Hey guys, sorry for taking, like... 6 months to finally type this us. FAIL. Ummmm.... yeah. I would read Shatter before reading this, but... if you don't, then whatever. Any questions, just ask. Enjoy!
Chapter 2, Maybe
As I fell, I obviously started to look down. The islands that made up my small town I called home were primarily gone, and now I was alone – falling fast. The trees started to split in half, falling apart. The rocks turned to dust, and all that was left now was the largest – strongest – tree, a heavy boulder, and whatever else was left of the main island. The town square. And it was all littered in the debris and wreckage.
At least the sand's still there…
I braced myself for everything but a soft landing.
The ground, though, seemed to creep up on me – fast. The spinning whirlwind of sand and dust was becoming quite near at this point, now all I could do was to try the best that I possibly could to land in the safest way possible.
I had tried curling up into a ball, but then I had realized that it would do me no good unless there were falling shards of glass. There were next to none around, so it wouldn't make a difference. So I just relaxed there, letting myself freefall until I landed in a crumpled heap in the sand.
"Damnit, why can't things ever be easy? Ugh…" I thought out loud, rubbing the back of my aching neck.
"No one ever said anything would be simple."
I quickly turned around, seeing a man flash by. It almost seemed like I was imagining him. Was I hallucinating, or was he just a mirage, a trick of the mind?
He was neither.
He quickly appeared in front of me, mere inches from my face. Then he jumped back, inhumanly, landing about ten feet away, still on his feet.
"So you're the dark's new master, aren't you? Can't believe you're so young. You're just a kid! But then again… so was he."
"Rayde Gardener was the last 'master'. Someone you know, perhaps?"
I glared at the strange man. "My brother's never given in to the darkness, so why don't you get that through your thick skull, asshole."
He shook his head. "But he has before, luv. Gave into temptation, he did. But old habits die hard," he suddenly started grinning. "Doesn't mean he won't give in again, like last time."
"Cool it. You're so headstrong, luv."
"Don't mock me."
"Zynele, Zynele, Zynele… you don't understand a damn thing, do you? You'll never learn!" he cooed.
"No, you listen! My brother won't give in – he knows better! Just because we use it to our advantage doesn't mean we let it take over. We're not idiots!"
He shook his head, clicking his tongue in disapproval. Tsk-tsk. "I suppose this 'master' will just need to die young. So sorry."
"Poor, poor girl." His jet black hair was falling into his onyx eyes constantly, and out of nowhere, two double-bladed weapons appeared, one in each of his hands.
"I'm not going to die, thanks!" I said. I quickly took two daggers out of my pockets, tugging on each hilt. They immediately elongated, their contracted size now that of a full-length rapier, the other a curtana.
"Oh, I'm terribly sorry, but you have no idea how wrong you are," he wryly smirked, showing off his white, sharp teeth.
Before he could blink, I lunged at him, running fast. I tried to attack him before he had the chance to move, but I came a moment too late. He suddenly jumped back, his weapons disappearing into thin air as he crossed his arms.
"Good luck, sweetie.," he laughed. He then disappeared into a veil of black, otherwise known as a door of darkness.
Before he left, some of the black "objects" that had been striking the islands appeared. But they didn't turn into people this time. They were just liquid shells, molding into the sand and quickly rushing under my feet without getting in the way of my running.
They rose up out of the ground and started to chase me, attack me. These shadow-like shells danced around, sinking back into the ground every now and again, only to pop up soon after. They'd creep up behind me and try to ambush me.
When I hit them, they exploded into a dark, watery substance that resembled oil, then dispersed and floated up towards the sky.
What the hell…?
Then one of them hit me from behind, throwing me off of what was left of the islands, and into the same dark mist that the man had disappeared into. A giant, swirling door of darkness.
I felt myself falling for a long time. I wondered if I'd ever land on solid ground ever again, it Neyl was alright, and if Jake and Leon and Rayde – and, quite frankly, everyone else – had gotten to somewhere safe. Was I the only one alone? Why couldn't I be with them, instead of simply floating – falling – in limbo? I closed my eyes, then, expecting the worst.
