Amanda rises quickly, gasping for air, and immediately vomits. The moon shines brightly in her eyes, forcing her to squint. She starts to feel a sense of déjà vu.
“Yep, let it all out. That’s one of the side effects of being dead and brought back to life with magic,” Ana says.
“I died?” Amanda looks up and sees Ana sitting across from her.
“Next comes the memory of the violent way you died,” Ana says calmly.
Amanda’s mind is filled with the vision of how she was killed by Jamie.
“Then the anger.”
Amanda grits her teeth.
“Anything else, Ana?” Saira asks.
“We’re in the middle of a battle,” Saira says to Amanda.
“Please tell me you’ve got some type of plan or advice to win. I killed him, and he transformed. I don’t know if I can handle any more transformations,” Amanda says.
“I think he might be immortal. The good news is I doubt he can transform again. If he could, he would have done it, unless he’s toying with us, but that’s not likely. If he’s powering up, that means we’re winning, so it’s possible there’s only a certain number of times he can come back to life,” Saira says.
“Took you long enough to come back! We don’t have time for that. He needs to be taken out in one shot. I’m out of arms to give. There’s only one person here who can evaporate this bastard, and that’s you, Amanda. So, get your ass back here and finish the job,” Kid says over the earpiece.
“That’s easier said than done. We have one ace up our sleeve, and that’s his kid. We deliver the boy and sees what happens,” Amanda says.
“Whatever you’re doing, you need to leave and do it now.” Ana grabs the child off the floor by his arm and dangles him in the air. “Take this little kid with you. He’s all healed, or whatever.” Ana glows red.
“Ana you just lied; he looks terrible. What have you been doing this entire time with him? He looks like he could croak at any second!”
“Any second is right. I’m not answering any more questions. Now, go help your friends before more people you know die. And just for the record, I can only bring one person back within an hour of their death, and only if the body is in decent condition. Don’t show up here with a body with the damn head missing! Also, I can only do this once a year, so if any of you chumps die within a year, you’re dead for good.”
“Amanda, we don’t have time for this. Grab him, and let’s go,” Saira says.
Amanda gives Ana a hard stare as she grabs the boy from her. “My eyes don’t lie. I’ll never forgive you for this. If we die because of your foolish actions, blame yourself for the world getting destroyed. Let’s get out of here, sis.” She grabs her sister’s shoulder.
“We’re going to land right in front of Jamie, so bring up your shield,” Saira says. Amanda brings up her shield around them, and they disappear.
They land just in time to be nearly sliced in half by Jamie’s scythe as it slashes toward them through the rain, only jumping out of the way at the last second.
“Get rid of the rain!” Kid yells.
The rain starts to dissipate, and Amanda and Saira can see what’s going on.
Kid drops in behind Amanda. “I’m so happy to see you right now.”
Jamie notices his son in the shield with Amanda.
Saira falls to her knees.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Amanda asks.
“I’m exhausted and running out of energy. I don’t mean to sound nonchalant about this, but that child is probably dead already. In order to bring you back, someone had to die. I need to take a break for a few minutes. I’m just going to sit here for a while.” She powers down to her normal self. “Be prepared to fight or run.”
Amanda stays silent for a few seconds. “Get behind me.”
Saira scoots closer to her sister’s legs. Amanda walks forward and sits the child on the ground, then backs up.
Jamie’s bracelets begin to knit over his skeleton face and hands until his hands and the left side of his head are completely covered. He pulls his hood off his head, then runs over to his son with a smile on his face. He reaches his son and immediately frowns. “What’s the meaning of this? Why does he look even worse than before?” Jamie waves his hand and brings up his son’s hourglass only to see that his grains of sand have already run out. “What did you do?” He looks at Amanda, then taps his son’s face. “Hey, come on, open up your eyes.”
Chigaru floats down behind Jamie.
“I love you, son. I love you so much. I enjoyed every single moment with you. I’m sorry I failed you as a father. Chigaru, take my son’s body and watch over him.” He gives his son to Chigaru, who throws him over his shoulder. The thread from Jamie’s hands unravels, revealing his skeletal hands. His bracelet begins threading away all the skin on his face. He rips both of his eyes from his eye sockets, leaving a hollow black space with a small, bright light in the middle. “Nothing can withstand the sands of time. Everything decays.”
Inside Jamie’s head, he can hear his kundalini talking to him. “Now, nothing is holding you back. Your reign over the living can now begin.”
