*Six years ago (Sacramento, California)
As my feet dangle over the building that I'm perched on I lay my head back as I let the cool breeze run across my skin. I take a credit card that I stole from some unsuspecting man out of my pocket and I toss it into the air behind me as I start to go through my bag of food. I start to rub my hands and smack my lips as I tear into the glazed honey that I paid for. As I sit back and close my eyes I hear the screams of a girl directly below me. Leo walks up next to me as we both look down at the ground. When we look down we see this girl starting to get chased by a group of what looks like Hybrid men. Theirs about five or six of them and they all corner her up against a wall as she cries out for help again.
"What do you wanna do? Are you going to help her?" Leo asks me as he takes a bottle of juice out of my bag. I finish eating my honey bun as I toss the wrapper into the air behind me.
"What do you think?" I ask as I take Leos knife out of his hand. I put the knife in my mouth and I stand up off of the ground as I start to stretch my arms and legs. "She clearly needs help, if we don't help her then who will? She's a Deviant, you can't count on the Government coming to help her."
"But Hiroshi. There are five guys down there, and they look pretty strong too. Your abilities just awakened like a week ago, if you go down there and fight these guys, you might die." Leo says to me as he looks down at them.
I can feel my eye twitch after he says that to me. I turn back around to him and I look him right in his eyes as I grab him by his collar.
"It doesn't matter if I die. If we don't save her now then no one else will!" I yell. "No one in the Deviant community is strong, we're all weak. But I'm going to be the one to change that. I'm going to put fear into the hearts of Hybrids and The Government. Just you watch."
I take a deep breath in and out as Leo frees himself from my grip. He glares at me for a couple of seconds before he lets out a deep sigh.
"That isn't all there is to strength Hiroshi. But if that's what gets you revved up, then I'm all for it." Leo says as he pats me on my shoulder.
"You don't have anything to worry about Leo. Let's not forget, I was the one that saved you when we first met." I laugh as I jump off of the building and onto the ground below me.
"Hey! Where do you think you're going, little girl?" One of the thugs asks as the girl starts to try and run away.
One of the bigger guys grabs her arm from behind and he pins her to the ground as she starts to cry. As she raises her head off of the ground her eyes meet mines as she starts to cry out to me.
"Please! I don't know who you are, but please! Save me! Please! I don't want to die!" She yells as she extends her hand out to me. Right after she says that all five of those guys immediately turn their attention to me.
"Hey! Who the hell is this kid?!"
"You might want to get on out of here brat. This has nothing to do with you."
"You're gonna walk away and you're going to pretend that you saw nothing, okay? You either do that or we gut you and we gut this bitch alright?"
"You damn Deviant trash! Let me kill him, man! Let me rip his damn throat out!"
"You got three seconds to leave kid, you got it?!" The man who looks like he's in charge says as he takes a gun out of his pocket. He aims it at my head as I take Leos knife out of my pocket. I toss it into the air a couple of times as I chuckle a bit.
I don't know what their abilities are, taking them on in a fight head-on without knowing what their powers would basically be suicide. It's a good thing that my abilities awakened last week, or this girl would be a goner.
"Three seconds huh? Three seconds is all I need." I say as to them as I dig my feet into the ground. I glare at all five of the guys right as they start to manifest their abilities and I draw my blade as I rush at all of them.
Before any of them can even react to me I slice all of their stomachs with my knife. I can feel the blood splatter on my face and hands as I reach to where the girl is lying on the ground. As I put the blade in my pocket all five of the guys fall to the ground at once.
"I think that was less than three seconds," I say to the girl as I extend my hand to her. She hesitates for a second before she finally takes hold of it and stands up off of the ground. It looks like I was right about her being a Deviant. She stares intensely at me with her green and purple eyes. I can tell that she's still trying to decide whether if I'm really a threat to her, and I don't really blame her.
I can hear Leo jump down to the ground behind me as he lands on one of those guys' backs. He lets out a loud groan as Leo hands me a napkin.
"If you're wondering why she's still looking at you like that it's because you look like someone straight out of a horror film. Wipe your face man." Leo says as he walks over to check on the girl. I pick up a piece of broken glass and I look at my reflection. Leo is right, I do look like a damn maniac. The blood that's on my face makes my black and white eyes look way more intimidating than they already are. I start to chuckle as I wipe all of the blood off of my face and chin. Even after wiping the blood off of my face, this girl is still looking at me like I'm some kind of wild animal. Leo notices this and he puts his hand on my shoulder as he gives the girl a warm smile.
