A/N: because of a certain promise I made, I will be using new section breakers. They will be there until further notice. By the way, read 'Harry Potter and the Collided Worlds' by Sokai, story id 2502930.
Thanks to Cobra-100 for the idea for Harry's first line. Oh, and to llayo: it's spelled with a 'K' in the original Italian and some parts of the world, such as where I'm from. Just justifying my use, although I did wonder how long before someone bought it up. Special acknowledgments go to Bob the Almighty for being the first to mention the 'crossover'…
(Read 'Harry Potter and the Collided Worlds' by Sokai, story id 2502930)
A low roaring sound in the air was all he warning Harry had to raise his shields as something about the size of a compact car suddenly collided with him, knocking him out of his course and sending him tumbling back towards the palace as it broke through his shield. Managing to catch himself, Harry turned to see what had hit him and paled.
Above him, a flight of dragons circled, their dark wings fading into the night skies as they flew around the tower he had just crashed into. Harry's PO level went up a couple of notches.
"That bitch," he muttered as he quickly extracted himself from the indentation on the crystal face and quickly flew to the side, avoiding another claw, "needs a Dragon Slave fired up her ass!"
Briefly, he wondered whether he should 'summon' a Blue Eyes White Dragon or a Winged Dragon of Ra, or something, but decided against it. He cracked his knuckles. Oh no, he definitely wasn't summoning. After the past hour or so, he had a lot of stress to get rid of, which Bhakhurha and his little puppets just weren't able to relieve. These dragons, however…
Memories of Norbert flitted through Harry's head as another dragon snapped at him, and he grinned.
Oh, this was going to be so sweet…
Cold pulsed inside him, beating in time to his heart as the Dark Heart poured power into his being. The cold spread as he held out his hand, his limbs feeling numb yet not as the energy suffused him. An icy blue glow flickered into being in his open palm as he darted in the air, his senses going out in every direction as he tried to keep from being torn to shreds.
"LIC LAC LA LAC LILAC!" Harry cried, snapping an icicle as the nearest dragon with his free hand, the icicle lodging in it's skin and emitting an intense golden glow. Target Acquired.
"TO SHUMBOLION DIAKONOYO MOI, HEI KRYSTALINE BASHLEIA!"
Upon our pact, do my bidding, O Queen of Ice!
Most of him still concentrating on his spell, Harry shot out spark after spark of lightning, each and every one directed at the dragon he'd tagged. The sparks weren't much, but they certainly irritated the beast. It roared in frustration and annoyance, straining after Harry even as he darted with a speed and agility that would have made a fly jealous, avoiding his enraged pursuer and his kin alike as he kept out of their way, staying close to the castle wall to guard his back.
"EVIGENATO, TAIONION ELEBOS, HAIONIE KRYSTALE!"
Come forth from the never-ending darkness, the eternal glacier, bring death to all that hast life!
Harry suddenly dove, seeking the ground, never stopping annoying the beast behind him as he buzzed the crystalline face of the castle, trying to get below the dragons.
"VERSAIS ZOICE TON ISON TANATON, HOS ATAKSIA!"
You are the place of eternal rest!
Harry suddenly spun, twisting his body around to face his pursuer as he thrust out his hand, where the flickering blue flame had grown to become a glacial inferno. It lanced upwards towards the dragon, the icicle imbedded into it's skin still glowing fitfully as the magic struck.
THE END OF THE WORLD!
The magic struck dead on, the dragon not even having time to cry out as it and everything twenty feet from it– which happened to include some of it's fellows limbs– suddenly found the molecules of their body stop vibrating, their internal temperature dropping to within a few degrees of absolute zero. A perfect, crystalline sculpture hovered in the air, hanging in the sky for a split second as gravity was momentarily neutralized, before it shattered into thousands of pieces, the shards impaling those nearby and giving them an instant case of frostbite and freeze-drying.
Harry grinned evilly as the roars of pain echoed through the blackness, the Dark Heart's beating growing faster in his excitement. Oh, how he loved that spell of Evangeline's. He focused on the next dragon. "TO SHUMBOLION DIAKONOYO MOI…"
Harry Potter: Keeper of the Dark Heart
by Shadow Crystal Mage
Chapter 14: Aftermath…
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, which belongs to J.K. Rowling, or W.I.T.C.H., which belongs (I think) to Disney and some European lady. This is based on the comic book version of W.I.T.C.H., not the cartoon version, or the kiddy book version. I ask any relatives reading this to never bring it up in my presence or I will cut you off from my will. Anything else that looks even remotely familiar is inspired by properties that don't belong to me.
Irma dropped down to her knees as the last of the monsters finally dissolved into nothing. Around her, others were following suit, leaning on spears, swords or each other as their legs began to shake. Some feel unconscious immediately, toppling over asleep when they realized it was over. Other, more seasoned looking individuals stayed tense, weapons and spells ready in case this was a ruse to make them relax their guard.
Either way, Irma didn't care. She was too tired. Any excuse to stop was fine by her, even if the enemy popped up suddenly and chopped her head off when she wasn't looking!
Unbidden, her eyes fell on a headless corpse not so far away, and she shuddered, bile rising to her throat even as she tried to keep from barfing.
Okay, maybe not.
The reality of the past few hours finally hit the girl, and she closed her eyes, hands clasped firmly over her mouth. She'd nearly been killed. Repeatedly. She'd seen others getting killed around her. Repeatedly.
