Chapter 1: Ivy
I looked down at my hands as the lines in them started to line up, creating a name in my hands: Arthur Lorak. I sighed and looked up as the screen started to play out on my wall, giving me his personal business; things that I would need to know to scope out his personal life. As I looked through the list a key detail spoke out to me Launcher. I raised an eyebrow and looked back at Linn.
"He's a launcher," I said plainly. Launcher in plain speaker is the word of a person who kills people like us. Who are people like us you ask, well I guess that I'll have to explain who we are to you, but it's very confidential and I don't need anyone else knowing.
We are Ivy. It's a short name for the lady who started this. We are sort of like exterminators. We kill those who don't belong and those who are out to kill humans. Our job is to keep the humans safe from the supernatural beings of the world. One group that are in high number and out to kill the humans and us Ivy are Launchers. They are supernatural beings that are ranked in number. There are 1000 of them ranging in how powerful they are, making number 1 the strongest.
"Does it say what number he is?" Linn asked as she stood from her stool and walked over to look at the wall with me.
I tapped the wall aimlessly, scrolling up and down, but I saw no number that looked as though it was his. "Nada." I sighed.
"You missed," Linn said tapping on a part of his bio and zooming in. "It says that the only tattoo that he has is on his neck, but it's covered by his hair." She scrolled some more on it and then looked at it. "A number."
Linn was my partner and she had been for five years. We had been caught up in this mess long ago and we were forced to deal with being an Ivy. Linn had always been top-notch between us because she was good on detail. I was just good with combat. Every morning we were forced to combat and then every night we were forced to take an insight class with ten other girls in Ivy. Linn, at first, couldn't stand me and I couldn't stand her, but we were forced to one another. We completed each other's whole and that's why we're such a good pair and ranked four out of eight pairs at the Ivy.
The other pairs went as follows:
Felipe saw us sixteen as the best asskickers, the best insighters and the best manipulators so we were placed in these special groups. They ranked us in the certain groups that we are in by how fast we learn and how many Launcher or other supernatural things that we have killed. We were put with our partner by the same skills that we both possess or for if we complete each other's whole.
Linn and I were both put into group because we hated each other for the first year that we were both put together and the lead guardians including Felipe holds that against us. We took anger management classes and our bickering stopped. We were opposites, yes, but the main thing that brought us together was the fact that we had always wanted to beat Danica and Jasleen. Linn had always had beef with Jasleen and I with Danica. This is one of the reasons that we complete one another's whole.
Danica and Jasleen are complete bitches, but it's because they can be. I mean, they were ranked number one out of many other Ivy girls and mostly out of the eight groups. Yes, we were all jealous because we didn't think that they deserved the spot that they held. When you're a complete bitch to everyone, you don't deserve anything and that's how Linn and I saw it. The other girls weren't confident enough to tell Danica and Jasleen anything, but Linn and I had enough balls to say something to them. Reason number two why Linn and I complete one another.
It's very hard to explain the Ivy without explaining the bigger picture of the Ivy and it's background. Over 50 years ago, a lady named Geniva Ivison came in contact with a superhuman being whose power was to throw fire and he did it gratefully. When he noticed that Geniva had seen him use his power to kill a human, he took and kidnapped her. While kidnapped, Geniva found out so much about what he was, which is a Launcher. Each launcher has a different ability and since there are 1000 launchers, then there are 1000 different abilities that we have to deal with.
Geniva somehow was rescued or she escaped and she created the Ivy Academy. No one knows how she picks certain people to be in Ivy, but she does and she trained them to know about the Launchers; well that's until she died 2 years before I was conceived. So far we know all the strengths and weaknesses of most Launchers.
I joined the Ivy six years ago. I was an immature 14-year-old who didn't know what the hell she was doing. When I met the runner of the Ivy Academy, Felipe Ivison - Geniva's son - he told me that I was put in here because of my hatred towards human beings. I was put to the test of trying to save them, so I have been for five years after a year of training.
"When should we strike?" I said closing the projection off the wall and looking over at Linn. She sighed, stretched and walked away from me.
"Soon. First we have to figure out everything we need to know about this Arthur character and we should start doing that fast."
"Well we know most of everything about him." I paced the room as I looked on my palm at the lining. "36, 3 kids, divorced. I mean what else do we need to know."
Linn looked at me before falling into my bed. "We need to know something personal. His favorite food, where he eats at regularly, does he still love his ex-wife."
"What's so important about getting so deep?" I asked as I leaned against the right wing wall. "We're gonna end up killing him either way it goes."
She sighed and looked at me. "This is why people hated to be paired with you." I raised an eyebrow as she sat up. "The first rule of being an Ivy Insighter is that you have to be able to know how to manipulate people."
I crossed my arms. "I'm not sure that I follow you."
"It's simple. We have to be able to manipulate to this man, that all we are is just regular human beings. Not what we really are. If we can easily manipulate him to know that we have been studying him then everything might go just as planned." I raised an eyebrow and she just sighed. "We have to play a fake part in his life."
"Ohh," I said. She just rolled her eyes and leaned back onto my bed. "I hope you're gonna get up. Your bed is on the opposite side."
"Too tired to get up," she mumbled.
All at once a siren went off. Linn's eyes bulged open and she sat up. I looked at my hand as the lines on it glowed a warning red color. The lines started moving into formation. I looked over at Linn and she was already getting dressed. I looked back down at my hand and the lines had made a simple eight.
