The rise of nine, p.31
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       The Rise of Nine, p.31

         Part #3 of Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore
 
Page 31

 

  Eight appears back by me and tips over two small stones, and suddenly a faint blue glow lights up his legs. ‘I found it! Over here!’ he whispers excitedly. I’m relieved to hear he’s found the Loralite, but I’m too focused on the demolition of Stonehenge to be excited. I can’t believe he did this. I’m furious. Ella runs past me as I dart under one of the few slabs still in place and use my telekinesis to slow down the boulders in motion.

  The larger guard slams his back against a stone that’s next in line to tip, and the other guard joins him. I wrap my mind around their stone and hold it steady. When it’s hit with another falling boulder, I don’t let it tip. The guards slide away from the stone and fall to the grass, shocked by their sudden show of strength. Next I reverse the domino effect so the fallen boulders push each other back up, and I stabilize them in their original positions. Then, using what little strength I have left, I slowly lift the horizontal slabs off the ground and set them back on top of the boulders.

  The guards watch all this, mouths agape, too stunned to respond to the crackling, concerned voices squawking from their walkie-talkies.

  ‘Marina,’ Ella whispers. ‘Hey. Marina, we need to go. Now. Come on. ’

  I walk backwards towards the center of the monument, relieved and able to leave, now that I’ve managed to put everything back together.

  I stalk over to Eight and yank my Chest from him. Still furious and unable to look at him, I grab hold of his hand. Ella carries Eight’s Chest while clinging to his other hand. We stand, joined together, over the blue Loralite. The last thing I hear before the darkness comes is the larger guard – defeated and ready to be done with this particular adventure – responding into his retrieved walkie-talkie, ‘False alarm. ’

  24.

  I hide behind a row of lockers in a long dark hallway while I turn visible. The pain from using my Legacies is so intense I curl myself up into a ball, pressing the two batons into my ribs to get some relief. I push my sweaty head against the cool cement wall and try to catch my breath, hoping the pain will subside quickly. I’ve been going up and down hallways, but I worry I’m just running in circles. So far, I’ve found an empty hangar and a lot of electronically locked doors. I know from when Sam and John were caught by the police before that our telekinesis doesn’t work with electricity. I think about John and Sam, Marina and the others. I hope they’re okay; or, at least, in less pain than I am. I picture John and Sam waiting for me at our rendezvous point. We were supposed to meet there in a few days. What will they think when I’m not there? I am so frustrated – and scared – I feel breathless. I know this kind of thinking isn’t helpful, so I try to refocus my attention on how to get the hell out of here.

  Almost on cue, an alarm sounds. The bleating overhead feels relentless as soon as it begins. I know what this means and I know I need to get it together. Fast. Everyone is looking for me. Armed soldiers zip down the long hallways in small open vehicles. Each time one passes, I’m tempted to pluck the men out, hop in, and take off. But I’m sure I wouldn’t get very far and I’d give up the one advantage I have right now. They don’t know where I am.

  I’ve stopped trying to communicate with Ella. Clearly, I was just delusional. I’m on my own. I need to stop talking to myself and find something to blast through a door and get out of here. I think I’m underground. I just wish I knew how deep.

  The lights go on in the hallway. As I discovered earlier, I know this means the motion-sensors have been triggered. A moment later, I hear a vehicle coming my way. I clench my stomach, turn invisible, and get the anticipated wrench of pain. Tears silently flowing down my face from the agony, I press myself up against a wall and watch the cart crawl towards me carrying three soldiers. As it passes in front of me, I hit the driver in the face with one of the batons. Man, do head wounds bleed a lot. Nose, mouth, forehead, all gushing geysers. His (seemingly) spontaneous injury causes him to slam his foot on the gas pedal and veer straight into a wall. The driver is out cold and the other two soldiers spill onto the cement floor. They take in the driver’s face and see absolutely nothing around that might have caused it, and grab for their walkietalkies. But I’m expecting this, and I’ve stepped into position to slam the closest man’s head into the hood of the vehicle and kick his legs out from underneath him. The third soldier starts over to see what happened, and I slam his head down too. Then I grab one of their badges and run.

  I need to figure out where to go from here and I need to do it fast. I can’t stay invisible too much longer.

  I use the swiped badge to get past an electronically locked door and find myself in a hallway completely different from the others I’ve seen so far. I have to stop the pain, so I turn visible and immediately feel relief. I look around and try to figure out where I am. The hall is wider than the others, with a high ceiling that’s domed and carved out of sandstone. Two thick yellow pipes crawl along the ceiling, flanked by drooping electrical lines. I come to a turn in the hallway and peek around the corner. I don’t see anyone, so I flatten my back against the wall and ease around the corner. I’m facing a red door with a sign that reads: DANGER . AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. SHUTTLE ONE .

