Chapter 10:

To Protect The Weak; Strength And Redemption


"Put your damn hands in the air Hiroshi! Do it now!!" The Hybrid soldier yells as he walks up to me. I can sense the wave of reality-warping energy getting closer and closer as the Hybrid reaches down to grab me by my hair.

"I'm going to give you one last chance! Put your hands up now!" He yells as the other soldiers' cock and aims their guns at my head. I can feel my heart rate start to rise as the wave of energy explodes over top of us.

"Everyone! Brace for impact!" I yell as the reality-warping energy crashes over my Echo barrier. I can feel an enormous amount of weight wash over my body as I let out a cry of pain. The impact causes the ground underneath us to shake violently as the majority of Hybrids soldiers are either blown away from the blast of energy or they fall into holes on the ground that are opened up.

I let out a loud pained yell as the pressure from the wave almost sends me flying into the air. But I dig my hands and nails into the ground to keep myself from getting blown away. I bite my lip so hard that blood starts to trickle down my mouth as the group of Hybrid soldiers all seem to pick themselves up off of the ground. I curse under my breath as a group of six of them all train their guns at me once more as I try to look for a way to escape. My ears start to ring as a loud screeching sound reverberates on the outside of my barrier. I don't even have time to focus as all of the soldiers start to inch their way over to me.

"Alright. That's it Hiroshi. Your time is up! Soldiers! Prepare to open fire! Shoot to kill!" One of the soldiers says as he raises his arm into the air. I look on with my eyes widened as his arms start to go down. But before he can finish his arm motion all of the Government soldiers collapse to the ground immediately.

I immediately start to look around and I see Janice with a group of older Deviants appear out of nowhere taking cloths from around the Government soldiers' mouths.

"You keep doing your thing Hybrid Killer!" Janice yells as a couple more Government soldiers come out of their truck. She nods her head to me as she extends her hands out to the group of Deviants around her. When she does that they all immediately disappear from view as the soldiers all start to fall one by one. As I go back to focusing on my barrier my head starts to pound tremendously as a wave of energy hits my barrier once again. I can hear the cracks in my shield as the Deviant kids behind me start to shriek and scream a little.

I look over to them peeking out of their tent and I nod my head to them with a smile on my face. I can see the fear on all of their faces as they see and hear all of the gunfire that's being shot out. One of the boys looks up at the crack in my barrier and then he looks back down at me.

"Hey, kid. Everything's going to be alright. I promise. You have nothing to worry about alright? You're going to be okay." I say as warmly and calmly as I possibly can. He nods his head to me as he goes back into the tent. The exact moment he does that I can feel a sharp pain shoot throughout my body as I look up into the sky.

As I look up I can see the effects of the reality-warping wave starting to take effect. The clouds in the sky seem to split open and a torrent of rain, thunder, and wind starts to pour out of the sky at an unnatural rate as sweat starts to run down my face. I turn back to see how the Deviants are doing but it isn't looking too good. The Governments soldiers have a couple of them on the ground with their arms tied behind their backs with guns to their heads.

"Hey! Hey! Stop it! Those guys have nothing to do with this! This is between you and me! You leave them out of this!" I yell as the rest of the Government soldiers end up catching the rest of Janice and the rest of the other Deviants.

"Don't worry about us, Hybrid Killer! You just keep protecting those kids! Don't let them die!" Janice yells as a soldier steps on the back of her head.

"No more chances Hybrid Killer. These people are going to be made an example of right here and right now!" The soldier says as he runs his thumb over his neck. My eyes widen as six gunshots go off simultaneously. The blood of Janice and the other Deviants all splash on my face and clothes I hear the Deviant kids all scream from behind me.

"You bastards! I'll kill you! I'm going to make you wish that you were never born!" I yell as black and red lightning explode off of my body. "They had children you assholes!"

"Oh don't you worry about those kids. They'll be joining the rest of them soon enough." The soldier says as he raises his hand into the air once again.

"No the hell you wouldn't. Those kids are defenseless! Their abilities haven't even manifested yet! You have no reason to kill them!" I yell at the soldiers.

"Oh yes, I do. They're Deviants just like you. And one thing that I've learned is to not let anyone of you monstrosities survive, if I do they'll turn out exactly like you." He says as he takes a knife out of his pocket as he walks over to the tent where the kids are hiding out.

"Hey! Hey! I'm the one you want right?! Just kill me instead! Let those kids go!" I yell at the top of my lungs. I'm hoping that he takes my suggestion and leaves the kids alone long enough so that Eden and Vex can get here to save the rest of them. But he shakes his head no as he turns around to me.

