10. Heed the Call
The white ceiling filled my vision. Please let me not be in some other hunter lab.
My eyes searched the room, raking over the white curtains and walls, the chair beside my bed, a drip feed and the heart monitor. My gaze finally landed on the clipboard lying on the bedside table. JET LABS was printed on the corner. I heaved a sigh of relief when I recognised the logo.
The door swung open. An Oriental man entered the ward, walking straight to the table next to where I was lying. He picked up the clipboard and flipped through several pages inside. "How are you feeling?"
Actually, I felt fine. Just a little sore here and there, but I was fine otherwise. What had happened? I remembered a lot of fire. Then the glowing marks on Karasu's back flew through my mind. I didn't want to think about what had happened.
I realised I hadn't answered him. "Hm? Oh, I'm fine I guess."
"Someone wants to see you–"
The door burst open. "I'm back! You missed me, didn't you?" a loud female voice loudly declared. Black hair obscured my vision as I felt the air slowly being squeezed from my body.
"Don't throw yourself at the poor boy, he's still recovering."
She stepped away from me. "Oh, heh, sorry about that. You had me worried, you know?"
I looked at Jet. "What happened? How did you find me?"
He leafed through the sheets in the clipboard again. "There was some sort of explosion in the next city, northwest of here. That was about three days ago, I think. I was called to go check it out, so I went. When I arrived there were about four major roads blocked off because of all the rubble. We had to look for survivors."
Joey broke in. "He found you and brought back here, then he contacted me and told me to get back as soon as possible. He sent one of his private jets all the way to Italy, so it wasn't a problem. But it was terrifying looking at you, you know? You were all… Ugh." She shuddered. Well, that was descriptive. "Jet told me you were buried under like five feet of debris. At ground level. And you just lying were in the middle of a major road. With a whole heap of building chunks on top of you. You were a gory mess." She shuddered again, her eyes shut tightly.
Jet spoke again. "Actually, that's not completely true."
Joey and I both looked at him. "What? But that's what you said," Joey said confusedly.
"Well, here are the full details." He went back to the first page in the clipboard. "Okay, here we go. Raven, you were found buried beneath twelve feet and eight inches of rubble. You sustained severe injuries to your head, chest, arms and legs. You had three broken ribs, a broken left ulna, a fractured right humerus, a dislocated shoulder and knee," he flipped the page, "a fractured right fibula, a broken left tibia and a fracture on your skull. All the bones in your left wing were completely crushed. Accompanying that, your lungs were punctured and there was plenty of muscle damage all around your body. We found over fifty bullets embedded in your body, which had to be surgically removed, but everything went smoothly once we got you past the metal detectors."
I stared at him in shock. He glanced at the papers again. "Oh, one more thing. There was a scratch on your cheek."
"How did I stay alive?" I asked, my voice barely above a whisper.
"Honestly, Raven, a little cut on your cheek isn't going to kill you."
I didn't know if he was saying that just to annoy me. "No, I meant the other things. Shouldn't I be dead? How did I survive?" I'd been so close to death. The thought scared me.
"Well, no one else there was competent enough, so naturally I'm the one who treated you," he replied with a grin. As soon as he turned away, I shook my head. I'd never understand this man.
Joey nudged me. "Oh, guess what? Once you're fully recovered you get to come overseas with me. It'll be great!"
It had been what I'd wanted badly for a long time, but I didn't know if I should. I wanted to go, of course, but I just didn't know if it was the right thing to do.
You can go anywhere. You're free.
Live on, little brother.
Karasu's voice echoed through my mind. I hadn't even known him that well, but maybe this was what he wanted me to do. He probably wouldn't want me to grieve over him, right?
"Karasu," I muttered aloud.
Jet looked at me. "I thought you said he…" He saw my expression. "What happened?"
"He wasn't dead, he was still alive. For a while. I met him again, and I found out…" I hesitated. Just thinking about saying it aloud made me feel like crying. "He's my older brother."
They both looked surprised. Joey squeezed my hands. "It must be hard."
I tried to smile. "Yeah, but I know he'd want me to move on."
She smiled too. "He probably would. Spread your wings and all. So, we'll go when you're fully healed."
I nodded. "Okay. We'll talk about it some more when I don't feel like a skyscraper's been dropped on me."
"All right." She ruffled my hair.
Everywhere I looked there were clouds. I didn't think I'd ever been this high flying on my own. The view was incredible; the clouds stretched on endlessly, fluffy masses of white. We were arriving at our destination soon, so the plane had started its descent.
"How did you earn your licence?" another employee of Jet Labs asked Joey.
"I followed the rules until I got it," she replied with a smirk, jerking at the controls. The plane lurched unsteadily.
I'd made a full recovery in less than a week, thanks to Jet's treatment. After all I'd apparently been through, it was still a little hard to believe I'd still survived. Then again, the fact that Jet had been the one taking care of me made things a little easier to believe. Sort of.
We were about halfway to our destination. Joey had been piloting the jet. I was fine because I didn't have to keep my feet on the floor. I hovered behind Joey's seat anxiously.
"How long till we get there?" I asked.
"Not long, not long," she replied. "Maybe an hour or so."
"Oh. Okay then."
I turned to go to the kitchen to look for something to eat. As I walked past the window, I thought I glimpsed something strange going on down below. Our altitude had decreased enough to be able to glimpse the city below, but not low enough to see very clearly. From this height, it looked like a swarm of orange ants. Something told me that whatever it was, it wasn't good.
"Um, Joey, do you see that?" I asked.
"The orange things? Yeah, I don't know what they're supposed to be. A massive SWAT team, maybe?" She steered the plane lower but kept us at a safe distance. "Hm. Dunno."
Maybe I should do something. It was what I was supposed to do, after all. "I'll go check it out," I suggested.
"You sure? Don't want to have you ending up in hospital again."
"Don't worry, I'll be fine."
The plane hovered in the air as the door slid open. A gust of wind hit me in the face as a greeting. I paused. It was a new city, so I probably didn't want to risk getting my identity revealed here if knowledge of me hadn't already leaked over here. I focused magic in my hand until my mask appeared. I slipped it on over my eyes.
"Good luck," Joey called out cheerily.
"Won't be long," I told her, then jumped from the plane. I manoeuvred my wings for a quick but safe descent.
Dropping lower, I saw that the orange things were armoured figures. Ugh. Not armour again. But I continued my descent. I hovered just above a skyscraper before spotting some guy running into an alleyway. It wasn't the fact that he was running there that caught my attention, it was how he was dressed; he wore a mask and a costume. Another hero.
I followed him from above, flying over the city buildings. Peering down, I noticed he was clutching his side as though injured. The orange things were all over the place. Just nearby, there was another armoured thing, some kind of machine or robot.
Time for me to do what I did best. All right, here we go.
A/N: The end. Thanks for reading, be sure to investigate 'Calling All Heroes!' by Blade100.
There will be a prequel type thing too, 'Crow's Tempest'. Feel free to have a look at that.