Hello everyone! :)
I'm finally back with the second chapter! :) I'm very sorry it took so long. :/ I'll do my best to update more often.
I would like to THANK YOU ALL for the support! You are great! I was kind of anxious about the feedback... and I was truly pleasantly surprised about your interest. I've been so happy! :)
Again, my big thanks goes to gyikhu for beta-reading. You are an AWESOME person! ;)
So here's chapter two. I hope you'll like it. :)
Disclaimer: All rights (Lara Croft and Tomb Raider) belonged or belongs to Core Design, Eidos Interactive, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. I do not own any of the characters (except the original ones who appears in this story) and plots from Tomb Raider.
I make absolutely no profit from this fanfiction. (Except from fan's happiness.)
Chapter 2: Missing
After the Chirugai had indicated her the direction, she didn't hesitate and followed that way. Lara was eager to finally take a break and breathe out, but she was well aware that it was not completely over yet. At this moment her head was filled by many thoughts and mixed feelings.
She supposed that the police were probably still on her tail, undoubtedly blaming her for some of the murders committed by the Monstrum. Lara knew that proving her innocence wouldn't be an easy task. But now, with the Strahov building being filled with evidence concerning the Cabal, Eckhardt and their odd suspicious activities, she was hoping that it might not be impossible. She reasoned that her situation changed considerably since the beginning. Now she had at least something in her hands that could back up her version of the story. Lara wasn't planning to tell the police completely everything though. She was sure no one would believe her anyway.
Just a few minutes ago Lara Croft had managed to defeat the Black Alchemist, Pieter van Eckhardt, also thanks to the unexpected help from a creature that shouldn't have existed at all. But what was more important, by completing this task she had saved the whole world from a new order . Lara wasn't sure what exactly the awakening of the Sleeper could have caused, but she had no doubts that it wouldn't had been anything good. At least not for the world as everyone knows it. And it didn't really matter to her if it had happened under the command of the Black Alchemist or a Nephilim. Luckily, these two evil beings were now both dead and the Sleeper completely destroyed.
Lara also still had to think about Von Croy.
Everything has changed so badly since Egypt... she thought sadly.
It seemed to Lara that since the collapse of the pyramid her bad luck would never end. And now it was even more difficult for her to remember a person who was her mentor and friend, no matter what had happened between them.
Werner didn't deserve this.
But there was something else what was weighing her mind down the most at the moment. Or better said, someone. Her newly gained American ally who had been helping her and who had most likely saved her life. Looking back, she conceded that maybe even more than once.
She was very confused for a minute after seeing Karel's ability to change his appearance. It was something very unexpected, something that shocked her greatly. Lara would have never thought, perhaps not even in her wildest dreams, that there could be a real living Nephilim. It was something totally unthinkable even for a person like her, who had already seen many unusual things in her life.
For a moment Lara doubted if Kurtis had really even existed. If she had been really talking to him or it was just Karel all the time. But there were several things that didn't fit into this puzzle.
"He must have been real," she said to herself resolutely.
If nothing else, the pool of blood persuaded her that Kurtis existed. This and the fact that his extraordinary weapon had been moving. The pulling movement of the disc made her smile for a moment after it had momentarily vibrated in her hand, but also this actuality brought sadness too. There was too much blood on the floor of the arena. Way too much. And he was nowhere to be found.
The Tomb Raider was walking through the one of the seemingly endless corridors of the Strahov complex, trying to find her temporary partner. Lara wasn't the kind of person who was used to leave anyone behind. She would never do what Werner Von Croy, in her eyes, had done to her.
She believed that the strange weapon could guide her to its master. Lara had no idea how exactly this object, which she was very fascinated by, was working. She didn't have that many information about the members of the Lux Veritatis order and their abilities, except those which she herself had seen Kurtis using earlier with her own eyes. At the moment the disc seemed to represent the only option for her to find him in such a labyrinthine place. Lara knew that if she lost him now, it would be extremely difficult and perhaps even impossible to find him afterwards. Of course, assuming that he survived a serious injury.
She didn't even know his whole name and couldn't be sure if the first name he had told her was his real one. But still, she wanted to save him. Lara felt as if she owned Kurtis something and she wanted to repay her debt to him. The other voice inside her head kept telling her it was not the only reason. Lara reluctantly admitted to herself that maybe there was something special she felt in his company, but she did her best to ignore this voice completely, attributing it just to her exhaustion and tiredness. However, a part of the strange feeling still remained present.
