The strongest man in the world, Walter Schmidt, is a person whose aura could terrify demons away, if they still existed. However, to normal humans without the ability to sense aura, he looks like a just a normal human being, unless he tries to purposefully show his aura.
And as of right now, he is not trying. He is just casually relaxing on the bench of a public park after having completed his routinely meditation.
“Are you alone?”
A woman, wearing a tracksuit quite common for jogging and exercising, stops by to ask.
Walter: “Yes, I am alone. Is that an inconvenience in any way?”
Woman: “No, no, not at all.”
With a smile, she says that and sits down next to him on the bench. Walter pays little attention to her but she returns the favor ten-fold.
Woman: “So, I was wondering – I have never seen you around here before.”
Walter: “Yes, I am a wandering spirit. I never appear in one public park more than once.”
Although Walter himself considers that joke pretty lame as soon as he says it, the woman starts laughing like it’s the funniest thing she has ever heard.
‘Is she hitting on me?’
The question arises within his mind. And everything that happens from there on out seems to indicate a ‘yes’.
Woman: “So, what’s your name? I am Angela by the way, Angela Holystone.”
With a little bit of hesitation, Walter answers the smiling woman.
Walter: “I am Walter Schmidt.”
She cheers up even more as she hears that name and asks,
Angela: “Where do you live?”
Since he couldn’t really answer with ‘The Ghost Nation’, or maybe he could – as a joke, but in all seriousness, he had to come up with something else. To not break the flow of the conversation though, he gives the answer he always gives to those asking this question.
Walter: “In Germany, my home country. I am visiting this country for a month or so.”
One could tell from his name that he was German and so he had used that lie many a times. However, this time it backfired.
Angela: “I am sure I remember seeing you two months ago too somewhere though. Were you also visiting then?”
She says with a mischievous smile as if to indicate that she has caught him red-handed but is willing to overlook it if the other party plays their cards right.
However, didn’t she say just earlier that she had never seen him before? Or, did she say that she said never seen him ‘around here’ before?
Walter: “Well, that shouldn’t really count, as I am a psychic capable of teleporting from one end of the Earth to another in a matter of seconds. Back then, I had just come here for some business.”
He says the truth with a straight face but obviously the woman sitting next to him just laughs again, thinking it’s a joke.
Angela: “And what kind of business was that?”
Walter: “The vampires were making trouble so I was asked to wipe out a little base they had set up near here.”
It had taken him a whole hour to kill the half thousand of them. Quite a crafty bunch they were. But in any case,
Woman: “Oh? And how did it go?”
The woman asks, believing herself to be playing along with a joke.
Walter: “Well, it went well. Other than those bloodsuckers shouting out threats like ‘our strategist will kick your butt’ or something like that, no major problems happened. I am kinda interested in meeting their strategist though. He seems like an interesting guy.”
Angela laughs yet again.
Walter wonders to himself how he could use truth to become a real playboy if these are the general results of telling women about vampires and psychics.
Angela: “Well, that’s all well and good.”
She says as she closes in on him.
Angela: “But let’s get a bit more serious.”
Seeing her closing in, Walter uses Aura Reading to see if this all is a part of some elaborate prank by a bunch of mischievous women or if it’s actually a ploy, albeit a very generic one, by someone to get to him by making him drop his guard. Nothing and no one suspicious like that could be picked up in the vicinity of a thousand kilometers though.
Walter: “Alright, let’s get a bit more serious.”
He says as he turns to the woman.
Walter: “Let’s stop trying to pretend that you are interested in me and get to why you are really here.”
Despite there being nothing suspicious in the vicinity though, when using Aura Reading, Walter inadvertently read the aura around her. And it seems like, deep inside, this woman named Angela is trying her best to suppress her murderous impulses towards him.
She says with a sly smile.
Angela: “Let’s do that.”
And without giving him a chance, she brings her hand to his cheek and rubs it against his skin once. Or so, she thinks.
She does end up being able to touch his cheek but it’s not that she was too fast for Walter to stop her. He could have taken a tour of half of the world by the time her hands reached his, but he chose to let her go through with whatever she was trying to do – to see what she is planning and why.
As soon as her hand parts from his skin, Walter feels dizzy and his vision gets blurry.
He says in a plain voice though,
Walter: “That’s a useful ability you have got there, Angela.”
And he passes out.
Angels leans back on the bench and wipes off her hands disgustedly, and smirks.
Angela: “But of course, you overpowered asshole!”
When he opens his eyes, the strongest man in the world finds himself in a rather comfy-looking apartment, tied in a rather not-comfy-looking chair.
Walter: “Well, this is new. Or maybe not, who knows?”
