Rise of the Savior: Acolyte of Truth

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Chapter 14

A black hole opens inside a dimly lit wooden home—one with shriveled-up heads on the counter, weird symbols all over the walls and floors, candles, and an assortment of mirrors everywhere. It’s like a satanic paradise. Leyna drops through the black hole, hitting the ground hard, while Ana floats down.

“Alright, let’s fix you while I’m in the mood to do this,” Ana says.

Kid comes out of a back room, and his eyes widen. “What the hell is that?”

The pages in her grimoire begin to flip. “This thing is your acolyte of truth. She was pushed beyond her mental capacity and made the wrong choice. Apparently, she’s a freak of nature. Usually, when a kundalini takes over, there’s no physical change to the body. I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Kid places his hand on his hips and looks at her in amazement. “Wait a minute. This is Amanda?”

Ana reaches up like she’s getting ready to choke Kid. “Why must you test my patience at a time like this? If she is the acolyte of truth, yes.”

He pulls at his hair. “Fuck! This is all my fault. No, this is all your fault! Why would you separate me from her when you knew what she was dealing with?”

“I’m the acolyte of karma, meaning if I want something to happen to someone, your karma determines how it will happen, when it will happen, and if it happens at all. The moment you make eye contact with me, I can decide your fate in seconds. For example, I wanted Amanda to become stronger than me. This isn’t exactly what I meant, but she did become stronger. Karma played a part in this happening the way it did. Whether this is a good or bad thing is beyond my knowledge.” The pages in her grimoire begin to flip rapidly.

“Why would you want her to become stronger than you?” Kid shakes his head. “Ana, what are you up to?”

“Not my decision. It was one of the other spirits inside of me. Doesn’t matter, though. No one can match my power.” The pages in her grimoire stop turning. “Alright, I found what I was looking for. You’re going to take that net off of her. Then, I’m going to try and enter her mind before she rips you apart.”

“Have you ever done this before?” he asks.

“No,” she says.

“That net suppresses acolytes’ powers when touched. Back at headquarters, we deactivate the security on the net with robotic hands when they’re in a safe and secure room, and that’s after we put a collar around their neck that suppresses their powers. I’ll be an appetizer for that thing while deactivating the security device on the net to release her. Why can’t you just stick your hands in there, or do whatever it is you need to do from a distance?”

“I have to be in its personal space to make it work. I can’t risk touching that net and losing my powers in the middle of the process. Your life is not my concern. My concern is keeping this girl alive. What’s yours?” says Ana.

“Alright, fine. What’s the plan?”

“You take off the net, and I’m going inside her to show her there’s light in the darkness.”

“Does that mean you’re definitely going to save her?”

“The answer to that question is circumstantial.”

“Okay.” Kid gets down next to one of the silver balls on the net. “I’m ready.”

“Alright, on the count of three. One. Two—” Her face begins to vibrate, with multiple spirits yelling that it’s a trap. Her face crumples like she’s fallen asleep standing up, and then her eyes shoot open. “Wait! I can put her to sleep first; then you can take the net off.”

“So, you were just going to let me die, knowing you could do that the whole time?” Kid complains.

“Not me. I would never risk someone’s life. That was the other spirit’s idea. She likes unnecessary drama.” The pages in her grimoire begin turning, then stop. Her book shines brightly, and a blue powder appears on the pages. She floats over to Leyna and blows the powder in her face, making her eyes close in relaxation. “Alright, take off the net.”

Kid deactivates the net by twisting the silver ball and typing in a code. The net gets sucked into the ball, which shrinks to the size of a marble. Kid puts the ball in his pocket.

“I bet you were expecting the monster to jump up and attack, right? Thank your good karma that didn’t happen.” Ana floats closer to Leyna’s face and places her palms over her temples. An oversized third eye opens on her forehead. The blue iris appears to be almost scaled and is surrounded by three gold rings with a pupil that looks like it’s made of lava.

