Chapter 14:

Victory At The Cost Of Sacrifice; True Strength Realized, The Future Secured


As long as I can protect the future my life would've meant something. This kid has the power to change the entire world. He can make the world that Jo and I want a reality. Even though I can see him crying and screaming out to me the sounds coming from him don't enter my ears. Have I gone deaf? Is this a symptom of Mariah's poison? Am I already dead? I can feel myself starting to lose focus as my knees start to buckle and my arms start to feel weak. I've gone past my limit long ago and from the looks of it, it seems as if Mariah is just starting to reach the peak of her power. I guess she wasn't lying about her not using her full power this entire fight.

Mariah starts to smile at me with an eerie look on her face as she starts to sense my body starting to weaken and break down. From the way she's glaring at me, it's almost as if I'm a wounded gazelle or something and she's a lion. Ready to sink her teeth into me the very second I let my guard down.

"I'll do whatever it takes to protect those kids from the underground! Those same kids that you left behind! Your loss here is necessary for the safety of their lives!" I hear Mariah yell at me as sound returns to my ears. I let out a loud yell as I try to pour more of my Echo out of my body and into my hands. The ground cracks underneath my feet as Mariah lets out a laugh as she starts to walk towards me. Lightning sparks off of her body as she pours out more energy from her hands. "I'm carrying not only the hopes of myself and those kids, but I'm carrying the hopes of the entire Government as well! You're a danger to the world that President Atlas is trying to create and I will not allow you to stop him! Do you hear me?!"

I can feel a tingle starting to work it's way through my body after she says that. The hopes of the Government? The hopes of the President? What the hell have they done to her to make her think like this? She's taken the advice I gave her and she's twisted it to fit her own warped perception of this world. I start to shake my head no as I feel my anger start to swell up inside of me. No! I don't want to lose this fight! No! I can't lose this fight! I push through the pain that my entire body is feeling and I look up and glare at her as I let out a low growl.

"If you think that you can save this kids life then you're dead wrong Hiroshi! My life and the life of all of those Deviant kids are depending on me to kill him right here and now!" Mariah yells as she pours more power into her attack. The poisonous gas coming out of her hands increases in speed and power as my Echo shield starts to crack some more. I look back at Zach as tears start to fall down his face and onto the ground. Even throughout all of the noise around me I can hear each tear drop as clear as day.

I can feel my body twitch as I hear every one of his teardrops fall to the ground, I can see that he's completely drawn into Mariah and the bloodlust that radiating off of her body. I can feel the fear starting to rise up through his body the closer Mariah gets to me. If his fear gets the better of him, there's no telling if my Echo barrier will be able to keep his reality-warping abilities in check, and if his abilities start to run wild again, there's no telling what'll happen to not only us here but to everyone outside of the building and in the city, so I have to try and calm him down so that that doesn't happen. I take a deep breath in and out and I try to calm myself down as I look at him and I give him a huge smile as he wipes the tears from his eyes.

"Hey, Zach! You don't have anything to worry about alright?" I say to him as my Echo barrier starts to crack even more. I can see Zach jump a bit as I'm pushed back a couple of inches. I can feel my body starting to shake but I keep my composure and I keep trying to reassure Zach. "If you're worried about this barrier-breaking you can relax. I promise you that this fight will be over in a little alright?"

"How can you say that?! You look like you're about to drop dead right now!" Zach yells at me as Mariah lets out a maniacal laugh from behind me.

"How does that make you feel Hiroshi? The boy that you're risking your life to protect doesn't even believe that you're going to win!" Mariah yells as she starts to punch at my barrier. I can feel my entire body shake with every punch as Zach covers his face with his hands. He starts to rock back and forth as I turn back to Mariah.

"Even if he doesn't believe in me now then all I have to do is show him that he can put his trust in me!" I yell as I dig both of my feet into the ground. I start to push back against Mariah as my barrier starts to slowly repair itself. "Zach! Listen up! When it seems like all hope is lost and it looks as if there's no way you can win this is what you do!" I yell as I put the hand that's shielding me from Mariah and her poison down. I can feel my entire body start to tingle as my body is completely exposed to her Echo.

