2 Chapter 1 - Introduction

It was currently the year 2105, towards the end of October. My older sister had turned fifteen on the 5th of October, and today, my father had taken her to a facility known as the Awakening Lab in order for her to undergo the Awakening Procedure.

Today was a Saturday, and I was in my room, playing an online MMORPG on my laptop. I had stayed up all night playing it, and before I knew it, it was suddenly afternoon time the next day...which is today.

I had only realized it when I took a small break an hour ago, checked my messages and noticed a text from my sister saying that she had left for the Awakening Lab a little while ago. I then drew open the curtains, only to nearly be blinded by the sunlight. Let me clarify that that's artificially generated sunlight, since no natural sunlight can make it through the enclosed dome of the Sanctuary.

I decided to take on a few more quests in the game, before forcing myself to log out and go to sleep. I was filled with an ungodly amount of caffeine and sugar, my body was at its limit and so was my mind. As much as I disliked the excessive training my father made me go through four times a week, it did help with my late-night gaming stamina, I suppose.

I went to the bathroom to wash my face, and nearly startled myself as I got a look at my face. My eyes were heavily bloodshot and there were heavy bags underneath them, my hair was a mess with my headphones having left a flat curve in the middle of my head, and my skin was all clammy. I splashed some cold water on my face and walked back to my room, flopping onto my bed with a tired yawn. Time to sleep...

In the meantime, let me re-introduce myself.

I'm Kilzachs Floence, son of Minister Kilrafhe Floence and Dr Zachsella Floence, and younger brother of Kilella Floence. I was born on the 6th of September in 2095, and I had turned ten years old over a month ago. I had a sort of combative relationship with my father, we didn't really get along. As for my mother, she worked late hours and barely ever spoke to me, we lived in the same house but she was kinda like a stranger in a lot of ways. I was pretty close to my sister though, she was the one who mostly looked after me when I was too young to take care of myself.

I liked to spend as much of my free time as possible with various forms of digital entertainment, though most of it went to the training sessions my father had me go through way too regularly.

I had medium-length black hair with a couple of blonde streaks, one across the middle, and a lock of hair over my right ear which I grew down to my shoulder. I wore red rectangle-framed glasses over grayish-black eyes, I had a slightly dark complexion and agile build.

I lived in the North Quadrant of the Sanctuary, in what was known as the Residential District, a section of the quadrant with houses, apartments and other living quarters. I studied in the Education District, which had a bunch of schools, colleges and universities. There were three schools, Regal Campus, Austere Institute of Education, and Prosaic Phrontistery. All three covered education from kindergarten level to high school level, the difference between the three was that Regal had a high quality of teaching, facilities and cost, Austere was moderate in those aspects, while Prosaic was cheaper to attend but the facilities and teaching weren't great.

I was currently enrolled in the Regal Campus elementary school, not surprising since my father was literally one of the most influential and wealthy people in not just this quadrant, but the entire Sanctuary as a whole. I'd be in middle school starting next year. My school had nice facilities and skilled teachers and whatnot, but because of the expensive fees, the majority of the students were spoilt rich kids. I can't deny that I'm a rich kid myself, but I wouldn't say that I'm spoilt. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is this...I have no friends, I don't get along with any of my classmates.

My training took place in the Recreation District, which had parks, libraries, pools, gyms, various training facilities, and other such places. I had been to the Research and Hospital District a few times, but I hadn't been to the Entertainment, Agriculture and Shopping Districts yet. The Entertainment District had casinos, hotels, fancy restaurants, amusement parks, a red light district, bowling alleys, etc, the Agriculture District had farms for livestock, grains, and various other types of farms, and the Shopping District had various shops and stores, along with a few cheap restaurants as well.

Technology had evolved a fair bit, teleportation was in widespread use across the Sanctuary, more energy-efficient electronics and vehicles were also in common use. When it came to digital devices, there were lightweight laptops and tablets, though cellphones were sort of obsolete. Instead, each citizen was given a special type of watch known as the Identification Watch, or I-Watch for short.

An I-Watch worked as identification, payment and could also be used like a smartphone from before WWIII. You weren't allowed to leave a district without your I-Watch, so losing it would be more than a little inconvenient, it held your personal details, sort of like ID Cards or passports from before WWIII. If you lost your I-Watch, the process to get a new one was long and complicated, not to mention expensive, so keeping it safe was pretty important.

