Carissa nearly wept with relief when Elon stopped climbing stairs. It felt like someone had driven a thick metal stake through her skull as the pain in her head intensified. In this state, how was she going to help Elon fight the Reapers?
When Elon set her down, her legs resting on hard stone, her back against the metal bars of a cell, she startled, realizing she’d closed her eyes.
Though she blinked several times, her vision still remained hazy. Elon’s figure moved, then he held a piece of shining silver in his hand. A key? He must have taken it from one of the guards. A grinding noise echoed around the dungeons, and the cell door opened.
Three figures emerged—a child, a bearded man, and a woman. Carissa was glad they all appeared so different, or as disoriented as she was, she might have mixed them up.
Lyron approached her. “Carissa? What’s wrong with your eyes?”
She blinked. “What do you mean?”
“The black part in the middle is really big and round in both of your eyes, but the right one is a bit smaller.” Lyron shifted to the left, then the right. “And your eyes aren’t following me when I move. It’s kind of weird.”
Elon’s figure neared them, and he placed a hand on Lyron’s shoulder. Or was it his head? She wasn’t quite sure, and the harder she tried to look, the more her head hurt. “Carissa had a head injury, Lyron, so she’s not feeling well right now and she’s having trouble seeing.”
Carissa turned her face towards Elon as best she could. Even if her gaze weren’t fixed on him, as Lyron had said, she could at least appear like she were looking at him. “Elon, how are we to bring the Reapers to us?”
Lyron jerked backwards. “Reapers?”
Elon replied, “We make a commotion.”
“And how do you propose we do that?” she asked.
Elon gestured towards the stairwell. “With him.”
A figure appeared at the top of the stairwell, shining in silver armor. A guard.
“I left him alive,” Elon continued, “so he could pursue us once he came to.”
The man seemed to turn to face them, then he drew his sword and charged, bellowing out a battle cry. Lyron began yelling too—though Carissa suspected the sound stemmed more from fear than rage.
Elon strode forward to meet the guard. The guard swung his sword, and Elon moved to either dodge or disarm. Frustration heated the blood in her veins as she suppressed the urge to help Elon fight. But if she did so, she’d likely get in the way rather than help. Or she’d just keel over and start vomiting again.
The man’s sword skidded away from him, and seconds later, the man crumpled to the ground.
Elon returned to them. “The Reapers should be joining us in just a moment.”
A small squeak escaped Lyron. “You’re certain that there’s not a way to–to, I don’t know, avoid the Reapers? Use a secret passage like last time?”
Algernon snorted. “Man up, boy, and stop acting like a child.”
“You do realize that I am a child, don’t you? And as a child, I’m entitled to be scared senseless when I please.”
And then Carissa felt a chill spread over her skin and sink into her bones.
Elon held up his sword. “You might want to ready yourselves. I can feel them approaching.”