Andrea's laughter echoed inside her room. She was lying in bed wearing a black one piece nightgown, while holding her mobile phone in her hand. It was just past nine in the evening when she received a call from Ciel.
Ciel called to inform her that he arrived safely at his mentor's residence. After putting his mother at ease, he asked whether Kate and Chloe were properly studying for the exam.
Andrea told him that the two girls were very diligent in their studies. Kate was so diligent that she managed to eat three servings during dinner time. Chloe was more reserved and only ate a bit more than usual.
"Kate is such a glutton." Ciel laughed. His laughter sounded so clear that Andrea thought that he was laughing beside her. After a while, Ciel told her about his journey to the city and the reception he received at his mentor's residence.
Andrea could hear the exhaustion in her son's voice and it made her heart ache.
"Ciel, sleep for now," Andrea said with concern. "We can talk again tomorrow."
A muffled yawn replied at the other end of the line. "Very well. Goodnight Mother, I love you."
"I love you too." Andrea kissed the receiver of her mobile phone. "Goodnight sweetheart."
Inside Kate's room...
"I can't sleep..." Kate sighed as she rolled over the bed.
[That's because you've been sleeping all day.] Stella snorted from within their shared mindscape. [I can't believe you slept until dinner time. You only woke up when you felt hungry.]
'That's because studying is hard.'
[Excuse me? I was the one who studied in your place. You just slept and pushed the work on me!]
'There there, don't be too angry. You will get wrinkles.'
Kate rolled around the bed a few more times before she decided to leave her room. Since she couldn't sleep, she might as well go to Chloe's room. She walked through the familiar hallway in her pajamas.
"I hope she's still awake," Kate muttered as she knocked on Chloe's door. She knocked three more times, but no reply came from within. Unlike her, Chloe was dead tired after studying for the whole day. The moment her little head laid on the pillow, she immediately fell asleep.
[Maybe she's already asleep. You shouldn't disturb her.]
'Fine. Where should we go next?'
[How about we go to the terrace and watch the stars?]
Kate made her way towards the terrace. It was a night with a full moon, and the stars shone brightly in the sky. The cold wind brushed against her face and Kate felt a slight shiver run through her body. A distant memory that she buried deep inside her heart and mind resurfaced.
Tonight was similar to the night that happened four years ago. She hugged herself and lightly rubbed her shoulders with her hands. Her heart started to pound wildly as the images flashed before her eyes.
"Kate! Run and don't look back!"
"Mama! Don't leave me!"
A beautiful woman with dark brown hair was holding a sniper rifle on her hand. She was constantly looking behind her. Gunshots echoed in their surroundings and her face paled when she heard the sound of dogs barking in the distance.
It seemed that the organization was seriously trying to capture them this time. From the way she saw it, they didn't care whether they were captured dead or alive.
The woman hesitated for a brief moment as she looked at her daughter before regaining her resolve. She bent down and cupped her daughter's face. Her daughter, who was only nine years old, was looking at her with tear-stained eyes. Her heart trembled as she planted a kiss on Kate's forehead, her cheeks, and her lips.
She knew that this might be the last time she would see her daughter. Although Kate was still young, she instinctively felt that her Mama was going somewhere dangerous. She clung to her and cried her hearts out. Tear, snot, and sadness poured out from the young girl as she held her Mama tightly.
"Kate, I love you," the woman hugged her tight. "But, I can't come with you. You need to escape. I'll buy you some time so get as far away from here as you can."
"No! Mama let's find Papa and run away together. It's not too late. Please, let's go find Papa!"
"Your Papa is fighting right now. I need to help him. Kate, be a good child and listen to your Mama. You need to escape from here. Do you remember the path we told you last time? Go there. It's safe." The woman fought off the tears that were about to fall from her eyes. "Please, come out, Stella. I need you."
Kate stopped struggling as her body stiffened. With slow movements, the young girl reached out to kiss her Mama on the lips before taking a step back.
"Mama, please escape together with me." the young girl said in a calm manner. "I can protect you, too."
The woman resolutely shook her head.
"There are too many of them. The organization has sent more than thirty elite agents to hunt us down. I'm afraid that there are more forming an encirclement to ensure that none of us escapes."
The woman brushed her daughter's head. The girl's hair was so soft and silky that it glistened in the moonlight. "The traps we laid out in the past will hold them off for a short time. Do you remember the path we showed you?
The young girl nodded her head in affirmation.
"Good," The woman said with a smile. "You will find a small run down cottage in that direction. There's a backpack filled with canned goods and a bit of money. If you are thrifty then it might last you a few months. However, you should leave France. It is no longer safe here. The organization has its eyes everywhere."
"Mama, where should I go?"
"Britain. That's the only place where the organization won't run amok. Use the money to ride a ferry. Make sure to leave as soon as you can before they place watchers at the pier."
More gunshots sounded behind them. Sensing their pursuers closing in on them, the woman stood up and turned her back on her beloved daughter.
"Kate and Stella, I love both of you. Please live. Live for our sake as well."
The woman didn't wait for her daughter's reply and immediately ran back to support her husband. She didn't look back. They needed to give their daughter precious time to run away.
Stella gritted her teeth as she clenched her fist in frustration. Tears fell from her eyes blurring her vision, but she knew what she needed to do. She needed to escape. Her parents' sacrifice must not be in vain.