EoP – Part 110

Echoes of Power

Part 110

Apparently the last-minute planning had borne fruit, and tasty ones at that. Alexandre thanked the seven, new and old for having a best friend as awesome as he had. Bryan hadn’t helped him this time but thanks to the tips he had given him the previous time Alexandre had managed to organize something quite interesting and enjoyable despite being planned far too late for his liking. He had decided to take Chloe to visit the local aquarium, which he had somehow heard she had never been to, much to the blond girl’s pleasure. The genuinely happy smile plastered on her face all along the visit was the confirmation that he had chosen right.

“Wow! That was really cool!”, Chloe exclaimed as they walked back to the entrance of the park, “Thanks for bringing me here!”

“Well it is one of the sights to see here in Echo Valley…”, replied Alexandre in a faux sophisticated accent.

“I can’t believe I never came here before…”, the blonde girl sighed, looking around one last time as they passed through the main gate.

“Yeah, that surprised me too… But it’s what makes my idea for this afternoon so good!”, Alexandre said with a smirk.

“Oh, yeah, your idea…”, she retorted with a wink.

It took Alexandre a few seconds to catch up on what she meant, moment during which she walked a few meters away from him. Oh… She’s good! He couldn’t help a small smirk.

“Are you lagging behind?”, he heard her exclaim with a mocking giggle.

“Coming!”, Alexandre exclaimed as he caught up.

Yup, he was liking this girl. Perhaps more than he should, considering their relationship, if they had one at all, was more akin to very close friendship than to something else right now. But who cared? She was quite cute and fun to be around, Alexandre didn’t care if he was friendzoned. Well, no, that wasn’t entirely accurate. He would in fact care, a lot. But he liked her enough to be ready to take the risk. Plus their still seemed to be hope. After all, wasn’t it her who had come to him first and didn’t she look like she was enjoying her time with him?

He had to stop over analyzing everything. This day was going great, the thought of his ability and Damian hadn’t crossed his mind since the previous day and they had still a few hours together to go. Yes, he had to enjoy this as much as he could. Damn! he couldn’t help but think as she turned to look at him once again, her grey orbs looking at him intently and her smooth lips curved into a smile he couldn’t help but think of as sexy.

“So, what have you got planned for us next mister gentleman?”, she asked as she took his arm, still smiling.

“What about a movie, my dear?” Alexandre replied with a question of his own, using his faux sophisticated accent.

“Hmm… why not.”, the blonde nodded.

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EoP – Part 109

Echoes of Power

Part 109

The next few days seemed strange to Alexandre. It was like his world, or his view of it, had changed. Everything kept moving on as it normally, it all seemed to be the same, but something was different. He had felt the exact same thing when he had first discovered his ability, suddenly it was like a new facet of the world around had just made itself known to him, like he had been included into a bigger picture which was hidden until recently.

The whole week had passed before he had been contacted by Damian. Alexandre had found it surprisingly difficult to restrain himself from using his ability. Well, empirium actually, now that he knew what it was called. The temptation had been great. Somehow even greater because he hadn’t, and didn’t want to, tell anyone else about this. Especially not Bryan. His best friend had to remain ignorant of all this, he’d never understand why someone would want to pursue something so dangerous. Plus he didn’t trust Damian enough to put his friends in the loop, if that guy was as dangerous as he seemed it was better to keep them away from it.

Alexandre couldn’t help himself though, this was something he wouldn’t stop thinking about, he couldn’t get his mind off of what it meant. The images also kept replaying in his head each night. He could see the bright eyes of the monsters, their bloody teeth and the dark hand piercing his chest. It woke him up each morning with a start. Somehow he didn’t feel traumatized despite these common occurrences but he knew he had to be careful when thinking about this, a sane mind didn’t need much to be pushed over the edge. Each time he did wake up like this, shivers coursing through his body and cold sweat running down his temples, he only had to look at the three scars on his side to remember it was all real and that he wasn’t going nuts.

