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Adrenaline Rush

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The bad guy had just strapped a bomb to her chest.

Everyone was freaking out.

"They're going to kill her!"

"I want my mommy!"

"Why are they doing this?"

"Forger was just trying to save us! She doesn't deserve this!"

"NO! If only I'd have been more careful, they wouldn't have noticed Anya throwing out that SOS! This is all my fault!"

Wow, even Sy-on boy was worried...

Wait, was Becky blaming herself for this? She didn't do anything wrong!

Anya had to say something!

"Th-this isn't your fault! This was Anya's plan! I knew it was dangerous but I did it anyway!"

The other kids calmed down just a little bit.

"Huh, she's trying to cheer the others up. She honestly doesn't seem so bad."

The lady thinks she's nice! Maybe she might try to help them?

"It'll be a shame if we have to blow her up."

Never mind.

"A plan you say? Mind telling us about it?"

The mean man with the beanie held up the bomb's detonator (Anya knew that word! Who says Bondman isn't educational?) to show what would happen if she didn't answer him.

Anya knew she couldn't tell them the real plan, or they'd take the bus somewhere else and that note would be useless.

Time seemed to slow down as Anya tried to think of something to say.

Just before he could blow her up, she thought of something.

"We threw something out of the window to see if someone could escape through there and get help!"

Anya felt proud of herself for that one.

If Papa knew about this, he'd be proud too.

"Wow. I can't believe you're all so stupid."

The kids all grumbled at that, but it kept the plan safe.

"It's a good thing they're dumb, too, considering how many of us were killed by Thorn Princess."

Wait a second. Anya remembered watching that boring news article with Papa.

"You're the people who shot M- Thorn Princess in the butt!"

"Like the assassin???"

It seemed the other kids were confused, but not as much as this bad guy.

"How could you know that?!"

This was Anya's chance.

"I know the Thorn Princess. And I know she'll be really mad at you if you hurt us!"

The man was shocked for a second, before putting on his best poker face.

"Wait, this is an Eden student. She probably heard about this from a relative. Heh. This brat really thinks she can trick me, Billy Squire, head of the Red Circus into thinking she knows an assassin? As if."

Crap, he didn't believe her!

The mean man, apparently named Billy, began to laugh.

"I warned you about what would happen if you tried anything funny."

Gasps all around.

He pulled out the detonator.

Anya didn't want to blow up! She liked her head where it was.

Suddenly, she remembered an episode of Bondman where the bad guy stuck a bomb on him, so he hugged the bad guy because the bad guy wouldn't want to blow himself up.

She then did exactly that and held on as if her life depended on it because it did.

"Get off me!"

"No! If you're blowing me up, I'm taking you with me!"

Anya was breaking into a cold sweat.

"What the hell are you doing?! You're going to die for nothing!"

"If I die, it will be to protect my friends. I know my Mama and Papa would do the same."

Anya looked Billy in the eyes.

"Why are you doing this? I don't think your parents are going to be very happy about you hurting innocent kids."

Billy then snapped.

He crushed the detonator, injuring his hand and rendering it useless.

"I'll kill you!"

The man knocked Anya to the ground. As Becky, Sy-on boy, and the others began to rush to her defense, the lady pulled out a gun to stop them.

They could only watch what followed.

Billy took off the bomb collar thing, forcefully enough that it hurt.


It hurt a lot, but not as much as the experiments that gave her her powers.

He then grabbed Anya by the neck and began to choke her out.

What would Bondman, no, what would Mama and Papa do?

Anya knew she had to keep fighting. Her friends were counting on her!

She then lost consciousness.

Anya woke up in what looked like a mixture of the bus, her house, and the lab where she got her powers.

Where was she?

Anya didn't think she was dead, so was this her mind?

She thought it would look nicer than this.

She looked around to see if anyone was there.

Anya didn't see anyone, but she heard some thoughts.

"Wasn't I just in Bayan? Did they see through my disguise and poison me?"

"Wasn't I just at home? Did one of my targets last night poison me without me noticing?"

*worried dog thoughts*

"Mama! Papa! Bond! I'm right here!"


"Where are we?"


"I think we're in my mind."

The assassin raised an eyebrow in confusion.


The spy remained silent, in case someone was trying to scan his brain for information.

Anya sighed.

She knew she couldn't get them to help save everyone without telling them everything, but then what if they abandoned her for being a freak?

Anya decided that she had to do it. It was better for her to lose her parents than for all those other kids to die because she was selfish.

It's what Bondman and her parents would do.

If they could do this, then so could she!

"O-on our ooting, the school bus was high-jacked by some people from that red circus you took down some time ago."

Yor gasped, remembering the incident (and its embarrassing aftermath).

