Opening the message, she read:
Greetings, Participant! Your next challenge will be in the same training room tomorrow at three P.M. Rest up and be ready to fight!
Helena hummed thoughtfully. A relatively short and undefined message. Then it’ll be another surprise game like today. Will they be able to fix all that damage in such a short amount of time? The clock showed six-thirteen in the A.M. My internal clock is in shambles. I’m still reasonably dirty from the last contest, and I’m feeling a little drained by sleeping too long.
Looking at the bed, she frowned. Will some maids clean up the sheets or will I need to do that myself? I have no idea how to wash things. I’ll wait ‘till Belesis wakes and ask her … no, I can’t. She’ll only insist on washing it herself, which is something a high superior should not do. On my way to the bathing house, I’ll ask a worker.
Lifting herself from the chair, she opened the closet and picked out a change of clothes. She still felt a little sluggish. Unclipping a black one-shoulder blouse, white pleated shorts, and white ballet flats, she carried her clothing with her while exiting the room.
The first person she came across was a man. Stopping him, she asked about the sheets. “The cleaning crew typically stays clear of Kara’s room, but I can ask them to add it to their schedule.”
Helena smiled up at the man. “Thank you.”
He nodded. “No problem. Have a nice morning, Vix. That was an amazing match, and the aftershow with the Primes was awestriking!” She watched him walk down the hall with a slight frown. I guess my name did get out with the competition.
Continuing to the spa, she set her clothing in the changing area and took off her dirty attire. Throwing them in the hamper, she went to the restroom before washing herself. How do they know it’s my clothes? Perhaps there’s a list of particular clothes with each person listed to own them? Do I need to go to the clothing area and pick out new clothes once the ones in my closet all run out? There are so many unknowns...
Finishing, she put on her new apparel and exited the room. I need to work on controlling my fields when shifting to new material. The most secluded area is probably the garden. I can use the walls and ceiling to practice; it should be big enough to escape attention. She heard a beep at her wrist and found another message. Opening it, she read:
Kelloo, Vixy!! I won’t be in base for the next few hours (important Prime stuff … quite dull). Belesis should be out sound in your bed (does she snore ? O.o I bet she does!). Klen’s off training with Booker … so, they’ll be off for a while … keep your HCID on you this time!
I’ll be back before the second stage, so hang tight AND PRACTICE THOSE ELECTRIC SHOCKS!!! The hesitation almost got you killed today!! See you in a bit. You better not hesitate in the second round!
Helena’s mouth turned into a grimace. She didn’t give me any advice on how to overcome the fear, other than keep training. I suppose she really doesn’t have a clue on how to subdue it.
Passing through the garden doors, she found the room dimly lit with purple lights and the stars shone down with their brilliant splendor, shadows lining the ceiling. Looking around, she didn’t see a single person. Walking over to the wall, she ran her hand over the surface. Smooth and the concrete has iron bars inside with thick steel support beams running up the dome’s walls and ceiling.
Applying her field, she began walking up a steel beam toward the top of the ceiling. Reaching it, she hung from the top of the dome and examined the jungle below. Her blood started rushing to her head, so she moved to the beam’s side and sat against it, keeping herself attached. I bet Kara knows some trick to keep the blood from running to her head...
The faint light illuminated the top of the trees, giving the jungle an eerie sheen as the leaves reflected the purple glow. The center building extended further back than she’d thought and gleamed brightly with a yellow radiance. Her eyes traced the running pathway that was lit by faint lamps along its side. They put a lot of work into this room. Though, I guess they do need some place to pick up their servant’s spirits.
Further investigating the roof, she took a deep breath. Bracing herself, she leaped across the bars, aiming for the switches between steel and iron. It was difficult and dangerous, but she quickly got the hang of it. Stopping, she felt a shiver crawl over her skin. Now I need to work on my discharges. I need to find a clear spot to practice. Studying the area, she found a rocky space that expelled water into the jungle.
Moving above the area, she halted over the closest route and dropped to the ground. Cushioning her fall with an electromagnetic tether, she made her way to the spot. Calculating the right direction with her internal compass, she found her way without difficulty.
She quickly climbed up the rocks and sat down at the top. I need to overcome this phobia … but how? I could control Braxton’s lightning without difficulty and even Kara’s, but I have a hard time generating it myself.
Sparks danced around her fingers as she studied the energy. Slowly, she began to increase the volts and amps. With every upsurge, her breath became harder to control, and her hand shook. Energy started to spark around her arms and run down her fingers. It wasn’t difficult to control, but impossible to escalate. It’s like I’ve capped out my Focus Force; but from what I’ve seen, my Force is vastly greater than this. Her entire body shook now, but she managed to keep control over the electricity as it crackled against the air.
