Chapter 5; Incognito Fail

All seem normal in Asylum Bay following the Dral attack, with reconstruction and repairs moving smoothly and people getting back to their normal lives……except Levi who had been constantly restraining himself because Agent Steel from The Index had been living in his house and the streets now filled with a few Index workers.

It’s already been 3 days but Steel has shown no sign of leaving, increasing Levi and his family’s concern. What further disturbs them, mostly Luke was that he found out who sent that message……which was Harold as expected. After another bitter argument between Luke and Harold which didn’t end well…… Harold reluctantly agrees to keep Levi’s powers a secret…for now. 

It’s another afternoon and Levi was in the garden behind his house reading a book. He hums along with the song coming from his headphones when his eyes suddenly glowed uncontrollably.

“Hey Levi.” Levi suddenly forces his powers back in when he hears the familiar voice and turns around to see Steel who just finished jogging and was smiling as he approaches.

“Hey Agent Steel.” Levi said as he removes his headphones and turned to Steel who laughs as he stops beside him.

“I’ve told you. That’s my work name. Right now, I’m just regular Peter.” He said as he wiped his wet forehead with a towel and Levi chuckles.

“Sorry, Mr Peter.” He said when Steel or rather Peter suddenly sits on the chair beside him and looks at his book.

“Just Peter.” He chuckled before focusing on the opened book. “What are you reading?” He asked, trying to make out the words on it and Levi laughs as he shows him the cover.

“It’s just a new novel I got, it’s about…” He suddenly grunts as he gets a headache and felt choked up again throughout his body.

Peter gives him a worried stare as Levi tries shakes it off. “You okay, kid?”

Levi closes his eyes because he knew this feeling was because of his powers. After a quiet second, he opens his eyes and smiles at the book. “Yeah. I guess…I’m a little tired.”

Peter stares at him for a moment before tapping a hand on his shoulder. “Then get some rest, Einstein.” He chuckled and Levi nods as Peter stands up and turns away. “See you at dinner.” He said with a little wave before walking away.

Levi smiles at his fading figure because he had actually begun to befriend Peter but his head suddenly aches again and his eyes turned blue again. <Why’s this happening?> He rubs his head for a moment, facing the ground and he was so deep in thought that he didn’t notice a figure behind him.

The figure suddenly grabs Levi and he jumps up, throwing off his book before he turned…and sees Mark. “Jesus…” He mumbled as he lets out a breath of relief while Mark laughs at him. “Really, Uncle Mark?”

“Sorry, couldn’t resist.” He chuckled before noticing Levi’s blue eyes. “Uh…Levi?” He said, pointing to his face and Levi quickly deactivates his powers, causing his eyes to return to normal. “Is it because of…you know?” He said, gesturing to the house behind Levi and he nods as he picks up his book with a dark look in his eyes. 

“I’m just so frustrated with this.” He grumbled in pain and Mark gives a long look before suddenly smiling at him. “What?”

“Do you know what you need?” Mark said with folded arms and a cocky brow which makes Levi a little nervous. “Just trust me. Come on.” Mark suddenly goes into a direction and Levi reluctantly follows. After about 5 minutes of walking, Mark stops by a building not too far from their house and Levi smiles when he remembers it. 

They entered the old building which Levi converted to a dojo at a young age after he discovered a book on a martial art style derived from Levi’s mother’s ancestors. It’s called the Viper’s fist.

“Can you remember the last time you came here?” Mark said as he takes in the beautiful internal structure with open arms.

“Yeah. Last week…Who do you think keeps this place clean?” Levi chuckled and Mark rolls his eyes as he takes off his sandals and turns to Levi with a knowing smile. “Are you sure?”

Mark laughs as he drops his sandals in the allocated place and walks towards the closets. “I may not have studied that book like you but I still know some moves.” As he pulls out the white training attire, Levi began to remove his sandals just as Mark turns to him with a smile. “Besides, one of the best ways to calm down is to punch out your stress.”

Levi laughs as he runs over to grab his own attire before giving Mark a mischievous smile. “Bet I can still kick your butt.”

Mark who had already removed his shirt scoffs at him. “We’ll see.” After some minutes of changing and some stretching, Levi and Mark stand opposite each other on the mat. After the normal greeting of a bow, they both entered their pose and began slowly circling each other. Mark smiles at Levi and shifts his stance a little. “Bring it.”

