The Birds Of Prey Book One: Rise

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Chapter 6: Sparks

"That flight was far too long for my liking...would've been far faster if I flew myself but I guess secrecy is necessary here,"

I looked around at my room and smiled.

"I have to admit...Hawks sure do know how to live in luxury and style,"

It was about an hour after I arrived in Annecy and for some reason, I expected a lot more restrictions. They believed my fake identification and I managed to avoid the gene scanner at the airport by proving I was "human" by cutting myself and suppressing my healing factor. I guess it really paid off to have a healing factor that I can control with my own will.

The mystery man booked a room for me at this hotel and for a few minutes, I almost wished that I didn't come here for an important reason; Annecy was definitely a beautiful place and it would be very interesting to explore it in its entirety. However...Cassie's life was on the line. Everything hinged on my success here and I couldn't afford to get distracted. I looked to the map in my hand and saw the large mansion where the Rosario family resided.

"Hopefully...they won't think I'm some kind of imposter,"

I made my way towards the large house, paying careful attention to ensure that I wasn't followed by anyone. It took me about fifteen minutes to finally arrive and to say that the house was huge...was one hell of an understatement.

In front of the large gate to enter were three guards, dressed in suits and holding laser rifles. Through the gate, a large walkway made of some rather fancy looking marble led to the large double door. I could only imagine how luxurious the inside looked. I approached the gate but immediately made myself scarce once I heard a car coming. Luckily. no one saw me dive into the bushes. I closed my eyes and focused my ears as I heard the car window lower.

"We're here to see Lady Rosario," said the driver.
"For what business? She is not expecting anyone today," replied the guard.
"I am her fencing partner for the day; she sent for me two days ago and now I am here," he replied.

The guards seemed content with his answer as they opened the gate and let him in. Knowing that there was no way that they would believe I was known by the family, I began to focus again.

"I really hope there are no Vultures around..."

I allowed my mind to reach out to the men as I conjured as good of an illusion as I could. I focused on producing a car going into the compound with a beautiful woman driving it. After ensuring that I gave myself enough time with the illusion's conversation, I quickly sneaked over the large fence by using a tree to get over it. Once I landed, I quickly made my way towards the back entrance, where I could hear the clang of swords. As I arrived, I noticed two figures dressed in an all white suit.

The left figure was clearly a feminine one due to her small frame and form-fitting suit whilst the other one was likely the man that drove in just now. I climbed into a tree and watched carefully. The duelists quickly reset their positions and fought once more. Much to my astonishment, the female duelist quickly and easily won the round.

"Are you ever going to go easy on anyone?"
"Perhaps once day but for now, my goal is to become as great a fencer as I can possibly be," she replied.

The man shook his head.

"Considering that you're an adolescent Hawk who is practically at her peak, I don't see the point in competing in a dying sport," replied the man.
"Tradition is important in this household and you know that full well don't you Maximilian?" she asked.

He bowed slightly, almost as if it were an apology.

"My apologies milady," he said.
"No offense taken," she replied.

They removed their helmets...and I almost allowed my jaw to drop.

"She's even more beautiful in person..."

Standing in front of me was the violet-haired Hawk with a smile on her face.

"I told you not to go easy on me...and you still did; how am I supposed to improve if you never fight at your best," she said.
"I don't want to risk hurting you in anyway," he replied.

She shook her head and replaced her helmet.

"I want to improve and you're the best fencer in the country right now so please, do your best and feel free to hurt me; I can take it," she said.

Her voice was gentle and pleasant and she was so calm, it made me wonder just what kind of person she really was off the mat. I suddenly heard footsteps coming from the door to their left and once they opened, I saw a woman dressed in a very fancy, white dress.

"Amelia? I'm leaving for the summit brunch. Angela will be home shortly." she said.

The violet-haired heiress broke away from the conflict and turned to her mother before hugging her deeply. I watched closely and noticed that Maximilian was reaching into his pocket...and pulled out a dagger. My eyes widened as he turned around, his eyes turning amber and the dagger somehow separated into two. I also began to smell a rather strong poison coming from the blades and I knew that if either of them got hit with a strike from those, they were as good as dead before the guards could react. I clenched my fists in hesitation; if they did not recognize me and I wasn't able to prove my identity, this would be seen as an assassination attempt and there would be no escape from Miles.

