Chapter 8; A New World

The shock of the attack by ‘the Tamer’ and its dral army became just a bad memory as time passes. It’s been 2 days after the attack and apart from the unfortunate loss of some of the guards in Asylum Bay, there was no civilian causality although there was a civilian who got severely injured.

It was an afternoon and Levi was staying in one of the vacant guest rooms close to the house since it was torched. He was surprisingly healed completely, so perfectly that most people wouldn’t know how badly he got hurt that night.

He was singing along to the song playing in his room as he was placing his clothes inside a suitcase. After he finishes packing his neatly folded clothes, he picks up a picture of his family’s photo and grimaces as he looks at his young bright smile from years ago. 

“Tomorrow’s the day.” He sighed before placing the frame into his suitcase and zips it up just as his music cuts off and an alarm sound fills the small room. “Damn. I’m late.” He mumbled as he grabs his phone and jacket before running out the room.

Levi sits on the porch as he puts on his sneakers when a familiar maid walks up to him with a concerned expression. “Say hi to Mark for me.” She said and Levi chuckles as he gets up to straighten his jacket.

“No problem, Ms Grace.” She nods and Levi waves as he leaps over the railing and runs across the grassy fields before coming to a stop by his still burnt-up house.

He grimaces as he recalls that night before shaking his thoughts off and noticing his old bicycle which still remained weirdly intact under the now burnt tree which he sat on just outside his room window. He looks between the bicycle and the village below with a small smile. 

Some minutes later, a couple was just strolling across the street when they gasped and looked up where a figure was riding a bicycle at top speed, leaping from roof to roof.

“Yeah!” Levi shouted out as he uses his powers to make him faster before leaping off another roof, performing a 180-degree flip before landing on another roof where a familiar lady was now removing the dry clothes from the clothing line. “Hey, Mrs Dean.” He said as he comes to a stop and she turns to Levi with a raised brow.

“Really, Levi?” She chuckled, looking between his bike and his smile.

“What? I’m not going to stay here anymore so I’m going to have as much fun here as I can.”

Mrs Dean looks at Levi with a concerned look. “It’s going to be weird not seeing you on my roof anymore.”

Levi chuckles as he drives in circles around the roof. “I’m going to miss you too ‘and’ your lovely but weirdly spacious roof!” They both share a laugh and Levi faces his bike towards a certain direction with one glance back before pedalling off. “Bye!” He shouted out as he leaped off the building with a shout and Mrs Dean laughs as she turns back to her work. 

Levi continues to speed across the town with his bike, sometimes performing inhumane skills and feats due to his powers.

He grabs a lamppost as he swings down on the road where he pulls up by a car and waves at the driver before increasing speed. His feet a blur as he moves the bike with racer bike speeds and kicks off a wall to change direction until he sees a familiar sign upfront and skids to a stop in front of their town hospital.

He looks for a place to park his bike and hurries into the hospital, greeting some more people before rushing into a specific room.

“Hey kid.” Levi’s smile widens in excitement as he stares at his uncle Mark now awake and on the hospital bed with his other family members by his side. “Didn’t think you’ll show.”

“Hell no.” He chuckled as he walks up to the bed but flinches when he sees the bruise on Mark’s face from when Tamer smacked him. “You gonna be okay?”

“No prob.” He said before wincing in pain and clutching his stomach.

“He’ll be on his feet again after some weeks.” Luke said, rubbing his brother’s shoulder with a smile. “It’s still crazy how you jumped out to save us like that. You almost got yourself killed.” He said as he smacks Mark’s head who just laughs.

“I wasn’t going to let that bot take away my brother and favourite nephew.”

“Only nephew.” Levi added and Mark rolled his eyes with a laugh.

Mark takes a long moment to just smile at Levi before taking a deep breath and speaking. “I’m really going to miss you, kid.”

The entire family tenses when he said that with Rose holding Levi’s hand with a sad smile. Levi looks between all his family members with a concerned look before putting on a smile. “Come on, guys. We’re here for uncle Mark, not for me.” He sat down on the bed and grinned at Mark. “By the way, Grace says hi.”

Mark cracks a smug look. “Come on, Levi. Just hi? How exactly did she put it?”

They all laughed and continued to chat in merriment with Levi’s mind occasionally thinking about how this might be the last time he’ll freely chat with his family again but he kept pushing those bad thoughts as he spent this time he has left.

After an hour, Mark gives Levi a smile and a fist bump. “See you tomorrow, kid.”

“Yeah…tomorrow…” He trailed off, remembering what tomorrow was before Luke ruffles his head with a laugh. “See you later.” Levi said as the family follows him out of the hospital and towards the family mini-van but Levi breaks off to grab his bike. “I just want some time…you know…to say my goodbyes.” Rose smiles and nods as Levi climbs on his bike and rides off. 

