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The Adventure Seekers
My family has always been a little weird. No wait, let me rephrase that my family is really weird. Well for starters I don’t have any boy cousins on my dad’s side or a brother which is really disappointing. Why you might ask? Well now for starters I love sports! I also love bugs! None of my girl cousins are really into either of those.
Today I’m going to see my boring cousins. I’m in the van right now on my way to the beach. Sarah my older sister is very excited to see our cousins though, but I think she just wants to brag about her new ‘super styling’ clothes. Oh great…here we are now. “Eva sweetie, get out of the car and help carry the towels down to the shore.” commanded my mom. “Ugh, okay mom don’t rush me.” I sighed. I really didn’t want to come here in the first place.
“Eva stop being so grumpy. I know you’re missing the soccer game, but isn’t family more important?” my mom asked with an understanding smile. “It was the finals, mom! Why did I have to miss this game out of all the others? Since I’m already here, I’ll at least try to enjoy it.” I said trying to smile. “Thank you, Eva.” my mom smiled. I snatched the towels and ran off to the beach shore. At least I’ll get some swimming practice out of this.
“Eva! You’re finally here!” shouted my younger cousin Ivy. Ivy is one of my most adorable cousins, though she can be a little mean sometimes. “Now everyone’s here.” said my cousin Ariel who was standing behind Ivy. Ariel is sort of the artist of our family; she loves to make crafts and usually can be found sewing a new clothes style or sometimes making bracelets and such. “Let’s go swimming.” I said as I ran and jumped into the lake.
We swam half an hour before Coraline came. Coraline is Ariel’s younger sister. She is the most annoying of all my cousins. “The water is too cold!” whined Coraline. “Then don’t go swimming.” suggested Ariel. “But I want to!” said Coraline in her whiny tone as usual. My oldest cousin Lila was still sitting on the shore reading a book. Not just any book, she was reading…Math II a book of Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability, Algebra, and Calculus. “Lila. Put the book down and go swimming with your cousins.” commanded her dad. “In a few more hours.” replied Lila glued to her book. “No now.” said her dad as he took the book away. “Father! I was just getting to the exciting part, where they explained how to factor when evaluating limits!” exclaimed Lila upset the book was taken away. “Now go swimming you need the excise and to be with other people. If you don’t go now, I’ll put you in school!” commanded Lila’s dad.
Lila is home schooled mostly because she’s extremely socially awkward and ends up getting no friends and a whole lot of bullies. Lila loves to read and is sort of an inventor, she loves to work in her ‘lab’ (her lab is actually her room) from night to day and sometimes day to night. “No! Not school!” pleaded Lila. “Then go swimming! If you don’t go in five seconds you will go to school no matter what.” said her dad. “But-but I do not want to swim in a large mass of H2O in which billions of one celled organisms live, and many creatures use as a dwelling and a rest room.” complained Lila. “Sorry Lila tomorrow you’re going to school.” said her dad as he gave up trying.
Lila’s dad is really nice, believe me. He only wants what’s best for Lila and her to be a little more normal. I stepped out of the lake and walked up to Lila. “Come on Lila, it’ll be fun besides you’re already in your swimsuit so you might as well use it.” I said encouragingly. “No thanks.” Lila insisted. “Fine then.” I said grabbing her arm and pulling her with me. “W-where are you taking me?!” asked Lila a little frightened. “You’ll see.” I replied with a mischievous smile. Then I pushed her into the lake. It might have been a little mean, but I had to get her in one way or another.
I could tell she was already freaking out, though she was sitting down and the water only reached her stomach. “Lila, just try not to think about it.” I suggested. “Hmmmm…” said Lila as she thought. Suddenly something wet and freezing cold ran down my back. “Hey!” I shouted as I turned around shocked. Sarah burst out laughing. A smile slipped across my face. “Water gun fight!” I declared as I picked up the two that I had set down earlier. I tossed one to Lila and the fight began.
So all my cousins had joined in, even Lila was now playing. Everyone was laughing and running around. Somehow I knew this year was going to be different from any other. It was going to be awesome!
The story of the Adventure Seekers is a tale I have always held on to. I have never told a single soul ever before. My name? My name is Lila Mysterious. I am sitting in school, now. Ninth grade is such a nuisance. I mean, I already know all of this stuff! Why do we have to learn geometry and Algebra II, why not how Einstein’s theory of relativity works? Or maybe the circular reasoning of time travel? They say I have too much imagination. They say oh, go grow up Lila. Well, I say I am only 12 ½ let me dream…
*sigh* Back to school work now I guess. Oh, the teacher wrote a problem on the board. C^2 = b^2 + a^2 “Does anyone know what a^2 equals?” asked the teacher. I raised my hand excitedly. “Liz, do you have the answer?” asked the teacher. “Um…it’s…15?” said Liz unsurely. “No, that is incorrect. Lila, would you tell us the answer?” sighed the teacher (she had called on me seven times already because no one else would raise their hand). “The answer is 16 and the variable a or slant height equals 4.” I announced to the class. “Thank you Lila but I only asked for the first part.” said the teacher with sight annoyance. Then she began to erase the board, and I began to daydream again. When the teacher wasn’t looking someone through a paper air plane at me and it hit my head. I carefully unfolded the air plane to find a note:
Meet me after class. – Velia
“Hmm…” I thought out loud as I read the note. The rest of class seemed to drag forever on and every minute felt like an hour. The bell rang startling me out of my daydreams. The class stampeded out of the room as Velia and I gathered our things. Once we stepped out of the class room she grabbed my arm. “The time is coming, the tide is changing. I have something to show you.” whispered Velia as she ran dragging me behind her. “But I shall miss class.” I said disagreeing but Velia still ran. Soon we came upon the woods outside near the school. “Your parents are gone, the adventure is just beginning.” whispered Velia. “My parents are gone? Gone to where?” I asked fearfully. “They have been stolen.” whispered Velia. “No… that cannot be true!” I whispered. “It is, go home and see for yourself.” insisted Velia.
