MoboReader> Fantasy > The Ones Who were Chosen

   Chapter 7 Stanger in the Night

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 19341

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:04


Sunday morning

Kreas and Li watched the apartment from the roof of the building nearby, now in their human forms. Side by side they waited, silently observing the elder guardians, and the younger guardians through the broken window. But the philosopher's stone was not in sight.

'Where is she?' Kreas demanded, balling his fists. 'I don't see her.'

'She must be there' Li replied, sweeping her long blond hair back. 'The others would be out looking for her if she wasn't.'

'Perhaps she's just resting' Kreas thought aloud.

'Yes' Li replied. 'Perhaps she is.'

'She is there' came a third voice.

Kreas and Li lifted their head towards the voice. Their master approached the edge of the roof, his long white coat and long black hair lifted in the strong wind.

'Can you sense her master?' Li asked him.

The master stared forwards solemnly, his red eyes blazing.

'Yes' the master mumbled. 'I can feel her, she is breathing slowly; deeply…I believe she is sleeping.'

'What should we do?' Kreas asked him. 'The other guardians are sure to take her to the Ancient World soon.'

'I'm not so sure' the master replied, receiving curious looks from Kreas and Li at these words.

'If they have not already taken her to the Ancient World' the master began moving slowly away. 'Then there is a reason for them to remain.' His hand lifted to his chin as he thought. 'Perhaps they hope to catch the other stone before they return.'

'What should we do?' Li asked.

The master glanced up. 'What do you know of her?' he asked the two behind him.

'Very little' Li told. 'She seems to have an attachment to the young guardian who protects her. Lucas I think is his name.'

'Does she have an attachment to any others?' the master questioned.

'We're not sure.'

'Perhaps we can reach some sort of agreement' the master went on. 'Let's assume she cares for these young guardians.'

Kreas gasped suddenly in realisation. His brow furrowed in a cruel gleam then. 'Very good master' he said. 'Very good indeed.'

'They are together now' the master continued. 'We cannot intrude when they are protected by the elder guardians, but…there is one of their own who travels alone.' He raised his head to the expanse of land before them. The town grew wide, and just on the horizon, wild fields rolled onto places unseen. 'Many of the towns in this world are connected by train' the master said. 'I say we make our presence known.'

Kreas cackled hysterically as he transformed into his beastly self alongside Li. They ran to follow their master as he made his way, the three leaving the town entirely.

Ebony woke a little later in the morning, clearly exhausted by the adventures and excitement of the day before. She exited the mother's bedroom, which had now become hers, and entered the living room where the others were gathered. They were all awake now. The four elder guardians were dotted around the room. Indigo and Shire were playing chess on the floor where the coffee table had been before it was broken. Siren sat cross-legged on the sofa beside Reuben, eating her cereal noisily and reading a magazine, the orb which she always carried around now sat on the floor before her. Culture stood mutely by the window, seemingly disinterested in everything else in the room. But his eyes kept flicking back towards Ebony as she stood in the doorway, drawn to her by a love and a desire to protect. A thing he shared with all other aberrants, and something that could not be explained.

'Morning' Ebony declared.

Lauralie who was sitting on Reuben's other side looked up at the voice, turning her head and staring right at her. 'Oh' she said in surprise, clearly not expecting to see her. 'Hello, who are you?'

Ebony blinked, equally as surprised to be noticed as Lauralie was to see her. 'Hello' she fumbled over her words. 'I um…I'm Ebony.'

'Is this your girlfriend' Lauralie nudged Reuben teasingly beside her. 'You didn't tell me you were hiding a girl here; and one so pretty too. Oh relax' she waved at Ebony as she began to blush. 'I'm only teasing you. Reuben's explained everything.' She rose to greet her, ignoring Reuben as he glared at the back of Lauralie's head.

'Everything?' Ebony repeated hesitantly as Lauralie stood before her.

'Yes' Lauralie said, taking Ebony's hands in hers. 'Everything. I know what you are, and what I've become, and I'm sorry for ignoring you yesterday. I promise, for the life of me, that I did not see you.' Her eyes twinkled at that. 'Reuben's been trying to explain to me for the last twenty minutes what you look like. But his feeble powers of description fall utterly short. I did not realise you were so pretty.'

