Eternal Courage

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Chapter 23

“What…do you mean? So…you were…scared of me too?” said Saku with some desperation

“well…I’m not now little brother”

 

Lexi’s retort had hit Saku where it hhurt…his heart and resolve. Lexi readied herself and charged forward, bringing out her aura gauntlets, while Saku just stood still “now, I’m going to show you…just weak you are!” Lexi than began letting loose fierce blows and kicks with great tenacity.  Lexi then hit Saku with a powerful uppercut sending him in the air and to follow up Lexi jumped up above him. Lexi than dived towards Saku with a fist outstretched.

 

As Lexi focuses her aura gauntlet seemed to catch fire of a dark green. Lexi then punched Saku directly in the stomach and began punching him towards the ground. Than with a great effort, she hit Saku with a cyclone of wind smashing Saku with a heavy impact into the ground covering it in dust. The vibration of the impact spread to the stands…and to a very worried girl.

 

Mochi was in the stands watching the fight unfold along with Marina who was watching over her. Mochi looked horrified “What’s…going on? Why did…big sister Lexi do that?” Marina looked with an annoyed face

“Jealousy Mochi” Mochi turned to her “nevermind that. Go on run to then quickly, I’ll catch up okay” Mochi nodded and ran as fast as she could.

 

 Marina looked at Lexi as she landed on the ground “once you live long enough with power and pride…you can feel threatened when someone gets close to you. When that happens…you’ll do anything to protect your place” Marina looked down at Lexi “but with every power…there comes a price. And when it’s selfish request…the price…is so heavy…others have to pay”

 

Lexi looked confidently and happy “nice you’ll see…I am the truly stronger one. Me not you” as the dust cleared Saku was on his feet with the floor cracked and smashed around him, his clothes were tattered and his forehead and face was grazed. Lexi looked quite smug “so how’s that little bro? With this new power at my disposal I have nothing to be afraid of anymore”

“even…you…were afraid of me too?” said Saku in an emotionless tone “Why did you do it Lexi? We were…going to work together?”

“do you want to know why? Because I hate you Saku” this shocked his friends “I have worked my whole life to get where I am. For years I trained and practised becoming the best I could be…then from nowhere you come along”

 

Lexi looked genuinely angry as she spoke “within a month you reached a plateau that took me years to reach. The plasma shield of mine, has blocked and protected me from every fighter I’ve ever fought against” Anastasia felt a strong surge of anger “Then from nowhere, even with your powers till sealed, you smashed it with ease” Lexi had clenched her fists “do you have any idea how that felt?” Anastasia couldn’t hold herself back anymore

“Shut up!” shouted Anastasia surprising Sophie next to her and even Kieran.

Lexi turned to Anastasia whose hair had turned black “have you heard yourself!? You sound like a rotten child! Just whining and whining” Aureline joined in

“Saku has worked every bit as hard as you!” said Aureline adamantly “So that’s why he got strong! That’s evidence of hard he trained for it”

“What Aureline said is right blondie” said Jessamine managing to stand up “You’re just some selfish up-stuck brat who got a little scared because someone threatened to knock her off her perch”

 

 Lexi looked a bit annoyed by their retorts “so…I’m the rubbish one I’m I? I worked my butt off my whole life! And yet…my own brother has bested me…in a matter of months” even Kieran looked annoyed

“so…is that why you betrayed him?” everyone except Saku turned to Kieran “Just because he exerted a level of power you couldn’t reach? Face it, you’re just jealous” Lexi looked at Kieran quite annoyed “to think…I once even respected you and more. Now you’re just pitiful” Lexi looked livid but then calmed down

“As long as I have power…I couldn’t care less what people say” Lexi turned back to Saku who hadn’t even moved “now…time to beat you…and then prove my strength” Lexi clenched her aura-coated gauntlet “and show that I’m the best” Lexi ran forward thrusting her punch forward. Kieran just sighed

“little do you know Lexi?” Saku simply caught her punch “That you’ve lost”

 

Saku had simply caught her attack which shocked Lexi “What the? But how?” then without warning Saku pulled her close and kneed her in her gut. The blow must have been powerful, as a ring of dust spread out from Lexi who had choked up blood,he then punched her face sending her along the floor. Lexi began getting up clutching her stomach, still coughing from the impact “That was…the most painful thing I’ve ever felt” Lexi looked to Saku who stood with his head hung “How did he do that?” Lexi however was cut off…by the sounds of tears dripping on the floor.

