Alright, alright! This one is action-packed! Lot of things will happen :-D
I'm gonna continue putting the disclaimer here just be sure that everyone are aware of where this story originated.
This story isn't 100 % mine. I have transformed it into a story from an interactive story app called Choices (an app I am completely obsessed with atm) and the creators are Pixelberry Studios.
So here's my disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the plot of this story. All recognizable content belongs to their respective owner. No copyright infringement intended. Names and places have been changed for the purpose of Fanfiction.
Edward looked at everyone and then turned to the door. "Alright, I'm opening the door after three. When I do, everyone, full speed ahead."
As everyone tensed, Benjamin came up beside me, his voice quiet. "Hey, Bella, I just wanna say before it all goes down ... Thank you. For everything."
"What do you mean?"
"It probably sounds dumb, but I feel like you made my life special. Extraordinary."
"Maybe I was always cut out to be a sidekick, but if so, then I'm glad I was your sidekick. Because honestly, You've been my hero. So, even if I lose you right now, I just wanna say thanks."
"You're not going to lose me, Benji. That's a promise."
Edward unsealed the hatch. I tightened my grip on my cutlass, and everyone stormed out with a battle cry, adrenaline pumping.
"Aaaah—Wait what?" I looked around. The game room was completely empty, not a Watcher in sight.
"Where could they have gone?"
Leah furrowed her brow. She looked to the ceiling, and her eyes went wide. "They're above us—"
Suddenly, Watchers dropped from the ceiling.
Chaos broke out. One of the Watchers grabbed me in a headlock. "Roami kan jit et—Kff!"
A fist clocked the Watcher square in the face, knocking him out cold.
"What do you say now? Try someone your own size, douche!"
I gaped in surprise. "Wow, Peter. Thanks for saving me."
"Yeah, well, nobody messes with my clique."
Garrett yelled for us. "Keep pushing forward! We can cut through the ballroom!"
All of us scrambled into the ballroom only to find ourselves face to face with a dozen muscular Watchers, led by the unmasked one who swung into my bedroom.
"...Surround them. Fan out," he said, and the Watchers acted in the command immediately, spreading out and flanking us at all sides.
"Stay close, people! Watch each other's backs!" Garrett said, but when I turned to him, I heard Kate cry out behind me.
"Bella, get down—"
I turned back around just in time to see something launching at me. Kate tried to tackle me out of the way, but we were both caught beneath it; a large rope net woven from tough vines.
"Agh! This is what I get for trying to help you!" Kate complained loudly.
"Hold still, I can get us out of here!" I said. I wiggled around, and even though my limbs were tangled with Kate's, I was able to turn the cutlass in my hand against the vines.
"Oh my god, if you cut my hair, you are dead!"
"Just a little ... further..." I groaned. The sharp cutlass blade easily sliced through the vines, freeing us both.
Kate exhaled in relief. "Whew, good thing I was there to save your ass." Just then, a black, round-tipped arrow grazed Kate's arm. "Ow! What the hell? I can't move my arm!"
"The arrows must be tipped with some sort of non-lethal paralytic so they can capture us! Look out!" Tanya called out.
An archer took aim at me. Her arrow whistled through the air, and I knew I wouldn't be able to dodge it in time. I winced—
A sound like a gong went off right in front of me as Emmett deflected the paralyzing arrow with a frying pan.
"Emmett! That frying pan with the symbol! You took it with you?"
He shrugged. "I just ... felt like I was supposed to!"
Nearby, Furball was firing ice bolt after ice bolt at the agile Watchers, but he was slowing down.
"Something's wrong with Furball! He's getting weaker!" Victoria said worriedly.
Tanya looked at Furball in deep thought. "I think he's used up too much water! We need to get him more!"
I looked around and ran to the wall to yank the fire alarm. It started bleating a deafening racket.
Alistair covered his ears. "Argh! Why in damnation would you—"
"Look!" I pointed at the ceiling. Far overhead, the sprinkler system activated, suddenly filling the ballroom with pouring water.
