|At midnight the alarm in the house screeched. It was time to move the first group through to the other side.
Blake stepped into his jeans and I grabbed a few of my clothes and went to the bathroom behind the divider.
We met everyone in the living room. All of them had a bag of clothes with them.
Emanual and all of his men, including Taylor, who looked as if she’d just swallow a lemon, waited to go back to the other side.
We all went together to the Creepers. At least Blake was going to be here and then tomorrow he was going to leave with August and Tom on this crazy mission.
I kept my eye out on tonight’s task.
Blake came in with me.
Emanual looked at Taylor. “Your up.”
She just glared at him, and picked up her bag and walked over to me.
She stood behind me and wrapped her one hand around my waist.
The Creepers woke up again, started to slightly vibrate as they moved together. They hissed slightly as I took Taylor inside.
She was quiet, really quiet and I didn’t like that at all.
“Sorry about tonight.” She finally said.
“It’s fine. I get why you are angry.”
“Yes, you wanted to stay. I get that. You feel more needed here.”
I lauged softly.
When she was safely on the other side, one of the other troops took her place and I could hear King Helmut starting speaking to her as we made our way inside.
He was big, like Emanual and he gasped just like everyone did when we reached the core.
“Breathtaking, I know.” I said.
He just stared at him, mezmerised.
He excange a quick download of info with Emanual and then they shook hands.
Emanual was coming out next.
“I’m watching you?” Blake joked and Emanual had this grin on his face as he picked me up.
He ran with me inside and once safely past the mouths of the Creepers, he started to walk.
“So what was it you had to get for King Helmut.”
“It’s private, Elena.”
“Does he have family this side?”
He nodded but the look on his face said it wasn’t good. “That is why he wanted you to enter, didn’t he.”
“I told you before, it’s private. Now stop being nosey as it’s really hard not telling you this. But I gave my dragon oath that I wouldn’t.”
“Wow, that important.”
“Yes, so if you want to see me shrivel in pain, ask me one more time.”
I smiled. “Okay, sorry.”
King Helmut was really happy to see Emanual exit the Creepers with me. At a safe distance her put me down and I took another of the troops in.
When all the troops and Emanual were out, and new ones that took their place, it was Charles turn.
At first he wanted to stay as he was one of the main speakers when the Council came, but Emanual put him at ease. That the guy that was going to take his place will sit with him on the other side and just study him, and everyone he needs to know from the Council.
Right now, well he was the opposite. He was like a giddy young boy of ten. Kept talking about breathing in fresh air, seeing the stars.
“Not yet, it’s day time on the other side.”
“Still, stars will shine tonight.” He smiled.
Inside he gasped. “It shouldn’t surprise me that something so dangerous had something so beautiful and serene in the inside.”
I smiled. “Just like the Yin Yan.”
“You mean the Dent sign.”
“It’s a bit different though isn’t it.”
“Not really. To be honest, I think they had the Yin Yan wrong.”
“They copied it and sort of made it their own?”
“Something like that.”
We exit and I could see a slight fear lingering on his face as he saw all the troops that was going to take their place.
King Helmut stepped forward as we got behind the yellow line they put up.
He reached out his hand to Charles and Charles just stared at it. A smile finally broke over his face and King Helmut returned it.
Then Charles bowed.
King Helmut pulled him back out and shook his head.. “Welcome home.”
I smiled as Charles saw Connie and they embrased one another. It was a really good feeling to watch lost ones found the people they haven’t seen for such a long time.
It was time to take in another troop.
David came back and the rest of the night it was all I did. The times that I did rest, Blake handed me water, and a sandwich. Then I went back in.
It carried on until the sun’s first rays started to light up around us.
“That is it for tonight. We got through quite a lot.” Blake spoke. “Elena, take Gertrude back and come back tomorrow afternoon at two. The new group will be waiting.”
I didn’t like this, because he wasn’t going to be there tomorrow. I grabbed him around his waist. “Just be safe, please.”
He stroked the back of my head. “I promised you before. I will come back.” He touched my chin and pulled my face up to look at him. “I promise, Elena.” He said and kissed me. It was a soft compasionate kiss and then it turned into something else. Wanting more. My heart raised, not from evil memories, from really wanting him to stay. He broke the kiss and turned around and walk away fast without saying goodbey.
I closed my eyes, said a soft prayer to just keep him safe. and a soft hand stroked my arm.
“He will come back to you Elle.” Gertrude looked at me with soft eyes.
“It wasn’t easy saying goodbey, that we all saw.”
I hugged Tom. “Keep him safe, please.”
