What Ava and Lonny discovered had been valuable. Luona managed to go back and find the security footage for that building, and see the times that Dema had come and gone. It seemed that he hadn’t found the place right after his escape. But now… When was the last time that he had been there?
As Luona left the apartment complex, however, he got his answer.
On the street outside, he bumped into him. Dema. The kid he had been looking for. He was almost as tall as him, and didn’t seem to notice Luona at first, mumbling a swift “Sorry” and quickly brushing past.
“Hey.” Luona grabbed onto his arm. “Where are you going?”
“I’m just going back home, mister. Nowhere special.”
The boy froze, then wrenched his arm out of Luona’s grip with surprising violence. “You - you’re here to take me away - ”
It was a crowded street. Luona didn’t want to attract too much attention. “Look, if you’ll just come peacefully and quietly, I can - ”
“I’m not going anywhere with you!”
Murmurs and gasps from the people around them. Mutters and stares. Whispers. Luona tried to calm himself.
“All right, kid, looks like I’m going to need to use force, eh?”
“Oh, I would.” Luona avoided Dema’s gaze. As long as he didn’t look at him straight in the eyes…
Dema didn’t seem intent on controlling him, though. He moved quickly, grabbing a tall man and looking directly up at him. The man’s eyes turned purple and he slowly turned towards Luona’s direction.
Luona knew he had to act quickly. He grabbed a passing businesswoman’s hand. “Excuse me, ma’am, are you an ability user?”
“Um, no…”The woman tried to tug herself away from him.
“Well, ma’am, that man over there is going to attack us, you here me? So I’m going to give you an ability. It’s going to last fifteen minutes. Can you fight him for me?”
“Excuse me, sir, I - ”
“Ma’am, that man doesn’t have an ability. And I’ll make sure nothing happens to you. All right?”
“I - ”
“Ma’am, we don’t have much time! I need you to trust me!”
“Okay, I’ll - I’ll trust you - ”
“Good.” Luona quickly sent a surge of magic through her, giving her an ability. For that was his own ability: giving humans temporary abilities.
Electricity crackled from the woman’s hands. “I - I don’t know what to do - ”
“Send electricity at him! Quickly! You’ll figure it out soon enough, okay? I’m going to go find someone else!”
In this time, he didn’t know how many more people Dema had put underneath his ability… At least three more, by the looks of it. He would need someone else…
This time he grabbed a young, athletic looking student. “I’ll give you an ability for fifteen minutes. Just help me fight those people, okay?”
“Eh? I mean, sure, I guess…”
This student ended up with the power of flying. He looked as if he wanted to enjoy it more before taking on the mind-controlled people.
Luona stepped back, calling out instructions to help the two civilians fight. “To the left! Yeah, hit the ground in front of him - that’s right - now you swing from behind - ”
He met Dema’s eyes. The boy was far away, before he disappeared in the shadows of his mind-controlled.
Hold on… Was this his plan all along, to put as many people under his ability so as he could get away without being noticed? But all the energy and magic used…
“Keep them occupied until they return to normal!” Luona called as he ran after the boy. But by the time he had made it through the mind-controlled, the kid was gone.
Later, Luona was called to his superior’s office.
“Police Detective Luona, you caused too much of a disturbance today in District Eleven. In fact, I’ve been asked to remove you from Case Z - ”
“Sir, that was because I found the suspect in Case Z, but he used his ability - ”
His superior held up a hand. “Regardless, I have been asked to remove you from the case. We can set other officers on it. It seems to me that you should focus your mind on other things. And perhaps get more sleep.”
“Sir.” Luona tried to keep his hands relaxed. “There are still a few things that I need to sort out about it - ”
“Then write up a report and give it to the officer who will take your case. Good day, Officer Luona. Go home and get some rest. You look tired.”
“With all due respect, sir…I still have some unfinished, personal business wrapped up in the case. So I would appreciate it if you didn’t take me off right away. Give me another chance, please? I swear I’ll be more thoughtful of my surroundings.”
His superior sighed. “Luona, you’re a good officer. Just a bit too tired. All right, I’ll give you another chance, but the next time I’m asked to take you off…you’re off, you hear me?”
As he left the office, Luona breathed a sigh of relief. So things were still in his control…for now. But Thorn’s threats had not been empty. And surely he would act against him again.