Chapter 3/ Episode 2: Mystery

8 years ago, Cloud’s parents were wandering over a forest in search of a person.
“Cloouuuddd!! Cloouuuddd!!” Cloud’s mother called, “Where are you ?!!, Please come out !!, Please !!”
“Where did he go to this time?” Cloud’s father asked.
“I don’t know.” The mother replied, “I’m worried that he isn’t safe. Maybe he …”
Cloud’s mother halts her speech as she faces the ground while holding her shaky left hand.
“No, he hasn’t. I assure you.” Cloud’s father said as he gently holds her left hand while embracing her.
“How do you know that, Gorg?” Cloud’s mother asked as she became more worried, “How do we know that he hasn’t…”
“Marida.. !” Gorg cuts in, “Trust me on this, please. Im as scared as you are, but believe me when I say he hasn’t done what we fear he might do, ok?”
“Ok, let’s go look for him” Marida said with a bright smile.
“Yeah, let’s do that” Gorg replied.
Gorg and Marida resumed their search for Cloud shortly and found Cloud sitting on the ground while staring at his reflection at a lake. Marida being relieved, quickly ran towards Cloud.
“Cloud!” Marida said as she hugged him from behind, “Thank goodness we have found you. Where have you been? We’ve been looking all over for you, are you hurt?.”
Cloud, however, ignores her question and was still staring at the lake.
“Mother,father..why is my hair white?” Cloud asked, ” Was I really born this way or am i adopted?”
Gorg and Marida being caught off guard by Cloud’s question, stared at each other for a moment and resumed staring at Cloud.
“No, you are not adopted.” Gorg answered, “But even if you were, it wouldn’t change the fact that you are still our son and we love you and that’s all that matters, right, Marida?”
“Right.” Marida answered
“I’ve been having a dream for the past few days now.” Cloud said while still staring at his reflection, “A strange man in a cloak keeps on appearing to me, telling me” Have patience…just a little more” and…”
Tears began to slowly stream out of Cloud’s eyes and drop in the lake
“I’m scared!” Cloud said in a tearful shaky voice, “I… Everywhere i go, i feel a dark presence along with everything else watching me. I’m so scared… I’m so…”
Cloud covers his face with his hands while sobbing but his parents being touched by what they are seeing ,embraced Cloud from behind
“There is no need to be scared.” Gorg said, “And do you know why? Because we’ll be there for you.”
“Yeah and we are not going anywhere.” Marida said.
After hearing these words, Cloud began to smile while holding his parents arms and closing his eyes.
Three years later, the ten year old Cloud stares at the corpses of his mother ,father and every member of the Stormwind while it was raining. However, the imagery of this scene began to glitch as the current fifteen year old Cloud finds himself alone in a wasteland and a black cloaked man appears before him.
“At last, we finally meet…Cloud of the Stormwind”
“Hold on, I know you.” Cloud said, “You are that man that used to stalk me in my dreams and everywhere I went when I was seven. Who are you and what do you want from me?”
“Time is running out young one and it is time for you to bring the end of days for all to perish at your feet.” The cloaked man said.
“End of days?!, Life perishing at my feet?!, What the hell are you even talking about?! What does that even mean?!” Cloud asked
“Time is indeed running out.” The cloaked man said, “Since the obstacles that has been stopping you from fulfilling your duties has been removed, you “The chaos in the order” must do what has been prophesied to happen.”
“You are not even making any sense, who the hell are you?!” Cloud asked
The man walks towards Cloud and touched Cloud’s forehead with his index finger which caused Cloud’s palms and his eyes to glow pale blue.
As Cloud’s eyes and palms were glowing, the cloaked man smiled at Cloud.
“All is done..all is ready” The cloaked man said in a deep darkened tone.
Cloud suddenly wakes up from his dream breathing heavily and fearful
“That..that dream,what was that dream now?” Cloud asked within himself, “And why can’t i remember anything from it?”
Cloud looks to his right side and was surprised to see Sting sitting on a chair.
“Rise and shine, sleepy white head” Sting said with a smile.
“Sting…” Cloud said softly.
Cloud looks around at his environment and noted the unconscious bodies on the beds beside him and Sting
“So I’m at the academy’s infirmary, huh?” Cloud asked
“Yep!” Sting replied, “Van beat you so hard that you were unconscious for a very long time with a lot of serious damages, which makes me wonder how you are even still alive.”
