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Psychic Chapter 14: Exam Part 9

A sharp pain pierced Keira’s arm as she tried to move it. She lay down in the middle of the forest opening and stared blankly into the sky. “Damn…I went overboard with those 2. It’s bad enough that my ability requires a timer, but it also gives me limb aches for a few hours. I probably won’t be able to move for a few hours, which mean…” Instantly, she thought of a troubling situation. She gritted her teeth back and forth.

“S***!” she yelled out, savagely. “If my limbs don’t cooperate in the next few hours, I won’t be able to make it to the ending point. Man, I’m such an idiot!” She took a deep breath, then mumbling, “Well, it’s better than being around those 3 a**holes.”

“I’m not one of those a**holes, am I?” Keira jumped, startled, and quickly looked towards the voice. Only a few steps away from her, Bain was slowly approaching, with a demented look on his face. She started to tense up, and with each step he took, the closer to death she felt.

No…no! thought Keira. This can’t be happening, can it? How long has this freak been watching me? Keira tried to move her arms, but even with the slightest movement, she felt the pain hold her back.

Bain squatted down and poked her cheek, toying with her. “I saw your fight, little girl. I was watching from some bushes a little bit back, and I have to say, I was very impressed.”

Keira was confused. She couldn’t tell if Bain actually meant his compliments, or if he was trying to play mind games with her. “I-impressed?”

Bain nodded. “You have a very incredible ability, even with its…unique side effects. It’s obvious that with a power like that, you can breeze through the exam.”

“Well…I guess so.”

“You guess so? Only guess? Why not know so? Your aching arms and legs may be a downside, but there’s not one person here that could stop you when your ability is at work. You know what, I’m was so impressed, I’ll be willing to carry you to the end point.”

Keira’s eyes widened. She was in disbelief that someone like him would offer something like that. She almost immediately agreed, but she hesitated before she could say anything. At the last second, she remembered how dangerous his teammates were. “What if it’s a trap?” she asked. “How do I know that you’re not going to bring me to Silver and Saga.”

Bain laughed sarcastically. “I’ll tell you right now, I’m not going to pull any tricks off. I mean, if I wanted to kill you, I could just do it right here.”

“Good point,” she claimed. She was still nervous about the offer. Something didn’t add up to her.

“Of course, I do want something in return.” Keira arched an eyebrow curiously. “I want you to help me out with something during the course of the exam. As a matter of fact, why don’t you just join our team to make things easier.”

“Thing? What kind of thing?”

Bain smiled and put his finger to his lips. “I can’t tell you that right now, but I can tell you that the first step is to make it to the end of this exam.”

Keira looked back up at the clouds for a second. “I’m still not convinced. You don’t look like the most trustworthy person.”

“Well, I’m not the most trustworthy person, but you see…” He bent down and whispered into Keira’s ear. “I think you and me are out to kill the same person.”

Keira’s eyes widened. She angrily dug her fingers into the dirt and closed her eyes tightly. “Are…are you serious. How do you know?”

“You were happy at one time, kind of like me, but because a certain group of a people did a certain action, we’ve become unhappy. I mean, you just don’t go around acting like a b**** for nothing, right?”

A tear came slowly down her cheek, and with it, a relieved smile. In an instant, her mind was completely changed. “I’m glad that I’m not alone. I’ll help you, Bain.”

Bain cracked his fingers and stretched his arms. “Wonderful!” he yelled out. “Let’s get going then, shall we?” Bain bent down, preparing to pick up Keira. Before he could scoop her up, his eyes widened. A sharp pain burrowed into his ribs. He felt himself struggling for air as he fell to the ground.

He quickly wiped off the little blood that stained his chin. “What the hell…how did that..?” He turned around, and behind in, standing in a fighting position, stood Knox.

Keira dropped her jaw, stunned. “Kid? What the hell are you doing here? This a no retard zone, so get lost!”

Knox stayed silent, responding by picking Keira up and walking away.

Bain got up from the ground and cracked his jaw twice. “Where are you off to, child?”

“We’re leaving. We don’t have time to focus on you right now, so we’re going back to our team.”

Bain lowered his head and dragged his hand across his face. “You realize…I will rip you to shreds unless you give me back the woman. She and I have special plans.”

Knox turned around and stared at Bain emotionlessly. “Is she your teammate?”

“No, but I plan on taking her as my own.”

Knox frowned. “Forget it. Listen, I don’t necessarily agree with her about everything. Frankly, I think she’s a total b****…”

“Keira dug her nails into her palm. “Shut up!”