Irma Lair was now officially one-third of the way to losing her innocence.
She felt something touch her thigh, and a concerned voice said, "Hey, keep it together Lair. You do not want to get sick here."
Blearily, she opened her eyes, her gaze falling on the concerned wooden face of Cassidy. The miniature Guardian outfit was ripped and singed in places. Had she had a real human body, what was left of what she was wearing wouldn't be considered decent.
Before Irma could respond with anything other than a retch, they heard another cry of "KOZMIKE KATAZROFE!" echo above them, followed by a quickly cut-off cry, and then multiple impacts hitting the ground. Silence.
Cassidy sighed. "Well, I guess Keeper's done up there."
"What was he fighting, anyway?" Irma finally managed to say. "Dragons?"
Cassidy did her semblance of a smile. "Probably."
The two shared a weak laugh at the thought, relieving the tension just the tiniest bit.
"Don't tell me you two are about to crack already," Cornelia said as she came towards them, her footing slightly unsteady, her eyes not quite focused. Behind her came Will, who was looking a bit green as she surveyed the damage around them.
Cassidy blinked. "Cornelia, are you all right?"
The blonde waved a hand lazily, her eyes slightly glazed. "Of course! Why wouldn't I be?"
Cassidy nodded, then pulled on the leg of the nearest soldier, who gave a start as he looked down on the wooden doll. "Excuse me, but could you do me a favor?" Cassidy said, motioning for him to lean down. Quickly, she whispered something in his ear.
Blinking in confusion, the man nodded. Before anyone could react, he moved behind Cornelia and clubbed her on the head with the butt of his sword, instantly knocking her out.
"Thank you," Cassidy said as Will reached to support Cornelia on instinct, bearing the weight of the taller girl on her shoulder. Cassidy then turned to the Keeper of the Heart and said matter-of-factly, "She was in shock. If we hadn't had her knocked out, she might have gone nuts or something."
"Oh," was all Will said, looking dead on her feet. "Um, hey Irma, could you help me here? Cornelia's not that light, you know."
Before the Guardian of Water could even attempt to move, someone suddenly took Cornelia off Will's shoulder. Will turned, surprised. Keeper was standing next to her in all his black-clad glory, eyes starry dark and inscrutable as ever. Strangely, he had a number 25 hanging off a chain around his neck.
"Hey, Keeper, about time you got back!" Cassidy said.
Keeper grinned. "Actually, I'm not really here. You're talking to my Astral Drone 25."
"Astral Drone 25?" Will said, looking around and realizing there were other Astral Drones now in the room, circulating among the injured and healing as they went. Some were taking care of the distasteful business of straightening corpses and making them presentable, closing their eyes and putting heads and limbs back on before covering them with a blanket. All of them had a number hanging from around their necks.
Astral Drone 25 nodded, shifting his grip on Cornelia as another bent over Irma to heal her. "Yeah. I'm multitasking, directing my Drones while I'm taking care of Elyon and the others."
Will gasped at the reminder. "Oh no! Are they all right?"
25 shook his head. "Elyon is banged up pretty badly. I'm not sure, but it think someone ripped the Crown of Light off her head while she was using it as a focus. Her energy rebounded on her. Irma, Taranee and Caleb are all unconscious, although I'm bringing them back to our rooms now. As soon as I'm done, I'm coming down to help with the healing. I'm the mean time, I want you and Irma to get back to the room and rest."
"No way!" Irma finally managed to say, getting back on her feet. "Besides, you can't tell us what to do!"
The Drone– 57– that had been tending to Irma shook his head and grimaced, looking amused as he gently poked Irma with a finger, nearly pushing her over. "You're bone tired. You need the rest. Besides, none of you can heal, so you might as well sit this one out."
Another drone passed by, saw they didn't need help, and was about to go and look for someone else when he paused. Quickly, he waved a hand over Cassidy, repairing her ruined doll clothes. It's duty done, the drone went off to heal other helpless victims.
Will sighed. "We might as well go. There's nothing more we can do here."
25 nodded. "I'll take you all up to our rooms, where I– the real, non-Astral Drone me, anyway– is currently tucking the others to bed."
"Sounds like a plan," Cassidy said.
The Astral Drone hefted Cornelia again, before turning to Will. "Will, can you power everyone down? I don't want to chance the Heart and Dark Heart's powers interacting and potentially blowing us all to kingdom come. Usually, I'd be able to control my output, but we've both taken a beating, and the Hearts' powers are leaking from both of us, so we might not be as safe as we think."
Will frowned, but nodded, seeing the wisdom of his statement. A quick summon– with Will for the first time consciously trying to suppress the Heart's power, although she wasn't sure how much good that did– and the three of them were back in the clothes they'd been wearing at Heatherfield so many days ago, looking even more out of place than they had in their Guardian wear.
Power flowed from Keeper into the Astral Drone, and a cold black mist began to emanate from him, quickly covering the Guardians and Cassidy as 57 moved away to offer healing to someone else. There was a moment of disorientation, and suddenly, the veil of darkness lifted, and they were back in their room, watching as Keeper tucked a blanket under Elyon's chin as his Astral Drone moved to put Cornelia into another bed. That done, Keeper waved him off, sending the Drone who-knows-where as he turned towards the new arrivals, smiling tiredly as he stretched, popping joints before he settled heavily on a convenient chair that had suddenly slid under him.
