Antauri once said, "There will always be evil." Sometimes the evil things that happen can be from our own actions. Sparx had no idea how five simple words would change his life forever.

And through the trials Sparx would have to face, he would never begin to comprehend that he had never known what he had...

Until it was gone.


Prologue

Tension made itself known in the atmosphere. Either looks of fatigue, worry, or anger clouded the group's expressions. After several months of struggle and crushing pressure, it only grew worse as the truth became evident.

The red dots on the mainscreen were driving Sparx close to ballistic. "Okay, so let me get this straight-" Sparx wore a scowl as he stepped up closer, gesturing toward the rapidly growing red dots. "That's how much infantry Skeleton Freak has?"

"I'm afraid so, Sparx," Gibson spoke quietly, wearing a weary expression. It was apparent that the long, weary months had taken its toll on the intelligent simian.

They were all gathered in the mainroom, whereas Gibson was informing the Hyperforce of what the drastic situation of the war had grown to. "Skeleton King has been quiet for two weeks now," Chiro said, crossing his arms. "I wonder what he has up his sleeve."

"In this case, no news is not good news." Antauri looked up, his face troubled but his navy blue eyes reflecting that same wise assurance. "I'm afraid we have to expect and prepare for the worst. If I remember correctly, the most drastic of Skeleton King's attacks have purposed from long periods of scheming and diligent planning."

It had been four long months of war and most of Shuggazoom's army were deeply wounded, missing, or dead. Not many allies were left and the citizens of Shuggazoom were beginning to lose hope. A dark presence continued to wove its way around the Hyperforce and their people and choke them. The tension in the room nearly masked the disappointment of the Monkey Team members. Skeleton King's army continued to increase as theirs decreased--fast. It seemed like they had but little time left.

The uncomfortable silence was broken by a frustrated red monkey. "What are you saying, Antauri?" Sparx narrowed his eyes as he clenched and unclenched his fists. "That we don't stand a chance?"

Everyone was shocked at Sparx's outburst. Jinmay was the first to speak, her emerald green eyes shimmering with sadness. Her tone was soft and gentle, carrying like melodious winds. Yet the usual glimmer in her eyes were faded. "Sparx, he didn't say that."

"Isn't that what he's implying?" Sparx snapped, his eyes igniting with anger. "I'm sick and tired of all you going around like it's the end of the world. This war isn't over yet!"

Antauri frowned tiredly, suddenly looking as if the whole world rested on his shoulders.. "Sparx-" he began, only to be cut off.

"Just save it." Sparx crossed his arms and he shot a look that could kill at the mainscreen.

Nova stepped forward, her pink eyes registering concern. "Sparx." Unspoken words passed between them.

Sparx turned and met her eyes briefly, then spun on his heel and crossly made his departure. Chiro sideglanced at Antauri in concern. "That wasn't like him."

Antauri nodded wisely. "He is deeply troubled, as we all are. The war has affected everyone in one way or another." He closed his eyes, gathering his thoughts.

Nova glanced at the red transport tube where Sparx had left, then, after slight hesitation, followed. Emotions swam inside her and she swallowed, trying to force them down. She escaped the tense atmosphere and quietly made her way up the tube. Nova soon found Sparx sitting in a chair, absentmindedly polishing his magnets. "Sparx, are you okay?" she asked.

At the sound of Nova's voice, Sparx glanced up, slightly surprised. He hadn't heard her come up. He had been too absorbed in his thoughts to notice. His aggravation getting the best of him, Sparx glared at her. "Does it look like I'm okay?" he demanded sharply, then mentally kicked himself. Nova was just being concerned. Why did he snap at her like that?

Nova frowned. "Sparx, you're not the only one that's affected from the war. All of us are suffering." Her face fell a little, and something inside Sparx pained at the drained look in her eyes.

Sparx rolled his eyes. "I've heard it all before, Nova," he said sourly. "But let's face it--everyone's going at this like we're going to lose."

Nova crossed her arms and her frown grew more, the brash firmness inside her coming to surface. "Sparx, that's a lie and you know it. Everyone's doing the best they can but we're tired of the war, just like you. Things do look a little bleak right now. Wouldn't that be just a teensy disappointing after everything we've done?" Her voice now had an edge to it.

"Now you're acting like I haven't done anything to help!" Sparx stood up, shooting her a fierce glare.