Past all the neighboring mansions. Everything was a blur as I reached my house. I came to my house with the door wide open. I stepped inside to see everything in a mess. Couches over turned, chairs torn to pieces, papers scattered, broken glass sat upon the floor, and books thrown across the room. My heart skipped a beat and I froze. For once in my life I was lost, lost forever in a sea of ice cold water swirling, twisting, churning currents dragging me under them helplessly and drowning me, squeezing out all of the light, left with nothing but darkness, despair, misery and broken dreams.
I sat on the floor knowing that if I called out for my parents there would be no reply. Now everything seemed silent except for my thunder heart beat and my slow breath as they consumed all other sounds.
“Nova, you made it onto the A honor roll this quarter! I’m so proud of you! Oh, I think my little girl is growing up.” said Nova’s mother with a joyful tear trickling down her cheek. “Mom stop you’re embarrassing me, I made it on the B honor roll the past years.” whispered Nova as she was smothered in a hug. “Well, that’s what parents are for aren’t they? Hey, sweetie how about we rent a movie to celebrate your grades, huh?” asked Nova’s mother happily. “Okay.” replied Nova with a smile.
They rode to the nearest place to rent movies, grabbed a few and headed back home. “I’ll get the popcorn started, if you get the movie started.” suggested Nova’s mother sweetly. “Alright!” exclaimed Nova excitedly as her mother headed off into the kitchen.
“The movie is starting mom!” shouted Nova as she stared at the screen but there was no reply. “Mom!” yelled Nova louder this time. All she could hear was the deafening sound of wind from the kitchen and the squeaking of hinges with the popping of unattended popcorn. “Mom! Are you alright? Do you need help? Mom! Please say something!” shouted Nova as she began to panic. Then she rushed into the kitchen to see everything in a mess. Cupboards wide open and popcorn scattered upon the floor from the wide open microwave. The door was open and as it swayed it squeaked once again. “Mom?” asked Nova as she crept towards the door and hugged herself to try to block out the winds chilly grip.
When Nova looked out the door there wasn’t anyone outside and the sky was turning grey. Nova looked onto the ground to see foot prints. “Mom…” whispered Nova as she followed the footprints, but they soon ended and Nova kept walking the way she thought they lead. Just as Nova was beginning to give up hope she noticed a gloomy looking girl sitting on her porch with a knee length blue skirt, a blue button down shirt, blue socks that touched her knees, cowgirl boots, waist length dark golden brown brunette hair, brown eyes, many freckles sprinkled across her cheeks, and a pale complexion that looked as if it hadn’t seen the sun in weeks.
She had her head down as she looked at the ground and a tear crept down her cheek, the wind blew gracefully though her hair. Nova crept like a mouse up to the girl and sat beside her. “What’s wrong?” asked Nova sympathetically. The girl looked up towards Nova and gave her a blank expression. “Who may you be?” asked the girl as she looked at Nova who was wearing a pale blue Japanese dress, flats, leggings, and had her jet black hair wrapped up in a bun and two Chinese chopsticks poking out from behind, brown eyes, and a beautiful cocoa complexion.
“I’m Nova Jinx, what’s your name?” asked Nova encouragingly. “I am Lila Mysterious, and the thing that happens to be troubling me is that… my parents seem to have been stolen.” whispered the girl struggling not to cry. “My mom is missing too, would you like to join in my search?” asked Nova as she stood up. “Sure.” replied Lila as she grabbed her brown leather bag and the two girls headed off in search for their parents.
“There are two girls up ahead.” pointed out Nova as they neared the other girls. One had shoulder length light ash blonde hair, light blue eyes, the most fashionable leather coat and a silk skirt. The younger girl had chin length sunflower blonde hair, green eyes, and sporty apparel. “They are my cousins. The elder one is Serafina Mysterious, but she prefers to be identified by Sarah. Her sister standing next to her is Eva Mysterious.” explained Lila. “Lila!” shouted Eva as she ran to her and buried her face in Lila’s shirt and began to sob. “I know.” whispered Lila to her cousin with a hug. “We shall find them.” Lila whispered soothingly.
Then the girls walked on with the other two girls following and tears raced down Eva’s and Sarah’s faces. Two more girls soon crossed the girls’ path this time it was Ariel and her sister Coraline Mysterious. Ariel has hazel eyes, butterscotch brown hair, and always wares all purple. Coraline wore a purple dress with butterflies dancing across it, shoulder length sparkling amber brown hair, and the most adorable grey eyes. “Nova meet my cousin Ariel and her sister Coraline.” whispered Lila a little loudly.
Still the girls walked along with the two new ones following them. A little later a girl with two shoulder length braids of medium auburn red orange hair, dark blue eyes, and all pink apparel appeared on the road. “Ivy!” cried out Ariel excitedly to see her cousin. “We’re all here now.” whispered Eva to herself. “Nova: age 13 ½, Lila: age 12 ½, Sarah: age 11, Eva: age nine, Ariel: age eight, Ivy: age six, and Coraline: age five.” mumbled Lila silently as she listed each correct name and age. The girls searched many hours until midnight, to find out that they were now lost.
The girls came across an abandoned club house and decided to live there until they found their parents. “We all have one thing about our stories in common.” announced Nova. “All of our parents went missing and we have nowhere else to go.” added Sarah. Lila wandered into a room nearby a started to set up her lap top and place her clue clipboard together. Then Lila stepped back out of the room. “What do you suppose we do?” asked Nova. “We keep searching no matter what, and no matter how long. “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who do not want it badly enough.
