I clenched my fist, as the pain and agony strikes my core. If I had just listened and stayed in my place, none of this would’ve happened. The intruder laughs maniacally and steps towards me, walking over my dad’s corpse, jesting and mocking his body. I snap back to reality and run away.
As terror sets in, I repeatedly remind myself of my dad’s words and advice, engraving into my memory.
“As soon as you leave this dimension, you need to go into the shrine and take your gifts, and get out of here now. Everything there will help you sooner or later, just not right now. Survive and head back to Japan. Above all else, you need to live.”
I quickly ran towards the main hall of the shrine and frantically looked for my gifts as the time was well over midnight and it technically was my birthday. I scavenge through the presents and open them in a hurry to find a metal plated glove with an enhancer on it dubbed an Enhance: Gauntlet, a Katana and spring assisted sheath I made with my father, and a birthday card.
“Happy Birthday, my offspring! I’m glad you won the race. Every day I look to you as not only my son but my best friend, you’re my bundle of joy and you’re the best training partner I could have. Blah blah, enough of this sappy card. Here’s some money but make sure you save it and don’t go crazy with gacha. If you look behind you, there’s gonna be a big surprise for you.”
Tears trickle down Saito’s face as he tries to hold in his snot and forces a big smile.
Suddenly, he remembers the great danger that follows him, he hears a loud cackle in the distance and the steps get faster.
Not the intended surprise but still a surprise nonetheless, he turns around and sees the figure running at full speed towards him. The intruder throws her blade towards Saito and by adjusting it with her kinetic, it slashes his right scapula, she then uses her kinetic to call it back to her. Saito reels in pain and clutches his injured scapula.
He then quickly grabs his new equipment and makes a dash for the window and jumps out, unfortunately he doesn’t make the landing because of blurry vision from his tear-filled eyes and the pain he’s feeling. He runs past small structures and statues and the intruder gives chase, destroying them on the way.
Saito suddenly feels a massive pain searing in his chest, rapidly pulsing and skids on the pavement.
The intruder halts and starts to jest.
“Phew. After all that with your dad, and then chasing you, really did give me a good workup. But it seems little track star over here has fallen and can’t get up. I don’t have to kill you but I wanna see just how good he trained you.”
Saito stabs his sheath into the ground and picks himself up, slightly limping, and clutches his pulsating chest. Once he’s fully gotten up, he pulls his sheath from the ground, unleashes his sword, and strikes a stance.
The intruder gives a small chuckle and readies herself, she takes out her blade and chucks her sheath at Saito and comes at him with quick bladed movements, twirling, spinning, striking at random.
Saito dodges and tries to counter and deflect the onslaught of attacks, but each hit from the intruder pushes him back and starts to connect.
The clouds in the air start to accumulate and the rain makes the pavement a bit slippery even so, the fight continues on and as metal clashes with each other. Thunder strikes further away in the not too far distance. Saito, having only used his sword and arms to block attacks, reaches for his sheath and begins to block with both as if he was dual-wielding. He bats away the blade with his sheath and tries to strike with his blade. The intruder dodges and ends her assault on the kid. Saito puts his blade back inside of his sheath and dashes toward the intruder, she seeps into the floor and reappears behind Saito, but he was prepared for that.
The same sheath his opponent tossed away reappears and hits the intruder directly in the back. Saito halts and digs his sheath into the ground on an angle and clips a thin wire onto the hilt of his sword and drives into the sheath, he spins a dial and the sword propels toward the intruder. She dodges but the sword punctures a tree in the background, Saito runs along the wire and goes for a punch to the intruder’s masked face. The intruder tries to counterattack by shooting concentrated lasers from the tip of their fingers. Two charged lasers fire and strikes Saito’s neck and forearm, he flinches at the pain but continues his assault. He initially misses the punch but by whipping his body, he gets a heel kick on the intruder, which sends them flying towards the ground.
After the intruder lands on the pavement, she gets up as quickly as an animal and tries to register what just happened.
The Enhance: Gauntlet falls out of Saito’s jacket and he lands on his back and feels the pain but the searing pain in his chest keeps his focus, he tries to breathe and clutches his chest once more.
