Chapter 9:

Brightstar Arc 2 (Chapter 4)

Brightstar: The Rising Superhero

For a brief instant, Lady Death was at my front door. She knocked thrice. Behind her, a wall of fire oozed through the gaps of my door. I wish I wouldn’t open that door, but it wasn’t up to me.Bookmark here

Sorry, mom. I love you.Bookmark here

Crash!Bookmark here

Broken concrete flew across the room. However, none of them was enough to hurt somebody. Yet, as the smoke and dust dissipated. It began to reveal a familiar colour: silver and red. With a cocky grin and a hand on her waist, she took a casual glance around the room.Bookmark here

“Crimson Diamond? But why?” This man that I had been struggling to fight and a powerhouse of his own took a step back.Bookmark here

“There was a fire, and I’m here to help, or so I thought. After taking another look, it seems I stumbled into a more dire situation.”Bookmark here

Immediately, the fire user used his most devastating attack: a piercing flame just like before, but this time the heat was more intense. My eyes widened as I felt the rising temperature around me. There’s no way she could withstand that attack.Bookmark here

Over Diamond,” she muttered under her breath.Bookmark here

I was about to warn her when she took a step forward to take the spire of flame head-on. The spear of fire hit her, I grimaced away at the thought of a dead Superheroine. However, as the smoke dissipated once more, she stood there with her entire body had turned into a crystallized state that resembles a red diamond. With her hand, she brushed the dust off her shoulder.Bookmark here

Both my opponent’s and my jaw dropped when we found out the attack did nothing to her. Not even a single scratch. She ran her fist against her palm and stretched her neck.Bookmark here

The fire user took a second look at his situation and turned tail. However, it was too late for him as the Crimson Diamond took a single step forward closer to the man with her fist behind her. A loud boom cracked the air itself, her fist was against his stomach, and down he went after that one hit alone. The power she demonstrated caused me to drop to my knees.Bookmark here

She was undoubtedly a true superhero. The sheer gap between my power and hers was unfathomable. This was what Ria meant when she said that I was different from a normal superhero. Is this what normal is then I am in no way close to calling myself a superhero.Bookmark here

I almost laughed at my own limitation, instead of laughing like a madman, I gritted my teeth. Crimson took a knee beside me and started patting down my body. My cheeks blushed red-hot as her hands reached near my sensitive area.Bookmark here

“Excuse me --- What are you doing?!”Bookmark here

“Checking for any injuries. A few minor afflictions, but you will be fine. Aren't you the one who stopped the robbery a few days ago?”Bookmark here

“That’s me.”Bookmark here

“Brightstar, right?”Bookmark here

“You know my name?” I never thought The Crimson Diamond actually knew my name.Bookmark here

“Of course. It’s nice to meet you, they call me---”Bookmark here

“Crimson Diamond!” With an embarrassed glee, I finished her sentence.Bookmark here

“Well… I guess I should get used to people knowing who I am.” Her smile was radiance as she tousled my singed hair. “It has been a pleasure to meet you. My only wish is that our meeting would have been in a better circumstance, but there’s someone I need to take care of before he wakes up.” She glanced at the unconscious man before making her way to him.Bookmark here

“Wait!”Bookmark here

She turned her head at me with a raised eyebrow.Bookmark here

“My friend. She was fighting another powered. We need to help her.”Bookmark here

Her eyes darted to the side before making their way to me before smiling. She lifted the man on her shoulder and turned away. “I need to deliver this man to the authority before he causes more trouble.”Bookmark here

“What about my friend?”Bookmark here

“I can't do two things at the same time. So --- how about you do it?”Bookmark here

“What? I can’t. I’m not strong or capable like you.” I lowered my chin while my fingers dug into my palms.Bookmark here

“Aren’t you a Hero? Isn’t that why you donned that mask? To help people in their greatest time of need?”Bookmark here

“I tried. But, the situation only got worse than before. Comparing myself to you, I’m a joke.”Bookmark here

She let out a laugh, “Did you think I became what I am today overnight? No. I started out just like you, and I believe that you could be better. So go and save her, and don’t you worry about failing, I will be right behind you when you need me.” She took off into a run and leaped off the balcony. I ran after her. When I looked down, a gust of wind blurred my sight, and when I opened it again, she already flew up into the sky.Bookmark here

I scratched my head before a smile appeared. With my hand clenched tightly and assessed the surrounding situation. There are a few good news and bad news. Let start with the bad: The building is on fire and I could barely stand right now. While the good news is my strength is coming back to me, slowly sure, but I can do this and the stair is clear for me to take.Bookmark here

