Warning: Pg-13 visual blood
What am I doing
What have I been doing
What should I be doing?
“Hello Salandra, my name’s Benjamin.” What an ugly pair of eyes. “We’ll be working on this wound of yours. Drowsiness is completely normal. I’ve given you some pain killers.”
“My uncle says it’s nothing bad you just need some stitches.”
The door opened.
“Niko can I talk to you?”
“Please refrain from going outside of the room. Some of my coworkers aren’t as nice as I am.” The doctor said as I felt his cold gloves gingerly touch my wound.
“What’s up Zac?”
Zac, Zac, what’s he doing here. I kind of missed Zac. I wince. Pain killers or not, I’m still feeling more than I’d like to.
“You can come back to Stonebridge with me. I want you to. We can find her a place until she heals.” He adds in a hushed tone.
He’s not happy with me. Why is Zac angry at me?
You blew people up doofus.
Yeah, but no one Zac cared about, he wasn’t even there. I didn’t realize he was that close to Niko.
It’s been a year.
I forget how much time has passed.
“No, I don’t want to go to Stonebridge.”
“…you don’t want to go to the safest place on this continent right now?”
“Yeah.” Nikolas shrugs nonchalantly in that holier than thou attitude of his. I used to find that attractive…a masochist response I suppose.
“You’ve learned absolutely nothing from this have you!? Niko we’re not mad or anything. We miss you! Jesse won’t say it, but he’s angry at you because he misses you.”
“No, no, they don’t miss me. I’m dead already to them. Actually I bet you most thought good riddance. Which, fine, it’s justified I’m a jerk.”
“Nikolas can you for once put your own safety first? Stop with these childish responses it’s not the time. Come back with me. Stonebridge is safe enough for all your antics.” A snap.
I watch as Niko slowly tenses up, coming to a stable decision that he holds in his fists.
“No, no, I’m done. I’m tired of the Dragons. I’m tired of the tiptoeing, I’m tired of being limited, restricted, I’m tired of the Hans, I’m -”
“Everyone is! You’re not alone in this! And if you’d take three seconds to sit down with us, you’d realize it sucks for all of us just as much as it does you. But together? We make it suck less.” It’s some desperate plea, but Niko can only see himself. Or maybe he can see everything, and just willingly chooses not to.
“Alec offered us sanctuary in Legacy Island II.”
Oh Niko, how spoiled.
I groan, which the doctor interprets as pain.
I’m as spoiled as he is, if not more.
Zac seems to break to Niko’s stubbornness. “It’s…well it’s not Stonebridge, but they’re a stubborn bunch. The Hans don’t have a lot of influence there.”
Zac wears his year differently than us. He’s used it well, look at him all strong and mature-like.
Still letting Niko walk all over him. But he’s noticed he’s speaking to a temper tantrum.
As if he can sense my thoughts, his eyes drift to me for the first time. There’s nothing in them. Just a little person observing me.
He’s not the same flirt there’s no longer any doubt. I wonder what he sees?
Does he still see who I was? Queenie. Like Nikolas seems to?
Or does he also see someone else entirely?
The doctor came between us with a superficial smile. “There it’s all done, bed rest for a few weeks okay?” He turned to the conversation. “The Gold Mansion is a nice place to live too. I’ve only been there twice. Alright! Uncle Alec, come with me. We’ll go get some blood bags for you and grandma.”
The vampire got up, heading to help the pink-haired woman do the same. The doctor stopped him.
“It’s better if we don’t risk bringing her with us. We don’t want to look any more suspicious then we already do. I can keep an eye on her as we go.” He reassured.
More like two eyes, two golden ones. I groan at my own drowsy humor.
I spare a few more glances to the vampire in the corner as the two leave. She wears her neutral face like a shield, while she grips her thighs to the bone.
Yes that’s hunger if I’ve ever seen it. Sure hope Mr.Doctor’s eyes can control something as primal as that.
All that’s left now is two boys having one last silent argument. Well…a boy and a man. Zac eventually conceded. It’s hard to try and help someone who doesn’t want it.
Niko turned away from Zac to come back to my eye level.
I turn and struggle on the hard surface. It’s at once to find a comfortable position that doesn’t pull at my wound and to avoid looking at him.
He’s going to give me these eyes you see.
The ones he started giving me when he learned my mom had cancer.
“Go to Stonebridge.” I waved a tired hand at him. I’m not feeling that drowsy anymore, but I’m living the drowsy.
“You’re on painkillers.”
I rolled my eyes and he laughed.
Stop it, don’t laugh.
