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Chapter 7

“…shows determination is all I’m saying.”

“Determination maybe. But he almost killed the girl!”

“We won’t know for sure until we know if words were exchanged. However, we did see the whole thing so Nightwalker are to blame for instigating the fight.”

Leith heard these words as he regained consciousness. He tried to sit up and view his surroundings.

“Ungh.” He voiced, putting his hand to his head.

Leith’s head exploded with pain as he felt hands pushing him to lay back down.

“Ah. He’s conscious.” A voice said.

Leith heard feet shuffling before he was directly addressed.

“Hello Leith.” The voice said again. “It’s President Snow. Don’t worry, you’re in the infirmary and safe.”

Leith closed his eyes, alarm draining from his face. He recalled the events that he last remembered. The limp body of Anna pinned against the wall, dangling in his hand and the rage that had consumed him. Leith had never experienced anything like that before.

He now realized that President Snow was talking to him again.


Leith’s eyes flicked open and he replied, “Yes President?”

“What happened to make you so determined to hurt Anna? We, Mr. Williams and I, saw the whole thing unfold from the viewer’s dock. But we don’t know if anything was said. What happened?” The president questioned softly.

Leith tightly shut his eyes, unsuccessfully trying to hold back tears. Not wanting to break down in front of these two men, Leith took deep breaths and stabilized his breathing before answering the question.

“She insulted my parents.” Leith finally said. “She said she wasn’t surprised at how weak I was because they…”

Leith failed to finish his sentence as a new wave of tears flooded down his cheek. The President thoughtfully stroked his beard, not needing Leith to finish the sentence to know what he was going to say. Mr. Williams also seemed to think about Leith’s words and jumped with a start.

“Snow!” He exclaimed. “Do you think Leith has the potential to…” he started.

“Not now Paul!” President Snow interjected. “And not here. We can discuss that later after we deal with this.”

Realizing the wisdom in his words, Mr. Williams apologized and retreated to a corner of the room. President Snow lost himself in thought once again.

What Anna had done was the worst thing she possibly could have done. She hurt Leith at one of his most vulnerable points, and as a result, sent Leith into a rage that turns the most rational people into monsters.

However, not everybody can use the rage like Leith had used it. Leith bent the rage to his will, using it to fuel whatever desire he had. At the time, all Leith wanted was to destroy Anna, no matter the cost. He would have succeeded if there was no intervention. And yet…

Snow found himself marvelling at Leith’s feat. Against all odds, in a spot where he should have lost, Leith found a way to overcome the challenge presented to him. It was impressive that Leith could use the power that had consumed him. He had potential to unlock and utilize the Shadow Final Form.

“No.” President Snow thought. “The Forms should be kept secret until there is more proof Leith can handle it.”

Making his decision on what the next step would be, the President brought himself back to the present. Glancing down at Leith, he noticed that he had drifted into a fitful sleep.

“He must be exhausted.” He thought.

Mr. Williams caught his eye and motioned to meet him outside. Once outside, they both took a deep breath, waiting for the other to voice their thoughts first.

Mr. Williams broke the silence. “Well now we know that Leith was justified in his actions. However scary the event was, she did deserve it.”

A sigh escaped President Snow. “Yes.” He said. “Leith was justified.”

“How do we proceed from here?” Mr. Williams inquired.

“We keep the Forms a secret from Leith and the rest of Starlight and Nightwalker. There is no need to make them power hungry or sad if they can or can’t use the Forms.” Was the reply. “As for Anna.” He continued. “She needs to understand how bad her actions really were. She is fortunate to be still breathing.”

“Will you let her continue her training?” Paul asked with concern.

“I see no reason why she can’t.” the President replied. “She has worked hard over the past six months and while her character may need tweaking, she does have potential.”

Mr. Williams nodded in agreement.

“Besides.” President Snow started again, turning down the corridor. “We need all the people we can get if Veltron comes back.”

Caught off guard, Mr. Williams tried to see his old friend’s thoughts in his eyes. “What are you thinking?” he thought to himself.

“Anyways. I’ll see you later Paul.” Snow said while walking away.

Puzzled, Mr. Williams tried to bring his thoughts together. Was Snow afraid of Veltron coming back?

For the umpteenth time, Crystal paced in front of Jessica. Rolling her eyes, Jessica said, “Crystal, please just sit down. We are all worried and there is nothing we can do right this moment except wait.”

Jake, Crystal and Jessica were all gathered in Ben’s room. After a fitful nights rest for all of them, they were informed that their training was postponed, no doubt due to the events of the previous night. Now they gathered together to wait for news of Leith.