Ebony blushed further, looking at her feet shyly.

'I think we shall be good friends' Lauralie beamed.

'I think we shall' Ebony replied, looking up again. 'At least…I hope so…'

'Let me just say' Lauralie went on, 'that you have the most gorgeous eyes.'

'You really think so?'

'Yeah' Lauralie replied, as if it were obvious. 'I'm jealous, I love pink!'

Ebony's stomach began to growl then, causing Lauralie to laugh.

'We'd better go get you something to eat' she said, her laughter dying down. 'You had a very eventful day yesterday didn't you?'

Lucas was in the kitchen, speaking on his mobile to Sian in a heated tone.

'I've had enough of this' he growled. 'This is getting ridiculous.'

'You're telling me!' she cried down the phone at him. 'You hardly see me anymore and now you don't even want me to come down to see you!'

'I have my reasons.'

'So you keep telling me' she replied sulkily.

'Are you saying you don't trust me?'

'Well what am I supposed to think?'

'You know I would tell you if I could' Lucas sighed miserably. 'You know I wouldn't deliberately do anything to upset you.'

There was a silence on the phone.

'Sian?'

'You say that' she replied. 'But now I'm not so sure.'

'Sian please…'

But she hung up on him.

Lucas let out a breath, shoulders sagging in disappointment as he closed his mobile, replacing it back in his pocket. He turned, faltering then at the sight of Lauralie who had been sneaking behind him on the way to the cupboard. She froze now as he stared at her, returning his gaze with a guilty expression, hand on the cupboard door. Ebony stood in the doorway, watching the two of them uncertainly.

Lucas let out another breath, his attention sliding away from Lauralie. He walked past her, completely ignoring her before she had a chance to get on his nerves.

'Is everything alright?' Ebony asked him as walked by her.

He paused. 'Yes' he said quickly, a smile cracking his lips. 'Everything's fine.'

He left her before she had a chance to respond. Walking into the living room and sitting heavily in the empty space beside his brother. They began muttering quietly together.

On the other side of the sofa, Siren stiffened then. Leaning forwards she grabbed the orb which sat on the floor, staring at it intently.

'Oh my…'

'What is it?' Lucas asked, alarmed at her tone.

The elder guardians in the room all lifted their heads. Ebony and Lauralie returned to the living room, worry etched on both their faces.

'Your friend' Siren spoke as she consulted her orb. 'He is in great pain.'

'What?' Reuben exclaimed.

'Who?' Lucas spoke over him, heart rising in his chest.

Everyone in the room waited in the prolonged and agonizing silence that followed.

'Dammit Siren cut it out' Indigo ordered, losing his patience and rising. 'Just tell us what you know.'

'Quiet. I cannot see' she shot back.

'Please' Lucas groaned. 'If my friend is in danger I need to know. Who is it?'

Another silence.

'He has left this town' Siren spoke. 'He is travelling fast….to another.'

'Drake?' Lucas asked. 'Is it him?'

'Isn't he visiting his girlfriend today?' Ebony asked tentatively.

'If help doesn't reach him soon' Siren went on, 'he's going to die.'

The train was running fast along its tracks through the quieter part of the world. Drake saw only wide open fields through the window, and rolling hills dotted with clean white sheep newly sheared.

There was one more stop to make; the train was nearing its destination, and the carriages were mostly empty now. In the last was Drake, sitting with a vacant expression he rested his chin against his open hand, forehead pressed against the window, as the world outside went by. The sun came out from behind a cloud, shining brightly, Drake shielded his eyes squinting. It was warm in the compartment; the fresh air blowing in through the few open windows did little to cool the carriage.

Drake was brought out of his daydream abruptly as the door to the next carriage suddenly opened. Three figures entered, three of the most unusual characters Drake had ever seen.

These could only be guardians.

Drake slowly straightened, craning his head to get a better look at them.

The one who stood in front of the other two was a tall figure, with strong red eyes and long black hair. He wore a long white leather coat, the shoulders grey and the edges yellow.

