The Guild – Chapter 86 – Andrei

    The world seems to sway back and forth with each stride the camel takes. To me, it’s reminiscent of sailing on a pirate ship as it lurches with each wave. On the other hand, I feel each step the camel takes, as it reverberates painfully up my spine as if it were my own third leg or something. Despite the padded saddle Kat and I sit on I still manage to feel each bump.

    My arms are wrapped loosely around Kat’s waist as I hold the reins, not that they need much steering, they follow each other in a line like ants. She holds onto the pommel of the saddle as she leans back against my chest lazily in the scorching heat of the Namib desert. Her hair sticks to the exposed skin of my sweaty chest, making me itchy. I feel like I’ve swum in the ocean in my clothes.

    The sun beats down on us like the heating rod in an oven; a never-ending source of heat in an ocean of smooth red sand as far as the eye can see. It’s only been a few hours of riding and I already wish I was in Russia or somewhere where snow is a thing for most of the year. Kat’s heat only adds to the discomfort I’m feeling as we ride deeper into the desert.

    Ahead of us, Caroline and Kaede ride together, while Nik and Selene each have their own Camel. I can’t image how the camel Nik is riding must feel. Nik is a little taller than Cliff, and he’s built like a tree too, full of muscle, whereas Caroline and Kaede are both thin as sticks. I bet all three of them, Selene, Caroline, and Kaede together might weigh as much as Nik. I chuckle to myself as I think about them.

    The first few hours out in the desert, after we left the small town of Port Nolloth, we shouted conversation at each other from the camels. Now, as late afternoon wanes into evening, we’ve all grown quiet as we cope with the heat of the desert.

    I open my mouth to speak and taste a strange dryness instead, coughing before I can make words happen. “I wish there was some shade… or water.” I wheeze.

    Kat looks up at me, not a drop of sweat on her brow. “I’m sorry, I wish I could share my resistance with you.”

    I sigh. “Me too. I don’t know how you’re not hot in this… You’re like, weatherproof,” I joke.

    She laughs, “In the heat, yes. In the dead of winter, I might start to feel it. If it starts raining though… That’s a whole other problem.”

    I drop my head over her shoulder and just leave it there like a dead weight, moaning. I hate heat, the stifling desert heat.

    “Just a couple more hours and we’ll stop to make camp, ok? Make sure to drink that water in your bag!” Caroline shouts back.

    “I drank that an hour ago…” I groan.

    “There isn’t any left!” Kat calls back to her. “Maybe we can find some more?”

    Nik glances back, then looks around. “I’m sure there’s bound to be a hidden well around here somewhere.”

    I hear Caroline sigh heavily despite being on the camel ahead of us. “I’ll try and trace a well and then we can make camp there,” she calls back.

    In another hour, Caroline manages to locate a source of underground water. I watch lazily as she seems to leap off her camel with ease. I wonder to myself how she’s so energetic. Wouldn’t water be as bummed as me in the desert?

    Kat slips out from under me and slides off the camel with unexpected grace. I wilt forwards without her to support me anymore, leaning over the pommel. Seems I was the one really resting on her. Kat takes the reins from me, holding our camel, who’s not even moving now that we’ve all stopped so that I can slide off. As I adjust my position in the saddle to get out, I feel a wave of dizziness. All this heat is getting to me.

    I feel her hands press against my back as I slide out of the saddle with little control. She pushes me up, somehow and untangles my feet from the stirrups, helping me stand steady on the soft sand. My legs feel like lead from sitting in a hot saddle for the better part of the afternoon, and I feel a stiffness in my groin, not to mention I’m damp from sweating.

    “I just want water… or shade. Either works.” I moan, leaning against Kat for support.

    Nik lumbers over, his tall figure casting a beam of shade on me. I smile faintly as he extends his hand out, holding a bottle of water. “Give me a couple of minutes, I’ll create a shelter for us all.” He says with a smile.

    “Thanks, sorry.” I apologize. Old habits die hard.

