A Distorted Future (2.0)
Chapter 1: The Road to Discoverance
Copyright© 2018 by A19M50
To properly tell this story, I must first go back to the beginning, where everything first began. This is not my story, but the story of a planet, of a race. This is the story of the long forgotten world known as Neptar.
It felt like an ordinary day, I expected it to go how it always went, thinking back I honestly wished it would’ve. As I woke up that day I felt a sudden uneasiness before I got up, at the time I didn’t know for sure why that had happened so I didn’t pay much attention to it, though I have a pretty good feeling why I had that feeling now. As I got up out of my bed that morning I went through my normal everyday routine, I change clothes, freshen up and begin to practice my abilities, us Neptarians have various abilities which make us stand out from humans. For starters, we have the ability to project and control flames and the ability to hover in mid-air for short periods of time. I lived in a small room in a place that’s somewhat of a cellar for the royal castle. I had my bed neatly organized to the far left of the room, off to the right I had a small shelf with a collection of various combat and instructional manuals which I always used when training as well, in front of that was the door which led to the servants quarters, there were around five of them living in the castle at my grandfather’s request. There are also some stairs which lead up to the throne room. As I left my room that day, everything seemed normal there was nothing particularly unusual about it, a few servants greeted me as usual, they were having their usual breakfast at the canteen which was within the cellar, and they were tending to their own rooms. I then went on to greet my grandfather like always. I headed up the stairs of the dusty cellar, the floors were made out of a nicely polished stone and there were various dark wooden pillars which supported the roof. I then went straight to the throne. The throne itself was made out of a silver metal which was nicely polished and it was positioned on a balcony just in front of the main entrance. When entering, visitors are greeted with historic paintings, portraits, and statues while also being given complimentary snacks and drinks. To get to the throne one must walk up the stairs positioned around the balcony. Once at the throne you could see a large table with smaller chairs around it, this was for my grandfather’s weekly meetings. He had always traveled a lot and met up with high ranking Neptarians to discuss various subjects.
As I arrived at the throne my grandfather greeted me,
“Good morning Mistery, how are you this morning? You’re looking a bit pale.” he had asked me
“Oh, I’m fine just feeling a bit drowsy is all” I responded still feeling tired
“Well, that’s good to hear. Although, I did hear a loud crash in the cellar, is everything alright?” he had asked me with a grin on his face as if he knew what I had done. Just a few minutes before greeting him I was practicing on my fire projection and in the process, I had accidentally blown a hole in the wall.
“Y-yeah, everything is fine” I responded with a nervous expression.
“Well anyways, class is starting soon I think you better start heading out,” he said to me. I was enrolled in Torn’s training academy which is the reason I always practice my abilities every morning after I wake up, I have never been good at controlling my power, however, I have always wanted to become a royal knight and serve under my grandfather. A few years back I took the entrance exam but only managed to qualify for a rank D class. Despite my humiliating display I decided to keep on training on my own as well as during class. I believed that constantly training would help me improve my skills and to my surprise it did. A few months after my first exam I was given the opportunity to take the rank C exam and I managed to pass it with flying colors. I like to think it was because I had a friend watching and cheering me on. I never had many friends. I had always preferred being alone and I didn’t like to speak too often, but when I met this person my views on other people changed and I thought my life had changed for the better. However, shortly after I passed the exam she was taken back home to the northwestern part of Xaar, which was the continent I lived on. I had only known her for a few days but already, I felt like we had become best friends, but I guess things don’t always go the way you expect them to, do they? I wasn’t born an abnormal my firepower was lacking and I could hardly hover in mid-air for a mere five seconds. I wasn’t a prodigy by any means. There was, however, someone who was. Enrolled at the same academy I was in, there was a boy named Blade. He was always at the top of all his classes and he even managed to qualify for rank A during the entrance exams I had always thought it was mainly due to the fact that he has an incredible abnormality. Somehow, he has the ability to create a sword out of nothing. Not only that but he is also proficient with it. What bothers me most however, is the fact that he is only a year older than me,
“how could someone so young already be that powerful?” I had always thought to myself. People with natural talent like that had always made me upset. It’s not fair that some people are just born with extreme talent and skill, while others including myself are born with nothing. However, that’s the reality of it all and sometimes you just have to learn to accept it.
