Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

I remember those horrible images. I remember those glowing red eyes. I remember that giant hand outstretched to me, inviting me to join its accumulation of bodies. I shudder at the memory of the vision.

"Now, I know that there are some issues that need to be addressed here, involving your future, but I am sure that we can work this out and... have it end in our favor." Augustus says, his voice tightening at the last words, as if he is afraid that saying it out loud will set me off.

Gale takes a step toward me, ignorantly ignoring Augustus' warning glare. "Look, Eli, you know I would have told you if I could have, but we had to be positive before we informed you so that we didn't alarm you for any reason. Please, do not do anything rash." Gale says, fear and guilt oozing from his every word. It was too late for comfort. I thought he was my friend. I have known him since I was a young boy, trusted him with my life, and he has betrayed me.

"Oh, I'm about to do something rash alright." I say as I skillfully lunge toward Gale. His eyes widen and he takes a step back, slightly raising his hands as if to surrender. I lift my fist with power, but it is caught mid-air and twisted painfully behind my back. I turn my head over my shoulder awkwardly, pain resonating through my entire arm and back, and see the guard from earlier, holding my arm in place, but this does not stop me. I concentrate on Gale and let my rage control my power. The warmth of the power surges through my body and I channel that heat to explode in his direction. I grin when his coat catches fire. My revenge is short lived and the grin slides off my face when Augustus quickly snatches the coat off Gale's back and stomps the flames away. His angry eyes focus on me.

"This is no time for games! Your time for victory has come. Your moment of glory has come. And, yes, possibly your downfall. But you must accept this as a reality and calm yourself." Augustus stands towering over me with a stone cold expression. The painful pressure on my arm ceases as the guard holding me back disappears. With my arm released, I tumble to the ground with a loud thud for the second time tonight, but more painful and infuriating this time. My breath is rough and ragged and I stay on the hardwood floor for a moment, collecting my thoughts and setting my feelings straight.

I thought Gale was my guide, my guardian, my aid, my friend. But I guess not. I guess he is just doing his job. He doesn't care about me at all. I stagger to my feet and look up at Augustus. His features are taut and stern.

He heaves a sigh before saying, "Okay, we need to discuss this as adults." his eyes flicker to me. I will be calm. I will not let this get to me (well that is what I want to believe). Augustus sidesteps me and strides over to one of the many bookcases in his office and begins searching for a title. Gale catches my gaze and has an expression that begs for forgiveness, but I turn my head sharply and focus on Augustus to avoid it. I need to keep my temper in check, and looking at him will only enrage me further.

After a few moments of tense silence, Augustus finally pulls out a huge, leather bound book and sets it on top of his desk. The text starts to glow and seems to radiate power.

My initial instinct is to rip the book from Augustus and guard it with my life that it belonged to me and no one else. I am drawn to the compelling text, but knowing myself-knowing what the future may hold- I want to tear up every page to be sure that it is never seen again.

"Your teachings will now come from The Vaticinatio. Gale will still be your teacher and trainer. Now, I know that there are some issues you need to figure out," Augustus looks pointedly at me, "but the resolution must be done on your own time. You will need to train harder, more often, and at a much higher level." I scoff. I am the best damn fighter they have ever trained and he knows it. He gives me a harsh yet sympathetic expression. "I know you are highly skilled but we must be prepared for the worst." Augustus says with a calmness that churns my stomach.

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