Arc 0: Prologue

Chapter 1: Awakening

Lum Enefah. A planet brought to life by the cooperation of four elements: the judgment-delivering fire, the life-giving earth, the guiding winds, and the invigorating waters. Four great spirits who had ultimate control over the four elements founded Lum Enefah and prospered life onto the world. The new life interacted with the elements and became nature. However, nature lacked the might to support the planet, rather, only just use it. The life of Lum Enefah was successful, but soon began to dissipate.

The spirits' power were dissipating as well. With what little they had left, they created lesser spirits to govern the world in their stead, continuously governing the world. They restored life on Lum Enefah. Those who contributed their greatest to the world became the next great spirits, known as the Four Almighty, and ultimately controlled the world's future. Soon, the Four Almighty fused the elements with each other to form a new life, in hopes of continuing the world balance. That was the birth of humans.

The humans thanked the spirits. Along with the other forms of life, the humans found excitement in interacting with the elements. However, they did not forget their true duty—they were to help govern the balance of the Lum Enefah. Their powers were limited as the spirits told: to only interact with the elements, never create more life from them. The humans agreed—their goodwill filling their hearts with a new element: Light. They ensured the fires were calm, earth's structure maintained, winds gently guiding, and waters giving energy. All was well in the world of Lum Enefah. The spirits and humans worked together to continue what mattered to them in the vast universe: living.

However, a certain human discovered a secret hidden to all humans: she was able to combine the elements, and bore life with her own hands.

Excited and overwhelmed by newfound power, her heart bore a never-before-seen element: Dark. Thus born from her hands was life that held hearts of darkness. They arrived in the world and formed a balance between dark and light, but they did not show compassion for creation, rather, they thirst for destruction. The spirits had no choice but to forcefully remove the humans of darkness. However, they were powerless, and could do nothing. Soon, many spirits sided with darkness and sought destruction of the world as well. The gods were troubled. The Four Almighty were anxious as well. Spirits who still held their light could do nothing. But the human hearts of light did not give up. They sought for the power the same way the hearts of dark had done, but with the will to protect Lum Enefah.

Born from Light's creation was a new power: the Driver. At first a mere armor to be placed on the shoulder, it was like a divine gift. Blessed by the spirits, the Driver gave humans the power of the elements. The Drivers delivered fire's judgment, earth's protection, wind's guidance, and water's revitalization.

Yet Light was not the only one to possess the Driver. Dark soon developed the Driver as well.

The two sides were now at war.


The year is 21XX, A.D. A hundred years since the war's end, six islands stand within the world's vast body of waters. These six islands are unique, as they are the only lands to have ever risen on Lum Enefah.

Flamma Island. This island is the habitat of a high temperature environment. The cause is from an active volcano, which strangely fills the air with heat. Those who live on this island enjoy the scorching powers of fire, becoming one with flames. The elemental spirit of fire ensures the humans' desire for fire is not too destructive.

Terra Island. This island is the habitat of various creations made by the earth, from plains, to hills, valleys, and mountains. Bland itself, the humans who inhabit the island integrate the other elements to bring joy to daily life. The elemental spirit of earth holds the existence of the world's land while allowing the humans' bliss.

Aeria Island. This island is the habitat of calm winds to malevolent storms. Resting at the core of the land are old ruins that hold legends of the early times of Lum Enefah, but little is known so far. Human homes are powered by the windmills, dependent on the never-ending winds. The elemental spirit of air is responsible for guiding the world's winds.

Aqua Island. This island welcomes the water they are surrounded by. Humans residing here often find joy in connecting their bodies within water. Everything revolves around water on the island. The elemental spirit of water is responsible for ensuring the waters are clean and invigorate those that touch its body.

The four elemental islands are the corners of the center island—Hyper Island. It is said it is the first landmark on Lum Enefah, where the first spirits and life forms had resided. Now it acts as a habitat for humans who study the evolution of Drivers. Children of humans are educated at the island's best interest: Hyper Academy, a development so grand it can be seen from the other islands.

Heart Island is the final island which rests between Flamma and Terra Island. Along with Hyper, it is one of the early lands of Lum Enefah. Once a grand piece of earth, it eroded into something of a heart shape. It was strange to all but the spirits. The spirits know of Heart Island's story.

A spirit with the heart of light, and a human with the heart of dark, showed immense adoration for each other. Many never thought such an event would happen, until they announced their devotion to each other on Heart Island. It was they who ended the war with peace to both sides. Neither Light nor Dark reigned over the other. Rather...a new element was created from the two's strong fond for each other. The spirit and human cast away their light and dark, and showed everything in the world what became the most powerful element of all: love.

