Ch.6 part4

1.

The wind swirled around her legs and then up to her face billowing the shirt against her back.

The tree loomed ahead, the demon was hacking into it with the axe, blood stained the grass, she saw that the tree was nearly chopped off, and then with one last swing from his axe the tree was falling.

She screamed, blackness rushed at her and engulfed her in a swirl of goop.

...

She sat up breathing hard and touching the buzzing in her forehead, it was very dark, and the fire wasn't even lit, which was odd. She looked around for Chip and Shou Lang but couldn't find them, then she heard footsteps walking toward her.

"Shou Lang..." she breathed a sigh of relief.

The figure stooped next to her and smiled, it wasn't Shou Lang, it was some other demon will white eyes and gray skin, she was about to scream but he covered her mouth.

"SHOU LAAANG!" she screamed.

...

"I'm right here! Shush! Shush! It was just a dream!" Shou Lang was kneeling next to her with the glow of the fire shining in his yellow eyes.

She was breathing hard, was it real or another dream?

"Shou Lang?" she whispered.

He put a hand on her shoulder, "Shhh..." he told her quietly. "You were having a nightmare, go back to sleep..." he said and pushed her back on her back.

She stared up at him finally able to catch her breath, "I had a dream about the tree again..." she gasped.

"You were dreaming," he said and sat back watching her. "Go to sleep, and try not to scream so loud next time."

"It felt so real..." she said closing her eyes. "I was there, so was the demon chopping down the tree and...he chopped it down, the tree was falling..."

"Go back to sleep," he said gently.

"...as it fell...all of this goop came out at me again. And I was sucked into it, the next dream I dreamed that I was awake...but I could have sworn that I had woken up."

"San...you're still half asleep," he told her.

"I looked around for you and Chip...but you weren't there...and then I heard footsteps and I thought it was you!" she said and took in a big breath. "I...it wasn't you, it was the demon chopping the tree...I saw his face! He was here..."

"What are you talking about, silly girl? Go back to sleep..."

"It was him, he was smiling at me," she cried sitting up. "It was him! I know it, I was awake, I was awake when he came!"

"I haven't left you at all tonight, he couldn't have come by here without my knowing," he said and put his hand on her shoulders. "Lay down..."

She shook her head, "It happened, he stopped me from screaming...he-"

"You're not making any sense," he cut in and pushed her on her back. "Get some sleep and forget your dream. It wasn't real," he told her.

"But I saw his face!" she protested. "He grabbed me, it was real, Shou Lang...it's all happening! I know it's happening..." she cried with frustrated tears meeting her eyes. "You have to help me...people are going to die!"

He looked expressionless, he looked away at the fire. "You're tired, San...that's all it is. Sleep now, we'll be in Ancient Woods tomorrow, alright?" he asked the fire.

She nodded her head and curled into a tight ball and tried to sleep.

2.

After several minutes he looked back at her and found her curled into a ball, she was sleeping, finally. He looked back into the fire thinking hard, Chip's loud snoring disturbed his thoughts.

He glanced at him and then saw the little possum shaking and mumbling incoherently in his sleep. Without thinking he put the cloth over him as a blanket, then stared disgustedly at what he had done and swiped off the cloth.

"I've gone insane..." he whispered and shook his head and threw the cloth in his pack. "It is already happening...very soon...I will let them become as important as Nitro to me. No matter how hard I try...they will just end up becoming a priority! Lord, and even the rat has me going insane for him! I've gone crazy, Salem was right...I'm so...soft!" he said disgustedly.

He hit his head with his fist, "Damn it all! Damn it! Why'd I let this happen?! I was so careless! I was so stupid! I was so-so-so-!" he hit himself again. "Why didn't I think?! I knew that this would happen...I'm so weak and stupid!" he cried and fell on his back looking into the sky. "...And yet...I can't help it..." he said softly and looked over at San. "There's nothing that I can do about it...no matter how hard I try..." he closed his eyes filled with regret for both them and himself.

I just hope that no one uses them to get to me...I should've protected them by not growing fond of them. Now the word will spread and they'll be in constant danger...damn it, it isn't fair, and none of them are making it any better for me either!

