Xander vol.1 Transmutation, Page 13Jaz Johnson
“Theo?” she called out. “Theodore!”
From within the solitary vault, Theodore, chained and bolted to the vault’s bare floor, heard the muted calling of his name. His head slightly turned in the door’s direction, his eyes full of both hope and caution. His body shifted, rustling the chains that held him. Hearing his name again, the voice registered with him, making his heart thud against his ribcage with sudden adrenaline.
“Nora?” he croaked, just above a whisper.
“Theo, you in there?” Nora shouted, banging against the vault’s door repeatedly.
Theodore shifted again, rising to his feet – the chains connecting his collar to the floor straining and testing its length. He grunted, shuffling about to comfortably use the length of the chains.
“I’m here!” he said after clearing his throat. “I’m here!” he called desperately.
Hearing a response, however low it was from inside the dense walls of the vault, Nora sighed, her hands shifting on the door’s surface with hope.
“Hey, Theo,” she said with somewhat of a relieved laugh. “We’re here to bust you out.”
Theodore’s brows furrowed, his eyes bouncing around the inside of the vault in wonder.
“What are you?” Halyn spat at Xander, her body constantly twitching from the several volts of electricity she had been made to endure. Xander was still bouncing lightly from foot to foot.
“Not a Chimera,” Xander taunted.
Halyn growled, her eyes narrowing at the avoidance of her question. She was stumped as to how Xander was doing what he was doing. She had only one idea, and he had insisted on shooting it down, which was proving to cause irritation. The doctor hadn’t said anything about another run-away Chimera, which she was almost certain Xander was.
“Truth,” Xander insisted.
Halyn stomped her paw into the ground, as a means to appear threatening. But Xander merely stood, looking at her, waiting for something to happen. And indeed, it did. Her body began to morph again, this time taking a bigger form – one of a black bull. Xander’s brows rose, almost in shock as Halyn huffed, the golden nose ring she had been sporting now fashioning as a thick bullring. Her hoof dug into the ground, grinding against it as her head shook, her tail whipping behind her. Xander gave a slow nod.
“Very fascinating. I don’t think Loni can do that.”
Halyn huffed, beginning to charge. Xander winced in anticipation, his confidence wavered ever so slightly.
“Don’t think her fangs are that long, either,” he added, glancing at the size of her horns.
He ran to the side, being followed by the clearly enraged Halyn, who had come accustomed to easy prey. She swerved with his movements, trying to impale him in the process and failing.
He couldn’t help but to laugh off his nerves as the bull constantly charged after him, leaving him little to no time to come up with a counter attack, or aim for one, for that matter. And just as he had set up a stance when sparing with Sven and his spears, Xander came up with the idea to head for a wall – in this case, a tree.
And Halyn, being so focused on impaling Xander’s body, didn’t even notice. Not until Xander ran up the thick trunk of the tree, leaving Halyn to pierce her horns into its bark, stabbing clear through to the other side. Xander, holding on to a branch above, watched as Halyn huffed and roared in rage as she tried to jerk her horns from the tree.
Xander dropped down on Halyn’s head, his hands lowering to her bullring and taking hold to send another volt of electricity. Again her body spazzed about, letting out a whine of pain as Xander leap from her back onto the ground. And when he turned around, he was looking into her eyes, now held by the body of a black bear, the nose ring now fashioning as a golden fang.
Again, Xander looked on in amazement at yet another change.
“It’s really a shame you’re on the wrong side,” he said with genuine disappointment.
Halyn gave a roaring growl as she ran at Xander again. Xander frowned, both amazed and troubled at her resiliency. He couldn’t up his voltage, less he risk killing her as Nora feared. But with the levels he was currently dishing out, it would take several hours to properly ware her down enough to contain her.
And so, he thought of killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Seeing as though Nora had not yet returned with her friend, he figured that she too was in need of some assistance. He sighed, quick stepping to the side with a bounce, rocking back and forth between his feet before leaping up over Halyn’s attack.