"So," he said cheerily, if a little forced. "How'd you like the party?"
Will managed a weak smile as Cassidy rolled her eyes. Irma answered him with her usual wit. "Well, it was pretty good until those monsters popped up. We'll have to do it again some time!"
"Don't encourage him!" Cassidy said as she jumped up to the edge of a bed. "Next thing you know, he'll be inviting those things to every party he goes to."
"No, I won't," Keeper said. "Bhakhurha is a lousy dancer."
"Bhakhurha?" Irma said, bouncing over to another bed and sitting cross-legged. "The cute guy you were spending your time with?"
"Yeah, that's him," Keeper said dryly. "Rotten, absolutely rotten that guy, all he knows how to do is slash and stab."
"You're encouraging him!" Cassidy yelled at Irma.
"Could we get back to business here?" Will said, exasperated and slightly annoyed. "How are they?"
At this, Keeper sighed tiredly, closing his eyes and rubbing his eyelids. "They're fine. Hay Lin was knocked out by a magic blast. Caleb too. Taranee about the same, except it looks like she was able to fight a little before being knocked out. Elyon was the worst. Like I said, it looks like someone ripped out the Crown of Light while she was using it as a focus, destabilizing her power and causing it to rebound on her since it was apparently more than her body could take unsupported. Still, I've healed them, so now all they need is a little rest. I recommend the same for you two."
Cassidy raised an eyebrow, hands on her hips. "What about you?"
Keeper waved her off, eyes still closed. "I'm fine."
"Liar," Cassidy said. "You're dead on your feet!"
"I'll live," Keeper said. "Quite being such a mother hen. Besides, there are people downstairs I need to heal. My Drones are doing a good job, but I need to be there. There's only so much I can do through them."
"Keeper, take a break!" Cassidy suddenly yelled, flames flaring around her. "You've been fighting since last night too, and I happen to know for a fact you've been using that 'End of the World' spell of yours the whole time! Even you need to rest!"
Keeper finally opened his eyes, scowling. "I'm fine," he insisted stubbornly.
Will intervened before Cassidy could do something drastic, like been him with a fireball. "Keeper, Cassidy's right. Can't you set your Drones on automatic or something, so they can keep in healing without you?"
Keeper shook his head. "They're called Drones for a reason, Will. Unlike your Astral Drops, without me directing them, they're useless. They're literally puppets, nothing more."
"Well, can't someone else play puppeteer?" Will tried, throwing up her hands.
Keeper shook his head, before pushing himself out of his chair. "Get some rest, you girls. You're probably going to need it."
"How do you figure that?" Irma said.
Keeper smirked slightly. "Men's intuition," he said, before disappearing beneath a veil of black mist.
Harry was noticed as soon as he stepped into the room. He was sure of that. It was kind of hard not to notice him, after all. His clothes were pretty distinctive, and he had made an impression with Bhakhurha last night–in more ways than one, he thought with an internal snicker.
Pretending to ignore the looks, he began to do as his Astral Drones were doing and started going around healing people. Walking over to a nearby group– the Astral Drone who had been about to tend them left to me useful somewhere else– the Dark Keeper didn't even bother checking to see who exactly was injured– they all seemed pretty beat up anyway. Instead, he merely tried to recall that spell of Yuufa's from the anime. What was it again? …oh, yeah.
Harry threw his arms out to either side as ghostly wings glowed from his wrists. "Sanctuary!"he intoned.
A greenish glow began to emanate from the ground beneath the group, who suddenly found their wounds closing up before their very eyes as Harry moved of to the next big bunch of people wearing lots of blood, leaving lots of murmuring in his wake. A few mages were looking at him with interest, doubtlessly wanting to know if the spell was something they could do.
Harry was about to move away from his latest Sanctuary when someone suddenly grabbed his arm. Blinking, Harry turned, realizing he must be more tired than he thought if he didn't manage to feel someone coming up behind him. "Yes?"
It was the old man from the first group of people he and the Guardians had gone to back up. The old man quickly let go of Harry's sleeve, something that should have started ringing warning bells in his head, and would have if he hadn't been so sleepy. Up close, he didn't look so old as much as aged. His wrinkles were more stress lines than age lines. The fine robes he was wearing denoted his high rank– possibly a high noble or even a king– and his eyes, one brown and one gold, were steady as he looked at Harry, even after all of last night. Harry wondered if he'd healed him yet. He couldn't remember…
The old man spoke, and Harry remembered to focus. "You were the one who led the Guardians to us during the battle, weren't you? The one who wielded ice and lightning as his weapons."
Harry nodded. "You could say that."
"Then on behalf of my vassals, I thank you, Dark One. If you had not led then to stand with us, we would not have stood together and would have eventually overrun by those beasts." With that, the old man bowed low. His vassals swiftly followed, bending down before the one their lord humbled himself.
Harry stared. Okay, that had never happened before. This seemed to be the first time that someone he'd helped were thanking him like this. Not that anyone had ever been ungrateful, but… "What world do you hail from?" Harry asked as something tickled his mind.
The man's answer was prompt. "Khemit, Dark One. I am Akundin, in the service of the Falaoh, Atum, ruler of Bright Lands."
"You know who I am," Harry said dully. Khemit was one of the few worlds that the Dark Heart knew about. And that meant…
"Khemit has no quarrel with you, Dark One. If the Lord of Kandrakar has judged you worthy, then we cannot hold Ill against you. Truthfully, we might have still, to our shame, had it been not for you actions in the battle. I am in your debt, Dark One," Akundin said, still bowed. Harry was beginning to feel really embarrassed, since they'd attracted an audience.
