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With Friends Like These

Dusk was setting down upon the town Kirksville and Simon lounged on the couch with his arms crossed and his hood up, covering his face. He was on the edge of awareness and sleep, his eyes drifted as his eyelids slowly closed and opened. Then out of the blue, he was disturbed by an outside force that rattled his mind.
"Simon! C’mon man, wake up!!" He heard Alex shout.

The tall teen stood over Simon in a black leather jacket with white stripes on the arms and two red dragons on the back. If someone didn't know Alex, they would see him as an intimating guy, for his face too was covered by his hood. Simon groaned and tiredly kicked his friend in the knee which Alex dismissed as nothing more than a greeting.
"C'mon man, the gang and I think we should go through one last run before you go out on your date." Alex said with a smirk.

Simon stood up and playfully punched his friend in the gut. Everyone in the "Hood" had been teasing him ever since he asked Penny out, another member of their brotherhood. Their little group was founded by him and Alex. It was a simple group of teens during the day called the "Hood" but at night, they were the "Nightingales". They were protectors of the town from the mysterious forces of the dark forest.
"You know, I could just reschedule and have you all train all night." Simon said, returning a smirk.

Alex just laughed; Simon was the worst person when it came to threats. The two walked toward the stairs that lead down to the basement. The rest of the Hood members were either practicing or sitting down at the long table. In total, there were only nine members; Simon, Alex, Kristen, Wolfe, Penny, Jake, Kiki, Ellie, Ted, and Calvin. Each member wore his or hers own hoodie during the day, but at night they all wore the same black hooded uniform with the Nightingale crest.

All the members noticed Alex and Simon as they stood in front of the table. It was then that Simon released that this was their first weekend off. No mission, no spying, nothing. Simon cleared his throat before speaking.
"Okay, everyone. Just one last thing before we break. I know this is our first weekend off but I want to make something clear. There will be no displays of your Nightingale identity. If I hear any disturbance from the community, I will have to strip you of your responsibility as a Nightingale. Do I make myself clear?"

Everyone nodded and recited their oath of the Nightingales.
"We swear to protect the people silently, swiftly, and in plain sight. We swear to set aside our personal differences and desires. And we swear to protect each other as kin of blood. Näktergalar!"

Simon nodded as the members took their leave and Penny approached him from behind. She pulled down her hood and gave him a huge grin.
"You ready to get going, Simon?" She asked happily.

He nodded and took her hand and waved goodbye to the other members and gave Alex a nod.
" Don't worry, man. I'll take care of them, go enjoy yourselves!" Alex said with grin and waved them goodbye.

"Alright everyone, armor goes back in your assigned lockers and weapons back on the racks, and don't think you can take a hidden blade." Alex instructed them as everyone groaned.

They knew his orders were routine, it's a part of being in this brotherhood. The last thing they needed was someone messing around with a tomahawk in public. Everything needed to be silent, no one can ever know about them. Protecting the people hiding in plain sight, that was a part of being a Nightingale.

Calvin had just closed his locker when Jake suddenly slammed his and let out a cry of happiness.
"Yes!!!! Ha, it's about time we can be real teens! So what are you going to do tonight, Calvin?"

Calvin didn't really know, he wanted to say, "I don’t know, catch up on a video game I started", but that didn't happen, instead a weak response came up.
"Uh, nothing..." He said rather blankly.

"Cool! Because there's something I want to show you. Something that Simon and Alex haven't even told us about..." Jake said with his arms crossed and a mischievous grin.

Calvin's eyes widened but hushed him; Alex was still in the armory one door away.
"Shut up! Jesus man, Alex is next door. You want to get in trouble?"

Calvin couldn't hear Jake's words, betrayal and losing his place here in the Nightingales was rushing through his mind. Out of frustration, he stomped out of the locker room, leaving Jake alone. Alex noticed the other teen leave the room without a goodbye, which he found odd in Calvin.



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