The Birds Of Prey Book One: Rise

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Chapter 5: Strangers

I arrived at the address indicated by the envelope to see a large house. I closed my eyes and listened as closely as I could but I didn't hear any heartbeats.

"Why do I get the feeling this is a trap..."

I tried the door only to find that it was locked. Knowing that there had to be a reason why I was brought here, I closed my eyes and focused as much as I could on the knob. I felt around with the energy from my mind until I came across the locking pins within the handle. I slowly raised each of them until finally, the door unlocked. I looked around once more to ensure that no one had noticed my presence and once I was satisfied, I entered the house. I then noticed several bags by the stairs.

"Did these people just move in?"

I then heard a TV come to life. I quickly hid behind a wall as I saw a black silhouette appear on the screen.

"Kit Matthews I presume?"

I hadn't a clue how the man knew that I was here except for cameras. I looked around but much to my surprise, I heard him chuckle.

"You aren't going to find me because I am not there. This was the safest way I could think of for us to communicate," he said.
"Who the hell are you?" I asked.
"Someone who knows that Cassie is still alive,"

I clenched my fists.

"...She's alive?" I said in disbelief.
"Yes and I know everything that Miles is planning to do...but it's not safe for us to do anything about it until our numbers grow," he explained.

I shook my head.

"My sister is all I have left in this world...tell me where she is," I snapped.
"In due time; even you aren't strong enough to get into a stronghold like that to rescue her," he replied.

I clenched my fists.

"I'm getting tired of these cryptic answers, start explaining yourself," I said.
"We will meet in due time but right now, there is something very important that you need to know,"

The screen suddenly shifted to several pictures. Each picture contained a different person.

"These people are looking for any Eagles still alive because they all have reasons to hate Baneford; I advise that you meet up with them and come up with a plan together," he said.
"Why should I trust them?" I replied.

The screen zoomed in on a rather beautiful girl. She was of Hispanic descent judging from her facial features and had long dark brown hair. She wore glasses and stood no taller than 5' 7".

"She is one of the few remaining Eagles on the planet," he said.

I examined the information displayed beside her picture.

"Fabiana Marquez...isn't she that girl who has the third highest average in Ontario for the sciences?" I asked.
"The very same one and she can prove to be a very powerful ally; she has excellent gifts and has just as much of a reason to hate Baneford as you do,"

The screen scrolled to a picture of a girl crying over her dead bodies.

"Her parents were killed in the invasion and she was forced to watch it helplessly, which is what awakened her dormant gifts and allowed her to flee with her best friend...who is this girl here,"

The screen scrolled to show yet another good looking girl. She seemed of Vietnamese descent but her skin tone was more tan that Fabiana's. She also had long dark brown hair though her features seemed slightly more youthful than that of her best friend. Her dress code was also more revealing than, wearing shorts and a tanktop compared to Fabiana's long sleeved sweater and jeans.

"Mili Le...she's a...Vulture?"
"Indeed. She's been in hiding from her kind for a long time and she was one of the few who empathized with your kind during the addition, she's highly sought after by Baneford due to her gift." he explained.
"What do you mean?"

The pictures cycled again to show the Predatory State.

"One of the objectives of the invasion was to acquire certain individuals and she was sought after due to her gift of precognitive sight as well as her particularly powerful variant of the Predatory State which is said to be on par with an Alpha in power," he said.
"And I'm supposed to work with her?" I said raising an eyebrow.
"She has been best friends with Fabiana since they were children so you can trust them,"

The screen then showed a man wearing glasses. He had a dark skin tone with very short hair covered by a hood. He was holding a katana in his left hand and judging from his appearance, he was an American.

"Carl Hill...a Hawk gone rogue," he said.
"This is the man who killed so many others in order to assimilate their abilities?" I asked.
"He's only killed two people and he decided to change his ways when he accidentally got a 17 year old girl killed; he's incredibly smart and knows a lot about Europe so he will be very important to the cause,"
"If he's a murderous psychopath then why should I believe he would never try to kill and assimilate me?" I asked.
"Because your healing factor and psychokinesis renders you almost immune to assimilation."

I looked at the screen in disbelief.

"How the hell do you know so much about me?"
"I know everything about you Kit...from the day you arrived in Vancouver all the way till now; I've been watching you and now I know that you are the one I can trust to put this plan into motion,"

The screen cycled to another woman...but she wasn't anything like Fabiana and Mili.

"She...she's absolutely beautiful,"

She had long, violet hair that was kept in a ponytail. She had piercing blue eyes and was dressed an absolutely gorgeous dress. The red satin cloth looked terribly expensive but looked incredible in tandem with her form, clearly trimmed down with some kind of training.

