The bus entered the service entrance of the building. Two suited men with earpieces kept a lookout and signaled the bus to reverse further and park. The men entered the service entrance as the doors were closing and the bus doors opened. “Alright, we’re here” Hyesung stood up from his seat, motioning the six boys to alight the vehicle.
Broken glass was scattered everywhere in the main floor of the museum, and some of the artifacts were on the floor, a few of the fallen artifacts had already shattered. “Okay, remember, don’t touch anything, we don’t know what happened here so we have to look around” Yifan said.
“What? Like how detectives do it?” Jongdae asked. They all nodded.
They turned to Hyesung, who was watching a few other suited men who were taking pictures of the scene. “Where are the slimy clothes that were found?” he asked the other two men, who had apparently arrived before them.
Luhan paused, and suddenly a big drop of a slimy substance was in front of him, in mid air. “Guys?” he called out, his eyes still fixed upon the drop of slime in front of him.
“Yeah-whoa” Minseok paused when he approached him, his mouth almost dropping. Glancing at Luhan, he suddenly looked up, and his eyes widened at what he saw. “Hyesung hyung! Everyone!” he called out.
The rest of them crowded around the telepath, seeing the drop of slime before his eyes. “Take a sample of that” Yifan said. Luhan nodded and took a small container out from his vest and quickly placed the drop inside. Closing the container, he pocketed it, then looked up.
They suddenly heard a rumbling come from above, and all of them looked up. A huge, slimy web was on the ceiling, and they could see bits of what looked like dismembered human fingers and hands. “Oh my” Luhan muttered, making the rest of them look up, their eyes widening in surprise at the sight. “Yifan, I think you better go up there and take a closer look”
Yifan nodded and flew up to the ceiling. “It’s a web. Whatever ate these guards are probably similar to spiders. Carnivorous spiders” he said.
“But aren’t spiders carnivorous in nature?” Zitao asked all of a sudden. “They suck the blood of flies and other insects” he added.
“No, I mean, these spiders eat larger things. Larger creatures, there must be a lot of them to be able to make a web this big” Yifan brought himself down.
That made Luhan remember what he had been reading earlier. “Infernals” he suddenly said. The rest of them looked at him. “Infernals are carnivorous, and they look like tarantulas. Smaller tarantulas. They move in groups and I’m guessing they’ve been hungry for a long time” Luhan looked up again. “These infernals were let loose inside”
Jongdae nodded, and turned to Zitao. “Can you travel back that far in time?” he asked.
“I can’t yet, I could only travel back about five, six minutes, but probably not any longer than that” Zitao shook his head, a little hesitant.
“The museum alarm was triggered a half hour before we got here” Hyesung clarified. “But surely, those five to six minutes can count” he calmly urged the time controller.
Zitao slowly nodded. “Okay, I think I can do it. At least we’re already here” he said. “I’m going to need all of you to move back” he said. The rest of them did so, some of the guards walking off to secure the scene.
Zitao took a deep breath and closed his eyes. With a wave of his hand, everything around him started to rewind. While he knew he told them that he was going back a few minutes, he decided to go for longer, until everything stopped and he suddenly realized he went back ten minutes. Making a mental note to tell Yongguk about his progress, he stood in his place and saw a hooded figure followed by what looked like a tall goblin guard behind it, smashing the glass cases and looking through the artifacts.
“Those spiders must be feasting on the guards already” the hooded figure said, and Zitao immediately recognized it to be a male.
Zitao heard screams of pain suddenly dying down and sounds of chewing and biting growing louder at the spot where he found the Infernals. The infernals scattered around the bodies like termites, eating as much as they could, while the pieces of clothing fell into a slimy mess on the floor.
“The diamond is not in here. It must be somewhere close. The dwarves have given their half up centuries ago” the hooded figure groaned, throwing the ceramic vases to the floor. The figure looked up and whistled.
The infernals instantly scrambled downwards and into the cage in which the goblin guard was holding. “I trust that you all have had your fill” the hooded figure bent down to tap at the cage.
