Chapter 23:

Adam of Paradise

The Leigh Theory

If we could survive and see the next sunrise, I would spend the entire day eating a whole apple crate.

Sounds of metal clashing and gunshots from outside echoed in the hallway as we got away from Omen. We needed to end the battle quickly since I didn't know how long they could last.

We ran and passed by multiple intersections when Janus suddenly stopped. We turned to him and asked what the problem was.

"I'm going to be blunt, okay? I don't think I can still fight and keep up with you. I'm scared of what lies ahead of us. I'm so sorry," Janus said while holding his broken wrist.

"What are you talking about?! Everyone here is also afraid, but we need to hold on and keep fighting!" I said as I rushed to him and grabbed his collar.

It was understandable as I was also afraid of what awaited us at the end of the hallway. Nonetheless, we had to try. We needed to fight.

"I…I'm not that strong-willed like you three. I didn't expect how strong those two were, and I don’t know how much more if it's the boss. If something could kill me, I'm sorry, but I will run away and hide," Janus replied.

"It's alright. I understand, but if something bad happens to us, you must order the rest of Omen to escape," Georgia said as she went to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.

I let go of my hand as Janus lowered his head. I couldn’t agree with Georgia, but if that was her decision, all I got to do was to trust her.

"In the meantime, I want you to check this facility. I have a feeling you'll discover something here."

Janus separated from us and went to one of the hallways. Van guided us as we continued treading the path until we arrived at a large hall full of medical equipment such as hospital beds and devices I didn't know the names of lined up in the corners. Adam smiled down at us as he leaned on the railings of the stair foyer.

"Welcome! So you're the first ones to have the operation, I presume," Adam said.

"We don't want your stupid operation. We're here to put an end to you and your project!" Van exclaimed.

I couldn't fathom the amount of money Paradise spent on all the medical equipment. Those could've been used for legitimate treatments to help everyone instead of an experimental and harmful project.

"Too bad, we could've made the first operation very special."

"We will do everything in our power to prevent you from harming other people!" Georgia yelled.

Adam filled the hall with his hysterical laugh like he had gone insane. Despite that, I still believed he had a much deeper reason as to why he was willing to go to such lengths to bring harm to everyone.

"Harming people? I thought I already told you what the project was all about?"

I needed to ask him to clear my mind and reaffirm my resolve.

"Why are you doing all of these?" I calmly asked.

"Why, for money, of course! It’s like a sample; if they like it or want more, they can just pay for another shard for another op–"

"Stop playing dumb. Answer my question seriously," I interrupted.

I had to cut him off because I knew money wasn't the sole reason; Adam hid the truth from us. He smiled and went down the stairs as he explained his real intentions.

"I'm doing the world a favor by determining which ones are capable of living. You know how the saying goes, right? Survival of the fittest. In this era, you are most fit to survive if you can afford your life. It's just natural selection at its finest."

I didn't know how to react to that. It was the most twisted way of thinking I have ever encountered in my whole life.

"Why not help the poor people instead of eradicating them?!" Georgia asked.

"The poor don't deserve any help because they’re filthy pieces of garbage that have no use for this world. Why should we waste resources on people who have no purpose in life? They're better off dead, so we can just focus on those who can contribute to society," Adam replied with wide arms open.

Selfish. Close-minded. Arrogant. Just a few words to describe that man.

"The people you call useless know more about what it means to be human than you. If only they had opportunities–"

"You wouldn't understand what it means to be truly poor, Oliver. You and Van grew up with parents who cared for you. You grew up with a roof on your head, and you don't have to worry if you can eat for another day. People who struggle with those things would rather choose to die than keep on suffering. So, I will save them the hassle and do it for them," Adam interrupted.

"I don't know who or what hurt you, but you sure did lose hope in life. And I don't know if there's anything that can change your mind," Van said.

Adam removed his necktie and unbuttoned his white shirt. He then chuckled as he continued.

"You're probably right. I might've lost hope, but I found a solution because of your parents," Adam said as he fully unbuttoned everything, dropping his shirt.

"Speaking of your parents, I should thank them for helping me achieve my goals. Don't worry, I'll put their names on a special list of people who have contributed to the cleansing of this world, or should I say, its destruction," he added as he removed his watch.

