Month: March 2016

Chapter 91: Slow Going

Clouds had started filling the sky again and the stars were going out one by one. Every few minutes echoes of thunder would roll in from the far side of the city and the windows up and down the block would rattle along with it.

A child had wandered out of the bathroom he’d spent almost two hours on the floor of and starred walking down the street. He had no destination, only a goal. He needed to get away, away from the sight of a body on the ground, away from the smell of spent gunpowder, away from the taste of copper and rusted iron.

He didn’t run. The thought never crossed his mind. And yet, the streets blurred around him as if he was. The details of the world were washed clean and discarded in favor of the spot on the horizon where everything became one thing and the one thing vanished into itself.

Time vanished. At some point the sun had set, but he didn’t know if it had taken minutes or hours.

Eventually, Will found him stumbling down the middle of the street. He was holding the strap of his helmet in his hand and every other step he took it would scrape along the ground.

“Kid-” Will started, but Red Racer didn’t stop.

He was staring at Will, but his eyes were looking past him. Will reached out for his shoulder, but he was afraid to touch him. If he rand then they may never see him again.

“Red,” Will tried again. “Red Racer.” But the child kept walking past him.

Will looked back in the direction Red Racer had come from, but he couldn’t see anything there, and he couldn’t risk leaving him alone to go and check.

Will got in front of him again and bent at the knees until their eyes met. Red Racer’s pupils had shrunken to pinpricks, and red cracks had spiderwebbed their way over the whites of his eyes. Remnants of tears puddled beneath his eyelids, but there weren’t enough left to fall.

“What happened, kid?”

Red Racer stopped walking. There was a loud clatter as his helmet slipped from his grasp and fell to the ground. The tears in his eyes grew larger but still refused to fall. His mouth opened fractionally, but if he was going to speak then the words died in his bone dry throat and turned into a short croak.

Will reached his hand forward and Red Racer stepped back without flinching.

“I-I didn’t save her-er.” Red Racer’s voice was tiny and shaky. “There were only five of them-em.”

Almost immediately, Will’s eyes darted to the crimson wings on his chest, looking for any blood he could have missed.

“She was right there-ere.”

“And you went for the bad guys instead.”

Red nodded. His legs gave out and his knees hit the asphalt hard. Finally, the tears fell from his eyes.

“How can I-“

How can I keep going? How can I risk letting someone else die? How can I call myself a hero?

Red probably didn’t know what question he was trying to ask, but Will had heard all of them more than enough to know that none of them had a good answer.

“Heroes gamble with people’s lives every day. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes, we make things a hundred times worse. I don’t know what happened, but if the mercenaries had found her, then that woman was dead already. You could have saved her; you’re going to regret this day for the rest of your life. What you do with that is up to you.”

Red Racer nodded almost imperceptibly and stayed frozen on the ground. Will waited until his tears had stopped.

“Red,” Will’s eyes returned to Red’s. His pupil’s had grown a little larger, but still remained disturbingly small.

He didn’t respond.

“Mitch,” Will said as gently as he could. “We can’t stay here.”

Red Racer didn’t speak or nod, but when Will stood up, he made to follow him.  Will stopped to pick up Red’s helmet and led him off the road.

Will handed the helmet back to Red once they were safely away from the street.

“We’re going to collect some more people; you need to keep this on for now.”

Will’s path took them through the alleys and buildings, zig zagging its way across the city in a pattern that made almost no sense, but they never saw a patrol.

Slowly they started collecting more people; civilians mostly with a few stroller in the mix. At first, a few of them gave Red a strange look, but they didn’t say a word.

Once they’d collected about a dozen people, Will turned back towards the group. “The front entrance to the Council’s Headquarters is being bombarded by mercenaries almost constantly. Adamant’s defending it, and there are about 30 refugees waiting inside. A few of them will be ready to fight soon. Hopefully, it’ll cleared up enough to get you inside soon, but until I’m going to drop you off at the department store two blocks down. It’s big enough to keep you hidden until things calm down.”

A small murmur moved through the group, but no one objected.

Will had hoped that they would find at least one other hero, or even a stroller, but if anyone in the group had powers they were staying quiet about it. Even worse, he still didn’t know how they’d managed to avoid the sleeping spell.

So he led them as quietly as he could, with Red Racer at his side,

“Red,” he said quietly. Red Racer stared straight ahead. “When we get to the store, you need to stay with them, okay?”

