Chapter 239Seven Steps

The dream took a while to subside. It was a nice feeling, like I'd lived part of it myself. With a blush on my cheeks I realized I would have loved painting Nuru naked into a garden of Eden myself. I wondered if Hitori could teach me to paint.

And I wondered if my hand-eye coordination, which was a lot better since I had changed, would be of any use with that. I'd never painted before, but it was definitely something I wanted to try.

"Amy?" Nuru looked up at me.


"It's past eleven already."

I looked at the clock in the kitchen and blinked. It was time to get back. I felt well and truly ready now, with a calm mind and strong body. It was good that I was calmer now, though I still wanted to prove my strength, I no longer felt it like a bonfire inside of me. Now it was a gentle candle, lighting up the darkness.

"I have to go."

Nuru sat up to give me room, allowing me to stand up and stretch. She hugged me as soon as I was done stretching (a little too early, in fact, but I didn't mind). Hitori smiled, but his eyes showed me he didn't particularly liked the quest I was about to embark upon. But he hugged me all the same, holding me warm against him.

"Good luck Amy." He sounded a little worried, but mostly he sounded proud.

"Thanks, I will do my best."

Nuru grabbed my wrist and looked in my eyes. "Amy, don't do anything you would regret. It's good to prevent things like Rain's parents happening again, but your conscience shouldn't be the cost."

Hitori nodded. "She said almost exactly what's weighing on my mind."

I nodded as well. "You're very right, Nuru. I will do my best."

She practically beamed of pride. I gave Hitori a quick kiss on his lips and left through the door while Hitori picked up my bracelet and necklace to hide away safely. I closed the door behind me. It felt better this way than having a goodbye downstairs. It was simple and not so much a goodbye as a see you later.

It was only a few steps further when I chose to rise up again. This time I glided a lot slower, just enjoying the moment. It's a pity I only could fly at night, when there were almost no birds about. For a moment I imagined I was one, gliding on the waves of air that held every bird in the sky. The landscape a mere painted background to the freedom above.

There wasn't much time to waste though.

It was easy finding the district and the building again where the others would be waiting. It should be very close to half past eleven, I was nicely on time. Unless Hitori's clock was horribly behind...

I knew it wouldn't be. Hitori wasn't the kind of person who'd allow a clock in his house to be behind or ahead of the time.

The others were waiting, but not looking up, their voices almost unheard. Kai was wearing a backpack, probably with all the explosive stuff in it. I wouldn't have to deal with any of that, fortunately. But I would be in the middle of the fray. In a way.

Kai noticed me first. "Amy! Welcome back."

Khuna and Valerie smiled as well. "All ready, Amy?"

I nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be."

Kai took on a more serious face. "I've chosen a building with lots of free space and a roof, three floors up. It should be very hard for them to get out while they're on fire and there is no water nearby. But they won't see it like that. They'll see the old factory as a place of combat, a place to show off their strength."

I nodded. "But they will cheat."

He nodded as well. "Probably. But I have no idea how yet."

I smiled. "Then there is only one question."

All three of them looked at me.

"Are we ready?"

We all looked into each others eyes, going over what was about to happen in our heads. There was little chance this wouldn't be an eve of horrors one way or the other. But we all saw the goal, clear as night.

We nodded unanimously.