“They are there to stop the other people.” A quote from Randy Pausch. And whatever it is we may do, “Never, never, never give in!” - Winston Churchill. And as Thomas A. Edison once said “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” So…therefore we shall never give up nor shall we ever give in. Whether it is to the enemy or to an exceedingly difficult task. For we are many separated and as we stick together we are one! Together there shall not be a mystery that we cannot solve, nor shall there be a villain left unturned! For we are the Adventure Seekers!” exclaimed Lila finally done talking.
“The Adventure Seekers? Hmmm…I like it!” agreed Nova. “Our catch phrase for our group is?” asked Sarah wonderingly. “Together, we solve mysteries and seek adventure at the same time all the time.” suggested Lila. “No fair Lila’s coming up with everything!” whined Ivy. “Excuse me while I investigate our few clues that we have so far.” said Lila before she headed off and back into the room with her lap top. “I’m tired.” complained Coraline. “So am I.” agreed Sarah as the other girls headed off into the only two bedrooms in the club house.
BOOM! “What was that?” asked Nova in a panic around two a.m. as it startled her awake. “It came from the lab.” observed Ariel. The girls scurried to the lab which Lila was working in. Lila covered her mouth as she coughed form the smoke. Her hair was in a mess and there were dark smudges across her face. “Did that which-you-ma-call-it, explode?” asked Sarah as she pointed to the machine Lila was building. “No, it did not. I shall inform you that it was only a slight miscalculation of energy added to the bypass of the wires electro circuit, which is…” “Sure, so what is it?” asked Eva interrupting Lila. “It just so happens to be an R. V. G. D.” replied Lila proudly. “An R. V…what?” asked Ivy. Lila sighed slightly annoyed. “An R.V. G. D. is a Reality Video Game Device.” explained Lila.
“What does it do?” asked Nova interested in the machine. “It brings you into any video game such as the Wii, DS, PC, Xbox, etc. and you play the game for real.” said Lila proudly. “Can we try it?” asked Eva excitedly. “No I am afraid not. For there is a glitch, a malfunction, a fault if you will a…” “Get on with it.” interrupted Ivy annoyed. “As I was saying…once in the game you have to play it through to escape, and there is no telling what may happen.” explained Lila before working on the machine again. “Too bad, now everyone off to bed we go.” Lead Nova as she walked to the bed room and Lila this time followed with a yawn. “Good night everybody.” whispered Ariel before the girls drifted off to sleep.
“Lila wake up! Lila wake up!” screeched Coraline as she shook her awake. “What is it?” asked Lila sleepily. “Ivy’s missing.” whispered Coraline to Lila. Then there was the hum of a machine starting up. “No! The R. V. G. D.” shouted Lila in a panic as she sprinted to the lab with her bag and Coraline woke up the others. “I am too late.” mumbled Lila as she watch the machine cool down.
“Not if we can help it!” announced Nova. “We’re going into the game after her.” said Ariel bravely. “But it is too dangerous and…it is…” trailed off Lila. “Well then, it’s a good thing you’re not pushing the button.” Eva said with a mischievous smile as she pushed the button. Then a bright and blinding light washed over the girls. The light became brighter and brighter until they could see nothing but pure snow white nothingness. In a little amount of time the light died down and they were able to see where they were.
“Where are we?” asked Coraline. “In a video game brainless.” said Eva nastily. “We appear to be near a realm associated with or regarded as being under the control of a particular person or thing. In…um…about the 350AD to 1450AD time period.” answered Lila in her rapid way of talking she normally uses whenever she speaks. “What?” asked Coraline completely lost. “We’re in medieval times near a castle.” replied Nova with a smile. “That means we’re in Shadow of the Doomed Kingdom the video game.” added Eva. “We must head through the Wrathful Woodlands.” said Lila as she pointed to the nearby forest. The girls trudged on and into the forest unsure of their return.
“Do you hear that?” asked Sarah. “It sounds like singing.” observed Eva. Coraline giggled and looked deep into the forest. “I see fairies.” whispered Coraline then she started to walk towards the beautiful winged creatures. “Those aren’t fairies! They’re Mournful Nymphs!” shouted Ariel in a panic. “Mournful Nymphs attract children by their sweet singing and hypnotize them. Then they feast upon the child’s soul and become more powerful.” explained Lila worriedly. “Everyone plug your ears!” shouted Nova. Coraline was almost in the grasp of the nymphs now and their figures were beginning to turn back into the creatures they were trying to disguise. All the other girls plugged their ears, except for Lila she was not ready to lose a cousin. “Coraline! No!” screamed Lila as she ran and pushed Coraline out of the way and the leader of the three nymphs grabbed Lila’s arm instead.
The fairy like creatures with golden wings, long perfect hair, dresses made of giant petals, and flowers upon their hair, now looked like horrible beasts with hair all knotted together and snarled, claws, bats wings, and dresses made of black leaves. “Oh, fiddlesticks…” mumbled Lila as the creature continued its beautiful melody and hypnotized her. “Let her go you beast!” shouted Nova as she chucked a rock at the nymph and it hit the nymph smack dab on the forehead. The nymph let out a screech like a thousand nails scratching across a black board.
It dropped Lila to the ground and backed away from the girls, so she would be concealed by the shadowy darkness. “Lila wake up.” said Ariel as Eva shook Lila. “W-what happened?” asked Lila in a daze. “You were hypnotized.” explained Nova. “She did not devour my soul, so she must have been looking for something else. But whatever it may have been she did not find it.” concluded Lila out loud. “What do you mean?” asked Sarah confused. “We must not dwell in one spot for long. This forest is not safe and the mountain shall be ever more treacherous.” explained Lila as she started walking off deeper into the forest.
