Rise of the Savior: Acolyte of Truth

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Chapter 16

Back at ATRA, Richard and Demitri stop by Jacob’s cell. “You were caught robbing people and almost killed the acolyte of truth in an alley, but you haven’t directly killed anyone. Also, your info was extremely useful, and if you agree to bring in the mime you’re always with and you both go to counseling, you’re free to live,” Richard says to Jacob.

“Yes, of course. You can have her. She’s actually in the same predicament I’m in. If she disobeys Jamie, she dies. I’ll give you her address and phone number and everything.”

“Great. We’ll get that info from you later. Get your stuff together, and we’ll put you to sleep and out of my sight.”

Richard walks over to the cage holding Jamie. “Report.”

“He’s awake and aware of the situation with the bomb in his chest. He agreed to put the collar back on without a fight but will not tell us if there are more missing children and how many he’s killed so far. The only thing he talks about is his son being sick and how he will die without him. He keeps begging for our help with that,” Demitri says.

“That’s all I needed to hear. Well, we don’t treat regular humans, because they’re not supposed to know we exist. We just protect them from the shadows. Besides, if we treated one, we would have to treat them all. Plus, we don’t even know how our medicines would work on humans, and we don’t want to harm any,” Richard says.

“If that’s the case, I’ll continue to do what I need to do to keep my son alive,” Jamie says. “Bring me Amanda and Jacob to speak to. In that order. Once that happens, I’ll confess to everything about the missing children.”

“Tap anything and everything we can to find this girl—every camera, microphone, and cell phone. If we find her, we may find Kid too. You know what? I don’t have the time or patience for this guy’s stubborn act. Initiate Plan B,” Richard says.

“Yes, sir. W-what is Plan B?” Demitri asks.

“Dude, what are you, new or something? Plan ‘beat the shit out of him.’”

“I’m not sure how to initiate that, but I will figure it out, sir,” Demitri says.

“Good.” Richard walks away.

***

Months have passed for the sisters. They sit in the white void in their normal forms.

“You’re starting to improve,” Saira says. She has rippling muscles and two large, curly puffs on her head.

Amanda’s hair is noticeably longer, and her muscles are more toned and defined. “Yeah. I’m feeling a lot stronger and more confident. I’m able to sit here without transforming now,” she says.

Amanda and Saira both get up and begin walking back to Ana’s house with ease.

“I’ve analyzed your fighting style, and it’s predictable,” Saira comments. “Your moves are choreographed, you’re off-balance, and you constantly load up and cock back for wide punches and haymakers. If you don’t defeat your opponent in five minutes or less, you’ll be in trouble. If you want to beat your opponent, I suggest you use your strongest move to get rid of him.”

“That laser gun is too freaking big to use, and it takes too long to charge. I almost died using it here. Ana won’t be around the next time I use it.”

“I know it takes too long to charge, but there are various scenarios where you’ll have time to charge it. For example—”

“I don’t want to hear that right now.” Amanda puts her hand on the doorknob. “If things get out of control, I have a power you don’t know about, and you won’t know about it until I use it. Any more flaws in my fighting you can tell me about?” Amanda opens the door and walks through. Saira follows.

“Well, you’re able to stay in your suit longer, but it’s not enough yet. You’re able to change the color of a specific body part of your suit with ease now, but you don’t use the attributes associated with that color appropriately. That’s all.”

“Thanks, I’ll work on that.”

“Don’t feel bad. I have my flaws too. I’m useless in hand-to-hand combat, and I second-guess myself a lot when it comes to decision-making. I’d rather people not know about my analysis skills, because if they depend on them, they could die. One thing I can’t predict is the unknown, and with acolytes, there are a lot of unknowns. The worst thing that could happen in a fight you’re barely winning is hearing, ‘This isn’t even my final form.’” Saira sits on the couch.

“That’s a shocker. I don’t think we’re fighting Frieza, so we should be fine.”

“Hey, if we’re always together in these fights, just know I’ve got your back. Separately, we’re flawed and incomplete, but together, we fill in those gaps. I lack combat skills, and if I had to pick someone to swap in front of me to fight my battles, it’d be you. And your fighting won’t be so predictable when I’m around. No matter what’s in front of you, just keep running forward; don’t stop and think. If there are any obstacles in your way, I’ll make them disappear. If I think the situation is getting out of hand, I’ll swap you out of the fight with a penny, and we’ll rethink things, then come back twice as hard and win.” Saira sticks up her thumb.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Just don’t make a mistake and teleport a scythe into my chest. Just keep moving forward right into danger—got it.” Amanda notices Ana’s grimoire on the table. “Hey, look what’s on the table.”

