~Characters from Evermore are all owned by Alyson Noel

The rest are all mine!

Here you go!~

"Adrienne, Jade…! I…I've found Roman!" Alec cried aloud, his voice quivering in shock as his deep, amber eyes were blanketed with fear.

Adrienne's frail silhouette slowly stood up, and the attractive girl faced Alec. "He's here?" Her gentle smile was awash with warmth, her gaze eager and welcoming.

"Judging by Alec's expression, I'm guessing this is bad news…" Jade murmured slowly, hoping not to upset Adrienne. To her amazement, though, Adrienne only shrugged and scooted onto the bed, sitting upright and continuing to watch Alec with a hopeful expression.

"Well, news is news." Adrienne nodded, then stared quietly at Alec. "And I'm assuming this will explain why Roman hasn't shown up?"

Alec's teeth bit down on his tongue. Both he and Jade knew that Adrienne was strong, yet breakable, like a porcelain doll. Though his arrogant, hasty personality pushed through this unease, and he spoke at once after a moment's hesitation. "Roman…isn't exactly here anymore." The stunning young man tried to explain in detail, yet he realized this was something that could not easily be described. His golden eyes were burning with frustration, and he frowned.

"Don't play games with us, Alec!" Jade snapped, impatient and having no need for meaningless answers. "Where is he?"

Alec watched as Jade's face grew red. He shook his head, narrowing his eyes and using telepathy to reach her. "Look," He started; catching Jade's attention and making Adrienne's head tilt to the side in curiosity when he shielded his thoughts from her. "when I searched for Roman…when I looked for him…I found nothing but utter darkness, and bitter cold."

Jade rolled her eyes, placing a hand on her hip and ignoring the alarm in his voice. "So we'll find him up north, no big deal!" She turned to Adrienne, her eyes softening by the tiniest of a fraction. "You wait here. We'll go fetch Roman for you."

Alec hissed in annoyance, this being one of the few times he had ever truly been angry. "You idiot!" He yelled aloud, unaware of this until he saw Adrienne jump in the corner. Just listen for once, damn it! He added with his mind, seeing Jade's emerald eyes flicker with impatience. Where he is…it's not here! It's not…on this earth!

Jade was not the least bit pleased with this piece of news. What the hell are you talking about? So, what, you're saying he went to Saturn? That's impossible! Her thoughts made it clear that she did not believe him at all. If you're going to go around spreading lies that you find funny, don't do it now. It's not the time for stuff like this, and frankly, I don't find it very amusing to say the lea-

Alec was fed up with Jade's obscene attitude. Instead, he closed his eyes and relocated the memory he had just received, barely five minutes ago. He recalled the frightening sensation of freezing to death, even though there was no snow. He could envision the awful, lonely darkness, with nothing as far as the eye could see. Remembering the terrible feeling of tumbling through midair, only to hit more brittle, arctic-like floor, all under an infinite amount of time. Then, gathering all these emotions and thoughts, he directed them straight to Jade, hearing a startled gasp of pain soon after as a reaction.

Her eyes drew a blank as she experienced the same things he had, and all under a few seconds, she was back. She threw a stunned gape in his direction, understanding at once what he had been trying to explain earlier.

Could it truly be…? Is he really not here? Jade wondered, her thoughts directed toward Alec.

Adrienne's eyes trailed to their faces in disappointment. "Although I might be aging, and the effects are wearing off, my powers…they haven't completely gone away." She murmured slowly, standing up and staring at the two dumbfounded immortal rogues. "Have you both neglected the fact that I have been studying witchcraft, black magic, and the art of conjuring spells for centuries…? A basic mind barrier like that will do nothing but blur your thoughts." Obvious hurt dripped in her voice, and her betrayed expression did nothing but make Jade and Alec feel ashamed and guilty. "If Roman really isn't part of this earth anymore…if he really is gone…as in, dead…then there is nothing we can do about it." Her eyes saddened, and her head peered up to the ceiling. "Although I would rather not slowly age and die. Would one of you mind…?"

Alec shrugged. "Fine, give up now." He smirked, shaking his head in amusement. "It just goes to show how much this all meant to you. How much Roman meant to you."

Adrienne's head snapped up and she threw one of her rare glares at Alec, making him stumble backwards hastily. "Don't you dare go there. This is inevitable. It can't be helped. Besides, I'm expendable. And I've lived through my fair share of years." The beautiful strawberry-blonde stared down at the marbled floor, her caramel eyes lighting up as her rage simmered away, like steam escaping from a cooling pot. "Unless…"

Jade's eyes piqued with interest, and she pressed Adrienne on with a nod. "Unless what? Come on, spit it out."

