There is a time in everyone’s life when they find out...


4. A Large Problem

    Jay walked around the camp, studying the structures, and the Runaway’s ways of life. Not soon afterwards, Jessie ran into him.

    “I-I’m sorry!” Jessie stuttered, trying to avoid Jay’s hazel brown eyes.

    Jay shrugged, “No worries.”

    “A-Are you s-sure?” Jessie was still getting used to the ways of life the Runaways had.

    “Yeah. I’m completely sure.” Jay stopped and studied Jessie’s expression. “I’m Jay.”

    Jessie seemed to lighten up slightly and calm down. “I-I’m Jessie. But... You can call me Jess.” Jessie replied.

    Jay was about to reply when he heard Carmi, again.

    “Phoenix! We don’t want the same thing to happen to Jessie as it did to...”

    Phoenix glared at her. “We never speak of him!” Phoenix yelled, his fist clenched.

    Everyone backed away from Phoenix. They knew him as a calm person. But, they knew he only became infuriated like that when someone mentioned his... His brother. The people all looked at Phoenix, then continued to back away. Phoenix glanced around at everyone and sighed. He looked down, then turned around, his cloak blowing in the slight breeze. The breeze settled, then Phoenix walked off, leaving Carmi behind.

    “Phoenix never leaves camp like that...!” Someone in the crowd whispered, worried and afraid.

    “Why’re you so scared?” Jessie asked the male.

    “Well...” The boy gulped. “Without Phoenix, our leader, we would crumble. We would all die. Always... Always, Phoenix is there and saves us when we make a mistake. He is the person that keeps us all together. He is the founder of The Runaways.”

    “He... He what...?” Jay chimed in, curious.

    “Phoenix is the leader. He is one of the two founders. One of the two people who put The Runaways together. He is the person who taught us everything we know. If he leaves, we would all die. We wouldn’t all get along like we do.” Carmi walked over, upset.

    “Whoa...” Jessie’s eyes widened slightly. “That’s... That’s bad! Why don’t you go and talk to him?” She questioned Carmi.

    “He’s angered...” Carmi sighed.

    “So?” Jessie challenged. “Without him, camp would crumple, is that correct?”


    “I see where she’s coming from...” Jay whispered, referring to what Jessie was about to say.

    Jessie nodded to Jay. “Why don’t you go talk to him, anyway? At least have him come back to camp.”

    “I guess....” Carmi turned around and ran out of camp, in search of Phoenix.




    Phoenix sat in a tree near the edge of the forest. He looked out onto the town in the distance that sat upon the hill, then to the cement building he assumed Jessie had come from. He heard footsteps behind on the ground and looked down. He saw Carmi running to the edge of the forest.

    “Phoenix?” Carmi looked around, then sighed when she couldn’t spot him.

    Phoenix jumped down from the branch and landed behind Carmi. “What?” He asked with narrowed eyes.

    “Come back to camp.” Cami turned to face Phoenix.

    “Why? So that I can lose another trainee. Another newcomer?”

    “No! Without you, the camp will shatter!”

    “You will do perfectly fine--” Phoenix was cut off by a shot. Pain shot through his lower left leg. He collapsed to the ground, but got back up with the support of a tree.

    Carmi’s eyes widened as she saw Phoenix collapse to the ground. “Phoenix!” She yelled.

    “Go... Get the camp out of here.” Phoenix ordered her as he put pressure upon his leg.

    “Don’t think I’m going to leave you, Phoenix!”

    “Carmi,” Phoenix was stern, “I’d rather I go rather than the whole camp.”

    Carmi was faced with a terribly hard decision--leave her love for the Government to save the camp, or stay and help her love to camp and risk being captured and leading the soldiers to camp. “I... I...”

    “Carmi. Go.” Phoenix urged her as footsteps grew louder and closer. “Better just me than the both of us.”

    Carmi sighed. “We’ll return for you.” She stated before running off and disappearing into the brush.

Phoenix only nodded and gripped a low branch of the tree for more support. Some soldiers came into the forest, guns in hand. When they saw that they hit Phoenix, they stopped.

The one responsible smirked. “See? Told ya I’d get a hit!”

“You hurt Phoenix. The leader of the Runaways.” The leader commented.

Phoenix stayed silent.

“What? Have nothing to stay, oh ‘strong and brave’ Phoenix--leader of the Runaways?”

Phoenix only smirked.

“Why’re you smirking?” The leader narrowed his eyes.

“You really think that capturing me will stop the Runaways or help you capture the Runaways?” Phoenix chuckled very, very lightly.     

All the soldiers were silent. One--most likely the second in command--finally spoke. “Yes. We have you, which will make the others come for you. We’ll have a trap set for them. Besides, we already have a spy in your camp.”

