The Darwin Chronicles, Book One: The Mountain Ranges

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Chapter 26

They landed at the bottom of the mountain.

"We have to finish the rets of the journey on foot," Joseph said. "There are dangerous animals here that eat birds. Morph if you want, but risk your life. Let's go." They started hiking up the mountains. A few hours in, it got cold. Darkness filled the air. The Blackfire soldiers shivered.

"Shadow serpents are near," Amy whispered. "This is what it feels like when they're nearby." They took out their weapons, creeping silently through the eerie, cold fog. A piercing, terrifying, shrill shriek filled the air. "They're coming!" They scattered as two serpents sprang out from between some rocks.

"We need phoenix fire!" Joseph shouted. Amy dodged an attack and closed her eyes. She stayed human.

"I can't change!" She shouted in frustration. Emmett's heart failed for a second. They were as good as dead. She opened her eyes and caught his gaze.

"Emmett! It's up to you!" She cried. He shook his head.

"I can't. You know I'm not as powerful as you yet!"

"Do it!" She pointed at a screaming fifteen year-old girl whose skin had started to wither away. Emmett recognized her as his friend Lena. "They need you, Emmett. I can't help them, but you can. I believe in you."

He doubted himself, but closed his eyes, concentrating. The fang around his neck started to glow, giving him energy. He felt is shape change, and he opened his eyes. He glowed with power. His wings were scarlet and gold. Amy's eyes were closed to. She was giving him energy through the fang, he realized. He felt fire churning in his stomach, and released it at the shadow serpents. They burned up, shrieking in pain. The soldiers scattered, avoiding the flaming balls he shot at the serpent. His aim wasn't very good, but it worked. Soon the shadow serpents were completely gone, and the coldness disappeared from the air. He returned to the ground and morphed back, ready to pass out from exhaustion. The fang kept feeding him energy, giving him strength. Amy opened her eyes.

"I told you," She told him. Suddenly she fell to her knees, tensing.

"Amy?" He quickly knelt down next to her, putting his arm around her shoulders. "Amy. What's going on?"

He could sense that she was experiencing excruciating pain. It was so bad that she had stopped breathing. He could tell that she was about to pass out.

"Amy! Listen to my voice!" He shouted at her. A black aura started to radiate from her. "Breathe!" He ordered.

She sucked in a deep breath and started to sob. The aura and pain got stronger. He panicked as her sobs of pain got stronger. He knew it was bad. She didn't cry easily, much less sob like she was now. The aura suddenly went away, and she relaxed, her breaths hitched and weak.

"What happened?" He demanded. "What the hell is going on?!" He watched in dismay as her eyes rolled up into her head and she collapsed. She was pale and clammy and gaunt once again. Emmett caught her before she hit the ground.

"What was that?" Joseph pushed through the crowd. "What's wrong with her?"

"I don't know!" Emmett said, panicking more. "She was in so much pain..."

"Calm down." Joseph put his hands on his shoulders. "It was probably just a side affect of her lending so much energy for your." Emmett doubted this, but nodded, taking deep breaths. "Good. Someone will have to carry her. We need to keep moving. Medics."

One strong-looking Medic picked Amelia up. Emmett stood up shakily, and they moved on.

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