"So you're planning to break out of the world's most dangerous and most secure prison," I repeated.
"Indeed, I do," Jericho confirmed.
"And how exactly are you going to do that?" "There's something we know about your power that you do not." "How... do you understand my power?" I asked, intrigued.
"Let me tell you a story," Jericho said, gesturing at the rock next to him. I sat on it. "When I was 16, I got this power that I could not control. It's the same power as yours."
"We have the same power!" I exclaimed, excited.
"And I ended up killing a man," Jericho shot back to my surprise, and held up his hand. "Used to. The power is what I call the Omni-probability. Essentially, whenever you needed it, the black dice would appear either physically or mentally." He talked as if he had used this dice an insurmountable number of times. "When you roll it, you get one out of five powers." He picked up a stick and started drawing in the snow. "1. Peak human body. Your body structure is manipulated to create the omni-body at its highest stats. You become a human weapon." I gulped. "2. Telekinesis."
"Whoa, like, Jean Grey telekinesis?"
"The concept is similar, Gin. But not so absurdly powerful. I never landed on this power that often, so I don't know too much about it, but it can be an extremely powerful weapon if you use it correctly." He paused. "3. Vector manipulation."
"You mean repelling stuff."
"Yes, Gin, repelling stuff. Let's stick with the technical terms. The power grants you the ability to reverse the vectors of anything you focus on. Powerful. Now 4 is what I love, and what I think you'll love too," he chuckled. "Improbably weapon proficiency. Anything you hold can be used as a weapon, almost," he snapped his fingers, "instantly."
"What," I snickered, unbelieving. "Like I can win a sword master with what, a pillow?" Jericho looked at me and raised his eyebrows, grinning. "No way. That's awesome."
"Told you," Jericho laughed, and looked to the ground. It hit me immediately.
"5 is..." I began.
"... darkness manipulation," Jericho finished. I sighed. What happened to me in the assessment room.
"Whenever you roll the dice the first time, it'll always be darkness manipulation. That's what got me in here too."
"Wait, how did you know I got that power the first time I rolled it?"
"I can sense it," Jericho tapped on his head.
"Wait, like, we're empathetically connected?"
Jericho put his hands behind his back and looked out to the skies. "That darkness is one of a kind. The traces of it are still in my head when it left. When you used it, the leftovers in my body responded by creating this evil feeling."
"Why did it leave you?"
"When you land on darkness manipulation, it eats away at your brain like how darkness would consume anything."
"But I feel fine," I protested.
"I thought I felt fine too," Jericho said with a bitter tone. "Until I used that dice immaturely, using it whenever I had the chance to what, just show off?" He sighed. "After the fifth or sixth time I landed on it, I refused to let it take over me again."
"What did you do?"
"Here, there is one called The Magician. His power is repelling powers back into the power matrix for it to find a new owner again."
"Never heard of that term," I said.
"A lot of things you haven't heard of in that conceited little society out there. Funny thing, huh? This place is a third the size of Ao yet we discover more things than they do." He sighed and brushed through his hair.
"And the power found its way to me," I confirmed.
"It did. You are fated to be here"
"And that's why you need me in your plan."
"Gin," Jericho sighed. "You say it as if I'm using you."
"Isn't that what you're doing?"
Jericho sighed again. "Gin, you look like someone who reads a lot, and those who reads a lot always think about one thing when they know about the wastelands: why are everyone who are in here in here?" I drew in a deep breath. "None of us did anything deserving of being in here. We were just born and given this power. That doesn't give them the right to put us away from the rest of them just because they want to keep their clean asses safe."
"I'm... sorry," I said, clearing my head. "I got excited for a second."
"Happens to the best of us. Gin, I'm just trying to do my part for giving these people here a fair chance of life. People have dead here for unreasonable reasons. Please, for them," Jericho gestured at the rest of the group below. Alfonso caught us and smiled.
"Fine," I said, making Jericho relax. "But I want you to tell me everything that's going on around here, and everything I should know."
"Of course," Jericho smiled, took my hand and gave it a firm shake. "Steph will tell you all about it."
As I made my way down, I wondered what. What was this man hiding? My senses told me this man was no ordinary man, and he shouldn't be. This prison was known as hell. And this did not look like hell, nor prisoners. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong, and I was going to look down to the bottom of it.
"Did Jericho charge me with babysitting you?" Steph walked towards me as I descended from the peak.
"What?! I thought I'd be the tour guide this time!"Alfonso complained. To be honest, I would've liked Alfonso better. Steph seemed like a girl with history, and I did not like history around here.
Steph pulled Alfonso aside and whispered a few things in his ear, in which he nodded dumbly.
"Yeah, yeah, understood," he echoed. Somebody like Alfonso did not look like he understood.
"Jericho better not find out about this," Steph warned. "You gotta give him an excuse."
"Oh, yeah, uh, my dog died."
"There aren't any animals," Steph said coolly as Alfonso put a hand on both our shoulders and we teleported.
We landed on what seemed to be logs. It was a simple wood cabin, with a mattress and weapons hung around. The windows were dusty, although light still shone through dimly.
