Chapter 13: Anna Brail
“You don’t want to do this, Mayor Wilkes,” Ravenger said sternly.
“If it means saving my city from you, then it’s worth it all,” the Mayor replied, his hand still firmly around the clip of the grenade.
“You’d kill yourself to save your city?”
“Then what if I killed you to save my kingdom?” lightning crackled in the terrorist’s hands again.
“Then this bomb would go off and we’d all die anyway. I thought I explained this? And I thought you were smarter.”
“You’re right,” Ravenger bowed his head. Suddenly he moved to thrust his hand forward, but the Mayor had seen it coming and let his grip on the clip slacken. The small metal piece that had been keeping them from death flew through the air and hit the carpet, bouncing to a stop. A bolt of lightning unleashed from Ravenger’s hand the clip fell.
“Worth it all,” Wilkes said as electricity flew towards him.
Then the grenade exploded and a massive fiery blast went out and consumed them all. The windows shattered and the doors flew away into the room beyond them.
Across the city the blast was heard and seen as the Mayor’s office exploded. Gangsters and Police officers stopped what they had been doing and immediately ran to converge on city hall.
“Do you think your girl Anna had something to do with that?” the Chief asked as they spun around towards the capitol.
“I wouldn’t know,” Matthew said.
The sun was rising on the horizon as he stepped out onto the balcony. The sky was a brilliant mixture of purple and blue, with hints of red here and there.
Behind him his brother walked up next to him.
“Alexander, you’re up early,” he said, looking at the sunrise.
“Peter, so are you. What is it?” Alexander responded.
“Father is dying, and you are next in line for the throne. Are you ready for it?”
“I have been raised for this, and so have you, brother,” Alexander gripped his brother’s shoulder, who put his hand on his.
“I know, brother,” Peter said.
Suddenly a servant came rushing onto the balcony, sweating.
“Princes... your father... he only has moments,” the servant said.
The two brothers looked at each other before running past the servant, who followed them down the corridors of the palace and into their father’s room. The old man lay in the bed, several nurses and doctors standing by him, operating the various medical devices attached to him. Beside him in the bed was his wife and the boys’ mother. Tears streaked down her cheeks as she held her dying husband’s hand.
The two men ran up to the bed and looked down at their dying father.
“Papa,” Alexander said, kneeling down to his father.
“Alexander,” he said a ragged breath before coughing. “I don’t have much longer… and I have so much to tell you...”
“Don’t worry, father, it is okay,” the boy tried to comfort his dying father.
“But it is not,” he barely said. “You are to take control of this kingdom… this land… once I… once I...”
“You don’t have to say it, papa.”
“But… I do...” he wheezed. “You… will make many… many enemies as king… Some may be… be close to you…”
“I will not be overtaken, father,” Alexander assured the dying man.
“I know… but you must beware of them… whoever they may be...”
Suddenly a steady beeping that had be present in the room the entire time suddenly became one singular noise before go silent entirely. He looked to his father whose eyes were closed and he was unmoving.
“I will, father,” he said silently before being led out of the room by a few of the nurses.
He left, now king.
“What is it, mother?” Alexander asked as he entered the throne room.
Suddenly the door slammed shut behind him as his brother pushed it closed. He noticed that Peter had a sheath with two swords on his back.
“What are you doing, Peter?” he said before turning to the woman standing by his throne. “Mother?”
“You’re not fit to be king, brother,” Peter said, unsheathing one of his blades. “But I am.”
“The throne is my birthright!” he yelled. “Tell him, mother.”
“I’m the one who told him that you were unfit, my boy,” she said, her small lips curving into a smile. “And it is time for you to go.”
“You will kill your king?!” Alexander roared looking to both of them. “You will both be executed for your betrayal!”
“Only one will die here today, brother,” Peter said, lifting his blade.
Suddenly he ran at his brother and slashed down, but Alexander got out of the way and struck him in the back. As he fell forward he grabbed the second sword from the sheath and held it up. Peter recovered himself and swung around, moving his blade in a sweeping motion. Alexander blocked it and threw it out of the way and swung downwards at his brother, but this time Peter moved out of the way.
