There is still a couple of weeks left before finals are over and school will be finished. The Elements have moved in together and Oracle City seems safe from harm. However, in addition to the worry of Crystallic's return, the fashion line doing well and approaching Eli about dating Izzy, Reagan must consider if he will actually graduate from high school.
Though graduating will be the least of his concerns when he finds himself amidst a scandal involving another socialite, discovering the identity and intentions of Oracle City's new "superhero" and confronting the first person to discover the true identities of the Elements. Being a regular teenager, whilst the world's pressures rest on his shoulders, will be that much harder when he is looking over his shoulder in fear of Crystallic, rogue vigilantes and the paparazzi.
With more twists and turns than Green Hope, Spirited Vigilante promises to keep you guessing until the final chapter. Filled with more family secrets, a more complex web of relationships, more powers and more drama, Spirited Vigilante will have you questioning who is truly worthy of being part of the Elements.
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The Elements SeriesSpirited Vigilante
By Ryan D Pearson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Ryan D Pearson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy Last Day
"There is ten minutes remaining, students," Mrs. Limina announced. "No one is to leave the hall until the examination has been completed."
The accounting teacher's nasal voice was so distracting in comparison to the silence of the room, that it was hard to concentrate. I was almost finished the second last question for my accounting paper when she had interrupted. I quickly scanned my page again to encourage the return of my previous thought process.
Unfortunately that didn't work how I'd hoped.
My ability to read minds was sometimes a real nuisance. I had found that whenever I was really concentrating on something, such as the second last question of an exam, the volume of the thoughts of everyone around me was reduced to a murmur. I also found that when I was distracted from my concentration, I was unable to prevent the onslaught of information running through my brain.
That was what was happening now.
"Don't go cheating now," Renae had said this morning, as I was heading out to my accounting final.
"I couldn't if I tried," I replied, knowing that reading minds was a curse in an exam situation.
It was hard to explain to my friends that I couldn't hear every thought had by a person, merely the thoughts running through their mind at the moment I was listening. In an exam, over two hundred people in the room were thinking about different questions, to different exams, to different subjects. This made it incredibly difficult to decipher who was doing my exam paper, let alone my own question.
Therefore mind reading was definitely not helpful in this situation.
Although I tried my best to ignore the thoughts of the other students in my cohort, Fallon's thoughts caught my attention. Only recently had I really noticed that hearing the Elements' thoughts—a team of my friends capable of manipulating the elements—came much easier than hearing regular people's thoughts. This was perfect when we were a fair distance away from each other but when we weren't in battle, say we were in an exam situation, it was very difficult to dull the echoing of their thoughts in my mind.
It was made especially worse when Fallon was practically yelling.
... so boring. Why do we have to go through the stupid motions? I am over this. I am not a student, I am Flame. I can control fire; I can burn people alive if I want—why on earth would I need to know which column a payment goes in; debit or credit? This is ridiculous. Nup, I'm getting up. I am not doing this sh ...
Fallon sit down! I thought to him, not moving my eyes from my paper.
I didn't have to see him to know he would be rolling his eyes at me.
Why? This is crap, Reagan. I don't want to be here.
You have to. Just suck it up. This is your last exam in your final year of school. Just finish it and stop being such a drama queen.
I'm not being dramatic. Answer me; why should I pretend to be a normal student when I am so much more.
I know who you are, Fallon. You are a student, by day, and a superhero at night. But guess what Fallon? It's daytime.
He didn't respond.
Honestly, I did understand where he was coming from and I also felt like going through the motions of high school was pointless. Since our epic battle against our archenemies; capable of summoning the power of the seven deadly sins, and their demonic spawn, three weeks ago, our lives had returned to normal. We continued our old patrol, protecting Oracle City against criminals, and also returned to school as if nothing had happened.
That was much easier said than done though.
Our school resumed activity a few weeks after the 'earthquake', that my friend Eli created, and finals resumed soon after that. Most students in our cohort reveled at the opportunity for an extra week or so of study, but most just used the extra time to party.
Who wouldn't? I had thought.
During my initial extra week of study I, alongside the Elements, battled a sea of demonic creatures, woke up in a dungeon and saved my sister from being kidnapped. We also destroyed a very powerful ancient artifact, which, in the wrong hands, would have been catastrophic.
Not to mention fighting our toughest nemesis yet.
Once that was over we had to deal with the stress of pending exams. After being granted a short hiatus during our exam period we tried our best to study, but our apartment was in dire need of cleaning, given that Crystallic, or someone sent by them, had ransacked our apartment looking for the Green Hope.
The cleaning alone took three days to complete.
Unluckily for me, I only had a few days to re-study for my exams before my first one on the Tuesday of last week. By the end of the week our apartment looked like it had been ransacked again, with all five of my friends spending every night there. During the day we studied, during the night we solved crime—there was no time for cleaning.
Our life had finally regained some repetition and, honestly, I was bored.