Strangely the wound to his chest had not left even a scratch after Damian’s treatment, which puzzled Alexandre but he chose to think it was because of what the older man had done. He didn’t know if he was thankful for it or not though. Yes it helped hiding whatever was going on from the others -he already had trouble keeping anyone from seeing the scars on his side, which was quite a feat especially during sport classes, so he didn’t need one more to be careful about- but, on the other hand, it made a proof of his sanity disappear… If anyone could consider wanting to remember surviving to three monsters trying to eat their heart out and almost killing them being sane.

His mind was so focused on his encounter with Damian and what had resulted from that he didn’t see the week go and only realized by the next Friday evening that his second date with Chloe was the next day. This event was the only one that took his mind off the rest and that made him focus on planning what they would do.

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EoP – Part 108

Echoes of Power

Part 108

He threw his bag in a corner and fell heavily on his bed. Alexandre felt like his body whole body had been beaten bloody, he had barely managed to get up to his room and now that he was lying down he couldn’t even muster the strength to get back up and undress. Well, in a sense he had been beaten to a pulp. He hd almost died too.

“Again…” he added out loud with a groan.

He had trouble understanding how he could remain so calm about all this. A group of weird creatures that looked like demon come straight from hell had tried to torture him before killing him and devouring his heart, luckily he had been saved by a strange man who could apparently do magic -or, as he had been told, empirium- and crazy powerful one at that. All this while he himself could apparently use said empirium, without even knowing why, and heard a voice in his head that said things he couldn’t even understand. And all that had happened in the span of just a few weeks; if it wasn’t him that was becoming crazy then the world was seriously fucked up…

He had been relieved when, a few minutes earlier, he had walked in the house half expecting his father to already be there, worrying about where he could be. Fortunately the house was still empty, David Parson was still at work and wouldn’t come back until much later that evening. Alexandre had no desire to explain what had happened to him nor any way of doing so convincingly. He had already much difficulty believing what he was living himself. His aching body and his shirt, which had been ripped apart and stained with blood, were the proof that at least, if not what he believed, something had happened to him.

After discussing with him about what had just happened, his savior had deemed that it was more reasonable for them to leave it at that for the moment. Damian had however decided to accompany the teenager to his house, “to be safe” he had said. The trip had been made in silence, the older man refusing to answer any other question the teenager had before he had time to rest.

“It’s useless for me to tell you now something that you might forget tomorrow. No, you either wait until you’re fully rested or I simply disappear and you won’t see me ever again.”

Alexandre had accepted this without protest, nodding vaguely at Damian, he was too exhausted to say anything anyway. He had barely noticed they had arrived until the older man dropped him without any gentleness on the front of the porch.

“The pain will fade away quickly but for that you have to rest,” he had said as the teenager groaned from the pain. “Don’t try using your empirium anymore. As you probably understand now, it’s extremely dangerous when you don’t know how to hide or control it.”

Alexandre had nodded but the man had grabbed his face, squashing his cheeks between his strong fingers and forcing the teen to look into the depth of his eyes.

“I want you to say it. I haven’t agreed to teach you anything yet but if you want me to consider it favorably you will listen to me. Is that clear?” Damian asked in a steel cold tone.

Alexandre nodded again reflexively before telling the man before him he understood. A shiver ran down his spine as he felt the same danger as earlier. That man was dangerous and he wasn’t about to mess with him.

“All good then!” Damian exclaimed as he broke into a light smile, the storm in his eyes had seemed to pass. “I’ll let you know soon enough when we begin. Until then, no empirium.”, he added, his tone friendly but his eyes still as cold as ever.

He had then left after getting the response he wanted from the teenager without another word. Alexandre had struggled to get back up before going inside and heading for his room almost immediately. Once he was lying down on the bed, still fully clothed, it took him less than a minute to fall asleep. Despite the pain and the feeling of danger he couldn’t shake away, the pull of the deep, dark and calm slumber was irresistible.

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EoP – Part 107

Echoes of Power

Part 107

“What?” asked the older man, unsure if he had heard well.

“Teach me the art of Empirium,” the teenager repeated, not paying attention to the frown on his interlocutor’s face.

