Kara’s fingers opened as her left hand rose, iron dust gathering above her wrist before condensing into a glowing orange ball. It vanished, leaving a trail of orange light. Fatchna had already teleported, and Helena could only see the after effects; the wooden chair shattered. The fragments lit with fire as trees exploded, the projectile penetrating the forest to strike a rock; stone fragments shot in all directions as the bolder fractured. A torrent of warm air gushed around Helena, whipping her hair back as dust billowed around the rock; several trees ablaze as the roar faded. Kara just concerted an iron ball into an electromagnetic cannon … how much focus does that require?
Right-hand lifting, Kara sent a bolt into the sky as a pool of water appeared over their heads and electricity racing across the ground to the pile of iron dust. The surge struck the water, and it vanished into a nebula of shimmering colors. The cloud started to concentrate together until it formed a glowing ball of white pulsating energy, sparks flashing around it, and it began to spiral outward. Did she create plasma with electrolysis? The lightning cut, but the ball continued to rotate in magnifying loops, slowly picking up speed.
The iron sand stirred and swiftly started to lift off the ground, flying toward Kara. All of the large boulders and the ceiling plating disappeared, Fatchna teleporting them away. Leaping off the ground, Kara took to the air and hovered in the ion storm. Helena’s stomach twisted as she felt herself rising with Kara, being drawn to her side. As they left the earth, the ground exploded with dirt and large rocks soaring upward; the masses shifted direction as they came in contact with Kara’s electromagnetic fields. He teleported concentrated air into the ground with rocks, causing an upheaval. It didn’t matter though; she just took control of it.
Kara held both hands out and spread her fingers as eight spheres of iron hovered in front of her before being discharged in several directions, one after the other. It wasn’t quite as fast as the previous electromagnetic cannon, but more than enough to penetrate a body. Fatchna appeared several meters away from them, rubbing his chin thoughtfully before vanishing ahead of the iron bullet that expelled toward him. Kara’s brown eyes darted around the area as she tracked his teleport locations.
Water emerged within Kara’s iron sand and the electricity running through the haze strengthened, evaporating the liquid. Helena’s attention was diverted by an explosion of energy from her left as blinding light flashed, followed by a blast of noise and hot air, whipping her hair within the magnetic field. The plasma ball detonated … was she waiting for the right time or did Fatchna detonate it preemptively?
Helena rubbed her eyes as she looked up to see dust expanding across the sky, sections being transported away. It was starting to fill the area. Kara’s cutting off Fatchna’s teleportation areas, but he can just teleport the sand away...
Lightning danced into the sky, connected by the sand, a network of energy blinded her. She shut her eyes, and suddenly she was being pulled closer to Kara. Squinting, she saw dozens of trees surround them. The wood exploded, sending shards of splinters flying in all directions at high velocity. However, just before reaching them they disintegrated, smoke flying outward as they burned to particles. Did Kara radiate a microwave burst around us … how?
Lightning shot from Kara’s left hand to skid across the water and three plasma balls formed. They shot into the sky and began to alternate each other, expanding in a triangle pattern. The rocks and dome shell pieces appeared, accelerating three meters from them. Fatchna shot them into the air to pick up momentum and then teleport them close to us!
Electricity exploded around them in a flash of energy and the pieces instantly changed directions as several pulsating brilliant balls shot out. They vanished and high above large multicolored flash bangs flickered, the sound deafening. Pyrotechnic projectiles and Fatchna teleported them away … is this a battle of attrition?
Helena hugged herself as they both shot upward, the iron sand following them as it filled more of the sky. Several trees surrounded them again and bulged with internal pressure. The sand surrounding them whizzed with a sharp noise as the trees exploded. The bits of iron ate away at the wood, deflecting all of the shards. The sand thickened, blocking her vision, and her hearing was eased by Kara’s manipulations.
Orange beams shot from around Kara to penetrate the sand, and she could feel the hot wind shift around them. I have no clue what’s going on! Is Kara’s electroreception this powerful? She must be able to sense at least as far as the sand was across the sky.
Helena’s eyes snapped open as water dropped around her and large iron clusters fell with them to the ground as she felt Kara’s electromagnetic field break. She threw her arms over her head as the heavy clumps collapsed around them. He countered by throwing a lake on everything. Lightning encircled them, and they slowly hovered to the now blackened soil.
Fatchna appeared in front of them with a smile on his face, not a single wrinkle or wet spot stained his suit. “That was a good warm-up, but maybe we should start getting serious. I know we usually put restraints on our skirmishes, but I want a full understanding of your capacities, like when you killed the Purple Prime.”
Kara took a deep breath. “Fatchna … if you really want me to try and kill you,” she closed her eyes. Taking another breath, she opened them, “Then okay. You’ve proven to me that you want a fair match—no restrictions. Teleport Helena to the ridge I see in the distance. You won’t try to use her; I’ve come to accept that, but I expect you will run before I really start getting serious.”
