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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8. Revealed

          A light drizzle was falling the next day, as the group of teenagers, now consisting of only eight, gathered around a hole in the ground. The sleek brown coffin was carefully lowered down, down, into the ground where it would forever remain. Each one said some quiet words about Max, their friend, ally, and family. After the service was over, each one wandered back to their rooms, to mourn the loss of their friend. All except for three of the girls.

          "We need to do something," Lily told Amber and Serena decisively.  

          "Like what?" Serena asked, uninterested.

          "I have the perfect idea!" Amber said pulling Lily and Serena into a huddle. "I saw Jay and Ash kissing, so what if we-"

          "They what?" Serena interjected, now very much interested.  

         "They were kissing in Jay's room," Amber said absently, "Anyway, what if we told everyone, and then set Jay and Ash up, or played a prank on them of some kind."

          "Yes!" Serena said, getting exited. "And we could ask Max because everyone knows he's the prank master! This is going to be great... What?" Serena asked confused as Amber and Lily stared at her. "Oh," she answered quietly, "Max…i-is gone." Amber patted her shoulder solemnly as tears streamed down the Mermaid's face. Once, she was okay, Lily began to talk about the prank they were going to throw.

           "Well, I'm thinking along the lines of, impersonating letters from each of them, luring them out into a perilous situation, then completely humiliating them in front of the others." Lily said, her green eyes wide in anticipation.

          "You know, we underestimate you, WAY too much." Amber cast Lily a sidelong glance.

         "I know," Lily smirked. "Come on now people! This prank isn't going to plan itself!"

~

          "This is going to be so good!" Amber said gleefully, signing the fake letter with a flourish. Little flames had begun to appear all over her body, signaling her excitement.

          "Don't you think that's a bit over the top, Amber?" Lily asked uncertainly, leaning over the fire girl who was adding a little heart after Jay's name. They were all in Amber's room, though she had turned down the heat for the sake of her mermaid friend.

          "Nah, they're in love, remember? They'll think it's weird if we don't add in the little stuff."

          "Amber's right," Serena agreed. "Can you read it aloud for us?"

          "Sure. Ready?"

          The other two girls nodded eagerly.

          "Okay," Amber said, plopping on her bed. The other girls did the same. "Here it goes: 'Dear Ash: Meet me behind the sparring arena at 4 o'clock today. I have something I want to tell you. I don't think any of the others will understand. Please be there, Jay.'"

          "That's pretty good. But do you think he'll fall for the 'no one else with understand' part? I mean, he does know that we are practically sisters."

          "She's got a point," Serena said.

          Amber's normally hazel eyes now had flickers of flame in them, and the room temperature had noticeably heightened. "ARE YOU SERIOUS? THAT IS THE TENTH ONE! THERE'S NO WAY I AM WRITING ANOTHER STUPID LOVE LETTER!!!"

          "Okay, okay," Lily tried to calm the fiery girl.

          "Ugh, Amber, turn down the temp, will ya?" Serena said lazily. She turned onto her back and started to fan her face.

          "Sorry, I'm just kinda done with writing. We've been in here the whole morning. Somebody might start to get suspicious. Maybe we should - "

          Suddenly, a knock sounded at the door. There was a moment of utter shock, then Amber desperately waved Lily and Serena under her bed. Smoothing her hair, she crossed her bedroom to her door.

          "Who is it?" she asked to the closed door.

          "Nick," a breathless voice called from the other side.

          "Oh, one sec." Amber quickly opened the door slightly and poked her head into the hall.

          "Oh, uh, hi," Nick stood in the doorway, his hands awkwardly placed in his jean's pockets.

          "What can I do for you?" Amber asked impatiently.

          "Uh, I was just wondering if you had seen Lily. I've checked every logical place for her to be and haven't come across her. Do you know where she is?"

          Amber pulled her head back into her room and looked over her shoulder at Lily and Serena, who were obviously visible from their miserable hiding place.

          "Uh, nope, can't say I have," she replied.

          "Oh, okay," Nick said in disappointment. "Well, if you do, be sure to let me - "

          "Ya, ya. See ya later." Amber cut him off, slamming the door in his face. She leaned against the back of it, relieved.

          "Oh my gosh!" Serena shrieked, scrambling out from under the bed. 

          "That was too close!" Lily said nervously.

          "Calm down, I had everything under control," Amber said confidently, although the beads of sweat on her brow told a different story.

          "Well, Serena, do you have both the letters?" Lily asked.

          "Right here!" the water girl said, holding up the false invitations.

          "And Lily, you have the prank arranged at the arena?" Amber checked.

          Lily nodded.

          "Kay, I think it's just about humiliation time!" Amber said gleefully, ushering the girls out of her room to deliver the letters.

          ~

          A few minutes later, Serena, Amber, Lily, Luke, Nick, and Matt all stood in the living room.

          "Okay," Serena said as the girls came to where the boys were standing impatiently.

          "So, as you know, we all asked you to meet here for a reason." Amber started.

          Lily picked up, "We had this great plan. So, since we have all been pretty bummed out, we three girls decided to lighten the mood by - "

          Lily's soft words were violently cut off when they heard screaming coming from the meeting place. Shocked into action, the six ran as fast as they could to the sparing arena.

~

          Ash and Jay met at the place the letters had specified. 

          "Hey, I got your letter." Ash breathed.

          "Wait, I didn't write a letter." Jay said, confused, holding up the latter she had received from Ash.

