© March 18, 2014 All Rights Reserved

17-year-old Ryder Frost finds out that he is an Empreston from his father, basically his job is to protect the world from the evil beings called Ranitons. Ranistons can impersonate a person or an innocent little animal, they threaten earth and without the Emprestons, humans wouldn't be living. On a mission one day Ryder mistakes a short and feisty girl for a Raniston, and later on she enrolls in his school. They encounter many Ranistons and on this fantasy adventure they encounter a huge threat to humanity that can not be fought. Or can it?


2. The Start

Chapter 2: The Start 

 A week passed by and a mission wasn't given to Ryder yet. Because of this he began thinking that it was because of the first mission that he took. He sighed as he continued his walk to school, a few seconds later Ryder felt a punch on his right arm. He sighed and said.
 "What do you want Joey?"
 "First off, my name isn't Joey."
 Ryder's eyes furrowed as he looked down to see the 5 foot tall Lacey Heart with a sort of pissed off look written on her face. 
 "Sorry Lace, I'm used to Joey punching me in the morning. So, what do you want?"
 "Oh, well..." 
 Lacey's words trailed off as she rubbed the back of her neck and looked up at the sky, still walking as she continued. 
 "I was wondering if you wanted to go with me on a mission tonight."
 Ryder stopped in his tracks as he continued to look down at her and said. 
 "Did I just hear you correctly?... You want an amateurs' help?..."
 Lacey rolled her eyes and sighed. 
 "Yeah, I don't have much of a choice to begin with."
 "I feel loved..." Ryder had said plainly, obviously being sarcastic. 
 Lacey smirked as she looked forward to where she was going and said. 
 "You're the only Empreston that I know right now, and this job is big. It's more of a four person job but I only know you. Well, I can only sense you."
 "Wait, you can sense me?" Ryder had questioned her last sentence as he looked at her awkwardly. 
 "Yeah, just like we can sometimes sense a Raniston us Emprestons can sense our own kind as well."
 Ryder sighed as he put his arms behind his head, stretching just a bit as he looked up at the almost clear blue sky and continued. 
 "Well, meet me at my house at 10. I live with my dad and he's the one who told me about all this Empreston stuff. I'll help you out."
 "Good. Oh and correction," 
 Lacey paused to crack her knuckles as they neared the front doors to the school and continued her sentence as she stopped and grabbed the handle of the door. 
 "I'm helping you out, you need the training."
 She smirked as she opened the door and walked through. Ryder just smiled and shook his head as he walked in with her. 

 Once the bell rang Ryder sat in his seat, he looked to his right where his perverted friend should've been, but the seat was empty. Ryder was confused, Joey never missed a Thursday; reason being is because Thursdays in gym the girls play volleyball and 'what better way to observe girls than when they are wearing spandex?', those were Joey's exact words. He told Ryder that every Thursday and every Thursday Ryder sat with his best friend on the bleachers as they watched the girls play. So Ryder found it kind of odd that he missed Thursday of all days. 
 'Maybe he got suspended for peeking at the girls while they were changing.' Ryder had thought as he went back to Wednesday when Joey had told him what he had done and how 'beautiful the sight was.' 
 Once Ryder figured that was what happened to his friend he cleared his mind and focused on the lesson for the day. 

