Well, this is the final chapter of the Treasure Hunter Trilogy. I hope you all have enjoyed it, even though I've put you through a lot of waiting. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Treasure Planet or any of its characters. Gale and Renee belong to Solaris Prime. All other OCs are mine.
I could still remember the words Renee had spoken back on Gale's ship. 'He'd do anything for you, Jim and Siren, probably even give his life.' I knew how true those words were, even though Gale dying for me would be in vain because of our bond. Yet even as I watched these events play out before me, I finally understood the depth of it. Everything seemed to play out in slow motion as Gale escaped the grasp of the two pirates he was fighting. Jim pushed all his weight against Pathos in one final effort to end this once and for all. It didn't seem like it was going to work as Pathos managed to hold his footing. Gale launched himself at Pathos and I heard a loud crack as his arm wrenched out of its socket. That was when Renee screamed and time returned to its normal pace. I sprinted across the room at the same moment the three men hit the ground. I couldn't be sure who hit the pattern on the floor first, though, because the room was suddenly engulfed in a blinding white light.
"Gale! Jim!" Ari's voice hollered over the dying sounds of struggle. For a moment, I wondered if Gale had been the one to hit the ground and I'd perished with him. Gale had once said that there was no tunnel at death, but what about the light? Was that true? Would my child be growing up without her mother? Without ever having met her uncle?
Gradually the light faded and the details of Helen's throne room returned to sight. I was still alive, so I figured that meant Gale was as well. But that didn't quell my fears about Jim as I began running toward where I'd last seen him, my vision still clouded by spots from the afterimage of the light. All the fighting seemed to have stopped in the anticipation of knowing who had been offered to the Stone of Knowledge. The room was silent, but for Siren's screams for her daddy. Two men were lying on the marble tiles, one being my brother. The other was Jim, but he wasn't moving. I dropped to my knees beside him and began shaking his shoulder.
"Jim!" I cried. "Jim, please wake up!"
I turned frantically to Gale, who appeared to be unconscious, and saw how badly he'd been injured. His shoulder had already taken heavy damage, but the force of throwing himself at Pathos had popped his arm out of its socket, leaving the bone exposed through the old wound. A shudder rippled down my spine as I continued to glance around the room. Pathos was nowhere to be seen.
"Seize Pathos' men," Helen ordered from where she was seated, her voice echoing in the void of silence. The pirates didn't struggle at all, which puzzled me for only a second before I heard a groan beside me. Looking back down, I saw Jim awakening and I heaved a sigh of relief.
"Ember," he murmured as he looked up at me. I threw my arms around him and cried on his shoulder, so happy he was still alive.
"Don't do that to me again. Don't make me imagine life without you ever again."
"Gale!" Renee cried as she ran to her husband's side. I pulled away from Jim and saw the other Elemental Children nearing as well.
"What happened to him?" Jim asked as he pushed himself into a sitting position. A dizzying sensation washed over me and I began to feel weak. I knew this feeling.
"He's dying," I whispered. "We have to heal him now. Reset his arm and stop the bleeding."
"On it," Ari answered before Renee could even give me a fearful look at Gale's nearly demise. "Tobias, hold him down. He's going to struggle." Tobias knelt beside Renee and held onto Gale while Ari grabbed my brother's dislocated arm. I felt Jim's hands on my shoulders and wondered if I'd started swaying.
"As soon as his bone's back in place, Nyssa, you heal him," Ebony ordered and the younger Child of Wind nodded quickly.
"Three… Two… One!"
With one swift movement and a grunt, Ari forced Gale's arm back into place with a sickening pop. My brother's eyes snapped open and he screamed out in pain, attempting to thrash around on the floor. Tobias held him firmly in place while Nyssa began healing his wounds. Renee reached for his free hand and held it tightly as she leaned in. Her face hovered mere inches above his and I knew it was so that when he stopped squeezing his eyes shut, she would be the only thing he saw. Surrounding him with the familiar would calm him.
"I'm here, Gale. I'm not going anywhere," Renee whispered and I watched the tears fall from her eyes onto his face. Siren suddenly ran towards us, stumbling all the way, with tears in her eyes. I took her in my arms when she was near enough, but kept her from looking at Gale. She didn't seem to notice as she sobbed on my shoulder while Jim reached around me to rub her back.
"He's going to be fine," Willow said softly with a relieved smile and Nyssa nodded, wiping the sweat from her brown. Gale's heavily breathing slowly came to a stop and the pain left his features.
"Is it over? Where's Pathos?" he demanded.
"Gone," Helen answered as she finally stood from her throne. She crossed the space between us quickly and picked up a little stone from the center of the pattern. It was the Stone of Knowledge and it was glowing. "His soul has been offered to the stone, and his body removed from this, or any other, plane of existence." Helen put the necklace on and turned away, saying nothing else.
"Wait!" Jim yelled. Helen ignored him, only murmuring orders to the nearest guard before leaving the room.
"The queen is allowing you to remain in this room until the Child of Water is well enough to stand, at which time you will be escorted back to your ship and required to leave Merkitan immediately."
"What?" Ebony demanded. "Your queen kidnapped a child for a stupid necklace and we don't get any explanations?"
"The queen doesn't need to explain herself to the likes of you."
"Let it go," I murmured.
"We have Siren back. That's all that matters now."
"Are you sure?" Gale asked.
"That's good enough for me then." He slowly pushed himself into a sitting position, despite protests from the rest of us. "Let's go. I'll be fine."
A short time later, we were back on Gale's ship, sailing away from Merkitan. My brother was using Renee to support his weight as we all made our way to his quarters. Once seated on the couch in the room, a rare grin broke across his features.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Renee asked.
"Yeah." He turned to me, looking at the child in my arms. "So, who's this beautiful little girl?" I laughed softly and gave Siren to Gale, explaining to her who he and Renee were before stepping back.
"Don't you think this should have waited a bit?" Ari asked carefully. I continued to watch Gale and Renee interact with Siren, slowly easing her into playing and laughing with them. I shook my head at Ari's question.
"No. This is the best thing for them, and all of us. We need our lives back, and this is the first step to doing that."
I hope you all have enjoyed the journey and the adventure. Please R&R.