We're starting to get closer to the home stretch with this story! Of course, there are still plenty of chapters until we say goodbye to this story, so until then, here's the next chapter!
Note: Conversations in Bold are in Japanese, and those Bold and Italics are in English, but possessed.
Also these POVs cover a period of nearly four weeks.
I was in my second period gym class [some six hours after Art Reaves went missing], walking around the track with my friends after running a few laps. Of course, I was talking with my friends about Art, since the police had shown up to school that morning to talk to the principal. Plus, word gets around pretty quickly in a small town, so everyone probably knew by now.
"I heard his whole bed was missing from his room," Sally informed me. "Like, his parents went upstairs when he didn't come down for breakfast, and it was just gone!"
"No way," I told her.
"Yeah," Cecilia agreed quietly, the small girl walking between us. "How would someone get it out of the room without anyone noticing?"
"I dunno," Sally replied. "I mean, how did Art just disappear in the middle of the night?"
"Maybe he ran away," I suggested.
"Why, though? Because your boyfriend got the solo instead of him?"
"I doubt he would run away because of that. And that wouldn't explain the bed."
"Speaking of your boyfriend," Cecilia said quietly, pointing off to the side. We turned to follow her finger, and my mouth dropped open with shock.
Elijah was running up the track, coming straight towards me. If that was not surprising enough, he had a big smile on his face, which contrasted to the low-energy and surly guy I had talked to yesterday afternoon.
"Elijah," I said when he got close enough. "What are you-"
My question was cut off as my boyfriend stopped right in front of me, kissing me full on the lips. I gasped, but did not pull away, wrapping my arms around his neck a few seconds later. I forgot how good kissing him was, and all thoughts of gym and running had left my mind.
"Oh… my GOSH," Sally gasped, grinning at the two of us as Elijah and I finally broke apart.
"Woah," was all I could say, a shaky grin on my face.
"Coach is coming," Cecilia said quietly, and indeed, the coach was now striding towards them with a frown on her face.
"Sorry," Elijah said, the bright smile still on his face as he bruised a strand of hair behind my ear. "I just couldn't wait until Choir to see you!"
"Elijah," I said, my brain now catching up with me. "What are you… How are you…"
"Later," he promised, giving me another quick kiss. "I've gotta get back to study hall." He started to walk backwards away from me, signing three familiar words to me. "I love you."
And then, as quickly as he had arrived, he was running back towards the school, groups of gym students pausing to watch him run. Coach Davis was still walking towards us, but I only had eyes for Elijah.
What a 180, I thought, my cheeks probably red with blushing. But not an unwelcome one.
"I think you have some explaining to do, young lady," Coach said, her brow furrowed with annoyance. "I hope you know that behavior like that is not tolerated on my field!"
"Yes, Coach," I said, still in a daze as I stared after him. I had no idea how he had gone from distant and surely to being the perfect boyfriend, but I was not going to complain. Though one thing did nag at the back of my head as I received a chewing out from the coach.
I don't remember his eyes being that green. But it was probably just the sunlight reflecting at a certain angle, or maybe I was just thrown off by his sudden PDA. I mean, it's not like it could be anything else.
Jerry was laying on his bed, tired, but unable to sleep. His heart monitor beeped steadily next to him, and he tried not to think about the moment when it would stop.
By now, the twenty-year-old had accepted the fact that he was going to die. When he had first gotten sick nearly two years ago, no one could have predicted how bad things would get. He had been stable for a while, but a little over a month ago, things took a turn for the worse. Now… The doctors said it could be any day now.
His mom was asleep in a nearby chair; she and his dad alternated spending the night at his side, not wanting him to be alone. He could tell that she was taking his imminent death worst of them all, with June coming in a close second.
You'll all be fine, Jerry thought, looking up at the ceiling as he started to finally fall asleep.
As his eyelids started to close, a faint green glow suddenly appeared in the corner of his eye. At first, he thought it might be a passing car, but it persisted, glowing steadily brighter. Curious, he slowly turned his head to the left, his eyes widening when he saw what it was.