“Come on, you overgrown teddy bear,” he mocked, stepping down on her head and using it to push off of to sprint into the thick of the woods.
Halyn snarled, whipping around and charging after him. He lead her into the direction Nora had taken off in, hoping that the vault was close.
“I don’t know if I can do that,” Theodore regrettably called to Nora, who was working on a way to get him out of the vault.
She had suggested that Theodore change into a machine big enough to break the walls of the vault, but Theodore was second-guessing his abilities.
“You’ve got to try, Theo. We’ve got to get you out of here.”
“Who’s we? Is Eleanor out there with you?”
“No, we’re going to get her next. I’ve found someone to help. To help us.”
“Who? What makes you think they can help us?”
“Well … He’s –“
“Come on! Is that the biggest you’ve got?” hollered the voice of Xander. “I’ve seen bigger turtles!”
Nora turned in the direction of his shouting, her brows furrowed as she squinted into the distance. Her eyes drifted around the area before widening, as her feet felt the sudden trembling within the ground. She stepped back against the door of the vault, her eyes now glued to the ground as she watched the bouncing of small rocks. Her head snapped back up when hearing the screeching of what sounded like an elephant, her eyes widening further as the trembling grew more violent.
“Nora? What is that? What’s going on?” Theodore called from the inside, also feeling the tremble in the floor of the vault.
Nora shook her head in denial as she saw the trees within the denser area of the forest shake violently as they approached, some of the trees even falling. She let out a shaky breath, her own body mimicking the trembling of the forest floor as Xander came running through the opening of the trees.
She stared in disbelief at the wide smile on his face as he rushed towards her. She shook her head, backing up further into the vault’s door as his arms opened. Her eyes drifted away from Xander, moving up to the large black elephant, one tusk of ivory and one tusk of gold, that came charging through the trees towards them. Again, Halyn screeched as she reared her head to the side, aiming her tusks for an attack.
Nora whimpered as she stood frozen, until Xander used the magnetic property on her belt to fling her into his arms. He adjusted her properly before throwing her into the air, running up the wall of the vault and launching himself into the air after her with its magnetic repel.
The now screaming Nora landed in his arms as they flew higher, out of reach of the stampeding elephant. She flailed as he wrapped his arms around her, hitting against his chest, damn near in tears.
“N – Wh – You’re crazy!” she screamed at him over the sound of crunching metal. He merely smiled at her as they swayed in the air.
“Got the box open, didn’t I?” Xander chuckled as they began their freefall back down, causing another scream from Nora as she was adjusted once again in his arms to be slung over his shoulder.
She shut her eyes from the fall as Xander carefully landed on the head of the now grudging Halyn. In her blinding rage, she had charged right into – and through the vault, leaving Theodore standing in shock and terror. Xander knelt on Halyn’s head, flattening his palm against the crown and sending one final, significantly la
rger volt of electricity to her skull. Presuming the mass of her current form, he figured she would be able to withstand it. And he was right. Her body, remaining in the form of an elephant fell limp against the ground, but sustained its pulse.
Sensing the stillness of Halyn’s body, Xander gently set Nora down beside him as he looked around at the damage and the man standing in the middle of the exposed vault. He sighed, smiling as he nudged the trembling Nora against her shoulder before waving to Theodore.
“Hello,” Xander called to him. Theodore gave a hesitant wave, hands still shackled. “I’m Xander.”
“Alien, huh?” Theodore asked again, his southern twang smothering his words.
He, Xander, and Nora were making their way over to Eleanor’s vault, and making good time. They had gotten Theodore ahead of schedule, landing them around noon. Xander, though injured, insisted on continuing the retrieval instead of wasting another day. Xander had offered Theodore to go back to the base when they came for Halyn, but he insisted on coming along, wanting to repay them for rescuing him. Nora had explained to Theodore what they’d intended to do, and he was all too happy to participate in stopping Lupin from ruining more lives.