 Eight long hours had passed by and Ryder was making his way out of the school building and was punched in the shoulder. 
 He had said, clenching his left shoulder as he looked up to see nobody, then he looked down to see a surprisingly cute Lacey. 
 "Oh, hey Lace."
 Lacey put a hand behind her head as she looked down a bit in embarrassment and said.
 "I uh... Kind of have to follow you home today..."
 Ryder furrowed his eyebrows a bit, wondering why she would say that, but then he quickly remembered that she needed his help with a mission.
 "Oh right, yeah that's fine it's not that long of a walk."
 Lacey looked up at him as she nodded her head, letting her arm fall down at her side. She almost smiled but she didn't as she began walking forward while speaking to him. 
 "Alright, well we need to get to your place before twilight and that's a few minutes from now."
 She stopped in her tracks remembering that she was following him and she said. 
 "Lead the way... Jerk face."
 Ryder looked at her with a dull look and he sighed as he looked down and then back up at her and said. 
 "Alright Lace, lets get goin'."
 He walked passed the five foot tall girl and led the way as he stuffed his hands in his pockets. 
 The walk home was incredibly long and awkward. Lacey walked behind him the whole time and they really didn't talk much, there was nothing to talk about really. The two pretty much despised each other, every now and then Lacey looked up at Ryder, trying to start a conversation but came up with nothing. But eventually she asked. 
 "So... Um, do you have any siblings?..."
 Ryder was shocked at first when she was trying to make conversation, but he then replied a few seconds later. 
 "Uh, yeah actually. I have a older brother. He's around his late 20's so he never comes around to visit my dad and I. What about you?"
 The two were passing by a huge water fountain, the water that came out of it was sparkling and the sunset reflected off of it, giving it a shimmer. Once Ryder had asked her the question she had stopped in front of it, and after a few steps Ryder realized there wasn't the sound of another pair of feet behind him. So eventually he turned around to see Lacey looking down, and in response to his question she said. 
 "I don't have a family..."
 Lacey's black-bluish hair covered her eyes, she was trembling and all Ryder wanted to do was comfort her. He began taking a few steps forward and he said in a strong and soothing voice. 
 But he was interrupted whenever she had quickly looked up and shoved him to the side, she pulled out a pocket knife from her right black combat boot and threw it. Ryder was confused at first as he looked at her, but once he turned around, he saw a dark figure that he had mistaken for his shadow. 
 Once Lacey threw the knife it had disappeared, she quickly picked up her pocket knife and stuffed it back in her pocket. She put her hand on her head and stopped, Ryder could tell something was wrong but before he could say anything she took his hand and said. 
 "We need to get moving!"
 He had responded clenching on to her hand as he began running.
 Ryder had a pretty good grip on her wrist as they ran together, but Ryder was a bit too fast for the short-legged Lacey. When he had noticed her struggling to keep up with him he sighed and picked her up, running with her in his arms bridal style. Lacey was taken by surprise as she looked up at him, but she didn't say anything. 
 Ryder made it to the door in a hurry, hastily opening the door they both collapsed on to the ground panting heavily. Ryder's dad was coming down the stairs that was in front of the door and when he saw the two all he said was. 
 And then he walked away. After a minute or two of processing what had just happened, Ryder's dad returned to them and said. 
 "Wait what happened?..."
 Ryder was still panting a bit since he had to carry Lacey, so she had regained her normal breathing and stood up and responded to his dad.
 "Ranistons; the shadow kind."
 Ryder's dad sighed and as he began walking away he said. 
 "Try and get Ryder up and meet me in the living room."
 Once he had left Lacey turned to Ryder and kicked his side gently and said. 
 "Hey, get up..."
