The rise of nine, p.30
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       The Rise of Nine, p.30

         Part #3 of Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore
Page 30


  Her shoulders sag in disappointment anyway. ‘Your Chests are over there, by the way,’ she says, pointing.

  Eight turns to me, stretching from side to side. ‘I just need a little more time to recover from that last one. I want to be as strong as possible when we try again for New Mexico, okay?’ He climbs up on a nearby rock.

  ‘I don’t know,’ I sigh. ‘I felt so horrible when I came out of that last one. Injuries are one thing – telepathy makes me feel sick. I don’t know if I can do it again. And what’s to stop us from ending up back at the bottom of the ocean? Meanwhile, it sounds like Six is in serious trouble, and we’re bouncing around from place to place. We may never land in New Mexico!’

  ‘I know, I know,’ Eight says, hopping down from a stone and brushing off the dust from his pants. ‘I know how frustrating this is. But doing something is better than nothing. And the only thing we can do is keep trying until we get where we need to go. We three will stick together, we will keep trying and we will find Six. ’ I don’t know where he gets his calm, his conviction.

  Ella wanders off behind a grouping of stones as I say, ‘You know, there are other ways of getting from one place to another. We could just find an airport and fly there from here. ’

  Eight scratches his chin, deep in thought as he starts to walk. I follow him to the center of the monument. ‘If Six really is in trouble, an airplane isn’t the solution. It would take us forever to get to her. ’ He stops for a minute and turns to face me. ‘Besides, I see us finding her. ’ I look at him quizzically, but he just grins and shrugs. What does he mean?

  ‘Eight. Did you have a vision? What else did you see? Who else did you see?’

  He shrugs. ‘I can’t really tell you more than that. I just see it; or, I feel it. I think it’s a Legacy I haven’t figured out yet. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like a sixth sense. ’

  ‘Is that how you knew we were coming to India?’ I ask.

  ‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘I don’t have any control over it. These flashes, images, just come to me. ’

  We continue to walk through the group of massive stones and find Ella off by herself, sitting against a rock. When we approach, she looks up and says, ‘I keep trying to talk to Six again, but nothing happens. Maybe it never did happen. ’

  I kneel beside her and put my arm around her shoulders. ‘Legacies take time, Ella. I know when mine appeared for the first time, it was usually when I was upset or in danger. They come at a time when they are of the most use, when they might save us. My Legacy that allows me to breathe under water came as I almost drowned. Also, the teleporting may have affected you, so maybe it will take a while to work again. ’ I give her shoulders a squeeze.

  ‘It’s true. The first time I teleported,’ Eight says, ‘my Cêpan was about to get run over by a taxi. I just appeared next to him, like that. ’ He snaps his fingers. ‘It’s the only reason I was able to pull him out of the way. ’

  ‘I miss Crayton so much, right now,’ Ella says. ‘He always helped me with this stuff. What if I’m never any help to the Garde? Sometimes, I wish I was never chosen by the Elders. ’ Her voice trails off and she slumps down, looking absolutely dejected.

  ‘Ella. ’ Eight takes a step forward. ‘Ella. Look at me. You can’t think that way. We are so happy you’re here. We need you. If you weren’t here, we would be looking for you. You are exactly where you should be. Right, Marina?’

  ‘Ella, do you remember what we used to say, back in the orphanage? We are a team. That means something important. We take care of each other. ’ As I’m talking, I realize that my aversion to teleporting is selfish. The only hope we have of finding the others is by getting to New Mexico. The safest, fastest way to get there is by teleporting, even if it means landing in the wrong place a few more times. I will not allow my fear to endanger anyone. When one of us is weak, the rest of us need to be that much stronger. I give her shoulder another squeeze. ‘We will get to New Mexico, find Six, and we will continue to fight. ’

  Ella nods but remains quiet.

  We all wander off, lost in our thoughts. I know I need some time to clear my head, to be as strong mentally as I feel physically, before we move on. This place is so peaceful, and it’s so quiet, that it’s the perfect setting in which to think. An hour or so later, I walk into the center of the circle to see Eight leaning down and picking a stone up before dropping it.

  ‘Eight! What do you think you’re doing?’ I yell, alarmed. ‘Do you remember where we are? This is a sacred, historic, ancient place! You can’t just kick rocks around! Put them back where they were!’

  Before he even has a chance to return the stones, I use my telekinesis to do it myself. Stonehenge may not be my history, but it is someone’s, and that deserves more respect than Eight is showing right now. I want to leave this place exactly as we found it.

  Eight looks up at me, surprised by my anger. ‘I’m looking for the Loralite stone. I know it’s half buried around here, under one of these stones, and we have to find it if we’re going to go anywhere,’ Eight says.

  ‘Well, just make sure you put them back exactly where you found them when you’re done looking,’ I grumble. ‘Stonehenge is one of the most famous places on Earth. Let’s not ruin it. ’ I am tired of leaving destruction behind.