Levi then charges forward before throwing punches and kicks at Mark who surprising manages to evade or block them. He then grabs Levi’s leg and spins with an elbow aiming for Levi’s face but Levi ducks backwards and uses his other leg to kick off Mark before flipping to his feet some metres back. “Nice moves.”

“I’m just getting started.” Levi said as he bounces on his toes with youth agility and Mark lunges forward this time. He throws several punches and kicks but Levi avoids them as well. Mark grunts as he throws his palm straight towards Levi’s face but Levi side-steps out of the way, grabs his arm and throws his elbow at Mark, stopping short of his face…before noticing Mark’s other hand which was now some centimetres away from dealing a chop to his chest. Mark raises a brow at Levi who suddenly chuckles. “Not bad.”

They break away, stopping some distance from each other and Mark holds him arms up with confidence. “I still got it.” Levi suddenly attacks, throwing a punch which Mark weaves past it and counters……just as Levi’s second palm suddenly uppercuts Mark in the chin, disorienting him then Levi ducks down and sweeps Mark’s feet, sending him tumbling to the mat.

When he recovers and looks up, he notices Levi’s fist just in front of his face. Mark chuckles as he rubs his jaw. “Lucky punch.”

Levi laughs as he opens his fist and helps Mark stand up. “It’s your fault for getting distracted.” Levi began laughing again, his mind completely devoid of his worries before and Mark grins when he sees Levi’s genuine smile for the first time in a while.

Mark then rolls his eyes as Levi’s laughter becomes a little too long. “Alright, alright… Let’s see who’ll be laughing next when I show you my new move.”

“What? ‘Flirting with Grace’?” Levi chuckled and Mark laughs as he cracks his neck and knuckles.

“I think you too young to understand ‘that’ move.” Levi rolls his eyes and made a disgusted face just as Mark throws a kick at him but Levi jumps back, evading the attack. “Get back here!” He charges forward, trading different moves and techniques with Levi. And as they fight, they became wrapped in the moment, leaving all their worries behind……

As the sun began to set, Levi and Mark were walking out of the dojo, already showered and refreshed. Levi smiles when he realises that Mark was giving a familiar expecting look. “Fine…Thanks, Uncle Mark. That’s what I needed.”

Mark cackles as he punches Levi’s arm with a grin on his face. “You are welcome. I know how hard it’s been for you.”

“Yeah…” Levi mumbled as he unconsciously holds his head just as his eyes turned blue. He forces his power back and his eyes returned to normal. “It’s like every time Peter’s gets too close to me, my power seems to react to his…and it’s getting worse every day.”

Mark throws an arm over Levi and gives him a little shake. “I know, kid. But just give it time and it’ll be over.” Levi nods and looks up to their home which was still some distance away just as Mark chuckles. “And by the way, ‘Peter’? It’s weird that you’re getting chummy with a guy who could take you away from us forever.” He said as he ruffled Levi’s hair and Levi’s breaks from his grasp with a laugh.

“Hey, he’s actually fun when you get to know him.” 

Mark raises a brow at him and beats his chest. “But not as fun as me right?” Levi inclines his head, weighing the thought and Mark smacks his arm. “Right?” Levi nods but hums a suspiciously sarcastic hum that makes both of them laugh as they finally reached the front gate.

Meanwhile, deep in the forest, the afternoon reflects on the metallic surface of a figure. It was shaped like a human with two arms and legs but everything about it was clearly robotic. Behind it was an army of Drals of different animal species as it follows the directions it got from the Drals that attacked the village. Afar off, in a guard post on a tower, three guards were playing cards and laughing. 

“Royal flush, baby.” One of them shouted out as he slams his cards to the table and collected all their money as the others threw their cards down in anger and frustration. The man that won, stood up with the cash and goes over to his bag to keep the money when he sees one of their guards walk across the clearing and into the bush from the window.

He shrugs and was about to turn away when he sees the glint of something metal in the direction the guard was walking to. “Huh.” He said as he goes towards the door which lead to the ladder.

“What’s wrong, Steve?” One of the other guard said as he reshuffles the cards but Steve was already on the ladder.