"Who the hell are you guys? You can't be normal Deviants. I've never seen anyone move like that before, and how effortlessly you sliced those guys, how could you stomach that?" She asks us. Leo starts to chuckle as he digs in his bag and hands her something to eat. She snatches it out of his hands and starts eating.
"Well, to start off, my name is Leo, and this guy right here is Hiroshi," Leo says as he pats me on the head. "We aren't anything special, we're just two guys trying to survive."
I smack Leo's hand away from me as I extend my hand out to the girl.
"Now that you know our names, why don't you tell us yours. If anything you owe us that for saving you." I say as I give her a warm smile.
"My name is Mariah." She says looking a bit more relieved as she shakes my hand. She gives me a smile back and I can feel my body calm down a bit as I turn to Leo.
I see him starting to rummage through those guys pockets looking for money or any kind of weapon that he could use to defend himself. He picks the gun up off of the leader and he inspects it a bit before throwing it back down to the ground.
"Why the hell did you do that? That's a perfectly good gun that you just threw away." I say to him as I run over to pick it up.
"There's no need for it. It's fake." He says as he puts a couple of wallets and knives in his bag. After I look at it closer I can confirm that he's right. I've held a real gun before, this one is definitely a lot lighter than any other handgun I've held before.
I chuckle as I throw the gun over my shoulder as Mariah jumps away from the gun.
"Wait, I'm confused. You have no problem killing Hybrids, but you're fine with working with one?" She asks me as I turn around to her. I can hear Leo sigh as I start to laugh.
"You think he's a Hybrid? Oh no, he's something you would never think of." I say as I push Leo over to Mariah. "Why don't you tell her what you are."
"I'm just a regular human being. No abilities. Not a Hybrid, or a Deviant." Leo says as he punches me in the back of my head. "You know that I don't like telling people that."
I stick out my tongue as I rub the back of my head.
"No abilities? I've never seen a regular human before in my life." Mariah says as she starts to slowly inspect him. "I had heard that there were no regular humans left, that they were all wiped out. How're you alive?"
Leo squints his eyes at the question as he hits me in the side of my head once again.
"Ow! What the hell was that for?! She asked the question not me!" I yell at him as I rub my head again.
"Yeah, you're right, but you're the one who set her up to ask that moronic question." He says as he starts to crack his fingers.
"Why don't you like telling people that you're a normal human? It's so rare to find people with no abilities at all, I think it's pretty cool. No one can discriminate against you, you could honestly live the life of a normal Hybrid and no one would ever find out." Mariah says to him. Leo takes a deep sigh in and out as he lowers his fist.
"I wish that were the case." He says. "It's actually the complete opposite. Since I'm just a normal human I get the bad ends from both sides. Hybrids don't like me because I'm not like them at all, I look like them but I don't carry their same genes. They look at me like a Deviant. A mutation that needs to be killed, and with Deviants they see me as a Hybrid. You would think that they would welcome me, and take me in amongst them but since I resemble Hybrids, they don't want anything to do with me. So that's why I find that it's best to just stay neutral. To keep my mouth shut about what I am."
Mariah starts to look down at the ground out of embarrassment after hearing that. She rubs the back of her head out of shame and starts apologizing to him.
"I'm sorry! I didn't know that you had it that bad! I hope that you can forgive me for asking something so insensitive, especially after you just saved my life!" Mariah says as she holds Leo's hand. I can see Leo start to blush a little bit as he tears his hand away from her. He clears his throat and he fixes his hair as he gives her a reassuring smile.
"You don't have anything to apologize about. I know that you didn't mean anything by it. It's alright." He says to her.
"Yeah, he doesn't have anything to worry about," I say as I wrap my arm around his shoulder. "Because if anyone messed with him, I'm going to make sure that they regret it."
After I say that Leo, Mariah, and I all start to laugh as the tension in the air starts to die down a bit, but the laughter is short-lived as we're interrupted by the laughing of the leader of those gang of thugs from behind us.
"What the hell is so funny?" Leo asks as he walks over to the gang leader. He grabs him by his collar as he draws his knife and aims it at his throat. The man continues to laugh as Leo presses his knife deeper into his throat. Blood trickles down his knife and hand as the guy keeps on laughing.
"Two Deviants and a human? That honestly sounds like the start to a bad joke." He says as he spits out blood on the ground. He wipes the blood from his lips as he glares at Mariah.
"The only joke that's going on right now is you. You're at the mercy of two kids. How do you think that would affect your reputation?" Leo says as he steps on the guy's hand. I can hear the bone break under Leo's foot as the guy lets out a pained yell but Leo puts his hand over the guys' mouth to keep him from making any more noise.
