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Guardians: The Shadow Warrior

“Joley, Jole, time to return to us Joley. We need you. It’s time to remember who you are.”

“No! No! Go away! Go away!” I screamed.

“Come on Joley. It’s time to remember. It’s time to return to us.”

“No! I don’t want to. Just leave me alone. Go away! Just go away!” I screamed again.

I was frightened. I couldn’t tell what was happening. I finally opened my eyes to a familiar face. It was my brother, Michael, and our friends. I noticed I had been dreaming again.

“Joley are you okay? We heard you scream.” Michael asked.

“I’m fine. I just had that nightmare again. It feels so real. It seems like I’ve been there before and the voices, they just keep calling me. They won’t tell me who they are or leave me alone. It’s just so scary.” I said as I slowly stopped trembling.

In case you didn’t notice my name is Joley. I am a Guardian Potential and so are my friends. You’ll learn more about them later.

“This is the fifth night in a row Joley. Are you sure you don’t want to sleep in mine and Anul’s room. We have plenty of space to share.” Leslie said.

“Yeah, Joley, we really don’t mind. You could sleep with us. Maybe the nightmare will go away then.” Anul said.

“I’m not going to. I just need to get something to drink and get back to sleep. I’ll be fine, honest I will.” I told them.

I wasn’t going to be fine. I knew and so did they. This was the same lie I had been telling them for the past five nights. I had been telling Michael this for the past four years though. I hated telling them this but I had to. If I didn’t they probably would bug me some more.

After that everyone left, everyone but Zach. It was strange because I figured that if anyone was going to stay behind it would be Michael not Zach. A little surprising you could say.

“I know something’s bothering you Joley. You can tell me. I bet I’d be able to understand.” Zach said.

“I don’t think you can. Nobody really can. Not even Michael has been able to. This has been going on for four years Zach.” I said.

“Okay, if you don’t want to tell me that’s fine. I just wanted to let you know that if you need help I’m here for you. I know alot more than you think on the past.” Zach said pausing for a moment, “How about a walk?”

“I guess. Just let me get some tea before we go. That usually clears my mind of this type of stuff. Nightmares aren’t easy to forget but the pain in them can be.” I said with a laugh.

Zach caught the joke of my nightmare and laughed a little too. I got my tea and finished it, then we left. Our walk was on the south side of Atalan. It is outside, but still in the dome that protects us from the evil on the other side. It felt strange talking to Zach at night. Especially alone.

“Are you alright? Is the walk helping out at all?” Zach asked.

“Yeah a little.” I said, “How did you know that this would help?”

“I actually took a hunch on this one. I mean it worked on me every time I had a nightmare, but I guessed for you.” Zach said.

He seemed a little different. Strange even for him. He wasn’t usually someone who’d ask a person to go on a walk. I mean he’s nice but never the kind of guy to ask someone to walk with him. Something was bugging him. I could tell.

“Joley are you sure you’re okay, you see, well, quiet. I mean it’s alright it’s just you’re not usually this quiet.” He said.

“I’m fine Zach. I was just wondering why you really asked me to come for a walk with you. I mean there seems to be more than the fact that it helps clear the mind some. I know you’re hiding something from me.” I said, shocked that I even said that.

“Okay. The truth is that I also needed someone to talk to and you were the one I knew could keep a secret. I knew I could trust you better than anyone else. Even Michael would be hard to trust.” he said.

“I don’t understand. I mean you’ve known Michael longer than anyone here. Why would you trust me instead?” I asked.

“I trust you because I know you can keep secrets.” he said.

“Okay shoot.” I said.

“I’m not really a good person. I have killed so many people in my life. Four of them were members of Anul’s family.” he said.

I was scared. It was hard to hear that one of my friends was an ex-murderer. This isn’t good.

“Also there’s something else.” he continued.

“What? What else is there?” I asked anxiously.

“My past is linked to the story of the Shadow Warrior.” Zach said this very quietly then he hushed me and I knew he could sense something coming. Partly, because I could too.

