Chapter 33

Staring up at the ceiling of her hotel, Skystorm contemplated the next move for her little family. They had been wandering for what had seemed like days though in reality had only one had passed, she had told Nightshade and Earthstar that they were on vacation but she had no idea when this holiday would end because she had no overall plan. While she had done all she could to ensure that the separation from Wildraven and Trina was painless for Nightshade and that the rapid change in environment had been easy on Earthstar, she could not help but retreat into her mind when they weren't around to distract her. She continually admonished herself for her somewhat wilful ignorance throughout most of her life and as she lay in the silence of her room she allowed her thoughts to overwhelm her.

How could I have been so blind? I should have believed Nightwind when she said I was the little girl she knew when she was little. The evidence was right in front of me. Then there was Sparks, now with him I was just being plain stupid.

"Greetings daughter of Frost." She mocked, angry at herself for not even contemplating his words at the time in her determination to avoid the truth.

Throwing the duvet to the floor, she leapt from the bed and began pacing the room, her steps quickly eating up the space between one wall and the next despite the large size of the room.

"How could I not know?" She yelled at herself. "I've been so ignorant all my life." her pacing stopped and she swiftly collapsed onto the bed, dropping her head into her hands. Images of her life with Trina and Wildraven flooded her mind and she was powerless to stop the onslaught. Skystorm sat unmoving for minutes before she shook her head violently to dislodge the memories and they slowly receded. However an image of Trina with disapproval stamped across her features remained. Shaking her head once again she managed to dislodge the memory. Blinking slowly she held her head still trying to regain her bearings after her self-induced dizzy spell.

I wonder what my real mother was like. I bet she was nothing like Trina, the one time I saw her in that memory, she looked like she really wanted me. Skystorm mulled on that thought before another occurred to her. They were headed to Shadow. They trusted him and now that I've met him I trust him too. But he's Wildraven's brother. Another part of her mind inserted casting doubt on Shadow's ability to be trusted. Then again, he hadn't spoken to him for years and he did say that Sky and Frost were like family to him. He even said he was looking for me. I've got to risk it, I've got to find out what happened to them and even if tries to send us back to those murders, I can just teleport us out of there.

Leaping off the bed as her plan filled her with newfound energy; she began to pack her clothes frantically into her suitcase, before Nightwind's panicked voice screamed through her mind halting her actions.

Skystorm are you ok?

I'd be fine if my friend wasn't trying to completely destroy my ability to mentally communicate. What's going on?

Sky, Trina and Wildraven are looking for you.

Oh, well I suppose they'd try looking for me. After all I did run away with their son, they might care enough about him to actually want to see him again.

Skystorm, you don't understand. They put a huge reward out for the three of you. Sky the reward is so big that if you weren't one of my best friends and I didn't know what they did to you parents I'd contemplate turning you in. I've been so scared all day. I found out this morning but I couldn't contact you there in case someone found out and traced you and then I had mandatory attack class and the same thing applied. Every minute that went by I just kept thinking that someone had seen the reward and had found you.

Whoa, they must have put a serious price on my head for you to say that. How much is it exactly?

5 million emel for Earthstar, 10 for Nightshade and 20 million for you. Nightwind rattled off the figures dread sinking in with each digit she relayed to her friend.

That is a lot of money, I'd be tempted to hand myself in for that kind of cash under different circumstances. I don't know why they put out a reward for Earthstar though they can't stand the sight of her.

I would have thought that was obvious, if someone found her and handed her in, then you'd go back to them to get her.

That's true. Skystorm murmured to herself.

Plus it makes you that little bit easier to find. I mean that long white hair does kind of stand out in a crowd, add to that a little fetiu and a dragon and pretty much anyone could find you especially with that reward for motivation. This is terrible Sky, what are you going to do?

I've decided on a plan and I'm going to follow it through. I'm going to see my uncle Shadow. I want to find out who our birth parents were running from and why Trina and Wildraven killed my adoptive parents to get me.

Skystorm how exactly do you plan to get to Shadow's without getting caught?

That's simple I'll change our appearances so that we're not that easy to find.

Skystorm even if no one finds you on the way, it's still a huge risk to go to Shadow's. In case you forgot he's Wildraven's brother, he might try to send you back.

I know it's a risk Night and I appreciate that you're worried, but it's a risk I have to take. Skystorm reassured in an attempt to placate her friend.

As long as you're sure.

I am Night, don't worry if he even mentions trying to send me back to them, they I'll be out of there before he even has time to blink.

I guess that'll do, you're going to go anyway, regardless of what I say.

I'm glad you agree with my plan. I've got to go now disguises to think of and all.

