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BlueLegacy

Power Rangers Olympian Crusade

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Some years ago, a friend of mine whom I met on PRE and I conceived this idea for a new fic. That particular idea has been sitting with me once more as of late. I sat down one day and started typing. Next this I knew, this was born. I've tweaked it slightly for my own writings. I'd like to give a special shoutout to this friend, wherever she may be.

 

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When the world was still young, the prophets foretold the end. A threat would rise from beneath the Earth unlike anything anyone had seen before. Creatures of myth thought to exist only in stories of the occult, their images painted in television and film. These creatures rule the Underworld with an iron fist, dubbing themselves “The First Family.” It is said that when the planets align, their armies will rise to the surface and begin their destruction.

 

The prophets also told of humanity’s final salvation. A group of five warriors, each chosen by the Champions of Olympus. These five would come to power and would be our last line of defense in the revolution against the darkness. While the when was never provided, the where had been foretold.

 

Providence, Maine.

 

A young man, plagued by horrific dreams, moves to this new town with his family, where he unknowingly sets the prophecy into motion. As death and disappearances haunt this once quiet town, the residence remained mostly ignorant to the darkness stirring beneath their streets. The First Family had arrived. The Underworld was preparing for is onslaught.

 

The Olympians had chosen their champions, marking them at their birth. They would, however, interfere following this; affairs of humans were just that. When the time would come, their abilities would manifest and draw them together. Now it is up to them to come together as a team and be the saving grace for all of humanity.

 

Five warriors, marked by fate. Their story begins here.

 

Sean Grandillo as Drew Campbell, Red Olympian Ranger

Casey Cott as Liam Duval, Blue Olympian Ranger

Luke Bilyk as Jonah Duque, Yellow Olympian Ranger

Auli’l Cravalho as Layla Duque, Green Olympian Ranger

Alisha Boe as Quinn Lockwood, Pink Olympian Ranger

 

 

Ian McKellen as Varys

Daniel Gillies as Vaako

Sarah Paulson as Goneril

Iwan Rheon as Ramiel

Jessica Parker Kennedy as Sansa

Daniel Cudmore as Manu

 

Chapter Guide

01. The Awakening (Posted 9/25/18)

02. The Shadow (Posted 11/11/18)

03. The Birth (Posted 12/28/18)

04. The Duel (Coming Soon)

05. The Legend (Coming Soon)

06. The Spirit (Coming Soon)

Edited by BlueLegacy

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Chapter One - The Awakening

 

It began the same every time.

 

The sign at the edge of town read ‘Welcome to Providence.” The sign itself was pristine white, the lettering painted in a vibrant golden color.

 

The houses on the street were quaint and welcoming. Night had fallen over the quiet street, lit dimly by the porch lights of several homes, spaced out with the sporadic street light. He found himself on this particular street each night he closed his eyes. He found himself stopped at the same house every time.

 

Number 12.

 

The house was pale blue with a white fence surrounding the yard. The door was white, the golden house number fixed firmly on a post. A red handprint stained the perfect door, the smear streaking down the front of it.

 

The screams filled the air. They rang in his ear and froze him in his tracks.

 

*****

 

He bolted upright in his bed.

 

9:42am.

 

Drew Campbell pressed a hand to his sweaty face. He found himself panting, struggling to catch his breath. Sunlight crept through his window. He squinted, using his arm to block the light from his eyes. He groaned as he forced his legs to swing around the side of the bed. His feet touched the ground, forcing the exhaustion to ripple through his body.

 

He couldn’t see them, but he knew that the dark circles under his eyes were darker than they had been.

 

It had been a week of the Campbell family settling into their new home here in Providence, Maine. Third military base in the last four years. This time, his father was able to find them a house off of the base. He was thankful for that, the ability to go to a school without a bunch of fellow military brats.

 

He made his way into the bathroom and stopped for a moment, taking in his reflection in the mirror. He sighed, seeing the thick circles under his eyes having grown darker over night.

 

The dreams about his new hometown started months ago, even before his father had received his transfer assignment. They scared him, naturally, though it wasn’t long before he would realize just how terrifying they would actually become.

 

One week ago, the day his family had driven into their new home, the dream had become a reality. A family living just a few streets over was found murdered in their home. Slaughtered would seem to be a more appropriate word, just based on how the news described the scene. He shuddered at the thought of it.

 

His fingers lingered for a moment before turning on the faucet, allowing the cold water to pour out. A wave of uneasiness washed over him. Drew gasped, his hand clutching tightly around the edge of the sink. His eyes snapped shut, his breathing growing heavy. His fingers began to tingle the tighter his grip grew.

 

As quickly as the feeling came over him it was gone. His grip released from the sink just as he exhaled. His eyes opened slowly.

 

“What the hell…”

 

He stood in the mirror. His breathing was slowly getting back to normal.

 

“Drew! Breakfast!”

 

His mother’s voice from downstairs snapped him back into reality. He cupped his hands, catching a small pool of water to splash across his face.

 

He quickly descended the staircase and stood in the kitchen doorway. His father and younger brother sat at the table while his mother served them pancakes from the frying pan.

 

“Well,” Marcus Campbell said with a small smirk as he lifted his coffee mug. “Look who finally decided to get out of bed.”

 

Drew half chuckled as he took his seat at the table. His mom had set a plate for him. Gwen Campbell came over from the stovetop and placed two pancakes from the pan down in front of him. She smiled warmly.

 

“Morning, sweetheart,” She planted a kiss atop his head.

 

Blake Campbell was face first in his plate of pancakes. The ten year old was mostly silent, sans the sounds of his loud chewing. Drew chuckled and shook his head. Blake was a chubby little kid. Not much unlike Drew when he was younger. His brother would grow out of it, eventually.

 

“Dad,” Drew said. “Can I borrow the car today?”

 

“Not today, kiddo,” Marcus shook his head. “I’ve got to get on the base and into my office. Make sure I’ve got everything set for Monday.”

 

Drew groaned. “I’ve got to get over to the dry cleaner before they close. I’ve got to pick up mine and Blake’s uniforms for school on Monday morning.”

 

Marcus shrugged. “Guess you’re riding your bike there.” Drew rolled his eyes.

 

“Make sure you stay away from Trinity,” Blake’s fork clanged against the table as it fell from his hand. “Unless you’re trying to find that murder cult.”

 

“Blake!” Gwen called from across the room.

 

“What?” Blake shrugged before taking a huge gulp from his glass of orange juice. “That’s what they’re saying killed those people.”

 

“And how would you know that?” Drew arched his eyebrow.

 

“I heard it on the news,” His younger brother scoffed. “Dad had it on the tv last night while I was pretending to read. Duh.”

 

Murder cult. It would make sense that’s what they were calling it now. The symbols painted all over the walls in the victim's’ blood, the family seeming to be chosen at random. The whispers that they weren’t the only ones. “Yeah, well, I’m sure you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Whatever,” Blake rolled his eyes. “Mom and dad decided to move us to this murder town. We should be lucky that we’re not the next ones.”

 

“That’s enough,” Gwen called from across the kitchen. Marcus chuckled lightly and shook his head as he lifted the newspaper to read.

 

Blake picked up his knife and mimed slicing himself across the throat. Drew let out a small, exasperated groan. He crumpled up his napkin and hurled it across the table, hitting Blake right in his chest. Drew smirked. He slowly rose up, pushing his chair back from the table.

 

“Drew, you didn’t even touch your pancakes,” Gwen nodded towards the full plate.

 

“Oh..yeah…” Drew stopped himself before crossing the doorway once more. “Sorry mom, I’m not all that hungry. Didn’t sleep all that well last night. I, uh, I’ll be back soon!”

 

His pace was quick as he made his way out of the house, the front door closing tightly behind him. Blake shrugged and reached for his brother’s plate, only to have his mother’s hand come smacking down against his. He mumbled in pain quietly under his breath. Gwen smiled and picked up the plate from the table.

*****

 

Drew held tight to the bundle of hangers as he exited the dry cleaners. He carefully draped the uniforms over his handlebars and mounted his bike once more. He reached into his pocket, checking the time on his phone. 10:30am. His final Saturday before he started school. This trip to the dry cleaner would probably be the most exciting thing he would do all day. He sighed, placing his feet on the pedals and took off towards home.

 

He always hated coming into the school year after it had already started. Even though he was often sure that it wouldn’t matter in the end. Drew tended to keep to himself. He wasn’t into playing sports like most kids his age.

 

Their new home was the same as any town they had moved to over the years. The difference this time is that they were actually living off of the base. Their parents had decided that Drew and Blake needed a chance at a semi-normal life. They found a house just ten minutes from the base that their father was assigned, enrolling them in one of the local schools instead. The school being a private school with uniforms and a hefty tuition. They had no problems affording it, however. Especially with their mother securing herself a job working directly under the headmaster.

 

He must not have been paying attention to where he was going. He stopped in his tracks, the road he found himself on not looking familiar to him. He tilted his head. That wasn’t right. He’d seen this road before. Never during the daytime; only at night while he slept.

 

Trinity Street.

 

Drew’s breathing quickened, his nostrils flaring outward. He felt his pulse racing; blood throbbed in his veins. He couldn’t explain it but something was drawing him to this street. Something was drawing him to that house. Fear washed over him. Everything in him was telling him that he needed to turn around, turn around and go home. He sat frozen, staring down the street.

 

His feet pushed down on the pedals, pushing himself towards a tree at the end of the road. He leaned his bike up against it, kicking out the kickstand for balance. He threw up the hood of his sweatshirt and took off running.

 

He recognized the house without the yellow police tape surrounding the yard. The pale blue color, the white fence tucked behind the yellow tape. He kept telling himself to turn around, to go back to his bicycle and ride home. He quickly glanced around quickly, ensuring that no one was watching. Nothing in sight. He held his breath and ducked under the police tape. He used his sleeve covered arm to push the fence open and crept into the yard.

 

The front door was open. He paused as his eyes fell on the front door. The bloody smeared handprint across the front. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled and stood on end. Drew shook his head and moved forward into the house.

 

An instant feeling of regret rippled through his body.

 

The living room would have seemed like a comfortable one, had it not been in the state that it was in. Chalk outlines of bodies littered the ground, pools of dried blood under them. A knot tied tightly in his stomach. He needed to leave. He spun on his heels, looking towards the door.

