The Guardians - Between the Worlds (Book 2)

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Summary

After Lily made her choice, she realizes that it was not really what she wanted. She has to face a lot of hard situations to gain the courage to make the right choice, one which will break her heart.

Genre:
Scifi / Fantasy
Author:
lsteffie
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
12
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1: The Unity

Addison walks in front, accompanied by Brook, Abby, and Maxine, while Alice and Gloria start an argument about the sun and the People’s World, one on the others don’t want to be a part of.

Addison ties up her long and blond hair, under Abby’s jealous eyes, who had always been envious of her gorgeous hair. Abby’s different. She’s the type of person who thinks only of herself, and when something doesn’t turn out for her she spreads negative energy around. About Maxine, well, she’s the type of person who wants to make everyone happy. Her dark skin color made her beautiful without too much effort. She competed with Addison on this point, who spread beauty around without trying.

“How long are we going to walk?” asks Maxine carrying her legs.

“We’re walking for only six days. Are you a Soldier or what? Stop whining!” Addison cuts her off.

“My dear, you should know that even if we are Soldiers, we still need a break from time to time because we don’t have any idea when or where we are going to arrive”, says Leo, trying to stand up for Maxine.

Addison looks confused at him, wondering since when someone of a masculine sex doesn’t agree with her. She feels offended and she remains without reply, so she walks away without saying anything more.

Leo smiles with the corner of his mouth and puts his hand through his light brown hair, which was still intact after almost a week of walking through sand and hot weather. His light brown eyes seem yellowish in the light of the afternoon’s sun. He walks in line with Richard and Sam, who had shown the rest of them their speed and jumping powers. They’re now guarding Leonor, who had made a hell from their journey these days, trying to escape a couple of times.

If you look from a distance, the group seems to be a pleased and dynamic one, but when you come closer it feels some kind of a tension. The one between Lily and Isaac. Lily had been avoiding Isaac since day two, but she didn’t really want that. She had no idea what she wanted. All that she knew was that she had felt this gap in her stomach since her journey started.

“What’s up with you today? You didn’t sleep next to me last night” Isaac tells her while he walks with his head in the ground.

“I didn’t sleep at all…”

“Is something that you should tell me?”

“It’s not this…”

“Really?”

And there’s again the well-known silence. Lily wants to explain to him what she’s feeling, for she has no intention to hurt him, but she doesn’t know what she truly feels.

“Don’t ironize me. I feel weird for a couple of days.”

“You’re acting weird for a couple of days. Specifically, since the second day when we left. If you wanted to stay behind, why did you even come with us?”

“You don’t know what I wanted! Stop assuming that you do!”

“Oh, so you yell at me now? Just forget it, Lily! Talk to me when you know what’s happening to you.”

Isaac joins the boys, leaving Lily with the words unsaid, but also the last one in line. She feels that she’s about to cry, but she doesn’t know the reason for sure. She wasn’t bothered by Isaac’s attitude as she should have been, but she was still about to cry, feeling a weird energy, gathered inside her for some time, which was just waiting to burst out and explode.

“What’s up with you two?” Brook asks her.

Lily looks at her perplexed.

“It’s a weird tension… I don’t know. I don’t want to make him angry or sad or to hurt him, but I need space.”

“Do you regret that you’ve come with us? Maybe you should have stayed back at the Base…”

“I don’t regret it. And I couldn’t have just stayed there. I couldn’t leave you guys alone…”

“If you feel better when you’re telling yourself this, then so be it.”

“What does this mean?”

“Lily… you struggled a lot to make the decision to come with us. If you really wanted to come here, you wouldn’t have thought that much about it…”

“Brook, I wanted to come! For you, for Isaac…”

Brook nods. She doesn’t understand her anymore. Lily had always been a strange person, but now when she couldn’t even understand herself, she couldn’t ask for the others to do it.

While the Guardians are heading to the Unity, with the sun heating their bodies, the soldiers feel the earth shaking under their feet. They hear an awful noise from far away, something that seems a loud bang. They look up, then at the horizon, but there’s nothing to see, so they can’t tell where it’s coming from.

“What if it comes from out Base?” asks Gloria.

“My dear, we’re walking for six days! I don’t think so!” Addison answers her with a superior air.

“I believe that it comes from where the unity should be. Maybe they’re doing some tests”, Leo takes the word.