Peter swung at him and Alexander flipped out of the way, pushing off his arms and landing on his feet again, holding his sword up, the light reflecting off the silver blade. He then swung at his brother but he flipped over the blade and came back down, swiping at him again.
Alexander bent backwards to dodge the blade before flipping over and slashing at Peter. The blade sliced his brother’s arm, leaving a cut that blood began to drip out of the wound.
He looked down at it and snarled. “You will die for that.”
“I am your king. You are the one who will die,” Alexander said, flicking the blood off the blade.
Suddenly Peter charged at his brother and didn’t have enough time to retaliate so he just fell back out of the way. However, his brother took advantage of this and swung around and kicked Alexander in the chest. The impact sent him toppling towards one of the high windows of the throne room with no control over where he was going.
“NO!” he yelled as he fell into one of the windows and it shattered. After that he was falling through the air down the side of the castle towards the ground.
And then everything was black.
When he awoke he heard sirens all around him, accompanied by gunfire and yelling. He then opened his eyes and saw that the office around him was destroyed and in flames. He also saw that everyone around him was dead, killed in the explosion.
Ravenger tried to get up, but found that his entire body was in pain. That wasn’t normal. That wasn’t supposed to happen. They promised that it would be immune to pain. Obviously they were wrong.
To much pain, he forced himself off the scorched floor of the room and stood up amongst the flames, looking around at the destruction.
“What a waste,” he muttered through his respirator.
He looked out the destroyed wall and saw below a shootout behind the New Hampton Police and his army. And he saw that his men were losing.
“I’ve had enough with this city. It does not deserve to exist on the face of this planet any longer.”
Ravenger turned away and walked through the burning doorway and into the next room. As he entered the room, he noticed the bodies of his men, which was to be expected since the blast was so strong, but there was something odd about the way they were laying.
And then he saw her. He saw Anna Brail laying in the center of the room, unconscious and covered in rubble. Slowly she began to stir and she looked up at him. The sight of him apparently jolted her out of her daze.
“Ravenger...” she said.
“Yes, it is I,” he replied darkly. “And it is time for you to die, once and for all.”
Suddenly he unleashed a bolt of electricity on her and she barely jumped out of the way before it struck. Anna flipped out of the way and unleashed a blast of air at him. Ravenger was pushed back before retaliating and firing another bolt at her.
She ducked out of the way and it hit the elevator, covering the doors in blue lightning. Anna punched forward rapidly, blasts of air firing from them.
Ravenger tried to dodge them, but they were too fast for him and struck him, knocking him backwards. He fell back into the office and looked out the wall.
“Enough with this. You will just have to watch as the world burns,” he said to the girl before running at the wall and jumping.
“No you don’t!” she yelled, running to the wall.
But when she got there he was already in one of the armored vehicles and driving away. She was about to jump down and go after him when the elevator dinged and she turned back to see several gangsters come out, holding guns.
“Hey!” one of them yelled as they saw her.
Seeing no other choice, she used her powers to launch herself from the window and onto another building, falling and rolling to a painful halt on the gravel.
Anna recovered and went to dust herself off but found that her clothes were completely torn and scorched.
She sighed. “I think it’s time.”
The woman got up and began to run across the rooftops.
The car skidded to a halt a mere twenty feet from the fighting. The two men inside readied their guns and exited the vehicle. As soon as they left they began firing on the gangsters in the crowd. They felled several of them before they were fired upon in response.
“Whatever happened up there,” Matthew yelled, ducking under gunfire. “It caused all hell to break loose!”
“Hopefully we can live long enough to see it end,” the Chief of Police said grimly.
They got up and returned fire, felling a few more gangsters. Three officers made their way over to them.
“Chief,” one of them, a sergeant, said.
“What’s the scoop, Sergeant?” the Chief asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Everyone just kind of converged on the explosion, sir.”
“Do we know what caused it,” Matthew returned fire before looking to him.
“We don’t know for sure but it was probably a hand grenade.”
The Chief reloaded. “Do we have any word on the Mayor yet?”
“No, and we haven’t been able to get in there yet,” the boy said before returning fire. “We’ll have to sort this mess out to get in there.”