The forest grew nastier and more sinister with each step the girls took. “Where are we heading?” asked Ariel. “To the top of the Dreary Mountains, of course.” answered Nova. “Dreary Mountains…” whispered a grave and ghostly voice from somewhere hidden among the shadows of the trees. “Shhhh… it’s a Murmur Specter. They whisper things so you talk to them. Then by following your voice they find you and take over your body.” whispered Nova. “Um…Nova look behind you.” whispered Lila as she pointed to the red glowing eyed spirit, with skeletal hands, and rag clothing. “Behind you…” it whispered. “ What do you want?” asked Eva frightened. “Take over your body…” it whispered repeating what was said before.
“Run! If we can make it back into the light it will vanish!” exclaimed Nova as the girls ran for their lives. “It seems to be pursuing us.” announced Lila. “Of course it would! What do you expect?!” shouted Eva. “Keep running!” yelled Nova. “I’m too tired.” complained Coraline. “Then I shall carry you.” said Lila as she scooped up her youngest cousin and kept on running. “I see the sunlight spot, it’s only a few feet away.” declared Eva. Lila set Coraline on her feet and Coraline made it to the light first. “I made it!” exclaimed Eva. “No fair you’re the fastest runner.” whined Sarah as she made it beside her sister. Then Lila tripped on an uprooted tree root and feel upon the dirt and moss. “Danger Prone Lila trips once again.” said Ivy meanly.
“Lila get up!” commanded Nova as she was the last girl except Lila to make it to the light. “Why does she have to be so clumsy?” asked Eva to herself, as the Murmur Specter crept closer to Lila. Then Lila got up and dashed into the light. “Ahhhhhhh…” shrieked the specter in pain as the light made it begin to fade away. “Who are you working for?” asked Nova commandingly. “Dark Shadow...” screamed the specter before vanishing completely. “Who’s Dark Shadow?” asked Ariel as the girls continued their journey. “I do not know, but we shall soon in time figure it out.” answered Lila.
One Hour Later…
“I think we’re lost.” said Ariel glancing around the forest. “No, there’s the mountain path. Come on let’s go!” declared Nova as she ran off and up the mountain path. The girls headed up the mountain and where up about half way now. “So how do you end the game?” asked Eva curiously. “I have no idea.” replied Nova. “What’s that tapping noise?” asked Coraline. “I believe it sounds like…spiders.” answered Eva. “S-s-spiders?” asked Lila as she suddenly froze in place. “Yeah, that’s what I said.” insisted Eva. “B-b-but I have arachnophobia.” stammered Lila in terror.
Then Coraline looked behind the girls. “Spiders!” pointed out Coraline as the five foot herd of spiders stampeded up towards them. “Ahhhh!” screamed Lila in complete horror. “Wow, those are some awesome spiders.” said Eva in awe. “Is it just me or do they look hungry to you?” asked Sarah. “Defiantly hungry. Run!” exclaimed Ariel before she dashed away with the others following her (but they dragged Lila because she was too frightened to move).
“There’s the castle, and the spiders are still chasing us. Now what?” asked Ariel out of breath. “We charge into the castle grab Ivy and jump of the cliff.” suggested Eva. “I don’t see we have any other choice, so let’s go!” shouted Nova as she sprinted off towards the castle.
The girls barged into the castle to be surrounded by darkness. “Ivy, are you here?” asked Sarah. “Yeah.” replied Ivy. “Everyone jump out of the window!” commanded Nova as she ran and jumped out of the window and fell off the cliff. The girls all jumped out of the window and began to fall. “Nova are you sure this will end the game, because I’m not.” Eva said. “Um…no if it doesn’t we’re all doomed, I suppose.” replied Nova. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” screamed Sarah. Then everything turn to a dark nothingness. There was neither a color nor a sound to be found.
“Ow!” cried out Ivy. “Ouch!” screamed Coraline. “My cranium.” groaned Lila. “That hurt.” said Sarah as Nova groaned. “Let’s do that again!” exclaimed Eva as she noticed they were back in the clubhouse. “It’s not over yet Adventure Seekers. Soon I will destroy your world. Once I have the gemstones, there will be nothing that can stop me, for I’m Dark Shadow!” said a voice menacingly as it floated through the air. “We have to stop him, it’s our job as the Adventure Seekers to do so.” said Ariel. “Gemstones…hmmmm…” trailed off Lila once again lost in thought.
‘So many questions that shall only be answered within time. Time that we do not have.’ thought Lila as she entered into the room which the others were in. “Everyone state your progress on the investigation!” commanded Sarah as she got off the pink leather arm chair and stood up. “Recent news goes first!” exclaimed Eva with a grin. “Okay, so I’ve been reading the newspapers and apparently Dark Shadow came up in a few stories. Here take a look at this!” said Nova as she handed newspaper clippings to the other girls.
“Shadowy figure see sneaking into building before the fire today. Nothing left but ashes now. Except for a charred piece of wood with the words Dark Shadow engraved into it.” read aloud Ariel. “Child runs away and is found the next day. The boy says he saw something shadow-like with red glowing eyes. Police are still investigating.” read Eva. “There are eleven news stories. Strange, isn’t it? What is Dark Shadow planning?” said Nova as she recollected the newspaper clippings.
“Hmmmm…eleven news stories…no it is not strange at all.” replied Lila. “What do you mean?” asked Ivy. “As I was assigned Mythology I researched every gemstone possible. Now one of them seems to connect to the mystery. The Eleven Stones of Misadventure.” explained Lila. “Why exactly would Dark Shadow want them?” asked Nova. “They are said to hold untold power and if brought together they will unleash a cloud of darkness over the entire universe. This would turn everyone and everything in its path purely evil. Only the owner of the stones would be able to control all of the evil.” explained Lila to the others.
