Greetings or salutations dear reader, my name is Ruwa (aqua in Hausa) Suds, but over my long life, I was eventually known to Terra as Guru Drippy, and one did not get such a nickname by sitting idle. As I sat there reviewing the documents I've made on hundreds of students, I agonized over who was to proceed, who would end up helping the most people over this terrible war of ours. And as I sit amid my solitude, I quickly sensed something odd in passing. I promptly sighed at was about to come as in seconds, my door explodes into dust upon my nosy partner: Basa, in her pajamas.
"And good morning to you Basa, what brings you to barge into my quarters?" I said, passive-aggressively.
Despite my expertise, I was far better as a scientist than a teacher. So when Nemesis assigned me with Basa, I was relieved that I was going to meet a teacher of such praise. I was... surprised at her approach; some days, her passion is much appreciated right now, not so much. However, I quickly started to worry as for once; her wild passion was replaced with grim and stressful work.
"Basa, what's wrong?"
All she did was give me a black archive in a weak gesture.
"It's for you. He said he wouldn't speak to anyone else."
In an instant, my silent peace and sudden excitement turned into an unstable tension. With every plan I had built of these past few days crumbling all around me, I answered the call. A distorted voice crackled in my ear as the voice made his claim.
"Hello, Guru Drippy considering this is a displeasing experience for both us; I'll be as clear as possible. This archive is programmed with a location of my choosing, come they immediately unarmed and without help. If I sense even a single person other than you, I have 20 specialists here all rigged to blow, but if you follow my commands, by mid-morning, they will be safe."
"How do I know that you didn't just kill them," I say even though I knew the truth all too well.
Upon my question, I suddenly hear a dozen desperate screams, and as they silenced as soon, they started, the call ended with a chilling line.
"I promise you, I'll make it painless," the voice said as it hangs up.
Panic infected my mind like a parasite, fear inflamed blood into my rabid heart, and an all-encompassing frustration rattled my bones. I was supposed to keep them safe; I was supposed to have this all handled. But it seemed like in the end I was still the same old man I was all those years ago — the same man who grew up in the Water province getting by from scrap to scrap. I never knew who my parents were. All I did know was that making mistakes would cost me greatly. Though ironically, when you have so little to live with, it can make you appreciative of what you've got.
I trained my mind, body, spirit, and element day after day for hours at a time. I scrounge up any education I could get and joined the ranks of the specialist to make a better life for me and me alone. I took this job as a way to make sure that the next generation would never have to work as hard as I, but it seems that I couldn't keep my promise. So with lives on the line and time of the essence, I made my peace.
"Basa, call the police and paramedics, this shouldn't take long," I said.
I tried walking away, but I'm defiance she grabbed my shoulder.
"He has my son Drippy; I can't just stand by and let him have you as well."
" I understand Basa, and if you trust me, I promise you that I'd you stay here, for now, he will return safe and sound."
With the argument settled, I quickly made the preparations as I headed out to meet my destiny. The gusty mid-February air kept my mind sharp as each step was harder than the last. When I finally reached my destination, I was in a dull rocky expanse that was in a slight incline covered in grass that had long, some been dead and dried. Above the hill upon the rising sun, I finally saw my opponent in all of his glory. Like I said before, I didn't get such a nickname by sitting idle, I've honestly lost count on how many enemies I've made along the way. For Eridani in particular, I thought that the random assassination of other specialists were simple rumors, but his existence proves that I was wrong. With his glowing amulet and golden eyes, we stared each other down. And in this staredown, I caught a glance at a deadman switch while he threw something at me. I caught it on instinct, and I realized that it was as expected, were mana cuffs.
As he walked down the hill to greet me face to face as I put on the cuffs. In place of mana, all I felt was an overwhelming gravity from him. Like the entire world was being drawn into him. With his presence undisputedly known, the man gave his proclamation.
"It is truly an honor to meet you, Guru, I wish it would be on better circumstances, but I have my orders."
"Frankly, I wish we never met at all. And something tells me your going to regret pulling this stunt at all. Where are the hostages?"
"They're safe, unlike you in your current predicament but to further show signs of life. Mana transfer."
Suddenly Eridani grabbed my arm, and suddenly, I felt a surge of mana. It was slightly painful with the cuffs, but I got used to it and sensed about 20 signatures trapped in a cave somewhere. With my mind put at ease, I accept my fate.
