“I would like to ask: Why exactly did you initiate a battle with, Monica Teske?”
Alexander chucked, shrugging at Rizzo’s question. “I don’t know? Maybe it’s cause I’m tired of people trying to kiss your ass?”
“She’s a fresh graduate—surely someone who should not have to deal with this.” Rizzo sighed.
Monica glanced up and looked around Alexander to see Rizzo. “Sir…”
“...It’s pathetic of her.”
Her eyes widened at Rizzo’s statement.
“Honestly, though—since it’s you—I can see why this is the outcome. It’s sad, Alexander. You have such tremendous power, yet you’re stubborn. With our strength combined, we could easily secure Requiem for ourselves. Perhaps even move on to claiming other countries?”
“For fuck’s sake. Ya really still thinking about becoming a king or some shit?”
“The Ouderkirks are gone, Alexander. For almost a century now, Requiem has moved onto a system similar to the United States. It might work at the moment, but do you think it will last? This country will fall into ruin, especially with Phantonics as a key staple in our economy.”
“Didn’t this damned country almost get ruined when the Ouderkirks ruled the place anyway? I don’t see how ya intend to reinstall that kind of bullshit government again.”
“It should not have. There were outside factors that caused the fall of the family. Which is why I want to give it a second chance. But you misunderstand, Alexander. I don’t want to become king—that title is not mine to take. I would settle for the President’s seat if it meant I could revive the Ouderkirks once more.”
Alexander glared at Rizzo. “I figured… That’s why you’re manipulating him, after all.”
“Manipulating is such a harsh word. I’m guiding Trevor down the path that he deserves to take. If it were not for his fool of a father, his blood would still be pure. It’s not his fault—so I want to aid him.”
“Have ya ever considered that maybe the dumbass doesn’t want to become king?”
“Alexander—you don’t get it, as you don’t care for the concept of glory. When offered to you on a silver platter, one usually does not hesitate to claim it. Take that woman behind you, for example. She’s worked hard to have her Past to Present Ability be useful to me. She respects my power, and she simply wants to be rewarded for her efforts.”
Rizzo folded his arms behind his back, beginning to stroll around the area. “I admit, Monica. Under normal circumstances, you using your power would be quite handy in catching people who defy Unity’s rules. However—with the technology we have prepared—it’s not really needed.”
Alexander’s eyes widened. “Rizzo… don’t tell me you’re talking about—”
“I am. A good portion of phantonic technology developed over the last few decades has been kept confidential by Unity. You’re certainly aware of that fact.” Rizzo pointed at his head. “Recently, I’ve been informed about something quite interesting. Therefore, I’ve decided to begin rolling out that secret technology—for Unity’s sake.”
“You’re that afraid of whatever the hell you’re talking about!?”
“Not me, personally, as I’m not too familiar at how it works. My informant doesn’t even know how, yet they’re quite curious, and don’t want to take any chances.”
“Informant…?” Alexander stepped forward, a look of fear on his face. “Rizzo—who the hell are ya talking about!?”
“That does not concern you—although they have mentioned they’ve taken quite the interest in yourself. I’m sure they’ll approach you when the time comes. But anyway—Alexander. This is good news for you. We can officially abolish a portion of our pact.”
“As we’ll need loads of manpower to get this technology up and running, your sister Laura is going to become quite valuable. Honestly—you should pay attention to her accomplishments. She’s been doing quite splendidly recently. Without your help, she’s gained enough value for me to keep her. Do you understand what I’m saying, Alexander? You no longer need to worry about her well-being! She’ll be safe working for me!”
Alexander was furious. He was clenching his fist hard enough that he was surprised he was not shattering any of his bones.
“Oh? What’s the matter? Isn’t that good news? You no longer need to run errands for me in the Blue World—you’re completely free. Well, until I stop you, of course.” Rizzo chuckled. “The technology we’ll use can correct the issues with the Nexus Network. I do thank you for your efforts, however. They certainly helped us figure out how to correct the problem.”
Meanwhile, Emma had joined up with Roy and Roger. She was trying to push the two of them back away from the discussion happening in the street.
“This atmosphere’s too tense right now. If those two start a conflict, we need to get out of here.”
“Huh? How come?” Roy asked her.
“That’s Elliot Rizzo, the Leader of Unity. Along with Alexander right there, we’re looking at the two strongest Ability users in all of Requiem!”
Roy did not say anything. He walked up to the building and sat up against the wall.
“All right. I’m just gonna sit here. I’ve had enough for today.”
“Didn't you hear me!? I said we would have to get out of here!”
“Eh, it’s okay. I’m sure those two wouldn’t deliberately want to hurt us.”
“Roy…” Roger leaned in front of him, glaring into his eyes. “You do realize that guy just destroyed that woman’s arms without any hesitation, right?”
Roy shrugged. “It’s all gooooooood! No worries here!”
