Liquidum

“I’m not afraid of her, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to her if she finds out about who -and what- she is."

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5. Chapter Five

{Emmeline Canreth}


 

The rest of the night was a blur to me. All I remember is that Xavier was gone, and some weird dude forced me to eat a disgusting liquid mix of leaves and bark.

A wave of nausea erupted in my stomach as I flicked a fly off of my arm and watched as it buzzed around, trying to figure out what just happened. After a few seconds of miserably failing to flap it’s wings, it swirled down to the ground, did a little flop and stopped moving.

“I should report you as a murderer.” The door of the tent I had slept in last night was unzipped and in came the person my brain couldn’t handle seeing right now.

“Funny, I should report you as a kidnapper.”

“I dare you.”

“Dare accepted.” I rubbed my eyes and picked a stray eyelash from my water line. “What happened last night?”

Xavier chuckled and came to sit next to me. He moved a bit closer to me, rolling his eyes as I moved a few inches away from him.

“You were poisoned as you crossed the line into the camp.” He told me.

“Poisoned? Why?” I asked. I pretended to be scared and worried, but really, I just wanted to punch whoever decided it was a good idea to poison me and flip him off a few times.

“The Walkers saw us coming, and didn’t recognize you,” He picked a pebble up from the ground and tossed it at a can that was sitting on a table in the corner of the tent. It made a clink sound and fell down to the ground into pile of grass. “therefore, they thought you were dangerous, threw the poison into the wind, and directed it into your lungs.”

I laughed at the thought of me getting poisoned by some whacko group of newly-recruited Walkers who thought I was ‘dangerous.’

“Did you know?” I looked at his face and tried my best to not look at him directly in the eyes.

“No,” he laughed and looked down at the ground to his feet, “not until Reeve showed up and told me.”

I rolled my eyes and stared down at my wrists, that now appeared to have a mark made by a rope or wire.

“Side effect?” I asked as I held my wrists up to his face. He smiled and nodded. “Lovely.”

We spent the next 10 minutes in silence, which was surprising because I had a lot of questions to ask, and I’m the kind of person who says whatever she wants.

I was worried now, that Xavier was worried as well. He was acting like he was nervous about something, or at least unsure about it.

Outside, there was no sound other than the rustling of the leaves and the occasional chirp from a bird that was wandering around the ground looking for a main course for it’s breakfast.

My eyes scanned the tent for the first time, like, really scanned the room. I found that I was on a mat that was laying on the ground, and there was a stool a few feet away from the mat that had a glass of water and a bowl on it. A small table stood in the middle of the tent.

Maps and other papers were scattered on it’s surface, giving me the idea that there was some kind of battle going on.

I then noticed a glass bottle of pink liquid sitting next to the pillow, and I picked it up.

I broke the silence by shaking the bottle. “What is this?” Xavier payed no attention, and it was obvious that he had no intention of answering me. I stared at him for a few seconds, then whacked his arm playfully.

“What?” He looked down at me quickly and made my skin crawl. His eyes were darker than usual, and the corner of his lips were turned down a bit.

“Um...” I hesitated but showed him the liquid, and he took the bottle from me.

“Blood.” He said flatly. My skin began to crawl as he handed it back to me. The glass seemed cold now, and the liquid had a sort of glow to it.

“Of what?” I asked as I turned the bottle over in my hands.

“Most likely a bird, probably a Faliray.” He shrugged and stood up.

“Faliray? What’s that?” I stood up as well and set the bottle on the table. Xavier cracked his knuckles and rolled his neck around.

“It’s a bird.”

“I got that.”

“Then leave it at that.”

I glared at him and walked back over to him and stood in front of him, crossing my arms and staring into his eyes.

“Why are we here?” I said with a little bit of a ‘I’m going to win this’ tone in my voice.

Ignoring my question, he backed up and began to turn around. “I forgot,” he held his hand out to me and I smacked it away. “Reeve expects us at the dining hall for breakfast.”

“Whatever. Just tell me later.” I stomped past him, hitting his shoulder with mine as I left. Once I stepped out, I felt a cold breeze fly past me and fade away once it hit a group of trees.

I shut my eyes when I felt another one coming towards me, and opened it up to see that I was surrounded by fog.

Dark fog.

I felt a chipmunk, or a squirrel, or something with tiny little mutant feet, run across my foot. I screamed and took a few unbalanced steps backwards, tripping on my own foot and falling backwards into the tent.

“Got that?” Xavier was standing over me with a large smile on his face and laughing. “You crossed before you knew what to do.”

“Excuse me? What exactly do I need to know before walking outside?” I punched his leg as I stood up.

Xavier motioned over to to the table where the glass bottle was. “Drink it.”