"You fight! Do you hear me?! No matter how afraid you may be! And no matter how much the odds are stacked against you, you fight and you win!" I yell as I draw one of my Echo barriers back into my right arm. Mariah jumps back away from me as I hold onto my right arm with my left hand. "I'm going to finish this fight right here and now!"

Mariah lets out a loud yell as her Echo explodes off of her body. Green and purple gas start to seep out of her body as her eyes start to glow a menacing color as she glares at me.

"I don't know where you're getting this confidence from, You must be going crazy from fear or from being exposed to all of this radiation to actually think that you have a chance of winning this fight!" She yells as she plants her right foot forward. She extends her left leg back as she bends her body forward to me with her arms straight back. The ground starts to melt under her feet as I put my right arm up to her. "You're still going to try and fight me? Even in the state that you're in?! Is that kids' life really worth your own?!"

"You should already know the answer to that," I growl at her. "The problem here isn't me, I haven't changed since then, the problem is you!" I yell as I try my best to copy her stance. She's probably going to try to kill me and Zach all in one go. With my leg all messed up I wouldn't be able to catch her before she went in for the killing blow if she decided to take her focus off of me and to focus on killing Zach. So in order to keep that from happening I have to try and convince her that I'm a bigger threat to her then he is.

I try to step forward but I can feel my leg buckle under the weight of my body and I start to fall over, but right before my body hits the ground I feel strength returning to the leg that Mariah had cracked earlier.

"I'm not going to let you lose here Hiroshi!" I hear Vex yell from behind me. I turn around and I see him holding his hand up at me as blood comes trickling out of his mouth. Whatever she hit me with isn't allowing me to use my damn legs, I can't feel anything below my waist, but even if I can't fight the least I can do is make your job a little bit easier. You have to save the kid Hiroshi! Do it now!!"

He's manipulating the gravity around my left knee to keep me from falling over, I nod my head to him right as Mariah lets out a loud yell from behind me. More of her radiation is seeping it's way over to us the more she charges up her Echo. Using the negation energy on my right hand I swipe just enough away to clear the air long enough for me to take in a deep breath of clear air. After I do that I bring my right hand up close to my face and black and red lightning start to crackle off of my body. I put my left leg in front of me and I extend my right leg behind me as I put both of my hands on the ground in front of me.

"This is where this fight will end Hiroshi! I can assure you of one thing! This world will not be the same afterward! Deviants killing one another?! How far have we fallen as a race?!" Mariah yells as her hair starts to flow upwards.

"You're right. we have fallen as a race, the way this world is, it's evil and twisted, and you're a product of that corruption. I swore to myself that I would tear this world down and make it place where Deviants won't have to worry about being discriminated against, you're in the way of that vision, and if you're going to stand in the way of that then I guess you're going to die, even if you are a Deviant." I growl at her.

"You'll never be able to live knowing that you have the blood of a Deviant on your hands Hiroshi, a Deviant that you swore to protect and save! Can you actually live with yourself knowing that?!" She yells at me as the air in the room starts to get hotter. Black and green lightning crackle off of the both of us as I feel my eyes start to glow a deep black and red.

"You aren't that same little girl that I saved all those years ago Mariah. You're a product of a society that I'm going to destroy. Your life ends right here and now." I say to her as calmly as I can. I can see that she's starting to get noticeably more irritated and annoyed with every answer that I give her. She was probably banking on playing on my emotions as a way for me to let my guard down and then when I do that to go in for the kill but it looks like her plan hasn't worked.

I've already made up my mind, she isn't going to walk out of here alive. If I can make do on any promise that's the one. I can see her body starting to shake as I train my vision on her. She's scared, and she knows that I know that about her.

"You're bluffing! Your body is way past its limit!" She yells as her Echo roars off of her body. "There's no way you have any power left inside of you! I'm going to tear your body apart and then I'm going to kill the kid right after that! Do you hear me Hiroshi?! You're going to die here and there's nothing you can do about it!!"

"So how about you stop talking about it and do it!" I yell to her as I start to laugh. "Your next move is going to be the last one that you take, that I promise."

