Out of the corner of my eye, I see Nine charging Setrákus Ra. I turn back to Eight, to see if I can heal
him. I keep my hands on Eight’s chest wound, waiting for my Legacy to start working again. Nothing. I beg
Eight to hold on, to fight through the pain, but his brown eyes roll back, and his breath becomes more and
more shallow. Panicked, I flash back on the drawing from the Loric cave, the one where Eight is killed by
Setrákus Ra’s sword. Is the prediction coming true? I desperately keep pressing my hands all over his
‘Marina!’ John shouts. ‘We have to get you and Eight out of this room, now! I have a feeling if we can
get away from Setrákus Ra, our Legacies will start working again. If I’m right, you can still save Eight.’
‘He’s almost gone,’ I manage to choke out. ‘It might be too late no matter what we do.’ I can’t bring
myself to tell him about the cave drawing. I wonder if Eight is able to think about any of this, to remember
the drawing, to know what this moment might be. I hope not.
‘Then we should hurry,’ he says, handing me a Mog cannon and picking up Eight. ‘Shoot anything and
everything that’s not one of our friends.’
We try to cover the hundred or so yards to the door as quickly as we can, while keeping an eye on the
others who are locked in battle. With every Mog I turn to ash on the way, I feel stronger and stronger. I try
not to think about where Six – the real Six – is, or what’s happened to her. I knew that wasn’t Six. I wish I
had killed that thing, even before it revealed itself. I scan the room. Nine is fighting Setrákus Ra, clearly
treading water, his staff clashing with Ra’s sword. As strong as Nine is, it almost looks like Setrákus Ra
is toying with him, just waiting for the right moment to strike and kill.
Every ounce of confidence and strength I felt a moment ago drains out of me. There are simply too many
of them and too few of us. And we are without our Legacies, which means we’re just kids. Kids fighting
an organized, alien army. I hate to leave the others, but I know John is right. I know I need to get out of
here if I’m going to have any hope of healing Eight. And saving Eight is the only choice.
We’re almost at the door when two dozen Mogs come right at us. Some of them have cannons, some of
them have swords, and they all appear terrifyingly unstoppable. I try to shoot them, but the cannon blasts I
send their way don’t even make a dent in the advancing mob. There are just too many of them. John
manages to set Eight down just outside the door, then he joins me, charging them and wielding his sword.
I fight alongside him. I will not let John down no matter how bad the odds appear. We protect one another
and we draw strength from each other when we feel weak. It’s why we’ve survived this long, and why we
will win. We are stronger when we unite.
John mows the Mogs down, one at a time, methodically and fast. I shoot steadily as I maneuver to block
the doorway and protect Eight. I duck outside the door to check on Eight’s condition. I feel his pulse,
which is faint, and I can tell my Legacy has not returned. I lay my hands on him and whisper fiercely,
‘You can’t die, Eight. Do you hear me? I am going to heal you. My Legacy will return and I will heal
I realize the Mogs that had charged us are all gone – destroyed – and the abrupt silence startles me.
‘We have to hurry. More will come,’ John says urgently.
We hear a deafening scream – through the door we can see Bernie Kosar has transformed into a beast
and is surrounded by Mogs who are trying to slash at him, but he jumps in and out of their reach. The
Mogs can’t get him, but he isn’t able to do much damage to them, either. We step back into the room in
time to see Setrákus pull out a whip. Its tips begin to flame and he strikes Nine in the arm. The wound
immediately begins to turn black. John turns to say something to me when I hear a shot. Before I can even
tell what happened John’s body convulses and he falls to the ground.
I’m stuck to the ceiling, entombed in black stone. I watch as the rest of the
Garde fight for their lives and I can’t even feel my own body, never mind let them
know I’m up here. I’m helpless and it’s killing me. I’ve trained every moment of my
life learning how not to be helpless. Setrákus Ra is no great fighter. He’s only
taking us down because he is able to render us powerless. I want to be standing
down there with his head in my hands for all of the Mogs to see. I would make sure
they witnessed the destruction of their leader, and then I’d leave them in the same
pile of ash.
Am I watching the dream of Lorien die? We thought we were so strong and so smart
and so prepared. We thought we were going to end the war and fly back home to
Lorien. We were fools, arrogant fools. We knew of Setrákus Ra, the great and
terrible Mogadorian leader, but we didn’t know anything about how he fought, the
powers he would bring to the battle. In retrospect it seems obvious that he would
have the power to take our Legacies.
