Chapter Ten: Jasmine

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"Really, Brae - you don't need to come - go home and enjoy yourself!"

I had met the others at the front of the temple after the service had finished and we headed back into the city centre, which we had promised to clear after the party. Although the vast majority of the citizens had been more than happy to help set up for the party, they had been a lot more reluctant to help clean-up afterwards, so we weren't expecting too many to be waiting for us when we arrived.

It had been so dark when we left the party last night that I hadn't fully appreciated how chaotic things had got.

"A tornado could have left it in a better state," Brae said, his mouth hanging open in shock at the devastation before him.

"Three consecutive tornadoes could have left less damage!" Cameron corrected.

"'Suppose we had better get started - it's not going to clean itself," Devon headed over to the other small group of volunteers who had just arrived.

Imogen, on the other hand, was not so resigned. "Remind me why I'm here again?" she moaned, clutching her hand to her head as though she were afraid it might fall off. "I shouldn't be doing anything but sleeping until my head stops feeling scrambled."

"Because we could only have the party if we swore to clean up afterwards," I said. Perhaps that hadn't been such a good idea.

"But what about all the adults who came? They should have to clean up too. It's not fair to make us do all the work!" Imogen protested. She threw herself dramatically onto the steps of the fountain and screwed up her eyes against the bright glare of the morning sun.

"Life's not fair, Im," Cameron said, rubbing her shoulder sympathetically. "Still, we're not entirely on our own - no one said that we couldn't cheat a little..." As he spoke, I noticed the wind in the square pick up slightly and really began to wish that I had brought a coat along. "A little help, guys?" he asked, looking to the others.

Devon nodded, showing that she thought Cam's plan made sense. "Start with the rubbish, you can put it all in the west corner - someone's going to come collect it later today. Me, Jazz and the others will get to work on everything we want to keep. I'd love to help you, but given how erratic my powers are, I'd be more of a hindrance - it's safer if I do it the normal way." She linked her arm with mine and led me over to the eating area, where we stood on chairs to begin un-twining the fairy lights from the trellis.

Brae, Cameron and Imogen were all standing on the steps by the fountain. Their arms hung loosely at their sides, but on their faces were looks of intense concentration. The winds had really picked up now and all of the rubbish in the centre was being blown over to the west corner, as Devon had requested.

I had just pulled down the last of the lights when Brae appeared at my elbow. "What's next?" He grinned at us. I looked around in surprise; all of the rubbish was now heaped in a small mountain at the west corner of the centre.

"Wow, you're getting quick."

"And you're showing Jazz and me up! How about you get all those banners down next?" Devon pointed at the long, silver banners hanging from the buildings that surrounded the square, on which the words 'Welcome Home' glimmered.

"No problem." Brae was back with the others before I could blink and they resumed their unnerving, statue like positions. More kids were turning up now. A few paused in amazement to watch the Protectors at work, as they wrapped their winds around the colossal banners, bringing them gently to the ground. Brody was the only one to stroll straight over to Devon to see how he could help.

"We need to move the tables and chairs out next. They need to go back into the basement in city hall. It will be quickest if we get half of the helpers to take them over to the entrance and then another group to move them into the basement. Would you be in charge of the basement group for me, Brody? I hate going under there, it's really creepy."

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