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Chapter 01: The New Guardians pt. I
Darkness was spreading, coming closer and closer towards Kandrakar, a place known as the Center of Infinity. It did not make itself presented visually.
The white towers of Kandrakar continued to luster while its beautiful hills of Leer Alnitak continued to shine. However, despite the sounds of the babbling brook and the gentle breath of the wind, Leer Alnitak was now empty. The Elders who were in charge of tending the fields are absent and the laughter of children playing their games was gone. What was a magical garden of peace, beauty, and joy is now devoid of all life. This had rarely happen before in the history of Kandrakar. Something must have driven them away. Something dark and evil and strong enough to make all of the children abandon their games and made the Elders of Kandrakar fled inside the Fortress itself.
Yes, this darkness was brought forth by the wind. As the gentle breeze of space made its way into the shining hills of Leer Alnitak, all of the Elders who were both out in the fields and inside the Fortress had sensed it and they knew: Something was coming.
Within a matter of seconds, the Elders rushed inside the sanctuary of the fortress as a gentle voice rang throughout their minds, connecting them all with a gentle heart. The Oracle, Yan Lin, was calling them.
The Great Hall of Kandrakar had not been used for important meetings since the last Oracle, Himerish, resigned from his duty. Ever since the wise and honorable Yan Lin was promoted, she had insisted that the Elders would hold their meetings outside in Leer Alnitak instead. But not this time. As the former Guardian of Air, Yan Lin could tell that by holding an emergency meeting outside, she and the other Elders would not be able to clear their minds when they're being exposed to the feeling of darkness that is being carried by the space wind. No, the meeting must be held inside the Great Hall once again.
The room was being filled. Almost every members of the Council of Kandrakar were present. Yan Lin waited patiently on the central pedestal as she watched the room being filled with Elders in their humble light-colored robes. Suddenly, Tibor, an old friend, walked up towards her silently. He whispered something into her ears and she nodded seriously.
"Tell Endarno to let them in," she said. Tibor nodded.
Suddenly, another door to the hall opened and everyone turned to see Endarno. Behind him were the many rulers of the magical worlds under Kandrakar's protection. Unlike the wise men in their light-colored robes, these rulers stood out in their colorful royal attires. There was Ari of Akhantan with his blue hair and his fur-coat as he strode in proudly. Behind him came the stoned-beings of Olidos; standing tall and square. Following them were the primitive tree-dwellers of Negol; short with their green skins and bluish robes. Many other representatives walked in one after another. Each ones were guided to their seats by Endarno. Last but not least, the young ruler of Metamoor and the Light of Meridian made her presence known. Her appearance made the Great Hall shines all that brighter and it wasn't because of the glowing magical Crown of Light that's resting on her head. The Queen walked in gracefully, her pink dress bright and cheerful with golden gossamer wings tied around her waist. At her side was none other than Caleb, her most faithful soldier and recently, her love interest.
After Elyon and Caleb seated themselves, Endarno made his way up towards the pedestal.
"They are all here," he said.
"Very well," Yan Lin replied solemnly. "We may begin."
"Oracle! What is the meaning of this?" Ari demanded.
"Something is happening and it's not good!" cried a wise man.
"The children are frightened, Oracle," said one wise woman. "They are afraid to play outside in Leer Alnitak now."
"Something is coming," an Elder commented. "I can sense it and it is dark and powerful."
"Oracle, what did you mean by that?"
Yan Lin held up her two hands as she tried to calm them down. "Everyone, please! I know that you are all concern and I do not blame you."
"Oracle, are you saying that there truly is something terrible in the universe right now?" said another wise man.
Yan Lin confirmed and nodded solemnly. "Yes, I'm afraid so. You have all sensed it in the wind today. It is telling us that there is a new evil approaching and it is posing a new threat to Kandrakar and all of the worlds under its protection. It is with a solemn heart that I must inform you all that if this Darkness continues to approach, our Light will not be strong enough to withstand it."
The meeting broke into a sea of chaos as both groups of Elders and rulers shouted in despair.
"That's absurd! The Darkness cannot win against the Light!" a wise man spat defensively.
"Don't be so quick to judge, old man," Ari spat. "I should know because I have tampered with the dark powers of a banshee before."
"But the Light of Kandrakar and its entire world have always luster for eons!" another wise woman cried. Turning to everyone, she said with a high voice, "May I need to remind you all that Kandrakar was built by the Five Nymphs to defend the universe against the Darkness?"
