Raising Kane

The Queen has ruled with an iron grip for years. But even an iron grip isn't enough. She needs more power. And there is one person that can help her. An inventor by the name of Kane. She sends out her most powerful assassins- teenage girls called Devias- to find him. All have failed, and been killed. And now it's Natalia's turn.

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33. Chapter 32- Unexpected Freedom

“Natalia!” I run forwards, already reaching out to help her to her feet.

“Whoa, hold on. I don’t know if I can stand,” she says breathlessly. “Give me a minute.”

    I look up, to see that the metal barriers have fallen. Iya and Mila are picking themselves off of the ground- they’d been thrown back by the blast too.

    “I don’t know if we have a minute.”

    “NATALIA!”

    Tallima’s ropes had been severed, and she is already standing. She runs to my side, dropping to one knee to support Natalia.

    “I thought you were dead,” she whispers.

    “So did I…” Natalia shrugs. “What… what happened? There a reason I’m still alive?”

    “I don’t know. Kane… he… freaked out. Lots of stuff happened. He kissed you, and… well… this is what happened.”

    “Kane!” Natalia’s eyes widen with panic. “Kane. Where is he. Is he-“

    “I’m right here,” I say softly. She turns to look at me, and joy suffuses her face.

    “I thought you- I mean, when I heard your voice… I thought you were dead too.” She sounds shocked- I wonder if she’s ever worried about someone dying before.

    “I’m alright. But… Natalia. You had no pulse. No breath, no beat, nothing. And now you’re alive.”

    Natalia looks over at Tallima. “Tell me again what happened.”

    “I don’t… really know. Kane freaked out. Massive explosion- he created a whole ton of metal things. He must have had some crazy burst of power or something-“

    After that.”

    “He… kissed you. And there was a lot of lights, and a kind of explosion, and now you’re awake.”

    She turns to look at me, and I blush, looking away.

    “I think… I know what happened. When Kane was in a coma… I kissed him, and… something happened. He woke up.”

    “There wasn’t an explosion then.”

    “No, but there was this kind of glow… Maybe it was an explosion this time because it was on a larger scale.”

    Iya and Mila are at our side now. I feel Mila pull me to my feet, as Iya pulls Natalia to her’s.

    “How are you alive?!” Iya asks in disbelief.

    “Well that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?” Natalia shrugs. She turns to look at Mila, her eyes narrowing. “I’m sorry- did I wreck your plans to kill me?”

    ‘I didn’t-“ Mila looks stunned. “I didn’t mean to carry it that far. I thought… I don’t know. I wasn’t going to kill you- at least, not yet.”

    “You still want to kill me?” Natalia raises her eyebrows. “Persistent.”

    “You try and kill her, you’ll have to go through me first,” Tallima snarls. I see her tense, preparing for a fight.

    “And me,” I add, trying to sound as brave as I can. “The next meta spikes I summon might go straight through your heart.”

    Mila’s eyes widen, and she jerks away from me as if my skin has become too hot to touch. “You don’t have the stomach for killing.” But she sounds doubtful- like she doesn’t fully believe it anymore.

    “Easy, easy,” Natalia says softly. “No one is killing anyone. Me least of all.”

    Iya sighs. “You know we can’t just… let you go, Natalia. The Queen would kill us.”

    “Blame it on the mystical magical explosion then!” Natalia groans. “Honestly. You’ve killed me once. Isn’t that enough for you? Do you really need to kill me a second time?”

    Iya hesitates, and her eyes flick to Mila. My eyes widen slightly. Mila is the most loyal the queen. She will tell Iya to kill Natalia. And this time I don’t know if I will be able to save her.

    Mila steps forwards, until she stands just inches away from Natalia. “You’re lucky,” she says softly. “This inventor loves you as much as I love the sister I lost. I’ll let you run this time. But make no mistake- the next time we cross paths, I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a second chance.” She nods to Iya. “Let her go.

    Iya smiles, and releases Natalia. Almost instantly, Natalia collapses- only stopped from hitting the ground by Tallima’s arm. Tallima gently helps her back to her feet, supporting her with a concerned expression.

