Five blinks at me, almost like he’s not sure what just came over him. Carefully, he presses the blade back into its holster.

‘I lost my cool, okay?’ Five anxiously rubs his hand across the stubble on top of his head. ‘It doesn’t matter now. We’re almost there.’

I stare at this unhinged monster standing in front of me. He gulps down a few deep breaths, his shoulders shaking, fists balled from the excitement. Minutes ago, he sounded almost fragile, rambling in the darkness of my room. He’s broken, a total mess – I have to remind myself that he murdered Eight in order to squelch the swelling of sympathy I feel for him. Sympathy, yes, but also fear. He flew off the handle with zero provocation, and almost seemed happy killing those Mogs.

This screwed-up, violent, cowardly traitor is my only real hope of getting off the Anubis.

I shake my head. ‘Let’s go,’ I sigh.

Five nods and we jog on, tossing out the whole hand-holding thing, and just careening towards our destination. As we run, I notice Five clenching and unclenching his hands. They’re both empty.

‘How’d you do that with your arm?’ I ask him, thinking about those rubber and steel balls he used to change his skin in the Lecture Hall. ‘I thought you needed to be touching something …’

Five turns his head so his good eye is on me. He touches the fresh bandage over his face.

‘Losing an eye gave me some new, uh … storage possibilities,’ he says.

‘Ugh,’ I reply, grossed out as I picture the rubber ball shoved into Five’s eye socket. ‘How’d you lose it, anyway?’

‘Marina,’ he answers, simply, no malice in his voice. ‘I had it coming.’

‘I’m sure.’

We round the next corner, and the hallway opens up, the ceiling rising as we enter the huge docking bay. I can see crisp, blue sky through the portholes, sunlight pouring across the dozens of docked Mogadorian scout vessels. Other than the ships, the docking bay is empty. The mechanics and crew must be on the observatory deck, gazing out upon the world they plan to conquer.

We’re so close.

‘Hold on,’ I say. ‘If we open the airlock, are we going to be sucked out right away?’

‘We’re in the atmosphere now, not space,’ Five says impatiently. He leans over a nearby console, studying the interface. ‘It’ll be windy. You’re not going to chicken out, are you?’

‘No,’ I say, looking around the docking bay. ‘Do you think we could blow some of this stuff up? Maybe bring down the Anubis before it has a chance to do anything?’

Five turns to me, looking slightly impressed. ‘You have any explosive Legacies?’


‘Me neither. Know how to make a bomb?’

‘Uh, no.’

‘Then we’re going to have to settle for escaping,’ Five says. Five hits a button on the console and a thick metal door thuds into place behind us. It’s the airlock – sturdy enough to keep the ship safe from the vacuum of space. It effectively seals us off from the rest of the ship.

‘That’ll slow them down,’ Five says, referring to pursuers we don’t yet have.

‘Good thinking,’ I admit as I peer through the small window on the airlock, expecting to see Mogs chasing us down at any moment.

Five taps out a few more keystrokes and, with a hydraulic whine and a gust of chilled air, the docking-bay doors at the far end of the room open up. The wind pulls at me and I let out a deep, relieved sigh. I reach into my dress and remove the Xitharis stone, clutching it. Slowly, I walk towards the open dock, wondering what it’ll be like to pitch myself into that open blue sky. Way better than life on the Anubis, that’s for sure.

‘So, I just hold this stone and fly?’ I ask, looking over my shoulder at Five.

‘Supposed to be how it works,’ he answers. ‘Just imagine your body light as a feather, floating on air. That’s how I learned to use my Legacy, anyway.’

I glance towards the open air, the cloudless sky waiting for me.

‘What if it doesn’t work?’

Five starts towards me, sighing. ‘Come on. We’ll go together.’

‘You won’t be going anywhere.’

Setrákus Ra steps out from between two of the ships. I’m not sure if he’s been there the whole time, waiting for us, or if he just teleported into the room somehow. Either way – it doesn’t matter. We’re caught. Still in his human form, Setrákus Ra stands between us and the open docking bay, the wind gently blowing through his perfect brown hair, plucking at the lapels of his suit. He holds his golden staff – the Eye of Thaloc – in one hand.

Five puts a hand on my shoulder and tries to push me behind him. I shake him off. We face Setrákus Ra side by side.

‘Get out of our way, old man,’ Five growls. He’s trying to sound tough, but he can barely manage to meet Setrákus Ra’s eyes.

‘I will not,’ Setrákus Ra replies, his voice full of scorn and disappointment. ‘I expected this kind of behavior from you, Ella. You have only recently joined us and it will take time to undo the brainwashing you endured at the hands of the Garde. But, Five, my boy, after everything I have done for you –’

‘Shut up,’ Five says quietly, almost pleading. ‘You talk and talk and talk, but none of it’s true!’

‘Mine is the only truth,’ Setrákus Ra counters sternly. ‘You will be punished for your insolence.’