The rise of nine, p.22
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       The Rise of Nine, p.22

         Part #3 of Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore
 
Page 22

 

  17.

  The minute Eight appears in the middle of the room, gushing blood, I rush over and place my hands on his wound. His blood runs over my fingers and down my wrists, and when another explosion rocks the cave, we both fall to the ground. ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispers. ‘This is my fault. ’

  ‘Shh. I can heal you. It’s my Legacy. You just have to relax for a second. ’ The iciness flows from my fingertips to his ribs, and Eight immediately goes rigid with pain. The explosions keep coming and Eight winces with each one, but I stare deep into his eyes, willing him to stay with me. ‘It’s okay. Six is here. She can deal with this. We will be okay. ’ I sound absolutely certain, trying to convince both of us.

  ‘Maybe this is when I die, maybe the drawing was just off,’ he says.

  I press down harder, finally feeling his wound start to shrink in response to my touch. I shake my head firmly. ‘No, it isn’t. ’

  Through the chaos, I see Six push Ella and Crayton behind a large pile of fallen rock. She looks over at Eight and me, and the next thing I know we’re lifted off the ground and floated over to the rest of the group. When Six sets us down, she says, ‘All of you, just stay here while I turn invisible and check things out. Fix him up, Marina. ’ She winks at me. Her voice tells me we’ll be okay if we all remember what we can do. The only way we’ll survive is if we pull together.

  ‘I’m trying,’ I say, but she’s already invisible. Below my hands, Eight’s lungs struggle to keep up with my Legacy, and his face drains of color. I can feel his insides shifting, almost as if resisting my powers. That’s not it, though. It can’t be. He’s just more wounded than I thought. Or, my Legacy is fading. But that is not an option. I begin to panic and I fight the sick feeling in my stomach. I need to focus on him, and not let myself get distracted by what is happening around us.

  I hear gunfire and the distant screams of Mogadorian soldiers. I can only imagine what Six is doing out there. She is a merciless warrior when she needs to be, incredibly dangerous to any who threaten her – or us.

  ‘How is he?’ Crayton asks, hovering over Eight and glancing back and forth between the pain on Eight’s face and the panic in mine.

  Ella grabs Eight’s hand and gets him to focus on her. ‘It’s okay. It’s going to hurt, Eight, but then it will feel better. Trust me. ’ I watch her calming words wash over him and he begins to nod through his grimaces.

  We hear a deafening crash overhead, and the cave’s ceiling comes alive with cracks that spread fast and wide. The dome is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces that threaten to break free at any moment, and suddenly the first one falls, a stone the size of a car plunging down towards us. I don’t want to withdraw my healing touch, but I have to remove my hands from Eight’s side in order to focus all of my energy on deflecting the stone away with my mind. When I lay my hands back on Eight’s wound, it feels like I’m starting all over again. I take whatever solace I can from the cave drawing. It may show him dying, but it does not show him dying here, this way.

  ‘Where’s Marina’s Chest?’ Ella asks. ‘Maybe there’s something in there that can help. ’

  Crayton stands. ‘Both Chests are on the other side of the cave. I’ll get them. ’

  ‘No!’ Ella grabs the cuff of his sleeve, but Crayton races off. I watch, helpless. Pieces of the ceiling continue to fall and Ella yells for Crayton to come back, to wait for Six. My mind is racing. Six is out there battling single-handedly with a Mog army, and I know I need to forget all of it, and focus my energy on Eight. I can feel his body giving in to the pain and damage that I can’t seem to heal quickly enough to save him. I squeeze my eyes shut, willing him to respond to my Legacy, when I see his wound has returned to its original size, as if I’ve not even touched him.

  ‘Ella. ’ I look at her, my eyes filling with tears. ‘It’s not working. I don’t know what to do!’

  Ella’s voice is determined. ‘We need him, Marina. Just concentrate. You can do this. ’

  I try to catch my breath and see Crayton barely dodge a jagged boulder. ‘Eight. Hold on. I will do this, you will be better soon,’ I say as he closes his eyes. I shut out the noise of the attack, I shut out the hysteria surging inside of me, and I tell myself, I can heal Eight. I will heal him and Six will take care of the Mogs. We have a mission and this is not the end. I sit up straight, my breath slows to a normal rhythm, and a ball of ice seems to form between my shoulder blades. It races down my spine and out to my fingers. The force of it nearly pushes me over, but my fingers stay firmly on Eight’s wound. I can feel something happening inside of Eight and my breath quickens. My heart beats so fast I think it’s going to explode, and then Eight opens his eyes.

  ‘It’s working!’ Ella shouts.

  Vertigo sweeps through me. I wobble but remain upright as Eight’s wound closes. I can feel his broken ribs move back into place beneath my hands. After a few seconds I allow myself to sit back. I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open. I take a deep breath and Eight sits up. He touches where the wound was, feels his ribs, and then reaches out to take my hand.

  ‘I have never felt anything like that,’ Eight says to me, looking incredulous. ‘I don’t know how to thank you. ’ I open my mouth to respond when Six suddenly appears.

