Fantasy Sci-Fi Story I Wrote in College



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kuraudoVII

D'oh, I missed!
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  • Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
I started writing this story several months before I turned twenty while still attending community college. I want to say that it was back in early 2011 (man, I'm feeling old, already). I wrote the beginning chapter during two of my most boring classes that semester as a way to pass the time. The first chapter, at least, was completed within that semester. Chapters two through four, however, weren't written until several months later when I started my new semester with a new major. It was also the semester where I suffered a severe amount of (w)angst. The second chapter in particular...makes me cringe the hardest because that (w)angst sorta filtered into the narrative due to the viewpoint character being, for the most part, a self-insert. The fifth chapter is still incomplete due to over three years of being dismotivated from writing any more of this story.

I mentioned that I wrote this story when I was younger. I say that now because when looking through this rough draft, it shows. It really shows. I personally think the story is horribly unoriginal, but a small part of me is still proud over the fact that I could even conjure this narrative up.

As a result of the above, I looked back at this story and thought, "I really need to finish this one day." I decided to do it here since I figured that this would be the best place to receive some feedback. Unfortunately, I have become fairly busy this semester due to assignments for the classes I am taking and taking the occasional day within every three or so weeks to teach a lesson as part of my practicum. I'd mention work, but for the past month now, they've been cutting my hours so much that I am literally just waiting for the day they bring me in and lay me off due to having more workers with more flexible hours than me. The point I'm trying to make is that my entries here will be sporadic at best due to the above.

One last thing to note: I've made a fair amount of edits to this story. The reason that this took me over two days to do was because the rough draft was all written in paper and pencil. It took me quite some time to not only get the essential plot threads and conversations typed, but even longer to try to cut out parts and add other parts in to make a more coherent story.

Also, I still haven't figured out a title for this story even after nearly five years. So for now, it's just going to be Fantasy Sci-Fi Story I Wrote in College. Terribly unoriginal title, but to the point.

Alright, I've procrastinated long enough. Here is my trusty easy button to help make this process go smoothly.

Without further ado, I present to Kingdom Hearts Insider Fantasy Sci-Fi Story I Wrote in College.

[HR][/HR]

I - Prōlogus

As dusk began to wane and the full enveloping presence of evening began to make itself known, a young man whose purpose in life he had not yet ascertained crept back into the house and was on his way to his family who were digging into the evening meal. Traversing down the hall, he could hear the sounds of the hockey game playing far off in the living room, but he was far too deep in thought to pay attention to that.

He sat down and began eating. Under ordinary circumstances, he was a big eater who, due to a relatively high metabolic rate, somehow remains fairly trim for his size, if not a touch flabby from doing less exercises than he'd like to admit. On this occasion, however, he barely ate anything at all and did not partake in any conversation other than a request for more pepper and a thank you for the meal. His family noted the behavior, but he wouldn't state what was on his mind when pressed. Eventually, he finished his dinner, washed the dishes and dashed up the stairs for some quiet introspection. Yet it could not hope to last.

As he closed the door and began to process all that he learned in the past couple of hours, a presence began to tug at his mind. This wasn't merely a feeling of foreboding. Rather, it was that of an intelligent being that could communicate with the young man and he to it. An intelligent being with a human visage...but with links to something stranger, almost...otherworldly.

Feeling kind of lost, are we?


The presence began to take shape. Initially, there was nothing there, but a split second later there appeared a green orb of light. A flash covered the room and upon disappearing, a young woman took its place.

Most people aren't attuned enough even remotely associated with the supernatural or alien. Indeed, most people would be completely oblivious to what the young man just witnessed on account of not having a single drop of cosmic power within them.

This fellow was not one of them.

The young woman glanced around at her surroundings and began addressing the man directly. Cocking her left eyebrow, she then said, "You still seem to be having a hard time adjusting to your new powers."

"It's not just that," the young man replied. "It's just...I'm still trying to come to grips with all that just happened. No offense, but I woke up this morning a normal, if somewhat quirky, college student without any major problems. I was not expecting to have to fight for my life and do all of this against a whole horde hellbent on destroying everything in its path. You'll excuse me if it takes some getting used to."

The woman gave him a sympathetic smile. "You're not the first one to be shell shocked after your first skirmish. If it makes you feel any better, you performed more than admirably compared to scores of others. Of course," she added dryly, "most never had your natural abilities, either."

He shook his head. "All of it is still just way too much to assimilate for me to accept it immediately, Kara. Don't get me wrong - these powers are awesome - but it's still really strange to me that I can just replicate abilities just by seeing them in action or just willing them to be from memories of what I saw before."

Kara (for that is indeed the young woman's name) nodded. When I gained the same powers ten years ago, I felt like I might not be able to survive if anyone tried to hunt me down. Even at that tender age of ten, as I'm sure you can understand now, your powers help make it more apparent the dangers that can and will assail you.

The young man, whose name was Rufus Weston Locke, though he preferred to be called Wes on principle, nodded his head aware of the implications of Kara's statement. From what she mentioned not long after their initial meeting (if you could call stumbling upon a man under attack a meeting), she didn't have any form of help that Wes currently had (in this case, her). She didn't have anyone in her immediate vicinity to tell her about her powers. Kara didn't even have a family to console her or at least stay with her no matter the costs. She was essentially an abandoned orphan that the world didn't care about at the time of her "Awakening."

As he peered at Kara a little closer, Wes recalled what little information about her that she gave him earlier. She had been skulking around the park when an odd sense of "otherness" began to tug at her. She felt...different somehow, as if she was suddenly more aware of the world and her surroundings. That odd feeling that initially started as a small feeling suddenly became realized within her. In an instant, she felt as if she was now a completely different person that could do anything rather than the scared ten year old girl that she was before.

Unfortunately for the young Kara, even this would have some dire consequences. Not long afterwards, scores upon scores of what she originally perceived to be some deformed dogs began assaulting her. A closer look - well, as close as she was willing to see with a horde of angry beasts on her tail - told her that these weren't so much dogs as completely different creatures that looked like they had the head of a dog, but the body of a pig. Fearing for her life, she began running away from the otherworldly creatures wishing fervently that she had a way to make herself disappear. As she rushed near the park bench where she left her jacket, she began fantasizing how she could just disappear.

And just like that, her fantasy became reality.

The young Kara was shocked as much as anyone could be when the beasts that were hunting for her suddenly stopped several yards away from her. She exhaled a grateful sigh of relief until she realization came to her that even if the beasts could no longer see her, it may still be possible that they could still attack her. After all, she just had an unexplained epiphany earlier in regards to being more aware of the world. It didn't seem like too much of a stretch to say that these beasts could have that same "sense" or else the mere fact that they could immediately find her just after that epiphany was merely coincidental. More to the point, even her ten year old mind reasoned that they might probably smell her. In desperation, she threw her jacket off to the side, hoping that this might be enough for the creatures to go away from her and follow the scent of the jacket instead. To this day, Kara still marvels over just how far she was able to throw it. Evidently, the epiphany came along with enhanced strength as well.

Needless to say, the beasts exhibited signs of confusion at the sight of a jacket being jettisoned off to the distance, but within seconds, the beasts were suddenly rushing over to that direction instead. The young Kara was understandably relieved to see them go away from her. However, she was smart enough to realize that she wasn't quite safe just yet.

She ran. She didn't quite know for how long she ran, but she ran nevertheless. As the sense of panic that enveloped upon seeing the beasts began to disappear, another major issue would spring up on her. As the inexorable flow of time persisted, she noticed that not only was anyone else able to see her, but she was beginning to feel worn out and depleted of energy. She would later find out that the method that she used to turn herself invisible exacted a heavy toll upon the young girl making her feel as if she ran a hundred miles instead of maybe the one or two that she actually did. Aware that whatever she did could very well kill her if continued, she began wishing, no, willing the spell that allowed her to become invisible to stop.

As she was willing the spell to end, Kara noticed that the whole time that she was invisible, the world around her looked, well, different. It held a somewhat sepia sort of tone to it instead of the normal tone that it held when she was visible. All of that changed as soon as the willpower came into effect and made her visible again. The sepia tone disappeared...only to reveal a world enveloped in darkness. Throughout her sojourn as an invisible girl, she thought that she was only so for maybe five minutes at best; by stark contrast, she was invisible for roughly five hours, long enough for the sun to set and the moon (a half crescent at the time) to rise. She quickly fled under a nearby bridge, one that she considered a safe haven for as long as she remembered since running away from the orphanage a couple of years back. As she got older, she would begin to gain a better innate understanding of her powers and would use them to place invisible protection around her safe haven to deter both people and other offworlders that would try to attack her - she emphasized that she didn't live in the safest part of the city to begin with, so these precautions were a must. She felt safe - nothing throughout the next six or so years penetrated her special protection around her have. But all of that would change the day she turned seventeen. That day where she would eventually learn even more about her powers...and the day she met her father.

Her father, known throughout the United States as Edward Bello Energia was searching far and wide for his daughter. Indeed, Kara was a bit shocked, but excited to find out that she had a family. She was hoping to learn all that she wanted to know more about her past, how she ended up separated from her parents, why it took her father so long to find her in the first place, if there were any other relatives (living or otherwise) aside from her father and, most important of all, where her mother was and why she wasn't with them now.

To her horror, she found out far more than she ever bargained for.

As it turned out, Kara's father was part of an elite group of humans that had strange mutations within them after they were secretly experimented on during the Cold War. These mutations caused them to become something akin to super soldiers. Having been forced to suffer from such experiments, most of these subjects were compelled to live life peacefully while keeping these powers secret lest they'd be used by the people for tasks ranging from the trivial to the outright destructive. One such son of one of these super soldiers was none other than Kara's father. Edward was actually conceived during the time his mother was heavily experimented on. Upon learning about this, he would grow up desiring to perfect his powers and use them to become powerful, rule the world and mold it the way he wanted to.

All of this he told the seventeen year old Kara. The teen reacted in horror when her father discussed in a very detached manner how he sought out the other people who were experimented on upon his mother's untimely death. The people who were experimented on, however, wanted nothing to do with Edward's plans believing his vision to be that which the essentially sought to avoid once the experimentation program was shut down so that the Italian government wouldn't use them before they were perfected. Almost every single one that was confronted over in Italy where the experiments took place were killed whereas only a handful of them joined him instead. However, there were many more that were spread out over different countries. Many went to their own native countries or to completely different ones after realizing that it was impossible for them to live in their old homelands again due to all that they suffered. A portion of these survivors and their offspring were able to form a sort of resistance group that resisted Edward and his cohorts.

The leader of the resistance was none other than Kara's mother, Lillian Armo. Originally a woman that had dated Edward (who was more suave appealing in those days), she was averse at learning about his eventual plans for world domination and did all that she could to fight him off and escape from his clutches. Kara, as it turned out, was conceived not long before this turn of events. While still pregnant, Lillian was able to mobilize the resistance group to fend off Edward and his associates. All this Edward gleaned from members of that group that he captured and brutally tortured before killing them.

Over time, it became clear that Edward's group was increasing in strength due to recruiting more members and forcing some of the prisoners that he didn't immediately kill to serve him out of fear. Lillian's group, however, was decreasing and fast. About a year after Kara was born, she sent her and a group of elite warriors away to a safe haven where they would be safe. They never made it. Edward's group intercepted them with the intent to use the daughter as leverage to force Lillian to submit. However, when all was said and done, the last surviving member used his powers to teleport her away before she could be kidnapped. Unable to locate her, this brave person was killed on the spot for whisking her away.

