Chapter 1: Ryushi
"Mr. Yamada, your marks have been really dropping ever since the end of last year," the teacher said, a worried look on his face. Ryushi wondered if the teacher was concerned about him or if the teacher was concerned about his paycheck. "You were such an excellent student last year Ryushi, do you have any idea why your marks have started to drop from the start of last term?"
Ryushi remained silent. He had a reason, but would the teacher understand? He couldn't tell him that he didn't understand why he studied, he didn't understand why he was doing it and what he would gain from it. He tried studying, it wasn't like he completely ignored his responsibilities as a student but whenever he did he just felt empty like there was no reason to be doing this at all, he didn't feel any satisfaction when he did so. It felt like he was doing this for no reason and there was no point in it anyway. As it was, what was the point of doing something you didn't enjoy? And then he'd start wondering what he wanted with his life, what would motivate him to keep moving forward and stop feeling as empty as he always did. He understood that life was following your dreams and doing something you enjoy but he didn't enjoy anything…
And didn't have any dreams to follow.
So he just sat there in silence.
The teacher sat back in his chair, sighing. "Ryushi, you must understand that this education is your future. Teachers have reported that you don't even do your homework. Do you not value your education? Ryushi, this is your future, you should…"
Ryushi tried his best to hide his plain frown as the teacher prattled on about how school was important, it wasn't like he heard this speech a hundred times before. He understood school was his future but it wasn't everything to life like they made it out to be. But he was one to talk. After all, besides school, what else did he have left to pursue in life?
After the speech, Ryushi felt exhausted.
"I should not keep you here for long," the teacher said. "It is the start of the year, you could catch up. Good luck, Ryushi."
Ryushi left the office and dragged himself back to class.
Class was a bore. The chemistry teacher droned on about particles, not bothering to face his class. Ryushi just stared out of the window, the cherry blossom leaves scattered across the empty basketball court. The gentle spring wind blew across the school field, making the grass drift along with it. Ryushi just wished he could escape this suffocating class and enjoy the spring air, giving him life and making him feel refreshed. It would be much better than feeling that empty, nagging feeling in his stomach whenever he was in class.
"Have you heard that the Overpowered took care of another one of those stray Invictus?" whispered one student, breaking Ryushi out of his train of thought.
"Oh, really?" whispered another, a little loudly. "Have you heard that…?"
"Pipe it down Goro," chastised the teacher. "Pay attention."
The teacher turned back to the board and started explaining again.
Ryushi cursed the teacher under his breath. He wondered what the Overpowered did. The Overpowered were a group of Invictus vigilantes. Invictus being the term the Americans coined up to describe teenage children with super powers. Nobody knew about the Invictus and how they came to be but all people knew was that there was an Invictus hormone that a very meagre percentage of teenagers had that awakened during puberty that granted them special gifts outside the realm of human imagination such as the ability to heal any wounds or collapse whole buildings with just a single touch. In many parts of the world, the Invictus were worshipped as gods. Some Invictus helped build whole buildings and Ryushi had heard that somewhere in Taiwan there was an Invictus that could heal any disease or any wound. Some Invictus were also used as soldiers in the war against terrorism and some were even responsible for helping out the police force in many parts of the world, helping them find drug stashes and illegal weaponry in airports.
However this also came with some disadvantages. Invictus usually abused their power and it was up to the government of many countries to hunt these Invictus and put a stop to them. In many parts of the world, there were cases of mass murder in school classes and sometimes even whole cities disappeared in a blink of an eye. Reports also came in from countries such as Syria and Iran where Invictus were used by the terrorists to destroy helicopters and murder countless innocent civilians. This led to many countries drawing up laws to prevent them from abusing their powers. Many countries also used Invictus as experimental subjects, subjugating any Invictus they could find to horrible experiments which led to many human rights activists actively protesting. In Japan, they paid an extremely high reward for anyone who found an Invictus and a special squadron was dedicated to the hunting down of any Invictus. Teachers, citizens and even parents were encouraged to sell their kid out to the government if he or she was an Invictus, cameras were placed in school to observe any students that were behaving suspiciously. The government claimed that the Invictus were being kept safe from the world but everyone knew that was a lie. Videos popped up in many internet forums that showed the terrible experiments they performed on teenagers.
That was why the Overpowered exist. Everyone in Japan knew them, the group of super vigilantes that prevented Invictus from abusing their powers so that they don't get caught. Ryushi loved hearing anything about the Overpowered or Invictus for that matter. He envied them too, at least they had purpose whether it was healing the wounds of many or even fighting a war, at least they had something to live for.
That's when it happened, the world blurred around him as a searing pain spread through his head like a knife was tearing his brain apart. His ears were ringing so Ryushi couldn't hear the pained scream he was letting out.
And just as suddenly as it had appeared, it just, all of a sudden, disappeared.
Ryushi was breathing heavily, what the hell was that? He'd had headaches before but that definitely was not a headache.
The teacher was standing by his side. "Mr. Yamada, are you okay?" The whole class was staring at him curiously, wondering what the whole fuss was about.
"Yeah," Ryushi breathed. "I'm fine."
"Do you want to go home early?"
"No," Ryushi said quickly. "It's fine."
The students looked away, one of them even muttered weirdo. There was a lot of mumbling in class which was suddenly broken by the teacher's firm voice, telling them class was still ongoing and they'd talk later.
Ryushi was still taken aback. His face was pale and he was breathing heavily. It was just so odd how he got such a painful headache all of a sudden and how it just disappeared in a blink of an eye. Ryushi closed his eyes in an attempt to calm himself, he figured that he'd search up the symptoms later. If it disappeared, that meant it wasn't such a big problem… right? He touched his pen and he could feel it vibrating in his hand. In fact, everything was vibrating. The ground felt like it was vibrating, hell even his shoes. He placed a hand on his desk and it shook under his hands. At first, Ryushi thought it was an earthquake but the teacher didn't start any evacuation procedures so he assumed otherwise. So what in the world was it? Whatever he touched felt tightly packed and close together, they also vibrated very quickly.
