The Secret of the Stone

In the sequel to "The Secret in the Woods", the four girls, Serena, Lily, Jay, and Amber, are back! But, will they have to courage to persevere when they're pushed to their limits physically, mentally, and emotionally? How will they get along when five mysterious boys arrive at the door of their safe haven? Traitors, heart break, deaths, and friendship.

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9. Embarking

          Amber walked down the hall, trying to wake up. Everyone had said they would rise early because today was their last day before they went to hunt down Blaze. Apparently their promise had been short lived. No one was in sight. When she had reached Lily's door, she knocked quietly. When there was no reply, she knocked a second time, this one much harder.

          "One second!" Lily's muffled voice called from inside. Amber stood there, adjusting her jeans while she waited. Finally, Lily opened the door.

          "Jeez, Lil!" Amber exclaimed upon seeing her friends disheveled hair and monkey pajamas.

          "What? It's early! I just got out of bed!"

          "I can see that. But hurry, I'm gonna go see if Serena's ready and then come back for you."

          "Kay," Lily said as she slipped back into her room the prepare for another day.

          Amber continued along the long hallway. Upon reaching Serena's room, she rapped on the blue door loudly in order to wake the mermaid up from the bottom of her pool.

          Surprisingly, Serena opened up the door, all ready to go. She had on her favorite blue beanie and jeans. Her top was a sweater similar to Amber's but dark turquoise instead of deep red.

          "Wow, Serena," Amber said, surprised again by her friend. Normally Lily was the early bird and the water girl usually slept in late.

          "What? It's getting late! C'mon we gotta get going! Remember, today is the big day!"

          How could I forget? Amber thought to herself as they walked back to Lily's room. Last night the teens had finally decided to avenge Max and go after Blaze the next day. Amber wan't quite sure what they were in for, but she knew that Blaze would certainly prove to be a very difficult opponent. Nothing a little fire can't handle, she hoped.

~

          Eventually, all the teens had assembled in the living room, which had now become their meeting place. Lily carefully set out bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. Jay and Ash had been, for the most part, healed by Lily's amazing skill. She had spent hours concocting a perfect salve from special herbs and flowers to place on their wounds. In the morning, there was only a scar running along Ash's cheek, and a thick scar around Jay's leg. Although she still had a grudge against the others, she had agreed to cooperate.

          Now the recently healed couple sat next to each other on the couch, Ash's arm around Jay, who had fallen asleep again, pulling her close. A strange position for the feisty girl. Amber perched on the arm of the couch next to Jay, and Lily stood in front of the coffee table. On the floor, Serena leaned against the chair that Matt sat in. As for Luke, he stood suspiciously close to Amber. Nick stood a little ways off, watching Lily's every move with a stupid grin on his face.

          "So," Lily addressed the group. "Glad to have everyone up bright and early. Surprised everyone's awa-" Her mouth stopped moving when her sweeping eyes fell on Matt, who was asleep like a boulder, snoring softly. Her eyes then fell on Jay, who was also asleep, snoring almost as loud as Matt. There might not be hope for us, Lily thought jokingly.

          The nature girl forced herself to continue, despite the quite giggles coming from Amber and Serena's side of the room. "Well, as I was saying, I'm glad that most of us are up and ready. Everyone knows that today is the day we set forth on a perilous journey. I must warn you that some of us may not make it back alive. Maybe none of us. But we will stick together until the very end. Be selfless and forgiving. Humble and caring. Generous and - "

          Not for the first time, Serena cut Lily off before she could start another long heartfelt speech. "Lily?"

          "What, huh?" Lily broke out of her daze.

          "I think what Lily's trying to say is that when we go hunt down Blaze, we are risking our lives. It will be very hard and will push us to our breaking point. But we will do it together," Jay interpreted, startling everyone. No one knew she had woken up.

~

          The group was gathered at the base of their tree house, about to embark on their journey. They had all changed into something more suitable for travel, and had their rations in small bags on their backs.  They were just waiting for Serena to grab her last few items.

          "Sorry, Jay, but I think that the best way to travel a long distance would be under ground."

          Jay shuddered, and her face resembled that of a trapped animal. "But-"

          "No buts, Jay." Ash said. "Lily and I will work together to make tunnels. It's faster."

          "But, no! NO! I won't go! I'd rathe die! I'd-" At that moment, Nick had appeared behind the girl and jabbed a needle into her forearm.

          "What! What was that!" Ash said, catching her so she wouldn't fall over.

          "Relax, it was only a little concoction. It will wear off, and if we're lucky, she will be more calm." Nick said reassuringly.

          Jay giggled and muttered something about the clouds looking like kittens. A glance up revealed that she had actually made them look exactly like the fluffy animal.

         "I don't know about you, but I like her like this. We should really consider drugging her food or something." Matt said, leaving the others quite unsure if he were kidding or not. Amber face-palmed.

          "Serena!" Hurry it up, or we'll die of old age!" Luke called earning an elbow in the ribs from Matt.

          Serena appeared in the doorway, stories above the ground, with a large suitcase the size of a refrigerator. "One sec!" She called down. At the base of the grand oak tree, a water spout shot up. Serena rode down on it like it was an elevator.  

          "Ready?" Lily asked Ash. The two concentrated, glaring at the ground. "Are you sure you can really make tunnels?"

          "Yeah. A few years back I taught myself how. I accidentally angered a spirit and he was trying to kill me. My only escape was through the ground. Apparently it had been an old tunnel that the slaves used to escape to Canada."

           Within a matter of minutes, the two had soon concocted a tunnel so expansive, you couldn't even see where it turned. Jay was sitting down on the edge of the group, playing with some acorns like a child.

          As Amber was making her way to fetch the drugged girl, Jay froze the ground beneath her feet, causing her to slip and fall. Jay started laughing, until Amber melted it all, flames flickering around her body.

          "Come on. Stand up!" The fiery girl commanded trying uselessly to pull her up.

          "NO!" Jay screamed.

          "Jay...." Amber growled, then looking to Ash for help. He smiled and shrugged.

          "Jay! I have a Red Bull for you if you come into the tunnel!" Lily called. At this, Jay happily stood up and wandered over, humming some song that sounded suspiciously like Pokémon.

          As the teenagers were about to plunge in, a storage voice called out to them. "WAIT!"

          Running out of the tree line was none other than Blaze himself.

          

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