 

Adorned on the walls, a series of strange symbols painted in what looked to be dried blood. He dug into his pocket, pulling out his phone. The flash went off repeatedly, snapping several photos of them.

 

“I shouldn’t be here,” He mumbled to himself beneath his breath.

 

A screeching sound echoed through his ears. He froze in his tracks. Drew shook his head and took off running. He made his way out the door and took off running down the walkway. He leapt over the fence and over the police tape. His feet hit the pavement and he ran towards his bike.

 

The screech echoed again. Drew fought against all of his instincts and looked back. What he saw sent shivers down his spine.

 

A series of hellish looking creatures circled in the air. They were bird-like, their bodies covered in rotting feathers. Their beaks were mangled, their eyes beady and red. They screeched once more dove towards him. Drew threw his arms up to shield his head. Gnarled claws struck across his body, ripping into fabric of his sleeves.

 

He cried out in pain as he felt the claws graze across his flesh. He threw out his arms, swatting at the hellish creatures. They screeched as they continued their attack.

 

Drew took a hard left and continued running, rushing into the woods. He felt the leaves crunching beneath his feet as he ran faster. The Harpy creatures screeched. They dove towards him and began to peck and claw at him. One of the claws got stuck in one of the rips in his sweatshirt, pulling at him. Drew was forced to the ground. He turned himself around, staring one of the creatures right in the eye. Terror flicked and glinted in Drew’s eyes.

 

He struggled to unzip the front of his hoodie and ripped it from his body. The Harpy cried out into the air. Drew forced his foot in the center of the creature’s chest and kicked. It went stumbling backwards.

 

Drew struggled to get himself to his feet. More of the Harpies came closing in. Drew shuffled across the ground, keeping himself low. His hand grazed over something hard and he clutched tight onto it. He swung the stick and smacked one of them in the side. A loud cracking sound filled the air as the stick snapped in half.

 

“Oh crap,” Drew’s voice was shaking.

 

He scurried back some more, only to find his back pressing against a tree. His breathing quickened as the creatures slowly began to close in on him. He said a silent prayer. One of the Harpies drew in closer to him. Hot breath blew from the nostrils of the creature, blowing into Drew’s face. He turned his head and gritted his teeth.

 

Drew tilted his head back and cried out in a mix of pain and surprise. His eyes snapped open, their normal blue-green color now pulsing red. His right hand gripped over his left wrist and squeezed tight. He rapidly blinked his eyes, they slowly returned to their normal color. He glanced down at his left wrist in shock.

 

An intricate design travelled from his wrist and down across his knuckles and into his fingertips. The design continued upwards, stopping at his elbow. It burned into his skin and pulsed with a deep red color. Drew’s fear flashed over his eyes. The Harpy stumbled back, rejoining the remainder of the pack. As they grouped together, Drew managed to force himself to his feet.

 

The Harpies screeched and closed their ranks, circling around to block any hope of escape. Drew slowed his breathing, embracing the pain and burn engrossing his left arm. He slowly raised it up, a burst of flames shooting out from his palm. The blast shot out, forcing the Harpy creatures backwards. They stood and stared, what seemed to be confusion washing over their beady eyes.

 

Drew’s own eyes widened in shock. “What the hell…”

 

He didn’t have time to think. The creatures cried out into the air and charging forward. Drew threw both of his arms to his side, torrents of flame shooting from his hands. The flames traveled upward, scorching the ends of his t-shirt. Instinct took over and he charged forward.

 

His hand shot outward, a torrent of flames pouring out. One of the Harpy creatures dodged, the flames just singeing the tips of it’s feathers. It screeched in pain and changed directions, turning to charge headon at Drew. He shot his hand out once more, a torrent of flames ripping from his hands and blasting the creature in the chest.

 

Drew curled his right hand into a tight fist and swung his arm, a fiery fist striking across the beak of another of the creatures. He leapt upward and planted a kick in the chest of a third. Using the moment from the kick, Drew flipped backwards through the air, landing firmly on his feet.

 

“Holy crap!” He cheered himself.

 

His arms shot outward once more, bursts of flames shooting outward. The Harpies screeched out in pain, the flames engulfing their bodies. The smell of burning flesh filled Drew’s nostrils and made his stomach turn. He ignored the smell and continued firing out the bursts of flames, the creatures falling one by one.

 

Exhaustion threatened his, fatigue overcoming his arms. They grew heavier to hold up, but Drew fought to keep them raised. The final remaining Harpy took advantage of this and charged for an attack. It lashed out with it’s claw and slashed, tearing at the fabric of his shirt. With another slash, the creature cut into his arm. Blood trickled from the wound.

 

Drew cried out in pain. His knuckles cracked as he balled up his fist. With a loud cry, he landed a solid punch square in the beak of the creature. A crack, followed by the pained screech of the creature. It stumbled backwards and fell to the ground.

 

Scattered around him, the smouldering bodies of the other creatures. Drew blinked his eyes and looked down at his hands. Had he done that himself? He couldn’t believe it.

 

The tattoo on his left arm that had suddenly appeared had faded away, now an almost pale red color that was barely visible to his eye.

 

He looked down at his shirt, burn marks and slashes. The cut on his right arm was still slowly trickling blood. He had no idea how he was going to explain any of this to his mother. He released an exhausted sigh and turned on his heels. He stopped and glanced back, the smouldering bodies of the creatures having already turned to ash. The final one, the Harpy with the now broken beak, was nowhere to be seen.

 

Drew didn’t have the time to wait and see if it had gotten back up and was ready for round two. Nor was he sure how to summon the fire once again if the creature was ready for another fight. Despite the aches in his body, he took off running. He found his bike was still where he had left it, entirely undisturbed. He mounted it and peddled faster than he ever had.

 

*****

 

Lucky for him, no one had seen him enter the house. His father was already gone for the morning at the base. His mother was outside in her new garden, prepping it for planting for the coming spring. Blake was fixed in front of the television in the family room, his eyes glued to the video game he was playing. Drew threw the uniforms over one of the kitchen chairs and bolted upstairs. He slammed the bathroom door shut and stripped down. He balled the shirt and pants up, making a mental note for himself to discard of them discreetly.

 

He climbed into the shower and allowed the hot water to pour over his body. The bottom of the shower ran red as the blood from his arm mixed with the water. He sighed. He pressed his head against the shower wall.

 

The water at his feet ran clear again. He looked at his arms. The wound had stopped bleeding. The faint red design on his arm had almost completely faded away. Drew had to squint to see any remaining traces of it. He pressed his hand to his face and rubbed his eyes. He needed to get some sleep. His body cried for it.

 

He turned off the shower and grabbed the towel hanging on the rack. He quickly dried himself off. He wrapped the towel around his waist and darted across the hall to his bedroom. He fell forward, nearly collapsing onto his bed.

 

Sleep came almost instantaneously.

 

*****

 

The dream started out as it always had. The sign, the street, the house, the scream.

 

This time was different. It felt different. Instead of freezing in his tracks, Drew found himself pressing onward. He made his way up the walkway of the house, the one he had travelled just before his encounter with the horrendous Harpy creatures.

 

He froze in the doorway and instantly regretted this journey. He willed himself to wake up, to unsee this horrid vision, but he stayed planted in this dream. This was the most he had ever seen. In the months before they had moved to Providence, he never made it passed the walkway. He wished for nothing more than that now.

 

The man and woman were middle aged, not much older than his own parents were. Their two children couldn’t have been much older than he was; late teens to early twenties if he had to guess. Their bodies were spread across the floor in a circle, each of them facing upward. Their eyes were permanently open, frozen in their final moments of fear. Each had a thin slit across their throat, as well as a deep puncture wound bleeding through their stomachs.

 

Drew gasped in horror and clasped his hand over his lips. He spun on his heels and went to run. What he saw stopped him.

 

The man was smartly dressed in a suit and tie, his dark hair perfectly coiffed and unmoving. His brown eyes were cold and staring daggers into Drew’s soul. The teenager could feel his breathing starting to quicken. The man seemed to have simply ignored Drew and continued on his way through the door.

 

Drew blinked his eyes rapidly. The man appeared to look right through him.

 

The man grimaced, realizing he was standing in a puddle of blood. He rolled his eyes and wiped his shoe against the father’s shirt.

 

“Careful brother,” A voice spoke from the doorway. “Wouldn’t want to get those fancy shoes all messy.”

 

A beautiful young woman tilted her head to the side and smirked. She pulled tight on the collar of her leather jacket as she made her way back into the room. Blood covered her hands.

 

“Sansa,” The man spoke. “I see you and Ramiel found a way to keep yourselves busy. Couldn’t save any for me though, could you?”

 

The young woman snickered. She shook her head. “You had known the plan all along, Vaako. Perhaps if you hadn’t wasted so much time on choosing a host, you’d have made it for all the fun.”

 

“This body suits you, brother,” A third voice spoke from the hall.

 

Another man entered, dressed in all black. His eyes were colder than the others. His bloody hands clutched tightly to a blood soaked knife. A sinister smile was drawn across his face. “Tell me, where is your beautiful wife?”

 

“Goneril will be joining us shortly,” Vaako spoke. “In the meantime, we’ve got much to do. Father isn’t far behind us all, as we can assume.”

 

“Wonderful,” Sansa spoke. “In the meantime, brother, perhaps you’d like to do the honors?”

 

Vaako smiled. He blinked his eyes and Drew’s own eyes widened. Thick pools of black liquid seemed to swirl around his eye sockets, engulfing his eyes in a midnight hue. The other two followed suit, their own eyes blackening in the same way.

 

“What the hell…” Drew murmured to himself. He tried to run again, only to find his feet frozen to the ground.

 

Vaako crossed the room to the mother’s body. He looked down at her and shook his head. “Pity,” He smirked. “This one was quite lovely.”

 

He reached down and pressed his fingers into the wound on her stomach. Blood covered his fingers. The sight of this made Drew’s stomach turn. Vaako grinned as he placed his pointer finger against the wall, tracing out one of the strange symbols Drew had seen in the house.

 

“Father will be quite pleased,” He said to the other two. “Very well done.”

 

“Once father comes topside,” Ramiel toyed with the knife in his hand. “Shall we continue on this quest? I must say, I found it quite invigorating.”

 

“We have bigger plans than this.”