  She has a Mogadorian cannon in her hand. Her face is covered in black ash. She’s out of breath but in control. ‘I’ve pushed them back, but I could use some help out there. ’

  Eight staggers to his feet. ‘Right. ’

  ‘I was thinking of Marina,’ Six says, surveying the scene and seeing immediately that Eight is in no condition to be of help to anyone. I’m honored she wants me to fight alongside her, but I know I’m too weak to stand. ‘Where’s Crayton?’ she asks, looking around.

  I’ve been so focused on healing Eight I’d forgotten about him. I whip around just in time to see him digging the Chests out from under some rubble. Then he picks up both Chests and starts to make his way back over to us. Just as Six moves to help, an explosion blows apart whatever was left of the ceiling. Huge chunks of snowy rock fall into the cave, followed by hundreds of bullets. Eight stands over Ella, using his telekinesis to deflect the debris and gunfire. Six starts firing into the exposed sky with the Mog cannon. There’s another explosion high overhead, and a few seconds later a silver ship like the one I saw at the bottom of the pool crashes into the crumbling mountain just above us. A bleeding Mogadorian soldier tries frantically to extricate himself from the cockpit. I struggle to my feet as he punches a hole through the windshield, and before he can pull himself out, I use my telekinesis to bring two boulders up and smash him between them. A cloud of ash floats to the ground.

  A rocket enters the cave, blasting the wall nearest Crayton. The panel carving we were all entranced by just moments ago is decimated. Crayton is thrown by the blast and he flies into the middle of the cave, landing next to the blue Loralite stone as the Chests skid across the floor. He isn’t moving. I’m stunned – it all happened so fast.

  ‘Papa!’ Ella screams.

  Even though the walls are crumbling around us, I race with Ella to Crayton’s side. She takes one of his hands. I put mine on his body and close my eyes, trying to find a sign of life. I search for anything to work with, to heal, but there’s nothing.

  ‘Save him!’ Ella yells at me, her small face twisted in anguish. ‘Marina, please, you can do this! You can fix him!’

  ‘I’m trying,’ I say, but it comes out as a sob. He’s dead. Her Cêpan is gone.

  ‘Just concentrate like you did with Eight! You can do it again!’ Ella is frantic, stroking Crayton’s head and petting his hand.

  Out of the corner of my eye I see Six charge towards us with her cannon firing into the sky. Eight teleports next to me. He leans over and says, ‘You can fix him. Come on, Marina. ’

  I start to cry. I can’t do it. I know there is nothing for me to heal, but I try and try to summon my Legacy, pleading for it to work. But Cray
ton is dead; there’s nothing for my Legacy to connect with. I move my hands to his crushed chest and stomach. I can feel all of his broken bones beneath my hands. Ella gets behind me and pushes on my shoulders, pressing my hands harder onto Crayton.

  Six stops shooting and grabs my arm. She looks me in the eye. I shake my head.

  Ella falls to her knees, sobbing. She crawls over to Crayton and whispers into his ear, ‘Let Marina fix you. Please don’t go. Please, Papa. ’ She looks up at me, tears streaming down her cheeks. Her voice is angry. ‘You didn’t even try, Marina! Why won’t you try?’

  I wipe my tears on my shoulders. ‘I tried, Ella. I tried, and there was nothing I could do. He was already gone. I’m sorry. ’ I sit back on my heels, but keep my hands on Crayton’s body.

  A rocket hits the far wall, separating it completely from the mountain. We know from our walk up that behind the hole is a straight two-thousand-foot drop. Cold wind sweeps in and over us. Eight turns to Six. ‘Give me the cannon. I’ll be right back. ’ Six hesitates for a second before handing it to him. Eight disappears, and I look up to see him sprinting along the crumbling lip of the hole, leaping from spot to spot as the rocks crumble away. Even in flight, he never stops shooting. Soon, two silver Mog ships explode into balls of flame.

  I keep moving my hands across Crayton, but Six yanks me onto my feet. ‘Stop. He’s gone. ’ I look down at Crayton, his rugged face, his bushy eyebrows, and remember the first time I saw him at that café in Spain. I thought he was my worst enemy. Instead, he saved my life. I stretch out my hands to try one more time, but Six hugs me close to her. I feel her tears on my neck. Her lips touch my ear as she whispers, ‘There’s nothing we can do. ’

  Sobbing, Ella reaches over and grabs Crayton’s left hand. She kisses it and places it against her cheek. ‘I love you, Papa. ’

  ‘I’m so sorry,’ I say again.

  She looks up at me and tries to speak, but she can’t. Gently, she lays Crayton’s hand on his chest and strokes it once more before standing. Eight teleports next to us and returns the cannon to Six. Another strong gust of freezing wind blasts over us and flips open one side of Crayton’s jacket. We all see it at the same time – a white envelope in his inner jacket pocket. FOR ELLA is written on the outside.

  Six grabs it and shoves it into Ella’s hands. ‘Ella. Listen to me. I know you don’t want to leave him. None of us do. But if we don’t leave right now we will die too. You know Crayton would want us to do what is necessary to survive, right?’ Ella nods. Six turns to Eight. ‘Right. Now, how do we teleport the hell out of here? Has too much of the mountain been destroyed for it to work?’

  ‘Ella, you hold my Chest! Marina, get yours,’ Eight says, ushering us towards the glowing blue Loralite. ‘Six, you’re going to have to hold on to someone’s arm so we can all go at once. ’ He looks around grimly at the wreckage. ‘I really hope this works. ’

 
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