Red’s head snapped towards Will; even behind the eye-shield of his helmet, Will could see his eyes growing wider.

“You need to rest, and I need to try and find any other survivors. It’s best if you stay behind.”

Red shook his head back and forth rapidly.

Will stopped dead.

The group behind him ran into each other before they managed to do the same.

There was someone up ahead, between them and the department store.

A figure walked out of the alleyway towards them, and Will let out the breath he didn’t know he’d bee holding.

“Hawthorne.”

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Chapter 90: Weakened

Allspades leapt forward into his loping run, and immediately fell flat on his face. A cloud of dust puffed up from the floor of the ruined library and forced its way into his throat. His lungs were too weak to force it out in a single cough. He could feel the dust scratching its way up and down his throat as he lay on the floor hacking and wheezing until his lungs burned and his stomach was threatening to force its contents up his throat if he coughed even one more time.

Finally he was able to take a clean breath and he gasped hopelessly on the ground as he gratefully refilled his lungs. The sky above him had grown noticeably darker in the time he was stuck on the floor. He raised a hand to his face and made a fist, but now he could feel the difference. The grip he had now could barely crumble a snowball, let alone crush steel.

The light had robbed him of his strength.  He didn’t feel weak, and his arms and legs weren’t tired, but he was no stronger than a normal man.

He felt a ball of lead drop into his stomach. Without his strength, he’d be lucky to make it three blocks before he was shot down. He didn’t stand a chance against the army King had brought into the city.

Allspades stared at his hand for a second longer before he picked himself up off the ground. “Like hell,” he said through gritted teeth as he pushed himself to his knees and then to his feet. “I’m going to sit here just because of some bullets.”

He took a deep breath. He started to walk towards the entrance of the library; with each step he started to move a little bit faster, and by the tie he had reached the entrance he was at a dead run. He could see the headlights of two Humvees coming from either direction, but their lights hadn’t reached him yet, and he was across the street and down another before they saw him.

Almost immediately he missed being able to take to the rooftops. The streetlights had been shut down and he could barely see the stars through the concrete canopy over his head.  He could only keep track of the buildings by the light breeze flowing through the space between them.

He’d heard gunfire before the sun set, but now the city was silent save for the light hums of car engines making their way through the blocks surrounding him. For the moment, he kept running.

King had always been straight forward; as smart as he was and as clever as he could be when he needed it, there had never been a better option than taking the most direct route to the most important person. Whether he had Allspades kick it in or he was able to calmly walk in and talk his way through the problem, he’d never liked any entrance more than the front door.

If his goal had been destroying the city, he’d be heading for the mayor’s office. If his goal had been killing the heroes, he’d be going for the Council’s Headquarters. But he’d been talking about changing people’s minds, about proving they don’t deserve protection. That meant he was going to aim for something bigger, something that showed the way normal humans could cooperate with walkers. There was only one place in the city that he would have found appropriate.

Allspades could feel a little bit of his strength returning, but it only let him go a little bit faster. He took the first right he could and started towards Beck Industries.

The wind picked up, pushing him forward just a little faster and cooling him down just enough to make the sweat dripping down his face leave freezing trails behind them.

Beck Industries was close, but not close enough to avoid meeting the patrols. He saw the reflection of the headlights through the windows across the street and hid in an alcove between two buildings. It wasn’t an alley; it wasn’t wide enough and it was only a dozen yards deep; just enough to hide a couple of trashcans.

He ducked behind one of them now. Despite the smell flooding the space, he took the chance to catch his breath. He watched as the across from him slowly grew brighter until nearly its entire length was lit up. And then it slowly crept back towards the front of the building.

And then it froze, and his heart, which had just begun to calm, started racing. The Humvee’s engine quieted and one of its doors popped open.

There was a mild grumbling. As a pair of heavy boots plopped onto the ground and trudged their way into the alley.

“Don’t forget your flashlight!” an older man’s voice called from within the car.

The owner of the boots grumbled some more but there was a click and a narrow beam of light struck the back wall of the alcove.

Allspades started breathing through his nose and stopped his leg from fidgeting. By the time the owner of the boots was halfway to the trashcan, there was a cramp building up in his right leg; it was begging him to move it and ease the pain, but even the slightest movement would scrape against the ground and give him away.