"That's right," agreed an Elder sitting behind her. "And one of them was the Nymph of the Elements, Xin Jing! It was thanks to her and N'ghala, the Nymph of the Stars, that we now have the Guardians to defend us!"
"The Guardians!" another Elder realized. "They'll save us this time. Just like they always do through each generations!"
"But don't you remember Nerissa?!" said an Elder wise man in front of him. He stood up and pointed at everyone. "Even a Guardian can be corrupted by Darkness!" He then pointed accusingly at Yan Lin. "Oracle, you yourself know this better than anyone! She was once your friend!"
"Watch your tongue, Master En'doGu!" Endarno warned.
"It is alright, Endarno," Yan Lin said gently. "En'doGu and the others have every right to criticize me."
"Oracle, tell us exactly what is this new threat of Darkness? Surely you know how we can defend ourselves from it," Caleb spoke, his voice betraying the fact that he, too, is afraid of the answer.
Yan Lin shook her head sadly. "I am sorry, Caleb. Like my predecessor, I do not know everything, not even what this new threat is. All I know is that it is full of evil and darkness that can even diminish our Light."
The entire meeting broke into chaos once again as Elders and rulers argued with each others. On the pedestal, Endarno and Tibor are both trying their best to calm everyone down while Yan Lin looked on sadly. From the chaos, Elyon stood up quietly and the entire room silenced itself instantly.
With her intense gaze, Elyon nodded towards Yan Lin and said, "Oracle Yan Lin is right. As the Light of Meridian, I have always been able to sense dark entities that pose a threat on my people and my world. We had always been prepared to fight against these dark powers and creatures. But not this time and not like before."
Turning to face the entire Congregation and the summoned rulers, Elyon inhaled deeply before she raised a hand. A light emitted instantly from it, warm and bright with its intensive glow. It was dazzling as well as it was comforting. But to everyone's confusion, it suddenly died away. Shaking her head sadly, Elyon said, "My powers are dying and I know it has everything to do with this impending Darkness."
No one could say a word. They were all too shock and horrified to even respond. It was as if this Darkness was powerful enough to silence them all with just one demonstration of its magical effect. The Elders gave each other looks of fear and concerns while some of the rulers tried to manifest their powers only to find that it was much weaker than usual.
Shaking his head sadly, En'doGu spoke exactly what was on everyone's mind. "By the Light of Kandrakar, how is this happening?"
Suddenly, the silent room heard it. Approaching footsteps echoed loudly throughout the Great Hall as it came closer and closer. Then it stopped. Everyone in the room gave each other confused looks when all of a sudden, a door appeared magically and a man walked in. The entire Congregation gasped while Elyon and the other rulers all have a puzzled look on their faces.
The man was wearing a light-colored robe just like all of the Elders in the room. However, there were several features of him that made him stand out. For one thing, the hem of his sleeves was pointed rather than round and rich embroiders of blue and gold decorated the rims. The same embroider design was sew around his collar as well. The only other decoration on his attire was a tiny little mirror hanging just below his collar, its surface a bit dull and not as smooth as one would have thought. Unlike his mirror, his eyes were bright and blue. Upon a closer inspection, one would be able to see that they are deep and serious. The most striking thing about him was the color of his hair. Unlike Yan Lin and most of the Elder wise men with their white hair, the man's was blond.
The man paused and gave everyone in the hall a quick scrutinized glance. At last, his gaze fell upon Yan Lin and slowly made his way towards the pedestal. The silence was soon followed by quick exchanges of hush voices and whispers.
"It is! It's him!"
"It's the Dream Seer, Lord Araël."
"Excuse me," Elyon interrupted the Elder sitting next to her. "But who is this Lord Araël?"
The Elder gave her a patient look before he leaned in to tell her quietly. "Lord Araël is the Dream Seer and also the current leader of the Gemini Council. It's a separate branch of power in Kandrakar."
Elyon's eyes widen in shock. "Kandrakar has another political branch?" she questioned.
The Elder nodded. "Although it's a smaller branch than the Congregation, it's still just as powerful."
"What is its purpose to the Fortress and the universe?" Caleb asked.
"This Congregation and its five Guardians were created to protect the Balance and Peace of the universe," said the Elder. "The Gemini Council, however, was created to maintain the Balance between Light and Darkness which exists in all things of the universe."
