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   Chapter 12 The Elusive One

The Ones Who were Chosen By Lady Lilium Characters: 31951

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:04


'Where's he taken them?' Lucas demanded.

'I don't know' Siren replied calmly.

'But he could hurt them.'

'No' Siren shook her head. 'He would never do that. He is trustworthy.'

'Not from what I saw' Lucas argued back, glancing at Ebony, remembering the way Indigo had dragged her against her will towards the portal.

She had been so close to it. Lucas feared for an instant that he would lose her forever.

'We can trust him' Siren repeated sternly. Clearly she was absolutely convinced of the words she spoke.

'We have to find him' Sian cut in.

'I think I know where he is' Crystal spoke up. All eyes turned to her.

'Where?' Lucas demanded.

'I can feel Indigo's magic hanging in the air, though it's fading fast.' Crystal took a deep breath as she tried to feel the spell around her. 'I do not have the magic to take us there, I am too weak. I've used too much of my power fleeing from my hunters.'

'I can take us there' Siren offered.

Crystal nodded, 'I can guide you. I have power enough for that at least.' She raised her arms. 'We must hold hands.'

She took Sian's and Siren's hand as they stood either side of her. Sian took Lucas', and Siren took Ebony's. Lucas lifted his hands towards Ebony for her to take. She hesitated for a moment, oblivious to Sian's cold hard stare boring into her.

'It's ok' Lucas whispered to her, quietly so that only she would hear.

A smile flickered within her, and she reached towards Lucas, taking his hand. Lucas could feel her palms were sweating, and her arm was shaking slightly as he held her.

She was afraid.

'Are we ready?' Siren asked the others, summoning the magic within her to transport them to that place.

Crystal took another deep breath, brow furrowed in concentration as she used what little magic she had left. She guided their path, as Siren summoned her magic to take them all away.

'I fear we are too late' Siren mumbled, as they stepped onto the tarmac of this new place they had arrived at.

Around them were many houses where many people slept, oblivious to anything that was out of the ordinary.

The five let go of each other, approaching with caution one of the houses, where Indigo, Reuben and Venom could be seen standing in the garden before the home.

Siren stopped just short of the pavement, reluctant to proceed further.

'Crystal, Ebony' she said to them. 'Stay behind me, I'll protect you.'

The two philosopher's stones obeyed quietly, sticking close to one another. Crystal lifted her arm around Ebony's shoulders, bowing her head at the tragic scene before her, with sadness in her heart.

Sian and Lucas moved forwards. Indigo lifted his head towards them as they approached the scene. He wiped the sweat from his brow as they stopped before him. Lucas glanced past him and towards Lauralie, who was crying and holding Diz in her arms as they sat on the steps before the home. Diz seemed to be in shock. His bright blue eyes were wide in fear.

'What's happened?' Lucas whispered.

Moments later, Lauralie and Diz were ushered away from the door. Sian lifted her hands, using the magic she had inherited from the aberrant Culture, who now slept forever. Great streams of fire she descended upon the house, engulfing the entire building and setting it ablaze. The fire swiftly took hold; soon it became a roaring inferno, consuming everything within.

'Come on' Indigo prompted, 'we'd better make ourselves scarce before others turn up to put out the flames.'

'It would be too late by then anyway' Sian sighed.

The light from the fire cast tall shadows of each of their profiles upon the ground.

'This place is tainted with an evil touch' Siren hissed.

'They died in the fire' Indigo told her. 'Nothing more.'

Crystal was saying a prayer before the house, head bowed, eyes closed and hands together.

Her breathe came out as fast inaudible mutterings. Sian lifted her hands a final time, the power of her magic grew, and the air around them became hotter as the fire blazed brightly. Reuben and Venom both lifting their hands to shield themselves as their skin began to burn in the heat, even from the distance they stood.

'Crystal' Indigo called to her.

She raised her head to his voice.

'Come away now.'

Crystal followed at his command, and the group moved away from the roaring inferno that had taken the building now firmly in its grasp.

'Where shall we go?' Ebony asked the others as they gathered on the road between the other houses.