 "How are you so heavy?... Your like 4 feet tall!"
 This made Lacey a little mad so she flipped him on his back while kicking him in the stomach at the same time. Ryder grunted in pain a little bit as he clenched his stomach.
 "I'll be in the living room with your dad." She had said it so plainly that it made her sound innocent, although she had already looked the part anyway.  
 Lacey had left and sat down on the couch across from Mr. Frost ( Ryder's dad. ) He had looked up at her, noticing that his son wasn't there with her and so he asked. 
 "Where's Ryder?"
 "Oh, he's still laying on the floor."
 Mr. Frost sighed as he got up and began making his way towards his son. 
 "Ryder..." He had said in that parent tone every parent had whenever their child was in trouble. 
 Ryder's eyes quickly shot open when he heard him and so he got up hastily and walked out into the living room running into his father as he said. 
 "Yes sir?"
 "We were waiting on you."
 "Oh sorry."
 Mr. Frost sat down in his original seat and Ryder sat down next to Lacey.
 "So, who's this?" Mr. Frost had asked as he gestured to the only girl in the room. 
 "Um, this is my friend Lacey Heart. She goes to my school now and she happens to be an Empreston, she needs my help on a mission today."
 "Ah... I see, so Miss Lacey you mentioned the shadow type of Ranistons right?"
 She quickly nodded her head and responded. 
 "Yes sir."
 "You know how to defeat them right?"
 "Of course I do, but he doesn't." Lacey motioned to Ryder and continued. 
 "He mistook the Raniston for his own shadow."
 Mr. Frost laughed a little bit and said. 
 "Oh, you have so much to learn boy. It's a good thing you have Miss Lacey here for you."
 Lacey looked at him and she had a somewhat devious and fake smile, and then she asked him. 
 "Do you need me to explain to you how to take down a shadow type Raniston?"
 Although Ryder didn't wanna admit that he actually needed her help he said it anyway. 
 "Yes... I need you to explain."
 "Alright, so it's pretty simple. You know how heat waves are visual during the summer or when it's really hot right?"
 "Well, shadow type, or what I like to call S-Type Ranistons are just like a heat wave. If you pay close attention you can find them easily and take them down with lightning or snow, or even something as simple as a pocket knife."
 "Oh... Well how come I could see it as a shadow?"
 Lacey continued to explain.
 "Well S-Type Ranistons sometimes show themselves, but this is only to tease you. Sometimes they can't detect an Empreston so they give themselves away. That's why I saw it and it didn't do anything..."
 She furrowed her eyebrows and tilted her head a bit and then asked. 
 "So, did that make any sense?"
 Ryder looked up at the ceiling and he slowly nodded his head. 
 "Yeah, it makes sense. So was this suppose to be our mission for tonight?-"
 "Whoa whoa whoa,..." Mr. Frost had interrupted as he looked at his sun. 
 "A mission?"
 "Yeah," Ryder had began. 
 "Lacey asked me for her help today since it a more than one person mission. That's why I brought her here, not because of the Raniston."
 "Oh, well that's fine but let me know in advance. I still need to improve your knowledge of Ranistons and also your magic. Miss Lacey here can help me with that as well." 
 Lacey looked at Ryder and gave him a fake smile that showed her two dimples that only came whenever she was smiling; which is really rare unless it's fake.
 "Alright, you two better get going, I assume it's about time to head to your destination point?" Mr. Frost was asking Lacey specifically and she answered with a nod of her head. 
 "Well, lets get going Lace." 
 Ryder stood up, and Lacey followed his lead and she said. 
 "It was nice meeting you Mr. Frost I promise your son will be back in one piece."
 Mr. Frost laughed a little bit as he slicked back his brown hair that showed some grays, his blue eyes gleamed a bit as he laughed and said. 
 "Good. And if you need a place to stay after this Miss Lacey you are more than welcome to come here."
 Lacey paused before responding to his previous sentence, and then she smiled and said. 
 "That would be great!"
 The two made their way out the door and before they left Ryder said. 
 "Bye dad! I love you!"

