Morning Star stared into his screen. He was now convinced that it was no longer a coincidence. He was able to predict the last 5 events of the game with 100% accuracy… His powers had eclipsed the console’s software and hence, the game was no longer able to surprise him. This was a disaster. He knew it would happen someday but he had not expected that it would happen so suddenly. Then again… the software had managed to give him one last surprise… the software itself was so random that he could not predict when his powers would grow beyond it… and hence, the moment his powers outgrew it, he was surprised… but that was all. Now he was stuck. His life had lost all meaning and purpose. There was nothing else to do… except…
He walked up to the roof of the house… and stood at the edge… Surely it would be interesting to see what would happen if he fell from this height… at least, that was the only thing he could think of at the moment that could surprise him. “What are you doing standing over there?” Pony’s voice came from behind him. He almost fell off. He hadn’t even noticed her creeping up behind him. He could not calculate how she got there. He could not calculate what she was going to do next. He could not predict anything… this was why he hated Pony… his Chance powers never worked on her. And then it hit him. It hit him so hard he wondered why it had never hit him before. Pony. She was the answer. He didn’t need a console. He didn’t need a special software. He didn’t need a game. All he needed was her. How could he have been blind to all of this? But he did not know the answer to that question and he loved it. He loved everything about this situation. He almost smiled.
“Nothing… but even if I explained, an idiot like you wouldn’t be able to understand.” He retorted and walked towards the stairs leading back into his room. Pony gave him a confused look and followed him. “Why are you following me?” he said when he turned around and noticed her climbing down the stairs. He had to turn around to know that she was following him. “You aren’t playing that game anymore…” she said with fake concern, “Are you feeling alright? Should I call a doctor?” He raised his eyebrows… and then… He laughed. His first laugh in God knows how long. This was the first time she had seen him laugh. They were both confused. They felt what that immortal being felt when he was first pulled out of his infinite universe and taken into a world of light, sound, hope and death. “My powers…” she started, “I don’t have any… I’m a failure… after all these days I spent working on those simulators… my teacher told me that I have no powers. He said I’m useless… and that there was no way I was related to you or Eve,” He would have normally blocked out her words with the sounds of his game but today nothing stood in his way. He saw and heard clearly. He could hear her sob. He could see the tears swelling up in her eyes. “Your teacher is an idiot.” He said without thinking, “I think all the teachers in that school are idiots…” He put his hand on her shoulder without knowing what he was doing. “If he can’t see such a simple fact… you are the elder sister of Morning Star. The younger sister of Evening Star. The second daughter of Kelly Star. You are Pony Star. Perhaps we should buy him a pair of contact lenses to help with his vision problems? I know a few good shop-” he was interrupted by his sister’s embrace. She was crying. “Did I say something wrong?” he asked indifferently. “No… No… you’ve never… said anything wrong…” she replied between sobs.
“Oh, you two finally got together? It was about time too…” their mother’s impish voice cut through the moment. Pony immediately pushed Morning away like one drops a hot coal. “Oww! What’s wrong with you?” “Mom! How long were you?! I wasn’t! I mean! I hate him! He called me an idiot! I was trying to choke the air of him with a bear hug!” she said, clearly soaking in embarrassment. “I’ve been here long enough.” Kelly said with a naughty smile, “And I want you to know that it doesn’t matter to me. It’s not as if people need powers anyway… a majority of the people in the universe are powerless… they turn out okay…” Morning turned away. Had his mother noticed that he wasn’t playing on his console already? “Oh and you there.” Kelly said pointing at Morning, “If you’re gonna ask your sister to play with you, at least ask like you mean it. ‘Why are you following me?’ does not translate to ‘Will you play with me?’ in any language of the universe.” Morning cursed his luck in his head. Of course she had noticed. She was his mother. How could she NOT notice? “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He said without turning around. “Of course not.” Kelly giggled and said, “Okay, I’ll be gone for the next few hours. I know it’s the middle of the night but some important work came up and I have to investigate. Do what you want. Just don’t wake Eve. You know she gets cranky if her sleep is disturbed.” So saying, Kelly walked away.
“So… why were YOU up on the roof?” Morning asked. “I… It was nothing…” Pony replied as she recalled the bitterness and humiliation of the moment when her teacher had broken the news to her in front of the whole class. Morning stared at his console. “What do you play on that all the time?” Pony crawled closer to get a look at the screen. It was empty. “You’re not playing anymore… what happened?” she asked, this time with a hint of actual concern. “The game stopped being interesting. My powers… never mind. It’s not like you would understand anyway.” “Is that so?! Okay! Then I’ll be going to my room to get some sleep!” She got up and started to leave.
She turned around.
“Do you want to play it?”
“The game. Do you want to play it?”
“Well… if you’re asking so nicely… I guess I’ll see what it’s about.”
She walked back and took the console. Suddenly, both of them stopped. “That noise…” Morning whispered. “I heard it too… it came from Eve’s room.” Pony replied in a whisper. Both of them nodded at each other and took careful steps towards Evening’s room. The door was shut but it moved a little so it wasn’t locked. That was strange because she usually slept with her door open. And sure enough, there was that noise again. Morning signalled that they would go in at the count of three. He held up three fingers. Three… Then he dropped one. Two… One… The two of them pushed the door open silently and what they saw almost sent their hearts into their mouths.
