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super-powers Beware the Uncorrupted (Part 12 Added 7/21/21)


Philosopher

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Hey folks. This is a new story I've been working on, and I'm definitely planning on finishing it :D Some triggers before you delve into it, the story will be dark (quite dark) sometimes, including heavy violence. Without further adieu, enjoy!

Part 1

The supervillain community must have collectively groaned, as the mayor announced eleven more superheroes that would be added to the city's defenses against supernatural, or other threats. We all saw the new faces, or rather masks, of the well-muscled or toned heroes, ready to beat us to a pulp and shove us to the Mountain.

That's slang for the jail, specifically designed to house people like us, by the way.

My brother proceeded to turn off the TV with a snap of his fingers. Electricity manipulation, at least that's what he thinks it is. Classified as Class 6 by the Province, the headquarters of the superhero alliance. I knew he wasn't a risk that a sixer could bring to this city, and yet because of the potential of damage his powers could cause, the Province either wanted him with them or as a documented cape.

"Goddamn it."

"I know. Fucking Province. Don't we have, like, at least fifty heroes running around the city? What more could they possibly want?" I asked, staring at the black screen of the TV. It was a small and ancient thing, ten inches long and wide, and it was a miracle that it still worked.

"And it's not like we're even sided with the supervillains! I just don't want to become a hero or have my identity become publicized! I swear, at the rate this is going..." Johnny continued, but he didn't finish the sentence. I knew what he was about to say, and I didn't want him to finish either. 

That would make everything too real.

"I mean... We're barely holding by, the way things are. I can maybe get another part-time job after school, but I don't know if I can fit it in my schedule," I tried to help. Johnny had stopped paying attention to me, he always did when he was thinking our situation and how messed up it was. A 23 year old man, right in the prime of his life, taking care of his barely 18 year old brother because their parents were in the Mountain.

We had to change our whole identities when Mom and Dad got caught, as I was underage and my brother was twenty, then. That meant moving out of our house and hiding ourselves in the outer edges of the city.

Three years later and things were not looking better. A combination of debt and living in one of the worse places in town had sapped the youth out of my brother. He still was tall and handsome, standing at a nice 6'1 tall with black long hair, blue eyes and the all-knowing grin my dad used to have. But looking at him now, I could already see tiny wrinkles on the edges of his eyes, while his hair had thinned just a tad bit, the result of continuous, 24-7 anxiety over bills. His once toned body that he had sculpted by being on the track team of his university had turned soft and almost chubby now, as his work required him to stay in a tiny office room without any chances of working out. His powers had increased his metabolism, but even them weren't enough to keep his body intact.

But at least he had powers.

I looked at my reflection in the black void of our TV.

Nothing in particular picked my attention. An average 5'9 height that I couldn't really complain about, soft brown hair and the hazel eyes of my mother that I thought were my only good feature. I hadn't inherited the tall stature of my dad, who stood at a rather tall 6'2 or the good looks that the side of my mom had. In fact, if you didn't look at my eyes, you'd think that my family had adopted me.

And most importantly, no powers.

Granted, I was barely 18 and superpowers usually manifested between the age of sixteen and twenty-one, but my brother had gotten them the moment he went into puberty. He had described it to me many times. As if your body suddenly stops merely existing and suddenly becomes something more. Like a blind man receiving a miracle surgery and getting his eyesight back. Or waking up one day and realizing that you grew ten inches overnight.

It was common, expected for two people with superpowers to have children with powers as well. Sometimes, they were similar to that of the parents, and in rare cases, they were completely random. Johnny had inherited part of the electromagnetic aura of my mom and something from my dad, although he never showed his powers when he was home. All we knew was that it was powerful, powerful enough for him and mom to be shipped off to the Mountain forever.

Alas, it didn't matter now. It was just my brother and I against the world. Johnny and Percy. Electric manipulation and... absolutely, buttfuck nothing.

Yeah. I was angry and edgy. Sue me.

Johnny coughed to get my attention. I had a tendency to daydream, and it only became worse when I was worried about stuff. "Look. I can... I can ask for a raise at my job. Maybe ask for extra hours. I don't know. The alternative is... grim."

Becoming an actual supervillain. That's what he meant. I knew Johnny would never do that, not after what had happened to our parents. He refused to let the Province prove to the world that they were right about the child of the supervillain couple. As a Class 6, he could do monumental amounts of damage to an entire city block if he wanted do. Hell, I had seen the thunderstorm that appeared on top of the apartment complex when he learned that our parents got caught.

Of course, he'd either be apprehended or murdered on the spot by a superhero, depending on the severity of his crimes. Better than a Class 8, I used to say to him. These people either joined the Province or went straight to the Mountain because their powers are too strong to let free.

"Johnny. Hey. Let's go take a breather, alright?" I'm sure we'll feel better after we have a walk around the park, what do you say?" I asked in a vain attempt to lift up the mood.

Johnny looked me in a way that I knew he wouldn't be coming with me. I sighed, got up from the creaking sofa and grabbed my backpack.

"Whatever. I'll see what I can do about the second job. Please don't lose sleep about it. We'll figure out a way. We always do," I grabbed his shoulder and gave him a soft squeeze. Tiny tendrils of electricity made my hand go numb, but I knew he wasn't doing it on purpose. He turned and smiled at me.

"I know, Percy. I... know I don't usually say this, but I love you. Hope you know that," he nodded his head and got up from the chair in our tiny kitchen room, towering over me. Well, not really towering, but five inches is five inches, making me look at his neck.

A ping of envy hit me, but I didn't mind. I loved my brother and I was happy for him. I just wished that I was strong, strong like him to provide for both of us, like he did. With small steps, I moved towards the door and exited our apartment. It was one of the many little boxes the city had built after the influx of new residents, the people cluttering closer as a result of the high volume of superheroes roaming the streets. Safety in numbers, or something like that.

As I l climbed down the stairs from our lair, the nickname for our little apartment, I took a second to watch over the 'magnificent city' of Seattle.

