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treat yo self

T.S.A

Seven:

“What?” Jinri looked at Junhong, surprised at what she saw in the screen behind them.

“Your cells, like Mirae’s, radiate some sort of energy. The difference to this is that, it isn’t explosive, but more on force. From what I can assume, one blast from you, and it pushes anything away, depending on how big it is, of course” Junhong glanced back at the screen showing her DNA.

“So that’s what it is..” she trailed off, looking down at her hands. Junhong just nodded. “My parents, and my sister, when they found out,” she sighed. “They had a hard time taking the news, especially when I showed them, making a mess in the living room. They honestly looked relieved when I told them I was going away for a while” she chuckled nervously.

Junhong nodded as he understood. “Well, you won’t have to worry about that anymore. Your training room is being constructed. For now, where do you want to train?” he asked with a smile.

Jinri shrugged. “I-I don’t know. Where can I train? Where are Mirae and Hyejung training?” she asked.

As Junhong observed her, he tilted his head apologetically. “You’re not ready to train, are you?” he asked.

Jinri paused, and slowly nodded. “I’m sorry. I’m just not ready to tap into my powers just yet”

In an attempt to convince her somehow, Junhong went up to her and knelt down to look at her properly. “You know, if you tap into it, you won’t have to be afraid of what you can do. Everyone else might be, but not you” he said softly. “You won’t have to be afraid of yourself, Song Jinri”

Junhong’s words had seemed to calm her down. He was right. “I just need time, if it’s okay” she said.

“Okay” he smiled. “But I’ll still look into your abilities and see what else we can do. Maybe when your training room’s ready, we can perhaps, start”

~

The bus had returned, and the six of them rushed out, followed by their security team and Hyesung. “What happened?” Ino asked upon seeing them.

“Yifan got bit by an infernal. They were there,” Luhan explained. “There were a lot of infernals there, they ate all the guards in the place,” he said, as Ino caught up with him.

“Where are the hyungs? I need to tell him about my progress in going back in time” Zitao smiled proudly.

“You can tell them that later, we need to get to the lab, analyze what we have” Minseok told him as they rushed to the elevating platforms. Ino pressed a button right away, elevating them down towards the floor where several small laboratories dedicated to examining unidentified foreign substances. Not many people were on it, and it was only Junhong and the others who frequented the floor.

It was clear that Professor Jang had made Junhong the head of everyone else working with them, and Hyesung being the head of security. There weren’t many people in the Center at all. Security officers sometimes doubled as scientists, and Hyesung sometimes had the dirty task of making sure the otherworldly creatures were kept in a safe place, usually until they died or were back in perfect health since they were acquired under rough conditions most of the time.

The boys, since they started staying in the center, had also taken it upon themselves to learn and help around, sometimes assisting the others in analyzing samples and constructing parts, Minseok showing a knack for chemistry while Kyungsoo did some heavy lifting.

Once they landed on the floor, they went in the nearest lab, Luhan turning the lights on and assembling what they needed.

“So, tell me everything that happened?” Ino asked them.

“Tell him, Tao” Jongdae said, taking the sample of the slime they collected in the container out.

Zitao turned to Ino. “When we arrived, there were a lot of displays that got smashed, and broken glass everywhere. I went back 10 minutes to find out if there had been anything that happened contrary to the supposed time, and then I saw this hooded figure, and then this other..thing.. It looked like a goblin,” he explained. “This goblin..guy.. Was the one that let loose, and the hooded figure was saying something about a diamond not being there, and let the infernals eat away at the guards. It was horrible!” he cringed at the thought.

“Oh no,” Ino’s eyes widened. He remembered the book he was reading earlier, and at the same time he wondered how he managed to know everything that happened before Zitao had told him. He couldn’t say it, but he couldn’t explain it either. Ino made a mental note to have Junhong check him out.

“Yeah, oh no!” Zitao nodded.

“I think I know who that hooded figure is, but it can’t be true, it just can’t...” Ino fled out of the lab, leaving the rest of them.

“Where’s Ino hyung going?” Minseok asked.

Luhan looked back at the door. “He-he’s going to the library” he said quietly. “Whoa, our powers are just having a field day, huh?” he suddenly joked.