          "Neither did I..." Ash narrowed his eyes. A twig snapped, and the two spun to face where the noise had come from. The people rammed into Jay and Ash with crushing force. Jay fell to the ground, only to be kicked in the stomach by... herself? She gasped for air, and rolled over to see that there were two of Ash, both already fighting with their two sets of katana.

          Jay gritted her teeth and stood up to face the impostor. "Who are you?" She asked her duplicate.

          "Why, I'm you. Well, the better you." She said in return, drawing her sword. Jay mimicked her action, and drew her own sword. The two girls sparred, strike after strike, parry after parry. It went on until the clone landed a solid kick to Jay's sword hand. Her silver blade clattered to the ground.

          "Told ya I was the better you." She said, swinging her sword blade at Jay. Jay did the only thing left to do: use her powers. She used the winds to slow the strike, but knew it wasn't enough. Raising her arm in defense, the blade sunk into her flesh. She screamed in agony, and felt the warm blood drip down her arm. Fake Jay then delivered a solid kick to Jay's head, making her see stars. Jay fell to the ground.

          "Ash! Help me!" Jay called desperately, her voice breaking.

          An Ash roared in rage, and plunged his knife hilt-deep into the other, causing him to fall face-first into the dirt.  The survivor, presumably the real one, managed to dash over. One of the Jay's got on top and pulled out a knife. Ash shoved her off and kicked her to the ground. His left arm was bloody and hung limply at his side. The Jay threw the knife that she was holding at the one she was on top of moments before. Ash dove in front of the deadly spinning blade in an attempt to intercept it and take the brunt of the impact. The silver arc nailed him on the side of the face, slicing open the soft skin. Blood splattered everywhere.

          Jay screamed, "No Ash!"

          Ash tried to get up, but the other Jay kicked him down again.

          Jay got off the ground and rushed towards the knife that was doused in the blood of her boyfriend. She scooped it up, and faced her other, spinning the hilt in her hand.

          She stepped forward and slashed rapidly at the foe. Clone-Jay dodged and dodged with seemingly endless agility. 

          The clone Jay chuckled. "Too easy." She then used the wind to carry her sword to her, a move that Jay would try later- if she survived.

          Gripping the sword yet again, evil Jay unexpectedly jabbed. The sword stuck right into Jay's thigh, slicing it open, and severing tendons. She howled in pain, gaining yet another serious injury. 

          "You know what?" Jay asked through gritted teeth. "I'm done." Using the last of her strength, Jay ran past her clone, scooped up her sword and transformed it into a spear. She threw it as hard as she could and sure enough, it met its mark: the clone's stomach.

          "Oh, my..." A voice said.

          Jay turned, a crazed look in her eyes.

          "Jay what happened to you?!?" Amber screamed, lifting her hand to her lips in shock.

          Jay then sprinted to the onlookers, and landed a well-placed kick at the throat of an unsuspecting Matt. He staggered backwards, clutching his neck. Serena ran to his aid.

          "What the heck was that?! I nearly died! On top of that, I have no idea if Ash survived. Thanks. The one person I actually love outside of the girls, and he may be..." Jay's eyes watered. "No." She said, the hurt obvious in her voice. Jay was on her way over to Ash who was equally as bloody, but she collapsed half way there, and didn't move. Her scarlet blood caked in the mud.

          Everyone stood there, not quite sure what to do. Amber looked miserably at Lily, who looked like she was about to cry.

          "What was that about a prank?" Luke asked quietly. He and Nick were standing together, Luke staring into the woods thoughtfully and Nick glancing from his feet to the clouds. Matt and Serena were a little ways from the group, and the other girls were standing above Jay and Ash.

          "Well, we were going to do a prank on Jay and Ash because Amber said that she saw them kissing in Jay's room, but then - but t-then - " Lily couldn't finish as she buried her face in Amber's sweater, unable to continue because of the overwhelming amount of grief inside of her.

          "You saw them - what?" Luke asked, this time his question directed at Amber. Nick stood dumbfounded next to the tall dark-haired boy.

          "I was walking by Jay's room a few days ago, and when I poked my head inside, I saw Jay and Ash kissing. So, after the whole, y'know, Max thing," as she said this, Amber glanced nervously over her shoulder to see if Serena was listening. Continuing, she explained, "So then we decided that it would brighten everyone's moods if we played a little practical joke, but those dummies- w-we didn't do that. I don't know what happened…"

          "So let me get this straight," Nick began.

          "There's not really that much to it," Lily said, recovered from her grief. "Blaze somehow found out about our prank and then created dummies that looked exactly like Jay and Ash. He made them fight each other and we couldn't tell who was the real one," She sighed heavily. "Let's get them back to the house."

          Lily had some deer carry the broken and bloody couple to the infirmary. 

          Amber sighed with exhaustion and grief. "Well, you're the closest thing to a doctor we have, so what's the verdict?" She asked Lily.

          "Well, Jay will definitely need stitches on her leg and arm. That's a nasty cut. Ash has a dislocated arm that will need to be set soon, and the gash actually punctured his cheek. That will take a while to heal." Lily said glumly before pulling out a needle and thread for the stitches.

          "I feel really bad. I mean, this is all our fault." Serena said.

          Jay muttered something inaudible as Lily made the first stitch. "We just have to hope they survive the night. Then, we can work on our plan for revenge." Amber said.

          "Revenge?" Lily questioned, turning from her post.

          "Blaze is behind this, I'm sure. And he. Will. Pay." Amber finished, a deadly look in her eyes.

 

 

 

 

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