The intruder examines Saito’s behavior and under her breathe says,
“His movements are getting faster and his thinking was a bit too sharp there, everything happened so quickly. I need to end this now.”
Saito overhears this but can’t attack as he feels paralyzed and focuses on the searing pain he feels on his neck and forearm.
The intruder uses her kinetic to give her a push forward to thrust towards her foe and takes advantage of his paralysis but she takes notice of the air getting heavier and warmer. Saito’s body glows for a split second and the intruder tries to slow her speed as she knows what’s going to happen next.
Saito grunts in pain and glows again a second time, and a crash of raw lightning engulfs Saito, the intruder gets blown back from the impact.
Twenty minutes later, the intruder awakes under some rubble and tree debris, her clothes smoking a little bit. She views smoke in the sky, presumably from the shrine, and lets out a grunt. She tries to tilt her head and looks at her arms, sustaining damage to her left hand from when the stray lightning struck her blade, her hand being fried and bruised horribly. After that much damage and her foggy memory, she retreats into a portal and leaves the scene without even bothering to finish off her opponent.
Five minutes after her disappearance, Saito awakes from the smell of smoke and wakes up in the middle of a crater, his clothes tattered, soiled, and seeing visible burns and scarring on his neck, right forearm, and back. He crawls out of the crater and sees the shrine ablaze, he stumbles around trying to get his balance but ultimately falls to his knees as he sees everything burning. He drags himself across the floor and picks up his Enhance: Gauntlet and Katana. He rushes over to his dad’s corpse and tries to carry him away from the flames. He exits the shrine grounds and makes his way down the stone stairs that lead to the grounds. He stumbles and falls down the stairs, leading to his deceased father falling with him. At the end of their tumble, they reach the street. As he slowly loses consciousness again, he drags himself closer to his dad and extends his right hand to reach for his dad’s hand. He tries to grip it tight and loses consciousness.
Time passes and the local firefighters extinguish the flames of the fire in the shrine, the paramedics bring the two to a special MANKO hospital facility back in Denver. Daichi is pronounced dead and the special police of MANKO deliver the news to the higher-ups at MANKO and contact the Kazami family.
Saito remains in the hospital for the next two months unconscious. When he awakens, he gets transferred to New York City by request of the Kazami’s.
“I went through rehab, after witnessing nightmares of that day on repeat while I was unconscious, after long I had suppressed it as long as I didn’t think of my dad. The Grands made sure they had everything planned out so I didn’t break like I basically did the other night. I stayed in New York, studied at school, made friends, and now I’m back. I wanted to come back but I was restricted until now.” Saito says.
Akihiro and Tsubaki with tears in their eyes, composed themselves, and Akihiro hugs Saito. Tsubaki doesn’t go for a hug but puts her hand on Saito’s shoulder.
First to say anything, Akihiro says.
“After such an experience, don’t worry about apologizing to us. You went through a lot, and I’ll make sure to finish this with you.”
Tsubaki grumbles to herself and looks away from the two and says.
“Now I feel guilty for getting so mad, you didn’t come back sooner but you were restricted and suffered so much.”
Saito picks up on her comment and Akihiro does the same but holds in a laugh before saying.
“Woah, the great Tsun-baki, apologizing, that’s pretty rare.”
Tsubaki grabs Akihiro by the collar, and goes for a strike but Saito chimes in and says.
“Damn, I wish that were me.”
Tsubaki then lets go of Akihiro and grabs Saito’s hospital gown and eyes Saito down. She looks a bit carefully and realizes what she’s doing and just how much she can see of Saito. She blushes a bit and lets Saito go. She storms towards the door and says.
“I really can’t deal with you idiots. I’m wasting my time being here, I’ll just leave.”
Tsubaki reaches for the doorknob but before she can, a nurse barges through the door. Tsubaki startled by the sudden entry, she jumps back and readies a stance. She becomes more embarrassed and tries to run out the door. Right before she can, the nurse actually calls out for her, and Tsubaki turns back around and comes closer to the two boys and nurse.
