B1 — 34. Purists
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Helena awoke as a familiar bioelectrical signal stood outside her door, Klen. Stretching, she brushed up against Belesis under the covers. She lifted the blanket; she now wore a thin long blue t-shirt and silky short-shorts while Belesis was wearing a bright green nightgown. The clothing was new, but Helena felt sweaty and dirty. I need a bath.

Dropping the blanket, she studied Belesis. Her lips were curled into a sweet smile as she hummed and snuggled further into the covers. I shouldn’t be okay with this … it goes against everything I’ve ever been taught. I never allowed a servant to sleep with me … why does it feel so good and right? I’m a slave now … it doesn’t feel that way though.

Lightly scooting against the backboard, she hugged her knees. Is she always this friendly with recruits? Even Kara seems out of place. She’s bent over backward for me. Kara’s pushy and expects a lot from me, but she’s way too accommodating to a lowly recruit with much weaker power in an organization governed by it. Belesis is relatively new in Kara’s faction, but shows enough potential to make it as a General; she just needs experience and time to acclimate I guess.

Examining Klen outside, she chewed lightly on the inside of her cheek as he hovered at the door, pacing back and forth. He obviously wants to talk to Belesis or me. Bringing up her HCID, she found Klen’s message address and sent a message, telling him to come inside.

She waited several seconds before he tentatively opened the door. “You awake, Helena?”

Helena put on a polite smile as he entered, keeping her voice low. “Yes, take one of the seats.”

Klen scanned the room, eyes freezing on the exquisite chairs Eizea had left. “Where did you get these? Is that gold?”

Helena shrugged. “Complements of Eizea.” A thought occurred to her. “Where was Booker during the competition?”

Mumbling under his breath, Klen took the gold enlaced blue chair and slowly dragging it across the floor to Helena’s bedside, trying not to make much noise. “Off on some simple mission that was nearby.” Sitting in the chair, he asked, “Anyways, how are you doing?” His tone was only partially sincere.

“Fine, Belesis has been a lifesaver, literally. She’s rescued me time and time again, the same with Kara. Honestly—since coming to WITCH, all I’ve found out is how inept I really am.” Her vision hazed over as she looked back at the multitude of events that she’d been saved from. I keep being reminded of my limitations. I owe so much to both of them.

Her eyes shifted to Belesis, and she was shocked to find the beginnings of tears coming on. I don’t cry from appreciation! It’s not proper. Fighting down the feelings, she realized a mild sting in her heart and a tingling overtake her body. Her breath was difficult to draw and release. Is this really how gratitude feels? It doesn’t feel bad...

“I understand. Belesis helped me out too, and I’ve been with Kara more than a year longer than her. She has that … aura. She loves to help people, but I have noticed her giving you a lot of attention.”

Helena didn’t respond but kept her vision centered on Belesis. Klen cleared his throat. “You know. At first, I thought you were being given special treatment because you’re a noble and have Kara’s ability.”

Breaking away from Belesis’ face, Helena studied Klen. “At first?”

His eyes dropped, and he let out a long sigh while combing through his hair. “Seeing you in that arena—it really was amazing. I couldn’t have taken those three together. That I know for sure.”

Helena smiled. “To be honest, it was a real challenge, and I was fortunate. I also dug my own grave, not realizing the purpose of those riddles. However, it did earn me accolades since I was able to come through it.”

He shrugged. “You’ve made excellent use of Kara’s teachings. Candidly, I’m kind of nervous about facing you in the second matchup.”

Helena’s smile evened out. I see ... I’ll be facing him in the next competition. I doubt it will be a deathmatch like this one, but I can’t be sure... “I’m a bit nervous as well. After all, I don’t know your ability or what you might be able to do with it. All I know is that you can cushion blows with some kind of crystalline substance.”

Klen huffed. “I guess you were paying attention when Belesis smacked me … I don’t have an amazing ability. It could be developed into being incredibly versatile, but I’m still fairly weak in it.”

Helena breathed a heavy sigh. The conversation will turn sour if we continue along this path. I’ll have to direct it another way. He seems fond of Kara. “If you don’t mind, will you tell me how you met Kara and joined her Faction?”

Klen sat back in the chair and seemed to recede into his past. “Do you know anything about New Genesis?”

Shifting to a more comfortable position against the headboard, Helena nodded. “A bit, Booker described the basics to me.”

