Erik wondered how life would have been without being born like this. The fact he was also alone was a huge problem. His mother died birthing him, and his father disappeared two years prior for unknown reasons. He couldn't help thinking it wouldn't be so bad to live a different life from his current one.
<But what could you do? You are the way you are...> he said to himself as Logan beat him.
The bully grabbed the young man's shoulders and punched him in the face making him fall to his knees while holding a bloody nose.
Logan punched him again, and Erik could not look at something different from his tormentor's face. It was the face of his nightmares, the face of a monster. "This is because you are a loser!" The bully shouted with an evil grin on his face. The other boys nearby snickered at their friend beating up Erik.
Erik didn't say anything. He had long learned that talking to this psycho only made things worse. He could only hold his bloodied hands out defensively, trying to stop the guy from hitting the most vital areas.
But here was the thing. He couldn't fight back, and that was maybe the most depressing fact of it all. If he did, Logan would have used his brain crystal power, from which he couldn't possibly defend himself.
The bully grabbed one of Erik's arms and whirled it behind his back. His arm twisted painfully into an awkward angle.
The pain from the previous day's beating surged back like a fountain.
"AGH!" Erik yelled as he tried to escape the larger boy who was now trying to suffocate him.
"Don't make a sound, you fucker!" Logan said. He knew his fun would be over if Anderson, Aaron, and Mikey found out he was beating the little prick again.
Anderson Worthington, the most popular guy in school, and his clique of friends, Aaron Greig and Mikey Dixon, would have hardly tolerated the beating, especially when it was that brutal. Since Anderson was the second strongest inside the school, Logan would be beaten up if he did find out.
The three were the school's paladins of justice. They usually stopped any bullying from occurring if they saw it. To be honest, Erik thought they did that only to enjoy their own sense of superiority, as his opinion of other human beings was so low.
Opposite the three, all of the other people passed by the scene of the bullying while doing nothing aside from occasionally glancing at Erik with a smirk on their faces.
The lack of empathy in the others was due to Erik's Brain crystal power, as he could make plants grow faster, and not even that much faster than normal.
Not only was the power useless from a fighting point of view, but it was also almost pointless from the point of view of power, not only due to the speed at which the plants grew but also because Frant was a country that specialized in agricultural production.
Many were the farms here, which used specific machinery and mutated plants to grow plants, not only on the surface but also in artificial caves located underground. All of this meant that Erik's power was low-ranked.
Living in a society where power reigned supreme and severely lacking in that aspect meant other people looked down on people like him, who were less than humans in their eyes.
The overall power scaling system was based on three sub-scales.
The Ferebitz scale measured how much mana the brain crystal possessed, the Idor scale counted how many neural links an individual possessed, which indicated the individual battle prowess, and the Jorm scale, which told how useful the power was in terms of utility.
Erik's power was ranked E on Jorm's scale, meaning it was almost useless from a utility point of view. It was also only ranked F on the Ferebitz scale, the lowest rank on the Ferebitz scale, since the amount of mana he could use was almost 0.
This made it increasingly difficult for him to make neural links, bridges between the brain and the brain crystal that allowed the passage of mana from the crystal and the rest of the body and that allowed to decrease the mana consumption.
Erik had one, the one he was born with, meaning he was still at the SIGMA1 rank on the Idor scale, the lowest of them all.
These links meant everything for an individual since the more one had and the stronger the brain's crystal power essentially was.
Erik silently endured the beating, trying not to trigger Logan more. The young man looked at the people nearby angrily, as no one was interested in helping the school's human trash. They looked at him as if he was an eyesore, someone who should have never been born, but the truth was that he wasn't the problem. They were.
The bully finally released the young man and kicked him in the stomach. Erik felt like he was going to vomit. Logan looked at him and then turned to his friends, Conal and Orson, who were laughing at the poor boy on the ground.
The young man's saliva dripped from his mouth; he had difficulty breathing. The kick was strong.
Erik stood up slowly and wiped the blood from his face. "Trash!" Logan's friends said while leaving the place.
Erik took off down the hall with pain ravaging his abdomen and face. Since the day Logan claimed he was his 'doll,' the other people stopped assaulting him, but things got worse as the bully gradually started seeing beating him as a pastime.
