Chapter One

Circe walked slowly into the dark room. Van Kleiss sat on his ruined throne and looked as if he were seriously contemplating the end of the world. Perhaps he was. It was hard to tell if he were planning an attack on Providence or trying to decide what he wanted for dinner.

"Ah, Circe, I'm glad you are feeling better."

That means a lot, since you were the one who was going to kill me, Circe thought. The memory of Rex saving her from the very man who had promised if she joined his cause, he would never let her be in any serious danger still made her lie awake at night.

"Thank you. I am. You have an assignment for me?" she asked, wanting to get back to work. Just walking around the ruined complex only made the loneliness worse, and she did not need that.

"Why, yes, I do." His voice was too syrupy, and Circe knew the assignment was one she wouldn't like. "This assignment is very important for our future here in Abysis; for the future of all Evos." He paused for a breath. "I need you to attack Providence at its base." A foreboding feeling knotted her insides. "You are to kill Rex."

"What!" Van Kleiss gave her a severe look. "I mean, why? I thought you needed him."

"I need him no longer, thanks to our last attack. I have all I need from him, and although he would make a valuable asset, he will not turn, and we must remove him. You are my choice member to complete this mission, and if you will not do it or fail, I will be forced to remove you and use other methods."

Circe contemplated this for a few minutes. If she didn't accept this assignment, Rex would die anyway, and so would she. Not that she was seriously reconsidering her loyalties. If she accepted, she would kill the only friend she had ever had. Like a tidal wave, she felt Van Kleiss' power rush over her. His control of her nanides had made her do many terrible things. A strong defiance made her determine not to let him use her to hurt Rex. But, she thought, this isn't about Rex. This is about my loyalty to the Pack and Van Kleiss. They are my home now, not Rex. I must do this.

Circe nodded. "I accept the assignment."

"Good. Swear to me you will kill Rex and destroy Providence."

"I swear to kill Rex and bring Providence to its knees."

After a more detailed briefing, Circe stepped through the portal Breach held open for her. In an instant, she was in another dimension. Van Kleiss' two pet guards followed after her. According to Van Kleiss' instructions, they would follow her at a distance and when they got close enough to Rex, they would leave her.

The first she had nicknamed 'Lizard' or 'Spiketail', even though his arm, not his tail, threw the crystallized spikes. The name described him well, because he did look like a lizard, except for his left arm, which was a huge crystal lump. The second, Van Kleiss' favorite guard, looked like a huge upright wolf. She had no nickname for him yet. She could think of none that seemed to fit. Though his real name described him well, Biowulf.

Circe headed in the direction Rex was supposed to be. She got fifty feet when a stinging blow to her back sent her reeling to the ground. She turned her head and saw they were attacking her already. The blow she'd felt must have come from 'Lizard'. The crystal spike that had impaled itself in the ground next to her hand confirmed her suspicions.

"What are you doing?" she cried, startled and angry. She rolled over and was about to send them flying backwards when the wolf-like guard pounced on her. His breath made her gag. Egg-breath, she thought bitterly.

The reached creature smirked down at her. "Stupid girl. Don't you know? Van Kleiss doesn't want Rex dead. He's ordered us to kill you. There's no order we've obeyed so gladly." He ripped a chunk out of her shoulder with his teeth.

"Leave me alone!" she screamed. She used her powers and blew them both back the fifty feet. Once the creature was off of her she ran for her life.

Circe desperately hoped the information was correct and Rex was truly nearby and in the direction Van Kleiss had said he would be in. Still, with the poison that was now in her body, she doubted she would make it there before she died.

Circe fumbled in her pocket and pulled out her phone. The poison was already making her limbs numb and her movements were uncoordinated. She scrolled until she found Rex's number on speed dial. She hoped he answered.

Spinetail and Eggbreath were closing on her as the poison slowed her progress. Circe desperately glanced around her for a way to escape, but there was none. They would catch her and kill her. There was no hope.

Looking up, she saw a great pine tree looming in her path. Suddenly, an idea came to her and she climbed the tree as fast as she could. Once she was ten feet up, she paused and grabbed the tree trunk tightly to keep from falling. Her head felt dizzy and her thoughts were unclear, but she watched silently as Spinetail and Eggbreath passed underneath her.

Circe knew she didn't have much time before they realized their mistake and came back for her. "Rex, please answer," she whispered as she tried the number a second time. She could feel the life seeping from her and she knew if he didn't answer now, she wouldn't be able to warn him in this life.

"Hello? Look, I'm kind of busy right now, can we talk later?" Rex's familiar voice came over the speaker, along with sounds of a battle. That didn't surprise her. Rex was always fighting rouge evos for Providence.

"Rex, it's me."

"Circe? What do you want?"

"Please Rex; I don't have time for this. Van Kleiss just ordered me to kill you. When I left to find you, Lizardtail and Eggbreath followed me and attacked me. He is serious about this Rex; Van Kleiss wants you out of his way."

"Eggbreath? Lizardtail? Really?" Rex asked with his familiar sarcasm. "So? Van Kleiss has always wanted me dead. What else is new?"

"Rex! I'm about to die! Can you knock off the bad jokes for five minutes? Seriously though, before, he wanted to use you. Now, he's got what he wanted; he's not going to stop before you are dead or in his power. Just watch your back, okay?" She paused a moment and added, "Rex? Just so you know you were right, about the Pack, about everything. Thanks again for saving my life."

"Circe? Where are you? What's going on?" Rex suddenly asked. She opened her mouth to say something, she wasn't sure what, but her tired arm suddenly could no longer hold the phone up to her ear; it slipped from her hand and fell to the ground. Circe watched as it hit the ground and broke into pieces. She wrapped her arms tighter around the tree; now realizing what would happen to her if she fell.

The poison made its way to her brain, making her question why she was so scared of falling. After all, it would solve all the problems she now faced. She wouldn't have to deal with the Pack and Van Kleiss any more, being hated by those who were supposed to be her family, or feeling guilty because she had to kill Rex when he only wanted to be her friend. She would no longer lie awake at night feeling completely alone. Plus, she was going to die anyway.

Circe closed her eyes and released her grip on the tree. She happily felt the weightless sensation of falling, and being caught by the strong arms of death.