That weakling was seriously asking if he would teach him the art of Empirium? Him! Damian Hardy, the golden bane, teaching a mere common? He scoffed inwardly but his face remained an emotionless mask. He couldn’t refute the fact that the boy had talent in him, he had seen how he had dealt with the three creatures despite having no experience whatsoever and being confronted to them for the second time only. But therefrom accepting to teach him the trade? Oh no… there was still a long way to go for a simple common like him to gain enough regard from him.

And yet, he had saved him. Why? It was a question he hadn’t thought of asking himself earlier but not that it occurred to him, he couldn’t help but wonder. He hadn’t come all this way to settle down for a while and take time to train a greenhorn how to survive in this harsh world. The boy has to learn for himself… Plus they would be looking for him soon, they probably had already their eye on Alexandre, he was so discreet that Damian couldn’t understand how he had not been found out yet. This was unbelievable, even for such incompetents fools as the agents of Central.

Either the boy is extremely lucky or there is something going on that’s keeping them from doing their job properly… He was skeptical, usually they always managed to make do with what they had. But this time feels different. He couldn’t say how, but it felt like somehow, something was not quite right in this city. Since he had arrived he had had the strange impression that everything was blurred in energy. The place was filled with mana, much more than it should have been. Why? To that question he still had no answer, he would undoubtedly find one soon though.

In any case he had felt a few different others that were not far away. The trails weren’t very clear, perhaps because of the interference but also because they weren’t half bad, and he had no intention of following them to know more. He was happy with the freedom he now possessed and he wasn’t about to throw it all away to quell his curiosity. He’d simply keep minding his own business if they kept minding theirs. The only reason that had pushed him to follow his curiosity was the fact that the boy’s aura was so strong it unnerved him. He knew he wouldn’t resist long not doing anything about it.

It wasn’t very clever, he knew it. He’d probably get into more trouble than this was worth for this, but he had wanted to know what the young man he now knew as Alexandre was indeed what he had first thought: an empirist without any actual knowledge about Empirium. And, to his surprise, he had actually been right. The boy had absolutely no knowledge about anything and, despite using his power in plain day, not once but twice, to fight off geigers he hadn’t been contacted or spotted.

To them he was an existence that they couldn’t allow to remain untouched, he was an anomaly and if they had known about him they would have acted. But they hadn’t and that made Damian curious. And if there was one thing he liked to do, it was answering his curiosity! He was in no position to do this, he had no real desire to take in an apprentice nor had he the time or the complete freedom to do it, and yet… yet he somehow wanted to know how it all would play off if he gave in to his desire.

“Do you really know what you’re asking boy?” he asked, his face was still ever so serious but a small smirk was dawning in his mind.

He had made his decision; this promised to be interesting. And fun.

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EoP – Part 106

Echoes of Power

Part 106

“How exactly did you find me?” Alexandre asked, curious to know if him being saved had just been a coincidence.

“Exactly like the geigers did…”, said Damian, “I’ve been following you for a few days now. It’s not hard, with your aura leaking like that you’d be easily spotted from a few miles away. You’re gonna have to learn to hide it.”

“Wait…”, Alexandre frowned. “A few days?”

“Yes,” replied the older man with a nod.

“So… it was you at the park that time! I recognize your scarf!”, exclaimed the teenager as it clicked in his mind.

“Yes, that was me. I’d been following your mana trail since the previous day and I wanted to see who it belonged to. One has to be completely stupid or ignorant to reveal their presence that much, or pretty confident. I believe you belong to the first category…”

“Hey! I’d almost died the day before!” Alexandre exclaimed defensively. “That’s when I was attacked by those creatures the first time, I barely survived…”

“Oh. That explains everything then…”, said his interlocutor in a mocking tone.

Alexandre felt anger rise in his chest. How could that guy mock him like this? He had almost died because of something he didn’t understand and had almost no control over. This was something he had not wanted at all and that had almost cost him his life. The teenager felt like punching him in the face, though he had a feeling the man wouldn’t even let him touch him.

“Yes, let your anger flow,” suddenly said Damian in a low voice, getting closer, “but don’t mistake its target boy.”