Well I'll let you get on with it them, but please be careful remember people will be looking all over for you and they have a very strong incentive for finding you.

Don't worry Night I'll be careful. Talk to you later.

Goodnight Skystorm, oh and I almost forgot happy birthday.

Happy birthday Nightwind, how does it feel to be eighteen?

Not all that different from when I was seventeen an hour ago. She laughed, her voice fading from Skystorm's mind.

Swinging her feet over the side of the bed, Skystorm stood up. Walking across the spacious bedroom, she strolled into the living room and looked around for Dragonfire. As she searched for her partner, she began to take in her surroundings for the first time since they had checked in. I guess that was the one good thing about living with those murderers; they left me enough money for us to live very comfortably while on the run. She chuckled.

Squeezing her toes into the thick and furry white carpet, she moved further into the room. Deep red paint covered the four walls, a stark contrast to the pristine carpet. A dark mahogany table lay in the centre, surrounded on three sides by cream armchairs. Breathing deeply in the scent of animal fur, she walked further into the room. Running her fingers across the wall she relished the feel of the minute bumps beneath her fingertips.

Spotting Dragonfire's shadow floating in a corner, she removed her hand from the wall and walked over to him. "Dragonfire wake up, we have a bit of a situation developing."

Stirring from his sleep, he forced one eye to open a small crack to look at his partner. Looking her over and seeing all her limbs were still attached to her body and she was still breathing, he sighed, closed his eye and went back to sleep.

"Dragonfire I'm serious, you've got to wake up. Trina and Wildraven are offering a reward for our return. We have a 35 million emel price tag, people are going to come looking for us."

As the words sunk in, Dragonfire's eyes slowly opened before the full meaning of what she had said took root and he awoke with a jolt. "What did you just say?"

"By the Elders Dragonfire do you not listen to me at all?" She sighed. "I said there's a huge reward out for our capture, people are going to be looking for us."

"Who told you that?" He demanded.

"Nightwind told me. With that kind of money being offered I'm glad she warned us. Everybody in Skyloku will be looking for us." She stated clearly, moving towards the sofa and jumping up to sit at the back of the chair.

Floating forward, Dragonfire came to a halt directly in front of his partner. "You seem to be taking this very lightly." He commented referring to her calm demeanour.

"I' m taking this very seriously actually Dragonfire, the key word here is prepared." She smiled.

"Prepared?" He repeated mulling over the word's meaning.

"Yes, prepared."

"How exactly does one prepare to have the world going against what they want?"

"That's easy." She sighed exasperated at his question as though the answer was obvious. "You make it so that you can't be found."

"You make it seem so simple. How exactly do you intend to achieve this feat?"

"Watch." She ordered before closing her eyes tightly in concentration. Lifting her hand towards her face she waved it downwards from the top of her face to the bottom of her chin. As her hand moved across her face, her appearance began to change. Her hair changed from pure white to vibrant red, curling upwards in ringlets until they reached the nape of her neck. Her facial features aged, losing the softness of youth and faint burn scars marred her skin giving her the appearance of a battle hardened fire user.

"How do I look?" She asked Dragonfire hopping off the chair to stand before him.

Taking in her new looks, Dragonfire's face remained passive unimpressed with the transformation. "Different."

"Is that all you can say?" She demanded, clearly shocked by his lack of amazement at her makeover. "Never mind, sometimes I wonder if you have any emotions at all." she sighed. "The main thing is so you recognise me?"

"Well if I weren't looking too hard I wouldn't recognise you"

Beaming from ear to ear, she grinned at him. "That's good then"

"Not exactly." he interrupted, causing her smile to falter. "If I wasn't looking intensely at you then I'd never suspect that you were the Skystorm Wiseman in the picture, but it's those eyes of yours. They're unique and exactly the same as the ones in any picture they're likely to have of you. Isn't there something you can do to change them too?"

"Look I tried, there's nothing that I can do to change the size, colour or shape of them. It's just something I'm going to have to deal with. It's not like I can't wear sun glasses to hide my eyes."

"I guess it'll do, but what about Nightshade and Earthstar?"

"I'll think of something for them. But let's leave them until morning. There's no need to wake them. Let them have a little time of peace before I give them more bad news. That's all I seem to give them recently."

"You do plenty for them Skystorm and I am sure they appreciate it. Of that I am almost 100 percent certain. I also know that it is probably in our best interests if the computer system in the hotel though that we were no longer here and that someone had arrived to take you home this morning or something similar."

"You're right." Closing her eyes she concentrated on the computer system of the hotel and found the information she was looking for. She checked herself and her family out and booked the fire-user in her place.