“Blood. You want me...to drink blood?” I asked.

Blood. If I had to drink that stuff, Xavier was going to pay. Big time.

“That’s what I said, so yes.” He walked over and grabbed the bottle. “Plug your nose.” He walked back over to me and I held my hand out. He placed the bottle in my hand, and immediately it warmed to room temperature.

“Are you sure this is safe?”

“Do you need me to shove the whole thing down your throat to prove that it is?” He glared at me and crossed his arms. I shrugged and looked at the liquid.

It was glowing now, and it had a faint sparkle to it.

“I’m going to turn into a damn vampire, aren’t I?” I said as I twisted the cap off of the bottle. “Oh, wait. Werewolf. Pink sparkly werewolf.”

“Just drink it!” Xavier yelled. I got the memo that he obviously wasn’t joking around anymore, so I shoved the top into my mouth and started drinking.

 

*

 

“What,” I began to gag on my own tongue and started to taste bile as I turned away in fear that I was going to vomit, “was that?!” I turned around when the coast was clear and found Xavier laughing almost to the point where he was on the ground.

I picked up a pebble from the ground and threw it at him. It hit him on the head, hopefully knocking some sense into him. When it hit him, his laughing slowed down and he looked up at me with an innocent look on his face.

“Now step outside.” He pointed to the door, and I opened it.

I felt electricity run down my neck and down my spine, then make it’s way up to my hand.

“What; no vampire or pink sparkly wolf?” I laughed as I felt the lush green grass beneath me and realized for the first time that I woke up that I didn’t have any shoes on.

Xavier shook his head and motioned for me to come back inside. “Now come here. I have to show you something before we head over to the hall.”

I took large steps over to the tent and jumped back in, finding my shoes over by the stool. “Explain to me who Reeve is,” I asked as I slipped into my shoes and we walked out of the tent, zipping the door shut before we left. “Is he some kind of leader of the camp, or what?”

Xavier rolled his eyes and sighed. “He’s definitely not a leader. He’s Nerons son, so he feels like he has to put on a good show for his father to appreciate him.”

I was listening closely, but my eyes were stuck on all of my surroundings.

Huge apartment buildings covered most of the area, with shops and small businesses in between the walls. The roads were practically brand new, with bright orange and white lines.

People were all over; some kids, but mostly adults. I noticed that most of them were dressed in almost the same clothing; women wore white dresses with either enclosed shoes or open-toed sandals. Men wore white suits with light blue ties around their necks. One man was fiddling with his tie as he walked into a building named “Luris & Ordinis,” which I soon found out meant “Law & Order” in Latin.

I was startled when Xavier pushed me a little bit to gain my attention. “Are you listening?” His eyes fixed on mine and he raised his eyebrow.

“Yes, sorry. It’s just... Normal here.” I told him.

“What do you mean, Normal?” He asked. He looked forward again, watching everyone make their way to work or school or wherever they had to be.

“I just thought it would be more of a, Hey, Welcome To Heaven, kind of place. It’s just like home, though.” I shrugged and he nodded.

“In a way, it is.” We kept walking as we spoke about the people and places here.

I found out that Reeve’s father was Neron, who owned the Aether camp. I also found out why they called it a Camp, when it was a regular town.

“Aether’s came here when the Daemon first attacked the world. It was, at first, a camp. There wasn’t a real building here until Neron came and took over the camp. When he arrived, he began to turn it into a town. He then heard of a new kind of Spiritus; the Universalis. This place was actually located on Earth until they found a way to lure the first Universalis here. After imprisoning him and breaking him to the point where he had to obey every command Neron gave him just to keep his life, he separated the land from Earth. They created this world, a new world set apart from the evil of our world. Daemon can’t attack here, it’s blocked out from anyone but so called ‘good’ Spiritus.” Xavier and I walked forward and soon the dining hall came into view. Our walking slowed so that we could talk longer.

“What happened to him?” I asked. Xavier looked down at the cracking sidewalk and hesitated for a few seconds before telling me.

“When Reeve was born, just shortly after Pratum and Earth was separated, the Universalis was given to him as a gift. He did the real damage; using the man as a weapon. He found a way to take him back to earth and get anything he wanted, then travel back here. Eventually, after multiple trips, the Universalis’ powers began to weaken.”

“Reeve had him killed, and ever since, he has been looking for the next generations Universalis.” He spoke with almost no emotion in his eyes. Flatly, and almost too carefully.

I felt goosebumps run down my spine and all energy drain from my lungs.

Xavier was this generations Universalis, which meant that if Reeve found out about him, Xavier could kiss freedom goodbye.

“You.” I whispered. He nodded and shrugged his shoulders.

