Alaric accidentally made eye contact with Eriene. She didn't break away, and he suddenly thought back to all those times at the Academy where she had stubbornly ignored his obvious crush.
He looked away. He couldn't dwell on that now- not when she had made an ally of Luke Castor and blushed in his golden-flecked gaze. Or when they had sparred in the training bay and she had pushed him against the wall. Her face had flushed red, but she had lengthened her arm and wrapped her hand around the hilt of her sword, picking it up using her Elemental magic. She had pressed her other blade against his neck before finally letting him go.
Eriene had chosen her side.
He gestured vaguely to the direction Everlys had gone, turning and striding across the gravel and sandy brown tunnel before he picked up the faint sound of her crying.
Alaric tightly gripped the sleeves of his black shirt until his fingers clenched white. He hated the sound, yearned for it to stop. It reminded him of the girl Altair had fallen in love with, of her sister a few years younger than him, and of himself when his brother had left for good.
He didn't want this Sinistrian to bring back those memories.
She drew her reddened eyes from him. "Go. Away."
He clenched his fists. "No."
"Leave." Her voice was a cold hiss that made him shiver. The blonde's voice chilled him even more than the snow or wind. And, for a moment, he wanted to retreat back to the others and find out more about the Shifter.
But he sat next to her anyway.
Everlys tensed, but didn't move away. She didn't speak.
"I... had an older brother."
Her eyes flickered his direction before focusing back on her trembling hands. "And?"
"The same thing happened to him that happened to... Althea. He was hunted, but managed to avoid whoever was chasing him until the next year. He was called for the Races and... died."
"Or whatever that means now."
He nodded. Alaric looked over at the Sinistrian, reaching out a hand to stop the trembling in hers. Their fingers laced together, squeezing tightly in comfort.
It felt... safe. Securer than either of them had felt in the arena so far.
"You probably already knew." Alaric mumbled. "About my brother. Since you're a Telepath. A Telekenetic."
"I... actually can't read your mind." Her face flushed red and she looked away. A long blonde stray fell over her slightly bowed head which she tossed back. "Your mind is... shielded. It's completely dark to me, like you've set up some sort of barrier. Like how a Telepath would."
She searched his face carefully for any sign that he had been hiding abilities from her.
Alaric quickly shook his head. "I'm... I'm not. I'm an Earth Elemental who's terrified of heights and can't control anything."
A small smile perked at Everlys's lips. The memory of him holding on to Seridian's horns as his heels pressed into the dragon's side bubbled up in her head. It was crazy to think that the moment had only been a few hours ago. "Yet." she corrected. "You'll learn. And... whatever you're doing with your head, I'll help. I am a Telepath, after all."
He gave a shallow laugh. "Right."
The two fell silent.
"So... when I thought you read my mind, with the thing about trying to find another ally like Eriene, you... didn't?"
"I... lucked out with guessing." She mumbled. "And you do a really bad job at hiding your emotions."
Everlys hadn't read his mind. But she had still said that sentence when they had first met before flying off to inevitably rescue Therin. I'm a Telepath, Emrys. Get used to it. The sentence that had made him blush and fail to mumble even the smallest of replies, made him forget about Eriene and Altair for just a second, and have his mind fixated on her. But that second had been enough.
The blonde stood, exhaling a breath and tucking a few strands back into her braided bun. "We should get going."
He took her hand as she extended it, hanging on for longer than necessary after standing before crossing it against his stomach and fiddling with his sleeve once again.
Everlys turned back down the corridor, stopping as she met the eyes of Eriene.
Alaric had already known her- it was obvious from how he looked at her, from how she had looked at him when they had first arrived in Sinistra. Maybe... that was their plan. To seem like adversaries while gathering everyone together, then using the rest of them to do whatever it took to get out.
It was a stupid, rushed conclusion, she knew. But everyone's lives were rested on this, especially Althea's. Nothing could mess it up.
Everlys sank to the ground beside Therin who was standing against the wall, looking more lost than she had ever seen him. She gestured for him to sit down, and he glanced down at her for a moment before doing so.
Therin drew his eyes away. "No."
Everlys looked over at Jen, rising from the ground and taking the few steps over to her before motioning for Eriene to move away. The Foranian stared at her, but reluctantly loosened her grip on Jen's hand, letting the blonde take her place.
"Look at me." Her voice was soft, urging Jen to trust her.
The girl's dark eyes flickered around the tunnel before landing on Everlys. She exhaled a sigh of relief, a small smile pulling at her lips.
"I'm glad you're okay... Althea." Confusion flickered across her face, twisting and tormenting her features like the image before her was blurred. She looked away. "But everyone else and... them. The nice ones that disobeyed to get us food and water after...training."
"They'll be fine." Everlys tried to make her voice convincing. To reassure both Jen and herself that everything would be fine and not spiral out of their control. "You- we learned about the arena, didn't we? I'm... forgetting."
Jen pressed her forehead to the blonde's, memories winding together before pressing against the barrier to her mind. She focused them into a thin line, pushing them through her mental blockade and into Everlys's head.
A little girl screaming for her mother as she and another girl were ripped apart and held back by two different sets of officials- one group clothed in deep purple, like Alderon's flag and crest, while the other wore white. Everything a bright, blinding white. Like the enclosures of Sinistra's palace and the coats of the Medics as they paced through their pale- walled fortresses.
She screamed and screamed and screamed, shouting until her voice gave out. tears dripped onto her lips, filling her tongue with the salty wetness.
There was a light as the world slowly brightened form it's sudden darkening. There was a young woman- a straight and dark haired young woman with kind eyes and a tablet. She offered a strained smile. But the smile lied, fear and angst shining through her soft features.
Her name was... Riva. And the male with curly brown hair ushering her to come with him was Lein.
"This is what happens if your disobey. Don't make the same mistake he did." The voice was strangled and the image obscured in a foggy curtain.
More screams. Tortured and edged and begging for the pain to relent.
A blonde girl a year or two younger than her offering a smile; watching as pale blue scales climbed up her arm.
A cave with the ruins of columns and a woman with a cruel smile- nothing like the one Riva had given.
Another cave with tunnels reaching out from it. It wasn't far from here, and held something important. Clues. Answers.
The Shifter looked up to meet a set of eyes. Blue eyes, not brown. Not Althea's. She pushed the doubt away, patting the Sinistrian's arm. "I'm fine." But she didn't take her weight off of Everlys's shoulder. "We need to go that way."
Eriene squinted into the further darkness of the tunnel, glancing at her before looking forward again. "What's that way?"
"A way out."
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I don't know why I forgot to read this, but I'm glad I finally did BECAUSE IT IS SO DANG GOODDDDD (Like usual loll) Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh I love ittttttttttttt
Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aha the love drama-
Yeeeeessssss the drama is lovelyyyyyyy
EEE wow and still serching lol but i cant believe the plot is sooo good-
thank youuuuuu!!! I was mainly focused on building (or semi-breaking) Everlys and Alaric's relationship and revealing more about how Riva and Lein tie into everything.
Semi-breaking lol Aahhh okie :)
Lollllllllll mhm! :)