"You guys can't do this," I plead, but my words go unnoticed by the clamor of the crowd. I try squeezing through the mob, but like statues they don't budge. "Please, stop." Nobody can even hear me!

"Today Shade, we will fight for the Light and the other Wisp," I hear Master Wisp up ahead.

"So be it. I will fight for each shadow casted in this forest," replies Master Shade proudly. Oh no, they're going to fight. The mob start chanting again and shuffling vigorously, pushing me around like the little kid I am. If they fight, I'll lose both of my teachers. I like both of them, even if I was scared to even look at them yesterday.

"Stop!"

"Down with Darkness!" What would Seth do? He would shove through this crowd and jump in the middle of the fight. No-! Stop that! You're not Seth remember? Master Shade told you that you are nothing like him…what would Mia do?

"You are me Mia," hisses Seth in the back of my head. I shut my eyes as the noise around starts to get flushed out by Seth. "You are everything like me."

"Nooooo!" When I open my eyes, the mob gives me bewildered looks. I can't even recognize the voice that came out as my own. With more space to walk, I head towards my two teachers, with each step giving me more and more courage. If I can't stop them from fighting, I can say that I did tried. "Don't fight!"

"Mia?" they exclaim in astonishment.

"You know my pupil?" Master Shade asks just as Master Wisp asks, "You know her?" The truth was bound to come out eventually, but that's not the issue right now. I turn to Master Wisp first.

"Master, please. Call off this war and sign a truce."

"Mia, you know very well I can't do that. Shade has harmed another human like yourself and other spirits of the Light. This cannot go unpunished."

"But Master Shade wouldn't do anything like that!" I protest. Master Wisp seems stunned that I called him by that, but Master Shade is also shocked from me calling her by "Master" too. People I recognize within the mob shout at me.

"Shade follower!" Michele's distinctive voice flies over my head. "You have the Darkness within you and that's why you're against the Light!" The crowd yells in agreement. I feel as if everyone can hear my heart pounding. But it's not because I'm scared…I'm getting pumped.

"I am not against the Light. I-" What else could I say?

"She speaks lies!"

"Step aside unless you want to get hurt," warns Master Shade briskly, stepping behind me and gently pushing me aside to get to Master Wisp. She points her crystal hand at him.

"No more words." As my head darts back and forth to them, they each glow in power. Something won't let me do this, something is not going to let this happen. I hold my hands out to both of them; in my right hand, a sphere of Light spirals to block Master Shade, and in my left hand, a sphere of Darkness accumulates in unkempt clumps that keep Master Wisp in her place. Collective loud gasps pierce the air behind me.

"You dare raise a hand of Darkness to me?" asks Master Wisp, insulted by my action. Master Shade simply remains taciturn, not giving me any idea of what he's thinking-probably the same thing.

"I'm stopping you from doing something bad! Master Wisp, just look down for a second," I beg her. She obeys. "You have a shadow." My head whizzes to Master Shade. "And there's Light in you, too."

"I am a spirit of infinite Darkness. You judge me wrongly." His acidic tone makes me want to just run out of here and cry but I'm not going to do that.

"What about-?" my desperation grows. "That crystal above your head! It's bright-and…filled with Light. That's why I know you didn't make those Wisp disappear."

"Shade killed them, his own other spirits, and the monk."

"He hurts you people out of self-defense. You guys go into this forest with the intention of harming him so of course he's gonna defend himself. You people all have Darkness, too, and the bad kind!" Master Wisp faces them with a strange expressionless face. "I don't know about the other spirits, but he didn't do that either."

"Even me, the spirit of Light casts a shadow because of my own light," she says humbly with her eyes looking at everyone else's shadows. "The brighter the light, the longer the shadow is." A man's voice I recognize in the crowd starts a domino effect of realizations.

"We all have the shadows!" Mr. Daniel exclaims in fear. Others follow him, gasping at their own shadows. I face Master Shade as everyone starts to calm down.

"I know you can't accept the Light either, but without it, the Dark wouldn't exist. If it's too dark, nobody would be able to see and if it's too bright, we'd all be blind." Master Shade touches the gleaming crystal above his head; it instantly becomes brighter by his touch. Cautiously, I bring my hands to my sides, cutting off the energy from both hands. Where did all that come from? Everything just came out so naturally, as if it had to be said. I feel somewhat stronger now.

"I don't want to admit it, but," starts Master Wisp now looking at me earnestly. "You are right, and I think everyone here agrees, right?" The mob murmurs a response of agreement. "Shade."

Both Master Wisp and I wait for Master Shade's response. He's just as stubborn as Master Wisp, but I really hope he's looking at this in my perspective. First, his eyes study me as if trying to find my unexpected bravery, and then gazes at Master Wisp skeptically as if he didn't believe her. Can he just put aside all of the things the villagers did to him and move on?

"We despise each other Wisp, that is no mystery. You've turned an entire village against me, but...I'm willing to put that aside for the future," he responds reluctantly. I sigh-it feels as if a huge weight has finally been lifted off my shoulders. No more attacking, no more fighting, just harmony. Dawn's colors spills across the sky like juice, with sunrise on the brink. Master Wisp faces the crowd once more.

"This war without bloodshed has ended. Return to your homes as if this never happened," announced Master Wisp. I follow the crowd out, eager to back to the inn and maybe get some shut eye. "Except you, Mia." I stop in my tracks and circle around to face the two spirits. We silently wait for everyone to clear out before I burst like a water balloon.

"I'm sorry I yelled at you both, and raised my hands to you-and I'm sorry I didn't tell you the truth about each other, I feared you would do-something-!"

"I just want to thank you for showing me my fault. That's all," she pats my shoulder and hovers toward the village, leaving me alone with Master Shade. I wish he could leave too, but that's unlikely.

"You-trained under Wisp," he asks rather than stating with some disbelief. He's probably shocked that I kept this secret from him for a long time.

"Y-yes. I'm sorry that I-"

"Stop." His tone is earnest with no room for leniency. Seeing my timid and ashamed expression leads him to add, "I'm not angry." He collapses into the shadows of the forest leaving me alone.

'

Are they both going to stop training me like I thought? I guess I'll find out tomorrow because I'm exhausted and need to rest. Expelling those Spheres and yelling at the top of my lungs drained me all the energy from me.

"Oh, Mia," Mr. Daniel jumps when he sees me in the bedroom. "I'm really sorry about last night. Michele and I are really sorry we acted like that. It was really my fault, I got jealous and angry that you were, uh, and I just wanted to put this-yeah, ok. I'm going, sorry again." He dashes out of the room before I can question what he was doing here in the first place. As I look around, the window is still shattered, letting in a cool gust to remind me what happened, but I guess Mr. Daniel decided to replace my mattress and bed sheets. That was nice of him to do. I take off my jacket and boots and collapse onto the spring mattress. Sleep feels so good.


Why didn't I recognize her before? Her very presence reminds me of Dunstan and how he would beg me not to quarrel with Wisp when he went to go see her-with those eyes of his.

Bam, finished before exams and hopefully published before I go to Italy. Don't forget your reviews!