The I-Watch also held your bank account details, there was no physical currency anymore, instead there was a point system with each unit called a CredPoint. You could earn CredPoints by working, or someone could transfer them to you, which was currently the case for me, as in my monthly allowance from my parents. To pay for something, you simply let the cashier or store clerk scan your I-Watch, and if you have enough CredPoints to make the purchase, it'll deduct the amount from your balance and complete the transaction, and if you don't have enough CredPoints, it'll decline and reject the transaction.

I preferred to save as much money as possible though, I didn't really have anything specific to spend it on besides new games. I enjoyed and preferred the TV shows, movies and anime from before WWIII to the stuff that was being made these days, and all those retro videos were legally available for access via online archives for free, so that was super convenient.

As for how to use the I-Watch like a phone...

The I-Watch is a sleek black wristwatch with a square screen that showed the time, tapping on the screen would project up a holographic screen, holo-screen for short, and you could interact with it, it could be used for social media, playing games, messaging people, checking your CredPoint balance, watching videos and so on.

Well, that's pretty much all you need to know for now, so I'll be getting back to my sleep-...

I was abruptly woken up as my room door suddenly swung open, and my older sister burst in...loudly.

"Wake up, Zax! Come on, wake up!" She exclaimed, shaking me violently.

Give me a break...

"I'm up...please stop doing that, Ella," I sighed groggily, letting out a yawn as I sat up with a grumble.

I glanced at my I-Watch...damn, I hadn't even gotten an hour's worth of rest, no wonder I felt so lethargic. Why was she so excited, anyway? Oh, that's right, she went to the Awakening Lab today...huh, guess it went well.

"Come on, let's go up to the rooftop, you gotta see my new powers!"

Well, that confirms it...

"Oh, you're a Prodigy, then? Cool, congrats...but can the 'big reveal' or whatever wait for later, I'm really tired-."

"Come on, you could at least pretend to be enthusiastic! And you can go to sleep after!"

...might as well get this over with, I don't have the stamina to argue.

I reluctantly let her drag me up to the rooftop, before she took her place in the middle of the space while I leaned against the wall and watched drowsily, stifling a yawn.

My sister, Kilella Floence, was taller than I was, with the same complexion and eye color, we also had similar eyesight but she wore contacts instead of glasses. She had black hair tied up in a ponytail with the front falling over her forehead and eyebrows. She had two blonde spots on either side of the top of her head, and a blonde lock of hair over her ear like I did, but on the left instead of the right like mine was.

She took a deep breath and opened her eyes...

"<Primary Manifestation: Dragoness Armor>!"

She finally captured my attention, as her XFE began manifesting all around her, red in hue. Manifested XFE looked like glowing, colored glass, but there usually wasn't this much of it in a single manifestation. XFE could Manifest in seven different hues/attributes; white/Light, black/Dark, red/Fire, blue/Water, yellow/Lightning, purple/Wind and green/Earth.

To all regular Paragons and most Prodigies, the attribute didn't really make any difference, but to those with especially high amounts of XFE, the attribute could manifest as an additional factor.

Light Attribute could heal humans and was the most physically piercive against Mutants. Dark Attribute was like a fast-acting poison to Mutants and was also pretty harmful to humans in high doses, though not as deadly as it was to Mutants. These two attributes were very rarely found in regular Paragons and they were relatively uncommon in Prodigies too.

Then there were the users of the Elemental Attributes Fire, Lightning, Wind and Water. They could possibly manifest those elements to varying extents depending on how much their XFE capacity exceeded the Threshold, while Earth Attribute would let the user manipulate the earth below or around them, again depending on by how much their XFE capacity exceeded the Threshold.

Like I already mentioned, Prodigies with Light and Dark Attributes were rare, and of the others, those who could significantly manifest their Elemental Attribute were just as rare. And even then, it would mostly be like a small fireball or a slight electric charge or being able to levitate a small rock, though it very, very rare cases, it'd be more significant.

It goes without saying that regular Paragons wouldn't be able to manifest their Elemental Attributes at all, since they can't even manifest their XFE without the help of an X-Weapon in the first place. As for the Light and Dark Attributes, regular Paragons with Light Attribute wouldn't be able to heal anyone, but could still manifest their XFE using X-Weapons. But regular Paragons with Dark Attribute were a bit different, even a single strike with their manifested XFE using X-Weapons would cause poisonous-like effects on Mutants. But again, regular Paragons almost never had either of these two attributes.

Since my sister's XFE was red, her attribute was Fire. Anyway, back to the matter at hand...