Silently, Allspades hoped that the owner of the boots would be as careful in his search as he sounded. With each heavy footfall that hope grew slimmer and slimmer until it would only take the mercenary glancing to his left to see Allspades standing there.

He couldn’t afford to wait any longer. If the mercenary saw him, the cramp in his leg would keep him from reacting fast enough to keep from getting shot.

Allspades kicked off the wall behind him and leapt straight for the mercenary’s gun. With his right hand he went for the mercenary’s face, and with his left he went for the gun.

The mercenary was bigger than him, and without his strength he’d never have a chance in a fair fight. But the force of his tackle was enough to knock the mercenary down and slam his helmeted head into the opposite wall.

He wasn’t unconscious, but he was dazed. Allspades took the changce and ripped the gun from his hands. The other doors on the Humvee opened, and Allspades leveled his stolen rifle at the entrance of the alcove.

It had been a long time since he used a gun; he’d only taken one on missions when it was considered absolutely necessary and barely used it half the time then. But throughout his years in the Cards he had had the basics of most firearms drilled into his head.

He stayed low to the ground and kneed the mercenary onto his side; with any luck they’d be too worried about hitting their comrade to fire. At least at first.

Allspades braced the assault rifle against his shoulder. The first time one of the other mercenaries peaked around the corner, he squeezed the trigger and fired a short burst at them.

He caught one of them in the shoulder, and another ducked back to check on him. That left only the older man until the other returned.

Allspades didn’t know how many rounds the gun had, and didn’t want to risk finding out. He fired another burst towards the last mercenary and charged forward.

A little more of his strength had returned. Enough so that when he reached the entrance to the alley, he was able to leap on top of the Humvee. He knew the mercenaries would be turning towards him, so he let his feet drop out from under him as he landed on the car’s roof and rolled forward and to the other side. He turned around and shot another burst into the Humvee’s shifter.

There was a brief shout form the other side of the car before he started moving towards the tower again, dropping the gun as he went.

There was a brief scuffle behind hi as the older mercenary went to check on his comrades’ wounds. He hadn’t even bothered to try firing at Allspades’ back.

The path to the tower was clear, and Allspades charged straight past the parked Humvee and into the front door.

There was a ding from the elevator and Allspades ducked behind the receptionist’s desk. But there were no footseps.

Slowly Allspades peaked his head over the edge of the counter.

“allspades.” The voice came from behind him and he whipped around, fists raised.

Allspades let out a deep sigh.

“Unimportant.”

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Chapter 89: Backup

Will was trying to use the Council’s computers to figure out how many mercenaries they had in the city, but he had to keep half his attention on Burnout.

“You need to rest.” He had forced Burnout to sit in one of the Council’s chairs, Adamant’s actually, but now that he’d caught Will up, he was trying to leave already. “This fight isn’t going to end anytime soon and you need to let someone else take a turn.”

“You just told me that the others all woke up, including Mach, and you expect me to sit here while they are fighting someone they know nothing about?”

“Yes. If I’m reading this right, then there are at least twenty walkers on their side, and that’s just the one’s satellites can catch. We have to assume that there are at least twice as many as that, and most of our toughest have already been taken out.” A loud crash echoed through the building. “What’s happening out there isn’t a normal fight, it’s the closest thing we’ve had to a Walker War since the Sons of the First. That means that we can’t afford to send everyone out at once. You’ll be a lot more helpful with a couple hours of rest than you are now.”

Burnout face tightened slightly around his goggles. “I can’t just-“

“If you need something to do then look for anyone out there who knows anything about magic. You’re the one Court used to break the spell, if they take a look at the circle they might find something that gives us a better third wave. I’m going to close the bulkheads on my way out. When anyone’s ready to fight, you can set the doors to ripple out if you type in Springheel. You can let someone in with Caesar. Make sure someone in here knows it if you leave.””

“What are you going to do?”

“Adamant was just thrown through the front doors. If he’s unconscious, I’m going to throw him back here and then I’m going to start collecting everyone I can and sending them this way.”

Another loud crash echoed through the building.

Will typed a few more commands into the computer and walked for the door.

“Two hours. You should rest at least that long. Try to get some sleep.”

He didn’t wait for an answer.

The room outside was half filled with people who’d managed to avoid or resist the spell. Most of them were sitting in the chairs and benches spread around the room. A few were laying on the floor, but none of them were standing.

They didn’t look up when he walked by. The only Council member still awake was outside the building, he was just another refugee hiding away.

