The Necromancer's Matter, Part 10; Thorn and Descendant (Part 5)

Marcus simply nodded.

"Quite honestly- I don't know where to begin," The Pure Descendant chuckled. "Time-she knew that you needed to know-"

Destiny raised her eyebrows, cutting him off. "Wait… who's this Time? Time is a person?"

Marcus nodded."She's as real as you and I." Marcus thought for a moment, then seemed to nod in approval in something. "I suppose I've found a place to start-"

"So start."

Marcus drew in a deep breath. "At the beginning of the Spiral- there was nothing. There was just something known as the Force. Then one day, the Force made a decision- it created the Spiral. Other worlds call it the Big Bang. It gave life to the dragons, titans and krakens- started the first war when it gave them all something a kind of power- known as magic."

"So…this Force. It's the source of all magic?"

Marcus smiled."You've got that right! The Force of the Spiral is the source of all magic-it's where it all comes from. And if the Force is gotten ahold of, if someone took control of it- they'd pretty much rule the Spiral. But little do they know is that the Force usually rests inside a being with great power, great potential…"

"Now here's another part of the story. I trust you know the story of how the Blade of Seven was created?"

Destiny nodded. "How can I not? Finding those Shards along with the Descendants is a pretty big pain."

Marcus nodded in approval. "Well- there's a gap in the story, unknown to even most who know about this Legendary and Descendants business. You see- it was when Valkoor found out about the Blade of Seven. Valkoor- he wanted it so bad, so desperately- Valkoor Thorn actually got it."

Destiny gasped and took a quick step back. "If he had gotten ahold of the Blade of Seven- then why isn't the Spiral in misery right now?!"

"I'm getting to that. While planning how to get the sword back from Valkoor, they found a girl. She was mortally wounded, on the brink of death- Valkoor had stabbed her with the Blade of Seven. The Legendaries felt a need to heal this girl- especially when they took a closer look at her Aura and saw that she held great, great potential in magic- potential as strong as Legendaries themselves! Now would you believe that!

"They tried desperately to heal her- but not even Life, not having the full extent of her abilities, not even she could heal the girl. So they did something truly desperate- they went up to the Force itself and asked it to heal her.

"The Force of the Spiral saw the potential in her also- then realized the danger it was in to Valkoor, who sought the Force's power. So it decided to not only revive the girl- but it also gave her a new magic, unheard of to most. This magic was to combat Valkoor and to safeguard the Force. And with this new magic, being the first to be able to use this magic- the girl turned into the eighth Legendary! The Legendary Time."

So that explained Marcus saying that Time had sent him. But Destiny was not able to retain her shock.

"T-Time Magic?" she repeated. "An eighth school of Magic? But- but that's absurd!"

But once Destiny slowly thought about it, it dawned on her… it wasn't. Destiny had seen time stop twice. Fire and Storm had traveled through time. How Taryn was able to send her, Jason, Ryan and Nikki back to her own time.

As if to prove it, Marcus slowly traced a familiar symbol- a white, basic outline of an hourglass forming in the air. The same symbol Taryn had used when she had sent them back.

Destiny unknowingly said her thoughts out loud. "So Taryn knew Time magic," she breathed.

Marcus nodded, pleased. "That is right. And not just that- Taryn… she's the girl."

Destiny gasped."So…" her thoughts scrambled to an image of Taryn, with her long white hair, her mismatching clothing, those violet eyes… "Taryn… she's a Legendary?"Destiny was shrieking at the last line.

"Pretty much. Taryn is the Legendary Time."

Destiny couldn't believe this. Taryn was an unknown Legendary. Taryn was an unknown Legendary. Taryn was a Legendary!

If Taryn had been a Legendary, anyone could be one!

"Anyways,"Marcus proceeded after Destiny didn't say anything else. "So Time was crowned a Legendary. Once Valkoor heard about this- he was driven into a state of pure rage. He needed to match all the Legendaries- he couldn't keep on using magic that Death controlled. Valkoor needed fuel, he needed power…

"So Valkoor found the Force after searching for a long time- the Blade had led him to it. His crimson eyes had gleamed as he was able to somehow- actually able to overpower the Force- but not quite all the way. Valkoor didn't get what he wanted, but he still got a great lot- what Time, or, as you know her, Taryn got."

Destiny understood."Valkoor created a new magic, didn't he?"

