A/N: Merry Christmas everybody! I know that not everybody celebrates Christmas, and I wish you a very merry...well whatever holiday you may celebrate this time of year.

As promised, this is the 3,000 word chappie. It is actually 3,268 words, and I am mighty proud of myself. I have never written that much for a chappie before. My brain is fuzzy.

I average about 2 hours to do a 1,500 word chapter, and this one took me about 4 hours. I know that doesn't add up, but I get distracted easily.

~Rylee


CHAPTER 8

ROUND ONE

"Yes mom. Yes. He said he would get me clothes…no he is not my boyfriend! And he's not going with us anyways." Kailen quietly sighed and listened to her mother's many complaints about the lie Kailen was readily giving her. "Yes, I'll be back home before school starts. It's just a trip to Europe! Yeah, I know that's a long ways…no, no I didn't convince him, he wanted to go!" Finally her mom agreed to the made-up trip, told her goodbye, and asked to talk to Kailen's grandfather.

Her grandfather winked and took the phone into his bedroom, closing the door. Kailen flopped down on the couch next to Io, who was trying to figure out how to work the TV. After watching him try to get it off of mute for about five minutes, Kailen silently plucked the remote from his hands and unmated it, turning it to the Animal Planet.

Io crossed his arms. "I would have eventually figured it out."

"Yeah," Kailen said sarcastically. "You were definitely making a ton of progress. I could see the intelligence shining out."

"It's so technically un-advanced that I was having trouble with it."

Kailen nodded sympathetically. "Yes, poor you. Stuck on a planet full of TVs and remotes. And this is even an old TV."

Io scowled. "Humans and their 'advancements'."

Kailen leaned back and put her feet up on the coffee table. "What kind of things do you have there?"

Io looked mildly surprised she seemed interested. "Our planet has large reserves of radiation energy. The core of our planet produces large amounts of radiation, which we harness as clean energy." He saw the look on her face and laughed. "Yes, radiation is clean; you just have to clean up the toxic waste correctly. Anyway, that's originally how the first Cahayans got their abilities. The radiation gave it to them, and they were passed down."

"So children get the same abilities as their parents?"

Io shook his head. "It is very rare; only powers that effect your physical looks are passed down. Like, I knew this one family that had gills." He sighed. "Also, the radiation can be used to make extremely powerful weapons. Our technology is more based around holograms; in school, we hardly ever use paper. Paper is only used for official and important documents, and also from times before the holograms."

Kailen was awestruck. She couldn't wait to see this planet, completely different from her own. "How old is Cahaya?"

"About 6 billion years old; about 1.5 billion years older than Earth. And Cahayans have been on it for most of that extra 1.5 billion. It is believed Cahayans came from another planet in the galaxy, but it's unknown whether it's true or not. Nobody can figure out how they would have gotten to Cahaya; they didn't have ships back then." Io glanced at the TV. "What is that?"

Kailen looked at the TV and smiled. "That is a platypus."

"It's a strange animal. It has fur, yet it lays eggs. So is it considered a mammal?" Io looked completely disturbed by the freak of nature animal that Kailen laughed.

"I do not know. Maybe gramps knows. I wonder what's taking him so long." She looked back at the door to her grandfather's room nervously. She had a bad feeling all of a sudden. She didn't hear him talking in the room.

"Io," She whispered. "I don't hear him talking." Io got up and quietly put his ear to the door, and then gently opened it. There wasn't anybody in there.

"Did you see him come out?" Kailen said, her heart beating fast. "I didn't-" Suddenly, the back sliding glass door exploded in, causing a piece of glass to get Kailen on her arm. She yelped and Io dragged her behind the couch. They crouched, both breathing hard.

Io gestured for her to stay crouched down, and he peered over, quickly ducking back down, a panicked look on his face. Kailen mouthed, "What is it?" and Io just shook his head, looking around, probably for a way out. She gestured to the hall that lead to the front door, and Io nodded.

