Chapter 20: Everyone knows who I am
“You’re a fool, Harry Potter, and you will lose everything.”
~ Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort)
Okay, so we might’ve been three against two, but our side consisted of my partially injured girlfriend, my inexperienced sidekick, and I, the one who wasn’t paying attention and got knocked over within the first few seconds.
I sat up and rubbed my head. Andromeda sure hit hard.
Elise and Andromeda were currently in a duel. They jabbed and punched and kicked and dodged. They were moving so fast that it was hard to see exactly what moves they were doing, it also didn’t help that Elise kept teleporting them around the room occasionally trying to disorientate Andromeda.
(I once asked Elise where she learned her Delinquent fighting moves, because, let’s face it, Elise the daughter of two upper class doctors who kept her sheltered her whole life should find it hard to practice karate. She claimed all she did was watch karate movies and YouTube videos.)
(I was in awe at how much she learned by just doing that.)
(Then again, she could’ve been lying.)
Over to my other side, Aden and Dylan were throwing things at each other. Aden throwing cafeteria tables and chairs, Dylan throwing fireballs and flaming debris.
I was about to help Aden when I saw him climb under a table for cover. Dylan jumped on top and started to blast the sides as Aden scooted further back. I was just setting off that way when Aden suddenly lift the table above his head and shot both it and Dylan into the wall.
Aden seemed to be doing well enough.
I shot an electrical blast at Andromeda while her back was to me. She moved at the last second and the blast went over her head. I cursed under my breath as she slowly turned to meet my gaze with a sickening smile.
“Oliver, nice try.”
It was the first real confirmation that I’d had of Andromeda knowing my real name, and it had the desired effect. While I was in shock, she used her telekinesis to throw me against the wall.
(How many times could one super be knocked against a wall before they develop brain damage?)
Elise teleported to Andromeda mid punch, catching her unawares. Andromeda was the one who went flying now. Angered, she tried to lift Elise in the air, but she just teleported from her grip to the other side of the room.
That was when I realized that Elsie was the only one of us who stood a real chance against Andromeda. She couldn’t be thrown around by an invisible force if she could teleport out of its grip.
I got up again to help Elise, but she shook her head and gestured towards a new gaping hole in the wall. Dylan and Aden had disappeared, and I was betting they went through that hole into the hallway. I nodded back at Elise and headed after them.
It was easy to see which direction they had gone, the charred paper on the walls proved to that, but I was concerned about the other side of the hall, where the main doors to the school were chained shut. I walked closer and saw that they weren’t just chained, but melded shut. Dylan must’ve melted the doors together, denying the student body of an escape from the school.
It had only been around five minutes since Dylan first disrupted the school, so I guess we had about thirty before the cavalry got here. Eldredge Academy contained the kids of just about every important political figure and rich person in DC. Heck, we had the President’s daughter at our school.
I quickly ran to my old classroom. I found my earpiece in my bag and connected it to my ear. Eric’s voice immediately reached my ears.
“Dude, thank god you’re on. You’re school is under attack.”
“I know. Eric, I need you to slow down the cops. They’re only going to get hurt. Also, try and block the cell signal out of the school. We do not need concerned parents alerting the media of the attack. Use the private line to alert the secret service that the president’s daughter is fine and unharmed.”
I heard typing on the other end and assumed Eric was following orders. “Anything else?”
“Nope.” I concluded, turning off the earpiece for now and heading back out to where Aden and Dylan had run off to.
I had to find the other students and make sure they were safe first. If they were locked in, the faculty probably herded them all to the auditorium. But I knew there would be a couple of stragglers in the halls. I had to get them out of the way of the fighting. There would be no civilian casualties today.
The charred walls stopped at the entrance to the band hall. Now, Eldredge didn’t really offer any fine arts because of their focus on academics, so the band hall was pointless. It was left over from when Eldredge used to offer fine arts, but now it was just an empty large room used to store old technology and extra chairs.
I opened the door and saw no immediate sign of Dylan or Aden. Instead, I saw three people I knew huddling behind a stack of chairs in the corner.
“Ian?” I questioned. His bright red hair stood out against the horrid green paint on the walls.
“Olly?” He breathed a sigh of relief, coming out of hiding. “It’s so good to see you.”
For a moment I had forgotten that I hadn’t put on my White Lightning suit. I never put it back in my backpack after a late night save yesterday. At least they hadn’t caught me parading around as a superhero.
“Why?” I questioned, looking over at Heather and Mary, who were just getting out from behind the chairs.
Heather frowned. “After the fire alarm, everyone went running. The teachers tried to haul everyone into the auditorium, but I got mixed up along the way. I even lost my secret security detail. Mary and I found Ian and we ran in here when we saw the flaming guy running in our direction. He came in here, but went out the other door. But when we first saw the guy, back by our classroom, I saw you actually run after him. What were you thinking?”
I sighed, playing at nonchalance while my mind was urging me to go after Aden and Dylan. “I thought I could play hero. Tyler was already herding everyone out of the way, so I wanted to make sure the flaming guy didn’t hurt any other students.”
“Do you know where Nicole is?” Mary asked quickly, eyes wide.
I shook my head. Right now she was the only one unaccounted for out of my friends.
Mary frowned and stayed quiet.
“We’ll get out of this soon. Soon my dad will have sent a special task force to the school.” Heather spoke, mainly to herself.