“I promise,” he said.
August was next. “I really hope you guys are going to find Max.”
“I do too.” He said, with a lot of doubt lingering on his face.
We said goodbey with a hug.
“I’ll make sure he blends in, Elena.”
I laughed. “It’s the blending in part I’m worried about the most, August.”
“He’s going to be fine. I promise.” Was Raymonds words. He stayed, surprised that King Helmut said it was okay. Taylor was not going to like that.
“Hey, he’s the Rubicon. You worry for nothing.” Raymond had that confidence I wish I owned right now.
I nodded again and took Gertrude back. She was just as scared as the others when we neared the creepers.
“Close your eyes.” I whispered softly as I took my position behind her and wrapped my arms around her arms.
The Sun that Goran created, an illution, started to rise. My stomach grumbled and I only realised how hungry I was.
Blake was right, I was going to be too busy to worry about their mission, as my own was going to exhaust me the next few days.
The Creepers hizzed close to our faces, their teeth still scared the living crap out of me. They were so vicious, and it was hard to explain how I felt with being the only one that could walk through them.
When we passed their mouths and was safe inside the core, I told Gertrude to open her eyes.
She gasped at the small golden light floating in the air.
I still had no idea what they were, they didn’t look like bugs and they definitely wasn’t fairies.
The pink and purple flowers growning on the roots, the long silver leaves hanging from the top, it made the core look like a fairy tale.
She looked around her, exactly like every single one of them did.
“Who could’ve imagined…”
I laughed. “You and everyone else keeps saying that, Gertrude. It sure is beautiful.”
“It’s heavenly, Elena.”
“Not so evil as we all thought they were.”
“Oh, no they are vile, Gertrude. They can still ripp you to pieces.”
She tapped the back of my hand and laughed. “Not what I meant. They do belong in Paegeia. In everything ugly, evil, dark, there is something beautiful, good, and light in the middle.”
I just stared at her. Didn’t even think about it.
“It’s a pitty that we have to destroy this to free Etan.”
She nodded her head. “It is.”
We finally reached the other side and her entire body trembled again, as she closed her eyes tight, walking past the thousand teeth and hissing.
The reunion, even though it was just a week being apart, was nice to watch. Cassy was all over her grandma and acted as if she hadn’t seen her in years.
Connie cooked up a storm. I ate while all the other’s sounded cheerful. I wondered how they felt, being finally free.But the look on their faces, they still had a small fear. Especially Marcus and Gertrude. Both her boys were on this dangerous mission. At least Raymond and Blake was with them.
“Go to bed?” Emanual ordered as I finished my coffee.
“Yes, Dad,” I said and he’s lips curved into a huge grin.
Charles came up to me.
“Elle, we can never thank you enough.” He took both my hands in his. “I know it was hard for you to let Blake go, today. Thank you for doing that.”
I gave him a smile. “All of you deserve to be free, Charles.”
“I just hope fooling the Council is going to work.”
“I trust King Helmut. If he says that these men are the best observers he has, then I believe him. It’s going to work.”
He gave me that granfather smile of his. “Sleep tight, Elle.”
Everyone said in unisong, good night, some even thanked me, grateful for finally being safe and free. But at what cost. They lost their farms.
I went to my room. and took a bath just replaying that Major goodbey between me and Blake. Why did he turned around and walk away like that.
This was going to be the longest three days of my life.The second day I went in with a troop at two.
King Helmut held a huge meeting them around eleven. The guy that was going to take Charles place was busy interogating him sort off, to get all the info he needed.
They looked at the camera that was installed in one of the buyo’s that the first ten went in with. They scouted Eikenborough, and the nearby cities.
I hated seeing Eikenborough again, it brought back memories that I still struggled with whenever I was alone.
My throat closed as I Seymore and Billy’s faces through the crowd. They were busy having a discussion.
One of the scouts that was gaining all the information told the others who they were, the clothes they wear, all of it.
A part of me doesn’t fear them anymore. It was only hatred and pitty for what Blake will do to them when he finds them.
I felt an arm stroking my back. It was Annie. “What are you doing in here, come, let’s go.”
She took me out, and take me to my room.
We both sat on my bed, none of us said a word.
“What did they do to you, Elena.”
“You know what they did, Annie.”
Tears welled up in her eyes again. “I hope that my cousin finds them and show them hell.”
“I don’t. It will mean that Goran will find him and…”
She touched my arm. “I didn’t mean right now.”
I nodded, the fear of that turning into a reality was evident on my face, but I manage to gave her a smile. “I never thought being with another guy would feel like this.”
