Chapter 12:

Hiroshi Vs Mariah; Bloodlust And Anger Unleashed

Deviant


I'm almost speechless just from looking at her. This woman has the gall to stand in front of me and smile knowing damn well what she's done not only to me but all of those innocent kids in the Underground. As she walks over to me I immediately pick myself up off the ground and I get into a fighting stance ready for her to make a move. Bookmark here

"Ooh, you're so tense Hiroshi. I wonder why that is." Mariah asks as she flips her hair over her shoulder. Her blue and yellow eyes shine in the moonlight as I see her look me up and down. "The last time I remember seeing you, you were blowing our home into the sky. You remember that?" Bookmark here

I try to respond to her but whenever I try to talk my throat feels like it's being scraped with a hot knife. Tears of pain start to run down my face as Mariah takes a deep breath in and out. Right after she does that I can feel my eyes starting to burn as I cover my eyes with my hands. I can hear her start to laugh as she knees me in my stomach. I fall over to the ground as I try my best to get any sound to come out of my mouth, but it's no use. Blood starts to trickle down my lips as I pick myself up off the ground again. Bookmark here

"Look at how pathetic you look. Your body's all broken down and if you remember what my abilities are, you know that you don't have much time to live right?" She asks as she crosses both of her arms. Bookmark here

Her ability is one of the most potent and dangerous ones that I've ever encountered. It's one that was so inhumane that I even tried to convince her not to use it against any living thing. I channel my Echo through my hand and I stuff my hand down my throat to try and counteract the effects of her ability. Once I do that I immediately throw up but I can feel my throat and my eyes all start to feel normal again. I clear my throat and I rub my eyes as I wipe my mouth. Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah, I remember. Radiation manipulation on top of disease inducement right? A deadly combination for anyone." I say as I walk right up to her. "Even someone whose a Government Captain," I say to her as I push her into the wall. A dresser falls on top of her I pick her up by her collar and I hit her in her face as I can feel my anger starting to rise up in me. Bookmark here

"How the hell could you do something like this?! Join the damn Government?! And not only join them you become a damn Captain too?!" I yell to her as I hit her in the face. Blood starts to trickle down her nose as she starts to laugh. "How many Deviants have you killed since you joined them?! How much blood do you have on your hands?!" Bookmark here

"You honestly have the nerve to sit here and preach to me about murdering people Hiroshi?! You?! Of all people?!" Mariah yells as she kicks me off of her. I land hard on the ground as she stands over top of me. "I did what I had to do in order to survive! And yes it did involve me joining the Government! After you left not only Asya and me but every last one of us to die in that explosion the responsibility of taking care of everyone that you left fell on my shoulders! I was given a choice, either join the Government as a Captain and have the lives of those who survived that explosion spared, or not only me but everyone else that survived would be killed right then and there." Bookmark here

That sounds exactly like the same choices the Government gave Leo when he was approached by them. Their choices in choosing who they want to join them are starting to seem more and more calculated than just choosing whoever they think has the strongest abilities. Bookmark here

"Was it a hard decision to make? Yes, of course, it was. It wasn't the choice that I wanted to make either, but you. You put us in that situation! Do you know how selfish it was of you to decide just to up and leave The Underground? Everyone down their loved you so much! We all looked up to to you! The Hybrid Killer! You gave us all hope! Hope that if we fought hard enough that we could change the world!" She yells as she hits me across my face. "You once told me when we first met that the only way to survive in this world as a Deviant is to become strong and to do whatever was necessary to survive. Only the strong survive in this world, and that was always something that's stuck with me. I internalized that and It drove me, even though I felt as though I could never reach the person that you were I tried to be strong in my own way but it was never acknowledged by anyone. So when my chance came to step up and prove my strength, to fill in the role that you left behind I did just that. Even though my decision wasn't one that a lot of people wouldn't agree with, it was one made with the lives of everyone under me in my heart. We needed the money, and someplace to live and The Government gave everyone who lived in The Underground just that. You can call me a traitor all you want, but I did what was necessary to survive after you chose to abandon us Hiroshi, and you left us for dead long after I turned you into the Government, and you know that's true. What this is a result of is my strength and my will to do whatever it is that's necessary to make sure that my family is safe." Bookmark here