“…but in the end, she’s still my teammate, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m my team’s leader. As long as I’m my team’s leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure the safety of teammates and to get us to the end of this exam.”

Bain widened his eyes. He stood silent for a couple of seconds before slowly clapping. “Kid, your selflessness is admirable, but I really don’t care. Just hand her over now and I’ll let you leave with 3 limbs still in tact.”

“No.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not at all.”

Bain smiled deviously and started rotating his right arm. “I guess this means that we have to get physical over who keeps her, no?”

Knox sighed and carefully placed Keira on the ground. “We all need to pass this exam for our own needs, right? I mean, I’m here to retrieve my little sister from the MCG, and I’m sure that you have your reasons to be here. I don’t want to crush those reasons, so just leave.”

Bain raised both of his eyebrows and began to laugh hysterically. “Are you shitting me? Leave because some cocky piece of trash told me to? Kid, you don’t understand how irritating you are. I mean, the more you talk, the more I want to kill you! The one who should be leaving is you.”

Knox cracked his knuckles. “I’ll give you another warning. Just leave.”

“Just cut it out, kid. Decide now, are we gonna fight or not?”

Knox took a step in and gave Bain a frightening stare. The look in Knox’s eyes even had Bain feeling threatened. “Fine, you’re out of warnings. I have no choice but to kill you now.”

Keira raised her head, yelling out. “Are you nuts, Knox? Don’t be stupid! This guy has years of experience over you. Just run now and retrieve me later.”

Knox clenched his fist in annoyance. “I don’t care. I’m the leader of my team, and when situations like these come to be, it’s my responsibility to take care of him. As long as I’m still breathing, this guy should be concerned about his life.”

The light from the tree tops glistened around the two foes. They both listened to the chirps of the tiny birds and ignored the intense heat. The only thing that either of them could focus on was taking Keira as their own.

Bain signaled Knox to attack first, and to his surprise, that’s what Knox did. Knox charged in full speed, throwing a quick punch. Bain dodged, following up with a knee that connected with Knox’s spine. Knox gasped for air as he fell to the ground, but he got right back up.

He rushed back in, throwing a barrage of punches, but none of them could connect. Bain avoided them like it was nothing. Bain quickly stopped the barrage by grabbing Knox’s fist in mid punch. From there, Bain squeezed his fist, crushing Knox’s fragile fingers. Knox moaned quietly in pain, trying to escape.

Knox slammed his fist in Bain’s arm, releasing his hand. He followed up with a slide kick. Bain jumped into the air, dodging the kick, but the attacks weren’t over. Knox threw an uppercut, finally hitting Bain, but it wasn’t strong enough to do any severe damage. Knox jumped back a safe distance, being able to get away from the overpowered man.

Bain rubbed his chin. “Eh, barely stings. I hope you’re not trying your best, kid. If this is all that you could back up with that cocky s*** you were talking about a minute ago, you obviously were lying to yourself.”

“Don’t worry about that. I haven’t shown you anything yet.” Crap! thought Knox. I know that I didn’t use a full power uppercut, but my attack didn’t even do anything! The worst part is that I can’t display my powers to this guy since his team’s goal is most likely to expose our powers for the future phases. He probably knows about my defense aura from phase 2, but he hasn’t seen my offense aura, so I can’t use that. I was probably using 80% percent of my physical strength in that last attack, but still, it was only on his chin. I’ll have to try a more vital spot, like his stomach, face or neck.

Bain yawned tauntingly. “Are you done day dreaming, boy? We only have so long until this phase is over.”

Knox nodded and sprinted back in. Alright, let’s see. I have to delude him. That’s when I’ll be able to strike! Knox punched towards his stomach. Bain dodged with ease, while simultaneously being confused. He couldn’t understand why Knox was trying the same thing.

Bain swiftly rolled around Knox and began to drop his elbow to his neck. Now! thought Knox. Right before the elbow hit, a blue aura quickly surrounded Knox, catching Bain off guard. The strike still hurt Knox, but Bain suffered much more. He could feel his elbow shaking from the newly reinforced skin.

Knox quickly countered. He turned around and slammed his fist into Bain’s stomach, causing him to choke up blood. Bain looked up at Knox, who was once again at a safe distance. I understand, the blue aura that I saw around him in the second phase… it enhances his defense. That’s good to know. What I’m scared about is that a basic defense enhancing ability seems so basic, especially for someone like him. There has to be something more to his powers…

Bain recuperated quickly, and was ready to fight again much faster than Knox expected. “Crap,” he mumbled. “An attack to the stomach should have winded him, but he barely felt anything. There’s still 2 more vital points I have to hit.”