  Eight makes a big show of peeking delicately under a rock and returning it gently to its place. ‘I would just like to say that Stonehenge is only here in the first place because of the Loric. Reynolds said we built it as a cemetery for those who died fighting on Earth. ’

  ‘Really? This is a graveyard?’ Ella asks, walking up behind me and looking around curiously.

  ‘It was,’ Eight says, patting a large boulder. ‘For thousands of years, at least. And then humans started poking around, doing all that research they love so much. There is nothing like a quest to understand everything, even if there is nothing to know. Whatever. I will honor the placement of the rocks. ’ He continues to move as if tiptoeing through a bed of tulips.

  ‘Let me help. ’ I walk carefully among the stones, helping Eight look for the Loralite, floating several rocks inches above the ground before setting them back down exactly as they had been. As I move on to another group of stones I hear shouts in the distance. I lean around a stone to see two men in uniforms running towards the monument, flashlight beams bouncing in the darkness. Ella and I duck down behind the biggest, closest rock formation.

  ‘Shoot,’ I whisper. ‘Everybody hide. ’

  We can see the beams from their flashlights scan the ground, and whenever one gets close to us, we shift our position around another stone just in time.

  ‘I know I heard something out here. Kids’ voices,’ the smaller of the two guards says.

  ‘Okay. Well, where are they?’ the other guard asks, looking around. There is a distinct note of disbelief in his voice.

  Both men are silent for a moment. I peek around the stone to see the larger guard looking around, annoyed by the lack of evidence of intruders. Then something catches his eye, but I can’t see what it is. I’m worried. What could he have found? ‘Bill? Come over here and look at this. Where do you think these came from?’

  ‘Huh. Don’t know. They sure weren’t there earlier,’ the other says.

  I nearly jump out of my skin when Eight materializes next to me. ‘They found our Chests,’ he whispers. ‘I’ll just toss the guards into the pasture, okay? We need to find the Loralite, so we can get the hell out of here, and that’s not going to happen until those guys leave. And I am not letting them leave with our Chests. ’ His voice is grim.

  I’m about to say no when my brain begins to buzz. After a brief echo of static I hear Ella’s voice in my head: I can distract them while you find the Loralite. I look over at her in shock, eyes wide.

  Ella squeezes my hand and whispers, ‘I can distract them –’

  ‘I already heard you,’ I interrupt. ‘Ella, I heard you in my hea

  She smiles widely. ‘I thought it worked this time. Wow! I did it!’ she whispers excitedly.

  ‘Hey, you two, keep it down,’ Eight whispers. ‘Do we have a plan?’

  ‘I have an idea,’ Ella responds. Shrinking herself into a six year-old, she runs wide, out past the outer circle of the stones, then walks back towards the men. She puts on her best little girl voice as she calls out, ‘Daddy? Where are you?’

  ‘Hello?’ One of the guards calls back. ‘Who’s out there?’

  Eight teleports away while I watch Ella. She is standing still, shielding her eyes from their flashlights. She’s quite the actress. She sounds legitimately lost and worried. ‘I’m looking for my daddy. Have you seen him?’

  ‘What in the world are you doing out here, little girl? Where are your parents? Do you know what time it is?’

  As they approach her, Ella starts to sob, stopping the men in their tracks. ‘Now, now, just calm down, no need for tears,’ the larger one says in a soothing tone.

  Ella turns up the waterworks and says, louder now, ‘Don’t touch me!’

  ‘Hey, hey, nobody’s touching you,’ the other says in alarm. They are looking at each other, both confused and at a loss as to what to do with her.

  ‘Psst, Marina,’ Eight whispers. He’s behind me with a Chest under each arm. ‘We have to find the Loralite. Now! She can’t hold their attention forever!’

  We run into the center of Stonehenge. Eight and I start checking under every rock we can find, as quickly as we can. There are only a few left to check when we hear the men coming back towards us, Ella in tow, still sniffling.

  ‘Okay, I think it’s time for another distraction,’ Eight says, disappearing again. He reappears by the outer circle of stones, plants his hands on an upright slab, and pushes hard. All I can do is watch in horror, frozen to the spot. The huge stone wobbles and then slowly tips backwards, then the horizontal slab on top falls too, and that’s when Eight starts yelling, ‘Help! Help! The stones are falling over! Stonehenge is falling down!’ I will kill him. I clench my fists at my side, which is when I realize I still have a small rock in my hand. I lean down and carefully, pointlessly, return it to its spot.

  The guards break into a sprint towards Eight’s voice, and when their flashlights catch the falling stones, they scream in panic. The smaller guard runs to get in between two vertical stones, but it’s too late. They connect and collectively tip to the right. The horizontal slab that was over them lands on the ground with a thud. My mouth falls open as the stones tip, one by one, going over like dominos.

  ‘Code Black! Code Black!’ the large guard screams into his walkie-talkie, then tosses it to the ground. He wraps his arms around one of the massive vertical stones remaining upright, trying with all his might to stop it from going over with the others. But it’s pointless. The massive stones keep falling.