I've always thought the best thing in the world was to be an elemental. Think about it. So many people every day never get the opportunity to make the world better. The elementals do that every single day. To keep us safe, they would send the worst of the worst to a place called the Forbidden realm to never cause trouble again. Sadly, a month ago, our peace came to an end. I still felt the sense of dread we all felt during that day. In response a mandate was made across Terra: asking for every available hero to help fight in the Forbidden war. Now it's my turn to become an elementist and one-day stand as a specialist and elemental.
My day had a beautiful start when suddenly I smelled something odd. I quickly realized that my hair was on fire! I quickly dispelled the flame only to see my mother standing before me with a smoking finger.
"Get up, Aphele (smelt in Zulu) you're going to be late!"
I pulled up my archive to check the time, and it was 4:00.
"The train doesn't leave until 7:00! Also its four in the morning!
"And that is enough time for you to pack the rest of your stuff, bathe, make yourself breakfast and get out that door!"
Sarcastically I say, "I can tell you're on your way to missing me so much."
My Mom then slaps me on the head and orders me to go before she sears me into a crisp.
My mother, Crimson, has always been like this. Ever since I could remember she has been on my case nonstop. She calls it tough love. I call it making more time for her boyfriend. Oh, sorry boyfriends. Ever since I got out of diapers, she has trained me in hand to hand combatant, weapon mastery, and battle tactics. It's like having drill sergeant 24/7. I was about to head through the door to catch the train to Empezar (Begin in Spanish). We live in the Earth province in the town of Ban (Dirt in Vietnamese). Empezar is in the Spirit province, so it's a pretty long ride. When I finally got ready, my mom was at the door.
"What? I got my stuff. They won't let me bring weapons on the train so don't bother-"
Then something completely surprising happened. My mother hugged me. She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed. Her warmth died down into a small kindle.
"Please, be careful. I know you're going to be amazing, but this is a dangerous type of life. Your father made a promise, and I want to keep it.
"I'm going to be all right. You once taught me how to disarm a man in 90 different ways, remember."
I know, I know I wasn't ever the most affectionate mother, but I wanted you to be ready. This world can be so cruel, and your father was such a good man. "
My father was a fantastic person. Or at least I think he was I never knew. I take after him a lot. My mother was an elementist who met my father in the city of Metallo (metal in Italian). It was a city known for great heroes and creators. They quickly fell for each other. He was an artist a man who would always love to create. When I was just a baby. However, that peace quickly came to an end. In the course of a single night, the city of Metallo turned to ruin in an event called the metal clan massacre. My father didn't make it. As far as I know, I'm the last of my race. Not a day goes by where I don't think about him or what my life could have been with him. I know it's silly loving someone you never knew but I sometimes I think if I'm great enough he'll notice me. I hug her back with all my strength and realize just what I was getting towards. Still, I know there are a lot more people that need someone like me to help them.
"I love you. I promise I won't die."
"Love you more."
I then left and went on the train. In hours the train filled. Then a skinny girl sat next to my seat. She had short black hair, glasses her outfit was a purple robe with long sleeves and black fingerless gloves and leggings. I'd say she was a couple of inches shorter than I am. She sat with me with complete disinterest with her headphones blaring music for her archive. I was going to say something, but I left well enough alone as the train went on. For 4 hours, we went through the provinces until we went into the Spirit province. The earth province is the largest in Terra near the westernmost quadrant. Combine that with going from the darkness and light province, and it was a long ride. I decided that I should get to know my occupant. If I pass the initiation exam, then there is a slight chance we could get put on a team.
"So what's your name? Mines -."
"I'm going to stop you right there. Please do not be that guy that starts a conversation with some random girl they never met. We probably won't even see each other anyway. Please, and thank you."
After that, we didn't talk to her for the entire class. As the train pulled up on the stop, I left the strange girl to see the city of Empezar. It was my first time visiting another province. The spirit province is the center of Terra, and it's one of my favorites. In this place, everyone works as hard as possible to achieve his or her dreams. With only your bare hands and body your put into a place where you have to work harder than ever just like the element it originates from. I quickly get accustomed to the bustling stores and attractions and get myself a couple of merchandise they were selling. How could I not get a fried Griffon for four units? After that, I headed to St. Leon: A school known for training people to get their elementists license. Any other time it would be at least a month to be an elementist, but now that is reduced to a week due to the war. As I head towards the assembly, I get blindsided by a kick to the face! As I'm sent careening into a wall, a young woman and man came up to me.
