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The League of the Young and Supernatural (8)

"A supernatural organization founded by rogue aliens fight to protect the human race."
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Ch. 8
*Zeta*

Jinx and I were twins, sure, but we definitely did not think or act the same in most situations. She was the logical, organized, serious one who planned out what to do before she did it. I was more of the act now, think later type of guy. If things needed to get done, I wasn’t going to be tedious or cautious about it. I would go at it head first.

There was no way I would walk up to each of these houses and ask politely to come inside. I would never get done surveying the neighborhood if I followed that idea. Jinx was too careful.

As soon as she left my line of vision, I zipped off to a few houses down from the old man’s. There were no cars in the driveway, and no lights were on inside either. An empty house was the perfect bait. I walked up to the garage and placed my hand over the keypad opener. With a few currents pulsing through my veins, I zapped the thing and shattered its internal circuits.

I managed to lift up the garage door and place it back down somewhat quietly. Nobody was home, but that didn’t mean there weren’t neighbors around listening for loud commotions outside.

To my luck, the door on the inside of the garage was unlocked. I snuck into the opening area of the house, noting that this place was a little more updated than that old man’s. The kitchen my feet happened to stumble into was spotless. Counters were cleaned, no dishes were in the sink. There wasn’t a crumb on the floor. Did anyone even live here? Or was someone just super cleanly?

The house’s silence amplified my rapid heartbeat as I snuck towards the basement door. No one seemed to be here, but I was still nervous. It was midday, and I was invading someone’s “personal property” according to Jinx.

The basement seemed 5 degrees cooler, which calmed me down a bit. I carefully stepped down each step and made it to the bottom. No lights were on, which was relieving. If someone were here, they would at least be upstairs. Since I couldn’t exactly see in the dark, I fumbled around for the light switch. After flicking it on, I witnessed the other personality of the house. Blankets, toys, cups, controllers, games, and whatever else you could think of was sprawled out on the floor. This family obviously had a child or at least multiple children.

I swerved passed the trinkets and toys to make it back to the unfinished part of the basement. The sump pump pipe was prominently sticking out of the corner of the wall. I knelt down and brushed my fingers around it. From the looks of it, it appeared to be a faded white color with rust in some places. But once my finger pads cupped the pipe, they were coated in some black, heated substance. My heartbeat increased at the sight of this. Had I finally found the black dust we had been after?

I took out a small plastic baggie that Jinx made me bring along in case this sort of thing happened. I pushed the powder off of my fingers and into the bag. There wasn’t that much, so I began rubbing the pipe vigorously to drop more of the dust into the bag. Once I gathered a decent amount, I zipped the bag shut and placed it in my pocket. I felt like contacting Jinx would be appropriate, but if she was in the middle of Buigel research, she wouldn’t be in the best mood to talk.

Buigels were shapeshifters that took over the body of their victims. They had attacked several planets before but were never really successful in taking over planets. They were weak if you knew how to corner them. But this house certainly seemed like a victim to one of their attacks. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach wondering where the people who lived here actually were. Had they been sucked lifeless to become Buigel soldiers? And how come no other house had this black dust issue?

Before I could ponder any longer, the lights flickered off, and I was abruptly consumed by darkness. I turned around swiftly and tried to make out what was going on around me. Had somebody been home this whole time? Or was I about to become Buigel prey? I didn’t know whether it was a safe bet to use my abilities or not. Exposing your supernatural powers to humans was frowned upon, and usually got you into huge trouble according to the upper ranks.

I slunk back but hesitated to move. The darkness wasn’t my forte, and I usually stumbled like an idiot without the lights on. Whatever had turned off the lights was heading towards me, but also in a timid manner.

“I-I know h-how to end you. Y-you’ve already taken e-everyone else. Wh-what more do you want?” a higher toned voice spoke reluctantly.

I blinked, trying to make out who or what was speaking to me. The being looked smaller than me, which was relieving.

