Eternal Courage

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Chapter 30: Keeping the Hope Alive

Saku now stands, mildly tired, ready to resume the fight. But nerves and doubt rule his thoughts having witnessed Alice’s power, and the missing mountain which stood only moments ago strongly behind him. Alice however doesn’t look at all fatigued as a rainbow of colours surrounds her. Alice also looks unimpressed “Saku…to continue on further would be fruitless and in your case painful”

“sorry, but I can’t go along with your plan Alice” Alice sighed and spread out her arms

“then…come at me…Saku” Saku took this as his cue and charged forward.

Saku then began punching and striking at Alice who with, extreme, ease was simply avoiding his attacks and blows. Saku then stopped mildly panting “I couldn’t even touch her”

“At this point it’s pointless Saku” Saku then tried to surprise her shooting a beam of energy which, at first, appeared to engulf her. As Saku watched his beam carve through the land disappearing into the distance. As Saku saw it disappearing…the sound of a mild thud shocked him.

Saku turned round to see Alice, having just landed, looking perfectly fine. Saku’s eyes widened “she…dodged an attack…at point-blank range!” Alice narrowed her eyes

“Saku…if you continue any further…you will be shown the great weakness you have. And I’d rather not do anything to you” Saku then was about to run at her

“I will beat you” but then suddenly Alice appeared, literally, next to him. Saku froze in place “That’s…impossible”

“Saku…” said Alice quietly “I think…it’s over” then a loud thump, a knee to his stomach, echoed all around.

Saku then coughed up a volume of blood onto the grassy floor. The girls gasped at Saku’s reaction while Alice grunted “pitiful” Alice then struck Saku in the chest and then struck a powerful uppercut to Saku’s chin sending him into the air. Alice then jumped above him with her hands locked together. Saku couldn’t recover and was smashed down to the ground.

The girls looked very worried as Saku slowly began to get up. Sophie looked at Saku getting to his knees but coughing blood again “Saku…come on get up”

“he looks really bad” said Aureline “He only got dealt four blows…and yet…he can barely stand” Aries looked worried yet serious

“Alice…is exposing the one weakness that Saku has. Or in fact…we have all”

“You’ve figured it out too haven’t you?” said Lexi “we may have to step in”

“why…what’s the matter with Saku?” asked Anastasia

“a weakness…” said Mia slowly “That none of us…can truly rid ourselves of”

Saku got to his feet wiping the blood which ran down his chin. Alice looked annoyed “You’re still willing to keep going?”

“I’ll admit that hurt…but I still have some power left” Saku tensed his body to which his red and blue aura emerged. The aura looked ok but it would, slightly shrink and revert to normal size “well let’s go” Saku begun by shooting a beam which Alice just deflected with a simple arm swing. Saku then rushed forward and began trying to attack her.

Alice once again was just swerving and avoiding his attacks. As Saku thrust forward another punch Alice went under his strike and put both hands on his chest. Alice then let loose a powerful blast of energy at Saku, coating the area around them in smoke. Saku came tumbling lot of the smoke and came to stop a distance away. Saku’s aura faded a little and shrunk in size as he got up.

Saku looked adamant “not yet…” Saku then lurched forward “I can…still keep going” Saku once again began to run forward while Alice looked agitated

“You really don’t know you’re place do you?” as Saku struck Alice avoided his attack and struck him several times making him stagger backwards. Saku returned to fighting her, but she merely repeated the process this time kicking Saku with a wide swing of her leg along the floor.

Saku struggled this time to get up, his body now aching and sore. His friend began worrying while Lexi clenched her hands “Saku…isn’t going to last much longer”

“Yeah…you’re right” said Mia “Saku’s physical condition is rapidly dropping due to Alice’s overwhelming power” Jessamine looked confused

“but...I don’t understand. Saku should be at least be able to strike her”

“I know” said Aries “but Alice is taking full advantage of…the only weakness we can’t be rid of”

“What weakness is it?” asked Anastasia somewhat desperately as Saku stood up staggering slightly

“we are…only human” said Lexi

Saku once was on his feet but was breathing heavily and somewhat weakly, his aura now resembled a struggling light-bulb, barely being able to remain bright and strong “You know this futile right?” Alice asked

“I’m not giving up yet!” Saku then rushed forward “now stand ready!” Alice grunted and readied herself. As Saku approached her she struck out a punch but Saku this time went under it “I’ve got you!” Saku then struck her face with a strong force.

