The Marked Heroes

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Fantasy Realm

Chapter 18 (v.1) - EIGHTEEN

Submitted: January 14, 2020

Reads: 15

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Submitted: January 14, 2020

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EIGHTEEN

"What?"

"Drake, break through it," said Zach, his voice strong. Hikaru sucked in her breath, staring at him with wide, frightened eyes. She clutched onto Brielle tighter.

"Are you sure?" asked Drake.

"Yes." Zach turned to the man, putting out a hand. "Sir, I need you to step back. It won't be safe."

The man narrowed his eyes, but he nodded. After they were far enough back, Zach gave the command.

"Do it, Drake."

He didn't think about the repercussions. Their safety was all that mattered. He would sacrifice anything, cross any boundary, do whatever it took to save and protect his friends – no matter what.

A cry of power shouted beneath the rubble.

The wall exploded apart. Drake burst forth. Beneath him, curled on the ground, was Jacob. Zach rushed forward, helping him out of the rubble. He was covered in dirt and soot; two trails along his cheeks revealed his tears. Once free of brick and stone, Jacob cradled his arm in his chest.

"It hurts a lot," said Jacob, his voice catching. "I think it's broken."

Zach wrapped his arms around him; the boy began to sob in earnest. "That's it," he whispered. "It's all right."

"Here, I'll take him," said the man. He scooped Jacob into his arms with ease. Zach caught sight of Jacob's wrist. It was swollen and bruised.

"My leg," said Drake, his voice hissing once. His face contorted; he gritted his teeth. A long pole was embedded inside his leg. Blood pooled the ground. Though covered in dirt, Drake's face was ghostly pale. His breathing was labored. "Hang on a minute, I'm gonna…"

He grabbed the pole. Zach's breath caught in his throat.

"Drake, wait—"

A scream tore the air, just as Drake ripped the pole out of his leg. The pole clanged against the ground; Drake slumped back, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.

"Hikaru!" shouted Zach.

There was no time to get Drake to a doctor or other medical aid. If he wasn't healed immediately, losing the leg was the least of his worries: Drake would die.

Hikaru and the man were at his side in seconds. Zach didn't have time to contemplate how helpful this man was to them right now. With Zach and Hikaru's help, the man pulled Drake out of the rubble, lifting him into his arms. In their wake, trails of blood dotted the ground. Once within the shadows of the alleyway, the man set Drake down to rest against a wall beside Sevati. Drake moaned, grimacing in pain. Jacob curled against Sevati's side, while Brielle sat down next to him. Both Jacob and Brielle were shaking, watching the others with glazed eyes.

Hikaru rushed to Drake, kneeling beside him and immediately starting the work of healing his leg. She removed debris and dirt from his flesh, getting the blood to stop soon after. A thin layer of healed skin was over the wound. Drake was still out of it, however. Once he was secure, she moved onto healing Jacob's wrist.

All the while, their visitor watched.

"Sir, I must request that you speak of this experience to no one," said Zach, turning to the man. A solemn air rose among the group. The man's eyes widened slightly as an eyebrow raised. "You know what we are, I'm sure, by now. I…" Zach let out a shaky breath. "I'd hate for something to happen to someone so kind like yourself. If the government gets wind of this, we'll all be in a bad position."

"Haven't you heard?" asked Sevati in a light, yet ominous tone. "They make people disappear for a living."

Zach nodded. "I'm not requesting this just for us," he said softly. "Yes, we'd get in trouble, but… those who reveal anything about our identities go missing. We've seen it firsthand."

A silence lifted between them. The chaos around them still raged on with a vengeance, yet within their group of six and a stranger there was an odd bubble encapsulating them.

The man's expression softened.

"Now I am certain we've met before, said the man with a gentle smirk. The tension eased within Zach's chest, slowly unknotting the pain of fear. "Fate must be directing our meetings, don't you agree?"

Was she?

The man stepped forward. "As we seem to be crossing paths often," he said. The man smiled and held out a hand. "Perhaps it's wise to properly introduce myself: I'm Sebastian Hawke."

Zach slowly extended his hand and clasped the larger one. A strong handshake was met. He stared at the man, stunned by the friendly gesture.

"I'm not the type to go spreading secrets, especially something like this," said Hawke. "And I don't want any trouble for you. You have it hard enough as it is."

This man wasn't abhorred by them.

He knew what they were and he didn't hate them, like everyone else had. There was an openness to him, which was so unlike the cold barrier that everyone held when speaking to any of them. It was such an overwhelming feeling of being accepted. It brought an intense wave of emotion through Zach's being.

He swallowed.

Those eyes were filled with a trustworthy light. However, a powerful aura hovered around the man, forcing Zach to keep his guard up even though he didn't want to do so.

Was there really someone out there who didn't view them as the enemy?

"I'm Zach Bennet."

The smile was tender. "It's nice to meet you, Zach," Hawke said. Something flickered inside the man's eyes, a deep sorrow. Uncomfortable, Zach was unsure what to say. "If I may, your parents?"

Zach shook his head. He gritted his teeth. "We're all we have."

"I'm sorry," whispered Hawke.

"We have each other and that's all that matters," said Zach. "Our parents died years ago. It's not a big deal."

