Five years later

Halaein ran across the room, dodging bullets. Another stream of bullets came toward him from the other side, so he flipped over it and started twisting his body around, doing backbends and flipping to avoid the barrage of stun bullets being fired at him.

"Activating ricochet walls," the woman said, pressing a button. Halaein, bent almost completely backwards, slowly straightened his body, ready for the next challenge. The walls all rotated, spinning around so the opposite sides of the walls were the new walls of the room. The walls were reflective like mirrors. Halaein found himself looking at his reflection. He was wearing a tight black shirt and black pants with a chain around his waist. His black hair had been kept no longer than his shoulders by the facility so it wouldn't give him much trouble when he was in battle; one side was longer than the other. The back of the shirt was open, allowing the tattoo on his left shoulder blade, the Roman numeral XIII and a lightning bolt to be seen.

Small holes in the walls opened and the guns came out. One ding…Two dings…

In a blur, Halaein began bending, twisting, and flipping as the guns fired stun bullets in all directions, all missing Halaein. However, the bullets hit the walls and ricocheted off, coming back. Halaein had to bend and flip twice as fast to avoid the bullets that were being fired as well as the bullets that were bouncing off the walls and coming back at him. Within thirty seconds, the ricocheted bullets had destroyed the guns in the walls, but the bullets continued to ricochet back off the walls; flying across the room, missing Halaein, then hitting the opposing wall and coming back at him. After two minutes of continuous bullet evasion, the walls opened to reveal a padded wall. Once the ricocheted bullets hit it, they remained there. Once all of the bullets were gone, Halaein straightened himself up, panting.

"Great job, Halaein. Your speed is unreal," Dr. White said through the PA. "But let's test your ability to protect another being, while evading the bullets. We won't shoot as many as fast, but you can't let the little girl get hit."

A door opened and a young girl walked in, holding a stuffed teddy bear tightly. She was visibly nervous, her arms and legs shaking as she walked toward him.

"Halaein, this is Sally. We found her outside the facility grounds, throwing rocks at a soldier. So, she became a little helper. Don't let her get hurt."

Halaein watched as she walked toward him, slowly. She was wearing a pink dress and red shoes, her curly hair pulled into two ponytails. She reached the place where she would be standing. Her knees were shaking horribly, and she had a terrified look on her face, and he could tell she was holding back tears. The walls span back around to the normal walls, covered in dents from bullet impacts. The new guns came out of holes that opened in the wall, all aiming at the little girl, who finally let her tears come. She squeezed her bear to her chest, looking at the guns that were glaring back mercilessly. Halaein knew they were armed with stun bullets, but even those had left painful bruises on his powerful body, and he knew what they would do to a little girl like Sally.

And that thought increased his motivation to block all the bullets.

Another door opened on the opposite side of the room from where Sally had entered. Halaein looked at her one last time, then turned and walked through the door and into the small room where armor was laid out onto a table. There were arm pieces, chest pieces, and several leg pieces, all that would deflect bullets. His boots were already steel-soled with the facility's bullet-proof steel, which he would use to defect bullets from guns closer to the floor. Without a word to the scientist standing next to the table, he strapped all the armor on and walked back out into the gun room without even looking at the man. All of the armor was advanced, and looked like part of the outfit he was wearing. The leg pieces were black, like his pants, and the upper pieces were transparent, they just looked like plastic attached to his arms and chest. His back, however, remained bare.

Sally looked over at him, her knees still shaking. He walked toward her, and stood next to her. With a whimper, she wrapped her arms around his waist, and he gently pulled her off, hearing a laugh up in the pod. She tried to grab him again, but he held her at a distance.

Without warning, one of the lower guns shot a bullet, Sally letting out a high-pitched scream. Having heard the small click before the gun fired with his over-developed hearing, his foot had moved automatically into the line of fire, the steel heel of his shoe deflecting the bullet and preventing it from hitting Sally's ankle. Then, a lower gun on the opposite side of the room fired. Having heard the click of that gun as well, Halaein moved to the left side of her in a blur, deflecting that bullet with his heel as well.

Then, thirty little clicks sounded, and thirty bullets, one right after the other were fired at Sally. Halaein slid around her, deflecting all the bullets with his arms, legs, and heels, while all other sounds were drowned out by Sally's frightened screaming. Within two seconds, all the bullets were back in the walls, and a few guns had even been taken out.

