Chapter XXV: Dum Spiro Spero (6/12)Mature

'I'm sorry...' Will said quietly.

Carmen turned on her side, elevating on her elbow and staring at him kindly, 'what have you to be sorry for? It wasn't your fault where I went, Will.'

'But maybe I could have done something. None of us can remember what happened when we ran to safety. For all we know, I could have watched you both being taken away and done nothing -,'

'Why are you trying to blame yourself -,'

'Because I'm your brother!' His voice came out louder than he hoped, echoing around the cell. They both froze, hoping a guard wouldn't come and rebuke them. When silence came again, Will sat up, his hand gripping the bar tightly. 'I didn't even know I was a brother until a few months ago. But just the same, I always imagined that if I had a brother, he'd protect me from danger and make sure we always stayed together. I didn't do that...I let them take you away...'

'You didn't remember, Will,' Carmen said. 'I bet that when you saw Karn'el and I being taken away, you thought we were children you didn't know.'

'But isn't that the worst?' he said quietly, looking at her guiltily. 'Isn't family supposed to be the strongest bond there is? Isn't it supposed to overcome anything? I could have looked at you both - the last of my family - and not recognised you. That shows how useless a brother I am, and -,'

Carmen jumped forward, her hands weaving through the bars and wrapping around his neck. She pulled him towards her, one of the bars dug into her gullet, another on his chest, but they both ignored it as they embraced.

'You are more than I could have ever hoped for, Will.' Her voice was broken and breathless, her chest shaking with sobs and tears rising in her eyes. Her head rested against his shoulder, Will could feel her small, thin hands unable to join around his back. 'We lost Mum, and Dad, and our brothers and our sisters. When I was alone in my room, I thought I had nobody in the whole world...' she pressed herself to go on, even when emotion threatened to overcome her. 'Then...a kind, old man comes to the door and tells me everything. Even though my parents were away and Paradam could have been lying, I just wrote a goodbye letter and left, because if there was even the slightest chance I had family out there, I refused to miss the chance to find out.

'And then I met Karn'el,' Will could tell that she was smiling. 'I met my twin brother and all of a sudden I felt like I had my feet on the ground. Waiting for news about you was agonising, it felt like a piece of me was lost somewhere, and without it, I didn't feel - I didn't feel real.'

'Carmen - I -,'

'You think that you're a useless brother,' she interrupted, 'but you're my brother, and that's all I care about. Mum and Dad died, we're all that's left of them.' She pulled back and looked at him, her eyes green even in the darkness. 'We all found each other again, so please, Will, don't act as if that's not the most wonderful thing in the world.'

Will smiled as he looked at her. This is my sister, my little sister, I won't ever hurt her again. 'I promise, Carmen...'

Suddenly, there was a noise below. It was like something being torn apart, the sound of fabric tearing, and all of the torches in the room ignited to full flame. Children in the cells gasped from the sudden flare of light, Will's eyes watered as he and Carmen crawled to the front of their cells to look below.

'What's going on?' Laguna mumbled, slowly waking and trying to see what was going on.

Standing in the middle of the cavern was somebody wearing a cloak of bleached white, and on the back of his hood was the Evil Eye. Carmen and Will immediately turned away, but Laguna didn't take her eyes from them, they widened with terror.

'Laguna, who is it?' Carmen asked,

'It's him. He's back.' She turned to them, looking as if she was about to throw up, as if she wanted to curl up and go back to sleep. 'It's the Master.'

The End

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