Axel walked into detention scanning the room for PB in an attempt to try and avoid him. After finding no signs of his predator, he took a seat in the back of the class in two rows in front of Reggie.
"Yoo sup man" Reggie whispered casually,
"What are you doing here?" Axel asked. Last he had checked Ms. Bené had spared him for getting the question right.
"Mr. Mcque caught me doing experiments in the chem lab…. Again hahah" Reggie said laughing.
"What kind of-" "OOOWW" Axel grunted.
Axel was hit in the head with another spitball of lead. As he pulled the lead out of his head he noticed this one was lighter than usual and he could saw the imprints of letters on some kind of paper hanging out of it. Opening it up he found it contained a message inside. "You will make a retard sound each time I hit you" the note read.
Axel looked around for some sign of his attacker but PB seemed to be nowhere in the room.
"Axel!" Yelled Mr. Bené "quit looking around the room your exams are in two months don't you have something to read!?"
"Yes sir!" Axel replied quickly, taking out his advanced physics book.
"Hey! That's more like it! It's good to see a student using the old-fashioned text!" Mr. Bené said returning to his tablet.
Axel began enthusiastically reading the physics book chuckling and smiling with each turn of the page.
Some of the classmates sitting close to him peering over his shoulder began quietly laughing to themselves. It wasn't long before it caught the attention of Reggie who was sitting behind him watching the anomaly unfold. Reggie unable to contain his curiosity any longer studied Axel carefully and began whispering something into his arm.
"Jeffery, get me goggles."
Sliding out of his metallic arm a small array of lenses appeared. They aligned themselves in a row at Axel's physics book, each one magnifying the lenses of the other. Upon closer inspection, Reggie found that Axel had replaced the pages of his physics books with comic book ones. He was reading one called "The Amazing Spider Man" Which Reggie had realized was the reason for his enthusiastic reading.
"Axel can I borrow your physics book after class? I got some serious studying to do" asked Reggie laughing.
This resulted in chuckling from his fellow classmates behind him.
Axel smiled encapsulated in the moment.
For once people were laughing with him and not at him. Wasting no time PB began to load his metal straw with lead and spat it at Axel.
Axel responded "AUAUAUAU" which caused laughter from many of his surrounding classmates. However, much to Axels surprise Reggie didn't laugh along.
PB continued to harass Axel with lead for the remainder of the class and over time Reggie started to laugh as well. It would seem Reggie wasn't on his side after all, he was only there to make a bigger fool of Axel.
"Ok class detention is over." Mr. Bené said, closing his tablet.
As the students exited the building they caught the last red beams of the suns light disappearing over the horizon... Axel, the last one to get up from his seat, took a look outside at the sinking sun seeing it as an omen for what lay ahead.
As Axel reached the gateways of the school's entrance he saw Pb and J off in the distance under a tree. They were eyeing him down intently making malicious plans for his next hazing. Pb stood under the tree rubbing his hands together, as Jeff took a blow of his cigarette and shook his head.
Axel hesitated to take a step forward seeing the pathway to his home on the other side of the school unguarded and free of obstacles. Axel soon dismissed the thought of making an escape. Although they were quite a distance away, running would do him any good thanks to J's convenient ability.
Jeffs power was called "In bloom". He was able to produce sticky like substances that resembled liquorish that bloomed from his skin pores. If anyone ever tried to run from PB, Jeff could shoot a long sugary strand that would stick to you and hold you in place. Jeff was exactly what Pb needed to hold people down as Pb was rather slow in his lead form.
Axel's blood ran cold, he couldn't go out there. If he did he was as good as dead. He had barely survived his other encounters with Pb and those were inside the school.
Axel looked from left to right at the classmates around him looking for sympathy. All around, all he saw were looks of "your screwed kid", or others laughing at the hopeless state of his current dilemma.
Looking up to the sky in desperation, Axel pleaded to the universe for help.
"You tell me to follow the light but all I see is…"
He grabbed his mother's necklace and closed his eyes as he raised his head.
"What are you looking for? A guardian angel?" said a voice from behind Axel.
Axel spun around to find a young woman with pink hair and flashing brass knuckles, leaning against the school gates.
She was in superb shape, far more than any of the other students in the school, and yet had a laid-back attitude that hid much of her intimidating physique. From her curvy hips to her large biceps, there seemed to be no part of her body that wasn't in the highest level of physical form.