Then, out of nowhere, holes in the floor opened. Halaein looked down, then, hearing a little click, he grabbed Sally around the waist and moved her just as a bullet shot up from the floor, ripping her dress. The guns in the wall stopped and twenty little clicks sounded from the floor. Halaein tightened his grip on the girl and started flipping around with her in his arms, avoiding bullets that were being fired from the floor. Some of them hit his boots and were deflected.

Then, without warning, a bullet was fired from the wall while Halaein was focusing on a click from the floor. Not hearing it in time, the bullet hit his left side. He sucked in air and continued to evade the bullets in the floor. Within a few seconds, bullets were being fired from the wall again, as well as the floor. Flipping and twisting and deflecting bullets with his armor were difficult with Sally in his arms.

After a few minutes, the guns shut down and were pulled back into the wall, and the holes in the floor closed. Then, he heard a click and stomped down on the one hole that wasn't closed. He felt the impact on his boot when the bullet fired, but it was deflected right back at the gun, never even leaving the floor. Halaein gently lowered Sally, releasing her. She wasn't screaming or crying anymore; she was staring up at him with amazement in her big green eyes. The wall in front of them opened and Dr. White walked into the room, clapping with a smile on his face.

"Amazing job, Halaein! Just astonishing! I was blown away by your performance!" he exclaimed. He noticed Halaein had his hand on his side. "Uh-oh. Are you hit?"

"It was one bullet, when the wall guns started back up," Halaein replied, his voice deeper than it was when he was 11, five years earlier when he and Dr. White first met.

"I wanna learn to do that!" Sally exclaimed. Halaein and the doctor looked down at her. "Please, please, please, I wanna be able to do that too!"

The doctor's eyes widened.

"You, little girl, wanna be able to do that, too?" he asked. She nodded frantically, a big smile on her face. "How old are you, Sally?"

"I'm six, sir!" she exclaimed excitedly. The doctor laughed.

"Do you have a family, Sally?" he asked. She nodded.

"My daddy works for the government and my mommy's a florist!"

The doctor looked to Halaein, who shrugged.

"We'll talk later," the doctor said, winking at the little girl. A soldier walked through the open wall and took her hand. The doctor placed a hand around Halaein's shoulders and walked with him through a door that opened, the soldier and Sally following behind. "Up next is your lightning training."

The doctor and Halaein turned left down the hallway, while the soldier took the resistant Sally to the right.

"I wanna go with Hally!" she exclaimed. Dr. White and Halaein looked back, the doctor chuckling.

"If she wants to see some lightning, soldier, then let her," he ordered. The soldier looked down at Sally, then released her. She ran over to Halaein and took his hand, looking up at him with a smile. He wasn't sure what to make of it; he hadn't had much contact with people who weren't scientists, soldiers, or doctors. In fact, the only person who wasn't one of the listed was Raeklah.

"Do you mind if I call you Hally?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Uh, I guess not, if you want to," Halaein replied. The doctor chuckled again.

"Come on, let's proceed."

--

Halaein stepped into the lightning room, which was more of a grounds. It had an open roof, but the walls were still there, cameras constantly aimed at him. There were lightning towers that went from several spots in the room high into the sky. Dr. White, several scientists, and Sally were up in a closed off room with a big glass window, looking down at the lightning grounds. Sally was on her tiptoes so she could see through the glass, looking down at Halaein.

"All right, Halaein, start with the lightning floor," Dr. White said through the microphone. Halaein rubbed his gloved hands together, and then slowly moved them away from each other, small lightning bolts crackling between his hands. He clapped his hands and lowered them to the ground, where he rubbed them together one last time. He slammed them down onto the ground, huge bolts of lightning shooting across the floor, a web of crackling electricity covering the ground. The lightning ran up Halaein's legs and was jumping around on his knuckles where small steel studs were sewn onto his fingerless leather gloves. He rolled his fingers in the air, electricity jumping between them. "Impressive. Now shoot a lightning bolt into the sky."

Halaein took a deep breath and all of the lightning disappeared. He rubbed his hands together to get some crackling going, then snapped his fingers twice and thrust his right hand up. A huge lightning bolt struck the clouds from his hand. Small bolts of electricity ran across the clouds, and a lightning bolt was shot back down to the top right lightning tower, followed immediately by a loud crack of thunder.

"Good, good. Now for the lightning cage."

Halaein rolled his fingers again, the electricity growing stronger. He held his hands above his head, and a lightning bolt shot out of each finger, going up then curling down and striking the ground, holding there. With lightning bolts surrounding him, it appeared to be a cage. He lowered one hand at Dr. White's order, creating a wall of lightning.

