The town Adam and Brandon lived in was known as Prelude, which was twenty miles southwest of Nexus City. It was a tiny, quiet place to live, with only around a thousand residents—about seventy percent of which were senior citizens who tended to stay indoors. The majority of the houses were designed using Victorian architecture as inspiration.
The two friends got off the train and exited the station on the west side of town. Although it was a calm, tranquil day, it had grown slightly muggy, making the heat annoying to deal with, especially in Adam’s case.
“Geh…” Adam looked as though he was about to pass out.
“Hey, man. Embrace the heat. Sometimes summer days are like this.” Brandon patted Adam on the shoulder.
“I usually stay inside with the air conditioner on. It didn’t cross my mind to check the weather.”
“Do you still want to walk?” Brandon asked while chuckling.
“Well, my house is on the other side of town, so I’m going to have to walk anyway.” Adam was pouting like a child.
“Hmm…” Brandon pondered.
“What is it?”
“You know, no matter how often I see you tired—which is a lot—I never see you breathing heavily, like back in gym class. You do exercise a decent amount with all the walks you take, but even still…”
“T-That’s… kinda strange that you notice something like that…”
“Hey, I’m trying to be serious here!” Brandon scowled.
“Well, in this world, who knows?” Adam shrugged. “I could have a Concept related to breathing? Should I try holding my breath? See how long I can go for?”
“N-No! I can’t let you do something like that!” Brandon shouted rather nervously.
“What’s wrong? It’s just—” It dawned on Adam as to why Brandon seemed so against the idea of simply seeing how long he could go without breathing. Although it’s an act that any common person had tried before—just for fun, or morbid “curiosity”—there was an issue with Adam doing so.
He would be causing harm to himself.
Despite being capable of taking a breath at any time, Adam could understand Brandon’s position. His friend’s reaction made sense, considering all that had happened.
“You don’t have to worry…”
Brandon glanced off to the side, calming himself down.
Two sisters stood shoulder to shoulder: Faith and Emma Roswell. The sun shimmered off their light brown hair; their eyes, matching the very same color, were focused ahead.
The person that stood opposite of them was their mother, Pamela Roswell. Her hands were placed firmly on her hips with a huge grin on her face.
The sisters were panting heavily, sweat dripping down their faces. Emma, having long hair as opposed to Faith’s bob cut, had to move her ponytail out of her face. It was clear that they were going through some rough training, and the heat did not help them. Pam, on the other hand, did not seem exhausted at all.
“All right, you two. You’re doing great. One more round before I start getting an early dinner ready.” Pam raised her hands up in the air and motioned for the two to come at her.
“We’re almost there… I’m so hungry.” Faith complained. She began to take a few steps toward her mother.
Emma sighed. “You’re always hungry.” She slowly followed Faith’s motions.
Faith let out a small chuckle. “But training…”
She dashed at her mother with almost inhuman speed, fist clenched.
“Makes me even more hungry!”
Pam blocked the punch with ease. “Your speed is good, but you’re attacking in very obvious—” Before Pam could finish, Faith grabbed hold of her mother’s arm.
Emma appeared behind Pam with the same speed Faith used. Emma started to swing her leg toward her mother. With tremendous force, however, Pam was able to throw Faith behind her, intercepting the kick and sending both of the sisters flying.
“That was a pretty basic combo. Yet, I’m impressed at how you two were able to coordinate that without speaking to each other.”
The sisters stood up in pain. Without a doubt, if the two tried to take on their mother in a serious fight, they would lose with ease. It was a glaring gap that was created with years of her experience.
Pam raised her arm slowly into the air. With the movement of her fingers, steam began to emit from her body. Faith looked down at her hands. Her expression turned into a somber one.
Emma stared in awe at her mother. “It’s always amazing, no matter how many times I see it.”
“My good old Concept: Steam.” Pam noticed her eldest daughter’s behavior. “Faith, honey?”
“I want to get to the point where I can use my Concept as easily as you can, but…” Faith’s body seemed to be shaking now. “It… It’s all right. This was something I’ve wanted to get over for a long time now. I think it was sort of a blessing that it ended up being this.”