“Let’s hurry up”, says Lily. “From wherever it comes, I don’t think it’s good.”

“Of course that’s not good! It’s a fucking explosion!” speaks Addison.

Lily turns to her, grinding her teeth. She looks at her with a desperate feeling of plucking her long hair and giving it to Abby, who certainly needed more of it. Since they had left, Addison had something to argue with every single person who was there. Now that Lily had her tension prepared to explode, a comment like this can start the discontent gathered in six days.

“I believe that we have a problem”, says Lily seriously.

“Of course that we have a problem because if we didn’t have one we wouldn’t have been walking all the way to the Unity! Because one of us thought about starting a revolt…”

“I believe that you and I have a serious problem. As far as I can remember, you took part of that revolt as well, didn’t you? Do you regret the decision of supporting the winning side?”

Addison stops for a second, shows her big teeth in a large and poisonous smile, and she steps in front of Lily.

“It wasn’t as I had a choice. But good Guardians have died in that revolt. And we didn’t stay back to handle the mess, but we left to the Unity. Do you ever think of what we left behind us? Or do you ever think that maybe it was better if you haven’t discovered that they were controlling our chips?”

“I know damn well that it wouldn’t have been better if I hadn’t found out about that!”

“So you’re saying that you don’t have a problem that the Guardians have died during the revolt?”

“Don’t put words in my mouth!” shouts Lily angrily.

She approaches her face to Addison’s, who seems extremely calm and calculated. But Lily it’s on the point of breaking again and, when Addison laughs in her face, she pushes her. Addison laughs again, and then she suddenly hits Lily with her fist in the face. A loud crack makes Lily put her hand on her nose, and she hits her with her leg, making her fall down. On her trying to get up fast, Addison leaves a cloud of dust behind her.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” asks Brook snapping out. “We went down this road to make a good thing, not to divide on our way!”

“Some of us may regret the leaving”, grumbles Addison.

Lily rushes to hit her again, but Alice stops her in time. She pulls her blouse and stands in front of her.

“Enough!” she tells her.

Addison keeps walking and laughing, while Lily’s boiling on the inside, wiping the blood off her face.

“Now I’m the bad guy here?” she asks unpleased.

“No, it’s just that you started this fight”, answers Alice.

“Me?”

“You hit her…” continues Brook.

“Yeah, but she broke her nose”, continues Gloria.

Brook and Alice turn at her, as a sign that she should better shut up and stop pouring gas on the fire.

“Addison had a problem with each of us since we left, and now you tell me that I’m the one to blame because I’m speaking for everyone?” says Lily resentful. “If you didn’t have the courage to tell her that you can’t stand her behavior, this doesn’t mean that I will shut up! It’s time someone does something about this.”

“I agree”, says Leo approaching. “But not by violence among us. Let’s focus on our mission.”

Lily makes a face, but her nose hurts her, so she touches it gently, wiping some blood drops from her face.

The evening comes soon, and they find a shelter near some other ruins, but only when the darkness keeps them from moving any further. While Alice prepares some food, with the help of the Magician’s energy, and Leo, Sam, and Richard are looking for some good place to sleep, Lily looks at Addison with anger. But she’s sleeping, near Brook and the other two girls.

Isaac is walking around, trying somehow to get closer to Lily, who has been avoiding him since the incident. Finally, he sits next to her.

“Are you okay?”

“It’s good that you didn’t wait until tomorrow to ask me this. Do you have the same opinion as Addison? This is why you didn’t say anything and supported me?”

“Hey. I didn’t come here to fight. I came here to apologize. For this morning… I didn’t mean to speak like that”, he says grabbing her hand.

“Well, we are all tensioned. We’ve been walking for some time, and we’re tired. It’s normal to be like this, and Leo is right. I shouldn’t have pushed her. I would have avoided this”, she says touching her nose.

Isaac cuddles next to her and Lily lets her head on his shoulder. She wonders why she doesn’t feel like in the beginning, like the first night she did this thing.

“I don’t know what’s coming next, but I want you to know that I will always support your opinion.”

“Even when I’m wrong? I don’t want this.”

“Then I will warn you. But you’re right with Addison. She’s very…”

“Annoying”, Lily completes him.

The wind starts blowing slowly, bringing sand on the food Alice had made for the next day. She didn’t have enough energy to make some more, so she covers them with her arms, grumbling some swearing. Isaac grabs Lily into his arms.