~

Hyejung spotted Mirae having a snack in the cafeteria. She came back from a little workout in the gym, and having been told what she could do by Junhong, she was curious as to what her fellow new recruits could do. She noticed a long metal rod against her table, and quietly moved it to the side for her to sit down in front of Mirae. “Hiya!” she said.

“H-hi” Mirae said.

“So, did Junhong give you the talk?” Hyejung asked.

Mirae raised a brow. “What talk?”

“You know, the talk? About your powers? Assuming that you’ve already known about them?” she replied.

“Oh, well, yeah,” Mirae nodded. “He did. Apparently, I can touch things or throw things and they can explode like firecrackers” she said. “At least that’s what I got from his explanation”

Hyejung looked impressed. “Wow. And then I thought mine was pretty badass” she said.

“What could you do?”

At the question, Hyejung’s ears perked up a little. She picked up Mirae’s soda can, and with a wave of her hand, the can went through a small portal, and reappeared by the room’s entrance. Mirae looked impressed as well. “Junhong says I can create portals, and that with those portals, I can be able to displace objects or people” she explained. “He couldn’t see it in my dna, so I showed him, of course”

“Have you started training?” Mirae asked.

“Yeah! They’re making me use Jongin’s room for now. Jongin doesn’t mind, he stopped by to watch while I did my thing” Hyejung smiled. “What about you? What’s that thing for?” she prodded the metal rod.

“I’m just about to start on mine, we’re doing it outside. I don’t want to use Chanyeol’s room” Mirae shook her head.

Hyejung suddenly grinned. “And speaking of Chanyeol, he seems pretty interested in you” she said.

“What are you talking about?” Mirae raised a brow.

“Chanyeol’s been giving you the eye. I’ve seen it” she said.

Mirae shook her head. “No, I don’t think so. We’re just friends” she said.

“Oh right. Because there’s someone else on your mind? Do you have a boyfriend? Husband?” Hyejung asked, grinning.

Mirae said nothing. “Girlfriend, then?” Hyejung asked.

“No. There’s this guy..he’s not like us,” Mirae shook her head. “Him and I..we worked together for years at this music store” she said. “But I doubt he’ll know how I feel about him” she said.

“Well? What’s his name?” Hyejung said.

“It’s...Hyuk. His name is Hyuk, and,” Mirae sighed. “He’s the most perfect guy I’ve ever known. He’s so cool, and so very nice and sweet and funny” she said. Seeing as she may have gushed a little too much, she cleared her throat. “Sorry, well, you know what I mean. If he finds out what I can do, he’ll just probably think I’m a freak”

Hyejung shook her head. “Don’t assume. The professor lets us go out from time to time, you can probably pay him a visit” she said.

“Ah, I don’t know. He might hate me for leaving so suddenly” she said.

“We still need to get out and breathe the fresh air, though” Hyejung grinned. “Do you have a photo of him? I want to see what he looks like”

“Well, it’s in my room. I actually look at it every night before I go to bed” she said, looking down upon feeling her cheeks heat up.

“Aww, Mirae’s in love” Hyejung swooned.

Mirae cleared her throat. “What about you? Jongin probably likes you” she suddenly said, changing the subject.

“What? No! We just get along great. We have things in common, and he’s younger than me, by two years” Hyejung shook her head.

“So? Age doesn’t matter when you’re in love” Mirae said. She knew, since Hyuk was just a year younger than she was.

Just then, Junhong came in the cafeteria, and once he caught Mirae’s eye, he nodded, gesturing her to come outside. Mirae turned back to Hyejung. “I have to go now. Junhong said I could start” she picked up her now empty tray of food to bring it back.

“O-okay then. Hey, I want to come with you to that music place. That Hyuk guy sounds like a dream” Hyejung grinned.

Mirae picked up her rod. “I-I really have to go training now” she said, and fled the room.

“Hey” Junhong was standing outside, waiting for her. “I hope you’ve eaten well, we’ve got some training to do” he said cheerily.

Mirae smiled. “Yes, yes, I did. Thank you for this by the way,” she held up the metal rod.

Junhong took it from her and pressed a small button that looked like a screw in the middle. The rod extended. “It’s a staff. Jongin told me you did something with Minseok’s kendo stick, I assume, that’s what you practice?” he asked.

“Not really. I practice bojitsu, and some other martial arts” she answered quietly as they walked.

Junhong looked at her, clearly impressed. “Wow, since you were a kid?” he asked.