He pulls his hood over his now completely skeletal head. “I don’t have anyone to blame for this but myself. I put my trust in a group of strangers, and my son paid the price for it. I killed my son.” Jamie becomes encased in a circular purplish-black aura that continues to slowly expand. The building under him begins to decay, leaving a hole under him, and he floats above it. He raises his right hand in the air, and tiny purplish-black energy blasts begin to shoot from his hand like fireworks. His blasts hit civilians in the safe zone. “One hundred people dead in seconds. Amanda, their blood is on your hands. Two hundred people dead—their blood is on your hands.”
“Amanda, his shots are going in the direction of the city where we evacuated people,” Saira says.
“Stop!” Amanda screams out. Amanda thinks of bullets that explode and fires some shots at Jamie. They penetrate the aura, but the bullets explode before they can reach him. “Why are you doing this? There’s no reason for you to kill all those people.”
“Amanda! There’s no reasoning with this guy. If you want to stop people from dying, you must defeat him right now! You’re the only one who can do it, and it’s now or never,” Kid says.
“Amanda, it’s time to use that attack,” Saira says.
“Right. Ex animo!” She dons her suit and turns it red, then summons her guns. She falls to her knees and transforms back into her human form. She lies there, trying to catch her breath.
“Oh, great. Now what?” Kid asks.
“I’m out of stamina. Must be some side effect of being brought back to life,” Amanda says.
“Or another one of Ana’s damn tricks,” Kid says.
“Amanda, whatever you’re going to do, it’s now or never. I can’t provide any help. With you having no stamina, I’m afraid that if we switch, you’ll die instantly. You only get one shot. Your bones are going to shatter, and you could possibly die… and that’s if you were at full power. You’re definitely going to die,” Amanda’s kundalini says in her head.
Self-destructing seemed a lot less painful, Amanda thinks to her kundalini.
Ameena jumps out of a vortex and lands next to Amanda. “Amanda, stand right now. It started with you two, and it’s going to end with you two. I know you may be out of energy, but you need to find that motivation to stand to your feet and finish this guy no matter how much you want to fall on your face and collapse.” Ameena stares at Chigaru, and Chigaru stares back.
“Weakling, how about we let our acolytes finish this? I don’t think they’ll be satisfied if they don’t have the opportunity to kill each other,” Chigaru says.
“If you want to disappear, that’s fine,” Ameena says.
“Finish her now, boy,” Chigaru says to Jamie.
“I really wanted to save your son, but you made it so hard to do that. If your mind wasn’t so corrupted by your yin, then maybe we could have worked together to figure something out. As I learned new knowledge, I could have easily shared my information with you, but instead you killed my parents and try to kill my sister. Did you even unlock the yang side of your powers, which is beneficial to life? Maybe, just maybe you could have saved your son permanently and not have had to go around killing people if you’d tried unlocking the yang side of your powers. Your son is dead, and it’s neither of our faults, yet you continue to kill. Even you must see the wrong in that. Would your son be proud of this version of you? I don’t think so. Did your son know what you were doing? If he did, he wouldn’t approve. I think you missed your real purpose in life. With powers like yours, who knows what you could have accomplished? You didn’t have to go down this path. I just know you don’t have a reason to be killing right now, and it needs to stop. Sorry, but I must destroy you now,” Amanda says.
Amanda struggles up from the ground and activates her yin again. Only a few small patches of her red suit show up around her body. “Alright, I’m going to need some help from you two,” Amanda says to Kid and Saira. She summons her guns, then clanks her two guns together, fusing them into one large, long, rose-gold laser gun. Amanda struggles to hold the gun up, and it hits the ground, cracking it. Amanda pulls the trigger, and the gun begins to light up pink on the side. “I only get one shot at this, and I need to be pointing at him by the time this thing goes off. Whatever happens after this, just know if I die, I will haunt you in your dreams.”
Kid gets behind Amanda and uses electromagnetism to hold the gun up and point it at Jamie. “Hope a tingle of electricity doesn’t bother you.”
“Barely feel it. Thank you!”
“Yeah, whatever. Just finish that cocky bastard.”
Saira presses in between the two. “Make sure you’re touching me at all times, just in case we have to go for a ride.”
Jamie lowers his arm. He puts his right hand out in front of him, and a small purplish-black light appears around it. The circular aura around him begins to shrink, and as the aura shrinks, the small light in his hand begins to grow. His cloak billows from the energy he’s producing until there is a thin layer of aura around him and a basketball-sized purplish-black ball in his hand. “By the time this blast is done charging, not only will it rot all of you, but this entire city will crumble with you. There’ll be no coming back this time.”