He took her arm and dragged her quickly to the hall, but not before she caught a glimpse of a person in the frame of the ruined glass door, staring after them.

They got halfway down the hall before the end of the hall in the living room exploded, nearly knocking Kailen off her feet. Only Io's iron grip on her arm kept her from falling. They burst out the front door.

"Do you humans have to cut down every forest?" Io hissed, looking around quickly, and then continued to drag her away from the house, running. The front door exploded like somebody had set a bomb off right in front of it, and the same person stood in that door way, and then started calmly walking towards them. Kailen screamed when the person raised a hand towards them and the asphalt beside Kailen exploded. Io yanked her out of the street into a park, which didn't have as many trees as Io probably liked. The mysterious person continued to follow them, now picking up the pace.

Still running, Io asked, "Do you have the SIT? Please tell me you have it."

Unable to say anything because she was so tired, she just nodded. The bag had never left her shoulder. Io must have seen it out of the corner of his eye because he looked relieved. Finally they stopped in front of a pond. Kailen collapsed on the ground. "I-I thought I was in g-good shape."

Io grinned down at her, not really breathing hard, or sweating, or looking tired at all. "Nature is a good thing." He looked back at where they had come from. The person was just visible at the end of the park. There were a few people running on the track, but none of them paid any attention to Io or Kailen.

From how fast the figure was coming at them, Kailen would guess they were still walking. "Who is that?" Kailen asked Io, once she had gotten her breath back a bit.

"Obviously from Cahaya. Probably here to kill us and get the SIT." Io balled his fists. "And I will not let them have it."

Kailen stood up, still watching the slowly approaching figure. Her legs felt like jelly. "Not dying would be nice too."

A ghost of a smile appeared on Io's face. "I'll do my best. While I distract him I need you to run away-"

"No. I'm not leaving you." She glared at Io. "What if he has friends? I don't want to be in the middle of a park with a bunch of maniac aliens trying to kill me."

"What if you get hurt?" He looked at her desperately. "I don't want-" He didn't get to finish the sentence because suddenly the pond behind them exploded, and they were both send flying.

Kailen landed on her shoulder, and she hissed in pain. Beside her, Io jumped up and thrust his hands out at the attacker, who Kailen could see was a teenage boy, about 17 or 18. A wall of huge vines shot out of the ground between the attacker and Kailen and Io. He had looked pretty normal, but really angry. Io got Kailen to her feet and they were running again as the wall of vines was obliterated, and the angry boy stalked through the wreckage, completely undeterred from his goal of getting to Kailen and Io.

With grass and trees exploding around them, several nearly missing them, they finally got into a more heavily forested part of the park. A path seemed to make itself before the two of them, Kailen in front and Io behind her. Trees moved to block the way behind them, but they were easily destroyed just like the vine wall.

"Running isn't going to do you any good!" The boy yelled. "I will only destroy the walls you put in my way and then kill you!"

Finally Kailen couldn't run anymore. She collapsed on the ground, breathing hard. Io didn't seem surprised by this, and just moved between her and the attacker, waiting for him to get closer. Through her blurred vision, she saw the attacker being attacked by…forest animals? She rubbed her eyes and looked again.

And yes, the boy who could apparently destroy anything was being attacked by squirrels, rabbits, deer, a brown bear, and a wide variety of birds, including a sharp beaked and taloned eagle.

"Io," She mumbled. "Did you do that?" He just nodded, and more trees moved in front of them, blocking the path of the attacker. He kneeled down in front of her, looking tired, probably from using his powers so much.

"Are you okay?"

She nodded weakly, feeling like she was about to throw up. She had never run that much at one time, so fast and being pulled along by somebody who didn't get tired at all. "How do we get rid of that guy?"

Io looked at her cautiously. "I wonder if your power could help us."

"If we knew what it is. And I might not even have a power." She struggled to stand up, and Io ended up helping her up, and they started away from the wall of trees slowly, still hearing strangled yelps from the attacker.

