p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Chapter Two: Beautiful Liars/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US" /span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"One good thing about the world we live in; there is no age limit to have a drink./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"With the world populated with emotionless beings, it is very hard for anyone to get into drunk fights unless they bring their Mask and emotion vials. Which is why it is illegal to bring Masks to a bar for that reason alone. The "no age limit" also keeps everyone in check from a time when humans did have a limit to control the younger crowd from drinking to death. Turns out if you do not have an age limit, the appeal drops as it is no longer "being cool doing something illegal"./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Orchid and I immediately went to the bar and ordered our drinks. I only join in on this to make it seem like I have only one emotion going on instead of all of them. Drunk me tends to just be happy and flirty; which can be found in the 'Night Out' Mask they always advertise online. Pretty much, I blend in better when I have a little bit of alcohol in me./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Can you believe how amazing this place looks?" Orchid yelled to me over the music./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I nodded, not really in the mood to yell until I finished my first drink./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Who should my victim be tonight, Lils?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Smirking, I sipped my drink and glanced around the bar. The overhead theatrical lights were colored to be green and blue tonight. The perfect lighting, in my opinion./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I spotted a cute, blonde guy in the corner. He was pretty built, but looked to be Orchid's type with the calm, cool, and collected demeanor he was presenting. As I was about to point him out, suddenly Henry Theodore appeared next to me where Orchid was a second ago./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""You're Lily Burnlit, right?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I blinked several times, thinking he was an illusion. The most sought-after senior was speaking to me?/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Uh, um, y-yes," I stumbled. I felt my face flush and I tossed my hair over my shoulder in an attempt to cover up my awkwardness./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"He smiled brilliantly at me, his brown eyes flashing with delight. "Damn, so I did just meet the prettiest girl from our school."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"span style="mso-spacerun: yes;" /span"Surely someone like…Elizbeth Regional would be someone more your speed?" I said, feeling the room heat up a million degrees, I tried to casually look for Orchid, but she was nowhere to be found. Rude./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""No way. Everyone's been with that one," he snickered and tapped his glass to mine before taking a swing. "What I meant was, you stick to your set of rules. That makes you worth anyone's time in my book."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I smiled nervously and fiddled with my glass before placing it down on the bar. He did the same and held his hand out to me. My eyes widened as my attention snapped from his hand to his eyes. He laughed fully./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Yes, I am asking you to dance. Come on, Lily."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I glanced around to Orchid again as I carefully took his hand. Not seeing her, I decided to give Henry my full attention as I smiled./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Leading me onto the dance floor, he pulled me in and dipped me back slightly, our hips pressed tightly together. I loosened up at that and laughed as he pulled me back up to him. He moved his hips in time with the beat and I followed. He spun me so my back pressed to him and he held me arms in a crisscross fashion. We stayed like that, swaying to the beat with the occasional spin. Every time he spun me away, I felt my chest get lighter. That maybe he was the second, aside from Orchid, who would be willing to work past our differences and become friends./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"By the fourth spin out, I noticed his attention kept flickering around and his eyes were losing their gleeful shine. As he tugged to pull me back, I resisted, forcing him to look at me with a crocked smile./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What's up?" he asked, stepping a bit closer to speak to me over the music and crowd around us./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Nothing it's just…you look like your Mask is wearing out," I said, gently releasing his hand./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Either I was crazy, or his mouth twitched into a frown for a split second. But when I blinked the same smile was there. He pulled me closer to him and poked my chin up to keep looking into his eyes./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Not to change the subject," he said, a bit softer to I had to strain to hear his voice, "but your eyes are, like, really cool."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I felt every part of me tense up. I worked hard to make sure no one really paid me much mind; especially my eyes. They weren't green or blue like the rest of the Marca race. No, my eyes were green with flecks of blue that seemed to constantly be in motion the more you looked. No other eye color has been documented since the Marcas first rose up./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I thought this light would hide this imperfection./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Placing my hands on his chest, I pushed him away from me./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""I think I'm going to head home now."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Wait," he said, grabbing my wrist, "I didn't mean to offend you! I like them; they're cool!"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"It was not the urgency in his voice that made me freeze up in my tracks, or his tight grip. No, it was the fact that his face slipped into one of panic. emWithout a Mask./em/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"With wide eyes, I tried to pull my wrist away because, I knew for a fact, he can wear Masks and emcannot /emchange emotions like that./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""G-get away from me!" I said as he grabbing my other arm, the panic replaced with annoyance. "how are you changing emotions!?