The older man’s eyes darkened and Alexandre felt a cold shiver run all along his spine. Even if he had saved him, it didn’t mean he was necessarily friendly. The realization made him freeze and he felt a drop of sweat roll along his temple, even though he had been completely calm a few instants before. That guy was bad news… He couldn’t explain why but Alexandre’s body was feeling the intense pressure and, to his surprise, even something that he thought he recognized as blood lust. Who is that guy? he caught himself thinking. The question died in his throat though as the moment passed and Damian’s eyes seemed to revert to their normal color.

“I am not you enemy.” Don’t make me become so.

The words hadn’t been spoken but Alexandre hear them as clear as day nonetheless.

“Direct your anger and your resentment at the geigers, these creatures are the ones that tried to kill you. You were lucky that I was there to save you this time. You might not be so the next one.” Damian added, keeping his gaze fixed on Alexandre’s and not looking away once.

“Yeah…”, was all the teenager managed to mutter as an answer.

He swallowed with difficulty. He had been saved and cured from that strange thing the creature had tried to do to him but now it felt like his life had passed from the hands of monsters to ones of a demon. Damian didn’t seem to have any ill intention –for the moment at least, he thought- but he had no assurance it wouldn’t change. He had to be careful. A thought, brief and raw, flashed through Alexandre’s mind at that moment. He almost let it slip away, instantly deeming it too crazy and stupid to be of any use, but something inside him made him grab onto it. His mind latched onto the small but nagging idea. It was stupid, that much was obvious, and dangerous –undeniably– but it might just work in his favour…

“So, how do you feel?”, the man in front of him asked as he readjusted his scarf.

Alexandre remained silent, pondering the odds. It’s crazy. Yeah, it’s crazy dangerous. But it might just work… It might also end up with you dead, you idiot! Yeah, but if it worked… Alexandre didn’t give any more weight to his internal voice and simply voiced the insane thought that had just passed through his mind, looking straight into the deep blue abyss that were Damian’s eyes. It felt like staring into a bottomless pool and, strangely, it made him want to do reckless things… Exactly the type of thing he did next.

“Then teach me.” Alexandre simply replied.

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EoP – Part 105

Echoes of Power

Part 105

“Okay.”, the man said with a short nod as he sat back on the bench, straightening himself a little, “Let’s start by the most simple to explain. As I told you earlier, my name is Damian, Damian Hardy. I’m what we call an empirist,” he paused to look around before continuing.

“An empirist is what you may describe as a magician or a wizard in your own words, but in actuality its a bit different from that. An empirist is someone who uses the arts of Empirium, namely Magic, Sorcery, Alchemy, Spiritism, etc. and manipulates mana, an energy that is present all around us, to bend the laws of this world to his desires. There are many sorts of empirists, just as many as there are people on this earth, and each have their own specialty. I, for example, specialize more in sorcery, so I would be a sorcerer more than a magician,” he stopped, looking at Alexandre to see if the young man was following.

“This,” the man resumed with a smile as Alexandre nodded his understanding, “with what you’ve just witnessed, should show you that the world you live in is not as simple as you might have thought it was at first. There are secrets hidden to many and a deeper meaning to life that you can’t notice unless you are initiated to the ways of Empirium. Those creatures that attacked you earlier,”

“The geigers?” said Alexandre, completing Damian’s sentence.

“Yes, the geigers,” the latter repeated with a nod, “are creatures close to what you would know as demons. They are not demons but they are creatures not of this world. It is rare to see them here on their own, they are usually summoned by an empirist and controlled to abide to any order he or she, or it, might give. They aren’t very hard to control compared to other otherworldly creatures I’ve seen, but they are very strong and resistant. Mostly immune to fire.”, he added after a slight pause, pointedly looking at Alexandre.

The teenager understood the message, it was, after all, quite clear: had Damian not been there, he would have died.

“Only a sufficient level of power can manage to hurt them enough to make them back off. Now, I don’t think these geigers were controlled by anyone, they seemed to act of their own free will, which might even be more frightening than if they were. If they were though, it might mean that someone is trying to hurt or kill you.”

