Your welcome, everybody. I’ve now managed to do the assumed impossible of myself: I’ve procrastinated for about three weeks about posting something that was already written. Thank you.
This chapter is written by Julia Elizabeth… Farm Girl… Julia… Julie… *sigh* I’ll figure out her preferred name eventually, but for now… On with the story!
Reese sat atop Aralin’s house, looking out across the sprawling houses of New York. He sighed in frustration, thinking back to the previous night. It had been completely pointless. Just a bunch of silly teenagers standing around, dancing, snacking, completely ignoring the dire situation of their world.
And Xander… he scowled in disgust, thinking of the mushy look on Aralin’s face when he’d asked her to dance. It had been ridiculous. He’d hoped she was better than that. Reese sighed, shaking his head at himself. He was just being jealous. He needed to stop. It was stupid and pointless.
Saving people from that explosion, on the other hand. That had been enthralling. He’d raced up there, rushing people to a nearby makeshift hospital, where they’d been cared for. Then he’d tracked down the Assistant who’d started it and given them quite the fright. A grin split his face as he remembered the excited feeling that had rushed through him as he fought.
Of course, when Aralin found him, sitting on her roof, waiting for her, she’d given him quite a berating about running off without telling her. And when she’d found out he hadn’t even bothered to wear his mask… she’d been livid. That had been pretty funny.
Reese sighed, then glanced down at the mask Aralin had made for him, his face twisting into an annoy scowl as he thought of the time she would have wasted making it. Time she could have spent doing useful stuff, like fighting Assistants, or coming up with a plan.
A sudden light made him look up, and Reese was startled to see the sun rising. He’d been sitting up there for quite some time. Sighing, Reese incorporealeated himself and dropped into the attic, where he set his mask on the mattress, then changed into his school clothes.
Once he was dressed, Reese dropped down to the main floor. Aralin looked up at him, startled. She was dressed for school and appeared to have been working on another mask.
“You know, there’s a ladder.” She pointed out.
Reese ignored her.
“More costumes?” He groaned.
“It’ll make them think there are more of us, which will make a general feeling of chaos, and help our plans.”
Reese stared at her.
“We are literally living in a city full of chaos. Why would we need to make it feel more chaotic?”
“We need it to feel chaotic for the people in charge.” Aralin explained.
Reese just rolled his eyes. He turned, expecting his backpack to be by the door, as he normally left it in his hovel. He sighed, remembering that it had been blown up.
“I’m going to need a new backpack.” Reese announced, not bothering to look at Aralin.
“Who are you, Spiderman?” She snorted. “There might be something you can use in the basement.”
“Great.” Reese started dissolving himself. “Oh, and we’ll need to head to school from different sides and at different times. I’m going to come from my usual direction, though I’ll take a different route.”
Aralin nodded, barely paying attention to him. Reese sighed inwardly, dropping silently to the floor of the basement. It didn’t take him long to find a small, dirty sack sitting in the middle of a pile of boxes and sacks. He pulled it out, dusting it off, then walked up the stairs, back into Aralin’s room.
“Got any spare textbooks?” He asked. “Most of mine blew up in the hovel.”
“You store your textbooks and schoolwork in you locker at school.” Aralin said, not skipping a beat as she put finishing touches on a glittering red mask.
“Some of them, yes. But I kept the basics in my pack.”
“I don’t have that many spare school books.” Aralin said. “They’d be a grade lower than yours, anyway.
“I just need something to make it look like I have my books, ‘till I can slip into the storage area and grab new ones.”
Aralin looked at him flatly.
“We’re going to need to talk about your kleptomaniacy sometime. It doesn’t set a good precedent for New York’s heroes go around stealing things.”
“Kleptomaniacy?” Reese stared at her. “You’re worried about me stealing a few overpriced goods when you literally plan to kill Golding Kerwin?”
“He deserves it.”
Reese sighed, rolling his eyes. He turned to go, first grabbing a few random books.
“See you at school.” He said, shoving the books into his pack.
Aralin nodded, and Reese walked out the wall and through a series of buildings. Once he was far enough from Aralin’s house, he walked out a building and started down the alley as if it was any normal day and he was on his way to school, backpack slung over his back, a casual lilt to his step, an unconcerned look on his face.
The walk to school was uneventful, and actually rather pleasant. Reese found himself smiling as he strolled down the streets, nodding to passers by. When he arrived at school, of course, that all changed.
The smile was wiped off of his face, and replaced with a scowl. He changed his carefree walk to a shuffle, and bent his back slightly, like the other children heading in. Hopefully to the stern, armed guards standing at the door, he just looked like another bent, broken child heading to a day of carefully regulated instruction.
School started well enough, with a boring math class, boring language class, a short break where Reese managed to slip away and get a new set of school books. After science was lunch. That was when everything started to fall apart.
Reese had hoped that Aralin would leave him to himself during lunch, and really through the whole school day. It would be suspicious if people saw them talking together suddenly, and they didn’t need people paying a ton of attention to them. After last night’s party, where both of them had made quite a stir, they were being watched with barely veiled curiosity.