From then on, Lillian and her group all but disappeared from the face of the earth. Edward wasn't quite able to run rampant due to the resistance group still resisting wherever they could, but the real reason was that he was still searching for his and Lillian's daughter, hoping to either have her join his side or at least use her as leverage against Lillian. The latter, however, dropped off from the public eye leaving him to spend a good part of his time searching for her.

Afraid for her life, Kara instinctively tried to flee, but was tackled down by her father through what she felt were some impossibly fast martial arts. As her father was about to properly incapacitate her, a group of fighters suddenly appeared inbetween the two and repelled Edward on the spot, thus preventing him from escaping with Kara. These were the descendants of several members of the initial resistance group who stumbled upon Kara through mere chance and overheard her conversation with Edward. After some rushed introductions, the fighters then fled with Kara in toe into a space that existed yet didn't exist within the mortal plane. Within a small section of this strange ethereal area, they rested. From that point onward, they guarded Kara and instructed her in all that they knew about their powers as best as they could so that she could learn more about them and, more importantly, learn how to control them. By the time she turned twenty, she was considered a Master Class Warrior and could instruct others if there were any to instruct.

Tragically, by the time that she was considered a Master Class Warrior, several of her guardians, her friends, were already dead. Edward's coterie of conquerors were still searching for Lillian, but due to seeing his daughter slip under his very nose, he also split some of his time with trying to find her and slaughter her protectors. Eventually, only one guardian, Laurence, was left. Eventually, not even Laurence was able to escape the unflinching grasp of Death even while using his powers to warp Kara away from Edward. Kara was barely able to see Laurence's body suspended in the air when she was whisked away and found herself somewhere in Florida instead of the confines of her new haven. For a month afterwards, Kara wandered the world searching for a new warrior that could aid her in her quest to overthrow her father and locate her mother in order to eradicate the world of a great evil and finally finding some form of closure for herself in the process. It was in the midst of that search that she sensed a disturbance in the air and stumbled upon a young man in a park near the university that he attends.

These were just the bare facts.

The young man in the park named Wes (yeah, remember him?) now glanced away from Kara and at his right hand which was trembling and looked as if it would clench into a fist without warning. Thinking about Kara's life made him contemplate over his own experiences with these powers...which happened literally just a little less than a couple of hours ago. Before the mysterious woman had the time to give Wes what he felt were essentially the Cliff-Notes version of her backstory, he himself had been nearly mauled by an entire horde of those dog headed-pig bodied beasts. These beasts had appeared after Wes experienced his own "Awakening" which had him feeling the same things that Kara had when she had hers.

Now, one important thing to note is that Wes is an avid video game addict and often played what he considered some of the best games that he could get whenever he could get them. Many of them were filled to the brim with people possessing strange powers and weapons, yet were still human enough for him to connect to. One in particular had him play the entire game as a man that he knew was going to die due to the nature of it being a prequel, yet it still tugged at his heartstrings due to fighting an entire army of soldiers to protect his best friend only to die in the process after slaying nearly a thousand gunmen. So one can understand that when Wes saw the angry horde, he instinctively thought of said game. Just as he was contemplating over how pathetically unfulfilled his short life has been and how Fate has a cruel sense of humor, Kara happened upon the scene and helped him fight off the horde.

Seeing her in action and recalling that final battle in the aforementioned game caused Wes to instinctively tap into his newly awakened cosmic powers and summon a large sword to strike the beasts with. Unfortunately for him, he lacked Kara's training and was unable to properly put his newfound strength and weapon to use as well as if he trained for several years. He was at least able to slay a few monsters, but several more were able to bite him in the process. Luckily, Kara was able to slay the rest and heal him up immediately afterwards. The two eventually rushed out of the park and into the young man's car and drove straight home. It was during this car ride that Kara divulged all that has been stated above and decided that she was to help Wes hone his powers. Upon arriving home, however, she suggested that he at least get something to eat before resuming their conversation. She refrained from going into the house for said dinner, but decided to wait until he was alone in his room before speaking to him again.

Wes immediately forced himself to the situation at hand. "So those mooks that we took down a little while back, you think your father might have sent them down here?"

"I'm not quite sure," replied Kara, her face adopting an inscrutable expression. "Most of them simply charge at me whenever I'm attacked. Sometimes, though, there will be instances where there are people from his side involved, In those instances, they'll occasionally try to sway me toward my father's side and attack me the instant I refuse. Other times when attacking them, I can wring the information out of their minds which will generally embolden them to survive as best as they can to eliminate me. Though not," she continued with a grim grin formed upon her face, "that I'd give them long enough to think about it."

Wes hid back a smile. He found Kara to be an intriguing person. She had a bit of a dry, ironic sense of humor that would occasionally mirror his own whenever he felt the urge to snark in a deadpan manner. He also noticed that both of them tend to adopt a somewhat formal rhetoric around strangers, but are relatively down to earth when among family or friends. Relatively is the key word here, since he also noticed that while both of them have managed to relax a bit, each of them still held a slightly formal manner of speech toward each other, but seeing as they only met mere hours back, that wasn't too much of a surprise. However, what intrigued Wes was that while they had all of this in common, there was also a mysterious aura about her that allured Wes. She seemed both normal, yet exotic; like, and yet unlike. "Well then" he said, "I guess this group probably was acting under your father's orders since they all but ignored you and went after me when going for the kill. It seemed to me like they left you alone because your old man wanted to bring you alive if possible or because they saw a fresh target that had a hard time defending himself. I was-"

Whatever he was about to say was soon forgotten. After a couple hours of rushing home and getting a slight reprieve from the day's events, the trauma began to come and he suddenly felt the toll that his body took from the earlier fighting. Sure, the blood that he lost from the attacks were replenished from some of the blood bags that Kara summoned out of her hyperspace arsenal and she was able to use her powers to mend nearly everything else, even the internal bleeding, but that still left him physically exhausted. Understanding this, he sat down on his bed with his fingers rubbing his temples. Kara noticed this and was about to speak when Wes stopped rubbing and said, "I'm fine. It's just been a long day for me."

Despite his fatigue, he was acutely aware that he was the one who lived in the house and was compelled to play the part of the generous host. "Y'know, if you're tired, you can sit down and rest your legs, too." He then indicated a spot where she could sit by placing his left hand on the spot right next to him.

Kara gently sat down and sighed in a manner that implied that she, too, had been afflicted with the demands of battle. "Thank you. I didn't want to impose by asking first."

"Nonsense, Kara," Wes exclaimed with a smile. "You can make yourself at home anytime you need some R and R. After all that you've done for me, it's the least that I can do for you. The only thing is, if you're going to come here often, I think it'd be best if I introduce you to the family. Turning invisible every time one of them shows up is going to be annoying, so I'm probably going to have show you to them eventually."

"Fair enough. It would raise less questions if they see me coming in as a friend instead of stumbling upon the two of us in your bedroom with no explanation of who I am. That might give them the wrong impression. What we're probably going to have to do is say that you and I are classmates working on a project for...hmmm. Do you have some kind of art class or anything along the lines of that?"

"I have a Humanities course."

"That should work. We can say that we're working together on a Baroque era project or something-"

"Which I actually have to do," Wes interrupted. "Granted, it's not due for another month, though."

"So say that we're completing it ahead of time."

"Nah. My mother would never buy that. I procrastinate way too much on things for her to believe that."

"Then we'll claim it's due next week," she stated so matter-of-factly.

"Sounds good, I guess," Wes replied nonchalantly as he began to relax now that some of the fatigue was beginning to pass.

Kara gave him an inquisitive look and then made one of her first serious observations about her newfound acquaintance. "You know, you tend to slouch a lot. Whenever you're standing, you slump just a little. And just now, the way you're sitting isn't upright. If you were sitting properly, you would be than I am sitting down even as you are taller whenever we stand up together. Also," her face became thoughtful, "I don't think I've ever seen you bend your knees. You probably don't bend them, do you?"

Wes was surprised at how quickly she was able to pick up on all of that despite only having met her twice now."Uh, yeah. I'm never able to keep my shoulders straight or my knees bent. Moms always telling me to keep my shoulders up. As for the knees, I guess you could say I kinda-"

"-walk like an ent," Kara finished with a deferential nod.

"Yeah," he said as he put his hand behind his head, a bit embarrassed that she was able to see so much of him so easily.

Perhaps she noticed because she then pointed out, "It wasn't completely hard. It's all just a matter of being observant." She then turned a slight shade of red herself.

Not wanting to leave the conversation hanging like this, he deftly changed the subject. "You, uh, want to listen to something?" At this, he glanced at his new sound dock for his iPod. During the previous December, he went with his parents to Best Buy to choose a new gift to have alongside the new phones that they were getting. His younger brother went with a new laptop since he was only just recently accepted into college whereas Wes, who already had one (old as it was, it still worked) opted for the sound dock. It charged the battery on his iPod and, most importantly, played the music that was on it.

"Uh, sure. What do you have?

"Mostly metal. I do have some old school rap and a ton of soundtracks from movies, video games and anime. What exactly are you into?"

"Um, mostly anything, really. I grew up mostly alone for so long, but I'd often hear a car radio or two blaring whatever music that person liked. Most of it was either rap, rock or jazz. After I was taken in by Laurence and the rest, they listened to music of all kinds, so there was an extensive range that I could listen to. Laurence listened to everything except country while Megan loved listening to pop, smooth jazz and pretty much anything that could be considered easy listening. Marty was primarily a metalhead while Jared was mainly into rap. That's just the tip of the iceberg. There were more that listened to other avenues of music as well." Kara's face fell again at this.

Wes realized that he inadvertently probably triggered some painful memories. All of her instructors were killed off by Edward and his comrades, after all. "You just want to listen to something relaxing, then."

"Yeah, I guess," was Kara's reply, she who was in a far off place with her old guardians.

Wes wisely chose a relatively soft track that was still somewhat bouncy and upbeat. Being primarily a metalhead, he needed to go to the OSTs in order to find that, so he settled for something from the Kingdom Hearts series and played it on loop. He then sat back down next to Kara and said, "We're probably gonna have to train, aren't we?"

"Yes," was her response, finally drifting out of her memories. "You need to improve your skills and basically catch up to me in power while I need to improve my own capabilities so taht they can overpower my father's." She looked at Wes thoughtfully. "We'll need to establish a training regiment for you. We ought to start with replicas first. I could show you how to make you how to make one and your Fokado genes can make it possible for you to emulate my actions, however imperfectly. This way, you should be able to sneak out while your replica stays at home." Her face then became more concentrated. "But I'm also going to have to teach you how to telepathically communicate with your replicas so that all of you can be up to speed with everything that's going on."

"Cool. I could also use it to get out of doing the chores and...hang on a sec. I could probably get out of having to go to school every day, too, right?"

"Yes, but for now, I wouldn't recommend it for the moment. I really don't mean to burst your bubble, but replication can drain quite a bit of your cosmic energy if you don't train long and hard enough. You will need about a couple of years of training to master that skill...at least you would if you if you were "normal" even by our standards. Your Fokado genes seem to help speed up the process."

"Yeah, that was the next thing I was gonna ask you - what exactly are they, anyway?"