Cloud stares at Sting’s looks for a while and smiles at him
“I can see you’ve gone back to your original looks.” Cloud said
“Yeah, got my original looks back after the three days stipulation of me losing the bet to Zotek, had passed.” Sting said while smiling”
“Yeah, the moment you lost, Zotek used his Kan ability of soul shift to change your appearance for three days straight.” Cloud said, “What was that bet you made with him, anyway?”
“… You don’t want to know.” Sting replied, “But enough about me,let’s talk about you. How are you even still alive? Van’s vicious attack ruptured so many of your organs and broke a lot of your bones, seriously even our medical teacher found it odd.”
A flashback occurs when Leorona walked out of the infirmary with a surprised expression towards Sting and the other teachers.
“So, how is he?” Sting asked
“He is fine…just fine” Leorona answered while staring at the ground, with a confused demeanor.
“What do you mean fine?” Zotek asked while folding his arms, “Van beat him to a pulp and almost killed him. There is no way he could be fine”
“That’s what is scaring me, he is supposed to be dead.” Leorona said as she raised her head to look at Zotek, “Van ruptured a lot of Cloud’s organs; broke and fractured a lot of his bones but yet, he was still healing without any personal assistance from me. Who…what is that white head, anyway?”
After the flashback, Cloud stared at Sting with a surprised expression.
” I take it that you don’t even understand what I’m talking about, right?” Sting asked
“Yeah, I don’t.” Cloud answered, “Did me and Van fight again?”
“Yeah…don’t you remember?” Sting asked
“No..not at all.” Cloud said, “The only thing I remember was Zera saying i could not participate because of me being unworthy and then she later offered me a chance to participate in the rumble unless i defeat a fellow student and…that’s it. I don’t even remember what happened yesterday”
“Yesterday?” Sting asked with a surprised demeanor, “Cloud, the rumble and tournament is in four weeks. You have been unconscious for nearly three weeks now and after these remaining two days, it will begin. Oh and Zera wanted to pull you out of the rumble again.”
“She really hates me, doesn’t she?” Cloud asked with a blank face
“Yeah.. After you defeated Van but ended up getting the lights beaten out of you, Zera felt you were unable to compete in the rumble but i vouched that you would be able to participate.” Sting said.
“You went out of your way to help me again, right? Thanks.” Cloud said while staring at the ground .
“You’re welcome!” Sting said with his eyes closed while grinning, “After all what are friends for if it isn’t to help each other out, right?”
“Right!” Cloud said as he raised his head and smiled at Sting.
Just as Cloud got up from his bed to get his shirt, Sting noted a large blue Omega mark on his back glow pale blue for a moment which made Sting look at Cloud suspiciously as Cloud walked out of the infirmary.
“Did that mark just glow?” Sting asked within himself, “Come to think of it, something has been off with Cloud, for the past few weeks now. The unexplained self healing, not to mention the uneasy presence of fear I’ve been feeling, each time i tried to watch over him, in case Van, Zera or anyone else gets any funny ideas. It’s was almost like, i could feeling the entire environment watching me. Something is definitely off.”
As Cloud was walking in the main hall, all the students began to stare at him while some were murmuring among themselves concerning Cloud
“So he has recovered.” A male student said, “Looks like this guy is going to participate after all”
“Too bad you couldn’t keep him down ,Zera.” Another male student said.
“He beat Van despite not having any Kan. Way to go, white head.” A female student said
“Yeah, way to go.” A male student said.
“What’s with these guys and the staring? can they cut it out? Cloud said in his mind while closing his eyes and walking as he instantly became embarrassed and creeped out, “It’s getting really creepy and embarrassing. And why are they talking like i did something heroic? Dammit ..their stare is really creeping me out”.
During this incident, Cloud walks past Karma and a blonde girl. The blonde girl, however, was still staring at Cloud, despite him leaving the hall.
“Killer bee, he has left the hall. You can stop staring now.” Karma said.
“Oh, sorry.” Killer bee said, “it’s just that I’m surprised with how far Cloud has come, i mean everyone is. He is the lowest among all of us. He has no talent at all but he beat an A class student in a match and personally, i found it amusing. He really does have what it takes to succeed.”
