Jason was stopped by a policeman - magister, no doubt.
"The bunkers the other way, kid."
"Where's the Guild Hall?" Jason yelled back - a boom had just echoed out and their ears were ringing.
The policeman shook his head. "No safety for you there, sonny. Their artillery is going to aim straight for that building once they get the coordinates-"
At that moment a chimaera soared down from the skies, blasting streaks of lightning at the crowd below. The screaming rose in crescendo; a few people were killed and many more trampled down by the following stampede.
The policeman raised a hand and summoned a small dragon - this took off to battle the chimaera.
"We need to teleport - important government business!" Yelled Jason again. But the policeman was not listening - he was waving his arms and yelling instructions to the dragon, who in turn was cartwheeling out of control into a nearby office building. Glass cascaded down, followed by a burning desk and lots of flaming paperwork.
Rolling his eyes, Kyioshi stepped forward and nodded to Jason. Jason shrugged helplessly.
Ceri watched in fascination as tendrils of Darkness gathered quickly around the chimaera. Within seconds it had gagged and bound it, and was steadily bringing it down to earth.
Two things happened: Kierra waved her hands - Ceri saw gree slivers arching towards the dragon - and Milo sang a tune of despair. The slivers hit the chimaera, it growled, and as Milo hit a high note the beast exploded with great force, though leaving no trace of itself.
The policeman turned to stare at them in amazement. Jason sighed.
As the cracks faded away, Ceri hurried after the groups reminding himself that Freeport was not as he had remembered it. He had spent far too much time at Sensei's village, and then after that at the Academy. No, although he was born here he could not rightly call it his hometown - only the orphanage he lived for the first six years of his life remained unchanged.
The guild itself was a hive of activity. Magisters were running to and fro, accompanied by snakes and minotaurs and gargoyles and phoenixes. Ceri caught sight of a dragon crushing a sofa - this was only for a moment - as a group of scribes hurried past the dragon was gone; in its place a dull looking boy. He winked at Ceri.
They crowded around the centre dome, where a few teleportation circles had been engraved into the bronze. Set at five points were globes of various metals - one of glass containing mercury.
"Where do you wish to go?" asked an apprentice. From his fatigues a mouse peeked out, nose twitching.
"Dokan Academy." Jason muttered, and they all trudged into the circle.
"Ah yes, the Dokan." the apprentice replied absent-mindedly. The mouse crept out and unfolded itself into a small, thin man, as the apprentice struggled with the spell book. Over his shoulder Ceri saw electronic screens hanging in mid-air, showing various parts of the battlefield. In one a company of tanks lay burning - all Black moon, no doubt. In another, tanks were the sideline - the air above them crackling with magical creatures fighting furiously.
Ceri was studying another with Black Moon dropships flying over the city when the circle activated, throwing blue light all over the hall.
"Gotta go!" shouted the apprentice, as a boom outside announced the breaking of the shield. The blue light flashed once, blinding them, and when Ceri opened his eyes they were in the spell workshops of the Academy.
Teachers and prefects stared at them.
"What the hell are you doing here?" demanded one of them, taking in their dirtied stealth suits, backpacks and the vaporizer slung over Yuki's shoulder.
At that moment, a siren pierced the air, thin and drawn out. A few of the teachers looked at each other; one made a sharp sound and a plasma screen appeared in front of him.
"Air raid." He snapped, pursing his lips." Dropships and bombers. Those who can summon follow me - we'll get you readied. The others follow Mr Mcpherry to the bunkers."
In the confusion of voice and suppressed panic, Ceri felt someonw pulling his arm. It was Kyioshi, getting to his feet. The others turned to look at him.
"Hurry up," he said, "It's about time you met the Janus."
Alec's blog extract
I was no longer playing team strategist; no longer in charge of their lives. It is relieving - yet at the same time there is an empty feeling at the bottom of my stomach. I still feel it now hours after the worst has passed, and i think back, on the strategic mistakes and the lives that will be changed forever.
I don't think we are teenagers any longer.