“I screwed up so bad,” I said, lowering my face into my palms.
Malcolm and I were the only ones in the E.R. waiting room. It was cold, and after the day we’d had, I was sure a part of both of us just wanted to go home and get into bed.
Sitting next to me, Malcolm sighed.
“It wasn’t your best idea. Probably a number of other things you could have tried. But, from what you said, it sounds like it was working. You just, well, lost control.”
“I know I did!” I screamed, throwing my arms up. “As time has gone on, I’ve just gotten more powerful. I just burned off Raina’s face! What if I lose control of my lightning while I’m fighting in the city? How much damage could I cause?!” I stomped one of my feet on the floor. “But that’s not what’s important. Every time before, Raina has come around…this time I failed. We may never get her back after what I did.”
“That’s true,” Malcolm acknowledged, nodding. “And, because of Raina, Shay might not be fully healed in time to help us fight Smog in a few days. And, we weren’t even able to save all of the people being kept in that nightmare factory.”
“There a “but” coming along?” I asked, not needing to hear about everything shitty that had been going through my head since we’d gotten Shay here for treatment.
“But,” he said. “You took out their lab, at the very least slowing down their progress, nobody died in all of this, and for better or worse, Eve and Olivia are out of the picture.”
I wasn’t too sure how to feel about Eve and Olivia’s departure. Yeah, they were working with Davenport and assisting him in his plans, but it wasn’t like that that’s what they wanted. And while Olivia had caused Raina to go down the path she went, she was basically forced to do so. Not to mention she’d just betrayed Andrew because of that.
And honestly, even through all the lies and deceit, even after they’d stabbed me in the back emotionally, and I’d hit them with my lightning physically, I still thought of them as my friends.
It may mean that we’ll never really patch things up, but fleeing the country was the only choice they had. Raina hated Olivia now, and would no doubt report her betrayal to Davenport. They had no choice but to run.
“You sad about Eve at all?” I asked, knowing how close they were.
“A little,” Malcolm answered gruffly. “But once, if, we beat Smog, I may try to track them down. Knowing Olivia though, she’s probably gonna make that nearly impossible. They’re hiding from the most powerful man on the planet; they’ll be taking every precaution.”
The most powerful man…I thought.
“He is the most powerful, isn’t he?” I asked rhetorically, almost blankly. “Not just with his money and connections, but in physical power as well.” I let out a short laugh, standing up. “At least that’s what we keep getting told.”
“Don’t think it’s a bluff, kid. Eve’s seen his power up close.”
“But she didn’t tell us what his power is though. At least with Smog, we have a general idea of what he can do: Super strong, super fast, shapeshifter, intangibility, instantly knocking people out while in his smoke form. With Davenport, we know nothing.”
“You thinking you’ve got a way to find out?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I answered, filled with determination. “I’m thinking I go pay Davenport a late night visit.”
“Not a good idea,” Malcolm countered. “The kid may not ever fully forgive you for blasting her face off, but I don’t think it’ll be too long before she at least doesn’t want you dead. I’m not positive we have her protection for Adam right now.”
“I don’t care!” I growled. “We can’t just sit on our hands and do nothing!”
“We’re not doing “nothing”,” Malcolm standing, standing up. “We’re waiting to see the woman we both love come out of her operation healthy and safe.”
“And what about the other woman we both love?! So long as Davenport is around, she’ll be miserable!”
“You need to calm down, now,” Malcolm stated. “You’re letting your emotions take over.”
At that point, I realized that my body was surrounded by a thin layer of blue lightning.
Not just the standard yellow, I thought. How long before its white? How long before I have no control at all?
With a deep breath, I got rid of the lightning, not wanting anyone to see.
“Good!” I screamed, muffled. “So long as I’m scared, I have power. Besides, I don’t hear any ideas from you, former leader.”
“Don’t you start mocking me,” he said, getting up in my face. “And for the record I do have a plan.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” I asked sarcastically. “Use your killer martial arts skills on him? Use some clever distracting maneuver using your stump?” I laughed mockingly. “If you haven’t noticed Malcolm, I’m the only one left on this team with power.”