“Is there any way to stop it?” asked Ariel. “Yes there is. As long as we have the gemstones they will not be able to work, they only work if you have an evil soul. Once the stones are united only the souls of those who are pure of heart can stop the evil cloud. If we are to search for the stones there is one thing you must know, there is a guardian for every one of them, some tame, others dreadfully dangerous.” added Lila as the others thought it over.
“We’re going! There’s absolutely no way we’re letting Dark Shadow get away with this!” exclaimed Eva. “I only know where one is to be found and that would be the Stone of Usha. It dwells in Croilton Castle which is about…three miles away from here.” said Lila. “Isn’t that the castle that it is said those who enter never return from?” asked Sarah worriedly. “Yep, but don’t worry that’s only a myth!” exclaimed Eva bravely. “Let’s get a move on girls!” exclaimed Nova as she walked out the door with the others following.
At the castle…
“So where do you suppose the stone is?” asked Eva. “The castle is huge!” exclaimed Ariel as she stared at it. The castles grey stone shimmered in the light that beamed off of Nova's flash light. With its winding towers, and its garden of thorns it seemed to be a difficult task to find the stone. Behind the castle sat an eerie forest filled with nasty creatures. The castle itself stretched on for acres, which made finding the stone appear impossible. “There is a rhyme for every stone here’s the first rhyme. You shall find the stone, upon the throne, with a golden pillow to sit upon, but beware the come of dawn, for that is when the child of the dark will appear, to devour all who enter, so it is best to be gone.” Lila verbalized.
“Sounds like it’ll be in the throne room.” suggested Nova. “So shall we go in?” asked Eva. “No! I don’t wanna!” cried Coraline. “I’ll stay with her.” suggested Ivy before the other girls went into the castle. “It seems pretty dark in here.” said Ariel as she bumped into a wall. “I can’t see a thing!” exclaimed Sarah as she squinted in the darkness. “I got a flashlight!” said Nova as she turned it back on. “As Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And as…” Lila trailed off as she saw the angry expression on Eva’s face. The girls walked down the lengthy hallway that had moth eaten pictures which were faded and torn, some rotting chairs, and spider webs clung everywhere.
As they crept further and further into the castle the flashlight began to flicker and suddenly went out. “Well that’s just great!” complained Sarah. “These were new batteries and I also put in a new light bulb.” explained Nova. “It seems to have been drained of its energy; which I would conclude that we are not in the room alone.” said Lila as her voice died to a whisper. “Everyone at least try to follow me, I believe I know the way to the throne room.” whispered Eva as she began to walk deeper into the castle and was consumed by the darkness.
In a little amount of time they saw a dim light up ahead and they began to wander towards it. It turned out to be a window. “Fiddlesticks! It is nearly dawn.” exclaimed Lila. “Then we’d better hurry if what the rhyme said is true!” said Ariel worriedly. As the girls spotted the throne they meandered over to it. “Now where is the stone?” whispered Lila to herself, noticing it was gone. “Looking for this?” hissed a voice from someone or something out of sight. “Who and where are you?” asked Nova in a reply. “Why I’m Usha daughter of darkness, don’t you recognize me?” asked Usha as her hissing voice drifted around the room. “Why are you here?” asked Eva bravely.
“I can’t let you escape or take my stone!” Usha hissed. “Why won’t you show yourself?” asked Sarah turning in circles trying to spot Usha. “I’m right here!” said Usha as she stood in the dim light of the window. The girls gasped as they saw the creature. Usha had sharp boney hands with nails like claws. Her eyes were sunk deep back into her skull and the tiny dots of her eyes glowed blood red, her nose was gone and all that showed was the skeletal part beneath it, her lips were torn and decaying. Her once magnificent black dress was now bug eaten, torn, and grimy, from her legs to her toes were just bones, her rotting leather shoes were swarming with insects, and her black stringy hair sat in clumps, tangled with a few spiders scampering through it.
“Scared yet, Adventure Seekers? Am I scary enough for you?” laughed Usha cruelly. “You were a princess once, fairest of them all, and now…” trailed off Lila. “I’m hideous! I will be pretty once again though, and I will rule the kingdom!” exclaimed Usha taking three steps closer to the girls. “What do you mean?” asked Eva confused. “I will take your faces!” exclaimed Usha as she lunged at the girls. “No!” shouted Sarah as she and the others scampered away and back into the halls. Usha laughed. “You’ll never escape Adventure Seekers, there’s no way out! Once dawn arrives along with me, all exits vanish!” hissed Usha. Then Usha chased the girls with the gemstone upon her crown.
The Adventure Seekers raced down the winding halls, always with Usha just a few steps behind them. The girls spun around a sharp corner and dashed up the stair case with Lila falling behind. “There’s no escape Adventure Seekers!” insisted Usha almost grasping Lila’s leg. “It’s a dead end.” whispered Sarah as she had scrambled up the last few steps. Usha in no time joined the girls in the room. The girls leaned up against the wall trying to keep a distance from Usha. “I have you now Adventure Seekers! Right in my trap.” declared Usha as she ran a claw-like nail down Lila’s left cheek, then pulled her hand away.
A cold substance trickled gradually down Lila’s cheek. Lila gently placed her hand upon where the demon creature had scratched her. Then there was a swift jolt of pain as the cut stung. Lila quickly pulled her hand away and glanced at it in the dim light of the moon. Her hand was almost completely covered in a red liquid that appeared to be…blood. Lila took a step to the right and noticed a window was behind her.
