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Chapter 23

Where Has It Gone

When they had reached the area, of where the flashing light had come from, there was nothing there... silence... and more silence... The vulnerable portion of them, grew in an uneasy and anxious state of mind!

As Cristoph released Helen and Angelus, setting them upon their feet, they crept close to each other, holding onto one another.

Whatever it was, they had thought they saw to be there, was now gone… but where would it go. Hineeruss sighted the Temple of the Protector with the Force of Earth; Bougsmeith. He dashed away and went to have a look inside, coming out almost as quickly as he had gone!

“The stone is missing!” He shouted in a panic, with wide and troubled eyes! Soscorek, Villicus and Zulmpreedor stood silent and unsurprised, but the rest of them, were certain that this failure on their part, meant it was the end of the Forest as they had known it!

They stayed and waited for a little while longer to make sure nothing was there.

“Now what are we going to do...” Jack said in a tone of defeat, walking over to Hineeruss to turn and face towards all of them.

There was a long silence.

“What are we to do next?” Said Jack, repeating himself, trying to get a rise out of them.

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do next!” said Lithia. “We are going after this thing! Defeated or victorious… I’d rather die knowing I tried to save our home… our Forest! I will see this through, until I breathe my very last breath!”

Lithia turned, and had looked everyone in the eye, one after another. “With or without you! I’m still going after this thing!”

Astrid slid down off from the Dragon Queen. “I’m going with you!” she said.

“And I!” Cristoph said, as he walked forward, drawing his sword, and holding it pointed down to his side.

Jack held his head cast to the side… his pride of being almost invincible had been crushed, and he was humbled now; now that the thing that had the stones, had all the power of the Protectors; and without having the fourth of the Protectors, Bougsmeith with them, did they even stand a chance!

Lithia, Astrid and Cristoph, turned and ran off, continuing in the same direction as before! Jack had done nothing, but just watched them as they disappeared into the darkness.

Lithia came to a great fallen tree, split and rotted out in the middle. She jumped over it and somersaulted through the air above, as Astrid floated over upon a greenish cloud, with Cristoph gliding on beside her!

They landed on the ground, all at the same time, and continued on foot!

A sound came from overhead! It was the sound of a mighty airborne presence of something large, very large! Quickly, Lithia, Cristoph and Astrid, split up, dividing out in three different directions; this would gain them better control and defense from an attack!

The flying monster was closer now; for sure it was descending from the sky! Astrid heard it from behind her on the ground, and moving towards her, advancing fast now!

She swiftly turned and began to form a fireball in her hand, when she realized it had only been Tesmorlah!

She closed her hand on the fireball and said with thrill. “What made you come?”

Tesmorlah answered as she came to stand beside Astrid. “I can not let you face this thing… without having me fight also by your side!”

Astrid sprung up onto Tesmorlah’s back, and she ascended and flew on right over Lithia and Cristoph! Astrid had shouted down to them. “Look who’s decided to join us!”

Cristoph and Lithia glanced above, and were surprised and relieved to learn, that the flying monster was just Tesmorlah; they couldn’t afford anything which would slow them down; time was something they did not have!

An odd hiss caught Astrid’s ear! It was the sound of someone or something, impending upon them at a remarkable speed! A speed she knew herself to move, only with the aid of magic. She stood up upon Tesmorlah’s back, and scanned over the encircling Forest behind. But the sound had gone away by then, and there was nothing there…

Then she heard a low thud as if next to her. Astrid turned and saw Jack to be there, standing on Tesmorlah’s shoulder!

She was both happy and stunned to see him! His eyes glowed ever-brighter blue gray, and his face smiled at her though he wasn’t smiling at all.

“Jack! What are you doing here?”

He looked at her longingly, and smiled for real this time; then walked over to her and held her hands in his, and said. “I am a part of you now… remember… you said so yourself...”

She flung her arms around him and kissed him; as if she didn’t care of what he thought of it; she was caught in the moment! “I’m glad you’re here…” She said as she loosened her embrace and released him.

He jumped down from Tesmorlah and ran off to join Lithia and Cristoph in the distance.

He was growing ever so dear to her with each passing moment; she felt as if he had moved over her like a flood. Astrid sat down gracefully upon Tesmorlah’s back and continued to ride.

“Why didn’t we go with them!?” Angelus spoke with rage and restless frustration. “They don’t stand a chance without you three!”

The three Protectors faced Angelus who stood slightly in approach to them, and in front of Helen. Angelus had been startled by their quick and liquid movement, and stepped back.

“Would you go with them… if you could help them fight?” The Protectors said all together.

Angelus replied, confused a little by what they had said. “What do you mean?”

Soscorek then spoke further. “If we were able to change you into a Creature like Cristoph, Tesmorlah or Lithia… would you go then; would you fight alongside them… to the death?”

Helen knew all too well what had been going on right at that very moment, when she looked at the three Protectors, then looked at Angelus. “Angelus... no!”

