The morning after their big discussion, Keara was sitting cross-legged on the side of one of the fountains on the castle grounds. Michael had come looking for her.
‘Hey little sister.’ Michael said as he sat down next to her.
‘Hey big brother.’ Keara said, quickly looking at Michael, then looking away again.
‘Are you still mad at me?’
Keara sighed deeply, ‘No.’
‘I’m glad.’ Michael said.
Keara just looked at him. She didn’t really have anything to say.
‘I guess. It’s just a lot of information to take in.’ Keara remarked.
‘I know. But we’re all here to help you.’ Michael tried to reassure Keara.
‘Yeah, I know.’ Keara replied. She was silent for a few moments, then staring at her hands, she said, ‘They called me the Cursed One.’
Michael looked surprised at her, ‘They did?’
‘It’s strange that they would call you that. I mean, you possess the Gene.’ Michael told Keara what she already knew.
‘You don’t say?’ Keara said sarcastically. ‘First off, how could they know?’
‘Every carrier of the Gene had black hair and purple eyes.’ Michael told Keara.
‘Really?’ Keara had never known.
‘So you knew from the beginning that this was gonna happen?’ Keara discovered.
‘Yes.’ Michael answered, realizing that Keara was not very happy with his answer.
Keara tried to contain her anger. She didn’t wanna lose her temper, but she was surprised that Michael could keep such dangerous and important secrets from her.
‘I’m sorry, Keara. I guess, I just hoped that by not telling you, nothing would happen.’
‘Let’s not go into that again.’ Keara said.
Michael just nodded his head. He could tell that Keara was still angry with him, and though he understood why, he hoped that she could forgive him one day.
‘I don’t understand why they called you the Cursed One, though. The Gene is supposed to be a good thing.’ Michael stated.
‘Really?’ Keara said bluntly, not believing that it could possibly be a good thing.
‘Yes. The Gene marks a new age. The coming of Crucis Salerra; their new queen.’ Michael stated.
‘Well, they didn’t look very happy to see me; or, sound happy for that matter.’
‘That’s strange.’ Michael said, appearing to be deep in thought.
‘Maybe the king brain-washed them.’ Keara was being sarcastic again.
‘Maybe he did.’ Michael agreed, not hearing Keara’s sarcastic tone.
Keara just looked at Michael, ‘I was joking.’
‘I know. But just think about it for a second; he was the one who sent the guards after you, to kill you.’
‘I guess it’s not impossible.’ Keara had to admit.
Michael considered that possibility for a moment longer, then said, ‘Zarra wasn’t happy about Deryck getting involved.’
‘That’s her problem. There was no way we would’ve been able to convince him otherwise, anyway.’
‘Yes. But he didn’t wanna stay just because he wanted to help.’ Michael eyed Keara.
‘What are you talking about?’
He just looked at her, knowingly.
Keara just sighed. She didn’t know what to say.
‘You’re still wearing his necklace.’ Michael noted.
‘Yeah, so? He’s still wearing my ring.’ Keara said.
‘I’m just saying, Keara. He likes you. And it’s pretty obvious that you like him.’ Michael blurted out.
Keara blushed bright red.
Michael almost laughed and just padded her on the knee as if to say, he understood, he was also there once.
‘I think we should go home.’ Michael suggested, more seriously.
‘I think we should go home.’ Michael repeated, ‘I know we were just there, but it’s the only place where we could all train uninterrupted, especially you. It’s the only place that’s safe. And no bystanders will accidently get hurt while we’re training.’
‘Yeah, that is a good idea.’ Keara agreed.
‘Then I’m going with you.’ Deryck said from behind a wall.
Keara looked around almost immediately, almost falling off the fountain.
‘I’m sorry for eavesdropping. I was on my way to come see you when I heard you talking. I cannot let you do this alone, Keara.’ Deryck admitted.
‘I’m not doing this alone, Deryck. I have my entire family standing behind me.’ Keara started.
‘I just; I just wanna be with you, Keara.’ Deryck admitted.
Keara’s eyes grew big. She clearly was not expecting to hear that. She nervously looked at Michael, who just smiled at her, then back at Deryck.
‘There is nothing we could say that would convince you otherwise, is there?’ Keara already knew his answer.
‘No Keara.’ Deryck answered without hesitation.
Keara kept looking at him for a moment, ‘Fine. But if you’re really going with us, you better inform your brother, right now.’
‘Yes, you should. We leave in an hour.’ Michael added.
‘I’ll be at your barracks in less than an hour.’ Deryck said and quickly left.
‘He certainly is determined to be with you.’ Michael remarked.
Keara just made a face at Michael.
‘Deryck, are you sure about this? You’re about to go down a very dangerous road.’ Artemis asked his brother.
‘I know, and I’m sure.’ Deryck said as he was packing.
‘It couldn’t have been easy to convince them. The Ravens aren’t exactly the kind to get others involved in their affairs.’
‘It wasn’t easy, but I don’t want Keara to go through this alone.’ Deryck admitted.
‘Oh,’ Artemis said at length, ‘So it’s about her.’ Artemis chuckled.
‘Just be careful alright. I don’t wanna lose my little brother.’ Artemis became serious.
‘You’re not going too.’ Deryck said as he finished packing, ‘Well, I better get going.’
‘I’ll walk with you.’
The Ravens and Zarra were just walking out of the barracks with their rucksacks hanging from their shoulders when Deryck and Artemis turned the corner towards them. Artemis looked them all up and down and noticed that none of them were carrying anything other than their half-empty rucksacks and weapons.
‘Aren’t you taking any supplies?’ Artemis asked.
‘No.’ Michael answered.
‘The journey back home is through dangerous territory. There is no time to stop for lunch.’ Keara informed Artemis.
‘We better get going if we wanna be home before nightfall.’ Alexander said.
‘Yeah. Goodbye Artemis. We’ll see you again soon.’ Keara said.
‘Goodbye Keara. Take care of my brother.’ Artemis said.