The two flanking behind him stood with lowered profiles, as if submissive to their master. One of the figures was a young woman. She had long hair cut into two lengths, the top coloured dark brown and the bottom coloured blonde. She wore much red, with red boots, stockings and a red sash tied around her waist. Red shorts and a red garment that left her shoulders bare. The man by her side seemed to be dressed more casually. His face was hidden by a red hood and blonde hair that fell down around his

head. He wore a white shirt, a black jacket and jeans. Modern clothes. He would have fitted perfectly into a crowd, had it not been for the three long spikes that he wore on his fists. They were exaggerated in length, gleaming and unforgiving.

The three stood at the head of the carriage. They seemed to be surveying the situation. The red hooded figure snarled like an animal, his attention turned to a woman sitting near the front of the carriage.

'Get. Out.'

She obeyed without question, clearly terrified. Forgetting her bags she rose quickly, seeming to completely see through the red eyed man. She hurried away with her head down, slipping past them and into the next carriage. It seemed she couldn't leave fast enough.

Drake realised then with growing trepidation that he was alone now in the carriage with the three strangers. He felt more afraid under the pressure of those terrible red eyes as the man stared straight at him.

The man walked forward, his heavy footfalls made his boots sound as if they were made of metal, adding to his threatening demeanour.

They surrounded him, the man with red eyes flanked by the woman with the two coloured hair, and the hooded man, his face concealed.

'Who are you?' Drake asked nervously, his palms beginning to sweat.

The red eyed man answered.

'I am the master' he purred in a deep voice.

The next few minutes remained for years to Drake lost in memory, repressed by the sudden trauma and shock that he suffered.

He was grabbed by the front of his shirt by the master. Thrown from his seat he hit the wall at the end of the compartment. The woman was screaming something at him, asking him something, though Drake couldn't remember what it was. The master was shouting something back at her; then at the hooded man. The hooded man came forwards, raising his steely fists as he did so. The spikes caught the light from beyond the windows, glinting brightly before they were lowered towards Drake.

'Where is he?' Lucas shouted, grabbing Siren by the shoulders and shaking her. 'You must tell me where he is!'

'There is nothing I can do' she spoke calmly back, holding the orb before her. 'He is far away. We would never reach him in time.'

'What? We can't just let him die!'

'He is many miles away' Siren told him firmly. 'If the others wanted to kill him, they would have done it by now.'

'Others?' Shire repeated, rising to her feet. 'You mean those ghastly creatures and their master?'

'Yes' Siren replied to her mother. 'The very same.' She lowered her eyes to the orb again. 'I can see them. I can see their faces.'

'What others?' Lucas demanded speaking to Shire. 'What are you talking about?'

'The same creatures that hunt Ebony' Shire told him. 'The same creatures that attacked this place trying to capture her.'

Lucas released Siren, letting her fall backwards onto the sofa.

'There must be something we can do?' Reuben said to the room. 'Anything!'

'Please' Lauralie spoke, tears of fear dampening her eyes. 'We must at least try.'

'I could fly to try to find him' the aberrant offered. 'It would do little good but at least it's better than nothing.'

'Good idea' Indigo said. 'We'll wait here for your return.'

'How will you find them?' Lauralie asked as Culture moved across the room.

'Their master' Culture grumbled, 'is like me. I can feel his presence. I will find him.'

Culture crawled carefully through the broken window and took off.

'Why do you suppose they did this?' Reuben asked when the aberrant was gone.

'It's because of me' Ebony said, speaking with regret. 'They are hurting you to try to get to me. They know that I care about all of you; they've learnt that much it seems. Perhaps they are threatening you to try to force me to give myself up to them.' She hung her head, holding herself as if suddenly cold. 'This is all because of me…perhaps I should have stayed alone. Perhaps I should give myself up.'

Lucas raised a hand in the air, reaching towards her in a comforting gesture as if to try to silence her negative thoughts.

They must have been watching us' Ebony realised, speaking aloud. 'I wonder how much about us they know, and how long they've been spying.'

Indigo put his hands on his hips, beginning to pace the room quickly as if losing patience. 'This is getting ridiculous' he said shooting an unfriendly glance towards Ebony. 'We should just take her and go.'

'Indigo' Shire barked, turning on him. 'You will not take this girl against her will! We are not kidnappers. We are not bad people. Do not let yourself stoop to such a level.'

'So you want to play their silly little game?' Indigo argued back. 'If we just leave with the philosopher's stone, then there is nothing for them to bargain with because we would have already gone.'

