The General watched on nervously as the situation spiralled out of control.
"Hold him down boys, we don't know what type of ability he gained!" The General shouted as the screech of the machine monitoring the boy's heart reached an earsplitting pitch.
The five soldiers in the room rushed to the convulsing teen's side and held down his limbs.
The nurse in charge of the patient was at an utter loss. Never in her life had she seen such an aggressive takeover. The core was practically devouring the boy and pushing him to the brink of death.
Although the nurse was completely stricken by the situation she realised that she had a patient who needed her. She was not going to let this sixteen-year-old kid die on her watch. He still had his whole life ahead of him, and she was going to make sure he lived it.
The nurse turned to her junior and ordered her, "Go get Doctor Rayburn and his paired infusion specialist, they should be in room three right now!"
The nurse ran over to the equipment draw and retrieved the gem tools and then rushed over to the boy.
"Hold his head down!" She shouted at the general seeing that the back of the boy's head was banging against the table.
The general was taken aback at being ordered around by some unknown nurse, but complied anyways seeing how dire the situation was as the boy started to froth at the mouth.
Using the clear gem saw, she sliced open the skin above the boy's heart and as gently as possible lowered in the absorption rod, hoping that the crystal would be able to soak up the extra core energy that was harming the boy's body.
However to her dismay, as she pulled the rod out to check, not even a pinch of power had been absorbed into it. It was as if the core was determined to make the boy its host and nothing else would do.
Just as the nurse was about to move onto plan B, a horrible monotonous beep echoed throughout the room. The boy's body suddenly stopped moving and the air around them grew deathly cold. Everyone looked up in dismay to see the clear flatline displayed on the heart machine.
—-A few hours earlier—-
"No. There's no way. I'm not going inside." Rhys shook his head as he stared fearfully at the giant black portal in front of him. He took a step back but found that he had walked straight into the chest of one of Barrow's men.
Before Rhys could sidestep the guy and run away, two thick arms coiled around his shoulders and secured him in place, stopping him from getting away. Rhys cursed under his breath as a grim realization was dawning on him.
Barrow grinned meanly as he slowly walked towards Rhys. He eyed the weakling incredulously and marveled at the boy's stupidity. How could some little runt like him even dream of refusing a district twenty powerhouse like Barrow?
"Listen, kid," Barrow's voice turned cold as he turned his wrist, revealing a small flip blade in his hand. "I don't need any trouble from a brat like you today. What I need is to get in that portal, raid some gems, and then head over to the Cooch for some playtime with my favorite Krystal."
Barrow's group of men guffawed at his lewd comment. All of them had been planning to head over to the brothel called 'the Cooch', once they had finished with today's raid and had made a fortune.
Rhys didn't feel the same glee that the other men did. Having worked at the script store in district twenty since he was a kid, Rhys was an expert on scripts and the gemstones that had taken over the world since the invasion seventy years ago. There were many different types of gemstones, but they could be definitively sorted into two different categories: The first were the Gems used for power sources, and the second were the gems that were infused into human bodies and resulted in superhuman abilities. The latter was also called cores.
"You told me that it would be an ordinary portal. How the hell is a black portal ordinary?"
Rhys struggled against the guy's hold but ultimately found it impossible to break free. After all, he had no ability to overcome them. Cores were extremely expensive, and although he sold and studied them for a living, he knew that it would be very unlikely that a poor orphan like him would ever be able to obtain superhuman abilities.
Barrow lost his patience and leaned into the boy's face. They were only inches from each other when Barrow brought the knife up to Rhys's temple.
Rhys stopped struggling when the sharp point of the knife was terrifyingly close to his right eye. Rhys could clearly see a gem fragment embedded into the hilt of the blade and knew that it had some type of power. To his horror, the blade started to tremble as waves of heat emanated from the crystal. In a matter of moments the ordinary-looking pocket knife turned a blistering red colour as if it had been held over a fire for hours.
Barrow grinned as he pushed the blade flat against the right side of Rhys's forehead. Rhys cried out as the red hot knife sizzled and branded his skin.
Barrow smiled brightly seeing the brat squirm. He got a sick sense of satisfaction watching the boy in pain and allowed himself to enjoy the sight for a good twenty seconds before he took the scalding knife off of Rhys's head and snapped the blade back into its holder.
"Listen, kid. Either you come with us and help us get the best gems, or we head back to your grandpa's store and I take the worth of gems I could have gotten on this raid."
Rhys flinched at Barrow's words. Rhys's mother had disappeared when he was only a little past his toddler years, leaving him wandering the streets at night with nowhere to go. Gramps had been the only person kind enough to give the little toddler a helping hand. Gramps took Rhys in, gave him a home, paid for his education, and taught him the trade of scripts and gems so that Rhys could make a living for himself, but more than that, Gramps treated Rhys as if he were his real grandson, showing him all the love and care he had been lacking since his mother had abandoned him.
Rhys never knew his father or any of his other family but that didn't matter because he had Gramps. After the old man had been so kind to him, Rhys could not allow Barrow to go after the old man.
Rhys bit down on his lip, drawing blood. He was so torn but he had no choice.
"I'll go." he had no other choice. He clenched his jaw in pain as the hot scorch on his forehead amplified his anger.
Entering a black portal without government authorization was very much illegal and for good reason. Black portals were considered very dangerous, as the worlds on the other side were an unchartered territory that the government had decided not to venture into because of high pre-scan power rating. A Pre-scan power rating was a way for the government to prepare themselves before entering a portal in an attempt to reduce casualties. The scans would scan for present life forms and try to decipher their strength as well as atmospheric scans to see if the land was habitable for humans or not. Black portals were portals wherein the pre-scan power rating came back so high that the government would decide to put the invasion on hold until they were confident enough to colonise it. It was also illegal for non-government affiliated parties to purchase or venture into black portals.
Rhys knew that there was no way the government gave express permission for Barrow and his men to enter a black portal. Rhys figured that they must have obtained the portal illegally, a crime punishable by death if any monsters from the other world managed to get through the portal and come to Earth.
Barrow laughed at Rhys's solemn reply. "Come on rats! My payday is waiting."
The man holding onto Rhys finally let go of him, causing Rhys to fall forward onto the floor. The rest of Barrow's troops jeered at him on the floor as they walked by and entered the portal.
Rhys slowly picked himself up and tentatively touched the burned bloodied branding on his forehead, hoping that the wound would not get infected. As much as he hated Barrow and his team, Rhys had no choice but to go through with this plan for Gramps's sake. He only hoped that he would be able to make it out of this portal alive.
Holding tightly onto the cheap sword in his right hand and the small gem kit in his left, Rhys stepped forward through the portal.
Rhys is pronounced 'Rees'
Please leave a comment and don't forget to vote!!!