Book one Chapter two

Chapter two: Squid + Blackwood= Room mate

 

I drove back home, and smiled, Mrs. Hudson’s scowl not dowering my mood. “You weren’t at school today!”

“I got bored.”

“You can’t just leave.”

“I had the best day ever.”

“Robin!”

“I met the cutest girl, made my first friend, may get a job at the NYPD, and its just great” I said, taking her hands, smiling. “Today actually turned out great. Thanks, Mrs. Hudson” Unsure of what happened, Mrs. Hudson froze, and didn’t move again until I had gotten to my room. I smiled, exhausted, laughing. What a good day…

 

The next day, I went to school just to see Cody. He was getting picked on by fatso, and this time, I took in his appearance. He was only a bit chubby- unlike the brit, who was a toothpick- and had been in the sun too long, and hadn’t taken a shower in a while. Obviously he didn’t go to the school because  he wasn’t in the uniform, and the school wouldn’t allow a kid to be in such bad shape. He had cruel black eyes and messy, nasty, greasy dark blonde hair. Clearly he was an abused child.

“Hey, fatty!” I shouted, getting off my bike. He looked over, and snarled at me. Cody was on the floor, clutching his gut, crying. “Pick on someone who is READY to fight.” He glared, and spat in the dirt.

“Yo betta ruhn, huglee” he growled.

“Aw, don’t call yourself that. Remember, fat is fabulous” I replied. Lame, but I had to get him upset. He’d come at me with a feral left punch- his dominant hand- and I could counter that by thrusting an open palm at his elbow. THEN he would try and attack me by trying to punch my gut with his right arm, which I could deflect by flipping over him, using his arm to give me the extra push. Finally, I could get behind him, and judo flip him.

“Yo gonna pay!” He did exactly what I expected, only, faster. I did manage, but by the end, I couldn’t flip him over my shoulder- too fat- so I made due with just punching the left side of his ribs, sending him into a fit of pain. I reached down to Cody, sighing in relief.

“Are you okay?” I asked him. He nodded, fixing his glasses, which had broken.

“Had him on the ropes” he wheezed, pulling himself up with my hand. I smirked.

“Of course you did” I said, smiling. “You actually did pretty well. I mean, he is a tough guy… Looks like you took a lot of punches before you went down” I said. He shook his head.

“No, I suck, and you know it” he sighed. “But, I did stand my ground for a bit.” I smiled at him.

“Cody, want to know something cool about me?” I asked.

“What?” he asked, his curiosity peaked.

“If I think something sucks or is weak, I don’t bother with it” I told him, grinning. He smiled.

“Ah, I feel so stupid” he chuckled. I shook my head.

“Cody, I watched you answer almost every question in class yesterday! You’re a genius!” I replied, smiling. He seemed to take that with great satisfaction.

“Thanks, Robin, that means a lot coming from a Holmes” he chuckled, fixing his hair. I laughed, and then the bell rang.

“So… Class…” He sighed.

“I don’t really want to go today,” Cody sighed, grabbing his books off the floor, “but I have to.” I smiled at him, tapping him.

“No, you don’t. I’m going to the NYPD today, so, if you want to join me, you can” I replied. “I only came today to talk to you.” He blushed.

“R- Really?” he asked.

“Well, yeah. Aren’t we friends? And isn’t that what friends do?” I replied, grinning. He was flattered, and nodded.

“I- I think- Well, yeah… You consider me a friend?” I laughed.

“Of course! After all, you helped me out yesterday, figuring school out” I replied. “I mean, I’m not too good at this sort of thing, but I think thats what makes us friends.” He nodded.

“Wh- Why thank you” he stuttered, books all in his backpack. “This- This is so cool! Friends with a Holmes. This is great!” he exclaimed, smiling. I smirked at him, and got back on my bike, and extended a hand.

“So, you wanna come?” he thought, biting his lip. “If you don’t want to, its okay. I’ll come and see you at lunch or something” I reassured. He sighed, taking my hand.

“I guess… Man, I’ve never disobeyed rules before” he chuckled to himself. I winced.

“Oof. Yeah, you may do a lot of that, hanging out with me” I admitted.

“Well, you know” he sighed, looking around, as if someone might try and stop him. “Might as well.” I gave him my helmet, and smiled.

“You might want to hold on” I said, revving up the engine.

“I’m good” he replied, and then when I actually started going fast he latched on, crushing me. I laughed at him, speeding down the freeway.

“You okay back there?”

“Yep!” No, he meant to say, I’m freaking out. I laughed, and decided to slow down just a bit.

“You sure?” His grip loosened just a bit.

“Yeah” he answered, sighing. Of course, this isn’t what he really felt. He was freaked out.

“Okay, we’re almost there.” I kept driving, Cody’s arms tightening around my waist. I skidded to a halt in the parking space, Cody’s nails digging into my side. “Okay, time to let go.” He loosened his grip, slowly getting off the bike as he trembled.

“Wow… Wow… Wow…”

“Its okay if you’re a bit freaked out” I said, getting off and patching everything up, locking the bike so that nobody would steal it.

“Okay, well, I’m freaked out” he said, taking off the helmet, sweating. “That was way scary.” I laughed, walking towards the doors of the precinct.

“Well, sorry” I chuckled.

“Hey! Robin!” Hazel called. I turned around, and smiled, the girl walking towards us. Cody looked at me, confused.

“She another friend?” he asked, smiling.

“Yeah. Hazel, this is Cody Blackwood. Cody, this is Hazel Moriarty” I said, smiling. Cody bristled.

“Shouldn’t you two hate one another?” he asked.

“No way! The Holmes family is amazing! I mean, my family brought his family so much trouble that I just want to hang out and get to know them. I want to create a peace, in a sense” Hazel explained.

“She means that she likes me, is sorry for all the trouble, and is glad we met yesterday” I explained, and Cody nodded.

“Okay, cool” he said, smiling. He extended a hand, which she gladly shook.

“So, Blackwood, what brings you here?” Hazel asked as we walked in.

“Oh, I’m with Robin” he said. I smiled.

“Cody is another friend of mine” I explained. “So, I asked if he wanted to join me today.” She nodded, grinning.

“Well, if he is to get access to the files, he’ll need a pass” she said, walking up to the front desk. “Question is, do you have the stomach for it?” Cody looked at me, and sighed.

“Well, what else am I gonna do?” he sighed. She nodded, and got him a pass, as well as one for herself, and one for me so that I wouldn’t get arrested again.

“So, there is this case file,” Hazel began, passing me a brown folder, “but the police almost figured that one out. Then there is this case, which doesn’t have anything too bad. I mean, nobody died, but nobody knows about what’s happening, either. Its a chinese pub where men go to gamble, and people have been going missing lately.” Cody nodded.

“Okay, so what are we supposed to do?” he asked. I smiled.

“Well, where is it?” I asked. Hazel gave me a stern smirk, shaking her head.

“NO, we’re staying here” she said. I opened it, and saw that is was in Chinatown- duh- on the far Eastern end.

“Oops, sorry, I need to grab some herbs to make a this great tea for Mrs. Hudson. Chow!” I said, taking the file as well as Cody’s wrist.

“Wait, wha?” Cody asked, Hazel catching on.

“Hey! You can’t go there!” she protested as I bolted out the door. “Robin!”

“Get on!” I shouted excitedly, jumping on my bike. Cody hopped on, pulling the helmet over his head as Hazel ran out in her heels. “Guys!” I drove out, laughing.

“Ah, this is gonna be SO fun!” I exclaimed, laughing as I drove down.

“Wait a sec!” Hazel protested, grabbing something… A skateboard? She had no chance of- Oh crap… I forgot. She was a Moriarty. Moriartys are genius’. She jumped on the board, and it actually kept up with my motorcycle.

“Wow thats cool!” Cody exclaimed. I sighed.

“Drats…”

“Robin, lets just stay at the precinct! You don’t need to go to the crime scene itself!” she said as we stopped at a red light. Then it beeped.

“Green means go!”

 

I managed to get Hazel to side with me and join us at the pub in Chinatown, and I smiled, laughing. “I knew that you’d give in” I chuckled.

“Shut up” she sighed, glaring at me with a smirk. “I’m just here to babysit you.” Cody sighed.

“Robin, maybe this is a bit too much?” he asked as I grabbed some herbs.

“Oh, come on…” Okay, maybe. “Look, I won’t do anything too rash, I promise” I said, and he nodded.

“Okay…” He didn’t like this… I turned to him, and smiled.

“Cody, its okay if you’re uncomfortable. If you really don’t like it, we can go, and I’ll just come back later” I reassured.

“But that means you’d be alone” he protested.

“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. If you don’t like it, you don’t need to stay here” I replied. He shook his head.

“Nah, I might as well” he replied, smiling sheepishly. Hazel looked him over, and leaned in close to me.

“He doesn’t have the stomach for it. Look, just get out of here” she whispered to me. I nodded.

“Look, Cody, maybe you’re right” I sighed. “Maybe we should just go home, okay?” I asked. He shook his head.

“I can do it, its okay” he reassured, sighing. And then came the giant squid that Hazel ordered to help freak the kid out, and Cody fainted. I sighed, glaring at her.

“Really?”

“He wasn’t going to last, and you know it. The fact he fainted only proves it. He wouldn’t have lasted in a pub with blood and drunk guys everywhere” she replied. I nodded, and sighed.

“How are we going to get him back home?” I asked. She sighed.

“I’ll help you get him on your bike” she answered, sighing. “And then I’ll see where he lives.” I shook my head, smiling.

“I know where he lives, its okay” I told her, smiling. “I think I’ll take him to the house and work on the case file over there.” She nodded, and helped me carry Cody off to the bike again.

“I’m waiting.”

“For?”

“For a ‘gee, thanks for helping me make it so my friend wouldn’t have passed out in front of tons of drunk men who could have killed him in a second’” she said, smirking.

“Hey, I’d have figured it out.”

“I bet.”

“You realize I am the worst friend ever right now, right? I’ve only known him two days” I told her. She smiled.

“Great!” she exclaimed. “Maybe then you’ll figure out that you can’t just rush off to random places with people who can’t handle stuff like you or me!”

“Oh, please. I’m a Holmes. We’re too thick to do anything but” I replied.

“Moron.”

“Bloody brat.”

“Annoying.”

“Mean.”

“Stupid.”

“Silly.”

“Typical teenage boy.”

“Girly girl.”

 

I went to Cody’s house with a jacked up face, helping drag Cody to his front door. He wasn’t light, but he wasn’t heavy, either. A woman opened the door with blue eyes and brown hair, wearing an apron, clearly making dinner.

“Did he skip school?” she asked. I winced.

“Yeah, that may be my fault” I answered. Most parents would be really angry, screaming and stuff. This parent?

“Oh thank God! My perfect son finally screwed up! Its a blessing!” she exclaimed, laughing and clapping.

“Uh, huh?” I asked as she walked me inside.

“Lay him there, would you?” she asked, pointing at the couch. I lay him down as she grabbed a wet rag.

“You’re happy he skipped?” I asked. She nodded eagerly.

“Oh, my son always was FAR too good! This for me is a blessing! Please, sit, sit!” she answered, setting the rag on Cody’s forehead.

“I don’t understand” I said, and she smiled.

“We’re the Blackwoods, and the Blackwoods are supposed to be mischievous and horrible, and while we’re smart, we’re still tough and fight back. Cody doesn’t realize that. He takes the punches, but he doesn’t fight back. He is being WAY too good” she explained.

“I’m a Holmes, you know that, right?” She clapped her hands.

“Great! You’ll get him into lots of trouble then!” she said, laughing. What a messed up lady. I felt my jaw drop. “Well, let me explain in finer detail. Cody is going to be a detective when he grows up” she continued, “but he can’t handle seeing dead stuff. Or bloody stuff… Or anything remotely horrifying. So, hanging with you will help him out a bit. I don’t want him in school because he already knows all of the stuff they’re teaching him, its a waste.” I nodded.

“And you think exposing him to a dangerous situation and my methods will coax him out of his mental box?” I asked.

“Yes. Would you mind?” she asked. I looked at Cody, and sighed.

“No, I wouldn’t… But I will not put him in direct danger” I answered. She smiled at me.

“Okay, good. Now, I’m going to make some dinner. Why not stay for a bit?” she asked.

“May I call my housekeeper and invite her over?”

“But of course!”

“ROBIN!” Mrs. Hudson hissed, running through the door. “You skipped?! Again?!”

“Mrs. Hudson, I can’t stand school” I answered. “Anyway, we’re eating dinner with the Blackwoods tonight.” She sighed, nodding. Cody was up and walking, trying to help around.

“Go away! Play video games or something!” his mother sighed. “Oh, and I am Marian, Mrs. Hudson, nice to meet you.” Mrs. Hudson nodded, and smiled.

“Thank you for watching Robin, deary, I know how much of a burden he can be” Mrs. Hudson said.

“Oh, not at all! Actually, I may be doubling your load” Mary said, laughing.

“Huh?”

“I want to ship Cody over to live with you” Mary said. Cody- who had been filling up glasses of water- dropped a glass, and froze.

“Are you serious?”

“Yes!” Mary said.

“I don’t know if I can do that” Mrs. Hudson chuckled. “I can barely pay for this one.” Mary smiled back.

“Oh, I’d pay for Cody, he’d just be living with you” she answered. “Of course, I’d want to see my baby once every week.”

“Do I have no say in this?” Cody asked. I sighed.

“Sorry, Cody, but I may have put you in an awkward position” I admitted. “But, we can hang out more.” He sighed.

“I’m such a weakling, passing out like that. Probably why she wants me gone.”

“No, you’re just not used to this” I answered. “And she wants you gone so you can get a deeper understanding of detective work. You’ll need to get used to dead stuff.” He nodded.

“Okay… Can I see that file?” he asked. I gave it to him, and we studied it together as the woman made a plan on how to support Cody and I.

“I don’t get this” I sighed. “Its so ridiculous. In order to figure this out, I need to be at the scene of the crime.” He nodded.

“Actually, this makes a lot of sense” Cody said. I watched him, confused. “I mean, look at this photo” he said, sliding one over.

“See? That sign on the wall?” he asked. I nodded.

“Okay?”

“Zǒuchū bùxìng hūnyīn de” Cody said. I wrinkled my nose.

“I don’t speak chinese” I told him. He sighed.

“It means ‘Way out of unhappy marriage’” he explained. “In other words, the men are disappearing because they want to. Thats why there are no corpses or anything” he said, smiling. I watched him, a newfound respect latching itself to Cody’s image. He was a genius.

“You speak chinese?”

“Bù, wǒ bù huì shuō zhōngguó huà” he chuckled, smiling at me smugly.

“I have no clue what you said, but cool” I said, smiling. “Cody, thats freakin awesome!”

“You think so?”

“Yeah! What’d you say?”

“I said ‘No, I don’t speak chinese,’ so that I could just use sarcasm” Cody said, ruffling his hair.

“Dude! Thats freakin awesome!” I exclaimed, laughing.

“Boys, dinner!” Mary called, smiling in on us.

“Sure, after we call in a tip” I replied, grabbing my phone. “Cody, that was so cool!” He flushed.

“Its not all that cool” he grumbled.

“You just solved your first case! And you weren’t even at the scene!” I replied.

“Hello?” I had called Hazel.

“I win! Cody figured it out- the case- all on his own. Ha” I teased, laughing at her. She seemed to be annoyed.

“You suck.”

“I’m awesome!”

“Want to meet again with Cody at the precinct?” she asked.

“Sure. See you then, I’ll give you the facts tomorrow.”

“Shouldn’t we tell the cops now?” Cody asked.

“Nah” I replied, smiling at him. “Your mom made pizza! Lets eat!” I replied, laughing.

“Uh, okay” he said, smirking. “Thanks.” I smiled at him, far too happy.

“No, thank you. Now, c’mon, that pizza won’t eat itself!”

 

Cody went to my house, bags all packed, and looked around.

“Where is my room?” he asked. I sighed.

“Oh, you can take mine for now” I replied. “I’ll sleep on the floor.”

“But its your bed!”

“And? I’ll be fine, get settled” I replied, smiling at him. Mrs. Hudson sighed, and went to her room. “Any way, I’ll be working a bit more on fighting in the basement, so I may not even sleep at all.”

“Oh… Okay” Cody sighed.

“You get some rest, I’ll see you in the morning and we can get a new case” I said, smiling at him.

“Okay… Thanks, Holmes. See you in the morning.”

Chapters 1 of Sentimental Android

Chapter one: The freaks

 

Hello, the name is Robin Martius Holmes, son of Jonathan Holmes, who in turn in the son of Sherlock Holmes. The year? 2017. The day? March thirteenth. My latest case? Well, truth be told, it was actually the beginning of my first…

“Mrs. Hudson, please go away” I moaned, pulling the pillow over my head. She yanked it off, an old woman with blondish gray hair and piercing black eyes.

“Get up! Its a school day!” she hissed.

“Mrs. Hudson, I don’t attend school” I moaned, rolling on my side. She rolled me onto the floor, tossing me jeans, yanking apart one of the curtains. I screamed. “Careful! Careful, Mrs. Hudson!” She yanked over two more as I started getting back up, and I face planted.

“Lordy! Fifteen, and already you look like you’re a dead man walking” she sighed, helping me up.

“You’re not helping” I groaned as she got me a shirt. “And I don’t need to go to a bloody school.” She sighed.

“You aren’t going to be like your father! I won’t let you.” By that she meant I wouldn’t die during a case because I was a detective like he was. “Try being a scientist or something.” I moaned.

“I hate science.”

“Historian.”

“History is just a bundle of words plastered in a book.”

“Lawyer?”

“I’d be SURROUNDED by detectives!”

“Fireman?”

“You trust me to put out a fire?”

“Engineer?!”

“Please, I hate getting greasy.”

“Police?!”

“You trust me with a gun? Plus, its still detective work, only more dangerous.” She screamed, shoving me into the bathroom.

“I don’t give a s&)t what the f)@ck you are so long as it isn’t a consulting detective!”

“Language, Mrs. Hudson!” I gasped, rubbing the sleep out of green eyes.

I grabbed a brush, and combed out my short, cropped red hair. I grabbed the toothbrush with pallid fingers, and sighed. Boring, boring, boring. I got in the typical white shirt, and then pulled on the jeans, and sighed.

“Now, off to school!”

“But I haven’t eaten breakfast, or made a lunch, or taken any money” I protested as she shoved me out the door.

“Oh, relax! Now, off you go!” I sighed, walking towards my motorcycle. Fine, grandma. I got on the bike, and went to the only school that Mrs. Hudson wanted me to go to, Stuyvesant High in Ireland.

“Wow” one kid gasped as I drove the bike into a parking space. “Nice ride.” I didn’t know that he was going to be my best friend at that time, but I knew something about him. He was weird.

“Huh?” I turned around to see a boy with black hair and blue eyes, his tan merging into his skin. Almost as if it were natural for him. Almost. He wore small, thin glasses which suited him, and rested on the bridge of his nose, making him look smarter than me- though, that is impossible (of course).

“Hi, I’m Cody Blackwood” Cody said, shaking my hand. I nodded.

“Robin Holmes, at your service.”

“Wow! Holmes?! And you’re british, too!” he gasped, very enthusiastic. “Man, that is so cool!” I nodded, smiling sheepishly.

“Uh, thanks… Hey, you going here for school?” I asked, and he nodded.

“Yeah… You?”

“Yep… What classroom?”

“102.”

“Dido.”

“Cool! Do you know where to go?” he asked, and I laughed.

“Ah… No… And I don’t have anything, either” I chuckled. He didn’t get it. “Its my first day in school ever… I don’t know anything about this sort of thing” I admitted. His jaw dropped.

“You serious?” Cody asked. I nodded.

“Ah haha, yeah, fraid so…” He shook his head.

“Oh, you are SO screwed” he sighed.

“Um… Gee, thanks” I said. He walked ahead of me, and sighed.

“Look, you have to be careful, there are jerks around here. Okay?” I nodded, smirking. Dude, I’m going to have to deal with bullies eventually. I smiled, walking behind Cody, who led me to class.

 

I felt like I was getting stupider every second, suffocating in that boring old classroom, looking at the river beside the window. So. Flippin. Bored. I finally got out, and then sighed.

“Cody?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m done.” He smiled at me.

“Yeah, same. I feel like I’m slowly being killed.”

“Yep… I kinda wanna ditch” I sighed.

“But then we could all-” I thought.

“Can’t do it… I am so outta here.” I walked to my bike, and realized that there  were three others boxing in the black beauty with blue flames I drove every day.

“Robin, just get back to the cafeteria” Cody said, walking behind. “If we get caught b-” he saw the bikes, and froze. “Too late.” I heard people walking towards us, and smiled.

“Uh, Cody? Who are those guys?” I asked.

“The bullies…” I nodded.

“Yo, morons, whatcha doin to ouh bikes?” a guy asked. He was so freakin fat, and he was hideous. However, one just watched me with red hair and brown eyes, a thin smile over his lips.

“Uh, sorry, I just want my bike” I chuckled, and they laughed.

“Das ouh bike, now” the fat kid said.

“Really? I don’t think you pay for it” I replied, looking it over. “Yeah, no, don’t think so. Can you just pull out your bikes and give me mine back?” The redhead walked up, grabbing my shirt collar.

“You’re odd, runt, ya know that?” An Irish kid? I watched him, erring on the side of caution… Oh, what the hell? I smiled, and twisted his arm back.

“I hate pricks like you!” I said, laughing. “They piss me off SO bad!” He let out a gasp, Cody jumping. The fat kid grabbed the scrawny boy by the neck, choking him.

“Let mine go, I let yos go” he growled. I let the brit go, and waited as Cody dropped, wheezing.

“Man, this sucks” Cody moaned, and I smiled. The brit laughed at me, and then saw me, as if he recognized me.

“You’re a Holmes!” he exclaimed, laughing. I looked at him, trying to remember him.

“Do we know one another?” I finally asked.

“No” the brit chuckled, walking off. “Come on, lets leave him be.” I watched as the two moved their bikes out of my way, and left, and sighed in relief. Creepy.

“So… You’re going to ditch?” he asked, and I sighed.

“I need to find something to do. Go to the police, find a case, do something” I explained… Then I smirked. He was a good person. “But, if you want to hang out later, you can come over to my house” I said. He smiled.

“Seriously?”

“Why not? Its 221 B, come any time you want, just say you’re my friend” I answered, grabbing my helmet. “Where do you live?”

“I live right across the street. See? I’m that brick house right there with the rose garden in the front and the blue shutters.” It was a nice spot with a nice patio and porch, which made me happy for him. He smiled, and walked off. “Stay out of trouble, Holmes!” he called.

“Clearly you don’t know my family history” I chuckled. We were always in trouble, and being out of it was just plain old ridiculous. It just didn’t happen.

 

I walked into the police off, and what I got? Well, I got arrested for a bit, and when they realized who I was, they let me go, and tossed me all sorts of cases… All far too easy. Then they gave me another, a case of murders all focusing on stories. Some written by Edgar Allen Poe, others by my father, or Arthur Conan Doyle- Jon Watson in disguise- and even from some blogs that I had written, just as a sort of way to mess around.

“Well, odd” I sighed, closing my eyes, tired. Then there was this girl who fell inside, my age, with olive skin and brown hair, her eyes black and annoyed.

“Darn it” she yawned, stretching. Then she saw me, and flushed.

“Hi” I greeted. She waved, and picked up a file on the table which I hadn’t opened.

“May I?” she asked. I nodded, and sighed. She was cute, wearing a suit and purple ascot. I smiled at her, ruffling my hair.

“Ah, whats your name?” I asked her. She flushed.

“I’m Hazel… And you?”

“Robin… Why’re you here?”

“Oh… I’m trying to get some stuff done.”

“A girl like you? You’re so young” I noted.

“And you aren’t?”

“My family is exactly the same. Its in my blood.” She nodded.

“Yeah, mine too.” She sighed.

“Really? Which family do you belong to?”

“Yeah. I’m Moriarty” she answered. I didn’t know what to do.

“Uh… Robin… Holmes” I said, and she gasped.

“Oh thank God!” she exclaimed. “I am so sorry for all the trouble my family brought yours!” she said. I flushed.

“Huh?”

“We Moriartys have been horrible to you poor Holmes guys” she explained. “I don’t like it, so I’m sorry.” I didn’t get it.

“Shouldn’t you hate me?” I asked.

“Oh, God no!” she said, smiling at me. “Anything but! You’re grandfather is my idol! And your father!” I nodded.

“Why, thank you… So, you ditch school, too?”

“Yeah, it was just horrible, sitting through that. It felt like I was losing brain cells.” I laughed, nodding.

“Thats what I felt like!” I exclaimed, getting out of my seat. “Man, I’m so glad I met you!” She smiled, bowing.

“Pleasure is all mine!” I realized she needed a seat, and pointed at mine.

“Here, you have it” I said, smiling at her. She shook her head.

“You had it first.”

“But, you’re a girl” I replied, confused. She laughed.

“Ah, no, I’m a tomboy. So, ha. Take the chair.” I liked this girl.

“So… Whats your family like?” I asked her finally.

“Oh, we’re much nicer now. But, I don’t think it’ll last” she admitted. I nodded.

“Same… So, how is your grandfather?”

“Still sexist as always” she sighed. “He is yelling at me for being a girl.” I winced.

“Ooof. That sucks.” She shrugged.

“Well, its okay, he does try to make me feel at home… When he isn’t trying to gut me. For now I’m just trying to help the cops” she said. I nodded, smiling at her.

“Well, if you ever need a break, I’m free” I said. She smiled, and got out her phone.

“Whats your number?” she asked, and I freaked. She wanted my number.

“Ah, its 992-739-2029” I answered, watching as she typed it in. She smiled, and texted my phone.

=3, iz me I laughed, and texted her the =3 back.

“Okay, now we can talk… Oh, I should get home” she sighed, and I realized it was five twenty three.

“I’ll see you again… Tomorrow?” I asked, and she smiled.

“Sure.”

“Call me.”

“Okay.” I smiled, watching her walk out, flustered. Ah, first crush.

Hey, cool news!

Hey, cool thing right here! I’m a writer, but you already knew that. I’ve been checking this day in and out to see if anyone wants me to continue my series or not, and am only writing on this blog so that I may get better with advice the readers give to me.

Another cool thing, the only way I can get better is if you guys write reviews or comments. I know, so hard! But I’m not a telepath. If I’m going to be able to write a good story, I need help. And lots of it.

So please, if you read this, send my blog out to different people, and asking them to read it. Because if you won’t write reviews or chats of what you did or didn’t like in this, I’m sure somebody will.

Heck, I don’t even care if your a hater and TRASHING every single post I make, just tell me what you do or don’t like!

PLEASE!!!

400 pages! PLEASE GIVE FEEDBACK! Its title it the Lies in the Shadows.

Chapter one

I get very bored, very easy. However, that’s only because I’m a 15 year old girl surrounded by men from 26 to 53 years, and it was boring compared to being a detective who got to shoot stuff. Yes, fifteen. Thats what happens when you and any other human who wasn’t alive in 2057 gets. Thats when program L.C.E came into play. Letting Children Excel. In other words, our first grade is your third.
I was working in Egypt beside a very small tomb which seemed to have a network of tunnels beneath it. Somebody gave us a tip that there were artifacts inside it under the city in the tomb. It was so hot! Then again, thats what happens in summer.
However, I was the one who started this expedition, so I had to end it. How? Well, I worked really hard, and the other guy got fired. I.O.W, I got lucky.
I was also going to meet a guy from the government who was meant to protect me. As if I needed protection! Silly traps inside the tomb. Hell, there wasn’t really even a chance of that. Nobody booby traps a small tomb unless a king is buried in it.
“Hazel! XIA” Xia was my code name. Xi for ‘eleventh’ and ‘a’ for alone, mostly because I was abandoned as a baby and in an orphanage, hence the ‘alone’ part.
I didn’t like it, but thats life for you. I turned around to see who said it, and then saw the black car.
“Ah… Okay” I grumbled, grabbing my water canteen. I ruffled my brown hair, and then stuck it under a hood and mask to cover my mouth. I placed glasses over my green eyes to cover the sun, and then smiled.
I had gotten very tan, but not enough to go olive. I walked over, dust going everywhere. I then took off the mask, and sighed. Probably be another old dude. Then he got out, and I became a total girly girl. He was pale, black hair, blue eyes. I was so flustered, and he was my age, too!
“Hello, Mrs…”
“No last name” I said, and he nodded.
“I don’t have a last name either. Its just Roxas” he said, extending his hand. Oddly enough, he was in a netted shirt with long black pants, and gloves with no fingers.
“Oh… Why?”
“Don’t remember it.” He smiled, and pointed at the tomb. “So, we going inside yet?” I was dumb for a sec, then realized he wanted to go.
“Oh… Uh… No, I still need to grab my flashlight and knife and then a bit of first aid” I said, running back to my tent. He made me bright pink as I blushed. Roxas… It almost sounded like an anime character.
“Hey, I think I have the first aid” he said. Then I remembered why he was here, and sighed angrily.
“I don’t understand why I need protection. Its just a tomb, and probably has nothing of value” I said.
“We know, but still” he said, chuckling. I got all my stuff, and walked out.
“Isn’t this a bit overkill?” I asked. He shook his head.
“Lately archaeologists have been going missing. People will probably be looking for you” he said. I nodded.
“Thats it?”
“And the traps!”
“There won’t be traps!” We walked in, and what’s the first thing we run into? Let me give you a hint, it wasn’t a brick wall. Roxas pushed me out of the way just in time. And he couldn’t help but smile at me devilishly.
“Oh, shut up!” I said, sighing. He continued to smile at me, and I ignored… Then realized he was a cute boy, and he had his arms around me. I pushed him off, flushing up a storm, and looked on. My flashlight was rolling slowly away.
“I was right” he laughed, a grin spreading from cheek to cheek. Then came the spears! It stabbed his leg, and he screamed out, the echo bouncing off the dank, dark walls of the halls.
“Roxas!” I grabbed his arm, and pulled him out, the spear shattering. He was laughing for some reason as I dragged him out of the way.
“That was fun!” he said, tears welling up in his eyes.
“What is your issue?!” I screamed at him, laying him down.
“Well, I’m not dead!”
“Thats probably laced with poison!” He laughed.
“I’ve survived cyanide, rattle snake poison, and baby scorpion stings. This is just one of those, but bigger” he said. I was in a tomb with a nutso. He was so stupid! “I mean, this’ll be fun.” He was so lying!
“I’ll just… I’ll try to…” I can’t stand blood, and yet, there I was, without a medic and needing to get my hands dirty.
“Its fine” he said, and I shook my head. The spear was right there, rolling on the floor. And it had sharpie on it.
“W-” This whole place… A fake. The spear was number 38. This whole place was a lie. And that made it more entertaining. I tore Roxas’ pant leg open, and almost puked.
“Hey, leave it be” he said, and I realized he was doing it for me.
“Roxas, this doesn’t have any poison on it, but we’re in a tomb. This place has dust everywhere, and it’ll make the wound septic. We need to at least bind it” I said, getting some alcohol.
“Please, just don’t.” I did, and he let his head go back a bit to look up. I got the stuff on it, and he screamed.
“That hurts!” he hissed.
“Stop being such a girl! I don’t like this either” I replied. He slapped the alcohol away and grabbed the bandages.
“I’m not being a girl” he grumbled in protest. It was really tempting to point out he was crying, but then again, who wouldn’t after getting shanked in the leg by a spear? I mean, come on! He pulled himself up on the wall, and looked around.
“How are you standing?!”
“Please, I’ve trained for situations like this for… What, nine years?” Since he was SIX! He rubbed his eyes, and smiled.
“… Really?” he nodded. “…Oh.” I grabbed what remained of the spear, and frowned.
“Can you give me that?” he asked, pointing beside me. “The bottle?” I gave it to him. I didn’t get it, but he had done this for forever, so… He took the spear in my hands as well, and chucked the bottle in front of us. Spears came through the wall, and he slammed the broken spear in his hand down on them.
“Ninja?” I asked, trying to hide a smile.
“Give me the flashlight” he ordered. I gave it to him, and he threw that too, and repeated the slamming. After the med. kit and the jar of ice-cream, we finally made it through… I get cravings, okay! Ice cream is really good! I just stuff it in my backpack! Okay, know what, not explaining myself. Just deal.
“Hey, you need to sit. You’re going to bleed out” I said to him, grabbing some stuff.
“Aren’t I supposed to be taking care of you?” he asked, and he smirked.
“Roxas, I have a sedative.”
“Hazel, I have a pistol.”
“Where?!”
“Hip.”
“Where on you- Oh…”
“Oh what? Its right here!”
“Oh!”
“You’re sick.” When he destroyed the spears and stole the pointy parts- spear heads- he stuffed them in his pocket.
“Why are you taking those?” I asked.
“These things have motion sensors.” As if it answers my questions?
“Yeah?” I asked. “Modern tech. So we should go.”
“Hazel, its 2072, and this is stuff from 2012, meaning somebody stashed something back here and didn’t want anyone to find it. Doesn’t that peak your curiosity?”
“Of course! I’d just prefer it if my curiosity didn’t kill you!”
“It wouldn’t kill me, it’d kill some cat.”
“…What?”
“Joke, just ignore it” he sighed. “Look, if I can stand, I can live.”
“And if your legs go numb?”
“THEN we’re screwed, but not yet!” he said, walking down.
“Look, at least let me call help” I said.
“Phones won’t work down here.”
“I have a walkie talkie.”
“Really?” I held it up, and smiled. He then proceeded to shoot it, and made me freak.
“What the hell?!”
“Oops” he chuckled.
“WHY would you even think of doing that, you sonofa-”
“I think yours was bugged.”
“We’re going to DIE down here!”
“Don’t be so dramatic” he scoffed.
“I’m not being dramatic!” Okay, maybe I was just a bit… Okay, a lot… Okay, fine!
“Look, I have MY walkie, okay, so calm down.”
“So you just don’t want me to have one.”
“Bingo!”
“Not cool!”
“DQ.” He walked on, smirking.
“Smug little turd.” He paused, and stopped me.
“Do you smell that?”
“If somebody let a rip, it was you.”
“No, I mean, I smell… Bacon.”
“There is no way we can be smelling bacon!”
“No, seriously, just close your eyes, and breathe in. It really does smell like bacon and… Brown sugar…?” I did, and he was right. Only one person made a bacon like that, and his name was Tulio.
“We’re right beneath the market under a sugar bacon stand” I explained. “Tulio, a cook I recruited, is trying to raise money so we can have better food” I said. “Don’t piss him off. He’s really good with knives.”
“Good, it’ll be our escape” he said, walking on.
“Escape? From what?”
“We’ve only run into two traps. Something tells me we’ll run into another one soon” he said. Wonderful. Fan-freakin-tastic. Just what we needed. He started throwing the spear heads, and we kept moving. He was right. Only two easy traps that weren’t able to kill us? There had to be another. A bigger one. Little by little, inch by inch, second by second, we were getting closer to our deaths… Or a brick wall… Roxas grabbed my pack, and got out a match.
“What’re you-” He grabbed a candle, and lit it. “What’s th-” He picked me up, and started running. “Hey!” It hit me the candle was TNT.
“Is tha-” It couldn’t be.
“It is.” WHAT?!
“You wouldn’t!” Right?
“I am.” NO!
“But it’ll-” cave in!
“No it won’t.” Then came the explosion.
“You blew up the wall?!”
“Yes” he answered, putting me down.
“Are you crazy?!”
“Just a little bit, but aren’t we all a tad nuts?” We turned back around, the wall open, shadows everywhere. I pointed my light at it, and was shocked. Gold. All gold. Gold from not only Egypt, but the gold bricks from London, doubloons from what seemed to come out of Peter Pan, and millions of dollars from the U.S.
“Wow.”
“More than wow!” I smiled, my fingers digging into the cooled metal.
“You’re rich. Though, that money from London and the U.S has to go back.”
“WE’RE rich!” I protested. “WE found it! Together! I’d have died, had it not been for you” I said, tossing him some coins.
“Its like somebody just…”
“Stuffed it all in here-”
“And didn’t want to share it with anyone.” We stuffed our pockets with gold and jewels. Then he looked over. “Look. Its a necklace. Odd for that to be here” he said, walking over to it. He lifted the gold off of a pillow, a red ruby in the center with emeralds and sapphires in the chain.
“Hey, look, its got an inscription” I said, the light reflecting it.
“Portia, adorabunt te amem, Julius Caesar” Roxas read, his head twisting awkwardly. “What in the seven hells is this?”
“Julius Caesar?! Portia?! NO WAY!!! That was from Julius to his wife!”
“Shouldn’t this be in her tomb or museum or something?” he asked.
“Well, yeah.”
“Okay, lets get out of here” he said, walking out. Just one step, and then some sand started to pour out of some holes.
“Hazel?”
“Yeah?”
“We need to run.”
“Why? Its just sand.”
“Something really heavy is weighing down on it. This is the last trap.”
“Oh no! We’re in a room and we’re gonna get dusty!” I squealed in mock terror. Then came the boulder. Roxas grabbed me again, and I couldn’t believe how fast he was, carrying my weight on a leg that had yet to be taken care of. It was almost unreal. I looked for the trap door, but didn’t see it. Where was it?! He suddenly threw me in the air, and I broke through wood. Tulio yelled at me angrily, then realized it was me, and looked down. Roxas was trying to jumped, but he couldn’t reach. Did I save him? Duh! I couldn’t believe I had second thoughts. I reached down, my arm dangling. He jumped up, grabbing my hand. For some reason, it seemed his shadow was missing, and I could barely hear the boulder… Or was it the boulder? I couldn’t tell.
“Thanks” he gasped, pulling himself up. The boulder only then went past and under, deeper into the tunnel. “Well… That was boring.” he said.
“You’re insane!” I hissed.
“Hazel?”
“What?!”
“My legs just went numb.” I grabbed his walkie talkie, and called for help, scolding him. Tulio did, however, give us free sugar covered bacon. And we still had all our gold, too. My guys said he was fine, and he went to get his car. For some reason, I didn’t want to go with him. Maybe it was because he muttered I could die.

Ch. 2

I led Hazel to the car, and we buckled up. My leg itched SO bad! “Its like a limo” she mumbled. “Only… Smaller.”
“Right?” I asked, laying back. “Its standard issue for high ranking officers.”
“I still don’t get why I have to come with you” she said. I handed her a grape soda from the cooler in the seat beside me, and smirked.
“Well, I have to protect you, and I also want to figure out this puzzle with Portia’s necklace, and who stole it, so I need to take you with me to the IPS” I explained. International Protection Services. It was a small base in the Bermuda Triangle. “I mean, what place is safer than the base?”
“Nowhere, I guess.” Hazel became fidgety, rubbing a silver ring with gold leaves embroidered on it, and repeating the process. “But still, isn’t it… Against the rules, in a sense, to bring me to the base? And why not just do research on the necklace here? Why do you still have to protect me even though the expedition is over?” she asked.
“It depends. In this case, the rules don’t apply.” It was true, because I was sent to protect her. “And I wasn’t sent to protect you JUST in the tomb, I was sent to protect you from everything. Tombs, robbers, bad songs, ect. And I’m not going to try and figure the puzzle in my pocket out here because this place is full of people who would do a lot to steal this stuff.”
“Oh… Okay…” She bit her lip, nervous. I didn’t know why, she hadn’t been like this in the tomb.
“Look, it’ll be fine.” I smile at her, but it didn’t seem to make her feel better.
“Alright” she whispered. So, we drove to the airport, and buckled up in my jet- also standard. Later in the evening when Hazel fell asleep, I played with a black ball, sighing.
“Fun. Oh, what fun” I sighed, spinning it between my fingers. The shadows around me danced, and I felt my skin crawl. Why was I such a freak? I manipulated the shadows to make a doll, and smirked. It was a doll of the same man who I had nightmares about. A man of all shadow with no face or hair, and yet, he’d still talk, he could still see me in the dream, and he smelled the fear.
“Why not just tell her I’m a shadow user?” I questioned. Shadows were my thing. I could have easily escaped that tomb, but didn’t want to freak Hazel out. In fact, the only reason I wasn’t crushed was because my shadows stopped the boulder. I could make anything with shadows. I played with the dolls arms, and then it got bigger, and bigger, and bigger until it was looming over me.
“I’m hungry for your eyes” it said, and I couldn’t move. Hell, I couldn’t breathe! “We can work together, and you can live with me in peace, if you just remember” he continued. I made a knife, and jammed it in his leg.
“Hell no!” I pushed him off, and ran to the cockpit of the jet, slamming and locking the door, only to realize Hazel was still in there.
“Boy, you’re starting to get me angry” the man said, morphing behind me. I tried to open the door again, but he grabbed me by the scruff of my neck, and held me up. “And when I get angry, blood spills.” I woke up, screaming, my leg throbbing, and Hazel jumping. I let my head move back and rest on the seat, trying to dig my nails out of the chair and not rip out any more stuffing.
“Are you okay?” she asked, standing up. It was night time. I must have dozed off. I nodded, catching my breath. I didn’t want to close my eyes. I didn’t want the man to come back. Curse him. But, sadly, I went back to sleep, and tried to block out all dreams.

The next day I made Hazel an omelet, and then went to the cockpit. “Capillus?” I asked. Crazy Awesome Program Internationally and Legally Linked to Universal Servers. I made him british, and gave him real, human emotions and attitudes.
“Sir” he greeted as I walked in.
“Hey, Cap.”
“How was your sleep, sir?”
“Okay.”
“Might I ask why we’re taking a woman to the IPS?”
“I’m protecting her from our kidnapper, and other such dangers.”
“Might I ask why you’re trying to hide the fact you like her?” I couldn’t believe it, so I tried to think that it was a dream.
“Wh-Wh- I-”
“Your hormone levels su-”
“Cap! I do not like her!” I hissed, crossing my arms. “I don’t like Hazel, I’m simply her guard.”
“Hormones beg to differ.”
“Stuff it!”
“She likes you too, sir.” Growing interested. Very, very interested.
“Okay, listening.”
“She likes you, and you like her. As you people say, ‘come on’!” he said. “So, I’m going to wait for my bachelor-” me “to get a life, be normal, and have a crush. Just stop working for one day!”
“You’re a program, not my mother!” Mainly because I didn’t HAVE a mother.
“Would you like me to sing immature songs?”
“You wouldn’t!” He changed his voice to make it sound like a whole class was talking.
“Hazel and Roxas sittin in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-”
“Nope!” I slammed my hand on the mute button, and sighed. Just in time, because Hazel walked in.
“Roxas?”
“Yes?”
“Your plane is singing about love and marriage.” DRATS!!! I sighed, and went back, sitting down. Hazel smiled, and wavered. “I need to take a shower. Do you have one?”
“Uh… Yeah, do-” Now, for some reason, Capillus just couldn’t leave me be. He flipped the plane, and forced me to catch her.
“Uh…. Uh…. Uh…” Hazel was dumb struck.
“Why you li- Capillus!”
“Sorry, sir, glitch” he said. I could imagine a smug grin on his face. Too bad he didn’t have one.
“Yeah, glitch.” I chuckled, thinking of everything I could do to get revenge. I would put a code into his system to make him sneeze every other word, and that drives him crazy.
“C- Can I- I’d like to-” Hazel stuttered. I helped push her up, and she bowed, flushing. “Thanks.” She went back to her chair, and looked forward, and then walked back, trying to guess where the shower and restroom was.
“We have two more hours and ten minutes” Capillus told me, and I nodded.
“Then I’m taking a nap.”

My nose itched. I waved my left hand over it, because it felt like a fly. Then it came back, and I did this again, until on the third try, I slammed my right hand down on my face, and it was wet. I woke up, sputtering whip cream and gasping.
“Hey!” I shouted, Hazel looking down on me.
“Capillus told me he’d post it on the internet” she said innocently.
“WHY would you do that?!” I asked angrily.
“How else am I to mess with you?”Cap reasoned.
“Sometimes, I regret making you” I scoffed.
“SOMETIMES.” I sighed, went to the bathroom, and cleaned my face. “Thirty seconds to land.” Wonderful. As the plane started jumping up and down, landing roughly, I got up, ignoring the fact that doing this was not very smart for a kid who couldn’t use one of his legs, and went to the bathroom. I only then realized that they drew a mustache on me too. I heard Boss outside. Oh God! I went outside, freaking.
“Ah, agent” he said, smiling at me. Boss was a tall, strong man with silver hair and whiskers, black eyes sparkling.
“Sir! Sorry, Sir” I said, bowing.
“Why’re you hiding your face?”
“Halloween?” Hazel asked.
“Who is she?” he asked.
“His cr-” Cap began to say, and I muted him.
“Ritical person I need to protect! Shut up, shut up, shut up” I whispered, crying of embarrassment. Boss removed my hand, and smiled.
“Nothing there.” He wrapped his arm around me, and smiled. Oh, they put it on the mirror. The mustache. “So in two days it’ll be the 75th anniversary of the agency. So, if you want to keep her here, you have to sing at the dance!”
“Sir? Are the others still trying to get me to do it, even after I’ve said no? Is that why you want me to go to the dance?”
“Yes, can you blame me? Or them?”
“Yes, I can!”
“I can’t” he chuckled, smiling.
“But its soooo… Girly!” I protested.
“Son, have you ever heard of Justin Bieber?” he asked.
“That moron from 2011?”
“Yeah, and Lex Copperballs?”
“CopperFIELD. 2036
“Davey Dasher?”
“2057.”
“If you ain’t them, you ain’t girly. They’re the girliest men that ever lived. Just try to be like Elvis or something.”
“But the way he died i-”
“Don’t. Just don’t.” I nodded, and just stopped talking. There was no arguing with him.
“And they wa-”
“FINE!!!” Boss smiled and nodded at her.
“Well, M-”
“Hazel. Just Hazel” Hazel said, smiling. He turned back to me, and leaned he smiling.
“She is cute” he said.
“Oh God, not you too!” I sobbed, angry. Hazel giggled, then stopped, and bowed her head
“Sorry” I didn’t see her this nervous… Ever! “I appreciate you taking me in on such short notice.” She was acting so fragile. Seriously?! I sighed angrily.
“None of that now, girl” Boss said, smiling as he patted my shoulder. Then he walked ahead. I didn’t know why, but Hazel suddenly thrust her hand on my shoulder. I turned around, and saw an olive boy with black hair and glasses closing his eyes. Geek.
“Did it work?” he asked, and I smirked, calming.
“Did what work? Where did you come from? Who are you?” Hazel asked.
“I’m named Cody, I want to know if my teleporter worked, and I am looking for a boy, maybe you can help me. Pale, black hair, zombie, really scary looking?” he asked. I got him in an arm lock.
“I’m not a zombie!” I shouted, giving him a noogie.
“It worked! I’m a genius!” Cody exclaimed, laughing. Cody and I have been buddies for… Couple years now. In a week or so he’d turn fifteen.
“Agent Stein was starting to miss his lab rat” Boss chuckled, and Cody gave me a big hug, which wasn’t all that, considering he was more of a toothpick than me. Yeah, Hazel called him that.
“He is a GERBIL” Cody corrected, laughing. I shuddered. Cody really did turn me into one of those evil balls of fur, once, and it wasn’t pretty.
“So, teleportation, huh?” Hazel asked, looking him up and down.
“Yep! See, first I’m here, and now-” he reappeared behind her, “I’m here! Cool, huh?” Hazel jumped, and smiled. Her jaw was partially open, but I don’t think she noticed. “I even made one for you, Roxas” he said, tossing me a watch. “See, using my wireless, I uploaded the system of your earpiece to connect to the watch. You say where you want to go, and slam your hand on the watch.” I nodded, strapping it on. “However, Capillus can pull you out of a mission if he thinks you’ll be killed or captured, so as not to compromise the mission.”
“But you didn’t say anything” Hazel noted.
“No, but I have a chip in my brain, so I just have to think it.”
“Can’t someone hack into that and kill you?”
“Nope.”
“Ah.” I smiled, and then Cody saw my leg.
“What happened?!” he asked, squatting and poking it.
“That hurts” I said casually.
“I’d hope so! Into my lab, c’mon” Cody sighed, walking me over.
“I’ll show Hazel where she’ll be staying” Boss said, leading her away.
“Thank you, but I’d like to go with them” she said, following us.
“Okay, suit yourself!”

She was in awe. Hazel looked at vials all around as Cody sat me down. “Hazel, would you like some tea?” Cody asked. “I can leave an-”
“Let me get it!” she cut off, smiling. “I’d be happy to. Just tell me where to go.” Cody didn’t seem to understand, so he stood a bit before he answered her.
“Go down the hall, turn left, and keep going along that hall. It’ll be a big black door, you can’t miss it” Cody said, and when she left, he nodded.
“Why do you get all the nice chicks?” he asked me. I facepalmed.
“Look, she is just a mission! I can’t hit on her!”
“Oh, so she’s free game?”
“NO!” He rolled his eyes, and looked at the stab wound.
“Oh, gross.”
“What?”
“They left in all the dust, wood shards, the arrow head, and some… They put some mush in it.” I tried not to barf when I saw it.
“Oh, that gross.”
“Yep. Okay, here” he said, grabbing me one of the vials. “Drink this.” I did, and felt… Well, it felt like someone had hit me over the head with a bat, but removed all the pain so I simply felt uncomfortable and couldn’t move.
“What is that?” I asked groggily.
“Its a special drug I made. Tested it on myself seven times, so it won’t hurt you or mess you up.” I chuckled.
“THATS why you’re so stupid.” He jammed his thumb in the wound and I winced.
“I can still make it hurt” he said, grinning. I laughed.
“Man I missed you.”

Chap. three

I let Roxas fall asleep before stitching him up, and sighed. This was so nasty, but whatever. I thought back to when we first met. He was skinny and small, more pallid than anything else. I didn’t like him at first. He was a vampire. His skin was littered with cuts and bruises, and he said it was because of this monster in his head. I decided to talk to him for real one day, and to not judge. And know what happened? I met his shadow. And want to know how?
Me: So… You… Like games?
Roxas: No. My life is a game. I hate it.
Me: Oh-Kay. What do you like?
Roxas: Like? What does ‘like’ mean?
Me: Well… It means… Well, its hard to explain. Its just this feeling in your heart that makes you happy.
Roxas: Happy?
Me: You don’t know what happy means?
Roxas: Is there such a thing?
Then he clutched his left eye, suddenly crying. He had black tears.
Roxas: Ow. Ow. Ow.
Me: What’s happening?
Roxas shivered, crying, and collapsed onto his knees. I was confused, and took a step back. That didn’t help, of course. A black figured sewed itself up, and I sank slightly.
Monster: I want your eyes.
Shuddering, I watched as Roxas curled up into a little ball as the monster hit him, kicked him, and laughed. Then I was pulled into the real world by a scream.
“Gah!” It was a girl. It was the girl from earlier, and it was clear that she was frightened. Roxas wouldn’t be any help, he was still unconscious. I had to do it.
Girl, go to the girl I told myself, and I slammed my hand down on my watch. Then I was in the kitchen, and saw her sinking, just as I had done in my little flash back. And it didn’t take long before I realized why.
“Help! Hey, help!” she screamed, flailing. “Cody!” I reached for her, and then it was there. The monster.
“I want your eyes.” I bristled.
“Seriously? Thats creepy!” I shouted, and it grabbed my wrists.
“Where is he?”
“Let the hell go. Seriously, weirding me out” I sighed simply, bristling still.
“I want to know where my puppet is.” Slowly, the black spread over my arms. Slowly, Hazel crept out of the puddle, taking deep breaths.
“And I want to know how you got in.” The black slipped down my lab coat, and pulled me a bit closer. Its face- or where its face would have been- rested only an inch away from my own. And it was on one knee, smiling. Well, its cheeks were spread out, giving me the impression of a smile.
“I’m a part of my puppet. I was always get inside. Now, where is he? I must have that necklace, and this archeologist” he explained, and Hazel slipped again.
“Ah, so you’re the kidnapper” I noted. I could do nothing other than talk. The other agents would have to join. “And yet, makes no sense. Why do you need them? Surely not for that artifact” I said, smiling.
“Oh, but it is.” Hazel was down to her hip.
“Why?”
“Portia?” Hazel guessed, and he turned towards her.
“Yes. Portia, and Julius. Only, thing is, its not a real artifact. Its something I hold dear. Something I’ve wanted so keenly that I have lived off of you weak, foolish, ugly humans for a century” he chuckled. “And now that he has found it, I want it back, before damage can be delt to my beloved..” I laughed.
“Man, you are creepy!” The black slid up my neck and to the tops of my ears. Hazel started to drown.
“Hold on, what’s this? What have you got in your head?” it asked, laughing. The black rose over my lips, tightening.
“Mn-”
“Ah, what would happen if I were to seep into it? Infect it?” he asked. “Wouldn’t that just be horrible?” It was all around me, right below my eyes.
“Mnn. Mnn. Mnn!” It hurt. It hurt, so bad. And now he was in my head.
“CODY!!!” I was surrounded, suffocating, dying, and fading into nothingness.
Help. Help. I gasped, but I wasn’t gasping. I simply wasn’t breathing. And I was dying.
“Would you like out?” he asked, all around me. Like speakerphones.
Yes. Yes, I would.
“Then tell me where little puppet is, so its easier for me.”
Not. A shot. In hell. And I was being crushed.
“Just tell me. Right now. I need it. I need to survive.”
So do I. So does he. So does she. Sucks to be you, you psychopath. And I fainted.

“He okay?” I heard in echoes bouncing off the wall. A hand gripped my wrist.
“Yes. Pulse is steady. What a shame.” I didn’t move. What was happening? Where was I? What happened in the past? Oh Lord, where was I? “Ah, I think he is awake, or at least, trying to wake up.” Oh crap.
“What?” the other person asked. I really did want to wake up, but was in a twilight. I couldn’t.
“Nnnn-” was all I could squeeze out, and the hand let go.
“I wonder how he will react. To figure this one out” the first voice said.
“I don’t think it’ll be a good reaction” the second voice answered.
Let. Me. Go. I had to wake up, God darn it.
“Its just a shame I couldn’t take the girl as well. Now I have to go back, and you-know-who will be twice as cautious” the first sighed.
“Maybe we could use four eyes here to our advantage.” Four eyes, really? Bad enough you kidnapped me, but now you insult me?
“No. No, I don’t want for any more people to get hurt. We just need that cursed necklace. We don’t need to put him into harms way TOO much. Not physically, I hope.” Why not ‘not at all.’
“Okay. Well, what are we to do with him?”
“I’m not sure. I mean, we will need to rough him up.”
“What happened to not hurting too him much?”
“Oh, we won’t physically damage him unless necessary, as I said before.” The hand was buckled into something.
“I-I don’t understand.” You and me both, buddy.
“I am going to screw with him. Just a bit.”
“Just don’t ruin him too bad.”
“I won’t. Actually, we’ll need him to wake up first. Starting-” He jammed something harshly into my leg, and I jolted awake, my hands and feet tied down.
“Ah!”
“Now.” there was a person who looked almost exactly like Roxas, but with red hair and green eyes. Same face, same hair style, same type of skin color. “Why, good morning” he greeted. There was also a taller boy with white hair and pallid blue eyes.
“He seems very worried” that one chuckled.
“Naw, not lik- I’m hurtin” I wheezed, twisting and turning. “Let. Me. Go!”
“Nope. Not after dragging your unconscious body 1,200 miles in under 20 minutes.” What. The. Hell.
“Wh-”
“Shadow travel” the white haired boy answered, cutting me off.
“I don’t care, or even kn-”
“I move and melt with shadows. Its your version of teleportation, but slower” the redhead answered. “Now, introductions. I am Zion. This is my partner, Robin.”
“I. Don’t. Bloody. Care. Need. I. Say. It. Slower?” I asked, and then continued thrashing even more. Zion laughed, and turned his back towards me.
“Ain’t this funny? I mean, he is cute!” I stopped.
“Cute? Excuse me, but I am NOT cute!” I growled, glaring. “And right now is a terrible time to say that since you’re going to do God knows what to me!”
“Well, lets see what we should do, huh?” Robin asked, going over to a desk. “Cody, tell me. What do you hate most?”
“You.”
“Ah, I see. Well then, I’ll make this fast.” He had this switch, and the table rose, and tilted upside down. Robin grabbed a pillow, and sat on the floor right by my head.
“So, do we have to play dentist?”
“Dentist? You just said you’d hurt me mentally, not physically” I said, a slight quiver in my voice.
“Oh, no. See, he calls it being a dentist because dentists root around in your mouth. I’ll be rooting around in your head. Dentists cause pain, and I cause pain” Zion explained, walking over.
“Leather Pagani shoes. Hand made…” Forget you want to hurt me.
“Yes, my father’s. Now, back to the point” Zion said, laughing at my attempt to stall him. “For a bit, I’m just going to let the blood rush to your head. When you are nearly unconscious, I will pry information out of you. If that doesn’t work, I will turn to other techniques.” Wonderful. Golly gee, thanks.
“What if the other technique doesn’t work either?” I tested.
“Oh, it will. I just hope I don’t have to use it.”
“Please, please, please, please, please leave me be. I mean, seriously, this is freaking me out.” He laughed.
“I know. Thats half the fun of this.”

