Echoes of Power
Parts 46 – 50
As the bell rang the end of the first half of the day the light-haired young man felt that the day was one of the longest in his life; he had to endure the long class hours without the presence of his best friend. Bryan had sent him a message a few hours before to warn him that he wouldn’t be able to come to school, at least not in the morning, because he had hurt himself the previous day during training and he didn’t feel well enough. Alexandre turned his phone back on as soon as he had left the classroom and sent a message to the dark-haired teenager.
“Well I survived the morning, I hope you’ll be well enough to come this afternoon! But don’t pressure yourself, rest if you need. Is it painful?”
His best friend hadn’t given him all the details but apparently he had hurt his arm and had almost broken a bone, he had been lucky to manage to break his fall. Alexandre knew that his training at the dojo was sometimes intense and that he had already hurt himself quite badly, but that had become rare recently, Bryan had grown into a fine martial artist and he could handle himself quite well. He must have tried to go against much stronger than him as always… Thought Alexandre with a smirk as he walked towards the cafeteria.
He waited for the tan teenager’s reply as he quickly ate and rushed to the library to read a bit before the beginning of classes. He was reading through a book about astronomy when he realized the bell wouldn’t be long to ring again to signal the beginning of afternoon classes. The teenager noticed the pleasant surprise that was awaiting him in his inbox when he checked the time on his phone, Bryan was telling him he would be arriving to the school in a few minutes. This made him smile. Awesome!
And indeed, a few minutes later, as he had already been waiting in front of the classroom he saw his best friend walking towards him. The dark-haired teen had his arm in a sling and a large gash was running across the right side of his face, starting just under his eye and ending just under his lower lip. It was bright red and seemed to have been bleeding until recently. Bryan smiled as he saw his best friend and quickened his step. Alexandre was thankful for them being alone for the moment as he let a concerned look spread on his face.
“Hey!” Exclaimed Bryan as he was a few steps away.
“Hey! Wow! That doesn’t look good! Are you okay man?” He asked as saluted his best friend.
“Uh, yeah, quite painful.” Nodded Bryan. “The arm is okay” He wriggled it a bit as he said that. “Just a sprain, I forced too much against stronger than me…”
“Knew it!” Chuckled Alexandre as he realized he had been right. “You’re always too stubborn, never backing away from a challenge…”
“Yeah…” Agreed the dark-haired teen with a sigh. “I should’ve seen it coming with all these years of training but no, I had to keep trying… Anyways! I also got this beautiful thing when I fell badly from straining my arm and I have to admit it hurts quite a bit. I think I’ll have a large scar when it heals…”
“Uh, yeah, that is to be expected…” Nodded Alexandre. “But it’ll make you more manly eh!” He added with a mocking smile.
“Tch! Whatever!” Replied Bryan, smiling too.
“Well at least I’m happy to see you’re not too beaten up and that you’re okay overall…” Said the light-haired teenager.
“Aw, you were worried about me…” Cooed the dark-haired teen with a smirk. “How sweet!”
“You know, if you hadn’t your arm in a sling I would’ve hit you… Speaking of! What exactly happened to your arm and your face?”
“Well, it’s a bit stupid actually…” Commented the dark-haired teen with a chuckle. “As I told you I was being stupid and tried to force my way out of a lock, but my opponent was much stronger than me and I somehow managed to dislocate my shoulder and to overstretch the ligaments. It’s painful and a bit incapacitating but it’s nothing too serious.. Here, I can move my arm and write almost normally!” He explained as he took his arm out of the sling and moved it around a little.
“Yeah, well don’t hurt yourself even more trying to prove to me that you’re alright.” Smirked Alexandre. “And your face?” He then asked.
“Even more stupid. When my partner realized I was struggling too much he undid the lock, letting me go down. But I somehow managed to stumble and fell badly on the hard floor, I hit the corner of a shelf nearby and almost split my head in two… Luckily, and for once I’m proud to say it, I’m quite hardheaded and I missed my eye. Not by much but it didn’t get hurt. So, yeah, I may look bad but I could’ve been much worse…”
“Wow, talk about luck…” Replied the light-haired teen with a whistle. “Well I hope you get better soon.”
“Yeah, don’t worry about that, I’ll be fine!” Exclaimed Bryan with a large smile. “I just have to be careful not to strain my arm too much, that’s all.”
