By the time Keanu burst into the living room, half-carrying half-dragging Sydney, Evelyn had returned from the kitchen, Trey was dealing with the fallen warriors, and I was on my toes, worried and hopeful all at the same time. Marcus was patrolling the house, making sure no other dangers were present, and returned just in time to witness Keanu collapse to the ground.
"Adrian," Keanu breathed as I caught up and took Sydney from his hands. Marcus helped him up against a wall. Evelyn took the duffel bag and backpack Keanu was carrying and went to throw them onto the arm chair. Keanu caught her arm before she could.
"Careful with the backpack," he said. "It has a laptop in it."
"A laptop?" Marcus asked, rising a brow. "Why'd you bring a laptop here?"
"I've been carrying it since Tobyhanna. I've been meaning to show it to Adrian."
At the mention of my name, I looked up from the pale Sydney and gave them a confused look.
"Why would I need to look at a laptop?" I asked, but regardless, I ended up receiving it from Evelyn. Trey came and helped me lift Sydney, who was in a weird state of sleep, onto the couch, and Evelyn quickly rushed over to help us out. Cupping Sydney's flushed cheek, I ran my eyes across the pained expression on her face before kissing her gently on the forehead.
"Please help her, Evelyn," I said. Evelyn put a hand on my back.
"I'll do all that I can to revert her back to normal, even if my life depended on it."
I moved away to where the backpack sat, keeping a watchful eye on Evelyn as she called for Trey to run and get a few things she'd need to perform her spell. Sitting into the armchair, I pushed aside the duffel bag and zipped open the heavy backpack. I pulled out the laptop inside, as Keanu had said, and booted it up.
A dashboard appeared, the name 'Jaclyn Terwilliger' blinked in the left corner, and a pdf reading program was still left open. Pulling it up, and the document it had along with it, it took me a second to understand what I was reading.
"She was trying to find a spell to help me ..." I said as I scrolled through the pages. Case studies of those who had negative side effects from the use of magic went on and on. Particular parts of the text were even highlighted in colors of yellow and green.
Only Sydney would use something like a highlight on a digital document, I mused.
Closing it and putting it back into the backpack, I glanced to where Evelyn was softly speaking to herself, eyes closed, as she held onto Sydney's hands tightly.
As I was placing the laptop away, my hand brushed something hard and small. Grabbing for it, my fingers enclosed around the velvety surface, and as I pulled it out, I frowned.
Marcus saw the little blue box and had a similar reaction to me.
"What is that?" he asked.
Slowly, with shaky fingers, I opened it.
"The ring," I said with a small smile. I slid the ring out, watching as the jewel framed in the middle glistened under the living room lights. I ran a finger on the inside, and sure enough, I felt the engraving inside. "The ring from the festival I gave to her."
"Adrian," Keanu coughed, pushing himself from the wall. Looking up, and seeing the bags of sleep beneath his eyes, I put away the ring, feeling guilty that I hadn't paid more attention to him. "I don't think we should stay here long."
"Why not?" I said a little rough.
"Because." Keanu's eyes flickered to Evelyn. "Because the Guardians captured Eloise and they might find out where we are," he whispered.
Marcus crossed his arms. "We'll sort out the thing with the Guardians after we deal with the Warriors. They aren't going to harm Eloise."
"Of course not," Keanu snapped, his temper rising. "But I have a bad feeling. We haven't been able to stay at one place too long because the Warriors have found us each time. And now that its night, there's the chance that Strigoi are on the hunt as well. I think we should move."
"No," I interjected firmly. "We can't. Sydney needs Evelyn's help."
"WELL," Evelyn spoke up from the other side of the room. We all suddenly turned to the old witch, unaware that she had been listening all alone. "I would be able to speed this process up if one of you went and got me a tourmaline crystal from the backroom."
Keanu raise a brow. "A tourmaline crystal? Why do you need that?"
"My magic specialty is electricity," Evelyn said, turning her head. She eyed Marcus' seared hand. "I'm sure your warlock friend already knows that. Tourmaline crystals can channel electricity well, and amplify my magic."
Marcus nodded his head thoughtfully. "I've never worked with crystals before, actually, but she's right." He started for the hallway. "I'll get the tourmaline."
"Then you, Warrior, get me another wet towel from the kitchen. Sydney's burning up like a furnace."
Trey jumped up and dashed to the kitchen without another word. I came and sat beside the couch, running a hand through Sydney's soft hair. Evelyn gave me a sad look and moved one of Sydney's hand into mine.
"I'll help her," she reassured.
A few minutes later, Marcus returned. Evelyn said that she had been casting protection spells earlier, but that now, the real spell would happen. She placed her crystal before her and rested two fingers on Sydney's temples. Then she warned us not to touch the electricity.
Sparks flew, Evelyn chanted, but Sydney stayed the same. I was expecting some type of Exorcist shit to go down, but it didn't. Sydney's eyes didn't flicker open. They didn't roll into the back of her head. Her limbs didn't spaz and she didn't start screaming like one would imagine. It was only the air in the room that changed, and sparks spat hear and there. Evelyn's voice grew louder, and the rest of us sat in unmoving fear, but it wasn't anything flashy like on of Marcus' Vegas shows.
By the end of the spell, Evelyn was exhausted. The sparks stopped flying, the atmosphere lightened up, but Sydney still didn't move. I looked about catching eye with both Keanu and Marcus, worried that it hadn't worked. That we were too late.
But then Trey burst in from the kitchen door, panicked.
"It's gone," he breathed, looking about frantically. "The cell phone Cameron had ... the one Sybil gave us in case we needed to contact her to send in reinforcements ..." He looked at each of us with a pale face. "It's gone."
I rose to my feet, angered that no one had thought to grab the phone from before, and fell into panic along with Trey.
"Where is it!?" I shouted, glancing about. "It was kicked during the fight into the kitchen. Who took it?"
Keanu, wide-eyed, shook his head.
"No one's been in there but Trey. He went in to grab a towel."
Then it struck me. My eyes narrowed on Evelyn.
"You went in for towels as well. Where are they?"
Evelyn, who looked beaten from the spell and suddenly terrified for her life, inched away from the group that was closing on her.
"I'm sorry," she muttered in a shrill voice. "I'm sorry, I am, but I had to!" She reached into her pocket and pulled out what I could make out as the cell phone. Then her eyes fell upon the tourmaline crystal before her. "But they have my sister ..."
"NO!" Marcus shouted, as Evelyn reached for the crystal. I attempted to lunge for it, as I was closest, but the lights above us went out before I came near it. Desperately, I retreated back to what I thought I could faintly make out as the couch Sydney laid on, meaning to somewhat pick her up and escape.
But it was useless.
A flash of electric passed through the room, and with a sharp sting, I felt it hit my chest. I fell to the ground, head first, and didn't wake up until the next day.