Sighing, he touched the old man on the shoulder, motioning for him to get up. "Call me Keeper," Harry said. "Just tell you Falaoh the truth about what happened here and we'll call it even, okay?"
Harry barely stopped himself from stopping Akundin from bowing. "As you wish, Da- Keeper of the Dark Heart," he said, causing some people to gasp. Harry winced.
Quickly, he took two steps back and threw his hands out to the ceiling. "SANCTUARY!" he cried, pushing as much magic as he dared into the spell. Screw magic economy, just heal the room and run before there's a mob. Wings flared from his wrists as green light began emanating from every square inch of floor space in the room.
"Well, see you all, good bye!" Harry yelled, disappearing in a haze of his usual mist, taking his Drones with him. No sense in leaving them something to mob, after all.
Fighting off a sudden headache, Harry looked around, wondering where he'd sent himself this time. He hadn't really been thinking, just wanting to get the heck out of there. He was still somewhere in the castle, that much he was sure of. But where exactly…?
"Hey, who are you?"
Harry whirled around in surprise. Being snuck up on twice in one day? Oh, he was really slipping.
Drawing on a little more of the Dark Heart's power, Harry allowed the rush of energy it gave him to wake him up. The guy who'd snuck up on him was about his height, with blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing the armor of the castle's guards, although said armor was dirty with blood and scratches. His left hand gripped his sword awkwardly, while his right arm was bound in an awkward sling.
Almost on reflex, Harry raised his hand, holding it out towards the arm as he let his magic flow, while the more forward parts of his mind considered how to answer that question. "Um, well…"
Harry was cut off as the guy let out a cry, shaking his hand out of his sling. "WOW! This is amazing! Are you some kind of healer?"
Harry smiled, bending his head forward to hide his dark eyes. "You could say that."
Harry suddenly found himself being dragged by the arm towards who-knows where as the blond began chattering like crazy. Harry was barely able to pay any attention to what was said as they zipped through corridors that weren't nearly as opulent as the ones he and the Guardians had passed through the day before. A passing thought labeled them as service corridors before it went to join the line of thoughts that needed caffeine or a nap.
Harry nearly stumbled as he was dragged down a dark, narrow, and steep flight of stairs, into what was obviously some kind of barracks. All around, half and less dressed men, obviously castle guards, were sitting or lying down, depending on their injuries. Most had bloody bandages tied somewhere on their bodies. In one corner of the room, the fireplace was blazing as a large cauldron of water hung over it. Various pieces of metal were thrust into the flames, which tickled something in the part of Harry's mind that was connected to the Dark Heart. The smell made him gag, an interesting mixture consisting of sweat, blood, vomit, and other such products.
They more or less breezed through the room, dodging those on the floor as well as they could, ignoring the cries and curses sprouting in their wake. Another set of doors, and soon they were in the barrack's sleeping quarters, were even more wounded were being tended to. These were obviously in even worse condition than the ones outside, as Harry felt more than one person's life force disappearing. Many were being covered by sheets, while others were already being carried out towards another door that obviously led outside. The lack of the smell of burning flesh told Harry that they were being laid out rather than being burned.
"Here he is!" the still-unidentified blond said, dragging Harry towards a form lying on one of the beds. "It's okay Eugee. Everything's going to be fine now. I found a healer who's willing to cure you."
The form stirred slightly, turning it's half bandaged face towards the direction of the blond's voice. "Jooni…? Jo, it hurts…"
The blond looked at Harry expectantly, who blinked, before realizing the blond was talking about him.
Hesitantly, Harry knelt down next to the bed, trying to see what was wrong and desperately wishing for a nap. "What's wrong with him?"
"One of those things spat into his face," the blond, apparently named Jooni, said loudly, gesturing at the bandage. "I think it hit his eye. Anyway, he got distracted, and…"
"I see," Harry said, trying to fight of a bout of dizziness as he summoned the Dark Heart to himself. The pendant appeared in his hand, the comforting coolness not helping in his fight to stay awake. "Can you please unwrap the bandage on his face? I don't trust my hands right now."
The blond blinked at him, but complied. Around them, people were staring in interest, and some seemed to be waiting expectantly, or building up the nerve for something. Harry had a pretty good idea what.
Someone nudged him and he blinked, realizing he'd been staring off into space. The blond was giving him a look, the bloody bandages in hand. "Hey, you okay?"
"I'm fine," Harry said, surprised his voice was so even. Everything around him felt like he was watching it through a haze or an out of body experience. Damn, he needed sleep…
Bending over the one on the bed, Harry twitched. The boy– boy? Did the one in front of him really look that young?– the boy's left eye was completely gone. Only a gaping hole was left, one that was obviously acid-burned in. In fact, if Harry leaned forward slightly, he could still smell some acid doing it's work…
Sighing, Harry closed his eyes, then decided to open them again lest he fall asleep in the middle of using his magic. That had never happened to him, personally, but it had happened to others in the past, and the results were seldom pretty.
Harry focused on the gaping eye as little details seemed to leap at him. A smaller sliver of white was visible, obviously bone; a little bit of blood was flowing on the side, from somewhere the acid wasn't able to cauterize. He let his magic flow through him, into the boy, getting the cells to start working…
The blond next to him let out a loud exclamation as the burned flesh started to heal, surprising Harry and causing him to jump back. Since he was kneeling at the time, that meant he fell over.
