The Darwin Chronicles, Book One: The Mountain Ranges

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Chapter 35

Emmett ran into the cave. Glowing purple crystals stuck out all over the cave. Amy stood in front of a glowing fang, gripping her sword.

"Amy!" Emmett shouted. "It's a trap!"

"Indeed it is." Isaac appeared from the darkness, descending the rocky stairs halfway. "But only for you, Emmett."

Emmett growled in frustration and started forward, but hit an invisible wall. "What-?"

"Don't worry," Isaac told him. "I cannot pass either." He pressed his hand flat against the invisible wall, then took it away. "Join me, Amy." He spread his arms. "My entire life force is in that fang. I'm entirely at your mercy. It's your choice."

"Amy, no!" Emmett shouted. "You can't!"

"Actually," Isaac drawled. "She can. All she has to drop the sword." He waved his hand, and images flickered in front of them. Her father Robert, Rosetta, Andrew, and Aaron were laughing, beckoning her to join them. An image of Isaac kissing her in the woods, with no mouse to interrupt them. Her father, alive and well, smiling at her and reaching out to her.

"Amelia," Robert said. Her breath hitched, and the images faded.

"If you join me, Amelia," Isaac said, "We can find a way to bring back your father. We can get revenge on everyone who's ever hurt you. Your mother will love you again. You and I can be together."

Emmett could see the conflict in her eyes. He saw the hand on her sword slacken, and so did Isaac, whose eyes gleamed in triumph.

"No..." Emmett sank to the ground to his knees in defeat, his heart tearing in two. He looked down so that he wouldn't have to look at the sword clattering to the floor with a CLANG.

"NO!" Isaac screamed, followed by a bright light and a burst of warm air. Emmett looked up to see a phoenix, who promptly sent a flaming ball of fire at the shadow serpent fang. The other boy screamed and fell, turning black and withering like Aaron had. Small scraps of black material flew out of the cave, flying past Emmett. Screams filled the air, then were abruptly cut off as Isaac died. Emmett took one more look at the phoenix and looked back down, breaking down and starting to cry in relief. It was over. It was done. The hot air faded, and he saw feet silently walking towards him, blurred by his tears. Amy gently cupped her hand under his chin and tilted his head up, meeting his gaze.

"Why are you crying, Emmett?" She whispered, shifting her hand to caress his cheek. "I chose you."

She wrapped her arms around his neck as he calmed down, and they embraced tightly.

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