Did Kuan press a wrong button? I heard shouts of pain and knew something was wrong. I conjured a flame in my hand just as the lights turned on again. Four people, wearing masks , stood over Bartholomew and Ichaival. Tess fought a woman with a butterfly mask, struggling against her opponent.
“What the hell is going on?” I exclaimed.
Jacque was knocked out, slumped over his seat. One of the masked individuals grabbed Shan, smashing his head into the ground. Shan’s eyes widened in surprise and he moved his right hand. I expected the assailant to fall but they remained standing. The attacker punted Shan in the head and kicked the gravity manipulator’s stomach. Shan groaned, eyes shut.
Who the f*** were these people? Zhuyu and Kuan descended from the announcer’s booth, but were met by Shan’s assailant. Kuan fired off bullets but each one fell to the ground before reaching their intended target. The masked person grasped both Kuan and Zhuyu by the neck, hurling them through the announcer’s booth. I tried moving but found myself unable to. The person, who disposed Zhuyu and Kuan, wagged their finger at me.
“Tomo, escape!” Tess shouted as the butterfly-masked woman struck her in the stomach.
The masked attacker tossed Zhuyu and Kuan down onto the battlefield. Both heroes were knocked out cold. The enemy descended, staring at me. Lionel sneaked up behind them but it was no use. He flew into the air and struck the ceiling. Lilith caught the opponent with her strings and detonated explosions around them. They raised their right hand, nullifying her attack. They snapped their fingers, drawing Lilith towards them. With one chop to the neck, the leader collapsed, meeting the same fate as Shan and the others. Ksi frantically parried another masked enemy but was struck down. She readied her spear, but the attacker snapped it in half. She was thrown into the wall, unconscious like everyone else. Lilith’s second-in-command was dealt with easily. Only Tess and I remained.
I regained my movement and slashed at the masked person near me. They clapped and I felt myself rooted to the ground. This sensation, it was Zhuyu’s power, but also contained the essence of Shan’s power too. The attacker opened up a portal and threw me into it. I appeared where Tess stood and saw blood spilling out of her mouth. Who the f*** were these people?
“Gatekeeper, you can’t win, not against us! We are the true heroes,” the masked woman taunted.
“What nonsense. There is no such thing,” Tess countered, wrapping a chain around the woman’s neck.
“Leave it to us, Tess! You and your friends won’t have to do anything anymore,” the masked woman suggested, snapping Tess’ chain with ease.
At an earlier time, I might have welcomed that, but now was a different story. I was just getting into this. Even if it was a hassle, I wanted to finish things on my own terms. It was foolish and hypocritical. In reality, it was a blessing for such an opportunity to arise. Still,I would go against my better judgment.
“F*** you! I haven’t started anything yet! Don’t give me this b******* about taking it away because it’s a burden,” I shouted at her.
“I expected such an answer. Listen, this isn’t a suggestion, but a mandate. A revolution to bring in a new group that can actually accomplish goals and bring back peace,” the butterfly- masked woman declared.
Tess brought the woman down to the ground. Her allies arrived, backing her up. What was going on here? A magical circle appeared, binding me to the floor. I felt my strength sapping away. Tess got in a few good hits, knocking off her butterfly mask. Of course, what else should I expect?
“I did promise we would meet again,” Mirei said, staring at me.
“I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t prove it,” I coughed, finding it hard to breath.
“Ichizen’s death unlocked your powers and it did the same for me,” Mirei revealed, pulling out a necklace from underneath her shirt.
“What? But I thought….,” I stuttered.
“Two days, Yuki, you decide what to do. Let us handle things or fight us. Your choice,” Mirei announced, holding up two fingers.
“And if…,” I objected.
“No more talk,” Mirei cut me off.
She delivered a brutal blow to Tess. The Gatekeeper fell, gasping for breath. I saw pain and frustration appear on her face for the first time. Mirei summoned chains of her own, binding the leader. Tess struggled, unable to break free. Ichizen’s sister motioned to her companions. The last thing I recalled before blacking out was Mirei’s face.
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