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Xander vol.1 Transmutation, Page 14

Jaz Johnson


  Seeing this, Nora rushed forward, gearing her hands upwards repeatedly to summon several walls of compact dirt to stop what spears she could. And those she could not reach in time were shot down by Theodore, who was rushing forward for his shot at Yang at the same time.

  Yin scowled at the help provided while Xander smiled, regaining his footing and using the ice to aid in his speed. He rushed at Yin, who leaned back in disbelief, his arms coming up to defend himself as they collided with one another to fight face to face.

  “Cheap trick,” Xander scoffed as he threw a punch.

  Yang took several steps back as he prepared for the collision with Theodore, who had begun firing his shots towards him. Yang shot small, but powerful rounds of fire to meet each bullet, causing them to explode before reaching him. But Nora called out to Theodore, stopping his gunfire.

  “Don’t kill them!” she urged, carefully stepping onto the ice in Theodore’s direction.

  Theodore frowned, hesitating before complying with Nora’s wish and returning his arms back to their natural state. Yang smirked, snickering as he slowly started making his way towards Theodore, the ice beneath him melting with each step he took.

  “Quite the gentlemen,” he’d compliment.

  Theodore’s eyes narrowed as his hands gripped into fists. He huffed, looking down at the ice, trying to think of the most efficient way to reach him. He glanced over at Xander and Yin, who were brawling amongst themselves. Both parties under the watch of Nora, who was also trying to think of a way to rid the ground of the troublesome ice.

  She glanced down at it, her foot spreading out against it. Concentrating, she pressed her foot down against the sheet, not hard enough to crack it, but enough to steady herself for what she was about to try and do. It took a moment, but soon enough, the grass from beneath the ice began getting thicker, accompanied by several roots that she had begun bringing to the surface. Together they started cracking the ice in various places, and providing at least some areas of travel for Theodore.

  Noticing the opening, Theodore made his way closer, being egged on by Yang, who had given up on reconnecting with Yin, and was instead focusing on his own battle. His hands heated up as he paced forward, his steps being matched by Theodore’s as his hands shifted into that of two large mallets.

  Meanwhile, Yin was slowly lacking in his ability to keep up with Xander’s punches. He’d yet to send another shock, as he was enjoying himself in their hand to hand. He was admittedly impressed with Yin’s ability to keep up with the speed he was going. Which, granted, wasn’t his fastest, but was still faster than a normal fight.

  “I gotta give it to you guys,” Xander said between shuffles. “You know how to hold your own.”

  “Did you think we’d go untrained?”

  “Who trained you?”

  “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Yin mused as he swiveled a round-house kick towards Xander’s chest, coating his foot in a strong sheet of ice as it made contact, knocking Xander off his feet and onto the ice-coated ground.

  It cracked under his weight and force, and was further disturbed when he rolled out of the way of another downwards kick. It was when Yin’s foot made contact with the chilled ground that Xander rolled back and took hold of his ankle, sending a round of volts through his body.

  Yin shouted in pain as his body crumbled to the ground, grabbing Yang’s attention in the process, who was focusing on dodging Theodore’s attacks. Seeing Yin’s fall and spazzing body, he scowled as he aimed his hands at Theodore, who was cocking his hand back for another attack.

  From Yang’s hands came an immense amount of hot steam. Hot enough for severe burns. Theodore cringed away from him, immediately feeling the intensity on his skin. During his retreat, Yang rushed over towards Xander as he got to his feet, Yin still twitching on the ground.

  “Hope that wasn’t too much,” Xander mumbled to himself as he watched Yin, who was beginning to grunt as he tried to gain control over his nerves.

  Seeing Yang charging over, Nora shouted a warning to Xander, getting him to look up as he bent down to pick up Yin. Immediately he raised his arms in defense as Yang blew another pocket of steam, this time funneled into a wind to knock Xander away.

  “Get up,” Yang scowled, looking back and down at his other half, who was on his hands and knees, body twitching as she struggled to get to his feet.