Immediately after I say that Mariah digs her feet into the ground and rockets right towards me with both of her hands aimed directly at my face. That's it. This fight is over. I channel Echo into my eyes for a split second and I dodge her initial attack as I duck and roll under her body. I channel my Echo right back into my left arm and I shoot a stream of black lightning at her back. Once the lightning strikes her back her body is stopped completely in its tracks as the lightning starts to work it's way through the back her hands, arms, and legs. Mariah lets out a loud pained yell as I clench my right fist. The black lightning outlines the back of her body as she starts to hover in the air.

"I was planning on using this move against the President, but you pushed me a lot harder than I expected!" I yell as black lightning explodes off of my body.

Mariah starts to let out a blood-curdling yell as I see Zach run over to Vex for protection. She starts to try and fight her way out of the grip of my lightning but it's no use. The more she struggles, the more her abilities dwindle down. With every move that she makes black lightning shoots throughout her body causing her to cough out blood onto the ground. She starts to let out gurgling sounds as her body starts to twist and contort in ways that shouldn't be humanly possible.

"I'm going to put you out of your misery right here and now!" I yell as I put both of my hands into the air. Red lightning comes shooting out of the sky as it wraps itself around her throat.

"Hiroshi! Stop it! That's enough!" Vex yells as he extends his hand out to me. "The fight is over! You've won!"

I ignore his cries as the red lightning works it's way down her arms, legs, and chest. It wraps itself around her legs and arms as the bones in her wrists and ankles snap as the lightning locks itself around her body.

"You're right, this fight is over," I say to him as the black and red lightning intertwines around one another. I can hear Mariah try to speak as the lightning wraps itself tighter around her throat. At this point, Mariah is completely and utterly helpless. She has nowhere to run as my black and red lightning tightens itself around her body. "Your death will send a shockwave across the planet so massive that not even the President will be able to ignore it! The world will know about Revenant after tonight! Upon your death, I will start to tear down this society! Be grateful that your life will be of real help to Deviants everywhere Mariah! I'm sorry that it has to be this way!"

As I start to clench both of my fists she lets out what sounds like a cry for help as the black lightning forms itself into the shape of a crucifix. Lightning explodes off of my body as the ground shakes under my feet. Her legs are stuck to the base of the crucifix as her arms are spread out apart from one another. A spear made out of black lightning materializes in my hand as Mariah starts to loudly cry out. I put my left foot forward as I throw the spear at her back. The spear rockets through the air as everything around us turns to black and white for a split second. Blood goes flying everywhere as the spear pierces Mariah in her back, she starts to cough out blood as the air starts to become charged with electricity.

"It's time for your lightning chain crucifixion!!" I yell as her body is completely enveloped in my black and red Echo. "All abilities upon this cross are meaningless! Your life ends now!!"

A huge surge of energy fires throughout the entire room as Vex, Zach, and I are all blown back away from Mariah. All of the air leaves my lungs as my back is slammed up against a wall. I can barely open my eyes to see what's going on but what I do see makes my blood run cold. Mariah's lifeless body starts to shake violently as it drops to the floor. The sounds of her blood-curdling screams still fill the room long after her life has ended. The three of us sit in awe for a couple of minutes just to take in what just happened. I can feel the poisonous gas starting to slowly lift out of the room as I take a deep breath in and out. I wave my hand at Zach to lower my Echo barrier.

"Is it over? Did we win?" Vex asks me as he starts to slowly pick himself up off of the ground. He grabs ahold of Zach as I lay my back onto the ground and I look up at the giant holes that Mariah and I left in the wake of our battle.

I nod my head yes as I pick myself up off the ground. I can feel some of the radiation and nausea and sickness that riddled throughout my body starting to leave my body bit by bit. I start to walk over to Vex and Zach but when I take a step towards them I immediately start to fall to the ground. A sharp pain shoots throughout my body from my leg as Vex catches me in his arms.

"Don't push yourself too hard Hiroshi. We still have things to do. First thing first is finding Eden. The last I saw her she was heading over to where you were a little while after the surge of reality-warping energy." He says to me. I can feel myself starting to get sick as I think back to when I left Eden with Leo.

"She saved me from The Deviant Killer and she sent me over here to find you and Zach," I say as I look out of the window on the ground floor. A rush of cold air blows through the room as goosebumps form across my legs and arms. "So the last I saw of her she was about to fight him by herself."