"It seems you are a man of your word, but will it be as peaceful as you say?"
"As peaceful as I can make it," he says in sadness.
And then in a sudden move, he lifted his hand and fired a clean, headshot. As everything just stops — my life sunk into the ground below, with all my senses fading away. And just when I think an eternity had passed, I woke up with a sudden shock!
And with the trembling of vigorous life, I realized that my foolish plan had worked marvelously. Using my superb mana control, I created the ultimate bluff. While Eridani split his attention on any potential attackers, I used sleight of hand to distract him with my aura as I used all the concentration I could muster to keep my various jugs hidden for as far away. And when handed me the cuffs, I decided to use the only source of water I can sneak in, my mouth. With the cuffs disabled, all it would take was a timely augmentation to the head and a risky suppression, and all I was left with was a piercing headache.
Though even with the chill of death and dizzying pain, I couldn't rest any with the hostages still in danger. I pushed past the pain I readied my ammunition and prepared for battle. With almost 16 gallons of water, I used them to generate a spinning platform of water under my feet, otherwise known as my infamous Slippad. With rapid speed, I quickly closed in on Eridani as he ran with the momentum of a train. And when I finally got within range, I morphed my torrential pad and morphed into a hydro bullet that stops his charge dead in his tracks! Eridani tumbled across the plain like a rolling stone, but he quickly recovered from the attack as if nothing happened. Though the attack was still very much a success as all too well, he realized that the attack wasn't aimed for him: it was the detonator he carried. With Eridani cornered, and my bonds free, I quickly collected the dispersed water and ready myself for the fight of not only my life but the lives of so many others.
"Little known fact, I've always been a man who pays his dues, and I promise to honor your peaceful end with one of my own. And it won't be a peaceful one," I say with intimidation.
Though Eridani simply gave me a slight smile and chuckled in return as a mounting pressure started to accumulate rapidly with a fighting stance.
"That's all I ever wanted Drippy, no words, no schemes, no cheating just two animals in a fight to the death. So fight with all you have, I would hate to be disappointed!"
With his pressure reaching his peak, the bloodlust brawler launched a volley of beams filled with pure mana! Each barely dodged blast felt like a shake of thunder, but that pales in comparison to a blitzing Eridani who hit with force of a wrecking ball! If I hadn't used a well prepared hydro bullet to buffer us, I would've broken both my arms easily. As I tumbled across the ground far from any nearby water, I was left defenseless as Eridani again rocketed towards me with an unrivaled momentum! Getting desperate, I summon the moisture I can and aim only a small handful of water right in the eyes! With the brief opportunity, I flipped over the distracted enemy and made a b line straight to my precious ammunition.
And immediately I saw that I had put myself at a severe disadvantage. This wide-open plain had not only been a great location for stopping surprise attacks but also a way to put me out of my element, literally. Upon touching the ground, I created another Slippad for myself as Eridani took flight once again. With almost no time at all, I lift the pad into a shield that blocks a spin kick that forces me back. I thought that I could at least find a counterattack, but unfortunately, he didn't let up as he launched himself into the air and promptly crashed right into my pad! The ground split open at the sheer force of the blow as Eridanit kept up the barrage, each thundering hit more powerful than the last. A small crater started to form as Terra itself shook, and my stamina started to fail. Soon enough, I was reduced to nothing more than a defeated man with only a puddle to his name. As I laid there exhausted, Erridani raised another heavy fist this time crackled in a dense white ball of lighting, and as his amulet glowed all the more intense. Like it was daring me to strike it.
"It's a shame, really; I guess my quest continues. Goodbye, Drippy."
I didn't know whether or not it was desperation or determination at work, but in his moment of weakness, I took the water in front of me and turned into another one of my techniques: the Raging Rapids Rapier! With wild ferocity, the water formed into the shape of a blade that I aim straight for the neck! But even that didn't close the gap as by the skin of his teeth; he managed to circle with only a small cut on his neck and tried with all his might to continue the attack! But with adrenaline pounding, I managed to parry the mighty strike that leveled everything in its wake! But I don't even hesitate for a moment as once again, I condensed the spear into my hydro bullet once again and pour all my power into it! Torrential might meets steel like aura in a powerful clash. Upon contact, it nearly exploded, but I kept up the pressure with all the concentration I could muster as the amulet shone like a birthing star! The collective force of our blows took their toll in the form of a blast that separates us both! As we both laid heaving against the winter air, Eridani gave a bone-chilling laugh that made my stressed body all the worst.