Loid also recognized the group, but this raised more questions in his mind.

"Do you seriously expect me to believe that Yor killed multiple people?"

Yor giggled nervously, not wanting to get found out.

"I mean, she is the Thorn Princess."


Loid facepalmed.

"This isn't real."

"Come on, Papa. You're Agent Twilight. How is this a surprise?"

Now Loid was flustered and Yor in shock.

"You're the spy I've been hearing about?! Are you even Anya's father?!"

"Yeah, he adopted me a few days before we met you."

"Okay, there's no way this is real. How would we even get in Anya's mind?"

It was time.

"I... can read minds. I've known both of your secrets for as long as I've known you."

She began to cry.

"I'm sorry!"

Her parents and dog quickly close in to give her a hug.

"No no no, you don't need to apologize."

"It's going to be okay. We'll be there for you."


"Y-you're not going to abandon me?"

"Why would we do that?"

"Everyone who found out before sent me back to the orphanage. Even the guy running it wanted me gone!"

"Well, then they're all idiots! You're the bravest, kindest, most amazing little girl I've ever had the pleasure of meeting."

"He's right. I couldn't imagine life without you!"

Anya started crying, then so did Yor, and even Loid.

"I love you all so much!"

"We love you too, sweetie."


"Ah! Bond's right! You need to save the others in the bus! Bond can help Mama find the bus. I tried to scare the bad guys by telling them I know Thorn Princess, so you should probably hide your face so that nobody finds out you're an assassin."


While Yor began mentally preparing herself to rescue her daughter, Loid took notice to Anya's phrasing.

"Sorry, but I can't help but you specifically said that we should save the others. Wouldn't it easier to just say 'save us'?"

"Well, the, uh, bad guy is trying to kill me right now. I d-don't know how long I can last."



Suddenly, Yor, Loid, and Bond woke up.

The kids in the bus were freaking out more than ever.

Anya had just given them hope that they would make it out of this alive, only to then get strangled in front of their eyes.

"I can't do this..."

"Get a hold of yourself, Blackbell! We have to do something!"

"What can we do?! Th-they're going to kill Anya, and we can't escape! We're all doomed!"

"What if I told you we had a way to fix all three problems?"

"I doubt it."

Damian groaned.

"Look, I promise you the plan doesn't suck."

"If it does, I'm going to find you in the afterlife and kill you again."

"So it goes like this:"

Damian pulls out his lunch box.

"Bill, throw this at the guy trying to strangle Anya."


"He won't be able to dodge. Come on, I know you can aim."

"If you say so."

Right after Bill threw it, the bus hit a pothole, causing the lunch box to hit and knock out the bespectacled accomplice as well as the driver.


Becky glared at Damian.

Without a driver, the bus was sent zooming through the city in random directions until it was about to crash into a house that Becky recognized as the Forger residence.

Anya's mother and dog stepped out.

The students all closed their eyes, unwilling to see the inevitable carnage.

Suddenly, the bus stopped.

The children opened their eyes to see that Yor Forger had somehow stopped the bus with her bare hands.

The woman ran into the bus so fast that it looked like special effects.

Billy took notice of the woman and recognition flashed in his eyes.

"Thorn Princess?!"

Yor glared at him so hard that he began to sweat.

"Leave. My. Daughter. Alone."

He gently placed Anya on the ground and put his arms up.

Yor punched him into the wall so hard that it made a dent and would have tipped over the bus, if not for her forcing the bus to stay still.

Billy then pulled the detonator out of his pocket and threw it at Yor, who caught it.

"Uh oh."

He pushed the button that would make the bomb blow up.

He pushed it again.

He pushed it a few more times.

"Why isn't this hunk of junk blowing up?!"

A guy who had apparently entered the bus without anyone noticing spoke up.

"Oh, that's because I used an electromagnetic pulse to disarm your bomb. Since I knew Mrs. Forger already had this bus covered, I've taken the liberty of rescuing the children in the other bus, so don't bother trying to use them as leverage."

Under any other circumstances, Yor would have no idea who this guy was, but she knew it was just Twilight wearing a mask and using a fake voice.

Then the mask fell off.

"Oh. I must have improperly applied the adhesive."

Loid chuckled.

"Looks like old Twilight is losing his touch."

It had suddenly occurred to them that there were other people in the bus.

The children stared at them slack-jawed at the revelation that Anya Forger's parents were an assassin and a spy.

Twilight took a deep breath before sticking the mask back on.

"Okay. I'm going to quickly take Anya to a nearby WISE safe house with medics that can take care of her injuries, if that's okay with you, Yor."


"Glad we're in agreement."

He turns to the kids.