For the next few hours, Levi says his goodbyes and visits his friends which was basically everyone in the village while also visiting his favourite and memorable spots one last time.

He skids to a stop on the basketball court which was empty since the sun had already started setting. He sets his bike aside and grabs the basketball to shoot some hoops.

After some minutes, he dribbles his invisible opponent and drives forward before dunking the ball. “Still got it.” He mumbled with a laugh as he picks up the ball before noticing a presence behind him and turns around to see a not very friendly face.

“Hey.” Harold said as he awkwardly approaches Levi who just stood and stared at him in confusion. “I know I’m the last person you’d want to see before…”

Levi forces a smile as he places the ball under his arm. “It’s okay, Mr Harold. Do you need something?”

Harold rubs his head and lets out a long sigh. “I…just wanted to apologize for…telling them about you.”

Levi chuckles as he answers. “You don’t need to. It was actually a good idea to call the Index or else this town would have been really messed up. So thanks.”

Harold smiles back at Levi before placing his hands in his pockets with a guilty look on his face. “I still want to apologize. I only did it because I was just so…” He looks away and bites his lip a little in anger. “I lost two people I cared about to the Index’s settlements and it just felt unfair that…you…” He gestures to Levi who looks down with a worried expression.

“But now, they’re going to take you away from your family and I don’t feel any closure. All I feel is guilt and regret.” Levi makes eye contact with him again as he runs a hand over his hair. “I was on my way to apologize to your family when I saw you and I hope that…you can forgive me.”

Levi stares at him for a long moment before stretching a hand to him. “I never hated you and I accept your apology.” Harold takes a moment before laughing as he takes Levi’s hand and gives it a shake. “We cool?”

He releases Levi’s hand with a smile. “We cool.” After a sudden awkward silence, Harold inches away. “Okay. I’m going to let you finish your ‘B-ball’.” He said with an embarrassing gesture as he walks away and Levi takes in a deep breath as he processes what just happened before shooting some more hoops.

10 minutes go by and Levi had already parked his bike by his old house and was walking towards the guest house when a voice called out to him.

“Hey Einstein.” He turned to see Peter approaching and for once he wasn’t wearing shades along with his tee-shirt and weird khaki pants. 

“Hey Peter.” Levi said as he waits for Peter to catch up before walking beside each other to the house. “Where’ve you been?” Levi asked, glancing at his shirt which was covered in dust and some sweat.

“I was taking a little stroll and saw a construction project that needed some help.” He chuckled as takes off his damp shirt leaving only his singlet under, revealing his chiselled chest which made Levi felt a little intimidated. “You ready for tomorrow?”

Levi sighs and rubs the back of head before he answers. “Not really but…” He gives a little shrug before finishing. “It’s not like I have a choice.”

Peter stares in concern at Levi for a moment before laughing as he strongly pats his back. “Exactly. Plus, the Index is already mad at me for wasting so much time here relaxing instead of actually working. Your town’s just so goddamn relaxing.” He said as he swings his shirt over his shoulder and Levi laughs as they enter the house.

About 30 minutes later, the entire family had already began dining and chatting together. Everything was perfectly normal and fine until Rose notices Levi’s half-attention and signals Luke who sighs when he sees it too.

“Ahem.” Luke coughed loudly, causing the entire table to silence as he stands up. “I think we all know what tomorrow is…” Everyone in the room unconsciously glanced to Levi who focused on his food with a sad expression. “Son.” Levi looks up and locks eyes with Luke who almost seem like he’s was on the verge of tears before speaking out.

“You’ve been a light in our lives that your mother and I will never forget. After 7 long years of fertility therapy and one year of extra waiting… we got you. A smart, talented and gifted young man.” A hand slowly slips into Levi’s hand and he turns to his mother who gives him a genuine smile. “It’s going to be hard not having you around anymore but I know that wherever you go, you’ll blow their minds.” He raises his glass of wine and everyone except Levi follows suit. “To Levi.” 

“To Levi!” They all chanted and clank their glasses together while Rose gives Levi a kiss to the cheek. 

As the house resumes their normal interactions, Luke walks over to Levi and gives his hair a ruffle before turning to Peter smiling beside Levi. “I have said this various times but I’m still grateful for what you how you saved my entire family from that sneak attack.” Peter waves a dismissive hand with a laugh just as Luke suddenly gives a serious face.

“If it would not be trouble, I’ll like you to watch over Levi when he leaves.” He bowed his head down in respect and Rose gives Luke’s arm a squeeze which made him turned to her.

Peter leans back into his chair and smiles. “Don’t worry. I’ll personally make sure he’s safe.” A wave of relief washes over Levi’s parents’ faces just as Peter speaks again. “In fact, I’ll try to make it possible for you guys to keep in touch.”

