Chapter XXVII: To Safety and Beyond (5/14)Mature

Matron undressed his arm and washed it with salt water, which stung horribly, all the while listening to Matron explain what had happened after his disappearance.

'A couple of second formers found your friend, Mr Wilthric,' she explained, speaking quietly to not wake Carmen and Karn'el. 'He explained everything, sadly the Ostara celebrations were stopped and Principal Paradam began an immediate search. It was almost a month before they found the entrance to the tunnels, they hadn't considered that it would be beneath our very feet. When they confirmed activity inside, they began a night-time attack. I heard that Princess Ilmatar insisted on going, many could hear her shouting at the principal all the way in the entrance hall. She said she would make sure you were alright.'

Tayna, you really are one of a kind. Will couldn't imagine any other friend who could risk herself so recklessly, he imagined that it would get her hurt one day, but for now he had nothing but admiration for her.

Suddenly, the doors of the infirmary opened loudly, footsteps padded towards them, and the curtain was swept away to reveal Andrel, Tayna, Sayara and Laguna smiling at him. The loud noise stirred Carmen, and she would awaken soon. Laguna was in a clean uniform, but Tayna still wore her battle gear, seeming to like it to wear casually anyway. Sayara looked primped and clean, except for her eyes, she didn't look like she'd slept, and her eyes were red-rimmed.

'Glad to see you're still with us,' smiled Tayna. 'You would have made my bold and chivalrous rescue rather pointless.'

Andrel rolled his eyes at her. 'You didn't do it alone, you know?' She made a dismissive sound, and the others chuckled. 'Good to see you're not torn up too bad,' he added.

Will smiled and gestured to his arm, 'it could be worse. Are you all okay?'

'We're hanging in,' Laguna nodded, 'I need a long nap and a hot bath - alone. The only problem is all the questions, we slept in Anala's room so the other students wouldn't pester us.'

Just then, Carmen stirred and sat up, and when she slowly opened her eyes, Will had to subdue a gasp. Her right eye remained just as mossy green as ever, but her left eye was blue, paler than Laguna's eyes, almost white. It made her look different, almost alien.

'You're awake,' she beamed. 'I was so worried about you.'

'The feeling's mutual,' said Will, gesturing to the gauze over her left breast, the 'Y' shaped mark bleeding through.

'Oh, don't worry about this,' she said quickly, 'it's nothing.' She turned to the others and grinned, seeing Sayara for the first time. 'Sayara!' She stood and embraced her.

'Hey Carmen,' said Sayara, smiling, looking as if she was about to cry again. 'It's good to see you...well.' 

'So, I don't mean to ruin the mood,' said Andrel, 'but is this over? The kidnappings?'

Tayna nodded, 'I'd say so. Their base is under half a mile of earth right now, and we killed a lot of their men.' Killed... Will suddenly realised that Tayna may have killed somebody during the attack. She sounded so nonchalant about it, he couldn't believe it to be true. 'But as for the extremists...what are they called -,'

'The Mastery,' said Carmen, Will and Laguna all at once. 

'Right. As for the Mastery, I don't know. I don't know what they wanted, or whether they got it or not. Their leader escaped, so did Sapphire...'

Sapphire... Will thought about her, there was no doubt that he hated her, he hated her for what she'd done. Yet, a small part of him pitied her. He pitied the choices she'd made, all to gain power, which had ultimately gotten her nowhere. On some level, he could also understand why she hated humans, they had betrayed her when she'd lost everything, in her eyes she'd made a childish mistake and everybody had turned on her. 

Still, he could never understand how she could justify genocide, and he prayed that wherever she and Taksony were, they were somewhere that they couldn't hurt anybody else.

Matron stood and took the basin, tinted slightly blue, in her hands. 'I'll leave you all to talk.' She pulled open the curtain and turned back to Will. 'You're here so often, perhaps we should get you your own bed,' she joked.

Will shrugged, 'I guess near-death circumstances just follow me around.'

She smiled kindly. 'Perhaps you shouldn't focus on the fact that you keep almost dying, but on the fact that you keep surviving.'

The End

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