Before exams had begun, my foster parent Joe, my cousin/sister Renae and I went to each of my friends' parents and requested their children come live with us. We had found that living in separate houses, spaced far apart, was no longer a viable option if we were to fulfill our responsibilities to Oracle City as the Elements. We also found that living together wasn't that much of a stretch, given the amount of time we spent together.
My apartment was turning into the group hangout anyway.
The issue wasn't space; as Renae and I lived in my, now deceased, Grandfather's two-storey penthouse, complete with six bedrooms. The issue wasn't money; as we lived in my Grandfather's building, evident of the multi-billion dollar empire he built from scratch. Nor was the issue keeping the place tidy; as we planned on increasing the frequency of our cleaner's visits to three times a week. The issue wasn't really even convincing my friends' parents, which was quite a shock when they all seemed to be content with our proposal.
The main issue had been convincing Joe why we should live together.
Renae and I were very close cousins when we were growing up, until I moved in with her and my Grandfather at the start of this year. A few months after living together, we inadvertently discovered that we were in fact brother and sister.
Ever since then we had been virtually inseparable.
When my Grandfather passed, Joe had taken custody of Renae and I. Joe was my Grandfather's personal bodyguard and best friend for years. Sadly Renae's parents died a few years ago and my parents died only a short time after, so Joe was the closest thing we both had to family.
We were truly lucky to have him.
Joe had known us since we were born and, without even knowing it, allowed us to discover the family secret through his thoughts. He treated us like his own children and considered it a blessing when he had gained custody over us. Since then he strongly encouraged us to achieve good grades, and eventually gain a good career, not wanting us to rely on the family fortune too heavily. I respected him enough to not rely on the fortune but I was definitely relying on the De Ja name to build my own business.
Joe was content with that decision.
Renae and I had developed our own sub-division of the De Ja empire called Reagane & Reanae, which was our full first names, earlier on in the year. We had released a successful fashion line a few weeks before exams and were fast becoming the top two socialites in Oracle City. We were famous for being heirs to the De Ja fortune before but now we were famous on our own.
That was one thing that Renae and I were most proud of.
In terms of the Elements, Joe never questioned our frequent comings and goings, simply accepting our flimsy excuses whenever we used them. He seemed to stick his head in the sand regarding that side of our lives, clearly unaware that we were the famous superheroes Oracle City was now renowned for. However the issue for Joe was that he believed we were surrounding our friends permanently to compensate for lost parents. We tried our best to convince him otherwise but it was a lost cause.
Regardless he accepted our proposal and my friends soon moved in.
As I still sat in the exam hall writing my final exam of my schooling life and reflecting on my life over the past year and the relationships I had formed, it made me really question who I was. I had become one fifth of an elite, crime-fighting team with superpowers that enabled me to control all aspects of the mind. I was also one half of the famous billionaire duo Reagane & Reanae. I had the best friends a guy could ask for and the best sister in the world. I had everything I had ever wanted, short of my parents being alive.
Nothing could have ruined my good mood.
"Your examination has now ended," Mrs. Limina announced, spitting into the microphone.
Damn, I thought, looking at my incomplete paper in front of me.
Joe was not going to be happy about this.
"Please put down all writing materials and place all used booklets inside your exam paper," Mrs. Limina continued, "and wait for the examiner to collect them. Any booklet that leaves the exam hall is deemed to be compromised and will not be taken into consideration. Please remain silent until all booklets are collected."
I had all but finished the questions on the booklet but was only relatively confident that I did well. School was never exactly my strong suit, so I wasn't surprised by the nauseating feeling regarding about my soon-to-be-issued report card.
Thankfully I was now free from my monotonous high school life.
Though I hadn't applied for any colleges as yet, much to Joe's dismay, I planned to take a gap year before going back to study. I also wanted to really get the brand Reagane & Reanae out there. Renae and I had so many more plans for our business venture and college would only hinder our goals being achieved.
That was my justification for not going anyway.
Avery real reason for deferring college was due to my commitment to the Elements. Our most powerful enemy was still out there and quite capable of attacking at any point. There was no telling when, how or where would attack.
We just needed to be prepared for their return at a moment's notice.
Although Crystallic were a very real threat, they were not my most prominent concern. After ransacking our apartment, Crystallic had kidnapped Renae and held her hostage. Their one demand was to gain our half of the Green Hope, a powerful stone that, combined with their half, would provide the bearer with the power of life and death.
We destroyed it but Renae was scarred as a result of the capture.
She had been putting on a brave face in front of everyone, including me, but I knew better. Around me she kept her thoughts controlled but every so often I would get a glimpse of how much the event had affected her. I also knew that she had been sneaking out of the apartment recently.
I still had no idea why though.
What I did know was that she refused to touch me. Every time I went near her, for a hug or whatever, she would quickly remove herself from the situation. I knew she was making sure I didn't touch her and search her mind, as I had more control when I was physically connected to someone I was trying to read.
I promised myself I would find out whatever she was hiding.
Coming? Fallon thought, interrupting my reverie.