Releasing the energy, she took a deep shuttering breath, calming her nerves. I need to break past this barrier with drive, but that’s what I’m lacking. It’s mentally tied to my confidence. If I doubt my Control then subliminally it will affect my conscious thought … just as Kara said.
Bringing up the calculations, she sent a string of energy flying toward the water, but the electricity was absorbed by air resistance long before reaching the desired target. That was pathetic. Staring down at her palm, she tried contemplating different means to overpower her inability but continued to draw a blank. I’ve never had this problem before. I’ve always been confident in my ability to produce electricity.
“Having trouble with particle emission, Pup?” Helena’s eyes widened. How did I not notice him? Looking back, she made out the faint outline of a man five and a half meters away. Just outside her sensory radius. How does he know my limit? Pup’s a term the Prime Fatchna used...
Politely, Helena said, “Welcome, Fatchna. Can I help you with anything?”
“Oh—I imagine so. The little Pup with developing fangs. I think you’ll make perfect bait.”
Helena lifted to her feet and walked a meter closer. It is Fatchna’s bioelectrical signature; there’s no way I can handle him. If I’m supposed to be bait, then it has to be Kara. No one else would give him trouble. I’ll need to buy time to get a message out. “Bait, what will you be targeting?” Manipulating the processors in the HCID, she disabled the display and sent out a message to Kara, Belesis, Klen, and Booker’s inboxes.
Fatchna walked closer, a smile on his face. “Fantastic, I presume you’re done?” What! He wanted me to send out a distress call … of course, what good is bait if there isn’t a lure! That information’s important, I...
Helena brought her hand up in disbelief as the electrons shifted around her wrist and the cores broke connection with her ability. Looking up, she found the device hanging from Fatchna’s open fingers. “Oh, no. We can’t have you warning Kara and the others about that important bit of evidence. What good is bait if the target knows there are jaws of steel underneath it? Of course, Kara will know it’s me, but I expect her to understand. The others you likely messaged though, that is the entertainment.”
“What do...” Helena’s stomach twisted, and vertigo flooded her spatial perception, her surroundings altering. She could feel a strange shift in electron distribution around her. She was now in a glassy structure, showing a forest and moss-covered chairs sitting around her. Fatchna was sitting in a soft dark green wing shaped chair. “Sit, Pup. We’re waiting for everything to come to flourish.”
Helena warily took a matching seat three meters across from him. “Baiting Kara is a bit out of taste since she’s off on a mission.”
Fatchna chuckled. “You don’t think I know that? However, with that message, she’ll be back within the hour, and the Northern Bases’ Purist members will arrive here in less than thirty minutes.”
Folding her arms, Helena studied Fatchna’s calm demeanor. “How will they know where to look, now that they’ve been directed to a false location?”
Fatchna’s smile didn’t shift. “Don’t worry about that. Your little device here will lead your rescue here, right on time. They’ll have to talk with Kara to gain the exact location, and then they’ll be storming up here. Kara knows I wouldn’t dream of sullying my hands with anything lower than a Prime.” Up here?
Sitting straight in the chair, Helena narrowed her eyes. “What do you intend to achieve from this little exchange. With your ability, I doubt you’ll be in any real danger, since you can escape at any time, and you are a Prime. It wouldn’t be a match to fight even Belesis, as you said, you wouldn’t sully your hands.”
Fatchna laughed and leaned closer. “You seem to have a wrong opinion on what will happen, Pup. Phantasm’s been working on this little plan for years, and I won’t be fighting your friends, Phantasm’s Colonel will. I only have a score to settle with Kara, and Phantasm understands that—at least to an extent.”
Glancing outside, Helena studied the scenery. “Will a battle between two Primes be permitted with the President in the building?”
Fatchna replied with a hearty chuckle. “Who says we are in the Northern Base?”
Helena probed for more information. “Then there are other Botanical Gardens in the North?” Studying the Earth’s natural magnetic field anomalies, she found he was right. They weren’t near the Northern Base; they were way further north. She guessed they were near the edge of Elestveeve’s northeastern tip.
Fatchna smirked and rested his fist against his cheek. “Yes, a private one, Brock’s to be precise.” The Green Prime, he created this as an Agrokinetic?
“I see—will he appreciate your disturbance?” Helena slowly stated. “I’m sure there would be damage between you and Kara.”
Fatchna shrugged. “Who knows, Brock usually doesn’t mind people coming here, and I really don’t care.”
A wooden door in the sidewall opened, and a woman entered. She was small and thin; she looked to be in her forties. Stringy blonde hair, an expressionless face, green eyes, downward turned lips, and an oval face; she spread herself across a sofa, studying Helena. She wore a white thermal suit. “Fatchna, a Hoverfly was dispatched under Belesis’ orders.”
He looked delighted. “Brilliant response time, right on schedule. I wonder if she’ll forget to change. I know she was sleeping only a moment ago … as I woke her.”
