Trials: Epilogue

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Mr. Rodriguez finished the last touches on Takeo’s bandaging, and the boy had begun to stir. He looked up and around, and began to flail, but Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Smith, and Darryl held him down. They’d intentionally left him in contact with Zoey’s salt.

“Hold still Takeo, we’re going to help you.” Mr. Smith whispered to him.

Takeo stopped moving, and slowly sat up. “What do you mean?”

“I’ve taken care of Felix for a few hours, so that should give you enough time to at least get off site.” He turned to Darryl. “I called the governor, and explained the situation, and he’s sending in the national guard. You probably want to get going as soon as possible.”

“Very well. Thank you, Mr. Smith.” He nodded, then turned to the other man. “Mr. Rodriguez, you throw a mighty fast ball.”

Mr. Rodriguez started to respond, but was interrupted.

“Darryl, it appears I’ve failed.” Takeo sat up, and the three men immediately returned their attention to him.

“There is no honor in running this place. You have a chance to regain it, by rectifying your mistakes. I hope you won’t squander it.” He reached out his hand, and Takeo took it.

Line Break

Jean stood in a vast desert in central Algeria. His suit was torn and burnt, and a large sandstone pyramid crumbled into the sand behind him, as he limped forwards. Every part of his body ached at the least. He shook his head and chuckled.

“I’m getting too old for this.”

He looked down into his palm, and examined a ring. The band was made of gold, and three green emeralds were arranged on the front of it. He didn’t dare slip it on. He pulled out a velvet ring box from his pocket, and carefully placed the ring inside, before returning the box to his pocket.

He pulled out his phone, and punched in a number.

“Hello, yes. Gregory? I need a helicopter sent to the following coordinates…”

Line Break

Two men in suits sat at a round table with three chairs. The table had something on it, but it was covered by a cloth. One of the three chairs was empty, and two men occupied the others.

“The council will now convene.” The first man said. He had brown hair, pale skin, and was dressed in a smart grey suit.

“I see Mr. Smith has opted not to join us. Does this mean what I think it means, Mr. Weston?” The second man spoke now. He had short black hair, pale skin, and a black suit. His right hand was sleek and white, like plastic not skin. His hand rested on a folder, it read ‘Vertech: Confidential’ on the front.

“Yes, Mr. Vondrasek. Mr. Smith has broken off from us, and has concealed Takeo’s escape.”

“That shouldn’t matter too much. One loose end is hardly worth concern.”

“Still, it is troubling that he was able to get around us, and conceal something. He may end up turning to Jude, and the last thing we need is to be discovered.”

“Yes, of course. However, I believe it is unlikely that he will be able to explain away his involvement with us. This should spare us some time.”

“Yes, in other troubling news, it seems Paul has gained an unknown degree of fine control over his abilities while he was out of my sight.”

“That is certainly a threat. For the good of all of humanity, we need to remain undiscovered.”

“We must eliminate Mr. Smith…” Mr. Weston shook his head. “How is the question…”

“I believe I might have a way. It will take time, but it may be our best option.” Mr. Vondrasek stood to his feet. “I will draw up a plan at once. Is that all?”

“Yes…” Mr. Weston pulled up the cloth, and revealed a horned plate helmet, a folded piece of fabric, and a pair of binoculars. “We may have experienced a setback, but they are still unaware we are even in competition.”

Line Break

A man sat back in an office chair, behind a desk in a classroom. It was dark in the room. He opened his eyes, and got up from his chair. He looked down at his watch, and sighed with relief. Picked up his bag, when something caught his eye. He saw a pair of circular glasses sitting on the center of his desk. This was peculiar, because not a moment ago, he had cleared his desk, and there were certainly no glasses.

Something in him compelled him to slip on the glasses. He stared in amazement around his room, and grinned widely. He put the glasses into his shirt pocket, picked up his bag, and exited the room.

 


⇐ Finale 

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If you’re curious about what’s coming next, check out this post for more info.

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Forty Two

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Click here for part one.

Darryl kicked open the door, and the rest of the group followed shortly after. They stepped into a large charred open space. Rocks, exercise equipment, and rubble were scattered all around, and small fires burned all over the place. The air was dry, and it was sweltering hot. The group fanned out into cover, and Vanessa, Arte, and Jude stepped forwards. Anastasia jumped into cover with Darryl and the guards, and set about reinforcing it.

“Are you the challengers who dare to disrupt my realm?” Takeo stood in the middle of the yard. He was wreathed in flames, and they flared as he spoke.

“Takeo, it’s over. The prisoners are all gone, and you’re outnumbered.” Jude stepped forwards.

“Who are you? Is Darryl too much of a coward to face me himself?” Takeo shouted. The flames grew more intense.

“Takeo!” Darryl called out from behind cover. “We don’t want to hurt you!”

“You know it won’t be that easy.” He took a deep breath, and his flames died down. His arms and legs were lined with fire, as he took a fighting stance. “Now, who wants to face me first?”

Jude stood there for a moment. Did this guy expect a duel? He stepped forwards, and got into his best impression of a trained fighting stance. If this is what he had to do to keep him occupied, he’d do it.

Takeo watched Jude for a moment, then quickly closed the distance between them. He went in for a kick, but Jude narrowly dodged it.

Jude swore. This guy was fast, and knew what he was doing. He had only every really fought street thugs with varying degrees of superpowers. He hadn’t actually had much experience against competent fighters. Jude sent a beam of light towards Takeo, who rolled out of the way, before landing a kick to Jude’s back.

Jude flew forwards, and could feel the heat on his back. That was definitely going to leave a mark. He scrambled to his feet, just in time to avoid taking a fist to the face. He needed a better plan, as ground combat was not working.

Jude took to the sky, and began to shoot beams down towards Takeo. He took enough care to make where he was shooting obvious so he didn’t immolate the kid.

Takeo ducked and weaved around blast after blast. While Takeo was preoccupied, Jude noticed one of the guards lining up a shot. The dart went towards Takeo, but he moved at the last second, causing the dart to whizz past him.

“So that’s your game? What happened to honor?” Takeo shouted, still dodging blasts from Jude. He kicked off the ground and a jet of fire erupted from his feet, sending him flying towards Jude.

Jude was about 30 feet in the air, and wasn’t particularly worried until takeo reached about 15 with no hint of slowing down. He also noticed an increasing ball of fire around one of Takeo’s fist. He got ready to roll out of the way of Takeo’s punch, but he got a burst of speed at the last second.

Jude watched in awe as the teenager’s fist, engulfed in flame, approached his stomach. He figured this was about to be the end. All because he didn’t take this more seriously and try to execute a smarter strategy. He didn’t have too many regrets, when it came down to it. He definitely didn’t want to die, but he knew all his friends would be fine without him. He did wish he would’ve talked to his mother again, but it was too late for that. Jude marveled as the blow landed, and knocked all of the wind out of his lungs.