Chapter four

I was really mad at Roxas. “Why aren’t we going after him?! Cody is missing ‘cause of me!”
“Look, we can’t get him. Okay? I’m sad to say my first mission is to protect you, and I would be failing if I brought you closer to danger” he sighed.
“Oh my God, you a robot or something?! I thought he was your friend!”
“He is, Hazel. But you are my mission. And that means you are my top priority, and Cody is not.” I grabbed his shoulder, and punched him.
“What the hell is your issue?!” I hissed. “Doesn’t he mean anything to you?!” He grabbed my wrist before I could hit him again, and stared at me blankly.
“Right now, I am masking every emotion, every pain, every strand of anger. And you’re hitting me is not making it easy. Now, I will tell you a secret, and you’re going to just think. Cody is LITERALLY my life. Not romantic, but he means everything to me. You know this face?” The one that was horrifying me? The one with no emotion.
“Before Cody, it wasn’t a mask. This was my face at all times, with exception to when I was getting the crap beaten out of me. Want to know how Cody helped?” I nodded. “He gave me a happy childhood. He taught me all my emotions. So, yes, he means something- if not EVERYTHING- to me.” Oh…
“So, I should just shut up now, huh?” I asked, nervous.
“Yes.” He sighed, ruffling his hair. “Now, I am going to my room. And you will be in the room beside mine. This way, the camera’s in your room will allow me to watch you while I think. Is this clear?” No.
He walked off, and I ‘went’ to my room. Then I pressed an ear against the wall. There was a pause for a bit, and then a scream of rage.
“Anata kuso! Chikushō, chikushō, chikushō!” he screamed, things breaking and smashing. I winced. “Dono yōna seikō wa, kōdi o kangaete ita! Anata wa kureijīdamu seikō sukoshi! Baka yarō!
“Anata wa kureijī chīsai gaki! Watashi wa, anata ga taka hosshin shinji raremasen! Sono yōna kiken ni jikkō shite iru! Naze anata wa watashi o mezamenakatta no ka! Anata wa, gaki!” he screamed.
I sat down on the hard bed provided for me, and sighed. He continued cursing, and made me even more sad.
“What the hell is he saying?” I asked myself aloud. And then, my phone rang.
You game? I didn’t understand, and wrote back a question.
What?
Are. You. Game? I didn’t understand at all.
What do you mean by that?
Right now your boyfriend is having a freak attack. Would you like to help him feel at ease a bit? Or you might make it worse. Either way, it is linked to Cody Stein. the text read.
Okay, I’m game. Then came these pictures of Cody. Upside down. And then came a video.
“Hello, boys and girls! How are you?” a random voice asked. Cody was upside down, and way out of it.
“L-Let- Me- Go” he rasped. “L-Let- Me- Go.”
“Now, girly, three questions for you! You text them to this number- which is untraceable- and I will either make Cody boy scream, or he can be just fine.” I got up, and paced. “First question! Where the hell is that necklace?!”
On me, in my pocket. I lied. Cody remained okay.
“Good girl! Now, how do you know dear ol’ kitty?” I assumed ‘kitty’ was Roxas.
It was an accident. He was assigned to me. I wrote.
“See, this is great! One final question. Where are you?” I shuddered, and paused. Cody started screaming and thrashing about in pain. Yet, he hadn’t been touched. “Why didn’t you answer?”
How are you hurting him? Stop it. I wrote.
“How? Oh, I infected him. I’m hurting him by having multiple voices and memories form and replay all at once in his head. And I won’t stop until you answer me. Now, answer the question! Where are you? Just give me an answer.” I knew what to write.
You want an answer? Fine. I’m in hell. There was a pause, and Cody relaxed.
“You are a tricky little girl. Okay, one final, REAL question. Why did you agree to this game?”
Because I owe Cody.

Ch five

I crashed after my little fit, and woke up to hear Hazel slamming on my door.
“Wake up! Open this door right now! Get up, you fat slug! Move it! Wake up!” she hissed angrily. I sighed, and got up. That was what Cody would do. I opened the door, and she held up her phone. “It really is unbreachable, trackable, or anything-able!” she said, gasping. Cody. I snatched the phone, and smashed it on the ground. “What the hell?!”
“Do you know how stupid you just were?! You texted him on YOUR phone! Moron!” I screamed, grabbing her wrist. “How the hell did you ever become an archaeologist?! Even graduate college?! Stupid!” I continued, shaking it.
“That hurts” she said, wincing.
“It’ll hurt more if they get you! Fool!” I realized that my shadow was starting to jab points out of the ground, and calmed down. “Sorry. I’m sorry. Truly, Hazel. Please forgive me.” I sighed, and picked her phone up again.
“Gee, that totally fixes my phone” she grumbled. “I’m going to Cody’s lab. See if I can find anything to help him.” She started to walk off, and then turned back, and glared. “And by the way, I was in a game. Now that you ruined my phone, Cody could be being tortured right now. All because of you” she added, and then she left me again.
“Great.” I sighed, and walked back into my room. Capillus was waiting.
“You ruined it. She just became angry with you” he said, and I slammed the door.
“She deserved it. How foolish could she be?” I replied, taking off my shirt. “Now, I’m going to get cleaned up, and YOU are going to check out her phone battery” I said. That was the only thing I didn’t break.
“Sir, you must make up with her” he sighed. “I mean, at this rate, she will fall for someone OTHER than you.”
“Good, because we cannot be together. Ever” I replied, taking off my belt as I walked to my restroom. I turned on hot water, and sighed. Stupid Hazel. Stupid Cody. Stupid Cap. I got into the shower and sighed even louder. This was retarded. Why was I so angry. This made me feel stupid. And like a jerk. And so rude.

I got out of the shower, and walked out to my room in my towel. I wish I hadn’t. “Hello, buddy!” Oh God.
“Boss!” I shouted, almost dropping my towel. I didn’t though, so that was good. “I me- What are you- What?” I asked, jumping back into the bathroom. “Hold on, let me get dressed real quick.” I slipped on my boxers, and started to grab my pants… Of course, it doesn’t work that way.
“Look, kid, you have GOT to get out here” he said. I sighed, and realized my shirt was soaking wet. I couldn’t wear it. “Kid, hurry up!”
“Hold on!” Crap. I’d have to go shirtless. And even worse? There were female agents, and some gay ones who kinda sorta liked me. Liked me way too much. And they always wanted to see me shirtless. However, I didn’t want them to because I had a big scar.
“Okay, c’mon!” Boss said as I got on my pants. I sighed, and opened the door. He didn’t even notice, grabbed me, and ran out the door.
“Boss!”
“What, Roxas?!” he asked.
“We’re going down the girl’s hall, and I’m shirtless!” By ‘girls hall’ I mean the place where all the girl agents sleep, and where they all would look out their doors, like hungry dogs at a hunk of meat. A LARGE hunk of meat.
“Its him!” one girl screamed.
“Really?!”
“I call pants!”
“I get first kiss!”
“Shirt is mine!”
“He isn’t wearing one!” I pulled my arm away from him, and ran faster… Didn’t help me. They all flooded out the doors, and tackled me. And I wasn’t to use my powers in here.
“Its like a dream come true!” one shouted, another kissing me on the lips. I let out a muffled cry, and tried to push her off. Then came two more. Hydra all over again.
“Girls, girls! Off, off!” Boss shouted, parting the sea. I scrambled up. We still had the boys hall to go.
“Aw!”
“You’re no fun.”
“I got a lock of his hair!” They cut off one of my bangs.
“Hey!” I said, holding the smallest section. “That ruined my hair cut!”
“Aw, he is SO cute when he is angry!” I glared, and pointed at Boss.
“All. Your. Fault” I told him, glaring angrily. He laughed.
“Oh, if I were you, I’d have LOVED to have been tackled by girls” he chuckled. We walked off, and I got VERY annoyed. “This is why I think you’re gay.” Excuse me?!
“How rude of you” I grumbled. He laughed, and we ended up out in the shooting range. It was empty.
“Hazel?” Boss asked. I saw no one.
“Who are you talking to? Because Hazel isn’t here” I said, and then I realized. Hazel held a simple board, and was walking behind me, smiling.
“Hey there. So, you know how you made fun of me earlier? How you called me stupid?” she asked. Boss glared at me, and scolded me silently. I didn’t care.
“Using your own phone to talk to him is a stupid move.”
“But I’m not stupid.” Boss now didn’t know WHO to scold now. She held up a board. “In college- since you were so keen to bring up how it was amazing I graduated- I participated in the science fair. And I made the best hoverboard using a simply wood board, and plenty of other things which I won’t name, and I won. And even better, I tried to become a detective.” Oh crap. She was going try and prove me wrong. “And do you know why I didn’t become a detective?”
“Why, too much blood?” I asked, snarling at her.
“Oh, no. It was just the guys there. They were rude, cocky, stupid, and didn’t value me, even though I was the first female officer in ten years. Just like you did today” she said. “And so, it really bothers me that YOU, a guy I thought was cute and nice, called me stupid. You know how I said you were awesome when you saved my life?”
“Yeah.” She smiled, and threw the board on the floor. “What does this have to do with anything?” I asked, pointing at it.
“Well, you think I’m stupid? I’m a genius. And I’m a detective. And I’m a good shot. I thought it was cool that you saved me because I couldn’t save myself, which almost never happens. You. Go. To. Hell.” Boss gave me this ‘Oh snap’ face. I rolled my eyes.
“Please. Like you said, there hasn’t ever been a female detective in ten years. That is because NONE of them passed the firing test.” She smiled, and held out a hand.
“Pistol?”
“Don’t give her the pistol” I said hastily.
“Why?” Boss asked, taking his out.
“I’m afraid she is going to shoot me” I answered, and she pointed the gun away from me.
“So, those things over there are dummies, right?” That was what we aimed at.
“Yes” I answered, crossing my arms. “Ninety seven feet. You won’t be able to hit it with a pistol.” She smiled, didn’t even look at it, and fired three shots.
“I just got a triple, all in the chest. And now-” another shot “one in the shoulder. Would you like to check?” I ran over, and sure enough, she had. I turned around, ran over, and glared.
“You planted it. You planted it.”
“Oh? I did? You saw me fire those rounds. And so did your Boss. And know what’s so cool about that? I made you eat your words. And I’m going to make you eat the words you said when you said I was stupid” she chuckled. She jumped on the board, and clicked down on the back.
“I doubt it” I growled. “You were being VERY stupid for texting the kidnapper on your phone.” She smiled.
“Hey, Roxas, want to know another cool fact? I didn’t text him. He texted me. And he already knew about me being in league with you, he knew my number, and he knew who I was. I had NOTHING to lose.” And the board started to float. “So, I’m not stupid. I’m just very, VERY odd. And ‘btw’, you are way cuter without a shirt on.” And with that, she was floating away, smiling.
“You know something?” Boss asked, leaning on me. “You only find a girl like that once every couple of centuries.”
“You mean a stupid, cocky, ignorant girl?” I grumbled. He smacked me, and sighed.
“And this, kid, is why you’re single.”
“Gee, thank you VERY much.” I thought of Cody. Maybe I was being a jerk. “Fine, I’ll talk to her.”

Chap six

Wake me up. Wake me up. Wake me up. There were thousands of things in my head. Thousands. And then, the voices all stopped.
“Now, where is the necklace, Agent Stein?” Zion’s voice asked. I said nothing. “Cody?” My head was swimming. Help me. I couldn’t breathe. All the air was out of my lungs. Something was rising in my throat.
“Zion, we should let him up” Robin’s voice said.
Please. Please wake me up. I couldn’t even moan. I found myself on the floor, looking into a light. What had happened? It felt like I’d been chewed up, spit out, and skinned.
“Oh no” Zion muttered
“‘Oh no’ what?” Robin replied.
“He is… Well…” Blood. I tasted blood.
“Oh my lord. You held him there too long, and with too many voices” Robin said. I didn’t understand. I could hear fine. It was just the breathing part. Was I awake? no, I couldn’t be.
Wake me up, darn it! Wake. Me. Up! I wanted to wake up, as I think you can see, but it did nothing for me.
“Get me that, will you?” Robin asked. There was a shuffle, and then, something was over my face.
“Is he going to need-”
“Hey, hey, can you hear me?!” Robin asked, rapping on my chest. In return, I felt the blood slip out between my teeth. “Oh no. Okay, one, two, three-” He was pressing down on my chest. Oh… I was choking.
“Wait, hold on-”
“No time.” Then came the part that I had nightmares about, and my stomach lurched. I think I’ll just skip it. You probably figured it out.
“I’ve got this right here!” Zion said, but I was up, gasping, hands flailing to my chest.
“Jesus!” Robin patted me on the back, trying to get more air into my lungs.
“Okay, lets NOT torture him anymore” Robin said.
“I agree… But we will still need to get the information” Zion sighed. I felt myself going into shock.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God” I whispered, cleaning the blood off of my chin.
“Hey, calm down” Robin said. I hit his hand, and smacked him multiple times.
“Don’t- Don’t tell me to calm down! You- You kidnapped me! I- I- I almost died!” I protested, smacking and hitting him more. “I- I- I could have- What would I- You were trying to-” I began to hyperventilate.
“Hey, we didn’t mean for it to go this far” Zion said, sighing. “We need information. Now we have it.”
“I- I never- I told you-” nothing! How?!
“I blackmailed Hazel by using you” he sighed, pinching his nose.
“She- She- We just met! She doesn’t even know me!” I screamed, getting up and brushing off my coat. I couldn’t breathe again, but this time it was because of stress, not blood.
“You need to calm down” Robin said, reaching for my shoulder. I punched him in the face. “Ow!” Zion grabbed me, and sighed.
“Look at me, or you’re going to get hit with a chair.”
“Got to hell you cocky sonofa-” Robin grabbed my arms, and held his hands behind my head. “Ghh!”
“Calm down, and let us help you.”
“You kidnapped me!” I replied, kicking him in the shin. “You can’t help me!” Robin pulled back cruelly, and sent me slamming into the floor, falling head over heels. The blow to the head kept me stun for a sec. Just enough time for Robin to wrap an arm around my neck, a knife at my chest.
“Before I joined him, I was a hypnotist” Robin told me, pressing into the skin of my neck. “Cody, Cody, look into my eyes,” he pressed deeper and held up my head, “Sleep!” You can figure the rest out, can’t you.

“So, he should wake up in three, two, one.” A loud boom. Man this stuff was weird! Robin was squatting in front of me, his fingers snapping again. “Hey, hey, you up?”
“Mnnnn.” I got so mad to find that I was without my coat and tied up, hands over my head on this hook thing that was really rusty. I liked that coat.
“Okay, you calm?”
“I- I’mma- You-” He slammed a hand over my mouth, and put his right index over his lips.
“Look, we had a reason, still do” he said. I glanced around the room. “He isn’t here. He is trying to think. Its just you and me.” I liked that even less.
“Mn… Ah…” I was tired, sweating, and overheating. My whole face was red. He set his free hand on my forehead, which creeped me out even more. I bit him, hard.
“OW! Hey, I’m only making sure you aren’t gonna die on me!” he said, keeping it there. He sighed. “You have a fever. Now, I’m going to go get you some medicine. Will you listen?”
“Nnn…. Jus- I don’- You-” I was trembling, and just stopped talking. He grabbed a bottle of blue.
“You done?” I said nothing. “Good. Now, open up.” Like hell. I clamped my jaw, and glared in defiance. He sighed. “Cody, Cody-” I slammed my eyes closed, and blocked out his voice. Then, a second later, his hands gripped the back of my neck, right below my head, and squeezed. My jaw opened up, and he poured in the bitter liquid.
“Mn-” I spluttered, not sure of what he had done. He slammed my mouth close, and pinched my nose, forcing me to swallow. I gasped, spluttering and coughing, shaking violently.
“You could have made it easy on yourself. Now, listen. We don’t want to hurt innocents, or to kidnap people-” I laughed. “We don’t. We have to get that necklace though, because that necklace can do lots of damage, under the conditions. Not to us, however.”
“W-What?”
“Well, it won’t affect me or my partner.”
“Thn- wh- do y- wa- it?”
“Oh, we don’t.” ?!!! WHAT THE HELL?!!!!”
“The %@!#?!” I shouted, angry and confused. Notice I didn’t stutter then.
“Okay, hold on” he said, grabbing his phone. “We’re doing this and terrorizing you about the necklace so we can get the people attached. Roxas, and the archaeologist. We kidnapped those other ones because we needed it to become a national problem, and lure Roxas out. Don’t worry, they’re safe, and with their families all across the world on a LONG vacation. Once this is all over, they can go home.” I kicked him in a not-so-nice place.
“You- Sick, twisted-” so, my limit was two words. He sighed, and grabbed some duct tape.
“Pucker up.”
“Get away f-” He walked around to my left where I couldn’t get him, and slapped it on.
“Sorry, but we have to get to his head.”
“MNNN!”
“Okay, so, before the video, let me continue WITHOUT interruption. When you were kidnapped? That was Zion being controlled by his Dad, as has happened to Roxas. You saw it when his dad came out.” The shadow.
“Mhano?”
“Yeah, the shadow. That is the one who is being the mastermind. He said he survived for hundreds of years off of other people, right? Thats whats wrong with Zion and Roxas. That necklace means so much to the father because he doesn’t know its a fake. He thinks it will make him human again. And when he finds out it isn’t real, he’ll go ballistic.”
“Wmn mr?”
“Why you? Well, it was hard to decide. Go after Roxas’ mission, who he would definitely follow, or you, to hurt him most and give him a motive?”
“Meleorher!”
“Teleporter? Those watch things? Yeah, Zion broke them before he left.” Crap. “Okay, now for the video to the your boss’ phone.” Boss?
“Mn!”
“Good mornin’, ladies an’ gents! We have a special broadcast JUST for you! Agent Stein is joining us today for a special chat! Alas, he can’t talk right now, but he was wondering about somethings! Question one, where is Roxas?” I shook my head.
“Mn.” There was a bing noise.
“Oh, how rude. Okay, here.” Robin grabbed the little nook of my elbow, and pressed into the veins. I winced, my arm trembling, my elbow popping. “You don’t want to answer my questions? Fine. Go get Roxas, and text me when he is there. Don’t worry, even if you don’t, I’ll know.” He let go, and frowned. He seemed uncomfortable, but I didn’t care.
“Mhae roo.” He sighed, and nodded.
“Trust me, I hate myself too.” Clearly not enough. He waited a bit longer, and then laughed, though, he was still frowning. “Ah, Roxas!Hello!” There was a bing again.
“Mnn.”
“I’m psychic, of course! That how I know!” I rolled my eyes, and looked away from the camera. He stood, watching his screen, bing’s erupting from his phone.
“Mn?”
“You want to skin me? Burn me? Feed my ashes to sharks? Man, how violent. Well, lets just talk a bit. First, where is the necklace?” I shook my head.
“Mn heo m!” He doesn’t need it! He is going to find you if you tell him where it is! Don’t do it! I thought, shaking my head. A bing.
“Won’t tell me, huh? Fine.” He grabbed my arm again, and squeezed, as if looking for the softest part of me. Then I jolted, not even hurting. What the hell?
“M-”
“Okay, there we go. Want to know something really cool?” Robin asked the phone. A bing. Robin walked over to the table, and grabbed something. It had red paint on it. “If I cut him RIGHT there, his arm will go numb.” I shook my head.
Not real! Just an illusion! He isn’t going to hurt me! I wanted to scream. I kicked him again, and this time, I slid up the wall as I did, getting off of the hook.
“Whoa!” I round house kicked him, andgrabbed the tape off of my lips.
“Its not-! Its al-” I went into a coughing fit, and looked around. Door. Door. Door. I found one, right behind Robin. I grabbed the phone, and jumped on his head.
“Ow!”
“All- Fake!” I shouted, making sure the lense was on me. I opened the door, but it was all black. There was nothing there. Robin tapped my shoulder, and I dropped the phone, taking a step back from him.
“That was VERY rude” he sighed, and my foot got stuck. My leg was sinking into the wall. “And I don’t like it.” Now came the shadow.
“I’m hungry for your eyes.”
“No-”
“And you’re annoying me. When I get annoyed or angry,” a bing, “Blood spills.”
“Wait, Boss,” It didn’t hurt me. It spun around, and stabbed him.
“No!” The monster smiled at me, and pulled me out of the wall, tossing me on the ground only a bit farther away from Robin. There was a hole, and I saw Roxas, and Boss in his office, and Hazel.
“If you jump in there- and I don’t mean slip in, but full on jump- you can escape, and I won’t stop you. However, he will bleed out. And he’ll die. How would you like that image in your head, Doctor?” Oh, I was a doctor now? “Or you can save him, and your only way out will be lost to you. All up to you.” I was stuck debating. Roxas clearly saw me, because in the little circcle, he was on his knees and clawing at it.
“Burn in- Hell.” I crawled over, and pressed down on the bloody mass. Robin was smiling.
“Ow” he whispered, chuckling. I slapped him.
“Mor-on.” “Hel- Help!” The doorway was now opening, and Zion shouted back. “Hel- Help!” He ran down, the monster fading.
“Good boy. You have three seconds till your chance is gone. Now that Zion has heard, if he dies, it will be his fault.” No, it’d be mine, and it knew it. “Good luck.” I glanced at Roxas.
“Sor-Ry. Didn’t help- Very much” I said, glancing down, smiling. God this hurt.Why was I in this position. The one impossible to really know what to do. And either choice would be bad. Why? The circle was gone, and I was stuck in that hell again.

Chapter seven

“Cody!” Boss got Roxas in an arm lock, pulling him up. The tips of his nails were bleeding. “Cody! Cody!”
“Hey, Roxas, hes gone” Boss told him, wrapping an arm around his neck.
“We gotta- I have to- Cody. Cody, why?! Orokana kuso ma nuke!” I got in front of him, and hugged him.
“Roxas, he is gone. Hes gone” I agreed, and he went limp in my arms, Boss holding up most of his weight.
“I could have… Could have saved him… Why didn’t he- Why did he help… Cody…” Roxas then made his resolve. “Screw this, I’m finding him.” Boss let him go, and locked the door.
“Its too dangerous, and you aren’t thinking straight.” He looked at me, and tilted his head towards the desk. What did he tell me before Roxas got in? More than likely he’ll want to save Cody. When that happens, open the top left drawer of my desk. I’ll stall him. I crept behind it, and in the little drawer was a syringe. I grabbed it, and tossed it to him.
“Boss, get out of my way. Right now.” Boss caught the needle, and shook his head.
“You aren’t thinking straight.”
“I will blow right through you.” I didn’t get it. Boss towered over Roxas, and he was going to beat this big man? The boss didn’t seem to doubt it.
“Think for a second. This is what they want.” I walked closer behind Roxas, and put a hand on his shoulder.
“He is right.” Roxas laughed, and something pushed me away. A black shard broke through the floor and destroyed the syringe.
“I. Don’t. Care. You stay here.” Boss didn’t budge. “And you, move.” He didn’t even blink. Roxas shoved him aside, and the tall man was shoved so hard he hit the wall. Roxas started to walk out.
“All agents, stop Roxas!” he hissed, pressing against his ear. I ran for him, grabbed his pistol, and loaded it.
“I’m thinking he needs a motivator” I explained, and ran out. Roxas had these black strands surrounding him, just like that… That thing. “Stop right there!” He did, and turned around, clutching his left eye. They were inverting.
“You’re annoying. And when I get annoyed or angry,” Thats what that thing said in the video! “Blood. Spills.” He flicked his right wrist, smiling cruelly. Something jammed itself between my fifth and sixth rib. And yet, I felt nothing explode inside. It missed every organ, and then ,it jammed itself out of my skin, and looped in my arms and legs and shoulders.
“Stop him!” some adults and teens hissed at once. I screamed, agonizing pain enveloping my mind like mist. What the hell is happening? Roxas wasn’t himself. There were more needles coming up. I had to move. The agents were seperated from us.
“You really bug me. You’re so stupid, so ugly, so rude, and so selfish. Trying to stop me? Useless.” I took a painful step forward, the only thing keeping me on my feet being the shadow things inside of me, trying to break every bone in my body.
“Yo-” I sobbed, taking another step.
“Why are you even trying? Just pass out already. If you do, the pain will go away.” And so will my soul, and my pulse, and my blood. I took two more steps, reaching a hand out. There was blood all over it. His eyes were now red with black where the white once was.
“Jerk.” He simply stood, disgusted and confused. “Not. Stu. Pid. Not. Ug. Ly. Not. Self. Ish” I sobbed, now exactly where I wanted to be. I raised both my arms, and he glared, his wrist closing. The shards were closing, breaking my bones. I hugged him.
“What are you doing?” I still had the pistol, and when I wrapped my arms around him, I shot his lower leg. He started to fall.
“Wake. Ing. You. Up.” I shot his other leg. He collapsed, and then the shards stopped, right before they really did break every bone.
“You will be sorry” Roxas said, his eyes draining and reverting back to their original color. And then it was him again, and he was really worried. “What just happened?” I felt myself preparing to puke! There was so much blood. The wall was disappearing.
“Hi” I said simply smiling. “You. You?” He was frozen, as if somebody pushed the pause button.
“Why didn’t you run.” I laughed.
“Can’t.” I fell down, my head hitting the floor. He crawled over, and cried.
“What have I done?” he asked himself.
“Bleed. Ing” I reminded, and he nodded.
“Okay, this is weird, but hold on.” The wall was nearly down. He held up his hand, and black swirls made bandages. “Here we go.” He grabbed my arm- right- and wrapped that first. “We’ll need a first aid kit, but after” he continued, smiling. I smiled.
“Jerk” I giggled.
“Yes, I am” he sighed, the bandages wrapping tighter.
“L.O.L.” He laughed too, the agents not moving.
“Hey, grab me a first aid” he ordered, taking up my left arm.
“Okay! You heard the man!” Boss showed up, and punched Roxas across the room. I winced, the bandage yanking. He pulled it up, and continued the wrapping.
“THAT is for almost breaking my back.” I wanted to laugh, but couldn’t because it hurt. Roxas was lying flat on his back, and looking up at him.
“I almost broke your back? Oh, and weren’t we going to go to your office?” he asked. I drew a blank.
“Do you not remember?” Boss asked, and I made this ‘WTF’ face.
“Remember what?”
“Nothing! We ju. St lear. Ned th. At Cod. Ey is. Safe. And d. Oing. Well” I lied. He nodded.
“Okay… What AREN’T you telling me?” he replied.
“He was in a fight” Boss sighed. I couldn’t believe he just said that!”
“What?! We have to get Cody!”
“No, we have to patch up Hazel” Boss replied. I glared at him, and sighed.
“Sleepy.” He shook his head.
“No, you don’t get to sleep.”
“I’m going to grab that necklace” Roxas said suddenly. Boss stared, and shook his head.
“Kid, right here” he replied. Roxas nodded, and walked over, helping to patch me up. Boss slipped a pill into my mouth, and I swallowed.
“Did you jus-”
“I did.”
“But thats still an ex-”
“She will die otherwise.” I immediately felt better.
“Wow! What is that?!” I asked, rotating my shoulder.
“Cody’s experimental drug for the battle front.” I smiled, nodding.
“Well, it works!” He nodded.
“Yeah… Know what, I’m going to my room” he sighed, ruffling his hair. Good. I nodded, and took that chance to ask for new cloths. Boss gave me black baggy pants, the bottom tight on my ankles. I felt like a ninja. He also gave me a black T-shirt, but it looked cool, because Boss replaced my bandages with the real thing, even wrapping up my hands. I was a ninja!
“Okay, I’m going to go to my room, too” I lied. He nodded, and left for his office. I immediately left for Cody’s office, and dug around for my hoverboard, and found those pills. More than likely I’d need those, so I took them, and smiled.
“Okay, now to get out of here.” I got on my board, and pushed back, the hum of the engine coming to life. I then realized this would look weird, so I hooked up four wheels so it looked like a normal skateboard.
“NOW to get out” I said, rolling out of the room. My skateboard was solar powered, so didn’t want to waste power inside. The little solar panel was on the middle of the board, right between my legs, FYI.
“Okay, which way?” I thought to when we first got there only the day before. Yes, it has been a day. I turned a sharp left, an agent almost bumping into me. I kept riding, hands in my pockets.
“Hey, watch it!” he said.
“Okay, next time” I replied, smiling. I saw the exit. Then the agent realized who I was.
“Hey, shouldn’t you be in your room?” he asked. I waved him a peace sign, and opened the door.
“Tata.”
“All agents, Hazel is exiting the building” he said into a walkie talkie. Too late. I clicked the back, and this time, the board was off the ground, and hovering over the surface of the water, which was spraying everywhere.
“Hey!” people on the boat screamed. I grabbed my extra phone. I reached in my pocket, holding my precious cargo. I had the necklace. Now Roxas was less of a target, and wouldn’t be so dangerous.
I’m out. I’ve got the necklace. Come and get me.

Ch eight

“She what?!” I screamed, Boss wincing, feeling sorry for the agent.
“She escaped. She had this board thing, and left” he said in barely a whisper. I sighed, and ruffled my hair for six minutes.
“What did she do when she was off? Did you see?”
“She held something shiny in her pocket, and texted somebody.” Fan-freakin-tastic.
“Why didn’t you immediately stop her?!”
“Because before she was on the water, it looked like she was cruising on a normal skateboard” he answered. Boss sighed, and gave him a smiled.
“Look, its alright. You couldn’t have known.”
“Thank you sir. Would you like me to-”
“Get a red alert? Yes. Have the police search for her in every country. Every city. You got it?”
“Yes, sir” the agent said, and smiled. I nodded, and walked to Cody’s office. Where was the necklace? I knew Cody had taken everything out of my pockets when he was fixing my leg, so where was it? Then it hit me. Something shiny. She had it. I had a fit, and then looked around. Did she make another board? No? Where were the watches? I looked around, and saw them in a case, all smashed. And the experimental pills were gone, too, meaning Hazel would have enough energy to go anywhere.
“What. The. Hell?” I sighed, really angry. I pushed the first table I saw over. “Mazāfakkāzu! Kuso, kuso, kuso, kuso! Dono yōna fakku! Dekisokonai! Ushi no tawagoto no nan kusorōdo!” I made up my mind. I would go after Cody, and then Hazel. Cody was clearly in more danger. Hazel didn’t want to be protected. Fine. I hated this.
“Then again, its kinda funny” I noted, giggling, slowly calming down. I slammed a fist into my palm. “Alright, lets go!” I continued, as if someone could hear me. I thought hard, and decided to make a paraglider with my shadows. And it worked. I made them go away, and walked out to the bay, just like Hazel, and went in the exact opposite direction. Then, if she found him, it’d still be fine, or vise versa.
“Hey, what’re you-” I made the glider, and smiled.
“See ya!”
“Not you too!” Boss protested, and I jumped off. It was fun to be a rebel. “Roxas!”
“Asta!”

I had gotten to land in twenty minutes, and found myself in Miami, and laughed. Ah, this was fun. I walked around, and walked into a store, hiding my face in a baseball cap, smiling. Smiling tricked the cameras, Boss had told me, so smile at all times. I did, and walked up to the phones. “Hey, can I get that one?” I asked, pointing at the hologram cell. The clerk nodded, taking out the key on his neck, and grabbing it.
“Thirty nine dollars” he said.
“Thanks” I replied, handing him the money. He nodded, giving it back to me.
“Girlfriend?”
“Huh?”
“You’re smiling really big” he said, laughing. I nodded, laughing along.
“Just an odd day. It’ll be interesting” I answered truthfully.
“I know what you mean” he agreed. “Man, you made my day!”
“How?”
“Well, you just look so happy! Its very nice to see a happy person around here, especially these days” he said. I wrinkled my brow, taking in his appearance. He had green and black hair, and was my age, maybe half a year older. Yellow eyes grinned down on me, hiding pain. He was clearly healthy, but was also bruised. I saw the younger me in my head.
“Why?” I asked.
“These gangs are smuggling drugs and kidnapping people” he sighed. I nodded.
“Whats your name?” He pointed at his name tag.
“Chet.” I nodded.
“Do you know where these things happen?” I asked. He stopped.
“You’re not thinking of going there, are you?” I shrugged.
“I told you it’d be an interesting day” I replied, smiling.
“Dude, thats nuts!” Clearly he had no clue who I was. I nodded.
“You know. Okay, I’m goig to figure out where to go” I said, laughing, and waving.
“Hey, you can’t go!” he protested. I smiled even bigger. He had no clue.
“I think I can” I replied. He shook his head.
“Don’t you know what they do to people our age?” Oh, I had plenty of ideas. “Trust me, it isn’t pretty!”
“How do you know?” I teased, laughing.
“I was only walking, and saw these people get out of a car and grab a kid, and they… They told him they were gonna sell him.”
“Look, I appreciate the concern, but I’ll be fine. Trust me. Thank you!” I said.
“Hold on!” Chet protested, throwing his vest down.
“You can’t talk me out of this. I’m helping. Got nothing better to do” I sighed, giving him the ‘moron’ face.
“Well, I’ll go with you.”
“I’d prefer it if you didn’t, It would freak you out” I replied, walking on. He followed.
“I’m coming, sucks to be you” Chet said. I sighed. How could I ditch him? Clearly, I couldn’t.
“FIIIIINNNNEEEEE” I sighed angrily.

We walked on, and he led me to an alley, looking around the corner. “They should be here soon” he whispered, nervous and trembling. “Maybe you should just ignore it” he said. I shook my head.
“I have nothing better to do. I think you should leave” I said.
“Why?”
“I’m not normal” I answered truthfully. He smiled.
“Neither am I” he replied.
“Do I want to know?” I chuckled.
“No. Do I?”
“No.” Then we were grabbed from behind.
“Crap!”
“Look who we caught” someone said, laughing. I let needles shoot out of the ground, wrapping my captor up in wires. “Hey!” Chet was now melting right through his own attacker, phasing through him.
“That was cool!” Chet said.
“Are you one to talk?! I’m shocked you haven’t tried to stop them before!” I laughed.
“I can’t. I only have five chances, and then black. There are at least twelve dudes” he s=exclaimed.
“Twelve men can cause you that much fear?” I asked, smiling.
“These guys have this boss thats a shadow” he explained.
“Oh, yeah, okay… Lets NOT go after the boss and only take out the humans?” I asked. “Trust me, its bad.”
“I know, I saw it.”
“But not like I have” I replied. “That thing is cruel, and while he won’t kill me, I’m not so sure about you.” He wrinkled his brow. “Look, just trust me” I said.
“I do. Seriously though, that was cool” he replied, changing the subject.
“Thanks, Chet.” So, we got into their car, looked at their map, and drove to their HQ. Wasn’t pretty when we arrived. We were surrounded by ten, and they all had freakin machine guns.
“Okay, you take cover for a bit, and jump out after I get six of them” I said, but he shook his head.
“Not a shot in hell” he chuckled, giving me a fist pump.
“You know, I like you!” I said, opening the car door, smiling. He got out on his side, grinning.
“You two, how’d you get here?” one man asked. He was in his twenties.
“Is your boss here?”
“Answer me first.”
“No. See, if you kill us, your boss will be very angry. He’ll threaten to take your eyes, right? Or at least say he wants them?” I replied, smiling. The ten glanced at one another. “Thought so. Now, is he here? I’d like to speak with him.”
“No, he aint here.” Chet crossed his arms, tisking.
“What happened to proper grammar?” he sighed.
“It doesn’t matter. We’re free to cream these losers” I replied, popping my knuckles.
“Great.” They all started firing, so I made a dome around myself, and Chet phased through the bullets, walking towards them.
“What are these things?!” one man asked. I walked towards the voice, and undid the dome.
“Concerned citizens worried for our home” I answered, and I popped him in the face. There were eight left.
“I get left?” Chet asked, sprinting.
“Kay, I got right!” I blocked us off, and made the shadows reach for them.
“Crap!”
“Jump!” I only missed one, who was nine, and looked exactly like me. I wrinkled my nose, sorry for him.
“Kid, I’d run” I told him simply. He held the gun up, watching me with a blank stare.
“What does it mean?” he asked aloud. Oh my lord. He was like me. I sighed, slowly walking towards him.
“It means that you’re free. That you have your own life. That you can be happy, which means you can laugh, which means your heart will feel lighter.” He pulled up his shirt, a fake smile over his face. A scar traced itself from his thigh up to his collar bone.
“I don’t have one.” He pulled the trigger, which I easily blocked, and my shadows grabbed his gun. He didn’t seem to mind. I walked up to him, and pulled up my shirt. My scar was just like his.
“Really? Thats what I thought, but I was wrong.” I let the blockade between Chet and I lower, smiling. “And look, I have a friend. I have a nice life. I’m smiling for real” I replied, ruffling his hair. He was confused.
“What is a ‘friend?’” he asked me. I smiled. Chet was amazed.
“Um… A friend is a person you can trust” he answered, walking beside me. “Like us. I mean, we just met today, but I think we’re friends.” I told him to stop.
“A person who lives on in your heart is a friend. Not JUST a person you can trust. You’re Boss? He isn’t your friend.” He was still confused.
“Okay, lets go and take him with us, huh?” Chet asked. I nodded.
“Okay. Whats your name?”
“053” he answered. I was shocked. What could I call him? I smiled.
“What about Akarui?” I replied. He tilted his head.
“What?”
“Its Japanese. It means ‘bright’, and that is what I hope your future will be” I answered, Chet smiling.
“Future?”
“Your life.” He nodded, and yet, didn’t get it. I grinned.
“Okay, how about you stick with me, Ak?” Chet asked. Ak nodded.
“And what about me? You wanna stick with me?” I asked, smiling. I would love the company.
“Sure! We can be a trio!” he replied, grinning. Ak still didn’t get it, but I took his hand, smiling.
“Don’t worry. Hey, wanna piggy back ride?” I asked. He jumped on, and wrapped his arms around my neck. I half expected him to try and choke me, but he didn’t.
“We ready to go?”
“Yeah.”

Chap nine

So, with that, Zion rebelled. “That monster can burn” he said, holding Robin’s hand as he slept, talking to me. I was free to walk around, but sat still. “Why are you still here? You can run” he continued. In all reality, I had NO clue why I wasn’t taking the chance to bolt, but something told me to stay and help.
“I’m not running. I see why you did what you did, and I’m going to help you. You know, beat that thing?” I replied. I didn’t actually mean it, but it sounded better than, ‘I have no clue why I’m sticking with you freaks.’
“Roxas will get worried. And Hazel is planning to rescue you” he pointed out.
“Yes, but we are all targets right now. You’re rebelling, like Roxas did. What is gonna happen to you? Or to Robin?” I contradicted. “Plus, I owe you for not really torturing and trying to help me out.” My head was throbbing. He turned to look at me, and sighed.
“You okay?”
“I’m fine” Not.
“Really? Because you’re bright red, and mumbling.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are” he replied, and he pressed his hand against my forehead.
“Will you please not do that?” I asked, a bit embarrassed. He sighed, and grabbed the medicine.
“Okay, here you go” he said, pouring it in a small little cup. I chugged the bitter thing, and washed out the cap. Zion sighed, and glanced around him.
“Its probably very uncomfortable down here. Lets get out of the garage.” This was a garage?!
“Its a very creepy garage.”
“We call it the garage because its where we store everything. Its actually more like an extra room for when we need to hide. We aren’t anywhere NEAR civilization” he said, picking Robin up.
“What do you mean?” We walked out the door, and were in a medium sized room, vines everywhere. A tree was sticking out of tile, and stairs were carved into it
“We’re in a forest” he said, walking towards it. “And we’re going to our house.”
“This isn’t your house?!”
“Nope, this isn’t at all our home. Follow me.” Front door was right there, and he was holding Robin. Easy escape! I sighed at my stupidity, and followed. Their house was great! It was like they lived in a giant tree house, which was exactly what it was! There was beautiful wood everywhere, a kitchen, bathroom, everything! And two bedrooms, thank God. I could sleep out in the kitchen.
“Like it?” Zion asked, walking into one of the bedrooms.
“Its really cool, if thats what you mean” I answered, smiling. He set Robin down, and then grabbed a chair in a corner.
“If you want to leave, you can. It’ll probably be better for you” he yawned, setting his head down beside his friend.
“Please, who else is going to stitch Robin up?” I replied, looking around.
“You can take my room” he said. I shook my head.
“No way. Thats just wrong” I replied, sitting down at the foot of Robin’s bed.
“And kidnapping a person and putting voices in his head isn’t?”
“True, but still.” I waited for a bit, and crashed.

Zion had somehow moved me to his room, so I got back up, and walked in. He was passed out, drooling, and holding Robin’s hand. I smiled. That is one hell of a friend. I couldn’t part them, so I sat down back at the front of the bed, and waited. Robin moaned after a bit, and I peered over. He was up, and trying to slip out of Zion’s grip, which wasn’t loosening.
“Lol” I whispered, lifting Zion back in his chair. He was really tired, and didn’t seem to really care. Robin sat up, wincing.
“Uh. Ow. Ow. Ow” he whispered. I shook my head, and forced him back on his back.
“Don’t. You’ll rip your stitches” I said simply, fluffing his pillow.
“Why are you still here? You could have bolted. Isn’t that what you were going to do before he got here?” I shrugged.
“Okay, so I told Zion one thing, and that I understood everything. I don’t. I simply feel really guilty, and some part of me is keeping me here for reasons I don’t know. Is that a good enough explanation?” I asked. He nodded.
“Yeah.” I nodded, and glanced at Zion. Okay, lets try. I tried to pick him up, but had to make due with dragging him to his room and sticking him where he put me.
“He is heavy” I groaned, taking his seat.
“Really? Looks like a toothpick.”
“That what I thought” I chuckled, smiling down on him.
“So, why are you helping me? You had a chance to escape” he asked, closing his eyes.
“I don’t like to watch people die. I’m not keen on letting someone die on my watch” I answered, yawning. He nodded.
“You are odd” he noted, smiling as he dozed off.
“I know.” He fell asleep, and I watched him. What if he came back? I was confused, and didn’t understand what I was doing or why. Stupid, stupid, stupid me.

Chapter eleven

So, you know how I said I was like a ninja? Well, it seemed like my path revolved all around that. I got lost at one point, and just kept going forward, and ended up in Japan two days later. Lucky me, everyone spoke english. I reverted back to skateboard mode, and rode down the streets, looking in all the creepy and scary places I could find.
“Yo, lady!” someone called. I turned around, sighing. Is this person gonna mug me? I asked myself. It was a small girl, clearly homeless, holding out her hands.
“Huh?” I asked, getting off my board.
“Got any extra food?” she asked. This was me. This was exactly what I had to do as a kid. I smiled, and shook my head.
“You like sushi? Cause I do” I said taking her hand. She pulled away.
“Sorry, miss, but I don’t know you.” I nodded.
“Okay, will you stay put? I’ll go grab us some food” I told her. She had dirty blonde hair and green eyes, covered in dirt and grim. She didn’t know what I meant, so I walked off to the closest sushi joint, and walked back. She was still there, and gasped in joy.
“Sooo sheee!” she screamed, clapping her hands.
“Yup. Here” I giggled, giving her one of the packs. The tore it open, eating thirty pieces really fast.
“Whats this green stuff?” she asked, pointing at the wasabi.
“Oh, you don-” She ate the whole glop, and then came the punch.
“Ahh! Ahhh! Hot! Hot!” she sobbed. I laughed, and gave her my soda, which she chugged. “Wow!”
“Its wasabi. I tried warning you” I giggled, taking back my little bottle. She nodded.
“Why are you helping me?” she asked. I grinned.
“Because at one time, I was just like you” I answered, a tinge of sadness in my voice. Shhe nodded, then pointed at my board.
“What is it?”
“A skate board.”
“No its not. It runs off of sun” she said.
“Ah, so you figured that out?”
“Yep.”
“Well, its a hover board that I’m using to help find a friend on mine. Maybe you’ve seen him?”
“What’s he look like?” she asked, munching on a fortune cookie.
“Black hair, olive skin, glasses, lab coat? Geeky?” I asked, making glasses with my hands.
“Him? He’s been all over the news. Wherever he is, he isn’t here” she replied. “Here, let me show you.” We walked to a TV store, and on it was a sign that said ‘come inside!’ So, we went in, and she asked the manager something in Japanese.
“Does he speak english?” I wondered.
“Yes. What do you want to see?”
“The new broadcast. It had a geeky kid on it? He was crying?” I asked, making the glasses again. He nodded, and flicked on a TV, going to its archives. There Cody was, on TV, the text messages beside it.
“Clearly this is an act” he grumbled. Anger took control of me, so I grabbed im, and pulled him over the counter.
“You think pain is an act? Trust me, I know. That right there is my friend, and that is real pain” I growled. I never thought I’d become so aggressive with two days at sea. He winced.
“Okay, okay!” I let him go, and pointed at the screen.
“Any clue where that may be?”
“Nope. Sorry, girl.” I glared, biting my lip. The kid pulled on my arm, and I winced. A new trail of blood formed there.
“Ow” I whispered, taking it out of her grip. The man jumped.
“You’re hurt!”
“I’m fine. Trust me, there is nothing you can do to help” I replied, flapping my hand to show him that I still had one I could move.
“No, sit down” he replied as I left, grabbing my ankle. I lost use of that too.
“Gah!” I face planted, biting my lip. “Ow! What is your issue, stupid?!” I screamed, the girl helping me on my board.
“My issue?! Stay there!” I looked at the girl.
“Hey, kid, what’s your name?” I asked.
“Jin.”
“Okay, Jin, want to do something cool?” I asked. She nodded. “Okay, plant your foot in my back, and don’t let it loosen or take it off, even if it hurts me” I replied. She got on, and I tried not to wince.
“Like this?”
“Yeah, and now click on the back of the board” I said, and she leaned back. We started to float as the owner got on the line. “Good, and now, lean forward. I’ll handle the turning” I said, smiling while stifling a cry. She did, and we broke through the door.
“Hey! Kid!” the owner screamed, dropping the phone and following us out the door. “Get back here!” I turned to the left, and we flew up.
“See ya! Thanks!” I shouted back, laughing. Man, Jin had good leg muscles. She laughed, and we stopped back in the gutter where we ate. I reached into my pockets, and grabbed a pill, popping it into my mouth.
“That was so cool!” Jin said, laughing. I nodded, resting my back against the wall, and pulling out the necklace. “So is that! That must be worth a lot!” she noted. I put it on my neck, and under my shirt.
“I’m not sure. All I know is my friend’s life depends on it” I replied, smiling. She nodded.
“Can I go to help you find him?” she asked, getting on her hands to get level with the fae I buried between my knees. I shook my head.
“Its dangerous” I replied.
“I got nothing better to do” she said, smiling. I saw me again, and caved.
“kay, but you do everything I say. If I say hide, you hide. I say run, you run. Kay?” I asked, looking at her.
“Uh huh” she nodded, smiling, laughing.
“Thank you so much!” she said, bouncing up and down. I nodded, and laughed. This was cute.
“You know, when I was happy, I’d do the same thing, as a kid. How old are you?”
“Eight” she answered, laughing at me. I nodded, and smiled.
“Okay, Jin. I’m fifteen. I’m named Hazel. I’m an ex detective, escaped from an army base in the middle of the ocean, and had been an archaeologist, as well as a kinda scientist” I said, grinning. “So, when do you want to go?”
“Now!” she said, laughing. I nodded.
“Okay, I’m driving. Here, hop on” I said, pointing at it. She did, and I got in front of her.
“Okay” she said, and I held her wrists.
“Wrap your arms around my hips, and hold onto my belt. Okay?” I asked.
“Got it.” She did, and I nodded.
“Okay, so you see that little hook right there?” I asked. She nodded. “I’ll get the on in the front, and you the one in the back. Kick your heel in it. I’ll make two more later.” I lifted up, zooming towards the sky, and heading towards Tokyo tower.
“Wow! This is so cool!” she said. She was totally sturdy.
“I know, right?” I asked, and we spun around the tower, grinning. One kid dropped his ice cream, and I waved, winking. She was laughing so much.
“This is a great view!” she said, laughing. I agreed, and went off towards the ocean.
“Okay, wanna go to California?” I asked. She nodded.
“Lets go!” I nodded, and zoomed off in that general direction… Of course, I’m a dyslexic, and went the wrong way… We ended up Jiangsu, and turned around.

We ended up in California after a day because I went twice as fast. “Wow! There is a beach!” she exclaimed, laughing.
“Yep! Hold on!” We skidded on the water, and into the sand, people screaming.
“Whooooo!” she laughed. “This is so cool!”
“Glad you think so” I giggled, jumping off my board and helping her off. Everyone gasped, taking photos. I pulled my shirt over my nose to hide my face.
“You’re so ninja!” she said, laughing, hugging me.
“What?” I giggled, grabbing my board.
“Hey isn’t that the girl from the store in Japan?” one person asked.
“Is that kid a legal immigrant?” another asked. I didn’t care, and we walked off to the closest store. I told her to smile, and she did so. It was mostly me I was worried they’d recognize. And I was right. I bought a backpack and lots of food. The manager had us brought to his office as he called the cops. Boss himself came to pick me up, and you can imagine how that went over.
“Do you know what the hell you’ve done?” he asked, grabbing Jin roughly by the arm. I pulled her back calmly, and nodded.
“Caused trouble. How’d you get here so fast?”
“Tip from Japan” he said.
“Oh, that how? Okay, that makes sense”I agreed, giggling.
“You’re coming back with me” he said, and I shook my head, grabbing the my pack, and getting in close.
“I don’t think so. I’m finding Cody” I replied, and I slipped the gun out of his holster. Jin smiled, and then, she froze.
“Hazel?” she asked, pointing at Boss.
“Yeah?”
“He already has one in his hand, pointed at you” she whispered. Boss had two guns?! I glanced down, and sure enough, he was aiming at my foot.
“Oh… That sucks” I sighed, not letting my gun lower. “Oh well. Go on, shoot me. I dare you.” He pointed his gun at Jin’s head, and stared at me, just like Roxas had.
“You. Are coming. With me. She is going to be deported. Do you understand?” he asked. I went on the defensive, and looked around.
“I’d like a warrant for her arrest first” I replied, grabbing some paper and a pen, sticking the gun in my shirt. “Whoops!” I threw it at him, and tackled Jin, who almost got hit.
“Hazel!” I grabbed my pack, and broke through the window, embracing Jin.
“The board!” she protested. I got out my phone, and pushed ‘enter.’
“Every scientist has a backup plan!” I told her as I ran. The board had this chip which locked onto my phone, and would go for that. It his Boss’ head, and made us fall flat on our bottoms as we skidded.
“Hold on!” I pulled up, and we did a loop, going over the building.
“Who- hoooo!” she screamed, laughing. I flipped it over, and we flew away from the store.
“Are you okay?” I called over the wind.
“Yeah! Oh man, this is so fun! We should NEVER get off of this thing!” she said, laughing. I shook my head, and looked around for a place to hide.
“Okay, look around for dark alleys or warehouses” I said, and she found one almost immediately.
“Left!”
I turned down to the left, and ended up in a cargo area. “Good job.” I took the gun out if my shirt, and grabbed the pack. “Okay, see these?” I asked. They were like the hooks that went on the Ski’s.
“Yeah.”
“Okay, well, I got four. I’m going to make it so we can ride in any way we want. And even better, I made it so you wouldn’t need to hold onto me, incase you wanted to hold out your fingers and feel the breeze. I love doing that” I explained, grabbing the board. She grabbed the pack, and munched on a roll.
“Okay. So, who was big fat and stupid?” I laughed.
“The boss of my friend.”
“Oh… Then, why didn’t you go with him?”
“He doesn’t want me to look for him. He wants me locked up on that base I mentioned earlier” I explained. She nodded, and kept munching as I upgraded the board.
“Can you teach me how to make one eventually?” she asked, smiling. I nodded sleepily.
“Yeah, if you want. Once we find my friend, and once I make it so we can keep you in state with me. And if we can’t do that, I’ll go to Japan with you” I said. “Now, go and get some sleep.” She nodded, and then set her head on my lap. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but left it be. I simply tried not to shake too much as I finished the board. When I did, I slept with her, and felt this to be a bond.
“Good night, Hazel” she yawned, snuggling up more.
“Night, Jin. Sweet dreams.”
“Haze?” Oh, I had a nickname?
“Huh?”
“Know any lullabies?”
“Yeah. But I don’t think I should sing here” I answered. “Too many people will be around and may hear.” She nodded sleepily.
“Will you sing for me one of these nights?” she asked.
“Sure, Jin. Of course I’ll sing for you.” After all, when I was an orphan, that was what I would do. I’d sing myself to sleep.

Ch twelve

I smiled at Ak, who was sleeping in the back seat of Chet’s truck. “I can’t believe he doesn’t know about human emotion” Chet sighed, steering to his condo.
“I can” I replied. “In fact, I know everything about it.” He looked at me odd.
“How?” he asked.
“I was just like him, only, I had powers. I can’t really explain what it was like. I was kinda just… There. I was there, and the only thing I really knew was fear. I hope he doesn’t know what that feels like” I sighed, and Chet tisked.
“You were just like him, huh?” he guessed, sighing.
“Yep. And for some reason, while I know I had it worse, I feel like this whole thing is wrong. And its normal to feel that. Its just, I shouldn’t have to” I sighed, letting my head rest on the head piece of the leather chair.
“I agree. Ah, here it is. Home sweet home” he said. His ‘condo’ was a penthouse.
“How do you afford this?!” I asked when he pointed it out.
“Oh, I’m a billionaire. I just keep a low profile by being the crappy cashier guy” he summarized, and I stared at him in confusion.
“Really? Why?”
“I meet good people that way” he answered, pulling into a garage. I nodded, and looked back at Ak. His head bobbed slightly, and he curled up just a bit more. He was so small and thin.
“We need to fatten him up” I chuckled, unbuckling. Chet got out and lightly closed his door.
“Ya don’t say. I’ll get the door open, you get him” he told me, walking to the door. I nodded, and slowly opened the back seat. Ak twitched, and woke up, rubbing his eyes.
“Sorry, did I wake you?” I asked, unbuckling him.
“No. It was master. He told me to kill you” he replied, yawning. I wrinkled my brow and nose, and then smiled in a concerned fashion.
“Would you like me to get him out of your head?”
“No.” I didn’t expect this.
“Why?”
“He plays me lullabies” he answered. “And nobody can get rid of the master. They just can’t.” I smiled, feeling pity for the boy.
“I can” I replied, poking his forehead with a finger. I let a small shadow transfer into his head, and crushed the parasitic idea of that thing being his master. He smiled, then frowned.
“Gone?”
“Gone. And I can sing the lullaby to you” I said, picking him up. He yawned, and let his head roll into my arm as I looped under his legs and the arch of his back.
“But you don’t know the lullaby” he said. I smiled, saddened.
“I actually do. Lonely’s lullaby, right?” I replied, walking him through the door. Chet was shocked as I walked past him. Ak nodded.
“How’d you know?” he asked sleepily.
“I told you, I’m like you.” We walked to the elevator, and Chet smiled at the man inside who pushed the buttons. He glanced at me, and smiled, raising his eyebrows. I thought I’d be sick, and Chet smacked him
“We have a kid with us, stupid. And plus- as I’ve said to you many times- I’m. Not. Gay.” I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. He glared as we got to his house, and walked me in. “Here we are.” It was huge! And he pointed to my right.
“Bed room is right there. We can sleep on the couch” he said, and I nodded. I left, and set Ak on Chet’s bed. Ak curled up in a ball.
“Nnn.” I knew he’d freak without the lullaby. It happened to me. If I didn’t hear the lullaby as a kid, I’d wake up sobbing. So, I got out my phone, and played the recording of the song. I wouldn’t sing it. Too girly. So stupid. Chet walked in, and smiled.
“So, thats your lullaby?” he asked, sighing.
“Yep. Its sad” I grumbled, “And even worse is the fact thats what he grew up with, and what gives him god dreams.” Chet lead me to the living room, and sat me on the couch.
“Look, he is happy. We’ll figure out how to help him soon enough” he said, tossing me a blanket. There were two beds, so he was fine and wouldn’t be sleeping on the floor
“Thanks” I said, stretching. He nodded, and laughed.
“You know, you have a dark history, it seems” he noted, leaning on his arm. “What the story?”
“I’m just not normal.” He phased through the floor and his head popped up right next to me, laughing.
“You’re saying that to me? Really?” he teased, sticking his tongue out. I nodded.
“Yeah, and?” He was now right next to me, and smiling.
“Well? Come on, tell me” he said.
“About?”
“Your past, or more about you.”
“I don’t like my really distant past, but I’ll tell you about my job. I’m a secret agent, and my most recent mission was protecting this stubborn girl. Then my friend went missing, and now I’m looking for him” I said, sitting up.
“Oh, that why you here?”
“Yeah. I’m looking for him here first, and then everywhere else.” He nodded.
“Loyal, huh?”
“Well, I owe him my life, so yeah” I replied, and he went back to his couch.
“Wow. Okay, Captain America!”
“You’re funny” I said, rolling my eyes and getting comfortable. He turned off the lights with his TV remote.
“Night. Oh, I don’t-”
“Roxas. Night.”

