KNOW THE TRUTH
22: KNOW THE TRUTH
Baxter walked forward and curled his fingers into fists.
“Alexa. Forgive me for this.” He muttered under his breath. “I hope the four of you know this will be a bit painful.”
Without warning, he rushed forward and swung at Kaya. A cracking sound was heard. Baxter turned his stunned gaze to his right and saw Hope glaring at him. He looked down and could see the recruit’s knee as it pressed into his side. His suit had been forced in and the cracking sound was the metal splintering open.
Baxter fell on his side and Hope landed into a crouch evading Baxter’s sweeping counter kick to his head.
Kaya stepped back and looked around as two intruders approached her. She squinted and took off her glasses, rubbing her eyes.
“Kaya what are you doing?” Maggy yelled.
Kaya did not respond. She put back on her glasses and stared at the intruders again. The blotches were still there. On the first intruder, there was a whitish blotch surrounding his knee that was consistent with his form. The second had the same blotch around his waist. They were like discolorations in their suit but seemed to run much deeper than the surface. However, what really surprised Kaya was an increasingly strong desire to strike those areas of her attackers’ bodies. Kaya took another step back and quickly evaded a swinging blow from the attacker on the left. She bent her torso towards her left and spun her hips counterclockwise. She slammed her right foot into the first opponent’s knee, with all her might. There was a cracking sound, and then a yell of anguish. Kaya ducked under another blow, this time from the second intruder and sent two quick punches crashing into his hip joint. The intruder doubled over and met a double fisted blow to the jaw. His head snapped off her fists and he pivoted backward sharply before slamming into the ground, back first. The first intruder was struggling to get to his feet. Kaya walked up to him and delivered an expertly placed roundhouse kick to the face, knocking him out.
“Wow… Kaya.” Clieo said in awe. Kaya turned around to see her standing safely in Hope’s shield.
“I didn’t know you were such a beast, Kaya.” Maggy said with a smile.
Kaya smiled back. The smile was brief. Her eyes caught a glimpse of the three attackers as they leaped towards Maggy. Clieo was already screaming.
“Maggy, behind you!!!” Kaya yelled.
Maggy spun around and raised her hands up defensively. That’s when it happened. Kaya sensed it as a watery like feeling. It felt like her entire being had been submerged in water. She could still move and could breathe but the air felt more solid and her movements were the thrashings of a swimmer. They were effortless thrashings, but thrashings nonetheless. When Kaya looked at Maggy, the sight before her took her breath away.
Maggy turned around and gave her a glass eyed look.
“They… they… stopped… in midair.” Maggy said as she looked back at the three attackers who were frozen in their respective lunges.
The skirmish had stopped as everyone watched the scene unfolding before them in awe. Maggy trembled. She tried willing her mind to undo what she had done, but it was futile. She watched the visors on the three men and wondered what facial expressions of fear lay underneath each one. Did they mirror hers?
“Maggy.” Kaya walked up to her. “It appears you have… slowed them down, somehow.”
Maggy couldn’t think properly. How could she do that? They were in midair. There were laws governing such motions. Gravity for starters.
“They are still lunging at you, Maggy. Let’s move out of the way.”
It was then Maggy saw what Kaya meant. The tip of one of the intruder’s fingers had almost reached her chest. They were not frozen, but moving very slowly, as to be almost imperceptible.
Maggy and Kaya sidestepped the three intruders falling in slow motion.
“What have you done?!” Baxter growled as he unsheathed a jagged dagger.
“Hope!” Clieo yelled.
Baxter lunged at Hope and swung. Hope saw the blade slice down, its metallic surface briefly transforming it into a gleam of light as it traveled speedily towards him. For a moment, he thought he saw a cane quickly fly into his field of vision, blocking the dagger’s flight. He thought he heard a thud, as the cane having deflected the dagger, struck Baxter right on his nose bridge. A foot crashed into Baxter before his feet could touch the ground. The intruder was sent hurtling through the air and crashing into the ground a few feet away.
Hope shuddered. All this had happened during Baxter’s lunge.
A scraggly figure now stood in front of Hope. His hair was scanty, dirty and unkempt. It fell in long thin strands, out of an equally dirty black hat that sat loosely atop his head. The man had a bushy beard that fell from his sides down to his jaw and protruded in a twist towards his thin belly. A long black jacket, dark blue shirt and black trousers and boots, completed his attire.
“W… wh… who are you?” Hope stuttered.
His entire body was trembling uncontrollably and even though he was trying, he couldn’t will his body to move. To run. Hope looked around to see that the remaining five intruders had also been knocked out.
This is bad. Very bad. I didn’t even see him coming. If he’s not on our side, we are done for.
The man raised up his walking cane once more and leveled it above Hope’s head as if taking aim.
Run, goddammit! Run or you’ll die!
The cane came down with a thwack. Hope looked up to see Clieo standing in front of him. She had caught the cane.
“I’ve seen you before… at the arena. Just what the hell do you think you are doing?!!” Clieo yelled.
“Is this the best you can do? And here I thought you four were of the chosen nine.”
“What? What are you rambling about?” Kaya asked.
She concentrated her mind on the man’s clothes.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Amethyst warrior. You may hurt your friends in the process. That is not heat you are trying to project, but radiation.”
The shaggy man sighed.
“You four are like lost sheep running in a field full of wild wolves. How do you hope to save humanity when you have no control over your powers and no idea what those powers are in the first place?”
“How do you know who we are? Who are you? What do you want?” Maggy asked.
“Ah… the Sapphire warrior recovers. You will know who I am in time, but for now, all I want is to keep you and your friends safe.”
The man waved his left hand and the three slowly lunging intruders, crumpled to the ground.
“I should tell you the truth right here and now, but I doubt you’ll believe me. For now, I’ll send you on to someone else who will.”
The strange man rotated his right arm backward and extended his finger in a pointing motion.
“Behind me lies the way to the councilor’s sector. These intruders had two goals tonight. The first was to find you. The second… was to kill Councilor Mason.”
Maggy, Kaya, Clieo, and Hope gasped in unison.
“Get to him first, and you will know the truth. After that, you will have to make a choice. Go.”
The four warriors walked carefully around the strange man, never taking their eyes off him.
“Go.” The man repeated.
Strangely, for such an unkempt man, his voice was smooth and held a tinge of authority.
The four, took off, hurrying as much from fear of this man as they did for fear of what might happen or have already happened.
The councilor could be dead.