A story by Paige Garcia, 6i | poster here 18 Dec 2020
~ Chapter 1 ~
There were bright lights everywhere, and happy faces in Central Square. People in masks danced to an exciting beat, and costumes of every shade and color did acrobatics on a large circular stage. There's a cool breeze that passed through, and it gave everyone a carefree feeling. I stood on an old bakery's rooftop, and it surprisingly gave a good view of the whole square. Luckily, I wasn't sent to be on the square. I didn't fit in of course; I was 5 foot 9, I towered over girls my age, and I had sky blue eyes and raven-black hair. I would have stuck out like a sore thumb. When I went to school, the other kids made fun of me, calling me "Frankenstein" just because I was tall, and I had "mismatched" body parts. Only my best friend didn't care what I looked like. He always cheered me up. We discovered our powers together, and then he disappeared. I was left alone to face the bullies. I didn't see it as betrayal, because why would he run away? He was kidnapped, I told myself. I spent years looking for him, and I never found him. I gave up after 2 years, then I joined the Rebels. Then a voice spoke in my ear.
"Illusionweaver, are you in position? Over." it said. Then I remembered what I was here for. I was here to help sabotage the celebration for the Rebels.
I was assigned by the leader himself, Inferno, to cause "A distraction so confusing they won't even realize the Rebels entering their headquarters!" Of course, that also meant it was more confusing for me, but practice makes perfect right? Brought back to reality because of the voice inside my ear, that said "Yo! I said, are you in position? Over.", I pulled myself together and replied,
"Yes, I am in position. You can see me from your angle, Jay. Over."
"Remember, boss told us to use our code names, Illusionweaver. Anyway, about my angle...I may or may not have tripped and fallen and twisted my ankle? Over."
"I know you're smart enough to figure out that I can't leave my spot until I see the signal, Mime." I said in a low voice as I bit my lip in indecision. Should I go over there and help him? No, Inferno said not to leave my position. "Over."
"I should get back to my post or-" I cut him off.
"You haven't gotten back to your post yet? The signal could be given any minute now! Over."
"Sheesh! I didn't say over yet and I have a twisted ankle! Anyway, I'll switch this off for the meantime while I get there. So, see you later. Over."
I didn't bother replying; he already turned off his earpiece. Suddenly, a bright light briefly blinded me. Odd, the signal shouldn't have blinded me, it should have just grabbed my attention. I pushed that thought aside and mustered my strength. There's an unexpected hurricane that passes through, and there's electricity hazards, so the lights turn off. It's all an illusion. My illusion. They're still on and there's no hurricane. Imaginary people tell everyone to go seek shelter inside the nearest building. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot someone who was making their way toward the eye of the storm. I accessed the team communications and said,
"Is he one of ours?"
I shrugged off the weird feeling that there's something wrong, and tried to pry open the stranger's mind, but it was bolted shut. Then, a thought struck me. If his mind is closed to me, that means he can't see the illusion. The bigger problem is, our boss, Inferno, is inside the eye of the storm, and this mysterious figure was making his way toward him. I dash down the stairs leading to the square, and I get there just in time to see Inferno get shot in the guts, his hands bound behind his back. I run at a speed that I never knew I could run at, but hands held me back. One of the persons holding me back whispered tauntingly, "It's better if you leave your boss. Only the technology at the Hero Society can heal that."
I barely paid attention to the speaker; my prime objective was to save him. Then a question popped up in my head: Why wasn't he using his powers? I filed the thought away for later. His life is more important to the Rebels than mine, and I'd sacrifice myself in a heartbeat for the Rebels. I started to whip illusions at the people in my way. I'm made of fire; don't touch me. Both let me go at the same time, one of them let out a shriek. Multiple people looked toward me and saw that I was free. They started to run here, some faster than others. There's a large crack in the ground, too long to walk around. They stopped abruptly, but some of them got wooden planks and made a bridge to go over the crack. The planks are weak, step on them and they'll break. Some of them were already on the planks, and even though it was an illusion, they fainted. Maybe even some had a heart attack. This is the life of a Rebel, I thought, as I saw one of my pursuers stumbling. I turned around quickly so my back was facing him, and I heard a fatal crack from behind me. Then a sharp pain struck me in my head.
I fell on my knees, my brain straining to push myself up, to go and save Inferno. But my mind was just too worn out, with having maintained three complex illusions all at once, and the still-ravaging tornado. I let go of all of them. I saw Jay, limping toward me, in a different form. I knew it was him because of his eyes. I saw innocent people flooding out of the buildings to see that the tornado was gone, leaving no trail of destruction. I saw Inferno talking to one of his captors, as if bargaining. I heard him say, "If you leave those two..." He jutted his chin towards me and Jay, who was lying on the floor, exhausted and spent. "...I will willingly go with you. No struggles, no attempted fights. Do we have a deal?" Everything went black before I heard the answer.