"Well," said Kara, "simply put, they're basically genes that grant people like us special powers. You and I can acquire abilities and use them in ways that even others similar to use have cannot do. They boost all of your abilities - they increase speed, brainpower to a small extent, strength, cosmic energy and such. Some of writings from the old resistance movement that survived Edward's purge speculate that everyone with cosmic energy can have Fokado genes, but thus far, only a small number have been shown to have them. Others seem to think that the genes are randomly configured in just a select few, though this theory seems to have died a little down since its been proven that those with Fokado genes onto their offspring."

Wes raised an eyebrow. "That's...oddly familiar. A group of genes that enhance your powers...sounds an awful like a certain race that increased in power from near death experiences due to their genes. That's basically the Sai-"

"Where do you think the mangaka got the idea from?" Kara interjected rather dryly.

Wes pondered this a second. "That would explain a few things. You stated that these genes boost your power. Are there any advanced states of this power?"

"Technically, it's not really a state at all - you merely gain access to it. As such, you can't really transcend it either, just increase the proficiency of the genes themselves through training as you normally would." She cocked her head. "You can see why people like us can be considered dangerous, right?"

"Yeah," Wes replied. He then glanced at Kara and realized that her eyelids were fighting as hard as they could to remain open. "Are you OK?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm just really tired," she responded, this time with the weariness evident in her voice. "I haven't slept in several days now. I have been beleaguered by attacks for a little while and have been unable to get much sleep ever since."

"Ouch, I feel you. Are you gonna be alright, though? Do you need someplace in here to rest?"

"Mmmm. Tempting and I thank you for the offer, but no thanks, at least not now." Kara dealt Wes a tired smile. "If what I'm guessing was correct, then the ones that were after you were more than likely after me under my father's orders and only went after you so that they could eliminate someone with Fokado genes that could potentially become a dangerous threat. The reason that I was able to sense you in the first place was because I could detect your genes, your energy and the energy and intent of your attackers."

"Huh," said Wes in a way of admitting that Kara had a point rather than that he was confused by her theory which he himself was thinking earlier. "So by that logic, you don't want to stay here in case your presence causes your father and his friends to come here."

"Yes. Besides, you haven't even introduced me to your family yet, so it'd be kind of awkward if they suddenly spotted me sleeping in your room with no explanation as to why I'm here. Otherwise, I'd have to remain invisible, and I don't even think I have enough strength to keep myself invisible for too long."

"Well, in that case, we'll look for an empty house here in the neighborhood. Florida's home market hasn't been the best, so there's enough to choose from and put you in to get some rest now. Don't look at me like that," he admonished. "You're too tired to maintain your invisibility for such extended periods of time as you said, so it's imperative to find somewhere you can lie low for now until you're better."

Kara looked at Wes for a couple of seconds, contemplating her situation. She then nodded her head. "Alright. Let's go."

As Wes began to ponder just how he and Kara were going to sneak out of the house, she quickly grabbed his hand and they both disappeared in a flash of green light...

***

They immediately appeared outside the neighborhood in a section with no one outside at the time. "I was sensing where we should teleport."

"Cool. This house doesn't have anyone in it. Come to think of it, I don't even see a 'For Sale' sign here. I wonder why..." Wes contemplated.

"Let's go inside," replied Kara, breaking into Wes' thoughts. The light engulfed them once again to bring them inside the house. As Wes looked around the room noting how there wasn't a single material possession in sight, Kara began to stagger. Wes was concerned and was about to attempt to help her up only for Kara do so herself. That and, well ..she might worry that if I needed to help her, she might think that I think that she's not strong enough to train under he thought dryly. Even so, he found it impossible to refrain from asking, "So, um, are you just gonna bunk here for the night?"

"Yes. I can add some furniture and everything else later when I have more energy, but for now, I can just sleep on the floor. This is actually far more comfortable than many of the places that I've slept on," she added.

Wes nodded, thinking about some of the places that she'd have to sleep at while living on her own and on the run from Edward. "Right. So, tomorrow, you just show up at my house and tell everyone that we're working on our project for our Humanities course." He then thought back to one of her comments regarding the subject. "I hope you know enough about the Italian Baroque era."

Kara actually grinned at this. "Trust me, it's my favorite artistic period alongside twentieth century pop-art and art from the Renaissance."

"Great," exclaimed Wes."Like I said earlier, I needed to get it done anyway." He then walked toward her. "Hey, um, Kara," he said sounding slightly foolish as he did so, "I haven't had much of a chance to say earlier, but thank you."

Either she wasn't quite sure what he meant, or she was just that thoroughly exhausted, so Wes delved on. "I may have activated my powers on my own, but I didn't know how to utilize them. If you didn't show up when you did, I'd probably be lying dead in a gutter by now."

Kara nodded and replied, "No problem." She then turned around only to turn back to face Wes and said,

"Actually, if anything, I ought to be thanking you."

"Me?"

"Yes. You see, you're basically the only one that I've met in the past month that shares the same sort of powers that I have ever since my mentors all passed away. I was afraid that I would be all alone in my battle against my father." Her initial expression, while contemplative and worrisome, gave way for a wan smile. "But then I found you. It may just be the two of us right, now, but we stand a slightly better chance. I have an ally now...and a good friend, seemingly."

Wes extended his hand, understanding where she was going with this conversation. "Whatever happens, I'll do whatever it takes to help you topple Edward down. You saved my life, so this is the least that I can do to ensure that you can help stop his conquest. Whatever the cost, I'm ready to pay it."

Kara glanced from Wes to his outstretched hand before grasping it with a firm grip. "I'll warp you back to your room with a more subtle form of teleportation." She then raised her hand to reveal a beam of light that then opened up what looked to be an ethereal portal.

Wes headed toward the portal, turned his head back and said, "See you tomorrow, study partner."

A wry smile graced Kara's lips. "See you then."

Wes glanced back toward the empty room, exhaled, then stepped into the portal. The last thing he saw when he turned his head back while being warped back to his room was Kara's exhausted, but comforted face.
 
Last edited:

KingdomKey

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I love the backstory on Kara and how her role in the story is displayed. It'll be neat seeing how long Wes lasts with her. Furthermore, I laughed a bit at the replication thing Wes needs to do in order to travel away from home and such. Everything about this was really well written. The setting of the story fits neatly within each paragraph and flows really well. I felt like I was reading a novel. I like how Wes is giving a nod to FFVII:CC in this as well. These two really compliment each other. I do hope Wes doesn't get in over his head with helping her out though.

In any case, bravo for your first chapter of said story with no title. :)
 

kuraudoVII

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I love the backstory on Kara and how her role in the story is displayed. It'll be neat seeing how long Wes lasts with her. Furthermore, I laughed a bit at the replication thing Wes needs to do in order to travel away from home and such. Everything about this was really well written. The setting of the story fits neatly within each paragraph and flows really well. I felt like I was reading a novel. I like how Wes is giving a nod to FFVII:CC in this as well. These two really compliment each other. I do hope Wes doesn't get in over his head with helping her out though.

In any case, bravo for your first chapter of said story with no title. :)
I'm glad you liked it. ^.^ I was worried that the narrative being all over the place for the first chapter would have done more harm than good.

I ended up cutting out a couple of things for this draft. The initial draft was far more blatant with the references (i.e., Kara's invisibility powers being exactly like The Lord of the Rings only she was able to make her own ring appear like magic, the narrative outright says the game was Crisis Core, Akira Toriyama's name was mentioned, etc), but I cut them out due to wanting to be somewhat subtle within the narrative (I say somewhat, but this draft here wasn't exactly subtle, either).

A couple of names were changed as well. Kara's father Edward originally had different middle and last names, but I changed them to not only somewhat ironically reflect his nature, but also hint a little bit at his - and, by extension, Kara's - heritage. It went from Edward Noct Svenson to Edward Bello Energio. Kara's mother, OTOH went from simply being Lillian to having a last name (Armo). From this, one can deduce that Kara has both Italian (bello - nice; energio - power) and Finnish (armo - grace) genes (or, at least that's what Google Translate taught me, anyway).

Wes' name was changed long before I wrote this new draft. Whilst still writing the old draft, I used my own name solely as a placeholder until I could come up with a better/more fitting one. I still don't entirely remember my rational for picking Rufus as a first name aside from possibly coming up with a Final Fantasy VII reference with it, but Wes was at least partially chosen because I was replaying Pokemon Colosseum at the time. The last name, Locke, was meant to hint at Wes slowly developing a more philosophical way of thinking over time, specifically gaining a better understanding of identity. On a side note, Wes is also the name of an friend of mine that I haven't seen since I moved from California to Florida thirteen years ago. Kara was also the name of an old classmate of mine from another elementary school that I attended near my grandparents' house (only her name was spelled with a C instead of a K).

I ended up adding in a bit more to the story as well. Originally, the first draft simply stated that Lillian was Kara's mother with no explanation as to how this could be. As a result, I included a brief mention that they were once dating and that Edward was a bit more suave then which would explain why she would want to bear a child with Edward. I went a little more in depth with Kara's "Awakening" such as how she was able to escape the beasts over in the park. On another note, the original draft didn't exactly state where Wes was during the fight for his life, so I included that as well in the newer draft and had Kara explain everything on the car ride home instead of just out in the open.

I'm not exactly the most knowledgeable when it comes to relationships of any kind, especially romantic ones, but I do want Wes and Kara to develop a natural enough one over the course of the story. When trying to come up with these characters, I wanted to set up a pair that would have an interesting enough dynamic and weren't afraid to snark to each other from time to time. Wes is essentially a self-insert of myself, so all of his quirks, habits, tastes, humor, insecurities and frustrations and such all stem from me (the "Write What You Know" trope is strong in this one). For Kara, I wanted someone that wasn't entirely the opposite of all of that, but rather someone that can see those differences and complement them somewhat.

Anyways, I'm glad the story managed to pique your interest. I was really worried that it was not going to be very good (I personally thought that it was poorly written even with my heavy edits and rewrites). I won't be able to work on this for a little while - real life obligations involving work and school and all that - but I am hoping to at least try to post a little more consistently near December when my classes will have (mostly) ended.

Still haven't been able to come up with a title yet...
 

kuraudoVII

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Welp, thanks to some IRL events, it took me forever to finish typing up Chapter II. This one probably saw the most edits since I decided to cut a lot of stuff out that seemed too (w)angsty, but added in other elements that somewhat did the same, but with depth and less whining from the narration.

One thing to keep in mind is that this as well as the next two chapters are incredibly short compared to the first. That chapter dealt with coming up with the crux of the backstory for the overarching plot. This chapter, OTOH, revolves more on Wes himself and is setting some chances for future character development. As a result, the overall tone is a bit different as well due to focusing on Wes instead of both him and Kara.

Anyways, here is Chapter II. Still haven't figured out a title for this...

[HR][/HR]
II - Introspection

Wes was glad that Kara was able to warp him back to his own room if not solely because his mother was banging on the door demanding that he open it and was in the process of opening the door herself when he finally reappeared and opened it instead (locking doors was not a common occurrence in the Locke household, ironically enough).

His mother may be short in stature, but she more than made up for it by utilizing her presence by giving off a powerful, independent aura. Such a presence can help make her appear bigger than she actually is, making even the 6'1'' Wes cower in fear if/when she flies in a rage.

She looked at him and queried, "What's happening, son? You were preoccupied all throughout dinner, eating little and speaking less. That's not like you at all." She then gave him a concerned look. "Is something on your mind?"

Bracing himself, Wes went on to say that he was just spacing out and was thinking about how he was to present his Humanities project. "Oh, and a friend of mine is coming here tomorrow so that we can work on it together."