"Sorry, my brother can be um a bit eccentric, and he was practicing his martial arts when he should have and then."
"It's alright. I'm fine for the most part. That is one killer punch you have," I said.
"Yeah, sorry about that," said the brother.
As soon as I get dislodged from the wall, I got a better look at the two of them. The guy was a very tall and muscular man with light brown hair. He was wearing white gi with a blue belt and undershirt, long sleeves and belt. The woman had auburn hair in a ponytail and shining grey eyes. She has had long brown hair and light brown khaki pants with an equally tan buttoned-down vest with a green shirt.
"So who are you two?"
"Names Brandon and my sister here is Mai. Sorry for hitting you. My master tells me to practice my Wild style every day. "
I suddenly felt a bit self-conscience (he is stronger than me). I had never really been the best at socializing, but I try my best nonetheless.
"My name is Aphele and no problem, I guess. Nice to meet you by the way I don't have many friends. How about we chat while we head into the assembly?"
I told the two about why I came here as they told their story. Brandon had trained his body at the Spirit school-roaring aura. Mai tagged along to the help in the war and also to pull Brandon out of trouble. Mai had bought a map and led us to the auditorium. We made it to the assembly on time as we waited for "him" to greet us. In an instant, our call answered as a chill went up against my spine. Snow started to fall as we heard grand footsteps. A man appeared upon the stage, and my eyes lit up with excitement. If the elementals weren't around on a mission, then they would always call upon three influential people. They were called Hybrid Cerberus. They came out of retirement to help govern over the separate schools. We were gazing upon their leader: Zero. As his stark white hair billowed in the air, he approached wearing a white shirt that was blue across the shoulders and sides of his torso with jeans. He then spoke out to the crowd.
"Welcome future elements I thank all you for even being here today in service to Terra herself. I know many of you here want to become Specialist: an adventurer that goes around the world slaying evil and to supplement that I promise you I will be as honest as possible. As you know, we face a grave evil. There is a chance that many of you probably won't live to see the end of this war. You and a team of 5 will be sent all across the world fighting some of the greatest enemies known to man. However, if you join us, you will be protecting the innocent men and women across Terra. Including my young son and my husband. Even still, we will only accept the best of the best. For a week, we will give a summarized lesson on the duties of an elementist. On the 6th day, you will get a final exam where we will thin you down to the top 50%. Then on the last, you will have a very "different" exam where you will be given your teams and move out. I look forward to those who pass."
The next week seemed like a blur. I was forced to go on 12-hour classes explaining summarized versions of the lessons I researched on my archive. I had cut down my sleeping time to about 5 hours so I could study the material on even more summarized notes. It was hard being cooped up all day one time I had fallen asleep with my eyes open during lunch period. I would catch Mai and Brandon sometimes, and we would talk. I even helped Brandon a little with his studies. I was never the most social person, but they seemed natural to be around. By Saturday the big test came.
My hands quivered with fear as my pencil answered each question with deadly caution. After 150 items I was utterly burnt out(put pun here). By the end of the day, the results came in, and I hated what I got. Out of the 500 students on the scoreboard, I had only reached 4th place. I liked my grade, but I just felt like I can do better, you know? As I looked at the scoreboard, I saw the top 2. At second place was a guy named Deon and at first, was someone called Lunaire"(Lunar in French). Suddenly the room filled with a golden light as a man walked forward. An eloquent voice spoke.
"Hello, my fellow students, my name is Deon. I hope you aren't crying too much over your humiliating defeat over me in this grand contest. Now step aside and let me bask in my greatest as I view my title of first place!"
I finally got a good look at him. He was a lean man with blond wavy hair and green eyes. He was wearing black pants with a purple jacket with gold outlines on his sleeve and turquoise orbs near the collar. Judging from his outfit, I had a sneaking suspicion he was from the light province. A common stereotype thrown around among many was that the province's hierarchy tended to be racist. Suddenly the man jumped up as he saw who was number 1."Who the hell is Lunaire?"
