Author's note: Hey there all you Rainbow Cloud Believers! XD First things first, I want to give a HUGE thanks to one of my best friends, 'Field Empathy', who helped me write a large portion of this chapter. We were working on this chapter for quite a bit on Google Docs (since I know her IRL).
Field Empathy: I didn't do that much...
Me: Well, you started helping me out when I was already halfway through, so I'd say you did...
Field Empathy: It's still mostly RCA's idea, story, and writing style, people. I'm just a tactician.
Me: And by that you mean...?
Field Empathy: I helped keep your thoughts in order and guided you on which direction to take the story. And I made a few supporting characters. That's all.
Me: Well, I had the idea for Death, you just filled in the missing details.
Field Empathy: I was talking about my two! But anyway, let's leave them to read the story, this author's note is getting a little extensive...
Me: Yeah... It kinda is...
On with the story!
October 18, 2012
3:21 p.m. PST
It was warm for a day in the middle of October as I'm walking home; but hey, who said I was ever complaining. Dani and me had already parted ways, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to be alone for very long. This feeling, of course, is proven to be correct when some random guy brushes past me, dropping an envelope as he does. "Hey!" I yell to him, but he completely ignores me. "You dropped something!" He just keeps walking and disappears around the corner. I bend over and pick up the letter, fully intending to run after him and give it back, until I see who it's addressed to; it's addressed to me. I slowly open it, cautious of what might be inside, and find a letter. I quickly read it a few times, then I continue walking home, muttering to myself, "If dad wants to see me so badly; then see me, he shall."
October 18, 2012
11:58 p.m. PST
Somewhere just outside of Rossville, Washington
I stand outside of the old abandoned headquarters that dad used to use, in costume of course. This building was abandoned before I was born, but it's still used for weapons storage and for the training of new assassins. I, myself, was trained here, (as was Griffin); but I never expected dad to want to meet here, of all places.
The building is exactly how I remembered it; the exterior still disguised as an old warehouse, while the interior is probably still one of the best training facilities for assassins the world could ever know. I start taking cautious steps towards the entrance, keeping my eyes peeled for anything out of place. That out of place thing comes in the form of a strike of lightning right before me, combined with the crack of thunder that will always send shivers down my spine. I whip out my bow and aim it towards a bush that's behind me. "Thunder, I know it was you. So just step out of the bushes, and you won't get hurt." I threaten darkly.
"C'mon Sammie, you wouldn't hurt wittle 'ol me… would you?" The villain asks as she steps out into the light, or should I say lack thereof.
"My name isn't Samantha anymore and you know it. And also, you aren't exactly little or old, and I would hurt you if you tried to bring harm to me, which you did just now." I start taking steps towards her.
"Hey, your father told me to do it. He said he thought you'd rather have an old friend bring you back into the sanctum than one of the newbies." She explains, holding her hands up in mock surrender. "By the way, I really like the new look. It's so, what do you call it, Archer-y." I send her a hard glare and she shuts up.
I guess if I had a best friend growing up, it would have to be Thunder. We were trained together, even though she was a few years older than me, and would often get sent on missions together so we bonded… I guess? I still don't know her real name, but I don't really care. She's a few inches taller than me standing at about five foot eight inches. Her hair's curlier than mine too, but only just passing her chin, and lighter than mine by a few shades. Her skin's darker than mine by just a few shades too, and you could tell that she has African descendants. What is especially weird are her eyes, they look almost like liquid gold.
I eventually lower my bow and let her lead me into the sanctum. Thankfully, the interior is just the way I remember it as well so I can't get lost. We stop when we arrive at the door of my father's old office, the place where he said he used to give out missions. I cautiously open the door and the air almost immediately starts to fill with my father's sadistic cackles. I step in and close the door without turning around so I can't be caught off guard. I see him sitting at his desk and just seeing him again makes me mentally cringe. What am I doing here? Why couldn't I have just ignored the letter? He stands up as I move to the center of the room, and begins to walk circles around me.
"Welcome back, Sammie. It's good to see you again. How have you been? I hear your new parents just adore you! … Am I right?" He asks, every now and then leaning in closer to get in my face or wandering away some, almost as though he's pondering something, currently right up in my face with a sadistic smile.
What he's doing feels like a test, except he's not looking for answers. He wants to see how I react. If I flinch even a little, he'll learn something from it.
I keep my face devoid from as much emotion as I can, but decide to answer him just for his entertainment. "Nice to see you too, Dad." I say with as much sarcasm as I can muster. I don't even bother bringing up the fact that he called me Sammie.