Chap thirteen

So, Zion wasn’t happy, and yet, he thanked me. Robin was walking about, and I was kinda worried.
“Hey, can I contact Roxas?” I asked, sighing.
“We don’t know where he is, and he doesn’t have a phone. You can call Hazel” Robin said, tossing me his phone. I did.
“Is Cody alright?! I swear if you hurt him I’ll murder you!” she immediately said.
“Uh… Hey” I said, a bit… Well, I was… Happy. “I’m okay.”
“Cody?! Oh, thank God! You gave me a heart attack!” she shouted, clearly relieved.
“Um… Is this Hazel?”
“Dur its Hazel!”
“But… Like, we only talked when you were getting tea for me?”
“Cody?”
“Yes?”
“Shut your face. You saved my life. I owe you. Now, where are you? I’ll pick you up.”
“Oh… I’m actually not going to come home yet.”
“What?!!! Cody, WTH?!” she protested. “I mean, I’ve been looking for you and stuff and just hit your Boss in the face trying to make it so I could KEEP looking for you!” I started laughing softly.
“You hit Boss? With what?”
“My board.”
“Board? Boss wouldn’t have let his guard down so much” I said, unsure of if this was true.
“Hover board. Look, point is, I’m in deep because of you, and so is this kid I’m with. PLEASE tell us where you are!”
“Look, you’ll beat the crap out of Robin and Zion, and that thing’ll come back” I sighed, knowing all too well. “Plus, you’ll get put into danger.”
“I just had to punch your boss and throw pens and papers at him. Are you REALLY going to say that? And anyway, right now, you’re the only one- with exception to Jin- that I won’t kill.”
“Jin?”
“A girl that I found in Tokyo. Look, point is, I really need to find you, if not for your sake, for mine. I promise not to kill anyone you don’t want me to.” When she said kill, I thought of the skinny girl who offered to make tea flailing her arms in a cat fight. Why was I worried? I looked at Zion, who nodded. Robin took the phone, and sighed.
“Hi, this is a friend. We’re in Ireland in Silver Stone forest” he said. The phone burst with loud noises, and he dropped it.
“Sonofagun!”
“Look, miss, I am sorry, truly, but please, if you need to yell at me, do so less loudly. It got louder, not quieter. I laughed a bit, and then he tossed me the phone.
“Okay, I’m not talking to crazy.”
“Oh, I’m crazy?! You’re the one from the videos!” she said when I lifted up the phone.
“Look, Hazel, calm down, okay?” I said, laughing just a bit more. “Plus, what does it matter? Again, we only met once.”
“Cody, I owe you.” I stood still for a bit. “You still there?”
“Oh, yeah… Its just that I’ve never had anyone owe me before” I said, smiling.
“Cody doesn’t think so” she said. Then she stopped. “Of course, not doing anything to prove it. He said you taught him everything, and he owes you everything in return.” Again, silence. “Hey-low?”
“Sorry. Really? He does?”
“Yeah. BTW, those pill things you had in your office that you were still testing? They work.”
“Really?! Thats great!”
“Yeah. Okay, so you’re in Ireland?”
“For now.”
“What?”
“Well, we’re going to try and find the necklace and Roxas and save him.”
“Then go to the base, but I’d still have to meet you. I have the necklace.” Zion’s phone beeped, and I looked on. It was almost as if it was on cue.
Cody? Person holding Cody captive? I’ve got the necklace. I guessed it was Roxas.
“Hazel, I’m sorry, but don’t lie” I sighed.
“I’m not! Here, this is Jin. Jin, do I have a necklace with me?”
“Yes” answered a young voice.
“Hazel, I just got a text saying someone else has the necklace and still thinks I’m captive. I have to go, don’t bother coming to us. Once this whole thing is over, I’ll find you and explain everything.”
“No, wait!”
“I’ll call you soon.” I hung up, and sighed.
“That could have gone better” Zion noted, laughing. I nodded.
“Okay, can I call her again?” I asked.
“Every day, one time, if you want” he replied, stretching. I nodded. Robin sat down in a chair, and I smiled. The pills worked. Meaning they were tested, and healed people. I went into the kitchen, and grabbed all the ingredients and a large pot.
“What are you doing?” Robin asked.
“Science” I answered, smiling. I loved my job. I mashed up powders and nuts, making a natural solution. It had the same types of chemicals inside the pill, but less of the bad stuff, and safer. Zion walked off, and Robin watched me as I worked my magic. My head started to hurt, but I ignored it.
“Okay, I think I got it” I said, putting the liquid into a cup. “Liquid solution. Here, drink a bit of this.” He lifted it out of my hands, and sloshed it around.
“Its green.”
“And? Lots of things are green.”
“It looks weird.”
“You look weird.” I thought it was a good comeback. He gave me this look that said ‘really?’, and then drank it. Only a bit, and then he nearly threw up. I slammed my hand over his mouth, and glared. “Look, just swallow it. It isn’t that bad!” He swallowed hard, and I let go.
“Its horrible. Its like you grabbed the worst things in the world and tossed them in some-”
“Okay, ha ha” I cut off, grabbing my bag. I needed to test it. I jabbed him in the side, and he lurched forward.
“Ow! Hey!”
“Are you bleeding?” I asked, pulling his shirt up.
“The hell are you doing?!” he hissed. Zion walked in, and fell down the stairs. Nope. He wasn’t bleeding. He was fine.
“Okay, it worked, so don’t complain” I said, walking down the stairs to help Zion up.
“Before we continue” he began, rubbing his head and holding up his index, “are you gay?”
“No! Why would you think that?!”
“Need I answer that?” I rolled my eyes.
“Science needs not explain itself. I was simply seeing if my little drug worked. It did. So there” I said, pulling him to his feet.
“Good.” I smiled, and he got up, laughing.
“So, we going to find that fake?” I asked, smiling.
“Yeah. Sorry we’re dragging you into this.”
“I was getting bored without my ginue pig, and have nothing better to do.”
“Okay.”

Chapter forteen

“That jerk!” I screamed angrily. “I am SO going to kill him!” Jin snickered, sitting on my board.
“Sounds like you like him.”
“I do not!” I protested, and she made a kissy face. It was morning now, and we were sitting in the cargo bay. She rubbed her eyes, and yawned.
“I’m hungry” she said. I looked through my bag, and grabbed her a pack of cereal.
“I don’t have milk, but its something” I said, putting my phone in my pockets.
“Thanks.” She opened it, and ate it quickly. I wasn’t hungry. Lost my appetite. I sighed. I couldn’t take Jin to Ireland. It’d be too far off and too hazardous. I would have to stay in the states, and try to gather leads on Cody’s kidnapper. Plus, he said he’d be leaving. Maybe he’d come to the U.S. I’d find him again. I smiled, and laughed.
“What?” Jin asked, and I sighed.
“I’m worried. I’m worried about everyone but me. Thats funny” I said. “In this situation, I never thought I’d be more worried about a dude I knew for less than five minutes than myself. This is hilarious” she said. She nodded, and then my phone rang. I flipped it open, and it said I got a picture message. Cody had sent me a picture of him sticking his tongue out at me, and the text said, “I’ll call every day. TTFN!” I smiled, but still. He was so stupid!
“Crse u!” I replied, my fingers moving with lightning speed. Who knew.
“Man, this is funny” Jin said, throwing the empty box at me. “But we can’t stay. We gotta go.” She was right. People were driving in. I sighed, and got on my board, the hooks now officially stuck inside the board. Jin tried to get in, but we were spotted.
“Just hold on” I said calmly, smiling at her. She nodded, and squeezed.
“You two! This is a restricted area!” the guard shouted, and then we flew off.
“Guard it better then!” I called back, Jin almost falling off. I stopped in midair, and let her get buckled in. The guard was radioing people. I knew something bad would happen, I just didn’t know Boss would send jets and cruisers after me. Only five minutes after leaving, one of the wings almost hit Jin.
“Hey, that coulda killed us!” she said. It would have sliced us in two.
“Hazel, you have five seconds to turn yourself in” they said. I glared, and decided to do something. Something really stupid.
“Its Xia, losers!” I turned off the power, and we went free falling, doing loops.
“CRAAAPPPP!!!” Jin screamed, almost crushing my lungs. I turned the power on again, bursting forward. This was fun. My adrenaline spiked.
“Whoa-hoo!” Did I really just do that? Really?
“That. Was. AWESOME!” Jin exclaimed, her heart thumping so hard that even I felt it.
“I think so.” But the planes were still behind us. I laughed. This chase was going to kill me. Jin grabbed my pack, and smiled.
“I know what to do” she muttered to herself, reaching in my pocket.
“What are yo-” She grabbed my gun, and loosed one of her feet. “Jin!” She pulled the trigger, missing the plane’s engine by only a bit.
“Warning shot has been fired!” she said. I couldn’t believe her!
“Jin, be more careful!” I hissed.
“Almost falling from the sky is careful?!” she protested, firing another two rounds. I decided that gun needed to go, so I lurched to a stop, and she dropped the gun. “Hey!” I turned around, and stopped. The planes whized past, and only then realized that I was behind them. I continued to fly backwards from them, and eventually lost them.
“Jin, don’t you EVER scare me like that again!” I ordered, dropping down. She glared, and sighed.
“I was trying to save you” she grumbled.
“If you die in the process, what is the point?” I replied, rolling my eyes. I unhooked, and turned back to her, gripping her shoulders. “I’m trying to protect you, and give you what I didn’t have a kid.”
“What did you not have?”
“Fun. I didn’t have fun. And I am trying to do that for you, give you food, and help you out. It will all go down the drain if you kill yourself, and or get yourself killed” I answered. “And dragging you into this hell isn’t exactly safe, I know, but I want it to be as safe as possible.”
“How sweet.” Something grabbed me by the neck, and pulled down harshly.
“Hazel!” I was already stuck in nothingness, and it only got worse when the necklace was pulled out of my pocket.
“Hey!”
“Why hello. This is mine” he said. I had to come up with something, fast.
“No, its mine!” I protested, snatching it and trying to run. I only succeeded in swimming.
“Not so fast.” I was stuck. “I own it.” I knew what to say.
“Its a fake. I made a fake and am trying to lure Cody’s captors out” I answered. As if it were fake! Ha! He stopped. If I could call it a he.
“You are lying.”
“No, I promise!” I protested, my toes crossing in their shoes. I was back on solid ground, the black mass in the outline of a man standing before me.
“If you’re lying-”
“What, you’ll kill me? I’m not, but if I were, you wouldn’t be able to because I’d know where the real one was, which I do. Its back at the base. Just give Cody back.” He laughed, and slipped off out of my head, Jin crying and hugging me.
“I don’t have him. Thank you for the information” he replied, waving.
“Hey!” I grabbed his hand, but it slipped out between my fingers, and then, when I thought it was officially out of my grasp, engulfed my hand, and yanked. I screamed, and fell down. More blood. Why couldn’t I heal faster?
“Don’t do that again.” Jin helped me up, the mass gone.
“Jerk” I grumbled, cradling my left arm. Ouch. I decided to not eat a pill. I needed to save them, and they weren’t really helping me.
“You were- you just- you had- poof!” Jin said, crying into my shirt. I hugged her with my good arm.
“I’m okay. Now, lets go and get new clothes.” How would we do that, you ask? I had my phone, and looked up in which state we were. We were in Nevada, and I knew a guy there. His name was Sean, a priest who would totally help me.

“What?! No, you can’t come in!” I couldn’t believe Sean was abandoning me! Sean, FYI, is a brown haired boy with brown eyes to make and somewhat tan skin.
“Look, please? I just need a new thing a cloth for Jin! She is just a kid!” protested as he closed the door in my face. He stopped, and looked at Jin, who was glancing down at her stomach. Cheerios didn’t seem to be doing the trick.
“Oh, alright” he said, opening the door more. Jin smiled, her toothy grin finishing him off. He had melted. Caved. Caught. He let us in, glancing around, and led me to the lost-and-found room, clothes everywhere, all sizes. I didn’t want to know.
“Thank you, Father. You’re a life saver” I said, hugging him. He was very uncomfortable, but whatever.
“Here you guys go. I’ll start some stuff for you guys in the church kitchen” he said, leaving us. I decided that I would keep the pants, but the shirt? No way. I grabbed a grey shirt, and smiled at the design. It had a blue cross on it, a darker blue scroll wrapping around the bottom of it, and two pink roses on the top right of the cross and bottom left. All of this was on the top right half of the shirt, and the rest of the shirt had grey roses in the background. I slipped it on over my limp arm. Perfect fit. I smiled, and looked in the mirror. I still had my bandages, and my hair had grown a bit, but I thought it was cool. Jin was now in a pink skirt that went just a bit over the knee and a sky blue T with flowers on the bottom. I smiled.
“Cute. Okay, you ready?” I asked, and she nodded.
“Thanks, Hazel. Or is it Xia?”
“Its only Xia to the people hunting us down.” I walked her out, and followed my nose, leading me to a meal of soup and bread, Sean greeting me to sit down. I let Jin in her chair first, and bowed my head.
“I am sorry, Father, for I have sinned.” He sighed.
“Confessions? At this time?”
“I may never get the chance again.” I hated religion, but I needed this off my chest. He let me sit down, and watched me. I told him how I stole gold from a tomb. How I had let my friend sacrifice himself for me- if Cody could be considered a friend- and how I was running from the authorities with an illegal immigrant.
“You are absolved” he said, not sure whether or not to be angry, or sorry for me.
“Thank you, Father. I am sorry to be a burden on you” I said, Jin wolfing down her food. I let her take my bowl. I still wasn’t hungry. My arm throbbed so bad. It was still bleeding a bit. Sean pointed at it, holding the bible in his arms.
“What happened?”
“I got into some stuff with another friend who kinda sorta lost his mind. It’ll be fine” I answered him. Jin handed me my roll, glaring at me.
“Eat it.” I just stared at it. “You haven’t eaten since two or three days ago. You have to eat” she said, pushing it into my hands. I nodded, and ate it slowly.
“You haven’t eaten for that long?” Sean asked, shocked.
“I didn’t have time, Father. Plus, Jin would’ve needed the food more than me” I said, shrugging. Man, this was a good roll!
“Hazel!” Sean said, smacking his hands on the table, the bible on the table. “You must take better care of yourself!”
“Father, I am fine. I wasn’t hungry. Okay?”
“No! It isn’t okay!” he shouted, glaring at me. I smiled at him innocently.
“Father, you know me. I was the kid in the corner, remember? I never had food. And you always asked me why. Would you like to know?” He still did. I knew he did. He nodded. “Because I had nothing. I spent all of my money on school, and dug around in trash for food. If I did that at school, I’d be kicked out. I didn’t have food. I’d last for five days without eating a single thing” I answered, smiling. I wanted to cry, but didn’t.
“H-”
“Jin did the same thing. She lived in the gutter. So, I’m letting her have what I didn’t. Fun. Food. The good stuff. Now, Father, do not question me.” He nodded, and then moved down, kneeling at my side.
“What are yo-” He lifted my arm up lightly, but I still winced.
“That bad?”
“I’m fine” I lied, grinning. “Really, I-” He poked it, sending me to tears.
“Oh yeah, so fine. Jin- if that is your name- will you please help me by putting the dishes in the sink? Thank you, darling, it is a kind thing that you are doing that for me.” He slowly undid my bandages, letting me squeeze his shoulder as he did so. I bit my lip, and almost punctured the skin. He gasped when he got it off.
“Hazel!” I was still crying when he told Jin to get a salve in the cabinet. I looked down. My arm had more holes in it than I knew. Yes, I had scars, so I was healing, but I was pulling a lot of the scars open. I was bleeding so bad that my arm was stained red with blood. Oh crap.
“Thats… Thats on both my arms, and my legs, and… And all over.” Sean sighed.
“Still the reckless girl from college I see” he grumbled, Jin giving him the salve. I nodded.
“This hurts.”
“Good! It had better!” he said, the medicine cooling the burning sensation. I let myself relax. Tensing up would only make it worse.
“I am sorry, Father” I said, taking deep breathes.
“I will forgive you, if you simply stay here for a bit, and let yourself heal.”
“Can’t.”
“Why on earth not?!”
“I have to save a friend” I answered truthfully, and he shook his head.
“You are not leaving here until I heal your wounds” he replied, and I laughed.
“Oh yeah? you gonna stop me?”
“Yes. And it seems your friend is going to help me” he replied. Jin was standing on the chair, looking down on my with a frying pan in her hands, crying.
“Stop pushing yourself so hard” she whispered, trembling. I sighed.
“Jin, sit down, okay? You and I both know I need to push harder” I replied, trying to not let any emotion show. I failed miserably.
“No. Hazel, you’ll get really hurt.” Sean was clearly waiting for me to cave. Those puppy eyes… I shook my head, and glanced at Sean.
“Sorry, but I really can’t stay. Plus, what if they find me here? They won’t care if its a church, and if they need to, they’ll burn it to the ground to try and catch me So I can’t, Sean, and you know it.”
“Okay, you did this, not me” he replied, and Jin brought the pan down on my head.
Ch fifteen

Chet had made eggs for us, and I woke Ak up. “Hey, buddy, time to get up” I said, shaking him a bit. He moaned, and rolled to the side. “Ak, c’mon. We made breakfast.” I opened his eyes, stretching a bit. I got on my knees, and got face to face with him.
“You played the lullaby?” he asked. I nodded, picking him up. I’d have to walk him to the table. He wasn’t really awake.
“Yep. I played it. Lets go eat breakfast, huh?” He let his head roll on my shoulders, and Chet smiled.
“Aw, me next, daddy.” I shot him a warning glance, and set Ak down in a chair. I then placed his plate of eggs and bacon in front of him, and handed him his fork. He was still fighting his exhaustion, but smiled.
“*Yawn* thank *yawn* you.” I nodded, het sitting to the left of him. I sat on the right, and smiled. He smiled. This was good. It was a mask, but it was better than not showing me anything at all.
“So, where are we gonna go?” I pulled out the decoy phone, and looked at it. I still had no reply from earlier this morning. I had sent it at 7 a.m. It was now 8.
“Well, it looks like we’ll be staying here for a bit until we get coordi-” As if by the devils will, the phone rang, and I got a picture of Cody, upside down, red blood trailing from somewhere off the picture.
“Better hurry! Better hurry! Better hurry!” my phone sang, laughing. It said they were going to go to Florence. I glared, and then, smiled. If this were true, and if Hazel was looking for him, she’d go there too… Wait, what if she didn’t know? I sighed, and decided to try and find her. I looked for all the places she had been recently, and found that she was seen someplace in Nevada. Maybe I could meet with her. No, I wouldn’t.
“We’ll have to make some stops, but we’re going to Italy” I said, smiling. Chet whistled.
“I don’t think I can go without us getting attacked. My dad has a lot of enemies” he replied. I nodded. “Okay, well-” My phone buzzed again.
“Shadow travel, shadow travel, shadow travel!” it sang. Okay, whatever that was. I thought.
“Know what, lets stay here for a day. I need sometime to cleanse myself” I sighed.
“You just slept for a whole twelve hours, and took a shower this morning!” Chet protested.
“He means he needs to purify his soul” Ak clarified. I nodded, and flushed.
“Sadly- and don’t laugh, its not funny- I need to… Well, I need to go to a hot springs or something” I said, my ears burning. Chet was trying so hard, but then nodded.
“Okay. We could all use a day at the *giggle, chuckle, snort* spa.”
“Moron” I grumbled, flushing.
“I’m sorry, but this is really funny!” he said. So, all three of us drove off to this spa place with a public hot springs. Chet rented it out, and everyone had to leave. We were alone. I got into a silk robe, still flushing, and wrapped prayer beads around my wrist. Meanwhile, Chet and Ak simply wrapped towels around their waists and met me outside. I walked out and sat under a man made waterfall, cross legged and praying.
“Watashi wa subete no tsumi no junsui dearu to suru to, subete no nikushimi o kaihō suru koto. Watashi wa jibun jishin o menjo shimashou ​​, to akuma ga nigemasu. Watashi wa, junsuina watashi yoshi, watashi wa junsui desu.” I kept my eyes closed, and felt myself grow from tainted with cruel thoughts to purified with clarity. I got out from the waterfall, and was ready to leave, when Chet grabbed my ankle.
“I rented this place for the hour. You are staying here for another thirty minutes, at least” he said, and he yanked me into the pool. Ak smiled at me, but it remained fake. I sighed, and nodded. “And take that robe off! You look like my grandmother!” he continued, pulling it off.
“Hey! I still had my towel on, but still. “That was weird.” He rolled his eyes, and went under water. Ak sat on the little slab in the water next to me, and sat there.
“Someone is coming” he said. “And they’re really close. At least seven feet away. They’re almost right in front of us.” Chet was seven feet away, so I smiled.
“Look, nobody is here” I said. Of course, I had my eyes closed, and didn’t notice that he wasn’t breathing on my shoulder, but now on my chest.
“I don’t feel very special” someone sighed. I opened my eyes. He looked almost exactly like me, but with red hair and stuff.
“What the hell?!” He smiled, and shook my hand. We were still in water, but there was a bubble around us, and I could breathe under the water. Chet was banging on the bubble, and Ak was looking down from above.
“I was just wondering what you’re doing here. Not rushing off to save your friend. I did say we’d be in Florence, did I not?”
“How’d you get here?!”
“I told you, shadow travel. You can do that, you know. Why not try it?”
“I don’t even know what that is” I protested. He nodded.
“Well, if you give me the necklace now, I’ll let Cody go” he said, smiling gently at me. I glared at him.
“No. You let him go first.”
“But then you’ll keep the necklace.”
“Smart man.” He smiled, and pushed me. I spun, and then, was looking at Hazel, her wrists tied.
“You have to save Cody!” her voice shouted. “You have to save me! It hurts!” Chet went back up for air. I was really confused.
“Ha- What? You got- No” I said. She swam up to me, and set her hands on my cheeks.
“It hurts. Save me” she said, crying. It seemed redundant since we were in water. She pulled me into a kiss. I couldn’t breathe, and then she pulled away, sputtering. Then it went back to being the red head. He had a ear peice.
“There, you happy? I did the stupid dare” he grumbled. I kissed. A guy. A guy. Kissed me. He kissed me. I got really mad, and Chet? He was choking because he was laughing under water.
“You’re sick!” I screamed, swimming for him. Then the bubble ruptured, and I got stuck under the water, the current pushing me back. Chet grabbed my arms, and helped me back up to the shallows. I shuddered, Chet not letting go of my arm. That kiss just kept coming back. When I thought it was Hazel, I really liked it. Now I didn’t.
“That creep. Creep. Creep. Creep” I whispered. “Who does he think he is? Kissing me! I don’t even know who that is!” Chet was laughing so hard, and even Ak was fighting off a grin. A real one. I punched Chet in the gut.
“*Oof!* Hey, it was funny! You should have seen your face!” he said, laughing. I got out of the pool, and lay on my back on the warm ground. Then I puked.
“Oh! No puking! Out, out, out!” the lady who owned the spa screamed, hissing in anger as she rushed us out. didn’t even give us back our clothes.
“Lady, we need those!” Chet protested, slamming on the door as I hid in the bush with Ak. Worst. Day. Ever. That kiss kept playing on repeat, and it only got worse. A girl saw me, and then a guy saw me, and then I realized I knew them, and Boss was sure to follow. I could NOT be caught. I grabbed Chet’s arm, and started sprinting, crying. This was really embarrassing.
“Hey, I almost got our clothes back!” Then a bullet whizzed past his ear. Boss was ready to kill anyone who was going to interfere with my capture.
“Want to go back?!” I hissed, pulling him around the corner.
“No” he agreed, now running beside me. Ak wasn’t even touching the floor because we were pulling him so fast. Just like in the tomb.
“Who was that?” he asked calmly.
“My boss, and I think he isn’t happy with me” I replied, running to the closest crowd. This. Was. Terrible. Sure, lets hide in a crowd of people as we run with only towels on. Cause that always works! We melded in, grabbing some random dude’s jacket, and another guys vest. Ak simply had to hide between us. I grabbed a hat, and Chet, a cigar that had yet to be lit. We walked, ignoring the peering eyes, and walked into the bathroom. I was crying.
“This is an insult to my pride” I whispered, Ak looking out blankly. Chet was so pink that he looked like he was going to burst.
“Could be worse” Ak said. then he paused, and lay against the wall. “Scratch that. No it can’t.” It was all the girls from the base running over.
“He doesn’t have a shirt on!”
“So sexy!”
“And he has a really hot friend!” I looked around. A window. There was a window. I broke it open, and pushed Ak out of it. Chet climbed up next, the girls almost there. I climbed up, a strong arm pulling me. Busted. Boss was dragging me up, and he was NOT happy.
“Uh… Can I explain?” I asked. He had a gun pointed at Ak, and Chet was writhing on the floor, clutching his neck, gasping.
“No. You three are in DEEP right now.” He glanced down at Chet, and a snarl grew on his face. “This is disgusting. You working with these… These random people you met off the street” he growled. Chet slowly sat up, laughing.
“We aren’t strangers” he corrected. Boss tried to kick him in the gut, but phased right through. Chet smiled, and materialized when his foot and leg was right in the center of him. Boss pulled, but couldn’t do much. “We’re fellow freaks.” I took the chance to grab one of his guns, and hold it up to his temple.
“Boss, I have nothing but respect for you” I began, but then I looked down at Ak. “But this isn’t you. The Boss I knew didn’t murder kids and hurt innocents. Don’t make me.” He let the gun go, and Chet phased out of him. Ak watched him, and Boss made the connection.
“He is like you. You feel like you have to watch him” he realized. He let me go, and raised his hands, wrinkling his brow and pitying me. “You feel responsible for this freak. You think that monster can be brought back, like you? This thing?” That set me off. I kicked his shin, Boss crumbling.
“He isn’t a monster! He is misunderstood, and alone! I thought you knew that when I improved!” He glanced up at me.
“What I learned when you improved was that a monster could hide behind a mask. And a monster could pretend to be something it wasn’t. Roxas, all you are is a monster, and a freak” he answered truthfully. “I love you like my son, but in all reality, that is all you are, and all you will ever be.” Tears welled up in my eyes. Chet set a hand on my shoulder.
“He isn’t the monster here. You are” he replied coolly, walking me back slowly. I wanted to pull the trigger, but didn’t. Boss was on his knees, and he was without his gun. He dropped it. Ak walked by me, his head hanging.
“I’m a monster?” he asked, no hint of emotion in his voice. “Makes sense.”
“Ak, you aren’t a monster. You’re just alone, like Roxas said” Chet replied, and I nodded. Boss was done. He was going to let me go. But only this one time. I already saw him trying to get somebody to follow us. We turned the corner, and Chet let me go.
“Thank you” I said, not looking at him still. Ak tugged on my arm.
“Chet just collapsed” he said simply. “What do we do?” I turned around. He was right. Chet was sitting on his knees, and about to fall backwards.
“Hey, what happened?” I asked, kneeling beside him.
“Never phased like that before. e did something. My legs are buzzing. I feel kinda dizzy” he said, smiling at me. I knew what happened, and so, I punched his spine. “Ow!”
“That better?” He pinched his legs.
“I can feel them again, if thats what you mean.”
“Good. Okay, we have to go to Florence. But first, the penthouse” I said, helping him back up. “Okay.”

I smiled as I got into clean clothes. thank God. I nodded in relief, and then came the voices in my head. “Go to Nevada first. Go talk to Hazel. Go to Nevada.” I clutched my ears, shaking my head. The voices hurt my head. Ak walked in, and grabbed my elbows.
“We gotta go to Nevada” he said, smiling. I couldn’t believe this. I realized it then.
“Ak, are you the one doing that?” I asked, sighing. He watched me blankly. “Are you the one making the voices in my head?” He nodded.
“I just know we have to go there first. To talk to that girl.”
“Two things. A, how are you doing that? And b, why Nevada?”
“I’ve always been able to do that. and its Nevada because I just know that is where she is” he answered. The voices were gone.
“Please keep the voices out of my head” I said, smiling at him.
“Okay.” I smiled, and Chet walked in.
“Just got three tickets to Florence.”
“Can you change it to Nevada?”
“MAKE UP YOUR MIND!!!” he shouted throwing his arms up in the air. I smiled, and laughed a bit.
“Wow, you’re funny” Ak said, laughing a bit. This felt somewhat real. I nodded, and let him sit on my lap. He grinned, and set his head on my shoulder.
“You’re nice.”
“I like to think so.”
“I’m sorry.” I glanced down.
“For what?” I had to know. And sadly, I realized why. He was bleeding. His wrist was bleeding. He was a cutter? I swore under my breath, rushing him into the bathroom. He smiled.
“What?”
“Are you nuts?!”
“It doesn’t hurt” he said. I knew that feeling. Where you go numb. I grabbed bandages and wrapped his wrist hurriedly, and set him on the toilet lid. He winced, but his smile, his genuine smile, never faded.
See? That hurt.”
“But only because I cut myself.” I glared at him, and finished bandaging him up.
“Want another way to feel less numb? To feel the pain so that you know you’re alive?” He watched me blankly. I pinched him, and he smacked my hand.
“Ow!”
“See? That is a safer way” I said. “Soon, you won’t even have to do that.” He was confused.
“But I need to know if this is all just a nightmare.”
“Why do you think this is a nightmare? Aren’t you a bit happier?” He nodded, and started crying.
“Thats why. The voices in MY head say that… Say that you’re going to die. I don’t want you to die.” This was real. This was painful. This was sad. I sat him on the counter, and smiled at him.
“I’m not going to die. I promise. None of us are going to die.” He shook his head.
“You can’t promise that” he said. I shook my head in return, smiling.
“But I am. I won’t die. Chet won’t die. You won’t die. Got it?” I asked. He glanced up. “I promise. Its only going to get better.” He nodded, and Chet walked back in.
“Switched to Nevada, not changing again!” he said. And then he saw Ak’s wrist, and was sent into a fit, picking him up and scolding him while making sure he was okay. I laughed at him, and sat on the bed. Funny. I watched him, and when he walked over with Ak on his back- more like crawled and playing around with Ak- I said,
“Aw, me next, daddy.” He made a hur hur hur noise, and glared at me.
“Yer funny.”
“Yes, I am.” He rolled his eyes, and then I left the room. When I almost got back in, I heard Ak ask wheat Chet thought of me. There was a pause.
“Don’t know him too well, but from what I know, he is one of the best men around. He is way too good.” I smiled smugly, and walked in.
“One of the best? Not the best?” I asked. He sighed.
“I think you’re arrogance is growing.”
“Is that possible?” I chuckled, and sat back on the bed, Ak laughing. I watched, and sighed. I wish this was how I grew up. I wondered what Hazel was doing in Nevada, and let my mind wonder. This was silly. Why was I thinking about her? Because you love her, and you feel bad for hurting her, and you don’t know what else to think about. Ak said in my head. I looked at him, and he shrugged. This was true.

Chap sixteen

When Hazel didn’t write ‘Curse you’ after I texted her five times the next day, I got worried. “Look, can’t you just let me shadow travel to her?” I asked. He sighed.
“Look, its not that simple!”
“Sure it is! Look, please? I just need to make sure she is safe” I replied, stopping him from walking into his room and slam the door in my face. He sighed, and looked over at Robin. He nodded.
“I’ll go with him” Robin volunteered, smiling at me. Zion nodded, and tapped my forehead. I was thrust into nothingness, Robin there beside me in a second, and then was back in the real world, standing beside a bed. Hazel was passed out, her arms and legs bleeding onto blankets, crying in her sleep. This was terrifying. She opened an eye, and jumped. This was bad for her, of course, and she tore open another bleeding wound. She smacked a hand over her lips and bit, avoiding screaming. I reached a hand behind her head, and watched her as she tried to piece together this situation she was in. Robin took pity, and looked around.
“We’re in an attic” he said as I knelt down and traced a finger over her arm. This was too much blood. She’d bleed out. I still had the juice in my lab coat pocket, and gave it to her. She swallowed, and then hit me. Hard. I sat, stunned, but I deserved it.
“Sorry,had to see if I was dreaming” she said, sitting up. Oh, okay. She didn’t mean to hurt me. Then she slapped me again, and this time, it was as payback. “Why the hell are you here? How are you here? Who is that?” she hissed in a hushed whisper.
“Okay, I got worried about you, I don’t really know how to explain how I got here, and he is my friend. Okay, you should be fine, but now I’m going to-”
“She is up here, but be quiet. She is sleeping” a girl said outside the door, the handle turning. Robin grabbed me, wrapping an arm around my neck, and pulling out a knife. It didn’t help to see Roxas standing in front of a boy and then a guy who was his age. Hazel- though she could move- was still trying to regain her strength, so she fell back on the mattress, glaring at Robin.
“Oh, what a great friend!” she hissed angrily.
“Hazel!” the girl shouted. The little boy… His face… I glanced up at Roxas.
“Is he-” like you were when we first met?
“Yes. But we can talk about that AFTER I save you.” Oh man, this was going South way too fast. Didn’t help when Zion showed up in fits, flailing his arms and gasping as he came jumping out of the wall.
“Sonofagun!” The big guy next to the priest and Roxas was seriously confused, but not too afraid. He walked up to me, phasing through everyone. Robin glared.
“We shouldn’t have ever come here” he said.
“Okay, you were right” I agreed as he squeezed my neck tighter. The kid stopped.
“The name is Chet” he said.
“Why are you telling us this?” Zion asked, rubbing his head. Pow. Right in the face.
“So you know who broke your nose.” Robin hit his head on the bed, and Hazel grabbing his shirt. She was not letting go.
“Hold on! We have bigger problems!” Zion protested, trying to gently pull Robin out of Hazel’s grasp so as not to injure her.
“WE don’t have a problem” Roxas disagreed, pulling a gun out of a holster in his denim jacket, “YOU do.” He aimed. He was starting to pull the trigger. I jumped. I don’t know why, but I did. Even funnier, I didn’t feel it. I didn’t hear it. I didn’t see it coming. By ‘it’ I mean getting shot RIGHT in the abdomen. All was still for a bit. Zion finally grabbed me, and got out the slush. Robin was right, it was really gross. Roxas started screaming, throwing the pistol on the ground. Robin twisted harshly and judo flipped Hazel on top of Chet and the kids. I was trying to regain my sense of hearing. And by then, I was… Angry.
“SHUT THE HELL UP!!! ALL YOU MORONS!!!” I turned toward the priest. “Sorry, Father.” He said nothing, but gawked at me. Everyone watched me, Chet on top of Robin, who was kicking off the two kids who were biting his arm and leg, and Zion- who was about to smack Roxas- was standing in a mid-punch as Roxas was just glancing down on me, blocking. Even Hazel let herself go a tad bit limp and loosen her grip on Zion’s shirt and belt. “Thank you. Now, I’m going to let you all in on something really cool. You ready?” Silence.
“Well?” the little girl asked.
“I didn’t want to leave!” Roxas dropped his arms, and gave me this odd glance. “I wanted to help these guys. Want to know why? Because they helped me. And because they are only trying to save all of us a lot of pain.”
“They hung you upside down and stuck voices in your head, and on top of that, they bled you!”
“Okay, they hung me, yes, but the bleeding was a prop.”
“What about the second video?”
“Also real, but he didn’t want to do it.”
“Then why all this trouble over a stupid hunk o’junk?!”
“We need it to trick that big fat stupid shadow monster who thinks its real when it isn’t so he’ll leave you all alone you morons!” Now everyone was looking at something else. In my direction, but not at me. All silent. It hit me. I sighed, and became calm, and pointed over my shoulder.
“He is RIGHT behind me, isn’t he?” I asked.
“Yes. A trick, you said?” he asked. Oil trickled down my lab coat. I swallowed hard.
“Yeah. To trick you into destroying yourself. Have you go crazy trying to find it” I replied hastily as the oil began to solidify.
“Is that right? Well, do you know why I really need that necklace?” I felt needles slice into my skin, and- sadly- let out a squeak/moan/croak. Don’t laugh. You’d do the same if you were a toothpick of a scientist. I’m brains, not bronze. “Its so that I can take a host body when this one starts to break. And it seems I have a handful of volunteers. He glanced around, his head right beside mine, and somehow, I felt him breathing down my neck.
“You’re such a freak” I chuckled to myself aloud. That didn’t help me.
“I like you, boy. Not afraid to speak your mind. That is good” he noted. Again, I chuckled, the needles puncturing deeper, then just disappearing.
“I don’t know what to call you, freak” I said, relaxing my muscles.
“Eimim, but you can just call me, ‘It’, ‘Him’, or, ‘Freak’ as you already do” he replied. Hazel was confused. Roxas was confused. Zion was confused. Who wasn’t? The little boy. “Now, a game. Would you like to play?”
“Not really.” Up flew the two kids, upside down and staring me. The boy was not afraid. The girl was crying.
“Now, I will offer you a deal. I can kill these two, or you can save them by making me a deal.” Roxas jumped up, and grabbed the boy.
“You are NOT killing him!” Hazel got up to her feet, shaking.
“Dido. You kill that girl, you’re dead” she agreed.
“Hazel, no!” the girl protested.
“Roxas, don’t do it” the boy said calmly. “Beside, I’m not really supposed to be alive. Nobody is going to miss me.” But He didn’t care, and dropped the two, switching it out with my best friend and the damsel. I smiled. I had something. I had to get into my pocket.
“Hey, Roxas, really quick?” I asked.
“What?” he asked, now upside down.
“You talk to Cap lately?”
“No. Haven’t had time.” I nodded.
“Okay, I will play” I said. “BUT, only if you take a risk as well.” He glanced down.
“What will it be?”
“If I do play this game, and agree to gamble with a life, I get to stick something in your skin- if thats what it is- for a full minute.” The was nothing as I smiled smugly.
“Alright. I will allow it.” This was good.
“I want your word. Swear it.” He swore it, and we played.
“Now, I am going to give you three choices. I can kill the girl slowly and painfully, but leave you all alone for a week. I can bleed and ensnare Roxas, and then hide him in a place for a while, then return him. OR you can let me bug you.” I was confused.
“You’re already bugging me.”
“No, not yet.”
“What do you mean? Explain” I asked, writhing about, now seriously stressed.
“Well, you humans bug cell phones and GPS’ and such, I bug humans. In other words-” I caught on.
“Anything I see or hear, you see and hear.” I smiled.
“So? Choice A, B, or C?”
“I choose C.” All of the people in the room jumped.
“Cody, he is baiting you!”
“You’ll kill everyone!”
“No, I won’t. Trust me.”
“Don’t do it, moron!” Hazel screamed, thrashing.
“Choose B!” Roxas ordered. He dropped them, and grabbed my neck.
“Nu uh uh” I said, laughing. “I go first.” He sighed.
“So close.”
“Not at all.” I jammed the cylinder in his leg. From the looks of it, the puncture wounds in my skin weren’t all that deep. Little green lights flickered just a bit under his skin.
“What is this?” I smiled.
“Not yet. Only been thirty seconds” I replied, laughing. He didn’t like this.
“What are you doing, boy?” I now had twenty seconds till all of it was gone.
“Capillus is a program my friend made. It is a living computer, and I am… Well, part of me IS a computer. I have linked with it. Cool, huh?”
“What does this have to do with anything?” he growled. I was done.
“You bug me, I bug you” I said simply, and in the blink of an eye, his hand was around my neck, and digging into my skin. I couldn’t really move. My neck was on fire.
“Well, my form of bugging is far more painful.” I smiled. There was no pain. I felt nothing. Okay, I felt it all. I was just lying to myself.
“What pain?” I wanted to ask, but no sound came out. This was nonsense! I ground my teeth, but made an effort to smile. This burned. And nobody was moving to stop it. Probably because they were knee deep in black goo.
“I like you, boy, so I won’t kill you. But if you try to be smart with me again, I will kill your friends. If you try to become the strong hero in this fairy tale, I will CRUSH you. This world is going to see a darker age when I’m through with it. You are not to interfere. Don’t. Be. Smart.”
“But I AM smart” I would have replied. He left go, and- if he could have- he would have smiled. I fell to the floor, and immediately tried to dig out whatever he had just stuck inside me.
“Goodbye. I have gotten what I wanted” he said, bowing.
“And what is that?” Robin asked for me, trudging slowly towards me. Chet was going right for him, of course. He leaned down towards me, and sneered.
“Your eyes, and your blood in the haze. Isn’t that right, Cody?” He disappeared very suddenly, and that was good. Zion and Hazel and Roxas all raced, but Hazel- surprisingly- made it over first. Robin was being crushed by Chet, who was watching. God this hurt!
“Hey, grab his arm!” Zion shouted. Roxas punched him in the face.
“You did this, you slimy sonofa-”
“There are children!” Hazel reminded, grabbing my hands. Already they were bloody. Robin kicked Chet off, and grabbed my head.
“Let go, I need to get this crap out of my neck!” I wanted to scream. I knew it wasn’t possible, but if I were wrong…. Well, I wanted to be wrong.
“You idiot” he said. I smiled. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.
“Well? What do we do?” Roxas immediately went back to punching Zion multiple times in the face. I in turn tackled him, and thus, got tackled by Chet, the little boy and girl piling on top of me.
“Hey, get off of him!” Hazel screamed, and then the priest came in. He stood firm, and loomed over us, his face a blank slate.
“Get off the boy. Now” he whispered, and even I was afraid. Chet got the kids off of him, and I was sitting on the ground, clawing at my neck. The priest knelt down beside me, bible in hand, and held my wrists. “And you. You need. To stop. Now.” I stopped the clawing, but when Roxas tried to punch Zion again, and when Zion judo flipped him halfway out the window? I pulled Roxas in, and blocked them.
“Cody! Cody, lo-” Nope! I jammed my elbow between his ribs, which wasn’t hard because he was right behind me. I didn’t know when I got that strong, but I kinda liked it. The little girl walked over, and tugged on my coat.
“Mister, thanks” she said. I wished I had known her longer. Apparently the girl was Jin. This much I knew. I should have also known that she was playing me. Both Roxas’ fist as well as Zion’s went sailing, and it was at ME. I blacked out.

Chapter seventeen

The white haired guy caught Cody, and I felt myself grow more afraid for him. “Let go of-” The red head gave me this look, and I forze. Roxas snarled at him, but made no moves.
“Now we need to talk. I’m Zion. Thats Robin. We. Are. Stuck. We needed help. We needed Cody. We needed the necklace. NOW we need you.” By ‘you’ he meant ‘everyone.’
“Why would we help you?” Chet asked. I met him earlier.
“Because now we are ALL connected. Cody is my friend- I hope- and he is Roxas’ friend.”
“I will NOT help.”
“I’ll let you punch me in the gut. Plus, we still have to act like enemies, so that means you can kick me and beat the snot out of me, but not kill me. same with Robin.”
“Hey, I didn’t sign up to be a punching bag!” Zion glanced at him as Father helped me up.
“No. You signed up to help me bring that thing down. You signed up as my friend. And considering that Cody saved you? You owe him.” Robin nodded at this, and sighed.
“Fine.” Roxas got out all his anger when he hit those two. Cody was simply there. Jin helped Father set me in a chair, and then sat on my lap. Slowly she drifted to sleep. Robin got out headphones and his cell, stuck them in the boy’s ears, and he, too, slowly slipped into the dream world.
“Whats his name?”
“Akarui. And that one?” Chet answered.
“Jin.” He nodded. Roxas glared at me.
“So, you still in one piece?”
“No thanks to you shredding me” I grumbled, rocking slightly. He glared at me.
“Fraud.”
“Twit.”
“Both of you, shut up, please” moaned Robin, who was grabbing Cody and hefting him on my bed.
“Look. We need to go to Florence. All at the same time, but with different groups. The same groups.”
“Good. This I think we all can agree with. But who holds the necklace?” Chet asked.
“Hazel” Zion and Roxas both said at once. They sent dirty glares across to one another. I shuffled nervously in my seat. Jin snuggled closer to my chest, wincing. Ak clenched his fist, and Roxas almost jumped. Then he caressed the child’s head, and gave him a hug. Chet phased through the table and over towards Robin.
“No hard feelings?”
“None. Now, Roxas? Zion? You two make nice.” They glared. Zion was the better man, and held his hand out.
“I am willing to put aside your foolishness for Cody’s sake” he said. Okay, not the best thing, but something. Roxas laughed, and grabbed a knife, setting Ak in Chet’s seat, jamming it in the wood between his index and middle finger.
“Oh, for Cody’s sake? Don’t. Make. Me. Laugh.” He pulled the knife out, and leaned back. “You hurt my friend. And YOU. I have a SPECIAL grudge against you, you perv.” What now? Zion sighed, and leaned in close.
“I lost a bet, moron. I bet you would be trying to find a flight to Florence as SOON as we told you. Instead, you went to the spa, as Cody hypothesised. Robin was the one who posted the stakes. If I won, Cody would have to punch you in Florence. If he won, I had to kiss you. I didn’t WANT to kiss you, you didn’t WANT to kiss me. If I had to kiss a boy, I’d hope he COULD kiss. Better than you, at least. YOU are a terrible kisser. Get over it.” I giggled.
“You two kissed?” I asked.
“WHAT OF IT?!” they both hissed. Chet phased through the table, and Robin sat Zion back in his chair. He whispered something to Zion, and Chet gave Roxas a scolding. ak winced, and Jin almost woke up, but we were okay. I looked back at Cody. He was trembling, his face red, and he was clearly fighting off nightmares. Sweat trickled down his forehead, and the covers and mattress which I had layed in before were being torn apart by his nails. I got up, and walked over. The cuts didn’t hurt as bad. In fact, the pain was almost invisible. I set a hand over his forehead, and sighed.
“So, how long has he been sick?” I asked, looking around for the water Jin and Sean brought me earlier when they first locked me in here. Zion frowned, and couldn’t look me in the eye.
“Sick? You got him sick? Oh, I am going to kill you” Roxas said in a low growl. I found the water, and grabbed a loose sheet.
“Roxas, the more you act like the tough guy, the more I realize how much of a moron and jerk you are. So immature” I told him. Chet nodded.
“She has a point. You are being way more agressive than before.” Sean walked over, his bible on the table, and sighed.
“You all are idiots. The only sane person I see here is this poor soul.” He meant Cody. Zion thought for a sec.
“Poor… Soul… What did big and ugly say, Robin?”
“‘I’ve got your eyes and your blood in the haze’?” Robin quoted.
“No, before that… Something about if Cody tried to stand up for himself?”
“Basically not to be a tough guy.” I remembered it.
“He said, ‘If you try to become the strong hero in this fairy tale, I will CRUSH you’, right? Thats what he said.” Zion nodded.
“The part where he says, ‘strong.’ Could it be he favors Cody because of his weakness?” I rolled my eyes.
“Favors? Really? I’m pretty sure getting dragged into hell is not a man showing ‘favoritism’” I replied angrily, dumping water on the sheet and folding it.
“But it is, Hazel” Robin replied. “Think of it. When Cody could have escaped, He swore not to stop him. He also didn’t hurt him until today, and when you look at these cuts, they aren’t anywhere near any vital organs, or even bone. He cut into the first two layers of the skin. With us, he would stab us in the abdomen” Robin said simply. I thought. Yeah, that is what happened, wasn’t it?
“Okay, so what does that have to do with the priest saying ‘poor soul’?” Chet asked. Zion smiled in a manner that made me want to punch him. It was as if someone just suggested the moon were made of cheese.
“He is a monster, right? He isn’t afraid of us tough kids, right? But Cody got him riled up enough He felt a need to threaten him. I think this means Cody is- in a sense- the king in a chess game. The most valuable piece, but the weakest” Zion explained.
“And every king has the power to unite all his pieces. All the pieces are there to protect him, and put the other enemy king in checkmate” Robin finished. “In simpler words for stupid right there,” Roxas, “He is afraid of slash favours Cody because Cody is the only one able to bring us all together. That is why he ‘bugged’ Cody. Why he is trying to manipulate Cody. If he can do that, he can manipulate all of us almost simultaneously.” I set the folded sheet on Cody’s forehead, Sean praying for him. Cody was really out of it.
“Okay, fine, got that. But why not favour Akarui? He would be the easiest to manipulate, would get one of the closest friends to Cody in the process, and Cody would do anything to help me. So why not do that?” Zion pinched his nose.
“Two reasons. A, its easier that way. He likes a challenge. B, because I wouldn’t let Cody leave, and see right through the trap. Thats what happens when a person uses his head.” Roxas jumped over the table and socked him in the face, falling on Sean. Now, when Sean and I were friends at school, Sean was the main lion backer, or whoever tackles people, I don’t really care for the sport. And when he tackled people, he tackled. It would take five people to bring him down. And it was no different here.
“What is wrong with you fools?” he asked, grabbing them by the shirt collars. Sean grew ten feet taller I’m sure, because he hefted the two up in the air, and glared at them. “You need to get over this anger you have” he told Roxas. “And you need to stop insulting him. Honestly, you’d think you were kindergartners!” I nodded, Cody relaxing.
“Thank you, Father” Zion said, bowing his head. Roxas rolled his eyes.
“There is a special spot in hell just for you” Roxas said to Zion. Father hit him upside the head.
“Not in my church!” I sighed, and walked over to Roxas, and rolled up my bandages to show him the scars, dried blood lacing them.
“This is what happened last time you got really mad. To me. Do it again in here, and Cody will get really hurt” I said to him. He sighed, and nodded.
“Fine.” I nodded, and turned to Zion.
“Will he be allowed to contact us?” I asked.
“Only you” Robin replied. “If we let him speak to Roxas, we don’t know what He might hear. For all we know, Roxas might slip. If we let him talk to you, he’ll stay with us and let Roxas get to Florence. This way he isn’t too much of a distraction or anything.” I shook my head.
“Look, let him at least talk to Roxas once a week or two. That way Roxas won’t skin you if he bumps into you” I replied. Robin thought, and Zion nodded.
“That is fair. Okay.”
“As if you’d get a choice!” Cody twitched, and I told him to be quiet.
“What do we do? Cody is waking up.” Zion pointed at the ground.
“All of you pretend to be unconscious” he whispered. I thought Roxas would explode. “Everyone but st- Roxas.” Okay, so he wouldn’t. I lay down on the ground, and closed my right eye, barely peeking out of my left. Zion grabbed Roxas’ arm, and twisted it. Roxas didn’t seem to feel anything. Robin got in front of him, and waited a bit more.
“Start swearing” Robin commanded. Roxas didn’t cuss, but rather pretended to be in massive pain.
“Broke my ribs. You broke. My ribs” he moaned. Cody groggily opened his eyes, and didn’t like this.
“Guys. Leave him- Be. Just leave- Him be” he pleaded, shuffling to his feet. It was a hoarse gasp coming from the skinny man. Sean decided to simply stand in the corner and pray, which sold the act.
“Cody, sit down” Zion said simply dropping Roxas. Roxas didn’t get up, but didn’t close his eyes.
“But he- My friend- I need to- Say-” I felt myself want to cry. “Just let me- Say- Goodbye.” Robin walked over Roxas, and grabed his wrists gently.
“Look, you can talk to him once we’re out of here. Okay?”
“But-”
“Argue any more and I’ll give him a piece of my mind. How can you stand such a jerk?” Zion cut in, spitting on the floor. Cody thought, and shook his head.
“I’m saying- Good bye.” He shoved past the two, and shuffled over. Man this had to suck. Roxas smiled, and yet, made it look like it hurt to even do that. “Sorry.” Cody was really hurt. He clutched his neck, and smiled. “Tried.” I started to cry. Poor Cody. He didn’t know he was being played.
“S’okay.” Ak woke up, and walked over.
“Roxas. Roxas, you promised. You promised me” he said, sitting beside the toothpick. Oh my God his hurt! Cody was gone right after that, and there was no fight. I sat up, and sobbed my heart out.
“Poor, poor, poor Cody” I whispered. Roxas got up, and ruffled Ak’s hair.
“I’m not dying any time soon.” Ak smiled, and sighed in relief. Chet walked over to me, and rested a hand on my shoulder, and Sean prayed even more.
“I’m sorry” Chet said to me, sitting down. I nodded.
“I’m not hurt” I said. This was true. He reached in his pocket, and pulled out a tissue from his pocket, and gave it to me.
“Still sucks. Oh, and I am sorry for Roxas. He didn’t act like this before we got here. He was actually really worried about you” he told me. Really? I smiled, and watched Roxas pick up Ak and start a staring contest. Ak didn’t get it. At all. It was funny to watch as Roxas tried to explain and fail multiple times. Even Chet laughed, and helped me up on my feet.
“Thanks, Chet. You’re a nice boy.” He flushed pink.
“Uh… Thanks… You’re Hazel, right?”
“Yep… Why are you turning pink? Whats making you so flustered?” He walked off, and out the door. I walked over, and watched him jumped in the air. Then he rolled down the stairs. “Chet!” I ran down, Ak and Jin and Roxas glancing out the door, Sean chuckling, and we all ran down. He shrugged us off.
“I’m okay” he said. Roxas laughed, and Ak jumped in his lap. I walked back up, grabbing Jin, and asked Sean where my board was. He was silent.
“Sean, I NEED to go. You know that. Look, I won’t push myself too hard” I lied. I would push myself past the limit. He nodded, and gave my back my board and the pills. And my phone. I smiled, and locked myself in, Jin buckling up. Roxas ran up before I could go out the window, and grabbed my hand.
“Hold up!” I waited, and saw him go just a pink as Chet had been. “Look, I’m sorry. Okay? Don’t get yourself killed out there” he ordered, letting go. I smiled.
Aw man. Taking all the fun out of this.” I left with those words, feeling myself want to just go into a corner and cry. But I wouldn’t.
“Hazel?” Jin asked.
“Yeah?”
“Please tell me you aren’t going to die? Don’t die, okay?” I smiled.
“But if I die you get this cool hoverboard.”
“I lose you though.”
“You barely know me.”
“I know you’re nice.” I sighed, and felt her hug me. “I know you want to help people. I know you’re a good guy. I know you like to protect your friends.” I smiled at that.
“I promise I won’t die. Okay?” She nodded, and I told her to look up at the stars. She was going to forget that promise soon enough. “Look up there. Those are all so pretty, huh?”
“Yeah. Can we touch them?” I felt another pang of hurt.
“No, we can’t. I wish!” We laughed all night, and flew all the way to Brazil… I wish we hadn’t.

