Gwynivara quickly threw out there, “Hildegard Bingen University.” Bernadette and Riley tried to maintain a casual expression so not to bring up any suspicion with Linda, but Gwynivara could see a mix of reproach and alarm brewing in their eyes. Gwynivara couldn’t blame them for getting upset, she got filled with dread at the prospect of it herself, but their hesitation already raised Linda’s eyebrows, so one of them had to say something soon. She didn’t know anywhere else in Silver Park, and she certainly wouldn’t let her go near the Rebels’ headquarters, so she didn’t have much of a choice! To cover up for the length of time it took to come up with that, Gwynivara added, “We were thinking about going to an after party, but it’s a school night, so we really should get some rest!”
Linda remarked to Kierram, “You never told me you were a student!”
“Well, I got so busy listening to your stories that I just didn’t have time to mention it,” Kierram made up on the fly.
“Oh, I feel so bad! I really haven’t taken much time to get to know you much!” Linda reacted to his assertion regretfully. “What are you all studying?”
Bernadette responded, “Medicine.” Gwynivara privately noted how that Bernadette didn’t really lie with that! Getting the cure out into the world had always been the Rebels’ number one priority, and while they currently devoted quite a lot of time on this election, Gwynivara was glad that she didn’t say politics! She didn’t want to pretend to adore Rialowe anymore than she already had, and obviously, with Linda’s devotion to him, they couldn’t claim to work for any other presidential candidate! She probably would have thrown them out of the car if they showed interest in any other viewpoint! Though Gwynivara didn’t have full confidence that Linda intended to take them where they requested to go anyways! If Linda had any inkling of their deception, they could have been heading to a place more precarious than Abigor’s territory! Until Gwynivara knew her true intentions, they had to keep giving answers that would keep a reporter’s curiosity subsided!
Linda observed, “Ah, no wonder you’re all wearing gloves!”
Gwynivara’s pulse began to race again! She had almost forgotten that they had worn them, it had just become so routine to her now that it didn’t occur to her until right then that they were wearing them in front of somebody who bought into the conspiracy theory that the Public Health Center had lied about Venenatus Sanguis and the effectiveness in keeping people safe by wearing these garments. She worried that this act may have blown their pretense of being Rialowe fanatics, but fortunately, Riley thought fast! “Oh, we wear these whenever we go to an event that size!” The Rebels’ all took off their gloves, and while Gwynivara felt that they had become proficient in controlling their manifestations, with the stress they were currently under, her worry only increased with this gesture! Riley went on, “Do you know how many germs are swimming around a place that big? No, don’t ask! Trust me, you don’t wanna know!”
“Touché!” Linda conceded with a slight grin. She appeared to have bought that line of logic, and the Rebels’ nerves got alleviated for a while.
“Do you know how to get to the HBU campus?” Gwynivara posed to that question to her in order to get a better perspective on Linda’s mindset, and she waited with bated breath to hear her reply. If she gave them an explanation that showed any hints of malicious motives, then she planned to draw up an incantation to get them out of harm’s way! As her adrenaline died down, she could fell herself starting to fade. She used a lot of energy in escaping from that auditorium, so she sincerely hoped that she didn’t have to use the last of her stamina to pull off another getaway!
Linda let out another of her obnoxious laughs at that inquiry. “Do I know how to get there? Are you kidding? I’ve had to go all over the DC area for my job, so I probably know how to get to more places than a cab driver in this region!” They all chuckled at her joke, but really, they just felt so relieved to see indications that she actually planned to take them to their destination and not anywhere nefarious! Gwynivara didn’t feel one hundred percent confident yet, and she wouldn’t count themselves completely out of the woods until they actually set foot at the college!
The were so caught up in relishing this potential small victory that they got thrown off when Linda followed up on their previous topic, “So, what made you guys wanna study medicine at your age?”
“I got tired of just doing janitorial work, so I decided to pursue a higher position at the hospital.” Gwynivara surprised herself by giving an honest account to her! Weeks ago, she had an interview for a supervisor position at the hospital in Great Dismal Falls, and the sexist treatment she received by the men running the hiring process got her so distraught that she couldn’t help but to create a beast out of these emotions! Luckily for her, Emorick just happened to have been close by, and he helped her defeat it. That’s how she ended up joining the Rebellion! It felt kind of funny that this event had occurred such a short time ago, so much had happened since then that she had come to think that much more time had passed than what did!
“I know we look more like a group of teachers than students, but hey, we got tired of not making money!” Riley commented. Gwynivara admonished herself for taking too long of a stroll down memory lane, but she was grateful that the others could improvise so well!
Linda related, “I totally get that! Why struggle if you don’t have to!” The Rebels all agreed with her and hoped that she would move on to a new subject, but instead, she asked Kierram, “If you’re studying medicine, then why did you apply as my intern?”
The Rebels tried not to show their anxiety over her probing, and they all prayed that Kierram could come up with a reasonable excuse to smooth out the hole in their story. It pleased them all to hear Kierram manufacture a very believable lie, “Well, I was hoping to replace the current spokesman. He’s not very good! He doesn’t report all of the facts!”
Linda’s eyes sparkled when she heard that. “You think so too? I knew it! Rialowe always warned us that they were lying, and this just confirms it! Do you know how much damage they’re doing to the community by carrying on this health scare?” To their assuagement, she desisted in asking them questions and occupied herself with ranting about her perceived enemies! Gwynivara crossed her fingers that it would last until they got to the school!