Sophie and Anastasia satisfied. Anastasia jumped the air “alright he finally got her” she said happily

“yeah nice one Saku” said Sophie “a blow right to her jaw” Jessamine shared their enthusiasm

“yeah…no-one can resist a blow to the…face?” Jessamine then looked more carefully “This is bad…extremely bad” Mochi looked a bit confused

“why what’s wrong?” Saku looked satisfied as well…but then his face turned to shock…as Alice looked at him…looking completely unfazed by Saku’s attack.

Saku retracted his fist while Alice turned towards him. Neither a bruise or even a mark had been caused by his attack. Saku stepped backwards while Aureline looked nervous “That attack…didn’t do a thing to her” Jessamine shared her nervousness

“I knew Saku was running low on steam” a bead of sweat ran down her face “but I would’ve at least thought he would’ve had some effect on her”

“Something is off though” said Mia making everyone turn to her “before Alice gained the increase in power…both Saku and Alice showed some fatigued”

“yet” said Lexi “look at her now”

Everyone looked at Alice with Laura making the observation “Alice…is not even out of breath. Not one bit. And now she’s yet to even show her power”

“Right” said Lexi worriedly “things…are looking pretty dire” Alice was walking to Saku who appeared completely shocked

“it seems…you now comprehend the futility of your struggle” Alice stepped forward “but…I’d better make fully sure” with a strong blow Alice struck at Saku’s chest but Saku managed to block her attack.

Saku, although having blocked her punch, took both his arms just prevent her single one. Alice just looked agitated “why do you persist?” Alice with ease pierced his guard striking at his chest, “I’m sorry…but you must understand” Saku’s chest felt on fire from the strong strike to his ribs “the power of my will” Alice then struck Saku in the face, chest and gut sending him backwards.

Saku once again got up…but a fierce pain gripped his chest “I think…I may just cracked a couple of your ribs” Alice remarked Saku gripped his chest “I’m sorry that was careless. I didn’t plan on causing you injury” she formed two spheres of rainbow coloured energy “now…just lie down” Alice fired then forward but Saku used both hands to deflect them both away

Saku was breathing sharply held his chest, Alice looking irritated “You’re starting to annoy me” Alice then firing, sort of slowly, one blast after another which Saku began deflecting. Saku however deteriorated with each deflected blast until the blasts began hitting him. Alice simply stayed her blasts looking at Saku’s sorry state as he barely stood up straight “This fight has grown pointless. Just give-in”

“Just…answer me this” said Saku holding his chest “What do you mean…by a balanced world? I still don’t understand”

“very well. Maybe…if I stifle your curiosity…you might be swayed. Okay then…I’ll tell you”

Claire relaxed herself for a moment “everything in this world…is in flux. In terms of nature it’s perfect. From weather, to animals, to land and air. Everything is in perfect balance. But when a unknown force comes in…this is thrown into…questionable territory”

“You mean…humanity…don’t you?” Alice however shook her head

“no…not quite. To give an example, a forest is made through rain, earth and wind. These three forces create a harmonious green place of life and paradise. But…should you add fire…this balance is destroyed. The rain washes away the nutrients, the earth hardens unable to bear life, and the wind blows away any trace of it”

“That…isn’t necessarily true” said Saku “ashes from the fire, can be used to make the soil fertile. Restarting the balance again” Alice smiled

“yes that is true. And that…is what I plan to do. only with humanity”

Saku just looked more confused “now I’m really lost”

“sorry…let me explain better” said Alice “humanity…for the most part…is a balanced society. Good and bad, evil and justice. Rich and poor. While it’s not perfect it is in balance. But…something, even as we speak, is on the verge of ruining this society. Do you know what that is?” Saku began to think until the thought occurred to him

“the B.U.S gene”

“exactly. The discovery of this gene has allowed humanity to gain power and rise to a higher level. However…greed, ego and jealousy have grown because of this power, and threaten our way of life. People are needlessly hurt because of the B.U.S gene…so just as the fire wipes clean the forest. I will…wipe clean this one” Saku then understood

“So…you plan…to rid the world of the B.U.S gene…don’t you?”

