Prologue link, part 1 link.
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Aisling looked up in shock, her turquoise eyes round with terror. A moment’s panic stirred in her when she saw Fin, but her friend seemed to be fine, was already pushing herself into a sitting position, rubbing her bruised side. A sudden thought occurred to her, and she turned to Fin, questioningly. There were no signs of a bullet au any other weapon, so what had knocked her down?
    Before she had time to say a word, another blast resounded through the destroyed training room. It was so strong that the earth seemed to vibrate, throwing Fin and Aisling across the floor to land sprawled in a heap against the opposite wall. Aisling blinked rapidly, trying to see through the thick smoke and ash that had once zaidi filled the air, and heard Fin give a small yelp inayofuata to her. Six figures had materialized out of the gloom; five teenagers and one creature that seemed neither human nor beast. Fin scrambled to her feet, and Aisling shakily joined her, gripping the ukuta for support. Shaking away the dizziness that swirled around her, she squinted to make out their features as they came steadily closer. inayofuata to her, Fin lit her fists on fire, and Aisling wished zaidi than anything that her bow and arrows hadn’t been smashed.
    As they got closer, Aisling could see them in zaidi detail. The boy in front looked to be about eighteen and muscular, with brown hair and icy gray eyes. Behind him, another boy who seemed about his age, with dark eyes and shaggy black and green-streaked hair. A pale girl with choppy white-blonde hair and faded blue eyes, and another girl, amber-eyed and blonde. The last boy, who looked as if he wanted desperately to be consumed kwa the monstrous creature that slithered inayofuata to the green-haired boy, made Aisling’s blood freeze cold. She knew that boy. She knew his wavy blonde hair, his shy expression, silver mask molded to the curves of his face. He was skinnier than she remembered him, although he had always been on the small side, and his cornflower-blue eyes had a sort of deep melancholy that she could recognize even from a distance. With a jolt, she knew who these kids were. She locked eyes with the blonde boy, sensing the fear and longing within him. Uncontrollable anger bubbled inside of her, and in an instant, it boiled over.
    “Jackson!” she screamed, her voice hysterical as she launched herself not towards Jackson, the blonde, but towards their icy-eyed leader. Almost instantly, Fin was there, locking onto her arms and dragging her back. Aisling flailed wildly, her legs swinging in all directions, but Fin did not release her hold. Aisling’s wild eyes darted around the room, taking in Jackson, the other intruders, and her own team, which had descended into the rubble that was once the training room. She heard the scraping of metal as hero after hero drew their weapons, gathering in a semicircle around the intruders.
    The intruders were surprisingly unfazed, but stared almost mockingly at the Heroes surrounding them, as if they were merely small children, brandishing their twigs and broken branches. The leader laughed. “Pathetic,” he sneered, but it was directed not at the heroes, but at Aisling. Aisling had stopped struggling, and was hanging limp, shaking, in Fin’s grasp.
    “You sure about that, Tesla?”
    Aisling saw the glance that the Heroes shot at each other, and knew immediately what they were going to do. She cried out, but it was too late; as soon as the team began to attack, Tesla raised his hand, and the ground shook, sending them crashing to the floor. They quickly sprung to their feet, but before Tesla could create another earthquake, the monster, which had been previously dormant, sprung to life. Its eyes flashed a brilliant yellow, its mouth opened, baring long deadly fangs dripping with red-tinted spit. Aisling suppressed a shudder; the thing looked positively deadly. It snarled, spraying droplets of crimson saliva in all directions, and without warning, began to speak.