Xeo Nexus Episode 1: Guardian – Chapter 12

For the preceding chapters, click here for Xeo Nexus Episode 1: Guardian Ch.1Ch.2-3Ch.4, Ch.5Ch.6Ch.7, Ch.8Ch.9Ch.10, Ch.11!

Chapter 12

After a couple minutes of sizing each other up, Derrick lunges at Brayden and throws a straight punch that Brayden quickly side steps.  Then he quickly spins around and comes at Brayden with a back-fist punch.  Brayden blocks the punch and kicks Derrick in the ribs.  Derrick rapidly counteracts and does a back thrust kick into Brayden’s mid-section, sending him flying through the air.  Brayden maintains his control over himself and flips to land safely.  Upon landing he launches himself speedily at Derrick, hitting him with his shoulder and plowing him into the side of the building behind him with tremendous force causing the wall to cave in.  Derrick picks up a large piece of the concrete wall and hurls it at Brayden.  However, Brayden instantly blasts the concrete with a shot of lightning.  After destroying the concrete slab, he is immediately grabbed around his head by Derrick. “Let’s see how you like it,” he says with a dark grin. Reeling back, Derrick hurls Brayden into the apartment building that he had just slammed into. Brayden crashes through one wall and then another leading it one of the apartments. Derrick walks through the hole in the wall a few moments afterward wearing a wide grin. He scans the living room of the apartment slowly. There is no sign of Brayden.

“Oh Branny-boy. Come out, come out wherever you are,” he sang tauntingly. Derrick searches carefully, checking the other two rooms that used to be separated by a wall. “Not too many places you can hide. It’s not that spacious.” He looks at every dark corner as he crept. It is eerily quiet. Then he hears something in the kitchen area. Derrick slinks soundlessly across the floor. He raises a burly hand up ready to for grabbing and waits. There is movement again. Derrick pounces but quickly pulls back. A large rat scurries across the broken tile and under the rusty stove. Derrick scoffs. Just as he turns around, he is bashed in the face by something metal. Brayden comes around with the large pot in his hand and bats Derrick again. A bell like toll rings out when metal meets skull. Repeated strikes back Derrick into the kitchen. Brayden hops up, bashes Derrick down and then pops him back up, knocking him off balance. He then casts the ruined pot to the floor. Not wasting time, Brayden hops backward to the wall behind, plants his feet and shoots off. He rams his shoulder in Derrick’s gut with such force that Derrick is sent crashing through the opposite wall, taking the oven with him. Quickly getting to his feet, Derrick throws a glare at Brayden and snarls. He hefts the oven and hurls it. Brayden dodges it easily and rushes at Derrick. They briefly exchange blows before Brayden is slammed into the floor before lifted up and tossed through the ceiling in one motion. He hits the floor above and rolls to his feet. Derrick jumps up soon afterward and lands heavily.

“You can’t beat me, Branny-boy. You never could,” Derrick taunted.

“Yeah, well I won’t know until I try,” Brayden said back. “Truth is, I don’t have to beat you, Derrick. Just be smarter than you.”

“What do you mean by that, smart guy?” says Derrick. He takes a step forward. The floor creaks loudly beneath his foot.

Brayden smiles and says, “This floor can only hold one of us.” Then he raises a fist up and drives it down. The floor buckles as several beams of wood snap like twigs. Derrick catches his footing from the shifting floor. Brayden jumps up and drives down a lightning charged fist. The final beams break as the floor begins to give way. Force of the punch is enough to finish what demolition began years ago. Brick and plaster rain down on Derrick who shields himself with his arms. Dodging falling debris, Brayden sprints for the window and leaps out of it. Derrick attempts the same but floor crumbles from under him. He drops in the apartment below and crashes through the floor into the basement. Wood, brick and mortar rain down on him as the top half of the building collapses. Everything is quiet as Brayden waits to see whether Derrick is alive or not.  Rain begins to fall, pushing down the dust that was kicked from the building’s collapse.

A few moments pass when Brayden hears some of the rubble shift.  Suddenly, Derrick explodes out of the pile of concrete and wood. Brayden blocks the initial punch but not the one that follows. Derrick grabs Brayden by his shirt, lifts him up and knees him in the stomach.  He then throws Brayden into the ground, creating a crater in the surface.  Brando is slow to get up.  In an instant, Derrick grabs him in a bear hug and starts squeezing tightly.  Brayden grunts as Derrick squeezes him tighter. “It’s like I’ve been saying, Brayden.  I’m the best,” Derrick said.  Brayden struggles to free himself but it’s no use.  Derrick’s father’s compound has made him super strong.  Derrick continues, “Don’t worry, Branny-boy, it’ll all be over soon.  And you will be buried nice and snug next to mommy…what’s left of her.”  He starts cackling as he held Brayden tightly in his grasp.

