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Quest (incomplete)

Novel By: TheNinjaShroom
Fantasy



Quest is not an ordinary teenage girl. She has powers you can barely imagine. So do the four other kids she lives with; Spike, Nero, Willow and Xavier. They won't hide any more, they're going to show the world what they are, and try to make a difference.

But they never expected this... View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6

Submitted:Aug 25, 2012    Reads: 57    Comments: 6    Likes: 2   


Note: I do not live in the USA so I've probably made a lot of mistakes about this, please let me know and I'll do my best to make it right :)

Also, there is violence and occasional swearing in this, so please don't read if you're offended by that sort of thing

Hope you like it, please leave a comment :)

The Administrator looked at the five pictures on the screen with curiosity and gestured for the important-looking man in front of him to continue. The Administrator's sons were standing behind his chair watching with detached interest.

"They are the most powerful mutants we've ever seen, sir, and yet they are all children, ranging from eight to sixteen years old. We've researched into them but they seem to have appeared out of nowhere. We were unable to come up with any surnames and have no background on any of them, but we have our best researchers working on it. They are all skilled in breaking and entering, stealth, survival and hand-to-hand combat, and are adept in the use of their powers. All of them would be useful to you the way they are, and of course their powers would make you extremely powerful. Four of them could be good assassins, although two in particular would be excellent, and the other is a healer and could be a sort of bodyguard for you," he said. He pointed to the first picture of a black-haired, olive-skinned, dark-eyed boy. "This one, Nero they call him, has the power of umbrakinesis, or creating and manipulating shadows, as well as amazing accuracy, dexterity and agility, telekinesis and electrokinesis, a limitless memory, a danger sense and a death touch, which makes any living being which touches his skin die within twelve hours. All of this, coupled with his excellent stealth, reflexes and hand-to-hand combat make him an accomplished thief, and he is also an expert in breaking and entering without leaving any traces. If you managed to recruit him he would make an excellent assassin, sir. He's fifteen years old."

"What about this one?" demanded the Administrator, gesturing to a picture of a girl with spiky, white-blonde hair and piercing blue eyes.

"That's Spike, she's sixteen, and she has the most powerful psionic powers," said the man. "We think she's the leader. She has the powers of omnilingualism, telepathy and mind control, much like yourself, but she can also possess another being and take control of their body completely, in return for relinquishing control of her own. She has a power called hypnokinesis, which allows her to put people into a trance, and manipulate them when they are in that trance, she can put illusions into other's minds and she can sense if people near her have powers and what those powers are. She can also animate inanimate objects, sort of bringing them to life, she can perform mind blasts, varying in strength, which can cause symptoms ranging from pain and memory loss to death, she can create forcefields and she is a technopath."

"And this one?" asked the Administrator, pointing to a picture of a girl with long red hair drawn up into a ponytail and acid yellow eyes. He looked closer at the picture and realised they looked like cat's eyes.

"They call her Quest. She has animal attributes such as claws, gills and wings, which she can control and turn off at will, and she can also summon animals. We're not sure how they are transported to her yet but we're working on it. She can make up to seven duplicates of herself, which can function individually but cannot speak. She can gain control over any of them at any time through temporarily releasing her own body, which will then remain functional but silent, like the original duplicates, until she returns to it. Any information that the duplicates discover will be transferred to the original when they disappear back into her own mind. They can only do this by touching the original Quest. If one of the duplicates is harmed or killed, it will cause significant trauma or even death in the original, and we aren't sure if any duplicates could survive the original Quest dying. She also has extremely heightened senses, as well as microscopic, telescopic, thermal, x-ray and night vision, and she has an ability called wall-crawling, which essentially allows her to cling to and move across any surface, be it glass, wood or brick, even upside-down. She has excellent agility, dexterity and flexibility. She also has a power called chlorokinesis, which enables her to control plants with her mind, toxikinesis, control over toxins and diseases, which can probably give her a controllable death touch if she wishes, and she's an accomplished tracker. She's the same age as Nero, also an experienced thief, and would make another excellent assassin," said the man, pointing to the next picture of a boy with light brown hair, a devilish smile and a wicked glint in his green eyes. "This one is called Xavier, the youngest, and he has the most powerful physical powers, even at the age of eight. He has cryo- and thermokinesis, which are control over cold and heat, hydro- and pyrokinesis, water and fire, aerokinesis, wind, geokinesis, earth, and photokinesis, light."

