"Wait!" Chloe called, the loudest she could, which consequently wasn't very loud... in fact it came out as more of a hoarse whimper.
Alek stopped at the door, and spun around to face Chloe. "Yeah?"
"I... please, don't..."
Valentina appeared behind Alek at the door, and smiled at Chloe. "Did you get anything?"
"Yeah, Chloe was very helpful." The two of them walked out of the room, shutting the door softly behind them.
"Leave me alone..." Chloe finished in a lonely whisper, before closing her eyes and drifting back to her dark, mysterious world.
Chloe stared blankly at the white, glowing tree before her. After a long moment, she glanced behind it, to the sides of it, behind her... and there was nothing. The gray fog had finally, and slowly, cleared to reveal seemingly endless stretches of black nothingness. It was actually quite unsettling, she could practically feel her mind reaching out into the darkness, searching for something reasonably substantial to register into her mind, and continuously being met with blackness. So, she turned back to face the tree. Oddly enough, it seemed familiar. Not necessarily that she had seen it at some point in her life, because... well, that was ridiculous. Where could she have possibly seen a large, glowing white tree? No. This was from somewhere else. Somewhere recent. Somewhere cold. And just as realization began to set in, the temperature began to drop, and within seconds, Chloe could clearly see her breath lingering in the air before her.
"An athame?" Valentina asked, for perhaps the third time.
"That's what she said," Alek replied.
Valentina brushed her own hair from her face, letting out reluctant sigh.
"What's wrong?" Alek leaned forward in his seat.
"I can't believe I didn't see this before...The athame, or the tattoo of one, is a sort of universal symbol for... well, hunters."
"Hunters? As in Mai hunters?"
"As in hunters of the gods, or at least their offsprings. People who have made it their mission to eliminate 'tainted', as they say, breeds of the human race."
"How is it that I've never heard of them before?" Alek asked.
"They're not an organized group, or anything. It's, more or less, a family trade. It's something that's been passed down through the generations, through stories and lessons... these hunters have been taught that all of the children of the gods are menaces to human kind, tainting the pure blood of humanity... killing ruthlessly. They tend to kill their targets in the most painful way they can imagine... a revenge of sorts.
Alek's gaze fell to his feet. "Please tell me you know where I can find some of these monsters."
Valentina turned to look out the window, her arms now folded across her chest. "I've had Mai watching a few hangouts, over the years. There's a pub down at the docks... a lot of them hang out there, share stories and whatnot."
Alek rose to his feet and grabbed the athame from the table.
Valentina spun around. "Alek, they could kill you."
"I won't give them the chance."
She sighed. "Please, be careful."
Amy stared up into the sky, quietly watching the twinkling stars.
"What are you doing?" Jasmine asked, taking a seat beside her on the cold ledge, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
Amy's expression shifted from a look of serenity to turmoil as she turned to face Jasmine. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Getting angry at you guys, storming off... and the list goes on..."
"I get it."
Amy let her head roll back, smiling, somewhat, as the stars came back into sight. "I know you're all trying your best... it's just... it's frustrating, you know?"
"You don't know what it's like, watching your best friend dying, and knowing that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to help her. I can't fight like you guys, or run like you, or... I'm not... Mai."
"...Yeah, and it's times like these that really highlight how much that sucks."
Jasmine leapt to her feet, lingering on the ledge, for a moment, before dropping down in front of Amy. "Don't say that."
"Why? It's true."
"Amy, you're the most amazing human that I've ever met. You're best friends with a Mai, and you live in this world that you don't understand, sacrificing everything... just to be there for her."
"But that's not the whole story...I didn't cope well... at the start."
"In this case, the end justified the means, I think."
Amy's expression eased, and her features softened, as a smile began to curl at the end of her pink lips. "Thanks."
"Now... you think they've found anything, yet?"
"God, I sure hope so..." Amy muttered.
Jasmine smiled back, secretly shoving the fear she felt for Chloe's life into the back of her consciousness. It was no time to let that get to her, when Chloe was still fighting for her life, and Alek was still searching for a cure. She slid her phone out of her pocket, and stared at the bright screen before her. "Hm, no messages."
"That's good, right? That means Chloe isn't..." Amy trailed off, forcing herself, as Jasmine did, not to worry about what had yet to happen... what may not ever happen, for that matter. She still had hope, and she refused to let go of it.
"Yeah." Jasmine didn't want to mention that it also meant, most probably, that Alek and Valentina hadn't found anything to help.
Just then, the phone rang and Alek's face appeared on the screen.
"Oh! Answer it!" Amy yelled, jumping to her feet at the sound.
Jasmine tapped the green icon on the glass screen and lifted the phone up to her ear. "A-Alek?"
Heavy breaths could be heard on the other line. "Jasmine! We've got something!" Came Alek's excited, yet panicked voice.
"What is it? Where are you?"
"I'm heading to the west end of the docks; there's a hang out there, somewhere Valentina thinks we might be able to catch a lead."
Jasmine's face lit up. "Alright, we'll be right there."
"Amy and I."
Jasmine smiled. "Let's go for a ride," she said, grabbing Amy by the arm and dragging her into the parking lot.
"Where are we going?"
"The docks. We're going to save Chloe."
Note from the author: So, between AP classes and my need to keep up with all of my beloved television shows, I may or may not have forgotten about this. No worries, I've remembered now... :) So, sorry for the long wait, and the irritatingly short chapter, but I am literally working on another one RIGHT after I post this one. So more to come soon. Reviews are greatly appreciated, and you're awesome if you're still baring with me.