The crowds thickened as Emiliana neared the tree, creating a kind of moving ceiling of umbrellas for her as she pushed her way through. And because she didn’t really know how strong she’d become, she was extra careful not to accidentally shove anyone and instead chose to just press forward with her body only. It made the going a bit slower, but the last thing she wanted to do was hurt some poor bystander.
“I’m at the tree,” she said into the phone.
<“Go up,”> said Alicia. <“It’ll make it easier for Grandma to find you.”>
Chergoa nodded, and Emiliana proceeded up the metal walkway. It seemed solidly constructed, but there was only enough space for two people across--a line going up and a line going down.
When she reached the observatory, she found herself waiting a while, nervous and uncertain. Whoever was following her was sure taking their sweet time. Alicia was trying to keep her calm with small talk, but Emiliana was only half-listening. By now, she probably could have called the police and had them come get her. Though, if those men were really Vanguard, then obviously, the police wouldn’t have been able to do much.
In some spots, the observatory offered a wide view of Aguarey, but in others, tall hotels and office buildings stood in the way. She wasn’t looking at the city, however. She was paying much closer attention to everyone else who entered the observatory after her.
She spotted an elderly woman with a cane among the entrants, but the woman spared her a glance and nothing more. Having never met Alicia’s grandmother before, Emiliana had no idea what to look for, but she kept her eye on the elderly woman, anyway, not seeing any other likely candidates. The old gal seemed more interested in the television monitors mounted in the center of the broad chamber, and after a second look, Emiliana saw why.
‘Reported chemical incident at local high school,’ the news line read. The reporter was talking about how the authorities were still unclear whether it was an accident or not.