Ana goes inside of Leyna’s mind, and everything is dark. Bright lights flicker, showing Amanda inside a cage, until the lights stay completely on, showing a never ending white void.

Ana walks over to the cage. “Well, well, well! Look at the mess you’ve gotten yourself into.” Ana looks down at Amanda, who’s in a fetal position on the ground. “Did you forget both of your parents are dead and your sister is in trouble?”

“I’m too scared to move. There’s nothing I can do to stop him, anyway,” Amanda says.

“So, you don’t care about your sister dying? I guess all humans really are bad, even the ones destined to be good.” Amanda stays silent. Ana begins banging on the cage. “Hello! Say something. I didn’t come here to watch you lie down.”

Amanda lifts her head. “Nothing I’ve done in my entire life has made me evil or bad.”

“Those are your beliefs, but through the eyes of another individual, you could be considered selfish, which is bad. Having the power to save, but choosing to protect no one? What kind of good person does that? The blood of the fallen are on your hands just as much as they are on the hands of a serial killer.” Screams fill the white void. “That doesn’t sound good.”

Amanda looks down at her hands and sees they’re covered in blood. Blood drips to the ground. “No, that’s not true. I want to get stronger so I can kill him!”

“Kill him? So you can get revenge for your parents? Or maybe to protect your sister? Like I said, you’re selfish. Your protection needs to expand beyond the ones you love—you need to learn to love everyone. If you’re not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, more strength won’t solve anything. You’ll still be the same scared little girl. I see what’s going on here. You’re in that cage to protect yourself from something out here.” She waves her hand and destroys the cage. “Cages are meant to protect things from what’s inside, not the other way around. You deserve what’s coming.” Ana vanishes into red smoke.

The monster Amanda’s kundalini has turned into walks in front of her. Amanda looks up, sees the beast towering over her, and immediately looks away.

“What’s wrong? Scared to look at the beast you helped create?” Leyna asks, then picks Amanda up by the back of the neck. “You did this to me! Now it’s time to reap what you sow.” She throws Amanda to the ground.

Ana reappears, takes the metal from the broken cage, creates another cage, and traps Leyna inside.

“What are you doing in here? You’re not welcome!” Leyna jumps around the cage, growling and trying to break free.

“Trust me, I don’t want to be here either, but as long as I’m in here, I’m in control. No one is permanently dying in this realm. Now is the time to use words. How about we get rid of that bloodlust in you and make you settle down?” Ana points her fingers toward Leyna, then starts wiggling them up and down. “Spirit fingers!” She claps her hands together, and Leyna calms down, then sits in the cage. “I’ve done my part—now it’s time for you two to do yours. Better take advantage of this second chance, because it will not happen again. Good day!” Ana turns into red smoke and disappears.

Leyna sticks her face between the bars of the cage. “You were too scared and weak to face Jamie yourself, so you forced me to turn into this monster. Do you know how terrible it feels to be this thing? It feels cold, dark, and alone. This burden is not supposed to be mine alone. You’re supposed to share this pain with me. We should be in sync with each other, mind and soul. We should want the same thing. Then, we could control this amazing power together. I’m stubborn, so what I want will not change. You have to want what I want.”

“What is it that you want?” Amanda asks.

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

Amanda looks forward and sees someone running toward her from between the bars in the cage. The person gets closer, and she realizes it’s a smiling, brown-haired little girl. Her smile quickly fades as a scythe goes through the kid’s back and comes out the front. Amanda has a traumatized look on her face. She runs toward the child, trying to catch her before she hits the ground. The kid falls to the floor, and no matter how fast Amanda runs, she can’t reach the child.

One by one, more children of different ages begin to run toward Amanda, yelling out, “Save me!” They reach out their hands to Amanda, but when they’re inches away from touching her, each child is stabbed with a scythe, splattering blood on Amanda.