Nova threw her hands up in the air in exasperation. "Sparx, honestly!"

Sparx, acting on the first angry thought that popped into his mind, pointed his finger at her, so close he could jab her in the chest if he'd wanted to. "Anyway, who are you to tell me to get over it? You're the one who's afraid to step outside if the air is a little nippy!"

Nova recoiled as if she'd been slapped. The words had hit their mark. Her mouth hung agape for a few moments, then was set in a firm line. "Sparx, that's entirely different. That has nothing to do with-"

"You know what, Nova?" Sparx coldly interrupted, taking a step backwards, his eyes completely filled with anger. Never in his life had he felt so...misguided. "You need to get a grip and move on. So what if Mandarin locked you up in the training room? That was then. You need to quit being a coward and get a life."

Nova blinked, wincing as she absorbed the painful blow. Her pink eyes ignited with fury and she took a menacing step forward. "Sparx, stop acting like a baby! All you're doing is taking your anger over the war out on everyone else. You need to grow up and move on for the sake of everyone's lives, and the war that's still going on. Do you even realize that the fate of Shuggazoom lies in our hands?! Do you??" She scowled at him and blinked rapidly, whether to get control of her anger or blink back tears, Sparx couldn't tell. Finally she sighed, her anger melting as she searched through Sparx's eyes. "You've never been the same since..." her voice faded and trailed off. By the sudden shock on her face at her own comment, it was evident she hadn't meant to say that out loud.

Sparx didn't have to hear the rest of her sentence to realize what she was referring to. But he asked anyway. "What are you talking about?" Sparx asked through his clenched teeth.

Nova looked away slightly. "Sparx..I miss the old you. The one I loved," she added in a whisper. She missed his corny puns and jokes that were used to break the tension. She missed the laidback Sparx who always looked at everything as an adventure. Ever since his incident with the Fire of Hate...well, he'd changed.

That was it. That was the last straw. She had said enough. Everything around him faded and suddenly he felt pure hatred. All he wanted was veagance. He wanted--no, no, needed--to make her pay for what she'd said. The scene played slowly in his mind and it felt as if someone else was controlling his every move. It didn't seem real. Sparx's hand swung back, then shot forward to deliver a painful blow to Nova's cheek. And then everything returned to normal, and instead of feeling truimphant, Sparx felt a pit of regret slowly settle in his stomach as he saw hurt fill Nova's beautiful bubblegum eyes, her expression crushed and shocked. She slowly reached up to touch a red mark on her cheek.

Sparx wanted to apologize and tell her how sorry he was, that it wasn't him doing that, it was...it was..the Fire of Hate, Sparx suddenly realized in his pride and shock wouldn't allow him to. He opened and closed his mouth numerous times as he racked his mind, trying to think of something to say.

Nova avoided eye contact as her hurt-filled eyes gazed at the ground. "I don't need you ruining my life anymore, Sparx," she murmured. She turned and slowly started to walk back to the transport tube. Sparx felt a mix of emotions hit him hard. But the one that hit the hardest was fury. He refused to let her have the last word. He wouldn't have it!

Sparx glowered at the yellow monkey, balling up his fists. He'd never felt so furious, but even so, the words that left his mouth surprised even him.

"Yeah? Well, I hate you so much I wish you didn't exist!"

Nova stopped and he saw her stiffen. She turned her head slightly and Sparx saw such a hurt expression on her face that it nearly broke him. He thought he even saw a glimpse of tears in her shimmering eyes. Then she turned back, straightened, and walked back out with as much dignity as she could muster.

Suddenly everything dawned on him and Sparx smacked his forehead. Why was I so mad at her? Nova didn't deserve that! Refusing to dwell on the thoughts and, pushing away his guilt, Sparx decided to walk around a bit to clear his thoughts. He found that his destination of his pointless wandering was Nova's training room. Of course it has to be Nova's training room, he thought, groaning inwardly. Feeling sleep heavy on his eyelids, Sparx groggily found a comfortable corner and sat down. He refused to feel guilty about his quarrel with Nova. No doubt, that was the worst one they'd EVER had.

As soon as Sparx shut his eyes and fell asleep, reality collided with time and the galaxies spun as something drastic took place. Little did Sparx know that when he would awaken, his life would be changed forever.


"Be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it all.."

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This is where our story begins.