However, once Aralin had sat down with Reese, he saw no point in turning her away, and instead grudgingly allowed her to sit across from him.
“So.” Aralin said.
“We should probably work on our plan.”
Reese grunted again.
“I was thinking that, once we cause enough chaos in the city, which will draw Golding’s guards out, we could sneak into his palace and assassinate him.”
Despite what he thought of that ridiculous plan, Reese grunted yet again.
“Are you even listening to me?” Aralin asked.
Reese grunted, which caused the energetic girl to sigh in frustration.
“Look, I didn’t want to help with this. You dragged me along, to be your ‘extra muscle’ or whatever. If you want someone dedicated to your cause, you can find someone else. I’m just here because you need someone to punch things.” Reese stated.
Aralin raised a haughty, skeptical eyebrow.
“Then why did you come?” She asked.
“Because you made me.” Reese retorted.
Aralin just laughed.
“Yeah right. Just face the facts. You want to do this.”
Reese stared at her.
“This is getting annoying.” He stood up. “Look, I’ve got to go to class-”
“No, you don’t.” Aralin replied. I checked your school schedule. You don’t have anything for the next period. Luckily, neither do I.” She grinned mischievously. “I may have had a hand in that… so we can work on our plan, right?”
Reese groaned inwardly. However, there appeared to be no getting out of it.
“Fine.” He muttered. “I’ll be in the library. There are plenty of places there where we can plan without being interrupted.”
Aralin nodded eagerly. She started to get up, but Reese shook his head.
“Get up a while after me. And pretend to head in a different direction.”
Aralin nodded, sitting back down. Reese walked out of the cafeteria, heading towards the library, along with several other students. Among them, he was irritated to notice, was Xander. Stop it. Reese chided himself. You don’t even know him. Stop pretending he’s annoying just because he likes Aralin.
He ignored Xander for the rest of the walk to the library. Once he’d entered the quiet, calming atmosphere of the library, Reese relaxed. He made his way over to some bookshelves sporting dozens of books on advanced chemistry. Hopefully people would assume he was just browsing, looking for research books.
Once Aralin entered the library, Reese made his way over to a research table hidden in the far corner of the room, blocked from view by several bookshelves. Thankfully, Aralin followed silently.
Reese sat at the table, pulling over one of the large school computers. Aralin sat beside him. Opening a secure writing file, Reese started typing.
“So.” He said out loud. “How was math?”
Aralin glanced at him, then at the page, where he had written the words ‘Have a normal conversation out loud. We can write our actual conversation here.’ She raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. Grabbing the keyboard from him, she wrote ‘Okay.’
“Pretty good.” Aralin replied.
“So, what particularly were you struggling with? I know that geometry can be a bit confusing with all of the shapes and names to memorize. Or is it trig? Do you guys do that already?” Reese asked.
On the paper, he wrote ‘Pretend I’m tutoring you in math. That’ll give us an excuse to be quiet most of the time.’ Aralin glowered at him, snatching the keyboard and typing ‘I do fine at math!’ Reese shrugged. ‘Too late.’ He wrote.
Still glaring at him, Aralin spoke once more.
“It’s the geometry, yeah. All of those shapes… they get confusing.”
Reese nodded, opening another tab on the computer and clicking a math website.
“Well, I generally find this pretty useful.” He said. “There’s a lot of reading though.”
“I don’t mind.” Aralin replied. Despite her irritance at the role Reese had shoved her into, she was playing it quite well.
Reese clicked back onto their secure ‘chatting’ tab, writing ‘So, what are your ideas? Other than kill Golding, that is.’ Aralin rolled her eyes. ‘They’re pretty simple. We need to cause chaos. Make Golding think that there’s a big riot in the city. He’ll send out his guards. Then, using that general air of chaos, we can sneak into the palace. I’ll use my mind map to find him, and voila. We kill him.’
Reese nodded slowly. It actually sounded doable. There were dozens of things they’d have to work out, and it was extremely unlikely, but still… ‘That actually sounds really possible.’ He wrote. ‘I –’
He was cut off as someone coughed behind them. Whirling around in his chair, Reese felt a rising sense of panic as he realized who was there. Xander. The incredibly annoying boy stood, a cocky smirk on his lips, head tilted to the side.
“Hey, Aralin.” He said. “So…” Xander stepped forwards. “Whatcha doing?”
Reese immediately shifted to block the computer, while doing his best to close the window, or just turn off the computer, before Xander could see what they were writing. They did not need what they were doing to get out.
“Nothing.” Aralin said.
At the same time, Reese said, “I’m helping her with math.”
Xander raised an eyebrow.
“Really?” He leaned around Reese, peering at the computer. “That doesn’t look like math.”
Reese glowered at the younger boy.
“Can you please leave us to do our school work?” He asked.
“No.” Xander replied.
He stepped up, then leaned in, eyes skimming the page. Panicking, Reese fumbled, then pressed the power button and turned off the computer. But it was too late. Even as the screen went blank, Xander turned to them with a half surprised, half triumphant, half delighted look in his eyes.
“You.” He whispered. “Are in so much trouble.”