Lightporter Release Countdown: Chapter Two

Hullo, everyone! Today I bring you the second chapter of Lightporter, which means we only have one week left until the release tour starts! I can’t wait! If you’re new, you should definitely read Twinepathy first, or you can just try out the second book. Click here to read the first chapter of Lightporter. Hope you enjoy this chapter, and don’t forget to comment your theories and ideas below!

The alley fades away and we appear in IDIA headquarters, in one of the big black circles that I learned are teleporting rings—places for teleporters to safely teleport to without worrying about people. No one’s supposed to walk in them, and no one does. After dropping us off, Blaze immediately disappears, leaving us there with barely a nod.

“This is so weird,” I say, frowning at the spot where Blaze was. “Let’s get to Data’s office so we can figure out what’s going on.”

The teleportation rings are on the opposite side of the huge lobby of IDIA from Jen’s office, so it would be a long trek—that is, if we had to walk. But Maddie’s here, so we don’t have to. She’s been working on her powers with another telekinetic, Push, and her powers have strengthened a lot. She just learned how to fly recently, and while I’m still nervous, I trust her. Mostly. I do wish I had some way to hold onto the ground, just in case. Flying still feels unnatural.

Maddie uses her telekinesis powers to push herself off the ground, then pulls us up behind her. A moment later, we’re hurtling across the lobby, near the high ceiling—which Jen told me was made specifically for flying to be possible. It doesn’t take us long to reach the other side, and I’m very glad to be back on the ground. I barely wait for Brooklyn and Maddie before heading over to Jen’s office door.

The desk outside the office where Com used to sit before he betrayed us is empty. Jen said she might look for a replacement, but it’s been three months since the end of that whole fiasco, and she still hasn’t gotten one. My guess is she doesn’t want to go through that whole thing again, but who knows. If there’s one person I’ll never be able to understand, it’s Jen.

And apparently Blaze.

I knock on Jen’s office door and hear her call for us to come in. She looks up as we enter and smiles. “Good, I’m glad you made it.” She motions to three chairs in front of her desk. “Have a seat, please. This’ll be quick.”

“And clear, I hope,” I comment, sitting down in one of the chairs. “What’s wrong with Blaze?”

Jen’s expression turns solemn, and she nods. “You noticed, then.”

“It was kind of hard not to,” Brooklyn admits. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” Jen says. “That’s why I wanted you three to come here. Blaze has been acting very odd for the past three days. He’s been quiet, snappish, and the opposite of his usual cheerful self. I’ve known him for years, and he’s only been like this twice. But he also won’t open up to me at all, so I know he’s hiding something.”

“And you want us to figure out what that something is?” I ask with a frown.

“Yes and no.” Jen leans forward. “I don’t want to endanger any of you, and I don’t want to make Blaze suspicious, either. I just want all of you to keep your eyes and ears open, and if you hear even a hint as to what’s bugging him, let me know.”

“Can I ask him what’s going on?” I ask.

Jen nods. “Just don’t mention me or make him suspicious.”

“Okay.” I frown. “You said there were two other times when Blaze acted like this. What were they?”

Jen studies me with a frown of her own. “One is classified, the other involves Blaze’s own personal life, and I’m not at liberty to share about that. I can tell you that in both of those situations, Blaze was willing to talk to me. Only one of them was a serious situation, and it was one I already knew about. So I can only conclude that his unwillingness to talk means it’s something I wouldn’t like.”

I’m thoroughly confused, but I’ve come to expect vagueness from Jen. “Okay…”

Jen glances at her watch. “We need to get to the meeting. Be careful, all of you, especially Albany.” She gives me a warning look. “I don’t know what Blaze is up to, and I don’t like to think that he’d harm any of you, but I still want you to be careful.” With that final warning, she stands up and motions to the door. “We’re in room four.”