  “You guys are like opposites,” Xander commented, getting back to his feet and slowly approaching the two.

  “My body,” Yin complained, wincing as he was unable to stop the spazzing in his nerves.

  Yang’s eyes narrowed at Xander, before glancing around at the other approaching duo, and then down at Yin. He grimaced, knowing and having seen enough to know what the outcome of the battle would be. He stepped back towards Yin, grabbing his arm and yanking him up onto his feet.

  “I don’t think the doctor knew how this was going to turn out. This isn’t going to work,” Yang mumbled to Yin.

  “What? We can’t just –“

  “Listen. She’s not worth it. They’ve already got Theodore. This is pointless. We need to get out of here while we still can.”

  “No, we can do this. Just cover –“

  “Yin!” Yang hissed, firmly jerking his arm. “You can barely stand. We need to – argh!”

  Yang was cut off by the interjection of his own screaming as he was suddenly dragged to the ground by multiple thick vines. His arms outstretched towards Yin in an attempt to pull himself back, but Nora had him. Several more roots and vines came to join the capture, coiling around him like a constrictor as he struggled.

  Yin reached for him, almost falling where he stood at the sudden lack of support. He rushed to freeze the vines and roots that were capturing Yang, aiding him in breaking those he managed to freeze, but not fast enough to freeze the amount that Nora was summoning.

  Knowing this, Yang waved Yin off, accepting the outcome and choosing to conserve his energy.

  “Go!” Yang shouted at him.

  Yin stopped in a moment of hesitation, unsure of what to do. His body was still recovering from the shock that Xander had delivered, and without the backing support from Yang to face the three advisories. He grimaced, looking around at the three, two of which were beginning to close in on him.

  “Now!” Yang ordered. “Tell Lupin! Go!”

  “Theodore!” Nora shouted, signaling him to go after Yin before he could run off.

  But in that moment, Yin decided to listen to Yang, a sheet of ice starting a slow crawl onto his feet and up his ankles. He shot a surrounding layer of ice spikes along the ground around him, keeping Xander and Theodore at bay just long enough for him to shot up into the air on a pillar of ice. He shot up from the pillar firing himself into the air and away from the area. Theodore shot at the traveling ice beam, hoping to shoot through it and cause Yin to crash. But enough of the shots missed, allowing Yin to escape.

  “Dammit,” Theodore scowled.

  “At least we’ve got two of them,” Xander offered, crossing his arms and walking over to the bundled Yang who laid on the ground in his wad of nature. Yang kept his eyes averted from them, his facial expression calm and collected.

  “Yeah …” Nora mumbled to herself, glancing up in the direction that Yin had taken off in.

  Xander turned around to face the vault before glancing back over his shoulder at Yang.

  “What’s the code to this thing?” he asked him.

  Yang remained silent, refusing to look at or answer Xander, to no surprise. Xander paused a moment, giving him the opportunity to change his mind about answering. He gave a slight nod, pouting his lips in consideration as he looked back at the sealed metal vault.

  “Fine. Don’t tell me,” he accepted. “I’m going to need you both to back up a bit.”

  It was then that Yang looked up at Xander in curiosity and an underlining level of suspicion. Nora and Theodore shared his expression as they looked to one another.

&n
bsp; “What are you going to do?” Theodore asked, remembering how he had manipulated Halyn into crashing through his own vault.

  Xander gave a soft shrug, rolled his shoulders as he raised his hands to focus on the vault and its contents. He sensed Eleanor’s figure inside, and was able to detect the only metal she had on her person – the clasps on a pair of pearl earrings. He left their magnetism alone and began focusing on the four walls and ceiling of the vault. Not getting an answer, Nora grew wary, looking from the vault to him.

  “Xander?” she pressed.

  “She’ll be fine.”

  “But what are you going to do?”

  “I’m going to tear this thing apart.”

  “But Eleanor’s –“

  “Haven’t you learned to trust me, yet?” Xander said over his shoulder.

