Chapter Two: Rage of a Father and Husband.
As the white fog begins to lift, we see a faint shade of a person fading with it. It becomes a minor concern as the surroundings become clearer, showing a small mansion that lies on the south-western coast of Shade-Isle and flanked by a magnificent garden to its left with an imposing forest to its right. Coupled with the sea in the background, with a border of grass smoothly becoming sand, it was rather picturesque.
It was six years since the birth of Phaenyx Ahkotsku, and already the Ahkotsku family had been blessed with another four years after him; another boy, this one with a head of azure and, sadly as it may be, blind in his left eye. His name is Dreykin Ahkotsku. We see now, a portion of the Ahkotsku family’s strength…
Phaenyx ran up, down and around the small hill, located near their home, that was a rather popular picnic spot located on Shade-Isle, his mother keeping a careful eye on him as she nursed the two year old Dreykin; Phaenyx had already acquired a habit of being there one moment, and then with a blink of an eye he would be some four yards away chasing something. Neiphelm had had to help another member of the thrice-branched Ahkotsku family tree, and so had promised to be there to watch the sunset at the very least.
“Mayhaps we might steal a moment of our guests time to explain the family ‘tree’?” A voice, suddenly cutting through the memory-stream like a sickle through wheat, questioned in a tone of ancient power. “It goes as thus;
“The ‘trunk’ of the tree is those that handle the hardworking side of life; the farmers, labourers and such, and is the largest of said ‘tree’, though also the most… diluted, shall we say?”
“The second largest are those that have ‘nobility’ status; they are gifted with handling affairs both political and practical, as well as a rather large sum of gold. However, they are also the shallowest of the three.”
“The last, and smallest, is the branch of the fighters. They are well known for being proficient in their own way and going great lengths to protect what they desire.”
As Phaenyx continued to run around (pretending to be in a Bioni-Lord battle if his mutterings and yells were anything to judge by, his mother thought), they failed to notice the shadows that steadily rose toward them. When Ielarae detected the presences, she turned to see five young men grinning nastily, their movements cocky and sure.
“Well, well, well… what do we have here?” the one on the far left, Warren, asked, speaking slowly to make sure that they all heard, his skin a sickly pale colour.
“Dun’na, but i’ look like we gotta coupla tre’pass’rs,” smirked the one to his immediate right, a rather heavyset person named Demetri.
“Yeah,” giggled Urich, the far right one, his brown eyes full of a cold glee. “Reckon they gonna fight like the last lot?”
“Please,” scoffed Jacka, scratching his mane of brown hair, next to him, “One woman and two kids? Even if they do, it’ll be a waste of time.”
The middle one, obviously the leader, smiled coldly as he stared into Ielarae’s calm, yet defensive eyes. Locky rubbed just under his nose as he looked and, making his decision, nodded to himself.
“What say we have some… ‘fun’, boys?”
As Neiphelm rounded a stand of trees on the path to the picnic spot, he froze as he saw the five men surround his family. There was no-one else who it would be, simple as that.
He watched as Iela gripped Dreykin tightly to her chest, not wanting to give the thugs any chance to hurt him.
He watched as the heaviest one grabbed a hold of Phaenyx by the arms, and felt pride as Phaenyx launched a kick into his groin then swing his head into the man’s nose as he bent in pain.
He stared in terror as another grabbed Phaenyx’s arms from behind, while the now bleeding heavy got up and brandished a knife.
As Ielarae screamed, the man swept the knife towards Phaenyx.
As the knife got closer, Neiphelm felt his heartbeat for the first time. When he did, a pulse rushed through his body. As he looked upon the scene about to unfurl, Neiphelm decided something.
No-one. Hurt. His. FAMILY.
With that thought, came another. He would make them pay.
He faded into the shadows.
“Stupid kid!” cursed Demetri as his knife almost came into contact the brat’s chest. Suddenly, he felt an immense pressure erupt on the back of his head as the rest of the gang yelped in surprise. He reached back and felt fingers, then a hand, and finally an arm. Abruptly, he found himself being dragged back then thrown into a tree. A tree that was about fifty metres away, he thought groggily before blacking out.
