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Little Bit of Everything
this journal will contain a bunch of stuff eventually. eventually i'll put my story in here. a little bit more about me mite follow. i don't know wut else i'll cram in here but it will get in here eventually!
Anyway, his spirit somehow wound up in that girls cloak flames. It makes me wonder if that's how she could use magic...But, getting back to the explanation, Bronas was in that girl's cloak this whole time! I'm not sure how he managed it, but he somehow removed himself from the stone then found his way to the cloak...Oh!
Eldar's eyes opened wide in excitement.
Maybe she's Bronas's vessel...But...if that's true...
He turned back to Derrick.
Why is he taking this one? Hm...Oh, well...he's made his choice.
Eldar shrugged and started walking away. Michael watched him walk back the way they came. He turned to get one last look at Derrick, and then ran after him.
"You're just going to leave him? Floating there like that?" Michael asked.
Eldar stopped.
You're right.
He turned around, extended his arm, and then snapped his fingers. The sound rang out unexpectedly, like they were in an old stone cathedral. It faded, then echoed back twice as loud. Out of the corner of his eye Michael saw Caspian fall to the ground. He was about to say something, when Eldar put his finger to his lips to signal silence.
You'll break the spell if you talk. I've put him to sleep. When we inhabit a body it's like putting on your garments-you don't do it while people are watching. At least some people... He added with a sly smile looking at something on the ground below.
Michael looked down to see a woman walking out from the shadow of the ship in a scanty bikini.
Say, isn't that, Rose? Eldar thought.
Michael looked closer and realized it was Rose.
What is she doing down there?
They walked over to the rail to gaze down at her. Michael then noticed she was carrying something.
What's she carrying?
He could feel it as Eldar tensed up.
A head... The answer came.

Chapter 14

Michael tensed up, too, as they jumped over the railing. They hit the ground then ran up behind her. She kept walking as if they weren't there.
"Rose...?" Michael said as he reached out for her shoulder.
He was immediately shocked upon touching her.
"Ahhh!" He screamed as he withdrew his hand with Eldar's help.
There's a barrier around her. Don't touch her.
Gee, really? Thanks.
The three kept walking. Michael didn't like it, and wanted to do something, but what? Then the ground erupted in front of Rose, causing them to stop. Vines sprouted from the ground and wrapped themselves around Rose's wrists and ankles. She didn't struggle or make any noise. She just dropped the head. Michael looked to Eldar for some explanation to see he was looking behind them. Michael turned to see Derrick running up behind them.
Saw you guys come out here, and thought you might need some help.
It sounded like Bronas.
"Derrick...?" Michael asked.
No. Bronas. Derrick isn't here right now. Remember how you were put to sleep to make it easier on you? Same thing here.
"Oh." Michael said.
Eldar jerked back toward Rose as if startled. Michael looked back to see the head was now floating a few feet from them.
Get down and cover your ears!
Eldar jumped on Michael forcing him to the ground while covering his ears. Immediately a horrible shriek emanated from the head. Rose fell limp and Michael felt Eldar's grip weakening. Bronas had covered his ears in time, but had sunk to his knees. The shriek finally ended when the head exploded.
Derrick managed to crawl over and gently roll Eldar off Michael. Michael slowly stood up, unsure whether there was more. The head had been disintegrated from the blast. Oh well. Michael didn't want to see the chunks anyway.
Shriek blast...not a good sign.
Michael turned to see Bronas looking where the head had been floating with a worried look.
That could have only been created by a spirit. Spirits with that kind of power can get pretty nasty.
Michael turned to see Rose still hanging there in her scanty clothing. He rushed over to her and flung his cloak around her. Michael could feel Bronas's eyes on him.
He had been hiding many things under his cloak. Underneath, Michael had been hiding a black skin tight suit. It was covered with blades of all sorts: throwing knives, daggers, short swords, and even a katana on his back. Around his waist he wore a belt that had small capsules with a strange green liquid in them. He had two pistols on either thigh, along with two extra clips for each. A sheathe on either side of his shins held yet another nasty looking dagger.
His clothing was different to say the least. The black two piece suit seemed to have metal sewned into the fabric. The sleeves only went down to his elbows. Around his wrists he wore a heavy looking bracer. On his hands, he wore black gloves that also seemed to have smaller pieces of metal sewned into them. The fingers only went up half way on Michael, and they had slim metal rings around their ends. His pants once again had shards of metal sewn into them. Pads made up most of them, covering his front and back thighs and shins. The pants extended into his boots which had metal around the toe and heel. Attached to the soles were thick spikes for walking on almost any surface.
Once Bronas had taken it all in, he slowly stood up still a little shaky from the scream. He made a gesture toward Michael's wardrobe.
You know how to use all that?
Michael thought for a moment about how much he should tell, but finally decided that these guys could be trusted.
"Most of it...I'm still a little off with the rifle, and the green liquid is still being experimented with." Michael said.
Bronas quickly walked over to Michael, and yanked one of the containers of fluid from his waste.
"Hey--! Be careful I'm still experimenting with it!" Michael said trying to swipe it back.
Instantly the vial floated out of his reach above Bronas's hand. Michael stared at the object as it floated mid-air.
"Yet another ability I am kept in the dark about!" He said throwing his hands in the air and turning away from Bronas in frustration.
Bronas took the opportunity to study the mysterious liquid. He turned the vial, flipping it every which way, but it was still the same thick, green liquid no matter how you looked at it. Then, Bronas's eyes widened in frightened realization.
This is Teslis isn't it?! He asked in a scolding tone.
Michael didn't say anything at first. But then he turned to Bronas with a very serious face.
"Yes. It's Teslis." He said remorselessly. "I've been wandering down there a lot since Rose's death. I didn't really know where I was going, just following my feet. But somehow, someway, I always found myself in that room. Barrels upon barrels of the "poison"."
"One day, my senses returned long enough for me to notice something. I was walking past the barrels on my usual route through the room when I noticed that some of the liquid had bubbled over the top of one of them. It caught my attention: a sea of yellow with a small patch of green. So I walked over to it. I don't know how long I stood there just staring at it, but it moved after a while. Nothing big. Just a small jiggle. Like when you shake a plate of Jell-O. I reach out to touch it, and it lurched onto my hand! I started waving my hand trying to shake it off, but as I shook it, I swear I could feel something digging into my hand. Like tiny little claws. This got my attention. So instead of just shaking it off and getting out of there, I grab a broken glass on the floor nearby, and scrape it off and into the glass. Holding my hand over it and I walked out."
Michael paused to take a breath.
"Conveniently I had met a doctor of sorts in my travels in the boat, so I take it to him. He puts it under a microscope-why he packed it I do not know-and finds something very interesting. He tells me to come take a look, so I do. I gaze through the scope, adjusting the magnification slightly, and also see something interesting. This "liquid" is in fact a swarm of tiny mechanical bugs. The word 'nanobug' came to mind so that is what we called them. So these nanobugs have one purpose and one purpose only: to swarm everything in sight and improve it, make it better than it was before."
Michael paused again.
"You know why Pyronite is lethal to humans? Because when these bugs try to improve them, they attack the main organs: heart, lungs, stomach, and liver, so on and so forth. The improvements are so complex and advanced way beyond human capabilities, that the body can't support it with just blood. So the organs, being unable to function, begin to shut down, while the bugs move on improving the rest of the body. Eventually the body dies and the bugs are somehow released back into the air."
Michael was about to continue when Eldar jumped to his feet.
Shriek blast...that's not good.
Bronas gave Michael one last look then turned to Eldar.
We've already established that, Eldar.
Michael saw the vial float into a back pocket on Bronas's pants. He felt annoyed and no longer wanted to be around them.
"I think I shall return Rose to her room." Michael said.
He walked over to her and pulled her from the vines as they sank back into the ground. Hoisting her into a comfortable position, he walked back to the boat-leaving Eldar and Bronas alone. Michael didn't know if it was a good idea leaving them to talk behind his back, but he didn't want Rose to wake up in her present state in front of them.
He launched himself up onto the boat, and saw Caspian still knocked out on the deck. He ducked into a door, and went down two flights of stairs to Rose's floor. He proceeded down the hall passing two others before he reached the one with Rose's room. He turned and followed it until he reached room 596. He opened the door and stepped inside. The hole in the wall was gone...How had he not saw that before? He walked over to the couch and gently laid Rose down on it, and then he walked back over to the wall to study it. He touched it and brushed his hand across the wall in a wide arc. It was solid. No weak points or anything else that would indicate something had happened to it.
He was about to go sit down, when he felt something drop on the back of his hand. He looked down to see a little drop of red liquid. From it, he looked up. The entire ceiling had turned the same dark shade of red. He backed away as a crack ran down the wall from the ceiling. Once it touched the floor, the wall shattered releasing a wave of the same red liquid. It drenched him and the entire room. Everything was red...Red. Michael realized through that it was blood and immediately was hit with a wave of nausea.
Then he heard it. Quiet at first but grew louder with each echo. It was a laugh. A dark, evil laugh. He looked around trying to locate where it was coming from. It was deep and ominous, and echoed all around the room making it impossible to pinpoint its location. Then Michael nearly fainted when he saw to eyes open in the thick red blood on the ceiling. They looked left, then right, then right at Michael. The pupils were mere pin pricks giving them a wild, insane appearance. Then Michael started to quiver as a giant, toothy grin spread underneath them. It was huge. The face had to belong to something very large. The teeth were razor sharp, seemingly capable of biting through anything. Then the gigantic mouth opened and the laugh rang out through the room. It chilled Michael to the very bone. This wasn't the kind of chill you get when an ice cube is dropped down the back of your shirt either. No...this was fear in its purest form.
"You may have cheated death once! But no matter where you go, I will always find you!" The face bellowed.
Then, without warning, a giant tentacle-like tongue shot from the mouth and wrapped itself tightly around Michael's waste. Try as he might he couldn't free himself. He couldn't summon his sword or use his ice either! What was going on? He watched helplessly as the tongue pulled him into the pitch-black mouth. As the teeth closed down on him, he uttered one word, "Rose..."

Chapter 15

Michael jolted awake, completely swamped in sweat. He sat there in one of the armchairs, panting, catching his breath. The dream was still fresh in his mind and very vivid. That laugh...Such evil as he had never felt before. When had he fallen asleep anyway?
He looked around. The room was as he left it, but the lights had been turned off. He looked across the room to see the hole in the wall was gone. Was he still dreaming? His eyes turned to the couch where Rose still laid with his cloak over her. He walked over to her.
As he gazed down at her, he realized she was shivering. He pulled a red afghan off the back of the couch she was laying on and draped it over her. At least-he tried to. Upon the afghan touching Rose, Michael was blasted back with an electrical force. He crashed into the wall and toppled onto a small end table. He quickly recovered and looked over at Rose with curiosity. Tiny bolts of electricity were jumping about her in the form of a field! Michael walked over to her-careful not to get too close. He was about to see what his ice would do, when the electrical field disappeared and Rose was engulfed in flames. Michael immediately tried to put it out but was once again blasted back. He quickly stood up. She was on fire but wasn't burning, like Lance had been when he awoke from his death. He realized that the fire was slowly taking a new form. Then the fire disappeared and was replaced by a bunch of leafy vines. Michael walked over and touched one. It was definitely real. Suddenly the vines crumpled into ash, and she froze over completely. Right before Michael's eyes, Rose was encased in a foot of ice. Michael knew from experience that ice was safe.
He walked over to her, put his hands on the side of her "ice box", and pressed his face up against the ice-like a boy looking through a toy store window. Amazingly enough, she was still sound asleep. Michael pulled away.
"Well, aren't you exciting." He said softly.
Rose suddenly lit up like a light bulb. The light pierced through the ice like cake. It dimmed then faded as the ice fell away from Rose in huge chunks. Michael absorbed the ice so that it wouldn't leak all over her carpet. As he did so, Rose moved. It was small but Michael caught it. Her eyelashes fluttered. Michael watched as one eye slowly opened. At first it wasn't in focus, but slowly the pupil adjusted and she saw Michael. The other eye opened and she turned her head to face him. Instead of a smile, though, she had a look of worry.
"It happened again...didn't it?" she asked softly.
She slowly rose to a sitting position. Michael softly sat down beside her.
"Yep." was his simple reply. "But don't worry. You didn't do anything too bad."
Her look of worry intensified.
"What did I do?" she asked next to tears.
Michael took a moment before answering.
"Well...you had the head when we saw you..." Michael began.
"We? Who were you with?" she asked.
"I was with Eldar. We were on the deck...looking around...and talking." Michael said trying to work around Colin's possession.
"And...you said 'the head'...you mean that man's...?" her voice trailed off.
"That's the one. Anyway, we were talking and Eldar saw you walk out from the boats shadow with the head. Um...you were also in nothing but your bathing suit..." Michael said looking straight ahead, blushing slightly.
Rose seemed to just notice Michael's cloak around her. She pulled it back; her jaw dropped, and quickly wrapped it tightly around her. Rose looked up and noticed Michael's black suit. She took a moment before speaking.
"You've been carrying all that around this whole time?" she asked.
Michael started to nod but stopped.
"Well, not all this time. Actually this is a pretty recent development."
He pulled one of the vials from his waste as he said this.
"Bet you can't guess what this is."
She gently took it into her hand and studied it for a few seconds.
"What is it?" she asked finally, handing it back to him.
"Pyronite." Michael said hesitantly.
Her eyes grew and her jaw dropped. She quickly tossed it back into Michael's lap; nearly causing it to topple to the floor, but Michael quickly reached down and cradled it into his palm.
"It's pretty amazing once you think about it. Only a handful of experiments have opened a multitude of applications in many different fields."
Rose didn't seem all too excited about Michael's discoveries.
"Michael...what effects could this have on us if, say, it happened to spill?" she asked.
Michael pondered this fact. He honestly didn't know what to say. They had already been "improved" by nanobugs. Is it possible they would be upgraded further if hit with another swarm?
"I...don't know." was Michael's simple reply.
Her facial expression changed to one of disappointment.
"Michael...are you honestly wanting to befriend that which has destroyed our lives?" she asked.
Again, Michael couldn't find the words to say. She had a very good point. The Pyronite had indeed taken so much away from the entire body of passengers, but it had given a handful so much more! Is the sacrifice of about 2900 passengers really so bad once you consider the gifts they had received? Michael thought the sacrifice was a little much, but he did cherish his gifts very much.
"You have a point, Rose." Michael said finally.
He stood up and walked to the door.
"I have other matters to attend to at the moment. Shall we make plans for dinner? Say...eight o' clock?" Michael said.
Rose got up and walked over to the door. Holding it open for him she said, "Michael...I think you just need a little time to clear your head. I'll see you later."
And with that Michael was dismissed from her room. He walked out in a little bit of a daze.
What just happened? He silently asked himself.
Are your skills with the ladies not as good as you thought they were? A familiar voice echoed in his mind.
He turned around to find himself face-to-face with Eldar.
"Eldar...where'd you come from?" Michael asked.
Oh, here and there. He replied.
He walked over to Rose's door. He studied it before sweeping his hand lightly across it.
So, what's the deal? She dump you or what?
Michael looked at the ground.
"Well...she was covered in a field of electricity, then she lit on fire, then she was covered in leafy vines, and then...she froze over." Michael said the last bit with a satisfied tone. "She awoke after she thawed. I told her what happened outside." Michael paused abruptly as he thought of a way around his dream and the Pyronite. Then he realized he had left his cloak with Rose and his under suit was exposed. He looked down to see the light green vials almost glowing in their pouches.
"Ok, here's what went down:," he said deciding he might as well tell him, "I explained to her that I had been experimenting with the Pyronite-all these possibilities that have opened up. She didn't like the idea of using the Pyronite, saying it was "siding with the enemy" or something like that." He paused again wondering if this conversation should be taking place right outside her door. He started walking down the hall toward the stairs leading to the top deck, resuming his explanation, "I don't know what's wrong with it. But then...she brings up a rather interesting question: "What would happen if we were hit with another dose of the stuff?" I hadn't really thought about this, and not knowing the answer kind of bothers me."
They had reached the stairs and were proceeding to the top deck. They reached the top deck in silence. Michael walked around the railing guarding the stairs, and proceeded to the opposite side of the deck. He liked it up here. Maybe Rose was right; maybe he did need some fresh air. As he gazed out at the beautiful scenery surrounding them, he could feel himself calming down.
It's quite relaxing up here. Eldar thought after a while.
"Reading my thoughts again, Eldar?" Michael asked.
Well, it's true, isn't it? Who cares where it comes from as long as it's true?
Michael was silent, letting the wind blow all his cares away. This was a nice breeze-not too gusty and just the right level of warmth. They stood there for quite some time just taking it all in.
"Hey, Michael. You remember way back when, when I was going to teach you some of those spells?" Michael turned to find Lance standing behind him.
"Yeah...?" Michael said hesitantly.
"We never got around to it since you went to apologize to Rose. It looks like we have plenty of time now, though."
Michael saw no way around it.
"Fine. Let's go." He said.
They leapt off the deck and touched lightly on the ground. Lance quickly spun around and summoned his spear. It was a lot longer than Michael remembered.
"Summon your sword." Lance said in a surprisingly cold voice.
Michael unsure what was up summoned his sword, wary. As soon as his sword appeared, Lance lunged. Michael quickly dashed to the side. Lance landed and changed direction with little down time in between. Michael had no choice but to use his sword. He raised it and easily blocked Lance's attack, but then Lance performed a leg sweep and floored him. Lance shifted his hands the bottom of his spear and with all his might attempted to run Michael through, but Michael performed a sword sweep and knocked Lance back with the flat.
"Lance, are you trying to kill me?!" Michael shouted.
Lance responded by sending a volley of fireballs at Michael, who parried it by sweeping the air with his hand and focusing a wall of water droplets that doused the barrage of fire. Lance was getting a pretty angry look on his face. He started to tremble as his face filled with pure hatred. Suddenly, he was engulfed in fire. Using his feet as rockets, he blasted toward Michael at an alarming rate. Michael thought he heard Lance mumble something as his spear tip grew to a great size. Michael was now, panicking as the flaming Lance sped ever closer. Suddenly Michael could feel something inside of him. A word. A word on the tip of his tongue. What was it? Where did it come from? Michael didn't care, all he knew was that he had to say it.
"Blizarok!" He cried at the top of his lungs.
The next series of events happened in a blur. Michael felt himself literally open up. No pain, just the feeling of his torso opening up. What emerged was both frightening and wonderful. It had the body of a man, but the head of a horse, with great wings sprouting from his shoulder blades. As it floated there in front of Michael, it spread its wings wide. Then it held up a single hand. Lance ran right into it and was stopped instantly. With a small jolt of what appeared to be electricity, he was blown clear across the field to the wood's edge. The creature blew a frosty wind from its nostrils then disappeared back into Michael's chest. All Michael could do was slump to the ground. He felt as though he had run a great distance and was exhausted.
He snapped out of his stunned trance when he noticed movement from the far side of the field. Lance was actually getting up from his blow! He stood up slowly as if he, too, were dazed. After shaking the daze from his head, he dashed toward Michael. Michael was too exhausted to keep fighting, so he just fell over. Instead of continuing his assault when he reached him, though, Lance sat down on the ground next to him.
"How was it?" He asked in his normal tone.
"Huh...?" Michael couldn't muster the strength to use long sentences.
"How was it? Using your Aura?" Lance said.
"My what?" Michael said a little easier now.
"That's your Aura. Your inner being. That's what you are." Lance explained.
"I thought Eldar was my inner being..." Michael said.
"Although Eldar was inside you he wasn't your Aura. He just inhabited you until he could assume a body of his own." Lance was talking but Michael couldn't comprehend what he was saying. Michael watched as Lance slowly faded into the darkness...

