I turned ready to defend myself against whoever, or whatever, had jumped in behind me. It was human. I could tell by the shirt I was grabbing. I raised my fist up ready to punch whoever had followed us when I recognized the face.
“Arden?” I questioned. “What are you doing here?”
He smirked at me, “I saw you rushing around the school, going to the armoury. I thought I’d follow you to see what you’re up to. Plus, I thought, if you were going to a different world I could help.”
“And how exactly would that be?” I asked.
“With this,” he held up a small bag.
“What is that?” I asked.
He smirked, “It’s a bag that is enchanted to supply an endless amount of money in any currency. It was a gift from a friend. I thought that if you didn’t have any money for this world or any other world, then you might have a small problem. You won’t be able to get any food or shelter. Or anything, really.”
I looked at him. He was right. I hadn’t thought that far. We would need food and somewhere to stay, and none of us had money for that. “So give it to me and be on your way.”
He shook his head, “No. I’m sure you’ll need a pair of extra hands, and this bag never leaves me. I don’t trust anyone with it.”
I rolled my eyes, trying to decide. It would be nice to have an extra set of skilled hands, and he had the enchanted money pouch. But that would also one more mouth to feed, another pair of hands to arm, and another person to shelter. In the end, I nodded that he could stay, and turned to see Camden, Kalama, and Brook staring at us.
Camden waved, “Hey, Arden. Glad to have you on our team. Now I won’t be stranded with a bunch of girls for this whole trip. Or rescue mission, if you prefer.” I glared at Camden, hitting him on the arm as I walked past. He flinched in pain rubbing his arm and glaring at me. “Sorry, a couple of girls and Blaze the Abusive.”
I glared but was too far away to hit him. I motioned them to follow me and finally took in my surroundings. We were just in a forest, the same trees as the ones in the forest surrounding the Academy. It was also pitch black, as it was night here too.
“Can you sense where this kidnapper went, Kalama?” I asked Kalama. She was still looking at Arden warily but turned to me when she heard her name.
“Sorry, what did you say?” she asked.
“Can you sense where the kidnapper went?” I repeated.
She closed her eyes and waved her hands around a little, looking absolutely ridiculous. But she snapped her eyes open and started walking in a random direction in a daze. We all followed her, keeping an eye out for any dangers. Then we hit a busy street. With no cars. There were people walking and biking, but no cars. I had to grab Kalama’s shoulder to make sure she didn’t walk right into the street. Kalama’s eyes snapped open and she looked around.
“They went that way,” she pointed towards a building, in the middle of the city. I made note that it was the tallest, brightest building in the city so that I wouldn’t lose sight of it. Then I took a step into the crowded streets, my friends following me as I maneuvered through the people crowding the streets.
We reached the building after we went over a bridge, a small river of water dividing the two parts of the city. The part we had just exited was filled with people in obscure costumes, and little clothes. Now that I really took a look at them, there was also glow in the dark paint covering their bodies and faces. There were patterns that covered bodies from head to toe, animals painted onto faces, and paint that accentuated certain body parts.
I looked forward and saw that there were still people on the street, but it was less chaotic. There were no obscure costumes or paint. It was like any normal street in the middle of the night. Minus the cars.
I looked for the building from our vantage point, looking for the most direct route to the building. Once I saw the building I looked around at the different streets. There was one that almost led directly to it, so I started down that street. Then I paused. This could actually be the least direct route. From what I’ve already had to navigate, this city liked to mislead people. So I decided to go to the one with the least direct route to the building.
I turned to Kalama, “Is this the right way, Kal?”
She closed her eyes for a few seconds, nodding when she reopened them. So I started walking again, following my instincts. Sometimes I would turn down the wrong road, and Kalama would stop me, and sometimes I would get it right. Then we found the bottom of the building. We entered and saw that it was a hotel.
Arden asked for a room for a night, in English, and the receptionist replied in perfect English. He then took out a strange currency from the small bag he had brought with him. The woman gave him a card as she would in my old world, and a room number. He walked back over to us, and lead us to the room.
“Shouldn’t we go looking for them?” I asked once we had closed the door to the room.
Arden shook his head, “They’re probably going to stop here for the night, and find another energy line to open a portal.”
“Energy line?” I asked.
“It’s a place where portals are made easier,” Brook replied. “Some can make one easily without one, but most have trouble with it. The ones who kidnapped Storm must have trouble making portals because otherwise they would have already been long gone. The only reason why they would stop here is that they’re too tired to make another portal.”
Storm was so close, but it was also smart to wait and see where they lead us. And they probably had a ton of security measures in place. So we would bide our time, and wait until there was a better opportunity to get him back.
Everyone was getting ready for bed, so I volunteered to do first watch. Camden looked like he was going to argue that I should rest, but instead said, “I’ll take the second watch.”
I nodded, letting him think I was going to let anyone else take a watch. I wouldn’t sleep anyway, and I didn’t want any of them witnessing my nightmares. But he wouldn’t let me take first watch if I disagreed.
Everyone soon fell asleep, and I was left awake and restless. I couldn’t sit still. So I decided to do some exercises. I was still recovering from doing no activity, and having little food. I needed my strength back if I wanted to catch the kidnapper.
I tried to keep my breathing quiet but was quickly winded. So I took a small break to get a drink of water from the bathroom. When I saw myself in the mirror I flinched. I looked horrible. There were bags under my eyes, and my hair was flat and greasy with filth. I hadn’t brushed or showered since Storm had been taken. So I started the shower, making sure it was cold, and started to peel off my clothes, the suit a lot harder to take off.
The shower was freezing cold, and extremely refreshing. Although I had to use the tiny hotel soaps it was still nice to be clean. Wash off all things from yesterday, and renew my determination. I would not let them take him. Not my family. Never my family.
I turned off the shower, grabbed a towel, and looked at myself again. This was me. I was still tired, and angry, but I wouldn’t give up. My blue eyes were burning with defiance and determination. I summoned my wings to look at them. They were beautiful, mostly red and orange with white and blue fire at the ends of them. I got dressed in my suit and strapped on two daggers. That was all I could really conceal under normal clothes since we still didn’t want to be noticed.
I took one last look in the mirror before I walked out, empowered once again. I had confidence in my abilities to track and find Storm and the people who took him. I had friends who were willing to help me and an Aqaem who had haywire powers.
I could do this and no one would stop me.
Sorry for the late update. I was really busy on Sunday and didn't have the time to update. Hope you enjoy!