 

Lexi could see tears falling off Saku’s face but he remained still “so…I was wrong all along” said Saku in an emotionless tone “I was such a fool” Anastasia saw Saku’s hand reaching towards his pocket “to think…I actually felt happy…with you all” Saku’s hollowed sounding words seemed to having an effect on Lexi “I guess…it was just a dream…or an illusion”

“Saku…” said Anastasia “You can’t…we still need you” his hand was inside his pocket

“All I wanted…was to be accepted…or just allowed to remain…in the world. Now I see…that was all pointless” Saku’s hand slowly seeped out of his pocket pulling out the black sash.

 

Lexi saw the black sash in his hand and stared at it “That’s the sash…that the shadow league guys wear? Why do you have it?” Saku than looked at her…causing her to recoil in shock “no…no…what have I done?” Saku face was completely plain and expressionless, void of any emotion. Saku’s eyes look blank but still had tears pouring out of them “Saku…Saku”  Lexi’s anger just seemed to disappear “What’s wrong?”

“to put it simply…you’ve broken him” said Kieran “without a purpose…there’s only one path left for him to take” Saku placed the sash on his arm “introducing our newest member…Saku Stritos”

This fuelled scared murmurs amongst the crowd and shock to his friends while Lexi just looked on “No…No Saku you can’t join them” called Lexi as Saku prepared himself “Saku!”  Saku's aura than came out but was much different. His aura was now jaggy and dark. It was dark red and black which sent shivers amongst everyone

“Lexi…I’d prepare yourself” said Saku coldly “unless you beat the shadow league…you will surrender your powers to us” with that Saku rushed forward striking a punch forward, Lexi tried to block him but the sheer strength of his attack sent her smashing into the wall.

 

Lexi got up and looked on Saku “What…What have I done? There’s nothing in his eyes at all. No happiness, anger, sadness…no nothing.” then Saku appeared in-front of her striking at her with a punch. Lexi narrowly dodged it as Saku smashed the wall causing the whole arena to vibrate. Lexi looked back at the crack which spread all the way to the stands and then to the roof “there’s…nothing holding him back”

“to put it more accurately” said Kieran “there’s no reason for him to hold back” Lexi turned to him “You’ll get no sympathy from me”

 

 Lexi looked at Saku and then turned serious “Saku…you’re really serious aren’t you? You’ve really gone and joined the shadow league. Then I’m going to stop you here” Lexi crossed her arms and became bathed in her green aura “now let’s go” Lexi dashed forwards striking at Saku with furious punches and kicks but Saku was just simply blocking and deflecting her rapid attacks before catching her last one. Saku than pulled Lexi sideways and punched her hard along the floor.

 

Lexi skidded along the floor but managed to roll and flip to her feet. Just as she landed Saku appeared behind her. Lexi try swinging her punch backward but Saku simply went down to his shoulders and , using his hands as a springboard, double kicked Lexi into the air. Saku then jumped after her, then rising above her, he locked his hands together and smashed Lexi towards the ground.

 

Lexi grimaced from the strong hit but just managed to recover and land on her hands and feet. Lexi could feel a strong sense of pain run through her body “This is relentless. He’s just all over me”

“Lexi above you” said Sophie to which Lexi looked up and saw Saku holding a large ball of red and black energy. Saku threw the ball down at Lexi who quickly reacted by thrusting her hands forward shooting at it with green lightning. At first she seemed to hold the sphere back but Saku flexed his arm out. To Lexi’s surprise the ball simply split apart into many small ones letting her lightning travel and hit the roof. The many small balls of energy all rained down on Lexi covering the arena in dust and smoke.

 

Saku landed on the ground as the dust and smoke cleared to show Lexi on the floor. Lexi was stirring but badly hurt and bruised “He’s…a completely different person now. There’s no restraint what so ever” Saku landed on the ground “I’ve got no choice but to go all out” Lexi stood up Saku “I’m sorry Saku…but you’ve left me no choice” Lexi began focusing and summoning every shred of power in her body. Her green aura began fierce rising up furiously all around her, flapping her air and clothes.