    Kat sets me down in the shade of the camel as I watch the others get to work making a shelter and finding water. Caroline seems to walk in circles before stopping suddenly and closing her eyes, making a sign with her hands as she starts to pull. She glows faintly with the spell. Kaede stands beside her with all the empty bottles, ready and waiting.

    Nik starts to pull solid rocks from deep under the sand, causing the sand to sink like antlion traps on the beach. Each pull causes the ground to rumble like soft thunder in the distance. When he’s gathered enough rocks, he begins to form them into a cave-like structure large enough to fit all six of us.

    When he’s finished making that, he starts to make a trough for the camels and a poll to tie them all to. I stand weakly and sidle into the cave, sighing with relief as the early evening sun no longer settles on me. I feel bad for not helping. I suppose I can cook us a good dinner once everyone’s settled.

    Kat kneels beside me with a kind smile but a worried look in her eyes. “How are you feeling?” she asks me as I take another sip of water.

    “I bit better now that I’m out of the sun. You?” I ask her with a smile.

    She brushes a strand of hair out of my face. “I’m fine. The camel wasn’t so bad after all.”

    “Good,” I say with relief. I didn’t want a repeat of Camelot, even though we have plenty of capable healers now. I, on the other hand, feel very different about the camel.

    Kaede walks in with an armful of water bottles, followed by Caroline with some of our bags off of the camels. “Who wants fresh desert water?” he calls like some southern mother ringing the dinner chime.

    Everyone raises their hands as he hands them out. “Car said she’ll pull more when we’ve finished these. She needs a break ‘cuz it’s pretty deep.”

    Kat chugs half a bottle before I have time to blink. So she was thirsty after all. “Why didn’t you just ask me for some of this?” I ask holding up the bottle Nik gave me. “Now I feel like a water hog.”

    She shakes her head, “It wasn’t urgent.”

    “Half a bottle!” I point out, staring at her water in disbelief.

    Kat shrugs, taking another gulp. “I can survive a long time without water.”

    “Amazing!” I turn to Nik, who settles next to me with a new bottle. “Great shelter,” I say, waving at the amazing digs. I’m surprised he even found stones to build the thing. I guess having almost all of the main elemental magic users present does come in handy.

    Kat pulls out her phone, noting the time. She seems to be waiting for something. After a few minutes, she stands, hands on her hips and stretching. She checks the time again and glances outside the mouth of our little cave. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

    “Why? Where’re you going?” I ask, just before she leaves.

    She hesitates, avoiding my gaze, “Just outside. Won’t be long.”

    I frown, wondering what she can’t tell me. I’m sure it’s probably a cigarette. She can’t seem to break that habit, no matter how many times I interfere.

    While she’s out, I decide to start the cooking, though I’ll need her to light the fire. The sun’s sinking fast and the light is fading, so while I can still see without the aid of a light, I rummage through our bags and retrieve the cooking tools and food we purchased in the town. I set up the pot and build up a little tepee with the fire starters we bought.

    I’m about to start chopping the veggies for the stew when I spot Kat in the shadows outside the cave, slinking by. I peer out of the cave, curious. I put the knife down and walk to the entrance, watching. What is she doing?

    I see her holding her hand out in front of her, a look of concentration on her face as she mutters to herself softly. I can’t make out the words. I have enough energy to go check it out, so I dash towards her, using my speed to get there quicker.

    “Wha‘chya doin’?” I ask curiously over her shoulder as she jumps, eyes growing wide.

    “I-I… Um…” she gulps, looking away.

    As I look over her should I notice a dark substance dripping from her fingers and onto the ground. “Is that… blood?” I ask, reaching for her outstretched arm.

    She leans away with a guilty look on her face. “It’s not, I mean, technically yes… But it’s fine.”

    “Why are you bleeding? Did you hurt yourself?!” I ask, shocked she isn’t asking anyone to heal her. As I look closer, the gash seems pretty deep.

    “Yea… but…” she bites her lip.

    “But what? Why can’t you tell me?” I ask concern growing in my voice as she struggles to tell me how this happened.