Furball seemed to shimmer with energy. Soon, he crystallized the rainfall and hurled massive balls of ice at the Watchers. One got plowed over and slammed into a wall.
In the chaos, Benjamin was knocked to the floor. The unmasked Watcher moved toward him, but I run and placed myself between him and Benjamin.
"Why do you fight your destiny?"
"Because I decide what it'll be."
Like lightning, he charged at me. Before I could lift my cutlass, a kick sent it flying from my hand.
I held my ground, though, recalling Edward's training and launched into a relentless barrage of punches, overwhelming and surprising the Watcher. My blows did no damage to his muscular frame, but he staggered back, off-balance. He didn't see that Benjamin had gotten up and circled around, lifted a chair and smashed it to pieces against the Watcher's back. He crumpled under the blow.
Benjamin looked at me in awe. "Damn, Bella, I can't believe you never told me you were secretly a badass superhero. C'mon, I'm your best friend!"
Emmett and Tanya made a break for the doors.
"Come on, hurry!"
They ran out of the ballroom. The rest of us tried to follow, but another group of Watchers blocked our path.
Edward cursed. "Dammit, more of 'em!"
Garrett, Peter, Edward, and Leah tried to lead us forward, but they were beaten back.
"It's no use! These guys are crazy strong!" Peter said.
The Watchers let their round-tipped arrows fly. Victoria and Kate collapsed as the paralyzing arrows plunked them square in the chest and bounced off.
"Kff! I can't ... move..."
"Me ... neither..."
I looked at Edward desperately. "We won't hold out much longer! We've gotta do something!"
"Ah, to hell with this!" Edward reached into the back of his waistband and revealed the sleek-looking gun we found in the Observatory.
I gasped. "I thought you said we shouldn't play with that! We have no idea what it does!"
"Well, friends, I guess it's time to find out." He pulled the trigger.
In a flash, a person-sized bubble erupted from the tip of the gun and launched across the room. As it whipped past, I could see an entire world refracting through it.
"What the—" I frowned in confusion.
The Watchers panicked and froze. Two of them were caught inside the bubble and instantly vanished. The bubble popped with blinding light. Nobody in the room moved, all stunned by what we had witnessed.
The Watchers took advantage of Edward's momentary freeze. They lunged toward him, but he was too quick. He aimed at more Watchers and fired again.
Another flash, another human-sized bubble raced across the room, catching two more Watchers. The leader just barely dove out of the way in time. The others scattered for cover.
Garrett waved for everyone to run to the door. "Everybody, go, now! We've cleared a path! Help Victoria and Kate!"
Peter scooped up Kate in his arms, while Edward and Garrett helped Victoria up. Together, we barely made it out of the ballroom and blocked the doors behind us.
Back in the resort's halls, everyone caught their breaths.
"Victoria, are you okay?" I asked while still breathing hard.
"The feeling in my legs is coming back. I think I can manage on my own."
"I can walk again too. Thanks for asking, Bella," Kate told me angrily, and I gave her an apologetic smile. I wasn't used to us being almost friends now.
Peter looked worriedly at the gun still in Edward's hand. "What the hell ... hff, hff ... is that gun?"
Leah also looked at it. "For a second there, I thought I saw another world through the bubble..."
"It looked a lot like here, but not quite. I didn't see any people, so it wasn't a mirror," Victoria said.
"It's like it was shooting some kind of portal?" My statement sounded more like a question, but the entire thing was just so absurd.
"Scanning. My information is dated, but I have some prototype schematics for a similar weapon. It is designated a Tachyon Accelerator. Its objective is to move physical objects forward in time."
I looked at Iris incredulously. "So we were sending those Watchers into the future?"
Edward held the gun carefully, suddenly a whole lot more uncomfortable with the weapon. "Okay, so it's a time travel gun. Sure. Why the hell not?"