Angelus answered, ignoring Helen. “Could you do that...?”

They all replied in three glorious voices of unison, and it was then, when he noticed it was hard to tell if there was a difference between their voices; there wasn’t a difference; at least not when they all had spoken together like this. “Yes. We can!” Angelus questioned on. “You can change me into anything?”

Soscorek replied. “Yes anything…”

Angelus looked at Helen, whose eyes began to gather tears, and then, he looked at Soscorek, as if he meant to tell him something… But he didn’t have to say anything, for Soscorek read his mind and knew he couldn’t go through with this; because of Helen. “I understand.” he said, remaining stoic; it didn’t bother Soscorek one way or another it seemed; he stayed poised with the rest, as if there was no urgency to exist of any kind.

Angelus turned, took a few steps, and lifted Helen’s head and whispered to her. “Hey… hey it’s okay…”

“I don’t want you to do this Angelus!” Helen said.

Angelus looked at her for a while as she bowed her head again, upset and in tears.

He reached and drew her head up once more and said. “Helen, if I don’t do this… we don’t have a chance of surviving!”

“Don’t say that!” she snapped at him! “Don’t you ever say that.”

Helen walked around him, to face the Protectors, and then had done something he hadn’t expected!

“Change us both!” she said bluntly. “Turn us both into Creatures…”

“Very well!” Soscorek said.

Helen turned and walked toward Elvia and Adrian, and said as she took sleeping Nox out from under her collar. “Will you keep him safe for me?” Adrian replied optimistically. “Until you get back.”

Adrian took hold of Nox and held him in a cradled manner. Helen came and stood next to Angelus closely, and Soscorek started the process of the transformation!

They began to light up, glowing in bright and blinding holy admittance! A sparking sound, followed by the faint sound of a breeze, had come along with the light.

Large and magnificent wings began to form behind them. They were like Cristoph’s, but they appeared to be in white, yet it was too soon to tell; for the color just could have been from the bright light surrounding and shining off of them.

Suddenly, their bodies had been drawn up as if pulled by strings attached to their chests, and their feet lifted off of the ground!

Soscorek put his palms out, blasting water upon them; then Villicus joined, holding his palms to each of them and blasting air; next, Zulmpreedor came to do the same in blasting fire!

Feathers formed on the sides of their faces, and also on their elbows and knuckles! These soft silky fluffs seemed to glimmer in the same three colors of the elements, water, air and fire.

The light faded away and Angelus’s and Helen’s feet returned to the ground.

They stood side by side as angels! Their wings were black, and the feathers around the edges of their jawbones, climbed up and around their ears; which were now pointed with the characteristics very much like a goblin’s!

Helen and Angelus examined their new selves, and as they did, the three Protectors had then said all together. “You are a new kind of species. No other Creature in the Forest is like you! You have the abilities of all three of us combined… but the downsides ensnare… your power is not as great… Now go!”

Lithia had spotted something on ahead; Cristoph jumped up and flew over to check it out. It was a dead Garbire!

Cristoph landed to investigate to make sure it hadn’t still been alive.

Lithia came ascending down from the air, right next to Cristoph, as Jack sped up and came to stand there as well; with those undeniably observing eyes. Lithia had reached down and placed her touch on the lifeless Garbire’s neck!

“Nothing.” she said.

“But that’s impossible!” Cristoph argued.

Just then, Tesmorlah landed. Astrid had slid off her back, and walked over to the Garbire with haste in her step. She put her hand on the Creatures heart, and said. “It’s dead…? Unfeasible!”

Tesmorlah stared at the Garbire’s body, and then said in horror and fascination. “The only thing that could kill a Garbire... is a Protector… or in our case... someone that possesses all the sacred stones of the Protectors…”

Jack examined the body, pointing out that it hadn’t any wounds or blood. Tesmorlah walked over and took a look.

“A powerful magic was used to kill this creature!” What was this evil...

Something had zoomed by, and caught their attention! But as they turned their heads to look, it was gone!

“What could that have been?” Jack said.

Cristoph looked around, with his grip prepared to draw his sword; and answered Jack’s question vehemently. “I don’t know, but whatever it was… it has gone now…” This was indeed fervid, when he said it; as if drawn out from the very place of conviction.

Soaring through the air, without looking back, Helen and Angelus made a quick effort to catch up to Astrid and Tesmorlah; and Cristoph, Lithia, and Jack.

Flight was now a thing of second nature to them; it was as if they were created with animal instincts, just knowing how to fly, and how they would use their other abilities as well!

Angelus, for the heck of it, blasted a bolt of water out from his hand! To his surprise, it had bent a tree over, leaving it deracinated underneath, with just a few strong roots preventing it from completely falling!

Helen looked upon Angelus. “Trying out your powers...?” she said.

Angelus replied assertively. “I want to be sure I know how to use them!”

Helen looked away, back on track; and they both continued straight on.

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