“Hello Joley. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.” Someone said.

The voice came from up ahead. After a while someone came out of the dark and I saw a young man in a black robe. Scary thing is it was one of the people from my nightmares.

“Who...who are you?” I asked. I was scared and I saw Zach seemed a little edgy too.

“You don’t recognize me. Then again that isn’t a surprise. After all, it’s been a very long time.” He said.

“You still didn’t answer her question! Who are you and what do you want!” Zach asked trying to remain calm.

Zach was starting to go into his Zeela form. I had to try and calm him before he attacked. Too late. His whole body turned dark blue and his eyes went pitch black which meant, if that young man made even the slightest wrong move, Zach would pounce on him.

“So you are the young Zeela I was told about. It’s Zach isn’t it?” he said. He had a cocky attitude and one of those ‘Go on I dare you’ expressions on his face. Not so smart.

“This guy is getting on my last nerve.” Zach whispered to me.

Then he darted towards the young man with his Zeela speed and that’s when I saw it. I was in a cave with a guy who looked like Zach and there was someone who looked like the young man. The guy who looked like Zach was darting towards the young man and then I came back to where I was.

“Joley, he’s not human.” Zach said weakly. He was lying on the ground next to me. He had a bruise mark on his chest where he’d been hit. Zach blacked out after that.

“What do you want? How do you know who I am when I don’t know you?” I asked. I was scared for my life but angry that he wouldn’t answer my questions.

“I know you saw a piece of the past. Your past I might add.” He said calmly but in a strange tone.

“What do you mean my past?” I asked.

He moved a little closer. I stepped back but not too far. I had to make sure Zach didn’t get hurt even more. Then he stopped as if reading my mind, my fear, my anger.

“I am not going to yurt you nor did I want to hurt your friend. You two are linked to the same past but you are the only one who can stop time from repeating itself. I can say no more nor can I tell you my name. Tomorrow if you want to learn more you and your friends will go past the dome you created and to the center of the woods. I shall have a friend waiting for you. Till next time Princess Jolin.” The young man said.

“Wait what about...” I tried to ask but he had already left.

“Power stone give me the strength to help my friend. Now!” I yelled. Then the power stone gave me the strength to carry Zach back to Atalan.

About a couple hours later Zach finally woke up. I was glad that he was awake but I was very tired and still wondering why that man called me Princess Jolin.

“Hey nightgirl you okay?” Zach asked. Nightgirl was my nickname he’d given me since I seemed to stay awake at night.

“I’m okay, besides being a little tired. How are you? You seemed to take a hard blow to the chest.” I asked him.

“I’ll be alright. You need to get some sleep.”

“If that’s possible. Have you heard of a Princess Jolin. Before that guy left he said ‘till next time Princess Jolin.’ It was very strange.”

“All I know is that she’s someone from the past. She’s the daughter of Darotine. The creator of the stones. Funny thing is she mysteriously vanished just before the Shadow Warrior arrived. Also she was sentenced to stay in her castle for falling in love with a Zeela.” Zach replied. The last part seemed to be a joke. “Now will you go get some sleep.”

“If you’re asking me to leave your side, then no. I’ll stay here until you get better. That way if that man comes back I’ll be here to help you.” I said. I guess he got that I wasn’t joking because he didn’t object.

The next morning I awoke to Zach’s voice. I was still having the nightmare so it wasn’t fun waking up. I didn’t get much sleep that night in other words.

“You really are a nightgirl.” he said.

“Yeah and you’re a real clown.” I said sarcastically.

He made a goofy bow and pretended to throw a pie at me.

“Very funny. So why’d you wake me up?” I asked.

“Two reasons. One so you can get out of my room and two so we could go to the center of the woods and find out more about your past.” He said.

“You heard that? I thought you were asleep.” I said.

“I was after I heard that. My eyes just didn’t want to open at that time and then darkness. So in other words that’s all I heard.” Zach said.

“Yeah but he said ‘your friends’ as in more than one of them.” Zach said.He wasn’t being his joke-a-lot self either.