He had to mix our parents' names into that twisted goal of his.

"I will not let you stain their names! We will stop your plans, right here and now!" I yelled.

Adam shook his head and sighed as if he had heard the most absurd thing ever. He then smiled as he responded.

"Since you're being selfish, unreasonable, and just here to stop me from gracing the world with my gift, I might as well just kill all of you as I did to your selfish parents for hiding their work from the world and that puny little friend of yours."

"Great timing. I'm also itching to kill you to avenge them and make you eat all of the nonsense you just spewed out of your mouth," I angrily said.

Adam removed his inner shirt, revealing a full-body exoskeleton underneath. Two metal orbs popped out from his back and then floated beside him.

“I’d like to show you a little something,” he said as he turned around, exposing his open spinal exoskeleton.

Adam revealed the three Arq Shards embedded in his spine and a few empty compartments. It irked me when I remembered our working conditions in the mines, and he simply used the shards for something like that. If he had planned better, he could’ve restored the world with the Arq Technology.

“This is how I counter the side effects. It’s a bit excessive to use these against you three, but I think it’ll be very satisfying,” Adam said as he walked beside a bed.

“I guess I have to postpone the project for another time.”

In a flash, a hospital bed suddenly went flying toward me. As the bed approached, I remembered Eli’s words just before we entered the building.

“Your creativity is the limit.”

I charged a lightning ball and faced my palms forward, creating a lightning shield that stopped the bed. With a sudden jerk of my hands, I threw it back to Adam, who then intercepted it and cut it in half.

Van and Georgia leaped from my side and attacked Adam, but he just blocked and knocked them away. I then jumped towards him while transferring the lightning to my gauntlets and punched his chest. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything.

“I’ll make you understand the potential of my project, Oliver,” Adam said as he stood still with the lightning in my gauntlets fading away.

He smirked, grabbed my arm, and threw me away to the wall on the right. While I was dizzy, Van headed straight for Adam’s heart with his dual spears. Right before Adam could catch his weapons, he shifted to the daggers.

Adam’s speed and reaction time were way better than our previous opponents. He caught the daggers in midair and attempted to stab Van’s heart, but thankfully, he wasn’t left behind in terms of quickness as Adam missed and hit the left shoulder instead.

“You were my prototype. You opened the possibilities of Arq Technology and its application in medicine and warfare. Too bad you turned to the other side,” Adam said as he kicked Van, sending him flying to me.

Meanwhile, Georgia flew to him and attempted to pierce Adam’s armor with Eva’s sword. Metal just clanked as her sword bounced off of his chest.

“Dear, that puny knife is not enough,” Adam said as he grabbed Georgia by the neck and noticed the sword.

“So you defeated them, huh? No wonder you’re losing an arm. I can give you a new one and heal all of your wounds if you swear your allegiance to me right now.”

“I…I’d rather die than serve a psychopath like you!” Georgia yelled.

“Alright then.”

Georgia struggled to breathe as Adam choked her. Van and I rushed to them, but before we could reach Adam, he threw Georgia at us, making us fall like bowling pins. He then went to us and showered a little mockery.

“I haven’t even used all my tricks, and you’re already in this sorry state? If you’re already this battered after facing those two, do you think you can even survive against me?”

He fired lasers at us from one of his floating orbs. I couldn’t react in time to make a lightning shield, but fortunately, Georgia blocked them with her wings.

“That’s weird. Why is the other one not working? Oh well, I’ll just get it fixed after I deal with you three,” Adam said as he removed the non-functioning orb and threw it to the ground.

He then grabbed Georgia’s wings and forcefully tore them apart, saying she wasn’t worthy to carry those wings and the name Aquila. He then turned her over and reached for her Limiter.

“I regret giving you these.”

Van and I grabbed his arms, but it was no good as he simply swung his arm from side to side and tossed us away. He then proceeded to remove Georgia’s Limiter.

Her scream resounded in the entire hall as he ripped out the Arq Shard in her chest.

Adam dropped her to the ground, bloody and crying in pain. He inserted the shard into an empty spot in his spinal exoskeleton. Staring intently, he pointed at Van and said that he was next.

He lunged at Van and threw a punch. I got pushed out of the way as Van blocked the attack, sliding backward. Seeing the chance, I hurried to Georgia and applied a Cell Repair device to her chest.