Like she’s the only person with two eyes and some common sense, the other girl in the room speaks up.
“Boys, maybe we could give her the room for a few moments?”
I cast a look at the vampire leaning on the wall, her breathing oddly in line with mine.
The boys leave the room and I finally get myself up.
“You’re already looking better. I brought the clothes along so you’d have something to change into.” She kindly says.
“You have a gorgeous face.” I reply.
“Thank you! We’ll be right outside standing guard, take your time.”
Now I’m alone.
I gingerly touch the pad covering my wound.
I take off the horrid humid combination of beige and white. The unholy figurative chains.
In a small room.
I toss them across the room as far as I can. I molded them as I wanted. I rolled up the shirt and the pants. Small modifications to their conventional prison dress code. Those changes gave me strength then, a feeling of free will and rebellion. Now that pile of tissue is back to being a death sentence. I shiver.
As if on cue, my skin starts to burn and my insides scream as the tattoo moves again on my skin.
I fumble with the pile of clothing as the pain fades and a new pain begins to build.
I slip them on keenly aware of this small room.
Of the door it has.
Of its pale walls.
I’ve forgotten about the hungry vampire in the corner.
I’ve forgotten about the wound in my side starting to bleed again from my sharp movements.
Of the windows.
There are windows.
There’s a way to escape.
I grab a nearby stool, which are efficient at breaking windows.
Just as I’m remembering that this is a hospital, not the Hans, I feel movement behind me and I snap around, swinging my weapon against a head. Her body collapses on the bed.
It’s now a fight-or-flight combo.
The door opens, but the window’s already broken and I’m slipping through.
No one’s POV
“We’ve located the golden male. Do we proceed?”
“Headquarters, do we proceed?”
“Proceed. Rapidly. We may require backup.”
“She ran off?” Zac asked, looking at the mess Sal had left behind.
“I think Zyla might’ve tried something.” Niko remarked as Ashe checked the vampire’s breathing.
“Why didn’t she use the door?”
“She probably got spooked.” Ashlynn replied.
Niko moved to the window leaning inside slightly to see a trail of bloody footprints leading away.
“This is a lot more complicated than it needs to be.” Zac said, bracing himself to start a building wide search for the wounded Sal.
Alec came in then, a little out of breath. He saw the small drops of blood on the floor and checked his mother’s face. Thankfully she had no blood around her mouth.
“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have left, what happened?”
“Salandra ran off.” Ashlynn said, glancing at the broken window. “And so did Niko.”
“Benjamin is still getting the blood bags.” Alec muttered, attempting to find the two missing teens with his mind.
“I can teleport everyone in small groups, we don’t need to wait till everyone is here. I can teleport her to safety and do the same for everyone else as we f-” Zac’s voice caught in his throat, before he dazily uttered, “Not again…”
“Ok, ok…” Ashlynn muttered to herself as she took in the situation. Alec looked too surprised. They had to have defenses against his mind control. They were both too far away to manage to do anything before the man pressed the trigger again.
It was the perfect opportunity to use the trick she’d discovered a few months ago now.
She set up behind the man, spotting another of his friends on the side. She touched his shoulder, sending a jolt to his own astral form. When time resumed, the man, surprised by the sudden touch on his back, jerked and missed the shot.
Ashe and Alec dove for cover before the man could line up another one.
I followed the bloody footprints like I was following a trail of crumbs. The pale blank walls of the clinic kept bringing me back to the Hans laboratory. The endless corridors of the same bleak torture rooms. I’m not surprised that Sal ran. It’s hard to be surprised with anything Salandra does anymore. Last year kind of took the cake.
I snorted to myself.
“That’s pretty morbid self, lots of people died that day.” I muttered, noticing how the blood prints were less spaced out and smaller in size. I’m guessing she slowed down.
I looked up in time to spot a lazily drawn heart on the wall.
Yeah for sure.
“It has a maximum, but can painkillers really kill you? That seems so contradictory.” She said, her gaze leaving mine.
“Gosh Sal, did you really bust a window so you could come read the label of a tylenol bottle?” I said, feeling myself relax.
“Then again, if you ate too much broccoli your stomach wall would burst.” She said, blatantly ignoring me.
I moved forwards on my own, reaching for the bottle that was apparently getting more attention than I was.
Her hand jerked away and I froze.
“Do you think you know me?” It was a warning.
“Are you mad at me?”
“Am I? Hm” Salandra held her chin thoughtfully, setting the bottle down.
I know I came here to bring Salandra back, or well, that’s probably what my goal should be, but the counter was strangely inviting.