"Really," she asked, her eyes becoming sharp. "When was this arranged? Why didn't you tell me that someone was coming here tomorrow? Do you even realize that our house isn't even clean yet? What do you want your friends' first impression to be that we live in a pigsty?! We- "

"Mother, relax. She's not going to worry too much about the house. We're just going to be in the playroom the entire time. It's still clean from having to prepare it for the party last week, especially since everyone just spent all of their time in the garage outside instead of up here." Most of the people that came to the house for his grandmother's party aside from family tended to be her friends from her church. Most of them were amiable people that he was able to get along with for the most part. However, there were at least one or two that were, shall we say, entitled. They felt that they were "holier than thou" and were inherently better than almost everyone else simply due to the fact that they attended church regularly and professed to be spreaders of His word. For someone such as Wes who...considered himself religious in the loosest sense of the word, these were some of the more annoying people to be around. He usually did what he could to avoid them in particular.

But now was not the time to think back to the party. He had to focus on having Kara over at the house tomorrow so that they could better schedule when to begin his training. "We just need to work on our project is all, things about the Italian Baroque era."

His mother frowned. She didn't generally like having visitors coming over without her knowing beforehand. Yet at the same time, she didn't want to discourage her son from spending time with people outside of his house school, especially if they were taking part in an important project. Aside from some school friends, he only had a handful of neighborhood friends that he would talk to. Even then, him talking them was becoming more sparse every day; most of them were either moving on with their lives or have outright lost direction in their lives even more than Wes and were thrown in jail. So one can imagine why his mother wouldn't want to interfere with him making arrangements to meet with someone else who was most likely around his age. After all, Wes rarely ever went out of his way to socialize as often as he used to as a kid.

"Okay, son. When did you say your friend was coming?"

"She's coming at around noon."

"She's coming?" his mother asked.

"Yes," Wes replied irritably. "I know this might come across as a complete and utter shock to you, but yes, I can talk to girls."

A hint of a smile came across her mother's face. "Listen, it's okay. You don't have to have a g-"

A loud crash could be heard from the kitchen down below. Apparently, someone broke a dish downstairs.

"You should go help them out. I still have to finish the laundry that your brother was supposed to do today."

Wes nodded and proceeded to help his family with the mess. Yet he didn't seem to properly register everything that occurred around him. While the others were busy tidying up the kitchen, Wes' mind was far off on what he envisioned would make his day tomorrow...Kara mentioned the two of them working together to create replicas in order to make the training process significantly easier. Before Wes knew it, they were finished with the kitchen and were heading upstairs to relax earlier than they normally would.

Wes wanted to at least attempt to try to go to sleep early in order to wake up nice and refreshed the next morning. He tried so hard, yet he couldn't sleep a wink. Naturally, of course, there were several reasons for that. Obviously, he was still envisioning just what he would be able to do with his newfound powers. He thought of all of his favorite characters from television shows, movies, comics, manga, anime, video games, literature and all other forms of media. He thought of all of them, the strength that they had and grew excited. He always enjoyed watching these people, reading their stories because such people had the means to do things that Wes merely dreamed of doing. Abilities such as flight, teleportation, breaking all limits, telekinetic powers and, most important of all, do whatever they could do within their powers to help whoever they could and to lead lives more interesting and certainly more fulfilling than his own. Many a night, Wes would remain awake miserable and unsure where he was going with his life. One thing that Wes always wanted to do was become an author. In his younger years, he always thought that he had what it took to become one. During the fourth grade, his teacher tasked all of her students to come up with a Cinderella story of some kind. Taking inspiration from his Asian heritage, he asked his mother what Filipino names he could use for characters to use in a good Cinderella story and was able to finagle a story and some illustrations from there. In his middle school years, he came up with a script for a mystery play and even included a few sketches of things that he doodled up in class that he helped write the story around. At the time, he thought that these stories that he conjured up were brilliant masterpieces that were just waiting to get published. As he grew older, however, he began to notice some serious flaws within his stories. "The Tale of Ligaya" was literally Cinderella in the Philippines. Meanwhile, his mystery play had absolutely no mystery at all; it was nothing but dead air conversations between friends who were on vacation with sketches of terrible drawings that were inspired by better works. Come to think of it, one of his sketches involved a couple of speedy animals chasing a fat man in some kind of space pod...

It was in his college days where Wes came to an oddly sobering realization: whether his skills with the written word were good or not, it would be incredibly hard trying to make a living writing stories that no one was going to listen to due to having other distractions at their disposal and certainly weren't going to pay for. As a result (and also due to his diminishing self esteem and value), he went on to go to college to become a teacher. It was something that he enjoyed doing since trying to teach something that he was intimately knowledgeable came naturally to him, but even so, he was filled with an odd sense of trepidation when thinking of being in charge of an entire classroom all by himself. He may be pretty knowledgeable in his subject area, but he was no Kagami Junichiro and he was certainly no Great Teacher Onizuka. If a problem arose, he wasn't sure that he would have either the smarts or the strength to prevent it.

Thinking about his insecurities about being an effective teacher (let alone one that wouldn't be fired on the spot) led him to think of other issues that he had. His mind was brought back to the music that he had on his iPod that he played for Kara in this same room less than an hour ago. It was a nice track to listen to, but a surprising number of songs/tracks that he enjoyed were the kind of music that others did. Wes lived in a part of the U.S. where most people his age listened to music such as pop, rap, and country, genres that Wes wasn't entirely into. When Wes was a kid, he listened to a lot of pop music from that time - he was a nineties kid, so yeah - and really enjoyed some of the songs and bands that were big then. It helped that listening to pop acts at that time gave him some common ground with other kids his age and gave those same kids one less reason to make fun of him. Nowadays, he cringes at nearly all of what he once considered great music, but even still, he has a soft spot for a few songs from that time. On top of that, he was at least reassured of one thing: as much as he couldn't stand most of the pop from that era, it was still better than most of what's given airtime today...at least in his opinion, anyway.

As for the other musical genres, he wasn't the biggest rap fan, but he did enjoy some from that era as well. There were plenty of artists that he was managed to listen to despite his Moral Guardian parents attempting to stop him from doing so (which made the fact that they allowed him to listen to bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin as a child all the more ironic). Back then, he was moved by the lyrics and could feel the heart and soul put into the music. He certainly couldn't feel any of that now.

And as for country...um...

Now, to be fair, Wes tried. He really tried. When he moved from California to Florida, he was forced to listen to country practically everywhere he went. He literally couldn't escape it, so he decided to sample a few artists. But for whatever reason, no matter how hard he tried to put a finger on it, he wasn't able to quite pinpoint what it was about the genre that he just didn't appeal to him. He was able to do that with other genres, but not this one.

In terms of everything else, he tended to listen to OSTs from games, movies, anime and such. While most people enjoyed the movie soundtracks, they didn't always gravitate toward the anime and game soundtracks. This may have to do with the fact that not everyone that he interacted with, even people in his own age group, was into some of anime that he was into. More often than not, they either dismissed the music or the anime itself. It was the video game soundtracks, however, that drew the most raised eyebrows. Never mind the fact that the games themselves weren't usually the kind that most in his age group played, the music in and of itself tended to be divisive. Whether it was viewed as too repetitive or too "gamey," it wasn't generally even viewed as "real" music, something that always sent Wes over the edge.

This aspect would then tie into another aspect that frustrated him so much: the idea that video games were complete wastes of time. He is constantly told this by quite a number of people from random strangers, classmates to even his parents. The last part confused him the most considering that his parents were the ones that properly introduced them to him in the first place. It didn't particularly help that he didn't play the games that a man his age were "expected" to play: sports games and first person shooter and only sports games and first person shooters. Anything else that he played looked like it was too "kiddy" in the eyes of most Americans so he was often scrutinized for that. He could wax eloquent about how not every game has to be realistic/manly or that some of the "kiddy" games weren't even really kids games at all, but were given higher, more mature ratings for a reason. None of that mattered, they didn't listen. Wes never hated any of those games - every once in a while, he found a lot of enjoyment out of them - but he absolutely despised the stigma that the games that he enjoys suffer due not being those games.

As Rufus Weston Locke thought of all of this as well as the day's events, a persisting, nagging feeling began to envelop him, enveloping and overwhelming his very being. Visions of him championing over his adversaries slowly gave way to visions of himself being viciously gored to death by dangerous beasts instead. Although the feeling and realization had never really gone away, the repercussions of him gaining his newfound powers was brought to the forefront in its entirety. He nearly died today because of his powers being sensed by a bunch of strange beasts that were initially looking for someone else. Had Kara not shown up when she did, he suspected that his bruised, cut up and bloodied corpse would have been a smorgasbord for all the native animals that could be seen in a Floridian college campus - and that was if he was lucky. The beasts that decided to sic him were probably going to do far worse than that. Whatever the case, the fact that he could die so easily downright disturbed him.

I guess I should probably get used to this, he thought with a scowl on his face. I can't expect to just live quietly with powers like these. If I'm to survive in this world, then I will have to ensure that no one can harm me.

It was a rather sobering thought. Because in order to make that part a reality, he and Kara would have to beat down Edward and the others into submission and hope that they can sway them away from the path to destruction.

Either that, or just outright kill them.

It wasn't something that he was looking forward to, at any rate.
 

KingdomKey

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I absolutely love this chapter. Wes feels like a real person to me after learning more about his background and thoughts about himself as a person; including how he felt about his new found destiny with powers and Kara. Wes is quite a bit like us as an adult and in the middle of figuring out his future as he goes too. (I've been there with the video games in real life.) Also, I didn't find the chapter at all angsty either. :) Therefore, this chapter kept me hooked in and eager for more! I really can't wait to see what chapter three will be about. Seriously, this would make a good novel if you ever thought about publishing it.
 

kuraudoVII

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I absolutely love this chapter. Wes feels like a real person to me after learning more about his background and thoughts about himself as a person; including how he felt about his new found destiny with powers and Kara. Wes is quite a bit like us as an adult and in the middle of figuring out his future as he goes too. (I've been there with the video games in real life.) Also, I didn't find the chapter at all angsty either. :) Therefore, this chapter kept me hooked in and eager for more! I really can't wait to see what chapter three will be about. Seriously, this would make a good novel if you ever thought about publishing it.
I actually cut out a couple of segments in the transition from the initial draft to here due to some of the issues being irrelevant to the plot as well as seeming very whiny looking when looking at it as an older person. Nevertheless, Wes as he is now is essentially me back when I was turning 20.

I figured one particular thing that I wanted to elaborate a bit upon was the whole issue of being an effective teacher. Back then, I hadn't really had any field experience. All I really did was go to local schools as assigned and write a report on things such as how teachers taught, how students interacted, what teachers did to accommodate certain students, etc. It literally wasn't until this semester that I've been assigned to a school to actually teach lessons (and even then, I'm only doing five total for this semester; next semester is when I'm going to be in my final internship and essentially teach that entire semester). I wanted to place all of Wes' fears in there partly to add some depth to his character, but also to see just how far I've come within the field as well. I can easily see Wes being petrified of being in a situation that he feels like he can't handle, but now that I've managed to teach a few lessons myself, I can also see him trying to find a way to pick what he knows about a subject and how to teach it. It's something that I hope that I can touch upon in future chapters.