“Ok, how about Anul, she is tied to our past...in a way.” I suggested. Then I realized it was a stupid idea after seeing the look on his face.

“Not so good. You leave me alone five seconds with that girl and she’ll try to get revenge. You know that.” Zach reminded me. I did know that too.

“Alright. How about Michael? He’s my brother and your best friend. So he’d be perfect.”

“No he’s got to deal with some other stuff.” There was a hint of a secret there as he paused. “I guess we’re better off on our own after all.”

“Alright then let’s go.” I decided best not to get info on Michael’s secret.

We headed off to the center of the forest. When we got there we were surprised to see someone there. In fact it was the young man from before.

“I foresaw this so I came instead of the other. I am allowed to tell you my name but only for the reason that not everyone came. Then again, who said they would. Isn’t that right, Princess Jolin?” He was looking right at me now.

“Why do you keep calling me Princess Jolin? Who are you? What do you want?” I blurted out. I needed answers not more questions.

“I call you Princess Jolin because you look just like her. You are her, in a way. Just like your friend here is Zeron, in a way. You are their reincarnations.” The young man explained.

“Who is Zeron and what is your name?” Zach asked as I felt his patience slipping slowly once again.

“Zeron is the Zeela leader that Princess Jolin fell in love with.” The young man answered. Zach looked at me nervously. He appeared how I felt. Awkward about the deal of being reincarnated lovebirds, when we weren’t even like that with each other.

“My name is Alan.” the young man continued. Then he removed his hood and we saw Stacy’s brother, the man who tried to kill Leslie.

“No. You can’t be the same Alan we had to deal with last year. You’re just a look-a-like.” I whispered, wishing it were true.

Alan showed the scar he had been given by Zach’s claw last year. This was no coincidence. This was most definitely on purpose.

“Why shouldn’t I just kill you here and now? You tried to kill Leslie! You tried to kill my closest friend!” I screamed at him.

“Not exactly. I was under one of Traycon’s last spells. He was able to get me before he died. Luckily he didn’t get Stacy. I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry. I thank you, Zach, for giving me this scar. You got me out of the spell, that’s part of why I ran.” Alan explained to us.

“How can we trust you? You almost killed one of our friends! You shouldn’t even come here unless you have some kinda death wish!” I yelled. I didn’t want him here. I wanted him dead.

“Chill Joley. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I believe him.” Zach said in an oddly calm tone.

“How can you believe him? He is a traitor to all Guardians! He tried to kill his own sister!” I snapped at Zach.

“I know Joley. I believe him because I remember the fear in his eyes when he saw me and the confusion in those same eyes after I clawed him. You may think I’m crazy but that is what was in his eyes. He was not confused before the attack.” Zach explained to me.

I groaned and then, quite bitterly, told them both, “Fine, but he does one thing out of line and he’ll wish he were dead. I’ll make sure of it, and I’m not joking either.”

“I best keep to the shadows while you know my identity. I don’t want to get an unneeded death.” I heard Alan whisper to Zach.

“You know I can still hear you.” I grumbled.

Then Zach and I headed to Atalan while Alan stayed in his tree house. If you’d even call it that.

I was now in my room when a knock came to my door. I was tired and wanted to sleep, if that was even possible, so I waited to see if they’d leave me alone. Another knock came to my door. They weren’t gonna leave.

“What do you want? I’m kinda tired here.”

“I just need to talk to you Joley. Okay?” I knew right then that it was Zach. He sounded nervous again.

“Come on in.”

“Thanks.” He said as he opened the door and walked right in. “Listen, I don’t know what you thought about the reincarnation thing but I’m sorry about being on Alan’s side. I didn’t mean to step on anyone’s toeas you know.” Jeez, he sounded like a little kid now.

“It’s okay Zach. I understand, at least enough.” I reassured him. I hated to see him like this. He looked so vulnerable. I shouldn’t see our leader like this.

“You okay Joley?”

“Yeah. Umm...Zach, there’s nothing going on between us right? I mean we’re just friends right?”

