“Catch.” I grabbed the crossbow from the air and quickly dusted two in quick succession. Someone got me from behind and I dropped it. I turned and saw it was Johnson.
“Oh, that's just dumb,” I stated. Matt threw something else my way. This fight was a lot shorter, and this time I got past the ribs perfectly fine. I took a moment to stare at his ashes before kicking them.
“Good riddance,” I muttered. I heard a high pitched scream that I recognised.
“Zara!” I yelled, running towards the sound. It wasn't the direction we needed to go but I didn't care. I rounded a corner and saw Sergio holding her.
“I thought you might respond to her screams,” he said, a cruel smile on his face as he glanced down at her.
“Leave her alone,” I growled, tightening my grip on the crossbow. I heard Matt's footsteps behind me and then the sudden stop as he saw Sergio.
“I'll offer an exchange, you for her. Either way I will kill one of you as slowly as I choose,” Sergio said. I clenched my fists and felt my eyes water. The smoke was getting stronger.
“Nicole, we have to leave. Now,” Matt said behind me. I glanced at him, saw the sympathy in his eyes. I also saw the defeat, he was willing to let Zara die for me. A helpless kid.
“Think fast rebel,” Sergio said, baring his fangs above her neck. I heard Zara whimper my name, her arms and legs trying to flail in vain. I stepped forward, ready to do what he wanted. I'd promised Jan I wouldn't let her die. Promised myself.
“Don't,” Matt yelled, yanking me back. I tried to yell at him but he picked me up.
“You're too important,” he whispered when I looked at him. I heard Sergio's dark laugh as Matt dragged me away. I turned in time to see him stink his teeth into Zara. Her screams echoed in my mind long after we'd left the castle and the tunnel. The sound of them fading as she took her last breath sending chills down my spine. When we were in the field Matt finally dropped me. I punched him straight away.
“Don't get pissed at me!” He yelled, backing away and covering his nose. At least I'd got a good hit in.
“She was a kid!” I returned, more than ready to hit him again.
“They've killed dozens like her. We can stop them doing that, but only with your help, Nicole. Or have you forgotten you're our best warrior?” Matt said between clenched teeth. I turned away, knowing what he said was right. I recalled how sweet Zara had been and felt my eyes water. Matt sighed and pulled me into a hug.
“I'm sorry,” he whispered. I knew he meant it.
“Let's go,” I said, my voice hard. I pulled away from him abruptly and walked. I dared not glance back. If I did all I would think of was Zara and the other person I was leaving behind forever.