Phoenix narrowed his eyes slightly. “You what?” He asked, shaking his head before his eyes widened slightly. That boy, Jay... Not good... Phoenix thought to himself. He hid his fears as he put a serious and stern look on his face.

“We have a spy in your camp.” The man repeated, an evil, nasty grin crossing his face.

Phoenix fell silent, “Seize him,” the leader ordered.

Two soldiers walked forward but jumped back when Phoenix released his grip on the branch, balanced himself, and held his dagger in his hand.

“Guns against daggers,” one of the soldiers pointed out with a smirk.

Phoenix remained silent, pulling a lightening quick move--he tripped the soldier closest to him to the ground, then stabbed his chest before backing up, staying near the tree to keep his support.

“You’re injured. There’s nothing you can do to stop us from taking you back,” the leader spoke, “You are one of the most compatible people for the Military.”

“And I’m not going back. I’d rather die.” Phoenix shot back, falling to the ground as another shot rang. He was hit in the shoulder, causing him to lose his balance.



Carmi spun around, right outside camp, as the shot rang through the air. “No!” She yelled.

The camp fell silent, hearing the shot. One of the hunters ran to Carmi from hunting. “Was...?” She didn’t need to finish her question, for she knew that Carmi knew what she was going to ask.

Carmi was silent a moment, then sighed before she nodded, “I don’t want to believe it... But... I think so....”

Another hunter ran up, hearing what Carmi had stated. It was Cally, “Phoenix would never let them take the camp, and they wouldn’t kill him... We already know that,” she commented, then pointed out.

Carmi took that into consideration before turning to the other, first hunter, “True. They’ve had chances to kill him before, and never took it. Then again...”

The first hunter caught on, but spoke, “Then again, Phoenix is a skilled hunter, soldier, leader.. He knows how to fight with any weapon.”

Carmi only nodded before walking, with quick pace, back into the camp, followed by Cally and the other hunter. Carmi could tell that everyone was afraid, worried. Most--mainly the soldiers/guards and hunters--hid their worry and fear.



Phoenix was upon the ground, the soldiers standing over him with a smirk. They didn’t want to kill him, and were ordered not to. Only to injure him if needed. Phoenix was still fighting, resisting being taken back to that damned town and that damned building.

“Hm. Soon, you will bow to the power of Lord Blood,” the leader let out a low, grumbling laugh.

“I will never bow and I will never give up,” Phoenix shot back, wincing as one of the men grabbed a stick and started to slowly push it through his shoulder wound.

“You most certainly will!” The man who had pushed the stick into Phoenix’s wound snarled.

“I don... don’t have to do such a thing...!” Phoenix continued to argue, fight. The stick was pushed deeper into his wound, and he held back groans of pain.

The men laughed at the action their fellow soldier did. This went on until the stick was fully through Phoenix’s shoulder. Once this happened, the leader ordered them to stop.

“Now. We must take him back to base.”

“Especially before the whole camp comes...” One of the men muttered, which angered the leader.

“We will have no problem with the group!” The leader growled.

“O-Of cou-course, sir!” The man stuttered, nodding.  

Phoenix stayed silent, listening to the men talk. He was planning a way to get away from these men and get back to camp without them following.

“Still nothing to say, eh?” The second in command questioned with a still small smirk upon his face. The man with the stick twisted it around in Phoenix’s wound, blood seeping through the wound and covering the stick in blood. It glowed crimson in the light of the setting sun.

“I have things to say, I just don’t think I should say them.” Phoenix shot back with narrowed eyes. His grip was held tight around his dagger.

“Coward,” One of the men spat upon Phoenix, expecting a reaction, of which Phoenix didn’t give.

“Hmhm...” Phoenix chuckled lightly before the soldiers decided that enough was enough and they picked him up. In reaction, Phoenix stabbed two of the men in the abdomen. Another shot rang through the air and Phoenix dropped to the ground.



Everyone froze as the shot rang through the forest, rang in their ears. Then, yelling. Off in the distance. Carmi could distinctly tell what the voices were yelling, although they were distant.

“Why did you shoot him again?!” Carmi froze in her tracks as that rang in her ears. She looked at the others in camp, who were staring at her, as if expecting her to inform them of what to do, what happened, and/or what was being said.

“What’s going on, Carmi?” One of the females called from the crowd, clearly impatient, awaiting to be given something, her voice practically full of worry. And Carmi knew why.

    Carmi remained silent before changing the topic, “We must move. Go. Out of camp. We have to get away from here. Phoenix told me to get you all out of here.”

    “We’re going back for him, aren’t we?” Jessie called from the front of the crowd. Jay stood next to her, containing a grin. He wore a worried face, which he had practiced over and over again so as to not break his cover.

    “Yeah! We can’t just leave him for those... those dogs,” Jay chimed in, internally wincing as he called the soldiers and people of the Government ‘dogs.’