~ Chapter 2 ~
I woke up to the sweet smell of strawberries. I opened my eyes and see I was lying in a luxurious bed, with a serving tray that had a lukewarm cup of tea and a few sugarcoated pastries, all with a strawberry on top. There was a fork wrapped in a clean cloth. I grabbed one of the strawberry pastries and wolfed it down. It reminded me of a day before I joined the Rebels, before my younger brother was taken from me. We were both lying in a soft bed in a fancy hotel, not knowing that we were using up the last of our money that we inherited, as we didn't know how the world worked yet. We were both hiding under the blanket, giggling and snacking on pastries. I looked at my clothes, and I saw rips and tears in them. Then it all came crashing back.
Inferno. Captured. Jay. Fire. Tornado. Signal. Deal. My mind was a jumble of words. I tried making sense of it, and everything became clearer. Our boss is now captured by the Hero Society, because the plan went wrong. Why couldn't Inferno use his powers? And why did something seem wrong about the signal? I panicked, as I remembered the bargain he said before I passed out. Did his bargain go through? If not, am I in the Hero Society's base? Am I now a prisoner? Then, someone knocked on the door.
I quietly slipped the fork out of the cloth on the tray, got out of the extremely soft bed, and crept toward the door. The stranger kept knocking, louder and harder. I stood behind the door, and wondered, if I'm a prisoner, wouldn't they have the key to the door? Then, the knocking stopped. I inched closer to the door and pressed my ear on it. I could hear the stranger's shallow breathing, as if knocking was a workout for him. So, the guy's still there, I mused. Then I heard the stranger mumble, "I guess she's not awake." As he was walking away, I slowly opened the door a crack and peeked through. He turned around, and his emerald green eyes met mine. He had platinum-blond hair, and he smiled crookedly. I was barely his height; he was taller than me by an inch. He looked so familiar, and I was uncertain if I could trust him or not. "You don't remember me?" he asked, with a sad expression on his face. I racked my brain for his face, for any familiar features, and after a minute or so, I said "No, I don-" Realization dawned upon me, so I cut myself off, dropped my fork, and tackled him.
"Always be unexpected. Then you'll have the element of surprise!" was my best friend's motto. And the guy I was tackling with a hug was my best friend. "So, you do remember!" he said with cheer. "Of course! I remember you, Mr. Xander Greene, or Reaper!" I laughed.
"Now, where have you been?" I sat on the floor, eyes pleading for answers.
"I have time! C'mon, tell me!"
"Maybe later." He stood up and offered me his hand, which I took. I hauled myself up and asked "What are you doing here. At least answer this question!"
"I came to see you one last..." He trailed off. Then he shook his head and said, in a clearer tone, "I came to help you. I'm sorry for disappearing before."
I was very confused when he said "I came to see you one last..." something. I pushed the thought away and replied, "Okay. I'm glad you came back. Now let's go tell the others that you're here!" He looked at me with guilt when I said that. "I uh...may have...broke in?" he stuttered.
"I'll sort it out. At least we have you now! The more the merrier right?" While I said that, I couldn't help feeling that there was something amiss when he smiled at me in agreement.
~ Chapter 3 ~
I knocked on Sable's door, and I could hear her sneaking around inside. One of the perks of being resurrected, super-hearing. So now you may be wondering, resurrected?! Yes, I was sent to the Underworld for a crime, I and got out alive, which doesn't happen, but I did it. I got to the Underworld because I broke the 3 Laws of Death, which is:
1. A new soul in the Underworld must stay for ten years minimum to be able to be resurrected again. Faking your soul age is illegal.
2. For a soul to be resurrected, they must be ten years or older. If resurrected and underage, the person doing the resurrecting will be a criminal.
3. If anyone were to break Rule 1 and Rule 2, they will be sent to the Underworld for Trial by Cerberus.
But because of my superpower, which is necromancy and resurrection, I thought I could bend the rules. I couldn't, and I ended up breaking Rule 2. My parents recently died in a car crash, and I didn't think straight, so I resurrected them. More like tried to. Cerberus appeared out of a massive hole he tore in the ground, connecting to the Underworld. I was chased by Cerberus around the crash, until he grabbed me in one of his slimy mouths and brought me to the Underworld. I was in his mouth for a long time, and it was a terrible, horrible experience. He dropped me in front of Queen Hecate and sat down behind me. All slimy with saliva, I tried my best to bow in my condition, but it just made me slip and fall on my face. One of the most embarrassing experiences I've ever had.
Usually at this point, the rulebreaker would be passed to Cerberus, and it's up to him if he wants the rulebreaker to die or live. This is Trial by Cerberus. If one of Cerberus head's bites down on a soul, they get resurrected. If he doesn't, then you stay in the Underworld. Only one head will bite down at a time, so my chances weren't so good. I decided to make a deal. "Let me go back to the Overworld for one week, and after, my body will be the Underworld's." This guaranteed that I would stay in the Underworld, and so Queen Hecate accepted.