“Okay.” Nodded Alexandre, returning his friend’s smile. “So, did you have time to read Soul King with all that?” He added, changing the subject.
“Wait, you’re kidding right? As if I’d last any longer before devouring it! I finished it by friday night! How do you want me not to read it with how the story is progressing?!” Asked the dark-haired teen with passion in his voice.
Alexandre felt the same, he hadn’t really enjoyed the story at first, he had felt it was too normal and light-hearted for its genre. Over time though, he had become more and more interested and passionate about it as the plot had thickened and the storyline had become infinitely more interesting. He hadn’t been able to stop reading it since and he knew Bryan was the same.
“I know. I’ve had the same problem. I managed to last until yesterday morning though, reading it little by little.” He explained with a smile.
“Impressive.” Commented Bryan with a small impressed whistle. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait for the next one much longer though, I need to know what happens after that end man!” He added with an excited voice.
“Same here. The author is evil to have done such a thing… It’s inhuman…” Agreed the young man with short brown hair.
They talked about it for a few minutes before the bell rang again. By that time the other students had already started to arrive and a large crowd was waiting in front of the class room when the teacher finally arrived. Bryan had been forced to explain his story in brief details a few times before everyone finally was up to date, most of the other teenagers were shocked and fascinated by his injuries, especially the ones of the opposite sex. Alexandre noticed a few girls eyes his best friend as if they saw him in a whole new light, they seemed… more than appreciative.
Damn! The attention he’s going to get with that… He chuckled inwardly. And let’s not think about when it’ll be a nicely healed scar…
They tried to keep discussing about the manga during math but even if they were sitting in nearby seats it proved to be much more difficult than what they had imagined at first and they didn’t manage to get much further. Even though, Alexandre felt time pass faster that afternoon and felt it had almost gone in the blink of an eye as Bryan and him seperated on their way home, he still had so much to talk about. They had both walked all the way from school as Bryan had been unable to ride his bike that morning, not bothered in the least by their slow pace, despite that, they would still have to wait to finish their discussion. Both of them were used to it, usually they had enough to talk about for a whole week.
As soon as he got home, Alexandre attempted to use his ‘power’ again. He took advantage of the fact that his father had long hours at work and that he had the house to himself until late in the evening all week to practice everyday and discover his limits. It was still hard and uncertain and exhausting to slow the fall of objects but, as day passed, his motivation did not waver and he saw visible, albeit small, progress. He succeeded in his attempts to prevent a fall almost half the time and felt less exhausted each time he did it.
He had to focus a lot more to compensate the intensity of the motivation to not break the object he was testing his power on, but somehow he managed to clear his head and to will it to slow down. He tested it with multiple objects, varying the size, the mass, colour, shape, material, fragile or not (fortunately for him he was successful when he tried to slow down the fall of a small porcelain figurine his mother had brought back from one of her many trips). Each time it seemed a little bit easier and each time he felt a bit less tired, whether it was the fruit of his ‘training’, as he liked to call it, or something else entirely he couldn’t say. But he was hellbent on continuing his testing.
The only thing that did affect his morale was the fact that he hadn’t heard the voice for a while and that he didn’t know what else he could potentially do, if he was able to do anything else. He had also discovered that saying the word out loud was necessary to make whatever was happening happen. That had discovery had brought questions : could the other words he had heard the voice say do something too? Where did the mysterious voice come from? And why could he hear it? He feared only an extreme stroke of luck would reveal the answer to these questions, having stumbled on one word was already a miracle… Also he still had to find a proper utility for such an ability, but that was secondary, being able to accomplish a miracle was sufficient for now.
When the two teenagers met outside the locker room the next Thursday Alexandre had a slight headache, the voice had decided to make a comeback during the softball training and even though it hadn’t been nearly as intense as before it had still been painful. The brown-haired young man was almost relieved though to notice it was still there and as incomprehensible as ever, its absence during the week had preoccupied him. He had still managed to enjoy the fact that they had had sport instead of biology due to the teacher being on leave. Bryan, on the other hand, had been all the more frustrated not to be able to participate due to his injure and had spent the time sulking on the bench, watching his best friend run around.