 

 Lexi stood ready as a green plasma aura raged all around her “I have to end it Saku…forgive me later” she then disappeared completely from sight only to kicked Saku in the chest in the next instant. Than like a series of pistons she hit Saku with one punch after another not letting up or slowing down. From Saku’s friends side, Sophie looked on

“Lexi…is really going full throttle”

“well…she isn’t exactly left with much choice Sophie” said Aureline “if she doesn’t her aura power will be taken away. But there’s one thing that is worrying me”

“What do you mean?”

“Saku isn’t feeling a thing” said Jessamine in sadness “Saku is taking one blow after the next and he isn’t feeling a single one”

 

Saku face didn’t change at all. Despite the constants blows being dealt to him, he didn’t once respond or even flinch in pain. Lexi began to feel fatigue taking over “why doesn’t it feel like I’m getting anywhere? I’ve got to end it now!” Lexi stopped and then clenched a fist “Saku…here it comes!” Lexi punched Saku with strong force sending him in the air. Lexi than ran to the wall and jumped off it to Saku hitting him higher in the air. Lexi continued this at such speed she left a zigzag trail of green lightning behind her.

 

Then Lexi reached the peak and jumped to the ceiling above Saku, then with shred of strength she had jumped toward Saku spinning rapidly in the air “This will end it!” she then punched at Saku “Thor’s HAMMER!” in the blink of an eye a colossal smash echoed throughout the hall.

Everyone in the stands shielded themselves while the onlookers closer to the arena were blown backwards. Lexi landed on the floor but collapsed to her knees panting heavily while her aura dissipated. Mochi had just arrived on the scene and saw Saku on the ground in a deep crater “Big sister Lexi” Lexi turned round and saw Mochi looking quite worried

“Mochi…don’t worry alright” said Lexi tiredly “Saku will be fine, we just have to talk to...” Lexi was cut off as she heard signs of movement “That’s…impossible”

 

Lexi turned round to see Saku getting up off the floor with apparent ease “That’s…impossible. How is he getting up? Saku should be in so much pain…ah…no” as Saku stood up…it showed evidence that Lexi was correct. His clothes had been ripped and torn from her fierce attack showing his body, covered in dark bruises with many cuts covering his body. Anastasia just stared with shock and sadness

“Saku’s body…it’s completely covered in injuries” even Aureline reacted

“those dark bruises suggest broken bones and torn muscles” said Jessamine “and by the colour suggest they are all over…and yet look at his face” Saku’s face remained emotionless “he doesn’t feel a thing” as Kieran watched he felt something wrong

“This…isn’t right. I didn’t want this, I wanted an ally in arms…not a soulless doll”

 

Saku, despite staggering, was walking to Lexi who managed to stand. Lexi’s will and resolve just seemed to wither away “What…what have I done? I had to let my jealousy…get the better of me” Saku than stood in-front of her “Saku…I’m sorry” Saku didn’t move or respond “Saku?” Saku then punched her in the gut and then knocked her to the floor with a heavy blow. Mochi looked horrified by this as Lexi although conscious showed no signs of getting up.

 

Izanagi took one long look at Lexi “well folks, it look like Lexi isn’t going to be getting up anytime soon. And that signals the end of the third match” Izanagi than noticed the supreme leader walking through the hallway

“Correction vice leader”  to everyone’s added shock the supreme leader had an unconscious Aries and Mia in each hand “It’s the end of the last match” the supreme leader threw both Aries and Mia to Saku’s friends with Jessamine and Aureline rushing to them as the Supreme leader finished his sentence “It’s the end of the final match”

 

Both Mia and Aries were also covered in bruises and cuts, with tattered clothes and out-cold. This sent very worried murmurs amongst the whole crowd as the supreme leader spoke “As you can see I triumphed over the duo and from the looks of things...Saku has triumphed over Lexi” The supreme leader then held out his arms ”Attention everyone, I introduce you to the shadow leagues newest member and winner Saku Stritos” everyone looked very afraid now while Saku’s injuries just healed due to him winning “Now Saku, you haven’t finished yet have you? Prove your power to these fools…and finish off your fight”

 