“You’re following Phantasm’s orders?” Helena asked trying to gain a better grasp of the situation.
Fatchna shook his head with a grin. “Why would any Prime follow that sniveling loser? I’m simply here, because he’s making a move, and asked if I was interested, which, of course, I am.”
At his words, she saw the woman stiffen but said nothing. Phantasm’s members don’t like people making fun him, but there’s nothing she can do against a Prime.
Helena sat back in the chair; she tried loosening up. “Everyone seems to have some kind of grudge against Kara. Is there any particular reason for that?”
Fatchna hummed lowly. “Kara doesn’t speak to many people, and to those she does, it’s usually for command purposes. Also, I wouldn’t call it a grudge, but more of a … fascination. I assume she hasn’t told you anything about her past.”
Helena shook her head. Drake said it’s best to keep your captor preoccupied with offhand topics, and if I can get information about a subject, all the better. A bitter sensation coated her tongue at the thought of her brother.
“You may have realized this, but Kara has a special—temper about specific issues, which is relevant to so many matters it can be downright confusing. There were witches involved and a great many other factors. You see—she didn’t just kill the Purple Prime, but aided in the deaths of the previous Orange, Yellow, and even a small portion to do with the previous Blue Prime’s demise.”
Helena felt her blood go cold. She aided in the deaths of three Primes, while also personally killing the Purple. There has to be a lot of story behind that. “Aided, but didn’t actually kill them, and that’s why Phantasm, Eizea, Colin, and you are currently in power?”
A glowing smile broke across Fatchna’s cheeks. “Yes. She is the only Prime to date to not only survive, but win a fight between three Primes, and even intimidate a fourth to not take action, that being Cassandra. Of course, Cassy was still a fairly young Prime then.”
Tingling sensation ran through her body. No way, no wonder Cassandra acted the way she did, and from Colin’s words, it even ran deeper. “Yet, you want to fight her after knowing all this?”
Exhilaration broke into Fatchna’s voice. “Oh—with all my heart, but fear dampened my anticipation.”
Helena felt pressure welling up in her chest. “Something changed your mind, and spurred on this action?”
He licked his lips. “Most definitely, and that was your performance.”
“Why would that break past your fear of Kara?” Helena asked.
“Because, it was like watching Kara accel through WITCH all over again, it was inspiring!” Fatchna exclaimed.
Helena gulped. He’s mad, why attack someone for such a purpose, but maybe it’s actually deeper. Perhaps he wants to see if he has what it takes to be considered a true Prime.
“That show with Cassandra also urged my eagerness. Kara tries so hard not to show any of her more advanced techniques, and that’s what makes me so—nervous. You see—I wasn’t there at Kara’s grand debut fight. The only people still alive who witnessed that cataclysmic event are Eizea, Brock, and Cassandra; and they’re as tight-lipped as it gets to that moment.”
“You mentioned that Cassandra was too intimidated to enter the battle, but Brock was there too, right? Why didn’t he join if it got so out of hand?”
Fatchna shook his head with a chuckle. “Brock isn’t the type that gets involved in other’s problems, usually. He was simply there to intervene if it got—too out of hand, which in fact is odd that he didn’t. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was even in awe at her performance, since the southern gulf was created from that fight. Just about twenty thousand square kilometers of the earth devastated and turned into sea … the effects of the fight spanned the world for months. It must have been glorious!”
Helena had never heard or seen pictures of the south, but an entire land mass was devastated by Kara’s battle. It was hard for her to imagine such a clash, but she did recall hearing there was a massive weather phenomenon that happened several years back.
“It’s considered a true wonder as it should be, and I want to experience that, but in even more invigorating imagery. I want to be on the receiving end, but first I need a reason for her to take this fight seriously, which Phantasm’s plan will accomplish!” He is insane. If he wants an adrenaline rush, take a Biokinetic into your group; don’t provoke Kara knowing what she can do!
The silence stretched for more than twenty minutes before the woman broke it in the same emotionless voice. “Fatchna, they should be arriving soon.”
“We should go and greet our guests then.” At the end of his sentence, the room changed and Helena was now sitting on a rock. She felt the discomfort against her butt moments later and again noticed the electron shift. It must have something to do with his teleportation process; it just took a few times to recognize it.
Around her was a clearing with spots of large rock formations and behind her was a huge, sheer cliff face. Above the valley shone a dome that seemed to be made from the same material as the arena cover, but had to be different. It stretched more than two kilometers into the sky. The atmosphere was warm and filled with greenery. Brock made this? It’s amazing.
A glint gleamed in the sky as a hovering vehicle quickly moved above the jungle toward them. A few minutes later, it landed twenty meters away, and three people jumped out. Belesis, Booker, and Klen stood outside the machine with wary complexions as they studied Fatchna and the woman. What will they do? Will this escalate into a fight?