It wasn't magnificent. It was cold. Dirty. Unforgiving.

Evil.

I hated this city. I hated every single person living here. I hated the Province, what they had done to me, my brother.

My parents.

Seething from the sudden anger, I walked towards the nearby park. It was one of the few places with trees in our block and the only place that wasn't overfilled with garbage and filth, the result of an overpopulated city filled with assholes. The weather was still, the darkness of the new moon surrounding me like a cloak. I would have brought my old smartphone with me, but I was so desperate for some air that I had forgotten that it was still charging. Nothing in my backpack could produce light, it was simply filled with rented books from the library on the matter of Unhumans, people with powers.

A horrible name, I know.

I was about to find a bench to sit down and stretch my legs, when I felt something grab my neck.

Before I had the time to turn around, I was thrown to the ground like a rag-doll. I instinctively threw my hands in front of my face as I hit the gravel, and the sudden aches over my forearms informed me that I had scraped them. A lot.

"Ha. Ha. What does little pretty body do here all alone? Forgot your babysitter?" a deep voice called from behind.

Ah fuck. Kruger

"Your brother forgot to pay me this week. You know what this means, right? The little brother gets the beating of his life," he laughed, a rough chuckle that sounded like he smoked a little bit too much.

I didn't even have time to say something as he gave me a swift kick on the side. I felt all the oxygen in my body evacuate immediately and my ribs scream with white-hot pain, making it hard to even think. A low moan escaped from my throat and despite the adrenaline coursing through me, I couldn't even move.

"Hmm. Pity. Little brother can't even throw a fist. Pathetic," he laughed and he turned me around with his foot. Kruger was an ugly man. Receding hairline, fat like an elephant and smelling like puke and body odor. His face was a mess of scars and ingrown hairs, and his eyes were too small for his head.

Kruger smiled, revealing yellow, gaping teeth. I felt bile rise to my throat, and I didn't know if that was because of the pain or disgust.

"P-please. My brother will pay. I don't know what he promised to you, but we'll get it for you. J-just let me go," I pleaded. Kruger's smile widened and my face dropped.

He wasn't done.

"Pretty boy thinks he can beg and go away? It doesn't work like that here," he growled and moved closer. He was fat, so fat, but there was muscle underneath all that, granting him an overwhelming advantage against my skinny frame. I was built like a scarecrow, he must have had more than a hundred pounds on me.

"Please!" I begged again. He was moving closer now, and I could smell weed and piss on him. A million scenarios run through my mind, some very bad possibilities that could happen to me. Nobody was around here. I didn't have my phone. Nobody would hear me.

Nobody would hear my screams.

I felt an emptiness inside me. Nothing like I've ever felt before. I was going to get beat up to the edge of my life, I knew it. Or he'd do something even worse. I screamed at my body to move, do something, but it was as if I wasn't in control anymore.

All I could do, was close my eyes and hope he beat me to unconsciousness first.

It was after a minute of silence that I opened my eyes again.

Kruger was gone. Or rather, he wasn't gone. Just hanging under a nearby lamppost. The metal had bent around him like an accordion, preventing him from escaping as his fat whale of a body made the lamppost groan under his weight. His face was dark, as if someone punched him so hard that a bruise had formed instantly.

What...? What happened?

Without realizing it, my body was slowly lifted off the ground. Someone had grabbed me, someone big, and they were lifting me up.

Up from the ground. Towards the sky. This person, they could fly.

A hero.

I turned around and I saw the most beautiful man I had ever encountered in my life.

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  • Philosopher changed the title to Beware the Uncorrupted (Part 1)

Oh man what a start.

Our main guy doesnt have powers YET but i ahve a feeling he will GROW into them.

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Part 2

I still remember the first time I saw a hero. I was thirteen and I was having some lunch at the school cafeteria with my then friends, talking about the upcoming exams and how we hated them. Typical kid stuff, until the ground started shaking and cracking all around us. Some of my friends had screamed, but I could only stare in shock as the cracks widened on the ground and orange wisps of smoke started coming out of them.

Soon enough, everyone was sitting on top of their tables, too afraid to make sudden movements in case the ground caved in and we all fell down

We waited for someone to save us. Ten minutes turned to an hour, and then two, three. The shaking had stopped, but the cracks still lingered around, daring us to walk on them.

"Guys, I don't think anyone is coming. I... will go get help."

It was Julia who was the bravest from our group, and she volunteered to walk among the broken ground, still steaming with orange sparks and flakes. We tried to stop her, but she was as brave as she was impulsive. With a cautious hop, she landed on the ground. It groaned under her weight, but it held.

With quick steps, she started walking towards the exit of the cafeteria. We all collectively held our breaths, not daring to move in case we accidentally made her fall.

And yet, she fell anyways. A sudden tremor had created a massive gap right under her feet, and her body was instantly swallowed by the orange light underneath.

Her screams only lasted for a second, and if it wasn't for a blue flash of light, she'd be sent straight to Hell. Julia was falling in one moment, and in the other, she was next to us, her hair smoking and her face filled with first-degree burns. Her eyes were glazed over, as if she had seen actual demons underneath the cracks. I raised my eyes to look behind her, and then I saw him.

Pegasus. The local speedster and the new addition of the Province. He was short, a little bit taller than thirteen year old me, but he made up for that with his lean, muscle-tight body. His face was hidden behind an blue mask and two brilliant miniature wings just above his ears, supposedly the source of his supernatural speed. A Class 7 hero, his speed made it almost impossible for his enemies to attack him, but came with the cost of disorientation if he used it too much.

Pegasus looked at each and every single kid in the table and then spoke. "Someone at the nearby high-school awoke to their powers. At least a Class 6 from what I've seen. Some kind of seismokinisis or earth manipulation. Hardly matters, because we will save you now," he smiled.

My mouth opened before my mind stopped it. "What... what took you so long?! We were stuck here for THREE HOURS! Julia could have died!" I yelled at him, fury burning behind my eyes. I had never talked to a hero before, but I just couldn't understand why we were left alone to fend for ourselves.