"I was worried that you wouldn't be a challenge, but it seems you exceeded my expectations and then some Drippy. I haven't felt this alive in quite a while."
"Glad I could help, but you won't be feeling much of anything when I am done with you," I say, trying to convince myself more than anything.
"I like that spirit, but let's see how deep that spirit goes," he said, raising a hand that glowed with a ball of while light.
Once again, venomous panic once again grasps my throat is all I could think of was humiliating defeat as I laid there powerless. Too powerless to once again collect the scattered water, too powerless save anyone much less move as my death stared me right in the face. But as soon as I thought that I had finally met my end, the beam was suddenly answered by a spinning wall of force! As the beam dispersed harmlessly, the wall revealed to be Basa as I've never seen her before. She was armed not only with every weapon she could carry but also a deadly visage. She didn't take her eyes off her opponent for even a second as I finally regained my bearings.
"I thought I told you to stay by and call the authorities! It's too dangerous here," I said.
"You told me to call the authorities and wait for now, and that time has passed. And I told you that I wasn't going to let some bozo kill my friend. I'm sticking by you whether you like it or not," Basa said, completely ignoring his claims.
The words struck a tight chord within my heart; friends came very few and far in between in my life. And I never thought that we had reached such a stage where we could call ourselves such a title. And with the sudden lifting of the spirits I had never felt before, my fear turned into hope as I got back up to face our opponents. Our mana harmonized together in a resounding melody as Eridani maintained his presence.
"I usually don't like interruptions, but if your here to fight, then the more, the merrier."
"And we are about to demonstrate why that will be a statement you're going to regret."
If my fight with Brandon's team proved anything, I tend not to handle stress very well. Shit, half the reason I even became a specialist in the first place was to make sure that I would never take any hits from the Terra and became a teacher to pass that along to everyone else I have ever met. So when I saw that my son was in danger and that one of my friends was marching to his death. I did what any sane and rational human being would do and grabbed every weapon I could muster while the authorities came to clean up the mess. I only pray to Terra that history doesn't replace itself once again.
And now that I'm here, I can say that for once, my instincts were right. This man was a monster in every sense of the word. Each missed swing felt like a boulder as in unison me, and Drippy dodged each hit while talking strategy.
"So, Drippy, what the deal with this a-hole?"
"Well, besides having all that mana stored in that damn amulet of his, I'd say he can give you a run for his money in terms of strength and is almost indestructible. Oh yeah, and he has lasers."
"Got any ideas then?"
"Give me 5 to 6 minutes, and I might have something that can do the trick."
"Consider it done," I say in a sadistic smile.
As Drippy backed away: I finally let the beast out. With predatory rage, I quickly closed in on my opponent and unleashed a raging Deflector Claw. My best defense turns into a violent offense as Eridani is forced back wholly unaffected. And utterly oblivious to the set of grenades that I planted on him. A column of wild flame enveloped the area in a thick black smoke. I thought that would at least do something but then I quickly realized that he had no mana to sense. I promptly pull out twins shields as the toxic smoke choked my eyes and nose. And with only a split second to react I a combination of a forceful punch and my shell guard collide to make a quake that shook my bones! We soon engaged in a slugfest that was completely stalemated. But with my smaller size I was able to get the drop on him with a Joey dropkick to the head! But he recovered too well as he grabbed my legs and proceeded to slam me into the ground again and again!
Dirt and sound cake my eyes and mouth as I'm barely able to escape with a timely chop to the arms. As I'm thrown aside, rough landing makes me drop most of my weapons. I try to regain my composure, but the signs started to show all too soon. Too bad that my split focus turned dangerous as a wave of force crumbles my shields like glass. I then felt a mounting pressure suddenly the opponent said.
With immense propulsion, Eridani managed to blitz me in an iron grip and promptly delivered earth-shaking slam! Though I couldn't fully appreciate the pain as I suddenly see a glowing fist above as he said.