He rolled on his side and opened his eyes again, "So be it...I'm just going to have to on alert at all times." He looked over at the rat, "...and never let them out of my sight..."

He was still shivering slightly, Shou Lang reached back into the pack and threw the cloth over him filled with disgust for himself. Then he sat up and glared at the fire and resumed thinking over the matter with the tree.

3.

"The Ancient Woods! Wow! Look at it San!" cried Chip.

"It's...beautiful..." she said breathlessly.

"It's all right, I guess," said Shou Lang and adjusted the straps of his pack.

Chip jumped in her arms, she gasped again and took it all in with wide brown eyes and a slightly open mouth. "I've never seen anything so amazing and beautiful..." she said with her heart filled with the emotion of the old forest.

"Come on, we got to check this thing out, remember?" said Shou Lang and took her wrist roughly in his hand. "If I have to drag you then I will..." he grumbled and jerked her behind him in a stiff walk.

She gazed up at the tall trees and lush greenness of it all with bright filled eyes and with butterflies racing up her stomach. "Shou Lang...look at all of it...it's so...magical!"

"You're such a girl," he muttered.

"It's really pretty," said Chip on her shoulder. "I would love to live here, Shou Lang...you said that you lived here just as long as you have in Ether."

"I lived here when I was younger, I grew up in this forest, if that's what you mean," he said looking at her shoulder. "Then Master Urdu found me and began training me."

"Your Master...is he nice?" asked San.

"You've met him," he said and snorted. "No wait...you were still in your coma, then."

She looked around at all of the trees that seemed to sparkle with the light of the sunshine. She stopped and looked around taking large open breaths. "I love this place already..." she said closing her eyes.

"Quit wasting time!" Shou Lang snorted and gave her arm a wild yank that sent her crashing into his backside.

"See the leaves? They're glittering...is it the dew on them?" asked Chip.

"No...that's just the way the leaves are..." he answered.

San tore her arm from his grasp and knelt down and plucked a leaf from a bush and gasped examining it. It looked as though there were gold glitter on the leaf, it shone light subtly. She turned it over in her hands sighing and gaping at it.

Shou Lang came behind her and dragged her to her feet and behind him, "We don't have much time, San. Gawk later, but now we have to find that tree...!"

"You know where the tree is?" she heard Chip say.

She was too busy looking at the leaf to hear the rest of their conversation, she couldn't believe it. She would die a thousand times to live in a place like the Ancient Forest, it was all so green and beautiful. She had seen pretty things, but this had to be one of the most spectacular things she had ever seen in her entire life.

She saw something white and fuzzy come out from the tops of the tall trees, the trees were taller than any tree she had seen. The white things shook slightly then disappeared from sight, shaking the golden leaves and shaking them into her face and hands.

"There's something up there...!" she said pointing.

"It is only the Chibies I was talking about," said Shou Lang snorting again.

"But they're white!" she said looking at him.

"Ancient Woods have different species of Chibies, here, the they come in all sorts of colors. The white ones never come down from the trees, whereas the other colors love interacting with other animals and people."

The leaves shook again and sent another shower of gold shining leaves falling down on them. San laughed and gathered them up in her hands smiling up.

"What are you doing?" asked Chip jumping on top of her head.

"Look-!" she said pointing up as another shower of leaves fell down on them.

Shou Lang looked irritated, "They saw you take the leaf and now they want to give you more, don't touch anything. Those dumb fur balls get annoying after a while, and you'll see why. They're literally everywhere."

"What other colors are there?" she asked giggling to herself.

He sighed with disgust, "Stop talking about them, you're giving me a headache!"

"They're still shaking down leaves," Chip observed pointing up.

"And the stupid things wont stop until you do something else," he said smacking a leaf away from his face.

San tucked the leaves in her back pocket and waved at them. "Hello little Chibies!" she shouted waving her arm. "You can stop now! I have enough leaves!" she shouted.

"They aren't going to stop," said Shou Lang disgustedly.

"They like being helpful, don't they?" asked Chip smiling at her with his little white teeth flashing with the sunlight filtering through the trees.

