2: Unseen and Forgotten
Levius Ouroboros hurriedly walked along the busy street. He slipped past businessmen in suits and students in uniform as he made his way to the crosswalk. Ten minutes left until class. I’d rather not create any more time discrepancies. Just as he thought that, he bumped into a man in a baseball cap carrying a soda. Orange juice spilled all over Levius’s sparkly silver vest and black pants. Levius closed his eyes.
He was back on the busy street, and he turned his head, his messy black hair ruffled by the wind, to verify that his clothes were clean. He spotted the man with the soda heading toward him, and this time avoided him. He raised his lanky arm and reset his analog watch. I can’t go ten minutes without a time leap, can I? If only the Neuro Chip’s digital time didn’t give an error every time I use my powers.
Levius stood at the edge of the crosswalk along with other students and workers, waiting for the walk light to turn green. A swarm of sleek, teardrop shaped cars and boxy trucks zoomed by in front of him. The rows of glass skyscrapers glittered with blinding sunlight like an unnecessarily bright hall of mirrors. A truck sped toward him in the distance. It swerved left and right. Smoke poured out of the auto-pilot console in the front. It collided with a small red car at the intersection just as Levius closed his eyes.
A small crowd of people appeared out of nowhere and blinked at the edge of the cross walk. The truck crashed into the red car, and the cars behind it smashed into the pile up. Shards of glass scattered amidst the fireball of warped metal. All the people that had been in the cars had vanished and appeared at the crosswalk.
Levius walked onward toward his class at the other end of the crosswalk. Nobody saw his deed, but he hadn’t done it for fame or anything. He still wished, however, that someone would acknowledge his power. As usual, life’s a single player game for me, huh?
He arrived at a large, cathedral-like building built out of stone, a conspicuous sight in a city of modern white cubes and glass walls. He entered the lecture hall within, two minutes late. Perhaps no one would’ve made a big deal of it, but his street clothes stood in stark contrast to the black jacket and red bottoms that the other students wore.
“I see you’re late, Mr. Ouroboros,” Professor Quillian said. “As usual you don’t seem to be taking class seriously.” The fiery bushy-haired professor put his hands on his hips. Even though he stood far below Levius at the center of the auditorium, his tall figure made it feel as if he was towering over Levius.
“Well, I’m here.” Levius didn’t give into the intimidation.
“Anyway, just stand over there with the other outliers,” he said, pointing to a group of three at the edge of the auditorium stage.
Levius walked down the steps toward the podium. The TAs were holding signs that read, “Elemental Manipulation,” “Energy Flow,” “Sensory Abilities,” “Mind and Extrasensory,” “Physical”, and “Natural Forces.” The hundred or so students in class had separated and gathered around the TA who represented their ability category. Why does it feel like I just got tossed in a miscellaneous bin? He joined the three that weren’t in any of those groups.
The fair-skinned girl with emerald eyes and gold-brown hair reached out for a handshake. “Hi, I’m Ellie Mavelin. Nice to meet you.”
Levius accepted the handshake but couldn’t bring himself to smile. He wasn’t used to such things, possibly a consequence of viewing life as a “single player” experience. “Uh… hello. I’m Levius Ouroboros. By the way, Ellie… Aren’t you the rumored genius from Mars? What are you doing in the outlier group?”
She scratched her head and chuckled. “Well, I’m kind of like natural forces, but no one’s been able to classify my ability under gravity, nuclear, or magnetism yet.”
A short red-head with bubbly round eyes jumped in. “My turn! Hi, I’m Yuria Engels. I scored very high on my aptitude tests, but my ability hasn’t awakened yet. It’s going to be awesome when it does!”
“Nice to meet you too.” Levius turned his head to the man with frameless glasses. His graceful figure leaned back on the wall. “And who are you?”
The man brushed up his finely combed blond hair with his hand and smiled. “I’m Delchwin Aehther. I’m from the Tactics Department, so I don’t have an Essence ability.” He stood up straight. “And what are you here for?”
The Aehther clan? They look so arrogant on TV too. I guess it runs in the family. “My ability is unclassified and unverified. I can time leap and do a time injunction, that is, stop time.”
“No way! Does an ability like that really exist?” Yuria leapt up to him excitedly.
She didn’t mean any harm, but Levius felt a dull pain in his chest. It was only natural that nobody believed an ability that couldn’t be measured or seen. “It does. Though I can’t prove it.”
Ellie chimed in. “We’re all outliers anyway. What does it matter? If your ability works, then it works.”
Delchwin pushed his glasses up his nose. “I agree. The only thing that matters is results. If your ability is as you claim, then we’ll have a huge leg up in the rankings.”
A fire burst out from the other side of the room. One of the students from the elemental manipulation group had played with fire, and now the fire was playing with him. Another student drew water out of multiple bottles and poured it on the fire. Steam and smoke rose from the burnt patch of carpeting. All four of them were glad they weren’t with that group.
Quillian clapped his hands. “Alright everyone. Form groups of five or six. Try to have people from different ability groups. Cooperation between different abilities will be key to your assignments. After all, the strength of an Essence and thus your ability comes from the strength of the connections to other Essences. Note that these groups will remain for the rest of the semester and will be used for your team rankings.” He turned to the outliers. “And you folks can form a group or whatever.”
“Ugh… It seems Professor Quillian doesn’t like us,” Ellie said.
“Apparently his section is the only one with outliers, so perhaps he thinks he got the short end of the stick,” Delchwin said.
“That’s kind of mean. It’s not our fault we’re not classified,” Yuria said.
Quillian went from group to group checking them off and registering them and assigning anyone who didn’t have a group to a group with less than five members.
“Alright class, your first assignment is—”
A red light flashed, painting the room in panic. The mob of students squirmed nervously. “The Inverse alarm?” a student said.
“It’s in the city? What’s Security doing?” another said.
“Everyone stay calm and gather near the podium!” the professor said.
“I have to go!” Ellie said, dashing to the emergency exit at the side of the room.
“What are you doing?” Levius said as he chased after her.
“Come back here you two. Getting involved with that is just asking to disappear,” Delchwin said. They didn’t listen, so he chased after them.
“Don’t leave me behind!” Yuria said, running after them with a form like a puppet made out of gelatin.
“Get back here, you idiots!” Professor Quillian yelled to no avail.