 

The voice came from the doorway and sent an instant chill down Drew’s spine. It sounded old, worn out and tired. He turned his head; the man he saw matched the voice almost perfectly. The man was old, silver hair and beard fixed on his head. In his right hand, he held onto a cane as a way to help him walk. Behind him, a much larger man stood, his body covered in a long black trench coat. The coat, however, did nothing to hide his bulging arm muscles.

 

“Lord Varys has arrived,” The brute spoke.

 

“Thank you, Manu,” The older man waved him off with his free hand. “I think my children should recognize their own father. Even in this form.”

 

Vaako stepped away from the wall and bowed his head. He slowly lowered himself to one knee. Sansa and Ramiel followed suit.

 

“Welcome, father,” Sansa said. “Ramiel and I have prepared the way for your return. Vaako, on the other hand…”

 

“Hold your tongue!” Vaako snapped his head towards her, only to be met with a sinister grin from the female.

 

“She’s not wrong,” Ramiel shrugged his shoulders. “You did just decide to show up.”

 

“Enough!” Varys slammed the butt of his cane against the floor. Doing so sent him into a horrible coughing fit, his old body trembling with each wet cough. The fit lasted for a few minutes before he cleared his throat.

 

“We have much to do,” Varys broke his silence. “Finish what you are doing. It is time that the humans know that we have come for them. Vaako, summon Goneril to this place immediately. She must be present for this as well. Get up! All of you!”

 

The three followed instruction and rose to their feet. They quickly went to work, each of them repeating Vaako’s steps before and dipping their fingers into the blood before tracing the hellish symbols across the walls. Varys stood and chuckled.

 

Drew’s feet were finally allowing him to move. Tears welled up in his eyes, witnessing this horror firsthand. Whoever these people were, they certainly could not be human. He needed to get out of there. And fast.

 

He took off running, ignoring the hulking brute known as Manu. He nearly flew across the walkway and into the street. He panted heavily as his feet slammed against the pavement. He wanted nothing more than to wake up. Nothing more than to be free of this.

 

“Run all you’d like, young one,” The voice forced Drew to stop running.

 

The sound of the cane hitting the pavement with each step came closer and closer. The old man was closing in on him. Drew snapped his eyes shut, telling himself over and over that this was just a dream. Just a dream and it was time for him to wake up. His eyes slowly opened as he felt the man’s hot breath on the back of his neck.

 

“You will fall like the rest of your pathetic kind,” Varys said as he slowly circled around, coming now face to face with Drew. “Humans are a disgrace. We are the true, perfect species. We will reign supreme over this wasteland.”

 

His lips curled into a sinister grin. Drew noticed that his eyes were solid black, just as the other three had been before. Varys released a slow chuckle, allowing that chuckle to build. The horrid sound resonated through Drew’s body as it echoed through the night air.

 

*****

 

Drew woke up screaming. His face was buried deep in his pillow, muffling most of his scream. He forced himself up. Cold sweat dripped across his face and his body. His breathing came in short, quick pants as he struggled to regulate it.

 

A dull, throbbing pain shot through his left arm.

 

The tattoo had appeared once more, pulsing with a dark red light.

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Holy potatoes Andrew. I knew this story was going to be good because I love everything that you write but I had no idea how dark and twisted and just down right chilling the first chapter was going to be.

 

WOW! I still got goosebumps from reading it. I'm glad I didn't read it last night like I was going to because I may have been afraid to go to bed. Lol words can't even begin how this first chapter and intro to your new story is. This chapter is by far the best you have written. It was a little scary but yet it kept me so enthralled that I couldn't stop reading because I needed to know what was going to happen. I so can not wait to read the next chapter. This was well done. I'm so excited!

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Chapter Two - The Shadow

 

“Come on,” She hissed as they made their way down the corridor.

 

Sansa led Ramiel through the tunnels. She sneered at her surroundings. It was dark and damp. The dank smell of the sewer filled the nostrils of her host body. Their father had promised them world domination. Now they hid beneath the streets of this town like cowards. Her heavy boot splashed in a puddle.

 

“Father is going to be angry with us,” Ramiel said. “He told us to be more careful after the last one. To not hunt so freely”

 

Sansa shook her head. “Father will not dare to say anything. We’re continuing our duty. Spreading his word.”

 

Blood stained their shoes and splattered across their clothes. A third night of hunting since their arrival. This time, their eldest brother did not join them. It didn’t matter. They came to the end of the sewer tunnel and stopped. She took in a deep breath through her nostrils. Her knuckles tapped against the wall. The massive door swung open.

 

Their makeshift throne room wasn’t much of anything. An drier area of the sewer tunnels welcomed them. It was larger than the tunnels, comfortably housing their family. Varys sat in the center of the room in a large stone throne. He looked so old, so much more than he had just weeks before when they had surfaced. Sansa despised him.

 

Centuries ago, Sansa sold her soul to him to protect her from her death. A decision she had regretted since making it. Her knuckles cracked as she balled them into fists. She loosened the fists as she crossed the threshold into the room.

 

Manu stood just to her father’s left, his bulking arms folded tightly over his chest. His stone-hard look remained the same.

 

At her father’s right, Vaako stood with his signature smirk. The eldest child of Varys’ family had always been at their father’s side. Sansa hated him almost as much at their father. Ramiel was her only hope; the newest addition to their family, she could mold him into whatever it was she wanted. She knew that deep down.

 

Goneril stood just off to Vaako’s side. The blonde woman kept her hands folded in front of her. She had surfaced only days after their first attack. She had a half smile on her face, her head was tilted down slowly when Sansa and Ramiel entered.

 

“Where were you two?” Varys spoke, his eyes narrowing in on the two.

 

“My father,” Sansa bowed her head. “Ramiel and I were continuing our work. Just as you had asked. Our message must be continued to be spread.”

 

“Father said that we were finished with that,” Vaako said. “The two of you have disobeyed a direct order.”

 

“Silence!” Varys growled. The elder demon coughed, his throat dry. “I will handle this. Not you.”

 

Vaako nodded in agreement and shrank into himself. Sansa fought the urge to smile.

 

“I will ask you again,” Varys struggled to rise up. Manu rushed to his side, only to be waived off by his master. Varys clutched to the arms of his throne as he slowly forced himself to his feet. “Where were you?”

 

“The town,” Ramiel spoke. “Just as before. We drew the symbols in their blood.”

 

Varys nodded his head slowly. He chuckled beneath his breath. His right arm slowly lifted and his cupped his hand. Ramiel and Sansa froze in their places, their bodies tightening up. With far more strain that he anticipated, Varys sent them both flying backwards, their backs pressing firmly against the wall.

 

“Father, we…” Ramiel started.

 

“I don’t want to hear it!” Varys shouted. Sansa gritted her teeth as his eyes locked on her. “You disobeyed a direct order. And you’ve involved the young one. You may be disrespectful, but you will not teach him to do so!”

 

A thin line of blood ran from his right nostril. His face scrunched in confusion. Using his left hand, he slowly brought a finger to the spot and dabbed. He stared at the blood for a moment. Sansa tried to fight against his control, trying to force out a smirk. She felt his grip on them beginning to loosen.

 

“My children,” Varys cleared his throat. He dropped his hand to his side, Sansa and Ramiel landing hard on their feet. Both their hands instantly went to their throats, gently massaging the area. “I don’t want to have to to that again. Next time, the ending may not be as promising for you.”

 

Or you. Sansa thought.

 

“Yes father,” They said in unison.

 

“My lord.”

 

Manu stepped forward. He pointed towards the door. A pathetic looking creature stood in the door. The feathers on its body were singed, it’s beak was broken. The Harpy was wobbly on its legs. A pair of lesser demons stood at its side, helping it to hobble into the throne room. Varys frowned in disappointment.

 

“My poor, beautiful pet,” He tsked, watching the creature. “What could have possibly happened to you?” He sighed, pointing to an empty space in the center of the room. “Come, bring it here. Goneril.”

 

The blonde woman looked to her husband, Vaako, and gave him a small nod. She stepped forward. “Yes, my lord?”

 

“Your gifts, have they manifested themselves in this host body just yet?”

 

“Fully returned as of this morning,” She said with a smile. “Would you like me to use them now?”

 

Varys answered with a simple nod. She stepped forward, reaching out her right arm. She nodded at the creature, motioning for one of the lesser demons to raise up its arm. She reached out, her fingers lightly grazing at the skin. Her eyes rolled back in her head, going entirely white. She tilted her head backwards and gasped.

 

“Such power…” She whispered. “This is the only one left...I…”

 

Her head tilted to the side. “Interesting.”

 

Goneril slowly pulled her hand back. The Harpy’s body began shivering with convulsions. Within seconds of this, the creature fell to the ground and breathed a final whimper of breath before its eyes rolling back in its head. She tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear as she crouched down at his side. Her hand hovered for a moment over the creature’s face.

 

Varys looked to her.

 

“My lord,” She said, slowly rising to her feet. Her hands ran down the sides of her dress.

 

“What did you see?” The older demon demanded.

 

“Something of true power,” Goneril’s voice was soft. She crossed to her husband, her right hand cupping over Vaako’s shoulder. “A boy.”

 

Sansa snorted a small laugh. “A boy? You must be joking.”

 

“A boy who shot flames from his palms,” Goneril said. “His arm emblazoned with a strange mark.”

 

Varys flared his nostrils. His body shifted, his hand pressing against the wall for balance. His fingernails dragged across the concrete as he curled his fingers. His breathing grew labored, hard and short.

 

“Father…” Vaako stepped forward, Goneril’s hand clutching tighter on his shoulder to keep him back.

 

“When?” Varys spoke.

 

“Two days ago,” Goneril said softly. “The Harpies ambushed the boy. Unfortunately, this one here was the last of them. His power, I’ve never seen anything quite like that. I could feel the pain of this poor thing.”

 

“They’ve started to awaken,” Varys said half under his breath. “Things are moving much more quickly than I had thought they would.”

 

“Father, what do you mean?” Ramiel asked.

 

Varys threw his arm up, silencing the youngest of his children. The old man pushed himself from the wall, staggering towards his throne. Manu, his ever-patient servant, moved to aid him. Varys shook his off, making his way to his throne on his own. He fixed himself to his seat. His hand rubbed against his chin. The silence spreading across the room was almost deafening.

 

“You two,” He pointed towards Sansa and Ramiel. “Redeem yourselves to me. Take yourselves back amongst the surface world. Begin where the Harpies manifested. From there, find me any traces of the boy. Of his magic. Do not harm him, not yet. I want to know more.”

