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Young Gods: Book One.

By Alex Crisp All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Action

Blurb

This is a world where people have powers, where there are villains, and more importantly, there are heroes. One person trying to be one of these heroes is young Ariel. The United Nations is hosting a new program, the first of its kind, to train people into the best heroes that they can be. But in order to be the best she will have to face challenges and opponents that dwarf anything she's faced before. Faced with all of this against her will she achieve her dream, or go home broken-hearted?

Chapter 1

Ariel felt like there was a cannonball in her stomach. Her legs like jelly, feeling ready to just collapse.

She took a deep breath, let it fill her lungs, her entire body, then let it go. Almost all of her stress left with the breath. But a lot of it stayed with her.

Her hands gripped the straps of her duffel bag tightly. Biting down on her lower lip. Only now realising that she’d been standing in the same spot for at least a minute. Just as she summoned the courage to take a step she looked back.

Standing there, among a crowd of other people she could just make out her grandma. It was kind of easy. Her grandma was small, her white hair like a dollop of whipped cream and a purple cardigan.

But there was nobody else. No Mom or Dad, or even her brothers. Not even any of her friends from school. At least with the latter she could justify it by saying that they needed to get ready for their college courses. Even that was like she was making excuses for them.

That cannonball in her stomach felt a lot colder. Despite dozens of people surrounding her she felt totally alone.

Her grandma waved at her, although the distance made it fuzzy she could make out a smile on the wrinkled face. Well at least there was someone here to support her. That at least felt somewhat nice.

Taking and releasing another deep breath she walked forward. With each step she felt like she was stepping deeper and deeper into a dark pool. Strange and frightening, with no idea what to expect.

Ahead of her the building grew with each step. Not just because she was moving closer, but as if the entire building was actually growing independently. Looking like a massive stone pimple, getting ready to burst on the face of the earth.

Someone knocked into her shoulder.

All anxiety left her, replaced with anger.

She glared up at the person that still hadn’t apologised. The guy was a human-animal hybrid, covered in dull gold fur, a mouth of fangs, and pair of dark glasses sitting starkly on his face.

“Hey, watch it,” she said.

The guy huffed. “Watch yourself, lamb chop.” Then he just carried on.

She stayed, shooting daggers at the furry back. Noting that the guy only wore a pair of dark blue shorts.

“And they say chivalry’s dead,” someone said behind her in a Canadian accent.

She turned and saw a girl about her age wearing a leather jacket and aviator sunglasses. Long auburn hair running down her back. Unlike Ariel, who wore a simple tracksuit, the girl wore jeans and a black shirt with the logo for some band on it.

She felt a smile creep on her face. “I try and not to judge the whole gender based on one guy.”

“Ah, very open minded of you. Unfortunately I’m not so enlightened.”

“I hate to see such prejudice in this day and age.”

“Well, I figure if I assume that all guys are nice, as opposed to jerks, then I’m going to get my little heart broken one too many times.”

“Something along the lines of: can’t disappoint a pessimist?”

The girl tapped her nose, then held out her hand. “Name’s Rebecca by the way.”

Ariel shook the hand. “Ariel.”

“Oh, like the princess.”

“Yep, just minus the tail, singing voice and pale complexion.”

The two of them carried on forward. Around them the stream of people moving at a relative steady pace. One person zoomed with superhuman speed through the crowd. Running back and forth, mocking people for their slow pace.

A few people flew overhead, one of them dropping peanuts on the people below. Some others walked on inhuman legs, some of them weren’t even legs. Despite being surrounded by this world for her entire life she was still amazed at the sight of all these different abilities on display.

“So Ariel, my Yankee neighbour. What’s your deal?”

“My deal?”

“Yeah, you know, super strength, acid breath, glow in the dark, what?”

Ariel almost answered, but right as her mouth opened she closed it and smiled. “It’s a secret.”

“Oh come on, I thought we were friends. I mean we’ve gone back all the way since a minute ago.”

“Well I hate to threaten a strong friendship such as this but I’d rather show it off inside.”

“Damn, I was hoping to get a leg up on the competition. Ah well, no harm. Can’t blame you for playing your cards close to your chest.”

Ariel expected Rebecca to walk away, her investigation thwarted and no need to talk to her. Instead Rebecca put her hands behind her head and carried on. She couldn’t help but find it funny. Not that long ago she was quivering in fear, now she made a friend.

She pointed to one other girl in the crowd, the girl looked Polynesian. “So what do you think her deal is then?”

Rebecca looked at the girl, hummed for a second then answered. “I’m fifty-fifty on either laser eyes or super jumping.”

“Super jumping?”

“Yeah, jumping, but you know…super.”

Ariel laughed, a few people turned to look at her with raised eyebrows. She stopped and felt blood rush to her face. “Okay, how about you, what’s your guess for one million dollars?”

“American or Canadian dollars?”

Rebecca made a face like a half-hearted scowl. “Just answer the question.”

Ariel looked at the girl again, all the super powers that she’d seen running through her mind. “I’m…thinking…fire breath?”

Rebecca shrugged. “Good enough I guess. We’ll find out inside anyway.”

They were getting closer to the entrance. The stream getting closer together, the people in uniforms directing them inside like landing planes.

Ariel pointed to another person. A guy in a blue hoodie, reading a book as he walked. “With that guy I’m thinking he can move things with his mind.”

Rebecca looked at him, considered then said, “Nah, I’d say he’s like some super genius.”

“Oh, like a genius but…you know super?” Ariel said, resisting the urge to jab an elbow into Rebecca’s side.

“No, I’ve just got this skill called hearing,” the guy said, in an English accent. It made the pair of them jump. Just the fact that he didn’t even turn back to talk to them. “Unfortunately it comes with the side effect of hearing people gossip behind your back.”

The guy just carried on walking away, his face never leaving his book. The pair of them stopped, looked at one another and laughed.

Other people continued to stream past them. Giving the pair of them odd looks. When they finally finished Ariel noticed the end of the line was approaching them. The voices of the guys in uniform could actually be heard above the crowd.

“Would people please make their way quietly and orderly!” they shouted on repeat.

The two of them looked at each other.

“You know once we walk through those doors we’ll be enemies,” Rebecca said.

The smile still hadn’t left Ariel’s face. She held out a hand. “Well I hope that if I make any archenemies they’ll be as awesome as you are.”

Rebecca snickered at that and shook her outstretched hand. “I very much doubt that. But we can live in hope.”

After they finished shaking hands they turned and walked through the doors.

The world of superheroes awaited them.

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