"Code eight," I said flustered. I walked over to my dresser, threw on some shorts, a long black sleeve shirt and then hurried to put my combat boots on.
"C'mon!" Linn screamed as she held the door open for me. I ran out as I tightened my hair into a polite ponytail. I heard the door snap shut and Linn's feet bumping after mine.
As we turned the corner, we were met by Cathryn Lowell and Jenn Luvas. They were both partners and ranked six out of 8. "Code eight," Cathryn said.
"So we've heard."
Linn took the lead and led us down the stairs and through the main door until we entered outside the dorm rooms. We gratefully skittered across the lawn for another five minutes until we reached the Academy in the Ivy Hall. When we entered, we saw the three lead guardians of Ivy, Felipe Ivison, Lenora Servana and Opiel Preston sitting in their seats upfront and the other Ivy pairs standing politely. It was quiet as we all looked around.
"We got a code eight," Cathryn said.
Felipe rose from his chair and looked around at us and then back at his two other companions. "This is a code eight." He gulped and looked back at us. "Three Ivy's have been killed."
My mouth gawked as I looked at Linn. Her face was expressionless and pale. "Well how did this happen?" Danica asked.
"We're not sure," Lenora said clasping her hands. Her eyes were bloodshot red. "But they were each killed by one of the Launchers. Just tonight."
"Wait," Linn said stepping forward. "How were just three of them killed when there are only two pairs of girls in one group."
"Because two groups went out to catch a specific Launcher, and only one of them got away."
"It was group seven and group three," Opiel said. "Hencing why they aren't here."
I looked around the room and gawked. Opiel was right. The only groups that were here were groups 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8. I bit my lip and looked back at Opiel and the other two leaders.
"So which Launcher did you send them after?"
"Launcher eight," Lenora said looking down. "I told you two that we should have gone." She directed the last part at Felipe and Opiel.
"Not here Lenora," Felipe said sternly. "Know your place."
"That was my sister you sent out there Felipe. My sister for God's sake." The room hushed as Lenora's words sunk in. Guardians of Ivy never argued. Felipe looked down. "I begged you to let us three guardians go out, but you refused and I should have never agreed willingly to let those four girls go out there."
I bit my lip. Lenora's sister, Sylvia was ranked three out of 8 and she was one of the best combat people that we've ever had. Lenora guarded her sister with her life. She sent her on missions that she knew that she could handle.
"I don't understand why you just didn't call Danica and I," Jasleen said interrupting the deep silence. "We would have ended that Launcher'slife."
"It's not that simple," Felipe said standing and pacing. "Some Launchers are very easy to kill. One swipe and they're dead, but the top ten." He shook his head. "The top ten are just as deadly as you sixteen are put together." He looked at us as he placed his hands behind his back; his hazel eyes directed into each one of our souls. "The top ten are scary."
"How scary could they get?" Sam Lopel asked. "I mean we know that number one is the strongest but I mean number 8 couldn't have been that bad."
"You don't understand," Danica said flipping her brown hair. "We've been battling Launchers that were numbers 800 and up. We haven't experienced Launchers of one digits, not even two. They are strong."
"Like you've faced one," Linn huffed. Jasleen shot her a look and Linn gave her the same one.
"But I don't understand why you never told any of us about this mission," I said. "I mean, we could have all gone out instead of just groups 3 and 7. Why didn't you tell us?"
"They wanted to heighten their rank out of the eight of you. Group 3 wanted to be where group 1 was and group 7 wanted to be at your group 4 Zara," Opiel said. "They were set on doing this and they wanted to keep it private."
"But you can't do that," Grace Simmons said. "It violates everything."
"We know," Opiel said. "But nothing was going to change their mind. Lenora tried taking her sister Sylvia out of the ridiculous idea, but Sylvia had her mind made up. So we let them. They said they had trained enough, but in reality they hadn't trained hard enough."
"But having enough training or insight won't stop this, will it?" Kylie Joel asked. "Launchers 1-10 have something on us, don't they?"
"They have everything on us," Felipe said. "They can smell an Ivy from a mile away and they know how to attack instantaneously."
"So when Groups 3 and 7 went in on this mission, they knew what to expect and they did it anyway?" Grace asked wrapping her arms around her body.
Lenora looked down and sighed. Felipe looked up at us. "Sylvia just wanted her rank up so badly," she huffed out. She shook her head.
"You said three of them were killed, which one got out?" Danica asked crossing her arms. "Which one was quick enough to escape?"
"Ainslee Morelli," Opiel said. "But we're keeping her in observation overnight. She's in shock from everything that happened. We haven't questioned her about anything."
"Has she said anything? Done anything so that we'll know she's okay?" Linn asked.
"The occasional mumbling and little gestures, but other than that it's like she's a walking zombie," Felipe said. "It was that much of a torture for her." Felipe shook his head. "When she first came, she was steady screaming out to call on Vivian, but she realized that Vivian wasn't coming back and she cried endlessley."
"Why would she cry about Vivian? They argued 24/7 hence why they were both in group 7?" Jasleen asked.
"Because even though they argued," Linn started. "They were both close in spirit; close in whole." Everyone's eyes were on her. "They were part of each other's whole and I don't think that Ainslee will ever come to terms with herself."