And then after what seemed like an eternity had passed, I hit the ground, head first. The world blacked out around me before I even had the chance to see my surroundings, to know where I truly was.
"Jake, what if she's dead?!" I held onto the door of the copter as he and Leon both tried pulling me off.
"Neyl, I'm sorry, but I had to do it! She's just one person, man!"
"She's still my best friend – and Rayde's little sister!"
"What, you've got a crush on her or something, Saia?" Leon laughed.
I turned my head the other way, hoping they wouldn't see my now scarlet skin.
"He does," Myde smirked. "He's just lying so Rayde won't kill him, and probably from embarrassment."
"Sorry, but I had to do it!"
"So is that why you're so afraid of me? Because you're in love with my sister?"
I almost jumped, noticing Rayde for the first time.
I heard Myde start to laugh hysterically. "Neyl, you're so screwed."
"No thanks to you!"
"Nah. To be honest, it's pretty damn funny, Saia," Rayde laughed.
"Okay, then… will you two let go of me now?" I asked, directing the question at Leon and Jake.
"Get off of my copter, Saia!" Jake yelled back at me.
"Fine," he said, both Jake and Leon now dropping my legs and allowing me to land on my tailbone.
"Hey, Reneal, where did Allaura run off to?" Leon asked.
She shrugged. "Beats me. Sorry Winters!"
Then he just looked at me with his cold, steel-blue eyes, immediately grabbing me by the wrist.
"Hey! What the hell, man?"
"You're being 'reprimanded', apparently," Reneal called, rolling her eyes as if I should have known that already.
"Leon, lemme go!"
Jeremy looked slightly scared. "Leon, he really didn't-"
"Greene, I advise you shut the hell up. Now."
He gulped, just looking down. "Hey…er… Myde? You think… Zye's okay?" he asked, trying to break the silence.
"Probably, ask Rayde." He shrugged. He tried to look worried, though he probably didn't care at all. Then he added, "She'll be fine, she's just… a bit far away from us right now."
"And what do you mean by that exactly?" I chimed in, finally free from Leon's death grip.
"We landed here in Seattle, right?" Jeremy inquired.
It wasn't really Seattle. We were in a tiny suburb on the outskirts; it wasn't rural, but it was chock full of shops. That simple fact alone could be quite useful.
"Yeah… your point?"
"She's somewhere else – in another country, entirely – much further away. Savvy?"
"So she's alive? She's alright?"
I grinned like the Cheshire Cat, probably looking a lot goofier than usual.
"Loser," a passing Aiga-native said. Rayde's girlfriend.
I ignored her, too content to even care.
"Right now, we need to go find a shop that sells first aid kits… and lots of them."
"Who's hurt?" I asked, puzzled. Looking around, everyone seemed to be perfectly fine.
"Just some minor scratches and bruises on some, nothing all that serious, but we do need to by stuff, anyway. Zye – last time I checked, at least – had the only first aid kit we had from Aiga. Even if it was makeshift."
"Jake over here's an idiot for not letting her onto the copter," Rayde suddenly interrupted, rolling his eyes.
"Nice going," I said.
He obviously heard me. "How was I supposed to know that there was going to be an attack, Saia?"
"You didn't. But you did let her fall off of your damn helicopter. What, didn't wanna crush the leather seats? Scratch the new paint job?"
"Why you little-"
"Shut up!" Rayde said, putting an end to our potentially endless banter. "Both of you, please. We'll find her, and buy – make , mind you – another first aid kit. Alright?"
We both nodded, then went our separate ways.
Reneal was still talking to Myde, but Jeremy was sitting quietly in the corner. He was leaning against a boarded up alleyway.
He looked up at me, seeming almost lost. "I'm just as worried about her as you are. Though… it's in a completely different way."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You worry about her because you miss her – because you're in love with her, as a bit more than just a friend. I worry because she's like my cousin or a sister, so I purely worry for her safety and well-being, even if she's older than I am."
