Ali twisted around and...stopped.
Hayley stared. "Jen?"
"Miss me, kid?" she asked.
"Yeah." Hayley hugged Jen. "How-"
"I don't know. I just appeared here."
Savanna pulled herself into the tree house painfully. "Whoa. Who-"
"An Azer!" Jen's sword shot out.
"It's okay! It's okay! It's a friend." Ali said, stepping between them.
Jen stared at Hayley. "You're friends with an Azer?"
"Not entirely." she replied.
Hayley's crystal glowed. "Monsters."
Except for Savanna, they all jumped the last few rungs and sprinted off.
When she made it, Ali, Hayley, and Jen had formed a triangle around a vector.
"Ready?" Ali called.
To Savanna's horror, Ali sprinted and
tangled herself in the vector's tentacles.
As Hayley charged, a blast took her in the side.
"Jen! What-" A tentacle curled around Ali's waist and throat.
"Sorry, guys, but I'm not here for pleasure, much less monster-killing."
Groaning, Hayley tried to push herself up, but the vector picked her up as well.
Savanna hid in the shadows.
Another vector appeared. Ali was thrown down, gasping for breath as it curled its tentacles around her.
Jen laughed and the three disappeared.
Savanna sprinted to the field. Ali's ring and Hayley's bracelet were there.
Grabbing them, she cast about for the teleport scar.
Ali's hands were bound tightly to the chair. She struggled as haunds weaved throughout the room. The haunds nipped at her ankles until an Azer came inside.
Ali glared at him.
He tightened the gag with a wave. "I hadn't expected your arrival. It would work nicely."
"You batad!" she growled.
He laughed and turned away.
A haund bit down on her ankle when she tried to stand.
Savanna appeared. "Holy shit." she cursed.
The haunds swarmed her, but they were vaporized with a wave.
"Ali." Savanna untied the gag and set to work on the ropes.
"Savanna." Ali rubbed her wrists. "Thanks. Do you have my..."
"Yeah." Savanna fumbled around in her pockets and came up with Ali's ring.
She put it on and gave Savanna a hug.
"Whoa. You okay?"
"I'm just glad one of my friends is still there for me." Ali said.
A scream pierced the air.
Savanna sprinted out the door.
Hayley was lain on the table, tied hand and foot.
Jen towered over her, tightening the restraints.
"Hayley, Hayley, Hayley...why won't you ever learn?"
"I trust people, unlike you."
"Oh, I trust people, I just don't turn my back on them."
"What did you do with Ali?" she growled.
"It's none of your concern. She befriended an Azer, remember?"
"I have no say in who she decides to ally herself with. I just know that YOU"RE working for the Azer. What'd they offer you, power?"
"They didn't offer me anything
at all, Hayley. I went to them."
"So they decided to pull you out to be their henchmen. How nice." Hayley growled.
"You got that wrong, too. I'm in charge of their strategies. Since I knew you would lead me to Ali, I left."
"Hm, yes. I need a Kothar crystal."
"That was your drakoon? You killed yourself."
"Yes, actually. Did I pull off a good show?"
"No. Why are you doing this? Why are you helping to annihilate your own kind?"
"Oh. You're wondering why?" Jen pulled out her chain. Multiple crystals hung from it. "Do you know how much power I have? Think about it. The Azer need two Azerath crystals to achieve full power. Look at me. I'm stronger than anything you've ever seen, and I need one more crystal. I need more energy. That's why you're here."
"You're going to turn me into a battery?"
"No. Just a source of energy."
"Wear me out, I'll die."
"I know." Jen said.
She flipped a switch.
Savanna burst into the room.
"Ah, the Azer." Jen laughed.
"Release her." Savanna said.
"Oh, if you insist." Jen turned it off and Hayley dropped to the floor. "Oh, right."
Jen's hand shot out.
A Haddon appeared.
Right as it lunged, Ali shoved Savanna aside and dove into the fray.
"Oh, Ali, how nice of you to join us!" Jen said.
A drakoon appeared.
"Hayley, say goodbye."
Savanna shoved Hayley aside when the drakoon spat.
"Savanna!" Ali said.
One of the heads took Ali in the shoulder as another bit her wrist, forcing her to drop her weapon.
"See that, Hayley? Second person I've killed with a drakoon. You're next."
"Second?" Hayley growled.
"Yes. The last one was nine years ago."
"You killed KARI?!"
Jen laughed. "Now she gets it. Oh, how nice. Free delivery." She took Ali's crystal from the Haddon.
Ali was down on her knee, the Haddon nudging her with a head.
It bit down on her arm and dragged her to Jen's side.
The Azer came inside, clapping. "Well done, Jen! You deserve the final kill."
"Yes. Bring me her sword." Jen hefted it. "Nice selection, Ali, now it's mine."
Right as Jen stabbed, Ali reached up and grabbed her sword. "Doesn't work that way." she stabbed it into the ground. "If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me."
There was a sudden flash of light.
When Hayley looked back, all that was left were Jen's crystals...and Ali's ring.
"Jen!" the Azer growled. He cast about the room.
All of a sudden, Savanna stood up and had him in a headlock, tearing his crystal off. "Where did they go?"
"I don't know! No one has ever achieved Aze's Demise!"
"Aze's Demise is when someone collects all the crystals."
"But she didn't-"
"All of the clan crystals."
"So? That doesn't mean Ali had to die!"
"In order for someone to take an Azerath's crystal, they have to have killed the Azerath."
"Ali knew that. When Jen...when Jen took Ali's sword, Ali stopped her. She did the only thing possible. She killed herself." Hayley broke down.
"If Jen killed her, then Jen would have insurmountable power. Ali killed herself, so Ali remains as the owner of the crystal."
"I don't know. I think Ali killed her."
Savanna twisted the Azer's head aside suddenly. She tore off his crystal.
"Is there any way we can revive Ali?"
"No." Hayley sighed.