As I headed off to class that day, I noticed something strange. The class which I was enrolled in had never started that early in the morning. I wondered if classes had gotten changed, and I just wasn’t notified. I contemplated going back to the castle and asking my grandfather, however, I decided to head to class since at this point I would be late either way. Once I had arrived I heard Captain Strek yell out “Mistery you’re late get in line, now!” once I heard that, my only reaction was to quickly do as he said. Captain Strek is a powerful and frightening man. I ran closer to the academy which was a huge open field with various targets and weapons. I was so caught up at the moment that I didn’t bother to look around me beforehand.
“Welcome” Captain Strek yelled out
“You’re all here because you were recommended to me by King Zant”
“I was notified that everyone standing before me is qualified for this level of combat. This class will be the equivalent to that of an S ranked class” he announced. At that moment I began to panic. I had only ever managed to qualify for C rank classes and now I’m enrolled in an S ranked course, it was insane. As Captain Strek continued to explain the course to everyone I took a quick glance around. I didn’t see many people there, and I hardly even knew half of them. The only face I recognized was Blade, “of course he would be in this class.” I thought to myself. Seeing Blade there made the situation much more worrisome for me about the skill required for this course.
“While I do respect King Zant’s decision and wisdom I would like to personally gauge your abilities and potential. To do so, we will be having various exams today so I hope you all are prepared for that” he said with a smirk on his face, at that moment I breathed a sigh of relief. He would hopefully see my skill and send me home after seeing my lack of ability. However, I still had to partake in the exams so that was a pain.
“The first exam is simple, I will be taking a look at your sword skills. I want you to turn to the person beside you and engage them in a duel. The rules are simple, fight until one of you is disarmed and no fire will be allowed for these duels. Is that clear?” he announced. As I turned my heart had dropped and I felt like my life as I once knew it had been over. The person I had to fight was Blade.
At this point, I had just about had it with life. For starters I was being forced to fight against Blade and secondly, it was in a sword fight, there was no way I was going to win. I’ve seen Blade fight many times before and it’s nothing to scoff at, his reactions are insanely quick, it’s like he can predict the future. He always knows where the opponent will strike next and always manages to block the attack. During the entrance exam, he was never hit, not even once. As the duels were about to begin we were given real swords which just made me more worried than ever. I knew that he wouldn’t go as far as to kill me but I knew it would be much more painful than I had originally prepared for. Once we were ready we locked eyes and began the duel. We began to circle each other, Blade never took his eyes off of me for even a second. I was hoping that I could catch him off guard so I started randomly stabbing at him, he managed to block the first attack, but before dodging the second strike the sword managed to graze his right cheek, leaving a small cut. After realizing that I managed to hit him I began to swing my sword randomly at him, at this point I thought I would be able to hit him once more, my attack had made him lose his balance and he began to look flustered. He couldn’t seem to keep up with my attacks. I was so bad a using a sword it actually threw him off. After some time had passed, Blade began to gain his footing and started to learn my attacks. It wasn’t long before he began to counterattack every strike I threw at him, he even managed to return the favor by cutting me in the same place I had first struck him. We then locked swords and began to push each other hoping that one of us would give out and drop the sword. Blade then pulled back his own sword, jumped back and struck the hilt of my sword, sending it flying away. At that moment I had lost the match however, I was so caught up at the moment and seeing that his body was wide open I charged him and before I knew my fist was on fire and I had struck his chest. At that moment Blade looked frightened, he had no time to react, it’s as if I suddenly appeared next to him. Luckily, before I could do any serious harm I managed to I hear Captain Strek yell out
“Mistery! That’s enough, you’ve lost the duel,” I then pulled my fist back and apologized
“I’m sorry about that, I guess I just got too excited and went overboard” Blade took a look at his armor, which had a small crack on it. He looked back and me and smirked before getting in line to prepare for the next exam.
