In the morning they woke up like usual, doing their daily routine but this day was different, once they entered the restaurant, they felt the gloom in the air and everyone are talking about a tragedy. Minutes later they called up for the beginner batch to gather quickly at the square. While they were waiting out for orders, the Lieutenant Javier and the two supervisors were arguing inside the office,

”Sir, I don think they are ready for this, they still in the first stage ” said Andres talking to Javier about the new task,

”I agree with him Sir, we still don know about this incident if it was a coincidence or a premeditated one, we are putting them in danger by doing this ” said Salvador supporting Andres,

”Yes you are right about all that, but you know that we should act according to our possibilities, you both know better than me that our budget is limited, and we don have enough sufficient financial and human resources to complete this testing stage, we need to take advantage of the opportunities that coincidences give us, and this will be the perfect test for them, we will know who has the will to continue the road with us; now go and announce for them that this would be the final task who will succeed will be accepted and who retreats will be excluded forever, dismiss now ”, said Lieutenant Javier.

Mystery and questioning prevailed among them for a while until Andres and Salvador came out and ordered them to wear their uniforms and go to ride transport trucks, because today will be their final exam and that its result will be decided on this day, they will not wait for whole month, but it is a difficult task. They will head towards a mounting road where a terrible accident happened, where military trucks carrying military equipment and a number of soldiers overturned, resulting in an explosion of live ammunition; their job will be to transport the wounded soldiers, and even the dead, and searching for them under the rubble,

”Go join the first rank soldiers; they will give you your uniforms to wear, and arm badges to organize you as teams, each team should follow its leader, and this is not just an order, the place you are going to is dangerous, and this orders will help on keeping you alive, go now and good luck ”, said Andres.

This was surprising for them especially that they canceled the previous training system and replaced it by this task; they felt that it will be difficult. All along the road Anna felt uncomfortable, and her hart was tight, as if something bad is going to happen, rumors spread among them that this accident was caused by bandits who set up an ambush in that place, and fear started to seep among them and it already dominated the thinking of some of them. But as soon as they arrived at the place, they realized how dangerous the situation was, and that the life of the soldiers, no matter how divided they were, is the same, surrounded by danger on every side.

On the green edge of that mountain, the picture of this tragic accident is drawn, the vehicles deforming their exoskeleton by the explosion, some of them are suspended between the trunks of the huge old trees, screaming and groans coming from everywhere, a bath of red blood that has colored trees and rocks, and corpses scattered all over the place. This scene that Anna saw reminded her of the dream she had about Martin before she came; it caused her a shock that made her freeze in place, refusing to advance and carry the wounded and the dead for fear of finding him among them. Her eyes turned black, and suddenly she could no longer hear any sound, and she felt herself alone in a dark and cold place, all her thoughts focused on her lover, ”You can die, yesterday I sent you a latter, it hasn reached you yet, you should read it before you leave, please don die. I know you are in my house now, reading my stories quietly under my dim desk lamp, I know you are their ” said Anna, talking to herself, imagining Martin sitting in her house reading her stories and then noticing her presence and smiling at her, he is talking to her but she didn hear his voice, ”What do you say, I can hear you ”, she didn understand what he says, and then the voice becomes more and more clear, reverberating like an echo, but it is not Martins, but Romeos calling her over and over again,

”What are you doing Anna, MOVE ”, Romeo yelled at her then pushed her away from the way, saving her life from being killed under a falling vehicle, he held her tight when they both fall down then he shacked her angrily, ”What the hell you were thinking about, where is your consciousness, you were about to be killed ” he said yelling at her then he stood up and went to catch up his team.

That incident woke her up from the chock, and she runs following her team. They gave her the mission of reconnaissance and search for bodies and injured with the help of a trained dog, her small size helped her slide under the piles of rocks and tight spaces. The rescue operation took them over six hours of continues work, and with the help of Anna and her skills, they managed to rescue about twenty injured soldier and has found fifteen dead bodies, but their mission got more difficult when the weather turned against them, the heavy rain made the soil slide and it become impossible for them to reach those who are stuck on slopes,

The responsible for this operation has called them to an urgent assembly to give reports about their mission and to find a solution for the current problem;

”Sir, we were able to rescue thirty two wounded and fifteen bodies out of fifty five soldiers, the number of missing are seven, all of them were in truck number three, we think it is stuck down the slope, but the current weather has made our mission impossible, what do you suggest Sir? ” said the responsible for the rescue team giving his report to the first responsible,

”The landslide caused by rain will put them in extreme danger if they were down there, we need to access them as soon as possible before we lose them, tell me the names of those who are missing ”, said the commander,

”Yes Sir, this is the list of the truck number three: Diego Garcia, Antonio Delmar, Paris Rodrigo, Juan Lupe, Juan Miguel, Armando Perez, and the rider Martin Delgado ”.

