"Aren't you freezing?" A spiteful voice I recognized as Simon's appeared from the entrace of the cave.
"What're you doing here, Dent?" I said.
"Aww, isn't somebody having a bad day?" Simon mocked me. I shook my head and sat steadily on the rocks. "Oh come on," Simon said. "You can't be serious about staying here forever, right?"
"I ain't moving from this cave for you."
"Oh ho, Gin, I wasn't talking about this cave, I was talking about escaping this damn place."
"You have a plan to escape?" I neared the edge of my seat.
"Dents do not belong in this hellhole."
"Tell me," I urged. I didn't plan to stay here for a second longer than I had to.
"An eye for eye," he said slowly.
"What do you want?"
"Unlike you who's been kissing Jericho's ass," he started to walk around me. I could feel the cold energy emanating out of his body. I was surprised to know he knew about Jericho.
"How?" I interrupted.
He knelt down to me and looked me in the eyes. "Jericho's group is quite... infamous around here." He stood up. "But from what I was saying, I've been learning the ins and outs of this prison." "Give it to me, whaddaya want?" I half-shouted in malice.
Simon smirked. "The walls are barricaded with an invisibe layer of power nullification. Nothing can get through it, not even your power," he stared right at me.
"How... do you know about my powers?" I stood up.
"Oh, I have my sources around here. I've kind of already established myself in this society," he whispered. "Which you clearly haven't." He turned around and walked to the entrance of the cave again.
"A weapon called Dark Accelerator is being built by your group of lunatics," he said. I made a mental note. "I want it."
"And what exactly makes you think I'll help you?"
Simon shrugged. "Oh, just that... Thomas may or may not be in my captive."
"Thomas is not in here," I refused. Impossible. Thomas couldn't be in here.
"D(ent) and E(xter) are two awfully close letters, aren't they - food for thought?" Simon chuckled evilly. "The Baxton Tree, that's where you'll find me," he said, and jumped out of the cave, into the oblivion of the snow. Freezing, but that's just his thing.
"Who was that?" A voice appeared behind me. I buried my head in my hands and sighed regretfully.
"What are you doing here, Alfa?" He walked up to me with the saddest face I ever saw. It might've even been Alaric-worthy.
"Please, Gin, we really need you," he pleaded with tears at the brim of his eyes. I couldn't help but look away.
"Jericho is insane," I replied as cold as I could, but I couldn't stop my voice from shaking.
"Insane as he is, he is going to save all and every one of us," Alfonso sat on the stones and I contemplated.
"He made me kill that Harrison Olson guy," I put my hands together at my lips and shook my head.
"Harrison Olson was bound to die," Alfonso sighed.
"What do you mean?"
"You know, he didn't use his powers when he fought against you," he said, looking down at his feet and shifted in his gray sweater.
"What? But he was hella strong, I-"
"His power was categorized as almighty," Alfonso cut me off, and paused. "To be immortal."
"But that doesn't make sense, I killed him."
"Yes, I know," Alfonso held his hand up. "Because darkness is much more than you think it is. It's something that can... literally consume everything. Objects, your mind, even other people's powers."
I stumbled backwards in awe. "I consumed his powers," I repeated. Alfonso nodded his head.
"A side effect of being immortal... is living for too long," Alfonso continued. "He went into severe depression, suffering this hell for too long," he raised his hands, gesturing at 'everything'. "He chose to die today. You did him a favor."
I swallowed my spit and looked at Alfonso. I couldn't help but accept it as the truth. But I wasn't done yet. "The Dark Accelerator," I said, shocking Alfonso. He looked speechless. "When're you gonna tell me what that is about?"
Alfonso sighed heavily and clutched his hands together. "Five years ago, Jericho launched this entire project," he stood up and started walking around the cave. "He discovered his power here, in the prison, just like you did, only it took him much longer than a day or two to grasp it. He said you were prodigious," Alfonso drew his hand against the walls. "Five years ago, it was just me, Steph, and Jericho. He was the de facto leader. He discovered his power to eat away at anything. So, from instinct, he tried his powers on the walls when he got control of it."
"And it didn't work. The barrier was too thick, and it regenerated. Jericho has a theory it's a human with an almighty power creating this barrier, much too strong for any of us."
"And that's where the Dark Accelerator comes into effect."
"Jericho found a way to Accelerator his energy into a container, and he's been filling it up with dark energy for a long time, just enough to destroy the barrier," Alfonso spoke with a tight mouth, as if re-experiencing a bad event. "And one day, his powers were just gone."
"I don't know," Alfonso shook his head. "But only when the power had disappeared, did we realize the darkness had been eating at his brain all this time, and we didn't even realize it," he slammed his fists on his leg. I looked at him with pity. "But somehow, Jericho knew that you were going to come here, one day, and he wants you to resume the Dark Accelerator project."
