Chapter VI: The Shadows Bite
Robin and Starfire floated abovethe ocean on the other side of the island. They had just gotten the signal to proceed from Beast Boy. Aqualad dove down into the dark ocean to try and access the tower's underwater launching area. Robin had given him a water-proof code breaker in case Raven changed the access codes.
"Your code's not working," Aqualad responded to his friends. "I'm hooking up the code breaker." A few tense moments passed. "Got it, the gate's open."
Starfire plunged the pair into the cool ocean water as they quickly made their way towards the entrance. Within minutes they erupted into the underwater launch pool under the Tower. The wet pair joined Aqualad. Seawater dripped profusely from them. Robin turned towards Starfire and stared at her wet body for a brief second.
"Ok let's go," Robin said as he and Aqualad broke out into a sprint. Starfire flew behind them as a feeling of dread began to creep over her. Everything was quiet, too quiet.
Robin and Aqualad paused at the tunnel entrance that lead back up to the tower. It was surprisingly dark. Robin tried to bring the lights up but they did not respond.
"Starfire, a little light please," Robin asked. Starfire obliged and the group entered the tunnel.
The three quickly pushed forward; a dim flickering light shown ahead of them. Starfire slowed to a halt unnerved by it. Robin and Aqualad pressed on.
Both halted when they discovered the source of the dim light. Three large blood red candles were placed on the floor. Their flames flickered slowly in the tunnel. Robin and Aqualad looked at each other not sure what to make of them. Starfire halted unable to move forward.
Robin noticed Starfire wasn't keeping up with them and turned to see what had happened. "Come on Starfire, we don't have much time."
Starfire nodded her head then reluctantly approached the candle light. She halted again when something on the walls caught her attention.
Robin saw Starfire's eyes fill with horror. "What's the matter?"
"The shadows," was all she could say.
"Huh?" Robin and Aqualad looked over to the walls. Their shadows had taken on ominous forms. Within a slit second they had leaped out from the wall and latched onto both of them. The boys screamed in pain as their shadows consumed them. Robin reached out towards Starfire as a cold paralysis began to sweep over his body. "Run!" was all he could muster before he became completely engulfed in dark matter.
Starfire took a cautious step towards her entangled friends. Then she felt a painfully cold touch on her. She looked down as her shadow latched onto her leg. Starfire shrieked in fear then let out a quick volley. Her eyes were overwhelmed by the green flash. The shadow's icy touch weakened and she quickly pulled away and retreated back down the tunnel towards the pool.
Her heart raced as she felt her way down the pitch black tunnel, urged on by the terror of her own shadows pursuing her. Starfire emerged alone from the tunnel and turned around hoping to see her friends following behind her. She waited and listened for them but could only hear her panicked breathing.
The walls began to shake violently as pieces of the roof fell into the pool. Starfire spread her legs trying to keep from falling over. Slowly the shaking began to subside. She quickly turned back to the tunnel; she had half expected to see a horde of shadows emerge from it.
Her communicator burst to life causing her to jump with fright. Bumble Bee's strained voice crackled over the air way.
"Robin, half the team's down! We need…to…" Then there was static.
Starfire engaged her communicator. "Bumble Bee; Robin and Aqualad are….missing. What is going on?" She awaited a reply but heard only static. In an instant she decided to check on the others. She plunged into the water and made her way back to the surface.
She lifted herself over the ocean surface and took several deep breaths to try steady her nerves before she pushed on. She was desperately seeking any help feeling suddenly very alone and scared. There was no sign of her friends.
The tower lights illuminated a frightening scene below her. Raven and Gregory had her friends lined up on the ground. All of them were covered with a black substance except for their heads. Starfire gasped as she realized she was the only one left.
Raven looked up into the sky sensing someone was watching them. She immediately spotted Starfire hovering high above her.
"Stop her," she quickly commanded.
Starfire was momentarily frozen unable to move. This had all gone so horribly wrong. That's when she felt a presence behind her. Somehow her body instinctively dove down as the blackened acrid breath of the bone dragon passed over her. She turned around and saw the wicked beast as it let out a horrible screech of frustration.
Starfire's ears rang with pain. She had to make a decision; stand or flee. With great reluctance she flew off into the night, wholly defeated.
End Part II