“Defeat Adam at all costs…” Georgia muttered as she coughed up blood.

“Please hang on, Miss Georgia!” I said while I searched my bag for something to lessen the blood flow from her chest.

Meanwhile, Van attempted to pierce Adam’s armor with his spear, but Adam just stood still and fired lasers, forcing Van to flip backward.

I turned to them, charging a lightning ball, and sprinted as I transferred the lightning to my gauntlets. I rolled to the right as Adam looked at me and fired a laser. He then kept on firing, preventing me from getting near.

Van grabbed the opportunity and lunged toward Adam, getting his attention. He turned and tried to grab Van in midair, but he used the extended arm to maneuver himself and dragged the metal orb with him, destroying it with his daggers.

I reformed a lightning ball, and as Adam turned to swing at me, I made my fingers slip through the condensed electricity, creating two lightning blades, similar to my wrist blade. I crossed my arms and slashed his chest armor, successfully chipping away chunks of metal. More fragments from the armor on his arm scattered as I spun in the air, forcing him to block with it.

Van swiftly dashed with his daggers to my right and aimed for the grazed area on Adam’s chest. Unfortunately, he quickly reacted and flung the weapons upward. I immediately grabbed them, transferred the electricity, and attempted to stab him. I missed the heart, but surprisingly, the lightning daggers pierced through the armor on his arm, which he used to block.

Blood dripped out of Adam’s arm as he glared at me. He knocked the two of us away and pulled the daggers out.

“You actually managed to make me bleed,” Adam said as he inspected his arm.

For a few seconds, Van stood still and didn’t say a word. He stared at Georgia behind us and then at me as he took a deep breath.

“Take Georgia away. I’ll handle him,” Van said.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to remove your Limiter like them?!” I asked. Van smiled at me and tousled my hair as he continued.

“That’s the thing, Oliver. Unlike Georgia and the rest, I don’t have a Limiter. I’ve been consciously limiting my power output to slow down the side effects. However, this is a different case. If I keep on holding back, I’ll just put the world in danger,” Van explained and turned to Adam as he continued.

“I saved up my strength for when I will face Adam, and this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I don’t care what happens to my body after this, but all I know is I need to unleash every remaining bit of my power to beat him.”

Lightning sparks slowly appeared on his body, signifying the removal of his mental Limiter. I tried stopping him, but he had already prepared his mind and body for what would happen to him.

“I’m happy that I get to fight alongside you to try and change the world,” Van said as he smiled at me and got into a stance, preparing to run.

Adam grinned as he saw Van, ready to strike him while he adjusted the armor on his arms.

“Oh, you’re finally going to get serious, huh? Show me what you’ve got, Nyx.”

“My name is not Nyx. It’s Van Leigh.”

Van suddenly disappeared, leaving behind sparks. He appeared in front of Adam and punched his face, catching him off guard and disoriented. Adam tried to grab him, but Van disappeared again. He popped behind him and kicked his neck, making Adam grimace in pain.

“So that’s how you want to fight, huh?” Adam said as sparks appeared on his body and also disappeared.

The two of them vanished in thin air, leaving traces of lightning, and the impacts they made against each other destroyed the walls and floor. While they fought and moved faster than the naked eye could perceive, I carried Georgia near the entrance to keep her safe.

While I assisted her, I couldn’t help but contemplate what I could do to help Van.

“I literally can’t keep up with their speed… I can affect Adam’s body with my lightning, but it’s useless if I can’t even touch him,” I murmured.

I thought of embedding a shard in my body like them.

I slammed my gauntlet on the ground out of frustration. There was nothing I could do to be of use to Van. As I succumbed to my anger, Georgia reached out and placed her hand on top of mine.

“Have faith in your brother.”

Was I supposed to leave things to him? Would his body endure? He was almost breaking apart, yet he continued to fight while I just sat and watched, and I was supposed to have faith in him?!

Light reflected in my eyes as I clenched my fist. It was Eva’s sword, quietly resting in the middle of the hall as Van and Adam exchanged hits after hits.

“Have faith…”


I wasn’t sure what to do, but I thought of what Leo would do if he were in my position.

I formed a lightning ball on my palms, carefully shaping it into a lightning sword, and turned to Georgia, who nodded at me. As I headed to the middle, I just hoped Van could understand what I planned to do.


