Chapter Twenty-One- Preparation
"You're dead," Grey whispers as he has his sword pointing at my throat.
"Not if I do this," I say as I spin from the sword and behind Grey, the point of my knife resting lightly at his back, "Now you're dead."
"You're good," Grey says, turning to face me so he can kiss me.
"Now I'm stunned. Do that to any female and you'll gain the upper hand. I'll probably kill you after for doing it though."
"When are we going in?" I ask impatiently.
"Gilia it's the middle of the night and Star needs her sleep," Grey says before looking over his shoulder and saying loudly, "Not that she's getting it!"
"I'm not leaving you two unattended," Star says, her voice faint.
"Star, what we did was just a joke!" I call over.
"Wasn't a particularly funny one."
"Yes it was," Grey mumbles. We are standing a short distance from the camp fire, having to navigate around it precariously as we practice fighting techniques.
"Should we go somewhere else?" I ask Grey.
"Wherever you want," Grey replies. I walk ahead to the small hilltop and stop at its top and turn to Grey.
"There. This could be romantic, fighting on a hilltop."
"I wouldn't call it that." I roll my eyes at him, he's to serious. We don't need a torch up her as Stars fire illuminates the hilltop. Grey seems to be distracted as he looks into the distance. I follow his gaze and can't find anything.
"What's wrong?" I ask nervously.
"Look down there," Grey says, lightly turning my head in the direction he's looking
"No I don't see anything. What was it?"
"They must have put their torch out." Out of the corner of my eye I see a flash of silver then I feel some ones hand on my arm. I turn and see a familiar face.
"Rhythian?" I ask.
"Gilia you have to run! They know you're not dead and they're coming!"Rhythian says quickly. I see Grey pull out his sword and point it at Rhythian but then I feel myself knocked to the sand as someone dives at me. I get punched around the jaw as the guy on me attempts to tie my flailing arms together. I see Greys sword descend onto the guy on top of me and it catches him hard and deep in the back. Grey throws the guy off me and leaves him on the ground to die. Grey holds me close to him before he runs off back to the camp, pulling me with him. I look behind us and see more people approaching, but even more then there was the night we got attacked in the cave. I can't see Rhythian there, I hope he teleported somewhere, or however that works.
"Star we have to go!" Grey shouts to a still-awake Star who jumps up off the sand and starts madly gathering up her spears, which are strewn across the sand, "Star forget them, you have a gun!" Grey says angrily.
"I only have so much ammo!" Star snaps in reply. I feel an almost unbearable amount of pain in my left shoulder as something from behind lodges in my arm. I fall to the ground and reach behind me desperately to try and pull whatever it is out of my back. Then I feel myself being dragged back by whatever is in my shoulder and I scream from the pain of this thing pulling at my flesh. I see Grey pull the gun out of Stars belt and aim and shoot. I hear someone let out a cry and the.pulling stops. I reach behind my back and pull a long and thick arrow out of my back, gritting my teeth as I do. Grey rushes over to me and actually picks me up and runs back to Star.
"Where are we going?" Grey demands.
"Just follow me!" Star says as she begins running towards the walls of Faith. Grey follows her still holding me close to him. I CAN walk... We reach what seems to be a towering wooden gate which I guess is the entrance to the Tribe. It's shut tight.
Grey makes a strange noise, "That's it?"
"Did you think it'd just be left wide op-" Star begins but is cut off by the noise of a gunshot. I see Greys eyes wide with fear as the bullet has buried itself in the wood of the gate only an inch above his head.
Star looks around desperately, "Over here!" Star exclaims and begins to circle around the right side of the Tribes walls, Grey setting off after her again. Seeing as Grey is carrying me and I have nothing better to do I attempt to use my powers to heal my wound, but whenever I try channeling them I feel lightheaded and my wound stabs with pain other then feeling better. What is the use of this stupid power? Star suddenly stops in front of a big rock.
"Ta-dah!" she says. How is she so happy?