I can see Vex starting to look a bit worried as my heart rate starts to pick up a bit. I know that Eden is powerful and that she can hold her own in a fight, but if I wasn't able to beat him and I know almost everything about how he fights and I feel bad for thinking this, but how does Eden stand a chance, and the look that was on his face after I left the two of them alone sends shivers down my spine even now. He wasn't looking at her like an opponent, it was like he was a lion and he just stumbled upon an injured, helpless gazelle.

"Yeah, I think our next moves need to be finding Eden and getting Zach somewhere safe. We're in no condition to fight anyone else. If we run into another Government Captain or even some Hybrid soldiers we're not going to be able to fight our way out of that situation." I say to Vex as he nods his head to me.

"You're going to be okay if I let you walk right? I can't carry the both of you." Vex says to me as I start to chuckle.

"Yeah. I can manage it. I'll just have Eden carry me when we run into her." I say as the three of us start to walk towards the exit. Me doing more limping than anything. As we get closer to the exit I start to tense up as Vex and Zach pass Mariah's body. Is she faking being dead? Is she going to jump up and try to kill both of them at the same time? Is she going to kill the three of us when we're all in front of her?

With all of these questions swirling through my head, I find myself not being able to even walk past her. My feet become frozen just a couple inches from Mariah's lifeless body. I can't sense her Echo coming off of her body and I can't see her chest moving up and down from her breathing. I try to manifest my Echo into my hands but my body won't respond to me. My will to fight has been completely taken away from me. As of right now, I have no desire to fight anyone. The only thing I can think about is trying to get past her body. I take in a couple of deep breaths as I kneel down to her. I stare at her for a short while as Vex and Zach both stop and turn around to stare at me. As I'm starting to build up the courage and I'm being convinced that she's actually dead the sound of police sirens coming from outside of the door jolts my body and my senses awake as Zach runs over to me and clutches onto my arm.

"Hiroshi! It's looking like we got company. What do you want to do?" Vex asks me as he goes to take off his mask, but right before he can take his mask off I put my hand up at him. He lowers his hand as I hover my hand over Eden's body.

"If The Government is out there then this is the right time to make a statement," I say as I put my hands under Mariah's body and I pick her up. Ignoring the pain that's shooting through my leg I start to limp towards the entrance.

"What do you mean by that? If you go out there with a dead Government Captain in your hands they'll kill you on sight!" Vex yells at me. I start to laugh as I turn to him.

"You're right about that. If they knew that she was dead then they would have no problem killing all three of us no question. But, they don't have to know that she's already dead." I say to Vex. "I know it's a bit morbid to use a dead body as collateral to get away from these guys and it's definitely not my style but this is the only way that all of us can get out of here alive."

"So you're going to try and trick the Government into believing that Mariah isn't actually dead and you're going to trade her for our lives?" Vex asks me. "How do you even know that if you pull this off that they'll let us go? After you give them Mariah and they realize that she's dead what's going to stop them from killing us?"

"To solve all of that I'll be heading out there alone. I'll take Mariah's body and I'll try to stall them for as long as I can. You stay in here and you make sure that Zach stays alive just in case anything goes wrong." I say to him. I start to walk towards the door but right before I can step outside Vex grabs me by my arm and stops me completely in my tracks. I turn around to face him and I see his body shaking as he glares at me.

"Why the hell are you so content with sacrificing yourself over and over again?" He asks me as his grip on my arm gets tighter. "Do you realize how important you are to the people around you Hiroshi? If you knew that then you wouldn't be so willing to throw yourself into the jaws of death every chance you get!"

"Vex, you have to realize something. A long time ago a man that once risked his life and entrusted the future of this world to me. He saw something in me where he trusted me enough to carry on my back the hopes and dreams of every Deviant that exists not only in this world now, but every Deviant that has yet to be born as well. I'm not a great leader or anything like that, and I've really never been interested in being one, but the one thing that I know that I can do is fight. I can fight and I can protect those who can't fight for themselves." I say as I look down at Zach. As our eyes meet I nod me head to him as he nods back to me. "And I can protect and preserve the future of this world as well, with the way that I live I probably won't live to see the fruits of my labor, but when the time comes when I do have to die, I won't die with any regrets as long as I know that my death will result in a better future for those who are alive now and those who will come after me."