The spirits blessed the two for the realization, and acknowledged them as the ones who would lead Lum Enefah. The olden gods accepted and appointed them as the new gods to success them, allowing them to govern all creation and all destruction.

Both Light and Dark accepted their differences and compromised. Half of the world was filled with light, where the six islands resided. Dark escaped into the other half, not leaving a trace of their existence.

Another important event occurred soon after the new gods settled at Heart Island: a child had been born from them. Light then blessed the child with their element, granting him immortality. In addition, all Light, and the Four Almighty spirits gifted the child with a unique Driver: the Love Driver. He now carried a part of the world's burden: to ensure Lum Enefah is kept in balance.

And so began the child's first steps.


L…

Le…

Leon…!

It is time...to awaken...

Fulfill…

your duty…

Awaken!

…?

…?!

This feeling…what is it?

Me? Why is it dark…? …My eyes are closed?

Slowly my eyes opened. I am met by the radiance of light that floats above me.

My body slowly tried to regain movement. I began with my right hand, and then my left. My right arm, and then left. My legs. My face. They were all stiff like stone, as if I had not moved for a very long time.

I was wearing a strange white suit. It felt elastic and tight on me. It covered my upper body, cutting off at my shoulders. The suit went downwards to my ankles. At the edges and waist was

Soon I regenerated enough to push my body upwards from what I was laying on. What was I laying on? I looked down to see that I had been lying down on a soft surface. A bed, I think it was called.

I looked around me. I was in some sort of white case. Holes opened up at my sides—I climbed out my left. Grass prodded out from the stone ground beneath my feet. I found myself surrounded by tall pillars. Behind the pillars were rock walls. I turn my head around to see that the pattern was endless. I was trapped.

Follow my voice…

A calm voice echoed inside my mind. I looked around for the source of the sound. Beyond in the direction of where the case was pointing at was a peculiar, green sphere sticking in the wall.

I reached for the object with my hand. Before I could touch the sphere, it glowed brightly. After a moment, the sphere stopped shining, and the wall faded into nothing. In front of me was a lit tunnel.

Come…

The voice spoke to me again. I had little choice but to heed it.

Disregarding the wall, I headed inside the revealed path. A short walk ended with a wall in front of me, but looking up, the path continued after a jump and climb on an edge. Standing up, I saw a white light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully meaning that I was reaching the exit.

At the end of the tunnel, I stepped out into bright light again. This time, the environment was different. I saw the stone land from both of my sides curving straight down my line of sight. Up ahead was a tiny wooden shack, and beyond the shack were the same tall pillars standing proudly on a simple flat platform. However, some sort of transparent dome barrier began to rush all the way ahead. It was rather conspicuous after seeing a vast body of water being separated by it. Inside the dome was a wall that split the middle of the tunnel. A few vessels of brown wood were docked on the platform, sitting gently on top of water inside the barrier.

I walked forward. Step by step, I closed the distance between me and the shack. I headed towards it.

The shack carried various doll-like figures, as well as candles and wood sticks. A man was sitting down on a wood chair, resting his heads on his arms. He was asleep.

"Um…" was the first sound that came out of my mouth. I sounded rather not too light or deep.

"Huuu…hah?" the man began to wake up. "Oh…customer…" he mumbled. He stood up and stretched his whole body, ignoring my presence for a moment. His eyes were still closed. He scratched his face and then opened them. He saw my curious expression. And then, his eyes widened.

"Wh—wha—" he stuttered. "Y—You—you're—?!"

I could only continue to look innocent. He kept stuttering and pointing at me.

"Y—You're awake!" he finally exclaimed. "Oh my gods it's that time already?!" he looked at his wrist, where he had a watch on.

"Is something wrong?" I asked.

He took a deep breath before kneeling down and grabbing an object from a hidden shelf in the shack. Then, the man jumped over and looked at me.

"Follow me," said the man. He began walking past me.

I was a little dumbfounded. I was given some random pad that I didn't know how to put on, and then I'm following a person. The man looked back and saw how I was just standing in the same place.

"Come on already," he said. He began walking in the direction I had come from. What I didn't notice before was that there was a grand set of stone stairs above the tunnel I had just walked through. He started walking up. I followed behind.

We made it to the top of the steps, though it was no easy feat for the both of us. I felt somewhat weary, and the man showed signs of it as well. But I think the journey was worth the sight.

In front of us was some sort of altar. Three statues stand proudly surrounded by wooden gates. The tallest statue with an averagely masculine figure was on the left. On the right was a female figure with long hair and a dress. The middle statue was a little child that had a heart on its chest. I walked up the stairs and examined the statues closer. To me, the three statues were like a family.

Another look at the middle statue. I felt familiar with it.

"Hey!" exclaimed the man. I looked back at him and he was looking at the sky, waving at the clouds. "I brought the kid! He's awake!"