Crystal, as expected, was having the hardest time waiting. Ben could see on her face the worry that she tried to hide about the wellbeing of her boyfriend. After several attempts to glean information about how he was doing, all they had found out was that he was being treated and nobody was allowed to see him.

All of this resulted in the pacing, and while understandable, did seem to bring the anxiety levels of everybody up.

“Jessica is right.” Ben said. “Try to sit and be patient. We will get through this soon.”

Crystal sighed and apologized.

“I’m sorry Jessica.” She said. “I’m just so worried about him. But I guess we all are.”

Even though Jessica and Crystal were still not best friends, they were teammates. The fight that took place the previous night put a whole new perspective on their relationship. The willingness to help each other strengthened their friendship.

“It’s okay.” Jessica responded. “I know how much Leith means to you and we all have that extra special person.” She smiled at Ben, knowing he was her special person, though nobody else explicitly knew. Ben returned the smile, putting a flutter in her heart.

The room went silent as Crystal tried to calm herself down. Jake sprawled across the floor while Jessica moved to sit on Ben’s lap. Together, they provided silent company as time ticked on.

“Guys.” Jake ended up saying. Although it as in a normal voice, the silence that they were enduring made the remark seem like a shout.


“Why do you think Leith acted the way he did?” Realizing he wasn’t going to get an answer, Jake elaborated. “I mean, why did he try to kill her? We all saw the fight play out. He had her by the neck.”

“I think there are a lot of things that happened last night that we don’t understand.” Jessica softly said.

“Like why President Snow was there?” Ben asked. “Was he watching the whole time, did Nightwalker really ask us there or were they asked to go too?”

“Yeah.” Jessica said. “Like those.”

Crystal remained silent as Jake continued to talk.

“As strange as things were, think about it. Somehow Leith goes from a position where is beaten, to overwhelming Anna and about to kill her? It doesn’t make any sense.” He said exasperated.

“Perhaps there are things about elements that our teachers haven’t told us about yet. We should ask the next chance we get.” Jessica suggested.

Through her tears, Crystal thought back to Mrs. Grace. Her words rang in her head.

“The user of a Final Form must be in true desperation.”

Leith was in desperation, but true desperation? Besides, he hadn’t been taught the Form, had he?

Many uncertain things began to build in Crystal’s mind as more tears streamed down her face. The others, not knowing how best to help her, brought her to lie down and covered her with a blanket. Exhausted, Crystal fell asleep.

“Crystal. Crystal wake up.”

Groggily, Crystal tried to pry her eyes open and strained to see who was shaking her. Her eyes still half open, Crystal saw Jessica kneeling next to her, gently shaking her awake.

“What’d I miss?” Crystal said, struggling not to fall back asleep.

Giving a light laugh, Jessica said, “Not much actually. It’s 4 o’clock but we’ve done nothing but wait until 2 minutes ago when we’ve been asked to go see President Snow.”

Immediately, Crystal sat up, fully awake. She rubbed her eyes and said, “Thanks for waking me up Jessica. Do you think I can see Leith to?’

“We asked that and there is a chance we can see him.” Jessica responded with a smile.

Together, the girls got up and prepared to walk out the door.

“By the way.” Crystal started. “Where are Jake and Ben?”

“They left shortly after you fell asleep. Even though it’s Ben’s room, they felt it best to give us some space and let you rest.” Jessica explained while opening the door.

They exited the room and met Ben and Jake with a guard who were waiting patiently in the hall.

“Let’s go!” Crystal exclaimed.

The guard motioned for them to follow him and led the group down corridors and paths that they did not know existed. Area X seemed to be an endless maze of corridors and tunnels and the extent of the base surprised the teens.

After what seemed like an eternity of wandering, the guard came to a stop in front of a door. He opened it and motioned the teens to go inside. They entered what seemed to be a lobby and were greeted by Mr. Williams and the President.

“Good afternoon.” The President said. “Thank you guys for being patient and waiting to meet me. I’m sorry for postponing your training but everything will soon be explained. What do you guys want to hear first?”

The words had barely left the President’s mouth before Crystal blurted, “Is Leith okay?”

Mr. Williams smiled at the girl’s concern and worry shown on her face. A quick scan of the other three teens showed that they were also concerned for Leith. Mr. Williams was proud, as the team he had put together was starting to grow a connection deeper then friendship. He realized the President was starting to answer Crystal’s question and brought his thoughts to the present.

“Leith,” Snow started. “is not in the best of conditions. He is going to survive but he sustained many wounds. He will be kept here in the infirmary for a couple more days and then he can return to his normal routine.”

Crystal, still concerned, asked again. “But he’s alright?”