“But who would want that?” Alexandre asked, unable to think of anyone who would want his death.

“No idea,” Damian replied, “it’s just a supposition, I’m not sure of anything. Was it the first time you were attacked like this?”, he then asked.

“No, I’ve been attacked once more,” Alexandre answered almost immediately, “it was only one though and I somehow managed it.”

Damian looked at him with a frown, silent for a few seconds before nodding and resuming his explanation.

“Well, I can’t be sure so you’ll have to be careful just in case. You’re gonna have to learn to defend yourself… but I’m getting off track! What they did to you back there was a spell to take ot your soul heart. A soul heart is the heart of an empirist’s power to wield mana, without it you would lose most if not all of your powers and probably your life with it. The spell I, myself, used a few minutes ago was to take care of any residual poison that a geiger‘s aura contains and that had contaminated you when he attacked your soul heart. It could have killed you in just a few hours if I hadn’t done anything.”

“I’m very thankful for your help!” Alexandre said, realizing how lucky he had been.

If the man sitting in front of him hadn’t been there at that moment he would’ve ceased to exist very quickly and, most likely, very painfully.

“Yeah, well you should be! You would have been dead if I hadn’t intervened!” Damian exclaimed with a frown.

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Holidays blablabla

Yeah, I’ve been gone on holiday the past week. That’s the reason for the lack of posts, if ever you were wondering. I went back home and I was so not motivated to write while I was over there, I mostly watched videos online, read mangas and played League of Legends. I had quite a good time! :D

But now I’m back, free to write (well, I’ve got less time to do it but more motivation so I think it’ll be okay) and inspired to do so! Part 105 of Echoes of Power will be out this evening normally, if everything goes right. I say that because I know what I want to write but I’m not sure how to do it exactly, after reaching this part of the story things get a bit more complicated and I don’t want to screw everything up. So please, don’t hate on me if I take some time to do things right! Pretty please!

Also I have a few other projects on the way, I don’t know if they will ever be ready enough for me to publish them but I just wanted to tell you that I am working on my other stories and slowly but surely (very slowly though), I’m advancing. I have a lot inspiration lately, and a bit of motivation, so things should move forward a bit faster on that side!

Oh, and when I said I didn’t write anything during the holidays, I sort of lied. I started a new story which I publish on Movellas for the moment. I already posted the chapters of Echoes of Power there, though you guys who come here have the story five chapters in advance compared to Movellas readers. You’re at 105 (well today you will be) when they are only at chapter 100. Or Part 100, whatever you prefer.

I also started posting poems over there, though, again, you already have all of them here, nothing exclusive on that side either. The new thing is the other story I’ve begun which I only post over there for the moment. It’s call Inkling and it’s somewhat inspired by the movie Goosebumps. I’ve had an idea about a story when I saw it. It’s not a fan fiction but it should follow a very similar plot at the beginning and the diverge a bit. I’m just saying that because I don’t want people to tell me I’ve copied the movie. Yes, it’s sort of a retelling of it but then I’m adding my own universe to it.

You can find my Movellas profile here if you want to go take a look! :)

So yeah, things are getting back on track here, don’t worry

I hope you’ll enjoy reading what I have in store for you!

That’s all!

I’ll see you later, have a nice day people!

PS : also, nightcore is cool. I’ve been listening to ‘nightcored’ song and I have to admit I like it. :P

EoP – Part 104

Echoes of Power

Part 104

Alexandre felt the coldness of the hand on his skin as Damian placed his palm on his chest, where the monster had hit him earlier.

“How can I…” he started, wondering how he could still be alive after  the monster had plunged its claws in his chest.

He had felt the tighten around his beating heart!

“How can you have no wound? Or were you going to ask how you can still be alive after what that thing did to you?” Damian completed his question for him.

“Well,” the man continued, closing his eyes for a moment to focus, “what it did to you wasn’t simply shove its claws through your chest, that geiger used a spell to do that, he was trying to rip your soul heart out.”

“My soul heart?” Alexandre asked, puzzled.

Damian sighed before speaking again.

“You really don’t know anything do you…?”

