THE HEADMASTER SUMMONED US.
As I approached the office doors leading to Ridley's father I knew something was up. There was no reason that came to mind for Mr. Sweet to have called the entire student council here. Unless the news cast outside somehow snuck onto campus, but that was doubtable since the man hired more security after parents threatened not to fund the academy and pull out their students because of the recent events that took place last year.
We were under attack more than ever right now.
"Nix." I spotted Hansel seated with Kieran at the front of the Headmaster's door.
"Your grandmother finally let you come back?" I said, joining them as aggressive tones echoed past the wooded entrance.
Hansel groaned. "Don't even get me started."
"Your grandmother is not the only one worried. Many parents have already withdrawn a few of the students over the summer. We are down at least a hundred," added Kieran.
"I don't blame them," said Hansel, running a hand over invisible strands that used to be atop his head. Now all that was left was a neat Buzz Cut. "Last year was one of the worst times for us. I managed to talk Nana out of homeschooling me only because I promised to wear a tracker, and that is putting it lightly."
I gaped at him. "She put a tracker on you?"
He rubbed the base of his neck. "Not on me, per se. More like under my skin."
"I suppose her motives are justified," said Kieran. "Not in the collective manner I would have anticipated, but rather a more desperate take to the situation Monster created." He faced Hansel with a solemn look in his eyes. "Do not forget. You are the last remaining heir to your grandmother's fortune. She would be devastated if something happened to you."
"I haven't forgotten," Hansel said, contritely. "Why do you think I agreed to the fucking tracker? I may not like having this shit in me, but I love my Nana. I'd do anything to appease her."
"You won't have to appease her for much long," I said, swinging my blade between both hands. "I hacked into the NSA's security last night- undetected. The perks of being skilled as a Hatter. I should get warning if Monster or Detective Stine shows up on the scanners I have set up with facial recognition."
Hansel smirked at me. "You fucking genius."
Well, I was my father's son.
The door we waited several minutes in front of finally swung open and revealed Ridley's father.
"Boys." He pulled the door further ajar. "Come in."
One by one we filled the large office.
As the headmaster took a seat at his throne I halted my stride as a familiar raven haired boy sat in a chair across his desk. My blockade caused my brothers to collide into my back, craning their necks on either side of me to observe the subject of my abrupt attention. His back was to us, but we knew without a doubt who was before us.
We'd been expecting him.
"Have a seat, boys."
"Skip the formalities, father. We know who this boy is."
"So you are the source for my fame." Makoto glanced over his shoulder at us with a tilted head of curls as black as a raven's feather.
"Boys." Headmaster Sweet waved a hand at the smirking dark prince. "This is Makoto Kaiser. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees' son."
Fuck. He's the Chairman's son?
"Noah Kaiser is his father," said Kieran. "I've met him through my father years ago."
"Yes," the Headmaster nodded. "Makoto. These are student council representatives: Kieran, Ridley, Hansel and Phoenix. They will be responsible for you during your studies here at Raven Oak Prep."
Mako reached out a hand to us in a polite manner.
"Pleased to meet you. I've heard many things about the kings of Raven Oak Prep." He forced a face of thought. "Or should I call you by your more infamous name. The Sparrows?"
Was it just me, or did it sound like he was mocking us?
Kieran studied our opponent without taking the offer of his handshake. The dude didn't even seem phased by the prez's slighted demeanor. He smoothly withdrew and tucked his hand into the right side of his smart pants. His casual confidence was something to be reckoned with, but so was ours.
We knew the extent of the Makoto's transfer to our school, and for that we held the upper hand. For the time being. If only we'd anticipated the overstep of intelligence he secretly possessed. We'd have avoided the tidal wave that would soon sweep us off our feet, and leave us to drown in our idiotic mistakes.
The Headmaster stood up to address us. "Do play nice, boys. I would hate for this to cause more stirrup within the school. I have enough on my plate as it is." He examined the silver rolex on his left wrist. "I must leave for a meeting with the Board. Please show our new guest the utmost respect and see him to his classes. Will you?"
Leaving the office we followed behind and surrounded Makoto as Ridley's father disappeared into the corridor without a backwards glance.
"I see pleasantries will not pass between us," Makoto said, taking note of our hostility.
His perceptiveness was correct.
Kieran lead the conversation. "You know we have suspicions towards you. Do not act as if it is not obvious at this point. We met at the diner where a friend of ours works. He told us you came to them at the beginning of summer. Now you are here at our school. Is that a coincidence?"
