We Espers are humans with sixth-senses. Thanks to science and some other guff about researches related to our sixth senses, our powers increased and we gained more abilities that are no longer considered supernatural, some even to the point of being epic. But because of our powers' expansion, reading minds gets harder, some even lose the ability to do so while training the powers that they were gifted with.
Now, I'm not just able o use shadows and manipulate it, but the cost of that is that my mind-reading abilities have become emotion-reading abilities; I can only feel the emotions of people around me.
Right now, I can tell that Ulrich is excited, and that Emma Gray is nervous and anxious.
My dorm apartment, like all other apartments in this complex not far from the campus of Falkland Academy, are now all lit by candles for light, because the phenomena outside the window was like an eclipse: dark and night-light when happening. And the blackout had been caused by Emma's electric outburst earlier. How much more trouble will she cause?
Ulrich had tuned into a news station on his smartphone, which was talking about the phenomena, saying that now, though it seemed to have calmed down, for safety reasons, people are not to move from their shelters yet.
"So who are you two?" was the first thing Emma demanded when she finally settled down when candles were burning, sitting against the coffee table with a mug of hot chocolate that Ulrich had offered to make while I arranged the candles around the place.
"I'm Kaden," I said.
"Ulrich," said Ulrich.
"And . . . why am I here?" she asked.
"Because you were in the middle of a bunch of Shadows, so I dragged you back. Besides, they might nab you, if you pass out."
Emma frowned. "What about the guy with the hood? That was the Shadowalker, right?"
I frowned. But Ulrich, who apparently didn't hear what she had said, swaggered over. "Tell us why you're making an Immorta Caste, Miss Gray?"
Emma scowled at him. "Get lost, Black Eyes."
Ulrich had on his sunglasses by habit. Now, he noticed, took them off with a huff of indignation.
At that, my phone rang, and I snatched it up from the table.
"Hello?" I grumbled. Phone calls while I'm in the middle of something is annoying.
"Ah . . . Kaden, how are you?" asked a neutral man's voice. I recognized it: Dr. Avison.
"Yeah, hi, Doctor, I'm in the middle of something right now. Be quick."
"About the Immorta Caste . . ."
I suddenly remembered that it was still outside my balcony and hurried out to see. "Are there any reports of people getting affected by the storm?"
"Around the world, yes. Younger Espers are being taken to hospitals right now, about 104 of them since it started. Have the symptoms of lost energy begun to show in you?"
"None. "But - have there ever been situations where the phenomena of the Immorta Caste still goes on even when the creator's concentration has been broken?"
"Er . . . what do you mean?"
Emma came over and looked out at the sky in curiosity, obviously wondering why it was dark. Then gasped when she saw her creation. "Why is that thing still there?"
I turned back to the phone. "Okay, sir, but I've got the person responsible for it. Her name's Emma Gray."
At that, Emma whirled to me. "Who are you talking to?" she demanded.
"An Esper specialist," I said abruptly to her, making the phone go on loudspeaker. "Okay, Doctor, she can hear you."
"Ah - really?" Dr. Avison was surprised.
"Can I talk to him privately?" Emma asked.
"Not with my phone," I replied.
With a scowl, Emma turned to the phone. "What's your name?"
"Oh, I think I recognize this voice," said Dr. Avison lightly, pleased. "Emma Gray, the Fifth-Rank of the Black Cards, right? It's Dr. Avison."
Emma stared at the phone. "Doctor? That's you?"
"Yes, yes, I suppose this saves me time from calling you up next. I've checked on all the other Black Cards before this, but I haven't checked on you - yet." Dr. Avison sounded thoughtful. I can't tell. Maybe he was uncertain about something. If there was a time that I can't feel emotions, it would be through indirect contact. Like, though a phone.
"That illegal Immorta Caste. It's creator."
At that, Emma paused. "I-illegal?"
"If you must use one, you'll need official permission for it," said Dr. Avison. "But you created an Immorta Caste without warning. Why?"
"For self-defense! I was getting weaker, and the Shadows were coming towards me, and I have to fight," said Emma. "There were so many that time coming out of nowhere, and I had to stop them, but I was running out of energy chasing them. What's illegal about an Immorta Caste?"
"Do you know how an Immorta Caste works?" I asked.
"By gathering energy and bringing it down to you."
"Then where does that energy come from?" asked Dr. Avison.
Now, Emma looked stunned. "There . . . a source for it?"
"Yes, and that is the world," said Dr. Avison. "To use the Immorta Caste, you must do it with the acknowledgement of its dangers. Because it steals energy of Espers across the world who share the same ability as yours, that lightning that you call Flashstep."
"H-how? That's . . . impossible! Why did . . . no one say that?" Emma gasped, cringing and clenching her fists.
"The last time it was used was three years ago," said Dr. Avison. "The First-Rank Black Card at that time, the Shadowalker needed plenty to refuel himself to destroy an enemy's base.Even though the mission had been accomplished, it resulted in the deaths of two thousand people with abilities similar to Shadowalker's the next day. Of course, Shadowalker's darkness ability was already rare."
Emma paled. "Then - what now? What about the Immorta Caste? I'm . . . not controlling it now, so . . . why?"
"Oh, you still are," said Dr. Avison calmly. "It's not linked to anyone else but its creator. It's lightened up a little because you're not concentrating on building it, it's slowed down."
"Then . . . what will happen?" Emma asked.
Dr. Avison paused for a moment before replying. "I'm afraid that, well, this is a hypothesis, but if it continues to gather energy, it won't just result in a second plague, but it'll also result with the overpowering of Miss Gray's body. She might die, too, before it stops."