Boop appears next to Saira, back in his small, fluffy form. “Boop,” he says behind Saira’s ear.
“Not right now, Boop. Go away,” Saira says.
“Oh, great, not this thing again!” Kid says, looking at Boop as he hovers by his head. Boop grabs Kid by his collar, then tosses him out of sight into the sky.
Saira looks up at Kid. “Maybe that’s a good thing. Don’t let go of that trigger, Amanda.” Come on, Saira, go beyond your limits. She concentrates, and hooks burst from her skin and widen her eyelids. She zooms in on Kid and transports herself and Amanda to him, and they begin falling.
“What just happened?” Kid asks, looking confused.
Jamie shoots his charged beam of energy toward them like a comet.
“Kid, face the same direction as Jamie,” Saira says.
“What?” Kid asks before Saira swaps Kid and Ameena’s places.
“Ahh! This is fun!” Ameena says, falling.
Kid quickly turns and faces Jamie. Jamie points his other hand at Kid and fires a ray of energy that’s smaller than his previous blast. He’s now firing two blasts at the same time. Kid makes a lightning bolt strike behind him at the same time that Saira swaps his and Jamie’s positions. Jamie is blinded by the lightning strike while Kid falls in the hole and uses electromagnetism on the rebar to pull himself up. He balances himself on top of it, looking at Chigaru’s stomach.
“What kind of clusterfuck of a plan is this?” Kid asks. Saira quickly swaps Chigaru and Amanda’s places. Amanda is now in front of Kid, and she falls in the hole. Kid uses electromagnetism, grabs her gun, and keeps her in the hole. Amanda continues to hold on to the trigger as Kid angles the gun up toward Jamie.
Before Saira is hit with the blast in the air, Boop appears in front of her and snickers, then grabs her and teleports out of the way of the blast. Chigaru and Ameena are hit with the blast but aren’t fazed by it. Boop floats in the sky, holding Saira like a baby.
“Thanks,” Saira says. Boop snickers and begins to spin his head around. Saira giggles and quickly covers her mouth.
Jamie’s vision returns to normal, and he turns toward Kid. Kid makes a thunderbolt strike down behind himself, leaving an afterimage, then drops down to a rebar just under Amanda’s thighs.
“I’m not falling for that trick again,” Jamie says with his hand open, waiting to fire his blast. A thunderbolt strikes next to him, and he quickly turns and fires a blast. “Wait, don’t tell me he’s in the same spot.” He fires an energy blast at the afterimage Kid has left behind. “That’s a fake too? Where the hell did he go?”
Kid stands slightly under and behind Amanda. “Amanda, how much longer for that damn gun to char—”
Kid is cut off by a loud, sudden bang from the gun. The roof crumbles apart, and Jamie is engulfed in a large pink laser blast that shoots up into space. Amanda flies backward from the power of the blast and into Kid. Kid tries to slow them down by using electromagnetism to try to latch onto random metal objects.
Kid and Amanda continue to fly backward, going through buildings and eventually the streets. They keep going, leaving a path in the ground, until they come to a stop in a large hole they’ve created. Saira appears on the scene, her eyes glowing pink and blue.
Iri runs down the crater and meets up with Saira. “They’re in bad shape.”
“I’ll take them to get fixed. Do you need to be healed too?” Saira asks.
“I don’t need to be healed, but I’ll go.”
Iri walks over and touches Saira. She points her hand, and they all disappear and crash-land at Ana’s house.
Ana sees them and smiles. “Seems like your battle is finally over. I bet you all are thirsty. I’ll grab you some tea.”
“Ana, we don’t want any tea. Kid and Amanda are in bad shape. Can you please just heal them?” Saira asks.
“I’m sure you don’t speak for everyone in this room. I’m sure your new friend here wants tea!”
“No, I’ll pass,” Iri says.
“I’ll help your friends, but I’m going to take this anger, stash it in a can, and kill one of you at a later time. Now, make yourself useful and put these two on the couch.”
“Saira, who is this crazy person?” Iri whispers.
“Kid’s crazy friend. Please just do what she says, and don’t make her mad. Kid fears her.”
“If Kid is scared, she must be strong.” Iri looks over her shoulder at Ana.
Ana sees her looking. “Is there something you want to discuss with me?”
“Not at all.” They put the two on separate couches.
Saira lies on the floor. “It’s finally over.” She closes her eyes and lets out a sigh of relief.