“There is no way out.” Usha the demon creature insisted as she got closer still. Lila smashed the glass of the window with her fist. Usha screeched like a million sharp nails grinding at a snail's pace down a black board. Without hesitation Lila jumped out the window and tumbled onto the balcony with the other girls following her. Lila with the little strength she had left tried to stand up, and then she leaned her back against the balcony railing. Her whole body throbbed, and her cuts stung. With her pain she felt that she was alone, alone in a deep, dangerous nightmare. A nightmare she would never return from with wickedness around every turn and only darkness, misery, sorrow, and hatred for comfort.
“S-stay away.” whispered Ariel through the window to the creature. “Quick jump off the balcony!” commanded Lila. “What? I-isn’t there some other way?” asked Nova in a panic. “No.” whispered Lila her face showing her concern. “I’ll go first!” exclaimed Eva as she jumped off and landed in the moat. Then the girls all jumped off until Lila was just left. “Lila jump!” shouted Nova to her friend, but she could tell by the look in Lila’s eyes that she was not going to leave without trying to take the gemstone.
Then Lila turned around and watched with a face that was full of pain as the demon creature walked right through the wall towards her. Lila didn’t move for she knew it was the end and she could do nothing to stop it, it was just meant to be. Her fellow Adventure Seekers were always intended to end Dark Shadow’s sinister plans and Lila’s adventure was destined to end here, to stop or at least stall the demon creature Usha so that the others may take the stone.
“You are not even human any more. What happened to you?” asked Lila with determination. The creature paused and there was for a millisecond a twinkle of humanity in her eyes. “I was once the princess of this horrid kingdom. I tried my best to rule as my mother and father would have wanted to, but things are always so difficult. One evening a dark cloud rolled over my kingdom and stayed for years. Soon the crops died and the animals fled, but my people were held captive of the cloud unable to escape. I tried everything I could to save them. I tried so hard! Even with my effort they became angry at me, they hated me. They soon came in a mob with pitchforks and torches to kill me. I had tried to save them! I had cared for them! What do I get in return, not a smile, or a thank you, but death! They granted me with a most unwanted gift!
"My wise man who knew some sorcery gave me a cup of what appeared to be water and he said ‘Drink this and everything will be okay, they will fear you, they will praise you once again.’ What a fool! A dreadful fool I was for I drank it. I became what you see now. And I was cursed to destroy all who enter my castle. I never wanted any of this; I just want to rest in peace. Each day I grow less and less of what I used to be and become more of the dreadful creature I am now. Now that I have told you my story…… I must destroy you!” explained Usha angrily.
Lila unable to move very much with the room that was there had to stay in place as Usha placed her claws under her chin. The nails dug deeper and deeper into Lila’s throat, but with one last desperate try Lila snatched the gemstone off Usha’s crown. Usha let out another screech as she flung her arms to touch her crown, as Usha did so she hit Lila. Losing her balance Lila stumbled and fell off the balcony. The air flew past her, faster and faster she fell, until she landed into the thorn bushes. Then everything began to fade and disappear.
“Lila…Lila…” called a voice that seemed miles away. Light slowly seeped through Lila’s eye lids again. Lila blinked and realized she was lying in the grass next to the thorn bushes now. “Lila!” shouted Coraline joyfully as she wrapped Lila in a hug. “Coraline?” asked Lila seeming to still be far off in the distance. “Lila, oh my gosh! I’m so glad you’re alive! What were you thinking!?” exclaimed Nova. “I thought you were a goner!” exclaimed Eva. Then Sarah helped Lila across the bridge the girls had made to cross the moat. “Here let me help you clean up your cuts before they get infected.” suggested Nova. “No, no I can manage.” disagreed Lila. “I insist.” insisted Nova. “Okay, you win.” said Lila as she smiled at her best friend.
“So Lila, how you doing?” asked Eva once Lila was finished taking care of her cuts. “Fine, like always I suppose.” Lila replied. “So Lila did you get the gem?” asked Sarah as she walked up beside her sister Eva. Lila pulled the stone out of her pocket to show the others. “Champion!” shouted Eva excitedly. “Now we can leave.” said Sarah happily. “No, not yet. Frist we must break the spell so that Usha can rest in peace.” disagreed Lila. “That’s ridiculous!” exclaimed Ivy as she and the rest of the girls strolled towards Lila.
“It’s absolutely outrageous, but saying we would, how would we do so?” asked Nova. “There is the book that the curse was put upon her by, in the wise man’s room.” replied Lila. “I think I know the way to the room, I’ll go.” suggested Nova. “I know how to read ancient languages, and you said the idea was ridiculous. So if you go I have to go too.” suggested Lila. “Okay, but you have to be careful.” said Nova. “Yeah, no more getting hurt Lila.” agreed Ariel.
Then the two girls headed off into the castle to find the book. They found the room and book in no time and Lila began to read it. “Fiddlesticks!” whispered Lila angrily as she dropped the book on to the floor. “What?” asked Nova curiously. “There isn’t a way to undo the spell and…well…never mind.” whispered Lila sadly. “What?” asked Nova persistently. “If we don’t put Usha to rest before the sun shines I shall become a permanent ghost of Croilton Castle, since she scratched me.” explained Lila. “We can’t let that happen! How would you usually put a demon to rest?” asked Nova. “Same way as a ghost. Help them end their unfinished business.” replied Lila. “What would that be?” asked Nova in thought. “I have no clue.” said Lila with a shrug. “I’m back!” exclaimed Usha. “What do you want?” asked Nova full of fear. “I want both of your faces don’t you know that already?” asked Usha in return as she dug her claws into Nova’s throat to take her face. “Lila do something!” said Nova in a panic.