“Hello Kinetics Operatives, Saito Kazami, Tsubaki Tsukiko, and Akihiro. I have-” The nurse says before she gets interrupted by Akihiro.
“Why am I just Akihiro? Everyone gets their government names and I’m just Akihiro.” Akihiro interjects.
“Considering how frequent you visit this medical hall, it only felt right. I can make the changes if necessary, but aside from that… We’d like to run some examinations and performance checks now that he’s recovered. While we’re at it, we’d like to update his aptitude records, seeing that he’s transferred back to this branch.” The nurse states.
Saito bursts off the bed and lets out a small yawn.
“After a two-day rest, it’s about time to get some exercise.” Saito says.
The nurse and the trio walk over to the examination hall of the medical ward, the multiple rooms are for rehabilitation and for performance exams. As they walk by, the trio peer through the windows and see new recruits being informed of their kinetics, and how to utilize them. The three look at each other and reminisce on their younger days, when they first joined MANKO.
“While the nurse is talking to herself, yall wanna join the class really quick? It could be beneficial to the new recruits.” Akihiro suggests.
“Sounds reasonable, think it’d be pretty great.” Saito agrees.
“We really shouldn’t. Considering we have to deal with Saito here but I guess we can stick around for a bit.” Tsubaki agrees.
Akihiro and Saito turn around and look surprised.
“If you’re gonna act so confused then let’s not.” Tsubaki pouts.
The trio slip away from the nurse while she rambles to herself and walks into the room. They open the door and the instructor looks over to them and their eyes light up.
The instructor looks back at the new recruits and says to them.
“It seems we have very interesting visitors today, these three are some of our youngest and finest kinetic operatives we have here at this branch in Japan. Everyone should be familiar with the young women’s Kendo champion, and daughter of the towering Hagakurai, Tsubaki Tsukiko. Alongside with her, we have Akihiro Nekomaki, one of our rare members that can control metal, he assists the cleanup squad and helps with technical updates. Last, but not least, Saito Kazami, son of Daichi Kazami, who’s just returned from one of the North American branches.“
The trio says in unison.
“Nice to meet you, new recruits. I hope you enjoy your time working with all of us in MANKO.”
The recruits stand up and bow to show their respect to the trio, but among the group, there’s some scattered laughter.
“Haha, yes. While we’re at it, can we stick to MAN: Kinetic Operatives, if we’re being technical strictly call it Ministration of Anomaly Neutralization: Kinetic Operatives. We have a few recruits in here that can help themselves.” The instructor grumbles.
“Yeahhh, there’s no point. We all joke about the abbreviation, just make sure you don’t laugh during mission briefing.” Saito says as he tries to hold in a laugh.
The instructor clears their throat and then says.
“Back to our lesson, due to their sudden visit, I can better explain how your powers work and what traits are similar to all Kinetics. As a Kinetic, your body is virtually the same as any regular human. Depending on your kinetic, it can mean different body temperatures, weight, and ion levels in your body.
Differences in body temperature usually have to do with fire and water kinetics, fire users are more adapted to the heat and have trouble with cold environments, more specifically extremely cold waters. As for water users, they have a hard time in hot environments and are well adjusted for both cold environments. As for wind kinetic users, they can be very lightweight and quick on their feet as they’re more aerodynamic.
Lightning users rely on their ion levels, to generate electrical current, most of the current comes from their pulse and brain waves.
Metal users happen to have a lot more iron in their blood to help them have enough energy in their bodies to materialize metal.
Our very few earth users have thicker skin as the dust particles in the air reinforce their bodies. Their weight is a bit heavier than most, because of their muscle and bone density.”
Those are the underlying traits of each kinetic, however, there are some physical traits you should watch for.
A Kinetic user’s eyes in different lighting gleams the same color, as their kinetics appearance color. Other than that, there are two ways to tell who’s a kinetic and who’s not.”
“I think Tsubaki and Saito can showcase this one,” Akihiro suggests.
Tsubaki and Saito both react surprised and turn to Akihiro. The instructor picks up on Akihiro’s suggestion and lets Akihiro explain it.