The screen flickered to life. A room appeared, but you couldn’t see much of it. A corner was all you could see, though I guessed there was probably a doorway around it. I realized I was right when I heard footsteps coming from the other side, around the corner.
Then Sam came around the corner.
I gasped. “Sam!” I started struggling.
“Holly,” Artemis said softly. “Relax.”
“I know, Holly. She wouldn’t be showing us this if something wasn’t about to happen. But you need to stay calm. Don’t go to pieces for Opal’s entertainment. That’s what she wants. Just watch.”
I nodded, taking a few deep breaths to calm myself down. “Okay,” I said. I turned back to the screen.
Sam stepped around the doorway, then jumped back with a yelp. She fell backwards into Artemis’s son, who had come around behind her. He hit the ground.
She hurriedly backed up and helped him to his feet. Just as someone appeared in our line of sight.
He grabbed Sam’s arm and twisted, bringing the girl to her knees. She cried out in pain. I bit my lip, fighting as hard as I could to keep the tears stinging at my eyes from going over. I sighed with relief when Artemis kicked the guy in the ribs and he dropped Sam. He stumbled back out of sight, but not quick enough. I saw his hand reach for his belt before he disappeared.
My jaw dropped. He’s armed, I thought.
I wasn’t the only who saw the movement. Sam screamed. “Artemis!”
The boy had his back to her, fighting a different guy who I hadn’t seen before. “Sam, I’m kind of busy,” he said as he dodged a swing.
“But he’s got a gun,” Sam stuttered. “What do we do?”
“Wait,” came the reply.
I looked at Artemis. “Is he nuts?” I demanded.
“Just a second,” he said.
Okay, I decided. You’re both nuts.
Sam seemed to be thinking along the same lines. “What?” she demanded.
“I said, wait!” Artemis said. He dodged another strike, then duck low and punched the guy in the stomach. The guy hit the wall, holding his stomach and gasping for air.
“Now run! Now!” he screamed, and grabbed Sam’s hand, trying to tug her along. Thank Frond, she didn’t resist. They started running.
“He- they-” I stopped, unable to complete a sentence. I took a few deep breaths. “What just happened?”
Thankfully, Artemis didn’t seem to be as shocked as I was and had already put the pieces together. “Opal sent people after them,” he said, his voice carefully controlled. “That was an ambush.”
“Obviously not a very good one,” I said.
“I don’t think she put a lot of thought into it,” Artemis said. “I think the purpose was more to scare us. A demonstration. She’s trying to get a message through to us, to show us what she can do.”
“And to demonstrate that she won’t hesitate to do it,” I muttered numbly. A mutter was all i could manage. I was really tired now for some reason, and it took everything I had to stay awake.
Artemis noticed. “Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”
“Yeah,” I muttered. “I’m fine, I think….”
That was when I blacked out.