Then...I saw Amelia's smile. I had no idea why it had such an effect on me...but I felt compelled to protect her. I launched myself from the tree and managed to tackle Maximilian to the ground. He sprung to his feet and looked at me almost as if in confusion before he dashed towards the women. I swiftly put myself between them and managed to halt him with telekinesis. I wrenched the daggers from his hands and held him up in the air, not caring that Lady Rosario screamed in terror. I then threw him to the ground before closing the distance between us and landing a swift punch to his temple, knocking him out.

"Guards!" she cried.

I closed my eyes and prepared for the guards to swarm in and take me down but much to my surprise, nothing came. I heard rushes of air indicating that they had indeed arrived but when I opened my eyes, I noticed that Amelia had raised her hand, ordering them to stop their advance.

"He just saved our lives mother...he should at least be offered the chance to explain who he is," she said.
"He snuck onto our property without permission and who's to say that he wasn't an assassin himself?" she replied venomously.

Amelia gave her mother an almost scolding look as she shook her head.

"If he was able to sneak onto the property without alerting any of the guards and he was also able to see us both without either of us even remotely noticing him, he could've killed us if he wanted to long ago," she said.

I let out a breath of relief as I rose to my feet. Amelia looked at me with a stoic face and before I could say a word, her eyes turned amber. She raised her hand and immediately, I felt my body become extremely heavy. I tried to resist it but it only grew more intense until finally, I fell to my knees. It began to hurt immensely but I knew that if I fought back now, there would be no way I could convince them that my intentions were pure.

"Who are you?" she asked.
" Kit Matthews," I replied.

Her mother looked on in complete disbelief.

"That...that's not possible, Kit Matthews died in the invasion of the Americas years ago along with his entire family," she replied.

I shook my head and struggled to turn to face them. I then closed my eyes and I focused my mind on the discarded sword behind me before lifting it into the air and moving it in front of her. I then revealed my eyes and launched the sword at my arm, allowing it to cut a deep gash. She looked at me in horror but once my wound sealed within seconds before her eyes, she put her hands over her mouth.

" did you survive when Arthur, Alyssa and Cassandra did not," she said.

My eyes narrowed.

"Mom and Dad gave their lives for Cassie and I...I tried to save them but Mom used her gift to send me away with Cassie...I had no choice but to leave her to her fate," I explained.

I felt the pull of gravity loosen, allowing me to get to my feet. I then removed a picture from my wallet. Feeling my heart wrench upon looking at Cassie's smiling face, I held it up for her to see.

"This picture was taken three years ago...Cassie is still alive...and I need your help to get her back," I replied.

The guards stood attentively.

"You can return to your posts everyone," said Amelia.

The guards bowed obediently before leaving the area. Amelia then gestured towards the door.

"Shall we continue this conversation inside with some refreshments?" she offered.

I nodded solemnly and followed both of them in.

"We've been here for hours and there hasn't been a sign of any murderous superhumans," said Mili.

I sighed deeply.

"I'm not sure that map was even do we know that it wasn't a trap?" she asked.
"It's the only lead we have right just keep your eyes peeled," said Carl.

We arrived in the square about two hours ago, which was an hour before the map stated the attack would take place. After Brandon messed with the device, he managed to get pictures of both of the targets to appear in the hologram.

"You're going to have to be the one to find them Fabiana; no one here has better eyes than you do," said Carl.

I put my finger to my ear to respond but I immediately began to smell something odd.

"Is...this some kind of poison? It smells putrid and the scent alone hurts to bear..."

I focused, trying to locate the source of the scent until I finally found where it was...and it was on the move.

"I've got something, going to check it out," I said.
"You're not going alone," replied Nate.
"You're insane if you think you're going in there by yourself," snapped Mili.

I broke off into a sprint, using my nose to follow the scent of the poison into a building that was still under construction.

"He's inside the building across from the theater, meet me in there," I said.

I sprinted up the stairs and once I arrived, I hid myself behind a wall. I peered around the corner to see someone dressed completely in black. On his back was a sword and in his left hand was a bow. The scent of the poison only grew stronger and stronger until he reached into his jacket. As he brought his hand back from the inside, he pulled out a small bottle, which was filled with a green liquid. He placed the bow against the wall beside him and held up his hand. Much to my astonishment, two arrows materialized out of some kind of black energy. He dipped both in the poison before picking up the bow and taking a position.

"That's no ordinary burns just to smell it...I can only imagine how potent it is,"

He then cleared his throat.

"Come to stop me have you?"

I felt my arms get grabbed by something and once I looked, tendrils had wrenched both my arms behind my back and clamped them together. I struggled to get free but it was no use as they carried me towards him.

