8 Chapter Eigh
(Correlated with the manhua's chapter 8)
Floating aimlessly in the familiar void, Mo Fan's mental projection spent a few seconds taking deep breaths, forcing himself to relax, before stretching a hand out in front of him and pointing at his lightning element star cluster.
Not even a second slow, a star within the cluster which was previously randomly dashing about looked as though it were suddenly grasped by an invisible hand as it quickly took its place as the first star in the star path.
This time, two stars previously in chaotic motion, one after the other, immediately came to a halt before finding their places in the star path.
Mo Fan remembered well the first times he attempted to build his star path and how the fourth star remained unrestrainable. But, of course, that was some time ago. Now, Mo Fan controlled the fourth star as easily as he did the first!
Two more stars rapidly fell into place.
At the last star, Mo Fan finally felt some difficulty in his task. The seventh star acted as the fourth star had when he first began training in the second step of awakening his magic; it took an immense amount of pressure for the star to be moved, but he could do it. The seventh star shakily made its way to the end of the lightning element star cluster star path.
*"So close! Just stay calm! Let me finish this!"*
Then, as though a bucking bronco, the seventh star wrenched itself from his tired grasp and escaped to freedom, ruining Mo Fan's progress on its way.
"Ugghhhhh! Damn! I got stuck on the last star again!"
Mo Fan exited his soul realm and rose from his sitting position, too tired to bother attempting to align his stars once more.
"Hmm…Xinxia's classes should have ended by now."
Mo Fan straightened his clothing, making himself presentable, and began his walk to Xinxia's school.
"I originally wanted to surprise her with my lightning magic, though, I still need more practice."
Nearing Xinxia's school and the park which sat across it, Mo Fan expected to see Xinxia waiting at the park entrance. When he didn't see her, he questioned his senses. Had he misjudged the time?
"There are students exiting the building, though…"
Absolutely sure that the middle school's classes already ended for the day, Mo Fan began walking into Zhongshan Park, a bad premonition bubbling in his gut.
"She could still be in the school, and I could wait for her, but she'd be safe there. If she's not…"
At first, Mo Fan's steps remained casual, the same way he'd first arrived. Yet, after a minute of walking and no sign of Xinxia, his pace quickened, turning into a jog. After another minute, and the sick feeling in his stomach getting worse, Mo Fan's stride transformed into a full sprint and he abandoned his manners as he called out his little cousin's name at full volume, hoping to hear his name in response.
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For a while, nothing. He saw no one on the concrete path, heard nothing from the surrounding trees. The park was strangely quiet.
Then, Mo Fan came across a small park with a set of swings and a slide, a place children would normally congregate to play. Not that day. Instead of the usual sight of little kids playing tag or pretending to cast spells, Mo Fan saw a group of men of varying sizes and clothing standing around, either smoking or chatting with each other. Though, those were details Mo Fan hardly registered, because some of the men in the group surrounded a young girl in a wheelchair, laughing as they watched her quake with fear.
Noticing the approach of a high school student calling out a feminine name, the men surrounding Xinxia turned toward him, displaying cruel smiles.
"Oh? Do you know our little friend here?" The closest of the men, who gave Mo Fan the impression of a rat, asked.
No words. Mo Fan was now close enough to see little bits of light glistening from streams of tears on her face and the rage within him was fully unbound as he allowed it to consume his mind.
"What do ya want, punk? We're just having a nice chat with this litt-"
The thug's sentence was cut off when Mo Fan removed his school bag from around his shoulder and threw it at his face.
Temporarily distracted, he stood no chance of efficiently blocking the kick Mo Fan sent to his face.
"Fourth Brother!" One of the other men cried out. Mo Fan's actions had gathered the complete attention of all the men in the park, but only the few surrounding Xinxia thought to teach the youngster a lesson.
Mo Fan ducked under a punch and sidestepped a second fist, shooting a kick toward the groin of the first man to punch. The thug's knee easily blocked the lousy kick, but with his attention on protecting his groin, the man failed to defend against the punch to his throat.
The man collapsed beside his fourth brother, disoriented and clutching his throat. If Mo Fan were only fighting those two, he would have taken the opportunity to break a few ribs, but unfortunately for him, a solid blow struck his side, causing him to nearly keel over. Yet, Mo Fan ignored the pain and struggled to move backward, managing to get by with only a scrape by the shoe which almost hit his leg.
"Punk! You'll get what's coming to you for not knowing your place!" The large thug who punched and nearly kicked Mo Fan stood before him, cracking his knuckles for intimidation.
"Ha ha! What a stupid kid! Pretty soon you'll be needing one of these, too!" The fourth thug of the group which surrounded Xinxia spoke from next to the girl, one hand on his hip and the other on Xinxia's wheelchair. "We thought we were gonna bored waiting in this park for all our brothers to arrive, but we spotted such an innocent flower waiting at the park's entrance, probably for you, now that I think about it. Perfect entertainment."
Mo Fan cared not for their words and only had enough mental capacity for one thought: protect Xinxia. Without hesitation, Mo Fan crouched down and grabbed a handful of sand from the ground before tossing it at the large man's face.
Regrettably, the thug held a thick arm to his face in time to prevent any sand from entering his eyes, but Mo Fan still attacked, sweeping his leg through the air toward the thug. The strike connected, but the thug was large, too large to destabilize his balance.
The large man swooped forward as Mo Fan retreated, but still managed to grab his shirt. While Mo Fan panicked, struggling to determine any way to escape the thug's grasp, a fist made its way to his face, jerking his head to the right.
"You're unlucky that was my nondominant hand. Now you'll be conscious when I break some of your bones."
*"Gah! I can't escape this bastard's clutch! Only one hope left..."*
Without hesitating a second longer, Mo Fan banked on the last weapon he had in his arsenal.
Within his soul realm, Mo Fan's fury and desperation fueled his will as he rapidly forced star after star into place, forming the star path.
Wobbling, the seventh star traveled its course toward the end of the star path, doing its best to struggle against Mo Fan's domineering will.
"YOU WILL SUBMIT!"
Mo Fan's mental projection roared so ferociously that his soul realm seemed to shake under the pressure of his mind, causing the seventh star to end its struggle and complete the star path.
"This punk's body went limp. What the hell?"
In the physical world, Mo Fan did not have control over his body while he formed his star path, leaving the large thug confused, but doing nothing to quell his anger.
"Well, doesn't matter. You're not leaving here without a few broken bones."
Suddenly, Mo Fan's eyes flipped open, staring directly into the thug's own eyes. Before the thug could question why he felt a shiver down his spine, a single word escaped Mo Fan's lips.