"No." Io eventually said. "I'm pretty sure you have a power. And I think I know what might tell us."

A few minutes later, they got out of the forest, into the sunlight. It was almost sundown, and the light burned Kailen's eyes. She looked back into the forest cautiously, but didn't see the attacker.

"He is coming; we must hurry." He gestured for her to give him the bag with the SIT, and she did. He took it out of the bag and held it up to the sun. "I'm hoping that it may be able to tell us your ability." Catching it just right so it reflected onto a tree, he said, "What is Kailen's ability?"

It shifted and flowed like all the other times Kailen had asked it questions, and just like all the other times, showed, at first, a language Kailen didn't know. But this time, instead of going to English, it remained on the strange language, Io looking at it curiously. "Interesting." He said.

"What?" Kailen asked, squinting at the strange message. "What does it say?"

Io just looked at her. "Well, it looks like you're an empath."

"Empath," Kailen repeated. "And what does that mean exactly? I can figure out people's emotions?"

Io shrugged. "All powers have different levels. For example, some can read minds. Others can read minds and control them. You may be able to do something along the same lines. Reading emotions, possibly controlling them."

Kailen looked at the SIT sourly. "Does it say what my power level is?"

Io shook his head and gave the object back to her as the sun went down a little more. "No. Perhaps if we had more daylight…but later." He glanced back at the forest. "He is coming. We have to leave."

Kailen stuffed the SIT into her bag (being sharply reminded of her friend, Monte) and followed Io towards a small dirt road, looking back constantly for the attacker. When they got on the road, they turned right and walked (quickly) along it.

"Why do you think the guy wasn't running after us?" She asked Io, struggling to keep up with his fast pace.

"He has a limp in his left leg. You didn't notice it?"

Kailen rolled her eyes. "He was trying to kill us. Seeing if he had a limp didn't really cross my mind." Her stomach rumbled. "And can we find something to eat? I'm starving."

Io nodded, deep in thought. "I'm pretty hungry too. I believe there is a town about a quarter mile away. We can stop there, but not for long-" They were cut off by the loud rumble of a truck coming down the dirt path from the way they had come. Io and Kailen scrambled to get behind a tree, and did so just before the truck came near them.

It stopped in front of the tree they were behind, and Kailen heard a door slam. "Hiding behind that tree isn't going to help you much, Kailen." Kailen nearly started crying when she heard the voice. It was her grandfather.

"Grandpa!" She said and was about to get up and go hug him, but Io caught her arm and shook his head. Kailen sat back down and gave him a questioning look. He gestured for her to stay sitting, and he got up. Kailen peered from behind the tree. She saw her grandfather, and Io across from him, his arms crossed.

"So, are you really Kailen's grandfather?" Io asked.

Her grandfather frowned. "Yes. I don't know why you wouldn't-"

"Then why did you drive here? Why not teleport?"

Now her grandfather looked slightly annoyed, and looked back towards the way they all came. "We don't have much time. I didn't teleport because I was just drugged; my powers didn't work. Your little friend back there did it to me while I was talking to Kailen's mother. We need to go, now."

It was only then that Kailen saw raw skin on her grandfather's wrists, probably because he had been tied up. She scrambled from behind the tree and gave her grandfather a hug, ignoring Io's protests. Her grandfather didn't seem evil or anything, just annoyed. She knew it was him.

He pulled back and ushered her into the front of the car, Io following closely behind, getting into the seat behind Kailen's. With that, her grandfather got into the driver's seat and sped away.

A few minutes later, they arrived at a small town, just like Io had said. Along the way, Kailen had told her grandfather about what had happened to them, and the discovery of her power. Her grandfather didn't say anything about that, just nodded, like he almost expected. Io just sat in the back with a disproving air around him, deflecting any questions from Kailen's grandfather with a scowl. He obviously didn't like the fact that Kailen had readily believed that the man in the driver's seat was her grandfather. Kailen couldn't explain it; she just knew it was her grandfather.

