Chapter One (Book One: Dragonfly)

Here Alone
By Anonymous Author

Call me names,
I do not care.

Take me down,
I do not care.

Freak. Monster.
Beast. Worthless.
I will stand strong.

These words do hurt.
But, they make stronger.

So, keep calling me names.
I will live through them
Because, I know where I belong.

I belong here.
And here alone...

ILLUSIONER FILE: ANGEL’S SHADOW

Left? Open water, simple path… Possible black ice.

Or right? The roar of the train can hide our sounds. Also possible black ice.

“Someone get them!”

Oh, fuck me. Just choose dammit.

“They went this way!”

Voices are getting closer. I could hear loud steps barreling towards us. And the hard breaths of guards to go with them.

Maybe we can fight… No. Not with him injured like that.

Turning to face the boy next to me, I sighed. He had a couple bruises, but that wasn’t what I was worried about.

What I was worried about was the cut on his cheek. It was decently deep and I am swearing to whatever deity is willing to listen that it won’t get infected. He gets sick too easily if it’s left untreated.

“Over here!”

Joder…

Snatching his hand, we took off towards the railway. It was our best bet to get out of this mess. Honestly, I’m kind of glad that I choose to go right with another train on its way. Plus, maybe I’ll get to try out the new tech I got.

Running my free hand along my belt, I found my PDA and snatched it. As we ran, I attempted to find a contact that can help.

Kenta. No.

Kamyrn. No.

Luis. No.

Julio. No.

******… Right, still have the number saved.

Colver. He’s with me right now.

Let me guess every-fucking-one is busy?

Another train roared by, the only sound that echoed in the night. Too bad that we were getting chased, otherwise it would have been a nice place to hang out, maybe tag it for my gang.

“End of the line.”

Letting go of Colver’s hand, I held my hands up in defense. With him mimicking my movement, maybe this could go our way.

“Giving up so easy, beast?” One of the guards growled. I know him; a bit too well. Blonde hair with specks of ice in it and I swear I could see my reflection in his frozen armor. It looked like it cracked after I threw a rock at him before this entire thing went down.

“Well, fighting is hard when you got TAME on your side. Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater. Or I guess I should call you, guard captain Zakarias Callesen?” I purred.

“Angel’s Shadow… Elodia, darling, I thought that you forgot about me. Good to see Colver fine and well.” Zakarias calmly spoke, drawing his sword.

“One… He’s called Angel’s Dove and two, how’s the dog life treating you? I mean being Dominik’s personal mutt is good for something, right?”

“I was only taught one trick… And that’s fetch.” Letting his sword drag across the ground as he ran right towards me and lifting the blade up, letting the sparks run at Colver and I. His sea-green eyes flashed red before flashing a smirk as he spun in a circle, creating sparks to trail around him.

Quickly jumping to the side to dodge the sparks, my eyes flashed purple. I could hear the faint echo of a train about to go by.

“Puppy wants to play? But, it’s too late for that.”

Colver was by the tracks and I could see swirls of shadows trail around his feet, waiting for my command.

“I mean, we got a ride to catch.”

As soon as I said that, the swirls of shadows around me and pulled me up and on top of the train as it roared past. Colver got on as well and I pulled him onto his stomach to dodge from Zakarias’ sparks as he kept trying to hit us.

“Stop that train!”

“Well, we only got one choice now.” Wrapping my arms around Colver, I quickly used whatever shadows that were near and used them to create wings. Lifting up, I let the force of wind to push us back and lifted up higher into the starlit sky, “Can’t hit what you can’t see!” I shouted as Colver created his own wings and waited for me to drop him.

As I let go, we both enveloped ourselves in shadows and continued to crisscross our way out of the guards shooting range, getting closer and closer to the town. Faint echoes of shouting and swearing could be heard.

Zaka is pretty loud… Jeez, what kind of person can be so lo- Right… I know some that can be very loud. That trait is pretty scary.

“Arkala is beautiful at night,” I commented as we soared high and nearing Firefly Bites.

I could faintly see my dads closing up the bakery and boutique, “Oh joder… Let’s sneak around back, my balcony door should be unlocked.”

Nodding, Colver led the way to my balcony before landing. Landing next to him, our wings turned to mist and so did our shadow mask. Opening the door, I let Colver go through first before following.

Sighing, I placed my hand on Colver’s and gently pushed him out the bedroom door. I also tossed his pajamas; mostly consisting of simple pants and a long-sleeved top with fireflies on it. Kadri, my baba, made it just for him. I also tossed him the weird patchy plush cat doll that my Papá, Anastasio Junior made for him. Colver calls it Blinkey.