"And the last one?" asked the Administrator, gesturing to the last picture, of a dark-haired girl with fair skin and green eyes.

"She's the healer, named Willow, she's fourteen, and Xavier's sister," said the man. "She has vitakinesis, the power of healing others, as well as the ability to heal herself. She can also regenerate lost or damaged body parts. She has no need for food or drink as she can sustain herself, but our intelligence informs us that she consumes it even though she has no physical need to do so, and she has toxin and disease resistance. She also has the powers of magnetokinesis and gravitokinesis, which are control over magnetism and gravity, and precognition, which comes to her in vivid dreams and visions. However, like your own form of precognition, it is subject to people's decisions and what she sees is not necessarily what will occur."

"I admit, they do have a vast array of powers, and they intrigue me," mused the Administrator. "Guards!" He watched the man in front of him go from cool and collected to a gibbering wreck and smiled slightly.

"What are you d-doing, sir?" stammered the man, spinning around to see two huge men stomping through the doors.

"You have served your purpose. You are no longer useful to me," replied the Administrator coldly. "Guards, have him executed."

"P-please sir, I'm begging you," pleaded the man. "Please d-don't do this!"

"Oh, stop whining," said the Administrator. The man struggled against the two guards as they grabbed his arms, but to no avail. As they dragged him out of the room the man kicked and scratched and bit the guards, but as they reached the door he disappeared.

"Goodbye, Administrator!"

"Argh!" shouted the Administrator. "That stupid worm! How dare he use the powers I gave him against me! Guards, find him at once!"

"How did he disappear, sir?" asked one of the guards.

"I gave him the power of teleportation," snarled the Administrator. "It will take me some time to recover that power from him. Until then, find him, catch him, and put him in a cell." Then he turned to his two sons. "Hunter. Find the children. Bring them here to me."

***

"Hurry up guys!" called Spike from in the kitchen.

"We're just coming!" replied Willow. She normally woke Nero up if he slept late in the mornings because of his reflexes: whenever anyone touched him in his sleep, Nero would automatically grab their arm, and to the others that would be fatal. To me it would make me ill until I could remove the toxins from my system. Willow came into the kitchen while Nero got changed, then he joined us in the kitchen.

"Took your time," commented Xavier, grabbing a slice of bread. The second it touched his hand it turned to toast, and he spread butter on it happily.

"Yeah, it's half ten," I added. "That's why we sent Willow."

"Sorry guys," replied Nero, grinning sheepishly. "Didn't get to sleep until five this morning."

"Hey, at least we have our Healer-Girl to wake you up," said Xav, grinning at Willow.

"Xav, can you please concentrate on not burning the eggs?" said Spike, pointing to the pan on the table which had two eggs frying in it.

"Sorry," muttered Xavier. "They're done."

"You sure?" asked Willow, eyeing the eggs apprehensively. "Last time you said they were done you all got food poisoning."

"I'm sure this time," promised Xavier.

Nero grinned and the eggs flew out of the pan and onto two plates, which then landed neatly in front of himself and Willow, along with a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. The pan flew into the sink and Nero smiled again before tucking into his breakfast.

"Hey Nero, could you get me some cereal?" I asked. Nero smiled the lopsided smile he saved especially for me and the milk and cereal came out of the fridge and cupboard and poured themselves into a bowl which then flew over to me.

"Hey Nero, could you get me some cereal?" I asked again.

"I just got you some-" Nero looked up and saw two Quests sitting opposite him, one (me) eating a bowl of Cheerios and the other (my duplicate) looking at him expectantly.

"Don't be greedy," scolded Nero, and the milk and Cheerios flew back into the fridge and cupboard.

"Whatever," I muttered, scowling at him and touching Quest II lightly on the shoulder, causing her to disappear back into me.

"So what's the plan for today?" asked Nero.

"We have to leave, the owners of the house'll get back tomorrow," replied Spike.

"Why?" protested Xavier. "I like it here!"