“Very well, it seems like most of you are indeed qualified, it’s not a surprise though. King Zant is possibly the strongest Neptarian out there, only being rivaled by one other person. If he chose you I have no doubt in my mind it was for a good reason” he had said. Before he could announce the second exam Blade had taken a step forward and asked him
“If you trust the king all that much then why do you have us taking these exams”
“Great question” Strek had said
“In order to properly teach you, I must first learn your weaknesses, the best way to do so is to watch your skills in action” Strek had responded. The next exam was a simple target practice, we were tasked with hitting five targets from a distance of around 30 yards away. First up, no doubt was Blade. He managed to hit the first four targets pretty dead on but after the fourth shot he seemed winded and only managed to graze the fifth target.
“It seems everyone has their own struggles I guess,” I thought to myself. I was the fourth person to go up however, I only managed to graze one of the targets. Everyone else saw my failure and began to laugh at me. I was disappointed in myself. For the last few months I had only been practicing my fire projection skills and even with all of that I still couldn’t even hit one target. I was angry, not only at the people who were laughing at me but at myself, for being so incompetent. As the laughter continued my body began to feel warmer, much more than normal. Something inside me began to swell up. Then, for what seemed like only a second, I lost consciousness. One fireball was blasted at the targets, the fireball split into five separate pieces. Each piece hit one of the targets, perfectly. It was a “Scattershot.” I don’t ever remember blasting that fireball but after it had hit every voice went silent. Even Captain Strek was left looking at me in awe. I had no idea what had just happened, all I knew was that I had somehow managed to hit every target simultaneously. Throughout the day only a few people managed to hit every target, but not after being left exhausted. Using fire takes a toll on our bodies only a few high-ranking Neptarians are able to use this power for long periods of time.
After the first two exams, we began to take shorter tests. These tests included stamina and endurance, physical strength, mental strength, and strategy. The tests were rough, they ranged from timed hovering to solving complex puzzles. I did, however, notice that throughout the whole class there was a strange girl wearing a black sweater, like what I always wear sitting near Captain Strek just watching everyone, she did not participate in any of the exams she just watched us all with the same cold expression on her face, not reacting to anything. Class that day felt like it had gone on forever, once we were let out I headed straight for the castle in hopes of going into my room and simply collapsing on my bed. I was exhausted, and all I could think of at the moment was sleeping through the rest of the afternoon. As I arrived at the front of the castle, I was completely awakened by what looked to be a strange creature with what seemed to be a sword in place of its right arm, its skin was gray, and he had bone-like spikes throughout its face, it had no eyes or mouth, however, I could hear it breathing aggressively. Its sword was covered in blood next to him were two of the castle guards they each had a hole through their chests and blood was splattered on the ground next to them, their bodies piled atop one another lying limp. The creature was standing still, staring at me. I tried to not make any sudden movements, I was still shocked at what was going on, I had found two dead guards and a strange creature who was probably thinking of killing me just as he had done so to the guards. Just when I thought I had lost all hope the creature was struck from behind. Who I saw was Blade. However, the attack was ineffective at damaging it, all the attack managed to do was anger the creature. The creature then turned around and stared at Blade. At that moment Blade’s face changed from serious to frightened, he dropped his sword. The monster then let out a frightening screech, it raised its sword and charged straight towards Blade. The only thing Blade did was look at the creature, he was paralyzed with fear. Just as the creature was about to pierce his chest my body began to move on its own, I ran up to the creature and struck him, the creature lost his composure and fell to the ground.
“What are you doing pick up your sword and let’s take this thing out!” I said to Blade as he looked at me with a shocked expression. Blade said nothing he just continued to look at the creature in fear, he even seemed to have backed up slightly as if he was thinking about running away, this was a whole new side of Blade which I had never seen. Could this creature be that powerful? As the creature changed targets his sword became like a razor, spikes began to emerge from the blade. Before I knew it I was struck across the face with the creature’s sword, my face started to bleed and I was in pain, all Blade did was stand there and watch. The creature and I continued to exchange blows. I, however, was severely outmatched. Eventually, I was cornered, I was about to die. At that moment, the only thing I could think about were my regrets in life. I couldn’t become a royal knight, for as long as I could remember that had always been my dream, my only true goal in life, but here I was about to die by the hand of a savage creature. Once again I had the same feeling as I did during the second exam that day. However, instead of losing consciousness I felt a warm red aura around me. All the pain was gone and I felt as if I had been reborn. My inner power was swelling, before the creature could kill me I struck him in the chest, not hesitating for even a moment. I then began to let out a barrage of attacks which seemed to finally damage the creature. Once again the creature began to screech, his sword became blood red and he swung it straight at my head, I had no time to react, however, after finally fighting through the fear Blade managed to quickly block the sword and push the creature away giving me an opening to deliver the final attack, I engulfed my fist in a large flame and punched the creature through the chest, killing it on the spot. The creature had fallen and began to slowly crumble away. After that incident, the mysterious aura around me had vanished and as it did I fell to the ground exhausted.