"But why is Lord Araël here, then?" asked Elyon. "Could it have something to do with this new threat?" Although the question came out, deep in her heart Elyon was afraid of the answer as she saw how grim the Elder's expression was.
The Elder next to her nodded gravely. "The members of the Gemini Council tend to keep to themselves," he said. "No one in the Congregation has ever seen a member stepped out of its hall for millenniums, let alone its leader."
"I heard that the last time Lord Araël made his appearance to the previous Oracle was centuries ago," said an Elder woman sitting behind Caleb grimly.
Caleb turned around to face her and asked, "Why?"
She gave him a grim look. "To warn the Oracle because he had a vision in his dream."
"Yes, he came to inform the Oracle that the Balance of Light and Darkness on Your Majesty's world was about to shift," the Elder next to Elyon commented. Elyon's heart suddenly jumped and her skin crawled with fear of a brother she once knew and pitied. The Elder saw her reaction and nodded. "And he was right. I believe you know the main reason behind this threat which he spoke of."
"Yes, I do," Elyon replied. "It was Phobos's Darkness that overbalanced my mother's Light." Elyon turned her attention back to the mysterious newcomer. The way he looked gave her a bit of a chill. She gasped quietly when she realized that this man resembled another. He looks like Cedric! She thought with a panic. But then Elyon realized that it wasn't possible. Cedric was dead. Last she heard he was killed inside a book that he was trapped in. Elyon quietly scrutinized him. True, from this angle, Lord Araël does resemble Cedric in some ways. But upon a closer look, his face was different and his blond hair was brighter than Cedric's could ever be.
Lord Araël stopped as soon as he approached the Oracle. The entire room was silent, its audience anxiously watching. For a few seconds, there was nothing as the two leaders continued to stand where they are. Suddenly, Lord Araël bowed respectfully to Yan Lin and began to speak.
"Honorable Yan Lin," he greeted, his voice echoing throughout the room. "I did not expect to see you standing where Himerish once stood."
"Much has changed since the last time you ventured out of your hall, Lord Araël," said Yan Lin, her face remained grim as she scrutinized him. "Unlike the rest of the Fortress, you haven't changed at all. From your magnificent entrance, I have no doubt that you are here to deliver grave news?"
Lord Araël didn't reply. "I believe you are aware of this new threat?" he asked.
Yan Lin nodded solemnly. "There is an evil threat and it's coming. From what we can feel from the wind and saw with Elyon's power we know it has something to do with the Darkness and how it's affecting the Light. But we don't know specifically what kind of threat this is and where it is coming from."
"The Queen of Metamoor is not the only one," said Lord Araël.
Yan Lin's eyes widen. "What do you mean, Araël?"
"Many protectors and warriors of their respected worlds across our universe are losing their magic," said Araël. "The change is minimal for now, but soon they will be completely defenseless without the Light. Without these guardians and protectors, the Darkness will have no obstacles in taking over their world."
Yan Lin realized what he was implying. She was too afraid to think, but asked anyway. "Then…you don't think…"
The Dream Seer nodded gravely. "I'm afraid the Guardians will soon find their magic weakened as well."
"But how is this possible? Surely the power of Darkness cannot effect all five Guardians' powers?" she demanded.
Lord Araël didn't answer her question right away. He was considering the possibilities of the outcome that he had seen in his countless dreams, and no matter which one he choose to go with he knew that they all led to the same thing. After another quick silence, he turned around and gestured Yan Lin to follow him. "Come with me, Oracle," he said simply. "There is something you must see with your own eyes."
Yan Lin turned to Endarno and Tibor. "Take care of the rest from here. I trust that you'll be able to handle it," she said.
The entire room watched Yan Lin and Lord Araël disappearing out of the room quietly before bursting into a sea of chaotic shouting again.
It had been many years since Yan Lin had last set foot in the many halls of the Gemini Council. The last time she was here was when she was on a mission as the previous Guardian of Air. Like the rest of Kandrakar, the Gemini Council's halls were pure white. The only difference is that its walls and ceilings were not as decorative with hieroglyphs and relief sculptures as the ones that she was used to. As she continued her pace, Lord Araël addressed her without looking over his shoulder.
"Do you remember the last time you strolled down these halls of ours, Oracle?" he asked stoically.
