Trials

Chapter Five

Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Spooksville, though I claim Risa, Rachel, Nightshade, and the plot of this story, and I'm not making any money from this fic

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Risa hesitated a moment, worried. She knew that Nightshade wouldn't contact her at school without a good reason. But what could it possibly be?

Rachel was talking animatedly to Adam, while the other three didn't seem to be paying much attention.

"Um, I've just got to go and... do something," Risa said. "I'll be back soon." And then she ran off until she found somewhere that was pretty much deserted. Then, she stopped.

Are you alone? Nightshade demanded.

Yes, Risa answered.

After a moment, Nightshade appeared in front of Risa.

"What's wrong, Nightshade?" Risa wanted to know.

"Your witch trials are going to have to be completed sooner," Nightshade explained. He sounded calm... But Risa knew him well enough to know that he really wasn't. "You're going to have to get a lot of training in," he added.

Risa flinched. "What do you mean?" she asked. "I thought I had plenty of time to train for my trials."

"Well, you don't anymore," Nightshade replied. "The forces of darkness are becoming much stronger, Risa."

Risa's eyes widened, and she took a step back. "Is that why all of the ghosts have been appearing here?"

Nightshade nodded slowly. "I'm afraid so," he said. "And, Risa, you cannot do this alone. If you even try, then you will be destroyed. You need to find some people who you can work with."

"People with magical ability?"

Raised eyebrows. "You've found some?"

"Only one," Risa answered. "But her gift isn't trained. It doesn't seem to be dangerous, though. I mean, she hasn't accidentally, or deliberately, harmed anyone as far as I've been able to see."

"But you've been trying to keep an eye on her anyway." It wasn't a question.

Risa nodded.

"Have you seen your sister at all?" Nightshade questioned.

"Yes," Risa answered. "She's teamed up with three other kids - Watch, Adam, and Sally."

"I've heard about them," Nightshade replied. "Ann Templeton has mentioned them before."

"Ann Templeton? Is she any relation to Madeline Templeton?"

"Her direct descendent," Nightshade answered. "She's the town witch."

At just that moment, Rachel came running up to them. "Risa, are you..." she began. Then, her voice trailed off as she saw Nightshade. "Um, hello. My name's Rachel."

"I'm Nightshade," Nightshade replied. "I'm Risa's guardian."

Hm, I see what you mean about this girl, Nightshade commented in Risa's mind. Her particular magic is very different to yours. But she could still use some training.

Can't you tell what form her magic takes? Risa wanted to know.

No, I can't, Nightshade answered.

Rachel looked at Risa. "Are you coming to lessons?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah," Risa said.

"Hey, maybe this weekened we could go the Secret Path," Rachel added in a low voice.

Risa grinned.

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"Wow, what a trek," Risa said when she and Rachel finally reached the cemetery.

"Yeah, I know," Rachel replied. "Unfortunately, that's the only way to enter the Secret Path."

"So what do we do now?" Risa asked.

"We have to walk to the tombstone backwards," Rachel explained. "It's better to do it holding hands. That way, there's less chance of us ending up in different dimensions to each other."

Hm, walking backwards does seem a little strange, Risa thought to herself. And if it doesn't work, then I'll feel really stupid... But I can't miss the chance that this might help me train my magical ability.

Risa took a deep breath. "All right, let's do it," she said.

Rachel took Risa's hand, and the two walked backwards towards the witch's tombstone.

Fully expecting to hit the stone, Risa was taken by surprise when the whole world shifted. Stars flew, and the two seemed to be moving, but at the same time standing still. Risa gripped tightly to Rachel's hand, but couldn't see her friend at all.

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Risa looked around. Her first thought was that the portal hadn't worked... But then, she realised that it had.

Rachel's eyes had been squeezed tightly shut, but now she opened them, and looked around with a soft gasp.

It appeared that they had entered a dimension steeped in the past. The buildings that the two girls could see were merely straw huts. There were no signs of the shops, or cinema, or anything else modern.

Suddenly, there was a frightened gasp from behind the two girls. Both whirled, to be confronted by a boy a little older than they were. He was babbling in a strange language.

"What's he saying?" Rachel wondered.

Risa blinked. For some reason, the boy's words were making sense to her. Unknown to her, her eyes glazed over. "He demands to know how we got in here," she said in a flat tone.

"You can understand him?" Rachel gasped.

Risa ignored her friend as the boy continued to talk. "He says that we should not have come here. That we will now be food for the ghouls and vampires."

Rachel shot Risa a frightened look. "What ghouls and vampires?"

Risa pointed. "Those ghouls and vampires, I should imagine."

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