From the girls end Jessamine looked a bit bewildered “so…she plans to rid the entire world of the B.U.S gene? I don’t…really get it though” said Jessamine

“Let me paint you a picture” said Aries “imagine someone that had your power Jessamine, my power or even Saku’s power. Now imagine this person, is ruled by ego and greed. This person wouldn’t care who he went after, just as long as he got his way”

“Many people would get hurt” said Sophie “and…more pain would follow. People would rise in revenge of these people’s pain. Until…an all-out war would escalate.”

“What Alice seeks to do” said Mia a with a look of seriousness “is prevent not only future of meaningless endless fights…but the pain that already comes from the B.U.S gene. People judged for who they are…and treated like the bottom rungs of society”

“Just like Saku…was” said Anastasia “I can…sort of relate to her cause”

“As can I” said Laura but then a voice called

“And you call me…the foolish one”

This came from Saku alerting everyone “You really think it’s that simple?”

“of course” said Alice confidently “without this B.U.S gene no-one would fight or cause pain. Then I will make everyone the same…therefore erasing all pain”

“then…I can’t join you” said Saku preparing himself despite the pain to his chest “if you do that…you will truly be robbing them…of what makes them who they are” Alice clenched her hands

“I have now…given up on you. I’ve tried and tried…but why won’t you see things my way. Fine…I don’t need you. I’ll make this world without you” Alice rushed forward with a powerful swing of her leg, striking his side sending Saku into the air.

Saku grimaced and gritted his teeth as he was flying through the air. Alice thrust her hands forward and together “Saku…Why couldn’t you understand?” a plain, almost, metallic sphere of energy formed in-front of Alice’s hands “because now…I have no choice” the sphere suddenly glowed the many colours of the rainbow and grew to about 10ft in diameter “now…begone!!!” with that she launched the sphere into the air.

Saku saw the sphere coming and separated his hand produce a pulsing aura sphere of red and blue. Saku then thrust his hands forward, merging them together, shooting a large beam at the rainbow sphere. The girls watched as the beam hit the sphere head-on…but to their worry only to slow it down. Anastasia began to grow very worried “Saku…can’t keep going much longer.”

“but I don’t get it” said Sophie “why is Saku so bad? I mean I seen him go through worse”

“like I said” said Aries as the rainbow-sphere edged closer “Alice is taking advantage…of the fact he is human”

Aries turned to them “we can train all we want, be as strong as we want or as powerful as we can be. But we still have limits, we still feel pain and grow exhausted. A punch to Saku would still feel the same, whether he’d be powered up or in his normal state” Mia turned to Saku as his beam began to buckle

“Saku…is still a sixteen-year old boy. He’s not a superhuman” Mia turned to Alice “but…something is wrong with Alice. She’s not even winded”

“then…we have to help him!” said Anastasia about to run forward but she felt a strong grip to her shoulder.

Anastasia turned round to see Lexi holding her back “I wouldn’t do that Anastasia. While you and Mochi are the only able-bodied fighters…you’d just get yourselves hurt” at this point the sphere had reached Saku, who was trying to block it with his hands

“then what should we do!?” said Anastasia out of fear and anger “just leave him to get hurt!”

“just listen to me princess” said Jessamine “Saku arguably is the best of all us, in terms of fighting and power. And yet look at him…he can barely resist right now. I’m not being mean princess…but I don’t think you’d be much help” Anastasia seemed to know this

“but we’ve got to do something!” said Anastasia separately as Saku just managed to deflect the sphere to his side “otherwise…”

As Anastasia said this a large explosion of sound and colour showered the land. Saku looked unaffected by the explosion but was caught in the gust of wind, created from the explosion, and blown towards the ground. Saku saw the ground coming and managed to shoot a beam at the ground. The beam slowed down his falling speed but he still landed with considerable force, moderately smashing into the ground.

