Chapter 9

"The pattern we're following ends up ahead Arête, what do we do now?" Mystic asked, looking around as they entered a large clearing in the middle of the forest. The sky over head was a solid yellow, and in the shape of a large star.

"I don't know, but it has to be around here somewhere." Arête said as shots zipped through the air.

"Everyone take cover." Matt said as the group split up.

"Scat! Andrea, your aim is awful." Reuben said putting his laser in his holster that was tied around his waist and under his cape.

"Oh please, you were firing too. I thought you were the expert marks rabbit here?" Andrea shot her comment back at him keeping her blaster out.

"Well let's go find them. Also I only took one shot as they were running, you're point is invalid." Reuben said sticking his tongue out at her before going in the direction Matt and Mystic had went.

"Whose there?" Mystic said looking around alerted by the sound of a broken tree limb.

"Mystic relax, it's me Matt. Looks like we ran the same direction? Not too good at splitting up huh?" Matt said joking a little to break the tension.

"Yeah, where's Coroni and Arête?" Mystic asked.

"They probably ran the other way, c'mon if we keep looking, we will find them or, well let's hope we get to the bottom of this I guess huh?" Matt said walking forward head still turned to Mystic before suddenly disappearing.

"Matt? Where'd you go?" Mystic asked looking around before disappearing as well. But now the disappearing was clearly due to a rather large hole in the ground which led into a very much lighted tunnel. The source of the light unknown.

"Matt are you okay?" Mystic asked cracking her back as she stood up glancing around.

"I'm okay, at least we found a key piece to the puzzle of where Reuben is heading. With the weird pattern in the sky, and this lighted tunnel, I can only deduce we are on the right track." Matt said walking forward into the dirt tunnel as behind them was simply a dead end.

"Let's hope your right." Mystic said following him closely as her eyes wondered the tunnel in front of them. There were no lights lining the walls this time, just a light that emanated from somewhere far in the tunnel. A dark presence could be felt oddly enough, and as they got closer to what was probably the source of the bright light, the presence only seemed to get stronger.

Finally after another few minutes of walking, they reached what seemed to be the jackpot. In front of them was an open room, and in the middle of it was an old wooden shrine. At every angle there were beams of light shooting out.

"Okay it looks like we beat Reuben and Andrea here, what do we do now?" Mystic said looking around.

"I guess we wait in case they do show up?" Matt said taking a seat. Mystic shrugged and sat next to him.

"We'll need a plan if they do show up though, we are unarmed." Mystic said as Matt put his thinking face on, scrunching his face oddly as he did. Then turning his head to Mystic, he smiled.

"I have an idea." Was all he said leaning over and whispering it in her ear. Mystic listened and nodded.

"That's so crazy it just might work." She said getting back on her feet as her and Matt scattered. With a plan in mind, they were more confident that they would be able to handle what was probably about to happen.

Meanwhile back in the forest, Arête and Coroni were starting to pace around. They had gotten themselves lost and were unaware of the tunnels just below their feet.

"How on earth do we figure out where we're going now?" Coroni said throwing his paws in the air in frustration. Arête rolled her eyes at the rabbit and looked around. The sky above them was solid yellow here. That had to mean something, areas farther away got splotchy.

"We have to be in the right area, the yellow is really concentrated in this area." Arête said walking ahead before Reuben's very agitated voice could be heard in the background.

"Andrea? Where did you… Scat!" Reuben's voice sounded as if he had fallen into a tunnel as it seemed to fade out as he was talking.

"We need to figure out where Reuben fell into that hole. The key to this mystery is right beneath our paws!" Coroni said dashing ahead.

"Uhhh, I think the voice was coming from behind us Coroni." Arête said making Coroni skid to a halt and walk back to her.

"I knew that, I was simply testing you." Coroni said once again dashing ahead, Arête following close behind.

Meanwhile, back in the tunnels, Reuben and Andrea appeared in a section of pathway that overlooked the old wooden shrine that was still giving off beams of light in every direction.

