Chapter 56: None Of Us Could Have Known

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Aderyn had been flying for over ten minutes before she reached the column of smoke.

Colt had sent her ahead, knowing that she could make it there faster by air than the rest of them could with wheels, but cutting through from the North west to the centre of town seemed to take longer than anticipated.

Jackson had sounded more than desperate on the Talkie, and when he had cut out altogether, the rest of them couldn't help but panic.

She knew that, as only one person, there wasn't much she could do as backup if they were in serious trouble, but her mutation offered her the element of surprise and that had to be better than nothing.

But when she finally landed, surprising herself when she didn't even stumble forwards, Ryn had a dreaded feeling that she was already too late.

The street had cleared out, with not a single soul in sight. And it wasn't very hard to see why.

The building was in ruins...

The front wall was smashed in, and thick black smoke was gushing out from the gaping hole left behind.

Focusing her vision through the haze, she could just barely make out the remnants of dying flames. But there had to have been, at one stage, some sort of roaring furnace, to create this much smoke...

Which meant Jackson had to have played a part in this, she was sure of it. But where was he, now?

Jasper, and Toni...

Where were they?

Fear flared up within her as she imagined the possibility of them still being inside, choking under all that smoke...

Without a second thought, she took a lung-filling gulp of almost-clean air and dove into the wreckage.

The smoke stung at her eyes, but she gusted it away with powerful beats of her wings, sending it swirling into a storm of rhythmic patterns.

Her eyes flitted about wildly, searching for any sign of her teammates.

She resisted the urge to call out to them, partially because she feared what would happen if the Silver Scorpion was still here, and partially because she didn't want to draw in a mouthful of this acrid smoke.

Toppled bookshelves littered the ground sparsely, with the ones made from wood now little more than raging piles of ash, and the metal ones, though intact, were dented and charred.

A few of the books at the back of the large room had survived, with the fire's deadly touch having drawn to a stop several meters away.

She saw shattered glass from the heat-burst windows, and piles of rubble from the front wall.

She saw littered paper, some with still-burning edges, others blackened with soot.

Something shining caught her eye, from the middle of the room, and after leaping nimbly over a still lightly-burning bookshelf, she crouched down beside it.

It was, what appeared to be, the leg of one of the smaller robotic scorpions.

She picked it up, examining it closely.

The edge of it, where it should have been joined to the shell, looked slightly fused, as though something undeniably hot had cut its way through it, melting the metal as it went.

Perhaps one of Jasper's bursts of laser-like light?

What the Hell had happened here? she thought to herself, dread rising like a storm cloud, sitting heavily against the base of her skull.

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