It wasn’t until he made it to the far door that any of them paid any attention. About half a dozen heads turned to watch him leave. Those would be the ones who were willing to fight when Burnout left. But right now he didn’t’ need volunteers.

The door swung closed behind him without a challenge.

The hall outside was long and empty, lined with  blown up images of magazine covers and news articles describing some of the more famous fights the Council had gotten into. Below them were the trophy cases. Mementos of defeated enemies and lost allies, they were mostly reproductions but a few of the harmless trophies were the originals.

Including two suits in a shared trophy case near the front of the building. Thick metal doors slammed into the floor behind him as he walked towards it, but he ignored the sound. Will didn’t read the plaque next to the case. He’d memorized it over two years ago. It was flowery and nice and he knew she would have hated it as much as he did.

He stared briefly into the jet black mask that he’d worn for years, watching his distorted reflection squint at it. Right now, all he had was a jacket and a pair of pants that should have been washed yesterday. A mask, any way of hiding his face, could save his life, but he couldn’t bring himself to open the case.

‘I’m not you anymore.’

The thought was quiet, but there was a firmness to it that Will couldn’t deny. Rumor had died with Kalliope. He wasn’t coming back. But that didn’t mean Will had to stay out of the fight.

Another crash echoed through the building and a something heavy landed on the ground behind Will. He strode towards Adamant carefully, ready to duck away if he decided to jump back outside.

“You know, they could at least be nice enough to toss me through the same hole.” Adamant’s voice echoed in his own throat.

Will nodded. “It’d make things easier to clean up, wouldn’t it? You’ve gone full metal. How many do they have out there?”

“More than I felt like counting. If they didn’t have the one who likes playing home run derby with me, then it wouldn’t matter.”

Will nodded. “That one’s mine then. I’m gonna need you to keep the bullets off of me until I get close.”

Adamant slowly worked his way to his feet. “Always a pleasure to play human shield.”

Will stayed close behind him; Adamant couldn’t stop all the bullets but they’d have a hard time hitting him before he could get to the walker.

Even now, none of the mercenaries had made it across the street, but the few walkers that remained were tiring quickly without Adamant’s help. They were huddled behind some hastily made barricades that they would only look above for long enough to fire a few shots. Even so, there were enough of them to keep the storm of bullets flowing almost constantly.

One in particular stood behind the others, shuffling impatiently.

“The one with the girder draped over his shoulder?”

Really?” Adamant grunted.

“Just making sure. Count to three and jump to your right. I’ll handle Girder Man”

Adamant moved, and Will burst forward. Girder Man had already stepped in front of the barricades, and all the mercenaries were avoiding shooting too close to him.

THe massie walker gripped the girder in both hands and began to draw it back; he lifted a leg and started to swing. The girder was just coming around his shoulder when he noticed that his foot hadn’t landed on anything solid. He felt his ankle twisting beneath him, but he had too much momentum to stop. Girder Man fell forward, instinctively letting go of his weapon to try and catch himself before his head hit the ground.

Instead, his head met Will’s foot and was thrown backwards. He could feel his skull rattling inside his head, and then he was on the ground and unmoving.

There was no pause in the rain of bullets, and a few guns started to focus on Will.

Adamant charged. Without somebody that could bounce him back, all of the mercenaries were forced to focus their fire on him to keep him from running straight through their defences.

Will ran down the street and ducked into the first empty alleyway he found. He leapt up to a fire escapre and was on the rooftop in seconds.

He’d only been able to spot one of the group members form the satellite pictures, and he could see Hawthorne’s forest from there.

“Time to see if I can still do any good.”

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Chapter 88: Pollen

The explosions had stopped after most of the forest was destroyed, but she had managed to stay off the ground. Her current tree had grown a canopy of leaves around her, protecting her from view.

Hawthorne stared at the seed in her hand. She had created it the first time she’d broken a bone in a fight, but she’d never needed to use it before. If she’d been giving it to someone else, she could have done something to help them with the pain, but she couldn’t risk dulling her mind.

She took as deep a breath as her chest would allow and her vest opened. The seed was clutched tightly in her hand, hovering just above her now bare skin. Her breath had grown short and rapid; it was filtering its way through her gritted teeth; her eyes were closed so tightly she was seeing spots; gently, she placed the seed on her chest.

Hair thin roots began to sprout from the seed, slowly crawling over her chest until it found the broken ribs.