The sound of footsteps running up startled me. "Someone's coming!" I stage-whispered and all of us tensed.
A figure came around the corner.
"Rosalie!" Victoria gasped.
"There you are! Come quick, we've gotta do something!" she called at us.
Peter frowned, visibly upset. "Screw you, dude! You bailed on us!"
Rosalie glared at him. "Maybe crucify me later, okay? They took Emmett and Tanya!"
I looked around and realized Emmett and Tanya weren't with us. "Where?!" I asked in panic.
Rosalie led us to the railing of the tower's central atrium. I looked out across the chasm.
"There!" she pointed.
"I see them! The Watchers are taking Tanya to the lounge on the fifteenth floor!" I said, and Garrett pointed to where he saw Emmett.
"And there's Emmett! They've cornered him in that restaurant on the thirteenth!"
Edward looked sad. "No way we can save them in time..."
Alistair looked at him like he was crazy. "We can still make it! We can't just do nothing! We can't just let these people kidnap them!"
I agreed with him. "We've gotta save them both, no question. Emmett is closer and doesn't have time to wait. We need to help him first."
Victoria nodded. "Yes, we have to hurry! They have him cornered!"
Moving as fast as we could, we made it to the restaurant. There, Emmett was boxed in by three Watchers. They tried to pin him down.
"No! Bad! Bad! Hands off! No touchie!"
"What do we do? Take 'em all at once?" I asked the others and Iris floated up next to me.
"I might have a solution."
She floated forward and her hologram distorted, morphing into a monstrous, hideous creature. The Watchers turned and screamed at the grotesque sight. They took off running.
Emmett finally saw it as well and he too took off running after the Watchers. "Wait for me! Don't leave me with that thing—"
Victoria ran after him. "Emmett! It's us!"
Emmett stopped and saw the holomonster morph back into Iris.
"I frightened you. My apologies."
Emmett blinked. "Whoa, you can, like, change your looks and stuff?"
"I can alter my appearance as desired. Do you ... not like my appearance?"
"What? No! I love it! I mean—Er, it's chill, whatever."
"Can we go now?!" Kate asked, but Alistair stopped us.
"But what about Tanya?"
I hurried to calm him. "We're not gonna let them take her either, Alistair."
"Oh, thank heavens." Alistair grabbed my face and kissed me hard on the forehead. "Well? What are you all waiting for?!"
We raced up a few flights of stairs to Floor fifteen and hurried to the lounge. There, a lone Watcher dragged Tanya back toward an open window. He noticed our arrival and growled.
"Alaniir fai eunicka."
Garrett stepped forward to fight, but Alistair stopped him with a hand on his chest.
Alistair and the Watcher strode toward each other. Gracefully, Alistair swept up an iron poker from the fireplace and, without breaking gait, smashed the metal over the Watcher's kneecap.
The Watcher grasped for Alistair, but he pirouetted out of reach, whipping the iron poker into the man's wrist.
"Whoa," I breathed out, thoroughly impressed.
And with one final balletic spin, he thwacked it against the Watcher's skull, knocking him unconscious.
"Tanya? Are you alright?" He helped her daintily to her feet.
"Alistair ..." Tanya blinked.
He turned to see all of us staring at him, dumbfounded. "What? I was among the top five junior fencers in England."
"Uhhhh ... that wasn't fencing," Peter pointed out.
Alistair shrugged. "Very well. Perhaps I just wanted to kick his arse." He touched Tanya's bruised cheek gently.
"You ... saved me."
"Of course I saved you! Frankly, I'm insulted you could imagine otherwise. I—"
"Calm down, Malfoy. She's just thanking you," Edward told him with a suppressed, amused grin.
"Oh! Ahem. Well, in that case ... You are quite welcome." He turned to me. "And thank you, Bella ... for coming along."
Edward grabbed my hand. "Alright, everyone's accounted for. Damn good work. Now let's hightail it outta here in style."
We made our way back to the atrium.