The three of us follow Jen down the hallway, more solemn than we were before. Whatever’s going on with Blaze is not good, with a capital everything. I can’t help musing over it in my mind. What if Blaze has started working for FOE, the mysterious villainous agency that Com was working for? Not likely, but possible. I don’t know anything about his history or his family, not even his real name, so who knows what could be going on. Maybe his family has worked for them for years or something. But even then, I can’t imagine Blaze working for the bad guys. Maybe something’s wrong in his non-superhero life.

We reach the meeting room and go inside. No one else is in it when we enter, but Jen motions for us to sit. “Blaze is bringing Push,” she tells us.

We don’t have to wait long. Blaze and Push come in only a minute or two after we get settled. They take their places at the table quickly, and Jen begins to debrief us.

“As most of you know, Com betrayed us because he was working for an organization—or maybe an agency—named FOE. He told us he was hired by someone, and that was the only person from the agency he ever met. After his capture, I read him.” She flexes her hands absentmindedly and her expression darkens a little. “I know what his contact looks like. Unfortunately, there’s a very great possibility that his appearance was a disguise. But through their conversation, I was able to pick up a few clues as to where he was holed up—a hotel in Chicago.”

“You think he’s still there?” I ask doubtfully.

Jen shakes her head. “Most likely not. But this hotel keeps a backlog of guests, so we can figure out how long the man was staying there. If he’s still there, in the hotel, I want all of you to carefully investigate. If he’s not, see if there’s any way you can check the room he was staying in. He might have left something behind that could give us a clue. Either way, Blaze, I want you to keep everyone invisible the entire time. Pop, you will be here at headquarters, keeping in contact with Jazz through your connection.”

Brooklyn sighs in relief, and so do I. That means I get to go on this mission, at least. I can’t wait. I don’t know how Brooklyn can actually like staying here at headquarters. Just goes to show how different we are.

“Jazz, Maddie, Push, and Blaze, you four will be investigating, looking through the records. I have their location at the hotel for you, and I also have the exact date he checked into the hotel.”

“How?” Push asks, frowning.

Jen smiles slightly. “Com was the one who picked him up and checked him in.”

“Wouldn’t that give us his name, too?” I ask.

“No. Unless his name really is John Smith,” Jen replies. “Which is highly unlikely.”

“The cheesiest of all cheesy fake names,” I say with a grin in Blaze’s direction. My smile falters when he ignores me. Of course.

Jen gives us more details, like the location of the records room and small details that might help us. She also gives us a picture of Com and a picture of what she says is the FOE guy. He looks normal enough… too normal, come to think of it. “This is what his appearance was for the most part when he met with Com. You can use this to ask some of the hotel staff about him. Push, I’m putting you on that. Maddie, I’d prefer for you to stay on lookout. Blaze and Albany, you two will go through the registers for information. Understood?”

We all agree, and Jen looks us over. “You can do this. Blaze.” She nods at him, and he teleports the four of us away.

A mission! I can’t wait to find out what happens next… 🙂 Come back next Monday for the third chapter and the start of the release tour! Also, don’t forget that the sign-ups for Lightporter‘s release tour are still open, so you can still sign up if you would like to participate!

Enjoy the chapter? Comment below with your thoughts and theories!

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Lightporter Release Countdown: Chapter One

Hullo, friends! So in preparation for the release of Lightporter, I decided to release the first three chapters of the book here on my blog! I know I said I would post this on Monday, but… I forgot. So for the next three Mondays until the tour starts, you can stop by and read the chapters! If you’re new, you should definitely read Twinepathy first, or you can just try out the second book. Enjoy!

Hello, my name is Albany York, and I never thought I’d see Anvil mowing our lawn. Maybe he makes awesome macadamia nut cookies and “killer” lasagna, but mowing the lawn seems awfully… normal. It just doesn’t seem right for a dangerous secret superhero guy.

Brooklyn and I are supposed to be working on homework, but I’m reading my new favorite book, and she’s staring out the window, daydreaming. That’s unfortunate, because those daydreams keep sneaking their way into my head—one of the cons of having a telepathic connection with your sister. Maddie’s at Keller’s house, since it’s the weekend. I’m in the middle of the climax of my book when Brooklyn straightens, staring out at the yard.