"Look, we even beat the others here Reuben, this will be easy." Andrea said looking around as they got to the shrine looking around. Reuben glanced around doubting Andrea's observation.

"I don't think we're really alone, you twat. Who knows what or who is down here?" Reuben said starting to draw his laser from his holster.

"Who dares to disturb my slumber!?" A loud echoing voice shot through the room then. Reuben glanced around then. With the voice echoing as it was, it was hard to pinpoint exactly where the voice was coming from.

"Who is speaking?" Reuben said.

"It is I, the Ancient Bird of Light, speaking to you plebs from the Shrine" The voice said sending shivers down Andrea's Spine. Reuben just stood there firm and unflinching.

"I am here to free you from your prison." Reuben said as suddenly a beam of light shown down on him.

"A scat for brains like you is going to free me from my prison. I highly doubt it. You probably don't even know how to."

"Actually, I do. I have my sacrifice right here." Reuben said smirking looking up at Andrea.

"Wait what? Me a sacrifice?" Andrea said backing away from Reuben slowly with her hands in the air.

"All you are is a useless pawn to me. And now that I will have what I want, you're finished Andrea. I have no use for you." Reuben said shooting at her hitting her square in the chest. Andrea dropped immediately.

It was at that moment that Matt stopped the magic he was using to amplify and change his voice in shock.

"Oh no this is bad." Matt said as Reuben perked up his ears hearing him.

"Oh so it was you, I figured as much. You know you can't fool a genius right?" Reuben said laughing as a beam shot from the middle of the shrine engulfing Andrea's body. Mystic looked from where she was using a small mirror to redirect the light on Reuben and looked over at Matt.

"What do we do now?" She asked him as Andrea's body disappeared into the center of the shrine. Suddenly all the lights that were shooting out of the shrine shot upwards shaking the whole place.

Coroni and Arête at this point made it to the path leading out of the tunnels, both stood there in shock.

"We're too late." Arête said as Coroni ran down the pathway, Arête looked at him as if he was nuts.

"There's nothing we can do now Mystic, we need to go and regroup." Matt said running over to her from where he was standing. Coroni by this time had made it over to Andrea's fallen laser and he picked it up.

"Come on guys lets go before that bird wakes up." Coroni said pointing to the path out. Arête was still up there waiting for them.

As they run out of the room, the light finally seemed to take shape, the immense amount of light finally disappeared revealing a large sleek looking bird, with primarily yellow feathers, and the wing tips were orange as was the tip of his long tail. His talons were huge and menacing. He opened his large red eyes and wings and took a deep breath.

"Aww yes, it has been a long time since I've seen the light of day, who decided to awaken me from my slumber.

"Well for one thing it is still night, so you won't see the light of day for a few hours, secondly, I woke you. I was hoping we could join forces to conquer this tiny pathetic island." Reuben said.

"I have only heard you speak once and you already annoy me you small twat. But I see as you brought me here, I owe you something don't I? Fine, we will work together, tell me all you know of this day and age." The Ancient Bird of light said letting Reuben climb on his back before crashing through the top of the tunnels and flying off into the night.

Meanwhile, Mystic, Matt, Coroni and Arête had finally made it out of the tunnels as the Bird and Reuben flew off.

"So we need a new plan. Any ideas?" Matt said.

"Now we have to find the new island guardian, it's the only way to completely seal the bird away again." Arête said.

"Easier said than done, those two aren't going to be easy to stop." Coroni said as they took a seat.

"Well we'll have to figure something out I'm sure that there's a way to find out who the guardian is. But it's really sad what's happening." Matt said.

"Yeah on an Island Dreams are supposed to be made of like this one, you would never expect so much heartbreak. Reuben just killed Andrea, in cold blood like it was nothing. Not that she was on our side, but even she deserved some dignity." Mystic said as Matt put a hand on her shoulder.

"I just hope we can figure this out before its too late." Matt said as the group looked to the sky, now the sun was starting to rise. Signaling the start of a new era, an era that looked like it would only bring pain and suffering.