One of the other officers butted in. “There was one of those armored trucks that just left.”
“Really? What was in it?” Matthew asked.
“I don’t know, but I would guess Ravenger.”
“How would he survive the explosion?” the sergeant asked.
“He has his ways,” Matthew muttered.
They emerged from the dark alleyway and looked around cautiously, Mark holding his gun at the ready.
“See anything?” Nicole asked from behind him.
“No,” he replied. “Let’s go.”
The two ran out from their hiding spot and across the street into another alleyway. They ran down it and turned a corner and took refuge behind two dumpsters.
“I hate having to hide like this,” the blond-haired woman said, looking for anyone who would want to attack them.
“So do I.”
“Do you think Anna’s okay?” Nicole said suddenly.
He turned to the girl in surprise. “We both know the answer to that question.”
“Yeah, but it’ll help my nerves if you answered.”
“Well, my little girl is a fighter and a survivor. Always has been, always will be,” Mark said, putting his arm around her. “She’ll survive. I’m sure of it.”
Suddenly a vehicle sped past the alleyway’s entrance, a black armored vehicle. Without warning, Nicole quickly got up and ran to see where it was going.
“Nicole!” Mark called after her before getting up to join her.
They looked out after the vehicle and saw it skid to a halt in front of one of the tallest buildings in New Hampton: FuturTech. There were three other cars in front of it with several guards at the ready. They watched as suddenly the doors opened and Ravenger climbed out followed by more gangsters. The others came to receive them. The terrorist’s clothes looked very burnt and destroyed. He seemed very angry and distressed.
Nicole quickly grabbed her cellphone from her pocket and scrolled through her contacts and found Anna’s number and dialed it.
She landed on her balcony with a loud thud. Wasting no time, she pulled out her keys and unlocked the door and went into the apartment. The police had abandoned it once the city had begun being attacked, which was good for her.
Anna rushed into her bedroom and flung open her closet doors. Pushing aside her various dresses and shirts, she reached for a small panel at the back and pulled it off, tossing it behind her. Inside was a small compartment with what appeared several folded pieces of clothes.
Taking them with care, she brought them out of the closet and laid them on her bed.
“Alright,” she said, removing her phone and taking off her destroyed jacket and tossing it to the ground. “Let’s do this.”
Minutes later she had discarded her dress and put on a pair of leggings, another black dress, only higher quality than her previous ones, a dark green leather jacket, also higher quality that went down to about three inches below her hips complete with a hood. She also wore a waist clincher with green strings (mainly for decoration), a pair of black fingerless gloves and her boots.
She looked over her new appearance.
“If they’re calling me a vigilante, might as well have a costume,” she said to herself.
Anna walked out of the room and back onto the balcony. She looked over her city before unleashing a massive blast of air underneath her feet, launching her into the air. She landed across the street on another rooftop and went to the edge, looking over the wider city.
“Where are you, Ravenger...”
Suddenly her phone rang and she pulled it out of her pocket to see that it was Nicole calling. She pressed ‘talk’ and held it up to her ear.
“Nicole? Are you okay? Where’s my dad?”
“We’re both fine, Anna,” Nicole said, sounding relieved. “Where are you?”
“Across the street from my apartment looking out for Ravenger’s vehicle,” Anna replied. “He got away after the Mayor’s office exploded.”
“The Mayor’s office exploded? Are you okay?”
“Yeah I’m fine. My clothes got torched but we’re good now.”
“Well his clothes looked pretty blazed too.”
“Wait, you saw him?” Anna said, shocked.
“I’m looking at him. In front of FuturTech.”
“Why would he go there?” Anna pondered aloud.
“I don’t know but you’d better over here quick if you want to stop him. He looks pretty angry right now.”
“Alright. I’m on it,” Anna said. “Stay safe.”
“And,” the woman began, seeming to have trouble with saying what was on her mind.
“What is it, Anna?” Nicole asked on the other side.
“Tell my dad I love him.”
“Goodbye, Anna,” Nicole said.
She hung up the phone and stuffed it back in her pocket.
Anna looked up and took a deep breath. “Ravenger, here I come.”