    “It’s on purpose.” She blurts out quickly. “I can’t…. You have to let me finish, before the bleeding stops!”

    “On purpose!? Before it stops? If it doesn’t stop you’ll pass out!” I look at her warily but I see the earnest look in her eyes. “Fine, finish whatever this is, but please tell me why you’re doing this… when you’re done!” I say strongly, stepping away reluctantly as I drop her hand.

    She stands there, a confused look on her face as I watch her patiently. “I’m not leaving. Go on,” I say flatly, pushing her to continue so I can heal her as soon as she’s finished.

    She hesitates before she holds out a shaky hand, continuing slowly in a circle around the cave. Now that I follow her movement, I can see a trail of dark spots in the sand that make a giant circle around the cave. I cross my arms with a frown, watching as she completes the circle.

    I listen as she mutters under her breath, I’m now close enough to make out what she’s saying. “By this blood, no soul shall cross, lest their presence be known to me.” I purse my lips as I listen, it sounds like some kind of ward. Did Cliff teach her this spell?

    When she completes the circle it glows faintly, only for a brief moment before it and the spots disappear. I stride briskly over to her and take her hand, gently in mine, despite my worry. “Can I heal this now?” I ask her firmly.

    She nods, looking down shamefully.

    I place my hand over the wound, pressing it gently as I focus my energy on sealing the skin back together. Our hands glow lightly in the dark until it’s finished. “I’m not so much mad as I am worried. You have to know, seeing you bleeding like that would worry me, right? Why couldn’t you just tell me?” I ask in a concerned tone.

    She glances up through her lashes. “Because you would have told me not to.”

    I frown. “That’s not … necessarily true.” I try to convince myself she’s wrong about that. “Why do you think that?” I ask.

    “It’s blood magic,” she takes a deep breath. “It requires sacrifice, and you generally disagree with that.”

    “I…” I can’t really say anything to disagree with her statement, though I want to. “Ok, fine. I usually don’t like things that require sacrifice, like blood and stuff. But you could’ve told me, no? Don’t I deserve to know?” I say.

    “After,” she shrugs.

    “Maybe I’d be less worried if I knew before you did something dangerous or potentially lethal,” I frown, crossing my arms over my chest. She has a tendency to do things that either cause herself harm or put herself more at risk. I feel a shiver as the coolness of night sets in, though I’m not sure if that’s because of the sun, or the realization of Kat’s dangerous habits. The chill is a stark contrast compared to today’s heat, however.

    She narrows her eyes. “It wasn’t dangerous or lethal. I know what I’m doing. You’re not the only one who would’ve had a problem with it. There wasn’t time to debate, you know.” She almost sounds angry… almost.

    “Well, I don’t know what you’re doing!” I say, holding my hands out. “What was that you were doing anyway?” I ask her a little too strongly.

    She puts a hand on her hip, glaring off to the side with a scoff. She answers in almost a whisper. “It’s a perimeter ward. If anything crosses it, I’ll know. It’s undetectable, even with magic.”

    “A perimeter ward. Are you worried about someone following us out here?” I ask. I shrug it off, I guess it makes sense, considering all the trouble we’ve been in since October. “I suppose you know best. You’ve been at this way longer than the rest of us. Thanks,” I smile with a shiver. “You know, I was about to start dinner, but I need your help starting the fire. Do you think you can manage that?” I ask, pointing my thumb towards the cave.

    She raises an eyebrow with a smirk. “Me, start a fire? Hmm… I don’t know. I guess I could give it a shot. By the look of you, we should do that soon, or you’ll freeze,” she says with concern.

    I nod, turning back towards the cave. As she lights the fire I see that Kaede and Nik have managed to chop the vegetables while we were out. I make us a hearty stew and when we are finished, Caroline uses some water to clean the dishes.