Marcus solemnly and slowly nodded. "Valkoor became stronger with his new magic. Well, it wasn't so much a new magic- it was actually a manipulation of a variety of spells taken from other schools. Twisted spells to serve Valkoor's liking- he named his new magic Black Magic- and Valkoor Thorn became the ninth Legendary."

Destiny raised an eyebrow. "I'd say that he was the eighth and Taryn was the ninth, quite honestly- Valkoor was born before Taryn."

Marcus rolled his eyes. "Fine. Time was the ninth Legendary and Valkoor was the eighth. Anyways-in the end, they were able to triumph over Valkoor, with Time's help, and steal the Blade back, then split it into pieces. Over time, Black Magic was lost, surviving in only small fragments. Time Magic used to be known to Wizards, but those in that school kept reversing the past and undoing their mistakes, changing the future- abusing their school's power of Time. So Time herself decided to change the course of history- she took away the Time School itself. She went through time and erased that part completely.

"As for Black Magic- when Valkoor died, Black Magic pretty much shattered, and only a very few scattered shards of it remained. However, over the course of history those shards were slowly put together in different, surprising spells- the first spell they were able to put together was Black Cat. Then they recently put together Death Leprechaun, a few years ago.

"Valkoor's school was pretty much lost to Wizardkind except those spells- until Vladimir. Vladimir had done immense amounts of research about Legendaries, Valkoor Thorn in particular. And bit by bit, Vladimir pieced together Black Magic more than twice as much than brilliant archeologists and historians were able to find and connect. Over the course of years, Vladimir was able to reawaken the whole school to himself. Because of this, he has an advantage no one else has. The only people he's taught this is to two people- Neela Waterpetal and Cody Shadowstrider."

Destiny grimaced when Vladimir mentioned Cody. Thoughts rushed to Cody, and Destiny wanted immediately to throw up.

Then Destiny immediately yelled at herself to snap out of it. She couldn't focus on Cody right now- she had to focus on the Time School and Black School. Destiny now knew the Time School's symbol- for the Black School-

Destiny remembered the Thorn V that Vladimir often casted into the air. Did she even need to question whether or not that was the Black School symbol?

"So…." Destiny finally said, thinking. "There are two unknown schools. There are not seven Legendaries, but nine. Black Magic and Time Magic. And I'm taking that we also need to find the Descendant of Tar-Time and a Descendant of Valkoor."

"You got it. Except for one small part- you already have the Descendant of Time."

Destiny opened her mouth to argue about this, then slowly realized what Marcus was saying.

"Noah Firewielder. Is- is he…"

Marcus nodded. "Sure is. After all, in the Prophecy of Fire, it states in the first lines, Thirteen shall rise up, all of great lineage. Noah is obviously one of the thirteen- and all of them are of great lineage, so…" He waited for Destiny to do the Math.

Destiny nodded her understanding. She had actually hoped Marcus would mean her as the Descendant of Time. It was a little crushing to know that now everyone but her was a Descendant, everyone had unimaginable power, great ancestors… all but her.

Then she remembered the lines of the Prophecy Marcus had reminded her. Thirteen shall rise up, all of great lineage…

Did this mean that Destiny was a Descendant? Was she going to go through the Ordeal, have an Aura, be powerful that most could barely dream about? Be a reincarnation of a Legendary?

She probably was- the Prophecy of Fire was never wrong.

But the real question was- who was Destiny descended from?

Marcus seemed to choose that moment to remember something. He grabbed a piece of paper from his pouch- one that looked terribly aged, shriveled up like a little corpse, thin and wiry. It looked like that a little cough from a fly could blow it apart. "Speaking of the Prophecy of Fire- catch." He threw the little paper to Destiny, who was able to save the fragile thing before it feathered down to the ground.

"Now you have the complete Prophecy of Fire," Marcus explained. "However- do not read it or speak it until you have all of the Thirteen members of the Order of the Spiral- as of now you have twelve. There's just one Descendant left to find, but that could very well be the trickiest one of all-"

Destiny nodded her understanding, barely swallowing a gulp. "A Descendant of Valkoor."

Marcus nodded yet again. "Good luck on that one," Marcus said sarcastically. "Well- do you know what you're doing? Go over a review?"

Destiny nodded. "Yeah- pretty sure I do. So find a willing Descendant of Valkoor, tell them about this whole Time Magic and Black Magic brew-haha-"

"Not just tell them about those magics," Marcus corrected. "You and the rest of the Order need to start practicing them."