 


 

Arte watched in horror, as Jude was blasted off into the distance. She started to call out to him, but Takeo landed right in front of her. She swore, and threw up a square plane, about the size of a door, between them. Takeo tried to duck around it, but she kept it between them.

He glanced off to the side, and jumped back, narrowly avoiding a red disc that soared through the space his head had occupied a moment ago. Takeo turned his attention towards Vanessa, and leapt towards her. Vanessa threw a large disc between them, but it looked like Takeo was going to try to blast through it.

At the last second, Arte shot a laser, and clipped Takeo’s ankle. He swore, as his balance was thrown off, and he slammed into the disc. He slid off and landed in a heap on the ground. He began to get to his feet, when he was hit with a dart.

His flames flared up for a moment, and immolated the dart. He tried to get to his feet, but when he put weight on the ankle Arte had clipped, he crumpled back to the ground.

Arte cautiously advanced, when she saw Vanessa level a disc to his throat.

“A samurai fights to the death.” Takeo groaned, as he sat up. He leaned his throat against Vanessa’s disc. “Grant me an honorable end.”

“Keep it there, Vanessa, but don’t kill him. The tranquilizer will take effect any minute now.” Darryl came out from cover.

“Why shouldn’t we, Darryl?” Vanessa kept her eyes trained on Takeo. “After all, he’s dangerous, and he’s killed people.”

“Vanessa, this was the plan we agreed to! He deserves a second chance. He can be better.”

Arte felt a little conflicted. This was the asshole who had kidnapped and tortured Ashley, along with who knows how many other people, and it would’ve been one thing if he died while fighting… But this? “I feel like executing him is definitely not the right move.”

“What’s the difference? A death is a death.” Vanessa replied. “How can you say for sure he will be better, and that he won’t hurt anyone else?”

“Vanessa, I will take personal responsibility for him.” Darryl came forwards, and placed his hand on Vanessa’s shoulder. She turned to him, as he spoke. “You said you trusted me, does that still hold true?”

Vanessa sighed. “Fine, but you’d better not screw up.”

“You disgust me.” Takeo spat, slurring his words, before bursting into flames bigger than they had seen before.

Vanessa and Darryl jumped back, as Takeo began to stumble forwards. He started to say something else, but Arte spotted something out of the corner of her eye. Mr. Rodriguez stepped up to the edge of the prison roof, behind Takeo, wound up, and threw something at him. It nailed him in the back, and his flames immediately went out. He stumbled forwards again, but fell to the ground. A rain of white powder then fell onto him. He moved a little, but eventually stopped.

Arte looked up, and saw Paul, Zoey, Mr. Smith and Mr. Rodriguez all standing on the roof. She chuckled. She knew he had something up his sleeve, but didn’t imagine he would’ve put himself about as close to dance as the people he bossed around.

Arte’s heart sank, as she remembered what happened to Jude. She threw up a ramp onto the roof, and ran up. She scanned the roof, and her heart nearly stopped, as she saw Jude walking towards them. She ran over to him, and as she got closer, she saw he was unburnt. Not even his uniform was burnt.

“Holy shit!” She said, meeting him with a hug. “How are you not dead?”

“Yeah, no clue.” He reciprocated the hug, then broke away. “It’s like when I got punched into the cabinet by Deven. I was lightly bruised, but no real damage.” He shook his head. “I guess I didn’t really get hit all that much until now…”

“We can worry about that later. Let’s get back down to the group.” She ran down the ramp she’d made with Zoey, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Rodriguez behind her, and Jude hovered down beside her with Paul in his arms.

Once everyone got over the shock of Jude being alive, he turned his attention to Takeo.

“Is he alive?” He stared at the pile of salt, but kept his distance.

“Yeah.” Vanessa nodded. “We took him down and hit him with a dart, but then we declared victory a little too early.” She turned to Paul. “Thanks for the save.”

“Well, Zoey and Mr. Rodriguez were the ones who really did the work, so you should probably thank them.”

Vanessa turned to Zoey and smiled. “Thanks for the save, kid.” She thought for a second, and turned back to Paul. “Why did you bring a kid with you?”

Jude stepped in. “That’s a long story, I’m sure we can hear all about it, once we wrap this up.”

Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Smith came up behind Jude. “Let me and Mr. Smith handle things here. The boy will need some bandaging. I don’t want you kids to have to deal with that.”

“Alright, that works.” Jude nodded, and turned to the rest of the group. “Everyone else, let’s get back to the helicopter. Let’s go home.”

 


 

Darryl stood by the helicopter, in a circle with the guards he had come in with. They had all made it out fine.

“Alright. I intend to help to gather up all of the prisoners. Some of them are dangerous, and I’ve just set them loose on the world. I intend to stop them from doing harm, and help rehabilitate them. Any of you who are done with this, and wish to go home, I understand. Get on the helicopter, and go home. Any who wish to stay with me, I’d love to have you.”

“I may just be speaking for myself, here.” Marques stepped up to Darryl. “But there’s no way in hell I’d hang you out to dry like that. I think everyone here agrees.”

All of the guards cheered, and nodded in agreement.

“Alright, then. I’m glad to have you.” He smiled. He turned around to see Jude and Ashley standing behind him. “I appreciate all of your help. We have it from here.”

“No problem. Thanks for helping out Vanessa and Ashley.” Jude smiled.

“Please, I deserve no thanks.” Darryl nodded and turned to Vanessa and Ashley. “Thank you for all of your help. Watch each others backs.”

Ashley nodded, then ran in for a hug. “I’ll miss you Darryl. Thank you.”

Darryl hugged her for a moment, then clapped her back. “Goodbye, Ashley. Go home.”

Vanessa shook his hand, and smiled. “Thanks Darryl.”

“No, thank you. Now, go home.” He smiled and watched as the pair loaded onto the helicopter. He turned and saw Jude was still next to him.

Jude handed him a business card. “This is Mr. Smith’s, but I’m sure he’ll be able to get us in touch.”

“Very good, I will establish a line of contact. I hope to work with you again some day.” Darryl nodded. “I will tell the men still in the yard to move along before they’re left.”

“I hope to work with you again too.” He nodded, and went off to the helicopter.

 


⇐ Previous Part —————————– Epilogue ⇒

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Happy New Years! This is the last part of Trials! It’s been a wonderful journey. Thanks for reading!

If you’re curious about what’s coming next, check out this post for more info.

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Forty One

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Click here for part one.

