Chapter 3:

Part 1- Chapter 3

Snowflake and Butterknife

 Harper leaned on the counter facing the restaurant's front door. Over an hour into her shift and not a single customer. This was expected with November coming to a close, everyone was getting ready to celebrate the holiday. However, Harper was still annoyed by it.

“I think I am going to start looking for a new job.” Harper said off handedly.

“You sure?” Emily, another server, asked.

“Maybe, not making much money currently.” Harper sighed.

“If you want they could schedule you in the kitchen.” Emily said.

Harper waved her hand dismissively. “Nah, you see how those guys look at me? Dealing with that constantly would be frustrating.”

“That is fair, though if they are making you uncomfortable you should bring that up to management.” Emily said.

“I'm used to people looking, won't change.” Harper said.

“Maybe you could get a job with that boyfriend of yours?” Emily said.

“Nah, don't work with your significant other, best way to keep that relationship going.” Harper said wisely, though she had nothing backing that claim.

The door rang to announce someone entering. Harper bolted up and rushed to meet the customer.

Edwin closed his book and felt his stomach grumble. He had studied for a bit longer than he expected. Looking over his fridge he realized he needed to make a run to the convenient store.

Pulling up the hood of his hoodie, Edwin walked out into the halls of his dorm. The convenient store was just off campus, a short walk away. The day sky was fading into a multitude of colors overhead, soon it would be night.

“Oh why hello there Edwin.” A voice called out.

Edwin tilted his head to spot his priestly trainer in joggers. “Hello there sir.”

“Please, you can just call me Met.” Met said as he came close. “What brings you out tonight?”

“Just getting something to eat.” Edwin said.

“I see, I see.” Met said with an over exaggerated nod. “You have finals coming up don't you? Make sure to study hard.”

“Thank you.” Edwin said coldly. “What are you doing?” It was strange not seeing Met in the priest robes, though his joggers held the same feeling.

“I was just doing a run.” Met said.

“This late?” Edwin asked.

“No better time when you think about it!” Met said with a large smile. “It's where you meet the most interesting people.”

Edwin nodded. “Well, enjoy your run.”

“Enjoy your food.” Met said with a wave. He ran off in a different direction to Edwin.

Sandwich in hand, Edwin left the convenient store. It was a spicy italian sub that he heated up in the store's microwave. Now he was munching at it as he walked. That was when he spotted Justin.

The guy was rushing through the streets, his eyes darting back and forth wildly, until he spotted Edwin.

“Hey Edwin!” Justin said, rushing over.

“Heh Hushtin” Edwin said through a mouthful of food.

“How is studying going?” Justin asked.

Edwin swallowed. “It's been fine, I'm on track, you?”

Justin gave a defeated look.

“That bad?” Edwin asked.

“No.. Maybe.” Justin said. “I'm getting some tutoring but still.”

“Well at least you're getting help.” Edwin said.

Justin nodded. “Hey Edwin, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” Edwin said.

“What do you think about removing your mark?” Justin said, feeling at the tornado under his jacket.

Edwin wasn't sure what he was getting at. “What do you mean?”

“Well, like, if you could get rid of your mark, would you?” Justin said, not meeting Edwin’s eye.

Edwin hesitated for a moment. “It's illegal. Removing your mark means you will go straight to jail once you're caught.”

“I know, it's just a hypothetical.” Justin said.

Edwin felt at his own mark, that stupid snowflake. “Nah, I don't think I would.”

Justin nodded. “I'm sorry for the random question. I should get going.” with that, he ran off in the direction he was heading.

Edwin stood for a moment, thinking on what Justin had asked. Finally he turned to leave, then stopped. He felt a strange feeling in his gut, and so he followed Justin.

Keeping a safe distance, Edwin followed Justin thru the city, till he reached the lake side. He was in a warehouse area against a dock. This area was more shifty than most ports, everything was spray painted. Why had Justtin come to a place like this?