After the guys are done screaming Leo takes his hand from over the guys' mouth as Mariah hides behind me and grabs me by my arm. The guy notices Mariah doing this and he gives both of a look of disgust.
"Do you know why we were trying to kill that girl?" He asks Leo. After he asks that Leo rams his fist into his face. Blood starts to fall out of the guy's nose as he continues talking. "That girl. She's a damn monster, and it's not because she's a damn Deviant. To be honest most Deviants are weak and harmless but her, she's different."
I can feel Mariah's grip on my arm starting to get tighter as the guy continues to speak. Leo looks back and he sees Mariah starting to get noticeably more upset, he turns back to the guy and he hits him in the face over and over again until his fist is completely covered in blood, but the guy won't stop talking.
"This bitch right here bumped into one of my guys and when she did, his entire damn body melted in front of us. We didn't even know what the hell happened at first, but when we tried to get close to her all of us started to throw up on the sidewalk." He says as his body starts to convulse. "That girl's power isn't something that anyone should have. If you value your life and the lives of those around you, you'll kill that girl right here, and right now before she actually learns how to use her abilities."
I can feel something wet fall on my shoulder and I can hear Mariah sniffling from behind me as the guy continues to bark and yell at her. I clench my fists and I feel my entire body start to shake out of anger as I continue to look at this guy. Just the image of me killing a Deviant in my mind is enough to set me off.
"You honestly have the guts to sit there with a knife to your throat and tell us to kill not only a young girl but to kill one of our own kind because she killed one of yours?!" I yell to him as I grab onto Mariah. "I don't give a damn what's she's done! If you want to kill her you're going to have to get up and kill her your damn self!"
"Hitoshi! What're you saying?!" Leo yells at me "This isn't the time to be playing these kinds of games!"
"Tell your friend here to get off of me and I'll do it! I'll bring the rest of my guys here and I'll finish the job!" He yells at me.
"Hiroshi! Don't you do it!" Leo yells at me. But I ignore his words and I clench my fist as I glare right back at him.
"I don't give a damn who you bring or how many people you come back with, I'll fight and I'll kill them all!" I yell at him as I grab onto Mariah's hand. "If you want to kill her, you're going to have to kill me first, because as long as I'm here you aren't going to lay a damn finger on her do you understand?!"
"Hiroshi! Stop it!! This is too much!" Leo yells at me as he presses the knife deeper into the guys' throat. "If you want to kill him just do it now! Don't bring unnecessary drama and attention to us!"
"Leo. Let him go." I growl at him. He shakes his head no as I look up and glare at him. "You let him go right now or I'll break your arm and force you to do it. Let. Him. Go. Now!"
Leo and I stare at one another for a couple more seconds before he finally backs down and takes the knife away from the guys' throat. the guy looks at all three of us before he picks himself up off of the ground and scrambled away. After he's out of sight Leo puts his knife in his pocket and walks up to me with anger and irritation in his eyed as he grabs me by my collar.
"Hiroshi, you've done a lot of stupid things but this had to be hands down the dumbest thing you've ever done in your life! What the hell were you thinking?! This guy could come back with a hundred guys or even Government soldiers! Do you seriously believe that if he comes back with that that you'll be able to fight all of those guys off by yourself?"
I start to laugh as I give him a smile.
"I won't have to worry about fighting all of those guys off by myself, because I know that you'll be right there by my side helping me," I say as I put my hand on his shoulder.
He lets out a deep sigh and smiles at me as he smacks my hand off of his shoulder.
"You know that I will, that's what makes this situation so irritating," Leo says as he cleans off his blade. As Leo and I are both getting ready to fight I can hear Mariah crying behind us and we both turn around to see what's wrong.
"Why? Why're you doing all of this for me? When you don't even know me at all?" Mariah asks as she wipes the tears from her face.
"I don't have to know you personally to know the struggles that you face every day. We share the same genes, we're both Deviants, and no matter how much of a monster and a freak people try to make you feel like, just know that you aren't alone, and you'll never be alone." I say to her.
"But if it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have to fight and risk your life for me!" She says to me.
"It's okay," I say.
"I want to help you, I really do." She says as her body starts to shake and shudder. "But I'm afraid that I'll hurt someone that I don't want to again. I don't even like to fight, I don't like hurting people!"
"You don't have to fight if that's the case, if you really don't want to then I'll fight hard enough for the both of us. You can place all of your hopes on me, you don't have anything to worry about. If you think you're weak, I'll be strong for you until the day comes where you can be strong for yourself." I say as I wrap my arm around her.