“You know, I want things to be fine between us. I know that you came here for me and I appreciate this. I should have chosen my words wisely.”

He’s waiting for an answer from her, but it doesn’t come. She seems to be falling into a deep thinking, and she winces when Isaac puts his palms on her face and turn it to him.

“Hey.”

“Sorry. I was just thinking.”

She wanted to tell him that she was thinking about what Addison had said to her, at the Base, at the people who remained there, but when she opens her lips, he catches them into a kiss.

“Addison is not right. You are”, he whispers to her.

It’s silence soon, and the Guardians fall asleep, except Leo and Brook, because it’s their turn to guard Leonor. Lily feels Isaac’s breath on her head, for she’s leaning on him. She’s wondering what is wrong with her because she wasn’t feeling those love shivers next to him anymore. But still, she knew that she needed to be here, and she didn’t regret the decision of coming with him. Or maybe just a little, deep down inside her soul, but she wouldn’t admit that because she would have felt horrible. For him, for all those around her, but especially for her. When Isaac falls into a deep sleeping, she carefully puts away his hand and she heads to Brook and Leo.

“I’ll stay with her. You guys can sleep.”

“You can’t sleep?” Brook asks.

“Not really. And since I don’t have anything better to do with my time…”

“I agree to this”, says Leo and turns around to sleep.

Brook is a little suspicious, but she lies down too.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay with you?”

“Don’t worry. She won’t escape during my watch.”

It’s silence soon. Lily hears just her breathing but, at some point, Leonor coughs, making her wince.

“Did I scare you?”

“As if you care”, answers Lily ironically.

She hated her with all her heart, and there were a lot of moments when she imagined her hitting her like she did with Zoltan.

“You know, you amazed me with your courage to take the situation into your own hands. You and Dean. People should consider you heroes, but it seems that you didn’t accomplish what you wanted.”

“We didn’t want to be like you’re saying. We wanted freedom, just like the other Bases have.”

“Some of them. A few. When they will find out what you have done, the groups will divide. It won’t stay like this. It will be a war. And when the time comes, you remember that you created it.”

Lily trembles. She didn’t want any of these, but she never thought that it was going to come so far. So, hearing Leonor, it made perfect sense what she was saying.

“Do you think that the Unity will accept what you have done? They will punish you!”

“The Unity has created the Bases and the rules! And rules should be for everyone! Why one of us were forbidden to have feelings and we were controlled by chips, and others still live in harmony? Where are the rules? You with the other Bases made your own rules!”

Leonor starts laughing hard.

“My dear Lily, are you that naïve? Oh, but you are. Because you thought that by getting close to Dean, who was under Tamara’s protection, you will have access to some important information. Do you know what I don’t understand? Why Zoltan didn’t kill you. Because I see that you had no problem with doing that to him.”

“This wasn’t my plan! But I couldn’t let him kill Dean! You are the real murderers!”

“Yeah, Dean… Everything was about him at that particular moment, wasn’t it? You tell that to yourself before you go to sleep. Oh, but wait. Why don’t you sleep? Are there any thoughts troubling you? From what I’ve seen these days, you don’t really want to be here.”

“Stop telling me this!” Lily snaps.

He shouting wakes up Brook and Leo, who stand up dizzily.

“What’s with this noise?” asks Brook.

“Did she run again?” continues Leo.

“No, but I can’t promise you that we will arrive with her in one piece is she doesn’t shut the hell up!” shouts Lily.

“Enough. I’ll guard her. You should take some air or walk around to clear your thoughts”, says Brook.

Lily stands up angrily, putting her hands through her hair. She takes a deep breath, trying to calm down, and wondering why she was becoming angrier day by day. The memory of Zoltan standing on Dean crosses her mind, and she finds herself squeezing her fists so tight, that her nails cut her skin.

“Ah”, she says and comes back to reality.

She looks at her palms terrified, and she realizes that she needs to calm down. She wonders what is wrong with her, once again. When the sun rises, she’s in the same position. On her mind keep rolling the night with the revolt, but some events from before that too. Words and images cross her mind, and her heart is beating fast.

“Lily.”

The images keep rolling in her mind, and she feels her cheeks wet. Hatred? Sadness? Misunderstanding?

“Lily, why are you crying?”

She winces when Brook touches her.