Chapter 16

Michael awoke in his room. He sat up and felt a slight weakness in his abdomen. Looking around the room, he saw Eldar asleep in the bed below Lance's. Michael lowered himself slowly to the floor so he wouldn't wake him.
It takes a lot out of you...to use the Aura.
Michael looked to see Eldar had one eye open.
"What is the Aura exactly?" Michael asked.
Eldar sat up.
The Aura is your inner being. The being that gives you your power, to be precise.
Eldar stood up and put his hand around Michael's shoulders.
Come. Let's take a walk.
They exited the room and made their way down the hall.
You gave Lance quite a headache, I hear.
Michael looked straight ahead.
"I guess. It seems I passed out after it happened." Michael replied.
They were silent for awhile.
The Aura is your last weapon of choice. It takes too much out of you to use it.
"But what happens if I don't have enough power to use? What then?" Michael asked.
It doesn't use "power". The Aura is an extension of your spirit. Your spirit is where the Aura comes from. If the Aura is destroyed so are you.
"I just won't use it then." Michael said. "There's no way I'm going to make myself vulnerable."
They decided to go to the top deck. Michael realized that he seemed to come up here a lot. They watched the sun set.
"The sunsets are awesome." Michael said.
The sun was red with gold around it. The clouds had turned pink and purple. The sky was golden yellow. After a while, the deck lights came on. Michael was picturing the sunset in his head when he was unexpectedly struck on the arm. He turned to see that Eldar had some sort of weapon that he had struck him with. The small cut was oozing the familiar clear liquid.
"What was that for?!" Michael said as he pulled the weapon out of his arm and held his hand over the injury.
Bloodsucking insect. You must protect yourself from them. If they were to taste the liquid flowing through your veins, they would become like the snake, or the other animals that escaped during the Explosion.
He assumed a thoughtful look.
Then again, they could also die.
Michael looked toward the nearest deck light. As he expected, there was a swarm of insects hovering dumbly under the light. He waved his hands and they instantly became little spheres of ice. They fell to the deck with a barely audible tink.

After a minute or two they heard a faint clunk! Assuming he had hit bottom, they leapt over the side. Michael and Lance drifted downward feeling as light as a feather. They were surprised to see that there wasn't a pile of rubble at the bottom. In fact, there was nothing at all! He had somehow survived a 25-story drop and managed to wheel away!
"How the heck could he have survived something like that?!" Michael cried in anguish.
"I'm not sure but something is seriously wrong with him...did you notice him arguing with himself? Something happened to him out there." Lance said.
"I'm guessing by 'out there' you're meaning those explosions? What do you think it could've been?" Michael asked.
"Again, I'm not sure, but we'll have to figure it out soon because he could threaten the others next time he appears."
With this statement, we jumped back up to the top deck. Tyler was leaning against the railing having a smoke.
"You know that will kill you." Michael warned.
"There are worse things in life." was his wheezy reply.
Think I should snuff it?
Sure. Let's see how he reacts.
Michael gave a fake sneeze and the cigarette went out instantly.
"What the--!!"
He took the cigarette out of his mouth to find a small globe of ice on the end of it. They quickly walked away before they had to hear him rant about his cigarette.
That was pretty funny. Think I should encase the rest of him in ice?
Nah. He's probably got more in his coat.
Alright I'll leave him alone...for now.
That night Lance and Michael were sitting on the railing of the top deck viewing the innumerable stars.
"Man," Lance said, "wouldn't that be something? To fly? Be free as the wind? No boundaries?"
As they gazed up, a star streamed across the night sky.
"I call it!" Lance said.
He closed his eyes, made his wish, and then opened them. Michael smiled and turned his gaze back to the stars.
"Aren't you curious about my wish?" Lance asked after a moment.
"No. You're wish is you're own. It's not lucky to tell me, anyway." Michael replied.
"Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway." he said. "I wished to fly, if for but a brief moment."
Michael looked on him with pity. He, too, had thought of flying countless times. What a thought it was. He would imagine flying over towns and cities gazing down at the little ant people. He breathed a deep, longing sigh. His breath had now turned to mist from the ice powers. It took the shape of a bird that flapped its wings and soared around him until it vanished into the air.
"Well I think I'll turn in for the night." Lance said.
"Alright." Michael said. Lance started toward the nearest door. He entered and disappeared. Michael hopped down from the railing, turned, and, out of the corner of his eye, saw another shooting star.
"I call it!" he said softly. Then, he, too, closed his eyes.
"I wish that both of us could fly."
He opened his eyes to see the star still streaming across the sky.
"Hm. That's odd."
As it continued its arc, it changed course for the ground.
It hit the ground a few miles beyond the boundary of the clearing and made a mushroom cloud.
With a giant leap Michael touched down on the clearing boundary. Another leap to the top of the nearest tree, and a humongous jump toward the crash site and he was there. Michael was met with a giant smoking multi-colored stone. It glowed like there was a light inside it. Michael approached it cautiously.
"Halt!" a gruff voice said.
He stopped abruptly.
"Who's there?" Michael called.
"Allow us to introduce ourselves." two voices said in unison.
Michael averted his gaze to the stone.
"I am Eldar, the leader of the omnistone and seer of ice." an old, gravelly voice said.
A blue stone flashed as Eldar spoke.
"I am Bronas, the seer of earth." a gruff voice said.
A green stone flashed as Bronas spoke. There was silence for a moment. Eldar gave a fake cough.
"Hm? Oh alright. I am Shadow, the seer of chaos and darkness." a cold voice said.
A purple stone slightly glimmered as he spoke.
"I am Xepher, seer of fire." a casual voice said.
A red stone flashed this time.
"I am Searus, seer of strength." a voice barely above a whisper said.
He was the yellow stone.
"I am Metas. I am Phoras. Phoras is seer of Ying. Metas is seer of Yang. Together we control the harmony of this world." the unison voices said.
Black and white stones flashed as these two spoke.
"I am Sonris, seer of distance."
He was the orange stone.
"Now we must get down to the important stuff." Sonris said.
"Yes it is time you discovered your destiny. All of your destinies." Shadow said.
"What? What are you talking about?" Michael said.
"You are one of the elemental heroes." Sonris replied.
"Together we are the omnistone. We are the guardians of this planet's natural order." Eldar said. "You and seven others have been selected to be our vessels."
"We will infuse you with our powers so that you can protect this planet." Searus said.
"There has been a great deal of trouble brewing here that could escalate to a world wide catastrophe." said Xepher.
"We've been watching you for some time now, Michael Vorens." Eldar said.
This got my attention.
"Y-You know my name? Wait! This could be just some weird hallucination or something. How do I know you are real?" Michael asked. The omnistone was quiet for a moment.
"Eldar we cannot waste our time with hesitant fools! If he doesn't believe us then we should move on." Shadow said.
"Fool?" Michael said under his breathe.
"Michael, I can assure you we are very real. As are the seven trials. The first, of which, is your metallic friend. Manny I believe it is." Eldar said.
This made me remember Manny. How he had attacked us, and that other side of him.
"He has a split personality, does he?" said Xepher.
"You know about Manny? Can you help him? What's wrong with him?"
"He does like asking questions, doesn't he?" said Bronas.
"Bronas questions are quite alright. They help us learn. Something you need to do." Eldar said.
All of the voices started laughing.
"Ahem. Now, Michael, if you will be so kind as to take us out of this stone?" Shadow said.
"What? How?" Michael asked.
"Just pull us out. It's easy as pie." Metas and Phoras said.
Michael walked up slowly, and cautiously touched the orange stone.
"Watch it! I'm ticklish!" Sonris said.
"Oh! Sorry!" Michael said being a little more careful.
"Actually, Michael, Sonris isn't for you. I am the one you are to remove." Eldar said.
"Oh. Sorry, mate." Sonris said.
"Um...ok? But why do I take you?" Michael asked.
"The ice chamber was where you were when the "explosion" occurred. The ice fused with your body, and some of it even entered your blood stream where it now flows through your body." Eldar said.
Michael noticed something about the way he said explosion.
"The way you said "explosion". It sounded somewhat sarcastic." he said.
There was a pause before Eldar spoke again, "Do you remember how, during the cruise, you were in the ice chamber? The rocking of the ship? That was because one of your friends was trying to help another of your friends become an elemental hero prematurely. In this act of rebellion he..."
Eldar's voice faded. Bronas quickly picked up where he left off, "What Eldar is trying to say is that your friend warped you to this planet. This is not Earth. He used the generator on that ship to charge this crystal that has the potential to give Derrick the powers I, also, can grant him. Caspian, I believe it was? He failed, and the result opened a path to this world which is pretty identical to Earth. Travelling down this path caused the rocking of the boat. The human body can't take travelling through the path without some sort of cover, so any passengers who were on the top deck at the point you entered the path were shredded. That's why there was so much gore. Anyway, you were, then, shot out of the path and that is what caused the huge rut leading to the clearing from the lake. How's that for learning Eldar?" Bronas finished.
Michael sat down to let this information sink in. So it wasn't raiders that caused the ship to crash here on this island and it wasn't the ocean that-"Wait. You’re telling me that there's a lake on this island? That's not the ocean?" Michael said.
"Yep. There's a giant, clear lake near the clearing where your ship stopped.” said Sonris.
"Exactly how big is this island?" Michael asked.
"Island? Who said anything about an island?" Searus said.
"You mean to tell me that we're on a much larger piece of land? Like, say, a continent?" Michael said.
"Yep." Shadow said.
Michael couldn't believe it. Who said that they were on an island anyway? Oh yeah. Lance had said that the others thought this was an island.
"Ok. Let's see if I got this straight." Michael said. "This is not Earth."
"Yep." Bronas said.
"And that's lake water."
"Yep." Searus said.
"This is not an island, but a continent?"
"Yep." Metas and Phoras said.
"And we traveled through a path between my world and this?"
"That's what we said." Shadow said.
Before Michael could ask another question Eldar spoke.
"Michael, there will be plenty of time for us to fill you in on everything. But, for now, your body needs to be fused with the ice." he said.
"That didn't sound very pleasant. Am I going to be covered in a thick sheet of ice?"
"Oh ho! No. Nothing like that." Eldar said. "It will be quick. You'll wake up tomorrow feeling as you always have. Maybe a little cold, but that's totally natural."
"Natural? You mean there have been others before us?"
"Er...well...yes. But enough talk. Come, Michael. Remove your destiny from the omnistone." Eldar said.
Michael slowly stood. Then, he solemnly walked over, and gently pulled Eldar out of the omnistone with a little pop. Immediately, upon being separated from the stone, a bright light emanated from the blue stone Michael now held in his hand. It grew and covered him and all his surroundings.
"Now, Michael, this might be a little cold." Eldar's voice sounded from somewhere above.
Immediately following, a cold sensation, starting at his feet, slowly worked its way up Michael's body. He opened his mouth to gasp, and ice immediately entered going down his throat, into his lungs, and stomach, and entering his veins.
"Gak!" he tried to gasp for breath but couldn't get any.
"Calm down, Michael. The more you struggle, the longer it will take." Eldar's voice sounded much closer as if it were inside his head.
After a few moments of his insides freezing, the ice shattered inside and his airway was clear again.
"There. Now was that so hard?" Eldar said.
"Your inside me now...right?" Michael said after taking a few deep breaths.
"Yes. It's quite comfortable in here. Lot's of room." Eldar said.
"Are you saying I'm hollow?" Michael asked.
"Only when you sleep. Once your up and thinking it will be slightly crowded."
"I'm sleeping?" Michael said unaware of his state.
"Oh, yes. I put you into a sleeping state once I entered your body-to make it easier." Eldar said.
"Oh. Thanks. I guess." Michael said.
"You'll need much rest before your body can be active with me inside you." Eldar said. "So, for now, I will let your mind travel the land of sleep." His voice slowly faded as he finished his sentence.