I shook my head. “The flaming guy melted the doors shut, and you know this school is built like a fortress. It’ll take them a few minutes to break down the doors, and that’s if they can get here fast enough.”
Ian shook his head, concentrating. “There’s something off about this. Whoever this flaming guy is, I’m betting he’s Inferno. He had to have been a student based on his height. Why would he go crazy and burn up in flames unless White Lightning or Kratos was here? They have to be here, which means we’re not alone. But where exactly are they? I don’t see them shooting Inferno down.”
I shrugged, fidgeting like crazy as I tried not to go follow where Aden and Dylan must’ve ran off to.
Heather sighed. “We don’t have time for your conspiracy theories, Ian. There is a super villain inside the school, and we’re alone against him.”
He shook his head again. “No. We can’t be. Why would he just attack at random? It makes no sense.”
“I don’t know, maybe it’s just because he’s a crazy villain?” Heather speculated.
“Yeah,” I agreed, “Super villains are unpredictable.”
And that was when Aden came running through the side door, out of breath.
“Oh, god. Oliver, there you are. We have a serious problem. Dylan is coming right after me. I might’ve angered him a bit as well.” He said as quickly as he could. And then he noticed the others in the room. “Oh.”
I cursed under my breath. Great.
Then Dylan came in the room, flames covering his hands and hair. “Dashner, you’re getting what’s coming to you.”
I didn’t think, I just placed myself between my friends and Dylan. I couldn’t use my powers while Ian, Mary, and Heather were in the room, but I also couldn’t let Dylan hurt any of them. They were innocent.
“Oh, it looks like Storm is playing hero, as usual. Let’s see. Which of those friends behind you don’t know the truth? I’m guessing a good number of them.”
I sneered and stepped over, covering my friends more. “You’re not hurting any more innocent people today, Dylan. You’re going down.”
Dylan laughed in my face. “Yes, and what are you going to do against me with them in the room?”
I took a step forward, but Aden dashed over first. He hit Dylan with a quick punch to his stomach, launching him across the room. I rushed to help Aden, but a hand on my arm stopped me first.
“Olly, what are you doing?”
I pressed my lips together. There was nothing I could do, or at least nothing Ian knew about.
“I have to help Aden.”
Ian looked at me like I was crazy. “Aden just attacked a super villain. We have to get out of here while we can. When he’s done with Aden, he’s coming straight for us. What can you do anyways? We’re powerless.”
A sudden fire ball hit the wall right above Ian, and the force and heat of the fire forced him back. I stared back at Dylan, who was now maliciously edging towards the heap on the ground that I recognized as Aden. If I didn’t do anything now, he was going to kill Aden.
Dylan’s hands lit on fire and he aimed at Aden’s face. “Say goodbye, geek.”
I thrusted my own palms out and sent an electrical current Dylan’s way. It was so strong that it made the lights flicker, casting a blue light around the room. Dylan was blown back, a smoking circle on his chest and, thankfully, knocked out.
Aden sat up on his elbows and groaned. I hurriedly helped him on his feet. One villain was down, but we still had to deal with Andromeda. I had no idea where she and Elise had gotten to, but I hoped Elise was holding out against her.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
Aden nodded and coughed. “Yeah. We have to go find Elise now. I know she’s strong, dude, but I don’t know how long she can hold off Andromeda.”
I looked back at Ian, who was staring at me in a mixture of shock and hurt. I couldn’t bear to see my best friend stare at me this way. I had to look away.
“What just happened?” Heather asked, giving me her own surprised stare.
“What did it look like?” Ian replied harshly. “Our ‘friend’ is a super.”
I flinched. There was a reason I never wanted Ian to know who I was. If Ian knew that I was White Lightning, he would know that I’d been lying to him for years. I was his best friend, and I didn’t even trust him enough to tell him who I was. But it wasn’t like that. I couldn’t let him get hurt. I could only imagine what he’s thinking of me. He must feel betrayed, an emotion I can’t bear to see on his face. I hated to hurt anyone I loved. He’d even accused me of being White Lightning earlier this week, and I stomped him down. I used the best friend card, hell, I even claimed I’d never lie to him about something as big as this. Maybe it turns out that when you try and protect the ones you love, you only end up hurting them more.
“Let’s go.” I told the room. “It’ll be safer for you all in the auditorium with the others.”
I marched out of the room, Heather, Mary, Ian, and Aden following swiftly.
Mary was the only one who didn’t look at me in shock, more like anger. She had been feeling down and off these past few weeks, so I knew my lying to her must’ve been an even bigger letdown. But, if anything, the anger made her look less broken than she had been for the past weeks.
“You’re White Lightning.” Mary commented.
I nodded, heading down the hall. “Yes.” I turned to face everyone, my face set in stone. “I happen to be a super. Yes, I’ve lied to all of you. Yes, it’s our fault Dylan and Andromeda have the school on lockdown. Yes, I don’t care if any of you hate me. You deserve to for all the secrets I’ve kept from you. Now, can you please refrain from asking questions until we get you all safe?”
No one spoke against me, and even Aden was giving me strange looks. I guess it had something to do with what I’d just done. I revealed my powers to three of my closest friends, and there was no taking it back. Ian would hate me forever. Mary was already moody enough lately and now I added this to her pile. Heather was stuck back in her awed state she had been about me before I first invited her to our table for lunch. It was like we went back to how she was when she first asked me out for coffee, in awe of the popular kid.
Nothing could go back to normal now, and it was all my fault.