Trials: Part Thirty Four

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Zoey and Arte sat at a table in the Vanguard Mall cafeteria. Her heart was racing. Not only was she going to fight a super villain today, but she was also in public dressed like a Dayspring fan girl.

“Do I have to wear this?” Zoey pulled her coat over herself to conceal as much as she could.

“What? You don’t like it? I thought you said you were a fan of Dayspring?” Arte was clearly suppressing a laugh.

“Very funny. It’s embarrassing. I look like a kid, what if someone from school sees me like this?”

“Oh, come on. Nobody would recognize you, that’s what we did the makeup and the hood for. You worry too much.”

Zoey rolled her eyes. She just had to hope Jessica didn’t see this. There’s no way she wouldn’t recognize her. “Why do you get to wear normal clothes?”

Arte laughed. “Because, I don’t want to draw attention. Looks normal for you to wear something like that. People will assume you’re just a fan. Me wearing that would draw more eyes.”

“So in other words its embarrassing?”

“Why are you so worried about someone from school seeing you? Is there someone you like?” Arte poked Zoey’s arm over and over.

“No!” Zoey scrambled away and rolled her eyes. “It’s not like that…”

“While we’re on the subject, how is school going for you?”

Zoey sighed. Her classes were going great, but it hadn’t really gotten more enjoyable. At least Jessica had laid off the harassment, but now it just felt like she didn’t even exist. “It’s going good.” She forced a smile.

“Something the matter?”

Zoey’s heart dropped. That had always worked on her dad and any other adults who ever asked her that, how did Arte see through it that quick? “It’s nothing…”

Arte sighed and sat back. “You know, I don’t know if I told you this, but for the past few months, I’ve been all over the state looking for someone, so I’m basically a full blown detective now.” She took a sip of her drink. “What I’m saying is, I’ll go to your school and figure out what’s going on myself if I have to.”

Zoey almost jumped out of her chair. “No! You don’t have to do that, it’s fine!”

“I’m kidding.” Arte laughed, before pausing. “You know, you can talk to me, though.”

Zoey sighed. She wondered if someone older than her might actually be able to help. “Well, there’s this girl. She used to pick on me a lot, but now she knows I have powers. I’m not sure what’s going on. At first I thought she was scared of me, but I don’t think that’s it…”

Arte was about to say something, when she suddenly jumped out of her chair, and in front of Zoey. She fell over sideways, and Zoey jumped up.

She looked around and saw Dayspring floating in the air above a fountain. Her heart sank. This was the impostor. She had to do something.

“Citizens of Atlanta. This is my mall now, and you have ten minutes to get the hell out!” He laughed in a way she had never heard Jude laugh.

People began to scramble out of the food court, and Zoey turned her attention to Arte. She knelt down beside her, and turned her over.

“I’m fine.” Arte shakily stood to her feet. She had a burn on her arm, and Zoey froze. “Go get him kid. I’ll be right behind you.”

Zoey nodded, and turned towards the impostor. He was floating above the fountain, surveying the chaos around him. He looked like he was enjoying himself.

Zoey’s whole body was shaking, but she pulled her hood up and began to walk towards him. She had the training, and Jude said she was ready. Arte wouldn’t have let her do this if she wasn’t ready. Zoey looked back and saw Arte coming up behind her. She was holding her arm, but she didn’t look scared at all.

She was about half way to him, whenever he locked eyes with her.

“Who’s this? A fan?” He floated down towards her, and noticed Arte as well. “A fan and her angry mom?”

“You need to stop!” Zoey shouted, as assertively as she could muster.

“Are you going to make me?” He laughed for a moment, then looked back at Zoey. “Oh you are, are you? You’re serious? A kid in a costume is going to take down Dayspring! And your mother is okay with this?”

Arte stood her ground and glared at him. Zoey couldn’t help but not how calm and cool she seemed. She really believed in her.

“Alrighty then.” He turned back to Zoey. “So what’s your plan? The power of friendship? Are you going to talk me into being good again?”

“I have powers too, you know!” Zoey shouted. She had finally managed to get her body to stop shaking, but her heart was still racing faster than it ever had before.

“Oh, boy!” He did a twirl in the air. “You have powers too? Well then, it seems we have a duel on our hands.” He grinned, and floated down, until he was on the ground, about ten feet away. “I am a gentleman, so I will allow you the first shot.” He closed his eyes and held his arms out.

Zoey took a deep breath. This was just like in training, and all she needed to do was… She began to panic. She had no idea how she was going to stop someone with Dayspring’s powers. She had salt. That was it.

“Come on, hit me with all you’ve got.” He smiled, his eyes still closed.

Zoey looked over to Arte, who nodded. She took a deep breath, and wound up. She materialized some salt, and threw it at him with all her strength. Her heart sank as she felt it crumble in her hands. She watched as a hail of salt went over the man.

For a moment, nothing happened. Zoey saw Arte take a step forwards, but suddenly the man collapsed to the ground. Zoey took a closer look, and saw that he was no longer Dayspring, but instead a scrawny white teenager. He tried to get to his feet, but Arte was already on top of him.

He laughed nervously, “Hey, take it easy! It- It was a practical joke! Yeah-” He looked up and met eyes with Arte. “Okay! I’ll tell you everything I know! Please, I had to do it! He made me!”

“Tell it to a judge.” Arte looked into the crowd and waved a couple of police officers over. She then looked over to Zoey, and smiled. “I told you you could do it.”

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(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Apologies for the delay! WordPress did some scheduling shenanigans again. Really am trying to work this out, my bad.

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