Aries turned to Saku as he could barely get to his hands and knees. “That’s it. He’s done. Saku can’t fight anymore”

“yeah” said Lexi “That exchange of powers, and his crude landing, drained whatever B.U.S he had left” Laura then reacted which Lexi noticed “What’s the matter with you?”

“hey…I think I know what’s up with Alice”

They all turned to Laura who began speaking “I’ve been thinking about this. When Alice absorbed the aura warriors…I think she didn’t absorb their power…but…rather their…beings”

“so…what you’re saying is…” said Marina still stood behind them “Alice…has the strength of about twenty men”

“Could you explain it better for us non-smarties” said Jessamine sarcastically to which Marina sighed

“each aura warrior has their own defence, strength and endurance” said Marina “and since they are just clumps of B.U.S, It stands to reason, that Alice added their…stats onto hers”

Jessamine then scowled “So…she’s basically added all their abilities to her own?”

“Then…how is Saku supposed to win against her?” asked Anastasia in fear and desperation “he can’t even get to his feet” Saku was still on his hands and knees breathing heavily

“if only we could do the same for him” said Mia “then Saku would be on level pegging” Laura then reacted

“how about we give Saku a bio-infusion?”

This raised question marks with Aureline asking first “What do you mean? Sure that would restore him to full stamina but” Laura shook her head

“no…I don’t mean restore him” said Laura “I mean enhance him…with all of our B.U.S power” everyone turned towards her “if we give him all of our B.U.S we could improve Saku like with Alice”

“but…mine, Marina’s and Sophie’s powers are still negated” said Aureline

“That shouldn’t matter” said Marina “the B.U.S gene carries the essence of our power. If we pool all of our B.U.S power into Saku…the result would he’d gain all of our strength”

As a flicker of hope came to the group Mia had a worried face “but…will Saku be able to take in all the body?”

“she’s right” said Marina “there’s always the chance that Saku’s body could reject any of our power. Which…at this stage isn’t wise”

“I don’t…think so” said Laura placing a hand on her heart “I have…Saku’s B.U.S running through me. His B.U.S is pure…devoid of an element or attribute. I don’t honestly think his body would reject any of us”

“she…makes a good point” said Lexi “Saku’s power is nature-less…so therefore it’s plausible his body will accept all of our power”

The enthusiasm started returning to the group but Marina still looked worried “however we face a problem” Marina pointed at Alice who was walking over to Saku who kept falling down “once Alice cottons on to a our plan…she’ll more than likely stop us”

“Qnd…we can’t pour all of our power in him at the same time” said Aries “too much power at once will cause him harm. We’d have to do it one or two at a time to make sure he isn’t hurt” Anastasia then brought out her cane

“then allow me to take the stage. I’ll keep Ms issue’s busy while you lot start depositing your power”

“fine…on two conditions” said Jessamine “You share the action…and leave the nicknames to me” Anastasia nodded a little embarrassed.

Saku could barely get up while Alice looked annoyed “You poor little fool” Alice kicked Saku in the chest making him fall back to the ground “You still won’t understand just how low you are”

“You really…think…it’s that simple…to just…create new order?” Saku said as he once again tried to get up “say…this world is made. What will you…do if someone…rebels?”

“then…I will quell it. What do you think this power is for?” Saku managed to get to his knees

“You can’t…force…people. That would…just give rise…to retaliation”

“That’s why I wanted you to join me. With your words and good heart…you could’ve persuaded them”

“It’s a good thing…I turned you…down then.”

Alice’s eyes narrowed gave Saku a stronger and angrier kick sending him a considerable distance over the ground. Saku landed quite badly on the ground, now even barely even move while Alice thrust out her hand and formed a sphere of rainbow energy “I’ve had enough of this…I tried so hard” Alice pulled her arm back while Saku looked at the sphere “This ends now” just as Alice was about to thrust her hand forward, Alice suddenly tripped backwards to which the sphere shot into the sky.