I must have tuned out, I responded, shaking off the sudden drowsiness. Coming.
I was one of the last students remaining in the exam hall. Most of the exam papers had been collected, including my own, yet I remained sitting there staring aimlessly into space. I quickly stood up and followed the group forming around the doors, passing a girl crying with her head on the desk and being comforted by a seemingly apathetic teacher.
Fallon was waiting for me just outside with Eli.
"Hey man," I said, greeting Eli.
He simply grunted in response.
Up until week or so ago, Eli would have considered me his best friend, as I considered him mine. We did everything together and shared our deepest, darkest secrets with each other.
Unfortunately a recent event changed his perception of our friendship.
On the first night that my friends moved into my apartment, Eli had heard me accidentally protest my love for his sister. Izzy had joked about stealing Wyler's power to sneak into my room covertly through the night, and I had laughed so hard that I inadvertently let out those three infamous words. Although it was a very clear misunderstanding as to the true meaning behind said words, Eli took the statement very seriously.
The seismic activity in Oracle City that night showed his disapproval.
"How'd you find it?" Fallon asked.
"Alright but I didn't finish the last question. I'm kinda bummed now actually. What about you?"
"Yeah alright I think, just didn't balance on the last question."
"I have to go in," Eli interrupted abruptly.
Eli had his Economics exam straight after our accounting.
"Okay man, good luck," Fallon said.
"You'll nail it, dude. Don't worry," I added.
He simply ignored my statement.
Fallon and I then turned and headed for the car park. A few people we knew were walking into the exam so we said a quick 'good luck; without stopping. We walked in silence but I could hear the million questions forming in his mind.
I no longer wanted to be alone with Fallon.
"So, you and Eli huh?" Fallon asked, vague as ever.
"What do you mean?" I answered, acting clueless.
We both knew that I knew—I could read minds after all.
"Don't play dumb. Something has been going on between you and Eli for over a week now. What's going on?"
"Why don't you ask him?"
"Have you met Eli? As if he is going to share his feelings about anyone or anything. You just happen to hear thoughts, so I would assume you know."
"Yes I do know but it might not be my place to tell."
"Look it clearly has something to do with you and Izzy. Has something happened between you two?"
"Why do you automatically assume me and Izzy?"
"Reagan, we may not be able to hear your thoughts but you wear them on your sleeve. Everything you want to say is usually written over your face anyway. The way you look at Izzy is the way I feel about ..."
I knew he was going to say Renae, even without me having to read his mind. Unfortunately a weird love triangle had formed within my friendship group. Eli was obsessed with Fallon's ex-girlfriend Wyler, who also happened to be his sister Izzy's best friend. Fallon seemed to move on from Wyler quite quickly and fell hard for Renae, my sister. I was then completely and undeniably love struck by Izzy, Eli's sister.
It was a very delicate, and oddly convoluted, situation.
Although I was aware Eli and Wyler and Fallon and Renae had not actually done anything together, they were all emotionally bonded. All parties were well aware of the other's affection but no one had actually taken the leap of faith and out right protested their feelings.
I was obviously the exception.
The issue, being so delicate, needed to be treated very carefully. I tried my best to keep mine and Izzy's relationship—if you could call it that at this stage—under wraps so as to not offend Eli. Fallon was in the same position as I was, but it was my sister he was after. Eli was also in a hard situation, wanting to date his best friend's ex-girlfriend, breaching rule #1 of 'guy code.'
It was a very, very tricky situation.
Regardless I knew that if I wanted to take the leap and actually begin dating Izzy, I had to first ask Eli's permission. I had also instructed Renae to tell Fallon that I was expecting him to ask the question before progressing in their relationship.
I knew what I had to do but I really, really didn't want to have to do it.
"I know it's obvious," I interrupted, not wanting Fallon to actually say my sister's name. "The way I feel about Izzy. I know that everyone knows; I don't have to read minds to know that you guys know. I just, it's just ..."
"Really hard to ask for permission from one of your closest friends, regardless whether you know they are likely to approve or not?" Fallon interjected.
"Exactly." That was a trap and I knew it. "But I know that if I actually want to date the girl I like, I have to ask permission from her brother first. That would be such a dog act, continuing to see his sister behind his back."
Fallon immediately knew that I was no longer talking about Izzy and I.
"How was your exam?" Renae asked, as I walked out of the elevators back in my apartment.
Renae was sitting at her desk in the foyer. There she acted as Joe's personal assistant, with the ability to control everything. Renae was very technically minded and had hacked into the De Ja systems to control everything from the cameras to our accounts to police scanners, all for the Elements.
Despite having no powers, my sister was definitely an asset to the team.
"It was okay," I replied with a sigh. "I didn't finish the last question though."
"Don't worry, as long as you hammered out everything else and balanced at the end."
"I did balance on the other questions, thank God."
"What are you doing now?"
I noticed the inflection at the end of her question.
Excerpted from The Elements Series by Ryan D Pearson Copyright © 2012 by Ryan D Pearson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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