Malcolm shook his head.
“You need to get a hold of yourself. You’re not acting normally.”
“Oh! I’m sorry I’m not “Super happy, dopey, nice to everyone Carter”, right now, but I just lost my best chance to save Raina, my sister is getting a medical operation, and we have not one, but two, world ending threats on our shoulders. You’ll excuse me if I’m a bit twitchy!”
Malcolm’s eyes staring right into mine, he asked, “Do you wanna hear my idea or not? Cause soon as she’s out of here, I’m pitching it to Shay, who, while not having any powers, is still in charge.”
For a few seconds, we just stared at each other, the room’s silence only broken when a middle aged Spanish woman entered the ER.
“Let’s hear,” I said.
“Alright,” he began. “I’m thinking I blow Dr. Gerbe’s brains out with an anti-Demigod bullet, and then, while she’s at school, I knock Raina out with chloroform, and keep her chained up somewhere until this whole thing is sorted out.”
I stood there for a moment in stunned silence.
“Have you absolutely lost it?!”
“Not at all,” he answered, calmly. “Without Gerbe, Davenport’s cyborg army won’t be getting made. Don’t think anyone else is quite smart enough to pull off what she’s doing. And in his own sick way, Davenport does love Raina. Her being missing will certainly throw him off guard, and distract him.”
“Yeah,” I roared. “And that plan also involves hurting Raina even more, and killing someone!”
“Come on, kid. You can’t seriously be telling me that Davenport and Gerbe don’t deserve to die for what they’ve done.”
“Davenport, maybe,” I said. “But Gerbe was only doing this, at least at first, for Olivia. If we talk to her, maybe we can get her brains on our side.”
“We both saw those torture devices she cooked up. We both fought her killer android. That bitch isn’t just gonna join us. And honestly? I don’t give a damn what you think. I’m pitching this plan to Shay, and personally, I think she’s gonna go for it.”
Around my clenched fists, blue lightning formed.
I’m not sure if it was because of the anxiety I was feeling, my hatred of Malcolm’s plan, or just residual bitterness that he was dating Shay, but for whatever reason, I decided the best thing to do at that moment was to punch Malcolm in the face with a right hook.
While it did leave a burn mark, I wasn’t strong enough to knock Malcolm back at all, as he just rolled with the punch.
The Spanish woman who’d walked in earlier, who’d since sat down, gasped.
I half expected Malcolm to turn back to me with a smile, but instead he just hit me right back, decking me in the face. And I may have had the power to take down Demigods with ease, but my reflexes still weren’t up to snuff, resulting in Malcolm’s sending me to the floor.
Rubbing my jaw, I could feel my healing factor kicking in, as my jaw fixed up the slight damage Malcolm had caused.
While I could have just blasted Malcolm with lightning, instantly knocking him out, that’s not what I was interested in doing.
“Ha!” I shouted, leaping at Malcolm from the floor. Not my best idea, Malcolm simply hooked me between his arm and his chest, flipping me over his shoulder, back on my ass.
Panicking, the older Spanish woman ran off out of the E.R.
“You want to go fight Adam?!” Malcolm screamed, staring down at me. “You can’t even beat me! Not without your powers. Congratulations, you can heal and shoot really damn strong lightning, but you’re still just a dumb kid with barely any fighting ability.”
I was pissed, and I’d already hurt one of my best friends today. I wasn’t in the mood to hurt another. So instead, I just got up off the floor, and made my way toward the E.R’s exit.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Malcolm asked.
Continuing to walk as I talked, I said, “When she comes out, tell Shay I’m super happy she’s alright.” I reached the door. “And that Andrew Davenport is no longer an issue.”
“Damn it, Carter,” he grunted. “Don’t do this!”
I took a deep breath, and started telling myself over and over again in my head that I really could do what I was about to try.