“I’m not crying. “

“No, of course not. The sunrise bothers your eyes? It’s morning. You haven’t moved.”

“Let’s wake the others up and get the hell out of here.”

“Lily, they’re awake.”

She turns around and sees the others getting ready. Isaac throws her a cold look and puts on his backpack. When he passes by her, he puts her backpack in her arms as well. She’s concerned because she was expecting him to come and ask what was wrong, just like he did every single morning. But he doesn’t do that anymore because he’s tired of it.

“What’s with you?” Leo asks Isaac.

“I don’t really know what to tell you. Lily’s acting weird, and all I can understand from her behavior is that she regrets her decision of coming with us. With me.”

“I think that you should talk to her.”

“I think that she will talk to me when she feels like doing it.”

Their steps walk them through the heat further, and Lily feels Leonor’s eyes on her back. She suddenly turns around to her.

“No”, says Gloria pulling her sleeve.

“What no?”

“Your thoughts didn’t let me sleep all night! And they won’t let me focus now wither. You want to provoke Leonor.”

“So what? We will eventually arrive with her at the Unity and everything will be over. What if they won’t believe us? What if… I don’t know… what if they’ll punish us?”

Leonor starts laughing, but Addison pushes her with a leg in her butt.

“Move! I won’t waste my time waiting for you! What the hell is so funny?”

Lily pushes Gloria away and grabs Leonor’s arm. Addison looks weird at Lily, but then she raises her eyebrow and says:

“She’s all yours.”

Now the tension is not between Lily and Addison, but between Lily and Leonor.

“Tell me, what do you know about the Unity? It’s someone infiltrated there, right? What’s going on? Why no one takes any measures? Did they know what you were doing? They know what the other Bases are doing? Tell me everything!”

“You’ll see!”

“You will tell me now!”

“You want to know all of it! If you haven’t had this mad will to do everything by yourself, maybe there would have been a lot of Guardians alive now! When you will look into the mirror, you will see the faces of the ones who had died! Including Zoltan’s because you killed him with your own hands!”

“I will kill you too!” shouts Lily extremely angry.

She throws on her, while Addison keeps staring amused. Alice pulls her away, but she is pushed by Lily, who is again stopped by Brook, this time for good.

“We need her! We need to deliver her to the Unity! She’s the only one from the ones in charge who can confirm what really happened there! So don’t kill her too!”

Brook realizes that she had said those things more like an attack on her person than a simple fact because Lily’s staring at her shocked.

“I didn’t want to sound like this… I just wanted to…”

“You could have been the difference between the living and dying Guardians. If you wouldn’t interfere, they would have been alive now!” shouts Leonor, trying to make her go crazy.

She was revolted since she had heard Lily was the one who killed Zoltan, and to save Dean’s life, who she has considered him a traitor and a drawback from the beginning.

Lily puts her hand on her forehead.

“I will kill you someday”, she tells Leonor and moves forward.

Isaac grabs her hand though, shocked by her behavior.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You’re acting fucking weird!”

“You’re hurting me”, she replies with a mean look.

He realizes that he’s squeezing her too tight, so he lets her go.

“We need to talk. What’s happening…”

“With you”, was next, but Lily walks away from him. She rushes to be ahead of them some part of the way and, at some point, Addison catches up with her.

“You have some anger issues”, she states.

“What do you want? Does either of you think that we’re taking this woman there where is a possibility that they are on her side? We have a problem! No, you have a problem! Haven’t you heard what she said? Her voice? She knows something! We keep going like sheep, but when we get there what the hell do we do if things are not as pink as we think?”

“Well, we do what you do the best. We start a revolt and…”

“If you’re going to say kill some Guardians I’m going to break your nose.”

“Like I did to you?”

“Shut the hell up!” shouts Lily rushing to walk away from her.

Addison starts laughing loud, feeling the situation is in her favor.

“Stop provoking her!” growls Brook.

She answers her with a funny face, and then she continues walking. All the agitation spreads away when they see a thick smoke coming from not so far away. We climb up on the hill and the smoke seems to be thicker, and they keep going to see what exactly had provoked it. The explosion came from this direction, and they’re soon all stupefied because in front of them is the Unity.

A big and thick building, heavy blue, with a lot of windows on the outside. They are broken now, and from the East side are falling pieces. The smoke was still thick, but the fire was out where it had made havoc. Lily speeds up to the destroyed building, and the others follow her closely.