One thing that I was somewhat hesitant about adding in was the whole spiel about the two stories. These weren't even in the original draft but were added in when I realized that I may have cut out just a bit too much and needed to add something that would set up how Wes was going to grow. The reason I was hesitant about adding them in the first place was due to worrying over the fact that I was making Wes into too much of a self-insert as it was. I don't even know if I still have that one story from middle school; I haven't stumbled upon it since then and I feel like I lost it somehow.

Anyways, I'm glad you liked it. I originally had this story set up like a novel since that was what I eventually wanted to do with other stories. I never actually gave any thought of publishing this one, though, since I felt like this was something that I would never really finish due to when I began writing it. Development Hell knows no bounds, I thought.

[HR][/HR]
Chapter III is still being typed, but it's nearly finished. Depending on how things go, it'll probably be up either tomorrow or sometime later this week or next. My schedule has become a bit more crammed lately. I've still got projects for one class that I'm working on among other things. There's also at least one person that left work, so now I have more days that I actually am working again. While this is good for my wallet, it does mean that it'll be harder for me to type, let alone log on here, so we'll see what happens.
 

kuraudoVII

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Welp, it took me a little longer to type up from the initial draft to here, but Chapter III is finished. Like the previous chapter, it's really short compared to the first since it deals a little more with Wes and his family. Chapter IV, in contrast, is a lot closer in length to Chapter I, so that will take me a while to finish.

But anyway, enough padding. Onward to Chapter III.

[HR][/HR]

III - Levity of a Sort

Not surprisingly, Wes couldn't garner enough sleep from the previous night. Part of it was from imagining how he was to proceed with his training and how he would defend himself from a myriad of enemies. The other reason why he couldn't sleep as long as he wished was, well...

"It's seven-o-clock, Wes. Time to get up!" came the voice of his father. Wes' father (well, stepfather, technically, but father nonetheless) was the sort of person that believed wholeheartedly in the old adage of "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Being a man in his mid to late fifties, he had lived through an era where this was the norm. His sons, who were from a younger generation, were the polar opposite preferring to stay up late and rise late.

Actually, when one looks at it from a different angle, their father didn't follow the old saying entirely. He did believe that a person could sleep whenever he/she wanted, but that it was that person's responsibility to get up at what he deemed a respectable hour. Predictably, what that hour happened to be was a source of contention between him and his sons.

Wes rose up with a groan. Between his lack of sleep and the pounding that he took from all the fighting the previous day, he felt worn out. He hoped that Kara wouldn't immediately subject him to a difficult and strenuous regiment considering how he still physically felt. Knowing his luck - and keeping in mind what they were up against - he wasn't exactly holding his breath.

After taking the time to shower and get himself dressed, Wes rushed down the stairs to the kitchen. It had a recently tiled floor that resembled bamboo. A brown. glossed wooden table covered with a white tablecloth (which annoyed Wes and his brother seeing as they always had to adjust said tablecloth back to the center due to it constantly moving when placing objects on or off of it) was accompanied with four beige tablemat. To the side are brown cupboards (notice a pattern here?) filled to the brim with glasses, cups and other such paraphernalia. Between the cupboards was a silver sink and a window that revealed a stunning sunny view accentuating the gorgeous flowers interspersed with the weeds in the backyard. Nearby that sink is a white dishwasher that, at this point, was a nothing more than a glorified haven for recently hand washed dishes and refillable water bottles when nobody had the urge to put them in their rightful places. At the end of the kitchen was a combination microwave and stove alongside more cupboards for aluminum foil and plastic bags. Finally, there was a moderately tall and large refrigerator/freezer that Wes was barely an inch taller than. Said refrigerator was an even six feet tall, or roughly 1.83 meters for those that use the metric system.

On this vibrant Saturday morning, Wes' mother was preparing pancakes, eggs and bacon. Wes was never exactly the biggest fan of eggs - in fact, he hated them - but when he absolutely felt like he had to eat them, he would always request them to be scrambled. They all sat down after everything was prepared and began to eat. By then, it was about 8:30 and Wes and his brother were starving (both had exceptionally large appetites). Wes immediately helped himself to a(n) (un)helpful amount of bacon and a pancake. Ordinarily, Wes and his brother Cyrus would eat more than one pancake at a time, but their mother kept in mind the appetites of her family and would always make her pancakes large and thick enough to count for two large pancakes. Granted, the young men would always get at least one more pancake after the first anyways so that it felt like having four large pancakes alongside some bacon, orange juice and some eggs.

While they were eating, the four of them began discussing what they planned on doing for the day. As it was a Saturday, they would normally either relax, walk around in the mall, go watch a movie or attend to whatever business that required them for that day. For Wes' father, his business was attending to a full round of golf with his wife. He noted that he hadn't gone golfing in quite some time and pointed out, "I'm 55. I can only continue hitting golf balls for so long."

"When are we going to be leaving?" his wife asked.

"At around eleven," he answered. "That way, we would have time to get to the golf course, rest up a bit, get everything paid for and maybe even practice at the nearby driving range."

"That, and you mentioned eleven because it takes Mom forever to get ready for anything and arrive anywhere on time that isn't work," Wes responded dryly.

"That's not true!" his mother snapped. "I don't take that long. Besides, it's rude to appear anywhere too early anywhere."

"That may be how it was when you grew up, babe, but that isn't how it is over here," her husband replied.

"Whatever. At any rate, the boys can stay here and finish their schoolwork while we're away."

Wes and Cyrus were glad that they didn't have to go. Neither of them enjoyed golf all that much; whenever they went to the driving range, it was always too hot and they spent what they felt was too long anyway. To be fair, it admittedly gave them something to do and hitting golf balls was better than doing nothing. It was certainly more interesting than watching a golf game, televised or not. At any rate -

"I still have to finish my homework for A.P. Environmental," Cyrus stated.

"And I have a project for Humanities that needs to be done by next week," Wes chimed in since he wasn't quite sure if his father and brother knew Kara was coming to the house.

"How come this is the first time we heard about this?" his father queried.

"He told me about it last night. He said classmate is coming over here," his mother supplied.

"Really. When did you two agree to meet here," asked his father, now looking at Wes.

"Uh, about several days ago. We figured we'd do it here since her computer isn't as fast as fast as any of ou-"

"Hold on a second," his father interjected. "Did you say she-"

"I already went through this with Mom," snapped Wes who was clearly getting irritated with the direction that this conversation was going. He was not about have yet another conversation with involving how helpless he was at getting a date.

"Easy, easy," consoled his father. "You shouldn't feel flustered, you outta consider yourself lucky!" Wes' ears began to turn a light shade of red at this.

After all of the arrangements for the day were made and everyone had their fill of breakfast, each family member went on to get themselves ready. Wes brushed his teeth and hair and tried to make himself look presentable. He ended up turning on the computer as well so that he could at least look like he was working on his presentation (which he'd need to do anyway since it was an actual assignment). Finally, at around 11:20 after Wes' mother got everything that she needed and her husband put everything else in such as the clubs, nine irons and such into the van, they were ready to leave. The parents looked at their sons and...reminded them about a couple of things.

"Cyrus, don't eat too much before we get home," warned their mother. "If you need to eat more, there's salad in the fridge."

"And make sure that you're actually doing your homework," supplied their father.

"We'll see you boys later."

"And Cyrus, make sure that when Wes' girlfriend comes over, he doesn't bring her alone upstairs to his room and-"

"HONEY!"

"Easy, babe, I was kidding."

Their parents boarded the van and, after waving goodbye, finally left the house. Wes hit the switch for the garage door to close and followed his brother back into the house.

While Wes mulled over how they'd get both the project and the training session underway, Cyrus went to the living room, grabbed a tray desk and his laptop and proceeded to "finish his homework." As he was typing away, he flashed a toothy grin to his brother. "So are you two really gonna-"

"Pretty much, yeah," interjected Wes. "We're just finishing off the Baroque era."

"OK, just make sure that whatever you're finishing off, nothing gets "baroque" from all the excitement."

A scowl spread across Wes' face.
 

KingdomKey

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I like chapter three. C: The details that went into a morning routine were awesome and flowed really nicely together. I'm kind of like Wes and his eggs. I can only eat scrambled. (xD) Anyhow, I feel for him. What with waking up early on a Saturday seems wrong. The weekends are meant for sleeping in! Who cares about respectful hours? lol. I kid, I kid. Wes is family seems nice and maybe, a little over bearing as far as a girl is concerned. I'm sure things will go okay for Wes having Kara over though.
 

kuraudoVII

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I like chapter three. C: The details that went into a morning routine were awesome and flowed really nicely together. I'm kind of like Wes and his eggs. I can only eat scrambled. (xD) Anyhow, I feel for him. What with waking up early on a Saturday seems wrong. The weekends are meant for sleeping in! Who cares about respectful hours? lol. I kid, I kid. Wes is family seems nice and maybe, a little over bearing as far as a girl is concerned. I'm sure things will go okay for Wes having Kara over though.
Chapter III was written right after I had reread the entirety of the Lord of the Rings, so I sort of had that in mind when I was describing the downstairs kitchen.

Wes' parents are people that do indeed care for their children, but are also overbearing to a fault. I figured this was the best route to take since there were a plethora of people growing up that had parents who were overbearing on a lot of subjects (though not necessarily to helicopter parent kinds of levels, though there were plenty of people that had those, too). For Wes' parents, you may also see some slight differences as well. His mother is a bit more wary of Wes having a girlfriend while his father's comments seem to suggest that he's perfectly fine with it.

Chapter IV is...going to take a while. The old handwritten pages are all there, but most of those pages have yet to be typed. Both school and work have been taking their toll on me, so I won't be able to finish typing it up for quite some time.
 

kuraudoVII

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STATUS REPORT:

Welp, it's been a while since I last updaed, but Chapter IV is roughly halfway done. I will do what I can to get it done before the January 11 when the next semester begins, but even if it doesn't, I will do whatever I can to get this chapter out ASAP.
 

kuraudoVII

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Welp, it has been awhile...

After dealing with several issues that have cropped up IRL, I've finally managed to complete Chapter IV. This particular chapter is something I've been transcribing from my early drafts onto my computer since December, but it wasn't until recently when I had more free time and my computer finally stopped crapping out on me from a Trojan Horse that I managed to get it all typed up.

Anyways, without further ado, Chapter IV.

[HR][/HR]
IV - A Touch of Power

Wes grabbed himself a glass of water and decided to watch some television with his brother in the living room. As he was flipping through the channels, his thoughts drifted to a time when television was more enticing to watch filled with a large variety of shows with quality content. Nowadays, while some of that is still prevalent, the quality for shows overall had dropped: so many networks were filled with nothing but reality TV shows, most of which were either staged, uninteresting, stupid or some combination of the three; many of these same networks have also lost their old sense of identity which also annoyed Wes and his brother. In the end, they just simply used the TV to access videos on the internet.

"Have you ever played Cave Story?" Cyrus asked Wes.

"Nope, why d'ya ask?"

"I heard about it while browsing the internet. Everyone keeps saying that it's a fun platforming game."

"When was this game made?"

"Around 2004, actually."

"Really!" Wes was surprised at this point of information. "Funny...that's around the time when damn near everyone I knew began to assume that if a game didn't have a gun or a ball, it wasn't worth playing."

"Well, keep in mind that it was a freeware game,' Cyrus pointed out. That, and there are other people aside from us that like those kinds of games."