I looked towards the sky as well, finding nothing at first. Suddenly before my eyes, a ray of light appeared, different from the sphere already above. A small sparkle floated downwards and stopped in midair, and created a blinding flash. I covered my eyes with my arms.

When I regained my sight, a glowing stairway appeared in front of me. It was miraculously beautiful, but suspicious.

"Go on, climb up," said the man. "She's waiting for you."

Who is?

I turned to the stairs and began my ascent. Gradually I rose higher above the land I stood on. I felt like the stairs were eternal, but strangely, I was not tired of climbing. I kept going.

I was now above the clouds. I finally met with a flat platform. There was nothing inside, but the blue sky and a white ground. I continued walking forward. I made a few more steps.

Leon…

In an instant, I found myself in a new place. I was greeted by an exotic scene. The sky in front of me turned into the color of a brighter baby blue, and there was a small house. It was painted entirely white. A pergola appeared beside the house, made of what seemed like the clouds' fluff. There was a silver table along with three gently placed chairs. One of them was occupied by a transparent figure who was drinking from a petite cup.

Another few steps forward. The figure became fully solid and visible. It was a woman, with shiny white hair. She wore an elegant dress and gloves.

"You've finally awakened," she said. She had a calm tone. I felt at ease in her presence.

The woman stood from where she sat and approached me. She kept a pleased grin as she walked closer.

She extended her hand forward. "My child, how you've grown."

My child, she said? I echoed the thought.

"Do you remember me?" she asked. Her eyes met with mine. I couldn't help staring deeply into it.

Broken pieces of memories scattered in my head. They rushed in too fast, I couldn't tell what was going on. All I had seen my little hand holding a woman's hand. She smiled at me. A man stood next to us, and he too, was smiling at me.

"Ah…" I tried to speak.

The woman giggled at my attempt to talk. "I am your mother."

A broken piece of glass returned to my gallery of memories.

"Mother…?" I whispered.

"Yes," she said. "You are Leon Anson—my son."

"Leon…Anson…" I repeated. I looked at my hands.

My name is Leon Anson. This is my mother. She is…

The memory of the woman's face returned.

I looked up at her.

"Mother...Ariné," I spoke.

"Yes, yes!" she exclaimed, excitedly.

The woman who gave birth to me…she is a goddess.

Goddess Ariné of Light.

"It seems the long slumber has damaged your young memories," said Mother.

We were now sitting under the pergola. Mother took a sip from her cup before speaking again. "I told the Spirits to begin your duty immediately…" she sighed.

"My duty?" I asked.

Mother Ariné resumed a calm, but serious expression. "Leon, you are a child of the gods. We, the gods of this world, Lum Enefah, must govern the balance of light and dark to ensure that peaceful life is maintained on this planet."

"Lum Enefah?" I repeated.

"Yes, the world we live in right now," Mother stated. "We ended a war long ago…and now it is our responsibility to make sure war does not happen again."

"What do I do?" I asked.

"It is simple. You are to observe Lum Enefah with your own eyes."

"Huh?"

Mother stood up and walked towards the direction of the stairs. I followed behind her.

"In other words, Leon…" she stopped. "I want you to experience a normal human life."

"A normal human life…" I repeated.

"You see Leon," Mother began again. "As gods…neither I nor your father are allowed to leave this place. We must watch over the world from here."

I looked up at her curiously. Why couldn't she leave? Did she want to leave this place? And…my father? The man in my memories?

"However…you can," she said, smiling at me again.

"I can?" I asked.

"You are the only one with the ability to leave this island and see what life is like in the world of light…" she said.

"How so?" I asked.

"Because, you are the only person to be able to wear this."

Mother Ariné brought her hands together, palms facing up. Suddenly, her hands began to glimmer. I stepped back a few times and watched Mother materializing something. The white light and flash forced me to shut my eyes for a moment.

I reopened them. My eyes widened at the object floating in Mother's hands. It was a silver-white piece of metal with a heart engraving in the middle of it. It looked like something that could be worn on my shoulder.

"This belongs to you," she said. "The Love Driver."

I stared at it with great intensity. My hands began to move on their own, as if natural, accepting the object. The instant I touched the object, my mind felt heavy.

Another influx of memories came into my mind. The image of no-faced, unknown beings circling around Mother Ariné, the man, and I. Another scene of me floating in the air, looking upon the island we are on right now.

An island shaped like a heart. Heart Island. Home of the two reigning gods. My birthplace.

The object was now in my hands. It felt so smooth, like it had never been touched before.

"Go ahead and wear it," said Mother.

"Um…how?" I asked.

"Oh, of course you haven't been taught about these yet." She pointed to my left shoulder. "Place it here, and it should attach."