Since the blades of the disc had retracted, there was no other sign. Her high hopes in finding Kurtis easily went down when the way she was walking on had only brought her to a crossroad. But Lara wasn't willing to give up easily. Without hesitating, she decided to look for him on her own without relying on his blade weapon, which was currently located in her backpack.
The adventurer was getting through the extensive Strahov Complex for a long time. It could last hours, or at least that's how it appeared to Lara. It was difficult for her to tell exactly how much time she had spent there like this. She couldn't be sure, especially because there were many places in the premises of the Strahov building where it was impossible to get a glimpse of the daylight, particularly in the lower regions.
After analyzing the current situation and options, her next search started in the higher level of the compound where Kurtis was supposed to go to turn the power on. Lara assumed that he knew this area more in detail and possibly could find a good hiding place there.
After going through many dark corridors, she chanced upon no one alive except some, to her own surprise, non-attacking patients of the Sanitarium. The young woman was doing her best in staying out of their reach. She also spotted several dead bodies on the way, some of them horribly mutilated, mostly with missing limbs.
That probably has something to do with what the Cabal was keeping here. It apparently got free. And if Kurtis didn't take care of it, it still could be running loose here somewhere...
"How much worse can this all get?" Lara asked herself with a sigh, getting more and more desperate with every next long minute without any success.
She was controlling each of the cells inside, kept peeking into the locked ones through the small windows on the doors, and was trying to evade mutated creatures which were walking free all the time.
This whole area was making her feel uneasy. "Scary place, scary sounds, scary patients... or already mutants? Perfect for a horror movie," she said to herself quietly.
But considering the hostile environment, Lara was glad that so far she had encountered no aggressive inmates, mercenaries or any other attacking enemies at least. Though this slightly changed in the moment when she had got too close to one of the doors and wanted to peek into the room which was inhabited by three angry mutated monsters. Feeling her presence, they suddenly started to scratch at the door by their blades they had instead of hands like hungry dogs trying to get a chunk of meat. In this case, Lara's. The thick door was shaking violently in its frame. But as long as it remained shut and safely locked, there was nothing to worry about. And so Lara's otherwise calm journey could continue.
After another long while she noticed a stream of artificial light falling on the ground of the hallway from the small crack of a slightly opened door. The adventurer could also hear a rustling coming from there. She was unable to see inside due to the fact that a piece of cloth was covering a small window on the door, blocking her view into the room. Lara, with a growing hope in her heart, slowly and carefully got closer with one of her guns prepared, hoping to catch sight of the familiar face.
I must be careful.
Cautiously, she touched the metallic surface lightly with the fingers, pushing it slightly, slowly opening the door with a creaking sound...
The door suddenly flew open from inside. It hit the wall behind it with force. The loud sound echoed through the corridor. This unexpected action startled Lara so much that she immediately jumped away from it, ready to fire, grasping her gun strongly by both of her hands again. One of the inmates of the Sanitarium wearing an unfastened straightjacket ran out from the room around her without stopping.
Still pointing at the back of her target, Lara was also taken aback by his face, which she could spot clearly since she was standing in a very close distance. It was even more deformed than of the mutant's she had met in the airlock earlier.
When Kurtis obviously thought that I wanted to kill him, she thought somewhat nostalgically.
It seemed like the mutated being didn't notice her presence at all and just run away somewhere deeper into the building.
The explorer lowered her weapon and was trying to quickly calm down, endeavouring to control her heavy breathing and quick heartbeat. Lara briefly surveyed the room from the outside. It now remained empty.
"Damn it!" she hissed and looked around, finding herself looking into the endless hallways in both directions and standing, except some weird hushed noises in the distance, in deep silence.
Lara lowered her head and sighed loudly, gazing at the floor deep in thought, considering her next steps.
This is useless. This place is way too huge for only one person to search through it completely. It's impossible. It would take ages. And there's a quite high possibility that he is... Lara stopped for a little moment, taking a deep breath, already dead, she eventually finished.
His weapon is not active anymore and he was apparently bleeding heavily. I seriously doubt he would have been able to get away on his own in such a condition, and I even more highly doubt that there would be someone else willing to help him except me. More likely willing to kill him. And who knows how many more monsters are still running loose here... she shook her head to get rid of the negative thoughts.
I can't just leave him. But even if he's still alive, and I believe he is, I won't be able to find him in time just by myself... she thought.
But maybe there's a way how to find him quickly. There is probably only one thing I can do for him right now...
Being so lost in thoughts, Lara let her caution down for a moment and failed to hear a man who was now standing behind her until he spoke aloud.
"What do we have here?" a voice asked in an arrogant fashion.
The sentence was followed by a well-known click of turning the safety of the weapon off.