“Yeah. Just friends.” He answered just before he left my room. Though, his answer seemed almost reluctant. Maybe I was just imagining things.




*

*

*

It was a long time before I fell asleep that night. I had my nightmare again but, this time, I got further than usual. I actually listened to them for once.

“Joley, Joley, time to return to us Joley.”

“Who are you?” I asked calmly.

“We are the keepers of the gateway.”

“What gateway?” I asked them.

“The gateway to the shadows. Only the Shadow Warrior can go through the gateway.”

“Why do you need me? How am I supposed to help you?” I asked.

“We need you to find the warrior of the shadows. Only you can find them. If you look to the past you will know where to go. You must hurry though. The gateway is breaking and the shadows are coming through. If you don’t hurry your friends and the worlds will be in grave danger.”

“What do you mean ‘look to the past?’” I asked as fear crept up my spine.

“You must remember who you really are.”

After that they disappeared and I awoke with more questions than answers. What did they mean by ‘look to the past’ and ‘who you really are’? I couldn’t understand at all. Then I remembered what Alan told me. How I was the reincarnation of Princess Jolin, the daughter of Queen Darotine. That was what triggered another vision of my ancient past.

“Please! You must let us in! It’s important!” It was my past life, Princess Jolin, “I need to get the stone and my friend needs help. Will you please let us in.”

“Yes but quickly. We don’t want the queen to know you are here Princess.” The lady said.

“ Thank you so much.” Jolin said and she walked through the gate.

“ Where are we?” another voice said.

“ We’re in the sanctuary, Zeron.” Jolin said.

“ I don’t remember you saying anything about a sanctuary.” Zeron told Jolin.

“ It was the only way to keep you safe while you healed. I have to get the Shadow stone. Don’t try to stop me. I need to so I can protect my people,” Jolin told him sadly. “ And, so I can protect you from my mother.”

“ I can handle your mother.” Zeron said.

“ I won’t let you, now rest, the people here will help you while I’m gone.” Jolin said.

Before Zeron could disapprove, Jolin left and went through a dark tunnel. When she made it to the end of the tunnel she stood in front of a box and inside was the Shadow stone. After that I returned to my room. I was in my bed again and I saw Alan standing in front of the bed.

“ What do you want Alan?” I said. I decided to talk kindly towards him this time.

“ Shush. Can you hear that?” he asked.

It took a moment and then I heard it. It was like an unusual roaring of wind coming from around Atalan. It gave me the chills. I could feel Alan’s eyes on me so I nodded to let him know I heard it.

“ We have to wake the others and get them all together. If we don’t they’ll be consumed by the Shadows for sure.” Alan said.

“ What do the Shadows want with my friends?” I asked.

“ I’m not sure. The shadows aren’t supposed to be able to come out from behind the gate.” Alan said. “ The keepers of the gateway were supposed to hold them in.”

After that he got Zach and I got the girls. Michael, Rex, and Zach came in my room not long after the girls did. I did a head check and everyone was there. Michael, Zach, Rex, Anul, Stacey, Leslie, and Alan, all of us. The roaring became louder, louder, and louder. Then the Shadows entered the room. I couldn’t move, I could barely speak. I was so scared I could barely think of a plan to get away.

“ Everybody crowd together. Don’t panic. Whatever you do don’t panic. Just stay calm.” Alan said.

Unfortunately, after he said that the Shadows came in and found a crack in our circle. They started to surround Leslie.

“ Guys what’s going on?” Leslie said.

“ Leslie, get away from there! Leslie, get back here! Leslie!” I yelled, afraid for her.

The Shadows consumed her and Leslie and the Shadows disappeared into thin air. I don’t know what’s going on exactly but, I know that if I don’t find out the riddle of my past soon everyone will be taken by the Shadows. Most of all, those that I love.

“ Joley you have to remember more of your past. You must remember something. Anything that can help.” Zach said.

I noticed that all eyes were on me. Everyone was panicking but they also could tell that their fate was in my hands. Only mine.

