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Guardians of the Realms: The Oracle's Journal

By Dimitri Liountris All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Chapter 3: Battling With The Wolves

6 September 2012, 01:44pm

The Cradle of Human Kind…

Hitting the water felt like falling into pure darkness for Blake. There was light, coming from the openings in the ceiling, but it might as well have been pitch black with the panic that seeped into Blake’s mind. His body went numb but he struggled, pulling himself to the surface. The water… he was in the water! His head went underwater!

He couldn’t believe he wasn’t screaming like a little girl yet. But then again, he had other things to worry about now. He searched the water for a little, as much as he could stand, and just as he couldn’t stand it any longer he finally found what he had been searching for. Blake dragged Eric out of the river, onto dry ground, sweet dry ground. They were soaking, shivering, but at least they were safe.

Eric still held his shoulder – which was in teeth-clenching agony – but Blake could see that he was trying his best not to show his pain even though tears were running down his face. He wasn’t crying, oh no. It was just the water from the river dripping off him. But even if he was, even in the brave Eric was crying over the pain of a burning shoulder, Blake didn’t really care. Because he was too busy staring at the cliff from where they fell. The wolves were still there, growling, showing their razor teeth, staring down at the human dripping with water. They soon left after realizing that they were never going to jump.

Blake breathed a sigh of relief and looked down at the water, the water that seemed very calm now that he was out of it. It almost made him want to just sit down and stare at it as he relaxed. But then he had a thought. Blake looked around, realizing that the girls weren't anywhere near them.

"Jen!" He shouted fearfully. "Jen! Monique! Can you hear me?"

"We're here!" Jen's voice came back. Blake looked forward, noticing that the water went down a bend.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"We've been better." It was Monique's voice this time. "But we're fine. How's Ethan?"

"Um... It's Eric."

"Whatever,” Monique said. “How is he? He got hit."

"Ethan’s fine!" Eric screamed. "And he doesn’t want your sympathy."

"Well you weren't really going to get it," she retorted

"Okay, okay," Jen interrupted. "You two can have your heart to heart later. Right now, my clothes are soaking, we’re trapped in a cave and I’m freaking the hell out! We need to get out of this place. Now!"

"Stay there," Blake replied. "I'm coming to get you." He turned to Eric. "Can you stand?"

"I was hit in the shoulder, idiot," Eric climbed to his feet. "Of course I can stand."

"Fine. I was just trying to be supportive."

"Well don't," Eric turned, walking into the cave. "I can take care of myself."

"Tell that to your shoulder," Blake muttered as he followed.

"Come on," Monique said, standing up as she stared at the water. This was so not on. She was not going to be some damsel in distress. If Blake could get up and walk, so could they. "Let's go."

Jen stood and then collapsed immediately. Monique turned to see the girl clutching her ankle, grinding her teeth.

“You okay?” Monique asked.

“I think I twisted my ankle,” Jen replied.

Monique moved towards her and without saying a word, took Jen’s arm and put it over her shoulder. She started lifting the girl and Jen moved, pulling herself to her feet. She noticed Jen staring at her and she could only imagine what she was thinking. Monique, the genius of the class, the girl who no one spoke to, who never caused any conflict, who seemed in no way physically fit, was suddenly here, ready to drag Jen through caves neither had been to. Yes, Monique could practically see her thinking about how they were possibly going to get out of the situation. It was a thought that had crossed Monique’s mind too.

Even so, Monique showed no fear. She felt it, she felt it down to her core. But she didn’t show it. She wasn’t sure if she was hiding it for Jen’s sake or her own, but it was what it was. The girl’s began to move, and she felt Jen pull her hair slightly. It was at that point she realized her hair was no longer tied up, and she wondered what she looked like. Totally different from before, she knew that. Her hair down to her shoulders now, no glasses anymore.

“We should get moving,” Monique said.

Jen looked at her ankle. “Maybe we should wait for Blake?"

"You know we can’t do that, Jen," Monique replied calmly. "The chances he’ll find us here are slim to none. This place is a maze and we’ll have a better chance of running into him if we move."