The smile on Pegasus' face melted off to an angry frown. I couldn't see his facial expressions behind his mask, but I could tell he was irritated. He walked closer to me, and I had to try really hard not to move away from him.

"Listen here you little rat," he whispered in my ear. "Your school is part of the lower districts. Other schools were more important than yours, got it? God, I hate you mewling kids,  we're doing you a favor that we're saving lowlifes like you," he seethed and I trembled at the anger in his voice. Then, as if nothing had ever happened, Pegasus stood up and smiled to all of us. "Today is a good day! Free school vacations!" he laughed, and all the kids in the cafeteria joined him too.

Obviously, I wasn't laughing. Julia wasn't either.

 She was never the same after what she saw down there.

^ ^ ^

The park soon became nothing but a blip in the ground, we were that far away from the surface now. I could still see the bright lights of Seattle underneath me, but they seemed distant at this attitude. Hollow was the word that came up to my mind. So many people living their daily lives, tolerating superheroes and supervillains in their world, their only goal in their mind being the next paycheck. I was part of these people, but now, standing above all that, I felt peace and serenity.

That frightened me more than it should have had.

"Are you okay?" a deep, reverberating voice asked behind me. I had almost forgotten about him.

You see, superheroes are required by law to wear masks in order to hide their secret identity. Not because the Province is afraid that villains will try and hurt them, but because the monumental levels of damage a fight between a high class hero and villain could do to the city. We all knew what would happen if a thug or minor criminal went and hurt the family of a hero after figuring out their secret identity. These people were akin to gods among men, capable of obliterating normal humans with little thought and action.

This man was not wearing a mask.

This, I thought as I gazed in his eyes, this right here in front of me, this hunk of man, is perfection.

It was difficult to describe his face. Imagine taking a marble monolith, and carving out one of the sharpest jawlines you can with a chainsaw. Then add some red, plump lips that could suck in all the air from the planet, some high cheekbones and two lighting blue orbs for eyes. Continue with some brown, shiny hair that look somehow amazing and there you have him. He was a living, breathing Adonis and then he smiled at me. His teeth were blindingly white, and his skin was without any imperfection.

"I am- uhm," I tried to say, but I couldn't form any words. My mind was reeling, both because this absolute god was talking to me, and because we were so high in the sky. I broke our eye contact and made the mistake of looking down, which made me clutch his body tighter.

And what body that was. I can still feel it in my hands, a testament to how unreal it must have felt. He was wearing a simple black suit with two white lines around his collarbone, hiding most of his body features away, but I could tell that he was tall, very tall. At least 6'3, I could feel how much smaller I was compared to him. His shoulders felt like boulders, wide as a barn. I couldn't see his body underneath me, but I could tell that it was just as majestic as he was. I barely got a hold of myself to not cop a feel of his torso.

"What, cat got your tongue?" he laughed, and my body was shaken by the reverberations of his laugh.

I don't know why, but that made me angry. Perhaps it was my brain trying to compensate for being in front of the hottest man I had ever seen in my life or because he didn't realize that he was holding me at least a thousand feet above the ground.

"Are... are you new here?" I asked. "Heroes are normally required to wear a mask. You're breaking the law, you know."

His expression shifted, turning a bit darker than the carefree guy I saw before. "I know that. The Province has made a slight... alteration about me, regarding that pesky law. Not that I have family around here anyways," he then grinned as if he was telling a joke. God, his voice was so sexy. My previous anger melted away in an instant and I was left staring at his sea-blue eyes. They were abnormally blue, azure even.

I couldn't find anything to say to that, and an eerie silence soon enveloped.

The man awkwardly coughed, and he shifted his body, still carrying me in the air as if I was nothing more than a feather. "I should let you back on the ground now," he said and I felt both of us descending.

"Oh, right!" I exclaimed as we both went down towards the sparkling city. We went through a cloud of smog and air pollution, and I did my best not to cough. "Uh, thank you for saving me from this guy. What-what's your name?" I smiled, although he wasn't looking at me.

"I don't have an official hero name yet. I'm one of the new transfers to Seattle, so it will take a while before they assign me with a name," he explained as we finally reached the tallest skyscrapers of the city.

"Well, still. Thank you for saving me. I don't know what the guy would have done to me if you weren't there," I shook my head, trying to expel the image of ugly Kruger away. The man's grip hardened, but not nearly enough to hurt me.

"No worries kid. Say, how old are you? You can file a report with the police if you're above eighteen."

"I'm just about that, yeah. I- I don't think I will though," I said and tried to change the subject. "Say, you look pretty young too. You must be at least twenty, no?"

He glanced me for just a moment, his brilliant blue eyes drilling into my hazel ones. "I'm actually eighteen as well, but you can't tell that to anyone."

What the hell? This stud was eighteen? No freaking way!

"Oh, cool. Well, whatever your future name will be, I will always be grateful of you," I smiled as we reached the entrance of the park. "What's your power, by the way? You can fly, but you also twisted that lamppost like a pretzel! I don't know any hero who can have two different powers like that, just the Incredible, and he's been dead for decades."

"Ah. Can't say, little buddy. Call it a hero's secret," he answered as we finally landed on the rough ground and he let go of me. I had to gaze up to meet his eyes. Yup, he was tall. Damn. My head barely reached his shoulders.

The man's eyes shifted to an unconscious Kruger. "I have to take care of this trash. It was nice meeting you..." he looked down at me with amusement.

"Percy," I answered.

"Percy!" he nodded and ruffled my hair like I was a little kid. Compared to his body, I probably was. I could now see just how muscle was packed in his tall frame. Bulging biceps, pecs that look more like drums that muscle, an eight pack that showed even under his black suit, long and giant legs that must support at least two hundred pounds of muscle, if not more. Yup, he's a superhero alright. 

I must have been staring at his body for quite a while, because he suddenly coughed again to get my attention. "Right, I'm going to take this ugly bastard to the police now. I'd say I hope to meet you again soon, but then that would mean that you'd be in danger." With that, he extended his long arm in front of me. "My name is Sam. I trust that you won't open your mouth to anyone," he grinned and flashed another smile.

