Adam ran over and pushed the cabinet off to the side, which was a lot lighter than he had anticipated. It was almost tipped over—the metal wobbling as it readjusted its position firmly on the ground.
He began slamming his fist on the stone wall repeatedly in a thoughtless attempt to break through. It only took a few hits before he began to bleed, although he could not notice the red stain on the wall, as his vision was still filled with the crimson energy the strange barrier was emitting.
Eventually, the pain became evident to Adam—slowing him down. He grimaced as he stared at his wound. The World Mirror was already active—the silvery-white power forming as his body began to regenerate.
“This energy…” Adam took a step back while looking at his hand. “It appears when I’m injured. Not only can it heal, but it can also…”
Taking a deep breath, Adam whacked the wall once more, this time with the World Mirror’s power still surrounding it. The stone cracked this time—a tiny fragment falling off. Recalling his fight with Charlotte, Adam started putting the pieces together.
“If I can unleash this power, it can be used to destroy this wall—I’m sure of it. That part I’m not concerned about. This barrier, though…” Adam started to punch the stone, this time with both of his fists.
“I’ll need tremendous strength to bust through. World Mirror—whatever the hell you are—let’s put you to the test. Let’s see just how special you are.”
As the pain surged through his hands, the World Mirror’s energy began to flow out at a faster rate. He was surely breaking his fingers at this point, yet that was—morbidly—Adam’s goal.
“What am I doing…?”
The wall began to crumble as Adam chipped away. Although Adam could not tell, the red energy had now become entirely visible as he continued to clash against it. Scarlet sparks scattered about in an attempt to knock him back, yet he kept on punching.
“Why don’t I just go get the others…? Why am I doing this…? What’s driving me right now…?”
Brandon and Jerry had heard the commotion at this point and began to run toward the basement door.
Adam had created a hole in the wall, which seemed to lead into a cave-like area. The barrier remained—Adam’s final obstacle. His fists completely enveloped in white—he was ready to bust it down.
As he pulled back his right arm, the energy erupted out of him—immense power that, for this brief moment, was his. He slammed his fist into the barrier—the force blowing back everything behind him into the opposite wall. The washer and dryer had begun to bend from the sheer might.
Adam could tell that this was not enough. He also noticed that his hand was close to vaporizing from its own power. Something had to be done at that moment, while the barrier was pressured.
Energy exploded from his shining left fist as he gave a mighty uppercut to the barrier around the same place where his right had connected. This was enough—the crimson before him shattering asunder.
At that moment—like a vacuum—the opening swallowed Adam whole as he rocketed into the cave on the opposing side. Everything on the opposite side of the room was sucked in along with him. Brandon had almost taken a step into the area affected but was luckily safe. The two watched in absolute shock as their vision filled with dust.
“G-God d—” Brandon coughed, trying to catch his breath. “W-What the hell just happened!?”
When the two could finally see once more, they were horrified to see that almost the entire basement had vanished into the cavern. All that remained were a few scraps of metal near the entrance, seemingly charged with crimson electricity.
“This is…!” Jerry ran over to inspect what had just occurred, making sure to keep a safe distance. “This red… It can’t be!?”
The two only saw a bright white light as they entered the basement moments prior. They had no clue as to what exactly transpired. Brandon began to look around in a panic.
“D-Did Adam get sucked up in there!? Where did that hole come from!? What’s this red stuff around the entrance!? I—” Brandon started to run into the darkness.
“Wait, Brandon! Stop! You’ll—”
Brandon slammed against the crimson energy as it immediately began to reform into the shape it was before. He fell onto the ground hard, blood flying out of his mouth upon impact.
“Idiot! It’s dangerous!” Jerry went to inspect his friend’s injuries, only to stop before he made contact. “This has to be…” He pulled out his phone and moved it toward Brandon. “I know Dad helped me get this app… Where is—oh, there!”
Tapping on the phone a few times, Jerry opened up a program that seemed to be composed of a grid. Many dots appeared—mainly blue in color. A few were red, which seemed to indicate where Brandon was.