Ryushi just ignored it, it was probably his imagination. He wasn't paying attention as he wrote, he just stared at the board, copying down the notes when all of a sudden, he felt a thick liquid oozing down his sleeve. He looked down to see a blue liquid running down his sleeve, staining his black school jacket. Ryushi frowned, did his ink overflow?
That's when he realized that he wasn't holding his pen's container, he was holding the refill.
"What the…?" Ryushi thought.
Ryushi inspected the liquid oozing down his shoulder. Was it possible that that was the ink container?
Ryushi placed his palm on his desk and felt the vibrations again. What were those vibrations?
Ryushi felt like he had full control of the vibrations, he felt as if he could alter them and control their properties.
Ryushi placed his hand on the liquid that ran down his hand, they felt more spaced out than the particles on his desk. Ryushi tried willing them even further apart but unfortunately it didn't work. They didn't turn state from liquid to gas. Ryushi assumed he was changing the states of objects, otherwise what else could it be? He also knew that he was an Invictus, which in and of itself surprised him. So how come he couldn't change the liquid oozing down his sleeve to a gas?
Ryushi tried willing the liquid particles together, a turquoise light enveloped the liquid as all of the particles were gathered together again to form an ink container.
Ryushi stared at the newly formed ink container in his hand, bewildered. That was amazing! He removed a 500 yen coin from his pocket and willed the solid particles far apart, turning them into a gas. And then, the bronze smoke was enveloped in a blue light and suddenly formed into a coin that bounced of harmlessly from his desk.
Ryushi could barely hide the smirk on his face. Imagine all the possibilities that came with this power! He was begging for a purpose, and after all that waiting it finally came to him. Somehow, he'd use this power to good use, helping people out, maybe even fighting a few rogue Invictus, but first, he had to learn to utilize it to its full potential.
Ryushi was so caught up in the possibilities that his new power presented to him that it took him a while to notice Ayame Sanada's piercing stare. Ryushi was used to girls staring at him, but Ayame Sanada? Not so much. Ayame Sanada was the girl everybody in class knew about. Quiet, pretty, at the top of every class and also student council president, she was what every boy in Ryushi's class wanted and every girl envied. She had long waist length ashen hair and delicate features. For some reason, whenever she stared at you, you felt exposed, like she was picking out every single little detail about you. That was how Ryushi felt right now, he felt naked, vulnerable. Staring at her piercing blue eyes, everything about him was being revealed and he couldn't do anything to stop it. With a heavy breath, Ryushi turned away. Even though everything about him was being revealed, he was still enticed by those stormy blue eyes for some odd reason.
Ryushi was still panicked but soon, his panic was replaced by excitement. He couldn't wait to see the changes to his life this power could bring.
There was still no change.
As much as Ryushi tried, he still couldn't find out what he wanted with this power.
He tried everything but he wasn't able to repair any broken objects he found lying about, he scratched himself but he couldn't heal it no matter how hard he tried. No matter what he did, he couldn't find out what he could do with this power.
It was all pointless.
Ryushi couldn't help but chuckle. This was all so stupid. He thought he was finally blessed with this new power that could finally change his life but it turned out that nothing would change. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't change his life and that, no matter what, it would always be purposeless.
"Ryushi Yamada, correct?" said a voice.
Ryushi turned and his heart leapt out of his chest.
There was a girl wearing a purple butterfly mask standing just in front of him. She had ashen hear tied up as a bun and she was wearing a white blouse over a maroon skirt and black tights.
It was Butterfly of the Overpowered.
Butterfly was considered the leader of the Overpowered, a leader the government would pay millions just to get their hands on. Nobody knew how, but she was always a step ahead of her enemies and nobody could ever get the upper hand on her.
Ryushi gulped, he could feel his heart pounding against his chest.
Was he about to be punished?
"No, Ryushi," Butterfly said. "You're not about to be punished."
Ryushi still felt anxious, his eyes darted around for any other member of the Overpowered. Sweat pooled down his back. "Then?" Ryushi asked nervously.
"We want you to join us," Butterfly said. "We want you to become a member of the Overpowered."
"What?" Ryushi exclaimed. They wanted him, someone pathetic and useless, someone with a power that couldn't help anyone, to join the Overpowered? That was ludicrous. "Me?"
Butterfly nodded. "Yes, you. Ryushi we believe you have the potential to help people and we can help you achieve it. That is, if you don't mind of course."
Ryushi was stupefied. He didn't know how to respond. They wanted him, him to join the Overpowered. How could he refuse? This could finally mean change, a change to his life but…
"What's in it for me?" Ryushi asked.
Butterfly paused for a second before saying, "A purpose."
Ryushi's eyes widened at that thought, after all this waiting, could he finally find a purpose? A purpose that defined him? Could the gnawing emptiness in his heart finally disappear?
Ryushi said yes without any hesitation. If it could finally mean a purpose to his life, he'd do anything to achieve it.
"Good," Butterfly said. "Now follow me, I have to show you something."
Butterfly turned but before she could walk away, Ryushi couldn't help but ask. "Why should I follow you if I don't even know who you are?"
Butterfly turned her head, she was a bit hesitant but she removed her mask.
Ryushi couldn't help but gape, standing in front of him was…
"Ayame Sanada," Butterfly said. "Shall we go then?"
First chapter of Overpowered done! I hope you guys enjoyed it. Please tell me what you think about it and as always constructive criticism is welcome!