A lone figure stood next to his bed, looking down at him with a passive expression. The person was surrounded with an unearthly green glow, and his eyes shone like lanterns. Shocked and scared, it took Jerry a few moments to realize who it was.
"What… Elijah," the man croaked. "H-H-How-"
"Shh," the glowing Elijah said, putting a finger to his lips as he smiled a little. He then reached out his hands, touching Jerry's side. The man gasped, since the hands were warm to the touch, and he tried to speak again.
"Stay still," the deaf teen said, his voice sounding a bit… off. Then again, he looked like a glow stick, so it would make sense if his voice was a little different. Was this just a dream? It did not feel like a dream, especially as the warmth suddenly got hotter, and started to spread throughout his body.
"A-A-Ahhh," Jerry gasped, the heat intensifying and getting hotter, burning his insides. It felt like someone had set a fire in his intestines, and he was half expecting to see smoke coming out of his mouth. The pain was only getting worse, and he wondered if this was the end.
However, right as he thought this, the heat started to dissipate, going back down to a manageable temperature. A few seconds later, and it was gone all together. The glowing Elijah removed his hands, looking back at him.
"You need to rest now," he said. "And we must be going."
"W-Wait," Jerry said, but the teen waved his hand, and he instantly fell asleep.
The doctor could not understand it. Yesterday, Jerry had Stage IV cancer and had about a month left to live. Today, about half of the tumors were gone, and throughout the day, the remaining growths had steadily started to shrink.
Jerry's parents were just as shocked, but also relieved and ecstatic. Their son even looked better, a bit of color returning to his cheeks, as well as his strength. June was also thrilled, refusing to leave her brother's side as she held his hand.
Of course, Jerry himself was thrilled, but also wondering how this had happened. He remembered the strange dream he had about Elijah showing up and healing him, but something about it made him wonder if it had just been a dream. Maybe… it had not been a dream?
Impossible, he thought. It's just… a crazy coincidence, is all.
Katana landed on the parapets of Castle Wyvern, immediately heading towards the Hatchery.
It had been a bit of an adjustment for her, suddenly finding herself living in a large human city in a different time. Brooklyn had assured her that there would be no more Time Dancing, and it took her a few months to stop carrying her unhatched egg and a packed bag with her. Now, she was starting to feel at home here, and her son Nashville seemed especially happy.
When she walked into the hatchery, she pulled up short when she saw Elijah sitting by the egg, his hand resting on it. He was not in a threatening position, but the gargoyle's heart instantly leaped to her throat
"NO," she yelled sharply, startling the teen, who looked back at her with a frightened expression.
"I'm sorry," he said, quickly standing up and stepping away from the egg. "B-Brooklyn said I could look after the egg while he-"
"Elijah?" Brooklyn walked in behind her. "Katakana. What's wrong?"
"Did you give him permission," she demanded, looking over at him. "He was touching-"
"I did, I did," her husband assured her, taking her hand and squeezing it lightly. "It's fine; the egg is fine. I'd trust Elijah with my life-"
"But not the life of our child! You know I don't like anyone touching that egg but me!"
"I know." Brooklyn turned back to Elijah. "You shouldn't really be touching a gargoyle egg."
"I'm sorry," the deaf teen said. "I was just watching it for a little bit and I was wondering what it felt like, and..." He looked over at Katana. "I'm... very sorry." His Japanese was not the best, but she calmed down, glad to see that he really did look sorry.
"It is fine," she said to him. "Just... ask next time."
"I will," he promised, briefly looking back at the egg before turning and leaving the Hatchery.
"You really should learn to trust people outside the Clan," Brooklyn said to her once he was out of earshot.
"But I barely know him," Katana replied, looking over at her unborn child. "I know you were close to him, and that our son is his friend, but..." She sighed. "Years of running and fighting and not knowing who to trust. It is difficult to let those instincts go."
"I know," he agreed, taking her other hand. "It was hard for me too, when I first arrived here years ago. But I got through it with my family." He pulled her into a hug. "That includes you." She smiled, hugging him back.
