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Chapter 1

Three days ago (well, at the very least, it feels like it was just three days ago), I was completely fine. I’m sure! I was still lying down in bed, eyes locked onto my screen just like how the rest of us do-- I’m sure, I’m sure. I had thoughts about places I felt like going to, but it felt like a bore at the moment. That’s how it eventually works when you have too much convenience at your side, after all.

A large beep sounds from my phone as I just finished setting it aside on the pillow beside me. Turning the screen on, I see that I already have 5 notifications pending, waiting to be read. It seems that the others are just basic social media notifications... but this one which reads “where are you” seems to be of more importance, so I immediately reply.

“I’m at home, Mell. I just woke up.”

“That’s good, that’s good. We have to meet at the tower in the downtown plaza.”

“At this hour? Isn’t that dangerous?”

“Not for people like us.”

“People like us”, huh? Is there any chance that I’d get to meet more people like us? It is nighttime. And anything could happen.

Three sudden knocks on the window led me to be on guard. My instincts tell me that it wasn’t a projectile that hit the window. None hits the window three times like that. Except for an insect, maybe, but not that loud. A simple gesture of a tap towards a surface allows me to send out a wave of energy that immediately gives me information about my surroundings in a certain radius. The default range being 50 km, the scans tell me that there’s a person right outside-- at this time. Whew, creepy enough.

I shouted at it. “Who’s there?” But I get three knocks as a reply.

Do I open it? Should I just lock the space outside the window first?

“Hurry up. We don’t have all night.” A guy’s voice calls out. It’s familiar enough, so I decide to open it. I sure hope my naivety won’t be the death of me for now...

“It’s me, Pas. What took you too long?”

Pas, my childhood friend. Seems like my naivety didn’t send me running for the hills this time around. He looks inside my room then back at me as I glance at my phone for a while. His thick black hair almost blends into the starless sky while he looks at me with a frown.

“We gotta get moving.”

“Right now?” I ask. “I gotta go somewhere first though...”

“Yeah, and we’re going together,” he says as he turns around and slowly fades into the darkness. “I’ll follow you from the shadows and keep watch, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.”

“I can just telepo-- wait. How did you even get here undetected?” I pause from stepping outside the window.

I hear him sigh from nowhere before he continues.

“Duh, I control the shadows.”

“I never heard about that before...”

“Fun fact: it manifested around the same time yours did.”

“You even know about mine?”

“Of course. Nothing about powers goes unheard of when the Conscript is in play. Now, get moving.”

“There’s a lot of explanations you have to give me.”

“And too less of time to do so. I can tell you as we go on.”

On the way to the plaza as I teleport from roof to roof, he tells me about how the Conscript is really just an organization that keeps power users under watch, just to make sure that none of them are causing trouble. However, it seems that they’ve caught wind of information that infers about an operation happening tonight.

“...and we need the two of you for this one.”

“Can’t you just exclude Mell?” I ask him while peering at the view overlooking the tower.

“No can do. Even her friends are part of the Conscript, and it seems that they’ve asked her into the monitor op as well.”

I stay quiet for now, finally teleporting on a catwalk at the tower. This was often our meeting place since it gives us alone time, so I'll easily be able to warp here. Pas follows up from behind me and quickly opens the door. Only ominous darkness can be seen, but Pas immediately throws a spherical object inside which immediately lights up the place. Blood is everywhere-- on the floor, dripping from the ceiling, and splats on the wall...

She... hasn’t been here yet, has she?

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