The Fool Element

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Rough Night in Stanlow

Part of me didn’t want to don the outfit that night, but it was a part of me that I had felt more and more detached to these days, ever since I felt the exhilaration of becoming Whiteface. Even with my sister an official rookie hero now, I still hadn’t felt any need to not go about things like I usually did. A new title didn’t stop you from being one of the heaviest sleepers on the block. It didn’t come out of nowhere, either. I had more to worry about the neighbors waking up than my own family. Jumping from the window, I pulled on my power, letting the the mystical light feeling enter by muscles, and at once I was merely floating the whole way down. Softly landing, I let the feeling flow back out of me, escaping from each breath like it normally did. Beginning to step off, I had to slow down a bit with to get a readjustment of just how light I had become as of late.

When I had first gained my power, it had been difficult to keep it from my parents or my sister, both because I would have loved to show them, but also because I had lost like 30 pounds overnight. For an already light girl, that was disconcerting, but I found that wearing some heavier exercise shoes made up for the lost weight, getting me by during gym checkups. Crouching, just to make sure anyone looking out their window didn’t see me, I began to make my way away from my house, probably the only place safe from a guy like Shift. He was a Libra renowned for his physical ability just as much as his power. From what I had managed to find online, he could manipulate his own friction, creating it out of nowhere. Sounded like a pretty dangerous powers, but the videos of him mostly showcased his ability to “slide” up the side of walls completely motionless with just the soles of his feet.

I didn’t need to kill him, or beat him into submission, all I had to do was knock him out, and then send him to the hospital. Might bring him down a level if he finds out he was defenseless in the hands of the villain he wanted to “do away with”. Making it to downtown, I took to the rooftops to get a better look of my surroundings, but what I hadn’t expected was someone else up there taking a look of his surroundings either. A familiar bathrobe clothed figure with an airsoft mask on his face. He hadn’t seen me yet, so I had time to act, but I was struck dumb for a second as I saw his power sitting next to him. A large four-footed figure that was standing there silently. So he was Cancer, that made things a little more difficult.

My light footing hadn’t been detected, but as I saw the large figure’s tail flick by and it’s head turned my way, the large blunt looking head looking straight at me. Not a second later, the thing’s owner had turned to spot me as well, but I was already jumping back down the alley way. It was a good thing I did, because a large funnel of flames followed me across the top of the buildings as I made my descent. I landed in an alleyway littered with trash bags that had fallen out of a tipped over dumpster, the container’s lid lying down on it’s hinges. I looked up and saw both the kid and his power looking down at me, before the power’s neck flared with hot red flames, the fire leaking out from slits on the sides of it’s neck.

Now I saw it for what it was, a large red, yellow spotted salamander with a open mouth full of rushing flames that were heading straight for me. As the fire filled the alleyway, I only survived by diving into the dumpster and keeping still, trying to think about everything I knew about Salamanders, which wasn’t much. Not that the information would have helped me, the powers of a Cancer were one of the most liberal you could get, and they manifested in separate beings that didn’t play by the rules. That’s why you might see Unicorns and Knights using powers. Experts had theorized that the powers of Cancers didn’t depend on what form it was, just the subconscious of the Cancer. If that meant you could change what they looked like, I didn’t know.

However, that meant that the weakness of a Salamander wouldn’t help me here. For example, Salamanders were amphibians, and definitely did not breathe fire on a daily basis. The constant heat was beginning to heat up the inside of the dumpster, the cool metal starting to turn a shade of red before the sound of fire stopped. I wanted to wipe my head, feeling sweat beginning to drip, but getting a hold of, I began to take deep breaths, letting light feeling leave my body as I began to try and fill the area again. I could hear metal being stepped on from up above, the kid taking a ladder that I must not have noticed falling down. I quieted my breathing and stayed still, but kept up the intake and outtake of my lungs.

I almost gasped as something large and heavy hit the dumpster, denting it in. The salamander began to walk to the edge of the dumpster’s opening, And I drew the helium inward, before filling the area around and inside the dumpster with it, pushing the oxygen away. The beast’s gait didn’t slow in stride or react to the new element, but as it’s head poked into the dumpster, I stared back at it with far more confidence than before, even when it opened it’s mouth and I saw the rows of teeth it had lining it’s gums. As the beast’s neck slits, gills now that I thought about it, opened up, the inside of them glowing for a second, before it’s helium filled lungs killed that notion. All it ended up doing was make a gagging action and let out a few squeaks.