Grey throws her the most filthy look, "Star what use is that? What are we meant to do, hide behind the rock? We can't just stand out here or else-" but Grey stops as he watches Star heave up the rock, which falls back against the sand to expose a hole. Looking down the hole, it appears to be a drop which doesn't go on for to long before you can see light of an illuminated tunnel. Grey smiles at her.
"I'll go down first, if you don't want to follow then hide behind the rock," Star tells Grey as her legs hang over the edge of the hole. Then she disappears as she simply slides down. Grey looks down uncertainly at me. I look behind us. Salvation haven't arrived yet, but I can hear them approaching fast. I throw myself out of Greys arms and go to the edge of the hole, sit at its edge, and then slide down it. For about two seconds I am nearly falling down the tunnels steep decline, feeling myself sliding down moist mud. As soon as I land on the mud ground of the tunnel, I fall forward over myself, my shoulder feeling as if it is being stabbed ad it hits the ground. Star crouches down in front of me,
"You ok honey?" she asks me.
I nod weakly before Star steps over me to call up the hole, "Ok, Grey?" she begins. Grey appears at the edge, "There should be some rope sticking out as you come down the hole, do you see it?" Grey reaches down and grabs a bit of rope sticking out from the wall of the hole,
"I've got it!" he shouts down.
"Ok keep a hold on that as you come down," Star instructs.
"But it's short," Grey complains.
"Just hurry up and do it!" Star barks up at him. Grey lowers himself down a bit before he begins to slide for about a millisecond before his hold on the rope causes him to hang in the air.
"Can I let go now?" Grey asks in a strained voice.
"Bear with me. Look up, there should be a wooden panel with a handle. Slide that across," Star says quickly. Grey reaches up and grabs at a handle of a wooden panel that slightly hangs over the whole. He slides this across, covering the hole and trapping us in here. Grey then lets go of the rope and falls to the ground in a heap.
"You ok?" I ask Grey, still on the ground myself.
"I'm fine. Are you able to walk?" Grey asks, concerned.
"Yeah," I say, my voice quivering.
"Are you ok?" Grey asks, looking around at the tunnel as he says this.
I feel as if the walls are closing in on me and the ceiling is dropping down to crush me. The width of the tunnel would be about the same as two people standing side by side. I slowly get to my feet and discover I can touch the ceiling. I shudder.
Star looks at me a bit concerned, "Surprising that you have a whole Tribe after you. Is that the one you deserted from?" Star asks. I know she's trying to distract me to calm me. I feel so grateful towards her right now.
"I'm not sure if I deserted from there, I can't remember," I reply as Star steps in front of me and leads the way. I follow her and hear Grey get up and trail behind us.
"The first thing I thought when I saw you is that your face looks familiar."
I shrug, "All I know is that Salvation are after me."
"Salvation huh? Hmm...I know they're looking for a deserter but they're looking for a boy," silence follows for a moment then Star laughs, "So you're their 'Worlds Cure' then? For some reason I was expecting someone more formidable, seeing as the bounty's so high and all of Salvation are after you. Sorry to have to tell you honey, but Salvation are dangerous. Sure they're a Tribe full of nutters, but still very dangerous. You'd have more chance winning against the entire Faith Tribe then them in a fight."
I'm walking along behind Star, wondering if it would be a good idea for me and Grey to look for this boy who deserted Salvation, he sounds like he'd be against them, that'd be useful,"How long have they been looking for the boy?"
"Do you know how long they've been looking for me?"
"Nearly fifteen," Star informs me. I hear Grey gasp behind me. This all seems to scare him more then it scares me. Silence follows and we walk along passing under the glowing torches and then being plunged into darkness for a second before another torch appears mounted on the wall. I breath in the damp, earth smelling air as we walk, taking a strange pleasure out of its smell. But still, I want to get out of here. After about five minutes of walking Star stops and begins to climb up a ladder, but then halts midway.
"Are you two ready for this? There's no turning back after this," Star asks me and Grey. Her mentioning the "No turning back" thing has made me uncertain if I am ready. I turn to look at Grey.