"All right. Next is…what's that?" Dr. White trailed off, looking to a scientist who had entered the room to tell him something. "She is? Oh. Halaein, we're going to have to cut this session short, an important government official has just arrived at the facility. Return to your room, and make it quick."

Halaein dropped his arm, shaking his hand to make the electricity go away. He exited the lightning grounds and started down the hallway alone, walking quickly. Weaving his way through the winding hallways toward his room, he saw a group of people walking down the hallway, in the opposite direction that he was. It was a tall man with slick black hair dressed in a black suit. Walking beside him was a woman in a red dress, her arm interlocked with the man's. They were surrounded by armed soldiers, their guns ready as though they expected to be attacked while walking down the hallway. When he came into sight, the woman gasped, causing all of the guards to raise their guns and aim at Halaein, ready to shoot. Halaein looked at the guns and stopped, holding up his hands to show he was unarmed and wouldn't hurt them. They did not, however, lower their guns.

"It's all right boys, he's clearly unarmed," the man said, rubbing the woman's arm.

"No, sir, he's one of those Destroyers. He's an even bigger threat without a weapon," the soldier replied.

"A Destroyer? Fascinating. . ." the man said, looking at Halaein, who bowed his head slightly, avoiding eye contact with the man. "He looks awfully young."

"I apologize for the trouble I seem to have caused. I will take a different route," he said quietly, taking a few steps forward, which put the soldiers on even more alert. He turned down the hallway that they appeared to be headed and walked quickly, keeping his head down. He heard them turn down the hallway behind him, but some of the footsteps sounded slow and slightly shuffled, which let him know the soldiers still had their guns pointed at his bare back.

"Number 13," the man said, obviously looking at his tattoo. "That explains why he's so young."

"Yes, indeed. The youngest of them all," Dr. White said, turning down the hallway everyone was walking down. Halaein kept his head down, even lower. As he passed, the doctor placed a firm hand on his arm. "I've changed my mind. Instead of going back to your room, please accompany us."

"I don't want him anywhere near me!" the woman exclaimed, shaking her head.

"Oh, don't worry, Mrs. Johnson, I assure you he will do no harm to you. We have him on a short leash," Dr. White said. He gestured for them to follow him as he turned around and started the other way down the hallway. The soldiers slowly lowered their guns and the small group followed behind the doctor, who was walking next to Halaein, who was being very silent. After a few turns, they reached a white office that was modeled after the one from the temporary facility, but with more chairs. Dr. White sat down behind the desk, while the man and woman seated themselves in the white chairs facing him. The doctor looked to Halaein. "Please stand over there for the moment."

Halaein nodded and moved to the far end of the room silently, continuing to keep his head down. He could still tell the man was watching him.

"So, White, tell me about him. Let me get to know more about him before I take him away," the man said. Halaein felt himself stiffen as the words left his mouth. For that one second, his eyes rose and met the gaze of the man. Then, he quickly looked back to the floor.

"His name is Halaein," Dr. White started. "He agreed to help us and has been here training for five years."

"He's awfully young to be a Destroyer. I was always told they would be much older."

"It came as a shock to us, as well, when we first captured him. He was only 11," Dr. White said.

"So he is 16, now?" the man asked. The doctor nodded. "Still so young."

"Yes, but that does offer its advantages."

"Tell me. Are there any other Destroyers in this facility, or will we be retrieving all of them?"

"Yes, number 11 is confined in this facility, as well," Dr. White said. "But he won't talk to anyone but Halaein, not even me."

"So he is trouble for you?"

"Oh, no, of course not. He keeps to himself, minds his own business and stays out of the way. It's like he's not even there."

"Do you ever see him?"

"I watch both him and Halaein on the security cameras, of course. They converse quietly in their room at night and whenever Halaein is free. But number 11 tends to stay in the southern wing of the facility; I do not see him often."

"What is his name?"

"Raeklah."

"Tell me, Halaein," the man started, making Halaein look up at him. "Are you and Raeklah close?"

Halaein glanced at the doctor, who nodded. "Yes, sir, he was the member who made an attempt to take care of me."

"So you were neglected by the other members?"

"They did treat me coldly at times, but human neglect and Destroyer neglect are different things. I would not say they neglected me, they were at times kind toward me."

"But they were unkind, in general?"

Halaein paused for a moment. "Yes, they were sometimes, sir."

"I see. Is that what compelled you to turn against them?"

