When I wake up, the world is spinning, and everything has blurred together in a multicoloured mass. Almost instantly, I feel a crushing - and yet strangely warm - weight around me. Matthias' voice drifts into my ears.
"Elektra, you're awake! Oh, thank the Gods..." he mutters. I realise that it is his weight as he crushes me within a fierce embrace, sending waves of both warmth and pain undulating through my body. Allow me to introduce Matthias - my primary commander, the only person I trust as much as Lief. For a few seconds, everything is thrown into disarray. And then, I remember.
"Pyro! Is he still okay?"
"Pyro is injured, but he will recover."
Finally, my eyesight settles and I'm able to make out the details of Matthias' face. Worry and guilt are both etched onto his familiar features, and instantly I know that something is wrong.
"Matt, tell me! What's wrong?" I demand, wincing as I try to sit up. Sparks of pain ignite within my body, though their fire is little compared to the inferno of worry I feel. What has Matthias looking like this? Why is there guilt clouding his eyes.
"It's Lief," he starts. No. Not Lief. Not Lief! "He was taken by Pandora. I... I couldn't do anything, Elektra, I'm sorry! It's all my fault, and now he's with her!" His broad frame begins trembling slightly. Matthias never shakes. Apparently, today is the exception. Reaching out, I place a hand on his shoulder. I won't let her take him - never!
"We're going to save him," I promise. "Pandora can't take him, Matt, and we won't let her."
Usually, my wretched sister isn't one for taking prisoners. But to take one of my best friends? She can't do that - she can't.
"We're saving him?" Matthias echoes, a spark of hope igniting in his voice. I nod.
"Can you help me stand?" Wordlessly, Matthias lifts me from the hospital bed, his arms supporting me effortlessly. Quickly, I shoot him a weak smile of gratitude as one of the healers comes rushing up.
"Elektra, you can't possibly be considering moving! You're injured, and fatigue will still be taking its toll!"
"Thank you for your concern, but I have to go. See to the other soldiers," I tell her. She bites her lip, as though considering protest, but a glare sends her scuttling away, nodding. "We'll take Pyro, if he's well enough. But first, tell me what happened there."
Matthias sighs deeply, as we make our way slowly and carefully through the infirmary.
"You were unconscious, and Pyro could barely move. Her soldiers were advancing towards both you and Pyro, so Lief and his men moved forwards to protect you both. I was trying to carry you away, but... We were surrounded." Matthias swallows, pausing almost nervously before continuing. "Lief held them off. Told me to protect you."
I am shocked into speechlessness. Lief would risk capture for me? My desire to bring him back burns brighter than before.
"You shouldn't be. This is all her fault," I hiss. Matthias nods, regaining his composure slightly. "We'll need a healer to come with us," I add. "Your younger sister, she's skilled in both healing and fighting, is she not?" I ask. Matthias nods.
"Then let's fetch her. And then," I say, my eyes flashing with confidence. "Then, we're finding Lief."