Canton chroniclesrising.., p.13
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       Canton Chronicles:Rising Power, p.13

           Faidra-Foteini Petaniti
 
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  Vanessa nodded.

  “And the victim? The telekinetic girl?”

  Tom was hesitant to even mutter the words, his disbelief completely understandable.

  “She is called Valentine Stone. No known connection to any of our old, significant families, despite her telekinesis.”

  He sighted.

  “Are they ok?”

  “Yes, the victim had already been treated by our doctor, probably at the party right now. Aldus’ daughter will spend a night at the Infirmary, mostly because we don’t want her attempting something like this again. We came to an agreement, Tom. Nobody talks about the incident, and we are spared from Aldus’ rage. I just thought you should be aware of the fact. You are our High Counsellor, after all.”

  Tom shook his head.

  “And you believe those girls? Why do they even had to fight on the first place?”

  Vanessa told him about the facts that she had gathered, about their high-school years’ rivalry until Valentine Stone’s stay in the Asylum, signed and approved by Aldus himself.

  “And yes I do believe them when they say they’ll keep quiet. I have no other choice. But we will keep a really close eye from now own. I promise. And…”

  He looked at her, questioningly.

  “If things get rough, there is always Henry White. I paid him a visit a month ago, reminding him who he still works for.”

  Tom opened his mouth to protest instinctively, but ended up saying nothing. The whole Henry White situation was still painful for the both of them. He just had to trust her on this.

  Vanessa sat down tired, her fingers in her temples. She didn’t mind showing her weakness to Tom. He had seen her in her worst days. When she looked up, she saw that he seemed equally concerned and tired.

  “Tom, it’s a long way home. You want to stay here for the night, maybe? We have a couple of spare beds, and I am guessing many of the kids will be sleeping in pairs tonight.”

  He chuckled at her comment.

  “Such vulgarity, Mrs Rehberg. You are a really progressive Academy.”

  “We try our best, High Counsellor.”

  He looked at her, intensely, obviously considering the possibility. Then he lowered his head.

  “I am afraid I have to decline your offer, Vanessa. I need some time to think. About the things that happened here.”

  She felt sorrow and guilt swiping over her. He certainly had better things to do, a man like himself.

  “I am sorry that I messed up your night Tom. I thought you should know.”

  He was already at the door.

  “You did the right thing. In fact every decision you’ve made till now, has proved to be the right one.”

  The meaning of his words did not escape her. She turned her back as Tom walked out the door.

  “Sweet dreams, Counsellor.”

  ***

  9. An Unexpected Revelation

  The New Academy - 15th September, 200 A.D

  “Three… two… one. Sequence emerge” said the AI, with its friendly, neutral voice. The final countdown was up. Val felt John twitch beside her.

  “The enemy is coming from our left, guys, and fast. Mike you take the front. Amy, Seb you go next. Hack those holograms away as fast as you can. Val is staying with me, until she is needed. Understood?”

  “Yes, sir,” the three of them answered in complete unison, with just a tiny pinch of sarcasm.

  Val saw them moving to their planned positions with the corner of her eye, seconds before the giant mass made its move. It did come from their left, as John had predicted and with a fury which left Val speechless. Sometimes the training holograms were just so damn realistic.

  The colossus that stood in front of them was around three meters tall, made out of pure metal, a shiny silver giant with no visible soft spots whatsoever. It came with incredible speed, his face a merciless mask.

  Mike was the first one to be hit. The titan connected its fists and knocked Mike to his feet, sending him into a high air-dive, sending him out of the fighting area.

  The giant howled with satisfaction and made his way to Amy and Seb, stopping right at his tracks, when Mike, the same Mike which was seemingly knocked out just seconds ago, appeared unexpectedly beneath its feet.

  “You illusions are getting better, John. Incredible.”

  John smiled with Val’s awe, proud of himself.