Destiny's jaw dropped. "Are you kidding?" Destiny practically shrieked. "We can't do that! We just don't have the capacity! Two schools at a time, mine is Death and Fire! And now how do you expect us to learn Black and Time Magic?!"

"Destiny, listen- the average life form outside of the main parts of the Spiral have unlocked approximentally ten percent of their brain. The average wizard has unlocked around twenty-five percent of the brain. Now Descendants- they have ahold of at least seventy-five percent of their brain's capacity, which allows them their power, the capability for their Auras, enables the Ordeal- it also allows them to be able to take a third, fourth, maybe even fifth school. And since you're at least- wait, do you know who you're descended from?" Marcus waited for Destiny to answer.

All Destiny did was solemnly shake her head.

Marcus just shrugged it off. "Anyways- me and any other Pure Descendant- we have about ninety percent of our brain, pretty much the limit we can rise. The only ones with their full mind's potential are Legendaries and the current Force Holder- the person in which the Force of the Spiral is currently residing in. Anyways, what I'm saying is that since all of you have at least seventy-five percent of your brains unlocked, so you can use those schools to learn at least one of the two schools of magic I just told you about."

Destiny just nodded. "So- I've got to tell about and train the Order in Black and Time magic, find a willing Descendant of Valkoor to join us, then gather them together and read the entire Prophecy of Fire?" Somehow that didn't seem as easy as it sounded.

Marcus nodded in approval. "Seems my work here is done." The Pure Descendant began to etch the Time Symbol in the air and was just about it before Destiny stopped him.

"Wait! I still have a question!"

Marcus stopped what he was doing, the spell on the brink of being brought to action.

"I-I was wondering- is there a Pure Descendant in my time? One Pure Descendant?"

Marcus hesitated before responding, then shook his head. "No. Not one Pure Descendant."

Destiny's hopes sunk, plunged into her hopes like a knife- until Marcus proceeded.

"There isn't one Pure Descendant in your time. There are two."

Unable to retain her shock, Destiny stumbled back and opened her mouth to ask Marcus what he meant- but the symbol was then cast. Marcus was gone, and slowly the hands of time started spinning around her again.

Two Pure Descendants?Destiny repeated in her head. Woah.

Barely thinking, Destiny's hand shot to her pouch and lunged for her Communication Stone. Quickly she wrote in her scraggly handwriting, Emergency Order meeting NOW. In the Commons. Rally the rest of the Order of the Spiral!

"I hope you like Marleybone,"Vladimir remarked as he led Llewella out of the Cathedral Spiral Chamber.

Vladimir could tell that Llewella was awestruck at the sight of Reagent's Square- the gray paved streets, the dark starry sky thinly blocked by the aircar's smoke puffed out of the turbine engines, the dimly lit lampposts centering on dogs and cats standing upright in clothes that looked like it belonged a hundred years ago.

Llewella gasped in wonder. "This is like a living replica of nineteenth-century Scotland! Well… minus the animal civilians part."

Vladimir couldn't concentrate fully on Llewella's reaction- he only hoped that his home world was impressing his younger sister. Now that he finally had Llewella back, he needed to keep her, impress her and earn her respect. Because if Vladimir lost Llewella again…

Vladimir wouldn't think of it. He simply wouldn't.

Vladimir had been given the second chance he had been looking for for years. He would put that chance to use now.

Vladimir turned his head to Llewella. "So I take it you like it here?"

His hopes soared when Llewella responded."I'll admit that it looks a little dreary, but I love it!"

Vladimir grinned. "Do you want to know what the best part of it all is?"

"What is it?"

"We,"Vladimir pointed to both him and Llewella, "since our father-"

"Wait-Dad?" Llewella perked up at the mention of family. Probably because she hadn't had much family in a while, Vladimir reasoned with himself.

Vladimir smiled. "He's Vladimir Thorn Sr.," Vladimir explained, a sly and bragging grin crowning his face. "I was named after him, obviously- after one of the richest misers and diplomats of Marleybone."

Before Vladimir could go on again, Llewella quickly interrupted him before he could even start. "Oh, cool! What about our Mom?"

Vladimir froze. What was he supposed to tell her now?

Vladimir had almost forgotten about Rowan Thorn, and he preferred to keep it that way. But now that Llewella had brought up their Mom, Vladimir's thoughts skyrocketed to their deceased mother.

She had actually died giving birth to Llewella. Because she died when he was two was why he had almost no recollection of her. It was something that Vladimir had just plain adjusted to.

