The rise of nine, p.41
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       The Rise of Nine, p.41

         Part #3 of Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore
Page 41


  I’m stuck to the ceiling, entombed in black stone. I watch as the rest of the Garde fight for their lives and I can’t even feel my own body, never mind let them know I’m up here. I’m helpless and it’s killing me. I’ve trained every moment of my life learning how not to be helpless. Setrákus Ra is no great fighter. He’s only taking us down because he is able to render us powerless. I want to be standing down there with his head in my hands for all of the Mogs to see. I would make sure they witnessed the destruction of their leader, and then I’d leave them in the same pile of ash.

  Am I watching the dream of Lorien die? We thought we were so strong and so smart and so prepared. We thought we were going to end the war and fly back home to Lorien. We were fools, arrogant fools. We knew of Setrákus Ra, the great and terrible Mogadorian leader, but we didn’t know anything about how he fought, the powers he would bring to the battle. In retrospect it seems obvious that he would have the power to take our Legacies.

  I wish I could communicate with my fellow Garde – I’d be able to direct them well from this vantage point. For one thing, I can see that while the Mogs are stupendously strong physically, they bring little if anything in the way of mental technique. These guys are almost as dumb as the rock I’ve become. They reveal their movements before they act. Their plan of attack is easy to read because they don’t have one. This is a game of numbers and brute force, and that is an enemy that can be beat if you know what you’re dealing with. But when you’re in the thick of it, it’s impossible to see. I wish I could tell the Garde to focus all of their energies and strength on Setrákus Ra. Otherwise I fear the battle will be short, the Mogs almost sure to win.

  I watch Bernie Kosar get slashed. He’s transformed himself into an enormous beast, the same kind he became back in Paradise. His body is thick and muscular, his teeth and claws are sharp and jagged, and two curled horns have sprouted from his head. I see Setrákus Ra hit Nine with his whip and Nine’s arm turn black, which I can only assume means he’ll be in the same position as me soon. John has been shot, and he goes down writhing in pain. Marina picks up a cannon and starts firing on the advancing Mogs.

  Ella’s sneaking out of the room. Does she have a plan?

  I’m distracted from watching Ella by the sound of BK roaring in pain. I see he’s fallen to his knees. Though he’s still fighting, still killing Mogs, he’s bleeding heavily from his wounds. It’s agonizing watching him slowly destroyed, in so much pain.

  I’m bleeding out; I can feel my blood and my strength running out of me and there’s nothing I can do about it.

  Wave after wave of Mogs just keep coming. I have no idea how many we’ve killed so far today, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Without our Legacies, it’s like trying to stop a tsunami with a pile of Swiss cheese.

  Marina is behind me, firing on the Mogs. I look over at Bernie Kosar and see the Mogs have ropes around his horns and are dragging him out of the corner.

  ‘Coward, you’re nothing but a coward! You have to paralyze us just to beat us!’ I hear Nine scream. I see him in the center of the room, one of his arms black and hanging heavy and useless, as Setrákus rears his whip back.

  Setrákus Ra smiles. ‘You can call me whatever names you want. It’s not going to change the fact that you’re about to die. ’ He snaps the whip forward. Nine tries to block the flaming tips with his staff, but with only one arm, it’s impossible. One of the tips hits Nine’s hand, sending the staff flying, and the other tail of the whip hits Nine’s face. He screams out in pain as his hand and face both start turning black. Setrákus advances on him. I have to do what I can before I’m totally useless, or dead, so I start firing my cannon at Setrákus Ra from my position on the ground. At best, I’m a distraction, but I will do whatever I can. He stops each one of the projectiles I fire in midair, and tosses them aside like they’re nothing.

  I hear a new source of cannon fire. I turn towards the door and see Sarah moving into the room, firing on Mogs, Ella behind her. Sarah. She hasn’t been trained. There’s no way she can survive a battle with the Mogs and Setrákus Ra! ‘Sarah!’ I scream. ‘You’ve got to get out of here! This is not your fight!’

  Sarah ignores me and keeps moving deeper into the room. Nine is trying to move away from Setrákus Ra, but his arms, both of which are now completely black, weigh him down. His face is quickly turning as black as his arms. Setrákus strikes Nine again, this time getting him with both tips of the whip right in the middle of his chest. Nine cries out and Setrákus shouts, ‘I had heard you might be my greatest challenge, but look at you, you are nothing!’

  As Setrákus Ra brings his whip back once more to deliver a fatal blow to Nine, Ella darts out from behind Sarah and throws something at him, something that looks like a small red blur. It hits Setrákus in the arm and he looks down, shocked, before letting out a deafening roar.

  I feel something change inside of me. It’s immediate and enormously powerful, like someone plugged me into an energy source. I focus on my hands and try, just once more, to light my Lumen. To my amazement, it works. Our Legacies have returned.

  From behind me I hear Marina cry out and she races over to Eight, who’s still just outside the doorway. I see her run her hands over his chest, working on his wounds. She looks at me through the doorway. ‘What just happened?’

