Ion fought back the helplessness smothering
him. He tried to keep himself steeled, but his resolve was fumbling
… there was nothing left.
The two of them lay there feeling the seconds
pass like aeons. And suddenly, Ion caught a distinct noise slitting
through the silence. He tried to crane his neck to see what was
going on, but the darkness was absolute, nothing visible through
it. It was a strange scraping noise, overlapped by a slight hiss , as though that of a snake.
What’s that? He felt his pulse climb
as the noise drew on, but nothing showed through the darkness. By
his side, Mantra shifted as well, picking up the noise. A crisp,
metallic cling followed by a muffled thud came. For a
second, silence engulfed the room again. And then, a sudden orange
flare lit the place, erasing the darkness.
Vestra and Qyro stood over a large circular
hole on the floor. Both of them stood carrying ignited swords,
which they had apparently used to carve out the hole on the floor:
the hissing noise Ion had heard had been their ignited swords
cutting through it.
Their eyes flew over the room, halting at the
centre where Mantra and Ion lay stuffed in the sack. Without a
second’s hesitation, they bolted in. In a matter of seconds, they’d
cut the two of them free of the sack and the iron shackles.
“The Xeni…” breathed Ion, as they pulled
their gags off their mouths.
“They’re outside, don’t worry: they don’t
know about us.” said Qyro in a hurried tone. “We snuck past them to
get in here. They’re still outside.”
“What happened?” asked Mantra.
“The meeting with the Skrylis didn’t go so
well.” said Vestra, as the two of them rose and steadied
themselves. “So we decided to round back here, but you guys weren’t
showing up, so we got a little worried.”
“We made our way in here, to this village,”
took over Qyro. “to see what was happening, and we were shocked to
see them . The Xeni. The fiends were all outside the
“And so, we guessed the worst.” said Vestra,
her tone growing grim. “The very worst. We knew they’d probably
have kept you in here, and took a chance with it. They might’ve
noticed us walk past, but probably let us pass as villagers.
Climbed into the ship from the back.”
“Well they’ll be boarding it anytime now!”
impressed Ion, looking around at the three of them. “We’ve gotta
get outta here.”
“So what in the world happened-”
But before Qyro could reach halfway through
his sentence, the four of them snapped around to face the door of
the room … where stood a black cloaked Xeni who had just frozen at
the door’s entrance while walking past it. His eyes zipped from one
person to the other among the four Nyon in the room. And then, as
the puzzled daze vaporised from his expression, it grew wild with
He turned and made to bolt off, apparently to
reach the rest of the Xeni with this new development. But before he
had even started to run, the four of them had pounced over him from
inside of the room.
The man tried to yell, but Qyro dug his fist
into his mouth, muffling him instantly.
Ion glanced down the corridor of the ship: it
was empty. The man had entered the ship alone. Luckily.
The man kicked and thrashed with all of his
might, creating all of the noise he could to draw the attention of
the other Xeni outside the ship. Mantra drew himself straight and
sent a kick right into the man’s face that knocked him out
He heaved the man’s body, and called to the
“Start the ship. We’re leaving.”
As the large black ship’s engine growled, Ion
felt his heart flutter: through the large window ahead, they could
see the Xeni standing spread outside turn and freeze their
attentions to their ship. The cloaked figures stood rigid on the
spot for a second, before rushing in towards them, to stop