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   Chapter 8 Second Visit

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 17631

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:02


Culture had not been able to find Drake. The master had wandered away and become lost, and when Culture reached the train station, it was all but deserted. And so, Culture had returned several hours after his departure, coming to a tense atmosphere as everyone within the apartment tried to find things to occupy themselves with and make time pass quicker. It was dark outside now, and the night was wearing on. Siren was the one most relaxed in the group, as always she consulted the orb.

Culture entered the room through the window, straightening and sighing as he gratefully folded his tired wings.

'I've received a call from Eleanor' Lucas told him shortly. 'Drake is alive. He's in hospital, he's been badly injured.'

'But he will live?' the aberrant questioned.

'Yes' Lucas nodded. 'He will. We'll visit him in the morning, but now, I think we should get some sleep.'

'Can I stay another night?' Lauralie asked the brothers.

'Won't your parents worry where you are?' Reuben said.

'No' she replied shortly. 'They won't.'

'You can stay' Lucas told her. 'And I suppose the rest of you are staying as well?' he asked the room.

'Haven't got anywhere better to be' Indigo shrugged. 'Here is where one of the philosophers stones are at least' he said glancing to Ebony. 'We're staying.'

'Then I will see you in the morning' Lucas said turning away, not waiting for a response.

'Goodnight' Ebony mumbled to the room, before following the brothers down the corridor.

They went to their own bedroom, and she went to hers, and within the living room, the other guardians all lay down on the sofas and armchairs to sleep. Except for Culture. He remained standing, staring out of the window now, deep in thought.

'Crystal' he whispered to the night. 'Where are you?'

Monday morning

They woke early the next day, barely making time for any breakfast. They left the apartment shortly after, Reuben, Lucas, Lauralie and Ebony walked together. Behind them the four elder guardians marched, creating a V-formation as if they were guarding them.

Lucas turned back to speak, hesitating as he noticed this.

'Perhaps they can look at your heart when we get to the hospital' he suggested, speaking to Culture. 'Maybe there is something they can do to help.'

Culture tore his eyes away from Ebony to reply, he had been watching her closely.

'Normal humans would not be able to acknowledge an aberrant' Culture informed him. 'And even if they could see me….there is no cure for old age. But thanks for the concern' He added sarcastically.

At that moment a figure ran towards them from the other side of the street, Lucas recognised him as he got closer.

'Venom.'

'I came as soon as I heard' he said panting. Having received a text from Lucas early that morning informing him of what had happened, he had made his way quickly to the hospital, bumping into them along the way. 'Is he ok?' Venom asked.

'You know as much as we do at this point' Lucas told him. 'We're on the way to see him now.'

Venom's attention drifted past Lucas and towards the elder guardians who stood a few steps behind them. 'What are they still doing here?' Venom whispered to Lucas, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

'They insisted on coming with us' Lucas murmured in reply. 'I don't think they want to let Ebony out of their sight.' He shot a glance at her as he said this.

'Well let's go' Venom said. 'We don't want to keep him waiting.'

As they arrived at the front of the hospital they were surprised to find Eleanor waiting for them just outside the entrance doors.

'Is everything alright?' Reuben asked immediately, suddenly worried and wondering why she was not inside with Drake.

'Everything's fine' Eleanor answered quickly, looking from Reuben to Lucas; then to Lauralie and Venom. 'It's so good of you all to come.'

'Where is he?' Lauralie asked her, standing on her tip toes and craning her head to see inside the building. 'Is he inside? Is he waiting for us?'

'He's on his way out' Eleanor replied. 'He asked me to meet you out here first.'

Lauralie made a strange face, standing straight again and looking at Eleanor. 'What do you mean he's on his way out?'

'You mean he's coming here?' Reuben asked her, pointing to the ground they stood on. 'He's leaving the hospital?'

'The doctors declared him a medical miracle' Eleanor said. 'His arms has completely healed, and all in a single night.'

