Spirit of Fall

By Scorpius02

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 29 A War Ended with Ashes

~The Guardians’ Side~

Mass of black sand split into streams like tentacles and darted towards each of the guardians like spears. Tooth was zooming in the sky wildly to dodge the black sand and would slash at them when they were getting too close. Sandy was using his own gold sand to fly away and whip them with a similar stream of sand. Bunny was standing on the seat of the sleigh, throwing his boomerangs and egg bombs at the sinister black tentacles, while holding onto the teeth container tightly. For North, he was trying his best to steer the reindeers away from the black sands while dodging any oncoming attacks.

“Give that back, you pests!” Shouted Pitch, furiously. He shot towards the sleigh with his scythe in hand. The sharp blade was aimed at the large bunny as it swung towards him, but Bunny jumped high into the air, dodging the blade.

“The one being a pest is you!” Bunny argued back before he threw an egg bomb at the king of nightmares. “Why couldn’t you just stop being so vengeful and a jerk? Just go and hide under beds where you belong!”

Boom!

Pitch was thrown back from the force of the blast. He could even feel the stinging pain on his face and the loud ringing in his ears, but those didn’t stop him from going after Bunny again.

“You took away my pride! You strip me of my powers! You left me alone in the darkness! You humiliated me! You tried to make me disappear! Not believed in!” Pitch yelled furiously with hatred spit into every word. “I’ll make you feel what its like to go through that torture! I’ll make you suffer like how I suffered all those centuries!”

Because of his madness that grew from hatred and utmost desire to destroy the guardians, the black sand quickly responded to Pitch’s emotional outburst and swirled around one of Pitch’s hand. Suddenly, a second scythe appeared from the black sand. Now, Pitch held two deadly black scythes in each hand. It was like Pitch has bared his fangs menacingly in the form of his scythes.

The sudden appearance of a second weapon caught Bunny off guard and wasn’t able to react in time when Pitch swung both his scythe down at him.

“Bunny!” North called out in shock. Without thinking, North pushed Bunny away and blocked the two oncoming blades with his own two blades.

Clank! Clank!

North was able to reflect those attacks back with his two swords, but a new problem arise. Who was steering the reindeers?

“Bunny! Get zhe reindeers!” Ordered North, hurriedly.

“I don’t know how to drive this thing!” Cried Bunny.

“Just do it!” North yelled.

Bunny quickly dashed towards the front of the sleigh and grabbed the reins. Of course, since Bunny has never drove the sleigh before, it took Bunny awhile and some great effort to get the reindeers from going out of control. He was even complaining to himself why he hated riding the sleigh while pulling the reins to get the reindeers to fly the way he wanted them.

Lantern’s teeth container was rolling all over the floor of the sleigh as Bunny was still trying to control the animals. Bunny dropped it when North pushed him out of the way to keep him from getting his furry head split open.

Pitch growled under his breath furiously as he went after the sleigh again. He called out four Nightmares and sent them to attack the sleigh.

The Nightmares quickly charged towards the flying vehicle while Pitch was flying behind them. When they got to the sleigh, North was only able to slash two of them while the rest ran to the front.

“Bunny! Vatch out!” Shouted North.

“What?” Bunny looked back and saw the two Nightmares flying to the front where the reindeers were. “Crikey!” He cried in surprise. He tried to throw his boomerang at one of them, but the black creature dodged it.

Then the Nightmares rammed themselves at the reindeers, causing panic and confusion within the herd. The sleigh was now wobbling left and right, knocking the passengers around inside.

“Woah!” Cried Bunny getting knocked to the side of the sleigh with a loud thud while still holding onto the reins.

North cried in shock as he fell backwards and rolled towards Bunny, squishing the large rabbit into the globe in front of him.

“Oof!” Gasped from the impact and was trying to push North off of him. “Get off me, you bloke!”

Then the Nightmares rammed into the reindeers again and caused another wave of sudden and forceful jerks within the sleigh itself.