“Run!” I screamed, slashing at trees and plants with a sword I stole.
“Why not use the board!” Jin protested, running behind me.
“Out of juice! Now run faster!”
“Over here! Grab them!” the general called. He was a cute guy, but he was really dangerous, and I was offended by him. “Get the boy first! The kid won’t run without him!” See why? I didn’t have too big of a breast size, but I’m not lacking in them all together! Jin pointed silently to a tree, and I caught on. I threw her to the first branch, and started climbing myself. Just in time too, because the dogs were right there once I grabbed the branch. Jin threw rocks at them, and they snarled, snapping their teeth. I climbed higher up, and used my sword to make spots that I could climb on. Jin decided it’d be a good idea to slip, and almost fell ten feet up in the air.
“No!” I grabbed her ankle, barely hanging on myself. She started crying, and slipping farther. “Grab something!”
“I can’t! They’re-” A harsh tug. I looked down, and saw the general looking up. He was a year older than me with dyed green hair and teal eyes which were stabbing holes in me. He had Jin my the arm, and pulling down. I yanked up, and got her onto a branch, but it didn’t do me any good. He leapt up and grabbed my ankle.
“Gah! Let go!” He took off my shoe, my scars almost ripping open. I was relieved when they didn’t, and even more relieved when he almost fell. “Die why don’t you! Make my life better!” He didn’t like this, and held up my gun. I forgot he stole it when I took his sword. I didn’t have ammo. He did. He loaded it, and pointed it at me.
“Either you come down, or I shoot you down, and bring you back to camp in a body bag.” I hugged the tree with my back, catching my breathe.
“Go to hell!” He smiled, and shot between my legs.
“If I aim a bit higher, that is going to hurt.” I agreed, and climbed down. Jin did so, and kicked him in the shin. “Bring these two to my tent. Now.” We were dragged back to the camp, and thrown in two very comfy chairs. Too bad they were wasted on these stupid people. And they were Americans, which made me even more angry.
“These are the swines we are trusting with our country?!”
“We aren’t swine, kid. Now, lets get to the introductions. I’m Artemis. And you are?” he asked. I thought. Who could I be? He pointed my pistol Jin’s head, standing right behind his desk, finger on the trigger.
“Chet” I answered. Chet, sorry for stealing your identity. He nodded, and let the gun go on the desk, pointing at me.
“And you, kid?”
“Jin.” He nodded, and smiled.
“I heard about you, little girl. Feds want you. Why?”
“Because.” He nodded.
“Alright, that counts. And you, boy? Why are you with her?”
“Because.” He smiled at me.
“From you I need a real reason.
“Because I found her. Now, may I leave?” He sat down, and smiled.
“No. You may not.” I glared at him. “If I let you go, Id be letting you die. Now, this thing” he said, a man bringing in my board.
“Hey, give that back!” I reached for it, but the man brought his hand crashing down on my head. I blacked for a sec.

“Wonderful. Truly, Vezeto, thats wonderful” Artemis said as I began to wake up. Jin was on her knees, and crying.
“What the heck is wrong with you?” I got up, rubbing my head, and smiled.
“I’m okay. They can’t hurt me.” I should have told my head that. “Okay? Now, lets get out of here.” The shaved monkey on steroids grabbed me. And the monkey would be Vezeto. He was maybe forty, white hair and silver eyes with skin that had ily slight creasing on the forehead. I punched his chest, and guess what I broke my thumb. He didn’t even flinch.
“Ow!”
“You shouldn’t have even tried to do that.” I looked around, and sighed. My board. I needed to get my board. And monkey still had it. Fine, I wouldn’t get that. But maybe I could get his knife. He pulled me in close, so I grabbed the object with my toes. “Now, you’re going to-”
“KNIFE!” Artemis interrupted, and I slashed the monkey’s shirt open, and grabbed Jin’s hand.
“We’re going to run, okay?” I asked. Artemis grabbed my gun, and I smiled. I pulled Jin behind me, and glared devilishly.
“I will shoot you two.”
“No, you’ll shoot me. I dare you.” He didn’t. I slipped out the back, and we ran. Man did we run. I told Jin to split. Hide in the trees, and wait until monkey had left to grab my board. She ran into the woods as I sprinted through camp, soldiers- all boys, btw, which seems sexist- glancing at me and shouting. I actually had to jump on some of their heads, monkey bolting behind me. I smiled, and grabbed onto a laundry line, zooming down off into the forest.
“Grab him!” Artemis screamed.
“Did you know Artemis is a girl’s name?!” I called back, laughing as I went into the forest of trees. Running water. I heard running water. Ah, this would be a- I slipped, and fell right into a fast stream. Lucky me I could touch the bottom.
“There!” I swam as hard as I could, soldiers running on the bank.
“Grab him before he gets caught in the current!” Artemis ordered. Caught? Current? When I realized I was headed for a waterfall, it was too late. I was out of control, head and feet flying under the water. I got barely any air in my lungs, and anything I did get was hit right out of me by stones and waves. I heard something dive in behind me, and saw monkey. The current. I learned about this. Geometry. I was to swim perpendicular to the cosy, but couldn’t. Not yet. I grabbed a plank of wood floating by me, and climbed on, sputtering and gasping. Monkey didn’t seem to have any problems with it at all.
“Swim this way!” Artemis called to me. I couldn’t breathe, so I simply looked on. I would NOT be caught so easily. I smiled. We were near a thin waterfall. But it was really high up. This I knew. You could tell from the way it sounded. I smiled.
“I’d go home, monkey! No place for primates!” That took up all my air. I gasped for more air, and fell down the falls. I hit the water wit a crash, and toppled over myself again. Another big bang. I wasn’t going to get caught. I pulled myself to my feet, and swam to the cost. I wouldn’t get caught. I wouldn’t. This waterfall was maybe ten feet? Twelve? No bigger than a high jump. I wouldn’t be too hurt, just sore.
I’d run, and I’d escape, and meet up with Jin. I crawled onto the rocks, but didn’t move. Why? Why couldn’t I move? I started to realize that I was really hurt. I didn’t know how. I needed the pills. I reached in my coat, and then it hit me. I’d become addicted at this rate. Any form of wounds could be healed over time. One more time though! I can’t be caught! I thought at first. To stop all temptation, I let it roll down into the water. Monkey started to get up, and walk over. No. I could still escape. I crawled, and then it hit me. I broke a rib. Why did I get hurt so much? I crawled more, when monkey stood over me. He didn’t move, but flipped me over with his foot. A gun at my side. Bang. Wasn’t any blood. I was fine, with exception to massive pain.
“Rubber bullets” he said.
“N-” Noted was what I wanted to say. I couldn’t even get that out. He hefted me over his shoulder, and I gasped, crying. “Ga-”
“Shhh. We are going back to camp” he said, walked to the wall. I laughed. No way. I was so wrong. He climbed, even with me on him, and I was swarmed. Oh man, the soldiers scrambled around me. I did punch a few in the face before they drugged me and used chloroform on me. I wasn’t at all happy about that, but what could I do?”

Ch eighteen

I piggy backed Ak, who was having a blast. We decided- Chet and I- to take a mini break to really show Ak what its like to be normal and happy. Yes, I know, so stupid. I sighed, and called Hazel’s phone. I was worried about her, and liked her, and just-
“Hazel?” Chet asked, interrupting my chain of thought. I nodded. He turned pink. I knew that shade. The same color as me. It was ‘I’m-a-love-sick-puppy’ pink, and it meant he liked her. I smiled.
“You like her?” He turned around.
“N-No” he stuttered. I smiled. Chet had a better shot at her than me. Beside, I knew even if I got her that it wouldn’t last. I didn’t have much respect for her. It wouldn’t work, and I knew it. So, I got the idea of her out of my head entirely, and tossed him the phone.
“Go on.”
“Huh?”
“Call. Her. Okay? I’m going to get Ak some cotton candy.” He smiled at me, and Ak tapped my head.
“What’s cotton doing in candy?” I glanced up, my jaw dropping.
“Okay, if you haven’t had, you haven’t lived” I told him simply. I walked him over to the stand, and he had a blast, laughing so hard as I ate some and got it stuck in my teeth. I handed it up to him, and he got it all in my hair.
“Hey!” I said, laughing. He froze, and tapped me.
“Chet is crying.” I thought I misheard him.
“What?” I asked, turning around. He was crying, and turned towards me.
“They got her” he mouthed. I couldn’t breathe. He walked over.
“Who is-”
“CHET had better be okay. If you kill him- hell, even HURT him- we’re coming after you” Chet said. Oh, that was her name that she selected as a cover. He clutched the phone with both hands, and started screaming. “What do you mean its too late?!” he screamed. I slammed a hand over his mouth, Ak starting to cry. I then grabbed the phone, and sighed.
“Who is this?” I asked, passing Ak to Chet.
“Agent Zynan, general of the Brazilian division.” I knew him. His profile. He was a very unhealthy guy, not at all strong, but his brains fixed that for him. Smartest man in the world! “And this is?”
“Your superior, Agent Roxas, part of the 996 division. Is Chet alright?” There was a snicker.
“You know, you’re a fugitive. If I told the Boss you even called, not giving him a location, I’d get one hell of a vacation” he said. I nodded.
“But you owe me. And you know it.
“Excuse me?” I smiled. Though, I should probably explain.

It was three years earlier. We were both in the same squad, trying to get into 996. We were sent on a mission. Not too big. Simply go and stop a bomber, inexperienced, sad, easy to talk to. We could’ve- should have- been able to get him into custody without bloodshed. Turns out the cartel wanted me. Just me. I was a big deal. So, when we broke down the door, they fired. Artemis was in the front. He took a bullet to the shoulder, and then one to the thigh. It was red blood, so it didn’t hit the femur, but it was deep. I got out with Artemis on my shoulders, my pack gone, running off. We found ourselves in the sewers, walking around and begging we were saved. I had GPS on my walkie, but that was a risk. I only had three bullets.
“Hey, you awake?” I asked, jumping a bit. He gasped, gripping my shoulder.
“Jesu!” he wheezed. I laughed.
“Just checking.” He nodded, his head rolling to the side. His breath was shaky, but otherwise, steady. I smiled, and set him down after a little bit longer. “You have to let me take off your shirt, okay?” He smiled.
“People are gonna talk” he chuckled to himself, closing his eyes.
“Then let them talk. So long as you don’t die” I replied, smiling. I took his shirt and vest off, Artemis wincing. He had green hair back then, too.
“So- Jesu!- what’s- Jesu!- your name?” he wheezed. I smiled.
“You don’t need to know that, soldier.”
“Artemis.”
“Huh?”
“Artemis. I’m- Jesu!- Artemis.” I smiled.
“Okay, Artemis. Just call me… Jesu.”
“You’re funny” he said, laughing at me. I nodded, and looked at his shoulder. Man, that one had gone all the way through. Artemis started to drift.
“No, no sleeping” I ordered, punching him.
“Jesu!” he screamed.
“Yes?” I asked, smiling
“Funny.” I tore the shirt he had, and wrapped it up.
“Okay, we are going to call the police again. Okay? And you’re going to get out of here.” I should have turned around. An older man, maybe fifty, had us at gunpoint. I felt it, Artemis saw it.
“No, you’re not. Now, boy, we’re going to leave.” I reached for Artemis’ arm, when he pushed the gun further into my hair. I stopped. “Just you. This boy has to die” he cut off. I smiled.
“I’m not leaving my soldier.” The gun was now touching my skin. This gave me the chance.
“No.”
“May I at least see who I am speaking to?” He let me turn around. Big mistake. I concentrated. One time. I’d let him out. One time. I smiled, and the old man bristled.
“Time to go, boy.” The shadows hit him in such a way he fell to the ground. But it didn’t knock him out entirely. I didn’t even loose the gun from his hand. Artemis saved me, actually. See, his hair is green for a reason. And its from chemicals. A puff of green smoke bursted out of the vest. In his hand, a remote. It proved to be a smoke screen, but also messed with the old man, who collapsed and shook violently. I turned towards Artemis.
“What did you do?”
“Smoke screen. If you took drugs within the last hour, you’d be like that” he said, barely moving. I nodded, and grabbed my walkie talkie. We were right below a helicopter. I put Artemis in the plane, getting buckled in myself, and watched Artemis struggle to stay awake. When he got home, he was in a small coma that lasted two weeks. And all the way through, he would mutter “Jesu.”

“Because. I’m Jesu” I answered, bringing myself back to the present. Silence.
“Jesu.”
“Yes, I am.”
“No, I mean, like, WTH… The boy is fine. He broke a rib. We’re watching him and helping the little girl he was with.”
“Good. Keep them safe.”
“I called Boss.” I paused.
“Artemis?”
“Yes?”
“Did Ha-e have a board? Like, a skateboard?”
“Yes. He does.”
“Good, he’ll want that. I know it’s against regulations, but you need to go and board a plane, and get away. Alright? Just get away. With both the boy and the girl. Don’t tell anyone why.”
“What if I need to?” he asked.
“Tell them that there is a terrorist that they are helping in dispatching” I answered.
“Is that true?” I decided to tell him.
“That day in the tunnels you say shadows move, didn’t you? Like they were solid?”
“Yeah.”
“That was me. I have been training for this since I was six. And I’ve had… Accidents.”
“This I know. And?”
“And my accidents involve those shadows. Mine only lasted a second, and listened to me, right?”
“Yes.”
“There is a person who is MADE of that stuff, controls it, and EVEN uses ME. You have heard of Cody Stein?”
“Yes. He is only one I.Q point below me. What does this have to do with him?”
“That thing I mentioned is able to bug humans- as he called it- like we bug cell phones and stuff. He can make you sink in concrete. He can stab you without using any of his limbs. Does that scare you?”
“No, it almost seems like you’re trying to scare me with a twisted fairytale.”
“I am trying to scare you. But this is real. Now, imagine a guy like this with something that means a lot. It sounds stupid, but its a necklace. I think Chet had it on him?” Chet winced, and help up his hand.
“No, he didn’t.” Chet stole the necklace. The real Chet. I sighed, and nodded.
“Okay, Artemis, can you take him? Just try to explain everything to him, and the little girl. If she tells him he’ll believe you. Okay?”
“Understood. Thank you, Roxas.” I nodded, hung up, and took a deep gulp of fresh air.
“Is she okay?”
“Yes. Just fine. I told them to get her out of there. She’ll be fine” I promised. He nodded, Ak eating the cotton candy slower.
“Okay. What are we going to do now?” he asked. “Are we going to hurt some people?” I shook my head.
“NO, we aren’t. Normal today, remember?” I asked, smiling. He nodded, and ate more. Chet walked with me over to some booths that had games open, and smiled after a bit. Ak threw balls at pins, trying to get the big prize- a giant toy bear- while I watched. Chet went to play a bit of baseball in a small cage, maybe twelve feet. I smiled, and when Ak finally won, I went over to find Chet. Just in time, too, because he had just collapsed.
“Chet!” Ak screamed, the toy bear getting the life crushed out of it. I grabbed my pistol, and shot three rounds into the attackers chest. He wasn’t phased. Curse you, bullet proof vests! I looked at Ak, and sighed.
“You got any powers?” I asked, aiming for the enemies legs. He nodded, and stared blankly at the person. Just a silhouette. And then, it became a burning, screaming figure. Ak tightened his grip around the bear’s neck. I nodded, and walked over to Chet. Why didn’t he phase? A needle lay beside the body. I checked his pulse as I assessed the situation. So he couldn’t phase. Even if he did, he’d fall unconscious, and then, who knows what would happen. Ak screamed suddenly, and I felt a gun at the back of my head. Talk about deja vu.
“Hello, kid.” Boss.
“You know you just gave me serious deja vu, right?” I asked, thinking.
“You just burned up an agent.”
“Nobody held a match. We didn’t do that. there is no way to prove it.” Boss sighed.
“Why not kill this kid now?” a different agent asked. I manipulated his shadow and had it snap down on his leg.
“That’s what’ll happen” I answered, Ak droppin the bear and running over. He grabbed something, and I heard a click. I looked up at him. That stone cold face was back. He had Boss’ second gun in his hand, and it was ready to fire.
“You’re going to be sorry, old man.” I didn’t know what to do. He didn’t pull. “Sorry I stole your guy, but Roxas is mine. He is my friend, and you can’t take him. Or Chet.” I felt myself tear up. “We have too much to lose.” They shot Ak’s arm, and the boy fell down, screaming. People started to crowd around me. Around us.
“Boss, let me explain!”
“We’re bringing you back home, and these two will be detained.” He grabbed my hair harshly, yanking back, gun at my neck.
“No, Boss, we have to get to Florence!”
“Why, to save some stupid agent?!” I got annoyed.
“A, Cody isn’t ‘some stupid agent’, he is a genius, and you have NOTHING compared to him OR me. B, its not JUST Cody anymore! We’re racing to Florence to try and save the world, you moron!” He didn’t take too kindly to that, and then? I don’t remember, because I faded into the darkness of the mind.

So, when I say faded into darkness I mean everything happened so fast that all I saw were black figures running around. I heard Ak screaming. I knew Chet was behind me. I knew I needed to grab him. What was happening? “Keep your bloody hands off of him!” Him. It was Him, there to protect ME. What. The. Hell. In a flash, boss was bleeding, face down. He was about the lay the finishing blow.
“NO!” Boss’ head rolled down beside me. He was… He had been… He stood still, covering the body.
“Okay, I stopped.” Boss’ head… Only… His head… Then I realized it was the wrong hair color. Boss was fine. I sighed in relief, but said a silent prayer for the soul of him.
“Watashi wa yoriyoi anata no saikō no kōdō ni anata o mitsukete ita. Yasashi-sa no kono kōi wa, watashi no kuratchi ni hairimasu.” He was saying how I had better behave, and how I owed him from ‘this act of kindness.
“Watashi wa… … Nidoto… Anata ni mimi wo katamukeru koto wa arimasen. Watashi wa··· sekai o DESTRY shitai shinri no pasu… Ni kiite wa ikenai!” Okay, so I replied I wouldn’t obey him and stuff. He nodded, and left. People were watching, cameras recording everything. I just sat there for second, dazed. And then, the earth and concrete beneath me caved, and I collapsed into an empty garage.
“You should listen to your elders. So listen now. That girl who all you boys like oh so much? I’m going to kidnap her, and I’m going to hide her. The only way you will ever see her again is if you obey. And I think I’ll take the boy who is held so dear to the goddess.” Artemis. Artemis had been the name of a goddess. “And I’ll give him a gift. I’ll retain him, and her, and Cody. I will wait until you get to Florence, and when you see him, when you are only a fingertip away, I will drag him with me to hell.” I looked up. Boss was looking down on me. I had to make him think I was bad, but forbid any such action. Or at least, try to.
“Sōshita baai, watashi wa anata o koroshimasu. Watashi wa anata o oitsumeru to anata o hakai shimasu.” I said if he did that I’d kill him.
“Anata wa shinda hito o korosu koto wa dekimasen.” The exact translation: You can’t kill a dead man. And this was true, but the thing was, he wasn’t dead. And he left again, for real this time. I sat again, still dazed. Hazel… Artemis… Cody… Boss looked down at me in a gentle smile. The type h e gave when I was listening to him. I didn’t know why.
“This is a nightmare” I chuckled to myself, climbing out. He then told me why he was smiling at me. As I was climbing up.
“I was a translator, you know.” I almost fell back down, but quickly regained my grip.
“You were?”
“Oh yeah. Best one. So, Florence?”
“You can’t stop me. I hope you know that, right?” I asked, smiling. He nodded.
“I couldn’t ever stop my most stubborn player, you can see that. However, I would like to help your friend.”
“Chet?”
“If thats his name. Sorry about that.” I nodded.
“Are you okay?” I asked, pulling myself out. He nodded, but wasn’t. There was a rusty pole jammed into his heel.
“Doesn’t even itch. And to prove it, he tore it out without flinching, and got up.
“That went all the way through!” I protested, holding my arms out to catch him when he fell again. He pushed me aside, and helped Ak up. Ak merely had a metal pellet in his arm.
“You’re okay!” he said, smiling. He didn’t get up though.
“Paralysis” Boss explained, and he picked Ak up. Looked like I’d get Chet. I knelt down and looped an arm under his leg and behind the arch of his back. He didn’t seem very terrified in his sleep. People started to walk over, crowding us.
“Move it!” I told them over the roar of voices asking what happened. Boss shoved past and got to a black jeep, smiling.
“Sorry, general.” I smiled, and put Chet in the back, jumping in after him. I grabbed my phone, and called Hazel’s phone again.
“Hello again.” How did he-
“You were just here! How’d you get over there!” I protested. There was a shrill laugh. Like old ladies. It creeped me out.
“I have some help. Say hello you two.”
“Help!” Jin screamed.
“Get over here so I can punch it!” Hazel added.
“Don’t listen to him! He is gonna-” There was a sharp grunt. Artemis just got socked in the gut.
“One more chance. If not, I’ll take Cody at Florence…. Oh, and maybe that boy who is right next to you in the hideous contraption!” I got really mad, and broke my phone, screaming it and crushing it under my heel.
“Kuso kuso kuso kuso kuso kuso kuso!” We drove to the closest military base that would help us, and I went straight to the gym. Why? Punching bags. Older men, maybe in the thirties, laughed at me as I lightly punched one. I didn’t need to let it all out yet. Not yet.
“Aw, look at the little baby!” they teased. I ground my teeth, and hit harder.
“Little wimp!”
“Didn’t know it was bring your kid to work day!”
“Does baby want some help?” I hit it so hard that the punching bag flew off the hinges. I turned to see stunned faces.
“‘Baby’ wants a fight. And you are going to give me one. One- or three- at a time.” Nobody moved. “Aw, you guys too chicken?” One guy walked up, spitting on the floor. Good. I got in horse stance, and braced for hmi. He was going to be ferril. I predicted him very easily. He would punch with his dominant hand- the left, he had drank water using that one- which I would deflect. I would jab im between the sixth and seventh rib. His anger would rise, and I would duck from his right round house kick. I would continue by hitting his diaphragm, knocking the wind out of him, and then jump in the air, create force in the elbow of my right arm, and knock him unconscious.
Yeah, I’m pretty scarry. And that is exactly what happened. When he collapsed, I looked around.
“What happened to the good fighters? Are we wasting money on useless old men? Would you like a crutch or walking stick?” I asked, raising my arms. “Give me a challenge! Or are you too afraid to come at a ‘baby’?” Then came the screaming and cussing. I turned around. Chet was running down the hall away from boss, swearing at him and cursing his mother’s grave.
“Die already! I hit you with three weights!”
“Oh crap.” I ran out the door, right behind the two. Boss was pissed.
“Get back here!”
“Die already!” More big hundred pound weights hit Boss- or at least, I thought they did. He caught them each time, and dropped them on the ground.
“I’m going to break your legs when I catch you!”
“I’d like to see you try, grandpa!” He phased through a wall which both Boss and I hit.
“Chet! Thats the-” I started, when the girls started to scream. Chet phased back out, neon pink. That was the girl’s locker room.
“That was sick” he said, and then he saw me. “What are you doing just standing there! Gotta run!” I shook my head.
“No, Boss is going to let us go off as SOON as Ak goes back to normal” I answered, walking beside him.
“What happened?”
“Drugged. And other stuff.”
“Like?”
“Like I may have sort have become a terrorist by collapsing a underground garage and a couple agents died and stuff.”
“What?!” Boss was stewing as he walked behind us, festering. I smiled at him, and explained it all from when he was poisoned, and when he heard about Hazel, he… Collapsed.
“Okay, I understand you like her and all, but isn’t that a bit dramatic?” I asked. He shook his head.
“But he chose Hazel specifically, right? That was the first name he pulled out of his head?”
“Yes.”
“Then doesn’t that mean that maybe he chose her because he thought she had the necklace? And if he realizes she doesn’t have it, what’ll happen then?” I didn’t think of it that way. “That and my legs just went all fuzzy.” Ah.
“Chet?” I asked, switching the subject.
“Yes?”
“He said he was coming after you, too.”
“Fan- F#%^ng- tastic!” I smiled.
“Wow, what a dirty mouth.”
“I’m a billionaire, I get to have a dirty mouth.”
“You’re logic is confusing.”
“And you aren’t?”
“True. You okay?”
“I fine feel.” That would be a no.

Chap nineteen

I had Robin take the cip out. That was the only way to bug me. The only way to bug a living creature. I only realized that when I didn’t see or hear anything He saw or heard. Robin got done, and woke me up. I was relieved.
“Will you train me?” I asked.
“Huh?”
“Will you teach me to fight?”
“So you can try and beat the crap out of me?”
“No. So I can protect myself.” He nodded, and for the next five hours he taught me how to choke people stealthily, use throwing knives, and pressure points. I had barely started, when Zion started to freak out. He immediately left to go find Roxas, unsure of what was happening.
“I think something is going to happen to him. Robin, you watch Cody, I’ll be back soon.”
“Hey, I don’t need a babysitter! Besides, I can go with you!” Robin turned on the TV, and thats when I saw what happened. Roxas was sitting in a crater being labeled as a terrorist.
“GTG!”
“Wait! We should go with you!” But he had already shadow traveled, and so, Robin and I were alone. Well, not really.
“I will see you in Florence, Cody Stein.” It was Him. I hit the ground when he kicked me down, Robin not screaming. I realized it was because He had a hand wrapped around Robin’s whole face, and Robin was flailing and kicking.
“Hey, let him go!” I grabbed the knives that Robin gave me, and threw them at the chest region. And yet, they just hit solid wall. And Robin was missing. Not a shot in hell. I ran to the kitchen, and turned the TV off. Where could I get some titanium? And magnesium and sulfur? Maybe… I sniffed the air, and smelled it. I knew EXACTLY what I needed. I needed gasoline and a match, and smiled. Portal, here I come! I ran to the basement, and grabbed all the materials, dashing them and crushing them together, making a small plate. Here we go. I got a take of gasoline- liquid- and lit it. I wouldn’t let this get in the way. Flames threatened to eat me alive, but I didn’t care I jumped in the tray, and ended up right next to Zion and Chet and Roxas.
And kids, don’t try this at home? Okay? Anything in this book that you think is cool? Don’t do it. Just don’t. I grabbed the plate from the other end of the portal, and laughed.
“I am a genius! Oh man that is so cool! What you got, Artemis! I made a freakin magic portal! Haha!” I screamed, fist pumping. I had been trying so hard to beat Artemis at something, and now I had. However, I didn’t know Artemis was now part of the board game we were in. And I was next on the kidnapping list with Chet. However, He said in Florence, and we were in NY.
“Okay, so he got Hazel and Artemis and Jin and Robin” I said, renaming the list.
“He got Robin?! Zion screamed as he tried to get out from under Roxas. Yeah, Roxas sat on him as soon as he got there.
“Why do you think I came here!”
“Yeah, how did you get here?” Chet asked.
“Awesomeness. Any way, we should leave Ak here” I said. “We don’t want him to get hurt.” They nodded, and agreed. Then I saw Boss, and got annoyed with him.
“And you, stop interfering!” He rolled his eyes and gave me a hug.
“Nice to have you back, kid.” I thought that somebody hit him really hard and gave him a concussion at first, but realized it was real. Like, he was fine and wanted to hug me. I ugged him back, and smiled. Chet was really worried about Hazel, Zion was freaking about Robin, and Zion was cursing because Artemis was in quote and quote hell. I was worried about all of them because I knew them all. Zion wanted to talk to me privately, so we went into the restroom, and he talked to me.
“Okay, this is wrong of me, but I… I kinda… Okay, we’ve known each other for almost a week, right?” he asked. I nodded.
“Yep.”
“And how many days did we hurt you?”
“One.”
“Okay, that makes this better. Sorry.” He kissed me. And this time, it was a real one, like Boss’ hug. And he stayed there for almost half a minute. Longer than he did with Roxas. Another reason I knew this one was real. I didn’t move, but rather watched him wide eyed. What was he doing?! There wasn’t any poison or pills in his mouth. This couldn’t be real! But it was.
“Mnnn-” He pulled away, bowed his head, and left. I stood there for a little while. Oh. My. Lord. Zion was gay. He was gay. I have nothing against gay people, and actually support them, but I just… I didn’t take Zion for that type. Roxas walked in, and I slapped my cheeks. Okay, it was fine. It hit me I kinda liked the kiss. Ew. I didn’t know I was gay! Again, I fully support them, but didn’t think thats what I was one. Roxas smiled at me, and walked out with me.
“What did he want to say?” he asked.
“Sorry” I answered.
“What for?” he pressed.
“I don’t know” I lied. He left it at that, and when I saw him again, I flushed. He looked away, and I turned my head down to the ground. Was that okay? For me to like him? I had to admit, part of me was sick, but the other part? Flustered, amazed, confused, and in some form of… Well, it made me really giddy. And so, when we were told to partner up, and when I was logically put with Zion, we both tried to avoid eye contact.
“I said sorry, does that make it less awkward?” he finally asked as we looked around at the motorcycles
“No, but it makes me feel better” I answered, walking towards the blue one. Roxas went for the red one, and fought with Chet over who was driving.
“You’re still somewhat stonned!”
“I fine feel!” he protested.
“See?! Can’t even talk right! I’m driving.” With me and Zion though, he drove, I sat on the back, arms crossed over my chest.
“You’re going to have to hold onto something.”
“Maybe I should get another one” I muttered to myself. He sighed, and asked me why I was so reluctant.
“Its not at all in any way-”
“Sexual? Its still weird” I cut off. He looked around, and sighed.
“These are the only two. Neither Chet nor Roxas will ride with me. You’re stuck.” I sighed, and wrapped my arms around his hips as we prepared to leave, the metal gate opening. “Plus, if you don’t like me, its okay.” I sighed.
“This is so weird” I sighed, and he nodded.
“I really messed with your head, didn’t I?”
“Hell yes…” Man, he was really making this so weird! “But… I mean…” No buts! Stop it! “If you… If we keep this… If we don’t… You know…” He nodded.
“Okay.” I nodded, and then he pushed the gas. Really fast. Roxas rode up beside me, and watched. Something told me he’d figure out our secret.
“I want a race!” he hissed. Zion turned towards him, confused. “If I win, I get to punch you in the face, and you stop creeping Cody out.”
“Oh, no, its fine” I said, smiling in a reassuring manner.
“Okay, and if I win you stop being so immature and treat me at LEAST like an ally” Zion replied. Oh no.
“Guys, somebody is going to get hurt” I replied, shaking my head.
“Don’t be chicken now, Cody” Roxas replied. I hated this.
“Wait, lets not be-”
“GO” Zion cut off, and they bolted. Chet being Cher let his arms fly, hooting and hollering, and I was squeezing the life out of Zion.
“Somebody is going to get hurt!”
“People have already gotten hurt, Cody. Lets have fun before then” Zion replied, and I decided that this was NOT how I was going to get hurt.
“BOTH OF YOU MORONS STOP!!!” They skidded to a halt, Chet hitting his head on Roxas’ head.
“Ow!” he shouted angrily, rubbing his head.
“I am DONE with you two being stupid around one another!” I jumped off. So much for the kiss and me liking Zion. Okay, so I still kinda liked him, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Wait, Cody-” Zion began, getting off, when Roxas jumped off, sprinted over, and tackled me.
“We’re just messing around!” Roxas protested. I pushed him off, and walked on.
“I’ll get to Florence or wherever the hell I need to go alone” I said, looking around. Where was the bus stop? Oh, wait, on my back I had the portal under my coat. Where was the lighter? Roxas started to make a choking noise. I turned around, and realized he was crying.
“Please don’t go” he begged. I knew he wasn’t serious, but still felt myself slip into the guilt trip.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry! I won’t, okay, just stop crying!” I replied, walking back over. Zion looked down on him in disgust.
“Does your shame know no bounds?”
“None.” I sighed.
“If you two fight again or do something really stupid I am going to either walk away or smack you” I threatened.
“Okay” Zion immediately agreed. Okay, liked him more again.
“Fine” Roxas agreed. I nodded.
“This time I’M driving.”
“Too me!” agreed Chet.
“No.”
“Aw….” I laughed at him, and RIGHT when I tried to go as slow as possible I hit a tree. You can imagine how much the guys laughed at me.

Chapter twenty

I was stuck… In a box… With Robin and Artemis and /Jin. “I cannot BELIEVE you’re a girl!” he said, his arms out wide. I slammed on the black walls, as if to break them. But of course, that would never happen.
“You didn’t know? How did you miss that? She has lumps on her chest!” Jin protested.
“Jin, they’re breast” I sighed, turning around. Robin was really angry.
“How the hell did he get into that house AGAIN?! And no noise! God thats really freakin bothersome!” Robin growled.
“LEts not use such harsh language around the ladies, boy.” Right behind me.
“Die!” I screeched, and then I realized I didn’t have my guns anymore. Crap.
“What a nasty temper” he tisked, and then, out of nowhere, he grabbed my ankle, and held me upside down. “And here I thought you were a lady.” Okay, so, want to know another cool fact about me? Kids at my school said that I had to be a ‘lady’, and that if I kept being such a tomboy, I could never become a ‘proper lady.’ At this, I jammed my fist into what would have been the freak’s throat.
“I will never be a lady!” And it let me go. Robin winced, Jin clapped, and Artemis? He just stood there, as if to ask what the hell just happened.
“Ouch. Okay” He replied, as if nothing happened. He had yet to let go.
“That is ENOUGH, Caesar!” What now? A lady? And Caesar?
“Huh?” Artemis asked. He sighed.
“Fine, darling, I’ll let them go.” He grabbed the necklace out of my pocket, and disappeared.
“I didn’t say that!”
“Hold on! Won’t anyone tell me what is happening?!” Then He came back, and yanked out some of my hair.
“Where is it?!”
“OW! What?!”
“The necklace, you witch!”
“You just took it!” There was a flash of light that parted us, and this really, really good looking woman- not even, maybe one year older than me!- was standing there. She had reddish orange hair that trailed along the floor and metallic pink eyes like me with olive skin. Odd combo.
“Enough, both of you” she said. I felt all my anger melt away. What an odd aura. Even He was calmed, and nodded.
“Alright, darling” He sighed, and the room became white walled with light. Artemis didn’t get it, so he started to gasp. Robin patted him on the back, laughing.
“Ah, you noob. I’ll explain later- if we live til later.”
“Say what?!”
“Don’t worry, Hazel will protect us” Jin reassured.
“Oh, she will, will she?!” He hissed, when the woman flicked his forehead.
“Bunny, knock it off.” I tried to get it out of my head, but really? This really hot girl with an ugly old fart like him? It was like shipping Bianca with Esergoth- a famous singer who was really good looking and an old wizard who was ugly and old and stuff. It just didn’t work.
“What?”
“And you, you really should aspire to at least be more ladylike!” she continued. Oh, she just lost points with me. Then she smiled and gave me a peace sign, laughing. “Just kidding! Man, that girly crap gets SOO annoying, right?” she teased. Okay, liked her again.
“H-Honey!” He protested as she started to grab my clothes.
“Oh my my, this simply will NOT do! Come on, lets get you all washed up” she said, dragging me out. Then she turned sharply to Him, and pointed a thin finger. “And you, treat these boys well. No cuts or bruises.”
“But- But- Sugar!”
“We can’t have them looking like homeless people at dinner!” she said, laughing. All the boys jumped, and then watched as I left them. Oh, this would be funny.
“WAIT!” Robin bellowed.
“I don’t understand it, but I am NOT hanging out in this weird room wit a freak like him!” Artemis agreed, Jin sprinting behind me.
“You can’t take Hazel away from me!” I grabbed her, and smiled.
“Ah, miss?”
“Oh, let me guess, you want me to pair her with… Ak?” she asked, smiling.
“Yes. I don’t want her to get hurt” I said, smiling back.
“No! No, Hazel! You can’t let that happen!” she protested, squeezing me tightly. I knelt down, and ruffled her hair.
“Jin, don’t worry. I’ll get back home. We can live together. I’ll get you in school. And we can be happy” I promised. She was crying, her face bright red.
“But I want to stay here with you.” She sniffed.
“Sorry, sweetheart, but I just don’t have the heart to part you two” she told me.
“But if she gets hurt I’ll-”
“I promise Bunny won’t hurt her, alright? Besides, you two will be with me” she promised, laughing. Then something hit me in the face.
“Geronimo!” Cody? I went skidding down the hall, and saw him, gasping.
“Man that freaks me out.” Robin was grabbed by him, but Artemis was still running.
“What the hell are you doing here?!”
“Oh, nothing, just grabbing a friend” Cody replied, grabbing a plate. A plate.
“How did you get here?” I asked angrily.
“Yes, please, enlighten me!” He hissed, his arm stretching.
“Nope! No touchy!” He jumped into the plate, and ended up behind Him.
“What the!”
“First I’m here-” now by me- “Now here-” and then pushing Robin into the hole “And here!” Robin was gone, and the plate clattered to the ground, steaming. “Haha! I win.” He grabbed Cody, but She wouldn’t have that.
“DROP. HIM. NOW.” He let Cody go, who looked around in his pocket.
“Where is that lighter?”
“And you, young man! Shame on you! You hurt this poor girl!” she continued, grabbing his wrist. She sighed, and then, the plate rattled again, and Chet appeared.
“Are you TRYING to kill yourself! I’m saving Hazel!” he burst, not realizing I was right there. I flushed. That was sweet.
“Um, right here” I giggled, waving. Jin nudged me, and raised her eyebrows, a if trying to tell me to go for it.
You are WAY too young to be thinking about that. She sighed, and grabbed him, too.
“All three of you! So ridiculous!” she sighed. Her hair wrapped around Artemis’ arm, and dragged him on the floor behind her. “Honey, I’ll watch them. You go get some rest, okay? I’ll clean them up” she said.
“But- But- They’re boys! The girls, fine, but the boys?! And they’re my hostages!”
“Honey?” Cody and Chet asked, glancing at one another as I walked behind them.
“Don’t ask. Anyway, I need to know, whats your name?” I asked her. She smiled.
“Oh, kitty, I’m your mom!” I froze, and gaped at her. I got the eyes thing, but… My mom?
“Oh my Lord. Please don’t tell me thats my dad!” I shouted, pointing at freak. She laughed.
“Oh no, kitty. Your father is WAY more important than that” she said. “You’ll see him again tonight.”
“But- But- I grew up with Dad! He struggled with work, he was never home, he drank, he said he hated me, and he was just- A nobody!”
“Oh no, kitty. I never thought he was that horrible to you. Don’t worry, he is better now” she replied, turning a left.
“I don’t care! I don’t want to see him at all! Ever again!” I replied, and then we ended up in a pool.
“Look, kitty, calm down. We all have to get cleaned up. Okay, get undressed!”
“But mom! The boys!” I mean, she was my mom, so of course I was going to call her that. Cody flushed, but Chet- Man. He actually got a bloody nose.
“I don’t mean like that! Swimsuits!” she replied, tossing me a bikini and Jin a one piece. She didn’t give the boys anything.
“Um, what about us?”
“Well, you have boxers, don’t you?” I had to laugh at her logic. Just like mine. She was so my mom.
“Uh-”
“Okay, before I do ANYTHING, explain!” Artemis hissed. “And you, four eyes, what the hell did you do earlier! How’d you do that?!” Cody stuck his tongue out and pulled on his ears to make them pointed.
“Admit it, Artemis, I’m smarter than you! Ha ha!”
“You?! A genius?! Please! I’ve got 173 IQ! You’ve only got 172!” Artemis replied, smacking him. Mom smiled and gave them the icy stare I had given dad. SOOOO my mom.
“Wait, are you serious right now? Wow! You two are smarter than Einstein was!”
“Yes we are” Cody agreed. Chet flushed, and sighed.
“Um, where do we get changed?”
“Right in here. We girls will be right behind that book shelf” mom replied, smiling. “And knowing my kitty, she’ll have a lot of questions” she added, giggling.
“Ah, yeah. Am I like a god or something?” I replied sarcastically.
“Oh no, see, your Dad may be a god, but I’m simply a human who was cursed with immortality!” she replied giddily. I was shocked.
“Huh?”
“Yes. Oh, and also, I am sorry for your step fathers behavior, I haven’t told him you’re my kid yet!” she continued, giggling.
“STEP DAD?!” everyone screamed. I fainted.

“Kitty? Kitty?” Mom asked through the haze.
“Aw man!” Chet moaned. “Can you get some water?”
“Sure, go get it, four eyes” I heard Artemis say.
“Shut up, tree trunk.” What was that meant to mean?
“Do NOT make fun of me dew!” Ah.
“Both of you idiots go and get me some water!” Chet shouted. I slowly opened an eye. Chet was cradling me, and mom mouthed ‘he likes you! oooohhhh!’ I tapped him.
“Um…. Um…. Um…” Crap. Just like with Roxas. “Um… Um… Um…” He sighed in relief, and sat me up.
“Sorry, that was- Oh man, that was creepy of me, wasn’t it? Man, I am so sorry, please forgive me” he said, not looking me in the eye. Mom dragged me behind the bookshelf, and smiled.
“He likes you!”
“Mom!”
“Do you like him?”
“I just met him, Mom.”
“Love at first sight.”
“Hazel, admit it, you think he is cute” Jin pitched in, giggling.
“I- I don’t- I mean-”
“Spit it out!”
“Well, I mean… He is kinda cute… And from what I’ve seen he is really nice and stuff… But, so was Zion.”
“Um, Hazel? We can hear you” Cody called. I freaked, and decided to shut up.
“I’m going to the pool!” I immediately ran off, and jumped in. No way were they going to be able to ask me any more about Chet.
“Get in there!” I heard through the crash of water.
“H-Hey! Wait!” They shoved him in after me, and mom jumped in next. Her bikini was even smaller than mine! She winked, Jin plunging in after her, and they swam off away from me. Holy crap, were they trying to make us a thing?! I only met him twice!
I couldn’t breath. I swam up to grab some air, followed by Chet.
“Um, look, I’m sorry” he said, laughing a little.
“Oh… Its okay” I replied.
“Move it, four eyes!”
“Tree trunk.”
“Moron.”
“Jerk.” The two genius’ jumped in, crashing around us. I almost got hit in the face, but Chet blocked me, taking an elbow to the face.
“Ow! Watch it!” he shouted, smacking the two.
“Okay!”
“Sorry.” I was alone with him, and everyone else was watching at the other side of the pool. Oh man…
“Um… So, I think Roxas knows” he chuckled, rubbing his cheek.
“About?”
“My cr- azy ideas!” he said, laughing. “Gotta go! People to smack! You know.” So, we swam off, and I left everyone alone. And then it got worse.
“Kitty! Kitty, swim back over here!” Mom called.
“Why do you keep calling me kitty? Its weird” I sighed, backstroking.
“Don’t go there! Otherwise you’ll bump into the MUHs!” she warned. Too late.
“Aw! Look! And Caesar didn’t tell us!”
“Darn it!”
“No fair!” I heard three old crones groan.
“Oh crap. Now you’ve done it, kitty.” Something grabbed the back of my neck. A freaking ghost?! All of them looked the same, with white hair and eyes and pale skin, red dresses. They were so odd. They didn’t have legs.
“What are those things?” Chet asked.
“Swim, you fool! Swim away! Sorry, kitty!” Mom said.
“Lucky you!” another shouted, grabbing Chet and flying him over.
“Hey- Hey, what the hell are you guys?!”
“We are the Make Up Hags!”
“Banshees in disguise!”
“Hungry for fashion!” We were tossed into little tbs, and I screamed.
“Its broiling!” Chet noted.
“Why yes, yes it is! Gets the skin nice and smooth!” my hag said, laughing.
“What the heck is your issue?!” I shouted as she grabbed my arms and strapped them into laces on the sides of the tub.
“Kitty! Kitty, I’ll find the ke-”
“You just dropped it in the drain!” Jin shouted.
“We’ll rip down the doors!” Artemis replied.
“With what, your buck teeth?!”
“I don’t have any! Hey, what about that plate thing?”
“Gone. Sorry.” They tortured me… Mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, nail polish, you name it, they did it. And Chet? They got him really… Man he looked hot… Oh my God I did NOT just write or think that! Okay, who am I kidding, I so did. The hags let me out, but him? He actually broke out. And grabbed me by the hips, and slung me over his shoulder.
“Hands off, grandma!” I was amazed. He kicked down the door, and ran on the rim of the pool.
“Hey, you’re alive!”
“He looks way hotter” Cody said.
“You are so gay” replied Artemis. Cody said nothing, and Jin was shocked.
“Hazel looks gorgeous!”
“Even better than me! Good job, kitty!” Luna said. “And you got the hottie!” Chet and I were inside that one room, gasping for air.
“That was a total violation of my space” I groaned.
“Agreed. But- You look- Way- Way cuter” he said, and I realized how… Well, I saw my reflection, see, and I didn’t even know it was me. They had given me black eyeshadow that faded seamlessly into blue. My lips were pink, smooth, and a bit bigger, and my lashes had new volume to it. Hell, my face had no blemishes either, and my nails were long and had flowers on it. I loved it, but then remembered I was a tomboy.
“Curse it! They made me a lady! Why the hell would they do that, those hags?!”

Chap twenty one

Robin. I was stuck with Robin and Zion. And Zion was really worried about Cody. Even more so than me. “I hope he is alright.” I finally hit him over the head.
“What, you in love with him or something?!” He flushed, and fiddled about with his fingers.
“Well, I mean- He is kinda-” Holy crap, Zion was gay, and he was into Cody.
“You’re hitting on my friend?! Sick!” I shouted. Robin started laughing.
“That right there is gold!” Then my phone rang. It was Cody.
“Speak of the devil.” I picked it up, and scolded him for a good long minute.
“Look, sorry, okay? But I need to tell you something. Chet doesn’t have the necklace!”
“Of course not, I have it. BTW, did you know Zion is into you?”
“Um… Can I talk to him?” he asked. I scoffed, passed the phone on, and watched.
“Are you o-… Are you serious? Well, yes, of course, but-… Oh… Um…” He flushed, and bit a nail. “I didn’t- Oh, I get it, ha ha. What? You serious? Um… Uh… I uh… I’ll… What the hell, sure. Thanks. Want to talk to Roxas again?” He handed me the phone, walked behind the tree, and I ignored him. Robin’s interest, however, was peaked.
“What’d you tell him?”
“Nothing, its okay.”
“I want to know!”
“Then ask him! You’ll think I’m a freak if I tell you, and I don’t want that” he replied. “Look, He is coming, so I got to go, but stay out of trouble, okay? Don’t get hurt. Even if it means just running away. Got it?”
“Hey, who the he-” The phone was off, and Robin ran back.
“Zion is scaring me.”
“Why?”
“He’s- He’s fangirling.” I was rolling.
“What?!” Sure enough, he was freaking out, laughing and fisbumping the air. I bolted over, and punched him in the face.
“Calm down!” Robin ordered. Zion laughed.
“Sorry, couldn’t help it” he replied.
“Why?” I asked. “Cody said I had to ask you what happened.” He smiled, then thought.
“I don’t think I’m gonna tell you.”
“Why the hell not?!”
“Because it’ll alter your thoughts of him.” I punched him in the face again, and glared.
“No matter what, my opinion of him will never change. So what did he say?” Zion laughed, and his smile got even bigger.
“Um… He asked me out.” I thought he was screwing with me.
“Huh?”
“Yeah. When this is all over, he asked if maybe we could go out to dinner and stuff. Get to know one another more.” Cody, if you’re reading this, I have one question. What. The. Feck.
“HE asked YOU out. Like, on a date?” Robin clarified? “You? One of the people who kidnapped and hurt him and stuff?”
“I may have… Encouraged it” he replied.
“What do you mean.” He flushed.
“Well I- I kinda… Kissed him?” I laughed, angry.
“Are you asking, or telling, you perv!”
“Look, sorry I have a crush while you’re still single!” he growled, grabbing my shirt.
“Shut up, moron!”
“I’m not a moron, you’re a moron!”
“Both of you, stop!” Robin protested, glaring. “Isn’t it odd that Cody was able to even reach his phone? Huh? Doesn’t that bother you?” he asked.
“Well, yes, now that I think of it” Zion said. I agreed.
“It is odd, but at least we heard from him” I sighed, stretching.
“Either Cody is being given the special treatment, or he snuck it and is about to get the snot beaten out of him. Either way, its odd. SOO, lets focus on the plan” he sighed. Right, the plan.

Only a little earlier, we all spoke. Chet and Cody were talking. “It seems like He has only oh so much power. So, what do we do? What does he feed off of to restore his energy?” Cody asked.
“Doesn’t He only show up when bad stuff happens?” Chet replied. “So what if thats his energy source? Negative energy?”
“Well, if that were the case, we’d need to cleanse the world, which is going to be hard.”
“Well, what if we do something really stupid?”
“Like we aren’t doing that already?” I asked, rolling my eyes.
“Hey, ‘we’ aren’t doing anything stupid, the stupid is coming from you” Zion replied.
“Hey!”
“Guys, shut up” Cody sighed. Chet continued.
“Most issues spawn from stuff like gangs or the cartel and stuff, right?”
“Not all of it.”
“All the stuff WE are around. What if we put an end to big crimes, like a side mission, while we do this?”
“No!” Zion growled.
“Look, just one. There is a group, the Hounds. You heard of them?”
“Yeah, Chet. Those are the guys we helped beat the snot out of.”
“Bingo. They exist in every city, including this one. If we find them and break them, and then get His attention. When that happens, we can all fight even more, figure out His weaknesses, and then stock up on food and ammunition and stuff” Chet explained.
“Hit two birds with one stone.” I nodded, and got it.
“Defeat part of an organization, clean up a town, catch His attention, and maybe help ourselves in the process. More like hitting four birds, don’t you think?”
“Yes. And to top it off, I’ll go in there and help out. We’ll trade me for Robin. He’ll be better, and more suited for this” Cody continued.
“Wait, you can’t go! Not alone!” Chet protested.
“Agreed” I added. “LEt me go instead, or maybe Zion or somebody.”
“You’re too valuable to lose, Cody” Zion continued, flushing.
“Stop treating me like a kid!” Cody hissed, standing up. “I am a worthless peice of crap! I’m getting in the way, don’t you get it?! If I’m so valuable, what the hell are you guys?! Aren’t you his kids or something?! Or disciples?! If me, a stranger, is so important to him, what if he got ahold of you two?!” He calmed down. “I can’t lose you two, and I need to get Robin back so I don’t feel so weak. I’m the one who got him caught, I’m breaking him out. Maybe others, if the portal lasts long enough.”
“You can’t do that alone!” Chet replied, slamming a fist in the dirt. “We can help.”
“Listen to him, Cody. We want to help out” Zion sighed.
“For once, the moron is right.”
“Who’re you calling moron?!”
“Look, all of you, shut up. I’m going in there, and there is nothing you can do to stop me. Okay?” I nodded, and everyone agreed angrily. When Cody was busy getting out gasoline, Chet gave me the necklace.
“I’m going in with stupid. You watch this, okay?” he asked.
“Why?”
“Three things. First, I like my friends breathing. Second, he is important to you. Third, if I can save Hazel, Artemis, Cody, AND Robin with Cody, that’ll be great.”
“Oh, you’re going in for her?”
“Yeah. Of course, I’ll try to help save everyone else, too.” And that is when it all went downhill.

“Okay, so we take down the Hounds, fine, but what about Cody?” I replied angrily.
“Look, we’ll find him again” Robin said. “For now, get some rest. You look exhausted.” I was. I hadn’t gotten any sleep since the plane ride to Nevada.
“Please, I don’t need sleep.” Zion smirked.
“So this is why you would be helpful, putting this baby to sleep” Zion said, smirking.
“I guess. Hey, Roxas, look at me. C’mon, look! Right in the eyes! I need to tell you what Cody said to me!” he said. That got my attention.
“What? What’d he say?” Robin grabbed my head, smiling.
“Sleep.” I was NOT going to fall asleep! I mean, come on! Who the hell did he think he was, a hypnotist or something? Then my eyelids got heavy. Just fall asleep. Rest your eyes.” My knees buckled. Nope, nope, nope! I shoved him off, and pinched my arm. No way in hell.
“It isn’t working” Zion sighed. “Brute force?”
“No, it only needs one more push” Robin replied. Push? What push?
“You’re not serious, right? Its been forever since you used Tūṅkum āṉmā” he replied. What now? Robin bent his pinky under his thumb, and held an open palm under the right hand.
“Isn’t that what a maester is all about?” Maester?
“Wait, like *yawn* magic and crap?” I asked, barely awake.
“You could say that. We’ll explain later” Zion replied, and Robin slammed his palm into my chest. It felt like my SOUL was literally torn away from my body. Oh, wait, it was. Could this get any weirder?
“Hey, Roxas, can you hear me?” he asked, standing right in front of my ghost.
“Still awake, jerk off!” Of course, I didn’t know I was a ghost.
“Really? I see your limp body lying on the floor” he replied.
“It worked?” Zion asked.
“Yep. Man, Roxas has one hell of a soul. Its been tormented so bad. I mean, if you could see how many different chains he is tied up in all sorts of chains of memories and stuff. He doesn’t let anything go” Robin replied, poking me.
“Hey! Cut it out!”
“Well, tell him about the situation” Zion said.
“Yeah, okay. You ready to listen, Roxas?”
“Not like I’m going anywhere.” He nodded.
“Okay, so He is a demon. We don’t know what type still, even after studying both him and Zion, but he is likely a type of underdog God. Not all that and a bag of chips. So, this is more like a war between demons and maestros like me. Now, what does this have to do with anything and why didn’t I tell Cody is probably what you want to know, right?”
“Hell yeah! You sent him in there without him knowing?!”
“Look, this isn’t really meant for guys like him. He is of the material world. He doesn’t really believe in monsters like me. For me, they just exist, but for him, there is a reason, and its a mystery” he said. “This is really important to the mission because if he is a God, and if Cody bugged him, you can spy on him.” I understood.
“You want me to look inside his head? Capillus isn’t me, he is my computer” I replied.
“Good, but can we access him through your phone?”
“Yeah.”
“God.”
“Hold up! I want to know more. I thought He was just a freak like me!”
“I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t think you’re his kids, but you do have some of his DNA. Zion told me He had experimented on kids?” I nodded.
“Yeah, I remember that.”
“Okay, so what does that mean? It means part of you is Godly. It also means you can kill him and see through his tricks.”
“Okay, but what about Cody and Chet?”
“While Cody is looking for a logical conclusion, I think part of him knew He was a God of some type. So Cody is prepared. You, however, aren’t.”
“What the hell do you mean?! I’m fine!”
“You haven’t slept for a while. So, either you can go back into your body and rest, or I can simply drag your body and keep your soul locked out. THAT would be putting the physical you into a coma and the spiritual you in a mini purgatory, and us in a peaceful place without your annoying jabbering… Well, put Zion in a peaceful place. I can still hear you.”
“This is a waste of time! I could be helping you take out the Hounds and saving Chet and Coy and the others! Let me out, curse you!”
“Look, I don’t think they’re in danger!” If my ghost had arms, I would have punched him.
“What do you mean! They’re with HIM!” I protested. Since I couldn’t punch him, I bit him. Of course, I passed right through.
“Really? Look, I say that because this lady stopped him and made him let us go and treat us to dinner! Yeah, she said that we can’t look messy when we eat dinner with them.” Okay, curiosity is peaked.
“But, He is evil. Why listen to a lady?”
“They called each other honey and bunny.”
“What?!”
“Wait, wait, HE got called HONEY?!” Zion asked, shocked as he picked up my body.
“Hands off, freak! God, shouldn’t I be able to posses you guys or something?!” I bickered.
“Look, get over it. We’re gonna switch and take turns carrying you.”
“I’m going to be an immature snot until I get back into my body.”
“Okay, if you do that, I’ll ignore you.”
“I’m VERY hard to ignore. Trust me.”
“I don’t.”