"The owners of the house are coming home a day early from their holiday. They'll be here in an hour," said Willow blankly. We all turned to see her staring straight ahead, her eyes glazed and her pupils dilated so much that the green irises were barely visible.

"Anything else?" asked Spike.

"They have a red car," said Willow.

"Nero, did we move anything when we got here?" asked Spike urgently. Nero shook his head.

"Good. We need to get all of the food packed up, ditch anything we can't take, then get the hell out of here," I said. Seven other Quests appeared and began to take food out of the cupboards and fridge and dump it in two piles on the table, then went into the other room and began to tidy anything that'd been messed up.

"What's the plan?" asked Willow, putting a hand to her head and wincing.

"Pack up and split, ASAP," replied Xavier. Our bags floated in from the other room and one of the piles of food divided itself up between the bags whilst the other flew outside and into the bin.

"Did you guys leave anything upstairs?" asked Spike. We all shook our heads, and the other seven Quests came back into the room holding all of the stuff we'd left in the other room and put it into the right bags.

"We all packed?" asked Willow, looking around. We nodded and I touched each of the extra Quests so they disappeared. Everyone grabbed their bag, then Nero opened the large kitchen window and we all clambered out, landing silently in the back garden.

"Let's go," said Spike as Nero closed and locked the window behind us.

The five of us climbed over the fence and into the alley behind the house, looking around quickly before creeping out onto the main street just in time to see a red car pull up in front of the house. We set off at a brisk walk, glancing around continually to make sure no one was following us apart from the small group of cats who were twining themselves around my legs. I gave them a look and they stopped trying to trip me up, but they still padded behind me and I grinned at them.

"So what's the plan?" asked Nero as we got to the main street.

"Same as always," replied Spike. "Go far away. Find somewhere to crash for a few days. Move on again."

"Why can't we just find somewhere to settle down?" asked Xav. "I'm tired of always moving, I want to be a normal kid."

"I know, but it's not that simple. Normal kids don't have powers like us, we wouldn't fit in," replied Willow softly, ruffling his hair. "We'll settle down someday, I promise, but for now we have to stay on the move."

"But why?" demanded Xavier stubbornly. "Why can't we just settle down, stay low, and do normal stuff?"

"Someone's spying on us," whispered Nero so softly that we could barely hear him, putting on some black gloves. "Keep talking."

"Because we wouldn't fit in," I replied, scratching one of the cats behind her ears. "Especially you, Element Boy. How many other kids do you think can toast bread just by touching it, or make a storm when they're angry?"

"Not many," mumbled Xavier, looking at his shoes.

"House number eighty six," muttered Spike. "Blue door. Left downstairs window."

"Exactly. So that's why we can't settle down yet," said Willow. "But don't worry, you get to do a bunch of cool stuff other kids couldn't even dream of, like breaking and entering, having superpowers and kicking ass."

"I guess," replied Xavier, smiling and glancing at the house Spike had mentioned. Sure enough, just like me he saw the lace curtain twitch back into place and a shadow behind it move slightly.

"They work for someone they call the Administrator, and they've been told to watch us and follow us at all costs," whispered Spike, pretending to scratch her head.

"Where's Nero?" murmured Willow, glancing around. After several seconds she finally noticed him, cloaked in shadow and pressed against a wall on the other side of the road, smiling a lopsided smile at her. Then she realised he wasn't grinning at her, he was smiling that special smile at me, and she scowled.

"How does he do that?" I asked, smiling back at Nero without looking obvious.

"It's almost as though he's invisible," mused Xavier. "Hey Spike, do you think I'll get invisibility?"

"Sure hope not," muttered Spike. "Now shut up, I'm concentrating."

"What are you doing?" asked Willow, watching one of the windows in number eighty six open and a shadow slip through the gap. "Hey, he's gone in!"

"I'm doing some magical mojo," elaborated Spike.

"Gonna tell us any more than that?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.

"I'm trying to simultaneously keep up an illusion of us leaving, complete with sound, read their thoughts to see if they've noticed Nero, worm my way into their minds to plant false thoughts and prepare for a mind blast if needed," replied Spike. "Now would you please shut up?" We looked down at the ground and shuffled our feet, unsure what to do.

"Sorry Spike," we muttered.

