Chapter 22: Emotions
Feron was wrapping up another training session. He was already back at it after being defeated by Dante. He re-racked the weights, picked up a towel and water bottle. He washed off the sweat and put his clothes on; including his white coat. Bidding farewell to the student supervisor, he walked out of the training center.
He was making his way over to the director’s office. He was called in for a meeting that would be starting a couple hours after his training session. After getting a couple hours of personal work done, he was rushing to get to the office. He was running a little later than he realized.
He saw a familiar face in a white coat by Oracle Lake. He walked over to her, determined to get a response.
“Good morning,” he said, politely. She continued to stand in silence.
“Niko,” Feron said with a little more irritation in his voice. No answer.
“Niko!” He turned her around and he immediately noticed that her eyes were fogged over. It was as if she was focused on a faraway world. Feron couldn’t figure out why she would be in such an unconscious state.
He tried shaking slightly shaking her. When that didn’t do it, he shook her a couple more times. No success. He decided to try one more thing. Feron gave Niko a light chop on the head. She dropped to her knees.
“Owwww,” she trailed off, rubbing her head. Her eyes returned to their normal state. “That kind of hurt, ya know?”
“Well, it was the only way I could get you out of that trance,” Feron answered her, putting his hands in his pockets. He glanced away.
“It seems you’ve returned to normal,” he continued. “Who’d have thought all it took was a chop to the head?”
“Luke knew,” she said under hushed breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“In any case, you’ve been pretty gloomy and despair-y for the last couple of weeks. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with you. What was wrong, Niko?”
Niko stopped rubbing her head and thought about it. “I can’t explain it,” she said in a soft voice. “It’s just this feeling that’s come over me. Ever since I saw the inside of the pod, I felt “his” emotions running amok inside me-“
“Inside you,” Feron asked, a little shocked.
“You also saw the inside of the pod as well?”
“How crazy. I wasn’t able to see inside of the pod.”
“I never actually saw inside the pod; but rather, sensed it. A familiar presence. One that we thought was lost that night.”
Feron took a step back. No way! He could actually be alive?!
“You don’t mean-“
Suddenly Feron’s phone went off. He looked at it and realized that it was an alarm. He was late to the meeting!
“Oh crap,” Feron said, scrambling.
“What’s wrong,” Niko asked, standing herself up.
“I’m late for a meeting!”
“Oh, I’m supposed to go to that one as well! We’re really late?!”
Feron nodded and they set off on a sprint. Their superior conditioning was helpful as they ran from the lake to the office in several moments. It took longer waiting for the elevator to take them up to the top floor. As they ran into the office, they were stopped in their tracks.
Dante was holding Yusei at gunpoint. Yusei held a simple smile on his face while Dante reeked of killing intent. Blake and his apprentice were also present. They stood off to the side and weren’t doing anything.
“What’s going on here,” Niko asked, asserting herself for the first time since graduation.
Dante’s gaze was unwavering as he pulled the trigger. A click was heard throughout the room.