The ride to San Diego was quiet, too quiet. No one spoke a word. It was so tense in the car, that I was surprised that the car didn't blow up. From my position in the back seat, I could clearly see what was going on in the front. Dimitri's hands were clenched tight on the steering wheel, knuckles going white. Rose looked like she wanted to smash the windows. On either side of me, Eddie and Angeline just sat there quietly. My phone rang in my pocket breaking the silence. I had to do some manoeuvring to get it out of my pocket. And when I finally did, I pressed the answer button and the speaker button.
"Sydney?" Jill's voice echoed throughout the car.
"I'm here. You're only speaker." I replied.
"Okay. Good. Adrian's sent me another message through the bond. He wants me to tell you guys that his parents have gone hunting. But, they haven't left him there alone. There are other Strigoi there. He estimated that there are probably about ten other Strigoi inside the house and surrounding it." It sounded like she'd been crying.
"Let me speak to her." Dimitri said. Rose reached out and took the phone from my hands and passed it to Dimitri. "Jill? It's Dimitri. There were no reports from the first patrol about there being other Strigoi."
"Maybe they were hiding inside the house? Watching?" Jill said.
"That could be true. Look, we're about halfway there. I'm going to call ahead to the other guardians and report what you just told us." Dimitri said.
"Okay. Oh, and one other thing; Sonya's just left. She didn't say where she was going. Only that she'd be back later." From the driver's seat, Dimitri growled and slammed a hand against the steering wheel. It was scary. He was scary. I'd only once seen him so angry. And that was when I'd gone on the run with him and Rose. Rose laid a reassuring hand on his arm. I watched as her touch visibly relaxed him.
"Alright. Thank you Jill. Keep in touch."
"I will. Bye and good luck." The phone call ended and Rose handed my phone back to me. Sonya had left? Where was she headed? A hand on my arm made me jump and I turned and looked at Eddie. He was looking at me, a concerned look on his face.
"Get in a quick nap while you can, Sydney. You're going to need all the strength you can get." I reluctantly agreed. And as soon as I'd shut my eyes, I'd slid into a deep sleep. Or, so I thought.
I stood in a very beautiful, yet familiar garden. I looked around and saw a small house. I was back at Sonya's house! Sonya herself was sitting in a deckchair. As soon as she spotted me, she stood up and walked over to me, a small knowing smile on her face. And I realised what was going on.
"I'm in a Spirit dream, aren't I?" I asked. Spirit users had the ability to not only heal, read auras and wield extreme compulsion; they could also communicate with others in their dreams. This was what was happening right now.
"You are. I have another visitor. I hope you don't mind?" She pointed behind me and I was Adrian strolling over.
"Adrian? Adrian!" He smirked at me and catching him by surprise, I flung myself at him. He held onto me tight, face buried in the curve of my neck. I could feel him breathe. It was hot and it sent shivers done my spine "Are you okay?"
Adrian laughed and ruffled my hair, longing flashing briefly in his eyes, "I'm fine. Well, as fine as I can be around my Strigoi parents," He hesitated. "And the other Strigoi. My...parents gave them strict orders not to kill me or turn me. They can feed off of me, but not kill or turn. That's apparently my parent's job."
"None of that is going to happen. We won't let that happen. We'll get you out of there safe and alive," I firmly pressed my hands to this side of his face and turned his face towards mine, making him look me in the eyes. "I promise. Those Strigoi won't know what staked them. Well, actually they will, but still."
"Well hurry and get here."
"There are already Guardians there. They're just waiting on us to get there. Then they'll attack." Sonya put a hand on my shoulder.
"I think you'd better tell Adrian, Sydney," I turned to look at her, frowning. It took me a moment to realise what she was saying. "Just in case." I adamantly shook my head,
"No. I'll tell him when we're all back safe and alive in Palm Springs." Adrian was watching the both of us, looking confused.
"Tell Adrian what?" He reached out held my arms pinning me in place. "What aren't you tell me? Damn it Sydney. What do you want to tell me?" He searched my eyes for an answer. I just smiled and shook my head.
"Not saying. Not until we're back at Palm Springs." I deftly pulled out of his arms and walked a little ways back. "And you're not to tell him, Sonya. I'm the only one who can tell him." I said shooting Sonya a meaningful look. She just brushed a stray strand of fiery hair out of her face. Looking at Sonya, I'd remembered Jill's phone call.
"Where are you?" I asked curiously.
"In the boot." She said simply.
"The boot of where?" I pressed.
"Behind you, Eddie and Angeline in the car." She said. My mouth dropped open in shock. She was in the boot of our car? What was she doing there?
"Why are you in the boot of our car?" I demanded. I watched as Sonya shot Adrian a look, he shrugged his shoulders and Sonya sighed.
"Adrian and I were sharing a Spirit dream just before you showed up. He asked me to do something for him. He'd asked me to secretly go with you guys and not let the Guardians kill his parents."
"What?" I shrieked. I turned on Adrian. "Are you crazy? They're not your parents anymore Adrian. They're Strigoi. Monster's! And they want you to become one! Or, do you not understand that?" My voice had risen a few notches, so that I was practically screaming at him.
"That's why he asked me to sneak out," Sonya said. They were both way to calm, and it was unnerving. "I'm going to be using a Spirit charmed stake to restore to their Moroi form."
"Sage. Yes, despite what may have happened while they were still Moroi and now that they're Strigoi; they're still my parents. I still need them around."
"Why can't you just do it then?" I asked him. He sighed and ran a hand through his messy brown hair.
"I'm not strong enough. They've taken a fair amount of blood from me." He went to walk towards me but suddenly, he vanished. Sonya and I exchanged a panicked look.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I think he got woken up!" She said incredulously.