“Or not. Every time they poison someone here, they run an instant test which sends results back to Reeve about the person, telling him if they are, or have the possibility to be, the next Universalis.”

“They poisoned me.” He squinted as the sun appeared out from behind clouds and let shadows appear from the buildings. I gathered that it was about ten o’clock by the position of the sun. He didn’t answer, which told me that it was time to switch the subject a little.

“How can they tell if the person is good or not?”

“The same way they tested you for the Universalis gene.” He said and looked down at me.

“By poisoning me upon arrival?” I asked. He nodded and looked back up at the approaching dining hall.

“You were completely gullible to its effects, which meant you weren’t strong enough like, say, the Daemon, to send the poison out of your system.”

“Are you saying I suck?” I leaned into him as we walked, pushing him over a little bit.

“No, not at all.” He winked at me at we walked the rest of the way in silence.

The streets cleared as we neared the dining hall, the only noises I could hear was the wind and a few cars rushing by.

We finally reached the steps leading up to the dining hall when Xavier grabbed my arm to stop me. He looked down at me, eyes cold and harsh.

“Don’t speak unless spoken to, got it?” His gaze held on mine until I nodded my head, Yes.

I counted the steps as we went. I concentrated as I took each step, but I lost track when my mind started spinning with even more questions.

I was about to ask one last question before we reached the top of the steps when I noticed a taller man and a group of, what looked like, Walkers.

Xavier sighed when he noticed them, too. “Keep your chin up, look like you know what you’re doing.” He told me. I watched as he raised his chin and glared at the group ahead of us, hiding something under the smile he was putting on for show.

The man greeted us when we stepped up to the group. Xavier held out his hand and exchanged a handshake with him. There was a look of mild disgust on both of their faces, and I could tell something wasn’t right between the two of them.

“So glad you could make it.” He slapped Xavier on the back a little too hard as he spoke. Xavier faked a smile and looked over at me.

“Yes. Us, too.” The corner of his lip twitched, telling me to smile. I did, and slightly wished I hadn’t.

“You must be Emmeline,” He held his hand out to me and I took it cautiously, “it’s nice to meet you. I’m Reeve.”

I kept the smile on my face as I spoke. “You, too.” I nodded and pulled my hand away from him, letting it drop to my side. He leaned back and whispered something to one of the Walkers standing next to him and then waited for him and another to get to the big wooden doors that would allow us to enter the building.

I noticed large rose bushes that lined the entrance’s sidewalk, and a large tree that was covered in golden string. In front of each one, there was a small bronze statue of a bird. On the wings that were facing us, there was a name carved into the mold. It had been scratched so much that I could barely make either of the names on them.

After a few minutes of uneventful chatter between Xavier and Reeve, something about catching up later on, the group of Walkers lead us to the entrance of the building.

There were bronze stones scattered around in the sidewalk where we walked, all saying something in Latin. The words were jumbled up in my mind, and I couldn’t figure out what they said no matter how hard I tried to remember the Latin I learned in middle school.

As we walked past the statues I attempted at reading the names, but all I could make out was, Founder and Ow, but the rest was too scratched up for me to read.

“They’re here.” A Walker ahead of us moved his wrist from his mouth and caught on to my glance. My eyes widened and I looked away from him, casting my gaze onto the doors that were being pulled open by the men. Each of them had a rope tied to the door handles that they were holding on to, and they were pulling with every bit of strength that they had. I saw drops of sweat form on their brows and fall to the ground.

I could hear every bit of energy that formed on the ground as the droplets hit, evaporating in the little bit of sun that fell down.

I thanked one them quietly as I walked by, and looked at the thickness of the wood that made up the doors.

One of the Walkers joined my side as I crossed over the line between the outside and dark room that we were entering. There was almost no light except for the flashing flames of the torches on the wall. The floor, however, was newly polished. Gorgeous furniture lie around the area, crowding every foot to the point where you could barely walk around it. Tables were lined up on the wall, with buffet counters in the middle of the room. In one corner, there was a small lounge area with a giant fish tank that held at least thirty different kind of fish, and a large turtle. Bird cages were hanging from the ceiling with lights hanging off of the bottom. There wasn’t a way for the birds to get out, or anything to enter the cage, which made me wonder if they were real- or just left there to chirp until they died.

My thoughts were interrupted by a loud bang. I looked back quickly and saw the doors shut, closing out the last bit of extra light that allowed us to see anything around us.

Yes, the torches provided some light, but the light they provided wasn’t comforting. It sent goosebumps up my spine. A light draft caught my attention, then fled before I could tell where it was headed.

This place made me nervous, and something told me this wasn’t going to be a quick visit.

 
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