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A Different Outcome

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"You're not safe here. You can leave us." Lyra tells Serafina as she watches the witch tend to her sister, who was nearly taken by the Spectres. Serafina looks up at the child before standing.

"No, Lyra. We won't do that." Serafina tells her. "But, Will, once we've found your father we must leave this world. Let's just hope we find him fast."

"We can as the Alethiometer where he is." Will suggests.

"We already did. All it told Lyra was 'Up'." Serafina tells him. Will looks at the witch with confusion.

"'Up?'" Will repeats. "Maybe she should ask again."

"Couldn't hurt." Lyra says as she pulls the Alethiometer out. She opens it up and begins to line the needles. She watches as the single needle moved to the different symbols. Her eyes widen.

"The city. He's in the city." Lyra says in shock.

"He's there?" Will says with a surprised tone.

"He was in the sky, and then he crashed. That's all its telling me." Lyra closes the Alethiometer and puts it back in her pocket.

"We have to go." Will tells the witches. Serafina looks down at her 2 sisters.

"She's still too weak to move, and night will be falling soon. We we'll leave at dawn." Serafina tells the children. Will sighs, looking disappointed. "I will have Kaisa fly towards the city for him. If he's there then we will know."


Lee was pretty sure he had a small concussion, due to the blood pouring from his head, but apart from that he got of pretty lucky. Both him and Jopari. The balloon crashed on some sort of beach with a town behind them. Unfortunately, the balloon didn't survive. It was defiantly done for.

Lee looks over his balloon with disappointment. "No longer a aeronaut. We're insects now, travelling the world just like all the others."

"You couldn't be an insect if you tried, Lee." Hester comments.

"Says you, rabbit." Lee smirks.

"The shaman's on his feet." Lee turns and see's Jopari now standing on his feet. Jopari looks over to Lee with seriousness. 

"I know where the Bearer is. We have a choice to make." Jopari says. Lee looks at the man with confusion.

"A choice?" Lee asks.

"I sense the Bearer is moving east, in our direction. We can head their way and hope to find them, or wait here and hope they are coming to this city. But if we wait-"

"We have a bigger chance of the Magisterium finding us here." Lee finishes. Jopari nods his head.

"There are only so many places a man can hide in a city, but many more within a lost forest." Jopari points out. 

"What are our chances of finding the Bearer in the forest to waiting for them and finding them here?" Lee asks.

"I believe we will have a higher chance of finding them here, that is if they are coming to the city." Jopari replies.

"Then we stay here and wait." Lee says.

"You sure that's the best idea Lee? What if the Magisterium find us here?" Hester asks.

"Then we fight them off or run for our lives." Lee answers.

"But we could be here for days. We don't even know how long it's going to take for the Bearer to get here, that's if he's even coming here." Hester points out. Lee sighs, he didn't even think about that.

"I can have Sayan go looking for him. He can find the Bearer and tell him where to find us." Jopari suggests.

"You sure that's a good idea?" Lee questions.

"Sayan is clever. She will know where to fly, where its safe to do so." Jopari tells him. Jopari then looks over to his daemon and nods his head. Sayan nods her head before taking off into the sky. The 2 men and daemon watch as the bird flew towards the forest and out of their sight. 

Lee looks up at the city in front of him. "Think anybody's home?"

"I don't sense anything." Jopari tells him.

"Well, we ain't gonna be hiding that well out here. Let's head inside." Lee is the first to climb the steps towards the city, Jopari right behind him.

It doesn't take them too long before they enter the city. Lee takes in the unfamiliar surroundings. This place, its was different from his world. He's never seen a place like this before. And it was quiet.

Too quiet.

"It's quiet." Hester comments.

"I was just thinking the same thing." Lee says as he looks around. Jopari walks towards a cart of food that had been pushed sideways. He kneels down and inspects it.

"Something's happened here." Jopari looks over to Lee, who is eyeing him.

"Magisterium?" Lee guesses. Jopari shakes his head.

"Before we arrived." Jopari stands back up and looks up at the sky. "Something strange in the air." He then begins to walk towards one of the houses. Hester looks up at Lee.

"What is he talking about?" Hester wonders.

"How should I know? I ain't got any magic senses powers, or whatever it is he has." Lee points out.

"We better follow him." Hester says. Lee looks over to where Jopari was previously standing, only to find the Shaman now entering the home. Lee quickly follows after him.

As Lee steps inside the house, he immediately see's a bar standing a few feet from him. This wasn't just a house. It was some sort of café. Jopari is looking at the pictures on the wall. Lee heads behind the bar to see if there was any food and drinks for them. So far, the cabinets where empty. Lee stands back up and looks over to Jopari.

"You find anything?" Lee asks. Jopari shakes his head. "Well, might be an idea to head upstairs, get to higher ground so we can see if the Magisterium enter the city." As Lee talks, Jopari heads towards the stairs at the back of the room. 

"I think he's taking you're advice, Lee." Hester says from her spot on the counter.