"Ah, sarcasm!" He sighs as he wanders off to the side again. "Such an interesting thing for one to use. Some people don't understand it at all, while other's can detect even the smallest amount of it. I, myself, happen to be the latter part of the equation thanks to all my years of training. However, you never used to use sarcasm before." Dang it! "You always used to just say outright what you were thinking instead of all those snarky responses you seem to have now. But that isn't the point of the matter now is it? Besides, your new family never even legally adopted you, so I still have legal control over you. You're brother on the other hand, he's free. As a bird!" He's standing near his desk now and mentally sends everything on the desk towards one of the walls with a loud crash. I only flinch slightly from the sound and immediately regain my composure. "Now tell me, how does that make you feel, the fact that I am still in control of you?" I stay silent. "So you're giving me the silent treatment, I see… How about we try something different? What can you tell me about the other heroes?" I give him a skeptical glance and his smirk widens. "What? You thought I wouldn't find out about your association with them? Or are you wondering why I'm asking you about them?" My skeptical glance turns into a pointed glare that easily says; 'What do you think?' "Why do you think I'm asking? Let me guess, you probably think I want to use you as a spy to get inside information about the heroes, right? Actually, I just want to make sure that they aren't hurting my precious daughter. They aren't, are they?" I look him straight in the eyes and I can't help but notice that he's actually telling the truth, that he's worried about me. I sigh, lowering my head solemnly, and slightly shake my head. He's suddenly standing right next to me as he swings an arm around my shoulders. "That's good to hear, you're free to go now. Thunder will be showing you out." He uses his arm to guide me to the door as he opens it with his mind before forcefully pushing me out and slamming the door behind me.
"Well that went differently from what I expected." A voice says as I come out the door, slightly stumbling. "I would have thought that he would be testing you to see if you still remember all the things he taught you." I turn to the side and see Thunder leaning against the wall just outside the door.
"That's what I would have thought too, but Hunter Sr. was known for his extreme unpredictability." I respond dryly, turning in the opposite direction and walking back the way we came. Thunder quickly catches up and soon falls in step with me. We walk through the old building, the only sounds coming from our footsteps. I can tell that Thunder is getting impatient since she never really liked silence. Silence actually seems to scare her. Her power, being control over thunder and lightning, also happens to be my weakness. So she knows it is probably a bad idea to summon thunder just for the purpose of ending the awkward silence that currently surrounds us.
"So…" Thunder says, dragging out the word as though to make more noise than necessary. "What's it like on the other side… you know, with the heroes?" I stop walking. Thunder continues to take a few steps before turning around to face me. "…Well? Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to answer my question?"
"I'm going to answer your question, I just want to figure out how to first." I explain quietly, looking down at my feet. How am I supposed to answer a question like that? I haven't even been a hero for that long and they expect me to know every aspect of the life! I look back up at her once I think I have a suitable answer. "It's... different."
"Different... how, exactly?"
"I don't really know; I mean, I haven't been a hero for that long so you can't expect me to come up with a good answer right now."
"You make a valid point, but describe it to me as best you can."
I give Thunder a skeptical look after hearing her request. "Why?" I ask, dragging the question out to put emphasis on the fact that I'm confused.
"I don't know, just humor me." She replies with a shrug.
I sigh, figuring it's probably best to just humor her so she doesn't end up trying to pry it out of me during a battle. "What we do is similar... I guess, but we have a different purpose and we actually have good morals. You still get the same adrenaline, but we don't kill to complete the mission and we help people instead of hurt them. I don't know if I've gone soft, or maybe I have more of my mom in me than I thought I did."
"Woah..." Thunder says, interrupting my thought process.
"It's just... wow... I never thought that someone like you could do a small monologue like the ones you see in those really stupid motivational type movies that are supposed to make you cry." A sly grin spreads across her face.
"Shut up." I mutter, glaring at her.
She brings her hands up in mock surrender and starts walking again. "I was just kidding. But anyway, for some reason, the hero gig actually doesn't sound as bad as the other villains make it out to be. Probably because they're in too deep, I don't know, but you seem happy being a hero so I won't try to convert you back... yet."
"So... what? You think we're still friends? Cause I don't know what the other heroes would think if they knew that." We stop walking again and Thunder smirks at me.
"I don't know, but you shouldn't care what they think."
"Actually, I probably should since they might think I'm a spy if I stay friends with you. But if you ever switch sides, I'll help you get started."
"Look, it's not that I'm not tempted to, because I am, but I'm not important enough to your father to not get targeted by one of The Four Elements. So I think I'll stick with where I am."
I nod and we start walking again. We eventually reach the door and Thunder closes it once I'm out. I sigh and begin walking home.