“If you know something, now is the time to speak up!” shouts Addison at Leonor, taking everyone by surprise.

But she doesn’t answer, and she smiles instead, making everyone angry. Addison hits her in the face, making her smile disappear.

“You don’t tell her anything when she hits her?” asks Lily.

“I don’t think now’s the time…” says Alice.

But Lily is already a few steps further.

“What are you doing? Where are you going? It’s smoke in there! We have to wait for it to clear!” shouts Isaac running after her.

“Oh, now you’re talking to me?”

“What if there’s someone in there? What do we do?” asks Richard.

“We wait for the smoke to clear”, says Sam.

“Then we get the hell inside and see what happened because Leonor won’t talk”, continues Addison.

They get close to a secure distance to the building that used to be the Unity. Addison’s holding Leonor tight, squeezing her arm with her nails.

Lily feels something moving inside her belly. She realizes that she’s going crazy and she needs to calm down quickly and control herself. She sits next to Isaac, who’s looking at the disastrous image in front of his eyes.

“Isaac, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… I’m confused, and this long road has exhausted me. Physical and mentally. I’ve never been out so much… I know that you didn’t either, and…”

“Lily, I don’t need your excuses. I get it that you don’t know what’s up with you”, he says touching her hand. “I’m not mad at you or anything, but you drag me on the edge. You confuse me too.”

“I know, I’m sorry…”

“I believe that’s better for you if you think for some time at what you really want. I noticed that your behavior has changed. It’s clear that you don’t want to be here…”

“Stop telling me that! I don’t want to hear this from anyone else! I want to be here because if I didn’t want to I wouldn’t be here! What is it so difficult to understand?”

“You’re an honest person and you wanted to do the right thing by me. And I really appreciate this. But I’ve seen you how slow you made that decision and how you jumped in Dean’s arms when he came out from the Base, and I…”

But he stops because he doesn’t want to say anything that he will regret later or that will hurt Lily.

“Look. I know what I want. But you don’t know what you want. I’m here, and you’re just with your mind far away. Think about this for a while, establish your priorities, and when you’ll know what you really want, just tell me.”

“But Isaac…”

“It seems that I understand you better than you understand yourself.”

She keeps protesting, but he stands up.

“Just tell me when you know what you feel for me because I know how I feel about you.”

Lily feels lost, and she wonders why Isaac chose this moment to tell her this. But he had his limits, and he saw that Lily was acting strange and different near him. There was always a tension between them, and when he touched her she was too tensed. Maybe it was the tiredness, maybe the road through the freedom they had never been on before, or maybe it was something else. Or someone. But he was bothered by this thought. Even though, it has crossed his mind a couple of times.

“The smoke is almost gone. I believe that we can go inside now”, says Sam getting up.

The others follow him to the Unity, frightened about what they were going to find in there. Lily and Isaac are both depressed because the little talk they had broken them down. When they step inside, they find a lot of smoke, and the pieces from the building are still falling on some places because of the explosion.

“God, what happened here?” asks Alice stepping forward through the dust.

“There are noises at the upper floor. Maybe there’s someone alive” says Gloria.

“And what if are the ones who did this? Here was not a revolt. It should have remained someone around if it was. Something happened. They’re all gone. Where is everyone?” asks Richard.

Lily steps up on the stairs leading to the next floor, wanting to see what was with the hits that were coming from there. The others follow her, but when they see her stunned in front of a door, they block out.

“Oh, no! What happened? Who did this?” she shouts.

She covers her mouth and she leans on the doorstep.

“What is it? Lily?’ asks Brook going next to her.

When she sees what Lily sees, she runs inside. Dozens of bodies are lying on the ground, without breath, children, adults, old people, and the blood flow at her feet. Brook and Addison rush to move the bodies, looking for some survivors. Sam pulls out a woman between the wreckage, who is crying for help.

“Are you okay?” he asks her.

“They attacked us…”

“Who?”

“The ones from Base A… They busted in here, attacked us, killed everyone… They destroyed everything.”

“Why would they do this?”

“Sam, leave her alone! Stop pressing her!” shouts Richard.

They pull up the woman, checking her wounds. They are not fatal, but they are severe.

“What’s your name?” Alice asks her.

“Betty”, she replies.

“Betty, we will get you out of here. I will use the healer on you. You will be fine. Is anyone alive in here?” Alice asks her while she’s looking for the healer.