For five hours straight I managed to somehow yank his hair, punch him in the face, and bit his ankle. “Okay, okay, I get it! You want back in your body!”
“No way!” I teased, yanking on a couple more strands by biting his hair. “How did you guess!”
“If you want it back, fine! Give me a sec. Zion, tape?”
“Whoa, wait, hold up, tape?”
“Yes. When you get back in your body, you’re probably going to pass out, but just in case.” He grabbed my arms- not mine, my body’s arms- and wrapped them in duct tape.
“NOT FAIR! Hey, knock it off! Leave me alone! Hands off!”
“We’re going to need it over his lips, too.”
“Why?” Zion asked, finishing up with my legs.
“He is yelling really loud in my ear.
“I CAN YELL LOUDER!!! LET ME GO!!!” He sighed, and hit my head, smacking me into my body. I almost did pass out, but why would I do that? No, I held on, and I thrashed about really angrily. In my pant pocket there was a knife. If I got that, I could escape, run off without these rats, and save Cody and Chet myself.
“There, see? Just fall asleep, okay? You know you want to.” No, I wanted to save Cody. I grabbed the knife, and stopped. If I fake fainted, and if they took a rest, that would be the ideal moment. I closed my eyes, but resolved not to fall asleep. Not a shot in hell. So, I played a game. First to fall asleep loses. Last one awake wins.
“He gone?” Zion asked
“Well, he isn’t moving, so I think so. I’m going to follow his lead, okay?”
“No, you watch, I sleep.”
“Why?!”
“Because I have been carting his body around for forever. You watch” Zion moaned.
“Fine, okay.”
“Actually, nah. He isn’t going anywhere. We’ll both crash.” Robin laughed.
“You going soft?”
“You know what, stuff it. I’m just trying to help you out to. You want to watch him, go ahead, but I’m going to take a nap.” Zion was lost.
“Okay, maybe I’ll just rest my eyes a sec” Robin finally said. By that time I was slipping myself. I smiled, and started to cut away the tape. My stomach lurched when I tore off the tape on my lips, and winced. Ow. This hurt. I felt myself buckle up, but I refused. I was so not going to be a weakling right there, right after I got out. I looked around. We were in an alleyway. Meaning we were in a city. Meaning there were people. I crawled out into the street. How did they lug me into a city without people noticing me being kidnapped? I had to know.
“Odd.” I simply didn’t understand. Then it hit me we were in an abandoned section, or so I thought.
The wind was really cold. I was in this crappy place. What was I gonna do? I shuffled along, thinking. This was really annoying. How was I going to even get to Cody and Chet? I couldn’t shadow travel. I’d need to be caught, and then I wouldn’t be saving anyone.
“Annoying.” Who was I kidding? I couldn’t save them. I couldn’t even save myself. I wasn’t important. I was stupid. I was an idiot for thinking I could help. All I had done was get in the way. I tore away any chance at a relationship with Hazel, got Chet hurt multiple times, left Ak, got myself stuck as a ghost, and nearly fainted. Shows how tough I am. I never saved anyone on my own. What a coward I was.
“Ah, you finally putting all of this together?” It was Him.
“Go away.” Yeah, so tough, right?
“Oh, come on, you know that I’m here to help you out” He said, twisting in front of me.
“If you don’t get out of my face, I’m going to hit yours.” He tisked at me, and left me again to be alone.
“You know, this is my turf, so to say. But the men? They want a new leader. Lets try giving them you.” I laughed.
“If you do that, I’m coming after you with these guys.”
“Only if they accept you as their leader.” I smiled just a bit.
“Who can resist this face?” I replied, looking for a wall to lean on. Too cold. The whole space around me seemed to be getting larger. I couldn’t reach the walls. I just stood still, and laughed mockingly. “Any way, why would I want your stupid team? I can do stuff just fine on my own.” He sighed.
“My ‘team’ has already surrounded you. And by the looks of it, you can barely stand, let alone fight off only a fraction of this team. At this point, the only one who is going to need saving, Roxas, is you.” One thing you never want to do is piss me off. Like, really piss me off. Not like Hazel would do, but like him. If you pissed me off, my leash was gone, and I’d destroy you.
“Say that. One more time.” He did. In turn, I jabbed holes through the ground, stabbing at least him and a couple other people, and made a cae around me. Nobody was going to catch me any time soon.
“That wasn’t very nice” He sighed angrily. I smiled
“I am not happy with you threatening to capture me and threaten me with these stupid gutter boys” I replied, making a chair. I had to sit down. “I’m not strong, sure, and I can’t do that shadow travel thing yet, but I’m not going to be caught. I’ going to get stronger, I’m going to save my friends, and I’m going to send you to hell.” I talk big, but I didn’t believe it myself. Just had to shut him up.
“You know, maybe we are both wrong” He finally said, and He left. So tired. I slumped in the chair, sighing. Why the hell was I suddenly so negative? I’d save Cody, and Chet, and Hazel, and Artemis, and Jin, and Hazel, even if it was the last thing I did.
“That is cool!”
“Lost boys, get a grip!”
“But he fended of Caesar!” Caesar, Caesar, where had I heard that before? Oh, right!
“You called him Caesar?”
“Yeah” one of the kids answered.
“Don’t talk to him!”
“But he asked.”
“I don’t give a rats potuti! Don’t answer him!” I sighed, and rolled my eyes.
“Screw it. I’m tired, I’m cold, I’m annoyed. Go away, stupid kids.”
“Hey, we’re your age!”
“Shut up and let me think. Okay, first I have to get Cody, and then Chet, maybe Jin next because she is a girl, and the-”
“Grab him!” As if. They could barely stick their fists inside. I smiled, but grew annoyed.
“You all are so stupid. Look, do you mind? I only have a little bit before my so called friends wake up” I replied.
“Friends! We can grab them as hostages!” I laughed.
“Like I care about those people. I said they were my ‘so called’, or did you miss that?” So sleepy. “They don’t respect me, they treat me like a kid, and they expect me to act on my best behavior. Even if you grab them, I won’t care.”
“Don’t we feel loved” Zion sighed. He was right behind me. Son of a gun.
“What the hell?! How’d you find me so fast?!”
“Shadow travel. Sorry you think we treat you like a kid, but we wouldn’t have to if you took care of yourself” Robin sighed, grabbing me by my neck. “Besides, we rock, and you know it.” I rolled my eyes.
“Let go, curse you.”
“Lost boys, grab the guns.”
“Aw hell.” I sighed, and thought about where I wanted to go. Not here. I wanted to be back at base, and to see Ak. I wanted to be there, and I wasn’t. Why the hell were we even there? This was a waste of time and space.
“Wow!”
“He did it. The moron did it.” I opened my eyes, annoyed.
“I’m not a moron.”
“Roxas!” I thought that Robin did his magic thingy-ma-bobber. He didn’t. Ak hugged me, and just wouldn’t let go. Man, so tired. I wasn’t sure what was happening. Where were we? Did I really get back to Ak? Did I really shadow travel? I was so confused.
“Looks like a garden” Robin noted. That it did.
“Ah, look!” Robin gasped, and Zion kinda slumped forward.
“That lady… The one who-”
“Ah, I remember you! You’re that boy who fell through that plate, aren’t you? And you brought friends! Its almost dinner time, and you three are filthy!”
“Bunny, just finished up with Roxas, he won’t be giv- WHAT?!” I smiled. This. Was. Funny. Everyone was in hell. Everyone.
“I can shadow travel now. Fun” I chuckled to myself. MY head was swimming. “And Robin? If you ever use that magic stuff on me again, I’m going to break one of your bones.” At this, I collapsed. So tough, right?
Chap twenty two

I was disappointed when Robin and Zion showed up carrying Roxas on his shoulders. “What happened to the plan?”
“Macho tried to do everything alone.”
“Wonderful.” Zion smiled sheepishly at me, and I flushed. “So, uh, looks like we’ll be, uh, having dinner sooner than we, uh, thought, right?” I asked, smiling.
“Yeah… You look nice, don’t you?” he replied, smiling.
“Okay, both of you, you can flirt more later. For now, help us out” Robin replied, passing me Roxas. I sighed, and helped him down. She had gotten me into a dress, and I assumed that it was for the dinner. She put me in it, and made my hair slick and smooth. It annoyed me that she was getting us all nice and pretty for a meal with the devil. However, I had yet to see Hazel or Chet, they were alone together in a room which I couldn’t break into. Of course, they were alone.
“Now, lets get you three washed up. Can’t have you guys eating like this when we go to the dinner meeting” she said.
“Who are you?” Zion asked.
“Oh, silly me! I’m Luna!” she said, laughing. “Now, off to the bath and such!” She dragged Robin and Roxas off, but Zion stuck behind, looked around, and got closer. Then he hugged me.
“Thank GOD you’re okay.” I couldn’t believe this. He was serious about liking me. So freakin hot. This was still weird to me, being gay, but I really liked him.
“Y-Yeah. I’m- uh- I’m glad you’re alright to” I replied, hugging him back.
“You put on cologne?”
“She did it! Not my fault!”
“I like it… GTG, I’ll see you soon.” When he left, I sniffed my shoulder, now self conscious. Well, if he liked it…

At dinner, we were told to find seats before other guests arrived, which I did not like. Zion and I sat on the last two seats of a long table, but He was there, at that en.
“I think I’ll go down a couple seats” I said, starting to move.
“Cody, look down.” I did. My ankles were being tied down by little shadows.
“Hey!” Zion reached down to try and get rid of them, but in turn was pushed back so hard he fell back onto tile.
“None of you should be eating at this table. I should be torturing you all. Now, Honey, quick question.”
“Yes, darling?” Luna asked.
“Well, what peaked your interest in my hostages?”
“Aw, these kids? Well, actually, it was my daughter who caught my interest, and it didn’t feel like leaving any of the others out and stuff.”
“DAUGHTER?!” Roxas, Robin, Ak, and Zion didn’t know of this. Jin stretched, and Artemis nodded.
“Yeah, turns out Hazel’s mom is Luna” Artemis sighed. Even He freaked.
“HONEY?!”
“Look, I didn’t know how else to tell you. Thats why I asked you not to let Hades into the party tonight.” Hades?
“Hold on, hold on, HADES? Like, God of Death?” Artemis asked. I didn’t like this.
“Wait, Hazel is a demigod?” Jin asked.
“Of course!”
“Then why doesn’t she have any powers?” Ak asked.
“Oh, because she was too weak as a baby to sustain the power. I was going to train her to be an exorcist, but my Bunny is God over purgatory, and he needs his demons” Luna explained.
“Hazel is your little girl? HADES’ little girl?” he asked. “He is going to have a heart attack when he sees her in MY kingdom! Darling, why didn’t you tell me before! I’d never have raised a hand against your little girl!” he shouted, arms flying. I scowled at him, angry and hurt.
“And because you didn’t know she was related to your sweetums, you thought it was okay to hurt her?! Dude, that is twisted!”
“No, its life. Now, our guests will be arriving shortly, and if you start yelling, I will put you into a coma, and create nightmares just for you guys. Got it?” I sighed, and glared.
“I’ll get the two from upstairs.”
“What are they doing there in the first place?! They should have been down here ten minutes ago!”
“Bunny, its my little girl. Its my ex husband. I want for him to know that she is perfect, and he shouldn’t have hurt her the way he did.”
“How do you know he hurt her?”
“She told me. Now, the guests! Boys, don’t worry, okay? Eat to your hearts content. I’ll be right down!” Luna said, pinching Roxas’ cheeks. He was still unconscious, so I didn’t understand why he was there, but he was.
“Roxas. Hey, Roxas” I whispered. He didn’t twitch. I grabbed a loaf of bread, and chucked it at his face.
“Mnph?” He opened his eyes, and shook his head.
“Wh-Where?”
“You’re in hell with Him and the gang and its getting REALLY weird” Zion answered, holding my hand under the table. I flushed, and smiled.
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“Nope, sorry” Robin sighed.
“Roxas, why did you leave me? Did I do something wrong?” Ak suddenly asked, sitting right beside him on the opposite side of the table.
“No, Akarui. You did nothing wrong. I just didn’t want you to get hurt” he replied, when adults walked in. They were all odd, most of them monsters and demons, but one was human. A white man with red eyes and white, pointy fangs.
“Hades” Jin whispered. And it turned out, she was right.
“Hades! My dear, dear friend!” He greeted, rushing him to a chair beside himself, right next to Roxas.
“What the hell is going on?” he asked Ak.
“A feast. And we are guests here, like them” he replied.
“So, erm, Hades, as you can see we have some human guests-”
“Yes, and they look fit for battle! Let us have a bet, shall we?”
“No. We cannot. Any way, it turns out that there is one human in particular who is probably going to make you… Well, it is going to interest you” he said. Luna came down, scowling at him, and holding Chet’s arm.
“That hurts” he growled angrily. He looked good, but I still liked Zion more. He was in a pure black suit, not like ours, which were dark navy blue.
“Be patient! Kitten, please come down!” Luna called up the stairs.
“I am NOT coming down in this dress! It is embarrassing!” Hazel replied. Hades tensed.
“She sounds familiar… Who is that?”
“Kitten! Please!” Luna replied, letting her grip on Chet loosen. He shrugged her off, and glared at Him.
“She won’t come down if He is here, and you ought to know that” Chet said angrily. “And you know what, I can’t blame her with all of these freaks here.” He got up, and slapped Chet.
“How DARE you insult my friends! I should cut out your tongue right now.”
“Do it and I’ll make sure thats the last thing that will happen to you before I cut off your head!” Hazel screamed back. “You and all these other monsters!” She ran down in a emerald green dress, no straps or sleeves that went to her ankle, with a see through blue skirt sewn on. Her hair was put up in a bun, her makeup the same as before, but somehow more sparkly. Hades flinched.
“Thats my-”
“And if you dare hurt him or any of my friends, I will make you pay, you got me? I will hurt you, and I will destroy everything you built.”
“Curse you. I will cut that tongue out right here” He promised, grabbing a knife. Hades yanked back His hand, and glared.
“You will not touch my daughter if you treasure my friendship” he said, and He nodded.
“You are right, I’m sorry. Forgot she was yours for a sec… Man, I cannot believe you have a kid!” He said. “This is the first one since, what, 902 B.C?” Okay, that was a long time. Hades blew flames from his lips onto a cigar.
“Yes, she is. And I am sorry for her. I was a horrible father.” Hades expected Hazel to say something in reply, but she just focused on Chet.
“I’m okay” he said, smiling as she walked down the last step. Then she twisted her ankle, and fell down the stairs.
“Crap!”
“I got you.” I watched, and chuckled. So cliche. He caught her, and Hades’ hair lit on fire.
“Hands off my daughter, gutter boy” he growled.
“Actually, I’m a billionaire” Chet replied.
“This is true” Roxas replied. “He has money to burn.” Ak nodded in agreement, sighing.
“I miss eating his eggs and bacon.” Artemis and Roxas snickered, and Hades rolled his eyes.
“I don’t give a da-” a stern glare from Luna- “rn, get your hands off of my little girl.” Hazel cupped her ear.
“Do you hear something? I hear this annoying little fly buzz in my ear. Its bothersome” she told Chet as he helped her back on her feet.
“I don’t.” He grabbed Chet by his hair, and tossed him in a chair three down from Hades, and tossed Hazel in the seat across from him at the farthest end, both of them sitting by Luna.
“Now, where are the other guests going to sit?” Jin asked.
“Where they always sit. Upstairs, playing poker” He replied. “WE are going to eat down here though, aren’t we?” Luna nodded, smiling.
“Okay, bunny.” Hazel looked at her plate, and watched it hungerly. Jin was ready to rip her meal to shreds. Sushi for them, steak for me, ramen for Roxas, burritos for Artemis, Robin, and Zion, and Chet got salad with bacon slices, goat cheese, potatoes, and figs.
“This looks… Odd” Chet sighed. Hazel glanced at it, and smiled.
“Ah, nostalgia.” She then ate her food slowly, and we all ate in awkward silence.

Once we finished the meal, He led all of us upstairs, and Luna grew uncomfortable. “Now, boys, this can’t be a fighting competition, but what if we bet on something else?”
“Like?” a gargoyle asked, sliding the stone legs on the floor.
“Well, what would you like to bet on that isn’t violent?” He replied, tossing Hazel in the middle of them. A manticore walked over, grinning broadly.
“We can bet on the color of her blood, can’t we?”
“That is violent.”
“Or is it?” asked a larger demon, bloody eyes and hands. Chet bristled.
“Yes, it is. We may not bet on her life” Hades replied, glaring.
“Shut yer trap, Hades. We want fun. And we ain’t getting it” replied the manticore.
“I want to see blood” a minotaur said. This was terrifying. Chet phased through him, and into the crowd.
“Then look someplace else. You aren’t going to hurt Hazel while I’m around.” Zion clutched my hand, and then smiled sheepishly.
“I agree. Lets be civil about this” Artemis said, drawing away some of the attention. The monsters thought.
“How about we bet on these boys?” one asked.
“No, absolutely not” Luna replied, standing beside Him. The manticore wrapped a tail around Hazel’s hips, still grinning.
“Okay, then lets play tag? Surely that is sporting?” it replied smugly. “All the humans against all the demons. We can all have fun this way” he said.
“Honey, these children shouldn’t be in this position. Why not just take the necklace, and go?” Luna asked. He nodded.
“Darling, I don’t care about that piece of metal. I care about what it will come of it if it is destroyed. However, these humans can’t break it, and since they are with me, then it is obvious the necklace is here, too.” Zion was making my hand go numb. This was terrifying.
“If you don’t move that tail I’m going to yank it off” Hazel warned, glaring at the monster. Chet separated the two, and watched Him.
“Now, the game? I think tonight we should be civilized. You all have wives, do you not? When was the last time any of you treated them to a dance? Like ballroom dancing?”
“Not in many centuries. Are you proposing we let our gambles aside, and act as humans do?” the demon asked. Hades smiled.
“We can still make bes. Wager who of all these humans is the best dancer.” Zion smiled, and glanced over at me.
“Isn’t this stupid?” he asked, laughing. I nodded.
“Yeah, it is.” The minotaur walked behind us, unsure.
“But there are only two females among seven boys.”
“Correction, one girl among six boys. The children will not dance. We will have them decided who will go first with who, and switch off. After all, that is the only way to dance: one boy, one girl” He said. I smiled.
“And what if there are two of the same gender who want to dance with one another, or not at all?” I countered. “It doesn’t have to be just boy and girl. It could be boy with boy, if they feel the same way towards one another.” Zion smiled at me, and nodded. Everyone caught on we were gay, which was what I intended. Create a ripple.
“Being gay is a sin” He said, and I could just imagine a grin. It kinda hurt, but I didn’t shake my resolve one bit.
“Hardly. Being gay is being you. I don’t think its a sin, and anyone who does is an idiot” Hazel pitched, crossing her arms. “And plenty of holy popes feel the same way.”
“Thank you, Hazel.” Roxas grinned, and Robin nodded, giving us a thumbs up. Of course, then Zion figured something out.
“Wait, we don’t have to dance at all. We can just break out of here he noted, and then, he- along with Artemis and the kids- were gone. I looked over at Roxas.
“Can’t you shadow travel yet?”
“Yeah, If I think about it, but I can’t take everyone with me.” He loomed over me, and held my shoulders.
“If you take your precious Cody, you’ll take me in the process, and I will destroy you in the time-space continuum” He warned. That was pretty bloody.
“Roxas, don’t take anyone, just go, okay? The plan, remember?” I reminded, grinning. He didn’t move.
“Once Zion comes back, this will all be closed, and nobody will escape me. So, you run, or stay.” I smiled, and laughed really hard.
“Zion isn’t coming back. So, Roxas, just grab one of the others an-” The monsters all grabbed my freinds, grnning broadly.
“On second thought, go alone” Chet replied, grinning.
“But… I was… I wanted to-”
“Save them? Please, you can’t even save yourself!” He teased, and I smiled.
“Sure he can. He saved me multiple times, he saved Artemis, he saved Hazel, and Chet, and Ak, and practically everyone in the room. I have faith” I replied, and I meant it. So, Roxas melted off, and then, stupid Zion came back, and anyway in or out was lost.
“Came back. Its over.”
“What were you thinking! You should have run for it!”
“And left you? Not a shot in hell!” Considering we were in hell, I’d say there were plenty of shots.
“Zion, love you, but you’re killin me” I said, and He freaked.
“Both of you stop it!”

Chapter twenty three

So, Zion and Cody were going to either be the first to go, or the last. He wasn’t sure. Nobody else would dance though, so it’d be a competition between us two. All the demons came back after getting their wives, and I gasped. They all looked really pretty, and humanoid. It was confusing to think of this. And they all were really weird around the woman, like really sweet.
“Now, lets see how they do. First, lets have the… Erm, the boys” Hades chuckled. He crossed his arms in anger.
“Yes, boys, you go up first.”Zion and Cody just stood there, laughing at the two as a distraction. The others all were plotting a way to get out of here. Chet was trying to keep me from getting really mad, so- with help from Luna- he got me a soda.
“Look, we’ll escape from here soon enough, okay” he promised, smiling. I nodded, sitting down. Stupid dress. I hated it.
“I’m just worried about Jin.”
“What about her?”
“I’m just worried. What’ll happen to her? I promised we’d have a good life together and stuff. And I said that one day ‘d sing her a lullaby, and never got to. Its childish, I know, but it just… I don’t like breaking promises.” Chet smiled at me, and handed me the drink.
“Wow, got a sensitive side, huh?” I bristled.
“Of course I do. What is that supposed to mean?” I scoffed, a bit hurt.
“I mean I’m going for the nice, good girls. Usually I go for the really mean girls who pick on the ones who aren’t as popular. I’m glad I found you, if you… You know, like me..?” I felt my cheeks and ears burn.
“Well, I think I do, but… I have rotten luck and stuff, and I’m just… I’m a horrible person. You should go for a girl who is better than me.” He laughed, and the ladies and demons turned towards us.
“Find a girl better than you?! You’re nuts! Hazel, I’ve never met such a kind, sweet, smart girl before you. Nowadays people are so worried about how they look they don’t notice if they’re good on the inside or not. You’re the one!” he shouted. I hadn’t ever had a guy like me like that before. Hades was really angry at that.
“Don’t mock my daughter!” he hissed, jumping out of his seat, flames spewing everywhere.
“Hey, grandpa! Shut up and let me think” I replied. “Plus, what do you care? Last time we spoke, you said you didn’t need me in your life. And you were right. So stay out of mine” I continued. “And you, Chet, who the hell do you think you are to toy with me, huh? Do you honestly believe I’ll buy that bullcrap!” I continued, hitting him. This hurt, being played with. Chet was confused.
“What? Hazel, I’m serious” he said, and I slapped him, crying.
“You are such a bad freaking liar! And if you’re serious, then find a better girl. Okay? I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m not pretty. Open your eyes.” I started to walk off, when he grabbed my wrist.
“Okay, no, you open up your eyes. You are amazing. You are perfect. You are awesome. Okay? So stop it.” I rolled my eyes, and shook him off. Hades didn’t know who to be mad at. Me for being so pessimistic, or Chet for hitting on me.
“Get your head checked, moron.”
“No no no, you two still have to dance” He replied, grabbing my arm and pulling me along with Chet. The demons and such seemed ashamed, and mom was bummed.
“Honey, I want to talk to my kitten” she said, holding His arm.
“Sure, after they waltz” He replied. Hades was still frozen, and Zion and Chet sighed. All the boys were looking over the table which they were hidden under, and did nothing to help me out.
“Look, will you tell me why you’re being so weird about me saying that you’re a nice sweet and intelligent girl?” Chet asked angrily as we were tossed in the middle of the little dancing circle.
“I lived in the gutter, you moron! I’m a freakin hobo!” I hissed. “I am not sweet, I’m a stubborn goat! I’m not pretty, I’m an ugly, dirty tomboy! And I’m not smart!”
“You built a hoverboard! You were a detective! You are rocking that dress, and you’re a caring human being” Chet replied, crossing his arms. Did he mean it? I flushed.
“Lair.”
“Drama queen.”
“Idiot.”
“Guys, we’re stuck in a dome” Zion said behind me. So they were in here too? I nodded, and fixed my dress.
“Did you guys dance yet?”
“No. We’re not going to. I mean, Cody doesn’t know how to dance, and neither do I.” I smiled, and saw Cody sitting down, kinda lovestruck, barely noticing me.
“Huh? What?” he asked, picking himself up. Zion flushed, ruffling his hair.
“Um, so, when they left to get you, uh… Well, we… I may have… We may have… Ah, what fun” I giggled.
“You two were kissing one another, weren’t you?” Chet asked. Cody grew bright pink.
“Well, it was kinda my fault” he admitted, grinning.
“We don’t care! Just dance!”
“I don’t want to” I replied. Chet sighed, and held my hand.
“Look, lets just get it over with, okay? The plan, remember?” I sighed, and nodded.
“Fine.” We waltzed, and that gave him what he wanted.
“Question, why are you so negative when I compliment you?” he asked. I rolled my eyes.
“Because I’ve only liked two guys, and both times they were jerks. Okay? They made me feel like crap. And it hurts.” He nodded, and tipped me
“Well, I’m not them.”
“Sure, you’re a snobby rich boy.” Stop making me like you! He stopped, and smiled.
“You like me. You’re trying to push me away, but you totally like me” he said, laughing.
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Anyway, aren’t we almost done?” I replied, glaring at him. He was so hot.
“Soon as you kiss me I’ll stop dancing.” Zion and Cody were smiling at us in the corner.
“I am NOT kissing you. I barely know you. I don’t even know your favorite color.”
“Emerald.” Just like me. I flushed.
“Song?”
“Don’t have one. You?”
“None.” Just. Like. Me. “Look, we won’t be a good match. Okay?” I scoffed, my heart racing. So cheesy.
“Look, if you don’t kiss me, I’m kissing you.” He twirled me out, and then pulled me back in. I really want to, but-
“No. This is wrong, and you know it. I can’t kiss you” I replied. He sighed.
“Alright. Fine.” I thought. The first guy would have tried to kiss me anyway, and Roxas would have thrown a fight.
“Okay, maybe a little one” I decided before the dance ended.
“Why did you decide to change your mind?” he asked, getting closer.
“Why do you care?”
“Because, I care” he replied, smiling.
“If you don’t want to kiss me-”
“I do!” Hades was about to open the door. “Its just… I’m not sure.”
“Hands off my daughter!”
“Fine.” I kissed him, and got it over with. And he didn’t seem to displeased at all. Hades blew a gasket though.
“WHAT DID I SAY?!!!” I smiled, and pushed out of Chet’s grip.
“You kiss by the book, Romeo.” He slumped forward, like Cody had, grinning.
“I- I kiss by- Did I- Wow.” I giggled a bit, then stopped myself. No, one kiss. That was all he got. No, no, no, no. Only one.
“Okay, thats it. No more lovey dovey crap.” He didn’t hear me. I left, and dragged him behind me so that Hades wouldn’t shred him.
“Aw, but I’m GREAT at that sort of thing” he finally countered.
“I don’t care, okay? Don’t do it. No. Besides, that was only to get you to shut up. Not happening again.” And to make it so I didn’t have to imagine the kiss and get over myself.
“We’ll see.” I kinda wanted to.

Ch twenty four

So, I went back to that group of boys that Zion and Robin and I bumped into, and talked to them for a LONG time. The negotiations went on for a longer time still. I didn’t know what to do. I said I’d do anything. They said I only got one night to rest, and the next day, I had to fight with a boy to the death. I didn’t like it, but if I had to… Sorry, this is like, the smallest chapter ever. Ow well.

Chap twenty five

So, all the women that came with the monsters were very interested in my being gay, not even the idea of two boys being in love itself. Just me.
“I just cannot believe you’re gay!” the one that came with the manticore exclaimed.
“Why ‘me’? There are plenty of gay people in the world” I replied. Zion bristled.
“Leave him alone. Honestly, get over it” he sighed, holding my hand. I felt really… I don’t know.
“But, thats HIS kid!”
“His? I’m the son of Frank Stein” I replied, stretching. Zion smiled.
“Do you think he’ll take our… Relationship, well if we… You know, survive?”
“I hope so.”
“Honey, he doesn’t!” the one that came with the minotaur replied.
“But we don’t know if they’re related” another replied.
“Oh come on, its obvious!”
“Lady, leave me be!” I replied, leaving for the table. They were making a plan to grab the portal I made, but were getting nowhere.
“Wait, Cody” Zion replied, grabbing my hand. I turned around, and smiled at him.
“Whats up?” I asked, smiling. He flushed again. Why was he so shy? Honestly?
“Um… We never got to… Dance, ya know?” he replied. I smiled. “So I- I kinda was- I just didn’t… You know, you are really annoying me with that smile. Its making me nervous.” I smiled even bigger.
“You were saying?” I thought he was going to burst.
“Stop making me flush!”
“But its just so fun” I teased, and he sighed.
“I just… Wanted to spend… A… A bit of alone time… With you and… Well, and get to know you more, ya know?” he stumbled. I smiled.
“Okay, ask me any question.” He nodded.
“Favorite food?”
“I like steak… Not all that surprising coming from an american.” He laughed “You?”
“I like that salad I had earlier. Thats my favorite” he replied, ruffling his hair. I nodded.
“Okay, favorite color?”
“Black.” I nodded again, and smiled.
“Okay, white.” He nodded.
“So we’re opposites?”
“Not persay.
“Okay, favorite sport?” he asked.
“I’m more of a computer geek” I said, wincing.
“Oh… Well, I like track and field” he said, grinning even wider. Robin jumped in.
“Why hello, love birds” he teased, laughing. Then he pushed us together, and then let go. “Oh, I see, touching moment. Okay, I can take a hint.” He laughed, bouncing off. He probably expected us to pull away, but we didn’t. Not immediately. We just kinda stared, debating. He finally broke it off, and turned around.
“That was… Okay, so, still a good kisser.” As if I’d suddenly suck after ten minutes? I grinned, and almost fell down.
“Ow.” Zion laughed, and Robin was rolling.
“Okay, I’m going to check on Hazel and Chet… I’m trying to come up with code names for them… Herm…”
“Well, what are our nicknames?” Zion asked, laughing as I got up and stood beside him.
“You? Your shadow- duh- and Cody is ghost.”
“Why ghost?” I asked.
“I don’t know! Probably because of the portal.” I nodded, laughing.
“Okay, okay, okay. And them?”
“I’m thinking Chet should be eye candy and Hazel should be hottie.” Bad timing.
“Call me that again, and I’ll break your nose” Chet threatened, Hazel giggling.
“And I am NOT hottie, okay?” Hazel replied.
“Drats… Okay” he sighed, laughing as he wrapped an arm around their necks. “Now, you two BF GF yet?”
“No!” Hazel shouted, just as pink as Zion was.
“I’m not sure. Think we’re getting there”Chet replied in a whisper. She laughed.
“Keep dreaming, lover boy.”
“I thought I was Romeo.” Robin snapped his fingers and laughed.
“Romeo and Juliet! Duh! How did I miss that?” he asked.
“We are NOT Romeo and Juliet. Its Romeo and no Juliet. No. No, no, no, no.” He smiled.
“So, if I were to kiss you?” he tested, and Hazel buried her face in her hands.
“Knock it off.” He nodded.
“Okay, if you don’t like me, its okay. Just tell me, but don’t lead me on” he replied, laughing.
“No, I do-” Hazel let it slip. Luna pounced, laughing.
“Lets go to your room, huh, kitten?” she asked.
“Uh, what about these four?” Hazel replied.
“Oh, I can show them to their room.” Zion bristled.
“Room? As in one?”
“Yes.” I nodded.
“Thank you. Better than that cell we were in earlier” Robin replied. Zin nodded, and Chet nodded.
“Thank you very much. And, Hazel?” She turned around, and looked him right in the eye.
“Yeah?” He held her hand, kissed it, and bowed.
“Night.” Luna walked her up, and barely halfway up, said,
“What a gentleman! He is a keeper.”
“Mom!” I laughed, and then, she told us to follow.”

We ended up in this huge room, and smiled. Chet immediately crashed on his bed, sighing. “She is SOOO the one” he said. I laughed, and Zion nodded.
“You two would make the perfect couple” he agreed. I nodded, and looked around. The demons were still there.
“I wonder if there is a library” I wondered aloud, and Zion nodded.
“We can ask Luna. Robin, Chet, you two stay here. Make noise so they don’t know where we are” Zion ordered.
“Okay” Robin said, smiling. Chet nodded, but was off in dream world about his crush.
“Okay, lets go.” We walked down the hall, and found Luna by accident. She was fuming.
“How dare he flirt with a nymph!” she steamed. I sighed.
“Um, ‘scuse me, but, is there a library around?” I asked.
“Yes. Why do you want to go?”
“I just want to do some research on some of the mons- guests” I explained. Zion nodded, and looked over her shoulder. He was wasted, and a nymph was getting all too comfortable with him.
“Okay, down here” she said, and we followed. I grabbed the books of mythical creatures, and Zion wrote things down.
“This is sick” he noted. I nodded, and realized something. We were alone.
“So… That kiss earlier…” I started. He flushed.
“You’re a good kisser.” I flushed.
“Okay… I guess…”
“So… More research?” Zion asked me. I sighed.
“Sure.” He leaned over my shoulder, and turned a page for me.
“Wow… A syrin” he mumbled. “Says here that they would sing when a ship of sailors were around and would drown their victims.” I sighed.
“Good thing we haven’t run into those things” I said, and he nodded.
“So… We found out what the other demons and monsters in that room could do… What do we do now?” I shrugged.
“I don’t know. Maybe… Actually, no. That would be a bit odd.” He sat on the table.
“What would be odd?” I was still not used to being gay, but getting more accustomed to it.
“Well, weren’t we kinda surrounded by people when we kissed earlier?” I replied, laughing. “Oh, who am I kidding. You should go for a better person. Artemis?” He was smarter than me, even if it was only by one IQ point.
 Did you really just write that? Did you admit I was smarter than you?!
Artemis! Stop ruining the book! Now, back to the story, WITHOUT interruption.
“I don’t want Artemis, I want you.… Did that sound creepy? I think that was a bit too creepy” Zion fretted. I laughed.
“See, this is the part in those cheesy movies where one of us kisses the other to shut the person up.”
“Why don’t we do that?” Zion asked, leaning in closer.
“Well, because it would just-” He did the cheesy movie thing, and I was partially relieved. I didn’t have to explain, because I was wrong.
This was so weird, and so unreal, and kinda awkward, even for me, but it was okay. He made it okay. But in a library?!
I was in turmoil, unsure of what to do. Do I tell him no? Do I kiss back? Do I just go with it? I didn’t know. He kept kissing me, and I made a noise, trying to tell him to stop. Didn’t work.
Part of me started to enjoy the kissing. I was still freaking out, but a good freak out. So the me telling him to stop came out as a somewhat pleasured groan? Oh well, part of me said, its okay.
No, its not! This is wrong of me! I shouldn’t be kissing in this place or situation! Now is not the time or place! the other part screamed.
Zion slowly reached for my shirt, and I grabbed his hands. This was another level. In the ring, we only kissed like, twice, and now? This was too much. I couldn’t do it. This was stressing me out. I was out of my element. We were going too fast for me. This was far too much… And yet, I still wanted to continue. No, not happening.
“Okay, no, thats- thats enough” I said, catching my breathe. “I think that we were going too fast.” He nodded, blushing.
“You’re right, sorry. I don’t know what I was doing… Sorry.” He was so weird.
“… If we went a bit slower… Maybe then it’d be less… Nerveracking” I sighed. He let on a sheepish smile that made my stomach lurch. In a good way, however.
“Slower?” Zion clarified. I got up, and slowly walked away, putting the books back.
“Well, like, its okay if you want to go fast, but I don’t, and I’m just not used to being gay- or straight- because I’ve never had any experience in making out or anything and it kinda fri-”
“Cody?”
“Huh?”
“Shut up.” He kissed me again, and this time, it was just… Well, it didn’t make me want to scream ‘WTF ARE YOU DOING?!!!’
Somehow we ended up sitting on the floor with the books strewn around us, and not giving a crap.
“Is th- right?” I asked through the little breaks.
“I- ink o” he replied. I nodded.
“K.”

We stopped when we heard the demons coming down here. Zion grabbed me, and we ran into the janitorial closet- why they had one had been a mystery, but we figured out later on there was a pixie that took care of the mansion. By that time, my shirt was halfway unbuttoned, and Zion was out of his jacket.
“Curses, what happened?! I had all these books nicely stacked!” He swore, hiccuping as he said it.
“Who cares?” replied the manticore. So drunk. “Weren’t we here to discuss your the humans?”
“Yes, we came to discuss the kids” Hades said. “As you know, my daughter is Hazel. I believe that she will become a magic.” I smiled, and Zion nodded.
“Crud” he whispered.
“What?” I asked.
“I chose the most cliche hiding spot.” I hid my snickers.
“And you? Caesar?” He laughed.
“My… The human which I know and once loved and cared for is making this all very hard for me.”
“Which one is it?” Either Zion or Roxas. Thats what I put my money on.
“Cody Stein, of course. How else could he host an intellect so high? You know, the gay one? God, he is just being too perfect!” I was frozen. My world just broke. The rest of the meeting was a blur. He was my relative? I had only my dad. That was it. I was the son of a monster? No… No, it was impossible. It just… It couldn’t be.
“Cody. Cody!” Zion whispered, shaking me. I roused from my daze, and felt tears coming on.
“Oh my God. I’m related to that monster” I gasped, covering my face. “Jesus Christ, I’m is son.” He knelt down, and brushed aside some of my hair, fixing up my glasses.
“Relax. He was lying, or mistaken. You are the son of a Stein, remember?” Zion replied, helping me up. I nodded. Zion sighed.
“So, that kinda ruined our night.” I hugged him tight, and laughed.
“I think it went well” I chuckled. “Before the meeting, that is.” He nodded, and looked at my almost unbuttoned shirt.
“Are you-” alright? Can we continue?
“If its-” okay with you to see how much to a toothpick I am.
“I’m-” ready when you are.
“Then should we-” start now? Again, he cut me off with a kiss.

We got back to the room, our shirts all the way unbuttoned, jackets over our arm, sometime around nighttime. Maybe one in the mourning? At least, thats what it seemed when we looked out the window. Earlier that day before Robin and Zion got there, Luna said it was just an illusion, but made the night sky three times as beautiful than in the real world. Chet and Robin both flashed a light on us when we walked in.
“I see somebody was busy” Robin terrorized. I smiled.
“You know, we can totally ruin your night” I replied. Zion wrapped an arm over my shoulders, and grinned.
“Besides, we can scar you and tell you all about it, if you want.” I didn’t agree with the telling him, but if it got Robin off me back…
“Please don’t!” Chet replied, laughing as he chucked a pillow at us.
“Are you sure?” Zion tormented.
“Oh, just tell us, for God’s sake!” Robin replied, laughing.
“Are you sure you’re not gay, too?” Chet asked, burying his face in his pillow. Then he got up, and walked out. “I’m going to see Hazel. Chow.”
“Okay, so, what happened? Robin asked, and I flushed.
“We made out, end of story, okay?” He nodded.
“I thought this would be bad news, but clearly not” he replied.
“Bad news?”
“Yeah, Luna put us in a room with only three beds, and God knows I’m sleeping with you guys!” he laughed. I flushed pink. Zion and I had to sleep in the same bed. He ruffled his hair, also a bit worried.
“I’ll sleep on the floor, if you want” Zion volunteered.
“No, no, I’ll sleep on the floor, okay?” I replied, grabbing a blanket for myself.
“Oh, for the love of God, just sleep in the bed!” Robin replied, laughing. Zion and I stared, debating.
“Do you-” mind if I sleep in the same vicinity as you?
“If its al-”right with you.
“I’m not sure, it makes-” me feel weird.
“But we-” already made out earlier.
“Yeah, but-” still.
“If you don’t want to I can-” sleep on the floor.
“I do!” I blurted, and then slammed my hands over my lips. Oh God, what had I done? He smiled, and sat down.
“If it really-” makes you uncomfortable, I could sleep on the floor.
“Then I’d-” feel bad.
“But you-” feel bad now.
“No I-” don’t, just nervous still.
“Are you-” sure?
“Yes! Look, lets just lay down and get some sleep, okay?” I finally said, getting onto the left side. He crawled in on the right, and rolled beside me. Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God… Is this what all the girls felt when they bumped into the hottest boy at school, and got a chance to make out with him twice in a row? I assumed it was.
“Sorry you’re so-” tense and uncomfortable.
“Leave it be, I’m-” fine, and you can clearly see I’m somewhat enjoying the… company.
“I’m still-” really sorry.
“Its fine, r-”eally.
“If you want I-” could leave.
“Don’t.” I couldn’t believe what I was doing. “Could you- uh, stick around? Still rattled from th-”e meeting and my finding out I’m the son of a killer.
He tried to think of a way to get comfortable and kinda comfort me. In the end, he ended up just wrapping an arm around me and hugging me. Oh God, oh God, oh God… Eventually, I drifted off, a bit more at ease, but only for ten minutes. Then HE came in.
“Get up!” He growled, jabbing me in the gut. I gasped, and Zion socked him in the face.
“Leave him alone!”
“Hey, kid, I’m going to ruin his day.” How so? “Hazel just went into a dream world because of Luna, and Roxas is now gone. Missing.” He was right, it did ruin my day.

Chapter twenty six

I was stuck in this dream, running in circles, reliving old memories. Where was Chet when you needed him? I sobbed my heart out before I realized what happened. The night before, when Chet came to see me, I was being kidnapped, and was going to be put in this simulator by Him. He’d try and figure out all my weaknesses by making me relive every moment where there could be one found. I bumped into Chet.
“Hazel! Are you okay?” he asked, his shirt torn. I nodded, and hugged him.
“You gave me a heart attack!”
“Dido! Oh, man, are you going to be okay?” he asked.
“Now I will, Romeo.” What was I doing?! He smiled at me, and we sat down.
“So, these are…” Oh, he wanted for me to explain.
“My memories. He is trying to figure out what can hurt me, with consent of my stupid father. I hope he burns” I grumbled, crossing my arms. He sighed.
“I’m sorry to hear that, Hazel. I didn’t know.” I nodded, and smiled.
“Well, you couldn’t have known.” He still didn’t like it. “Any way, this is a really hard situation. However, this is a room- I think- meaning there is a way out… Right?” He nodded.
“I get it, you’re running around to try and find a hole. A gap.” I nodded, smiling.
“Yeah. Maybe not a physical one. It could be a really well hidden door, or a gap in the memoires itself” I said, trying to explain my train of thought. “Stupid, but possible.” He smiled.
“And you thought you were stupid” he teased, laughing at me. I rolled my eyes.
“Why do you like me so much?” I asked, sincere. He looked at me like I was a moron.
“Well, why do you like me?”
“Because you’re sweet, and smart, and… Hot” I answered, and he pointed at me.
“Thats what I think about you. Okay? I think you are the hottest girl I have ever met. The nicest girl alive. The smartest girl in all of history.” I begged to differ, but still became flattered.
“But I’m a nobody. I mean, you could have any other girl in the world.”
“But I don’t want them, Hazel. I want you, if you like me the way I like you, that is.” I thought.
“How do I know you aren’t using me? Or toying with me?”
“Because thats not who I am. If I were that guy, I would have tried to… Erm… Seduce you, lets say, when we first met. I’m not forcing myself on you, I’m not acting different around you than I am around other people. I just plain old like you. Plain and simple.” I smild, and nodded.
“Well, if you want me, you’ll have to try to make me believe those words you’re saying” I replied, laying back. He nodded.
“Okay, if that is what it takes to get you to believe me. But you like me, right?” I nodded.
“Yeah, I like you. I’ve liked you. But that doesn’t mean I’m just going to give you my heart right away.”
“Kinda already stole it” he pointed out.
“Smart aleck.”

Ch twenty seven

I was so tired, but was tossed into the ring with a man two times taller and stronger than me. He had a sword, and I had a big monkey wrench. He looked familiar. “Thank you for returning Artemis to his home” he said before he tried to stab me. So THATS how I knew him.
“Vez?” I asked, jumping away and hitting the back of his head.
“Yes, its me.” A slash aimed for my heart. I jumped onto the flat side of the blade, and sat there.
“Really? You’re fighting me? You know what I can do.” He flicked it up, and sliced part of my leg open. “Ow!”
“I do know, but I also know how to block those attacks.” I grinned. Did he know that before I came Artemis gave me some explosives? No… Thats when it all got serious…

Chap twenty eight

I was lead to a room, and saw Hazel through a glass window laying by Chet. They were both out of it, but something seemed wrong. I saw a small glitch. This was a hologram. “Where are they really?” I asked, glaring at Him. He laughed.
“Ah, kid, should have known I wouldn’t get anything past you” he said, laughing. “BUT, they aren’t what you should be worried about.” Luna walked in, her arm bleeding, crying. He jumped.
“What happened, darling?” he asked.
“It just tore open” Luna sobbed, and then another gash formed on her shoulder. He thought, and freaked.
“Roxas is in that fight… He has the necklace” He said, piecing it all together. The manticore was still there, and walked in behind me. Did I know it? No. Zion did though.
“Cody!” The tail wrapped around me, and threw me back into the wall of concrete. It really hurt, which I shouldn’t even need to tell you, but I am going to tell you anyway. Rocks stabbed my back and shoulders. He scolded the onster, who then proceeded to pick up Cody.
“Hades is angry with you. I follow him before I listen to you” it replied, a second tail forming. “I am to take these two to him.” It wrapped aroun my arms and squeezed.
“Leave Cody alone!” A large, black cat with beady eyes formed right in front of us, and snarled.
“Ah, how very odd of you to select a feline” it said, and then growled. The cat held strong, and actually slashed at the monster, slicing its face. Three large stripes formed on the nose and forehead of it.
“Let him go!” He agreed, blocking the monster from the cat.
“No Hades wants these two” he replied, and Zion gasped. I found out why a second later. I felt my ribs cracking. “And I will deliver. Now, human, if that cat doesn’t disappear, I am EATING young master Stein” it continued, slowly bringing its tail towards the front.
“You-” began Him.
“Wouldn’t” finished Zion. The monster drooled, and opened wide. “Okay!” he croaked, the cat disappearing. I would have sighed in relief, but there was nothing good to be relieved about. I kicked it in the face.
“Go to hell” I wheezed, doing this two more times before it tossed me back beside Zion.
“We are already here” it replied, walking on. He just stood there, tending to Luna as we were dragged off towards the dining room from last night. We were tossed into chairs, and restrained. Robin was there was well, smiling with a hole in his teeth.
“Heyo” he greeted, still bleeding. Hades sat, his fingers netter, and watched me.
“Hazel is in a living hell worse than this, and reliving all her worst days. Did you know this?” he asked us.
“No! Hazel is our friend, and we’d never let that happen!” Zion growled, yanking his feet up. Then our hands became glued to the arm rests.
“Are you certain? If I found out you did, I’ll rip you two apart. Starting with young Cody boy here.” Hades got up, walked over, and traced a finger under my chin to get a rise out of Zion. “Though, it’d be a waste to ruin such a handsome face.”
“Hades, I’mma beat the snot out of you when I get out of this chair” Zion warned. “Don’t ever touch him again.”
“Zion, he is only pretending. He has-” no sexual interest in me.
“But-” still! He shouldn’t be such a creeper about this!
“Agreed, but-” nothing we can do about it.
“Like hell there isn’t!” he growled, finishing the whole thing.
“Answering unfinished sentences? Oh, what a bond” Hades mocked. “Now, did you have ANYTHING to do with this?”
“No! I’d ask your little freaks, if I were you” Robin replied. They all winced. All but the nymph and manticore. Hades was miffed.
“You? You, of all my followers? Why?”
“Yesterday you were ranting on about how stupid your daughter was, complaining about how you wished she had never been born.” He pinched the bridge of his nose.
“Don’t you know thats what happens when people get drunk?” he snapped. “I want my daughter back! Where is she?!”
“We gave her to Luna! As per your request!”
“What did she do to our daughter!”
“She tried to get your daughter to forget all the pain she felt when you raised her, but put her into a coma! They’re in her room” the minotaur said cowering under the god. I was released, and Zion immediately roundhouse kicked Hades’ face, and then punched him so hard that the god went flying into the kitchen’s double doors.
“Told you I’d beat the snot out of you” he said. He helped pull me up and shake me out of my shock, and hugged me.
“You alright?”
“He just creeped me out, its okay.”
“I’m going to make him pay if he ever does that again.” I smiled.
“Glad to know nobody else will get to see me shirtless without your say so” I chuckled, and then we went flying out the window.
“Crap!” A large trampoline formed, and helped cushion our fall from the second story of the mansion. I bounced three feet with Zion, who was looking me over.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes! I’m not glass, you know! I’m a strong guy, I can handle flying out a window!” I laughed, though, it did hurt.
“Okay, mister macho. Just checking.” I smiled, and then Hades ruined it.
“If you ever hit me again, I’ll break your face.”
“I’ll break your bones, and something more sensitive” Zion replied, crossing his arms. I sat still, thinking. If I was His son, shouldn’t I have a power? Oh, right, my power was my brain, which I couldn’t use anymore. In this place, I needed to fight. Good thing I trained with Robin. I judo flipped Hades, and then kicked him so hard that he hit the wall. Ah, so I had super strength.
“Don’t threaten him ever again” I replied. “Then we won’t have an issue.” He spat black blood, and glared.
“I am going to my daughters beside. You three, however, will be going through a lot. Too much to think about her” he said. The demons smiled out the window, and Hades continued.
“We’re going to put you in a game with minor demons. Demons with no minds or hearts, and no mercy. Four days. Thats all you have. If you survive longer, we will pull you out of there, and bring you back.” I thought about the demons’ answer. They brought Hazel to Luna?
“Hold it, really quick, why would they bring Hazel to Luna, when all Luna would have had to do was walk in there?” I asked. Zion was RIGHT there, the question verging on the tip of his tongue.
“Thats what I was going to ask.”
“Great minds think alike.” Hades leaned in close to my face, and glared.
“Don’t you think I want to know that myself? But I will be the one finding it out. You three will be running around, like I said.”
“Well, where? Will we have gear? Weapons? Food?” Zion replied, Robin getting chucked out the window.
“BISCUITS!” he screamed. An odd thing to say, but we all got our cravings, I guess. Oh, wait, it was a substitution for a far harsher word. When he fell down, there was a ripping noise, and the trampoline collapsed. “Ow.” I was sore, but not as bad as Robin.
“Want help?” I asked, smiling.
“Please” he groaned. I pulled him up, and looked at Zion. He was being talked to by Hades, and he didn’t like anything he heard.
“Get out of my face, you worm!” he finally shouted, pushing Hades away. So hard that his hand broke off, and became just bones. “Wah?!” Hades grabbed the hand, and reattached it.
“Shut it” he said simply, and then a big crater opened up below us. I grabbed Robin’s arm, since he was first to fall, barely gripping the ledge, and watched as across the way Zion struggled to get up.
“You okay?” I asked, though, I didn’t expect him to hear. I barely heard it. Robin started mumbling words, and Hades jumped over to our side.
“No spells, magic” he wared, crushing my fingers. I winced as he dug the heel into my knuckles. I loosened my grip, and that was all it took for me to fall, and for the abyss to become alive, flames clawing at the suit I still wore. I was so freaked out that I started to wonder if maybe I should try and make a parachute out of Robin’s excessively baggy shirt. Yeah, that desperate.
“CODY!!!” It was all a blur once again.