"Nah. I don't think so. See, the one thing I've realized that could hurt you more than killing you is having you watch helplessly as I slaughter the people that you dedicated your entire pathetic and worthless life to protect." He says as he reaches into the tent and grabs one of the kids by his hair. As he waves the knife over the kids' throat I start to sense another wave of energy heading over this way.

"I want you to look good and hard Hybrid Killer! Look at all the death that you've caused! All of this is because you were too weak to save these disgusting little brats. But hey, what did you expect? Good always trumps evil." He laughs just as the final wave of reality-warping energy hits my barrier.

I can feel my entire barrier break as the wave of energy comes crashing towards us. When that happens I quickly take my hands out of the ground and I rush over to grab all of the kids. I run as fast as I can over the twenty yards separating me between the nearest little girl. One of the Government soldiers notices me running over to them and they immediately open fire on me. I quickly jump into the air and I jump over the top of him as I swing my leg at his neck. I can feel his collarbone snap underneath the heel of my toe as I start to grab all of the kids one by one. When I look up into the sky I can see the wave of reality-warping energy only about ten yards away from me.

"Get close to me right now!" I yell as all of the kids get behind me. Black and red lightning explode from my hands as I punch the wave of energy just as it gets within range of me, and just like how Moses split the red sea using the negation energy in my fist I split the wave of reality-warping energy in half. The kids behind me start to scream as I feel a sharp pain shoot throughout my left arm. I grimace a bit as I'm pushed back a bit as I look behind me.

I let out a deep sigh as I see that the Government soldiers that got caught up in the wave of energy are either welded into the ground or they're nowhere to be found. I guess I must've protected some of their trucks as well. Only a couple of them is knocked over. But as far as I can see everything looks completely fine. One of the little girls pulls my pants leg to grab my attention and I kneel down to her. She's wiping tears from her eyes as she wraps her arms around my neck.

"What am I going to do now? My mommy is dead." She says as she starts to cry into my hoodie. As I look around all of the other kids are starting to look sad and cry as well. I can understand how they're feeling right now. Losing their parents and guardians right in front of their eyes is the last thing they were expecting to see today.

I think back to how I was feeling when I lost my parents. Those weeks where I was forced to look after and take care of myself. Where no one would help me, a young Deviant child. I know the only thing that I wanted while I was sitting under those bridges in my wet clothes in the cold rain wasn't food or water. I just wanted someone to show that they cared. I wanted someone to show and tell me that everything was going to be okay. As I look up at these kids I see myself in them. I know that above all else that they need someone like that for them, and I'll be that person.

I look up and I extend my arm out to the group of kids. One of the boys grabs me by my hand and I pull him into a hug as the rest of the kids follow suit. I let them all cry into my clothes as I hold all of them close to me. I pat them all on their heads as I kneel down to wipe the tears from all of their faces as I look at all of them in their eyes. I take a deep in and out as I get ready to try my best and reassure them that everything will be okay despite all of the events that just transpired in front of them.

"Now I know that all of you are sad right now, I do. But guys. I'm here to tell you right now that everything will be okay." I say like a couple of them sniffle and wipe their noses. "Does it hurt? Yes. Are you going to be sad and upset now that your parents are gone? Yes of course, and I know that you feel like that there isn't anything that you can do right now, but I'm here to tell you differently. Do you know what you can do?"

All of them shake their heads no as I chuckle a bit.

"What you can do right now is not give up. You can not let your sadness or your anger get the best of you. I know that your parents would not want you to be living with those negative feelings in your heart for the rest of your lives. They died so that you could live. They gave their lives for you guys so you have to live for them. You give their sacrifice meaning and you fight to protect the memories of them with all that you have. Do you understand?" I ask them as I look at all of them in their eyes.

I can see the looks on their faces aren't changing at all from their looks of sadness and despair. I don't expect what I'm saying to them to change their moods right away but I just hope that they can internalize what I'm saying right now for the future. They all shake their heads yes as I give them all one final hug.

"You guys are going to be okay. Don't worry." I say as I get up off of my knees. When I do that I can hear someone clapping from in front of me. I Instinctively move all of the kids behind me as the unmistakable voice of Leo fills the air.

I can feel my heart drop into my stomach as I think back to what he said the last time that we spoke.

"The next time we see each other again. It won't be as friends. It'll be as enemies. I'm going to try and kill you Hiroshi." Leo's voice resonates in my mind as one of the kids clutches my hand. I can feel him shaking as I squeeze his hand to assure him that everything will be alright.

