Chapter 3

I woke up to Juliette's green eyes. "Everyone! She's awake!" 'Everyone', as Juliette had called it, ran in. "We thought we were going to lose you, Alyssa."

Sabene's eyes replaced Julie's. "We are happy to see you're alive. We didn't want to be looking for a new monarch so soon." She chuckled.

Corin's eyes replaced hers. "Glad to see those beautiful eyes of yours open." He smiled lightly. No joy in his eyes.

He moved away and no one replaced him. I sat there for a few seconds then turned me head towards Corin. "Tell me the truth." I said hoarsely because my throat hurt. "He got Makaela, didn't he?" We stared at each other for a moment and then he nodded. I turned my eyes back to the ceiling of the infirmary and let one warm tear fall out of my blank eyes. I blinked. "Any trace of where he took her?"

Corin answered. "No."

I lifted my arm up and wiped at my eyes. "Can I leave?"

Corin answered. "Yes."

I just got up and left. No one tried to talk to me on the way back to my room. I knew what game Stephen was playing at. I knew what would be next.

And sure enough when I got to my room, there sitting on my bed was a crimson piece of paper with black writing scrawled over it.

Radiant Stela,

As you now know, I have your precious sister. I will not hurt her as long as you give me what I want.

If you follow my directions, you will get her back unharmed. But if you so much as blink when I tell you not to, she is dead.

I have no doubt in you what so ever that you will do this for me, Stela.

All my love,

Stephen.

I sighed and set the letter on my desk. I looked over to the book again and saw what page it was turned to. It was our family tree. Under almost every single name there was the word deceased. But, at the very bottom of the third page, there was my name. Right next to Juliette's and Makaela's. And right below that, was another message. Again in Stephen's hand writing.

Soon the MoonShade line will be completely gone. Ending with you.

I touched the message and used my powers to make it fade away.

I grabbed the letter he had left me and walked out of my room, through the castle and out to the gardens. I sat under one of the oak trees that were hundreds of years old and held the paper in front of me. I closed my eyes and was immediately taken into Stephens mind. He had been waiting for me.

"I have been waiting for over an hour now; I thought it would take you less time to heal." He sneered.

"Give Makaela back and I will come to you." I said, ignoring his comment.

"Oh, but I like Makaela." He said. "She is going to stay with me some more."

"Then give me instructions." I said in a hard voice. "Tell where to find you so I can give you what you want."

"Go to your family tomb. I left something there for you." He said. Then he disappeared and I was put back under the tree. My eyes snapped open and I ran towards the castle. I went down in to the weapons room and started to prepare. I strapped two swords onto my back and a knife on the side of each one of my legs. I slung an arrow carrier over my shoulder and grabbed the bow. Before I could take anything else, there was a noise behind me. I whipped around with a knife in my hand. Standing there were Corin and Sabene, preparing their own weapons.

"I should have known that you were both coming with me."

"Yes. You should have. You have saved both of our lives repeatedly so it is time we return the favor." Corin said.

"Fine." With that I turned to finish preparing.

We got out of the castle minutes later and went to the horse stalls. Cars are not used in our world. We prefer horses. I walked through the dozens of horses and picked one. He was a beautiful black clydsdale. On his saddle was the name Nightmare. How appropriate for a horse like this. I saddled the giant horse and jumped on, starting the ride to the desolate cemetery.

We rode in silence the entire trip there. When we arrived, we tied our horses to a fence outside and walked in. We walked deep into the cemetery finally coming upon my family tomb. I walked up to the giant stone building and took out one of my swords. "Sabene, will you come in with me while Corin stays out here and keeps watch?" She nodded and followed me in. Little sun trickled into the dusty old cellar. I looked around and saw a silver bracelet on top of my mother's coffin. I ran over and picked it up. I looked on the inside of it, and there, in tiny lettering, was Makaela.

I sighed and held it tight. "Stela! Look out!" Sabene yelled. I whipped around and lashed out with my sword. I hit nothing but cement. I heard Corin coming down the stairs into the cellar. A black shadow appeared in front of me. It had red eyes and no real shape. Then it disappeared.

I ran to Corin and Sabene. "It's a shadower." I said. "We need light. Light is the only thing it fears." Before either could respond, the shadower grabbed Sabene. She screamed as it took her further into the shadows. Corin and I could only hear muffled cries.

"Stelaluna! Do something!" Corin yelled, terrified.

I slowed everything down with my mind and thought about the sun. Pretty soon I started sweating as I grew warmer and warmer. Soon, I could not take the intense heat and let it out. My body erupted in to flames and illuminated the entire tomb. The shadower let go of Sabene and flitted away into a small crevice in the wall.

