Lux Mori

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Chapter 47

Kort sulked as he lay across the sofa in Ronin’s space. He had never felt so lost, so dejected, and he wondered why he’d even bothered going along with his brother’s plan. Sure, Ronin could be ruthless, but why couldn’t he just be more like Kai? Why didn’t he have the courage to stand up to him and do the right thing? Even now after telling Ellie the truth, after having the opportunity to help her find the real Kai and get him to safety, he’d chosen instead to sit alone in Ronin’s room and wallow in his own sadness.

“Get up, brother! Get up! We need to prepare ourselves for departure.” Ronin was almost giddy as he entered the room. “Go get the girl, too. We’re going to need her out of those lower quadrants soon.”

“She’s not going to be coming with us.” Kort was short in his response.

“Well, of course, she is. We need her. She may be a barren wasteland, but she can at least help to grow some food for us,” Ronin said absent-mindedly as he gathered odds and ends throughout the room.

“No, she’s not coming,” Kort replied.

Ronin stopped in his tracks and glared furiously at his brother. “What do you mean she’s not coming? I told you that we needed her! Now, do as I say and go and get her!”

“I can’t go and get her,” Kort replied, raising his voice. “She’s decided to go Topside and find Kai.”

Ronin’s fury boiled over. He raced over to where Kort lay, pulling him to his feet and slamming him up against the wall. His hand tightened around his brother’s neck and he realized how fragile Kort was. He could simply squeeze the life from his body if he really wanted.

“What do you mean she’s gone to find Kai? For all she knows, you are Kai!”

Kort shook his head, struggling to breathe.

“You let her go, told her the truth, didn’t you?! You’re just as worthless as your twin!!” Ronin squeezed Kort’s neck even more tightly, his anger setting his eyes ablaze. “I can’t believe I ever relied on you!”

He slammed Kort’s head against the wall. Kort grabbed furiously at his brother’s hand trying to loosen his grip, but Ronin was much stronger than he appeared especially when he was being driven by rage.

Kort was convulsing, staring down at his brother when the sirens started blaring. It was a sound neither of them had heard before, indicating that there had been a breach leading into the compound. A breach from the outside. There were intruders in the underground.

Ronin’s eyes grew wide and he dropped Kort on the floor. Kort sat struggling to catch his breath, fearing both his brother and what these sirens could mean. Outside the doors to Ronin’s room, they could hear people running toward the perceived safety of their own spaces, crowding inside and locking their doors.

“I have to find Atlas,” Ronin said. “He has to turn the power off. We have to go now.” With that, he headed toward the office of the Resident Chief, pushing through the crowds of people who’d pooled in the corridor.

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