As Mr. Smith had promised, the jet was waiting for them, and they took off to California. They all had enough time for a little bit of sleep on the flight, and then they moved to the helicopter. They flew for a while, over a vast sea of green, and eventually landed on top of something grey, which Paul assumed was the prison. Everything had gone according to plan thus far.

“This is it, Jude.” Mr. Smith nodded. “There’s something strange going on, though. The prison looks wrecked, there are no guards up here, and I saw people pouring out. Be careful in there.

“Noted. Alright, everyone.” Jude addressed the team. “Let’s move out.”

There was a series of seatbelts unbuckling and footsteps on metal, and eventually everyone that was getting off was out of the helicopter. Paul felt someone tap his shoulder and lean into him.

“I’m warning you. One hair out of place.” Arte growled.

“As you wish.” Paul nodded. Arte was definitely a force to be reckoned with.

After a few moments, the footsteps grew distant. He listened closely, and, over the sounds of the forest, he could hear some shouting off in the distance. It seemed like Vanessa’s plan was going off well.

“Why’d you even bring us if you were just going to make us sit around and do nothing?” Zoey sighed. Paul had figured she would respond like that, but he couldn’t risk tipping off the team.

“Well, we haven’t done nothing. You ever ridden in a helicopter before?” Paul waited a moment for a response, before continuing. “Regardless, I was actually lying about waiting in the helicopter. I brought along a special arrangement of people, and without you this goes catastrophically, and the world will eventually end.” Paul enjoyed the stunned silence for a while. “Now, I trust I have your attention? Mr. Smith, I will describe somewhere I want you to take us, and we’ll need to move on the double. I’ll explain my plan on the way.”

 


Vanessa was about to round a corner, but heard footsteps. She held out her arm to stop everyone behind her and swore. She had been hoping they wouldn’t run into any prisoners, but she supposed it was inevitable.

“Don’t fire, but ready your weapons.” Vanessa whispered. She made a disc large enough to cover the hallway, and quickly swung it out to block anyone from coming near. She then jumped out and saw who was approaching. Her heart fluttered as she saw the white robe she knew all too well.

“Jude!” She exclaimed, before turning back to the group. “I know these guys, don’t shoot.”

They nodded, and she dropped the barrier.

“Vanessa?” Jude stopped short and gawked at them.

She took off her helmet, and ran towards Jude, giving him a hug. Her team slowly advanced behind her. She then turned to the people he was with. There was Anastasia and Deven, but he also brought a girl she didn’t recognize. She was about to introduce herself, when she noticed Ashley stepping forwards.

“Arte…?” She muttered, before taking off her helmet. She looked in shock, as the girl who Jude was with stepped forwards too.

“Ash!” Arte ran forwards and wrapped her arms around her. They were both sobbing hysterically. “I’m so sorry it took me so long!”

“I thought I’d never see you again!” Ashley bawled.

Arte held her a little bit away from her and locked eyes. “I’ll never let you leave me again.” They shared a kiss, and Vanessa turned back to Jude.

“How did you find us?” She asked.

“Well…” He rubbed his neck, “It’s kind of a long story. We’ve got you though, so let’s get out of here. It looks like the prisoners are all gone.”

Darryl came up to them. “You can go. I intend to face Takeo, the boy in charge of this place, and bring him out alive.”

“Is that fire powers guy?” Jude asked.

“Oh, you know of him? Yes.” Darryl nodded. “He’s waiting for us in the yard. He’s just a boy, and I believe he is redeemable. I recommend you leave.” He looked to all of them. “That includes you, Ashley and Vanessa.”

“No way, Darryl. These guys will be a great help.” She nodded to Jude. “Unless you don’t want to, which is okay.”

“Wherever you’re fighting, we’ll back you up.” Jude nodded. “What’s your plan?”

“We all have tranquilizing rounds.” He gestured towards the guards. “Some of us will occupy his attention, and the rest will try to hit him with a tranq. We could overdose him if we hit him twice, though, so we have to be sure.”

“Sounds solid.” Jude nodded. “Arte, Vanessa, and I can keep him busy, while you guys try to ping him. Is there cover in the yard?”

“Not much, but judging by the explosions I’ve been hearing, there may be some more cover now.” Darryl replied.

“Alright, in case there isn’t any, Anastasia, I want you to keep making cover for them. If there is, focus on keeping it that way.” Jude looked to Anastasia, who nodded. “Deven, I want you to hide, but be ready to jump in if I tell you to, okay?”

“Alright.” He nodded.

“Alright, where’s the yard?” Jude asked Darryl.

“It’s a little ways away. Follow me.” Darryl took off, and everyone followed.

Vanessa made her way over to Anastasia, as they ran. “So, you’re back, is Paul with you?”

“He’s back in the helicopter. Are you alright? You’re not hurt or anything?”

“I more or less kept my head down while I was here. At least until the end, I had some close calls, but I made it out okay.” She thought for a moment. “Thanks for asking.”

“I’ll have to tell you about all of the wild stuff I found while I was away.”

“Definitely.” Vanessa was running a little too fast to keep up conversation now. “Good talk.” She made her way back to the front of the pack.

They stopped outside of two larger steel doors with small gridded windows.

“This is it.” Darryl nodded. “Everyone ready?”

He was met with nods all around, and moved towards the doors.

 


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Happy Christmas! This is the next to last part of Trials!!!! Thanks so much for sticking with me!!!! 

Punctuation overdose aside, if you’re curious about what’s coming next, check out this post for more info.

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Forty

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Darryl burst into the room with his gun drawn. Vanessa and Ashley followed him in, after they heard no gunfire. What they saw was, as Vanessa had promised, one guard. He held his gun up at Darryl, but his hand was shaking. Behind him was a desk covered with various buttons, switches, and sliders. On the wall was an array of security feeds. Most of them were just of empty corridors, but a few showed activity.

“Darryl, give it up. Please.”

“You know I can’t do that, Tom.” Darryl shook his head. “I also know that you know what’s going on here is wrong.”

Tears ran down the man’s face. “Right and wrong don’t matter to me! The guy Takeo works for, he’ll have my family killed!”

Darryl sighed. “What about all the people here? Countless lives are at stake.”

“I’m sorry, Darryl. You couldn’t understand what it’s like from my perspective.” He sobbed, “My wife and kids, I’m the only thing keeping them from being killed.”

“Marques is gathering up other guards to the cause. You wouldn’t be alone.”

“That’s not gonna help my family.”

“Do you think he’ll just let them live if the prison collapses, and you get yourself killed, rather than helping us? We can figure something out, Tom.”

“He’d know…” He sighed and shook his head, before suddenly shouting, “Remember your word!”

