After he hadn't received any messages for a couple of minutes, blaring sirens immediately went off in his head and he picked up speed as he dashed inside the dorm building and towards Dorm 1. He shoved open the door and then immediately rushed to Grace's bedroom. "Gracie? Gracie are you in there?!"
Grace was still alive, but unconscious. A fire attack had been used on her, but she only received minor injuries - due to her being a Fire Elemental and Fire Elementals being able to endure fire. However, one thing that was noticeable was the small stab wound, and the piece of orange fabric somehow lying next to the bloodied knife -- which gave away the attacker's identity. To put it all into perspective, she had been stabbed and attacked with fire, for what Victoria had found out. The divide in the Edan family was deepening.
Caelum flipped the door open, his eyes immediately focused on the unconscious body of Grace Edan lying on the floor. He analyzed the situation with anguished thoughts and cradled the girl in his arms so he could carry her to the infirmary.
Caelum rushed out of the dorm building and towards the hospital wing, not stopping to apologize to anyone he bumped into. Thank God for sliding doors, there was no way he'd be able to open the door and carry Grace. "This girl needs medical attention immediately!" he shouted, as he barreled up the front desk. Immediately a stretcher was brought and he laid her on it, nervously pacing as he watched the staff walk away.
The nurses walked in and out of the hospital room. At one point, they pinned Grace's medical file. It was noted that she was a duchess, so she received additional treatment. Eventually, one of the nurses approached Caelum. "I believe that you are affiliated with Duchess Bridgewater-Edan. In that case, we have the right to inform you that we may need to put Duchess Edan into a comatose state. Luckily, she has a high chance of surviving her stab wound. The coma will help her to recover."
Behind Erraline was her recent diagnosis, "anemia", on the board. She looked at the diagnosis, before looking back at Grace. She then turned her attention to Caelum. "Excuse me, may we talk?" She asked politely.
Erraline rose from her bed, even though she was advised not to. She took Caelum into an isolated corner. "I may have been able to deduce who attacked Grace. Victoria attacks people in a similar fashion."
He nodded slowly, registering the information. It arose to him that he could easily defeat Victoria if she couldn't use or lost control of her powers. But first, how was he supposed to do that... He looked up again at Erraline. "Thank you."
"Ah. Well, before we can attack Victoria, we'll have to think of a plan. A surprise attack when she's vulnerable would be best. I'd say the attack should take place when she's in the Fire Kingdom Palace's throne room."
"Yes, thank you. I'll bring the other person too if we can reach an agreement. I assure you, he'll be very helpful." Caelum inched a little closer to Grace's bed and enclosed his hand around hers. "Thank you."
Got it, he texted back. "C'mon, we're going now," Caelum alerted the person resting on his window sill. They jumped off and proceeded to follow him out of the dorm building and over to the school gates. "Morning Erraline."
"I know, it's truly ridiculous to believe sometimes," he stated as well. "I think it would be fair to introduce my contribution to this mission. You can go ahead and be shocked if you'd like—he's an Edan as well. June?"
The person Caelum spoke of, somersaulted out of a tree and landed on his feet gracefully. He made his way over to them, bowing respectfully to Erraline. He said nothing, his Edan brown eyes glittering with something unknown.
Erraline looked at Seojun with intrigue, and respect. "An Edan with Asian heritage. Now that's new. No offense. But then again, if you think about it, it's rather normal if you compare the vast heritages of your family. The lunatic we're trying to stop hails from Stockholm herself."
Seojun nodded, his stance tense. "I am not surprised. The Edan influence really reaches to all the corners of the world, doesn't it?" he replied. "We should go now. The water kni—I mean Akane is waiting."
Caelum watched the exchange with silence, a bit shocked about how civil Seojun was acting. Did it have something to do with Erraline's status? They were both of the same royalty statuses, so why would he put in such effort to do something like that? When Seojun announced they should go, Caelum seconded the opinion and waited for Erraline's confirmation.
Akane opened the door, revealing her Water Knight uniform. Once she noticed that the people at her door were here to gather her for the impending "mission", she allowed them to enter her house.
Upon witnessing Akane open the door, Seojun shot her a friendly wave and a teasing wink from where he stood, the back, his expression between amused and excited. He followed the rest into the house, subtly inching a little closer to Akane, making sure no one noticed.
Akane smirked and gave a small wave back at Seojun, having already met him before. She liked to refer to him as "the mischievous boy she met in the training facility", because he was the one who could break her out of her stoic behaviour easily.
"Now that we've all met up, I guess it's time to discuss formalities regarding the plan to take down Victoria for good. We are teenagers after all, despite us being Elementals, so it's not like we can carry out a full-blown battle. However, what we can hopefully accomplish is a mercenary mission. In this room are two Water Elementals, a Fire Elemental and a Lunar Elemental that is myself. Combined, we represent three of the elements. Victoria and her army represents one. Yet, she has managed to conquer 30% of the Fire Kingdom." Erraline proceeded with her speech.