Massaging his shoulders, Klen said, “WITCH takes newborn children and sticks them in training programs ‘till the age of eight; to stabilize their abilities and provide enough information to go through New Genesis life. After that, they throw them back into the streets and assign them specific tasks related to their ability. It’s tough to accomplish your hours, especially since your tickets can be stolen.”

She picked up one of several water bottle at the foot of her bed, likely left by Belesis. “Does that happen often?”

Klen sniffed, and a grimace creased his lips. “Very often. Usually, if a child isn’t strong enough, they need to join a group for protection, but that also comes with its disadvantages.” Helena listened while taking a sip at the room temperature liquid.

“The new members get a little extra food, shelter, and water; but must give up all their tickets. So they can’t spend anything for themselves, and the group leader has power over their lives. New member can be kicked out at any time if they rub the senior members the wrong way. The longer you’re with a group, the more perks you receive—customarily. If you’re friends with the leader or a primary protector, then you don’t need to work at all—assuming the district quota is met without them.”

Two of Helena’s fingers pressed against her lips for a moment. “How powerful are these groups in comparison to the WITCH Factions stationed there?”

Klen huffed. “Truthfully, the Factions do little in New Genesis. They mainly just loiter around as a symbol and leave everything to the new recruits that are hired on. The Generals stationed there keep order over New Genesis by intimidating the District Bosses and have them deal out orders.”

I see. So the Factions are there to keep these bosses in check, and to force them to handle their members to do their jobs. It’s even more brilliant than I thought. As long as the fear factor keeps in check, the Factions need to do little, and all the work gets done. Perhaps an example is set every once and a while, a show of power to keep the fear fresh in their minds.

“The city has its own personal unit that deals with the little stuff, and the Factions are more of a fear factor that keeps overhead control?”

He nodded. “Yes, but the Factions have supremacy in any event; if an SOP member was put into an area, they have the full authority of their Faction … in word. I mean, you better be ready to back yourself up, but most people wouldn’t want to risk repercussions. Soon you should be sent to New Genesis and meet up with Kara’s General there; she’ll have you working!”

“I’ll be under General Olivia?” Helena probed, recalling Booker’s explanation.

“Yup, I was under her eyes for a year before joining Kara around her trips. Olivia’s horrible! She’ll place you in the worst parts of the city, beat you with a paddle, and scream insults that will make your ears bleed!” He whispered heatedly. “Also … even if the City Guards are technically under you, they can be a pain to handle.”

Curious, where does a Prime go with a lower member? “Where does Kara go on these trips with new recruits?”

Klen frowned as he leaned in a bit closer, taking a more comfortable position on the chair. “Random tasks assigned to her by the President or stuff the Vice-President asks her to do.” She has a choice to coordinate with the Vice-President then. It seems she is only under the President and Alpha. What is his ability? They must be dangerous if she’s sent out, but she still brings along weak members? I guess she is capable of defending and attacking.

“A lot of what Kara does personally is dealing with high-level creatures, Deity high ranks, and sometimes Tech expansions … with managing special assignments to the faction.”

Helena bunched the blankets against Belesis and stretched out on the bed. “Do you know the Alpha’s ability?”

Klen shook his head with an incredulous expression. “How do you make stretching look elegant … nope, I don’t know his ability. I doubt even Kara knows.” He points out every action I take … is it that odd? He’s right though; Kara said that it was a fear factor, which means it’s still unknown.

She switched back to the previous topic. “Are there many monsters left on Elestveeve?”

Klen repositioned himself, starting to talk more fluently. “Commonly, only weak ones that were kicked out of their territory and try to relocate here, starting a new hold. However, between the Deities, Tech, and us; monsters are relatively nonexistent on Elestveeve.”

He started to sound more and more interested in their conversation as his speech speed increased. “Occasionally, there are stronger monsters that enter our waters. I saw Kara kill an Otaphia, a creature with a body part bull and serpent. A hideous beast, but it’s said that if you burn its entrails, you can kill gods.” Klen laughed softly. “Such a superstitious belief!”

“Did she burn it?” Helena asked, starting to enjoy hearing about Kara’s adventures, things she might have to do later in her progression.

“I guess. Kara disintegrated it after she finally got it out of the water. It took an hour.” Klen said as he revisited the memories. “She pulled off some crazy moves over five kilometers of ocean.” She fought it in its territory?

“What else has Kara accomplished?” Helena asked, sitting up and leaning forward, against her knees.