Fatchna’s teeth gleamed as his smile grew. “We will have to see.”
Vertigo hit Helena’s stomach as she was teleported to the ridge. She looked out at the valley with tingles shooting up her skin; a small section of the forest was smoking from where Kara’s projectiles and lightning had struck. Kara didn’t choose to have me sent back to the base, like Belesis? She wants me to witness this … does she want me to know what I have to overcome? That’s the only reason…
Helena’s thoughts froze as a fire erupted across the valley with a thunderous sound; within a perfectly straight line was a molten scar that stretched off into the distance. What was… The earth began to quake as rolling thunder vibrated the air; Helena collapsed to the ground as a beam of energy shot from the valley floor into the heavens, a large section of the overhead canopy shattering. Ground to sky lightning only occurs when the charge on the ground exceeds the sky … Kara’s producing enough electricity that the atmosphere is attracting it?
Colossal arcs of lightning branches out of the pillar, ripping apart the terrain and leaving fire blazing in their wake. Enormous vortexes of iron sand rose into the sky as Helena felt magnetic fields extend over her and beyond, the hot wind whipping around her as they changed the air pressure. Colorful balls of plasma began forming across the sky, shooting to specific spots before exploding. This … can’t be real.
Gray clouds began to form as the moisture around them rose, electricity sparking through them as they darkened. Bolts of lightning shot out from the heavens, breaking apart the canopy and causing it to fall; the energy struck across the sky all around the valley, chasing Fatchna.
A massive dirt hill appeared over Kara, cutting off the energy flowing from the dark sky; however, the mound exploded in clumps of dirt that expelled at such a velocity that it caused avalanches to fall down a nearby mountain. Helena curled into a ball as the bottom half of the cliff she was on was struck, causing the lower half to crumble; the vibrations shook her body, making her teeth to chatter.
Opening her eyes, she retreated back from the cliff edge as she watched the falling sections of roof disappear, reappearing in front of strings of lightning; the material quickly crumbled but appeared to give Fatchna time to escape. He’s on the defensive. Has Kara always had this much overwhelming power?
She charged the particles at her ears to dampen the sounds but felt the quakes course through her body. More beams of invisible energy blackened the earth and burrowed into mountains; arcs of lightning twisted around the valley as bright balls of plasma continued to explode, many teleported around Kara but were easily redirected.
Helena’s eyes widened as a section of clouds blew apart, the sky beyond turning from blue to purple. What was that? There’s no way I can do anything like this… Her legs gave way as a gigantic mushroom cloud appeared at the far end of the forest, the shockwave uprooting the forest and smothering the fire. The ground lifted to produce hill sized clumps of earth as they spun around in a circle and expelled in violent torrents of stones. The plasma and iron tornadoes were blown away as the wave decimated them, dust momentarily blocking Kara’s pillar of energy from view.
A massive glacier appeared in the sky and flew toward the chain of lightning with several lakes of water above it. The pillar of energy connecting the heaven and earth bowed to run through the water and ice. A colossal nebula of shining energy appeared and was quickly swept into an enormous ball of plasma that detonated on the first pulse.
Helena’s watched the combined shockwave of the plasma and mushroom cloud in stunned realization. The concussion of air alone will kill me… The repercussion shattered what was left of the canopy and destroyed everything she could see, but an enormous amount of lightning shot from the sky between the blast and her, blocking the oncoming wave.
She swallowed as the dust began to clear; the environment in a three-hundred and ten degree angle was ravaged. The quakes under her were only partially noticeable to her with all the chaos; everything within sight except her little cliff was gone, most of the clouds were blown away in the torrent. How can she be worried about me … she’s fighting a Prime, but it seems so one-sided...
Beams of orange energy discharged from the middle of the lightning chain and flames erupted along the pillar, but they were quickly suppressed or redirected. There’s so little to throw at Kara ... she’s destroying everything. Fatchna must be teleporting pockets of gas around her, but they’re charged, she can easily deflect it. All he can do is teleport around while Kara chases.
Her mouth dropped open as a burst of pinkish light emitted from the lightning chain, distorting the air around it; it burrowed into the ground to Helena’s right. The beam eradicated everything it touched; it penetrated the terrain, causing the earth to quake. Four meters of the cliff she was one shaved away from the rumble; yellow and orange liquid jetted out of the earth. Lava? Kara’s beam burrowed that far underground?
The lava flowed upward and soon entered an arc of lightning; it swirled, the molten material twisting with the arcs and expelling in a multitude of directions. Another earthquake shook the ground, and one more section of her cliff tumbled below. Two more magma chambers burst open, spewing lava that Kara quickly took control over.
A large section of molten stone was teleported above the mass of energy but was easily deflected as it fell. Another surge of pinkish light expanded from the chain, and all of Kara’s lightning died down. The magma fell from the sky, clumping upon the blistered earth. A single sparkling light flew from the center of the devastation toward Helena.
