Gifted: Part Two
By Allison Ziegler
In mouse form, Mia traveled through the wall until she was sure Jackson would not be able to catch up with her. She then slipped out via a small hole similar to the one she had entered through and stood on her hind legs to shape-shift back to her human form. Once she had done so, she strolled onwards, making her way to the home of the royal messenger, Christopher.
On the way, she could not help but admire the life she and the rest of the Gifted faction had managed to create for themselves underground. Though they were far from the sun, moon, and stars, they still somehow flourished, using their various Gifts in order to survive.
There was Roy, whose Gift of fire provided warmth and light. Miranda’s knack for getting plants to grow, even beneath the surface, allowed the Gifted citizens to grow crops to eat. Will was extremely talented in the art of healing; if someone was sick or injured, he could make them well again with nothing more than a flick of the wrist. Lulu’s Gift was creating water out of nothing, which was helpful for obvious reasons.
Mia smiled slightly. Whether it was sustaining the population or embarking on missions, everyone’s Gift had some sort of use to it, binding them together as a thriving community. Even Jackson’s flight could be useful at times.
Soon enough, Mia reached Christopher’s home and walked right up to the door, knowing full-well that it would be opened before she even had the chance to reach it. Sure enough, the knob turned and the door was pulled open to reveal Christopher standing there, a friendly smile on his face.
“Hey there, Chris,” Mia greeted him with a nod. “Bet you know why I’m here today, don’t you?”
Christopher chuckled. “I do indeed,” he replied. “Stealing jewels directly from the royal family themselves...I’ve gotta admit, Mia, that takes guts. And…” He laughed. “Has Jack been aggravating you again?”
“Oh, you noticed,” Mia deadpanned with a snort. “Please, Christopher, it doesn't take a mind reader like you to know that Jackson is literally always aggravating me.”
“That's true,” Christopher laughed. “But it does take a mind reader like me to know how much you actually love your brother. You don't have to hide it beneath contempt, you know. He's your family; you're practically expected to show more emotion towards him than anyone else.”
She snorted, rolling her eyes. “He may be my family, but he's also an–”
“An idiot, I know,” Christopher interrupted before she could finish.
“That wasn’t what I was going to say…” Mia mumbled
With a light chuckle and a shake of his head, he continued a moment longer, “You really shouldn't be so hard on him, though. You know all he want is a little attention from his big sister.”
Mia sighed. “Chris, I know that, but he's seventeen. He needs to grow up already and stop going out of his way to annoy me.”
Christopher merely shook his head. “Ah well,” he said amusedly. “I suppose it was worth a try. Now, you need me to deliver those jewels you gathered to the king, correct?”
“Yeah, exactly.” Mia unclipped the bag from her belt and handed it to him. She smirked slightly as the gemstones inside clanked together, making their valuable presence known. “Good haul, huh, Christopher?”
“I’ll say,” Christopher chuckled. “I don’t know exactly how much all of this is worth, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s enough to earn you congratulations from the king himself sooner or later.”
“Resorting to flattery, huh?”
“No, I’m serious, Mia.” Chris smiled at her. “You’ve really done well; I wouldn’t be surprised if the king decides to personally thank you for it.”
Mia couldn’t help but smile at the thought of the recognition. Most of the time, she was content to work alone, blending into the shadows or hiding in plain sight in the form of an animal, but even she could not turn down the prospect of royal attention. She opened her mouth to speak, but it was not her voice that sounded first.
She let out a long-suffering sigh, rubbing her forehead in irritation as the familiar sound of her brother’s voice reached her ears. Mia turned to see him flying towards them, and she called out in annoyance, “What do you want, Jackson?”
Mia then frowned upon realizing that her brother no longer wore his signature smirk. Instead, his lips were pulled down in a distressed frown, and the mischievous spark in his eyes had morphed into a fearful wildfire. He landed in front of them, hands immediately going to his knees as he panted and stared at the ground.
“Jack, what’s going on?” Christopher asked worriedly, picking up on the boy’s alarm as well. “What’s happened?”
It took Jackson a moment to catch his breath, but the very second he was able to speak clearly again, he whipped his head up to stare at them and exclaimed, “It’s the Ungifted royals! They’ve found us!”