'It's Crystal' Ebony whispered to the others. She did this. She saved him.'

'So she has the power to heal…' Indigo purred, stroking his chin as he spoke to himself behind the younger guardians. 'How interesting.'

'Soon, very soon, we will see her' Siren spoke up. 'She blames herself for what happened to him, she will give herself up so no one else gets hurt.'

'I don't think I need to tell you this' Eleanor went on, completely oblivious to the presence of Ebony and the elder guardians, 'but when he comes out, don't make a fuss about his arm. You know how he hates that sort of attention.'

'We know' Lucas nodded to her.

'Oh, and I told Sian what happened' Eleanor added hastily, speaking to Lucas. 'If you don't mind.'

'You did?' Lucas asked with worry.

'It's not a problem is it?'

'No' Lucas shook his head. 'No it's fine.'

The entrance doors opened then, and everyone straightened in attention, all of the younger guardians feeling nervous.

Drake stepped through the doors, emerging out of the hospital near enough his usual self.

He approached them; standing beside his girlfriend, he briefly acknowledged the elder guardians that stood in the background.

'Hey guys' Drake smiled tentatively. 'How you doing?'

The meeting was being watched from a short distance away. Kreas and Li sat hunched in the shadows between two buildings nearby, watching the scene with their master standing behind them.

'He's still alive' the master stated. No emotions revealed in his tone.

'Do you want us to finish him off?' Kreas asked excitedly, crouching in his animal-form.

'No' the master said flatly. 'We have other things to concentrate on.'

'Crystal must be nearby' Li stated, folding back her pointed ears and twitching her tail in agitation. 'She must have healed him.'

'Curious' the master said. 'It is curious how she is willing to help him. She must care for him' he said as he observed Drake. 'But why?'

'She's used some of her magic to heal him' Kreas chattered. 'She is weaker now, more vulnerable. Now is the time we catch her. It would take a long time for her to gather enough magic again that she could use.'

'She would risk herself be captured for the sake of…' the master trailed off. 'I must leave' he voiced suddenly, as Ebony lifted her head and began to look around as if sensing something, her eyes searching. 'If I remain here then I will eventually be noticed.'

'Should we stay and watch?' Li asked as the master made to go.

'Do what you must' the master said casually. 'I will meet up with you later.'

The master cast his hand out, summoning his magic before him. He vanished in a flash of light, leaving nothing behind.

Li rested her head back on the ground with a sigh, watching the group before the hospital. 'We cannot waste too much time in chasing the other philosopher's stone' she said. 'We've already lost one.'

'It's not lost' Kreas answered simply. 'It's just being kept safe for us.'

'Either way' Li replied patiently to her companion. 'We need to get her before too long, or else we risk losing her for good.'

'Worry not my love' Kreas said teasingly, nuzzling her. 'All will end well.'

'Drake nearly loses his life and he doesn't bother to tell me? What's wrong with him? I shouldn't have to hear it from Eleanor; I should have heard it from him.'

'Well why are you complaining to me about it?'

Sian turned to her brother, uncrossing her arms and forcing herself to breath calmly to control her fury.

'There's something not quite right about this' Sian went on. 'He's hiding something from me, I just know it. I'm going to see him. Today. I want you to come with me.'

Her brother Kyle looked up from his breakfast, gaping at her.

'You can't be serious.'

'I assure you I am absolutely serious.'

'Why in the hell would you want me to come with you?' he asked her.

'For protection.'

'Protection?' Kyle barked. 'Ha! Since when have you needed someone to protect you? You've always been able to hold your own.'

'I know' she sighed, staring miserably out of the window. 'I don't think Lucas is who I thought he was. At least not anymore.' She watched the boats on the river sailing back and forth through the choppy waters. Her hometown was very different to the one Lucas came from; it was more open, cleaner

and quieter. 'I don't know what he is now' Sian murmured sadly, speaking almost to herself. 'But I want to find out.'