Hearing Martins name hit her like a lightning, not knowing if she was happy or sad, in a side maybe she found him, and in the other side if it was really him, he could be dead, these turbulent feelings made the adrenaline rush through her body, stimulating all her muscles and senses, despite the fatigue that exhausted her. She resolutely approached the commander of the operation and suggested that they use her in this last mission,

”Sir, allow me to volunteer for this mission, if we use the tow truck rope, I can survey and make sure the truck is down there, I am sure the rope will take my lighter weight ”, said Anna courageously suggesting to be used in the dangerous part of the mission,

”Anna stop that madness, it is a suicide, we can find another way ”, said Romeo angrily reusing her idea, but she make up her mind, and pushed him away not caring about his opinion,

”Stop it Romeo, we are running out of time, and she is right, none of us are of a suitable weight to be carried by the rope, she alone is the smallest among us, we have no choice ”, said Daniela supporting Annas suggestion,

”Well, it seems that we have no choice but following you, prepare her with the required equipment, she will go down ” said the commander,

They put her in a safe belt, tied her to the rope, and provided her with a walkie-talkie to communicate with them if the truck was found, and extra ropes to attach others, and a sharp knife,

”Listen girl, don spoil the operation or I will kill you, I humiliated myself helping you, so don make me look like an idiot, and just so you know, I stepped in for the mission only, not you ”, said Daniela wishing a good luck for Anna in her own way.

She stepped forward, slicing her way through fear and danger, not caring what might happen to her, with only one goal between her eyes: to save Martin. Everyone gathered around the edge of the dangerous cliff, awaiting the events in detail. With no hesitation she jumped like an eagle on his prey, and with a quick strong grip, she held on a trunk of a tree that grew horizontally, and with smooth movements, she stood on the trunk with great balance and caution, carefully watching the place around her, she was unable to see anything because of the density of mountainous plants, so she decided to go down more, taking advantage of the emergence of fixed trunks. She climbed down ten meters with both hands injured, but finally she saw the truck, it was stuck in a rocky gorge, but the heavy rain caused it to slide little by little,

”Sir, I found the truck number three, it is stuck in a rocky gorge but it won last long, it slips because of the rain ” she said talking on the walkie-talkie,

”What is the situation of the soldiers? ” they asked from the other side,

”I can have a clear vision Sir, the truck is in my right side, about five meters away I can reach it, the rope is short ” she replied, but suddenly she has a bright idea, ”Tell the truck driver to move forward a bit so the rope can go down ”,

”You have to tell me first what is in your mind, don act by yourself, your mission is to survey thats all, we will sand for a rescue helicopter, they will take care of it, retreat now ”, said the commander ordering her to back off,

”Sir we are running out of time, it will fall down any moment now, please give me a chance I can save them ”, she replied begging him to let her implement her idea,

”I am the one who make orders here, you are putting everyone in danger, retreat now thats an order ” he replied

”Damn you and your orders you ignorant old man, you are the one putting everyone in danger, Im telling you they will fall any moment and you are choosing to wait for the rescue team, just tell the driver to move this damn truck ” she replied them angrily yelling and cursing leaving them in a chock,

”Did she just yelled on me? ” said the commander talking to his companions in chock, but before he replies her, Romeo and Daniela intervene,

”Sir you have to trust her she knows what to do, and we all trust her decisions ”, said Romeo,

”Twelve years in military service and I take my orders from newbies? Who you think you are to order me? Take them away from me to the punitive detention ”, he replied angrily and arrogance,

”Could you please leave your arrogance aside, there are lives at stake, they could die any time while we are arguing, just think of those who depend on you, they trusted you to lead this process, don let them down now. You can punish us later but trust us now ”, said Daniela trying to gain his trust; he thought deeply and then decided to implement Annas idea,

”Fine then, let it be your will, but you will be punished later, now tell the driver to move forward a bit ”.

When the tow truck moved, she felt the rope goes down and she knew right away that the commander agreed on her idea. When the rope was the right length, she swayed left and right on the side of the mountain, but her strength wasn enough, so she changed her plan and ran against the mountain wall as if it were shots from an action movie. As for the atmosphere above, they were filled of suspense, they watched her movements without realizing what she was doing and all they could do was just watching her taking the lead. Her aim was to swing at a sturdy tree on the other side, after several attempts, she managed to reach the tree and tied herself to it, to stabilize herself and avoid a sudden fall, now that she got close enough, she have a clear view of the inside of the upside-down truck,

”I have a clear vision now, I can see two of them but I don know their situation ” she said informing the commander,

”Call on them and see if they can respond ”, he replied,

”Hello, can you hear me, is there anyone alive there? If you are alive please respond to me ”, she yelled calling them,

”Help, help us ” a voice called for help from inside the truck,

”Yes, I am here, I came to help you, tell me your name and your situation, are you injured, and your fellows how much are you and are they alive? ” she asked,

”I am Juan Lupe, my leg is badly injured I can move it, there are six soldiers with me, I don know if they are dead or unconscious, I can move or the truck will fall down, please help me I don want to die ”, said the man crying hopelessly.