"I don't know. I think he can find us here."

"What if the wolves find us first? Then we're cornered."

She could see Jen wonder about this for a moment. But Monique was right; she knew she was right, and Jen knew she was right too. If the wolves did appear, the only way out would be the water. And Monique wasn’t sure about Jen, but she had had enough time in it.

"Okay,” Jen agreed. “Lead the way."

So she did. They walked down the corridor making a turn and then another and then another. They climbed up whatever they could find, Jen pulling herself while Monique pushed, and they continued moving, Jen hopping along with Monique’s support just to try and get to higher ground. They figured if they just kept going up, they'd find a way out. Then Monique noticed Jen shuffle, reaching into her pocket and revealing a cell phone.

A wet, busted cellphone.

"Don't bother," Monique said. "Even if by some miracle it did work, we lose signal going through a tunnel in the city. Here, we're below ground in the middle of nowhere. Trust me, you're not calling anyone.”

They looked at the phone. Monique was right. Again. She was kind of getting tired of being right about things. The phone wasn’t even turning on. Jen sighed as they continued walking.

Monique began to think of what they could do if they didn't find a way out. How would they survive? What would they eat? And would they consist of all four of them, or will the boys be stuck on the other side of the cave forever? Monique closed her eyes, trying to think and when she opened them again, she stopped, tumbling backwards with a shriek. She swung her hands around, pushing Jen against the wall as she screamed louder. Monique moved back, until she herself hit a wall and sank to the floor, hugging her legs, crying, mumbling to herself. She heard Jen hop towards her and move to the floor, barely touching Monique before the girl started screaming again, clawing at Jen.

"Stop attacking me," Jen shouted as she held onto Monique, who was screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs. "Calm down. Calm down!"

Monique didn’t even realize that Jen had slapped her until about three seconds after, when her cheek began to sting. It was a shock, one that Monique felt was in need of a serious conversation. But for now, she had stopped screaming, so she had to hand that to Jen. Monique sat there for a minute, staring straight, right where she assumed Jen was. She wouldn’t know. She couldn’t see her. And even though she had stopped crying and she had stopped screaming, she had not stopped quivering.

"Why is it so dark?" Monique whispered as she breathed deep, trying to calm herself.

"What?" Jen asked. "It’s not dark, Monique."

"Yes it is, yes it is!” Monique yelled. “I could see clearly, I could see, but now it's dark. I can't see. I can’t see anything and I… I can’t do it, I can’t do the dark.” She put her hands on her head, and leaned forward, trying to curl up into a ball, trying to get away, before she lifted her head, screaming, “Somebody help me! Help us! Blake, get your ass here now!"

"Calm down," Jen said, grabbing her tightly. "Calm down. I'll get us out of here, I’ll lead us out. My ankle is feeling better by the second. But I need you to calm down, okay?"

Monique nodded. She felt Jen get up and she began to wonder why her sight just gave way. There was nothing wrong, nothing had happened to them, nothing had changed and...

And then darkness.

She felt her face, making sure her eyes weren’t damaged. She thought back to all those nights, when she was a youngster and she would be forced to sleep with the lights out. She thought back to when she would hear it, the thing by the window, looking in. She would turn, slowly, and she would see it, for a split second, a shadow figure moving quickly from the window. Many days it did that. That frightened her. But what terrified her to her core wasn’t the stalking at the window. It was when the shadow figure was in her room. It did nothing, just stood there. And Monique never moved, always pretending she was asleep. But it was there, always there and Monique knew it. As years went by it disappeared, but to Monique it was still around, hiding in the one place Monique knew she couldn’t find it… in the dark.

And then she heard Jen say, “What?”

“What?” Monique asked.

"There's nothing," she whispered.

"I got that!” Monique screamed. “What do you think I’m freaking out about here?”

"No, I mean there’s nothing to help us see," Jen replied louder. "I can see, but there is no light source. No openings, no lamps or electrical lights. Nothing, no source of light, but I can see perfectly."