"She's still my friend, Jeremy. Her safety's always been the first thing on my list. But you wanna know something?" I paused, glancing over to him.
"I don't care if she's never anything more to me than just my best friend, I really don't. As long as we can stay friends, I'll be happy. Always."
Jeremy simply blinked. "Wow, Neyl… just, wow." He adjusted his glasses to break the awkward silence that fell between us.
"Tell anyone that, I dare you. Just see what happens."
"I would never. Don't you worry about it, Neyl."
"Thanks, man. It's just… most people would call me crazy, you know?"
"No they wouldn't."
"Well, they'd definitely laugh."
He shrugged. "Maybe."
I looked up to the night's starry sky, letting the small breeze take its course as I smiled, somehow content.
"How far away do you think she is?"
"You know," he paused. "I really don't know."
"She's probably too far away by this point, ya' know? But we'll find her… I know we will."
"I hope you're right, Neyl."
"So do I…"
"Hey, you two," a voice spoke, cutting in. "There's an abandoned courtyard on the other side of town. While everyone else is getting provisions and that first aid kid, come train with me. Got it?"
My head throbbed painfully, and now that I thought about it, the rest of my body ached as well. When I opened my eyes, it was sunset; there was rubble all around. The colors were all quite familiar, but I didn't know how this could be the same place.
Then I heard footsteps, and ducked down from habit. From my hiding place, I tried to get a good look at whoever had come near me.
He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans, both of which fit him quite loosely. He was a skinny guy whose sneakers made almost no sound. He seemed to be searching through the debris around me for something, but for what?
Then he saw me. My eyes had met his, and I ducked down even father, as worthless as my attempt now was. I heard him walking in my direction.
"How the hell – where did you come from?"
I said nothing, but sat up now. Did he even pose a threat?
"I'm not going to hurt you."
I blinked while he stared in something close to awe, stepping a little closer to me.
"Well…er…" I looked around, my eyes darting. "I kind of had my home destroyed… and woke up here, just like last time. I fell through this portal thing. Must've hit my head pretty hard, huh?"
"This is, well, was Castel Buono, Sicily, right? We're in Italy?"
He nodded. "You got that right," he said in perfect English.
"Last time my island got separated, I ended up here. Well, when it was still intact. What happened here?"
"Huh. Lucky little bird you are."
Well that's an excellent way to answer my question, asshole…
"Follow me, then."
I nodded, doing what he said to. What else could I do? I was stranded here.
"By the way, the name's Rao." He finally took his hood down. He smiled from underneath his dark hair.
"So where are you from, anyway?"
"Huh?" I'd been looking around – distracted – and missed whatever he had just asked me.
"It's a small group of them, off the coast of Hawaii. It's a small town."
"Huh. Another one."
"Excuse me?" Another one?
"Someone from probably the same place came here once. Well, two of them, really."
"What? Where'd they go?"
"They went home."
"It was a few years ago. Some kid named Darius, and another one who looked a lot like you."
I looked down. "Rayde. You mean Rayde."
"The silver-haired kid?"
I nodded. "My brother."
"Oh, wow. Where are they now?"
"Darius passed away, but I don't know where Rayde is. I'm the only one here, alone. He and the others are together, safe somewhere."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"Look," he said, his down below mine now, in an effort to make me see him. He looked a little concerned, but his goofy smile told me that he was trying to cheer me up. "We'll find them. I'll even help you! I promise."
I heard him sigh. "But first, I'll take you to the others."
I looked around what was left of the small village, which was now mainly a mixture of rubble, debris, and some birds flying around. There were some almost full houses here and there, but not many. We stopped at a villa that had somehow survived – mainly whole.
"Here," Rao said as I followed him through the doorway. "Guys, I found someone."
Two kids, about our age, looked up from around the corner. One was a blonde, blue-eyed boy, the other a mousy-haired girl with dark, teal eyes.
"Zynele?" the boy asked, standing up. "How did you get back here?"
I stared at him and his strange, spiky hair. It seemed… oddly familiar. "Do I… know you?"
He blinked, then smiled. "It's me, Blu! Don't you remember me?"