Gradually the life slipped out of Nova’s eyes, and a menacing smile spread across Usha’s face. Lila took a deep breath knowing what she had to do. Then she wrapped Usha in a hug. Startled Usha let Nova drop to the floor. “Let go of me, you fool!” hissed Usha angrily as she clawed at Lila’s arms, but Lila only hugged her tighter making sure Usha wouldn’t escape. “Usha I am trying to help you! You do not realize that to be released from the grasp of evil is so simple! I figured it all out! Just listen! You must overlook your anger and forgive those who have hurt you then and only then may you ever rest in peace!” shouted Lila determined to keep Usha away from Nova. Usha began to claw more violently at Lila’s arms.
“It’s too late! The name Usha means nothing to me anymore! It’s far too late!” hissed the creature as she managed to grab ahold of Lila’s arm and free herself. Usha then with a smile grabbed Lila by the collar of her shirt. Lila became paralyzed with fear as the creature brought its rotting face close to her own. “It’s too late.” whispered Usha as she studied Lila’s face loving the terror she saw on it. Lila held her breath from the putrid smell Usha gave off now that she was so close. A slow but dreadfully sinister smile crawled onto Usha’s face. Without another thought Usha flung Lila sending her across the room and crashing into the wall.
Lila groaned as she tried to blink the blinding light away. Usha looked back over to Nova who still lay unmoving and seeming to be not breathing either. She then crept silent as a cat to where Lila lay. “Any last words?” asked Usha as she gripped at Lila’s throat. “It is never truly too late for anything, and nothing is truly evil if you look closely with a kind heart. Sometimes the things hardest to believe are the things that are the most obvious. Anything is possible if only you believe. So believe! Believe once again! Think with your heart and the answer will come to you of what you must truly do!” whispered Lila with the little strength she had left. “What is that supposed to mean?!” shouted Usha angrily as her claws dug into Lila’s skin. “It is simply supposed to mean that it is never too late to forgive and forget. If you stop to listen to your heart it will almost always tell you the accurate answer.” replied Lila as she slightly opened her eyes trying to read Usha’s emotions.
Unnoticed Nova slowly reached for the book that was beside her. Standing up and looking angrily over to the creature she chucked the book at Usha. Usha screeched as the book hit her back with a sickenly loud crack and she stumbled away from Lila. “That’s what you get for messing with the Adventure Seekers!” shouted Nova to the creature lying on the floor. Lila walked over to her friend with her eyes locked on Usha cautiously watching for any movement. “Let’s just get out of here before she gets back up.” suggested Nova as she headed for the door with Lila behind her.
Nova and Lila stepped outside and the others quickly greeted them. “You two were gone so long I was getting worried!” exclaimed Ariel as she tackled the two girls in a hug. “How long were we gone?” asked Lila as she slightly stumbled backwards. “Ten minutes.” smiled Sarah. “I thought you both were doomed!” exclaimed Eva. “Lila’s owie is gone!” announced Coraline pointing at Lila’s cheek where the scratch had been. “Huh?” asked Lila confused placing a hand on her cheek. “Wow! It is, but how?” asked Eva in amazement. “Hmmm…the only logical solution would be that she has forgiven those who have hurt her and she has now gone to rest in peace.” explained Lila. “You mean if she leaves so does the harm she has caused?” asked Nova. “Yes, exactly.” replied Lila with a smile.
“Okay…we got the first stone.” said Sarah. “We have to find the other ten.” added Ariel. “Dark Shadow will try to stop us, this task will not be easy.” stated Nova. “We’ll have to stick together and be alert.” suggested Eva. “Now we must find The Stone of Biana Vevila. It is said to be hidden at the Crystal Nymph Hotel.” said Lila. “Isn’t that a five star hotel?” asked Eva curiously. “Of course it is.” said Sarah. “Well then they’re probably not going to just let a group of kids in, we need a plan.” suggested Eva. “Actually little sister, all detectives get in free.” said Sarah. “Well let’s go then we have half a mile to walk there!” exclaimed Ariel as the girls headed off.
Lila snatched her brown leather, mini backpack off the ground before running after the others to catch up. It didn’t take long to find the hotel. The hotel was huge! It was a white stone building with about 20 floors. The hotel had a roof top garden with the most beautiful plants ever seen! An enormous garden sat at the right side of the hotel with an outdoor pool on the left. The girls stood at the end of the sidewalk staring in awe at the hotel. “Wow.” whispered Ariel as the wind gently passed through her hair. Coraline smiled as she danced down the polished stone path way after a Painted Lady butterfly. The Amur Maple bushes stood tall along both sides of the Grey Malaga(granite) pathway.
“Well now, let’s not just stand here! Let’s go!” shouted Eva as she ran past Coraline. “How are we going to find the gem in this place?” asked Ariel in a whisper. “Hidden in plain sight, though no one will see, that is where the stone shall be.” whispered Lila remembering the rhyme. “That’s not much of a clue.” said Sarah before she walked off after her sister.
“Wait for me!” shouted Lila as she ran to catch up once she noticed she was standing by herself. Nova slowly reached for the door knob and stepped inside. The ceiling was lined with crystal chandeliers. There where sofas to sit upon while you wait and everything was a fresh fallen snow color. “Can I help you?” asked the man behind the counter. “Yes we would like a room.” replied Nova trying to sound as mature as possible. “And you are?” he asked in return. “We are the Adventure Seekers.” Sarah replied looking at her nails. The man grinned and tossed Nova the key to the room. “Thank you.” smiled Nova.
Lila’s Point of view
We soon all climbed into the elevator. Some strange music played while we waited. I don’t know why but it made me feel uneasy. I watched the numbers go up. 9...10...11...12...13...Thirteen? Most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor. So why does this one? "Lila, you coming or not?" asked Eva as she stood outside the elevator doors. I walked out of the elevator following the other girls. "Here we are room 130 on floor 14." announced Ariel. If the gem is hidden somewhere at this hotel I'll need a map of the grounds to keep track were I've looked. I leaned against the wall and sat down. Where would I find such documents? Hmmm...