Alice quickly looked up to see a thick root coiled around her. Saku saw it and turned to his left “Ana…stasia” Alice looked up to see Anastasia stood in-front of Saku with cane in hand

“Ms Michaels…what are you doing?” demanded Alice

“making sure you don’t hurt my boyfriend” said Anastasia proudly “You really think you’re this all saving heroine? You’re nothing of the sort” Anastasia turned to Saku who looked at her “don’t worry I’ve got it now”

“no…you can’t…you have to…get”

Saku then felt himself rolled on his back and then a warmth at his chest “Sophie” Sophie had pressed her hands on his chest and began channelling a brown light “What are you…

“Hold still…I’m giving you some much needed power” Saku felt a warmth spread throughout his chest

“but…Anastasia…”

“don’t worry” said Sophie “I think it’s time…we protected you for a change. Don’t worry…” Sophie looked to Anastasia “we’ll take things from here”

Anastasia turned to Alice who simply broke off the root and stood up. Alice looked rather perturbed “I recommend you step back”

“not a chance lady” said Anastasia “Your fight is with me” Anastasia then began by sprouting two tall thick trees at either side of her “I won’t let you hurt him” Anastasia began guiding the thick trees to slam at Alice.

Alice however simply jumped and side-stepped away from the branches. Alice looked quite unimpressed

“This is child’s play. If you plan to get serious...I’d start now” suddenly Alice was lifted in her air by a tall stump. Then a very thick tree bent forward, dropping on her “hmm…pitiful” Alice jumped high in the air dodging the tree but suddenly she saw herself coated in shadow. Alice looked up to see another tree coming down on her “What?” caught by surprise the tree slammed her into the stump.

The strength of the tree was so strong, it pushed Alice right through the middle of the tree. Sophie looked at this as did Saku “remind me…not to tick…her off” said Saku while Sophie lurched forward slightly “Sophie” Sophie quite tired

“sorry…I’ve done all I can do” Aureline took her place with Sophie giving Aureline a high-five “I pass the baton” Sophie walked, a little shaky, back to the others. Aureline smiled

“all right…my turn” Aureline began channelling a purple light down her arms into Saku’s chest “there’s not much for me to give. But…you may finally learn how to do those ninja tricks” Saku pondered what she meant while Anastasia breathed out.

Anastasia looked confident while a loud force echoed out. The tree split stump simply split apart to which Alice stood up. Alice looked only scratched by the attack “quite impressive miss Michaels”

“You really aren’t human anymore” said Anastasia “anyone else would have been severely injured. You got out with a scratch”

“This is due to ascendance to a greater power”

“if you say so” Anastasia once began to sprout trees under Alice who began jumping out of the way.

Aureline now had finished a bio-infusion and looked a bit tired herself “there you go. That should help you out a bit” Saku felt some of his strength returning

“I must have…lost a lot of energy. For two…to do this.” Saku stopped mid-sentence when he saw Mia approaching “Huh three people? Surely…it can’t be that…” Aureline made a silent shushing motion

“just roll with it” said Aureline in a low voice “and trust me” Aureline stood up a bit shaky “Your turn” Mia high-fived Aureline and knelt down to Saku placing her hands on his chest

“Okay…my go” Saku was getting curious as Mia poured her blue energy in Saku “Saku…we’re placing all our hopes into you” Saku looked behind Mia to see the girls forming a queue

I wonder…what their trying to do. Saku just laid still accepting the energy.

Alice was beginning to get bored of just dodging “just what is that Michaels girl think she’s doing” as two branches came towards Alice she merely chopped through them “she should know these aren’t working” Anastasia turned to Mia

“how it coming?” said Anastasia “Alice…is starting to get bored”

“W…you seem to getting along alright” Mia then looked very fatigued “and I’m done” Saku began stirring a bit “how are you coping?”