“ I did remember something. Alan you know a lot about Princess Jolin right? Same with you Zach?” I asked them.

“ Yes. How does that go along with this?” They said together.

“ Well before I woke to see Alan in my room, I had a memory of my past. A memory of Princess Jolin. I think that the Shadow stone is the key to finding the Shadow Warrior. I’m not too sure but I think that since I’m supposedly Princess Jolin I can locate the Shadow stone. I don’t know how, but I think I can.” I told them. Alan didn’t seem to be too surprised. In fact it seemed like he was expecting this all along.

“ Well done Princess. Now do you remember how to find it? Where she put it? Where it’s hidden?” he asked.

“ It’s in a tunnel under the sanctuary. I don’t know where the tunnel is now. It’s been over 400 years since Princess Jolin was alive. How can I find the sanctuary?” I said. “ Wait a minute…that’s it.”

“ What’s it?” Anul asked frightened.

“ Rex. You went through a tunnel to escape Traycon when you were younger. Didn’t you? You went through a tunnel to get away from the trouble of your not-so-old past too. Right Zach?” I asked them.

“ Right.” They said.

“ I need you to lead us to the tunnel. I think that the tunnel has some connection to where the Shadow stone is.” I said.

After that the roaring came again.

“ We might want to hurry. It sounds like the Shadows are coming back. So let’s move it already.” Alan said.

“ Anul, your pendant. It’s glowing.” Stacey said shocked.

“ Of course. Everyone around me quickly.” Anul said.

The power in Anul’s pendant teleported us outside in front of the forest. It was really weird but, also helpful.

“ Can you guys lead us now?” I asked.

“ Yeah. We were in the same tunnel.” they said.

The roaring got really loud inside Atalan. I guess the Shadows noticed we weren’t there anymore. I wish they still believed we were though. As we were in the forest Rex and Zach walked next to Anul. While Anul’s pendant glowed we had a light in this darkness, luckily.

“ We’re almost there.” the boys said.

Then the roaring came and so did the Shadows. They kept getting closer as we ran. We kept running faster and faster and faster. The Shadows kept getting closer and closer and closer. Soon they caught up to us and surrounded Michael.

“ Michael! No!” I screamed.

Alan held me back as the Shadows disappeared with my brother.

“ There’s nothing you could’ve done, Joley. Nothing. We must keep moving. Come on.” Alan said.

First Alan’s sister, Leslie, then my brother, Michael. Who’s going to be next? Who’s going to be the next victim of the Shadows? I was panicking. We were running out of time.

“ Joley let’s go!” Zach yelled to me.

We headed to the tunnel. Rex and Zach were leading us through, guided by Anul’s glowing pendant. We were about halfway through the tunnel when the roaring came again. The Shadows knew we were down here.

“ We have to hurry before it takes someone else.” I said to them.

The only ones left were Anul, Alan, Stacey, Rex, Zach and yours truly. Leslie and Michael were gone. Though they were still alive. I could feel that they were.

“ Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.” Stacey said panicky.

I’m guessing she could hear the roaring getting louder. I know that I could. The Shadows were gaining on us. It was only a matter of time before we would lose someone else.

“ Run!” I heard Anul scream.

Everybody followed behind Anul, Zach, and Rex as they ran to get away from the Shadows. Unfortunately, the Shadows were too quick. It was one, two, three and Anul and her pendant had disappeared with the Shadows. We were really running out of time.

“ We have to keep moving! If we don’t hurry up someone else will be taken next! Let’s go!” I said strictly. My fear had become rage.

Stacey had taken out her light stone and used it’s power to help us through the dark, old, twisting tunnel. I was following my instincts when we came to a fork in the tunnel. It seemed to be extremely quiet, too quiet for my taste. I knew the Shadows were close.

“ I think the Shadows are gonna leave us alone.” Rex whispered to me as we made a turn.

Unfortunately, he spoke too soon. Right after that I heard a loud roaring and knew it was the Shadows. They came swiftly and I knew right away that we weren’t going to outrun it like we’ve been trying. That’s what I thought until I saw the door.