“Stop it! Stop it!” Amanda screams, closing her eyes. Blood continues to fly onto her face, and the children’s screams echo around her. The screaming stops, and Amanda opens her eyes to see hundreds of children lying in a pool of blood.

All the kids sit up at once and turn toward Amanda. “Why? Why didn’t you save us?” they say in unison, over and over.

“This isn’t real. This is just a trick you’re playing on me.” Amanda covers her ears, but she is still able to hear the children. Amanda closes her eyes and lets out a high-pitched scream to drown out the sound. At the end of her scream, she opens her eyes, and all the children are gone. She uncovers her ears and relaxes for a few seconds.

A pile of dust gathers in front of Amanda and transforms into her father. “Why didn’t you save me, sweetie?”

“D-dad! I couldn’t. I didn’t have the power to. If I were stronger, I would have.” Amanda tries to reach out and hug him, but he slides back.

Her dad begins to laugh. “I doubt a coward could save me. It takes sacrifice to protect someone. The person who knows this most is this woman right here!”

Jean appears from behind Amanda’s father, stands beside him, and grabs his hand. “Hi, honey. Boy, did I miss seeing your face!”

“Mom, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.” Amanda reaches out for a hug, but they keep moving back.

“Don’t worry, dear. We’re not mad, just a little disappointed. I got in that man’s face and died trying to protect you, but now I’m realizing I died for nothing. You haven’t been around long enough to know what sacrifice means. I gave my life so no more lives had to be lost. I gave my life showing you what it takes to be a hero. I gave my life believing in you. Seems like it was all in vain, though. You think the solution is more power and strength so you can get your revenge, but it’s not. Your enemy has the power and strength, but he’s still vulnerable. He’s not willing to die for his unjust cause, because if he does, no one is going to take his place. He’ll run away from any real danger to stay safe,” Jean says.

“Then how do I beat him if more power and strength aren’t the answer?”

“By protecting what he is trying to destroy,” Jean says.

“You’re talking in riddles. Just tell me how I can stop him,” Amanda commands.

“By protecting what he is trying to destroy,” Jean repeats.

“I can’t. I was too weak then, and I’m too weak now,” Amanda screams out.

“You’ve always had the power. You just need to open your eyes and do what you were born to do,” Logan says.

“And what is that?” Amanda asks.

Amanda blinks, and suddenly every slain child reappears in front of her parents, happy and smiling.

“Protect us,” every child says in unison.

“Please tell me how!” Amanda begs.

Jean shakes her head in disbelief. “Unfortunately, time is running out. As your enemy continues to get stronger, you remain the same, fueled by your desire for revenge. The next time you two meet, you won’t be so lucky, and neither will your sister.”

The children split evenly down the middle, revealing Amanda’s parents fully. Standing directly in front of them both is Saira. They place their hands on her shoulder.

“We hope you figure out your purpose, darling,” Jean says.

“Put everything on the line, sweetie. Do it for your sister’s sake, and for the sake of everyone else who needs your help,” Logan says.

Both of her parents turn to dust and fall to the ground.

Saira stands alone, her face filled with fear. “Amanda, Amanda, he’s coming!”

“Who’s coming? Run to me!” Amanda says.

Saira struggles to move her feet, but they are stuck to the ground. “I can’t! I can’t move!”

The lights in the far distance behind Saira begin to go dark.

“Try harder,” Amanda screams out.

“You try harder—sync with your kundalini!” Saira screams.

Amanda slumps over in defeat. “How? I still don’t know what she wants!”

The lights continue to switch off behind Saira until everything but her is swallowed by darkness.

“Sis, I’m scared,” Saira says.

“It’s okay. There’s nothing behind you, so just focus on me,” Amanda says.

“It’s not behind me; it’s behind you.” Saira’s knees start to shake, and her teeth chatter.

Jamie, cloaked in his black hood, puts his face close to Amanda’s.