Mirae nodded. “Yeah. It was a way for me to get rid of the stress I was feeling, all the pent up anger inside,” she explained. “All the fear and trauma, and the adrenaline I got when I did it just made it all go away”

Junhong smiled and handed the staff back to her. “Then it’s great you have this. It’s not just any metal staff, it’s designed to help you with your powers too. You can use it as a weapon, but I guess you already know that” he chuckled.

She had never seen what was behind the Center until she was to start training. It was then that she figured out that it was bigger than she thought. The backyard was rather spacious, enough for anyone to practice on. Trees lined the borders of the place, obscuring the view of any house or building that was nearby. “I now realize that I have a bigger training room than the rest of the boys” Mirae said quietly.

“For now. But I hope you’ll be able to feel comfortable in this setting. As this is the first time you will be, showing them off,” Junhong stopped at a table that had different kinds of objects laid out on top. “I will observe, as there may be additional abilities that you might have, as your training room will adapt to your powers and your powers alone” he said.

“Additional abilities?” Mirae raised a brow.

Junhong nodded and picked up the clipboard in front of him. “Yeah. Your powers might lead you to possess other superhuman abilities, you never really know” he said. “Now, think fast!” he threw a hacky sack at her.

To her surprise, and Junhong’s, she caught it with one hand before it hit her face. “Fast reflexes,” he muttered, writing it down.

“Hey! That wasn’t fair!” Mirae laughed.

“I had to test you!” Junhong laughed as well. “Well, now we can start” he gestured her to go into the field.

Mirae looked at the hacky sack in her hand. She closed her eyes and tried to remember what she was feeling the last time it came out. She imagined the playground, with the boy pulling on her ponytail. She felt frustrated from not knowing what to do, to rage at what the boy had done to her. Her pupils started to glow red and so did her fingertips. Mirae threw the hacky sack as far as she could, and it exploded, creating a hole in the ground, as if a grenade had fallen in.

Junhong watched her in awe, mindlessly scribbling his observations on the paper in his clipboard. “Okay, try this,” he cleared his throat and handed her a basketball. Mirae did the same, throwing the ball as hard as she could, but it didn’t explode as heavily as the hacky sack.

Mirae turned around, the glow in her eyes and fingertips had disappeared. “So, any thoughts?” she asked.

Junhong slowly nodded. “Well, first thought is that you are pretty powerful,” he chuckled. “The second thought is that, from what I’ve seen, so far,” he swallowed. “Is that, your power to turn, or as it looks like, charge, an object to turn it into a firecracker or grenade, also depends on the object’s mass,” he tried to explain. “The hacky sack earlier blew up like a grenade, but the basketball exploded like firecrackers in a saucepan”

“Maybe it also depends on how long I’ve been holding it?” Mirae asked.

Junhong nodded again. “Yeah! Could be. Now, I want you to try it, with this” he handed her a bowling ball. “Keep it with you for a little bit longer, then throw”

~

Prince Zeenohai and his guard, named Ejol, had reached a dark and secluded part of the Esteholm. It was there that they were certain, was another entrance to a part of the goblin kingdom that he was determined to get to. It was closed off by a giant steel door. The Prince approached the door, and with one hand, felt around the surface. “Open up, my pretty” he muttered, dragging a nail down a small part of the door.

The sounds of gears turning and locks clicking could be heard from within, and the door slowly opened before them. Prince Zeenohai turned to him. “We’re getting close” an evil grin soon appeared on his face, and he walked inside.

The passageways were lit by torches. The ground was uneven, with sharp rocks here and there, enough to pierce through their feet. The Prince and Ejol had pressed on, until they reached another door, a smaller one than the entrance itself, sealed off by a golden combination lock. Numbers written in their native alphabet were engraved on the door. “If I remember correctly,” he said, turning the dial clockwise once, and counter-clockwise twice.

The door had opened, and the Prince and his guard continued on. “Finally,” he said. They were looking at four hallways of catacombs. “Your fellow warriors have fallen asleep while I was away,” he said to his guard, as he took his hood off. “But now I’m back, and it’s time to wake them up”

“Yes, your highness” Ejol slowly approached a basin in front of them. With his spear, he cut his wrist, and poured his inky-black blood onto the basin. The blood went into the small hole, where it traveled through four small passages on the floor, leading up to the tombs.