Making my way to the floor above me, I couldn’t find Ria anywhere or the lizard woman. She could have been taken, but I believe otherwise. If she weren’t taken, then she would probably go to her people.Bookmark here

As I climbed the stairs to the roof, something felt amiss. My arm felt different, I don’t know what it was, but there was definitely something there. It’s not a wound, a cut, or anything, it’s not even pain, it just felt different like this arm isn’t my own. It’s probably nothing.Bookmark here

After shaking my head, I halted my climb when a burning timber crashed down in front of me. Dark smoke rose, blurring my vision and making it harder to breathe. I crouched down, avoiding the smoke like a plague and trying to inhale a bit of oxygen left in the air.Bookmark here

A yell echoed in the distance, it sounded Ria. I tried to filter the noise of crackling fire and I heard it.Bookmark here

“Brightstar, where are you?”Bookmark here

Suddenly, the yell turned into a cry for help when I heard a large structure crashed down from the ceiling. I quickly ran toward her cry. When I arrived, her leg was stuck under a cabinet. Her eyes widened in joy when she saw me. I let out a grin before sliding my hands under the cabinet.Bookmark here

With gritted teeth, I lifted the cabinet and Ria quickly pulled herself out. After she was out of the way, I dropped the cabinet.Bookmark here

“Are you okay? Is everyone okay?” I kneeled beside her.Bookmark here

“Everyone is okay. Ouch, my ankle. Not again.” She grimaced as she tried to move her leg.Bookmark here

“It feels just like the first time we met minus the swearing.” A grin appeared.Bookmark here

“Yeah, except for the burning building. But I don’t think now is the time for that.”Bookmark here

“You’re right.” I slid my hands underneath Ria and carried her in my arms. “Still heavy. Just like how I remember it.”Bookmark here

“You jerk!” Ria hit my chest lightly.Bookmark here

“Scratch the swearing part.” A snicker escaped me as I carried her forward.Bookmark here

I was expecting to meet the doorway, but instead, I accidentally led us to the balcony. From here, I could see the door had been blocked by a collapsed beam. There goes our way out. I glanced behind me, the fire was raging on and getting closer to us. I peeked over the railing to find a swimming pool underneath us, a good place to land, but the size of the pool isn’t solidifying my confidence.Bookmark here

From our distance and the velocity, it would be like threading a string through a needle. The floor at the end of the room began to give out and fell through, more cracks began to grow toward us. The only option is to go for it. I took a few steps back.Bookmark here

“Wait…” I stopped myself when Ria pressed her head against my chest. “Thank you.”Bookmark here

“I promise you, I’ll help you, and I don’t plan on breaking that promise.”Bookmark here

A single step forward, then another, then another, eventually I was running, but my path is coming to an end. However, it doesn’t slow me one bit because I know where I am going and that is over that balcony. I leaped off the railing. We were flying, at least that's what it felt like. I kept her close to me as we fell downward.Bookmark here

Our aim was perfect, except… Boom!Bookmark here

An explosion from one of the floors carried a blast that deterred our course. Time slows down to a crawl, I looked upon Ria’s worried face as she realized what had happened. Except when she looked upon my face, she saw I was smiling, and calmly I pushed her forward from me. Her course was back on track toward the pool except mine was getting further away. She screamed away as she tried to reach for me, but it was too late.Bookmark here

Mom…Bookmark here

A loud splash echoed upward out the complex. “Brightstar!” Ria called out to me after she surfaced out of the pool.Bookmark here

There is nothing to do now but close my eyes. Suddenly, something slid inside my jacket and halted my downward fall. I turned my head to find a metal bat inside my jacket. Quickly, I looked down to see Ria with a crumpled forehead, and her hand aimed at me.Bookmark here

Scris!Bookmark here

The seam that held my jacket together began to unravel. I turned and was about to reach for the metal bat when my jacket tore apart before I could do anything. I was falling again. The metal bat tried to reach me, but it was too late, I was too close to the ground.Bookmark here

Suddenly, the sky cracked open in a thunderous roar.Bookmark here

“Woah there.”Bookmark here

That voice, I opened my eyes to find myself in Crimson Diamond’s arms. Her black hair the length of a pencil fluttered in the wind as she gazed down upon me with proud eyes. Ria was worried at first, but soon she calmed down when she saw me in Crimson Diamond’s arms.Bookmark here

“Are you okay?!”Bookmark here

“I’m fine! Everything is okay!” I answered Ria’s call.Bookmark here

I waved my hand from above. An accident occurred when my flailing arms hit the softest yet firmest bosom in the entire world. Like an idiot, I panicked and started wiggling out of her grasp causing her to drop me into the pool.Bookmark here

