14 Chapter 014 – Last Round

[2009 – June]

Focusing my thoughts, I looked at the column and thought about how to deal the most destructive blow I could.

Shield creation. Shield manipulation.

In both cases, my imagination was the most important, the picture in my mind deciding what I could create and what not.

I thought about creating a sphere and then compressing the air inside by shrinking the barrier, but that probably wouldn't be as destructive as I wanted it to be with my current capabilities.

So I decided on another method that would also help me find out my current limits.

Settling on an image in my mind, I lifted up my palms and faced them forward. Creating a shield around the column, I concentrated on what I wanted it to do.

I wanted it to exert pressure on the pillar like a telekinetic grip.

Focusing on that, I continued by slowly pushing my palms together, and as the shield couldn't shrink further around the column it started to apply force on it.

The number on the screen to the side was slowly rising while I concentrated solely on forcing the barrier to contract around the measuring device.

Pressure started to build up in my mind, informing me that what I wanted to do was possible but incredibly taxing.

I didn't stop though, as I pushed and forced the barrier inwards with my mind. I saw no outward change, but I felt the weight on my mind reaching the limit of what I could endure.

It felt as if even the smallest push would cause me to faint immediately and I simply couldn't continue anymore as my sight was already starting to get blurry.

Exhaling in relief, I let go of my shield at once, while I realised that I was a bit unsteady on my feet. Though before I fell and collapsed in mental exhaustion, I felt someone grab my arm and hold me up.

"Whoa, easy there, buddy.", Pietro said from my side, as he helped me move toward the side of the room and sit down with my back leaning against the wall, right next to an exhausted Ellie.

My breathing was rough and pearls of sweat were running down my temples, as I understood how much I had pushed myself.

"Here. Have some water, Elijah.", Yukio said as she passed me a bottle.

"Thanks.", I uttered lethargically as I slowly removed the cap and strenuously tried to lift the bottle to take a sip.

It was as if my thoughts had turned into lead and every action was taking incredible effort.

I could hear Ellie sighing to herself before she turned around a bit and helped me bring the bottle to my lips.

"You really are an idiot. Don't go all out like that for just a game, even I held back a bit.", she said in a resigned tone, while her actions clearly displayed her caring side.

After a few invigorating sips, I already felt much better.

"Thanks guys.", I said giving them a grateful smile, before I continued directly by asking, "So what's my score?"

"73. Nearly beat me, which is kinda impressive. I don't want to know what your shields could do to a body with the kind of force you can exert.", Pietro answered.

"It seems I pushed you down the ranking.", I said with a queer smile to Yukio.

"It's fine, I don't mind losing. But it's fun competing, isn't it?", the lovely asian girl said.

"Yeah, it's fun.", I exclaimed while smiling genuinely

Seeing the smile on Elijah's face, Yukio's heart couldn't help but clench a tiny bit. There was melancholy about him that she couldn't explain, even as he expressed his joy.

Yukio had been raised by the Yakuza as an orphan before she had managed to escape with Logan's help and finally experienced what it meant to be free. Somehow this part of her resonated with the look she caught in the black-haired teen's eyes.

She didn't know what he had experienced, but her initial curiosity had already turned into genuine fondness after only a short time being around him. And Yukio could sense the same fondness for him in Ellie and Pietro.

Elijah was different than the many other teens in the mansion but he seemed to fit right into with the three of them, which was mildly surprising as Ellie and her were kind of social pariahs.

And while Pietro was well-liked by many, most were just acquaintances as he could really connect with most people. He had told her once in the past that it was hard for him to be around other people sometimes, as he experienced the world in a completely different way than most.

Waiting for Elijah and Ellie to recover a bit, she explained the next and last challenge which was called the 'Protection Challenge'.

Looking around the training room and the new setup, I questioned the others to make sure I understood what I had to do in the next round.

"So we have to protect this drone from the other robots that are shooting small blasts of energy at it while it tries to reach the safe point in the middle?"

"Pretty much.", Ellie answered.

"And we are not allowed to move the target directly into the safe zone?"

"Yeah. Otherwise, no one else would have a chance against me in this round.", Pietro confirmed with a nod as he added.

I knew him to be right, as with his speed there was no one who could bring the target to its destination faster than him.

"Basically everyone starts at 100 points and every time the target is hit your points decrease by one. The one with the most remaining points after the drone reached the goal wins.", Yukio added helpfully.

"Well this challenge was basically designed for me then, wasn't it?", I couldn't help but voice out with a smile.

"Don't remind me, curly hair.", Ellie retorted with an annoyed sigh.

Her powers were the least useful in this case, as she could only form a protective field around herself using the shockwaves of her explosive energy, while the powers of the rest of us were more suitable for protecting a single target, especially mine.

Yukio too, had better chances at a higher score than she did, as her Elektrokinesis allowed her to target specific targets with more accuracy than Ellie, so she could take out the attacking robots more easily even from a distance.

The energy blasts from the attacks were also not harmful to humans, though they stung a bit according to the others, so you could technically win by taking the shot heading for your target yourself, protecting it with your powers, destroying the attackers, or even a combination of those strategies.

Truly, it was the perfect challenge for an aspiring superhero who would probably encounter similar situations later on where they had to evacuate people in danger.

"So the order for this round is me and Yukio first, so you two can recover some more.", Pietro added, before he went into position at one end of the room next to the small drone he had to protect.

"Computer, start the countdown.", he voiced out once he was in position, while the rest of us waited in a designated resting area near the entrance.

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