“I, uh..” I stuttered, not knowing how to approach this situation. I wasn’t here to attack anyone, but clearly this person was terrified. It could’ve either been a human, or a Buigel trying to fool me. “Look, I’m not here to hurt you,” I replied, deciding to go for the truthful approach. For some reason, I felt like this wasn’t a Buigel.

“A mysterious p-person breaks into my home, and doesn’t w-want to hurt me? Try again,” the voice said with a slight boost of confidence. It backed away, and suddenly, I felt a beam of hot water shoot me in the face.

“What the hell?” I nearly yelped at the sudden burning sensation. Where did that even come from?

I-I’m warning you! I’ll turn it up a notch!”

“Wait, hold on! I’m not here to hurt you! Please, calm down!” I warned, trying to figure out how to turn on the lights without stumbling into everything.

“Liar!” the voice yelled. Another beam of water was shot towards me, but I ducked down to avoid it. The water hit the wall and splashed hot water onto my back anyways. I cringed and stood back up, now annoyed with this person.

“If I was after you, why would I be sneaking around in your basement? I’m not here to harm you,” I explained, as I inched forward towards whoever was speaking with me. “Please. If you turn on the lights, I will comply with whatever you want me to do.”

The voice hesitated to speak again. The being moved backward slowly before placing its back on the wall. It flicked the light switch upwards and stared straight at me. I couldn’t help but break a smirk after laying my eyes on my attacker. It was some short, brown-haired girl with deep blue eyes. She held herself without any confidence and seemed to be hiding her shakiness rather unsuccessfully. She looked like a small, cute, yet helpless human.

She stared back at me and began to calm down. I was tall, sure, but not menacing looking. I probably looked awkward at the moment since she had splashed me with water. My blue hair was dripping on my forehead and trickling onto my shirt.

“Why are you here? Y-you can’t just come into people’s houses and sneak into their basements. What are you after?” she asked, refusing to leave the wall.

“I was looking for something near your sump pump, and I found what I was looking for, so I’ll get out of your hair. Sorry for the inconvenience...” I muttered, hoping she would be too weak to hold me back from leaving. I moved forward towards the staircase, but she leaped out in front of me before I could climb it.

“Y-you can’t just leave! You committed a crime! You’re insane!”

“Says the girl who said she ‘knows how to end me.’ You thought I was someone else. What were you so afraid of?” I asked, hoping my words would turn this whole situation around.

“That was my mistake… It’s none of your business anyways,” she replied quietly.

“Who has taken who? I deserve to know what you accused me of being. Maybe I could help you,” I said.

“You don’t deserve anything!” She snapped, before reverting back to her awkward demeanor. “B-but, even if I was willing to explain, you wouldn’t believe me. Just… get out of here before I call the cops on you,” she threatened.

“Are you in danger?” I persisted in asking.

“No! Just get out of here, you creep!” she snapped.

I wanted to know if she had been hunted by a Buigel. All of these context clues lead me to believe she had been, but she wouldn’t openly admit it. I didn’t know how to get her to say it. Exposing what I was capable of was discouraged, but if she had already witnessed a Buigel in action, my powers wouldn’t even faze her.

“Alright, alright. But, can I ask one thing before I leave?” I asked.

“You just did. Leave,” she demanded, pointing her hand towards the staircase.

“Sarcastic little…” I muttered, a bit taken back by her snarkiness. “The scalding water. Where did it come from?” I blurted out. That seemed to have struck a nerve with her, as she went silent for a moment.

“Please go.”

“There’s no hose or bucket around here. Would you mind explaining?”

“Yes, I would. Get out of here,” she spoke shakily.

I smirked before stepping to the left of her. I gripped the banister and started up the stairs. “If we encounter each other again, I’m expecting an explanation. Interpret that how you’d like,” I spoke before rushing up the steps. I slipped down the hall and out the door in a matter of seconds.

Jinx may have been right about the fact that barging into people’s houses caused chaos, but sometimes it was worth it. I don’t know what I found, but she was potential.

*****

A 20-minute walk lead me back to the LYS building. I took the elevator up to the eleventh floor, and sort of stumbled into the door at the end of the hallway.