"Uh, guys?" Peter's jaw dropped. We turned to follow his gaze, looking down into the atrium. Far below, two dozen more Watchers streamed into the hotel. They spotted us and pointed, shouting orders.
Alice gasped. "Oh, my! There's so many of them!"
Edward pushed people forward. "Go, go! We've gotta grab the parasailing gear!"
Everyone ran as fast as they could, raiding the storage locker to grab the parasailing gear on the way. Soon, we were back on the hotel tower's rooftop.
"Quick! Block the elevator doors so it can't go back down for them!" I shouted.
As Alistair and Alice dragged garden furniture over to prop the elevator open, I joined Edward, who was counting off the parachutes. His face fell.
"...What's wrong?" I asked quietly.
He looked at me sadly. "...We don't have enough chutes for everyone."
"Wh ... what does that mean?" Victoria stammered.
Leah frowned. "It means we have to leave some of us behind."
Benjamin swallowed hard. "Uh oh."
Rosalie called out from the edge of the rooftop. "Yeah, so they're climbing up the goddamn tower walls. They're gonna be here any minute."
Everyone looked around, distraught. No one moved.
Finally, Garrett lifted up a pack and put it in my arms. "You go, Bella, I'll stay back."
Peter sidled up with Garrett. "Me too."
Edward looked angrily at the two. "Shut up, you idiots! Now's not the time to act all noble."
Garrett looked at him with a serious expression. "Edward ... it's exactly the time."
Edward looked at me and ran his hands through his hair agitatedly. "…Goddammit. Fine. Guess I'm staying back too."
"No!" I cried out. "No one's getting left behind! A lot of us have only known each other a short time, but we've been through so much together. We're all we can count on in this crazy place. So we're not going to abandon each other now."
We all looked at each other, finding strength in one another.
Peter cracked his neck. "Alright, peeps. Guess it's ride together or die together."
Alistair looked uneasy. "If possible, I recommend the former."
"Well, we're running out of time for a miracle. They're almost here!" Rosalie said as she glanced over the edge again before joining us.
"Indeed. You have approximately sixty seconds to escape."
"Man, I do not wanna go out like this. I just wanna close my eyes and wake up when it's all over," Benjamin said, which triggered something in my mind.
"'Wake up when it's all over ...' Wait a second!" Thinking quickly, I reached behind Edward and pulled the time gun from his waistband. "We'll use this."
Garrett shook his head. "It won't work, Bella. There are too many of 'em. You can't shoot them all quickly enough."
I looked him in the eyes. "Who said anything about shooting them?"
Leah looked confused. "Huh? What are you ... Ohhh."
"Hold on, you're talking about going through a portal ourselves?" Peter asked me, and I nodded.
"We've got no idea where it would send us! Or when!" Kate said, clearly hesitant.
"Kate is correct. I have no data suggesting where the portal would lead, or if you'd even survive. Thirty seconds."
Garrett broke our eye-contact and looked at the others. "But Bella's right. It's the only way we all get out of here together."
We pulled together in a tight group hug and I aimed the gun at our own feet. Furball clung to my legs.
"Everybody, think positive! Envision your goals!"
"I'm just gonna say it, okay? I love you guys," Emmett confessed.
Kate whimpered. "Screw it! I love you all too!"
Peter nodded with a smile "No matter what happens, this was one dope-ass vacation, y'all."
"Please, oh please, don't let me die in a group hug. That'd be so embarrassing," Rosalie mumbled.
"Alistair? … I'm scared," Tanya said quietly, and Alistair's arm around her tightened.
"I'm here, Tanya. Just hold on to me."
Edward stopped me just before I pulled the trigger. "Hang on a second, Princess..." He leaned in and kisses me one last time. "Alright, I can die happy now."
"Five seconds remaining."
Garrett looked at me and nodded. "Do it."
"Hang on, everyone."
"Here's to adventure, eh, Bella?"
I smiled at Benjamin. "Here's to adventure."