“ Quickly! This way!” I yelled to them.

They all ran after me and I led them through the door. After everyone was in, I slammed the door shut. Let’s hope that keeps the Shadows out. We were all worn out. We had been running from the Shadows for a long time.

“ What’s that scratching sound?” Zach asked.

“ What scratching…?” I stopped. I suddenly knew what the noise was. The Shadows were finding a way in.

Everyone backed away. We kept moving to find the next tunnel. It was hard now that it was pitch black because Stacey’s light had vanished as her fear became stronger. I don’t even know how I was able to find the door. This isn’t good. If we don’t find the next tunnel we’ll be taken by the Shadows for sure.

“ Ouch.” I said. Something hit my foot.

******“ Sorry.” It was Zach’s voice.

Then I heard it and I could see it coming from under the door. It finally found a way in. I was scared to find out who was next. Then I saw the Shadows surround Rex.

“ Rex! Run!” Stacey screamed. She could see it too.

Unfortunately, the Shadows took both her and Rex. That wasn’t good. All that was left was Alan, Zach, and me.

“ Let’s go Alan!” I said.

It was my turn to hold him back. He had now lost both his sisters to the Shadows. I had felt the same way when the Shadows took Michael. I felt sorry for him.

“ We don’t have much time. Anyone of us could be next.” I whispered to Alan. All he did was nod and follow Zach and I through the tunnel.

Finally we made it to a lit cave. It looked like the one from my first vision. The one that had the guy that looked like Alan and the guy that looked like Zach, fighting each other, in it. Which means it could have been a vision of the future. Not good.

“ Is something wrong Princess?” Alan asked.

“ No. I’m fine. This place just looks familiar. That’s all.” I said.

“ If you say so.” He said.

“ I think this place is where the Shadow Warrior hid the stone.” I said. I was looking at a box on the ground. It had a strange writing on it.

“ Are you sure?” Zach asked. “ It’s possible they hid it somewhere else. I mean it truly is.”

“ I’m not too sure but I’ve just got this feeling.” I said.

“ Alan, can you read that handwriting? I mean you are one of the followers of the Shadow Warrior so you could read this right?” I asked hoping he could.

“ No. Only Princess Jolin could read that writing. It’s the writing of the first keepers of the gateway. Back before Princess Jolin or even Queen Darotine was born. Why do you ask?” Alan said suspiciously.

“ Well, it looks familiar to me. It’s like I’ve seen this writing before.” I said.

“ What makes you say that?” Zach asked.

“ I just remember seeing it before.” I said. Then I remembered my bag was still on me. I dug through it and found what I was looking for. “ Will these do?”

“ Where did you get these?” Alan asked. He was looking at my writings I had made.

“ I wrote them. Every night after my dreams or, you could say, memories.” I explained.

“ These are in the same writings as the keepers of the gateway now. Maybe they can explain some of what’s happening.” Alan said.

After that Alan started reading the page I wrote in the ‘keepers of the gateway’ language. Here’s what it read:

When the gateway opens and the Shadows get loose all hope is lost for the world I live on. The only way I can save them is by becoming the one thing I kept secret. I must become the Shadow Warrior. My beloved Zeron please forgive me. I can only do this with the Shadow stone. It is the most forbidden stone ever. It is inside a box with a spell I put on it. To take off the spell just say Darotine. I wanted that to be my de-spell since I miss my mother so much. I’m sorry Zeron. Please forgive me but it’s the only way even if I lose my life in the process. Goodbye.
Love,
Princess Jolin Tulore


“ It was a letter to Zeron to tell him how sorry she was and how much she loved him.” I said surprised.

“ We might want to open the box and get the stone out. Before…” Zach said, suddenly stopping.

I knew why. The roaring came back and it was close. The Shadows came into the cave and surrounded Alan. Then, as soon as they came, they disappeared with Alan.