While the two guardians were busy trying to get themselves un-squish and stand up properly, they didn’t notice that something important was thrown around like crazy inside the vehicle. Due to the teeth container bouncing all over the place from the wild sudden jerks, it eventually got thrown off the sleigh and fell to the ground below. Disappearing into the darkness of the forest, unnoticed by anyone.

“I’m coming, guys,” called Tooth, zooming towards them. She was able to slip away from the black sand tentacles and quickly come to their aid. She swiped the Nightmares quickly with her blades, wiping them out in a flash.

North quickly took the reins from Bunny’s paws and took control of the vehicle. “Woah! Steady, now! Steady!” He called to his flying creatures. “Easy now. Calm down!” Finally, after North took the reins for a few seconds, the reindeers began to calm down and flew steady again.

“North! Pitch is right on our tail!” Announced Bunny, seeing the Nightmare King flying behind them, not too far off.

“I’m going to make you all pay dearly for all those centuries I had to suffer!” Pitch shouted at them.

“Like I’ll let that happen,” argued Bunny, throwing a few egg bombs before throwing his boomerangs.

Pitch just dodged them as they blew up in the air near him and smacking the boomerangs when they got close to him. Then he made a sudden blast in his speed to get ahead of the sleigh by pushing his powers even more. He was flying side by side with the sleigh and he flew up to where North was.

Both North’s and Pitch’s eyes met. One glaring and one sneering.

Then Pitche struck his scythe down onto the bar link that connected the sleigh and the reindeers, causing it to break in half. When he cut that link off, the reindeers flew off while the sleigh plummeted downward. The two guardians that had no ability to fly was about to meet their doom at the ground below.

But Pitch wasn’t done with them yet. A large mass of black sand began to swarm down below like a cloud before it hardened itself. Then the sleigh slammed right into it with a loud ‘Crash!’

Luckily, North was holding onto the edge of the sleigh, so he didn’t fall off from the impact. But Bunny wasn’t as lucky.

“Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!” Yelled Bunny as he fell through the sky.

“BUNNY!” North shouted as he watched his companion fall to his death.

Just when Bunny started to imagine his horrible death of being splattered on the ground, a stream of golden sand came swirling around him and wrapped around the bunny around the waist. The gold sand caught him just in time.

“Thanks, mate!” Bunny thanked Sandy, who was hovering next to him.

Sandy nodded, relieved that he came just in time.

North was able to sigh in relief now that his friend was safe.

“North! Watch out!” Cried Bunny from down below as he noticed something behind the Guardian of Wonder.

“North!” Cried Tooth.

North quickly turned around and saw Pitch hovering right before his eyes. North quickly unsheathed his swords, but when North was about to raise them, Pitch swung his scythe and knocking the swords out of his hand.

Clank!

The swords flew into the air, out of North’s reach. The Guardian of Wonders was now weaponless.

So Pitch went for the kill.

North stared with wide eyes as he watched the black scythe came slashing down towards him. It was as if everything around him went into slow motion and the sound around him went silent. He can almost see the blade slowly coming towards him and the mad gleeful look in the Nightmare King’s eyes, who was about to strike down his hated foe.

Slash!

The blade sank its sharp edge into the flesh and cut right into the chest.

All eyes grew wide in horror. Everyone froze and became silent with complete shock. Then, finally, someone broke the silence.

“AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” It was Tooth who screamed in horror at what she saw.

Sandy’s face went completely white.

Bunny felt like a bucket of cold water was poured onto him and his fur stood on end.

Even the one that people least expected to look horrified was the man who struck the blade himself, Pitch.

North stared in disbelief at a figure floating before him with the scythe’s blade cut into his chest and both hands grasping onto the blade as if prevent the weapon to move any further.

“La...Lantern?” North whispered as if he couldn’t believe the boy was floating right before him and even blocked his attack.

Pitch stared at his dark companion in confusion, shock, horror, and disbelief. The only companion he had. Now that very companion had his scythe sunk into his body while still staring at him with a soft and pained look.