'My brother' Sian realised in a raised voice. 'I left him, what must have been hours ago.' She glanced to Reuben. 'I grabbed the back of your shirt as you vanished into magic; after we watched Lauralie and the brothers' dance' she explained. 'I left Kyle behind; it feels like so long ago now. So much has happened since.'

Beside her Lauralie stood with her arm around Diz. Still he had not said a word.

'Is this our fate, for Crystal and me if we are caught?' Ebony voiced suddenly, glancing towards the house where the bodies of four innocent people lay to rest.

Indigo turned his back on the fire, facing Crystal and Ebony.

'It is' he said, giving a slow and steady nod. 'If we do not get you to safety soon.'

In the dark, sirens began to sound, alarming the world around them to this terrible disaster.

'Quickly' Indigo hastened, 'we must leave.'

'I want to go back to where we were before' Sian told him quickly. 'I need to find my brother.'

Indigo nodded. He and Siren joined hands, indicating the others to do the same.

The strange group disappeared from view, just as the fire engines were pulling up.

They found Kyle where he had been left. He had waited for his sister to return for hours, and when she finally did, he was less than impressed by her disappearance.

'Where the hell have you been?' he demanded of her.

'Oh Kyle I'm so sorry' Sian exclaimed. 'The most shocking thing has happened. I've changed.'

'Such things cannot be seen by none-magical folk' Indigo butted in unhelpfully from beside her. He was unheard by Kyle of course, and unseen. 'Nor can they be understood' Indigo went on. 'So save your breath.'

The group drifted away from Sian and Kyle as they began to argue.

The two philosopher's stones, Crystal and Ebony sat on a bench together with Siren. Indigo who remained standing, watched the others as they took seats on different benches in the area.

'You should not have gotten involved in all of this' Indigo snapped after a time.

Lucas glanced up at him from his seat beside his brother. 'What?'

Indigo cast his eyes over Lauralie and Diz, sitting together on their own. Lauralie was still holing Diz, who was silent as ever.

'The life of a guardian is filled with war and suffering' Indigo went on. 'You should have stayed and lived your normal life like everyone else around you.'

'Lived a normal life?' Lucas echoed.

'How can we live a normal life being what we are?' Reuben argued. 'How can we live as others do?'

'You should have stayed away from Ebony, from both the philosophers stones.'

'No' Lucas said rising, anger boiling within him. 'Even if I knew what she was, how could I abandon her to her fate?'

Indigo snarled, turning away from him and muttering. 'You should not have gotten involved.'

He walked away from them, coming to a stand on the edge of the pool of light created by the street lights above them. He stood with his back to them, visible only as a silhouette.

'You may be right' Siren spoke up, loud enough so that Indigo could hear her. 'But it does not change the fact that either way, it would not have stopped Lagoon from blocking the portals.'

Indigo only gave the slightest indication that he had heard. A slight tilt of the head. He didn't speak, but his shoulders were slumped, and he appeared to relax somewhat.

'I'm sorry' Siren said to Lucas. 'He gets carried away sometimes. Mother always said he was too emotional.'

'Can I ask you something?' Venom spoke up.

Siren nodded to him.

'What's Lagoon?'

'Not what' Siren replied to Venom. 'Who?'

'Who is he?'

'He is another guardian' Siren explained. 'He is the reason we've been working to tirelessly in tracking down the philosopher's stones. Though Crystal succeeded in eluding us, we followed her trail from town to city to forest and back to town again. For many months we searched.'

'How did you know about Crystal in the first place?' Reuben asked.

'It started only as a rumour' Siren replied vaguely. 'Soon Lagoon found out, and then the race began. A very slow winded, tedious and boring race. Who would find her first? We were only lucky.'

'So those people….' Reuben said, 'the ones that hurt Drake…'

'They work for Lagoon' Siren nodded.

'And what happened at the house?' Venom asked tentatively.

'Probably Lagoon's order' Siren replied. 'It's unlikely he did it himself, it's not really his character.'

'You know him?' Lucas said in surprise, straightening up.