This god was trusting me with his name? I mean, obviously it could be fake, but even then I felt honored.  With my trembling hand, I reached in and gave him a handshake. His fingers were like warm stone, unyielding and unmovable.

With that, he hovered towards the lamppost where Kruger had been tied upon and he swiftly ripped it from the ground. The noise was horrifying, metal and cement breaking and screeching in protest to the massive amount of power that had utterly wrenched them away. This man, Sam, was lifting the entire lamppost with Kruger attached like it was a plastic straw and not hundreds of kilos of metal and stone. Hell, the better part of the mortar was still stuck underneath and he carried it like it was nothing!

With that, the superhero was gone, flying away towards the center of the city.

I was left alone to stare at a hole on the ground, where the lamppost previously stood. It was at this moment that the sky rumbled, and the cold rain started falling, as if it tried to wash away the damage. The wind was picking up, and the few birds nesting in the trees of the park chirped together a beautiful song.

With a last gaze in the sky, I walked back to the apartment. My backpack was nowhere to be found, but I didn't care. I was just glad that I was alive, and that a hero had just saved me.

The hottest hero I've ever met.

I tried to contain my running mind, I couldn't waste too much time thinking about the flying hunk. Besides, I had school tomorrow and I had to find an excuse about the missing backpack.

Still, for the first time in a few months, I entered the apartment with a bright smile on my face.

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  • Philosopher changed the title to Beware the Uncorrupted (Part 2 added)
15 hours ago, dredlifter said:

You are an amazing story teller. 

This means so much coming from you! I love your stories and your writing :D

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Part 3

I was abruptly woken up from a blissful sleep, my dreams filled with flying hunks soaring above the skyline.

"Croak! Wake up! Croak! Wake up pipsqueak! Croak! You'll be late!" my new alarm screeched from my phone that I had placed in my desk yesterday, and I instantly tried to muffle it by throwing a pillow.

My aim wasn't that great, as I saw the pillow flying over the desk with an embarrassing whomp

"Croak! You need to turn me off! CROAK! WAKE UP NOW!!" the phone screamed louder this time. I had forgotten about that annoying mechanism. It wouldn't turn off until I actually got up and completed the puzzle with the picture of a frog.

By the time I finished, it was a miracle that I hadn't thrown the phone outside the window. With a quick brush of my teeth and a change of clothes from my pajamas, I struggled to stop myself from yawning as I poured some cereal in a bowl. I had spend the entire night thinking about Sam and just how amazing last night had been. Granted, I did almost die in the hands of the human equivalent for trash, but it was almost worth due to meeting Sam, the flying superhero. Honestly, he was so handsome and strong that I doubted I would forget about him soon.

Still, I had to remind myself, he is a hero. He probably saved another dozen people after me.

"Hey Percy! How was your night walk yesterday?" Johnny asked me as he entered our tiny kitchen. Just by looking at him, I could tell how tired he was. His long hair looked unruly and disheveled, while his eyes were bloody red, as if he hadn't slept at all. His skin was too pale, and I could already see the unshaven patches of his beard. Unfortunately, he hadn't inherited that from our father, who was known for having a thick beard.

I wasn't better. I couldn't grow a single hair on my chin even if my life depended on it.

Seeing that I didn't respond, he started his daily rant.

"Well. Boss called a minute after midnight, asking to complete some forms for him. As you can see, I complied," he yawned as his hands moved towards the old toaster. With a millisecond quick zap, the lighting bolt travelling from the tip of his fingertips to the metal, the toaster turned to life and in an instant, two well-toasted loafs of bread jumped out of it.

I stared at him. "You remember that you broke the last one, right? Actually, you made the darn thing explode and now we're stuck with this ancient piece of crap."

"Eh. Whatever. If I overcharge it, then it only takes mere seconds for the bread to get ready. Time is money, or something like that," he shrugged as he munched down the first loaf. "Aren't you supposed to be in school?" he then stared back.

"We're having the physical aptitude test today, so it's a half day. Don't have to show up for morning classes," I smiled.

"Oh man, I remember my aptitude test. I had scored near the top of the class, thanks to my track experience," he smiled. Then, as if remembering our current situation, his smile melted away and gave way to a frown. "Province wants to know about the physical status of its citizens? How noble," he sneered as he left the half-eaten loaf on the table. "They're spending money on these stupid tests, while people are starving in the streets. Pathetic."

I somewhat agreed with my brother. The reason Province conducted these tests was to check how physically fit the students from each district were. Current theories dictated that the fitter a certain population is, the greater chance that someone will awaken into powers. Something about endocrines, if I remember correctly from my Unhuman Physiology class. Unfortunately, nearly nobody had awoken to any kind of powers to my school, Summerville High, except of a Class 2 kid with limited telekinetic abilities that only allowed him to lift objects up to one pound. That was to say, he still fared better than us, receiving a direct line of communication with Province itself.

"Well, I can't complain. At least this gives me time to work on my college applications, I guess."

"Right. We need to look what are you going to do about these," Johnny nodded as he started heading to his room, probably to get ready for another grueling day at work. I felt bad for him. He was doing his best to provide for both of us, and it was times like these that I felt like a burden.

I tried to ignore the feeling of gloom slowly swelling up in me. Yesterday had been a break from the mundane reality, but now it was time to return home.

With that, I grabbed my phone and went out the door. Normally, I'd have my backpack but... well. You know.

^ ^ ^

Summerville High was one of the less known schools in Seattle and even the district, and understandably so. Its population consisted of 99.9% non-super powered individuals, meaning that nothing ever happened here. No glorious events showcasing the numerous powers other students had in the more popular schools, no visits by the mayor to try and recruit those of Class 6 and above, and of course no grants and donations from the city council or the Province.

It was a simple school, filled with mundane individuals like me.

If you ignored Julia, that is.

