Chapter 265 – More Than Human
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Surprised by the completely different method of attack, Nereus had little prepared to respond.  Only the water and his existing defenses saved him from a complete defeat in that instant.  However, the water poured all around him forcing him back.  Controlled by the pressure of the water, it lifted him off the ground.  Carried more than thirty meters, it finally stopped.  Nereus fell on his back unmoving.

Nearly equally surprised, but actually more taken aback was Chiharu.  She kept staring around at the water that continued to flow around her.  ‘What’s this?  I thought it was him, but it attacked him.’   Running her fingers through the water gave her a strange sensation.  Something triggered in her mind.  It felt like she was feeling out through the water almost.

Chiharu took a step back, trying to distance herself from the strange water.  The sensations it gave her felt almost natural yet she knew it shouldn’t be.  It unnerved her how her body almost seemed to want it.  ‘What’s wrong with me?  Is this…’

The water lowered back to the ground becoming inert once more.  Whatever life it obtained disappeared the moment she left it.  Chiharu stared at the water still feeling the odd connection coursing through her body.  It was almost as if she could manipulate it as if it was an extension of her body.

‘It was almost like someone cut something off from me.  Not like severing a limb, but nothing so minor as losing a few strands of hair either.  It’s so unsettling.’  The water still stuck to her finger tips rolled around.  She stared intently on her fingers watching as the water seemed to bead up.  The more she pushed it around the more it built up as if it was gum sticking everything to it.  ‘Is this really me?’

Movement in the distance alerted Chiharu away from the distraction.  Nereus looked to be recovering from her attack.  ‘Damn, I didn’t need this right now.’  Glancing back, all of the water on her fingers finished gathering from all of the rolling.  A tight sphere of water hovered in her palm.  If she needed any further clues, that settled it for her.  ‘A new power, completely unrelated to any of my other abilities.  Why now?  I don’t even know how it works or if it’ll be useful against him.  It caught him off guard once, but he uses water too.’

Soaked and bruised, Nereus appeared to have sustained damage from Chiharu’s attack.  He looked a little uneasy in his walk, but returned quickly.  “So you’ve been holding back your true abilities.”

Chiharu saw the look in his eyes change once again.  He saw her, but it was more than just acknowledgement like before when she broke through his barrier.  He actually seemed to only be focused on her.  All attention narrowed to her.  He wanted to see more.  It almost seemed like he judged her equally.

‘I wasn’t holding back anything, but I’m not going to tell him that I discovered a new power.  He’d take advantage of it knowing I didn’t know how to control it.’  She fixed her stance to remove any doubt she had about the water power.  All she could present to him was confidence and certainty.  “You seemed to be holding back as well.”

“True, but it didn’t seem fair to use my full power on someone that proved they were merely a normal human.”

Chapter 265 – More than Human

Chiharu perked her eyebrow up to his odd statement.  In his words, he admitted to upgrading her status, yet it still seemed like a strange contradiction.  “You’ve got a strange world view.  What I’ve been doing would hardly be considered normal by the rest of the world’s standards.”

He tilted his head a little, returning similar confusion.  “There is no one else in the world besides other Meso Prosecho.  You’re the first human I’ve met that doesn’t have the same abilities.  So what other standard would there be?”

“Are you being serious?  You literally don’t view the eight billion people in the world as human?”

“There’s only a few thousand humans in the world.”

She couldn’t help but drop her mouth open a little in surprise.  Chiharu figured out from watching before that he seemed to be serious about his perceptions of others, but she didn’t think it ran so deep.  “You believe that without any doubt that everyone without abilities like yours is not even part of the same species as you.  I don’t understand how you can actually function like that.”

“This is just the reality of the world.  But you’ve proven yourself to be among us.  I didn’t think it was possible for there to be a different type of human like you.”

Chiharu could only shake her head listening to him.  Arguing with him was pointless.  She saw how deeply it went just by looking into his eyes.  She already saw before it was genuine and no act.  This only confirmed it with further proof.

“Let’s just finish this,” she said, settling on focusing on the fight rather than his delusional beliefs.

The water hovering around Nereus suddenly evaporated.  Humidity increased dramatically with the air pressure dropping.  “Very well.  I do have my orders to place you under arrest.”  Dark clouds grew out above them as the furthest point of his power.  Winds suddenly picked up dragging everything loose along.

