Abby strode toward marcus with a measured steady tread, head up, spine straight, and murder in her eyes. The other young people around him instinctively stepped back, out of the potential line of fire. An emerald green van pulled up with Mr. Sydney in the passenger seat. He got out and approached Chloe, Emily, Olivia and James. He spoke to them quietly for a few moments, then they all followed him to the van. They climbed in, and the van moved away.
During that time period, Gabby held Marcus' attention with her own eyes riveted on his. His first inclination was to bolt, but he discovered that he couldn't move a muscle. He opened his mouth, trying to defend his decision to skip classes, but nothing came out. When the van was gone with his friends, Gabby finally spoke up. Her voice was calm, almost gentle, but there was no question that he was in big trouble.
"It's just you and I, now. You don't have to put on a big show of being in charge. You don't have to prove anything, or impress anyone. You can't joke or manipulate your way out of this one. You deliberately left the grounds without permission. Not only that, but you dragged four innocent bystanders with you. I'm sure you thought you could get away with pulling a fast one, but the fact is that you were going to blindly and stupidly put yourself and your friends in harm's way."
"Wh ... what do you mean?" Marcus was finally able to speak, but he couldn't think of anything to say that would help his situation.
"You were headed toward London, where you would have walked into one of the worst riots in history. In your efforts to stop the carnage, you would have only made things worse. The upshot of it all is that you would have gotten yourself and Emily killed, James maimed and blinded for life, and Chloe and Olivia kidnapped. They would be tortured until they gave up all the information they knew about the forecasters, and then they would be murdered."
Marcus' jaw dropped in utter shock. He didn't disbelieve Abby for one moment. He didn't know much about her, but he somehow knew on a gut level that Abby wouldn't lie to him.
"How d ... do ... you know all this?" he stammered.
"Because it has already happened in an alternate timeline. It wasn't supposed to happen. Someone is out there inciting people to riot for apparently no reason. Someone has the ability to get into people's minds and plant hatred and aggression. Chaos is taking over in big cities all over the world."
"I know that you can travel in time to fix anomalies, and stuff like that, so is that what you did here? Did you stop me from going to London because you knew what would happen?"
"Not exactly. I was called to London to help the authorities quell the violence, but when I got there, You and Emily were already dead, and the others were nowhere to be found until later. That outcome was not supposed to be your destiny. Somebody changed it against your will. Someone is breeding discontent where there was none until recently. Someone is sewing the seeds of violence with the hope of reaping warfare. In any case, I returned to this moment in time before you reached London, to save your lives."
"Why didn't you just stop us before we left the grounds?" Marcus asked quietly.
"That was my intention, but just as I got to the castle, you had already bubbled out of there. I caught up with you just in time."
"What will happen to me now? Will I be sent back to my old life without my abilities? If you do, I don't know what will become of me. My whole life revolves around bubbling. I don't know who I am without that."
"What you did is a serious breach of trust. Normally you would be grounded for several weeks, and held back from performing missions with the others. We only take someone's gifts away if they kill someone deliberately out of anger or hatred or they choose to turn their backs on this lifestyle."
"So I'm grounded?"
"No. We need your skill set too badly. You're going to be trained intensely to help stop whoever is trying to bring the whole world to the brink of an unwinnable war."
"So I'm not going to be punished?"
"You already have been - up to a point. The knowledge of what could have happened just because you wanted a day off, will haunt you the rest of your life. Also, the other four that you dragged along are right now being told what would have awaited them in London - and it would have been all your fault. They're not going to be your biggest fans for awhile."
Marcus hung his head - thoroughly ashamed of himself. He just wanted to bubble himself back to his room and hide under the bed.