I did as instructed. The instant the object touched my shoulder, I felt some magnetic force on my shoulder to the metal. It felt like it locked onto my body.

I felt a surge of unimaginable energy flow through my body. It felt powerful and invigorating. Was this the work of this…thing?

"What is this…?" I asked.

"The Love Driver," Mother repeated.

"Love Driver?" I repeated. "What does it do?"

"Drivers are equipment that was made by the elemental spirits. They give humans the power of the elements."

"Spirits…elements…?" It was all honestly confusing.

Mother Ariné saw that I was muddled. She lightly sighed. "Perhaps I should leave it to Duer."

"Duer?" I asked.

"The man you met down below," she answered. "He knows how to explain things more than I do. Let's go see him."

Without any protest, I followed Mother down the stairs. The man from before was sitting on the ground. Hearing that we had stepped onto the ground, he perked up and saw us. He immediately bowed at Mother's presence.

"Goddess Ariné!" he exclaimed.

"It's okay, Duer," Mother said. We walked closer to him as Duer groomed his self with his hands. "This is Duer, Leon. He is in charge of guiding humans to praying here."

"Praying?" I asked.

"People who come to Heart Island pray for your mother and father," Duer answered. "I have to help them to make sure their prayers get to them."

"Oh…what do you do with those prayers?" I asked Mother.

"The humans often ask for a blessing to help their lives," Mother asked. "I can see how much good they have in their hearts. As long as their intentions are indeed of Light, I bless them," Mother replied.

"That sounds really nice of you," I commented.

"Goddess Ariné is always nice," Duer said. "Well…mostly."

"Excuse me, what was that, Duer?" Mother kept her smile, but I felt like it was pointing sharply at Duer.

"N-Nothing!" Duer responded.

Mother sighed. "So, are you ready to teach him the basics of the Driver?" Mother asked.

"Oh, but of course!" Duer responded. "And I see that he's equipped, good. I'll set up the space then?"

"Allow me," Mother said. She extended a palm out. Then, she snapped her fingers.

In an instant, the stone environment around us shimmered white. But other than that, everything looked the same. Except, something was different.

"You feel that, huh?" Duer asked.

"Huh?" I responded.

"We're in Drive Space now," Duer stated.

"What's Drive Space?" I asked.

"It's a spiritual space that the Driver emits," Mother said. "It's to protect Lum Enefah's elemental balance, and keep the world free from damage."

"Elemental balance?" I repeated.

Duer interrupted Mother. "That's a little advanced for him right now, don't you think? He can learn that in school."

"Perhaps," Mother agreed.

"Kid, for now, we'll move on," Duer told. "Goddess Ariné, if you'd please."

"Certainly." Mother snapped her fingers again. Behind Duer emerged four straw-made beings with weird faces on them. They were immobile scarecrows.

"So, you know that a Driver uses elemental powers, right?" Duer asked me.

"Yes, that's what Mother said," I told. "But what are elemental powers?"

"Elemental powers refers to the natural four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. You know what those are, right?" Duer asked.

"I believe so," I responded. "Fire, earth, air and water." I recalled various forms of those elements inside my mind.

The burning flames…

The sturdy earth…

The breezing winds…

The flowing waters…

I nodded at Duer, letting him know I was well informed.

"So, what we're going to do is show you what that nifty Driver can do with the elements," Duer said. "Now, place your hand over the Driver like this." He brought his right hand and placed it on his shoulder.

I mimicked Duer's instruction. I placed my hand on the Driver. I saw a white light glowing through the gaps between my fingers, emitting from the heart symbol on the Driver. In a quick moment, my arms illuminated with the same light, before the same metal material and color as the Driver appeared to armor them up to the shoulders.

"Whoa…" I sounded.

"This is Drive Armguard state," Duer told. "This Driver form is used for practical purposes."

"How much practical?" I asked.

"Let's see," Duer began. "Sports, training, mini duels, showing off, and some minor daily tasks. You'll see later." Duer walked to my side and pointed at the first scarecrow. "Now, extend your arm out and open your hand."

I did as told. "Now," Duer continued, "imagine a sphere of fire inside your mind. Keep your eyes open, but think of fire. Imagine that fire hitting the scarecrow."

I focused on the scarecrow while imagining a fiery ball inside my mind. As I did, I felt the Driver beckoning what felt like fiery energy. It spread throughout my body but stopped at my hand, at which it began to focus. I saw flames at my hand, feeling it taking the spherical form I imagined.

WHOOSH!

The fireball shot from my hand and flew straight at the scarecrow. The straw caught on fire immediately upon contact.

"Nice!" Duer exclaimed.

"My my," Mother said.

"Wow…did I just shoot fire?" I asked.

"Yes you did," Duer answered.