    “So, Caroline mentioned that this can be some sort of team building adventure,” Kaede smiles broadly. “I’m all for learning more about you guys, seeing as we’ve been hanging out a ton and all. How about we play a little game of like twenty questions or something? I’ll start. Nik, you’re from America. Where’d you grow up?” Kaede launches in without waiting.

    “Pretty much exactly where you found me,” Nik shrugs. “Not much to tell there, it’s been our tribal home for generations.”

    “So, you’ve lived there you’re entire life?” Caroline asks with disbelief. I can see why she’d say it like that, considering she’s moved about a dozen times in her life. “What about school? Did you learn at the reservation? Or did you go into that town for school?”

    “A bit of both,” he replies with a laugh. “I’m afraid my life has been pretty simple.”

    “Never! So, when did you first discover you had the power of Earth?” Kaede grins like a hyena. I love how he makes it sound so epic to have a power, like watching Superman or something.

    Nik thinks about it for a moment. “Well, the elders knew before I was born, so I guess I’ve always known. They didn’t really kick in until puberty though.”

    “Really?” I ask, now I’m the one staring in disbelief. “How could they know before you were even born?” I ask though I’m really wondering why it took so long for his powers to show.

    Nik frowns. “The same way they knew she would appear,” he nods at Kat.

    “Which was…?” I prod, hoping for more information.

    Nik hums. “Part of it was passed down from our ancestors, and some was from the spirits.”

    “That’s interesting. Does your tribe have a history of producing Guardians?” Caroline asks curiously.

    “Of course,” Nik laughs, as though it should be obvious. “How else would we know about all of this?”

    I frown, thinking a moment. “Wait, so, there has been a Guardian among your people before? Guys, when we first met Kaitlyn, I made that random jump. Remember?”

    “Vividly,” Kat nods. Caroline and Kaede nod as well.

    “I don’t know if I told you, but I went somewhere in North America, and I met a tribe of Native Americans. One of them was a Guardian.  His name was Waaseywaa.”

    “You don’t say…” Nik chuckles.

    “Would he happen to be your ancestor?” I ask him, leaning closer towards the fire.

    “He would,” Nik grins. “And here I thought that story was ridiculous.”

    “That’s wild!” I laugh. “What was this story? I’m curious how I was portrayed in oral traditional history,” I smirk.

    Nik scratches his head. “I’m not much of a storyteller. Grandma tells it better. All I remember is that a white man came by magic from the future before the others came by boat. I always thought it was more of a fairytale than anything.”

    “Haha, wow. Yeah. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen myself conveyed in history before. I usually am just a minor blip in the lives of not so famous people. I guess I made sort of an impression.”

    “What about you Selene?” Caroline shifts the focus. “We can tell you have an accent. Where exactly are you from?”

    “Oxford, if you want to be specific,” Selene replies. “Southern England.”

    “Can you tell us more about life in England?” Caroline asks.

    “I’ve never been overseas before,” Kaede muses. “I wonder what it’s like.”

    “What’s to tell? Everyone is stuffy and it rains a lot,” Selene shrugs, taking a sip of water. “To be honest, I haven’t been back in a long time.”

    “How long?” I ask. I’ve been to England in the past, including Camelot. Oxford is one of the most beautiful towns I know of.

    Selene looks up at the rocky ceiling. “I’ve lost count how many years. I’ve been just about all over the world since then.”

    “Wow. You don’t look that old, though, didn’t Ceph say Guardians don’t age after they’ve awakened, so I guess you’re older than you look,” I hope she doesn’t take that offensively.

    She chuckles. “Quite.”

    “Oh! I got another question! When is everyone’s birthday?” Kaede asks.

    Selene rolls her eyes. “I have no idea.”

    Kat tilts her head. “June twentieth, I think.”

    “You think? And how do you have no idea when your birthday is?” I ask, raising an eyebrow at them both.

    Kat blinks. “It’s not something I usually think about. I never do anything,” Selene nods in agreement.

    “Still,” I say. “Mine is September fourteenth.”

    “My birthday was January nineteenth,” Kaede adds.