Hearing his voice, a particular woman walks out of her bedroom and looks at him with a condescending smile.
Angela: “And here I thought you’d never wake up. Seriously, taking that long to wake up just from a single stroke of my hand on your cheek, you are so lame.”
Walter: “Oh, do pardon me. Maybe you are just that great of a psychic.”
Of course Walter could wake up at any time he wants.
That stroke of her hand couldn’t keep him down for more than a minute. After that, it would have been his choice whether to wake up or not. However, he chose to use that rare opportunity to rest and dream more and hence, he had not woken up.
Angela: “But of course I am. I do wonder though, how did you know what I used was a psychic ability?”
She bends over and looks him directly in the eye. The distance between them is nothing more than a fourth of a meter, as if to demean Walter saying he doesn’t even pose enough of a threat for her to maintain her distance.
Walter: “Well, for starters,”
He uses that opportunity however to –
Return the favor from earlier. This touching of her cheek with his hand, however, doesn’t last more than a split second and is nothing more than a peck at best. Walter purposefully immediately pulls away, and Angela finds herself getting dizzy.
Walter: “THAT is how I know it is a psychic ability.”
This man had known this ability for over a decade know. Although he has rarely needed to use it, he is still the best at it in the world. He doesn’t even need physical contact in fact; he can make a person fall unconscious from just a wink. That’s just how ridiculously broken this man is. Yet, he decided to go to the trouble of touching – as a payback for earlier.
And as a result, the woman with a smirk on her face earlier finds herself falling to the ground as her consciousness rapidly drifts away.
Walter, with a carefree attitude, breaks the ropes tying his three still-tied-up limbs and stands up, only to stretch a little and looks at the woman lying unconscious on the ground.
Walter: “Hah! Now who exactly could this woman be?”
He questions himself.
While yes, nowhere near his power level, this woman still seems to be quite skilled of a psychic to have been able to hide her supernatural aura from Walter when they met at the park earlier. Even when he used Aura Reading, he could only find out that this woman had murderous impulses being suppressed inside her. He couldn’t dig deep enough into her aura that she was a psychic.
He has to wonder at this point – who could this woman possibly be?
And so, he sighs.
After half an hour or so, Angela’s eyes open.
But unlike the earlier case with Walter, she finds herself comfortably seated on a sofa chair with an empty glass and a jug filled with water kept in front of her along with some cookies.
Seeing all that, she curses under her breath as she realizes that the reason for all this is that Walter Schmidt doesn’t even consider her enough of a threat to tie her up.
This is how you truly demean someone.
Walter: “I see you are awake.”
He says with a smile as he comes out of the same bedroom she had earlier.
Walter: “I have to say, you are kinda early. I was expecting you to be out for half an hour more.”
She clicks her tongue, again realizing how his words, which are the exact opposite of hers from earlier, are far more condescending and hurtful to her pride than her words were.
Angela: “So, what are you gonna do to me?”
Walter: “Don’t make me sound like a felon here.”
He says with a dejected tone.
Walter: “I only want to know who you really are, why you did what you did and stuff like that.”
Angela sighs as she hears so. Of course that’s not all Walter Schmidt would want from her. If that was all, he would have peaked into her brain using his psychic abilities, found out all the answers and went away.
But still, Angela decides to be cooperative and tell him the answers to his questions.
Angela: “I am a Volcano in Vermillion and Angela Holystone IS my real name. As you should be able to tell, I am bit above the level of most Volcanoes. In fact, the Phoenix once said that I’m like a Demi-Hellfire, whatever that would mean.”
Walter nods with a smile.
Walter: “Yeah, you are definitely above the level of Volcanoes. Still, you are not as powerful as Hellfires. I guess that sort of cringe-worthy term does suit you, Mrs. Demi-Hellfire.”
Angela: “Don’t you dare think you are completely safe just because you are more powerful. Irritate me again and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life!”
In an annoyed voice that she has had ever since waking up, she tells Walter so as she glares daggers at him.
He remarks while lightly laughing and motions her to continue. She clicks her tongue but does continue.
Angela: “The reason I decided to do that was to show the Phoenix that I should replace one of the two Hellfires who have died recently and become a new Hellfire.”
As he hears that, Walter is unable to control his laughter anymore.
Walter: “And going after me was the best plan you had!? I mean, you could have picked one of the remaining Hellfires and did this to them. Who knows? It might have actually worked!”
Angela: “And how do you think they would take the fact that aside from that guy named Abgere, there is someone else trying to harm a Hellfire, and for a reason like this.”
She looks at him as if it’s the most obvious point in the world but he looks back if it doesn’t make sense. But then, as if he just got what it meant,
Walter: “Oh, I see how you thought going after me was better. I guess you guys do not know it after all, do you?”
