There are fates worse than death…
Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.
Chapter 35 – MISSING
Arkan and Lynsey arrived back at the house to find it empty. The tables and gunpowder were still there but it was otherwise deserted. Lynsey turned at Arkan.
“They must have gone back to the camp. They were supposed to stay here though.” Her voice trailed off.
“I agree, it is indeed strange.“ Arkan poked his head down the tunnel but there was no light to show anyone was down there. “We must go back to camp. The rescue must happen tonight or we will have an irate dragon on our hands when he is freed. From your description that would not be the best option.“
They hurried across the city, Lynsey clutching her head scarf against the breeze. There were plenty of people in the streets but no one gave them any attention. The last thing they needed was for her hair to draw attention to them.
The park was some distance from the temple. She didn’t usually expect to see the city residents at this hour but usually there were nomads milling around among the trees. It was really quite and she noticed there was a tang in the air as they approached. There was no one around. Arkan began to speed up beside and she broke into a trot to keep up. The smell got worse and smoke pervaded the air. She gasped, what had obviously been tents were smouldering on the ground. Treasured cushions were scattered in the mud as if there had been a struggle. Lynsey ran through the remaining tents, shouting for Illyara. Arkan followed moments behind. The communal tent was still standing but it was deserted as well. Her heart sank and her arms dropped to her sides as she reached the centre. Someone must have found out about their plan. They were gone – all of them.
“There is no blood.’ Arkan’s voice was quiet.
“There is no blood and no dead bodies. They are alive. If they wanted them dead they would have left them here as an example.”
A rustle behind them made her twirl to see Mewlli appear near the threaded tent flap.
“They took them.”
“Who took who?”
“The King’s guards, they took everyone. I was coming back from the house and turned invisible before they could see me. They have Illyara.” His voice sounded small.
“Mewlli, it will be okay. We will get them back.”
Arkan pulled Lynsey aside. “How exactly are we going to do that?”
“We find out who betrayed us, why and how much they already know. If they don’t know about the explosives then we can still go ahead. Not everyone knows about our plan and those who do know wouldn’t tell. It might not be all bad.”
Arkan looked at Mewlli then back at Lynsey, sighing.
“They would have taken them to the palace it is the only place with cells big enough. I can’t see why they would want everyone unless it is to try and find you. If we go after them they will catch you.”
“If it wasn’t for me, Illyara and her family would be safe in the desert. They risked their lives for me.”
He sighed. “Lets face it, they want to use you to fulfil some prophecy which the Dragon Brotherhood probably gave them so they could justify their own Sekhmet. You don’t really owe them anything. ”
“I know, but I would have died, well maybe not died but it would have been a fate worse than death in the desert. I probably would have been a walking skeleton or something.” She shivered. “I don’t know how it would work but I can’t die.” She rubbed her arms. “I would be continually reset with only my Earth memories. If I die here my body will resurrect and I will lose my memories of this place, including you.”
“That may be but it will be dangerous to go into the palace. They will be expecting us. I can get in to the palace easily but the cells will be harder – unless…” Arkan’s voice tailed off. “There will be a guard on every corridor on every level.”
“We have to try.”
“Please.” said Mewlli.
The sun was high when they got to the palace and the majority of sensible people had found a reason to be inside. Lynsey and Arkan skirted the outer walls until they reached a secret entrance.
“Doesn’t the king know about all these security leaks?”
“Why should he? This castle is at least three hundred years old. There are dozens of ways to get in if you know where to look. The king thinks having guards at each public entrance is enough. He probably doesn’t stop to think about any other ways in unless he wants to bring in his mistress.” He pointed at a window hidden by a creeper. “After you?”
She smiled sweetly and hauled herself through the narrow gap. The space they entered was dark. Her nose wrinkled at the musty smell, nobody had used this entrance in a while. Arkan was already a few steps ahead so she drew up to stand beside him at the inner door. To her surprise, the door made the smallest sound as he opened it a crack. Considering the smell of the place she’d expected it to sound like a door in a haunted house. They peered into the corridor. There was no one there so they started moving through the palace.
“I think the best thing to do is to go below the cells and come up through them.”
She nodded and followed him down the stairs from the kitchen. It’s not like we can storm the gates she thought sarcastically.
“Where are we going? What could possibly be down here?”
The steps were steep and Lynsey had to keep one hand on the stone wall to steady herself. The deeper they ascended the quieter and cooler it got until a subtle blue light began to dance on the wall in front of them. The stairs stopped abruptly to reveal a large cavern with water spreading as far as she could see. Algae glowed on the cave ceiling and Lynsey saw pinpricks of light reflected against the back of rats eyes as they scurried along the edges – but Lynsey wasn’t paying attention to the rodents but at the cavern itself. The reflection against the water looked like constellations.
“This is gorgeous!”
“The king has his own source of water, this is was why the palace was built here all those years ago. I believe it was a village in its own right to start with.” He seemed immune to its beauty.
They skirted the wall. Lynsey was loathe to touch the slimy stone but the floor was treacherous from the water splashed by the rodents. Were they going to bring the children back this way?
As they moved up another set of steps, Arkan moved his fingers to his lips.
They crept through another door which led to a chamber loaded with implements. “Torture”. he whispered. She shuddered in response.
There was no guard on the next two doors and they crept through to the cells. The tribe were there, separated into men on one side and women on the other. They could see the children sitting on filthy straw in cells further along. Ghareg in the nearest cell was the first to see them and his broad smile told her that she had done the right thing.
“The guards are just outside the door.” He whispered. Lynsey nodded. Arkan pulled out a set of tools and started with the locks. It opened with ease and he moved onto the next one. The nomads rose and gathered by the door. He put his finger to his lips at each gate. Silently, they flocked in the centre of the room and Ghareg spoke. “They took Illyara somewhere else. It was Faroushk who betrayed us. He said if there were two Sekhmets it made sense that the one that was real would be the one who had the most worshippers.”
“Where have they taken her?” Asked Arkan opening the last cell.
“The king took her, she is held somewhere else. They were going to kill us one by one until she agreed to give you up and work for them. These people are animals.”
Chapter 1 - Duat Chapter 2 - London - Present Day Chapter 3 – Lynsey on Duat Chapter 4 - Nomads Chapter 5 - Scorpion Chapter 6 - The Dragon Temple Chapter 7 - Assassin Chapter 8 - The Luscious Luna Chapter 9 - Arkan Blade Chapter 10 - Kidnapped Chapter 11 - Rescue Chapter 12 - Modesty Chapter 13 - Banquet Chapter 14 - Arkan Chapter 15 - Dancing with the King Chapter 16 - Dragon Brotherhood Chapter 17 - Pico Chapter 18 – The Dragon Chapter 19 – Settling Down Chapter 20 – Danger Revealed Chapter 21 – Betrayal Chapter 22 - A Meeting of Minds Chapter 23 = Invisibility Chapter 24 - Desert Chapter 25 - Escape Chapter 26 - Gathering Chapter 27 - Search Chapter 28 - Temple Camp Chapter 29 - Decision Chapter 30 - Baserius Chapter 31 - Sekhment Chapter 32 - Miracle Chapter 33 - Kathryn Chapter 34 - Grolmak