“No,he’s a fool who is going to get himself killed with those delusions of his.” Karma said, “He only beat Van because he was granted a handicap in the fight and plus, Van wasn’t serious with him. if Van was serious with him then Cloud would have lost immediately the match began.
“You know, you and Cloud are quite similar to each other, since the both of you are the sole survivors of your tribes.” Killer bee said,” Cloud is the sole survivor of the Stormwind while you are the sole survivor of the Dreygar tribe…the strongest tribe in Agaroth. And you both lost your tribes at a tender age during the unknown slaughter.”
“He and i.. are nothing alike.” Karma said, “I’m strong and he is weak. Get that into your thick skull.”
Karma walks away from Bee but stops to look back at her
“Oh and Bee, if you are starting to have feelings for him, just go ahead and tell him,who knows..maybe he might fall for a female warrior like you.”
“W-w-wait, where is this coming from?!” Killer bee asked as she was caught off guard by Karma’s statement and began to blush, “It’s not like i have any special feelings for him or something, I was just amazed with how far he has gotten, that’s all!”
Outside the academy, Schroeder and Leorona were sitting on the grass of a garden and staring at the academy from afar
“So, Leorona ..which student do you think gave us the most problem?” Schroeder asked.
“Onak. Isn’t it obvious?” Leorona asked
“Yeah, Onak: “The monster among mortals”. That’s what he is called among his peers” Schroeder said while smiling, “His anger is so intense that majority of his peers are afraid of him.”
“You know he doesn’t like that title and the funny part is that no one ever said that to his face … Except that Karma, that is.” Leorona said, “Remember when he one punched a student so hard to the ground out of anger, that it completely disfigured his face?”
“Yeah. What was his name again? Cardi.. Cardo..oh, Kardolak. Rest in peace, young warrior.” Schroeder said, ” Poor guy never made pass level fifteen training, along with many others as well. Yet we still managed to produce the best among them such as Karma.”
“Yeah, truth be told i don’t really like her.” Leorona said, ” She has shown to have great talent, progressing in training, combat, healing and many other things which gave her the S ranking candidate but her attitude sucks. She’s cold, arrogant and has a nasty temper. She has severely wounded several students to the point of death and Zera and Zotek don’t try to put her in line.
She’s one of the students that gave the most problems in this academy. I’m just glad that we were able to stop her and Onak from fighting and i definitely won’t miss her!”
“Well, despite her rank, she does lack in team work because she usually viewed her own teammates as a liability.” Schroeder said, “However, there is one more person i felt gave the most problem in this academy.”
“Who?” Leorona asked.
Schroeder points at Cloud and Zera, arguing from afar and Zera clamped her hand over Cloud’s mouth.
“Oh… Cloud.” Leorona said.
The white head came five months late, usually comes late for class, lacked a lot in training and is quite impulsive when he becomes emotional.” Schroeder said, “But what shocks me about the boy is that he never gives up…even when he is at the point of death, he still pushes through”
“Cloud really is a remarkable person.” Leorona said, ” Yes we’ve clashed with him severally because of his behavior, but I’ve grown fond of him . Maybe Tenya is right,if one of us had taken out a bit of our time to train him then maybe he won’t be as weak as we say he is. After all, you do take out a bit of your time to train Dam, right?”
“Dam is … different but nevertheless I feel that no matter how hard Cloud pushes,he won’t survive the rumble or tournament ..that is if he can make it there” Schroeder said as his smiling face quickly changed to neutral demeanor while facing the sky.
Leorona holds Schroeder’s hands and smiles at him.
“Schroeder, in life anything is possible. So let us see how far he goes in this”
While Cloud was walking alone in Xondu forest, he recalled images of his mother, father and the corpses of every member of his tribe, which caused Cloud to hold his forehead in pain for a moment.
“The rumble and tournament will soon begin.” Cloud said within himself, ” I can’t afford to fail.”
Cloud began to train himself through running, sit ups, Superman pushups and finally practicing his punches and kicks on a trees
“You know trees can’t fight back , correct?” A masculine voice said, ” They make a terrible training partner,so why don’t you take on something that could actually fight.”
Sting walks up out of the tree he was behind and walks towards Cloud.
“Yo.” Sting said with a smile on his face.