I wish I could communicate with my fellow Garde – I’d be able to direct them well
from this vantage point. For one thing, I can see that while the Mogs are
stupendously strong physically, they bring little if anything in the way of mental
technique. These guys are almost as dumb as the rock I’ve become. They reveal their
movements before they act. Their plan of attack is easy to read because they don’t
have one. This is a game of numbers and brute force, and that is an enemy that can
be beat if you know what you’re dealing with. But when you’re in the thick of it,
it’s impossible to see. I wish I could tell the Garde to focus all of their
energies and strength on Setrákus Ra. Otherwise I fear the battle will be short,
the Mogs almost sure to win.
I watch Bernie Kosar get slashed. He’s transformed himself into an enormous
beast, the same kind he became back in Paradise. His body is thick and muscular,
his teeth and claws are sharp and jagged, and two curled horns have sprouted from
his head. I see Setrákus Ra hit Nine with his whip and Nine’s arm turn black, which
I can only assume means he’ll be in the same position as me soon. John has been
shot, and he goes down writhing in pain. Marina picks up a cannon and starts firing
on the advancing Mogs.
Ella’s sneaking out of the room. Does she have a plan?
I’m distracted from watching Ella by the sound of BK roaring in pain. I see he’s
fallen to his knees. Though he’s still fighting, still killing Mogs, he’s bleeding
heavily from his wounds. It’s agonizing watching him slowly destroyed, in so much
I’m bleeding out; I can feel my blood and my strength running out of me and there’s nothing I can do
Wave after wave of Mogs just keep coming. I have no idea how many we’ve killed so far today, but it
doesn’t seem to make any difference. Without our Legacies, it’s like trying to stop a tsunami with a pile of
Marina is behind me, firing on the Mogs. I look over at Bernie Kosar and see the Mogs have ropes
around his horns and are dragging him out of the corner.
‘Coward, you’re nothing but a coward! You have to paralyze us just to beat us!’ I hear Nine scream. I
see him in the center of the room, one of his arms black and hanging heavy and useless, as Setrákus rears
his whip back.
Setrákus Ra smiles. ‘You can call me whatever names you want. It’s not going to change the fact that
you’re about to die.’ He snaps the whip forward. Nine tries to block the flaming tips with his staff, but
with only one arm, it’s impossible. One of the tips hits Nine’s hand, sending the staff flying, and the other
tail of the whip hits Nine’s face. He screams out in pain as his hand and face both start turning black.
Setrákus advances on him. I have to do what I can before I’m totally useless, or dead, so I start firing my
cannon at Setrákus Ra from my position on the ground. At best, I’m a distraction, but I will do whatever I
can. He stops each one of the projectiles I fire in midair, and tosses them aside like they’re nothing.
I hear a new source of cannon fire. I turn towards the door and see Sarah moving into the room, firing
on Mogs, Ella behind her. Sarah. She hasn’t been trained. There’s no way she can survive a battle with
the Mogs and Setrákus Ra! ‘Sarah!’ I scream. ‘You’ve got to get out of here! This is not your fight!’
Sarah ignores me and keeps moving deeper into the room. Nine is trying to move away from Setrákus
Ra, but his arms, both of which are now completely black, weigh him down. His face is quickly turning as
black as his arms. Setrákus strikes Nine again, this time getting him with both tips of the whip right in the
middle of his chest. Nine cries out and Setrákus shouts, ‘I had heard you might be my greatest challenge,
but look at you, you are nothing!’
As Setrákus Ra brings his whip back once more to deliver a fatal blow to Nine, Ella darts out from
behind Sarah and throws something at him, something that looks like a small red blur. It hits Setrákus in
the arm and he looks down, shocked, before letting out a deafening roar.
I feel something change inside of me. It’s immediate and enormously powerful, like someone plugged
me into an energy source. I focus on my hands and try, just once more, to light my Lumen. To my
amazement, it works. Our Legacies have returned.
From behind me I hear Marina cry out and she races over to Eight, who’s still just outside the doorway.
I see her run her hands over his chest, working on his wounds. She looks at me through the doorway.
‘What just happened?’
I shake my head. ‘I have no idea, but now we’ve got ourselves a real fight.’
My palms glowing, I turn towards the center of the room where Setrákus Ra is clawing at his arm,
trying to pull out the small red object Ella threw at him. He finally succeeds and turns to snap the whip at
Ella and Sarah, who is still firing the cannon. They don’t move out of the way fast enough and the whip
makes contact. They both go down.
As soon as the dart hits Setrákus, I feel the change. My Legacies are back. My
strength is starting to return. I have a chance to get out of here and help the
I start struggling within the black casing and can now feel myself move slightly
within it, but not enough to break out.
As I continue to struggle, I look below me. John is with Sarah and Ella, both
down. He’s left a trail of blood behind him as well as piles of ash. Marina has run
back outside to Eight. Bernie Kosar is still in the corner, but now he is tearing
apart the Mogs that were dragging him a second ago. In the middle of the room, Nine
is still facing off with Setrákus Ra and he’s been able to break his hands and face
free from the black rock that was taking over his body.