"Why is he so quiet?" Lee wonders as he begins to follow after the Shaman.

"Think he senses something?" Hester suggests as she trails behind Lee. The pair follow Jopari up the stairs, where they find him standing by the top. Just as Lee opens his mouth to ask why Jopari had stopped, his saw his answer on the floor. A few feet away, laying by a bed, was the body of a witch, one Lee recognised from his meeting with them those weeks ago.

Lee is taken back by the sight. He lets out a shaky sigh as he looks down at the body with devastated eyes. Jopari approaches the witches body and kneels down next to her. He places a hand over her eyes and closes them. He leave his hand on her forehead for a moment, his own eyes closed.

"Something happened to her daemon." He suddenly says. "She wasn't the one killed."

"Someone killed her daemon?" Lee says in shock. 

"I'm not sure. I can't understand what happened to it." Jopari explains, sounding a little confused himself. "This is something I've never felt or seen before."

"Then why is she the only body we've found? Where is everyone else?" Lee asks as he begins to look around the room.

"I'm just as confused as you are, Mr Scoresby. We're in a new world, one of which we do not understand-" As Jopari looks up at Lee, he see's a look of shock and surprise on the aeronaut face. His eyes travel to where Lee is looking. They land on a single bed. 

Lee slowly approaches the bed, treading carefully. Once in arms reach, he reaches down and picks up the fur coat that was laying on top of it. Lee begins to observe to coat with a gentle touch and shock in his eyes. Jopari looks at him with confusion, wondering why the man was looking at a single coat like all of his questions had been answered.

"Lyra." He whispers.

"The girl, the one you're trying to help?" Jopari asks. Lee nods his head.

"This is hers. She was wearing it last time I saw her." Lee says.

"If her coat is here," Hester begins to say.

"Then she must be here too." Lee gasps in surprise.

"In the same world the Bearer is." Jopari points out. "That's one big coincidence."

"If she's here, then we can find her and the Bearer." Lee says, gripping the coat in his hand.

"We can't risk going into the city with the Magisterium looking for us." Jopari reminds him. "Besides, you said it yourself, we have a better chance of the Bearer finding us here than in the forest."

"But Lyra is out there somewhere, properly by herself. What if the Magisterium find her?" Lee starts to look a little panicked as he says these words.

"From what you've told me, Lyra is a smart young girl. I believe she will be okay. Maybe she's on her way her. If her coat is here, then maybe this is where she's been staying." Jopari says as he gestors the coat in Lee's hand.

"He's got a point." Hester tells her human.

"And what about the body? What if whoever did this is after Lyra, or worse, has her right now?" Lee begins to get more panicked and frustrated as he begin to pace across the floor. "We need to find her." Lee quickly begins to make his way back down the stairs.

"Mr Scoresby, we both know it's not safe to wonder the city." Jopari tells him.

"Then we get to higher ground, scan the city, we need to find her before-" Lee is cut off when he looks ahead of him. A few feet in front of him, by the entrance of the door, stood a woman. One he recognised fairly quickly.

"Mr Scoresby, what a surprise."

It's Marisa Coulter.

"You know this woman?" Jopari says quietly from behind Lee.

"Yeah, Mrs Coulter. Lyra's mother." Lee answers, not taking his eyes of the woman. "The one that abandoned her as a baby, turned children into ghost by cutting their daemons and hurt Lyra herself."

"I never...laid a finger on Lyra." Marisa snarls at Lee.

"Not you, but your daemon did." Lee points out. 

"Simple discipline." Marisa says naturally.

"She's the one who freed you." Jopari says, trying to get his facts straight.

"On the promise I'd look out for Lyra if I found her first, that is of course right after she tortured me." Lee keeps his eyes set of Marisa, who is looking between the pair.

"So I take it you haven't found Lyra." She gives each of them a small smile. "But you know she's here, don't you?"

"Why would you think that?" Lee asks.

"Why else would you of travelled between worlds?" Marisa tells him. "Well I'm sorry to say that you came here for nothing. You won't be finding her."

"See I think it's you who came here for nothing." Lee steps forward. "We're not letting you near Lyra."

"I'm afraid it's the other way round."

Before anything could be said, a group of dark dusty, misty, creatures suddenly entered the room. They were floating in mid air, traveling like a sort of worm. Lee and Jopari take a step back, their eyes wide with fear and confusion as they stare at the unfamiliar creatures. 

Lee quickly pulls out his pistol and aims it at the creatures. Marisa however is unfazed and laughs.

"I'm surprised, Mr Scoresby, I thought you were smarter than that. You surely believe your bullets will have any effect on them?" Marisa laughs.

"What are they?" Jopari asks. 

"All you need to know is that they are dangerous. I believe you've seen what they can do to someone once they touch your daemon." Lee begins to panic a little as he looks back over to Jopari, who looks like is thinking the same as him. The witch upstairs, these things got her daemon.