Knox was ready to charge once again, but Bain held his hand out. “Not yet, kid. I want to demonstrate what I can do, as well. Watch carefully.” Knox did as he told, focusing on Bain as he pulled a shiny nickel out of his pocket.

“Heads or tails, pal?”

“Tails,” said Knox, without hesitation.

“What the hell?” said Keira, who was still unable to move. “Aren’t you even going to question the coin flip?”

Bain flipped the coin high into the air, catching it on the back of his hand. It landed on tails, causing him to be disappointed. “Damn, what a shame. Guess I don’t get to pick this time.”

Pick? thought Knox. What’s this guy talking about?

To Knox’s surprise, he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. The tattoo on Bain’s eye, the orange snake, slowly started to retract up his arm. Knox watched the entire scene in disbelief until the tattoo coiled around Bain’s neck.

From there, Bain’s arm started to bubble. The skin slowly melted off, dripping onto the ground piece by piece. Eventually, all of the skin bubbled away, revealing the muscle underneath.

Keira felt like she was going to puke. “What’s your power even do? Just melt your skin off?”

Instantly, his fingers glued together, forming into a long, black tube that had rigid purple lines on the side. From his hands up, the black metal grew over his hand, ultimately forming an assault rifle.

Bain rubbed the rifle as if it was precious to him. “Unique, no? Being able to transform your arm into a weapon is good enough for me. Of course, the disadvantage is I can only summon one weapon at a time, and that coin toss, too. If I lose to coin toss, I don’t get to choose the weapon that I want. I’m lucky though. This is just the one that I wanted.”

Bain slowly raised the rifle, aiming it directly at Knox’s forehead. In a second, bullets started to fly out at rapid speeds. Knox just barely dodged, and quickly dashed to his left as he started running a circle around Bain. As he ran, Know could feel the bullets just barely skim past him back. If even one hit him, he was dead.

Rapidly, Knox hit the floor, just barely avoiding the incoming bullets, and dashed towards Bain. From there, Knox Grabbed the rifle and aimed it up, disabling the gun.

Bain snickered. “It’s not gonna work, kid.” He rammed his knee into Knox’s stomach. Knox coughed up an incredible amount of blood, falling to the ground, gasping for air. Bain aimed the rifle at Knox, preparing to shoot.

Right before he shot, Knox rolled out of the way, catching Bain by surprise. He swiftly scooped some dirt into his hand and threw it into Bain’s eyes, temporarily blinding him.

“S***!” yelled out Bain. He began to shoot aimlessly, hoping to hit Knox. Knox traversed to Bain’s side, kicking him in the ribs. He followed with a kick to his leg. Bain fell to the ground, still aimlessly shooting. Knox rolled out of the bullet’s path and got behind Bain. At full strength, Knox dropped his elbow into the back of Bain’s neck. Yes! screamed out Knox in his head. There’s no way he could take a hit like that!

Bain’s arms were shaking as he struggled to keep himself up. He was just barely able to wipe the dirt out of his eyes. After a few seconds, he could see clearly again. “Smart kid, using a double delusion. When I kneed you, you pretended to be out of breath, giving me a chance to shoot you, but of course, your damn power protected you. From there, you blinded me and went for the strike. Too bad for you…I’m also made out of iron…”

Knox stood frozen in place. He couldn’t believe that Bain took no damage. Damn it, this is really bad. If he could take a hit to the stomach and the neck without being damaged, there’s no way that I can beat him without punching him in the same area at least 10 times. I can’t decide if it’s worth switching to my offense aura. If I fail to kill him then, he can escape and warn Silver and Saga about my powers.

“That idiot…” whispered Keira. “After that strike it’s clear that he isn’t capable of beating this guy. If he does a feint, he may be able to run off without being caught, but who knows how fast Bain is…”

Bain lifted his arm, disbanding the metal, revealing newly grown skin underneath. “I’m taking things into hands now. Prepare to suffer.”

Bain went on the offense now. He sprinted up to Knox, punching him lightning fast. Before Knox knew it, Bain rushed behind him, roundhouse kicking him in his temple. Knox flew several feet before skidding against the ground.

Knox got back to his feet immediately, but it was no use. Bain had already reached him, grabbing him by his face and slamming his skull to the ground. Knox could hear his brain beating along with his heart as Bain squeezed his hand. Knox rapidly gripped Bain’s hand, digging his nails deep into Bain’s skin. Knox ripped away at his skin, causing blood to gush out of it rapidly. For the first time in the fight, Bain actually felt damaged.