"I guess so," she said and laughed. "I don't mind, I feel like a queen the way they're showering me with the leaves!" she said and laughed again.

"Damn those furry little pests!" Shou Lang shouted and snarled at them. Immediately the Chibies ducked from view with a wave of leaves swirled down on their heads.

She gasped then glared at him and smacked the back of his head. "Why did you do that? They only wanted to be nice to you!" she said and hit him again.

He growled at her and knocked down the leaves in her arm, she gasped then balled up her fists. "You're so mean! No wonder you don't have any friends!" she shouted as she stooped down to pick them up.

"Leave them," he said taking her arm and lifting her up.

"My leaves!" she cried bending down for them again. He yanked her beside him shaking his head, "There are plenty of leaves in the forest, you can find them any time of the day."

"You're so mean! Not just to me, but to everyone! Those little Chibies didn't do a thing to you and you had to scare them off like that!" she cried angrily.

His yellow eyes flashed, "You're irritating me, shut up."

I'm so sick of him commanding me like that! She thought and jerked her arm away and crossed her arms in front of her chest. Just who does he think he is anyway? He's so mean all of the time!

"Keep in mind that I only came here to help you out, I was foolish enough to be worried about such an insensitive person like you!" she told him heatedly. "I won't make that mistake again!"

"I never asked you to come back," he said without turning around. "In fact, it would have been better if you stayed where you were!" he snapped.

That remark triggered a whole rush of angry heat, she scoffed and looked to the side breathing hard. "I see...in that case, you don't need the dagger."

"If I need you I'll just come to your world and drag you back with me," he said.

She gritted her teeth but decided not to say anything, she was really starting to detest him. "You should have just left me with Salem, you didn't have to pick me up in the monastery, I was happy where I was!" she spat at last.

"Shut up already!" he yelled back at her.

"But no!" she shouted and hit the back of his head. "You beat me up instead, then you yell at me all the time! And now you scared away the Chibies, I can take you yelling and hitting me, but when you start picking on other-"

"Why do you keep saying that?! I'd never beat you up!" he shouted abruptly and glared at her with such directness, she felt as though his eyes had turned into fire, she swallowed and looked the other way ignoring him. "I thought I made that clear!" he said lowering his voice so it was a vehement hiss.

"Don't worry about it, I'm not coming back anymore," she said quietly, she felt the heat of his eyes but chose not to acknowledge him and stared blankly at the trees. Chip's nails dug in her shoulder, she pet him briefly and swallowed again.

San heard Shou Lang cursing angrily to himself as he walked forcefully ahead.

Throw your little tantrum, she thought angrily. I don't care anymore, once I figure out the deal with my visions, then I'll never come back! I'll take Chip with me and never come back!

"Is it wise to make him angry?" asked Chip leaning in her ear.

"He won't do anything," she told him and tousled his hair. "He can get mad as much as he wants, it doesn't scare me anymore."

"It should, when he gets really angry-"

"Hush!" she said and touched his lips with her finger. "Stop talking about him, he isn't worth the time." Then she winked at him, "And I meant what I said about not coming back, I'll take you with me and you can live with me and Ms. James. Would you like that?"

Chip grinned, "You want me to live with you?"

She nodded her head, "Sure, I really missed you the last time we were apart. I'm not ever going to leave you again, you'll always be with me."

Chip hugged her, "I'd like that!" he squeaked.

"And then...I'll board up the trap door so no one can ever go in or come out," she said hugging him tightly. "It'll just be you, me, and Ms. James!"

Chip's smile was from ear to ear, "If you really mean it...then today is the best day of my life!" he squeaked jumping on her shoulders and laughing.

She knew that Shou Lang heard her, she wanted him to hear it. He walked with his hands in his pockets and his head up, a stance that she was used to when he showed that he didn't care about something.

4.

"I'm camping here for several minutes, then we'll be off again," he said gruffly leading Nitro in front of him and then taking his head and walking with him.

San and Chip sat down rubbing their feet and complaining about how far they had walked.

It serves them right, he thought grimly.

"Come on boy, we'll race, all right?" he asked smiling at his horse and stroking him gently. "I know that we haven't done it in a while..." he said and gazed into the trees.

