And, just like that, the four walls that surrounded us flew right down! The force that Alfred used sent us all soaring in different directions; the Fallens got flung to the front of the school, Alfred and Gabrielle plummeted towards the playground, and Violet and I got hurled into the hallway! Alfred’s spell shook the whole building, and a myriad of teachers and students poked their heads out to see what was happening. Right then, the dust settled, and the seven of us who were in that office met eyes with each other! Leonard used a hex to make a piece of debris zoom towards us, but Gabrielle ran over and created a protective shield over the hall. Alfred used his powers to fling heavy objects towards them, and he successfully knocked out Alastor! That’s when it occurred to me- Amy and Sam were wearing armor when we took them out with that tree branch, and Samaya summoned that bear to take care of Berith, so while magic couldn’t penetrate silver, other things till could! That was the secret to taking Birsha’s Army down! We couldn’t let Alfred fight them on his own, so I directed Violet, “Come on! We gotta help him!”
Violet nodded, and we both bolted up to assist him. We didn’t get very far though- something pulled at our arms to hold us back! We turned around to see that obsequious teacher had grabbed onto us! She bellowed, “Don’t you dare interfere with the dissidents’ takedown!”
“Zilla, they’re endangering our children’s’ lives!” Gabrielle scolded her. “How could you allow this to go on when it means putting innocent kids in harm’s way?”
“Change involves sacrifice!” Zilla coldly asserted. “If there are casualties in the line of fire, then so be it!”
I could tell that even the teachers who supported Birsha’s regime got disgusted by her callous attitude, and many of them seemed to second-guess their decision of where to place their allegiance! At any other time, that would have been a welcome development, but at this point, since Alfred and Gabrielle seemed to be the only ones willing to take action, their shift of loyalty didn’t make much of a difference! A couple of people looked angry that she wouldn’t free us, but everyone appeared too frightened to even get close to her! “You’re a monster!” Gabrielle shrieked.
Zilla argued, “No, you are! The current system is poison, and you’re letting it spread! You’ve been making it grow all along! That’s gonna stop now! You’ll thank me later! You’ll see! Everything’ll-!”
A little girl ran up to Zilla and bit her arm! Zilla yelped in pain and nearly struck the child in retaliation, but with Violet now able to have full range of motion, she seized the opportunity to punch Zilla in the face! This impact sent Zilla stumbling into the mob of Monico Elementary faculty, and they very willingly apprehended her! Gabrielle’s jinx destroyed a projectile heading in our direction, and once that threat had gotten extinguished, Violet and I sped to aid Alfred in the battle against the Fallens!
We were horrified to see the four of them standing over Alfred’s unconscious body! I couldn’t fathom what they intended to do with him, but regardless of what they had in mind, I wouldn’t permit it to happen! I spotted a nearby pipe and catapulted to their vicinity! It nailed Jinn, but he didn’t get hurt enough to prevent him from participating in the foray! Their attention averted from Alfred over to us, and they used their hexes to throw enormous material at us! Violet and I managed to dodge them, but it grew more and more difficult for us to continue this because they spread out and aimed from three different locations! I didn’t know if we could keep this up for too much longer, but I did know that we couldn’t win this contention if we didn’t go on the offensive, so I wracked my brain to come up with a pathway in order for us to gain the advantage we needed to do that! It was too difficult to think with our constant movement though, and that sentiment only deepened when…
“Kenzo, no!” Gabrielle roared. My heart dropped as I witnessed a small boy break out of her protective field and sprint over to this perilous sector! He picked up a meager stone and held it up with the objective of tossing it our opponents! Kora leered at him, “You wanna play, you little brat? Then fine, let’s play!”
“No!” Violet and I shouted in unison as she lifted a heavy piece of furniture and cast it at that student! Violet and I both lunged towards him, but since she was closer, Violet became the one to rescue him! She pushed him out of the trajectory’s target, but unfortunately, that caused her to absorb the brunt of this collision!
My whole body froze! This sight made everything go numb, and all I wanted to do was rush over to save her! I couldn’t do that though, the Fallens resumed their siege on me! It was pure agony to have to defend myself as she laid motionless on the floor! I prayed that she would wake up- I didn’t know how I would be able to go on if I didn’t have her by my side! I refused to succumb to the notion that she wouldn’t get revived, the thought of her perishing was too awful to even consider! Clearly, the Fallens could sense the mental torture plaguing me in that moment, and they snickered delightfully as they sustained their assault! I was more outnumbered than ever, so in all honesty with myself, I couldn’t guarantee I could salvage either one of our lives…
All of a sudden, the sprinklers went off, pouring tons of water out over everybody! Normally, I would have used this distraction to ambush the Fallens, but my instincts pushed me straight to Violet! I shoved the file cabinet off of her torso and immediately knelt down to check her vitals! My pulse raced like crazy in anticipation of the worst case scenario, and I beseeched the heavens that I would discover some good news instead! To my immense relief, she started to stir! I can’t describe just how relieved it made me to see this! “Thank god, you’re safe!” I exclaimed as she lifted her lids.
From above our low positions, Jinn taunted us, “I wouldn’t be too sure of that if I were you!” We glanced up and beheld that the three remaining Fallens hovered directly over our heads! I grew cognizant of the fact that my emotional stronghold had lured me into a trap, and I admonished myself for getting us surrounded like this! I berated my decision-making for not saving her by taking care of our enemies first, and I could only hope that I would be able to make up for my blunder in the future!