They stopped in front of a Subway, which again reminded Kailen of Monte, and also better times. They got it to go, and Kailen and Io used the restroom. When Kailen came out of the girl's, Io was waiting outside, looking grossed out.

"Your bathrooms here are disgusting."

Kailen laughed. "Yeah, I guess so. That's why you don't use public restrooms if you can help it." They walked out to where Kailen's grandfather was waiting with the food, looking anxious.

"There's a place we can stay for the night until I am able to teleport us." He said, leading the two teenagers out the door to the truck, handing them their food. "A friend."

"What kind of friend?" Io asked suspiciously, looking at his sandwich with mild curiosity and strapping his seatbelt on. Kailen also got her seatbelt on, and they started off. She got her sandwich unwrapped and took a bite.

"A friend from Cahaya. She has a very special ability; we'll be safe at her house."

Io scowled, which seemed to be a usual thing for him. His sandwich was half gone. "We had better be. I still don't trust you."

Kailen sighed. Her grandfather was just worried about the two of them; not plotting their demise. She turned around in her seat and peered around at Io. He was staring out the window.

They eventually pulled up in front of a…well Kailen could only describe it as a mansion. It looked like one of those large plantation houses; with big white columns and large, open windows. She blinked several times, because there seemed to be some kind of shimmering net around the house. It didn't go away.

"What…what is that?" She asked her grandfather, who just got out of the car and went up to the net thing directly in front of the large, iron gate and laid his hand on it. A few seconds later the net seemed to shudder, and a truck-sized hole opened up in front of the gate, and the gate swung open silently. Kailen's grandfather turned around, a triumphant look on his face, and started back towards the car.

Kailen turned around and looked at Io, who was appraising the net around the house. He didn't seem surprised. Io must have felt her looking at him, because he looked at her. "It's a force field. I've seen quite a few Cahayans with that ability. I just think it's strange that there's another Cahayan here, and he never told…" Io trailed off as the old man got back into the truck and drove through the gate. Kailen looked back, and saw the gate swing shut, and the force field go over the gate again.

The driveway wasn't as long as most fancy houses' were, but it was brick, made into patterns that swirled and looked like waves of the ocean. The house was surrounded by fruit trees, and nothing looked the least bit affected by the hot summertime. Kailen saw workers out picking fruit off of the trees, and a couple more trimming the hedges in front of the house. The driveway curved around in front of the house, making a loop. Kailen's grandfather parked the truck in the part of the loop closest to the house, and the three of them got out. They followed her grandfather up the porch steps and to the door. He rang the door bell.

A man, who was obviously a servant, came up to the door. He had on a tux and had a towel over one arm, just like in all the movies. "Hello," He said stiffly. "Mistress Tylea-Mia is expecting you." He gave them a sour look and stepped aside, and they all went inside. The servant closed the large doors behind them and turned to them. "Please remove your shoes and put them next to the door neatly." They did so, and then followed the servant through the halls.

The house was decorated like you would expect a mansion to be decorated; all fancy drapes, gleaming hardwood floors, authentic couches, huge fireplaces, and large, framed pictures of people in old fashioned clothes.

"So," Kailen said, catching up to the stiff servant. "What's your name?"

"Carl."

Kailen could barely keep herself from laughing, and so she fell back so she was walking next to Io, who was smirking. "Carl, huh?" He mumbled. Kailen smiled and glanced back at her grandfather. He was taking in all the decorations.

Sometime later they arrived before a large set of doors (on the third floor, and by that time they had gone up three too many flights of stairs and they were all done walking) and Carl opened the door, revealing a brightly-lit room. The trio made their way into the room, and Carl closed the door behind them. Standing in front of a window was a woman, who had a drink in her hand.

"Hello," She said. "My name is Tylea-Mia. I want to know what exactly you're doing here."


A/N: Well, how did you like that? I had no idea how to end this chappie, so I hope that was okay. I will probably have a new chapter up next week or something along those lines.

~Rylee