"That's impossible."

"Tell that to my eyes. Was there anything weird about the cave when you could see?"

"No," Monique answered quickly. And then she thought for a second. "Well, it did seem like a black and white movie."

She could feel Jen raise an eyebrow. “And that didn’t seem weird to you?”

“Hey, I was just grateful it wasn’t pitch black.”

“Mine's not like that at all."

"What is wrong with this cave?”

“Well it has killer wolves and plays tricks on our eyes, so that’s two things.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t look pretty on you.”

“I thought you couldn’t see anything.”

Monique contemplated clawing at Jen again, but instead said, “Jen… get me out of here.”

"Come on." Jen helped her up. "Let’s go."

They walked, Monique helping Jen hop, Jen calming Monique with never-ending chatter. They continued walking, twisting and turning every now and again. At one point they stopped, and Jen managed to put her foot on the ground. She squealed slightly, but from what Monique could tell, she was determined to be as independent as possible in case Monique lost her mind. Thankfully, that was not the case.

It wasn't long before they got to a wall with an opening above it. Rocks stuck out, making it easier to climb. Still, the wall was high, and Monique worried that Jen’s ankle was still throbbing. Normally, Monique would have thought to go back than risk climbing a dangerous wall, but two reasons made them decide to do it anyway.

One was that Jen couldn't remember seeing any other way out through the corridor. And the second reason? There was a faint light. But Monique could see, and for that, she would have climbed ten walls.

"Watch where you're going?" Eric moaned as Blake bumped into him again.

"Sorry, am I hurting your perfectly fine shoulder?" Blake replied sarcastically. "Tell you what, next time I plan to get stuck in a cave looking for you, I'll remember to bring a flash light."

"You make it sound like this was my fault." Eric replied.

"It was your fault!” Blake shouted. “If you would just realize that you aren't the centre of the universe then everyone else's lives would be so much simpler."

"Then why not just leave me here?" Eric snapped.

"Don't tempt me."

Eric stopped dead in his tracks. He could practically taste Blake’s anger. He was willing to leave Eric to fend for himself. But he didn’t, and Eric figured that he didn’t for two reasons. The first was that Jen would hate him for a lifetime and then more. The second was that Blake would eventually hate himself for doing it. Despite all his faults, Eric knew Blake was a decent guy. At least, Eric hoped Blake was a decent guy.

They continued walking through the dark, Blake looking at Eric as though he was debating how he would kill him if given the chance, Eric debating if this cave happened to have a restaurant of some kind. He was starving. When was the last time he ate? Probably when his sister forced something down his throat because she was afraid he might never eat again. Eric sighed slightly, feeling a sadness take over him as he thought about where Jen was and if they would actually find her. Yeah, she was an annoying sister. But she was his annoying sister.

Finally, after what felt like hours, after what was only minutes, they came to a light source and a stair case leading upwards. Eric grinned widely. Freedom! He began moving for the light source as quickly as he could, almost dying of a heart attack as a hand came from an opening in the side of the wall, hitting the ground.

"Come on, Mon," he heard Jen say. "We're almost there."

"I'm not one to do physical work," Monique replied. "So bear with me here."

Eric looked down the opening and saw Jen trying to climb, with Monique right behind her. And it was quite a distance. He was impressed. He wouldn’t tell them, no way. But impressed, he was.

“Need a hand?” Blake said

The girls looked up and relief was all Eric could see on their faces. He and Blake extended their hands, Blake helping his girlfriend up, Eric helping Monique. He smirked as they pulled the girls up and he couldn’t help but feel relieved. Finally, they were together again. All four of them. He wouldn’t admit it, but having Monique around did provide some comfort. If someone were needed to come up with a plan, she would be their best bet.

"You okay?" Blake asked.

"Yeah,” Monique replied. “Had a little freak out down there, but Jen pulled me through."

"Glad to help," Jen smiled.

