Chapter 3: The Stranger
Kamlin felt upset and betrayed, the inspector had been the one he had hoped to bring on justice for his deceased friends. Now knowing the inspector was a traitor disgusted him, a dark part of his soul awakening a fear and a feeling of hatred for what the inspector had done within him. He especially had a hatred for the inspector’s action of sending him on a mission in which the dangers were so great he had lost six of the members of his team. Most of them his best friends. The grief over their deaths was so tightly wound he could not shed tears, the memory of the flash of light which had caused one of his two sisters to disappear all too real to process clearly.
With his confidence shaken, Kamlin felt lost and alone in his world of grief, the investigations and constant interrogations about the onslaught hindering the only hope which drove him onwards. The hope which he had was in the original mission the Dawns had had, the mission to end the war between the Outsiders and Madoka Guardians by committing to peacemaking acts across Coa. Kamlin felt like part of his identity was rooted in the Dawn’s original mission, the words spoken to him by his parents ever since he could remember, the power they kindled had always given him a sense of certainty.
“Kamlin, are you Ok?” Khyber’s footsteps sounded near him her warm hand suddenly touching his shoulder.
He took a deep breath letting the physical and emotional pain within him spread out as he shuddered. “Yeah, yeah I’m Ok. I was just getting over my shock in the light of the Inspector’s actions.”
Khyber’s hand felt like an anchor within his storm as he heard her pull up a chair. “Kamlin, I am not here to pity you because I know that’s what you don’t need right now. I know you need hope and a plan to escape the restrictions the people here at HQ have put on and around you.”
Kamlin listened for a moment silent and pensive as he heard distant footsteps. “It’s like you have some agenda which you plan on carrying out.”
“Rahvana left when the inspector was arrested. She must have wanted to see him locked up. It’s a good thing for us, now we can talk with more security.” Khyber said totally disregarding his observation.
Khyber must have seen my anxious look. Her sisterly perception of my body language is uncanny. Kamlin thought as he heard the door close.
Kamlin waited till Khyber sat down again before he told her what was on his mind. “When you mentioned me feeling like I need to escape this place you were right. I do need to escape it, after all that I have been through I feel like I need to bust out of here.”
Khyber tapped the armrest of her chair. “I have an idea of what we can do to escape, though some of it may be hard for you, as we will have to find Valdin Twinsworth.”
Kamlin’s anger was ignited. “Khyber, you can’t be serious! Last time I talked to Valdin the Ally manipulated him into trying to murder me!”
The tapping on Khyber’s armrests became intense. “Kamlin! Get sensible! Valdin saved your life and now you act as if he wants to kill you.”
Kamlin’s anger was a red-hot blaze, but due to his nature, he kept is simmering just below the surface his cold tone conveying his feelings. “It’s the truth that last time Valdin and I met Khyber, he tried to kill me.”
“Stop talking in circles Kamlin! You know you have more sense than then to do this, I know you do. Now, let’s get to the bottom of this onslaught matter. Tell me all Kamlin, spill it!” Khyber’s voice slowly slid into the big-sister tone Kamlin had unpleasant memories of.
Taking a deep breath, Kamlin felt his anger cool off. For some reason, the breathing methods his father said the Jurishaon Mentors had used cooled his anger down more than anything else.
“The day before you returned here to HQ, I came out of my coma and Valdin was in the room. Something felt dark, something within him which channeled through him when he spoke, his tone cold his words carefully chosen. He said something like your fear is greater than your faith in what can be accomplished while putting a cold, hard something against my neck. I told him to stand down but he didn’t and said since I didn’t help him in his greatest hour, I am a traitor and deserve to die.”
Kamlin could hear Khyber’s anger had abated as a slow, careful breath escaped her. “I hope you do remember someday the full details about happened in the onslaught, as I want to piece it together to bring justice into play for our deceased sisters and friends.”
Kamlin put a hand on Khyber's hand. “I will do my best Khyber. You know that I am greatly fearful with this plan you have concerning Valdin, when he was about to kill me, Rahvana came to my rescue and surprisingly fought Valdin off.”
Khyber pulled her hand away. “Now that I’ve heard what Valdin was doing my plan has changed Kamlin despite being engaged to him only days ago. I am leaving the Dawns tonight in my new jet called the Awakening, and I hope you are able to escape with me.”
“Khyber I want to come with you!” Kamlin hesitated for a moment, then attempted to rise from his seat. He fought the pain which flooded through his head and neck as he pushed upwards a sharp gasp liberating itself from his lips.
Khyber’s hands caught him steadying him by holding him upright, their strength helping him to get over the pain which sent its messages to his brain. “Take a deep breath Kamlin. It will help relieve your pain and help you fight it while we escape. I broke off Valdin and I’s engagement. Now please, please tell me you are able to walk!”
Kamlin gritted his teeth and stood straight on his own. “I can walk Khyber. It’s just the pain from my burns and healing skin on my chest and neck which is keeping me from fully standing and walking around this room.”
Khyber tugged at his hand. “Let’s go, and if I have to, I will carry you out of the Dawn HQ and to the Awakening.”
Kamlin steadied himself as he stood confidently. “Alright, what is your game plan for getting us out of here?”
She took his hand. “Walk with me, and we’ll say that you wanted to walk around the halls if anyone meets us then, once the coast is clear, we’ll b-line it to the hangar where the Awakening is parked. Sound Okay?”
Kamlin thought for a moment, Khyber’s plan had some flaws but all in all it was quite reasonable the only remaining issue quickly voice by him. “There is one error. Dawn agents monitor everything around here and it would be hard to escape notice.”