“Revenge is what you seek, but you’ll never be able to beat me with that on your mind. How can you defeat death when you’re scared to die? The sands of time have already begun to pour against your sister.” He disappears, leaving smoke behind, and appears behind Saira.

“Amanda, quick—you have to sync with your kundalini,” Saira says.

“We don’t want the same thing. I don’t know what she wants. We’re just not compatible.” Amanda floods the ground with tears.

Jamie grabs Saira by the neck, and she starts to decay.

“Revenge isn’t going to prevent more people from dying but becoming the protector you were born to be will,” Saira says.

Amanda cries, “I don’t want revenge anymore, and protecting my sister isn’t enough. I’m sick and tired of you killing all these children and ruining everyone’s lives. I’m cleansing my hands of this blood for good.” Amanda drops down to her knees.

“Time is almost up. Fight me and die within seconds. I’ll forever strike fear into your heart. You can’t win!” Jamie claims.

“Y-yes I can! You’re not going to hurt anyone else! You want to know why? Because I no longer fear death, and as long I’m breathing, I’ll be the one striking fear in the heart of anyone who threatens the lives of innocents.” She walks over to the cage and places her hand on the lock.

“If you open that door, that monster inside will eat you in seconds,” he advises.

“Neither of us are monsters. Just victims of circumstance. Plus, I think we want the same thing now!”

“What do you want? Revenge? To save yourself? To just protect your sister?” he sneers.

“No. To take my place on the throne as protector of this world, bitch!” Amanda opens the cage, and Leyna steps out to tower over her. She grabs Amanda with one of the huge hands sprouting from her back.

“Okay, that wasn’t supposed to happen,” Amanda says. “I know you’re probably mad right now. To be honest, I would be too. I should never have forced you to use the yin side, and if I’d known this would happen I wouldn’t have told you to. Okay, I probably still would have told you to take over, so this would probably have still been the outcome. I was a coward, and I should have listened to you. I realize without you there is no me, and if you want to save the world, then damn it, let’s do it together!”

Amanda struggles to free herself as Leyna opens her mouth and puts Amanda’s neck between her teeth, then bites down on it lightly. A substance that looks like black ink flows through Amanda’s veins. Leyna drops Amanda and shrinks back to her normal white self. Amanda falls to the floor and screams in pain.

Leyna sighs. “Feels good to get some of that out of me.” She pats herself on the stomach.

“What’s wrong with me?” Amanda rolls around in pain.

“That’s what the darkness feels like. That’s only a small percentage of it. Imagine taking on one hundred percent of that. It’s a terrible feeling, trying not to lose your sanity. It was extremely hard to not bite your neck in half. If you’d chosen the wrong words to say to me, it could have easily happened. You won me over. Now, Amanda, if you didn’t mean what you said, this syncing is going to fail, and that will be it for the both of us.” She puts both of her hands on Amanda’s stomach like she’s getting ready to do CPR, then pushes down on it. Amanda’s body jerks likes she’s been shocked by a defibrillator. “Let’s see if it works!”

Amanda continues to scream in pain, but she slowly starts to calm down. Leyna claps with joy and hugs Amanda while she is on the ground.

“You did it. I’m so proud of you. Now that we share this burden together, taking on this darkness won’t be so hard. We’ll suffer together and keep each other in check.” Leyna extends her hand and helps Amanda off the ground.

“Sounds fun. So, are we synced now?” Amanda grimaces in pain as she rubs her stomach.

“Yep. Look at your stomach.” Leyna points, smiling and hopping up and down.

Amanda looks. She sees something that looks like a circular maze going around her belly button. “What the hell is that? Is that permanent? Can other people see that in the real world?”

“Yes to all your questions. Look, I have one too! We’re twins!” Leyna lifts her shirt. “Everything that happens to you in here transfers out there. This a sign to show that we are synced together. Whenever you use your yin powers, your motive must always stay the same. Which is?”