My eye twitches slightly after hearing her say that last part. I grab her by her wrist and I tear her away from me as I feel my Echo start to radiate off of my body. My fists start to shake as I look up at her with anger in my eyes. Bookmark here

"Strength and doing whatever is necessary to survive. That's your justification? When I said that to you all those years ago it was in the hope that you would take those words and channel them into something grander than yourself. Not this bullshit!" I yell as my Echo explodes off of my body. "I refuse to sit here and let you speak down on me for making a decision that would save the lives of Deviants, maybe not the ones that were right there in front of me, but those who would come after us. Was it selfish? Yes, but it was necessary for the future of our race. If I died there than I can assure you that you wouldn't be alive either! The only reason they're keeping you alive is because they know that you're close to me, once I'm dead you're going to be next!" Bookmark here

"You're lying! I've done so much to help The Government! If I died they would be lost without me! I'm not replaceable! I'm a Captain of the Government! The President told me so himself!" She yells as her Echo explodes off of her body as well. Bookmark here

"I don't care what kind of explanation you try to come up with to try and justify your choice, you're supporting an organization that not only kills people like us but they also threaten people's families! I could care less what reason you have for hating me, from now on everything that comes out of your mouth and every action that you take I will try to destroy with every fiber of my being Mariah! I will destroy The Government, even if it means having to kill you in the process." I say as I walk towards her with my Echo screaming off of my body. Black and red lightning shoot across the room as it mixes with her green poisonous mist. Bookmark here

As both of us stand there staring each other down I quickly glance over to where Zach is hiding. I don't know if Mariah has been able to sense his Echo yet. When I pat him on the head before I closed the door I had sent some of my Echo throughout his body, completely numbing his Echo and shutting down his abilities for a little while. When our eyes meet once again Mariah starts to pour out more of her Echo. I can feel my skin starting to tingle a bit as some of Mariah's poisonous gas breaks its way through my Echo. I clench both of my fists as I put more energy into my negation shield. It seems like for right now our drive to kill one another is about equal. How long that will last I don't know, but as long as I can keep Zach safe that's all that matters. I just have to keep Mariah's attention on me as much as I possibly can. Hopefully, if Eden is still conscious she can come to help me with Mariah, but as of right now, I'm all on my own. Bookmark here

"Then I guess we're on the same page." She growls as she rushes at me. She covers both of her fists in poisonous gas as she starts to swing wildly at me. As I duck and dodge her punches all I can think about is not letting her touch me. If she gets her hands on me then this fight will be over quickly. Bookmark here

"What's wrong?! After all that talk are you too scared to fight me now?!" Mariah yells as I continue to dodge her punches. I don't respond to her question as her fists continue to whiz past my face and body. I can see that she's starting to get considerably more upset as she starts to growl at me. "If that's the case then fine! If you won't take me seriously than I'll show you!" Bookmark here

Right after she says that she disappears from in front of me, but before I can even start to look around for her or even try to sense out her Echo she appears right next to me. What the hell?! Is this a part of her Echo? No, it can't be. I would've sensed something like that. This is nothing but her raw speed! Bookmark here

"I'll show you to not underestimate the power of a Government Captain!!" She yells as she grabs me by my face with her hand. I can feel the radiation from her hand starting to burn my body and work it's way through my nose as she picks me up and slams me into the ground. Bookmark here

My body crashes through the floor as I'm sent plummeting into the room below me. Every bone in my body starts to cry out and ache in pain as I see Mariah jump down to the level that I'm on. I roll out of her way to try and get some space between us but before I can get away I can fee her grab my legs and start to pull me towards her. I quickly turn my body around and I fire two orbs of black and red lightning at her face. The orbs hit her at point-blank range and she lets go of my legs. Once I'm free I kick her in her gut and I backflip away from her as I materialize a whip made out of black lightning in my hand. Bookmark here