“Cody? Cody? Cody? Zion? Zion? Zion?” Robin asked, shaking me with one hand over my chest. I let out a moan to let him know that I was alive, but didn’t move for a sec. He pestered me further, which is the main reason I opened an eye. Turns out I had been impaled by a stick… Through the arm. Zion wasn’t hurt like that, but he was pale. Too pale.
“W- Here ‘re we?” I asked groggily, rubbing my head.
“No clue. Zion? Zion? Zion? Zion?” he asked. I saw a shallow movement of his chest, and then no movement at all. Sonofagun. See, you’ll see what happened in a sec, but it rather annoys me. Robin looked over at me with pleading eyes.
“Like you need to beg! Move” I replied, pushing him aside. There was a pulse, so that was good. I’d simply apply pressure. “C’mon, wake up, moron.” I kept pressing down hard on his chest, but still he didn’t breathe. There was still a pulse. Crap. I decided since we already made out i was okay, so I continued procedure to MTM. My mistake. Zion huckled a bit. I- being offended, kinda flustered, and really into the trick- slapped him, not sure if he had broken ribs or any other bones, and trying not to damage him too much.
“Gotta admit, pretty good” Robin said, laughing as he literally rolled in the dirt.
“You were in on this too?!”
“Dur. As if I’d die on you” Zion replied, brushing himself off. I looked around. All the trees were dead and shriveled, and there was no sun, but it also wasn’t night time. A dawn, maybe? Or sunset? They’re both the same thing.
“Seriously, where are we?” I asked, flicking at the stick which had stabbed me. Bad idea. I winced, and stopped moving that arm entirely, just getting on my feet. Who needed arms? I had legs. Zion saw the stick, and tore it out. I let out a muffled scream, and stood still, trying to move my now numb arm.
“No clue. Bad part of hell?” Robin asked.
“As if there is a good part?” Zion retorted.
“Well, we did live in a mansion” Robin pointed out.
“True” I said, slowly raising my arm. “Man that hurts!”
“And you said you could handle falling out a window” Zion teased, smiling at me. I felt light headed.
“I think I have a concussion” I admitted, rubbing the back of my head with my good arm. Robin sighed.
“You have all sorts of issues, don’t you?” Robin replied. I nodded, and sat down again, slumping on a tree. Can you say ‘exhausted’. Zion squatted down, making me think of when we first met and I actually got to say what I wanted to. I like this trio. He looked me over, and turned to Robin.
“He doesn’t look too good. Cody, you okay?”
“Just a bit dizzy. Let me just sit here for a sec, okay?” I replied, closing my eyes and propping my head against dead bark. Zion patted me.
“Look, we probably shouldn’t stick around here too long” Robin said.
“Agreed” Zion commented. I sighed, and opened my eyes again.
“I just wanted a small break. Too much to ask for?” Of course, they weren’t looking at me, they were looking up at something, and something was looking down on us. A giant, bloody ghoul, sewn together. “Ew!” It grabbed me by the shirt, and breathed on me.
“I am sorry, my prince, my master bids me.” I wheezed, grabbing its hand and trying to make it let go.
“‘M sorry too. Sorry I have to smell your bad breath.” Zion made gloves, and yanked me away harshly.
“Mine.” The ghoul didn’t like that, and screamed angrily. Zion glared at it, and pointed a finger at it. “No.” It stopped, confused.
“Zion, what are you doing?” Robin asked.
“I’m scolding it.”
“Why?” I replied.
“Because I can, now shut up.” I snickered, but didn’t like this. Why would it listen unless- A black ball was forming behind its back, and growing sharp. I pulled Zion out of the way, and kicked the ghoul in the face, the tree crashing to the ground.
“Come on, before it wakes up” I ordered, grabbing the two by the arms.
“How did you do that?”
“I’m His kid, remember?” I answered.
“What?!” Robin exclaimed.
“Long story, look, I only just figured it out” I said, smiling back at him. The ghoul was running on all fours behind us. Where could we go? There was a hill. Okay, that would have helped, assuming we-
“Jump!” Zion shouted, leaping up. Robin and I jumped just in time, because he made a large surf board with wheels, and we all went skidding.
“Crap!” I exclaimed, gripping his arm.
“Are you crazy?!” Robin asked. “Who am I kidding, of course you are.” Zion nodded, and I looked back. The ghoul was gone. He was missing. Where was it? Oh no.
“Zion? Where is it?” I asked, though, I already knew. It was under the board.
“My prince!” It growled, blood dripping down it face. Zion didn’t like that. And he especially didn’t like it when I was yanked off the side.
“Hands off my boyfriend!” Should I be flustered? Embarassed? Angry? Happy? What on earth! Stupid teenage hormones. Why did he have to say I was his boyfriend to a ghoul?
“Zion!”
“What?” he asked as the ghoul looked down on me in confusion.
“Boyfriend? What?” it asked, blood trickling onto my shirt. Ew.
“Let go!” I shouted, grabbing the board and kicking my legs out. It was yanked off the board, and flailing. I didn’t know what to do. We were going to hit a fallen tree. I let go, and rolled down the rest of the way with the monster.
“Cody!” I was done. No more needing to be saved. I wasn’t going to lose to this thing. I grabbed its neck, and started to throttle it. It screamed and thrashed, but my grip didn’t loosen. Then black stuff came out of its mouth, and burned my eyes. It felt like acid.
“Crud!” I let go, trying to get it out of my eyes, when I stopped rolling. My glasses… My eyes… “Can’t see” I said aloud, crawling around. It wasn’t because of my glasses, but if I got the gunk out of my eyes, I’d need the thing so I could see better than without them.
“You’re mine now” the ghoul said, jumping on me. Why couldn’t I see. The monster was ontop of me, and I could feel its arm brush against my shoulder.
“Get off of him!” Zion hissed, a loud noise. Like steel sliding out of or over something.
“Wow! How’d you do that?!” Robin asked as the ghoul jumped off. Crap. I needed saving. Again. I didn’t want to be saved. Crud. I sat up, and felt around. Where were they? Ow… My eyes… I felt like I was bleeding. My shoulder burned. Didn’t Zion and I read something about this? Oh, right.
Ghouls people believe shadows are the shadow of human death, and this has been believed in for many centuries. Most believe they are like pale goblins, but this is false. They are puppets that have been sewn together with animal skins, and reek of death. They spew poison, and their touch can cause serious burns. If it spews the poison on the victim, the victim could grow ill with fever, and in some cases, die. However, not many escape alive from a ghoul.
Okay, so it was good I didn’t die, but it meant that I couldn’t see, I had a burn on my shoulder, and I was probably going to get sick again. Wonderful. The ghoul screamed one last time, and then more gunk sprayed on me, burning my hands and arms. I winced, and clawed at my eyes. I had to get this thing off. Zion or Robin or whoever the hell it was walked over, and held something cold on it.
“Tch!” There was a crackle, and then it broke off. I still couldn’t see, but fine. At least it was off.
“Are you alright?” Ah, so it was Zion.
“I can’t see, and I’ve got a couple burns, but otherwise, I’m great” I said, groping to my feet.
“Cody, how about you sit down?” Robin asked. So NOW I can have a seat.
“We can’t, remember? We have four days. And if we stay here, we’re going to die in barely one of those four” I replied, shrugging. I bumped into someone.
“Then let me carry you, okay?” Ah, Zion.
“I don’t need to be carried, I’ll be ju-”st fine. As if. I tripped over the log which I mentioned earlier, and rolled a bit farther. “Ow.” Zion laughed, and one of the two helped me back up.
“Don’t be so stubborn” So, it was Robin. I would have rolled my eyes, but I couldn’t.
“I’m fine! Really!” I protested. Zion grabbed my shirt, and smoothed it out.
“Oh? I don’t think you are. Look, just let me carry you.” I thought, and kept walking around. I found a tree, and yanked off a long branch. I smiled.
“Nope. I’m good.” I walked around, and didn’t trip at wall. If only I knew that Zion basically made a treadmill for me Of course, figured that out later when I tripped over my shoelace, and went flying backwards.
“Cody!” Robin exclaimed. I would have glared, but again, I couldn’t.
“You are SO mean! I mean, usually I don’t say that sort of thing, but really?” I sighed, crossing my arms and thinking. For a sec, everything was really quiet and cold.
“Look, we didn’t want for you to get hurt” Zion replied, helping me up. Something was wrong. He was really cold. In the background, I heard a muffled noise.
“What was that?” I asked.
Nobody, hon” he said. Hon? I shuddered.
“You feeling okay?” I asked, taking a step back. Robin pushed me back towards him. Another muffled noise.
“Of course. I’m with you, aren’t I?” he replied. A third cry. I turned my head towards the noise, and moved towards it.
“What is that?” I asked. Not the smartest thing for me to do, but still. I tripped over something, and clattered into some stick… Sticks with nubs at both ends, and rocks with holes and teeth. I jumped back, and covered my lips before I could scream.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God.” Zion wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
“You okay, hon?” This wasn’t Zion.
“Let go of me, and tell me where my friends are!” I shouted, shoving him off.
“We’re right here” Robin said, behind me again. I was surrounded.
“Bull.”
“But, hon, its true.” I slammed my fist into a solid wall, and felt it splinter. Ow.
“Call me that ONE more time, and thats what is going to happen to your face.” Again, a muffle, and then, a real shout.
“Cody! Cody, run!” Robin. A muffle in agreement.
“I’m not leaving without you guys” I protested, when he hand grabbed my face, turned me around, and just kissed me. People and kissing me. Jeez. I didn’t like it, so I kneed whatever it was in the gut.
“Pervert!” I hissed, grabbing some bones and throwing them all towards the freak who kissed me. There were screams, and then silence.
“They’re all gone, Cody” Zion’s voice said.
“How do I know thats you, huh?” I replied, turning around, looking for the voice. I hit a warm face. “Oh, thats how.” I felt sticky string weave around my fingers, and tore them off. Odd. “Are you two okay?”
“Yeah” Robin said in reply, flailing his arms. Thank goodness I could still hear.
“Why didn’t they wrap me up in this gunk?” I asked.
“He sent them” Zion said, hugging me. “What were you thinking? Why didn’t you run?” he asked, and I thought back.
“Funny, after dinner, I asked you the SAME thing” I shot back, and he squeezed tighter.
“You gave me a heart attack!” he said, and I laughed.
“Okay, okay, you can let go now” I replied, Robin trying to pry us apart.
“Guys, we should try and find some food and water” he said. I thought.
“But this whole place is… Well, its toxic. We don’t know what is going to happen if we eat any of the meat here” I replied, scratching my chin. They shuffled, and Zion made thank shinking noise again.
“What is that?” I asked. “It just keeps coming up!” Cold metal was over my eyes again. “Tch!” It burned like ice.
“Look, calm down, okay? Cody? Cody, could you look at me?” Robin said. I grinned.
“Well, there is one benefit to being blind” I mumbled to myself. “You can’t hypnotize a blind person.”
“Can you just face my way?” he replied. I turned towards him, and amused him a bit more. I wish I hadn’t. “Tūṅkum āṉmā” He slammed his palm into my chest, and while it stung a bit, I was still awake… Only, I could see again.
“Hey, how’d you do that?” asked, waving my hand in front of my face. I was going to move my legs, but didn’t have one. “What?!”
“You hear me?” Robin asked. I nodded. He pointed down at me lying on the floor, and rolled me on my back. My eyes were wide open, but gray.
“Is that really me?” I asked.
“Yeah. No, when I put you back in here, we’re carrying you, okay? You’re going to get some sleep, and we’ll hunt around for food.”
“I can help!”
“But you can’t. Not in this condition. We don’t know how to treat it…” I thought.
“I do. We need to get holy water” I replied. He flung his arms out.
“We don’t have holy water in hell!” he shouted. I nodded.
“Okay, but how do we get holy water? Huh, genius?” He thought, and I facepalmed. “Its just normal water thats been blessed! And I know what to do to bless it!” I explained, giving him the answer.
“But we don’t have water.”
“YET. We don’t have water YET” I shot back, crossing my ghostly arms. He rolled his eyes.
“Cody, you aren’t helping. God, you’re almost as bad as Roxas!” he exclaimed, hitting my head. I couldn’t see again.
“Drats.” And I was tired, to top it off. “This sucks.” Zion laughed, and I felt him grabbing my legs and pulling me onto his back. “How demeaning” I continued.
“Get over it, Drama Queen” Robin replied, and I imagined him grinning.
“If you let me help, we could get things faster” I replied. “You saw what I did to those things, didn’t you?” Zion’s head nodded.
“We also saw you fall down two hills, get burned, and go blind. Next?” he replied.
“I. Can. Help. Stop saving me!” I growled back.
“Look, Cody, its okay if you need help, alright?”
“But you guys keep saving me, and it makes me feel weak. Honestly, you’d think I were a girl!” Zion dropped me, and grabbed my shirt collar.
“Okay, I can insult you, but you don’t get to be rude to yourself” he said. “Okay? Robin is an idiot, so he gets away with the teasing.”
“Hey!”
“I’m in love with you, and so I get to terrorize you, too” he continued. I blushd. “But you, of all the genius’ in the world? You don’t get to insult yourself. You just saved us. So get over it, okay? You aren’t weak, and you don’t act like a girl most of the time.” The last part caught me.
“Most of the time?” I asked myself. There was a shuffle.
“How about we set up camp here.”
“Hey, what’d you mean, MOST of the time?” I asked, grabbing his pant leg through the darkness. He laughed.
“When you complain you’re acting like a little girl” he answered, and I became miffed.
“I do not” I grumbled, letting go.
“ANYWAY, Robin, you watch him first, alright?” he replied.
“Hey! Seriously, let me help!” I protested, and then Robin sat on me.
“Calm down, Cody. You can’t help us when you can’t see. Besides, you should get some rest” Robin sighed, all the air being crushed out of my lungs.
“H-Hat- Hate you” I gasped, clawing at the dirt. “S-So-Fat!”
“Hey! I’m actually underweight, mind you!” he said, jumping up a bit. Zion laughed, and I heard him walk off.
“Wait! We don’t know what else is in the woods! What if you don’t come back?” I said, begging he wasn’t already out of hearing range. There was silence. “Zion?” A sigh, and a shuffle.
“Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?”
“Buddy system?” I replied.
“There are only three of u.
“Okay, then lets wait a day until we look around. At least get rest. Alright?” I said, desperate. If Zion went missing in the woods, I’d lose it. Robin got off, and somebody picked me up.
“Man, you’re really something” he said, and then came the jab. Something slid under the skin of my arm. What was that? I flinched, and smacked it away. A small needle, but with nothing on it. It disappeared.
“Did you just prick me?” I asked, rubbing my arm, wondering if he caught the hidden insult. He laughed.
“Yeah, I did. That was a warning. It could be worse in either case. If we wait, that ghoul could come back. If we go, then you might get hurt.” I smiled, and nodded.
“And if we split up, all of us are screwed” I replied, and took a step forward. Me and tripping! I face planted, and Zion and Robin helped me back up. I blushed.
“I can still help” I grumbled.
“We never said you couldn’t, clutz” Robin snickered, and I smacked him upside the head.
“You’re funny” I sneered as they helped me walk straight and avoid any possible rocks or sticks.
“So, when do you think we should camp?” Robin asked Zion.
“Huh. I don’t know” Zion replied, and he set me down. “Maybe here?” I ated being blind. My shoulder started hurting, so I rubbed it.
“You are going to ditch, aren’t you?” I asked. Then there was this strong gust of wind, and a finger under my chin. “Freakin Hades” I grumbled.
“Why don’t I make you an offer? Oh, and its been two days, Cody. Congrats!” We’ve been walking two days straight with no sleep?

Chapter twenty eight

Chet and I found one gap, but it was a memory inside a memory I never had. We were in this pure white castle. No color. Our clothes were shredded from the memories and the demons that hid inside. Chet was carrying me because I twisted my ankle.
“This is madness” I said, flushing. He nodded, smiling.
“You have a lot of sad memories” he noted, setting me down and closing the door.
“I’m just me” I replied, flexing my ankle and twisting it. “Ow.” He turned around, sat, and lifted my foot onto his lap.
“Well, lets see what we have here” he said, making a mustache. I giggled.
“You know, you’re funny.” He nodded, grinning broadly.
“I think so. Okay, so, does this hurt?” he asked, tilting it up. I nearly burst.
“Yes” I answered after a bit. He kept turning it, and each time, I told him it hurt. He nodded.
“Okay, well we probably shouldn’t walk on it” he noted.
“Agreed” I replied, and he got up, looking around.
“So, where are we now?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never been here before” I answered. He shook his head.
“No, it looks like His mansion” he replied. “Only, not red and black. Just plain old white.” I nodded. He was right.
“Well, there should be a door here, somewhere” I said, army crawling to a chair. “Like, maybe our rooms?” He nodded.
“You stay here, and I’ll try and find it” he replied, running up the stairs. So, I sat for the longest time, and sighed after a while.
“What a dreamboat” I mumbled to myself, leaning back and stretching. I was bored. Chet ran down, and grabbed me.
“Hazel, come over here” he said, going down the hall. We were in the library. Color burst, and I saw Zion and Coy kissing and unbuttoning one anothers shirt.
“No comment. And in a library” I mumbled, smiling. “But good for Cody.” Chet sighed. He really wanted for us to do that.
“Lucky.”
“If we get out of here, I’ll let you go and take me to dinner” I replied. He knew what that meant.
“You mean, us? Alone?”
“If you’re going to kiss, do it in a good place” I replied. “Of course, not any time soon. I mean, once He is dead, we can go out. But, only then, and only if I still trust you” I replied. I wasn’t used to being wanted. Not in any way. He nodded.
“Can you kiss me once right now?” he replied, ruffling his hair. I smiled, and pecked him on the cheek.
“Least I can do since you saved my life” I replied, and sat on a table. Then Cody and Zion turned towards us. I knew they didn’t see or hear us, but it still freaked me out. They ran to a closet, and then the monsters walked in. And the one sentence in the whole conversation where He said Cody was His son made me freak out. We bolted, and wheezed.
“That is horrible. Poor Cody” Chet said, and I nodded in agreement.
“Must be horrified by the news” I continued.
“We should find the way out of here” he said, and I nodded. We walked upstairs, and then say Cody get slammed into the wall. I ran past the manticore, when everything froze.
“I see you, girl” the manticore said. The nightmares. I ran even though I was hurt, Chet dragging me behind him. He opened the first door he found, and locked it. “Come out and play, little mice.”
“No thanks” I whispered, looking around. In here was the room where Luna put Chet and I. She was crying. He arms were being moved without her consent. She was pleading. I realized what we had to do.
“Chet, those are OUR bodies!” I exclaimed, tossing him on the bed.
“And?” he asked, looming over the other him. I sat my legs in my body, and waited for him to go the same. He sighed, and got comfortable.
“Are you getting comfortable, children?” the manticore asked, its claws reaching under the door. We lay back, and woke up.
“Holy crap that was close!” I exclaimed, Chet’s arms flying to his chest. The manticore sat with Hades at the foot of the bed.
“Oh, Hazel, thank goodness you’re okay” he said, reaching forward to hug me. I stopped him with my palm, pushing his face out of the way.
“No.” Chet hugged me, and laughed.
“We made it… Ohhh, that was SOO freakin weird! Are you okay? Does your ankle hurt? Let me see it” he said, clearly frightened and worried about me. I kinda like this him. Hades said he had to talk to Cody, and left. Left me all alone with a manticore and a teenage boy who was really angry about the monsters grabbing us and putting us in a coma. Great going, dad. Why not feed me to sharks while you’re at it?

Chapter twenty nine.

“And, TIMBER!” I shouted. Finally. Fighting three days straight, and I finally got stupid Vezeto to fall down. He was vulnerable. If I wanted to kill him, I could have. Instead, I kicked him in the face, and turned towards the boys.
“Will you make me your leader now?!” I shouted to the massive crowd. Nobody moved.
“He did it” they whispered. I was impatient.
“Well?! Didn’t I win?!” They all roared, clapping, rushing towards me, lifting me up, and carrying Vez to his tent. I was put on this big sofa, and given food and water.
“Wow, we never thought you’d be able to do that!” one of the boys said. I nodded, stuffing my face. Neither did I.
“And for three days nonetheless!” another exclaimed. You know, the usual. I ate all the food they gave me, and then got down to business.
“So, you boys follow me now, right?” I clarified. Every ead in the crowd nodded.
“Yep.”
“Uh huh.”
“Absolutely.”
“Good. I want to kick His but. Caesars” I said. They froze. “Look, it seems crazy, but with numbers and strength we can do it” I said. “And plus, you’ve seen my powers.” They nodded.
“We should get the other guild, though. The thief guild” one kid shouted. I nodded.
“Okay, where do I find the thief guild?” I replied. They all pointed out the door.
“Down in Ireland” they all said in unison. Wonderful. Now to deal with the leprechauns.
“How do I know you won’t stab me in the back while I’m gone?” I replied, relaxing a bit more. They all bowed.
“You didn’t kill Vezeto. He can watch us in your stead” they replied.
“And? Is Artemis here?” I asked. They all wrinkled their noses.
“Who is he?”
“Nobody” I replied, smiling. “Okay, I’ll be off soon. Just one question.” They odded.
“How do I get there?” Oh, wait. “Nevermind, just let me check something.” I got out my phone, and pressed CAP.
“Hmph. Sir” Cap greeted.
“Look, sorry I haven’t checked in. I was wondering if you could let me see what He sees” I said, laughing.
“The transplant didn’t work” Cap said. I sighed.
“Wonderful… Okay, Cap, thanks.” I was about to hand up, when Cap started throwing a fit.
“You make me worry for days on end, end call me for ten seconds just to get some info?! I don’t at all appreciate that, Roxas!”
“Look, Cap, you’re a computer! I’m a person!”
“I care, okay?”
“Cap, calm down, okay? I’m fine, you know I’m fine, and with all the cameras in the city you know I’m fine” I said, grinning. He continued to throw a fit. “Look, Cap, I have to go and save my friends. I’ll call again later, okay? See ya.” All the kids looked at me like I was crazy.
“W-”
“Computer program, long story, gotta go.” I shadow traveled to Ireland. Want to know what I was in? A pub.

Chap thirty

“Now, I’m offering you a deal. Hazel and Chet woke up. If you admit you had something to do with it, I’ll lessen your time here.” I laughed.
“Stupid, guess what! We didn’t have anything to do with it! Ask your daughter!” I replied, Zion holding my arms back.
“Cody, he isn’t alone.”
“Oh yeah? And who is he with? Nobody else is talking but this moron” I growled, and then came the next voice.
“And this is His son? The smart one?” Stupid demon. If only I could see.
“Yes. Now, boys, admit it, and I’ll let you leave early.” Zion, Robin, and I said nothing. “Well? Speak!” Oh, I spoke. I spoke some very rude words which are not fit for repeating.
“Cody!” Robin hissed, smacking me upside the head.
“What? Its true” I replied, spitting in Hades’ direction. “I mean, he is putting us through all this trouble, and for nothing! We didn’t have anything to do with Hazel’s getting hurt!” I said, shaking the two off. “And you know that your little freaky friends helped with what happened to her!” He grabbed my head, and lifted up.
“Yes, I do, and I punished them. I cut off their pinky. Would you like my to do that to you?”
“You already made me go blind!” I replied, twisting his finger. He dropped me, and hit me.
“If you hit him one more time, you’ll be sorry” Zion warned. Hades couldn’t take a hint.
“You are a stupid little half breed! I despise you!” he kicked me in the ribs harshly. “I hate all half breeds! From now on! Forever!” Zion punched him- I think- and I smiled.
“Hey, moron, HAZEL is a half breed.” That really pissed him off.
“You get one day. Not four, three. If you want a cure for your eyes, you’re going to have to fight my friend here” he said, mostly at Zion and Robin. “However, if you don’t get it, you’re going to be in massive pain. And I am not going to help you. I’m just going to wait until it passes.” I glared. “You have twenty minutes to run out a bit farther, defeat my buddy, and run back. Zion, this is for you to help with other issues.” I didn’t like how that sounded.
“What is it?” I asked, glaring in Hades’ direction. “If you gave him something that is going to hurt him, I’ll-”
“Cody.” Zion shuffled towards me. What was happening? He sighed, and held my right hand.
“Huh?”
“Shut up.” I knew he was going to kiss me again, but now wasn’t the time or place. I clamped my jaw closed, and pushed away. Either Hades, Robin, or the minotaur squeezed the back of my neck. I assumed it was Robin, and it was.
“Sorry.” There was something in my throat. Crap. I wasn’t going to swallow. I refused to- Zion slammed my mouth closed, and pinched my nose. Backstabber! Lair! Traitor! You’re giving him what he wants! What the hell! I could have helped!

So, guess where I woke up? Drowning/ not breathing. I was drowning in something. I didn’t know what. It was like water, but there weren’t any air bubbles. I realized it was just because I was holding my breathe. I let it out, and gasped. I could see again… Where was Zion? Or Robin? I looked myself over. I was in pajamas? Where was I? The rom slowly pieced itself together. I was in bed, and alone in the boys room. My head was swimming. Stupid Zion.
“I’m going to make you pay” I grumbled, getting out of the bed. “Nobody drugs me and gets away with it.” I leaned against the wall for support as I slid to the door. “Not even you.” I twisted the knob, and opened it. Where… Ah, the hallway.
“This is weird.” Again, the hallway was slowly being filled with doors. Where was I? This was confusing. Was I at the stairs now? I took a step to the side, and rolled down until I hit marble. So yes, I was at the stairwell. Somebody shouted. It was still al fuzzy. I kept walking, now only barely slipping on the steps. It sounded like Chet. He grabbed me. So, I was right. I nodded, and smiled.
“You’re okay… You know where Zion and Robin are?” I asked.
“You shouldn’t be out of bed! How’d you get past Him?” he asked. I looked around.
“I didn’t see Him.”
“Yeah, hes been guarding you for the whole day as the holy water set over your eyes” he said. I nodded.
“Okay, but I still need to find dumb and dumber.” He sighed.
“Robin and Zion are doing some more research in the library to see if they can help speed along your recovery” he answered, and I pushed him aside.”Good, I actually know where that is.”
“Cody?”
“Huh?”
“You’re going to wrong way.” Oh, so I was. He grabbed me shoulder again. The bad one. I winced.
“How about we get you back in your bed, huh?” he asked, and again, I pushed him off.
“Thanks for the directions, really means a lot, see ya.”
“Cody! Thats-” I rolled. “Another stairwell. Christ.” I got back up, rubbing my head. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.
“Cody!” Ah, now it was Hazel.
“Hey” I greeted, walking down more slowly and carefully. He hair was straightened, and she looked nice. Clearly she and Luna were having fun.
“Cody, what are you doing out of bed?!” she asked, horrified.
“Looking for stupid A and B.”
“Well, one is right here” she said. Sure enough, Robin was right behind her. I punched him in the face, and sent him sprawled out on the floor.
“If you EVER drug me again, or force something down my throat again, you’ll be sorry” I said simply, walking on. Library, library, library… I saw the doors, and walked in, Hazel and Chet yelling at me to get back to bed. I opened it up, and was tackled.
“Oh thank God!” Zion exclaimed, squeezing the life out of me.
“You suck, you know that?” I asked him. He laughed, and kissed me multiple times on the cheek.
“I don’t care! Oh, man, you’re alive, and thats GREAT!” I didn’t know whether we were going to make out again or whether to be angry at him or not. I just settled with confusion, and rolled with it.
“Um… I’m still mad at you” I finally said, and he smiled, laughing.
“You know what, I’m too happy to care!” I smacked him, and my shoulder stung. Stupid ghoul. Ow, ow, ow. I started to fall over. Zion being Zion, he didn’t let me, and grabbed me by the hip. I flushed.
“I am never going into another library with you again” I said simply, Hazel, Robin, and Chet standing in the doorway.
“You’re right, you’re not” He said, sneaking up behind us.
“Crap.” That was the last word I said before the two of them got in a tug of war.
“He is mine!” Zion growled, tugging to the left.
“My kid, my property!” He replied, yanking to the right. Ow!
“Hey, my arm” I said, flying to the sides. A tail grabbed my ankle, and yanked towards the bookshelf. “That hurts too!” I protested.
“It should” Hades said, a hand clamping on my right shoe. I winced.
“Hands off my kid!” He hissed at Hades.
“I owe this young man an apology! Let go!”
“You mean I can’t eat him?” the manticore asked. “Just kiddin. You’re mine now.” I winced as I was being pulled in all directions.
“Hey, let him go!” Hazel said, grabbing my hair.
“Ow! Hey!”
“Back off!” Chet agreed, sliding under me and pulling down, trying to loosen everyones grip. Robin was laughing, taking photos with a camera.
“Man, where is the popcorn?” he asked.
“Hurry up and save me!” I finally blurted as I heard my ankle snap. I was done. “Know what, no! Stop saving me!” I yanked all my limbs towards me, and sent everyone barrelling on top of one another. OWWWWWW!!!!!! I winced, and was immediately crushed under… What, six people, and on top of Chet.
“Ow” he wheezed as I crushed him.
“Hands off my boyfriend!” Zion shouted.
“Get your mitts off of my son!” He shrieked.
“Leave the prince be!” Hades argued.
“That is my prey! Leave him be!” the manticore growled.
“Let go of the kid! You’re killing us all under your fat butts!” Hazel screamed.
“Please!” Chet begged.
“All of you get the hell off of me!” I shouted. “All of you! I’m not some bean bag you all get to fight over!” Nobody heard me, but they didn’t need to. Robin grabbed my arm, and pulled me away really hard. They were so busy fighting over me that they didn’t even notice that Robin and I were now running down the hall and into the garden.
“Thanks” I wheezed, flopping onto the dirt pathway.
“Welcome” he replied, also gasping. “This is crazy” he said.
“Agreed.” I didn’t like this one bit. “I mean, come on!” I sighed, ruffling my hair. “This is just annoying now. And why am I the weakest one here? I mean, come on!” He patted me, and laughed.
“You just pulled Him and like, what, six other people to the floor. Wait, no, five. Chet was already down, but still! I couldn’t do that if I tried.” I sighed, and then heard someone running. On all fours
“You’re mine now!” Freakin manticore. I glanced up, glaring, maybe a tear or two in my eye.
“LEAVE ME THE HELL BE, YOU DIP WAD!!!” He skidded to a halt, and stopped before me, confused.
“What? I’m serving Roxas now. I’m saving you” he said. I was really angry now.
“Why not- oh, I don’t know- save EVERYONE?!!! I don’t need to be freakin saved!” He thought, pawing at the ground.
“Well, you do need rescuing, and I’m focusing on you because I need to get you to him first” it finally said. I grabbed dust, and flung it in its face.
“I don’t care what he said! Ladies first! Maybe Chet and Robin next?! And then Zion, and FINALLY me, at the END!” I hissed, planning how I might carry out Roxas’ murder. Then He ran over, and exploded.
“You stupid, stupid, stupid backstabbing cat!” He screamed, the manticore blocking me from His grasp.
“All of you are idiots!” I raged on. “Just big, fat, stupid idiots!”
“Cody, stop” Robin warned. I didn’t.
“You guys don’t seem to get that I don’t want any of you freaks to follow me around! I’m not your son, I’m not important, and I’m not to be followed around!”
“Like hell you aren’t my son! Not a shot in hell!” He growled.
“MORON! WE’RE IN HELL!!! CLEARLY THERE IS A SHOT!!!” Everyone was silent. Hazel and Chet were walking towards us, Zion was watching, glaring at him, and Hades stood behind Him. “Okay? I don’t want to be followed, I don’t want to be stuck here, I don’t want to be around you freaks, I don’t want ANYTHING to do with you weirdos. All I want is to go back to the real world, wake up in my bed, and find out that I never even went down to hell, I just dozed off in that stupid basement.” He stopped yelling, and sat down on the dirt, cross legged. “You. Aren’t. My. Dad. Need I say it slower?”
My friends walked over, and the manticore’s tail slowly split into five. So, he’d try and take us all, would he? I didn’t like this at all, but if it meant I got to go home… Well, you know.
“I despise that about you, Cody. You think that you know everything.”
“Actually, I don’t. I just know this whole thing is nonsense. Know what I ‘despise’ about you?” He kept facing me.
“What do you hate about me?” I laughed, and walked around the manticore, right up to him.
“I hate how naive you are, and how you think that you can control everything like a chess board.” Kids, never wave your hand in front of or poke a bear with a stick. Alas, I did both at once. “So, freak, what do you have to say to that?” He had nothing to say. He just had something to do. He ran his hand right through my head. Yeah, nice, huh?

Chapter thirty one

As Cody stood there, we all fretted. He didn’t seem to happy. “You should treat your elders with respect. He who gives can take away.” The manticore flung a tail at all of us, grabbed us, and we were gone. Standing in front of Roxas.
“You’re late” he said, looking at his watch. “Did you get them all? Lets see.” He counted us out as Zion got loose, and walked over to Cody, who wasn’t moving. None of us saw his face. I wish we did. Zion tipped Cody’s head up, and jumped away.
“Crap!” The manticore dropped us, and Roxas was the second to reach Cody, looking at him. He looked sick.
“What happened?”
“I don’t know. I mean, it was fine before the fight we just had, and now its-” Robin was next, and grabbed Cody’s ankles.
“We gotta get him to a church or something” he said, Zion nodding and grabbing under Cody’s arms. That gunk or whatever was back on his eyes like a blindfold.
“A church? Why a church?” Roxas asked, walking beside them.
“Long story. Where are we?”
“Ireland… Long story, but to make it short, I just came over here to ask the thief guild for help bringing Him down.”
“I’m not sure they can help us” Chet said. I nodded, sighing.
“That thing is really strong” I agreed, walking behind them. Man, wish I had my board. Of course, I didn’t have it. It had been on Artemis’ plane.
“Okay, fine, but it didn’t hurt to ask” he replied, people walking behind him. “Guys, just stay here. Manticore, please watch them.”
“Yes, master.” I didn’t get it.
“Do I even want to know?” I asked.
“Trust me, you don’t.” I nodded, and we then saw Boss. He was grinning at first, Ak and Jin with him, but then freaked.
“What happened to him?!” he asked, running over. Jin tackled me, crying.
“Why did you leave me?” she asked, sobbing into my shirt. I smiled.
“I didn’t leave you. But I let you be taken away because I didn’t want you to get hurt” I replied. Ak was hugging Chet, and smiled.
“You’re alright” he sighed in relief.
“I wasn’t leaving you any time son. Still need to teach you what a roller coaster is” Chet replied.
“Move, please” Artemis sighed, walking past us all and right to Cody.
“I might be of use as well?” Sean asked, running up with the bible. I grinned. Everyone was here. Chet was confused, but went with it. Roxas explained he called everyone to help, realizing this wasn’t just a physical war.
“The same thing happened during the crusades. It was a two fold war. THAT is what we’re fighting” he explained to me.
“I remember. I just didn’t think it was real!” Sean ordered that Cody be set down immediately, and started praying. Zion sat down beside Cody’s head, yanking on his fingers nervously.
“He going to be okay?” he asked as Zion grabbed Cody’s hand and checked his pulse.
“I’m not sure. But I swear to God, he had better survive this” Artemis replied, setting it down and grabbing a needle and bottle.
“What is that?”
“Holy water. Father thought that a more permanent solution to keeping this from happening to anyone was to inject it into the bloodstream” Artemis said as Robin bounced around asking Boss what he could do to help.
“How about grab some blankets from the plane? You know, they’re orange? They’re for shock” Boss finally said, and Robin hurridly ran into the plane. Boss proceeded to ask the kids to help him out, along with Chet, and locked the door.
“Hey!” Chet screamed, glaring at us out the little windows. “Not cool!” I looked at Cody, and watched as Artemis injected him, Sean praying.
“Cody is the main target, is he not?” Boss asked Zion.
“Yeah. Cody might be His son.” Artemis freaked, and stopped injecting Cody.
“Why didn’t you tell me this!” he hissed, glaring at Zion. “How stupid are you?! Do we know if He is a demon?!”
“No, he is a minor god” Zion replied calmly. Cody moaned, and Artemis sighed in relief.
“If He were a demon, I could have killed Stein” Artemis grumbled, continuing with the injection. Sean prayed for five minutes straight, and Artemis checked all of Cody’s vitals continuously.
“So, how did this happen?”
“We were in the bad part of hell-”
“There is a bad part?” Boss interrupted.
“Yes” Zion replied.
“Boss, let him continue” Roxas said, sighing.
“Anyway, Cody got attacked by a ghoul, and so he went blind. He had been cured for like, maybe a day, but only got to see through his eyes for maybe twelve minutes. Speaking of which, can you really quickly let me see his shoulder? We didn’t get to put on the salve this morning” Zion sighed. Artemis unbuttoned Cody’s shirt, and looked at his shoulder. Black climbed up, making a crossword down his arm.
“Wow!” Roxas exclaimed.
“The holy water should counteract it” Artemis replied as Zion fell back.
“You shure?”
“Positive. It might take a bit, but Cody should be cured of any demon inflicted wounds. The eyes, however, are another story.” I glared at Artemis.
“What the hell do you mean?” I asked, trying to keep all my anger bottled up.
“Look at it, Zion. Is this the same as it had been?” Zion looked.
“No, actually. It doesn’t.” Artemis nodded. “How did you know?” He pointed at Sean, who stopped his prayers.
“I had done research on these, and taken photos of what all the ‘demon inflicted wounds’, as Artemis so expertly put it, and memorized it. When a ghoul attacks, it releases spores that attach to the skin, and sink into the flesh of the victim. Most of the time, it aims for the eyes. So, when it is from a ghoul, it looks like somebody burned off the flesh and replaced it with some form of soil.” Zion nodded.
“THIS looks like somebody stuck a blindfold in the skin. See? I can’t pick it up, or yank it off” Sean continued, trying to grab the black. “So this is a curse. Of course, any curse can be removed if we say the correct passage of a prayer from the Gospel of John. So, I’ll need to recite all of the prayers. It will take some time.” I nodded.
“Okay, but what else? Is Cody going to wake up?”
“As soon as I do this” Artemis said, grabbing a bucket and setting it beside Zion.
“What is that for?” Zion asked, trembling a bit.
“Just trust me, okay? Cody won’t feel all that great after being poisoned and blinded.” Next he grabbed a pen.
“And what are you going to do with that?” Roxas asked. In reply, Artemis jammed it smack dab in the center of Cody’s chest.
“Never do this without training” he said, and yanked it out. He counted to five, and slapped Cody. Hard. Cody, in return, punched him in the face, bolting upright, gasping.
“Biscuit of a mother trucker!” he said. Robin laughed in the plane.
“I say that!” I glared at him, and Saw Chet tackle the kid. I smiled. Chet, you rock. Cody then clutched his stomach, nd covered his mouth.
“Your welcome” snarled Artemis, picking himself back up.
“I’m gonna be sick” Cody warned, and Zion passed him the bucket. Artemis seemed to know exactly what to do, and what was going to happen.
“Okay, let the others out of the plane and get the blankets” Artemis said, Cody almost all the way in the container. Zion patted him, and then Cody got back up.
“Hold it. Zion, what was the last monster we researched in the library?” Cody asked, ‘looking’ around.
“Over here. We looked at the Siren last” Zion answered.
“Why does this matter?” I asked, crossing my arms as Chet walked out of the plane with Robin in a lock. Robin could have broken out of it, but didn’t.
“Long story. In the bad part of hell, we bumped into these monsters which mimicked our voices. ITs just to see if we’re really… Well, us” Robin said.
“Okay, you’re clearly you” Cody said. “Roxas, what was the first movie we saw together?”
“Dracula. The remake” he replied.
“Hazel, what happened to you and Chet?”
“We were trapped in my memories.”
“Okay, Artemis, who is smarter of the two of us.” Artemis grumbled.
“Me, duh.” Cody waited. “You know I’m right!”
“Okay, true enough. Chet, what is your nickname?”
“Which one? Robin wanted to call me eye candy, and Hazel called me lover boy or something, and now its Romeo.”
“Okay, you pass… Okay, now… Did I get everyone?”
“Everyone but the kids and Sean, but otherwise, yeah” I answered, Cody nodded.
“Okay, so none of you are going to kill me… Why can’t I see?”
“You’ve been cursed” Zion answered.
“Is that all? Oh.” I couldn’t believe him!
“Cody, you might never be able to see again!”
“I’ll figure it out” he replied, moving the bucket off of his lap and feeling the ground. “So, where are we?”
“Ireland” Roxas answered, getting on his knees and looking Cody in the face.
“Did we get the Hounds?”
“Yep. And the thief guild.”
“The wha?”
“Long story. Anyway, let me help you inside” Roxas said, and Cody shook his head.
“No, I need to figure out why I’m strong and stuff, and I need to keep training” Cody replied, getting shakily to his feet. Zion shot a cruel glance to Robin, who chuckled nervously.
“Look, Cody, how can you train when you can’t see?” he asked, setting a hand on his bad shoulder.
“Tch tch tch tch tch!” Cody said, slowly getting back on his knees. I didn’t know Zion could be so forceful.
“Now, you’re going to sit there while we carry you inside, and set you in a bed or something.” Boss tossed a blanket to Zion, who nodded a thank you.
“Oh, come on! Will you stop acting like I’m about to break? I’m not glass!” Cody protested, and Zion slowly dug his nails into Cody’s shoulder. “Ow!”
“Cody, you’ve been cursed. What part of that don’t you get?”
“The part where that somehow affects my being able to move” Cody grumbled.
“Okay, thats it.” Zion grabbed his ankles, and flung him upside down, pulling Cody’s feet over his shoulders.
“Hey!” Cody protested, thrashing about. “Pt me do-” A random kid tackled him, and laughed.
“The fact you guys escaped! Man, you really messed with us!” the kid said, laughing. He was all black. Black hair, black eyes, black clothes, black nail polish, but yellow eyes and skin as white as the paper right here. Yeah!
“Who the hell are you?” Zion growled as Cody crawled around.
“And why did you tackle us?” Cody added.
“Oh, you? I’m supposed to bring you back to Hades. I’m one of his followers.” Cody knew what that meant.
“Did that whole speech I made go right down the drain?!”
“Oh, don’t worry, it’ll only be Hades. So, get over here.” Cody didn’t get over, but rather, got up, and just stood there.
“Seriously though? Did nothing phase any of them?” Chet punched the kid in the face, but he wasn’t phased.
“Oh, right! I have to get you two as well! Hrm… Maybe I’ll get the lady first” he sighed.
“Can’t I have one day to just go sight see and shopping? Maybe eat crappy food at the gas station?” I sighed, grabbing the bucket. It was filled with ink. Gross. The guy smiled at me. He had fangs.
“Sure. In the next life!” he replied, laughing. I threw the bucket at it, and Zion took that chance to grab Cody, and run. Robin and Roxas helped, of course, but that meant I was facing a vampire with Coss- who had no experience in this- and Chet, who wasn’t all that good at not getting hit back. The vampire sighed, and cleaned the ink off of its skin as Sean chased Cody, reiting the Gospel of John.
“Let me go, darn you! I’m going to make him sorry! Let go!” Cody hissed, the vampire focusing on me.
“You know, I think I’ll nab you two first, and grab him later” he finally decided. “The name is Peter. Nice to meet you.”
“Really? Are you serious?” Boss asked.
“We didn’t ask for your name, stupid” Chet replied, standing in front of me. Then it wasn’t Chet, whose back facd me, but Peter, who had me right against him, smiling.
“What perfect skin! I wonder how the blood on the inside tastes” he said, holding my wrists. I freaked.
“Leave her alone!” Chet growled, swinging back. Again, he hit Peter, but Peter didn’t flinch. Instead, he looked back, and sighed.
“Stop interrupting me. ITs rude.” I kicked him, and jammed my fist in between his chin and collar bone. That shut him up. Then came the stampede.
“Cody! Come here!” Cody ran right up to Peter, and kicked him. Then came a series of jabs and blows until Peter collapsed, blood spilling out of his lips.
“Target me all you want, but if you target my friends, I’m going to make you sorry” Cody warned, sticking his foot on Peter’s face.
“How did you-” Chet began.
“I don’t-”
“What were you-” Zion started.
“I wasn’, alri-”
“Cody, what th-” Roxas began.
“Please j-”
“That was so cool!” Robin interrupted. Of course, nobody was watching Peter, who jumped on Zion, and got him on the floor.
“Wow, you look healthy. I wonder how many pints flow through those veins” Peter said, smiling. Zion didn’t like that.
“I’m going to destroy you” he told Peter, and headbutted him.
“Ah, try as you might, I’m moving at the speed of light!” I grabbed the bucket, and then hit him over the head, knocking him unconscious.
“And I didn’t even have to try. Sucker” I replied, Zion getting up and glaring at Cody.
“What were you thinking?!”
“I was thinking that I just wanted to be of use. I mean, come on! I think that this is the first time I was able to really punch a random person… Okay, that came out wrong.”
“You don’t say!” Artemis gasped sarcastically. Chet tapped me, and when I turned, I realized he was being sucked into a puddle of ink from the bucket.
“Hurry up and save me!” he shouted, thrashing about. I grabbed his hand, and tried to pull him up. It didn’t work, so Cody ran over, and pulled him out so hard both of them went flying back.
“You okay?” he asked Chet, who was patting himself up and down.
“Yeah, thanks.” I walked over to fangface, and pulled his head up. He was out cold.
“So, what do we do with this freak?” I asked. Chet kicked him once in the ribs, and that woke fang face up. He hissed at us like an animal, and sank his teeth into my arm.
“Hey!” Roxas shouted, grabbing a bat.
“Do it, and half of her flesh goes with me!” Peter warned. Nobody moved. I felt like a giant leech was on me, and I knew exactly what to do with a leech.
“Ak, light him up” I said, and Ak did so, grinning devilishly. Peter jumped off, patting his pants out, screaming. I smiled, and gave the two kids a high five. Of course, this meant that we’d still be fighting. I’d still be stuck. Jin and I would still be that step away from living a normal life. I sighed.
“So, we’ve bumped into vampires, demons, Gods, crazy humans, monsters, and people who can shadow travel. What’s next? Seriously, this is just getting annoying” Cody grumbled. “Oh, and ghouls!” I agreed.
“Look, Cody, sit still!” Artemis ordered, Zion raising his fist.
“You are such a pain sometimes” Zion told Cody, who shrugged.
“I’m awesome, and you know it.” Artemis injected Cody again, and then moved so that Zion could hit him. Instead, Zion got in front, glared, and lightly pecked his cheek. “Please tell me nobody saw that.” Zion looked around, thought and shook his head.
“Nope. Nobody saw it.” I wanted to smack him, but realized how fun it was to screw with Cody. Peter smiled, and pointed at us.
“Okay, new plan. So, I’m only to kidnap you, huh?” Peter asked himself, holding his ear closed. “And then what? Oh, take him there?” So I knew it was either Cody, Zion, or Chet. Peter froze. “Which one?” he asked. Okay, just Cody or Zion. “The red head? Oh, okay.” So just Zion. I blocked him, and looked at Cody.
“What’s happening?” he asked, and I smiled.
“Nothing, okay?” Then Cody made this muffled cry.
“Psych! Ahsta!” Of course, they were gone, and of course, Zion and Roxas both did what they knew. They shadow traveled all over the world. Literally, they went to every city, town, and any small islands they knew of. For two days straight. Sean sighed, and sat down.
“I didn’t get to the verse. Cody is blind” he said, sitting down and hiding his head under the robes he wore. We sat there, waiting, and even slept in the plane till the two got back. Both said they couldn’t find him.

“Clearly they took him somewhere!” I argued, crossing my arms. Zion’s eyes were red. So were Roxas’. They didn’t stop, or sleep, or eat. “However, you should get some rest.” Zion turned around to leave, but Robin jammed his fist in his spine, saying something that started with a ‘t’, and then wedging his elbow into Roxas. Both went down like a sack of potatoes.
“What was that?” Ak asked, Chet getting him off his lap.
“A spell. Magic” Robin replied, dragging Zion to a chair. Chet picked Roxas up, and put him beside Zion. They thought.
“Duct tape?” Boss asked, tossing them both one.
“Sure” Robin and Chet said in unison, laughing as they used the sticky papyrus to bind their friends wrists to the arm rests.
“Hazel, I’m bored!” Jin groaned, tugging on my shirt. “Lets do some geometry!” I may have sped up her learning a bit too much. I laughed.
“Alright, sure. Ready?” I gave her all these equations, and she got 27 out of 30. That is a ninety percent! And mind you, this had been a hobo!
“What now?” Jin asked. I told her we should all get some sleep, and she sighed.
“Are you going to sing to me now?” she asked. I nodded, and Ak jumped on my lap.
“Me too, please.” Wonderful.
“Uh… Okay, sure. Ready? You comfortable?” I asked, smiling. They bundled up in the same blanket, and nodded, sitting on my lap.
Hush little children, the time’s come to play,
Here in my garden of magic.
Hush little children, the night fades away,
Here with the calm and the quiet.
Hush little children, I’ll play with you soon,
Memories dancing in dreams with you.
Hush little children, dreams come and say,
“Let us all play, come, stay today.”
Come little children,
I’ll sing for you,
All in peace and kindness too.
Come little children,
The nights come to play,
Right here,
Right now,
Right away.
Not all that and a bag of chips, I know, but it got them to fall asleep. Chet walked over, and smiled at me.
“You’re good with kids” he said, smiling. I lightly moved the two into the chair, and yawned.
“I’m exhausted” I said to him, and he nodded, walking out to the door. I decided I’d follow him.
“So, whats up?” he asked when he realized I was following him.
“Well, I’m just… Want to hang out with you” I said, cold wind blowing. I shuddered, but smiled about it. “Chilly, huh?” Chet looked himself over. All he had was his sweater on, no shirt.
“What the hell” he said, getting out of it. My face burned.
“Um, no, I’m totally fine” I said, but he slipped it over my head anyway. I put my arms through the sleeves, and he smiled.
“Better?” he asked. It was like he had been in this really hot shower before he gave it to me! Like, it was radiatiing heat!
“Uh, yeah” I said, flushing. He shivered, and laughed.
“Ah, wow, it is cold. Shouldn’t have taken that shower” he chuckled. Spot on.
“Oh… Why not go back inside?” I asked, smiling. He laughed.
“And miss the view? No, no, I’d never want to miss this. Besides, look” he said, tilting my head just a bit. I smiled.
“A shooting star.” He laughed.
“Yep… Almost the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen” he said. I saw what was coming, but asked him what was the most ‘gorgeous’ thing he’d seen. He smiled at me like I was stupid.
“Well? What?” I asked, laughing at him. He looked down at me from the sky, and tapped my nose.
“You.” I flushed, and smiled.
“You are such a smooth talker!” I said, laughing at him. He grinned.
“I try. You know I do.” I nodded, and yawned.
“Yeah, I do.
“Aw, what a cute couple” Peter said, sitting on the wing of the jet. We both jumped, and Chet grabbed my arm, determined not to be pushed away from me again. Peter didn’t get in front of me this time, but him.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Ah, you know, I’d convert for you. However, I see you’re taken. Anyway, I’m here to give this to Zion. Poor kid is going to have a fit when he sees this” Peter said, handing Chet a disk. “Stay foxy, boyo.”
“I would punch you in the face if I had a free hand” Chet grumbled as Peter left.
I grabbed the disk, and dragged him behind me, bolting in.
“We have a problem!”

Ch thirty two

Hazel and I were the only ones with Zion when he turned on the video. Cody came up on the screen, tied up, turning his head.
“Where am I? Who is it? Why am I here? Let me go” he said, clearly terrified. Peter made a face, sticking his tongue out, smiling.
“So, Cody, how do you feel?” Hades. Cody looked straight ahead, and just gave a blank expression.
“What am I here for? Did my whole ‘stop being creepers and stalking me’ thing just go the drain?” Cody finally asked, taking a deep breathe. Peter yanked his head back, but then let go, as if annoyed.
“You’re killin me” he grumbled. Hades tossed Cody a lab coat, and tapped the camera.
“That hurt” Cody said, Hades smiling and sitting down in front of the camera.
“I bet. Now, Cody, lets chat. You’re here so I can thank you, but also so I can exact my revenge.” Cody cocked his head.
“Huh? I didn’t do anything to or for you. Well, except for call you stupid, which I do not repent” Cody replied, looking right at the camera.
“Cody, I’m getting your father back. And also, I’m going to tell Hazel about me being her father.” She already knew that. Dur. “So, now, I’m going to let Peter loose. Go on, go nuts.” Peter laughed, clapping his hands.
“Ah, what shall I do now? What are the limits to the extent of damage I can deal?”
“Just enough to maybe bruise him.”
“So no chain saw?”
“No chainsaw.”
“Drats… Okay, Cody boy, lets have your arm” Peter said, sitting down. Cody turned towards him, and gave him this miffed, confused expression.
“Huh?”
“I’m a vampire. I’m hungry. Arm, now.” Cody laughed, and moved away a bit.
“*Haha*. No.” Peter didn’t care, and reached under the coat, yanking. “Ow!”
“Could have made it easier on yourself” Peter said, rolling up Cody’s sleeve.
“OR you could just not bite me” Cody snarled, yanking. Peter sank his fangs into Cody’s arm, and laughed.
“Move now, and half your arm goes with me” Peter warned. Cody grew tense, and flinched.
“Let. Go.” Peter laughed again, and Hades looked at the camera.
“See, one thing you might not know about my bloodsucking friend is that vampires are like snakes. They can poison their victims. Of course, Peter has yet to do so, but he will once he wants to. Would you like to see the symptoms?” Zion jumped out of his chair, and grabbed the TV.
“Hold up, what?!” Cody asked.
“Ahp, you’re starting to turn bitter. You’re blood was sweet, darn it!” Peter sighed. “Time to go under.”
“Like. Hell.” There was a scream, and Zion fell down. Cody’s arm wasn’t really all gone, but there were two giant slashes on it, all the way through. Cody gasped, and pulled himself up as Peter held his face.
“That went… Well.” Hades grabbed Cody, and held him, laughing.
“I never thought you’d be so drastic!” he teased, and Cody snarled.
“You don’t know me, so don’t act like you do.” Peter got back up, and jumped on Cody.
“You’re dead!” Hades smiled, and stood there, the camera now on its side on the floor. Cody didn’t go down without a fight, but he was down, and he had fangface right on top of him. “And you’re mine!” Peter sank his fangs deep into Cody’s neck. I froze.
“Oh. My. God.” Zion turned around, and kicked the seat. I got up, and looked at Hazel. She passed out. Wonderful. Zion grabbed the Tv, and slammed it on the ground.
“Curses! Why the hell didn’t Cody just run?!” he swore, ruffling his hair. I sighed, and grabbed his wrists.
“Zion, calm down” I said, and he glared.
“How can you be calm at a time like this?!” I wasn’t.
“Look, Zion, when we find Cody, I’ll kick out Hades’ teeth, and you can kill Peter. Okay?
“Look, how about I kick out Hades teeth, and you murder Peter?” I replied.
“Ah, no thanks!” Peter said, grabbing Zion’s ankles. We both ended up going down, and then Sean followed. Of course.

“Ow!”
“Oof!”
“Wow!” We all were dog piled on top of one another. Me on the bottom, Sean in the middle, and Zion on top. How? Don’t ask, because I STILL don’t know. Peter laughed at us, and dragged Zion down a dark hallway.
“Man, I couldn’t believe your face! And that chick, fainting? That was gold!” he said, laughing
“You ate my boyfriend!” Zion replied. “I can have any face I want!”
“I didn’t eat your boyfriend, I just drank four pints of his blood” Peter replied, Sean and I chasing after him.
“Give Cody back!” I growled, jumping on Zion’s feet. Peter laughed as I skidded along the floor. Zion was there when I finished. Five feet away from my impact.
“Is that all you got?” Peter snickered, running off again. Sean reached in his bible, and pulled out a bookmark A silver cross.
“Will that actually work?” I asked. He shrugged, and threw it at Peter, actually hitting his spine. Sadly, however, Peter already got to where he wanted. Right in the trash chute. Why did he want to go in the trash chute? Also an unknown. So, I jumped in after the two, and landed on Zion, whose nails were actually stuck in the metal.
“I am NOT going in a tight, dark, damp place” he said, and then I crushed him.
“Zion, what the hell?!” I growled as he grabbed me and squeezed.
“Just shut up and leave it be!” he replied, Peter laughing.
“Oh, I get it, you’re a claustrophobe! But, why are you hugging a person? It only crushes you more” Peter asked, laughing. I glanced over at Zion. Wow. Okay. Sean then proceeded to land on us, and we crushed Peter. Zion then punched Peter multiple times in the face until we blasted out to the bottom of the trash chute, landing on a mattress. Peter laughed.
“Ah, what fun!” My foot was stuck in between Sean’s arm, whose hand was under Zion’s neck, which was being crushed by my torso.
“Get off!” Zion gasped. “Can’t breathe!” We all untangled ourselves as Peter walked away, removing the cross. A big burn was still there, and actually ruined his biker jacket.
“I spent fifty dollars on this” he sighed, walking away.
“Hey, get back here!” Zion screamed, pushing us off. Too late. Hades stood there, smiling.
“Why, hello! I see we have an unwanted visitor?” he asked, poking my disrespectfully. I grabbed his finger, and broke it.
“Where is Cody?” Zion barked, Sean praying. Hades smiled.
“Oh, he is recovering. We were going to take you to see him!” Hades said. “However, if I’m going to allow that, you need to do as I say!” Peter smiled, and leaned on Zion’s shoulder.
“Seriously, what blood type are you?” he asked. Zion bristled.
“Can I break his nose?”he asked me, an I nodded, popping my knuckles.
“I get the jaw” I replied. Hades sighed, and dragged us off.
“Oh, come on!”
“Teenage boys are so rash” he sighed, Peter walking behind as Sean followed.
“A question for the blood sucker” Sean said, walking behind him. “Why are you not dead? Does holy water not kill demons? And the sunlight?” Peter laughed.
“All demons are monsters, but not all monsters are demons. Holy water only kills demons. For vampires it merely makes the blood taste a bit more bitter. Actually, there are lots of vampires who go to church, which is ironic, because you humans seem to think we can’t cross onto holy land, pray, or do anything of that sort. Most vampires aren’t even affected by the cross! However, I am, because I am a pagan” Peter explained. “And with the sun thing, there is this new invention. Its called sunscreen! SPF! Its amazing!” Hades let us go, and Peter zipped away, Hades glaring at us.
“You all will stay outside of the glass. Clear?” I laughed.
“No. I’m not listening to a dipwad like you.” Cdy, thank you for teaching me that word. FINALLY got to use it. Hades didn’t like that answer, and whistled. Peter zipped back, pushed me down, and dropped a huge rock on my lap. I laughed. Heavy…
“You think this’ll stop me from getting up and bringing Cody back home? Please…” Crap, I left the manticore alone for two days. Now three. Peter shoved Zion down face first, and dropped the rock on his back.
“Oof!” Sean sighed, sat down, and took the rock. This thing was heavy. I reached under it, and pulled up. Didn’t budge. I summoned my shadows, and sighed. Lever? They pushed, but the rock refused to move.
“What is this thing?” I asked, leaning on my arms. “Its heavy.” Peter got in my face, and laughed. Big mistake. I wrapped my fingers around his neck, and squeezed. Hades yanked fang face back, and sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Morons.” So, Hades made a resolve. “How about we cart Cody out here. Father, you recite the Gospel of John from… You stopped at chapter two?” Sean nodded.
“Ho-”
“Deduction. Now, you recite, and Peter and I will converse. However, you may not do anything too rash.” I rolled my eyes, and Zion scoffed.
“Please. Look, just give us Cody back, and we’ll just call it even” I replied.
“Not until I break Peter’s nose” Zion grumbled. Peter sat right in the middle of us and held up a finger. Let me give you a hint, he indirectly said: read between the lines.
“We can’t! See, He is coming over, and so it the minotaur, and then Satan himself wants to see the son of the guardian of the world between worlds.”
“Who with the what now?” Sean asked, confused.
“Purgatory. Not hell. There is a good purgatory, a bad purgatory, and a so-so purgatory. Any way, THIS is hell. Much more interesting. So, you don’t get to leave until we say so.” Zion rolled his eyes.
“Why do we have to be little trophies?” he asked.
“Because Satan said so. Now, you’ll watch and eat with Satan tonight, boys. Lucky you!”
“But, I don’t want to meet Satan” Sean said.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Father. You may leave. Sata has no interest in you. However, he has great interest in these three plus the girl and her boyfriend, and the one favored by the goddess. Oh, she’ll be there, too” Peter sighed.
“Who, Artemis?” I asked.
“Yes! Now, sh.” Hades smiled as he carried a burlap sack over his shoulders, which was jumping with every step.
“Okay, so, lets see…” Hades undid the sack, and Cody’s head slipped out, pale with cheeks bright red.
“I *chew!* I’mma *chew!* go *chew!* home.” Zion laughed. He sounded like a kitten. Even let on a small grin.
“Okay, sorry, but that sneeze is adorable” Peter said, and Zion pushed him.
“Don’t you dare” Zion grumbled, Hades smiling at Cody.
“We may have poisoned him a bit too much” Hades admitted.
“*Chew!* I don’t *chew!* like you” Cody said, swatting his hands about, slipping out of the sack. “Y’all *chew!* suck. I *chew!* I’m goin *chew!* home.” Hades lightly tapped Cody’s forehead, and Cody was on the floor. “O *chew!* w.”
“A bit?” Zion asked, glaring. Peter tilted Cody’s head, and winced.
“*Shhh* That does not look good” he said. Hades sighed.
“Not at all. You said you only drank four pints?” Hades asked his disciple.
“Only four, I swear by the river of Styx.” If that rock weren’t on my lap, I would have grabbed Peter and strangled him. Peter’s neck had two puncture holes, though, one was on the collar bone, black.
“What the hell?!” I asked, Sean not looking as he continued to recite the prayer. Hades sighed.
“Well, looks like we may need to do a blood transfer… Peter, what blood type it he?”
“A?” Peter guessed. Zion bristled. “So, do I get to sample?”
“Yep.” Peter grabbed Zion’s hand, and sliced it down his palm. Zion glared.
“If this weren’t going to help Cody, I’d have murdered you as soon as you got within a centimeter of my hand” he said. Peter laughed, and wrinkled his nose.
“Nope. Okay, father, you’re turn.” Sean held out an open palm, and Peter only set a nail on the top of his finger. “Sorry.” Peter smiled, but shook his head. “Also not him… Okay, Roxas, ol’ buddy, you’re turn.” I grumbled, and handed him a closed fist. He stabbed the center of my hand, and licked his nails. “Mhm. Roxas matches the blood type.” I stared at him.
“Whoopdedoo.”
“*Chew!*” Peter snickered as Hades put one small stone on my left hand, and Peter rolled up my sleeve.
“I’ll just transfer it after a sec. Don’t pull away, though, or its gonna hurt.” I sighed, and flinched as he bit me.
“This mean I’m going to be a freak like him?” I asked Hads, who laughed.
“No. Vampires aren’t born from being bitten. They’re born as a human is!”
“Okay, so that good.” Peter slowly lifted out, and grinned, teeth red.
“You have sweet blood. Any who, Cody’s turn.” He grabbed Cody’s arm, and bit down.
“Oh, how is the arm Cody tore?” Zion asked, angry at Peter. Hades sighed.
“We got it all patched up, but he won’t be writing any time soon” the god replied, picking the stone off of Sean’s lap.
“Thank you” Sean said, and he continued praying.
“What about us?” Zion asked. Hades shook his head.
“You guys will hurt Peter, and in turn, Cody will suffer. So, no. Not yet. Once Peter is done, however, you may hit him.
“Boss!” Peter said, looking Hades in the face.
“Peter, what you did was rash. You need to pay the price.” Peter sighed, and nodded.
“Alright. So, Cody need any more?” Hades closed his eyes for a moment, and thought.
“How much did you take from Roxas?”
“Two pints.”
“Alright, and you took four from Cody?”
“Yes.” I looked at the stone on my hand, and slowly lifted it, imaging the rock to be light even though it wasn’t. Slowly, the rock fell off. I grinned, and sat still. Hades sighed.
“Okay, then Cody just needs to eat. We’ll have an early lunch, and a late dinner feast.” Peter sighed, and lifted to Rock off of Zion’s back. Zion roundhouse kicked him, and forced Peter to the floor.
“NEVER my boyfriend.” Peter crawled over, but I didn’t need him to remove the rock. I grabbed it, and slammed it on his leg. He let out a scream, and looked at it.
“Ouch.” I smiled, and looked at Cody.
“*Chew!* I’m *chew!* where am *chew!* I?” Hades smiled, and Picked Cody up.
“Don’t worry, prince. You’ll be fine in a bit” he said, Cody wobbling. Sean got up, still praying, and helped stabilize Cody.
“T- *chew!* hank you chew!* Father.” Zion grabbed Cody’s good arm, and slung it over his shoulder. Hades smiled.
“Shadow travel has been forbidden until after the feast tonight” he said, and Zion swore under his breathe. I looked at Hades, and thought.
“Why is Cody so important?” I finally asked as we all walked down the hall.
“Because. Cody was supposed to marry Hazel. Now he is gay. Do you know how annoying it is when all your plans go down the drain and your little girl falls in love with a boy you’ve never met?” I laughed.
“Welcome! Its the twenty second century! Interesting fact, people aren’t forced to marry people they don’t love! Shocker of all shockers!” Hades glared down on me.
“Don’t mock me, boy. Now both my daughter and His son are stuck in a dance with the fates. If either of them dies, Satan gets the losers world.
“If he gets my domain, the dead will rise, and the world will pile up with corpses, and purgatory will be full of lost souls.
“If he gets His domain, then nobody will get to hell, Cerberus will get hungry, and go on a rampage in the world of the living. Either way, its not good.”
“Okay, I agree” I said, nodding. “That would suck.” We all got in an elevator, Peter sitting on the roof. Cody sneezed, and let his head rest on his shoulder.
“*Chew!* Who *chew!* er you?” Zion sighed.
“Cody, shut up.” Cody nodded.
“Oh, ‘s *chew!*” Peter laughed.
“Perfect way to finish a sentence!” he exclaimed. I undid my shoe, and threw it at him.
“You suck!”
“Roxas *chew* too? *Chew* crazy.” Okay, that was a good one. Hades sighed, and looked at Cody.
“Okay, how badly did you poison him?” he asked. Peter flushed.
“Pretty badly.” I couldn’t believe it.
“If he dies-”
“I know, I know, but he won’t.” The elevator stopped, and we ended up looking at a patio on hell’s doorstep. There was a huge three headed black dog, a green, glowing river, dead bodies everywhere, and imps, stabbing at remains. “I’m back, honey!”
“Hades! Good, I just got done making the feat for tonight!” a woman said.
“Persephone?” Zion asked.
“What? No! Luna, of course.” Luna? Sure enough, Luna walked in, smiling.
“Hey, guys! How’re you feeling?” she asked. Zion almost dropped Cody.
“Bu- We were- You had- He was- And they had- And we-” Luna smiled.
“Oh, I left Caesar and came back to Hades! Persephone was such a brat that Hades dumped her in a heartbeat” she said, smiling. What? She walked over to me, and grabbed the necklace from my pocket, which I stole from Chet. Did I already tell you that? Oh well, a refresher. She smiled, and put it on.
“Hey!”
“What? Its mine. I own it” she said, tapping my nose. “Don’t worry, it isn’t a weapon, it won’t help Him, and it won’t affect anything that is going to happen. Its just that every time the necklace gets smacked around, I get hurt” she said, smiling. Cody sneezed, and scolded himself.
“Da *chew!*n it!” Zion sighed, and Hades led us to the dining room. Cody was the first to be seated, and then us. Hades looked at Peter, who zoomed to the other side.
“You know, I kinda hate you” Peter laughed.
“Hate you, too” Zion replied.
“Stuff it” Peter growled in reply, grabbing a knife. Zion laughed, grabbing two knives in reply.
“Oh, I’ll stuff YOU if you aren’t careful.” That is how the meal started. With us discussing how we’d murder one another.

