Chapter 4

Just as we arrived, the lift door opened and a couple walked out, holding hands and laughing. We entered the lift and I pressed the button for the third floor, where our room was.

Even the lift was special.

An Alpana themed golden wallpaper ran around the lift and the black marble floor was sparkling in the bright in-built light. The lift door opened and we walked slowly down the corridor, taking in the unique designs and patterns of the walls and ceiling.

“This is the room,” Rachel said.

She slotted in the key card and the door automatically opened.

The room we entered was no less in extravagance than the hotel reception. The king-size bed was at the far end of the room, right in front of the huge window which overlooked the remarkable skyline of New York. The two single beds were placed on either side of the king-size bed, with all the beds wrapped in a thick velvet blanket. The soft Persian rug absorbed our feet as we strolled around the room, intoxicated by its beauty. The flat-screen TV was built into the wall opposite our beds and a brown leather sofa lay in the corner of the room, accompanied by a shining glass table. Beside it was a large glass cupboard and a mini fridge, the cupboard filled with chocolate bars, packets of crisps, energy bars and sweets, whilst stacks of 7UP, Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and Schweppes Lemonade sat inside the fridge. My taste buds tingled. Zak raced across to the king-size bed and jumped onto it, and Rachel sat on the sofa, closing her eyes and laying her head back. I peered inside the bathroom. The aroma of fresh soap, complimented by the lime basil and mandarin candles, wafted into my nose, and the dim lighting enticed me to take a bath.

“Guys, I’m going to have a bath. Don’t eat all the food Zak,” I said.

“Why did you only address me?” Zak frowned.

“Because you’re greedy!” I joked back to him, before closing the bathroom door and starting my bubble bath.

As my body indulged in the warm water of the bath, I closed my eyes and thought deeply about what lay ahead for us. Who was this Drago Caracas? Why did he want the Golden Leaf so badly that he would steal it from his friend? Why had Señor Ramirez given us weapons to use?

I locked these questions away in my mind as I finally got out of my soothing bath.

“You were in there for ages! We should get an early night’s sleep though,” Rachel said as I stepped out of the bathroom.

“True,” Zak replied. “We must be sharp and energised for tomorrow.

Who knows what’s in store for us?”

“What are we doing for dinner?” Rachel asked me.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still full from that amazing lunch at school. I think I might just have a snack from here and that’s it,” I said.

“Same,” Zak nodded, walking over to the cupboard and grabbing himself a packet of crisps.

Having enjoyed the view of the shimmering night skyline and relished the flat screen TV, we bid our goodnights. Zak insisted upon having the king-size bed and I had no more energy left in me to argue.

I jumped onto the single bed and the softness of the mattress along with the warmth of the thick blanket instantly engulfed me into a deep sleep…

“Wake up Marco, let’s go!” Zak exclaimed. “We’ll be downstairs in the restaurant. I can’t wait to see what they have for breakfast. Don’t forget Rachel’s backpack!”

I opened my eyes, feeling refreshed and energised as the blinding morning sunlight poured into our room.

I splashed some cold water on my face in the bathroom and looked myself in the mirror. ‘Come on Marco, you got this,’ I said to myself.

I took the lift to the hotel reception and as the doors pinged open, I stopped in horror at what I saw.

Zak. Rachel. Tied up to a chair.

Their hands were bound together with handcuffs and their mouths were cellotaped. Both of their eyes were bloodshot red, in fear and pain. At each corner of the isolated reception, there were three guards, dressed as hotel staff but with their swords holstered on their belt.

But what shocked me the most was the man standing behind Zak and Rachel.

The taxi driver.

“Remember me?” he chuckled playfully.

I approached him slowly, with anger building up in my veins. My finger hovered over my watch, ready to bring my sword and shield to life. A menacing grin formed on the taxi driver’s face.

“I’m Drago Caracas, the President of Obsidian and it is I, the supreme ruler of this organisation, who has stolen your precious Golden Leaf.”

I pressed the button on my watch and my sword and shield sprung into life.

“Don’t even think about it,” Drago said, with a bit of impatience. “Move another step forward, and you will say goodbye to Zak and Rachel for good. You will not be able to defeat me! I am the one and only supreme ruler!”

“What do you want?” I asked.

“Forget this quest of yours. Let me have the Golden Leaf. I don’t want some three random teenagers meddling in my business!”

“That is not happening.”

All of a sudden, Drago groaned and dropped to the ground. A knife was protruding from his right hamstring. Zak and Rachel shot up from the chair. Zak pulled out his knife from Drago’s hamstring, making him roar out in pain. My stomach lurched at the sickening sight of the blood pouring out.

“GET THEM! NOW! GO!” Drago boomed to his guards, as he groaned in pain of the floor.

Zak and Rachel sprinted towards me. The three guards unsheathed their swords and charged. I swiftly took out Rachel’s bow and arrow from her backpack and handed it over to her.

“There’s a door over there. Run! RUN!” Zak shouted.

The three of us paced across the smooth floor of the reception to the door. I pushed it. It was locked. The gap between us and the three charging guards began to shorten.

15 feet… 14 feet… 13 feet…

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