“Cin...der? Why?” Pitch whispered, confused by the young spirit’s action. The madness in his eyes vanished.

Then a small sad smile appeared on Cinder’s face.

Es tut mir leid

Cinder spoke softly before his eyes started to close. Then the black scythe started to disintegrated due to its wielder’s will shattering and his mind going blank, so the boy slowly fell to the side and plummeted towards the earth below.


~Frost’s Side~

He was so close and yet so far. He could see Pitch swinging down his weapon towards North, but then the attack was completely blocked by the fire spirit, who used his own body to take the blow.

He also watched in complete horror and disbelief at what he saw. He could see from where he was, but was not close enough to save him.

“No... no...,” Jack whispered under his breath as if trying to tell himself that what he was seeing wasn’t real. He couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to believe it. Pitch struck a fatal blow to one of his friends again. Last time, it was Sandy. Now, it was Lantern. Seeing his friends struck down twice before his eyes while he couldn’t do anything sent a horrible blow to his heart. It was like something was tearing apart his chest and crushing the beating heart.

Then when he saw the fire spirit plummeting from the sky, Jack snapped back from his thoughts and he quickly jetted towards him. Praying that he could get there in time. Hoping that the blow wasn’t as serious as it look. Begging anything that can hear his wish that the fire spirit will be alright.

But, unfortunately, they were mere wishes.


~Pitch’s Side~

Pitch stared at his hands as if he couldn’t believe they were his. His eyes were wide and confused. How did this happen? Why did this happened? He struck Cinder, who was like a son and companion. The only person who understood the feeling of living in an empty existence of no acknowledgement. Unlike Frost, he was the only one who didn’t want to leave him. He killed his only ally...

...with these hands... once again....

The memories from those centuries ago came flooding back to him again. The feeling of anger and pain from the betrayal pierced his mind. But the most painful was when he struck down the old Spirit of Fall. A feeling he thought he buried deep in his heart.

“Pitch!” North called.

It took awhile for Pitch to register that someone was calling him and looked up at North.

“Look vhat you have done,” spoke North, in a hard cold tone.

Pitch stared at him, looking lost.

“No... This wasn’t supposed to happen... This wasn’t... what I wanted,” Pitch blurted out.

“Tooth! Sandy!” North called out in his booming voice. “Get Lantern!”

Both Tooth and Sandy snapped out of their shock and quickly went after the fire spirit that was already far down below. Bunny, who was with Sandy, also went with them. North also jumped out of his sleigh and landed on a gold makeshift island of Sandy’s.

Once the guardians were gone, the Nightmare King was left alone, lost in thought, and with the look of denial of what happened shown in his eyes.

Es tut mir leid

Those words that Cinder spoke. He knew those words since he heard them before. That language and that tone. Why did it sound so similar him? How or when did Cinder knew that language? It was like watching the same scene again.

Why was this happening again? Why was it that once he thought he found someone he could trust, he ended up killing them? He killed the old spirit and now he killed the new. Was he fated to destroy the ones he cared? Was he fated to be alone forever?

He never meant to hurt the boy.

Cinder...

The image of the boy with his own scythe sank into his body flashed in his head. Dread, fear, and worry pierced his chest like a spear.

Then he dived down below to where Cinder fell, praying that the worse scenario would not repeat itself again.


~At the town of Burgess~

The battle in the small town was still going on when the Guardians and Pitch was off fighting their own battles somewhere else. The guardians’ army was still battling Pitch’s dark forces for quite some time now, but unseen by the humans who were still inside their safe homes from the strange weather. It was like a magical force was keeping the battle outside invisible to not cause panic and fear.

Then when a yeti was about to clobber a group of Nightmares and Smogs that were ganging up on him, something strange happened.

The Smogs began to act strangely. First, when it seemed like they were about to attack, they just froze for a few seconds. The next thing everybody knew, the smogs turned on the Nightmares instead.

