XXXIV. Save Them

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The ferries were frantically evacuating people from the island, taking them back to the mainland. The students that were at the arena were along the evacuees, who were all being guided along by New Haven faculty.

Lena, Raina, and the others were among the evacuees, waiting to board the next ferry. As they waited, they could hear the distant, explosive sounds of destruction occurring across Elfen Island. The sky had also darkened over the island with grey clouds.

"This is insane..." Luke was saying gravely.
"I'm scared..." Aria uttered, clutching onto Luke's arm anxiously.
"That can't be The Bolt..." Kai uttered, "It... it just can't be! The Gods have been gone for thousands of years!"
"Only a God could do what he did to... Jace," Dai said quietly, "No Gifted can take control of others..."
Lena just stared at the floorboards, her head running with many thoughts.
Hunter, who was nearby, noticed the scared expression on her face. He was scared too, but he was much better at hiding it.

"What happened to Jace?!" Janice cut in, grabbing Dai by the shoulder and turning to face him.
Dai, annoyed, shook her hand off his shoulder.
"Jace was put under The Bolt's control, just like every other lightning Gifted in the arena," he explained bluntly.
Janice's hands covered her mouth, worry and sadness filling her eyes, "Oh no... why would he—"
"Did you not here the shit he said beforehand?!" Raina interrupted, stepping between Janice and her brother, "He wants The Heat... and he's using them to draw him out."
Aria then spoke up, "You think The Heat... is that guy we saw? With the weird hat?"
"I'm almost certain of it," Raina replied.

Just then, Ms. Danford came up, "What are you all doing? Keep moving."
The group subsided and slowly shuffled forward. Lena did so as well. As she did, she clenched her fists and bit her lip. She tried to hold her tongue, but couldn't resist anymore.

She whipped around and faced Danford, "We can't leave!"
Danford turned to look at her, eyebrows raised.
"I beg your pardon?" she asked.
"We can't just leave! I refuse to leave! Our friend was taken by that... мудак!!! We have the power to go in and stand up to him, to save our island from... from... from whatever he's going to do!" Lena protested.
The others looked from her, to Danford, who stepped forward, glaring down at Lena.

"I don't know if you have noticed, Ms. Prasylova, but this man is one of the seven Gods, with abilities that far surpass what I, or even you, can achieve. When a God has control of Gifted, those Gifted cannot be released unless the God wills it," she said in a demeaning, cold tone, "So, unless, Ms. Prasylova, you have a grand master plan to save those Gifted, without bringing harm to yourself, or anyone else, I am all ears."
Lena just looked from her to the ground, taking deep breaths in anguish, trying not to cry.
"Otherwise," Danford continued, "Let's board the ferries, shall we?"


Danford turned to see Dai looking defiantly at her, "Excuse me?"
"Those are the words of a coward!" Dai said, his voice shaking, "Doing something and failing is better than doing nothing at all!"
Danford stepped back, incredulous at this defiance.
Dai then stepped over to Lena and held her hand.
"We can think of something...!" he said, "Jace and the others don't have to stay behind to be used as they are."
Lena just looked at him, tears streaming down her face, with a smile.
The others came over one by one and stood alongside them, looking at Danford with defiant, but still fearful expressions.

Their expressions changed to awe as the boy in the conical hat lowered himself onto the pier next to Danford via fire. Upon closer inspection, he was of Asian descent, with black hair and a short stature.
"It's him...!" Raina whispered.

"It appears..." he said, "...that your wards are more rebellious than you admitted to me."
Danford scoffed, "This isn't rebellion! This is—"
"The fires within these ones are the brightest I have seen in hundreds of years," he continued, looking at the group fondly, "Ironic, considering most of them don't have a fire Gift."
"Hey," Kai interrupted, "Mind telling us who the hell you are??"
"The Heat," came a blunt reply, "But please, call me Ryū."
Silence followed.
"You're... you're the one I saw in the hallway," Melany said in astonishment.
"He's also the one Bolt is looking for," Dai reminded.

Ryū sighed, "Yes, I am aware."
"Then why don't you turn yourself in so we can get our friend back?!!?" Lena exclaimed frustratingly.
"It is not that simple," Ryū replied, "Bolt is... angry with me for locking him up. Though, if I had not done so a thousand years ago, he would basically be doing what he is doing now; enslaving his Gifted and using them for his own selfish purposes."
"Why should we trust you?" Dai asked.
"Because together, we can defeat The Bolt and save his Gifted. I have a plan, but I cannot do it alone."
An uncomfortable pause followed.

"...then count us in," Lena said.
"Um!! I'm coming too," Janice said.
Lena just rolled her eyes, "Seriously?"
"I will never give up on Jace, no matter how much you would love me to," Janice snarled.
"Excuse me!" Danford shouted, "No one is doing anything or going anywhere!"
"Arielle," Ryū said, reaching up and placing a hand on her shoulder, "I promise you, they'll be safe. I need them for this to work."
Danford looked uncertainly at Ryū, and then at the group of kids.

With great reluctance, she let out a sigh.
"Very well," she said, "I shall stay on this side and continue overseeing the evacuation."
"Good," Ryū smiled, "I will relay my plan to you all by the arena. We'll have more space there. Let's move."
Ryū then marched off, the group following him.

"Wait!!" came an eager voice, "Wait for me!"
Max came running, and was panting by the time he reached them.
"You're going to stop that guy, right?!" he asked.
"Yeah," Lena said, "You coming?"
"Yeah!!! I want to help!" he said.
"Maxwell!" an adolescent male voice shouted, "Come on! Mom is waiting!"
Max looked back, disappointed, while Lena looked to see a brown haired boy with a stern look on his face.

"That's my brother..." Max sighed, "I..."
Lena looked from Max, to his brother, and back again.
"You... are you really going to back out now?" she asked.
Max didn't answer, he just twiddled his thumbs anxiously.

"I'm sorry..." he said, "I wish you guys the best of luck though!!"
He paused, looking down.
"I'd... probably only get in the way anyway..." he muttered.
Lena looked at him with concern, until—

"Lena! Come on!" Aria shouted.
Lena looked back, then looked to Max.
"I'll... tell the others you said good luck," she smiled.
A happy glint shone in Max's eyes as a smile crossed his face.

Lena then ran off to join the others as they headed back to the island.
Max and Danford both watched them go, with worry.

Hunter watched them go too, having heard everything.

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