“I have that covered. It’s all a matter of having stealth and swiftness.” Khyber opened the door to the room. “Let’s go Kamlin.”
Kamlin grabbed hold of her shoulder feeling the leather jacket she was wearing as he took a deep breath and did his best to keep pace with her. For what seemed like ages, they walked down the echoing hall the sound of their footsteps amplified beyond what normal footsteps sounded like. Khyber twisted right and left in her brisk walk down the halls and Kamlin thought they would crash sooner or later because of his abrupt stops in order to relieve the pain within his chest. Something kept him going though, something which had always aroused his curiosity and pushed him onwards even when he was depressed.
“It’s midnight, alright. Those Dawn agents will be changing the watch any time now since we’re outside.” Khyber pulled him into what felt a small corner. The air was full of what smelled like engine grease. The wall which Khyber had pushed him up against a rough surface like brick.
Kamlin twisted to keep his burned shoulders and chest from being pinned against the brick wall his breathing quick and sharp. “Please remember I am near the point of exhaustion.”
Khyber tugged on his sleeve. “Hist. Kamlin, the moons’ light is focused directly on you and me!”
Kamlin heard the deactivation of the Dawn agent’s stun weapons as they changed their guard rotations their radio communications between the different posts like the buzzing of insects. Tromping feet passed their hiding spot the familiar click of a stun weapon bringing back memories of the onslaught, the grief and guilt over his sister’s death causing his pain in his chest to worsen.
Finally, the noise ceased and he felt Khyber tug his hand again then let go. “It’s time to move. The agents are gone, and we are less than a hundred meters from the Awakening.” He heard her footsteps as she started to quickly move away, probably assuming he could now walk without her guidance.
Kamlin stumbled, feeling a sharp gust of air blowing against him, the pungent smoke of Rest City’s refineries causing him to choke for a moment. The air was smothering, the smell like the raw, unrefined matter which was torn from the earth with all of its chemical toxicity. He knew he must be strong but his pain was too great the polluted air not helping ease his pain, but increasing it. He collapsed a second later, hitting the ground. A great, smothering emotional weight came upon as he gasped for breath, his fear building as he heard the clacking of the Dawn’s agent’s environmental suites which kept them from breathing in the toxic air now swirling around them and him.
Suddenly, strong arms lifted him off the ground helping him to stand as he forced his body upwards. “Lean on me. If you stumble, I’ll carry you.” The voice sounded disordered, almost robotic but a trace of humanity was in it compared to the Dawn agents whose environmental masks.
Kamlin leaned on the mystery person feeling the smooth material of their suit’s shoulder as he felt their trail cutting through the jumble of rubble which littered the old airport’s grounds. The chunks of material upon the ground were his informant of the path they were taking as his supporter smoothly led him on the trail with their care in not letting him get hurt on the chunks of materials.
As they walked Kamlin was burning with questions However, Kamlin kept himself quite quiet only asking the most important question he could think of.
“Who are you?” He quipped.
The stranger laughed with a mechanized sound which surprised him. “Search yourself Kamlin, you know me.”
Kamlin searched within his mind all his senses tingling with the sound of the mechanized voice. The strangest thoughts were coming to his mind, things which he hadn’t thought of ever since he became mature and had stopped fantasizing about them. His heart was racing as he stopped and felt what he knew to be within his secret longings flow out of him. “You’re, you’re a-”
“Hush,” The mechanized voice became natural the rigidity it had contained gone as the stranger removed their mask. “I was sent to find you after I heard about that incident with that blood of yours, and what I am doing in helping you is protecting you. Do not mention this conversation we had together to anyone or let anyone see your blood. For what you have within you will bring great danger to you if someone knows what it can do. Since you do not know what it can do, and don’t desire to know, guard it with your life.” The stranger’s voice was a rich, masculine voice which had a warm and slight accent to it, each thing he said like a knell to Kamlin.
Kamlin took a deep breath and calmed himself after the stranger’s unexpected knowledge and warning about his blood. “Thank you, Sir, for the warning about what I have within me. Knowing that it’s my glowing blood which my enemy is seeking is defiantly helping explain a couple of things.”
“I am glad you got an explanation. Wait, you said someone is after you?” Kamlin could hear the surprise in his voice as he stopped abruptly.
“Yeah,” Kamlin crossed his arms. “And he killed my sister, and caused my friend to betray me.”
“Was he posing like an ally at that point?”
The stranger was evidently knowledgeable about The Ally, so Kamlin decided to risk answering. “From what I remember, he was even acting as our guide.”
The stranger started. “They all do that up to a point; all Hunters. Every single one of them. The one I ran into did just that, killing his other companions even to pose as my ally until he found a way to permanently injure me.”
“When you say ‘the Hunters,’ do you mean the Jurishaon Hunters?” Kamlin’s curiosity was aroused.
“I do mean the Jurishaon Hunters. Now that I have clarified, we must get you to the Awakening or you will not have a chance to escape.” The stranger allowed Kamlin to lean on him once again and their progress was rapidly hastened.
After what seemed to Kamlin an eternity, the stranger stopped and put a hand on Kamlin’s shoulder. “Kamlin, you must go on to the Awakening alone now. It is ten steps in front of you to the left within the hangar you now stand in. Since I can no longer help you, I bid you farewell until you reach your goal. Please remember me!” The warm voice became distant as Kamlin heard the stranger’s receding footsteps.
“Time to start an adventure.” Kamlin turned and walked. No longer pain-filled footsteps to the Awakening. He felt something different within him along with the absence of pain- it was the drive to protect himself.
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