'Know is not quite the right word' Siren said shaking her head. 'Let's just say he is notorious in our world for causing trouble. He has already found one philosophers stone. It has given him much power.'

'How?' Venom asked slowly.

'It was his turn back then to be lucky' Siren replied. 'But we think that stone was weak, perhaps very young. It has not given him that much power, but enough to hinder us. Very few guardians have the ability to block a portal. But he has. As we have seen.'

'So he is trapping you all here' Venom said.

'Or so it would seem.' Siren shifted uncomfortably on the bench. 'The philosopher's stones are not safe until we reach the Ancient World. But we can't do that if Lagoon is blocking the portals.'

'So….' Lucas spoke slowly.

'We must kill him' Siren finished.

Lucas' face remained impassive.

'I'm guessing that you've tried' Reuben offered.

Siren hunched her shoulders, becoming irritated.

'The last stone he obtained has made him powerful. But not powerful enough. He is strong enough to kill many guardians with ease, but not yet strong enough to be a threat to the king and his lands in the Ancient World. That is why this is so vitally important. The stones can give you new powers and strength…and unthinkable….limitless…' She sighed, glancing towards the philosopher's stones beside her as she slouched back on the bench. 'Crystal and Ebony, between them they would have an extraordinary amount of power. If he caught them….' she shook her head. 'I would hate to think of what might happen.'

'You know a lot about philosophers stones then?' Venom asked Siren.

'A bit. They are powerful beings, but cannot use their own magic to their full extent. It can only be used by someone else after….'

'They have been killed' Ebony finished, staring vacantly away from the others. 'What will happen to us if we follow you to the Ancient World?'

'You will be protected' Siren replied. 'By the king.'

'Forever?' Ebony asked.

Siren gave her a curious look, but didn't answer. Perhaps she understood Ebony's doubts.

Crystal on the end of the bench sat utterly still and relaxed as if in meditation, holding the dragonfly Cid gently in her hands. She gave no indication that she heard anything of what the others said at all. She appeared to be in a world of her own.

All this suffering…and it's all for my sake. If I allow them to catch me, perhaps I could save Ebony, perhaps they will forget about her…

Crystal subtly peered towards the others out of the corner of her eye. More than the rest, she noticed Diz, silenced by the shock of losing his entire family so violently, the sight of their bodies...

Perhaps I could slip away Crystal thought. Perhaps I can end this suffering and grief by myself…before anyone else gets hurt on my account.

It was sometime later that Lauralie left Diz's side, perhaps to be alone with her thoughts. Siren gave her a moment before joining her. Behind them Kyle and Sian had ceased their conflict, now resting on a bench like the others, in silence.

Siren came to stand by Lauralie, who had detached herself from the others.

'Are you alright?'

Lauralie managed a flickering smile that quickly faded.

'Better than….' She trailed off.

'It must have been awful what you saw.'

'Is this…' Lauralie asked tentatively, 'what's it's all about then? The life of a guardian?'

Siren's pained expression told the whole story.

'Those who fight' Siren explained in a gentle tone, 'see many things. We are soldiers of the king, we are guardians. We protect.'

'Would you change who you are if you could…..would you change the past?'

'Nobody can change the past.'

'Would you try' Lauralie asked, 'can some things be undone?'

Siren didn't answer. Instead she changed the subject to Diz.

'How is he?' she said glancing towards him.

Lauralie took a long while to answer. 'He still hasn't said a word.'

'It is' Siren said, thinking carefully of the words she should use, 'not unknown for one to have seen something terrible to fall silent.'

'What do you mean?'

'He may not speak for a while. It may even be months….but…in time….'

'Will he ever be the same?' Lauralie asked in a pleading tone, as if Siren could have done something to help.

'I don't know' Siren replied, her heart wrenching in her chest at the pain in Lauralie's voice. 'I wish I could do something, I really do.'

'I don't know what I could do to help' Lauralie whined. 'I haven't really known him for that long; I don't know what would make him happy. I don't know….but I really love him.'

'He needs you now' Siren told her. 'More than ever.'

Lauralie nodded slowly in understanding. She took a deep breath. 'You don't just give up when things get tough' she said huskily, voice breaking.