    “Well… that’ll make things… difficult,” she grins.

    “I’ve got you,” Tallima promises.

    Iya sighs. “You guys need to get out, and run. Somewhere away. Far away. Somewhere the queen can’t find you.”

    “We’re kind of limited as to where we can go…” Tallima points out.

    I smile slightly. “I can get us away from here.”

    All eyes in the courtyard are instantly on me. “What?” Mila asks.

    “I said, I can get us far enough away. We’ll be safe.”

    Iya nods slowly. “What do you need.” Mila begins to protest, but Iya silences her. “It’s the least we can do.”

    “Why are you helping us?” Tallima asks.

    Mila steps up to her, studying her. Then, abruptly, she brings her hand whipping across Tallima’s face is a sharp slap.

    “What was that for?!” Tallima demands.

    “A reminder,” Mila growls. “I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this for Natalia. I’ll never forgive you. You’ve just gotten lucky this time.”

    “Thank you,” Tallima replies sarcastically.

    “Don’t thank me. I don’t want your gratitude.” Mila turns back to Natalia, her expression relaxing slightly. “Alright. Tell us.”

    “Horses,” Natalia replies. “We’ll get there faster. Wherever we go.”

    Iya nods. “Mila. Get us some horses.”

    “But-“

    “Go.”

    Mila departs. Instantly, Iya relaxes. “I’m sorry about her.” She places a hand on Natalia’s shoulder. “I swear, I didn’t know. I tried to persuade her not to hurt you. I didn’t think… I didn’t think she would try to kill you. I really am sorry.”

    Natalia nods, laughing slightly. “At least I’ve got a friend among the Devias. Glad to know you’re still with me- at least, in spirit, right?”

    Iya drops her head. “You know I’d come with you if I could.”

    “No, it’s better that you stay here,” Natalia replies instantly. “I’m honestly grateful for your offer, but… leaving is hard. Believe, me, I know how difficult it is to abandon everything you’ve ever known. And besides. If I ever end up in this situation again, I’ll at least have you there to bail me out, right?”

    She smiles slightly. “I’ll do my best, Natalia. Good… good luck. Try and stay alive, will you? You might be able to change things some day if you try.”

    “Thanks for the advice. For now- staying alive sounds pretty good,” Natalia shrugs.

    Iya smiles fully now. “Good luck.”

    “You too. Try and show the Devias that they don’t always have to be mindless killers, will you? And tell Mila that Tallima never really wanted to kill her sister. Try and help her understand, okay?”

    Iya nods. “I will.”

    Mila returns, leading three horses. Natalia smiles as she sees them.

    “Is that my horse?”

    “You have a horse?” I ask in disbelief.

    Natalia nods. “Devias get everything. I haven’t seen him for a while. I had hoped he would be all right.”

    “No time to be nostalgic,” Mila says sharply. “Take the horses and go.”

    “Mila?” Tallima says quietly.

    “What now?”

    “I never wanted to hurt her.”

    Mila’s eyes darken. “Go.”

    Tallima sighs, and climbs onto one of the horses. Natalia mounts another, and I look distrustfully at the third.

    “Mount up, Kane,” Natalia says impatiently. “We need to get out of here.”

    “Okay…” I manage to climb up onto the horse, sitting uncomfortably in the saddle. It feels too high up- too awkward. It’s like being poised on the edge of a precipice- I’m sure I’m going to fall.

    Natalia notices my discomfort and grins. “Come on, Kane. You either ride the horse, or you ride with me.”

    I flush, and scowl at her. “I think I’ll be fine, Natalia.” I’ve never ridden a horse before, but how hard can it be?

    Natalia smirks. “If you say so.” She nods to Iya. “Thank you.”

    Iya nods back. “Go.” She turns towards the side of the courtyard, where a gate is open. “I hate to say this- but I hope we won’t meet again any time soon.”

    “You never know,” Natalia replies. She turns to look at me. “Ready Kane?”

    I nod.

    “Alright. HYA!” She snaps the reins, and her horse bolts. Tallima rapidly follows. Before I have time to think, my horse bolts after them, taking us away from the castle, and towards freedom.

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