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Shut UP, Lily," he hissed, pulling me into his chest in a bear hug. "Just calm the hell down—"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I heard like a crack shake the air and suddenly I was no longer bound to Henry. I scurried back to find him on the ground, a burn mark seared into his left shoulder./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Now would be a good time to run, little runt," a new voice hissed into my ear as a new hand took my wrist and dragged me from the scene./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Just managing not to trip in my heels, I allowed the dragging stranger to pull me as the crowd around quickly dispersed to the exit. Only when the one dragging me took a turn away from my road did I dig my literal heels into the asphalt to glare at him. He hissed and turned to me. I felt the shock settle in; it was the guy I was checking out for Orchid before./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Okay, can we move now, runt?" he said, looking behind me. "The distraction is perfect for escaping, and you standing here is not going to make anything easier."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I pulled at my hand, but he gripped me tighter. I glared at him and responded, "And why should I go with you? Who the hell do you think you are?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""The name's Zeus," he said, glancing behind me at the chaos again. "And if your friend Henry decides to try and come after us after that little zap, he will not be alone this time."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Wait, there are more like him who can control their emotions?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Control their…? Oh, you idiot," he hissed and started dragging me again. "And take those damn sexy shoes off. We need to run."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Rolling my eyes, I used all my strength to pull my arm back. It worked and he stumbled back a bit./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Why should I follow you and listen to a word you say?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"With a grunt, he grabbed my chin and forced me to look up and into his eyes. My whole demeanor softened as I stared into green eyes. But they were not just gorgeous, emerald green eyes; they had what looked like lightening strikes blazing through them./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Because, I was sent to get you, Lily Burnlit, before the Elite Seekers got to you first." He glanced behind me again, scowled and continued, "There is a group of us, with emotions, who try and protect others like us and bring them home. We try and keep them safe from Elite Seekers like the one who is currently coming toward us."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I was pushed behind Zeus and peeked around him to see Henry, a scowl on his face as well, as he drew near us./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""I see you are here to interrupt me again," Henry said, eyes squarely on the man in front of me./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Yeah, I like making it my part time job annoying you guys," Zeus said with sarcasm dripping from every word. "But I think that Elevated Mask of yours is wearing a bit thin. So how about we make this quick before you completely loose interest in this little mission of yours?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Henry pulled out a small rod that, with a flick of his wrist, became a much larger one that glowed an eerie purple. I glanced at Zeus and realized on his back was a bow and a handful of arrows left in the quiver. There were faint markings on the bow, but Zeus started pulling it off before I could get too focused on that. He knocked an arrow and aimed right at Henry./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""I can see the emotions waning," Zeus taunted, following Henry's movements as my classmate began to circle us. Zeus kept himself firmly between Henry and I; I tried to keep my eyes on Henry as well in case my now savior missed something. Though I have no idea if I could do anything to help./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Suddenly, Henry lunged at Zeus. Zeus pushed me to the ground and twisted to avoid the onslaught. He then took his bow, and grabbed Henry around the neck with it. With a grunt, he tossed Henry to the side and gave a smirk as the other man grabbed his neck and grasped for air. Zeus then knocked his bow again. A spark shot out from where his hand met the arrow and suddenly the arrow was an actual bolt of lightening./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What the actual—"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"My sentence cut off as the arrow-bolt was released with a crack like thunder and slammed into Henry's side./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I gave a cry, but was grabbed by the elbow and pulled up. We were moving a heartbeat later, running faster than I ever had in my life. Zeus wove us down empty streets, keeping to the shadows as our labored breaths caught in the chilling air. As we rounded another corner, I was forcefully yanked back and into the arms of another. I felt before I saw the gleam on a wicked blade on my neck./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Alright, Zeus," Henry hissed. I could smell the burning flesh on him. "You want to save her so badly, then you better figure out a better plan than just cheap tricks."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""The burning flesh does not sound like a cheap trick," I countered. I felt the blade dig at my neck and felt the warm line of blood form./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Your sarcastic mouth is not appreciated," Henry said. "I only need you partially alive for my mission to be successful."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I closed my mouth after that and looked to Zeus. His eyes were blazing with lightening as he looked for the best option to get out of this situation. The only take-away I got right now is that Henry was too prideful to get back-up. Zeus must have realized this too, because his eyes started looking around for some sort of opportunity. Henry starting barking about how he was better than Zeus and he would prove himself to all./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Aside from the blade, the only thing I felt was the dropping temperature around us. As Henry kept going on, I felt him tighten his grip around my waist, feeling the steel of his staff press into my side. I closed my eyes as the air kept dropping by the second. But I did not feel like I was cold. I knew the chill was there, but my body remained unchanged. Maybe this was something Zeus was doing?