 

Ramiel would agree instantly to anything that Varys would say, Sansa knew that. Her arms crossed tighter over her chest. She took in a small breath. If anything were to go as she had planned, she would have to bide her time a bit longer. She took a small step forward, bowing forward in a dramatic flare.

 

“Yes, father,” She said. “I can only hope that this here will make up for our disrespect towards you. Only hope that you can forgives us and bring us back into your good graces.”

 

She turned on her heels and felt her hand wrap gently along Ramiel’s forearm. “Come, brother. We have much work to do.”

 

Vaako and Goneril watched silently as the two younger demons made there way through the doorway. They exchanged a silent look amongst each other.

 

*****

 

His body sailed through the air. His arms were extended forward, pointing to the water below him. He cut through the quiet surface of the pool, water splashing up around him. He kept himself under the water for a moment, feeling the peace and the serenity before swimming to the surface.

 

Liam Duval took in a deep breath as he rose to the surface.

 

He swam to the edge of the pool and hoisted himself out. His towel was sitting on the bench at the far end. He quickly dried his hair and threw the towel over his shoulders as he made his way towards the locker room.

 

His school uniform was hanging in his locker. He quickly changed out of his bathing suit and back into the charcoal gray pants, white shirt, gray sweater vest and his loosely tied red and gray striped tie. School had already ended for the day, so he wasn’t too concerned with his uniform looking as pristine.

 

His backpack was lazily thrown over his shoulders, his gym bag clutched tight in his hand. Several students still lingered in the hallways. He had a huge smile planted on his face while he made his way through them all, nodding various greetings. They were dressed in similar uniforms, the girls replacing the charcoal gray pants with a gray and red checkered skirt.

 

A locker door slammed.

 

“I swear man,” The teen shook his head as Liam approached. “Avery’s already got it out for me. It’s day one.”

 

“Maybe you should’ve paid closer attention last year,” Liam chuckled. “If you want to stay starting quarterback, you better work a little harder this year.”

 

Jonah Duque tilted his head back and groaned. “It also doesn’t help that my sister decided to skip ahead to our level history class. Now I’m stuck with the prodigy showing me up.”

 

“Maybe she can help you this year,” Liam shrugged, only to be met with an eye roll.

 

The two had been close friends for several years now. Vanderbilt Academy had been their home since the seventh grade. Their parents ran in similar social circles, having had run-ins with each other in the past. Since beginning at the academy, the best private school that money could buy in the state, they grew closer.

They made their way out of the building and into the parking lot. Crisp, fall air was thick around them. The breeze had the slightest chill in the air as the leaves were slowly beginning to shift in color.

 

“Did you see Quinn today?”

 

Jonah shook his head. “Nah, I don’t think she’s back yet. Probably not until tomorrow. Or end of the week. Which is just in time for my plan.”

 

“She didn’t want much of anything to do with you last year. What makes you think things changed?”

 

“No one can resist this for long,” Jonah smirked.

 

Liam shook his head and rolled his eyes. “I can.”

 

“True,” Jonah said with a shrug. “But then again, I’m not exactly your type, am I? And we all know you’re not mine.”

 

Liam smirked. “Hey, man, thanks again for giving me a ride home. I owe you one.”

 

Jonah shrugged with a ‘no problem’ sort of demeanor. His silver convertible was sitting in the lot, the paint glinting in the sun. The two teens climbed in the car. Jonah slid a pair of aviator sunglasses onto his face. His fingers pressed against the button on the dashboard, the car humming to life. The roof slid back, clicking into its spot.

 

“Jonah!”

 

He groaned inaudibly at the sound of the voice. His hand pulled away from the gear shift, his head hitting against the back of the headrest. Liam’s face scrunched in confusion. That was, until the voice appeared at his side and revealed a face. Layla Duque, Jonah’s 15-year-old sister.

 

“I missed the bus. Mom says you have to drive me home.”

 

Jonah rolled his eyes. He was silent, giving his sister a simple nod to the backseat of the vehicle. Layla smiled politely at Liam before climbing into the backseat, slumping her backpack down on the seat beside her. Her seatbelt clicked into place.

 

They were silent for the first few minutes of their drive from the school. Just the simple sounds of the radio and the wind against their faces providing any kind of sound.

 

“What time is your party again this weekend?” Liam broke the silence.

 

“Party?” Layla scoffed. “You’re throwing a party while mom and dad are gone?”

 

Liam’s eyes widened and his lips pursed slightly into an ‘I’m sorry’ look. Jonah’s eyes narrowed at his friend.

 

“Anyway,” Liam said. “I was thinking we could invite that new kid. I’d think it would be good for him. He doesn’t know anyone here, we can give him a hand with meeting people.”

 

“And you can see if he plays on your team?” Jonah smirked.

 

“Maybe” Liam’s shoulders shrugged. “If not, he’s at least pretty to look at.”

 

The two laughed.

 

“So this party,” Layla said. “Do I get to be there for it?”

 

Jonah sighed. “I mean, it’s not like I can send you anywhere for the night. You’ll tell mom and dad,” He paused for a moment choosing his next words carefully. “You can be there, but the first weird thing you say or do, you’re done. You can spend the rest of the night in your room. And knowing you, that probably won’t be too long into the party.”

 

“Dude!” Liam shook his head. “Was that really necessary?”

 

“It’s fine,” Layla mumbled. “Not like I’m not used to this at this point.”

 

*****

 

“Father told us to come right back.”

 

Sansa rolled her eyes. Ramiel was trailing behind her as they made their way down the streets of the small town square. Providence reminded her so much of her own home. How it had been all those years ago, despite the glaring modernization of them both.

 

She shook her head and increased her speed. Ramiel groaned and picked up, trying his best to catch up to her.

 

“Father told us not to do anything stupid,” She corrected him. “Walking around to continue our search is still part of what he asked.”

 

“Sansa, I don’t want him to be angry with us again. He told us that he would kill us if we disobeyed him again.”

 

“Father has gotten old,” She said. She stopped in her tracks, turning to face him. “He won’t be strong enough to harm us. Did you not see him earlier?”

 

Ramiel lowered his head. He knew. The blood from his nose, his telekinetic grasp weakening on them, she was right. Still, Varys had enough of a following that anyone could take them out. Namely Manu. It didn’t matter how powerful either of them were, Manu was far stronger than either of them. His brute strength could very easily overpower them both.

 

“As long as we keep ‘looking for the boy’ we will be fine,” Sansa told him. “That energy signature that surrounded the woods, it’s all throughout this place. The boy was here.”

 

A dry cleaner’s shop stood before them. A sign hung on the front door indicating that the store was closed for the day, business set to resume the following day. He had not been here. The signature was far too weak.

 

“See,” Sansa said. “I’m still doing as father…”

 

She stopped. Her head tilted off to the side. A strange feeling washed over her body. The feeling, the power she could feel. The signature was similar to the one she was tracking, but very different at the same time. Her eyes flickered black before back to their human color. A sort of grin crossed her face.

 

“What are you thinking?” Ramiel said, feeling the energy as well.

 

“A little fun,” Sansa’s eyes narrowed. “Father doesn’t need to know.”

 

*****

 

“I’m just saying, she’s going to be my girlfriend by Homecoming. Just watch.”

 

Jonah’s hands were gripped tight around the steering wheel as he passed through the main area of town before crossing over the tiny bridge that was built over the Cross River. The river itself cut through the small town and ended just at the edge of town where the dam stood.

 

Liam rolled his eyes, staying silent in the front seat. Quinn Lockwood was the most popular girl in school. Cheerleader, class president, ideally the perfect girlfriend for quarterback Jonah. Except for the fact that she despised him. But Jonah loved the idea of the chase, getting the girl and getting the perfect high school story. Liam, on the other hand, knew better.

 

“Keep telling yourself that,” Layla mused from the backseat, forcing Liam to stifle a laugh.

 

Jonah rolled his eyes. “Can it back there,” He said. “Quinn loves me. She just doesn’t want to admit to it.”

 

Up ahead, Sansa and Ramiel hid behind the trees. The car was fast approaching. Sansa’s eyes narrowed into tiny little slits as she saw the car in the distance. Her eyes had gone solid black. An energy signature was pulsing from the vehicle, one so powerful it was almost slapping her in the face.

 

“They’re in that vehicle,” She whispered under her breath. “We can stop them here.”

 

Ramiel narrowed his eyes. “What are you going to do?”

 

Sansa said nothing. Instead, a small smirk curled over her lips. She reached behind her, pulling a small knife from the small of her back. The handle of the blade had an intricate carving engraved into it. Her head tilted back slightly, her mouth going slightly agape as she ran the blade over her forearm. Thick drops of black ichor dropped downward, pooling in small clumps on the grass.

 

“Self-defense,” She said, feeling Ramiel’s frantic eyes staring at her. “Father will never know that we did this.”

 

Ramiel said nothing. Instead, he stared in wonder as the pools of ichor began to trickle away, converging into a thick stream that traveled out towards the road. Sansa smiled. Her hand slowly raised upward, snapping her fingers with a loud crack.

 

Jonah’s car came to a screeching halt. The thick streams of ichor had taken shape, forming several of the Harpy creatures.

 

“What the -” Jonah was cut off by the horrific screech that filled the air.

 

One of the Harpy creatures tilted it’s head, it’s tiny eyes focusing in on Jonah. The teen gulped, feeling as if the creature was looking right into his soul. He was frozen. He couldn’t even hear Liam frantically stumbling over the words to find his name. The only thing that would break his fear was the ear-piercing scream from the backseat.

 

“Jonah!”

 

Layla’s voice broke through the air. Jonah whipped his head around to see one of the creatures hovering over the open backseat, Layla’s shoulders clutched in the creature’s talons.

 

“Shit,” Jonah cursed under his breath.

 

The car was barely in park before he jumped to move. He used the back of his seat to propel him forward, leaping into the air. He lunged at the creature, although the Harpy was already prepared. It released its grip on Layla, dropping the girl back into her seat in the car. Just as she fell, Jonah collided with the Harpy, tackling backwards. He gritted his teeth as he landed hard on the pavement.

 

He found his way back to his feet and stood his ground. Everything in him was telling him to get back in the car, drive away, not even caring to look back as he sped off, bringing Liam and Layla away.

 

Liam. Layla.