I can fell Vex's grip on my arm starting to get weaker as I slowly pull myself free from his grip.

"Vex, Zach. I promise you. I don't intend on dying anytime soon alright?" I say to both of them. "The two of you are my friends, I couldn't even think about leaving the two of you behind. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to find Eden. After they leave we'll meet up by the boat that we rode here on alright?"

Vex nods his head to me as he grabs Zach by his hand and he runs back deeper into the building. After he's out of sight I take a deep breath in and out as I step outside. The first thing that I notice is the large crowd of people that have gathered around the outside of the building. The police have secured the location with tape and news crews and reporters all have their cameras and eyes trained on me as I approach the Government and Hybrid soldiers holding Mariah in my arms. They all immediately train their guns and put their fists up at me as I grab Mariahs body by its neck. The crowd of people all gasp loudly as the flash of cameras fill my eyes. I take a deep breath in and out as I hoist her body into the air. This is the time for Deviants to make a statement. To let the world know that we will not stand by and allow them to push us around any longer. I'll be the symbol for them.

"Is that a Captain he has in his hands?!"

"Did this Deviant really beat a Government Captain?! I thought they were among the strongest people in the world!"

"This Deviant is a monster!"

"If he can kill a Captain what's stopping him from killing us?!"

As the confusion and fear of seeing a Captain beaten washes over them, I see Leo walk out from behind a group of Government soldiers.

"Is this really the route that you want to go down Hiroshi? You already have the attention of the Government on you, but now you want the entire world looking at you as well?" He asks me as he draws his sword out of its sheathe. He points it directly at me. The crowd of people and news reporters all start to murmur and whisper to one another as they turn their cameras to us. I can see Leos face starting to tense up as he realizes he's drawn all of this attention to himself.

Leo, or who he is portraying to be right now; The Deviant Killer wasn't meant to be someone that was seen by the public. The notion around the Government was that they killed Deviants to clean up the population. Since most Deviants are homeless or extremely poor getting rid of them was seen as a sort of necessity. But not something you did just for the sake of doing so. Obviously, people killed Deviants just for the sake of doing so but that wasn't something that The Government tried to let out. Every time they killed one of us it was under the pretense that it was for the better of society. Leo must know this, and his exposure to the public right now is a real threat to what the Government is trying present to the public.

"Who is he?"

"Why is he with Government soldiers?"

"He isn't dressed like them. Is he a Hybrid?"

"He looks like he's in charge of them. But I've never seen him before. He definitely isn't a Captain or one of two Generals."

Sweat starts to pour down his face as the tension in the air starts to rise around him. The Government and Hybrid soldiers all slowly turn their attention to him as he closes his eyes and puts his sword back into its sheathe.

"There won't be any fighting taking place here tonight. As I'm sure everyone can see enough of that has happened so far. The Government does not wish to bring any harm to the people of this city or any more of its property." Leo says as he puts his hand up. All of his soldiers immediately stand down as I let out a deep sigh. "The only thing that we've come for is to retrieve one of our own. Captain Mariah. Hand her over to us now."

I shake my head no to him as I stomp my foot onto the ground. I have to make sure that Eden is alive and well. That's one of the main reasons why I came out here. To make sure that Eden was alright.

"Listen up Hybrid. I know you have one of my friends with you. She's a tall girl with red hair. She can manipulate fire. I know you know who I'm talking about." I say to Leo as I hold Mariah out to him. I'm still not aware if everyone knows that she's dead. Leo seems to be looking at her suspiciously but everyone else seems to be under the reality that she's alive. I've been sending small amounts of my Echo throughout her body to give her skin some color and glow.

One of the soldiers leans over to Leo and whispers in his ear for a couple of seconds before Leo nods his head and three of the Government soldiers run to their truck. As the seconds tick away sweat starts to pour down my face as the news cameras all train their eyes on me. This is probably being broadcast around the world right now. To see a Deviant holding the body of someone who is supposed to be a pinnacle of justice in the eyes of the world. I know what I've done, and I know the effect that I want to have but I'm starting to fear the scale of what I've done. I know that I've just put the biggest target in the world on my back with what I've just done. Is the President watching this? If he is what's his next move going to be? What does Jo think about this? I can already hear his voice screaming at me in the back of my head.