Yan Lin couldn't help but smiled to herself. "Of course," she replied. "How could I forget the day when Cassidy accidentally mistook you for Lord Cedric?" Yan Lin laughed as she thought back to that specific moment. "Do you still have that scar she gave you?"
"Lady Freyja took care of the rest," Lord Araël replied. "The Nordic Angel is our most valuable healer."
They stopped in front of a pair of double-doors. Yan Lin had expected to meet the other Gemini Council members sitting on their tall thrones, but when Lord Araël opened the giant doors, Yan Lin realized that it was a hall which she had never entered before.
The hall was spacious and it was mostly empty. The only thing in it was a giant scale. It stood tall with its magnificent simple figure and Yan Lin marveled at it. Behind it was another door, barely visible to the eyes. Once Yan Lin stepped into the hall, she suddenly felt something terribly wrong in the air again.
"I see that you've sensed it as well," said Lord Araël. He strolled across the hall and stopped right before the giant scale, looking up at it sadly. "But it is worse when you can see it. Tell me, Oracle," he paused without looking at her. "What do you see before you?"
Yan Lin looked up and gasped. "The Balance of the Scale has been severely tipped!" She turned to the Dream Seer with an alarmed look. "How did it become so out of control to the point that it's being tipped to the Dark side?" She asked.
The Dream Seer shook his head. "This Darkness cannot grow spontaneously on its own. It must feed on something in order to grow."
"What can the Guardians do?" Yan Lin asked.
Lord Araël waved his hand and a magical holographic interface screen of Earth appeared before them. It zoomed into a specific city called Heatherfield, showing the people going on about with their lives. Then the image zoomed in closer to a park where a group of children and their parents gathering around a pink bus. Upon a closer inspection, Yan Lin could tell that her granddaughter and her friends are holding a special ceremony. Their magical students are graduating.
"As I've said before, the Guardians, too, shall find their powers weaken," said Lord Araël. He paused, noticing something in the corner of the interface. It was a swirling vortex of air and while not strong nor visible at the moment, it could not escape the powerful scan of Araël's screen. "It has appeared that the Guardians will find this fact out the hard way and much sooner than they think."
The Dream Seer spread his arms open and the interface followed his command by opening several communication tabs on its screen. Yan Lin saw eleven more faces and assumed that they were the other main members of the Gemini Council.
"Do you have any news from the Guardians yet, Lady Verlona?" he asked, speaking to an elf-liked woman with short brown hair and green eyes.
"None, my Lord," Lady Verlona replied. "They are not replying to our calls."
"It appears that we are having trouble with our communication system at the moment, Araël," said the man whose screen was positioned under Verlona's. "It is either that or they are purposely ignoring our calls."
"We'll need to send them a more physical message," said a woman with dark hair.
At this moment, Yan Lin realized what she should do. She must summon the Guardians here and now, but not without helping them first. Holding out a palm, the Oracle realized a familiar object. It illuminated the entire room even further with its brilliant glow and warmth. Lo and behold: The Heart of Kandrakar.
It had been a while since it was last summoned. Ever since the five Guardians received their new powers, there was no need for it to aid its Keeper, Will Vandom, and her friends until now…
Lord Araël noticed its presence and turned his head around to face the Oracle. "What are you doing?" he asked.
"I must do something, Dream Seer," Yan Lin replied with concerns in her voice. "I must help my granddaughter and her friends. If the Darkness is truly weakening their powers, then I must do what I can to assist them."
The Dream Seer nodded. Suddenly, a bleep on the interface stole back his attention. The screen opened another map of several nations that were unrecognizable to Yan Lin's eyes. It shouldn't because it's not of Earth, Metamoor, or any other worlds she knew off. Most likely it was a planet out of her realm's jurisdiction. Lord Araël understood why and lowered his head. "Summon them here," he said. "There is something they must see."
Yan Lin nodded and whispered gentled words to the magical talisman in her hand. "Go now," she said. "Protect my little Hay Lin and her friends and summon them here."
The Heart of Kandrakar shined brightly in response and disappeared.
It was just an ordinary day in Heatherfield. The children are excited as they chatted with their families and friends while at the same time showing off their magical powers. Just a few minutes ago, these children had just graduated after one year of attending private magic lessons in a flying pink bus with five special girls. After all they've been through together, the five Guardians could not believe it.