And within moments, growls and grumbles could be heard, and the Prince pressed onto the middle hallway, until he reached the ends and found himself in the middle of a much bigger room. Soon enough, he was then faced by hundreds of guards, all ready and waiting. “I have come back for you all. All of you, who have proven loyal to me since my exile,” he declared. “My father, and my sister have proven unfit to fulfill their roles in this kingdom. But I, I will change all of that soon. We will begin anew, and reclaim our Kingdom above!”

The goblin army had cheered.

“We will be good and ready in no time”

The goblin army had soon broken through the catacombs to bring in more space. A few dozen had started to dig, until they struck various substances, from mercury, to molten gold, to silver, and lava in itself. Another dozen had started work on more weapons, and another dozen had continued on breaking down more walls.

“These warriors are loyal to me. I will show my father that I am powerful, more powerful than he”

“Yes you are, your highness” Ejol said to him. “What else must we do?”

The Prince shook his head. “Find the diamond. Whatever it takes. For now, we must finish construction”

~

Jinri was in the library. She had come across a heavy leather book titled “Tale of the Goblin Kingdom” spelled out in gold. Flipping through the pages, she stopped when she saw an illustration of a diamond. “The diamond of the Tree of Life” she read. “Three inches tall, and one inch wide, and laid into the Tree of Life. Whoever possesses this gem will become invincible, with the power to take over the earth, as well as immortality and eternal youth. Virtually impossible to cut and mold into, only blades made out of the steel made by the dwarves could cut it” she continued reading.

She paused, and looked at her hands, remembering what Junhong had told her. Jinri knew the damage she could do the moment it came out years ago.

Jinri was 9 years old when it first happened. It started when a fight that ensued between her and her older brother ended up with the latter on the living room floor, terrified and confused as to what just happened. The living room was a mess. The couch was cut in half, pillow stuffings were everywhere, and the chandelier that hung above was on the verge of falling. It fell down the moment her parents had arrived. Her brother looked at her, his face white and he was shaking. It had taken a while for her parents to understand, and up until this moment, they still didn’t.

She came to terms with it when she was 12, truly discovering what she could do by then, and under a similar circumstance. The kids at the playground made fun of her skin color, and due to rage, Jinri had blasted the seesaw and the swings off the place. No one got injured, but since then they had avoided the playground.

“Hey” Said a voice from behind her.

Jinri turned around to see a smiling Jongdae. “Song Jinri, right?” he asked.

She nodded. “Yeah, that’s me” she said, shaking Jongdae’s outstretched hand.

“I see you’re reading the Tale of the Goblin Kingdom” he said, noticing the pages. “And you’re at the diamond?” he asked.

“Yeah, I am. It’s fascinating. It sounds like a fairy tale” Jinri smiled, turning back to the book.

“From what I hear from the Professor, it’s that this,” Jongdae tapped the book. “This is real or something”

“It seems too good to be true” Jinri shook her head.

Jongdae smirked. “Well, doesn’t this seem too good to be true? We’re in a center for people like us” he chuckled. “So, have you started training with Junhong yet? I saw him training Mirae earlier and wow, she’s one badass woman” he said, clearly impressed.

“Ah, I haven’t started yet. I’m,” Jinri sighed. “Not exactly ready to show it yet” she muttered.

The male nodded. “I understand. It could be scary tapping into it the first few times it’s happened” he said. “I was afraid I might start throwing thunderbolts everywhere like Zeus on my first day training” he laughed.

“How did you get through it?” Jinri asked.

“Well, it helps that Junhong’s encouraging. Him and Ino hyung, they’re much wiser than we give them credit for” Jongdae replied. “Professor Jang was also encouraging too. He told me to pace myself. One thunderbolt at a time”

Jinri felt more at ease with Jongdae’s words. “So you didn’t make a mess or anything?”

“Oh, I did make a mess. It’s hard not to when you’re starting out, but trust me,” Jongdae patted her shoulder. “You’ll get past that. Once you get into it, you’ll learn how to control it, maybe even have fun with it too” he smiled.

She smiled. “Thank you for that” she closed the book and put it back on the shelf.

“No problem,” Jongdae said. “I’m going to go grab something to eat. Have you eaten?”

“I could eat, yeah” Jinri nodded, and they headed out of the library.