Pam nodded. “That way of thinking works. Always turn the tables on things like this.”
Faith took a deep breath and slowly let the air out. “Can… Can I try it out, Mom?”
“Absolutely you can. Just take your time.” Pam breathed in as well, raising her arms up into the air; A lot more steam was now coming out of her body. “It’s a part of you, remember that.”
Faith put her hands together as if she was holding something within them. Closing her eyes, she continued to breathe in and breathe out. It was easy to tell that her breathing was unsteady, yet she continued to persist. A few moments later, a small flame began to form within her hands.
“There you go, Faith! You’re doing—”
Pam hushed Emma, preventing Faith from losing too much focus.
“Open your eyes, sweetie. Look at how beautiful your flame is.”
Faith did as she was told, opening her eyes gently. It was true, the small orange flame that she created was so calming and warm to simply look at. Faith was pleased with what she accomplished.
However, that did not last long: Staring into the flame for too long caused her breathing to suddenly pick up. Thoughts came rushing through her head almost instantly. She panicked and threw the fire out of her hands, which fell onto the ground. The flame quickly dissipated. Faith sat down, seemingly unable to stay standing up due to her shaking.
“Hey! Hey, Faith, it’s okay!” Emma grabbed her sister’s arm, trying to calm her down. Pam let out a small sigh, the steam coming out of her body disappearing.
“I… I know. It just sucks that I can’t help… that from coming into my mind.” Faith was able to calm down just as quickly as the event began. Pam walked over to her daughter and leaned over, placing her hand on her shoulder.
“We’ll get there. No need to feel rushed, okay?”
“Yeah, I haven’t even awakened my own Concept yet!” Emma gave Faith a thumbs up. “We’ve got time.”
“Thanks… I guess you’re right.” Faith let out a rather loud sigh. “I really do need to turn the tables on this, though, don’t I?”
Unknown to the family, Adam and Brandon had noticed their training session from the road as they were walking by. They decided to walk into the yard to check it out.
“Yo, Adam.” Emma completely ignored Brandon, who immediately became pissed at her, like a switch being flicked.
“Is… Is everything all right?” Adam asked her. Emma nodded.
“Yeah, just testing some stuff out.”
“Hey, Adam!” Pam greeted him. “We’re just testing out Faith’s power, nothing to be concerned about!”
Faith slowly looked up at him. “Yeah… The flame has grown to be really pretty.” She smiled at him, giving the impression that she was okay. Adam, knowing her his entire life, saw through this with ease.
Nevertheless, he smiled back at her. He held out his hand. “Here. I’ll help you up.”
Faith noticed his hand. This act triggered a sense of nostalgia within her—a certain memory seemed to make an attempt to rise to the surface, not quite making it out of the confines of her mind. She quickly stood up on her own, seemingly flustered.
“I-It’s okay! I’m good! Thank you, though.” Faith calmed down quickly and smiled back at him, this time sincerely. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, no prob...”
“How did your appointment go today?” Pam asked him.
“It went okay. Nothing too unusual to talk about. We’re just getting back from the city.”
“You guys still haven’t figured much out, huh?” Faith asked in a concerned tone.
Adam placed his hand on Faith’s shoulder. “Hey, don’t worry. We’ll get it figured out. Focus on what you’ve gotta focus on for the time being.”
Faith nodded slowly. “Right…”
Brandon was glancing over at Adam, stomping his foot, riled up about something. Emma turned toward him, “What’s your problem, idiot?”
He looked at Emma, turning his irritation toward her. “Hey, don’t call me an idiot. I’ll fight you.”
“And I’d kill you, idiot,” Emma responded. Brandon wanted to continue arguing, but he stopped. He knew she was right.
“Oh, well, you two are welcome to stay for dinner!” Pam suggested.
“Well, if you’re offering, then I don’t see why not?” Adam responded rather nonchalantly.
“We’d love to.” He looked in Brandon’s direction. “Hey, we’re gonna have dinner here.”
“Oh, great. Now I have to be near you with forks and knives.” Brandon sighed, glancing nervously at Emma.
Emma snickered. “Good, you’ll stay well-behaved then.”