And after that, all I felt was a bright light and a sickening thump. Next thing I know, I was being held by my enemy. I tried getting my body to move, but it was like I was put on the passenger seat. But as I looked at the face of the man who hunted my son down like a dog, tied him up, threatened his life, I finally snapped like all those years ago. Back when I was still young and foolish, I took every fight and beat every crook I could find. Too bad, I got what I wanted all to well as I tracked down a rogue serial killer by the name of Scald. Our fight was long and hard, but in my overconfidence, I took a stab in the side and a broken leg. And as I laid at his feet completely helpless, he reveled in every second of my sorrow but when he threatened to kill an innocent bystander who was in the way. And as soon as he raised his hand, I broke my limit and committed the taboo of every person who wielded the spirit element and tapped into the venomous Berserker Soul. I never knew what exactly happened; all I knew was that I was in the hospital saved from the verge of death.
I tried moving on after the incident and going back to business, but the cost of victory was one almost too much to bear. My right leg never fully recovered, and what little hope of fertility I had gone down the drain. On top of all, while I never knew what exactly, I could still hear it loud and clear. Soon enough, I retired from the life of specialists and instead became a teacher, using every method of mediation trying to conserve my power and calm a beast I hoped I would never awaken again. Too bad that proved fruitless as my eyes turned scarlet red as the pain I felt vanished in an instant. A mindless rage possessed my very being like a wild blue aura in a start I unleash a hypersonic whale right on his eardrums at full power! The sound of thunder felt like a whisper as the sheer force knocks us both away! Luckily the jolt was just I needed to use every vestige of will power I had left to keep myself at bay as Guru Drippy finally had his technique ready. As I struggled with the beast inside, I saw a spinning mass of water wrap around the bastard's aura as Drippy made his ultimatum.
"I can keep my whirlpool canon up for hours, Eridani! Can you say the same? Surrender now or else you want to drown," he said with a stern presence.
However, wordlessly, Eridani didn't give up as suddenly his amulet glowed with a tempting light his aura took the glow of a white star as the aura expanded at a terrifying rate until Drippy's prison exploded in a violent wave that was ripping the ground apart and headed straight for Drippy! With no time to waste, I gave into the beast once more and tapped into the most primal of urges as the next thing I know; I'm right in front of him. As I used years of rigorous meditation to good use in an attack focused, all of the power of King Leo Grand slash into a single point at a single target.
"Wildstyle: Pouncing Chimera!"
With unparalleled precision, a blast of force cuts through the wave, and it's Eridani's amulet dead center! But I didn't stop there as I gave Drippy a last-second command.
"Drippy, get him!"
And in fluid synchronicity, Drippy used the last of his strength to jump in front of my leg as I launched him straight at Eridani! And with our victory assured, my boy finally paid a final price as I fainted into unconsciousness.
With Basa's final support, I rocketed towards Eridani with both rage and determination as the weakened man still held up his hands to block my punch! But all went according to plan as I used what little water I had left to unleash my final move: Slipstream! The water I held in between my hands and through his block as the water propelled from me and hit Eridani knocking him out! And with the battle finally done, I laid at my feet too exhausted to move as over the horizon, a host of paramedics and specialists from all around came to take control as I finally rested.
When I decided to get myself into this war, my greatest fear was never precisely dying, but the thought that in the line of duty, I would be useless. And it turns out that fear became all too real in a single day. Every hour I spent at the mercy of Eridani was like torture, but I don't think that was nothing compared to when I saw Basa when I got out of that cave. With her bloodied face and motionless body, I saw that in the end that Basa was right; I didn't have what it takes to be a specialist. For days straight, I stayed in that hospital room as doctors and past students came and went. And despite my multiple assurances, my friends, and even Drippy waited every single second. And when Basa finally came to and called our names. And the words she said that day was one that I carried to this very day.
"Brandon, I'm going to be fine, it's probably going to be a giant pain in the ass, but I'm not going to let you stay for even a second of it."
"But what about what you-"
"Forget what I said, that was hormonal helicopter Basa, this is mentor/mother, Basa. I couldn't protect you from the war, no matter what condition I was in. And I honestly couldn't believe that it took me so long to realize such a thing. But I've seen you grow from a boy into the man that I always knew you could be. And even if I can't wait to see you become that, then you shouldn't have to either."
Her passionate words carried more strength than I could ever wield in my entire life. And as I smiled through my rampant tears, I said a painful goodbye and lived to take another step on my grand journey.