After Kendra had come back covered with scratches and feathers, Thorn pulled on his black gloves and decided to take matters into his own hands.
It was very easy for him to get information on the girl. Brycen, a student at the University of Ukiyo, studying Magical Defense. Only twenty years of age. As Thorn arrived on campus, he was reminded of his own college days, which actually weren’t that long ago. How the years passed. How things had changed in between.
It was getting cold these days. The sky seemed empty, looking down with a sort of absolute coolness and uncaring, the exact opposite of a summer sky. Thorn shivered, pulling the collar of his coat higher up over his chin, burying his hands deep in his pockets. This coat had been given to him by his family before he left to go study in the city. He hadn’t thought about them in a long time. He rarely slipped back into his country accent anymore.
It should be the last classes of the day, at this point in the afternoon. There was a notable lack of students across the dying green lawn. Varsity sports should be happening soon, perhaps. Thorn couldn’t help but check his watch again. Perhaps she would be in a lab or something…
He checked the directory, then headed for the science and technology building. He remembered seeing her class schedule, and she should be in here today.
Second floor, second floor… He headed up the glossy stairs in the dark winding halls, students already dissipating from their classes. The echoes of his footsteps got lost amid their talking. Several glances flew after him, but he ignored them. He knew he was out of place, but at the same time he was also the type of person people would assume to be the North Wind and just let him pass.
The classrooms were mostly empty now, by the time he reached the second floor. He had arrived just as classes had ended and people were clearing the space. He looked through the doors as he passed by. A lab, where would a lab be…
The way the afternoon darkness was, shadows setting in, streams of sunlight still splintered across smooth desks, where the slightest of things could escape your eye… Thorn felt a need to bate his breath in the quiet, the echoes of people sounding from a muffled distance. It could be very far, for all he knew.
Finally, at the end of the hall, on the left, he caught a glimpse of a pair of eyes, and he stopped abruptly in his steps and turned his head and looked inside, meeting the gaze of the girl he was looking for. For a moment he was still and completely aware, or unaware of his surroundings, her name on his lips.
“Brycen?” A soft breath. She looked familiar, somehow, and not because he had been looking at her file earlier.
He felt her shrink back into her jacket, as if reaching for her ability. The shadows, they surrounded her. He acted impulsively, stretching out a hand to stop her from getting away. The shadows in the classroom entwined around her arms and legs, and her eyes widened. She opened her mouth to cry out but a shadow covered it.
Thorn found himself where he was again, the power of his magic surging through his fingers. He did not use his powers very often. Now his breath was coming up fast, and he had to think of what to do while he held her there.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said, softly but clearly. “I need you to come with me, okay? I just need your help for something.”
There was someone coming down the hall. Thorn quickly shut the classroom door, still keeping his shadows on the girl. It would be messy if someone found them now.
Just as he approached the girl, however, he noticed a line of ants crawling out from the corners of the classroom. He tried to step on them, but there were more coming. Well, he didn’t mind bugs, but maybe the girl would. The important thing right now was to get her to come with him. He grabbed hold of her wrists and put another arm around her shoulders. “Stay quiet, okay? The others aren’t as nice as me.”
There weren’t just ants now, there were flies too. Pesky things… Just as Thorn raised a hand to swat them away, the girl elbowed him in the ribs. Thorn bit his lip and restrained her again. So many bugs… An ability? Yes, her ability. He remembered now. He had seen that her ability was bug manipulation, but he had not registered it in his mind. He should have been more serious.
“Well, no matter. You’re coming with me,” he muttered, deftly picking her up and heading out the door. The sooner they were out of here, the better…
However, he just about crashed into someone right outside. He blinked, and then recognized him. Gray hair, expressionless eyes… That police detective, Luona, wasn’t it? What was he doing here?
“Agent Thorn?” Luona seemed surprised. “What are you doing here?”
It was only then that Thorn realized what bad timing this was. Luona thought of him as a higher-up sent to assist him in Case Z. Yet here he was, in the middle of an act of kidnapping.
“Sorry, Luona, can’t talk now,” he replied, pushing past him. “Later, okay? I’m rather preoccupied.”
“Um, I - I texted you earlier - ”
“I’ve been a bit too busy to check my messages. You’ll be fine, all right?”
“Where are you going with that girl?”
“She’s, um, a witness. I need her for something.”
“A witness? Agent Thorn, I don’t really understand - ”
Thorn turned around, annoyed at how long it was taking him to get out of the building. Usually officers didn’t ask this many questions. “Officer Luona,” he said, with all seriousness. “Please. Everything is being taken care of. Don’t worry yourself.”
“But what about the missing kid?”
“Oh, him?” Thorn gave a small laugh. Then he did something that he did not expect of himself: he told the truth.
“I already found him. Don’t worry about it.”
“You already found him? Thorn, wait! Where are you going?”
Thorn ignored him. He hated that Officer Luona had to be involved in this. But it was the only convenient way that he could have obtained and confirmed the file. Honestly, if that kid became too troublesome in the future, he would have to be taken care of…
Thorn did not enjoy shedding unnecessary blood. But he knew some people who did.