“Just saw something. Hang on.” He said as he climbs down when he suddenly hears a loud blast and sees a flash of light in the trees. Steve then reacts by jumping down the remaining length and pulling out his handgun as he proceeds to the source of the sound where he finds……

“Good lord.” He mumbled in shock when he sees the guard from earlier on the ground with his head blown to bits. “What?” He said as he crouched down to access the body when he hears a commotion back at the outpost and runs back. 

“Steve!” A guard shouted as Steve runs back to the clearing where the security post was to find them battling Drals. The guard who spoke blasts an Antelope Dral in the head before turning back to Steve. “Send word back to the village, Steve!”

Another guard grunts as he uses two hand guns which blasted the Drals back with blue energy. “Yeah. We’ll hold th-” He was suddenly cut off as two fox Drals pounced on him, ripping his body apart instantly.

Steve doesn’t hesitate as he quickly reaches the post and climbs up with all of his strength. He stumbles as he reaches the top before charging into the room and grabs a walkie-talkie from his bag but before he could even push the button……something large and heavy suddenly collides into the post, causing the building to tip over with Steve being tossed around inside as it lands on the floor with a loud crash…… 

Steve coughs as he pushes out of the wooden rubble and quickly looks around for his communicator which was some feet in front. He wanted to stand but stumbles with a loud groan as he looked as his leg which was broken and bleeding out.

“Damn it.” He grunted just as he hears another blast and turns to one of his comrades who fall with a large hole in his chest. 

Steve stares in shock at the robotic figure who then stretches its arm out to another guard, releasing a blast of red energy from its palm that destroys the man’s skull. But what was more frightening about the robot was that it had a logo on its chest which Steve and basically every human on earth feared.

Steve quickly pushes himself to grab the communicator despite the excruciating pain in his leg. He hops away on one leg as he desperately tries to get away before he too met his fate. He then leans his back behind a tree, strength fading from his body and he quickly speaks into the communicator. 

“This is the Southern Post, Security officer Steve. We’ve been attacked by a large group of Drals of different species with a marked Holon leading them……I repeat the leader is connected to the Web.” He then freezes in fear when he realises the holon was now standing beside him with an evil red glow in its eyes. “Save yo-” The holon grabs Steve by the neck, strangling him and causing him to drop the communicator which screeched as a voice comes out.

“Officer Steve? Officer Steve, do you copy?!” The man’s questions were only answered by a loud crack followed by a thud as Steve’s dead body crumples to the ground. The holon then crouches down to grab the communicator.

“What is the situation of your team, over? Does anyone co-” The holon suddenly crushes the communicator like it was an empty soda can before, letting out a scuff as it tosses it aside.

It then turns to its army of Drals, some covered in blood and dirt before giving an evil chuckle. “We’re heading the right way.” It then turns in the direction of the village, ahead with the image of Levi on its mind. “That boy will be mine.” It said before marching forward with his Dral army behind it…………

Back in the village, Levi was just chilling in the living room with his father when Rose enters the room wearing an apron. “Dinner will be ready soon. Can you give me a hand with something, Levi?” 

“Kay.” He said as he removes his headphone and drops his laptop aside as he goes over to help his mum in the kitchen.

After some minutes, Levi walks out of the kitchen and enters the living room where Luke was standing with a frantic looking guard and based on their expressions, he could tell something was wrong. “What’s going on?”

Luke gives Levi a troubled look as he answers. “The southern outpost was just destroyed by Drals and they seem to be heading here.” Luke then nods to the guard who salutes before running out as Luke grabbed his jacket and phone. “Stay here with the rest of the family until I get back.” 

“Okay, dad.” Levi said as his father hurries past Peter and out of the house.

“What’s up?” Peter asked, gesturing to the door that Luke just left open and Levi creases his brow as he answers.

“Sounds like another incoming Dral attack.” Levi mumbled and Peter raises a brow at him.

About two hours later, Luke returns back home where the entire family were waiting in anticipation having already known of the attack in the southern outpost. “Alright, I guess I can’t hide it.” He sighs as he goes over to the television set and pulls out a strange remote.

“Two hours ago, our southern outpost was attacked and destroyed by a large amount of Drals.” He pushes some buttons and the TV set displays security tapes of the outpost…some of the people watching gasped at the efforts of the guards before being brutally killed.

