Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Page 1064

Emiliana was closest and approached him first. “Papa?”

No response.

Shenado floated over to Zeff now. ‘Unbelievable,’ she said as she inspected his face. ‘He’s still asleep.

Marcos didn’t understand. “What?”

Your father protected you unconsciously,’ said Shenado. ‘I’ve heard about things like this happening, but I’ve never seen it myself... Wow.

Instinctive knowledge and awareness,’ said Chergoa, hovering up behind Emiliana. ‘You don’t need to be a servant to possess those things. Still, I am quite--

Ramira’s muffled cries interrupted her.

“She needs help!” said Marcos.

Bring her over to the bed and take her shoe off,’ said Shenado. ‘Emiliana?

The older sister was already rifling through the far cupboards for supplies. Chergoa told her to try under the bed, where she found a first aid kit. Emiliana took over for Marcos in sterilizing and dressing the wound.

Of all the things their mother taught them, Marcos had always thought this would be the least valuable. He’d figured that once they became servants, they would have no need of such skills, but now he saw how wrong he’d been.

As Emiliana finished her work, Chergoa picked up the conversation again.

What do you think? Should we leave or stay put?

We seem to be safe for the moment, but we don’t know enough about the situation to be sure. Asad and Dimas are both relatively close. We should meet up with one of them.

Agreed,’ said Chergoa. ‘Em, how’s about you help Big Papa Elroy here walk with us?

Marcos watched Emiliana place a hesitant hand on the man’s back. She had to take the lead, but just as Chergoa had said, Zeff began to keep pace with her.

Marcos picked Ramira up again and then stopped. “Uh. There’s still a wall of ice in the way...”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Page 1063

Marcos fired at thin air, aiming where Emiliana’s targets had been. Spurts of blood guided his aiming as he moved toward Ramira, who’d started shooting even before he did. The little girl was on the move as well, trying to avoid the cluster of metal spikes that were shooting up from the floor.

One of them found her. It skewered her shoe, and she screamed as she fell to the floor. In the next moment, Marcos was there, scooping her up with one arm and pulling her out of the next spike’s path. But there were still more to evade, and one of them caught his left leg, which it then began coating with newly materializing metal, trying to slow him down.

Marcos dropped to the floor with his sister still in his grasp, scrambling to shield her with his body.

That was when the room heaved, throwing everything into confusion, and briefly, Marcos thought there’d been some kind of explosion or earthquake.

And then he saw the crystalline spears. The area by the door was completely filled. Glassy pillars, so numerous and densely packed that they almost looked like a wall. The only anomaly among their brilliantly clear bodies was the blood, long streaks of crimson, splattered and dripping and pooling on the floor.

He looked around for Lord Asad, thinking it must’ve been the Sandlord’s doing, but instead, he saw his father, standing at the foot of the bed he’d been using only moments ago. It hadn’t been glass. It had been ice.

“Pa!” said Marcos. He wanted to rush over and hug him, but he was still mindful of Ramira’s injury. By the time he made it to his feet again, he realized that something was off.

His lord father was just standing there, silent, face drawn downward. Axiolis was still attached to his back and also saying nothing.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Page 1062 -- CXXI.

Emiliana noticed one of the rifts twitching. It began moving slowly closer, and the others followed. She supposed she could be jumping to conclusions about what these rifts were. She had no real evidence that they were hostile, but her mother’s cynicism was telling her that if they were friendly, they would not be hiding themselves from everyone else. And after everything she’d been through, she was not about to take chances with the lives of her family.

Emiliana locked eyes with Ramira as she waited for the right moment, keeping the rifts in her peripheral vision. The distance had to be perfect. And when it was, Emiliana leapt out from behind her sister, claws-first.

And at the center of the nearest rift, she found blood.

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One: ‘Thy boiling will...’
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Marcos hardly had time to understand what was going on. He’d noticed Shenado and Chergoa giving each other strange looks, and then Shenado gave him a private and incredibly vague warning that something was about to happen, but then Emiliana was suddenly slashing at thin air and apparently tearing bloody chunks out of it.

Shenado grabbed his shoulder, and he felt the undead vigor burn through him. This wasn’t his first experience with it, as he’d been practicing periodically, but it was certainly the first time he’d had to actually use it.

He wasn’t sure what to do. He merely watched as Chergoa bolted over to Emiliana, who was already spinning around to kick a second invisible opponent.

However, when he saw a spiked block of bluish-white metal crash into her and slam her against the far wall, Marcos didn’t require any more information. His mother’s training took hold, and he reached for the firearm that Emiliana had discreetly given him after Luzo.