50- In Which Plans Are Cemented

Steinorth did not hang around. As they made their way back to Balk, he told them all to get as far away from this place as possible. He was going to look into locating a blessed weapon, and the rest of them should avoid this place and the rest of the Kingdoms. He insisted he would take care of everything.

He hinted to the fact that perhaps the King couldn't be left ignorant to Hunt's presence any longer. Hayden agreed and wished him luck.

Elena followed him into the hallway as he went to wherever he had left a vessel. "Sir Steinorth!" she called to him. "You're just going to go?"

"There's a lot I have to do," he said.

"You're not going to ride an Air Swimmer, are you?" Elena questioned.

"I'll be taking the Lord Quentin's Kingdom," Steinorth answered. "That object in the courtyard needs to be interpreted and translated."

"Chaste Beauties can read it," Elena said. "It's written in our language."

"I know, Ms Elena," he said. "I can read it too."

"Your mother taught you?" she asked.

"Yes," Steinorth replied. "But, even if I can read the words, it doesn't necessary make very much sense. And I don't have time to dedicate to looking at it myself. Excuse me, I can't wait any longer."

"I know," she said. "But you can stay with us, can't you? We can all go to the Clouds together, and then we can look for a blessed weapon together, right?"

"An interesting thought, Ms Elena," Steinorth remarked, placing his hand on the door. "I shall thank about it. Thank you for your time."

He pulled the door open as Elena reached him. "No, thank you," she said. "You saved all of us."

Steinorth remained still. "And I've involved my family," he said quietly.

"Hunt said he'd leave them alone," Elena reminded him.

"You can understand why I have a difficult time trusting his word."

"I'm sure they'll be fine."

He looked at her sidewaysly. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Or do you only hope?"

She didn't want to lie to him, because he was looking for an answer that came from her gut, perhaps from her precognitive abilities that were left behind after she retired. But she didn't have that feeling. All she had was her hope.

He took her silence as her answer. "Good luck, Ms Elena. Take care of them."

He went through the door and disappeared.

Elena hated to think that Steinorth would lose anything. After she spent all that time being suspicious of him, he was the MVP and rescued all of them with what seemed to be minimal effort. As the door swung closed behind him, she sincerely hoped the best for the Steinorth family.

A short time passed before the Kingdom of Snow emerged from the mountains heading directly for the city of Balk. It landed in the same position they had once landed the Kingdom of Thunder, and the plan was to return to Quentin's family's house where Cole and Ryder were still waiting. In the end, they had only been gone for about half a day, though so much had happened in that short time.

Elena was finding it hard to believe that they were going to return to Cole with… basically—all good news.

Hayden determined that many people needed more focused medical attention, but they would have to go to a different city for it. They should be further away from where they last saw Hunt, and it would probably be difficult for most of them to get any help from Balk, a city that greatly favored only Quentin. As Hayden and Phinn went into the city to retrieve Cole and Ryder, everyone else remained in the Kingdom of Snow.

Emma wouldn't leave Lawson's side even though he fell back to sleep pretty soon after his awakening. Turner still hadn't moved, and since Elena was so paranoid, she frequently made sure to check he was still breathing. Hunt had done a good job sealing the back of his head where he was bleeding, and probably ended up saving his life. It was best to wait until he was in a more sterile environment before removing it.

Sage was pacing around the room, staring around at everyone else, and then she sighed, making a passing remark on how she was the only one who never seemed to get hurt. "Are you complaining about that?" Emma asked.

"No, I'm just noticing it," Sage snapped.

Madeline was still asleep. Elena wondered if she had woken up at all during her capture, and also if Hunt had managed to see anything. She supposed it wasn't too far-fetched to believe that she was having a vision all this time. After all, Elena could remember a few instances in which she remained in her vision world for several days. It was weird to think that stuff of this magnitude happened around her while she was lying there sleeping.

Quentin was sitting silently, watching Lawson with a puzzling expression on his face. Elena was certain he was still floored by Lawson's sacrifice in a similar manner to how Cole had been floored by Jackson's similar action. Though, Elena didn't think Quentin was necessarily surprised by what Lawson had chosen to do. Lawson had said that he wanted to redeem himself and prove to Quentin that he was a better man than him. Still, Lawson had also said that he believed Quentin would done the same thing if the situation was reversed, so perhaps Quentin was pondering if he actually would.

