Chapter 9: Lighting The Way
"Did you know that she was in this town the entire time?" I asked.
"No; it feels as if she just came here because I haven't felt an Eagle around here before," replied Oliver.
I let out a deep sigh as I took a gulp of my coffee.
"We'll find her Alex,"
I turned to see that it was Doan who had said those encouraging words. I smiled ever so slightly as I turned back to the window.
"Is she far from here?" I asked.
"She's perfectly reachable in a few minutes but I am however sensing a small group of Vultures...two of which are Alphas," replied Oliver.
"Shit...that's not good news," interjected Mili.
I looked at her, my interest now peaked.
"What exactly happens when a Vulture consumes enough DNA to become an Alpha?" I asked.
Mili shook her head.
"It's...it's like watching a wild wolf become a domesticated one; they lose all of what made them insane, angry and feral...and replace it with raw power," she explained.
"You've seen an Alpha before?" I asked.
"My father was an Alpha but he was overwhelmed in the invasion by sheer numbers...he was assimilated by Baneford,"
I looked away from her.
"So that's why you're so hellbent on taking down The Purity...because they killed your family?" I asked.
"They also killed Fabiana's...and after living with them for so long, I don't understand why they were killed off; they made the world a better place,"
I heard Oliver clear his throat as the car stopped.
"An Eagle is just north of here...for some reason in the mountains," he said.
"Is it her?" I asked.
"We're going to have to fly up from here so be careful and don't draw too much attention to yourselves,"
He turned to everyone else.
"All of you head into town and see if you can find out anything; Alex and I will go into the mountains to look for Iris," he said.
"What if things get hairy?" asked Carl.
"They won't," replied Oliver.
His tone was calmly dismissive as he got out of the car. I followed suit and began to make my way up the mountain. He continued to try and find where she was hiding, looking in different directions according to his senses.
"You can't tell exactly where she is?" I asked.
"She's inside one of the caves here...she no doubt made it herself in order to keep her head down," he replied.
He closed his eyes again.
"She's incredibly fast; I can't keep a lock on her location because she keeps moving to different ones," he said.
"Do you hear anything in common with the spots?" I asked.
It took us a few minutes to arrive at a large cavern. My ears were then filled with the loud roars of mountain lions. I rolled my eyes.
"How typical; she's with cats," I sighed.
"Is there a story behind this?" asked Oliver.
"She's got an almost unhealthy obsession with cats; she studied zoology and got hooked ever since," I explained.
"Do you know what her powers are?" he asked.
"The opposite of mine," I replied.
He raised an eyebrow.
"How strange; she's not your sister by blood but you possess similar powers on opposite planes," he said.
"I'm not entirely sure...but she's all I have left," I said.
"We'll find her...though I expect that it won't be as easy as it's looking right now,"
He suddenly stopped mid-air and answered his phone.
"What's going on?"
His face suddenly turned devoid of color as he clenched his fists.
"I'm on my way; make sure that no Vultures leave that place alive," he growled.
He put his phone back into his jacket and turned to me.
"Iris is somewhere just north of here just beyond that plateau, I will return once I've taken care of this," he said.
"What the hell is happening?" I asked.
"Civil war; Vultures are attacking the local Hawk population in a town nearby and I'm not standing for it," he explained.
I shook my head.
"I thought you hated Hawks?" I said.
"Not all of them; the ones who live around here aren't at all hostile towards Eagles so it's only fitting that we protect them," he said.
He put a hand on my shoulder.
"Besides, how are we to take down Baneford without numbers on our side?"
"So you're going to risk revealing your identity for the sake of some people you've never met?" I asked.
"My life isn't worth that much in comparison to furthering my own people; if I can ignite the flames of rebellion...if I can be a beacon of hope for the future of all Eagles, then my death is completely worth it," he said.
He clenched his fists.
"I'll return as soon as I can; find your sister so we can return to the others because the longer we stay apart, the more vulnerable we'll be," he said.
I nodded slowly as he broke away from me and flew towards the east.
"Guess he really is a good man after all...now where the hell am I gonna find you Iris?"
"This isn't looking good," said Nate.
"We can't afford to stay here much longer; the ruckus is bound to draw more Vultures here and if they become too numerous, there's no way we can handle all of them," said Brandon.
He drew his sword and looked towards the lake. I saw the water start to rise into the air while the familiar crackling of electricity began to fill the air. I turned to see that Fabiana had already begun to look for sources of fuel for any flames. Considering that Carl was a master of aquamancy, he was capable of creating storms and lightning striking anywhere would be the perfect compliment to Fabiana's pyrokinetic abilities.
"Where the hell are Alex and Oliver?" snapped Doan.