“I’ve seen this before—” Emma approached the boy, who looked as though he was about to cry. “He’s in complete denial of the danger he’s in.”
“N-No I’m not…” Tears began to fall from Roy’s eyes.
Emma sighed, facing back to the two in the road.
Alexander had been looking at the ground, not saying a word.
“Alexander? What’s the matter?”
“Rizzo…” Alexander took a deep breath. “Ya really have dug your own grave, ya know that?”
“Oh?” Rizzo chuckled. “And why is that?”
“First of all, if what you say is true, then my sister won’t be harmed no matter what I do.”
“That’s correct. I give you my word. Not out of respect for you, though. Simply out of respect for her hard work—”
“Also—I know what Laura’s dream is.” Alexander glared up at the man towering above him. “She wants to work with phantonic technology—yes. It’s not the kind you want her to help with, though.”
Alexander’s body began to glow, Psycho Matter enveloping him. “She wants to help people. People who have been hurt—” He glanced over at Emma, who had been listening to the two of them. “She wants to take the technology used for that Miracle Girl there and make it work for everyone who’s been fucked up by something!”
Emma’s eyes widened, hearing Alexander’s words.
Rizzo smirked. “And what makes you think working for me would hinder that—”
“I know how that shit works. They may both have similar basics, but they’re both completely separate fields of phantonic technology. It would drive her off the path she’s worked so hard to get on!”
Rizzo began to laugh. “Honestly, Alexander… the way you’re speaking… it makes me wonder…” He moved right into Alexander’s face.
“How you honestly thought the two of you could ever do what you wanted?”
And with those words, Alexander snapped.
Psycho Matter erupted from Alexander—his screams amplifying the shock waves that catapulted Rizzo straight through the woods and into the field north of Prelude.
The pressure shattered the windows on the police station, knocking over everyone who stood near. Emma grabbed hold of Roy and Roger.
“See!? I told you—We've gotta get out of here!”
“Well—look, Emma.” Roger pointed at Alexander, who leaped toward where he had sent Rizzo. “We’ll be okay if they’re out of tow—”
“No, we won’t be! Get inside!”
“Emma?” Before Roger could question her any more, she had shoved the two of them through the shattered doors and into the building.
Rizzo stood from the crater that had formed upon his impact. He threw his torn up coat onto the ground, brushing off dirt from his body. Glancing up, he saw Alexander honing on him quickly, wings fully formed. He sighed.
“It’s been a while since I had to teach you a lesson, Alexander—”
Alexander sent a wing downward at Rizzo as if it was a large, sharp blade. Rizzo raised his fist at the attack, and with an instantaneous movement, he shattered the wing with his punch.
“DON’T FUCK WITH ME!!!!!” Alexander formed over a dozen wings sprouting out of his back. Swinging his arms, he sent each one at Rizzo with lightning speed. Rizzo countered the wings—knocking each of them away with swift and powerful blows. The collision caused a massive amount of air to rise, blowing Alexander upward toward the sky.
“Come on, Alexander. Please tell me you’ve improved more than that?” Rizzo shouted at the boy.
Alexander gritted his teeth in absolute fury. Reforming his wings, he motioned his hands toward the area above him.
From the clouds, bright pink objects began to descend. As they become visible, Rizzo realized that Alexander had created dozens of gigantic sword-like structures.
“EAT THIS, YOU GODDAMN SHITBAG!!!!!”
Alexander threw his hands downward, causing the blades to rapidly descend. Rizzo stared at the phenomenon as a literal storm of swords fell upon him. They slashed right through the ground, causing not only Prelude to shake but the entire country of Requiem.
Inside the police station, Emma covered Roy and Roger, who had started to climb down the stairs toward the basement. Roy stared up in horror at the tremendous quaking.
“Well—this is it. I’m dying a virgin.”
“You’re not gonna die. See—” Emma gestured toward the ceiling, as the shaking had calmed down.
“You were the one afraid of us getting caught up in all of this! Why are you so calm now!?”
“Because—I took that opportunity to slip into here. The Brown Suits are definitely preoccupied with the fight. Which means—we can make sure your boss is all right!”
“Is… is he down here?” Roy asked, reaching the bottom of the stairs.
“He should be. This is where we have our interrogation room. He’ll have the highest chance of being in there.”
Roger nodded. “All right—let’s go check!”
At Unity, Brandon awoke from his slumber, after his ordeal with Trevor. Faith and Winona were with him in the infirmary when the shaking occurred.
Brandon sighed. “Is that Trevor guy causing shit again?”
“No—” Faith stood up in a panic. “What is that!?”
Winona placed her hand on the floor, concentrating. As the shaking came to a stop, she opened her eyes.
“That… that came from the southwest… near Prelude.”
“What!? Emma!” Faith began to dash at the door, only to be stopped by Winona.
“Faith, calm down. We can’t just rush into things. Especially when we’re in the middle of orientation. Like hell they’d let us go.”