"No, I'm sorry."
"She did hit her head pretty hard, last time…"
"What happened? What's wrong with me?"
The three of them looked at each other, then back at me.
"When you came here the first time," Angelique said. "You and Blu really started to like each other. After a while, you ended up dating, but broke up. Every time you saw him you just got so upset… I couldn't bear to see you so sad. Then, one day, you fell… and you hit your head pretty hard. You couldn't even remember who he was, or who I was. You still don't, as you can see. I'm so sorry…"
"So the reason I can't remember anything… two entire years' worth of memories… are gone? Because I got upset and hit my head? Are you fucking kidding me? Blu should really look familiar to me – and you, too, Angelique – but you don't because that part of my memory's all gone? Poof?"
"Exactly," she said.
"Wait… but how exactly did I even get here?"
"Your town got destroyed, right?"
Why am I always so distracted whenever he talks to me? "What were you saying?"
"Your island, er… islands?"
"So, there are these things called the Nameless. They're people following this one family in particular – the Lasguardes. This family can give you more and more power – as much as you want – until you eventually end up corrupted, and when that happens, you lose your own free will. Eventually, these Nameless turn into this black shell – and like I said, there's no will or soul left, just a body. These shells can morph like water, creep around and even mold into the ground. They act on this guy's soul that's possessed every first-born son in the family – and that son himself has no free will, either, since he's, well, possessed. But the only people who can't turn into these shells – they're called Shadows – are the Lasguardes. What would the guy do if he couldn't possess anymore? You can't go inside of a Shadow, it'll… take over you. And you'll get stuck in there for who knows how long?"
"So the black things that attacked my town really are Nameless, like Rayde said."
Rao nodded. "They're called Shadows, like Blu said, but there's been all kinds of names for them over the years."
"So, Shadows destroyed your islands. But… there's something else, too. Shadows are Nameless that have been so brainwashed that they're loyal even in death. Briefly, they'll look human – they'll look like their former selves – and then turn into their liquid forms again. They don't care who they hurt, have no emotions, and will do whatever it takes to serve and protect their masters. They fake all of the necessary emotions while they appear to be human. Funny thing is, they killed these two," Rao said, pointing to both Blu and Angelique. "Even before I knew them. Funny thing is, they apparently already knew who you were."
"They did?" I looked at the other two. "You did?"
Blu nodded. "Well, yeah."
"Who were you guys?"
"Darius Boiven," he said.
"Kerri Raine," Angelique said.
"Darius? But, you're-"
"A brunette? Yeah, I know. Who knows what happens when you become an Immortal? Things change, Zye."
"What's an Immortal?"
"Oh," he said. "I forgot that you didn't know about that. We're beings of light that can manipulate certain elements. I can use speed – I'm a lot faster than you remember – and Angelique can alter light, no matter what the source."
"Well don't brag about it, Cavalierre!"
Blu sighed, apparently being told off with his new last name.
"So… what about my brother?"
"What about him?"
"Is he gonna… die?"
Blu shook his head. "Nah, but he did meet an Immortal once."
"His name's Dean Potter. Now, most people call him Martin Gardener back in the day," Blu said with a smirk.
"My dad's still alive?!"
They all looked at each other, then back at me, once again. "Well, yeah. He's alive, but he died once. That's what an Immortal is, Zye."
"God damnit! Why didn't anyone tell me?"
"Rayde doesn't even know it was your dad, Gardener! Calm down!"
"Stupid Rayde… how could he not even realize?... fucking dumbass…"
"Er…Zye?" Rao muttered, nearly stuttering. "Why are there daggers flying around the room?"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
So I turned around. Sure enough, there were two swords – at the moment, in dagger form – stuck in the wooden door. I checked my pockets, and when they turned out empty, I knew the daggers were definitely mine.
"You know… I have no idea…"
"Riggghhtttt," Blu said sarcastically. "You sound just like Rayde, now."
"Rayde?" I asked. "What exactly are we training for?"
"Trust me," he said, quite nonchalantly. "You're going to need it. You do still have your sword, right?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
He ignored me. "And you – lances?"
