.”

The two exchanged a light and happy conversation.

“So… what about Ailana? Do you guys… uh… still talk?”

Changing the topic of conversation, Thea couldn’t help but asking Walter about her. Before the incident, she knew that Walter was somehow now acquainted with Ailana. She had to avert her eyes as she asked that, self-conscious and slightly flustered.

“Oh Ailana. I haven’t managed to talk to her ever since the incident. I had seen her attempt to talk to me but, haven’t got the chance to. Maybe we were just too busy with homework and such.”

Walter answered her straight and honest. He was wondering about that too, ever since then, he hasn’t talked to Ailana for quite a while now. It was not like he doesn’t want to, but the circumstances would not allow it.

“O-Oh…”

Thea oddly breathed a sigh of relief.

“Why do you ask--”,

“N-n-nothing! Nothing! Ahaha… It’s not like I’m concerned or anything! Aha… Ahaha…”

Before Walter could ask her, she spoke up on a rather rapid tone. Her cheeks flushed red while she traced the tip of the glass with her finger.

“<What a tsundere.>”

He just thought to himself. Walter chuckled at the thought, seeing Thea being bashful was just a feast for the eyes.

“Oh I know! There’s one last place I would like to show you.”,

“Oh? Where is it?”

Thea tilted her head by Walter’s sudden declaration.

“There’s a theme park just a few paces from here, Liberty Brilliant Park. I heard the Ferris Wheel just opened recently, and there’s new rides too!”

Walter said with sheer enthusiasm. That was his original plan last night, to visit the theme park with Thea, he was glad that he remembered it.

“Whua… A Ferris Wheel you say? I just see it from brochures and magazines. I never been to a theme park before, but is it really okay?”

Thea was excited for a moment, but was taken aback. Concerned that going there might be a little too imposing on Walter.

“Of course. I shall be your humble chauffeur upon the world of fun!”,

“Ehe… Well now Mr. Olven, this noblewoman is in your care.”

Looking over the cheesy Victorian Era roleplaying bit, Thea couldn’t help but play along. They both chuckled along. Just then, their orders arrived at their table and the two heartily had their lunch.

----------------------

Shopping Plaza District, 5[SUP]th[/SUP] street, Pappatore Cafe

Five blocks away from where Thea and Walter were, on a relatively small cafe on the shopping district. One particular table stood out from the entire bustling crowd of customers. This table was attended by three imposing--powerful personas, like three noblewomen among a crowd of commoners.

With three of these women together, they gave of an air regality and grandeur to this rather simple cafe. People passing by glance over them, as if catching a glimpse of trio of celebrities.

“Here are your orders, ma’am.”

A familiar face approached the particular table, tray in hand with their respective orders. It was Kurszt, dressed in his barista uniform, a far cry from his usual jacket-clad get up from school. He works as a part-timer here in this humble cafe, a way of making some extra cash.

“Kukuku… You know, Kurszt-kun, no matter how many times I see you in your uniform, I could never get used to it.”

One of the three ladies on that table was none other than, Kurome herself, the club president of the SA Brigade. Beaming a smile as she directed her flattery towards her subordinate, much to his dismay.

“I would appreciate it, Hinokami if you don’t talk to me so casually at work.”

Kurszt gritted his teeth as he spoke, while his eyebrow twitched up and down, containing his embarrassment. Despite Kuromé’s teasing, he placed the ladies’ orders before them in an orderly manner.

“As untoward of me to admit this…”

The woman sitting just beside Kurome spoke with her crisp posh accent apparent. She was dressed in a overtly gallant, obsidian victorian-style dress, it was as if she was attending to a grand ball or to a fancy soiree after this meeting. She held an open parasol over her right shoulder; her hair was beautifully dressed, the back decoratively fastened like that of a peacock’s tail. Her presence sang with elegance and grace.

“...For me to consider this lowly cafe, yet the tea is something to behold even to my palate. I simply adore this particular set of skill your subordinate possess!”

The parasol lady spoke with an apparent haughtiness, as she complimented the tea handed to her. She lifted the cup, pressed it unto her delicate lips and took a silent sip. The aroma, the taste and warmth soothed her entire body. It was nothing like her servants brew for her.

The second lady was none other than, Lady Nobuki Aoda, member of the Nova Reform herself. She was also the club president of one of the major clubs in Yorktown State, The Tea Party.

Having a member of the Nova Reform sit with Kurome, has set Kurszt on a constant unease. Knowing his colleague, Kurome has always held an ill regard against them. Yet here they are, sharing a tea and coffee together like jolly good fellows well met. It felt really off.

But to Kurome, even though she considers them their enemy, it was proper to approach it on a professional level rather than personal. After all, she and Nobuki were once the best of friends. Even though they exchange bitter banter from time-to-time, they always keep thing civil when it comes to their rivalry.

“Dame! Dame desu wa. No! I call dibs on him first, Nobuki. You can’t have him, hmph!”

Kurome wagged her finger in front of Nobuki, she was not about to let her steal her beloved club member away from her.

“Hmm…”

Nobuki just giggled in response, utterly amused by her rival’s reaction. She cast an arrogant gaze over her as she took another silent sip of her tea.

“Hrrmmm… so Kurocchin, you invited us for a reason right?”

The third lady, having been quiet for quite a while now, finally spoke up. If Nobuki had that air of elegance to her, then she was the complete opposite. Hers was belligerent and tinged with constant animosity.

=========

The tallest of the three ladies, the third one sported an amazon-esque figure, similar to Siegra but more ripped with muscles. Her skin wasn’t exactly flawless either, it was riddled with numerous scars and marks, from her arms, down to her torso. She sported a very long unkempt black hair that flops at her back.

She was wearing a long, white, makeshift coat with the logo of her club embroidered on the back. She also wore a loose gray slacks and steel-plated shoes. Underneath her open coat, she was neither wearing anything underneath, just a cotton bandage that wrap around her bust, upper abdomen and over her left shoulder.

Her name was Virgilia De Lune, one of the most fearsome figures of the Yorktown State University. She also once dated Richie Marcus, but dumped him the next day. Much to his dismay, as Richie Marcus himself had coveted her affection.

Rumors say that she dumped him because he couldn’t defeat her in battle. It was the first stain in his reputation that it thoroughly shamed him, so much so that Richie's damage control had to take drastic measures to drown out the rumor.

And like Nobuki, Virgilia was also Kurome’s friend back in the day; she was once a cheerleader during her first year, the same one Kurome was in. All three of them were best friends well met in past, but due to some unmentioned circumstances, they just ceased to be. Though they still kept in touch with each other.

The three ladies, all of them were known together as the Triumvirate or The Three Goddesses. The strongest female members of the Yorktown State student body.

Kurome, Nobuki and Virgilia, each had their own respective titles. The Goddess of War, Hinokami Kurome; The Goddess of Misfortune, Aoda Nobuki; and last but not least, The Goddess of Fury, Virgilia De Lune.

===============

“Oh, Vee-chan! Relax! It has been a while since we got together like this. Loosen up, you’re always all about business.”

Just as always, Kuromé just responded with a klutzy expression, beaming a smile unto her former colleague. The threatening aura that she gave off doesn’t seem to faze Kuromé in the slightest. The fact that they still spoke in nicknames showed how close they were, even as rivals.

“I would have to agree with Hinokami-san, as much as it pains me.”

Nobuki spoke in agreement with her, looking at her cup with a subtle anxious smile. Though she may not say it, in her heart, she was secretly hoping to get together with Kuromé over tea just like before.