Then she charged for Eric, and he just stood there, knowing what was about to happen. She grabbed him and pulled him into the biggest hug she had ever given him. Eric moaned for her to let him go but he liked the fact that she squeezed a little tighter and held on just a little longer.

Monique dusted herself off, and Eric was quite shocked at what she looked like. With her hair not in that ridiculous, tied-up knot she enjoyed wearing so much and her glasses not dulling her bright green eyes, he suddenly wondered why Monique didn’t look like that more often. It would have definitely attracted more people to her. Whatever, it was her decision.

When Jen was finally done smothering Eric, she turned to the others, asking, "Anyone know what those things were that attacked us?"

"Shadow wolves," Monique answered, surprising everyone. But then she continued as though she couldn't help it – so no different than a normal day. "They are usually used to guard something. They are vicious little creatures and getting cornered by one is basically like committing suicide. They have two special abilities. The first is known as Shadow Flame; that blue fire that we witnessed. The second is known as Shadow Merge, which..."

"Hold the phone," Blake interrupted. "How could you possibly know that?"

"Known what?" Monique asked, a curious look on her face.

Blake turned to Jen, wondering what happened down in the corridor, but Eric noticed she had her just go with it face on, so Blake didn’t question anything. Eric on the other hand didn’t care about the face.

"What's Shadow Merge?" Eric asked.

Monique was at a loss. "I have no clue. I just knew it. It… it came to me.”

Jen stared at Monique, and then came to a realization, whispering, "Divination?"

"What?" The others said in unison.

"Divination," Jen said. "It's the ability to know things through supernatural means. Reading minds, seeing visions or signs, feeling emotions, seeing through things. Knowing things you shouldn’t. I think you might have it."

"What are you saying?" Eric asked. "That Bishop over here is psychic?"

"I can't be," Monique replied. "There’s no such thing."

“Same way that there are no such things as fire breathing dogs,” Blake responded, shrugging.

“Point taken. But if I was psychic, don’t you think I would know?”

"Same way you could know about these wolves and not know how?" Jen countered. "And when you saw darkness. Before that, you said your vision was black and white. Maybe you were seeing a vision of the place and just didn't know it. You were seeing it through the eyes of someone who was there before. Maybe you just assumed that that was the colour because the alternative was darkness."

"Listen guys," Eric said quickly, before the whiteboards and black markers appeared. "As much as I'd love to figure this out, you know, while we’re soaked, lost in a cave and have crazy dark dogs after us, this pain is getting worse. Can we get out of here?"

"I agree," Blake said. "Let's move. These stairs look like they lead out of this place."

Eric followed the other three, moving up the solid rock steps, about fifty of them, praying to anyone who was listening that there was a way out. He was never religious. He figured he never would be. But on more than one occasion he had found himself asking a higher power for help: from blowing up the boring tour guides to getting him out of the cave, he had asked for a lot in the last few hours.

Finally, after climbing the last few steps, after the ache in his shoulder had reached screaming levels, where Eric had to bite his own tongue because he didn’t want the others to know, they had finally made it to the opening where the light was coming from.

The room was huge! Openings in the ceiling made the room brighter. It was round, those sharp pointy rocks hanging from the ceiling. What were they called again? Stalactites? Whatever. Bishop would know. Columns of rock were spread unevenly around. On both sides were openings, but it was the hole in front of Eric, the hole with the stone that looked like it flowed from the opening to the ground, that almost seemed like an inviting ramp leading to freedom, that caught his eye.


It was right through the hole, and they could crawl through it. They were free. They could escape. Eric was the first to move for the opening, but his happiness was short lived as the growling returned, and with it, the shadow wolves, appearing from the side doors and moving swiftly, blocking their way out. They growled loudly as Eric watched, looking at their teeth, wondering how easily they could go through his flesh. Probably like a knife through butter. He took a step back as the others stepped forward, Blake and Jen putting themselves between Eric and the wolves, as the beasts snapped the air, ready to attack.

"Not again," Blake said as the one wolf jumped for him.