"Why are you trying to stop me?" he asked.
"Why are you murdering innocent people?" I replied.

He scoffed and turned to face me. His eyes were amber but the rest his face was completely hidden by a mask.

"Everyone that I have killed has had something to do with the Fall Of The Eagles...this is revenge and retribution for all the friends I have lost," he replied.

I looked at him in disbelief but I knew he was telling the truth; I heard no rapid increase in his heartbeat.

"Did it ever occur to you that some of these people were forced into the invasion?" I snapped.

He shook his head.

"Every single person I have identified plays an integral part of The Purity," he replied.

I shook my head in confusion.

"What the hell is The Purity?" I asked.
"The group that Miles Baneford controls...they've grown into such a faction that they effectively rule most of Europe,"
"Why have I never heard of this?" I said.
"Because...I was once a part of it,"

He then picked up his bow and loaded both arrows into it.

"...I regret doing anything for that evil bastard...he's killed so many people and now, I'm taking my revenge on him by dismantling his influence over everyone," he said.

He let the arrows fly before turning back to me. He allowed the tendrils to release me.

"Why are you here?" he asked.
"...I wanted to know if you were one of my kind," I replied.

I revealed my eyes, causing his eyes to widen.

"You''re an Eagle?" he gasped.
"I'm one of the few survivors of the invasion...and there are others," I replied.
"Then maybe we can help each other," he said.

He reached into his jacket and pulled out a picture.

"Have you seen this woman?" he asked.

I took the picture from him to see a really youthful woman, hugging a cat to her chest. She was of Norwegian descent, with red hair that stretched down to her shoulders. The picture didn't reveal much else.

"Who is she?" I asked.
"...My stepsister...she was kidnapped by members of The Purity," he explained.
"What's her name?" I asked.
"Iris Grotte...we're really close," he replied.

I sighed deeply.

"I haven't seen her before...but I'm willing to help you find her," I replied.

Much to my surprise, he lowered his hood and then his mask. He was clearly of Norwegian descent as well, though he had much sharper facial features along with long light brown hair which almost covered his eyes. One eye was hyacinth colored while the other was ice blue.

"I'll have to lay low for a little while after this assassination...but I'll find you," he said.

He then reached into his jacket and handed me a small device.

"In three days, press the red button and I will be there as quickly as I can," he said.

He raised his hood and mask once more and closed his eyes.

"Your friends will be here in a moment...I cannot stay to meet them but we will see each other again soon," he said.

He turned back to face me.

"What's your name?" I asked.
"Alex Paras,"

I looked away for a brief second to see that Mili had arrived first. I turned back but much to my astonishment, he vanished.

"Where is he?" she asked.
"...He just disappeared," I replied.

I then showed her the device and explained everything that he just told me.

"I...think we can trust him,"
"How can we trust a murderer Fabiana?"

I closed my eyes.

"Because he could've killed me anytime he wished,"
"So that's how you've spent the last few years...completely hidden from the world,"

Kit nodded slowly, his eyes still glued to the cup on the table.

"Do you have any idea where Cassie might be?" I asked.

He shook his head and continued to stare at the cup.

"It...was my fault that she was taken because I wasn't fast enough to save her," he said.

I looked to my mother who had finally returned from her room with a small album and a bag.

"I have pictures of you when you were just a baby," she said smiling.

Kit didn't seem at all interested in her words; his gaze was still fixated on the hot tea almost as if he was completely zoned out.

"I was however prepared for your arrival here...Alyssa had this recording sent to me a few days after the invasion thanks to a friend," she said.

Kit looked up as she pressed the button, causing a hologram to appear.

"Kit...if you're seeing this now, you've probably gone seeking others to help Cassie and you survive and I've probably met my end in one way or another,"

His eyes narrowed and I could see the sadness begin to creep up on his face.

"You've gone to Milan and Gerard for help...and now is the time for you to use what I gave you just before you left,"

I watched him remove a small drive from his pocket and then attached it to the device, causing a large diagram to appear.

"This is everything that Arthur and I learned about the Raptor gene...and we have determined a great number of facts in how it works on human DNA,"

The diagram cycled to show a normal human and an Eagle.

"The only way the Eagle gene can be passed on is for an Eagle to have a child with another or a which case it is only a coin toss's chance of happening,"

The diagram again cycled but this time, it was to a picture of Miles Baneford.