Saira quickly grabs the book and begins flipping through the pages.

“So, are you learning any spells?” Amanda asks.

“I can memorize what I see, but I don’t think I’d be able to perform them. There’s one to put the entire world in a dream, one for resurrection, unlimited food, levitation, absorbing people…”

Ana walks out of the back room, sees the two, and quickly runs to close the book. “Enough of that. Seems you two are eager to die! That’s actually top-secret stuff.”

“Sorry,” Saira says.

“You aren’t yet. I think you two have overstayed your welcome. The good news is after seeing you two fight, I think you could easily kill that guy now.” Ana smiles.

“Kill? I’m not killing anyone. I’m not stooping down to his level,” Amanda states.

Ana looks disappointed. “What? You do realize this is the guy that killed your parents, right? What, you want him to surrender and turn himself in? If you need a justifiable reason to kill someone, what he did should be good enough. Who do you think you are, Batman? Villains here can’t stick around. Every single dead body is on your hands if he lives and escapes. If this is the way you think, then this world is doomed.” Ana paces back and forth. “Doomed, I say!”

“Being alive but caged in a cell like a wild animal is far worse than death. Giving someone an easy way out isn’t the answer,” Amanda says.

“So, how are you going to get him to turn himself in? Are you going to lecture him until he’s ready to be locked in a cage? Are you going to grab his hand and put handcuffs on him? I would like to see you try,” Ana says.

“I know what he wants. His son is dying, so if I can find a way to cure him, then all this is going to be over. He won’t have any more reasons to do what he’s doing,” Amanda says.

“What was the point of doing all that training, then?” Ana asks.

“As a backup plan. I haven’t seen this guy in a long time, and I’m not sure how corrupted his yin side has made him. Besides, I’m the protector of this world, remember? I need to be able to protect people,” Amanda explains.

“This is weird. You’ve lost a lot already, and you have more to lose. I wonder what’s more painful: losing a sister or losing a son. You’re going to get yourself and your sister killed because of your innocence. You think you’re some type of paragon of virtue when it’s either kill or be killed. When will you realize that? After your sister dies?”

“That’s not going to happen. I already made up my mind about how I’m going to handle things,” Amanda says.

“You can’t save the world like that. That’s not how your previous reincarnations handled things. They killed the bad guys and lived happily ever after without worrying about them coming back and doing the same thing,” Ana yells.

“I’m not them,” Amanda screams.

Ana scoffs at that. “Obviously. Okay, we’ll try it your way. You bring me the kid, and I’ll heal him. If you think this nonviolent way will work, then I’ll participate. You are the savior, so maybe this whole no-killing thing will work. Bring me the child, and I’ll get rid of his ailments. Then, you can return him to his father and see if he goes down without a fight.”

“Are you being serious, Ana?”

“Of course, I am. You are the reincarnation of the great acolyte that stopped the war, so you obviously must know what you’re doing. With that being said, I think it’s time for you and your sister to leave and go protect innocent people with your words.” Ana glows green, indicating she’s telling the truth.

“Wait, I wanted to stay longer so I could get some more training in,” Amanda says.

“Nope. I can feel a very mean spirit getting ready to take over, and it’s because of you. Unless you want your spirit absorbed, leave!”

“Alright, how do I get in contact with you?”

Amanda and Saira suddenly fall through a black hole and end up back in the real world.

Seconds later, another black hole opens, and Kid falls through with a book in his hand, landing on his back. “Freedom! You don’t know how happy I am to get away from her. Let’s hurry and get out of here. We should go back to the agency.” He gets up, runs over to a pay phone, and makes a phone call. “Two, six, eight, six, four, six, three.”

A man picks up. “Kid! Where the hell you been, man? We were beginning to worry about you!”

“I was busy. I need a ride to the agency. I’m with Amanda and her sister,” Kid says.

“Soldiers are already coming your way. They want that girl brought in immediately,” the man says.

“Why?” Kid asks.

“We’ll fill you in on the details when you arrive. ETA: eight minutes.” The man hangs up the phone.

“Alright, we have a ride coming.” Kid looks behind him and sees a diner still open. “Let’s go in here and grab some coffee. It’s going to be a long night.”

“That doesn’t sound good,” Amanda says.

“We’ll find out soon enough.”

“I was talking about the coffee.”

They all walk into the diner.

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