“Go wash up and change. My dads will murder me if they found out that we went out and managed to pick a fight on our last day of the visit.” I explained softly as he shifted on his feet.

Nodding, he walked out, pausing to let a certain three-legged chubby ragdoll cat into the room. She looked like she just finished a bath because her long fur was well brushed and the smell of raspberries filled my room the minute she waltzed in.

“Bueno, Solana.” I greeted as she hopped onto my dresser. Reaching out to pat her head, I went towards my wardrobe and opened it, “Did papá give you a bath today?”

The only answer I got was a small meow.

Doing a bit of tapping my feet, I pulled out some clothes. Most simply a black, bottom tasseled sweater with the outline of a sugar skull on it, dark red skinny jeans with black boots to match.

Smiling, I tossed them to the vanity and started to strip off my one-sleeved dark grey jacket, dark red crop top, and jeans. The one rolled up pant leg was pissing me off when I tried to roll it back down.

Stupid specialty made pants. Who the fuck made this?

Oh right… I did.

Grumbling, I tossed on the clean clothes while tossing the others into a basket. I looked at my reflection in the vanity mirror. Seeing a blur of dark brown hair, I laughed, before wincing as claws dug into my hand.

Looking down at the source, Solana gave a hiss before running out the room. Well, stumbling half the time.

“Damario, we’re too old to do this. You’re like what? Twenty-five now?” I turned around just in time, holding my scratched hand, to face Damario, arms up and hands like claws. An attempt to scare me.

“But, you used to love this!”

“When I was younger and visited more often from Veskia.” I turned back around and went for my concealer when his hand locked on top of mine, “I know what you’re gonna say.”

“That baba and papá aren’t gonna like the fact that you picked a fight on the day that you go back?”

Holding back an annoyed scoff, I went to put the concealer on once I shook off Damario’s hand. I could see his concerned face in the mirror as I covered my bruises. Rolling my eyes, I placed the concealer down and stared right back at Damario, “So, where’s dinner?”

“We’re having dinner at the mansion before you leave for the train. Colver can get away with the scratch as an animals, but your bruises? Not going to pass, hermana.” He sighed before gently letting his fingers graze the back of my neck.

Hissing, I whipped around to face him, my own hand on the back of my neck until I felt something wet. Slowly, I pulled my hand away and brought it up to my face to see a dark red liquid on the tips of my fingers.

“Ah, joder… That explains the pain in my neck.” Turning around, I sat back onto my stool and smiled sheepishly towards Damario’s stern reflection in the mirror, “Can you, uh, see how bad it is?”

Sighing, Damario stepped a bit closer to me and brushed my hair out to my shoulder.

“Aren’t you a treat for trouble. That’s gonna leave a pretty scar and-“

“Oh, dios mio! Papá y baba are gonna kill me!”

“Not if büyükanne gets to you first.”

“Oh fuck me why don’t you.”

“At least we’re getting red chili and pork stew with rose cream and raspberry jelly for dessert.”

“Oh fuck off, hermano…” I grumbled before flashing a grin, “Want to try to sneak some snacks from the kitchen?”

“Always.”

ILLUSIONER FILE: DEVIL’S LIGHT

“Mum, please!”

“Devyn and Luca Dalton Batts! That is enough!”

“Oh Felicity, leave the boys be. Their father did leave you for some slag.”

“Mum!” Mum snapped, “You are not helping!”

Grumbling, I turned to Luca. Maybe if… No, she wouldn’t speak for us then, why would she now?

Luca gave me a look of annoyance before kneeling down to pet Mr. Snowman, my pure white persian, who is more trouble than he should be.

Our dad gave him to me as an ‘I still want to be part of your life. Please forgive me.’ gift.

Yeah… And where were you then and now?

I sighed as Mr. Snowman weaved between my brother’s hands, purring with content. Faint specks of snow fell off as he rubbed himself against Luca’s legs. Mr. Snowman gets affectionate and I was lucky enough to keep him here due to his illusioner abilities.

“Mum, this isn’t going to happen. Grandmum’s right, dad left you for some slag, who of which he is marrying. Violet is with them and out of us triplets, she is the only one who thinks that she’s bloody right about Annette.” I explained shortly, cringing at the death stare.

Maybe slag wasn’t the best word to talk about Annette.

“What Dev means mum, is that we don’t trust dad or Annette,” Luca stated.

“Boys, I hear what you’re saying. But I forgave him. A relationship built only around lies will cause everything to go downhill.” Mum sighed, “Please, he really wishes to see you. And I’m sure that Violet misses you both.”