"Threats, really?" Lee looks back over to Marisa. "I thought you wanted me alive so I could protect Lyra."

"Only to help find her. Once you did I was planning on finding you both and taking her back." Marisa explains. "However, it seems there is no reason to keep you both alive."
She lets out a hissing sound.

The golden monkey wraps it arms round Hester, causing Lee to cry out in pain and fall to the ground, dropping his pistol. The creatures began to make their way towards Hester.

A powerful gust of wind suddenly entered the room. Marisa is pushed to the ground by it, along with her daemon. Hester uses her legs to kick the golden monkey in the face, away from her. She then rushes over to Lee, who is gasping in pain. 

"Lee, get up!" Hester urges. Lee looks up at his daemon, with pain on his face.

"Wha-" He looks over to Jopari, who is holding his hand out to Lee.

"We need to move, Mr Scoresby." 

Lee doesn't hesitate to take the Shaman's hand and get pulled back to his feet. The 2 men look behind them and see the dusty mist creatures floating in the air near them. They don't waste a seconds before running out of the café and back onto the street.


They had been walking a hours now, heading back towards the city. Nobody had spoken many words. Lyra looks over to Will, who has a nervous look on his face.

"You okay?" Lyra asks. Will looks over to her and nods his head.

"Yeah, fine." Will answers.

"Because you don't look fine." Lyra points out.

"I am, just nervous I guess." Will tells her.

"About what? Seeing him? Talking to him? Knowing he's okay?" Lyra lists out. Will smirks a little.

"All of the above I guess." Will says. "That and..."

"And?" Lyra says.

"I just don't think it's a good idea to have the witches with us." Will confesses. "The spectres only effect adults. They'll be in danger while they're with us."

"They can look out for themselves, and we're safe with them. They can protect us." Lyra tells him.

"This is our fight." Will tells her.

A loud noise catches their attention. The 3 witches take up their defensive positions, ready to fight, as is Will as he takes out his knife. Everyone watches as a Osprey flies down towards the group, landing on a bolder near them. It was Sayan.

"The Bearer of the knife, are any of you he?" The daemon asks.

Everyone looks at one another, wondering whether or not they should trust this daemon. Will looks at Lyra, questioning himself if he should let himself known.

"Why are you looking for the Bearer?" Serafina asks. "Who is your witch?"

"I am a daemon to a Shaman, not a witch." Sayan corrects. "My human is looking for the Bearer, for a job for him."

"What job?" Will steps forward towards the daemon. Sayan looks over to Will and see's the knife in his hand.

"Are you the Bearer?" Sayan asks.

"Yes, I am. Tell me, what does a Shaman want with me?" Will wonders.

"He wishes to keep a promise to someone. For you to protect someone." Sayan replies.

"Protect someone? Who?" Will urges forward but is cut off.

"I'm afraid we must hurry. I sense Jopari is in danger. Head into the city, that is where you'll find them." Sayan takes off into the sky before anyone could say anything. Everyone is still for a moment.

"'Them'. This Shaman is traveling with someone, who want's you to protect someone?" Lyra says, trying to get her facts straight.

"Who would want to hire me for protection for someone?" Will wonders.

"With a object as powerful as that, I can imagine many people." Serafina tells him. "Come, we must hurry."


Lee is quick to open the door to another house and rush to the other side of the room. Jopari quickly closes the door and rushes over to Lee.

"We won't be safe here long. We'll need to keep moving." Jopari looks over to Lee, who is breathing heavily. "You okay?" He asks. Lee nods his head.

"Yeah, just not a young as I wish I was." Lee laughs as he repositions his sitting position. "Those things, ever seen anything like them, cause I sure haven't."

"No, they're of a being I've never encountered." Jopari shakes his head.

"Well, guess that means we have no way of stopping them, or her." Lee sighs in defeat.

"We can stop her easily, its those things that will be a problem." Hester says, earning a glare from Lee. "Not suggesting anything, just pointing out."

"This woman, is she really that dangerous?" Jopari asks.

"It's always the friendly ones and the innocent looking once that are the most dangerous." Lee points out. "She's killed who knows how many people to get her way, and took so many daemons from children. One of them ended up dying from it."

"Think she cares for this girl like she says?" Jopari asks. Lee shakes his head.

"I think she thinks she loves Lyra, but not the right way. She won't protect her, she'll just hurt her." Lee takes in a deep breath as he leans his head back. "If Lyra's here, then she's not safe. You need to find the Bearer and get him to Lyra before that woman finds either of them."

"I can stay and help you against this woman." Jopari tells him

"You saw those things, what they did to that witch. If we get touched by them...." Lee takes a moment before talking. "If one of us is getting out of here, it's you. Find the Bearer and find Lyra. I love that girl like a daughter, and I'd be dammed if I let this woman hurt her again. I'll buy you some time to sneak out of here."

"And how do you plan of doing that?" Jopari watches as Lee loads up his rifle and gets it into position in his arms.

