Part Twenty Five

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A distant sound of classical violins reached his ears, as well as the patter of rain.  The smell of burning sparked Nico's senses. He swept his eyes around his suroundings. The first thing he spotted was leaping, crackling flames; alarmed, he curled into himself, hoping it would disappear.

Only after a moment did he realize that what he was looking at was in fact a fireplace. He sweeped his eyes up: a chandelier hung from the ceiling, like a graceful, spread-winged bat. There was a very elegant feel to the room. By the fireplace, stood a thin wall made of what seemed to be delicate paper, eastern-style. A calloused figure danced behind the screen, with graceful, light-weighted moves. It was beautifully mesmerizing to watch.

 Nico gathered his senses and sat up. His back was aching, and his chin felt numb and cold. He could now pick up the sound of two people arguing, perhaps in another room. The graceful dancer continued to prance around behind the screen, piquing Nico's curiosity. The feeling was so intense, he was startled by how badly he wanted to know who it was behind the screen, who it was arguing in the other room. Who was it sitting within his soul, if anything?

He shuffled off to the screen. He was barefoot, and the floor beneath him was course carpet, which felt uncomfortable beneath his feet. He pushed the screen aside.


There she was, her lovely self expressed all over her movements. She stopped and turned her head about the room, searching for the source of the voice. His eyes met hers, her midnight dark eyes widening momentarily.


He stood frozen on his spot. A turmoil of warm emotions threatened to flood him. "Bianca."

She smiled sweetly, simply, taking a step towards him. He was faintly aware of the rain beyond where they stood, steady and strong. 

Suddenly, a huge crack of lightning shook the house. The windows shattered. Bewildered, Nico spun around. The rain began to escape the outside, pooling into the room faster than he thought possible. He turned to his beloved sister. Bianca, her eyes filled with fear, stepped away from him. "What have you done?"

Nico was too bewildered, shocked to reply rationally to her logical question. Everything about their relationship was peaceful, right, loving, brotherly, until he went along and messed it all up. He was to blame. She had always been right, and now she was right as well. Nico felt that he has utterly nothing to say for himself.

The rain was pooling into the room steadily. It had already reached his ankles, which felt cold and unprotected, analogous to his emotions, perhaps. Bianca has already escaped the room through the door at the far side from Nico. Panicked, he ran after her, paddling his way through the pond that was already reaching up his lower leg, tickling his knee. The next room was vast. He spotted Bianca, swiftly climbing a flight of stairs, untouched by the rain. Her figure, he noticed, was surounded by an illuminating silhouette.

He pinched himself. This wasn't real. No, this can't be real. Bianca is gone. Bianca is no more. She left him. He is alone, orphaned and with no other family in the world. This isn't real. The water was up to Nico's hips.

Suddenly, a huge wave of water flushed down the stairs, taking Bianca with it. Washed away, she hit a wall along with the water with a loud crashing sound. The sight of it horrified Nico.

"Stay with me!"

Her body fell upon the water, slowly sinking. He couldn't take it any longer. Lightning cracked once more. Nico felt himself burning alive.

He woke with a start.

It was dark around Nico. Very dark, in fact. A small light illuminated the way, guiding his eyes in the blackness of his surroundings. 

"Chop chop, Nico. You can't sleep all night"It was Walt, familiar and warm. He was grinning broadly, Nico's sense of horrible fatality passing him unnoticed.

"Is he up?" It was Jordan's voice now. Nico became vaguely aware that the fellow was lying besides him, horizontal as he was.

"Oh God, look at him," whispered Walt, with a tinge of worry. "He looks like he's seen himself pinned to a cross. Come on Jordan, was that worth it?"

"Definitely for an escape, idiot," said Jordan, unimpressed. His voice sounded tired and weak, as though he'd carried a heavy load.

"W-what?" Nico's voice came out a croak. He immediately swallowed his breath, reflexively. "Where's Kai? Where are we?"

Walt's eyes moved to meet Nico's. "We're safe. Jordan put everyone to sleep. Luckily, that also means that our enemies are all have an awful, extended nightmare. The drawback was that you, as well, experienced that, from what I can tell. But it was necessary, I promise! You were bleeding like hell, man."

"You suck, Jordan," decided Nico. 

"You're welcome."

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