“Is it really so hard to believe?” Xander asked with a bit of a chuckle as they hiked through the forest.
“Almost as hard as believing we’re mutants.”
“Well, see – I don’t have a hard time believing that at all.” Theodore paused at the response. “So what’s your story? What brought you into the doctor’s office?” Xander asked, granting Theodore his curiosity. Theodore frowned, averting his eyes.
“Trauma,” he said bluntly.
“What kind of trauma?” Xander asked shamelessly.
Nora stopped ahead of them, looking back at Xander and catching his attention. She held a scolding stare, making Xander bounce his eyes between them. Theodore kept walking, passing Nora as she continued to stare.
“What?” Xander asked as he would his mother. Nora shook her head.
“Let’s just focus on getting Eleanor, okay?” she suggested.
Xander walked up to Nora’s side.
“But I was just –“
“They’ll both tell us their stories when they’re ready to. Don’t pressure them about it. I’m sure they’re all very personal.”
“But shouldn’t we know?”
“We will. It doesn’t have to be right this minute.”
“I was just making conversation.”
“Well, choose a different topic.”
“Guys,” came the grim voice of Theodore, who had stopped several yards ahead.
Both Nora and Xander looked in his direction – Nora’s anxiety immediately kicking up a notch.
Just in front of Theodore, lay the evidence of the two Chimera that were guarding Eleanor’s vault. What was once a lush field of various plant-life, was now scattered with snow and thin sheets of ice – the areas spreading. The wind picked up as Nora and Xander made their way to Theodore’s side. His frown was prominent as he looked on at the two Chimera that were smiling in response.
One, Yang, identified by his silver hair and black eyes, was standing directed in front of the vault, arms crossed as he leaned on its door. While the other, Yin, identified by his raven black hair and silver eyes, was off to Yang’s left, somewhat in the foreground. He was responsible for the abrupt change in weather.
“Shit,” Nora breathed as her eyes met Yin’s.
Xander glanced at them both, not particularly bothered by either. Though he would have preferred to stay in the nice temperature. He felt the subtle sting of his wound protesting the cold.
“You owe me twenty,” Yang said to his other half. Yin scoffed, stepping to his right, more in front of Yang.
“Halyn can never do anything right,” Yin scowled with a slight shake of his head. “Hello, Theodore.” His eyes bounced to Nora with a devilish smile. “Nora.”
“And Xander,” Xander brazenly added.
Yin raised a brow, giving a fraction of a nod as he looked over Xander’s features.
“And you, oddly-coloured individual.”
Xander’s face twisted, his mouth flopping open in silent protest.
“Oddly –“ Xander’s index figure jabbed in Theodore’s direction. “We are the same complexion!”
“Not the colours he was referring to,” Yang spoke up, pushing off the wall and stepping forward to line up with Yin. “But we’re getting off subject.”
“Ah, yes –“ Yin agreed, nodding.
“— your deaths,” Yang finished.
Xander shook his head, lowering his hand and glancing over at Nora, who was standing noticeably still next to Theodore, who looked like he was ready to put up a fight.
“Why – What is it with them and killing? I just fought a big cat, an elephant, a bear, and some other horned animal to keep that woman –“
“You’re disrupting the master’s plans,” Yang interrupted.
“To make more Chimera?” Theodore questioned.
“To give mankind the revolution it’s been waiting for,” Yin answered.
“The evolution that will change everything,” Yang added.
“Not everyone will make it, Toji,” Nora pleaded.
“It’s Yin and Yang, now,” both Yin and Yang corrected.
“People die every day. This is no different,” Yang added.
“You know that’s not true!” Nora shouted, taking an unconscious step forward into Xander’s arm, which he had raised to keep her at bay.
“You know it is, and you’re trying so desperately to find a significant difference,” Yang insisted.
Nora pressed against Xander’s arm. He moved closer to her, almost surprised at her sudden aggression.