For the first time, the haze through which he was starting to see things burned away slightly as he glared at the blond. "Do you mind? You're lucky I didn't accidentally kill you friend when you did that!"
The blond blushed, reaching forward to help Harry up and apologizing profusely as he did so. This time he kept quiet as Harry started healing his friend's eye. He never said a word as Harry mended the flesh on the boy's face, growing back the eyelids until the face finally looked normal, if a bit sunken.
"Is he…?" the blond said.
"He has his face back, although there's nothing I could do for his eye," Harry said tiredly, "but at least there's no fear of him dying because his brain melts from leftover acid."
"But what about…" the blond said, pointing to the injuries on his friend's chest.
"Give me a minute," Harry said grouchily, and the blond drew back, probably because his mother had told him to never stand close to grouchy mages. Taking a deep breath, Harry threw out both hands. "Sanctuary!"
Harry was fairly certain that he didn't only get the whole room, he got the next room, the grounds, and probably most of the first floor, second floor and third floor of the castle. At least, that was what he thought before darkness came over his vision, and he felt himself falling…
Cornelia hated waking up with her hair in her face. Absolutely, totally hated it. The pounding headache she had seemed to be emphasizing her dislike for the event, as did the various minor aches and pains all over her body. For a moment, she wondered why she was lying there, when she was fairly certain there was something dangerous she had to be worrying about…
A nightmare image of monsters and the dying came to her, and her eyes snapped open, only to be met with the ceiling above her bed as seen through a screen of blonde hair. Of course, that barely managed to register as she snapped upright, hand out and ready to throw some magic around.
And she very well would have if she hadn't had a sudden attack of dizziness. With a groan, she fell back on her pillow, regretting waking up as she wished herself back to sleep.
"Feeling better?" a familiar voice said softly, if a bit too loudly for her tastes in her current state.
"Not so loud," she said, trying to open her eyes. Caleb was sitting next to her bed, looking very concerned. Gently, he reached out and took her hand.
She managed an annoyed smile. "Why didn't you do that sooner?"
"Well, you looked so cute lying there, I didn't want to disturb you," he bantered back.
Cornelia smiled at the rather corny reply, before her face took on a serious cast. "What happened?"
"Apparently, Cassidy had you knocked out because you looked like you were about to have a breakdown and go nuts," Caleb said, a small flash of anger in his eyes at the mention of the ex-Guardian. He apparently didn't like the fact they'd had to hurt his girlfriend, even if it did keep her from doing something fatal.
"Remind me to thank her," Cornelia said. "And get back at her somehow."
Caleb smiled at that. "You sure you don't want me to do it for you?"
"Nah, this needs a personal touch," Cornelia said. "Although you can help if you want."
"That would be nice," Caleb said.
Cornelia smiled. Somehow, her head felt a little better already.
Her smile turned into a frown however, as she asked, "Are the others all right?"
At this, Caleb bit his lip, looking at one of the other beds in the room. "Everyone's alive. Taranee and Hay Lin got knocked out pretty hard, but all they have are a couple of bad bumps. So did I, by the way. Keeper already healed us."
"Aw, my poor baby," Cornelia cooed. Taking his head in her hands, she had him bend down as she kissed the top of his head. "There. Is that better?"
Caleb chuckled. "You should get knocked unconscious more often," he said, earning him a swat on the head. "Ow!"
"Bad baby," Cornelia admonished.
Caleb smiled for a moment before sobering up again. "The other Guardians are fine too. Just a few cuts and bruises along with fatigue. Keeper looked okay, or so the others told me. Cassidy said we shouldn't worry about him. Something about a curse."
Caleb abruptly fell silent, turning to look at the other bed again. Cornelia frowned, pushing herself up to see what he was looking at. She gasped at the sight of Elyon lying there unconscious, her pale flaxen hair strewn on the pillow like a halo.
"ELYON!" Cornelia cried, stumbling hurriedly to her feet, causing Caleb to stumble back in surprise. She managed to get about two steps before her head began to spin. She stumbled, and Caleb barely managed to catch her. "What happened to her?" she asked frantically, still trying to reach her unconscious friend.
"Keeper says someone ripped the Crown of Light from her head when she was using it, causing her power to rebound on her," Caleb said, anger very evident in his voice as he helped her towards the unconscious princess. "He says all she needs is rest, but she's been unconscious for hours."
"Why hasn't he tried to heal her again?" Cornelia asked, suddenly irrationally angry at the Keeper of the Dark Heart.
"We haven't seen him since he left," Caleb said. "The others went looking for him, but they're not back yet."
"He just left?" Cornelia said as she dropped down as gently as she could next to Elyon.
"They said he went downstairs to help heal people, but apparently he didn't hang around for long. Someone recognized him as the Keeper of the Dark Heart."
Cornelia shook her head, putting the Dark Keeper out of her mind. "Oh, Elyon…" she said, reaching down to stroke the other girl's forehead. "What did they do to you?"
She felt Caleb behind her and closed her eyes, leaning against him as she continued stroking Elyon. This felt nice, she thought, letting herself drift in his arms. Her soul mate behind her, a cute girl, her best friend, next to her. The moment was perfect.
Her stomach chose that moment to ruin it.