He changes the viewpoint to when a certain guard hurries into the outpost to get a communicating device just as the entire building shakes and the footage suddenly scrambles as it gets destroyed in the process.

“How cruel…” Levi’s grandmother mumbles with her hands over her mouth just as the footage recovers although cracking from damage before suddenly freezing on the image of a metallic figure. 

“Is that…” A maid mumbled in fear and Luke nods before turning to them.

“A Holon was controlling these Drals.”

“And it’s connected…” Peter said from his relaxed position on the couch as he points at the holon’s chest were a blurred but sure image of a spider web was seen. While most of the people froze up with fear, Peter seems completely unmoved as he chuckles. “It’s like you people have a magnet for these guys.”

Levi flinches a little but Luke reassures him with a confident voice as he speaks. “For now, the village is on full lockdown and we’ve already evacuated the civilians to the shelter and established a three perimeter security block. If those machines do find their way into the city, we’ll destroy them.”

“I hope so.” Rose mumbled, her hands trembling but Luke grabs her hand to calm her.

“It will.” Luke said as he squeezes her hand before flashing a smile at Levi. “Have faith I-” A sudden distant explosion cuts him off, startling everyone except Peter. “It’s started.” Luke mumbled as he changed the security footage to that of the main gate where several guards were armed with more energy weapons, covering the clearing in front of them with blue energy blasts and explosions but four large boar Drals similar to the ones they encountered served as a shields as the Dral forces slowly advances.

Luke watches with folded arms the guards of the village kept on firing desperately……when the robotic figure emerges between the boars and raises both hands to the men, firing two large blasts of energy that covers the men in dust and smoke just as the boars suddenly charged forward.

Some men reacted and dove out of the way while some were unfortunately caught and trampled as the Drals ram into the gate, completely sending the now reinforced wood and metal flying in every direction, a piece of the rubble suddenly smashes into the camera causing the footage to go out. 

Peter lets out a long whistle and chuckles. “Damn. Did you guys do something to piss that holon off?”

Luke creases his brow and pulls out the communicator in his pocket. “What’s the situation?” He said into the communicator and the device screeches before a familiar voice comes. 

“The Drals have broken through the southern gate. We’re doing our best to hold them here but it’s proving difficult.”

Luke runs a hand over his head in frustration and nods. “Alright, William. I’m counting on you.” He tucks the communicator back into his pocket and rubs his forehead, trying desperately to look for a solution when a calming hand slips around his waist and he turns to see Rose with an encouraging smile. “It’s going to be okay.”

“So what’s the plan, bro?” Mark asked from his position on the table and Luke turns to the family and workers expecting an answer.

“We should be safe here for now. There are hidden guards guarding this entire hill but if they do get close-” He was cut off by another large explosion that causes the lights to go out before switching to the emergency lights. “We’ll use the escape tunnel below the house.”

“And run away?” Levi’s grandmother said and Luke gives a pained expression as he nods.

“We can only hope.” Luke said and Rose gives him a firm squeeze.

“You should rest for now, dear.” Rose said, staring at his clearly stressed eyes and expression. “How about something to eat?” 

Luke was about to retort…before noticing the strong worry in Rose’s eyes and complies as they turned to the kitchen. Levi’s grandparents held each other for comfort, some of the workers left the room while others just stood there, trying not to panic or faint and Levi gives Peter a glare as he seemed almost too relaxed on the couch with his eyes on the phone.

After some seconds, Peter finally looks up and lock eyes with Levi with a perplexed on his face. “What’s up, Levi?”

Levi clenches his fists as he hears another explosion somewhere else but Peter didn’t seem disturbed or moved by the attacks. “Shouldn’t you be helping us? I mean, that’s what Trons are supposed to do, right?”

Peter leans back into the couch even more with a smile on his face, with his sunglasses, reflecting the emergency lights. “My job right now is to find the Tron hidden in this village. And based on what I’ve seen, it seems like those Drals are looking for the Tron as well. So that makes my job easier.”

Levi seethes his teeth in anger and stands up, with a furious glare at Peter who still seems calm. “Makes your job easier? What about the people? What if-” 

“The Chief said they were all evacuated, right?” Peter said without a single glance as he taps on his phone.