Darryl fired twice as Tom dove for something on the panel. He shook his head. He could shed a tear for him later, but now he needed to make sure he hadn’t alerted anyone to their presence. He made his way to the array of screens and looked over them. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. The guards were returning the prisoners to their cells, since the assembly was over.

Darryl motioned for Ashley to shut the door, as he tucked Tom’s body out of sight. He couldn’t afford to have charged in with a tranquilizer gun out, since that would’ve left plenty of time for him to be shot by whoever was on duty.

“Tom, shut the doors on block A” The intercom buzzed from the panel.

Darryl made his way over to the panel. He had never been shown how this worked, as that was left for only a few to know. Darryl assumed that anyone who was trusted had a similar situation to Tom. He scanned the panel, and found a section labeled ‘DOORS O/C’. It had a switch labeled for each of the blocks, so he flipped the one labeled ‘A’ and hoped.

A few similar orders came over the intercom, and Darryl filled them all in the same manner. Eventually every prisoner was back in their cell. Now they just had to wait for Marques. He began to look over the camera feeds. He had figured out which was which, based on when they closed.

“Did you know that guy?” Vanessa asked.

Darryl looked over from the feed. “A little, yeah. Tom.” He nodded solemnly. “He was a good guy. He spent most of his time in here, though, so I hardly saw him. I was really hoping I could reason with him”

“I’m sorry.” Vanessa gave him a pat on the shoulder.

“It is done. I will mourn him later.” Darry turned back to the feed.

He saw a larger than normal group of guards coming towards the control room. He was either about to die, or Marques had gotten everyone he could.

“Someone is coming, draw your arms.” He pointed his pistol at the door.

A piece of paper slid under the door. Darryl approached, and quickly picked it up before backing away. It simply read ‘Marques’. That was about as good as he was expecting to get, so he cracked open the door.

On the other side stood Marques and an assortment of other guards. They all piled into the room, and when it was all said and done, they had about twenty people. The room had just about enough space, but felt a little cramped. It was better than being outside for what was about to happen.

“Alright, Marques, I’m going to do it.” Darryl moved towards the switches. “After I’ve released them all, I’ll make an announcement for them to liberate themselves, and we’ll hope for the best. Hopefully they’ll clear out enough that we can get to Takeo.”

“Alright, folks.” Marques addressed the room. “You heard the man, today is when this all ends. We’re gonna take down Takeo, and make this right!”

The room was filled with cheers, and Darryl flipped the switches. A couple of moments passed, and prisoners began to meander out of their cells.

Darryl leaned into the microphone, and gestured for the room to be quiet. “Attention, this is Darryl. You are all free now. I and some of the other guards have decided this has gone on long enough. Free yourself! There is an exit in the back of the cafeteria. Break holes in the walls if you can. I will handle Takeo, and assuming I succeed I will help find you and get you to safety.”

After a moment, all hell broke loose. What few guards that didn’t disperse, that weren’t caught in the frenzy immediately, all ran into various side rooms and closets to hide. The prisoners seemed to be escaping just fine. Darryl knew they had some heavy hitters in here, so it wasn’t a problem for them to break through the walls. Some of the cell blocks destroyed the security cameras, so they no longer had a complete visual, but it seemed to be going quickly. It would be an effort to get them all to safety after this, but it was necessary to do it like this.

The guards in the room were all quiet, because they knew this was when the real battle began.

“Darryl!” Takeo shouted from several walkie-talkies in the room. “I accept your challenge! Meet your demise in the yard! I will never stop hunting you if you don’t!”

He nodded, then addressed the room. “If any of you is unwilling to fight Takeo, please run like the prisoners. If you want decreased danger of violence, it might be best if you went without anything identifying you as a guard. As to those who want to stop Takeo, I’d like to take him alive. He’s a teenager, and I’ve seen enough killing to last me a lifetime. If it comes to it, I will, but Takeo is redeemable. If that doesn’t work for you, please leave.”

About half of the guards made their way out of the room, all of them wishing Darryl luck. By the time everyone that wanted to had left, Darryl had eight people, including the two girls. He turned to Vanessa and Ashley.

“You are included in that. If you want to leave, please do. You are young, and have a lot of life ahead of you.”

“I’m not going to abandon you.” Vanessa stood tall.

Darryl laughed and nodded. “And you Ashley? You don’t have a combat power, and you’re not trained. Nobody will blame you for leaving.”

“I’ve made it this far, haven’t I?” She nodded. “I’ll see this through.”

“Alright then.” He turned back to the room. “I’m proud to finally stand up for what’s right. Let’s move.”

 


⇐ Previous Part —————————– Next Part ⇒

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Hello everyone! Yet again, an announcement about season 3 and a potential hiatus, is to come. Possible delay on the announcement, as I have been exposed to COVID, and am experiencing other unrelated health issues that make typing difficult.

Announcement lite: Probably a month long hiatus. I hope to finish season 3 by February. Stuff will be uploaded in the hiatus though, got a couple of things queued. 

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Thirty Nine

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Click here for part one.

Jude floated above the roof of their house. A few hours ago, DSR agents began to form a perimeter around their house, about a hundred yards away. The neighbors for the most part had evacuated, having seen armed men forming up around a house. The agents hadn’t made any move yet, so right now Jude was just keeping watch.

He couldn’t believe that Mr. Rodriguez wasn’t angry with him. He definitely wasn’t happy with the situation, but Jude would’ve been furious with the idiot who led his daughter into such a dangerous position.

Jude noticed a black SUV approaching the perimeter. He wondered if this was Paul or more reinforcements. He looked down at his phone, and saw it was about 7 PM. Paul should definitely be getting here soon. Mr. Smith had confirmed picking him up a little bit ago, so they should arrive soon.

The car stopped at the edge of the perimeter, and one of the agents stood by the window for a few minutes, before waving them forwards. The car eventually stopped in their driveway, and Jude flew down to meet it. The windows were tinted, so he couldn’t quite see who was inside.

The door flew open, and Jude stepped back. Anastasia ran forwards, and wrapped her arms around him.

“Jude! I’m so glad you’re okay! I got worried when I saw the police or something. What’s going on?” She asked.

“I’ll explain everything inside.” Jude nodded.

A few seconds later, Paul stepped out of the car with the help of Mr. Smith. Jude nodded to Mr. Smith, as he stepped around to the trunk, and stepped forwards to give Paul a hug.

“Glad to see you buddy.” Jude clapped Paul’s back. “I take it they didn’t cure your vision?”

Paul shook his head. “No. No time to worry about that, though. We need to get on this.”

Mr. Smith returned from the trunk with a few suitcases, and handed some off to Jude. “Sorry, I didn’t bring any of my staff, because I’m not quite sure who I could trust anymore. Aside from Jean who is indisposed, and Gregory, who is at the house on standby.”