When the university came into view, they got excited for this uncomfortable car ride to come to an end, but Gwynivara began to fret again. She was fully aware that Abigor could turn up right away, and doing so in Linda’s presence would present all kinds of perilous complications! Linda pulled up to the dormitories and inquired, “Is this okay? Do you want me to pull up farther down?”
“This is fine!” Gwynivara assured her. She didn’t talk more than she had to because she itched for her to finally come to a stop so they could pile out of there!
“Alright, here we are!” Linda parked the car, and they immediately dashed out of the vehicle! They all thanked her and bade her goodbye as they watched her drive out of sight, and when she finally did leave their periphery, they turned to the campus. Its dark, deserted walkways gave them an ominous feeling, and their fear froze them to the spot as they wondered where to go from there…
Kierram shook off the goosebumps that this eerie sight gave him, and then he quietly suggested, “Let’s find the nearest sewer and get the hell out of here!”
The others nodded in agreement, and since Gwynivara discussed with them, “There’s an entrance on the other side of the college, so we gotta pick between the shortest route, which would go through the campus but get us out of here faster, or the longer but probably safer route on the streets around the school. What do you guys wanna do?”
They mulled it over for a second, and then Riley opined, “Personally, I think we should save our energy and go the safe route! I’m done fighting for the night!” Before anyone could react to this, they heard a deafening male’s scream come from the innermost part of the university, and Riley grumbled, “So much for that!”
“That sounded like Professor Chadron!” Bernadette exclaimed.
“Let’s go!” Gwynivara directed them towards the college.
Kierram objected, “Wait! What if Abigor is setting up a trap for us?”
Gwynivara retorted, “And what if it’s not? We can’t let him die!” Kierram, Bernadette, and Riley agreed with her, and they ran into the thick of it all.
They detected commotion near the science building, and when it finally came into view, the Rebels all gasped to see a young lady lying dead on the ground as well as Professor Chadron fending off a beast with the appearance of a bulky jaguar with his briefcase! To their horror, they watched it knock Professor Chadron’s makeshift shield out of his hands, and Professor Chadron only saw one option at this point- run! He tried, but the beast pinned him down! Before it could strike him, Gwynivara shrieked, “No!” and instinctively shot a ball of light at the beast! The beast died, but it it wasn’t until it fell over that they noticed it had a chain on! They followed the links and saw that Abigor held its tether!
Abigor seethed that they had caught him red handed! He dropped the chain and aimed his palm at them, but they rolled out of the way before the incantation could hit them! Abigor sent out a shockwave that knocked them all down, but before he could attack them again, Bernadette summoned a force field that protected the Rebels. Gwynivara felt completely drained from the incantation she just performed, and a part of her felt tempted to stay on the floor, but when she saw Professor Chadron out of the corner of her eye, she lifted her head and shouted, “Get out of here! Go!”
“No!” Abigor yelled. As Professor Chadron turned towards the classroom complex, Abigor pointed his palm towards him. Kierram jumped out of the shielding effect that Bernadette produced and sent a spark to Abigor. His hand went limp, but he could still do incantations with the other side, so he continued to fire back!
“You’re not giving up that easily!” Riley regarded Gwynivara as he picked her up.
After she got propped up, she saw Kierram struggling to go back and forth with Abigor, and Bernadette’s protective incantation was starting to wane, so Gwynivara had to take action! She asserted to Bernadette, “We got this!” With Riley supporting her physically, Gwynivara knew that she could summon the strength to contend with Abigor! Bernadette released her protection and moved herself so that Gwynivara and Riley had a clear shot at Abigor. Abigor got incantations firing at him from all different directions, but he used his abilities to not only dodge their attacks but produce some of his own! Gwynivara could feel herself fading again, but she saw signs from Abigor that he began to grow weak too, so she kept going! They had the chance to vanquish a dangerous adversary, and she compelled herself to keep going until the very end!
Just when Gwynivara thought they could overtake him, they heard police sirens blaring in the background! This momentary distraction allowed Abigor to flee, and Gwynivara’s ire urged her to go after him, but they could hear the police getting close to the scene. The FBI had already framed them for murder, and she knew this fact would prompt the police to blame them for the victim laying below them. Their mission held too much importance to risk getting captured, so they had no choice but to escape in the other direction.
They made it to the manhole that Bernadette and Gwynivara had taken with José and Niqun the last time they ventured onto the college campus, but exhaustion had overcome all four of them now! They had very labored breath, and they surmised that they had an alarming level of stress to their skin based on a passerby’s peculiar stare. Riley huffed, “We’re on drugs!” The man had apparently bought his claim because he instantly scurried away as fast as he could! With that man gone, the streets were now clear, so they hurriedly lifted the manhole and dashed inside of the sewer.
Once they reached a place of safety, they took a badly needed break. After a minute of recovery, Kierram joked, “Now, aren’t you glad that Linda believes all that conspiracy crap? We wouldn’t have made it if we still wore our gloves!”
The Rebels all tried to laugh, but their weariness could only allow them to make some very shallow noises of amusement. Bernadette gratefully expressed, “I’m glad we decided to wear disguises to that intern interview! Obviously, Linda didn’t recognize us from before!” They also found this amusing, but they found some truth to her words too!
“I guess we can’t send canvassers to that area for a while,” Riley supposed. “Not while it’s a murder scene!”
“We have to go back there soon!” Gwynivara stated firmly. “Professor Chadron knows our secret, he’s not safe there anymore!”