"Remember when we first met," she asked.
"Do I ever," Brooklyn laughed. "You nearly killed me!"
"I'm glad I didn't." They broke apart, and Brooklyn planted a kiss on her forehead.
"Do you think it's a boy or a girl," he asked.
"A girl," Katana replied. "I can tell."
"I'll trust your instincts." He kissed her hand. "I've got patrol; I'll be back by sunrise."
"Goodbye, my love."
"Goodbye." Brooklyn left the room, and Katana smiled after him, eventually turning back towards her unhatched egg.
If they had stayed in her clan, the egg would have hatched and grown up with other young gargoyles, never knowing who its parents were. She would have known, but she would not have shown any affection towards it. But through the years of travelling with Brooklyn, and especially after Nashville was born, she had realized that she wanted to be a mother. She wanted to raise this gargoyle, and to spend every waking moment with her.
"And I promise," she whispered to the egg. "I promise that I will always be there for you."
"Woah," Nashville said as Elijah finished playing the song on his keyboard. "What's it called again?"
"'Place in This World' by Michael Smith," the human replied, turning to the gargoyle. "It's a pretty good song, and Mrs. Flemming thinks that with my playing and singing, I'll win the solo category, guaranteed!"
"Can we come watch it," the young gargoyle asked.
"If you can sneak into the theater without anyone noticing you," the teen replied, switching the keyboard off and checking his watch. "Amanda should be here in a couple minutes."
"Why I can't watch the movie with you guys again," Nashville asked, following his friend out into the hall.
"Because it's rated R; you have to be at least seventeen to watch it."
"Not mentally. Brooklyn said you couldn't watch it, anyway, and he's your dad, so… tough luck."
"But this movie sounds so cool," the gargoyle whined, the two of them walking down the stairs of the Robbins household. "It's about Scottish people; that's where the clan's from!"
"Why do you think Hudson's so excited to watch it," Elijah asked, stopping at the foot of the stairs. "Look, I know it sucks, being the youngest around here, but there's a reason you're not allowed to watch movies like this. You're just not mature enough to fully understand and enjoy the movie. You can play some games on my computer, if you want."
"Neither are you, technically," Nashville pointed out. "You're only sixteen!"
"But I can watch rated R movies with my guardian's permission," the teen said, walking towards the kitchen. "Uncle Jeffrey said yes, and I think we both know that I'm way more mature than you!"
The gargoyle frowned, crossing his arms and huffing with annoyance. That was rich of Elijah to be talking about being mature and the youngest around, when he was complaining about being left out of Brooklyn and Goliath's conversation a few weeks ago. Actually, after that night, Elijah started acting like a whole different person; he was more confidence, was quick with his words, and even started to neaten his appearance. But he also became a bit of a jerk, which the young gargoyle did not like.
"It's not fair," Nashville muttered, walking over to the living room and poking his head inside. Hudson and Mr. Robbins were already sitting there, talking with one another as the doorbell rang. Elijah rushed into the hall, quickly walking to let Amanda inside. Not wanting to stick around just so he could be told to leave, the gargoyle stomped back upstairs.
I guess video games are better than nothing, he thought, walking into Elijah's room and sitting down at his desk. Why didn't I stay home with mom? Taking care of Egwardo doesn't sound so bad now. He turned the computer on, waiting for the screen load as he looked around Elijah's room.
The teen had a few posters on the wall, including one for Murder, She Wrote, as well as one for a movie by some guy named Hitchcock. He also had a modest collection of books on his shelf, and the gargoyle walked over to it, seeing if he had any comics or manga. Finding none, he sighed, turning back to the desk as the computer's startup music played.
"At least he's got some games on here that aren't puzzle-solving or mysteries," Nashville said to himself, selecting an action game where he was an alien space pilot defending his planet. He started to play, and soon lost track of time.
About an hour later, the gargoyle finally beat the game, blinking his eyes as the credits scrolled across the screen. He stretched his limbs, getting up out of the chair to go downstairs. He was hungry, and he hoped that he could probably sneak a look at the movie.