Zitao closed his eyes again and brought himself back to the present time, all of them watching him as he reappeared. “What happened? What did you see?” Minseok instantly asked.
“I was able to go back ten minutes,” Zitao started off. “There was a hooded figure, and behind him, a guard of some sort, it was a goblin. They set those infernals loose on the guards the moment they set foot in here. They were also looking for something, they mentioned a diamond, and that the dwarves have given theirs up a long time ago” he reported, still a little surprised as to how far he went back.
“And? Was it in here?” Luhan asked.
Zitao shook his head. “No. It wasn’t. They broke in here for nothing”
“They were looking for a diamond, and it wasn’t here. It could only mean that whoever broke in here wanted it really badly. We need to get back and tell Junhong what we found” Yixing pointed out.
“Whatever that diamond is, it must be that valuable. I don’t think you’d break in a museum just for treasure” Minseok said.
“Treasures are usually in museums” Jongdae suddenly commented.
“Well, I don’t think anyone would break into a museum like this just for that” Minseok cleared himself up.
Hyejung sat in a chair in Junhong’s lab, holding her arm once Junhong had pulled out the needle of the syringe he used to take a sample of her blood. His lab looked like any other lab; everything was bright, including state of the art equipment. It reminded Hyejung of what she would see in the superhero movies. Test tubes filled with the blood samples of the other recruits, including Mirae’s and Jinri’s were lined up on his table next to a microscope. “What’s the blood sample for?” she asked.
The question got Junhong a little flustered. “Ah, well, um,” he glanced at the test tubes. “This is for me to figure out your genetic make-up. Because you’re supposedly a late bloomer, I-I will try and figure out what you can do from your blood alone” he answered. “It’s how we figure out how to train you when your abilities come”
“So, that’s how you train the boys?” Hyejung asked, getting off the chair.
“Yeah, yeah, they have their own training rooms that are designed to be able to adapt to their abilities” Junhong placed the blood in an empty test tube that he labeled and came back to Hyejung, holding a band-aid. “When we figure out what you can do, the Professor can have another room built for you” he said, gently pressing the band-aid down on the spot on her arm.
Hyejung nodded. “It sure must cost a lot” she looked around. “I mean, all of this, must cost a lot”
Junhong watched her. “Yeah it does. But that isn’t really important” he said, turning back to arrange the test tubes, smiling in satisfaction that it was all complete.
Hyejung noticed a big curtain dividing the lab, and another room. “What’s behind this?” she said, lifting it up and going inside, before Junhong could even stop her.
“Ah, well, this is where, we-” Before Junhong could even explain, he stopped once he saw the awestruck expression on Hyejung’s face.
Several tables that had different kinds of equipment were laid out, from spike attachments to blow torches. There were a few cars, all of which, were being fixed up by Himchan, Yongguk, Jongup, Daehyun, and Youngjae.
“This is where we make stuff” Junhong blurted out. “For you guys, on special assignments” he looked down shyly as he explained it.
The latter part of what he said made Hyejung’s ears perk up. “For real? Like those gadgets you see in the spy movies or something?” she suddenly grinned wide.
“Ah, well, sort of, kind of, yes” Junhong fumbled with the sleeves of his labcoat.
Hyejung looked back at everything with wonder. “This is so cool!” she giggled. Seeing as Junhong couldn’t stop her, he stepped forward and led her through the aisles.
They stopped at one long table, and before Hyejung could pick up the purple gun that had a green cartridge attached to it, Junhong slapped her hand away. “Don’t touch it yet, it’s still up for testing” he said.
Hyejung rolled her eyes. “Alright fine, I won’t touch it. But what does that do?” she asked.
Junhong paused and took a closer look at the cartridge. “This is a gun that emits a type of chloroform that could knock the target out for days. But I’m trying to get this down to at least less than a day” he held it up in front of her then put it back down. “The prototype for this, Youngjae was knocked out for a week” he added. He gestured Hyejung to move along, until they stopped in front of one unattended hostel car that was painted a glossy black.
“Now what?” Hyejung turned to the towering male next to her.