"And it's that way of thinking that's ultimately going to get you killed one day, but as long as I'm around, I'll make sure that that day doesn't come for a long time," Leo says to me as he hands Mariah a knife out of his sock. "Here, keep this on you just in case something goes wrong. That speech was nice and all but we can't have you being defenseless now can we?"
Mariah shakes her head no as she takes the knife out of Leo's hand. She puts it in her pocket as she raises her head up high. I can see the change in her demeanor and aura as I take my arm from around her. I pat her on the back right as the leader of the gang comes running back around the corner with a large group of guys behind him. There has to be at least fifteen to twenty of these dudes and they're all looking at us radiating a malicious and bloodthirsty aura.
"I'm going, to be honest, I was expecting you damn freaks to not be here when I got back if anything you have guts." The leader says as more guys show up behind him. "But guts won't get you anywhere but in the grave."
"I agree with you wholeheartedly. You honestly had the balls to come back after what we did to your last group of guys." I say to him as I Leo hands me another blade. I flip both of them in the air and when I catch them I aim both of them at the leaders' faces. "I'm going to give you one last chance to walk away from this right now. The second I see either you or one of your guys take a step towards Mariah I can assure you that none of you Hybrids are leaving this place alive. Your choice."
The guy starts to laugh as he points his finger at me. When he does that a laser beam comes flying towards me. I barely have time to dodge as the beam of light grazes me across my face. I smile at the guy as I lick the blood as it pours down my face.
"Alright! That's your choice!!" I yell as I rush towards the group of Hybrids. The lead guy goes to fire another laser beam at me but I negate his ability as I glare at him. He gives me a stunned look as I start to hack down at his guys.
Blood goes flying all around me as I dodge and slice at anything that I see move. The screams and cries of all of these fill the alleyway as I start to notice their numbers starting to dwindle down. I can feel my eyes starting to get watery and tired the longer I keep them open. The only thing giving me a real advantage right now is is the fact that they can't use any of their abilities on me. From how they're fighting me it seems like most of their abilities seem to be physical, that's good, as long as I hold the speed advantage over these guys I can dwindle their numbers down low enough for Leo to come in and finish them off. Right before I can feel my eyes starting to close shut I jump into the air and I start bouncing around from wall to wall as Leo comes in from underneath me and starts to hack at people as well.
"I can't believe that you're going to leave this bitch by herself!!" The leader of the thugs yells as he starts to run towards Mariah. I can feel my eyes starting to light up as the guy points his finger at Mariah. "I'm going to blow this girl's head clean off her damn shoulders!!"
"I'm not going to let you hurt Mariah!!" I yell as I fire a beam of red light out of my mouth. The force from the beam of light pushes me back into a wall. Before the guy can fire his blast off, my laser beam blasts his head completely off of his shoulders. Pieces of his skull and brain go flying all over the place as my body falls to the ground.
Mariah starts to scream out as she wipes the blood off of her face and body. I run over to her and I put my arms up to protect her as Leo jumps back over to me. He wipes some blood off of his face as even more guys start to show up.
"I guess it looks like we're in for a longer fight then we expected," Leo says. I nod my head and I start to smile as I slice at the ground with my knife. I step foot on the line that I made with the knife as I glare at all of the guys.
"I can promise you one thing, you guys aren't going to step one foot over this line! I'm going to protect Mariah even if it kills me! I'm going to rip all of you Hybrids to shreds!" I yell as Leo and I rush at all of them.
Over the next forty-five minutes to an hour, all Leo and I do is fight these guys off. The longer we fight the more guys seem to be showing up. My entire body is drenched in blood as Leo and I fight back to back with one another. I'll negate abilities and he'll go in for the kill as I use my speed to dodge and dance around all of the Hybrids. As the numbers of Hybrids start to dwindle down some of them start to run away. I let out a sigh of relief as the last of the Hybrids run out of the alleyway, but Leo and I don't have any time to relax as the sounds of police sirens and footsteps fill up the alleyway.
I immediately turn to Mariah as the sounds of the sirens start to get closer and closer.
"We need to get out of here now!!" I hear Leo yell as he starts to climb up the walls of one of the buildings. I nod my head to him and I run over to grab Mariah. She holds onto my hand and goes to start climbing on the wall but when I do I feel something in my knee snap and I collapse to the ground. Mariah falls hard to the ground next to me as I writhe in pain.
"God damn! God damn! My knee! I can't feel it! I think something snapped!" I yell as I grab onto my left knee.
"Hey! Stop right there!!" I hear a Government soldier yell at me as I try to pick myself up off of the ground.