”Okay, don move I have a plan to get you all out of here, just don move ”, she replied him comforting him,

She took a deep breath then she took the first step towards the truck, and she proceeded cautiously, climbing branches and logs, leaning herself on the rocks of the mountain on the opposite side, looking for a solid place to tie the ropes in, passing them under the truck and attaching the end of the rope to the other side, back and forth climbing around the truck, wrapping the ropes around like a spiders web, and everyone is watching her from above, moving with her unconsciously and panicking whenever her foot slips, just as it happens in circus shows, where the performers make dangerous moves with ropes, and the audience interacts with them involuntarily whenever they move dangerously.

While she was focused on her mission, suddenly one of the soldiers woke up; Juan tried to calm him down and asked him not to move, but to no avail. He was suffering from post-traumatic stress and started screaming trying to escape, but his strong movements shook the truck and made it slip down. Anna didn notice and fell from the trucks skidding, fortunately the rope was strong so she survived a crushing fall, but she was badly hurt when part of the trucks shattered body pierced her leg, the poor Anna cried out in great pain and tried desperately to remove that shrapnel from her leg, but the wound was deep,

”Soldier, what is your situation? What happened? ” the commander asked,

”One of them woke up, that makes them two survivors, the truck slipped a bit but the ropes held it; I am working on the last step now, I will attach the tow truck rope on the top, when I give you the signal tell him to pull up the rope ”, she replied not showing to them that she is wounded, she hardly climbed the top of the truck to attach the rope on it, and she gave them the signal to pull the truck, and she lay tired; the tow truck moved but because of the rain the land became covered in slippery mud, the truck didn move and the wheels kept turning in place.

”Sir, what should we do, the truck is stuck in the mud ”, they said asking the commander for a solution,

”What woman can do that man can ? roll up your sleeves and pull the rope with the strength of one man ”, said the commander ordering them to work together as one unit, and after a long effort they managed to pull the truck, and they helped the injured, only two of them survived, Juan had his leg cut off and the rest of those who were martyred were covered with white sheet, and Anna was watching all that in front of her eyes not feeling her wounds, just thinking of what will she find under those sheets, she gathered her courage and headed towards the corpse of the man named Martin, kneeling in front of him, and her tears preceded by her, in a scene that drew everyones attention towards her. Thoughts run through her head and several pictures of Martin in poor condition recur in her mind like a video tape, but she was encouraged and lifted the cover off his face, when she saw him, she hid her cry with her hands and her tears fall even more, and then she started laughing hysterically. She made sure that this person was not the Martin she knew. Her condition worsened, so they had to give her a sedative, so she fell asleep, and they took her to the ambulance.

After a while from the last incidences, Anna woke up on a strange place, she was lying in a bad inside a dark, small cold room sealed with an iron door which has a very small window; she stood up rushing towards it, knocking it and calling for someone, and someone respond to her from outside,

”Finally you woke up short legs? Stop yelling you will wake everyone ”, said the voice,

”Daniela, is that you? Where am I? What is this place, how did I get here? ” Anna asked confusedly,

”You talk too much, we are in the prison, we were punished for disobeying orders and insulting a person of higher rank ” Daniela replied,

”Why, what did we do? ” Anna asked again,

”Are you being serious? Did they give you a sedative or they wash your brain? Don you remember our last task, we went on a rescue mission, and you insulted the commander of the operation and disobeyed his orders to rescue the soldiers, and I did the same with Romeo, we convinced him to let you do your plan ” said Daniela recount her what happened the previous day,

”Ah, right I just remembered it was our selective task; by the way did they announce the admission list? ” Anna asked,

”No, not yet, they said that they will take their time to study our files, about ten days, they are busy investigating the latest incident, now go back to sleep and stop talking ”, said Daniela,

”Okay, sorry ” Anna replied.