Back in reality, I continued knocking on her door, louder. I stopped, and I heard her lay her head on the door to listen better. I mumbled under my breath, just loud enough for her to hear, "I guess she's not awake." So, I walked away, with loud steps, intended for her. Then I heard the door open behind me. I only have 6 days left, I thought sadly as I turned around, met her eyes, and smiled.
~ Chapter 4 ~
I walked with Xander toward the planning room. Scratch that, it was more like I pulled him toward the planning room, as he was reluctant to meet everyone.
We got there, and everyone inside urgently spoke to each other. I entered the room, and all eyes were on me. Then they turned to Xander, and he did a little wave. Then there was an uncomfortable silence. I could tell everyone was assessing Xander, checking if it was really him. Then, everyone cheered. They started hugging Xander, patting him on the back, welcoming him. "I guess you were right!" he said cheekily as he was pulled away to be welcomed by the other Rebels.
~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~
Lyona Quinn, or The Mechanic, pulled me into a corner and bombarded me with questions. "How did you find him? Where has he been? What happened to Inferno? Tell me!" She shook me. Lyona was short for her age, but she was still intimidating. She had bright teal eyes and olive skin. Her hair was dyed the same color as her eyes. I told her the whole story, starting with the signal, then seeing the odd stranger whose mind I couldn't open, when Inferno got shot in the stomach, my illusion rampage, my collapsing, then seeing Inferno make a deal, waking up and finding Xander, or Reaper at my door, and telling her my thoughts during the whole thing. I didn't realize that everyone was listening before I already finished. Now I had to face their onslaught of questions. Where is Jay? He was there too, I thought to myself over the noise of everyone asking questions. Then one inquiry stood out.
"Who's going to lead us now?"
Everything went quiet. It was as if time froze. Then Lyona spoke behind me,
"I think Illusionweaver should."
Then my world went upside down. Me? I was no leader. "All in favor of making Illusionweaver temporary leader?" shouted Lyona. All hands went up. "Then it's settled!" cheered Lyona. Everyone started to chant my name. "Il-lu-sion-wea-ver! Il-lu-sion-wea-ver!" It was quiet at first, then it became louder, and louder, and louder. It didn't look like they were going to stop unless I agreed. So, I took the reins and became leader.
"All of you know me, either by Sable or by Illusionweaver." I look around at the faces surrounding me. "I'll be temporary leader before Inferno gets rescued. Until then, I will help plan, and I'll make the big decisions with your support. Thank you everyone! Now let's get to planning!"
Me, Lyona and Xander went to a private meeting room. We spread out a map of the Facility for Supernatural Entities, which is where Inferno is being kept, in solitary. The map is from Jay, whose brother is part of the Hero Society. Then I asked, "Where's Jay?"
"He's inside the Hero Society, getting information." replied Lyona.
"Who's Jay?" Xander questioned.
"Jay Miller's our newest recruit. His brother, Jax Miller, is part of the Hero Society. His superpower is mimicry. He can mimic voices, looks, or separate body parts. The only way you can tell it's him is with his eyes. His left eye is white, and his right one is red. But he can always wear colored contact lenses." I briefly explained.
"Wow. It seems the Rebel's numbers grew since I was gone." he said, astonished.
"Yes, they did. Now, Lyona, you sneak in through the vents with me, and if you get caught, I'll camouflage us. Just don't move if you're caught, okay?" Lyona nodded.
"Now Xander, your job is to make noise. It doesn't matter what you use to make the noise. Just as long as you don't lead the guards to me, Lyona and Jay. Make noise here." I pointed at a spot that said Meeting Room 2. "Jay will help you get in..." I looked around the map for the spot. I encircled it in red. "...here." He gave me a thumbs-up.
"And last, this will start on Sunday, at 11 pm, or 2300. Let's try to do it in one hour, in and out. As today is Monday, we have almost a week to prepare." There was a flash of worry on Xander's face. It seemed that Lyona saw it too because she asked, "Xander? Something wrong?"
"No, nothing. This is a great plan." He gave me and Lyona a reassuring smile, but it just made us more worried.
~ Chapter 5 ~
Facility for Supernatural Entities
"I cannot believe I agreed to this." mumbled Lyona as we crawled through the vents. The vents were dark and dusty, and we constantly kept crawling through cobwebs and inhaling dust. Me and Lyona were wearing goggles, complete with night vision, heat signature vision and built-in binoculars. There was also a video recorder on it and a communication button. This was one of Lyona's great inventions, along with her sticky flash-bombs and her item-cloaker. Finally, we came to a stop over a vent entrance, and under us two guards were having a "very interesting" conversation about paperclips. They left after some time, and I pressed the communication button and whispered,
"We're in position. Reaper and Mime, are you there? Over."
A few seconds passed, then there was some crackling coming from Jay's side.
"Reaper didn't appear at the meetup. I waited for some time, but then I had to jog to the position because of time constraints. Over." He sounded out of breath. This isn't like Xander, I thought to myself.