Chapter 9

That night he dreamed about a strange place. There wasn't anything particularly interesting about it. Except for the fact that it was covered in ice and snow. Everywhere he looked, there was an expanse of white, save for a single tree in the middle of this sea of snow.
At the top, there was a ball of fire. It looked so odd, just floating there just above the top of the tree. It flickered and danced as snow fell on and around it. Occasionally, it would spit a spark or two out at its chilly surroundings which were immediately doused.
The rest of the tree, down to the lowest branch, was encased in a thin sheet of ice. It was awe inspiring. The whole tree seemed to glisten as the light played on the glassy surface.
But at the bottom, below the branches, there was nothing but green. All sorts of exotic flowers and plants. Lilies, roses, petunias all arranged in a spectacular display of reds, oranges, and blues. Among the foliage, a single vine rose from the ground and wrapped itself around the trees trunk. Michael's eyes followed it up and saw that it rose the entire height of the tree and poked out of the top. It looked to be the source of energy for the flame.
As he gazed into the flame, Michael saw the flame follow the vine all the way down the tree, scorching the tree as it went. The moment it touched the ground, the whole scene burst into flame. The snow melted away baring a scorched surface underneath. It only took a couple of seconds for the whole scene to become a picture of hell. From the spot where the tree once stood, a bright light erupted that showered the whole place in a healing ray. As suddenly as it had appeared the light vanished leaving a beautiful field of flowers. There were two mounds side by side in front of Michael. Between them was a large stone. He knelt to get a closer look:

Here lie two of the bravest men this world will ever know:

Raznas Eldar

Died the fifth year of fire Died the sixth year of ice

Defending the Great Kingdom Defending the Great Kingdom

Brother, Father, Husband Father, Husband

This generation, nor any to come, will not forget these brave souls
in their fight against the dark forces of chaos

Michael awoke the next morning to find he had somehow made it back to the ship and his bed. He sat up and looked over to Lance's bed, but he was gone. He shivered and realized he was freezing despite the cocoon of blankets around him.
"It will take awhile to get used to the cold." came Eldar's voice.
"So...it wasn't a dream?" Michael asked hoping he wasn't wrong.
"No. Far from it. I'm here to stay until this world is safe."
"Oh. That's good. With everything that's happened...it would suck if it were all a dream."
"Well, there's nothing to worry about. I'll remain here until it's all over. For now, though, what do you say to some breakfast? Then afterwards we shall begin practice."
"Practice? For what?"
"I need to explain to you how the powers of the guardians work, so that you don't blow a chunk out of the planet on accident."
"Oh. Well then I guess I'll make the breakfast quick so we can begin."
Michael hopped down from the bed, and pulled on a shirt, loose jeans, then pulled on his cloak over that.
"Michael? I've been wondering...what exactly are you hiding with that cloak?" Eldar asked.
"It's my protection from the world. I can't be criticized if they can't see me. Besides, it provides me with shade, and just looks cool." Michael answered.
"What are you hiding from? Criticism isn't necessarily bad. Sometimes it's helpful. Looking cool to yourself means nothing if you distance yourself from others. It looks to me like you use the cloak as a way of keeping people from approaching you."
"It's none of your concern what I wear, and I don't want to talk about it. Ok? Let's just focus on getting through the day."
Michael continued down the hall then turned a corner to get to the stairs. He suddenly felt like someone was watching him. He quickened his pace. He could now hear the soft sounds of feet tip-toeing behind him. He quickly summoned his sword and whipped around, but nothing was there. He jumped as a voice from behind him said, "Mister?" He turned around to see a woman standing there. He quickly freed his weapon.
She had to be in her late teens. She was about 5 feet 9 inches and had a rather slim figure. Her hair was blonde and fell gracefully about her shoulders. Her eyes were the prettiest shade of blue and had radiant smooth skin. She wore a red robe that appeared to be made of satin.
"Um...mister?" she said again.
Come on Michael! Stop gawking at her and say something! Eldar's voice sounded.
"Oh...um, yes?" Michael said.
"I'm terribly sorry, mister, if your busy I can find someone else..." she said.
"No, no. That's perfectly fine. What do you need?" Michael asked trying to sound as nice as possible.
"I've been searching for the pool for some time now, and I can't find it anywhere. Would you take me to it, please?"
"Oh, why that's no problem at all Miss...Uh?" Michael said.
"Oh, how silly of me! My name is Rose." she said.
"Rose...such a pretty name for a pretty lady. Well...shall we?" Michael said offering her his elbow.
She took it and they were on their way.
"So...Miss Rose. Are you enjoying our "island vacation"?" Michael asked.
"Teehee...it would have been better if we got to our real destination." Rose said. "But I suppose this will have to do for now."
"Did you come with family?" Michael asked.
"No. I won this trip in a contest." she replied.
"I'm surprised they would still offer contest like that with all the raiders."
"Well I won it and thought it would be fun since this is supposedly the best ship for defense against raiders."
She sighed.
"We could've done without crashing on this island though. Now I can't contact my family, and I don't know how long it's going to take to get off this island."
"You must miss them immensely." Michael said.
"Yes. It would be better if only I could talk with them." she said.
Is there some way we can help her?
How do you mean?
Contacting her family. Isn't there something we can do? I know we can transfer thoughts. But is it possible to transfer her thoughts to Earth?
Well...it's possible. But you can't just transfer her thoughts when she's awake. It will lead to questions that you can't possibly answer without telling her about us.
So you’re saying as long as she doesn't know about you I have the ability to give her message to her family?
...Yes. But it would just be better to leave her as she is. It's safer for us that way.
I'm sorry, but I can't leave her in such condition.
Michael snapped out of his conversation.
"Huh? Oh, Rose. I'm sorry. Did you say something?"
"I was asking you about your family...Do you have any?" she said.
"Oh...I, uh...Yes. I do have family." Michael said.
"What do they do?" Rose asked.
"Well...my father...is dead. My mother...abandoned me...but last I knew she was working as a maid for some rich slob." Michael said.
"O-Oh! I'm terribly sorry! I didn't mean to--"
"It's quite alright...I've pretty much gotten used to it. I just go with the flow-whatever happens, happens."
"Oh...I see."
They took a right into a door, and they arrived at the pool.
"Well...here we are. The pool. I hope you enjoy your swim, Rose."
"Oh, thank you. I will. Maybe I can talk to you again, Michael."
Michael released her arm and she walked over to one of the many chairs positioned around the pool to put her towel and robe down. With a final glance, Michael turned and walked out of the pool room. A growl from his stomach reminded him that he hadn't eaten yet, so he made his way to the mess hall. Once there he immediately went for the kitchen. Lance was lying on one of the counters.
"Yo." he said.
"Hey." Michael said.
He went over to the refrigerator to see what food was left.
"There's nothing in there...I already checked." Lance said.
Michael opened the door to find everything bare. Not a single scrap of food was there, not even a puddle of juice! It was the same everywhere: the freezer, the cupboards, everywhere.
"What happened to all the food?" Michael said.
Oh, yeah...heh heh...about that...you can't eat food. I destroyed it all last night while you were unconscious. Eldar's voice once again sounding in Michael's head, this time to bring him grave news.
What?! Why can't we eat?! And what about the others who aren't "destined"?"
It's alright. You all can live without food...it will just take some time to get used to it. Besides eating is a waste of time. You're better off without it...
Michael was starting to dislike this whole "destined" thing with an extremely strong passion.
Ok...so your telling' me that we can live without food? Forever? Is it an effect of the Teslis?
No...not exactly. You see, you have been resonating cold air throughout this ship ever since the explosion, so the cold has circulated throughout the entire ship causing the gas to condense into Pyronite.
So...the Pyronite's...fumes...have been inhaled by the entire crew and now we truly are immortal?
Well you all were immortal from the moment you inhaled the Teslis. The scientists of your world don’t want the public to know this but the Teslis has healing properties not of any world: it can restore human tissue at a remarkable rate.
"Huh? What? Oh..."
"You've been standing there for quite some time...not saying anything." Lance said.
Don't tell him about me!! Each of you has to discover the stone on your own...
"Michael...is there something wrong?" Lance said standing up and walking over to him.
"It's...nothing. I'm fine. Hey have you met that Rose girl?" Michael said.
"Rose...? Hm...I don't think so...Why? Is there something...special about this girl?" Lance asked.
"No...she just struck me as odd...out of all of us...she's the one person who seems...normal." Michael said.
"Hm...must not have bloomed yet." Lance said.
"Maybe. Maybe not." Michael said.
Michael...have you forgotten about our practice session?
"Hm? What?" Lance said.
"Oh...uh, nothing." Michael said realizing he said that out loud.
"I've gotta go...catch ya later."
Michael quickly walked out of the kitchen. He walked to the stairs in the middle of the hallway.
Michael it's time for your first lesson.
What?! Already? We're not even outside!
Exactly. It will take to long to go up and down these stairs-even if you use your super speed. There's an easier way.
Well...you've got my attention...What is it?
Spirit warp.
Spirit warp...What? Do I focus my thoughts and teleport?
Oh, no, no. It's much more complex. You tap on the left side of your chest with your right hand-this will loosen up your spirit-then you simply imagine jumping out of your body and your crystal releases your spirit. Your body becomes your spirit basically. You now have the mobility of a phantom.
Wow. Now my head hurts. But wait...why exactly must I tap the left side of my chest with my right hand?
Because, if you do the opposite, you'll release your spero nego or negative spirit. If he's released, there's no telling what he'll do with your abilities. I've been studying your spero nego and it looks fairly calm but if it's angered, or your angry when you release it, he'll get pretty violent. I can only do so much in the way of containing him, but I'll have a better chance if he's released in a calm state.
Ok. Tap left chest, with right hand, imagine jumping from body, and crystal releases spirit form. Got it. Let's check it out.
Michael spread his legs shoulder width apart, tapped the left side of his chest with his right hand, got a clear picture of him shedding his physical husk, and immediately was ejected from his body. He looked down to see he had a wisp of a tail instead of feet, and he was transparent. He looked up to see that there was someone floating next to him.
"Calm down Michael. It's me, Elder."
He had long, flowing hair that was tinted of light lavender. His eyes were a darker shade of his hair. He was fairly muscular-not ripped but fit. His ears were pointed like an elf's, and a dragon earring hung from his left lobe. He had silver bracers on his wrists, and midway between his shoulders and elbows. He had a yellow vest, which reminded Michael of a life jacket, with a white shirt with grey camouflage underneath. He had two rings, both had sapphires, and both were on either of his middle fingers. His lower section was also a wispy tail.
"But-But you look...so...young! My age even!" Michael exclaimed.
"My name has nothing to do with how old I am, or my appearance for that matter, even though I am pretty old."
"There's no way you could be older than...maybe twenty."
"Try twenty million."
"Yes. Sadly it has been that long since I was summoned to be the seer of ice...Oh! Uh..."
"You...were...chosen? To be the seer of ice? Meaning...you were human once?"
"Uh...that's not knowledge necessary at the moment to fulfill your destiny!"
"I'm tired of this destiny crap! Give me some answers!"
Suddenly he disappeared and Michael was back in his body.
Eldar, you coward! Hiding inside my own head!! Grrr...
Michael was about to go super-speed to get out into the field around the ship, but Rose came walking through one of the doors down the hallway. She looked up and down the hall and spotted Michael. When she saw him, she smiled.
"Hey! You're that boy from earlier...Michael?"
Michael cooled down immediately at the sight of her.
"Ah! Miss Rose! Did you enjoy your swim?" he said.
"Oh yes! It was quite refreshing."
Michael walked down the hall to her.
"Um...I know it's a silly question but...were you talking to someone out here? I could hear voices from my room..."
"Oh...um...I was, uh...talking to a friend...but...he left."
Her facial expression told him she didn't buy that story.
"Um...I was just freshening up for a nice stroll on the deck...would you join me?"
"Oh, yes! Absolutely, Miss Rose. A stroll around the deck is exactly what I need." Michael said.
"Wonderful! I won't be but a minute! You may come in if you'd like." she said.
"Oh, I wouldn't want to intrude-" Michael started.
"Oh don't be silly! Come in...Please?" She puckered her lip, her eyes practically begging.
"Oh...if you insist." Michael said.
She smiled and walked in her room, Michael following close behind. Before closing the door he took note of her room number.
He looked at the number. Something about didn't seem right. The plaque it hung on looked...odd.
"Make yourself comfy. I won't take long!" And with that she walked into a room, closing the door securely behind her.
Michael stood where he was to take in her room. She liked red. The furniture was already decorated with fancy patterns sewned into the fabric, but she went ahead and draped red Afghans, blankets, and shawls over everything. She adjusted their positions too. While originally all the furniture had been centered around the television, it now was backed against the walls leaving a wide open space in the center of the room. The carpet had been scuffed here and there-most likely from her moving the furniture-but in the center there was a peculiar pattern. Michael walked over to it and kneeled to inspect it. It was a circle with six dots around. In the center was a pentagram with seven circles around it. Each of the circles had a different symbol in them. Michael reached out and touched it and was surprised to find that it was still wet. It immediately dried upon touching his fingers. Michael gasped. It was blood! He quickly backed away, but immediately regained his composure as the doorknob twisted and Rose stepped into the room.
She was absolutely stunning! Once again she was in red, but this time, instead of a robe, she was wearing a bright red tunic over a white blouse, with dark red bellbottoms. Over all of that she, too, had a cloak. It, too, was red, of course.
She smiled as Michael gaped at her.
"You like it? I saw yours and thought it would be appropriate if we matched."
"Y-Y-Yes! You look extravagant! I've...never seen a cloak quite like that one..."
With good reason, too, for her cloak had an odd symbol sewned into the back, and undecipherable writing covered a good portion of the torso and middle. Also, a green flame pattern had been sewn into the hem. It almost looked real...
"Shall we?"
"Certainly." Michael said offering his elbow as she walked over to him.
Michael, I don't like that there's blood in the middle of her room...that symbol...I’ve seen it somewhere...
Not now Eldar. You talked to me a good portion of our first meeting. You are not interrupting this one.
But Michael...
No! We can talk after this walk is done.
Fine...but don't come crying to me when she puts a hex on you...
What?! Eldar what are you talking about?
Eldar? Eldar! I need to know!
Nothing. Michael was starting to feel uneasy with this thought. He never believed in witchcraft and sorcery, but since all that has happened and everything he's seen he wasn't so sure anymore. He took a glance at Rose. She was smiling and staring straight ahead. She looked at him. He quickly looked ahead.
"Michael...you feel...tense. Is something the matter?" she asked.
"Oh, uh...no Miss Rose...I was just...looking at how beautiful you were..." Michael said.
Her silence once again told him she didn't buy his story.
They climbed a flight of stairs and finally reached the top deck.
"Oh wow!" Rose exclaimed.
She ran over to the side of the deck and looked out onto the field around the ship. Michael slowly followed suit. He did a double-take when he reached the side, for out on the plain Lance was dashing about a gigantic version of that creature from the tree house. From its size, you would think it could have easily sliced the battleship in half.
"I've never seen such a creature!" Rose exclaimed.
"I have..." Michael said under his breathe.
"Who is that boy out there?" Rose asked.
"Hm? Oh, that's Lance...he's a friend of mine." Michael said.
"Wow...I've never seen someone with such potential...I wonder where he learned that..." Rose said as Lance released a volley of basketball-size fireballs.
"I have an idea..." Michael said again under his breath.
Rose looked at Michael.
"You don't seem astounded by these superhuman feats, Michael." she said.
I think now would be a good time to talk about how you shouldn't go telling just anyone about your special gift.
Oh, now you show up. Let me guess: you don't trust her, she's evil, and she'll misuse this information for her own purposes. Did I pretty much cover it?
Yeah, pretty much.
Don't waste my time.
"I can do that too." Michael said.
"You? You can do what he does?" Rose asked curiosity practically swimming in her eyes.
"Yes. Watch." Michael said.
He raised his right hand, and released a volley of ice spikes at the creature. Rose watched as they sailed through the air and hit their mark. The creature directed its attention towards them instead of Lance who was desperately trying his best to distract the creature. It started to advance towards them at an accelerating speed.
"Ah crap!" Michael said.
The creature curled its arm, ready to release a deadly swing of its mighty pincer. Michael picked Rose up in his arms, and jumped clear to the other side of the deck as the thing unleashed its swing and flung everything that jutted from the deck into the air. Screams of those on the stairwells could be heard as they sailed into the distance. Michael touched down on the deck and quickly released Rose so she could get away as Michael jumped back towards the creature. The creature raised its huge pincer and dropped it towards Michael at a very dangerous speed. With no time to get away Michael hoped it wouldn't hurt too much.
"Iris Ragnas!" a voice called out.
Just as the pincer was about to hit, a sword, much larger than Michael's, came between him and the monster. With an earsplitting clank the creatures attack was canceled.
"Huh? What-?" Michael said staring up in confusion at the gigantic blade.
"Michael!" a voice called from his left.
He turned to see Rose.
"I guess now's a bad time to tell you I'm a sorceress." she called.
"That's ok...but I think we can take him!" Michael called back.
He jumped up onto the sword then ran along it towards the creature's pincer. The creature quickly withdrew it obviously reading his next move. It countered the interrupted attack by shooting a giant disc out of its mandibles. Thinking fast Michael jumped towards the disc.
"Man, this is gonna hurt!"
He grabbed it while it rocketed through the air, tearing up his hands, spun it around, and chucked it back at the creature. It hit it full-force in the face. The thing staggered backwards from the impact and took a few seconds to regain its wits.
Lance took the opportunity to release a new attack.
"Firos Wreckus!"
His spear completely engulfed in flames. He adjusted his grip, took aim, and then flung it with all his might. It hit with such force that upon impact a huge hole was created many times the diameter of the spear. The creature let out a glass-shattering screech.
Fluids came oozing from the wound by the tubs. The creature let out another shriek of pain, as it staggered backwards. Then it spun around and ran into the vast brush of the forest.
Lance jumped up to the deck and landed as Rose ran up beside me.
"Wow! You guys were great!" Rose said as she wrapped her arms around Michael's neck.
"Thanks...you were pretty great yourself, Rose." Michael said as he detached Rose from him.
Lance said nothing just walked into a doorway nearby.
"What's his problem?" Rose asked.
"I don't know. Maybe I should go talk to him..." Michael said.
Rose pulled him close to her.
"But we haven't finished our walk around the deck." she said with a pouty face.
"I know, and I'm really sorry, but he's my best friend! I've got to see what's wrong with him...He might have been hurt in the fight..." Michael said shaking off Rose and running into the door after Lance.
He ran down the stairs then ran along the corridor at the bottom. The hallway came to a T. He looked to his right and saw nothing...but then he looked to his left and saw droplets of some sort of liquid on the floor. He bent down and got some on his fingers. It didn't dry up immediately like the blood on Rose's floor so it wasn't blood. What was it? He sniffed it and about passed out. It smelled like the foulest things in hell combined. He wiped it off on the floor and went down the hallway.
"Lance? You down here?" Michael called.
He continued down the hall until it T'd again. He looked to the right and there on the floor was Lance.
"Lance!" Michael shouted as he dashed to him.
"Are you all right? What's wrong?" Michael said as he lifted Lance into a sitting position.
He seemed to come to. His eyes flickered open.
"Hm? What happened?" Lance asked as he scratched his head.
"I don't know. I found you down passed out on the floor." Michael said with concern.
"Hm...That’s odd." Lance said as he jumped to his feet. He got light headed and almost fell back down but braced himself against the wall just in time.
"Whoa." he said.
"Are you sure you can't remember what happened?" Michael asked.
"Look. All I can remember is coming down here after that thing ran away, turning the corner then...nothing." Lance said standing up a bit straighter.
He started to walk down the hall then suddenly collapsed.
"Lance!" Michael cried as he ran to his side.
He turned him over on his back and saw something bulging under his skin. He lifted Lance's shirt slightly and saw a nasty gouge pulsating, leaking the same substance he found on the floor previously.
"Lance!" he cried in vain.

