Taichi started laughing uncontrollably.
“I can’t believe this. You need a weakling to give you resolve. You have god like powers, almost nobody could beat you in a contest of strength but you are so easily broken.”
“He’s right. We truly are pathetic.” As Miyu said that she spit blood on the floor.
“Too bad I’m not done yet. Hey, shit head! Yeah, you Hikaru! Get up right now! Why are you here?”
As she said that Hikaru was flooded with thoughts. In front of him he saw Ryūji walking down a road of light.
“Hey Ryūji! Wait for me!”
“Why should I? So you can drag me with you into the darkness?”
Hikaru felt something on his foot. When he looked behind he saw three people, his mom, Shion, and Katashi.
“They won’t. You can’t escape your past. All you can do is move forward, carrying them with you, but you can’t let them stop you. That is your trial.”
“Hey! Snap out of it!”
Hikaru got up and conjured his sword.
“I’m sorry! I’m going to finish him.”
“Like you can. We need to work together, as much as I don’t want to admit it. Koji, get up already! We can’t win without you.”
“It’s not like I have a choice, and I want to take him down with all I have.”
“Can you stop talking and come at me already!?”
As Taichi said that he started running towards Ryūji to knock him out again, but this time a shadow appeared behind him. It was Hikaru with his sword drawn. Taichi dodged without leaving a scratch on Ryūji.
‘What was with the look in his eyes? No hesitation whatsoever. His speed seemed to have increased with his determination. I need to be more careful.’
“What do you think your doing? I remember saying we need to work together.”
“And I said I’m going to finish him.”
Ryūji fainted and his knees gave up almost falling as Hikaru caught him.
“You can’t pass out right now! We need you.”
“Do you now? Seems like you are ready to take him down all on your own.”
“That might be true, but I want you to be there when we forge our path forward.”
Ryūji started smiling. He started staying straight up again.
“You sure know how to manipulate people.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Doesn’t matter. Listen to me. I think I figured his powers.”
“You saw how he moved earlier? That’s what gave it up earlier. He moved in a single direction, mechanically. At first I thought he deflected the knifes, but they flew in one direction mechanically. They had no drop and he could call them at any time. I think he can control gravity.”
“He can control gravity? How are we supposed to fight that?”
“He has quite some restrictions. That’s why his abilities are so powerful. I think he needs to make some objects the center of gravity and then change other objects to be attracted to those centers. The way I see it the centers are all of the walls here and when he touches an object it gets attracted to that wall, that includes himself.”
“That makes sense. Thank you!”
“One more thing. I don’t think he can control everything at once. I think he has a limit to which he can use new objects. He couldn’t deflect all of Miyu’s knifes after all. It could have been a matter of speed of course but I think it’s worth a try.”
“That’s why we need you. You are the one who will hold us together in the toughest times. Now let me do my part.”
In that moment a new emotion appeared on Ryūji’s face. He seemed reassured.
“Finally done? Do you have a strategy now?”
“You tell me after you end up on the ground.”
“Quite cocky for the way our first duel ended up.”
“Miyu! Can you do something for me?”
“Why should I?”
“I know his power. Now I need you to cut me.”
“Just trust me. Do them shallow.”
“I can’t believe I ended up putting my life in your hands.”
She started cutting him. As soon as she finished Hikaru charged at Taichi. He started launching a lot of projectiles from his wounds so he could get in close. As he approached Taichi dodged all his attacks while trying to touch him, unfortunately for him Hikaru knew one single touch would make him lose so he backed away one step looking for an opening, while still launching projectiles. He couldn’t dodge all of them as one hit him and disrupted his rhythm, in that moment Hikaru went in for the kill but Taichi still had two knifes under his control from the battle with Miyu. He blocked Hikaru’s horizontal attack, as he tried to go in for one touch, Hikaru backed away one’s again.
‘Did he figure out my power for real? Seems like this is going to be worthwhile after all. He needs to finish this quick doesn’t he? After all it doesn’t matter how shallow the cuts are, with that many he will bleed out quite soon. Wait a minute. He isn’t bleeding from his wounds. How dumb of me. His power is to control his blood, but having to distribute your power and attention to that many places is going to be tiring.’ Thought Taichi.