“Really?” Levi asked with growing excitement and Peter throws a calming gesture to him.

“Slow down. I said ‘try’, kid. The best I can probably get you guys are a couple more visits and calls, especially since Levi’s joining the army.”

Luke gives Levi a concerned look before speaking. “Are you sure you don’t want to live in the settlements? You don’t have to fight.”

Levi glances at his father before replying. “I know. But I think it’s better I help end this whole war rather than live in hiding.” Luke stares at his son before nodding.

Rose smiles as she turns to Peter. “Anyway. Thank you, Peter. It means a lot.”

“No probs. Besides…” He laughs as he swings his muscular arm over Levi’s shoulder and gives him a shake. “I love this kid. I’ll do my best to watch this little genius.”

Luke laughs as he stretches a hand to Peter. “I appreciate it, age-” Peter’s raised brow makes Luke laugh as he corrects himself. “Peter.” Peter laughs as he shakes Luke’s hand and Levi smiles as his dad and mum seemed okay with this…

The next day, however… The Index ship was scheduled to leave in the morning around 7am and Levi was now staring at the ship, a bag on his back and a medium-sized suitcase in his grip. He takes in a deep breath of the cool air and turns around…where not just his family, but almost the entire town came to send him off. “Guess this is it, guys.” 

“Levi…” Rose mumbled as he gives Levi a long tight hug with tears streaming down her face and Levi hugs her back with almost equal power. “I love you.” She managed to mutter between sobs and Levi rubs her back, comfortingly as he holds back his tears.

“I love you too, mum.” He looked up to see Luke approaching him. After Rose reluctantly releases him, Levi gives his father a long hug too, still trying to fight back the tears filling his eyes. 

“I love you too, son.” He chuckled as Levi releases him with a sad smile before going over to his grand-parents and giving them both hugs.

After a moment, he turns to some of his closest friends and gave them hugs/handshakes. John then gives him a tight hug and one last hard smack to the back before finally turning to Mark who was now staring at him from his wheelchair.

“I’m going to miss you, Uncle Mark.” He mumbled as he gave Mark a hug with his eyes finally releasing some tears as he squeezes Mark a little.

“Come on, man. Don’t cry.” Mark said as Levi pulls back and wipes his tears but as Mark continues to stare at Levi, he began to give that funny face which made Levi chuckle sadly.

“Look who’s about to cry now.” He said and Mark laughs as he wheels forward and gives Levi’s arm a little punch.

“I’m going to miss you too, kid. Show those other Trons what you’re made off.” He said as he wipes some tears from his eyes and Levi nods as he gives Mark a fist-bump before turning to his suitcase and facing Peter. “Keep my favourite nephew safe, alright?”

“Only nephew.” Levi chuckled as he pulls his bag to stand beside Peter who nods with a smile.

Levi takes one last look at the whole town from the maids in his home to Mr Harold who wanted him gone before he turned to new leaf. He takes in one last deep breath as he looks up to the village he has spent his entire life living in before waving to everyone.

“Bye!!!” He shouted out and the town shouts back as he turns around and walks towards the ship. Peter places his shades back on and gives Levi’s family a friendly nod and smile before following. 

A uniformed agent takes Levi’s bags once he boards the ship and he turns to the railing where the town was still waving and shouting to him. Levi waves back as the ship suddenly began to ship out to sea. Levi smiles at his family as the ship moves away slowly, their figures beginning to fade away in the distance……until 5 minutes pass and all Levi could see was the distant figures of people and the port. 

“Good bye, Asylum Bay.” He mumbled with a sad tone in his voice as he continues to stare out at the fading island…his birthplace and the only environment he’s ever known, all moving out of reach…

“I know what it feels like.” Levi turns to Peter who approaches from behind with a slight frown as he leans on the railing as well. “I had to leave my folks when I was kid too.” Levi turns back to the island and painful feeling comes to his heart. “You just have to move on…” Peter said as he puts a hand on Levi’s shoulder with a pained look on his face. “But that’s always easier said than done.”

Levi and Peter share an acknowledging look before Peter walks away, leaving Levi to sink in this moment… As he stares out at the still fading island, he hangs his head and tightly clutches the railing bars………

24 hours later, Levi was in a room in the ship, soft music playing from his headphones as he lays on the bed with his fingers pulling on his new white-hair locks with his still saddened eyes facing the ceiling…just as the ship blows a loud horn.

He drops the headphones to his neck as he rushes out and shields his eyes from the bright morning light. As his eyes then adjusted, he stares in astonishment at the port the ship was docking in. It was nothing like the one at home and that’s largely due to the fact that it was technologically more advanced and beautiful.

“Still as awesome as I remembered.” He mumbled as he saw a man walking with an advanced looking fishing rod on his back and an automatic cart wheeling beside him with a lot of fishes in it. 

