Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 33: Letting Her Go

Seth’s POV

The day of the escape...

“Sierra, you were found guilty of treason. We sentence you to death, and you will be killed by a shotgun within two days. The court is now dismissed,” said a jury member.

It would be an understatement to say that I just wanted to rip the heart of everyone who was in the courtroom, smash their faces which displayed their eagerness for theatrics, drama, and tragedy. I knew I would play this scene over and over in the next hours to come, with those bitter words echoing in my ears. I was not surprised, however. I was, in fact, expecting this, after all, Ozy’s trial had set a precedent, and Sierra’s crime was not any different than his. Still, I hadn’t done a thing. I could surely have the decision annulled, despite losing all credibility and legitimacy in the rebel unit. But, when it boiled down to it, I didn’t care for all that. Or better still, I could wreck this whole place, and be done with it all. Blowing up my cover was surely not more important than Sierra’s life. But, neither of those would change the truth of who she was. She was a witch, and she knew where Dante was.

I didn’t look at her face; I tried my utmost not to. It would not do any good. It was good she thought I didn’t care. A few minutes later, my feet took me to where she was kept; they simply had a will of their own. Fileas was walking with me, his face was tense, and he was unsure of how to behave and what to say. A few feet away I saw her, and a black rage enfolded me, my whole essence rebelled against the chains holding her arms, the agony on her face, the panic interspersed with the courage in the little movements she could afford.

“Take her out of the chains,” I hissed to Fileas. My words were curt, clipped, angry as if each word was wrenched from me under torture. And, they were. I clenched my fists to stop the blackness enveloping me. “Now,” I shouted, and turned my back and forced myself to walk away. My eyes had already reddened, I was half shifting, and after seeing her that way chained like a helpless animal, putting distance between us was stripping me of my last bit of energy, rationality, and control. Everything in me screamed to help her, to get her out, to take her with me.

The witch... she is the damn witch... remember that, remember Dante, I kept saying to myself, reminding myself of what was at stake here lest I forget it. I ran to open the hatch, and exited in quick steps, again not caring who was around. I allowed my dragon to take over, and rose to the sky, just flapping my wings, just flying without thinking, feeling, but it was damn hard. My dragon was simply in agony, just like its human self. Though my body was exhausted, and almost numbed when I got back a few hours later, my head was clearer, and now finally, I knew what to do.

I found Fileas, “Take me to where Baran is,” I said.

“He was still sleeping, the last time I checked,” he said.

“It’s time he woke up; I don’t care,” I snapped.

Fileas nodded, as he took me to the large room reserved for Baran and his Andra. He was indeed sleeping on the floor, completely still, free from the thoughts, agonies, worries, which were all eating my insides like little Raw-worms. How I envied his peaceful slumber.

“Fetch me a bucket of water,” I ordered Fileas.

“Sure,” he said, not yet understanding the workings of my brain.

I paced the room impatiently, each second dragging like hours.

“Here,” Fileas finally said, placing the bucket of water on the floor.

“Thanks, find Elvan, I will need to talk to her, as well. You can leave now,” I said calmly.

I poured the chilled water over Baran with gusto, though I needed the asshole, I didn’t have to like him.

He woke up in an instant, trying to wipe the water from his face.

“What’s going on?” he said as he got up, blinking his eyes, trying to focus.

“We need to talk,” I said.

The day after the escape

I was still outside hours after their escape, just seeking peace in the knowledge she was now out, safe and free. I had been there all along when they had opened the hatch door in the middle of the night; I was hiding in the shadows, waiting to see her one last time, making sure they made it out with no trouble. She touched Baran’s elbow, her movements hurried, excited, panicky. I hated her closeness to Baran, the man who’d helped her escape, the man I’d asked to help her escape, the man who had been given sedatives, guns, and a free passage that very night. Fileas had dispatched the few guards we had to other sections, assigning each one to menial tasks during the evening, he’d immediately known what I was up to, and he’d just nodded in understanding. He was a good soldier, just like Cayman was.

I fought the seeping void, the restlessness. She was gone, and I missed her. But, she and I were not meant to be. I sighed and went back in.

I tried to find solace in the idea that I would see her again, even if for a short amount of time. I was going to go after her; that had been part of the plan all along. But, not yet. I would give them a few days, and then I would follow, she would eventually take me to Dante. This had been the best solution, the only solution, in fact. In the end, she would live, and I would have my brother back, even if not my mate. I had to live with that, what other fucking choice did I have? I couldn’t kill her, yet I couldn’t accept her betrayal.

“Boss, are you okay?” Fileas asked when he saw my state of being.

“Bring me one of those sedatives,” I said.

“Why?” he asked. It was the first time he’d questioned me, which alerted me to the outrageous nature of my request. I didn’t care, my dragon was silent today, it was too quiet. It was worrisome. The vial would help, just as it had done before. Its effect had finally worn off days after the fight, but today, I needed it. I needed to feel my dragon; I needed to hear its voice, I needed to know I was not alone, especially now that she was gone. Today, I needed a friend who missed her as much as I did, a friend who shared my tortured soul, a friend who understood her loss. I craved it.