“She disintegrated a coven of drovak one time, another she slew fifteen teska off the Veltu Reef. I also heard that she outwitted a molvak.” His voice lowered with anticipation. “I caught a rumor once that she battled against Tycros, one of the most powerful Monsters we know of, a true titan. No one’s quite clear what happened to him … since he’s the size of a mountain. It’s just said that she fought against him; Kara won’t talk about it.”

“Fascinating,” Helena threw her legs over the bed to face Klen. “What about the Deity Faith?”

“Oh—the Deity Faith’s military are collectively known as the Celestrian Unit and have three separate military branches; Rangers, Braverts, and Soul Links—but I expect you know all about that.”

A smile lit Helena’s lips. “I don’t. What are the differences between the three types?”

Klen’s eyes lifted with shock. “Seriously, you don’t even know about the Deities rankings, and you’re a high-level noble?”

Helena shrugged dismissively. “My brother didn’t consider the information useful when training me.” This is truly spectacular material, but some of it has to be exaggerated.

“Well—if you don’t know anything about the Deities then I should tell you the basics,” Klen muttered with a concentrated expression. “Celestrians can manifest something they call the Spirit. We can’t measure the energy, but we can see its white light. It can cut through almost any esper attack, no matter how strong. Anything having Focus added to it.”

Her eyebrows knitted together thoughtfully. “So, if I were to manipulate a natural lightning bolt, and strike a Celestian, he couldn’t cut through it?”

“I guess,” Klen said with a shrug. “I’ve never been around when Kara fights a Celestian because the targets she’s told to chase are high ranking members.” That’s good to know. This Spirit can cut through Focus infused elements … but how?

“Rangers have these gloves that help them harness their Spirit and manifests it in a bow that shoots spirit arrows. Also, they can change their eyes to see more.”

“How so, and what do you mean by more?” Helena asked, trying to puzzle it out.

Klen’s lips pursed, and he looked down with a confused expression. “I don’t know; I just heard that their eyes change and they can see through walls, clothing, and other such things.”

Helena cocked her head as she thought about the topic. “Continue.” Is it like my reception, sensing specific fields and elements, or different?

“Braverts can enhance their physical ability and project cuts of Spirit with their sword, but they have to be physically attached to their sword to do so. I’ve heard they’re pretty physically strong though.” If I can get them away from their weapon, they’re no more than strong humans. That doesn’t seem that difficult; however, could they use any sword or object as a weapon … that would be valuable information.

“Soul Links can manifest their spirit in some kind of corporal form, like a beast.”

She nodded. “If you separate them from their creature then it would be easy to kill them, right?”

Klen shrugged with a sigh. “I guess. That’s what training suggests.” Why would WITCH give him so little information on Celestians? Because he isn’t ready to hunt them? Perhaps it’s reserved for Captain rank and above.

He shifted subjects with a broad smile. “This one time I entered Tech with Kara, and that was intense. I don’t know why we were there, but Kara had to blow up one of their city pillars to escape. They had some strange bio-machinery chase us that drains Focus!”

Helena tilted her head in confusion. How did they even get in with Tech building their structures out of Espit? “Isn’t the city built with Espit? How did you guys survive so long in the middle of it?”

Klen shrugged again. “I know. I was told that too, but Kara said that it was a silly superstition and they only build important sections of their city with it; since it’s so rare.” I see. That actually makes a lot of sense. They’d need a massive hoard of the stuff to mix their entire city with it, and I’ve never even heard of the stones until recently … of course, Drake was likely censoring the information.

Continuing to tell his tales with Kara, Helena smiled. She watched his extravagant hand gestures for a few more minutes before saying. “You really like her, don’t you?”

Klen jumped, and his heartbeat increased. “What—what are you talking about? Kara’s amazing; she’s a Prime. Everyone in the Faction loves her—she saved us!”

Helena hummed with a bit of amusement. I’ve only recently started realizing the signs, but I think it’s a bit deeper than just admiration. Shifting the conversation, Helena asked. “What about your time in New Genesis? You mentioned groups, were you a part of one?” 

Klen breathed a heavy sigh before answering. “Yeah—I joined a group called Talft. They were a ruthless gang that tried expanding into the Oltex territory. The objective was to steal their tickets, members, and kill their leader.”

He was silent for a moment as he sat back, slumping against the chair. “I had worked up in the group since the age of eight to thirteen and had a decent amount of credit, but that expansion was something we couldn’t accomplish. Our leader had recently died, and the new one wanted more, his greed almost got everyone killed.