He jumped on Nitro's back and rode him far enough so that they wouldn't be able to see him. Then he jumped off and stood in front of his horse and lowered his head.

Nitro sniffed his face then nudged his cheek, his eyes were filled with concern. Nitro nibbled his ears and nudged his cheek again.

Shou Lang stroked his neck, "I'm fine, why are you worried about me?" he asked.

Nitro neighed softly, almost a whine, then touched his shoulder with his snout and breathed down the side of his neck.

"Do you want to race? I thought that you'd like that..." he said in surprise and touched his forehead gently.

Nitro shook his head and whined at him again and nudged his cheek again in concern.

He sighed, "I don't care, all right? Why are you acting so sappy? I'm fine!"

Nitro shook his head and gummed his ears again neighing softly at him.

"And to think that the stupid girl had me thinking about her last night," he said angrily and pet Nitro's head. "She and that dumb rat aren't worth the time-! And I was really-" he stopped and snorted. "Just goes to show how unpleasant humans are..."

Nitro touched his lips against his forehead, Shou Lang smiled and patted Nitro's cheek. "You're a good horse..." he said. "And friend..."

He stayed like for a while with his head lowered and Nitro 'kissing' his forehead, then he pulled back and grinned at him. "Now let's race...I'm done talking...all right?" he said and jumped beside him. Nitro still didn't look convinced, "I'm fine, why are you still so worried? I'm fine!" he said and patted his side.

Nitro blinked several times, then his eyes turned playful and he snorted smoke in his face, his signal that told him to get ready.

He grinned and looked ahead, "I'll race you to that large tree over there, you see it? Get ready...on your marks...get set..." he paused and shot Nitro a mischievous glance. "GO!" he shouted and sprinted off.

Nitro turned into a streak, so did the trees around him. He grinned and moved his legs into pace with Nitro. The wind felt so good and refreshing in his hair and clothes, he had been too still for so long, and now it felt good. It was a break to calm his nerves and play with his friend.

Shou Lang and Nitro whizzed past the trees like blurs, they reached the tree at the same time. Then staring at each other they both sighed and fell on their sides gazing up into the sky.

"That was good," he panted and pat Nitro's neck. "Good race...I think you won."

Nitro was breathing heavily as well, they both closed their eyes and rested.

His legs ached but that was the point of it, his lungs felt as though they would burst, he touched his chest and opened his eyes.

...

"He's been gone a while," said Chip sighing and kicking a blade of grass. "This is boring just waiting for him to come back."

"Then let's go," said San standing and stretching. "Who said we needed him, I still remember my training..." she said and grinned. "We'll find the tree by ourselves, and I have a feeling that we're close to it."

"You're going to leave? Will you come back?" asked Chip in a scared voice.

"Of course, I'll be back before he gets back here," she said and winked at him. "Do not worry Chip...I know what I'm doing. I'm just going to look around," she said.

"I'm going to nap here, he was merciless today!" he whined and lied on his back.

"He's always merciless," she said scoffing. "He was just mad, that's why he made us walk for so long."

Chip nodded, "Be quick about it, San...if you're longer than five minutes then I'll be coming after you."

"Jeez! You're starting to sound like Shou Lang," she said over her shoulder and walked into the woods.

5.

San turned into a pile of leaves and gasped at the beauty of it and then sat on a boulder looking out into the green sparkling leaves.

She sat like that for a very long while, losing track of time, and then by the time she looked into the sky it was already getting dark.

She stood up and started to leave when she heard something snap from behind her, breathless she turned around but couldn't see anything.

The throbbing in her forehead started, it was low and fast, she touched it and swallowed. Now she knew she had to get back, she turned around again and felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand.

She turned around but nothing was there, then she looked around with her eyes observing everything, but there was nothing. The throbbing grew more intense, she took deep breaths and whirled around, again there was nothing behind her.

The sky was already turning darker and darker, the leaves were still shimmering, and it looked like tiny sparkles of Christmas lights. She backed away and then looked in front of her breathing hard.

"Get a grip...calm down..." she told herself and started walking briskly where she came.