They went into the cafeteria, where the rest of the boys were. Jongin was sitting with Hyejung and Sehun in one table, while Luhan, Kris, Minseok, and Yixing were in another table. Jongdae figured that Junmyeon, Baekhyun, and Kyungsoo were training, while Zitao was at the Center’s gym with Chanyeol. Ino was quietly eating a sandwich in another table, with Youngjae, Jongup, and Daehyun, as well as a few cups of coffee.

“So, what exactly do we do here?” Jinri managed to ask Jongdae, as they piled their trays with some snacks.

Jongdae placed a tall strawberry smoothie on her tray. “Well, for the most part, we train here, learn about things here. You could say we can live here for as long as you like” he replied, leading them to another table where they could eat in peace.

“Really? Then that means we can leave sometime?” Jinri said, digging into her burger.

Jongdae nodded. “Yeah. I mean, would you want to stay cooped up in here forever?”

Jinri shrugged. She didn’t think that far yet. “I never thought of it that way, to be honest”

“Well, someday, I’ll want to leave and live somewhere normal, you know?” Jongdae said, in between bites of his pizza. “But hey, I don’t mind staying here. It almost feels like we’re superheroes in a way”

“Well, that’s true. Feels like we’re the Avengers or something” Jinri looked around.

“X-Men, I believe, is the more accurate term,” Jongdae corrected her. “But we’re like the J-Men, since it’s Professor Jang” he joked, making Jinri laugh.

“J-Men? That’s so lame” Jinri covered her mouth as she laughed.

~

Baekhyun’s training room was perhaps the brightest of all the training rooms in the Center. It was filled with mirrors and crystals, objects that would be able to catch and refract light, as that was his power. He knew how to bend, and project light. Himchan was standing by, wearing goggles that resembled the ones Oompa Loompas would wear in the tv room of Willy Wonka’s Factory, and holding a clipboard. “What are we doing today, hyung?” he looked back at the older male.

Himchan smiled. “Back in ancient Egypt, people would use mirrors to be able to catch the sunlight, lighting up a whole room just by using those. Want to try doing that?” he asked.

Baekhyun tried not to laugh with how silly he looked with the goggles, and nodded. “Yeah, yeah, I think I can be able to create it” he said, turning back to the mirrors and crystals in front of him.

With a deep breath, his palms started to glow, and he focused it on one mirror, until it started to bounce off to another, and another. Baekhyun kept his focus on the first mirror, trying to get the light coming from to bounce off to the other mirrors properly. His energy was draining little by little as he was concentrating, Himchan recording every detail. In moments, the light had successfully bounced off each mirror in front of him.

“Do I go brighter?” Baekhyun said, the light suddenly bouncing off the crystals in the ceiling. “I think I can go brighter”

Himchan observed Baekhyun as he continued to do so, his eyes widening at what he saw. Not only was the room incredibly bright, but the power coming from Baekhyun was starting to make him glow as well. “Baekhyun,” he said in awe. The younger continued to go at it. “Baekhyun stop, stop” his voice was louder this time.

In a flash, the light had disappeared, and Baekhyun turned back to him. “What? Did I go too bright? Should I tone it down?” he asked.

Himchan shook his head. “No, but something really incredible happened. It seems that you were able to generate so much that it started to manifest physically, and on you, if it makes any sense” he said, still in awe.

Baekhyun raised a brow. “What do you mean?”

“What I mean is, your power has grown exponentially, that you started to glow,” Himchan explained. “Like you’ve become a human lightbulb”

Baekhyun laughed at the analogy, but was surprised nonetheless. “Really?”

Himchan nodded. “You’ve grown along with your power. I don’t think there’s anything more to it” he said.

“Does this mean I don’t need to train anymore?” Baekhyun asked, relieved but slightly worried. He was never one to sit still.

Himchan smiled and took his goggles off. “On the contrary, now that you’ve grown with your power, you’re onto the next stage of training, and this one, you’ll probably look forward to, because you’ll be with the others once they’ve trained enough” he said. “Didn’t you say you practiced hapkido?”

And at the question, Baekhyun immediately knew what he meant, and a grin so wide spread across his face. “Really?!”

Himchan nodded. “Well, you can refer to this as your physical education class, since you’ll be doing this with the others. To develop teamwork, since there will be situations that you’ll be forced to defend yourselves. The professor and Ino have been talking about this for months since you boys joined the Center” he explained. Baekhyun got giddier at his answer.

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