Justin arrived outside a large warehouse with a guard watching it. Edwin watched the man hassle Justin, forcing him to give him his I.D, which he held onto. Finally, Justin went inside.

“Well well.” A voice said from behind Edwin.

Edwin spun around quickly, eyes narrowing and his body getting low to the ground. He found instead, Met.

“I knew it was a good idea to keep an eye on you, you're like a good luck charm.” Met said with a smile.

“What the hell!” Edwin said in an angry whisper. “Why are you here!”
“I had a weird feeling in my gut that said tonight was the night to follow you, and it worked out.” Met said. “So, Justin went in there huh?”

Edwin gritted his teeth. “Yeah.”

“Wonder what it is?” Met said, eyeing the warehouse. “There is a balcony on the second floor with a glass door, we can probably look in from up there.”

Edwin and Met made their way onto the balcony, Met using a street light for a whip to pull them up. Edwin didn't like the idea of relying on Met, but he was in too deep now. He just had to hope it wasn't anything too bad.

They stood over a large crowd of people. They all stood in front of a well lit stage, several people walking about on the stage.

“A rally of some kind?” Met said in a hushed voice.

The crowd hushed after a while, and a man took the stage. He was built like a truck with a neck as thick as his arms, and a flat face. He wore a sleeveless shirt, revealing a green mark with the symbol of an arm on it.

“He's an Enhancer.” Edwin said.

“B Class at least, what would the muscle represent?” Met questioned. “Probably enhances his physical strength.”

“For too long the Council has watched us!” The buff man declared. “For to long they have repressed us Mageye! Why do they get to choose! Why do they pick who gets to be a recruit and who gets to live normal lives? Why do we have to live in the shame of our great gifts! They tell us not to use our powers, they tell us we are just mutations, but that is not true! We are the next evolution of humankind! They hate us, they fear us, they attack us, and we are told to deal with it! Does that sound fair to you all!”

A cheer of No’s echoed through the building.

“As expected.” Met said.

“It's the ACO isn't it.” Edwin said, spotting Justin in the crowd.

Met nodded.

The Anti Council Organization, a terrible name. No one knows who founded the group, but they grew in size swiftly. They can be spotted in any American city in large numbers. They are considered one of the largest threats to civil peace.

Met pulled out a small military grade flashlight, beginning to turn it on and off as he watched the proceedings. He kept his hand over the light though, what was he doing?

“Now, my fellow Mageye’s!” The man continued. “Let us free you of your shackles! Join us in our resistance!” He placed his hand over his mark. “Be free!” And then, he pulled it off. It revealed an empty gap in his skin. The man threw the mark on the ground, and the crowd cheered.

Several people, including Justin, stepped forward. People came to escort them to a back room, and Justin vanished from Edwin’s sight.

“We gotta stop them.” Edwin said. “Justin is a good kid, he is probably just confused. If he gets his mark removed he will regret it.”

“Don't worry, we will stop them.” Met stated. “You should head home.”

Edwin figured it out then. “You are signaling the Peacekeepers aren't you? You're activating your power over and over to make them notice you.”

Met smiled. “They keep a closer eye on officers and A class, and if Reynard is at work, like he always is, he will know what it means.”

Edwin’s eyes widened. Peacekeepers were going to raid this warehouse any moment, and Justin would be stuck in this mess.

“I'm going to stay.” Edwin said.

Met tilted his head. “There will be a fight, those who removed their marks will not allow themselves to be captured.”

“I will fight if I need to, but I just need to get Justin out of there.” Edwin said.

Met placed a hand on Edwin’s shoulder. “Alright. I agree with you, Justin is a good kid, so get him out of there. Though we will have to question him to make sure he won't be working with the ACO in the future.”

Edwin nodded. He was surprised, he expected Met to be more of a stickler for the rules.

“Looks like they are here.” Met said, looking behind him. “Let's go meet the troops”

Edwin spotted the silhouetted figures emerging onto the scene. There was no turning back. 

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