Enrique felt very uncomfortable in the moment. In both sides he could feel and annoying feeling of two angry people. Veronica by his left side making silly comments trying to make Carlos react and by the other side, Carlos ignoring her while trying to restrain his fury.
– Some people should be useful like Enrique- said Veronica- he knows so many things and has helped a lot while others just sit down and do nothing all day.
He took Enrique by his arm and walked side to side with him. Carlos' face became shady and it was obvious he was having a jealousy attack. Enrique looked at Veronica. He definitely didn't hate the position but he didn't like Veronica using him to hurt Carlos. Veronica just looked back and grinned evilly like saying "just follow the lead."
– You have any problem?- said Veronica seeing Carlos with malicious eyes- I don't like the way you're looking at me.
– Then I'm sorry- said Carlos whose voice sounded very dry.
Veronica grinned knowing he had given a bad moment to Carlos. Enrique wanted to be in other place.
– Where did you learn all these things, by the way?- asked Veronica with genuine curiosity.
– My father taught me- said Enrique and immediately the atmosphere changed and not for a better one. Veronica gripped his arm more tightly
His father had been a great father. He had been a very seasoned and experimented soldier who had seen a lot of combat. He had always been a busy and responsible officer, but even so he had always managed to pass time with his family. Enrique always remembered the times when his father has taken him to the mountains to camp. He taught him all the things he was using now to survive and would be eternally in his debt for that.
– I'm sorry- she said.
– It's ok.
In the times of the terrorism which his country had just ended, it was habitual for the terrorists to kill officers of the army and police to create chaos. They did it in coward and sneaky ways while the victim didn't even imagine. However they couldn't take his father by surprise. He had died but he had taken all the attackers with him. He had taught him personal defense and to be always ready.
– "Always be aware of your surroundings, my son"- he had taught him- "now tell me how many people are there around us and how many look like bad people."
– We'll be there soon… – said Enrique trying to change the topic since the memory was still fresh
After some minutes they arrived to the river the boys had found previously and they refilled their water containers which will be boiled later. In that moment Enrique felt it again and placed his hand on the floor and closed his eyes. The vibrations of the floor passed through his palms and he could somehow "see" all the things moving around. He immediately detected some wolf-like creatures getting close.
– We have to move- he said in a serious tone and reacted almost instantly taking Veronica by the waist and jumping up to a tree. She was really surprised but just accomodate once he left her in a strong branch. Carlos was stunned. He had jumped like 2 meters as if it was just some centimeters. Enrique saw his confusion and jumped back and fast hugged him and jumped again back to the tree. Carlos' face showed his total state of confusion. Enrique could guess what he was thinking.
– "How could he jump so high and be so strong?"
Not even Enrique himself knew. This has happened in the same day they had arrived to this place. He had been as confused as anyone but almost immediately he had noticed the air and environment in this place was totally different. If he had to describe it, he would say it was thicker and richer in energy. He didn't give too much attention since he was very worried and stressed. They were lost in who knew where and there was no logical reason for the situation. In a moment he was about to lose control.
– "Breathe, Enrique"- his father used to say when he was under pressure and he felt like exploding- "sit down with me and breathe with me. Now, inhale slowly while counting to 6, now keep the air there for 5 seconds and exhale slowly counting to 6 again."
He had accostume to do it every time he was passing a hard time and this time he did it again. Since the air was thicker and richer here it kinda hurt the first time but soon, he adapted and a strange feeling came to him. He felt that part of the energy from the air stayed in his body.
– "It feels good so I suppose it's fine"- he had thought in that occasion and he was able to sleep very soundly that night.
The next day, he had felt very energetic and his mind was very clear. He had given suggestions to the group about how to camp and some tips he remembered his father giving. That night he had also repeated the breathing technique that his father had taught him and he noticed that he could inhale more air than the previous day and he also felt the energy that stayed behind also increased.
The third day he woke up feeling different. He felt stronger and faster and noticed his body that was skinny and thin having gotten more muscle. It was nothing too perceptible but he knew his body was different from before. He also noticed he was more conscious of his surroundings than before as if he could perceive more things than before. He got out and went to a nearby area where he tried to lift a rock that he knew he couldn't lift and he did so very easily. He threw the rock and it flew a huge distance. A mix emotion invaded him.
– Was this because of the breathing technique?- he wondered not finding another reason.
On one hand, he was impressed and kind of excited, but on the other hand a feeling of fear and loneliness filled his heart. He thought about telling the rest but then he worried about their reaction.
