If one happened to own a pair of binoculars and looked out their window, and by some incredulous magic saw underneath the railway bridge at the small corner of the quay, they would have found a group of youths strangely frozen in place with their mouths hanging open, each staring out at the open sea.
Then, chaos ensued.
First, Steve burst through the surface of the polluted murky water in a panicked and bewildered state screaming for help. Then the youngest of the thugs, Ricky, alerted everyone’s attention with a loud “IT’S THAT GIRL!” to the redhead who had sprung out of nowhere. Roge paid no attention to him but called out to Steve. Devon however, swore under his breath and advanced towards her. Heated words were promptly exchanged as Ricky and Devon ignored Roge’s call for a prop to fish Steve out and went for Athena instead.
Their moment of distraction was over a few seconds, but it was enough to turn the tide around.
“AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!!!” A high pitched scream made Ricky look back distractedly. The sight before him and Athena was quite spectacular, or unspectacular depending on whose side it was seen from.
Kian had locked his arms around Devon’s stomach and launched him into the air. He pushed out his hips and arched his back to generate as much strength from his lower body, sending Devon sailing above him. Using his perpetrator’s own weight, Kian brought him down in a vertical slam onto the back of his head. Devon’s knocked out body crumpled into a pile of mess.
In his rush to help Steve, Roge didn’t realise how close he was to Curtis. Curtis locked his tied wrists against the handrail and kicked himself off the ground, slamming his shoulder into Roge’s back. The side tackle coupled with his leaned-over posture sent the man flying over the edge and into the water below. Curtis then flung himself over and onto the other side, where he landed on his back groaning as his ribs sent jarring blasts of lightning throughout his body.
Athena wasn’t going to let Ricky make up his mind whether he wanted to pursue her, subdue Kian or attack Curtis. She re-positioned herself and pushed him hard against the lamp post. A loud clang reverberated through the air. She knew her heightened emotional state meant her push was imbued with magic, but she couldn’t care less about him now.
“Thanks Ginger.” Kian was struggling to get up when Athena approached him. He steadied himself with her hand and hobbled over to Curtis, who hadn’t moved from his spot.
“Well, you look wrecked.”
Curtis’s attempt to laugh at Kian’s words turned into fits of cough as his friend smiled and untied him. “Can you stand?” He bobbed his head but fell over wincing, pain ripping through his body as he broke his fall. Kian’s smile faltered. Athena knelt beside him and tried to assess his injuries. His face was as badly messed up as Kian’s, but most of the blows were concentrated on his torso.
“Athena,” Curtis’s voice cracked as he called her. “I- … told you not to come here nor come close to me! They’re going to think you’re one of us now!” Amidst the pain, he actually sounded mad at her. Regardless, relief and joy washed over her, for their amicable conversation in the park was not one sided – they had enjoyed each other’s company.
“Ginger saved us.” Kian defended her. “But we gotta go. That lamp post could’ve woken the whole neighborhood and my dead ancestors. We’re lucky the festival’s nearby, but I wouldn’t risk it just in case.” Athena quickly glanced at Ricky. Thankfully, he’s alive, albeit heaving and retching. Kian pulled Curtis up and swung an arm around his friend’s body to support him. Curtis winced and put the arm on his shoulder instead.
“Think I’ve busted a rib or two.”
As they left the quay, Athena noticed the grim. She realised he must have been watching the entire time.
He unclenched his fists repeatedly by his chest as they walked over. Was he mad at her? She waited for the lecture.
“Mercy of Heavens! Why, I haven’t been so enraptured since Von Goethe’s masterful play! Oh, the suspense! The tragic moment when Valentine condemns Faust and fought to his death! Such courage you’ve displayed! Such heroism! A maiden of valor!”
And then his exuberance was gone. He suddenly slumped his shoulders. “Do you realise how much work you’ve bestowed upon me? An unclaimed soul?! I’ve had a spotless record for nearly 200 years! Child, I do not blame you. But we shall meet again to discuss your actions!” And he disappeared.
Athena smiled. It would be nice to meet him when someone isn’t dying.
They didn’t make it very far when Kian’s legs gave way and the guys took a tumble onto the pavement. Athena chided herself for not realising Kian was just as gravely injured and was only acting tough for his friend. Curtis looked like he was about to pass out any moment too. “No, not now. We’re not far enough!” Athena cried out in panic. If only she knew some form of magic, there must be an emergency spell for situations like this.
“Blaze, bring the boys to the car please.”
Athena wasn’t expecting company. She recoiled in shock as a smartly dressed young woman stood before them. A warm breeze lifted the coat around her shoulders, as though she were a runway model who had just stepped onto the stage.
“Ki- Kirino?” Curtis blacked out as soon as he uttered her name. Curtis knows who she is?
“Hello, Athena. My name is Kirino,” the lady introduced herself. “It’s lovely to finally meet you, but we need to ensure everyone’s safety. Come. Someone is waiting for us.”