Some would, if put in the same situation as Vladimir and his Father, blame Llewella for Rowan's death. But the Thorns knew better than that- Llewella was what was left of Vladimir's Mom, so they cherished her greatly. Even if they hadn't realized her their blessing, they'd still recognize that it would have been what his Mom wanted.

But to reveal this to Llewella a second time would be utterly disasterous. Vladimir still remembered when before Llewella had disappeared, that a lot of nights she had cried herself to sleep because she longed to see her mom again and had often blamed herself for her death at ten years old or younger. Telling what happened to Mom to Llewella wasn't an option- he couldn't be the one to inflict the pain on her.

But Vladimir couldn't lie, either.

So quickly and miraculously, Vladimir was able to conjure a satisfying answer. "She's… somewhere else right now." There. That made it sound as if a little bit of Rowan Thorn remained.

Which it did… in Llewella. Anyone could see his Mom in Llewella- especially when they saw the eyes. Vladimir's father had always remarked that his kids 'seemed to have stolen Rowan's eyes and split it in two.'

People always saw her in Llewella… they could see good, purity.

The question was… what did people see… in him?

Vladimir woke from his thoughts just in time for Llewella's response. "Oh. Huh."

Luckily Vladimir was quickly able to forget about his mom. "Anyways- thanks to Dad and money- we Thorns are high life here in Marleybone. Heckhound, we even rule over part of it!"

Llewella's eyes shimmered in near-disbelief. "Do you mean… like, we're royalty?"

Vladimir took Llewella's suggestion into consideration. "I guess you could say something like that."

Llewella split her gaze from him and looked out into Marleybone once more. "You know, I've read tons of books back on Earth where someone stumbles on another world and finds out that they're royalty there, but for it to happen to me… wow!"

Vladimir smiled weakly. He seemed to be doing a good job exciting Llewella.

Vladimir held his hand to Llewella the way an escourt would. "Well, shall we go?"Vladimir offered.

Llewella just smiled broadly as she took Vladimir's hand.

His back was straight and his face erected proud as he guided Llewella through Reagent's Sqare. Sharp eyes threw the duo second glances, some admiring, some questioning. But Vladimir quickly realized that Llewella was still in the Earth garb that she had arrived in.

Vladimir quickly gestured to a robe shop. "Want to get some clothes? Marleybonian outfits are the best in the Spiral."

"Best in the Spiral?" Llewella repeated, following Vladimir's action by looking to the shop. "Sounds fun!"

Vladimir felt like he was walking on Cloud 9 as they strode into the shop. Vladimir watched as Llewella fawned over the fashions, seeming to teleport from outfit to dress to hat. He supposed he should be getting used to teenage girls' abnormal obsession with clothes- even Neela provided an interest in them.

And apparently Llewella was agreeing with her brother that Marleybonian clothes were the best.

Finally Llewella settled on a formal Carnival Dress. Figured- despite the itchiness that girls claimed the dress had, it was most girls loved at first sight.

Only one thing- the colors Llewella chose. The base was a light green and the trim an almost golden-brown- the Life colors. For Llewella to naturally choose that color meant Llewella was in the School of Life, the polar opposite of both the Death School and Black Magic.

For Vladimir and Llewella to be in opposite schools did not bode well. It could very well be a sign of trouble.

Llewella once again put Vladimir's thoughts in half and built a bridge to allow herself to sneak her way in. "Well, what do you think?"

Vladimir then saw Llewella- apparently she had changed without his notice.

Llewella looked lovely- that was the only word that could be used to describe her. Vladimir instantly regretted wishing Llewella was in black like him. Green now seemed to be the only color Vladimir would ever want Llewella to wear.

Shortly Vladimir realized he was almost grinning like an idiot. "You look great."

Llewella smiled softly after reaching down to lift part of the huge skirt to avoid tripping, then took Vladimir's hand again.

Llewella looked at Vladimir, then nodded in approval as they exited from the shop. "You also look nice you know," she complemented her brother's tux-like outfit and small top hat, reminding her vaguely of one of those corny magicians back on Earth.

Then Llewella recognized Vladimir's jet-black hair, then frowned, as if noticing it for the first time. "Well… you could do without the hair, I'll admit."

Instantly Vladimir's hands lunged to his past-shoulder-length hair, gripping it fiercely."What's wrong with my hair?!" Vladimir exclaimed, horrified.

Llewella barely stifled a giggle at Vladimir's abnormal defensiveness of his hair. "Well…it's long. Very long. Almost as long as mine. You need to cut it."