 

He had nearly forgotten the two of them when he hit the ground. He snapped his head back momentarily. Neither of them remained in the car. His eyes widened in surprise. Where had they gone?

 

The horrific screech broke his concentration once more. He whipped back around, coming face to face with his foe. The creature’s feathers were puffed out, ruffling in the slight wind. He was staring at certain death, that he was sure of. The creature stalked towards him, its movements slow and methodical like those of a horror movie slasher. Jonah felt frozen where he stood.

 

A dull, throbbing sort of pain echoed across Jonah’s left wrist. He ignored it, even as the pain slowly climbed up his arm.

 

Layla cried out, charging towards the creature. She swung her backpack around, hitting the creature in its side. The creature let out a horrific squak as it stumbled to the side. Layla held her backpack down at her side, her hands gripped tightly around the straps. A look of terror flickered in her eyes. The realization over what she had done washed over her.

 

The Harpy stumbled on its feet before regaining sturdy footing. The hellish screech echoed from the creature’s throat. Angered from the attack, the Harpy came charging forward. The claw of the creature came swinging towards her. Layla threw her backpack upward to shield her face. The claw ripped through the fabric, spilling the contents from within.

 

“Jonah!”

 

The dull throb in Jonah’s wrist grew more painful. His head tilted backwards and he cried out in pain. The pain shifted to a burning sensation. A pale yellow light traced down his forearm and extended to his fingertips. The light faded, leaving an intricate design branded to his skin. Yellow light pulsed throughout. His eyes widened.

 

Her screams broke him from his focus on his arm. Layla’s bag was thrown to the ground. Layla had fallen, her arms behind her to keep her propped up. She was slowly backing up, her breathing labored. She tried to scream, only to have it escape in short gasps. The Harpy was closing in. What Jonah saw next he almost couldn’t believe.

 

Layla’s arm was adorned with a marking similar to his, only pulsing with a deep green. As the Harpy leaned in closer to her face, Layla’s arms crossed in front to shield herself. Thick green vines shot up from the ground before her and wrapped around the creatures legs, locking it it’s tracks. A third vine shot upward and wrapped around the horrific beak.

 

Layla seemed to be just as surprised by her act as her brother was. Fear was frozen on her face. She was so focused in on the creature in front of her, she would have never seen another one closing in from behind.

 

“Layla, watch out!”

 

Jonah’s arm shot outward, a sudden spark of electricity shooting for his fingertips. The spark came up again, only this time tracing outward in thin bolts. The lightning shot forward and struck the creature in its side.

 

Layla heard the pained squak of the creature and rolled away. She stumbled as she tried to climb to her feet. “Did we…”

 

Jonah stared in awe at what had unfolded before him. All he could do was simply nod.

 

“Where’s Liam?” Layla asked, her eyes darting around them. “Did they…”

 

The vines snapped. The Harpy broke free of its prison and joined its companion. The two creatures were dazed for a moment as they gathered their surroundings. At the same time, they both locked their beatty eyes on the Duque siblings.

 

“Do it again,” Jonah said. “Hold them in place again. Do it.”

 

Layla frantically tried to catch her breath. “I...I don’t know how,” She tried to mask the fear in her voice. “It just happened before.”

 

“Try it again!”

 

The twin Harpies came charging forward. Layla screamed as she threw her arms up. Thick vines shot out from the earth and tightly wrapped around the Harpies’ legs. Layla opened her eyes and smiled to herself; she’d done it again.

 

The creatures squaked and wriggled around in the vines as they attempted to break free. Layla threw her arms once more, more vines shooting up from beneath the ground. They wrapped themselves around their bodies, holding them in place. Layla’s fists curled into balls, tightening the vines around the Harpies.

 

Jonah held his palms a few inches apart in front of him, braids of lightning dancing through the free space between his fingertips. The lightning crackled and began to take the shape of a ball. He could feel the lightning coursing through his body. He smiled. His concentration was broken by the sound of a snap.

 

The vines holding the Harpies were beginning break free. Layla’s arms were moving in quick motions, summoning more vines from the earth. Jonah’s hands moved further apart as the ball of lightning grew in size. The crackling blast flew forward and crashed into the Harpies. The sound of their vile shrieking filling the air.

 

The blast dissipated, leaving a smouldering pile of ash in its wake.

 

“Did that really…” Layla began, examining the markings on her arm.

 

“I don’t remember having any kind of ink,” Jonah said almost in tandem, examining his own. “What just happened?”

 

Liam’s cries for help echoed through the now quiet air. Their heads snapped to the side, seeing the source of his cries.

 

Liam was at the edge of the small bridge, his back pressed against the railing, a Harpy closing in on him. The creature shrieked and pecked at him, Liam narrowly dodging the attacks. Jonah and Layla took off running, heading towards him. Their eyes were instantly drawn this his left arm, a faint blue light pulsing across his skin.

 

Liam cried out as the creature pecked at him once more, forcing him over the railing and plunging towards the water. The Harpy took off in the opposite direction, avoiding both Jonah and Layla by a moment. The two ignored the running creature, looking over the railing. Their eyes locked on with Liam’s just as he disappeared into the Cross River with a splash.

 

“Liam!” They both cried out.

 

*****

 

He should have been dead. Or paralyzed.

 

Liam felt himself moving freely through the water, his body floating downward. His limbs felt weightless.

 

His eyes opened. The world around him seemed so peaceful. He felt a strange tightening in his chest; he was struggling to hold his breath. His cheeks were puffed out, holding in his last bit of oxygen. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to swim to the surface.

 

It was no use. He knew he couldn’t hold it any more. The floor of the river drew closer and closer. He resigned himself to the end, expelling his final breath.

 

His body shifted in the water and his feet landed first against the river floor. Was he breathing under water? His brow furrowed in confusion. The light from his left arm caught his eye, the intricate design pulsing with blue light.

 

Energy pulsed through his body. It felt strange.

 

And yet he knew exactly what he needed to do.

 

*****

 

Layla had crumbled to the ground. She held her knees to her chest, pressing her chin down against her knees. The strange marking on her wrist throbbed with a dull pain, though the light pulsing from it had slowly begun to fade.

 

“What just happened?” She whispered under her breath, half expecting Jonah to respond.

 

Her brother was silent. The faint yellow light slowly pulsed and began to fade away from his arm as well. He was fixed at the edge of the bride, his hands wrapped loosely around the railing. He stared downward, looking to the depths of the river. He wished he could see the bottom. He exhaled sharply.

 

“Let’s go,” He said solemnly, pushing away from the railing. “Layla. Come on.”

 

“We’re just going to leave him here?” She pushed herself up to her feet. “Jonah, we can’t. What do we tell his family? What do we tell people at school?”

 

Jonah held his head low. He said nothing as he pushed passed her. His hand lingered over the door handle. He took the time to examine the scene around him. Scorched blacktop from the lightning bursts from him, the thick vines scattered around. He looked down at his hands again, struggling to believe that this had truly happened. And then there was Liam.

 

His best friend, thrown into the river. What could they tell people? Obviously not the truth. “Layla, we have to go,” He said. “We’ll figure it out. But right now…”

 

“Jonah! Look!”

 

Her voice cut him off. He looked up. A column of water swirled.

 

“What the hell?”

 

The column swirled around and arced through the air. The tip of the column set down against the blacktop. Liam stepped through the column. His wet clothing clung tight against his body. Water dripped away. His hair was plastered firmly against his forehead.

 

“Liam!” Layla cried out, throwing her arms around him. “We thought you were..”

 

“Nice ink,” Jonah stopped her from continuing, nodding her head towards Liam’s left arm.

 

The blue mark pulsed with light. His breathing was quick and heavy. “Anyone want to tell me what the hell is going on?”

 

Jonah shook his head, cupping his hand over Liam’s shoulder. “Would if I could, my man. I would if I could.”

 

The three teens stood silent. They scanned the area around them.

 

*****

 

“Sansa,” Ramiel tried his best to keep up with her. “What are we going to do? Father is going to be furious with us!”

 

Sansa rolled her eyes. “No, young one, he won’t be. Father will never know the truth.”

 

The two demons increased their pace, coming up to a light jog. They found themselves pushing through the woods. The three teenagers had revealed themselves to have powers they had not anticipated. They needed to get as far away as they could. Report back to their father. And most importantly, find the missing Harpy.

 

“Up there,” She said to him.

 

The creature was stumbling towards a clearing in the woods. It’s body was weakened from the attempted attack on the teens. Despite having garnered the upper hand and hoisting one of them into the river, they had still bested it. The only survivor of the pack. A weak, pathetic shriek escaped passed it’s beak.

 

Sansa held up her hand, the creature’s body tensing where it stood. Her eyes went fully black. “Kill it,” She instructed Ramiel. “Kill the creature.”

 

“It’s one of ours!” Ramiel protested. “We can’t do that.”

 

“Do it now,” Sansa said firmly. “We cannot afford to have this thing return to our home. Goneril will use her magic once more and see that we conjured the creatures to attack, not for self-defense like I plan to say. We cannot let that happen. So kill the beast. Now.”

 

Ramiel inhaled and exhaled so rapidly, his nostrils flared outward. The Harpy was struggling to break free of Sansa’s grasp. She would easily break the creature’s neck on her own. Why did she need him to do it? Then he realized; she was testing him. His loyalty. He pinched his eyes tightly closed. When he reopened them, they too had gone solid black.

 

He reached behind his back, pulling his knife from the holster in the small of his back. He took in a deep breath and took deliberate steps forward. His hand clutched tightly around the handle of the blade to avoid showing his visible trembling. The Harpy’s eyes were cold as they stared into his own.

 

He pressed the blade firmly against the creature’s throat. He remained silent as his hand slid smoothly across, forming a deep cut across the throat. The Harpy tried to cry out, the creature’s voice lost to the air. Sansa’s grip around the creature loosened and it crashed limply against the ground.

 

The demonic siblings looked to each other for a moment, their eyes locking together. They said nothing.

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Chapter Three - The Birth

 

Drew shot up in his bed, beads of sweat forming around his forehead. A dull ache echoed through his left arm. The mysterious brand he now bore pulsed with red light.

 

He reached for his cellphone. The phone screen read 6:06am. Sunlight was slowly beginning to creep through the slits between his blinds. He sighed heavily.

 

An uneasy feeling washed over him. Something was coming; he could feel it.