October 19, 2012
2:04 a.m. PST
It takes me about two hours, but I finally arrive home and walk drowsily to the back of the house. Entering through the window, I lazily morph my costume into my pajamas and collapse onto my bed, but I can't fall asleep. Since it's technically Friday, the talent show is tomorrow and I can't help but wonder who will be there to watch. Maybe Griffin will come and see me? But then again, maybe Dad will finally get The Four Elements to assassinate me during the middle of my performance, being the crazy psycho of a father he is. He'd probably prefer to have me killed in the middle of a performance so he could watch the audience scream in horror.
I finally succumb to the night... or day, but only after two hours of staring at the ceiling.
October 19, 2012
5:26 p.m. PST
I can't believe I haven't fallen asleep yet. I would have thought that maybe I'd have just dropped to the ground by now, but apparently not.
I'm practicing the song that I'm performing for the talent show in my room, listening as the music resounds off the walls. But as I'm playing, I find myself glaring at my violin on the other side of the room. It technically never did anything to me, since it's an inanimate object, but I still feel some hatred towards the instrument. I wonder what life would be like if I had a 'normal' family... I probably wouldn't have the scar on my face, or even the ones on my fingers. My mother would be alive and my father wouldn't be evil. I wouldn't be getting abused either. But I would have never met Alecia, John, or Richard (though I couldn't care less about him); nor would I have ever become a hero. Plus, I wouldn't be a sorceress. I weigh the odds in my head and for some reason, I don't want to have what's considered a 'normal' life. Maybe I really am getting soft, but I honestly don't care. I look over at the chest in the corner of my room where I keep my hero stuff, and sense some strange sort of magic radiating from somewhere in the city. I quickly morph into my costume and allow my hair to move into a french braid as I run over to my chest to grab my equipment. I collapse my bow and attach it to the back of my belt before I grab the straps of my quiver and drape them over my shoulders, making sure that they're secure.
Pausing to listen for any sign that my foster parents might be looking for me, I slip out of the window, and I sneak through the woods and down to the outskirts of the city, running to the alley where The Archer is said to have died. I stop running, carelessly climbing my way down the side of fire escape. As I descend, a shadowy figure makes itself known. I step forward, nocking an arrow and approaching slowly.
"Hello?" I call into the shadows, my magic senses going nuts. "Show yourself!"
A woman steps out, wearing a dove-grey dress and a black hooded cape.
At first, I think it may be my mother's ghost, because that's the only thing that could explain the strange magical energy radiating from that spot.
She steps closer, and her face comes into focus.
The lady I see is not my mother. Her face is too thin, her mouth too small, her hair too black.
"Do you know where I am?" Her voice is too harsh, too cynical.
"You're in an alleyway in the outskirts of Rossville, Washington." I respond slowly, figuring that it can't hurt to give her just that much.
"Why did he send me here? I don't get it." she mutters, confused.
"Wait, who's 'he'?" I ask, suspicious of who this woman might be.
"Do you think I'd say, even if I knew who the hell he was?" She bit back venomously. "All I know for certain is that the people on this list are supposed to have died by now, and it's my job to find them." She brandishes an eerie looking scroll. "How I'm supposed to dothat, I don't know." She unrolls the scroll, a length of yellowed paper with names scrawled on it in a disorderly fashion, her fingers ghosting across the text.
I finally notice her eyes... or rather, the lack of them. There's no iris, no white part, nothing except absolute blackness, like the black hole kind. The weird feeling intensifies, and my hands begin to tremble from holding the bowstring taught.
"Can you see?" the question slips out of my mouth before I even realize what I'm saying.
Her scowl intensifies and she glares at me. "No, I mean I can read this, but no, I can't see you. It was part of the contract."
My knees buckle under her stare and my arrow slips out of my grasp. Her pale lips curl into a smirk. "I might not be able to see you, kid, but I know you're there, and I know you're scared. Don't think you can double-cross me just because I'm blind. The man who gave me my powers brought me back from the dead, and don't think for a minute that I'm not capable of killing you."
"I'm really sorry, but you're not alive." I state bluntly.
"I can sense that you're not alive. You're also fairly transparent."
"But I feel alive!"
"Try to hold your breath, or feel your heartbeat. You won't be able to." I explain, some of my attitude weaving its way back into my voice. My expression then softens slightly. "I can tell you have powers, though."
My reassurance doesn't seem to make her feel any better. She lashes out at me, managing to hit my arm and grabbing onto it. She's not strong, no more than an ordinary human, but I immediately feel pain and weakness set in. I yell and twist my arm away, trying to escape from her cold hand.
