The next thing I hear is another explosion. This one sounds distant. I force my eyes open and bright turquoise light immediately assaults them. I shout in surprise, but what comes out of my mouth are bubbles.
Suddenly it becomes hard to breathe. My hands flail up, desperate to reach the surface for air before my brain even registers that I’m underwater. Somehow I end up falling forward, landing face first on a hard surface. My eyes blur from the pain. It’s the worst feeling ever. The impact forces me to cough up the water I accidentally swallowed. The sensation of water running out of your bruised nose is simply hell.
Only after the coughing stops, that I finally notice there are people talking outside the room or whatever place I’m in.
“What’s going on?? Are we under attack?”
“No, but fire has broken out on west wing! Come! We need to put out the fire before it reaches the riders’ warehouse!”
“But what about the eggs?“
“Leave them! They’re not going anywhere. Not without the buggers feeding them and not with that lock!”
Then they are gone. I wonder why they didn’t hear me coughing like crazy when I can hear them talking. Either it’s really noisy outside or the fire is a serious one.
Turns out it’s the first one.
Someone opens the door—carefully, as if afraid of disturbing someone’s sleep—then a gasp.
Right on the next second, someone grasp my shoulders and holds me up. The skin to skin contact makes me realize how bare I am—most likely naked if not for the pieces of threads clinging to my skin.
“Hang in there, brother! I’m going to get you out.”
Out? Out of what? And who’s your brother?
The questions come out as small gasps. It’s a little bit impossible for me to speak now. My throat feels like it’s stuffed with cotton and breathing is a little difficult. Making sound is pushing it.
The speaker, who sounds old enough to be my older sister, puts a large cloth around me before lifting me up and places my arm over her shoulder. Huh, that’s strange. She sounds older, but is actually smaller and shorter than me. I wonder if she’s simply that small or I’m the big one. My body feels like it’s the wrong size. Everything feels longer and heavier, and it’s hard to keep balance.
“Hold tight,” the speaker says before she starts dragging me. She’s strong. I can’t hold tight as she instructed and my feet are practically flesh jellies, but she carries me like I weigh nothing. I wonder if it’ll be no problem for her to carry me potato sack style.
Another explosion. This time it comes from behind. Did it come from the room I was in?
“Very good. Just in time.”
I turn to the speaker in shock. Did she just—?
The blur in my eyes clears for a moment—not completely, but just enough for me to see her face. The world stops moving right then and there.
The face, glowing warm yellow in the dark thanks to fire behind us, is Vert’s.