Chapter 14:

Empty holes

The Guardian

Alice slowly opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was an unfamiliar ceiling. Her mind was still dizzy and her vision blurry. She looked at the ceiling and then raised her right hand. Somehow she was still alive but she couldn't figure out how.

After some time Alice slowly regained her senses and raised her upper body. She looked around at the unfamiliar room but she couldn't remember ever seeing that place. She was in a small room on a small white bed. The walls were made from iron and without windows. Near the bed were two end tables and a closet, all made from iron too, and in front of the bed was an iron door.

Alice was confused by the looks of the room but soon she saw the person who could answer all her questions.

Sitting on the floor, Eric was sleeping with half of his upper body on the bed. He was sleeping with his face down and with one hand he was holding Alice's hand.

Alice looked at him sleeping near her and just now realized that he was holding her hand. She withdrew her hand quickly then looked silently at Eric.

She didn't know what to do in this situation but decided to wake him up because there were more important things to do now.

"Hey, Eric! Eric! Wake up!"

Alice shook him up a little bit and Eric slowly woke up. He yawned and with a sleepy face looked around still half asleep. He didn't seem to really know what was happening but when his eyes meet Alice's sharp gaze he suddenly got up fully awake.

("Crap... I feel asleep!")

Eric cursed in his mind a little, then faked a smile and greeted Alice.

"Eeemm... good morning?!"

Alice had a displeased look and answered in a sharp tone.

"Don't take me with that! Tell me where we are and how much did I slept?"

Eric looked at the clock on his phone then sat down and leaned his back against the iron wall while sighing.

"Now is already morning as for what happened and where we are... I don't really know myself. When I woke up yesterday it was already night and when I wanted to come home I was suddenly attacked. I luckily escaped but I was pursued further into the forest. When they almost caught me, I accidentally activated some mechanism and fell down there. Because I was badly hurt and lost a lot of blood, I fainted. Even after all of these, I woke up a few minutes later with all my wounds healed. After searching around this place I found a way out but when I come to the surface I saw the ground frozen and a lot of dead people. In the center of that scenery, I found you fainted with a lot of wounds. I guess you had a hell of a battle out there..."

Eric made a little pause here like he remembered about what he saw and Alice didn't say anything and let him end his story.

"Anyway, after I found you I didn't know what to do so I took you back here since it was too dangerous outside. I treated your wounds here but you still had a high fever and I ended up taking care of you all the night before I fell asleep."

Alice looked at her body and it was indeed covered with bandages but even so, she couldn't feel any pain from her wounds. She then looked at Eric that had dark circles under his eyes and didn't know what to feel. Although she found some parts of his story being weird, it was true that he took care of her and she felt bad about it.

"Sorry that... I made you take care of me...!"

Alice felt a little down and her ice-like expression from before turned into a sad one. It wasn't the first time she got so badly hurt that someone needed to take care of her but that showed that she didn't change at all.

Seeing her sad expression, Eric smiled and tried to cheer her up.

"Is alright, you don't need to worry about that! I should be the one apologizing instead... after all, you got so badly hurt because you come after me when I didn't come back after so much time... so I'm sorry that I made you worry!"

Seeing Eric apologizing with an embarrassed face, Alice let out a little giggle at the guy that was too perceptive for his own good.

"If you're really sorry about it then don't go out alone anymore!"

Seeing Alice smiling, Eric didn't worry about her anymore and answered with the face of a stubborn kid.

"Not gonna happen!"

Both of them laughed at the same time then Alice got up from the bed.

"Show me how to get out of here! I'm worried about the girls..."

Eric nodded and opened the iron door and both entered another room.

That room was a plain one, without anything else in it except a pedestal in the middle. Since that pedestal was the only thing in that room, it caught Alice's attention quickly and she approached it.

The pedestal was made from wood with some weird patterns and on top of it were two rhombus-shaped holes. She closely looked at the two holes and suddenly remembered something then quickly grabbed Eric's collar and asked him hurriedly.

"When you first got here, was there anything in these holes? More precisely 2 blue crystals in the shape of these holes?"

Eric looked at the pedestal then at Alice that was too close then faked a confused expression.

"No, the holes were empty when I arrived here... also, can you let me go, please? You're too close..."

Alice quickly let go of his collar and her cheeks become a little red.

"Sorry about this... I got a little too excited there!"

"Is ok... but what are those crystals you are talking about?"

"They are the artifacts of the first Guardian. I and my sister searched through so many books to find a clue about their whereabouts... I can't believe that a clue about them was so close this entire time!"

Alice looked again at the two holes then back at Eric.

"By the way, while you were running away, did you seen something like a pillar of light?"

"Pillar of light...?"

Now that he thought about it, he did saw a strong light but he assumed that it was all in his head since he was so badly hurt... now how should he explain this?

"Mmm, I don't think I've seen any but there is a chance that it appeared because I opened place..."

Alice didn't deniedhis assumption and just thought deeply about it while Eric thought that he dodged a bullet but she soon asked him another question that left him speechless.

"I guess we will figure it out later, now... how do we get out of here?"

("Dammit... I forgot that I need to use magic to open the exit...!")