I toss the whip at Mariah as it wraps itself around her neck and once I get my footing about me I pull her towards me with all of my might. I cover my fist with my Echo and red lightning explodes off of my hand as I ram my fist into her face. I can feel her nose break under my fist as blood goes flying everywhere. She tries to tear the whip from around her neck but when her hand grabs it sends a shock throughout her body causing her to cry out in pain. She tries to back away from me and tear the whip apart but I start to pull her towards me and I start to swing her body around the room. She crashes into the bed and closets and dressers as she cries out and curses at me at the top of her lungs. I sling her through a wall with all of my might as I lose my grip on the whip. Mariah goes crashing through at least three bedrooms as I feel my body starting to get weak. I start to feel nauseous and my stomach starts to hurt as I collapse to one knee. I look down at my hands and I can see blisters starting to break out on them as my eyes and throat both start to burn again. Bookmark here

"It looks like you're starting to feel the effects of the Echo. It took a bit longer than I thought it would but as far as I'm concerned this fight is already over!!" Mariah yells as she starts to run towards me. "Let's see just how long you can last before your body decays from the inside out!" Bookmark here

"If a stomach ache is the extent of your abilities then I'm incredibly disappointed!!" I yell as I start to rush towards her as well. Her movements are definitely slower. She must've hurt one of her legs in that crash, I can definitely take advantage of this. I cover both of my hands in black and red lightning and I sprint towards her at my top speed. I plant my foot onto the ground and I feint a right hook that she falls for. "I got you now!!" Bookmark here

I quickly hit her in her jaw with a left hook causing her to topple over. I can feel the blood from her mouth trickle down my fist as I chase after her. Even if her Echo is more powerful than mines, as long as I keep hitting her she won't get the opportunity to use any of her abilities on me. I keep this mentality in my mind as I pound at her chest and face. With each strike that I land I try my best to break each and every one of her bones as my fists slam into her body, she lets out loud grunts of pain. I can feel the hollowness between her bones reverberate throughout my fists as I ram my left hand in between her lungs. But before I can pull away from her Mariah grabs ahold of my left arm. She spits a huge amount of blood out of her mouth as she grins at me. Bookmark here

"You're going to regret not finishing me off right then and there Hiroshi!" She yells as a huge haze of purple gas comes flying out of her mouth. I can feel my throat starting to close up on me as Mariah grabs a broken piece of wood and strikes me across my face with it. Blood starts to pour down my face and onto the ground as she rams her fist into my gut. Blood comes flying out of my mouth as she grabs me by my face and rams her knee into it. Bookmark here

I collapse to the ground holding onto my nose as Mariah kicks me in my face once again. I can't even cry out in pain since my throat has completely closed up. I start to gasp for air as I try to counteract the effects of whatever she just did to me, but she doesn't even give me the opportunity to channel my Echo into my hands. I can feel her grab me by my shirt and after she does that she throws me into the ceiling and when I come crashing down she knees me right in between my lungs. I can feel a couple of my ribs shatter as I fall onto the ground. Bookmark here

"What is it that you told me all those years ago when we first met?" She asks as she picks me up by my hair. "The only way to survive in this world is to take out those who threaten your way of life, and would you look at that? You're doing that to me right now!" She yells as she puts her hand over my face. When she does that I can feel my eyes starting to burn even more as my skin feels as if it's been lit on fire. Bookmark here

My ears start to ring and my entire body starts to tingle as I feel myself starting to lose consciousness. Tears start to swell up in my eyes as I scratch and claw at Mariah's face. I can feel my strength starting to leave my body as my vision starts to get blurry. Everything around me starts to get darker as I spot a piece of broken glass hanging on the wall. If I can aim this blast with just the right amount of power I can have the lightning bounce off of it and hit me directly in my throat negating the effects of her radiation. I start to raise my hand in her face but before I even start channeling my Echo Mariah grabs my wrist and starts to crush it under her hand. Bookmark here