"Please promise us you won't tell anybody about our identities."

"We promise," said Becky and Damian simultaneously.

"Jinx! You owe me a soda!"


He would have chuckled, if not for his daughter's injuries.

He gently carried Anya to a nearby phone booth and input a code that took him to the safe house.

Yor guided the kids out of the bus and called everyone's parents to pick them up.

Before their parents could arrive, the police arrived on the scene to get an account of what happened.

The children's accounts weren't exactly alike, probably because they were kids, but a few details remained consistent.

Namely, Anya risking her life; Damian, Becky, and Bill's own efforts; and the Thorn Princess and Twilight's involvement.

Yor was grateful that the kids all kept the promise, though she supposed that this was due to the fact that they were grateful for having their lives saved.

Plus, she bet that nobody wanted to be the guy that made Anya an orphan.

Though, considering that she now knew that Twi- no, Loid, adopted Anya, she figured that this wouldn't be the first time.

The poor girl has been through so much.

Then, Yuri arrived to take in the terrorists for some reason.

Yor didn't think that his job would get him involved here, of all places, and she hoped he could handle it.

Yuri, of course, insisted he was fine, and insisted that his dear sister not worry about him.

What a sweetheart.

Just after he left, Loid returned, with a sleeping Anya on his shoulders.

"Turns out she didn't actually sustain any serious injuries. She only lost consciousness due to exertion. The medics said she'll be fine after a little rest."

Yor breathed a sigh of relief.

She wanted to say something, but her husband spoke up first.

"Let's get her to bed, then we'll talk."

They gently tucked her into bed and gave her kisses.

Anya smiled.

The parents left the room while Bond decided to stay in the room to keep her company.

"So... Twilight."

"Yep. Thorn Princess, huh?"

"Haha, yeah. I'm debating whether or not to tell the Shopkeeper about my identity getting leaked to you and all those kids."

"Hi, 'debating whether or not to tell the Shopkeeper about my identity getting leaked to you and all those kids,' I'm Loid."

Yor snorted.

"But yeah, I'm also debating whether or not to tell Handler about this."

"Let's just wait until tomorrow. Anya needs us to be there for her in the meantime."

"Agreed. Besides, I'm sure the positive press should make it much easier to break the news"

The two just stayed there in silence for a few moments.

"We should probably go to bed."

"We should."

They went to bed, holding each other as they fell asleep, almost as if nothing had happened.

As it turns out, Twilight's prediction about the positive press was more true than he could have ever imagined.

Right as he was about to tell Handler about what happened, she revealed something incredible.

"Twilight! Glad you could make it!"

"Aren't you worried about my identity getting out?"

"The government decided to declassify the entirety of Operation Strix anyway, so why bother? Plus, I know that the kids on that bus already know."



"I assume I'm losing my job, then."

"Consider it more of an early retirement, Mr. Forger. Don't worry, the pension should let you and your family live the rest of your lives in relative comfort. You can even work for additional money if you want to."


"After hearing that a Westalian spy had helped save his son, Donovan Desmond changed his platform to support the reunification of Ostania and Westalis, even though he knows it will put his position as Prime Minister in jeopardy. I presume he wants to spend more time with his family. In addition, the news of you working together with Thorn Princess caused brought nearly all organized crime and domestic terrorism in the area to an end, since nobody wants to mess with the combined might of WISE and the Garden in addition to the SSS. Or I guess, since the countries are merging, it's just going to be the Allemanian Republic Intelligence Agency."

"What happened to Garden? I thought they were a paramilitary organization."

"They've been federalized and subsumed into ARIA. I think this could open many new possibilities for us. Don't you agree, Shopkeeper?"

The man suddenly appeared.

"Why, certainly I do, Handler. Still can't believe my best assassin just happened to marry your best spy."

"I know, right?"

Twilight noticed the Thorn Princess in the corner, trying to hide the fact that her was face turning the shade of a tomato.

His own attempt at a poker face couldn't hide his blushing, either.

The Shopkeeper chuckled and continued.

"Anyway, we hope you enjoy the rest of your lives. We still have much work to do, and we won't be finished any time soon, so I hope the two of you enjoy life for us."

"Our first order of business, in case you were wondering, is finding those freaks who experimented on your daughter."

People had experimented on Anya? The thought never crossed his mind, but...

The Handler seemed, understandably, particularly angered by this. Loid trusted her and the Shopkeeper to give them what they deserved.

"Give Anya the childhood that you both and my daughter never had, okay?"

"We'll do our best!"

Yor smiled as she saluted her former superior.

"Same here."

Twilight did the same.

"That's all anyone can do."

"I guess this is goodbye."

"It was an honor serving under you."

