Tulip held onto Violet as they both stood back, out of the way and watched the scene unfold outside. All around them, the vast nothingness of space was littered with debris and destruction of the Torian ship that had sacrificed themselves to save their planet.
Her heart ached for the loss of so many good males. Each ship had a crew of almost three hundred. From what she heard the others on the bridge say, seven ships had sacrificed themselves to give Korom and Lorzarian a chance to save the planet.
Now, everyone stood by, waiting to see what the two brothers would do. Tulip wasn’t one to prey often, but now, she found herself repeating the same prayer over and over, hoping someone would hear her.
Please let them succeed. Please, let them be okay. Please.
Violet sobbed quietly in her arms, the dark red droplets of her tears staining the grey metal flooring at their feet. Tulip felt too numb to cry. Her emotions were too raw, too close to the surface to allow herself to succumb to any of them. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to pull herself back. And right now, Korom needed her to be strong. To have faith in him and wait until he gets back.
The minutes felt like hours as they waited. Usually, Korom’s mist could move at a blinding speed, but as Keel had said earlier, the energy weapon was still emitting a small amount of power. This would make it hard for them to move as quickly as they usually would.
As they waited, Bor spoke to Keel, his voice sounding raw and filled with emotion. “Which ships did we lose?”
Keel tapped on his screen for a moment, then said, “Captain Gros, Captain Lux, Captain Murdo, Captain Loro-”
“Loro? Are you sure?”
Keel simply nodded. “Yes, my Lord.”
Bor sagged, his head falling.
“Who is Captain Loro?” Tulip found herself asking with numb lips.
Bor turned to her, his face red with emotion.
“My brother. Freyna’s mate. God, what will I tell her. She is to have their baby any day now.”
Tulip felt the first tear slip from her eyes. Then another, and another. The flood gates had opened and there was no holding it back now.
Keel continued to speak. “Captain Loro was the first ship to attack the Garamores, my Lord. He led the charge that may have saved our planet. It was on his bravery that six other ships followed.”
Tulip couldn’t hear anymore. Not only was Freyna one of the most amazing women she had ever met, but she was family. A good friend, like a sister. The woman was so excited to start her family. She often spoke of her mate, always calling him Jujo, which meant beloved in the Torian language. That is why Tulip didn’t recognise the name. Just the thought of losing the man you love like that made it hard for Tulip to breath. She had to get out of there. Get away. Her mind had spiraled down a nasty path of vivid images of all those she loved dead or dying and she couldn’t stop it. Running out of the room, Tulip stumbled down the hallway, her lungs feeling tight and unable to take a deep enough breath. Her legs felt weak, her body shaking uncontrollably as she stumbled and fell to her knees. The tears flowed freely now as she felt the pain of each and every life lost today.
Strong arms scooped her up and lifted her to a broad chest. Tulip blinked and opened her eyes to see Bor carrying her down the hall.
“What… What are you doing?”
“Easy little sister of mine. I am taking you to medical to be with Lilly. Your body is lost in emotions right now. You need something to help you calm.”
“Panic attack,” Tulip mumbled as she allowed the huge king to carry her towards the medical suite.
“Thank you,” She whispered as he laid her down on the medical bed in the back of the room. All around her warriors lay on med beds with deep, ugly burns on various parts of their bodies. Lilly stood beside her bed, a look of weariness and determination in her bright blue eyes.
Tulip was vaguely aware of her sister giving her a shot in the arm, then Bor’s hushed voice as he told his mate what had happened.
“No, Bor. Please tell me you’re wrong about Loro.”
“No, my love. I wish I were, but it is true.”
“Oh, poor Freyne. She will be so heart broken.”
Tulip wasn’t sure what more was said after that. The drugs Lilly had given her were kicking in and her mind felt thick and foggy, lost in a puffy white cloud.
As her heart began to calm, the emotional tidal wave that had hit her like a hurricane easing back, Tulip began to process everything that had happened in a much clearer way.
Her thoughts took her to Korom, as they usually did. Worry filled her for the man she loved. Worry for Lorzarian, for how they would get this mission done. If they would be okay.
“Hey sis,” Lilly’s voice broke into her thoughts and she blinked up to see her sister smiling down at her, tears still shimmering in her eyes.
Tulip nodded, “I haven’t had a panic attack like that in years.”
“I know. I’m not surprised though. A lot happened today.”
“Are you okay?” Tulip asked.
Lilly gave her a weak smile. “Yeah. We lost three warriors today, but we saved a lot more. I can’t believe what happened to Loro. I’m worried about Freyna and how she will take the news. Bor wants to wait until this is all over before he tells her.”
Tulip nodded, her mind still feeling fuzzy and thick.
“Spot had babies,” Tulip blurted, not sure what else she could say.
Lilly grinned wide, “I heard. Bor told me about how brave Spot and his babies were.”
“I named mine Pearl. She’s really cute.”
At the sound of the tiny Spinner’s name, Tulip felt something move beside her. She looked down to see Pearl climb up the blanket and curl up next to her hand.
Lilly chuckled, “I met Pearl when you came in. She’s been by your side all the time. They’re so different to the other spinners with that pearly white shell of theirs.”
Tulip could hardly keep her eyes open anymore. She just gave her sister a smile, before letting out a long sigh and closing her eyes.
She wasn’t sure how long she slept for, but when she woke up again, the medical room was dim, a faint light glowing in the far corner.
Her mind felt clear again, her body more relaxed. Looking at the time, she was surprised to see that only an hour had passed.
“Korom,” She breathed, jumping out of bed and scaring poor Pearl into bouncing off the bed on the other side. Pausing a moment to let the dizziness fade, Tulip ran out of the medical room and bolted for the bridge.
When she entered, she saw Bor holding Lilly on his lap as they both sat in his large command seat in the center of the room.
Keel stood beside Violet, holding her hand. Rose was tucked against Tark’s chest, with the large warriors thick arm wrapped securely around her shoulders. They all stared at the massive view screen at the front of the ship.
Tulip followed their gaze to see a sight that almost brought her to her knees.
The huge Garamore ship had been ripped apart into tiny pieces that now drifted all around them. Frozen, disfigured corpses silently moved past the view screen.
“Korom?” Tulip whispered, frantically searching the room around her.
“Korom!” She called, her heart racing as panic began to creep in again. At this, everyone turned to see her standing there.
Lilly got up and ran over to her, pulling her into a tight hug.
“Where is he, Lilly?”
“I’m so sorry, Tulip-”
Tulip tore herself out of Lilly’s hold, stumbling back a few steps. “NO! No! Where is he? Please Lilly…. Tell me.”
Tears slipped from Lilly’s eyes as she reached for Tulip again, but Tulip stepped back, her body turning to ice.
“I’m so sorry,” Lilly began, wrapping her arms around her waist, “He didn’t make it out. Neither of them did. Korom and Lorzarian were unable to mist out of the ship before it blew. The Garamores powered up the weapon, trapping them onboard. They blew the ship to save the planet, but… They’re gone, Tulip. I’m so sorry.”