“Pfeh…! You’re the one to talk, Nobuki.”

Virgilia spat, still persistent with her animosity towards the two, as if she herself was raring for a fight. She crossed her arms and just closed her eyes, she kept silent for a while.

“Oh dear, Virgilia, you have an elegant name. Do act like it, for once.”

Nobuki took another sip of her tea, a resigned expression took hold as said it. Virgilia just clicked her tongue in response, like a spoiled kid being told off by her doting parent.

“After all, we may not get another chance like this, when we finally integrate both your clubs.”

The conversation took a different turn, as she feigned agreement towards the main thought of their little tea party. An arrogant smirk drew on Nobuki’s face as she watched the apparent reaction on Virgilia.

Virgilia clenched her grip on her arm, as if digging her nails unto her flesh, containing her impulse to commit a violent reaction. But Kurome just kept her happy visage as she sipped on her coffee, much to the disappointment of Nobuki.

“By the way, Hinokami-san, I have heard you just recently acquired quite the specimen unto your… little social circle.”

Nobuki kept up her haughty and arrogant pace of conversation, dismissing Kurome’s club as merely an insignificant circle of friends. Kurszt overheard it, he was just one table away from them as he tended to the other customers. It made him pause for a moment, as he recognized who Nobuki was referring to.

“Desuyo ne? That I did.”


Kurome agreed to her claims. Despite her club being insulted, she just took it as Nobuki being herself. After all, she had been like this even before, part of her overly-competitive nature.

“Oh…? Really now? Well you only have one week to go before the school administration dissolve your sorry asses. Heh! Gotta hand to you that!”

Virgilia flashed a wolfish grin at her statement. Even the news of the SA Brigade’s issue has reached her ears.

“One step at a time, Vee-chan! Heh heh!”

The atmosphere was heavy with tension, yet Kurome was still unfazed by it. She was still practically brimming with optimism that it was inhuman. Terrifying even; people around her don't know if she's faking it, ignorant or just had a solid foothold--a reason for her to be this way

“But you know…”

Nobuki’s tone suddenly changed, adding tension to the already tensed air around them. She carefully laid down her cup and cast a serious glare unto Kuromé.

“You are aware that we had our eyes first on your specimen, right? And you know what happens when the our assets is taken away from us, right?”

A malicious and murderous glint flashed before Nobuki’s gaze unto Kurome. A warning of things to come, foreboding consequences yet to arrive.

The customers around them grew increasingly listless and uncomfortable that some of them began leaving their tables, as if preemptively avoiding an incoming disaster. Kurszt on the other hand, froze upon the growing tension between the three; if a fight breaks out here, even in his full power, he won’t be able to diffuse the situation.

“Yep!”

Kurome just answered Nobuki while keeping her usual impenetrable visage. Beaming a bright smile upon her, despite her being deathly serious about her rhetorical statement.

“But… that’s none of my business, right?”

Just then, Kurome’s tone gradually changed into a serious one. The volume was low yet it resonated in a profound manner.

“I trust you keep things civil. Because if something happens to him behind my back…”

Kurome now emitted a much different aura than before. Sheer animosity and killing intent. Her happy visage now donned a new one, a core-piercing glare. Her eyes sparked a glint of contempt, the kind of expression you gaze face-to-face to someone whom just killed you as you draw your last breath.

“--I’d be in for a serious storm if I were you…”

A threat. No… more like a guaranteed consequence. The way Kurome said it, it was enough for the two to take a step back. A cold sweat trickled down Nobuki’s temple, even Virgilia, whom was the supposed hot-headed one of the three and the impulsive, was taken aback.

The entire cafe was drowned by the sheer vehemence, of Kurome Hinokami, the goddess of war. Neither one of them, not even Virgilia and Nobuki had the will to speak up. Sheer icy chill ran up their spine as if their throats had a dagger pointed at them, one wrong move or word uttered and they will be greeted by a cold kiss of steel. That was the sheer intimidation that Kurome's presence beheld.

“Excuse me.”

Setting down her tea cup, Nobuki rose from her seat and left, without even saying her proper farewells. Irritation, dismay and contempt, all these emotions drew on Nobuki's face as she left whilst averting her gaze complete to the world.

“HAHAHAHAHA…! Kurocchin, you still got it! Haha!”

Couldn’t contain her admiration, Virgilia just jolted up her seat and went over to Kuromé’s. She went over and gave her a hearty massage on her shoulder.

“Ah~ Yamete Vee-chan, itai-yo! My shoulder’s are gonna break!”

And just like that, she was back to her old self. The rough massage by Virgilia’s strong hands caused her petite frame to sway wildly, shaking her head.

“Ah… Oh well. I guess I need to follow suit. Thanks for the invite, Kurocchin.”,

“You’re most welcome, and I believe we’ll come visit you. Very soon.”

Just as Virgilia was about to leave, Kurome left her with a rather ominous parting words. She cocked her head a bit then just shrugged and waved. Her coat tail fluttered as she walked the distance until she was out of sight

“Sure told her, huh?”

Kurszt approached his club president, expressing his astonishment to what had transpired. He then laid down a saucer full of hand-made cookies, one of the best-selling items of the Pappatore Cafe.

“It’s on the house.”,

“Ahah! Thank you! *munch*”

Smiling from ear to ear, Kurome took a bite of the cookie.

“We’re fighting an uphill battle, starting on Monday. Nonetheless I’m eager to see what lies ahead of us.”

Kurome said with a bright smile, looking over her coffee up. Still ever-optimistic even at the face of sheer adversity. The odds may not be looking good for them, but she was confident that they will pull through. If they can pull the first step starting Monday, then they will see it through. Like Kuromé said, it’s an uphill battle, but they need not a running start to reach the goal.

As Kurszt was about to go back to his work, his SCIH transponder sudden rang. Since he was a registered superhero under the committee, under the name: Ironclad, having a transponder was standard.

He quickly pull it out his pocket and brought up the holographic screen. As it was expected, a Code Red Protocol; signifying of an Anomalus invasion in progress. Two heroes were already responded on the scene, and the civilians were instructed to evacuate within the 20 kilometer radius.

Not before long, the entire streets began to stew chaos. As the Metro Authority began leading the civilians away. Kurszt and Kuromé stayed where they were, while the Pappatore Cafe customers were now being lead to evacuation. Kurszt then pull up the transponder’s stand and set it before his club president, as if setting up a television.

Unlike ordinary citizens, novus citizens were an exception to the mandatory evacuation protocols. As they can take care of themselves whenever there was a Code Red Protocol.

“And here I thought the day’s gonna be peaceful.”

Kurszt sighed with a resigned response, and he was motivated to go to work today. Now with the Code Red Protocol, the owner had to close down the cafe until further notice.

“Daijoubu, daijoubu wa! *munch* Not bad to have a breather every now and then Kurszt-kun. But are you sure you don’t want to take this? They might need back up.”

Kurome began slapping him at the back while taking another bite of the cookie.

“It’s Volt Striker, that son of a gun is always hard to deal with. Well, I’ll just wait it out. If things get ugly, I’ll be there.”

A visible irritation marked his expression. It would seem that Kurszt and the man behind the superhero, Volt Striker had a rather ugly history with each other.

“Your call then. Sah! Now, let’s set it to real-time view.”

She then began pressing a series of prompts on the holographic screen, then switched the view into real-time live feed. What came before their very eyes, made their jaw drop.