“This city is done. No longer will it defy me!” the terrorist said, ascending the steps of the building followed by three gangsters.
“Are we activating plan B, sir?” one asked.
“Yes. And I want to watch this city burn,” his deep voice boomed.
“I shall notify all the troops,” he said.
“Don’t bother,” Ravenger waved him. “They deserve to burn.”
“Yes… yes sir...” he said, falling back, obviously troubled.
Ravenger entered the building and walked through the lobby, which was also secured by more gangsters. It was a large room complete with a sitting area, chandeliers and a reception desk. He walked up to one.
“How are the prisoners doing?” the terrorist asked.
“They’re staying quiet mostly,” the gangster responded. “What do you want done with them?”
“Nothing right now,” Ravenger said. “I’ll deal with them later.”
“Yes sir,” he replied.
The dark figure turned and walked towards the elevator at the end of the large lobby. He pressed one of the buttons and it dinged. The doors opened and he stepped in followed by the two gangsters. Ravenger pressed another one of the buttons, one for the highest floor and the doors closed.
“If I can’t have my kingdom, then it’ll burn,” he said to himself.
They had managed to round up all the gangsters in front of city hall, putting them under arrest. They had to start using zip-ties when they ran out of handcuffs to use. But they had made due. After that was handled, they had checked the City Hall and found several more gangsters, unconscious.
“Looks like Anna’s been through here,” Matthew said going through the lobby.
“That’s not our priority right now,” the Chief said. “We need to find the Mayor.”
“Yes sir,” Matthew replied.
They got into the elevator and began ascending. Their guns were at the ready for anything that could be up there. The doors opened and they saw three gangsters standing amongst the ashes of the office. They turned at their arrival and raised their guns but the police were too fast for them and flooded out and surrounded them.
“Drop your weapons, now!” the Chief yelled. “Or I will shoot!”
Seeing that they were not going to win a gunfight against the police, they dropped their guns to the ground and raised their hands above their head.
“Good choice,” the Chief said.
The three S.W.A.T. officers that were with them ran forward and tied the gangster’s hands together and forced them to their knees against a wall, where one of the officers kept an eye on them. The others found the unconscious gangsters under the rubble and tied them up as well.
Matthew, the Chief and a few other officers made their way forward to the smoking office ahead and entered through the blown-down doors. They looked around and found nothing but the remains of dead gangsters.
“What do you think happened, Chief?” Matthew asked.
“I think the Mayor’s dead,” he said grimly.
“What now?” Matthew broke it.
“We catch this scum.”
Suddenly Matthew’s phone rang and he picked it up and held it to his ear.
“Matthew it’s me,” Nicole said on the other side.
“Nicole? Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Look, I know where Ravenger is and I need you to come help Anna take down his soldiers.”
“Where are you?”
“By FuturTech. I think Ravenger has control over the building and is going to use it for something big.”
“Alright, we’ll be right over. Stay put.”
He hung up the phone.
“What is it, Detective?” the Chief asked.
“I know where Ravenger is,” Matthew smiled.
Anna crouched down on the building opposite to FuturTech, peeking over the ledge. Below she saw several gangsters and few armored vehicles guarding the entrance. She wasn’t going to be able to take them all at once, and she wouldn’t be able to draw them out.
Then she realized that if she could enough of a running start, she could launch herself across the way to the building, but that would attract the attention of the gangsters and they would swarm her. She needed a distraction, but she couldn’t think of what.
Suddenly she heard sirens coming down the street, dozens of them. Both she and the gangsters turned towards the sound and saw at least three dozen squad cars driving towards their location.
Below she heard one of the gangsters exclaim “I thought we had the station under control?”
The cars skidded to a halt and dozens of officers poured out and pointed their weapons at the gangsters, who returned the favor.
Seeing this as the distraction she needed, Anna ran across the rooftop to the farthest side and turned back towards FuturTech. She took a deep breath and she readied to run.
Sprinting forward, the gravel kicked up behind her as she ran, but she wasn’t concerned about anything else at the moment. She jumped, her foot landing on the ledge and then she kicked off, a massive blast of air launching her off and through the air. Below her everyone was too distracted to notice her fly silently through the air. As she neared the building she realized that she was going to hit the glass.