“There isn’t a lack of blood in Genesis streets. Women and men with strong abilities are prized for genetic breed candidates too; naturally, they end up in the strongest groups. Some of our members with strong abilities defected just before the assault. I would have died, but Izicx was passing by that area. In no time at all, he quelled the fighting, killing several members on both sides, including my new leader.”

Helena stretched her back out. “Is Izicx a part of the Purists?”

An exasperated tone escaped Klen’s lips. “Hasn’t Kara given you her little notebook on each group member?” Notebook? She sent me an email, not a notebook. She did give me the personnel list of her members though.

“She gave me the information, but she said I didn’t need to go over it just yet.”

“You really should learn to multitask!” Klen said with a huff. “It’ll save you time.”

Helena huffed at his tone but knew that she’d been putting it off. It’s true. I don’t know why I didn’t read through it while jogging. Maybe because it all would sink in … showing a specific Faction I’m a part of now, the Purists, and that WITCH owns me...

Licking his lips, Klen continued. “Izicx is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Purists, and he’s…a Crystallokinetic. He can create, control, and otherwise manipulate crystalline materials.”

Curiosity took hold of Helena. “Why did he take an interest in you?”

Klen hesitated. “Because—he and I have similar abilities, I can become a Crystallokinetic. Right now I’m just considered a Chionokinetic.”

Helena’s brows furrowed and she folded her arms. “Why would you tell me that if we’ll be competing against one another?” Chionokinetic … he can slow kinetic motion. It is a very powerful ability at higher levels.

Rubbing the back of his neck, Klen said. “Because, I’m going to have to tell you during the competition anyways, and this makes things a bit more even between us. I know your ability, and you know mine.”

Resting her head against her left fist, Helena asked. “If Izicx is a Crystallokinetic, why are you training with Booker?”

“Well, it’s because—Booker’s an Echokinetic, which is a counter to my ability. With sound vibrations, he can shatter my ice.”

“I see,” Helena whispered thoughtfully. “Continue with your story.” So Booker can manipulate sound, interesting.

“He brought me into WITCH, and I had to do six months of training with Olivia. Then I had to keep the peace in New Genesis if you’d call it that. All we do is make sure people get their work done and allow them to do pretty much anything else—besides leave.”

A warmth lit Klen’s cheeks. “Six months of that, and Kara picked me up to travel with her. It’s something she likes to do with new recruits. The first part of our journey, I was with another follower, Wintry is her handle. She taught me a few cool tricks since she’s also a Chionokinetic.”

Kara’s group must be bigger than I initially thought. She seems to mainly operate in the Southern Base and New Genesis, but the Southern is new, so that isn’t a big surprise. The time scale also puts Klen around the age of fifteen. He’s been a part of WITCH for two years. It also shows that I’ve been given a considerable leap in events.

“Are there usually kids my age in the SOP squads?” Helena asked, interested in Klen’s response in comparison to Booker’s.

Klen chuckled lowly to not wake Belesis. “Nope, it’s quite rare. Kara started at nine, and that’s still very young. There are a lot of rumors surrounding her, but the timing is fairly solid.”

A beep from Klen’s HCID stole his attention. “Oh—I’ve spent too much time here. Booker’s back and waiting for me. Have to keep up training!” He cringed as Belesis mumbled a few unintelligible words.

When she just nestled further into the blankets, he sighed with relief. He hopped off the chair, and Helena felt a warmer presence from him. Is he starting to accept me?

Quietly he whispered, “I’ll see you at the second competition, it should be interesting. Oh—and read over Kara’s notes. She has an important person’s section that you can glance over if you want, but you need to get caught up.” He dashed out of the room, the door sliding open at his request and automatically shut as he left.

Getting off the bed, Helena made her way over to the desk. Extending an electromagnetic field, she moved the silver enlaced chair to the table. Hopping onto it, she pulled out the brush and combed out her hair. She hesitated for a moment as her eyes caught the red glint of her bracelet inside the drawer. Shoving it out of her mind, she continued brushing.

Finishing, she left it on the counter and brought up her HCID. Pulling up the email program, she opened Kara’s personnel email and activated the program inside. A new window opened and showed a list of options—Important Personnel; Non-Important Personnel; Lazy People; Annoying People; Full Purist Database.