"Oh God." Corin said running over to Sabene. Where the shadower had grabbed her arms, there were gaping cuts that were bleeding. I was still on fire and couldn't move. I was concentrating really hard to make the power go away but it over whelmed me. I walked towards Corin and Sabene. I held out my hand ready to burn them, but Corin turned around and pulled water from the ground underneath us and used it to put out the fire that had consumed me. I gasped and fell to the ground.

"I'm… sorry…" I groaned.

"Just get over here and heal her injuries." Corin said.

I crawled over and pushed what was left of my power into Sabene to heal her. The cuts started to fade away and soon they were completely gone.

I sighed and sunk the rest of the way to the dirt floor. I blinked a few times then closed my eyes.

"Never let me go into any unlit area without a torch again." Sabene said.

Corin laughed and I chuckled, because in my weakened state, that was all I could manage.

We all helped each other up of the ground and wobbled to the surface. We walked out to our horses and hauled ourselves up onto the saddles. "Ugh! My entire body hurts!" I groaned.

"Tell me about it…" Sabene cried.

"Big babies." Corin grumbled.

"I could make you hurt…" I said under my breath. Sabene, who was in between Corin and I, laughed and tried to disguise it as a cough.

"What?" Corin asked us.

"Oh, nothing." I said breezily.

We all started laughing. Our laughter faded and we fell silent. My mind turned towards the grim. "Well, that whole cemetery thing was suppose to kill us, so I guess we're not going to have any help from Stephen."

"Stelaluna, do you… do you…" Sabene stumbled over her words. "Do… you um… you still have…"

"Oh, for heaven's sake!" Corin yelled. "Are you still in love with him?"

The question caught me off guard. "I… I'm… No…No…" I sighed. "Yes… I am." I looked down ashamed.

"I thought so." Corin said.

"It's not my fault! I will always love him. Every part of him." My moods switched. "But if he touches Makaela… I'll kill him. I swear."

We rode for a little while longer not saying anything. "I am here for not even 24 hours and I already am out trying to save the lives of others." I shook my head. "Nothing ever changes here."

"Oh yes, because we can't live without our savior Stelaluna." Corin said sarcastically.

Sabene put on a terrified face. "Help! Help! Someone help!" She yelled mockingly. "Here comes Stelaluna! She'll save us!" Her face switched into a cocky smile. "And this is you. 'Don't worry citizens, I'll save you.'" She looked at me. "We have all done our fair share fighting off shadowers, night feeders, rabid bears-"

I cut her off. "You've fought a rabid bear?" I snorted. "I guess things have changed."

"Yes, I have fought a rabid bear." She said almost smug. "Ask Corin. He was there."

"Don't put me in this one, lady's. Your dispute, not mine." He said.

"Did he have to save you from getting mauled, Sabene?" I asked playfully.

"No! I fought him myself. I had to stab him multiple times before he fell."

"I just can't imagine little you fighting a bear," I laughed. She huffed and stopped talking. "Well, I guess we will stop here for tonight."

"Here? We are in the middle of nowhere." Sabene cried.

"Afraid a rabid squirrel will come out and get you?" I said putting my hands up like claws. She huffed again and jumped of her horse. "And besides, I can use magic to conjure up a tent of rock for us." I jumped of my horse and grabbed his reins. I walked under a large tree and grounded myself. Four rock walls grew up out of the ground. It was a stable so each wall was four feet high. We unsaddled the horses. I left a door so we could put them in, and then closed it. I turned and did the same thing with higher walls. I looked at the tree and made it grow thicker branches to cover the top of our tent like a ceiling. I walked in with the others.

"We can't leave that door open, animals will come in." Corin said.

"I'm on it." With that, I made the branches grow even more so they slid down like snakes and covered the door completely. "There you go." I said proud of myself.

"It amazes me every time you do something like this." Sabene said, staring at the make shift house in awe.

I laughed. "Yah, we all know what happens if I use just a little too much." I went to one of the corners and sat facing out. I took off all my weapons and placed them beside me. I took the letter from Stephen out of my pocket and held it again. I was sucked into his mind again.

"I knew you would survive." He said.

"I'm just like that," I replied. "You keep trying to kill me, but, rats!" I put on a fake mad face. "I just keep surviving; shame on me."

"The shadowers are hard to get into a certain place. You have to catch them, and shine light on them every so often so they will stay small and terrified." He walked towards me. I just stayed where I was. He was only a few inches away from me. "You still love me, don't you?" He whispered. I stiffened. He cupped my face in both his hands. "Oh, you do… I love you too." I looked up into his eyes and saw a trace of his old self looking at me. They seemed to plead for something.

