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|Chapter 2: A factory of faith|
Volume I: earth
15th July 2012
Chapter 2: A Factory of faith
Isamu was turned to stone. Ryuusaki, one of the most feared men in Dong-zun and its surroundings, just ran away from him. Why was he so scared? And he was talking nonsense... You didn't hit him but the earth did...
He looked at the ground. The dust finally settled down and he was able to see the earth. Nothing showed that the ground underneath his feet had moved. The street was just so smooth as before, apart from the cracks in the ground... wait, cracks?
Isamu turned around, just in time to catch Emma, who almost dashed into him. 'Are you alright? Those two gorillas hit you very hard! What was that about? Did you know them?'
'Calm down Emma, calm down!' Isamu tried to stop her from talking, while regaining his balance at the meantime. 'I'm fine, I only have a few bumps and scratches.' He knocked the sand of his clothes. 'Emma, have you heard what Ryuusaki said? It sounded kind off vague to me. Something about moving earth...'
Emma shrugged her shoulders. 'I didn't see anything except the silhouettes of you and those bullies. The cloud of dust was too thick. Have you done anything, then?' 'I don't know. I tried to hit Yang with an uppercut, but before I could hit him, he already flew up in the air.'
'Are you sure you didn't hit him?'
Isamu wondered. Did he actually hit Yang? Maybe he could not feel anything during the heat of the battle, and he heard that fear can give people immense powers... but 10 meters into the air?
'But what about those cracks?'
'Those cracks in the ground. Here, look...'
Emma studied the cracks. 'It could indeed indicate some kind of movement... but Isamu,' she pointed into the street. 'There are cracks everywhere. It could have been there before we even passed this road. It is highly doubtful that you have some power to manipulate the earth. I never heard stories about people who could bend the earth at their will...'
Isamu shook his head. 'You're probably right. Come on, let's dump those two giants in a container and head to the factory.'
The factory was huge. Luckily, it was abandoned: the sun dawned for just an hour and it would take a while before the first workers would arrive.
Emma tried to open the door. 'It's closed!'
'What did you expect? The workers are still sleeping.' Isamu observed the giant building. 'We must find a window to enter.'
They walked around the building. It didn't seem like the factory had any windows: just when Isamu wanted to suggest that they should return to the city, Emma pointed at the wall. 'Look! A open window!'
He looked up. The window was at least 12 meters above the ground.
'That's far too high for us. We can never reach that.'
'No, but I was thinking...' Emma frowned. 'What about that stuff that Ryuusaki said? Moving the earth?'
Isamu frowned as well. 'What's your point?'
'Well... maybe it sounds ridiculous...' Emma blushed. 'But maybe we can form a staircase out of earth. You know, by bending the earth.'
Isamu stared at Emma. 'Don't be so foolish. We can't make a staircase out of earth!'
'But what about Ryuusaki?' Emma looked fierce. 'What if he was true about you?'
'You were the one that said that such things as bending the earth don't exist!'
'I know.' Emma's face was now red. 'But it's the only option. We can at least give it a try...'
Isamu sighed. 'Fine. Let's try it.' He turned around, moved a few steps back, and closed his eyes. I'm ready!'
He stretched his hands in front, like he saw wizards do in old movies. He tried to concentrate, although thoughts flew through his mind like 'this is ridiculous' and 'Why am I doing this...'
He opened his eyes. No staircase. Not even a single rock lifted off the ground.
'You see? No stairs.'
'The last time you bended the earth you made a kicking movement', Emma said. 'Maybe you should do such a thing again. Like martial arts.'
'Martial arts?' Isamu chuckled. 'Fine, but I think it looks ridiculous, kicking in the air and everything...'
'No! When you stretched your arms like that, you looked really tall and fierce!' Emma smiled at him. 'Like a real earthbender!'
Isamu shook his head. 'Earthbender... how did she came up with such names?' He closed his eyes again and tried to concentrate. Then, he stamped on the ground, while moving his hands up into the air.
A magical feeling... trembling underneath his feet... and the sound of rocks moving up and down, like he was in the middle of an avalanche. He never had such a feeling before, but it felt like he was familiar with it... as if he did it before...
He opened his eyes. Right in front of him, at the wall, In the way his feet pointed, a little rock column was visible. The rock was surrounded by cracks, as if it had been summoned. Emma was glaring at him with open mouth.