I met her halfway through the first corridor. She was busy trying to open her locker, apparently having trouble of doing so. After realizing that she couldn't open it, she just started hitting it with her fists, a slow and monotonous sound that didn't sound over the loud murmurs of the many students. With a sigh, I approached her and gently tapped her on the back.

She instantly turned, her brown eyes taking a second to focus on mine.

"Hey, silly," I grinned at her.

Julia took a few seconds of inspecting my face, and then she grinned as well, giving me a tight hug. "Percy! It's so good to see you! How was your evening last night? Did you return the books to the library?" she smiled like it was her birthday and her parents got her a pony. Rather than responding to her question, I turned to her locker and put her combination.

1111.

I had chosen it because I thought it would be easier for Julia to remember, but I was wrong.

"I'm... sorry. The numbers are too... difficult for me. My head hurts when I think about them for too long."

I placed an arm around her and squeezed her shoulder. Julia was a beautiful girl, almost as tall as me, with strawberry blonde hair and some dimples on her thin nose. She wasn't really athletic, but from what I had seen, she could totally punch someone hard enough for her to escape. I was her only friend, and I was the one who begged her to run some extra laps outside the school or take up some karate lessons in case someone tried to take advantage of her, and thankfully some of it had rubbed off. She would probably be extremely smart and popular too, if it hadn't been for the accident five years ago. 

It had changed her forever. After Pegasus had escorted us all to safety and the volcanic cracks were sealed by another superhero, Julia would simply... stare at us, her eyes glazed and unfocused. Her parents had sent her to the hospital, and after finding out that there was nothing wrong with her, they sent her to a therapist, who had diagnosed her with extreme trauma and PTSD.

Needless to say, her parents were devastated. A few years later, they had saved up enough money for a brain MRI, and the scan showed that her brain never matured after the event. She was still a thirteen year old girl stuck in a teenager's body. Moreover, the trauma had made her terribly afraid of numbers for some unspecified reason, and the school itself had given her permission to never attend maths class again.

It was horrible what had happened to her, but at least there was a silver lining to the whole situation.

"Say Julia, what are they going to serve at lunch today?" I asked her with a half-smile.

Julia's eyes suddenly flashed with terrific focus and for a single second, I saw the brilliant girl hiding behind them. "Lasagna and apple juice. They arrived from Everwinter High yesterday evening as they gave the students there some food poisoning and they didn't want to waste resources," she said to me like a robot. Then, her eyes fogged up again and it was as if the sudden surge of brilliance had never happened.

"Okay, good to know. Let's take something from the vending machine then," I shook my head, disappointed at the school faculty.

"But... I like apple juice. Can we at least get the apple juice? We won't have to eat the lasagna!" she whimpered, and I sighed.

"Fine, we can go get the apple juice. Now let's go! We'll be late for the physical aptitude test!"

"I'm not going to rank very well. I think I will be after Derek Wills and before Helen Marathi. I don't know the number, but its low," Julia shook her head.

"It's okay. It doesn't matter, we're missing school anyways!" I tried to lighten up the mood.

After Julia's accident, something had indeed died inside her. But through the ashes, something else was awakened, and that something was her powers. The sheer amount of stress she experienced the moments she was falling must have prematurely triggered the activation of her powers, thus resulting on what she was today. I was certain that she was a Class 1 with some kind of clairvoyance ability, or perhaps intuitive precognition. Her powers would be randomly triggered throughout the day, but it seemed that if you asked her and you were her friend, she would give you a somewhat accurate prediction of future events. The amount of times she had predicted pop-quizzes for my classes were astonishing. Unfortunately, if she used her power too much or tried to peer into the far-future, she would regress to the mental intelligence of a mere child, depending on the intensity of the event she saw. Even then, her power was sometimes inaccurate and her predictions would not stand.

I could only imagine how much more powerful she would have been if she had decided to stay in her spot on that day. Moreover, I had decided not to inform the Province of her powers. God knows what would happen if they found out about her. They'd probably force her or her parents to work for them, and Julia was not ready for that kind of pressure yet.

"Percy...? I do not feel good. Something feels... icky. Bad," Julia suddenly grabbed my hand and squeezed. "I will go now. Meet you at lunch, maybe?" she raised her eyes and I nodded my head.

"Of course. Don't be late for the physical!" I reminded her for the last time, and with that, Julia was lost in the sea of students surrounding me.

I soon started to follow the crowd towards the outside space of our school. The aptitude test would be conducted there, and I didn't want to miss it. I'll admit that I was a bit curious to see how well our school fared compared to the national averages.

Probably not so well.

^ ^ ^

The too-few teachers were yelling at us to sit "the heck" down before they failed us with a big fat zero as our grade. Of course, they would never do that, as their bonuses were probably on the line if the school results were worse than last year. Although, it would be a miracle if they were. I had heard from the then seniors that our school had been last in the entire district, something that the principal was so embarrassed of that he spent an entire day locked into his office, crying his eyes out.

We all hoped that this year would be different.

"Right!" our gym teacher yelled at my class with the help of a megaphone. There were two hundred seniors in total, and not one of us looked happy to be there. I quickly scanned the crowd to look for Julia, but I couldn't find her anywhere.

Did she really forget to come?

"You know the drill people, just like we practiced. When you hear your name, you come down from the bleachers and start doing push-ups until you hear me say stop! Then, you're gonna head off to meet Miss Matilda, who will time you on your one mile-run! Afterwards, we're going to measure your strength through a Province-approved apparatus, the only one they had for our school! Got it?" he yelled, and he took our slight nods of agreement as yes. "Ronnie Stewards!"

A scrawny kid scrambled towards the gym teacher, his face red as a tomato from the embarrassment of being the first to be called. He knew all the seniors would look at him struggling to do his push-ups.

I only hoped that I wasn't next.

"Percy Duval!"

Sometimes, I didn't know why I even bothered.

^ ^ ^

"Right...  sixteen minutes for your mile run. Not too shabby, but essentially average," Miss Matilda scribbled something on her clipboard and then stood in front of me. I was too busy trying to contain the cereal in my stomach, gasping between gulps of water for some sweet air. "Cripes, Percy. It was just one mile, not a marathon! You ought to take care of your health a bit more," she frowned like a disappointed parent.