"Same way I have my whole life. I'll talk my way out. Always had a way with words." Lee slowly makes his way towards the door. He turns back to Jopari, who nods to him. Lee nods back before making his way out of the door. He looks left and right, not seeing any signs of Marisa or the creatures. 

"You sure this is a smart idea, Lee?" Hester asks from Lee's feet.

"Never been one for smart ideas, Hester, you know that." Lee tells her as they continue to walk through the street at a slow pace.

"So, what exactly is the plan once we find her?" Hester wonders.

"Charm my way through her head so she doesn't kill us for one." Lee replies.

"I've never been one to be charmed before."

Lee quickly turns around and see's Marisa standing a few feet from him. She smiles at Lee with that fake smiles of her. Lee quickly notices how those creatures from before weren't with her. "But you're more than willing to give it a try."

"Alright, please don't kill us, I can be very charming." Lee says sarcastically, causing Marisa to laugh a little like before.

"Well, if that's your way of charming someone, then its no wonder you never had any children of your own." Marisa comments. Lee feels his stomach flip a little but tires to keep his feeling calm.

"Where you're friends?" Lee asks.

"I had a feeling you and your friend would split up, make it harder for me to track you, so I sent them to look for him." Marisa explains. "But don't worry, I'm sure they'll be quick on him."

"Is that what you thought every time they took a child's daemon away?" Lee asks. He notices a flash of anger in her face. "What about when it nearly happened to Lyra?"

"It didn't."

"You stopped it because you knew it wasn't safe." Lee almost spat. "If you could cut Pan from her without any consequences, then you would. You would cut your own child's daemon from her."

"To make her life better." Marisa defends.

"That's not your choice to make." Lee handles his rifle a little as he feel the anger inside him begin to grow. Marisa raises a eyebrow to the aeronaut.

"You would really use such a big gun on a innocent women?" She smirks.

"Your not innocent. And if it means I protect my girl then yes." Lee tells her, causing her smirk to fall.

"Your what?"

"Lyra. I swore I'd keep her safe, from anything and anyone. Even her own parents, if that's what it took." Lee steps forward, standing tall with his words.

"You're not taking my daughter from me." Marisa says with anger in her voice.

"I'm not taking you're daughter, I'm protecting her from you-"

First Lee felt the wind get knocked out of him. Then came the pain. Then the blood. He felt it slowly moving down from his right side of the chest, then his abdomen. His body felt suddenly weak, his legs giving out. He hits the floor hard and fast. He can't find the strength for words, all he can do instead is place a hand over his abdomen to try and stop the bleeding.

Marisa lowers the gun and looks over to the aeronaut. She slowly makes her way over to Lee. Once close to him, she looks down at him. "She's my daughter. She's important to me, and I won't let anyone take her from me." She drops the gun next to him. "Don't worry. I'm sure you'll be dead before they get you, unlike your friend. Oh, and I'll let Lyra know what happened. I'm sure she'll want to know."

Lee doesn't say anything, can't, as he watches Marisa walk out of his view. He slowly looks over to Hester, who is laying close by to him. "Lee.... the cloud pine. Maybe...she can help."

Lee completely forgot about it. The cloud pine Serafina gave to him, the one thing that could help him if he was ever in trouble. Maybe it could help. He carefully reaches into his inside pocket and pulls out the cloud pine.

"Serafina, I beg you, come help us." Lee gasps. His arms drops as he runs out of energy to hold it. "You think....that was enough?"


The group came to the edge of the forest and the city. Lyra looks up at the familiar city, her thoughts going from Will, to Will's father and then this Shaman who apparently wants Will's help. 

"So, how do we find my father now? Where do we start looking?" Will asks the group.

"Maybe we could split up in the city, take different areas to search." Lyra suggests.

Everyone is taken back as Serafina lets out a gasp. Lena and Reina step towards the queen with concern.

"Serafina," Reina says with concern.

"He's in trouble." Serafina whispers.

"Who?" Reina asks.

"Lee Scoresby." Serafina replies. Lyra looks taken back by this.

"Lee's here?" She says in shock. Serafina looks over to Lyra.

"I can sense he's close." Serafina closes her eyes, allowing her powers to sense for the distressed aeronaut. She turns her body back to the city, opening her eyes. Everyone looks in her direction. "There."

Lyra looks at the witch with panic. "He's there? In the city?" Serafina turns back to Lyra and nods her head. "You need to go to him, if he's in trouble he'll need help. We'll catch up, please just hurry."

Serafina nods her head to Lyra before taking off into the skies. Will walks over to Lyra and places a hand on her shoulder. "He'll be alright."

"We have to hurry." Lyra is the first to head towards the city, moving as fast as her legs would let her. Will rushes right behind her with Reina and Lena by their side.


Lee lets out a shaky breath as he tries his best to put pressure on his abdomen wound. Hester moves closer to Lee, laying her head on his arm.

" bad is it?" Hester says weakly.