"...And the percent is going to rise if we don't act now," Seojun continued. "Victoria works hastily, she's a very impatient person. It's a flaw we can exploit if we use it correctly to our advantage."
Caelum nodded, listening to the two before giving his own input. "It's logical to attack when she's convinced she's victorious because she'll believe she no longer has opposers. Seojun can sneak us in, but it depends on how much Victoria trusts him." He turned to Seojun. "Does she still trust you, Seojun?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "To an extent. She's starting to get suspicious though. It's most likely paranoia."
"Here's the plan of how it will go." She announced, after listening to Caelum and Seojun and taking in what they were saying. "Seojun, you will attempt to grant us access into the Palace since you're the only Fire Elemental affiliated with us. If we enter, the mercenaries will quietly move in and go undetected from the corrupt Fire Knights that are on guard. These mercenaries, although loyal to the Lunar Kingdom, have been hired by me, so they'll proceed with the job. I will serve as the distraction to Victoria, pretending to submit to her so the Knights don't attack right away. Akane, since you are working with us despite being loyal to the Water Kingdom, you will be a mercenary also. In fact, you and Seojun are in charge of the mercenaries. When it is time to strike, I will give a signal. Caelum will pass on the signal to you two," Erraline gestured to Seojun and Akane. "And then the fight begins. I'll take care of fighting Victoria."
"I feel like we're part of an Assassin's Creed story. If only life was as easy as video games," Caelum noted. A smile briefly flickered across Seojun's face but disappeared just as quickly as it had come. The moment of true happiness was brief and hard to catch, but Caelum still felt a sort of happiness radiating off the other.
"I guess it's like that. It's rare for these events to occur. Hopefully, we'll have it under control and Victoria will see the punishment that she deserves. Alright, the time is 3:00pm. By 9:00pm, our plan will begin. So, what should we do before then?"
"And what might that be, Seojun?" She asked. "I don't really know what to guess."
He smiled, a mysterious and devilish grin. "Our game of Hide and Seek. And just in time too. It would be a shame if I had to save the Fire Kingdom from collapsing and then get my head chopped off in another. Very inconvient for my busy schedule." He mockingly shook his head.
"Alright. I think we should leave our discussion here. We know each of our roles in what is to come. The most important thing to remember is to have courage, as we're doing the work of adults. See you later, guys. We'll meet up again at 7:30pm, outside the school gates."
The time was 7:30pm, and Erraline was at the designated meeting spot. In just an hour and a half, they would begin their mission to get Victoria imprisoned. It was a dangerous mission, but Erraline had faith in the others - a stark contrast to her personality coming into the Academy. She blamed meeting Alek and her feelings softening for that (not that she hated the change, she didn't hate it at all - she liked it).
"That's good to hear. Alright, it's 7:30pm. The mission doesn't start until 9. I have been in contact with the mercenaries. They will be preparing for the journey to the Fire Kingdom. Okay, should we get food beforehand or would that affect the progress of the mission?"
He shrugged and took a sip of his latte. "Depends. It's bad to fight on an empty stomach, but if you overeat, it slows you down."
"I'll get that later then. So the mercenaries will sneak in disguised as guards. Fire Knights generally tend to be males, so we can't use the same disguise for Akane. She's also a particularly infamous knight, so she can't just waltz in there without something that discloses her identity."
"I can find a different access point into the castle."
"Nah. The chick's insane but she knows her stuff. They've placed like a million security measures around the castle. Even if we manage to get the mercenaries in, Akane is going to be a whole different level of difficult."
Akane sighed. "I'll be alright. I have an idea that might help my disguise, so I won't be detected." She turned to Caelum. "Has power-borrowing ever been done before? I could potentially borrow Erraline's ability to blend in with the shadows. Only problem is that I don't know whether power-borrowing has been done before, and if it is possible, how long it will last for."
He scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "It's been done before... but it's extremely risky, Akane. Every elemental that's tried it has either died or received life-changing symptoms from attempting to do it. Even the successful ones don't last that long, maybe an hour, tops?"
Akane turned to Seojun. "I appreciate your concern. But you're forgetting that I've trained nearly my whole life to take dangerous risks. I am a Knight after all. However, Erraline could always refuse so there's that." Akane then included Caelum in her line of sight again. "Alright, the next part of the strategy is Erraline pretending to surrender to Victoria. I assume that's the distraction part of the plan."
"No!" Seojun growled. "You're not doing it. I don't care whether you had training or not Akane, that's not the issue." He clenched his fist, digging his fingernails into his palm as he fought to keep himself from yelling. "I... I can't let you do it."