“I don’t know… I don’t think so… at least in here. I’ve hidden under all these bodies when things got out of control. We had some traitors, because they entered out of the blue, and they shouldn’t have passed the gate.”

Alice heals Betty, while she struggles to tell the story. Lily climbs up the stairs because she still hears the noises from the upper floors.

“I think there still alive. I can hear noises.”

“I’m coming with you”, says Brook.

Addison and Alice remain with Betty and Leonor, and the rest of them head to the upper floors to look for survivors.

“Be careful at the doors. There are some that won’t open because the systems are broken. Don’t electrocute yourselves”, Betty warns them.

They step carefully, but the smoke and dust get thicker.

“It’s coming from here”, says Lily.

“Oh, God!” screams Gloria.

Among the smoke, they find a woman beating in a window desperately. It’s soundproofed because they can’t hear what she’s saying, and she’s hitting it with a metallic pipe. She’s dirty and bloody, and behind her are a woman and a man. When he looks closely, Leo makes a terrifying sound.

“Kids! There are children! We need to take them out! How do we take them out?”

Behind the adults were about seven crowded children, terrified and dirty as well. The woman screams frightened, trying to explain them something, but she can’t make herself understood.

Sam, Richard, and Isaac grab a metallic table, and they rush to hit the window with it hard, trying to break it and set them free. Leo stops near them because he hears another sound, other than the guys are making with their hits.

“Something’s not right”, he says.

But no one hears him because everyone is focused on saving the Guardians beyond the window. Lily approaches the stairs and looks up. She hears a sharp sound there, like a crying for help. She feels goosebumps and wants to go up.

When the boys break the window, the woman screams terrified, pushing the children out:

“They’re still in here! A part of the stayed behind to take the equipment!”

A broken cable falls on the electric machines, and a loud bang makes the room shake. Everything is covered with smoke, and the fire spreads quickly. They hear shouting from downstairs, and they all rush to get there.

“Lily, Brook, someone! They found us!” shouts Addison.

They fight the six Guardians who had appeared on their floor, but they are soon hit and put down. The smoke makes everyone confused, and when the others get to that floor there starts a fight. One of the traitor Guardians throws something that looks like a grenade in the middle of the room, and when it explodes, Richard, Abby, and Maxine fall on the ground. Sam and Brook are thrown away on their rush to save their lives, and Lily runs after one of the Guardians, trying to stop him. Again, another explosion blocks her way to them, so she needs to back off.

She rushes to help her friends, lifting Brook up. She’s still breathing, and she opens her eyes soon.

“Isaac!” shouts Lily.

“I’m here!” he answers coming in a rush.

“Is everyone okay?” asks Leo.

Addison and Alice appear full of blood, Sam is helped by Alice, and Gloria keeps spinning around the room. The children are fine, protected by two of the adults.

Richard, Abby, and Maxine are lying dead, and so does one of the women who they had saved earlier.

“No!” says Brook. “No!”

“Leonor? Leonor!” shouts Addison from the top of her lungs.

“Where the hell is she?” asks Isaac.

“They’ve taken her”, whispers Betty huskily. “They were on her side, her people…”

Lily tries to keep it together. They had lost friends again, and she felt that everything was going crazy.

“Let’s get out of here!” shouts Addison.

“But we need to help them!” Alice stops her.

“There’s no one left to help! They’re dead! And if we don’t get out now, we are as good as dead if something blows up again!” she shouts again.

The fire spreads out, and the Guardians rush to get out. Lily is the last in line, and she prepares to get out when she hears again that sharp sound. This time it is like a loud crying, a child’s crying. She hears it loud and clear, and she realizes that there’s someone still alive. Her consciousness doesn’t let her just walk away, so she turns back. The others don’t notice that she’s gone because the smoke and the rush make them be focused on the way out.

Lily climbs up the smoky stairs, putting her blouse on her face so she could breathe. She gets to the next floor, shouting and walking around.

“Here!” shouts a child’s voice.

Between the falling pieces of the ceiling, she sees a person. She’s a girl, no more than seven, who stays without moving in front of her. Lily grabs her hand, rushing to get her out of there.

“No! Wait! We can’t leave!” she says.

“Oh, yes we can! If we don’t leave now, we will both die in here! “

“But we can’t leave Lysa behind!” says the child crying.