“Zeta? Are you alright?” Jinx asked without much emotion. She didn’t even look up at me, her eyes were too busy studying the computer screen. Her body was stretched out in a contorted position, shoes and socks next to her chair. She seemed to have stripped down to a tank top and shorts after coming back home. The lack of cover up exposed her fox-like ears and bushy fox tail. This was home, and she could be herself. She didn’t have to take on her “human identity.” I didn’t blame her for undressing. Being comfortable probably made research a lot easier.

“I’m fine, I’m good,” I muttered. “Have you found anything?”

“Well, maybe? I don’t know. It’s a work in progress. Why’d you come back so quickly? I’ve only been working for like, an hour.”

“I, uh…” I contemplated telling her what actually happened. “I found a few things that might interest you,” I stated vaguely.

Jinx looked up from the screen, almost annoyed with my response. “Like what?”

“Here.” I opened up my jacket and pulled out a ziplock bag filled with the dense, black particles. I threw the bag at her hoping to catch her off guard, but she grasped onto it with ease.

“You actually found the black dust?” she asked in disbelief.

“It’s not really dust. It’s warm and dense. It feels different than how it looks,” I explained. “But yeah, I found it a few houses down from that old man’s.”

“Did you barge into the house? Or follow what we were doing before?” she inquired. Her right eyebrow arched upwards in annoyance as if she already knew my answer to the question.

“I mean… I know you told me not to, but it was a lot more convenient, and it was actually kind of worth it because I-”

“Zeta! You’re such a dumbass! I specifically said-”

“Wait!” I interrupted. “Let me explain before you scream my head off!”

“No! You’re always reckless! That’s something the LYS hates! You could get into serious trouble if you expose us. We could be kicked out of here-”

“Jinx-”

“Or maybe even killed. Because you know how humans are. Anything abnormal is put under a microscope and analyzed, then put into the news and media for the rest of their world to see-”

“Please, I-”

“And then humans will know of the supernatural creatures around them, and start freaking out-”

“For the love of-” I paused to catch my breath. “Jinx! I found someone else like us!”

Jinx’s rant came to a gradual halt as she processed the words I had just yelled. She scrunched her eyebrows and gave me a curious look as her anger began to fade.

“What…? What does that mean?” she stuttered.

“An elemental. I found one,” I said calmly.

“Someone... of Jaami descent? Or just an elemental?”

“I… I don’t know that much. She looked human,” I recalled.

“You didn’t ask? How did you find out she was an elemental, then?” Jinx asked.

“She sort of… attacked me,” I replied awkwardly.

Jinx inhaled slowly, probably to calm her nerves. She never really approved of anything I did when I was off on my own, and being honest about my actions just seemed to make her angry. I couldn’t tell if she appreciated my honesty, or more irritated with what I had done.

“What… element does she reign?” she finally spit out the question.

“Water.”

“Was she a rogue? Did she know what she was doing?”

“She definitely knew how to use her abilities, but I wouldn’t call her a rogue. She was all by herself and seemed to be traumatized by something. Based off of what I saw, she probably lived with a family of elementals, and they had been taken from her. She accused me of being something I wasn’t. I wanted to know if she knew what Buigels were, but as soon as she figured out I wasn’t what she thought I was, she shut up. She stopped using her powers and became quiet. I couldn’t get anything else out of her,” I explained.

“So… disregarding your whole breaking into her house thing, she was the one who messed up? Or did you duel it out with her with your electric currents?”

“No, I ‘remained human’ to her. But to be fair, she probably thought I was a Buigel coming to take her.”

“You should still never expose yourself unless you’re certain. She must be an amateur…” Jinx scoffed.

“She did look young. Probably younger than us, if I had to guess.”

“That’s irrelevant. She’s an abnormality on Earth; a planet filled with impressionable, stupid humans. She has to be cautious,” Jinx said with a slightly irritated tone.