“I have one question. Why are you doing this? You are risking your life here after all.”
“The reason? I guess it’s to help them.”
“You are risking your life for others? What about yourself? Don’t you have something to fight for?”
“I lost my reason to live a long time ago, but he helped me back up from my darkest time and gave me a reason to fight. I believe in his dream and I will make it so others don’t go through what I did. So you could say I do this so I can change the world into a better place.”
It was the first time Taichi showed this face. He was disappointed.
“I can’t believe what I just heard. You are putting so much on the line for others. If there is one thing I learned in this life is that the only one worth fighting for is yourself. Once I was a homeless child and nobody even batted an eye at me, I had no one. But enough about that. Think I wouldn’t notice how your blood was slowly making its way towards my wound. Before I repay you for that, was this conversation only a distraction?”
“Everything I said I mean it.”
“I see. I’m going to end this quickly.”
He launched Hikaru’s blood back at him and got in close as Hikaru dodged. He tried to stab Hikaru from two directions. He reflected one and caught the other hand. While Taichi was stunned, Hikaru expanded spikes of blood from all of his wounds and locked Taichi in place. He dropped he knife from the hand Hikaru didn’t hold and used the wall behind Hikaru to attract the knife and stab Hikaru. He didn’t have time to react so the knife got quite deep. He released all the spikes stabbing Taichi and fell to his knees. As Taichi got ready to punch him Hikaru gathered his strength and caught his punch. Suddenly spikes started coming out from Taichi’s body. He also fell to the ground.
‘Seems like my plan didn’t work out. Once my blood gets mixed up with others blood for a short period I can’t control it anymore. I failed to reach his heart.’
“Seems like I have the advantage in terms of damage dealt. This is the toughest fight I have had since I was a kid. I command you but I will never lose to someone fighting for others. This is my way to prove your ideals are wrong so stop putting up a fight.”
‘I can’t believe I’m out of options. This isn’t how it’s going to end. He is the one in the wrong. I need to win this. For myself.’
Shō took a step forward. Daichi immediately stopped him.
“What do you think you are doing?”
“Why are we standing around when he is risking everything for us? He knows us for a little over a week and he is ready to die for us while we are lambs at a slaughter. I can’t stand this. I’m getting sick of always being saved. Now let me go.”
“You damn brat! I can’t stop you, can I? Follow my plan.”
“You were a worthy opponent Hikaru! Rest in peace!”
“Those are some words I never expected to hear. Quite a send-off.”
When Hikaru gave up on all options of getting back up he saw Miyu dropping from the roof trying to slice Taichi but he caught her. He grabbed Miyu by the neck. She dropped her weapon on the ground and with her other weapon she tried to throw it towards him.
“A last desperate attempt? Pathetic!”
“You underestimate me once again!”
Taichi uses his powers to attract her to a wall. From the throw knife, Koji appears and traps him between four walls and one roof.
‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. All my life I was alone. No one was kind to me. They always wanted something back.’
In that moment Koji heard two things.
“You are an orphan? Of course you can stay here, but you need to clean everything around here and you will sleep in the basement. Is that alright with you?”
“You are failing class. We need to do something about it. You say you will do anything? I think we can arrange something.”
‘That’s the last thing I remember before getting these powers, I thought it was a curse, but I finally found someone. Who protected me and my partners without a second thought, without the thought of a reward. So I didn’t lose hope in humanity after all this time? That’s a surprise.’
“This isn’t going to work on me!”
“This isn’t the same!”
Inside the cage Shō appeared from Miyu’s knife. He used his enhancement power to attack Taichi. He didn’t have time to react so he tried to block with his arm, but Shō broke it. In that moment Shō didn’t have anywhere to run so Taichi took the stance to throw a punch.
“Take down the shield right now!”
As the punch almost made contact with Shō’s face Hikaru got in between them and blocked the punch with a blood shield he conjured on his arm. His arm broke on impact.
“DAICHI! Take Shō and leave right now!”
“What about you, dumbass?”
“No need to worry. After all this is a battle between me and him. You would only hold me back.”
‘How is he standing up? That knife should have numbed him for good. This is getting interesting. All I did in my life was the total opposite of him. I can’t let him win. I can’t let him tell me I'm wrong.’