"I... I'm working on it," I huffed out as I felt blood return to the rest of my body.

"Good. Now it's time for the measurement of your strength," she said as she produced a small, rectangular object from the top of her clipboard. "Don't worry, it's nothing invasive. It will just scan you for ten seconds and then give us your estimated PSI. That's the pounds per square inch, one of the various measurements for strength, especially for normal people like you and me," she smiled. "God, I hate these superheroes and supervillains, you know? Ruining our city with each and every fight... and that new Class 8 supervillain, Princess? Psychic persuasion, really? As if we don't have enough to worry about," she started complaining before remembering that she was a teacher. "Anyways, just close your eyes and I'll be done sooner than you know."

I didn't really feel anything, only a single brush of warm air on my face and hair.

The machine beeped, and a robotic voice declared the result.

"Beep. 45 PSI. Subject is stronger than 39% of observed population."

I sighed. This meant that 61% of the population was stronger than me, which also meant that I was weaker than average.

"Oh dear. Well, don't worry about it Percy. Your grades are really good, if you exclude maths. I'm sure you'll wind up to a good college or university," she petted my shoulders.

With what money, you old crone? I almost yelled at her, but I held it in. She wasn't the one who had gotten my parents in the Mountain and she wasn't the reason my brother and I had money problems. She was just an underpaid teacher, in the same situation like the rest of us.

"Thank you, Miss M. I really appreciate that," I gave her a strained smile and started to head to the bleachers to rest a bit more.

"Oh, Percy? Can you wait for just a few more minutes? We recently got some new admissions in our school, and one of the new students is just finishing up his mile run. It'd be good to show him around the school, don't you think? Maybe even take Julia with you. God knows that the girl needs it," she pleaded at me with her eyes.

I groaned and seethed, but I relented. "Fine. And Julia is okay, you know. We're both okay."

Well, to be honest, we weren't okay at all, and maybe a new person to hang out with would be beneficial to the both of us. I proceeded to sit down on the low grass and took a few deep breaths. Maybe I could get some credit for this?

I was just about to ask where the student was because I didn't see him in the small field, when a deep voice emanated behind Miss Matilda.

"I'm finished with the mile run," the towering figure declared. Miss Matilda shrieked in surprise, almost dropping her clipboard down, turning her head in a second. Realizing that she was looking at two gargantuan pecs rather than a face, she started raising her eyes up.

Up. Up. Up.

Two brilliant blue eyes finally met her, and I almost forgot to breathe.

It was the superhero. Sam. The flying man.

What the fuck.

"Hurrr... the fuck?" was the only thing that came out of my mouth but both Miss Matilda and Sam ignored my mewling. 

"Oh! Wow! You... already finished? That seems awfully fast," she stared at Sam's model-like face and he only laughed in response, filling the air with his laugh.

Yeah, it was totally him.

"It took three minutes, but I'm a fast runner," he nodded, suddenly serious.

Three minutes and he hadn't even sweated!

"I believe you will measure my strength now?" Sam then asked as he flexed his pectoral muscles, causing them to bump up and down. Miss Matilda could only stare at him, a starstruck expression on her face.

"Uh, yes. Sam... Shaw, is it? Please stand still," she said as she grabbed the machine again and held it in front of his face. She had to raise her hands pretty high to do that, but she didn't seem to mind.

Ten seconds later, the machine beeped.

"Beep. Unexplained error occurred. Sending error message to Province HQ. Please wait... response received. PSI is 100, within normal human parameters."

"Huh," both me and Miss Matilda exclaimed in response. She shot me a quick glance, as if remembering that I existed, and she turned back at the mountain of a man named 'Sam Shaw'. "Um, this is Percy. He agreed to show you around the school, so you can be more acclimated to your new environment. How does that sound?" she asked, waving at me to get up from the grass.

I was too frozen from the shock to move.

"That's quite alright, Miss. I can figure out the place on my own. Besides, me and Percy know each other," he glanced at me like I was little more than the grass surrounding me. "I'm fine on my own."

Miss Matilda tried to say something, but Sam was already walking away, his massive back muscles showing from inside his black shirt, which looked painted on his wide frame. After he was out of hearing range, the teacher turned back to me.

"I'm sorry, Percy. Sam seems like a nice kid, but maybe you have to force him out of his shell."

"I doubt anyone can force him to do anything, Miss M," I responded, my voice filled with disappointment without realizing it. "Anyways, I hope our school goes better than last year."

"Well, with him," she beamed, pointing at the still walking Sam, "I'm sure we will do much better." 

She didn't know how right she was.

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  • Philosopher changed the title to Beware the Uncorrupted (Part 3 Added)

I finally got time to catch up to this and MANNNNNN i am LOVING IT.

Julia and Percy looks liek the best of friends and i want to know more about her and not only what happened i want tgo know more about ehr powers caus ei have a feeling that Class 8 villain has sometrhing to do with her liek some sort of alter ego.

Sam Shaw. We got a full name what could he possibly be doing tehre in that school.

I definetly want to read more

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@PhilosopherI love whatever you write, and this one is setting up so well!  I can't wait to see where you go with this, especially with your dark introduction.  Will be an amazing ride, and I'm glad to see your writing again!  I've already got some opinions on the characters... can't wait to see what happens!

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Part 4

After a last obligatory thank you from all the teachers of Summerville High, I met with Julia at the cafeteria for lunch. Remembering her prediction, I only picked two cartons of apple juice rather than the suspicious lasagna.

Julia was sitting alone in one of the tables near the school toilets. Nobody seemed to be talking to her, but I could see side glances and expressions of mockery from some of the students as they passed her by. She had the reputation of being 'slow' and 'unhinged' at times, a result of her refusal to speak to anyone other than me. The rumors had a grain of truth in them, as sometimes the things she said made zero sense and even I couldn't understand her.

