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All of the groups congregated at the large, open style food court where all the restaurants were located. There was a large mix of foods so there was a nice variety of food to choose from. Rikki's group and Dan's group sat next to each other.

"So, why are you here again?" Rikki asked the girl with Dan.

"Go ahead," she said, "tell them." She pulled out a large hamburger and she took a bite.

"I sorta… uh… got her… fired," Dan said blushing, then he took a large bite out of his large cheeseburger.

"How'd you do that?" Luuk asked eating some Chinese food with chopsticks.

"The game throwing."


"But it's cool," she said. "Your life seems way more interesting that that stupid dead-end job. And I thought America would be great."

"Well, be prepared for a crapload of disappointments," Dan said finishing his food. He stopped, noticing that he was being given weird looks. Some human and wildcat hybrid walked by the table and had heard what Dan had said. Judging by the color of the fur on his face, Rikki guessed that this person was a cross between a human and a cheetah.

"Hey!" he said walking over to the table. "You gotta problem with America, son?" the cheetah-man asked him with a threatening tone.

"N-no," Dan quivered.

"No, what?"

"No, sir." The hybrid backed up and pointed to his cat-like eyes, then he pointed at Dan's eyes, then he walked away.

"Nationalist," Lotus scoffed under her breath, loud enough for them to hear.

"What the hell was that?" Rikki asked.

"A Hybrid," a woman said. Dan turned and saw Ms. McCracken. "Artificially given a gift. It's not a true gift though, if you ask me."

"Uh, okay," Dan said with some fear in his voice still.

"Don't mind them. They distrust normal humans."

"You mean normal humans with Gifts, right?"

"Yeah. They would kill a regular human."

"So, why so distrustful?"

"If you pay any attention in Ms. Martinez's class, you'd know. The relationships between the Gifted and Hybrids has been… shall we say… stormy… for the past few hundred years."


"Yes, and with all this discrimination and hate crimes it only makes matters worse."

"I've never heard of the problem," Suzy said.

"That's because it's usually concentrated in cities like this."

"Wait, there's more cities filled with Gifted people?" Cass asked.

"Yes," Ailsa said. "There's actually quite a lot. Some aren't as hidden as others, and some are so obvious that you wouldn't even know it."


"Yes. Now stay away from Hybrids. All of you."

"Yes, ma'am," the groups said.

"I can't believe that Jack didn't go over these with you." She sighed and walked off over to Jack.

"Yes," he said. "You're right. I didn't go over Hybrids with them." He sighed. "I should have told them."

"Why didn't you? A student was physically threatened by a Hybrid. This is something that cannot be allowed."

"Ailsa, please. I may have forgotten."

"Jack, the Order will not be pleased when they hear about this."

"Then we won't tell them."

"They will find out somehow. They always do."

"I know. Did you tell the students about Hybrids?"

"Yes, Jack. I have."

"Thank you, Ailsa," he said. She didn't respond. They continued with their lunch. After lunch, they still had a few hours left to spend downtown. Rikki's group continued to go into stores that they thought would be interesting.

Later that afternoon.

"Well, it's almost 5," Rikki declared, looking at his watch. They were walking back toward the bus station. They then passed by the gift shop that was owned by Damianus and Emmalyn.

"Wait," Aoi said. Rikki stopped walking.

"What is it?" he turned and asked but Aoi was already inside the shop. Rikki stepped inside and saw that she was buying that strange figure she was staring at earlier. He groaned. "Aoi, are you serious?"

"What?" she asked.

"You're buying that thing?"

"I like it."


"Well what?"

"I'm sorry, I just don't trust the damn thing." He stepped back outside. By then she was done paying and Emmalyn gave her the change.

"Thanks," Aoi said to them with a wave.

"No, thank you," Damianus said.

"Take care," Emmalyn said as the door closed behind her.

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