"I am rich boy."
We turned around to see Lunaire, the same girl from the train approach us.
Deon stated, "How did you-"
"Defeat you? Simple cause, unlike you rich boy I don't have anything handed to me on a silver platter. I'm taking this seriously; maybe you should be too."
Deon then said, "Your words do not affect me, a commoner. It's natural for others to be jealous of my light. I shine above all in every category and trust me. I can back up my title."
Lunaire spoke," I guess we'll see tomorrow rich boy, but when you run home with your tail between you're legs, we will know who are the real heroes here."
The two separated with a tension in the air. I managed to get a good night sleep to prepare for the challenge. When Sunday came, I weirdly decided to care about my appearance. I chose to wear an outfit that was a mix of the clothes I bought earlier and my old clothes. My eyes looked towards the mirror to see the combination. I was wearing gray pants with red lines on the sides and a red shirt with a black fire in the middle and black on the sides. Fashion was never my strong suit though I felt as it worked well.
"I'll make you proud, Dad."
I headed towards the auditorium once again, my hands smoking with anticipation. Zero stood before us, his gaze freezing any form of conversation. He then spoke out.
"Those of you who remain with me here today I welcome you. You may have proven yourselves in the test, but nothing will prepare you for the war ahead. That is why we have made a simulation in the stadium as a sort of final exam. It's is designed to assess your skills and see how you handle yourself in stressful situations. You will be given mostly menial tasks across Terra, but you may still have to fight in dangerous battles. You will all be given special monitor bracelets to look over you. If you run out of mana or get too injured, you will have a barrier appear over you that will carry you out of the simulation. You will be facing a myriad of different monsters that we have summoned for this occasion and one "special "surprise. The sensors will tell you how many points you will receive for each monster. After all, is said and done your scores tallied, and you will get put on a team of 5. Any questions?"
One guy asked, "Can I go use the bathroom?"
Zero sighed and then peculiarly had a smile on his face.
He then lifted his finger, and a hurricane of snow carried the guy out of the room.
"Any other questions?"
There were no more questions. We all gathered our sensors and went into the simulation room about a 100 at a time. I put on my sensors and went onto the field. In an instant, the hologram took effect. The world immediately turned into a hellish landscape with lava and volcanoes are abundant. In a moment, our group surrounded by hellhounds. Instead of backing down, we all charged with righteous fury. My hands alight in blazing glory as I charge on the field.
Fire is an element of passion: anyone touched by it would rely on all of his or her most immediate emotions. Ever since I got the element, my mother has trained me in; it wants me to use my feelings. She would always tell me to cut loose and blow up. I was still the opposite of philosophy. I prefer to be quiet and calm to think things out instead of letting my emotions dominate me. Instead of a wild blaze, I wield a controlled bloom. In an hour, I had encountered a slew of hellhounds, griffons, and orcs. I saw a couple of groups that were working together, but I saw that Brandon and Mai were working together. They were entirely in unison as Brandon fought like a demon using his bare fists with deadly precision. Mai backed him up blasts of wind and water. They were outstanding fighters I decided to jump in myself ablaze to impress them. I rushed in with flames ablaze, but I accidentally lost control and ended up landing on top of them as a living fireball clearing everything around me. After I fell, Brandon and Mai looked up at me.
"You sure know how to make an entrance," said Brandon.
"Just wanted to help you guys out here,"
"Trust me, Aphele, that's sweet, but we don't need it," said Mai.
She raised her hands and fired a tempest of water and wind her hands that took down 20 griffons and an Orc. The strange thing was she looked as if it was normal. If I did that, I would have needed a significant break; her mana must be crazy high. I managed to work well with them efficiently. I hope that we get to be on a team together if this all works out. We ventured on until we saw Lunaire battling a huge Aspidochelone (giant turtle). I thought she needs help, but Lunaire simply tripped up his feet with tentacles of shadow. She proceeded to punch a small spot on its head with a fist of shadow. It fell and disappeared. I was about to go over there, but the soon became red and blared. Suddenly the rocks started to gather form one by one until in a matter of seconds a golem appeared with a sword in hand. It was 60 feet tall, and the sword was about a 3rd of the size. It roared with a fury that vibrated across the field. No one dared move until a lightning bolt from the sky hit its face. A bright light I recognized all too well came.