“What was that? Why did you hesitate so much back there?” I asked Blade
“I-It’s a long story,” Blade said to me. He had explained to me that when he was young he was attacked by a creature who looked exactly like the one we had just fought. He doesn’t remember much about that day besides the fact that he managed to unlock his abnormality by fighting the creature but still lost. He was eventually rescued by a strange man who then took Blade in and took care of him for a few years before leaving him here in Torn.
Eventually, Captain Strek came to help us, he had been notified by one of the townsfolk who told him that she heard a loud screech coming from the castle. He brought the town elder, Hellem. She has an extraordinary abnormality which allows her to heal any wound no matter how severe. She healed my wounds and Captain Strek began to question us about the creature and our encounter. We were told the creature was from a race known as Grewks, they reside in a neighboring planet called Kelklia. The one which we had faced was actually one of the lower ranked ones known as a stray, Grewks who leave their group and do whatever they please are given this ranking. Captain Strek was so surprised at the fact that we managed to defeat the Grewk that he offered to give us special lessons. Of course, we both agreed. A couple of hours passed and my grandfather had finally arrived, the first thing he did was apologize for leaving without notice.
“Mistery, I am truly sorry about leaving you without proper notice, I should’ve at least left a few more guards. Please forgive me” he said to me
“It’s fine, me and Blade managed to take care of the creature,” I said to him
“My lord, these kids managed to defeat a stray all on their own” Captain Strek said to my grandfather
“I believe they should be given special lessons so as to help them fully realize their potential”
“Yes, I think you’re right,” my grandfather said
“I shall personally train them both” at that moment I knew that I was about to undergo the most difficult training imaginable, or die, whichever came first.
My grandfather chose to train us each separately. I knew that if he were to teach me I would definitely improve. However, once we actually began I learned that his way of teaching was a bit ... lacking, to say the least. My first test was to battle him. We each started off on opposite sides of a field behind the castle. To sum it up quickly, I ended up losing within the first few seconds. I won’t go much into detail about it, as to not embarrass myself even further. Who knew that a simple kick to the leg could flip a person completely upside down? My grandfather had different ways of training me. He had me do various exercises which were all mainly focused on speed. Instead of trying to teach me to control my fire or to increase the length of time I could hover he just focused on having me run really fast.
“Mistery, I want you to go to that mountain, once you’re there I want you to run back towards me and try to land a punch on me as fast as you possibly can” I then listened to what he had asked of me and I walked over to the mountain which was quite far away from where we were. Once I arrived he gave me the signal and I used all the strength I could muster to charge towards him. I threw the punch and he caught it.
“What was the point of that?” I had asked him
“Mistery, I want you to turn around and look at the distance you just traversed. Do you notice anything strange?” he asked me
“N-not really,” I said
“How long do you think I took you to run this far?”
“I don’t know. Around 20 seconds?” I said to him. He chuckled,
“Mistery, you managed to cover that distance in less than a single second. You do have an abnormality. You have the gift of extreme speed and you aren’t even aware of it” he told me with laughter in his voice.
“B-but if that’s the case, then how wasn’t I able to hit you?” He then began to laugh even louder. He truly was a senile old man.
“Don’t start to get ahead of yourself just yet. I have various abnormalities which make it almost impossible for you to hit me at the level you’re at right now.”
