As Mr. Malone continued to go through the dramatic piece of literature that was Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, Jace, Adele, Yumiko, and Oliver couldn’t help but constantly look each other’s way with a sign of guilt on their faces. Just hearing the word “louder” uttered with each new stanza made them realize more and more how heavy a secret they were keeping from their families, and the even greater risk their friends and family were about to take making a daring trip to Lyoko.
In between one of the stanzas, Jace noticed his girlfriend’s worried look and whispered to her, “You okay Princess?”
“Huh?” she answered seeming kinda caught off guard. “Oh… yeah, I’m fine. I’m just a little nervous that’s all.”
Knowing exactly why her nerves were setting in, Jace wrapped his arm around his blonde-haired angel and said, “You’re not alone there. I kept thinking all last night about what they’re gonna find when they arrive on Lyoko.”
“Well yeah, but I’m more nervous if that X.A.N.A. thing comes back some how,” she added revealing her true concern. “I just can’t imagine Maya being trapped by that thing forever.”
Suddenly, the ascot-wearing boy saw a tear emerge from the girl’s eye, and he whispered, “Hey, it’ll be okay. If the worst should happen, we’ll let your parents know what’s going on, and they can put a stop to any problems that come up.”
“That’s the thing though,” she replied in response to his attempt to calm her nerves. “What if they do find out? What are they gonna think? What if they hate us forever that we did something like this?”
Reminding her of the fact that the “Return to the past” program was available just in case, Adele’s nerves began to finally settle a little more, but the girl continued to remain locked in a state of uncertainty and fear for the remainder of their last class for the day.
As the final bell rang with a loud clang, the gang convened in the courtyard nearby the cafeteria and discussed the plan.
“So, everyone’s clear?” asked Kevin. “We’ll meet near the entry to the sewer forest later tonight after our parents head to bed. Remember to bring your phones with you should our parents need to be reached.”
Everyone nodded as Jace reminded them all, “Most importantly, remember what Maya and Adele’s dad said, don’t say anything about this to anyone.”
With the plan set in place, everyone dispersed for the afternoon and returned to their homes, awaiting that all important hour where even more discoveries would be made; discoveries that could change their very lives in ways they couldn’t imagine.
As the clock struck 11PM, the covert group of teens carefully made their way out of their respective homes as quiet as possible so their parents wouldn’t wake up. Some resorted to going out their upper story windows, while some needed to go out their front doors with such delicate care. But it wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that the gang reconvened at Kadic near the entry to the sewer that would lead to the factory and began to make their way towards the place their parents would call sacred ground.
Finally, after about a 30 minute walk, the gang arrived on the grounds of the factory and began to make their way down to the ground floor to head for the elevator shaft.
But as Jace hit the switch to head down for the main floor to reach the supercomputer, Adele looked back at everyone and said, “Now, before we do this, let’s be clear, we’re not gonna just hang around there all night. We’re just going to get a glimpse of Lyoko, that’s it. No wandering around or getting lost.”
Seeing her take charge of the situation, everyone agreed with Adele’s instructions as the doors then opened to reveal the main supercomputer room.
Almost as if it were a natural reflex, Jace pulled the switch and activated the monstrosity of a computer, as each floor once again became active and ready for use. Just hearing the very sound of that thing start up again sent a chill down everyone’s spines just like it did the first time.
As the gang arrived back on the upper floor and saw the display monitor on, Maya sat down and began to search the desktop to locate the folder her father had mentioned that contained each vital program and code that would be needed to make the journey safely to Lyoko. After some diligent searching, the pink haired girl discovered the folders she needed, and began to work on creating digital profiles for everyone, including those who said they would not go that night.
While she did so for everyone, that onset feeling of fear began to set in on the faces of the younger siblings. Seeing hers showing on her face, Kevin knelt down and held the hands of both his sister and brother and said in a gentle tone, “Hey… listen… just relax you two. It’s gonna be okay. We’re all gonna be together, and I’m not gonna leave you both.”
It was at this moment Carine jumped in and said to Oliver and Adele, “That’s right. You guys gotta remember, our parents went to this place when this X.A.N.A. thing was still alive. For us, going there now will be much more peaceful and calm.”
“I don’t know sis,” said Oliver as he still felt uneasy at the thought of his sister being trapped for some reason. But without hesitation, the older Della Robbia teen said to her brother, “Hey, remember what dad said to us when we were younger? How Della Robbias should be brave for each other?”
“Ye-yeah,” he replied stammering. “I remember him saying that after mom died.”
Looking at him with a smile, Carine said, “Well, looks like it’s time to be brave again. But this time there’s a bright side… none of us are going anywhere.”
Feeling the comfort of his Katie’s hand in his own, coupled with his sister’s valiant words, Oliver finally swallowed his fear and said with a small smile, “You’d better not.”
Agreeing with Carine’s sentiment, the other younger siblings put on a brave face for their older siblings, as Maya informed them that the profiles were ready, and she had finished learning the program to send them to Lyoko.
“Well guys,” said Kevin. “This is it. We’ll be back in a bit, but we’ll be in contact.”
Before the older siblings headed for the floor where the giant cylinders were held, everyone gathered around as Jace said a quick prayer for the task at hand, and prayed that no ill would come to them and all would go smoothly.
As they said “Amen,” each made their way for the elevator shaft and everyone waved as the three brave elder siblings prepared to make their way for the unknown world inside a computer.
Walking into the room now brightly lit with the three cylinders lit up as well, Maya called out to her sister now sitting at the controls and asked over her headset, “Sis, is the program ready to launch?”
Looking over the information at hand, Adele said, “Um, yeah, everything is all set. I’ll start up the program when you’re ready.”
Staring at the codes shown on the screen, Jace asked his girlfriend, “Wow, you and Maya can really read those numbers and letters?”
“Now you see what my sister and I grew up with,” said Adele as she looked over some important information regarding transfers to Lyoko. “Even though we always did fun things as a family like rode bikes or played frisbee together, our parents would never hesitate to teach us both how to talk tech and how to read programs in code.”
Surprised at her words, Yumiko said, “Wow, you’re definitely gonna be my tutor for computer classes from now on.”
Smiling back at the others, Adele laughed slightly and said, “Oddly enough, you get the hang of it after a while. My sister’s generally better than me at program entry, but I’m better at using code language.”
Meanwhile on the floor below, the three brave members of the gang stepped into the giant cylinders that would send them to the virtual world and braced themselves as Maya informed her sister they were ready.
Before she prepared to launch the program, the younger Belpois teen said to her sister, “Promise me you’ll come back okay sis.”
“Don’t worry Adele,” she replied. “We’ll all gonna come back.”
And with those all important words, Adele typed in the final preparation code shown from her father’s notes, and hit the ENTER key saying, “Here we go, launching program now.”
Suddenly, the cylinders began to close around the three teens, and the three slowly levitated into midair within each, while Adele monitored the process from the floor above. Watching the process take place, everyone couldn’t help but be amazed as the massive computer scanned them to match the profiles created, and ultimately began to virtualize them to Lyoko.
Finally, as their bodies were finished being scanned to the digital profiles Maya created, Adele punched in the final code needed to complete the virtualization process, and with confidence only God above could bestow, she hit the ENTER key one more time and said… “Virtualization!”