Daily Archives: November 12, 2011
Read Part I here
Read Part II here
Read Part III here
Part IV Continued below:
Ian saw her as soon as he entered the room. She stood in the corner with her left hand ferociously clutching a chair while her expression twisted with pain. Her right sleeve was torn, blood trickling down to the ground and the arm covered with cuts and bruises, while her hand clutched a small white teddy bear, now almost blood red. She was no longer crying even though her eyes were teary and Ian could see the dry trail of tears on her face. But despite all the pain, she kept glaring at her attacker.
“I thought the orders were to take her alive.” Ian stepped in.
“Damn kid won’t let go of the bear!” His partner exclaimed.
“Let her keep it.”
“It’s annoying me!”
Su Ae closed her eyes momentarily as another cut slowly and deeply formed on the back of her hand. Her hand opened slightly but she held on to the bear. Before he realized he was doing it, Ian had already reached her side and clasped her arm. She winced loudly but didn’t loosen her grip.
“Let go of it.” Ian asked her gently. Looking straight at him, she shook her head. Ian could see the pain twisting her expressions but she didn’t even flinch. There was a pool of blood on the ground. His partner came up to them.
“What’s the deal with her?” He went on. Kneeling down, he gave Su Ae atop to bottom look. “What can the elders want with her?”
“It’s not our job to know what more there is.” Ian reminded him harshly.
“How can -” his question was cut short when he reached forward to touch Su Ae but was violently thrown back towards the wall just as she turned her gaze to him. For a moment, there was a deafening pause.
“How can you touch her?” his partner’s voice was puzzled as he tried to steady himself and stand. “How can she have powers at her age?”
“It’s got to be your own fault. Stop messing with her.” Ian told him, missing out that his partner used the word powers. “Nothing happened to me.”
“That’s what’s odd! How can you touch a hunter and not be affected?”
“A hunter?!” That took Ian completely by surprise. “They’re hunters?”
“Oh.” His partner realized his slip.
“What don’t I know?” Ian repeated.
“I received the notice three weeks ago. They were being watched since they were spotted four weeks ago. The Council had set bounty on them and gave the order.”
Ian couldn’t think straight anymore. He had to walk; he had to get his thoughts together. Rather impatiently, he got to his feet and started pacing the room. After a moment, he turned to his partner.
“You got the notice three weeks ago but it came to me a week late.” Ian asked him. “Why?”
“Some things are not for you to know about.” This time the voice came from the doorway. “You’re being unusually curious Ian!”
“Lincoln!” Ian didn’t have to turn to see the person standing there. His curiosity just went sky high. If even Lincoln were involved, he couldn’t even imagine how things were. “It’s a pretty boring night for you to be out.”
“I came to make sure everything was smooth on this end. Seems I was needed after all.”
Lincoln replied and turned to Ian’s partner. “Your work is done. Leave. I’ll take it from here on.” The man vanished within moments. He knew better than to question an order from Lincoln.
“I wonder what has got the Council so interested in her!” Ian commented.
“There is a lot going on that you wouldn’t know of. That’s the price you pay for being an exile.” Lincoln replied. “I’m surprised you weren’t able to figure everything out sooner. The parents might have been alive if you did.”
Ian had no answer to that.
“She’s just a kid.” Was all he could say.
Lincoln finally walked into the room and headed straight towards Su Ae. Reaching her, he muttered something and her eyes started to flutter. Seconds later, she collapsed but Lincoln saved her from a fall and gently put her down on the floor.
“You and I both know the Council takes what it wants.” Lincoln reminded him. “The question is not what they want; it’s what you want and are willing to do for it.”
“What do you mean?”
“If she goes to the Council today, she might be dead before we know it.”
Ian felt cynical. “What are you suggesting?”
“The girl’s life is in your hands.” Lincoln said it in the simplest terms.
“The Council will never let that happen. They will never stop looking for her.”
“And we both know things can stay hidden from the council when needed. This girl is far more than you can ever imagine and can do far better or worse than anyone knows but that is a future no one has seen. Will you simply stand to let them kill her?”
“How do you know that?”
“The Council was never going to send the order to you.” Lincoln came face to face with him. “They had already sought someone else for this job. They know your connection to her. They’ve observed you all these years. They can sense the change even if you can’t.”
“So the fact that they were discovered four weeks ago is a lie.” Ian realized. “What did you do?”
“Our mutual friend who was contracted was suddenly unavailable.” Lincoln replied with a slight smile. “The Council had no time for other options.”
Lincoln moved back to Su Ae’s side and started bandaging her hand. Silence prevailed as Ian’s mind spun with the information he had just heard and all the possibilities and chances he could think of. Finally he asked the one question that was haunting him.
“Why her? We’ve taken out hunters before but we’ve never hurt a child. Why now? Why her?”
“Whatever course of action you decide upon, you’ll get the answer to that question in due time.” Lincoln told him. “Now is not the time. Make your decision, she is waking up. And if we waste any more time, there won’t be silence from the Council’s end for long.”
He was right. Su Ae was stirring. It was time to make a decision. But he needed to know where Lincoln stood.
“What if I don’t do it?”
“The girl will live, whether you help or not.” Lincoln’s reply surprised Ian. There was nothing but trouble Lincoln could gain from Su Ae’s life and it was unlike Lincoln to work for anything other than personal gain.
“What do you have invested in this?”
“I’ll take her away.” Ian told him without a further moment’s hesitation.
“I owe you one. But we’ll see enough of each other in the future for me to repay it.” Lincoln promised.
By the time Su Ae finally awoke and sat up a minute later, Lincoln was gone and Ian sat on a stool across from her, looking out the window. Her gaze roamed from the bloody bandage on her hand to the blood on the floor where her teddy now lay and towards the doorway.
“Mama liked you.” She smiled at him. He was silent.
“Where are we going?” She asked him. He turned to her with surprise.
“We -” He didn’t know how to begin.
“Mama knew it would happen.” She told him. “I told her. She knew. Papa did too.”
“You and the other man and the one who hurt me. I told them you would come.”
Not realizing the meaning of what she was saying, Ian started to explain things to her.
“We have to go. Your parents aren’t here anymore. We have to go before those people come back.”
“I know.” A tear ran down her cheek. “Mama said it was okay. She said you would take care of me. She said we would be okay.”
“I will.” He promised her.
She motioned towards her teddy bear as Ian got up. Picking it, he started towards her.
“Mama put the spell on it!” She was crying silently. “I told her not to put it on for you. You’re a good person.”
Turning the teddy, Ian saw the mark on it s back, now half covered with Su Ae’s dry blood. It was the character of a hunter, marked in black. His eyes widened as it dropped from his hands from surprise.
“How did I -? How can I touch that?” The question wasn’t directed towards her but Su Ae spoke up.
“I told you. I told Mama. She did it.”
“No, you couldn’t have known.” He shook his head as he looked at her. “Your parents were hunters but they never -” and stopped short as realization hit him.
“Was your mother the hunter?”
“She was one of you.” She shook her head.
It took a minute for the realization to hit him. And then he remembered all those incidents from two years back when Su Ae had met him and claimed what he thought was not possible. The Council did not want her because she was the daughter of a hunter. The unimaginable had happened. There had been a bond; A bond stronger than just a connection.
“The blood in the moon!” He muttered and unconsciously smiled as he realized the magnitude of what he had done until now and was going to do from here on. Picking up the teddy, he walked to Su Ae and kneeling in front of her, wiped her tears.
“Your mother was right kiddo!” he promised her with a smile. “We will be just fine.”