Saved by the Sun
Che took a deep breath, going over every strategy he could possibly think of in his mind. The status screen appeared in his vision, and he knew that whatever happened next, it would all be up to him.
Yokan’s level and techniques hadn’t changed since their first encounter, but this time Che pulled up his other stats as well. Yokan’s Mark was known as Disturb, and apparently it lowered the opponent’s physical and mystical attack strength. That partially explained the paralyzing fear Che was feeling, though that was only a small part of it.
He shook his head. It didn’t matter now. No matter what happened, at least he’d go down knowing he had tried his best. He glanced over at Nikki, who nodded to him in silent understanding. Whatever the outcome was, they were going to face this together.
The sirens were still blaring, though by now Che had long tuned them out. He could still feel the heat from the fires caused by the explosions nearby, and the air was thick with the smell of smoke. The only sound that registered was that of his heartbeat, which was rapidly getting louder and faster.
“You all over there!” the ground-level guards were now rushing towards the group, while the gate slowly closed behind them. The watchtower guards stood completely still, ready to fire at any moment.
Yokan turned his head as if barely acknowledging their presence. Before they could get a few feet away from the gates, the ground-level guards were launched into the air by Yokan’s Telekinesis technique.
“Psycho Beam…” Yokan lifted his hand, a large ball of energy starting to form between his fingers. A large beam of energy erupted from it and collided with the guards, sending them flying back into the concrete wall.
Yokan traced the air with his hand, causing the beam to knock out the guards in the watchtowers as well. Within seconds, they had all been knocked unconscious.
“YOKAN!” Che yelled, his voice filled with rage.
“So, this was your plan?” Yokan’s voice dripped with maliciousness as he turned back to face Che. “You thought you could just sneak out here and save the day? Even for you, that’s naive.”
“You wanted me to come here!” Che shouted back. “All of this is happening because of you!”
Yokan chuckled, the sound sending chills down Che’s spine. “True, but now that you’re here…the game has changed.”
He gestured to Reagan and Vista. “It seems you’re both overdue for a rematch.”
Che gulped as he braced himself for the fight ahead, his heart pounding in his chest. He had no idea what they’d have to face, but he was now ready. Reagan launched forward first, leaping into the air with a confident smile full of silver teeth.
Vista followed suit, summoning a purple whip covered in thorns. She cracked it at Nikki, who swiftly dodged out of the way before launching her own Fire Orb attacks at Vista.
“Mach Kick!” Reagan shouted as he gained speed, hurtling toward Che like a torpedo. This was it! He had to activate his Mark.
“Meditate!” Che closed his eyes and focused his energy, sending out a low hum that reverberated throughout the area. He could feel the vibrations from Reagan’s attack slow down in response, and he opened his eyes to see Reagan had already closed the distance between them.
The ball of his foot was merely inches away from Che’s nose when the silver flames once again covered his body. Reagan passed right through Che as if he were a ghost, crashing into a nearby tree with enough force to shake the very ground.
Nikki had just ignited Vista’s whip, causing Vista to catch on fire and fall unconscious just like before.
She exchanged a glance with Che, equal parts disbelief and excitement playing on their faces. Reagan barely had time to process what had happened as he scrambled back to his feet.
“Yo, what the hell is that?” he shouted. “Since when you know how to glow and shit?”
“Never mind that!” Che retorted. “I know something about that technique of yours. It’s strong, but it comes with a cost. Every time you use it, it damages you!”
Reagan’s face morphed from disbelief to determination. “Man, whatever! I don’t need you to explain my shit to me! You ain’t cool enough for that!”
“I ALSO know,” Che continued, “that your Mark is called Careless. When you use a move that causes residual damage to yourself, it inflicts more damage to your opponent.”
“Yeah? So what?” Reagan growled. “You sound like one of those lame superheroes right now, by the way!”
“But it also increases your residual damage, Reagan!” Che shouted, his voice echoing in the night. “I don’t want to fight you! I’m only here to stop Yokan! Please! You have to get away from him! You’re just a kid!”
Che turned to face Yokan. “I don’t know why they didn’t remember who you are until now, but this is between you and me. Leave them out of it!”
Yokan’s eyes narrowed, but he merely smirked in response. Che was about to charge after him when he felt Reagan approaching him and reflexively dodged his punch.
“Stop this!” Che’s voice nearly cracked as he pleaded with Yokan, whose smile only widened. Reagan continued to move in for another attack, but Che merely slumped his shoulders.
“Reagan, I’m sorry,” his voice desperate and sorrowful. “I’m sorry you and Vista got mixed up in all this.”
“Man, shut up already!” Reagan growled as he leaped into the air once more, preparing another Mach Kick attack, though at the moment Che could sense a hint of hesitation in his actions. He sighed as the silver flames coating his body grew in intensity.
“Reagan, you don’t understand…” Che muttered, his eyes becoming steely with determination. “My technique never misses.”
“Mach Kick!” Reagan shouted, completing the attack and hurtling towards Che like a missile.
“Ace Punch!” Che leaped up to meet Reagan’s attack, his fist connecting with perfect aim. The force of the punch sent Reagan flying back several feet, crashing onto the ground with a loud thud.
Che landed on the ground and looked up to see Yokan still hovering in mid-air, his expression a strange mixture of amusement and boredom. “Well, you have gotten marginally stronger. I’ll admit to that. You even know about Marks and how techniques work now. Honestly, I don’t care about those things. I don’t really need to.”
“I’m tired of listening to you talk!” Che shouted, drawing his arm back as he prepared an Ace Punch attack. It wouldn’t do much damage, but at least it never missed. Plus, he knew for sure Yokan had two non-offensive moves, Convalesce and Teleport. The former healed his injuries, while the latter would help him flee battles.