Lily remains stoned. The girl pulls her hand and drags her in the corner of the room. There, another child is lying on the floor, with her legs caught under a metallic wardrobe.

“Oh, God no!” whispers Lily.

“You have to help her, please!”

“Okay, okay!” says Lily trying to think clearly. “Get down on the ground! Just wait there, and I will handle her!”

The child listens to her, and Lily rushes to see if the other one is still alive.

“Hey, can you hear me?” she asks her grabbing her head between her palms.

The girl opens her eyes.

“Just get me out of here… please.”

Lily is overwhelmed with despair, and she knows that she needs to get both of them out of thereof die trying.

“Lysa, it’s going to be fine. I will get you out of here. I will pull up the wardrobe, but it will hurt you. I need you to be strong for me, okay?”

“Okay”, says the little Guardian.

She grabs the fallen wardrobe and pulls it strong. Lysa screams out of pain, and the other girl does the same.

“No! Don’t get up! Stay there!” shouts Lily.

While she struggles to free Lysa, she’s trying to distract her from the pain.

“Lysa, what’s the name of your friend? You’ve been very brave.”

“She’s my sister, Jasmine.”

“Lysa and Jasmine, such beautiful names.”

Lily finally moves the wardrobe, takes Lysa on her arms and heads to Jasmine.

“Put this on your face!” she says to Jasmine giving her blouse to her. “And don’t let go of my hand!”

They head to the way out through smoke and fire, avoiding the falling pieces of the building.

“Go back! Damn it! We can’t go that way anymore!”

She knows that they can’t get out of there because the door was covered by ruins. Everything was collapsing around them, and the fire was spreading all over the room. Lily decides to run to the upper floors and, even if she felt she was running out of the air, she was concerned about the two children, who were keeping it together better than her. She continues to step forward, leaving the fire behind.

“Are you okay?” asks Brook when they all get out from the Unit.

“Yes” answers Leo.

“The kids?” asks Alice.

“Yes… I can’t believe that we’ve lost Abby, Richard, and Maxine”, says Gloria starting to cry.

“Lily? Lily!” shouts Isaac.

“Where the hell is Lily?!” screams Brook standing up.

Brook runs terrified to the Unity, but she’s put down by Leo.

“You are not getting in there! You will die!”

“But Lily’s in there!”

Isaac starts running to the entrance, and no one is there to stop him. When he arrives at the door, he is thrown back by another explosion inside the building.

“Isaac!” shouts Alice running at him.

He’s lying fainted on the ground, and Sam and Leo pull him away from the falling pieces.

“Come on, wake up!” says Alice slapping his face.

“He’s alive”, says Leo.

Isaac opens his eyes, stand up straight, and coughs after he screams.

“No! No! No!”

Sam holds him tight to prevent another attempt to run, and Leo blocks Brook’s way, while she’s falling on her knees. She touches the sign from her ribs, and she feels it itches her.

“It’s not good! If it was good I wouldn’t feel this! We need to do something!”

“We can’t get in there! We will all die! Don’t you see how many of us are dead?” shouts Addison.

“But this is Lily we’re talking about!”

“And she wasn’t fast enough! The ones that are not strong enough die in this world! You should have known this by now!”

She doesn’t get to continue her speech, because Isaac throws on her, hitting her with the head on the ground.

“Say that again and you will be the one who will die now! Lily is strong, stronger than either of us, and some know that damn well!”

“And if you’re right, why the hell are you so desperate because she didn’t get out of there?” she cuts him off.

Sam pulls him off her and drags him away.

“This is not happening… We’ve lost so many Guardians… We didn’t find the leaders… The Unity is destroyed, Leonor is gone… It’s a mess”, continues Brook among the tears.

Leo touches her shoulder, trying to calm her.

“The sign. What do you feel? If you don’t feel anything…”

“It itches me. She’s alive. But if we don’t help her, I don’t know how long she’s going to hold.”

“We have no choice. We have to wait until the fire stops again. Then we will get in there.”

The minutes pass too slow, they seem like hours, and the panic installs when Brook doesn’t feel anything at all.

“No! No! I refuse to believe this!” she says jumping to her feet.

Lily falls on her knees, and her sight gets foggy when she gets with the kids on the roof. There, the wind is blowing fast, but the fire didn’t reach the last floors because they were not destroyed completely and the left protections had done their job. They had kept the fire under control on the upper floors. She sees Lysa and Jasmine alive and that’s enough for her, for she falls and hits with her head from the ground.

