Glitches Free Online Serial Novel


Chapter 23

I had come to the ‘arena’ expecting Leif again. My mind was ready for him. And I had a game plan. It was a dizzying array of attacks and counterattacks all seen from the perspective of a chessboard in my mind. Pawn, Rook, Pawn, Pawn, Castle, Rook, Queen… I saw the game plan clearly. Leif wasn’t going to stand a chance.

And then ‘The Four’ walked onto the field. So it wouldn’t be Leif again? And they would be sending me not one but four opponents? No wonder my odds were so low. My game plan wavered and crumbled. Nothing about my plan would work against more than one opponent. I could tell that they were from the four different houses – and I could tell that each one was an Emp as well. I was trying to sort out their houses mentally just so I would no what to expect when I faced each one.

They were young. Early twenties, late teens. Three men and woman. All with their heads shaved like Leif. I wondered at that. Was this some sort of preparation thing that gave them a mental edge? Or a spiritual thing? Seemed like the more elite students shaved their heads? I didn’t know. All I knew was that it gave them an eerie appearance and definitely gave them a spirit of unity that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Just before the match began, Yolanda left the dais and walked down through the semi-opaque shield. And she strode up to me directly and spoke in a whisper and a smirk. “The House of TK wishes you well. I have a pretty sizable bet on you for this match. Don’t disappoint.”

“So that’s what I am to you now? A horse in a race?” I cocked an eyebrow at her at this.

“Yes. The most beautiful horse in all of the world’s races that were ever run.”

“Well, keep the oats coming and I’ll see what I can do.” I laughed a bit at this.

“Make it through the trials and there is a very very good chance that you and I would be able to make a play for ruling all four houses together. Think about it Bentley. You and me? What an alliance we could make.” She gave me her best sly smile at that. But the only thing her bright red lipstick and gorgeous gown said to me was that she was desperate.

“Thanks for the offer.” Was the only thing I could think to reply. “I got skewered last night. Mainly I’m just trying to keep that from happening again tonight. I can’t really think beyond tonight, let alone the week.”

“That’s understandable” answered Yo. “But just tuck it away for later.” And she walked up to kiss my cheek. I saw it coming and slid away at the last second. Her lipstick slid across my cheek in a pattern of war paint. “Good luck Bentley,” was the last thing she said as I headed back out of the arena.


They came as one. Strength, Flight, Invisibility and Time all in one fluid motion. I was startled at the speed really. They were faster than our practice in the quad even. And they were beginning to chain their attacks with precision. And deep inside of me there was something that screamed out in fear. I couldn’t handle one last night. How was I going to be able to handle four tonight?

And then they all hit me with their combined Empath powers as if on queue. They were firing blindly in the dark there at least. I saw images of war. Chaos. Anarchy. All splash across my mind in unison. Bea had taught me how to handle this sort of an attack our first intimate encounter which seemed like a million years ago now. I gave the Emp-shield an extra millisecond or two to cook and then I hit them with it. And suddenly the centralized empath attack stopped. The quiet in my brain was a nice change, but they continued coming in their unified flight path.

Out of the corner of my eye I continued scanning the stands for Bea. A part of me knew I didn’t have time to find her. But another part of me knew I couldn’t afford not to. And then they were on me at once. They collided with me at once and I knew that if used their momentum against them I could fulcrum them onward against the shield behind me. The first two were easy enough. But I couldn’t find the third, who was invisible, fast enough and she caught me in the face with her boot. Which left me open for the TK coming in behind her. I thankfully was able to keep the ghost close enough that the juggernaut would have to pull up and not split me in two. But the crash was still extraordinarily painful. My ears rang and my head went thick.

I shook off the pain as fast as I could and decided now was the time to go on the offensive. Taking a page out of Leif’s play book last night I launched the weapons pile from each side of the arena at my opponents. That was more a feint than anything else though. I just needed time to extricate myself from the tangle I was in and knew they would have their hands full with the inbound weapons for a few seconds at least. And as they arced their direction I launched myself up to the chandelier and paused a moment to coordinate my thoughts.

And then I saw her. Bea was tucked away in the back row, behind the chairs, looking out from behind the rest of the audience. Maybe she had been forbidden from coming out? Had she snuck in? Regardless, she was the courage I needed at that particular moment. I began my attack with a blast of fear and angst in their direction. I saw that the audience recoiled a bit at the thrust and I idly wondered how much of the energy was getting past the shield? That little tidbit of information was filed away for the future.

Once the Emp wave had crashed their senses I hurled myself downwards. I phased to ghost and then I retreated to the other side of the arena. And at the same time I concentrated on Gerard. I tried to remember the wavelength I felt when he created his double – and then there I was. Standing in front of them, not ten feet away beckoning for them to come.

Then as I walked along their side of the arena I noticed glasses of water the four had been using while they warmed up before the match began. And just like that I knew I had them. My double was ducking, weaving and backflipping with such speed that it would have been impossible for a physical form to achieve. They were outmatched by the speed of thought and they didn’t even realize it.
I then TK’d the water out of their water bottles and massed it into a single undulating bubble. Holding water in the air was harder than I had imagined it would be – but it was doable if I concentrated. It guessed that it was a lot like juggling in a way, a delicate balancing act of power and subtlety. And then I threaded the water down the length of the hall.

And as my double backflipped away from his opponents I let go of him to evaporate in front of them. They knew they had been tricked now. But it was too late. The water was inbound at a ridiculous speed. It wouldn’t require a lot of water I figured. The aim was going to have to be perfect though. And just like that I split the water into four distinct units that hit them each in the face perfectly. But instead of letting it splash away like what would be normal I began to press the pools to their faces without letting go. At first they didn’t understand. As they began to collectively understand fear gripped them all.

My eyes dimmed and I doubled down my concentration as they thrashed against my mind trying to get free of the suffocating water. Pushing harder with my mind I saw nothing else but each of their four faces in my mind as they went red heading towards suffocation. And then as they began to choke from the water boarding I released them all at once. All four began throwing up water and convulsing on the floor.

And then my mind focused on the four Emps holding the cage in place. And without too much effort I convinced them all at once I was no threat as I strode directly through the shield without pause. By the time they realized what they had done it was too late. I was parting through the audience and heading directly for Beatrice.

When I reached her, her eyes were wide. I kissed her lightly on the cheek and said, “Thank you.” She was obviously confused by this, but didn’t say anything out loud. I took her hand as we strode out of the hall together.