“No, I don’t… can you please explain to me what’s going on?”, the teenager asked.

“Yeah.”, replied the older man as he opened his eyes, “Just a second.”

He spoke three short words that Alexandre didn’t completely understand, he heard something like ‘vecchio nar prismus‘ but it didn’t make any more sense than that. He gave up trying to understand the meaning of what Damian had just said when a sharp pain pierced his chest once more. The teenager’s eyes went wide, he couldn’t help an exclamation of pain and immediately thought the mysterious man was trying to kill him. He was both surprised an relieved when the pain instantly faded away half a second later. Damian let out a sigh and moved back a little on the bench.

“Don’t worry. I don’t mean any harm. The geiger, that’s how we call the creatures you just got attacked by, put curse on you and I had to remove it before it started spreading. If I hadn’t you would’ve been dead in a matter of days. I know it hurts a bit but the pain fades away quickly and if I had told you it might have hindered the process…”, he paused looked at the setting sun for a moment.

The sky was slowly getting darker, the sun was disappearing behind the tall buildings and would soon set behind the tall hills surrounding the city.

“You’re clean now though so it’ll be fine, no need to worry.”, he added with a smile as he seemed to notice the teenager’s expression of concern. “Now, what do you want to know?”, his clear eyes were fixed on Alexandre as he spoke.

The teenager wasn’t really comfortable with that, it didn’t feel as if Damian was reading his mind but more as if he was studying him and his reactions. For what purpose? He couldn’t tell but this made him cautious. He couldn’t, however, refuse such an offer. Alexandre thus decided to try to get as much information as possible from him. If he somehow turned out to not be trustworthy he would at least know a little more than what he currently did.

“What’s a geiger?”, he asked, “and what’s empirium? And who are you?”

He was about to ask a dozen more question but seeing the frown that was starting to form on the man’s face made Alexandre stop there for the moment. That seemed to be enough as a start, he had to take things slowly. Rushing was never the solution. Even if it was extremely hard for him to restrain himself.

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EoP – Part 103

Echoes of Power

Part 103

“So, your name is Damian right?” Alexandre asked.

“Mmhmm.” The man sitting in front of him nodded with a small smile.

In the end Alexandre had followed his savior without resisting. After all, what could he do in his state? Plus Damian didn’t seem ill-intentionned and he said he had the answers Alexandre was looking for. They were now sitting in the park not far from Alexandre’s house, on a bench near a tree. They had moved away from the small alley as possible, the man had not taken time to explain why they had to get away in such haste but the teenager had deduced he didn’t want more of those beastly creatures to appear and attack them. Only once they had reached the park had Damian slowed the pace down. Alexandre had tried to get some answers as they were walking but without much success.

“I’m drawing a concealment spell.” The man with the long blue scarf had simply replied when the teenager had asked about his constant muttering along the way.

“A spell?” The man had not replied and so Alexandre ha decided to wait for them to stop, seeing he wouldn’t get any answer before then.

Finally they had sat down on one of the benches not too far away from the large fountain in the center of the park.

“You don’t know what a spell is?!” The man finally said, after a long pause, still smiling lightly.

“Uh…” Alexandre hesitated. He knew what a spell was, he just couldn’t believe it meant what he thought it meant. “I- I’m not sure…” He finally replied, preferring to be frank.

“I see… That’s what I thought…” Damian said, taking off his scarf and putting it down on the bench beside him.

“What do you mean?” Asked Alexandre, curious.

“I mean it’s confirming my thoughts. That you don’t know jack about empirium…”

“About what? You said that word earlier, what does it mean?”

Empirium.” Repeated Damian with a small sigh, he looked around before leaning in. “That’s what you did earlier, that’s also what I used to take care of those geigers. You used a fire spell to burn them. Not a bad move but not sufficient.” He explained.

“Wait, when you say spells, you mean like… like magic, real magic? That’s what you’re telling me? I can use magic?” Alexandre asked, having trouble believing what he was being told.

“Not exactly. It would be more of a sorcery matter but that’s the idea. Magic is actually a part of empirium, the art of using the supernatural if you will. ” Damian explained.