  A few minutes later the two arrived at the designated area. It was a large field of beautiful daffodils. Ryder looked around suspiciously and then he turned to Lacey and said. 
 "Hey Lace, are you sure we're-?"
 She had quickly interrupted him by sticking her hand in his face, she slowly moved forward and reached for her pocket knife. She slowly pulled it out and then she threw it in the air and out of no where came a tiny blue-silver dragon. It dropped a silver leaf on to the pocket knife and then it changed into an enormous sword. The place where you hold it was black, and on the blade the design of leaves was engraved on to it. The moon reflected off of the blade and the tiny dragon perched itself on Lacey's shoulder. She smiled gently and scratched the back of it's ear and said. 
 "Hey Percy."
 It closed its eyes and rubbed its head against her face in response to Lacey, it looked as if it were smiling as well. 
 Ryder was amazed at what had happened and so he came up next to her and said. 
 "How'd you get him?"
 "Oh this little guy?..."
 She began scratching under it's chin and continued. 
 "He's a family pet us Heart's have always had, he's been passed down from generation to generation but I got him when I was just a little girl. Then a month later it was just me and him."
 Out of the corner of Lacey's eye she saw some movement in the field and immediately her left hand glowed a bright yellow. She was possessing lightning, and she quickly drew it on to her blade making the blade seem as if it were electrocuted. Percy gave out a tiny roar, and this caused Lacey to look even closer at the field of daffodils.
 Starting at the back, a wave of blackness shot down the daffodils, and they slowly died. Ryder turned around and the two were now back to back as the dead daffodils surrounded them.
 "Ryder, get ready."
 Ryder clenched his hands into right fists and snow emerged from his hands making them glow white. Everything was quiet, the wind wasn't blowing, the crows weren't crowing, and the daffodils were no longer giving off the happy aura. The earth seemed as if it were dead. Then Lacey looked to her left and her eyes quickly turned silver, and her hair somehow looked even more blue as she picked up her sword and split through the air. The shadow appeared and it slowly dissolved in defeat. 
 "Look for the heat waves Ryder!"
 Ryder was taken by surprise, 'that's the first time she's called me Ryder...' He had thought. He looked around and saw a huge heat wave, he quickly moved forward and punched the air in front of him. But when his fist impacted the air he could actually feel the figure of the shadow. He punched it a couple more times as if it were a punching bag and eventually he kicked it and it appeared and quickly dissolved.
 Lacey had already defeated a few more S-Types and then Percy roared cutely. Lacey heard him and she quickly turned around to see what he was roaring at, and behind Ryder she saw an S-Type that was even bigger than the one Ryder had just defeated. Her eyes widened and so she moved forward and quickly pushed Ryder out the way. The sword the S-Type was holding swung towards them in slow motion, Ryder was far away from it by the time Lacey blocked the attack with her sword. She shut her eyes tightly as the force from the attack sent her flying backwards across the ground of dead daffodils. Ryder's eyes widened when he saw Lacey lying in defeat with her sword in hand and Percy next to her, shaking her as if he were a human, trying to wake her up.
 Ryder was angered, and so he stomped on the ground and a rock formed from beneath him, sending him into the sky. He didn't know what was going on but he went along with it and his fist quickly collided with the S-Type with a sword. The S-Type split in half and dissolve before his eyes as he landed on the ground. 
 After that Ryder quickly ran to Lacey's side and said. 
 "Lace... Hey Lace, wake up."
 Slowly Lacey opened her eyes, revealing their change in color. Ryder furrowed his eyebrows as he looked at her, and before he could ask Lacey said. 
 "Us Heart's are different Ryder... The silver leaves, the dragon, the silver eyes..."
 She sighed as she slowly stood up and said. 
 "We're different."
 Her hair went back to it's jet black color and when she turned around, her eyes turned back to the normal dark brown. Ryder and Lacey looked at each other as Percy perched himself on her shoulder, and then Ryder asked. 
 "But, why are y'all different?..."
 Lacey shrugged her shoulders and responded. 
 "I don't know, I've been trying to figure that out for the past 11 years now."
 Lacey looked down and shook her head, and then she cleared her throat and spoke. 
 "Is it ok if I stay the night?"
 Ryder nodded his head faintly and said. 
 "Yeah sure."
 That night Ryder couldn't really get any sleep as Lacey slept in the guest room next door. He couldn't get any sleep because he was spending the whole night trying to figure out why the Heart family was so different from other Empreston families. Then he began thinking 'Maybe that's why her family died... So she could figure it out herself, because maybe they don't even know why they're so different.'
 It was a question Ryder wanted to help Lacey solve, but it was something that he had to solve in private. So after a successful mission, Ryder realizes that he no longer has to stay out of Lacey's way. 

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