But I didn't care what anyone else thought about Julia or me. She was my friend, and I'd be damned if I let her experience the horrors of high school all alone. As I approached out table, I saw her absently biting her nails, a behavior that I desperately tried to help her stop it, to no avail. In front of her stood three empty cartons of apple juice, along with a book on 'The Supervillain Community of the United States'. It seemed like an easy book to read, not too thick and filled with interesting diagrams and pictures, depicting the internal hierarchy that the so-called villains had adapted.

It was rather simple mantra really. Power equals to authority. If you were weak, you'd work for the Lieutenants. If you were strong, you'd be a Lieutenant. If you were really strong, a Class 7 or above, then you'd be a Boss.

You never want to meet a Boss. It never ends well for neither you nor the surrounding buildings of the city.

"Hello Percy! How was the physical aptitude test?" Julia grinned at me as she saw me sitting down with more apple juice on my hands. She proceeded to grab one carton for herself, drinking it down in many quick gulps.

"It was okay. A monumental waste of time, but nothing this weekend won't fix," I smiled at her. I tried not to think about my results. After all, they didn't really matter on the grand scheme of things. The whole thing was just a farce from the Province to show that they cared 'equally' about every student in every district. "Hey, where were you during the test? I didn't see you anywhere."

Julia stared at her book for a few seconds. "I had a bad feeling about it. The feeling is all around the school now, and I don't like it. Makes my brain hurt," she whispered, pointing at her head in slight pain. "It's okay though. I can try to ignore it."

That was new. Julia had never told me about her 'bad feelings' before, only when she was surrounded by numbers. Needless to say, it didn't sound like something she wanted to talk about.

On the table adjacent to us, two students were having a conversation about today's test as well, doing their best to ignore the two weirdos next to them.

"Did you hear about the principal? He didn't cry this time. Damn, I kinda wanted to see him bawl his eyes out like last year," a petite girl with short brown hair and elfish features snickered next to her friend, an overweight guy who seamed sweaty all over, definitely not the epitome of fitness right there. "Must be because of that new guy... did you see him? I mean, it's impossible to miss this moving mountain, he's so tall and well-built! Nothing like you, James!" she complained to 'James', who just shook his shoulders, apparently not caring. "He looks like he's sleeping in the gym! That black shirt was painted on those big muscles of him..." the girl continued, trying to get a reaction from James, but nothing seemed to faze him. "And his face... oh my god, he's like a movie star! If I wasn't dating you, I'd be all over him like the other girls," she finally drove the nail in the coffin, staring at her boyfriend.

James just snorted and continued eating his lasagna. "Man, this tastes weird. Like rotten eggs or something."

I shot a quick glance to Julia, who just smiled knowingly. It seemed that her prediction was correct this time. "Do you want to go to the mall today, Jules? I heard they finished renovating after the Painter's attack and they're giving away all the paintings and decorations he ruined!" I tried to make some small-talk, but Julia didn't seem too interested.

"Percy, Percy, give me your answer do..." she suddenly started singing, grabbing my hand.

Oh. She was having one of her weird moments again.

"I'm half-crazy, it's all because of you..." her eyes flashed a spark of orange for just that single second, before she released my hand and returned to her book. "Sometimes, the people closest to you are the ones that keep the darkest secrets."

My mind froze. "Wh-what did you say?" I asked Julia, who was not responding to my questions at all.

"I think I will go get some more apple juice now," she simply said, throwing her book in her backpack and waving at me, before leaving for the cafeteria counter.

I was left stunned by her words. What did she mean by secrets? And what was that little rhyme about being crazy because of me?!

Without any other information to draw conclusions from, I chose to ignore Julia's blabbers. She would always be my friend, but even I recognized that something wasn't right with her thinking process and I shouldn't give too much thought on her ramblings. I chose to turn my attention to a wonderful afternoon at Brightburn Mall, the most popular place for teenagers in our district, now with insurance against hero or villain related damages.

As I exited the school perimeters and started walking downtown, a tiny voice in my mind urged me to think about Sam and his business in our school.

If you applied logic, it made sense.

He was an eighteen-year old hero, and a new one from what I understood, someone who needed a cover. Although the more popular schools in Seattle offered the appropriate 'programmes' for young heroes who had barely awakened into their powers, our school had nothing fancy like that, which was a blessing in disguise for a hero who did not care about fame and the rest of the gigs.

Sam Shaw. What a weird name. I could definitely appreciate the new eye candy that would now roam the school, but his behavior had turned my previous desire to more manageable levels. I could simply look at his handsome looks and titanic body from far away, like the rest of the other students. Okay, I refused to believe he was just eighteen. He had to be the biggest guy in our school, and I briefly wondered if that was a result of his powers.

Flight and super-strength were two entirely different things, and I couldn't figure out how if that was the result of another power or something else, like an anti-gravity belt. These cost the GDP of a small state, and I don't know if the Province would trust someone with super-strength with that.

Oh well. Who cares about Sam anyways? He didn't seem to care about me back on the field. He's just like the rest of the heroes, only in for the fame and money. I wasn't special because he saved me. I was just a number.

Screw them, really. Screw him!

You wish, the tiny voice laughed in my mind and I kicked the air in fury.

^ ^ ^

The Brightburn Mall was an exquisite design of glass and steel, a truly wonderful building created by professional architects to try and revive the poorer parts of Seattle, by making the poor students spend all their money on the shops located in the mall. It would have worked too, if it hadn't become a beacon for all manners of criminals and supervillains to try and rob every other Friday.

As I approached the doors of the mall, I could still see the green streaks of pain, the product of the Painter's last attack. His ability was paint manipulation, and whatever he drew in walls and roads would be granted life. Physical substance would appear out of nowhere and an 'avatar' of the painted picture would form, completely under his command. A Class 7 supervillain, creating these avatars took vast amounts of energy away, so much that he appeared to be approaching 60, even though he was estimated to be thirty years old. His last 'masterpiece' had been a massive amphibian-like creature, oddly reminiscent of a frog, that took three superheroes to finally defeat. When it finally exploded in a gargantuan wave of green paint, the entire mall was almost flooded and some people even 'disappeared' in the green tsunami of horror. Apparently, the Painter had one last trick in his sleeve, because the green paint was actually meant to be acid and took the necessary properties to match his desire.