The smogs’ action shocked both armies with their unexpected betrayal. For the yetis and the others, this turn of an event was a great advantage and luck. Now the battle was in their favor.


~Abby’s Side~

She ran and ran nonstop, following her brother’s voice like a light that lead her through the darkness. Even with the thickness of the trees and bushes, she didn’t feel lost at all. The weather condition has also suddenly changed without her noticing. The strong wind had already stopped and the clouds were beginning to break up. The light from the moon began to shine through the cracks of the cloud, giving a lit path for the young girl.

As she was breaking through the bushes, she heard something nearby. It was loud and sounded like something crashing through the trees. The snap of branches and rustling of leaves could be heard clearly. Abby froze and stop to listen, wondering what it was. After a few seconds of that loud racket, she heard a loud crash and then silence.

Abby snapped out of her surprise and wondered curiously to what that was, so she walked towards to where she heard the noisy sound. It came from in front of her, so she kept walking forward. Once she broke through a thick bush in her path, she came upon an opening where she spotted a figure lying on the ground with leaves and branches scattered around him.

And the figure...was her brother.

“Pumpkin!” She cried out in shock. She ran a few steps before she froze, remembering what her brother tried to do earlier. The memory of her own brother about to strike at her flashed in her mind and made her scared to approach her brother any closer. She stood a few feet away, unsure if she should get closer to her brother or not.

Suddenly, the figure on the ground began to groan and moved a little. Abby’s cry seemed to have roused Cinder.

Abby jolted in surprise and walked back a step, nervously.

Then his eyes slowly opened up. Sensing another person nearby, he turned his head slightly to the side and stared at the frighten little girl.

That’s when Abby noticed his eyes were glowing softly. They were no longer black like the darkness, but amber yellow like a small light.

“Ab...by,” her brother called to her in a soft and hoarse voice. There was a warm smile on his face like how Abby always remembered him with, but he also held an exhausted look in his gaze.

“Pumpkin!” Abby dashed to him with sheer joy and worry. The only thought in her mind right now was that her brother was back! Her beloved and kind brother has returned.

She quickly knelt down beside her brother with tears streaming down her cheeks. That’s when she saw a large slash wound on her brother’s chest. The wound looked deep and

fatal. But what really made Abby horrified was how the wound look. Instead of blood and flesh, it was black with tiny specks of glowing orange light like burning ember crumbling to ashes.

“Pumpkin hurt!” Abby gasped. “Pumpkin need to go see dogtor!”

“It’s...alright...Abby,” Lantern assured, knowing well that his wound was nothing a doctor can heal. Even though his injury was severe, he didn’t feel any pain. Actually, he felt numb around his chest and his strength depleted. His whole body felt extremely exhausted, but he forced his tired hand to raise and touch her wet cheeks. He cupped her cheeks gently with assurance, trying to calm his sister down.

“Pumpkin is NOT alwight! Pumpkin hurt!” Abby cried even harder.

Suddenly, there were loud crashes from above. After a few seconds of loud disturbance of leaves and snapping of branches, someone came dropping down from the trees and landed on the ground. Both his feet and one hand were placed on the ground to lighten the landing while the other hand held onto a hooked staff.

Abby immediately recognized the snow white hair and blue sweater, so she called to him for help. “Snowfwake! Pumpkin hurt!”

“Abby?! How did...?” Frost trailed off when he saw who she was with and his face went as white as his hair. “Lantern!”

He leaped into the air and landed beside Lantern, which Abby was already kneeling on the opposite side. There was a look of extreme concern and horror.

“Oh no...,” Frost gasped when he saw the large wound on the fire spirit’s chest. He was panicking and confused. He didn’t know what to do.

“Fr...ost?” Lantern turned to him.

“Lantern? You’re back? You’re really back? This is... awesome! You remember me, right?” Frost cried in surprise and questioned the injured spirit to make sure.