The change in the atmosphere and scale of the powers displayed made Chiharu certain that he pulled out all of the stops.  ‘He’s getting serious now.  His power extends to even creating storms.’  Rain began to drop over the battlefield.  ‘This is more than just a water power.  Something else is at work.’

Continuing to modify the weather, the storm became worse.  Lightning strikes jumped from the clouds in the distance bouncing around the light.  The cracks and rumbles of the storm echoed throughout the Field.

Despite the change in the conditions, Chiharu wondered how it gave him any advantage.  ‘If I’m understanding my power, this is more of a benefit to me.  All his attacks have followed natural laws that can be scientifically explained.  So what does he have planned?’

Chiharu suddenly felt the hair on her arms and the back of her neck stand up.  A strange feeling washed over her body.  The air felt oddly charged and warm.  Her body reacted before her mind realized what was happening.  ‘Lightning!’  Sure enough, a split second later only centimeters away from her a massive bolt of lightning struck.

The heat and discharge knocked her off balance.  Proximity to the flash blinded her.  Chiharu rolled over the grass to a stop.  She could still feel the warmth coming off of it from a few meters away.  It persisted around longer than she thought possible.  ‘Damn that was close…what are the odds of that?’

Before she could even regain her sight, the same feeling came over her again.  She knew better now what it meant and jumped out of the way, even lacking her sight.  A third came as well, each seemed to have a greater intensity than the last.

When the fourth hit it became clear to her the truth.  ‘He’s able to control lightning as well.  Making pinpoint strikes in succession would not be possible if he wasn’t controlling it.  It’s statistically impossible, but that’s more proof his power isn’t water…  It’s something else…’

Failing on the strikes, the lightning calmed down.  However, Chiharu detected a new change in the weather.  The wind grew stronger starting to approach gale forces.  ‘What’s he planning now?’  Her eyesight still hadn’t recovered.  Blurs were the only thing she could see.

A dull tap knocked on her leg, signaling to Chiharu something new.  ‘Wish I could see…’  Chiharu moved around guessing he might have been sending something at her.  Her eyesight improved, but not enough yet.  Something else hit her, making her jump away only to be hit again and again in quick succession.  The objects were getting larger and heavier.  ‘Hail?’

The longer it lasted the more certain she became it was hailing.  Dodging it all meant nothing if she couldn’t see it, but so far the impacts weren’t even something that hurt.  Yet, she could tell they constantly increased in size.  Eventually, it would probably start causing problems.

As her eyes finally started to see again, the degree at which hail filled the sky took her back a step.  It was almost as dense as rain, but varied greatly in size.  She had actually been pelted by numerous smaller pieces that she didn’t even notice.  ‘He must be doing something with the storm to create such extreme weather.  The control he has makes it seem more like his power is weather and the water he used before was just a facet.  Yet I don’t even think that’s right…  Something about his defense doesn’t sit right with me…’

Regardless of her theory crafting, Chiharu had more immediate concerns.  The hail continued to grow dramatically in size.  He created an impossible scenario with an extreme storm.  Hail fell denting the earth with their size surpassing small watermelons.  Chiharu got better at dodging now that she could see them.  However, the screen of hail made it impossible to avoid them all, she had to pick which hit her.  ‘Damn…’ 

The progressive degree of the situation becoming worse came sooner than she expected.  Even the smallest pieces of ice were still large enough to leave bruises.  ‘I need to do something about this, running is just going to delay things.’  When she heard the splashing of water under foot from the increased rainfall it reminded her of the one asset she had unexplored.  ‘It might be able to do something.  At this point I won’t know unless I try…’

Chiharu hated the notion of using something untested.  It only worked once when she wasn’t even trying.  She had no guidelines on how to use it.  No practice or training told her what it could be used for or even how long it took to activate.  The whole thing was the worst type of unknown for her, completely unrelated to any physical training.

‘I need something, anything once more.  Something to deal with this hail…’  She ran her fingers through the water at her feet as he knelt down.  All the while, she waited for something to happen with her body ached from the pounding.  She had no protection of any sort, her chainmail destroyed.  ‘Do something!’