Chapter 10

Michael rushed Lance to the infirmary. This was easy next to jumping around with his gigantic blade. Once there he was immediately rushed to a table where they removed his shirt. Michael was shooed out so they could work without contamination.
Michael paced impatiently for eternities as they worked away at Lance. Finally, after three straight hours of work, a little man stepped out still wiping off his hands.
"Doc?" Michael said.
"I've...never seen anything quite like it..." he said in a squeaky voice.”He's...healed...all we had to do was clean the wound."
"What?" Michael said rushing past the small man nearly toppling him over.
He entered the room to see Lance sitting on the edge of the table pulling on his jacket.
"Hey." he said as if nothing of great significance had happened.
Michael walked over to him and looked him up and down.
"It's ok."
He lifted his shirt to reveal...nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a scar!
"That's...amazing." Michael said barely able to believe it.
Lance hopped down from the table.
"Wanna go practice?" he asked innocently.
All Michael could do was gape.
"Come on...it's about time you learned some interesting spells."
This snapped Michael out of his shock.
"Spells. You mean like abracadabra alakazam? That sort of stuff?"
"Kinda. Only our spells are much cooler."
With that he walked out of the room. His first step out of the infirmary and he collides with none other than Rose.
"Oh!" she cried as she bounced off of Lance.
She looked up and looked as if she just dropped an extremely heavy burden.
"Oh! I heard that you were injured, so I ran all the way from my room." she said standing up and brushing herself off. "I'm so glad you're alright!"
She gave him a hug. Michael walked out to see what was going on.
"Oh. Hi, Rose."
She gave him a look, just a look, and walked away.
"Um...?" Michael said. "Hey, Lance, you go ahead. I'll be out as soon as I apologize to her...I kind of walked off on her when you went below deck."
Lance nodded and started to make his way to the deck. Michael ran after Rose. She moved pretty fast because Michael didn't catch her until he made it to the hall her room was on-which was two decks above!
"Rose!" Michael called.
She stopped mid-step and turned around. She looked surprised to see Michael.
"Michael...what is it you want?" she asked.
Michael walked up to her.
"I-I wanted to apologize for leaving you earlier..." he said.
"Oh..." was the simple reply.
There was an awkward silence until Rose decided to break it with a kiss. Michael was too stunned to react at first, but once he regained his senses he embraced her. When they finally separated, Michael held her at arms length, unsure as to what he should do now.
"What was that for?" he asked in a voice barely above a whisper.
"I-I don't know..." she said.”It just happened."
"Well...what now?" Michael asked.
She studied him for a minute.
"Come inside. I would like to show you something."
She opened the door, and Michael followed her inside.
"I'm...not exactly sure how it happened." she began. "It began a couple weeks ago before the cruise. I was on my way home from the local market, when I suddenly blacked out. I awoke in my car in front of a burning house."
She looked at him with such pain in her eyes.
"It was my house!"
She paused.
"The next time it happened was a few days before the ship left. I was with my boyfriend and I blacked out. I awoke to see him hanging from a tree."
Small tears formed in her eyes. Soon droplets were raining from her face on the floor. Michael held her and tried to calm her. When she finally managed to regain herself, she continued, "The last time it happened was here in this room. I was sitting on the couch when I blacked out. I awoke to find this symbol on the floor, and later found a man in my closet...dead. Decapitated."
Michael was shocked and concerned.
"What did you do with the body?" he asked.
"I disposed of it of course!" she exclaimed getting excited. "I certainly didn't want to look at the revolting site any longer than I had to."
She turned to the symbol and knelt beside it.
"I discovered something else." she said as she gently touched it with her fingers. "It was the day of the explosion. I had been furiously trying to scrub this out all day. Nothing would work. It wouldn't even fade! I eventually gave up. I sat here staring at it...I don't know why...but I suddenly got the impulse to touch it. When I did..." her voice faded.
She placed all ten of her fingers in specific locations on the symbol before her and it immediately lit up.
"It shines whenever I do this...I'm not sure why though..."
Michael stared in amazement, but then he notices that one of the symbols was flashing.
"Is it supposed to do that?" he asked.
Rose stared at the symbol as it flashed blue.
"No...I've never seen it do that before..." she said in awe.
Suddenly thick tentacles shot out from the symbol, wrapping themselves tightly around Michael.
"What the--?!" Michael cried as the tentacles pinned him to the ground on top of the symbol.
Rose cried out as Michael started to sink into the floor.
"Sevus canus!" she cried as she lifted her open hand towards the tentacles.
Immediately the tentacles split apart as if cut by a blade. They retracted into the symbol and Michael resurfaced as the symbol grew dark red again. Rose knelt beside Michael to see if he was ok.
"A-Are you alright?! I swear it has never done that!" She exclaimed searching for any injuries.
"That's...quite alright, Rose." Michael said shaken by the ordeal. "I'm fine..."
He stood up and turned to look at the symbol. He noticed something different. One of the symbols had turned blue!
Eldar...do you see this?
Eldar? Eldar! I'm sorry for earlier! Please! I need information on this symbol!
Rose touched Michael's shoulder.
"Look." she asked pointing to the floor.
Michael turned to see that something had been scrawled in blood next to the symbol:

Michael! I have been sucked into the symbol! It's some sort of seal!
I'm in no hurry to see what it's sealing, so quickly find the omnistone
and get it far away from here!

Rose looked at Michael with curiosity.
"What's an "omnistone"?" she asked.
Michael was about to answer, when Rose suddenly fell to the floor.
Michael knelt and lifted her upright, but she was gone. Michael didn't know what to do, then he remembered how Rose had told him of her past fainting spells...
He lifted her up and carried her to the couch. He gently laid her down, then went and got a pillow. He was about to place it under her head, when she started to move.
Oh crap, he thought.
If Rose was telling the truth, this wasn't a good sign. She rose and opened her eyes, and Michael saw that they were blank.
Oh crap! He thought.
She looked directly at him and said something. Michael couldn't understand it though because it was in another language. She said it again but in a more angry tone. Michael started backing away not sure what to expect. Then she jumped up and shouted whatever she was saying. Michael decided the best course of action was to play it cool and try to talk to her.
"Uh...Rose...?" Michael said his voice shaking a bit.
"Rose?" she said as if she didn't know who, or what, that was.
Then she laughed. It scared Michael how heartless it was.
"English?" She said it as a question.
"Uh...yeah." Michael said.
"Rose...that's that poor soul whose body I've stolen, isn't it?" she said as if she could care less.
"Stolen...? What?" Michael asked.
"You see...I'm a wandering spirit. I go wherever I wish, then, when I find a place where I can cause trouble; I take over a human and make havoc. I have to say though...I probably should've taken you over, handsome." Rose said looking Michael up and down. Michael stood up straight.
"Let Rose go!" he said in what he hoped was a threatening voice.
"Oh, and what can you possibly do?" Rose asked.
Michael charged his left hand with ice. This seemed to get Rose's attention.
"Remarkable..." Rose said in awe. "That power...I must have it!"
Rose then launched herself at Michael. He quickly stepped aside.
"I have a question." Michael said as he dodged Rose again. "What happens to you if I damage her body?"
She lunged again before answering, "Absolutely nothing! Hahahaha!"
Michael then thought of something. If he can't fight it like this maybe he can fight it by going spirit. He spread his legs apart tapped the left side of his chest, and then got a clear image of jumping out of his body. The spirit had launched itself at him again, but was surprised when she got nothing. She turned to see Michael in spirit form. Michael now had a clear picture of what the phantom looked like.
"Wow...you're ugly." he said.
The spirit looked like a classic demon. It had horns, red skin, fangs that jutted out of the mouth, and a somewhat muscular build.
"How did you do that?!" it asked in shock.
"I'm not your ordinary human."
Michael didn't even think about whether he could summon his sword or use his ice in spirit form but he had to try something. He decided to try his sword first. He got a clear picture of it and...nothing. Ok, so his sword wouldn't work in spirit form, but would his ice? He tried charging his left hand with ice and...ignition! It worked! He could use ice in spirit form! He immediately started pelting balls of ice at the demon. The first couple hit dead on but most of them were dodged.
"Ahhhh!" The spirit cried in pain as the ice hit. It actually looked like its "skin" was sizzling from the ice.
"Is that how you want to play, punk?!" It cried.
"Well how about this?!" It summoned a huge mass of molten lava and spewed at Michael.
Michael dodged but not fast enough. His left arm was singed slightly. The pain was severe and he let out a scream of pain as his arm lost nearly half its mass. When the pain reached its peak, his arm began to convulse uncontrollably. Thinking quickly he used his ice on his arm-encasing it in an inch of ice. Before he suffered another such attack, he countered with a barrage of ice spikes. As the few that met their mark hit, the spirit sizzled more followed by shrieks of pain. With how much sizzling its arm was doing, Michael thought it should have been reduced to the size of his arm-maybe even less. The spirit followed his gaze.
"I see you've notice that, although I'm screaming in pain, my body doesn't show any sign of damage. That's simply because I'm a demon, of course. Our bodies regenerate instantaneously in comparison to yours." It said.
Michael decided to show how un-human he was. He smashed the ice he had encased his arm in to show a fully regenerated arm. The demon stared in disbelief.
"That-That's impossible! No human can do that!" It said in awe.
"I told you I'm no normal human." Michael said.
He crouched down then sprang toward the demon with incredible speed. He raised his left hand and struck but was blocked. Then, while the demon was distracted with his left hand, he charged his right and unleashed a powerful blow to its stomach. It looked like it could have passed out. It floated there, clutching its stomach, doubled over, and coughing. Blood started to stream down its chin. It looked up at me in disbelief. How could some human punk defeat it? When it regained enough strength to talk it said, "You win this round, boy. Next time you'll have no such luck." With that, it disappeared.
When it disappeared, Michael was automatically put into his body.
He looked to see Rose sprawled on the ground where the demon had been. He looked closer and realizes she was bleeding! The demon had used her as an invisible shield! Michael rushed to her, not sure how he could help. He gently lifted her, and took her to the couch. Luckily he hadn't hit the demon with to many spikes...Rose seemed to be heavily bruised where the ice spheres hit the demon, and she had holes where the demon was stabbed with spikes. Suddenly she spurted a fountain of blood. Michael jumped back. He rushed back to her when the fountain died down. He didn't see anything that would cause such heavy internal bleeding. He lifted her shirt and saw the problem: the last blow to the stomach the demon took dealt damage to Rose's major organs. Michael wasn't sure how he could fix it, and knew it wouldn't be long...
He stayed with her the whole time. She never did awaken. Michael mopped her face to clean the blood and sweat from her brow, and listened as her breath grew more and more shallow. Finally it stopped all together. He put his hand over her mouth-no air. He checked her pulse-no pulse. He put his head to her chest-no heartbeat. A single tear fell from his eye. He wasn't sure if she was going to reawaken like he and Lance did or not. He didn't know what else he could do, so he put her in a peaceful position-eyes closed, hands clasped over her stomach, head tilted to the side-and walked to the door. He looked back. He gave a small, sad chuckle. She looked like she was sleeping.