Blake flinched slightly, less than Eric would have. He was actually waiting for the older boy to run, so it would be okay to do it without looking like a coward. But something happened, something Eric didn’t expect. In an instant, Blake twisted around, lifting his leg into the air. His foot connected with the wolf's head, causing it to squeal as it went down. As his foot hit the ground, Blake stood ready for the next one.

"Where'd you learn to do that?" Monique asked.

"My mom learnt martial arts when she was younger," Blake answered. "She started training me when I was five. Twelve years of training does you good. Even if you weren’t planning to use it."

“Well, use it,” Monique replied. “Use it a lot.”

The wolf got to its feet and moved back to its partner, growling louder. As it moved, it began to catch alight, something Eric would have thought was awesome if it hadn’t completely frightened him.

“Oh, good,” Eric began, “Your kick sets things on fire. As if we didn’t have enough weird for the day.”

Soon, it was engulfed with blue flames that, in a way, looked sort of beautiful. Eric thought that Blake had beaten it until he noticed that the second one was also alight. Well, the cave hadn’t been living up to expectations as it was. Eric figured that there was no good reason to start.

The flaming wolves moved, one for the teens. Blake shouted for them to dodge, and they all complied, jumping out of the way as it pounced for them. The wolf continued to run as it hit the ground, and as it ran, as its partner did too, the fires that engulfed them burnt brighter. Then, in a surprising move, they ran into each other, causing a glorious flash of blue flames to burst, lighting the room, blinding Eric. When he finally could see, he kind of wished that he couldn’t. He saw a ball of blue fire and watched with shock and slight wonder as the ball of flame began to take a form, shaping itself into a body. Then the fire dispersed, revealing a dark furred, muscular, red eyed, wolf-like animal standing on two legs.

"It turned into a Shadow Werewolf?" Eric shouted.

"At least we know what Shadow Merge is now," Jen said.

"Yeah," Monique replied sarcastically. "Because that was on my Christmas wish list."

"You didn’t happen to bring that wish list with you, right?" Eric responded as the wolf leaped for them.

With a swing of its arm, Blake was smashed out of the way. It moved for the rest of the teens, knocking Eric and Jen with his other arm. They flew straight into a wall, getting the breath knocked out of them as they hit the ground. Through blurry eyes, Eric saw it move to grab Monique next, who just dodged. She ducked as it swung his claws for her head and rolled out of the way as its fist came down for her. It struck the ground, and Eric heard the stone crack like a biscuit. Blake used this to jump on top of the creature, trying to strangle it, only to be grabbed, Blake letting out a little yell as he was thrown across the room, into Monique. They hit the wall and fell on top of one another. Eric made it to his feet, ready to lie right back down as he saw the wolf charge for him. But then he noticed that it had changed direction, heading towards Jen. Within seconds, it was in front of her, blue fire seeping from its mouth. And in an instant, its jaw dropped and a wave of flames escaped, covering the girl.

Eric screamed, his heart rushing to his throat, his hand held out for his sister as she burnt. A tear rolled down his cheek when Eric realized that there was no screaming, no smell of burning flesh. Then he felt something. He felt something pushing him back and so he pushed forward. The wolf stepped forward, more fire pouring from its mouth and Eric was being forced back slowly, his hand heating up. He lifted his other hand and pushed forward and he saw the fire begin to die down. The wolf forced more flames but Eric pushed forward some more, taking a step towards the beast, his hands burning up. But the fire began dying down, revealing a ball of energy, see through, with a hint of pink, no, dark pink, magenta, a ball of energy with a glow of magenta surrounding Jen, protecting her.

He felt it, the shield and the fire on it. He felt the heat travel up his hands, into his arms, into his chest. But he wasn’t burning, he wasn’t in pain. That’s when Eric realized it. The energy shield was not just stopping the attack. The fire was going into the ball, not dispersing, but instead being absorbed. Eric looked at the wolf. He wasn’t sure if wolves could display expressions, but the boy was very sure that this one was confused. Eric knew the feeling.