Leonard removed our helmets and mockingly queried us, “Any last words?” I couldn’t drum up a snarky retort that this interaction deserved, my panic forced me to shut down completely! Violet and I simply braced ourselves for this ill fate… until…
Sirens blared in the distance, and the three alert Fallens had all of the color in their face drain away completely! Leonard muttered, “Who on Earth…”
He scoped out the area as if the perpetrator would reveal themselves, and after a few seconds, he espied the girl who bit Zilla putting down a landline that hung on the wall! She flipped her braided hair at him in a defiant sort of manner, and he started to charge at her, but Jinn nabbed his extremities and strongly recommended, “Forget it! We gotta go!” Leonard’s lividness rooted him to the spot momentarily, but as the sirens’ howl heightened, Leonard relented, “Get them into the trunk and let’s go!”
As Leonard ran to the driver’s seat, I prepared myself to kick and scream as they dragged us to the vehicle! I wasn’t eager to deal with the sham of a murder trial that we’d have to go through, but my survival rate seemed higher in prison than going with Birsha’s Army wherever they planned to flee! They probably couldn’t return to the Punishment Site since Gabrielle’s brother had called the police from there and alerted them to its presence, but whatever the alternative became couldn’t have been much better! Besides, with their intense trepidation of us getting incarcerated, my curiosity made me wonder what they were trying to prevent us from encountering there… That concept wouldn’t come into fruition in this instance though! Jinn and Kora pointed their palms at us, and in one fast sweep, we got magically hurtled into the trunk of their car!
The lid shut in a flash, giving us no window to endeavor a jump so we could regain our freedom! In the span of a heartbeat, we got enclosed and they became airborne! Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could discern Violet’s shadow next to me, and I asked her, “How do we get out of here?”
“I have no idea!” Violet answered forlornly. “Even if we popped the trunk open, we would still have to find a way to get back to the ground safely! They would most likely discover what we’re doing before we even set a foot outside of the car!” She sighed and then followed her statement with, “I’m gonna have to use a spell!”
“Violet, no!” I adamantly objected to her suggestion. “We can’t risk depleting your life force!”
She debated that, “If we stay in here, then the Fallens will take it away completely! At least if I used a small hex, I’d have a greater probability of continuing my existence!”
I knew her logic had merit to it, but I still had an intense aversion to Violet sacrificing herself like that! If we got out of here, I wanted us both to be alive for the occasion! I couldn’t furnish any alternatives to her projection, but I knocked on wood that I could inspire her to weigh some other options first! Maybe one of them would sprout some wings in the nick of time to preserve both of our us from meeting our demise! “What would you do though? Create a soft landing for us? The Fallens would be able to catch up pretty fast if we did that!”
“Well… I could transport us somewhere…” Violet proposed.
“Where?” I challenged her. “We had nowhere to go if we didn’t discover the Arch Deity at Monico Elementary!”
Violet mulled it over for a minute and then reported, “I have no clue! Truth be told, I didn’t think about escaping back there, I was kinda interested in getting arrested…”
I concurred with her, “Me too! Never in a million years did I ever feel grateful that I’m wanted for a felony!”
“I know!” Violet chuckled. But since they’re so damn insistent on us not going to lockup, I’m guessing that there’s something advantageous for us in one of the cells…”
“What if it’s the Arch Deity?” I probed. “What if the reason they’re not coming forward to eliminate Birsha’s threat to society is ‘cause they’re imprisoned?”
Violet deliberated the plausibility of this. “Hmm… Well, that would make sense…”
I iterated my argument, “Innocent people are getting thrown in jail left and right these days! I should know… Do you know how many decent clients I saw get taken away for the pettiest of crimes? How could they protect the planet without busting out in such an unorthodox and probably illegal way?”
“How are we gonna get out of incarceration though?” Violet brought up. “If the Arch Deity isn’t in there, we could land ourselves in there for the rest of our lives!”
“We’re not guilty, they shouldn’t lock us up forever!” Even though I couldn’t see her visage, I could tell that Violet was giving me a quizzical look, so I acknowledged, “Okay, so that doesn’t mean they won’t succeed!” I contemplated it for a bit and then submitted to her, “There’s bound to be some Guardians in the prisons we’ll get sent to. We can convince them to lend a hand in getting us out if we both strike out!”
Violet worriedly conveyed, “That’s really risky! But what choice do we have? We can’t ignore this lead and run the risk of losing out on finding the Arch Deity! It’s gonna be so hard though! I don’t like the thought of continuing this journey without you!”
It elated my spirits to hear that she treasured my company! She couldn’t possibly have valued our stint together as much as I did, but it was still incredible to learn that she held our comradery dear! My mirth evaporated as rapidly as it came as it slowly dawned on me that we would be separated for quite a lengthy stretch! That made my insides ache, and all I could do was reassure myself that we would get reunited again soon! Prior to me getting to express any departing grief to her, our conversation got interrupted…
The trunk space got completely illuminated when we each received a text message from Natair warning everyone that the police were on the hunt for their security vehicles, which prompted Violet to cry out, “Oh, duh! We still have the watches on!” She immediately dialed 9-1-1 and informed them, “We’ve been kidnapped! We’re in the trunk of a security car!”
“I’m gonna turn the power off of this thing so they can’t get too far from the cops!” I announced. Moments later, we heard the faint sounds of police sirens heading towards us! Before I pushed the button on the vehicle’s app, I hurriedly confessed to Violet, “I’m gonna miss you!” The Fallens sped up, so I powered down their car as hastily as I could! The vehicle came to a screeching halt and then swiftly fell to the pavement! We landed with a bang, but just as I was about to pop the trunk open…
“Jack, before we go, there’s something I gotta tell you…” Violet gazed at me with such a serious expression on her face that all of my skin tingled and my lungs ran out of breath at the expectation of the drastic communication she would relay to me…