XXXVI. Friends and Foes

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The four young Gifted tensed up at the sight of their friend, who stepped towards them with cold, unfeeling steps. Lena then stepped forward towards him, lowering her sword.

"Lena, what are you doing?!" Dai asked in a loud whisper.
"Jace..." Lena started, stepping towards him slowly, "You gotta be in there. I don't know what it's like for you right now but you gotta fight it..."
"Did you not hear The Heat?!" Kai asked incredulously, "Only The Bolt can free him! I doubt he could!"
"We don't know that!" Lena retorted back at them.
"What would Ryū gain from lying to us?!" Dai pointed out, "It's not going to work!"
"We—" Lena started, before she was zapped by rays of lightning emitting from Jace's fingertips.
She fell to the ground, groaning in pain, as Jace kept piling it on.
Kai then ran forward and threw a fireball, it hitting Jace square in the chest, knocking him back.

"Be careful!!" Janice cried out, "Don't hurt him!"
Dai rolled his eyes as Jace stood back up, his still blank expression staring at them.
He then unleashed a massive barrage of lightning, causing Dai to run forward in front of Kai and Lena, the latter of which was being helped up by the fire Gifted, and raise an ice wall.
He kept feeding it energy to stay intact as the lightning chipped away at it.
Janice then ran around and fired an ice beam, freezing Jace in a solid coat of ice, effectively stopping the lightning.
Dai dissipated his wall, and the three of them just looked at Janice, who had a smug look on her face.

"You're welcome," she smiled coyly.
Lena scowled at her, then looked solemnly at the frozen Jace.
"So... what now?" Kai asked.
"Find and detain more lightning Gifted," Dai suggested, "Before the rest of them get to New Haven."
"Easy," Janice said, "We'll have it done just like that."
She then snapped her fingers, and because she wasn't paying attention, she accidentally dissipated the coat of ice around Jace, who stumbled free.

The other three looked at her in utter disbelief, and she just looked from Jace, to her hand, and then to the others.
"You dumb bitch," Lena snapped as Jace fired another barrage, this time scattering the four across the cutting as they all ran to dodge it.

Dai stumbled to the ground in his effort to dodge, but as he did, he fired an ice beam at Jace. The lightning Gifted effectively teleported away from the spot, causing the beam to hit the side of a tree.
He teleported in front of Janice, and kicked her staff out of her hands. He then started throwing electrified punches at her, and because Janice's hand-to-hand combat skills are lacking, she got hit in the face quite a number of times.

She was struggling to stay standing as Jace continued hitting her, only for Lena to this time fire an ice beam at him.
Jace looked behind him, saw the beam, and teleported out of the way, the ice beam hitting Janice instead, freezing her over.
Lena stopped the beam, surprised, as Jace teleported behind her.
He then grabbed Lena from behind, and held her in front of him as Dai and Kai approached them, Gifts out and ready.

Lena struggled against Jace, whose grip on her was tighter than she thought him capable of.
She then slammed her head into his, forcing him to let go, and subsequently kicking him the chest to gain distance.
This knocked him down, and she was rejoined with the twins.
"Nice one, but aren't you going to release Janice?" Dai asked.
Lena looked back at the frozen girl.
"She's good for now," she decided, "Maybe now he can be restrained."
Kai just snickered at this.

The three then returned their attention to Jace, who was getting back up.
Lena took a deep breath, "Sorry for this."
She fired another ice beam at him, Jace teleporting away to dodge it.
He teleported a few feet behind them and unleashed a barrage of lightning. Dai raised an ice wall to block it, and Kai and Lena ran around the sides, coming at him at once.
Kai threw two fireballs, both hitting Jace in the chest, knocking him down, and Lena fired another ice beam, effectively freezing him over.

As Dai dissipated the ice wall, the three of them took a moment to sit on the grass.
"I... did not enjoy that," Kai sighed.
Lena just nodded.
"Okay," Dai said, "I know you don't like her... but please release Janice now."
Lena just groaned and waved her hand, the ice encasing Janice dissipating. She stumbled, catching herself before she fell over.

"What... what happened...?"


Meanwhile, Luke, Aria, Raina, and Melany were going through the plains on the eastern side of the island. These plains were sandy, for they were relatively close the ocean. They also had many large rock formations sprinkled throughout the area.

"No lightning Gifted yet?" Aria asked.
"Don't see any," Raina shrugged.
"They're most likely at New Haven," Melany said, "It's, like, the most important place on this island."
"Can't you guys go on ahead and fly there?" Luke asked.
"Good idea," Raina said, "I'll scout ahead."
She then flew upwards using her fire and headed off in New Haven's direction.

Melany watched her go, a look of great worry crossing her face.
"You okay, Melany?" Aria asked.
"Yeah..." Melany replied. She had remembered sneaking into Danford's office to retrieve a location of a lost island for her father, and had begun thinking that that island was where Bolt has been all this time. The thought scared her.

"If you're worried about if we'll die or... something, don't be! We'll be toooootally fine!" Luke reassured.
"Yeah, speak for yourself," Aria said, "I'm scared of this whole thing. I've never done anything like this before... like, not a life or death type situation."
Luke subsided as Aria spoke, considering his next words carefully.
"Well... at least we aren't alone individually," he smiled.
Aria looked up at him, and smiled back.

Melany found their interaction wholesome, but then got reminded of Hunter, for he had said similar things to her. She looked back ahead, lost in thought.


The Bolt threw lightning bolt after lightning bolt at Ryū, who spun out of the way to avoid them. Ryū was in the air, while Bolt stood on the ledge of the active volcano.

Bolt then formed a spear out of lightning and threw it, Ryū dodging it with just as much ease. The Bolt then outstretched a hand and caught the spear midair, and pulled his hand back, causing the spear to go backwards.
The spear grazed Ryū's side, making him wince at the pain.
He looked down at his injury, and then back at Bolt, who was smirking.
His eyes blaring with flame, Ryū formed two massive fireballs, throwing them down.
Bolt teleported out of the way and into the air, falling on top of Ryū, disrupting his balance midair.
Ryū then grabbed Bolt by his tunic, and spun him around, throwing him downward. As he fell, Bolt teleported once again, back above Ryū, and falling on him once more.

He then grabbed the sides of Ryū's head and electrocuted him relentlessly. Ryū groaned as he soared downward, Bolt still clinging to him.
They soared down into the forest, Ryū trying to hit the trees in an effort to shake Bolt off.
Eventually they reached the clearing where the twins, Lena, and Janice were resting, as well as the four frozen possessed lightning Gifted.

They soared in and crashed into the trees on the other side, landing a few feet apart on the ground. The trees that were hit were hit so hard that they were now crooked and bent.
Both Gods slowly got up, facing each other down, when they noticed the four young Gifted, who just looked at them with petrified expressions.

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