But the boy pushed forward again, and the fire died out more, the ball of energy absorbing it. The wolf stopped attacking, taking a step back and as though a voice crept into his mind, giving him instructions, Eric knew exactly what to do. He stepped forward again, hands still out and slowing began making fists, as though he was struggling to do so. The ball of energy started to disappear, starting to move into one point, the point between the wolf and Jen. And when it was done, when a ball of magenta energy was floating there, Eric knew what he could do with it.

“Get away from my sister,” he said, closing his fists, the ball exploding, but the force of it only shooting one way, knocking the creature all the way across the room.

“That was entertaining,” a voice said, a voice in his mind. But this was not the voice from before. This was a male’s voice. He was sure the previous was a female, a kind voice. This one felt dark. “But can you do it again?”

Before Eric could say anything, Blake and Monique were in front of them, helping Jen to her feet, telling Eric they needed to move. The wolf was getting up, clearly injured by whatever Eric had hit it with. The boy wondered if he could do it again, but thought against it. He wasn’t sure what he had even done the first time. And he was sure that he was running out of luck. He moved for the exit, the others next to him, but it was too late. The wolf moved, jumping on a column, before pushing itself off to the wall above the escape and down onto the floor, blocking the way.

“What now?” Eric asked.

“Yes, what now indeed,” the voice replied, though only Eric seemed to hear it.

“Are you speaking to us?” Monique asked as the wolf’s fur began to change. “Or are you speaking to him?”

The fur of the wolf became darker and less physical. There was no other way Eric could describe it. In fact, its fur now looked like a shadow, blowing in the wind like a flag, growing bigger, stretching out in all directions. With a deep breath, the shadows retreated back into the wolf and with a loud howl, they shot out, in all directions, covering everything. It seemed like in the matter of a seconds, Eric was in utter darkness.

And then everything was silent.

Dark and silent.

It didn’t particularly bug him. The dark never had. But he couldn’t help but feel afraid here, because he knew that something was in the dark with them, watching him, waiting for him. And, for some reason, he got the feeling that it wasn’t the wolf. But still, he just stood there, breathing in deep, waiting for something to happen.

Monique on the other hand…

Her breathing increased rapidly, and she was on the verge of tears. She wanted to run, she wanted to scream, but she didn’t know where to go, and she didn’t know how screaming could help. If anything, it would have attracted the creatures that dwelled in the darkness.

“Monique, where are you?” she heard Jen asked.

“Right here,” Monique replied, her voice cracking a bit.

Monique was slightly jealous. She wasn’t sure, but from how calm she sounded asking the question, she assumed Jen could still see in the dark. However, her jealously dwindled when Jen did something that calmed her slightly. She took her hand.

“I’m right next to you then,” Jen replied, and Monique could hear her smiling.

Monique smiled too, slightly. She didn’t want the dark getting used to her and sticking around. She was ready to thank Jen, turning to her, but stop when suddenly, she was hit with a vision, an image flashing in front of her, an image of Blake being decapitated.

“Is everyone okay?” Blake asked.

“Blake, duck!” Monique screamed.

The strangest thing happened. Monique’s sight came back. And she saw… herself. Then the image moved without her control, and her sight landed on Blake, who with not a hint hesitation, and in utter darkness, ducked, his hair moving with the wind made by the werewolf’s claws, claws that would have sliced his head into pieces.

Monique’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor from what she saw: the beast, well half of the it, physically materializing out of the shadows like some kind of dark portal, its claws grown to the lengths of small machetes. And just like that, it had disappeared again, not to be traced. But Monique was tracing it, she could see its moves. They came to her in visions. Monique had another one, pushing Jen away and moving the opposite direction as the wolf formed again, slicing downward, just missing the girls.

That’s when Monique realized why she could see. She had fallen left, but from what she could see, she had been falling to the right. Her sight turned again, and again it was without her control. She saw the wolf, who simple disappeared into the darkness and then the sight came down, looking at herself once more. And then she knew what was happening.

She was looking at the world through Jen’s eyes.