“Nora,” Xander warned,
“You guys got any other people coming along to help us?” Theodore asked warily, slowly making his way closer to them as Yin and Yang drew closer together. Xander looked in his direction. “We may need it.”
Xander raised a brow, giving a slight scoff as he glanced back in the twins’ direction.
“Amazing you still find the need to underestimate me,” Xander answered, lowering his arm from Nora’s rising chest. Her eyes still locked on those of Yin’s.
“You may be the one underestimating us,” Yang cautioned as he extended his hand out towards Yin, who did the same.
And as they did, there were two lines of what looked like coloured winds that flew between them, sparking Xander’s attention – as well as Nora and Theodore’s. From Yin’s hand came a stream of an almost silver white – similar to the snow he had been laying down previously. From Yang’s hand came a stream with a reddish tint. The conclusion of heat was only made relevant when the snow at his feet began to melt, while the snow around Yin’s feet began to thicken.
Theodore scowled as he took a step back while Nora and Xander stood where they were, looking on. Nora’s eyes were filled with angst, while Xander’s were filled with wonder. He couldn’t help but feel a sense of astonishment at seeing the Chimera in action. Especially these two, which seemed to have sprouted from the same human, and result with two completely separate bodies.
It took the wind picking up around them for Xander to snap back into the mindset of preparing to fight. He nudged Nora, who blinked rapidly before looking at him. He nodded to her, before looking over at Theodore who returned his glance.
“You guys are joining in this time.”
Nora sighed with reluctance as Theodore nodded in understanding, his gaze falling back to the twins. He raised his arms, which promptly turned into large barreled guns. Xander’s eyes widened for a moment before he laughed, giving an exaggerated nod. An excited current sparked his arms as he pumped his arm in premature victory.
“Awesome!” he exclaimed.
“Xander!” Nora screamed as she raised her arm, summoning a thic
k wall of compact dirt in front of them both, blocking the large spear of ice from hitting its mark.
Xander’s eyes locked on the shield of dirt as he bounced from heel to heal, breathing short breaths as he mentally pumped himself up. Nora grimaced at his seemingly carefree attitude. And although he did manage to take down Halyn, she was still wary about Yin and Yang.
“Xander, be –“
Before Nora could finish her warning, Xander was climbing up the dirt wall. He dug his foot into the top of the wall before jumping over it and charging for the two across the clearing. Nora gasped and lowered the wall, cracking the ice spear in half as a result as she looked on in horror, he hand outstretched.
“Xander!” she shouted after him.
“Come on!” Xander shouted out at he ran closer.
Yin smirked as he approached, shifting both his hands and aiming them at Xander. Yang narrowed his eyes at Yin when he broke the connection, scowling disapprovingly as he built and launched another ice spear.
“Bring it,” Yin taunted, moving closer.
Xander picked up his speed, ducking forward to doge the incoming spear, which sent it towards Nora as a result. She gasped, moving to throw her hands up to cover herself, screaming when the spear was shattered by the sudden piercing of a bullet from Theodore. She exhaled, gratefully looking towards Theodore who was coming up beside her, his gun-arms pointed straight and aimed at the twins.
Yin fired spear after spear, aiming for the approaching Xander who was closing the distance between them with every step. He raised his hands, charging them before firing some electrical attacks of his own aimed at the both of them. Yin moved to the side, summoning a sheet of ice to rise in front of him and deflect the voltage. While Yang rushed to move away from the flying spark.
“Yin,” he scowled, wanting to reconnect to enhance their power, only to be ignored.
Yin wanted to show off against this new enemy. After forcing the sheet of ice back into the ground, his dug his fingers into it, and let the ice spread along the surface of the ground, almost covering its entirety – aside from the immediate area around Yang.
Xander’s eyes widened as he suddenly felt himself slipping uncontrollably. He frowned, gritting his teeth as he tried to regain control of his movements. Yin smirked as he saw the slip in control, and sent another round of spears hurtling towards him. Xander flailed as he tried to move out of the way, though unable to do so.