Then Elena was left to wonder what they would do now. They knew what they were not supposed to do, but was that enough? As she glanced at Emma, she supposed they had to drop her off, but after that? With another look at Madeline, she concluded maybe she would have something to say once she woke up.

Within the hour, Hayden returned with Cole on his back, followed soon thereafter by Phinn who had Ryder in his arms.

"Gimme an antidote!" Cole exclaimed, spotting the box right away. "Give it to me! Hurry, hurry!"

"Relax, Lord Cole," Hayden said, placing Cole down on one of the beds and proceeding directly to the box to get one for him. "This will knock you out for a few hours. Is that okay?"

"Obviously it's okay!" Cole said as he rolled his sleeve up. "Hurry up!"

Hayden helped him lie down (since he couldn't do so on his own with his broken rib) and brought the needle to the crease in his arm.

Cole looked around the room with his eyes. "You all seem okay," he observed, and then flinched as Hayden injected the antidote into him. "I'm glad you're okay, Emma."

"You too, Cole," she said with a faint smile.

"Is Lawson's Thar really gone?" Cole asked Hayden as the needle was pulled out.

"We believe so," Hayden said.

"So…so Hunt can take them out of us," Cole concluded.

"It seems that way."

"Do you think he'll take it out of me?"

"Perhaps he will."

Cole was quickly drifting off to sleep, but then he met eyes with Elena and he said, "Good job, soldier. You made sure they didn't do anything to the Thunder?"

"Yeah, I made sure," Elena said.

"Good," said Cole, nodding and closing his eyes. "You're a good soldier." He turned his head to the side and fell asleep seconds later, a slight smile on his face that made Elena feel very relieved.

"How's Ryder?" Sage asked Phinn.

"I don't know," said Phinn, making sure to tie Ryder's wrists in case Hunt was still able to take her over again.

"At the rate these good moments are coming at us, perhaps we can be so bold as to think she really is getting better," Hayden mused. "Oh! Ms Madeline."

Everyone spun around as Madeline sat up, looking around confusedly at everyone watching her. They all stood (or sat) in silence, waiting for her to report something epic that would get them going into the next part of the adventure.

"Elena?" Madeline tried.

"Right here," Elena said, running to her side.

Madeline stared at Elena, recognizing that they were all hanging on her every word, and then nervously reported, "Does a place called 'Kalesir' mean anything to you?"

"It's a city south of Cerah," Hayden said.

"What about it?" Elena asked Madeline. "Should we go there?"

"I don't know," Madeline confessed. "I mean…I was thinking about what you said about looking out for something that's brand new that I've never seen before. A man came up to me and told me to meet him in Kalesir. I'd never heard of Kalesir before, and I never met the man."

"Was the man any of these guys?" Elena asked, gesturing around at the various male people in the room.

Madeline scanned the crowd, then shook her head.

"We should go there," Phinn determined. "Maybe we can get a blessed weapon, you know? Did the guy say anything about a blessed weapon?"

Madeline stuttered and answered, "No."

"It might have something to do with Hunt," said Hayden slowly. "I remember that he responded that the other Kingdoms were located there when Steinorth questioned him. Do you remember, Elena?"

She didn't remember specifically that the city was called Kalesir, but she remembered the Steinorth demanding the answer of Hunt when he was cornered. Instead of saying that, she only nodded in agreement.

"Like I said," Phinn continued, "we should go there."

"We have to take Ms Emma back to Parson first," said Hayden. "But I agree."

"Should we vote?" Sage questioned since she clearly didn't want to go chasing after Hunt.

"We can talk about it more later," said Hayden. "I'm going to set a course for Parson. In the meantime, let's hope we can get more information. Perhaps Ms Madeline might remember some more details from her vision."

He bowed slightly and then hurried out of the room.

The Sons looked at each other, but none of them would speak.

Elena glanced back to Madeline who was biting her lip and trying to avoid being looked at.

It was easy to assume they would be headed to Kalesir next—maybe.

Hey everyone! Thanks for reading part 4! I'm working on the next part now, and I feel good with it so far, so hopefully I'll be able to start uploading it pretty soon. Thank you so much for all your support.