She gripped the branches beneath her tightly and and every muscle in her body tensed. She was as prepared for the pain as she could be.

It wasn’t enough.

As one, the roots began to dig into her skin, burrowing and drilling their way towards her bones. The tree beneath her wrapped its branches around her legs and arms to keep her from struggling, but it couldn’t stop her as the splinter-like roots forced themselves deeper into her chest.

They moved slowly, winding their way around veins and arteries, digging through the thinnest layers of muscle. She could feel every one of the hundreds of roots winding its way through her.

And then they reached the bone.

Slowly they wrapped around her broken ribs, tightening around them one by one to keep them from moving. But once it was the last bones turn, the roots paused.

She could feel it through the roots; the last bone had slipped out of place, leaving a small gap between the two sides.

He could breathe deeper now. And she took the small break the roots had allowed her. Her grip on the branches loosened, but her eyes remained screwed shut.

She couldn’t wait long. She didn’t have the time. Hawthorne took a deep breath and sent the command to bind the bones back together.

This time, she had enough air to scream.

The roots seized together, jerking the bone back into place with a sudden snap that would have made her flinch if she could hear it.

The tree branches finally let her go, but she didn’t move. Even with the bones set, her chest wouldn’t let her move just yet.

Slowly the oil coating the roots began seeping into the skin and nerves surrounding them, and a cooling numb settled over her chest.

Her vest grew back over the roots and sealed her skin from the world.

The tree helped her too her feet, and gave herself something to lean on as the canopy opened up.

The remains of her forest smoldered around her. She glanced at the fallen trees but forced herself to ignore them.

Donny’s Department Store. It was closer than she’d expected; she’d been running towards the explosion walker for a large part of her run, and she could see the large sign glowing just a few streets away.

Her running roots slowly began to grow over her legs, gripping tightly just above her knees and forming a platform beneath her feet. The tree beneath her bent backwards, arching until the center of its trunk had curved nearly a a full ninety degrees.

The tree shot up; her legs kicked off the branch; her running roots sprang forward, launching her out of the tree and over the buildings surrounding her. She arced over the roofs and the streets between them. Flaps grew from her vest, catching the air and flipping her so that her feet were pointing at the ground.

The Donny’s parking lot stretched beneath her. It was mostly empty, thanks to the rain, but there were a few cars parked close to the doors. Which meant there were probably some people inside the store. She didn’t know if the walker would try to attack her once she landed, but she knew she couldn’t take the risk of going inside.

Nonetheless, she darted straight for the doors the moment her feet touched the ground. There wasn’t an explosion after the first step, but she didn’t stop.

She placed a hand near her stomach and a large pit slipped out of it and into her hand. It was the largest seed she had, as long as her thumb and twice as thick.

The first explosion went off right behind her.

“Shit!”

If he knew she was there, then she couldn’t risk going inside, and the doors would barely be open before she had to move away. She gripped the pit tightly and silently hoped she’d be able to hit her mark.

With one final leap she sprang at the doors. Just as they began to open she threw the pit as deep into the store as she could and leapt to the side.

The explosion behind her blasted the glass from the sliding doors and propelled the pit deeper into the store, but she didn’t have time to watch it.

“Please be enough,” she whispered, as she darted around the lot.

She’d been placing pieces of her power into that seed every night for almost a month now, ever since she’d figured out how to delay its effects. Whatever it was that let her plants grow so quickly was packed more densely into that seed than she’d ever dared to try.

With the amount of power she had put into the pit, she could feel it even as she darted up and down the lot.

Its roots spread first, spreading just beneath the tile and carpets of the store until over half of the building was housing the plant.

She managed to catch a glimpse of them sprouting through the broken doors. The field of yellow dandelions covered everything she could see through the small window, and standing in the center was a man in all black who was staring at the ground beneath him.

The explosions at her feet stopped.

And then the flower beneath him returned the favor.

Each of the tiny flowers launched practically their entire mas sin pollen up to the roof of the store, filling the sales floor with a thick cloud of yellow smoke.

It came billowing out of the entrance and she had to leap back to keep from breathing it in, but the walker in the store had nowhere to run.

She heard him coughing from outside. His entire throat would be itching from the pollen; the coughing would help, but it wouldn’t stop him from breathing it in. Then he would feel like the ground was dropping way from him, and he would start to stumble. He would look at the ground to catch himself and finally he would realize that he had already closed his eyes and he would fall asleep.