– What if they get scared and isolate me?
– Enrique?- said a soft voice behind him
Veronica was looking at him with shocked eyes as if she thought she was still sleeping. He told her about the changes he was experimenting and to his relief she didn't think it was strange but she was very interested.
– "Do you feel this is increasing in intensity?- she asked when they had talked in private. She was clearly excited- how do you describe this feeling that you sense around the air?"
Thinking together they had spent the next days together trying to analyze the situation.He taught her the breathing method. She needed more time than him just to detect the energy mixed in the air but once she did the results were very evident.
– I also feel different- she said to him the fifth day- I can perceive more things and I feel I can store more energy every day.
She was really excited and she looked like a small child with a new toy and Enrique felt very happy about it. This could help them since they didn't have any idea what could happen but if all could use this strength they could face anything in a better way.
– We should tell the others- said Enrique started to walk to the camp.
– Wait- Veronica said and Enrique was surprise to see her grip was stronger than before, she really was increasing her strength too- I think it's still too soon. We should wait a little more.
– What do you mean?- asked Enrique a little surprised she didn't want to share this with the other.
– Don't make a mistake- she said with clear voice- it's not that I don't want them to know about this but I think we should think about how to tell them, I mean, we don't know how they will react. They could get scared and feel threatened. We need to find the best moment and I think now everyone is with a lot of pressure.
Enrique didn't think this was the best but he still followed her suggestion. The next day Enrique had started to feel the vibrations and a kind of pulse from the ground and when he tried to focus on it, he noticed he could detect things around him by the vibrations of the ground as cearly as if he could see them in front of him. This skill had been the one who had saved both him and Carlos from the rabbit monster.
– This is the 4th one- had said Carlos with an angry voice checking the broken trap- this can't be a coincidence, can it?
They had been checking the traps they had left before to see if any animal had fallen but they had just found the traps broken and disabled while the bait had been taken. He didn't know any animal with such intelligence so the only possibility was that there was someone sabotaging them. Enrique shook his head and had used the skill that he had called "Far sight." This skill was an application of the feeling he had before and using the vibrations of the ground he could detect anything around him. Right now he could detect anything around in 10 meters but he thought he could expand the range after more practice. He was developing other applications. Every day he felt changes in his body and perception. Lately, he had started to have the impression that the ground and water around him could move and bend if he wanted it. But when he tried it, he only managed to mix them to create mud and he ended too tired. In these moments he was really hungry and wanted to sleep.
– I suppose that means that using these powers consume energy that we must restore once used then- said Veronica who had also started to look for applications for these powers along with Enrique.
He had activated this skill when he immediately had detected the rabbit monster just seconds before it had jumped on Carlos to attack him.
– Careful!- had said Enrique before pushing down Carlos and avoiding the rabbit who used its claws which marked the closest tree with deep marks.
Enrique didn't lose any moment and used all his strength to hit the head of the rabbit with the mace he had made. Carlos had thanked him and was also shocked after seeing the rabbit. Since he had been on the floor, he hadn't noticed the power he had hit the rabbit.
– This meat is so good!.
Erique not only had noticed how delicious the meat was but he had felt the energy gathering faster as soon as he ate the rabbit monster but he hadn't had the opportunity to tell Veronica about this during the meal. That as why he had insisted on having her eat the meat even when he knew her pride wouldn't let her. Last night he had made her eat the meat so she could feel the energy. But it seemed she had only focused in how delicious the meat was. Enrique didn't understand this world but he now realized that this was a dangerous place and it was necessary to tell the others about these powers to increase their chances of survival. He was even more sure now that they were on this tree trying to be silent to not attract the attention of the monsters.
– Don't move- said Enrique looking to the place where the creatures would appear- and be in silence.
They saw the wolf-like creatures walking in 4 paws while sniffing around. They found the water containers and sniffed them even more. They started to growl and Enrique had the feeling they were communicating. They passed without noticing the three friends in the tree. However, Enrique knew they weren't alone and they were surrounded. The wolves seemed to be going in direction of the camp. All their things and provisions were there but what was more important, it was possible that Yenny and Cynthia had returned and they would be taken by surprise.
– We have to return and help Cynthia and Yenny- said Carlos whispering to Enrique.
– And how do you propose to do that?- asked Veronica- have you seen those monsters?
– Do you plan to abandon them?- asked Carlos with horrified eyes.
– Of course not… but- Veronica didn't know what to say.