It was, Will Vandom decided, an incredibly unforgettable day in Heatherfield.
"I can't believe it's been nearly a year already," said Cornelia Hale. Will grinned at her blond friend's comment. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who thought so.
"Believe it, Corny," said Irma Lair. "We might as well accept that this was bound to end sooner or later."
Will nodded. "Yeah, we knew that this day was going to come." She gazed at a group of kids showing off their powers at the corner of her eyes. "We've taught them enough what they needed to know about using their magic and controlling it. The rest is up to them to experience and learn on their own."
Irma smiled and shrugged. "I'm gonna miss teaching these kids—"
A kid zapped his friend with a little bit of electricity, causing her hair to fizz and stand up.
"Okay, I'm gonna missed teaching some of them," Irma corrected herself. The others laughed. "Come on. Let's go get Hay Lin and Taranee before the buffet is all gone!"
When they reached Hay Lin and Taranee, they sensed something was wrong when they saw Taranee trying to reassure her friend.
"I'm telling you! There's something going on and I don't like it, Taranee!" said Hay Lin.
"Calm down Hay Lin," said Taranee. "I'm sure it'll pass. After all, saying good-bye to your students can't be easy, I know."
"It's not that at all!" Hay Lin insisted.
"Hey, what's going on, you two?" Will asked, coming over.
"Will!" Hay Lin cried. "Will, there's something wrong in the air! Can't you feel it, too?"
"What do you mean?" Cornelia asked.
"I meant there's something terrible is going to happen and I don't like it!" Hay Lin insisted. "It's making me feel weird."
The other girls looked at each other and tried to concentrate, honing their magic in order to feel the same trouble that Hay Lin was feeling. After a while, Will stopped and looked up at her friend.
"I think you're right, Hay Lin," she said with concern. "I feel a little bit strange, too. But I can't tell what or why."
"Do you think it has something to do with our attachments to the students?" Irma asked, looking over her shoulders to see her students playing and eating.
"No, this is something entirely different. I'm sure of it," Hay Lin replied firmly. She wrapped her arms around each other as if trying to warm herself from the cold feeling. "Trust me, girls. It's not the attachment. It's something darker and more sinister. It's something evil."
At that moment, one of the children spotted something in the sky. Curiously, he ran to Will and tugged on her skirt.
Will bent down to give him her attention.
"Yes, what is it?" she asked.
The little boy pointed towards the sky. "What's that swirly thing up there?"
This little question definitely got the girls' attentions and they all looked up to see something like an aurora borealis. But rather than the usual curtain shapes throughout the sky, it was swirling and spinning slowly…almost like a…portal!
"That doesn't look good," cried Taranee.
"We have to go!" Hay Lin pointed out, certain that her feelings was right dead on.
"Now wait a minute!" Irma stopped her. "Just because there's a portal in the sky it doesn't mean we have to think that evil is here." Hay Lin gave her an annoyed look. Irma decided to explain, "Look, this is just a minor setback. It's just something hanging up in the sky and from the looks of things only magical people like us can see it." It was true. The parents of the magical students could not understand or see what their children were referring to as they pointed at the swirling colorful portal in the sky. "All we have to do is close it like we did during our first mission and then we'll be good as new."
Before the other four girls could agree, the children cried as something shot out of the swirling portal. Everyone with magical powers watched as it came crashing down on a van across the street of the park. The crowd closest to the car screamed as the impact left a small crater and the van crushed.
"What was that?" Cornelia demanded to know.
Once the smoke cleared, a huge and bulky creature climbed out of the crater and roared to the heavens. While the sound was deafening and bone-chilling, the Guardians noticed that the non-magical people weren't affected. Like the portal in the sky, they cannot see or hear the creature. The monster turned to face the crowd and the next thing the Guardians knew, it let out a breath and a dark blue smoke came out of its mouth. Once the people on the streets breathed in the blue vapor that they could not see, they slumped down as sleep overtook them.
Smiling savagely, the creature chuckled and was about to grab one of its sleeping victims when Hay Lin screamed.
"NO! Leave them alone!"
The creature heard her and turned. It came closer and once it did, the Guardians and their students could see that it was hideous. Its body was somewhat humanoid yet demonic and covered in a coat of black hair while its head was that of an ox with glistening horns. Raising up an arm, the ox demon shot a blast of energy at them. The energy missed and hit a tree, vaporizing it into ashes. The children and their parents screamed.