"Who is she?" I asked.
"She can undoubtedly be one of our most valuable allies if you can persuade her to join us," he replied.
"...Me? What makes you think I can?" I asked.
"You are Arthur Matthews's son; everyone is aware of your story,"

My eyes narrowed, as the pain of loss came rushing back.

"You have to go Kit,"

I looked at him in disbelief.

"But...I can fight Dad, I can help!" I replied.

He smiled at me and put a hand on my head.

"I know you're strong my son; it's something I've always been so proud of you for but now is not the time for heroics,"

I heard a loud explosion outside of the door. He clenched his fists.

"Your mother and Cassie are at the laboratory, go there and get them out of the country, I will rejoin you as soon as I can," he said.
"You can't fight all of them alone Dad," I replied with my eyes narrowed.

He shook his head as his eyes turned green. Before my eyes, he formed a sword out of what seemed to be nothing.

"Don't underestimate your old man,"

The door keeping the invaders out then began to pound heavily.

"Go Kit, your mother and sister need you,"

Much to my shock, Dad used his control over wind and fired a powerful gust at my chest, sending me out of the window behind me. I regained control of my body and stopped myself from hitting the ground. I shook my head.

"He can do it...he's the strongest man I've ever known,"

It took a lot of willpower but I finally turned and moved as fast as my body would allow towards SkyTech. My cellphone began to go off and I immediately answered it.

"Kit? Where's your father?" she asked.

I paused briefly and swallowed hard.

"He said he would find us after he takes care of the invaders at the house," I replied.
"There's too many of them to handle alone," she said.
"And he told me that I should protect the two of you...believe in him mom," I said.

She didn't seem at all convinced.

"Where's Cassie?" I asked.
"She's trying to keep them all out with her powers but she's getting tired, you have to hurry son," she said.
"I'll be there soon,"

I cut the call off and hit my top speed and it wasn't long before I finally arrived at the top floor of SkyTech, where the building was now in flames as the battles raged on below. I forced my way through the window once I caught sight of the laboratory that my mother and sister sealed themselves in only for me to see three Vultures. I clenched my fists as they came at me.

I grabbed one of them and threw him hard into another as the third threw a punch towards me. I easily dodged the blow before landing a kick in his stomach and following with another to his temple. He fell to the ground as his friends got up and came at me. I fell back to my training under my father and calmly dodged all of their attacks until I saw an opening. I fired a swift palm to one of them, sending him flying into the wall as I grabbed the other one and violently wrenched his arm backwards, snapping it almost like a twig. I knew that I had to end this quickly else I risked all three of them going Predatory.

I threw the broken armed Vulture to the ground and picked up a scalpel before throwing it at blinding speed into the Vulture that hit the wall, connecting with his throat. He was powerless to pull it out as he slumped to the ground. The one I kicked got up and before he could come at me again, I closed the distance between us and threw a punch containing all of my strength to his chest. The sickening snap of bones followed the blow and the Vulture fell down, his heart now in shreds thanks to my punch. I then turned around only to see that the third and final fighter had gotten up and was already entering Predatory state. I clenched my fists and prepared to fight him, only to see him quickly become enveloped in ice. I looked behind him to see that Cassie had sealed him in a very thick layer of ice and judging from his slowing heart rate, he wouldn't last very long in it.

"'re hurt,"

She collapsed to the ground as I rushed to her side.

"It...wasn't easy to hold the door back from the three of them...I'm just exhausted," she said.

I picked her up in my arms as I entered the room to see my mother frantically typing on the large monitor.

"What are you doing mom?" I asked.
"Saving the future of our people,"

She then removed a small device from the large machine and held it up to my eyes.

"This drive contains all of the research that your father and I conducted on all three variations of the Raptor cannot let this fall into Miles's hands you understand me?" she said.

I nodded and took the drive from her.

" have to take Cassie and run," she said.
"I'm not going anywhere mom," I snapped back.
"Kit, there's no way that we can defeat such a large number of them; we got lucky that only three Vultures made it to the top floor but it won't be long until they completely overwhelm us," she said.

I shook my head.

"You're out of your mind if you think I'm not going to protect my family with my life,"

I placed Cassie in a chair.

"If we die, I will destroy the drive and then Miles will never learn what you and Dad discovered," I said.

Much to my shock, my mother closed the distance between us and grabbed me in a hug. I had no idea why she did that but I returned it.

"You're such a good boy've made me so proud," she said.

She looked at me and smiled as tears began to fill her eyes.

"You're such a kind're willing to put your life on the line for all of us and I couldn't be more proud of a mother to see you grow up into such a fine young man," she said.
"You''re scaring me mom," I said.

She kissed my forehead and stroked my cheek.