I climbed on it, feeling an illogical wave of tired again.
Tired, tired, always tired.
We aren’t safe here. We won’t be till we at least reach Legacy Island II. There’s no possible logical reason why this counter in a random corridor of what is probably a Hans friendly clinic should feel like the safer option right now.
Not safer just, less tiring?
“I piss off a lot of people these days, so…” I began, not really sure where I was even going with that.
“’These days’?” Salandra asked, flicking the bottle so it rolled off the counter. It hit the floor with a resounding clack.
I looked at her pointedly.
“Please, you’ve always pissed people off.” She rolled her eyes.
I smiled a bit. “True, but it’s worse now.” I added.
“Because you frequent people that actually tell you when you’re being dumb?”
“Hrm, probably. Are you one of those people now?” I asked.
Salandra turned then, giving me that familiar gaze people dubbed her the Ice Queen for. “I’ve always been that person.”
“I never really tried to get to know you did I?”
“Why the sudden interest now?” She continued, her eyes gluing me in place. “Hm, did my killing of your family validate my potential as a worthwhile friend? You were quick to forgive me.” She said sliding off the counter. “I’m tired of hiding.” She dropped nonchalantly before heading for the door.
What do I reply to that?
I’m not sure of much of anything right now.
I silently hopped off to follow her before she disappeared out of sight again.
How does she, the most messed up person I know, seem to have things so much more figured out than I do? Beside her my insecurities, doubts and dilemmas seem to flare.
I’ve always thought myself better than her, but now somehow, the girl who lost it and blew up makes me feel inferior.
“Niko we need your help! Right now, the task force showed up!” Ashlynn popped out of nowhere, forcing my view to change to astral.
“The Task Force is here?” I jumped.
Salandra snapped around, her eyes intense and her fists clenched.
“We’re cornered and Zac is passed out.”
“I’m on my way.” I nodded, even though my magic was still weak from earlier. “I’ll come to tell you when it’s safe.” I added to Sal.
“I’m right behind you.” She stated.
I opened my mouth to argue, but it really felt like there’d be no point to it so I shut it back up.
“What are you going to do?” Salandra asked as we crouched behind a corner, watching the guards from far away.
“There are only two from what I can tell, but there’s a third one. Alec says he got to your uncle already.” Ashe supplied.
I tested lighting up my rings – discouraged when it took me longer than usual. “I can maybe manage a field around them for a few moments. Which would keep in their darts.” I said, not entirely confident that I even could.
Aleccas could without batting an eye.
I grimaced, doubt sprouting again.
He probably hates me more than any of the others.
A strange feeling crept up my spine and I turned to see Salandra had her head tilted, looking up at me.
“You don’t sound so confident.” She noted.
“You’ve never really been that good with magic.” She added, and I halted, feeling my insecurities swell.
“Is there a better solution?” She asked, reading me a little too well.
“I can do this.” I stated, clenching my fists.
“I don’t want to end up back in that lab. You are not sending me back there.” She snapped. “I don’t trust you with my life. What’s the alternate option?”
I deflated slowly at those words, but realized she was probably right. Our lives are more important than my childish worries.
“I’ll go get him.”
Even though Aleccas can’t see me in astral, Atris can. A side effect the dragon has from being to teleport is my guess. It may take me a second or two, but Atris is a smart one. He usually figures out what I mean rapidly.
No one’s POV
The lonely task force member was securing their target when the radios acted up for all three members.
“Require assistant immediately. High level subjects escaping. Report.”
The man turned on his radio and replied. “Target is acquired we’re on our way back. Boys?”
Expecting his two teammates to respond he waited patiently.
1…2…3…now it’d been too long. He double checked his target again and moved towards the last known position of his team.
A delayed warning appeared on the inside of his helmet.
High magic levels WARNING Active magic user in proximity
He froze, deeply aware of his lack of equipment. Tools to defend against magic weren’t essential on a mission to capture a golden-eyed. His grip tightened on his gun, pushing forwards anyways as he heard a distant thud.
“Guys?” He whispered into his mic as he neared the corner.
He got only static in response, until he finally managed to make out a few words.
Dangerous magic levels WARNING leave area immediately
He hesitantly peeked around the corner.
A dark shiver ran through him as he watched the powerful witch render both his teammates unconscious with a few swipes. He’d heard lengths about him. They all had.
The witch they found in the Witch War crater.
The witch that killed over half the staff trying to escape.
They say the only way they managed to contain him in their previous facility for as long as they did was by threatening the creature with him.
He stared at the creature in question who – sensing him – stared back.
And so did its master.
