Warning: if you haven't re-read the last four chapters (edited and replaced on the 18th, I think) you might be missing a few scenes and some changes that I made. Sorry for the trouble, but I feel that the flow is much better now.

Well, anyways! I hope that you enjoy the new chapter!


Chapter Five

Airianna Grier found herself sighing again in her office. She wondered from the moment she'd given Arrio his instructions, whether it was the right move. She knew well enough which two people he would choose to bring with him. He'd choose the two that would cause the least conflict with those he didn't. He'd choose the two that would have to go no matter what. The girl's friend. The girl's brother. And before she ever told him to go, she knew that there was no way that Arrio would refuse the mission. He had family, too. Family that he missed. He knew that the first place Robins would go to was another place for people like them. Like the place his closest family member was at. He wanted to see that person so badly that Airianna knew that she couldn't deny him in this situation. Maybe that was why she did give him that mission.

But she could lose four of them, like this. She'd already lost five, each of them brilliant and strong. Each of them trusted. All simply gone. But there was more than one type of gone. The first had been a healer. He'd simply seemed to have been pushed from the balcony of his bedroom. A mundane way to leave. The second had been murdered while on a mission with Robins' apprentice. His had been a brutal death in a holy place. The next, the apprentice. She simply vanished with all of her belongings, like she'd never been there at all. The fourth died in a fire, on another mission. It was determined to be arson. Someone had set that fire and they were still searching through all the charred remains. Others had died, as well. The fifth was their youngest member. She was found dismembered the other morning. At this point, she could no longer say that their deaths had been random.

She didn't suspect the apprentice. She trusted the girl. Instead, she worried that someone had taken her, and made it seem like she left of her own accord. Then again, maybe she had made the smart move. She left, and maybe, just maybe, she was alive somewhere. Maybe she went back to her old life, like she'd never sought out the Alternatives.

~~.~~

Arrio led the trio. Occasionally, Adolf and Hades shot snide comments to each other. But these last few days, that had hardly been unusual. A few times, Hades even asked why Adolf had agreed to go with them, even though he never really like Robins. Then Adolf more or less asked the same question.

"What are you talking about? I've always respected him. Why wouldn't I go?" Hades replied, seeming thoroughly confused to have his own question thrown at him.

Arrio shook his head at the duo, "I see that you have no questions as to why I'm the one leading us. Or as to where we're going." He chuckled, "Its not as though Robins left us any clues this whole time we've been walking. He didn't even take a car to spare our feet."

"Frankly," Adolf began, "You're the only one of us three that drives. So he might have spared our lives. No offense. And anyway, its just because you're one of the people that knows him best, correct?" He didn't seem to have put much thought into what he'd said.

"No, actually. Airia and I both know that's not why. That's not why at all..." He paused, glancing off toward the river they seemed to be following. "You could say that there's someone we might run into. Someone I just might happen to know. At the place we're going to." He said.

"What place?" Hades had been the one to ask.

"Another place for people like us. You could call it a school, of sorts." Arrio supposed.

"No." Adolf grimaced, "No. She's not there. Why would she go there? That place is full of fools." Now he, too, looked towards the river. A few dragonflies zoomed about.

"Not fools, but people she could deceive. Let them think that she knows as little as them. Blend in, maybe. The person I know, the one we might run into, she's no fool. Its a good place for people like us to hide. You can hide a black sheep among white, as long as there's enough of 'em." Arrio explained.

"There he goes again. Making comparisons to animals, that don't make sense." Hades mumbled.

"I'm just saying," Arrio shot him a frustrated look, "That even if she's a bit different, there's enough of those people for her to hide among. It'll be easy." He said.

"But what if the target is all of us?" Adolf questioned, "What if it isn't just our group? What if its everyone with a gift, Arrio?" After a pause, he answered his own question. "Then no one would be safe."

"Then we better stop lagging."

~~.~~

Robins collapsed by a bus stop sign, dirtying his suit even more. There was an old bench maybe two feet away, but his muscles were now too worn out to make the effort after hours of fast travel by foot. He'd left in a hurry, not thinking to take a car until he'd already been traveling for an hour and his head had cooled off a bit. Even then, he'd felt that it would take less for him to push onward than turn back for a car. Either way, he'd find himself at the same bus stop. Waiting.

He ran a hand over his face. It felt rough, maybe not only from being unshaven. Perhaps he should have washed his face before leaving. Then again, maybe it was just all that stress he'd suffered though in the recent months. He felt older, more tired.

It was getting dark, and he doubted that the bus would be coming on an evening like this. He looked around at his surroundings, but there was nothing but a lonely road and a tranquil river that stretched into the distances. After a while, he found himself moving to the bench and removed his jacket to use as a blanket as he laid on the cold wood. As he drifted off into sleep, he wondered how his life had sunk so low.

In his dreams, she'd been so close. Close enough to touch, but he never reached out. If he did, he feared that her image would dissolve like in the movies. He would wake and remember a time when he'd held her close. A time when they'd laughed together, a time when she'd cried on his shoulder. But tragedy struck and tore everyone apart. Tragedy struck, and she'd gone. Without a word, she just wasn't there anymore. He waited a few days, but she didn't return. He waited, and he didn't even hear news of her death. -Nor news that she was alive. And her mother offered no clues. Nor did her brother, and if he did know something, he'd be an easy read. None of them knew a thing. She was just so gone.


I hope you enjoyed! I know that its mostly narratives in this chapter, but I had fun writing it.

And to my lovely cousin, happy birthday~! I hope that you liked Arrio! Haha.

Now, off to try to finish another chapter of something...

MitsukiNori