"So now who's going to do the distraction? Over." asked Lyona.
"I'll do it. Any objections? Over." I stated.
"Okay. Mime, you'll switch with me. If you get caught, make sure to be in your disguise. Explain that you found The Mechanic or Lyona in the vents while you were repairing something. Let's meet at the grate above Security Room 3, the one near Inferno's cell. Over."
After a few minutes of crawling through piles of huge dust bunnies and surprisingly, more cobwebs, me and Lyona arrived at the grate. Jay was already there, sitting quietly. It was hard moving past Jay in the cramped vent, but we did it. I told them to stay put and not to start extracting inferno until I say I'm in position. I slinked through the vent and I looked back to see the silhouettes of Lyona and Jay disappear behind me.
~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~
I got to Meeting Room 2, where Xander was supposed to be. There's a large oblong table, with eight chairs. "I'm in position. Over." I said into the communication system as I prepared myself. I decided to stay in the vent while I did the illusion.
A wind-up toy monkey with cymbals totters out from under the table. It bangs its cymbal hands together, over and over and over. More come out from under the table, all walking out, banging their hands together. Over and over and over and over and over. The sound is deafening. Finally, they all stop. All heads slowly turn towards the security camera, synchronized. Then, all eyes pop out of their heads, and lips peel back to reveal an eerie grin. They just stood there, staring. Then, they bound toward the camera, banging their cymbals simultaneously, and they break the camera. You could still hear the clanging from the security room.
That should get the guard's attention. I sweated with the effort of maintaining the illusion, but I pushed on. Suddenly, my earpiece crackled to life.
It was Jay. "Hey Illusionweaver. Go straight to the roof. We have Inferno, so we'll meet you there. Over."
I had to retrace my steps, more like my crawls, to the T-shaped vent that led to the roof. My knees were bruised, and my back hurt from being bent over for too long.
I arrived at the roof before them, and it was nice to be out of the cramped, dusty vents. Taking advantage of this little "break" I stretched. Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me. I twirled around, hoping to catch whoever it was. And I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Xander standing there. There was something...off about him. I couldn't tell what it was. He stayed silent, no sorry on why he disappeared, no surprised exclamation when he saw me on the roof. Nothing. His eyes were oddly rimmed with a green glow, but not a pleasant kind. I decided to break the silence "Where have you been...?" I couldn't help hiding the pain in my voice, the pain of being abandoned again, by the same person. He said nothing. Just stood there, watching me. From behind me, I could hear Jay, Leona, and hopefully Inferno climb out of the vent.
"Xander! You're back!" exclaimed Inferno
But he didn't say anything in return.
Then, I heard rumbling coming from below.
I looked around, and I caught glimpses of bones rustling around in the dark. Immediately after, waves and waves of skeletons marched on the roof. The building groaned in protest as it bore the weight of more than a thousand bodies. Xander was resurrecting an army of skeletons.
"Stop!" I shouted over the clacking of bones.
But it was like he didn't hear me. He didn't even glance in my direction.
"Hey Xander! Reaper! Xander Greene! Stop, please!" I continued screaming at him, to stop and come back to the base. But I got the same reply. Finally, after screaming my lungs out, he twitched, looked at me with a glare so full of hatred I didn't know was possible on his face, and said in a loud, booming voice,
"There is no "Xander Greene"! Stop calling me that..." he sputtered."...inferior human name! There is only Deimos!"
Deimos? Who's that? As I organized my thoughts, I heard vehicles approaching. I turned around to see several SWAT vans, and a vehicle from the Hero Society. I looked back to Xander, now Deimos, but he wasn't there. Neither were the thousands of skeletons that were there only seconds ago.
The SWAT squads exited their vans with their riot shields and surrounded us.
"Hands in the air, and no funny business!" ordered one of the SWAT cops.
We obeyed, knowing that we didn't stand a chance. Someone stepped out of the Hero Society's vehicle. It was a girl, wearing that ridiculous costume with the big HS imprinted on the front of her shirt. She wore a bandit's mask, and on her side, a longsword was in its sheath, strapped to her leg. She had high boots, and guessing from the bulge in her right one, she had a knife in there. I'm guessing her superpower had something to do with blades.
We were shoved into one of the larger SWAT vans. None of us said a word of complaint, because we knew it could've been worse. The cops, however, mistook it for fear, and chuckled. At least we have Inferno back, I thought glumly.
~ Chapter 6 ~
We huddled in a corner of the dank jail cell that we were tossed into. Our hands and feet were bound in some sort of chain that prevented us from using our powers. The same chain Inferno was bound in before. Lyona was explaining a theory to us.
"Did you hear Xander? He called himself Deimos. It means "Dread". And you know how he just appeared after being gone for so long? Maybe he came back from the Underworld, but faked being Xander?" Lyona whispered as the cogs in her mind were turning.
"It makes sense because his powers increased by tenfold. He used to only be able to resurrect a few at a time, with a lot of effort. Now, he could resurrect an army of thousands and not break a sweat. Also, if he came back from the Underworld, that means he's unstoppable." I commented.