Wes nodded. He may be a tad reclusive, but he did still have friends and acquaintances that were mainly into different games. Some were like Wes and Cyrus and were interested in games of almost any genre while others were more exclusive to one genre or another such as first person shooters, sports games, party games, fighting games, role playing games (and even there, there's the divide between western and eastern) and such. This was due to those games receiving more prominence as time wore on whereas platformers, especially mascot platformers, have fallen a little bit on the wayside. That Wes and Cyrus' platform games were almost exclusively on older consoles (sans ports) was indicative of that trend.

"Perhaps I can check that game out after I'm through with the one I'm on right now. Is it as ball-bustingly hard as I Want to be the Guy?"
Cyrus laughed this time. "Not even close. There are still less things trying to kill you."

"What abou-"

All of a sudden, Wes heard the ring of a doorbell go off. He quickly disabled the alarm so that it wouldn't go off the instant he opened the door. He then rushed to the door and swung it open.

It was Kara.

Wes took a split second to see if there was anything noticeably different. Her hair was a bit straighter, less wild; her clothes (a jacket going just below her tank top as well as a mini skirt) were nowhere near as rumpled, torn or bloody as the previous day. She looked like she was carrying some sort of briefcase for what he assumed was a laptop and other important documents in her right hand. The bags under her eyes were mostly gone, leaving but a trace of her earlier weariness. All in all, she appeared to have had enough R and R to properly function without collapsing on the floor.

Kara gave off a wry smile. "Had a rough time getting here. Traffic was terrible." Wes then noticed for the first time that behind Kara was a bright red Corvette parked right behind his black Impala. He barely had time to ask Kara where in the blue (well, red) hell she managed to get a Corvette as well as why she needed one to get here in the first place when she asked, "So, are you going to invite me in or are we going to work on this project right on your driveway?"

Wes flashed a grin. "The former. The driveway is incredibly warm this time of the year here. I know from experience." He then opened the door a bit wider, stepped aside and bowed a bit to usher her in. "Welcome to my humble abode, signorina."
Kara nodded and proceeded to enter the "humble abode." As she reached Wes, she stopped herself, dug into a pocket from her jacket and pulled out a pack of gum. She proffered a piece up to Wes who politely declined by revealing his own pack of gum - Same brand and flavor, he noted - and each began chewing on their own pieces of gum.

By this point, both of them were in the house. Wes, once again deciding that it was his job to embrace the role of the generous host, asked her, "Do you need anything to eat? We haven't gone grocery shopping in a little while, but we still have a fair amount to munch on." They were now in the kitchen with Wes raiding the pantry looking for something that both of them could eat.

"I haven't had a chance to eat anything after breakfast, so I'm a bit famished," said Kara.

"I guess we could warm ourselves up a couple of pizzas while we get our project ready," Wes supplied.

"That sounds good. So, do you have any idea on which Baroque masters we are-" she broke off upon noticing Cyrus, who had gotten off the sofa to look upon their new guest. "You're brother?" she asked Wes.

"Yeah. Need anything, Cyrus?"

Wes' brother took a quick glance at Kara to and then informed Wes, "I thought I'd figure out what was going on. So, how hard have you been studying your studying partner before you two-"

"For the last goddamn time-"


"Will you relax?" By now, Cyrus's had a smirk on his face that would have put a certain court jester to shame. "I was just messing with you. You don't have to be that pissed." He then headed back to the living room satisfied that he met one of his mission objectives.

Kara hid a small slight grin as she whispered in Wes' ear, "Does your brother do this with every girl you bring into your house?"

"No, but then again, I don't often bring other girls in here, either. It's not like I'm the most sociable or attractive guy out there, right? 'Sides, most tend to hate some of the music that I like (which is at least fair since I'm usually turned off by some of the music that they like) and not all of them are interested in some of the things I'm into, anyways." He tried to sound like it was something that wasn't actually bothering him, that it was merely a simple fact of life, but a part of him was forced to acknowledge that it might run a bit deeper than that. It was hard enough to find common ground with his peers considering the disconnect between him and them. Trying to foster a relationship with a girl was even harder than that due to the disconnect usually present with him and most girls - usually interests and where they were going with their lives. Wes also had a very difficult time gauging whether or not a girl was into him or not. Sometimes he'd think a girl was interested in him only for her to tell him that she was not; other times, he wouldn't suspect that a girl was interested in him at all only to find out that she was when it was already too late. Not helping matters is his increasingly misanthropic attitude (which may or may not be a contributing factor to his reluctance to socialize as much as he used to) as well as his diminishing self esteem.

"Wes."

The young man was forced out of his reverie. Evidently, Kara noticed that the microwave oven was beeping which was the telltale sign that it was now ready to heat up the two pizzas. "You were kind of just standing there looking all spaced out, but I don't know where your pizzas are so you need to get them."

"Oh, um, right," Wes fumbled. "Sorry about that."

Kara gave him a smile. "Don't worry about it."

Wes wandered into the garage with Kara following suit. Amidst the organized mess that comprised of equipment for their ping pong table to bowling bags, he led her to the freezer. While it is true that their kitchen held a refrigerator that included a freezer, it simply couldn't hold enough food as this one in the garage can. This freezer was usually used for the bulkier items such as hams, turkeys, pizzas, even boxes of ice cream. On the side was a small refrigerator that was useful for storing drinks such as water (usually for Wes' mother to take to work), Gatorade (which Wes' father usually took for work as well as whenever he and the boys were working on the lawn) and sodas for parties or otherwise (Wes and his immediate family didn't drink alcohol).

"Anything to drink in there?" asked Kara who had just noticed the small refrigerator.

"Sure. Pick anything out of there. My parents won't mind too much, I told them you were coming, so they'll at least know who's been taking the soda."

"You make it sound like your parents are rationing it," Kara noted, her voice betraying a hint of guilt over perhaps overstepping some bounds.

"Ah, don't worry about it. It's just my brother has been drinking a can a night for the past couple of weeks now. Mom got really angry because we've been forced to buy some more a lot sooner than we should due to drinking so much. Well, that, and she was getting worried about his weight and his health. They literally just restocked the fridge yesterday afternoon." Wes gave Kara a humorless grin. "Imagine that. Combating the emptiness of our fridge while we were combating a bunch of mooks."

"Hmm," said Kara, who was no longer smiling. Indeed, she appeared to be deep in thought. Wes wondered whether or not he should ask her what was on her mind, but he then remembered that she never pried while he distracted earlier so he decided instead to ask, "Are you still thirsty? You don't have to get a drink if you really don't want to."

This question managed to snap Kara out of her reverie. "Yes. Let me just find what I want first." She opted for some Mountain Dew and grabbed another one for Wes (he mentioned over the car ride home the previous day that it was his favorite drink). While they did this, they both agreed that it would be better to begin training after they have had their fill of food and after it has managed to settle in them. As a result, they decided to accompany Cyrus over in the living room. At Kara's request, they decided to pop in a comedy movie which included a hilarious skit involving a brave and renowned knight who deftly presented his courage to the enemy by bravely running away. Wes and Kara whiled away the minutes by eagerly discussing what they were watching while Cyrus multitasked by watching the movie while also reading an article pertaining to video game level design.

After a while, the pizzas were heated up and brought to the cutting table. Under normal circumstances, Wes and his brother could very easily eat a whole pizza each due to their metabolic rates. However, both agreed through unspoken consent to restrain themselves since it wouldn't be fair to leave Kara with next to nothing. Nevertheless, all three of them made short work of the pizzas, having finished them both after about twenty minutes. Throughout their lunch, Wes and Cyrus concentrated on the task at hand (eating) whereas Kara would occasionally pause, close her eyes and mutter something under her breath.

After the meal, Wes and Cyrus were busy doing the dishes with Wes' sound dock once again playing some music from an OST. Kara had offered to help out, but the Lockes insisted otherwise because, as Wes put it, "You're our guest, Kara. We wouldn't exactly be great hosts if we didn't do everything in our power to be as comfortable as possible. Besides, our parents would kill us otherwise."

"Yes, I was just about to ask why they weren't here."

"They went golfing. It's kind of a long story."

"Well, I have a bit of a soft spot for long stories."

At that point, the dishes were finally washed and put away. Cyrus relayed to Wes and Kara that he was going to continue on with his work and that they shouldn't overwork themselves. At this, he raised his eyebrows in an almost suggestive manner. Wes retaliated by doing a simpler hand gesture, one that he would not have dared to do in front of Mrs. Locke.

Kara followed Wes to the second floor. Quickly examining her surroundings, she noted, "You guys certainly have plenty of game systems. I can see a couple of modern systems and a much older one on the shelves over here."

The two were over in what would generally be called the loft area of the house, but playroom would probably be a more apt description for it. When entering from the stairs, one can see a circular couch with its end seats given the ability to recline; naturally, it was the one seat that was directly facing the television that no longer reclined due to a broken spring whilst the one that forced one to turn his/her head was still in working order. On the other side of the loft were computer desks that held manuals, various school papers, printers and (you guessed it) computers right next to a set of windows. Perpendicular from those were another set of windows with an exercise machine right in front of one. Next to this was the setup for the entertainment area with a television in front and shelves on the sides housing old sound systems that didn't work anymore on the left shelf (the new sound system was set up all around the room) and the game systems that Kara made mention of over on the right. The lower closed cupboards housed nearly all of Wes and Cyrus' games as well as some of their old VHS tapes.

Wes nodded at Kara. "Yeah. Cyrus and I actually have even more old ones in our rooms. Most of them are in mine, but at least one is over in Cyrus' room, and that's not even counting the portable systems that we still have and..." By this point, Wes trailed off discussing in full detail what all these systems are and how long his family has had them. Kara looked over at her new friend, noting the enthusiasm in voice which was similar to the enthusiasm he displayed downstairs when they were watching the movie pertaining to the brave knight, and smiled.

"...so we gave those systems to some of our cousins from out of state since we had better ones that were backwards compatible with our old games." As Wes finished his immediate response, he turned around to where the stairs were and noticed that there was something odd about the stairwell.

It was guarded. By a transparent invisible wall.

"...what."

It was a simple, flat "what" that wasn't over the top or necessarily questioning. It was just a flat "what." It was essentially the perfect way to sum up everything that has happened thus-

"Yes, I put that there," Kara stated, interrupting Wes' thoughts.

Wes, walked up to it, grabbed a book from the nearby bookcase (one of the doorstoppers for good measure) and tried smacking this wall. Not surprisingly, of course, both book and arm glanced back with enough force to send him reeling back. Kara gave him an inquisitive look as he got up. Feeling slightly foolish, he nevertheless couldn't stop himself from grinning ear-to-ear saying, "I kind of expected that, but I really had to try it at least once."

Kara laughed this time, something he didn't entirely expect. "That makes two of us," she said regaining her composure. "I actually said the exact same thing to Laurence when he conjured up a proper one for me."

"I thought you knew how to make these as far back as when you were still a kid."

"Rudimentary ones, yes. I was able to conjure them out of thin air in the shape and form of glass. Problem was that they broke just as easily as glass did, so not only did I have to put up new barriers, but I would also have to hypnotize everyone else within the vicinity in order to remain hidden." Her face became serious now. "Fire up the computer, Wes. When everything is ready, place my flash drive in there."

"What is it?" Wes inquired.

"Why, our report, of course. How else are we going to fool your parents if we don't have a presentation here?"

"Don't tell me you did all of it already."

"Oh, I haven't completed it yet. Our replicas will take care of that for us."

"Replicas," muttered Wes, letting the word hang in the air for a moment. His gaze shifted from the flash drive that he had just plugged in to his hand. It was upon looking at the latter that he began to feel a sense of trepidation coming over him. Yesterday had been but a brief taste of power that was as much a hindrance as it was a blessing due to simply not knowing how to properly control it. "So when do we begin?"

