Hello everybody. This is the third section of this story. The first is "The Dark of Night", the second is "The Night is Darkest Just Before Dawn." I recommend reading those first, before reading this.
"What happened to her?"
"She wouldn't come."
"You did this?"
"You were instructed not to force her."
The words slowly seeped into my awareness. I recognized one voice, the voice of the phantom. But the other was unfamiliar. I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids felt like lead weights. My body remained frozen. I could only listen in silence.
"This was supposed to be her choice." He continued.
"And it would have been, but they wanted her. They had agents leaving the city. They would have found her."
"How can that be? They never leave the city. You must be wrong."
"I'm never wrong."
They were both silent.
"What does she have that could possibly make them leave their stronghold?" The unfamiliar voice murmured, breaking the silence. He sounded subdued, awed. "I must go. The cabal will need this information." I heard a soft whisper of wind and realized he was gone.
I felt something hot touch my chest. Heat radiated from that spot, filling my body. Life returned to my veins. When I opened my eyes, the phantom was standing next to me. His hand rested on my chest, above my heart.
"Better?" He asked.
I glared at him, "What is the matter with you? First you try to kill me, and then you completely incapacitate me. Why don't you make up your mind? Either kill me or don't."
"I'm not going to kill you." He said calmly. He moved his hand away and I sat up. Strength pulsed through my veins.
I was in a small room. It was lit by a single orb glowing above my head. The world was dark outside the window.
"I'm sorry you think killing you is my motive. It's not. Not once have I tried to kill you."
"Oh really? Then why did you make every cell in my body feel like it was going to implode?"
"I had to get you out of the city. That was the only way."
"By nearly killing me?"
He sighed, "You weren't in any danger. My kind can teleport. Anything we are touching teleports with us. But our bodies are made to shift with the elements. Your body was not. Teleporting is extremely painful for you, simply because your molecules must remain connected. It breaks the laws of physics to teleport your kind. So, even though you felt like you were dying, you weren't."
"Who are you?" I demanded.
He chuckled, "My name is Caden."
I stood and walked to the window. "Where am I and why am I here?"
He followed, "You're in Ja'riel. It's a secret city. The only city left that hasn't been infiltrated by the Kaifuri."
"What's the Kaifuri?"
"They are the creatures that control your world. You would call them ex-humans."
"Oh." I said glumly. So they had a name.
"You are here because you are one of the few humans left fighting for your world, and you are the only human that the Kaifuri are desperate to capture."
"You keep saying 'my world.' Aren't you part of my world?"
He laughed, "I am between worlds right now. Technically we're part of the same world, we live on the same planet, but there are two realms on this planet. My kind can move between the realms. Your kind can only move if you are with one of us."
"And I'm in the other realm now?"
He shook his head, "No. It's too dangerous to cross realms with a human right now. We don't believe the Kaifuri know about the second realm, and we must keep it that way."
I nodded, "I see. Will you show me the city I am in?"
"Certainly." He took my hand and led me from the building.
The world outside the door was dim. Fog shrouded everything. It was constantly moving, swirling around the buildings. They seemed to shift and change shape with the fog.
The sky was dark, except for streaks of blue light that whistled through the air. They fell onto the city, cracking when they landed. Dark blue vapor rushed from the cracks. Everything it touched turned to ice.
"Kyra. Get back inside!" Caden screamed. He shoved me roughly behind his body.
"What is it? What are those things?"
"We're being attacked. Go. Now!"
I turned, racing for the building. A flash of blue light filled my vision, and I heard an ear-splitting shriek. The building I was running for stood frozen in front of me. The icy vapor seeped from the building. Caden rushed toward me. "The Kaifuri have found us. We cannot stay here!"
The flashes of blue light were coming more quickly now. They crashed all around us. The buildings of the city stood like frozen sentinals. People raced around us, searching for cover. The vapor reached out, freezing them in their flight.
"Is there nothing we can do?" I cried.
He shook his head, "The cabal will fight. My orders are to keep you safe. We will run."
"No!" I jerked to a stop. "I can fight. I will fight."
"You'll come with me."
I turned, heading to the center of the city, where the blue streaks fell the thickest. "We can win this battle. I won't run."
Caden grabbed my arm and yanked me to a stop. "You can't fight Kyra. They are here for you. If they capture you this war will be over. They will win, and both our worlds will die."
I blinked, uncomprehending, "Why? Why does my capture matter?"
"Because you have knowledge and hope. You are the only one of your kind left with that. Once your hope is gone, the Kaifuri will win, and the rest of your people, who hide in caves and the dark places of the earth, will become as the Kaifuri. Without you all light will leave both worlds. The Kaifuri will live in darkness, but they will exist. No creature of light and intelligence will be able to live in their world."
I stared at him, suddenly racked with indecision. I hated to leave a fight. It was my nature to rush in and take down as many of the Kaifuri as possible. I couldn't let others fight the battle for me, especially when I was what the enemy wanted.
Caden grabbed my arm, "You're not going back there. If I have to incapactitate you again, I will. Now come on." he yanked my arm, forcing me to follow him.
"Where are we going?"
"To the other realm. The Kaifuri don't know about it. It's the only place you'll be safe."
"Are you sure about that? You said they didn't know about this place."
He was quiet for a moment, then finally answered, "I don't know. It's a risk we're going to have to take."