Chapter 11

Michael was in a daze for quite some time. He just gave up when he fully realized that she died because of him. He was mostly seen wandering the halls with a blank look in his eyes. Lance tried talking to him, but consolation wasn't his strong suit. So Michael continued to wander.
Michael's wandering eventually found him back at room 596. He looked at the number barely registering his surroundings. Something about it seemed to snap him back into reality...or fantasy...at this point Michael wasn't sure what real was anymore. As he gazed at the number plaque, he noticed something was different. He walked up to it and looked closer to find that there were fluorescent green flames on it! What's more, it was flickering! As if it was real. Michael had seen such flames before. He jarred his head trying to recall where he had seen them.
"Something about a robe...it was a girl's...what was her name...?" he mumbled as he desperately tried to recall his memories. "I knew her...we became close...then...uh...ah, screw it!" he said in exasperation.
Michael twisted the knob and opened the door. He was met with a barrage of red. The red furniture. The decorative red Afghans and shawls. Red. Red...Red Rose? These words worked themselves into Michael's thoughts. Red Rose.
"Rose." Michael said.
It came back to him. He had come into her room because she wanted to talk to him. She shared with him her troubling fainting spells. Then, that symbol had attacked him. Having to fight the demon residing in her...and her dying because of him. Once again a single tear fell from his eye. He looked at the floor. The symbol was still there. He walked over to it. He immediately noticed that one of the symbols had disappeared. It was the one Eldar was held in! Michael wasn't sure if this was good. Then he heard the door shut behind him. He spun around to see...Rose. He was about to run and hug her, but saw that her eyes were empty. The pupils had disappeared...again.
"I told you that I would defeat you this time." came the voice of the demon.
Suddenly light erupted from behind Michael. He turned to face...Eldar? It was Eldar alright. Instead of his wispy tail, though, he had legs. He had grey camouflaged pants on with heavy looking black boots.
Unlike last time, his dark lavender eyes were blank like Rose's. He looked much more defined then last time. He was definitely ripped-one muscle on top of the other, and a twenty-four pack. Around his waste was a belt with loops and pouches holding knives, tiny capsules, and two holsters holding hand guns. On his back were two sheathed katanas, and a giant rifle. He was so loaded down with crap; he had to be buff to stand up straight. This wasn't his entire arsenal, though; he clenched his hands then flung his fingers open releasing foot-and-a-half long claws.
"He's under my control now. That seal of Shriek’s is pretty nifty." the demon said from behind Michael. "It was easy to mind sweep your spirit friend here and use him as my weapon."
Michael turned back to her. He was trapped between his seer and a demon. The only option he had was to spirit warp. He raised his hand and was about to tap his left chest, when a hand shot out and grabbed his. The demon had anticipated his move and prevented it. He knew he couldn't harm the demon but he could rough her up, and he could beat the living crap out of Eldar. He bent his free arm, and elbowed the demon in the side. Then before Eldar could cut him with his claws, back flipped over Rose, grabbed her hair and swung her off her feet, and smashed her into him. They both hit the wall hard and landed in a heap. Then Rose started to move. She weakly raised her arm, "Mi...ch...ael." she uttered as if she was herself and not the demon. Michael quickly rushed over to her as her arm fell limp. He knelt down and was about to pull her free from Eldar, when her hand shot up and grabbed his throat.
"Hahaha! Silly boy! Your still just like the rest of these pitiful humans in one way-you let your emotions rule your actions! Hahaha!" She stood up, lifting Michael off the ground. She let him dangle there for a second, and then flung him effortlessly across the room into the door. When he hit, he felt something. It was small, but it was there nonetheless. It felt familiar, like a hug. He looked at the door to see the number plaque on the outside had somehow gotten inside. The flames were still there, but this time they had taken shape. It looked like,
"Rose...?" Michael gasped.
He heard her as if she were calling to him from a great distance: Michael! I'm here! When she took over I was somehow put in these flames! They're from my cloak...remember? Some of the symbols also came with the flame. I've been using them to weaken her, but the effects do not last long! They're the only thing keeping her bound to this room. Please, Michael! Hurry and free me from this prison! If I had access to my cloak, we might be able to seal her into the symbol on the floor! Hurry!
The flames swept over her and her figure disappeared. It didn't take long for Michael to analyze the information and realize what he must do.
The whole time the demon just stood there staring at him. It seemed to snap back into reality when Michael started to stand up. Before it could make a move, Michael waved his hand, and froze her feet to the floor. Not knowing how long he had before she broke loose, he quickly rushed over to the closet. He started looking frantically for the cloak. He pushed coats, shirts, skirts, and everything else out of the way in his desperate search. He finally dug and redug through everything in the closet and came to the conclusion it wasn't in there.
His next move was the dresser. He dashed across the room, being sure to keep out of the demon's reach. He quickly opened all the drawers pushing articles of clothing out of the way. Again he didn't find it.
He spun around and scanned the room. He searched everywhere! The closet was empty the dresser was empty. He saw the bed and looked under it but came up with nothing again. He looked around, and realized the place he hadn't looked: the bathroom.
He was about to super dash around the demon and into the bathroom, when he saw Eldar sprawled on the floor in front of the door. Who closed the door?
Michael knew that the cloak was in there, but he had to take the chance of getting by Eldar. The rifle looked pretty nasty. He didn't want to take the chance of Rose getting hit by it. The claws looked pretty bad too. There's nothing he like about Eldar's arsenal, but he had to chance waking him when he leapt over him to get into the bathroom.
He crouched down. Then rocketed around Rose, and leapt back at the door. His hand touched the doorknob and he turned it, all in midair. It started to swing open but immediately stopped when Eldar jammed his left hand claws through the door. Michael slammed into the door hard, and then fell on top of Eldar. Eldar ripped his claws out of the door, rolled Michael off of him, then jammed all ten claws through his back. Michael screamed in pain. The demon finally broke free, ran over to them, and grabbed Eldar's hands. At first Michael thought that she was actually going to pull them out, but was soon in more pain when she jammed them even further through him and the floor.
"I'll destroy you both with one blow!" she said remorselessly.
This seemed to do something to Eldar. He looked up at her. His gaze soon turned into a seething pit of hatred. He immediately started struggling to pull himself free. She started speaking in a foreign tongue. Michael had the sinking feeling that this was a powerful spell. Eldar struggled all the more furiously. She continued with the spell with a barely noticeable rush. Eldar suddenly just stopped. Just stopped. Didn't move or breathe. He sat there in total silence as she continued with the spell, now rushing more noticeably. Then, in one swift move, Eldar pushed his hands downward. Michael screamed as the nails cut sideways a couple inches. With a loud snap the nails broke near the fingertips. He quickly stood up, then reached down, pulled Michael free of the nails, and lifted him to his feet. Eldar stuck his arms under Michael's armpits to support him then clasped his fingers in between Michael's pointing his palms toward Rose.
Then, Michael heard a voice in his head, Think mirror.
Then he felt two small mirrors of ice form on his palms. Michael knew this couldn't be good. Mirrors reflected stuff. And if Eldar thought that mirrors would protect them, he probably intended them to reflect whatever was coming.
Michael then realized that Rose was mumbling the spell at high speed. Then, she stopped. She held up her hands, palms out. Then right before two giant beams erupted from them, Michael heard Eldar say, Now! The mirrors expanded and melted into each other to form a giant rectangular mirror that totally protect them. The beams hit them and Michael could feel it as they were pushed backward by the force. A few seconds later a horrible, ear-shattering scream came from Rose.
"Nooooo!" Michael managed to shout.
With a sudden surge of strength he tilted the giant mirror upward so that the beams made a huge hole through three decks. Eldar tried but couldn't force his arms back down. The beam eventually ended, and the mirror shattered.
Michael looked ahead to see a huge, gaping hole that went through the entire length of the ship. He sank to his knees. He couldn't save her...again. Then he heard the slightest of noise come from the door. He looked to see Rose's image once again peeking into the room. He couldn't look at her...he had failed her twice now.
He turned around to see that Eldar had passed out on the floor. He looked up to see the bathroom door ajar. He sighed. He might as well get the cloak now. He walked into the bathroom. It was like any other bathroom. It had a toilet, a sink, a mirror, a tub...but then something caught Michael's eye. It was barely noticeable, but a symbol had been carved into the counter around the sink. He walked up to it and saw that it was the missing symbol from the one on the floor! He reached out and touched it. Immediately it felt as if something rushed into him. It reminded him of wind...a cold wind.
So you decided to reclaim me have you?
Michael spun around to see that Eldar was standing next to him...as a human.
"E-Eldar...are you...you?" Michael asked tentatively.
Sadly yes but I am unable to speak orally. I can only communicate with you telepathically.
"Oh...that sucks." Michael said.
I'm not totally sure why that demon moved the symbol in here, but it somehow enabled me to become this.
He indicated himself. He looked at Michael to see that his eyes were vacant.
It wasn't your fault, you know. I was the one that forced you to make that mirror.
This seemed to get Michael's attention.
"That was you? I thought you were mindsweeped or whatever." Michael said.
I was. But when she threatened our lives, I was somehow able to gain control of my body through a strong will to live.
He was quiet for a moment.
And, I'm sad to say, I think there might have been a sliver of rage.
Michael wasn't sure what significance this had, but looked up and noticed Rose's cloak hanging on the back of the door. He walked over and grabbed it from its hook. Rose wanted released from the plaque, but he wasn't sure where she would go. Michael walked out of the bathroom and went to the door. Rose's form had appeared in the flame again. Michael touched the cloak to the door and the green flame rushed from it onto the cloak. Rose's form glided from the plaque into the room. It flew behind Michael and Eldar, and into a pile of rubble. At first Michael thought it had descended to the floor below, but was surprised when the rubble started to move. He immediately rushed over and started throwing chunks of ceiling and wall aside. He stumbled back as he unearthed...Rose.

Chapter 12

He fell back in shock. She sat there staring at him for a moment then lunged and embraced him in a long hug. They kissed affectionately wishing never to let the other go.
It took awhile before they could separate. Michael sat there, holding her in his arms. He never wanted to let her go again. But finally he did.
"I missed you." he said.
"Me, too." she said.
Michael saw her look behind him. He turned to see Eldar standing behind him, smiling.
I wouldn't do anything dangerous. That attack was a spirit blast. It only affects spirits. Reflecting it back at Rose blasted the demon apart, leaving Rose unscathed.
Michael nodded.
"This is Eldar. A...friend of mine." he said standing up and helping Rose up.
Rose smiled.
"It's nice to meet you, Eldar." she said extending her hand.
He looked at Michael. Michael nodded. He cautiously shook her hand. She gave Michael a look that said, "What's his deal?"
"He's mute." Michael said.
"Oh." she said like she did something offensive.
Eldar looked at her odd.
What's wrong?
Rose looked around.
"Did you hear something?" she asked Michael.
Michael looked from her to Eldar. Eldar shrugged.
Go ahead and tell her, I guess.
"Uh...Eldar has...telepathy." Michael said.
Rose looked at him like he was crazy.
"With all that's happened here, can you really doubt me?" he asked innocently.
Rose pondered this for a moment.
"I guess not." she said still not quite believing it.
Michael realized he was still holding Rose's cloak and handed it to her. He thought of something.
"Are those flames more than decoration then?" he asked.
Rose looked down at the flames.
"It's...part of my power. These flames are what enable me to use magic." she said running her finger along the flame.
Eldar stepped forward and examined the flame.
It looks so...familiar.
Michael looked at him.
Like the symbol?
No. It's more of a...familiar, familiar. Like it was something close to me. I saw the symbol somewhere, but this...this was something closer to me. Like a friend...
Eldar reached out and touched the flame, but, instead of touching them, his hand went through them! He pulled his hand out to reveal a small ball of flame floating in the middle of his pond.
"I was wondering when you were going to find me, Eldar."
Eldar's hand jerked in surprise, and the flame fell to the floor with a faint clunk.
"Ow! Whatcha drop me on my head for?" the flame said.
Eldar got a look on his face that said, "It couldn't be..."
Eldar went and picked the flame up. There was silence for a few seconds as Eldar stared intently at the flame, then Eldar looked at Michael.
We need to find your friend, Derrick.

Chapter 13

After another passionate kiss, Michael and Eldar were on their way with the mysterious flame. They found him on the top deck talking with Caspian. They walked right up to them without trying to conceal the flame. Eldar didn't wait for them to acknowledge their presence, he stuck the flame right in front of Derrick's face. He would've fallen backwards had Caspian not caught him.
"Whoa! What's your deal?!"
Eldar didn't back down. He held the flame out to Derrick, with a determined look on his face.
Take it. This is yours.
Derrick look around like Rose had. He turned to Caspian.
"Did you hear something?" he asked.
Caspian shook his head no. Derrick turned back to Eldar, who was still holding the flame towards him. Derrick looked past him at Michael with a look like, "What's his deal?" Michael shrugged. They left Rose's room without a word. Derrick looked Eldar straight in the face.
"Dude, what is your deal?!" he shouted.
Eldar pulled the flame back and looked at it. After a moment of silent staring, Eldar looked up with a little uncertainty. Then, without pausing to think, he thrust the flame right into Derrick's mouth. There was a moment in shocked silence, while Derrick gagged on the flame as it spewed from his mouth and started to spread. When Michael recovered, he went into action. He summoned a cloud of ice dust, and tried to cover Derrick in it, but it was repelled by some invisible force. Eldar quickly turned to him and held up his hand to signal for him to stop his futile attempt to put the fire out. Whatever was happening, Eldar was looking satisfied-like it was going as plan.
As Michael gazed helplessly at his burning friend, he noticed something. The flame wasn't producing heat! Nor could he see any burns on Derrick. Perhaps this mysterious flame was safe.
Just as Michael was about to calm down, Derrick lifted into the air a couple feet. He hovered there, shrouded in green flame. His head tilted bac


On a night like any other, two young men, one of 19 years and the other of 20, met in a pub to discuss matters at hand. The eldest carried a small yellow envelope in an inside pocket of his coat. They sat in a corner so they could converse in private.
"Here they are. Got 'em a few hours ago." said the eldest.
He was a young man of 20 years. His eyes were always brown, and his shoulders were narrow. His hair was short, always spiked, and was black with the tips dyed red. He always wore a black trench coat and a T-shirt underneath with baggy, black jeans and big black boots-even in the heat of the summer.
"Good. Just in the nick of time too. The boat leaves in two days." said the younger.
He was a boy of 19 years. His eyes ranged from light blue to hazel to green. He was broad shouldered and tall. He was always shrouded in a cloak, leaving most of his figure to the imagination.
"Yes. We should leave early tomorrow morning, so we can make it there by nightfall." said the eldest.
"We need to make sure that we make that boat, Lance. If we miss that boat...everything will fall apart." said the younger.
"Michael, for the last time, I know." said the one called Lance.
"I mean, I can't stress it enough. That boat is the key to our success. You know what waits at point B." said the one called Michael.
"Oh yeah. A reward fit for a king." said Lance rubbing his hands together in excitement.
"Right." said Michael.
The two then stood and exited the pub.
"Remember. Tomorrow morning, seven o' clock sharp, my place!" Lance called over his shoulder.
"I won't forget. Just make sure you don't sleep in!" Michael called back.
Then they went their own ways.

The next morning, at two till seven, Michael knocked on the door. It was immediately opened by Lance.
"Ready?" Michael asked.
"Almost. A few final touches and we're off." Lance ran upstairs, while Michael entered.
After a few minutes, Lance came stumbling down the stairs.
"Alright." he said.
"Wait. Do you have the tickets? Check right now." Michael said.
Lance pulled them out of an inside pocket in his trench coat, then securely tucked them back.
"Ok. Let's see...what else?" Michael said.
"You're positive you've packed everything you'll need?" Lance asked.
"Toiletries, clothes, snacks, money...I guess so." he replied.
"Same here. Let's hit the road!" Lance said.
They reached the halfway point by lunch, with two tickets for speeding. By nightfall, with a couple of warnings, they had found the port town where they would board the ship. They drove to the wharf where the boat had been docked.
"Ok. There it is. The S.S.R. Regis. Wow. That's a big ship." Lance said.
"It has to be. This is one of the newer warships. You know? Three decks for defense, and then room for one thousand passengers? Anyway, we need to find where we're going to dump this ride and a place to sleep." I said.
"I say we sleep in the car tonight, and dump it in the morning...save some cash." Lance said.
"Hm. I suppose that will work, but we'll have to get up earlier than planned." Michael said.
"That's alright with me. Let's find a place to dump it and sleep in it there."
They found a junkyard on the southern side of the wharf. They parked at the entrance and went to sleep.

The next morning Michael awoke to find a fat guy with scraggly facial hair covering his chin and neck looking in at them.
"Whoa!" Michael jumped away from the window and landed on Lance who awoke with a start.
"What the--?! Hey I'm sleeping here!!"
"I can't help it! I woke up to find that thing looking at me!!"
Lance looked at the fat guy.
"Bahahahaha! I...I...I think he's taking a liking to you!! Hahahahahahaha!!" Lance said tears forming in the corner of his eyes as he laughed.
"Dude, that's not funny!!"
Michael rolled down the window.
"Hey! You don't go staring at people when they're sleeping! It's scary!"
The fat guy gave him a smile and walked away.
"Now, THAT was scary." Michael said.
"Hey we gotta hurry and dump this so we can board that ship! It's leaving in ten minutes!" Lance said looking up from his watch.
"Holy crap!"
They jumped out of the car, and ran into the dump toward the caretaker's building. They ran inside to find the creepy fat guy at the desk.
"Uh-oh." Michael said.
"Hey, you. We have a car we want to sell to you." Lance said.
The guy looked up from his magazine. He looked at them and smiled.
"Why hello there," he said directly toward Michael, "come back to me have you?"
"Um, I'm not gay in anyway. Can you just give us the money for our car?"
"If you dance for me." The reply came.
Our jaws dropped.
"You're not serious are you?" Lance said.
"Oh, I'm very serious. Dance for the money."
He sat back in his chair and waited. Michael sighed.
"I don't know how..." he said.
"The simplest jig will work." the man replied.
Michael did the disco move a couple times spun around then ended in the splits. The guy applauded.
"I got a good look at your ride back there...whew...you sure you want to junk a sweet car like that?" he asked.
"We're sure. We just want our money. There's a boat that we're about to miss..." Michael said.
"Hm. How much didja pay for it?"
"I paid 38,999 dollars for that car." Lance said stressing the "I".
"Hm. Forty grand, eh? I guess I could give you 2 mil for it."
"Tw-Twenty million dollars?!" they cried in unison.
"No! Pennies! Bahahahahaha! No seriously I'll give you twenty grand for that car out there." he said.
"Deal! Hurry our boat's about to leave!" they said.
"Oh, just so you know, I'm not gay! I just wanted to see if you would do it! Bwahahahahaha!" he said with a hearty laugh.
He handed the money over, and, while they were stuffing it all in their duffel bags, and grumbling to themselves, they dashed to the boat. It was drifting away from the dock as they reached it.
"1, 2, 3!" they cried as they jumped from the dock onto the retracting gangplank.
They had finally made it. With nothing but blue sea before them, they started on the adventure of their lives. Acquainting themselves with a few of the one thousand passengers onboard they settle in for a long journey that will bring them riches beyond comprehension.