Lee lifts his hand a little to look at his injury, only to see blood pouring form him. "Just need to keep pressure on it." Lee looks down at Hester, who is looking more weak than him. "Don't you go before I do."

"I'm still here." Hester tells him, her voice croaky. "Just, hold on a little long."

"I'm trying too." Lee's breathing begins to slow down a little. "I'm so tired."

"We're...not done yet." Hester says. "We need to hold on. For Lyra."

"Lyra." Lee whispers.

Lee could feel himself getting weaker and weaker. The bullet wounds, he's sure the one in his chest went through, but his abdomen was the worst. He's pretty certain the bullet hit a organ, causing the heavy bleeding. He tries his best to keep his breathing steady, to keep bringing oxygen into his lungs, but all he wants is to sleep.


He slightly opens his eyes, unaware he even closed them, the sun burning them. He sees a blurry figure sitting above him. Their brown hair tied, their eyes dark. It takes him a moment to recognise who this person was.

"Serafina," Lee sighs.

"Hold on. I need to heal your wounds." Serafina places a hand over his abdomen and begins to whisper a language he didn't recognise, and barley heard.

"So tired," He mutters.

"Hold on, Lee. Lyra is waiting for you." Serafina tells him. Lee slowly reopens his eyes, looking up at the witch.

"Lyra, she's here?" Lee asks.

"She's on her way. Now lay still." Serafina closes her eyes once again and begins to whisper her spell. 

Lee wasn't to sure what was happening, but he suddenly felt like his energy was returning to him. His body still hurt, and he still felt weak, but he could feel his body becoming stronger again. He looks down at Hester, who is already looking better herself. She leans forward and places her face against his own.

After a few moments, Serafina opens her eyes and looks down at the aeronaut. "How do you feel?"

"Alive." Lee laughs a little. As he goes to sit up, Serafina places a hand on his shoulder. 

"You need to rest for a moment. You're still injured and need to recover from your blood loss." Serafina tells him. Lee sighs a little.

"I can't stay down for long. I need to find Lyra. She's in danger." Lee warns the witch. 

Serafina shakes her head. "She's with my sister and a young boy. She will be here soon-"


The pair look over to their right. Lyra is stood a few feet away, looking at Lee with shock, worry and happiness. Lee smiles at the sight of the young child.

Lyra doesn't hesitate to rush over and throw her arms round Lee's shoulders. Lee is quick to return her hug, letting out a small cry of pain as Lyra rushes against his injured wound. Lyra quickly pulls away, looking worried.

"I'm sorry!" Lyra apologises. "Are you okay? Did I hurt you? Are you hur-"

"I'm okay, kid. This is nothing." Lee tells her, keeping is hand on her own. "Are you okay?"

Lyra nods her head. "Yeah, I'm fine." She looks over to Will with a smile. "I've had friends protecting me."

Lee follows her gaze and sees Will for the first time. The boy is not much older than Lyra. He looks a little injured himself, a bruised eye, bandage over his right hand and knife in her left hand.

Wait- knife.

"That knife," Lee goes to sit up but lets out a cry as pain shoots up his right shoulder, which he almost forgot was injured. Serafina and Lyra slowly push him back down.

"Lie still. I'll get your shoulder healed for you." Serafina says.

"We must hurry." Lena steps forward. "We still need to find the boys father, then we must leave this world."

"Father, who's?" Lee asks, looking between everyone.

"Will's. His father is in this world. We're searching for him." Lyra explains. "The Alethiometer told us that he was in the city."

"Have you seen anyone here?" Will asks as he steps forward. Lee takes a moment before answering. He looks at Lyra before looking back at Will.

"Only man I've see here is Jopari, and that's only cause we were traveling together." Lee answers.

"Jopari?" Lyra repeats.

"A Shaman." Lee replies. The group glance at one another at the name.

"Lee, was this Shaman's daemon a Osprey?" Serafina asks. Lee nods his head.

"Yeah, went looking for a knife Bearer." Lyra looks surprised by this as she looks over to Will, who wore the same shocked look. Will steps forward to Lee, looking down at the man.

"You're the man that was looking for me." Lee look at the boy, his eyes traveling to the knife and then back up to Will's face.

"You're the Bearer, aren't you?" Lee say with surprise. Will nods his head Lee couldn't stop the laugh that came from his mouth.

"You were with her this whole time." Lee laughs. Lyra looks at Lee with confusion.


"I travelled everywhere, to find the Bearer, to get him to you. To protect you." Lee explains as he looks up at Lyra. "And you where with him this whole time."

Lyra looks shocked by his words. She looks over to Will, who was looking a little surprised himself, before looking back over to Lee. "You, you did all of this, so I would be protected?"

"I failed you once, I didn't want to fail you again." Lee gives Lyra a small smile. Lyra feels a small tear fall down a cheek. She quickly wipes it away before throwing her arms back round Lee. He does the same, bring her closer to him. Neither of them move, not wanting to let each other go. 

