So, I've decided I'll take out Orestes, Marko and Alice from this story, because it would get too confusing, but after I finish writing Chronowing, I'll be sure to make a side story for them (their adventures with the time machine) I might also take out Luna (the owl) because her story wouldn't relate to the plot. I want to focus more on the main characters first, and then worry about the other minor characters.

Enjoy! ;)

Chapter Twelve: A Moment of Rejoice

The moment Shade and Chinook had entered the Underworld, Shade appeared to have a body again; he'd regained his fur, his wings, his ears and all of the other components that would make up his figure. Chinook had been shocked for a moment, but then calmed down, but he decided to keep the fact that he was glowing and Shade wasn't, to himself. Maybe the glowing meant something, but he didn't want Shade to feel hurt or anything.

"So this is the place? It's definitely not very jolly around here…" Chinook chuckled uneasily.

All around them were barren fields of gray upon gray, some places black as obsidian, others paler, but not by much. The sky seemed to be made of dull rock with distant points of light, like stars, and it seemed to be moving, though very slowly. There were few forests, where there were, the trees seemed to be in a ghostly state; black crumpled leaves on dying sodden branches. A quiet chatter could be heard from not far, and Chinook was curious on if there were others here as well.

He beat his long, powerful wings back and forth, sailing low, confused by the sudden heaviness of the air, like some invisible force was threatening to pull him downwards. He wanted to fly higher, but it was like something wasn't letting him; like it wanted him to stay here, forever. Shade followed close behind him, seeming to struggle as well, but yet, still able to keep up with him steadily.

Maybe the heavier something was, the harder it was to stay aloft. Shade was lighter than him by quite a bit. Suddenly that theory seemed to make a lot of sense.

"Do you hear that? I think there are other bats here! Maybe my parents are here as well!"

Shade smiled at him sadly, nodding. He refused to look at Chinook's hopeful eyes, for finding his dead parents would only make matters worse. He might die here if he was beaten to death by one of the bats in the forest and then it would all end here.

The constant murmurs grew louder as they neared the forest, and when they dived inside, through the rustling leaves, a whole world of bats were revealed. They filled the tree branches, cheerfully calling to each other, hundreds of black, leathery wings flapping up and about. Chinook was in awe, while Shade, no longer alive, just smiled sadly, again, at some of the bats who didn't know they were as well.

Chinook looked around anxiously, and he froze when he saw his parents, Plato and Isis, watching from the higher branches, not seeming to notice him. He pumped his wings with all his might, building up a sweat when he finally reached them, settling on a branch right beside them. His mother's eyes were in tears and his father smiled proudly as Chinook rejoiced, embracing them, finally able to be with his family again. Tears began to flow down his eyes as well, not because he was weak, but because he had been strong, for too long. He hid his face in his mother's warm shoulder. He didn't want anyone to see that such a young, healthy bat was crying like a newborn.

"I missed you so much, Chinook. I was so worried," His mother whispered, barely able to get out the words.

"Mom, I thought I'd never see you again…!" He replied back, his voice hoarse and a little pitchy, like when he had been no more than a baby.

"I was always proud of you, son. I hear that you always talked about me with such love and passion. I could never be happier than now, now that I see you are happy and well," His father said, pride radiating from his voice.

Chinook breathed silently wishing the moment never end. Seeing his parents as if they never died; it hurt him so much, yet he felt so happy at the same time. It brought on the cold fact that they could never come back, but now, it was almost as if it really happened. In his mother's lifeless eyes, he could finally see a small flickering light of joy.

Shade watched from below, feeling happy as well, yet also sad. He could never truly embrace his parents like Chinook had, because he wasn't alive anymore. But maybe it wasn't so bad. If he could be in Marina and Griffin's hearts, maybe it was good enough. He could never think of killing Chinook to become alive again, because then it would only make him feel loss and regret while he lived. Chinook had lost enough. All he had was his life, now.

Chinook slowly glided down, joining Shade, with an earnest look in his eyes.

"Do we really have to leave, Shade? I don't think I'll ever see my parents again if we do,"

Shade thought long and hard about what he had asked, what he wanted.

"You can choose to stay here forever, or you can bring your parents with you and follow me. I want to travel through the Tree, back into the real world. I don't mind if you stay but I think it's better if you come with me and go into the real world and leave the past behind,"

"But, Shade, I-

"I was like you once, Chinook, wanting to live again, so I could be together with Marina and Griffin. But maybe we should just forget about our past troubles and move on. Your parents can never come back to life again, unless you sacrifice your own life force so it pours into them-

"Then I'll-

"No, please don't do that. You know that isn't what your parents would truly want. Right?"

Chinook looked like he might cry again. But he looked up at the sky, taking a big breath, letting the air fill his lungs and clear his mind. He turned to Shade, returning the sad smile, but his voice remained strong.

"Shade, I won't kill myself so my parents can live again, but, I will take them with me, to this Tree you are talking about. What is that place, that Tree?"

"It will take you to where you truly belong,"

Chinook's parents had settled beside them, joining to commotion. Chinook quietly whispered that he would take them somewhere, somewhere where they would be truly happy. His mother whispered if he would be there too and he nodded.

So, the three bats flew along, following close behind Shade, deciding maybe it was best, to leave this place and find a better tomorrow.

I haven't been doing Griffin's POV for a while so I think I'll do that for the next chapter, but I also want to get into Goth's POV too. I don't think he'll be using the time machine, though. I want him to figure out his problems without using that machine because other than the fact that he failed Zotz, nothing too tradgic really did happen. See you guys later! :)