Putting all my trust in him, I ran and blindly pierced the air with my lightning sword. In a heartbeat, Van and Adam appeared in front of me.

The lightning sword went through Van’s hand, buried in the hole in the armor on Adam’s chest, and reached his heart, causing him to yell in pain.

The sword vanished as I let it go after realizing I had just stabbed Van. I then dragged him away as he fell to the ground after kicking Adam while profusely apologizing.

“That… timing was amazing!” Van exclaimed as his hands trembled.

I couldn’t forgive myself for severely hurting my own brother.

“Don’t say sorry. We got him, so it was all worth it,” he said, trying to comfort me.

Adam bellowed behind us and went on all fours. Lightning sparks appeared from his spine as he slowly stood up, crossed his body, and condensed in the hole in his chest.

“How dare you do this to a god?!” Adam yelled.

I panicked as I continued to drag Van towards Georgia since he couldn’t walk anymore. Adam then regained his balance and let out a frightening roar.

Why wasn’t he dying?

Although not as fast as before, Adam leaped towards us, forcing me to drop Van. I tried blocking with my lightning shield, but he overpowered me and pushed me instead while the lightning destroyed the armor on his hands.

Adam flung me away and stared at Van on the ground. He tried to stand up but couldn’t as Adam approached him and crushed his legs.

Upon hearing my brother scream, my mind went blank as I immediately rushed to Adam with my lightning gauntlets. He swung his arm, forcing me to dodge, and reached my hand to his chest, affecting the condensed lightning.

Adam reacted and kicked my side, sending me flying. He then rushed and repeatedly hit me while I was stuck on the wall, making me cough up blood. My mind was hazy, and I couldn’t hear anything. After beating me up, he just left me as I fell to the floor.

While Adam walked toward Van, I did my best to move my arms and created another lightning ball. I kept charging it until it grew twice or thrice the size. Kneeling on the floor, I aimed my palms at him and released the massive condensed lightning. Upon hitting him, it made two explosions on his back, specifically in the shard compartments. He glared at me and returned to land more punches, breaking more bones in my body.

I couldn’t move anymore as I kept on coughing blood. Adam then held my gauntlets and lifted me like a lifeless doll.

“So these are the ones making me feel this kind of pain,” Adam said as he inspected the gauntlets.

“You know what? I’ll stop Project ArqL. Instead of slowly cleansing the world, I will head to every city outside of Paradise to kill everyone myself.”

Adam effortlessly crushed my gauntlets, along with my arms. He then dropped me to the ground, looked down, and spat on my face.

I have never felt so defeated before.

“You’ve wasted my time long enou–”

Adam got interrupted by another explosion from his back as he got hit by something big. I turned to the entrance and saw Janus aiming with Gustav while the rest of the Omen members rushed to help Van and Georgia.

Seeing that Adam was distracted, I gathered the last ounce of my strength to create lightning blades and impaled his chest. He then flinched and grabbed my neck while trying to pull me away. Megan’s disc suddenly hit his head, wounding him, while Reese slammed his sword on his back. With my hands still inside his chest, I charged a lightning ball, causing another explosion on his back as he screamed in pain.

Smoke came out of Adam’s body as he fell while Megan and Reese grabbed me away from him. Reese then took his greatsword and Eva’s sword and planted them into his chest. There was no way he was still alive after that.

The battle had died, and I asked them how Georgia and Van were. Megan pointed at them as they got treated by Omen and Paradise medics. A few Paradise officials were also on the scene, talking with Janus.

I tried to stand up as I got confused and worried about why people from Paradise were helping us. Reese stopped me and nodded, which made me more baffled.

“Janus found a room with prison-like cells and discovered that the captives were Paradise officials who opposed Adam and Project ArqL. In other words, they are on our side,” Megan explained.

I couldn’t imagine and mesh the words Paradise and helping in my head, as it felt like a fever dream.

“However, we still can’t celebrate since we might have a bigger problem outside. The people from the gates entered and started a riot in the city. They might be approaching this building as we speak,” she added.

Oh, right. We failed to convince the people. The only way was to…

…ask for help from Paradise.

While we were talking, an official-looking man approached us and said not to worry about the situation and that they would deal with it.