They say bring the Keeper prince back. With him lies the secret to time travel. Bring him back at all costs.
“Poor guy keeps hitting himself.” Aleccas said, as he helped the guy’s fist reach his face.
“This one keeps asking me to kick it.” Salandra casually added as she landed a kick in the unconscious guard’s gut. She subtly crouched then as her tattoo shot another wave of pain through her. She was getting used to its attacks.
“He’s not going to wake up any time soon.” Ashlynn informed the group after checking up on Zac.
“Neither will Benjamin.” Alec added.
“We better move fast before more come.” Nikolas provided.
“No worries, Atris will be your taxi for the evening,” Aleccas began.
Ashlynn stood up before things went any further. “This might be of interest to the Dragons, but I overheard the guards talking in their radios. Something is happening at the lab in Cloverfield right now. Something about a lot of prisoners trying to escape.”
“Sounds like an opportunity to me.” Aleccas said, raising his eyebrows.
Ashe’s smile grew. “If you’re going to do anything I’d like to help.”
“Sure, why not, I’ll play taxi then we can head to Stonebridge and gather the troops.” Aleccas said, turning to Alec.
“It’ll be the Gold Mansion for us, in Legacy Island II.”
“I have no idea where that is.”
“I can show Atris.” Nikolas finally spoke up.
Aleccas cast him the first look he’d given him so far and nodded. “Well then, that’s all perfect. I can drop the doctor with Zac. We have people who can help them make a quicker recovery.”
Legacy Island II
“Thanks for the ride.” Alec said as Zyla left the group to go drink her plasma in a corner.
Aleccas shrugged. “You’re welcome. You’re good?” Aleccas asked Ashe as she held onto the still knocked out Zac.
“Good till we get there.” She replied.
Nikolas stood still and watched, saying nothing. He didn’t want to go back to the Dragons. That’s what he’d said. He stood by it. Yet…he seemed to want for his mentor to turn around.
To turn and ask if he was coming too.
He’d refuse of course. He’d made his decision.
But if he took the time to ask…it’d be like saying Niko was wrong in assuming he’d been a jerk. That everyone wasn’t better off without him.
The Keeper Witch turned and waved a goodbye to the group. Ashlynn gave a small smile.
Gestures that were for the entire group.
Nikolas wasn’t special. He was just…there.
Atris flew over to them and in a flash they’d disappeared.
“I’ll go bring mother upstairs and I’ll make sure your rooms are ready.” Alec said. He’d asked his father to prepare Nixanne and his old rooms just in case. “You can wait here, I’ll be right back.”
Nikolas stood still, feeling the shock seep into his skin. Shock, yes. Shock that everything he’d been claiming, that people would rather be without him, was true.
But it wasn’t justified…right?
“He didn’t ask me to come, because he expected me to take the initiative if I wanted to right?” He asked. He turned to the only other person with him, expecting an answer.
Salandra stared at him, her hand over her aching wound. She took in a deep breath.
“I really don’t care, I need to find a couch.” She replied, wandering away in a slightly bent manner.
Nikolas’ attitude shifted. “Oh of course, you’re hurt don’t mind me. Let me help you.”
The change disgusted her. Enough that she swatted at his reaching hands till she found a couch to lie down on.
Nikolas hesitantly set himself down on the floor beside her, no place left on the couch itself.
She slumped her arm over her face, hoping to tune out the boy beside her and his soul sucking attitude.
It may have been hypocrital of her and she recognized it, but she didn’t have any patience to lend to it.
The silence lasted all of ten seconds.
“Don’t worry about your wound. My uncle said it’ll be a few weeks but I’ll help you through it-”
“Oh jeesus stop.”
“Stop faking like you care.”
“But I do.”
“I blew up dozens of your family members.” She reminded him.
“I forgave you for that!”
“Only because you didn’t want to fight me on it.”
“Because you went god I have no friends, but Sal…I bet she still worships me.” Her voice rose up a few octaves as she imitated him.
“That’s not true.”
“I bet I could get an ego boost by helping her. Look how mature I am for forgiving her.”
“You’re coming to stupid conclusions because you’re too proud to ask for help.”
“Maybe if I call her stupid like the old days she’ll stop attacking me.”
Nikolas clenched his jaw, he opened his mouth to reply but she cut him off.
“But she forgave me for that didn’t she?” She snapped and it shut him up. “You chose the wrong person to assign all your hopes for friendship and support. There’s nothing of the sort here.”
“So your rooms are perfect and ready with warm beds.” Alec casually said. “I’ll let you two rest before giving you the grand tour.”