Deon appeared and said, "Watch now, commoners! Watch as I show you why I shine above all!"
He fired beams of light at the golem all of them caused little damage, but it got the golem's attention. It swung its blade with deadly accuracy. The ground obliterated where Deon stood. I thought he was down until out of nowhere another blast of lighting destroyed part of its face. Deon appeared in a glittering fashion, and I realized using his light managed to turn himself invisible!
"It will take much more than that to defeat me a monster."
As arrogant as he was, I was, flabbergasted and envious. So much talent such skill all of this mayhem but here he stood with a smile on his face. How does he stay so calm in the face of danger? In response to Deon's confidence, the golem shot a barrage of stone right at him. He proceeded to summon shields of light to throw them off balance. Still, they made their mark as he was covered in a tomb of rock.
"We have to help him."
"Help the rich kid? Why?" Lunaire said.
"Because he is good at what he does and if we together that golem doesn't stand a chance."
"You have a plan?"
I didn't, but with what I've seen, it all suddenly came together.
"Yes, I do."
Lunaire made a slingshot of shadow and threw me towards Deon. With my flames, I'm barely able to land safely and bring him out of the tomb. He was coughing rapidly but quickly recovered.
"I don't need your help!"
As soon as I got him a couple of feet away, I let him go. My hand pointed to the golem.
"You see that? That is a taste of what the situation we are now in. If we work together, we can win this."
"Please, what can I learn from you? I've never had anyone help me before, and it won't start now."
Suddenly my plan came into action. Mai and Lunaire fired a volley of blasts that knocked the sword that carries the sword. Brandon traveled up the sword and hit the golem in the head so hard could be heard miles away. Lunaire used tendrils of darkness to hold the golem in place.
With the thundering onslaught more and more proceeded to join in the chaos creating a joint offensive.
"Do you see now? That is what we could do together. If we can do stuff like this, imagine what good we can do. We could become the new elementals. I held out my hand. Now, will you join me?"
His expression softened.
"Hmph, I guess so, commoner."
We shook hands and Deon, and I entered the fray. We fired blast after blast of energy, and with it, it seems as though the golem was on its last legs. Then suddenly the golem's eyes flashed red. It brought its hands came together and caused a massive shockwave that knocks us all down. The entire world went black. In the void, I thought about the true scope of what I'm doing. Terra, why am I always so stupid? Why can't I get through even something as simple as this? I thought that I could be an elemental? Maybe my goal is just a silly pipe dream.
However, in the blackness, something happened. I saw a pool of grey liquid. I realized it was metallic in composition. The pool reverberated thoughts in my soul.
"What do you want?"
I thought about the question honestly. I ran it over and over in my mind. Sure I wanted to be an elemental but most of all. I wanted to live far beyond my passing. To make my mark on the world knowing I did something to make it better. After all, isn't that what we're all supposed to do. So I finally made my answer.
"I want to create."
The metal twisted and warped until it wrapped around me. Possibilities of thousands of constructs filled my mind. I finally found strength in my body as I stood up and the ground pulsed with untapped potential. I knew what to do.
"Metallic Style: Shrapnel Storm!"
The minerals in the earth swirled around me at a freighting velocity until a tornado of metallic shrapnel that pierces the golem's chest! With the weakest spot completely pierced the golem fell to the ground in large pieces. I heaved and hoed as I stood in victory over my first great challenge with everyone watching looking in a mix of disbelief, shock, and intrigue. The simulation then ended, and the top 10 shown on the screen. All the people I interacted with made the Top 10 on the scoreboard. By the time tomorrow came, I was the most popular guy in school. People were congratulating me, and the girls gave me their number. Honestly, I was happier than ever. For so long I've been grasping at straws trying to be more like him, but now I feel closer to him than ever. I head to my dorm ready to sleep: excited for the possibilities that I could bring.