  Nora swallowed, staring intently at him, before her eyes drifted to Theodore. He made no gesture of assurance or skepticism – merely looked to see what she wanted to do. After a moment Nora gave a stiff nod, taking several steps back and moving Yang with her. Theodore followed, his eyes locked on the vault before them. Yang looked on in pure curiosity, wondering about the power that Xander was about to show. He couldn’t help but wonder what Lupin wasn’t telling him. What he wasn’t telling anyone.

  Xander rolled his shoulders again, getting back into the focus of aiming his power after securing Nora and the others of his intentions. He eyed the metal vault, spreading his fingers evenly as he got a sense for the metallic density of each side of the vault.

  Slowly, Xander’s fingers coiled into the palms of his hands, creating two fists. As they did, the sound of the bolts and screws that held the volt together tightening and creating pressure could be heard. The metal bucked and clanked in protest to the violation. Xander pressed his right foot into the ground, taking a deep breath as he slowly began to change each of the walls’ magnetic properties. He was turning them against themselves, causing them to want to push away from each other.

  And then with a sudden surge of strength and precision, Xander’s hands jerked to his sides, and all walls of the vault flew from one another, the ceiling flying up and landing with the back wall. The front of the vault, which held the door came flying towards Xander, but stopped just six inches away. It stood tall for a moment, before falling back onto the ground with a thud, and providing a view of Eleanor, who stood in the center of her former prison.

  She stood, resembling a child in her bewilderment. Standing at around five feet and nine inches. A wild mess of ginger hair, curling, bending, twisting, and folding around her face and mid-back. Her pale skin caught the sunlight it had been deprived of, almost glowing, and further illuminating her piercing ivory eyes.

  She stood with her hands at her pelvis, wrists bound together with the cuffs that were chained to the floor of the vault that remained. She blinked rapidly, the gust of wind and debris from the wreckage to blame. Her eyes fell upon the small group – to the captured Yang, and then to Xander, Nora, Theodore.

  Nora smiled as she slowly raised a hand to provide some sort of comfort and greeting, her heart thumping from the sight she’d just been given. Xander straightened his posture, staring at the woman with approval, not seeing any sign of injury, and noting that her earrings were still intact. He gave a nod and a sigh of content and slight exhaustion.

  “That should do it.”

  Chapter 18

  “I want one,” said Agent Whitestone as she came to stand beside Agent Elba.

  He was standing with his feet firm and arms crossed, staring ahead at the now contained Halyn. She had been placed in an incubator tube, and was being constantly injected with sedations to keep her dormant. They weren’t sure of the limitations of extensions of her abilities, and they didn’t want her morphing into something big enough to escape and/or wreck their facility. So keeping her under seemed like the best option aside from killing her.

  Elba looked down at her, his lips in their usual hard line. Whitestone giggled as he shook his head.

  “Oh, come on,” she insisted. “A pet that could change into any animal you wanted? That’s like owning your own personal Beast Boy.”

  “She’s not a pet. She’s an abomination,” Elba pressed.

  “She’s a person,” came the harsh voice of Nora, who was stepping up to join them in front of the holding cell. “That was lied to and given false hope.” Nora looked up into the regretful eyes of Elba, her own fierce in their testimony. “We all are. We just made different decisions afterwards – some better than others.”

  “Nora this woman – hell, all of these people tried to kill you.”

  “He hasn’t,” Nora argued, patently pointing to Theodore, and then Eleanor. “And neither has she. What about us? Are we abominations?”

  “You,” Elba clarified. “Have a moral standing.”

  There was a pause between her and them, as Loni waltzed up beside Nora. Arms crossed, she stared at Halyn with distaste, anger prominent in her features. She had tended to Xander’s wounds, but was anything but forgiving to their cause. And knowing that it was a pair of claws – similar to her own - that did the damage, bothered her even more.

  “I’m going with you this time,” she announced.

  The group adjusted their attention. Nora nodded with a slight sigh of relief.

  “Most likely a good idea.”