“See you in the morning, Malcolm,” I said, opening the door. “Breakfast is gonna be a celebration.”
I wasn’t in the mood to waste time walking, so instead, I’d used my lightning to fly over to Davenport Manor. One thing I did make time for was to change clothes. Somehow, fighting the first man to ever live while wearing a waiter uniform didn’t seem right.
But I wasn’t dressed as Lightning Bee. Instead, I was just wearing a red hoodie and sweatpants. I was going to face him as Carter Myers.
“You can do this, you can do this,” I said, flying over the grounds of Davenport Manor. Should I be psyching myself up? Maybe it’s better if I go in terrified.
It’s not like I wasn’t already scared out of my mind, even with my attempts at confidence boosting. Malcolm and I were gonna have to fight Smog for the fate of everyone in Bluejay, and maybe the world, in just a few days!
Maybe I could beat him at this point though. When we’d last fought, I wasn’t even strong enough to take down Olivia. Now she was nothing to me.
Yeah, I thought. I can beat Smog. And I can beat Adam too! I’m gonna save Raina, save the world, avenge the Guardianship, and bring all of my friends back together! I’m gonna be the hero I’ve always wanted to be! I’m gonna make King Power proud!
Malcolm was wrong. So what if I wasn’t a fighter? I had the heart, and I had the power. That’s all that mattered.
At that moment, I reached my destination. Still propelled into the air with my lightning, I stared through the window into the third floor bedroom of Andrew and Stella Davenport.
I didn’t know how much Stella knew, but Eve would have mentioned if she was involved with the Votary. So cathartic as it would be for all the crap she’d put me through, I didn’t have any plans to hurt her, and would avoid doing so at any cost.
His bedroom was as ornate as I’d expect. It was dark so I couldn’t see many details, but I could still make out his massive, silk sheet covered bed, tons of various small sculptures, and a large portrait of Adam himself.
Well, at least I’ve got my first target, I thought.
With that, I flew into the windows, crashing through them, and to add a visual to the sound, I fired a blast at the portrait of Andrew, destroying it completely.
Stella, only wearing a bra and underwear as far as I could tell, woke up first, screaming, clinging to her covers.
Then she realized it was me.
“The pool boy?” she asked, groaning. “Usually I only have dreams about the sexy ones.”
A scowl on my face, Adam spoke.
“You’re not dreaming, darling,” he said in a pleasured tone. Yawning, he stretched his arms and stepped out of bed, dressed in only his purple pajama bottoms. This being my first time seeing him without a shirt on, I was a little surprised to learn that he had an eight pack. “Go back to bed. I’ll handle this.”
Stella put her covers over her head, and Adam approached me, a smile on his face.
It was taking everything I had not to just start hitting him with everything last bit of lightning.
But I wanted to talk first.
“I’ll admit,” he said. “I was expecting Lightning Bee. I knew you were friends with him, but never would I have guessed that you also possessed lightning powers.”
He really didn’t know it was me? We were currently working under the impression that some kind of magic was keeping my identity secret from those I didn’t directly tell, but I’d thought for sure Adam would have known. He did know that I’d be coming here though. Guess that explained why I hadn’t seen any security.
“Leaving me to wonder, Carter, my boy,” he continued, his smile turning into a look of pure hatred. “Which one of you bastards burnt my daughter’s face off?”
He was calling me a bastard? He was the one raping her!!!
“How is she?” I asked calmly.
“Stable,” he spat. “But with the job that was done on her, she’ll be deformed for the rest of her life!”
Yeah…that was my fault. I’d made a horrible mistake, and there was nothing I could to to fix it.
But I sure as Hell could make it up to her.
“Like you care,” I spat back.
“Excuse me?” replied as if my jab wasn’t just. “This is my daughter we’re talking about! My queen! Of course I care.”
“No you don’t,” I said, expressing barely any emotion. “If you did, you wouldn’t have been sexually abusing her since she was a child…” I was already pissing him off. Figured I may as well put all my cards on the table. “…Adam.”