Vladimir gasped at the very mention of the idea. "Cut my hair?" Vladimir reacted, his voice shriveling like a piece of paper being crumpled up into a ball. "But… if you think this is long, wait till you see Jason's!"

"Vladimir, "Llewella folded her arms, stopped walking, and began to tap her foot impatiently. "You need to get a haircut."

"No, I don-"

"You are going to get a haircut!"

"I'm going to get a haircut," Vladimir reluctantly agreed. For the love of the Spiral, Vladimir had somehow managed to forget how annoying little sisters could be.

Destiny looked around the circle of the twelve members of the Order of the Spiral, all of them openmouthed and eyes wide- all but Emma, who was just plain confused.

"Two unknown magics," Jason muttered, disbelieving. "I suppose Black does explain the spells Vladimir used in the Cavern Battle and the ambush before we were split, and before you guys," Jason pointed to newcomers Garrett, Emma and Connor, "joined. And the Time magic, in short, explains a lot- especially how you were able to meet Balance, Life, Ice, Fire and Storm. And how about half of us met Taryn, who's apparently a Legendary." Jason again shook his head in disbelief. "Taryn was a Legendary all that time…"

Destiny bit her lip. It was obvious that all this newfound information was a lot for the members to digest- it had been for her too. She shuffled her feet on the soft green grass uneasily as she reminded herself that there was still one more thing she had to tell them.

Destiny opened her mouth, then shut it again, unsure how this was going to come out. Destiny had imagined several tactics and results as how she was going to tell them that they needed to find a willing Descendant of Valkoor, but now that the time had finally come, all of them had been erased.

Luckily Noah temporarily solved the problem momentarily. "So… I'm a Descendant after all?" Noah's voice rose in joy, then quickly frowned. "Wait…" soon ice started to cling to Noah. "This means… I still haven't gone through-"

As if on cue, a hand shot up to grasp some of his blonde hair. Noah gritted his teeth, desperately unwilling to let a scream escape his lips. Slowly his body buckled, starting at the feet, rising to the knees, then to the chest as his blue eyes fluttered shut and ultimately collapsed, inserting his face into the Common's grass.

No one said anything, focusing on Noah's limp body. Then finally Esmee broke it. "Well…I suppose that's the last of us."

Destiny slowly nodded. All of them knew what was about to begin in Noah's head.

The Ordeal.

The cruel, sickening test for Descendants that took Nicolas's innocent life.

Now, could Destiny possibly permit herself to top that with the solemn news?

She had too.

"I-I-"all eyes turned to find the surprisingly small voice, "I didn't… tell you everything. There's more."

When a seemingly fitting silence was casted, Destiny continued. "We have to find one more Descendant. A Descendant of Valkoor Thorn."

As expected, Jason was the first of all of them to react. "A Descendant of Valkoor?" Jason almost yelled. "Even for us- that'sinsane!"

"I don't want to get another broken arm!" Natalie protested, pointing to her slung arm.

Ryan quickly asserted his attention to his older sister to keep from fully thinking about the new problem at hand. "Natalie, that'll be done healing possibly tomorrow- you're bringing it up now?"Ryan casually lifted an inquiring eyebrow.

Brown cheeks merged with crimson. "Well… just saying."

"Why even try to find one anyways?" Destiny heard Jessica mutter. "We're fighting against them, not with them."

Destiny paused. Jessica has a point, she thought as her outer self vaguely took in Garrett ask, "Why's everyone freaking out?" and Jason turning around to answer.

Why bother finding a Descendant of Valkoor? They were fighting against them, why risk having an opponent infiltrating the Order… again?

They needed to know Black Magic.

They needed to complete the Thirteen.

To unite the posterity of all nine Legendaries.


Destiny wasn't the only one stunned by Chris Soulhunter's sudden yell. Her head swerved to the near-Grandmaster conjurer.

Chris is really starting to speak out, isn't he? Destiny briefly mused to herself. Ever since the Order had been split, something in Chris had… changed. At first, the Descendant of Myth rarely spoke a sole word. Now, after Chris had ended up remarking to her about how he had to pretty much lead Natalie's rescue mission since, according to him, Jessica had been too busy picking fights with Alexis and Esmee for unknown reasons, it was as if a spark had been lit, and that spark was slowly growing up into a fire-one not to be messed with. Slowly, Chris was giving himself a respected name in the Order.