Lyra couldn't stop the tightness in her throat, the tears that began to form in her eyes. She tightens her grip around Lee's neck, wanting to be close to him. 

"There." Lyra slowly pulls away so they can see Lee's healed wound. Serafina lifts her hand from Lee's shoulder, which no longer had a blood flowing from it. 

"We must hurry if we are to find Will's father and leave this world." Reina tells the group.

"Is it safe for Lee to move?" Lyra asks the witches.

"I'll be okay kid." Lee carefully begins to move into a sitting position, trying his best to hid the pain he was in. 

"He needs a little while to recover." Serafina tells Lyra.

Lee shakes his head. "We don't have a little while. We're not safe here."

"Me and Will are, but your not." Lyra tells him. "Not with the Spectres."

"Spectres?" Lee repeats. "That's what they're called? Those floating dusty creatures?"

"You've seen them?" Serafina says in shock. Everyone looks at Lee with the same expression.

"Yeah, Jopari and I barely got away. And she sent them after him." Lee tells the group.

"Someone sent them after him? Who?" Serafina asks. Lee freezes, looking from Serafina to Lyra to Hester, who is nodding her head. He looks back to Lyra.

"Your mother." Lee could only watch as the colour drained from Lyra's face.

"My mothers here?" Her voice shivered in fear. Lee nods his head. Lyra begins to breath a little faster, her face completely covered in fear. Will quickly rushes over to Lyra, placing a hand on her shoulder. 

"The Magisterium are here too. My guesses are they're somewhere in the forest looking for me and Jopari." Lee tells the group.

"We need to find Will's father and this Shaman fast. This world has become much too dangerous for both us and Lyra." Serafina says standing up.

"You won't have to look far."

The group look over and see Jopari standing a few feet from them. He look's over to Lee, who is laying on he floor, to the 3 witches and then the 2 children. He looks worn out and tired.

"Jopari, the Shaman?" Reina asks. Jopari nods his head.

"Yes. Sayan told me she explained my situation to your group." Jopari replies. "That the Knife Bearer is traveling with you."

"Yep, he's here." Lee tells him. "And so is Lyra." 

Jopari looks confused by these words. He looks back around the group, looking at each individual. He looks at the young girl that is sat by Lee, and then the boy who is standing by her, holding a knife in his hand. The boy who was looking at him like he had seen a ghost. 

"Dad." He whispers. 

"Dad?" Lyra and Lee repeat, sounding confused by this. Jopari takes a few more steps forward, keeping his eyes on Will. He starts to see the familiar features of the young boy he left all the years ago.

"Will." Jopari keeps his eyes on Will, taking another step forward.

"I thought you were dead," Will tells him. As Jopari goes to speak, Serafina jumps to her feet.

"Kaisa, there are Magisterium soldiers approaching the city. We need to leave, now." Serafina looks over to Will. "Your knife, can you create a window."

"Where? Were will we be safe?" Will looks around to everyone, many wondering the same thing.

"Can you open a window to anywhere? Any world, any place?" Lee suddenly asks.

"Yes, why?" Will asks.

"Open one to Texas." Lee begins to climb to his feet with Lyra's help.

"Texas? There's a Texas in your world?" Will says with a surprised done.

"What, you think the accent was just for show?" Lee smirks at the boy, who rolls his eyes. Will extends the knife out in front of himself and begins to create their window of escape. Will concentrates as he slowly begins to cut into the air, keeping his mind on where he wanted them to go. As the window began to appear, Lee and Jopari look at it with shock and surprised. Once opened, Will looks over to Jopari, his father, who is smiling at him.

"We must hurry." Serafina tells the group. Reina and Lena are the first to step through the window. Jopari steps through next, with Will close behind him. Sayan fly through the window, along with the other witches daemons.


Lyra freezes on the spot to the sound of her name. She slowly turns around and quickly finds the owner of voice. Marisa Coulter is standing on the other side of the street. Lyra can feel her panic begin to rise and breathing begin to quicken.

Kaisa suddenly appears from in the sky, swooping down and through the window. "The Magisterium are close."

"Lyra, we need to go!" Will yells, stepping back through the window to grab her. Lee grabs Lyra's arm and gently, but with some force, pulls her through the window, as Marisa begins to head in their direction. Her Golden Monkey rushing towards them.

"Close it, quick!" Lee urges, not taking his eyes of Marisa. As Will closes the window, Lee watches as Marisa screams out to Lyra one last time. 

The tension eases as everyone lets out a sigh of relief. Will pulls Lyra in for a hug, which she happily returns. Lee begins to look around the area they had landed in. They were currently standing by a riverside in a field. There were a few trees, but most of the area consisted of grasses. Lee looks over to one of the trees near to him and walks over to it. He observes the tree and smiles a little.

"Not bad, kid." Lee turns to Will. "Dropped us of at the perfect stop."

"I did?" Will says with surprise.