"Miles is the one who led the invasion...he betrayed your father and I because he wants the research to figure out a way to create Hawk-Eagle hybrids...Hawks that have the senses of an Eagle along with their massively increased brainpower will be a dangerous foe...but that isn't the worst part,"

It then shifted to a picture of Miles...assimilating a young girl.

"Miles's gift allows him to completely erase the memory of anyone who cannot resist his mind's's how he was able to sway so many to his cause and unlike the standard Hawk's assimilation...his doesn't binds them to his will which allows him to create an army of mind-controlled superhumans,"

The hologram of Alyssa then looked towards him.

"If Miles assimilates you and your sister...I don't know if there's anyone alive who is powerful enough to take him down because if he gets your healing factor and your sister's ability to completely resist telepathic influence, he'll be unstoppable,"

The hologram then looked down towards the ground, as if she were crying.

"Your father and I prepared you and Cassie for the worst in whatever way that we could and I know you probably can't forgive what I did to you...what I forced you to do when you wanted to protect me but I knew that if you had stayed, Miles would've achieved his ultimate goal...and become the undisputed ruler of the planet,"

It then shifted to a picture of Canada.

"I sent both you and Cassie to Canada because it's a place where you can hide in plain sight so long as you do not use your powers excessively...but you've found Milan which means that you've come seeking help,"

The hologram then turned to my mother.

"'ve been my friend for a very long time and I know this will be a lot to ask of you...but help my son...he can't take Miles down without your help,"

My mother looked at the diagram with a stoic expression.

"If you leave France, there's no way that Miles will not notice that...but your daughters are strong. Amelia and Angela are two of the most powerful Hawks that have ever been born and I know that they can help him do this,"

Her eyes began to get filled with tears.

"Kit is my pride and joy...I trusted him with my life's work and the last thing I will ever ask of to allow your daughters to leave France and help Kit gather any survivors of the Eagles and to give the cause enough strength to stand a feasible chance of stopping Miles,"

Tears were now flowing out of her eyes.

"You've always seen my perspective and believed in it Milan and this is probably the most difficult decision I will ever ask you to make...but Kit can't do this without her," she said.

I stood up, now fully understanding why my mother had allowed me to train so hard. The reason why she allowed me to become a great fencer, allowed me to have the life I always dreamed of...because one day, I would have to leave and not look back.

"I'll go," I said.

She looked at me in disbelief.

" realize that this could mean your death," she replied.

I shook my head.

"I'd rather fight and take Miles down than live another day in this wretched world with him pulling the strings...I will go with Kit and we'll raise an army to fight him," I said.

Kit looked at me, his face mostly blank but his eyes with great interest.

"'re sure about this?" he asked.
"Without a doubt,"

My mother suddenly closed the distance between us and hugged me.

"You're everything to me...your father and I trained you to be the strongest you could possibly be...and now is the time to make use of your power,"

Almost as if on cue, I heard someone come into the room.
"So this is the one we've been waiting all these years for mother? He's the same boy we met when I was a child?"
I turned to see my older sister, Angela. She had clearly just finished her work at the hospital as she was still dressed in her uniform.
"It's him. It's Kit." I said.
Angela approached him before smiling at him.
"You might not remember me much because I only met you twice, compared to Amelia who you've spent much more time around." she said.
The Eagle shook his head, sighing softly.
"...My mother's compulsion messed with my memories, so I only have hazy glimpses into my childhood life. I'm sorry if I can't recall who you are." he said.
Angela gave him a warm smile.
"It's no trouble; it will come back with time. I'm sure of it."
She then turned to our mother before nodding.
"I'll get packed to leave as well; I heard the entire conversation on my way inside the estate." she explained.
My mother nodded slowly as Angela took her leave. She then turned to Kit before handing him the bag.

"Everything else that your mother left for you is in here...and I'm sorry for being unable to help her,"

The recording stopped completely as Kit picked it up and placed it in the bag.

"We won't let you down...and I'll do my best to protect your daughters." he said.

There was something about his statement...something that I really liked. It was as if I was compelled to put my faith in him and even though I had no idea what he was capable of...I felt safe.

"Then it's cannot return on a flight because they will immediately recognize the family name but I took precautions for that,"

She snapped her fingers and within seconds, two men approached us and handed me two bags.

"You will take the private jet back to Canada...but be wary of anyone along the way because Miles has been on a relentless hunt for that serial killer in Canada," she said.
"News of that has spread even to here?" asked Kit.

She nodded.

"Miles believes that this killer is an Eagle and he wants him be careful on your way back," she said.

Kit nodded and looked at me.

"Let's not waste any time,"
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