"Hiroshi! You gotta run!! Run now!" I hear Leo yell as he gets to the top of the building. I look back at Mariah and I see that she's holding onto her right arm as she winces in pain. I turn my attention to the now four Government Soldiers with guns trained at me as Mariah cries out in fear. "You can still getaway! Run now!!"
"If you move I'll be forced to open fire on you Deviant! Don't move!" The Government soldier yells as he cocks his gun at me. Mariah clutches onto my shoulder as the four of them start to get closer to me.
"You can walk away alive if you just hand over the girl, you don't have to die boy."
"We'll even look past all those people that you killed, you did us a favor anyway. That gang was known for committing crimes anyway."
"That girl is dangerous, you would be doing the world a favor by giving her to us."
"So what are you planning on doing to her if I hand her over to you?" I ask them as I clench my fist. "You're going to kill her aren't you?!"
"That's none of your business boy! You either hand her over now or you die right here! It's your choice!!"
I stomp my foot onto the ground and I stretch both of my arms out as I hear Leo call out my name. I can feel my body starting to shut down due to my lack of stamina as sweat starts to pour down my face. I can feel my heart rate starting to pick up exponentially as all four of the soldiers cock their guns at me.
"I'm not going to let you take her away from me!!" I yell as all four of the soldiers fire their guns off at once. I don't even have time to defend myself or even react as a man with a hood over his head jumps down in front of me and catches all of the bullets in his hand. All of the soldiers let out a loud gasp as the man stands up and drops all of the bullets out of his hand and onto the ground.
"Now come on, were you four actually going to kill two kids? I thought the Government was better than that." He says as he rubs the back of his head. "Well, I guess that I was wrong."
I can feel an enormous amount of pressure emanating off of this guy's body as he turns to face me. It becomes almost impossible to breathe as he gets down on one knee and looks me in my eyes. He pats me on my head and chuckles at me as I stare back at him.
"You did a damn good job of protecting this little girl kid, but you just leave the rest to me alright? I'll make sure that you three get out of here safely. You have nothing to worry about as long as I'm here alright? Us Deviants got to stick together." He says as his pink and red eyes reflect in the sunlight. I can feel a shiver run down my back as I nod my head to him. I have no idea who the hell this guy is, but the aura that's radiating off of him and his confidence gives me a sense of security. He chuckles a bit as he rises up off of the ground and he turns to the Government soldiers.
"Hey! Whoever the hell you are you need to leave now! This has nothing to do with you!"
"See, that's where you're wrong. It became my problem when you made the decision to not only try and kill one of my own but also when you threatened the future of my people as well." He says he cracks his knuckles.
The man disappears out of my sight almost as quickly as he appeared, and before I can even blink he appears in between the group of soldiers and he starts to fight all of them off. He dismantles all of their guns and he starts to systematically pick them apart one at a time. He crushes their skulls underneath his hands and he sends them flying into walls as the last remaining soldier starts calling for backup. The man crushes the soldiers' hand along with his radio.
"You can send as many soldiers as you want over here, I can promise you that it won't matter." He says as he picks the soldier up by his throat. "Because as long as there's a future to protect I'll fight to preserve it."
He crushes the soldiers' windpipe under his hand as he drops him to the ground. I stare at him in awe as he wipes the blood off of his clothes. I've never seen a Deviant stand up to the Government like that before in my life. As he turns and looks at me he gives me a warm smile as I start to walk towards him. Ignoring the pain in my knee I stretch my hand out to him, I don't know why I just need to know what it takes to be like him. But right before I can make contact with him a strong force of wind pushes me back away from him. Mariah and I are both slammed into the back of the alleyway as a group of Hybrid soldiers come screaming around the corner. You can easily spot the difference between a Government Soldier and a Hybrid Soldier. Hybrid Soldiers all have red sashes going across their chest and arms whereas soldiers only where the standard battle armor and carry assault rifles. Leo and I try my best to avoid running into any one of these guys, fighting just one or two are just begging to be killed. I can feel my heart starting to race as I think back to the Hybrid soldiers that killed my mother and father. The fear that I was feeling watching them get impaled and skewered is enough to freeze me in my tracks.
Leo must notice this because the second I start to freeze up he jumps down in front of me. Knowing that he has no way to get us away he draws his knife and he gets into his fighting stance as the hooded man puts his hand up to Leo.
"You just stay put boy. I don't want you to hurt yourself. This isn't your fight right now." He says as he turns back to the Hybrid soldiers. "Now, I've been waiting a long time for this, you bring him out. I want that son of a bitch standing in front of me right here and right now!"