"Oliver's on his way but Alex is still looking for his sister," replied Carl.
He waved his sword towards the battle raging on in front of us and the water turned into a massive cascade. At the same time, Fabiana used a lighter from her pocket to create a small fire at her feet, before she brought all of the flames into her hands. Carl launched the cascade of water and once it reached trhe Vultures, Fabiana followed up with a torrent of flame, many times the size of the small fire she made with her lighter only moments before.
"Don't hurt the civilians," said Nate.
"Let's take them down quickly!" shouted Carl.
The torrent of water broke up the fight, separating the Hawks and the Vultures from each other. The moment they were apart, Nate let the sharp metal rain down on the Vultures, skewering a great deal of them but some managed to dodge his attack. One of them broke away from the group and came at me. I immediately grabbed his arm before wrenching it violently to the right and snapping it like a twig. I then fired a punch to his chest, hearing the sickening crack of bone as his body fell limply backwards. Another one came at Doan but she easily sidestepped him and grabbed him by the neck. She then looked into his eyes and muttered something that I couldn't hear. The fact that the Vulture looked to his friends and then charged at them told me that Doan had compelled him to attack his own kind.
"Mili! On your right!" shouted Nate.
I barely got to react before I was grabbed by the neck and slammed into a tree. I gasped for air and struggled to get free as I noticed a Vulture looking at me with his eyes beginning to turn red.
"You'd betray your own kind to protect useless scum? You're even more a fool than I could've imagined," he growled.
He raised his hand to finish me off but before I could react, I saw his hand get cleaved. It flopped harmlessly to the ground and before I could move a muscle, the Vulture's head followed the same fate as his hand. I looked to see that Carl had broken away from Fabiana and came to rescue me. He held out a hand.
"You alright?" he asked.
I nodded slowly and took his hand.
"Thanks for the save," I said.
"No problem, now let's finish them off before more of them show up," he said.
I clenched my fists and followed his charge towards the rest of the rampaging Vultures.
Oliver walked forward and nodded.
"We weren't about to let some Vultures have their way with innocent people," he said.
Nate walked forward and joined him, showing his eyes.
"You're like us," said one of the civilians.
"Where is the mayor of this town?" asked Oliver.
"That would be me,"
A man approached the group, dressed in a black suit with a red tie. He also had a black fedora on his head.
"Barney Collins," he said.
"Pleasure to meet you," replied Oliver.
He gestured towards all of us.
"These are all of my friends but understand that you owe us nothing in return for helping," said Oliver.
"There must be something we can do; no one has ever shown this town kindness like that before," replied Barney.
Oliver cleared his throat.
"Are you affiliated with Miles Baneford?" he asked.
"No sir," he replied.
Oliver then looked towards the group.
"Doan, come here please," he asked.
She obeyed him and walked to his side.
"I need to be sure that you aren't in any way before I continue...do you mind if she checks something?" asked Oliver.
"Not at all," replied Barney.
Doan's eyes morphed to green as she looked into the Mayor's eyes.
"Have you had any contact with Miles Baneford in the last four months?" she asked.
"No; I met Miles only once and that was five years before the invasion of the Americas," he replied.
Doan looked to Oliver to see that he wasn't satisfied with the answer.
"What is your stance on Eagles and don't lie," she continued.
"My closest friends were a family of Eagles...they helped me when I was roaming the streets after getting attacked by a band of Vultures and helped me get a job here," he explained.
Oliver smiled slightly.
"Not a single person in this town holds a grudge towards Eagles and as far as we're concerned, the true enemy is anyone who seeks to disrupt the balance," said Barney.
Doan's eyes returned to normal, breaking the compulsion.
"Alright Mr. Collins...how'd you like to play a part in the return of the Eagles?"
"Return?" he said.
As if on cure, Fabiana came forward and opened her hand, producing a flame in order to show her eyes.
"My name is Oliver Walsh and these are some of the last remnants of our kind left on the planet,"
He then showed his two tone eyes.
"Miles Baneford did this to me and caused me to become the first ever Eagle-Hawk Hybrid...he also wiped out the vast majority of us but there are still some out there in the world waiting for the chance to rebuild and start over," he said.
Mili clenched her fists and came forward.
"But we cannot do this without The Purity coming to an end," she said.
Mayor Collins nodded and smiled.
"You can count on us to help however we can," he said.
"Do you have any friends that you can tell about this?" asked Oliver.
"We will be discreet...let us know how we can help you and we will do our best to assist Mr. Walsh," he replied.
"You can start by giving my friends here a place to stay for the night; there is something I must attend to," he said.
"What's going on Oliver?" asked Fabiana.
He closed his eyes for a brief moment.
"Alex is in danger,"