"Yep. If we just walk east, I know a place we can lay low." Lee tells the group. "Don't worry, Magisterium never bothered to come to Texas while I was here, doubt they'll be here now."

Everyone looks at one another before nodding. They begin to follow Lee through the abandoned field, no one saying a word. Lyra walks with Will for a while, sensing the nerves and confusion he was feeling. First they were looking for his father, then a Shaman who wanted to hire Will, only to find out the Shaman was his father, who wanted to hire Will to protect Lyra to keep his promise to Lee. If her life wasn't confusing before, it sure was now.

So much had happened in such a little amount of time, so much lose, danger, heartbreak and adventure in the spam of a couple of month. All she wanted was for things to go back the way they where. Not where she had to have witches a bodyguards, on the run from authorities and her own mother, and having to worry about all these different worlds and dust. 

Its wasn't long before a small ranch house came into view. The house was only small, one story made of wood. Lee stops his walk and stares at the place. He looks down at Hester, who is looking up at him with questionable eyes. 

"Where are we?" Will asks.

"Somewhere safe." Lee tells him. "I hope." Lee whispers to himself as he continues his walk towards the house. As they approach the house, Lee turns to everyone, holding up his hand. "Wait here, I'll check to see if its empty."

"No, it is." Serafina tells the aeronaut. Lee turns to the witch with confusion.

"How do you- right. Magic." Lee comes to the conclusion. Serafina nods her head and gives him a small smile.

"Right, come on in then." Lee places his hand on the door handle and opens the door. Dust smacks him in the face, as it does everyone else. The place looked fairy clean, minus the old dust in their air. It was clear nobody had lived here in years. 

Everyone enters the house and begins to look around. Lee however hangs back with the witches. "Smart plan." Serafina says.

"What?" Lee asks.

"Bringing us here. No one would think to find Lyra, or anyone here." Serafina tells him.

"Well Texas isn't to high on the crime rating list and-"

"I don't mean the town, Lee. Your childhood home, its a good plan." Serafina smiles at Lee, who is looking a little nervous.

"Yeah well, this place ain't home. Guess you could just call it our safe house for now." Lee replies.

"I need to talk to my sister witches. We'll stay on guard tonight." Serafina says as she begins to exit the house. Before closing the door, she turns to Lee. "Just remember Lee, nothing can harm you here, they're just bad memories."

As Serafina closes the door, Lee feels the tightness and slight feeling of fear in his chest begin to fade. It was strange what that witch could do to people with just some words. Reminds him of a certain someone, that someone who was currently sitting on the old couch with Will and Pan. 

Lee walks over to Jopari, who was leaning against the wall separating the living room and the hallway, looking at the back of the children's heads. "So, that's your son."

"Yes." Is all Jopari says.

"And he's the Knife Bearer."


"Talk about fate, huh?"

"I never thought I would see him again." Jopari says quietly. "He's not from this world, not suppose to be here."

"Well, he's here now. Maybe you can talk to him, answer any questions he has for you." Lee suggests.

"I will in time. Right now, I'm just happy watching him. He's grown up so much." Jopari smiles as he watches Will and Lyra talk with one another. "They seem close."

"You think?" Lee questions, looking from Jopari to Lyra and Will. He watches as Lyra places her head on Will's shoulder, who wraps his arm round her own. 

"Oh, they're close alright." Hester comments sarcastically. It takes a moment before it clicks as to what the 2 mean.

They were close.

"Yeah, one of the things you could talk about with you son is the right age to be doing....that." Lee gestures with his hand the scene in front of him, causing Jopari to laugh a little.

"Surely you were thinking the same thing at his age." Jopari smiles.

"Not important." Lee replies before making his way over to the pair. Lyra smiles a little at the sight of Lee, who is smiling back at her. "Hey guys."

"Hi, where's Serafina and the others?" Lyra asks.

"They're just outside," Lee says as he kneels down in front of them. "They're going to stand watch tonight. Speaking off, I think you've had enough excitement for today. Why don't you guys get some rest?"

"Where's everyone going to sleep?" Will asks.

"They're 2 bedrooms here. You both take them and we can sleep down here tonight." Lee tells him. Lyra and Will look at one another before nodding. Lee looks over to Jopari, who is watching them. "Hey Lyra, why don't I show you where to sleep tonight?"

"What about Will?" Lyra asks, looking between the 2.

"I'll be fine. I'll head up in a bit." Will tells her. The pair say their 'goodnights' before separating. Lee guides Lyra out of the living room and up the stairs. Lyra follows Lee towards one of the doors, which he slowly opens.

Behind the door is a small paintless room. There's a small splintered dresses against the wall in front of them, and a single wooden bed to their right with a night stand next to it. To the wall on the left was a little desk with a chair tucked underneath it. Lyra is the first to enter the room. She walks over to the bed and takes a seat on it.

"Sorry, bed ain't all the comfy." Lee confesses. Lyra looks over to him.

"How would you know?" Lyra asks.

