A/N: HAHAHAHA! FINALLY A FAST UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Though now I'm out or pre-written chapters D: Anyways, enjoy as I enjoy the last few days of vacation before going back to school.

Chapter 4

After what felt like an eternity, the attendant finally came to fetch Teal. Wordlessly, he led Teal out of the room and into a large hall where the other children were waiting in front of a set of double doors. "Now, prepare yourself. You will be presented to the emperor and then your family," with that the attendant opened the large double doors and led them all in.

Inside, the different warriors whom the emperor had captured stood along the sides, seemingly barely restrained energy pulsing throughout the room. Teal's eyes wandered around, searching. He surprisingly found both his father and stepbrother alive and well. Hearing the shouts and happy squeals around him, the other children seem to have found their family too.

"Silence!" a deep voice commanded, "You will listen to the emperor first, and then you may reunite with your lost kinsmen."

Teal looked up at the throne area. The standing man was probably the emperor's adviser. Then man was definitely large, and not in a fat way either, with strong muscles clearly showing through his sleeveless tunic with bronze skin seemingly glowing when health. He looked a lot like the man Teal had met earlier, but with amethyst colored eyes, a clear mark of a magic user, instead of amber, and a lot more muscular than the other man had been. Teal was so enthralled by this man that he never noticed the emperor until the man moved and his robes rustled.

The emperor merely cleared his throat and the room went silent, all eyes watching the emperor. Teal gasped; in the emperor's place was the same man Teal had been talking to earlier in the palace grounds.

"Now then, I'll make my offer to the children," the emperor said while his eyes took in the faces of everyone present, "Your kinsmen may return home, as long as you stay here, along with the ten best warriors from each village. What do you say?"

Murmurs went around the room, especially among the captured warriors. All of the children looked among themselves, wondering what would happen to them. Once of the warriors stepped forth, "Great emperor, we need some time to consider this."

"That is fine, you have until the end of this week. Until then, I'll be needing some . . . entertainment, shall we call it," the emperor's eyes swept through the group of gathered people and stopped on Teal. Teal couldn't help but shudder at the man's gaze. Beckoning to his adviser, the emperor whispered, "That boy will do for us tonight," and pointed at Teal.

Their time with the emperor done, all were herded back to their rooms and told to entertain themselves until dinner. 'A week to decide, huh? That's three days from now, wonder what they'll decide to so,' Teal was too preoccupied by his thoughts that he failed to see guards walking towards him.

"Wahhhh," he exclaimed when two guards grabbed him, dragging him away. As he stumbled, trying to keep up, his thoughts wandered even further. What was going to happen to him?

Finally they stopped outside a grand door with many strange symbols etched onto the odd material, which seemed to shimmer and shift as Teal stared at the door, as if it were a living being. A guard knocked on the door and they all turned and left, leaving Teal in a long hall with no idea where he was.

The set of great doors creaked open, darkness seemingly seeping out and tendrils gripping the poor boy's arms, legs, and torso, pulling him into the darkness. 'This can't be happening,' Teal thought as he was dragged further into the darkness within the room.

"Oh, but it is . . . ," a strange voice responded, "Oh but it is . . ."

Ending note: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO OUT AND CELEBRATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND IF YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH, ENJOY THE CHAMPAGNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!