NERIAH:

Without thinking, I call; "Shaun," and Ethan, Arkarian, and I are transported back to the Citadel. As soon as I land, I run towards the door and fling it open. Isabel is my best friend; I can't lose her like this.

I run as fast as I can towards the door that leads to Arkarian's chambers. I don't get far when someone grabs me around the waist. I look up and meet Ethan's eyes. He looks terrified and heartbroken. Worse yet is the look in Arkarian's eyes as he runs towards us.

He pushes past Ethan and I, and runs through the door to his chambers. Shaun is sitting at the sphere and spins around as soon as he hears our footsteps. He has the most horrified expression on his face.

Then, without warning, Arkarian falls to the ground in a motionless heap. Shaun and Ethan run to him and don't get a response.

Before I even have time to realize what's happening, Lady Arabella and Lord Penbarin appear. Since Lorian's death, these two have been helping Matt adjust to his new role as leader.

Lady Arabella leans down towards Arkarian. When she looks up, it is with a grave expression. She looks to Lord Penbarin and says, "This is the work of an immortal."

He stares at her, unblinking, and then pulls himself together. "Take him to the healing chambers! I will contact Dartemis." Lord Penbarin bellows in urgency.

She collects herself and disappears, taking Arkarian with her.

Before anyone can say anything else, I look at Lord Penbarin and ask, " Is he alive?"

" Just barely. Tell me exactly what happened!" Commands Lord Penbarin.

Ethan and I barely get out the whole story before Matt, Jimmy, and Dillon appears beside Lord Penbarin. Seconds later, Penbarin disappears, no doubt following Lady Arabella to the healing chambers.

"What happened?" Asks Matt, the anxiety in his voice apparent.

I look at him with sad eyes and know that he is searching my thoughts for clues. I don't try blocking them, and when the scene with Isabel replays in my mind, Matt's eyes grow wide.

He staggers for a second and then pulls one of Arkarian's stools over. Sitting on it carefully, he sends me a worried glance. Once he gets his thoughts together, Matt pulls out more stools for the rest of us.

Everyone takes a seat silently, and Dillon keeps glancing up cautiously. It's then that I realize he has no idea what has happened. I replay the whole scene in the ballroom in my mind, sending the images thundering into his brain. Without a word, he nods and glances at Matt.

Matt is staring blankly at the ground, his thoughts completely blocked off to me. I glance at him, trying to catch his eye. He finally peels his eyes away from the floor and glances up at me. We lock eyes, and I send him a train of thought.

'What do we do to get her back?'

'I don't know Neriah. I failed her. I didn't protect her like I should have.' He says mournfully.

'Matt, NO! That was the Order's plan all along. Dasha was sent to distract and mislead us! She was supposed to keep Arkarian away from Isabel so that he couldn't protect her!' I say angrily.

'So what? I was supposed to be there for her. And what about Arkarian? Where the hell was he when all of this was happening?' Matt says furiously.

'Matt, he's barely alive. Right before you arrived, Lady Arabella took him to the healing chambers. One of Isabel's attackers must have been an immortal!' I think, still kind of shocked.

Matt hears my thoughts and his expression changes back to worry. He glances at me again and asks, " Are you OK? Did they hurt you?'

'No, I'm fine. Just a little sore, but nothing too terrible. Now let's figure out what to do to get Isabel back!' I mentally shout at him.

Ethan seems to be thinking along the same lines because he says, " Matt! What the hell are we going to do? We have to go to the middle realm to check if she has crossed over yet!"

Without a word, Ethan, Matt, and I are transported into the middle realm. All three of us start running towards the bright bridge in the distance. We finally get to the edge of the bridge, but realize that Isabel isn't there.

Ethan stares around helplessly and looks to Matt. " Did she already cross?" He asks. The words come out unsteadily. At Ethan's words, I can't help but lose hope. When I glance at Matt, he sends me an unidentifiable look.

Eventually Matt turns to us and says, " She can't have crossed over yet. The only explanation is that she isn't dead."

With these words, the three of us are transported back to Arkarian's chambers.