"Is that how you do it?" she murmurs to herself. She reaches out again. I spin away, grabbing at the fire escape and start pulling myself up. The woman disappears, and then re-forms right behind me, grabbing a hold of my shoulder and squeezing it. I cry out as my grip fails, leaving me to fall flat on my back. The woman kneels clumsily, placing her hand on my stomach. "I'm not going to kill you tonight. Your death isn't part of the contract. You're not on the list. But try to stop me from completing my tasks, and I will kill you, just as easily as I hurt you."
"Get away!" Someone yells.
With a huge amount of effort, I turn my head to the side and see Speedster. My mind flashes back to the time he saved me from my dad just a few years ago. "Tell me..." I say, turning back to the ghost, "What did your name use to be?"
"Let's wait for me to have a new body before we properly introduce ourselves." There's a rush of wind, followed by a growl of annoyance and a gasp of pain. "After my contract runs out." She decides, kneeling next to me and locking her blind stare with my pained gaze. "For now, just call me Death." Her eyes seem to turn a pure white, as I find myself falling into their seemingly endless depths.
October 19, 2012
9:14 p.m. PST
I briefly regain consciousness, and I can tell that I'm moving fast. Much faster than should be possible, and I can't even think with all the noise from the wind going past my ears. All I know is that someone's carrying me, and it feels nice… I guess. I curl into the embrace, trying to open my eyes, which feel like lead. All I can manage is a brief flutter, but from that I can slightly make out the silhouette of Speedster carrying me. "I'm tired." I mutter and immediately feel the arms that are carrying me tense up.
"Hey! C'mon, stay with me!" I hear Speedster's voice plead frantically. Speedster, of all people, saved me? That doesn't make any sense.
"Why?" I ask lazily, not wanting to take the effort to be any more specific.
"You almost died! I thought you were dead!" He practically screams, his voice cracking. I almost laugh at the way he's acting, but I can tell that something's bothering him, so I decide to be nice to him... but for this time only.
"I meant, why did you save me?"
His arms tighten around me, even if just a little bit, but still enough for me to notice. "You... remind me of a friend, and I honestly don't know what I'd do if she died..." he trails off. "I'm not sure, okay?" In the back of my exhausted mind, which is starting to realize how much everything hurts, I notice that he kinda sounds like... Richard. I look up at him again and try to look for something about his appearance that can help me identify if my mind is telling me the truth. I see him looking ahead with an impressive amount determination in his blue-green eyes; but I also see something else, not exactly sure what the other thing I see is though. Probably because I'm in such a weak state right now. I start wondering where he's taking me and why he's taking so long to get there, even with his super speed. He's probably going slower than usual so that I don't experience whiplash or something.
I open my mouth to say something, but my mind starts to cloud over again and I hear Speedster shouting something at me, but my mind's in too deep to know what the hell he's saying.
October 19, 2012
11:52 p.m. PST
About a mile outside of Rossville, Washington
The first thing I notice is that I'm lying on a mattress. The second thing I notice is three voices, two adults and Speedster.
"What happened, Richard?"
"I really don't know. There was this ghost lady, and she grabbed her, and the she just kind of passed out, and I thought she was dead, and I kind of freaked out so I brought her here." Speedster sounds like he's talking to his hands.
I want to point out that Death had hurt him too, but figure that this opportunity for gathering information is too good to pass up. I decide that it's probably best to just pretend that I'm asleep and wait for the right moment to 'wake up'.
"You know you aren't allowed to bring outsiders here. She could very well be a double agent." The older man says, and I can tell just from the authoritative tone in his voice that he must be one of the adult heroes. Maybe even Speedster's mentor? Wait a minute. The adult hero, or whoever he is, called Speedster 'Richard'. I continue listening, trying to keep my breathing regular and watching them through my mind's eye, pretty much the only magic I feel strong enough to pull off right now. That, my mental firewall, and the spell keeping the scar on my face invisible. "Besides, how much do you even know about her?"
"I know some." Speedster declares, taking a defensive stance.
"She's an archer, and as far as we know, she may also be the daughter of The Archer. She's on our side, and she completely knows what she's doing." Richard explains, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Would she, by any chance, happen to be the same girl you've been ranting about constantly, for several years?
"That's insane! The...Teen Archer is not Owen!"
"I don't know." The adult voice muses, sounding suspicious. "From your descriptions of both, they're one and the same."
"Sorry, but I don't even think Owen's held a bow before in her life, except maybe one for the violin, or even the cello. So there's just no way they could be the same person. Owen goes to this school for music, where sports like archery are practically non-existent. What makes you think they're the same person?"