"How?" I continued. "All I thought about was a ball of fire…"

"That's the thing about Drivers," Duer said. "Drivers connect to the user's mind. They do what they want you to do as long as you think of it, and if it can be done."

"Amazing…so what next?" I asked.

"The power of earth," Duer answered. "Point at that one, and think of a pillar shooting up from the ground. "

"Okay?" I used my hand to point at the second scarecrow. Then, I imagined a pillar, something like the ones I had saw before, shooting up from the ground.

Instead of fiery energy, I sensed the tough earth ready to strike. It felt obviously different than how the fire energy was focusing in my hand. Instead, it was like an invisible stream of earth energy shot from my hands and focused into the earth, in the area which I wanted to summon the pillar at: under the scarecrow.

It wasn't exactly as I imagined, but I was still amazed. A brown, rectangular pillar shot from the gray stone ground and blasted the scarecrow up into the air with great force. The scarecrow came flying down and crashed.

"Wow! What's next?" I asked eagerly.

"Air and water," Duer responded. "Blast one of them with the force of wind, and the other with a stream of water."

I pointed at the third scarecrow. I imagined the pushing force of wind blowing the scarecrow away. Wind energy gathered into my palm: swirling air continued to twist until it was ready. A blast of air released from my hand and hit the scarecrow. Although I was amazed, I quickly turned to the next scarecrow and imagined a stream of water jetting at it. Water energy focused into my hand. In the next instant, a spiral of water shot from the middle of my palm and doused the scarecrow.

"Good job, kid!" Duer exclaimed.

"He's learning fast," Mother commented.

I smirked at the both of them.

"Now we're going to get to the best part," Duer stated. He looked at Mother. "Wanna bring out Reis now?"

"Yes," Mother said. She extended her hand as far as she could upwards. I sensed a small wave of energy emit from her hand in a flash. Nothing happened for a moment, until I heard a screech, followed by the sound of flapping.

I turned around to the source of the noise. A giant figure flapping its wings lowered itself closer and closer to us. It landed right behind Duer, but he showed no fear. Instead, he was smiling.

The beast that stood tall was covered with a mass of feathers. Its face had a firm expression, with a sharpened beak acting as the nose and mouth. It was a terrifying sight.

"This is Heart Island's guardian griffon," Duer told. "Say hello to Reis!"

"Reis…" I mumbled, looking up at the beast. It looked upon me and bowed closer to get a better look. We engaged in a staring moment.

"The son of the divine," spoke a deep voice. I perked up. I looked around for the voice only to realize it was the griffon talking.

"Surprised?" it said. "Is it not his first time seeing a beast?"

"He does not remember his young days, due to a long slumber," Mother stated.

"I see." The griffon returned to looking at me. "A pleasure to meet you, child of the gods. I am Reis, guardian of this island."

"Hello," I responded.

"Are you up for a sparring session with the kid?" Duer asked.

"It would be a pleasure," Reis said.

"I'm going to fight it?" I asked.

"Yep, but not with Drive Armguard," Duer said. "Put your hand over the Driver again." I did as told. The light from the Driver glowed again, but I could tell it was a brighter light. "Now, put your hand on your chest, and shout, 'Armor!'"

I put my hand on my chest. I suddenly felt power surging from my Driver throughout my whole body, as if ready to burst.

"Armor!"

Within an instant, my whole body began to glow. Pieces of white radiance faded darker as metal began to appear all over the rest of my body. The armguards on my arms merged with the appearing metal. I could feel power in each inch of steel that appeared. Soon, my whole body carried light, white steel, smooth in texture, and gleaming from the light of the sun.

"What is this…?" I said in amazement.

"Drive Armor," Duer stated. "The Driver's most powerful form."

I looked at my whole body over and over, turning my arms, feeling every piece of steel on my body to make sure what I had on was real. After rubbing my fingers on the armor so much, I confirmed it. I felt so excited, and astonished—not just because I looked so unique, but I felt a great amount of power emitting from my Driver.

"Well Leon, now you're going to fight Reis," Duer told.

"I'm going to—what?" I asked.

"You heard me," Duer said. "Your goal is to knockout Reis. Go all out—don't be afraid of breaking anything. You're in Drive Space, so you'll be fine."

"But—I'm just going to fight using the elements?" I asked.

"Good luck, Leon!" Mother cheered. She waved her palm upwards. A gust of wind lifted both Duer and her into the air. They stopped after reaching a safe distance above ground. All that was left was me and the griffon.

"I see you're still inexperienced," said Reis. "Fear not, I know my own strength. I shall fight but with the intention to be easy for you."

"All right," I said, readying my palm.

"Let us start!" Reis boosted backwards into the air, readying its wings. Then, it thrust its body forward to swoop down at me. It was heading towards me without hesitation.