Yeah, when pigs fly.

“But-“

“End of discussion.” Mum hissed, “Now go before you miss the tram.”

Luca and I shared a look before walking over to hug our mum and grandmum. Even Mr. Snowman joined in by hopping onto my shoulders and headbutting each of us.

Laughing, we pulled apart. Luca and I grabbed our bags by the door and waved. Mr. Snowman ran out ahead of us.

“Tell Gramps that we said bye!” Luca called out as we ran out, “We can make it in fifteen if we take the alleyways.” He stated as the front door closed behind us.

“Good thing that the tram lets us take out hoverbikes onto it.” I chuckled as we walked to the garage.

“Yeah. What’s the letter code again?”

“Dad shagged a slag.”

“So that’s one D-S-A-S,” Luca smirked as he typed the code in for the gate.

“Mum still wants us to change the code.” I sighed as we walked through the now unlocked gate to our bikes. Attaching my bag to the back, Mr. Snowman hopping on top, I reached for my helmet.

“The shop is a ten-minute walk that mum takes whether it’s burning hot or a bit wet out here. So, no need to go into the garage… Why does she even know the meaning of the code?”

“Hm… So, fifteen minutes through alleys, you say?” I didn’t want to say that Mum heard me say it to Nathaniel.

“We’re going to race, brother?” Luca flashed me a grin as he placed on his helmet. Hopping onto his bike, he turned it on and sped off.

Shaking my head, I placed my helmet on and climbed onto the hoverbike. Starting it, I looked back at Mr. Snowman, who has made himself comfortable on my bag. His tail swished towards me as he nuzzled his head further into my bag.

Smiling, I turned forward and took off speeding a bit faster than I normally would since Luca got a pretty big head start. Yet to my surprise, he was waiting for me at the first stop light. The light was currently red and sharing a look with Luca as I pulled up next to him, he pointed towards some guards by the corner on their own bikes.

Nodding, we waited for the light to turn green. Of course, this was the one that takes a tad too long to turn. But, it gave us enough time.

Flashing a grin towards Luca, I reached for the main console on my bike. Despite this being one of many prototypes for this hoverbike model, I felt like this was a perfect moment for mucking about.

Quickly glancing over the console, I saw just what I was looking for; AB. LINK. Tapping it, I tried to remember what I was told about it as the light turned green.

“This is still in testing. But knowing you, you’re gonna use it.”

“Ashy, cut to the chase. What does it bloody do?” I snapped.

“The cycle gloves are connected to this. Pretty much it makes a link between your illusioner abilities to the bike.” Ashton explained shortly.

“Okay…”

Ashton sighed before pinching my cheek, “In short, you can use your abilities through the bike…”

“That’s pretty ace.”

And for someone who is usually shy and fidgety around me, Ashton sure loves to play with technology.

“Just be careful. Okay?”

Yeah… I mean if he meant by speed all I want, then yeah, okay.

Luca’s laughter could be heard as he zigged-zagged between the flying bullets. I watched through the visor as he revved the engine and snow blasted out.

“Woo! This is the mutts! Remind me to thank Pyro for this upgrade!” He shouted.

Shaking my head, I held my left arm out down low and swerved to the left, letting my now flame-covered fingers run across the guard’s motorcycle wheels.

Looking back into the mirror, I could see the same guard try to control his melting wheel. Revving my own hoverbikes engine, flames gushed out and that was when I had a plan to get these guards off of our tails.

Waving towards Luca, he slowed down to let me next to him.

“Let’s get these chavs off our tails,” I shouted.

“Bout time!’

Revving our engines, we took off. The two of us created a thick layer of steam from the mixture of my flames and his snow.

We split up as we neared the freeway into back alleys.

I suppose that we did have a bit too much because on my helmet’s visor I could see a blinking green light and a name that read, My Bird.

Looks like Kamryn changed my contact names again. Better see who’s ringing me.

“Answer call,” I said.

“Devil’s Light! Where are you? The train just left!”

Oh. It’s Ashton.

“Sorry Ash, Lu and I got caught up in some trouble.”

“Wha- Devyn! What if you got hurt? You’re on a hoverbike. What if you crashed? You went looking for trouble, didn’t you? You pro-“

“I promised to cool it on the cigarettes.” I interrupted, “Not on the brawls. Plus, they sta-“

“Do not lie to me, Devyn!” Ashton hissed.

“Geeze. Fine. Well, look. I’ll pay for tickets again. Just don’t box my ears when I get at the terminal.” Sighing, I hoped that he isn’t going to give me an ear bashing.