Che’s only chance was to keep Yokan from healing himself long enough to defeat him. Before he could move, Yokan stretched his hand out toward Nikki, who began choking and desperately grabbing at her neck as she was lifted into the air.
“I would take a moment to consider your position,” Yokan’s voice was cold and menacing. “If you don’t surrender, things might not go well for your friend.”
“PUT HER DOWN!” Che screamed, completely forgetting the attack he had prepared. “Don’t you dare hurt her!”
Yokan stared at him for a few moments before shrugging and releasing Nikki, who collapsed onto the ground in a heap. Che felt his anger dissipating as he ran to her side.
“Why do you care about any of them?” Yokan’s voice made Che furrow his brows in confusion before turning back to face him.
“She’s my friend,” Che said firmly. “She was the only one who’s stuck by my side since I got here. She’s been helping me find a way to stop you!”
“Chetachi,” Yokan chuckled. “I’m the only friend you’re going to need here. Don’t you get it yet?”
“Yokan…” Che’s voice was barely audible. “Please. I just want to go back home. I’ve played your stupid little game. I made it all the way here. Just tell me how to get back.”
“You think this is what I wanted?” Yokan gestured around him.
“Then what do you want?” Che asked, his voice now much calmer. He stood up and walked toward Yokan with a determined expression on his face.
Yokan raised an eyebrow. “Oh? You’re still going to face me? Even though you know it’s completely pointless? You’re only half as strong as me, your type is at a disadvantage, and I can heal myself.”
“I don’t care,” Che’s voice was now strong and confident. “I’m not going to let you hurt anyone else.”
Yokan stared at him for a moment as a smile crept across his face. “Fine. You should know, though, that my strongest attack is Psycho Beam. Your Mark will block it, but I don’t use it much anyway.”
He shot his hand forward, lifting Che off his feet and into the air. Che wasted no time, pointing his fist at Yokan, who noticed and clenched his own, choking Che with the invisible force of his Telekinesis technique. Che clawed at his neck with his left hand as he desperately tried to keep his right fist up, waiting for an opportunity to use his attack.
“A…a-ace!” Che croaked, the silver flames flickering in and out of sight. Yokan hovered toward him until they were face-to-face, an almost sadistic smirk on his face.
“Chetachi…” he purred. “One beautiful thing about this place is that if you die you can live on as a Spirit type if you want. Death is entirely optional here.”
“Chetachi, this school, this whole world,” Yokan continued, his grip tightening as he spoke. “It’s just like a game. We can both play it together.”
Che’s vision was starting to blur, his fist dropping to his side. Yokan’s face was fading in and out of sight as Che felt himself slipping away. No! He had to land at least one punch on this lunatic! It couldn’t end like this!
Che felt the invisible grip around his throat release as he landed flat on his back, the silver flames around him exploding with a deafening roar. He looked up to see Tyson standing in front of him, slowly rising to his full height. He was still wearing the tank top and shorts he’d gone to sleep in, and Che’s eyes widened as realization set in.
Tyson was still asleep.
“Tyson!” Che shouted, his voice cracking as he tried with all his might to get the words out. “Tyson, wake up! Please! You have to wake up and get away!”
He jumped to his feet, racing toward Tyson, who was taking in an absurdly deep breath. Che stumbled, nearly falling face down in the grass, as he shouted once more for Tyson to wake up.
The starry globe of light began to materialize in front of Tyson’s face as it did before. Yokan noticed and flung his hand forward, intending to silence Tyson before he had a chance to finish his attack.
“Ace Punch!” Che felt like he teleported from the spot he was standing to where Yokan was floating in midair. The punch connected with Yokan’s face, sending him flying backward. Che landed on the ground right in front of Tyson.
“Sleep Beam!” the starry globe exploded into a beam of light that hurtled toward Che. He willed every limb in his body to leap to the side, the beam just barely missing him. He fell hard on his stomach and heard the sound of Tyson finally waking up.
“Huh? Where am I?”
The beam collided with Yokan, who fell to the ground with a loud thud. Che could have laughed if the situation weren’t so dire. Yokan rose to his feet, dusting himself off as if the attack had barely damaged him.
“I think he’ll make a great Spirit type,” he said with a smirk, readying another Psycho Beam attack. Che turned and started sprinting toward Tyson, who was looking around in confusion. He had no time to explain.
“Tyson, get down!” Che shouted. Tyson dropped to the ground, and Che threw himself over him as they both prepared for Yokan to unleash his attack.
It was as if someone had turned the clock ahead several hours. One moment it was dark, the next moment the field was lit up by a brilliant yellow light. Che and Tyson both looked up to see Nikki standing before them, her hands lifted toward the sky, which was now brightly lit.
Che then began to feel very hot, as if he’d been tossed into an oven. What was Nikki trying to do?
“I’m sorry, guys,” Nikki said, her voice barely audible over the roar of her Sunstorm technique. “They’re all gonna be here soon.”
“All of you! Get down now!” within seconds they were all surrounded by Legaros armed guards and personnel.
“I see…” Yokan sighed as he looked around the scene. “You’re going to need a lot more help than I’d originally thought. That’s fine. We can still salvage all of this.”
Before any of the guards could close in on them, Yokan had already teleported away. Che looked around the grassy field, searching for any sign of Yokan, but there was nothing. His vision blurred as the heat of the Sunstorm technique started to take its toll.
The last thing Che remembered was Tyson trying to catch him as he fell. Then, he couldn’t remember anything else.