As I watched the house, I saw my duplicate sneaking her way through the window that Nero had left open. I closed my eyes and released control of my body, slowly becoming aware of what was happening in my duplicate's body. I knew that the others would realise what had happened because my original body would be staring blankly into space, looking a lot like Willow when she was having a vision.

I quickly familiarised myself with my new body and began the quick process of adopting an animal attribute. This time I was giving myself the skin of a chameleon to help camouflage myself.

The reason I was going into the house with my own consciousness rather than allowing the duplicate to do it was because the duplicates were sometimes distractable and didn't get the job done, and also because my original body was in no danger and was not doing anything particularly important, so there was no reason not to take control of this duplicate and do something myself.

As my skin began to change colour to match the dirty grey of the walls I moved slowly towards an open door which I could see led to a sitting room. Once I was completely colour changed I began to crawl up the walls and onto the ceiling, and then into the sitting room where two men were standing with a camera and a tape recorder. I also spotted Nero in the corner, hiding behind a sofa and blending in perfectly with the shadows he had created.

"Quest?" whispered Nero, so softly that he barely made any sound. The only reason I could pick up on it at all was because of my super senses, and I nodded slightly.

"I need their scent," I mouthed, dropping down from the ceiling silently and landing right behind the two men. I breathed in their scents slowly, then wrapped my arm around one guy's neck and began to choke him. I wasn't trying to kill him, just cut off his air supply until he passed out. Nero sprang out from behind the sofa and began to fight the other man, his gloves pulled up over his sleeves to make sure he didn't actually touch the guy. My guy elbowed me in the stomach and I doubled over in pain, hissing through my teeth, then straightened up and kneed the man in the crotch. He collapsed on the floor, as did other, but not because of my attack; Spike had mind blasted both of them, causing them to lose consciousness.

"Destroy them," I said, pointing to the camera and tape recorder. Nero nodded and touched them; they immediately let out a shower of sparks and all of the flashing lights went out.

Get out of there now! said Spike into our minds. We immediately sprinted back through the house, out of the window and back to the others. I phased back into my original body and made my duplicate disappear.

"What happened?" demanded Xav.

"They were using a camera and a voice recorder," replied Nero.

"Did you destroy them?" asked Willow.

"No, we just left them there so the Administrator can know all about us," I muttered sarcastically.

"C'mon, let's go," said Spike.

"Go where?" asked Xavier quietly. "And how?"

"I don't know yet," replied Spike. "Maybe we can go out to the Rockies or something, stay there for a while."

"How will we get there?" asked Nero. "They're on the other side of America."

"I have an idea that might work," said Xavier. "But it might not."

"Do tell," said Spike, looking at him with interest.

"Well, I have power over the wind, right?"

"Uh huh."

"So I could make strong enough winds to carry us all to the Rockies," said Xavier happily.

"And what about when you get tired?" I asked gently. "None of us can keep up power for that long, especially enough to keep five people flying halfway across America."

"Wait a second," muttered Nero. "Xav, you have control over heat don't you?"

"Yeah."

"So you can heat up the air around us, which will make us fly," said Nero. "It's something to do with particle movement or something. It'll take a lot less energy than making winds, and it won't be as noticeable to humans."

"Only problem is, it would also burn us all in the process," I said. "And that would not be fun." I rolled my eyes and began to walk down the street, glancing back when the others didn't follow. "Well? Aren't you coming?" I called.

"We need to figure out where we're going first," replied Spike.

"Well can we hurry up about it? Makes me twitchy, being in one place for so long," I muttered, jogging back to the others.

"You didn't mind it when we were in that house for a week," shot back Willow.

"Yeah, but I hadn't just found out that our plan of moving around to stop people noticing us had completely backfired in that house for a week," I snapped. "Now can we just go? We'll head towards the nearest city or something, go from there."

"Hey, maybe we can become superheroes!" said Xavier excitedly. "I could be Element Boy, and Nero could be Shadow Man, and Spike could be Mind Blast, and Quest could be Animal Girl and Willow could be, um, Gravity Girl or something. That would be so awesome!" He jumped up and down excitedly, then turned to look at Spike and Willow. "Please? Please can we? It'd be so much fun!"