Drawing her hands back, she then thrust them forward, sending a blast of air at the window. It shattered on impact and flew through the opening and into the building.
She hit the floor and rolled to a stop. Anna got up and dusted herself off before looking around. Anna was in some sort of laboratory, and from the looks of it they were working on prosthetics. The lights were dimmed and the various robotics limbs were merely shapes in the shadows, creating a very disturbing environment.
“I wonder if they intentionally made it this creepy.” she muttered as she headed towards the door.
Anna opened the door and came into a large room with several doors lining the walls. Also were two guards who raised their weapons at her arrival.
“Just my luck, huh,” she muttered.
She thrust her hands forward and sent a gust of air at them and knocking them to the ground. Cracking her knuckles, she turned and ran towards the line of three elevators. The middle one had the up arrow illuminated, and it didn’t take a genius to guess that that was Ravenger.
Anna ran over to one of the others and hit the up button and waited as the doors opened and she ran in. She looked over the long panel of buttons and hit the one for the top of the building, seeing as that is where Ravenger was probably going to go.
As the doors closed she leaned back against the wall.
“I feel I’m always riding elevators to meet Ravenger these days,” she said to herself as she ascended.
“Oh good. Matthew brought the whole force,” Nicole said as they looked out from behind a dumpster at the police force.
“Looks like they retook the police station,” Mark replied.
Suddenly they heard a voice behind him. “Who are you two?”
They swung around to see an officer standing there with his gun drawn. The two raised their hands and Mark set down the gun.
“I’m Mark Brail and this is Nicole Weaver,” the older man identified them.
“What are you doing over here?” he asked. “And why do you have that gun?”
“I got it from a gangster as we escaped the police station.”
“You were at the police station. Why?”
“Because we were arrested for being in Anna Brail’s apartment,” Mark titled his head down.
“So you’re criminals?” the officer’s gun was raised a little higher.
“No, the Chief let us go,” Nicole butted in.
“Why’d he do that?”
“Um...” she looked out at the massive standoff down the street. “I wouldn’t know.”
“Well, I’m putting you under arrest again,” he said, pulling out a pair of handcuffs.
Nicole sighed. “Is this really necessary? There’s a massive standoff over there with a terrorist’s army.”
“And for all I know, you could be part of them,” he stepped closer to them.
“Seriously? I’m a twenty-two-year-old girl wearing jeans and a blue jacket and he’s a fifty-six-year-old man wearing square glasses.”
“I don’t care, you’re coming in.”
Suddenly gunfire rang out down the street and they all turned as gunfire began to be exchanged between the two groups, but the gangsters were very much outnumbered and quickly taken over by the police force.
The officer turned back to them and held the handcuffs up.
“Now, you’re under arrest. I assume you know your rights?”
Mark sighed heavily. “Of all the police officers I’ve met, you’re just… the most stubborn.”
“Insulting a police officer. Great way to go.”
Suddenly there was another voice.
“Nicole? Mark? What’re you doing here?” Matthew walked into the alleyway.
“Matthew!” Nicole ran forward past the officer and gave her brother a huge hug.
“Are you okay?”
“Never better. Except for this guy,” she indicated the officer staring in shock at them.
“What seems to be the problem, officer?” the detective asked him.
“I thought they were gangsters,” he said.
“Well, they were hiding in an alleyway, but she’s my sister and he’s a friend.”
“Yes sir,” the officer put his handcuffs and gun back onto his belt.
Mark looked to Matthew. “So what’s happening, detective?”
“We have the situation pretty much on control down here, but up in the building is another story.”
“And Anna’s most likely up there,” Nicole said.
“Probably,” the man nodded.
“So what do we do, mister Brail?” Matthew asked.
“I say we don’t send anyone up into the building until we have a sign from Anna.”
He stroked his chin. “The Chief wants to send people up. You’d have to work it out with him.”
“Let’s go, then.”
Together they walked over to the where the Chief was standing, under a tent they had set up while the gangsters were escorted away, arms behind their backs. The Chief of Police turned at their arrival.