The pollen would dissolve in a few minutes, and nobody who breathed it in would sleep longer than a couple of hours. But the walker would be tied up and far away before they did.

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Chapter 87: Glowing

Allspades’ tried to move his arms again, but even with all his strength he couldn’t pull them free from beneath the pillars that had once held the library’s balcony above his desk.

He didn’t even remember the building falling down around him. The last thing he remembered before waking up was the sight of King’s sickly smile as he’d blasted the pillars with something bigger than he’d ever been able to move before.

He took a deep breath and arched his back off the ground. His legs weren’t pinned, but a piece of floor fad fallen across them and he could barely bend his knees before they banged against the rubble. He pressed them as hard as he dared against the floor and forced himself even higher. He could feel the pillars starting to rise off the ground, but almost immediately they stopped. He tried to pull even harder, but they wouldn’t budge.

There was sweat dripping into his eyes, and his lungs were squeezing through the last of their air, but it wasn’t until he felt his shoulders threatening to rip from their sockets that he let himself collapse back onto the ground.

“Dammit…King,” he panted. “You said…he was dead.”

“King is dead,” Paige’s voice echoed in his head. “He died the same night the rest of us did.”

“The same night Knight died. I get it. One of these days we’re going to have to work on your communications skills.”

She didn’t answer. She’d been talking a lot less lately; he’d be worried if she hadn’t been helping him calm down when he was angry.

“Is there anything you can do about these?” He wiggled his arms.

“I don’t do anything.”

He groaned and let his head rest on the ground. She’d been saying the same thing ever since they’d made it back from Confluence. Between what Stalker had told him, and what Hawthorne said he told her and Will, the white light that came from Paige. But she insisted that she couldn’t do anything.

“Dammit, King,” he said. “What the hell happened to you? You were supposed to be the sane one.”

Paige stayed silent again. It wasn’t right. Paige had always had an answer for anything. Now he had too many questions.

King had survived. Despite being face to face with the bastard that had killed all of them, he’d been able to walk away. They’d had a gun against his head; he’d seen them pull the trigger.

Not only had he survived, he had left them. Allspades and Paige had fought against those gangsters for a half an hour before her shield failed. King had been alive, and he’d let her die.

Allspades’ hands tightened beneath the pillars, slowly crushing the bits of them he could grip. His brow tightened and a pressure built up behind his eyes.

The image of Paige’s falling body that had been burned into his mind flared up with a clarity that he’d thought he’d lost. The balcony had been behind her, the place where King’s body should have been laying. It was completely empty.

He’d let her die.

“Goddammit King!”

The shadows around him vanished and every nerve in his body started to scream. What came out of his mouth couldn’t be called a scream; there wasn’t enough air in his lungs to express the pain that was shooting and stabbing and burning him alive.

Again his back arched off the ground and his knees slammed into the rubble above them. But he didn’t have to lift. His vision turned white as his scream was drowned out by the rush of air and light shoving the fallen building off of him.  He rose off the ground, the mysterious force that no one seemed to control righting him.

The light didn’t stop at the rubble. It shot up into the sky, becoming a pillar of raw magic so thick that even the least sensitive minds felt their dreams turning towards it.

And then it vanished; leaving nothing but a hole in the clouds.

Gravity returned, and Allspades stumbled when his feet slammed into the ground. The library was gone, only the farthest wall remained standing. He stood in the center of the crater that had once been his desk.

“Thank you, Paige.”

Silence greeted him, but he could see the image of her shaking her head stretching itself into his mind.

The sound of engines reached his ears, but he would be gone before they reached the library. They were either cops or enemies and either way he didn’t have time to deal with them.

King was out there, and Allspades wanted answers.

He could feel the light, boiling beneath his skin at the thought of finding King. He pressed it just a little, and1 felt it flaring out of his fingertips uselessly.

The light was willing to help him, but if King had really bumped his powers up as much as it seemed, then he wouldn’t be able to go against him alone.

Allspades had no way of knowing who would be awake and who wouldn’t, but if he’d been the only one awake then he would have defaulted to the best defended place in town.

With a the power still simmering beneath his skin, Allspades knew he could reach anywhere in the city in just  a few short hops. WHatever army king had brought with him had no hope of stopping his assault.

“I’m coming for you, King.”

Allspades prepared to leap, and the power vanished.

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