"Oh crap!" I jumped to the side and managed to dodge the beast's large body. It crashed into the statue of Mother, breaking it.

"Come on kid!" Duer shouted from above. "Use the elements!"

"Right—the elements." Reis was taking a moment to recover from impact. As it turned its head toward me, I aimed my palm. I imagined a sphere of fire, focusing into my hand.

What felt different this time was that the fire energy that was forming felt overwhelming. It wasn't painful—rather, exciting. Intense flames, bigger than before, formed at my hand and created a greater fireball. Seeing that Reis was still open, I sent out the attack.

CRASH!

The fireball exploded upon impact. The flames surrounded Reis for a moment, causing it to screech. It looked like I dealt a lot of damage.

That fireball, though…it was way more powerful than when I shot one in Drive Armguard state. Is this the power of Drive Armor?

Reis recovered from the damage and flapped its wings to mark its comeback. It looked firmly at me. "Impressive, but it is not enough to defeat me!" The griffon began to rapidly flap its wings, taking a stance in midair. The wings were then directed at me, blasting a continuing gust of wind in my direction.

I tried to maintain my position by pushing against the ground in the opposite direction of the wind. I was still being dragged, though. At this rate, I would be lifted up into the air and crash.

How can I counter this?

I looked down at the ground.

The earth!

I pointed both of my hands at my feet. I imagined the earth casing my feet with its stone weight. As commanded, the ground swiftly formed a cast around both of my feet. I was now attached to the earth. My upper body was still being blasted by the wind, but it was no harm. I wasn't being dragged, meaning I successfully countered the attack.

I could see Reis was impressed and amused. But my attempt didn't stop it. The griffon's wings began to flap at a more rapid speed, causing the gust to grow stronger. The stone cast at my feet cracked.

"Crap!" The gust kept blowing forcefully. My body kept enduring, but the stone at my feet eventually eroded away. I was being pushed against the ground again. A slip loosened my friction, and the gust lifted me up.

"Whoaaa—!" I was sent flying high into the air, my body spinning in who knows what direction. I could feel the wind continue to strike me, blowing me far from the altar. My sight switched from the altar to the stone walls of the island, to the sky, to the vast waters, the altar, half the island, the sky, and so on.

I had to do something, quick. I'm high into the air now, but what can I do?

High in the air…the air…

How can I stay still in the air…?

Use the air…!

I focused wind energy all around my body. It shielded me from Reis' gust, and I was able to stop spinning. Another problem occurred, however.

I was beginning to fall.

The air had kept me floating but only for a moment. It didn't last long enough to keep me up into the air. I saw the sky above me, meaning I was going to hit the ground on my back.

I was panicking, unable to think about what to do. I kept wailing my arms and legs.

If only I could just stand in midair…

Stand in midair?

Wait!

I quickly regained concentration and focused wind energy, this time, at my feet. I had finally begun to fall behind the walls of the island, meaning I was nearing the ocean water. I put in all my effort into forming a strong enough whirlwind below my feet. I felt like my stamina was going to drop quickly—this was consuming a lot out of me. I was getting closer and closer to the water. I shut my eyes.

Moments passed. I didn't feel the water.

I opened my eyes again and looked down. I was directly floating on top of the water. I saw the whirlwinds forming rapid ripples.

It worked.

I'm flying!

It was time for a counterattack. I used fire, earth, and wind already…

I looked at the ocean to examine the unlimited amount of water. I grinned at the upcoming idea.

I pointed my palms down and imagined the water from the ocean ready to spiral upwards. When my Driver focused enough energy, I began the attack.

I sprung up first, still having the wind below my feet. It felt slippery, but I managed to zoom upwards and still keep the wind intact. The focused water energy summoned the ocean waters: a grand spiral followed my trail as I commanded. Both the water and I were now high in the sky—Duer, Mother, and Reis all impressed at my recovery and incoming attack. I swung my body forward and dived towards the altar.

The spiraling water followed me as I dived at Reis. The griffon tried to flap its wings quickly again, blasting me with even more violent winds. However, my wind was stronger: I boosted through by summoning wind below my current wind, allowing me to cut through the gust.

"Impossible!" Reis exclaimed.

I continued diving at Reis, getting closer and closer each half second. I was almost face to face. Instead, I brushed past the griffon as the water spiral behind me blasted it with great force.

SPLASH!

Reis had been carried into the spiral: it kept pushing it until they both slammed the stone walls. Knowing that the impact was enough, I stopped the water flow. The griffon didn't make any sudden recovery. It looks like I won.

I lowered myself back onto the altar's ground, landing with ease. Mother and Duer also landed near me.

"That was awesome, dude!" Duer exclaimed.