I lowered my eyebrows in disagreement. She was so critical of others, even though she was only a bronze ranked LYS member. She might have had practice in combat and thievery back when she lived on Jaami, but not everyone was like her. Not everyone had the same mindset or thought process when it came to danger. And not every supernatural being was an LYS member. I sighed, ignoring this opinion of mine. If I tried to argue with Jinx, I’d only be shot down with narrow-minded reasoning.

“Whatever. My point is, I found the black dust in a house filled with elementals. Or at least one elemental. Do you think that has any relevance?”

Jinx turned back to her monitor and glanced over the page that was open. “It could… But humans have been targeted too. I’m almost positive every incident we’ve heard about has been with a human victim. So, this just seems weird.”

“Well, maybe her family, or whoever was living with her, was targeted because they appeared to be human?” I suggested.

“That would make sense…” Jinx muttered as she glanced over her notes. Her eyes were searching furiously for something. “I’m starting to have mixed thoughts on what we’re actually after…”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Do you remember the most recent war in the Epsilon Galaxy? Everyone was confused as to who was really attacking them and causing chaos? These two different creatures pretended to be one another to throw everyone off. But eventually, each one was eliminated, and the war gradually ended. Does that sound familiar to you?”

“We never fought in that war, but yeah. I know the basis of what happened. Not many details. Why is that relevant?”

“Supposedly those two creatures were the Buigels and these things called ‘Aejins.’ They both can do the same sort of things. They can shapeshift, read minds, latch onto souls and whatnot. And since they’re basically always in a shifted form, no one could really tell the difference between them. But there are a few differences.”

“And what are those?”

“Buigel soul attachment can be undone. Aejin soul attachment can’t. You have to kill the victim along with the Aejin to end them. So, basically, you can’t figure out what you’ve attacked until you’ve crushed the soul-link orb in its chest,” Jinx clarified.

“There’s no other way to tell them apart?” I asked.

“Apart from physical distinctions, their goals are drastically different. Buigels go after the minds of victims. Their goal is to link with them to obtain information. Once they gather what they need, they leave the body to rot. On the other hand, Aejins use their bodies for soldiers. When they link souls with their victims, they can adapt that victim’s abilities. So theoretically, if either of us were linked with one, they could reign one of our elements. And after adapting a variety of powers, they build up their mutt-like army in an attempt to take over planets. Essentially, they’re like an evil bacteria. A planet virus.”

I stayed silent for a while, trying to understand everything she was saying. Were Aejins the ones taking human victims? And what was this strange black substance I had collected?

“So, how does this dense black dust fit into the equation?” I inquired.

“That black stuff you collected is an aftermath of soul linking. Like I heard the Silver Rank Chief saying, it’s a result of a soul breaking apart. That’s what got us into this search in the first place. As an Aejin or a Buigel takes over a victim, a small portion of the victim’s soul must shatter for them to enter. And this soul energy is converted into black particles and scattered around the scene of the attack.”

I glanced over at the bag of black muck and shuttered. I had rubbed my fingers all over the remains of someone’s soul. That was slightly disturbing to think about.

“So then… my assumptions were correct. That elemental’s family, or whoever they were, were taken away from her. By Aejins, apparently,” I stated, trying to process multiple things at once. “Do you think we could try and... help her? Or is she a lost cause?” I asked.

Jinx stood up from her seat and slipped on her yellow striped jacket. She pulled her ears back to blend in with her auburn locks and flicked her tail upwards to tuck it under her jacket. She looked up at me as she fondled with her crumpled socks on the floor.

“She probably won’t be there, but we should still head back to her place. We have a lead, and by being there, we can find more potential evidence to direct us to the source of these Aejins,” Jinx said as she scrunched her tiny feet into her timeworn sneakers.

“And then what? Go after them ourselves? We just got done being rookies to this organization...”

“We’ll see what we can do from there. Don’t be mopey now. You got a lead, you got evidence. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your ass out of this room. Let’s get going!” Jinx exclaimed as she grabbed her keys and left the room, leaving the door ajar for me to tail behind her. I rolled my eyes in annoyance and started out the door. This wasn’t the best idea she’s had, but at least we were getting somewhere.

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