At that moment she felt a relief, knowing that she wasn kicked off and Martin still alive and he is somewhere out, but in the same time she felt frustrated knowing that she is back to the start point, because at once she was so close to reach her goal but when she touched it turns out to be just a mist. They said, when you are sad you will remember all said memories, and especially those you want to forget, and this is what is going with her now, she cries quietly at her pillow like she used to in her past, she bears her burning tears falling on her cheeks in order not to show her weakness in front of others, especially Matilda, yes, her again, it seems that no matter what she did she can forget her memories with her, she can forget the insults she suffered from her, and her cold dry treatment with her; she didn stop crying until she fall asleep of tired.

Next day she woke up on the sound of the prison cell door opening, and a female soldier entered the room holding a plate full of various foods and many fruits, and she put it on her bed,

”Good morning Miss Anna, I am from the nursing service I came to check on your wounds, how you feel today? ” said the nurse,

”I am fine, but my leg wounds hurts me ” Anna replied,

”It is normal, the wound still new, now let me change the bandage ” said the nurse,

”May I ask you, how long the period of our punishment, and will it affect our evaluation? ” Anna asked,

”Well, for the period no one knows, you can get out today or after two weeks, and about the evaluation, yes it affects, but to be honest, everyone saw what three of you did and it was a bravery of you, and that is the most important. I want you to not be sad when the results come out, even if you didn make it, we all know that you worth more, and for me I owe you for saving my husbands life ”, she replied her feeling grateful,

”Your husband, was he in the truck? ” Anna asked feeling surprised,

”Yes, he was there and you saved him, whatever I did I would never return the favor to you? ” said the nurse,

”No don say that, it is my duty, can I ask you a favor? I need a stack of papers and a pen ”, said Anna,

”Yes, sure, once I finish my work with you I will send it with someone ”, said the nurse,

”What do you know about the last task, I mean if there are some details that they are talking about? ” Anna asked,

”Yes, there is, after the last incident, many of your fellows withdrew, they were afraid and they didn stand it ”, the nurse replied, and then she left after she finished her work with her.

What would she do with papers on the prison? The answer is clear, she will do what she always does; she continued drawing her story, although they stopped publishing it, but she did not stop recounting its events, nothing can stop her or frustrate her, no matter what they say and whatever their opinion was, but she is determined to delve into the midst of what she loves.

She continued writing it from where she stopped: ”… Kite boarded the ship and all his crew waiting for what he would say, it is true that they won their last battle a landslide victory, but it would not have been achieved without the individual decisions they took at a critical time that changed the course of events, but it will not be a joy today, no one will forget the sacrifice of the little Colt, they will not celebrate and will not sing songs, not only mourning the soul of the Captains brother, but mourning the soul of a child who used to spread fun among them. Kite climbed the bow of the ship overlooking his crew to deliver his speech as usual, with all eyes pointed at him,

”Why do you keep your tears in your throats? It is not a shame for men to show their sadness and it is not a shame to cry a little child, release these tears, Colt is still among us, show him how much you love him, he has never been ashamed to show his love for you, so cry, my men and mourn his innocent pure soul ”. After Kate gave his moving speech, he fell to his knees and burst into tears like a baby, in a picture that no one was acquainted with, this great man, he never showed his feelings, but today he is crying his brother. As for his crew, no one could control himself and could not hide their tears and grief, they are old men crying little child and not any child. Not only Colt died, but every child inhabiting the ribs of these men died with him.

High in the sky of the Sea of Wonders, the spirit of Colt flies, casting his last glimpse of his comrades and saying goodbye to them forever.

Ulf approached Kite and reminded him to stick to his word that he gave it to them before they set sail with him: ”Kite, you must keep your promise to them, I know its not the right time for that but you shouldn be late. ”

Kite replied: ”Yeah, you
e right, my men, listen, weve been together for a long time, weve fought side by side, weve taken risks together, but its time to take apart, Ive made a pact with you, and the day our contract is over, I will give each one of you his share that I promised with and I will release you, you are free today, I did not and will not enslave anyone in my life, I was once a slave and I know very well the value of freedom ”

Nova paid them their share of the treasure one by one, and then they brought them to the anchorage of the Treasure Island, so that everyone would set out for himself.

”Why did you leave that bronze statue to yourself? Its worth nothing? ” Nova asked Kite,

Kite replied: ”It is worth a lot. One time Colt saw a picture of a statue that looked like it and was very attached to it. I wish I could gift him this statue before, so I will always keep it with me. ”

Nova asked him again: ”And now what? Will you sail again? ”

”Of course I will sail to the rest of my life, this is what Colt always wanted for us to do, I will not let him down even after his death ”, said Kite

”So, where would our next adventure be? ” said Nova,

”To the ocean of darkness we will sail ”, said Kite with passion,

And this was the end of a great chapter from the story of the great adventure of Nova and his fellows into the seven seas, to light the torch for a new adventure in new mysterious waters surrounded with legends and mystery tales, to the Sea of Darkness… ”

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