Caleb chuckled in her ear as she blushed. "I'll get you something to eat," Caleb said as he reluctantly pulled away. "This might take a while, since most of the servants are occupied, so try not to eat anyone while I go down to the kitchen."
She tried to glare at him, but he ignored it as he bent down to kiss her cheek. Her blush deepened, especially since she'd turned her head ever-so-slightly so that he ended up grazing her lips. "Be back soon," she said.
He gave a mock bow. "As you command, your highness," he said, smiling gently before turning on his heel, closing the door behind him as he looked back at her.
Sighing half-dreamily to herself, Cornelia moved to lean against Elyon's headboard, her hand still quietly stroking the other girl's forehead.
"That's kind of nice," Elyon murmured weakly.
Cornelia blinked. "Elyon!" she exclaimed, only to see her wince.
"Not so loud," Elyon muttered. "My head feels like someone went at it with a chainsaw. From inside."
Cornelia winced, chagrined. She should have remembered how that felt. "When did you wake up?"
"When your stomach growled," Elyon said, sounding amused. "Got anything to eat?"
"Caleb went to go get me something," the blonde said as she helped the other girl up. "How do you feel?"
"Lousy," the princess said. "I remember fighting Lanphere, then it was like someone set off a grenade in my head."
Cornelia paused. "Lanphere? That lady in black you went with?"
Elyon nodded, pursing her lips. "It was a trap, Cornelia. She beat the snot out of us and kidnapped Emerous."
"That must be where Keeper went," Cornelia said, half to herself. "He suddenly disappeared just before he was about to do something nasty to someone he was fighting."
At the memory of the pale-haired stranger, Cornelia winced, her free had going up to an unmarred part of her skin that hadn't been all that unmarred last night. He'd caught them by surprise, since they hadn't expected him to be able to do anything with his legs broken….
Cornelia shivered at the memory. She'd nearly lost her arm to him, and if it hadn't been for a healer, she'd have died of poisoning.
"Are you all right?" Elyon asked, noticing her shaking.
"I'm fine," Cornelia lied. "Bad memories from last night."
"What happened after Keeper made us leave?" Elyon asked.
"We were swarmed," Cornelia said, and proceeded to relate what had happened. Her memories were sketchy, and she deliberately skirted the bloodier portions of the night. She didn't need to relive them now, since she was fairly sure she'd be having nightmares for days.
At the end of her little recital, she somehow found herself being held by a softly murmuring Elyon as tears leaked down her face, her slightly hysterical voice finally subsiding as she drew support. "And then I blacked out and here I am."
"Well, you're safe, and that's the important thing," Elyon said, then smiled slightly. "Although getting conked out probably wasn't fun."
Cornelia chuckled at the weak attempt at a joke, but it was a chuckle nonetheless. "Thanks Ely…"
Elyon smiled up at her, and Cornelia's heart skipped a beat. Elyon looked so pure, so innocent as she gazed up at the taller blonde. Such clear eyes, fair skin, soft lips… So captivated was the Earth Guardian that it took her a while to realize the lips she was admiring were forming words, and had been for a while.
"– the least I could do for you for believing in me even after I–" Elyon was saying, looking slightly downcast, only to be silenced as Cornelia's finger came to rest on her lips.
"If this is about that little misunderstanding involving Cedric and Phobos," at the names, Cornelia's voice entered the 'growl' end of the spectrum, "then forget about it. Those two were scum who were manipulating you for their own ends. If it's anyone's fault, then it should be mine. You were my best friend, but I didn't tell you when things started getting weird with the others. Heck, I trusted Will before I trusted you, and I barely knew her. So don't blame yourself for that. I don't'."
Suddenly, an impish grin appeared on Cornelia's face. "Besides, if you hadn't fallen to the Dark Side, I probably wouldn't have ever met Caleb!"
"You would have," Elyon said. "You'd have met him eventually. If nothing else, Vathek or Professor Rudolph would have introduced you two."
The grin got slightly wider as Cornelia tightened her grip on the other girl. "Yeah, but I like the poetry of the thought that most important girl in my life introduced me to the most important boy in my life."
Elyon blinked, looking up at Cornelia again. The blonde was struck once more by how luminous her eyes were. Light of Meridian indeed…
"Am I really the most important girl in your life?" Elyon said, then added jokingly, "Or is that just a line for you to get me into bed and have your way with me?"
Cornelia rolled her eyes and swore bloody vengeance on Keeper, truce or not. "We're already in bed," she said, going along with the joke, "and it's not a line."
Elyon tilted her head, a smile tugging at her lips. "So does this mean you're going to have your way with me?"
Cornelia gave her a look. "If you were anyone else, you'd already have a bump on your head for keeping that up. The only special treatment you're getting is no lumps."
"Aww…" Elyon said, pouting cutely, and Cornelia suddenly felt herself leaning forward…
Her lips were on Elyon's before she knew what was happening. For a moment, time stood still as the two merely started at each other, both literally nose to nose and eye to eye…
Then a loud crash came from the anteroom, followed by Hay Lin's cry of, "Hey, we've found Keeper! You'll never guess where he was!"
The door to their room opened, and Irma and Will barged in. "Hey! We've found Keeper! Now he can heal Elyon again and– oh, Elyon, you're up! How are you feeling?" Irma asked.
"F-fine…" Elyon said, looking at Cornelia with a strange look in her eye. Said Guardian was doing her best to keep from going red as Will's hair.