Seeing that gives me hope that I can break out of my own stone prison and I
continue my struggle until I feel the casing start to give way. I’ll be out soon. I
am frantic to free myself. The only thing I want right now is to show Setrákus Ra
what it feels like to have a real fight on his hands.
Just when I was giving up hope that I would ever be able to help Eight,
my Legacy returned. I put my hands on the wound in the center of his chest
and feel it start to work. With every second that passes, his heart beats
stronger and stronger. I’ve never felt anything so good in my life, that
steady bump bump bump. If I weren’t in the middle of the fight of our lives,
for our future, I think I would start crying right now, but I stay strong, and
keep my emotions in check.
I look down and see Eight’s eyes flutter open, then look up at me. ‘You
need to know . . . Six tried to –’ he starts to say.
I cut him off. ‘That wasn’t Six. It was Setrákus Ra. I don’t know how,
but it was him.’
‘But . . . ?’ The confusion in Eight’s eyes makes my heart break.
‘Eight, I can’t explain everything right now. How do you feel? Can you
stand? We have to get in there, join the others and fight. Are you ready? I
need to heal John and I need you to run interference. Got it?’
He nods and I start to get up, but there’s just one thing I need to do
before it’s too late. I look into his eyes, his beautiful brown eyes, take a
deep breath, and kiss him. He looks shocked as I pull back. I shrug at him
and smile. ‘Hey, there’s no time like the present, right?’ Before he can say
or do anything, I turn to find John. I need to heal him, fast. He took three
cannon blasts protecting me. if I don’t get to him now, he’ll die.
There’s a trail of blood where John dragged himself across the floor,
and Eight and I follow it. A heavy cloud of smoke is hanging in the air
from all the cannon blasts. When we get to John he’s on his knees,
shooting balls of fire from his hands at a massive gang of Mogs trying to
get to Ella and Sarah. As we move towards him, the Mogs fire at us. But
now that I’m able to use my telekinesis I can deflect their shots, and Eight
begins fighting back too. I run to John’s side and begin to heal his wounds.
He’s breathing heavily and is very pale. He’s lost so much blood.
‘John! You need to stop for a minute so I can heal you!’ I have to shout
to be heard over the chaos and commotion. I grab his chin and force him to
look at me.
He shakes his head, trying to release my grip, ‘If I stop, the Mogs will
kill Sarah and Ella.’
‘If you don’t stop, you’ll die. Eight is healed now, he can do defense
while I work on you. Please! John! We need you.’ I feel him stop
I look more closely at the wounds on his legs. They’re similar. Both
legs are bleeding steadily from gaping holes. I work on the right one first,
and can immediately tell Four’s thigh bone is also broken. He can’t help
but scream while it kneads itself, but the sound is absorbed by everything
else going on. His hands ball into fists as I continue.
The second leg isn’t as bad and I’m able to heal it more quickly. John
is already breathing easier. I reach for his arm and yell into his ear, ‘You
are looking a whole lot better!’
I place my hand on the wound on John’s upper arm and can feel the
muscles, the bicep and tricep, have been shredded. It’s going to take a
minute or two for them to heal. Eight is still firing away at the constant
stream of Mogs, but they are coming almost faster than he can keep
I feel John’s muscles finally knit together and he’s healed. He looks at
me and I nod. He leaps to his feet and races over to help Eight protect Ella
and Sarah, who are still down.
I feel strong. Good. Sarah and Ella did something miraculous that got us our Legacies back, made it
possible for us to fight, but now they’re both hurt. I will turn every last one of these Mogs into ash for
hurting my friends.
I rush towards them, whipping balls of fire from my hands at the Mogs. I know it should never feel
good to kill a living creature, but right now, it feels great. Now that I’m up Eight is teleporting all over
the room, appearing in front of Mogs and slicing them to pieces with a sword. Nine is still fighting
Setrákus Ra, but the two of them are moving so fast they’re just a blur. I need to get in there and fight, but I
also need to stay here and help Sarah and Ella.
Suddenly, one of the Mogs advancing on me turns in a different direction. He’s not aiming his cannon at
me. It’s pointed directly at Sarah and Ella, who are still lying motionless. He fires and their bodies start
to convulse, and I begin to scream.
I watch in horror as Ella and Sarah’s prone bodies are hit with Mog
cannon fire. John reaches them and I rush to his side. He’s kneeling next to
them and holding their hands as their bodies shake. We’re too late.