“Don’t worry about it, that’s why I chose to train you myself. I know your hidden potential and I will help you discover it.” I was assigned to train under my grandfather for two months. Throughout the two months of training, I was forced to wear a slim coat which had a weight of around 200 pounds. I was told to not take the coat off for the entirety of the two months. I would have to eat, sleep and train with the coat on me. Every morning we had a short sparring session, after that, it was on to speed tests, endurance, flame control, and finally hovering. Each day I thought my body would end up breaking down and I would die on the spot. It was literal hell.
After the 2 months had gone by, I noticed I was actually getting better. I was finally allowed to a take the coat off, once I did the world seemed to have slowed down, almost stopped completely. My body felt incredibly light. I had one final sparring session against my grandfather, once again we began on opposite sides of the field. With no hesitation I charged at him throwing a flurry of punches, he didn’t take a single step yet with one hand he managed to block each attack thrown at him, he deflected my left arm away from me, leaving my face wide open. He then placed his palm out towards me and I began to feel a powerful force push me. I was sent flying, before I landed I managed to regain my composure in midair and blast a fireball towards my grandfather. I managed to create the same scattershot I had blasted back when I was the S ranked class. No doubt, he managed to dodge each fireball with his left arm still behind his back. Once he dodged them he sent one back. Instead of splitting into multiple fragments, the flame looked like an arrow piercing through the wind, the flame was so intimidating it could bend space itself. I managed to dodge the arrow before it got too close, but once again we began to exchange blows. I couldn’t land a single hit on him. Everything I tried was as if he already knew what was going to happen. He had his hand in position to block before I even threw the punch. Once he tried to kick me off the ground I seized the opportunity to use all the strength I had to quickly propel myself behind him, I spun and launched a kick to his head, he still managed to dodge the attack, but only barely. I had grazed his left cheek. That was the fastest I had ever moved in my life, I had to dash onto the cliff behind him and push myself back towards him and spin at just the right moment to be able to deliver the kick. All that was only possible due to my increase in speed. I had realized what my grandfather was trying to show me after all these training sessions.
“We’ll end it here, good job Mistery you finally managed to hit me,” he said with a smile on his face.
“Yeah, but it was only a graze,” I told him
“Mistery, listen to me. I can count the number of people I know who can actually land a proper hit on me with one hand. All you need is more practice.” he told me. I was shocked to see how powerful my grandfather truly was. I was now fully prepared to take the next exam. However, my grandfather forbade me from taking the exam. He told me that he had an important mission for me to complete, I was going to need to head out of Torn to complete the mission. He told me that I was to meet him in the courtyard the following day. Meanwhile, I had my first day off in two months. I had so much time on my hands that I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go off to town and explore the area a bit since I assumed I wouldn’t be able to for a while at least until my mission is completed. It was frustrating that my grandfather didn’t explain much about the mission other than I had no choice. On my way to the town, I ran into Blade,
“Hey what’s up?” I said to him
“How did your training with my grandfather go”
“It went well, he gave me a strange job after we completed though. He told me that I have to take care of this girl from now on. He didn’t explain much about it” he said to me pointing behind him. It was the same girl who was with Captain Strek two months ago, she was watching our exams back then. The girl kept looking at me while hiding behind Blade, her stare and expression were as cold as they were during the exams. At that moment, I saw the scarf that she was wearing, it seemed familiar. I became flustered and nervous. I quickly pulled Blade away and told him.
“Blade. I need you to protect that girl with your own life”
“What’s going on Mistery? You’re never like this, is something wrong?” he asked me. Feeling guilt and sorrow, I walked away from him and headed towards the town.