"Don't you think it would draw a bit of attention?" asked Willow, raising her eyebrows.

"No, we could wear masks and costumes and stuff! Please please please please please?"

"I don't think it's such a bad idea," said Spike unexpectedly. "I mean, people love superheroes, right? And it's something to do, better than just breaking into houses all the time."

"But what use is a superhero without supervillains?" asked Nero. "Sure we can help old ladies across the street, but if there's no psychotic mutant freak hell bent on taking over the world, what are we gonna do all day?"

"I have no idea," replied Spike. "But hey, it's a way to make a living." She shrugged and grinned at us.

"How? We can't save someone's life then ask them to put money in a hat!" said Willow. "It's a bad idea. We've been doing fine for over a year, there's no need to go changing things now." She crossed her arms and glared at us all. I had been quiet since Xavier had made his suggestion, but now I joined in the conversation.

"I don't see how it could do any harm," I said thoughtfully. "I mean, if everything goes tits up we'll still be able to go back to what we're doing now. I say we go for it."

"This is crazy!" cried Willow, throwing her hands into the air. "How are you seriously considering this?" She took and deep breath and turned back to face us. "You're listening to the dreams of an eight year old pyromaniac and you're agreeing to become superheroes. Are you actually kidding me?"

"No. I think we should go for it. In all honesty, I think this could really work," said Nero quietly.

"Yay!" Xav grinned and pulled us all into a group hug. "Now we just need to get to the city!"

"Which city?" asked Nero.

"Um. Where are we again?" asked Spike uncertainly. I cocked my head to the side, tapping into my internal body clock and location thingy.

"New York," I said.

"Well, New York City here we come!" said Xavier, grinning. Willow shook her head.

"How are we gonna get there?" asked Nero quietly. "Quest's the only one who can fly." I was about to protest that the others could fly, using their own talents, but Spike spoke first.

"But," said Spike, an idea forming in her mind. "There are eight Quests."

"What?" I asked, turning to look at her. Then I realised what Spike meant and shook my head. "No. No way. Not in a million years. No."

"Come on Quest, you're our only chance of becoming superheroes!" pleaded Xavier. "Please?"

"Hey, I don't even know if they're strong enough to carry you guys, especially Nero," I said. Then I sighed. "But it's worth a shot." That said, four other Quests appeared and began to grow wings, as did I, until all five of us were standing there with huge red wings sprouting from our shoulders. I rolled my shoulders and nodded to my duplicates, who each stood behind one of the group and lifted them by their armpits, and on my signal they jumped into the air, struggling at first but soon managing to fall into a rhythm which enabled them to carry their heavy loads. I could tell by the expressions on their faces, especially the one holding Nero, that they weren't happy about having to carry people and fly.

"I don't care if they're too heavy," I said to them. "We're not going that far, so just put up with it."

Is there any chance of them deciding to drop us? asked Spike in my mind.

Nope, I thought back. They do what I say. They are parts of me, you know, and they all have my personality to some extent.

Good. Just, make sure they don't, okay? said Spike. I nodded and scanned the ground, now far below us, and soon spotted New York City in the distance.

"There," I shouted over the wind, pointing to the grey smudge on the horizon.

"Where?" demanded Spike, peering into the distance.

"You can't see it yet," I replied. "But it's there." I angled my wings slightly to take us to the heart of the city.

"Don't land straight in the middle of New York!" protested Willow. "Don't you think someone'll notice that?"

"We're not," I promised. "Just trust me." Willow narrowed her eyes but said nothing as we swooped down towards the city until she noticed the growing number of birds following us.

"What's up with these birds?" she shouted.

"Animals like to follow me," I replied, shrugging.

Willow glared at the birds and, when a pigeon got too close to her, lashed out. More than two dozen pairs of avian eyes turned to glare at her, and they were about to attack when I gave them a look. They peeled off and turned back, but not before glaring menacingly at Willow.

"Where are we going?" called Spike.

"We're gonna land on one of the skyscrapers," I replied.

"How will we get down?" demanded Willow.

"I can get some vines to take us down or something," I said.

"Oh yeah, and no one's gonna notice that!" said Willow sarcastically. "Do you not have any sense?"

