The group went into their separate limousines and parted ways as they left the terrible place that caused everybody physical and mental pain. Ryder, Lacey, Jax, and Aria hopped into their limo, Jax's wound was now healed thanks to Percy and Lacey was still in her trance in which Ryder had found her.
Everything was silent in the limousine, terrifyingly silent. It was as if they were still dazed and confused after the initiation, as if, they couldn't believe it had actually happen. Ryder looked around with his hands in fists, his face showed he was tired, dirt was found all on his face and his arms from fighting. Then he turns his head to look over at Lacey and then speaks.
"Lace,... What about the other people that were at initiati-"
Lacey interrupted Ryder with a sad, but somehow strong voice.
She continued to look down as she pulled her knees close to her chest and buried her face into her knees.
"They're all dead..."
Ryder wanted to go over to Lacey, wrap his arms around her, and comfort her as she cried. But no tears came from her eyes; they were held back by the fear of showing that she wasn't strong. So instead of comforting her, he looked out the window and shook his head, clenching his hands even tighter after feeling how hurt Lacey must've been.
The limousine eventually made it to Ryder's house and as soon as they got there, Lacey quickly got out of the vehicle and started making her way towards the door. Ryder, Jax, and Aria eventually caught up with her and by the time they had reached the door so that Ryder could unlock it, Lacey was sniffling. Ryder, Jax, and Aria looked at her with a concerned look on their faces and then Ryder spoke.
"Lace, you need to talk to somebody about this."
"No I don't I'll be fine! I've gone my whole life without talking to anybody about my problems because I had nobody, just let me in the house."
"Please Ryder, let me in!"
Lacey looked up at Ryder, tears streaming down her face, and eventually Ryder unlocked the door and Lacey quickly opened the door and ran inside, disappearing into her room before they could even make it into the main hallway. Aria got out of Jax's pocket and spoke.
"What's wrong with Lacey?..."
Jax looked down at Aria as she floated in front of him and he spoke.
Jax looked at Ryder as he looked back, but then quickly walked away. Then Jax looked back at his sister and continued.
"We don't know."
Ryder went into the living room and saw his father sitting there on the couch and that's when Mr. Frost looked at his son and asked with a concern look on his face.
"What happened with Lacey? I saw her run to her room once y'all got here."
Ryder took a deep breath and all he did was shake his head as he sat down on a chase lounge nearby.
"I..." He took another deep breath, but this one was shaky but he still continued.
"I can't explain dad."
It had been four hours since Ryder, Lacey, Jax, and Aria made it back home and Lacey hadn't come out of her room yet. Ryder began to get worried and so he got up and walked to her room. Before he could knock on the door he heard sniffling on the other side, and he knew that she would be too stubborn to let him in so he just opened the door and walked in. Lacey sat on her bed with her knees pulled close to her chest as she covered her face, but once she noticed that Ryder had walked in she looked up with a tear stained face and said.
"I didn't want anybody seeing me like this..."
Ryder closed the door behind him and took a few steps forward and said.
"Yeah but, no one needs to cry alone. Especially someone who's been alone all their life."
Lacey shook her head as she looked up, her nose was a little bit red along with her cheeks from the excessive crying for four hours. She looked to her left at the white wall and that's when Ryder spoke again.
"You kept talking about the initiation like you had been there before."
Without looking away Lacey responded.
"That's because I have..."
Lacey then looked over at Ryder to see his reaction and then she continued.
"When I was little I went there with my family... Well, they weren't actually my family they were my sister's close friends. So I had considered them the only family I had in my life..."
She paused for a moment as she exhaled a shaky breath and then continued.
"I watched them all die right in front of me. They died trying to protect me and at first, I didn't really understand why but then on the very last trial, Sanders made me kill my own sister. I didn't want to, I was only 5 after all, but she told me to do it. And she also told me the same thing she told me earlier today, when I had to kill her again. She said 'you have to save the world, Lacey...' and now I understand what I have to save the world from. The reason why The Diaboliks invite all these Emprestons and test them is because they want to eliminate all the Emprestons so that when they take over humanity nobody will be there to save them, they're gonna make humans into their own slaves and eventually they'll take over the whole globe. But, I can't do this alone Ryder. I've been alone all my life, I've basically been homeless but I need you Ryder."
Ryder was a little bit surprised to hear those words coming from her, someone who was so independent and capable of taking care of herself along with other people. Then he asked.
"Why me though? I've only been an Empreston for a month."
Lacey shook her head and responded.
"You've been an Empreston your whole life, you hold a large amount of potential in your magical power and you're stronger than you think, Ryder. I believe in you and I need you to get me back to reality when I break down, I need you to be my back up. Promise me that you'll control me when I start to lose my mind. I know..." She started sniffling as tears began streaming down her face. Then she continued.
"I know I'm hard to handle but that's only because of everything I've been through. I don't know what it means to be loved or to love someone, I don't know what it's like to have true friends, I don't know what it's like to be truly happy... I don't know what it's like to be truly satisfied with my life, but I do know that I have to protect you and Jax, Aria, Luna, Saya, Terrance, Cyrus... I have to protect you all. I need you as my team to help me stop The Diaboliks, but I can't do it without you helping me out."