“Dammit, you got some in ya… It should be okay, though. Your own phantons should help flush them out.”
“The… hell are you talking about…?” Brandon attempted to sit up while holding his head in agony.
“You know what phantons are, Brandon. Since I helped you out in school so much, I know you’re also aware of their counterpart. The opposite of a phanton is…?” Jerry leaned in, expecting an answer. Brandon did not respond, unable to focus properly under the current circumstances.
“...I’ll let it pass this time since you’re suffering.” Jerry sighed. “A chaon. Opposite of phantons are chaons.” He used his phone to scan the surrounding area. “Phantons make up life, so you can see how chaons are harmful to people.”
Unknown to Jerry, Brandon’s senses had begun to fade.
“With the phantons that your own body produces via your phantonic network, chaons that get inside you will be released slowly. As long as you’re not constantly exposed to them, they’re not too toxic to humans. They hurt like a bitch, but you should be fine. If you have awakened phantons, like you do with a Concept, you’re actually completely immune to them. W-Wait a sec…”
Jerry was not paying attention to Brandon. The science he knew led him to conclude that, although it was a hard hit, his friend would be okay. While Jerry’s concern grew on Adam, Brandon sat there in a complete trance.
As if being exposed to chaons had caused something to stir within him.
“A… Adam doesn’t have phantons! Shit! Shit! Phantons help as a defense mechanism from chaons! Even if they’re not awakened, phantons are still vital to keeping someone safe. If he doesn’t have that layer of defense… what’s going to happen to him!? What even happened here in the first place!? Gah!” Jerry began to rustle his hair in a frenzy.
The current commotion happened to be just enough. From the basement ceiling, a certain spirit had begun to descend toward the two. Charlotte—half-awake—glanced around.
“What did you guys do…?” She landed, startling Jerry as he tumbled to the floor.
“Charlotte! You’re actually up!? I’m not sure, but we think Adam got sucked into that—” He pointed at the hole in the wall, where the barrier had reconstructed itself. “That’s made of chaons!”
Jerry briefly explained to Charlotte what he thought he had told Brandon. Her eyes widened upon the realization that Adam could potentially be in tremendous danger.
“If that’s the case, then… there’s no reason to hesitate.”
Charlotte entered her white-haired form instantly. Manipulating the phantons that were emitting from her body, a gigantic glowing axe was created. “Move Brandon out of the way! Did he lose consciousness or something!?”
“He shouldn’t have—” Jerry finally noticed Brandon’s state. “B-Brandon…? Did you hit your head too hard or something…? Well—” He dragged his friend toward the stairs, doing what Charlotte had requested. “If you’re going in, be careful! I’m not sure how chaons will affect you.”
“This red, ominous power…” Charlotte inched closer, raising her axe into the air. “I feel like… I remember something about it. You call it ‘chaons’ in this day and age? Hmm…”
Despite the animosity radiating from the crimson before her, Charlotte was not afraid. She felt like this was something not worthy of her fear.
With a single slash downward, the azure split the crimson apart. As it opened, the same force attempted to drag her in. Although it had little effect on her, she still flew into the cave immediately, dropping the axe as it faded away.
“There she goes…” Jerry stood on the stairs looking around the corner as the event unfolded. While he watched the barrier once again reconstruct itself, he decided to finally focus his attention on Brandon. “Okay, what happened to you—”
Brandon stood, while Jerry slowly lost consciousness. It seemed as though a mere wave of black-haired boy’s hand near the back of his friend's neck did the trick.
“You don’t need to involve yourself in this,” Brandon spoke in a stern voice, something he never did. He walked over toward the barrier—head looking down.
No one, not even Brandon himself, understood what was happening. Words exited his mouth—ones that were his own, yet were not simultaneously.
“All right, moron. Let’s go save Adam. I can’t trust anyone else with this, can I? Man, how unlucky can I be...?”