"That's not all," Will said, and something in her tone instantly scrubbed all other emotional tones from the atmosphere, leaving behind a serous air. The Keeper of the Heart held up the Heart Of Kandrakar. "Kandrakar just called…"
Harry was awakened when he felt someone deliver a firm kick to his forehead. "HEY!" he cried, flailing about momentarily before he finally sat up and rubbed his offended brow. "What's the big idea?"
Then he blinked, realizing he was in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar room, with most of the Guardians crowded around him. Cassidy was standing by his pillow, obviously the one who had kicked him. "Hey, where am I?"
Cassidy rolled her eyes (all 360 degrees of it), before pointing to a blond in armor that Harry barely remembered. "He says you passed out after healing everyone within a hundred and fifty feet from you."
Harry blinked, scratching his head. "I did? Uh, hang on, let me check."
Quickly, he accessed the Dark Heart's memories. "Oh yeah, I guess I did."
"What happened to you, anyway?" Will said.
"Hey, you try getting rid of a flight of dragons all night, and healing a lot of people, let's see how well you stay awake!" Harry snapped then winced, feeling a headache coming on. "Sorry, just kind of grouchy right now. Where's Bhakhurha?"
He did not like the way that they all looked at each other like that. "What happened?" he asked.
"Bhakhurha got away," Cassidy said, looking at Harry accusingly. "He used his magic to escape shortly after you dumped him on us. Nearly killed Cornelia on his way out, too."
"HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?" Harry demanded as he got to his feet. He swayed a bit as he stood, but otherwise he was fine. "I BROKE BOTH HIS LEGS! HOW DID HE MANAGE TO ESCAPE?"
If anything, Cassidy looked at him even more accusingly. "He used his magic to summon his pouches then used some kind of potion to heal himself. Then he killed three soldiers with that knife of his and nearly killed Cornelia before finally making a break for it."
"And it didn't occur to you to break his legs again or just kill him?" Harry said.
"LOOK WHO'S TALKING?" Cassidy yelled, suddenly erupting. "WHY DIDN'T YOU KILL HIM IF YOU WANTED HIM DEAD THAT MUCH?"
"I was planning to continue where we left off," Harry growled. "Then I got a little sidetracked, what with Lanphere and her lackeys getting away because of a bunch of dragons."
"Lady Lanphere?" the blond said. "What about her?"
"She was the one who sent those monsters as a cover for her to kidnap the Prince," Harry said, ignoring the look of shock blooming on the blond's face. "So he escaped?"
"Yes, and in hindsight, it's all your fault," Cassidy said.
"How is that my fault?" Harry demanded.
"If you hadn't fooled around and just killed all those things with the Dark Heart, we wouldn't be having this discussion!"
"And what makes you think I could have done that?" Harry growled.
"I just remembered, my superior wants me to do something," the blond suddenly said, and was gone. Harry and Cassidy didn't notice, too focused on each other.
"You've been going on about your infinite power. You stop time like it was nothing. Why didn't you just stop time and kill all those things or something?" Cassidy shot back.
"It's not that easy!" Harry yelled. "You of all people should understand! You used to be a Keeper of the Heart!"
"Well, I didn't go around stopping time!"
"Why do you think I don't?"
There was a pause.
"What?" Cassidy said. The other Guardians leaned forward to listen.
Harry dropped down on the bed. "Stopping time isn't that easy. It takes concentration and power, something that doesn't come easily to that kind of situation. Why do you think if I had to concentrate on it in the Lodelyday?"
"That was concentrating?" Will said.
"Don't knock it. It's harder than it looks," Harry said.
"What about you keeping time stopped on Earth all this time?" Cassidy demanded.
"That's merely a matter of controlling when you leave and come back," Harry said dismissively. "Kandrakar has things that can do the same thing. Bottom line is that I'm strong, but I'm still human. There's a limit to how much power I can use safely. Why do you think Elyon needs the Crown of Light?"
"This is still you fault," Cassidy said.
Harry narrowed his eyes. "I don't have time for this. I need to find Lanphere and Bhakhurha and get the Crown of Light back–"
"Yeah, about that," Will said, suddenly nervous. "Kandrakar called…"
Will trailed off, not looking at him.
"Spit it out Vandom!" Harry said, losing patience.
"Theywantyoutoleavethisworld. We'resupposedtotakeoverfromhere," Will said in a rush.
Harry's eyes narrowed. "Say that again?"
Will gulped. "They want you to leave this world. We're supposed to take over from here. Whatever that means."
Harry bowed his head, grinding his teeth. "I… see…" he said.
Abruptly, he disappeared.
Will blinked, before looking around to make sure he was really gone. "Well, that went better than expected."
Irma shuddered. "Tell me about it. I'm shaking here."
"Where do you think he went?" Taranee asked nervously.
Cassidy sniffed, quite a feat since she didn't have lungs. "Who cares."
"You do," Hay Lin said.
Will took a deep breath, let it out. "Come on. Let's get back to our room. I have a feeling we'll need to get moving."
"What clued you in?" Irma said. "The fact the nearly everyone else is leaving?"
"More food for us!" Hay Lin said.
When they finally got back to their rooms, they found Caleb, Cornelia and Elyon finally up and eating. Caleb was looking questioningly between the two girls, who were eating in silence.
"Cornelia! Elyon! You're both up!" Hay Lin said, rushing towards the two girls.