Nothing.

Waiting any longer meant suffering the beating of nature.  ‘Should have known to trust something I don't understand.’  Standing up, the water on her fingers followed her stretching out to long threads.  ‘What the hell is this?’  She tried to pull her hand away, but the water just followed until it laid down four columns in front of her.

The larger chunks of hail bounced off, unable to break through.  Pleased with the results, she drew up another set with her other hand to weave a net in front.  The defense held, but it left her completely stationary.  She had no offense.

Drawing her hands away from the water, she tried to separate from it.  She needed to get back into the fight.  However, it wouldn’t break away.  It followed everywhere she moved her hands.  “Damn thing.  Break.”

Unfortunately, she left holes in the defense requiring her to dodge to avoid a massive rock of ice flying at her.  It caused her to rotate around the anchor position wrapping the water up into a tangled mess on her waist.  “Dammit!”  Chiharu nearly fell over trying to recover from the trap.

The water finally broke and released her.  Stumbling around, the water still clung to her fingers even if it freed itself from the ground.  “Get off!”  She rubbed her hands up and down her leather under jacket to try to get it off her fingers, but it only seemed to spread it further.

A few moments later, she realized the water actually started to grow and stretch over her body.  It covered in the gaps between the threads until completely wearing itself on her like another layer of her clothes.  Yet it was when she stopped feeling the hail that she realized what occurred.  ‘I have new armor, stronger than conventional armor…’  She liked the feel of it, her body felt comfortable with it for some reason.

When Nereus realized that hail stopped having an effect it ceased.  However, the wind suddenly picked up even harder.  It became harder to hold her position as the wind exceeded standard typhoon force winds.  Worse was she looked up towards the clouds.  “Is that a tornado?”  She never saw one before or even had to deal with it in Japan, but it fit with what she knew about them.  “This just keeps getting more absurd.  What next?  A typhoon?”

Aspirated or not, Chiharu didn’t have much time to argue with reality.  The tornado already started to touch down only twenty meters away with a path locked on to her.  “…crap…”  She knelt down dragging her fingers through the water to pull up more threads.  The connections felt a little more natural to her and attached to her.  She repeated it quickly several times to give herself plenty of anchors as the winds started to pick her up off her feet.  “This is not how I wanted to experience my first tornado…” she complained as it completely swallowed her up.

Nereus watched from his safe position completely unaffected by the entire storm system.  ‘She’s got some interesting powers.  Though judging from the way she acted, it doesn't seem she’s in full control of them.’  Calling down the tornado, he felt would be the point that she reached.  It seemed unlikely for her to escape.

Yet, the tornado developed a distortion near the base as the first signal.  He leaned forward a little curious about what she tried to achieve.  In the next moment, a massive beam of blue light ripped through the walls of the tornado.  It tore through in a spiral pattern up the collapsing structure.

Out of the gray bands of wind, Chiharu burst through trailing threads of her water anchors.  She closed the gap between them quickly with Nereus' defense trying to account for her.  Water flowed over her fist and arm thickening until her arm became disrupted and impossible to see.  It hardened into a punching drill that smashed through all of Nereus’ defenses.

Her fist slammed into his chest tearing up his uniform and exploding in long serpentine water dragons that sent him flying out of control for meters.

The storm broke quickly with the loss of Nereus’ Field.  Chiharu landed dripping water off her body with the release of her power.  She sighed and breathed out heavily.  Walking over to Nereus, she stood next to him.  “Remember my lesson, no one is created equally, but we’re still all the same when you strip everything away.  A human is not simply defined.  So try using that head you’ve got.”  She paused looking back at their battlefield.  “If you’re intelligent enough to control things at the atomic level, you should be able to not be blinded by such a flawed dogma.”

Nereus’ eyes widened in surprise.  “You’re the second one to ever figure it out.  You’re certainly worthy to be human and among the same ranks as my comrades.”

Chiharu stared at him a little tired of his continued need to set position.  “I already told you, you can’t simply define a human.  We have unlimited potential.”  She stared across the open fields back to the Capital.  Inside, she knew the weakling raced towards a dark fate.  “Hopefully, I can figure out mine by following them.  I’ve found that I can’t discover the answers alone anymore…”

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