Brayden continues to fight against the powerful biceps holding his fast. Anger begins to build, increasing more and more as Derrick continued to laugh boastfully.  Lightning begins surging through his body as his ire grew, but something new began to happen as well.  His eyes begin to glow.  Derrick quieted his laughter when he noticed that the electricity flowing around Brayden. “What the…!” Derrick said astonished at Brayden’s growing energy.  More lightning begins charging through Brayden’s body until he unleashes it upon Derrick. Derrick had no time to cry out as the lightning tore through his body with incredible force.  Brayden shocks Derrick once more for good measure. “What…what the hell was that?” Derrick asked breathing heavily. 

“That was a little something I like to call Electro Shock.” Brayden growled, “Let me show you again how it goes.” Brayden gathers up his strength and zaps Derrick long and hard until he lets him go. 

Derrick staggers a bit in a daze as he tries to pull himself together.  Once he has gotten his head straight, Derrick looks over at Brayden, who is walking towards him encased in the shimmering bright glow of lightning.  “You punk! You think you’re stronger than me,” he snarled, “Huh, do ya?! You’re weak, Branny-boy! Weak! And I’ll prove it!”  He then rushes toward Brayden and throws a punch, but Brayden catches Derrick’s fist, stopping his attack.  Brayden releases Derrick’s fist and Derrick quickly tries to attack him again, this time aiming for his stomach.  Brayden blocks the attack and quickly counterattacks with a back-fist to Derrick’s face, spinning him around.  Derrick maintains his balance and lunges for him again. Brayden defends and bats him away again. Frustration swells in Derrick. Venting his anger, he rushes in and begins attacking Brayden, ferociously swinging his fists. Brayden evades him with ease, using Derrick’s new size against him. Brayden predicted right. Derrick’s new bulk has made him considerably slower, making his movements easy to read. Blocking another angry fist, Brayden leaps and delivers a boot to Derrick’s jaw, sending him staggering backward. Derrick manages to retain his balance. He then looks at Brayden in shock, wondering why his attacks have suddenly become ineffective.  ‘What’s going on?  Both of those vials should’ve given me at least a half hour.  Why are they wearing off so soon?’ he thought.  “I should have at least ten minutes left.”

“Your strength isn’t fading Derrick,” says Brayden, seemingly reading his mind. 

Derrick looks up at him and says, “What do you mean?”

“It’s something I realized while I was fighting you. At first, I didn’t understand it but now I do.  It seems that my power is fueled by the storm above. I draw power from the electric energy stored in the clouds. In other words, the more clouds there are, the more my power will increase.” Brayden said. “So, like I said, your strength isn’t fading.  It’s just that I’m stronger.” 

Derrick takes a moment to wonder if Brayden is telling the truth.  ‘Is he stronger than me?’ he thinks.  “No.  You are not stronger than me.  I won’t believe it!  I refuse!” he says angrily.  Derrick yells and runs at Brayden and throws a punch to his head. But Brayden dodges this and the other two punches aimed at his head. 

“Oh, one more thing, that bulky body of yours makes harder for you to move,” Brayden says with a grin.

“What the hell are you talking about?!” snarled Derrick.

“You’re pumped up with power Derrick. There’s no doubt about that. But what good is it if you can’t even touch me,” said Brayden. Then he throws a smirk. “Looks like I’m not only stronger but faster too.”

Derrick grinds his teeth as he burns Brayden with his glare. Yelling, he throws himself and lunges forward with a punch. He bends backward to avoid Derrick’s left hook, stands back up and immediately blocks his right hook.  He sways side to side to evade Derrick’s uppercuts and body shots; then he ducks twice, dodging two more hook punches from Derrick.  After avoiding the second hook punch, Brayden kicks Derrick in the side with a roundhouse.  The kick stuns Derrick and Brayden quickly follows up with a spinning roundhouse to Derrick’s jaw.  He rushes at Derrick and knees him in the gut and hits him with an uppercut.  He then begins pummeling Derrick who is unable to defend himself against Brayden’s barrage feet and fists.  He finishes his onslaught by delivering a powerful double-fisted punch to Derrick’s face sending him flying across the parking lot.  In a flash of lightning, Brayden transports on the other side of the parking lot as Derrick approaches.  He kicks Derrick high into the sky and disappears again. After reappearing, Brayden elbows Derrick in the back, sending him back down to the ground.  Teleporting one more to the ground, Brayden hits Derrick with a crushing summersault kick.  Derrick slams into an apartment building with a devastating crash, causing the entire building to crumble on top of him.  Again, Brayden waits for another possible attack from Derrick. A dead silence fell upon the area again as the falling rain beings to get heavier.  A few minutes pass as he waited for some sign of Derrick; afterward, he hears the rubble shift a little.  Brayden steadies himself to defend against a possible attack.  Soon he sees Derrick’s hand begin to rise from out of the rubble and then collapses.