We stopped moving. We had arrived at our destination.

Our elite guards moved in front of us as Mysticals started following my orders. With my friends behind me, Vivian moved to take the air Elemental still clinging to me, knowing I couldn’t do this with the child in my arms. Once the little one let go, I told our guard quietly, “If anyone tries to interfere with what we’re doing at any time, knock them out. Leave them on the ground. Someone will pick them up.”

They nodded stiffly, taking my direction without question.

Ezra’s hand was still at the small of my back, and his fingers pressed gently as he bent behind me and placed his wide lips near my ear, whispering, “That was impressive.”

Turning to face my friends, I saw their eyebrows were raised in an unspoken question. I merely shrugged. “Antonio trained me for this.”

Ezra cracked his neck and then jerked his head at the pond. “We need to hurry. Antonio didn’t say how long until the next invasion takes place.” He glanced left, and then right, where we could still hear fighting occurring. “And that sounds like it’s getting closer.”

Jack pivoted toward the pond, shaking the tension out of his arms. “Link up.”

The three of us relocated behind Jack.

I on his left, Ezra in the middle, and Pearl on his right.

Allowing the teeniest spark of my Shifter magic to flow down my arm to my palm, I placed my powered right hand on Jack’s left shoulder. Ezra and Pearl followed suit, Ezra resting his right hand on Jack’s shoulder — next to mine — while Pearl lifted her left hand to his opposite shoulder. The initial contact was heinous —I felt Jack’s power of water currents pressing against my own wild animal power — but an almost instant warmth of tranquillity rushed through my frame as we all connected through Jack.

Jack lifted his arms and, over the noise of organization going on behind us, stated, “We’ve done this before. Just remember it’s like a pizza. We’re going to pick up the outer edges first. It will drop in the middle, but then we will visualize the water running up, instead of down, but only until the top levels flat, so there’s no longer a crater on the top. All the water will be visible then.” He inhaled heavily. “Last time, we left the middle of the water free-flowing with only the outside immobile, but this time I want it completely stagnant all the way through, since we’re going through the ocean.”

Pearl muttered, “The fish will be beginning to rot by the time we make landfall.”

“So be it.” Jack shrugged under our hands. “Now, push.”

Following his order in unison, we began pushing our individual wills to maximum strength, doing exactly as Jack had instructed. The edges of the pond lifted smoother than they had previously, since we had already completed this task in our training, and I ignored the murmurs behind us as the pond began to lift from its earth home. We managed to get the water twenty yards in the air, leveled off, and completely stagnant within a minute’s time.

“Good.” Jack cleared his throat. “Now, we gently flip it so the flat top is on the bottom, rolling the edge closest to us up and over until it’s upside down. Again, envision it’s like a pizza — the water is a pile of dough — while still keeping the entirety of it stagnant. Just as before, we’re going to roll it flat as if with a rolling pin, starting from the side closest to us and moving away, creating a stretched, motionless streak of water.” He fisted and unfisted his hands. “Push.”

Our wills at maximum power, we complied with Jack’s detailed guidelines, rotating the pond upside down and smoothly thinning it so that it was an extremely long immobile body of water hovering twenty yards high in the air.

Jack murmured, “We need to bring it back over our heads. Slowly move it until I tell you to hold.” He paused, and then clarified, “I want it almost all the way over us before we bring it down this time, rather than centered over our heads, since we’ll be leading everyone.”

As we pushed our wills, the body of water floated back toward us. The sounds of fighting were nearing dangerous levels. Mysticals were returning from their dashes to find their loved ones. Some came back with them, while others wept as they ran alone.

The pond began to waver, and Jack demanded, “Concentrate.”

Standing rigidly, our lips pinched thin, we did so.

We turned a deaf ear to our people. To their pleas already beginning to start, begging for more time. Engaged in our mission, focusing on what we had to do, we disregarded our elite guard slamming their fists into the face of anyone who tried to distract us.

“Hold,” Jack ordered, the pond’s far edge now directly over our heads. Our hands gripping Jack’s shoulders tight, we held. The water was steady over us. Jack nodded. “Begin to dip the stagnant edges down, forming a large dome, and bring the edges flush with the ground.”

Mysticals were still running toward the growing mass behind us, running to security. They were breaking away from the fighting I could now see to the left and right of my peripheral; the two battles would soon converge into one. With how efficiently we were completing Jack’s orders, they didn’t have much time. Even more heinous was that it didn’t matter. It couldn’t matter. We had close to three hundred Mys behind us — shouting for the others to hurry — who we were responsible for.

We began lowering the edges to complete the dome, my best friends and I glacial in our stances, knowing we were leaving to their deaths those who couldn’t reach us. The decision had been made. We were the Prodigies. With power came hard-hitting burdens, the choices, one of which we were currently enacting.

The edges lowered further as we began creating the shape of the dome.

Vampires began blurring from their sure safety to grab those among the growing number of Mysticals racing toward us, carrying them with speed. Mages hurled magical golden bubbles to capture hysterical Mysticals inside them and threw the trapped persons to Shifters in the protected zone. The Shifters caught them deftly, using their powered strength, and quickly placed the frantic individuals where they needed to be. The Elementals began an offensive attack on the Coms running in our direction. Any other Mystical who was close to reaching us dove under the dome just before its edges touched the ground.

Mysticals who hadn’t made it in time began pounding on the outside of the dome, pleading and crying to be let in, and Jack’s tone turned hard. “We make the spout now. In the center. As tall as before, since it will have to reach past the ocean’s surface.”

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