Lantern didn’t say anything, but his warm smile and slight nod was enough to answer that he was truly back. The glowing amber eyes was also a good sign. Frost would’ve been overjoyed and even doing cartwheels in the air out of sheer happiness to discover his old friend was back if not for the physical condition he was in.

“We need to get you fix up. Your injuries looks really serious,” told Frost. He scooped up Lantern into his arm in order to carry him, but instead, it made the wound worse. The burning charcoal like wound began to crumble and tiny specks of fire scattered into the air. Frost immediately froze and tried not to move Lantern anymore, fearing that he would make the injury worse than before. He cursed under his breath for his quick and stupid move.

More rustling of leaves came from nearby and more figures arrived at the scene.

“Jack?!” Tooth cried upon seeing Frost, a little confused and relieved to see him.

Sandy and Bunny also appeared behind her. Sandy floating in the air with his golden dream sand and Bunny dashing out of the trees.

Then Tooth spotted Lantern and Abby with him. “Oh no... Lantern!” She gasped upon seeing the fire spirit’s condition in Frost’s arms. She darted towards them in panic.

Bunny’s ears perked up at the mention of the fire spirit’s name and turned to where Tooth flew off to. His eyes grew wide in shock and he also came dashing towards them.

Sandy’s face fell into a frown in pure worry and came zooming towards them.

“What’s his condition?” Bunny asked quickly, staring at both Frost and Lantern.

“I don’t know,” replied Frost, looking just as confused as them. “His injury looks deep and it’s breaking apart like ashes!”

Like what the snow spirit said, the injury was getting worse. It was spreading like a mad disease as the other parts of his body began to turn black and crumble like ashes. At each crumbling black residue, small specks of fire would float into the air and disappear into nothing.

“Pumpkin be awight! Pwease be awight!” Cried Abby, holding onto her brother’s hand tightly.

“Is there a way to heal this kind of injury?” Wondered Tooth, looking around at the other guardians.

“No, mate,” Bunny denied sadly. “It’s not something I’ve ever seen. I’ve never dealt with injured fire spirits before.”

Sandy also shook his head that he too didn’t know the medical aid for this kind of injury. He can only watch in guilt and distress as the young spirit slowly turned to ashes before his eyes.

“Then what should we do? If we don’t do something quick, he’ll...,” Frost trailed of, afraid of finishing his sentence.

“Frost...,” Lantern called with a tired and hoarse voice.

All heads quickly looked down at Lantern, especially Frost.

“It’s... al...right... Frost. It was... meant to... happened...” Lantern spoke softly. His lower body had already turning to ashes and crumbling away while his chest and arms were still spreading. Even his face, there were black spots forming. “Can... you do me... a small favor?”

“What do you mean? Don’t say it like you’re already prepared to die already! You’re not going to die! I won’t let that happened!” Shouted Frost.

“Make sure... to get Abby home... safely... and... look after her... for me... alright?”

“Shut up, Lantern! You get her home! Don’t you dare think about disappearing on me and leaving me doing your work!” Frost shouted angrily as tears started to fall down his cheeks.

Lantern didn’t argue back to the snow spirit since he knew he didn’t have anymore time left and knowing the frost spirit, he’ll definitely do it even though he said otherwise. Then he turned to his little sister Abby, who had tears streaming down her cheeks and snot running down her nose. Lantern couldn’t help but chuckle silently to himself. Though he was amused by the messed up look on her face, he also felt a stinging guilt that he was the one causing her to cry.

“Abby... I’m sorry,” he apologized to her, remembering what he did when he was Cinder. Even though he was back to being Lantern again, he still had Cinder’s memories as well. Cinder’s memories were like some kind of movie where he was watching silently from Cinder’s view point. It was like it wasn’t his own, yet it was at the same time. It wasn’t just the memories, but also the feelings and emotions that his other self felt was also transferred to him. The anguish, the fear, the joy, and the trust. He felt them all.

Even the crimes he committed against the guardians and the children, he remembered them all and felt guilty for it. But the worse crime he ever did that even he could not forgive himself for was trying to harm his beloved sister.