Chap thirty three

I didn’t like hearing Peter’s voice, but there was nothing I could do I was tired, hungry, annoyed, and just plain ol’ numb. I couldn’t feel my arm, and my neck hurt really bad. I wasn’t fighting anyone in this state. I felt along the table, hitting a fork, and sighed. Okay, step one, complete.
“Cody, let me” Zion said.
“You can stop praying, Father, if only for the moment. The priest sighed in relief, and stopped.
“I’m *chew!* fine” I replied to Zion, poking the table until I bumped into the plate.
“Cody, come on” Roxas sighed. So, Roxas was on my left, and Zin was on my right. I ignored them and stabbed something I smelled it, and sighed.
“What *chew!* is this?” I asked, putting my fork back down.
“Oh, that is a medicine capsule for you, Cody” Luna replied from across the way. I sighed, not touching it.
“I’m not hungry” I decided aloud. The table thumped, and Zion and Roxas jumped.
“If you touch my friend there, I will break your arms” Hades warned. Oh, so it was Peter. He laughed, and grabbed my hand.
“You’re an odd one” he said, and I winced. Ow.
“That hurts” I told him. He laughed, and jammed a stick in my mouth. There was a ding, and he removed it.
“Oooohhhh… Okay, you better take your medicine.”
“Why?”
“You’ve got a fever of 104” Peter answered, and I felt Peter faceplant in my dish, food hitting my face.
“Idiot!” Zion growled, and then Zion shut up.
“I asked you politely. Need I remove you?” Hades asked.
“Honey, please take your medicine” Luna asked, leaning by my ear.
“I’m good” I replied. Peter got up, and grumbled.
“If you don’t take your pill, I am forcing it down your throat.
“Cody, word of advice” Zion asked.
“Huh?”
“Clamping your mouth shut is how we get it open so easily. Don’t let it move too easily, but don’t tighten” Zion said, and then Hades sighed.
“Zion, did you know that Peter was stuck on an island with seven other boys for twelve years before his untimely death?” he asked.
“Uh, no” Zion replied.
“And do you wonder how Peter survived so long?”
“I don’t really care how he survived, I wonder how he died” Zion replied.
“Peter would force poison filled beans down the other boys’ throats. And he didn’t once use a pressure point.” I didn’t get it.
“Then how’d he get the boys to open their mouths and swallow?” Zion replied, not believing him. I found out first hand, and didn’t like it one bit. Roxas and Zion both kicked Peter, and yelled at him.
“What the hell?!”
“You kissed my boyfriend!” I didn’t move. What? I didn’t get it. What? What? What?
“Father, could you keep praying?” Peter asked, and I got sick. Gross. I kissed a freaking vampire… So. Freakin. Cheesy. I felt dizzy. What was in the pill? I stopped sneezing, thats for sure. But I also felt myself falling down, and hitting the table. Ow.
“What was in that pill?!” Zion growled. I couldn’t move. Come on, stupid limbs.
“Oh my” Luna sighed, Peter yanking my head back up.
“Really baiting me here” he said, poking me. I couldn’t do anything?! Oh, come on! I wasn’t going to keep looking like a weakling.
“What a poor, poor kid” Hades said, laughing. Okay, thats it. I flipped the table over, and heard Peter scream as the weight crush him.
“Say that. Just say that one more time” I said to Hades, walking towards his voice. “Just one more time. I dare you.” Hades laughed.
“What. A poor. Poor kid” he said, and I grabbed Luna, who gasped. Hades didn’t say anything.
“I’ll make you a trade. We go home, and your wife doesn’t become a corpse. Good deal, right?” I asked. I wasn’t a killer. I didn’t want to kill her. But if I had to, I would.
“You wouldn’t.” I let my grip tighten.
“Stop acting like you know me. You don’t know what I would or wouldn’t do, gramps. Now, we got a deal?” Luna clawed at my arm, but I didn’t care. That was my good arm. My bad arm was limp at my side.
“You can’t kill her with one arm” Hades snarled. I tightened even more. This was wrong. I knew it was. But I had to escape.
“I can, actually. So stop saying what I can or cannot do. In fact, the only thing you get to say to me is ‘yes, sir’ or ‘sorry, sir.’ Am I clear?” In reply, Zion was thrown at Roxas, who grabbed my shoulder.
“Loosen your grip” Roxas said. Not, “Let her go”, just loosen. I did, and Luna was grateful for it. Peter sobbed. Hades brought the table back up slowly as we made our way to the elevator- I think, at least- and got inside, Sean following with his prayers. Zion pushed a button, and we started to go up. I let Luna go, and felt the adrenaline die. I was about to go back to my petrified state. Wonderful. Luna moved to the other side of the elevator, my knees buckling. I grabbed Zion’s shoulder, and leaned against it. Dizzy.
“You. Okay?” I asked him, my legs now going numb.
“Yeah, are you?” I fell backwards. Ow. Roxas grabbed my wrist, and helped me back up. I couldn’t talk again. Wonderful. Luna grabbed my ankle, and slammed me down.
“Hey!” Zion hissed. Luna laughed at us, and the elevator stopped.
“There you go. You’re out” she said. Sean prayed, and got out first. Zion grabbed my arm- the bad one- and told Roxas to get out. Now it was just us. Actually, it was us with an immortal- who I could only kill because she was wearing the necklace while I strangled her- and a very angry greek god.
“Not if I have any say!” ion jumped out, and Roxas shot something. Okay, so we were out. Good.
“You’re back! Oh my God, are you guys okay?” Chet’s voice asked. Oh, we really did make it.
“CodyjustwentallmonsteronusandIdon’tknowwhattodo andIdon’tknowifheiscreathingornotandIneedtofindhispulsebutcan’tandwejustfoughagodandIthinkI’mgoingcrazy!” Zion said, not taking any breathes between words. Too bad I couldn’t tell him I was alive. He checked my pulse, and pulled away.
“Cody? Cody, hey, Cody, if you hear me, you’ll twitch” Robin said. I couldn’t. “Cody? Um… Okay, Dieviete Inari, dzird manas lūgšanas. Let mans draugs dzīvo.” I felt like I was on fire, every nerve jolting. Christ! I didn’t move. I couldn’t. But this time, when they checked my pulse, they didn’t freak. “Lets get him inside. Tell me everything” Boss said, setting something beside me. I was rolled on it, and Boss picked me up. Ah, a blanket. Okay.
“Boys?! Clear a place for my friend” Roxas ordered, people scuttling back and forth. My head bobbed up and down, and then was set on a solid surface. What the hell?
“Is that him?” a kid asked.
“The prince?”
“Oh man, so cool!”
“Is he really a demon?” I wanted to hit whoever asked that, but couldn’t.
“Chet, is he okay?!” Hazel asked.
“Move it!” Artemis barked, a hand grabbing my wrist. Something sharp jammed in it, and slowly sunk under my skin.
“What is that?” Zion asked.
“Dish soap.” People started screaming. “I’m only kidding! Jeez! If I did that, what kind of a doctor would I be?” A bad one. Only thing was, he wasn’t a doctor. How comforting. I felt sick. This was just nonsense.
“Is he gonna wake up?” Zion fretted.
“I hope so.”
“He better. He owes me!” For what?! What do I owe you, Zion?! You’re the one who owes me for saving your scrawny little butt!
“Okay, but I don’t have any control over his body. Okay? I can’t wake him up.
“I can! Peter exclaimed, and somebody jumped on me. I spat out something, and moaned.
“So… Fat…!” Zion tackled me next.
“You’re alive! You’re alive!”
“A thank you would go a long way” Peter said. In reply, somebody threw a shoe at him. “Fine! I can take a hint.”
“Can you?! You better start running!” Roxas hissed.
“Don’t you ever hurt Cody again!” Hazel agreed.
“Back off!” Chet pitched in. Artemis snickered.
“Once I catch you, I’m going to make you pay for hurting my comrade… I wonder which limb I’ll sever first…?” Okay, that was scary. I hacked up a lung, and let my head rest on Zion’s shoulder.
“Ow” I moaned, and then I laughed a bit.
“Don’t you dare! That wasn’t funny!”
“I’m. Laughing. At you. I don’t. Owe you” I wheezed, and he grabbed my shoulders, pushed me out, he punched me.
“Owhhhh” random people said
“THAT was for the scare. And this-” he kissed me. Right in front of everyone.
“Oooooohhhhh.”
“That was for the kiss Peter stole.” I didn’t move.
“I-”m sorry.
“Its-” okay.
“Its re-”ally not.
“But you-” had no control over it.
“But I-” should have had some control.
“But-” you didn’t.
“I shou-”ldn’t have worried you like that.
“You alr-”eady did, so get over it.
“I’m st-”ill sorry!”
“Cody, I’m going to kiss you again if you keep this up.” I flushed.
“Aw! Kiss’im!” Peter encouraged. Another shoe.
“I thought you said you could take a hint!”
“I lied.”
“BACK OFF!!!”
“I swear to God!” Hazel made this noise, and Sean hit somebody with his bible.
“Ow! I was only seeing what blood type she was!” Chet punched him, and then dropped down.
“Christ! Sorry, Father” he said, Peter laughing. Zion was shoved onto me, and Roxas hit the wall. Hard.
“Lets see… Wow” Peter said, Chet screaming. I knew what he felt. When Peter bit me, it took my all. But for him? Peter wasn’t trying to make it comfortable at all.
“Get off of him!” Hazel hissed. Peter got off, and jumped on my head, though, it didn’t feel like him.
“His blood is very odd. I mean, its sweeter than any I’ve had before. I don’t even know what type of blood it is!” Chet got up, and phased through the table.
“You’re gonna be sorry for that.” And then, Peter yanked my head back.
“Do it. I dare you. I can hurt the prince” Peter replied, digging his nails into the holes. I winced, but smiled.
“I’m not much for royalty.” Chet took that as a ‘go for it’, and Peter? He left. I smiled, and laughed.
“Coward.” Zion punched me again.
“Moron.”
“Oh, cut me some slack” I replied, laughing. Artemis sighed, and gripped my arm.
“Cody, lay down, will you?” I sighed. “On your side.” I lay on my good side- if there was such a thing, it still hurt- and waited.
“Yeah?”
“I’m examining the puncture wounds. This is odd. May I?” he asked, taking a swab. I winced.
“You guys watch him, okay?” Roxas ordered. “I’m going to go out.” I jumped up, and bolted for his voice.
“Oh, come on! Let me go wherever the hell you’re headed to” I replied, grabbing his shoulder. Wrong shoulder.
“Stein, you better sit down.” Boss. And guess what boss always has with him? Chloroform. Yeah. I didn’t go anywhere.
And then, when they took the cloth away, I realized why my head hurt. It smelled like somebody had been drowning in roses and mints. Like perfume. Thats why I had a headache. The odor was too strong.
However, what really knocked me out was the fact somebody droped me. Not pointing any fingers (Chet did it).

Chapter thirty four

“What an idiot” Chet moaned, Boss putting Cody back on the table. Artemis smiled, and rolled Cody on his side.
“Stubborn. Roxas rubbed off on him” he said, laughing. I nodded.
“Yes he did.” Not entirely for the best, but he did it. Artemis decided that he wanted to figure out how deep the puncture holes went, and put a small straw type of thing down Cody’s neck. It went three inches.
“Those are huge” Chet said. I nodded.
“Hazel, what soul we do?” Jin asked. I smiled.
“Go play with Ak in the plane” I answered, and she did. She didn’t want to, but she did. Chet turned to Artemis.
“So, what are you? Army man, doctor, scientist… Which one?” he asked. Artemis smiled.
“Oh, I’m all of them. Vezeto trained me in all forms of fighting- though, I’m not very good at it- and Cody and I have been rivals for years now. I became a doctor like… Four days ago?” I jumped.
“Four days?!”
“Oh yeah. Read up on it, experimented with it, studied it, did simulations. I’m a doctor.” Chet shuddered.
“Seems like anyone can be anything they want without any experience these days” he said, and I decided to tease him.
“You mean like boys who think they can get any girl they want with smooth talk? Man, all these bachelors think that they can get the girl with NO practice!” Zion laughed, coming in after talking to Boss. Chet glanced at me.
“Hardy har har. Hilarious. Look, right now is no time to joke around.
“Agreed” Sean said, and then continuing the prayer in his corner. The thieves all had lots of fun, pickpocketing us. I figured it out, so they got nothing from me, but everyone else? They didn’t even have pockets when the thieves were done.
“Hey! That is my toothbrush!” Boss hissed, and Zion snickered.
“You carry a toothbrush in your pocket?”
“Don’t judge!” We judged. After ten more minutes of this nonsense, Cody woke up.
“Ooooowwww” he moaned, sitting up slowly. “I didn’t think chloroform hurt.” Chet winced.
“It doesn’t. I accidentally dropped you on your head when we were carrying you” Chet admitted. Cody didn’t even care.
“Where is Roxas?”
“Out getting food” Zion answered, watching Cody like a hawk, as if he might run for it.
“My head feels funky.”
“Side effect.”
“My leg is numb.”
“Sucks to be you, doesn’t it?”
“Why are you mad at me?”
“I’m mad because you decided that after almost dying you want to go out and run around!”
“I’m just tired of feeling useless!”
“And if something were to happen to you out there and we couldn’t find you?!”
“I wouldn’t need you to find me.”
“Like hell you wouldn’t!”
“I’m getting sick of that phrase.” Chet popped his knuckles, and hit Cody’s cheek. Hard.
“I agree with Zion. You’re going to get hurt out there if you aren’t careful.” Cody held his cheek, stunned.
“I tried to be safe for fifteen years locked up in a base and not even going outside to get materials” he finally started. “I tried to be so safe that I didn’t even go on one vacation. And look what that got me. RIGHT when I became a person of interest, my trying to be safe did nothing for me. Did it, Zion?” Robin walked in right then, and flinched.
“Ouch.”
“Not helping” I scolded. Boss crossed his arms, sighing.
“I don’t need to try and be safe. I’ve been safe, and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. What should I do, guys? Maybe hide in a closet and lock it from the inside so that nobody can find me? Oh, wait, they could find me even then. You guys know that. Being safe is what makes me predictable. More than likely, Hades thought I’d be here alone, which is why he sent Peter. That is why I’m so predictable. Because I’m TOO safe, I’m TOO soft, I’m TOO weak.” Everyone was silent. “Well? Is that bolted in your head? Got it memorized? Yes? Good.
“I’m going out, and getting some food, and just screwing around. I’d LIKE it if ZION would come, too, but if he is just going to moan about how I need to be safer, then I don’t need him to be there. So, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.” Artemis smirked, and gave Cody this ‘how old are you again?’ look. Zion sighed, and walked behind Cody as he wobbled out the door. Like, was waiting for him to faceplant wobble.
“You’re an idiot” Zion said.
“But you love me all the same.”
“For now.”
“Look at us! We’re having our first argument!”
“Cody, shut up and walk.”

Okay, I couldn’t help it. I followed them, Chet and Artemis right behind me.
“Do you think Cody and Zion are-”
“Not another word” Chet cut off. I smiled.
“X o, as I say.”
“Since when?” Chet replied.
“Since now” I answered.
“There they are” Artemis said, pointing at Cody and Zion, who were eating gelato. Artemis brought these robo bugs to spy on them. I smiled a he released them, and we all went to the pizza shop across the street, listening in on them.
“Look, I’m sorry, but its true” Cody said.
“I don’t care. Okay?”
“I’m not going to just drop this whole thing, act like none of it happened, and run off. Did you not hear me back at the whatever it was we were in?”
“I heard ‘blah blah blah blah blah, stupid plan.’ Does that count?”
“Zion, if you don’t like it, then go back.”
“You won’t be able to find your way back!”
“I’ll figure it out.” Zion sighed.
“Cody, what would I do if something happened to you, huh? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.” Cody smiled, and set his hand on Zion’s.
“Look, nothing is going to happen! I promise, we’ll get out of this!” Cody said, eating some more of his chocolate.
“I don’t care. Look, you’re being too rash. There is a fine line from not being safe and just being stupid. Running out of the barn we were in was stupid. You died, Cody. You weren’t breathing, you didn’t have a pulse, you were freezing. I mean, come on!” Zion replied angrily, slamming his poon on the table. “And now we are farther from getting your sight back.” Cody sat down the spoon, and crossed his arms.
“You think I like being blind, Zion? You think this is fun for me? Look, somebody in there isn’t them” Cody said, tapping his nose. “Every one of my senses is at its peak, excluding my sight. I know the smell of every person in there. Either there is an extra person- highly unlikely- or there is a spy. I don’t mean those kids, I’ve known they were there. They smell like they’ve been rolling in mud. Somebody in that group- in OUR group- smells like they’ve been dancing about in perfume. Its sickening.” Zion sighed.
“Nice charade.”
“I’m serious. It makes me sick, and they’re right across the street, watching us with Artemis and Hazel and Chet.” Wait, then who else was there?
“Hello! How is it going with those two?” Boss asked, sliding beside Artemis. We all realized how bad this was.
“Zion, we should go over and get some lunch.”
“We’re eating gelato!”
“Well, I want pizza. Lets go.” Boss smiled, licking his lips eagerly.
“Whats on the menu?” Boss asked Artemis, who laughed nervously.
“Uh, I don’t know” Artemis admitted.
“Yeah, you should go get a waiter” I agreed. Chet held my hand defensively under the table, and locked feet with Artemis.
“Oh, hey, guys!” Zion said, surprised. He really didn’t beliee Cody.
“So, who’s here?” Cody asked.
“Me” I said.
“I’m here” Artemis said, smiling.
“Hey” Chet greted.
“Ah, pr- I mean, Cody! Can I talk to you?” Cody smiled.
“Sure thing, Boss. What’s up?” Zion bristled.
“Oh, I just want to talk, thats all.” Cody nodded.
“Got that. Talk about what?”
“Well, about your wounds.”
“Um, why not talk about it here?”
“I have alarming news from Sean that I think I should share with you first.”
“I’ll go, too” Zion volunteered, allowing me to grab the knives on the table. There were three. I had three shots.
“No, this is private” the impersonator said, grabbing Cody’s arm.
“Okay, okay” Zion replied, sitting down. I smiled.
“While you guys talk, I’m going to the restroom” I said, smiling as I slid the knives up my sleeve. Not-Boss and Cody walked the same way as me, and then into the kitchen. I waited three seconds, and followed after them. Around the corner. Out to the back Behind the dumpster.
“So, who are you really?” Cody asked, and the fake laughed.
“Aren’t you getting tired? Nauseous?” Cody laughed.
“Yes, but I’m not going to pass out.” Non-Boss laughed, and I slipped around the green container, only a centimeter behind them. Cody was right, it smelled like the man had rolled in perfume for forever. I wanted to puke, but didn’t. How did Cody stand it?
“I’ll catch you” the fake replied. I jammed my knife in his spine, and then another in its abdomen. Of course, I only had one knife left. I threw it at the fake’s foot, and grew sick. I just killed a man. I just murdered a person. No, wait, didn’t. The fake’s face split open into four, and the illusion of a human slowly disappeared. The arms and legs were roots. The monster was a plant. I laughed.
“To think I was afraid of a flower!” I said. I shouldn’t have. The roots pierced me, hitting my right hand, right in the center. Then my left, and my leg. I screamed, crying. Cody turned towards me, and yanked on the roots. It burned!
“Now, prince. We are leaving” it said. Cody smiled.
“Not today.” He grabbed my knives- how he even knew where they were was a mystery- and sliced down on one of the roots. The smell grew more intense. Sickly sweet.
“Cody, run” I ordered as he sliced down on the next root, my leg coming loose. He laughed.
“You sound like Zion!” Chet bolted out.
“Hazel?! Hazel?!”
“Cody!” Zion shouted.
“Both of you!” Artemis hissed, and he was the first to arrive. “Ew.” The plant turned around, spores exiting from little leaves.
“Good night.” Cody plugged his nose, and I did the same as he cut down the last root. Chet was next, his shirt over his nose, holding a big stick from a chair which he tore off.
“Hands off!” He phased through the tree, and stabbed the stick right through the center. Zion didn’t make it. He was thrown aside, the plant now in a frenzy.
“You all will perish!” Zion came out of nowhere, and actually managed to create a hole in the center of the monster.
“NEVER my boyfriend.” Cody grabbed my arm, and passed me to Chet.
“And you said I had to be careful” Cody snorted.
“Cody, I swear to God-”
“Duck!” The tree slammed its hands through the building right above their heads, screaming. People started taking videos of the ninja kids fighting their vegetables.
“This is crazy!” one guy said.
“What is that thing?!”
“All of you need to exit the area right now!” I shouted at them, making motions for them to move. “All of you Get out of here!” Chet set me down, and glanced back.
“kay, I’m going to help them. Stay here.” Now I knew how Cody felt.
“But I can still help!” Didn’t Hades say I would become a magic? I read books on people like that all the time. They just said words and something would happen. I’d have to ask Robin for help once we got out of here. Then I realized Artemis was still in the middle of the fight. I couldn’t just leave him!
“Okay, just gonna move a bit” I said, getting back up on my feet. I cried, but bit my lip. “And we’re gonna save Artemi. We’re going to help Artemis, and everything will be just fine” I continued, slowly creeping over as the flower flailed about, Chet grabbing the stick and crushing its head. He phased three times. He was almost out. He only had two more left.
“Get out of here!” Zion ordered, Chet phasing through again, stabbing the plant through the roots again. What did a plant hate? Weed killer. Poison. Other plants taking away the su- The sun.
“Zion, make a cover over that thing!” I screamed, Chet now barely standing.
“What?!”
“ITS A PLANT! PHOTOSYNTHESIS!” Man, I never thought sicence would be the thing that saved me. Ever. Like, its science. Pre-algebra and math and science don’t do ANYTHING for archeologists. Zion caught on qick, and mae a bubble around them, blocking us out. Artemis… I checked his breathing,. Nothing. Pulse? Nothing. I used CPR, pressing harshly on his chest. He’d wake up with a few broken bones.
“Come on, get up” I ordered, pinching his nose. Two breathes.” There were screams, but I didn’t let that stop me. I had five minutes before he was dead. “Come on.” I kept pressing, forcing myself to push harder. “Wake up.” I gave him two breathes. Nothing. I continued, and he finally spat out, gasping as if he just surfaced from the bottom of the ocean. I pushed him on his side, checking his pulse. Okay, good. His breathing? Good. The boys? Hiding under the cover.
“Hey, Artemis. Arty. Artemis” I said, patting him. People didn’t call nine one one, but watched, cells phones out as they took the video.
“Idiots! Call nine one one! People could die in there!” I hissed, glaring at them. Somebody made the move, Artemis trembling. Oh yeah, LOTS of broken bones.
There was this explosion, and the screen was gone, green smoke everywhere. “Don’t breathe!” I shouted, covering my nose and Artemis’ face. Everyone screamed, running away. Cody and Chet walked out, carrying Zion on their shoulders.
“We did it” they wheezed, shirts over their faces. I nodded, and looked at Artemis.
“We gotta get these two to the hospital. They can’t take another hit” Cody said, suddenly going into a coughing fit. “We have t- Got to- I’ve got- Two words-” he said, not stopping. Crud.
“Three people?” Chet started to lose it to.
“Hazel, r- Run. Run fo- You have t- Get out- Run.” Dramatic! I glared, the green fog blanketing us.
“You all will perish before me!” It was still alive?
“Nope!” There was only one person who had such bad timing. Roxas. Robin and Boss- the real one- grabbed the boys, and I limped out on my own, looking at the mist. Where were they? This was insane! The ambulance got there, and I sighed in relief.
“Get those two to the hospital, and give me that!” I hissed, grabbing adrenaline.
“Hey!” I administered it all, and felt immediately better.
“Boss, watch them!” I grabbed my shirt, and draped it over my nose, running into the fight.
“Wait!” Robin hissed, running over to me.
“What?!” I growled, and he gave me three scrolls.
“These will help” he said. “Just throw them in random places.” I nodded, and bolted into the fight.

There were clashes, screams, and everything but the ‘HAHA, sucker! I win!’ victory dance shout. I threw the scrolls, and smiled. Robin made three fresh air zones. I jumped in one, getting fresh oxygen into my lungs. “Genius” I admitted, smiling. I had to hurry up before the adrenaline died. Roxas jumped in, and wheezed.
“Hey” he greeted. I nodded, and he gave me my knives.
“Thanks.”
“Hazel?”
“Huh?” He ruffled his hair, and kissed me. I didn’t know what to do, so I shoved him.
“Sorry, its not really the best time, but I like you. I love you. I want you to be happy, and I hope you and Cet have a happy life. Okay?” he asked, and was gone again. I got angry.
“You little thief!” He stole a kiss from me! “And I don’t even know if I’m in love with Chet!” Bad timing. Chet ran beside me, and sighed.
“Okay, then why didn’t you say so?” he asked. Crap.
“Chet, I’-” Cody ran in, wheezing.
“What the hell are you doing?!” Chet barked. Cody tapped the nose hidden under his shirt.
“You need my nose to see where that thing is” he answered, and Chet sighed.
“Moron!” I agreed, but Cody laughed.
“This way.” He stopped right in front of a giant venus fly trap, which ate me first.
“EWWWW!!! SO SLIMEY!” I screamed as it tried to get me down its throat. I wedged my knives in its throat, but slipped.
“Shinu!” Roxas broke the teeth of the monster, who screamed, and grabbed my shirt. “What were you thinking?” he asked, pulling me out.
“That I waned to help!” The teeth grew back. Roxas threw me out, and then… He was stuck inside. And that part of me that beat when we first met- the part that was a normal girl- screamed. It broke out, and let me warn you, girls are scary. I screamed words I didn’t even know I knew, and this is what I got.
“Te kaitahu marama te wairua pouri! Tahu i roto i tona!” The monster screamed, burning up on the inside. “You ate my crush!” Crap. I let it slip. I jammed my knife in its neck, and slid down, screaming. Gross. This hurt. Ow. I slit it to the side, ignoring the pain. Nobody got to eat the person who still owed me a kiss. Nobody, nothing, nohow. The monster screamed, and a fist broke out right beside me. I yanked Roxas out, and fell down, the spores dying. They became flowers, and those flowers fell aparts, landing on us. Roxas leaned over me, all gross and simey, smiling.
“Sorry” he said, and I smiled. What the hell. I flushed, and hugged him.
“You owe me” I replied.
“What do I owe you?” I punched him in the face.
“Ow!” THAT is for saving me and not yourself” I growled, and then I pulled him in, kissed him, and ignored the slime.
“Mnn!”
“And that is for the kiss you stole” I said, and he nodded.
“Is this going to be a love hate relationship?” he asked. I sighed, and looked around.
“I’m sorry. I just felt I needed to do that. But we can’t be a thing.”
“Oh, you’re still with Chet? Okay.”
“No. I’m with nobody, okay? I can’t like either of you” I sighed, rubbing my eyes.
“Hazel, just go out with Roxas” Chet replied, walking up behind me. I nodded, but saw something really bad.
“Where is Cody?” I asked. Everyone freaked.
“Yes!” Peter exclaimed, jumping out of the trash. “I’ll make him pay!” Robin smiled, and jumped on him.
“Like hell you will!” I found Cody first, leaning over somebody.
“Come- On, get- Up.” I grabbed him, and then saw who it was. Robin. Robin ran in. A bit of my heart broke. Cody pushed me down, and punched Robin. “Get up! I- Know you- C’n hear- Me! Get u-P!” Peter laughed, and stopped right in front of Cody, who was done. “GET UP!!!” The ground rattled. Concrete broke. Peter went flying. We couldn’t see Cody or Robin.
“Cody?!”
“Cody!” I walked two more steps, and bumped into him. His eyes… Robin woke up, and everything stopped. I saw Cody’s eyes… The blindfold… Sean was standing beside Boss, praying. I helped Robin back up, and turned to Cody. He didn’t move, just sat there. Roxas was flailing in the trash, only his legs out, and Chet was being dragged into a car.
“Cody” I whispered, leaning down to him. “Cody.” He looked up, as if half dead. “Hey. We did it. We’re all alive” I said, patting him. He nodded dreamily, and looked around, coughing.
“I- Is he- Did we-?” I smiled at him, and nodded. Robin at behind Cody, smiling.
“You’re okay. So, you gonna pass out yet?” he asked, laughing.
“Zion- Is he-”
“Zion is okay. We got him out, Cody. All thanks to you” I said, smiling at him. Only his left eye was open. The rest of the black crumbled off. His eyes had burned flesh around them, steaming.
“My eyes- Hurt” he said, holding them. I lightly pulled his arms down, smiling.
“Its okay. We’re going to fix them” I promised. Roxas waited, growing impatient.
“Cody, just let go” he said.
“Zio- I wanna-” He got up, and looked around, squinting. “I don’t- my glasses-” He walked over to the ambulance, and past everyone. Nobody stopped him, not even Boss. Zion was out cold, laying in a bed, medics standing by. Roxas ran behind Cody, arms out to catch his friend once he fell. Roxas jumped out of the trash, and picked me up. I flushed.
“I can walk, you know” I told him, smiling. He nodded, grinning.
“I know, but I may never get to do this again” he replied, Chet smiling. He was being so mature about this. He knew we’d always be friends.
“Cody, just pass out already!” Roxas ordered. Cody laughed, holding Zion’s hand.
“Is he- Gonna be- Okay?” he asked the medics. “And Artemis?” They nodded.
“A couple broken ribs for the other boy. This one is just unconscious with a hole in his thigh. Didn’t hit the femur. They’ll be okay” the men answered. “Lets get you guys to the hospital.” Cody noded.
“I’mma- Can I r- Ide with- Him?” Cody asked, pointing at Zion. They looked at one another.
“Sure, kid.” Roxas glared, and Cody smiled.
“I’m- Thank you.” Cody fell back, and Roxas sighed.
“FINALLY!”
“What kind of a friend are you?!” The nurse asked.
“The kind that tries to make sure his friend isn’t about to bleed out because he is moving about so much” Roxas answered, handing Cody to the doctors. I smiled, Roxas setting me on a bed.
“I call riding with her” he and Chet said together, smiling at one another.
“Sorry I stole your girl” Roas sighed.
“I didn’t have her to begin with” Chet replied. “We’re just friends.” MY hands and leg stated to hurt. A doctor gave me morphine, and let me slip into unconsciousness, smiling. They were the best.
“Hazel?!” Jin was there? I smiled.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back at it before you know it” I answered, and I fell asleep, drifting in happy dreams.

Ch thirty five

I waited as Hazel was getting checked up, everyone in different roms. Artemis was up, walking about and seeing how everyone was. He didn’t have much energy, but he tried. I loked in on Cody and Zion, who were put in the same room.
“Man, this sucks” Chet sighed, and I nodded.
“Yea it does.” A was fast asleep on his shouler, Jin hugging me. “But everyone is alive. Thats good” I continued, Jin crying.
“You can go in now” the nurse told me, and Jin bolted in, sitting i the chair. Chet nodded.
“Lets go see Robin” Chet said to Ak, smiling. Robin was locked in a room, tied down to the bed.
“I’m fine!” he screamed when they first put them in there. Then he looked at the only nurse in there. “All of you just let me loose!” he continued. Plural. She smiled, upping the dosage.
“Sure, sonny, after we help you out” he said, smiling at him. I laughed, and walked into Cody’s room alone. Artemis decided to join me, and sat down, wincing.
“Ow… Ribs… Man” he chuckled, sitting beside Zion. I nodded, looking at Cody, who was hooked up to an oxygen tank. His eyes were seriously burned. They had to get him to surgery and fix them up before he lost his sight again, permanently. They were fine, and they said that he’d be able to use them immediately, but that still didn’t make me feel better. Cody almost died. Again. Zion was laying there with bandages wrapped around his forehead, under a mat of bloody hair. He looked like me. I smiled, and then Cody twitched.
“Ohhh. Hey, is he-” Artemis asked. Cody rolled his head to the side, facing me, and softly snored.
“Nope” I answered, smiling. Artemis then pointed at Zion, whose hand fell off the bed.
“This guy is so weird” he said, laughing. Cody, however, did the same. A strong gust of wind hit my face, along with a fist.
“Twu wuv” Peter said, pulling the beds beside one another and putting their hands together. He jumped up, standing on the ceiling. “Anyway, these two okay? Hazel alright?” he asked. I grabbed my shoe, thought, and put it back on. It’d fall down, and hit one of the two in the face.
“Yeah. Now get out of here.” He nodded, and was gone. I pulled my seat closer to the bed, and smiled.
“Its kinda cute” Artemis admitted, trying to pick up is chair. I got up, and moved it closer for him.
“I think so.”
“Thanks” he said. I nodded.
“Hey, I’m going to go and get Hazel some roses. Want anything while I’m out?” I asked. Artemis smiled.
“A new rib cage?” he guessed, and I smiled.
“Sure, lets see if I can find one.” I walked out of the hospital, people parting, making a path for me.
“Thats him” they whispered.
“He helped stop that monster.”
“I hear they’re all in the hospital” another said. I walked into a rose shop, and girls swarmed me. Just like a base.
“Oh man! Are you getting roses for that girl?!”
“I’d be a better catch!”
“As if! I’d be the best!”
“Keep dreaming!” I smiled, and pushed past them, grabbing the freshest bunch of white and red roses.
“Sorry, ladies, I’m taken.” They moaned, and I walked up to the cashier desk, but got them free. I smiled, and walked back to the hospital. By then, Boss was having a heart attack and asking where I was. I snuck past, and dropped the roses off hin Hazel’s rom, smiling at her. She was grinning in her sleep.
“Aw” Jin said, smiling as she held her hand. I nodded, and walked back to Cody’s room. Just in time. Zion started waking up, and looked over at Cody, who was still asleep. He flushed, and looked around.
“Where-”
“Hospital” Artemis answered, smiling. “Guess what we get to eat for the next few days? Jello!” Artemis continued, whispering with sarcastic joy. “Yum.” Zion laughed, and I sat back down beside Cody.
“Is everyone okay?” Zion asked, looking at Cody, who remained still and unconscious.
“Yeah. Cody can see again. Father finished the recitation.” He nodded, squeezing his hand.
“Moron” Zion said, smiling. “He fought till you guys won, didn’t he?”
“Yeah. He actually saved Hazel’s life,Robin’s life, Chet’s life, and your life” I answered, Cody’s chest rising slowly up and down. Zion’s smile faltered a bit.
“And here I thought he was the one that needed saving.” I nodded, and got up.
“I’m going to go see Hazel now, okay? You guys be careful” I said, leaving. Chet walked out with Ak, who was laughing.
“Robin’s lost his marbles, Robin’s lost his marbles” they chanted, swinging their arms back and forth. I scoffed, grinning, and walked into Hazel’s room. She sat up, and smiled at me.
“Hi” I greted. She turned to the roses.
“How’d you know?” she asked, looking back at me.
“Know what?”
“About the flowers. Roses are my favorite. How’d you know?” she asked, and I sat down, Jin leaving so we’d have some alone time.
“Lucky guess.” And I looked her up. You know, what every boy does. She smiled, and held my hand.
“You’re sweet” she yawned. “You’re really sweet.” I blushed, and smiled.
“Aw, look at you two” Capillus said in my ear piece. I ignored him, and smiled at her. She fell asleep again, and I followed her, laying my head beside hers.

Chap thirty six

I woke up slowly, and felt my hand in someone elses. My eyes hurt. I moaned, and reached for my head. Somebody squeezed my hand. Zion.
“You’re up” he said, smiling. I took off the bandages over my eyes, and slowly opened them, artificial light flooding the room. I smiled, and looked over at Artemis and Zion, both of whom were eating jello. They had already blown through six of them. Each. I smiled at him, and sat up.
“Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow” I chuckled,holding my left eye. Thats the one that really hurt. “What happened?” Zion shrugged.
“Well, it seems you saved everyone” Artemis answered. I laughed.
“Haha. I was right” I said, Zion rolling his eyes. I realized I was hooked up to a tank, and laid back down. I was still exhausted. Of course, I didn’t get a break.
“Ah, you’re awake” He said, coming up right in front of me. I jumped, the tubes yanking.
“Ow!” Zion lay up, and blocked me with one arm. My eyes started burning. Peter growled, jumping on the beds, sprawling out like a rabid dog, his left leg on Zon’s side, and his chest and right leg over me, his fingers growing claws, his fangs growing. His eyes grew red, the pupils blue and green, strips forming under his eyes. He hissed, and braced himself.
“Oh, come on. I just came to see my son” He said, pulling his face back. I winced. Ow. And then I saw it.. He looked like my dad. My real dad. Like Frank Stein, an immigrant from India, with black horn rimmed glasses, black eyes, and graying black hair. Zion held my hand as I tried to figure out what happened. How was he my dad. Why didn’t I know my father was a monster sooner? Why didn’t I believe it at first. Roxas and Chet were at the door, slamming their fists. Artemis was up, and prepared for an attack, pulling out a grenade of sorts.
“Get out” he ordered, finge about to pull the pin.
“You wouldn’t. Any contagion in the air could kill these two, who just got off of morphine and are barely alive” Dad said, smiling at me. I couldn’t grasp this. The cardiac monitor beeped rapidly, and only got worse as Peter snarled.
“Keep away from the Prince.” Robin was at the window, and collapsed. Roxas shadow traveled in, and was about to slam his heel into Dad’s skull when he saw who it was.

When I was six, I got to meet my Dad. I didn’t know it was him, but blood testing said he was mine. I smiled, happy to see who I belonged to. I’d never been anyone’s friend, or son. And there I was, standing beside my best friend and waiting at the airport with Boss for my father. A man from India stepped off the plane, and smiled at me. I grew afraid, and hid behind Boss’ leg. Zion scuttled behind him, too, not knowing what to do. Boss smiled, and patted our heads as the man ran over, luggage flying behind him.
“My boy!” Tears streamed down his face as he ran, and he threw down his bags, picking me up, ignoring the buff man in front. “Oh, my boy! My little Cody!” I looked at Boss to see if I could hug him back, and Boss nodded, smiling kindly. I wrapped my arms around the man’s neck, and felt myself grow more attached. I even fell asleep on his shoulder.
We had grown closer and closer, until I was twelve. He was called out for duty. I remember the last day. I was crying, and hugged him then as I had all those years before. “I don’t want you to go” I said to him, not letting go.
“Cody, I’m sorry. I have to.”
“You promised we’d go out to that pizza place” I said. “Today. On my birthday. You promised. Dad, you said we could go to the pizza shop and get gelato. You were going to get bubble gum and I would get chocolate, remember?” I asked, sobbing into his lab coat. He smiled, pulling me lightly away.
“I did promise you, didn’t I? Well, I’ll see you in three years, on your birthday. We’ll hang out then. Okay?”
“But, Dad, I want to hang out now” I replied, sobbing more. “Please, don’t go.”
“Hey, buck up, soldier. I’ll see you soon” Dad promised. He took off his coat, and wrapped it over my shoulders. “Here. So you’ll remember it.” He seemed to be gone, walking to his plane. I lost him in the crowd.
“Lets go” Roxas said. I don’t know what got into me,but I sprinted. Boss was walking back, and saw me run.
“Dad! Dad! Dad, come back!” I screamed, shovin past people. “Dad! Dad, don’t go!” I started to cry harder, my vision blurring. “Dad! You promised! You promised me! You said we’d-” Boss grabbed me, wrapping me in an embrace. Right then, I saw my Dad, getting on a plane, crying. “Dad!”
“Shhhh. Cody, its okay” Boss whispered in my ear, holding me closely. I bit my lip, my arms barely out of the lab coat. I wanted to go with Dad. I wanted to see Dad. Roxas ran up in front of me, and hugged me, too.
“I’m sorry” he said, Boss letting go.
“Dad… Dad…” The door started closing. “Dad!” I know, childish, but… He was the first person who loved me. Like, really loved me. And it hurt me.
“Roxas, would you-” Roxas held up my wrist. It didn’t click for a sec, but did when he almost got it in my skin.
“But, what about-” under my skin “Dad? Dad?!” I saw the plane take off. Boss pressed down, and sighed.
“I’m sorry, Cody. I know it hurts. But you’ve got us.” I went numb. Not asleep, but numb. Boss and Roxas sighed as I fell on his shoulder, and he held my head.
“Cody, don’t worry. Okay?” Roxas said as Boss picked me up, tears trickling onto his suit shoulder. And right then, right when we got outside, a car broke through the window. And it got worse.
I know you guys didn’t know too much- actually, nothing- about him, but he was a good man. It hurt when he left. And getting hit by a truck didn’t help.

I went back to the present, Peter on the floor, hissing, Artemis tied to his chair and Roxas stuck to the wall. He was smiling at me with my father’s face, holding chocolate ice cream.
“I promised, didn’t I?” he asked, sitting down beside me. I moved away.
“Not my birthday. It’s February” I growled, Zion’s arm still over me.
“No, its November tenth, Cody. Your birthday.” I rolled my eyes.
“You’re a whole year late” I grumbled, letting Zion’s arm up. “And I don’t believe you. My father couldn’t hurt a soul. My father was a sweet man who would get a-”
“Triple shot latte with two sugars, a biscuit, and split three homemade pancakes with his son every Sunday morning. Its me, Cody” Dad said, and I knew he was telling the truth. “And I’m sorry I didn’t see you sooner. I’m sorry you have to see me like this. I’m sorry I’m hurting you” Dad continued, smiling as he set the ice cream beside me. “I’m trying, Cody, my boy. I’m trying.” This made me sick. I clenched my fist.
“My friends and I… You put us here… And it hurts, Dad. What the hell happened to you?”
“I made a deal with the devil.” I bit my tongue so hard it bled.
“Naw s*#^, Sherlock! I mean what were you thinking?! Why didn’t you come home?! Did you even know what happened after your plane took off?!” I screamed. My eyes burned, and I clutched them. Ow. I was really hurting. “Didn’t I mean anything to you?! Couldn’t you have tried to get home sooner?! And make it so my friends didn’t get hurt?!” I ranted on, crying. “It flippin hurts! I’m dying on the inside, and you made it worse!” Zion grabbed my hand, Artemis moaning.
“Cody, calm down” Roxas wheezed, peeling himself off the wall.
“Cody, I’m sorry” Dad said, setting a hand on my shoulder. Done. Done, done, done, done, done.
“No! You aren’t sorry! And if you are, you can’t show it!” I growled, pushing him off. These tubes were messing me up. I yanked them out of my nose- which hurt- and tore out the IV.
“Cody, what are you-” Zion began.
“Get back in there!” Roxas ordered.
“Cody, lay back down” Artemis said, looking my way. I felt my lungs collapsing, but didn’t care. I’d do one last thing before I passed out again. I pushed on dad’s forehead, and it bled.
“Broke- Me.”

Dreams are a messed up place. But for me, they’re memories. All of them. And Dad triggered the memory of me getting hit by a car, and going flying in the air as Boss got caught under the grill, Roxas over the hood. People screamed, the car opened, I hit the escalator.
“Grab him!” a man hissed.
“Which one?!”
“The dorky one!” I was sliding down to them, crying. Dad. Dad, help me. Dad.
“What about this kid?” the second asked as he picked me up. The first grabbed a gun, wearing a ski mask.
“Pop him!” He pointed the gun at Roxas, who jumped off the side and over to Boss.
“Hurry up and get the car started!” Dad, help me! I wanted to scream, but my whole body was numb. Not my mouth. I mean, I couldn’t talk, but thats not what I needed to do. I sank my teeth into the strangers arm, and he dropped me.
“Hey!” The first shot so many rounds, hitting so many people as the second got me in the car.
“Lets go!” I was tossed in the back, Roxas shouting as Boss tried to get out and save me. Dad, why? Why did you leave? Why was this happening. Dad, help me. Get off the plane, and help me. Dad. The stranger grabbed a rope, and tied it.
The next day, Boss found me, but not until they made a video of me being hit multiple times and posted it on the news. On every channel, actually. Thats what happened the day that dad left.

I woke up again, now tied down to the bed, alone. Nobody was there with me, and nobody was coming in. My eyes burned. I felt myself choke up. Why? Why did my Dad become a monster? Why’d he hurt me? Hurt us? What happened to my father? The one I loved who loved me back. Beside my bed was the melted ice cream, and a card I couldn’t read. This was torture. “Let me out” I said, crying a bit more. Why?
“Please, let me out.’
I tried.
“Please. Please, just let me know I’m not alone” I sobbed,. I didn’t want to be alone.
I tried.
“Just let me know I’m not locked up alone!”
I’m sorry.
“Please! Please, I’m begging you! Just a sign! Anything!” I screamed. Anything to keep that thing’s voice out of my head.
Cody, my son.
“Anything!”
I did promise you, didn’t I?
“Don’t leave me alone… Please, it hurts.”
I’ll see you in three years.
“It hurts. Please, just show me I’m not alone.” Finally, Roxas walked in with a plate. I couldn’t stand the voices anymore. His voice. The voice. I was on the brink of insanity.
“Hey. Are you okay?” he asked, and I cried a bit more.
“That stupid jerk. Who does he think he is?” I replied, but he didn’t seem to understand me. “He can’t just come in here and expect me to be okay!”
“Cody? Cody, are you okay?”
“No, I’m hurting” I answered, tiring myself out.
“Boss? Boss?! Emergency! Get the medics!”
“Idiot, I’m fine!” I protested, Boss running in. The doctor ran in, and a nurse followed. I didn’t have time for this. I turned to Roxas.
“Cody, you’re going to be okay, alright?”
“Whats up with him?” Boss asked as the nurse played with my IV.
“Shock, probably from his encounter with the unwanted guest” the doctor hypothesised. “He just needs more rest. Its amazing he isn’t dead, a whole lung collapsed, his eyes being burned that bad, and getting hurt that bad… I mean, its amazing” the doctor answered, wetting a towel. “Also, he pushed himself WAY too hard. How long has Cody had a fever?” Boss looked at Roxas, who sighed.
“He didn’t have one before we had that fight. I mean, he had one in the beginning of our little adventure, but that was six days ago” Roxas answered, watching me.
“I don’t have a fever though” I replied, not letting myself go under. “Let me out. I’ve been sleeping too long.” Peter jumped on Boss’ head, and smiled. Robin tried SO hard not to hit him, and failed. Miserably.
“Come down here, you rat!” he hissed, jumping on Boss’s shoulder. Peter laughed, sticking his tongue out.
“Catch me if you can! NNNN!” I rolled my eyes.
“Morons” I grumbled. They seemed to hear that just fine before they set the towel on my forehead, and the nurse sighed.
“Maybe we should take him off the morphine?” she asked.
“Please” I said. They got that, too. My limit was one word. Wonderful. “Off” I sighed, looked at the restraints. Roxas and Peter stopped, Boss looking on up and glaring at the pagan.
“Well whaddya know” Peter said, smiling at me. The nurse watched him, and made sure he didn’t do anything drastic. I looked at him, but for another reason.
“Why?” I asked. Why help us? You’re Hades’ guy, so why save the son f his enemy- or at least, try to protect him.
“Ah. Because Hades may not agree with what you did, running away, but he doesn’t WANT for either of you to die” Peter explained, walking off of Boss’ head and onto the ceiling. The doctors gasped, Roxas taking off his shoe.
“I will chuck this at you” Roxas warned. Peter smiled at me.
“So, where is Hazel? Her parents are worried” Peter said, looking down on me. I didn’t know, so I sat there as the nurse let me out of the restraints.
“Dunno.” I rubbed my wrists, still a bit groggy. Peter nodded.
“Well, I’m supposed to stick with you or her, so you’re stuck with me. The monitor beeped rapidly. I didn’t like Peter. He wasn’t doing anything. I grabbed the gelato, and threw it. My eyes burned again. Ow, ow, ow, ow. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.
“No!” Peter slipped, and fell on the bed, allowing me to kick him a bit. “Out!” The doctor got me in an arm lock, and barked at the nurse.
“Ow! Hey, I’ helping!” Peter protested.
“DIE!” Roxas screamed, joining the fight.
“Nurse!”
“Boys, get off the bed!” Boss ordered, grabbing Roxas by the shirt collar and Peter by the ankle.
“You aren’t helping, fangface!” Roxas growled, and I agreed.
“Go!” I growled, the nurse sighing.
“Leave my son be!” Crap.
“Dad?” He was back, and he was mad.
“All of you let go of my son right now, or you’ll have hell to pay.” I got out of the bed, still fighting the fact that that thing was my father. No. I was wrong. It was an illusion. I’m still asleep. I’m not here, he isn’t here, we aren’t here. No. Its all wrong.
I fell off the side of the bed, the doctor and nurse running to the other end of the room. I needed to get out.
Actually, I needed to get all of my anger out on someone. I got so mad, and felt like I was going to explode. Robin and the gang ran in, and froze.
Peter got in front of me again, hissing. I punched him, and grabbed the monitor. Screw this.
“Hey, get back” Peter said to me. I ignored him, and jumped on his back, gaining momentum. I brought the machine over my head, and screamed.
“BITE ME!”
“Already did!” Peter replied as I slammed it down. Dad was gone, and He was back, holding onto the bar, the monitor almost exploding with noises.
“That wasn’t nice, Cody” Dad said.
Neither are you!
I kicked him, and he let go. “Are you really that mad at me?” he asked, arms out. I wasn’t thinking. I ran right up to him, and kept hitting him, feeling like all I was hitting was concrete.
“Stop him! If his blood pressure elevates any more, he’ll-” I didn’t care. Not a bit. They said if it got any worse- the blood pressure- I’d go into a comma. I. Didn’t. Care. I kept punching, but that was what He wanted me to do. He wrapped his arms around me, and didn’t let go, even as I kept hitting him. God this hurt. He laughed.
“Cody, I hate your friends. They’re all so viscious, and they’ve tainted you. Not only that, but they don’t deserve you. I want to kill them all, but I’m not. I wont kill any of them. Sure, I’m DEFINITALLY going to hurt some and take some hostage, but I won’t ever kill any of them. Cody, I just want to go home with you. Go fishing, maybe Be a normal, happy family” he said.
You lying, sneaky cheat. I reached behind me, grabbed a scalpel, and jammed it in his back He didn’t falter, or even twitch.
“I get you’re mad at me. I’m mad at me, too. But we can start over. Just you and me.”
You broke me. You broke me, and ruined my life. I hate you. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. I kept stabbing him, nobody making a move to help me. All but Hazel, that is.
“You leave Cody alone.” Zion slowly walked in, leaning on her shoulder, smiling.
“If you hurt my date, I’ll be VERY angry.” Artemis rolled in on a wheelchair, smiling.
“I wonder which limb I’ll sever first…”He put something on my shoulders, and left me alone as I held a black knife. What was I wearing? I looked down.
That jerk off. His lab coat which I had lost. Zion stumbled over, Peter still on the defensive, sniffing around. He hissed, and then calmed down.
“Isn’t this fun?” he asked. Hazel glared at him, and sighed. I pulled the sleeves on, everyone watching. Done. I was sick of it all.
“Break” I said, sighing. I needed a break. Hazel sighed, and let Zion in.
“Cody, you should rest a bit more” he said, pointing behind me. I smiled.
“No.” I felt so rebellious, and it was awesome. I kept grinning, and Hazel smiled, walking on a crutch, her left arm in a sling as the other remained bandaged.
“Wanna go out?” she asked Roxas, who nodded. What a puppy. Peter looked at Zion and I, and sighed.
“Cody, go back to sleep.” I laughed. My day to be normal went down the drain.
“Nope.” I walked out, holding my left eye. That was the one that hurt the most. Ha ha. Zion walked on my right, more like hobbling with a small grin.
“Stubborn” he said, and I nodded.
“Lol.”