"I am only doing what I believe is best for the group all together."

"Ah," the man said. Halaein looked back to the floor, falling silent once again. "Daniel, would it be possible for me to meet Raeklah?"

"Well, I suppose you could see him, but he probably will not talk to you," Dr. White replied.

"That will do. I just want to see what he looks like."

"Well, before we get to that, I do think we should get introductions complete. We are only halfway done. Halaein, come," Dr. White said, waving Halaein over to his desk. He obeyed quietly. "This is Mr. Johnson, an important government official. You will be traveling with him as you capture your brothers. He will give you support, weapons, shelter, and medical attention, should you need it."

Halaein looked at him.

"It's finally time, son," Mr. Johnson said, folding his hands in his lap and leaning back in the chair. "We'll be departing soon, which is one of the reasons why I want to meet this Raeklah. This way, you have a chance to say goodbye before we leave." Halaein looked down, thinking. "Do you think you're ready?"

"My brothers are all older and stronger than me. I'm not sure I'll be able to take them down quickly, even if I had trained longer." Mr. Johnson shrugged and stood from his chair.

"Let's go," he said. Dr. White nodded and also stood, followed by Mr. Johnson's wife, who was staring at Halaein. Dr. White leads Halaein and the Johnsons out the door and into the hallway, where they proceeded to the left toward the southern wing of the facility. Mr. Johnson looked to Halaein as they walked. "So what is your power, Halaein?"

"Lightning."

"How strong is your lightning?"

"It depends on what you view as strong," Halaein replied. Mr. Johnson nodded.

"Could you kill someone using it?"

"Easily."

"I see."

"He is also extremely skilled with bullet evasion," Dr. White commented, looking at Mr. Johnson. "Due to being a Destroyer, he has enhanced speed and hearing, and is able to evade a barrage of bullets with ease. It's quite amazing to watch."

"Is that so? Interesting…"

The group, followed by soldiers, turned down a hallway, eventually reaching the southern wing. They walked for a minute, and then saw Raeklah walking down the hallway.

"Number 11, I presume?" Mr. Johnson called. Raeklah turned around and looked at him, silent.

"That's Raeklah," Dr. White said.

"It's nice to meet you, Raeklah," Mr. Johnson said, walking up to him. Raeklah just stared. "I'm Mr. Johnson; I'll be transporting Halaein to the location of your brothers to retrieve them in a few hours."

Raeklah's expressionless face quickly changed to what appeared to be anger. He turned and walked away from Mr. Johnson. Halaein quickly ran after him, catching up to him and stopping him by placing a hand on his shoulder. He leaned over and whispered something into his ear, looked back at Mr. Johnson, then looked back to Raeklah. Raeklah whispered something back, then put his arm around Halaein's shoulders and walked with him down the hallway, turning the corner and out of sight. Mr. Johnson looked to Dr. White.

"Raeklah doesn't want Halaein to leave. He's worried he'll get hurt," Dr. White explained, crossing his arms. "That's one of the only things he's said to me in the past five years."

"I feel kind of bad about taking him away, now," Mr. Johnson said.

"Why?"

"Because I personally believe Destroyers to be a type of human, and I respect human emotions and feelings, Daniel," Mr. Johnson replied. "If Halaein gets hurt fighting his brothers, I will feel terrible to have put him in the situation."

"You're a strange man," Dr. White said with a smile.

"I do get that a lot. But, human or not human, they were created in the image of humans. Thus they should be treated as so, I believe."

"I haven't thought of it that way. Halaein has so many amazing abilities, it's hard to picture that he's human."

"I understand that. He may be dangerous and have characteristics of something inhuman, but have you ever talked to him heart-to-heart?"

"I don't think he trusts me enough to do that," Dr. White said. "Only Raeklah can do that. And only Halaein can talk to Raeklah. I don't know much at all about the Destroyers, come to think of it. I don't know anything about how they got here, or even what they plan to do. But I do know when they plan to do it. But that's about it."

"You know when the end of the world is?"

"I suppose so. Raja, number 1 as well as the oldest and leader, told me it was sometime during 2012. While I do not know a specific date, I'm able to make a close guess. I notified the government of his statement, and they replied saying that starting at midnight on January 1st of 2012, they would have the entirety of their forces watching for any disturbance. Our troops will be called back from all other countries to the U.S., to maximize the protection."

"Ah, I see. So, three days from now things are going to get a lot more serious, then, Daniel?"

"Yes, sir."

"Tell me, have you met any of the Saviors?"