A big splash almost as big as before, I sank with a reddened chick and screamed out my embarrassment. Bubbles rose above me as my back rested on the tile flooring. It’s so peaceful here. As the sun cast its lights onto the pool, the rays became distorted causing a beautiful glimmer inside the pools.Bookmark here

I took my time appreciating the beautiful sight before pushing myself upward and resurfaced. The water drizzled off my head after I reappeared above the water level. Ria sat on the edge of the pool and extended her hand to me. Without hesitation, I took it, and before I knew it I was sitting beside her.Bookmark here

“Quite the exit you had,” complimented Crimson diamond as she landed beside us.Bookmark here

“Crimson Diamond?” With awe, Ria took full sight of the Superheroine.Bookmark here

“I knew right? That's what I said. I still can't believe she’s here.”Bookmark here

“What is it hard to believe? I’m not a deity. Just a regular Powered trying to help whenever she could.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, but don't you have more important things to do than saving us?” said Ria.Bookmark here

“Everyone's lives are important to me, even yours.” The way she said it. She meant it. She believed it. Her heart is purer than I thought.Bookmark here

“Did you capture the other one?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Other one?” Crimson Diamond looked at me with a raised eyebrow.Bookmark here

“The fire user had a partner. She was a hybrid. I threw her into the pool after I beat her, so she won’t get caught by the fire,” explained Ria.Bookmark here

“You beat her?” My excitement couldn’t be contained when I found out Ria was able to defeat her opponent.Bookmark here

“Yep. All by myself.”Bookmark here

“Amazing. I know you could do it.”Bookmark here

“She must have escaped. I could scour the area for her,” Crimson Diamond muttered under her breath.Bookmark here

“We can help,” I said to Crimson diamond.Bookmark here

“It’s okay. I can handle this myself. You both did a good job, but it’s time for you both to have a rest. May we meet again.” Crimson Diamond turned her back to us and with a jump, she flew away at high speed.Bookmark here

“What an amazing woman,” I said to myself.Bookmark here

“That I can agree with.”Bookmark here

As I looked around us, the fire was getting stronger and the path to the outside was clear for us to use. I rose from the pool then slid myself under Ria’s arm then helped her stand on her good leg.Bookmark here

“We should leave.”Bookmark here

Slowly but surely, we left the complex to meet a circus of firefighters, ambulance, police, news team, and other sorts of crowds. I made sure my face was hidden under the wet scarf.Bookmark here

A few flashes of light caused us to turn away. It was a flash from a camera. The reporters tried to gather around us but were escorted away by the police while the paramedic led us to the nearest ambulance. The paramedic fussed over every part of our body, trying to make sure that we didn't suffer any major injuries.Bookmark here

In front of us, the fire user was being escorted to the squad car with his hands cuffed and his neck collared by a weird high tech choker. He turned to us. “You don't get it, do you? You can't win against him. Eventually, he will own all of us.” The cops forced him into the back of the car and closed the door before leaving.Bookmark here

What did he mean by Him owning all of us?Bookmark here

I didn't have much time to ponder when a smartly dressed man in a police uniform walked up to us with a frown. “Lieutenant Emilio of NPD. So… let’s make this quick. Forget everything that happened here and we both go our separate way. No arrest. No report. Just an ordinary fire, sounds good?”Bookmark here

“Ah, sure.” The moment I said it, he quickly turned away and left.Bookmark here

That was strange.Bookmark here

“Ria!” A worried call came from the back of the ambulance.Bookmark here

Ria jumped from the back of the ambulance and turned around the corner to find her entire family looking for her. When they saw her, they immediately gathered around her and each one of them embraced her.Bookmark here

“Ria?”Bookmark here

“Archie?” her brother stood there with a worried look.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry. I should have listened to you.”Bookmark here

Her brother quickly embraced her without saying anything, and it surprised Ria, “You dummy, I don't want to lose. Not after I already lost so much.”Bookmark here

“Ria.” An old woman took hold of her hand.Bookmark here

“Grandma Bria?”Bookmark here

“We know that you love so much that you were willing to fight for us, but it isn't your place to put yourself in danger for us. We are a family and family doesn’t fight alone.”Bookmark here

“I know Grandma, but I just have to prove myself. I thought that I’m not worth it to have all of you in my life. I have to prove myself. I’m sorry I went too far.”Bookmark here

“You don't have to prove yourself, honey… We all love you. No matter what you did in the past.”Bookmark here

A tear ran down each of their faces. Even mine.Bookmark here

“What’s going to happen to us?” Ria looked at them with raised worried eyebrows.Bookmark here