'When are we leaving?' Kyle asked her, returning his attention back to his breakfast.

'Now.'

'Now?'

'Now' Sian repeated.

'Can I just finish my-'

'No' Sian cut in. 'We are leaving now.'

After a brief meeting, Drake had decided to return home. Eleanor would be staying with him for a while it was decided. Venom went home too, and even Lauralie they managed to shrug off, admitting at last that she should probably be going as well. Though on this occasion, she left with more confidence, turning away offers to be escorted along the way. She walked with a spring in her step, and her head held high.

'You lot had better be going too' Lucas said to the elder guardians, glad to see Lauralie go at long last and hoping the others who remained would do the same.

'Nice try' Indigo smirked. 'We're going nowhere. Not without her anyway' he said jerking his head towards Ebony.

'You can't force her to leave' Lucas argued.

'I could if I wanted' Indigo muttered under his breath.

'What was that Indigo?' Shire asked dangerously.

'Nothing nothing' he said hastily, laughing and waving at her. 'Don't worry yourself.'

'I must leave however' Shire said, ignoring Indigo from then on.

'What do you mean?' Siren asked turning to her. 'Where are you going?'

'I must return to the Ancient World' her mother explained. 'I can no longer be of use here. I have no powers to protect now; I would do more harm than good if I stayed. I must leave' she said again.

'Will you be alright?' Siren asked sadly.

'Of course my darling child' Shire said embracing her daughter lovingly. 'But I have no powers to open a portal. You must help me. Can you do that?'

'Yes mother' Siren nodded obediently.

'I had to give my powers away' Shire told her, 'to save a life. Do you understand?'

'Yes mother.'

Shire let go of her daughter, resting her hands on her shoulders.

'I hope so' she said. 'You must stay here and help protect the philosopher's stones. And…' she added with a glance towards Indigo and speaking now in a whisper to her daughter. 'Keep an eye on him.'

'Yes mother' Siren whispered back.

'Keep yourself safe' Shire said straightening.

The child's eyes grew wide, large and beautiful in their misty blue colour, so unlike her mothers. Siren tilted her head in understanding.

'I'm going to miss you.'

'As I will miss you' Shire smiled kindly.

The aberrant flexed his wings, dipping his head to her. 'We may not see each other again' he warned.

'I know.'

'I will return' Indigo said, 'to the Ancient World, when all of this is done.'

Shire bowed her head respectively to him.

At a polite suggestion from Indigo, Reuben, Lucas and Ebony followed them out of the town, and to the same spot where they had first met Crystal. From atop the hill where the three now sat, could be seen the abandoned park, once so loved, now overgrown and wild.

'They're fascinating aren't they?' Ebony smiled as she watched the guardian's small profiles at the bottom of the hill.

Lucas glanced sideways at her, and found himself thinking suddenly how beautiful she was, as the light from the sun glistened on her flawless skin. Her features were perfect, short black hair sleek and shining, and her eyes bright pink were so unusual yet so pleasant.

'They are indeed' he agreed.

They watched as the guardians used their magic to open a rift in the air, a light shining brightly through. Shire touched each of the three remaining guardians in turn, her daughter last, giving them a final farewell, before she stepped through the portal.

'And then there were three' Lucas sighed.

'Wait a minute' Reuben suddenly voiced from beside him. 'What day is it today? Aren't we supposed to be in college?'

Lucas smiled warmly, turning to him.

'You know what?' he said. 'I think you're right.'

Reuben let out a heavy sigh, turning back towards the three remaining guardians.

'Life…' he uttered, '…has become so strange…'

'It doesn't matter' Lucas told him, 'they're only exams…'

Ebony glanced silently from one brother to the other, her pink eyes shining. She looked back at the elder guardians, and wondered in her mind.

What will happen next?