'I know' Siren mumbled.

'Let's hang in there…..let's…let's hang in there' Lauralie said to herself.

'Time…' Siren told her, 'heals all wounds. Time' she said. 'Just give him time.'

Sometime later, Lauralie tried again to make him speak.

'Diz?'

Lauralie tenderly lifted his chin, forcing his eyes upwards.

'Please say something' she whispered in agony. 'Please…'

Diz stared silently back. His face a carved statue, his expression showing none of the grief he surely must be feeling.

'Diz…' she pleaded, 'why won't you speak?'

'He's in shock' Indigo explained behind her, chewing on a stick of wood. 'I wouldn't worry too much. He'll talk when he's ready.'

'When?' Venom demanded, talking for the first time in a long while.

Indigo lowered the stick irritably. 'Do I look like I know?' he shot back.

'Sian' Lucas said suddenly.

She raised an eyebrow to him.

'You've inherited Culture's power. That aberrant. He healed me once, when I was injured. You yourself healed Reuben when he was on the verge of death…and Venom too. Perhaps there is something you can do for Diz?'

She lifted her chin at him, answering shortly.

'I can't.'

Lucas looked taken aback.

'What? Why?'

'I can only heal physical injuries' Sian answered. 'Diz's injuries are psychological, I cannot help him.'

'But you have magic' Lucas protested.

'So do you' she countered with a glare, daring him to continue.

Lucas bit his tongue before it got him into trouble.

'What do we do now?' Venom asked Indigo.

'The only way we can get back into the Ancient World is if Lagoon is killed' the elder guardian replied. 'After that, the others will be of little threat to us. With only Arran and his creature……they cannot hurt us.'

'And then' Reuben said looking towards them, 'you will take the philosophers stones to the Ancient World, and leave our lives fore…' he hesitated. 'Where did Crystal go?'

Indigo whipped around suddenly at these words, wide eyes and staring at the spot she had been sitting beside Ebony not moments before. Even Ebony seemed shocked to see that Cr

ystal wasn't there.

'God…DAMMIT! Indigo cried in fury, lashing out and striking the nearest lamp post in despair and rage.

'She wants to be found by the others' Siren realised, speaking aloud. 'Well…she always was good at hiding.'

The dragonfly Cid flew above them then. Its buzzing wings loud in the silent night.

'She's putting a spell on us' Indigo groaned, fighting in vain against the sudden exhaustion that threatened to overwhelm him. Magic was descending upon them all, cast by the mechanical Cid.

Lucas stumbled, grabbing hold of the nearby bench for support. His eyelids drooped, and his mind began to fog, wavering already on unconsciousness. Very briefly he glimpsed his brother, collapsed asleep on the floor, and Lauralie beside him, easily recognised by her ginger hair. As he fell to his knees, he saw Siren and Indigo fall also, and then Venom.

His body slowly relaxed.

The last thing he experienced as he lay down, was the cold stone slabs of the street, touching and chilling his body. And then he felt nothing.

The next morning

'You'll be ok won't you?'

'For the hundredth time' Drake laughed to his girlfriend. 'I'll be fine.'

'I know I know' Eleanor fussed. 'I just worry about you sometimes.'

Drake stroked her cheek gently with his one hand. 'I promise I'll come and visit soon' he told her. 'But you had better go now, or else the train will leave without you.'

'That wouldn't be so bad' she teased. 'Then I could spend more time with you.'

'Eleanor' he frowned in mock irritation.

'Alright' she chuckled.

Eleanor stood on her tip toes as she planted a kiss on his cheek.

'You'll come visit soon won't you?' she asked him.

'Definitely.'

She grabbed her bag and pranced off towards the train.

Drake waved at her from the platform as she found a window seat from which she could see him, and she waved back enthusiastically, blowing him kisses until the train slowly began to depart. The train picked up speed, running faster and faster along its tracks.

Drake watched her go as she waved to him. He sighed, sad to see her leave, then turned and walked away.

The next Lucas knew was waking up feeling extreme cold.