Makoto chuckled. "I suppose my timing seem a bit conspicuous considering the murders that took place here last year." The politeness he exuded moments ago melted away to reveal the true mask of what monster he hid. Light blue eyes darkened. "As the student council you should be more aware and deliberate at protecting your students. Especially the pretty redhead everyone has been talking about."
Hansel visibly tensed.
Ridley nonchalantly played off the vague reference.
I stared on with narrowed eyes.
Our president on the other hand worked hard to keep his features stoic, but as his best friend I caught the sudden tick in his jawline. The twitch to bend his fingers into fists. He hastened to cross arms and tuck the evidence behind a barrier. Clearly, he was as annoyed.
Which was a first, visually.
Mako picked up on our reactions and grinned wider. "Madelyn, isn't it?"
"Keep her name out of your mouth!" Hansel growled, unable to contain himself.
He baited us like worms of on a hook. By the looks of our reaction his taunts were working effortlessly to clip us.
"I see the fascination," he went on. The next words that spilled out of his mouth though called to the darker parts of myself to carve out his tongue. "When we spoke earlier I couldn't help admire that addictive smell of hers. It was seductive."
Upon taking a step forward Kieran put a hand on Hansel's chest. "You must be the last desperate attempt to persuade Madelyn over to Monster's side."
"I have no idea who you speak of." He shrugged, naively.
"Harboring a fugitive is a violation of the law. One has murdered people. The other poisoned my students and even kidnapped two of them. We will track them both. If you are aiding them..." Kieran paused for dramatic effect, "I suppose that might ruin not only your reputation, but your father's as well."
Makoto's left eyes twitched.
Ooh. Was that a soft spot I detect?
"You speak about my father's reputation when you should be worried about the one who runs this academy." He aimed this at Ridley. "I hear his role as Headmaster is being questioned. There may be a better replacement out there for him right now if you test me."
"Is that a threat?" Ridley said, getting in his face.
"A promise," Makoto smiled. "So I'd be careful how you speak to me."
I moved in.
Grabbing Makoto by the shoulder I shoved him backwards a couple yards. He stumbled at the unexpected force, but managed to keep upright. As he steadied himself I blocked his viewpoint Ridley as Hansel struggled to restrain our hot-tempered brother- close to blowing a blood vessel -wrapping his limbs with his own as we always had to when Ridley's demon crawled out of its cave to unleash bloodshed.
His soulless eyes raged with unbridled fire. "Let me go!"
"You need to calm down first," Kieran ordered.
Ridley ripped himself from Hansel's grasp in a fit of rage and stalked off.
I mentally released a sigh of relief.
I thought we would have to handcuff him to a bed like we did last time he got like this. It had taken all three of us and Simon to wrestle the aggressive bastard back to our dorm. He had fought like a man after the shock of war, but eventually we managed to pin and lock him to one of the bedposts as Kieran whipped up a bowl of ice cold water and spilled it over him. Woke our maddened brother right the fuck up.
"Take him back to the dorm and make sure he gets a bath. He will not want Atticus to see him like this."
Hansel nodded and quickly tailed after Ridley.
"That boy has issues," said the man who started all of this. He swiped invisible dust off his uniform and regarded us. "You should get him into anger management classes."
"We should kick your teeth in for patronizing him," I said, steadying the growl in my tone.
"I wouldn't mind." He shrugged carelessly. "In Tokyo there are many fights within our culture. I learned at a young age to survive. Take me on and you will see the validity of my strength."
I cocked a brow. "I believe you. That does not change the fact you are not our friend. We can make your life a walking nightmare. Worse than what you experienced in your old life. Don't underestimate us because we are vulnerable at the moment. That will be a mistake."
"Your mistake is thinking yourselves invincible." He scoffed. "There always comes a time when the vain and deceitful fall. Like the cracks in a mirror. It will shatter and the pieces you find at your feet will reveal the ugliness buried behind your masquerade. What you see, you cannot hide from. But it will not make it any less true. Or any less harder to live with."
On that cryptic note he turned on his heel and disappeared around the corner.
Makoto has offically met the boys face to face!
How did you like their encounter? What do you think Makoto knows about their secrets? The Sparrows suspect he works for Monster and his father, do you think Makoto will reveal to the Sparrows about his relationship to them? Why does he taunt them so much about Madelyn?
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Happy Easter! Next two chapters next weekend.
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