"OW!" Nashville looked down at the ground to see what he had stepped on, and noticed that one of the boxes under Elijah's bed had toppled over, its lid open and laying a short distance away. Near it lay a small, round rock, almost like a marble except its surface was not smooth enough.
However, he was 100% certain that marbles were not supposed to glow like a firefly.
"Woah," the young gargoyle gasped, staring at the rock with a grin on his face. "What is that?" He bent down to pick it up. "Where'd Elijah get-"
The instant his fingers touched the stone, an arc of static electricity ran through his body, making his hair stand up on end. Gasping, the gargoyle felt an unseen force yank him forward, and the world became a blur of colors behind him.
"OOMPH!" Nashville landed flat on his face, noticing that the floor was now flat and cool, not the carpeted floor of Elijah's bedroom. Looking up, he gasped, a bizarre sight in front of him.
A group of ghosts [they had to be ghosts, since they were all see-through and glowing] were standing nearby, looking at him with shocked expressions. Nashville was just as surprised, especially when he noticed that while most of them were human, there were a few gargoyles in the group.
"Another one," one of the ghosts gasped, and the group started to walk towards him. The young gargoyle screamed, scrambling to his feet as he backed away from them.
"He's alive too," another ghost said. "Where's Art?"
"I'm back here! What's everyone-"
A teenager pushed his way through the crowd, stopping short as he caught sight of Nashville. He was no ghost, since he was not see through or glowing, and he had a more desperate look in his eyes.
"Who are you," the teen asked. "Did Elijah put you here too?"
"W-What," Nashville stammered, looking at the human with shock. "No, I was just…" He looked around the blank, dark expanse of nothingness that stretched on forever. "Where am I?"
"We're in the Eye," one of the gargoyle ghosts explained. "Who are you? How did Elijah get you?"
"I-I'm Nashville; Elijah's friend. What's the Eye?"
"You're friends with him," Art asked, grabbing the young gargoyle by the front of his shirt. "Tell him to let me out of here! I can't take it anymore! I wanna go home again; I can't stand it in here!"
"Yep, he's starting to crack," a ghost commented.
"What are you talking about," the gargoyle asked. "How do you know Elijah?"
"We're both in the same Choir class," the teen explained, now falling to his knees, nearly pulling Nashville to the ground with him. "He crawled out of my mirror and trapped me in this hellhole! Please help me! I'm hungry, I'm cold, and I miss my family!"
"He crawled out of- What are you talking about?"
"JUST HELP US, MAN," the teen screamed, tears starting to stream down his face. "GET US OUT OF HERE!"
"Stop it! I can't-"
Suddenly, Nashville felt something grab him by his wings, yanking him away from the teen and the group of ghosts. There was another blur of light around him, and he landed flat on his back, now staring at the ceiling of Elijah's room.
What… What was that, the young gargoyle asked, breathing heavily and sitting up with a start. He spotted the stone laying nearby, innocently twinkling on the carpet. Who were they?! And what were they saying about-
The gargoyle looked up to find Elijah standing in the doorway, a surprised expression on his face.
"E-Elijah," Nashville stammered, slowly getting to his feet.
"What's going on," the teen asked. "Are you-" He noticed the rock on the floor. "What are you-"
"It was just l-laying on the f-floor," the gargoyle said, looking down at the rock with a fearful expression. "When I touched it-"
"Calm down, Nashville," the deaf teen said, closing the door before walking over to him. "You're not making any sense." He looked down at the stone, bending over to pick it up.
But it was too late. Elijah picked up the rock, and Nashville yelped, backing away as he expected the ghosts to reappear. However, nothing happened, and the teen simply held the rock in the palm of his hand.
"Nothing happened to me," he said, smiling at Nashville. "You must've been imagining things."
"I-I wasn't," the young gargoyle protested. "I saw a bunch of ghosts and there was this guy and…" He looked at Elijah. "He said you put him there. In the Eye."
"In the Eye," Elijah repeated dubiously, chuckling a little. "Dude, you must've hit your head or something."