“Abby... be a good girl... and... be strong...,” Lantern told his sister. “Don’t give mom... and dad... too much trouble... alright?”

“Uh huh,” Abby nodded, wiping her tears and snot with her sleeve.

“And Abby...,” Lantern called one last time as his whole body was almost turned to ashes, leaving only his face left. “Whenever... you feel lost... remember me... and I’ll always... be there... to light your way...”

And those were his last words as the last of the part of his body turned black and crumbled completely to ashes. The tiny black powder fell through Frost’s arms and a soft breeze took them away. The black substance flowed into the air while Frost tried to grabbed them to keep them from flying off, but it was no use.

While Frost was shouting at the wind for taking away the remains of fire spirit angrily and pleading it to bring them back, the wind continued to blow them away into the sky.

The ashes reached the sky where the moon watched over it and guided its path with its soft glowing light. Soon, the ashes scattered and disappeared into the night sky.


~At the town of Burgess~

Back at the town where the battle was taking place, something was also happening at the same time.

The battle was almost won with the yetis and the others winning. The Nightmares were being pushed back and wiped out. Suddenly, the smogs began to act strange.

They just stopped attacking the Nightmares and began to thrash around as if they were confused and in pain. Then their bodies began to dissipate like smoke. One by one, they disappeared with a cry and wail.

The yetis and the others watched in confusion and shock. All around them, the smog creatures were disappearing and their sad cries echoed in their ears.

The Nightmares too felt something had happened. They could feel their master’s heart breaking and his desire for revenge and destruction gone. No longer did their master had the strength or will to continue this useless battle. He was mentally weaken and his control over them was gone. They no longer have a master, so the dark creatures quickly took this chance and flee into the shadows.

The yetis and the others didn’t bother to follow them for they already knew that they won this battle and they cheered joyously without knowing the price that was paid to end this war.


~Guardians’ Side~

Jack Frost watched in despair as the ashes disappeared into the night sky. His heart sunk in an ocean of misery and guilt. He wasn’t able to save his friend. He fought so hard and never gave up, but at last, it was all for naught. His friend was dead and not even his body remained. He stared at his hands with traces of ashes in his palms.

Abby wailed loudly, echoing through the night. Anyone who could hear those heartache cry could feel her sadness piercing into their hearts. Even though she was still young and hasn’t been taught about life and death, she still understood what had happened to her brother. Young children can be pretty perceptive with their surroundings and can understand things better than adults gave them credit for. Without having others tell her, she already knew that... her brother was gone.

The other guardians were silent with grief. Tooth had her hands covering her face and she weeped silently. Though she didn’t hangout with the fire spirit as much as the others due to her work, she still liked the boy and cared for him like her own. To her, he might’ve been a mischievous prankster, he was still a sweet boy.

Bunny looked just as sad as the others. His back was hunched and his ears were drooped. The Easter spirit felt useless, unable to save the boy. The poor child was still so young and had so much to learn. The time spent with him at the Warren was a lot of fun for him. Painting eggs with others was definitely better than painting them alone. Both the winter and fall spirits were great company and they were like brothers to him. Now, he has lost someone he cared about again. The feeling of lost was just like how he felt many centuries ago when he lost his whole race.

For Sandy, his once beautiful and bright glow seemed to have dimmed like his emotion right now. He looked down sadly with a frown across his face. Being the first person to meet the spirit after he was born into the world made him feel special and he cared for the young one deeply. Even with the tricks the little fire spirit pulled on him, he still adored him like family.

Suddenly, there was a sound of rustling leaves from the bushes and a twig being snapped in half. Then from the shadows of the trees and bushes, a large figure appeared.

“Vhat happened here? Vhere’s Lantern?” It was North. He heard Abby’s loud wail and quickly came running here. He could feel from the dark forlorn atmosphere that something has happened. North began to figure out from the looks on everyone’s faces and Abby’s heartbreaking cry. “Vhere’s the boy?” He asked to make sure with his voice almost a whisper.