“Unfortunately, with the house gone, we will have to split up. Most of us will be leaving the city to find another home while some will be travelling like the twins. I will be living with my daughter and her husband in another state. I’m sorry Ria and Archie, but they don't have room for you both. I’m sorry. I wish I could have done more for you both.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay, grandma Bria. It was my fault anyway. I caused all of this.”Bookmark here

“Don't say that. We are going to lose the block either way. You show us that instead of accepting our demise, we should fight back. And fight. We did.”Bookmark here

Ria rushed in for another embrace. Grandma held her tight then Archibald joined in and so did everyone else. It was a heart-warming sight as I watched from the side. This wholesome sight makes me miss my family.Bookmark here

A ruckus from the back grabbed my attention. I tilted my head to see, but couldn't see through the crowds. I leaned back thinking nothing was interesting there anyway. Oh, how wrong I was.Bookmark here

"Kenn! Arr, I mean Brightstar!"Bookmark here

That voice… "Aunty Kusagi?"Bookmark here

There she was, pushing away the cop that held her back. Everyone tried to stop her, but no one could. She was too strong for them. Aunty ran up to me and hugged me tightly before planting her cheek against mine.Bookmark here

“You know how worried I am? I don't want to lose you again. Not again.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay, Aunt. There’s nothing to worry about. Ria and I make it out of there with a few scratches.” Aunt Kusagi was trembling from head to toe. I didn't realize she was this worried. To calm her down, I wrapped my hand around her and embraced her. I was still mad about the lies, but that is something I can put behind me.Bookmark here

She released and pulled away. Her watery eyes and a quivering frown was heartbreaking to see. I had always thought that Aunty Kusagi was someone who never shed a tear and an unbridled badass, but seeing her like this makes me wonder: Am I in the wrong here? Did I fail to get to know both her and my mom?Bookmark here

They both had always been there for me, so I thought I knew everything about them.Bookmark here

“Are you still angry at me?” asked Aunty Kusagi.Bookmark here

“Now, I don't think so. I think I just have been too caught up to know about the past instead of getting to know both you and my mom.”Bookmark here

“You are a good kid, you know that right?”Bookmark here

I turned to Ria and Archibald then back to Aunty Kusagi, “They need help, but I don’t know what to do. Can you help them?”Bookmark here

Aunty Kusagi let out a smile as she looked at me, “I heard the gist of it. I think I know how.” She turned to Ria and Archibald, “Hey, both of you? I heard you need a place to crash.”Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

[Thanks again for asking your aunt to help us. You did a lot for us and never asked anything in return. I just don't know how to repay back, but if you need anything. Anything! I will be there.] Received.Bookmark here

[It’s no biggie. So how’s my aunt's place?] Sent.Bookmark here

[She gave us a big room for my brother and me to share, in return, I work part-time here.] Received.Bookmark here

[You do know you don't have to work for her.] Sent.Bookmark here

[I know, but I think it’s better this way, at least for me. Besides, I always wanted to work in a Motorcycle workshop. There are so many amazing bikes here. I can't wait to start work here after school. (ง'̀-'́)ง] Received.Bookmark here

[School?] Sent.Bookmark here

[Yep! I’m going back to school. It’s a part of the deal between Aunt and me.] Received.Bookmark here

[Which school did you go to again?] Sent.Bookmark here

[Nirvana’s Angel High school.] Received.Bookmark here

{Wait, that's my school. ⚆ _ ⚆] Sent.Bookmark here

[I guess I’ll be seeing you there. Oh got to go, Archi and I are gonna help Aunt prepare dinner. See you tomorrow. ♪~ ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ] Received.Bookmark here

[Have fun!] Sent.Bookmark here

I placed down my phone on the window sill. With the fresh new clothes on me, I felt rejuvenated. It’s surprising, I make it out alive from that fight without any big injuries. However, Jake's jacket didn't have the same luck as I do. I stored it in my drawers for safekeeping and wondered if I should make him a special lunch for him tomorrow.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, that’s not a bad idea.Bookmark here

I plunged myself into my bed and rested my gaze on the clock. It’s almost night and mom is still not home, but she did text me that she was late today.Bookmark here

I already had my dinner. A set of beef burgers and fries with a smoothie. With my hunger sated, my urge to fall asleep overtook me. So tired right now. It has been an exhausting two days. It started with my eyes closed then slowly my conscious drifted away in a peaceful slumber.Bookmark here

A drop of liquid fell amongst its kind causing a usually unnoticeable sound to echo into the distance. Like the beginning of a downpour rain, that drop of liquid followed with another one, then another one, soon a crowd of small droplets began to fall.Bookmark here