"Look, if you're trying to get some attention because we won't let you watch the movie-"
"I'm NOT," Nashville said angrily, his eyes suddenly glowing with rage. "I know what I saw!"
Elijah sighed, looking down at the rock in his hand for a few moments before looking back up at his friend. Suddenly, he smiled.
"Did he cry?"
The glow in the gargoyle's eyes faded, his earlier frustration replaced with confusion.
"What… What do you mean," Nashville asked, an uneasy feeling coming over him.
"Did Art cry," the deaf teen asked, that creepy smile still on his lips. "Or beg for us to let him go?"
"I… W-Who's Art? I don't-"
The young gargoyle suddenly stopped talking, remembering that one of the ghosts had mentioned someone named Art. And he also remembered Elijah mentioning that one of his classmates had gone missing a few weeks back…
"You catch on quick, don't you," Elijah asked, waving his hand as the door's lock clicked behind him. "I'm not sure why she wanted you to find the Eye, but I won't go against her wishes, which means that I'll leave your memory intact."
Nashville's breath started to quicken, and Elijah's smile only widened. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
"Elijah? Nashville?" It was Hudson. "Are ye in there?"
"Hud-" A gag suddenly appeared out of nowhere, silencing Nashville as ropes suddenly bound him from head to foot. He tripped, falling to the floor as the deaf teen turned to the door.
"We're fine," he called, ignoring his friend, who was struggling to break free of his bonds. "I'm just helping Nashville with this computer game. It won't take too long; I'll be down in a couple minutes."
"Okay, lad, but don't take too long. This Braveheart movie is fantastic, and I want to see how it ends!" They heard Hudson walk away, and Elijah turned back to the gargoyle, whose eyes widened at the sight of his friend.
"Okay," the human said, his eyes now glowing the same green color as the rock in his hand. "I think we need to talk some things over, don't we?"
"It's ready," Shari said, standing in the doorway. "Brentwood has the display up now."
"Excellent," the clone replied, setting down his book and standing up, following the woman down the hall. This house was big, modern, and secluded, and belonged to him. Of course, Shari had viewed the house in his place, but his name was on the title, and his money had paid for it.
Money was Thailog's main goal in life. He wanted to get as much of it as he can, and do whatever he wanted without anyone telling him otherwise. If anyone tried to, they were easily disposed of. Of course, some people [like his father and his meddlesome clan] tried to stop him, but he was always five steps ahead of them.
Dr. Sevarius had been a little annoyed after his Halloween stunt, since he had not gotten all of the DNA samples he had desired. Thailog assuaged him by helping him test his mutagen on a disabled individual. He had suggested Jeffrey Robbins, since the blind author had ties to Xanatos [and therefore the gargoyles]. But upon hearing about his deaf nephew Elijah, he changed his mind.
He helped break Wolf out of jail to join Sevarius and kidnap the boy, right before heading to France to look for fragments of the stone. It was a shame that the plan had failed; he could have used a new program he had come up with to brainwash Elijah into following him, but it was insignificant in the long run.
The Eye was his main target.
Thailog had heard about it from Shari, about the stone that not even the Illuminati could find. The Fourth Eye of Mab, that would give the one who possessed it untold power, and, in his case, riches. It was said to corrupt the user, but he was no ordinary man; he was too strong to be corrupted. He wanted it badly, but when Xanatos beat him to the punch, he was determined to get it back, no matter what.
Now, they had the key. Brentwood was sitting at his super computer, a small device plugged into the machine. It had taken a few months to build and find the right spells [Shari was the most helpful on that front], but now their work was complete. They would be able to track the Eye's exact location, and take it from wherever Xanatos had stashed it.
"Where is it," Thailog asked, striding up to the other clone, who was typing away with a mad fury.
"New York state," he replied, his eyes glued to the various screens. "In the New York City area."
"As we thought," Shari said, looking at the screen. "Xanatos cannot use it himself; he has a family to think of, and being consumed by the power could hurt them. So, he must keep it close."
"But not too close," Thailog agreed. "Other groups, not just us and the Illuminati, are probably targeting it."