Some minutes later, the ship finally docks in and Peter turned to Levi who basically staring at everything around with wide eyes. He laughs as he gives Levi a pat on the shoulder. “Welcome to a new world, kid.”

Levi nods slowly and follows Peter and the other agents as they moved across the docks but Levi continues to gaze at everything around him with excitement. <Is that the new hover board?!> He thought as he sees some kids zooming around and over obstacles in stylish hover boards that doesn’t touch the ground.

“Dope…” He mumbled just as the agents stopped suddenly and Levi turns to see two black cars which pulled up in front of them.

Peter gives the agents an order and they carried Levi’s bags, entering one vehicle while Peter ushered Levi into the other. Levi smiles as he sinks into the extremely comfortable seats. “Still feels the same.” Levi sighed as Peter moves in to sit opposite him.

“You’re used an Index Uber before?” Peter asked as he closes the door and Levi nods. 

“Back before I got my powers, I followed my dad on some business trips.”

“That explains the nostalgia I see in your eyes.” Peter chuckled as he taps his bracelet which suddenly projected a holographic screen over his wrist.

Peter he taps some options and a ding goes off in the car in response to his touch. “Whoa.” Levi mumbled as the car began to move, smoothly and soothingly as it turns towards the exit and moves out of the dock into the streets with the other car following. Levi settles into his seat before looking back at the other car following them which suddenly went in a different direction. “Where are they going?”

“They’re going to drop off your stuff.” Levi turns back to Peter who was still interacting with his Band. “We’ve got something important to do first.”

“What?” He asked with piqued interest and Peter chuckles as he closes the interface on his wrist.

“You’ll see. For now, just enjoy the view.” Levi smiles as he looks the window with eyes widening with excitement. “It’s always breath-taking.”

“No kidding.” Levi chuckled as he basically glued his face to the window to take in the view of the city. 

Broad and wide with skyscrapers going up into the skies of the South African city, different vehicles all smoothly moving over the mass arrangements of roads, civilians walking by with different fashion attire, jewellery and different technological means with them from phones to tablets to automated baby strollers? And robotic assistants?

This city was something out of a sci-fi movie and Levi basically geeks out at all these things. 15 minutes’ fly by as Levi takes pictures of basically…everything when the car suddenly came to a stop outside a building. 

“Are we here?” He asked as Peter steps out and he follows, staring at the large white building with the large logo of the Index staring back at him. “I guess we are.”

“Let’s go, kid.” Peter said as he walks forward and Levi follows, glancing at the other uniformed agents moving around. He even saw some ordinary people moving about with different technology and devices with them. One agent was even walking with a drone hovering over her head. 

“Well, well, well.” Peter and Levi stopped and turned to a stoic man dressed in a vintage brown suit. “If it isn’t Agent Steel. The heads are pretty pissed with you on spending a whole week on ‘vacation’.” He said with air quotes and Peter chuckles as he gives the man a handshake.

“I already know and in case you didn’t know, Gideon. I was working.” He said with a glance at Levi beside him.

“So you’re the Anonymous tron, huh?” Gideon asked with a raised brow at Levi who gives a respectful bow before answering.

“Yes. I’m Levi West. It’s nice to meet you, Mr Gideon.” He said and Gideon smiles at him.

“Well it’s nice to meet you too. Maybe your politeness will rub off on this guy.” He chuckled with a gesture to Peter who rolls his eyes and laugh. “Anyway, I have to go. It was fun seeing you again, Peter.” He said with a smile as he places a hand on Peter’s shoulder.

“Likewise.” Peter said and Gideon laugh before turning to Levi.

“And I look forward to working with you, Levi.” The man gives Levi a firm handshake before walking away with a smile.

Peter turns to Levi with a big smile and hands on his hips. “So you ready, kid?”

Levi gives Peter a perplexed stare and shrug. “Ready? I don’t even know where we are.”

Peter laughs as he gestures to Levi to walk with him towards the front entrance. “This is one of the South Index branches and we’re here to register you on the network, meaning…” He glances back at him with a smile and raises his bracelet for Levi to see. “You’re getting one of these today.”

“Dope.” Levi mumbled with hands in his pockets as he followed Peter into the building.

After some minutes of greetings and chatting, a worker guides both Peter and Levi towards a quieter section of the building on the second floor.

They entered a large room where strange machines and devices were spread across the room with four large spherical glass orbs all connected to an even larger machine.

“Okay?” Levi mumbled as he moved towards the machine to get a better look while Peter goes over to speak with the scientists there. Levi glances at Peter talking with the scientists who took a look at him and laughed a little, making Levi very uncomfortable.

<What have you gotten yourself into?> He thought to himself as he turns his attention back to the large machine before him.

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