"I think maybe his parents have returned?" I turned back to Sonya. "I need to wake up and tell the others."
Sonya nodded seriously, "That's okay. I'll stay quiet in the boot. Just give one bang on the boot to let me know we've arrived, and I'll get myself out. Oh, and don't tell anyone where I am."
"Don't worry Sonya. I won't." Sonya smiled and the dream vanished. I jerked awake by the car coming to a complete stop. I looked out at our surroundings; the house we'd stopped out the front of was massive, it looked like a more expensive version of Clarence's. Dimitri twisted around in his seat to look at the three of us in the back.
"We're here." He said.
"I gathered that." I responded dryly. I was tired. That nap wasn't long enough. "Oh and by the way. I was visited by Adrian and Sonya, thanks to Spirit dreams." I thought I'd leave out the fact that they'd appeared in the same one.
"Is everything okay?" Rose asked. "Did Sonya tell you where she is?" I removed my seatbelt bent down and began rifling through my purse.
"No, everything is not okay. It's not just Adrian's parents in there," I jerked my head towards the house, if you could call it a house. "The other Strigoi are all hiding. And no, Sonya didn't tell me where she is."
"Well, while you were napping, we decided that you should stay in the car, we'll signal you when we need you." Dimitri said. What? They were going to leave me in the car? I hated the idea of being left in the car and I didn't plan on staying in it, I was going to get Sonya out and we were going to find Adrian. But to ease the Dhampirs consciences, I agreed to stay in the car, on one condition; they leave the keys just in case we needed to make a quick getaway. They agreed to that. I watched as the four of them got out the car, armed with silver stakes. As soon as they were out of sight, I jumped into the driver's seat and took the keys, sliding out of the car and running around to the back of the car and unlocking the boot and letting Sonya out. She looked flushed and was sweating. I could only imagine what it must have been like having to hide in the boot of a car.
"Are you okay?" I asked her. Sonya pulled her hair back into a ponytail, tying it up with an elastic band.
"I am never doing that again. That was painful," She looked at me and produced a silver stake. "Let's go save the Ivashkov's." I grinned and we ran around the side of the house. I remembered hearing Dimitri and Eddie talk about where there was a secret entrance to the basement at the side of the house. When we'd reached the secret entrance, I knelt down and produced the small torch I'd brought with me, flipping it on and shining it through the entrance. I could only see darkness.
"Adrian?" I called out softly. There was no answer. I turned to Sonya and handed her the torch, who then shone it into the basement entrance so I could see. I crouched down further and crawled through the entrance. I dropped neatly onto the floor.
"Sonya, give me the torch and climb down." The torchlight shifted and shone right in my eyes. I flinched and grabbed a hold of the torch, shining it away from me. I looked around the basement; and there, in the far corner, chained up and unconscious; was Adrian. A soft thud alerted me to Sonya landing on the floor.
"He's over there." I shone the torch back in Adrian's direction. I ran across the basement to Adrian. Blood ran down his neck from puncture wounds, as well as a wound across one side of his face. Both were still bleeding heavily. "Find me a pair of pliers." I said to Sonya as I began looking for the locks that held the chains in place. There was a scuffling sound behind me and I spun around. The torchlight landed on Sonya and...Nathan Ivashkov. The first time I'd met him, I'd thought his looks made him actually look like a vampire. But now, as a Strigoi, that silent statement was true. With his skin even paler, red rings around his eyes and fangs, combined with his other looks. He was completely terrifying. And right now, he had Sonya's head tipped to the side, her neck exposed.
"What did I tell you child?" He snarled. "I said not to send anyone to rescue the boy, or else he dies." The sound of chains breaking came from behind me and I spun around. Adrian's mom, Daniella stood there, Adrian clutched in her arms, neck exposed. I look between Nathan and Daniella and saw Nathan give Daniella a small nod. I looked back at Daniella just as she sunk her fangs into Adrian's throat. Someone screamed and distantly I realised it was me. A dozen Guardians burst into the basement and descended upon Nathan and Daniella. I pushed my way through to Adrian and dragged him away from the fight.
I put my pointer and middle fingers to Adrian's throat, checking for a pulse. It was there. Barely.
"Come on Adrian. Wake up. Wake up!" I slapped him, hoping it would rouse him. Nothing, he was still unconscious. I pulled off my shirt, thankful for wearing a tank top on underneath, and scrunched it up and pressed it to the wounds on his throat. I had tissues in my purse and pulled out a bunch of them and pressed them to the wound on his head. I then looked for any other wounds, and found none. Where was Sonya? Why wasn't she here using Spirit to heal him? I looked around the room for her but couldn't see her amidst all the fighting. It seemed more Strigoi and decided to join in. I looked closer and saw Dimitri and Rose right smack in the middle of it all. Typical. Those two couldn't back down from a fight. I turned back to Adrian and checked his pulse again. It was still barely there. I pulled my shirt from his throat. It was soaked in his blood and yet, he was still bleeding heavily. I pressed it back to his throat.
"Adrian! Please wake up! Come on, Adrian, please. Please. Please." I begged. I leaned down and checked his breathing. I couldn't feel anything. Frowning, I checked his breathing again; still nothing. He wasn't breathing. Putting my ear to his chest, I listened for his heartbeat; while with one hand and using the same two fingers, I checked his pulse again. I couldn't hear anything. There was no heartbeat. And there was no pulse.
"No..." I whispered in shock. A bright light lit up my vision, blinding me. I cried out and tried to shield my eyes. The light was painful, but it was familiar. Sonya and restored someone. The light faded and a blood-curdling scream soon followed after. The scream then began to fade and the fighting resumed once everyone had gotten their vision back. I turned back to Adrian's lifeless body. I roughly shook him.
"No...Adrian! You're not allowed to do this! Adrian!" I screamed.