"But now we have an edge," Brentwood said, hitting a final button as a large map appeared across the screens. It showed the Eastern edge of the United States, and was slowly zooming in towards New York state. The three of them watched as it focused on the New York City area, finally settling in a small town North of the city.
"Weisman," Thailog asked. "Why would he put it there? Does he have a home there?"
"No, but there's a Jeffrey Robbins," Shari replied.
Brentwood looked at her with surprise. "The author?"
"Yes," she replied. "We have intel of them meeting every now and then; Xanatos is a fan of his writing."
"Interesting," Thailog said, still staring at the screen. "But let's be sure that he's our man. Can you pinpoint its current location?"
"Sure," the smaller clone replied, tapping a few buttons as the display zoomed in on the town. Seconds later, a small dot hovered over a single building, and the three of them stared at the map with surprise.
"Is… he a teacher there," Shari asked.
"Should be easy enough to check," Brentwood said, starting to type in the author's name.
"It's not him," Thailog said, a small smile coming to his face. "Xanatos, you son of a bitch."
"What do you-" The woman's eyes widened. "No… You can't mean-"
"It looks like someone wants to play with the big boys," the clone said, looking at the tiny dot, which was located in the middle of Weisman High School. "Or perhaps Xanatos thought that the last place anyone would look for the Eye was with a child like Elijah Robbins."
"Why would Xanatos give the Eye to a kid," Brentwood asked. "What if he gets curious and tries to use it?"
"I don't think he did," Thailog said, staring at the screen. "Remember that a strange individual attacked the Robbins house the same night Wolf was defeated by that Redemption Squad? I think that the Eye was originally hidden there, and young Elijah here found it."
"Does this mean he knows how to use the Eye," Shari asked. "Or is he just carrying it with him?"
"There's only one way to find out. Brentwood, pull up the boy's files."
"I'm on it." The smaller gargoyle clone typed for a few minutes, pulling up various file onto one of the screens. He was an expert hacker, and soon, they were looking at everything from school files to medical records.
"Look at this," Thailog noticed. "It appears that he's going with the Choir on a little trip to New York City in a week. If he leaves the Eye at home, then we easily break in and get it. If not, then we can easily catch him off guard and take it from him."
"And if he's friends with the gargoyles, they would probably show up at this concert to support him," Shari added, now smiling as well. "Even if they don't, once they hear about an attack, they'll come running to save him. A perfect scenario."
"It will cause a stir," Brentwood reminded them. "And only add to the gargoyle hysteria."
"I agree with Shari," Thailog said. "It's perfect. Too perfect, in fact, to not invite some friends with us." A sly grin came onto his face. "I think Castaway and the Quarrymen would love to join us!"
Mortals were so easy to manipulate. And Elijah Robbins was probably the easiest of them all.
He was the youngest person to had ever found Mab's Fourth Eye, and she was rather pleased with how willing he was to listen to her. Of course, she still whispered in his ears when he slept, carefully rewiring his way of thinking to suit her needs, but he was very eager to listen to her. It helped that he was self-conscious, lonely, and had tiny seeds of hatred in his heart. Seeds that she helped cultivate and grow.
Elijah Robbins was also the final mortal Mabs needed to carry out her plan. It had taken over a thousand years of corrupting mortals to finally reach the proper number, but now she could break free from her Avalon prison. The prison her son Oberon had put her in after proclaiming himself King of Avalon and the Third Race. Well, if he wanted to rule a tiny little island that was on no mortal map, hiding out in his eternal summer weather. She no longer wished to rule Avalon.
She wanted the world.
And the pieces were in place. She had the two lives that would give her strength, and soon, Excalibur would be in her grasp. And finally, Elijah was steadily getting closer to the point of no return.
Queen Mab will return, make no mistake. And anyone who got in her way would not live to see her new kingdom.
So Thailog is planning a get-together with the Quarrymen, Nashville is about to get a talking to, and Queen Mab is pulling all the strings. What happens when everyone comes together? Only time will tell!