  Mike’s body was now in his ultimate Power form, covered in unbreakable black rock and metal. He grasped the silver giant’s feet, and hold him off with all his strength, pinning it to the ground. The creature tried to raise his feet, but found it impossible to move.

  A howl of despair escaped its throat and Val smiled. Their battling strategy was working wonders. Amy’s and Seb’s turn came next. They were already attacking the monster, with their Speeding Powers.

  Amy flew towards the creature’s sides, hitting its weak points between the arms and thighs, only to disappear again. Seb run in an endless circle around the creature’s lower area, kicking its feet, weakening it.

  John guided them, telling them where to hit next and what they had to avoid.

  “Are you two ever going to finish?” Mike screamed to Amy and Seb, enraged and impatient. “I thought this was to be done in a few hits.”

  “Damn thing has the resistance of a rock. Just a few moments more and then it will fall, Mike. Just hold on.” Seb said, gasping.

  “Just stand still and do your damn job, grumpy. We are all trying here.”

  Amy kicked the Colossus again and again, until at last, it fell to the ground with a confused and weak growl. Val thought its ending was at least anticlimactic, considering its strength and size. And she didn’t even get the chance to participate in the fight. So disappointing.

  Amy, Sebastian and Mike were standing with their hands on their knees, totally out of breath.

  “Now, where are the winning trumpets? We won, didn’t we?” Mike wowed loudly.

  “And in what has to be a record time”, Seb said and raised his hands, hugging Amy, who remained inside his arms, excited.

  Val looked at John, but he was silent, a sceptical look on his face.

  The giant started twitching again.

  “Look out!” John screamed suddenly, at the top of his lungs.

  Red deadly beams were coming out of the monster’s eyes, as it tried to stand up once again.

  Val was ready, following the giant closely with her eyes since he had fallen suspiciously early. They want to test me, too. Obviously.

  She stood up and run towards the creature, stopping the incoming beams coming out of its eyes, by changing their course, seconds before they hit Mike’s head.

  “What the fuck?” he exclaimed holding his red ear tip, as the monster changed in front of their eyes.

  The giant divided itself into five different smaller creatures, retaining its shape and material. The five silver robots made their way to the five contestants, their now red eyes throwing powerful energy beams.

  “Fall back now” shouted John, angry at his own lack of insight.

  The team hid inside their check-point.

  “We don’t have much time. I am a fucking idiot for thinking we took it down so easily, damn it.”

  “Don’t blame yourself John”, said Amy softly. “We were all celebrating seconds ago.”

  Her flow of speech was interrupted by a rock nearby, turning into smithereens by the beams.

  “Fuck, should we take them head on? One on one?”

  Everyone nodded in agreement, but Val shook her head.

  “No. That is not a personal test. We’ve already did our jobs. They want to test our teamwork. We bring them down together. But we all have to attack, at least once. Listen.”

  The metal robots were approaching fast, destroying everything on sight. Amy and Sebastian run from the hideout, too fast for the enemies to see. They started hitting them, only this time they were not alone. Three clo
nes of Amy and three of Seb, a total six of them appeared on the stage, hitting the robots mercilessly.

  The enemies tried hitting in the blind with their beams, howling from frustration. John was doing an amazingly good job with the decoys, but the process worn him out fast.

  Soon he won’t be able to fool them anymore.

  “Hurry up, Mike. John can’t hold it up much longer. He is not used to this.”

  “Just a second, dammit”.

  Mike hit a big stalagmite with careful precise hits. When he was done, the rock was shaped into five sharp edges, like rocky knives.

  “Mike, fall back!”

  Val raised the sharp rock-points by her side, and walked towards the enraged robots. Seb and Amy were giving the last of their efforts, but they were also pretty drained.

  “Sebastian, run. Now.”

  Seb took Amy by the hand and they run to the far corner. They both ducked instantly, Seb on top of her, holding her down safe.

  “Mike, hold John.”

  Mike crawled to a heavily dizzy John, and drugged him to their check-point, extending his sturdy hands, covering his body from the explosions.