"No, sir. They still have yet to present themselves."

"The Destroyers shall come forth first, soon followed by the Saviors. Engaging in a great battle, the two will fight for the right to decide the planet's fate." Mr. Johnson said, remembering words spoken to him by his grandmother many years before. "That's the legend."

"Yes, I'm well aware of the legend. I have researched it for years preparing myself to deal with the Destroyers, and what to expect. Then, when they were finally captured, they weren't what I expected them to be. So, I had to adapt and change my beliefs, according to what they said."

"And what did they say, Daniel?"

"Perhaps we should return to my office. I can answer your questions in there, in private. Not everyone in this facility can be trusted, I'm afraid."

Mr. Johnson nodded and followed behind Dr. White as he led him back towards the white room, his office. Once they reached it, he waved the soldiers away, letting Mr. and Mrs. Johnson step inside. He sat back down at his desk and folded his arms, Mr. Johnson crossing his legs and sitting back, his wife quiet with her hands folded in her lap.

"What was your question again?"

"What did the other Destroyers say that made you change your beliefs about them?"

"Ah. Well, it started with number 4. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 were cold, as I had expected. But number 4 was different. 4's power was light, and when I asked him what he thought about the world, he said it was sacred, and that threw me off a bit. Compared to what the first three had said, he sounded like he wanted to protect it. The Destroyers after him had similar stories, that the world was something to be loved and it was sacred and filled with amazing things. They all had traits and personalities that confused me. I went back and re-read the legend, trying to figure it out, but even after that nothing about them made sense."

"Yet the first three fit the original legend?"

"Yes. I found an extended version of the legend that gave more in-depth details about the Destroyers. It said they would come forth in a group of 13 evil men who hated the world and everything about it. I expected them to be more like that when I met them. At first it seemed right. I didn't talk to them before they got powers, so I didn't know they were so different until I evaluated them. The first 3, as I said, seemed evil and fit the profile, but after 4, I was just confused."

"Did the extended legend say anything of the Saviors?"

"Yes, it said they would also come forward in a group of 13, the exact opposites of the Destroyers. Some alternate legends, such as those of different religions, claimed they would arise as women, but the original claims them to be men. It said they would be pure young men with great outlooks on life, who would argue it was worth saving. I originally expected that when I would meet them they would be like this, but after seeing the Destroyers be different than the legend described them, I wonder if the Saviors will be different as well."

"After listening to you, I suppose that's a rational concern to have. If the Destroyers have positive outlooks on like, what if the Saviors have negative outlooks?"

"My point exactly."

"Change of topic. Tell me about the other Destroyers. Names and powers, if you please. I'd like to know what I'm dealing with."

Dr. White nodded and pressed a button on his desk. The projector on the ceiling displayed a picture on the white wall, the lights automatically turning off. On the picture was a picture of a man, still fairly young. He had an expressionless face that hinted at some negative emotion, though Mr. Johnson couldn't quite pinpoint it.

"This is Raja. He is currently 34 years old, the leader, and has the power of Creation. Generally, he can create anything with his mind, and it stays there until he dismisses it personally. It can't be destroyed, no matter what you do to it, until he destroys it himself. This was how we captured Halaein when they all escaped. He was getting his powers and the lightning was leaving a trail. My lead scientist said that when she arrived there in a jeep he was chained to the ground. That chain later dissolved into thin air," Dr. White explained, looking at the picture of Raja on the wall. After a few seconds, the doctor pushed a button on his desk, and the picture changed to the number 2.

"This is Kallaeii, number 2. He is currently 33 years old, his power is Earth. He can break large pieces of earth away and control them, levitating them and making them go where he wishes." He pushed the button.

"This is Jallan. He's currently 32 years old, and his power is wind. He can create larges tornados and gusts of wind, other things of the sort." The picture changed. "This is Rapailla. He's also 32 years old and his power is light, as I told you. He was the first one to give a positive outlook on the world. He seemed too gentle to be a Destroyer when I was talking to him." Again it changed. "This is Ulua. He's 29 years old with the power of water. He can lift water into the air, make shapes and weapons, control it as he wishes."

He pressed the button again, doing so after each picture.

"This is Yakul. He is 28 years old with the power of…well, power. Strength. He could crush things with little attempt. He caused pain to a few guards during their escape by crushing their bones with his hands."

"This is Bahal. He's 27 years old with the power of metal. He can bend metal like paper, similar to Yakul's strength ability. So, we were forced to separate him from the others and keep him in a plastic room so he couldn't bend through the walls and escape."