"That was an amazing performance," Mother commented. "To think you had such skill even though you are starting out…"

"I just did what came to me," I told.

"Still, you flied! You flied!" Duer exclaimed. "You know that's almost impossible to do?"

"Really?" I asked. "It felt easy to me."

Duer began to laugh. "Wow…"

Reis had finally recovered and landed next to us, its feathers wet with water. "That was a very impressive fight, child," it said. "Perhaps I underestimated you."

"Thank you for the fight," I told Reis.

"You fought very well yourself, Reis," told Mother.

"You flatter me, my goddess," Reis replied.

Mother approached Reis and touched its body. A glow emitted from her fingers, soon glazing Reis with the same light. Reis' feathers became dry, as if brand new. It looks like Reis was healed.

"You may return to the skies now," Mother said. The griffon nodded, and jumped high into the air before using its wings to ascend.

"Farewell, child!" Reis exclaimed. "May the Light bless you!" The griffon returned to the clouds above, out of our sights.

"Well, that's that," Duer told. "Time to end the space."

"Yes," Mother agreed.

"Oh, Leon, watch closely at the environment," Duer pointed at them. Mother ensured I was watching as she snapped her fingers. The area around us varnished with a glow. The scene of the damaged scarecrows, the broken statues, and the ruined walls faded away. The original vision of an untainted altar with perfectly sculpted statues appeared in my eyes.

"What happened…?" I asked.

"Like we had mentioned earlier," Duer responded. "Drive Space protects the world from damage caused by the elements. Think of Drive Space like another world you entered: you temporarily fight in that world where everything looks the same, and when you're done, you come back into the real world where nothing has been damaged."

"Why not just leave it as it is?" I asked.

"Well, it'd be bad if everything gets broken a lot," Duer answered. "The spirits would spend a lot of time fixing life's mistakes instead of governing the elemental balance."

"What is the elemental balance anyways?" I questioned.

"It is a measure of equality between the elements," Mother answered. "When Drivers begin to emit elements, they create a completely new elemental focus. That elemental focus is a key for introducing the materialization or transmutation of elements. Should there be too many elemental focuses left uncontrolled, the elements will unleash wildly. The spirits have no choice but to maintain balance by introducing the necessary elements in order to eliminate the new focuses."

I was a little confused, and I showed that expression well.

"Here's an example," Duer began. "Say you used your Driver to shoot a lot of fire and you set this place ablaze. There's too much fire, and so the water spirits have to douse the fires out."

"Why not just leave the fires as it is?" I asked.

"Lum Enefah is maintained by the balance of the elements," Mother told. "If there is too much fire, and too little water, the fire will only grow stronger and stronger. In the end, there is only greater chance for destruction in various forms. Should one element rule above all, then all life cannot find peace, the spirits would grow weak, and eventually, the world would then…die."

"So that's why elemental balance is important…" I concluded.

"Yes, so it's important that you help the spirits balance out the elements whenever you can," Duer told. "Many humans and other life often use the elements without care for the balance. While the spirits don't mind restoring the balance since it's their duty…it just doesn't feel right."

"You be wary as well, Leon," Mother told. "You can summon Drive Space of any size in any area you wish; all you have to do is command the Driver to do so. Drive Space automatically fades when it no longer senses an elemental focus after five minutes."

"So it's my duty to maintain the world balance," I said. "Just place Drive Spaces where ever I need to!"

"Well, don't go trigger happy with them," Duer said. "Drive Space is protective, sure, but it reverts all things back to its original state. Some people don't like that."

"All right, I'll be careful then," I said.

"So, is that all we're going to teach him?" Duer asked Mother.

"He is at least now aware of how the world revolves around the elements," Mother responded. "Let's leave it at that, and have him learn all that he needs at Hyper Island."

"All right, I'll go get the boat ready!" Duer headed down the stairs. Mother headed down the steps as well, with me following behind.

By the time we reached the wooden shack I saw before, I saw Duer inside the glass barrier kneeling down at the platform area, checking on the wooden vessels. Mother and I looked far into the tunnel as we could see inside. Either I couldn't see very well, or I saw the blurry image of a very tall, square-like structure that looked like it would be at the end of the path.

"Leon," Mother called to me. I turned to her, and she was smiling at me. She patted my head. "You will now begin your duty to observe the life in the world of Light. I wish for you to experience the wonders of this world. Find happiness, experience sadness, controlling anger, and many else…I wish for you to be a human."

"Mother…" I mumbled.

"As wielder of the Love Driver," she continued, "you hold the world's power. You must not let anyone ever have hold of it—at least, promise me that."

"I promise, Mother," I responded.

She grinned. Then, she raised her hand, emitting a glow from her finger. She tapped the Love Driver on my shoulder. It emitted a white light, before quickly fading. Afterwards, the Drive Armor began to dissipate—I expected Mother did that as well. The armor flashed before quickly disappearing, leaving me in the elastic suit I was originally wearing.