I squeezed the trigger. The bubble formed around our legs, instantly expanding to swallow all of us, but right as it enveloped us, a lasso of vines wrapped around Benjamin's torso.
"Benjamin!" Beyond the bubble, I could make out the Watchers' leader, now on the rooftop, trying to reel Benjamin out. As he was yanked back, I reached and grabbed his hands. "Benji, hold on!"
One by one, everyone vanished into the blinding white, winking out of view.
It was only Benjamin and I left. I held on tight, even as Benjamin was now pulling me out of the bubble as well.
"They're too strong!"
"Benjamin, just don't let go!" I cried out.
"They'll just take you with me!"
I shook my head, my eyes welling with tears when I understood what he was saying. "Benji, no, don't do it..."
He met my eyes, suspended halfway through the quantum cloud "...Goodbye, Bella." He let go of my hands and vanished.
The blinding, cleansing light engulfed me. It felt like it seeped into my very essence, becoming one with me ... and then it receded. I was still on the rooftop, exactly where I had stood. Everyone surrounded me, stunned and unsteady.
"That light ... it's gone," Kate said softly.
"So are the Watchers. We made it through the portal," Garrett said in awe.
"Wait ... Bella ..." Peter looked around. "Where's Benjamin?"
I trembled, unable to form words. "They ... took him ... pulled him out..."
Edward pulled me closer and stroke my hair gently. I started to quietly cry into his chest.
A whirring sound made us all turn. A little black spherical probe hovered up to the roof.
"It's Iris!" Victoria said excitedly.
Iris's hologram projected out and warmly smiled. "Welcome back, old friends. It has been some time since we last spoke."
I frowned, still enveloped in Edward's embrace, and I had no plans of stepping out of it either. "Iris ... when exactly did you last see us?"
"Scanning records. Last interaction: on The Ethereal's rooftop, 204 days ago."
Kate gasped. "You're telling us ... we've been gone ... for over six months?"
"That is correct."
"So we left Benjamin in the hands of those people for that whole time?" Garrett looked out over the trees uneasily.
"Not necessarily. It is possible they killed him immediately."
"Okay, so we just go back," Peter said. "Flip a switch on that gun thingy or whatever, and we'll change what happened."
I looked at the time gun in my hands. It sparked with blue electricity and smoke. "I think it's broken. Maybe something about sending it through its own portal fried it..."
"There's no going back..." Edward mumbled softly, but I heard him. I dropped the gun on the ground and tightened my own arms around him. He kissed the top of my head and sighed.
"There's nothing else we could've done. If Bella hadn't saved us, all of us would've been grabbed," Garrett said in an attempt to lift our spirits back up.
A silence fell over the group. We all looked out into the darkness of the forest, wondering if he was out there somewhere ... if he was still alive.
Two hundred and four days ago...
Dawn was breaking as Benjamin trudged through the rainforest; his hands were bound tightly with vines.
"Looks like I'm heading to the belly of the beast..." he thought.
Several Watchers armed with amber blades escorted him on the journey.
"No way I can outrun these guys. They mean business."
Benjamin's foot caught on a tree root, and he tripped forward, skinning his knee on a rock. A blue hand gently extended before him. He looked up.
The unmasked leader, his golden eyes somehow kind, offered help up.
Benjamin hesitated, and then took it. "Thanks."
As the group resumed its march, Benjamin scanned his surroundings.
"My only choice is to make a run for it. We're coming up on a ridge close by. Maybe if I can beat them to it, I can slide down before they catch me." He swallowed hard. "This is crazy, but it's my only shot. And it's probably the plan Bella would come up with, so..."
Benjamin took a deep breath ... and bolted.
He shouldered one guard out of the way and ducked under another's outstretched arms. Hemet the unmasked Watcher's eyes as he passed. The leader alone didn't react. He simply watched as Benjamin scrambled through the trees.
"The ridge is just on the other side of these bushes! I'm almost there." He fought through the bushes and into the sunshine and skid to a stop.