I can feel all of the air leave my body as this man yells. I don't know who he's talking about but given how angry he is I don't envy him at all. I don't even know what his abilities are and I'm terrified from just being in his presence when he's like this. Mariah grabs ahold of my arm as the sound of laughter fills the alleyway. I start to look all around me to find the source of the laughter but every bone in my body is screaming at me to not look, to keep my head down. I can't run away, and I can't fight, so the best thing that we can do is to just stay put and let this man handle the situation.
"Atlas! You bring yourself out here you bastard! You damn Deviant Killer! I'm going to pay you back for what you did to that damn family!!" He yells as the sky immediately starts to turn dark. The same laughter starts to reverberate inside of my body as the cold ominous feeling of death starts to creep into the back of my mind. I can feel my skin starting to go cold as lightning crackles in the sky. After the flash of lightning leaves my eyes a man wearing a suit appears in front of the hooded man.
"To willingly call out a General of the Government is to court death itself. Wouldn't you agree Julian?" The man asks as he walks directly up to the hooded man. Atlas and Julian, those are the names of the two men whose strength is unlike anything I've ever felt in my life. As they both stare at one another I can feel their bloodlust exploding off of their bodies, it's almost as if their emotions are being manifested and amplifying their abilities.
"I don't give a damn what title or rank you hold! That mother and father had kids!" Julian yells.
"Always on about the children aren't you Julian. Even though I killed the mother and father I let the kids live, Isn't that what you wanted? Isn't that what you're fighting for? This whole Deviant movement that you're going on about?" He says as he glances over at me. The way he speaks its almost as if he's mocking him. Every word that leaves this man's voice sounds as if it's filled with venom, he's like a snake striking with the intent to kill.
Julian steps over to prevent him from looking at me any further.
"It's not just about that Atlas and you know it! What kind of future do you think those kids will have without any parents to raise them? The world would've been hard for them just because they were Deviants, but now you've given them close to no chance to even survive in this world!" Julian says as he stares him right in his eyes. To not only stand in the presence of Hybrid soldiers and not show fear, but to stand up to a man who holds a title that only one other person in the world holds is awe-inspiring.
"That is none of my concern. As long as those children live under the rules that this society has established they won't have anything to worry about. Unlike you who refuses to just conform to it, I even offered you a position as a Captain but you turned it down. Now, why is that? For the sake of a future that has no chance of coming to fruition?" Atlas spits at him.
"Just because you can't see the future I envision that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist," Julian says as he pounds his chest. "I know deep down in my heart that as long as I continue to fight that the generation coming behind me will find the courage to stand up to you, and eventually someone will come along with the strength to tear the Government down."
"Bold words for a man who's close to death. You can struggle all you want, but merely fighting isn't enough to make a change." Atlas says.
"That's why I'll not only fight. I'll win as well. Even if it's a small victory. It'll be enough to show the next generation that there is hope for Deviants." Julian yells as his body explodes with some kind of energy. Atlas starts to laugh as his body does the same. Pink and black energy explodes off of their bodies which causes the ground underneath all of us to crack and shake.
Mariah and Leo both let out cries of fear as Atlas and Julian stare one another down. Pink and black lightning spark all around them as Atlas looks behind Julian and meets my gaze. He gives me an eerie smile as he turns his attention back to Julian.
"So this is the future that you're trying to protect?" Atlas asks as his energy starts to calm down. He fixes the collar of his shirt and he runs his hand through his hair as Julian starts to retract his own energy as well. "I don't know what you see in them Julian, I really don't. My offer still stands you know? You could save yourself a lot of trouble if you would just join the Government. We could use someone with your abilities."
"I don't care what I have to put myself through. You can tear at my body, mind, and soul, but if there's one thing I'll never do it's turn my back on those who can not fight for themselves." Julian growls as he spits on Atlas' feet.
"If that's truly what you believe then I guess you'll have no problem serving the punishment that those three children were going to serve for the murder of all of these people," Atlas says as he places his hand on the ground. When he does that the bodies of all of the people that Leo and I killed all immediately start disintegrating. "But I'm going to give you another choice. You called me out here to fight you to try and finish me off once and for all so I'm going to give you that chance, you can fight me right here and right now but it's obviously at the risk of those kids that you're trying to desperately to protect. You know an all-out fight between the both of us could level this entire continent. So what's your choice going to be? Fight the man who you've dedicated your entire life to trying to kill? Or take the punishment for the future that you're trying so desperately to save?"
Before I even have time to start thinking about a plan to escape I hear the laughter of Julian fill the alleyway.
"I'm sorry for not being all dramatic about this choice but it should be completely obvious," Julian says as he outstretches his arms. "You're right about me being old and close to death so that's why I'll gladly take on these kids punishment. Give me the best that you got."