“Albany!” She presses her nose to the glass. “It’s Anvil!”

I look up in surprise. “What?!” My mind immediately starts going over all the terrible reasons he could be here. Did something happen to Maddie? Or Blaze? Or Jen?

“He’s mowing the lawn,” Brooklyn announces, as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. She gets up and heads to the door. “I’m gonna go say hi.”

She’s out the door before I can protest. I go to the window, and sure enough, Anvil’s pushing a rumbling lawn mower across our yard. Not normal at all. More importantly, though, why is he here?

I tramp down the stairs and discover Brooklyn in the kitchen. “What are you doing? I thought you were going to talk to him,” I say.

“I’m making lemonade for him. It’s hot outside,” she replies. By her easygoing attitude, you’d think it was Denver mowing the lawn, not Anvil. I shrug and head outside.

I step out onto the porch and wave to Anvil. He spots me and stops the mower, and I hurry over to talk to him. “What are you doing here?” I ask.

He swipes a hand across his forehead. “I’m mowing your lawn.”

I cross my arms. “Well, duh. But why?”

He looks down at me. “Your mom hired me.”

“Why?” I ask again, getting more frustrated by the second.

“Mission,” Anvil finally says. “Details after I finish.” He nods at the lawn mower, hinting.

I sigh. “Fine. I’ll go help Brooklyn with the lemonade.”

About twenty minutes later, the rumble of the lawn mower stops, and I help Brooklyn carry a pitcher of lemonade and some glasses out onto the porch. Anvil accepts a glass and guzzles it down. “Thanks. It tastes great.”

“You’re welcome!” Brooklyn pours him some more. “I squeezed the lemons myself. I actually experimented with the recipe a little, and added less sugar than usual…”

I clear my throat. “You said something about a mission, Anvil?”

The corner of his mouth twitches in an almost-smile. He pulls an envelope out of his pocket and hands it to me. “Times and details inside. Blaze will be here to pick you up at whatever time.”

I frown. “You don’t know the time?”

Anvil shrugs. “I’m not on this one. I’m just delivering the summons.”

“Hello!” Mom hurries up the walkway and joins us on the porch. “I see you’ve met my daughters, Cade. The lawn looks wonderful.”

Great. I forgot that Mom would know Anvil by his real name, not his IDIA code name. Now I’ll have to remember to call him Cade around Mom and Dad.

Anvil nods at Mom. “Thank you. I’ll start the back in a minute. Your daughters just brought out some lemonade.”

Mom looks at us with a smile. “Good. Come inside when you’re done, Cade, so I can pay you.” She starts to go inside, but I hold out a hand and stop her.

“Mom, I forgot to tell you, we have to study with Blaze later tonight.”

Mom nods slowly, throwing a glance in Anvil’s direction. She knows about IDIA, and so does Anvil, so I could easily say what I really meant: we have an assignment tonight. But Mom doesn’t know that Anvil’s an agent, and Jen stated clearly that our family should only know about me, Brooklyn, Maddie, Blaze, and Jen herself. Understandable. My only complaint is a big one—this means Denver doesn’t know about Ezra.

“All right,” Mom replies. “Let me know how long you’ll be gone, okay?”

I agree, and Mom heads back inside. Anvil finishes his lemonade, gives Brooklyn and me a quick nod, and heads back out to finish the yard. I drag Brooklyn upstairs and pull open the envelope. Because of all the notes we’ve gotten from Blaze about missions in the past three months since we joined IDIA, I’ve learned to recognize his handwriting, and I know instantly this isn’t his. It’s way too elegant.

Jazz and Pop are required for a mission. Please report to Lava Java Café to be picked up by Blaze at three o’clock. Meet me privately when you arrive, as I also have a private mission for you. Do not mention to Blaze. –Data

Jen, of course. I look at Brooklyn, surprised. I’m pretty sure this is the first time that we’ve gotten a note from her. Why doesn’t she want us to tell Blaze about this “private mission”?

“That’s weird,” Brooklyn says with a frown, reading over my shoulder.