"They seem to be the only two females that manage to get you so worked up over nothing." There's a hint of friendly teasing in the man's voice. Richard's face almost immediately turns scarlet at the man's assumption. It takes all the willpower I have left to not laugh.
"You aren't suggesting what I think you are... right?" Richard asks worriedly.
"Not at all" The man drawls sarcastically, flashing a knowing grin at Richard. His face grows even more scarlet, if that's even possible. This is kinda starting to get awkward...
With a sigh, I decide to open my eyes, squinting at the harsh light directly above me. The nearly imperceptible movement alerts Speedster (or Richard, whichever), and he runs over to me.
"Are you okay?"
I yawn, turning to face him and carefully sitting up. "I could ask the same of you, Speedster. I know you got grabbed by her."
"Speedster..." the man walks up to us, crossing his arms over his chest, and giving Speedster a pointed look. "You should have told me you got hurt."
"It wasn't that bad!" Speedster protests, shrinking slightly underneath his mentor's gaze.
"I passed out. I never pass out." I snap, not bothering to even think about why I'm upset, letting my face fall to my hands. "You got grabbed by Death, too, and then I'm assuming you carried me here. So I'm seriously doubting that you're completely fine."
"I'm just a little tired, is all." He mutters.
"Then eat something. Now." His mentor's voice doesn't leave room for argument. "Then go home and go to bed. We can't have you passing out anytime soon." Speedster glares at him for about a second before flashing out of the room, leaving me alone with his mentor.
"You know he likes you, right?"
"Usually I'm hearing this from my friends..." I mutter in annoyance, then suddenly realize my mistake. I groan, stretching and staring at my feet.
"How long were you awake?" He asks, scrutinizing at me. I continue to stare at my feet, trying to figure out how to say that I heard him call Speedster by name.
"I may or may not have heard you call Speedster by his name." I say casually, playing with the edge of my tank top.
He just sighs. "Well, this complicates things. I wish it could have been a little longer than this, because frankly, I just don't know if we can trust you."
Past memories come flooding back. "I hope I can trust you, too."
"So I was right about your identity then?" The man smiles in spite of himself, and I notice that his eyes are the same blue-green as Richard's.
"You're his father... aren't you?" I ask before I can stop myself.
The man sighs again. That's really starting to get annoying. "Yes, and while we're on the subject, if you ever hurt my son, most of my friends are superheroes who are more than willing to protect him."
"I would never-!" I shout indignantly, before catching myself. "What makes you think I would do anything like that?"
"I'm just kidding with you, don't worry. You're obviously on our side." he smiles in a kind of understanding way that I only ever saw from my mom.
"Do you want to know my identity now, or... what?" I ask, apprehensive of what Richard's dad... Who also happens to be a superhero, along with Richard himself... was planning for me.
"For safety's sake, yes. But if you don't feel ready to, it can wait."
"You already think I'd trust you with my identity?" I ask, almost yelling at him.
"Well, at any rate, you need to tell Richard that you know. He'd be hurt if he heard it from me. Besides, you know our secret identities. It only seems fair." This guy is way too smart for his own good.
"You really think I care about if Richard's feelings are hurt or not?"
"I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Besides, being a hero means you care, even if only a little."
He had me there. Not that I'd admit it.
"You already have a few guesses." I state flatly. "And you're going to find out anyway."
"Sooner or later, we need to find out." He admits, not denying my accusation. "Personally, I'd like to hear it from you."
"You're right." I inform him, looking down.
"About what?" He asks curiously.
I peel my mask off, even though my survival instincts are screaming at me. "My name's Owen Roberts. I know Richard already."
Author's note: And that's it for this chapter. Did you like it? Hate it? Or are you somewhere in between? This chapter was nearly all action, or at least I think it was? I dunno, but yeah... Field Empathy decided to sit this author's note out, so all that's left is me being awkward...
Field Empathy: My policy is typically laissez-faire.
Me: We were learning about that in Western Civ! XD It was one of our vocab terms on the vocab quiz! (That I got 100% on, just in case you were wondering.)
Anyway... Owen revealed her identity to Speedster's (now revealed to be Richard) father (who me and Field Empathy have decided to call Sprint). In the next chapter, we plan to pick up right where we left off, so I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please review and tell me if you think there are any ways that I could make it better, or if you have any plot ideas you might like to see in the future! You can also leave me characters to use in the story (for when I'm too dumb to think of ones myself.)
So that was chapter 7, and I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry it took longer than I hoped it would, but it takes time to come up with this kind of stuff. So I'll see you next time, Bye-bye Rainbow Cloud Believers!
p.s. This chapter is nearly 5000 words long, WITHOUT the Author's notes! That makes this the longest chapter EVER! XD