“ Darotine.” I whispered. Then the box flung open and the Shadow stone was revealed to me at long last. “ Before I do this Zach, if you have anything you want to tell me you might want to tell me now, knowing I might not come back and all.”

“ I…I…I love you. Okay I said it.” Zach said. He seemed a little uncomfortable saying this.

I was quite shocked but all I did was give him a kiss on the cheek. I couldn’t think of anything else to do before I became the Shadow Warrior.

“ I do too.” I told him.

Then the roaring came again. This time I knew who I really was, I really was the Shadow Warrior.

“ Shadow stone awaken! I now know who I am! I am the Shadow Warrior!” I yelled.

Then all of a sudden I was surrounded by shadows but not the ones that took my friends. They were dark but pure.

“ Joley…the Shadows…” Zach said.

I noticed that he was being surrounded by the evil Shadows. I got to him just in time to keep them off him.

“ Thanks.” he said.

Then the Shadows came back, only, not as a fog anymore. This time it took on the appearance of my brother. This was going to be harder since it was now in a solid form. After it changed into my brother it attacked Zach.

“ Get away from him you monster!” I yelled charging towards it.

“ Now is that anyway to talk to your brother. Joley.” The Shadows said in an airy imitation of my brother’s voice.

My mind said hit it. Hit it so hard like you wanted to do to Alan the day he almost killed Leslie or the time Traycon tried to kill you and your friends. I wanted to kill it, get rid of it once and for all. I wanted it to disappear. It took my friends and trapped them somewhere and I was so mad but I was frozen in place.

“ Joley…help…me…” I heard Zach say.

I looked and there he was in Zeela form now, trying to fend off this creature and he couldn’t. The Shadows were too powerful for him and they took him too. I was scared. I was the only one left. The Shadows turned and started towards me then, for some reason, it stopped.

“ Why are you doing this? What are you? What do you want with my friends? What do you want with me?” I asked. I was too scared to move from my spot.

The creature’s head was down. It’s like in the movies where they have their head down but they’re making a very evil smile.

“ You don’t remember, do you? You don’t remember what you did to me all those years ago. Why I became a creature of darkness. I was born the same year as you Joley. Only thing is, unlike all the other Shadow creatures I broke free.” The creature said in a mocking tone.

It wasn’t in the form of my brother any longer. It was now in the form of a human I didn’t recognize. It was the form of a young man.

“ What are you talking about? I’ve never seen you before. I don’t know who you are.” I said angrily.

“ Then let me explain. It was three years ago. I was wandering around in the woods and you saw me talking to Traycon. You thought I was evil so, as soon as he leaves, you attack me. You used a special stone and it sent me right back to the gateway.” That creature continued. “ I was told by one of the keepers that the only way I’ll be free of the gateway is if I destroy the Guardians.”

“ What? That’s impossible! I was told that the only way to protect my friends and the world was to destroy you! I was told by one of the keepers as well!” I told him. I was shocked.

“ Which means we were set up. Alright, you might want to move.” he said to me calmly.

I did as he said and all my friends were here with me in the cave, then he collapsed. I was glad that he had explained what was going on otherwise we’d all be lost to the Shadows. After a while I noticed that my friends were all looking at me. I forgot that most of them hadn’t seen me in the form of the Shadow Warrior. Also, that they hadn’t seen the boy before.

“ Power down.” I said.

“ Who’s he? Where did he come from?” Zach asked.

“ Well, to make a long story short, he’s the Shadows…” I said.

“ What?!” They all said interrupting me.

“ Don’t go beating him up. He’s a good guy that got lied to. He’s really another Shadow Warrior. Only…without a stone.” I said. I was trying to keep them from pouncing on him.

“ So you’re telling me that this guy is good.” Michael said.

“ How is that possible?” Leslie added.

I noticed him getting up and went over to help him. I was his only ally right now. He needed me to help him out. I needed to keep them from pouncing on him.

“ You okay? You just kind of collapsed after you brought everyone back.” I asked him.

“ Yeah. I’ll be fine. I just used a lot of my power and was pretty weak when I brought them here.” he said. “ Thanks for helping me.”