He was referring to Jeremy. "Yes, but-"
"Good. You two, you're coming with me." He grabbed the both of us by the wrists and dragged us out to the ancient, abandoned courtyard he was telling us about earlier. It was a cobblestone plaza that he led us to, where he stopped and let us go, finally turning around.
"-why must we fight?" Jeremy managed to squeak out.
"If we're going to find my sister, you've got a helluva lot of work to do."
"If you're gonna find her, why don't you just take Jake and Leon with you? At least they know what they're doing better than we do!"
Rayde shook his head, no. "This is my little sister we're talking about. You two are her closest friends, so I need you two to help me prove something to her."
"And what's that?"
"Saia, you love her. And Jeremy, you see her as family, right?"
"Yes," Jeremy muttered.
"So wouldn't it make sense if it's just the three of us, and not just whoever's got the most brawn?"
"Because we care the most."
"But what about Myde?"
Rayde made the strangest face. "No. Absolutely not. He's a… friend… but I doubt he'd come along. He wouldn't even try to protect her."
I looked at Jeremy, knowing that what Rayde was saying was true. We all did.
"How…is that, exactly?"
"Myde may be a 'friend' – a really crappy one – and he may 'care' a little bit, but he's a dark guy. Darker than your average Nameless."
Due to the fact that we were lost in whatever he was talking about, he quickly explained to Jeremy and I about the Nameless, Shadows, Nocturnes, and Immortals.
"Anyway, Myde's only looking to screw around with her. Mess around – the fucking perv. Then he'd just leave her and pretend like nothing ever happened between them."
I looked down. "He doesn't seem… that bad. What's the worst he could do?"
"He conned his own brother, Saia. He led his kid brother to his death!"
"God," I gulped. "What… what was his name?"
"Dyem. That's why Myde moved here, because it wasn't all that long ago, if you haven't noticed. Myde's only been around, what, a couple of months?"
"But how do you know he'd do that, though? Maybe it was an accident," I recalled from some point Myde telling us that he was from New York City. "New York's one huge accident just waiting to happen."
But Rayde just shook his head. "You haven't known Myde Leonne as long as I have, Greene. I knew him before he moved here, if only a little. He's always been like that – he'll lie and cheat to get whatever the hell he wants."
"Hmmmm…" I muttered.
"Now, to training." Rayde took out his blade, a lightweight, falx-lived sword. It was a little broader and a little thinner than the average build for the type, and one-handed to boot. "I want to see what you two can do. Get ready."
"Wait…what are you talking about?" Jeremy asked, quickly stumbling to take out his lances.
"He means we fight each other, dumbass." I ran at Jeremy with my one blade, lightweight and strong.
He dodged me a couple of times, then parried and blocked me a few more. I decided that hitting harder would work in my favor, and it did, just as I'd thought. I broke through his parries, and he finally fell over with exhaustion.
"Alright, so Jeremy's the only one really in need of help here, for now. Just like I thought. But you, Neyl? Train with Leon for a while, I'll work with Greene for now."
"But Rayde, Leon hates me."
"Well, tell him that's too bad, and he can hate you later. You need to train."
Jake and Leon waked back to find Rayde and Jeremy – with me in tow – not long after I'd been sent away. Both Rayde and Jeremy looked up at us.
"Is there any specific reason you're making me do this, aside from spite, Gardener?"Leon asked, now leaning somewhat casually – and now in full angst – against a wall.
"Maybe," he smirked, showing white teeth that were so close in color to his silver lochs.
"Neyl just wants to train, that's all, isn't it, Neyl? I'm sort of busy helping Greene right now, so… we needed you and Rivera, Winters."
"Shut up, Jake."
Jake sighed, while Leon simply rolled his eyes.
"At least he's not as annoying as Darius used to be," Jake said, low enough that Rayde and Jeremy couldn't hear.
And Leon was looking right at me.
"Let's see what you can do, pipsqueak."
I smirked wryly at them both, my blood starting to dance inside my veins. "Don't worry, I will."