Chapter 1

The year is 2030. Marauders and pirates are everywhere-making travel over water dangerous. Ships have up to three decks dedicated entirely to defense. Even with these high defenses, the invention of crude plasma cannons make even the highest defenses look like mere wooden shields. The oceans are now littered with fragments of ships that could not withstand the rogues' attacks.
One cruise ship-the S.S.R. Regis-is docked temporarily at a port town before setting off to drop off dangerous gas at an island lab then to an island resort. The gas is called teslis. It's highly poisonous, but scientist think there might be some use for it in the medical field. It can restore certain tissues in the body that no known medicine, or procedure, can.
"Whew, it's kind of hot out here don't ya think?" a young man shrouded in a cloak asked.
"Ah, what are you talking about Michael? It's nice up here!" replied another young man wearing a black trench coat.
"You and I are like opposing forces, Lance. I prefer the cold of winter." Michael said thoughtfully.
"Hey guys!" someone shouted from behind them.
Lance and Michael turned to see their friend Caspian, who they met earlier, running up to them holding something.
"Hey guys check this out," he called, "I found it in the hallway!" He stopped a few inches short of bumping into Michael panting.
"What is this thing you have found?" Lance asked eyeing the object.
"I don't know," he replied, "I was hoping you would be able to tell me!" Caspian handed the object to Michael.
It was a dark green crystal that seemed to glow.
"Hm." Michael studied the object, turning it around, then handed it to Lance who did the same.
"I believe it's a crystal of some sort.” Lance said handing it back to Caspian.
"Well, duh!" he said. "I was thinking' you might know the price range for this baby on e-bay...?"
Completely ignoring this statement Michael replied, "You should probably put it back where you found it. Someone must've dropped it."
Just then they heard someone cry out.
"What was that?" Caspian asked.
"I don't know. Why don't we check it out?" Lance suggested.
Caspian started to walk away then called back, "Um, you guys can go ahead. I think I'll put this in my room!"
Then he ran into a doorway and disappeared from sight.
"Ok. Well I guess we should check it out now." Michael said. They turned and started walking toward the sound. Turning a corner, they saw another of their friends, Derrick, digging through the garbage.
"What are you doing?!" Michael and Lance cried in unison.
"What the-! Don't sneak up on me like that!" he cried startled.
"Sorry," Michael said, "but what the heck are you doing digging through the garbage!?"
Derrick stood up and brushed himself off.
"For your information I was looking for my lucky crystal. I can't find it anywhere!" he said.
A look of suspicion formed on their faces.
"Derrick, were you in the main hall on the second deck at any time today?" Lance asked.
"Um...," Derrick twisted his face in concentration, "yeah I was in that hall right after lunch. Why?"
Then they pelted him with a barrage of questions about the crystal.
"What was the color of the crystal?" Michael asked.
"Green." Derrick replied.
"How big was it?" Lance asked.
"It could fit in the palm of your hand. About the size of a tennis ball, I guess."
"Did it look like it glowed at the center?"
"Yeah! Exactly...but how would you know?"
Michael looked at Lance and said, "Just a few minutes ago Caspian, the short boy with the yellow hair, came running up to us with a crystal that matched yours."
Derrick's jaw dropped.
"Caspian? Why, I caught that boy digging through my stuff yesterday! He really makes me think he's a stowaway"
Then a look of fear came to his face.
"We have to get that crystal back in my room ASAP!!!" He took off running to look for Caspian.
We faced each other with bewildered looks on our faces.
"I wonder why?" Michael said.
Now let me take a few sentences to explain the source of power that runs this battleship, for it is like no other. This battleship is run by a pillar of energy poles. These poles of energy pull atoms out of the air, and feed them to a huge sphere that changes their make-up. Once the change is complete, the atoms are then fed to the entire ship-powering weapons, lights, etc. The poles are very unstable, though. If something were to touch them with an object, they would immediately collapse into the object. The object would now contain the power of an atomic bomb.
The first place Derrick looked was this main source of power. To his dismay the door was open. He looked in to see Caspian holding the crystal looking at the pillar of energy.
"Caspian don't!" Derrick cried. Caspian spun around in surprise, and then smiled when he saw it was Derrick.
"What do you want, Derrick?" he asked.
"Caspian I don't want any trouble." Derrick said.
A look of surprise spread across Caspian's face.
"What, you think I'm going to harm people on this boat? Never! In case you haven't noticed I have friends on this boat that I care about very much!"
Derrick slowly approached Caspian.
"Then why are you doing this? You know what will happen if you insert that crystal into any one of those beams."
A look of comprehension crossed Caspian's face. Derrick thought he was going to insert the crystal he now held.
"Derrick, I can assure you, I'm not going to insert your crystal into the generator." he said.
"But...if your not...why are you down here?"
Caspian smiled.
"I was simply reenergizing your crystal." The reply came. "It's obvious you are unaware of the power you hold."

Chapter 2

While Caspian and Derrick were chatting, Michael and Lance were still trying to find Caspian. They were worried because they didn't know why Derrick wanted that crystal back in his room ASAP.
"Do you have any idea why Derrick is so worried about that crystal?" Michael asked.
"Probably just a family heirloom that he wants to keep or something." Lance replied.
They turned a corner and bumped into one of the workers on the boat. They had previously made friends with him as well.
"Hey guys! How ya doing so far?" Michael and Lance shook hands with him.
"Hey, Tyler. We're doing just fine. And you?"
"I'm doing great."
Caspian popped back into Michael's mind and he asked, "Have you seen a short boy with blonde hair running around anywhere?"
Tyler thought for a moment.
Well the search continues then, Michael thought.
They continued down the hallway until they came to a T.
"Hm. The left leads to the boiler room, and the right leads to the ice chamber and kitchen." Michael said.
They both looked up and down the hallways but saw no sign of Derrick or Caspian.
"I'll take the kitchen and ice chamber." Michael said.
"Then I'll take the boiler room." Lance said.
They split up.
Once in the kitchen Michael looked around. He saw two doors. One lead to the ice chamber, the other to another room that he never knew existed. Curious, he walked over to it to see what was behind it.
As Michael was reaching for the doorknob, Manny, a short man who gets around by a little vehicle because he was crippled forever in a freak accident, came screeching across the kitchen shouting, "Hey! Get away from there! That room is off-limits to passengers!" Michael quickly withdrew his hand. After knocking about half the kitchen staff over, and spilling many trays of food, Manny pulled up and started bumping Michael away from the door with his vehicle.
"Oh, it's you again, is it? It seems like you are going to try to break every rule on this cruise before we reach our destination!"
Michael started backing toward the door that lead to the ice chamber.
"C'mon Manny you should learn to live a little."
As soon as he was finished Michael regretted having said anything at all. Manny popped a wheelie and flattened him to the floor. He lowered his face so it was an inch from Michael's.
"How do you expect me to live with this CURSE?!" He thundered the last word so everyone in the kitchen could hear. "Listen Manny, I didn't mean it. I'm sorry!" Michael said with great difficulty, as Manny was crushing his rib cage.
Manny snorted and squealed his tires as he rolled off Michael.
Michael stood up, brushing himself off. He, then, proceeded into the freezer. The boat leaned hard to the left as though making a sharp left turn.
"Holy crap! Don't tell me we're under attack!" Michael cried as he slammed into the wall.
"Hey! Derrick? Caspian? Are you in here?" he called.
The boat leaned hard to the right this time.
Michael hit three huge pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling and a shelf before finally hitting the far wall hard. With the wind knocked out of him, he sank to the floor.
The boat yet again leaned hard to the left, and yet again Michael hit the wall hard. Coughing and sputtering blood, he hoped it would be over soon. Just before Michael passed out, he saw the door fly open and two people in shiny clothing come floating over to him. He looked up and tried to make out their faces, but his vision was blurred with pain.
"It's OK Michael we'll get you out of here. Don't worry, the other destines are going to be just fine."

Chapter 3

When Michael awoke he was still on the battleship.
"Hey, your finally awake." a voice said.
"Huh?" he tried to say but couldn't. It hurt too much.
"Don't try to speak your not strong enough yet." the voice said.
Then Michael closed his eyes and went to sleep again.
He dreamed about the ice chamber, and about the two strangers who saved him. Had he just imagined them, and, somehow, in his subconscious saved himself? Or had they been real? If so, who were they?
The next time he awoke it was night, and he was still on the battleship. But something didn't feel right. Then it hit him: they weren't moving. His body was doing much better. He could sit up and look around.
"Hey Michael you're finally awake!" someone called from somewhere.
"Lance? Is that you Lance?" Michael said, this time without any pain.
"I'm right behind you." Lance said. "Oh, dude...what happened? Where are we?" Michael had so many questions. "Everything's alright, dude."
He lay back down, and rested a bit before trying to stand. Lance was immediately behind me.
"Whoa there." he said helping Michael up.
"Where the heck are we?" Michael asked.
"According to the others we are on some sort of island." he answered.
He couldn't believe what gore he saw!
"Oh man! What the heck happened!?" Michael asked looking at everyone.
"The explosion happened that's what." said Manny.
Michael almost fainted when he saw him.
"Oh my gosh! Manny?!" he said staring at the grotesque figure before him.
Skin was hanging loosely all over his body. He looked to be mostly metal!
"Manny...what happened?" Michael asked stepping back.
Manny stood there staring at Michael, with huge bloody circles the size of dinner plates Michael believed to be his eyes.
"... I was standing by the door to the generator. I didn't know what was going on inside....I could hear two people...I was listening to their conversation when..." he had to pause for a minute to regain his composure. "...the ship exploded Michael...and I took the full blow of it," he paused again, "The rubber on the tires of my vehicle melted off...and what was left of the metal was melted to me...then I was hit with the shrapnel. I thought I was going to die and the pain would be over soon...but no...ohhh no...it wasn't over yet. As you can tell I'm in one piece and still "living" if you can call it that. Anyway, when it was all over I was the grotesque figure you see before you. It helps that I can't feel anything below my waist. The chemicals are the only thing that kept me alive."
"Chemicals...?" Michael said.
Manny looked over at me with his eyes widening-if that was possible. It appeared as though he realized he said something he wasn't supposed to.
"Oh! Um...never mind...forget I said anything."
He rolled away.

Chapter 4

There were tons of corpses scattered throughout the battleship that looked like they were torn to shreds then sloppily put back together. It's a surprise that the people who survived did. But there was also a small group of people that came out without a scratch though they claim to have been through the explosion too. These people may look the same on the outside, but they have extraordinary strength and stamina. Altogether there were a total of twenty-five survivors out of the one thousand passengers.
When we looked for the animals that were on the boat they were gone. There was a scorpion, three snakes, an octopus, a tarantula, a centipede, a king fish, a sting ray, a starfish, a jellyfish, and three frogs. Most of which are poisonous. There was one animal that did not escape or die during the explosion: a foreign creature that's the only one of its kind.
This particular creature is taller than the tallest man in the world, when standing on its block-end tail. This creature's body is segmented, and the first nine segments going down from its head are rare crystals that can't be found anywhere except on the body of this creature. It's said that these crystals can bring the dead to life if used correctly.
This particular creature was right where it was left: in its cage in the storage room. Michael was met with a great surprise, though, when he entered the room.
"Hello one and all." said the creature.
"Holy crap!" Michael said jumping back.
"Woopssss! Ssssorry, I forgot humanssss aren't ussssed to animalssss talking." it said.
All he could do was stand there and stare in amazement.
"Stay right there. I'll be back." Michael said.
"Where am I gonna go? I mean honesssstly." it retorted.
I quickly walked away to tell Lance.
"The thing talked?!" Lance exclaimed.
"It talked to me." Michael said.
"I think that explosion got to your head. That thing doesn't talk." he said trying to assure me it didn't.
Michael didn't need assurance. He wasn't going crazy...or was he?
"Maybe you'd better lay down." he suggested.
"I heard what I heard. That thing talked." Michael said confidently. "Here if you don't believe me I'll show you."
Michael turned and started walking toward the creature's keep.
"Ok, but I still won't believe it." he called after him.
This chemical that was on the ship is a dangerous chemical called teslis. This chemical is lethal to humans. The only thing that kept everyone on the ship alive, surprisingly, was the mixture of the different elements throughout the ship-ice in the ice chamber, fire from the boiler room, the fumes from the onboard garden, and so on. This mixture made it have the same effect on humans it does animals with slight tweaks.
The chemical has different effects on animals depending on the temperature it's at, what type of animal, and what size the animal is. If it's a rather large animal it takes more of the chemical to have a huge effect on the animal. If it's a rather small animal, like a mouse or insect, the possibilities are endless! If a small animal is hit with a huge amount of this chemical it could be mutated, enlarged, granted special abilities like flying. If the animal breathes in too much it could explode or just die, though. In the creature's case it was just granted the ability of speech.
When we arrived in the room Michael noticed something he didn't the first time: all the cages except the worm's was broken.
"What the heck happened here?" he asked the worm.
"Oh, your back. The other animalssss broke out of their cagessss shortly after the explosion." it informed.
"Oh. Dang." Michael replied.
"Holy crap! It does talk!" Lance said. "So, are you a snake or something? I mean you drag out your S's like snakes would if they could talk. Snakes would if they could talk." Lance said.
"Oh but ssssnakessss can talk. At leasssst the onessss that were in the cagessss. And yes I'm a ssssnake. That'ssss why I drag out my 'ssss'ssss." the snake replied.
"That's impossible! You were classified as a worm when you were captured!" Michael said.
"I wassss not captured! I came on my own free will!" the snake said.
"This is just too weird. I need to get some air." Lance said and with that he walked out.
Michael quickly followed him.
"OK... so you were right. It does talk." Lance said.
"Yeah." Michael replied.
"Well I'd better get back to the others. They all pitched in and made shifts in which all of us would do our share of the work to maintain the boat. You might want to hurry back too." he ran ahead.
Lance was almost at the end of the hallway when suddenly,
"What the-!" Lance shouted as the floor gave way.
"Laaaaance!!!!" Michael shouted trying to reach him in time.
"Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!" his voice echoed in the cavernous depths.
It slowly died down as he dropped farther and farther away from me.
"Laaaaance!!!! Nooooo!!!!" Michael looked hopelessly down into the abyss.
Lance fell and fell. Man! How far does this ship go down!? He thought. The ships floor was torn apart by going across land. Lance fell and fell toward the jagged bottom without any hope of being rescued.
Seconds from impact he saw what lie waiting for him.
"Oh crap!"
He fell and was skewered from head to toe. The air left his broken and shattered body and then he was nothing but a shell.

Chapter 5

Two years after the accident we were all still alive, and Michael still hadn't forgotten about Lance.
"It's been over two years since the...uh." Manny, who had gotten over his deformation, said trying to console me.
Michael thought the explosion softened his hard heart.
"It's okay. I know it’s been two years since the accident. I just wish there was something I could have done." Michael said.
Manny felt it was best he left him alone so he went to join the others. It's amazing, though, that the chemicals haven't taken effect on us, Michael thought.
A few days ago he had stumbled across the kitchen. Looking around to see if anyone was there he walked over to the room Manny wouldn't let him into. He opened the door and was surprised to see the room contained over one hundred yellow tanks with biohazard signs on all of them. He walked over to one and read the label:

These tanks contain teslis, a toxic chemical that means automatic death to humans.
Effects include the following:
On animals: abnormal growth, abnormal abilities, and, in some cases, death.
On humans: coagulates blood (in other words death) in ALL cases.

He gave a little chuckle at the effect it supposedly had on humans.
"Oh, boy. How lucky we are to have lived through that horrible ordeal because some idiot decided this cruise ship would take dangerous chemicals to a lab. I'll just have to track this jerk down and give him my thanks." Although he didn't plan to thank him at all.
Michael was just getting used to Lance being gone when one night he had a dream. He was standing on the boat and was talking to Lance, but they weren't wearing their usual attire. They had the same glowing armor that the blurred images in the ice chamber had. Michael's was blue and Lance's was red. They were also holding staffs like the two strangers did. Michael's was mostly blue and Lance's had fire spewing from the top. Michael awoke the next morning thinking about his dream.
His dreams have a habit of coming true. He's not totally sure why, but he knew that this was not going to happen. Lance was dead. Period. No hope whatsoever. He still couldn't help but think: Is it possible? Is there some way he still may be alive? No! I have to keep my mind busy so I don't think this over too much. And that's what he did.

