It may have only been a short time since this journey of mine began, but looking back on who I was and who I am now, it's almost like night and day. But I think the one thing that has changed the least over this period has been that of acceptance. It was never easy, feeling different from everyone else and hiding my heritage from the world and suffering the pain of lost time and time again. In many ways, that was probably the reason why I spent so much of my life alone and why I was able to, in many ways, use it to my advantage.
With every failure on my journey, I got even stronger. From Zero, I learned the greatest attributes of both a specialist and a team, from Beterano how to access the power of metal, Drippy how to make the most of what I have and from Eridani the tough calls that leadership demands. But even still for someone like me defeats still stung, and it was only a matter of time before it took a step too far.
I wake up instantly, ready to start round 2, but in return, my body only tenses in pain, almost like a reminder of our defeat at the hands of the not Deon. Even still, I kept pushing through as I took notice of the new surroundings. It was a short and contained fight, but in it, we were able to destroy a fire hydrant, a couple of speedsters, and even part of the pebbled street. Another mix of good and evil was the fact that while there were a couple of police cars that were wrecked, the nearby specialists on the scene were already taking care of things as paramedics arrived. But I disregard all of that once my body was able to move again just enough to find the others and do a status report. We all had a couple of scrapes and bruises but nothing serious. And with that last bit of reassurance, I assumed command.
"Then, if you are all still in fighting shape, then let's get moving; we're leaving in 5," I said as I focused my anger on the task ahead.
"I want to get this ... not Deon more than anyone, but wouldn't it be better if we wait for the other specialists and regroup? Give us a better chance," Mai said in worry.
"For once, calling for backup might be a bad idea; what we fought was Deon, but what I felt was something completely different. Whatever it was, it felt experienced and deadly, combining all that with Deon's wealth and stopping to regroup could waste time that we need," Lunaire said openly.
"Besides this entire place is filled with specialists in their cooldowns if they see Deon they could get kill him and bring him in for a crime he never committed. Plus, if this guy has both his memories with his experience, maybe making the rational choice could be exactly the element we need. Either way, one thing is clear, " I said as my hands start to heat up at the very thought, "We are going to get Deon back, and that bastard is going to pay."
Rivers of smoke and darkness wrapped around my entire mindscape until all at once, I became a witness to a story that wasn't my own. The science focuses on a peaceful town like any other. But that peace was soon interrupted with the appearance of a dark-skinned, black-haired man in a formal black and white suit who ran as if his life was in danger. Using the earth element, he surfed across the pavement and buildings at impressive speeds, not even caring for the various people he hurt along the way. Worse yet, he also fired blindly across the town like he was expecting to hit something. Though I think I already knew what that something was as a feeling of jubilant nostalgia washed over in tandem with two undetectable shots sends him spiraling into a back alley. Upon impact, his weapon spun out of his hand. In utter desperation, fear, and anger, he tried to equip himself, but once again, the force intervened by crushing the gun to pieces. Rage started to rise out of the man like a volcano signified in the form began to turn the nearby pavement around into armor. During the transformation, he screamed out.
"Betraying us is going to be a mistake. You aren't going to live to regret you bastard!"
But the statement siding has a lot of weight as in seconds; he was attacked by a barrage of unknown slashes that left him bleeding on the floor. With the threat over the mysterious figure finally made his presence known. A veil of light started to dissipate, revealing a man of curly dirty blonde hair and warm brown eyes. Despite his cocky smile, he had a well-toned figure and was armed with twin daggers and blasters that looked like they could go off at any moment. In his casual jacket and khakis, he stared down against his opponent and said.
"No, your only mistake was ever letting me into your little club in the first place," he said as the police started to close in on the captured criminal.
After that, even it became almost like a montage, the man's name soon became known as Alahian (invisible in Yoruba), a blacklist specialist that used both light and wind to become infamous for his ability to pull deep cover operations and uncover the hidden truths of Terra's underworld. Recently he was able to pull off a string of nigh-impossible cases to peel back the defenses of one of the most elusive crime lords in Terra history. A mysterious figure who only referred to himself as the Don knew in legend as a man who not even the Lord Granius or Elementals could extinguish at the height of their campaigns. But to Alahian, the operation was merely another trivial matter next to his real concern. His entire life leads up to that moment, the moment where he would finally be able to see his father with his own two eyes.
His mother, a woman from the wind province, forbade the union with every fiber of her being, but that meant absolutely nothing to a man like Alahain. After a lifetime of living with men that were doomed to disappoint, it was finally time to rebuild a make the family he always knew could happen. And with that last case finished, he now had just enough time to greet him properly.
One last time he compiled all the info he had, bought the fanciest suit he could afford, and prepared for the small margin of failure as he went to greet his father. The science then shifted to see Ahilian in a light province high rise that was impressively retro as my eyes focused on seeing one of the most powerful men in the world. While Apalla, the light elemental, had guarded over how the world had seen the light province, her second in command when it came to internal affairs for over 20 years has always been Sir Gabriel. While he was in his late 60'sright now, he still seemed to be only in his early 40's here. Though even then, I saw a small resemblance. Gabriel matched Alihan's hair and faced well enough. Regardless Gabriel gave a look of deep thought at the tense young specialist as he answered his desperate question.
"Gail and I always had a... special connection. Despite what most of my peers, I always felt that the light province needed to be more proactive in its relations with others. Your mother was one of the first of my program to give people from lower-income neighborhoods a chance to work for a better life. One thing led to another, and I found myself hiding around my house with her making sure that we wouldn't get caught by anyone. I didn't realize how serious we were until she asked me one day to marry her. And when I didn't give her the right answer that day, she disappeared without a trace. I always thought that there was something that gnawed at me that day; it's probably the same feeling that brought you here to me."