“W-Walter-kun!?”


---------------------

After finishing up their lunch, Walter and Thea head out to the nearby transit station. Just a few steps from the small restaurant they were in earlier. Then riding the transit, it was a 20 minute ride. During the ride, the two sat together and just continue to converse about nothing in particular. Their destination was the second stop on the destination list, Liberty Brilliant Park.

As they got out the transit, Thea’s eyes widened as the spectacular view unfolded right before her very eyes.

“Whuuaaa…!”

A gasp and scream of awe and excitement escaped her lips. She held her hands together, close to her chest, her eyes sparkled brightly and an expression of pure bliss overtook her.

Thea had only saw it on brochures, magazine and newspaper ads, but to see the theme park in person was a whole different experience for her. Walter just watched her blissful expression with gladness, it was a natural reaction yet he was still happy he had the chance to take her here. Her reaction alone made it worthwhile to her.

“Well, come on Thea!”,

“Ah! Y-Yes!”

Seemingly to wake up in her stupor, Thea was lead by Walter by the hand and together, they entered the park.

As they got their tickets, the two wasted no time and rushed through the theme park’s premises. They ran around from one theme ride and attraction after another; from bumper cars, to shooting galleries, 4D theaters, arcades, roller coasters and many others. The two really had a good time for such a short span of time.

After buying themselves some light snacks, particularly cotton candy which Thea had taken a huge liking to, they spotted the main attraction of the park, the Liberty Wheel. A Ferris Wheel about the size of the Old Empire State Building.

“Ooh! Walter, let’s try this one!”,

“Mmmh..!”

With cotton candy still on his mouth, Thea pulled his hand and guided him towards the Liberty Wheel’s line. After a few minutes of lining up, the two finally got in their cabin.

Slowly, their cabin was elevated up on a clockwise direction. Every ten minutes, their cabin would stop, because of the crew were still letting people fill the cabins of the ferris wheel. Unlike in the transit, the two didn’t utter a word to each other, they both just stared outside their cabin’s window; taking in the breath-taking view that unfolded before them.

The crimson hues of the setting sun illuminated their cabin, as they finally stopped at the top. Thea and Walter gasped in awe as they saw the full view of the Yorktown Metro Zone from up above. It was no nature trip, but the view of the cityscape itself was something to behold.

After taking in the full glory of the beautiful view from above, Walter glanced back at Thea.

“...”

A silent gasp escaped his lips as he saw much greater marvel than the view itself, Thea. Her red hair seem to glisten with the crimson hues of the dusk, the atmosphere seem to illuminate her smile, making it stand out even more. Her slightly tan complexion blended perfectly with the light, she was like a goddess looking out on her own creation.

The very sight itself made Walter’s heart skip a beat, his knees buckle and fingers shaking. If he could, he would caress her cheek right at that moment, but he fought the impulse to do so. And seemed like he was losing.

“Ooh?”

Thea suddenly noticed his eyes on her, Walter quickly averted his eyes. A nervous gesture. The bashful expression of his made Thea to quietly giggle, it was so adorable to her.

“Walter?”,

“Y-Yes!”

Walter unintentionally had his voice raised, like an anxious cadet answering a sudden call of a drill sergeant. But she didn’t mind, she could feel that he was a nervous wreck at the moment.

“Remember what you said to me, last night?”,

“Y-Yeah. That I would protect you, right?”,

“Yes. I was thinking about it since you left and…”

Growing flustered, Thea averted her gaze while playfully drawing circles to the side of her seat. But before she could continue, Walter spoke up.

“I know. I was too forceful when I said that--”,

“What? Oh no, not at all. I was… just thinking. In fact I was happy--happy that someone would be there to help me. You visited me everyday since that incident, brought me gifts and shown genuine care for me. Even though I practically pushed you away from the first time we met, and the first time you visited me. Yet still, here you are. I’m… I’m sorry from the way I acted.”

Thea kept her head down whilst playing with her thumbs, listless as she expressed her feelings. Walter then smiled and placed his hand over hers, much to her surprise and their gazes met.

“No need to apologize, Thea. I kinda understood where you were coming from when you met me with such hostility. If I was in your shoes, I would probably done the same thing. And like I said before you don’t have to be alone. And most importantly, I stand by my word, I will protect you, not because of debt nor something in exchange, nor duty… but because I want to.”,

“Walter…”

Closing her eyes, Walter’s words again resonated on her heart. But hearing it again, with clarity and confirmation, and warmth, it filled her with happiness she could not even imagine she would experience in her lifetime.

Her eyelids and brows trembled as tear began to roll down her soft cheeks, still keeping that genuine smile. She knew the moment she open her eyes, she was going to bawl her eyes out.

Walter noticed her tears and began to place his hand on her cheek to wipe it with his thumb. But Thea placed her hand unto his, she slowly opened her eyes. And there he was, Walter, she was neither dreaming nor seeing things, the feeling, the warmth and passion was there, real as it was.

Her eyes glistened with tears, like staring at two precious gems. There it was, not just the smile, but the person Walter had sworn to protect. Without them noticing, the two then began to move their faces closer…

“...!”

Then suddenly Walter’s eyes widened and shot a look outside. Thea was startled by his sudden reaction.

“Walter?”

He was neither flustered nor bashful, his expression was on high alert, serious even. Then as she was about follow his gaze, a bright light from below, sparked at a distance. A bright light of a green hue shone brightly like a small star.

“Ah…!!!”

What followed was a huge explosion from where the green light was, the Industrial Harbor District. The shock wave of the explosion was strong enough to be felt by the Liberty Wheel itself. The ferris wheel swayed sideways as a loud groan of metal filled the air.

“I got you.”,

“Thank you, Walter.”

Walter held on as he caught Thea from being thrown off the side. As the shaking stopped, she held on the nearby handrails while he looked down below them.

From below them, the patrons and civilians were now being evacuated off the theme park. There were people still on the ferris wheel. In this situation, the people had exited via emergency protocol of the Liberty Wheel itself.

Using the ferris wheel’s unique feature, patrons can get off using the built-in mechanical cranes to lower the cabins safely to the ground. This feature was to be used only for emergencies such as mechanical failures, evacuation drills or Code Red Protocols.

“Alright, we’re getting off.”

Walter reached for the panel above them, revealing a lever to activate the crane function. Thea remained her grip on the handrail, she was scared yet she steeled herself as she knew if something happens, Walter will be there.

As he pulled the lever, a mechanical crane arm unfurled inside the massive frame of the structure and reached for their cabin’s pins. The mechanical arm did its work and detached Walter and Thea’s cabin from the large frame of the wheel. As they were lowered slowly, just then…

“AAAHH…!!!”,

“Gah!”

Another explosion. And this time, the explosion was closer to them by a few meters and was stronger than the last one. The shock wave of the explosion had damaged the crane arm that was supposed to lower them to safety. The mechanical arm’s frame was bent, the joints locked, and the hydraulics burst. They are now legit stuck, several stories high.

“Walter, what should we do?”

Fear began to take hold of Thea, as she hear the bellowing groan of metal around them, like they were about to fall any moment now. Walter kept silent, given the circumstances, the only choice was down.

Using his superhuman strength, Walter dug his fingers to the cabin’s metal door slit. His finger dug through the metal so easily as if he was just digging his finger on cake. With no effort at all, he bent and ripped the metal door wide open with his fingers.

“Walter, what are you doing!?”

Thea yelled at him for the drastic action, the strong high-altitude gust began blowing through the ripped entryway. Walter then peeked his head outside, sizing up the height from which he would land to.

