XL. What's To Come

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Night had fallen by the time Lena had returned to the campus. Maintenance workers had come on one of the ferries to check the vast amount of buildings for any damage. As Lena walked by them towards the dorms, she saw a group of kids her age looking at a phone. On the phone, Lena heard what sounded like a news station talking about what had happened.

"—despite The Bolt's sudden attack on the island, Headmistress Arielle Danford has not decided to close New Haven. Reportedly, she has decided to remain open for the final couple of weeks, until the institution's annual winter break. With no serious damage to New Haven's buildings, the institution is still set to reopen in January, following winter break. Even though operations may continue as normal for New Haven and its inhabitants, there is still the matter of the missing lightning Gifted. The forty-two lightning Gifted under The Bolt's control have still not had their whereabouts confirmed. We will now—"

Lena kept walking, not wanting to hear any more. She entered the dorm building and hurried up the stairs. As she did, she passed Janice in the stairwell. The two made brief eye contact before continuing on their ways. Lena just rolled her eyes as she reached the second floor. When she did, she spotted Hunter a few feet away, tapping away on his phone.

Lena grimaced, and tried to keep going unseen.
"Lena?" he asked.
Lena stopped and balled her fists. She turned to look at him, slowly.
He slowly walked over to her, "How you doing?"
"Why do you care?" Lena retorted.
Raising his hands up, Hunter backed up, "Just wondering. I heard about your little 'mission'."
Lena dropped her hands against her thighs, losing patience.
"Yeah? What about it? We took on a God to get our friend back. And now, he's even more gone than we could have ever thought."

She then walked right up to him and got in his face.
"Despite all of that, we tried. We tried our hardest, and we got nothing to show for it. But you know what? It was more than anything you did."
Hunter scoffed, "Why should I give a damn for a friend who cast me out? Disrespected me?"
Lena backed up, taken aback.
"You can't be serious."
Hunter just shrugged.
"You... you're such an asshole," Lena huffed, a feeling of upset welling in her gut, "You're really okay with the fact that he's probably out somewhere, all alone?"
Hunter didn't reply, he just sniffed.
Lena shook her head, "You're disgusting. I don't know what I, or Melany, saw in you."

Lena walked off, leaving Hunter glaring.

🌊

Lena finally made it back to her dorm room. She opened the door and went inside to find Raina and Aria already in bed, but not asleep.

"There you are," Aria said, looking up from her phone, "You doing okay?"
"Okay enough," Lena replied, going over and sitting on her bed.
Raina and Aria exchanged a look.
"Listen," Raina said, "I know today hella sucked, but... they'll find them. Him."
Lena sighed, "I don't want 'them' to... I want to find him. We should find him."
Aria and Raina looked closely at her.
"Um... that'll be hard, considering we don't even know where to start," Aria said.
"Besides," Raina added, "This was, like, my first real life-threatening situation, and... I'd like a break? I'm sure the Gifted Council will have Congress order a worldwide search for them or something."
Lena didn't reply. It was written all over her face that she didn't like that answer.

Aria smiled and went over to her, joining her on the bed.
"It'll be okay, Lena," Aria said, "We're here, and Jace will be found. It'll just... take time. We need to be patient."
Lena looked at the shorter, Latina girl.
"I... I just..." she started, trying to find her words.
"You like him, we know," Raina rolled her eyes from her bed.
Lena looked sharply at Raina, scowling, "No, it's—"
Aria chuckled, "Lena, sweetie, it's okay to like him. It's obvious you do. We're not ridiculing you for it."
"Yeah," Raina added, "Just know that this is probably those feelings talking."
Lena looked from girl to girl, and then at the floor.
She took a deep breath.
"Fine," she said, "I do, kind of, like him a little... I said it, you happy?"
Aria giggled and hugged Lena tightly, "See? It wasn't so hard to admit."
Lena couldn't help but give a small smile, even though she felt embarrassed.
"Jace will turn up," Aria said, "I promise he will. One way or another."
Lena's smile turned back into a frown, for she hoped Aria was right.

🌊

A woman in a dark blue short, hooded cloak and dress made her way down a dark hallway. The walls were lined with windows on the left and lanterns on the right. She approached a door, which was guarded by two guards in dark blue uniform tunics. They stood aside, and let her enter.

Inside was four jail cells, two on each side. Three of which were empty, while the one on the further left, was inhabited. One of the guards approached the woman.
"Collar has been applied. It's safe to go in."
The woman then opened the jail door, and entered.

Jace lied on the ground, a collar around his neck with a blinking yellow light. He sat up as the woman entered.
"Wh...who are you people...?" he asked, his voice shivering with fear.

The woman looked to the guard, "Leave us."
The guard did so, closing the door behind him.

🌊

The woman that spoke with Michelangelo Topal stood on the snowy mountain, looking down at the dark blue palace. Through the window, she could see the guard that had gone inside with the hooded woman coming back out, shutting the door. She wore a warm coat with a hood, for the cold snow was bucketing down around her.

"Interesting," she said.
She then felt her phone buzzing. She pulled it out of her skirt pocket and held it to her ear, "Yes?"
"Mistress, has the portal been destroyed?" the voice on the other end asked.
"Yes, and I doubt The Cold even realizes," the woman replied, "Have you determined where the next one is?"
"The Heat's is in eastern China," the voice answered.
"Of course," the woman replied, "Given he is going to be busy finding who released the 'dastardly' Bolt, it should be child's play."
"Michelangelo Topal won't be a problem, will he?" the voice asked.
"No, he won't," the woman replied, "He'll have too many problems of his own. He did release an imprisoned God, after all..."
"Indeed," the voice said, "We'll keep searching for the portals."
"You're all truly assets to me," the woman said fondly, "I look forward to meeting you back at home base."
"Anything for a better world," the voice replied, "Hail The Wave!"
The Wave smiled, "Yes... hail me."

She hanged up and stuffed the phone in her pocket, then turned to water, and teleported away.

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