"How are you two feeling?" Will asked, watching Hay Lin hug the two as she helped herself to some bread.
"Fine," Cornelia said, looking both annoyed and relieved as she tried to pry Hay Lin off her. "How'd things go with Keeper?"
There was an uneasy silence.
"That bad, huh?" Elyon said.
"Could have been worse," Will said again. "He disappeared after I told him Kandrakar wants us to handle getting back the Crown of Light. The Oracle was being all vague as usual, and I'm pretty sure he's not telling me everything–"
"So what else is new?" Cornelia muttered, protecting her food after finally getting Hay Lin off her.
"–but he did say we needed to get the Crown of Light back," Will finished.
Elyon just nodded. "I'm coming with you."
Caleb blinked. "Princess–!"
"Oh, calm down, Caleb. You're coming with us while Vathek takes the stuff we don't need home," Elyon said. "I might not have the Crown, but I'm not totally defenseless. Jerks they might have been, but Cedric and Phobos did teach me how to use my powers. "
"But–" the former Rebel said.
"Caleb, I'm going, you're coming with me, and that's final!" Elyon said, speaking in a voice that commanded and expected to be obeyed. It wasn't the whiny, demanding voice of a brat. It was the voice of a true Princess.
There was only one response. "Yes, your highness," Caleb said.
Elyon nodded, satisfied, and everyone knew they were looking at royalty. For some reason, Cornelia wasn't looking so well.
"Well then," Hay Lin said, breaking the silence that had fallen as she reached for the food. "Let's eat!"
Keeper was waiting for them when they stepped out of the room.
"Hey," he said easily, acting as if nothing had happened. "I've just been to Kandrakar. They basically told me my job was done, and that it was your turn. If it's any consolation, I don't think the Oracle knew this would happen. I think they're just jumping on an opportunity to send you somewhere. "
Everyone eyed him warily, and he chuckled. "No hard feelings. If I understand their reasoning correctly, then my being here would do you more harm than good."
"What do you mean? You could help us kick ass!" Irma said.
"Well, yeah, I could. But if I did that, how'd you learn how to be self-sufficient?" Keeper said nonchalantly.
"What do you mean?" Will said. "We've done well before on our own!"
"Yes, but then, you regularly came back home between visits to the Metamoor. Now, you have to keep going. You can't go home until the end. Until you get the Crown of Light back," Keeper said. "And ass for kicking ass, you can all do fine on your own. Just be imaginative."
"Where are you going?" Caleb asked.
Keeper shrugged. "Around. I can't go back to Earth yet since time will start without you and you didn't leave Astral Drops, so I think I'll go back to exploring. Maybe visit Yuko again."
"You're going back to that crazy witch?" Cassidy exclaimed.
"Be nice, she's cute," Keeper said. "Anyway, I'm just here to wish you luck. That, and to give Caleb something."
With that, Keeper held out his hand. "I don't know if anything happened to your sword," Keeper said as silvery liquid began to appear, floating in midair in his hands, "so I thought I'd give you one."
Everyone watched as a long, thin sword began to form beneath Keeper's outstretched hand, the point dripping lower and lower as a simple hilt and pommel began to weave into existence. Soon, a sword with a six-foot blade floated before them.
Gripping the handle, Keeper caused bandages to appear and wrap around it before tossing it over to Caleb, who nearly fumbled it before grabbing it securely by it's heavily wrapped blade. "No sheath can hold that properly, so just hang it on your back and use you magic to remove the bandages when you need to. At the very least, it's good for scaring people."
"Don't you think it's a bit, um, long?" Caleb said, gawking at the weapon in his hand. His own sword was barely a third this size!
"Hey, there are few problems you can't solve with magic and a seven-foot sword," Keeper said, then grinned. "Those you can't usually involve world hunger, world peace, and women."
"Come again? "Cassidy said dangerously.
Laughing, Keeper turned away, waving jauntily over his shoulder. "Well, good luck! And if you run into Bhakhurha, call me, okay? I want another crack at that bastard, and Kandrakar be damned!"
In a flicker of mist, he was gone.
As everyone stared at the spot, trying to decide whether or not they'd just dreamed everything that just happened, one of the castle guards came up to them and bowed. "Princess Elyon? Lady Guardians? Salamangkero Clef requests your presence."
They all looked at each other.
"Well, let's go see what he wants, shall we?" Cassidy said, and they all turned to follow the guard.
In a Japan far away, Harry found himself facing a beautiful, regal-looking woman. "Hello, Yuko-san. Has the book come in yet?"
The Dimensional Witch smiled. "It should be here soon. In fact, I think Watanuki is picking it up on the way from school today. Would you like to come inside for some sake as we wait?"
"Lead on. Although you wouldn't happen to have any soda, would you?"
"I'll see what we can dig up…"
(Read 'Harry Potter and the Collided Worlds' by Sokai, story id 2502930)
- To be continued... in W-I-T-C-H: Duelist Knights and the Crown of Light!
(Read 'Harry Potter and the Collided Worlds' by Sokai, story id 2502930)
A/N: I'm closing this particular story for now. Keeper is moving in with someone else, while the Guardians are having their own adventure. Don't worry, Keeper isn't dead, he's just in hiding. If you want to know where he is, read W-I-T-C-H: Duelist Knights and the Crown of Light! I'll be revealing his location eventually…
Please review, C&C welcome.
Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.