“I knew I should have killed Olivia as soon as she was done molding Raina, but no, she just had to have the world’s leading experts on the occult and science in love with her.” He paused. “And frankly, I’m insulted that you think I’d ever hurt Raina. Everything that has ever gone on between us has been completely consensual.”
“We both know that’s bullcrap,” I said, continuing to stare slightly up at him.
Davenport’s smile returned.
“If Lightning Bee, your sister, and Do..” he paused. “…Malcolm had come busting in here, I’d know exactly what was going on.”
He’d stopped himself there. Did he know who Malcolm used to be?!
“ They’d be here to be the big heroes, and I’d put them all squarely back in their places.”He snickered. “Just like I did the Guardianship all those years ago.” Don’t let him get to you. He knows what they mean to me. “But what are you here for, Carter?”
Like Raina had done so many times, I put on my evil grin.
“I’m here to be the man that stops you.” With that, I let my fear go, and a large aura of white lightning surrounded me, stray bolts destroying parts of the room. “And you know why?” I asked, grabbing his throat. “Cause I AM Lightning Bee!” I screamed, shoving him back a few feet, and then blasting him straight out the window.
That felt amazing!
Stella got up again, screaming in response to the noise and bright flashes. I didn’t want her getting in the way, so, as Malcolm had taught me how to, I hit her with a quick knockout punch.
Walking over to the broken window, I stared down, and saw Adam standing tall, dusting himself off.
I’ve still got this, I thought to myself.
Without a running start, I leaped out the window, clenched my hands together, and fired another blast of white lightning straight down at Adam, hopefully dealing some damage to him, while also allowing me a safe descent.
Shortly before reaching the ground, I cut off my stream, and jumped away.
And standing in front of me was Adam, still looking as if I’d done nothing to him.
He turned, and we stared at each other. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting either of those blasts to do the entire job, but I was expecting some results.
Surprisingly, Adam’s next move…was to laugh.
And not in a maniacal way, or a cynical way, no, he was laughing at something he found absolutely hilarious.
“Oh me, oh my,” Adam said, wiping a tear from his eye. “It’s so bloody obvious! I should have seen it! Of Course you’re Lightning Bee! Who else would it be?! Those stupid goggles don’t even cover your face!” He laughed again, although this time, very briefly. “I don’t know who the sorcerer in your corner is Carter, but I’d love to meet them. There are very few whose magics could fool even me. Honestly, they should have come in your place. A mere Demigod like yourself stands no chance of accomplishing anything here.”
So he didn’t know I wasn’t actually a Demigod either? For the guy playing with us all like pieces in a game, he sure did have blind spots when it came to me.
“Demigod or not,” I said, playing along to this incorrect assumption. “…I am here to kill you.”
“Wow,” Adam said. “Sounds like someone decided to stop playing superhero, and put on his big boy pants.”
Damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, damn you, da…
“DIE!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, taking all my fear, all the white aura I had built up around me, and put it all into one massive blast. There weren’t even any spaces in the blast. There was so much lightning, all it was was a massive stream of destructive, hot power.
“Ahhhhh!” I continued screaming, continuing to keep the blast going for as long as I could. Smaller attacks wouldn’t do anything to him. Even if I still believed that Eve had lied, my previous attacks had made that clear.
No, this was all or nothing.
“And this will do the trick!” I screamed, exhaustion starting to kick in. “Please be dead…” I muttered, fully prepared to have the blood of the man who raped and emotionally abused Raina, on my hands.
Over the next 20 seconds, my stream died out, and I collapsed to the ground.
“Please, I whispered into the dirt before looking up.
Adam was still standing tall, a purple energy sphere surrounding him.
He’d completely blocked my attack.
Oh god, I thought. Malcolm was right. I’m dead.
“I’m sure your sorcerer friend is incredibly competent. And that Takato fellow who nearly brought upon Hell on Earth? He was a natural prodigy.” Adam smiled widely. “But if I may, I’d like to demonstrate to you what millennia of training looks like.”