  Nora glanced in Xander’s direction, who was sitting with Theodore, lifting up his shirt to examine the bandages that wrapped from his chest around his shoulder. He didn’t even seem bothered by it. And it was apparent by his body language. He was saying something to Theodore, laughing about it, while poor Theodore looked at him like the mad man he was.

  “He seems pretty mellow,” Whitestone commented. Nora turned to her, and followed her fixed gaze on Yang, who sat in a holding cell beside Halyn.

  “I don’t like it,” said Elba.

  “Would you rather him thrashing about the place?”

  “Almost. He’s too calm. Like he’s plotting.”

  “Careful. He might hear you,” Whitestone teased, nudging his arm before walking over to Xander and Theodore.

  “Lupin will send for them,” Nora said gravely.

  Elba’s head whipped back around, his eyes locking in on Nora. Whitestone had turned back around as well, and was watching for Elba’s reaction, more so than her own. Lupin’s eyes were sharp, the connection instantly presenting itself. Nora’s body tensed, seeing the abrupt change in Elba’s body language. She prepared herself to take a step back as he moved forward, his face twisting in his apparent anger.

  “Who?”

  Nora was hesitant in answering, her discomfort around the man of authority coming back in play. But Elba didn’t need to hear the name again. It made perfect sense. All the things he’d been asking for, pestering them for. The continuous probing for information. Elba grimaced, exhaling and turning to the slightly frowning Whitestone. He raised his arm, before slowly lowering it back down with the addition of his index finger.

  “Suit up,” he nearly hollered. Both Xander and Theodore looked towards Elba with somewhat of a twitch. “We do this today.”

  “You getting this, Elba?” Whitestone asked as she, Loni, and Theodore slowly approached the entrance of Lupin’s base.

  The facility was made for camouflage – built behind a large waterfall. The cliff the waterfall was protruding from stretched back beyond their view point. There was no telling how deep or intricate the layer was. They had no idea what Lupin was capable of, since they had since decided that to be a whopping nothing.

  Back at the Hive, Elba was staring at the projected screen – showing the journey through the lens of the small camera that was strapped to the choker that Whitestone wore. His signature frown was a little less firm as he glanced around the empty halls of the facility. The onslaught of attacks that he was expecting was nowhere to be found. And while Elba found that to be a relief, Nora, who was standing beside him, was growing increasing
ly paranoid from its absence. Her head shook slightly, her eyes narrowing and squinting as she searched every area of the camera’s view.

  “Looks like we got lucky,” Elba said gruffly. “No interruptions. Search the place. Every room. No stone left unturned.”

  “Right,” Whitestone responded. “You’re up, Theodore. Guide us.”

  “Where is he?” Nora asked more to herself than allowed.

  Nonetheless, the question was heard. Elba dipped his head, glancing over hers. His brow rose in question.

  “Problem?”

  “Lupin,” Nora clarified with some distress.

  “Gone. Most likely fled when you and Xander were making your rescues. Count your blessings that we don’t have to deal with the rest of the Chimera.”

  “But why? Why would he –“

  “The man’s scared. He’s been caught,” Elba somewhat bellowed, a little put off by the questioning of the situation.

  “Then why is it still standing?”

  Elba paused, taking a moment to register the question. His brows pinched, while Eleanor, behind them, stood from her seat, the question raising some concern.

  “What?”

  “The base? If he’s running, why is it still there? He wouldn’t have left his work to be studied by someone else. Or anything.”

  “She’s right,” Eleanor commented, stepping forward. “He would have burnt it down.”

  “What if it’s a trap?” Nora suggested in panic, looking up at Elba as his eyes shifted back to the projected screen.

  “She has a point,” came Whitestone’s voice into the microphone. “Maybe it’s a little too quiet.”

  “Quiet?” Loni said with some distaste. “Do you not hear that?”

  “Hear what?”

  “I hear it too,” Theodore agreed. “Spilling liquid of some kind.”

  “Busted pipe? Maybe he did some damage after all,” Whitestone suggested.

  “No … It’s not constant.”

  “What’s going on over there?” Elba demanded with caution, glancing around the area again in search of the source of the noise they were describing but falling short.