"Um, yeah I'm pretty sure you got its attention, Hay Lin," Irma noted.
"Kandor, get the kids and their parents to a safe place!" Will ordered.
Kandor, the assigned caretaker from Kandrakar nodded. "Right," he said. "Everyone into the bus, quickly!"
No one needed to be told twice as parents grabbed their youngest children and dashed for the magical pink bus while the older children stayed behind to make sure everyone got on safely before getting into the vehicle themselves. Once the Teach 2b W.I.T.C.H. bus was safely out of sight, the five Guardians positioned themselves into defensive stances.
"C'mon, girls! It's time to teach this ox a lesson," Will said, cracking her knuckles.
"Yeah, a lesson in magic, W.I.T.C.H. style!" Irma agreed.
Five flashes of light illuminated before the ox demon's eyes as waves of magical energy and elements enveloped the girls. Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, and Hay Lin could feel their ordinary street clothes disappearing as their bare bodies transformed into mature women. Their old clothes were then replaced by outfits of green and purple tops and bottoms with striped stockings and boots. Although each of the girls' designs were different, they all began to sprout identical gossamer wings: huge transparent green, blue, and beautiful.
For Irma, the water globe around her evaporated as she declared her magical element, "Water!"
"Fire!" Tranee said as the sphere of fire extinguished itself.
A cage of branches and leaves around Cornelia shriveled back. "Earth!" Cornelia stated.
A ball of swirling wind and air subsided. "Air!" shouted Hay Lin.
"And Energy!" Will grinned mischievously as her sphere of pink energy and electrical charges disappeared.
"And now, you have some explaining to do, you beast," Irma boasted as she and her four friends floated above the ox demon's head. But the creature chuckled and roared at them, covering her in saliva. "Urgh!" Irma grimaced in disgust. "Hasn't anyone ever told you to cover your mouth?"
"I guess he's not the talking type!" Will smirked. Flying in behind the ox demon, she shot a beam of pink energy at him. To her surprise, the blast was smaller than she had intended and it bounced off the creature like rubber.
"Let's try this again," Hay Lin cried. She conjured up a blast of whirling air at the creature, but like Will's power, Hay Lin's magic wasn't affecting the monster by much. If anything else, it only tickled it.
"Hay Lin, you're supposed to be lifting it off the ground and slamming it into something! Not give it a free blow-dry for its hair!" Cornelia snapped. Holding up what appeared to be a pink stick with a long strand of ribbon, Cornelia used it to uproot several boulders at her feet and fired it at the ox demon with another swing. "What the?" Cornelia gapped when she noticed how small the stones were. Rather than going overboard with a giant boulder the size of a house, the ribbons only pulled up five rocks half Cornelia's size. And to add insult to injury, the monster chortled as he punched each stones thrown at him to dust.
"Big talk, Corny," Irma retorted.
"It's not my fault!" Cornelia yelled, ducking a swinging blow from ox demon. "There's something wrong with my power!" She tried to fire a volley of granite shards at the monster to make her point. Sure enough, they didn't graze the beast.
"Once again you need my help," Irma smirked to herself as Will and Taranee flew in to pull Cornelia out of the ox demon's way. Turning to Hay Lin, she said, "C'mon, Hay Hey. Let's show the girls how to take this overgrown cow down!"
The Guardian of Air nodded and combined her air power with Irma's water magic to create a blizzard-storm-sphere. Together, both the Guardians of Water and Air blasted it with all of their might at the charging ox demon. A sudden explosion came when both the monster and the sphere of swirling ice and wind collided and the girls were blasted back by a small shockwave.
"Did you two really have to go overboard?" Cornelia coughed as the cloud of ice, dirt, and smoke covered the area.
"Hey, at least that thing's gone," Irma said.
"Yeah, and practically half of this side of the park," Cornelia rolled her eyes.
"Where did that thing came from?" Hay Lin asked.
"I don't know," said Taranee. "But I think we should—"
But before she could finish, Will pointed behind Cornelia and cried, "CORNELIA, BEHIND YOU!"
Cornelia turned around and saw a dark shadow in the smoke screen looming tall over her. Before she could summon the tree's roots to her defense, a hairy arm came out and grabbed her by the neck, lifting her off the ground. Hay Lin gasped and blew back the smoke screen for all to see the surviving ox demon roaring fiercely.