"Well, maybe there's way to visit the dead…and bring them back." Adrienne murmured, standing up abruptly and racing hastily towards one of the many towering bookshelves in her bedroom. She shuffled through a few ancient magic-related books, and sifted through countless pages, not hesitating to throw the books irrelevant to her needs onto the ground. Alec protested noisily each time she did so, explaining how valuable and rare each one was, and how hard he had worked to collect them, but she didn't seem to pay him any mind.

Finally, only a single book rested in place. It was on the highest shelf, sitting on the furthest to the right. "Perhaps this one…" Adrienne mumbled to herself, reaching up for the ancient witch book and coursing through the thin, worn-out pages. This one was bound in worn-out leather, which was a startling shade of navy blue, with silver stars dotted around the case. She shook her head and threw the book onto the bed. "They all seem to say the same thing…" She let out a sigh and stared at both Alec and Jade with a blank, cold face. "There is no way to visit the dead, by your own will, unless you die yourself. And even if that happened…" Her caramel eyes suddenly darkened, her expression grim as her hands slowly clenched into fists. "You wouldn't be able to come back. Well…not alive."

Jade let out a snort, shaking her head and skimming through the book Adrienne had just tossed onto the bed. "No, no, no. It says right here that you can visit the dead. All you have to do is…" She snickered and tossed her hair, placing the book in Alec's hands as he shot her a death glare. "Envision a portal of light! Huh…how lame is that?"

"Jade…nothing is as easy as it seems." Adrienne mumbled, a caution sign flashing through her usually gentle eyes. "And this is no different…if you would have read closer, you would have noticed that it said 'those souls trapped in between living and death'. Not those who have already crossed over. You could call it a kind of…limbo, if you will."

Jade's full, red lips turned down in a frown. "Well…how do we know Roman isn't in this…this limbo?"

Alec flashed her an annoyed, quick glance, then spoke. "An appropriate name would be Summerland. It describes this place as a land of warmth and happiness…a land 'like Summer'. The book describes this place for human souls. For those who have lived their lives, and died when they were supposed to. For souls that didn't disturb the balance of things…" His voice trailed off, and he gritted his teeth, reciting a newly found passage, his finger scrolling through the worn-out words. "Those who upset the balance of life while living shall be punished during and/or after death, no exception. Those who defy nature's laws while living shall be stripped of all rights with entry to the Land of Summer during and/or after death, no exception. Those who manage to tamper with old age, and death itself, shall be forever excluded from the Land of Summer during and/or after death, no exception. Those who fit the requirements of one and/or more of these violations are immediately sent to the Land of Shadows during and/or after death, no exception." He chuckled, though it was a nervous reaction. "Well, we're done for. No exception." He shrugged with a light-hearted grin, though both Adrienne and Jade knew he was just as frightened to hear this news as the rest of them.

Though startled with this news, Adrienne grew even more interested in the book. "Does it have any more information on this…'Land of Shadows'?"

"Shadowland." Alec corrected with a smirk.

Jade snatched the ancient book from Alec's hands, her brows furrowing as she grew engrossed in the book. "Upon entering the Land of Shadows through death, one will experience eternal loneliness and sadness as punishment for tampering with the strict laws of nature." Jade grew irritated and threw the book on the ground, much to Alec's disliking. "Useless! All it says after that is: Under no circumstances will one be granted permission to leave the Land of Shadows upon entering through death."

Adrienne grew thoughtful. "If there is a way to enter Summerland…perhaps through that, we can enter Shadowland." Alec and Jade stared at her in curiosity. "If Summerland is only a drift between death and life…one way must lead to eternal paradise…and the other must lead to Shadowland."

Jade's expression grew grim. "It says that we've already lost our rights to enter Summerland."

Adrienne laughed, her giggle sounding like wind chimes. "There's a loophole. It says, in the book, during and/or after death. And if we were to visit now…we wouldn't be dead, now would we?"

Alec's lips turned up in a devilish, charming sneer. "I like the way you think." He added with his drawly accent. Quickly, he stumbled over to Adrienne, pulling an irritated Jade along with him. "C'mon, ladies. It looks like we have a reservation for three at Summerland."

Please forgive this really late update T_T

And forgive the length of the chapter! It's really long…

School's been a drag! But summer's almost here for me! :)

That means more frequent updates! ^_^

Stay tuned for more! The next chapter will definitely include Roman, for sure!

-AvonStardust ~