She heard another snap and stopped, the hairs on her arms rose up, goose bumps prickled her flesh. She could barely breathe, something was out there...watching her.

She could feel it, whatever it was, she knew for certain that it was foul and wicked. She could feel the negativity around herself and was suddenly very afraid.

"Chip?" she called softly.

She heard something loud drop from behind her, she whirled around breathing hard and touching her burning forehead. It seared and burned, she felt a heavy force around her, as if weighting her down.

"Chip? Is that...you? Are you here?" she asked, the sky was dark as night, but the lights from the glittering leaves provided her some light. She stood still while her eyes darted around her.

The silence was loud, it seemed to deafen her, it was heavy silence, silence that held something mysterious.

The throbbing in her head was suddenly so sharp that she lowered her head holding both sides. She felt as if her head was being crushed together from both sides, she fell on one knee and held her head.

She heard something approaching her, it was very soft, as if whatever it was had been on tiptoe. She rose to her feet and stared hard at where the noise was coming from with wide frightened eyes.

The same feeling she had in her dream last night returned, she could sense him. It was the demon, she knew it, she could feel it. San could barely breathe, she was trapped with him there...she knew that he saw her. She took a step backwards with her mouth open and her mind pounding against her skull like a hammer.

Then hands from behind grabbed her shoulders, she screamed and twisted away but hands covered her mouth. "San! San?! Are you crazy, what in the seven hells do you think you're doing running off like that?!"

It was Shou Lang, she clung to him, the pain in her forehead was gone, along with the heavy weight around her and the demon.

"I told you to stay put! Why can't you listen?!" he shouted at her.

She clung on to his clothes breathing hard, she would've told him what had happened but he wouldn't believe her. He never listened to a word she said anyway, so talking to him would be useless.

"You had Chip in hysteria! I thought the stupid rat was going to explode or something," he said and pulled her roughly next to him. "It's dark out, what were you doing all by yourself out here, anyway? Are all humans dumb like you?"

She let him drag her back to the campsite, the entire time he was yelling and shouting at her about how stupid she was and so on, but she wasn't listening.

He pushed her in a sitting position on the boulder and sat cross-legged in front of the fire he had built.

Chip jumped in her lap crying and laughing at the same time. "You were gone for such a long time, but I couldn't look for you with how dark it was! When Shou Lang finally came I told him that you were missing! Are you all right?"

"I'm...fine..." she said dazedly.

"And then I heard you scream and I thought something had happened!" he cried.

"Shou Lang scared me..." she said in the same dazed state.

"You're lucky that I'm the only thing that found you!" Shou Lang snapped. "I told you to stay here, you're so stupid. You're such a burden," he growled. "You can't just walk off like that, this isn't your world anymore, remember what I said about demons being everywhere?"

"Yes...everywhere..." she said looking in the fire.

Shou Lang sighed and then slumped his shoulders, "Don't...do that again...ok?"

"I won't..." she said looking at him.

He looked very tired, he stared into the fire with his face turning into a blank slate again.

She lowered her eyes and then sat next to him, "I'm glad you came..." she said.

He looked over at her with his hands crossed in front of him, "Stupid."

"All of this worrying has made me tired," said Chip yawning. "I want to nap, since it is already dark can we just stay here?"

Shou Lang shrugged, "Whatever."

San cuddled next to Chip and closed her eyes, "Good night, Shou Lang..."

He only grunted.

...

She awoke with a start and sat up breathing hard, she found smoke swirling up from the fireplace. It was still dark, still nighttime. She rested back on her arms and looked around for Shou Lang and Chip but they weren't there, and it was odd that the fire wasn't lit.

"Chip? Shou Lang?" she called, but there was no answer.

She found the crescent moon shining down on her, she smelled the smoke in her nose and looked around with her eyes.

Where were they? Why wasn't the fire lit, and why was she by herself?

She looked around for Chip but could not find him, panic filled her chest and she got to her feet looking wildly around.

Her spot in her forehead was throbbing and ebbing again, she touched it faintly with her eyes widening.

"My dream...was just like this!" she said to herself, the realization felt like a punch to her stomach. She was so afraid, she couldn't breathe anymore or think. She had to get away, the demon was going to find her and kill her.