"Hey, without me we wouldn't even-"

"Stop it!" interrupted Spike. "If anyone notices us, I'll just do some magic mojo and then they won't remember, like I did with those two guys who were filming us."

"Then what?" asked Xav. "Can we go get our costumes then?"

"We'll need to find somewhere to stay first," said Willow.

"Going down," I muttered, tilting my wings and swooping down, landing lightly on the top of a medium-sized skyscraper in Manhattan. "Thanks," I said to my duplicates, tapping each of them on the shoulder, grinning as they disappeared back inside me.

"Why do you say thanks to them? They're you," asked Xavier.

"Dunno really," I replied honestly. "They are me, but when I'm not controlling them they're still other people. Sort of. And it's just common courtesy, you know." I smiled at them all and a few tendrils of vines appeared at the sides of the building. "There's your ride down," I said, pointing. Spike gave them a dubious look.

"Are you sure they'll hold us?" she asked, eyeing the vines suspiciously.

"Course I am," I replied. "Just walk over to them, and trust me." All of them gave me doubtful looks but did as I said, walking to the edge of the building where the vines were clinging to the wall. Willow opened her mouth to say something, but before she could a few tendrils wrapped themselves around her waist and lifted her into the air.

"Put me down!" she screamed. "Quest, stop it!"

"They're gonna take you down you idiot, now quit screaming," I said, but I made the vines hold her a little tighter than was strictly necessary, just for funsies. Vines also wrapped themselves around Xavier, Nero and Spike's waists and they too were lifted into the air. Xavier whooped and grinned, but the other two looked uncomfortable as the vines carried them down to the street, where several passers-by were staring at them in astonishment.

"You didn't see this," said Spike, power emanating from her voice. "You will carry on walking past. Nothing interesting happened to you in this street. You have never seen us before, nor have you seen large vines up the sides of buildings or a girl with wings."

"We didn't see this," they said together. "We will carry on walking past. Nothing interesting-"

"Okay, there's no need to repeat everything I say," interrupted Spike. The people walked off down the street and disappeared around the corner. I flew down from the skyscraper and landed next to them as the vines unwound themselves from the waists of the others and shrank back into the ground, leaving no signs they were ever there apart from a few tiny holes in the tarmac. My wings disappeared as I folded them in to my back, and I smiled at the others.

"Right, time to find a home!" I said brightly, grinning at Xavier, who was practically shivering with excitement. "I'm thinking a nice abandoned apartment building somewhere, then we can do it up all nice and shmancy."

"Why can't we just go to a hotel or something? Spike can make illusions of money to get us in," said Willow, giving me a dirty look.

"No, Willow, that's not right," said Spike. "I won't do that. I think Quest's idea is a good one; we can find an abandoned or dilapidated building somewhere, then do it up ourselves."

"That would be so cool! It would be, like, our super secret hero hideout lair!" said Xavier, bouncing up and down. "And Quest could do it up with flowers and stuff, and I could make lights and heat and stuff, and I could get us running water, and Spike could put up a forcefield around it to stop bad guys getting in, and then that would be really awesome!" He turned to look at us. "Can we do that? Please please please please please?"

"I think it's a good idea," said Spike. "Nero?"

"I don't see why not," he replied. "It'd be a lot harder to trace us, and we could do it up however we wanted. If we got some money we could buy furniture and stuff, I could levitate it up there and give us any electricity we needed." He looked around at all of us. "So, that the plan?"

"Yeah!" said Xav, grinning.

"Now we just need to find an abandoned apartment building, take control of it and do it up," said Willow drily.

"Let's go," said Spike. "Hey Quest, I have an idea that might just work rather than having to make a bunch of duplicates."

"Uh huh?"

"You know you can give yourself wings, right?"

"Yeah," I replied suspiciously, trying to figure out where the conversation was going.

"Well, I was thinking, do you think you could somehow give us wings, you know, like temporarily?"

"I can try," I said. "But I'm not making any promises."

I closed my eyes and soon felt my own wings emerging, but I concentrated harder and reached out to touch the person nearest to me's face, willing them to grow wings as well. I heard the others gasp, and I opened my eyes to see Nero standing there, gazing in amazement at the magnificent raven black wings extending from his back. They were so black that they looked as though they had blue highlights when the light hit them, and I grinned at him. His answering lopsided grin made my heart skip a beat, but I ignored it and gestured for Xavier to step closer to me, then I closed my eyes again and touched his shoulder lightly. When I opened my eyes I saw a pair of shiny light brown wings attached firmly to Xav's back, which he moved experimentally.