 

*

 

The school bell rang.

 

Quinn Lockwood paused at her locker for a single moment. A picture of her and her parents hung to the inside of the door with a heart-shaped magnet. Her fingertips lightly ran across their faces. She blinked away the burning feeling behind her eyes.

 

“Hey.”

 

She jumped slightly at the sound of the voice. She inhaled deeply through her nose. As she closed the locker door, she saw him standing there, his arms folded lazily over his chest. He leaned against the lockers, a half smile curling on his lips. She rolled her eyes.

 

“How are you?” Jonah asked. “I’m glad to see you’re back.”

 

“Thanks,” She said without making eye contact. She turned her back to him and began to make her way down the hallway. “What do you want, Jonah?”

 

“Just to check on you,” He was only a few steps behind her. “Like I said, I’m glad to see you’re back.”

 

Quinn shook her head and rolled her eyes. She knew him better than that. She felt his hand cup around her shoulder; a chill ran down her spine. She stopped in her tracks. “Don’t touch me,” She wouldn’t turn to look at him. “Please.”

 

Jonah quickly pulled his hand back, his arms defensively going up into the air. “Sorry,” He muttered under his breath.

 

Quinn shook her head. She continued walking, her pace increasingly as she heard him coming closer.

 

“Hey,” Jonah hovered his hand over her shoulder once more. He stopped himself, being sure to not make the same mistake twice. “Look, I just wanted to invite you to a party this weekend. That’s all. My parents are out of town. Whole class will be there. You could probably use the night out.”

 

Quinn lingered in the doorway of their homeroom class for a moment. She tried to fight a smile forming around her lips. “Thanks,” She said as the morning bell rang once more.

 

“Ms. Lockwood, Mr. Duque,” A voice called from inside the room.

 

Elijah Avery was leaned against his desk, his arms folded over his chest. He was young, only somewhere in his early 30’s. He was smartly dressed, the sleeves of his shirt cuffed over his sweater and folded to his elbows. His lips were pursed slightly. “Care to join us this morning?”

 

“Sorry, Mr. Avery,” Jonah muttered, pushing through the door and making his way to his seat at the back of the room.

 

“Mr. Avery, I have something for you,” Quinn dug into her backpack. She removed a slip of paper and handed it to him. “Sorry it’s late, I…”

 

Mr. Avery smiled a half-smile and put up his hand. “It’s alright, Quinn,” He took the paper and looked it over once. “Trip isn’t until this afternoon. You got this in just in time.”

 

“Thank you,” Quinn smiled.

 

She turned on her heels as Mr. Avery cleared his throat. He slowly called out names, waiting for a response from her fellow classmates. There was one empty seat near the middle of the room. She took her place in the chair and placed her bag on the desktop in front of her. Beside her, a young man sat that she didn’t recognize. Must be the new kid she had heard about transferring.

 

“Michael Campbell,” Mr. Avery called out.

 

“Here,” Her new neighbor responded.

 

Quinn looked to him and forced a smile. He responded with a shy one of his own.

 

*

 

“My lord.”

 

Goneril lingered for a moment. She stared straight ahead, picking a point on the wall behind him rather than making eye contact with Varys. The last few days had been trying ones; with Sansa and Ramiel’s failure when it came to the three latest children, Varys’ temper had been at an all time high. The slightest thing had been setting off his wrath. She grew more and more worried each time she would have to speak with him.

 

Varys sat upon his throne, his eyes tightly closed. He remained silent as though he were in a deep state of meditation. She hated to have to interrupt him, but Goneril knew what she had to do. She took in a deep breath as she tried to gather up her courage.

 

“My lord,” She spoke again. “I must speak with you. It is of the utmost importance. I’ve had another vision.”

 

Varys’ eyes snapped open on her last word. The elder demon’s back cracked several times as he adjusted himself to an upright position on his throne. His head tilted to the side slowly. He locked his cold, ancient eyes with hers.

 

“Tell me everything,” He said, his voice laced with an icy tone.

*

 

The Kaden Trammell Museum.

 

The building was housed just at the edge of the Providence limits. A greco-roman style building, the vast white columns almost gleamed in the sunlight.

 

The bus breathed a sigh of exhaust as it came to a halt in front of the building. Elijah Avery stepped down first, standing tall on the steps of the museum as the students slowly stepped down from the vehicle. They formed a line and stood before the bus as they waited for their further instructions.

 

“Alright guys,” Mr. Avery started, pausing only for the sounds of the bus pulling away to fade out. He nodded slightly. “Break off into groups. You’ll have two hours to explore the museum and find your ideas for your group project. One of your groups will have to be a group of five. Other than that, you must group off in fours.”

 

Liam and Jonah nodded to each other as they made their way closer together. Quinn sighed as she met Jonah’s gaze. Reluctantly she joined up with them. She smiled as she gave Liam a hug. It had been the first time the entire day she had seen him. The embrace was warm. He gave her a small squeeze.

 

“Jonah,” Layla’s voice came through the group. “Can I be with you guys?”

 

Jonah groaned and opened his mouth to protest. His sister was advanced enough to join their class. He didn’t want her following around with his friends. Not today. Before he could have a chance to speak, however, Quinn stepped forward.

 

“That should be more than fine,” She said, looking towards him. “Right, Jonah?”

 

He sighed a gave a small nod. “Sure, why not?”

 

“Hey guys,” Liam nodded towards the center of the group of students.

 

Michael stood off on his own, his hands stuffed into his jacket pockets. Liam frowned.

 

“What about him?” Liam said. “He’s still new. He doesn’t really know anyone.”

 

“Ugh,” Jonah groaned. “You’re only concerned about him because you think he’s hot. We’ve already got my sister, I think we’re enough of the Island of Misfits without the new kid too.”

 

“I heard that,” Layla rolled her eyes.

 

“Dude, shut up,” Liam ignored him.

 

He ran his hands down the sides of his pants to smooth away any wrinkles. He walked over and tapped Michael on the shoulder, giving him a warm smile. Michael jumped slightly, startled by the contact.

 

“Sorry,” Liam chuckled. “Didn’t mean to freak you out there.”

 

“Oh, no, it wasn’t…” Michael stammered. He cleared his throat. “You didn’t freak me out.”

 

Liam smirked and nodded his head slowly. “Right. Anyway, I’m Liam. You’re new in town, right? Michael?”

 

“Yeah,” Michael said. “My family and I just moved here. That obvious?”

 

“Small town. We all grew up together and went through pre-K til now together. New kids tend to stand out.”

 

Michael felt a faint burn in his face as his cheeks went flush. Liam pretended to ignore it. Was he blushing because of him? It didn’t matter. Liam simply shook it off.

 

Unbeknownst to the other, both teens were ignoring the dull pulsing pain that was radiating up both of their left arms. Their shirt sleeves hid the faint pulsing light coming from their marks.

 

“You look a little lost,” Liam finally continued. “Without a group, I mean. Why don’t you come with us? We don’t mind being the ones with five.”

 

Michael awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. He didn’t really see much of another option. “Umm, sure. Thanks.”

 

“Great!” Liam threw his arm around Michael’s shoulder and pulled him in closer. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

 

They quickly made their way through the crowd of students beginning to push their way up the stairs. Introductions were quick, simple waves and head nods. Jonah grumbled something beneath his breath, although no one could actually make out the words. He said nothing else as he started his way up the steps to the main entrance of the building.

 

“Don’t mind him,” Quinn said to Michael as they followed suit. “He’s not much of a people person. He doesn’t really know how to act around them.”

 

“I can agree to that from living with him all these years,” Layla snickered lightly. “My brother’s a bit of a douche.”

 

“Heard that,” Jonah called from ahead. “Will you guys just shut up and hurry up? I’d rather get this crap done and out of the way as soon as we can.”

 

His left hand tightened into a fist as he felt the pain start to murmur beneath his skin. He ignored it as best as he could. He’d ignored the marking all together since the day that he, Liam and Layla had been attacked. When either of them tried to bring it up, he simply shook them off. Better to pretend like it hadn’t happened at all.

 

Layla knew he’d ignore her too if she brought it up. She wanted to ask Liam, but she knew better. Something felt off though. She’d been around both Liam and her brother since their attack and the pain hadn’t returned. Not like this at least. What did this Michael boy have to do with it? The second he got closer to them, she felt it once more. Did Jonah and Liam feel the same? She would have to be sure to find the moment to ask Liam, a time when they’d be alone.

 

They entered the museum and were greeted by the looming skeleton of a tyrannosaurus. It’s empty eye slots stared at them. Drew found himself mesmerized by the massive beast before him. His head tilted to the side, his eyes meeting the hollow stare.

 

“Hey, new kid!”

 

He shook his head, snapping himself back to reality. Jonah held his arm up, waving for him to follow along. “Sorry,” Drew nodded.

 

Jonah threw his head back and rolled his eyes. “I blame you,” He said to Liam.

 

Quinn cleared her throat. “Wait here, guys,” She said. “I have to use the bathroom. Be right back.”

 

Jonah groaned. The longer they stalled, the longer it would take for them to find anything. “Meet us over by the ancient Greek stuff,” He called after her. “I want to get there before anyone else does. Lay claim on that crap!”

 

“I’ll wait for her,” Layla said. “You guys go on ahead.”

 

“Whatever,” Jonah mumbled.

 

He took the lead, Liam and Drew following behind quietly. Layla turned her head, watching as Quinn made her way across the floor towards the restrooms. Her head tilted slightly as something caught her eye. As she walked, Quinn’s left sleeve pulled up slightly. A faint pink light emerged from beneath her skin. Layla’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped slightly.

 

“Quinn,” She whispered.

 

She took in a deep breath through her nose before she took off running after her.

 

*

 

His heavy boots fell against the pavement. The sound reverberated with each step. His black trenchcoat hovered inches above the ground, each step seeming to bring it closer to the pavement. Fingerless gloves covered both of his hands. His knuckles cracked as he tightened and loosened up his fists.

 

Manu pulled the dark sunglasses away from his face, holding them tightly in his right hand. He looked upward, his eyes meeting the museum situated at the edge of the street where he stood. A sly smirk curled over his lips.

 

He slid the glasses back over his eyes, hiding the demon black flickering through them. His master had trusted him with this mission. Find the children, destroy them no matter what would follow. The Seer had proven herself useful, her ability showing her them. She said there would be five, although the final one was shrouded in mystery to her. It didn’t matter. He would find them all.