"Ready when you are," Grey says, his voice wavering.
I look uncertainly at the ladder, "Umm..."
"Do you want me to go up first?" Grey asks.
"No, I will," I say determinedly.
"Why?" Grey asks. Strangely enough, I have a reason.
"Haven't you ever heard of the saying "The first into battle are the last to leave"?"
As soon as I say that Grey pushes past me and flies up the ladder, forcing Star to quicken her pace as he hurtles up. In less then a second, both of them are out of sight. I mount the ladder and begin to climb it, the rungs shaking under my feet. As I ascend the ladder, darkness begins to engulf me. I climb up the ladder blindly but can begin to see a soft glow from above me. I reach the top of the ladder and pull myself up onto hard stone ground.
"Taylor! What do we do with this boy? He's the deserter!" I hear a male voice call out as I am pulling myself into the room. I see Star standing in the corner looking slightly baffled as she looks over to the left. I look that way to and see a man with blonde hair pointing a gun uncertainly at Grey, who is pressed against the wall. A woman with chestnut brown hair bounds into the small room from a doorway just in front of me.
"If he's a deserter then surely he'd be the best person to fight for us," the woman says.
"Why would he fight for us if he's a deserter?"
"To get back at Faith maybe?"
"Tyler put the gun down," the woman, Taylor, says to the man. Taylor and Tyler. Even now I have to laugh at that. They both turn to me.
"What about her?" Tyler asks, waving the gun at me.
Taylor comes over to me, "Maybe we should keep her here and collect the little bounty after all this is done."
"No!" Grey shouts out.
Tyler points his gun at Grey again, "Why not boy?"
"Guys, come on, those two are in young love. Trust me, you don't want to see it," Star says, causing both Taylor and Tyler to jump.
"Star!" Taylor exclaims, "I didn't see you there. Are they your friends?"
"You could say that," Star replies.
"We're not harboring guests!" Tyler says in annoyance.
"No, they're here to fight."
"Them?" Tyler asks, looking over me and Grey uncertainly, his eyes lingering on me.
"Oh, who cares. More people to help," Taylor says cheerily, "Have you got weapons?"
I draw a knife to show her, Taylor seems to laugh when she sees it, "Ok, you can go out there and throw your knives around. Better then nothing I suppose..."
"They haven't even got Armour," Tyler pipes in.
"Is there anything left?" Taylor asks.
"A shield," Tyler replies.
"Ok, who wants it?" Taylor asks all three of us.
"I don't want it. It's harder to throw if I'm holding one of those things," Star dismisses.
"Give it to Gilia," Grey says immediately.
"Why? I can only work one arm!" I say.
"Exactly, hold it in the hand of your injured arm!" Grey says. Makes sense I guess. I let Taylor get it and attach some leather straps around my wrist to hold the shield in place. The shield is a small, circular metal thing that has been dented from misuse. Makes sense that this is all that's left, it's clearly a cast-off.
"How's that?" Taylor asks me.
"Fine," I reply.
"Are you all set then?" Taylor asks us.
"I guess," Star replies to her.
"Ok, I'll show you out. Tyler put the gun DOWN," Taylor says to Tyler, who once again has the gun pointed at Grey. Tyler lowers the gun and gives Grey a glowering look. Taylor leads us out the doorway and into what looks like a long, wide corridor. Lying against the walls are injured people who are being treated by people with a red plus painted on their clothes. There must be nearly sixty people in here and seven medics. Looking at their injuries shows me the war is brutal. One man has lost his arm, a woman has been shot in the stomach, and one man has an arrow protruding from his leg. You can tell many of the people in here won't be coming out again, at least not walking. We reach the end of a long corridor and we are in front of a wooden door.
"Good luck out there. I'll see you soon!" Taylor says cheerily. I notice a red plus painted on her top. Yeah, she probably will.
"See you soon?!" Grey says from next to me.
"Not the most encouraging words..." Star mutters.
I step forward and open the thick wood door slowly. I slowly inch out into the dark night and find myself standing in the middle of chaos.