"I hate saying this but...we might need the help of the Hero Society. A person who has that power and is immortal could do some real damage to not just our city, but heck, the world even." blurted Inferno.
Right after he said that two guards marched down the corridor, and the keys to each jail cell were jingling on one of the guard's belt. We're going to get interrogated now, I thought with a sense of unwilling. They opened the cell door. One grabbed me and Lyona, and the other lifted Inferno and Jay, heaved them over each of his shoulders, and carried them like they were sacks.
We arrived in a boring room with whitewashed walls, and a mirror on one side. There was a large table in the middle. Of course, I knew the mirror was actually one-sided glass, like in those cop movies. The guards left the room, and three people sat at the table. One of them was the girl from earlier, except this time she wasn't wearing the Hero Society costume. She was seated in the middle, and under the table her hands were playing with a blunted short sword. Her hair was put up in a bun, and her face was expressionless. I decided to nickname her Sharpy.
The person on her left had features close to Jay's, and he had a dark expression on his face. He, however, had blue-gray eyes and a ruffled look. That's when I realized that he was Jax Miller, so he had a right to be frustrated.
The person on Sharpy's right was a purple-haired guy, with chestnut colored skin and freckles. He wore a purple suit, and he looked like he was the eldest. He also had his poker face on. In my head, I nicknamed him Freckles. He spoke first, starting off with,
"Why don't you tell us what you were doing from the beginning?"
I glanced at Lyona, then Jay, and lastly Inferno. It was like a message passed through each of our heads, like speaking without words. No point in lying if we want them to trust us, was the message. So, I told our story, starting with the plan that messed up, then finding Xander at my door, extracting Inferno from the facility, encountering Xander, or Deimos, the theory of Lyona, and finally, how we need their help to defeat Deimos. They said nothing at first. Then,
"How do we know we can trust you?"
It was Jax who asked this, and although this was for all of us, you could hear the pain of betrayal in his voice. It was unintentionally directed towards Jay, and I couldn't imagine the guilt of betraying a brother. Before I could think of a response, Sharpy jumped in.
"There have been odd reports of seeing skeletons and zombies around the city, so they might be telling the truth. I think we can trust them, but we should keep an eye on them still."
"I agree," stated Freckles. "but we must make sure that you can trust us too. We'll let you stay here in proper accommodations courtesy of the Hero Society. Oh, and I almost forgot." He straightened his tie. "I'm Evann Winter, you can call me Mr. Winter. This is Hanako Ito," He gestured toward Sharpy. "and this is Jax Miller." He pointed towards Jax, who was sulking in the corner of his chair. "And you are?"
Since we planned on telling the truth, I introduced us. "I'm Sable Dawson, this is Lyona Quinn." She did a little wave or tried to. It was more like a two-handed wave because she had handcuffs on, which was very awkward for her. I moved on. "This is our boss, Inferno, whom you already know, and this is Jay Miller." Jay gave a weak smile, avoiding his brother's glare.
"Inferno is your real name...?" asked Hanako.
"Oh sorry. I'm Kyro. Kyro Atlas." He flashed a quick smile, and she smiled back out of politeness.
"So now we're all buddy-buddy, I bet you'd like to have a good rest, so Hanako and Jax? May you escort our new guests to their proper accommodations? Thank you, and good night." And just like that, Mr. Winter disappeared! We all staggered back in surprise, except for Hanako and Jax, who tried hiding their laugh.
"I demand to know how he did that!" shouted Inferno. "Is he still in the room?!"
Jax, through his laughter, quipped, "His power is the ability to turn invisible, so yes he could still be in the room!"
Now we all laughed, them laughing at us for being so surprised, and us laughing with them at ourselves and the absurdity of the situation.
~ Chapter 7 ~
The next morning, I woke up to see that it was a beautiful day outside. Birds were singing, the sun was shining, it was peaceful. Lyona was still sleeping on the bed next to mine. She looked so relaxed for the first time I've ever seen her, so I didn't wake her up. I got out of the bed and changed into the pre-prepared clothes. It was the same as the uniform Hanako wore on the day we got arrested, except it didn't have the large HS smack dab in the middle of it. I was extremely grateful.
I exited the room and jogged to the Feast Hall, which was basically their cafeteria. I arrived there, and it was just a sea of the HS uniforms. I got caught in the crowd and was pushed back and forth by the bodies making their way in and out. Suddenly, I was grabbed by the wrist and pulled to a corner of the cafeteria. After we left the crowd, I could see the person who grabbed me, and it was Hanako. Once we reached a table in one of the less crowded corners of the Feast Hall, she let go and gave me an apologetic smile. "It can be hard to navigate this place the first time." she grinned. Inferno was there too, sitting with a guy whose name I didn't know.