"SHOU LANG!" she cried tripping on her feet. "Please help me!" she screamed.

She ran blindly through the woods and then tripped on her stomach, she was starting to get up when she saw a figure against the moonlight. The pain in her head was incredible, and flashes of her visions came into her mind again.

She couldn't scream, run, or do anything to stop it as the figure cam toward her.

He leaned in her face, his face was gray and he had large pointy teeth, blue veins ran visible through his face. The black hood fell from his head, he was bald with large veins throbbing in his head.

Then he laughed softly and took her chin in his hands, it was real. It was happening, he was here, and now he was going to kill her.

Then he sniffed her face and grinned at her, the wind began to blow harder, the dagger felt heavy against her chest.

She was too afraid to do anything but watch, his fingernails pricked her cheeks, and he leaned closer, still smiling at her.

She was trembling all over, she watched with horror as he came closer to her, his face just inches from hers, tears ran down her face at her helplessness, but the strange part was that she although she was afraid she was also very curious of him. She wanted to run, but didn't want to miss what he was doing, it was a very frightening feeling.

He brought his other hand to her face and gently caressed, she was finding it hard to breathe. His smile was still glowing with the moonlight just as one hand went around her throat while the other had her face tilted up.

He wasn't squeezing, he just sat there for a while looking down at her and her looking fearfully up at him.

The wind blew in a different direction, she found it very soothing despite the situation, and then she felt the urge to relax.

His smile grew wider, she felt her eyelids getting heavier, she swallowed and struggled to stay alert.

Then he leaned down again, just barely touching her with his lips when all of the sudden she heard laughing coming from just a few feet away.

His eyes grew wide, so did hers and he released her jumping up and fading away with the darkness of the night.

"...hey, how did that fire get put out?" asked Chip's voice.

"The wind I guess," answered Shou Lang's and then laughter on his part.

Her lips trembled, she couldn't believe what just happened, she wanted to scream or cry but couldn't do anything except sit there trembling and swallowing.

"Wait a minute...something's not right..." she heard Shou Lang say. Then his footsteps, "Someone was here...recently..." he said.

His footsteps stopped at her, she looked up and saw yellow eyes looking down at her. "San...you're awake?"

"Sh-Shou Lang!" she cried finally and hugged his leg. "He was going to kill me!"

He knelt down and sniffed, "Who has been here? Why do I smell him...on you?"

"He was going to kill me!" she cried crying in his shoulder. "It was just like my dream, he was here! The demon was here! Right next to me...he was..."

Her frightened cries stopped her short and she hugged him tightly.

"Stay here..." he said without emotion.

"What's going on?" asked Chip diving in her lap.

She felt him leave, "Shou Lang! Don't-!" she choked. "Don't leave me alone, again!"

He stopped, "Chip...look after her, will you?" and then he too faded with the dark.

6.

San staggered to her feet, "We have to stop him! He's going to chop down the tree!" she cried.

"What's going on?!" wailed Chip as she scooped him up into her arms.

"SHOU LANG!" she screamed. "Shou Lang! Where are you?!" she cried running blindly after him. She felt hands on her shoulders and then them squeezing. "I told you to stay-" he started.

"It's tonight!" she cried breathlessly. "He's going to chop down the tree! It's all going to happen, right now!" she cried and took his hand. "Help me!" she cried.

"I'm following his scent, if you want to come along grab on to me, flying is the best way to catch this guy. He's moving very fast..." he said and lifted her in one arm.

"Can someone explain to me what's happening!"

"Not now," she told Chip and wiped her eyes. "Go Shou Lang!" she shouted.

Shou Lang rose off the ground and then whizzing into the air.

From up ahead she saw green light shining from the treetops, "There!" she pointed.

...

The light flashed brilliantly in her eyes, she covered her face as Shou Lang landed down where the green light was blinding them all. "He's here!" Shou Lang shouted.

She took his hand, "Come on!" she said and walked up a hill, the light vanished and suddenly she was on top of the hill. The sky was overcast and gray, she saw the tree and the demon swinging his axe down.