The ridge looked down into a broad valley and a sprawling village of Watchers. Below in the town, dozens of Watchers looked up at the commotion.
Earlier that same night...
Alice hurried through the halls on the fifteenth floor of The Ethereal, looking over her shoulder.
"Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!"
Behind her, a Watcher gave chase, wielding a sharp spear of amber.
Alice raced into an open room to hide but the Watcher followed her in. "Oh no!"
The Watcher cornered her against the large window, fifteen stories up.
Alice cowered, trembling.
Lowering the spear, the Watcher closed in with a length of vine to tie her up. As he drew near, Alice suddenly unleashed a vicious flurry of fists, each strike expertly targeted and brutally delivered.
Alice's punches pulverized his trachea, his orbital bone, his ribs and he dropped the spear. She grabbed it and circled around, now cornering the Watcher by the window. The enemy heaved, wounded.
"Now then..." Alice blew her hair out of her face and stared down her prey. "Where is Carlisle? What have you done with him?"
The Watcher looked at her through the mask, his eyes soft and lost.
"Carlisle! Where is he?! Cullen! Tell me! Cullen, you understand?!" Alice's voice cracked from sobs. The Watcher just looked at her, confused. "...The Hydra!"
The Watcher's eyes lit up with recognition ... then fear.
"That's right, now you know who I'm talking about. Where is he?"
"Lok rii damal'nuun..." He shook his head.
Alice broke down in tears, dropping the spear. She covered her face with her hands. "You ... you don't know anything ... do you? …Then what good are you?"
Her eyes flashed with fire. She kicked the Watcher square in the chest. He flew backward, shattering the window, and plummeted fifteen stories.
Alice cracked her neck and saw herself in a mirror. She fixed her hair, tucking it behind her ear, and walked out.
After cautiously searching the hotel, we all reconvened in the lobby.
"The Watchers must've spent a long time searching for us. A bunch of the suite doors has been kicked in," Garrett said as he came out of the elevator.
"And they went through all my stuff! My suitcase was completely dumped out!" Kate complained while trailing after him.
"Mine too ..." Victoria echoed and sighed.
"So where are they? Did they just, like, give up?" Peter asked.
I shrugged. "Seems like."
"Guess that means we're safe," Rosalie said with a smirk.
Leah disagreed. "Don't count on it. For one, we're not the only ones who went through a portal. We shot some Watchers with them too."
Edward walked up to me and shifted so that I was slightly behind him. "So if they were sent to this time too, they could already be on their way back to wherever the hell the others went."
"Correct. And upon their return, the rest will realize it likely means you have re-emerged in this time as well."
"We still have some time before anything happens," Garrett said. "Let's just try to get a little rest, clear our minds, figure out what we do next ... and how we're gonna find Benjamin."
Edward grabbed my hand and we started to walk to the elevator together, but when I looked over my shoulder, I noticed Leah, Alistair, and Iris reading something intently by the concierge desk.
I stopped walking and Edward looked back to see what I was doing.
"You not coming?" he asked.
I gave him a kiss. "You go up and rest. I'll be there soon."
I went up to the three. "Hey, guys, whatcha reading?"
"We seem to have found a note left behind by unknown persons."
"It wasn't here before, was it?" Alistair handed a scrap of notebook paper to me.
12 letters = Hadean Zodiac!
The Runes are the key!
Month by month by month...
I frowned. "What on earth? Who wrote this?"
Leah shrugged. "We've been gone for six months. Anybody could've come in here."
"I did not detect any entry to the resort after the intruders abandoned their search."
"What do all these scribbles mean?" Leah took the note from me.
Alistair looked deep in thought. "I ... I believe it's the notes of someone who was trying to solve the password on my father's computer."
I remembered that conversation. "Yes, you told us the password needed twelve letters."
"The note refers to twelve letters as well."
Leah rolled her eyes. "Thanks, computer. We got that part."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's use these notes and try to get into Cullen's computer!" I said, and all of us immediately went for the elevators.