She giggled. “Yes, Plucky always had a gentle side to him.”
“He wasn’t always like that, Annie.”
“Then tell me, what was he like.”
I squinted. “You really want to know.”
I start telling her the story, how he truly hated my guts since the night Matt brought me through. She listenend even gasped at some times. Pure shock was written over her face a few times and right before I stopped, she even had tears glistening in her eyes.
“The dark really had its claws deep inside of him, didn’t it.”
“It did. I just became to know this Plucky you are telling me about.”
“It’s hard to take it all in. I mean, I only knew this side of him. I can’t imagine what he was like being dark.”
“It’s in the past now. He just need to come back.”
“He will. I know he will.” She reasured me.
“Elena, you ready,” King Helmut asked and I jumped back to the present.
I nodded and saw the first troop that was going to replace on of the farmers.
The first was always the hardest as a fear of the Creepers waking up, making that horrible hissing sound, and finally devoures us, still lingers with me strongly.
When we reached the other side, the next group with lanterns waiting for us.
I looked up at the sky and see the starless night. The faces around me was familiar faces but not the one I really want to see. He was gone. Please, just be safe.
I brought out another and the entire ritual started all over.
Emanual and a couple of yesterday’s troops, with Jerry and Semeon, were waiting for the new group to exit from Etan.
Emanual looked after me, brought me water, and sandwiches as the time goes by.
When the sun started to come up once more in Etan, the second day came to an end.
I’d brought out fifty in two days. Master Longwei was so right that I was going to need to use Monday and Tuesday to complete this. Atleast Tuesday Blake would be back.
I slept in the next day. I miss my friends. Atleast with them here, I could’ve had some sort of a distraction.
They would’ve loved the lake. The one where Blake tought me how to fish. The one where he gave me that kiss that made me run away like a mouse.
After I ate lunch, I spend a couple of minutes in the library, just looking again for that missing ingredient.
Two o’clock crept nearer, real fast, and once at the Creepers, the third day started. It was the same thing.
The day ended with a total of seventy-five of King Helmut’s army in Tith, pretending to be the farmers. Tomorrow the last twenty- five was going in and then Blake was coming home. The mission will be over.
On Tuesday I took the last twenty five troops through and brought out the rest.
The last five troops were the most important as they studied the heads the past three days. Learning everything they could to fool the Council.
They were either going to break or make this mission.
I hoped it was the first.
Charles walked with Remi, the troop that was going to take his place. I could hear him going over the list of things Remi needs to remember, which was the utmost of impotance.
When they reached me, Remi laughed, turned around and cupped Charles’ face. “You worry too much. I learned plenty from you the past few days, Charles. I won’t fail you.”
Charles smiled. “Okay son. I trust you. Just watch out for Seymore, please.”
“He will never know the difference sir.”
They said goodbey, and I took Remi inside.
“Princess,” Remi greeted me. I haven’t spoken to him before, just saw him with the troops and speaking to King Helmut from time to time.
“Elena, please.” I smiled.
He laughed. “You don’t remember me, do you.”
I squinted trying to think where I should know him from.
“It was my brother you safed that night when we ran into the hippogriff.”
“He was your brother?” I sounded like an idiot and Remi smiled.
“How is he?”
That made him roar with laughter. “You took him in on the second day.”
I felt like an idiot. “Sorry, the past few days were a blurr to me, honestly.”
“I can only imagine.”
“So they gave you the big task of becoming Charles. You have some serious big shoes to fill.”
Remi squinted. “I got that much.”
“I have faith in you.”
“Thank you so much, your heighness.”
“Elena, please.” I laughed.
He gasped too as we reached the core. Everyone does.
When he was safely through, he hit the button of his buyo and become Charles.
“Good luck Remi,” I said as he walked to the farm with one of the other men that took one of the farm hand’s place.
I feel sorry for Seymore if they are going to find something out of place. He wasn’t dealing with farmers anymore, he was dealing with an army of dragon riders who all own abilities and who knows how to use them.
The last guy to go back to Etan was a farm hand.
Emanual and everyone waited for us as we exit.
The farm hand had tears in his eyes as he looked at everything around him.
“I’m free.” He said with his arms open wide.
It always closed up my throat thinking about the fear they lived in the past 17 odd years.
“It’s over,” Emanual whispered next to me.
“One more night, then Blake comes back.”
Emanual smiled and looked at the ground. “I told you he will realise what an idiot he was, Elena. I’m glad you gave him another chance.”
“DIdn’t think that I would.”