"I don't want anything to happen to the two of you..."

I suddenly knew what she was going to do and I tried to close my eyes but it was too late...hers already turned green and I felt my body immediately submit.

"You're going to take Cassie and you're going to run from this're going to take care of her until she gets better and you're going to live your life in secret, you'll do whatever you need to in order to survive but most importantly, you will always be my'll always have me with you,"

"No mom...don't do this..." I cried.

She closed her eyes before kissing me one more time on my forehead.

"You can Kit...and you will,"

My body unconsciously began to carry out her will and there was nothing I could do to stop it. My mother's gift was the ability to mandate orders in the minds of anyone who meets her gaze and has a significant enough connection to her...she promised herself that she would never again use such a power unless she saw no choice.

"If your father or myself go with you, there's no way you and Cassie will survive because you'll forever be hunted,"

She then handed me a bag.

"In this bag is everything you need to start your new go Kit,"
"Don't make me do this mom...please...let me help," I sobbed.

She smiled once more as she turned to Cassie, who had passed out from exhaustion.

"You and your sister mean the most to your father and I...not even this company compares to how much we love you two...and this is the last gift I can offer to you my children...a chance at a new life away from all the violence,"

She turned back to face the computer.

"Gemma? Initiate self-destruction sequence,"

I heard the AI's voice approve the protocol. She then turned back to me.

"There is one more thing I can give to you my son..."

She closed her eyes and then placed her hands on my cheeks.

"I can place some of my consciousness within can talk to me as if I were still here...but know that this may be the last time we'll ever see each other again," she said.

I cursed loudly, feeling my mind getting flooded with energy until it suddenly stopped. I opened my eyes to see her smiling at me once more.

"It's time to go my as far away as you can from this country and take care of your sister,"

Because she had already taken control of my mind, I had no choice but to listen to her as my body obeyed her wishes and flew off after picking up Cassie.

That...was the last time I ever saw my mother and father...
"Who is this woman?" I asked.
"Her name is Amelia Rosario, she is considered nobility in France because she bears the family name of one of the oldest generations of Hawks in history," he replied.
"So I'm supposed to go to France, which is one of the largest congregations of Hawks in the world?" I replied

I heard a laugh.

"Her mother was good friends with yours so if you prove to them that you are her son, there's no way they won't accept you into their house," he said.
"...You knew my mother?" I asked.
"Your sister told me everything...I know everything that happened from her eyes," he replied.

My fists clenched.

"When are you going to answer my question and tell me who the hell you are," I snapped.
"In due time...but right now, you have to get Amelia on our side; she has an incredibly powerful gift that can be of great use to us," he explained.
"How do I know Amelia will follow me back here?" I asked.
"You'll find a way to convince her...I know you will,"

There was a brief moment of static as the black silhouette reappeared.

"I'll keep everything in order here and rally more to the cause but for now, you have to go to France and get the Rosario family on our side...when you return, we will meet face to face," he said.
"How will I contact you when I come back?" I asked.
"I'll find you," he replied.

I looked down to see a bag in the couch.

"Inside that bag is an ample amount of money to get you both back here as well as everything you need to prove that you are Arthur's son," he said.

I wordlessly picked up the bag and turned to leave but stopped in my tracks.

"If I find out that you're lying to me and that you tried to send me to my death, I'm coming for you and I will show you no mercy," I warned.
"I wouldn't have it any other go,"

Without another word, I made my way outside.

"Looks like I have a plane to catch,"
"This is the house?"

Carl chuckled loudly.

"I have very good friends," he replied.
"We said the same thing when we got here," said Fabiana.

Nate shook his head.

"Wait...the door is open," said Mili.
"Did you lock it after you left?" asked Carl.
"I made sure of it," replied Fabiana.

They opened the door to see nothing was changed.

"Something happened here," said Fabiana.
"How do you know?" asked Nate.

She closed her eyes.

"The TV was on...and for some reason, I can smell a faint cologne," she replied.
"So what do we do?" asked Mili.
"We'll have to deal with it later; we've got to pick up on this guy's trail," said Carl.

Mili shook her head, clearly buckling under the difficulty of their task.

"We'll have to try and predict where he will strike next," she said.
"That won't be too hard...look on the table," said Nate.

They all looked to see a holographic map on the glass table with a large red area lit up in the middle.

"These names...Marcus and Trevor Vanderwold...they're big names in SkyTech's stocks," said Nate.
"These have to be his next targets," said Carl.

Fabiana nodded.

"I guess we have to stay around there and keep an eye on things...hopefully we'll find a trace of this guy,"

Carl clapped loudly.

"Get some rest; we have one hell of a day tomorrow,"

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