Xeo Nexus Episode 1: Chapter 7!!

For preceding chapters of Xeo Nexus Ep. 1: Guardian, click here for Ch.1, Ch.2&3, Ch.4, Ch.5, Ch.6!!

Chapter 7

The next morning for Brayden was the same as usual.  He got washed and dressed and then headed for the bus stop.  After what happened yesterday morning, the bus driver took no chances and waited for Brayden.  Except for the casually dressed man and the little girl who waved at him, none of the other people who saw him yesterday were not on the bus.  Arriving at school, Brayden meets up with Dan.

“Hey Dan,” Brayden greeted him.

“Hey buddy, what’s up?” Dan said.

“About yesterday you know, me sprinting outta here and all…”

“Fuggedaboutit, I figured since it’s been a while since you did any martial arts that you forgot about how strong you are.  So don’t worry, you know I won’t tell anybody and you know Derrick for sure won’t tell anybody either,” said Dan.

Brayden laughs and says, “You’re right.  Derrick would probably rather attend study hall than let anyone find out that he got his butt kicked outside the ring.”  Dan and Brayden continue towards the school.

Over in the student parking lot, Derrick exits his car talking on his cell phone.  “That punk, are you sure?” he said, “I don’t know why but…yeah, I’ll keep an eye on Branny-boy for you.”  Derrick presses a button and closes his phone, ending the call.  As he walks across the parking lot, Mark and Rupert met up with him.

“Yo, Derrick,” said Mark.

“What do you want?” Derrick responds in an unpleasant tone.

“Few cheerleaders invited us to party.  Wanna come?” Mark said, indicating the small group of girls off toward the back of the lot.

“Nah, I got stuff to do.  Alone,” Derrick says as he walks past Mark and Rupert.  He enters the building without saying another word.

“What’s up with him?” Rupert asked.

“I dunno.  Probably still mad about Brayden beating him,” Mark said.  Then he turns and makes his way over to the cheerleaders who have been waiting patiently.  “C’mon, when he’s like this it’s best to just leave him alone.”  Rupert agrees with Mark and follows over the end of the parking lot.

The rest of the day went as normal as usual for Brayden.  He continued to attend class and get his work done along with trying to keep his friend Dan focused.  Once school ended, Brayden returned to the park to train more with his newly acquired powers.  That was his pattern for the next several days.  Each day after school, he would go to the park, train and then head home an hour before his mother got off work to prevent her from becoming suspicious.  It’s a perfect situation that saves Brayden the trouble of lying to his mother.

Brayden is running through some punching exercises.  Since he began his speed has dramatically increased.  He is able throw more punches in a short amount of time.  Another thing Brayden noticed is that he wasn’t exerting himself as much.  He learned how to manage his strength to a point where he can raise and lower his power at will rather than allowing it to happen spontaneously.  Brayden discovered this covet ability a couple days ago when he wanted to see if he can break a large rock.  The first time he tried it nothing happened.  He hit it again.  The result was the same.  Eventually, Brayden grew frustrated and, in that moment, he drove his fist through the rock.  Looking at the partly demolished rock made him realize that he needed to focus on controlling his powers.  Brayden soon ends his punching exercises.  He reflects for a moment on his progress over the past six days.  “It isn’t as hard to do these drills as before.  Probably because I haven’t done them in a while,” he says.

Brayden prepares to go through a couple techniques.  While stretching, he notices the new layer of muscle mass on his arms.  “Wow, all this working out is really giving me some bulk,” he says, flexing his arms.  He checks himself over, taking in the noticeable changes in his physique.  Once he’s done, Brayden sets his mind back on training.  He takes a deep breath as he got into a stance.  Suddenly, he feels a strange sensation; it tingled in the back of his mind.  “What was that?” Brayden couldn’t make sense of it.  The tingling sensation stayed at the back of mind.  He doesn’t feel it anywhere else but that one spot.  A couple moments pass and the tingle begins to move behind his ear.  “Ok, I never heard of a moving headache.”  The tingle intensifies, throwing Brayden’s senses on alert.  It is then that he feels the presence of someone to his right.  Turning right, Brayden sees a person wearing a dark cloak with a hood that obscured their face.  Brayden looks at the person oddly.  He found it strange for someone to be wearing a cloak in this day and age let alone on a warm day.  He didn’t know why but there is something about the cloaked person that is putting him on edge.

“I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like the vibes I’m getting,” Brayden said quietly to himself.  Every muscle in his body becomes tense.  For a moment Brayden thought about avoiding a fight but his body and senses, both set on alert, are telling him otherwise.  “It’s like my body got wind of something it doesn’t like.  And I think I’m starting to agree.”  Brayden decides to play it cool rather than doing anything to set his cloaked visitor off.  “Hiya doin’?  Nice day we’re havin’,” he says, banking that idle chit-chat would defuse the situation.  The cloaked person gives no reaction.  Brayden, sensing that his guest will only speak silently, tries a different approach.  “Well, listen I have this thing about people standing over my shoulder watching me so I’m going to get back to my training so feel free to leave,” he says with sarcastic flare.  However, the stranger does not leave and takes a step forward instead.  The simple step was enough the put Brayden on the offensive.  But that wasn’t the only thing.  “That weird sensation just got stronger for some reason.  I’ve heard of something like this where a person can sense another person’s presence.  Practitioners of Yoga and Buddhism refer to it as feeling someone’s Chi energy or aura.  I guess that’s what I’m feeling from my cloak wearing friend here,” Brayden reckoned, “And what I feeling now is the rise in their aura.  Wonder what happens now?”

