Disclaimer: You know I don't own.
AN: Set a few hours after the events of Rampage and Revenge.
Elyon rubbed the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes in tiredness. To say it had been a…trying day would be an understatement.
"Ms Vandom, I honestly don't know how or when we'll be able to save Will." Elyon told Susan Vandom, who glared at her.
"That's unacceptable!" Susan snapped angrily. "Because of you, my daughter is trapped in some ancient hags jewel, to be her very own Duracell! You're supposed to be one of the most powerful people in existence and my daughter-"
"Hey leave Ellie alone!" Cornelia cut in angrily, glaring at Susan. Elyon waved her lover aside and turned to face Susan, who was also glaring.
"Ms Vandom, a few hours ago, your daughter was one of those people who saved my life. I assure you, I HAVE not forgotten her and have no intention of leaving her as someone's private battery."
"But you need to understand this." Elyon looked Susan Vandom in the eye hard. "My own brother tried to kill me a few hours ago and very nearly succeeded. I've had ninety-eight percent of my magical energy drained from me. I barely have enough energy left to stand, let alone rescue anyone."
"Will is not going to die in there. Nerissa needs her alive. But until we know how to defeat Nerissa, any attack would be nothing more than a wasted gesture at best and could put Will's life in danger."
Susan glared at Elyon, clearly wanting to say more. However, it was clear that she couldn't think of any further arguments to hit Elyon with. Elyon looked around at the others in the room and sighed. While Ms Vandom didn't need much convincing about W.I.T.C.H (Largely on account of the fact that she didn't really have a choice about it.), the other families of the Guardians were going to be far harder to convince.
Phobos was standing on the ledge of the cave that his forces had regrouped. There was a sudden flash of green light as an old woman with long grey hair appeared.
"Greetings Prince Phobos." She said firmly, clearly not intimidated. Behind her stood an elderly Chinese woman, with a blank look on her face and in her full glory, Shagon.
"Shagon! What are you doing in the company of this" Phobos paused as he sneeringly examined woman who had spoken. "Old woman?"
"She is my creator and mistress." Shagon replied. Phobos's face paled as he realised who he was talking to.
"You're Nerissa?" he asked in surprise.
"Yes. And while I cannot return Shagon to you, I present a replacement." Nerissa waved a hand and a tall, wolf-man stepped forward. "This is Khor. He will make an excellent replacement for Shagon, for he too feeds on his opponents anger."
Phobos examined Khor critically, his head tipped slightly to one side. Then he smiled.
"Thank you Nerissa. May I ask as to why you keep helping our cause? You didn't want to work with us while we were in power, why do so now?"
Nerissa smiled. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend. You keep Candracar's attention away from me and with two enemies, the Guardians will be hard pressed to fight us both." Nerissa paused. "On a different subject, do you know who betrayed your position to the Guardians?"
"I was betrayed? How?" Phobos asked angrily.
"Someone sent up a flare of magical energy." Nerissa pointed out. "It would have been far better if your sister had died, she would not be rallying the Guardians as we speak."
Phobos turned and faced Miranda and Cedric. "You two were the only people outside during the ceremony." He growled as he opened his hand.
"My Lord, I assure you that we-" Cedric didn't get a chance to finish his sentence as a bolt of magic blasted through Cedric's chest from Phobos. He then turned his hand towards Miranda, who had started running for her life. But as he fired, Cedric's hand grabbed Phobos's. That sudden, unexpected move from Cedric, saved Miranda's life. Instead of the bolt hitting Miranda in the centre of her back, it instead smacked firmly into the side of her ribs. Miranda escaped the cave, limping slightly in pain.
"After her Shagon!" Nerissa bellowed. "Make sure she dies."
"Yes Mistress." Shagon replied dully as she took to the skies.
Taranee and her mother furiously glared at one another.
"Mum, this isn't up for discussion. Will is one of my best friends and-"
"The girl has lead you into God-knows what dangers. You have no obligation to her or any of the other girls!"
At this statement, Taranee lost her temper. Again.
"NO OBLIGATION!" Taranee yelled. "CORNELIA SAVED MY LIFE IN MERIDIAN. IF IT WASN'T FOR HER, PHOBOS WOULD'VE KILLED ME AND HAY LIN! DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT I HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO THEM!"
"YOUR LIFE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN IN DANGER IF YOUR 'FRIEND' WILL HADN'T LED YOU INTO THAT SITUATION TO BEGIN WITH!" Theresa bellowed back "THIS ISN'T JUST SOME GAME, -"
"WE KNOW IT'S NOT A GAME MUM! I'M NOT SOME LITTLE KID!"
The two females glared at one another with an intensity that practically threatened to spontaneously combust. Then, much to the surprise of Lionel Cook, the two hugged one another, tears running down both their cheeks.
"Taranee honey, I'm sorry I yelled. I don't want you to get hurt, that's all. I couldn't survive if you were killed." Theresa said, through her sobs.
"I'm sorry I yelled too mum. But duty called us and we answered." Taranee paused and chuckled. "Trouble is, you and dad taught me to do what's right."
Theresa and Taranee looked each other in the eyes. "There's nothing I can say or do to pursuade you otherwise, is there?" Theresa asked. Taranee shook her head and Theresa let out a small laugh.
"You're just like me at your age. Well, maybe not the hellraiser part, but as far as being seriously stubborn about your beliefs of right and wrong go, you're exactly like me. I wish your brother was here, I'd think he could pursuade you to back off from this."
"Doubtful." Taranee replied with a grin. "Where is Pete anyway? I'm surprised he isn't here."