The young man was behind the school, where few people walked by. He quickly went to the front and left the school from the main building, with rage flowing freely inside of him.
However, he could do nothing to improve his situation and walked home with tears dripping down his face. The people looked at him, puzzled, but the shop owners nearby recognized him.
Since this was a daily occurrence for him, and he had to take the same road every day to get back home, they didn't do anything to help him. The sick reasoning the kids had was well spread inside the adult population, and they even looked at the young man as if he was a bug.
They knew who he was—the trashy son of Lucius Romano, a famous army soldier who disappeared two years prior.
The young man arrived home after a long walk from school, and having taken a train; he had no one to pick him up as most other students had. Friends, parents, brothers, sisters, lovers even. He was alone in a world that rejected him, with his father somewhere unknown.
He entered the house.
It was the same usual view that appeared before him. A small apartment located within an old building, with the bare minimum: a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living room which he also used as a bedroom.
He had no high-class furniture, and his father left him the bare minimum to survive, but it wasn't enough to live a comfortable life. The young man had to work after school, he used his power to make plants grow faster on a farm in the northern New Alexandrian district, but the pay was meager.
Despite being a high-ranked individual, his father was broke. He left his son alone for two years due to a mission he was tasked to accomplish. His father belonged to a team that researched the Sinister Cold.
This virus was the leading cause of the development of brain crystals and the birth of the thaids, heavily mutated animals with powers capable of changing the natural order. Animals were not the only ones affected, though, as even the vegetation changed many centuries ago, becoming larger and taller, even deadly.
Initially, the human race was divided into two continents, Mur and Mannard. The creatures forced the human race to live on a single one, Mannard, as they killed everyone on Mur.
However, humanity was almost wiped out even on the Mannard continent but miraculously survived somehow.
They slowly claimed the continent, but even that came at a high cost.
Divisions among humans started taking place after some time, and the process ended with the birth of seven nations: Hin, Prare, Reraiaph, Khunelerp, Miciselen, Etrium, and Frant, where Erik lived.
The young man didn't know how the situation was in the other nations, but here, in Frant, it was terrible, at least for him.
The government was militaristic, and one's social standing depended on power and military rank. Discrimination and hate were the basis of this nation, and the young man despised it. Of course, he hated himself for his lack of power and his father for having abandoned him much more than he did the nation.
Erik left his things on the living room table and went to the bathroom; since he was constantly bullied and beaten, he spent a lot of money on first aid kits he used daily to heal his wounds. After patching himself up, he went to the computer; the young man was obsessed with war news.
It comforted him knowing that the people who treated him like garbage were dying in the war against Hin. It was sadistic; however, Erik couldn't help himself since all he received from this place was hate and hardships.
Erik opened the browser and clicked on the news site. A headline caught his attention:
"STALEMATE IN WAR"
He read the article.
"BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS, THERE WERE NO SURRENDERS AT BOTH EASTERN FRANTIAN AND HINIAN COAST AS OF TUESDAY MORNING."
A battle between Hinian and Frantian forces broke out near the country's eastern coast in the middle of the night. As of Tuesday morning, there was no sign of either side backing down.
"THE FACT THAT THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THREE DAYS AFTER SOME SMALL SKIRMISHES BETWEEN FRANT AND HIN MEANS THAT NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNTIL THE TWO NATIONS AGREE TO SETTLE DOWN." The author stated.
"AH! THAT'S WHAT YOU DESERVE, MOTHER FUCKERS!" the young man said. Hate ran deep through Erik's veins.
His hatred got stronger when he saw footage of the battles. His eyes were glued to the screen. The young man watched the soldiers killing each other, simultaneously making him feel sick but happy about their deaths.
A few minutes later, the young man closed the browser. He walked over to his bed, put down his backpack, and removed his uniform.
Once in his underwear, he stretched to reduce the pain he felt all over. Slowly, the pain and stiffness became less noticeable.
After stretching every part of his body, Erik stood up. He had been doing this for a long time, but his muscles still ached.
Multiple parts of his body were not the same anymore and ached when he did some movements due to the constant beating he got.
At that moment, with the sun still high in the sky, Erik heard a pair of keys inserted into his door.