“Inject me,” I said to Fileas. This time, he did as I ordered. I felt the effect of the sedative taking hold over me; my limbs were now beyond my control, my brain felt numb, the voices in the unit came from far away. Sierra was pushed beyond a wall somewhere in the depths of my mind, the torture, the pain, all swept away beneath the layers of the sedative advancing on my body as victorious. I smiled and closed my eyes.

Waking up

I blinked my eyes; the world slowly came into focus, I tried to move my body, I felt like crap. I was lying on a mattress, why I had no clue.

“Oh good, you are awake,” said one Andra. “I’ll let Fileas know.”

I swallowed, “Water,” I said.

“Sure, right away,” he said.

It was Fileas who brought the water. “How do you feel boss? We carried you here after...after you know...” he said, uncertainly.

“After what?” I shouted, my voice cranky. I felt horrible, what had they done to me?

“Uhm, after you insisted I inject you with a sedative,” he mumbled.

His words lifted the veil of ignorance, and I jumped to my feet, “Damn, this can’t be happening,” I said. “I feel like shit.”

“Well, you just had a very strong drug in your system,” he explained. But what he’d meant to say was, “Well, what did you expect?”

“But, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen,” I said. “This is all wrong,” I yelled, holding my temples in agony. “I don’t feel it. I don’t feel a damn thing! She did this to me,” I raged.

Fileas looked at me as if I was crazed; he could not make sense of my words.

“Leave,” I shouted, as I started to lift the mattresses around me and throw everything around. I threw the gaslight on the floor, the sound of the glass breaking ringing in my ears. I wanted to vent out my anger on everything and everyone around me, I wanted to punish, I wanted to kill. The sedative had done nothing, an absolute nothing, and my dragon was still silent. Had she killed my dragon, too, just before she’d left? I rolled my sleeves, relieved to see the life source still present on my forearm. Then what the hell was going on? I didn’t know, but it was almost like I was going mad, incoherent thoughts and ramblings were racing in my brain, confusing me. I shifted on my feet, unsteady as if my body had a hard time finding its balance. I was sweating, and my head was bursting with intermittent flashes of light, and darkness. Had I caught the madness? Was this what it felt like? I could now understand the pain, the desperation of the infected, I just wanted it to end, and there was no reprieve from it.

There was only one thing left to do. I had to find her before it was too late before I lost my Uruloki and was reduced to being a mere Drakon. The sedative was not the solution. No, the solution was the witch. I would force her to reverse whatever she’d done to me, and release Dante. And, it could no longer wait, as I was in a race against time. The sickness seemed to be advancing very fast in my royal blood, far more quickly than it did in others. So, despite our belief, Royals were falling prey to the madness, it seemed. And, what if Rocco had been right about Dante, how did Dante fare then? Was it too late by now to save him? I threw another mattress on the wall; I looked for something to break, but there was no fucking item other than the mattresses in the damn room.

“Take over,” I commanded to Fileas. “I will find her.”

He nodded.

And, that’s how I found myself going after her, days before the scheduled time in my fucking plan, which was now, pretty much null and void.

I ran outside until I could find a clearing where I could do the shift without prying eyes. I closed my eyes in concentration, a transition which had been natural, quick, easy before was now an enormous task. I felt my whole body shivering, sweating, yet the shift was not happening. I kicked the grass in frustration, punched the tree, yelled, cursed, none of which helped. I knelt on the ground; it had been hours since they had left. Would I still be able to catch her scent? Did I still possess the ability to find her? I closed my eyes, and just breathed it all in. I felt nothing at first, and I screamed in frustration, but then I felt the very faint trace of her scent beneath all the pollens, dust particles, organisms, and molecules, like footprints not completely wiped away by snow, and still very much traceable on the trail she followed. And, I felt a surge of energy, I felt the pump of my blood in my veins, and finally, I felt my dragon wake up.

I finally soared into the sky as the Uruloki master once more and howled in celebration of the challenging shift. I continued chasing Sierra’s scent which kept supplying me with the vigor I required, my heart thrusting violently into my chest as I neared her. What I saw when I finally caught up with her was not what I’d imagined. She was lying on the fucking ground, she was hurt, and she was about to be burned alive by a Drakon. I didn’t care who that was; I didn’t care whether he was the King’s man, or Dante’s, or he was simply one of the traitors. I didn’t care she was a witch who spread the madness, who had the ability to kill Rocco’s dragon, and who held Dante as a hostage. I cared none of those things. My mate was hurt. My mate was about to die. A power so strong filled me, I felt I would burst with a free flow of light and fire, and I roared my challenge, emitting a battle cry to draw the Drakon in. He looked at me, hesitant between killing its prey and taking the challenge. My heart pounded in fear; I would not make it in time should he decide on the former. He took the bait, and rose to the sky, followed by his comrade. I laughed in relief, now was the easy part.

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