After a couple more seconds the group of Government soldiers comes back from their truck holding Eden's seemingly lifeless body. I can feel my stomach drop as she comes into the light. She has a seemingly endless amount of cuts and bruises all over her. Her entire body is bloodied up, as well as her clothes. Her hair is a mess and her body is ghostly pale, but I can still sense that she's alive. I can see her chest shallowly rising up and down, her Echo is the lowest that I've ever felt it at. Compared to how vibrant and loud it was when I first left her to fight Leo sensing at this low of a level is alarming.

"You hand her over to me now, and I'll hand over your Captain," I say to Leo. "You hand her over to me and I'll give you your Captain back. I don't have time for your games right now."

After I say that every last one of the soldiers immediately trains their guns at me as I start to back up a bit.

"Commander. We don't have time for this!" One of the Government soldiers says. "If we return back to The Capital without the Captain with us, the General isn't going to be happy."

I can see Leo start to tense up after the mention of this General. He wipes the sweat that's starting to come down his face as he starts to look around frantically. The fear that's starting to spread across his face sends shivers down my spine. I've never seen him this nervous about anything before. He's always kept a calm expression on his face and he's always remained cool under pressure, but whoever the hell this General is has to be something incredibly terrifying to have him looking like this.

"Put the damn guns downs now!!" Leo yells as he points at me. "Now look here Hiroshi. I don't have time for this kind of back and forth bull shit that you're trying to pull alright? We're going to do this nice and easy, no one has to get hurt, and no one has to die. We'll give you your friend back first. I'll have one of my men float her body over to you and once you have her I'll have him float the Captain over to us. Deal?"

I can tell that he isn't lying. He's desperate to get Mariah back over to his side. As he puts his hand up towards me I can see his hand starting to shake noticeably as he motions for his soldier to send Eden over to me. The soldier nods and he floats Eden's body towards me. I extend my hand out to hers and I grab onto it and pull her close to me as I drop Mariah's body onto the ground. I glare at all of the soldiers as I clutch onto Eden's cold body. I can feel my body starting to shake out of fear and anger as Leo stretches out his hand to grab Mariah. The second he touches her he knows that she's dead. He doesn't let it be known immediately but the slightest twitch in his eyes tells me everything that I need to know. This was my declaration of war against the Government. Killing a Captain is the equivalent of killing a Government official, like a Governor or a Senator. If or when word gets out that she's actually dead, the world is going to get turned on its head.

Leo recognizes this and he holds onto Mariah's body as he raises his free hand into the air.

"That's it. We got what we came here for. Soldiers, let's pack up and move out. I can tell that we've started to overstay our welcome here." Leo says as all of the soldiers start to pack their guns up and load up the trucks. Once they start doing that the news reporters and the civilians all start to get riled up as they watch these Government and Hybrid soldiers all start to walk away and ignore me. Leo and I meet one another's gaze for a split second as blood starts to drip down my head and onto the ground.

"Hey! Can't you see that this Deviant is hurt?! This is your chance to kill this monster!"

"Is the Government really going to just let this guy hurt a Captain and walk away alive?!"

"The Government has no damn backbone if they let this happen! You're supposed to protect us from these monsters! Look at him! He looks disgusting!"

"Kill the monster!! Burn it to the ground!"

"Grind his bones to dust!!"

"That thing doesn't deserve to live!!"

"Kill it!"

"Kill it!!"

With every insult that they throw at me, I can feel myself starting to get angrier and angrier. They all start to throw stuff and spit at me as I stand there helpless and no way to defend myself. I tightly hold onto Eden and I shield her body from all of the flying trash and debris that's being hurled at me. I think about how all of these people are focusing all of their hate and attention on me and for a second I manage to crack a smile. This is good, this is alright because if all of these people are focusing their energy on me, those kids won't have anything to worry about for right now. Even if I'm not able to be there with them physically to help, I can help them by putting the target on my back.