“I’m sorry that I lied to you.”
“About.” I asked.
“That time in the SUV, when I told you that it was me that scense them.”
“It’s okay. He told me that he made all of you promise to not tell me a thing.”
“Yeah, told him it was silly, but he said you had to trust him on your own terms. Guess he has a little bit of wisdom.”
I laughed at the way he said it. He opened the door of the SUV for me and we went back to the lodge.Someone knocked on my and I opened. I found Emanual with a cup of coffee.
I stepped out of the door way and he entered.
“So whom do I owe for the pleasure of your company tonight?”
He chuckled. “Nobody, get dressed.”
“Where are we going?”
“To the other side. I know you want to be there when Blake comes back.”
“You serious?” My stomach flipped just thinking about seeing Blake again, safe in Areeth and not on some crazy mission.
Emanual laughed and nodded.
I jumped up and down and into Emanual’s arms and gave him him a hug. “Thanks Emanual.”
“He’d probably have my head, but I promised that I’d protect you with my life. So hurry, before I change my mind.” He let go of me and walked out the door.
I put on my jeans and a warm top and we entered around nine.
The sun was already up and we had to be extra careful exiting the Creepers.
When Emanual felt it was safe, he ran out of the Creepers with me, hit his device and changed back into Charles.
“Isn’t there another Charles already.”
“Yes, but whoever is going to find us, wouldn’t know that. Here, put this over your clothes.” He gave me an old cloak.”
I did as he said and we walked into the Benson’s house half an hour later.
Emanual pushed the button on his device and turned back into him once safely inside.
I couldn’t wait for later on when Blake was finally going to come back.
Tomorrow it was that time again. The Council was going to come. Blake just had to be back by then.At two o’clock I started to get antsy. They weren’t back yet.
Then around four we saw the outline of a group of people. They were all wearing cloaks over their heads.
My heart fluttered and I blew out air as I knew Blake was one of them.
I ran into the house. “They are here!”
Emanual came out.
I start to frown when I only saw five figures, and two of them were Nicky and Max. Something must have happened to Leana, or one of the girls. My throat closed up again. Two of them wasn’t alive. Tom? What kind of state wasn’t he going to be in.
They came closer and I could tell two of them were sort of supporting one.
Emanual and Remi, dressed as Charles, ran toward them and assist.
“Something happened.” The woman or guy that took Gertrude’s place said.
No kidding. “It’s this place,” I said. “It’s dark and evil.”
They finally reached us and Emanual put the one dressed as a lord on the couch. When he hit the device, I found Tom’s figure. He looked like a ghost. Didn’t say a word. His eyes were dull, and he was crying.
Leana. She didn’t made it.
August appeared next and went to sit next to Tom, wrapping his arms around him. Tom started to cry.
Nicky and Max took of their cloaks.
“Elena,” Emanual had that tone in his voice.
A cold shiver runs up my spine. As the last one took of it’s hoody and hit the device. Raymond appeared.
“No, no, no!” I looked at Raymond. Where the hell was Blake.
I ran down the steps and looked on the horizon. There wasn’t another person coming.
I walked up to Raymond and pushed him.
“I told you not to lose him. Where the hell is my dragon?” I sounded deranged. I couldn’t go through this again. I couldn’t lose him again.
“Elena, we don’t know.” Raymond spoke with his hands slightly on my shoulder.
“Don’t touch me. What do you mean you don’t know?”
“What happened,” Emanual had a gently tone in his voice.
“There were complications.” Raymond looked at him.
“Raymond just tell us what happened? Does Goran have him.” Emanual asked.
“It was simple Raymond. Find the women and make sure Blake got back. I can’t do this without him.” I didn’t even want to think if Goran has him.
“I know, but he saw Billy, Elena.”
“What?” I spoke softly with closed eyes as my hands disappeared in my hair. I knew he was going to go mental if he saw one of them. I started to pace up and down just thinking about the concequences.
“He didn’t go after him. But Billy saw him and then chaos broke out.”
“Does Goran have him.” Emanual sounded more demanding.
“No,” August answered Emanual and it felt as if I could breath just a little bit. “He just vanished.”
Raymond nodded. “He’s gone, Elena.”Everyone stared at me with huge eyes as my entire body froze. I couldn’t breath as I listened to Raymond tell all of us what happened.
“What do you mean he just vanished?” Emanual asked the question I couldn’t get out.
“One minute he was there, people started to surround him. He told us to get the hell out of there, he could take care of himself.”
Raymond stroke his face.