“Grab my hand, we’re getting out.”

He extended his arm unto her, calling out to Thea to run him. But she just looked at him round-eyed and puzzled.

“H-How!?”,

“I can make the landing from here--”,

“Are you--CRAZY!?!?”

Bewildered, Thea yelled at the top of her lungs. The air pressure from their current altitude makes it hard for them to speak up. But Walter heard her just fine.

“There’s no wa--”,

“Thea!!!”

Just as she was about to protest, her voice was trampled by Walter’s sudden outburst. She looked at him and saw the determination burned brightly in his gaze.

“Remember what I said before? I will protect you. But to do that, I would need you to trust me. I promise, I won’t let you get hurt. Will you trust me?”

His words was brimmed with compassion and reassurance, he again offered his hand to her. As Thea was about to take it, he saw a genuine smile upon his face. With that, she made up her mind.

“Walter!”

Dispelling her hesitation, she immediately threw herself into his arms. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, hugging him. The softness of her body enveloped Walter with such warmth, trust.

“I trust you. I trust you. I trust you…”

Thea held on to him while repeatedly saying those three words, which Walter found really endearing.

“<I won’t fail her.>”

His resolve strengthen, having felt her trust and faith in him. He felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility, the responsibility to protect her. He thought at that moment and realized, this must be what it truly feels like to be a Superhero.

Shifting his body, he held his right arm to the railing above him and his left around Thea’s hip to support her.

“Here I go.”

He whispered unto her with certainty. She did not respond, just kept repeating ‘I trust you’ over and over. He bent his knees down to gather momentum, Thea felt the motion and tighten her grip while clenching her eyes shut.

“Hmmmph…!!!”,

“
I trus--AAAAAAHHHH….!!!”

With a powerful kick, Walter launched himself out of the cabin and went airborne. Soon, they were now in free fall. He quickly held Thea with both his arms, bracing for the incoming impact and landing. As they close the landing, Walter position his feet to a proper position and then…

BAM

Walter landed like a wrath of God descending from the skies. The impact of his landing was comparable to that of an artillery strike. The ground caved in as he landed perfectly and in excellent form, creating a crater. A strange sensation of both fulfillment and ecstatic joy assaulted his heart, he always wanted to do a superhero landing like that. He felt like grinning and bragging but he perished the thought immediately, this was hardly not the time nor place.

Slowly, he stood up from his kneeling position, he was unscathed and Thea was safe and sound. He walked out of the crater and Thea was still visibly shaking, her grip tight and her eyes wide shut. Quickly poking his playful side, he decided to tease her a bit.

“Uh… Thea. I’m sorry, We didn’t make it. Seems like we died together in that jump and we just entered the after-life.”

Walter whispered to her with a grim tone and expression. The statement made her eyes flung wide open.

“AHH--huh? Huh?”,

“Ahahaha… Just kidding. We made it, we’re alive.”,

“Hmm…!!! Walter, you jerk!”

Still holding on to him, she beat his chest with her one free arm. Then as she calmed down, she put her arm back around his shoulders.

“Mmmh…”,

“Umm… Thea? You can let go now. We’re safe.”

Walter tapped her shoulder, prompting her that she can let go now. But in his mind, the softness and warmth of her embrace was something to be savored. Thea kept silent as she kept her face buried on his shoulder.

“Thea…?”

Walter asked again, he now grew increasingly worried that he may have gone too far with his tease. When it comes to sense of humor, Walter was not the finest catch.

“...I knew you wouldn’t fail me.”

She softly uttered as she held pressed her body closer to him. Walter can feel her heartbeat on her chest and the growing warmth. He just smiled and hugged her back.

Just as they were sharing their tender moment…

“...!”

Walter quickly turned around to shield Thea from another explosion, this time it as terrifyingly close to them. He would guess that it was 10 meters away from where they were. As they turned around, they found 2 bodies sprawled about the ruined pavement.

One was unconscious, covered in cuts and bruises, burns and injuries. He sported a flame-like spiky hair, a straight blue visor over his eyes and a dark blue armored coat. He also wore mechanical gloves and steel boots as the entirety of his Nex Frame.

The other, a woman, unlike the first one, was conscious, but barely and in severe pain. She donned a pink tight suit with neon pink pads that ran through her shoulders, chest, and legs. She also sported bright dragonfly-like wings and an open-faced helmet.

“Volt Striker and Pixie Lass!”

Walter recognized them in an instant, they were one of the rising superhero superstars, one of the best he known. To see them severely beaten up like this, was unreal.

The two quickly ran to their aid. Walter and Thea both quickly checked their vitals. Thea noticed Pixie Lass’ wings was burned by a green scorch, like she was shot down.

“Thea, do you think you can heal them?”,

“Y-Yes… but these are Nexus energy-induced injuries. It might take a while.”

Thea immediately responded. Walter took a good look at their injuries and surely enough there was residual Nexus energy radiating from their wounds.

“No… get… out… run…!”

Pixie Lass tried to speak up but her voice was trailing off due to the pain she was currently in. Both Thea and Walter couldn’t make them out.

“Here, help me get them to a saf--!!!”

As they were about to take them to a safety, Walter sensed two powerful and malignant presences coming there way. Thea sensed them too, the overwhelming pressure of their sheer malicious intent that enveloped their presence filled her with the sense of dread. Anomala, more specifically, Supervillains.

“GOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEE!!!”

A hulking monstrosity roared a shock wave-inducing cry. Its cry cleared the cloud of dust from the distance.

This monster was ripped with abnormally large physique. Pure muscle and sinew, literally, as in the skin was largely absent. It was covered with bony carapace with bone spikes that riddled its massive frame. It’s head was nothing more than a skull with a huge, gaping mouth. He was the infamous supervillain, and one of Gray Knight’s rogues gallery, Gore, the flesh golem.

“Oh? Curious. Meddlers in our midst. How unexpected.”

Just then a disembodied voice, boomed throughout the surrounding. Suddenly, a massive swirl of black mist accumulated around them, then on a single point, like a maelstrom of black matter. The accumulated black mist formed a humanoid figure with glowing green core.

As the figure materialized, it revealed its menacing visage in its full glory. A sharp gentleman, wearing black armor or Nex Frame, and a white faceless and featureless mask. He also wore a rather strange overcoat and military officer cap, it was made out of black mist that each time he moves, it disappears and reconstitutes constantly.

His name was, Commissar Geist, one of Impact Man’s, Richie Marcus’ father, fierce arch-rivals.

The phantom officer inspected the scene before him. Within his featureless mask, he eyed the lot of them.

“Three Nova. Oh what a find, indeed. And one meddling nobody.”

His hoarse voice was like that of a grating rock inside of a tin can, while mocking Walter’s presence. He said three nova, but there were four of them there, which means he did not sensed Walter’s Nexus. Same as Kurszt when they first went up against each other, he didn’t sensed his Nexus energy until later the fight.

Visage hidden, Walter rose up from his knees and stepped forward, facing the two supervillains with a lone gait.

“Oh? The nobody wants to fight? Heh… hehehehahahahaha!”,

Walter’s display of courage seemed to piqued Commissar Geist’s amusement, as his twisted laughter filled the air. Just then Walter turned to Thea.

“Thea.”,

“Yes?”,

“I’ll hold them off, get them healed up. Until they can call for reinforcements.”

Walter said with conviction. Thea was about to protest again, yet she saw the same fire she saw when he saved her from the stranded ferris wheel cabin.