“Save anyone who needs it, no matter the cost!” Amanda holds her thumb up with a look of determination on her face.

“Bingo, and that includes yourself. Using them for any other reason will break the sync, and you’ll become that beast next time. Pressure’s off me, now!”

“Understood. Those illusions you created were beyond convincing—all of them except for my sister. I don’t think she would have panicked like that. She would have been emotionless and used bigger words. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember my mom sacrificing herself either. She stood up for us, though. Why didn’t you tell me what you wanted when we first met? I just thought you wanted ice cream. We could have avoided all this!”

“That is what I wanted: to eat. That wasn’t my goal. I didn’t tell you my goal because it would have created more fear for you to overcome in such a short amount of time, and I didn’t have faith that you would. You had to deal with so much, and I didn’t want you saying we shared the same goal just to get more power. Things would have turned out worse. Anyway, it’s time I show you something. I thought of this wicked outfit that’s going to harness your darkness out there in the real world. I want you to try it on and see if you like it.” She touches Amanda’s shoulder.

White fabric slowly starts to creep up Amanda’s legs, then the rest of her body. She finds herself dressed in a skintight white bodysuit with black lines all over it. Her large green eyes are rimmed in bright red, and there’s a large gold choker around her neck and a black halo over her head. A mirror drops down in front of Amanda, and she looks into it. Amanda smiles, showing off sharp, jagged gold teeth. She summons her guns.

“This is dope. My sister is going to be so jealous.” Amanda continues to check herself out.

“You look amazing. Better than I thought you would. This is your yin form. Evil runs throughout this outfit, and if you touch your guns with this on, you’ll be able to do some damage. Try it out on Jamie over there. The same concept applies from before: think about what you want that bullet to do, and it will. Think of something that will kill.”

Exploding bullets. Amanda fires her gun at Jamie, and the bullet creates a huge explosion, consuming him. “Sweet! So, this is my destructive yin power. I have to have this outfit on to use them?”

“Yep.”

“Do you remember when I was fighting Jamie and he had that black cloak? Was that the outfit he needs to wear to use his yin powers?”

“Most likely. You need an outfit that harnesses your darkness, but that still isn’t enough sometimes. Your yin can spread to your physical body and alter it. That’s why I gave you a mask to put over your face. If you want your mask to come off, just think it off.”

“I’m curious to see what I look like under here.” Amanda thinks her mask off. “How do I look?”

Leyna pretends to throw up. “Put it back on!”

“What? Am I hideous?” Amanda looks in the mirror. “It’s just my regular face with sharp gold teeth.”

“Oh… well, now I feel bad.”

“Whatever! I wonder if he unlocked his yang powers. Would a kundalini withhold information for some reason?”

“Maybe. I don’t care about him. Let me finish explaining your suit. You can now access these powers whenever you want. I made it simple. Just say ex animo to activate your power. It’s Latin.”

“What does that mean, and how do you even know Latin?”

“It means ‘from the heart.’ When you shoot someone, you’re doing it out of love for the ones you’re protecting. You must have scrolled past it when you did a web search for ‘how to say love in Latin.’”

“Deep stuff. I remember. All I need now are cool catch phrases, like ‘bitch, please’ or ‘freeze, motherfucker,’ like Sam Jackson.”

“I would work on that if I were you.”

“Well, this was a good learning experience for me. I think I’m ready to get out of here now.”

Ameena points her finger at nothing. “You know the way out—right through that door over there.” A door drops down from the white void.

Amanda runs over to the door, then stops. She runs back over to her kundalini and gives her a hug. “Thank you for everything. I promise to never put you through anything like that again. I’ll listen next time. Thank you.” She begins running away, then turns around one last time before going through the door. “We got this. Together!”

Leyna blows her hair out of her face. “Damn it! Hey, you owe me some ice cream!” She sits down and pouts.

“When this is over, you can have all the ice cream you want,” Amanda says to Leyna.

“Yes!”

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