She stared at Axel like he was some helpless fish that had washed up on the beach and needed to be flung back into the ocean. While she acknowledged his desperate situation she seemed to observe him with a skeptical eye, almost as if his inability to extract oxygen from the air was his own fault.
"It's been quite some time baby blue," she said smiling.
"B?" Axel asked in disbelief "I thought you were out for the week due to hospitalization?"
"I wasn't staying in no bed for a week! I just wanted an excuse to run off and get a tattoo!"
She turned her body to the right revealing a tattoo that was an Imprint of the letter "B" on her arm and hip. On either side of the B there were quotation marks that resembled that of angel wings spread out across her arm.
"You got that from the Ritgers huh?" Axel asked
B shot a confused look at Axel utterly stunned.
Ritgers Island was one of the most notorious spots for crime. Some of the biggest outcasts of society lived there in isolation from civilization. There was no system of government community or humanity of any form on its isolated island. The most notorious criminals lived in total anarchy amongst its no wall prison. It was only the hardest and highest level bounty hunters that were ever treading in the space voluntarily.
B herself had even had to go in under the radar as strong as she was, how Axel had come to know of this place and where her tattoo was from, she had no idea.
"What?" B answered surprisingly. "What would a twerp like you know about Ritgers?"
"I… I know someone who lives there."
"You know someone from Ritgers? Yeah right!" She said laughing "Not that it matters you'd scream like a little girl if you ever got one."
Axel shook his fist at the ground, triggered by B's comment.
"Axel", she chuckled, "What exactly are you expecting to happen in your situation?" B said laughing and shaking her head.
Axel was so mystified by B's relaxed gestures and laughter in light of his situation. "That look" he thought, "It's similar to the one Lance gives me."
"Everyone else is afraid of Pb, in fact, I'd say they're happy you get bullied so they don't have to through it! If you think you're going to get help from people like that you got another thing comin."
"If this is what I have to go through so be it!" Axel declared "I've already made up my mind I'm not going to give up now."
"You can't deal with a school bully? And you want to be out there fighting crime? How does that make sense?"
Axel grew silent. She was right. If he couldn't even survive high school how was he going to get into the SPA?
"Give up on your delusions of becoming an agent, leave this school and just try to live a normal life!" "I can't save you from a dog on your doorstep when there's dragons in your driveway!"
Axel pulled his hood over his head and started walking out of the school gates.
"You just don't understand," he grunted walking towards Pb..
"UHHH" B grumbled. "If you can't fight then why are you even here!"
Axel stopped unable to look back at B.
"This isn't a daycare center! We're supposed to be the future of fighting crime! This isn't a game!"
Do not be afraid, the light of the father shines brightly within you that is your true power
"It's my dreams," Axel said, trembling. "There's something deep inside of me that says if I don't come here…. I'll have no other reason left to live."
"I don't know how or when it is going to happen exactly but I've seen it in my dreams! I will become an agent! And I will protect the people of the badlands!"
B shook her head, "You're going to live a life of misery for a dream!? Get real! Dreams are just dreams! If you keep this up you could get yourself killed!"
"Dying… isn't the worst thing,"Axel said. "I learned that the day I watched my mother die… I would much rather die than give up on her dream.".
As Axel said those words her face became must heavier. Her hardheaded stubbornness was now a soft and solemn one. Realizing words wouldn't reach Axel, B shook her head and started to walk out of the schoolyard.
"You're selfish and stupid, just like my younger brother was," she said stopping. "You have no idea how bad your attitude affects those around you!"
Axel grabbed his necklace admiring it before looking back at B.
"B… do you know what happens to a dream when you share it with other people?" Axel asked
"Should I? What does it matter to me!"
"A dream that you share with someone else becomes a vision" Axel said. "If you can't belive in my dream please at least believe in the vision"
"The only thing in my vision is a stupid boy who is obsessed with hurting himself!" B yelled storming off.
"Yeh… that might be true" Axel thought
Axel stood in the school walkway contemplating his next move. He soon realized all he could do was hope. He had to believe in himself, that no matter how hard things got he would make it through the day. The encounters, the conversation, the eyes of his acquaintances. He carried those images as he left the school gates. He would not enjoy what was to come but he would weather it.