"Oh right! I forgot to introduce you to the rest! This is William Wynn," She pointed toward the person sitting next to Inferno, and he nodded his head in acknowledgement. He had slanting eyes and a light beard. His hair color was a brown-blond, and his eyes were hazel. His skin color was light brown. "and this is Quentin Thyme." He seemed really engrossed in his book, but he looked up and smiled. He had unruly hair, and large circular glasses. His skin color was dark olive, and his hair color was golden blond. His nose was a bit crooked, but it fit his features.
"Later you'll see our powers in action! I also hope we see yours, if you don't mind!" said Hanako brightly.
~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~
In their Training Grounds, supers practiced their powers on high tech training bots. So, it didn't matter if your power was mental, or physical, there was always a bot that fit your power. As it turned out, I was right about Hanako's power having something to do with blades. Her power was blade manipulation, so she could direct any blade with a toss.
Jax's power was like Jay's, but slightly different. He could shapeshift into birds only, unlike Jay, who could shapeshift into any existing human form. Because he became a bird so much, he had a naturally ruffled look. Me, Inferno and Lyona watched in awe as Jax did a backflip, shifted into a hummingbird midair, and landed as a human again.
William's superpower was the ability to hypnotize his opponent, although it takes a long time and a ton of concentration. Also, I'm not sure how you can hypnotize a sparring bot, but maybe it's their new super-tech.
Then I realized something. "Where's Quentin?" I asked.
"Quentin doesn't have supernatural powers, but he does have an amazing photographic memory and mental strength. He's probably in Athena's Library." grunted William as he tried again to hypnotize his opponent but faster.
So, they also accept non-supers here too. Maybe the Hero Society isn't as bad as I thought. I was pulled out of my thoughts my Hanako, who cheered and said, "Your turn!"
Inferno went first. He made sure that the space that we were in was cleared. He took off his gloves to reveal charred hands underneath, aimed at one of the fireproof training bots, and a blast of fire came from his hand. Warmth filled the place briefly before it went back to its normal temperature. He put his gloves back on and bowed. We all applauded and laughed.
Up next was Jay. I turned around to face him, but instead I faced Mr. Winter! I jumped back in astonishment, and I fell backwards. Some people training looked over, and they seemed very surprised to see their boss here. They started to politely greet him, until Jay switched back into his original form and smiled cheekily. "Just a question, but can you also copy powers?" asked Hanako. "I wish." sighed Jay.
I went third. I made multiple illusions of myself, so the bot would get confused. I dashed over to the sparring bot, and so did my doppelgangers, and the bot was so confused it overheated and malfunctioned. I let go of all the illusions, awkwardly scratched the back of my head, and bopped the bot on its head, making it fall over.
Even though Lyona didn't have any powers, she demonstrated her inventive mind by repairing the malfunctioning bot with the tools in her pouch.
Once their training session ended, we all walked to Athena's Library to meet with Quentin. We pushed over the double doors leading to the library, and it was a magical experience. Shelves and shelves of books towered over us. Quentin was sitting a in cozy corner with a table, and he read a large book titled The Complete History of Supers. He looked up when he heard us coming and smiled softly.
"Hey Quentin. What are you reading about this time?" William asked quietly.
"I'm looking for Deimos in the history of superpowers, and I found him, but there's a problem." He slid the book over the table towards us and lightly tapped a block of text on the page. "Read from here." It read:
Deimos the Dreadful
Deimos the Dreadful is one of the most infamous enemies of all supers. Fortunately, he was banished to the Underworld by Lionheart, with the help of Deimos' ex-servant, Damon.
"Lionheart? Who's he?" Inferno asked.
"You mean she. She's my great-great-grandmother, and a famous hero." mumbled Quentin. "I don't have powers because my generation was skipped, and so the genes didn't pass on."
I continued reading.
Damon came to beg for assistance from Lionheart, and she accepted. He taught her how to speak Enochian and how write the runes, and she in return granted him permanent protection from all supers. She arrived on the doorstep of Deimos and demanded a duel to the death. Deimos chose Damon as his supporter, but little did he know that he wasn't on his side. While he wasn't looking, Damon drew a charm on his ex-master's back, which made him frozen, and nodded at Lionheart. She unsheathed her sword, and carved an emblem on the wood floor, opening a gap to the Underworld. Deimos was muttering an Enochian spell to thaw himself. Damon saw him doing that and realized that someone needs to accompany him on his banishment to the Underworld. So, he grabbed Deimos, who was half frozen, and jumped in the hole.
Nowadays, Deimos isn't a problem. It's rumored that you could summon Damon, his ex-servant by saying "I summon you, Damon." but you must have demon blood. Thanks to him, all supers are safe.
"The problem is, assuming Xander is now Deimos, it would be harder to banish him now, as none of us know Enochian." Quentin informed us.
"And how would saying "I summon you, Damon" summon a legendary demon? This seems like a blunted version of the real story, so I don't expect it to be real." said Lyona.
"It's real, and I should know." said a deep voice from behind her.