"Where are we?" I asked, looking at the weapons. Many of them I didn't recognize. I never had a fervor for weapons, anyways.
"We're in Hiro's house," Alfonso replied.
"Hiro?" I repeated, running my finger down
"He's a weapon user, and my friend," Alfonso said, pushing open the door to the outside, the light flushing in. I heard the voice of people.
When I stepped outside, I discovered this was a tree base, with at least fifty rope bridges connecting the vast trees together.
"Our base of operations,"Alfonso spread his arms, and Steph stepped behind him, with her arms folded.
"Why do you guys trust people so easily?" I asked, as the thought suddenly runs through me. To let a person who they only just met into their base and know everything seemed a bit too rushed.
Steph turned around, putting his hands on my shoulders, and stared me in my eyes, with her killer ones. "We can kill you in a flash if we wanted to."
Alfonso put an arm on her shoulder, and her body relaxed. She gave me a cold, dead look in my eyes, and walked away, almost as if she were sulking.
"What's up with her?" I whispered to Alfonso and pointed an index at her.
"She, yeah, um," he stuttered, nervously playing with his fingernails. "You really don't wanna know."
I judged the look of fear in his eyes and decided to drop the topic.
"Why don't you just show me around, Alfonso?" I patted him on the back, and he looked pleased.
"Call me Alfa if you want. That's my codename, like Alpha but with an f," he gestured wildly, excited at the thought and waved his hands in an arch as he said the name.
"That's awesome," I stuck my thumbs up and forced a much too powerful smile.
"This is my pal Sanders, making the best lollipops since his imprisonment," Alfonso said, pointing to the 6 foot giant, who turned around and waved. "I know, right? He's huge." I looked at him weird. "Oh, my god, no, not that way."
Alfonso showed me around the tree base. I was astonished by the progress they have come. Alfonso explained they had a lot of powerful manipulators of many elements in which they could replicate what objects they still knew of. Food, furniture, houses, they didn't have to create them if they didn't want to. But it reminded them of the outside world. Keeping us sane, as Alfonso put it. I imagined the hell it would be like if no civilization existed, all as survival of the fittest, slaying each other on sight, and seeing the strong prevail. I was absolutely amazed to see this was all Jericho's work. There were at least a hundred people under his flag. I also had to say they were more organized than the outside world. They had the Merchandise district, the Living distric, the Training house, everything felt so cozy and together. I envied the work Jericho had done. All of my bad thoughts of him dissipated and replaced by good ones.
"Jericho is our saint, when he rallied all of us under his flag," Alfonso had said. He truly is a saint.
"Do you guys have a currency of some sorts?" I asked as he grabbed a lollipop from the wooden panel.
"Nah, not really," he said through the lollipop. "We kinda just do favors for each other, always looking out for each other."
"That seems really nice," I replied.
Two people suddenly emerged in front of us. I recognized them as the other two on the peak of the mountain earlier.
"Ah, right, this is Myron Frolov," he gestured at the old man, who brushed through his beard naturally and gave me a handshake that left an ache in my hand. Russian, I thought. "And this," he pointed at the perpetually depressed boy. "Is Mr. Alaric Depressing," he joked, in which didn't exactly earn a reaction out of Alaric. He didn't wave or shake my hand, and simply walked past me.
"I probably shouldn't go near him, should I?" I said in a questioning manner. Alfonso furiously shook his head.
"What're their powers?" I sat down at a wooden bench outside the Dining district.
"Well, I mean, you probably figured out that Steph has an information capability. Basically, her ability is to know the information of anything or anyone she touches."
"Like instant learning?" I asked. Alfonso nodded. "That's like the ability of someone I know. Wait, then how did she know about me before I even got to the peak."
"Just for reference, it's called the Mt. Tod," Alfonso raised a finger.
"German for death," I realized.
"Jericho... he's a troubled man," Alfonso said in a soft tone that made me believe him. It was sincere, pure, and trusting. I believed that would get the best of him one day. "Please, you gotta trust him," he said. "Like all of us do," he spread his arms, gesturing at the dozens of people bustling around. I nodded my head and bit my lips.
"Yeah," I said. "I trust him."
"Say, what's their opinions on us out there recently?" Alfonso changed the topic in a serious manner.
"Probably the same as when you left it," I said, earning a hint of sadness in Alfonso's eyes. "I always knew that the people in here didn't deserve to be in the greatest prison."
"Yeah. Yeah, that's what we tell ourselves too," he said in a fragmented manner, telling me he knew something big I didn't. "You know, even though we live in harmony, and the citizens in this prison live freer than those not," he rubbed his chin. "Jericho leads us to fight to change the century old ideas of all those outside in that cruel world."
I nodded my head, with my arms folded and looking out of the treehouse as the sun rose to its zenith.
"To prove to them that we aren't prisoners." Alfonso finished off, with a trickle of tear rolling down his eyes. "Gin, you look like a really good person," he said, wiping the tear. I looked at him and he took a deep breath. "Don't let the darkness consume you, like it has consumed many important people to me around here." I was about to say something, before Alfonso cut me off. "This is the last thing we gotta do, Gin," he said, as he put a hand on my shoulder and we teleported.