I stood there for a little while, digesting everything. Everything felt like it made a little bit of sense. Despite Jericho having maybe half his brain's sanity, he was still devoted to the lives of those in here. I knew that as a fact. I had nothing to lose. Or so I thought. "Fine, take me to him, I'll help him, but I won't trust him. Not now, not ever."
Alfonso squeezed his eyes and heaved a chuckle. "Thank you."
"So you've decided to come back," Jericho said with the same smugness he had earlier.
"For Alfonso," I sighed.
"Any motivation is a motivation. And Alfonso has told you my entire plan," he said.
"What makes you think the people outside won't know about what's going on here?" I questioned.
"They don't. They think of themselves as knights, bishops, rooks, and treat us as pawns."
"Doesn't mean they won't keep a heavy eye on us. After all, we are world's most dangerous criminals, aren't we?"
"Did you know that when pawns get to the other side, they can become any piece they wish to be, aside from the king?"
I shrugged. "General chess rules."
"When has any player valued pawns more than they valued their king?"
"The really smart ones," I rebutted.
"Well, they're not smart, okay, Gin? They think of us as worthless beings and just threw us in this mess. They are not watching over us. They've got plenty of their own problems to worry about."
"Like how to live lavish lifestyles and upgrade the patterns on their pillows," Steph rolled her eyes.
"Okay, so let's assume they aren't watching us," I said unconvincingly. "What makes you sure that this Dark Accelerator will work?"
"It will work," Steph said. "I've measure the energy of darkness required to blast a small hole in the barrier," she started.
"And how did you do that?" I questioned.
"I shot a thread of darkness through the barrier," Jericho said. I nodded my head slowly.
"I put that up against the overall size of the barrier and it gives us a calculation of how much energy we need to blast through the barrier," she said, while bringing up holograms of screens showing data and numbers I couldn't follow.
"I didn't know you were smart too," I nodded my head. "And how much energy are we talking about here?"
Steph looked at Jericho worriedly, and he paused for a while. "Enough to level Ao ten times over."
I mouthed a 'wow' and ran my fingers through my hair. "How much of this energy do you have already?"
"We've injected the DA with 73% of its necessary power before Jericho lost it," Steph said.
"So only 27% for me to get through, let's do this." Steph and Jericho looked at me. "What? I said bring me to the accelerator, we'll get started."
Jericho put a hand on me, which made me flinch. "Gin, if you do this all in one go, you might be completely lost to the darkness. There's a 50/50 chance you'll be lost forever."
"I think it's better than having my brain chipped away bit by bit like someone I know," I glared at Jericho, who sighed and nodded to Alfonso.
"Follow me," Jericho said.
"Why don't we just teleport?" I asked.
"There are some people in this prison not on our side that can sense teleportations. They'll know where the accelerator is if we do."
"And what's to say they won't find us if we walk?"
"I'll cover that," Alaric stepped forward, the first time I had ever heard him talk. He had a fluent, slight English accent that flowed into my ears. His voice sounded lyrical. He raised his hands, and threads shot out, trapping us in a cage like object. The threads emitted some kind of white aura, then disappeared. "We're invisible."
"Nice," I whispered under my breath.
We walked down the mountain, and took a path that nobody would've thought of otherwise - down the peak, across the narrow ledges, and through a labyrinth of snow before reaching a spot between two piles of snow. Jericho nodded to whom I remembered as Myron, the Russian, and he slammed his fists into the ground, creating a shockwave that tore through the snow. I panicked, thinking someone would pick up on the shockwave, but the shockwave ended where the white light Alaric had casted was.
"Say, why can you prevent Myron's power from being seen, but not Alfonso's?" I whispered to Alaric, who stood silently like a ghost next to me. He turned to me, which would've looked like a glare if not for his soft features.
"My power can only travel at a speed consistent with me. The teleportation would disrupt my powers and cause a momentary leak to the enemy. We can't afford that," he said in one go. I seriously considered whether or not that was the most he had ever spoken.
"Oh," was all I could muster.
The snow cleared and revealed a giant door cleverly disguised into the mountain. Jericho put his hand against it and the hand sensory program recognized it, shining green, then unlocking itself. I didn't stop to consider where they were getting the technology from. After all, some of them could have been blessed with almighty intelligence powers.
Jericho looked at all of us as the doors rolled up like a garage, and the five of us walked in after him.
We stepped on metal. The sound revertebrated throughout the room and already told me it was a large room. Steph touched a button, which lit up the dark room. As I watched the lights on the sides flicker on one by one, the light that caught me the most was the dark one in the center of the room, emitting from a gigantic hole in the ground with rims that looked like it was from the future, whirring madly with power running through it.
I was standing in front of the Dark Accelerator.