A somewhat tall, blonde boy was holding up an unconscious Eve by her neck and pressing her against the wall while repeatedly punching her in the face. He did not notice them as he had his back towards them. “LET GO OF HER!” Pony shouted. Morning rolled his eyes. In her burst of emotion, his sister had given away their position to this mysterious assailant who was strong enough to beat up Eve. “This is the kind of girl who would die first in a horror movie,” he thought to himself. “Oh good… looks like the other two are here as well…” the boy grinned and threw Eve to the ground. Pony ran towards Eve to help her up. Morning did not bother stopping her. He was too busy calculating the best course of action… the best way to deal with this such that the three of them could escape with their lives while also hopefully dealing some damage to their enemy. “There’s a 26.87% chance that you are Chris Helios.” Morning said with an almost unnerving calm voice and expression. The boy did not show any signs of surprise or fear.
“How did you recognize me? You’ve never seen me in this form.”
“The first time I saw you, I calculated that there was a 76.54% chance that your power was shape-shifting and that there was a 56.53% chance that you were dangerous. But I generally do not tell my predictions out loud because most people prefer to not know certain things…”
“Oh…? You think you’re clever with your little calculations? You may know what’s going to happen next… but just knowing is useless if you can’t do anything about it!”
Chris rushed at Morning who just stood there. Pony tried to react but she was paralysed by fear. Eve was the strongest among them and this guy had just beaten her up like it was nothing… there was no way she could do anything to save anyone in that room… so she just sat and watched as Chris rushed towards Morning. Suddenly, a giant rock crashed through the roof, fell on Chris and smashed him to the ground. Pony did not know what to make of that. It was probably the most random thing to ever happen. Morning walked over to Chris.
“Feeling a little stuck down there?”
“Shut up! You brat! When I get out from here, I-”
“Don’t bother… That rock may be the same size as you but it’s a hundred times denser… you’ll never get out unless someone takes away the rock.”
“You are so lucky it crashed down on me like this… otherwise, both you and your sisters would have been dead in a few minutes.”
“Lucky? Luck had nothing to do with it… seriously… all you fools bore me…”
“What are you blabbering about?!”
“That rock crashed down because I ordered it to crash down.”
“WHAT?! THAT’S NONSENSE! THERE’S NO WAY A KID LIKE YOU COULD BRING DOWN A METEOR OUT OF NOWHERE!!!”
“What do you think my power is? Chance… Stage 1: I calculate the probability of an event occurring. Stage 2: I can change the probability of an event occurring… of course, if I cannot calculate its probability in the first place, I cannot change it. For example, I had calculated that the probability of a meteor of this exact size and mass crashing down at this exact spot at this exact time was around 10 raised to minus 20,000. Wait, forget that. It’s probably too complicated for you to understand. All you need to know is, as long as the probability isn’t 0 or 100, I can change it to anything I want… like, right now, I had changed it from 10^(-20000) to 99.99%. Of course, I generally don’t use Stage 2 of my powers because it really screws me up after some time… but for now… let me just say that the probability of that meteor killing you… I have changed that to exactly 50%. It’s a fair coin toss… let’s see if you live or die… Once every few minutes, the radiation from the meteor will change its frequency… my sisters are immune to radiation… as am I… but shapeshifters don’t do so well under radiation… so once every few minutes… there’s a 50% chance you could die under that rock.”
“Man, you are one messed up kid… what kind of monster are you…? Playing with someone else’s life like this?”
“YOU don’t get to complain about whatever I chose to do with your life… because the moment you laid your hand on my sister… your life was already forfeited… Pony… I’m going to pass out in 5 seconds… don’t panic when that happens. It’s a side-effect of using Stage 2. Just wait till mom gets ba-”
He fell down before he could complete the sentence. Eve was still unconscious. She had lost a lot of blood from the beating and it would be some time before their mother returned. So Pony took care of washing her wounds and closing them up with some bandages. “The window was opened from the inside.” Morning thought in his unconscious state, “Which means Eve let him in. She knew he was coming… so he gained her trust first and then used it to enter our home… a Shapeshifter is actually one of the lowest powers… there’s no way he could have beaten a Vector unless she was caught completely off guard and he was using some kind of strength enhancer… strength enhancers are extremely costly and illegal… there’s no way anyone would go through that much trouble… this isn’t just your run of the mill violence… someone with a deep connection with our family is behind this… but mom never tells us anything… and it’s almost too convenient that she happened to be away exactly on the day he decided to come home… unless… he has been coming to our home all these nights and he got an opportunity to attack tonight because mom wasn’t here… or maybe mom went out on purpose… but why would she endanger our lives…? Unless there was no danger to our lives… someone or something else has been placed here to ensure our safety? Interesting… a puzzle… a puzzle that is twisted enough to intrigue me… of course, I’m unconscious right now, so there’s nothing much I can do about it… I just have to wait for the sun to rise… and for mom to return…”