 

“Soon enough,” He said to himself.

 

He continued walking down the sidewalk, his heavy footsteps clunking against the ground. He heard a low growling sound coming from up ahead.

 

A large dog stood, it’s claws trying to dig into the concrete sidewalk. The hair on the dog’s back stood upright as the creature snarled, revealing all of it’s teeth in Manu’s direction. As the demon drew closer, the dog’s growls turned to angry barks. The owner, a middle-aged woman with dark hair, pulled at the leash in an attempt to make her dog stop.

 

“Caesar, that’s enough!” She yelled. Her eyes looked upward, meeting Manu’s lenses. “I’m so sorry, he’s never like this.”

 

“It’s no bother,” Manu said cooly, walking passed the barking dog as if it were nothing.

 

His voice sent a shiver down the woman’s spine.

 

*

 

She stared at herself in the mirror. Her eyes squinted as she felt a strange pain coming over her. She rolled her left wrist in a small circular motion, feeling the bones quietly crack as she did so. Quinn pinched her eyes tightly shut for a moment. She exhaled slowly.

 

“What the hell?” She muttered to herself, gently massaging her wrist.

 

She sighed. She pushed through the bathroom door and stepped back out in the museum hallway. Layla nearly collided with her. Both girls braced themselves, narrowly avoiding the impact.

 

“Gotta go that bad, huh?” Quinn smirked.

 

“No,” Layla shook her head, almost out of breath. “I was coming to get you. I needed to talk to you about…”

 

“Your brother is really working my last nerve,” Quinn grumbled. “A girl can’t even pee in peace without him rushing everyone. What’s his problem today anyway? Since when does he give a rat’s ass about any of his school work?”

 

She groaned and rolled her eyes, walking passed Layla. She didn’t even notice the confused look on the younger girl’s face. “C’mon then, we’d better hurry up and find them before Jonah has some kind of meltdown. I’m really not in the mood to deal with anything like that today.”

 

“No,” Layla said, her pace increasingly slightly to catch up with her. “That’s not it at all.”

 

“That’s sweet of you to defend him,” Quinn smiled. “Even if your brother is a douche by your own admission. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything to him. I don’t want you getting into any kind of trouble with him or anything.”

 

Layla wanted to say more, to ask her about the light from her wrist. Did it burn like hers did? Did she even know what it meant? Did she get some kind of ability from it too? But it was no use. Quinn was already marching far ahead of her.

 

They rounded the corner, finding Liam and Jonah staring intently at a series of painting on a wall. Beautiful paintings that depicted the Gods of Olympus. In the center of the paintings, one of the famed mountain, covered in a shroud of mist, caught Quinn’s eyes.

 

“These are pretty neat,” Jonah said with a simple nod. “What do you guys think? We do something that has to do with Mount Olympus for our project? Seems easy enough, don’t you think?”

 

“I wouldn’t call it easy,” Liam said, turning his attention to Jonah. “Mount Olympus has a lot of history to it. Lots of research to go through. You can find thousands of pages of texts on just one of the lesser known Gods alone. Maybe it would be best to narrow our search down, just a bit.”

 

As the two of them engaged in their discussion, Layla took this as the time to try and talk with Quinn once more. As she stepped forward to get her attention, however, she stopped herself midstep. Her eyes caught the stillness of Drew, standing before a glass case. His eyes were so mesmerized by what was inside. She began moving towards him, ignoring Quinn as she joined in the conversation with Liam and Jonah.

 

The case held a series of five small cuffs. The bands were mostly silver, trimmed with a beautiful golden trim. They were small, roughly the size of someone’s palm. Encrusted in the center of the cuffs, five small jewels with their own individual color. The jewels seemed to sparkle in the light from the ceiling.

 

“These are pretty,” She said. “What are they?”

 

Drew couldn’t shake the feeling that he knew what these were. Something called to him, something he had seen once before. His dreams? He didn’t want to admit to it, but they were right. Always. But what did these mean?

 

He shook his head. “I’m not sure. The tag over there just says Cuff of Olympus, but it doesn’t actually explain what that means.”

 

“They were presents from the Gods,” A voice spoke out.

 

The voice made Drew’s hair stand on end. Both he and Layla looked upward, meeting the gaze of a tall man clad in a long trench coat. Despite being inside, he wore sunglasses firmly perched on his face. He face was cold and expressionless.

 

“Legend states that whoever was gifted the cuffs, they were touched by the Gods; granted abilities far beyond any mortal thought. But legend also tells that the mortals squandered their gifts. That they thought themselves to be more powerful than the Gods and planned to overthrow them.”

 

Both Drew and Layla found themselves staring at the man. They hadn’t even heard him approach them at first. And then here he was, talking to them. Drew felt his eyes pinch shut as the burning pulse in his left arm began to intensify.

 

“The story goes,” The man continued. “That the mortals fought against the Gods, only to have their souls stripped of their bodies and banished to the Underworld. But history and legend are only written by the supposed winners, so who’s to say that’s what really happened.”

 

The man turned on his heels, his heavy boots stomping against the tile floor. His sudden movements caught the attention of Liam, Jonah and Quinn, who paused mid-conversation to turn and stare at him. The man stood before a case of gladiator-style weapons. Spears, shields, thick bladed swords. He pulled his hand from his pocket and placed it over the glass case surrounding them.

 

“You guys want to get out of here?” Liam asked as their group inched together. “This guy is kind of giving me the creeps.”

 

“Try listening to him talk for the last five minutes,” Drew said quietly.

 

Something about this guy seemed familiar to him. The sheer height of him alone, his bulking, looming presence. And his voice. The chill that it sent down his spine. But from where? He had only been in town for two weeks at this point. He blinked his eyes rapidly to try and push away the confusion.

 

“Such greatness,” The man continued, his eyes still fixed on the weapons display. “Nothing like the nonsense used in this day and age. Technology, firearms, nothing at all can compare to these.”

 

He took his hand from the case, his head tilted down slightly. He turned slowly to face the five teenagers once more. The twisted grin was still planted on his face. His head came up slowly until his eyes locked on the group before him. As his hand slowly raised up towards the sunglasses on his face, Drew felt the sudden click of realization.

 

“We need to go,” He said.

 

“Where’s the fun in that, boy?”

 

Manu pulled his sunglasses from his face and lazily tossed them to the ground. His eyes were solid demon black.

 

Quinn pressed her hand to her mouth to fight back a gasp. Jonah’s head tilted to the side, his brow furrowed with a mix of confusion and fear.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Liam said, giving Jonah a small nudge.

 

Drew felt his feet moving before his brain could fully process what was happening. The others were quick to follow as they took off down the corridor. They didn’t say anything to each other, they just kept running. Layla, despite being the youngest, was the only one to look back.

 

Like some kind of horror movie villain, Manu stalked behind them. He didn’t run or walk at any quick pace. He still drew closer to them than they had wanted. “He’s coming!” Layla cried out.

 

She took in a deep breath through her nose and threw her left arm up. A pair of vines shot up through the cracks in the tile. The two vines wrapped around Manu’s wrists and tightened. She smirked lightly as they crossed through the front doors of the museum and stopped on the front steps.

 

“Layla!” Jonah yelled at her. “What’s the matter with you?”

 

“I stopped him, didn’t I?” She huffed.

 

“Wait, you did that?” Drew stepped forward. He nodded towards Manu, who was still struggling with the vines.

 

Layla didn’t say anything. Her eyes darted between Liam and Jonah. Her lips pursed when her eyes fell on her brother. She pulled back the sleeve covering her left arm to reveal the pale green tattoo brand that covered her arm. The design extended down into her fingertips.

 

“Jonah and Liam have them too,” She said. “We got attacked a few days ago by some weird creatures. We found these. They let us do things,” She paused for a minute. Her eyes fixed on Quinn. “You’ve got one too. I saw the light coming from your arm when you were going to the bathroom.”

 

“No, there’s no..” Quinn began. She bit down on her lip, unable to ignore the burning sensation in her wrist any longer. She unbuttoned the sleeve of her shirt and pulled it back. The pale pink light around her wrist began to dissipate, tracing out the tattoo that went into her fingertips and traveled up her arm.

 

As the light from the mark pulsed with light, the wind picked up around her. Quinn’s hair blew in the breeze. Drew followed suit and held out his own arm, revealing his own mark. Liam shared his, glancing at Jonah and nodding towards his arm.

 

Jonah tilted his head back and rolled his eyes. “Big deal,” He scoffed, rolling up his own sleeve. “We all got matching ink. What’s that going to do for us? We don’t even know what that guy’s deal is.”

 

“Guys,” Liam had turned away from them. He stared through the glass of the entrance doors. “Where’d he go?”

 

Manu was gone. The vines were snapped and laying on the ground.

 

“Neat trick,” A deep voice spoke from behind them. Manu had his arms crossed firmly over his chest. “Let me show you mine.”

 

The five of them turned quickly at the sound of his voice. Unsure of how he had gotten passed them to sneak up behind them, the fear of this mysterious man had grown. Jonah tightened up his fist, his knuckles cracking as his fingers balled together. He stepped forward and sneered. Drew pressed his hand against his chest.

 

“Charging him probably isn’t the smart move,” Drew said.

 

Jonah snickered and pushed Drew’s arm away. He held up his hands, braids of lightning dancing between his fingertips.

 

Manu pulled a whistle out from under his shirt and pulled it to his lips. He blew hard, the sounds escaping and echoing through the air. Instantly they pressed their hands to their ears and fell to their knees. The windows shattered around them, glass spraying out and littering the ground.

 

Manu’s looming shadow split into several pieces on the ground. The pieces slithered from the demon’s large figure and moved across the concrete like serpents. In an instant, the shadows shot upwards and took shape.

 

The creatures held a human-like shape. Their bodies were solid black. Their faces were covered in white masks the clung tight to their skin. The masks themselves were blank and expressionless. Some of the soldiers carried jagged daggers while others remained unarmed. Their arm muscles twitched as they clutched to their weapons and tightened their fists, causing thin white veins to bulge.

 

The whistle fell from Manu’s mouth. “Tear them apart.”

 

The creatures were silent and moved in unison. They stepped forward and readied for their attack.