“No worries, probably best to keep this too as few people as possible.” Jude nodded, and took the bags. “Let’s go inside. I’m worried about the agents moving in while I’m not looking, so let’s make introductions quick.”

“No need.” Mr. Smith shook his head. “I told Daniels to give me a couple of hours to work things out. I finance them, so I imagine I have at least one hour.”

Jude nodded again, and led the group inside. Arte, Deven, Zoey, and Mr. Rodriguez were all sitting in the living room chatting, but got up when Jude entered.

“Alright, everyone, this is Paul, Anastasia, and Mr. Smith.” Jude gestured at each person in turn. “And this is Arte, Zoey, and Mr. Rodriguez.”

“I see you’ve made new friends.” Anastasia remarked, after going around and shaking everyone’s hand.

“Yeah, it’s a long story. Not really relevant how I know everyone, I don’t think.” Jude waited a moment for everyone to quiet down, then addressed the group. “Alright, here’s what we know. Vanessa was supposed to go to a hotel in San Francisco, but she never actually arrived, and the driver has been delivering false status updates to Mr. Smith.” He turned to Paul. “We need you to figure out where she is, can you do that?”

“I don’t know where she is. I’m not going to find that out using my power.” Paul shook his head. A wave of despair washed over the room, but Paul continued. “However, I do have some other information. They are being held in a prison in a forest. In the prison, the prisoners all have powers, and some of the guards do. The leader is a teenager who can produce fire.”

Jude was slack jawed for a moment at the sheer volume of information Paul had just dumped on them, before coming back to his senses. “What do you mean ‘they’? Just the other prisoners?”

“No, I mean Arte’s girlfriend and Vanessa.” Paul replied flatly.

“Girlfriend?” Jude replied, but was met with no answer.

Arte jumped up, and stepped forwards. “Wait, Ashley’s in a prison? Is she okay?”

Jude put the pieces together. Ashley was Arte’s girlfriend. “They’re both there?”

“One question at a time. Bodily yes, she is fine. She’ll definitely need intense therapy once she gets back. And yes, they’re both there. The odds of that being a coincidence are low. There is one-”

Arte stepped closer to Paul. Jude was unsure about the look in her eye. “How long have you known about this?”

“I’m not sure of the flow of time where I was, but I assume you’re worried about if it was before the phone call. Yes, it was before I first spoke to you.”

“Did you know Daniels was going to find out about Zoey?” She was right in front of him now.

“Yeah, but-”

Arte clocked Paul in the face, before being pulled back by Jude. Paul slowly rubbed his face where she had hit him. The whole room stood in stunned silence.

“Well, alright then.” He nodded. He looked blankly forwards for a while, before continuing. “Anyways-”

Jude put himself between Arte, who was still fuming. He couldn’t believe Paul right now. “Wait a second. Don’t just ‘anyways’ us, why didn’t you mention that?”

“Well, because it doesn’t really matter. She was the best suited to handle the problem. Frankly it’s on you for not coming up with a better plan if that was your goal.”

“Who the hell is Daniels?” Anastasia stepped into the mix, as Mr. Rodriguez and Zoey stayed back.

Jude groaned. This was devolving into a mess. They weren’t going to get anything done at this rate. “Alright, that’s enough. We’re all tired and tense.” He turned back to Anastasia. “After you had left, and Vanessa went on her trip, Mr. Smith basically fired me, and Daniels more or less put me on comfy house arrest.”

“Listen, I’m sorry, Jude. It’s-” Mr. Smith started, but Jude cut him off.

“I’m not mad, I’m just laying out what happened.” He turned back to Anastasia. “Daniels and I are basically at a standoff right now, and he’s threatened Zoey. So we have like four different situations all going on at once, and we can’t afford to be fighting right now.”

“Now, if I may continue…” Paul waited a moment for objections and carried on. “I do not know where Vanessa and Ashley are, but Mr. Smith does.”

Mr. Smith went wide eyed and began to step back from the group.

“He was hoping that I could figure out her location on my own, to absolve him of association with this.” Paul paused for a moment.

“Is this true?” Arte turned to him with a somehow more enraged look.

Mr. Smith started to answer, but Paul cut him off. “However, I brought Mr. Smith along for a reason. He will be more than happy to personally take us to the site where they are being held. As a matter of fact, Gregory is actually on standby in the private jet, waiting for us to arrive. Isn’t that true, Mr. Smith?”

“Yes. It’s at a site in Northern California. We can fly near it, but we’ll need a helicopter to get us the rest of the way.” He hung his head.

“Now, all that is left is to get there, but I believe Jude already knows what he needs to do for that to happen.” Paul smirked, and gestured towards Jude.

“Fine. Everyone with powers, except for Zoey, get ready to go.”

“Actually, she and her father will both need to go with us. They can wait in the helicopter if you like, though.”

Arte turned to Paul again, and Anastasia stepped between them.

“First, when this is over, you and I are going to have a long talk. Second, if I find out you’re putting Zoey in danger again, I will not hesitate to end you.” She glared around Anastasia.

“These conditions are fine. I would not have insisted they go if it weren’t absolutely necessary.” Paul nodded, “Now go Jude, we’re on a tight clock!”

Jude nodded and went over to Arte and Deven. He easily ripped off both of their ankle monitors, and took off out the door. He soared over to the biggest collection of vans, and threw down the two ankle monitors, before ripping off his own. This had gone on long enough. If Daniels wanted to stop him, he’d have to force him to.

Daniels jumped out of one of the vans and stormed over to him. “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“Our arrangement is over.” Jude spoke calmly, but stern. “Some of my friends are in danger, and we are going to go get them. If you let us go, and don’t tamper with any of our, I will be more than happy to come to a more agreeable arrangement with you. Are these terms acceptable?”

Daniels took a step back and looked down for a few seconds, before looking back to Jude with a look of resignation. “Yes. My men will leave the scene now. The house and all of your things will be waiting for you when you get back. Please call me, and we’ll set up another meeting.” He paused for a moment. “Good luck.”

Jude nodded, and took off back towards the house. Everyone was already piled into Mr. Smith’s SUV, with Deven in the front seat. He climbed into the last open seat, and found himself next to Arte.

“Alright, let’s go.”

His head was throbbing. He would definitely need a nap after dealing with all of that.

 


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Hello everyone! Again, an announcement about season 3 and a potential hiatus (don’t know if I need one yet, wouldn’t be more than a month), is to come. I’m well on track to finish season 3 in time, unlike I was with season 2 if any of you were around for that. I assure you I have learned my lesson from last time.