The sphere around Adam disappeared, and just by raising his finger, he simultaneously lifted me into the air, and filled my entire body with agonizing pain.
“AHHHHHHHHH!” I screamed, the pain absolutely blinding.
“That bad, huh?” Adam asked. “It’s your own fault. What you’re feeling now is the attack that my spell just absorbed.”
“AHHHHHHHH!” I continued howling, until, a few moments later the pain stopped, I fell to the ground, and I started panting rapidly, my eyes barely able to stay open.
Once again, Adam’s smile disappeared.
“You harmed my daughter, you destroyed my laboratory, and you just tried to kill me.” He took a deep breath, putting several of his fingers against his forehead. “And you still think I’m the villain here. Why can so few people see that what I’m doing is best for humanity?”
Barely able to speak, I said, “You think…killing everyone…is what’s best?”
“Of course!” he replied. “Hell is better than this putrid realm! Plus, the new humanity will have paradise as their home. I think it’s a fair trade for the sake of future generations.”
I was in ungodly pain, and with Adam standing over me, I was scared out of my mind.
But that didn’t make a difference. I’d used up all my juice, the pain had basically immobilized me, and I was completely at his mercy.
“So,” I coughed. “This the part where you… explain your backstory to me… before you kill me?”
“Carter,” he said, frustrated, rubbing his forehead. “I’m not a cartoonish supervillain like that Smog bloke. I’m not gonna stand here and monologue while laughing maniacally. But,” he said, raising his pitch. “Tonight, Smog is in fact the reason you get to live.”
“What?” I asked, trying to stay conscious.
“See, the original plan was make you out as the messiah, broadcast your “climactic battle” with Smog, and provide you with the power you needed to beat the dastardly fiend and save the city. But, now that Raina no longer cares if you live or die, you won’t be getting any assistance from me. And let me tell you, those first few blasts you fired, I didn’t even shield myself. I took them head on and they tickled.” Adam put his foot on my head, and stomped it into the dirt. “It really was cute how much pride you seemed to have when you launched those attacks.Probably thinking how you were just like that old fool King Power, right? Honestly you probably are one of the top 20 most powerful humans. But you’ve seen some of what’s out there. Angels, demons, vampires, handsome sorcerers. Heaven and Hell are enormous, and compared to the beings that reside in them, mortals can’t compete.”
Spitting out some dirt which had gotten in my mouth, I raised my head a little, Adam having taken his foot off, and I asked, “That include you?”
Ignoring my question, Adam snapped his fingers, and stood up me straight.
“My point is, you’re going to fight Smog, and you’re going to die. You’re going to pay for what you did to my queen. And the whole world is gonna see you do so. And with you fallen, I will make you a martyr. And using my magics, I’ll become the new Lightning Bee, and lead the world into the future myself.”
“You know,” I spat. “For a guy who doesn’t consider himself a supervillain, you’re really damn good at the whole evil speech thing.”
“I’m sorry if that’s what you’ve interpreted this as. It wasn’t my intention. It’s simply a rarity for me to get the chance to talk about this. To talk about what I’ve waited so long for…”
He stopped talking, and just stared at the stars.
“So, you are letting me go?” I asked.
“I am,” he answered, not looking my way. “But if it wasn’t obvious, you and your sister are most definitely fired from your staff positions, and I expect the guest house cleaned out by this time tomorrow.”
“Sounds about right,” I said, struggling as I began to walk away. “Just know this!” I screamed, getting him to turn his head around. “You’re dead wrong. Even if I don’t have the power to do so, I will find a way to stop you.”
Adam’s face made a mocking expression.
“Good for you,” he said, not taking me seriously. “Night, Carter.”
Adam began levitating back up to his bedroom, and at that moment, there was nothing I could do about it. I still had questions, but I wasn’t getting those answers tonight.
And so, with slightly more knowledge, a bruised ego, and an almost unbearable amount of pain, I made my way off the property, and into the night.