Ashton was silent on the other line which did scare me. For someone way shorter and about what? Two, three, or four years younger than me? He can be pretty scary.

“I guess that’s fine… It’s not like I’m going anywhere. Just don’t pick any fights please.”

“No promises if they start it.” I chuckled.

“Don’t make me tell Angel on you.”

“Aw… What’s Elodia gonna do? Kick my arse?”

“I will if you don’t get here in the next five fucking minutes. I’ve been here since three fucking AM!” Elodia snapped from the other line.

“You’re there too?” I asked as I passed the post office. It was close to the terminal.

“Again, been here since three AM, I missed my train. Now hurry it up.”

The line cuts out.

Well someone seemed a bit cheesed off. Can’t she at least be happy that I didn’t pick a fight with one of the councilmen sons or that ex of hers… Again.

As I neared the terminal, I could see Luca already with Ashton, Colver, and Elodia. It was decently late and it looks like they got the tickets even though I said that I’ll pay again.

Parking on the vehicle transport pad, I got off my bike with Mr. Snowman following and walked over to them. Taking off my helmet, I ran a hand through the hair to fix it.

“I said that I was gonna buy.” I stated as Ashton gave me a rather annoyed look, new tickets were in his hands, “Who bought?”

“You gave me your card earlier.” Ashton stated, “Elodia used her mimic abilities to look like you and used a fake I.D.”

“For what? I don’t remember giving you my card.”

“Clothes.” He replied shortly, squatting down to pick up Mr. Snowman, “Hey there, you little fluff ball.”

“Right…”

“Can we just get on the train already? I want to get back and sleep.” Elodia hissed as she started to pick up a rather sleepy Colver, “And Corbin is waiting for your sorry ass.”

“Yeah yeah… Bug off already.”

ILLUSIONER FILE: SUNSHINE 

“Don’t forget to take the medication.”

“Yes, uncle.”

“And feed the piranhas before you leave. Jaz is being moody today, so be sure to put her in the solitary tank if she kicks the other fish out.”

“Yes, uncle.”

“Joshua…”

Sighing, I looked up from my book and stared right at my uncle, Deville Devonshire. He’s been taking care of me ever since my parents left me with him.

And we go through the same thing every morning. More specifically at six in the morning.

He tells me to take my medication, feed the fish, and clean the house; if I’m not going out with my friends.

“Is everything alright?” My uncle asked as he placed his coat on.

“Tired, that’s all.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t go out with Mr. Hunts to-“

“It’s fine.” I know that I shouldn’t cut my uncle off, but honestly, I don’t want to stay in an empty house with nothing to eat.

Well, it’s edible, just allergic to coconuts… Which is in everything he has. What’s with him and coconuts?

“If you say so. I’m off.” And with that, he walked out the door.

Frowning slightly, I got up and walked to the bookcase. Snatching the medicine bottle, I looked at it for a bit.

I’ve gone without it before. Just because he’s a scientist, that doesn’t mean he’s a doctor. For all I know, it could be harmful to take these daily.

Placing the medicine bottle back, a splash came from the other room.

“Jaz!” I shouted as I made my way over. As I walked in, I grabbed the fish net that was hanging in the doorway and went to pick up the piranha, “Stop breaking physics by setting stuff aflame underwater or solitary tank.”

As soon as I placed the piranha back into the tank, another was launched right at me. Thankfully, I ducked in time.

“One more time an-“

Another piranha right at my head. And this time I didn’t duck in time.

Sighing, I snatched the other two, placed them in the tank, and tried to grab Jaz with the net. Yet, it was on fire the minute it neared her.

“For heaven’s sake.” I snapped, deciding to use the gloves to grab her and grabbed the fallen piranha from earlier with my bare hands.

Yet as soon as I put it back in the tank, I had to duck as there was another that was aimed at my head.

“Cool it, Jaz. Or else you-“

Another piranha, this time it did hit my face.

Great… A fish with a sense of humor.

With a heavy sigh, I went to grab the piranhas to place them back while putting on flame-proof gloves.

It took a bit, but I managed to grab Jaz and make my way over to the solitary tank.

The ring of the doorbell shocked me as Jaz made an attempt to launch her now flame-covered self at me.

“It’s unlocked!” I yelled, shutting the lid down and locking it after I tossed some food in.

Drayson is early… For once. I thought as I walked towards the other tank to feed the now scared piranhas.

“Josh, hurry n’ feed the damn fish already and let’s get going! Firefly Bites is having a sale on those amazing cookies and I want five hundred of them!”

Laughing, I shook my head as I took the gloves off and placed them back, “Dray, the honey patch cookies are popular this week. You’re not going to get anything.” I gave another laugh as I started to feed the other piranhas.