“Dammit!” Faith slammed her fist on the door. She took a few deep breaths, eventually turning around.
“If it’s something serious… Mom will handle it. Or… even Adam. If something were truly wrong, he wouldn’t standby.”
Brandon leaned up from the bed he was lying in. “Right. You can’t let emotions get the best of you when it comes to this stuff—ow!”
“Are you okay!?” Faith ran up to Brandon, holding him up.
“Yeah—just a little sore, like, all over.” He chuckled, attempting to hide the blush he knew he was making thanks to Faith pressing against him.
“I’m glad.” Faith gave Brandon a warm smile, causing him to become even more flustered.
“Let’s go see if they’re talking about it.” Winona gestured toward the door. “Brandon needs his rest.”
Faith nodded, following her out the door. Before she left, she turned back to Brandon.
“Not sure when the nurse will be back, but let us know if you need anything.” Faith grinned, carefully closing the door behind her.
Brandon sighed, lying on his back. He stared at the ceiling.
“Dammit… She’s still way too cute.”
Charlotte was holding Adam back, who had attempted to sprint toward Prelude after feeling the quake.
“Adam, calm down! Sheesh—it’s like you saw a guy looking flirtatiously a girl you like or something!”
“That’s… somewhat specific—but anyway—what’s happening over that way!? I can’t let anything happen to Prelude!”
“Relax.” Charlotte turned Adam around to face her, placing her hands on his shoulders. “Want me to go and check?” She pointed back toward Minuet. “I just got back from the hotel when you were throwing that hissy-fit.”
Muraco was a few feet away, holding a lasso in his hands that he formed from his scarf. “Freaking crazy humans…”
“Listen—the hotel’s fine. It seems like the manager checked out the damage and… didn’t care.” Charlotte shrugged.
“What!? How cheap is this hotel we’re staying at!?”
“The point is—we can head back in there. You two should get some rest.”
“Right… We need to figure out how to get through that barrier. We’re all going to go down there tomorrow to check it out. But right now—Charlotte—please…”
Charlotte placed her finger on Adam’s lips, nodding. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure everything's okay. Prelude… Prelude is my home now too, after all.”
Adam smiled softly. “You’re right—it is.”
Charlotte grabbed Adam’s hand, beckoning Muraco with the other. “Come on, let’s get you two back inside.”
Trees from the woods fell into the massive hole that had formed from Alexander’s attack, along with a small highway north of the field. Within seconds, he had completely changed the landscape into something that could only be described as apocalyptic.
Alexander slowly descended, panting heavily. Using his Psycho Matter, he had taken into account the people who had been driving on the highway, keeping them safe by enveloping the vehicles with his Ability, moving them to safety.
From the abyss beneath him, Rizzo leaped out, rocketing toward Alexander. His body was covered in slashes from the attack, yet he moved without issue.
“Wh-What the hell!?” Alexander prepared his wings for Rizzo’s counterattack, shaken by seeing the man come out of his onslaught so casually.
“This is the first time you’ve injured me like this, Alexander.” Rizzo’s fist collided with Alexander’s wing, knocking him back into the air several meters. Kicking downward, Rizzo’s strength propelled him upward at swift speeds. “Honestly—if you did not worry about the people back there—you might have finally done me in!”
Alexander screamed in a fiery rage, sending multiple wings toward Rizzo. Kicking at the air a second time, Rizzo swung his fist, tearing through the Psycho Matter that opposed him. Realizing that his wings did nothing, Alexander prepared his barrier as the Leader of Unity honed in on him.
With one final fist, Rizzo smashed right through, landing a direct blow on Alexander. The force sent the boy skyrocketing back into the town—tearing through what was left of the street they stood on a few moments prior.
Alexander came to a stop near Monica, who had situated herself on a lamp-post that had miraculously remained standing. As the dust cleared, she stared at the boy in terror—the very same boy who had just made quick work of her in his previous fight—now unconscious in the middle of the ruined asphalt.
Rizzo landed at the scene a few seconds later, stretching out his body— completely disregarding the damage it had taken.
“Such a pity, Alexander. You honestly tried so hard this time. I commend you for your efforts. Although, it’s time to take you back to Unity now. You’re like a child—you need a proper time-out.” He glanced over at Monica. “You as well, Teske. I’d like to hear everything that transpired here today.”
Monica did not say anything. She stood up, limping over to Rizzo.
“I see… Alexander did quite a lot of damage to you. No worries, we can fix you up back at Unity. Here—we can get there quickly if I carry you.”
With a blank expression, Monica fell into Rizzo’s arm as he grabbed hold of her. He walked over to Alexander, picking up his body and placing it in his other arm. Without speaking a word to any of the Brown Suits that had stood around, he leaped off the ground toward the direction of Nexus City.
As the wind blew against her, Monica took a quick glance at Alexander.
Although unconscious, it seemed as though tears were falling out of his closed eyelids.