By the time she had finished she was now sobbing and Ryder walked up to her and crouched down in front of her and spoke as he held her hands.
"I'll help you return to reality whenever you get lost. You have a reason to be hard to handle and I am going to do whatever it takes to help you. I'll show you what it feels like to be truly satisfied, I'll show you what it's like to have true friends, I'll show you what it's like to be truly happy, and I'll show you what it's like to be loved and what it's like to love someone. I will do all these things for you, and I will help you take down The Diaboliks. This is my promise to you, Lacey."
Although Lacey asked him to promise her one thing, he agreed to many more things to handle for her sake, and it was something that he didn't have to do. He deliberately chose to do it himself because, never in Ryder's life had he cared so much for a girl that he would promise her so many things that he may not be able to fulfill. But as they stared into each others eyes, all Lacey could see in his was the truth and that's when she broke down into a soft sob and she leaned forward to hug him as she clung onto the back of his shirt.
"T-Thank you,... Ryder." She had said with a quiet voice.
And as he heard those words, all Ryder could do was smile and hug her back, finally being able to comfort her.
"You're welcome, Lacey. Now, just let it all out. Let out all the years of heartache and pain right now, because I'm here for you."
Lacey continued to cry as she closed her eyes tightly and held on to him as if he was going to disappear.
"You're okay... You're okay..." Ryder had said in the softest voice possible.
As Lacey cried, the whole house remained silent as if it were to pay respect to Lacey. There was no sound except for the sound of Lacey's cries and the two heartbeats merging together as one.
After an hour of crying Lacey had finally calmed down, but even though her cries stopped she didn't let go of Ryder. Once Ryder had realized this he smiled just a bit, more like a smirk of approval, but then he spoke in a monotone voice.
"Do you want me to call up the others so we can have a meeting?"
When Lacey heard Ryder's voice she was sent back to reality, and it seemed as if Ryder started his job to help Lacey in every way possible sooner than she thought. She let go of Ryder and backed up to where her back hit her bed and then she responded.
"Yeah..." She cleared her throat and then she continued.
"yeah, I need to talk to them about what The Diaboliks are capable of, and stuff."
She took a deep breath and stood up, once she had stood up Ryder did the same as he began making her way towards the door.
"Alright, I'll call them up and you'll talk to them."
Lacey nodded her head.
Once Ryder had heard her call out his name he turned around with a furrowed brow and asked.
Lacey looked at Ryder with a sweet smile, one no one had ever seen before and then she said.
"Thank you, again..."
Ryder smiled back at her and replied.
"No problem, Lacey."
"You know, you don't have to call me Lacey now, it's kind of weird coming from you."
"Yeah, but it's a beautiful name. You do know what it means, don't you?"
Lacey shook her head and waited for him to continue.
"It means cheerful... So pretty much, you're a 'Cheerful Heart'."
Lacey laughed a bit and said with a smile as she shook her head.
"I don't think I can meet that expectation."
"I'll help you reach that potential. I believe that you have a cheerful heart... Your name says so anyway."
He smiled at her again and then left the room.
Once Ryder had left the room Lacey couldn't help but smile, then her heart was pounding and she felt as if her heart was in her throat now. She furrowed her eyebrows at the weird feeling and then she walked out of her own room and collapsed on to the chase lounge in the living room. She didn't notice that Jax, Aria, and Mr. Frost were already in the living room until Jax spoke.
"Lacey, are you okay?"
Lacey looked over at Jax and then saw Aria fly over towards Lacey and stand on her shoulder.
"Yeah," Aria had began.
"You seemed upset ever since we started initiation."
Lacey shot them a small smile and said.
"Yeah, I'm okay now."
"Good." Mr. Frost had said as he got up and walked to the kitchen.
"I began getting worried about you."
At least thirty minutes later the team showed up and they all had a meeting in the living room. Lacey stood in the center of the room and she looked around at the group and then at Ryder. It was as if she was hesitating to start her speech so Ryder nodded at her with a small smile and she nodded back as she continued.
"I'm sure some of y'all were wondering why I knew Sanders so well... That's because when I was 5-years-old I encountered Sanders in the same situation we went through today. But instead with you guys, I was with the people I had called family, and they were all killed by Sanders during trials."
Lacey took a deep breath as she closed her eyes and looked down, trying to continue with no tears. Then she looked up at everyone and continued.
"The only reason why Sanders invites so many Emprestons to what he calls Initiation is so that once he takes over humanity no one will be there to help them. Him, The Diaboliks, and the Ranistons will take over the world if we don't do something about it. To take down The Diaboliks means to take down the Ranistons as well. We're a good team and we proved that earlier today, if we work together we can ultimately take down Sanders once and for all. He's the one in control of this and we have to save humanity before they take over and wipe us all out. So, with that said, who's in?"
Lacey stuck her hand out in front of her and waited for everyone else to do the same. Ryder, of course, put his on top of Lacey's first, then Jax, then Aria, then Saya, then the rest. Lacey looked at Ryder and smiled and he looked back and did the same, Lacey looked around at everyone and said.
"Alright, this is gonna take a while to accomplish, but I believe we can do this together."
"Yeah!" Luna had said with excitement.
Everyone just looked at her and laughed just a bit.
This is when the real battle begins.