Alexandre stayed silent for a moment, pondering what he had just heard. He found it difficult to believe that what he had been doing until now was some sort of magic, or empirium, whatever the name was. But how could he have trouble accepting this kind of answer after almost being killed by strange creatures that shouldn’t even exist? The teenager didn’t really understand his own reaction…

“What exactly is empirium?” He finally broke the calm silence and asked. “And what is a geiger?” He winced slightly, unsure if he had pronounced it right.

Apparently he hadn’t been too far off because Damian, who had been looking intently at him, nodded and changed position slightly, turning to sit towards the teenager.

“I’ll explain it in more details if you want but first I need to check if you’re really okay. What you fought, geigers, are tricky bastards so I need to check your wound more closely to be sure.”

“Okay.” Alexandre simply replied as the man motioned towards his chest with his hands.

“Good. Could you pull up your shirt then?” Damian asked as he got closer.

Alexandre complied silently. He didn’t know anything else other than the man’s name but he could only trust him if he wanted to get answers. He didn’t really have a choice. That didn’t please him much but at least he was still alive. At least that was a good thing, was it not?

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EoP – Part 102

Echoes of Power

Part 102

“There, done!” Exclaimed the man with a smile as he stood back up and dusted off his pants. “Don’t worry, you’ll be feeling better in no time.”

Alexandre struggled to regain his breath, he couldn’t control the shivering that had taken over him but, strangely, it was as the stranger had said, the pain was slowly going away and his head was clearing up.

“Wha- what happened?” He finally managed to ask, still panting heavily.

“What happened?” The man asked with a hint of surprise. “Oh!” He then exclaimed as understanding seemed to dawn on him.

“You mean about the geigers! Well I took care of them, a simple blue flame spell and poof, they were gone!” He explained, mimicking an explosion with his hands as he did so.

“A what?” Asked Alexandre, struggling to sit up against the wall.

“A blue flame spell.” Repeated the man before frowning. “Oh wait. You don’t know what a spell is, do you?”

Alexandre looked at him for a moment, not completely sure he had heard correctly. A spell? As in magic? Wait! Did that mean he had been doing magic?

“You mean… like magic?” He finally asked, frowning too.

The stranger looked around before sighing.

“You could say its something like that… We have a lot to talk about… But not here, we’ve got to go elsewhere. Follow me!”

“Wait! What is going here?” Asked Alexandre as the man had already taken a few steps. “What were those things? Why did they attack me? And, who are you?!”

The man turned around, his long scarf floating behind him as he walked back to where Alexandre was sitting. He looked at the teenager for a moment, as if he was silently analysing him or pondering his options, before smiling and clapping his hands.

“True! I do apologize for that. I always seem to forget about introductions… My name is Damian and, as you probably noticed already, I’m an empirist. Not that you actually might know what that is… Anyway, what’s your name kid?”

“I’m Alexandre.” The teenager replied, wanting to correct that Damian guy on the fact that he was not a kid but preferring to keep it to himself.

If he also had powers he wasn’t about to go and mess with him.

“Ok, nice to meet you Alexandre. Now, I’m willing to explain to you everything that just happened but we can’t just stay here. We have to move, now!” Damian said as he motioned to the end of the small street.

“Where are we going?” Alexandre asked as he struggled to get up.

“You’ll see.” Damian replied with a smile. “Don’t worry, I mean no harm.”

He turned around and started walking without even waiting for the teenager’s reply. Alexandre cursed inwardly. He was barely able to stand straight, much less walk, and this strange man wanted him to follow him blindly. True he had saved his life but this could be just another trap… The teenager looked around at the burn marks that were covering the pavement. He hesitated. Could he really trust that guy? If he wanted, Damian, or whatever he was called, could surely end his life with a snap of his fingers… But he said he had answers… Alexandre didn’t have time to ponder this issue much longer and the man with the blue scarf reappeared to his side.

“Come, don’t dawdle! We don’t have much time!” The man said with a smile as he put the teenager’s arm around his shoulders and helped him walk away from the small alley.

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