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Thirty Eight

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Ashley was trying her hardest to keep her calm. She had to, for the sake of the people she was trying to save. She already looked out of place in Jones’s baggy and bloody uniform, she couldn’t also be looking terrified. The disguise wouldn’t hold up to much more than a brief glance from a distance, but it was something. Not to mention it offered some protection, even if it was ill fitting and battered. She only needed to wear this for a little bit, then she could get a better fitting one that she hadn’t taken off of a dead guy. They were still in the cave, waiting for Vanessa to scope it out using Darryl’s power, so she had a second to pull herself together.

She couldn’t get Jones’s face out of her head, nor could she forget the pain. It was like nothing she had ever felt before, and she inflicted that onto someone else. She killed him. Vanessa may have dealt the final blow, but she killed him. She wondered if Arte would even want to see her. She wasn’t the same person she was before.

She shook her head. Now was no time to fall into a spiral. She needed to think positively. She may have done some bad things along the way, but she had done this to save more than a hundred people from torture. Even the guards were really prisoners here, if what Darryl said was true. They had to put a stop to this at all costs, and she couldn’t let her own preferences get in the way of that.

Vanessa finally opened her eyes and stood up. “Alright, we need to move out now. Our window is small. Most of the guards are at an assembly right now, but there are still a few on patrol. Stay close to me.”

She took off at a brisk walking pace out of the cave, and Ashley and Darryl both followed suit.

The tunnel suddenly turned from natural stone into concrete, and they were in a small room with a prison cell. Darryl made his way to a cabinet, and unlocked it. He pulled out two pistols, and handed them to Ashley and Vanessa.

“These have tranquilizer rounds.” He handed another pistol too Ashley. “This one has live rounds. Use your own discretion.”

Ashley was about to object, but Darryl and Vanessa had already taken off. She quickly holstered both of them, being careful to put the tranquilizer one on the right, where she could quickly reach it. She followed out the way they had left, and almost ran into them when she saw them at a complete stop.

Vanessa held up three fingers and counted down, before running around the corner of the T-junction.

After they rounded another corner, the walls were lined with prison cells. Ashley had been here for a while, but she wasn’t sure where this control room that Darryl had referenced was. She had a vague idea of where the locker room was, but she only really knew that relative to her cell or maybe the cafeteria.

Her heart nearly stopped when a guard came around the corner. He had appeared at the end of the hallway, and there wasn’t any way to hide now. Darryl motioned for them to keep walking, and drew his gun. As Darryl drew his gun, the other guard drew his, and continued a cautious advance. They both kept them pointed at the floor, and eventually were close enough to whisper.

“Darryl, what the hell is going on? Who the hell are they?” The other guard whispered. His name patch said ‘Gaines’. They couldn’t see his face from under his mask.

“Marques, I’m gonna need you to trust me. I know that you know this is wrong. Help me put a stop to it, or at least step aside.”

Marques hesitated. “Do you have a plan? A good one?”

“Yes. It’s the best option we have, but I’ll need some backup from as many guards as we can. Can you do that? We’ll need numbers to take on Takeo.”

He holstered his gun and nodded. “Alright. I think I can do that.”

Darryl also holstered his gun. “I’ll need one other thing. Make sure anyone who’s sympathetic is somewhere safe or ready, because I’m gonna release all of the prisoners.”

“All of them?”

“All of them.” Darryl nodded.

“If that’s what you gotta do. I’ll meet you at the control room, I guess.” Marques nodded before taking off.

Vanessa motioned and they took off as well. After a few minutes, they reached the locker room without incident. Once inside, Darryl followed along the lockers before motioning to Vanessa, who threw a disk which broke off the lock.

“Mara is on vacation, and she’s about your size.” Darryl tossed each of them a clean uniform, before going outside to keep watch.

Vanessa and Ashley quickly changed, and transferred what equipment they had into their new uniform. They discarded their old ones, and met Darryl in the hall.

“Alright. Now that we have actual uniforms, we shouldn’t need to sneak around quite as much.” He nodded. “But do be wary of closer inspection. If they try to ID you, they’ll see that you’re faking.”

Ashley and Vanessa both nodded in understanding, and Darryl led the way to the control room. As promised, they didn’t run into anything along the way. They stopped outside of the door, and Vanessa placed a hand on Darryl. After a moment, she opened her eyes.

“There’s one guard inside. Darryl, you lead.”

 


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Happy almost Christmas! Hope you’re doing well. I believe I’ve finally got the post-timing down with the new system and my new schedule, so we should be returning to every Friday at noon. 

I will put out a blog post at some point discussing my plans for season 3 and the holidays, so you have that to look forward to within the next week or two. 

Remember, love one another, Black Lives Matter, and trans people are valid. 

 

Trials: Part Thirty Seven

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Jude stood in his kitchen with Deven, Arte, Zoey, and Mr. Rodriguez. The pizza was set to get here soon, and he was starting to get hungry. Everything had gone off about as well as he’d hoped, and Arte’s injury was only minor. They figured out what Zoey’s salt can do, they took care of the impostor, and now they should be allowed some degree of freedom again.

Arte tapped Jude on the shoulder, and gestured for him to follow her into the den. He obliged.

“Hey, Jude, have you heard anything from Daniels?”

“Nope. I’m guessing he’s probably worked out that we got rid of the bugs by now, huh?”

“Definitely. I’m worried about how much else he’s worked out, but Paul said it would be fine to send her, right? You trust him, right?” Arte looked really worried.

“With my life. He’s never been wrong before.” He nodded.

“Alright.” Arte nodded and sighed. “You’re probably right. I’m just worrying too much.”

Jude was about to say something, but his phone began to ring. He looked down, and saw it was Mr. Smith.

Arte moved in close so she could hear.

Jude picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Jude, I’ve had some of my men look into something, and I think Vanessa has gone missing.” He sounded more panicked than Jude had heard him since Vanessa got put in the hospital last year.

Jude’s heart sank. “What? What do you mean?”

“The hotel’s records say she checked in, but she was never even there. The driver was supposed to be keeping tabs on her, but he must have been sending me fake info.”

“What can I do?”

“I want you to see if you can get in touch with Paul. See if he can find her. I’ll pay for his flight back, just get him here.”

“I’ll call him, and let you know what he says. Anything else?”

“That’s it for now. Thank you Jude.”

Jude hung up, and was about to dial Paul when the doorbell rang. Jude swore, and started to move, but Arte went to get it. He called Paul, and the phone began to ring.

Jude heard a voice he recognized, coming from the front door. He turned around, and it was Daniels. Jude was standing a ways away, but he could definitely make out that the guy looked pissed. He made his way over, and handed the phone to Arte.