"I'll give you your respect Hiroshi. If it wasn't for you I probably would've never been able to reach this level of strength to carry on my back the hopes of all of those Deviants who lived in The Underground." She growls as she tightens her grips around my throat. "You're a traitor and a deserter Hiroshi, and as long as I live I swear I will never forgive you, your death isn't just for me, It's for all of those that you left behind to die!"Bookmark here

This is it! This is my chance! Her grip on my hand loosened just enough for me to fire out a shot of lightning past her head. Before she even has time to blink the bolt of lightning bounces off of the piece of glass and right back at my throat as I'm freed from Mariah's grip around my neck and wrist. I can feel my throat starting to open back up as I take in a deep breath in and out as I rub my neck. My vision and hearing start to return back to me as Mariah looks down angrily at me. From the look on her face, she probably thought that she had this fight already won, I start to shake my head as I pick myself up off of the ground. Bookmark here

"I'm tired of hearing you spout off about the fact that you're doing this for those Deviants in The Underground," I growl at her as I start to feel my hair raise up. "I don't want to hear anything that you have to say anymore concerning those damn kids, you leave them the hell out of this! This is our fight! No one else's! I won't allow you to bring them into our mess when they don't want any part of it! If you want to kill me then fine! But do it of your volition! Not on the backs of those you swear that you're fighting for!" Bookmark here

The effects of Mariah's radiation is really starting to wear me down. My entire body is aching and screaming in pain as I cough more blood out of my mouth. My skin is starting to turn a sickly green color as my nausea starts to get worse and my body temperature starts to rise up. I feel like I could topple over at any moment but, that kid. Zach, he needs me. He needs my help. I'm the only thing standing in between his life and death. Bookmark here

"I couldn't protect Asya and I'll forever hate myself for that, but I know that what I can do right here and now is protect not only him but the future of this world as well. He doesn't deserve to suffer and die for the mistakes of those who came before him and I'll make sure of that." I say to Mariah as I start to channel my Echo throughout my entire body. Black and red lightning crackle off of my body as I glare at Mariah. I can feel some of my strength returning to my body as for the first time she looks at me with fear in her eyes. From what I can sense I've completed negated her abilities, for the time being, my Echo, my will to protect Zach has overpowered her. I can see her body starts to noticeably tremble as I slowly walk towards her. "You're a monster who would kill your own kind for your own well being! You can consider your life forfeit!"Bookmark here

As I rush towards Mariah I immediately notice that her movements have slowed down considerably. Through my eyes, It's almost as if I can telegraph the next move that she's going to make. Which is exactly what I do. She cocks her left fist back and she swings it at my face, I easily duck under her punch, and when I do I ram my fist right underneath her chin. A couple of her teeth fall out as her body is sent flying into the air. I can feel her blood splatter onto my face as I grab her by her leg and I slam her body into the ground. She lets out a loud yell as her body bounces up off of the ground. I grab her by her throat and I pick her up and I slam her face into the wall. I start to run her face across the wall as she leaves a stream of blood dripping down the stone and onto the ground. I feel a sharp pain shoot through my chest as I toss her limp body across the room as I let out a loud yell that reverberates throughout my entire body. Bookmark here

My body starts to convulse as blood and some green liquid comes shooting out of my mouth and onto the floor. My entire body starts shivering as I wipe my mouth. Mariah looks up at me as a cold smile starts to spread across her face. Even with her face being beaten and bruised she still is looking at me as if she's already won this fight, and it makes me angry beyond belief. I look down on the ground and I pick up a steel pipe that burst from the wall back when Mariah slammed me into the ground and I rush towards her once again. She doesn't even have time to react as I whack the steel pipe across her temple. I can see Mariah's body go limp for a second as she stumbles back away from me. But I don't give her any time to recover or react as I run towards her again. This time I start to channel my Echo throughout the steel pipe as I ram it right in between her lungs. Blood comes flying of her mouth as she grabs ahold of the steel pipe. Bookmark here