Angela: “Know what?”
She asks in an irritated tone.
Walter: “Well, name all the Hellfires for me, will you?”
Despite not understanding the purpose of it, Angela sighs and decides to play along.
Angela: “Gin Hanks, Julius Rome – those two are dead.”
Walter nods and urges her to continue.
Angela: “Halogen Dietrich, Vaika Smith, Gabriel Washington, and Akio Miyamoto – those four are in hiding and managing all the underground workings of Vermillion.”
Walter nods yet again and urges her yet again as well.
Angela: “Laurie Brown, Chang Lu, and Ross Green – those three are managing the entire surface working of the Vermillion.”
Walter: “Yes, yes,”
He nods as he asks,
Walter: “And the tenth one?”
Angela: “Nobody except the Phoenix and these Hellfires know who that is.”
On hearing that, Walter smiles. As he does so, a possibility occurs in her mind, making her eyes go wide, but she immediately dismisses it.
‘There’s no way that could be true, right?’ She asks herself.
Seeing her reaction though, Walter smiles even more.
Angela: “W-what the hell are you smiling for?”
Walter: “Nothing, just give me a moment.”
He says as he dials a number on his cell phone and puts it to his ear. She can practically hear the loud ringing noise coming from the phone and so, when the person being called picks up, she is able to hear their voice too – and it is a voice she has heard seldom but can never forget who it belongs to.
Rosevelt: “What is it, Walter?”
The man on the other end of the line asks as if he’s busy and doesn’t have much time to talk with the person calling.
Walter: “Seems like you are busy.”
Rosevelt: “Yes, I am. So, if there’s nothing important you have to talk about, call me later.”
In complete contrast to Walter’s carefree tone, the Phoenix speaks in a no-bullshit tone.
Walter: “Wait, wait, wait!”
Walter stops him as he almost seems to be about to cut the call. Because of that though, Walter cuts to the chase.
Walter: “Two of the Hellfires are dead, right? You think we should replace them?”
He asks a bit nervously, as if worrying he’ll say no.
Rosevelt: “If a suitable candidate appears, I don’t see why not.”
However, the Phoenix has always been more than willing to replace Hellfires even if they don’t die. All he needs is someone who is suited for the job.
Walter: “In that case, I think I have found someone to replace one of them.”
Walter: “Hey, it’s someone I think would be suitable for it. Don’t you trust me!?”
With his best voice, Walter Schmidt asks so. And the Phoenix – is not affected by it at all.
Rosevelt: “It’s not about trust. Hellfires are supposed to be the most elite of psychics. Even if it’s you giving the guarantee, I can’t just blindly give that position to that person without seeing their skills first.”
Hearing so, Walter sighs and leans back on the couch as he says,
Walter: “Alright, I guess I’ll bring her to you as soon as I can.”
Rosevelt: “Good! Now if that’s all,”
Walter: “Yeah, that’s all.”
Hearing so, Rosevelt ends the call.
Angela is left utterly baffled at that exchange and only looks at Walter with astonished eyes.
Walter: “What, you still haven’t figured it out?”
Angela: “You … you are the tenth hellfire?”
The possibility she had denied earlier seems to have come true, and she cannot comprehend how.
Angela: “B-but why?”
Walter: “Why not?”
Angela: “I mean, I mean …”
While the question is clear inside her heard, it takes a moment of stopping and taking a long breath to finally be able to recover from her surprise and ask,
Angela: “You are stronger than the Phoenix, aren’t you? Why would you work under him then?”
Walter sighs and his gaze falls to nothingness as he says,
Walter: “It’s not about strength. Well, at least, not JUST about strength. I was never willing to be a leader of any sorts. Even as a kid, I never did the leading, despite being best at almost everything.”
He then stands up and looks Angela in the eye.
Walter: “So I just denied the position of the Phoenix when Rosevelt asked me to take it. And so, we are in this situation. Come to think of it, Mrs. Demi Hellfire, I am pretty sure Rosevelt once called me a Demi Phoenix. I guess I am a whole one level above you.”
While it made sense, Angela still finds herself troubled in wrapping her head around everything. And so, Walter asks her,
Walter: “You don’t need to think so much. The deal is this – you become an ally of mine – and I will make sure Rosevelt sees your potential as a Hellfire.”
A moment of silence follows. She contemplates on his deal in this moment.
Many, many things come to her mind. Many, many ways this could go wrong. Many, many possibilities in which she regrets agreeing to his deal. And yet, this slim, 5’7 tall, ivory white, copper-haired woman with a round face and close-set crimson eyes says,
Angela: “Consider yourself lucky to have me!”
-as she shakes the hand Walter Schmidt asks to be shook.