God, how often does my uncle feed these guys? They’re more energetic than normal.

“Says the guy who only ever buys their average sugar cookies.”

“Shut up.” I grumbled, “Everything is too sweet for my taste there.”

“It’s a bakery! What did you expect?”

As I walked over, I grabbed my jacket and sighed as soon as I heard a familiar rattle. Reaching into my pocket, I took out a pill bottle with a note attached.

With a heavy sigh, I took the note off and handed the pill bottle to Drayson, “Can you put that next to the vase please?”

Opening the note, I decided to read it aloud since Drayson would be looking over my shoulder anyway.

“Joshua, I am aware that you dislike the medication. And I’m aware that you barely understand why you take them, but do take them. I will be checking once I return if it’s in your system. It is for your own good. Your uncle, Deville.”

“Dude, your uncle sucks…” Drayson whined as he reached for he reached for the pill bottle to hand off to me.

“Yeah…” Crumpling the note, I went to toss it into the vase as I grabbed the pill bottle. Opening it, I casually tossed three into my open palm and popped them into my mouth, instantly regretting it as the bitter taste filled my mouth and I quickly went to swallow.

“And you didn’t take those with water because…”

“Makes the taste worst. Let’s just get going because traffic is going to be a pain due to us leaving at what? When people actually go to work?” I teased.

It took a while, but we managed to beat the traffic and get on the next train to Arkala, Cruoso from Lunaris, Astren. It was a small town, but it was well known to be illusioner friendly, so it was also packed.

“Lars street should be right around her- What are they doing here?” Drayson hissed as we slowed to a stop by the fountain.

“Wha-” I was about to ask when I heard a sickeningly familiar voice that I only ever hear in Astren.

“Oh, Joshie-boy.” It purred.

Slowly, I looked over towards the source. There Chandler Caldwell, the son of one of the five councilmen, stood. He definitely looked like some sort of model with the clothes he was wearing and his hair slicked back.

“Uh. He-Hey Chandler.”

“Mind if I-“

I was quickly jerked away from Chandler’s advances. Looking towards the culprit, it was Drayson.

“Sorry man, but those honey patch and sugar cookies aren’t going to eat themselves! We gotta get in li-“

“Oh, you mean these? They’re out.” Mathies popped out from behind Chandler, “We got these as a thank you for modeling some clothes for them. We even got to keep the clothes!”

Isn’t Councilman Graner visiting Councilman Halpine in Kathos? Why is Mathies here?

“Oh, well… ” Drayson quickly ducked down to whisper me something, “Think you can deal with Chandler for a bit while I try to snag those cookies. I’ll pay the next five lunches for you at school.”

Knowing that there was no way that Drayson can get those cookies now, and as much as I hate to be anywhere near Chandler, I had to do it.

“Fine.”

“Sweet!” Drayson shot up with a large toothy grin as he casually pushed me towards Chandler and made his way to Mathies, “Hey Matty, think you can- Oh I don’t know… Give me a couple of those cookies?”

As Drayson tried to talk Mathies into handing him some cookies, I was stuck with Chandler as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder and led me away.

“Okay, Joshie-boy. I’m in need of a favor, and since your uncle works at Alpinescape Labs, maybe you could help me.” Chandler said as his grip tightened.

“What?”

“They got a new invention and I want to see it.” He said something else in a hushed tone before flashing me a smirk, “And since you are his nephew, you could help.”

“But-“

Chandler’s face grew dangerously close to mine, “Think before you answer…”

I think you mean, ‘Give me the answer I want or I’ll make you regret it…’

“Okay…”

“Great! You can come back to Astren with me!”

“But-“

“Try again…” Chandler hissed before dragging me back towards Drayson and Mathies.

Drayson was currently nibbling on some honey patch cookies while Mathies was texting someone.

Drayson looked like his old hamster from when we were eight… And that hamster ate a lot.

“Mathies, you want a ride back to Espos?” Chandler asked, his arm moving from my shoulder down to my waist.

And can the girls and guys who like Chandler explain to me why they dream of this?

“My dad will send me a pilot. Have the rest of the cookies Drayson, I don’t really like honey that much, but there’s no way that I can’t say no to ‘Arkala’s favorite handsome soccer player’ Damario.”

Right… Mathies watched the soccer games and his favorite team is the Arkala Scorpions instead of Espos’ team.

“Woo! Want to go to the arcade guys? It’s on me.”

“Uh sorry Dray, but um… My uncle is having a meeting with Councilman Caldwell and wants me there to entertain Chandler and the missus.”

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