"Don't think that you've won just because you got some kind of power-up!" She yells as she breaks the pipe under her hands. "This fight is far from being over and you know it!!" Bookmark here

The radiation coming off of her body disintegrates the pipe as I look at her in surprise. Her Echo is starting to rise even higher than it was originally! You're telling me that she had more power stored up?! I try to get away from her but before I can run she rams her fist deep into my gut as my clothes start to melt off of my body. My stomach starts to burn as the smell of burned flesh enters my nose.Bookmark here

"Don't you dare forget your place Hiroshi!" Mariah yells as her body starts to secrete some sort of green ooze. "You're nothing before someone with the title of a Government Captain! It's about time I show you the power that I've gained in order to protect all of those kids that you left to die!!!" Bookmark here

I almost blackout from the pain that's shooting throughout my body. As I go flying into a wall behind me I can feel my entire body starting to go numb as Mariah keeps after me, with her hands opened up she claws me across my face. Blood immediately starts to fall down my face as she knees me in my ribs. All of the air leaves my body as she rams her fist into my face. I don't even have time to catch my breath as she starts to unleash a barrage of punches that slam and crush my body. With each punch that she lands it feels as if it's going to knock one of my limbs off. Each punch that lands shake my entire body. It feels as if I'm being hit with a sledgehammer. I can barely keep my eyes open as she dances around me like a blur. Even in my amped-up state I'm nowhere near her level at all. She has definitely gotten stronger, there's no question about that, and that's exactly what scares me. Bookmark here

"I don't know what kind of idiot you would have to be to willingly go against the might of the entire Government!" She yells as she picks up a piece of broken wood and smacks it across my face. My jaw feels like it's about to be completely shattered as she smacks me across the face with it over and over again. "To go against not only a Government Captain but against President Atlas himself is to court death! You made a fatal mistake trying to protect that damn brat upstairs!" Bookmark here

I catch the piece of wood to stop her assault but it doesn't help my situation at all. She breaks it in half and she stabs me in my shoulder with the broken half of it. I let out a cry of pain as she starts to dig and twist the piece of wood in my shoulder. Bookmark here

"Even if you somehow did somehow manage to save him and get out of here it doesn't bring back the lives of those that were lost because of you!" She yells as she stabs the wood completely through my shoulder. Bookmark here

I let out a growl as I head butt her. Blood comes trickling down her nose as I tear the broken piece of wood out of my right shoulder. She missed hitting anything major so I can still move my right arm. I clench my right fist and I channel my Echo throughout my hand as black and red lightning shoot out of my fist. Bookmark here

"You don't think I know that already?!?!" I yell as I ram my fist into her face. She lets out a low gurgling sound as she goes rolling onto the ground. "You don't think that I've already suffered and mourned enough thinking about that?!" I yell as Mariah rushes at me once again. She swings her leg at my neck but I catch it before she can make contact with me. I crush her ankle under my hand as I glare at her with blood falling down my left eye. Bookmark here

"You've got to stop living in the past! What's happened has already happened! You can't change that!!" I yell as I grab her by her throat with my right hand. I wince a bit as I throw her entire body over my shoulder into the ground with all of my might. My entire body screams out in pain as the floor shatters under both of us. Bookmark here

As both of our bodies slam into the ground I see Vexs' body still passed out only a couple yards away from me. I have to try and wake him up. I need his help to beat her! I start to crawl over to him but I feel my leg starting to get pulled from behind me. When I turn around I see Mariah glaring at me with a sinister look on her face. Bookmark here

"You say that like I have a choice!" Mariah yells as she rams her knee into my left leg. I can immediately feel the bone crack as I let out a cry of pain so loud that my voice starts to go hoarse a bit. The only thing that's running through my mind is pain. That's all I can think about as Mariah picks my body up and slams it down into the concrete floor. The ground cracks under me as Mariah kneels down with her hand covered in poisonous gas. "What happened in the past is what gives me the strength that I need to finally overcome you. I can not let this go." Bookmark here