But before she could even fathom the incredibly insane thought that had crossed her mind, another vision came.

“Eric, jump back!”

But Eric wasn’t as fast as Blake, and Monique, and Jen as it were, saw the boy looking around, confused. The wolf came behind him, slicing upwards and would have killed the boy if Jen hadn’t gotten to her feet and tackled him out of the way.

“Blake, duck again!”

The boy did so, dodging the attack.

“Move to the left!”

And he did so too.


He did that too, rolling forward as the area behind him lit up with blue flames.

“He’s coming from the front!”

"That's enough!" Blake shouted, the area lighting up as swirls of fire came around him, Monique’s vision once again coming from her own eyes. The wolf backed away, covering its eyes with one arm, blinded by the sudden light. “That’s enough…”

The wolf’s eyes adjusted and he moved forward, ready to slash straight through Blake’s skin. But Blake just stood his ground. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t budge. The wolf brought its claws down, and Blake let out a roar, a loud roar not heard from any creature Monique knew of, nevertheless a human. As he roared, the fire around him flared, consuming Blake and bursting out, burning the wolf, flinging the creature away as the shadows receded back into the creature’s fur, now singeing.

"Blake?" Monique tried to sound brave, but it came out as more of a squeal.

"Stay back!” Blake said, his entire body surrounded by flames. He turned to the wolf. “We are done with you!”

The flames grew, taking shape, great wings of fire emerging from Blake’s back. The roar was heard again, but not from Blake. It seemed to come from the fire itself as it danced around, changing shape and form into what Monique could only describe as a dragon. Then it was gone, swirling and shrinking into a ball of fire between Blake’s hands.

“Let’s see how you like the fire,” Blake said, shooting the ball of flames out of his hands, a ray of fire engulfing the creature.

The wolf seemed to deteriorate in front of the teens, covered in flames as it tried to howl aloud in pain. Within seconds, the wolf was nothing but ashes and the flames had died down along with the glow and fire around Blake's person. Monique stared as he fell to his knees, trying to understand what she had just witnessed and, frighteningly, not being able to find an answer. Blake was tired, she could tell. Heavy panting and a sweat-soaked shirt attested to that. She moved towards the boy, who looked up at all of them.

"What the hell was that?" Eric screamed.

"I don't know," Monique replied, touching her amulet. "But none of that was normal, by any stretch of the word. And these have something to do with it."

"Thanks for the obvious," Eric said, staring at his amulet. "These things are amazing. They saved our lives."

"I was possessed by something," Blake said. “It felt… it felt like something was leading me, telling me what to do.”

“I got that feeling too,” Eric replied.

"I didn’t," Jen replied. "I could see in the dark, but that’s about it."

“I got no guidance either,” Monique replied. “But trust me, weird things were happening.”

“Whatever,” Blake said, ripping his amulet off, throwing it away. “These things are trouble. We should leave them down here.”

“Are you crazy?” Eric shouted, moving to catch it. “These things are amazing!”

“Finding them almost got us killed,” Blake countered.

“And without them, we would have been killed,” Monique replied. “I’m with Eric here. We should keep them, at least until we can figure out what actually happened down here.”

"Thank you," Eric said gratefully, holding his hand out to Blake along with the amulet. "Take it."

Monique could see that Blake was contemplating the idea for a minute. She could feel the doubt practically pouring out of him. She could also feel his need to take it too. She felt the same way. But why? Why should she take something she knew nothing about? But she couldn't help thinking it was the right thing. Why? What was drawing her to the amulet? And what had it done to her? What had it done to Blake? To Jen? And Eric?

Blake sighed. "Fine. Let's just get out of here."

Blake grabbed the amulet and moved for the exit. Monique followed after Eric and Jen. Once through, they were be found by a chopper circling the area, brought back to their school group and scolded from dizzying heights for going off alone. Especially Monique. She should have known better than that, apparently. After, they would go back to the hotel to pack up and finally head to the airport to catch a plane back to home.

Away from that place.

Away from the danger.

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