    “And mine is April third,” Caroline smiles. That’s coming up soon. How in the world did I forget Kaede’s birthday? Oh… right. We were in Camelot around that time.

    “I’m March twentieth, which is in a couple weeks, I believe,” Nik grins, adding. “Not that I expect anything. Don’t worry.”

    “Ohh, we should, though! I mean, we missed Kaede’s but no biggy. It might be nice to do something together,” Caroline suggests. I agree. It would be cool to celebrate each others birthdays.

    “Hey! No biggie?” Kaede pouts.

    Kat leans forward slightly, looking at Caroline and Kaede. “How did you guys end up together?”

    Caroline blushes, from what I can see in the glow of the fire.

    “I can answer that,” Kaede smirks. “It was just a regular day for me, you know, walking to the orientation at York University. I was on my way to the computer science building and-”

    “That’s not true!” Caroline cuts in. “You were hopelessly lost.”

    “Was not!” he denies strongly.

    “Oh, right. That’s why you bumped into me with your eyes glued to the campus map,” she huffs sarcastically, crossing her arms over her chest.

    “Whatever, maybe I did bump into you,” he admits with a pout.

    “There’s no maybe about it. He couldn’t find his building, and I was on my way to my own class from the dorms when he bumped into me, knocking all my books into a puddle. It was raining. I remember, ‘cause I had to blowdry all my texts and reprint an assignment,” she glares hard at him. Kaede just shrugs and I snicker.

    “I like to think of it as love at first sight,” Kaede beams.

    “If that’s what they call it,” Caroline grumbles. He offered to buy me a coffee as repayment. So I agreed. I helped him to class and we met for coffee later. He seemed… nice,” she blushes again.

    “So they met again and again, until Kaede introduced her to me,” I smile smugly.

    “Let me guess, she saw how terrible her options were and decided to settle?” Selene smirks, winking at Caroline.

    “I think she still wishes she had met me sooner,” I wink.

    “Classic, Andrei. You are still stuck on a cloud,” she glares.

    I lean against Kat, pecking her on the cheek. “Nah, I’m taken,” Kaede barks a laugh, covering his mouth with his hand as Caroline pinches his arm.

    “It’s more like I became fascinated in his nerd world, and he was super kind, once I got over him dropping my texts in the mud,” she smiles.

    “I don’t think you’re over that,” he sighs.

    Kat hums, looking over at Nik and Selene. “How did you two awaken?” We all turn to look, curious. Kaede nods excitedly.

    They glance at each other. Selene pipes up, her face emotionless. “I died.”

    The cave echos with gasps of shock. Caroline’s hand comes to her mouth in surprise. “How?” she asks shakily.

    “Playing some silly game, as children do,” she says, as though it’s nothing.

    “What were you playing?” I ask solemnly. I mean, she’s here now and thanks to her powers, she seems to come back. I can only imagine it’s tough to die and come back, sort of like jumping around the past at random, except probably less painful.

    “I believe we were playing some version of what you might call tag, nowadays. Only, a little too close to the bluffs,” she explains casually.

    Everyone grows silent at her tale. It sounds like a horrific accident. Caroline replies though, breaking the silence. “But you somehow survived, in a sense. How did your family take it?” she asks softly.

    “Not well,” Selene laughs bitterly. “Better than the second time, however. Or the third. My mother was a mess by the time I reached my teens. I left home soon after.”

    “That’s awful!” Caroline looks on the verge of tears. Kaede pats her back soothingly. Car has strong opinions about family.

    Selene hums. “Yes, I suppose it was.”

    “When we found you, you were already a Guardian, though. Do you remember when you became a Guardian?” I ask with interest.

    Selene frowns. “Were you not listening?”

    “That was your Guardian awakening!?” I gasp.

    “Is that not what I said in the beginning? After all, that was Kaitlyn’s question,” Selene points out bluntly.

    “You don’t have to get defensive,” I lean back frowning. “I thought you were only talking about your powers showing up. Not all of us became Guardians the moment our powers showed themselves. I, for one, was seven when I started jumping, albeit, randomly. I had no control. But I didn’t become a Guardian until last week!” I say.