"I used to sleep on it." Lee tells her. Lyra takes a moment too look around the room, her eyes clearly thinking about all the facts she had. Her eyes then land back on Lee.

"This was your house." She realises. Lee nods his had as he takes a seat next to her.

"Yeah, I lived here as a kid until I was 14." Lee says, looking round the room.

"So, why does no one live here now?" Lyra wonders.

"Place is far from town, nobody ever comes out here. And parents didn't have anyone to sell it too. Well, my dad really." Lee explained. "My mother died when I was your age, maybe a little younger. Ran away not long after."

"Why?" Lyra asks. Lee sighs.

"My father, he wasn't a nice man. He was-"

"Like my mother?"

Lee looks down at Lyra, who is looking back at him with a blank look on her face. Lee takes a moment before answering, trying to figure out the right words to say. 
"Not exactly. You're mother, she loves you, but she shows it in the wrong way. My father, he didn't care much for me." Lee tells her.

Lyra shakes her head. "I don't see much difference in them." Lee keeps his mouth closed, not to sure as to what else he could say. She was right in a way. There wasn't much different between her mother and his father, but at the same time there was. It was just difficult to explain it. "I'm sorry you had a bad father."

Lee looks down at Lyra, giving her a small sad smile. "Its okay kid. Just need to look at the bright side of things. If it weren't for him, I properly wouldn't of ran away and become a aeronaut, or have all the adventures I had. Or met you."

"Where is your balloon?" Lyra suddenly asks.

"It crashed. Had to leave it behind." Lee answers.

"That sucks." Lyra comments.

"Sure does, but hey, just means I'll need to win another one." Lee tells her. "But enough about me, what's happened with you?"

"What do you mean?" Lyra asks.

"Travelling between worlds, meeting a boy," Lee begins to list.

"Will," Lyra replies.

"So, how'd you meet him? And what about your other friend, Roger?" Lee watches as Lyra's face turned from happiness to sadness in just a second. "What is it? What's wrong?"

"Roger," Lyra says quietly, "He died."

"What?" Lee looks at the chid with shock and disbelief. That little boy, the one Lyra fought so hard to find, died?

"My father, he used Roger to create the window between worlds." Lyra explains. Lee almost feels sick to his stomach. The window he and Jopari came through, was the same window that was created with that boys life.

"Lyra, I am so sorry." Lee brings Lyra in for a hug, which she quickly returns. They stay silent for a while, just keeping their arms round one another.

"Will helped me." Lyra says quietly. "He helped me, somehow, get through the pain."

"That's what friends do. They help one another." Lee replies. He slowly pushes Lyra away from him so he could see her face. He wipe the single tear that fell from her cheek.

"Looks like he's doing his job well, looking out for you."

"Thank you." Lyra says. Lee looks at her with confusion.

"For what?"

"For helping protect me." 

"I haven't done a good job." Lee laughs a little while Lyra shakes her head.

"You helped save me from Bolvangar, you where there for me while we where with the Gyptions, and you travelled to find someone to help protect me." Lyra lists. "Nobody's ever done so much for me."

"You deserve it, and more." Lee tells her as he moves a piece of hair from her eyes. "You deserve so much love from people, and should have people in your life that would move heaven and earth for you."

"Like you." Lyra says. Lee lets out a shaky laugh.

"I guess." He replies. They stare at each other for a minutes before Lee breaks it by looking at the bed. "It's getting late, you need your sleep."

Lyra sighs be obeys. Lee stands up from the bed while Lyra climbs under the covers and starts to get comfortable. Pan makes himself a little spot at the end of the bed. Lee adjusts the covers around her so she warm enough. "I'll be downstairs if you need anything." 

Just as Lee goes to stand up, he feels Lyra's hand grab his wrist. He looks down at Lyra. "Everything okay?"

"Can you stay here, while I go to sleep?" Lyra asks, sounding a little shy about the idea. Lee gives her a smiles.

"Of course." Lee quickly grabs the chair from the desk and places it by the bed, taking a seat. 

"Lee." Lyra says looking up at him.


"The bed isn't that bad."

"Liar." Lee laughs with Lyra a little. Lyra smiles at him one last time before closing her eyes. 

Lee takes her hand, and watches as she closes her eyes. He stays this way, watching as her breathing began to even out slowly. Her body begin to relax, along with the grip on his hand. Secretly, he wanted to stay with Lyra until she was asleep anyway. A part of him was worried that if he took his eyes of her again, she'd disappear. 

Waiting until he knew she was asleep, Lee carefully pulls away from her grip. He leans down and places a soft kiss on her forehead. "Night Lyra."

Being careful and quiet, Lee makes his way over to the door. Once close to it, he turns back around and looks over to Lyra one last time. She looks so peaceful while asleep, he just hates that she can't be this peaceful while she's awake. The the world has it in for her to make her life as hard as possible.

Not on his watch. He was back in her life, and he didn't plan on letting her go, not again, not ever.