Her XFE wrapped around her limbs and torso like armor, before it took the shape of wide, sleek wings and a whip-like tail in the back, and around her eyes in the shape of a masquerade-like mask.


For Prodigies, there were a couple of factors that affected what their Primary and Secondary Manifestations would be. First, was the amount of XFE they had in them. Those with higher capacities would manifest complex, powerful and versatile Manifestations, while those who just barely barely exceeded the Threshold would manifest simpler, though often still relatively powerful, Manifestations.

The second factor was their own preference and taste, this one was a lot more vague and hard to predict. Let me give you an example, if a person was really into, say, spears and became a Prodigy following the Awakening Procedure, their Primary Manifestation had a high chance of being a spear of some form.

Paragons who planned on undergoing the Awakening Procedure were advised to use their imaginations and really visualize what they wanted their Manifestations to look like. However, even if they did turn out to be Prodigies following the procedure, if they visualized a wildly complex and destructive Manifestation but they don't have a high enough amount of XFE, it wouldn't manifest the way they want.

More often than not, a Prodigy's Primary Manifestation would be a single weapon like a sword or axe or whatever...so seeing my sister manifesting full body armor, wings and a tail was pretty attention-grabbing and impressive.

"Wow, father must've been absolutely ecstatic over this," I remarked with a stifled yawn.

"Yeah, though...it was kinda unsettling how over-the-moon he was...so, anyway, what do you think?"

"Uh, let's see...it looks good for defense and evasion, as for offense...uh...I guess you could slap people with that tail-."

"Jeez, I didn't mean a technical analysis, I meant like your opinion!"

"But...that was my opinion...? Ohh, that's what you meant...uh, it looks cool, I guess," I shrugged indifferently.

Fact was, I thought it looked super cool and badass, but I was still salty over being woken up, so I won't give her the satisfaction.

"Hey, what's with that emotionless reaction? Oh, and you're wrong, this ability isn't lacking in offense in the slightest," She grinned, as balls of red XFE appeared in her hands, and she fired them straight up.

They shot up rapidly, fading out before they crashed onto the high ceiling of the Sanctuary dome.

...okay, so, she can fly, has a powerful defense, and can fire off projectile bursts?

"Well, can't lie, your abilities are-," I began.

"Absolutely brilliant, I could not be more proud, Kilella!" Came a triumphant voice next to me, startling me.

I was going to say overpowered, but same difference...

"Father? How long how you been there?" I asked in surprise.

My father, Kilrafhe Floence, was the Minister of Internal Paragon Affairs, or something along those lines, in the North Quadrant. He was in his early-forties, tall and burly, with slightly graying black hair that was neatly combed back and a thick graying mustache. He glanced at me, a look of disdainful disapproval as he noticed my drowsiness.

"Hmm, I see that you spent the night with those pointless hobbies of yours...well, even your disappointing attitude cannot ruin my mood today, this is a dream come true! I expect similar results from you in five years, Kilzachs," He replied.

Huh? I really wish he was kidding, but I knew better than that, he just wasn't the kidding type...

"That'd be nice and all, but...what if I don't even turn out to be a Prodigy?" I inquired, bringing up a very valid point.

"Hm? Nonsense, that won't happen! Siblings often have similar XFE levels, not to mention all the training I've paid for you to undergo...there is no doubt that you will be a Prodigy, you have to be. And now, there is no doubt that you too will achieve abilities just as powerful!"

...jeez, no pressure or anything.

"Hey, Zax, check this out...<Secondary Manifestation: Flame Armor>!"

Flames wrapped around her, her red energy armor evolving into an orangish-yellow flaming one, the air around her shimmering. No way...

"I have never seen anyone who could manifest their Elemental Attribute so drastically...incredible, isn't it?" Remarked my father.

"Uh, yeah...actually, this is kinda excessively overpowered," I mumbled quietly, as she flew around the sky unsteadily.

This was cool and all, but...can I go back to bed already?


Not long after that, it was confirmed that my older sister's abilities and potential were greater than anyone other Prodigy in the North Quadrant, and she could potentially become one of the strongest X-Warriors in the entire Sanctuary.

And my father made it clear that he expected me to have similar results when I undergo my own Awakening Procedure when I turn fifteen...great, that's what I have to live up to? Give me a break. I could only dread and wonder how my father would react if my results didn't live up to his expectations...


Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Don't forget to vote, and feel free to leave a comment, I appreciate any and all feedback and criticism! Also, check out my Instagram account @aimdaqs for posts relating to this book.

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