Later I could talk more, and smiled more, going off and playing at an arcade. I laughed, Zion trying to figure out how to play with the controller.
“A is punch, B is kick, Y is combo, X is block” I said, trashing his guy.
“What the hell?! I’m pushing it and can’t get it!” he said, button mashing. I laughed, and then the screen got all white, with a large “K.O!” on it. I laughed.
“Cody, twenty seven! Zion, two!” I let him win those, FYI. “Lets play again!” Zion rolled his eyes, and pointed at the motorcycle that was attached to the game.
“I’m trying that out” he said, walking off towards it. I smiled, and trailed after him, Peter trying to sneak up behind me. I turned around, and smiled at him. He sighed, and sat cross legged on the floor.
“You annoy me” he said, and I winked at him.
“Dido.” I walked over to Zion, who was on the machine, putting in his tokens.
“Ready? Set? GO!” the computer screamed, and Zin blasted forward, the motorcycle flying up as he did. Now, around him was a circle… Know what, picture time.

Get what is looks like now? It is a crude drawing, but I think I did pretty darn well.
“Wow!” a kid said, watching as Zion flipped upside down in the red circle. I smiled, and clapped.
“What?” Peter asked, looking at the machine in awe. “How does that hold the weight of a person and machine?” he asked. I smiled. Zion was at the front of the race.
“Nice job!” He won the race.
“Bonus round!” the computer said, and Zion sighed.
“Okay, fine.”
“Do the best tricks on the bike, and get extra tickets!” the computer explained, and Zion? Didn’t even try. He twirled, actually jumped on top of the bike and rode it, and did so many tricks that people crowded him. He ended up getting 778 tickets, which was a new record. He walked to the desk, and handed the man all the tickets. They said that that won him whatever he wanted. They shouldn’t have said that. He smiled.
“Does the motorcycle on that game really work?” I smiled.
“I could make it go” I answered. The guy stared at us.
“Are you serious?” he asked. We nodded.
“You said ‘anything you want, kid’” Zion quoted.
“I meant on the wall!”
“A bit late. We’ll take the bike” I replied, smiling. He decided that he’d make it even. We got the bike, he never had to see us again.
“Alright” Zion agreed, and he got right to work,separating the bike from the game, kids watching us.
“You think you can get this working?” Zion asked as we rolled it out to the food court. I looked at him.
“Really? This is me we’re talking about” I replied, smiling smuggly. “I can do anything” He laughed.
“Keep telling yourself that” he replied as I got it to the first table we saw. The manager said we couldn’t park inside. I replied that we weren’t, and that it wasn’t a real bike yet. He smiled at me, and nodded.
“Okay… Kids these days. You gona try and get it working?” he asked, handing me a monkey wrench. I smiled.
“I’m not going to try, I’m just going to do it” I replied, smiling. He laughed.
“Sure. I gotta see this” he said, and I worked thirty minutes straight. The motor purred, the kids screamed in delight, and the manager smiled.
“I’ll be-” I revved up the engine, and grinned at my good work. Zion walked over with a popsicle in his mouth, and smiled.
“Did you get the helmets?” I asked.
“Yeah.” I smiled as he tossed me one, and he grinned. “I also got some stuff to paint with” he continued. “You know, to make it ours.” I nodded.
“So thats why you got my JUST black” I said, laughing. He nodded, and tossed me a paint brush.
“May we?” I asked the manager. He nodded.
“Sure. You guys have a blast” he replied. Then, before leaving, he turned back to me.
“Wat does it run off of?” he asked, and I grinned.
“Oxygen. It takes in and releases pure, clean air” I answered. Yeah, I’m that cool. He laughed, waved goodbye, and left. I smiled, and thought of what to put on my helmet. Peter peered over the table.
“What are you guys doing?” Zion slammed the red paint bucket over his head, and glared.
“None of your business” he growled, and I sighed. Peter’s eyes got all big and stuff, and they were watering, and his lip was out. He had mastered the puppy face. Even Zion felt uncomfortable. I sighed, and pulled up a chair for him.
“Okay, hold still” I said, wetting a towel in my hand. Zion grew jealous. Peter looked at me like I was crazy. I cleaned his face begrudgingly, and Zion got really mad.
“Why are you helping this jerk?!” he hissed, slamming his hands on the table. I shrugged, sternly watching Peter.
“Well, look at him. He didn’t know about some of the games in that arcade, meaning its probably his first time out here, and he doesn’t have anyone looking out for him. He has our- well, my- backs, but we don’t have his. Thats not fair” I answered, Peter not sure of whether or not to hit me as I cleaned of his face. “Besides, the puppy eyes got me. I caved.” Peter glared at me, and then came the voices again.
I did promise you, didn’t I?
Curse it, not now. I wanted to have fun, not freak attack. Not here, not now.
Hey, kiddo! I don’t remember him ever greeting me like that. Was he really in my head now? Guess what?! I got your friend with me! If you don’t come home, I’ll beat him. Sorry, kid, but I need to keep you safe. Holy crap, he was in my head. I clutched my eye. It started burning. And that is a warning for you. Sorry I’m hurting you. Want me to explain?
“Cody?” Peter asked. Zion got out of his chair, and reached in his pocket.
“I’m making a call” he said. I nodded. Best not to worry him.
I’ll tell you, even if you don’t want to know. When you passed out in the hospital, I may have implanted something in your eye. It hurts, doesn’t it?
“Curse you” I whispered aloud. “Where is he?” Wait, wasn’t Hazel with him, too? Roxas, what the hell?
Well, he is where we had our first birthday celebration. The girl, however, is with me, right here. To bad I can’t put her on to talk, its more like a telepathy thing. HATE you. I got up, and glared forward, thinking. Where did we have my first birthday?
“Where are you?” HATE you. SO BAD.
It doesn’t work that way, Cody It simply doesn’t work! NOW, if you find Roxas, I’ll keep up the little treasure hunt. And hurry, Cody. He might be getting a bit… Crushed. You know, the things humans are best at. The fairy ring. Thats where we had our first birthday. I nodded, and slowly got out of the chair.
“I need to go to the restroom” I told Peter, who didn’t stop watching me.
“I’ll go with you, to, you know, keep you safe?”
“Zion wouldn’t like that, Peter, and you know that” I replied, running off. Where did we go? I ran over to see if there were any maps posted, but they were all torn down.
That is cheating, Cody. Fine. I closed my eyes, and turned around. Dad took me from the food court with a blindfold over my eyes. I had to go straight from memory. First, I took eighteen steps. However, I was smaller, maybe half my height, so half my steps. Maybe nine or so. I took the nine steps, and opened my eyes. There was a hallway to my left and right. What did he say?
Ready, Cody? Remember, its a game. I’ll spin you three times, and you walk towards me I twirled. One. Two Three. I stopped. Where was his voice from… Cody, this way. This way! Left. He spoke to me, to the left. I opened my eyes, and ran down the hall. Oh no. Another obstacle.
Dad, I smell popcorn.
Yeah, and we’re going to go past the popcorn and someplace else. Ready? Spin three more times, and towards something cold. Here, I’ll help. I wasn’t going to spin… Curse it, I had to in order to jog my memory. I twirled again. One. Two. Three. Which way did I turn? I couldn’t remember… Gosh! What did he say?
Better hurry, Cody. Roxas is in a world of pain right now. No, not that.
Dad! What happened to the cold and warm thing?
Cody, you’re smart. There is a place colder than other places, isn’t there? Go towards the cold. I opened my eyes. That moment, I reached for the cold, and hit glass. Cold, freezing glass. The ice cream shop. We bought ice cream, but he didn’t let me look still. I didn’t see a fairy circle.
Okay, Cody, turn around.
DAD, I don’t like this game.
Don’t worry! We’re almost there. Just turn. We’re going to… To a kid’s paradise. I looked around. Kid’s paradise, kid’s paradise, kid’s- There. Behind me was a indoor roller coaster, closed down. But, the lights were on. The name? Kiddie Kastle, a kid’s paradise. Count on the old man to make an interesting little puzzle using his own son and the memories hidden inside my head. Truely. I grabbed the fence, and jumped over.
“Hey, kid! Get back here!” a man shouted.
“Sorry, I’ve got to grab my shoe!” I lied, running inside. The lights were off again. Lets see…
Whoa! This is SOOO cool!
I thought you’d like it. Look, this is the arcade right here- I hit a token machine, and swore under my breathe. Yep, arcade. I pushed past it, the memory continuing in my head. is the snack bar. Over here is your birthday cake!
WOW! Its huge!
I’d hurry up, Cody.
Shut up, stupid.
I know. And its chocolate, just the way you like it. and here are the presents-
Really?! AWESOME!!!
Yeah, I think so.
Cody, I’d be running, not standing there.
Shut up already!
And finally, the fairy ring. What do you want to do first? Save my friend. He pointed forward when he said that, so I slowly walked straight. A shuffle behind me. I jumped. Holy crap, He was gonna catch me. I was gonna get caught. Know what, didn’t care. I had to reach Roxas. I turned back around, and then came on the lights. I had forgotten about the radom jack in the boxes people put in the arcade as a jump scare. You know, humor the kids, freak out the parents, the little things. Of course, when they realized how bad an idea it was, they couldn’t get rid of the stupid things. So, they just turned them off… Until now…
“Muwahahaha!” one screamed, jumping right at my face. I tumbled down, screaming. hey were green, had fangs, and wore jester outfits.
“AHHH!” There was a flash, and a photo fell down in my lap, and it was me, my hair frizzy, my eyes a bit scared, and my face filled with shock.
Hope you have a good stay here at Kiddie Kastle! Those jerks. I got up, brushed the photo away, and continued towards the fairy ring. That turned on too, and I heard muffled screamed. Roxas. Right in the center of the fairy ring. And, this wasn’t a normal fairy ring. There were three tracks. They all moved at different speeds and directions, making the attraction more fun, and- for Roxas- more painful.
Hurry up, Cody, before his ribs shatter.
“Roxas?! Don’t worry, I’m coming!” I shouted, the ride turning on and going at different speeds. Wrapping my fingers around a plastic horse head, I pulled myself on. Big mistake, as it turned out.
I rule over purgatory, you know. And that means I can direct the dead whichever way I want. Even up to the world of the living. Hit one. And when they don’t have dead flesh to possess, the take over other bodies, like toys. Hint two. The pony’s eyes lit up. Crap. It threw me to the side- inside, luckily- and I got stuck in a chair, swirling really- and I mean REALLY- fast
I started screaming as the speed picked up, and then it stopped, and I went flying forward, hitting an elephant.
“Cody?” Zion asked.
“Cody? Where are you?” Peter chipped in.
“O-”ver here. I didn’t get to say it, because right then, a jack in the box made me scream, and hit the final ring.
“Mwahahaha!”
The look on your face!
“Shut up!” I looked for the door. Where was the door? I hit the door, a flash of black hair quickly appearing and just as quickly disappearing. I had a three second window. Otherwise- splat!- bug on a windshield. I waited. Six second wait, three second window, nine second escape.
“Cody?!” Zion shouted, impatient. “What are you-”
“Mwahahaha!”
“Christ!”
“Haha! You should have seen your face!” Peter exclaimed. Three seconds.
“Not funny!” One second.
I leapt into the ring, and jumped on a moving piece, which rolled me onto my back, and crushed my pant leg. Roxas was stuck in the middle, not only being crushed by knobs and turning metal, but getting the wind knocked out of him by jacks. They turned to me, laughing.
“Why you little-” I punched them, my knuckles hurting. Okay, so that wouldn’t work… What did the jacks receive that they loved?
“Mwahaha!” another jack outside said.
“Holy-!” Ah, so that was it.
“Mwahaha!” I glared at it, serious.
“MOVE” I ordered. They received attention and screams, and that is what they loved. To be noticed, and then laughed at by the company which the person was around. From Roxas, they got groans, and that counted in their eyes, because He was laughing at the idea of me coming to try and save my friend. The jacks, realizing that they had no laughter to go off of, and nothing to get- all turned towards Roxas, then to me.
“Mwahaha?
“Either get out of my way, or get him out. Simple. I’ll even laugh, if you get him out.” They looked at one another, and then at me again.
“Mwahahaha?”
“Yeah. You save him, ‘mwahahaha’”I replied, getting annoyed. They grabbed Roxas, and threw him outside.
“Ah!” I screamed as I realized they just threw him into the ring.
“Mwahaha!” they replied, as if to say, ‘Close enough. Time to die!’ They all jumped on me, grabbing my arms, and slamming me in the center, where Roxas had been. Man, it hurt. I barely lasted five minutes, and Roxas put up with it for at least ten? Maybe longer?
“Cody!” Zion shouted. I couldn’t breathe. They kept hitting my eyes. They really seemed to like the idea of me going blind. Dad wasn’t there, so he didn’t know, either. Nobody could save me. Peter and Zion were probably trying to help Roxas, and I was alone, getting my eyes knocked out.
Don’t worry, I’m coming to bring you home. Like hell. I held onto the works of the ring, and smiled. He’d try and make a hole somewhere, which wouldn’t do him any good if I were tuck and he couldn’t reach me. Haha, sucker.
“Moron!” Huh? Six seconds of me listening to the insult repeated twice, and then a hand reached through and grabbed my hair.
“Ow!”
“Ow is right!” Roxas was in the circle, bloodied and bruised, but still smiling. “You’re such an idiot sometimes, thinking you can tackle stuff alone.” He yanked me up, the jacks issing. I looked at him, smiling.
“Well? Think we’re scarier than those guys?” I asked. He laughed.
“This is a trip down memory lane! First where we and your birthday party, and now the faces?” he asked as the jacks slowly moved towards us. I backed up onto the ring, laughing.
“Well, you know” I replied.
“When they didn’t scream when they saw you’re ugly face, I kinda lost hope” he continued, still laughing.
“Hey! I’m not even HALF as ugly as you!” I replied, laughing.
“Okay, lets do it. Nothing better to do.” We bent over, turned around, bent our eyelids, curled our lips, and did the WORST facial expressions ever.
“Ha!” We jumped back, and the jacks screamed, hugging one another, the whole ride jolting to a stop. We hit a giraffe, and laughed.
“That was perfect” Roxas said, smiling.
“That was horrifying, but fun” I agreed, getting up. Then I realized something. “How are you still standing?” I asked. Wrong question. I should have asked, “What the hell are you, and where is Roxas”, or something like that. I didn’t. I should have, but I didn’t.
“No, it was perfect because NOW I have you.” Oh crap.”
“Huh?” Roxas smiled.
“Ein, zwei, drei.” There was a smell of toothpaste that lingered as a black cat sat where Roxas had once stood. Part of me wanted to hug it, but the other part said, ‘Its a fluffy little monster who has big fangs and beady black eyes. Run.’ The part of me I immediately laughed at.
“That is so cute” I chuckled to myself. “You can’t hurt me, can you, little guy?” Peter jumped in front, hissing.
“Witch!” he shouted, Zion jumping onto the ride.
“A witch? What haven’t we bumped into?”
“Well, you haven’t hit a fairy, elf, dragon, ent man, giant,” Peter began, naming off the list, when the cat pointed a claw at him.
“Ein, zwei, drei.” Peter became a little, fluffy, white cat with red eyes and blue pupils, and it looked like somebody put mascara on only the bottoms of his eyes.
“Aw, that is cute” Zion said, mocking Peter as he continued labeling what we hadn’t seen. He turned back to the cat.
“I hate you. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. What am I this time? A gopher? A rat? Maybe a puppy?” he asked.
“Aw, you’re my kitty” the black cat replied, hugging him with pudgy, furry arms. Ah, so it was a girl. Peter had a spaz attack, and then rolled out of her grasp.
“No! Bad kitty, bad kitty!” He hissed, and climbed up my pant leg.
“Okay, so where is Roxas?” I asked, picking Peter up off the coat.
“Oh, he and that girl are enjoying their day. They are all safe and sound” she said. Then she glared. “You, however, are not. Stealing a woman’s fiance is not at all a smart move, you know.” I looked at kitty Peter in my arms.
“I’m not your fiance! I don’t love you, I won’t marry you, I want nothing to do with you!” Zion pinched his nose.
“Well look at you! All grown up. Here, you can have him.” I pulled kitty Peter away, scowling.
“Okay, that is you just BEGGING for my attention. Are you really that jealous?”
“Yeah, I am. We haven’t had any alone time, not even at the arcade, or on that so-called date. Not a moment alone. Is it so hard to ask to be able to go on a simple date with you?”
“Um, no. I’ve got this whole idea sketched out, okay? I even set reservations for the Montreal. And plus, we had alone time when we ate gelato.”
“But even then, we weren’t alone, were we?”
“True.” The black cat sighed, and shuffled.
“Ein, zwei, drei!” The world got bigger. Crap.
Chapter thirty seven

Roxas and I went on a small date, and ended up at an ice cream parlor. Thats when we heard Cody laughing. In an old amusement park. One that was to be demolished.
“I remember that place. We had his seventh birthday here… Later we are making him a cake” Roxas said, and we walked over to the fence, and jumped over.
“Hey! Get back here!” a man shouted.
“Lost our shoes!” we lied.
“Yeah, you and three others!” Three? Peter, Zion, and Cody? We watched in, and saw a black cat, and a white cat. We couldn’t hear anyone, but we walked over, smiling.
“I’m not marrying you!” the white cat hissed. What? I giggled, and Roxas smiled.
“Sounded a bit like Peter.”
We smiled, and then, as Cody and Zion conversed, we heard “Ein, zwei, drei.” There was a small puff of blue and silver, and two more cats remained where Zion and Cody had been. The blue cat raised its arms, and moaned.
“Blue isn’t my color! What kind of a cat is blue?!” it asked, sounding like Cody.
“I dunno,” said the silver cat, “you look pretty cute.”
“Drei, zwei, ein!” The black cat became a black haired girl, and the hair flowed down to her ankles like silk. I hated her. Not a hair out of place. Her eyes cold eyes smiled as she picked up the three, a dress of green and blue which was too tight at the torso and hips. I even caught Roxas staring.
“Ouch!” he said, and I continued to watch.
“Aw, you three make the cutest kittens” she said, taking a rather odd liking to Peter.
“Wait, how does this work?” Cody asked, six little legs flailing about.
“Oh, I’m a magic. A witch. A magician” she explained. Just like me.
“Okay, lets try something stupid” I said, getting out from behind the token machine.
“Hazel” Roxas hissed.
“Drei, zwei, ein” I said, saying whatever she did backwards as I pointed at the kittens. They became humans again, all just fine. Not Peter, actually, who was flushing.
“Hate you” he said.
“Aw, you won’t say that on our wedding day” she replied, pinching his nose.
“Stop that! Bad witch!” Peter scolded, pushing her off.
“Oh, you’ll see that we were meant to be soon enough” she replied, pointy teeth showing. Roxas kept watching her, but with a new expression. Shock? I didn’t know, but I didn’t like how he didn’t stop looking.
“Sure, keep lying to yourself” Peter scoffed.
“Ein, zwei, drei!” Poof, white cat again. Peter hissed, and scurried into Cody’s pocket.
“You are scary” I said, walking towards her.
“Ah, yes, the other magic whom I was warned of. Hazel Lockwood, correct?” I didn’t like that name. A sort of fury burned.
“Never use that name again. It isn’t mine. It hasn’t been for a long time. YEARS, in fact. And it will never be mine” I replied, a cold icy stare throwing blades and daggers at her. She smiled.
“Ah, is it not? I believe that is what you were called before your goat of a mother put you up for adoption.” Everyone watched us. I smiled, laughed, and nodded.
“Yep. Sleazy old hag put me up when I was five. And I remember everything for two years before. A real hell hole, living there for 1825 days and only remembering 730, none of which are pleasant” I replied, laughing. She jittered, but moved closer.
“Well, I do say, I am sorry for that” she admitted, curling my hair in her fingers. I refrained from hitting her, but made it a game.
“No you’re not.”
“Okay, you’re right. I’m rather surprised by you. Most would turn to drugs and poison liquor” she replied. Beer, folks. Alcohol.
“I am not most.”
“As can be seen, Lockwood.” Again, that name. laughed again.
“Just Hazel, and you?”
“I am Blair.” I shook my head.
“Blar? What kind of a name is that?”
“What kind of a name is Hazel?” she replied, looking Roxas over. I bristled.
“Hey, why are you here?” Blair smiled.
“Well, I need to bring the Prince home” she answered. “You know, the normal stuff. What every hit girl should do for her master.” Cody laughed, and Peter got serious. Zion smiled, and pointed at her, grabbing Cody’s hand.
“Please!” Zion scoffed.
“You touch him, these fangs slice your jugular.”
“Oh, so violent” Blair sighed, smiling at me. I thought for a second.
“So, what haven’t we bumped into?” I asked.
“Dragon, elf, leprechaun, fairy, pixie, goblin, troll, mermaid, nephilim, half-demon- not half bloods like you, Hazel- zombies, dragons, ents, shape shifters, hell hounds, black bloods, necromancers,” Peter listed, and I stopped him.
“Okay, got it. However, she said I was a magic, not a half blood” I replied, smiling innocently to Blair.
“Hades has the power to kill, which everyone has. Hades lets the souls come back, or stay down. We can’t do that, so all the power inside us remains bottled up. Once we use it, or release it, we’re witches” Blair explained. I winced.
“So that means-” Crud.
“Hello, sister!” I moaned.
“Crud. So Peter is going to be my brother in law?”
“Yeppers.”
“Not a shot in hell! Never! No! I refuse! You can’t make me!” Peter ranted angrily, scowling at her. She giggled.
“Men, right?” I asked, smiling. She nodded.
“One issue, sis.”
“What is that?” She smiled as she grabbed a stick from her shoe.
“I was sent by Him, and I still need to get boyo right there” she sighed. I smiled, and got out two guns Boss gave me. Not those bullets that kill, but bullets with medicine capsules or fast acting tranquilizers that fit into my twelve round pistol. I loved the modern world. She ocked her head, and laughed.
“What?” I asked, pulling the trigger. She smiled at me, and pointed behind her. I hit Cody.
“You’re a bad shot.” Zion glared, Cody holding his eye. I didn’t like her.
“You suck” I said, pointing the gun at her again. She laughed, now standing in front of Roxas.
“Really? Want to knock everyone out?” she asked, laughing. Roxas grabbed her, and held her for me. I shot again, and again, I hit my friend. Zion scowled.
“Hazel, just stop it! You’re going to get everyone caught” he shouted, Cody sitting down.
“Not her fault” he chuckled, Blair walking over.
“You’re such a worthless little girl. And to think that you were to play a key role in the war! Maybe you’ll be the hostage” Blair said, laughing. I didn’t get it.
“War?” She turned around, smiling.
“Oh yeah. See, there is going to be a war of demons and humans- which you’re boyfriend so hastily recruited- and the Gods will put in their bets. Whoever wins out of those groups ets to live, and do whatever. You and Cody were, like, the big guns. The weapons” she said, laughing. I hated her. “You better be prepared, because at this rate, the magic is going to eat you and rip you to shreds, and everyone wil be so focused on saving you my Go will have won!”
“Actually, that freak is a wanna-be God” I replied, and smiled. Positive. She didn’t like that, and in a flash jammed her fist in my throat. Or tried to, at least.
“Haz-” I grabbed her arm, and threw her back. I smiled.
“You just know those three words, right? ‘One, two, three’?”
“Zerstreuen!” she hissed, disappearing. I smiled.
“Katoa kanohi i te kitenga.” I saw everything inverted, including Blair leaning over Cody’s shoulder. I smiled, and kicked her in the chest, smiling. “You lose!” Zion flinched, and grabbed me.
“What the hell?!” I backhanded Blair, and smiled.
“What, you can’t see her?” I asked. “Don’t play dumb.”
“Hazel, hon, they CAN’T see. They think you just attacked them.”
“You are good” I complimented, patting Cody’s cheek.
“Hands off my son.” Of course He was here. I laughed at him, but he still creeped me out. Why was I laughing so much? Because before we came here- Roxas and I- I was having a blast, and they rued it. They didn’t need to know that. It was a mask I had plastered on. Just like all those years ago.
“You suck” I said, sticking my tongue out. Maybe I was loseing my mind. That had to be it.
“Ah, higness” Blair said, grabbing Cody’s arm. “I was just finishing up.” He nodded, and then came the flames.
“Not an inch closer, Caesar.”
“Its Frank now, not Caesar.” I smiled at Hades, then remembered he was that jerk dad who let me go up for adoption. I shuffled over to Cody, and yanked on the other arm.
“Hands off” I ordered.
“Make me, witch!”
“Okay!” The two intervened, glaring.
“Ladies, calm down” Hades barked.
“He is my son anyway” He agreed. Cody wasn’t going to be saving himself any time soon. Zion pulled something out of the wall.
“Hey, freaks. Let go of him.” A black blade protruded, and he tore it out. The sheath somehow managed to hold a sword which he made seven times as big as the scabbard. Peter grabbed Cody from the two of us, and made a run for it.
“Hey!” Blair growled.
“Mine!” Peter exclaimed.
“Give him back!” He shouted
“Go, Peter, go!” Hades screamed happily. I grabbed Roxas’ arm, and pulled it over my shoulder. Peter got hit by a big shadow, and Cody went flying back towards this huge table at the snack bar, laying on top of the soda machine. Peter moaned, and yet, I didn’t see him move or even try to get up.
“You guys, you’re gonna pay” I said, glaring. Zion wasn’t moving.
“Hazel, you get those guys out of here” he said, smiling.
“What about you, stupid?” I replied, not in the mood for games.
“Oh, who cares” he replied, swinging the blade over his shoulder, winking. “I got this.” He turned towards me, Blair waiting eagerly.
“I’m not just leaving you” I replied, setting Roxas down.
“Hey! What do you care, get out of here!” Zion hissed, sword back up, bracing himself. I grinned, grabbing the guns.
“Uh oh” Blair said, disappearing. I thought. What should I do? Zion swung his sword, slicing Him in two. Oh, I didn’t need to do anything then. A cage enclosed around me. What the hell?
“How are you still alive?” Zion asked curiously. He smiled.
“When Cody was first born, I made a deal with the devil. Didn’t I tell you that?” he asked in reply, the black sipping off of him. He was in a lab coat like Cody’s and wore glasses, grinning.
“I looked like this at one point. However, three days after I left Cody for the second time, someone decided that they wanted me dissected. As a way to torture me. A way to try and pry secrets from the government out of me. Instead, they got to see my powers instead. So, I like to chuckle about it.” His hair went solid white, his arms and face had scars all over it. Blair laughed.
“I got it! Frank N. Stein! Man, how did I miss that?!” she exclaimed. I didn’t agree at all.
“Then how does Cody have any powers?” Zion asked.
“He has them because Satan favors my son and I. He favors us, his followers, and his children. Us simple beings, and simple humans.” I hated this. I hated everything here.
“How can you call yourself anything but a monster?” I asked, almost in a whisper. “How can you laugh. How can you still try to be a father, and all behind a mask?” He turned towards me.
“Excuse me?” he asked, impatiently. Hades just watched, not making any move to help his ‘daughter.’ I smiled, the best one I had, no longer crying.
“You and I? We’re exactly the same” I said, laughing. Ah, this sucked. “I mean, we both hide behind a mask. We make things seem fine, even when they’re just broken toys” I continued.
“Are you going nuts?” Zion asked. “You aren’t broken.” I smiled, and it really sen big and ugly up the wall. Hades sighed.
“There is nothing I can do for a brat who doesn’t think before she speaks” Hades said. “I shall merely have to watch as punishment i dealt. However, if you kill her, know you’re son is going to the river of Styx, body and soul.” He odded.
“Okay, fine. I kill her, you kill him, and Satan gets neither of our lands.I get it. Now, let me deal out the punishment for relating me to human trash.” I grinned even bigger, looking at Roxas.
“But weren’t you human? Just like your son? And this kid?” I replied, laughing. The pain… It was going to kill me. But I had to keep the mask on. Blair winced.
“Hazel, it is forbidden to relate an otherworldly being to humans. It is punishable by death” Blair said.
“But its true, isn’t it? After all, at one point, He had been human, and he said it. Fifteen years ago. Didn’t you say it was then you made the deal with Satan? Meaning you had a life as a human. And that means right now you’re wearing a mask” I replied as he walked up to the cage. He started to reach through. The pain…
“I’ll give you one more chance, girl. Shut up.” I smiled even bigger, a toothy grin.
“But you don’t scare me. I’m not afraid.” His cold fingers wrapped around my neck. “Because I know, that just like me-” pressure is applied, “You’re just. Afraid. Of being. Alone.” Fading. “And. Its. Okay.” The grip loosens.
“Excuse me?” he asks again. I let myself slip a bit, and put on a smaller smile.
“If. You hurt. Its okay. To want.” Loosens grip entirely. “To want. For more.” I start breathing again. “Its okay to want your kid to come back home. In fact, its the best thing a parent could do. I would’ve begged for my father to do that. But look at Cody. Go on, look.” Turns to boy. Tears in eyes of boy.
“Does he look happy? Like he wants to go? And look at Zion.” Turns to Zion. Zion is blocking all attacks made by Blair- who grew tired of waiting and just wants to nab Cody- which are knocking him down over and over.
“And his friend is trying so hard to protect him. Trying so hard to keep his friend out of danger. They aren’t just friends, though. Cody… I think he wants to get stronger. And I think its so he can keep protecting his friends.” Frank turns back to me, also crying now. Hades’ interest is peaked. I smiled, and laughed.
“And for that, Cody is a moron. He thinks we are the ones who are strongest in the group. But in all reality, Cody is the big gun. The biggest and strongest around. I don’t match him, Roxas doesn’t match him, and Zion doesn’t match him. All of our strength combined is nothing in comparison.” Confusion. Everyone is looking at me. I hear the man opening the gate we jumped over. I’m hurting on the inside. Zion and Blair watch.
“And how is that? Huh? Cody is so weak that even using his power hurts. He can’t contain it” Frank replied. He gets angry. He is furious. I smile, and thrust my hand to the center of my chest.
“Because his heart is the biggest, and carries the most pain!” Cody woke up when I said that. “And I think that is why he is the strongest. Because he holds onto everything. He doesn’t hide what he feels. He just doesn’t let the hurt get to him…
“Unlike everyone here, Cody is a pure, good guy. He is perfect. He forgives, and befriends everyone. Even enemies. And he makes us all see clearly.” I started crying. “And thats hard. For somebody to hold that much pain, to be left twice, and still smile?” My eyes are blinded by water. I laugh, and cry at the same time.
“I’m not even that tough, and I’ve hurt a lot. I’ve been such a coward all my life. Cody has been the brave guy, and stood up. Helped his friends. From what I can tell, he reaches the hearts of everyone he meets.” Roxas is up, and Peter is watching me. Robin and Artemis are inside, yelling. Chet runs in, and stops.
“And you know what, it doesn’t matter how strong you are physically. You can be the strongest man in the world, but there is something even stronger than that.”
“And what is that?” He asked, anger in his eyes.
“Hope.” Something blew up, and everything became flooded with white light.
“HAZEL!” Roxas covered me, and that was when it all began. The beginning of the end.

*Congrats! This is the end of Book one, Lies in the Shadow. Please, enjoy book two, The Fool’s errand.

Chapter 3: Z

I grabbed one of the boys, and Drake, the other. I sighed in anger. We didn’t like this at all. The crack in my visor was annoying, but at least the filter wasn’t broken. Why didn’t Drake get hurt? I saw his side, and then flipped. “Dude, you got stabbed!” I shouted. In his side was a knife.

“What?” he asked. “Oh, hey! Doesn’t even itch” he said, smiling. 

“Sit down!” I shouted, angry.

“Nah, its fine.”

“We need to get back to HQ” I said, angry.

“PHHT. I have a med. kit right here” he said, pointing at his belt. I sat him down, and patched him up.

“So, we botched.”

“Look, better we botched and survived than botched and died” I said, tightening a bandage.

“Yeah, sure. Hey, wasn’t the kid on a board?” he asked. I nodded. “Can’t we trace those?” 

“Holy- Oh my gosh, we can” I said, sitting down. “Oh my gosh.”

“Well, what are we waiting for?”

“Sorry, I’m just hesitant” I sighed. That kid looked odd.

“Why?”

“Well, were we chasing a boy, or a girl?”

“Did you see any… Growth?”

“Dude, its breasts.”

“Yeah, did you see any?”

“No.”

“Then it was a dude!” he said. 

“But what if it was a girl? We would have lost to a GIRL” I said, shuddering.

“If you said that, I’d have hit you and said it was a bad dream.”

“And I wouldn’t believe you.” I sighed, and thought more. “He seemed to be hurting, and he was bleeding. What if he needs help? And… He was avoiding casualties. If he were a lowly thug, why would he do that? And he isn’t a devil…”

“Well, we’re going to find him, so…. Hey, why is the casualties so important?”

“Because… Well, isn’t it odd?” I asked.

“No… Hey, did Boss say who it was?”

“Nope.”

“Okay, lets call him” I said, when there was static.

“Saw the whole thing. I think that boy is now top priority” he said.

“But, what about these two?”

“I don’t care. Hell, at this point, not even the serum is important. He just beat four of the top agents. I want HIM” boss said.

“O… Okay” I said, and we followed the ion trail.

 

We traced him to an abandoned part of the city filled with radiation poisoning. If you breathed in the ash, you’d die. I looked through the broken section of my lense, and saw a barn. That is where the trail was.

“Ready?” I asked.

“Sure.” Drake almost flew, but then I grabbed him.

“What are you doing?!”

“Flying over!”

“No! You’ll scare him off!”

“So what? We’re gonna walk?”

“Yeah, thats why we have legs.”

“Walking was so last century” he moaned.

“Well then, lets bring back the past, huh?” I asked. I pulled him down, and we walked into the barn, horse and cow bones littering the floor. Above us was a candle, and ladders. It was amazing they didn’t rot away. Drake and I climbed up, and saw him, passed out. 

“Wow. Talk about creepy” Drake said as he got up. I crept over to him, and saw a bottle of blue. 

Torianophitz: Warning creates drowsiness. Only for children 13 and up. Use responsibly I smirked. He was out of it. Around him was multiple forks and knives and even a cooking pan.

“Drake, we can talk” I said, grabbing some shackles. “And I don’t think we need these helmets. The air up here is clean.”

“Why?” he asked, looking at a book.

“Because he took some medicine” I said, tightening the shackles. Drake threw the book at me.

“Check this out. Only pencil even though he has tons of pens full of ink” he said. I caught it, and flipped through. I turned to the latest entry, which was today.

Just took some medicine. Won’t do me any good though. My body is eating itself alive. Curse it, where is food when you need it? Stupid fever. I also ran into four boys today, all of whom wanted to grab me for opening this box for some reason… I don’t remember what was in the box, or eve what box it was. My head hurts so bad. I keep coughing up blood. My palm is getting stained. I think that I left some blood at the crime scene. I didn’t even notice the blood at first. I’m going to die if I don’t get some food. And if I get the food, its still very possible I’ll die by capture… Sorry, hand is trembling, have to go. I turned to the other entry.

Help me. I’m sick. There is blood everywhere. My head hurts, and my hand… I dropped some ink in here. Third page… If it escapes… My hand keeps trembling. I need help, but I can’t get any. I’m all alone. Then again, could be worse. I couldn’t believe this, and then felt the frying pan, the most random weapon ever.

 

Chapter four: ?

Okay, I hit him with the pan, but what else could I do? I was still drowsy, so missed the other dude entirely as I lunged for my board. He grabbed me, and glared. “Man, you got some issues” he sighed. I kicked him, and threw my arms about. My head hurt even more.

“Ow” Zion grumbled, rubbing his head. I bit the other guy, and jumped for my board. “FRYING PAN!” Zion chucked it at me, and I face planted. Oh, my hands were tied. I didn’t like this at all.

“Because he’s sick, should we be nice with him?” he asked.

“Yeah” Zion said. “Drake, you get the board, I get him.” I hated them! Drake, you turd! I thrashed, but couldn’t keep in the red. Ow, my lungs. The redhead gave me his helmet and grabbed my pillow. Ripping it was NOT cool.

“MNN!”

“Oh, hush. Where we’re going you’ll get a new one.” Sure, a new one that was filled with rocks and aimed for my face! I hated him. Them.

“NNNN!” He pulled my arms over his neck, and Drake got my board. We left my barn, and saw the sunrise and some birds. I started to fall asleep, but he said ‘no’ and made me bounce.

“Race you!”

“I have cargo!”

“And?”

“Fine.” We went faster, and almost hit a building. I flinched, and then they dropped. I squeezed tighter, and he kicked the ignition. We landed with a thud, and sighed in relief. Oh thank God.

“Jumpy” he chuckled, lifting me off of his shoulders.

“Pht.” I sneezed, and it sounded like a cat. I didn’t know why, but I grew embarrassed, and then this big guy came out.

“HEY, you got him!” he said, clapping. 

“Yeah, but we didn’t get the serum” Drake sighed The pink juice? Where did I hide it?

“I think this one is better than the serum” he said, picking me up.

“NNN!” I hated them all! I bit him, but he didn’t flinch. 

“Wow, feisty” he noted. I didn’t like him at all. “Lets get him inside, huh?”

“Sure. I will get him a blanket” Drake said.

“I’ll grab some medicine and food” Zion added.

“Okay, boys.” He loosed the shackles, and smiled. “Well now, how are you?” I looked around. I had to get to the first floor. What did I do? I punched him in the face, and broke into the building. Drake took my board, darn it. I ran in, and looked for an elevator or something.

“Grab that kid!” the man shouted behind me. A kid grabbed me, so I snapped something. Lucky me, he wore armour, so I didn’t break any bones. I just hurt him with an indian burn. I turned a left, and found the elevator. I tore it open with my hands, iron in my mouth, my head throbbing.

“Open, darn it, open I whispered to myself, the man getting closer. It opened just in time. I grabbed the metal wire, and held on, my hands bleeding. Ow, ow, ow. The man looked down on me as I hit the top of the elevator and tore open a section of it.

“Wh-” one kid asked, when I jumped on their heads, and knocked them out. I opened the door just in time, because the man was right there. I was on the second floor. I could get out. I couldn’t use the elevator, so I found the stairs.

“All agents, flight is temporarily allowed in HQ! GRAB THAT KID!!!” he screamed, chasing me. I laughed. 

“BLPHHHT!” I teased, sticking my tongue out. Yes, very mature, I know. I laughed, and then bumped into six boys who were flying right at me, and blew me right past the man I got rid of the, but was then swarmed by thirty others, and they pinned me down. Even worse, the exit was RIGHT there. Ultimate troll. The man laughed, his lip split, and Drake and Zion watched. My lungs… My head… I couldn’t keep in the red, and couldn’t breathe. It hurt… So much pain. My whole body was trembling. I was in SO much trouble.

“Hey, come on” Drake said. I loosed a foot, and kicked him in the shin, when Zion cut in, and looked down on me. I froze. Why couldn’t I move? He made the boys let me go, and squatted to my level.

“You ready to listen?” I raised a fist, but he grabbed it. “You know you don’t want to hurt me.” I didn’t? “And you know that you’re tired, and your arms feel heavy. Your eye lids are weighing down. In fact, you feel like its safe to fall asleep. And do you want to know why?” he asked. I did, because now I was tired. Yet, sleep seemed impossible. “Because I was just like you. We all were. We were alone and afraid and hurting, just like you. And if we wanted to hurt you, we would have, and you’d be dead. See?” he asked. I was really sleepy, then saw he had a pad with needles in it. That was used for poisoning people, or drugging them when they need surgery.

“N-“

“So, you’re going to sleep now, and I’ll protect you.” I trusted him. I believed him, and I didn’t know why. Maybe sleep wasn’t and wouldn’t be so bad. I drifted, and morphed into this twilight sleep, hearing everything. Why was he so afraid? Who was he? Had he been identified yet? How long would he stay? What was going to happen? Where would he stay? I then hit this marshmallow, and was fully passed on into darkness, sleep enveloping my mind.

Bloody black king

Chapter 1: Z

I like getting up early for missions, but 3:11 A.M? “Zion! Wake up!” my room mate hissed. Fine. I rolled onto the floor, and glared at him. His name is Drake Quelch- DQ for Drama Queen, fitting his personality perfectly- a blonde boy with blue eyes. 

“What?” I asked impatiently, exhausted. 

“Dude, we HAVE to go! We got a mission from Boss!” He threw me my black long pants and longsleeve shirt with me gloves. “Get dressed! And for God’s sake, wipe the drool off your chin!”

“Acting mature? Not asking for five more minutes? Who are you, and what have you done with Drake?!” I asked, laughing. He jumped on me, and gave me a noogie. 

“There, that it. Hurry!” he shouted, getting up as he pulled me beside him.

“Whats the mission?” I asked.

“You’n’me gotta go get this serum. It could change the whole war” he said. I face planted, surprised.

This war he mentioned is a war between thief guilds that had been going on for 39 years. Tonight at ten would be the 40th anniversary. It started for simple reasons. 1/2 of the guild wanted to destroy the government and rule over the city/ world. The Devils. The other half- my half- wanted to simply steal enough to thrive, but leave enough for the victim to live well. The Shadows. We were talking about right and wrong, which is ironic, because stealing in general is wrong.

“Seriously?”

“Yeah!” I smirked. This would be good. He laughed though, and then said that when he got back the first thing he was going to do was play some video games. I chuckled. 2103, and still the teenage race remained the same. Young, dumb, and mostly numb when it comes to the real world. LOL.

“Kay, hold on” I said, slipping my pants over my boxers. He tapped his foot impatiently. I got on my boots, and checked the fuel. These weren’t normal boots, but jets. You simply kicked the ignition switch, and you’d be flying. I buckled it, then tied the laces, and then added another buckle before we walked to Boss’ office. No flying in HQ. 

When we entered Boss’ room, he had just gotten out of the shower, his bleached hair- which was turning gray- was soaking, and his black eyes were clearly sleep deprived. He smiled. “Boys.”

“Boss.”

“The mission is going to be the retrieval of a serum in Omnicorp on the third floor, safe box number 984. There is NO botching this, understood?” he asked.

“Gee, no pressure” Drake grumbled.

“How many men are coming with us?”

“None, though I think you’ll be fine” he said. Drake and I were number 1 in terms of battle and strategy, so I agreed. “There will be Devils there, too. You must be careful, and you must not get caught. I expect you to be at the feast tonight” he continued. I nodded.

“Sir.” We left, and went to the top floor of the old abandoned Empire State building. Drake and I jumped on the rail, and just stood there.

“So, we mess this up, we’re screwd” Drake sighed, scratching his head.

“Yep. No pressure” I replied, smirking.

“Race you?” he asked, looking ahead at the dark building and the night sky, spires puncturing the clouds up high.

“I always win though” I chuckled. 

“Maybe I’ll get lucky. HA!” he said, getting a head start. I scoffed, grinning.

“Stupid.” I raced him, and of course, I won. Then came trouble 1, 2, and 3.

 

Chapter 2: ?

If I knew I was going to get ambushed and then carted off to a living hell, I’d have called in sick, which would have been easy, because I was. I broke into this office on the first floor, and what catches my eye? A big safe. What was I looking for? Food. I told myself I wouldn’t go in. Food…. Food. When my attempt to find anything edible, I thought. What do you put in safes? Moonhey- not money, but digital currency. What does moonhey get? Food.I broke into it, and then did something odd. I went to safe box 123, and opened it. A bag of marbles. I took it, and grinned. Useful. I added 123 to itself, and went to safe box 246. There was a pen in that one, and I clicked it. There was a lasar! SO cool! I almost burned a hole through me foot though. I added 246, an got 492. Nothing good. I then went to 984, and opened it to see some pink slush in a vile. I grinned. Just like my eyes… Oh, you don’t know what I look like. I’m a girl who had been experimented on, metallic pink eyes. I have black hair and pallid skin from lack of sun and overexposure to radiation. I smiled, and stuffed it in my bandages which hid my chest. Didn’t need people knowing I was a girl.

I smiled, and then I sighed. What was this stuff for? I didn’t care, at first. I started to walk to the vent so I could escape, when four people fell down almost on top of me. I jumped back just in time, and just watched. There were two in all red with red bandanas and glasses, and I couldn’t really see them. Then there were two in black, and helmets on their heads, one of the visors broken on one of the kids. I saw emerald eyes with red hair, and didn’t know what to do. I held the marbles, and grinned. I knew.

“What?” the redhead asked

“He opened 984!” his friend said.

“WHAT?!” asked the two reds.

“Where is it?!”

“I dunno!”

“Jack, grab him!” one red hissed.

“Let go of my meal ticket!” the red head growled.

“Hands off!” the black said, and the red head jumped for me. I tossed the marbles on the floor, and they all went skidding as I jumped on their heads. Suckers. Then I realized that I was coughing, and there was blood in my palm. I had to hurry.

“Zion!” the other black hissed.

“Got’im!” Zion grabbed my ankle, and I kicked him off. “Come here!” I kicked him off, and jumped in the trash chute, a bloody hand on the handle. It would attach to the vent. I grabbed the grate, and pulled myself in. This was going terribly. What did they want? What was in 1084? Was it 1084? Did I open it? My head hurt, and my lungs felt like they were going to burst. I crawled in the vent, and traced the homing signal on my traveling device. When I got to it, big and boring found me, and grabbed me.

“We just want to talk!” Talk and kill me, I’m sure. I kicked the ignition on my hoverboard, and blasted off. My head! My lungs! I was going to black out if I didn’t get home fast. 

“Zion! Bogies on my tail! Bogies on my tail!” his frined shouted.

“Drake, hold on! Just a little more!” Zion shouted right behind me. I grabbed the pen, and blew the boots of the other two up. If the blacks let them fall three stories, I’d hate them, and they’d have blood on their hands. I’d hate myself more, though. Zion glared at me as Drake grabbed one kid, and then he zoomed after the other. I blasted off, waving to them. I won. I was safe. Now for some food.

 

This would be eight pgs.

Chapter four

 

I was in a subconscious state, but heard everything. Hazel. Nice name. I wanted to wake up, but – kept me under. Well, to wake up from the secondary sleep.

“Look, why are you doing this?” Hazel asked.

“Because. None of you will really kill the person altogether. Once someone wins my game, I’ll be gone, and you’ll all wake up. I’m going to show you all how I feel. I’m making Akise pay, because he hates innocents getting caught in the crossfire.

“-, leave them be” I whispered. He let me wake up, and speak my mind. “If you want me, fine! Just leave them out of it!” I shouted.

“No, I’m going to make you pay. And this is the best.”

“Akise, you okay?!” Yukki asked. I saw Chad and I saw them. Chad. Jack. Leo. All old friends turned sour. And the rest were all Hazel’s. Robin, Hiro, and Kallan.

“Fine” I said, almost inaudibly. – patted me.

“See?” I wondered why there weren’t any girl enemies.

“I know what you’re thinking. Its because they were all more concerned with their hair than their heads” he answered aloud.

“Ahh.” I could see that. Hazel sighed.

“I’m the only chick in this world… Great.”

 

When we got back in the real world, she simply went to her room, and crashed. I looked at Yukki, who was too angry for words. He put some headphones in his ears. I made dinner.

“I’m sorry” I whispered, and I kept whispering it. I couldn’t do anything to help them, and I barely even knew them. Wonderful.

“Hey” Yukki said, patting me. I turned around, and smiled. “You okay?”

“Whats your favorite color?” I blurted.

“Huh?”

“I want to know you and Hazel. I want to be friends. I want to get you two out of Drop, but that means we need to trust one another. KK?” I replied. He smiled.

“Blue. You?”

“Purple. Girly, but still.” He nodded.

“Food?”

“Phili roll.”

“Pizza.”

“Fav. movie?”

“None?”

“Same.”

“So, what do you think?” he asked finally.

“Well, I trust you. Now Hazel.” He stopped me, and looked right into my eyes.

“Look, you don’t want to do that. I went to her first, and she chuckled her alarm clock at me. Let the kettle cool” he said. I sighed, and nodded.

“Good thing its summer.”

 

I walked into the market to see if I could find anything to cheer Haze up, when I saw Jack. He smiled, waving, and then he walked over.

“Hey, ‘buddy’ he said, patting me. I was prepared to break his arm.

“You gonna kill me?” I asked. I was ready.

“Nah. Not today. I’m just curious on why you decided it was okay to abandon the gang.” Those guys who hated me were old friends. They hated me because I left five years ago for Cali and ended up going on. Then I met Haze four years ago, but I still knew nothing about her. Funny.

“Because I had to. If I said goodbye…”

“So you’re just a big wuss.”

“Sure.” I sighed and felt angry. “You have no clue why I couldn’t say goodbye. It hurt too much” I continued. He scoffed.

“Dude, I l-” He stopped, and then he sighed.

“I liked you being my friend.” He always made my stomach go in knots. I hated it. I couldn’t handle it.

“You used to talk about me behind my back. Don’t know about what, but it probably wasn’t nice” I said, and then I walked on.

Chapter five

 

I didn’t like how Hazel was glaring at the wall. Where was Akise? Then I saw the darts, and heard it hit a board. She was angry.

“Stupid Robin. Stupid Hiro. Stupid Kal” she grumbled, and I saw the tears drip onto wood. “Stupid, stupid, stupid.” She kept throwing the drats.

“And Yukki, get out” she whispered, looking at me. “Please.” I walked in.

“Look, Hazel-”

“Red. I like red. And my favorite food is ceasar chicken salad. I don’t really get out and watch movies now.” Oh… She turned around and sighed, ruffling her hair.

“Hazel, why are you telling me this?” I asked. She threw a dart at me, and my collar was stuck to the wall.

“I’m telling you because if I don’t I’m going to explode. I can barely breathe. I need someone to know me. And you’re it! You and Akise, who I can barely stand!”

“Why?”

“Because… Because he acts so… Cocky. Happy. And he has no reason!” she hissed. I smiled.

“And? You make it seem like smiling is a sin” I chuckled. She turned pink.

“Smiling for no reason is stupid.” I was going to get punched in the face, but I HAD to try it.

“Well, what if I did this?” I asked. I went cross eyed and puffed up my cheeks, sticking my thumbs in my ears and making fake antlers. The two Hazels were on the brink, and then she smacked me. Bright red.

“Don’t you get it? We need to be serious, and stop being kids!” she shouted.

“Fine.” I smiled, and walked off. She did have a heart. I had proof.

 

I opened the door for Akise who was having a shiver fit. He couldn’t stop.

“Hey, Hazel opened up” I said. He nodded, smiling.

“Good. I- I need a seat” he said, and then I asked why. “I ran into Jack. He said – was going to go after Hazel in… Well, in her head, and you, and me, and everyone else.”

“Why?”

“Because. Insanity is the best foothold in this game” he said, rubbing his eyes.

“Why did Jack tell you?” I questioned. He smiled.

“Not the slightest clue.” Wow, he really did never stop smiling.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“Well, we hunt around. And Yukki, you stay here.”

“WHY?!”

“Because, what if they come here? You need to tell us.” Fine.

Chapter six

 

I walked with Akise as he smiled in the streets. People thought we were a couple, and alas, it kinda felt true. Some part of me really wanted it, the other was more than defiant with the very idea.

“Look, Hazel, its one of them” he said, shaking my arm a bit. I shivered, mostly because it was Hiro. He took my sparring class, and he was the best.

“Hello” – said, laughing in my head. Hiro saw us. “Now, for all players, I just realized how… OLD my scenario is” he sighed. “I mean, killing people was SO last year. Right?” Well, least we couldn’t really kill people.

“Then how do we win this game?” Hiro asked aloud, phone up to his ear. Nice cover.

“Well, you knock them out. Then they’ll form in Drop.”

“So Drop drops us” Akise muttered. Hiro smiled.

“Lets go” he said, smiling. I didn’t like smiles for that very reason.

“What is he going to do?” I asked. The kid laughed.

“Please, the only one he hates here is YOU. So, knock him out.” This was crazy.

“Hiro!” I shouted, fake giddyness. He was dumb.

“What’re yo-”

“Hiro, hey!” I shouted, running over. Akise just stood there.

“What?” Hiro asked as I hugged him.

“Wow! Its been a while, huh?” I asked, laughing. He turned pink.

“I have a knife. Get off” he said. I laughed.

“Hiro, c’mon! I asked you to come here, remember? To Cali?… Although… I had a dream about you and some other kids I knew… And you wanted me dead… Funny, huh?” I asked. I wasn’t going to knock him out. I wasn’t going to kill him. I was either going to convince him or stuff him in a potato sack.

“Huh?”

“Yeah… Remember? All those letters and postcards?” I lied. Then he slashed at my shirt, glaring.

“Hey, Hazel, you slipped.” What?

“No, I-”

“You HATE postcards! You write by email or text” he said, cutting me off. Drats, he was right.

“Hiro, look, I want to make an alliance” I said. Akise walked up, and smiled. Then the kid known as Jack appeared. He waved.

“Akise.”

“Hey.” Wow, they even rhymed together? Jack leaned on Hiro, who hit him. Well, tried. The crowd became a frenzy, and Jack caught it.

“If it weren’t for – changing the rules, I’d’ve killed you” he said simply.  Hiro grunted.

“Please, I may be dead, and I may not be human, but come on! Like I’d let you all kill one another” – scoffed.

“What do we do?” I whispered to Akise.

“I don’t know” he said, smiling. I was ready to punch him.

“Well? Ready?”

“Not without me!” Yukki shouted. I sighed. Stupid Jack. Stupid Hiro. Stupid Akise. Stupid Yukki.

CH. 7

 

I watched on the screens, angry. I wanted Akise to pay, but some part of me didn’t want him to die for what he did. I wanted Akise to suffer. Dying twice isn’t good enough?

“Not without me!” Yukki shouted. I sighed. What was he doing? He had no weapons.

“Hey, Robin, Kallan, Leo, Chad, go to 32nd ‘n-”

“On it” they all said simultaneously. Oh, they were waiting on the roof.

“Wait, hold on!” I shouted.

“-! Please!” Akise shouted. I sighed, and materialized Yukki beside me. What a fool.

“Hey!” Yukki shouted, floating in nothingness.

“Silence, insolent boy” I ordered, getting up from my seat. He flailed wildly.

“What is this stuff?”

“Zero gravity. My place” I grumbled under my breath. Come on! Was that so hard to figure out?

“Why are you doing this?” he asked angrily. My screens could wait. Stairs materialized beneath me, the darkness hiding me.

“Because Akise left me to die. In Drop. So fine, I’ll simply make him pay.”

“I mean, why change the rules.” Oh. I touched his foot and set him spinning vertically.

“Because I can, punk.” He decided he didn’t like that.

“Back off!” His foot went sailing for the darkness. As a program, I thought nothing could touch me, but he did. His foot hit me out of the darkness for a sec, but all the same. I was SO mad.

“So-”

“Shut up!” Wow, he was kinda scary.

“Screw it” I finally said after watching him continue spinning for a while.

“I hate you” he said.

“Good, because I hate everyone. How you like them apples?” I asked. He smirked, and glared at the same time.

“You know, you look like Akise, only with black hair” he reasoned. If I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, he’d’ve been unconscious.

“And?” I asked.

“And that means somehow you two are related” he laughed. I felt a pain in the empty cavity that people called a heart.

“Time for you to sleep” I reasoned, and I simply put him under as I had Akise.

“Wheres Yukki?” Hazel asked on the screen.

“With -” Akise replied. Part of me wanted to hear my name, the other part forced it to be hidden. My name was Drop.

“Back off” Hiro said as Jack twisted his arm.

“Look, we want Akise, you want Hazel. Lets work together, then beat the snot out of one another.”

“Hey, I have an idea” Akise said, smiling.

“Yeah, I think I know” Hazel whimpered.

“RUN!!!” they both screamed, and the six were just as confused as me.

“Run?”

“Why”

“Would”

“They”

“Run”

“Away?”

“Whimps” Leo scoffed. I sighed, and watched Yukki. Why did he want to fight so much. Stubborn goat.

“Keep it up!” Hazel shouted to Akise.

“How are you going so fast?!” he wheezed.

“Track team three years in a row PLUS training! Keep running!” she shouted, and then Akise saw the skate boards.

“No!” I hissed, leaping out of my chair.

“Thanks!” he shouted, tossing money at the former owner. This symbol rested on the bottom:

I felt the irony of this. Do you see it yet? No? Well, ‘ll leave you with this insignia a bit longer.