126 Follow the smoke
Vorden and the others started to make their way through the dry, harsh desert. They didn't encounter many beasts on their way back. It seemed like the desert beasts were much more of a territorial creature.
The map was quite accurate in indicating where the beasts were located and where they were not, and as long as they were outside any of the coloured zones, it seemed like they wouldn't run into any more beasts.
Eventually, after walking through the desert, they could finally see the small Well area insight.
"That's where Quin said to meet them, right?" Layla asked.
"Yeah, they said they would be here." But just then Vorden stopped and looked down at the ground.
Rubble from one of the buildings could be seen everywhere but what shocked him most, was Peter. He was crawling across on the ground towards them. His legs had been hurt and possibly a few of his ribs broken. The only thing he was using was his forearms to crawl along the floor towards them.
"Peter, what happened?" Layla asked as she came rushing over and knelt down by his side. But Peter continued to move forward using his forearms completely ignoring her.
"I have…. to" Perter mumbled. "I have to get back those crystals. Otherwise, those guys will hate me. I can't live anymore." Peter said.
Then suddenly, Peter had come to a halt as his hands seemed to hit something.
"Peter, you've done enough," Vorden said, as he knelt down and placed his hands on his shoulders.
Peter was half-conscious the whole time, yet there was one thing in his mind keeping him going forward. He had dealt with the gruesome pain of being tortured, but he couldn't deal with everyone hating him. He realised now that back then, he had chosen the wrong decision, and he wanted to change that. He wanted to change himself.
The others hated him, so what, because he hated himself even more. But when he had heard Vorden's words, something in his mind had clicked and he had snapped out of his half-dazed state. He looked up and could see Vorden bent over in front of him.
Immediately tears started to run down his face.
"I'm sorry, Vorden." Peter cried. "They took the crystals, I tried, I really tried to stop them. I promise."
"I know you did," Vorden replied.
At that moment, all the energy had left Peter's body, and he had completely collapsed passed out on the floor.
"What do you think happened to him?" Layla asked.
Erin had ignored Peter for the most part and went straight for the bag past him, it was laid on top of the rubble.
"It's gone." Erin said, "They took our crystals."
"Well, I guess it was pretty clear what happened then," Vorden said.
"Wait a minute, what about Quinn, I don't see him anywhere?" Layla said.
"Well, it's not like we can ask Peter what happened," Erin replied. "They probably took him away too."
Although it was possible, the other two doubted it. Both of them knew before heading out to this expedition that Quinn had the shadow ability as well as his blood abilities. It sounded like if there was ever an emergency in the sun, he was pretty confident about fighting.
Unless the group that attacked them were high levels, they just couldn't see Quinn losing in a fight. Vorden also believed that it was unlikely to be a group of high levels. Otherwise, they would have confronted them without waiting for Peter to separate from them.
'Was it perhaps one of the group of people working for the second years, no they wouldn't hurt Peter like this. Even if he refused to work for them, they would probably kill him in case he told anyone, but instead, they left him alive.' Vorden thought.
Out from the bag, Erin had pulled out a little first aid box. It looked to be made of metal like a small briefcase and had a small standard red cross on it. Then she placed it on the ground and pressed the red cross.
The little suitcase started to transform into what looked like a little droid.
"How can I be of assistance?" the droid asked.
"Student Peter chuck over there, administer whatever you can to make him feel better."
The little Robot then scouted off and started to scan the area until it had eventually found Peter injured on the ground. It started a scan and brought out small tools patching up Peter wherever it could.
"Will he be okay after this?" Layla asked.
"He should be, that Robot can deal with some pretty serious injuries. It's like having a personal doctor with you." Erin replied. ". As long as he isn't near death, he should be fine. But I do have to warn you guys, we only have one of those things. Once the medicine has been used to treat any infections and such, it doesn't really have the supplies to treat us again."
"I'm surprised you actually let Peter use it then." Said Layla.
Erin didn't actually want to use such a precious item on Peter. She felt like it was useless. Peter would eventually heal on his own anyway, this would just speed up the process. But after hearing the words of the others and seeing Peter in pain like that. It made her realise that perhaps the others weren't exaggerating about the mistreatments of others.
Just then, Vorden spotted the sign of black smoke off in the distance.
"Do you think that's them, probably one of them using their abilities," said Vorden. "It doesn't look too far away, and we can get our crystals back?"
"But what about Quinn?" Layla replied.
"Why don't we split up?" Vorden suggested. "We can't just leave Peter out here, I'll stay with him in case anything happens. When he's all healed up, we'll go looking for Quinn. You two can go get our crystals back, but if it looks too tough, then fall back and come to the Well."
Layla didn't like the sound of Vorden being the one to rescue Quinn, but it seemed like the only thing they could really do. If Layla was to go out on her own and a powerful beast appeared, she could get seriously hurt.
They could send Erin to look for Quinn, but she didn't know his secret, and that would mean she would be stuck with Vorden.
With them agreeing, it was the only thing they could really do. Vorden stayed with Peter while the two girls headed off the area of black smoke.
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