Chapter XXIII: The Siblings and the Sapphire (1/9)Mature

THEY RADIATED SUCH MAGICKAL ESSENCE THAT WILL WAS CAUGHT BY SURPRISE.

Their power collided with his own like a cold finger tracing his spine. They came closer until he was able to see them perfectly, and when he did, he recognised them as three familiar faces. He had first deduced that this was the "boss" figure that the masked men had spoken of, the leader of the Evil Eye's benefactors, Will's instincts told him to fear and cower. The second, however, was the woman from his dreams, he knew her by her pale, bare legs peeking out from her light black cloak as she moved, and the deeply styled blonde curls. Her hood was up, but it rested gently on her head, her face fully visible. Beneath her cloak sparkled her clothing, a tight and elegant dress hand-sewn with rhinestones, the neck line plunging to show the crescents of her breasts.

The third person he recognised her as, despite the many years, her face had not changed, her smile had not lost its arrogance or its beauty.

It was Sapphire Salimandra.

'That looks as if it hurts,' she said, her tone was soft and kind - yet there was something beneath that betrayed the illusion. Standing in front of him, holding a candle lamp in a manicured hand, she set it down and crouched down to his level. Will's gaze shot down, he didn't want to look at her, he feared that she was wearing the Evil Eye. He also couldn't believe it was her - the traitor girl he'd heard from Mrs Calibrase, the one whose photograph had been watermarked with the Evil Eye. Marinia's words sprang to mind, the kidnappings were connected to the Northern Sanctuary, he thought it had meant nothing, but now he knew, Sapphire was the connection. Had she been amongst them at such an early age, and why had Will never considered her? He'd been so blindsided by everything else that crucial information had been forgotten.

'Aren't you going to look at me, Willow?' she asked in mock hurt, but Will couldn't ignore her, slowly he looked up, and understood why she had been named Sapphire. Her eyes were large and as bright blue as sapphires, staring curiously at him. Her luxurious blonde curls fell to her stomach, and her full lips were painted red and moulded into a playful smile. She was so beautiful and dressed up that he couldn't believe she was the leader of a murderous group, nor did she belong in a dusty, subterranean tunnel.

'I'll get somebody to bandage that for you,' she said softly. She forced Will's head upward, cradling his chin in her fingers, which were highly manicured, decorated by gemstones in swirling designs. 'You are all that you said they were, aren't you?' she added musingly, like surveying a trophy or a piece of artwork. 'After everything that you've been through...you're still alive.'

'As are you,' Will said weakly. Her touch became suddenly cold, like her body had lost all warmth, he shivered and she smiled, standing straight. Her shoes were extravagant and the heels were incredibly thin and high, coated in rhinestones.

'You'd better come with me, we'll get your injuries healed.' She gestured to him, but he hesitated to move, impatience crossed her beautiful features. 'Either you come with me or you stay here, and I am much more hospitable than guards and ground critters.'

But I - I can't move,' said Will, he didn't want to either. He didn't want to go anywhere with her, he wanted to go home. He tried to move his leg, but it sent a spasm of pain through his body.

'Ah, of course,' said Sapphire, realising, 'perhaps this will help.' She took his hand, and hers was filled with warmth again, concurrently Will felt strength build in him. Sapphire pulled him up, with astonishment he realised that he was standing on his bent and broken leg, feeling no pain whatsoever. 'This way.' She turned, picked up her lantern and led him down the tunnel towards the light.

The End

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