Cullen's office overlooked a spectacular view of the island and ocean. At the glass desk, his holographic monitor glowed softly. I approached the interface and touched the glass. The screen flashed red.
Alistair stepped up next to me. "Allow me." He rested his hands on the glass surface. The screen flashed green and displayed 'DNA match confirmed. Enter password.'
"Whoa. You really are Cullen's son."
"Of course I am. Saying things that are not true is a waste of one's breath."
A screen appeared, requesting a twelve-letter password.
Leah frowned. "Why are some spaces different colors than the rest?"
"Not sure. Let's take a look at that note again." Leah handed me the piece of paper. "'Twelve letters equals Hadean Zodiac'? Well, a zodiac is twelve signs, so that's one letter for each sign. That makes enough sense."
"The zodiac? Like Sagittarius and stuff?" she asked me.
Alistair shook his head. "I don't believe so. This is referring to the Hadean Zodiac. In geology, the Hadean Era is the period when the earth was first formed, 4.6 billion years ago."
She turned to Alistair. "And that's different how?"
"Different constellations. Which ones appear in the sky over a given spot change a little, year over year..."
"But over billions of years, very different stars may have been visible from El Jardín."
I nodded as I tried to figure out the riddle. "So if the Hadean Era had different constellations, a zodiac based on that sky would have different signs too. Wait ... could that be why the stars are different now? Are we somehow seeing the sky as it was billions of years ago?"
"Impossible to determine ... but it is a possibility."
Leah hummed. "Okay, great. Twelve letters for a zodiac. Twelve constellations for twelve months."
"The question before us is, which constellations? And in which order?"
"And what are these runes they're talking about?"
I thought back to the dossiers Benjamin and I had found across the island. "Hang on. Wait right here!" I told the others.
I raced down to my room and found it completely trashed. But there, hidden beneath the dresser where I left them, were the dossiers.
"Yes! They're still here!"
I noticed a note on my way out, written in Edward's hand. "Princess, the busted window in your room kinda ruined the mood in there. If you want, you can move your stuff to my suite. Top Gun"
I smiled that he signed it with the nickname I gave him, and then returned to Cullen's office to share the findings.
I pointed at the symbols. "Look ... these symbols stamped on the pages. I think those are the runes."
Alistair raised an eyebrow. "So they were watching all of us ... and you neglected to share?"
"I didn't know who to trust. I still don't," I pointed out.
"A fair point."
Leah leaned in to look at a few of the folders. "I've seen symbols like this before. Carved into some spots on the island."
I nodded. "Same here. And I think these are the key to figuring out the zodiac."
"It's a lucky thing you already have them all."
"Alright, let's figure out this damn password."
"I should grab a pen and paper. I think this is about to get complicated..." I found what I needed in the desk and looked back at the note we found in the lobby. "What does Lupus mean, anyway?"
"Scanning database. Information collected. Information translated. It appears 'Lupus' is Latin for 'The Wolf.'"
"Hmm, that's what the Watchers' leader called Edward when they had us at the beach. And on Edward's report, the symbol looks like a wolf."
Leah sighed. "So we need to translate the signs into Latin as well? This gets better and better."
I ignored her. "He also called Garrett 'The Eagle.' Iris, what is Eagle in Latin?"
"Scanning language database. The answer is 'Aquila.'"
I wrote down the two words on the paper in front of me and looked back at the scribbles on the other note.
"Month by month by month..." I mumbled to myself. I looked over Edward's and Garrett's reports. "Garrett is born in May and Edward is born February ... I think our birth month is the order the letters for each sign will be. Everyone is born in different months ... oh forget it. Leah and I have the same birth month so that can't be it."
Leah looked at the reports and stopped by mine. "Wow. These people were really thrown for a loop by you, huh, Bella?"
"A threat assessment of 10?!" Alistair exclaimed, outraged. "How is Bella more of a threat to this place than me?! I'm his son, for Christ's sake!"