"This is Daranda, he's 25 years old with the power of illusion. He can create illusions and simulations of past experiences, fictional events, so on and so forth."

"This is Gahaed, he's 24 years old with the power of darkness. He can kill any source of light, as well as manipulate people's bodies using their shadows."

"This is Ixixi, he's 23 years old with the power of ice. He can freeze any source of water. He could freeze blood, as he demonstrated on a guard, as well as freeze the outside of a human body using water in the air around them."

"This is Raeklah, but you already know that. He's 21 years old with the power of fire. He demonstrated this well during their escape when he created a huge magnificent fire wall to give Halaein time to escape with the others. This was also when he was captured. He melted through the metal bars of his cell once, so we were forced to contain him in a sealed room with limited oxygen so he couldn't start any big fires."

"This is Mada, he's 19 years old with the power of time. He can freeze time, rewind time, and speed up time. Luckily, he hadn't mastered his powers very well before their escape, so he didn't have a chance to use it on us. However, he is probably much better at it, which is why we must be concerned. If they are going to destroy the world, they may use his power to speed up time so it comes faster."

"And last but not least, Halaein. He's 16 years old, the youngest, with the power of lightning. He can create huge lightning bolts and manipulate electricity to his liking, including the control of electronics and other things of the sort. During his five year training period, one of his exercises was shutting down the entire facility, which he did with ease. It's quite amazing. And those, Mr. Johnson, are the Destroyers."

"It is most interesting to see all of these men. Once again, I was always told they would be much older than this."

"I also did not expect them to be so young, either. The Destroyers are just full of surprises," Dr. White commented, hitting the button on his desk again, the projector shutting off and the lights coming back on. "It was quite the surprise."

"So, which one will we be capturing first?" Mr. Johnson asked.

"Whoever Halaein says is closest. We can't be sure. If they're all together, there's no way to tell who he will target first. Halaein functions on his own and doesn't like to listen."

"Well, that's good to know..." Mr. Johnson said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. Dr. White chuckled.

"Well, I guess that wasn't a true statement. He'll listen to what you say, but whether or not he carries it out is a different story. If he thinks there's a better way, you can forget about that you said to do," he said laughing. "He has a mind of his own."

"Well, he's not a machine."

"I know. What I meant was he's very independent," he said. "He does what he wants, when he wants, and listens when he wants to."

"Well, that's helpful. Then again, I wouldn't expect much different from a 16 year-old in a cruel world whose hated by almost every living, breathing thing."

"Very good point. Again, something I didn't think of. I've never had any kids, so I'm not very good with teenagers, I suppose."

"Me either," Mr. Johnson said, casting a glance to his wife. "But we would like to have one."

"So, when are you planning on leaving?"

"I, personally would like to leave as soon as possible, but I don't want to rush Halaein, I want him to trust me," Mr. Johnson replied.

"Ha. Good luck on getting that to work," Dr. White said, laughing. "He doesn't trust anyone here except Raeklah."

"I don't blame him. Being watched so closely, you don't really know who to trust in a facility like this."

"I have tried to convince him to trust me; I have been working for him for five years, after all, but he won't tell me anything. He's just like a robot. You don't see emotions unless he's with Raeklah."

"That's because Raeklah understands him, I think," Mr. Johnson said, rubbing his chin. "Since they're both going through the same ordeal, they understand each other. That and they're brothers."

"That probably helps," Dr. White said, chuckling.

"Speaking of which," Mr. Johnson started. "Will he be okay fighting his brothers?"

"Well…"

"No?"

"It's not that, it's just…they're all older and probably much stronger than him. Not only that, but they'll probably say hurtful things to him to try to get to him. Plus, if they're all together, one Destroyer against eleven older and more powerful Destroyers probably won't work out too well."

"Should I send in reinforcements to help him?"

"Not at first. Let him confront his brothers. But then, if he needs it, send in help. In fact, I think you should let him be the one in charge of that."

"He tells me when to send them?"

"Yes. Do you agree?"

"I do suppose I could do that. In the battle to win trust, I think that would help."

"Haha, don't try too hard to win his trust. Don't give him too much authority."

"I won't. I know how much to give him and how much to set against him."

"Just warning you. He is a Destroyer, after all."

Mr. Johnson stood from his chair, straightening his suit.

"Well, then…I think I'm ready to go. As much as I hate to separate Halaein and Raeklah, we have to make haste."