I nod. “I guess we’ll figure out what this is all about at three.” Waiting. If anyone ever wants to torture me, that will be the best way to do it.

Brooklyn gives me a look. “Keep in mind it would be best if you didn’t try to find out before then.”

Having a sister who can read your mind—literally and figuratively—is not always beneficial. “The thought didn’t even cross my mind,” I say innocently. But for once, I agree with Brooklyn. I should probably wait. “Don’t worry, I’ll wait.”

I grab my book and flop on my bed, but in spite of how reluctant I was to put it down earlier, now I’m antsy with anticipation, and it’s almost impossible to concentrate. Eventually, I put the book down and force myself to work on homework instead. My mind keeps going over the possibilities, trying to figure out why Jen wants to meet with us privately. It can’t be about the dumpster incident with Blaze last week, since Brooklyn wasn’t involved in that. Sure, there have been a few mishaps since then—maybe more than a few—but I’m able to rule out almost all of them. The only one even mildly possible is the Chipmunk Escapade, and Jen already lectured me about that. The only other reason I can come up with is that Jen has a special, secret mission for us. That theory only makes me more antsy.

Brooklyn makes me wait until it’s almost three before we leave. Anvil’s long gone, and we tell Mom we’re not sure how long we’ll be. I hope we’re home for dinner, because I’m pretty sure I saw Mom’s shrimp scampi recipe on the counter. My favorite kind of seafood ever. But I might have to make a choice: top secret mission or shrimp scampi. Hopefully I don’t have to make that decision.

We head over to the fake Lava Java Café, and since there aren’t any illusions inside, I’m guessing we’re supposed to meet out back. I lead the way into the alley, since Brooklyn hates dark, narrow streets, and I’m surprised to find Maddie waiting by the back door.

“Maddie!” Brooklyn exclaims, going over to her and hugging her. “Aren’t you supposed to be at Keller’s?”

Maddie smiles and wiggles her way out of Brooklyn’s too-tight hug. “I was, but I got a note from Data about a mission. I didn’t know you were coming.” She smiles at me, her eyes bright.

I can’t help but grin back. “We didn’t know you were going to be here, either. Did you get any details?” I really want to ask about the secret meeting with Jen, but I don’t know if I should. Jen only said not to tell Blaze…

Maddie shakes her head. “No, but Data wants to meet with me before.”

Brooklyn looks around and then speaks in a low voice. “Did she tell you not to tell Blaze, either?”

Maddie nods. “Not sure what that’s about.” She taps her mask. “You guys should mask up.”

Blaze appears next to us as Brooklyn and I slip on our masks. He’s frowning, a rare sight for him. Other than that, he looks normal, with his black mask and fudge brown hair. “Ready?”

“Ready as a dragon,” I say with a grin. Blaze said the same thing to me a while back, and I’ve been looking for a chance to use it back to him. But instead of throwing out his patented grin, Blaze just sends me a glare. I put my hands on my hips. “Really? I’ve been waiting to do that for ages. Not even a smirk?”

Blaze sighs. “Ha. Ha. That better?”

“What’s wrong?” Brooklyn asks. “Are you all right?” I can’t tell if she’s concerned or if she’s trying to get more information for our meeting with Jen.

Blaze sighs, running a hand through his hair, which makes it stick out in all directions. “Nothing. I’m just really stressed out, and I’m not in the mood for joking around, okay? So let’s just get you guys to HQ, all right?”

I gape at Blaze. Moody and snappy? That’s something I’d expect from Trav, Blaze’s perpetually frowning teleporter friend, or Anvil, but Blaze? No way. “Since when are you not in the mood for—”

Brooklyn gives me a look, and I close my mouth. Whatever’s going on, I hope it stops soon. I already miss cheerful Blaze. Brooklyn turns to Blaze. “Let’s go, then.”

Oooh, Blaze being grumpy? And a mission! What do you think will happen next? Comment your thoughts below, and make sure to tune in next Saturday to read chapter two!

Also, don’t forget that the sign-ups for Lightporter‘s release tour are still open if you would like to participate!