No sooner than Brayden pondered his question, the cloaked person suddenly vanishes.  Caught by surprise, Brayden begins searching for the cloaked person.  He can feel their aura moving rapidly around him.  Though the cloaked person is moving faster than the human eye Brayden, somehow, is able to keep a lock on them.  Reacting to a strong sensation to his right, Brayden sways back to avoid a punch and then evades a fast kick with a quick hop backward.  The cloaked person quickly closes the gap and thrusts forward another punch.  Brayden blocks it and engages his unidentified guest in a speedy exchange of punches and kicks.  The cloaked person is fast, attacking with speed that matched Brayden.  Thanks to his training, Brayden is able to stave off his opponent’s assault, but just barely.  The cloaked person drives at Brayden with another punch that gets blocked, and whips out a fast kick to Brayden’s chest.  With him stunned, the cloaked person rushes in with a quick attack, a series of punch that ends with crushing uppercut.  Then the cloaked person strikes Brayden’s jaw with an elbow and fades into a strong roundhouse kick, sending Brayden flying and slamming into a tree.

Brayden is a little slow to get up.  The cloaked person’s kick was strong, but it didn’t cause him that much damage.  He looks at his unknown assailant.  “Alright slappy, now you’re in for it,” he said.  Standing to his feet, Brayden takes a stance, showing his readiness.  The cloaked person, though the face is obscured, looks back at Brayden.  Then, like before, the person instantly vanishes.  Brayden keeps track of his opponent’s movement; however, it is not as difficult as before.  Soon he feels a strong presence slightly to his left.  In a hair’s breadth, he catches the cloaked person’s fist the moment he sees it.

“So you were ready to put some power behind this punch just like you did with that kick,” Brayden said, clenching the person’s fist tightly.  He looks at his opponent’s face; he still can’t identify who’s under the hood.  Strangely, the hood blotted the face out completely.  No defining features can be seen nor the contour of the person’s face.  Brayden is curious to see who is behind the hood.  While still holding his opponent’s hand firmly, he reaches out with his right hand, only to have it slapped away when he went for the hood.  “What’s wrong, bad hair day?” Brayden says with a charismatic flare, “C’mon, it can’t be that bad.  What is it, dandruff, split ends?”  The cloaked person didn’t seem to take a liking to Brayden’s taunting and lashes out with a fierce punch that only ends up being cleanly blocked.

“Hmph, can’t even take a joke, huh?  At least now I know I can’t take you lightly,” said Brayden.  Flashing a grin, he casually knocks the fist he just blocked aside and buries a punch deep in the cloaked person’s ribs.  Brayden does not hold back as he releases the person’s right fist and bashes their face in with a hard left.  He then drives an uppercut into the person’s chin and finishes with a fast and hard roundhouse kick to the side of the body.  The mysterious person staggers from the powerful attack.  Brayden can tell right away that his attacks were effective by the way his opponent was standing, like they were worn out.  “Man, not even a yelp.  Can I get an ‘ouch’?  I’ll even take an ‘owie’,” said Brayden, commenting on the cloaked person’s silence.

The cloaked person thrusts one arm out to the side and quickly forms a yellow ball of energy and then hurls it at Brayden.

“Alright, I’ll play a game of catch,” Brayden said with a grin.  With a quick twirl, he kicks the yellow energy ball back at its creator.  The cloaked person jumps up, letting the ball of energy strike the ground.  Suddenly the cloaked person is struck hard by Brayden when he connects with a shoulder ram.  Gripping the cloak, Brayden whips his opponent around and hurls them straight into the ground with a thunderous slam.  He lands afterward.  “Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s get to know each other.  I’ve got questions and you might have answers,” Brayden said.  He then turns around only to find that the cloaked person is nowhere to be found.  The crater left when he tossed his hooded opponent is devoid of a body.  He regards the plight with a light heart, shaking his head shamefully.  “Left without saying goodbye, some people,” Brayden says.  He walks over to his book bag, which he sat next to a tree and picks it up.  “Can’t even enjoy a nice day at the park without some nut bar wearing a cloak attacking you and what not,” he says as he put the book bag on his back.  Less than a moment passes when he hears the siren of an approach police car.  “Guess our little get together drew some attention.  Better for me not to be here; it’d be kinda hard to explain what happened,” Brayden reckoned.  He quickly takes to the sky before the police arrive.

During his fight with the cloaked person, someone nearby heard the two explosions and called the police.  A police car arrives at the park where the fight took place.  The officers were soon followed by a fire truck.

Later that night, the cloaked person enters an abandoned warehouse.  They approach the man inside, walking unsteadily.  The fight with Brayden has taken a toll on them.  The man looks at the person.  “So how did your visit go?” he asks casually.  The cloaked person sways a bit before collapsing to the ground like a fallen tree.  The man looks at the unconscious person with apathy.  “Hmm, I see,” he says plainly before biting into the apple he’s holding.  Sliding a hand in his pant pocket, he takes out a cell phone.  The man flips the phone open and dials a number. 

“Yeah?” a man’s voice answered.

“I have a job for you,” said the man with the deep voice.