"Bella, why does it say you were born here on El Jardín? I have no record of this."
I shook my head. "I don't know. It's gotta be a typo or something..."
I kept looking at the reports when Leah took up the one written on her.
"That file appears heavily redacted."
"Doesn't look like they found anything serious on me anyway. Good. And they got my birthday wrong."
My attention was caught and I looked at her. "Really?"
"Yup. I was born in June, not January. Dumbasses."
"It works then!" I said excitedly. "We are all born in different months. I'll write us down in the order of our months."
Edward (Feb, Lupus)
Garrett (May, Aquila)
"Perfect! And I just saw that we know another symbol."
"Which one?" Alistair asked.
"Well, yours," I replied. "It says so in your report. You're referred to as 'Serpens', and if I'm not completely wrong, Serpens is snake in Latin."
"Which works with your symbol. And this symbol on Emmett's report is the same one that was on the frying pan he found in the kitchen."
Alistair looked at it. "What on earth is it supposed to be? A horse shooting a bow and arrow?"
"I'm guessing it's a centaur," Leah said.
"Like Sagittarius?" I asked.
"But Sagittarius isn't visible in the sky here. It's gotta be a different constellation."
"I have recorded that Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our system, is visible from the island. Perhaps that may help."
I nodded. "Alright, so we have Centauri for Emmett ... I think we're getting close, you guys. Iris, do you recognize the symbol on my report. It doesn't look like an animal like the rest."
"Scanning. Cross-referencing. Symbol found. It's the symbol of a constellation called 'Andromeda.'"
"Can you find the names of the other constellations by scanning the symbols?"
"Possibly. I will try. Scanning symbols for Benjamin and Tanya. Symbols found. Benjamin – Big Dog aka Canis Major. Tanya – Swan aka Cygnus. Scanning again. Leah – Dragon aka Draco. Victoria – Porpoise aka Delphinus. Continue scanning. Rosalie – Crow aka Corvus. Peter – Bear aka Ursa. Kate – Peacock aka Pavo."
I grinned. "That is perfect, Iris. We have them all. This means, we have our password. It doesn't make much sense, though."
"What does it say?" Leah asked.
"Try it anyway," she said.
I typed in the letters and the computer chimed. "We're in!"
"Oh my god, you did it!"
"Finally! I don't understand Father's password, though. Gibberish."
"Not exactly," Leah said. "Read just the highlighted letters."
"AL—ADDS—UP ... 'All adds up.'"
Alistair rolled his eyes. "My father cannot be serious."
"Well, I hope he's right. Because so far, nothing on this island is adding up. Okay, let's see what we can find on this thing. I'll do a file search ... Wait, what? I can only find one file!"
"You're joking!" Alistair came up behind me.
"Dammit, the bastard must've wiped the drive. There's nothing here but a single program."
"...Awaken what?" I asked.
"I say we find out," Leah said.
I started the program. Almost immediately, I heard a soft hiss of steam.
"Where is that coming from?"
"Look!" Leah pointed to one of the thick marble columns in the office. Steam was pouring out from the base of it.
I stepped forward.
"Bella, I must advise against any approach!"
But I didn't hear her. I walked up close to the column, steam coiling around my legs. I grazed my fingers against the black marble, and then with a mechanical whirr, the marble rose into the ceiling.
Within a hollow marble shell, the column held a glass tank filled with an eerie green fluid ... and a man floating inside, asleep. Instantly, I recognized his face ... from the portrait in the lobby.
Alistair gasped. "...Father."
END OF BOOK 1
Oh no, they got Benjamin! :-( Do you think he's alive? And it looks like Alice is good at fighting. Good enough to fight off a Watcher by herself. What's that about? Do you think Benjamin was the one who left the note? Or was it someone else? So Carlisle's floating around in a tube in his office? Do you think he's been there the entire time?
Next installment is called The Mystery of Time
Until next time!