As Warren, Urich, Jacka and Locky stared, the arm that had so casually thrown Demetri steadily formed into the rest of the man that, just a moment ago, been nothing more the wispy shadows. Neiphelm stared back at them, his eyes hardened by controlled fury. Unnoticed by any of them, Phaenyx ran into his mothers arms, Dreykin crying from the noise.
Warren and Urich suddenly launched themselves at him, intending to punish him for his act. Neiphelm sidestepped past Warren, keeping him on his right before grabbing his wrist and pulling him into his knee for extra force. Warren, having been so effectively winded and stunned, didn’t even notice Neiph’s grip on his wrist was gone, nor his elbow sweeping up and smashing into the base of his nose before seeing only black.
Neiphelm, seeing that Warren was out cold, grabbed the latter by the shoulder and, twisting his body to remove his knee from his body whilst wrenching Warren forward and onto the ground, proceeded to kick Urich rather heavily in the sternum with his ankle. Urich, coughing and clutching at his chest, backed away a few steps before Neiph’s hook powered into the side of his face.
Jacka and Locky had regained their senses and both were frantically searching themselves for Orbs. As a clump of grass was crushed, the rasping noise alerting Jacka, he looked up to see Neiph’s arm coated in Shadow energy.
“What the?!” screamed Jacka as the Shadow infused punch collected with his body in a reverse coat hanger manoeuvre before exploding into a Shadow Crasher move. The feeling of shock was replaced by pain as his head struck the ground, then nothing.
Locky, having fused with a MetalBeetle spirit, couldn’t believe his eyes. A single man had somehow appeared, quite literally, out of nowhere, taken three of his friends down, before using a Shadow Element move out of Fusion. Said man was now staring at Locky, who suddenly felt a great fear and decided he would try and bargain with this monster.
Raising a cannoned arm at Ielarae, he prepared a single-armed Bolo Thunder. Though it would be so much weaker than normal, as it required both arms for full strength, it would still do a good enough job to create a bargaining chip.
“I’m gonna guess you’re here to save the lady,” started Locky, faltering as Neiph’s eyes suddenly sharpened and narrowed, “S... so how about if you let me go, I’ll let her live.”
Neiphelm slowly clenched his fist tightly, and then bent down as if to…
Locky swore then discharged his Bolo Thunder at Ielarae… only for him to notice he was actually further away from her then he started. He stared in confusion before looking down as pain grew in his chest, where the sight he saw caused his eyes to widen in horror.
Neiphelm was there, his fist sunken into the heavy armour plating over Locky’s chest. He took a step forward, bracing himself, then threw his entire strength into that one punch, ignoring the sharp cracks that generated from his hand, as the immensely heavy Spirit-Fused thug was flung about fifteen metres back, sliding an extra five feet before smashing his head into a sturdy boulder.
Turning back to his family, Neiphelm managed a wry smile as he asked,
“I’m not late, am I?”
Later, at the Shade-Isle hospital…
“Dad, how’d ya do that?” asked a persistent Phaenyx, his eyes wide and excited after what transpired. “Can you teach me? Is it hard to learn? Would it take long?”
You get the idea of his questions.
Neiphelm, patiently sitting as the doctor finished layering up the cast for his hand while Ielarae rocked Drekin’s pram gently, shook his head with a smile.
“Phey,” he began, chuckling as Phaenyx immediately quietened down to listen. “I don’t know how it happened, nor if it can be learned. At best, I’d say it’s something that only happens under great stress, or when someone you care about is in danger. But,” Neiphelm held up his uninjured left hand to point a warning finger at Phaenyx, “I don’t want to hear that you’ve been trying to learn this, understand? You could hurt yourself worse then what I’ve done today, and think of what your mother and I would feel if we found out about that.”
Phaenyx thought about that for a few moments, imagining the distress his parents would be in… especially if it was on purpose. He didn’t want to do that, not to his family.
“Okay Dad.” Phaenyx said, the matter clearly settled.
As the hospital room starts to fade away, the Ahkotsku’s begin discussing other, less important things. However, our attention is drawn to the hazily outlined figure watching them, before the scene fades away completely.