“Yes. I trust you.”

She nodded, her faith in him resonated in her response. That was all the motivation Walter needed.

“Wait… no…! You c-can’t.”

Pixie Lass began to speak again, persistent that the both of them escape as far away as possible. Thea’s eyes illuminated a gold glow as she channeled her Nexus energy unto her hands. A warm light radiated from her palm, enveloping the superheroine with a soothing feeling.

“Uh…?”

Pixie Lass felt her wounds closing up, her injuries healed. Although slowly, but surely.

“Y-You…”,

“Don’t worry, you’re gonna be okay. And don’t worry about, Walter, I trust him. He will protect us.”

Thea uttered such comforting words upon the fallen superheroine. Her feelings clear and no trace of doubt, Walter will defeat them.

Meanwhile, Walter began to approach the two supervillains on a rather relaxed pose and iron clad composure. Unflinching and undaunted by their sheer malicious presence.

“Hehehehahahahaha! Interesting! Most Interesting! A nobody who wished to d--”,

“Tell me…”

Before the phantom officer could mouth off an entire series of mockery upon the seemingly naive courage that this ‘nobody’ have, Walter spoke up as if to ask something.

“Have you experienced a punch accelerating in mach 20… in point-blank range?”,

“...!?”

The question seemed to take the supervillain by surprise, the way Walter said it. In his mind, it would be impossible for any object to accelerate in point-blank range. He was gonna dismiss it as a bluff, yet he can’t shake the feeling that his question might have a bearing.

As he close in, he suddenly emit a powerful presence all of a sudden. His gaze was that of doesn’t belong to a human being nor novus alike, it was like staring at the staring at the gaze of the abyss, and setting one foot at death’s doorstep.

“I’ll tell you then, it would be like having a full momentum and full impact of a kinetic bombardment in a matter of a second. But I digress, he’s about to find out.”

Walter suddenly pointed his finger to Gore himself, which the supervillain just cocked his head in response.

“Gore! Trample this nobody!”,

“GOOOOORRRRR-----!!!”,

“...!!!”


Agitated, Geist sic his fellow supervillain, his muscle, Gore unto the meddling nobody. When suddenly Gore disappeared from where he was standing and was sent flying through the pavement, all the way towards the end of the Industrial district. Creating a swath of destruction in his wake.

What appeared in Gore’s place--- or rather, who--- was Walter with his right arm extended, and fist balled as if he just performed a punch. The tip of his knuckles was emanating white steam caused by the sheer impact.

“Wh-what---”

Commissar Geist, and even Pixie Lass with Thea, had their mouth agape, cannot believe what they just saw. It happened in an instant that they didn’t even saw it. And the way he delivered that punch, he was not on a fighting stance or anything, he was on a very relaxed position. Just standing with his fist extended.

The phantom officer immediately extended his right arm, a glint of green sparked through his palm as he began channeling his Nexus. This was Geist’s Nexus trait, Ectoplasmic Matter, which enables him to manipulate ectoplasmic energy.

The gathered energy on his palm formed into a ball of concentrated ectoplasmic energy. With the gathered energy, it could detonate with an explosion rivaling a High Explosive Grenade.

“...!”

But before he could unleash his retaliation, Walter suddenly appeared in front of him. His fist winded up and stance ready to deliver another massive blow. Yet, as Walter swung his punch, he felt something off in a split-second.

“Hahahaha!”

Geist laughed as Walter’s right punch phased through his physical form. One of the abilities associated with Geist’s Nexus trait, ghost physiology, more specifically, he can transform his physical form into an intangible state.

“Tch! Intangibility!”

Walter screamed in his mind, as his fist just phased through his enemy. No physical reaction whatsoever.

“Foolish boy.”

A grim tone slipped from his voice as he placed his hand with the concentrated energy ball right at Walter’s face. Even with his speed, Walter won’t evade it in time. The ball of ectoplasmic energy detonated in point-blank range.

A powerful gust blew all over the area as the impact exploded. Pixie Lass used her Nexus energy to erect a barrier to shield the three from the impact.

“Walter…! Huh?”

Thea was about to call out, she immediately noticed streaks of lightning sparked through the smog.

“Gh…!!!”

Commissar Geist was sent flying out of the thick smog. His body was wracked in his own green flames with streaks of electricity crawling through his body.
Then from the smokey veil, Walter emerged. His body now emitting neon red veins that seem hover on his both arms up to his shoulders, forming an outline of an armor. That and he was unscathed by the point-blank explosion.

“Gh… you… what is this power?”

Geist let out a frustrated grunt as he struggled to get back up on his feet. Glaring daggers at Walter under his white featureless mask. It was then he noticed the hovering red vein-like vector outlines on Walter’s physique.

“It’s… a Nexus Ley Line. Yet I can’t sense its power… what…”,

“Redirection.”,

“Gh--huh…?”

“Call it my automatic defense mechanism. I can redirect any attacks either from any direction or back at its original source. From its damage to its calculated destructive impact.”

Walter summarized his exhibit of his Nexus Trait, but that was just one of his associated abilities. While his true Nexus trait is still unknown to him.

“GOOOOOORRRRREEEE!!!”

Suddenly, Gore the flesh golem came barreling down at Walter’s direction with frightening speed. The supervillain dragged his right fist and enlarged it at his whim.

This was Gore’s Nexus trait: Muscular Animosity, with this trait, he can change not only his muscle density and growth, but also bone growth as well. So much so that his could not even handle it and he was forced to just discard it entirely. His muscle and carapace now serves as his skin. He can even make his muscles so dense that it was harder than steel.

As the supervillain closed in, he took a massive heave and swung the gigantic fist straight at the meddling nobody. Walter quickly took stance and balled up his fist once again, using his immense strength, and redirection ability, he met the giant fist coming at him with his.

His punch met with his adversary’s, the air smelled of ozone as an explosion of red electrical energy buzzed through the air. Igniting with a blinding flash.

“GOOOAAAAAAA---!!!”

Gore promptly flew back, his gigantic fist was completely annihilated into several chunks of burnt meat. Leaving just a peeled stump.

“Hm!”

Wasting no moment, Commissar Geist quick took the air and began unleashing a volley of ectoplasmic projectiles. The projectiles being redirected right back the supervillain were dodged, every time.

“Tch!”

Walter clicked his tongue and grunted as he was assaulted by a seemingly endless barrage. Attacking at a long range and in mid-air nonetheless. Walter currently had no ranged attacks nor was capable of producing projectile-based attacks, most of all, flight was out of the question.

Thinking up of a plan, Walter took evasive maneuvers. Ascertaining each projectile launched in a mere split-second, thanks to his enhanced senses. His incredible showcase of agility and reflex was something to behold.

While avoiding the ectoplasmic projectiles, he quickly scanned the surroundings. Searching for something he could use as leverage to close the distance. Evading another projectile, and jumped into an elevated platform. He charged up the gathered momentum on his legs and then launched himself up towards Geist.

“Guh--ah!!!”

As he approached, he felt his neck hit something hard, a solid lariat. With the powerful lariat, he was instantly ricocheted back to the ground sliding through the concrete, but thankfully on his feet.

As he looked up, he saw a figure standing before him. It was Gore, he was in a completely different form now. His monstrous frame shrank into that resembling of a human’s. His muscle mass compacted into a sleeker form, now with increased speed and power increased by two-fold. In other words, his trump card.

“...!”