Is this a dream?Bookmark here

A suspicion inside me grew as I raised my chin to find a pitch-dark sky and when I lowered my gaze, my feet were partially submerged in a pool of red liquid. The liquid seems familiar to me, but I can't put my mind to it. As I cup the water in my palm, I realized it was blood. An endless sea of blood around me and no sign of a single living soul.Bookmark here

Where am I?Bookmark here

A creepy distorted laugh grabbed my attention, “Keh-hehe…”Bookmark here

Quickly, I turned to find a copy of myself sitting on a tall throne made from flesh, bone, and gore. Moist and soggy for every movement he makes, the throne oozes blood. I turned my sight away to meet with a condescending gaze and a snobbish smirk as he inspected my pitiful existence.Bookmark here

“Who are you?”Bookmark here

I took a step back as the pool of liquid around his throne began to bubble. He launched himself from the throne and landed in front of me. Without warning, he leaned in and licked my cheek, leaving a sticky dark goo.Bookmark here

A shiver ran down my spine. Quickly, I backed away while raising my hands to protect myself. A perverted smile formed on his face while he licked the palm of his hand. He kept licking it until he stopped and stared deeply into me.Bookmark here

“Keh-Hehehe.” His body arched backward as he panted heavily while running his hands down his body near his private area. I was deeply disturbed by his action, so I backed away again.Bookmark here

Something tells me, there is something wrong with this version of me. I should be more careful of him. He is dangerous in one way or another. He noticed me backing away. Suddenly he dropped on four and chased after me.Bookmark here

I quickly turned tail and ran, but as I was getting further away from him, my legs began to become heavy as if something was pulling me down. When I looked down, my fear grew. From ankle-deep, now, my legs had submerged until my knees, and it kept getting deeper.Bookmark here

Glancing behind me, the horrifying version of me opened its mouth, tearing apart his cheeks until his neck and revealing another set of a sharp row of jagged teeth. As I grew close to him, I prepared my fist to fight him head-on.Bookmark here

Suddenly, with a snap of a finger, my eyes opened again to find my bedroom ceiling. However, something was different, the room was brighter than before.Bookmark here

As if a thousand jagged needles were stabbing my arms, a sudden explosive pain erupted from the hands to my shoulders. I raised both arms to find it’s glowing beyond my limit. What remains of my flesh is gone and replaced by crystallized light.Bookmark here

I writhe in tremendous pain, contorting myself forward while keeping my shaking arms near my chest. Never had I felt this much pain, not even after all the injuries I had ever sustained in my life. The pain grew tremendously.Bookmark here

As the pain rose, my tolerance for it shattered. “AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!” I screamed.Bookmark here

My arms were getting hotter and brighter. I got out of my bed and ran to my door. Trying to grip the handle caused it to melt and set the wooden door on fire.Bookmark here

“No!NO!”Bookmark here

I need a way out!Bookmark here

However, my sight was blinded by my own power. It pains me to see through the glaring light. There is a bubbling sensation between my arms and shoulders as if my own arms were boiling my blood, and it's causing my blood vessel to enlarge like it was about to explode.Bookmark here

I’m going to lose my arms!Bookmark here

Pruiegh!Bookmark here

It happened as I predicted. The connection between my arms and shoulder exploded in a burst of blood. I rolled my eyes back and was slowly losing my conscience.Bookmark here


My scream shook the surrounding air, a red plume of steam rose from the flesh that connects my arms to my shoulders. My brain was on the verge of collapse as my eyeballs rolled back revealing the white exterior. The thought of dying greeted me in the back of my mind.Bookmark here

A strong warm breeze washed over me, I opened my eyes to see a woman cloaked and hidden under the guise of dark fabric. She turned her head slightly when she noticed me. I extended my hand toward her because I felt a deep longing for her. I do not know or recognize her, but it is as if we had a connection, an old one, a strong one at that.Bookmark here

“Strange…” She spoke with such a soft voice.Bookmark here

“Do not worry, it is not our time to meet yet.”Bookmark here

“Kenn…” She knew my name.Bookmark here

“Kenn… Kenn...” Her voice suddenly changed to another familiar one.Bookmark here

“Kenn…”Bookmark here

Awoken from my daydream, a silver chain hovered and a glimmer of silver lights floated amongst me. In Front of me was my mom, she hovered closer to me like a goddess and lay her hand softly against my cheek. Her eyes glowed a beautiful mesmerizing silver hue. My pain was no more.Bookmark here

My mom collared with a strange choker. I finally realized this wasn't a dream. My strength deteriorated while my body grew weary.Bookmark here

“Sleep,” My mom whispered to me, and slowly my eyes became heavy until I fell into a deep slumber.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.