"Hey Lila, did you know that this place even has a library?!" shouted Eva from inside the room. "Bingo!" I shouted springing to my feet. That's the perfect place to start looking! "Guys I leaving for a bit. I shall be back in a few hours!" I shouted to the girls as I dashed down the halls towards the stairs. I stopped once I saw the door labeled library on the first floor. The sign was rotting and dusty. "Weird." I mumbled. Quickly I glanced around everything else around me was sparkling clean but this room looks like it hasn't be touched in years! Shrugging it off I opened the door and went inside the room.
As I stepped into the large library I found myself looking up at the many rows and rows of tall shelves holding books. Walking over to the shelves I began to look over the books. Everything looked old here. The lights were dim and flickered very few seconds, the wood was rotting and moldy, the floor had plants growing from it, and it was silent. No sound to be heard. Suddenly there was a soft tap on my right shoulder. I gasped startled. Panicked I turned around to see who or what it was. It was a girl.“Hi, not many people come to the library. What brings you here?” asked the girl her voice sweet and kind. She appeared to be about 15 years old with short red-orange hair, sparkling cat green eyes, slightly faded and ripped jeans, and a baggy black t-shirt. “I just like to read I guess.” I replied with a shrug. "I didn't hear anyone else walk in. How did you get in here?" I asked glancing behind her. "Oh, well...I was...um...already here." she replied. My eyes widened slightly, in the dust on the floor there were only one pair of footprints. Which were mine. “Hmm… A really good book to read is The Book with No Name. It’s one of my favorites! I’m April, by the way. I hope to see you around!” said the girl cheerfully.
She then turned around and walked away, but before she left completely she looked back. “I almost forgot,” suddenly April’s cheeriness was gone and a strange coldness clung in the air. “Whatever you do don’t go into the basement.” Then April walked away leaving the chilly feeling in the air. I rubbed my arms trying to warm them up and get rid of the chill. “What is this?” I mumbled as I spotted a dark hallway near the back of the library. Soon I found myself wandering down the darkened hallways of books. When the hallway came to an end there sat one book on a large shelf. The book was labeled The Book with No Name. Carefully I picked up the book and turned the first page. On the page scribbled over the printed words it read:
Don’t Be Fooled.
What is that supposed to mean? I wondered. In the dim light I struggled to read some of the book.
Crystal Nymph Hotel built in 1901. Owner Anna B. Vilavee, age 23.
A page fell onto the floor from inside the book. "Hmm?" I picked it up and stuffed it into my pocket. The room strangely smelt of peppermint and strawberries. "What are you doing here?! This place is off limits!" yelled a voice startling me. I dropped the book and spun around to face the person. It was a short man with a gnarly beard. He narrowed his beady eyes waiting for a reply. I glanced behind the man nervously. My eyes widened. There was only one set of footprints in the dust covered floors! Mine. "I didn't hear you walk in." I stated looking back at the man. "I have light feet." he replied blankly. His face showed no emotion and neither did his voice. A shiver ran down my back. If my guess is correct...this definitely won't help my situation any. "Even so, then were are your footprints?" I asked as bravely as I could. The man smiled as he spotted the book on the floor behind me. "You know too much." he whispered. Frightened by the atmosphere I tried to run, but a bony hand wrapped around my wrist. "Time to get rid of you." he stated dragging me behind him. I kicked, and struggled, but he had supernatural strength. This is not good, not good at all!
Eva's Point of view
I lay on the bed lazily. Sarah was looking at herself in the mirror, again. Ariel was staring out the window with Coraline. Ivy sat on the bed next to mine, and I have no clue what Nova is up to at the moment. Though I can tell you one thing, this is boring. B-O-R-I-N-G. I mean nothing is happening! Ugh! It feels like I've been here forever. When is something exciting going to happen?
Lila's been gone for three hours. Hmm... She should have been back by now. I know what I'll do! "Hey, Ivy?" I asked facing towards her. "Yes?" she said. "I'm going to go look for Lila." I stated as I jumped off the bed and dashed to the door. "Okay." Ivy replied, flopping backwards onto the bed.
With a smile I left the room. Okay, she said she was going to go to the library, so I go there first! I decided to take the stairs. I remember that the book said the library is on the first floor. Once I reached the first floor, I immediately spotted the library.
"Hey have you seen my cousin?" I asked a girl who was walking down the hallway. She stopped and turned around. She was wearing a baggy black T-shirt, with slightly faded and ripped jeans, her hair was short and a red-orange color. The girl's eyes also appeared cat like.
"She has long brown hair, and is wearing all blue." I described my older cousin. "Yeah, I've seen her. Maybe...you should check the 13th floor, she's no longer in the library." The girl's kind voice said before she turned and left. "Thanks!" I called out after her. With a bit of a skip in my step I went back up the stairs to the 13th floor.
Here I am at the 13th floor. The lights are dim and flicker. The hall smelt of mold and mildew. Plus I thought it was a bit weird that the hall only has one door, which sat at the end. The door knob felt cool to the touch and gave a creek when I opened it. Inside was just a closet. In the closet sat a box. An ordinary box, but inside the box was......a key?! That is not what I expected at all! Disappointed I stuffed the key in my pocket. I tilted my head to the side, noticing a small slip of paper sitting in the box. Carefully picking it up and unfolding it...it read:
Qrwklqj lv dv lw vhhpv.
"Huh? Strange..." I mumbled. "Wait a minute..." The air had a diffrent feel to it and it smelt faintly of......Strawberries....and maybe a hint of....Pepermint! "This floor is off limits, I supose I'll have to dispose of you too, now won't I?" asked a cold voice. The words sending a shiver down my spine.