Alihan nodded in excitement as he said, "You hit the nail on the head, sir, and I didn't want to cause you any trouble, wreck your life or even get your money, but you're the closest lead I've had in years. All I want to do is bring back the pieces and have someone to talk to, and if the test fails, you'll never see me again."
In silence, the man agreed, and once again, the scene shifts as like a fast forward, I find myself seeing that tests were indeed true and that Gabriel was the father. And at the epicenter of such a revelation, I bared witness to Alihan's journey to bring back all the pieces. The two grew closer with every talk but still kept their relationship a secret from prying eyes, not wanting the enemies of an up and coming politician and a blacklist specialist to close in. But bit by bit, they kept displaying more and more information until the entire field started to distort wildly just enough to see Gabriel's house once again though this time a distressed Alaihain covered in bruises and blood stepped into the home.
"Dad, are you in here! Listen, you got to go their some people after me, and they're going to come for you at any-gah!" he said as he suddenly got a shot to the chest!
A storm of chaotic thoughts attacked my mind as I see that Gabriel was at the end of the shaking energized blaster. With a steely look of regret and anger, he delivered the words that shook my very core.
"Damn you, dam you for making me do this, you impure bastard child! You should have listened to your ungrateful retard of a mother and leave me alone!"
Aliahan's shock once again took over, utterly speechless at the shock of such a betrayal. Gabriel, in his frantic raving, continued.
"Worst of all, not only did you have to be my son, a sad fact that would turn all I worked for into a joke, but you also had to be the biggest threat that my employer has ever seen. And now you leave it to me to pick up all of the pieces. Are you happy now you half breed blow-."
He never even got a chance to finish as Gabriel, in his cowardly convincing, had underestimated his son. Despite his casual appearance, the young man learned in his years of hiding in the dark, long ago, he learned not only how to fade from sight but also emotion. A draining coldness enveloped the man as in an instant, he used a blast of wind to take control of the gun and slam Gabriel into the opposite wall! He didn't give it a second thought, as, in all his earnestness, he fired! Yet it was all in vain, as the shot was blocked by several henchmen that had made their way. And even though Alhailan fought with all his might, he still couldn't beat them all, succumbing to injury.
What happened next was almost too much to stomach as through a cocktail of lies and greed linked the hurt man to a bunch of loosely connected crimes that all ranged from drug trafficking to outright murder. Combined that with Gabriel's account and the young man was sentenced to the greatest punishment imaginable. Once again, the scene shifts with such clarity that I almost thought I was the one in danger as I stood in shackles in a black room with ten large seats in a dark conference room. The ten Elementals obscured in shadow looked at me in disdain, as I laid otherly defeated. Lord Geaea was the only one who spoke in his white gown, embroidered in brown accents and symbols.
"We have reviewed your actions, Alihain, and we have now passed the judgment that your sins on this earth will be paid a thousandfold in the Forbidden Realm. May Terra have mercy on your soul as you find some repentance in this hell beyond hells."
The 10 Elementals then started to all flare up their unrivaled mana as in response, their robes started to glow like a black scroll with violet letters starts to materialize in an ebony aura. The aura started to grow stronger and stronger in its crippling intensity until, in an instant, the violet lighting couldn't be contained any longer as it strikes me in all its fury! In its forceful intensity, I felt as though my body was being pulled in a thousand different directions, but using my ability, I hide away all the pain until, in an instant, the scene shifts to reveal my new surroundings.
Though I couldn't see them so much as feel them as all at once, my body felt thousands of contradictions at once. Searing pain and freezing blisters, bone-rattling quakes, and toxic air turned my body into the verge of breaking. I didn't know whether or not I spent seconds or decades, but like so many other roles, I adapted and survived amongst the other inmates that could only writhe in agony. With absolutely no escape or no hope, I trudged across the landscape the seemingly endless realm that was filled with small planetoids and wispy skies. And as I saw sights that I knew I could never forget, the scene once again shifts to the epicenter of a grand conflict. Even to this day, Alihian was still confused over the entire event, instead only seeing a large bright ball of golden energy amongst the center of the realm. I pulsing resonance the ball grew stronger by the second as if it was battling against the world itself until in final push, the ball started to grow more unstable until in one final push the ball swirled into a deadly cocktail of gold and black light that soon spread across the realm.
In natural fear, Aliahain tried to escape the growing explosion as it ripped across the entire realm. But in the end, he couldn't escape, instead once again trying to resist the chaotic energy! With every fiber of his being, he resisted the pull but try as he might the struggle still took its toll, turning the once proud and talented specialist into nothing more than a nameless soul amongst the many others that were subject to the epicenter of the portal. But even without a body, the man still held on to his only goal and the only role he has ever known: survival. And as the smoke and shadow started to fade away to the ruined cityscape, that was my mind; I was left with one last desperate question.
"If you were a good man once, if you know what it's like to have unfair pass judgment on another, why in Terra's name have you chosen me as your victim!?"
"Because Deon," the man said as his body started turning into the man that he once was, "If I learned you'd learned anything from knowing my story, is that the only way to survive, is to use every tool at your disposal to survive and that is all you are Deon, a tool. That is what your family saw, that is what the Elementals saw, and that is what I see, another tool amongst the many others I'll use to ascend even higher until no man in Terra ever escapes my grasp. Now, lie back, little specialists follow my example and accept your fate."
And as his soul-chilling words reverberated what was left of my soul, the black tendrils started to grow even fatter and drill even further into my body. I tried with little resistance I had to fight, but instead, all I could feel was the same hopelessness he could feel because, in essence, Alahain was right; my light was never my very own, to begin with. It was silly of me even to think that a man such could ever find a purpose in a life that wasn't even his own. And as my pitiful light was on the verge of being swallowed, a very different light started to appear, amongst a sea of voices.