As he pulls his sword out of its sheath a group of high-level Hybrids all appears from out of a truck that pulls up from behind him. They all have black and red armbands on their arms as they stand a couple of feet behind Leo. It's four of them and they're all looking at me with bloodlust in their eyes. If all of these guys come at me at once there's no way I'll be able to fight them all of with Leo and protect these kids at the same time.

"Hybrid Killer. We meet again." Leo says as he starts to walk towards me with his sword dragging across the ground next to him. Sparks start to fly into the sky as he scrapes it off of the ground and raises it up to me. I have to give off an air of confidence. Not only for my sake but for these boys and girls as well. The little girl wraps her arm around my bad arm and when I wince a bit I see that no one but Leo picked up on that.

"Yeah. Unfortunately for you, you caught me in a bit of a bad mood today." I say as I roll both of my sleeves up to my arms. "I'm going to give you and your guys one chance to leave with their lives now."

Leo starts to laugh as I immediately release my Echo. When I do that all of the Hybrid soldiers and Leo are blown back a bit as I stick my hand out to them. I can see that Leo is a bit surprised at that as he fixes his hair. The Hybrid soldiers all start to look at me with a bit more fear in their eyes as black and red lightning crackles off of my body.

"Deviant Killer. This is your last chance to leave now. I won't let you bring harm to me and more importantly these kids. They've been through enough as is." I say as confidently as I can.

"Don't you worry. I'm not here for those kids at all. You know that I'm only here for you." He says as he runs his hand over his sword. "But I can't speak too much for these guys. They might have other plans."

Right after he says that all of the Hybrid soldiers immediately rush at me at once. I push the kids behind me as far as I possibly can as two of the soldiers jump over the top of me to get to the kids, as the other two runs at me with their fists aimed at my face I stomp my foot on the ground and I release my Echo causing the two Hybrid soldiers to get blown back away from me. I can hear a couple of the kids start to scream behind me as I turn around to face them I materialize two whips of black lightning out of my hands and I sling the whips around both of the Hybrids necks right before they strike the kids. I pull on the whips so that it tightens around their neck and I pull them to the ground. As I start to pull them away from the kids I feel a large pair of hands wrap themselves around my neck. I start to kick my legs as I feel my body starting to get lifted off the ground.

Before I even have time to break out of his grip he slams my body into the ground causing me to lose my grip on the lightning whips that I created. I start to pick myself up off of the ground but I can feel the other Hybrid soldier start to drag me by my legs. I turn around and I kick him in the face a couple of times with my free leg. I can feel his nose crack under my heel as he lets go of my right leg. I roll on the ground as I try to get away from the two Hybrid soldiers that are trying to keep me away from the kids but right as I think I've gotten away from them the biggest one appears in front of me as he walks out of a sea of fog.

I jump into the air and I swing my fist at his face but right when I make contact with his face his body turns back into fog. My fist goes right through his body as he reforms all around me. I look into between one of the copies of him and I see that the Deviant kids are trying to run away from both of the soldiers but they're about to get cornered. I start to focus my Echo energy into my hands and I create two spheres of black and red lightning. I throw both of them at the two Hybrid soldiers with their masks off of their faces and when the spheres of lightning make contact they both fall hard to the ground. After that, I immediately turn my attention to the Hybrid the fog Hybrid.

All of the copies of him start to spin around me forming a sort of tornado. The faster they spin the harder it is to breathe. I can feel my head starting to get lighter but I keep myself calm as I take one deep breath in and out. The second I do that he sends a couple of his clones after me. I guess he's trying to make me expend as much oxygen as he possibly can. So I dig both of my feet into the ground and I start to feel out for his Echo. even though there are multiple copies of him, I'll still be able to feel out for the real copy of his body.

"So what's this?! You're giving up already?!" The Hybrid yells right as he gets within range of me. I start to chuckle as black and red lightning cover my fists. I immediately duck under one of his punches as I ram my fist into his gut. Even though this isn't the real copy of him I'm still able to cause some damage to him. He coughs out blood as I ram my fist into his face. He's sent flying back away from me as he disintegrates back into fog.

I slide my left leg across the ground as two more of his copies jump at me. I bring both of my hands into my chest as my Echo aura sucks back into me. I push both of my hands out away from me and when I do that my Echo comes shooting out of my body as well, my aura blows not only the two copies away from me but all of his copies away from me as well. As they all disappear into fog I get a lock onto where the real one is. I materialize a whip of black lightning out of my hands and I quickly swing it into the sky. He lets out a loud scream as the whip latches onto his leg. I let out a loud yell as I slam him into the ground a couple of yards away from me. Dust flies into the air as I run towards him with my fist aimed right at his throat. But right before I can land the finishing blow I feel a sharp pain shoot through my shoulder. Blood shoots out everywhere as I collapse to my knees. When I look at my shoulder I see that a piece of sharp metal has dug its way into my shoulder. When I look up I see that the second Hybrid that was with him that has his mask covering his mouth has a couple more pieces of metal hovering around him.

