“Wake up, Alisha,” I whisper as I shake the younger girl’s shoulder. “It’s time.”
Alisha’s eyelids snap open. “We’re leaving already? What time is it? I was only talking to Seraphim for a few minutes, I swear!”
I frown. “Seraphim?”
“I told you all about him, remember? I spoke to him in a dream again. Just now -- before you woke me up, that is.”
“Great, whatever... just come on! We have to leave now.”
Alisha shakes her head. “I can’t go to Obcasa. I have to find the last Seraph.”
My voice dies in my throat. “You... what?”
She nods. “He’s the only one who can actually stop this. Without him, whoever broke Christy out of the Prison will simply do it again.”
“But do you know where to find this... this Seraph?”
Alisha wavers for a moment. “No, but I have a pretty good idea of where to start.”
I shake my head. “No. It’s way too dangerous for you to go off on some wild goose chase. You said yourself that Christy could just break out again, and when that happens, you can’t be alone -- especially not where no one can find you!”
“It’s not a wild goose chase,” Alisha snaps. “It’s the only thing that will put a stop to this!”
“No, it’s the thing that will get you killed, idiot!” I shoot back.
Alisha folds her arms and glares at me. “If you’re so concerned about my well-being, why are you trying to take me to Obcasa? Do I look like a fighter? Do I look like I’ll survive for more than five minutes in combat?”
I hesitate. “How can you be sure that you can find the Seraph?”
Alisha sighs. “I don’t, but it’s worth a try. I’m not a front line combatant. I have to work behind the scenes, and I can do that by finding the Seraph.”
“Fine, then,” I say, making my decision. “You can go.”
“Really?” Alisha sounds surprised. She’d probably expected a fight.
I twirl my knives. “Yeah, but there’s a catch. I’m going with you.”
“Where could they be?” I sigh in exasperation. That morning, I’d gone to gather all the fighters, only to find that Alisha and Lulu were missing. We’d conducted a full search of the city, but they were nowhere to be seen.
Sam, Lulu’s second in command, walks up to me. “They’ve left the city. Lulu’s knives are gone as well, and she never goes anywhere without them.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? We need to find them!”
“Not now. We have to get to Obcasa -- otherwise, Sophie and her team will die.”
I sigh for the second time. “You’re right. But do you know why they might’ve left?”
Sam shakes his head.
“All right, then,” I say, my voice heavy with resignation. “We’ve wasted enough time. Let’s go.”
The journey to Obcasa goes a lot quicker than last time, and by the time the sun comes up, the city gates are in sight. This time, however, we veer away from the city itself and head to the hills beyond.
Two figures come limping towards us from the distance. As they get closer, I realize that it’s Dean and Sophie. My body floods with relief, but it soon is replaced by dread when I notice that Saket is missing.
“Sophie! Dean!” I holler, sprinting up to the pair. “Are you guys all right?”
“No,” Dean says.
The rest of my friends catch up to me. “Wait, didn’t three of you go?” Sam asks, puzzled.
“Yeah, where’s Saket?” Gene adds.
Sophie and Dean look at each other, and my heart plummets into my shoes. Oh, no.“Saket is dead,” Sophie says bluntly. “But that’s enough talk. Let’s go whip Christy’s butt.”