He groaned, pushing his body off the ground and rubbing his cheek and shoulder where he had been lying uncomfortably on the solid concrete. It wasn't fully light yet, and the sun still had not left the horizon, but even at this hour the streets were beginning to come alive. Many people passing by stopped to stare at the young guardians picking themselves off the floor, groaning in discomfort as they woke one by one.

Lucas looked around blearily, blinking several times to clear his vision as he drew a shuddering breath between his teeth, holding himself tightly. The cold had seeped through him to his very bones.

'Have we really been here all night?' he grumbled to himself.

He then noticed a figure standing very close by him, watching him blankly. As Lucas' vision began to focus, he noticed the figure was missing an arm.

'Drake?' Lucas mumbled, lifting his hand to shield his eyes from the light that shone through the clouds in the pale sky.

Drake stepped closer so that Lucas could see him better.

'I was just on my way home from the train station' he explained. 'And I saw you guys all lying here.'

Behind them the others were beginning to rise. Lauralie crawled over to Diz to help him up. Kyle was staring around him in confusion, uncertain as to what had happened and why he was on the floor. And Indigo, suddenly wide awake and jittery, let out a cry of frustration, balling his fists and throwing his head back.

'What's wrong with him?' Drake asked calmly.

'Oh Drake' Lucas said shaking his head. 'I don't even know where to begin.'

Strange creatures began to appear all around them, of every size and shape. Lucas recognised them as aberrant, drawn to Ebony by some unknown will. They slowly began to approach her, wary however of the other guardians.

'Are we safe here?' Drake whispered, nervously backing away from a beast that passed inches from him.

'Don't be afraid' Ebony called to the others as she dusted herself off. 'They will not hurt you.'

'Lucas watch out!' Reuben shouted.

Lucas' his heart stopping in his chest at the sight of the aberrant that stood behind him. A tall exaggerated beast, with a thin body and a long tube-like mouth. It narrowed its eyes at Lucas, towering over him and hissing.

'It's ok' Ebony reassured him. 'They are safe.'

'That's the same beast that nearly took my life' Lucas spoke calmly back at her, staring up at the aberrant as it remained immobile where it stood.

'He was probably just scared' Ebony comforted. 'These creatures are not bad, only misunderstood.'

The aberrant moved closer to Lucas then, making a strange noise as if smelling him.

Lucas lifted a hand tentatively. He reached forwards, fingers outstretched. He touched the aberrant at the base of its tube mouth, the creature jerked back slightly as if startled. Its skin was extremely hot to the touch.

'You see' Ebony beamed. 'They're not bad at all.'

'Come away Lucas' Reuben said to him mistrustfully.

The aberrant drew away from Lucas sharply, suddenly hissing; clearly now it was agitated. It stalked past him, drawing closer to Ebony and standing near her, as if simply waiting.

'We have to do something' Indigo said to the others, now having calmed himself.

'But what can we do?' Siren asked him. 'I have lost my orb fighting the creature Li, I can no longer see Crystal, and you'll be hard pressed finding a philosopher's stone that does want to be found.'

'You think I don't know that?' Indigo shot back, smacking a hand to his forehead in frustration. 'But we must do something. Or else Lagoon…' he trailed off, hand slipping from his forehead as he lapsed back into thought.

'She's really that important then?' Sian asked.

'You have no idea' Siren raised an eyebrow at her.

'Then she must be found' Sian said.

'I can find her' Ebony mumbled.

'What?' Indigo broke from his trance then. 'What did you say?'

'I said I can find her' Ebony repeated, this time louder.

'How?'

Ebony threw her arms out, indicating all that was around them. 'Aberrants' she said.

'I don't follow.'

'You brought the aberrant Culture with you to help you search' Ebony went on. 'These aberrants are drawn to her. She is stronger than me after all, more power, more magic. They are more attracted to her than they are to me. I could locate Crystal using them.'

'How?' Indigo repeated.

'By my demand.' Ebony examined her surroundings, as if searching for something. 'Ah' she said when she had found it.

She leant forwards, opening her hands out as one of the aberrants crawled closer to her.

