As we boarded the plane to the nearest airport to Paradise, Ohio, I thought about what was coming next. I would be meeting the other members of the Lorien Six... What would they be like? What would they look like? What legacies would they have? Questions plagued me for the whole plane journey. I slept fitfully, dreaming of Mogadorians, of water, of death. Then Mary was shaking me awake, and we had landed.
The car trip to Paradise took little over two hours, and soon we were driving past the police-taped high school, with charred and crumbling walls, and a crowd of police officers in hazard-suits. I looked at Mary, and she nodded. She rolled down the window and I transformed into a bird and flew in through one of the windows. Once in I changed to dog form. My dog form was that of a cocker spaniel, and I trotted about, surveying the damage. I could smell something strange... A Chimæra! Number Four had a Chimæra! Did that mean... Did I have a Chimæra? Did we all? Endless questions flew about my head as I trotted through there was extensive damage to hall ways, classrooms and lockers. Then, I transformed back to bird form and flew to the football pitch. The place they had their last stand. The grass was all blackened, and there was a dusting of ash covering the whole place. I could see, and smell, blood. Sickened, I had seen enough. I flew away, finding Mary, and the car, easily. She had stopped outside a quaint little house.
"You have to go in. You're looking for a Sarah Hart. She was the... love interest.. of Number Four." Mary said, giving me the look that meant: Be careful. Don't get caught. I climbed out of the car, and walked up the path. I rung the door bell, and a few moments later a stunningly pretty blonde who looked about my age answered. Compared to her, my long dark locks, creamy skin and orangey-brown eyes looked almost plain... Wordlessly, I showed her my loric necklace. She opened the door fully, motioning for me to come in.
"Who are you?" She asked, as soon as she had led me into the kitchen."It's OK, everyone else is out. They left the wounded soldier at home.." She said, seeing my wary glances. That was when I noticed that there was a massive plaster on her neck, and her left shin was in a cast. "Yeah, the Mogadorian reinforcements got me. Its OK though, Mark shot them with one of their own guns left over from the fight." I blinked at her. Mark must be the footballer son of the Police Chief. The one whose party it had been when Four saved both Sarah and his dogs.
"I am Number Nine." I said, pulling a pen from my pocket. I hovered it above my palm, then made it tuck itself back into my pocket. Then I flashed on my fires and extinguished them quickly. Next, I transformed into bird form, a thing that was getting easier every time, and flew round her head. She laughed, and said:
"Okay, I get it. You're like John!" I transformed back into my regular, humanoid shape. "Yeah, you're definitely like John Smith."
"John Smith?" I laughed. "How original. But yes. I am. I am Number Nine, as I said, and the Loric Charm is broken. I need to find Numbers Four and Six. And I need your help to do that."
"You want my help?" She sounded a little confused.
"Of course I do! You know where they went, do you not?" I said, smiling.
"Uh, yes, I guess I do.. They went south. In Sam's truck. And they took Bernie Kosar." Sarah said, frowning a little. It seemed to hurt her thinking about it. I, however, wouldn't know. I had never experienced.. Love...
"Bernie Kosar? Sam? How long ago did they leave?" I bombard her with questions, and she looks a little over whelmed.
"Um, Bernie Kosar is John's dog.. Or.. I thought he was a dog, until he.. like.. transformed.." She smiled shyly.
"The Chimæra.." I said, almost to myself. "Um, sorry, could you answer my other questions?"
"Yeah, sure. Sam, Sam Goode, that is, is John's friend. His dad disappeared a few years back and.. I don't know.. I guess he decided to go with them when they left. Which was... four, five days ago? All I know is the pain in my chest hasn't faded... When you see John.. can you tell him I love him?" She looks so vulnerable, so hurt and scared, that I almost want to put my arms around her and comfort her, like you would a crying child.
"Sarah Hart, you have my oath that I will. If I fail, you have permission to... slap me." I smile, letting out a giggle, and she mimics me. "I know.. this is probably hard for you. I don't really know. I.. I've never known love.." She looks at me sympathetically, but I shake her off. "Its fine. I mean, a life on the run, love just slows you down. Anyway. You have my deepest thanks for your help, Sarah Hart. I'll pass on your message to Four, when.. if, I see him." She smiles and nods, taking me to the door. Then she stands in the door way and watches as I leave. As I do, I turn on my telepathy, and what I hear, what I feel, brings tears to my eyes. She really does love Number Four, and her heart... It's breaking..
But now, now I must find him. I must find him, and Six, because together.. We are stronger.