I turn around to see if the kids behind me are safe and I breathe a deep sigh of relief to find that they're out of harm's way and have gone somewhere safe. I can feel out where they are with my Echo and I can say with confidence that as long as I keep these Hybrid soldiers and Leo focused on me that they won't have time to find them. As long as Vex or Eden gets here I can ensure that they're not only somewhere safe but that they remain safe as well.

"You seemed to be preoccupied with protecting those kids Hiroshi," Leo says right as those other two Hybrid soldiers start to pick themselves up off of the ground. "And it looks as if they were preventing you from fighting with your full strength amongst other things, and I distinctly remember telling you that the last time we saw one another that you would need to show me how much stronger you've gotten. So here's your chance. You know what this means. Don't you Hiroshi?"

I'm confused for a second but after a short while, I finally understand what he means. The promise that I made to him when we were in Sacramento. The promise that I would become strong enough to save not only him but his family from the Government as well. Even though he's looking at me at with bloodlust in his eyes right now I can sense the underlying meaning in his words as the four Hybrid soldiers all surround me. I close my eyes and I nod my head as black and red lightning explodes off of my body. I immediately get into my fighting stance right as all four of them rush at me at once. I immediately release my Echo so that none of these guys can use their abilities while we're in close quarters.

I can feel the adrenaline start to course through my body as I start to exchange punches with all four of these guys at once. I don't even get touched as I dance around and counter all of their attacks. Since I can feel their Echo resonate off of my body I can react to and defend and attack whenever I need to. I just need to wait for the right opening to finish these guys off all at once. I go to block one of their punches but when I do I use my right arm. The very same arm that I injured when I blocked the wave of reality-warping energy. I let out a loud cry of pain as I feel it snap. A huge pair of hands grab me by my collar and slams me back into the ground. I can feel all of the wind leave my body as I start to cough out blood, but I don't give these guys any time to take advantage of this as I grab two guys by their legs. I crush both of their legs under my hands' grip as they cry put in pain. Both of those Hybrids immediately collapses to the ground as I'm picked up by my throat by the biggest of them. I immediately wrap my legs around his arm and I twist them along with his arm. I can hear a loud snapping sound come from his arm as he immediately drops me to the ground. I land on both of my hands and I sweep my legs around me so that I kick the last Hybrid soldier in his ribs. He coughs out blood as I break a couple of his ribs with the heel of my foot.

I jump into the air with both of my hands covered in lightning as the Hybrid with broken ribs continues to rush at me. He starts to wildly swing his fists at me as I duck and dodge his attacks he starts to noticeably wince in pain. I take advantage of this and when he misses one of his punches again I dig my feet into the ground and I ram my fist deep into his gut. I can feel the rest of his ribs crack under my fist as his eyes roll into the back of his head. I immediately spin my body and I uppercut him so hard that he goes flying into the air. I jump into the air above him and I aim my foot at his throat. When he lands on the ground I ram the heel of my foot into his throat completely crushing his windpipe.

When I turn around I see that the two Hybrids with the broken legs are trying to stand up. I grab the knife out of the dead Hybrids waist and before they can even completely stand up I slash both of their necks. Blood flies everywhere as they immediately collapse back to the ground. The Hybrid with the broken arm lets out a loud angry yell as he blindly rushes at me. I toss the knife into the air as he swings at me with his non-broken arm. I catch his fist with my hand and I immediately crush it under my own hand. The Hybrid falls to his knees as he starts to beg for his life.

"Please, please! I'm begging you. Please don't kill me!" He yells as tears start to roll down his eyes. But before I can even give an answer the knife that I threw into the air plunges deep into his skull.

I can hear Leo start to clap behind me as I wipe the blood off of my face.

"Wow. You showed no mercy with that one." He says as he starts to walk towards me. "To be honest I wasn't expecting them to kill you. If they did then I would've been incredibly disappointed."

"So why did you send them towards me anyway?" I ask as I start to walk towards Leo.

"You have gotten stronger no doubt. But it's still my job to try and bring your head into the Government. You're strong. But you haven't shown me that you're strong enough to save me yet. So as much as it pains to me do this, as of right now the only way that my family is going to be saved is if I kill you." He says as he raises his sword above his head.

