Chapter 50:

Kali leaned against a bookshelf on the second floor of the library, her arms behind her head. She didn't check what color her hair was; it didn't matter really. Right now, all she wanted to do was rest. She smiled to herself, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling in a gentle rhythm. It was nice to not be running for her life for once.

However, she heard a cough from beside her, and cracked an eye open to see Joesph looking at her questioningly. She sighed and closed her eye again.

"Yes, Joesph?" she asked.

"Don't you think we should be... you know, doing something?" he asked. Kali sighed.

"Why?" she asked, "We've been running for weeks, Joesph, relax! Just take a deep breath and chill." Suddenly, a nearby window flew open and a cold wind blew inside. The sound of the window elicited several small yelps from around the room, as kids who had been scared for far too long flinched at the sound. Kali frowned.

Her eyes opened, and scanned the room. It was a large room with several bookshelves, but it was dominated by a larger number of tables, along with a few doors obviously leading to storerooms of some sort. Harold had left several minutes ago, wanting to talk to the old man Melissa had called Petr. The only other occupants of the room were several clumps of small children, each huddled together in corners. That was why Kali had closed her eyes; she hated seeing the poor things like that, but knew that stressing over it would do nothing. She understood their fear, though, seeing your home burn to the ground was pretty traumatic, judging by Kali's own experience with it.

Besides her, Joesph, and the orphans, there was also an old woman walking around the room with an older boy, probably around Kali's age, who were trying to calm some of the more frightened and younger kids. Kali had thought about helping, but her eyes or hair would probably just change and freak everyone out. She sighed.

She closed her eyes again and settled back against the wall where she sat, trying to relax. A few moments later, however, something stepped in between her and the small amount of light coming into the windows. She sighed again and opened her eyes.

Above her stood the old woman and the kid, looking at her and her brother. Harold had quickly explained that Petr had told them to wait up here, but had left before he could actually tell them why Petr had said so. And now it looked like Kali would have to.

Because if I let Joesph explain it, she thought, they'll have no clue what's going on... Kali blinked a couple of times and sat up straighter.

"Yes?" she asked the silent pair. The old woman smiled at her, while the boy remained deadpan. Kali snorted. It was a shame, too, he'd probably look a lot better with a nice smile.

Improve upon the positive, Kali thought with a small grin.

"Your friend said that Petr told you to come here?" the old woman asked, carefully sitting down next to her. Kali nodded. "Can I ask what your names are?" the woman asked.

"I'm Kali," Kali said, then jerked her thumb at Joesph, "and that's my brother Joesph." The woman nodded, and the boy with her blinked.

"Hey," he said, frowning at her, "are you related to that other girl, the fire-one? The one with red hair and the weird eyes?" Kali frowned and nodded.

"Uh-huh," she said slowly, "how could you tell? And what's wrong with red eyes, cause she apparently saved all of you."

"Nothing, nothing," the boy said, putting his hands up placatingly, "and I just noticed because of your eyes..." Kali frowned.

"They're pink aren't they?" she asked, deadpan. The boy nodded slowly. "Damn," she muttered, trying to will them back to blue. The boy gaped at her. She grinned. "How about now?" she asked.

"G...Gray," he said. Kali shrugged. Close enough.

"And you and your brother were traveling here already?" the old woman asked, "my name's Mrs. May, by the way. I am, well, was the head of the orphanage in Valear." Kali nodded and put out her hand. The old woman put out her's and they shook, and Kali grinned wider.

"Yeah," she said, "we were coming here before Melissa found us. Or, well, crashed in to us, kinda..." She chuckled.

"So," the boy said, "has your sister always been like that? Like, with the fire?" Kali looked at him and rolled her eyes.

"No, it's pretty new," she said, "have you always been so prying, whatever-your-name-is?" The boy frowned, and Kali chuckled. Joesph glared at her, and she kicked his leg. "Anyway," she said, "what's the deal around here? Melissa said that Valear was destroyed, is that true?" The old woman nodded.

"Yes," she said, "but all of the children are safe, thankfully. Petr and your sister managed to get us all out, however it is that she did it. I forgive her for her... attitude." Kali laughed at that. Melissa seemed like the last person who'd have an "attitude." The old woman smiled at them again, but then they heard a small sob from somewhere off to their right. Mrs. May, with help from the boy, got up and walked over to where a small child was weeping uncontrollably. The boy followed her, but kept glancing back at them strangely. Kali just rolled her eyes.

"Wonder what that guy's problem is..." she muttered. Joesph snorted.

"Well," he said, "the entire time you were talking to him, your hair turned about five different colors at once." Kali blinked, and turned to look at him.

"What?" she asked. Joesph shrugged.

"No clue," he said, "it looked really odd. It was black at the top, then brown, then red, then blond at the tips. Real odd, actually." Kali groaned.

"Well, great," she said, folding her arms across her chest, "now the guy thinks I'm a freak." Joesph looked over at her, one eyebrow raised.

"And why do you care," he asked, "little miss 'are-you-always-this-prying", hm?" Kali glared at him.

"So I don't want anyone to see me like that, so what?" she asked defensively.

So I think the guy's kind of good-looking, she thought, big deal. And so what I think that it's a real shame he has zero personality, once again, big deal. She snorted and looked away from Joesph, refolding her arms across her chest and closing her eyes.

She rested like that for another couple of minutes, breathing slow and steady. She wondered briefly what Petr was telling Melissa, but she knew her sister would tell her. She sighed and sank back into the wall where she sat. It was surprisingly comfortable, being a wall of stone and mortar. She stifled a yawn.

It was several minutes later that something again obscured the light coming from the windows. Kali cracked an eye open and saw the boy from earlier standing next to her.

"Yes?" she asked. The boy bit his lip, then sighed.

"I'm sorry that I was prying," he said, "I was just curious." Kali blinked and sat up.

"Oh," she said, "okay." The boy nodded, and turned as if to leave, but hesitated.

"And my name's George," he said, sticking out his hand. Kali raised and eyebrow and shook.

"Nice to meet you then, George," she said slowly. The boy nodded, and then left hurriedly, following Mrs. May down the stairs.

"Okay," Kali said, mostly to herself, "so he does have a personality. A weird one, but still..." She rolled her eyes and leaned back into the wall, pointedly ignoring her brother's chuckling.