'The aberrants fled when Crystal was attacked' Ebony said. 'She must have sent them away to protect them.'

Ebony placed her hands lovingly under the chin of the beast that had approached her. A scrawny thing with a short face, large teeth and great black wings folded beneath its black body.

'I can control them' Ebony whispered, 'as she can. I can send them to her, so that she may be found.' Ebony tilted her head towards Lucas and Reuben. 'Are you ready to fly?'

'Yes' Lucas said quickly, overriding Reuben as he opened his mouth to speak.

'But Lucas' Reuben spluttered. 'Are you sure you want to do this? You could get hurt. You remember how powerful the elder guardians we fought were?'

'Don't you see?' Lucas said turning to him. 'We finally have a purpose now. Don't you remember when we were kids how often we wondered why? Now we know. This is what we are meant for, as guardians. To protect.'

'Spoken like a true guardian' Indigo nodded slowly with pride. 'I feel that you will grow to become something great.'

'So this aberrant will lead us to Crystal?' Reuben asked Ebony doubtfully.

'It will' she nodded.

'Then what are we waiting for?' Lucas asked.

'We don't have wings like you do' Indigo told him. 'We will have to catch you up.'

'Fine.'

'And who else will come?' Indigo raised his voice, speaking to the others.

'I must stay with my brother' Sian said. 'I've got a lot of explaining to do. I owe him that much.'

'He will not understand' Indigo glared impatiently.

'I must try nonetheless.'

Indigo shrugged.

'I will go' Venom said, stepping forwards. 'I want a taste of what it's like to be a guardian...this new life.'

'You will get it' Indigo told him in warning. 'Have no doubt about that. Lauralie, Sian, Drake, ' he said facing them in turn. 'Can I trust you to watch over Ebony while we are gone?'

'I'm not getting involved' Drake said flatly. 'I want nothing to do with this life.'

'We will watch over her' Lauralie breathed, glancing towards Ebony and forcing herself to smile. 'We'll um…wait here.'

'You'd better go quickly' Ebony said. 'There's not a lot of time.' She ran her hand over the aberrant's forehead that stood before her, sending her wishes into its mind.

The winged creature backed away, turning and beginning to run. Gaining speed and quickly rising in the air.

'Hurry' Ebony told the brothers.

Simultaneously the brothers called forth their wings, magnificent dark bronze wings, almost identical to one another.

They leapt to the sky, Ebony gasping in wonder as she watched them go, swiftly followed by the other winged creatures. The aberrants without wings remaining on the ground ran in the direction the brothers flew, the direction Crystal was. Indigo and Siren unprompted ran in the same direction, following the beasts as Venom followed after them.

Ebony remained, with Lauralie, and the ever quiet Diz. Sian kept close to her brother, and Drake stood separate from the group, watching Ebony and conveying no emotion whatsoever. Ebony noticed his missing arm, and wondered with sadness what he must be feeling.

'Please' Ebony whispered to the sky. 'Come back safely…Lucas…'

It was out on the balcony of the hotel that Lagoon was sitting and drinking. The iced whisky half full sloshed around in the cut glass that he held. He swirled the ice around again.

It was quiet in the room behind him. Arran and Kreas had gone. Lagoon found himself wondering if they would both return alive.

He took a sip of the sharp whisky, and spoke to himself.

'There are many threats out there.........many guardians….much magic…….we will get them in the end. It's only a matter of time.'

It was then, as if in answer to his words, that he saw the most curious thing.

It was a sort of mechanical dragonfly, with jewelled eyes of emerald green and fast beating glasslike wings. It was beautiful.

'What is this?'

It darted towards him, though Lagoon sensed it was no threat.

He held out his hand instinctively, and the dragonfly landed on his palm. A vision shot through his mind. A girl in a white dress running through the town towards him; she had long white hair and her eyes were grey.

It was her.

The dragonfly jumped off his hand then, darting through the air and into the room behind him. Lagoon rose from his seat, and followed the mechanical device through the room, towards the stairs and up, reaching the highest floor and going further. The dragonfly led him to a door that opened out onto the roof.