Atlas shakes his head as he takes a cigarette out and lights it up. He blows the smoke into the air as he walks behind the group of Hybrid soldiers. He lets out a deep sigh and looks into the sky as the rain starts to pour down.
"You know Julian, In a weird way, I've always respected you. To stand up and fight against the inevitable knowing that you have no chance of winning is idiotic yet admirable." Atlas says.
"You call it admirable, I call it true strength," Julian says as the first Hybrid rams his fist into Julians' gut. After that initial punch, he's bombarded with an array of lightning strikes, earth-shattering punches and ice cold enough that I can see my breath appear out of my mouth. This continues on for at least thirty minutes until eventually, blood starts to fly off of Julian. I can see his knees and his body starting to shake out of pain and exhaustion as he looks back at the three of us. Even through all of the pain that he's feeling he still gives all of us a warm smile, I can feel myself starting to get sick watching this.
I can feel tears start to swell up in my eyes as I yell out to him.
"Why?! Why are you doing all of this for us?! We don't deserve for you to protect us like this! The only innocent one here is Mariah! You don't have to do this!" I yell at him.
"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! Even if it costs me my life!"Julian yells back at me. My entire body feels as if it's been lit on fire as I feel a surge of inspiration and hope flow through as his words hit me like a truck. After Julian says that Atlas calls off his Hybrid soldiers as Julian falls to the ground.
Blood pours off of his entire body as he lets out ragged breaths. Julian spits blood out of his mouth onto the ground as Atlas throws his cigarette onto the ground.
"Every time we cross paths with one another you always surprise me, Julian. I hope that this true strength that you're talking about rings true, and not only for your sake but for the sake of the Deviants that you've dedicated your life to fight for." Atlas says as he waves his hand in the air. When he does that he starts to walk away and with him, his Hybrid soldiers all follow behind him. Once the five of them turn the corner I feel a wave of relief wash over me as I collapse to the ground.
Leo runs over to Julian to start to treat his wounds as Mariah helps me up off of the ground.
"Are you kids alright?" Julian asks as he wipes his face with a cloth that Leo gave him. "Did any of them hurt you?"
Mariah, Leo, and I all shake our heads no as he takes a deep sigh of relief.
"That's good. I'm glad to hear it." He says as he picks himself up off of the ground. He turns over to face me and he pats me on the head. "You did a damn good job of protecting that little girl Hiroshi. From where I was watching you would've thought that you were some kind of superhero."
A big smile spreads across my face as Leo clears his throat.
"Don't think that I didn't notice you either. I wish I had someone who would keep me in check if I did I probably wouldn't be looking like this." He says as wipes some of his blood off of his clothes.
"If you were actually smart you would've let us handle those Hybrid soldiers ourselves," Leo says to him. Julian stares at him for a couple of seconds before he explodes in laughter.
"You're a funny one kid. How would you feel about joining me on my journey to free the world?" Julian asks him. Leo is surprised at this question and he hesitates for a bit before turning back to me. We've worked together ever since we were eight years old. But here he is being offered an opportunity to change the very world itself. Alongside someone who has the power to do so, and on top of that he wouldn't have to worry about me anymore. He wouldn't have to worry about dying because he would be under someone who has the ability to protect him if push comes to shove.
"I, I don't think that I would be able to leave Hiroshi. I'll only go with you if you let him come with us too." Leo says to him. Julian puts his finger on his chin as he looks over at me. He looks me up and down one time as he nods his head.
"From what I can tell I don't think Hiroshi would choose to separate from that girl. Take a look at the way he's holding onto her." Julian says as I realize how tightly I'm holding onto her.
I can feel my face turn hot a bit as I quickly unwrap myself from around her.
"Hiroshi here has a calling that's way different from yours. I can tell that if you stay with him that you'll be regulated to nothing more than a side character." Julian says to him. "Now, I'm not saying that he can't come, but what I am saying is that I don't think he will allow himself to come while there's someone who is like him in need."
Leo's gaze meets mines as I nod my head yes. Julian is right. I absolutely refuse to leave this girl behind. She's obviously too afraid and unsure of herself to be left on her own.
"I made her a promise. A promise that if she was too weak to fight for herself, that I would fight for her until she was ready to fight for herself, and that's a promise I intend to keep because she's a Deviant, just like me!" I say to him. Julian nods his head as he turns his back to Leo and me.
