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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17. Loss

          Lily had to think quickly. They were surrounded by crouching wolves, all feeling desperate and worn down. Suddenly, an idea dawned on her. The wolves weren't attacking yet, so this just might work. Quickly, she sensed that there was an opening not far away. She called out to the others to run forward, and she created an entire pride of lions out of the settling dirt. The fierce cats immediately set on attacking the wolves, giving the group time to make their escape. They all ran for their lives, not knowing how long the lions would be able to hold out against the fearsome wolves. They went through door after door in the underground maze, trying to find a path to Blaze's fortress.

          Finally, the teenagers trotted wearily through the last set of doors. They gaped as they entered a cavern larger than any they had seen before. There was no bottom of the pit, as far as they could tell, but a series of metal catwalks webbed over the expanse. On the far side of the cave there was a large platform. On that platform was a cage, that looked like it was made out of reinforced rubber.

          "Jay!" Ash screamed bursting forward across the chasm. Jay was chained to the back wall of the enclosure, hanging limply by her hands and feet, which were shacked to the cage. Luke caught up with him, and tackled his excited brother to the ground. They landed with a heavy thud. 

          "What the heck?!" Ash complained, shoving his brother away.

          "Are you even thinking?! This is obviously a trap!" Luke spat.

          Ash faltered. Jay lifted her head. It was covered in blood, not to mention the numerous cuts covering her body. She looked like she was trying to say something, but the words wouldn't come out of her mouth. Before she could make a noise, Blaze appeared from behind a curtain. He stood on a platform with three fake Jays surrounding him.

          "Leave now, and I may just let you live." Blaze said, the copycat Jays dancing around them.

          "Go!" Jay yelled, hanging from her shackles. "I'll be fine."

          "No." Ash muttered.

          "What was that, boy?" Blaze spat.

          "No!" Ash yelled. "We aren't leaving you!"

          Jay lifted her bloody and bruised head. Her eyes were full of tears. "Go, please!" She begged, the pain in her voice evident.

          "I'll fight." Lily said, determined, and put her hand out.

          Ash put his hand on top of hers. "For Jay."

          "For Jay." Luke added his hand to the stack, and before you knew it, everyone had their hand in the middle.

          "So be it. Well then, maybe this will change your mind. Nick!" Blaze called for his henchman.

          Walking swiftly, Nick approached the cage where Jay was kept, spear in hand.

          "Don't touch her!" Ash started sprinting to intercept Nick, only to trip on a stray stone. The dark boy fell to the ground with a thud.

          "NO!" Ash screamed as Nick hefted his spear, and drove it into the side of Jay, just below her ribcage. Her body shuddered, and the start of a scream escaped her clenched teeth. The winged girl's blood splattered onto the floor.

          "Go, go, go!" Amber called as she sprang into battle and engaged one of the three Jays.

          "Go to..." Jay spat her blood onto the floor of her cell. "hell..."

          "No," Ash whispered. "I can see her... leaving. Her soul is leaving! She's dying! Hurry!" He wailed. On the other side of the corridor, Jay's breaths became ragged and shallow. She hung limply against the shackles that held her arms and legs to the cement wall.

          Ash stood up, deathly calm, and started to leisurely approach the person who stabbed his girlfriend. Jay wasn't dead yet, but it was only a matter of time. Ash was furious. He was going to kill Nick. And, he was going to make him suffer eternal torment. Slowly, Ash unsheathed his katana, the bloodlust evident in his eyes.

          "You're mine, you –" Ash then proceeded to call Nick some very... colorful names.

          Something about Nick had changed. For one, he was taller. Nick was also more tan, and way more muscled than ever before. 

          Nick sneered. "While you were at that cute little play house, I was getting some real training." Nick pulled out a sword from a sheath at his side. The blade hissed when it was exposed to the oxygen.

          "What the heck? What is that?!" Ash asked, gazing at the peculiar blade.

          "It was cooled using an enhanced form of ricin, a deadly chemical. One scratch, and the skin'll melt right off."

          "Whatever. I don't have time for this!" Ash said, then charged.

          The two started relatively slow. Ash attempted a double-strike with his swords, but that was deflected. Nick made an underhand cut at Ash's stomach, which Ash easily blocked. The boys bounced on the balls of their feet, circling. Nick feigned towards Ash's leg, the dark boy sprang to the side.

          "This is a joke." Ash said, impatient. Tired of being played with, Ash simply ran his thin blade through Nick's stomach. "You never were a good fighter." Ash whispered into his betrayer's ear as he extracted the sword. The death elemental kicked the body to the side and sprinted to the cage where Jay was kept. Ash swiftly cut the chain on the lock, and swung open the door. Four slashes later, Ash held his dying love in his arms. Jay was more pale than she had ever been. However, she was still holding on. 

          "Ash..." She started weakly.

          "No. Just relax."

          "I'm not going to make it, am I?"

          A tear trailed down the corner of his eye. That was answer enough for Jay. As a final act, Jay weakly pulled Ash closer, and pressed her lips on his.

          "Goodbye." She whispered, exhaling her last breath. Her body went still, and her gray eyes clouded over. Ash's sobs echoed through the chamber. The others heard, and knew that their friend was gone.

          Ash wiped his eyes as a thought dawned on him. It wasn't too late to save Jay. He picked up his girlfriend's still body and ran towards the hallway where they entered the vast chamber. He had to keep her safe if his plan to save her would work. Setting the corpse down, Ash briefly returned to help his friends. Jay would be safe there, at least for now. The fake Jay's were all laying limply throughout the expanse. His family had Blaze surrounded, their hands aimed at him.

          "Glad you could make it." Luke said to his brother. Ash took his place in the ragged circle, and positioned his hand.

          "On three." Serena nodded to the others.

          "One." Amber counted.

          "Two." Lily added. 

          "Three." The rest of them said together. The fury of nature surrounded Blaze. All the elements combined, destroying the villain. With a last wail, the body of Blaze crumbled to dust. The teens slumped on the floor, exhausted. Suddenly, a ringing sound started, growing louder an louder.

          They covered their ears in an attempt to dampen the unbearable noise. Luke looked around to try to find the source of the sound. Aaron decided to help him out, and both boys traveled around the room, searching for the source of the ringing. 

          "Guys! Come quick!" Luke's voice echoed from the chamber.

 

 

 

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