"I turned off the Drive Armor," Mother stated. "But, I've restored your Driver's energy. In addition, I have also unlocked your Driver's true powers. And lastly, I have also given you a special gift."

"My true powers?" I inquired.

"Leon, do you know what love is?" Mother asked.

"Not really," I answered.

Mother looked out into the distance again, looking at the tall structure in the distance. "Love is a wonderful element. It is an unimaginable power that drives all beings of Lum Enefah—life, the spirits, even the gods—whether of Light or not." Mother put both of her hands to her chest. "When the heart of one is filled with love…only then could they experience a feeling so…ethereal."

Mother turned to me. "I also wish for you to experience love, Leon. I want you to ascertain the great power that is love."

I smiled at her. "I hope to find it someday, then."

She kept her smile. "Good."

Duer returned from the platform and saw that we had finished conversing. "The boat's all set!" he stated. "Is he ready?"

"He just now needs the letter," Mother answered. She brought out her palm again, materializing an object. A white envelope appeared in her hand, closed with a seal that was half-black, and half-white, with the emblem of two wings.

"Your next destination is Hyper Academy," Mother said. "Bring this letter to the academy's headmaster. He will help you with everything else."

I took the letter from her. "Thank you, Mother," I told.

"Oh, can't forget this too!" Duer exclaimed. He rushed to the shack near us and reached for the inside shelves. He pulled out a silver case and brought it to me.

"Your savings?" Mother questioned.

"He needs it more than I do," Duer responded. I took the case from him. "Inside it is money. You use it for trading things with others. You'll see when the time comes."

"Thanks Duer," I said. "Thank you for everything."

"You wanna thank me? Just go enjoy the world." He put up a beaming grin.

"Just so you know, the Driver can also store small-sized items for you, as a way of keeping them safe," Mother told. "Simply hover the items above the Driver."

I put the letter and wallet in one hand, placing them above the Driver. The heart symbol glowed once, and the objects began to slowly dissipate from my hand. They were gone after a moment.

"When you want to take them back out, just tell the Driver to take it out," Duer added. "But you should probably keep them in there for now." I nodded in agreement.

"It's almost time," Mother stated. "Leon, do you have any questions before you leave?"

There was one thing I had in mind. I had a mother, but...the man in my memories...

"Where's my father?" I asked.

Mother's expression changed for a very quick and subtle moment. However, she managed to maintain her smile, like nothing had happened. She looked back at the altar, staring at the heavens. "Your father...is asleep." She turned back to me. "He can't see you now, but...I'm sure you will meet him someday."

I was a little sad; I wanted to see my father's face. But if mother was right about seeing him another day, I was fine with waiting.

Duer turned to the tunnel and began heading down the platform. "Come on, let's get you going." I followed him to the boat that had prepared. It was simply a small brown vessel, large enough for me to sit in. It was tied by rope to a sturdy peg nailed into the platform. I got into it and sat down with ease, cautious with the slight bouncing on the water.

"Hang onto those handles," Duer pointed to the grips on the sides of the boat. "It's going to be a very wild ride, trust me."

I nodded, "Thank you for everything."

"You take care now!" Duer exclaimed. He kneeled down and untied the rope. He gave the boat a small push, and I began to drift away.

"Farewell for now, my child," I heard her voice. "May the Light bless you..."

I was only some meters away before I turned my head to see Duer waving at me at his spot. Mother Ariné was standing at the edge of the platform, holding her hands together at her chest.

She gazed at me with great satisfaction. She showed me a last smile, as well as a tear that ran down her cheek.

I sensed her heart. I felt something so powerful resting within her: a warm, gentle light that always welcomed me with earnest arms.

Is this…the love she spoke of?

I looked back to my path, up to the skies and the world beyond.

I wonder if I can find it.


:***:

A young boy patiently sits in his assigned passenger seat. He looks down at his lap, where he holds a small, farewell card, opened from a small letter. He rereads it many times.

Take care! My best wishes for you at Hyper Academy!
Love, Mom

He whispers out loud, since no one was next to him to hear his laments. "I hate to leave you alone, but…" He looks out the window on his left, staring at the crowd of restless people.

"Hyper Academy…is an adventure." He puts away the card back in the envelope. He looked forward, smiling.

"I can't wait."


Leon: Next time on Love Driver!

I finally reached Hyper Island! And that building is so…HUGE! Am I really going to school there?! Amazing!

Oh, what are those things flying in the air? They kind of look like baby Reis's…wait, they're…attacking humans?!

Episode 2: White-Haired Child!

Leon: Hey… what's your name?

?: My name is…