Then the darkness took over again. His eyes turned hard and cold. "Come with me," He said. "Come with me so we can be together. We could have everything. We could rule the world." I broke away from him.

"Never," I said fiercely.

His expression grew angry. "Fine." He put on a threatening smile. "I will just have to kill Makaela." I gasped.

He was about to leave when I yelled out, "No!" He turned. "No…" I said defeated. "If I…" I stuttered still looking at the ground. "If I…" I sighed and composed myself. I looked up to his eyes. "If I was to say yes," He started to come closer to me again. "Would you let her and Juliette go? And never harm them?"

He immediately answered, "Yes." He walked quickly towards me. "Just come to me."

"Where are you?"

"In the old house we used to go to. By the purple waterfall." His cold eyes lit up.

"I will be there in the morning" I said.

I faded out and ended up back in the house I made. I looked around and saw that Corin and Sabene were sleeping next to each other in the opposite corner of me. I sighed, sprawled out, and fell in to a restless sleep.

The next morning, I woke up feeling horrible. I looked around and saw Sabene starting to wake up and Corin with his arms wrapped around her already awake. "Good morning," I said in between yawns. "Ready to go?" They nodded and stood up. We put all of our weapons on and I lowered the walls.

"Well, crap." Sabene said as she stared at the 30 men who surrounded us. I looked at Sabene and Corin and gave a small nod. I flipped around and jumped into the tree. I sat on top of a sturdy branch and took out the bow and arrows. I shot about 10 soldiers before one got up the tree and knocked me down. I landed face first in front of Corin. He helped me up and all three of us lined up with our backs to the tree, facing our opponents. Sabena and Corin had each taken out 5 so there were only 10 to go. I was about to take out both my swords when something hit us in the back of our heads. We fell forward and hit the ground. The soldiers took the opportunity and took out weapons and tied our hands together. I looked around and saw that the branch was what had hit us. They put us on our horses and tied the reins to their own hoses. We were on our way to Stephens no doubt.

"Taken out by a branch. How pathetic," I scoffed. We were only a mile away now and we were riding fast. I didn't know what I was going to do when we got there.

When we arrived, I stared at the exquisite waterfall that reflected the amethyst that was under the water. I looked up at the house and in to one of the open windows. There Stephen was staring down at me with a sly smile on his face. It cleared up when I nodded at him. He nodded back. I turned away and looked down at the soft mane of Nightmare. A tear slipped out and on to his mane. I blinked and my tears dried up. The soldiers stopped and pulled us of our horses and up to the house. They brought us inside. I looked around and didn't see Makaela; the only person in the room was Stephen. Stephen told the soldiers to sit Corin and Sabene in the corner and guard them. Then he walked toward me.

He grabbed my hair on the back of my head and pulled me into a rough kiss. I tried to pull away and couldn't. I lifted my tied hands up and hit him on the side of the head. He stepped back from the force of the hit. He touched his lip and pulled his fingers back that were marked with blood. He came toward me and smacked me. I stood my ground with the only thing moving was my head from the hit.

"You hit like a girl." I muttered. He ignored me and skipped to business.

"You have something you want to give me?" He asked.

"A deal is a deal. You let Corin, Sabene, and Makaela go. And you leave Juliette and Makaela alone." I said.

"Stelaluna! What are you doing!" Sabene screamed.

"Stela, don't. You know what's at stake here." Corin said.

I ignored them both and went on with the conversation.

"That wasn't the deal, Stela. Only Makaela."

"No. Let them all go. You'll have me. Let them go."

He debated with himself. "Alright." He looked at his soldiers, "Go get her." They disappeared into the room over and came back with a tied up Makaela.

"Alyssa!" She yelled.

"I love you Makaela. Tell your sister that too." She looked at me confused. I turned toward Corin and Sabene. "Take care of them. Teach them." They nodded.

Stephen came around behind me and took the crystal out of my hair. I fell to my knees. Having no control was agonizing. It felt like I couldn't breathe without my powers. "Stand up." Stephen ordered. I tried to resist but had to do what I was told. I stood up and walked to stand next to Stephen. He cut my ropes and let my hands free.

"Fight back, Stelaluna!" Makaela pleaded.

"She can't, honey." Sabene answered softly.

"But she has to! She has to come back with us!" Makaela burst into tears. All I could do was stand there and cry on the inside. The soldiers led them outside and I heard the hooves of the horses fade away as they rode off.