Enrique continued to think but there weren't many options. If they went down it would be possible the monsters would detect them. There were around 6 in the zone and even if he could fight some of them, they outnumbered them. Veronica's strength hadn't still increased enough and he doubted she could fight without previous training. He knew Carlos was not weak but these monsters were in another level and he hadn't even noticed the energy so he was a normal person with no powers. He would die in seconds.
In that moment the branch where Carlos was placed started to break and Enrique knew it would not resist. He tried to grab Carlos but he reacted too late and Carlos fell to the ground with a violent sound that attracted the attention of some wolves around.
The wolves found Carlos almost immediately and attacked. He reacted fast enough and avoid the wolves by millimeters. He jumped and rolled with all his might and he started to run desperately. He disappeared in the foliage. A wolf started sniffing the place looking for something and Enrique knew he was detecting them. He decided to take the risk, he decided to attack the wolf before it was able to find them. He grabbed the new mace he had done and focused gathering energy in his farm and jumped down. The wolf was taken by surprise and Enrique hit him letting his weight and gravity enhance the mace which hit the monster's skull.
Enrique felt the skull cracking under his hit and almost immediately the wolf fell to the ground after having emitted a single sound of pain. Enrique's heart was beating wildly but he didn't have time since he knew a nearby wolf had been alerted by the sound. The hit had also destroyed his mace and was useless. The wolf speed was more than he had imagined and felt the hit in all his chest as if someone had hit him with a hammer of construction. He was pushed agaisnt a tree and he felt all the air from his lungs go out. He saw the wolf coming again and he knew he didn't have time to evade so he just put his arm by reaction and closed his eyes.
Enrique didn't feel his arm being torn apart by fangs but the fangs of the beast being shattered by his arm. When he opened his eyes, he saw in disbelief that his arm had transformed into rock and had broken many teeth from the wolf who howled in pain and tried to retreat. Enrique used the chance and counterattacked punching the wolf in the mouth and stabbing his neck with the piece of wood he still had in his other arm. The neck was pierced immediately and the wolf died after some moments of suffering. Enrique didn't understand the change in his hand but he din't have time to think about it for now. Enrique looked up to Veronica.
– Stay there- he whispered to Veronica who was very scared and begging him to stay there- I'll return for you… this is the safest place.
He started to run in the direction Carlos had gone and started to use his "Far sight" while moving. He noticed that he hadn't had to close his eyes but he could use his eyes while feeling the vibrations creating an area of vision that would surprise any engineer in optical technology. Another thing that he noticed was that even if his hand had transformed into rock, he still could use it normally. He bent his fingers and made circles. All was normal so he just advanced keeping distance from possible threats and soon encountered Carlos who had returned to the camp and was being surrounded by the 4 remaining wolves who seemed to be enjoying the situation.
– They are just playing- thought Enrique who increased his speed to attack the closest wolf.
He again gathered the energy around his rocky fist and punched the beast with all his strength. The wolf received the punch in its ribs and it easily broke them. The wolf let out a painful howl while flying some meters in the air and finally falling heavily not moving again. The other wolves looked at Enrique and howled in fury. Enrique hadn't stopped moving and as soon as the first wolf had flown he had already jumped to the next one. He had close the distance almost immediately and had hit the wolf in the face. The wolf lost some teeth and shout in pain. Enrique gathered energy in his leg and kicked the wolf which receive it in the stomach. The wolf vomited blood and was sent violently agaisnt a tree that was bent by the impact.
– What the…- he heard Carlos saying.
Enrique jumped back evading the attack of one of the wolves, but wasn't fast enough and he felt a cut in his chest. He felt the wolf that was waiting him behind and turned while punching. The wolf reacted and evaded the punch. Enrique used the momentum to roll and jump to create distance. But the other wolf had followed him and tried to bite him. Enrique knew it was impossible to evade and desperately place his arm which was bitten by the wolf.
– Have it if you wanted- said Enrique punching the mouth of the wolf with his rocky fist.
– Enrique!- the voice of Carlos rose and stood up to help but he was instantly shocked.
The wolf had lost a lot of teeth and his mouth was in a strange angle. However, Enrique had received the cuts from its claws and was now kneeling in pain. He looked at the remaining wolf with a fierce glare and it just escaped. When he made sure it had left the area, he finally collapsed and he saw Carlos coming to him.
– Bring Veronica- he said forcing himself to stand up and walk. We still have to find the others…
– They weren't here- said Carlos who looked at Enrique with fear- I hope they could escape.