“Wait do you want me to…” Arte trailed off, before taking the phone and heading into the living room.

Jude turned to Agent Daniels. “Why don’t we step outside?”

“Works for me.” His stern expression didn’t waver.

Jude stepped out into the driveway. “So, did you need something?”

“Cut the shit, Jude. I know that was Arte and the neighbor girl at the mall.”

Jude’s heart sank. They hadn’t been careful enough. Had Paul been wrong? He didn’t let his doubts break his equally serious expression. “Alright, yeah. It was us, but so what? We got the bad guy, and no civilians got hurt.”

“When I took you on, one of the only terms was that you cease vigilante action, and that was exactly what you did!”

“What do you mean, ‘one of your only terms’? Or ‘took you on’ for that matter?” Jude scoffed. “You arrested me, and put me on house arrest!”

“Because you’re a danger, Jude! How did you even know about the attack in the mall before it happened? Do you realize what this looks like? I should have you all arrested!”

“Are you suggesting we worked with the impostor?”

“I’m not having this conversation.” Daniels shook his head. “Nobody is to leave this house. We’re putting a monitor on the girl, then we’re going to figure out what to do with you.”

“You put one hand on her, and watch what happens.” Jude’s eyes began to glow. He couldn’t believe Daniels for threatening to do this to a child, and he couldn’t believe himself for approving this plan. What did it matter if her dad was okay with it? Why would Paul let this happen?

“We’ll just see about that.” Daniels turned around and stepped into a black van.

Jude swore and ran back inside.

Arte was waiting for him at the doorway, and he noticed Deven and Zoey leaning around the corner, looking in. “What happened?” She handed him his phone back.

Jude leaned against the wall and sighed. He tried to keep from shaking. “Give me a second, did Paul pick up?”

“Yeah.” Arte nodded. She pulled up a list on her phone. “He evidently already knew about Vanessa, and was already coming back, but he didn’t know where she was. He said to make sure Mr. Smith personally drove him here from the airport, for some reason?” She shook her head. “Jude, are you sure this guy’s alright? He’s being really cryptic and leaving out details.”

“I’m not so sure how I feel about him right now.” Jude shook his head and sighed. He leaned in and whispered. “Daniels wants to put a monitor on Zoey, and says we’re all stuck here, and that we should be arrested for collaborating with the impostor.”

“What!?” Arte’s eyes went wide. “He found out? Shit!”

“I’ll tell Mr. Rodriguez what’s happened in a second, I just need a second to get my head straight…” Jude had a headache now, and went to take a seat on the couch. This was all his mess. He couldn’t pin this on Paul, there was no way he could’ve seen how this would play out. He had gotten desperate, and stupid, and he’d ruined a girls life. He put his face in his hands. He was just so tired of all of this.

Jude felt a heavy hand on his back. He looked up to see Deven smiling down at him.

“It’s okay, Jude. The good guys always win.”

 


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Finally started writing on season 3 again (approaching halfway done, and it’s shaping up to be considerably longer than 1 and 2). As per usual (so it feels like now), sorry for the delay. Thanksgiving had me messed up, but I should’ve scheduled this beforehand like someone who possessed planning skills. Oopsies. At least I’m actually working on season 3.

 

Trials: Part Thirty Six

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

It was nearing sunset when Paul and Anastasia neared the edge of the monastery. She looked out over it one last time. It was beautiful, and it was a shame they had to leave. As she was about to turn around and cross the threshold, she saw a flash of light, and out of it materialized Siobhan and Coombre. Anastasia dropped her bag and ran to hug them.

“We’ll miss you Anastasia” Siobhan patted her back.

Coombre reached into his pocket, and pulled out a book. “Adara said to give this to you.”

Anastasia took it, and saw it was one of the empty journals from the desk. It had a brown leather cover with an ‘A’ embroidered on the front. On the first page was a photograph and a note. The photo was of her, Coombre, and Siobhan when they were cataloging one of the rooms of artifacts. The note read as follows:

For Anastasia, may your curiosity never rest, and when we are rejoined, I hope you will have remembered to write some of your findings. -Adara

Below that, she saw that Siobhan and Coombre had both signed it as well. Her eyes welled with tears. She hugged them both again.

“Thank you.”

“We’ll miss you.” Siobhan stood back and waved.

“Until next time.” Coombre nodded.

Anastasia put the journal in her bag and waved. She took Paul’s hand, and crossed the threshold. Siobhan, Coombre, and the monastery disappeared, and were replaced by the same rocky beach.

“Alright, Paul. Let’s go.” Anastasia wiped a tear from her eye.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay?” Paul asked.

“Yeah,” she nodded, “Sometimes you just have to say goodbye. I think I’ll see them again.”

“Well, we’d better get going. I guess we need to go buy plane tickets.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Anastasia began to walk forwards, when she saw a man step out from behind a rock. “Oh, hey Jean. I was wondering when you would show up!”

“Jean? What’s he doing here?” Paul asked.

“I suppose my skills have slipped.” Jean shook his head and made his way towards them. “I thought for sure I had remained unseen. That dastardly Adara…” He looked off into the distance with a smirk.

“Wait, what? You know Adara?”

“Don’t worry about it Paul.” Anastasia laughed. “You don’t have to know everything.”

“Yes, I apologize for not revealing myself earlier, Mr. Darbyshire, but I was instructed to not make my presence known until you were ready to go home.” He smiled warmly. “Mr. Smith asked me to keep an eye on you both, not to mention I had some business with Adara myself.”

“Very funny, everyone’s in on the secret, whatever.” Paul sighed. “Let’s just get going.”

“I took the liberty of retrieving your plane tickets. Your flight leaves at midnight, so that gives you plenty of time to get to the airport and through customs.” Jean handed Anastasia two plane tickets.

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re not coming back with us, Jean?”

“Oh, I just have an errand to run first. Business in Algeria.” Jean turned and began to walk away, before turning back for a moment. “If I’m not back within a month, please do tell Mr. Smith to assume I am deceased.”

“Good luck Jean!” Anastasia called after him.

Paul and Anastasia were silent for a moment. They listened to the waves, and to the crunching of Jean’s footsteps.

He nodded blankly for a moment, before turning to Anastasia. “Why do I get the feeling that you were up to much more than a cleaning project, while I was training?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Anastasia smiled. “We’re both allowed to have our secrets.”

“You’ve changed, Anastasia.” Paul chuckled. “I think I like it.”

Anastasia recalled the original reason that she had taken this trip. Sure there were all of the pretenses of helping Paul, and of her first vacation, but the real reason was to get closer to Paul. She laughed a little. She had hardly managed to spend any time with him, since they were both so busy with their own things. They still had a little time left, but now she felt pretty happy with the way things were. She had other mysteries to solve, and really didn’t need to give Vanessa more of a reason to hate her. She looked off into the sunset, and for the first time that she realized it, she was happy with herself. She didn’t need something or someone else.