Saku looked at Lexi on the floor and walked to her as she stirred on the floor. Saku then bent down and picked her up by the neck. Saku lifted Lexi of the ground as she groaned in place before than pressing a hand on her gut. The supreme leader had a grin “now end it” Saku began charging an attack while Lexi looked at him

“Saku…don’t” said Lexi weakly

“Big brother…please don’t hurt her” called Mochi

“Saku…don’t do it” called Sophie desperately but Saku appeared not to have heard her words as he continued charging his attack. Anastasia than ran to him

“Saku, you have to stop this” Anastasia gripped on to Saku’s arm “please stop this” This seemed to have a reaction which Kieran noticed as Saku turned to her “Saku please there’s no need to go any further” Saku just looked at her “please…let her go” Saku expression didn’t change as he let go of Lexi shrugging off Anastasia’s grip.

 

Lexi was gasping for air while Anastasia looked her over. The supreme leader eyes narrowed “it seems Saku has granted his sister mercy. Well that is a surprise” Anastasia just looked angrily at the supreme leader “Ah Anastasia Michaels, judging from your condition you have beaten Akihiko”

“This means” said Izanagi “You are now the lone representative of this academy”

“You creeps” said Anastasia “how could you do this to Saku?”

“I’ll admit I have some part to play” said the supreme leader “I needed to show him there is only one place he can truly belong”

 

The supreme leader than spread out his arm making his cape flap “This tournament has now grown stale, so I’m going to end it now” The supreme leader than pointed at Anastasia “Your next match will be against Saku and Kieran”

“What!?” said Jessamine annoyed “That’s unfair”

“and your point is” said Izanagi “I mean you don’t have anyone able bodied enough left but her. You do have the failed experiment I suppose” he said directing at Mochi “but I don’t think she would have it in her to fight her dear brother. And we’d like to get it over with now while we’re not dead from boredom” the supreme leader then grinned

“Although you could simply end it now by joining us? But that would be insulting” This spread anger amongst the girls “so I’ll be watching” the supreme leader than turned round “the next match will be held in one hour in arena one. Live the remaining time the best you can…” the leader than looked back “since they’ll soon be ours. Come along Saku” the leader, Izanagi and Saku walked out of the room.

 

Kieran however didn’t leave with them. Kieran just seemed to look annoyed and bitter. “I know it was her own fault for causing this to herself…but…it doesn’t feel right” Kieran than headed to the door but took a last look at Anastasia as she helped Lexi. Kieran’s eyes narrowed before he left.

 

In the dark meeting room the shadow league plus Saku were gathered. All but Akihiko were in attendance. The supreme was very pleased with himself “with this tournament, hope has all just being crushed before this academies feet. And thanks to our new member” gesturing to Saku who just sat slump “we can now create a place where we can exist” Kieran however was not happy

“What was wrong with the place he was before?”

“would you explain yourself” said Chloe waving a hand through her silver and blue hair “You’ve been a bit of a sourpuss”

“the problem was I wanted a comrade in arms”

“we have a comrade in arms” said Izanagi gesturing to Saku

“no…we have more or less a robot”

 

Kieran stood up straight “Saku received such major injuries any normal person …would have at least called out…and yet he didn’t even flinch. Right now he’s nothing more than a soulless doll”

“only for now” said the supreme leader “given time Saku will adjust and attune to his new life choice”

“To be honest leader” said Chloe “why didn’t you just squash the posh girl there and get this over with”

“hope, no matter how small, can still influence great change and exert massive strength. And now, with him joining our cause we will eliminate the remaining shred of hope they have. So Kieran can we rely on you?”

“yes sir. I will beat that Anastasia girl without mercy or regret. Saku was on my only concern, the rest of this academy” Kieran then walked out “can rot for all I care” Izanagi than laughed

“come in an hour’s time, we can finally ascend as the right beings of this pathetic planet”

“yes Izanagi” said the supreme leader “we can finally exist as people and not as shadows”

 

Kieran was walking through the hallways “the shadow league…exists to find a place where all of those abandoned by the world can remain” Kieran then looked serious “and that’s exactly what I intend to do. You can’t decide for someone else, they alone decide where they belong.  So I will honour this league…and do just that. By giving everyone” putting emphasize on the word everyone “a place where we can belong”

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