“I didn’t want to leave, but I don’t know Emanual. He is stronger than he let on. He somehow forced me away from him, with the others.”
Emanual shook his head. “He is powerful, Raymond.”
“He is only twenty one, how powerful can he be to force a dragon my age away from him.”
“The last few months, we all forget who Blake is. He is the Rubicon, Raymond. The alpha of all the dragons. Never forget that.”
“So what happened, after he forced you away.”
“When I reached the others, I looked back. He wasn’t there.”
“Because they took him.” I kept on yelling at Raymond.
“No, Elena. Everyone was still gathering around them. I could hear their confusement. He was gone.”
He wouldn’t have fly. The creepers that was hiding behind the illution of daylight would’ve grabbed him. “He blended in,” I told Emanual.
“No,” August shook his head with guilt over his face. “There was no shimmer, Elle. Blake showed us what the shimmer looks like. We all searched for it. He wasn’t there, he vanished.”
I didn’t care anymore. I found my legs again and just ran down the porch’s steps. I would find him myself if I had to.
“Elena,” Emanual called after me. I had to find him, wherever he was. What if they’d captured him, what if he was dead? What did they mean he just vanished?
I was beyond myself. Nobody just vanished, I mean where the hell did he go to. I knew this was a mistake to begin with. This was so stupid. I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen, and now. I had no idea where he was.
“ELENA, STOP!” Emanual yelled but I didn’t listen.
Then he grabbed me.
“Stay here, we’ll be back when she is calm.”
“Let me go!”
“Elena, don’t make me use a spell on you. Now keep your mouth shut.”
He said as he flung me over his shoulder.
“I need to find him, Emanual. Put me down.”
“You are going to get yourself killed. He is the Rubicon. Not one of us knows where he is, Elena.”
“No, I can find him. I know I can.”
“You are delusional. You can not find him.” He was already in the corn fields.
“Please I’m begging you don’t take me to the other side, please.” I started to cry.
He didn’t answer and just took me through.
Safe on the other side, he put me down.
I pushed him hard away from me, trying to run past him and back into the creepers, but he was too fast. He blocked my way.
“Let me go.” I yelled at the top of my lungs, but he didn’t.
He took me back to the lodge as I fought with Emanual like I never fought with anyone before.
“You are my main responsibility, Elena. Keeping you safe. It’s an oath I’m not going to break it and neither is he. He will die wherever he is if anything happens to you. Don’t forget that. He is safe.”
“I don’t care what you say. He is alone somehwere in Etan. He can’t come back when he appears again, Emanual. The Council is going to the farm tomorrow. If they find him Goran will kill him.”
“He won’t kill him. He wants him.”
“That is not elevating anything, Emanual. Let me go. Please.”
I was a derange lunatic. Tried every spell I could think off, but I wasn’t the Rubicon, and Emanual was a three hundred and something year old Sun Blast who was faster then I ever dreamed off.
He blocked all my spells even used one on me that numb everything.
I couldn’t say a word, I couldn’t move. I was like a sack of potatoes hanging over his shoulder.
Everyone gasped as Emanual walked in the doors with me.
Derange noises came from my lips.
“Emanual,” Constance yelled first. “What happened.”
“I had no choice.” He said. “I’m sorry Elena. I can’t let you go.”
Everyone stared at him. Constance looked at me as he put me on a chair. My eyes were wild looking at him. Noises come from me.
“What the hell did you do.” Constance yelled.
“Blake didn’t come back.” He said.
“What do you mean Blake didn’t come back.”
He started telling them the story while I still sat on the chair with no motion. It was as if I was strapped up with invisable cords and the more I fought it the more it hurts.
“She is deranged. She wants to go after him. I had no choice.” Emanual ended off his explanation.
Constance just stared at me with soft eyes.
“He just vanished.” King Helmut had a confused look between his eyes.
Constance say a couple of words, real fast and the spell Emanual put me under vanished.
She hugged me tight. “He will come back, but I’m with Emanual, Elena. You can’t go looking for him.”
I wanted to yell at Emanual again. But I was too tired.
Constance arms hugged me tight as I started to break down.
“We need to get word to his family and to Chong. Elena needs support.”
“I’m on it.” Connie ran behind the receptionist desk and I could hear her dialing the number.
Constance and Annie took me up to my room.
I didn’t want to think anymore. Blake was gone, he was missing. Wherever he was, I couldn’t reach him. Nobody could reach him.
And I had to wait for him to come back. What if he was never going to come back.
I couldn’t think about anything but that and somehow fell asleep when my body was drenched from all the crying.
I would sleep until he got back.