Junhong took a metal baseball bat from one of the tables as well as a golf club. Handing Hyejung the golf club, she took it with slight hesitation. “Now, we’re about to put this car to the test. We do that to the rest of the cars up in the garage before we decide to park it up there” he explained. Hyejung still looked confused as to why they were holding the club and the bat. “Hit the trunk as hard as you can”
Hyejung’s eyes widened. “Are you sure that’s a way to test this out? It looks really expensive” she said.
“We have ways of fixing broken cars, don’t worry. Now hit it” Junhong reassured her.
Hyejung glanced at him again before swinging the club towards the top of the trunk, hitting it as hard as she could. To her surprise, there wasn’t a dent on the trunk, but the golf club she was holding practically folded in half. “Oh!” her eyes widened as she dropped the golf club. Junhong was standing at the side, grinning proudly.
“Damn, I’m good” Junhong chuckled to himself. He stepped forward this time, and swung the metal bat towards the side of the car, hitting the door as hard as he could. Once more, to Hyejung’s surprise, the bat Junhong was holding had a big dent, while the car remained dent-free. “All the cars and the buses in the center are like this too. Space-age, and military material, designed to be impervious to anything. The windows are also quite impervious themselves” he explained as he knocked on a window. “These windows, as well as all the windows of the cars and buses of this hostel are made with level 3-A laminated polycarbonate mixed with some gorilla glass, which is good enough to protect everyone inside the vehicle from a 9 millimeter full metal jacket and at the same time not scratch the surface”
Hyejung listened with wide eyes. “I feel like I’m in some kind of, Charles Xavier school for gifted youngsters or something” she said, still very much in disbelief.
Junhong smiled. “You’re one of them, noona. We’ll figure out your ability. As we will with Mirae noona and Jinri noona” he said. “The professor sought you out for a reason, and you’ve got something that only a small number of people have, if you haven’t noticed already”
Hyejung nodded. “I do notice it. I mean, it happened when I was a kid, and, for some reason I can’t seem to control it when it does” she muttered.
“Don’t worry, we’ll figure you out” Junhong assured her.
A soft rumbling made the hairs on Luhan’s arm stand. Looking around, he could see flashes of what Zitao had explained, and more slime suddenly down from the ceiling. “Guys?” he called them.
When no one listened, he stepped away from his place. “Guys? Something’s here, we have to get out” he said, upon approaching Jongdae and Yixing, who were examining a broken artifact that actually turned out to be a reproduction of the original.
“Why do we have to get out? We need to see what’s still in here” Minseok asked.
“Because-” Luhan stopped, as the rest of them suddenly heard a loud scurrying coming from the ceiling. They all looked up, their eyes instantly looking at the ceiling vent right above them.
“Okay, we kind of do need to get out, but, we also need to get rid of them” Yifan whispered.
The rest of them spread out in different corners of the room. Yifan and Minseok were at the two staircases at the end, Yixing stood by a door leading to another exhibit on one end, while Jongdae stood by the other end. Zitao was by the windows. “We’ll cover you all by the elevators. Junhong says to get at least one of the creatures, but other than that, remember your training, and fire away” Luhan heard Hyesung’s voice in his head. He closed his eyes, quietly relaying the information to everyone else.
Their first real mission, and it involved having them get rid of cannibalistic spiders. The six of them stood in their places, their hearts all pounding from nervousness and fear, that started to translate into the adrenaline rush they were having as the ceiling vent fell to the floor, and a swarm of twenty, thirty thousand infernals were scurrying all over the ceiling and crawling down to the walls.
“Oh, I do wish Chanyeol was in here” Minseok grumbled as he held up his palms, creating a wave of ice at the oncoming infernals that were approaching the floor. With a few waves of his hands, he ended up making ice towers that were as high as the ceiling. Yifan soon grabbed Minseok by the waist and carried him across the room, letting Minseok create and control the flurry of ice that was soon spreading on the floor.
“Hyung! You could have let us know you were going to turn this room into a freezer!” Zitao took out the pistol from his belt and started shooting the infernals that were about to surround him.