I'm still confused as to what he means when he says show him that I've gotten stronger, but I don't have any time to think about that. Before I can even catch my breath Leo immediately speed blitzes me with his sword aimed at my throat. I don't have any time to dodge so I just catch the blade with my open hand. Leo immediately starts to smile as he slices the blade of the sword across my hand. I let out a loud cry of pain as he kicks me in my jaw. I go stumbling back away from him as he blitzes me once again.

I ball both of my fists up as he swings his sword ferociously at me once again. It takes all of my concentration to evade his slashes as I wait for the right opening to strike him.

"If you sit back and wait for an opening to reveal itself to you then you're never going to get anywhere!" Leo yells as he throws his sword into the air. I immediately look up to track where the swords going to land and I chase after it. "You're looking at the wrong thing Hiroshi!"

I can hear Leo yell behind me but I ignore him as the handle of the sword drops into my hand. I immediately hold the sword in my hands as I rush towards Leo with the blade aimed at his throat. When I go to slash at his face he starts to dance around me as he takes two long knives out of his pocket. I don't even have time to blink as Leo slashes both of my sides with his knife blades. Blood starts to trickle down my sides and hands and I fall to one of my knees for a second before I quickly pick myself up off of the ground. When I turn around I see Leo wiping my blood off of his knife blades as he turns and faces me.

"True strength. That isn't something that can be easily required." Leo says as he rushes at me again. I dig my blade out of the ground and I start to block his onslaught of attacks as best as I can. Blood trickles down my arms and hands as he nicks me every so often with his knives. "It is not something that you gain just by increasing your physical strength and power!" He yells as he rams his elbow into my throat.

I stumble back away from him with my hand on my throat as he comes rushing at me once again.

"One finds out how strong they truly are in the face of inevitable adversity!" He yells as he rams his knee into my stomach. He knocks all of the wind out of my body as I go flying into the air. I land hard on the ground on my back as Leo walks over to me. He puts his foot on my chest as he takes his sword out of my hands. He places the sword at the base of my neck as I struggle to catch my breath. "But from the looks of everything now. It's starting to look as if placing my faith in you was a mistake. I'm sorry that it has to end this way Hiroshi. But it's either your life or my family."

"It doesn't have to be this way, Leo. We don't have to try and kill one another." I say as I gasp in between breaths. I start to cough out blood as Leo looks down on me. "We can work together, we can bring down the Government and we can save your family!"

"No Hiroshi. The time for us to work together is long gone. We're not in grade school anymore." Leo says as he raises his sword over his head. "This is just the way things are now. Once again. I'm sorry Hiroshi."

My body won't respond to what I want it to do. I must've lost an enormous amount of blood because doing simple things like moving my legs drains my stamina. My body is completely devoid of energy, and I have no more strength to fight. The fight with those four Hybrids on top of negating the wave of reality-warping energy and the overuse of my Echo has left me completely drained. As I watch the blade descend to my neck my body instantly starts to heat up as Leo is blasted off of the top of me by a blast of flames. I breathe out a sigh of relief and I chuckle a bit as Eden walks up from behind me with her flames radiating off of her body.

"You talk about strength but here you are laying on your stomach like a bitch." Eden spits at Leo as she helps me up off of my back. "You're not hurt are you?"

I shrug my shoulders as I try my best to find my balance.

"Eh. I've definitely had better days. Where's Vex?" I ask Eden as I look around for him.

"He went off to find Zach. I came over here because I knew that you would need my help. I'll hold The Deviant Killer off here. You go after Vex and Zach. You get the kid back to the boat unharmed. By the time you get back, I'll have this guy burned to a crisp." Eden says as her entire body explodes in flames. I cover my face to shield myself from the heat as Leo picks himself up off of the ground. He wipes his nose and he pats down his clothes as he starts to laugh at Eden.

I can see the look of bloodlust in his eyes as he glares at her. I can feel myself starting to get sick to my stomach as Leo slightly tilts his head to the side. He starts to drag his blade on the ground and sparks start to fly everywhere as Eden releases more heat from her body. I feel like I should stay and help Eden because the way that Leo is looking at her isn't the way one human should look at another. There isn't any sign of humanity in those eyes and just looking at him sends shivers down my spine. This is what the Government has turned him into and it's partially my fault. I start to walk towards Eden but she quickly puts her arm up to stop me.

"No Hiroshi. He is mines. You go help Vex to get Zach. Now!" She yells as her hair explodes into flames.

This is her pride talking right now. She wants to try and redeem herself from the last mission that she went on. I know how much it ate at her that she needed my help the last time. So against my better judgment, I nod my head, yes and I take off in the direction of Vexs' Echo. Leaving behind the loud explosions and grunts of Eden and Leos fight, and I hate to admit it. But I'm actually scared for Eden's life.