Moments later, Kara appeared. She landed lightly on her feet, next to Helena with an annoyed expression; her body was covered in sweat, clothing damp, and there were several cuts and burns along the fabric, but her skin was undamaged. She was barefoot, and there was a six centimeter cut in the middle of her brown hair that shot halfway up its length.
She huffed, looking back at the ruined valley as jets of magma continued to jet up from the ground. “I hate Teleporters … so annoying to catch.”
Swallowing as she shakily rose to her feet, Helena glanced across the valley. “You killed him?”
Taking a deep breath, Kara cracked her neck. “No … I knew he’d run when he ran low on Focus. It’ll hit his pride; he thought he had a Focus pool equal to a real Prime … he now knows he does not.” She grimaced. “I was hoping the radiation would kill him … he managed to skirt most the damage, and he’ll have a Biokinetic heal whatever damage I did…” She cut off, features brightening. “What did you think?”
“Of the fight?” Helena licked her lips.
“You’ll be capable of all that … in time,” she giggled. “You have a long ways to go though, and that isn’t even half of what a real Prime can do … Fatchna is just a temp until a real Prime leveled Esper shows up.”
Helena gulped and looked out at the ravaged land again; her attention was caught by two black specks that appeared in the distance. Two Hoverfly flew their way.
Kara followed her gaze as another tremor shook the earth and grimaced. “WITCH, there’ll be two Primes or the Alpha in that.”
Feeling a twist in her stomach, she waited for the two vehicles to near. A person leaped out of the nearest one and quickly outpaced the machines. Eizea appeared in the bright morning light and hovered down to them. She wore a royal blue gown that made it seem like she was going to a summer ball. An amused expression lit her cheeks as she caught sight of the two Electro Masters. “Rough morning, girls?” Eizea asked with laughter.
“What’s the verdict?” Kara asked, brushing off the dust on her torn clothes.
“Favorable. Since no one was around to see your abilities in at least a moderate degree, and Fatchna is dead? That is correct, yes? Fatchna is dead?” Eizea asked with a sidelong glance at the wasteland.
Kara breathed deeply before shaking her head. “I knew he’d retreat as soon as his Focus ran low.”
“That’s unfortunate.” Eizea hummed. “I doubt he’ll be bold enough to confront you again, but his pride must be hurt. He must realize now that he doesn’t stand up to the rest of us.”
Nodding, Kara shrugged. “His pride may be hurt, but I don’t expect him to join Phantasm. He must, at least, think that he’s above that snake. So—you’re here to take us back to the base?” She asked, placing her hands on her hips and adding a smile as she stretched.
“That—and clean-up,” Eizea mumbled while looking back at the valley, “which, I’m not looking forward to.”
The two Hoverfly landed, and Colin exited. He walked beside Eizea and surveyed the area before whistling. “Really got into it, didn’t you. Although, it still isn’t near as widespread as the other incident I observed in Cassy’s memory—that’s understandable. It’s not like you had to go all out against Fatchna. That memory though—now that was a real fight. Oh—Cassy’s been sent back to the Southern Base—after talking with the President and Alpha that is. So, don’t worry about a surprise attack from her—at least for the moment.”
“That’s a relief,” Kara said rubbing her neck and laughing in her tinkling way. “She might give me a run…” She stopped and brought her hair around to study it. “What—my hair!”
“You didn’t notice?” Eizea asked with a lifted eyebrow and small smirk.
“No—I was too absorbed in locking down that stupid Teleporter—now I’m going to have to cut off half my hair! I wish—I’ll annihilate him!” She seethed.
Colin and Eizea laughed shortly, but it slowly died. “I heard about a casualty within your faction, and someone was gravely injured?” Colin asked with a frown.
“Klen was killed by Booker and Belesis … she’s not in the best shape.” Kara responded, with a darkening expression.
“Booker—I see.” Eizea cut off as she recognized Kara’s frigid eyes. “I’m sure Belesis will pull through; she is an excellent Biokinetic. I’m sure you’ve already made preparations for Klen. You two get on and get some rest. It’ll be finished here by the time you wake up.”
Colin cleared his throat. “Oh, and—the President wants a last-minute word with you, Kara, before he leaves.”
Helena tried to shake out the jitters in her body before asking, “What about the competition?”
A smile lit Eizea’s lips, and she spread her arms. “With this mess—it’s been canceled. There are a host of other issues that arose as well. You’ve also been given full SOP clearance within Kara’s faction. The President must have really liked your performance.” Examining her leg, Eizea lifted an eyebrow. “That looks nasty; you should get it fixed. I’ll send someone to the bay.”
Glancing down, she studied the burns. I completely forgot about the cut. Her leg started to pain her. She nodded and complied with her comment, climbing into the Hoverfly. Kara studied the landscape for a few more seconds, before following her. Colin and Eizea waved them off as the vehicle took them back to the base. I need to come to terms with all this before I make a decision … what will I live for now...