“I didn’t mean the villagers. What about the guards, the men fighting for our safety?”

“Every soldier should be ready to die for the things they protect.” Levi’s fists twitch with Peters words, bouncing around in his head. “Besides…” Peter sets his phone down and gives Levi a sudden chilly smile. “I want to see the secret weapon you guys used to destroy those Drals earlier.”

Levi’s entire body paralyzes when he hears Peter’s words and with the way he was staring at Levi, a single question popped in his head. <Does…he…know?> Peter turned back to his screen after a little chuckle and Levi gulps as he was about to ask the question just as another large explosion goes off with a loud beastly groan following it.

Levi then runs into the kitchen where Luke and Rose were conversing in hushed voices but immediately stops when they noticed him. 

“Is something wrong, Levi?” Rose asked as Levi approaches with a focused stare at them before staring at his father directly.

“I want to help.” Levi said with boldness and Luke almost chokes on the sandwich he was eating while Rose glares at Levi.

“You’re not going anywhere, Levi.” She said with a disciplinary look and another loud explosion resonates through the room.

“I know you care about me but let’s face it, these guys are after me…” He mumbled and Rose grabs his shoulders with a concerned stare.

“That’s not true. We just need to be patient.”

Luke who just downed a cup of water, turned to Levi with a stern look. “Levi. I know you want to help but you can’t. If the Index find you-”

“I don’t care about that. People are getting hurt out there, dad. I can-” Another loud explosion which actually sent a little tremor to the house cuts Levi off just as the communicator in Luke’s jacket screeches again.

“Come in. Come in… The Drals have broken past the first line. I repeat the-” The voice was suddenly cut off by a gurgling sound followed by a beastly growl.

Luke quickly runs into the living room and checks the surveillance which showed how the Dral forces had broken through the first line of security and had begun marching into the village, thrashing and destroying whatever comes in their path.

“Damn it.” Luke grumbled under his breath just as Levi turned back to Peter who still looked calm.

“Come on, Peter! We need your help.”

Peter shrugs as he gives Levi a lazy look. “Sorry, Einstein but it’s not my call. If they get too close and attack us… ‘then’ I have no choice.”

Levi clenches his fists and continues to fume just as Luke’s communicator screeches again with another voice coming through which seemed very frantic and terrified. “This is squad 5 requesting for backup. The Drals have cut off our escape and are closing in. Please…Ah!” The sound of a blast blares out of the communicator and Luke pulls it out to contact William, just as Levi turned to walk out of the room.

“Levi! Stop!” Rose shouted out and two guards blocked Levi’s path as he stops.

Luke puts down his communicator as he turns to Levi. “You’re not going anywhere, Levi.”

Another loud explosion goes off but Levi also make out the sound of a man’s scream mixed in and he faces the floor with anger building in his body. “I can’t just stay here when people are dying out there especially when I can help.”

“Levi…” Mark mumbled in concern and Peter chuckles from his couch, the kind of chuckle that got on Levi’s last nerves.

“What exactly are ‘you’ going to do?” He asked and for a sudden moment, there was silence as tension fills the room……

“Something you should be doing!” Levi shouted out as he looked over his shoulder and most of the people around him either gasped or froze in shock as Levi’s eye were now bright blue.

But because of the anger in his mind, he couldn’t even tell his powers were now exposed nor did he care…but what made this moment strange was how unmoved and unfazed Peter seemed as he just stares at Levi who flares his nose at him before turning towards the exit but stops when the two guards block his path.

“Don’t try to stop me.” Levi grumbled and looked at them, his blue eyes now eerie and dangerous which sent shivers up the guards’ spine. They then cleared the way and Levi walks out of the room.

“Levi!” Rose shouted out as he rushes after him and grabs his arm. “Please don’t go. Levi, Levi, look at me.” Levi doesn’t answer but gives his mother a determined but also terrified expression and after a long tense moment…Rose releases Levi’s arm and watches with teared-filled eyes as he runs out the front door.

Before long, Rose sinks to the floor in tears because even though Levi actually helps stop this attack, he has just exposed his powers to an agent of Index, meaning he’s as good as gone. 

Luke hurries over and wraps his arms around her, comforting her and rubbing her back as she sobs into his shirt with everyone else feeling grief and conflict. 

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