“ Okay. So you’re friends with the same guy who tried to annihilate us. Can you explain why?” Michael said.

“ Well, we were both set up. I could tell he was telling the truth when he told me about the keeper of the gateway that told him the only way he can be free is to get rid of us. It was the same keeper who told me that I could only keep you all safe if I destroyed him.” I said.

“ Well, well, well. You have figured it out have you? You have figured out that I set you two up.” another voice said in an evil tone.

I looked behind the new guy and myself. It was another keeper of the gateway, like Alan. Only their robe was a moony white. I don’t like them at all. I truly have a bad feeling about this.

“ Dartina! You set them up!” Alan shouted.

“ Hello Alan. Hello daughter. I can’t believe that even in this life you choose to fall for a Zeela.” she said ungratefully. “ Yes Alan. I set I set my daughter and Gage up, but only because they are both creatures of darkness. I was hoping that they would end up taking the Zeela boy out as well as each other.”

I saw Zach’s Zeela form come back and the new boy’s Shadows come back. I decided to join them by covering myself in my shadows with my Shadow stone. I also saw Leslie’s power from the Eye coming.

“ What are you doing Leslie? This isn’t your fight.” I said.

“ It’s not my choice. The Eye of Darotine speaks for itself. Besides she reminds me of my father Traycon.” Leslie said.

“ So you’re the one I placed my precious stone in. I won’t ask for it back just be a good girl and help me get rid of these fools. They don’t know what they’re dealing with.” Dartina said.

“ What will you do if I don’t, because last time I checked, the power of the Eye was too much for even you to handle when it attacked you.” Leslie said a bit too cocky.

“ Dear child that was only when the power of the Eye and another power were combined. Of course you don’t know what that power is so you can’t defeat me like you did your dear father.” Dartina said.

“ She doesn’t but I do. Leslie use your best power blast that you have. Gage use a full power shadow attack.” I said.

I was hoping that this was the right combination, The powers of both light and dark. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Dartina ended up blocking it as fast as a snap.

Then I realized that I made a mistake. Leslie’s power blast was light with light energy added, Gage’s shadow attack was dark with light energy added. I now knew the combination. It had to be my shadows and Gage’s shadows because my shadows and Gage’s shadows were both dark and light mixed together. Though we needed Leslie’s power blast as well.

“ Gage use the best shadow attack you can with your remaining power. I’ve got to add on with my shadow attack. Leslie when I tell you to, use your best power blast you’ve got left.” I told them.

“ Right.” They said.

“ Shadow stone release the warrior within!” I yelled.

The warrior within me was released. Gage and I used the best shadow attack we had. Dartina didn’t block this one.

“ Now!” I yelled.

Leslie shot out her power blast and it hit Dartina. We were going to win. I could tell that we were. Then I realized that the light and dark attacks were unbalanced and I knew just who to bring in.

“ Zach, focus your energy and create your darkness bomb you were working on in the practice room.” I said.

“ But I’m not ready. I can’t create it completely.” he said.

“ Yes you can.” I encouraged.

“ Alright.” He said.

Zach created a darkness bomb and it was bigger than I expected. He threw it at Dartina and it hit her extremely hard. Gage, Leslie, and I stopped our attacks so we could get towards the back with the others. Then my mother disappeared and this time for good.

“ You guys, we better get out of here. The whole place is going to collapse.” Stacey said.

“ Everybody around me. My pendant will save us.” Anul said.

We gathered around, disappeared from the tunnel, and reappeared in Atalan. I was glad to be in there again.

“ Well there’s no real point of you two leaving.” I said talking to Gage and Alan.

“ You two may have both caused us problems but you have proved yourself worthy enough to stay.” Michael said.

Gage and Alan looked at each other then looked at all of us.

“ You all must be crazy thinking we’re going to leave.” They said at the same time.

“ Well, welcome to Atalan. The headquarters for all good Guardians around here.” I said.

After all was done, we all went to bed and waited for the next adventure that lies ahead.

To be continued...



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