The president gave her a reassuring smile and gently said, “Yes. He’ll be alright.”

Now satisfied that Leith as in no immediate danger, Crystal relaxed.

“Any other questions?” Mr. Williams asked, giving the teens another chance to ask anything they wanted to know.

Ben took the opportunity and asked, “What exactly happened last night? Why were you guys there?”

“You can answer this one Paul.” President Snow said.

Mr. Williams took a step forward and began a shortened explanation of what happened the previous night.

“It’s a pretty long story so I shall summarize it for you. We had heard from the Nightwalker instructors that they were planning to pick a fight with you guys, so we just made sure we were there before anybody else. We wanted to make sure nothing got out of hand. We didn’t stop the fight from happening because we wanted to see how you guys handled the situation. I must say, we were quite impressed.”

Mr. Williams paused and Jake spoke up.

“If you were watching the whole thing, why did you stop us from helping Leith? You allowed him to take a beating from Anna!” he almost screamed.

“That was my decision.” The President quickly said. “I wanted to see how he dealt with the situation. Turns out that he is potentially more powerful then I first thought.”

Jake exploded. “He could have been killed or permanently injured!”

Snow just shook his head. “Leith’s life was not in any danger. Anna would not have killed Leith, of that I am certain.”

Still not completely satisfied, Jake was cut off from protesting further by a nurse who walked into the lobby.

“He is conscious and stable if you would like to see him Mr. President.” She said, expecting a response.

“Thank you.” Snow said. “Would you teens like to see him?”

Letting out a squeal, Crystal exclaimed, “Yes!”

The others agreed with her so President Snow motioned for the nurse to lead the way. She brought them to a secluded room at the back, and before letting them in she said, “Leith is conscious, but please do not aggravate him. He’s been hard enough to stabilize.”

The group filed into the room and found a single bed with Leith in it. He was sitting half up and had bandages wrapped around his torso and arms. He sat with his eyes closed, opening them upon hearing somebody approaching. He smiled, happy to see his friends again. His eyes landed on Crystal and he gave her his special smile that he reserved only for her.

Crystal smiled back, relieved to see Leith and asked, “How are you?”

“I’m fine.” He replied. “Except my torso and arms hurt.”

“That’s to be expected.” President Snow said. “you sustained quite a few injuries.”

Leith gave a slight nod of his head and closed his eyes, laying back in bed, and sighed.

“It’s good to see you guys again.” He said. “While I’ve been laying here, I’ve been wondering if I made the right decision. Last night, any one of you could have been injured. They weren’t going to hold back.

Wanting to give the friends some time alone, Mr. Williams said, “We’ll see you outside once your done talking with him.”

President Snow then walked out of the room with Mr. Williams and shut the door behind him.

“I’m sorry.” Leith said again to his friends. “I made a poor decision last night. I’m just glad I was hurt and not any of you.”

Immediately, Leith was bombarded with comments telling him that it was okay and that it was not his fault.

“It isn’t your fault Leith.”

“You made the right decision.”

“I don’t think you made a mistake.”

“Leith. You take too much upon yourself.” Ben said. He continued. “Nothing that happened last night was your fault. We weren’t going to fight until you were provoked. You handled the situation to the best of your ability.”

“I suppose not EVERYTHING was my fault.” Leith agreed. “But some parts were my fault.”

Crystal moved to sit on the edge of Leith’s bed and took his hand into hers.

“What parts do you think are your fault?” She inquired, gentleness emanating from her voice.

Leith shut his eyes tight, fighting back tears as he remembered Anna’s limp body, held captive by him. Struggling to find words, he finally managed to say, “I lost control.”

Understanding which part of the incident Leith was referring to, his friends asked him why. After about a minute’s silence, Leith was able to stop his silent sobs and calm himself enough to explain what his friends had witnessed.

“I didn’t just overcome Anna’s power.” He began. “I completely destroyed it. I lost control and all I wanted to do, all I could feel, was rage.”

Confused at what Leith was trying to convey, Jake asked, “What happened Leith? What made you lose control?”

Leith opened his watery eyes and caught Jake’s gaze. As he spoke, Jake could feel the pain and anguish in every word.

“She called us weak. And she said…” Leith’s voice caught in his throat. “She said she wasn’t surprised because our parents lost to Veltron.”

Unable to control his emotions any longer, Leith felt a fresh wave of tears stream down his face. His friends moved toward him and all sat on the end of his bed. Crystal laid down next to Leith. She cuddled him, being careful not to hurt him. The group did not have to speak as the image of last night unfolded behind their eyes.