Knox had no plans of stopping there. He went for a straight punch to Bain’s face, but stopped right before he connected. Knox jumped back several times, disappearing behind a bush on the edge of the circle.

“Do you think you’re clever child, hiding in the bushes? I hope you ran away while you could.” No response. Bain stood patiently in the middle of the circle, brainstorming. He’s still out there, I know it. He’s probably progressing around the circle quietly and planning to attack me from behind. The second I hear a noise, it’s almost guarenteed to be him. I can strike then…

Bain locked his arms together and kept his eyes closed loosely. He wiped the sweat off of his forehead occasionally. A few minutes of complete silence, despite some on and off bird calls, but nothing. Bain was losing his patience with each passing second. How much longer can this kid keep this up?

Bain widened his left eye as he heard a small rustle near a bush. He turned towards the sound and rushed in, going full speed towards the bush. The second he arrived, he slammed his fist into the bush, connecting with nothing but the ground.

From behind Bain, Knox popped out of the same location of where he entered. This time, however, he was surrounded by the glistening red aura. At full speed and strength, he rammed his fist into the back of Bain’s head, causing him to fly several fight into a tree, creating a humongous dust cloud over him. He quickly jumped back and dismissed his aura.

Keira was pale from the sight. She rubbed her eyes to make sure she was seeing right. That freaking kid…I can’t tell if he relied on luck or if he’s a genius. When he jumped into the bush, he figured that Bain would attack the first sound that he heard, which he did. Instead of Knox creating a decoy sound, he just waited in the same location until a random sound was made, and that was when he attacked. As for the red aura, Knox knew that he couldn’t break Bain’s defenses, so he waited for Bain to look away to use his red aura. It’s a win-win situation because he damaged Bain and was able to hide the second part of his power from him!

Soon enough, the dust cloud faded, revealing Bain, who was implanted deep into the tree’s wood. He pulled himself out, showing off the front side of his now brutally damaged body. Pieces of razor sharp bark were sticking deep into his skin, and his head was busted open in several different locations.

Knox smiled with relief. “It’s over, you’re in no condition to fight. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really want to kill you, but I recommend you forfeit the exam before I actually have to hurt you.”

Bain pulled out a piece of bark, causing his skin to spurt out a small stream of blood. “That was one hell of a punch, but don’t let these injuries fool you. You did a good job for a piece of trash, but I could take another 3 punches just like that before you win.” Knox slowly turned pale and clenched his stomach. He couldn’t believe that even his enhanced punch was no match against Bain.

“By the way, kid, you’re kind of unlucky that you didn’t knock me out. I know that you have a power enhancement ability.”

Knox tensed up and groaned. “H-how did you know?”

“You tried to conceal it by attacking me with it from behind, right? To bad for you I could tell that you attacked me at full power back when you punched me in my stomach. Besides, I’ve fought kids your age before, and not one can deliver a punch like that without an enhancement.”

Bain yawned as he stretched his slightly sore muscles. “In the end, though, I lose.” Knox widened his eyes in confusion. “I’m not gonna continue fighting with you. I’m impressed by your ability to fight without relying 100% on your powers. In the end, it’s a win for both of us. I got intel on both of your powers and you get to keep the girl. Of course, I can’t guarantee that I won’t be coming after her in the future…”

Keira was actually disappointed. Inside her, she was happy that Knox helped her, but Bain’s deal sounded irresistible. She was stuck on which side she should follow.

Knox nodded. He walked back to Keira and picked her up. “We’re off. I appreciate your comments, but I still recommend that you forfeit.”

“Why should I?”

“Well, if you don’t, one of my teammates may end up killing you.”

Bain snarled on the outside, but he took every word to heart. He now saw Knox’s team as a much bigger threat. “Keep talking big, trash, if it makes you feel better.” Bain watched silently as Knox carried Keira off deep into the woods, up until they couldn’t be seen.

“Well, that was a fun little walk. Guess I sh-” Instantly, Bain fell on to one knee. He gripped his head, trying to focus on the ground. His vision was spinning, his ears screeching, and his brain beating rapidly. A small amount of blood drained out of his mouth, dripping like a small waterfall to the ground.

“What’s…going on?” Bain’s vision started to refocus after a moment, but his headache remained. “Damn…did that kid’s punch do this to me?” He glared back over to where Knox walked off to. “Maybe…no…I definitely underestimated him.”



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