"Last chance Leo. You can either stay here with Hiroshi, work alongside him and be stuck as the constant number two in the eyes of everyone around you, or you could come with me and I'll train you to not only be the main character in a story so grand that it's one that'll be told for centuries down the line, but I'll also help you become the man who no one expected to change the world. I see it in you, Leo. Hiroshi and you are going down completely different paths, but only one of you will reach the goal. What do you say?" Julian asks him as he extends his hand.
Leo looks at me for a couple of seconds before he lowers his head to me.
"You know I've always wanted to surpass you Hiroshi," Leo says as he starts to laugh a bit. "Even though I've never shown it I've always felt like I was in your shadow. You were the one who would always save the day, make someone's day better and I was always the one who was just there to help and cover you. I never felt like I was the one who never did anything."
"I always knew that you idiot," I say to him. "You're my best friend, Leo, of course, I knew something was bothering you, and I knew what it was. But as a friend, I knew that you weren't ready to carry the load I had put on my own shoulders. I didn't want to have you carry that load, especially if you didn't want that for yourself. You're my friend, but don't you ever have me be the reason why you won't go after what you're due. It's okay to go. I'll be here waiting for you to come back."
Leo starts to tear up as he pulls me into a hug. I wince in pain a bit as I hug him back.
"When we meet again let's have a standoff, you know, like the ones that happen in an anime?" Leo asks as he pulls me away from him.
"Yeah! I could be the villain and you could be the hero!" I say as I punch him in his shoulder. We both laugh a bit as the sun starts to set.
"Yeah, let's do that. Make sure that you don't forget either." Leo says as he grabs onto Julians' hand. "I guess it's goodbye for now Hiroshi."
"If you ever want to meet up with me Hiroshi, you can find the boat that I live on at the pier on the outskirts of the city. I'd be more than happy to help you out if you're in need." Julian says as he nods his head to me. I nod my head back to him as Leo starts to wipe tears from his eyes.
"Yep, just for now," I say as I give him a thumbs up and a big smile. He gives me a thumbs-up as Julian and him both jump above some buildings and disappears out of sight. I'm still holding my thumbs up and my smile as tears start to fall down my face. I'll see you again Leo, but for now, we have to focus on getting stronger.
So over the next couple of years, that's exactly what I do. Mariah takes me to this place called The Underground where she tells all of the Deviants that are hiding out there about what I did to protect her. I'm heralded as a hero and given the name The Hybrid Killer. During the day I spend most of my time taking care of the younger kids. One day I rescued this baby from a couple of Hybrids, they were planning on killing her after killing her parents. I raised her up from a whining, crying brat into someone I could look at as my little sister. Mariah came up with the name Asya. I wanted to name her something else but Mariah was set in her ways about the name so it stayed. During the night I would go out and save as many Deviants that I possibly could. A lot of the stuff I did ranged from stealing food so that Deviants could eat or helping fight off Hybrids and Government soldiers. Over time I grew into my body and I developed a fighting style and instincts all on my own. It took a lot of getting my ass kicked but I eventually am starting to become the thing that I want to be. Someone who can free Deviants from the discrimination of this world.
Every time I come back from a night as The Hybrid Killer Mariah always asks me about what I did and how many people I saved that night. I would always tell her and she would always seem to get confused about some of the more brutal methods I used.
"Do you seriously need to be crushing people's heads with bricks once they're already out Hiroshi? I feel like doing that is just a bit too much." She says to me as she crosses her arms.
"I know that some of my methods may be a bit on the brutal side, but when you're out there and you know that if you die here not only is your life over, but the ones who's life you're fighting for is over as well. So yes in the moment you do whatever it is you need to do to ensure that you come out on top. That's true strength. Doing whatever is necessary to win, and if anyone ever stands in your way of what you're trying to protect, you do everything in your power to tear them down. You want to know how to be strong? There's your answer. You drill that into your mind and you'll win every fight that you get into. I know you can be strong Mariah, even if you don't think so yourself." I say as I put my hand on her head. "So until you feel that you're ready, you hang behind me and I'll keep you safe. I'll never leave you, Mariah. That's a promise."
I can see Mariah starting to form tears of joy after hearing that. She nods her head yes as she pulls me into a hug.
"You won't ever hurt me will you?" She asks as she stuffs her head into my chest.
"I will never hurt you."
"I don't want you to ever leave me Hiroshi. Please don't leave me." She says as I pat her on her head.
"You don't have anything to worry about. I'll always be here to protect you and all of the Deviants here. Everything that I do is for the betterment of our race, don't you ever forget that." I say to her as she nods her head yes in my chest.
•Authors Note: "So yes some of the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. Let me know what y'all think and we'll be back into the action next chapter so don't you worry."