“Damn! I’m glad that’s over…” Sighed the dark-haired teen as they walked out of the school building with a sigh, making his best friend smirk.
“I sympathize with your pain man.” He replied mockingly, earning himself a glare from the other teenager.
They walked out of the school grounds and met with a few other students who had decided to go grab a drink before going back home as they had exceptionally finished early that day, the two boys had accepted gladly. They were almost a dozen to enter the café a few minutes later. The two Abben brothers, Misha and Karl, Rebecca Cruz, that everyone called Miss Cruz in a mocking homage to her constantly getting called out by he teachers, Michael Franklin, a tall quiet boy with shoulder length black-hair, Eloïse Venn and Caroline Armand, two close friends who had gone to the same secondary school as them, Robin David, whom everyone called David because of the confusion in his first name and his surname.
Alexandre wasn’t sure to know the last two, he had heard the boy was called Carlos and the girl Evangeline but only knew them by sight and had never talked to either one. He smiled when he saw the two teens blush as Rebecca called out to them to know if they wanted to drink something. The couple, who had been exchanging sweet words, looked up and blushed as they saw eyes on them. They had been dating since the end of the previous year but their relationship had only been officialized as school had begun again, to the great pleasure of the gossipers but to the dismay of the couple as they prefered to remain discreet.
Alexandre shared his best friend’s opinion of this: he didn’t enjoy toying with people like this even if he couldn’t suppress a smile in these cases. They both disliked being in these kinds of situations and did what they could to avoid it to other people unless it was harmless and very funny. Seeing the two teens like this saddened him slightly though as he thought back to Lydia, it had taken him so long to realize what she was doing to him despite Bryan’s warnings and breaking up with her hadn’t been easy despite what she had done. He still caught himself missing her from time to time. No, not her, just someone by his side.
His mind then went to Chloe, the cute blonde girl he had met a couple of weeks before, he had contacted a few days back and had suggested they meet the following week-end which she had apparently accepted with pleasure. He was still thinking about what they could do that Saturday though, he had a few ideas but he still hadn’t decided himself. The teenager was brought back to reality when he heard Eloïse’s half-exasperated half-amused exclamation.
“Hey! Stop that!”
“What?” Asked Bryan with a shrug and he tried but failed to seem as inconspicuous as possible. “Did I do something wrong?”
Alexandre noticed his best friend had sat extremely close to the brunette with the long braid and that he was leaning towards her with a broad smile. He also could have sworn he had seen the tan teenager wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at her. She laughed and shoved Bryan away a bit.
“Not in a million years, boy.” The girl retorted with a smirk.
This made Alexandre smile, he was used to his best friend’s overly flirty attitude, but he always overdid things when Eloïse or Caroline were around, the dark-haired teen had been like that since they had met. The booth they had taken was un the shape of a U. Bryan was sitting opposite to him, to Eloïse’s left. Then, still to the left, came Misha, Michael, Rebecca and the couple, the last three were sitting on the middle sofa-like seat. Alexandre was sitting between Caroline to his left and Karl to his right, then, further to the right, came Robin who was sitting near the couple.
“So, what do we order then?” Rebecca asked, picking up a menu from the center of the table.
“Ach! Vodka comrade!” Exclaimed Bryan as he hit the table with his fist, smiling widely.
“Da da!” Echoed Alexandre, Michael and Robin as they hit the table in turn.
“Ein wurst fur mich.” Said Misha, raising his hand and shaking his head as he tried to keep his face serious.
“Same.” Karl managed to say between two giggles as he tried to refrain himself from laughing.
“Tsss, idiots…” Muttered Rebecca as she rolled her eyes.
“I’ll have an iced tea, I need to cool down after all the running I did…” Commented Carlos.
“Same for me, but mint flavored if they have.” Added Evangeline almost immediately.
“I’ll have some soda, orange flavored if possible.” Said Karl, still laughing with Bryan and his brother.
“I’ll have the same.” Said Alexandre with a small smile.
“Well I think I’ll have a cocktail…” Said Rebecca as she nodded to them.
Caroline and Eloïse each chose to have some coffee while Robin went for a hot chocolate and Misha finally opted for a simple glass of sparkling water, earning himself one or two mocking comments. Only Bryan and Michael still hadn’t decided but none of them seemed to want to calm down and choose.