“Don’t complain! Just shoot! Keep them away from the elevators!” Yixing shouted from his place, as he shot some infernals with a pistol that had a highly corrosive acid fitted into the bullets before heading into the other exhibit.
Jongdae shot a few hundred at a time with the same kind of bullet, Luhan ran up the stairs, parting the oncoming swarm of infernals like the red sea. “Jongdae, you might want to electrocute them now” he said.
“We could have just turned the clock back and got out before the infernals came back” Zitao sprinted towards the door where Yixing was.
“Jongdae!” Luhan called him. “Jongdae, do it, now! While the ice is melting!”
As Yifan brought Minseok to the other side with Yixing and Zitao, he flew back in, dodging the infernals that were falling from the ceiling, one of them catching onto his sleeve and biting into his arm. He let out a loud groan, taking the infernal off his arm and throwing it to the floor. He managed to grab Luhan’s outstretched hand and brought him to the other side.
“Water makes for a good conductor of electricity,” Jongdae muttered to himself as sparks and currents were suddenly coming out of his fingers. Yifan carried him up in time, before the water would touch his feet. Sparks and a loud buzzing filled the room, and within moments, all the infernals in the room were either melted off from the acid puddles, or laying lifeless on the marble floor and on the walls, fried to a crisp.
All was quiet, and Yifan and Jongdae lowered themselves on the dry top stair of one staircase. Luhan peeked through the door, before hopping from side to side as to avoid the acid puddles. “Everything’s dead?” he asked, looking up at Yifan and Jongdae, who were nodding.
“Any injuries?” Yixing suddenly asked, coming out from the other room as well, followed by Zitao. Yifan raised his hand, showing them his bitten arm.
Jongdae stepped back upon seeing it. “Hyung, you’re not going to turn into a were-fernal, are you?” he teased.
Yifan laughed and punched the younger male’s arm. “Yah.. I hope not”
Mirae was in the center’s gym, holding one of the kendo sticks that she found out belonged to Minseok, who was apparently quite skilled at the sport. Instead of holding it at it’s base, she held it in the middle, and all of a sudden, she swung it from one side to another with one hand. Spinning the stick with both hands, Mirae moved from one side to another as well, stopping just before she could hit the punching bags.
It wasn’t long before she noticed that she had an audience. Mirae stood back up again, and slowly turned around, almost dropping the kendo stick in surprise upon seeing Jongin standing by, with sweat-slicked hair and a towel around his neck, and holding a water bottle. Jongin looked amazed.
Mirae looked down. “Sorry, um, sorry, I was just, um,” she mumbled, hurriedly putting the stick back in its place before running out of the gym.
Jongin watched her, contemplating on whether he should confront her about it or not, but he chose the latter.
Once he saw that she had already disappeared, he closed his eyes and in a matter of seconds, he found himself in the showers, where he spotted Ino in a bathrobe, having just finished.
“Jongin! What did I tell you about teleporting in the showers?” Ino suddenly said, upon catching him.
“Sorry, hyung, but I guess it’s good that I found you,” Jongin rushed up to him. “I saw Mirae earlier, in the gym. She’s good with a stick” he said.
Ino raised a brow at the younger male. “What do you mean with a stick?” he asked.
They started walking towards the door. “I mean, Mirae’s doing that swishy thing that Tao does. But it’s like she’s some kind of...well..she’s like Tao too! And Baekhyun hyung! And Minseok hyung!” Jongin explained.
“Oh! I know, I have her profile. She’s trained in bojitsu, or martial arts with the use of a staff or a long stick” Ino nodded.
“So, that means she could kick my ass?”
Ino chuckled. “In a manner of speaking, yes she could. It’s best to be careful around her then. Treat her well, even more so because she’s new” he advised.
Jongin pretended to be offended. “Hyung, I would never!”
Ino laughed loudly. “Of course I know you always treat girls well. But Mirae’s rather different. She’s gone through some really tough times” he said. “Her family, well, sent her to a mental institution when she was younger”
The teleporter’s eyes widened. “Just because they knew she was different?” and Ino nodded.