"I don't know. I can't get through to his phone." Theresa said wistfully. "Probably surfing on some remote beach or with a girl."
Miranda paused for breath as her vision started to blur a little around the edges. While the wound inflicted on her by Phobos wasn't enough to be fatal, but it certainly severe enough to slow her down to a crawl. Gritting her teeth, Miranda resumed running.
"Why couldn't you tell us about this?" Elizabeth Hale asked her daughter, looking into her eyes.
"Would you have let me charge off if you did?" Cornelia shot back. "Mum, you've seen what I turn into. Who better to help me when I change than my friends-" Cornelia paused and glanced towards Elyon. "And my girlfriend?"
Elizabeth Hale opened her mouth to argue some more, before closing it again and shaking her head with a rueful smile. "I know I'm getting old when my own daughter is able to out-argue me. So you and Elyon have become a couple then?"
"Wha- yes." Cornelia replied confused, before a look of anger crossed her face. "Don't you DARE tell me that we can't see each other!"
Elizabeth shook her head. "I've no intention of standing in the way of you and someone I've known you loved since at least third grade." Elizabeth's face turned serious. "I'm still not happy with you doing this, but I can't stop you, can I?"
Cornelia shook her head. Elizabeth sighed and hugged her daughter.
"Be careful." Elizabeth whispered.
Shagon's feet thudded into Miranda's back, knocking her to the ground.
"Hello Miranda." Shagon started in a conversational tone of voice. "Nerissa's asked me to kill you. Would you mind staying still long enough for me to-" Shagon suddenly stopped talking and keeled over in pain. Suddenly the shape of Shagon vanished and the shape of the human girl who she had been reappeared.
"Go…" the girl stuttered. "I can't hold her back for long, go!"
As Miranda stood up, she turned to face the girl. "Thank you…" Miranda paused as she tried to remember the girl's name. "Thank you Alchemy Jones."
And with that, Miranda fled.
"Dad, I am NOT about to abandon my friends!" Irma yelled at her dad. Tom Lair glared at his daughter, who had a defiant look on her face.
"My God Irma, what kind of parents would we be if we let you continue? You're just a group of kids!" Tom yelled at her.
"A group of kids who've survived all sorts of battles!" Irma argued back.
"You shouldn't have to be fighting battles!" Anna yelled placing her hand on her hips. Hay Lin stepped up to them.
"Mr and Mrs Lair, might I-"
"STAY AWAY FROM HER!" Anna screamed at Hay Lin with such ferocity that Hay Lin practically recoiled. "IF SHE WASN'T FRIENDS WITH YOU, SHE WOULDN'T BE INVOLVED IN THIS MESS. I WON'T HAVE YOU OR YOUR FAMILY LEAD HER ASTRAY ANY MORE!"
"Leave Hay Lin alone!" Irma bellowed in response. "She's just lost her family, she's paid the highest price of all of us in the line of duty."
"And I don't want to lose you like that either." Anna told her daughter in a much calmer voice as she turned to face Irma.
"Mum," Irma began as a spark of inspiration hit her. "Mum, Yan Lin was retired as well, but that didn't stop Nerissa going after her." Irma turned to face her dad. "Dad, you understand about the concept of duty, right? Well I have to answer the call of duty as well. These are bad people and it's up to us to stop them. How else could I look myself in the mirror each morning, knowing that I have the power to help, but chose not too?"
"I suppose…" Tom started, but Irma quickly jumped in, before he could finish his sentence.
"Dad, I think that Shagon has done something to Alchemie, that's why she's vanished. Don't we owe it to her parents to discover the truth? And doesn't that prove that no-one is safe?"
Anna and Tom glared at their daughter, but their expressions were ones of defeat and Irma knew she'd won.
Miranda's head was spinning as she stumbled through the portal. Swaying unsteadily from side to side, she collapsed. But instead of hitting the hard gravel surface, a pair of strong male hands catches her.
"What happened to you?" the young man asks. "Can you walk a few steps, to my granddad's store? We'll call an ambulance from there."
"No ambulance." Miranda spat out, a mixture of blood and spit in her mouth. "Can't attract the Guardians."
Much to Miranda's surprise, he didn't comment on what she had just said. As he helped her through the door to his granddads shop he finally said something.
"What's your name anyway? I'm Matt Olsen." The young man asked.
"Miranda." She replied as she lost consciousness.
Hay Lin stood at the window, looking over the city once more.
"Hey, you holding up ok?" Elyon asked as she stepped towards her friend.
"Not brilliantly." Hay Lin admitted sadly.
"Don't worry, we'll get her back." Elyon said reassuringly.
"We can't guarantee that." Hay Lin pointed out sadly. "But if we can't get grandma back, can we at least settle for revenge?"
Elyon's face turned even grimmer. "We'll try to get both. And I promise you, if it comes down to a choice, I'll save Yan Lin over revenge, I promise."
Matt Olsen looked at the girl who he'd saved. Her injuries had been patched up with supplies from his grandfather's veterinary clinic and there didn't seem to be any sign of infection.
"Why you didn't call an ambulance is beyond me." His grandfather told him as he stepped away.
"She asked me not to." Matt replied. "And don't ask me why, it seemed the right thing to do."
Matt Olsen's grandfather chuckled. "Fine, I'll honour your wishes for now. But if she starts to develop an infection, we'll take her the hospital. No arguments."
"Understood." Matt said firmly. He turned his head towards the TV, which was showing yet more images of the Guardian's, Elyon and Caleb. "I thought I knew these girls, but perhaps not."