So when the heroes said that twenty people 'disappeared', they really meant dissolved. A small ceremony was held the next day to mourn the victims, but no hero attended because they were too 'busy'. These things happened almost every week, and most of us had grown acclimated to the constant dangers of our super society.

As I entered the mall, my nose was assaulted with the smell of old paint. Most shops were open and filled with people doing their Friday shopping and taking advantage of the deals. After a quick question to a near sleeping security guard regarding the free ruined decorations informed me that the giveaway would be in the center of the mall, and so I started walking there, excited about the potential of free stuff.

When I finally arrived, I was disappointed to see that only a few paintings had remained, the ones that were fully blasted with green paint and thus had become unrecognizable. Thankfully, the paint did nothing to inorganic material, and so the paintings hadn't dissolved like these poor victims did.

"Hi, excuse me," I tried to grab the attention of a tall woman dressed in a smart jacket and black jeans, a small ID on her neck informing me that she was the owner of these paintings.

"Hi there," she smiled to me. She was a pretty woman, with sparkling blue eyes and red hair. Nothing like Sam's eyes, his were as if actual lighting lived inside them, but hers were still nice. "I'm afraid most the undamaged works were taken earlier in the morning. I only have these two," she pointed behind her. "As you can see, they're just... green now. They're going to the trash, unless you want one?" she shrugged, although I could hear the displeasure in her voice.

"Did they have a title?" I asked as I approached the smaller painting. I couldn't see anything behind the green paint, but the frame was a beautiful black wood, carved in a flower-like pattern.

"I had named that 'The Antithesis'. One of my darker works actually," she said. "Really beautiful, though. One of my favorites too."

Antithesis. I kinda liked the sound of that.

Oh, what the hell. It's free stuff.

"Alright, I'll take it!" I turned to her, but she didn't respond.

She was too busy looking behind me. "M-M-May I help you?" she trembled, her face now adorning a lusting smile.

"I'll take the other painting," Sam's deep voice echoed behind me. The hairs of my neck suddenly stood in fool attention and I could tell that has looking straight down at me.

"Sure, of course! It's free! It's similar to Antithesis, I named it Vigilance. Unfortunately it's ruined, but I cou-" the woman started rambling, but Sam interrupted her.

"No need. I can fix this on my own," he decided, and with a long, veiny arm, he reached to grab the other painting.

Finally, I turned and stared at him. I was still stunned, looking at his angelic face, but I did my best to appear angry. "Are you following me or something?" I accused him, grabbing the small painting and holding it under my armpit.

"Of course not. I just came here to return something to you," he responded, raising something with his other hand.

My backpack.

Huh. For some reason, that made me feel really bad. 

I quickly reached and grabbed my backpack, careful not to touch his hand. His demeanor was cold, threatening even, and I wanted to disappear from his watchful eye. God knows he could probably dissolve me the same way the green paint had done to the other people. Opening it, I quickly threw the painting inside and put it on my back, where it belonged.

"Cool. Um. See you at school, I guess," I mumbled and started leaving as fast as possible.

"Wait," Sam commanded and placed a big arm on my shoulder. Instantly, it was like someone had placed a boulder on top of me. It was like his hand had its own gravity well and I couldn't move. I didn't know if he was doing it unconsciously or not, but the strength in his arm seemed unparalleled compared to my feeble body. "I want to talk. Stay," he commanded as if his word was bond.

I didn't like this. The feeling reminded me of Kruger's heavy body when he was on top of me, ready to maim me... or worse.

"Let me go," I trembled in barely contained anger, and the pressure on my shoulder was relieved in an instant. I turned to look at a surprised Sam, rubbing his arm and staring at me like I had grown two heads.

"I-" he started shouting, but I was already running away.

All heroes are the same. They think they own us because they have powers! What the fuck?!

These thoughts were swarming my head, and I could feel heat radiating from my arms as I quickly made my way outside the mall.

Fuck Sam. He's just like the rest of them, lording his overwhelming power at us muggles because-

I stopped to realize that a wall of people had blocked the main exit of the mall. They were all smiling wildly, as if someone had just told them the best joke in the history of time and they still hadn't come down from the high. They were holding hands with each other like a human chain, and there were so many people that I couldn't see the exit. At least thirty.

Other shoppers had been stopped as well, and some people were already shouting in anger for the idiots to disperse. Oddly enough, the security guard I had seen a few minutes before was also part of the human wall, staring and grinning like the rest of them.

"Um, can I please go through?" I asked one of the front people. It was a middle-aged man, probably a father, and he was quick to take notice of me, his smile widening even more.

"Why would you want to leave? You've been honored with the presence of one of the most important people in the planet," he smiled like a lunatic.

"What do you mean?" I stared at him. Something was off, really off. His smile, his expression, they were unnatural.

Forced.

"Why, he's speaking about me of course!" a beautiful voice rang from behind the man.

It was her. The woman I had seen on the news. One of the most dangerous supervillains in Seattle.

Wait, supervillain?

No. This woman is not a supervillain. She is beautiful, divine. She is no mere criminal. She is here to save us all from oppression.

"Now, little boy, why don't you join the ranks of the rest of my subjects? I will take good care of you," the goddess smiled to me and reached her hand. My body was quick to take it, it would do anything to touch her for just a mere moment.

She was our savior. She had to be protected at all costs. I would kill for her, die for her. I would do anything to keep her safe. I would even murder my own brother, carve out his heart and give it to her as a present if it meant that I could spend one more second in her divine presence.

A winning smile showed up on my face. This was my purpose.

She was my purpose.

"At your service, my Princess!" I barked and joined the rest of my new family.

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  • Philosopher changed the title to Beware the Uncorrupted (Part 12 Added 7/21/21)

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