 

Jonah held his arm out once more and shot a short burst of lightning towards the creatures. The blast made them stumble slightly, giving him enough time to regroup with the others. He looked at the others and shrugged. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

 

Drew glanced around the area, his eyes falling on the creatures. The broken glass, the steps of the museum, everything was beginning to click for him. Last night’s dream was coming back to him. He made a sweeping gesture with his arm, summoning up a line of flames between them and the advancing creatures.

 

“Wait here,” He said. “Trust me. I have an idea.”

 

“Is he serious?” Jonah scoffed, watching as Drew took off running back into the museum. “Does he seriously think that we’re just going to stand around and wait for these things to come and kill us? I think not.”

 

As he went to turn on his heels, he was met with Liam standing behind him, arms crossed over his chest. Layla stood at his side.

 

“We have these powers for a reason,” Liam said to him. “Don’t you think we should use them?”

 

Quinn bit down on her lower lip. “I dunno. I think Jonah is right on this one,” She groaned slightly, shocked at the words coming out of her own mouth. “We should get out of here while we can.”

 

“Too late for that,” Layla said, tightening her left fist.

 

The creatures drew in closer, standing at the line of flames. They froze in place. Manu pushed through the ranks, stepping towards the center of the front line of creatures.

 

“This is your one chance,” The demon spoke. “Come with me and my soldiers will allow your friends to live.”

 

“Dude, piss off,” Jonah said. “We’re going to just go on our merry way and we’re going to pretend like this didn’t happen. You good with that?”

 

Manu said nothing.

 

*

 

Mass hysteria rang throughout the museum. The firm alarm was blaring as people ran through the various displays. He didn’t see anyone from his class, no one at all that he would even recognize. Then again, he doubted he would recognize anyone anyway.

 

He brought himself to a skidding halt as he rounded the corner and came to the display case. The five cuffs gleamed behind their glass case. The gems in the center seemed to be glowing. How was he going to do this? He had only seconds to figure that out.

 

“Drew!”

 

He snapped his head around to see Mr. Avery standing there. The man seemed to be out of breath and was staring directly at Drew’s left arm. He cursed himself for not rolling back his sleeve.

 

“Mr. Avery, I…”

 

“Where’s the rest of your group?” Elijah said. “Why haven’t all of you evacuated yet?” He stepped forward, his eyes still fixed on the pulsing mark on Drew’s left arm. “These were the questions I was looking for the answers to, but now I’ve got quite a few more. And not enough time to ask them.”

 

He pulled his sleeve down over his hand and curled up a fist. Drew watched in shock as Mr. Avery brought his covered fist threw the top of the glass case. The sound of breaking glass was just barely masked by the blaring alarms.

 

“Take them,” He said to Drew. “You’ll understand soon enough. And when you’re ready to ask your questions, you can find me in the garden.”

 

Drew didn’t have any time to react to what just happened. Mr. Avery was gone almost as quickly as he had arrived. He wanted to call out for him, to ask him just what the hell was going on, but the words were caught in his throat. He had no more time to waste. He reached in through the broken glass and carefully gathered up the cuffs. He held them close to his chest as he took off running once more, back towards the front steps.

 

*

 

Staying behind proved to be more fun than he wanted it to be. Although fun might not have been the best word for Jonah to use.

 

He held his palms out before him. Braids of electricity danced from fingertip to fingertip, swirling in the center of his palms, forming a small sphere of lightning. He smirked, watching as Layla and Liam threw their arms around, throwing short bursts of water and summoning tiny vines from the earth.

 

“Watch out!” Jonah called, throwing his arms outward.

 

The burst of lightning swirled through the air and crashed into the oncoming hoard of creatures. It barely made them falter, although the creatures stumbled back slightly. It didn’t matter. They continued their heavy, silent movements.

 

“Hey!”

 

The four of them snapped their heads around to see Drew come running through the front door once of the museum. He held something cradled in his arms. The items dropped to the concrete steps and made a pinging sort of noise. The Cuffs of Olympus, the mysterious treasures that they had seen in the museum.

 

“What are those?” Jonah pointed at them. “What are we supposed to do with these?”

 

“I…” Drew said, his hand hovering over the one containing the small red gem. “I think we’re supposed to use these.”

 

He said nothing, placing the cuff over his left wrist. The pulsing red light of the mark on his arm intensified. He felt power coursing through his body. He looked up to the others and gave them a small nod. Liam followed suit, taking the one with the blue gem and placing it over his arm.

 

“I think we might have switched,” Layla said quietly, holding the yellow gemmed cuff out towards Jonah.

 

The four teens looked to Drew as they awaited further instruction. He had felt as if someone else had taken over. He placed his palm flat against the concrete steps, a thin red line of light shooting out from his fingertips.

 

Liam knelt down to Drew’s right and placed his hand down against the steps, a thin blue light shooting from his own hand and meeting up with the red light from Drew. A yellow light came from Jonah’s hand, green from Layla’s and a pink one from Quinn’s. The five lines of light braided and wove together, shooting forward.

 

“Fetch their treasures!” Manu’s voice rang out.

 

The Druids took to the command and their speed increased. The strands of light seemed to form a sort of barrier, blocking the Druids from any kind of movement. The light intensified and pushed back against them, sending the hoard of creatures flying backwards. Manu’s nostrils flared out in anger.

 

“Hoc Imperii Deorum!”

 

Drew had no idea where these words had come from. Despite that, they fell from his mouth with the greatest of ease. He slowly stood up, his fellow classmates following suit. The light surrounded them and wrapped around their bodies. Manu forced himself to raise his hand and shield his eyes.

 

The light faded and the five teens stood tall. Their bodies were covered in colored armor, trimmed with black and gold. They wore white gloves and boots with golden accents on their hands and feet. Heavy helmets with thick black visors over their eyes covered their faces. Attached at their left hip, a holster that held a dagger-like weapon.

 

“Holy crap, dude!” Jonah smirked under his helmet as he examined his yellow armor. “Are we…”

 

“Power Rangers,” Liam bobbed his head slowly. His blue armor felt almost like a second skin to him, despite his first wearing of it.

 

Drew felt a knot tie in his stomach. Red? From what he had ever heard of the color-clad heroes from over the years, red always signified the leader. Was that him? He felt his fists loosen at his sides.

 

“Your new clothing will not save you,” Manu called out, breaking Drew’s concentration. “Druids! Tear them apart and bring me their treasures.”

 

The creatures had recovered from their flight through the air. As if in unison, they all silently nodded and took off running. They broke off from one another and scurried off in several directions.

 

“This is going to be so much fun,” Jonah pressed his right fist against his left palm.

 

Without any kind of warning, he broke from his own newly formed team and leapt into attack. He swung his right fist in an arc, gloved fist colliding solidly with the face of one of the creatures. He felt a tinge of pain radiating across his knuckles. He didn’t have much time to react to it though, as another Druid came towards him. He swung his foot backwards and pressed his boot against the chest of it.

 

Liam had taken action on his own, spinning around to land his heel against the side of one of the Druids. He jumped backwards to narrowly avoid a swiping dagger aimed directly at his midsection. He kicked up again, kicking the Druid in the wrist and knocking the dagger from its hand. The creature reached outward, its hands closing in around Liam’s throat. The new blue ranger tried to break free from the coming attack. The more he struggled, however, the tighter the grip around his throat became. Liam felt himself beginning to struggle for breath. His vision was beginning to blur.

 

The Druid’s grip loosened and fell from Liam’s throat. He drew in a labored breath and coughed. His hand rubbed against his neck. Drew cupped a hand over Liam’s right shoulder.

 

“Thanks,” Liam said. “I owe you one.”

 

Drew didn’t have time to respond. As a Druid drew forward for another attack, his leg instinctively kicked outward, planting a heavy boot against the chest. He spun around, landing another kick against the side of an oncoming attack. Liam’s fist connected straight across the creature’s face as it stumbled towards him.

 

Layla and Quinn found themselves standing back to back. Each of them held their daggers tightly in their right hands. As a group of Druids circled around, the two girls gave each other a small nod and dove forward. Using the daggers, they slashed at their coming attacks. The blades striked against their bellies, their arms, anywhere that the weapons would land.

 

Drew snapped his leg out, landing a solid kick against the chest of another of the Druids. Liam spun around, landing a kick to its side and sending the creature toppling over.

 

“Guys!” Layla called out. She came running towards them, Quinn trailing a few steps behind. “That was amazing! We did it!”

 

Jonah tilted his head backwards as he followed behind. The yellow ranger rolled his eyes behind his helmet. “That creep got away though.”

 

Manu had disappeared from sight. As they looked around to see what they had fought, they noticed the Druids had begun to melt away, leaving thick pools of black, oily ichor in their wake. What had they just fought against?

 

*

 

The garden was a rarely seen area of the school’s campus. Tucked away just behind the building, few students actually cared to come near it. The weeds grew up through the cracks in the stone walkway.

 

The five newly minted rangers had pushed through the gates and carefully stepped across the pathway.

 

“You’re sure Mr. Avery said to meet you here?” Quinn asked. Her eyes scanned around the deserted garden. “If that’s the case, where is he?”

 

Drew shrugged his shoulders. “It was really weird. One minute he was yelling at me and asking where the rest of you were. Next thing I know, he’s telling me to meet him here and smashing open the display case to get me these,” He motioned to the cuff on his wrist. “Is this guy always that weird?”

 

“Not really,” Liam shook his head. “Although nothing shocks me anymore after what we’ve seen the last couple of days.”

 

The walkway came to an abrupt end, stopping at the edge of a cracked fountain. Vines covered the stone base of it, while weeds grew up through the cracks inside. Jonah groaned and threw his head back in annoyance.

 

“Avery’s a quack,” He said as he turned on his heels. “He made us come out here for nothing. Let’s get out of here. I think we can all use a nap or something.”

 

Drew stared at the fountain for a moment. He stepped up over the edge to stand in it. He tilted his head to the side as he examined the base. His hand reached forward, his palm resting flat against the center. The ground beneath them began to shake. The sound of stone shifting and scraping against itself filled the air. The bottom of the fountain opened up, revealing a stone staircase descending into the ground.

 

Mr. Avery stood at the bottom of the staircase, his hands crossed casually over his chest. He was no longer dressed in his teacher clothes, trading them in for a pair of jeans and a v-neck t-shirt.

 

“I’m sure you guys have a lot of questions,” He called up to them. “The answers for you are here. Come downstairs and I will explain everything to you.”

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