~ Chapter 8 ~
We all slowly turned towards Lyona, who was face-to-face with a tall man. He had horns sticking out of his ruffled, silver-white hair, and a scratch on his left eye. The scratch seemed to be leaking some sort of blue-gray gas. The eye with a scratch was pitch black, and his other eye was completely white. He wore a suit, and he straightened his tie with one of his clawed hands. His tail flicked back and forth impatiently.
"So? What do you need me for? I'm a very busy demon, and I have places to be."
Lyona stumbled over her words. "We n-need he-help in d-defeating D-De-Deimos...!"
"Lucky for you, I have a solution. Hand it over if it's a deal."
"Hand what over what exactly?" Jay asked.
"Right. You're new at this. To secure a deal with a demon, the person must give one human soul to seal it." grumbled Damon.
"Then I'll do it." volunteered Lyona.
Before any of us could object, Damon said calmly, "You are the one who summoned me, are you not? That means you are not fully human, and I cannot accept your soul."
"I'll do it because I'm fully human." Quentin said quietly.
"No. Nobody is sacrificing themselves for this. It's not worth it." argued Hanako.
"I'll give you twenty-four hours to think." Damon offered, but Hanako swatted away the idea.
"We won't need it. Let's go."
Quentin hung back for a few seconds to talk with Lyona. She went ahead. Quentin locked eyes with Damon and trailed behind us. Damon just stood there, even though we said that it wasn't worth it.
~ Chapter 9 ~
I crept out of my room. It was 1:00 in the morning, and everything was shrouded in darkness. The moon was barely bright enough to illuminate the pavement. I was heading to the library, but I had to make a quick stop first.
I knocked lightly on Lyona and Sable's door. Two fast knocks then four hard knocks. The door handle slowly turned, and the door opened just a crack. Lyona's eyes peeked through. She opened the door wider and ushered me in.
We sat on her bed, both of us cross-legged. "Here are the night vision goggles you asked for." She handed me them. They looked like sports sunglasses with green lens.
"Thank you." I smiled sadly.
"Are you sure you want to do this? It's not like you're forced to." she whispered.
I hugged her. "Yes, I'm sure."
I made my way towards the library, and I avoided the night patrol thanks to Lyona's night vision goggles. I met Damon inside. He sat on one of the leather armchairs, reading a book. He looked up when I entered the room and smiled.
"I knew you would show up."
Suddenly, he was behind me, with one clawed hand lightly stroking my vulnerable throat.
"I'll countdown for you..."
I sped through all my memories with my family and friends.
I tried to convince myself that doing this was a good idea.
I never heard one.
~ Chapter 10 ~
Screaming and sobbing. I jolted upright and looked around. The screaming was coming from outside. I checked the clock on the bedside table, and it displayed 6:00 am. Lyona was sitting on her bed, head in her hands. "Good morning." I said in greeting, but she seemed oblivious to the screaming or my words.
I jogged outside. The screaming and crying were coming from Athena's Library. I started to run, remembering that Damon stayed there. When I got to the entrance, there was a large crowd. I spotted the top of Hanako's head and I pushed through the mass of people. In the middle of the ruckus was Hanako, crying and being held back by Jax and William. She was trying to reach for something I couldn't see. I slid between people and got to the front when I saw him. Quentin was lying on the ground, mouth slack and pale skin. Night vision goggles were in his limp hand. On his throat, there was an unusual cut. It leaked blue-gray gas. That's when it hit me. Damon's eye scar was like that too.
I stood there, frozen. Quentin gave his soul. That's why he locked eyes with the demon before he left. And the night vision goggles were Lyona's. When he talked with Lyona in the library before, he was asking for night vision goggles.
I ran back to the room I shared with Lyona. I opened the door, and I saw her, with her tear-stained eyes and eyebags, looking at Damon. Something snapped inside of me, and I sped towards him and lashed out at him with my powers. Your lungs are slowly filling up with water. You can't breathe.
"Sable! Stop!" shrieked Lyona.
"Do you know what he did to Quentin?" I rasped.
Damon was choking now. He writhed on the floor in pain.
"Yes. I know." murmured Lyona.
"Then why are you helping him!?"
Unexpectedly, Damon disappeared. Demons die by...disappearing?
I started to float. I panicked, and I tried doing the swimming techniques or flapping my arms to try and reach the wall. I drifted over my bed, and then I was dropped face-first. I rolled over to see Damon lying on the floor in a relaxed position, his hands on his eyes.
"No applause for my wonderful performance? It was quite convincing, wasn't it?"
He sat up and scrutinized me.
"You don't remember? Fine, let me quote. "and she in return granted him permanent protection from all supers." Rings a bell?"
He quoted a line from the book that we read yesterday, which meant he was immune to superpowers, or anything manipulated by a super.
"Now go call your friends."
~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~ ★ ~
We sat in a private meeting room in Athena's Library. All of us were there. Damon, Hanako, Jax, William, Inferno, Jay, Lyona and me. All of us alive of course. We sat there in uncomfortable silence.