  I shake my head. ‘I have no idea, but now we’ve got ourselves a real fight. ’

  My palms glowing, I turn towards the center of the room where Setrákus Ra is clawing at his arm, trying to pull out the small red object Ella threw at him. He finally succeeds and turns to snap the whip at Ella and Sarah, who is still firing the cannon. They don’t move out of the way fast enough and the whip makes contact. They both go down.

  As soon as the dart hits Setrákus, I feel the change. My Legacies are back. My strength is starting to return. I have a chance to get out of here and help the others.

  I start struggling within the black casing and can now feel myself move slightly within it, but not enough to break out.

  As I continue to struggle, I look below me. John is with Sarah and Ella, both down. He’s left a trail of blood behind him as well as piles of ash. Marina has run back outside to Eight. Bernie Kosar is still in the corner, but now he is tearing apart the Mogs that were dragging him a second ago. In the middle of the room, Nine is still facing off with Setrákus Ra and he’s been able to break his hands and face free from the black rock that was taking over his body.

  Seeing that gives me hope that I can break out of my own stone prison and I continue my struggle until I feel the casing start to give way. I’ll be out soon. I am frantic to free myself. The only thing I want right now is to show Setrákus Ra what it feels like to have a real fight on his hands.

  Just when I was giving up hope that I would ever be able to help Eight, my Legacy returned. I put my hands on the wound in the center of his chest and feel it start to work. With every second that passes, his heart beats stronger and stronger. I’ve never felt anything so good in my life, that steady bump bump bump. If I weren’t in the middle of the fight of our lives, for our future, I think I would start crying right now, but I stay strong, and keep my emotions in check.

  I look down and see Eight’s eyes flutter open, then look up at me. ‘You need to know . . . Six tried to –’ he starts to say.

  I cut him off. ‘That wasn’t Six. It was Setrákus Ra. I don’t know how, but it was him. ’

  ‘But . . . ?’ The confusion in Eight’s eyes makes my heart break.

  ‘Eight, I can’t explain everything right now. How do you feel? Can you stand? We have to get in there, join the others and fight. Are you ready? I need to heal John and I need you to run interference. Got it?’

  He nods and I start to get up, but there’s just one thing I need to do before it’s too late. I look into his eyes, his beautiful brown eyes, take a deep breath, and kiss him. He looks shocked as I pull back. I shrug at him and smile. ‘
Hey, there’s no time like the present, right?’ Before he can say or do anything, I turn to find John. I need to heal him, fast. He took three cannon blasts protecting me. if I don’t get to him now, he’ll die.

  There’s a trail of blood where John dragged himself across the floor, and Eight and I follow it. A heavy cloud of smoke is hanging in the air from all the cannon blasts. When we get to John he’s on his knees, shooting balls of fire from his hands at a massive gang of Mogs trying to get to Ella and Sarah. As we move towards him, the Mogs fire at us. But now that I’m able to use my telekinesis I can deflect their shots, and Eight begins fighting back too. I run to John’s side and begin to heal his wounds. He’s breathing heavily and is very pale. He’s lost so much blood.

  ‘John! You need to stop for a minute so I can heal you!’ I have to shout to be heard over the chaos and commotion. I grab his chin and force him to look at me.

  He shakes his head, trying to release my grip, ‘If I stop, the Mogs will kill Sarah and Ella. ’

  ‘If you don’t stop, you’ll die. Eight is healed now, he can do defense while I work on you. Please! John! We need you. ’ I feel him stop struggling.

  I look more closely at the wounds on his legs. They’re similar. Both legs are bleeding steadily from gaping holes. I work on the right one first, and can immediately tell Four’s thigh bone is also broken. He can’t help but scream while it kneads itself, but the sound is absorbed by everything else going on. His hands ball into fists as I continue.

  The second leg isn’t as bad and I’m able to heal it more quickly. John is already breathing easier. I reach for his arm and yell into his ear, ‘You are looking a whole lot better!’

  I place my hand on the wound on John’s upper arm and can feel the muscles, the bicep and tricep, have been shredded. It’s going to take a minute or two for them to heal. Eight is still firing away at the constant stream of Mogs, but they are coming almost faster than he can keep up with.

  I feel John’s muscles finally knit together and he’s healed. He looks at me and I nod. He leaps to his feet and races over to help Eight protect Ella and Sarah, who are still down.

  I feel strong. Good. Sarah and Ella did something miraculous that got us our Legacies back, made it possible for us to fight, but now they’re both hurt. I will turn every last one of these Mogs into ash for hurting my friends.

  I rush towards them, whipping balls of fire from my hands at the Mogs. I know it should never feel good to kill a living creature, but right now, it feels great. Now that I’m up Eight is teleporting all over the room, appearing in front of Mogs and slicing them to pieces with a sword. Nine is still fighting Setrákus Ra, but the two of them are moving so fast they’re just a blur. I need to get in there and fight, but I also need to stay here and help Sarah and Ella.

  Suddenly, one of the Mogs advancing on me turns in a different direction. He’s not aiming his cannon at me. It’s pointed directly at Sarah and Ella, who are still lying motionless. He fires and their bodies start to convulse, and I begin to scream.