Her heartfelt internal monologue was disrupted by the sound of Paul’s phone ringing.

He picked up, and raised it to his ear. “Hello, this is Paul… Yeah our flight leaves at midnight, we were already coming home… Yeah I know she’s missing… The same way I know most things… No, I don’t know where she is… Arte calm down, stop shouting into the phone… Yes I’d call that shouting…” He began to make static noises with his mouth. “Sorry signals bad, gotta go. Make sure Mr. Smith personally drives us to your place from the airport…” He hung up.

“Who was that? Who’s this Arte person that keeps calling you?” Anastasia recalled he said the same name while he was on the phone in that café.

Oh, you don’t have to know everything.” Paul replied in a mocking tone.

“Oh shut up, Paul.” She elbowed him and laughed. “Let’s get going then.” She began to lead him, but he didn’t move.

“Oh well, you should probably know this thing, though.” Paul’s face went serious. “Mr. Smith called Jude. He said nobody knows where Vanessa is. She went on a trip, but she never got to the hotel she was going to.”

Anastasia’s jaw dropped. “Paul! Don’t just not tell me something like that as a joke!”

“Well, in my defense-”

“No, don’t start with that!” Anastasia scoffed. “Is there anything else I should know?”

“Probably, but I’ll let them fill you in on it.”

Anastasia rolled her eyes, and led Paul back to the road. From there, she called a taxi, and didn’t speak another word to Paul until they returned.


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My month of writing is going quite successfully (Read: not one word that wasn’t for school). How about yours?

 

Trials: Part Thirty Five

Content warning: Gore and Death

 

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Ashley’s heart was racing. She had actually almost died, and she really wasn’t sure why she didn’t. She heard the gunshot, and she saw the muzzle flash. She saw Vanessa standing over her, with tears running down her face. She wondered if she was actually fine. She shook her head. This was not the time for panic.

Ashley jumped up from the ground. She looked down at Darryl and Jones bleeding out on the ground. She rolled Jones off of Darryl.

“Vanessa,” she began dishing out orders, “disarm him, and if he tries anything, stop him. I’m not letting anyone die!”

Vanessa looked startled for a moment, but nodded, and attended to Jones.

Ashley went to take a look at Darryl. “Darryl, can you hear me?” She lifted his head, but he wasn’t responding.

She felt his jugular, and he still had a pulse. She turned her attention to his wound. This was definitely beyond her skill to fix. It was bleeding a lot, even with the knife still in the wound. She hadn’t really had formal medical training, her parents were just both doctors, so she picked up some pieces along the way. As best as she could tell, if she left this alone, Darryl would die. She wasn’t really sure if it would work well to transfer the wound to herself. Figuring out how much to transfer to not kill either of them didn’t seem like a good option. If it came to it, she would save him, but they weren’t there yet.

“Vanessa, does Jones have a pulse?”

Vanessa went in to check. “Yeah, I think so. He doesn’t look great though. What about Darryl?”

“Vanessa, I’m not sure what to do…” Ashley shook her head. “I can’t just wrap this up, and I don’t think I could take just a part of the wound and say for sure that neither of us would die. I have one other thing I could do, but I’m not sure…”

“What is it?”

“Well, the thing is, I don’t just have the power to take wounds. I also have the power to give them, so I could hypothetically put all of the wounds on one person, but they’d definitely die.”

“Put them all on Jones!” Vanessa responded quickly.

“But that would kill him for sure!”

“He tried to kill you!”

“That doesn’t mean he’s bad! You heard his story! He had to do this!”

“Look Ashley. You can have two people that will probably die, or you can have one person who definitely dies. That’s your decision here.”

“What gives me the right to say who lives or dies?” Tears began to roll down Ashley’s face.

“Your powers! That’s what says you do! Do you want Darryl to die?”

“No! Why can’t I just kill myself?!” Her heart felt like it could explode at any moment. That had to be the right answer, to take all the pain herself.

“What would your girlfriend say? What do you want me to say to her, when I have to go tell her that she’ll never see you again?”

Ashley froze. She couldn’t do that to Arte. Vanessa was right. This was the only way to go. They needed Darryl. They could never break everyone out of the prison, and get them all to safety without him. She had to do it.

“I’ll do it.” Ashley nodded. She sat down between the two bleeding men, and grabbed both of their hands. She had never attempted this before, but it had to work. She knew it would, because it had to. She took a deep breath, and pulled the knife out of Darryl.

She began to pull Darryl’s wound into herself, while also pushing it over to Jones. She began to feel a pain in her shoulder, and saw some blood beginning to come out. She looked down at her other arm, and noticed her burn was going away.

The pain began to intensify. At first it felt like she’d just been cut, but now it was deeper than that. She had never felt anything like this before. She looked over and saw that Jones wasn’t bleeding from his shoulder yet. She began to panic. Would she have to take the whole wound first?

Vanessa knelt down on the ground in front of her, and placed her hands on Ashley’s knees. “You’ve got this.” She smiled confidently.

“It- It hurts so much! I don’t know if I can do it!” She began to sob. Darryls wound had to be deep, because the pain kept going deeper.

“Yes you can! I’m right here with you. I can’t take the pain for you, but I know you’ve got this!”

The pain kept getting worse, until it eventually reached a crescendo. Ashley cried out. She couldn’t believe Darryl had just taken this.

“Ashley, look!” Vanessa pointed to Jones’s shoulder. Blood was beginning to seep out of it.

Ashley felt joy for a moment, followed by disgust. She was rejoicing over someone’s death. She wondered if this was the right move after all, and winced. It had to be, because it was her only option. This was for Arte, for Darryl, and for everyone still trapped in that prison.

Eventually the pain began to alleviate. After a few moments, Ashley was back to normal. She smiled weakly, then fell forward onto Vanessa’s lap in tears.

“You did it Ashley.” She felt her hand rest on her head.

A few moments passed, and Ashley pulled herself up. She wiped off her face, and got to her feet.

“I’m going to take care of him. Keep an eye on Darryl.” Vanessa hugged her, and turned to Jones.

Ashley looked down at Darryl, and winced as she heard a wet cutting noise. She felt like she should be feeling more, but she just felt overwhelmed and tired. She shook her head, returned her attention to Darryl, and checked again for a pulse.

Once she found he had a pulse and was breathing, she turned to Vanessa, who was now beside her.

Vanessa wrapped her arms around her, and Ashley whispered, “Thank you…”


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Trials: Part Thirty Four

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

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