As she goes to put her hand over my face I reach my right hand out to her. She immediately starts to back away as I grab ahold of her Echo. When I do that I can start to feel Mariah's power start to flow throughout my entire body. I can feel my eyes widen as I pull my hand back towards myself. I can feel my body starting to regain some of its strength as I try to pick myself up off of the ground. A sharp pain shoots throughout my entire body as I try to put weight down on my left leg. I can see Mariah starting to walk back towards me so I bite my lip and I take the pain as I put both of my hands out towards her. When I do that I can feel my body starting to tingle and start to feel sick as gaseous fumes seep out of my left arm and black and red lightning explode out of my right arm. Bookmark here

"Ah yes, now we're getting serious!" Mariah yells as her body starts to ooze poisonous gas as well. "This is what I wanted to see! You using all of your power! When I finally kill you, when I finally have your blood on my hands only then will I be able to look all of those kids in their eyes and tell them that everything is alright without feeling like someone is stabbing in my heart!" Bookmark here

As both of us rush towards one another, all I can think about is saving Zach as both of us ram our fists into one another's face. As I stumble back Mariah licks the blood dripping down her face and laughs at me as she pounds at my broken and weak body over and over again. I try to protect myself and block her attacks but every time I go to do so my entire body cries out in pain and another one of her punches connects with my body once again. Bookmark here

"What's wrong?! Don't tell me that you're all tired out now!!" She yells as she continues to swing at me over and over again. I catch her fist and I try to snap it in half but it's no use, I can't even put any strength behind any of my attacks as she easily frees herself from my grip as she cocks her fist back and swings it at my face. Bookmark here

I close my eyes and I turn my body into a cloud of gas as I float around her. Mariah gives me a surprised look as she starts to swing anywhere she sees gas. This continues on for a couple more seconds before I feel my mind starting to slip away from me, and in that split second where I start to pull myself back together, Mariah reaches out to me and grabs me by my throat as she slams me into the ground. Bookmark here

"You started to lose control of your mind for a second didn't you?" She asks me as I struggle to free myself from her grip. "You may be able to copy abilities, but you should know that just because you can copy someone, that doesn't mean that you're just as powerful as them. I remember a long time ago you told me something about that copying ability of yours. You said that even though you can copy abilities that your body is still susceptible to any kind of damage that ability could leave behind. Unlike you, my body has grown accustomed to radiation. Your body on the other hand has not, which means that you've just filled your body with enough radiation to kill off an entire city!"Bookmark here

I think back to the burns my body sustained when I copied Edens powers, or how heavy my body felt when I copied Vexs', she's right. I just made a huge mistake and I realize this as my body starts to get weaker and my stamina starts to drain I can feel Mariahs Echo starting to leave my body as I puke onto the ground. I can feel my throat starting to dry up as Mariah starts to ram her fist into my face over and over again. I can feel the anger behind each and every one of her punches as my blood splatters across the floor. I put my hand up to try and block her punches but she easily swats it away as she grabs me by my face. I don't have any more strength in my body to fight back anymore. I want to. I want to fight, and I want to win, more than anything! But my Echo is all but worn out, and my body has reached its absolute limit. Mariah picks up on this and she starts to chuckle as she picks me up by my throat. Bookmark here

"You're so damn weak, It would be an insult to the Government and President Atlas to even use my Echo to kill you." She says as she tightens her grip around my throat. "I'm going to enjoy watching the life drain from your eyes Hiroshi." Bookmark here

Tears start to swell up in my eyes as I start to feel my throat closing up on me. All I can do is stand there and look at her in her eyes as she puts both of her hands around my neck. I stretch my hand out to Vex just hoping that he'll wake up and save me but he's still out cold, and it looks like Eden is nowhere to be found either. From the looks of it, Leo must've killed her. That's it. I'm all out of options. I've let everyone down. Jo, Vex, Eden, Zach, and most of all every Deviant in the world. The ones who sit and hope and pray everyday that maybe one day things will be better, that things will change. Their prayers will go unanswered with my death here. As my arm falls down to my side I start to feel my life drain from my body and my vision starts to go black as I gasp for air one last time. Bookmark here