Without warning the supervillain stomped on Walter’s back with a two-fold impact, that it actually created a vein of fissure on the pavement. But Walter did not fell, he jolted up and the two met fists. Walter’s punch still overpowered his opponent’s, but unlike last time, his enemy’s fist remained intact.

The two adversaries clashed into a violent brawl, Gore unleashing a flurry of consecutive punches and Walter did the same. Although, Walter also moved defensively, redirecting the full impact of those blows while he himself moved to counter-attack. Yet the staggering durability of Gore’s new form, made it hard to tell if he was doing any damage at all. These Supervillains were not going down without a fight.

The shock waves and impacts of their savage exchange of fists rumbled their surroundings, with rapid and thunderous blasts like that of a cannon being repeatedly fired. Walter was no martial artist himself, he had only to rely on his innate augmented senses such is the natural trait of a novus.

But as the maelstrom of killing blows continued, Walter grew more accustomed to his senses and movements. His maneuvers and split-second decisiveness evolving one step at a time, so much so that he can now ascertain incoming blows and plan an immediate counter to them. On the other hand, Gore was just throwing random punches, yet all aimed Walter's physical frame, the supervillain relying heavily on pure brute savagery.

“Well then…”

Walter slid back and cracked his neck and knuckles. With blinding speed, Gore charged at him like a rabid animal, as expected.

As Gore reached at an arm’s length, he swung his fist forward, directing his attack right at his adversary’s face. As the fist landed, Walter suddenly disappeared. An after-image.

Then in an instant, Gore felt an awfully sharp blow at the back of his head. Walter, in his instantaneous movement, appeared beside the supervillain and whipped the back of Gore’s head with the back of his fist.

The impact by that back fist was as the same as his first punch, mach 20 at point-blank. Gore was about to be sent flying, but Walter then suddenly appeared in front of him.

“This is gonna hurt.”

Walter successfully connects a point-blank punch, this time at mach 50, then into a hook. The impact as been increased by many-fold. Red lightning trailed from his fist, as a delayed, blinding beam of red energy exploded from that punch with a thunderous impact..

“G--go---re….”

While it did not actually sent him flying, the damage was more than enough to pierce that stubborn durability. Gore just flopped in place, like a marionette with its strings cut. Walter blew off the smoke from his fist.

“H-He’s… I--I couldn’t even…”

Pixie Lass was left utterly speechless by the display of power, her wounds were now mostly closed up thanks to Thea’s healing. She was now resting easy, her wings still damaged, but she can walk now yet not yet in a fighting condition.

“What… Who… exactly is he?”

As if running out of appropriate questions to ask, the superheroine kept her eyes glued unto Walter. Thea couldn’t help but giggle, she felt a swelling pride on her heart.

“He’s my protector.”

She just muttered, as if to answer Pixie Lass. Yes, he was her own sworn protector, the one she would be proud to call him, her hero. Thea couldn’t help but smile as she tended to the unconscious Volt Striker next.

“Look out!”

Pixie shouted all of a sudden, pointing at the other direction. Commissar Geist was still standing and was still airborne. Above him, a massive ball of raw ectoplasmic energy, being accumulated at an alarming pace.

“Hehehahahahaha!!! If we can’t have these Nova, then I’ll just have to level the entire district myself! HEHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Consumed by madness, the supervillain continue to gather huge amounts of ectoplasmic energy. At this rate, it would be powerful enough to rival a small nuclear warhead, it would level the half of the entire metro zone.

Pixie, Thea and Walter just stared in shock and horror what was about to transpire.

“He’s lost it!”

Walter quickly rushed towards the three. He then again manifested his Nexus energy and armed himself with his Redirection Field.

“HEEHAHAHAHA! You can’t redirect something this massive, nobody! The explosion would still wipe everything in a large radius.”

Maniacally mocked the seemingly futile attempt by Walter. It was true even if he managed to redirect that massive attack, the explosion would still yield massive loss and casualties.

“Then time for something, completely different.”

A sharp glare drew on Walter’s face. He balled his right hand into a fist, then at a whim, his entire right arm reverted back into its black clad form. Accumulating red lightning streaks as it also assimilated Walter’s jacket sleeve.

Turning the leather material of the jacket into mechanical armor plates, clicking together in geometric vectors to accommodate the full form of his black arm.. His Mantra Arm taking the entire grandeur of its form, he need not pull his tight sleeve up.

“DIE!”

With one big heave, Commissar Geist unleashed the massive ball of energy right at them. Walter then quickly rushed ahead, spearheading the massive, glowing green sphere. Using his bare hands, he stopped the sphere dead on its intended impact. It was quite heavy than it looks, it felt like an actual tangible object, thanks to Walter’s Mantra Arm.

“No! NO!!!”

The supervillain then used his Nexus energy to press the giant ectoplasmic ball to its impact.

“Walter!!!”

Thea suddenly yelled out of concern. Hoping her voice would be heard.

“I… I’m fine!”

Step by step, he slowly overpowered the resistance by the supervillain. It granted Thea a brief sigh of relief but it was too early to celebrate yet.

“HELP!”,

“SOMEBODY HELP US!!! WE’RE STUCK!!!”

All of a sudden a cry for help was heard from the struggle. Pixie immediately pointed at the direction where the voices of distress were coming from.

“The Liberty Wheel!”

The superheroine shouted and pointed at the stuck cabin. It was from a cabin at the peak of the ferris wheel, there trapped two people a mother and her daughter. From the looks of it, the mechanical arm that was supposed to bring them down also malfunctioned because of the explosion earlier.

“SILENCE!!!”


Annoyed by the cries for help, Commissar Geist extended his right arm and fired at the cabin, while the other still keeping pressure unto his final coup de grace against Walter. Hitting the mechanical joints of the crane, causing the steel to melt and the cabin to swing through the melted joint. Clearly this villain had no shred of compassion.

“AAAAHHHH!!! MOMMY HELP!!!”,

“PLEASE HELP US! SAVE MY DAUGHTER!!!”

A horrifying development, as the cabin swung, its door sprung open. The daughter now hanging for her dear life on the railings. Both of them crying, their anguish and suffering pierced through Walter, Thea and the superheroes.

“Grrr…”

Frustrated, Walter gritted his teeth. His hands were full, if he let’s go of this massive ball of energy, half of the metro zone would destroyed, innocents killed. But if he keeps this up, those unfortunate ones would fall to their deaths. Adding to the fact that he can’t fly or launch that high.

“Dammit!”

Pixie growled in frustration. She couldn’t channel her Nexus energy unto her broken wings. She cursed under her breath, as she felt helpless in this situation. As far as the situation goes, she was the only one who was capable of flight, but she was utterly incapacitated.

Thea looked back and forth at Walter and the mother and daughter. Walter was at a deadlock, he could not do this alone. Seconds pass by, her mind has become wracked and consumed with panic unsure of what to do. Walter has already has his hands full.

Panic and hesitation clouded over her mind as the situation grew more dire each passing second. Yes, Walter did sworn to protect her but does someone have to die or suffer in process. A disturbing chill ran up her entire body as she trembled helplessly, while gazing back and forth at Walter and the two civilians caught in the crossfire.

“...!”

It was then Thea caught a glimpse of Walter’s face. What she saw was not the most pleasant of sights, his expression was not of that of a struggle, but it permeated sadness and suffering as if he was about to make a decision that will scar him for life.