Outside it was very cold, and the wind was strong this high up.

Standing on the edge of the rooftop, facing away, was Crystal.

'Calmly, and without fear. Do you know what fate meets you my dear?'

Crystal turned slowly to face him. The dragonfly darted about above their heads.

'Tell me. Why do you choose to give up now after all this time?'

'I came here willingly' Crystal told him, 'so that no others would come to harm.'

'Such a gentle soul' Lagoon cooed. 'So caring.'

'I wish for no more pain' Crystal said. 'No more suffering.'

'Then you shall have it' Lagoon replied. 'I shall harm the others no more.'

Lagoon reached for his belt, and drew forth a gun. Very slowly, he began to load it.

Crystal took a deep and steady breath as she watched him.

'There are other guardians on their way here' Lagoon told her. 'They wish to save you.'

He finished loading the gun, lifting his chin up high and observing her.

'Two of them will be here soon. They are young…let me think…' he closed his bright yellow eyes, brow furrowed in concentration. 'I can feel them' he whispered. 'Brothers. With wings.' He sneered.

'Please don't hurt them' Crystal begged him. 'They only wish to protect me.'

'My dear' Lagoon reassured her. 'It is only you that I want.' He bowed his head. 'Here they come.'

The brothers landed either side of Crystal, facing this new stranger with defiance.

'I find it strange' Lagoon voiced before either of them had a chance to speak, 'that you would put yourself in harm's way to protect her.'

It was only a short time later that the other guardians arrived, Indigo, Siren and Venom. And all around them, aberrants began to appear. They flocked in the sky, blocking out the sun in all their mass, and on the rooftop they gathered in number. Some followed after the guardians through the building, and others climbing up the outside of the building itself.

Lagoon shrugged when they had all appeared, sighing and showing his hands.

'I guess that is all of you then.' He ran his fingers through his blue streaked white hair. 'Even with all of you' he told them. 'You could not stop me.'

'Powerful, but not invincible' Indigo replied.

'Oh Indigo. We used to be such good friends once.' He sighed in reminiscence of that time long ago. 'I may not be invincible' Lagoon gleamed, showing white teeth, 'but I'm near enough.'

And then he did something that surprised everyone. He threw the gun to Siren.

'Here' he said to her. 'Shoot me.'

She raised the weapon slowly, holding the gun with both hands. Her arms began to shake violently, as she slowly turned the barrel of the gun towards her own head.

'No!' Crystal screamed.

Lagoon gave her a mischievous look, putting a finger to his lips and turning back to Siren to watch. Indigo who had jumped forwards to strike Lagoon had stopped suddenly, he too was trembling violently now. His shoulders were quivering as he reached inside his robes, pulling out his sword and turning it on himself.

'One more to go' Lagoon sang with pleasure, turning towards Venom. 'Oh.' He looked disappointed. 'You have no weapons on you. How sad.' He flashed his perfect teeth again. 'No matter. We can improvise.'

One of the abarrants nearby turned on him, grabbing Venom from behind and immobilizing him.

'You can control aberrants?' Venom gasped, as he was held down by a fiery beast with massive horns.

'I can do many things' Lagoon rejoiced.

He threw his hands up towards the sky, and as one, all the flying beasts scattered as fast as they could, heading in every direction away from them. Those without wings also fled, escaping the rooftop by any means necessary, and howling as if in pain. The only aberrant that remained, was the one holding Venom down.

'There' Lagoon said with pleasure. 'That's better.' His look turned sour then. 'I could kill you all if I wanted. It would only take but a mere thought.'

His attention moved towards the brothers.

'Do you want to try anything funny?'

Reuben glanced towards Lucas, but he looked defeated, as if he realised this was too much for them to handle. Now he only looked on.

Lagoon smirked. 'I didn't think so.'

He pulled a second gun from his person, pointed, and shot.

The bullet hit her in the centre of the chest.

She fell, disappearing over the edge of the building.

The magic forcing Siren and Indigo to turn the weapons onto themselves ceased, and the aberrant released Venom. But by the time they looked up, Lagoon was gone, along with the philosophers stone Crystal.

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