The next day Manny was acting weird.
"Manny are you okay?" Michael asked.
"What!!" he turned around very startled. "Michael! Shhhh!! Follow me." he motioned with his hand for him to follow.
He took Michael to ground level, and showed him an opening in the bottom of the boat.
"So what? It's a hole in the boat." Michael said looking questioningly at Manny.
"No, not the hole itself, but where the hole leads." he said. "Michael, you are staring at an opening in the boat that leads to the spot where Lance fell. I inspected it yesterday." he said.
Michael walked up to the opening the painful memories of that day coming back. He looked inside then looked back at Manny.
"Go on." he encouraged.
He slowly walked inside. It was amazingly cold down here.
"Brrrr." Michael started to shiver.
He kept going, and didn't travel far before he started to see the familiar yellow tanks with biohazard signs on them. A little farther and he started to smell the scent of decay. Farther than that and he came to a little opening. Right in the center of it was a patch of metal that had been peeled up during the land cruise. They were very sharp. At least I know his death was quick, he thought. Then it came to him: shouldn't there be blood on these spikes? At least dried? That is very peculiar indeed, he thought.
He heard a sound behind him and turned to see Manny rolling up behind.
"I see you've noticed there's no blood." he said. "Michael I don't mean to bring you pain by saying this, but...there's still hope for Lance." he said. "Michael...it's the teslis." he said a look of excitement in his robotic eyes.
"What are you talking about?" Michael asked starting to get a little uncomfortable being alone with him.
"Michael I'm talking about the gas and its effects! Don't you see? We can't die!" he said the excitement growing.
"You've gone mad haven't you?" Michael said backing away from him.
"Michael I've not gone mad. I'm perfectly sane." he said slowly getting closer to him.
"Manny! Manny! Where are you?" someone was calling from near the entrance.
Michael could hear someone walking down the path.
"Is anyone in here?" the person called.
Suddenly Manny broke off a piece of meal, while the person who was calling walked into view: it was Caspian. Manny poised then lunged at him.
"Manny no!!!" Caspian shouted.
He was to late Manny had plunged the spike right through Michael's middle.
"Uhhhh..." he fell to his knees once again sputtering blood.
Manny was shocked and horrified.
"No! Michael! You’re not dying!!" he quickly went to him, and gently picked him up.
Then he grabbed the spike, shut his dinner plate eyes tight, and slowly pulled it out.
"Michael!!!" Caspian ran over to them.
"Manny...why?!" he said terribly shocked and horrified.
"It was a mistake Caspian...a horrible mistake." Manny said.
"I feel sick." Caspian said.
He started toward the opening, but was too late. He fell to his knees and emptied his stomach.
"Michael...I'm so sorry. So terribly sorry." Manny said.

Chapter 6

The place that Lance and Michael died was the storage area of the Telis. This let their bodies absorb even more of the chemical through their wounds. Lance had about a year and a half and a bunch of holes to soak the stuff up which made him very stiff when he awoke. Michael, on the other hand, had about two months, and one hole to absorb it with, before Lance came to revisit his horrible ordeal and found him. Manny was right, they were immortal. The Teslis is the reason they can't die. The gas dried up their blood, ripped it out of their bodies, and replaced it with liquified Telis. Manny left Michael's body down in the "basement", because it would be easier to make his "suicide" believable. Michael's body was recovered by Lance, who had awoken in a painful state, and he took him to his "house" he had made. He was their two weeks before he awoke.
"Ohhh. Where am I?" he asked no one in particular.
"Michael? You finally awake?" a male said.
"Who-who are you?" he stammered as he sat up.
"It's me...Lance...you wouldn't forget your best friend would you?" he asked.
"L-Lance? You're okay?" His heart gave a great leap.
"Lance you're okay!" he said gleefully.
Two thoughts pushed their way into his mind, though, through the happy thoughts, Am I dreaming? Or am I dead? He pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. He wasn't. Now how was he going to decide if he's dead or not?
"Lance...I'm not dreaming," he shook his head to indicate that that was correct,” but am I dead? Have I joined you and thousands of others in the great beyond?"
He didn't know any other way of finding out if he was dead or not.
"Michael...you and I are not dead. Well, not exactly." he answered.
"Huh?" This really confused Michael.
"We have both died, you and I, but are yet living. So...I'm not sure at this point what we are. Dead or alive?"
Michael grabbed his stomach as a sharp pain shot through it. He felt sick when his hands went into a hole. The color left his face, and his eyes shut.
"Michael!" Lance scrambled over to him but was too late, he had already passed out.

The next time Michael awoke it was night.
"Lance? Lance you there?"
He sat up again, and looked around.
"I'm right here." Lance said crawling over to him.
Michael sat there looking at him trying to remember what happened. The sharp pain in his stomach reminded him.
"Why is there a hole in my stomach?" he asked.
"I'm still trying to figure out what happened to me." Lance said unable to give me an answer.
Michael wasn't totally sure what had happened to him either. He tried to remember but couldn't.
"I think...I was there...but I can't quite remember...what exactly happened. I think I remember...some...animal...?" he shrugged. "I don't know. I guess you lose some memories when you die."
He seemed satisfied, and they went back to sleep.

The next morning he awoke to a horrible screeching noise.
"What the heck!" Michael said annoyed by the rude awakening.
"Hey keep it down, down there!" he shouted forgetting that he was not alone in the tree house.
Realizing that he might have woke up Lance; he glanced over to his mat. Nothing. Lance wasn't in his bed! Putting two and two together, Michael realized he must be down there wherever that thing is that's making the screeching. Pulling on his cloak, he rushed over to the window to have a look around.
Looking down he saw the most grotesque creature he'd ever seen. This thing might even beat Manny! It looked like an insect. It had the torso and arms of a human, but its head was that of an insect. It had little pincers at the mouth, and those luminescent green eyes. Instead of hands it had giant pincers that could break boulders with ease. Its legs, on closer inspection, were actually giant blades.
After fully taking in this horrifying creature, Michael came to my senses and ran to the ladder and slid down to the ground.
"Hey, good morning!" Lance called as he dodged a wide swing from the creature.
"Lance watch out!" Michael cried.
"Huh?" he took the creature's left pincer full in the chest.
"Wooooah!" he flew about thirteen yards away.
"Lance!" Michael ran over to him.
Lance jumped to his feet without a scratch on him.
"Lance...?" he looked at Michael with a smile on his face.
"It's okay dude."
He grabbed a spear, which seemed to appear out of nowhere next to him, and used it to launch himself up and over the creature, so he landed a few feet behind him. Was it Michael's imagination, or was Lance toying with this thing? Lance shifted his hands to the bottom of the shaft of the staff and jammed it right through the creature's middle. With an earsplitting screech the creature drew its last and fell to the ground.
Michael stood there gaping at the creature and Lance, who was tugging the spear out of it.
"Pretty cool, huh?" Lance said walking over to me.
"Whoa." That's it.
That's all he could say after seeing such a display.
"Um Lance? When did you learn to do that?"
The spear suddenly disappeared.
"Don't be so surprised. You can do it too."
"Really?" Michael said. "I don't really feel any different from before the explosion though."
"Well...it's not exactly a physical change...it's more of an inner change."
"What?" He had no idea what Lance was talking about.
All of a sudden there was a blinding flash of light.
"Whoa!" Michael stepped backwards and fell over a root.
As quickly as it appeared the light vanished. The creature had disappeared too. In its place was a small orb of light the size of a basketball.
"What is that?!"
"A spirit." said Lance. "You know? Life force?"
Lance stepped up and grabbed the orb.
"Bon appetite." he said as he took a big bite of it.
Michael stood up and walked over to it.
"These things are harmless. Well, most of them anyway. Some can be pretty violent. The nasty spirits are called jin."
Michael didn't move so he assured him, "Here take a bite. They're delicious."
"What?! No way! What if it's, like, a dormant Jin or something? It could take me over. Right?"
"Yeah, I guess that's possible."
And with that he took a bite.
"Dude, chill. I've been eating these things as long as I've been out here. They're harmless."
Michael still didn't trust the innocent orb before him, but, if Lance thought they were safe...
"Whoa this thing's delicious!"
"See? Told ya."
Spirits are surprisingly filling. One was enough to fill both of them.
"Now that we've ate, I think it's time you perfected your powers like me."
Cool. I'll get to do what Lance can and then some maybe. Michael thought.
"Ok let's start with the basics: getting a weapon."
This shouldn't be too hard. I mean, if Lance can do it, I can too. Michael thought.
"Alright. Think of a weapon, and, for our sake, you might want to make it a small one, like an axe or sword or something of that nature."
He closed his eyes to concentrate. Ok, simple enough. A weapon. A small weapon. Ok I guess a sword will do.
"Ok." He said to let him know he was ready for the next step.
"Alright. Now, take this crystal and put it around your neck."
He conjured a crystal out of nowhere, walked over to Michael, and gave it to him. He eagerly put it around his neck.
"Ok. Now concentrate on your weapon of choice as hard as you can. You want it in your hands. You need it in your hands. Will it into your hands now!"
With that there was a bright flash and Michael could feel the sword in his hands. This sword wasn't some sissy sword either. This bad boy was probably close to six feet long and one foot wide. That was just the blade too! The handle was another one-and-a-half feet. He nearly fell frontward with the weight. So much for small.
"Holy crap! Did I make this?!" he said.
Lance walked over to him and gave him a pat on the back.
"Yep. Good job."
"Can I do this with any weapon?"
Lance looked at the floor.
"Erm. Well...actually..."
He looked at me with a sorrowful face.
"You can't. The first weapon you make is it. That's the weapon that you conjure for the rest of your...I-I mean."
He realized what he just said and fell silent. Since they couldn't die, at least not permanently, Michael would be stuck with that sword for all eternity.
"Well this sword is pretty cool. But...um...where do I keep it?"
Lance was relieved that he wasn't upset.
"All you do is loosened your grip and it disappears. It's a fail-safe way of keeping your weapon. Someone tries to take it during battle or whatever, it disappears."
He loosened my grip and the sword disappeared.
As with any ability, you want to exercise it. Hone it. Well Michael honed his abilities all over a half mile radius of their make-shift home. He actually accidentally wiped out a little area of trees with one swing while practicing. It's a good thing he had Lance to practice on and not the local animals because he would've wiped them all out.
They didn't need to go very far to practice because their tree house was in the center of a large clearing. They could go far enough to avoid the house, but close enough to avoid the trees.
They'd usually start out by practicing summoning their weapons. They would summon their weapons, and then make them disappear. They did this a couple of times, then, when the other wasn't expecting it, strike. Their skirmishes didn't last long-Lance usually mopped the floor with Michael. This is surprising considering his weapon-a spear.
Close to a year of being at the tree house Michael remembered the battleship. What was it like now? Were the people still alive? Should they return? With their injuries completely healed the trip wouldn't give them too much trouble, so they decided to return. They didn't have anything of real value in the tree house so they just left it as it was with the clothes on their backs.
Lance knew the way, having come back to find Michael dead at the bottom of the ship. They almost had to fight, though, when they stumbled upon a native village.
These things were twice the size of an average man, like, ten or twelve feet high. They had fangs half-a-foot long, and had razor sharp claws as well.
As soon as they saw Michael and Lance they clicked into attack mode. They whipped out spears and what Michael believed to be highly advanced guns. They gave each other "oh crap!" looks and ran for it. After running a little ways down the trail, they dove into a pit that was on the side of it. After a few moments of silence they heard the last of the natives pound by the pit.
"Here let's shed some light." said Lance.
With that he snapped his fingers and produced a small flame in the palm of his hand.
"Whoa! When did you learn to do that?!" Michael said.
His surprise was short-lived, though, when he saw the many webs on the walls. Accompanying these webs were the many skeletons of humans and animals. Now, if you put two and two together, you get one of two possibilities: there are giant spiders down here that have enjoyed many treats, or there's a bunch of little spiders that hunt larger prey. Michael was very disappointed when not only two giant spiders about 5 feet tall came out from under one of the webs, but a large web sack cracked open and spiders one foot tall came pouring into the area.
"My children, dinner is served!" one of the spiders said.
Now, Michael has arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, so his first reaction was he couldn't breathe. Lance hit him in the chest, so he would breathe properly again. Then he blew with all his might on the flame he produced. What do you know? He's a flamethrower! The walls, being covered in webs caught on fire immediately. The spiders shrieked in pain at the heat and light. Lance grabbed Michael's arm stood and launched them out of the pit. Once out, he produced his spear, cut a nearby bush out of the ground and threw it into the pit. Wow, automatic bonfire. With the spiders' shrieks of pain in their ears they quickly ran for it.
A few steps later, Lance quickly drug me behind a tree. Those creatures in the village were still looking for them. They pressed themselves against the tree hard hoping the natives wouldn't see them. Looking in every direction they passed without seeing us. When the last of them passed the tree Michael and Lance quietly tip-toed away. Michael's very first step lands on a twig. SNAP! They looked back in unison.
"Ah crap! Not again!" Michael said with frustration.
The chase was on again. They ran as fast as they could in the opposite direction of the hideous people behind them. The path forked and they took the right path. They continued on until they stopped abruptly a cliff appeared in front of them.
"Michael, climb on my back!" Lance said.
Michael quickly jumped on. Lance immediately took off running at the gorge. His foot hit the cliff and he launched us both up into the air. We soared right over the gorge and landed gracefully on the other side. The things chasing us stopped at the cliff and immediately opened fire with their guns.
"How the heck did creatures like that get hand-held plasma cannons?!" Michael shouted as they ducked and dodged as the lasers zoomed passed their heads.
"I don't know! Just keep running!" Lance replied.
While they were throwing their spears and shooting at them, Michael and Lance ran for their lives (yeah their "lives" wink . We broke into some trees and stop to catch our breath.
After a while Lance said, "Dang, one mishap after another."
"Yeah, what did we do to deserve this?" Michael said.
"I don't know, but we obviously made someone angry." Lance said.
Then they both broke into a fit of laughter. I'm thinking this was one of those times where you're just so upset, or maybe it was relieved in their case, that you show a different emotion than what you feel. When they calmed down, Michael remembered the spider pit.
"Hey Lance where did you learn to do that thing with the fire? And how did you learn to jump like that? That gorge had to at least be twenty yards."
"Oh, that..."
He paused to think about how he would word it.
"Well..." he began.”It all started when I awoke at the bottom of the ship."
"I awoke and I was on fire. Of course I was also skewered as well. I didn't feel too good."
Whoa this is already sounding weird.
"Well, as soon as I managed to get myself off the spikes, I realized I wasn't burning-I was simply on fire. So I tried to do something with this fire, and realized I could manipulate it as I saw fit. So I've been perfecting this ability the whole time I was out here. I completely perfected it a few days before I found you, so I didn't think I needed to practice anymore...The jumping thing...I don't know...you probably can do it too. All you do is jump without fear. You have to have faith you’re going to make the jump before you jump. There can be no doubt in your mind. Once you drop the fear you can jump as far as your mind can think of."
Well this little talk was enlightening.
"Why didn't you tell me this earlier?! I could've got some practice before we came back to the ship!"
He looked up at the sky.
"Listen its getting dark. I doubt we'll want to be out here when the sun goes down. You'll be able to practice at the ship."
The part about being out here after dark didn't appeal to Michael, so they started for the ship again. They didn't have anymore encounters the rest of the way back. Just a peaceful walk in the woods.
After an hour of walking they broke into a clearing. This thing was huge too. The ship was right in the center, and off to our right, there was a huge rut in the ground that probably leads to the ocean because it was filled with water. We finally made it. They had finally made it back.
"Hey now's as good a time as any to practice your jumping. There's no need to worry about falling because we're on solid ground."
Michael guessed it was worth a shot.
"Here I'll stand where I want you to jump ok?"
He walked about three feet in front of me and stopped.
"Oh come on. I can make that!"
"I think its best we start small."
I took a step and was there.
"Good job."
"Yeah really swell."
"Ok you want a challenge?"
He walked back towards the forest.
"Jump up to the first branch right there."
He pointed to a branch that was 15 feet over their heads. He jumped up and lightly touched it.
"Show off."
"Go ahead. Jump."
Michael squat all the way to the ground. He thought about what he said: "There can be no doubt in your mind..." He sprung upward, and went about a foot-and-a-half from the ground and stopped.
"Wow...you suck."
"Oh, thanks for the words of encouragement."
"Not a shred of doubt. Remember that."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
He squat down again.
"No doubt in my mind. I could touch the top if I wanted to." he said to himself.
He sprung upward with such force that he didn't just touch the first branch, but second, third, and fourth, all the way to the very top.
Yeah, the jump would've been pretty impressive, if he didn't have 50 feet between me and the ground.
Michael put his hands out to brace what little of the impact they would. Suddenly a jet of blue light erupted from his hands. He felt himself slowing down. He touched the ground gracefully rather than landing with a sickening splat.
"W-What was that?!"
"Congratulations! You've just discovered your powers. Ice, very cool."
"Ok. You know my fire powers right? Well you have ice powers. Try to manipulate it."
Michael had no idea how to manipulate it so he just held out his hands. Ice blasted from them and completely encased Lance. After a few seconds of shocked silence, the ice began to sizzle and melt. When he was completely defrosted, he looked at Michael as though he did the stupidest thing in the world.
"You don't just do the motions. You have to think about how you want the ice to come out, what you want it to do, etc. Think about what you want the ice to do then hold out your hands."
Michael wondered how he'd look with ice hair so he thought of a mirror then opened his hand palm up. Slowly ice poured out of his palm and formed a smooth disc that reflected images. Michael looked in the mirror then thought about his hair frozen. His hair froze in upward spikes. Lance looked from the mirror to my hair.
"Yeah. I thought so too."
"That's it. That's all you have to do to control your powers."
Michael defrosted his hair. It lay matted to my head.
"Ok let's head over to the ship."
They took their time getting to the ship. They jumped around the place in a two man game of tag. When they finally reached the ship Michael crouched down then launched himself to the top deck. He was starting to get the hang of jumping. Lance landed on the deck as someone came busting out of a door. He stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of us. Michael immediately identified him.
"Hello Caspian." he said.
"Michael? Lance? A-Are you real?" Caspian said.
"In the flesh." said Lance.
"But...you died..." Caspian said weakly. "I saw it..."
"Ah, but now we are back." Michael said in a normal casual voice.
He sank to his knees. Michael started to wonder if he'd go into shock.
"Manny's been locked up. I told everyone. I couldn't hold it in. Not after what I saw..." he said apologetically.
"We understand. We wouldn't mind talking with him though." I said wondering how they could contain a cyborg capable of ripping metal spikes off the ship.
"H-He's on the second deck. Room 389."
They started toward the door. Michael turned around.
"Caspian...are you going to be ok?"
Caspian looked up at him.
"Well...I mean...you have been gone for a while now. Wouldn't you be a little shocked to see someone who's been dead for a while come back to life?"
"Caspian, I've seen too much today to be shocked. I think my nerves are shot."
He gave Caspian a little smile then turned to follow Lance. They went down a flight of stairs then took a left. Though they were sparse, there were a few people. All of them did double takes as the two passed them in the halls. They went down another flight of stairs and took a right. Lance looked at the room numbers.
We could hear him inside the room.
"It wasn't my fault...Michael's not dead...no...He’s alive...that's what the Teslis does...we are immortals...every last one of us..."
His mumblings greatly disturbed Michael. It started to come back to him how he had prevented me from going into the room full of Teslis. Was he the idiot that tried to take the chemicals to the lab? Or was he simply told not to let anyone in there? He had no idea of knowing right now.
"Michael?" Lance said.
"Hm? Oh, um, yeah, let's do this."
He opened the door. Manny immediately ceased his mumblings. The room was totally trashed. There were slash marks on the walls. The floor was covered in scratches from the rims on Manny's wheels. Manny looked up at them.
"M-Michael? Lance?"
"Ok just to clear this up: we are not illusions and we are not ghosts. We are the real thing. See for yourself. We're solid."
Michael walked up to Manny and touched him.
"Ayah! You're cold!"
He looked where he touched him and saw a small patch of ice. He looked at Lance.
"It's part of our powers. Watch."
He also walked up to Manny and touched him where Michael did.
"Ahhhhh. That's much better."
The ice melted and steam rose from it evaporating.
"So Manny. We cool?"
He looked up at Michael who saw an immediate change in his manor. He no longer coward but stood up straight. His eyes didn't dart around nor did he shake uncontrollably. He was normal again.
"Yes we are cool."
They shook hands. Michael started to walk out of the room.
"Hello?" Manny called.
Michael turned around.
"My shackles? Aren't you going to release me?"
He looked at him.
"Manny, we may have made up...but...you still killed me."
And with that they left him, while he shouted rude remarks and begged that they release him. That night they were getting ready for bed when Lance decided to enlightened me further about our powers. As Michael was turning the lights out a voice came.
Hey Michael, check this out.
He looked over at Lance's bed expecting to see him holding something or doing something stupid, but he was just laying there trying to sleep.
Yes? What is it? You can tell me telepathically.
We have telepathy. We can speak to each other with our minds.
Not knowing if there was some secret to using telepathy, Michael spoke in his head.
Can you hear me?
Lance turned over.
Loud and clear chief.
Whoa this is freaking' awesome!
I know! I discovered this ability while you were sleeping at the tree house. I could hear your thoughts, so I thought I might talk with you while you were asleep.
Is that why I always had dreams about nude beaches with that fat guy from the dump?
Yeah. That was pretty funny!
From your point of view! You think I enjoyed having those dreams?! I ought to throw something at you!
"But that wouldn't be very nice."
Michael about jumped out of his bed when he heard the voice. It couldn't be Lance. This voice was scratchy. Almost a growl.
"Who's there?" Michael said with uncertainty.
"Just me." The reply came.
Lance I think there's someone else in the room. Take a look, but don't be obvious.
Oh you won't be able to see me with the naked eye.
That's what you think. We're not ordinary.
Suddenly Michael saw two fluorescent red lights the size of golf balls in Lance's bed.
What the heck is that?!
There was a flash of light then silence.
It's ok. Just go to sleep.
Michael pulled the covers up to his chin then rolled over.