“<No…>”

Thea felt her heart clenched as she saw that unsightly expression, as if her heart was being constricted and clawed by icy metal barbs. She could not bear of seeing Walter like this. Suddenly, as if a torrent of water washing over, a memory revealed itself in her mind.

‘Besides, it’s not about superpowers or being a superhero or a novus. It’s about doing what needs to be done and doing the right thing.’

Thea recalled what Walter had said to her last night. Just then, a sudden realization followed suit. She held up her right hand and looked at as she felt her Nexus energy coursed through her veins.

“<I can’t-->”

She slowly balled it into a fist, clenching it tightly. Concentrating her Nexus energy, focusing it to take shape, assume a definite form.

“<I won’t… I won’t let him suffer! People don’t need to suffer or die for my sake and safety!>

She then slowly stood up from her knees. Walter took a quick glance on his back, as he felt Thea’s presence. As their gazes met, a warm smile curled on her face. He did not know what was that about but he returned the smile with his in kind.

With that, Walter began pressing forward while still trying to repel the massive ball of energy. Taking two steps forward. Although he could pretty much overpower Commissar Geist, he was careful not to make a sudden move. One slip, could spell immediate catastrophe.

Thea then looked up, she locked her gaze upon the two civilians hanging by their dear lives on the cabin. And from the looks of it, the axle and pin of the crane arm was about to gave way any moment now.

She held her right hand unto her chest and exhaled, focusing her Nexus energy. Gold vector outlines began outlining her body, like a humanoid circuit board.

“<If Walter is to be my protector--->”

Her Nexus flow began to rapidly grow in intensity, enveloping her body in a blinding golden light. Pixie Lass, Walter, and even Commissar Geist took notice. The powerful surge of power was too great to be ignored even for the supervillain.

“--then I shall be his wings.”

CORONA!

She declared the name of her Nexus manifestation, Corona, the white armored avatar. The avatar appeared behind her, like a shadow given corporeal form. Like a marionette, the construct mimicked her movements.

Thea then bent her knees down then took to the skies, together with her construct. As she flew towards the cabin, her physical form tailed with a golden light trail.

“Initiate Nexus restriction release, code: EVE.”

She uttered the words like a command code to a program. Corona, her armored construct then fused with Thea’s physical form.

Corona’s armored body opened like a case, then began equipping itself on Thea herself, forming her Nex Frame. She formed armored gauntlets, blade-tipped landings, an open helmet that has a ring above her head resembling a halo, and large shoulder pieces.

The shoulder pieces were not physically attached, but rather hovering on her shoulder. On these pauldrons, two sets of mechanical metal pinions with golden neon feathers resembling an angel’s wings.

The golden light that enveloped Thea’s body materialized into her suit. A thick polymer-like material that perfectly captured every contour of her body. With layered padding like tri-weave padding. Her red hair turned white and tied at the back of her open helmet, in a form of long twin-tails.

Thea’s transformation was complete. Donning a striking and powerful visage of an angel with 4 metal pinions with neon feathers.

She spun on mid air as she closed the distance to the mother and daughter stranded on the ferris wheel cabin, braking her ascent and spreading all four of her wings. Fragments of her energy scattered about like golden feathers.

The two civilians stared at her form with complete awe, as if panic seemed to have completely left them. Thea’s presence and gentle aura, must have helped alleviate their panicked state.

“Here.”

Thea flew closer to them offering her hand to them. The little girl latched on her arms and the woman, whom was the girl’s mother held on to her tight.

“Hang on tight, we’re going down.”

Thea instructed the two, and they did as they were told. Slowly, Thea raised four of her wings and descended down from the cabin.

“Hey… miss?”,

“Yes?”

The little girl suddenly called Thea’s attention, lightly tapping on Thea’s shoulder with her tiny hand.

“Are you… an angel?”

The little girl asked wide-eyed, seemingly still in awe of Thea’s form. The latter then just smiled and giggled at the cute little girl’s question.

Before Thea could answer, they finally reached the ground safely. Thea’s pointed armor boots didn’t touched the ground, in this form, she was perpetually hovering. Pixie Lass wasted no moment to assist her.

“Oh bless your heart, my dear. Thank you so much.”,

“Thank you, Ms. Angel!”

The mother and daughter expressed their gratitude towards Thea’s efforts. The little girl even hugging her leg, much to Thea’s gladness. Seeing those happy faces, Thea, for the first time in her life, felt an overwhelming fulfillment and contentment.

“Didn’t know you have it in ya! Nice job!”

Pixie Lass nudged her elbow against Thea’s side, while paying her a playful compliment. Thea just giggled in response, happy that she made her decision.

Walter saw the ordeal, the civilians were now safe, and the defeated superheroes tended to. He thought it was about time he too finish up. Since there was nothing was shackling him up anymore. The problem now was how will he handle this volatile matter before him.

“If I can’t redirect it, then--”

Walter then redirected his strength unto his left arm to hold the massive ectoplasmic energy ball and pulled his right arm, his Mantra Arm. He balled his right hand into a fist, clenching it tight as he channeled its energy unto it.

Crimson streaks of lightning sparked and crept from his right arm unto his fist like a Tesla coil. Vector lines of his Mantra Arm began glowing a bright hue of crimson.

“---I’ll just extinguish it!”

With a full swing of his charged right fist, a powerful piercing shock wave impaled the massive ball of energy. As the fist reached the smallest margin, Walter accelerated it by 10 fold, mach 100 in an instant. Its delayed blast took form of a raging crimson thunderbolt.

The massive shock wave in its wake roared like a beast as the bolt of lightning flew straight unto the massive ball of energy. The sheer power of the attack completely dissipated the massive ball of energy into nothing, like a bubble being popped. Not only did it extinguished its form, but also its explosive potential that could have leveled half of the entire Metro Zone.

“NO NO NO N---AAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!”

Commissar Geist took the full wrath of the crimson thunderbolt, the full force of Walter’s punch. The impact and damage of the attack instantly fried his Nex Frame, extinguishing his Nexus energy manifested on him. He fell to the ground like an insect struck by a bug zapper, robbed of consciousness and de-powered.

“Woohoo!”,

“Walter!”

Pixie Lass and Thea quickly went over to Walter to congratulate him. Pixie Lass even expressing her admiration and awe to the both of them, it would seem that they have earned her respect.

“Uuugh…”

Volt Striker then began coming to. Pixie quickly noticed and rushed by his side. Walter then turned his gaze unto Thea.

“So… You were really amazing back there.”

Immediately, Walter voiced his amazement unto Thea’s actions earlier. He also took note of her Nex Frame, it was very unique in its own right.

“And your Nex Frame looks so friggin’ awesome!”

Walter’s eyes sparkled as he stared in marvel at Thea’s Nex Frame. Eyeballing her and noticing every detail, from the armor and suit.

“Walter… Y-you’re staring… Stop.”

Thea was flustered but not out of irritation, but rather abashed. Her words was saying no, but her fidgeting and expression were telling the opposite.

“O-Oh. Sorry!”

Taking notice of his gesture, Walter quickly stopped, she might get the wrong idea. Averting his gaze away from her. Thea then reverted back into normal and approached him.

“You were awesome too back there. I never knew you had such strength to take on two supervillains.”

Thea returned the admiration in kind. She was right, that feat alone was noteworthy by itself, whether be novus or superhero.

“Ah… Ahaha… Well they did put up a really good fight.”

Scratching the back of his head, Walter replied with a wry smile. He remained humble, he did not want to brag or anything, given the circumstances, he was put on a tight spot. She just giggled by his obvious abashed humility, which Thea found adorable.