Are you sure about that?

The man's jaw clenched. For a long moment, Zach wondered if he had offended the man. However, a small smile loosened Hawke's expression. He withdrew from the handshake.

"Well, I can't help but think you look like your mother. Hair as red as that must come from her."

Zach inhaled sharply. "Uh, excuse me?" he asked, confused. Wait, hadn't he said he didn't know my Mom? Or is he just guessing?

"But… your eyes. Did they come from your father?"

Becoming even more unsettled, Zach didn't say anything. But he couldn't pull his gaze away from the pair of intense, almost wistful eyes – such emotion filled them.

"I must be going," said Hawke. He glanced towards the others. "Will you and your friends be all right?"

"Yes, thank you," said Zach in a low voice. "For everything."

Hawke merely inclined his head. Zach watched intently as the man walked away. His gaze never left the broad back until it turned a corner to another block of the city. Confusion bled through every particle of his soul. It was foolish. The man wouldn't lie about knowing his mother.

Michael Bennet had hazel eyes; Abigail Bennet had green eyes.

Wherever his eye color came from, it wasn't directly from his father. Zach's pair of blue eyes were more vibrant and crystalline in nature.

An unknown chill slid down his back. It wasn't from a gust of winter wind. He wriggled his back, trying to shake off the uneasy feeling in his chest. There were more pressing matters now than a weird, yet kind stranger.

Hikaru was healing Sevati's sprained ankle after finishing with Jacob's wrist. Blessedly, they were the only ones in the small alleyway, so she could work unimpeded. Zach was about to move towards them, to be at their sides, when his cell phone buzzed in his pocket. He pulled it out and answered the unknown contact.

"Hello?"

There was a pause. Zach frowned, ready to end the call, when a smooth, deep voice cut through the silence. Goosebumps rose on his arms.

"Ah, my little Chief. Having a pleasant afternoon, I hope?"

Every muscle stilled inside Zach's body. A chill raced down his spine. Zach whirled away from his friends; his jaw clenched. He took a moment to take a deep breath, trying to keep his voice from wavering.

"I'm sorry, who is this?"

His mouth went dry. He laced his tongue over his lips.

"Oh, I think you know exactly who this is."

His breath caught in his throat; his heart skipped a beat. It took Zach a long moment to regain his voice; the fear clutched at his chest with a fist of unbending steel. Zach hunched over, walking a number of yards away to gain some privacy and distance from his friends.

"How the hell did you get my number, Falcon?" hissed Zach.

"I have my ways."

Frick.

"What d'you want? Why are you calling me?"

"Oh, I don't know; did you enjoy my recent show? Bit of a blast, don't you think?" There was a hollow chuckle. "Oh, my, how callous of me. Pun wasn't intended. I was hoping for an outing with you. Perhaps a cup of coffee? Oh, but you're a teenager; how about a burger or a slice of pizza?"

This condescending—

"Quit playing games!" snapped Zach, his voice snapping out dangerously. He dropped his tone, hoping the others hadn't heard his outburst. "Death and destruction isn't something to gloat about, you psycho. People are screaming in pain and fear because of this—because of what you've done. How can you not understand?"

His last question came out more of a plea than an accusing demand. He'd been so close to the blast. He'd been so close to losing his own life and the lives of his friends. His hand shook at his ear; his heart thumped like a hammer upon an anvil.

We all could've died.

And no one would've cared.

"What do you want? You want something, don't—"

"Tonight. At midnight. I think I'd fancy a video chat."

"Stop babbling," snapped Zach. "What're you talking about?"

"So cute," drawled Falcon, his breath purring through the phone. "But I'm serious. I want a video chat with you and only you. Midnight. Be alone. Don't worry about how I'll call; just have your laptop open at the right time. You can wear your cute mask, but that's unnecessary."

"What makes you think I'm going to do that?" demanded Zach. "I don't make deals with terrorists—the government doesn't make deals with terrorists."

"Mmm, I suggest you think really hard about how I know your number, little Chief." Zach sucked in his breath, his eyes widening in fear. "Midnight, tonight. Refusal would be most unwise."

The call ended.

His arm dropped like lead, his hand tightly clutching the phone. It shook. Every breath Zach took shuddered his chest. He slowly slid his phone into his pocket. His heart pounded viciously in his chest; he could hear each beat clear and loud within his ears.

"Zach?"

A hand touched his shoulder.

He didn't turn around right away. Finally, he faced Hikaru with a soft, smile on his face. His reply was grim.

"We have to report to the chief."


Author's Notes: Next update will be on Tuesday, Jan 21st!

I love writing villains. So very much.

Should I be worried?

Check out my YouTube channel for all sorts of writing related stuff! Just search Anthezar on YouTube and you'll find me. :D

If you like my writing and would like to support the author, then please consider checking out my Patreon, Anthezar. I have extra chapters ahead of schedule for those who are able and willing. If you want something bigger to sink your teeth into, then consider checking out my other work, Beyond the Alluring Sky, on Amazon.

Thanks for reading! See ya next time! Comments/reviews = much love! ^.^

Anthy


© Copyright 2020 Anthezar. All rights reserved.

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