'And risk the lives of these young guardians?' Shire snarled.

The young guardians Reuben, Lucas and Lauralie looked on silently as the elders decided their fate. Ebony stood impassive, expressionless, as if none of this bothered her.

'If we take Ebony then there is no reason for them to hurt anyone else' Indigo told Shire. 'We risk more harm by remaining here. Culture's not got long to live, and without him they have more chance of outnumbering and overpowering us.'

'We chose to put ourselves at risk by agreeing to this little quest' Shire replied, deadly quiet now. 'These young guardians did not choose to get dragged into this, and I will not leave this world until they and the philosopher's stones are safe' Shire clarified. 'Both of them, whether they choose to stay here, or go to the Ancient World with us.'

'So you would kill our enemy' Indigo asked her, 'and let the philosophers stones stay here if they wanted?'

'If that's what it takes' Shire replied stubbornly.

Indigo shook his head. 'Fine' he said shrugging as if it didn't bother him either way. 'It was just a suggestion.'

'We have to help Drake' Lauralie whined desperately. 'Please, he's our friend.'

'I wouldn't worry too much' Siren voiced, her attention still turned to the orb. 'It seems he has a guardian angel watching over him.'

'What do you mean?' Reuben asked her.

'Crystal' Siren breathed. 'The white one, the first one we were chasing. She feels his pain. She is trying to find him.'

'Why?' Lauralie whispered.

Siren smiled.

'She wants to help him.'

The train had slowed to a stop, and the few passengers that were left on gradually departed.

There was a girl on the platform, one among many who waited for their loved ones to arrive.

Her name was Eleanor, dainty in build with large dark eyes. Her blue hair was dyed so dark that it looked almost black. She wore a white dress patterned with large red and blue flowers.

She stood on the tips of her feet to see over the heads of the crowd, which was difficult because she wasn't that tall. Starting to fidget with her handbag, she tickled her earring when the passengers stopped arriving off the train. Eleanor looked down the platform, then up, wondering if she had missed him, or if he was playing a trick on her.

But he wasn't there.

She boarded the train, moving from carriage to carriage and searching all the compartments.

'Drake? Drake are you here?'

She reached the last compartment, and shrieked.

There was blood everywhere. Drake was as pale as death.

Eleanor had come to the last compartment to find Drake collapsed, leaning back against the wall of the carriage.

His arm had been completely severed; just below the left shoulder was the cut. There was no sign of the limb.

He moaned, head lolling to the side.

Drake seemed to notice the figure walk in and scream. It took many seconds for him to realise it was Eleanor. He lifted his remaining arm towards her, body shaking.

'Help me…' he whispered.

The next thing he remembered after falling unconscious was a white ceiling. He had been taken back to the town he had travelled from and hospitalised.

He blinked, moving his head to the side and groaning.

'Drake!'

Eleanor leapt from her seat beside the hospital bed and leant over him. Caressing him tenderly, she brushed his forehead with the back of her hand, weaving her fingers through his hair. Tears were streaming down her face and she tried her best to compose herself, failing as the emotions overwhelmed her.

'Drake…my poor love…how do you feel?'

He turned away from her, looking instead to the left side of his body.

His left arm had been cut off.

'Oh god….'

Turning away again Drake began to gasp, breathing heavily and slipping into shock.

'Drake stay with me, stay with me.' Eleanor grasped his shoulder, shaking him. His eyes rolled back, and he sighed.

Then he was gone.

Later that night, when all was quiet and Drake was fast asleep and full of drugs, a figure visited. A girl dressed all in white, with long white hair and grey eyes. She stepped lightly across the room, her bare footsteps sounding loud in the otherwise silent room. She approached his bed, and touched him on the shoulder, filled with sorrow and grief.

'You poor boy. They did this to you because of me, and because of me, you have been made to suffer.'

A white light grew from her fingertips and lit up his shoulder. She closed her eyes, as the light began to grow, enveloping the room's darkest corners.

She escaped through the open window, leaving the faded curtains swaying in the breeze. The only evidence that she had ever been there, and the strange buzzing sound left behind in Drake's dreams, which reminded him of wings, like that of an insect. A dragonfly.

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