A regular predator this size might’ve attacked me instinctively anyway, but a Cancer had a mental link telling them what to do, so the otherwise still dangerous power backed off, running away from my field of influence. It was wobbling a little as it got out of my Helium, Oxygen being far more healthy for a brain than my element way. It’s lung, or whatever it had inside of it, was still full of helium though, I could feel it. Climbing out, the boy had just reached the alleyway floor, when his power bounded up to him. I got to my knees glaring at them both, before smiling, “Well, that wasn’t the hello I was looking for. Are you lost, little boy? Or did you lose something? Wait, don’t tell me, I bet you’re looking for you’re pride right? I think you might be in the wrong alleyway for that, though.”

I couldn’t see his face with the mask on, but he seemed pretty irate nevertheless, his fist tensing a bit, especially as his power was still letting out little squeaks. Now in the light of the alley, I could see that he was a good foot smaller than I was, something I hadn’t noticed the last time I had seen him with his friends and my sister. I could take him, especially if his power was out of the way. Extending my range, pushing out more of the Oxygen, I saw the power grow more and more congested with my element, and his owner beginning to breathe it in as well. It was satisfying to know that I had begun the path to victory. With all the nights on the town, I had gained a bit of muscle, not much, but more than enough to face off with a regular kid for a little while.

As I got to my feet, the kid said, “Whiteface! Crap, my voice! I knew it! You’re an Aquarius, aren’t you?” The kid began to hold his breath, and began to run the out of the alley way, his power limping behind him.

Well darn, there goes that secret. I felt myself tense up at the kid revelation, knowing what had to be done now that my secret was out. If he had found out that I was an Aquarius, it wouldn’t be hard for him to tell others, and there went my upper hand. I had to make sure he didn’t tell anyone and while I didn’t want my sister to cry over her friend’s demise, this would help everyone, main myself, in the long run. Plan set down, I took off after the kid, easily making it up to him as I coated him helium, making him lose his balance. Keeping the kid surrounded, I was about to force all the Helium I could control down his panting throat when I was blindsided by his power, it instinctively knocking down the threat to its owner.

The power was obviously attempting to fight off whatever kind of effect that the lack of oxygen was having on it, whatever way it’s weird biology handled it, but it was far weaker than it should have been. Pushing it’s lighter frame off of me, it’s claws tearing my costume and marking me as it struggled to keep its grip, I picked myself up and was about to return when my already unsteady good luck for the day turned sour.

With his bandanna firmly on, and his entire demeanor looking quite grim, a part of me realized that I was definite trouble. The kid had stopped panting now, silently unconscious. Shift slid over to where the kid was without moving a muscle, and it was kind of weird seeing it up close. Sure, him doing it for something out of the ordinary was nice, but doing it where you could just walk was like a bad game graphic. Still, Shift was also breathing in my Helium now, not that it slowed him down any as it had done for the other kid. He quickly moved to the side of the kid, picking him up, probably easier than he expected with the amount of Helium around. As he made to get away, I realized I needed to keep both of them in my influence.

This was the chance I had been waiting for, even if I hadn’t been waiting for long. Running out of the alleyway, I made sure to keep the kid in my range. Getting Shift down would be troublesome, but if that kid got out in one piece I wouldn’t have my secret weapon anymore.

I yelled at them as I ran, “Hey! Get back here! I wasn’t finished with that brat yet!” My voice was high and whiny, but it was good that way, less chance of them knowing who I was. My efforts weren’t of any use though, Shift’s speed outmatching me by far. I watched as Shift’s silent figure raced down the sidewalk, effortlessly leaving me behind, but it wasn’t for long.

They were both out of my range, my sphere of influence, and I raced to try and get them back in it. I was only halfway to where Shift had fallen out of sight when he rounded the block, looking much more ready without the kid over his shoulders. I frowned at that, but there was nothing I could do except silently promise to myself that however long Shift kept me from my goal, was how long I was going to keep his unconscious body pumped full of Helium.
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