“Mister Brail, miss Weaver, nice to see that you survived the police station.”
“How is that, by the way?” Nicole asked.
“We managed to retake it, but we lost several good officers along the way.”
“Sir,” Matthew said. “Anna Brail is most likely up in the building going to fight off Ravenger and possibly finish him, and mister Brail here wants us to keep out until his daughter has… done her job.”
The Chief looked down for a second before looking back up. “I’m sorry, sir, but that’s not possible. I have reason to believe that the staff of FuturTech is still alive, and we can’t risk their safety.”
“At least give her half an hour.”
“I’ll give her fifteen minutes, and then we’re going to the upper levels,” the Chief said.
“Thank you, sir,” Mark Brail replied gratefully.
Matthew nodded and led Mark and Nicole over to a parked squad car and sat them down.
“Are you sure you two are okay?”
“Yeah I’m fine,” Nicole smiled.
“I just hope Anna’s okay,” the old man said, looking up at the building.
“Me too,” Matthew nodded.
The elevator came to a stop on the topmost floor and the doors slid open into darkness. As they stepped out a motion-sensor activated and illuminated a hallway with several doors shooting off to the sides. At the end was a gray door with the words “ROOF ACCESS” written on it in black letters.
The three of them were walking towards the door when suddenly an elevator dinged behind them and they watched as the doors slid open to reveal a girl dressed in a black dress and a green jacket. She walked out into the hallway and faced them, her green eyes narrowed.
Ravenger’s rage boiled over. “I’ve had enough with you, Anna Brail.”
He pulled out two cylinders from his coat and pressed a button on each of them and several lengths of cord flew out and crackled with energy.
“I could same the same about you, Ravenger,” she said, air swirling in her hands. “It’s time you leave my city.”
“Over my dead body, little girl.”
“If that’s how it has to be, then so be it,” she whispered.
Suddenly she thrust her hand forward and a blast of air flew out. Ravenger cut through it with his whip but the blast hit the other guards and knocked them to the ground, rendering them unconscious. The tall figure ran forward, his weapons dragging across the walls, leaving a smoking trail on each side. The girl did the same, air streaking behind her.
He swung downwards and she rolled underneath the whip as it exploded the floor where she had been standing. When behind him she blasted a gust of air at him and knocked him off balance. He swung around and she ducked as it went over her head and grazed the wall again.
She slammed her foot into his knee and made him buckled over in pain.
“I see you can get hurt now,” she remarked, coming back into a defensive position.
“Not for long, little girl,” he said through his respirator. “You will be dead by the time it gets restored.”
He swung at her again but she managed to kick the weapon from his hand as it flew across the hallway and too a stop.
Ravenger roared in anger and grabbed Anna by the throat and slammed her through out of the wooden doors into a conference room of sorts. As she groaned from being smashed through the door, he brought her down onto the table, leaving a massive Anna-sized dent in the wood. She yelled in pain on impact.
He brought his fist up while holding her by the throat with his other hand, it crackling with energy.
“Goodbye, little Anna Brail,” he said proudly.
His hand glowed brightly.
“It has not been a pleasure.”
In a streak of lightning, he brought his hand down on the woman. The second his fist impacted there was a massive glare of light, illuminating the entire room in white.
The light faded and Ravenger’s eyes were filled with fear at what was before him. The woman was holding his hand just inches away from her, air swirling around it as lightning crackled. Groaning, she pushed it off of her and a massive blast of air was unleashed and sent Ravenger flying through the doorway and into the hallway, slamming against the wall.
He recovered as Anna got up from the table holding her stomach as she looked at the terrorist.
“Enough with this,” he said to himself and ran off down the hallway.
She ran out after him in pain and saw him turn around before a bolt of electricity flew from his hand and struck her in the chest and sent her flying across the hall and falling to the floor in an unmoving heap.
“I will deal with you later. I have a city to watch burn,” Ravenger said before exiting through the door.
A few moments later she slowly got up and looked at her dress, which was barely damaged from the lightning due to the new material she had used for it.
“Well then,” she muttered. “At least that’s working.”