Isamu looked at his hands. 'Well, that was something I didn't expect...'
Emma walked up to him. 'You did it! You actually manipulated the earth! It was like magic! It just rose in front of me and-' She looked at him, curious. 'How did it feel?'
'I don't know... It was like I knew it would happen before I even made contact with the ground.' Isamu couldn't keep his eyes of the rock. 'Like I did it before...'
'Have you done it before, then?'
'I'm pretty sure if I summoned a rock in front of my eyes without knowing how it got there, I would remember it' said Isamu. 'But...' He looked at the small pillar of stone. 'This column is too small. We still can't reach the window.'
'Can you make it bigger?' Emma touched the rock, as if she needed a confirmation that it was real.
'We could try it..' Isamu closed his eyes again. 'Step aside. I'm going to try it again.'
He stamped and made exactly the same movements as before. Emma screamed. 'Yes! It grew bigger! Keep going on!'
He opened his eyes and stamped again. With growing amazement, he saw the rock grow in front of his eyes. When it finally reached the window, he made a couple of smaller columns around it, making a sort of staircase. When he was finished, Emma was already climbing up the columns. 'You're a natural! Let's go!'
Isamu launched himself through the open window, took a position, and landed on a box of crates on the ground. He tried to come upright, but immediately fell back into the boxes. Eventually, with the help of Emma, he came off the ground.
Emma looked concerned. 'Are you all right? You seem exhausted.'
'I'm fine.' Isamu wiped the sweat of his forehead. 'It just is... It's pretty exhausting. Forming those columns isn't easy.' He looked at the troubled face of Emma. 'But no time to rest. We need to find some food, I'm starving, and I bet the rebels are, too.'
They started searching and opening boxes. After a couple of minutes, they already found some water and bread, which they shared. After they had satisfied themselves, they started searching for stocks for the rebels.
'I found some meat and vegetables, Isamu!' Emma's shouting resounded through the whole factory.
'Would you keep it down, please!' Isamu looked over his shoulder, in the direction of the main door. 'The workers can arrive any moment!'
'Oh yeah, sorry.' Emma walked up to him from the other side of the corridor. 'Just put it in those bags I found here. 5 of them should be enough to feed the rebels for a whole week.' Isamu handed over a bag.
Emma looked worried. 'You look all pale, Isamu. When we get back to the headquarters, I let someone look after you. That bending sure wasn't good for your health.'
Isamu felt his head. He was indeed warm. 'Maybe you're right. Just fill those sacks, and then we get back as soon as possible.'
When he started filling his sack, he felt a terrible headache coming up. He tried to ignore it, but the pain carried on. When he filled his sack, the pain was almost unbearable. Just when he walked out of the corridor, Emma walked up to him, also with 2 full sacks, one less than Isamu was carrying. 'Let's get out of here. We can use the boxes to climb out of the window.'
When they started walking, Isamu felt his head. He had the feeling that he was about to collapse. He turned to Emma. 'I'm feeling too sick to carry those bags by myself. Can you already climb up to the window, and hand them over to you?'
Emma nodded. They started stacking the boxes: when they finished, Emma climbed up and took her position at the window-sill. 'Keep 'em coming!'
Isamu bend over to reach for the first sack, but just when he took the handle, the world started to turn. He tried to get up and regain his balance, but he simply couldn't. Then his vision became black.
2 men in green clothing... They shouted commands... Isamu tried to hear them, but he couldn't make any words out of the stream of sentences. They made the same kicking movements as he did... boulders and rocks came out of the ground, out of nowhere... they made punching movements with their fists and launched them on a unknown opponent...
Someone slapped him in his face. He was laying on the ground: Emma was bent over him, and was paler then before. He tried to came upright, but his body felt like a bag of stones. 'What's wrong? What happened?'
'I don't know. You passed out on the ground and started yelling like a maniac, like you were being tortured or something.' Emma looked paler than ever before. 'Let's get you up, you're definitely not feeling well. We –'
Her voice stopped and she froze. She looked over her shoulder, with an expression of fear. Isamu tried to came upright, trying to see what was going on. 'What-'
But he already got the answer, and he gained the feeling he could pass out every moment again. He recognized a voice. A low man voice, filled with anger. 'I heard yelling in the stockings of the factory! I need a few strong men to check it out!'
The workers had arrived.
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