Now Chris's dark eyes loomed over them all. "Stop acting like children!" When some of the members, Emma in particular, gave him questioning looks, Chris quickly added, "Stop acting like younger children! We are going to find a Descendant of Valkoor if it, Spiral so help me, kills us! Now, if anyone still has a problem with that, speak up now, while everybody can hear you!"

No one said anything. Should it have been actually been there, cricket chirps would have fitted right in.

Chris nodded his approval. "Well then- we're finding a Descendant of Valkoor, since no one seems to have a problem with that."

Jason reminded himself of his Commander position and followed Chris, nodding. "Right Chris. We're going to start finding that Descendant- it won't be easy, but we're the Order of the Spiral." Jason acknowledged everyone with an uplifting smile. "And the Order of the Spiral can do this."

Almost right when he stopped, a yawn cut right into it. "You know, if you weren't so busy giving a 'Ra-Ra Go Team' pep talk, you could have just looked right back here." An icily familiar laugh accented the end.

Jason's head immediately spun around in response, then gasped.

Standing casually in the center of the Commons was him, in his usual black Valkyrie armor, short aqua hair and smirking dark eyes. His arms were proudly folded across his chest, back straight, emitting an aura of confidence.

His thin lips smiled. "The thing is, I'd actually love to join the party, if you'd be so kind."

Cody Shadowstrider.

Descendant of Death… and Valkoor.

Destiny's eyes enlarged. This was it, this was their chance, right here, right now, to get a thirteenth member. They had to convince him to join.

Or… did he already have plans to?

"It sure looks… dark," Llewella noticed as she entered the gleaming Thorn Manor.

Vladimir shrugged. "Oh, come on. Black's not that bad." How again could Vladimir convince a theurgist of that? "We painted it black after you left, as a way of showing our grief."

"Vladimir? Who… who is this?"

Quickly Neela stepped out of the shadows, dressed in her new usual outfit, her red and black Valkyrie armor. However, Neela sported a ponytail this time.

Neela's eyebrows raised in amazement as Vladimir spoke. "Neela, this is my sister- Llewella Thorn. You know her."

Neela took a few cautious steps forward to examine Llewella. "Yes. I see." A small half smile lifted on Neela's right side of her face. "So. You really are her. Well, in that case- welcome home Llewella. I'm Neela Waterpetal."

Llewella scrunched her eyebrows. "Funny last name," she remarked.

"Rest assured that it's actually common-"

Neela tried to explain before Vladimir spoke. "Llewella, what last names are common on Earth?"

Llewella scrolled down a mental list. "Let's see- Carson, Hendricks, Smith, Hunter, Neilson, Patterson-"

Already Vladimir was laughing. "Wow, how did you live in a world with last names as boring as those?"

Llewella's eyes sank to the polished ground. "Gee, didn't realize Earth was stupid."

Vladimir paled. "No no, that's not what I-" he attempted to rush before Neela cut him off.

"Llewella, may I ask your permission to borrow Vladimir for a second?" Neela inquired. "I know you just got reunited and all, but I do need to speak to him."

Llewella stole a glance at Vladimir, then nodded to Neela. "Of course," she reluctantly agreed, despite the insult.

Vladimir looked back as Neela led him away. "In the meantime, try looking around Thorn Manor- give yourself a tour."

Neela stopped at a corner, amber questioning blue. "So. What now?"

Vladimir was puzzled. "What now?" he repeated. "Wha- what do you mean by that?"

Neela pressed harder. "I mean what now." Then she sighed. "I mean- now that Llewella's back on apparently her own accord- what's to become of our goal?"

Vladimir had been rendered speechless. Then finally he replied, "I honestly don't know. The whole point of reviving him was to bring Llewella back! And now that she is- I'm not sure if there's still a reason why we should do it." Vladimir closed his eyes, unwilling to see Neela's face, full of disbelief. "I'm sorry, Neela."

He began to walk away when Neela called out to him again. "You didn't mention the second reason. The Spiral still needs a leader- and bringing him back to life is our only chance of getting that leader."

Vladimir stopped, unsure of what to say or what to do. Then slowly he turned to face Neela, then sighed. "Look- I haven't lost sight of it. I just- can't concentrate on it right now. My most important duty right now is to focus on Llewella. I just got my sister back."

Vladimir walked away from Neela as she cried, "And you'll have her forever! You won't be concentrating on it anymore- now I'm the only one who's still doing this!"

Vladimir gritted his teeth as he heard Neela call out again, "Four years of hard work, research- and now that we finally have all the components- you don't want to!"