Initiating the Important Personnel icon, she examined the reaction. A two-dimensional window popped up with several names. Olivia; Regima; Hulmix; Belesis. Helena’s brows knitted together. This must be Purists’ Generals. Triggering Olivia, she watched a three-dimensional image of the woman appear.

She had a wrinkled face and a faded scar running from the side of her nose to her right cheek. She was tall and muscular; she had narrow blue eyes, a crooked nose, cleft chin, thin lips, and sullen cheeks. She wore coarse dark material that framed her muscular frame. The information on the side read.

 

This wrinkled wolf will eat you alive! O.o

One time, she actually spanked me, ME!!! I’m a PRIME AND HER LEADER!!!

*Ahem*

She’s a powerful Telekinetic that wields a wooden spatula like a Bravert broadsword! She runs Purist operations in New Genesis and the highest ranking General in my Faction, only under me.

Don’t expect to be eased into the experience! She’ll throw you to a werewolf if she thinks it’ll toughen you up (a famous quote she loves to say “There’s always another esper if you can’t cut it.” … yeah). Olivia is my Purist trainer, and EVERYONE has to go through her (eventually).

 

Selecting Regima, she watched the three-dimensional image change to a man in his thirties. Regima was squat and plump. He had a round face, balding blonde hair, dull green eyes, a squat nose, ample chin, thin lips that showed a crooked smile, no facial hair, and pudgy cheeks. He wore a slick blue suit with golden buttons, a white undershirt, red bowtie, and dark brown hard sole shoes.

 

This pudgy little man is the third most powerful Telepath in WITCH, and the second highest ranking General (he’s pretty impressive). He has a habit of snooping, but it has turned out in my favor more times than I care to count. He’s in command at the Middle Western branch (quite small, but I like people everywhere).

Not much to say about him … he’s a bit odd and can be annoying (never stops talking! Blah, blah, blah—I DON’T CARE!!!).

 

Next, she activated HulmixA tall, muscular man in his mid-twenties appeared. He had fuzzy black hair that dropped to his lower neck and left his forehead bare, dark green eyes, flat top lips, sharp nose, firm chin, high cheekbones, and a black goatee. He wore a casual white v-shirt, showing his dark skin, woven tan sandals, and white course shorts.

 

This man is from Palma (as you can tell), and my third highest ranking General. Lately, we’ve discovered that Palma has fairly strong esper genetics (but few espers … funny, right?).

Hulmix is very interesting, a Thermokinetic, and he’s the governor of the Sothern Region. You might be able to meet him in the upcoming years (he may look serious, but he’s a jokester!).

The South is in an uproar right now, so there may be a chance for you to check it out … a little (it’ll be going on for a few years … trust me).

That’s about all you need to know about—wait!! Just to clarify (and I don’t want to rewrite anything … even if it is only a few calculations with our ability … I’m lazy like that … no I’m FANTABLUOUS!). These “important people” are all Generals in my faction. Blah, blah, blah, ask someone about the ranking system.

 

A smile curved Helena’s lips. Kara always does seem rushed and is fantabulous even a word? A blip popped up in the corner, showing a new message had arrived in her inbox. I’ll open it after viewing Belesis’ file.

Switching profiles, she examined the information. Belesis looked as usual, but her eyes had changed from vivid green to a dimmer version of the same color, and her hair had turned golden blonde. She had near the same eye color as me before? Did she like the brighter version better and did she not like her blonde hair?

Her clothing had changed into a plain white t-shirt, white shoes, and blue pants. Very basic to what I’m used to her wearing. Switching her attention to the information, she read.

 

Belesis the Insolent … that’s what I call her by. YES, SHE IS INSOLENT!! She shows me so little respect T_T even after I rescued her from such a cruel fate! Alas, we can’t wish for everything. This veiled beast is a Biokinetic and quite vicious with her offensive tactics (yet has a bizarre kind side, I think she likes having a family =]).

She talks in strange polar opposite ways. If she says anything positive, she must say something negative right after and vice versa. Though … there have been some occasions that she doesn’t? I don’t really understand it … which is VEXING!!

I think you’ll get along well with her and maybe you can teach her to be a little more … proper (she’s soooo rude!!! At least to me… T_T). Well … these are your Faction Generals! I hope you can teach Belesis … just a little.

 

Helena closed the image and looked up at the woman in her bed. She seems too polite and kind. Has something changed or is her ire specifically directed at Kara? Reverting back to the emails, she found the new message in her inbox read: Second Contest Information.

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