After all of this, after we made it this far and we all found each other at
last, it looks like we’re about to lose another member of the Garde. And
Sarah. John just found her again, and he’s going to lose her. I close my
eyes as well, bracing myself for another scar to burn itself into my leg, a
scar for Ella. I know this one is going to hurt the most.
But nothing happens. Is there something different about Ella that her
death won’t cause a scar? That can’t be. I open my eyes and look at John,
who’s still hunched over Sarah and Ella, still intently squeezing their
I look closer at the girls and can’t quite believe what I’m seeing. Their
wounds – cannon blasts to their bodies and hideous burns on their faces –
are healing. ‘What’s happening? How are you doing this?’ I ask John,
looking at him in wonder.
‘I have no idea,’ he says, shaking his head. ‘I didn’t know I could do
this. I saw Sarah on the ground and I wasn’t going to let her die, or Ella.
Not another one of the Garde. I won’t let that happen, especially now that
we’re together. I took their hands and thought about how much I wanted
their injuries to heal, how much I wished I could heal them . . . and it
suddenly just started to happen.’
‘You’ve developed a new Legacy!’ I cry, squeezing his shoulders.
‘Or, I just wanted it so badly, a miracle happened. Whatever it is,
they’re both healing.’ He lets out a laugh, filled with exhaustion and relief.
John looks to the center of the room, where Nine continues to fight.
‘Marina, this is not the time we’re going to bring Setrákus Ra down. Even
though our Legacies have come back, I don’t think we can defeat him just
yet, and I don’t want to take the chance of losing another Garde member.
We have to find Six. Then we need to figure out a way to get the hell out of
here, regroup, and come up with a plan. We’ll kill him together or die
together. But we do it on our terms, when we know we’re ready to do it.’
We hear a moan, and look down at Sarah and Ella. Their eyes are open
and color is coming back into their cheeks. John leans over and kisses
The casing is finally breaking off. I flex my arms and kick my legs and start to
fall as the last of it crumbles. I use my telekinesis to lower myself to the
I lie there for a second, trying to catch my breath. The smoke is so thick my
eyes are watering. All of a sudden, a huge explosion rocks the room. An alarm goes
off, red lights flash, and a piercingly loud siren fills the air. I can see John’s
Lumen burning and I make my way through the haze towards it. Ella, Marina and Sarah
are standing next to him, and as I get closer Eight appears, teleporting to
Marina’s side. Bernie Kosar has turned back into a beagle and he limps over to
Ella cries out when she sees me and throws her arms around me. I return her hug
and then look at John. Seeing his face again is like a dream come true. He touches
my arm. ‘You okay?’
I nod. ‘What about you?’ I ask, and I know I sound as exhausted and beaten down
as I feel.
‘We’re all alive so far – but where’s Nine?’ he replies, looking around as we all
realize simultaneously that the battle sounds have disappeared. We run towards the
center of the room, towards the area where Nine had been battling Setrákus Ra,
keeping him at bay. Nine is lying on the ground, motionless, and Setrákus Ra is
nowhere in sight. Marina falls to her knees next to him and frantically starts
running her hands over his body while I spin in circles, trying desperately to see
through the haze to make sure Setrákus Ra isn’t hiding, waiting to capture and kill
us when our backs are turned. Aside from the shrill sound of the alarms, the room
is eerily quiet and I realize there are no Mogadorians anywhere.
‘He’s alive!’ Marina cries. ‘He’s just stunned.’ Nine sits up, shaking his head
‘What happened?’ he asks.
‘I was going to ask you that,’ Eight says. ‘There was an explosion and everyone
but the seven of us have disappeared.’
‘I don’t know – I didn’t see where he went. One second I was trying to hold my
own, fighting him off, the next thing I knew I was here on the ground.’
‘What do we do now?’ Sarah asks.
‘We have to get of here,’ says John. ‘Setrákus Ra could reappear at any second,
and this could be a trap. Even though this is a government base, it clearly isn’t
‘Anyone know a way out of here?’ I ask. They all look at each other grimly.
‘We have to go back the way we came in,’ says Eight. ‘My teleporting Legacy won’t
work with so many of us.’
‘Okay,’ John says. ‘We don’t know what we’ll face on the way out and we may have
to fight out way through more Mogadorians, or human soldiers, but we need to stay
together now. We’re never splitting up again.’
Nine steps over and stands next to me, then looks me up and down. ‘I don’t
believe anyone introduced us, proper like. It’s nice to officially meet you,
sweetheart. I’m Nine,’ he says, winking at me. I roll my eyes and John snickers.
I look around for a second. It’s a miracle we’re all together, all still alive.
Every living Loric on Earth but one is standing within a few feet of each other.
We’re alive and we’re fighting and that means we still have a chance. And we will
meet Setrákus again, and soon. Next time, he will not get away from us.