  Val positioned herself in the middle of the scene and raised her hand. Her delicate finger-movements commanded the sharpened rocks behind her back. The monsters realized what that meant, but by then it was too late.

  With a swift move the rock knives passed through the monsters’ heads, with such speed and force, there were nothing more than bodies with holes on top. Val continued piercing them, the sharpened shards flying in a beautiful circular motion around the creatures’ heads, limbs and torsos. They hit them hard, again and again, until there was nothing left from the fearsome silver robots.

  When they finally fell, screeching desperately, Val covered their bodies with sand and stones.

  Just in case you come up with any ideas of resurrecting and such.

  But this time it was really the end. The trumpets of triumph really did come and the landscape transformed underneath and all around them.

  The team cheered and clap, and Peter Smith’s face appeared on the screen above them.

  “Amazing approach, top of the top teamwork. You’ve made it through another Test. Congratulations, guys.”

  His eyes moved to Val and John.

  “Sweet co-ordination, guys.”

  “It was all her, today, sir. Truly”

  John said by scratching the back of his head, slightly embarrassed.

  Val sighted. Things were back to normal after their awkward kiss, but sometimes, John’s sudden compliments were just a tiny bit than uncomfortable.

  “It was all of us, Peter. No one could have done it without the other.”

  “That is totally true, Val. I am glad you realized the point of the exercise. Now hurry up. You still have to pick the location of your last test. The places available are still hanging on the Great-boards. Be sure to note your team number and write you names correctly.”

  “You sound like Priscilla, Pete. I think that’s really cute.”

  Amy laughed and Pete winked at her, before their connection was ended.

  As they descended the stair to the Main Hall, they passed their arms around each other’s shoulders.

  “We did it. Do you realize what this means? We can go out in the wild now, fight the real bad guys, and help the people in need.”

  Mike was bursting with pride. He took Amy by the waist and swirled her around.

  “Even you are allowed to be happy today, my mean Ice Queen.”

  “You are out of your mind, grumpy,” she said with a spite but her face was actually a happy one.

  “We still have to pass the Outer Exam though. The one in the actual field. I wonder what they have in store for us.”

  “You know you can relax once in a while, John. Have happy thoughts” said Val, but she was also wondering the same thing.

  A month had already gone by since Val’s Power finally revealed itself. She was allowed to train with the Fayde Twins immediately after the revelation, in special training sessions unique for her Power. Or rather, getting her ass kicked from the siblings professional wrestling moves, at least in the beginning. Val had been slowly getting better in combat, and before she even knew it, the time for the Final examination had arrived. Their official Hero recognition.

  “Amazing performance, Val.”

  A teammate’s hand was at her shoulder, and his friends smiled at her.

  She had Seb to thank for the sudden show of affection from her teammates. Her fight with Alice Green was all over Heroic news, and, after a while, everyone knew about the Atrium’s incident. She had been raised in a short of a high heroic status, which she greatly enjoyed.

  Alice Green was completely out of her radar after the incident, exactly like she had promised. Val’s life was shared between her friends, her practice and her Power training.

  “As I’ve told you before, Amy, you have terribly misunderstood Vanessa. She is actually really caring and thoughtful.”

  “I agree with Sebastian,” John said, unfaltering.

  “I think you are both a bunch of idiots. There is something evil and disgusting with that woman. She just has her way over men.”

  Mike and Val laughed, having heard the argument countless of times.

  “I see you are getting some love from our teammates, sweetheart. Still helping the unfortunate with their training?”

  Val had to chuckle at Mike’s words.

  “Doing the best I can for the common good, Mike.”

  They reached the Great-Boards and took a look at the five locations, one for each responsible Instructor. The places were all abandoned, donated by the Council to the Academy for training purposes, but still possessed an earie aura.

  An outskirt west farm was Guido’s domain, whereas a beach cavern on the south was Beth’s. Priscilla had chosen a creepy looking forgotten school, and Peter a friendlier looking village establishment somewhere in the North Forest. The last one was Vanessa’s choice. The building was a ruined skyscraper, presumably an office of some sort, its right side covered entirely with an enormous letter R.