/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I opened my eyes to see Zeus staring at me, ignoring Henry's threats. Through eyes only, we came up with the plan. I moved my left hand just enough to take hold of the steel rod. Suddenly, a chill like death swift through the area. I pressed the button at that moment and the staff sprung open, effectively smacking Henry in the face and the knife fell to the ground. I swung around to face-off with him, only to find crumbled chunks of ice where my captive stood./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"A hand came down in two sift pats on my shoulder and then remained there. I glance up at Zeus who was smirking at the ice./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Well, well little runt," he said, "looks like you are going to be useful after all."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""With a staff? Hardly," I said, looking back to the ice./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"He snorted, "No, the ice part idiot."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Now I snorted, clicked the button on the staff to retract it, and pocketed the weapon in my free pocket./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Don't believe me?" he said./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Um, you're the lightening dude here. Figured you always were a freak of ice as well."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Then explain why you have blue flecks that move in your eyes?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"My smile faded from my previous jab./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Yeah," he confirmed, pointing at my face. "Humans that are born with emotions have a little extra something to them. They have gifts. You can always tell their ability by their eyes."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Looking back at the pile of ice, I felt the past few hours hit me. The way someone from my school took notice in me. His varying emotions, but he could wear a Mask. Orchid missing. Zeus being there the same night I may have been taken./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Then there was the ice at my feet./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Clasping a hand to my mouth, I fell to my knees./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What did I do?" I whispered./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""You killed an Elite Seeker, little runt. Effectively saving your own life. Granted I figured you were just going to open his open and then I would give the killing blow. But your gift emerged." Zeus said nonchalantly. He grabbed my elbow and pulled me up. "But right now, we need to get going."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""I have parents!" I frantically said, pulling my phone out. "They work in the Task Force, they can help me, and this mess, and—"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"My phone was thrown into the nearest wall before I could do anything more./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What the hell did you just do!?" I screamed to Zeus./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""If your parents are part of the T.F., then we better go. Now."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""They would never hurt me."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Zeus let out a frustrated groan, running his hand through his hair./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""I can make you a deal." He hesitated, waiting for me to answer. I glanced into those lightening eyes and, seeing how serious and tired he was, I nodded once. He continued, "Come with me and meet Helen. She runs things where I come from. If after speaking with her, you still want to run home to mommy and daddy, then we'll let you go. Fun fact, no one leaves once they here the truth."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I turned it over in my head. This could be a dream, but the dried blood on my throat says otherwise. The pain and the emptiness I felt throughout this night was entirely too real. If someone is willing to shed some light on this, I would be willing to listen./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Okay," I said, rubbing my sore arms from the amount of grabbing that happened today. "I'll go with you, jerkface."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Zeus raised an eyebrow at me. "Jerkface?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Yes," I said, moving to look down the empty streets. "A pretty face, but an ugly personality."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Zeus came up beside me, I could here the smirk as he said, "You just made that up, runt."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What if I did? I'm scared to death right now; I'm just trying to lighten the mood."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"He gently pulled my shoulder to pull me back into the alley and gestured to follow him./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Glad you deal with bad situations with sarcasm and making up words." He retrieved his bow from the ground without missing a beat and swung it around his back. "But, when you have to deal with such beautiful liars, I would do the same."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""What are you talking about?" I said, scurrying to keep up in my heels./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Save the questions for Helen, little runt. We'll be there soon enough."/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"I shut my mouth, figuring he would not answer me and instead give me annoying comments in return to any questions. So, I followed as we slipped under a fence to an old section of town where the builders were in near ruin. He then took me to one of the old tunnels that used to run an underground rail-train. Nothing is allowed underground anymore due to the inability for the governing bodies to monitor as closely./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"No words were exchanged as the wet air consumed us. The further we went, the older everything looked. Ripped posters littered the area on the walls, the tracks, and the decks where people once stood to wait for their train. The terrain became rougher and my heels kept catching on the tracks or some object I couldn't see. I finally gave in and took the shoes off. Holding them in my hands, I quickly caught up to Zeus. He glanced down at me and his eyebrows shot up in, I assume, fake shock./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Whoa, how short emare/em you?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Shut up jerkface," I hissed back./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""No, I'm for real curious. How short can someone seriously be?"/span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Five-foot" I muttered quickly./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US"Zeus broke out in a laugh. He didn't let up on short jokes either until we came up a dead-end. He placed his hand on the wall and leaned in close to it. I stepped closer to hear what he was muttering, but suddenly the walls began to move and leaped back. With a chuckle, he pulled away from the wall and gave me a smile that sent chills down my spine./span/p
p class="MsoNormal"span lang="EN-US""Welcome, little runt, to the Children of Lies."/span/p