"That's so cool," he whispered, smiling at me.

"I know right," I replied, closing my eyes again, but not before gesturing for Spike to come closer. I concentrated hard on extending my power to yet another person, then touched Spike's shoulder, opening my eyes at the same time. She now had beautiful silvery-grey wings, which she twitched slightly, testing if she could move them. Finally I gestured for Willow to step forwards and, glaring at her, I closed my eyes and concentrated hard before touching her on the arm. When I opened my eyes again I couldn't help smiling at my success; Willow had a pair of brown wings the same colour as her hair, which looked oversized, just like everyone else's, but were big enough to carry her. I had managed to extend my powers to four other people. I turned away and was about to launch myself into the air when Willow spoke up.

"You idiot! You've given me the worst wings of the lot!" she hissed, stretching her wings out and looking at them in disgust.

"Excuse me?" I demanded, spinning around to glare at her. "They are wings. They are for flying. You can fly. I don't know what you're complaining about! I even matched them to your hair colour! What more did you want?"

"They're way too big!" replied Willow. "I look like a freak!"

"Newsflash: you are a freak! That's why we're here!" I shouted. "And they're the right size to carry you! Unless you haven't noticed, birds are kinda a lot smaller than humans, or even mutant freaks!" Then I narrowed my eyes and took a step closer to her so I was right in her Personal Space, and I looked down at her (thank God for being tall). "This is taking a whole lot of effort and it would make my life a hell of a lot easier if I had one less person to concentrate on, and if you make me mad, I'm not focusing on keeping your wings in existence, I'm focusing on being mad, and that would end badly for you when you fell hundreds of feet to your death!"

"Let's go," said Nero, clearly trying to diffuse the situation. Spike nodded, and I looked up and down the street.

"We should have just enough room," I said, jogging to one end of the street. The others followed me, then I turned around and sprinted back along the road, jumping into the air with only a few feet left and soaring up into the sky. I circled back to watch the others take off, then as they joined me I began to fly towards a building I had spotted in the distance.

"I see a building that looks okay over there," I shouted, pointing in the general direction of the building, knowing that the others wouldn't be able to see it yet. When we got to the building my heart sank; it would have been perfect if it wasn't for the sign on the fence around it saying Soon to be demolished.

"What about over there?" asked Xav, pointing to a small apartment block that looked deserted.

We wheeled around and headed towards the building he had pointed out. I grinned as we approached it; it was dilapidated and the top floor was half destroyed, but it was in a rough neighbourhood and probably wouldn't be demolished for years, so I motioned for them to land.

I touched down lightly and ran a few steps to get my balance, but the others had never flown before and landed a lot more clumsily: Xavier landed and promptly fell over, Spike thumped down and turned her ankle, and Willow angled herself too far forward and landed painfully on her stomach. I tried to stifle a laugh as I watched Willow pick herself up, the grazes on her face and hands already healing. Nero landed silently beside me and smiled at me again, folding his wings in. I touched him on the shoulder and they disappeared, giving me one less thing to worry about. In turn I touched Spike, Xavier and Willow, and with each pair of wings that dissolved my headache lessened slightly, but even when I removed my own wings my head was still pounding.

"Let's check the place out," said Spike. "Nero and Quest, you have the best camouflage, you go first."

We nodded and I adopted my chameleon skin again, watching as Nero gathered shadows around himself until he looked like one himself. He nodded to me and the two of us found the stairs to go into the actual building. On the top floor we found that it had been a penthouse suite and that all the internal walls had crumbled apart from a smaller room in the corner which turned out to be a large bathroom, complete with shower.

Nero gave me thumbs up and we went down to the next floor, checking out each apartment in turn. We found a few drunken squatters, but they just mumbled something unintelligible and passed out. I shrugged and the two of us made their way back to the roof where the others were waiting.

"The top floor is basically just one room apart from a big bathroom," Nero informed them. "Seems perfect."





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