I had lost all motivation to explore, I only decided to buy a small black case simply because it was black. It would match my style after all. Once it became late I headed back to the castle for a good night’s sleep to forget that encounter. Once I had woken up I didn’t spend any time practicing, I had been training daily for two months so I deserved at least one break. Instead, I had to go off to the courtyard to meet up with my grandfather. Once I arrived I saw Captain Strek, The Elder, and a strange man in armor. They were all next to my grandfather, waiting for me. They were all standing beside what seemed to be a black spaceship, it was the latest model. My grandfather then looked at me and told me
“Mistery, let me tell you an ancient legend”
“Long ago there lived a being born from darkness, our world was brought to waste by this being. There was no one who could stand up to it, his power was terrifying. Out of the rubble, a mysterious woman appeared who managed to bring this terrifying foe down, but not without a cost. After the violence had settled down the woman had given her life to seal away this being, the woman was named Neptar.” I had always heard this story when I was a child it was my favorite story. My grandfather then continued to speak
“Y-yeah, that’s the most popular fairy tale, isn’t it? She was the keeper of light one of the two legendary warriors” I told my grandfather
“What if we told you it’s not all just a story?” the unknown man spoke out to me
“What? But then why does everyone call it a fairy tale?” I asked him. My grandfather then began to speak,
“After that incident had come to pass, Neptar was never seen again. She gave her life to seal away the monster. I then decided to help rebuild our society and name the planet so as to honor Neptar’s legacy. To this day the monster still lives. Its name is Distortion. Neptar sealed away Distortion’s power into six different gemstones. It was said once these gems are brought together, the power would be dispersed and Distortion would cease to exist, however, the longer those gems are kept apart the more powerful Distortion becomes. We chose you to carry out the legacy that Neptar started, you must go out on a journey and search for the six gemstones.”
“But, why me?” I asked
“If Neptar could hardly stand up to this creature, how do you expect me to, I could hardly hit you once” Captain Strek and the man in armor then began to look at each other in shock
“Sir? He managed to land a hit on you? That’s incredible.” Captain Strek asked him
“Yes, but it was only a slight graze, he still has a long way to go.” my grandfather responded
“But if I still have a long way to go then why did you choose me? I don’t understand.” I began to yell at him.
“Mistery, you will know in due time, at the current moment there’s not much of a reason to explain, if I did it would just end up confusing and worrying you even more, it’s best if you are told at a later date, please understand this. For now, all you have to know is this mission we will be sending you on is extremely important, once the gems are brought together they can be destroyed for good “ he responded.
“I-I understand.” I reluctantly said.
“Mistery,” he said with a lighter tone to his voice
“Did you hear your old friend is in town?” I didn’t respond, I looked away from him and began walking towards the ship. He walked closer to me and placed his hand on my shoulder,
“Just ... please, don’t speak about that. I’ll go, just don’t remind me about it.”
As I hopped on the spaceship I said goodbye to the world that for many years had come to know as home, I had honestly thought the mission would be something much more simple, not interplanetary. The Elder, Hellem began to explain to me how to control the ship before taking off. Once finished the ship’s thrusters activated and I was lifted out of Neptars orbit. The ship was incredibly fast, I zoomed past Otoma and Kelklia before activating the autopilot. Kelklia seemed almost like a barren wasteland, the planet itself looked almost dead, the surface was gray and the skies were completely covered in ash. In contrast, Otoma was like a shining star, beautiful oceans all around the main island. There were many buildings lit up and ships flying across, they were both different from Neptar which is, for the most part, a grassland. As I was thrust into deep space I took one last look at Neptar as it became nothing more than a speck of light in the darkness of space. Space travel was surprisingly relaxing, everything was quiet and I had a great view of the stars. My spaceship came with a built-in radar which tracked high levels of power. I was told that even though the gems remain dormant, they still contain massive amounts of power which one could sense simply by being near it. Because Neptarians are a warrior race we tend to learn how to distinct levels of power simply by being around them, while it may not be too exact it becomes more accurate. Days passed and I hadn’t seen a single thing, I was just sitting there surrounded by complete darkness. On my final day in the spaceship, something strange occurred, I was awoken by a loud crash, I looked out the window to see that everything was spinning and the monitor warned me of “Critical Damage, Activating Seat Ejection” at that moment, I was launched into space. The spaceship was ripped in half, it had been struck by an asteroid, I began to fall. I looked down to see a large blue planet below me. Once I entered the atmosphere I noticed my ship was broken down and scattered throughout the surface of the planet due to the intense amount of heat. I landed in a strange forest, I felt as if all my bones were broken, my arm was bleeding and I was limping. I limped around the forest for a couple minutes, I saw various types of plants and animal which I had never seen. It wasn’t until I finally found an exit that I saw a small town. Once I exited the forest my body had completely given up, I collapsed and eventually lost consciousness. The last thing I remember seeing was a young blonde girl around the same age that I was, staring at me in horror.