"Now," Kara said simply.

It took Wes a moment to register what she just said. "You mean here? Now?"

"I put that barrier there for a reason," she replied rather pointedly.

Wes simply shrugged. He had seen weirder the previous day. "O.K; a question, though: How will we stop Cyrus from seeing any of this?"

Kara rubbed her temples before addressing Wes. "I literally just mentioned that I've been having to do this since I was a kid." Then, with a hint of a smile this time, she said, "Think about it for a moment and put two and two together."

"Well, you would probably have to do something like hypnotize my brother and him or so- wait a minute! When did you hypnotize him?"

"Do you remember when we were eating?"

"Ah."

"Right. Now let us begin." By now, Kara was about five paces away from Wes. "The first time you activated your powers, you were under immense stress and were only able to copy my moves as well as the moves used against you by our enemies. I want you to try to tap into that power now."

Wes nodded, feeling a more than a slight twinge of fear at the memory of his initial "Awakening". Regardless, he focused on tapping into his powers. Concentrating hard, he closed his eyes...


...and suddenly, he opened his eyes and could see nothing but darkness, an all consuming darkness that threatened to encompass everything. As Wes gazed around the eternal nothingness, he felt the pressing desire to escape, to defy this darkness of his soul - a yearning to change his surroundings from a bleak netherworld to...something. What that something was, Wes wasn't exactly sure, but anything had to be better than this.
It was this thought, this yearning, that woke something in Wes - a power that enveloped his whole being within the strange realm and suddenly began to shine...not around him, but from him.
The shining light burst through this strange, subconscious realm...


...and suddenly, he was back in his house, barely registering the fact that he stumbled several steps away from where he originally stood. All he could concentrate on was his cosmic powers and the fact that he was having a slightly harder time breathing.

Kara peered over him. Her face betrayed a slight hint of surprise, but the satisfaction emanating from her was undeniable. "I must say, I did not expect you to gain access of your cosmic powers so quickly, but I'm really glad that you can. Our training can commence that much faster."

"Before we do, there's something that I want to know." By now, Wes' breathing was no longer as strained as was back to normal. "When I first tapped into this power, I...I seemed to have received it instantaneously and could utilize it right then and there, just not very well. But this, this time I seemed to have...I don't know how to else to say this, but I-" At this point, Wes began to gesticulate in order to help get his point across. "I sort of just warped somewhere else for lack of a better term. I showed up in some-"

"-in a dark place that you felt would envelop you?" Kara supplied.

"Yeah."

Kara nodded. "Whenever someone with cosmic powers, especially those like you and me who aren't hindered in terms of what abilities we have access to, try to tap into that power, they will either tap into it immediately or else enter into their subconscious and activate it that way. The former is, naturally, more instinctively used in "die or flight" situations while the latter is used whenever a person is more willfully attempting to tap into their powers. Naturally, this second method is much harder to utilize if you lack the proper training. Therefore, it was not surprising that instructors would attempt to attack their students in the hope that it would force the users to activate their powers for fear of death."

"Well, if that's the case, then how come I was able to activate them through my subconscious so quickly? You didn't even begin to try to beat me stupid before I was able to access my powers."

"Well, for one, I was prepared to take the former option if I felt it was necessary. However, I didn't think it was needed because...well, I just had a gut feeling that you would be able to do it." She propped her right arm on top of her left with her right hand resting on her chin. "When we first met, you didn't just feel the power coursing through you. You utilized that power, however crudely to help take down the mooks that were attacking us. As I might have mentioned in your room last night, you do seem to have natural abilities, even in regards to others with Fokado genes such as myself. Also," Kara held a confident smile this time, "I was kind of hoping that I could base your progress with mine when Laurence and the others took over my training and I was able to access it properly very quickly."

"Um, didn't you mention that you could use them well enough to create crude barriers before you were formally trained? If that was the case, then what was the fear that drove you to tap into that particular power?"

"To put it bluntly, the fear of discovery. Whether it was by vicious beasts that would tear me apart or by people who would seek to exploit me, it was something that I wished to avoid."

Kara was now placing her arms on her hips. "In addition to these two methods, there is a third method that was utilized by those of us that have had practice using our abilities. After using a particular ability enough times, the body will recognize it and adopt it into its being. The person would then be able to use that ability without having to worry about going into their subconscious - they'd just be able to use it instinctively without any particular impetus needed to activate it through that first method."

Wes inclined his head. "Well, I'm glad we were able to get this far without having to go to that extreme. So, to get back on tangent, what do we do next?"

Kara did not immediately answer Wes. She looked at him, stared at her hand which Wes just realized was slightly outstretched and placed it on her chest. At first, Wes wasn't sure quite sure what was going on.

And then, her hand began to glow.

Wes was taken aback by just how quickly it happened. He remembered how there would be a flash of light from Kara whenever there was a portal or something that needed to be conjured up, but he was not expecting the process to be this similar, either. Then again, this might just be an effect of her powers or, well, something that occurred whenever she tried to use said powers. At the very least, it was something to keep in mind to ask about later when the situation was a touch more appropriate.

Even throughout his musing, he was still paying attention to what was going on around him. He was staring intently at Kara's hand which was somehow delving into her body like it was water. After several milliseconds, she extracted her hand, notably slower than when she thrust it into her being. At the tips of her fingernails, a red dot could be seen in stark contrast to the green glow of her hand. As he looked on in wonder, a surge of power immediately coursed through Wes. He could feel subtle vibrations that appeared to be occurring right under his skin, almost as if this monstrous power seemed to have been born from his very soul. Wes wasn't quite sure what happened next - all he knew was that he began to feel the same rush of energy that he felt when he emulated the moves Kara did right then and there. Looking back, it was also the same feeling that he got during yesterday's battle whenever he subconsciously attempted to emulate her moves, the moves of their attackers and even moves that he remembered his favorite fictional characters pulling off in his mind's eye.

This sensation...is this what happens when the Fokado genes specifically kick in
?

Whatever it was, the sensation remained while Kara turned her hand and spread her fingers apart. The red dots converged and began to form an outline of a young woman. With a flick of her wrist, it began to flesh out into the exact likeness of Kara. The body, originally red, began to lighten. Clothes began to take shape and began to be filled up with the same hues as the real Kara's clothes. The hair and skin proceeded to do the same.

Wes could look only in wonder at Kara's replica. Here was an exact copy of his friend standing right in front of him, currently being formed even as the powerful tingling sensation within him was fluctuating wildly. A curt nod from Kara indicated that Wes should now replicate the process himself. Thinking about the fluctuating sensation, he could only guess whether or not he would still have enough time to do so before the tingling ceased.

Upon moving his hand, Wes lost all sense of - well, there was really no other word for it other than "manual control." All of his movements and anything related to conscious thought gave way to instinct: that automatic, cruise control-esque quality bestowed upon him, assumedly from his Fokado genes. Not even giving it a second thought, he followed up on what Kara had just done, knowing without knowing the fact that his hand began to flash red - not green - and how the dots formed were black instead of red.

The result left Wes speechless. Standing right in front of him was his own replica.

Wes gazed in amazement at how his replica turned out. Every detail from the dark hair to the brown eyes were the same. The casual gray jacket, the black shirt and pants were exactly the same as the ones that he was currently wearing. The only real telltale difference between the two was the expression on the faces of each person. The original Wes looked somewhat bewildered that he was able to make a replica in the first place. As if to counteract this, his replica held Wes' usual outward expression of stoicism - well, mostly. Bits of both amusement and puzzlement could be seen on his replica's face. It was the look of a man that was on the cusp of figuring out what the man in front of him was going to do next.

Kara (the original one, mind you) nodded in satisfaction with her arms folded."Well done. It looks like you are already starting to get the hang of this." Wes could only mumble something along the lines of, "Um, yeah. Thanks."

Both of the replicas had walked up to each other, sizing the other up. As they glanced at one another, Wes was suddenly reminded of when he first met Kara. Granted, he wasn't necessarily studying her like the replicas were, but he could recall when they were talking after the battle wondering who she was, what were these strange powers that they both possessed and such.

By now, Kara walked up to him. Tearing her gaze from Wes to their replica, she instructed the latter, "You know what to do."

"Of course," her clone answered, using the exact voice and manner of speech as her original.

"So what are we going to do now?" asked Wes.

"Now we train."

And with a flicker of pseudomotion, a white light appeared completely out of nowhere. This time around, Wes didn't stand back or appear shocked - he was half expecting it by now.

Armed with this assumption, Wes uttered to Kara rather dully, "So, I take it we're heading into the light."

"Yes."

Together, the two of them walked onward. As they approached the shining light, Wes couldn't help but notice that an oddly triumphant and orchestral version of one of his favorite themes was playing inside his head...
 
Last edited:

KingdomKey

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Well worth the wait for this chapter. I have to say, it's quite exciting watching Wes being able to tap into his powers on his own. I'd say he's well on his way with Kara as his teacher, following her footsteps from her brief demonstrations. I'm intrigued what training will entail for the two of them. Furthermore, I love how descriptive you can be about Wes and Cyrus's life at home; it fits well into the story and keeps things paced with everything else too. Cyrus and Wes truly do get along and certainly argue like brothers too. I really can't wait to see what the next chapter will hold in store for us readers. :D
 

kuraudoVII

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Thanks. This one took me quite some time to edit and put together.

Chapter V is...not going to be here anytime soon. I've been dealing with several computer issues that caused it to crap out on me and rendered me unable to use it until just a couple of days ago. As a result, I've been unable to really advance the story since the other computers in the house are generally in use whenever I need to use them. That being said, I won't be putting a hard and fast deadline for this chapter since this is where my original draft eventually ends and I need to start mapping out the particulars for the rest of the story.
 

kuraudoVII

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Soooooo...um...

Yeah, it has been a while since I've done anything on this forum, let alone on here. A lot of things have got in the way ovre these past few months, most recently schoolwork due to having to switch majors. Anyways, after a ton of delays, I decided to split Chapter V into two chapters instead. Part of this was due to the fact that if I didn't, it would run way too long, but the other was due to the fact that where I split it was some of the last bits that I wrote before I initially stopped writing the first draft. In addition, I also wanted to spend more time on individual aspects of the chapter which I felt I couldn't do if I didn't split it. Therefore, while this chapter is fairly short, it still would have gone on for too long if I included it with what I'm still formulating for what will now be Chapter VI.

Anyways, here we go!

[HR][/HR]

V - Blank

Upon going through what Wes assumed to be the warp light, both he and Kara stepped out of the warp area and entered into-

It was a bit difficult to put into words. While Wes’ subconscious was completely dark (save for himself, of course), this area was completely white. There weren’t any buildings, any signs of life or vegetation, nor even any different colored ground, roads or pathways. In fact, there wasn’t anything as far as the eye can see. As far as he knew, the white light that he and Kara exited from had either disappeared entirely or simply blended in with the white surroundings.

Wes and Kara began moving toward whatever Wes guessed that Kara wished for them to go. The further they walked, the more Wes began to realize that there was no visible lighting source in this strange environment. Wes looked behind and around him and couldn't see any trace of a shadow from either himself or Kara who, by this point, had noticed that Wes was looking around the place in awe as a child would at KB Toys. Sensing that she needed to bring her newfound friend up to speed, she explained, "We are currently in a realm between warping points."

"Warping points?"