Lucas, Reuben and Ebony made their way slowly back to the apartment. The remaining three guardians trailing after them almost like a parade.

They entered the block of flats; walking in circles up the concrete stairs to the floor the apartment was located. They reached the correct level; Lucas went to open the broken door. But before he could touch the handle, the door opened itself. In the doorway stood a beautiful young woman, with tanned skin and dark hair, and a completely unsatisfied expression.

'Hello' she said. 'Lucas.'

'Sian!' Lucas spluttered, utterly bewildered to find her there. 'What are you doing here?'

Instead of replying, Sian turned her cynical gaze to Reuben.

'Reuben.' She said. 'I half expected Lucas to have another woman by his side.'

Lucas nervously shot a half-glance towards Ebony, who was standing right behind him. She slowly began to slink away. Knowing she was completely invisible now to none-guardians, yet not wanting to take the risk in case that changed, especially with this one.

'Nice door' Sian went on, leaning against the door frame and crossing her arms as if she owned the place. She cast her eyes critically over the badly repaired door with a sneer; the great cracks and splinters were more than clearly visible.

'Let me in Sian' Lucas said patiently.

Sian pushed herself off the doorframe, straightening up she backed away to allow the brothers to enter. After them came the three elder guardians, approaching slowly. Ebony chose to wait outside unprompted.

'What happened to the coffee table?' Sian asked, looking at the shattered remains of the table that had been utterly destroyed. 'Did you put your mug down too hard? And the window' Sian said glancing towards it. 'What happened to that? Did a bird fly into it?'

'Sian. What are you doing here?' Lucas asked flatly. 'I'm not in the mood for your games.'

'I thought I'd come along to see what was going on. You've been hiding something from me' she said. 'And I want to know what it is.'

'Hey' Indigo smirked, moving around the room to stand closer to her, looking her up and down. 'I like this one. Is she your girlfriend Lucas? Looks like you've bitten off more than you can chew.'

Sian turned to him. Indigo immediately backed away as if he had been burnt. Fearful he had been seen he fell silent. The entire room watched her now.

Sian's eyes moved around the spot where Indigo stood, as his presence hung on the edge of her consciousness, as she searched for what disturbed her. Eventually she turned away, facing Lucas again defiantly.

'I think you should leave' Lucas dared to say.

'No' Sian said, crossing her arms stubbornly and taking a seat in the middle of the sofa. She stared at him deliberately. 'I think I will stay. Right…here…'

Lucas covered the distance between them. He grabbed her by the shoulders, lifting her up and snarling through gritted teeth.

'Enough of your stupid games!'

In an instant and out of nowhere came another body. Lucas was punched hard in the side of the head, stumbling sideways, confused and unsure of what had just happened and who had hit him. Reuben immediately charged forwards to protect his brother, grabbing the one who had struck Lucas and drawing his fist back in violence.

'Enough!' Sian called out, before anyone else could get hurt. 'Kyle let him go.'

Her brother obeyed instantly, shoving Reuben back and nearly tripping him up. As soon as he was free from Kyle's grasp, Reuben ran to Lucas, helping him back to his feet.

Lucas groaned as he rose, tentatively touching the side of his head which was already beginning to swell.

'I'm going to kill you for that' Reuben snarled at Kyle, temper flaring almost beyond his control. He still held onto his brother's arm in support, his body began to tremble in rage.

Kyle's muscles began to twitch in anticipation. He was a powerful and tall figure, with a stern expression.

'Just try it' Kyle mocked him. 'I could snap you like a twig.'

'Wanna bet?!'

'Reuben!' Lucas barked before the words turned physical again. 'Just calm down everyone.' He straightened up, raising his head and taking his arm away from Reuben who supported him. 'I'm fine' he muttered to him.

The three elder guardians now giving them extra space, stood by the far wall, amazed at the turn of events. Ebony was nowhere to be seen.

'Lucas' Sian said placing a hand on her hip. 'We need to talk.'

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