They saw Anna standing over Leith, yet unable to keep him down as he forced her back. He had her pinned to the wall, slowly draining the life out of her. “The evening suddenly makes sense.” Ben thought. All of their questions, he realized looking back, revolved around that one moment. The moment where the balance of life and death was held in Leith’s hand.

And he felt sorry for him. Ben could not imagine how scary it would be to look back on a moment and realize that whether or not someone lived or died depending on his whim. He could not imagine how Leith must feel, knowing that he would have killed Anna if he was not stopped. Anything that he or the rest of Starlight could do to help Leith, they would do it. Of that, he was certain.

Jessica strengthened Ben’s thought when she said, “We will do anything to help you Leith. You don’t have to go through this alone. We’re a team.”

Murmuring agreement came from Jake and Crystal. Starlight sat in silence, giving company to Leith in a time where he needed it most. Crystal ran her hand through Leith’s hair, trying to calm down the soft sobs that escaped his lips. They could hear Leith’s breathing, which was choppy at first, but began to slow and steady the closer he got to sleep. Eventually, Leith drifted to sleep, exhausted. Noting that little else could be done at this point, Ben whispered, “Let’s meet outside.”

Nods marked consent as they tiptoed out of the room. Crystal followed once she gave Leith a gentle kiss on the cheek.

“Goodnight my love.” She whispered before joining her friends.

President Snow closed the door behind Crystal and looked expectantly at the teens.

“Well?” Mr. Williams inquired. “How did it go?”

“We got the information we were looking for, even if we don’t like what we found.” Ben said, his face grim. “If possible, I’d like to avoid anything to do with Nightwalker.

“That, I can arrange.” The president said. “At least for now, you as Starlight will eat separately from everybody else and will be provided with back routes to get to and from your training. It’s best you aren’t subject to the gossip of the rest of the base.”

Mr. Williams added extra detail to how things would continue. “Tomorrow morning, your training will continue. You’ll be escorted by a guard to where you will be eating and you’ll be shown the routes to and from your training chambers.”

Silence settled over the corridor as the teens took in what was happening. The past day seemed like a blur and they felt as if the clash with Nightwalker happened a mere moment ago.

President Snow broke the silence and gave a helpful suggestion. “It’s been a long and tiring day. Perhaps it is a good idea to get some rest and be ready for training tomorrow.”

Agreeing with the President, Jake said, “Let’s go, I’m tired.”

Mr. Williams summoned the guard and asked him to show Starlight back to their rooms. Back through the many pathways, the guard expertly navigated the teens back to their rooms. Taking leave with a bow, he wandered off leaving Jake, Ben, Jessica and Crystal standing in front of their rooms.

Never before had they considered what it would be like to be without Leith. Now it was glaringly obvious how much they missed him. Staring at his door, everybody felt the hole that Leith once filled. Ben, not wanting this mood to affect everybody took charge.

“We all miss Leith. But let’s do our best to improve and this includes getting a good night’s rest. I’ll see you all in the morning at normal breakfast time.” He said.

Nodding their agreement, everybody turned into their rooms for the night. Although it was only 7 P.M. they were all exhausted. Crystal couldn’t help herself and whispered, “Goodnight Leith.” Before turning into her room and collapsing on the bed.

Light reflected off of Crystal’s mirror as she made sure she looked presentable for the day. She had on black sweatpants and a light blue T-shirt. After being told by Mrs. Grace that she could wear anything, provided she was comfortable and able to work hard, she reverted to that outfit to train in. Satisfied that she was presentable, Crystal walked out of her room to find the other three already waiting for her.

“Good morning.” Jake said to Crystal.

“Good morning.” She said with a smile. “I feel really refreshed from the extra sleep I got last night. I might actually be ready for the day today.”

The rest agreed and just start chit chatting. It seemed like everybody was putting on their brave face, showing they weren’t affected by Leith being gone even though they missed him greatly.

Their conversation was cut short by the appearance of a guard who asked them to follow him. He brought them to a small dining room and ushered them inside. Already seated, was President Snow. He waved them over and told them to get some breakfast.

They helped themselves to the food and sat down at the table with the President.

“I hope you don’t mind eating with me.” Snow said. “It’s the only other dining area in the base.”

“I don’t mind.” Jake said as he stuffed some eggs into his mouth.

Little more conversation was held as the group finished their food and sat respectfully, not sure what they should do.

Constantly thinking about him, Crystal asked, “will we be able to see Leith today after training?”

“I will make sure you guys are able to see Leith anytime you want after training has finished today. Just ask to be taken to the infirmary by one of the guards and you’ll be escorted there.” President Snow assured.

Nods from Crystal and the rest of Starlight voiced their consent.

“So.” The President said, finishing his food. “Who is ready for training?”

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