    “Wait, last week?!” Caroline gasps. “So you’re a Guardian now too?!” How did she not know?

    “Did we forget to tell them?” Kat leans over, whispering.

    I turn to Kat with an embarrassed look. “I think maybe we did… that’s awkward.” I whisper back.

    Kaede shoots me a thumbs up. “Congratulations man. How about you Nik?” Kaede redirects.

    Nik hums, blinking out of a daze as he turns away from Selene. He pauses before answering. “The elders have a ritual, sort of like a spiritual journey. You leave your body and pass trials. They had me perform the ritual when I reached adulthood.”

    “Wait! I did something similar!” Caroline adds. “We did it at the Guild in January. Selene and Kaitlyn helped me. It was scary, wasn’t it?” she asks.

    Nik gives her half a nod. “I was prepared, so I wasn’t as frightened. Maybe I’m just a bit more… confident. Though I’m glad to see I’m not the only one without a tragic awakening.”

    “I can be confident…” Caroline mumbles. “But I was scared because I’d only found out I had powers in October. The man with the crystal eyes was terrifying though. Did you see him too?” she visibly shivers.

    Nik nods once. “Yes. We call him the Old One, or sometimes Wise One. How about you two?” he nods to Kat and I.

    I look at Kat and decide I’ll go first. She always gets nervous when she’s the centre of attention. “I didn’t even realize I had, to be honest. It sort of happened when we went to go get Kat from you. Kaitlyn actually noticed it first,” I blush, leaving out the details. I decide to stall a little longer.

    “I remember, back in Camelot, Ceph and Eli told us that Guardians usually awake in one of two ways. Either another Guardian assists them with the awakening, I assume as with the trials you both have mentioned, and the other, more or less, by accident, in a traumatic situation. I remember being super confused at first, because Merlin kept calling us both Guardians and I was like, no. I’m not. But apparently, the Guild didn’t exist back then. There haven’t been true Guardians for a few hundred years,” I look to Kat, hinting for her to continue.

    Kat shifts uncomfortably under the sudden attention, staring at her hands as she picks at her nails. “When we were caught by Logan, I tried to distract him while Rhoan worked on freeing Andrei… but it didn’t work. He pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Andrei,” she glances up at me for a second from the corner of her eye. “Something just snapped in me, I guess. He pulled the trigger, and… suddenly I was made of fire.”

    “I remember that explosion of energy,” Selene muses wistfully. “Such incredible power, like a bomb exploded.”

    “You never told us! What the heck was Logan doing to make you snap?!” Caroline raises her voice.

    Kat looks like she doesn’t want to say anymore, so I try my best to pass it off. It’s such a touchy topic. “He was torturing us, pretty much. He tried to use me as bait to get Kat to join him and the Master. I think that’s all you need to know about that though, ‘cause we got out alive,” barely… I add in my head.

    “Fine, but now I’m glad mine wasn’t as real as yours was. I mean, it was still pretty bad. I had three trials, and the first one… Well, he took the form of Kaede and he drowned! I was freaking out. The last one was the worst though… I can still feel their hands…” she trails off leaving the thought hanging. “I get it, that’s all I want to say about it too,” she finishes.

    Everyone seems to nod and silence falls between us as the fire crackles lightly. The simple activity turned into an intense series of stories by the fire and now it feels like a bunch of wounds have been laid open for all to bear witness to.

    My mind dwells on that thought, reminding me of what the Master of Time said in that dream I had. I vaguely recall her telling me I have to bear witness to the events of time, and it can be difficult. All of us have had it difficult. Selene dying only to return to life again, Caroline suddenly being thrown into the magical world, Kaitlyn, having such an uncontrollable element plus her mysterious lineage, and Nik, well… his seemed pretty normal going.