Chapter 7

The next morning they awoke to the sound of an explosion.
"What the heck's going on?" Lance said sleepily.
"I don't know." Michael said kicking the covers off and jumping to the floor.
Lance soon followed. They quickly dressed and hurried to the top deck. When they arrived, they found Manny already there.
"They let you go?" Michael asked.
Manny, startled, quickly turned around and was relieved to see it was only them.
"Shhhh. Keep it down will ya? I've been digging at the wall for the past 72 hours trying to get these shackles off. My curiosity about the explosions just helped it along."
They noticed that shackles were on his wrists and there were chains dangling from them.
"You'll be in big trouble if they realize you've escaped." Michael warned.
Manny did his best to smile a scheming smile.
"Oh no they won't. I'm making a grand escape! I'm going to go out there and find out what the explosions are."
They stood there for a while listening to the explosions. Michael started to wonder why nobody else came up here to see what the explosions were. After a few minutes Manny took a deep, rattling breath and started to roll toward the path that led to the ground.
"Hey Manny don't forget to come back and tell us what's out there!" Michael called after him.
"Don't worry I will!" he called back.
"Hey Manny...be careful out there!" Lance called.
Manny didn't say anything, but Michael knew he was happy that Lance was worried about him.
The two of them stood there watching Manny until he disappeared into the forest. A few minutes later the door flew open behind them and they turned to see a panting Derrick and Caspian-bent over, panting-behind them.
"You...You didn't...did you?" Caspian said gasping.
Derrick, after catching his breath, stared hard at me.
"What?" Michael couldn't hear them over the explosions.
They about jumped out of their skins when he yelled.
"Jeez! You don't have to yell!"
"What are you talking about? Of course, I have to yell over the explosions!" Michael replied.
They both stared at Michael as if he were crazy.
"You mean to tell me that you can't hear them?" he said.
"What are you talking about?" they said in unison.
"The explosions! Can't you hear them?!"
They shook their heads.
Michael looked at Lance. What's going on? Why can't they hear them? Lance shrugged.
Derrick shook his head as though to get water out of his ears.
"Quit changing the subject! You let a killer loose!" Caspian shouted. "How could you let him escape?!"
"I'm not changing the subject!" Michael shouted back. "There are loud booming noises ringing in my ears! There coming from about five miles that way."
He pointed in the direction Manny went.
"What?!" Caspian said. "How could you possibly know that for sure?!"
"Just forget it!" Michael said getting frustrated. Why could they not hear them? Are they just being ignorant? No. They could hear them. They had to.
"Carry on."
Lance and Michael started to walk back into the ship.
"Hey! Come back here! We can't let you go without some punishment for letting a prisoner escape!"
Michael turned around about to make a smart retort, but before he could say it he saw Lance's eyes glow bright red.
"Oh! Uh, sorry. Don't mind me!"
It's nothing. Just forget about it.
They walked down the corridors that lead to their room. They passed a hall, and, out of the corner of his eye, Michael saw something.
"Hold on Lance."
He turned around, and headed toward what turned out to be a big hole. Lance followed.
"What's wrong Michael?" he asked.
"This hole...seems familiar. I remember it from somewhere."
Right then everything that happened rushed back into his mind. It was so overwhelming that he lost balance for a moment.
He grabbed his head, and tried to steady himself.
"You alright?" Lance asked
When Michael regained his balance, he looked at him.
"This is where you fell through the floor..."
"We had just spoken with that snake in 412. We were heading back to help with the daily duties. You ran ahead and the floor gave way...I remember hearing you screaming all the way down...then silence..."
Lance was speechless.
"It's ok though because you're back."
"You...said something about a snake?"
"Oh yeah. He's in here."
Michael walked around the hole and lead Lance into room 412. The snake was still there.
"Greetingssss friendssss."
"Wow. You're still here. Has no one discovered you?"
"No. I've not had a ssssingle visitor bessssidessss you two."
There was a pause, then the snake said, "Well, actually, there wassss that one fellow. A human shrouded in dark garmentssss came to this room. He...demanded something of me."
"Really? And you couldn't see his face? What was it, exactly, that he demanded of you?" Michael asked.
"An ancient secret that mere mortals aren't allowed to know."
"Oh I must correct you there. We are not just mere mortals." Lance said.
His eyes started to glow red again, and two baseball-sized fireballs appeared in his hands.
"Lance, stop it! I'm not sure what that is...but it doesn't look very safe...don't use it...please?" Michael said.
The snake was silent.
"Boy...do you know the power of which you command? That's ancient dark magic."
"What?" Lance said.
"That's the ancient dark fire magic."
"I knew it was fire magic...but...dark fire? What's the difference?"
"Fire magic-just plain fire magic-is good. There's no darkness within the fire, but dark fire is fire magic infused with darkness...it takes over the wielder little by little every time you use it. After awhile, it controls you."
Shocked silence.
"Wow you sure looked cramped in there." Michael said desperate to change the subject.
"Yessss. You wouldn't believe how cramped it issss in here."
"Well we can let you out."
The snake seemed to perk up.
"Really? You would do that?"
"Sure. I mean you're not dangerous."
Michael walked over and opened his cage. The snake immediately sprang out.
"I'm free!"
The snake floated in the air and slithered out of the room. We were left with an awkward silence. After a moment or two Lance turned around.
"Snakes can fly?"
Michael shrugged and walked out of the room.
"Where do you think we should go now?"
Michael stopped dead in his tracks.
"Hey Lance...do you hear that?"
He stopped to listen.
"I don't hear anything." He replied.
"Exactly." Michael said. "What happened to the explosions? Manny's out there..."
"Maybe we should check it out?" Lance suggested.
They hurried along the hall and up two flights of stairs to the top deck. Once there they looked out over the clearing. At the very edge we saw something moving.
"What's that?" asked Lance.
Michael squinted in hopes of seeing what it was.
"Would you believe me if I said it looks like a giant scorpion?" he asked.
"After what we saw yesterday I will believe you." he answered.
They watched as it moved along the edge of the clearing. Suddenly it stopped, looked directly at them and rushed into the forest.
"Did you see-?"
Lance nodded.
"You know this kind of reminds me of the part in those movies where the lookout spots intruders and goes to warn its master." Michael said starting to jump over the side of the boat.
Lance stopped me.
"If we give chase it probably will, but there's a chance that it-"
"Did you see that?! It looked directly at us! For all it knew we could've been enjoying the scenery!"
Michael jumped over the side and Lance followed. They ran across the clearing. Suddenly something shot past Michael very fast.
"What the-?"
Then it slowed down and he could see Lance running circles around him.
"Lance why don't you ever share these powers with me?!"
"It's fun to show off!" he called.
Suddenly Michael could feel himself getting faster and faster. He was starting to run at Lance's speed. He could no longer run circles around him.
"Michael watch out!"
Michael looked ahead and ran into the forest at top speed.
Branches whipped at his arm. He put his hands in front of him and shot ice ahead so that it made a wall. He ran up the wall and did a back flip off the top that killed his speed.
He breathed a sigh of relief. Then Lance came dashing up behind him and ran into him. They slammed against the ice wall hard.
They lay, crumpled in a heap, at the foot of the wall. As they were recovering, they heard a twig snap somewhere to their right. They lay motionless for a few seconds, and then they heard leaves crunching. It was drawing closer-whatever it was. Then it was upon them. They saw something standing over them then,
"Michael? Lance? What are you doing out here?"
It was Manny.
"Manny? I thought you were inspecting the explosions. Why are you back so soon?"
He backed away slightly.
"I...um...I was."
Suddenly his eyes glowed bright red. Michael saw that X's were engraved in his eyes.
"But it need not concern you." Manny said in a cold voice.
Then his eyes turned 90 degrees to the left til they were plus signs and they stopped glowing. He had rolled over to Michael and grabbed his collar.
"Michael...help me...he's controlling me!"
Michael yanked his hands away.
"Manny who? Who's controlling you?" he asked.
"HE is!" Manny said in a small, frightened voice.
He took a sharp intake of breath and his eyes grew wide. Then he shut down.

Chapter 8

They dragged him all the way back to the ship. Once there people rushed over to help. Michael and Lance thought he passed out, but didn't know how to care for him since he was mostly metal. Syringes couldn't penetrate his "skin." Finally, after about an hour of trial and error, Lance came over and torched a small area on his arm. Slowly but surly the metal melted off. Once he exposed a vein, he stopped to let them inject him with adrenaline. His eyes were red X's again, and he sprang to life immediately.
"Don't touch me!" he said in that same cold, ominous voice.
"Manny we're trying to help!" Michael said trying to calm him.
Just as he did in the forest, his eyes turned back to plus signs.
"Michael? He's not harming anyone is he? I can't control him! Help me!"
Then he started thrashing violently.
"Shut up worm! I control you! You will do as I say now!"
What was wrong with him?
"No! Get out of my head!"
Ok now this was getting really weird.
"Darkness reigns! Darkness reigns supreme!"
His voice kept changing. It was small and weak one second and dark and cold the next. What was up? Finally Michael could take it no longer and went up and back-handed him. His thrashing stopped immediately. He looked up at him with a tiny scared expression that changed into a cold stare that was seething with hatred. He grabbed me by the neck and hoisted me into the air.
"How dare you hit a king?!"
Michael's first thought was that Manny would snap his neck and it would be over. This was quickly replaced, however, by a pleading thought in his head: Kill me now! Please kill me now! Lance upon hearing Michael's plea started pelting him with fireballs. This would've been a good idea had they not bounced off of Manny and zoomed in every direction. Everyone except Lance and Michael ran out of the room on fire, screaming. Manny hurtled Michael across the room into a wall that collapsed, and he landed on the floor in the next room. Lance stopped his futile attempt to roast Manny and helped Michael up. Then, Lance had a brainstorm.
"Michael grab my hand!"
Lance's right hand clasped Michael's left, then a light emanated from us.
"Okay. Now, direct your ice at 'him."
Michael concentrated on Manny with all his might. Then ice and fire came pouring from us. They hit Manny hard, so hard, in fact, that he was sent flying back.
He hit the far wall and crashed through. They watched in awe as he smashed through wall after

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