"Tell us your solution." leered Jax.
Damon awkwardly cleared his throat. "Um...yes. First off, your friend Xander calls himself Deimos. Were his eyes glowing green?"
"It seems Her Majesty accidentally gave Deimos the way to escape the Underworld. So, the Xander you once knew is now dead. His body is a host for Deimos now. Don't believe that there's still a speck of Xander in him, because there isn't. Now, the longer Deimos is in this world, the larger the bridge between the Underworld and the Overworld becomes. The otherworldly gases and fumes passing from the Underworld will make Earth decay fast, so fast that we won't last for a month if the gap keeps growing. Any questions?"
"We have to close the gap, right?" Jay speculated.
"Exactly. On to my next topic, how will we close the gap? There are many ways, but the fastest way is to travel to the Underworld, meet Her Majesty Queen Hecate, give up your powers, which she will use to seal the gap, and Cerberus will send you back."
"That doesn't sound so hard. I'd give up my powers for the Hero Society." said William.
"Did I say your powers? I meant all powers. The supernatural energy wouldn't be enough if there were only 6 contributors."
"Well, how do we get to the Underworld?" I asked.
"There's a place called Hades' Temple, which is in the deepest hole on Earth. Her Majesty will send Cerberus to bring us to the Underworld. I'll take us to the temple once you're ready."
"I'll stay behind. It's not like I have powers, so I'll just be dead weight if I came." blurted Lyona.
We all said nothing, unsure. Then Damon said, "Not to be rude, but you're not wrong."
"Are you sure you want to stay?" I questioned.
"Yes. But make sure to bring back a souvenir for me!" she grinned.
"Is everyone ready?" asked Inferno.
"Yes!" we all shouted.
Then everything went black.
~ Chapter 11 ~
I was falling. I screamed, but no sound came out. Then, just in a blink of an eye, I was sitting on the floor of an old, musty temple. The walls were gray, and vines grew between the cracks. It was unusually humid, until I remembered that we were in the deepest hole on Earth. We all sat on the floor, a confused heap of people. Damon stood behind us, and even though it was extremely hot, he didn't take off his suit. I started to stand up, and so did the others.
Unexpectedly, there was a rumbling coming from below us. I lost my footing and fell over. Then there was a loud crack! I stood up again and tottered towards everyone else. I looked toward the hole, and Cerberus jumped out! The three-headed beast started to grab people in his mouths and drop them in the crevice. I was grabbed in one of his slimy saliva-covered jaws with Inferno. Then I was dropped not long after. I was falling again, but I didn't bother screaming. I landed in green, murky water. The waters of the Underworld, I thought with a shudder. I swam towards the nearest thing I could see.
I got out of the water to find myself separated from the others. I was surrounded by pillars. No, not pillars, tubes. There were people in the tubes. They seemed like they were sleeping, but I knew they were dead. The one to my right was a little boy, around age seven, who had a bullet wound on his head. The one on my right was an old woman. She probably died of old age, I thought to myself. They were both preserved as if they were still alive. I heard a voice calling my name.
My legs moved against my will in the direction of the soft voice. I wandered along corridors of bodies until I got to a circle. There was a statue in the middle, carved out of marble. The statue depicted a queen sitting on her throne, her legs crossed.
Hand it over please...
That was the voice again. I looked around. Although the voice was close, there was no sign of any living thing. Suddenly, I heard a grinding. I glanced towards the statue to find that the queen was standing up. I stumbled back in surprise. The moving statue turned its head towards me and gave me a wispy smile.
Hello there...Hand it over...
I realized that the moving statue was Her Majesty Queen Hecate, and I quickly bowed.
No need for that...
She laughed softly. I stepped forward and held out my hand. I wasn't sure why I was doing this, until I felt the power leaving my fingertips. A small orb of light appeared in my hand, and Queen Hecate cupped her hands around it, lifted it, and placed it in a box. I tried reaching for my power inside of me, but there was nothing. It was gone. I felt as if there was a hole in myself, a part of me gone.
It's over now...Please make your way to Cerberus...
My legs moved against my will again, but when I turned around something caught my eye.
"Xander..." I mumbled as I reached out my hand to touch the glass of a tube. Inside was Xander as I remembered him.
You know him?...
I nodded. "Can you...bring him back?"
I can only bring him back for a trade...Otherwise, his soul belongs to the Underworld...
I understood what I had to do, and before I had any second thoughts, I made a choice.
"Take my soul and exchange it with his."
Queen Hecate looked at me, lips pursed in indecision, and touched my forehead. I felt the life slipping out of me.
Everything dimmed and I fell forward. I couldn't move my body. But when I hit the ground, I felt no pain. I didn't even feel emotion. No panic, no fear, nothing. I just felt...tired. I fought to keep my eyes open, but my body didn't obey my brain. I barely had enough life left in me to see Xander's eyes blink open before I drifted into the depths of the Underworld.
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