    When the conversation grows silent for too long we unanimously decide it’s best if we all got some sleep. The fire is warm against the cold of the desert night and we all huddle together as we sleep. Kat decides to sleep closest to the mouth, as it’s cooler than the rest of the cave, and since she’s always warm she insists she take the coldest spot. I don’t argue there but I also insist I sleep next to her. I just know she’ll keep me warm too.

    Kaede and Caroline settle in at the back while Nik sleeps across from us. Selene is also near the mouth, at the other side of the cave. A light breeze blows past the cave, lulling us to sleep like a lullaby. It’s been months since I’ve slept outside like this. It’s soothing. I wonder if I’ll get another chance, soon, to time jump. I kind of miss it.

    Soon my thoughts drift and sleep takes me.


    My arm feels suddenly cold as I feel Kat pull away. I groan, cracking my eye open to see why she’s leaving me. I look over my shoulder and notice her staring outside of the cave, towards the camels.

    “What is it?” I ask sleepily, sitting up and watching her.

    “Someone’s here,” she whispers quietly.

    I hear a faint click from behind the camels and I feel a surge of energy as I quickly pull her back into the cave, away from the opening. She tumbles backward as something hits the wall, where she would have been sitting. A little metallic ball clinks to the floor.

    “Get up! Get up!” I shout to the others, waking them up. I hear another click as the camels shift nervously. Selene suddenly cries out as red blossoms from her right shoulder, staining her shirt.

    “Shit!” I curse as I quickly move to the other side of the fire, faster than any of the others and pull her back. “Caroline. Take care of her. Nik, you’re with me. Let’s find out who’s out there,” he nods and we creep towards the opening.

    I turn to him before going out. “I can move fast, so I can get out of the way. Think you can use something here to block a bullet?” I ask him. He gives me a smirk as he pulls another rock, seemingly effortlessly from the ground. I nod with satisfaction. “If you see them, don’t hesitate to knock them out.”

    I peer around the wall towards the camels. They seem to still be nervous. Perhaps the perpetrator is still out there, using them as coverage.

    “Andrei!” Caroline calls, stalling my advance. I turn to see what it is she wants. “This isn’t good,” she says with worry.

    “I can see that. That’s why I’m going out there.”

    “No! That’s not what I mean. Listen to me. Selene, she’s been poisoned!” she cries out.

    “What?” I spin around.

    “It’s like before, with Ryan. She’s been poisoned like Ryan! Except, from what we know, that poison is meant for Guardians like us, so it shouldn’t kill her, but… It’ll block her powers. We need to find help! They’re after her.”

    “Where are we going to find help in a bloody desert?!” I yell.

    “Andrei,” Kaitlyn says with unexpected command as she steps up beside me. “If this is the same as it was with Ryan, that can only mean one thing,” she looks at me with a hard, ‘I’m-going-to-kill-someone’ expression. “She’s here.”

    I gulp, feeling my stomach bubble with a mixture of fear and hatred. My mind buzzes with questions. How did Sam find us out here? Why? What’s she doing here? How are we going to get rid of her? I don’t know if I have the answers to any of these questions. Would Nik and I be able to chase her off? There are six… well, four of us capable of fighting, not including Kaede and Selene. Then I think, is she alone?

    I look back around towards the camels, still shifting. “I don’t think she’s going to leave, but we have no idea if she’s alone and why she’s even here,” I say.

    “She’s here for me,” Selene groans. “I told you I shouldn’t have come.”

    Caroline shakes her head. “Don’t think like that. We’ll fix this. Don’t worry.”

    “I don’t know who this person is, but they won’t succeed,” Nik looks back at Selene, his expression grim.

    “Then we know she’s not going to leave without Selene and we’re not going to let her have her,” I say firmly.

    “And how are we going to get away?” Kaede asks. “None of us know any transportation spells unless you plan to jump all six of us,” he points out the obvious.

    I growl under my breath. We need a plan.

    “Isn’t it obvious?” Kat scoffs, leaning around the mouth of the shelter to look out. Her voice is dead serious as she looks back. “We kill her.”

By Kayla West


One thought on “The Guild – Chapter 86 – Andrei

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