  I try using my telekinesis to open the door, pushing through the pain, but another electric lock keeps it shut. I’m about to try the badge again when I hear footsteps coming fast in my direction. I turn invisible again, but it makes my stomach churn so violently I fall to the floor. I can’t survive another round of this, no way. Around the corner someone yells, ‘I think I hear something this way!’

  From the ground, barely able to stay invisible, I grab a guard by the ankle as he runs by. He goes facedown onto the floor, giving me enough time to swipe my stolen badge through the electronic lock. The door pops open and I slip inside.

  I’m on a grated metal platform, high above three sets of train tracks that disappear down a circular tunnel. A three-car tram, plastered with several different symbols of the U. S. government, sits empty on the set of tracks closest to the platform. Outside the door behind me, I hear the guard I disabled yelling to a group of men who have just arrived on the scene. I stumble down a narrow set of stairs and jump inside the open doors of the tram, pulling down on the first lever I see.

  My head snaps back as the tram takes off like a rocket. The circular tunnel blurs with red lights and long dark shadows, and twice I zip under grated platforms like the one where I entered without slowing down. The tracks suddenly dip and curve to the right, and then I’m rolling high over a long canal filled with water. I’m hoping this will shoot me out into the desert. Instead, the tram slows down and stops below another platform. There must be points at which there are automatic stops. The doors open and I jog up the stairs. I’ve let myself turn visible again and appreciate how pain-free my stomach is, knowing it won’t stay that way for too much longer. I’m going to need my Legacies to get out of here.

  I take a deep breath and carefully try the door at the top of the stairs. It’s unlocked. Slowly, I open it just a crack to peek and see what is on the other side. My eyes have barely focused when the door is slammed open, clipping my shoulder painfully. I’m now face to face with a guard with a familiar weapon hanging from his shoulder – a Mogadorian cannon. As soon as the guard reaches for it the cannon buzzes to life with a spark of lights. But before he can press the trigger, I dive at him and we crash into a stone wall. The guard rushes forward and tries to grab me by wrapping his thick arms around my waist. Instead, I move just out of his reach and tackle his legs, pulling them out from under him. His skull makes a horrible cracking sound when it hits the ground. I cringe, but I can’t stop to think about it. I quickly shove his body just through the door into the tunnel and close it. I grab his cannon and bolt.

  I look around to get my bearings. There are enormous, smooth columns holding up the ceiling of the winding tunnel, and I weave in and out of them, keeping an ear out for more guards. My mind is racing, sorting through what I’ve seen,
trying to piece it together. First on the list, why did that soldier have a Mogadorian cannon? Did he get it from a captured Mog? Or are the Mogs supplying the government with their weapons? The tunnel forks and I slow, trying to decide which way to go. I see nothing to help me choose, so I think of the last time I encountered a fork in a road. It was in the Himalayas, the one that surprised Commander Sharma. I go left.

  The first door I spot on the left is all glass. Through it I can see scientists in white coats and masks moving around what look like large gardens brimming with tall green plants. Hundreds of powerful bright lights hang low over them from the ceiling.

  A red-haired woman in a dark suit enters through another door and walks over to one of the guys in a white coat at the front of the room. Her right arm is in a sling and she has bandages on her cheek. She watches the scientist pour a vial of liquid over a section of the closest garden. I am stunned to see the plants instantly grow several feet taller and their tips split open. White vines spread in every direction, creating a thick canopy over their heads. The scientist writes something on his clipboard, and then looks up to talk to the woman. I don’t have time to duck out of the way and we make eye contact through the glass door. I slowly raise the Mog cannon at him and shake my head. I have to hope he considers himself a noncombatant and wants to stay out of the action. No such luck. I watch him slip his hand into his pocket. Damn. He’s triggering something. There’s a noise over my head and a thick sheet of metal nearly hits me as it falls in front of the glass door, protecting it. Alarms sound and I know the whole area is going into lockdown. I can’t get captured. I brace myself for the pain about to take over my body and make myself invisible.

  Just in time. Soldiers pour into the tunnel and I inch along the wall to avoid them. The pain and the wave of sickness doesn’t come. Whatever drug they gave me must have worn off. The relief I feel is profound, though I don’t have time to enjoy it. A door clicks open on my right. Without thinking, I jump through it and find myself in a narrow white hallway lined with more doors. Halfway down the hall a lone soldier is backing out of one of them.

  ‘Please. Just shut up already,’ he calls into the room. ‘And you should really eat something. ’

  He pulls the door shut and starts to turn and walk away. But I’m right there and drop him with a right hook to the jaw. I see his keys hanging from his belt, pull them off and frantically shove them into the lock of the door he just closed, one after another, until I find the one that works. I am guessing whoever he was talking to is no friend of his, and I could use an ally right now. I push the door open to see if today is the day I make a new friend.

  I suck in my breath, shocked at what I see. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t the girl I see cowering in the corner. She’s covered in grime and there are thick red welts on her wrists, but I recognize her instantly. Sarah Hart. John’s girlfriend, and the one who turned John in to the police the night we went back to Paradise.