ISBN 9789899734869-17

2007 Words
'Oh, God... it's broken. I guess water got into it last night.' 'Don't worry, girls. Sal and I both spoke to your Mum and Dad last night. They know you've got lots going on and they're fine that you haven't spoken to them. In fact, they said for you just to ring them at the end of the week. I reassured them that all is well and you're having a great time.' 'Aww thanks, Declan. That's a relief. She'll kill us though when she hears we've broken my phone.' 'Mine's broken too,' added Emma as she pulled out her mobile and found water sloshing about inside it. 'Here, give them to me, and I'll get them fixed before the end of the day. Don't worry about it,' said Declan as they handed him the phones with a grin. 'Grant Museum of Zoology... sounds like a blast,' said Lana sarcastically as they walked past a sign pointing down to the right. 'I bet it's great,' said Emma. 'Yeah, if you're a total geek,' replied Lana, sticking out her tongue in jest. 'Ooh look there's a Waterstones!' Emma said, almost jumping up and down. 'Must remember that for when we have some free time. I could use some new books.' Lana rolled her eyes as they carried on walking. 'Eleanor's got tonnes of books if you need some more reading material,' smiled Declan. 'I doubt she shares the same tastes as Emma,' joked Lana. 'Actually, I think she does. When we first saw her yesterday, she was reading The Hunger Games.' 'Really?' said Lana, 'Cool.' After walking a little further, the trio turned left down Great Russell Street, where there seemed to be a lot more going on. Little cafés, restaurants and shops scattered the right-hand side of the road and on the left was a vast, very grand building which, as they walked farther along, eventually revealed itself to be the British Museum. 'Impressive, isn't it?' Declan remarked as they stopped for a moment to admire the grandeur of the architecture. It's incredible,' sighed Emma. 'I wish we could go in.' 'We will, just not today. Don't worry; you will get a chance,' he said with a smirk. 'How old is this building? It's not like anything I've ever seen. It's more like something from a movie, isn't it?' Emma said in awe. 'Yeah, like Night at the Museum or something.' 'Not quite what I was thinking,' laughed Emma, 'but I guess you catch my drift.' 'It was established in 1753,' Declan piped up, 'and was added to substantially over the next 200 hundred years or so. It's believed to be one of the finest museums in the world, you know?' he said proudly as the girls looked at him and smiled. 'I wouldn't have thought you'd be the history buff type,' said Lana. 'You'd be surprised. There are lots about me that you don't know about,' he said, tapping the side of his nose and smirking again. 'Come on, if we don't get moving, we're going to be late.' Continuing past the museum, they stopped by a small square of greenery, Bloomsbury Square, where Declan turned to face an old white building with a couple of pillars by the front door. Expecting to walk up the stairs to the house, the girls were surprised when he turned slightly to the right of the building and walked around some old iron railings, disappearing down a few well-hidden steps into what looked like a basement flat. Turning to look at each other, the girls shrugged their shoulders and followed down the dingy steps, slightly slippery, and moss-covered, with Lana trying very hard not to touch the slightly grimy looking handrail. 'Ew,' she muttered to herself. After they'd stepped inside the old wooden door, Declan closed and locked it behind them. They were inside what looked like an ordinary spacious basement flat, decorated pleasantly enough with modern furniture. Stepping through the open plan living and dining room, they walked through a long galley kitchen complete with all mod cons. Stopping while Declan opened another door, Lana wondered what it would be like to live there; so close to all that London has to offer. She sighed, remembering that in a few short weeks they'd be returning to the middle of nowhere, at least that's what she often called Andilyse Island. She yearned for the hustle and bustle of city life. One day, she thought. One day I'll come and live here. Turning to face them, Declan said, 'After you. But be careful of the steps.' The door he'd opened led down some more steep steps. 'I thought we were already in the basement?' she piped up. 'You should know better than to assume anything like that after yesterday,' answered Emma as the two carefully headed downwards, one steep step at a time. Once they'd reached the bottom, Declan called down from upstairs, 'You okay?' 'Yeah,' they yelled back. 'I'm closing the door behind me and its a bit dark so don't get spooked.' The moment he stopped speaking, they stood in complete darkness. But as Declan turned to begin walking downwards, he was faced with a bright light leading the way. He laughed and thanked Emma as he reached the bottom before turning left through a low archway that led to a series of arches - all sloping downwards, leading them further and further away from the flat. 'Where are we?' asked Lana. 'Nearly there.' And through just a few more archways, they were faced with what appeared to be a brick wall. 'Oh,' said Emma, 'Did we take a wrong turn?' Declan's mouth twitched as if he was trying not to smile as he pushed one of the bricks inwards and the faux wall slid to one side, revealing a familiar site: the grand hallway of the Praxos Foundation. 'Brilliant!' Emma said as they walked through, spotting Eleanor on the other side talking to Nisha, Imran and Cassie. 