    “I... I....” Cami stuttered. She wanted to go back for him, but... She knew he would disapprove. She gathered herself before speaking, “Phoenix would rather we leave him than risk ourselves for him...”

Everyone knew she had regretted saying that. Perhaps Carmi didn’t know, but, everyone could tell she had a crush on Phoenix. Since day one. They all knew, but never spoke to her about it.

“But... We can’t leave him at all!” Another male called from the crowd.

“We have to, Jacob...” Carmi sighed, shaking her head with sadness.

“What will we do, then? We won’t be able to recruit any newcomers because Phoenix wouldn’t be able to train them. And we all know that no one knows these forests and tactics best than Phoenix,” Jacob--the boy--countered.

Carmi could only sigh and give a small nod, “Fine. Five of you will come with me. We’re going to get Phoenix back. The rest of you will follow Callie,” she nodded to Callie, “and get away from here.”

    “Who’s going with?” Jay questioned.

    “Jessie, Jay, Jacob, Arnou, Menewa. You five are coming with me,” Carmi replied. She was taking the two newcomers to test their trustworthiness.

    Hesitantly, Jay and Jessie nodded. Jacob, Arnou, and Menewa were all willing and ready to go; even if it meant losing their lives. They were ready to lay down their lives for the camp and for the one who saved them.



    The soldiers had set their weapons down, in fears that they may shoot again. The captain/leader picked Phoenix’s body up.

    “You’re all damned lucky that he’s breathin’.” He spat at his small team, causing them to step back with small nods.

    Footsteps started to approach their position, so the soldiers all grabbed their firearms--well, all except for the captain. They knew what that was; a small rescue team coming to save Phoenix. Phoenix weakly shook his head, losing blood. And fast. The captain’s uniform was crimson from the blood and a pool surrounded him.

    In a matter of minutes, the six Runaways were around the eight soldiers. “Ha! We have you surrounded, you Government scum!” Jacob laughed, his sword pointed towards the captain's direction.

    “Ease it, Jacob...” Arnou muttered with a small shake of his head.

    Menewa came out last, a smirk wore across his face, his sword already bloodied. One of the soldiers were missing. This earned a slight chuckle from Carmi and Arnou, and a nod from Jacob. Jessie and Jay, on the other hand, were confused as to what was going on.

    “You think that the six of you can stop us?” One of the soldiers--the one closest to the captain--let out a barely laugh.

    “You really wanna test us, eh?” Arnou questioned with a soft, quiet, barely audible voice.

    “You are no match for us. After all, you’re all just a bunch of teens,” A second soldier noted.

    “And that is relevant, why?” Jacob countered with narrowed eyes.

    “Everything, boy.” The soldier snapped, aiming his loaded gun at Jacob, ready and willing to shoot.

    In a quick move, Arnou had the muzzle of the gun at the ground, his own pistol to the soldier’s neck. He said no words. Just stared into the soldier’s fear and shock filled eyes. Arnou’s eyes were dead serious; ocean blue orbs staring straight into one’s soul.

    Phoenix continued to fade in and out of consciousness. This worried the small rescue team, as well as the soldiers. The captain had started to back away, ready to run back to base with Phoenix in his grip.

    “Where do you think you’re going, hm?” Carmi spoke up from behind the captain, a blade pointed to his back, “Give me Phoenix.”

    “Why would I do that?” The captain spat, not turning to face the pissed off female.

    “Because. If you don’t, you’ll have to face the big man Himself,” she spoke of God.

    “Ha!” The captain almost dropped Phoenix to the ground, “Think I’m afraid of some... legend?!”

    “Oh... He’s no legend. He is most certainly real.”

    “Oh really? Then why doesn’t He step down from his “oh so majestic throne” and come down here to help?”

    “Because He has a plan.”

    By this point, everyone was listening to the argument, which they knew were going nowhere. The soldier with Arnou’s pistol to his throat soon raised the muzzle of his gun, but Arnou noticed and pulled the trigger with little or no hesitation. The other soldiers flinched at the sudden shot that echoed throughout the whole forest. Carmi shot a small glare to Arnou, who only shrugged, wiping some dripping blood from his face. This had awoken Phoenix, who grabbed the captain by his throat, his orange-red eyes narrowed.

    “Phoenix!” Carmi cried in happiness, surprise, and a bit of scolding.

    The captain dropped Phoenix to the ground in major surprise, causing Phoenix to groan in pain at the sudden impact of the ground. He couldn’t gather enough strength to pick himself up, so laid upon the ground, reaching for his knife. The soldiers, in reaction, pointed their guns at the group of rescuers, trying to buy the captain enough time to pick Phoenix back up. 

A fight seemed inevitable, but it was too late...

    The captain had picked Phoenix back up, moving his hands behind his back so he couldn’t grab his knife. Quickly, he left. With Phoenix, calling, “Victory will be the Government’s!”



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