Blood splattered the grass, she screamed, Shou Lang ran for the demon with his sword raised, but it was too late, the tree was falling...falling down.

"Shou Lang!" she screamed.

From the open wound in the tree fire leapt out surrounding the entire area, she grabbed Shou Lang and he grabbed her. Chip nestled between them as the fire swarmed around them, she heard screams and moans from the tree.

The demon raised his axe, the sky turned black and a beam of black light shone from the clouds.

"NO! Stop!" she shouted.

Shou Lang drew her closer, the heat from the flames around them was unbearable.

The demon dropped his axe, once it hit the ground black goop swirled from the hole in the tree and around them, she screamed, Shou Lang hauled her up and jumped up from the ground hovering.

Chip hung desperately from her ankles, she reached for him but couldn't catch a hold of him.

The black beam disappeared and the green light returned blinding all three of them, "NO!" she screamed.

...

When she finally came to she was lying on a tree branch with Chip on her stomach curled in sleep. She sat up and looked around for Shou Lang, he was lying in front of her with his eyes closed.

She moved Chip to the side and crawled next to him and touched his shoulder, he didn't move. She turned him over on his back and listened for his heartbeat and once found it sat back and stared at him trying to remember what had happened.

Shou Lang twitched, then murmured and remained still once again. He seemed fine, she looked back at Chip and found that he was in the same state as Shou Lang. She looked up and stood watching the treetops.

The sky was blue and clear, birds flocked over her head, and she shook her head and looked back at the two of them.

Was it all a dream?

Shou Lang's eyelids went tighter and then he rolled over on his side, "San...water..." he whispered, the branch was about as thick as a table top, Shou Lang rolled off.

She screamed and tried to reach for him but he was already off the branch, without thinking she jumped off with him. She caught his sleeved and drew herself to him, she looked down and saw water below.

She squeezed her eyes tight as the small pond grew closer and closer until finally they both splashed inside plunging all the way to the bottom.

He was limp in her arms, she couldn't swim, but she knew that if she jumped in deep enough the buoyancy would pull them back up. They bobbed up to the surface, the corner of Shou Lang's mouth was a black line of liquid.

They were close to the shore, she pushed him up, and then crawled next to him breathing hard. Shou Lang was still unconscious, the black liquid grew thicker and thicker until it was a constant stream.

She gasped as the black goop spilled out until it covered his whole face, she took her sleeve and started wiping it off.

Shou Lang's eyes opened, they were red and turning black, she frantically wiped it away but it just kept coming.

"Shou Lang! Don't let yourself be turned into a demon!" she cried.

Water...wasn't that what he had said in the tree?

He jerked then trembled, "Shou Lang!" she cried and pulled him back into the water. Wasn't that how he saved her when they had first met?

The water sloshed over her head as she pulled him under, the black slime poured out of his open mouth, his eyes were now shut.

She held him under as the water turned black with the black goop coming out of his mouth. The last of it came out of his mouth and then she brought him back up, he was gasping for air.

She gasped, her lungs felt ready to pop, she couldn't swim but they were next to the shore, Shou Lang opened his eyes, they were yellow and clear.

He shoved her over onto the shore then crawled beside her gasping and breathing hard. "Chip...he's..." he gasped.

"What was that goo?" she asked him.

"The tree...when the green light-" he stopped and gasped for air. "It took us under but I was able to hold you up, so it didn't..." he paused and took a big breath "...but Chip and I...we breathed it in, I was able to fight it off and get us in the air again...but it took hold of me, I guess..."

"Chip is still up there...a demon?!" she shrieked.

"I'll..." he gasped and stood up pushing her aside. Then he jumped in the air and then flew, he was flying with difficulty, she only hoped he didn't fall unconscious again.

She saw him up at the top, he grabbed something that was dripping with slime and he fell backwards into the pool again.

The splash was big, the water was already black but now it turned even darker, Shou Lang burst up suddenly with Chip in his hands, he fell on his stomach unconscious again with Chip out in his hands.

Chip was unconscious as well, she cuddled him and looked at Shou Lang. His eyes were closed and breath labored. She hugged Chip and stared up at the sky...

If the demon is gone...then he has the box!

End of part 4!