As the darkness starts to completely encompass my vision at the very last second before my eyes shut for good I hear a loud crashing sound from above me and before I can even process what's happened I'm completely swallowed up by an all white light. Mariah starts to scream as she drops me onto the floor. I take a huge breath in as I start to fill my lungs with air. I look over to Mariah and I see her rolling on the ground covering her eyes as the bright light starts to dim down a bit. Once the light completely dies down I finally get a good look at who is the source of it. It's Zach, and he's looking at Mariah with tears in his eyes as he walks over to her. Bookmark here

"I'm not going to let you hurt him anymore!!" Zach yells as his Echo roars off of his body. I can feel my body starting to go numb as everything in the room starts to warp and change around him. I'm blown back into the ground as Mariah stands up. Her skin is starting to peel off of her body as Zach puts his hand out to her. Bookmark here

"Ah yes!! You're the boy I've been looking for! You're the one I've been sent here to kill!" Mariah says as her Echo explodes from her body. Zach is immediately sent flying back away from her as both of her hands turn into purple gas. I turn my head over to Zach and I see his body starting to shake as Mariah slowly walks over to him. Bookmark here

She must be reaching her limit too. Her clothes are stained with blood and sweat and she's breathing raggedly as she limps over to him. Bookmark here

"You have the abilities to shift the balance of power in this world, and to have your powers manifest at such an age is remarkable. You could've lived out the rest of your life in luxury under the Government, but you refused to join us, and worst of all, you chose to help and protect someone who ran away from his own kind, but I can't blame Hiroshi too much, He did lead me right to you!" Mariah yells as she fires plumes of poisonous gas at Zach. Bookmark here

"Hiroshi! Save HIM!!" I hear Vex yell from behind me. I can feel my body get pushed from behind from his gravity as I channel whatever Echo I have left within my body into both of my arms. Bookmark here

As I land right in between the poisonous gas and Zach I put both of my arms up. I make a barrier stopping the flow of her radiation, and I put another barrier around Zach to protect him from any of the stray radiation or gas that may be still circulating in the air, as I'm doing this I look back at Zach and I see him covering his face as I chuckle at him. Bookmark here

"Hey, Zach. You can open your eyes man. It's alright." I say to him. After I say that he looks up at me as he wipes the tears from his face. He looks around at what's going on and his face morphs into one of dread. He must see how bad of a shape I'm in because he tries to stand up and help me but Mariah growls at him and he immediately sits back down. Bookmark here

"How are you not scared? Aren't you afraid that you're going to die?!" Zach asks me as the barrier separating the gas from me starts to crack a bit. He flinches at that sound as my black and red lightning starts to strike and crackle everywhere. Bookmark here

"The only thing that I'm afraid of living in a world where I'm hunted down for something I have no control over, What gives me the courage to fight is knowing that if I win I would've made someone's life better! You ask me if I'm afraid to die?! The answer is no! Because I know that if I die saving someone my life wouldn't have been for nothing! When you're fighting for a cause that you know is just, when you're fighting for something that you know is right, death means nothing!" I yell as my Echo starts to grow in strength. Bookmark here

Mariah lets out a loud grunt as she gets pushed back away from me a bit. Bookmark here

"So don't you be afraid for me Zach. Even if I die here I'll make sure that you'll live." I say as I smile at him. Bookmark here

"Why? Why are you doing so much for me? Even though we just met? I'm not worth all of this!" Zach says to me. I start to chuckle as I remember laying on the ground beaten and all bloodied up watching that hooded man fight those Hybrids off of me all those years ago. Bookmark here

"You may not realize it, but you're more important than you think. You're the future of this world, and I swear on my life that I'll do everything in my power to protect you! You're going to live Zach! Even if it costs me my life!" Bookmark here

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