I won't fight them. I won't throw insults back at these people, I don't even want to have them fear me. If I'm going to be the symbol for Deviants and be a representative of what Revenant is all about then I can not allow my anger to get the better of me. I can not allow my emotions to tear down the organization of the man who saw worth in me. As I pick my head up to start looking for a way out I see the spark of what looks like an explosion out of the corner of my eye. As I turn my head I see that one of the Hybrid soldiers has fired off what looks like an explosion from his hands. From the angle that I'm standing a lot of these people are going to get caught in this blast, what the hell is this guy thinking?! Is he really going to kill innocent people just because he wants to kill me?

"You bastard! I'll kill you for what you did to our Captain do you hear me?!" He yells as Leo tackles him to the ground.

I don't have any time to tell these people to get out of the way or to run, and I can't stop something like this with my bare hands. The explosion starts to tear up the concrete as it closes in on us.

"You bastards are really that dirty that you would hurt these people?!" I yell as I feel both of my eyes start to glow hot red. "You're despicable and you don't deserve to be praised as a hero!"

Right as the explosion gets within a couple of inches of me my Echo explodes off of my body with so much intensity and power that it not only completely negates the explosion but it knocks everyone that was standing within fifty yards of me completely out cold. As I feel my body starting to shut down I collapse to my knees as I hold onto Eden's body. I can feel my eyes starting to get heavy as I try to keep my breathing calm. I have to stay awake. Keep your damn eyes open Hiroshi! You have to keep Eden safe from anyone else that might show up. As I start to pick myself up off of the ground I can hear Leo groan in the distance as he picks himself up as well. His gaze meets mines once again as we both stare at one another for a couple of seconds before he starts to rub the back of his neck.

"True strength. You seem to have found out what that truly means. Am I wrong?" He asks me.

"I didn't find any damn thing. I just did what I thought was the right thing for me to do Leo. Nothing more, nothing less." I say to him as I wipe the blood that's starting to drip out of my nose.

"You've sacrificed so much for the sake of so many people that you don't even know. Your body is completely busted up and the entire world has their sights set on you. Killing a Government Captain isn't something that The Government is just going to let slide. It is a damn declaration of war. You're going to be the most wanted man on the face of the planet after tonight." Leo says to me. From the look on his face, I can tell that he is genuinely concerned for me and my well being.

"Well, you told me to get strong enough to help you fight the Government and to get your family back right? That's what I'm doing. Beating Mariah was the first step to doing so." I say to him as I put my fist into the air. As I stand there bloodied, bruised, and beaten I stare at Leo directly in his eyes and I nod to him. "Leo! Even though we're on opposite sides right now, I swear to you this; I will save you, your family, as well as Deviants that are alive now, as well as Deviants that will come after us! I will make this world a place where Deviants, Hybrids, and Humans can live together in peace and harmony! This is my declaration of war! This is my declaration of peace! This is my declaration of change!"

"You preach about change but with the way that you're living you may not even live to see it," Leo says as he tries to wipe a tear from his eye. "That mentality is going to get you killed one day."

"I can promise that I won't die until I've changed this world for the better," I say to him as I put my fist down. My jacket blows in the wind as the cold air starts to cool my skin down. My hair falls over my eye as I look down at Eden who looks like she's starting to come around. Leo notices this and he waves me off.

"Your friend there thinks extremely highly of you. I don't know what you did to make her risk her life for you like that but keep doing it. You're making good friends Hiroshi. Like you said, even though we're on opposite sides, I can give credit where credit is due. The Government is going to have their hands full with the two of you, and hopefully, I won't be around to see it." He says as he starts to pick all of his men up.

The people that were knocked out by my Echo wave are all starting to wake up. After I notice this I start to run away as fast as I can on a broken leg. I try my best to ignore the pain and I manage to make it a couple of blocks away before I collapse to the ground. As I rest my body on the ground I make sure to place Eden's unconscious body against a wall as I lay on the cold ground. I can feel my body starting to go numb as I feel my eyes starting to close on their own, but before the darkness consumes me completely I hear the sound of feet running towards me. Are they from The Government? Is an angry civilian coming to finish me off? These are the questions that swirl throughout my mind as the dark shadow of a hand covers my face.