“Well, fear makes people do crazy things. This was probably what they did because they were afraid of what she could do” Ino sighed. “This place is supposed to make people like you safe, while sort of saving the world at the same time” he explained.
He turned back to Jongin. “Just quietly look out for her”
Mirae ran back to her room, closing the door behind her and locking it. Just like the others, it was decorated the same way, only this time the shelves were not only full of books, it was also full of movies. She was more comfortable left on her own devices, being more of a wallflower rather than the life of the party, or at least she wasn’t as confident and sociable as Hyejung. She was a little embarrassed, getting caught using Minseok’s kendo stick to do some fancy tricks she learned as a teenager, and Jongin the teleporter being the one who caught her at that.
The adjustment period was probably going to take a little longer than she thought it would. Even when Mirae knew she would be staying in a place where there were people like her, people who were more than what they seemed, and can do more than the normal human being.
Normal. A word that would end up sounding anything but in this place.
She had already been trying to make herself at home, unpacking most of her things while leaving out the rest for later. There wasn’t much to do now that she was staying in a new place, but she felt a little sad knowing that she had to say goodbye to the married couple that took her in when she ran away from the place she came from.
As she was about to head into the bathroom and take a shower, there was a knock on the door. “Who-who is it?” Mirae asked.
“It’s uh, Junhong”
Mirae opened the door. “Hello, Junhong. What’s up?” she asked.
Junhong looked down, a little reluctant to say something. “I need you to um, come with me, I think I have figured you out” he said with a small smile.
He led her to the lab and gestured her to sit down on the chair. Junhong looked at his monitor and typed something. “Your DNA,” he showed her an enlarged view of her cells. “They seem to radiate some kind of energy when provoked or, in a sort of phase. As if,” he paused to look at the screen again. “they can make surrounding cells do the same.” he said, stunned at what he realized.
“Which means what, exactly?” Mirae looked at the screen, a little nervously.
Junhong looked closely at the images for another moment then turned around, nodding slowly at what he thought. “You can manipulate energy” he said. “Rather, you can convert potential energy into kinetic energy on a great scale”
Mirae just nodded, but still looked a little confused with what he said.
In order to make her understand it better, Junhong looked back at the images and then at her file. “How exactly did you find out you had this?” he asked.
She looked down at her hands, then back at Junhong. “There was this time, when I was 9, I got angry at this boy who kept pulling on my ponytail at the playground. I was holding my hair tie, and I just felt the urge to throw it at him. I missed, but I saw it explode next to him, like a firecracker” she explained.
“That’s what I was referring to. You have this ability to pick up any inanimate object and, charge it with a lot of energy that it could end up exploding wherever you throw it” Junhong explained.
Mirae nodded. “Wow, that’s-that’s what I can do..” she said.
Junhong nodded. “Did it start happening more frequently since that time?” he asked.
“It did. It started happening more and more during the two times I underwent electroshock therapy when I was 13,” Mirae replied. “The electricity only seemed to make it worse, I think”
This time, Junhong shook his head. “Or it only seemed to make it better” he got up and walked over to her. “Lee Mirae, you’re one of a kind. I can help you, we can all help you, and after this, we’re all working to find a way to help you channel that, turn it into something that could benefit you and help everyone else” he advised her.
Mirae looked at the images. “It’s so hard to control it, once it comes out,” she muttered. “I’m scared of myself”
“You won’t have to anymore. With this, figuring out what you can do now, I’ve reported this to Ino and to Professor Jang, and we’ve been given the go signal to start constructing your training room” Junhong smiled. “But the good news is, we can finally start!” he suddenly squealed.
Mirae stared at his reaction. “So, where will I train?”
“You will train in Chanyeol’s room for now. But you’ll probably want to dress down a little more. It can be hot in there” he replied.
“Oh no, no, no, I can’t use Chanyeol’s room, it’s his room and I don’t want to bother him by using it too” Mirae shook her head.
Junhong paused, then smiled once he thought of a solution. “Outside then?”
“Yes, outside would be better”