“Gone,” was all that Bunny answered.

It was all North needed to hear to clear his suspicion and his expression went dark. “Zhat vould explain zhis zhen,” he held up a lantern pole that he found a few distance away. The lantern pole was no doubt Lantern’s and it must’ve fallen in that spot far from where they were now when Lantern dropped it when he fell. The lantern pole was bent out of shape from the fall, looking almost broken. But what North was trying to show wasn’t the bent lantern pole, but the fire that was supposed to burn within the lantern.

The fire was gone. It no longer burned within the cage lantern like it used to, which only proved that the owner of the fire was no more.

“I failed him...” Frost spoke out as if he was in a daze.

“You shouldn’t blame yourself, mate. You know as well as I do that this wasn’t your fault,” argued Bunny, trying to assure the frost spirit.

Abby was starting to quiet down to sniffs and hiccups. She was starting to get tired from the days events and the shock of loosing her brother was wearing her out. Frost picked her up and hugged her protectively to calm the child down. It wasn’t long after a few sniff that Abby fell asleep with tears still in her eyes.

There was another rustling of bushes and a gold unicorn appeared with four children on its back.

“Jack!” Cried Jamie, surprise to find him. He quickly got off of the unicorn and ran towards him. “Have you seen Ab... what happened to her?” Jamie stopped running upon seeing the sleeping girl in Frost’s arms, confused. The he noticed the strange gloomy atmosphere around them. Like North, he too sensed that something has happened.

The other children didn’t say a thing for they too felt the gloominess in the air. One by one, they got off of the golden creature before it dispersed back to it’s sandy form and returned to its caster.

“We should get these kids home, mate. Their parents will start to worry,” suggested Bunny.

Frost slowly got up, carrying Abby in her arms. “I’ll get Abby home.”

Bunny and Tooth decided that they would get the Burgess kids home while the snow spirit gets Abby to hers. When Bunny and Tooth started to guide the kids out of the forest, the snow spirit jumped into the air and allowed the wind to carry them to Abby’s hometown... Lantern’s hometown.

North and Sandy stayed behind to do one final thing before they leave. Sandy watched North walked up to the spot where Lantern lay before he disappeared. There were still traces of black substance on the earth floor, so it wasn’t hard for North to know what it was. Then he stared at the lantern pole in his hand before he thrust it into the earth where the black substance remains.

There was silence between the two guardians when they stare at the crooked lantern pole. It was the marker to where the fire spirit has fallen like a gravestone. The two guardians gave a small bow to it before they too left the scene.

The lantern pole stood awkwardly with its bent and crooked form like a sad piece of decoration. Out of place, yet it blend with the dark gloomy forest.

With everyone gone and the forest dark and silent once again, a dark figure stepped out of the shadows and walked towards the lantern pole. He stopped in front of it and stared at it for a long time before he broke down and cried before it.

The Nightmare King shed tears for the lost of his only companion. It was only for a short while, but he came to love the child like a son. He watched over him for so long and tried so hard to make the child his. He once even feared the guardians would take him and make him part of their group. He went to great length to get the child, but now he was gone. He killed the child with his own hands...

...Like how he killed his only friend those years ago.

What went wrong? How did it lead to this? This was never supposed to happen. Why did every time he had someone he held dear, they would get taken away from him?! Must he be fated to be alone in the shadows?

Thoughts swirled in his mind, but none that will ever undo what had already happened. He can only mourn for the boy and curse his fate with the Moon as the only witness and the darkness of the forest veiling him.


~In Another Part of the Forest~

Somewhere on the forest ground, caught between two rocks beside a small stream, a dented canister was left forgotten. It’s golden surface shined in the moonlight even with all the black sand covering all over it like rust.

Then there was the sound of hooves hitting on the hard rock surface of the ground beside the stream. A black stallion stared at the canister with its blank white eyes before it picked up the object with its mouth and disappeared into the shadows of the night.

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