'Good Morning, girls. Morning Dec,' she said with a smile before returning her attention to the others. Declan disappeared into another room, leaving the girls alone. The moment Lana spotted Liam, she grinned at her sister and walked towards him. Emma, feeling a little silly just standing alone, decided to have a look around until Eleanor was ready for them. Peering upwards, she admired the beautiful brickwork of the archways high above her head. It reminded her of the intricate designs found in many of England's old cathedrals. Not that she'd ever visited any of them, but she'd seen plenty of pictures in history class, and they'd always intrigued her. As she looked upwards, she continued to stroll backwards, walking straight into someone. 'Oops, sorry,' she said as she turned to find a handsome face looking down at her with a huge grin. 'Diarmuid,' she exclaimed, turning pink as he immediately took her hand in his. 'Good morning beautiful,' he said, bending down to kiss her on the cheek, cheeks which then darkened to a much deeper shade of pink. 'Good morning,' she breathed, barely able to speak. 'Did you sleep well?' he asked. She nodded, 'Really well. It was a long day yesterday, though. I was exhausted. How about you?' 'Yeah, me too. Where are you staying?' he asked. 'On a boat. Declan's boat. Have you met him? He's like an uncle to us. Declan saved my dad's life, like on numerous occasions, so they're great friends. They worked in the police force together before I was born...' when she realised she was babbling, she shut up. Diarmuid's smile lit up his face. 'I met him yesterday after I finished my initiation. He seems like a pretty cool guy.' Emma just smiled. 'Hey, so how was your initiation?' he asked as they continued strolling around the edge of the hallway. 'Scary, invigorating, euphoric, terrifying, weird... shall I go on,' she laughed, 'How about yours?' 'About the same as yours. I teamed up with Liam. He's crazy that guy, but cool. I think we passed,' he grinned. 'So what's your... your... erm....' 'Special ability?' he asked her. Laughing, she nodded. 'I can light up from the inside and...' 'Really,' she coughed, her eyes wide in astonishment. 'So can I.' 'Awesome!' 'Sorry, what else?' Smiling, he added, 'I can also control electricity.' 'Really? That sounds painful,' she said, pulling a funny face, making him laugh aloud before he shook his head. 'It's not painful, well, it hasn't been painful yet anyway.' 'That's pretty impressive, Diarmuid.' 'So what about you? Other than being able to light up? I'm assuming there is more to your hidden talents?' 'Well, I can swim really, really fast and when I'm underwater, it seems like I don't really need to breathe... oh and last night, last night Lana and I were able to fight like some kind of a*s-kicking ninja chicks,' she giggled excitedly. 'a*s kicking ninja chicks?' he repeated with a massive grin, making Emma's face blush yet again as she almost melted into him. 'I assume you're talking about me,' said a voice approaching them. 'Yeah, Emma was just telling me about you two being able to fight like... a*s-kicking ninja chicks,' he repeated, laughing. 'It's true. We don't know where it came from. It was when those scary thugs attacked us in the alley.' 'Excuse me,' said Eleanor, who had overheard the conversation, 'What thugs?' 'The Praxos thugs you set on us as part of the initiation,' Lana replied, but Eleanor was shaking her head. 'We didn't set anybody on you, Lana.' Emma and Lana looked at each other in shock. 'Can you tell me exactly what happened?' 'We'd just managed to get outside, and we were deciding which way to go when two big guys stuck knives at our throats and pulled us into an alleyway. We were terrified at first, thinking we were done for,' the girls looked at each other again before Lana continued, 'But something kicked in and we just started fighting. We ended up knocking them both out before we tied them up with rope. We wrote on their foreheads with lipstick and left them there,' she laughed. 'What did you write?' asked Moira, who had been standing at the back listening. 'Please arrest us, we attack young girls,' Lana said proudly. Some of the other kids laughed and Liam high fived Lana as Eleanor's eyebrows raised before she spoke, 'These men had nothing to do with Praxos, Lana. They were seriously dangerous attackers. I'll check with the local police to ensure they've been apprehended. Why did you think it was part of the initiation?'. Sharing a glance, both girls shrugged their shoulders, 'I guess we just assumed it was. Especially after you threw the rope down to us,' Emma said quietly. 'Rope?' 'Yeah, after we'd knocked them out we were looking all over for something to tie them up with but couldn't find anything. And then some rope was thrown down from the top of one of the buildings. We figured it was you,' Lana responded. Eleanor, Declan, Wilbur and a few of the other Mentors looked alarmed. 'No, it wasn't any of us. There was clearly someone else out there who gave you a helping hand,' she said slowly, a worried look in her eyes. 'But we'll worry about that later. Today we will assess your initiations. But don't worry, you all passed,' she said with a smile, 'with flying colours. I was most impressed. Now come, let's go into the white room to begin.' CHAPTER 24 'The purpose of this assessment is not to criticise anything that you may have done wrong. It is simply to demonstrate to each other what you went through, how you did it, and what your special skills are. This is about working together; something of utmost importance at Praxos,' said Eleanor once they were all settled, sitting scattered around the room, with all the Mentors sitting around them. 'However, before we start, I'd just like to introduce you to the other Mentors in our group,' Eleanor said as she pointed to a small group of adults who sat waiting. 'Declan Alexander lives on a houseboat on the Thames. He is currently looking after Lana and Emma. His girlfriend, Saleena Bennett also lives on the boat, but she's not with us today,' Declan smiled and nodded his head as she continued, 'Zane and Marian Chambers live on Gower Street not far from here. They are currently looking after Liam and Diarmuid.'
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