"And it was an honor to train you."

The Shopkeeper patted Yor on the back before leaving with Handler.

It was now just the Forger couple.

Despite all of the lies, they did truly fall in love with each other.

It was a huge relief, knowing that they could stay together without having to worry about anything tearing them apart.

Loid couldn't count all the times he'd done something for his family and told himself it was "for the mission."

Yor would kill an entire country's worth of people if it mean that she could stay with her family.

Sure, a lot of their relationship was based on lies, but they didn't care. If they had any problems, they could work on them together.

Oh, crap, it was time to take Anya to the awards ceremony!

Anya didn't know how she had forgotten about the whole kidnapping thing, but she did.

Apparently, each kid in the hijacked buses was given a Stella Star for their bravery.

Bill, Becky, and Damian were each given two for keeping everyone calm and taking a risk to save their classmates.

They deserved this

Then, Anya was called up.

For being willing to pay the ultimate price for the safety of her fellow classmates... yadda yadda... three Stella Stars.

Anya didn't really care about these anymore, now that Papa's mission has been completed.

Still, she accepted the stars because they were shiny and cool.

As she stood to face the crowd, she could hear so many thoughts.

"What a hero!"

"I wish I was that cool."


"She probably got all that coolness from her parents."

Oh, right. People knew about that now.

Oh, well, Anya just figured she'd have to get used to it.

Her parents came up to her and have her a big congratulatory hug.

When Bill's dad challenged Papa to an arm-wrestling match, she took the opportunity to meet up with Sy-on Boy and Becky.

Becky's father and Sy-on Boy's parents were there and lavished her with praise for saving their children.

"I couldn't have done it alone. I had help."

Anya pointed to her friends, Bill included.

"Still, Melinda and I owe you (and your parents) a debt of gratitude for helping our son."

"As do I! I don't know what I would do with myself if my darling Becky were to-"

Becky's father choked up before he could finish the sentence.

Based on what she could gather from his thoughts, it might have something to do with Becky's mama.

Anya turned to Becky.

"Hey, Anya. I know you're reading my mind. Could you not?"

What?! How did she know about that?!

She turned to Sy-on Boy.

"After learning about Project Apple, I don't think I can see her the same way again. I kinda wish it was a new moon so Anya couldn't read my mind. No offense, Anya- er, I mean, lots of offense! I don't care if you saved my life, stop spying on my thoughts, you weirdo!"


"Daddy, Mr. and Mrs Desmond, do you mind if I speak with Anya and Damian in private for a minute?"

"Of course not, dear!"

"Sure, as long as you three don't run too far off!"

The three found a quiet corner.

"Anya, I have a feeling you already know why I called you here."

"H-How did you know I could read minds?"

"My father has access to many classified documents. I noticed that one happened to have your face on it. I was curious and read all about those experiments and then told Becky about it."


"You aren't mad at me for keeping it a secret?"

Becky sighs.

"No, that was completely understandable."

Sy-on Boy stepped back, realizing what was about to go down.

"What I'm upset about is the fact that you almost got yourself killed!"


"How haven't you realized that? You can literally read minds! You're my best friend! I don't want to lose you!"


"Don't justify it by talking about your parents. You're too young to die!"

Anya chuckled mirthlessly.

"That's what they said."

"And they're right!"

"But the police weren't able to get us! The only reason my parents found out is because my powers suddenly got stronger and I used them to tell my parents what was going on!"

"And you couldn't have done that without risking your life?!"

"I didn't even know I could do that until it happened!"

"Then why would you risk your life like that?" You knew exactly what they were going to do!"

Tears were beginning to form in Becky's eyes.

"Because I didn't want you guys to die! Besides, there was a bomb on my neck. I wasn't thinking clearly."

Becky had run out of counterarguments.

"Okay. Just promise you won't do something like that again. I don't think I, or even Damian over here, can handle that."


Damian stuttered for a solid 4 seconds before sighing for another 2.

"Yeah, she's right. As much as I hate to admit it, I do consider you a dear friend, Forger."

Anya smiled.

"Okay. I promise that I'll try to avoid dying from now on."

Something about that sentence caused Becky to start giggling.

Damian let out a snicker.

Anya couldn't tell what was so funny, but she started laughing a little bit, too.

The three said their goodbyes and went back to their parents.

Anya decided to see how the arm-wrestling match went.

Turns out, Bill's dad just barely beat Papa.

Then, Mama challenged him dislocated his arm.

"Don't worry! I know how to fix it!"

Mama fixed it, but Mr. Watkins cried like a baby.

Anya winced from hearing all of the pained screams he was suppressing, but she knew he'd be fine.

Everyone could finally rest.