She wakes up without knowing how long it’s been, feeling some small palms on her face. Jasmine was trying to wake her up.

“Hey! I don’t know your name! Don’t die! You didn’t tell me your name!”

Lily coughs and makes a long sound.

“Lily”, she says. “My name is Lily.”

“Lily, are you okay?”

“Now I am. I think so”, she says trying to stand up.

She heads to the edge of the roof, where she sees the smoke dispelling at the first floors. She sees something else too. The others walking around, and then she recognizes Isaac, who was fighting Sam and Leo on his attempt to pass further.

Lily realizes that Isaac is about to do a stupid thing, and she knows damn well that she doesn’t deserve him going on a suicidal mission to rescue her. She clears her voice and starts shouting loud.

“Hey! I’m here!”

She starts waving from the edge of the roof, trying to catch the attention of her friends.

Addison notices the silhouette and stands up shocked.

“This…” she says.

“What?” asks Gloria.

“Just look.”

They all look up where Addison is pointing, besides the three guys who are still fighting, ready to hit each other.

“Damn it, Isaac! Look up there!” shouts Brook.

They all turn their looks, and that’s the moment when Isaac puts his hands on his head. He feels released, and his eyes are full of tears.

“Damn it, Lily” he whispers. “I told you!”

“Aha! That’s why you reacted like that! Because you were so damn sure about her surviving skills”, comments Addison.

But Isaac doesn’t feel the need to hit her anymore, and he shows a sincere and big smile.

“I will come down when the smoke is gone!” Lily shouts.

They have no idea what she’s yelling up there, but they can figure it, so they keep waiting there for the next hour.

“I thought I lost her”, says Brook to Leo.

“Isaac was right. She’s a badass.”

“She really is”, she laughs.

Their eyes meet and Brook puts her hands on her face to wipe the tears of joy. Leo wipes her with his sleeve, and she blushes.

“You had some ash…” he says.

“Oh”, she replies.

Their intimate moment is interrupted by a sound of excitement, made by Isaac and Alice at the same time. They turn around and see them running to the door, where Lily appears with Lysa on her arms and holding Jasmine’s hand.

“Are you okay?” Isaac asks her, staring at every inch of her body.

Alice takes Lysa, and Gloria rushes to take Jasmine. Isaac hugs Lily, and she hugs him back, so tight then she never did before. She feels his heart beating so fast, and she starts crying.

“I thought you were dead! How, and… why?”

“I heard them, so I went back.”

“I never thought that you will somehow go back… But you saved them, and you are fine. You’re the only person who could have done something like this!” says Isaac.

Lily lets go of Isaac when she hears Brook’s voice. She gently touches his face.

“We’re alive”, she whispers.

Brook jumps into her arms, and they feel their bond getting stronger. Something moves inside them, and the others notice Lily’s sign getting a golden color. And so does Brook’s.

“She’s an anomaly of nature” whispers Addison.

When the tension fades away, Lily looks around insecure.

“We’ve lost a lot, haven’t we?”

“Yes, but we saved some lives as well”, Leo answers her.

A long sigh comes from Alice. She hands a blouse to Lily. They all sit on the hot sand, trying to figure out what to do next. How were they supposed to go back to the Base like this? They would have disappointed the others. But they were forced to do this, because the traitor Guardians were planning something, from what Betty was telling them.

“I’ve heard them talking. They want to create a new Unity. This is why they destroyed this one. And they want to see how many Bases are on their side. The ones which don’t agree with the rules, chips, and the rest, will be slaughtered. They want to be the only rulers. They don’t want democracy. I was a part of the council.”

“Weren’t you the ones who created the rules without feelings and with chips?” asks Brook.

“No… They gained life during years in one of the Bases, and things got out of our control.”

“So you knew…”

“We found out too late. We’ve sent people to check what happened, but it seemed that some of them were traitors. Now I really understand what was going on there. What’s still going on. We need to contact the other Bases and to warn them.”

“For this, we need to get to our Base. We walked six days to get here. We revolted and destroyed all in a battle.”

While Alice heals the injured ones, Betty and Brook were telling their stories. So, this is how they understood that they were facing a bigger problem than they thought. There was a huge revolt about to be born, and if the bad guys were a lot more than the good guys, then it was going to be a problem.

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