  “Vanessa sure knows how to pick them,” exclaimed Sebastian with awe.

  John turned his head suddenly to Amy’s direction, like he’d picked up a disturbing signal in the air. Val turned too, distracted. Amy had turned white as a sheet. She was trembling, and her eyes were wide with huge pupils, like she’d seen a ghost.

  “Amy? Is everything OK?” John whispered to her sweetly, like a doctor talking to his patient. Val touched her back, scared.

  Amy looked at them, snapping out of the shock within seconds. She smiled at him confidently and caught her waist with her palms.

  “Of course I am, silly. Can’t a girl get lost in a daydream once in a while? Do you always have to play the doctor, John?”

  “I am a doctor, Amy. And it seemed more like a day-nightmare, the way you were looking, dead-white. But if you say you are OK…that’s fine for me.”

  Val’s own gut told her that something was terribly wrong with Amy. She was really perplexing sometimes, freezing for a few second, jerking her body irregularly… And that first test of fears everyone seemed to have forgotten about.

  “The Rosenberg building. I want that one” said Amy, full with confidence.

  Val looked at her doubtfully.

  “How do you know that’s a Rosenberg building? And why there, of all places? Don’t you hate Rehberg?”

  Amy took a step back.

  “Well, see the big R over there? That’s the Rosenberg crest. I heard they gave up their old offices for brand new, central ones. It’s all over the magazines. Common knowledge.”

  She took a deep breath, under the watchful eyes of the others.

  “Besides, I want to show that bitch Rehberg what we really worth. She has to witness it with her own eyes.”

  “She already knows what we really worth, Amy. And it’s real
ly harsh to call her a bitch, when you don’t even know her.”

  “It doesn’t matter what you think. I still don’t like her. And I just, I want to do my final exam in the most difficult of all the possible environments. It’s just the right thing to do. Don’t you agree, Val?”

  Val shook her head.

  “That’s for the leader to decide.”

  John looked at their possibilities.

  “I can’t see why not to be honest. It’s certainly challenging, and Vanessa is a strict Instructor. So if we pull it through, we’ll be victorious.”

  He winked at them.

  “Perfect. Then it’s settled. The Rosenberg Financial it is.”

  ***

  “Val, wake up, please…”

  A gentle nudge and a whisper. Val opened her eyes alarmed, and came face to face with Amy’s eyes, who were wide and full of tears.

  “Amy?”

  Val started but was interrupted by her friend.

  “The roof.”

  She gently hugged Val and the both of were transported within seconds.

  The sudden wind gust blew Val’s hair, as they reached their destination.

  The Academy’s roof was only being used for training sessions, so being there outside practicing hours was strictly forbidden. Of course, that didn’t stop Sebastian from discovering certain tight angles, invisible by the cameras. It was that particular spot on the ledge, where the both of them sat.

  Val felt the cool air on her arms and legs. It was a nice, enjoyable feeling. If only her friend sitting next to her, didn’t cry her heart out. Val hugged Amy tight, and place her head against hers.

  “What’s wrong, honey?”

  “Remember, after the incident with Alice Green… You said something. You said “There is no real friendship with secrets and lies””.

  “Amy, has that something to do with today’s test? And the building. You’ve been pretty upset since that whole ordeal… Not quite yourself.”

  Amy nodded and the wails shook her.

  “Val, I will tell you everything. You are the first person to ever find out. But please promise me you won’t hate me.”

  Val chuckled uncomfortably.

  “Amy, what the hell? Why should I hate you? Did you kill someone?”

  She tried to joke around the matter, feeling extremely uncomfortable. But Amy looked at her with wide eyes.

  “I did.”

  “Amy, what?”

  “I killed myself.”

  ***

  “Amy Wyatt is not my real name.”

  Amy begun her story with that sentence.

 
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