“Alright…for now” said Saku stirring and holding his arm up “I can feel it all…running through me. It’s a bit…overwhelming” suddenly a short aura blade extended from his hand “whoa”

Alice noticed this while Saku looked at it “This…is new” Mia smiled

“just relax and let it flow” Saku breathed out while his blade disappeared “there you go. Like Aureline said…we’re placing all our hopes on you. Only you can win” as Mia stood up Aries this time walked to her “over to you” Mia high-fived Aries and walked shakily back. Aries had a beaming smile and knelt down

“Okay…my turn” Aries put her hands on Saku’s chest and began channelling red energy down her arms “here you go. Have some of my hopes…courtesy of the blonde demon”

“I didn’t give you that name you know” said Saku feeling the warmth through his chest “I could get used to this feeling” Aries giggled

“does it feel good?” Aries had a lovely smile “there’s plenty more to go” Saku once again began to stir “easy…mine might be bit more potent”

“Do you think…I can take…all of it?” said Saku understanding the situation and stirring

“we believe you can. Besides if the evil lady can take it…so can you”

Alice also seemed to understand “I get it. Miss Michaels…you’re nothing but the distraction”

“so…you’re point is?” said Anastasia

“I don’t understand. Why are you donating your powers to him and not to me?”

“You both might be fighting for similar things…but you don’t care who gets caught up in your plan. You really think you’re looking out for the whole…what about the two Saku saved?”

“Two?”

“yes two girls that you merely wiped clean from the world” Anastasia readied herself in a stance “so let us resume” Alice looked quite annoyed

“I think not. This little game ends now” Alice then began running towards Anastasia.

Anastasia began sprouting thick trees to block her path but she merely side-stepped out of the way. Anastasia then made a wide wave making a fence of thick green vines to stop Alice. Alice however charged a sphere of rainbow energy in her hands and threw it at the vines. A loud explosion echoed out, and as Anastasia shielded herself she saw Alice still running and approaching.

Alice had prepared another blast “out of my way!” Alice threw it at Anastasia. Anastasia quickly made a thick vine to protect herself with but an explosion echoed out sending Anastasia backwards making her hit as Alice ran past him

“no…dam” said Anastasia “Aries, Saku look out” Aries and Saku turned to see Alice clenching a glowing fist

“I’m going to put a stop to this” said Alice “my new world begins now” Alice then jumped towards him as Jessamine reacted

“no…we have to stop her” Jessamine said as she began running as fast as she could try while Aries looked horrified “Aries…look out” called Jessamine to which Aries shielded Saku with her body.

“Now…to begin the world anew!” called Alice as she approached closer but then suddenly a strong and thick fierce wall of flames appeared.

The fierce flames, produced a strong wind, that pushed Alice back forcing her to land away on the floor while Anastasia breathed out in relief “too close” Anastasia looked to Jessamine who appeared slightly bewildered “You cut it a little close hot-head”

“That…wasn’t me” said Jessamine honestly “I didn’t cause those flames” Anastasia turned to them

“so what…those flames made themselves?” said Anastasia in an irritated tone while Alice looked a bit perturbed

“What is this presence…it’s…familiar?” just then a mocking young male voice called out

“You really gone dull teacher” everyone recognised this familiar voice, and as Saku squinted at the flame…he made out a silhouette

“wait…is that?”

“You’ve grown quite sharp” said the familiar voice “but just in-case” as a sound of snapping fingers called out…the flames subsided.

Everyone was quite gobsmacked especially Alice who then narrowed her eyes “even you…turned against me?” the figure smirked

“I don’t remember ever following your pathetic, excuse the swear, crappy goal. Don’t get me wrong…I couldn’t give two shakes about this world. I’d gladly watch them” there was a long pause “and you, burn. For what you did to me” the person’s hands clenched while Alice narrowed her eyes

“You’ve been poking your nose in where it belongs” the person shrugged his arms

“no…I was just listening that’s all” said the person looking at Saku and Aries “Now the buxom blonde demon, continue with your plan. I don’t have long really so hurry up” Aries gave a small smile

“as you wish…fire-boy” said Aries re-channelling her energy into Kieran while Saku smirked

“I owe you one…Kieran”

Kieran gave a small wave standing in his uniform while his body glowed a dim orange “nah…this is a debt being repaid” Kieran thrust out his hands making a wall of flames cutting off the land between him and Saku “so…leader…shall we begin?” Alice looked a mixture of angry and very bewildered

“Why…Why!? Why doesn’t anyone see what I’m trying to do?”

”That’s for me to know” said Kieran producing a flame in his hand “and for you to work out. And if you can’t see it…then you’re truly the stupid fool”

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