“Sting, what are you doing here?” Cloud asked
“As you know, we are on a free period but since it’s almost over, i decided to meet you and drag your butt back to class.” Sting replied, “But since you are training, maybe I should help you out, a bit “
“Right!” Cloud said excitedly as he slams his fist into his palm, “Get ready!”
Cloud quickly charges towards Sting to punch him. Hours later, Cloud and Sting were both laying down on the grass and laughing.
“That was awesome!” Cloud said , “Though, I’d admit, if this was a real match, you’d have beaten me in a split second.”
“Yeah, I know.” Sting.
Cloud noted the worried look on Sting’s face and sat up.
“Sting, is something wrong?” Cloud asked.
“Cloud, you need to be extra careful in this rumble and tournament.” Sting said
“Don’t worry, i will” Cloud said while grinning with his eyes closed.
“I’m serious, Cloud.” Sting said, “No one is going to hold back their strength and speed for your own safety and since the pilgrim position has gotten even tighter,they would definitely give their best to win”
“Sting, can i ask you something?” Cloud asked.
“Sure.” Sting said
“When i first came here, i was really looked down on by many but you never looked down on me for once..why?” Cloud asked
“Ah well, for starters, i don’t really judge people based on their social status or reputation, cause many reputations just turns out to be rumors made up by others either to praise or downgrade.” Sting said, “I judge based on personality and I’ve come to take a liking towards your personality. You are not perfect,heck you have a lot of flaws but you don’t give up despite those flaws and you are not afraid of admitting your shortcomings… most of the times and not to mention, you’ve got a mouth on you that will soon get you killed…i don’t know, maybe I just like that in a friend, a none perfect friend.”
“Thank you, Sting.” Cloud said
“Can i ask you something, Cloud?” Sting asked
“Hm? Sure.” Cloud replied.
“Earlier… I noticed the Omega mark on your back glow for a moment…wanna tell me what it’s all about?” Sting asked
“It glowed?” Cloud asked in shock.
“Figured you weren’t aware.” Sting said, “Anyway, how did you get that marking on your body…is it a Stormwind thing?”
“No, it isn’t.” Cloud replied, “I had no idea how i even got them in the first place. When i was little, I usually ask my parents why the marking is on my back or why my hair is white but they never answered me for once about it.”
“Now that’s just sad.” Sting said
Cloud gets up and removes the clothing on his hands and showed Sting the Omega markings on his palms as well
“My parents always told me to wear something on my hands to cover these up.”
“Is there a possibility that the Stormwind themselves posses Kan, in anyway?” Sting asked as he stood up to look at the Omega mark on Cloud’s palms.
“Yeah, I wish.” Cloud said, “If we did then we wouldn’t be considered as minor tribes, would we? After all the major tribes are the ones that has Kan, so that practically makes them invincible.”
“Having Kan does not make you invincible.” Sting said, “Sure, Kan may nullify weapons, magic and telekinetic control. Even going as far as nullifying the weapons of the gods themselves. But still it doesn’t make you invincible, you can still get hurt or killed.”
“Wait, it nullified even the weapons of the gods?” Cloud asked in a surprised manner.
“Yeah, the sword of Amirath – the ruler of the gods.” Sting said, ” His sword was capable of tearing space and time, heavens and the earth with one effortless swing but when he focused the full power of his sword on the weakest kan warrior user, Nurlok, the blade broke . However Nurlok lost badly to the ruler of the gods in terms of trading blows and got his neck broken in the process.”
“Did they really need to record that part of the fight?” Cloud asked
“Of course they had to record it.” Sting said, “It’s part of history. When human warriors discovered kan, they thought they were invincible but overtime they learnt they weren’t. Like i said before, kan nullifies weapons, magic and telekinetic control; The stronger and more powerful any of these three are, the stronger and more powerful the nullification but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to get hurt or killed. Do not forget that, Cloud”
Cloud nods his head as a promise that he won’t. Meanwhile, a hand from nowhere, grabs Cloud and Sting by the ear from behind.
” Congratulations for missing class and congratulations to you, Sting for joining Cloud in his ways..”
Cloud and Sting quickly raised their heads and began to trembling as they saw it was Schroeder, mischievously smirking at them while emitting a blue aura.
“You are both coming with me.” Schroeder said in a deepened tone.
“Ow! ow !ow ow ow, my ear , Schroeder, Ow!!” Cloud and Sting said as Schroeder drags the both of them by their ear, down to the academy.

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