Walter then reverted his Mantra Arm back into its pseudo-normal state, and powered down his Nexus energy. As they saw Volt Striker now conscious, the two approached them.

“Thank goodness, are you alr--ah!”

As Walter offered his hand to help him stand up, Volt Striker suddenly slapped his hand away, rejecting it with a sudden hostility. The abrupt gesture caught the three of them by surprise. The superhero slowly stood up on his own and turned his back on them.

“Hey! Listen you--”

Thea did not took the gesture lightly at all. She was about to mouth the rude superhero off, when Walter gestured with his hand to stop and shook his head. Thea gazed on Walter and just held her tongue as he silently insisted, contempt still lingered about her expression, with a bit of dejected feeling.

The disgruntled superhero continue to walk away, without uttering a word. Walter just let out an exasperated sigh, almost went over his head that not all superheroes welcome such kindness.

“Ah… I’m very sorry about that. He’s just one big sourpuss. He’s always like that.”

Pixie quickly interposed herself, deeply apologizing on Volt Striker’s behalf. She then furled her helmet to reveal her full facial profile unto the both of them.

“Anyway, don’t worry about it! Thank you again for your help. Here!”

Flashing a beaming smile, Pixie handed them both her cards. Walter and Thea inspected both their cards from front to back. The card even has her real name written on it: Alicia Brock.

“I work at a clothing shop on the shopping plaza mall, feel free to drop by any time! Alright, time to work on my report. See ya!”

Not even waiting for a response from the two, Alicia both waved the two farewell; she seemed to be in a hurry with an apparent priority at the moment. And just in time as the Metro Authority arrived at the scene. The authorities both put Gore and Commissar Geist on a stretcher and moved them to their respective containment vans.

Night has already fallen, Thea and Walter now left the scene making their way towards the transit station. It had been a very long day, both fun and danger, it was quite the adventure.

As they walked towards the station, Thea wrapped her arms around Walter’s. Starting at that moment, their paths were now inter-twined.

Will it for better or for worse? Love or friendship? Duty or Selflessness? Only time can tell. This was just the beginning, as a cloud of gathering darkness looms just ahead.



To Be Continued...

 
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Ruby Rose

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Re: Astonished / Amazed

Wow wow wow... the Walter x Thea is so strong! And finally we get to see Walter AND Thea in action. Tho I was expecting more from Thea, but nonetheless the scene where she first took flight has me in awe. And Walter finally gets a taste of being a superhero! (Well the gist of it at least.) Fighting villains and saving people.

And wow wow wow, Kurome showing off her bad-ass side. For a happy-go-lucky gal, she sure can hold her ground and composure. The cafe' scene reminded me a bit of Umineko, three goddesses and all three of them wearing facades to hide their true nature. It was a long chapter, and I can't for the next!
 

Tyrant Raver

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Ahaha, well there'll be more for Thea soon. I'll admit she went a bit overboard, but she has not yet revealed what she is capable of in her Nex Frame form.

Heh, and funny enough, I have taken some inspiration from Umineko when I made Nobuki. Maybe from a certain Golden Witch??? Maybe lol.
 

KingdomKey

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This was a roller coaster of emotions for me, where it concerns Thea. I personally love Thea and her origin story. I feel extremely bad for her having to live that kind of life. I am ROOTING for these two to become a full on couple after going on this date and trusting each other, when it came down to it in a fight. I'm glad Walter was able to protect her like he promised, and Thea was able to do something instead of letting anybody die for her sake. And damn, who would've thought cheerleaders would be against one another as far as clubs go, who are gunning for Student Council?! Kurome sure does hold her own in a battle of banter. Kurome is my precious otaku. <3 Anyways, I loved everything about this chapter. Including the fight scenes that went down with Walter against two deadly foes. I look eagerly forward to the next chapter!
 

Lady Featherine

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Okay, I have read the whole thing from Chapter 1 - 5, they're pretty long, I feel like I'm reading a light novel. Which is a good thing, I love LN's. Anyway, here's my personal thoughts on it so far...

The Characters - particularly the main characters, heroes and heroines. So far these were ones were the selling point of the story for me. Though sure they're not yet fully fleshed-out, but from what I've read, each of them has their own distinct trait. And each of them had a side which were surprisingly like-able. The three that stood out to me were the three heroines, Kurome, Ailana and Thea.

-Ailana. At first I thought she's gonna be your popular mean girl surrounded by posh posses,; and to be completely honest, I was secretly waiting on her to pull a fast one on our main character, Walter. Maybe end up being Richie Marcus' concubine, but no, her humility and kindness was genuine and I liked that. Seems to me that she's like a hothouse flower that is lead by her own curiosity, but I'm saying too much.

-Thea. Okay this gal was the first one that got my attention. I thought she would be more welcoming than Ailana at first, I mean reading her background, I would understand that she would be a bit hesitant (maybe even shy). But oh boy, I did not expect her to be THAT hostile to Walter. Now that I think about it, she did came from a really really rough place. I guess if I was in her shoes I would also shun him. And oh boy, I loved her character arc (maybe because tsunderes are my weakness) and every interaction of her with Walter is just pure delight! And props to Walter that he never gave up on her, such a sweet boy. And I am really hooked at her character development, I'm glad she did not turned out like your stereotypical damsel-in-distress. I know it was just Chapter 5 but I'm eager to see her character take flight, and do more great things.

-Kurome. Oh goodness, what do we need to say about her... She's my spirit animal, I'm sorry lol. But seriously, she's just a bundle of delight. She reminds me of Haruhi Suzumiya only not annoying, with a mix of Kamina and Kofuku (Noragami). She's not cheery and overly-positive to a fault that she would lead her club by sheer naivety, but rather she looks like she's beaming because she's full aware what she was doing. And when things get ugly or serious, Kurome won't hesitate to step forward and get her hands dirty; like when she stopped Kurszt and Walter, or when she was discussing about the Nova Reform, she was well-aware of what's ahead of her and she's not just charging blindly head-on dragging her team behind her. And I loved that. And that Cafe' Banter scene in the last chapter. *Smack* Waifu moment, right there, lol XD.

As for other characters, I'll just reserve judgment for later. Though I would love to see Max and Xiu (Xiu's a potential waifu material too) get their own character arcs. Kurszt? Meh... for now, I mean I liked that he's a hardworking guy, but other than that, I still need more backstory to our VP of the SA Brigade. Same with Atha, although I'm curious to how powerful is she.

The story flow. Last but not least. This is why, even though the chapters are long, it still got me hooked from beginning to end. This is just my opinion. The character interactions are dynamic, even the slice-of-life parts works. The universe-building is slow yet not to the point of dragging. Same with the story pacing, I love stories that take their time with their pacing, just within the span of the reader's attention. Visual Novels and Light Novels tend to do that often. And the fight scenes, ugh... so intense. It's detailed and epic, just by reading it, I can visualize how powerful each blow being thrown.

Overall, the story's engaging and I can see the effort you've put into each chapter. Please, do continue your efforts, Mr. Tyrant Raver, you've sated this humble reader's appetite. :)
 

Tyrant Raver

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Oh wow, that's some heavy critique there. Thank you so much for that input. I see our little goddess of war is slowly amassing her own fan club ahaha... Oh yes, no character gets left behind.

And still too early for OTP's hehe, :p This is just the start of the major arc, and I am still brimming with ideas for the following chapters. And thank you three for following the story and for the feedbacks! :D
 
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