"Yes. While it is not necessarily required to warp here in order to warp to other places, it is generally easier to do so since warping here required less cosmic power. Why this is the case, none of us, to the best of my knowledge, anyway, know at all. Some have hypothesized that this particular region seems to have minute traces of cosmic power in it."

"That's weird," supplied Wes. "Does this mean that this is some sort of - well, like an airport that you go to when you need to take a connecting flight to your key destination or something?"

"That's certainly one way to look at it. Think of it as an "inbetween" place that serves as a warping point between worlds."

"A hub world, in other words," Wes realized, metaphorically kicking himself for not thinking of that proper word choice earlier. "I have to say, this is a little too...blank for what I was expecting a hub world."

Kara had walked a bit further ahead of Wes as he said this. Turning around, she said, "Believe it or not, there are actually several sections to this realm. The main one contains many routes to an vast number of warping points and doesn't have this colorless background, but rather an atmosphere that is bathed in perpetual night."

"Perpetual night?" Wes inquired with a raised eyebrow.

"It would be better for me to show you sometime, but not right now. Said section is widely used by many people here on Earth." Kara's face turned deadly serious. "When you have what is essentially a publicly open area like that, it makes it a bigger place for people to track you with the right abilities. That being said, it is technically also easier to hide in such a place, but that also means that there is more room for more people who are looking for you. Being in a place like that on the run is tantamount to hiding in a metropolis with a large police force. I haven't been to the main hub since I was on the run..."

Wes once again took in his surroundings, but this time with Kara's explanation in mind. As he tried imagining highways loaded with people, it slowly began to dawn on him just how alone he and Kara were. Wherever they were in the hub world, they were most likely cut off from everyone. Everyone. He let that thought sink into his head and as another thought came forward into his mind, one that he inadvertently pushed back. Not only was there no one else to currently interact with, but at the moment, it occurred to him that there would be no one that would assist them in any way if they were in trouble. There was no one to teach him aside from Kara. At this, Wes began to feel guilty not only for being a loadstone of sorts for her, but also for even feeling lonely so quickly. Kara had endured far worse in her solitude before...

"Wes!"

Snapping out of his reverie (That's the second time that has happened today, he thought), Wes sputtered, "Oh, uh, s, s, sorry. I was just, um...thinking about where we were at (Yeah, that's what I was thinking, he thought sarcastically). You said that we weren't in the main part of this 'world-warping' hub area, right? If we're not 'there,' then what constitutes 'here?'"

"In a special part of the hub world, actually," she said with folded arms. "Those with either enough raw cosmic energy and willpower or those with enough knowledge to use as little power as possible or even a mixture of the two can access places like this. I say it like that because whenever someone tries to access a special section of the hub world, they inadvertently create a new section of it that only they and any other beings that come with them can enter. Once they go through the warp point and it disappears, no one can enter that section. There can be multiple warp points in here that can lead out, but if we leave, we can never return to this particular point that we created."

"Let me get this straight, Kara," said Wes. "This area is 'created' by you and only the two of us can access it because there is no other like it, right?"

"Put it this way, Wes. This is basically our little niche within the hub world - a failsafe that protects its constructors from outside forces."

"Like your dad's warriors, in other words."

"Yes, as well as those that serve his allies," she continued. "This is certainly an ideal hiding spot...no, the optimal refuge. That being said, if you have the necessary abilities, you can either use this place as a sanctuary complete with a house with indoor plumbing, food, water and all other such paraphernalia or you can use this area to train and perfect your techniques."

"Before I forget, there is one other question I have to ask. If this place is an optimal place to warp, then why would you need to warp to the main part of the hub in the first place? And come to think of it, if you need to have so much cosmic energy to warp here, then how come you were able to warp us just outside that house last night?"

"To put it simply, the section of the hub world we are in right now and the main section of the hub world serve different secondary functions. While it is possible to warp in both locations, only the main hub serves as a proper crossroads. Within the main hub are specific warping points; these points can be used by anyone and are even labeled with the name of the destination. What's interesting about the labels is that when a person looks at them, the person can see the labels in whatever language they spoke."

"So then," mused Wes, "if a person who was bilingual or knew more than one or two languages looked at one of these labels, would the labels be read in their native tongue or whatever language they just so happened to be thinking in at the time or would they just see a bunch of garbled text roughly translated into multiple languages?"

"That is a very good question, actually. In this case, the multilingual person would look at the signs and read them in whatever language that they were fluent in at that point in time. In the case of the person that was equally fluent in multiple languages," Kara said, unfolding her arms, "they would see the labels in whatever language they were thinking of at the time. The text, at the very least, wouldn't keep switching between different languages nor would it be shown in different languages on the same label."

Wes nodded. "So then, what about the way we warped last night? I certainly don't remember going into any kind of hub world then."

"I was about to get to that," replied Kara. "I'm not sure whether or not I explained this to you earlier or not, but in order to warp to a location, you need to be able to either think of the name of the place hard enough or visualize the location in your mind hard enough. Part of the reason that warping to the hub world first is easier is due to the fact that all one has to do is think of the name of the hub world. The main hub is called Provincia Centralis while the part that we are in right now is called Provincia Absconditus. Also, before you ask, those are both Latin terms that roughly mean 'Central Province' and Hidden Province' respectively."

"So judging by the names, the first one, Provincia Centralis, is the main part of the hub world while the other one, the Provincia Absconditus, is where we are right now?"

"Correct. On top of this, Provincia Centralis is divided up into multiple sections to make it easier to access warp points, sort of like how a mall is divided up into sections to make it easier to go to and locate stores. Provincia Absconditus, however, is an interesting case. Due to its nature, Provincia Absconditus isn't so much the section of the hub, but rather a section instead. Can you guess why?"

Wes thought about it for a few seconds before responding, "Um, didn't you mention that there is an infinite number of these provinces because they can only be accessed once?"

"You've got it," Kara said with a nod.

"And what you said earlier about being able to, like, have a house and everything, that's possible too, huh?"

"Yes. You can set this place up as a training ground if you so choose."

Wes immediately had this image of himself sparring against several of his replicas. In his mind's eye, he could see himself dual wielding a broadsword and a katana while his three replicas fought with magic, fists and...a book. Apparently, one of his replicas was whacking Wes with a lexicon of all things. Why he was merely hitting him with it instead of using the lexicon to summon some kind of monster or spell, Wes wasn't too sure. But hey, he thought, anything's possible. "So, bearing all this in mind, we're training here, right?"

"Not a bad guess, but no," Kara answered. She placed her right hand on her hip and kept her left hand outstretched. She then used that hand to flick her wrist.

"Sssooooooooooooooo, if we're not training here, then where are we training at, instead?"

Kara had, by now, walked up to where Wes stood. "Well, you can exercise the power of your imagination to form your own conclusions or you can come along with me and find out yourself."

"Right," Wes said dryly. "One question, though. When you first - well, rather, when I first saw you creating warp points, the light came from the warp point was green. I assumed at the time that that was the normal color, but now I see white and - is that a lavender-ish color?"

She nodded. "When properly taught, you can automatically change the color of the warp light to whatever you want. Otherwise, it will go to its default color which varies from person to person." She then pointed toward the "lavender-ish" light and said, "After you."

Wes glanced around the empty hub world one last time, panning from the infinite blankness of the world to Kara and finally the warp point. Opting for a runner's stance, he rushed forward into the warp point, disappearing from Kara's view. Ensuring that it did not dissipate into nothingness preemptively, Kara followed suit abandoning the dull hub world behind her.
 

KingdomKey

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Welcome back!

Every time you post a chapter it makes me dying to know more because, I love the world you've built. I like that you take the time to explain things in a well mannered way that fellow readers can understand. Including the consistency is nicely paced. I really enjoyed learning about the provinces Wes and Kara were inside of. I'm quite curious to see where Kara is taking Wes to train though. And if Wes will really be able to fight his replicas like he imagined inside of his head. And I appreciate you splitting the chapter up cause it was nice to not have too much information at once. Overall, I enjoyed the first part of this chapter and look forward to seeing part two of it. :)
 

kuraudoVII

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Thanks. It took me a surprisingly long time to flesh everything out. I originally did not have names for the different realms and just simply described each as a major hub or a secret spot.

Sorry for the incredibly long wait again. A combination of school, finals for school, job searching (which, admittedly, I've been lax in for the last three weeks since I was on vacation) and scrambling to find a way to finish college has left me drained to do much of anything aside from watching a few videos and playing some Zelda. I have started some work on Chapter VI, but it will (probably) be awhile before it's completed.

On a side note, I don't remember what the hell compelled me to mention one of the replicas to use a lexicon back in the initial 2011 draft. Either I defeated Zexion as Dark Riku in Chain of Memories or I was playing the early parts of Tales of Phantasia where Klarth F. Lester uses a book to summon spirits, but is unable to do anything but hit enemies with it until he gets the Sylph summon.

Also, I was tempted near the end to make the lavender-ish color that Kara's warp point took the hue of to be lightish-red instead as a nod to Red vs. Blue.
 

KingdomKey

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Welcome! I can certainly believe that because, thinking up just the right name for about anything within a story can take a long time to consider. And it's natural because, world building is a big and important process. I like the names you came up with for the secret spot or major hub though.

And it's certainly alright if it's taking a while to update with the next chapter! Life comes first after all. And it's important to have some time to yourself, so you don't burn out either. :) In the meantime, it's really cool you put in a nod towards Red vs Blue like that. Definitely a fan of Red vs Blue. I can quote some of the seasons easily from watching them so much. xD Furthermore, I imagine it's a lot of fun looking back at your 2011 draft version of this.
 

kuraudoVII

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Thanks! It's been a bit weird looking at my old draft since it forced me to try to remember bits of my rationale during that time, but it's been insightful as well.

Anyways, Chapter 6 is not coming out for a while. I am working on it, but I've been having to make some changes to locale and such. Unfortunately, this also means I have to do a bit more research in addition to the load of schoolwork (class starts in about 20 minutes), job searching and real life in general. I don't want to give a scheduled time frame since it could very easily slip, but I want to at least try to get it done before the summer semester begins.

Maybe in the future, I can make Wes complain about cars hating him like Agent Washington in the Freelancer Sage...
 

KingdomKey

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You're welcome!

Wes complaining about cars like Agent Washington does would be awesome. <3 The Freelancer Saga was one of my favorite seasons to watch in RvB. Anyways, I agree. Looking back at old drafts can be quite the trip down memory lane. And it's really cool to hear you got to put some research into this story too. :) That's okay! I don't mind waiting until you're able to release chapter 6 whenever you can. In the meantime, I send good vibes your way. I know real life can be quite the handful, so I hope things go alright and finding a job goes okay. :3 And thank you for letting me know how things are going for you too!
 

kuraudoVII

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Welp,how to put this...

So, I've been busy with school and work since late March and have only been able to complete a small portion of Chapter 6. As a result of having a summer class that crams 16 weeks of content into 6 and dealing with work that leaves me aching every other work night, I've only had a chance to catch up on some videos that I've been meaning to keep up with and the occasional foray into Final Fantasy VI. On the bright side, I'm almost at the point where my original notes end which gives me a sense of completion, but it also means that I only have so much minute details planned in the immediate future. I definitely have things planned later down the line for this and a possible sequel, but as of now, they are merely ideas that are only fleshed out to an exceedingly small degree.

At any rate, by the end of this month, I should be done with my summer class, so I will be able to write more consistently by then.
 
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