"Let her go, now!" Taranee screamed. She threw a fire ball, knocking the beast slightly, but at least she got it to release its hold on Cornelia.
"Cornelia! Are you alright?" Irma asked. Cornelia coughed in response. "I'll take that as a maybe, then!"
"W.I.T.C.H., we'll have to unite our attacks," Will ordered.
Unfortunately, nothing seemed to work for the Guardians. Whether they were taking turns blasting the monster with their individual powers or threw it with a mixed combo, the ox demon continued to stand on its legs. To their surprise, the beast was fast as it was powerful. One moment it was in front of Hay Lin, the next it grabbed her by her waist with one arm and slammed her against Taranee and Irma like a ragged-doll. Cornelia tried to blast it back further but it blocked her attack with one raised hand and then slapped her with the other, forcing her to fly backwards.
Will tried to sneak up behind it by grabbing the beast by its horn, but the ox demon roared with annoyance and made a grab for her hair. Yelping in pain, Will immediate released the beast due the strain on her locks, allowing the ox demon to throw her to the ground. It was about to crush her ribs, but she managed to roll out of the way in time. When Will looked up, she saw crushed park pavement where she was before. Without thinking, Hay Lin flew in and pulled her away before the beast decided to go after Will again. Unfortunately, the ox demon managed to grab a hold of Hay Lin's wings and yanked her back, forcing Will to fly out of her arms before being thrown brutishly into a water fountain. The other three came to her defense as the beast charged at them.
For the first time in months, Will began to harbor great concerns for the outcome of the battle as the monster continued to throw her friends off one after the other.
What's going on? Will thought. We can't fight like this! It's like we're working on weak batteries!
"Will, what are we going to do?" Hay Lin asked desperately.
Will was about to answer but before she knew it, the ox demon was looming over her again and breathed out the dark blue mist. Luckily for her, Will didn't lose conscious immediately like the pedestrians on the streets thanks to her magical defense. However, it still had an effect on her as her mind began to feel heavy. Soon, her body felt lazy and all Will wanted to do was close her eyes and go to sleep.
"I can't…stay awake…" she gasped. Fighting her best to keep her eyes open, Will saw the beast grinning with savage delight. It was inevitable that she would succumb to the spell as her whole body slumped to the ground. Will felt paralyzed and helpless as she could feel the ox demon raising its fist and end her.
"WILL!" the other girls cried.
Before the beast's fist could make contact with Will, a sudden burst of light appeared, blasting it thirty feet away.
"What was that?" Irma asked, completely taken aback.
Whatever it was, it was still giving off a brilliant glow. Will didn't know how, but it felt familiar to her. It was like a warm beating essence that was once part of who she was. The little, shining object floated toward her outreach hands and Will couldn't help but felt relief.
The beast stirred. This time, Will knew what to do.
"Girls, time to unite our powers again!" she ordered.
The others gave each other skeptical looks but didn't object their leader's decision. After all, the strange glowing object saved their lives.
"Water!" Irma shouted. To her surprise, her column of water was slightly larger as she sent it into the glowing object.
"Fire!" cried Taranee.
"And the power to unite them!" Will cried as she, too, sent out her power of Energy into the glowing object in her hands with the others'. Once she felt the converging magical burst building up to its max, she let it out and it flew straight for the ox demon.
The beast tried to whack the magical blast away but it was too fast. The combined spell hit the ox demon squarely in the chest where its heart was physically located. The creature wretched in pain as the light from the combined forces of the elements dug itself into its inner core and consumed him on the inside. The girls coiled back slightly as fumes of blue mist poured out of the beast mouth. The ox demon tried to hold itself together but it was sll in vain. It crumbled into dust and the blue mist began to evaporate into thin air. Yet its dark presence lingers.
The girls looked at Will and each other, and Will carefully clasped her hands tight, trapping the glowing object. Taranee went over to her to see if she was okay.
"How are you feeling?" Taranee asked.
"Relieved, actually," Will admitted.
"How did you know that was going to work?" Irma asked. "Especially when it didn't before?"
Will smiled and said, "Because I felt safe, as if an old friend has return. When all seems lost, I felt a glimmer of light that was a comfort to me. I knew it was protecting me…us!" she corrected herself.
The girls stared down at Will's closed hands with curiosity.
"So what saved us?" Cornelia asked.
"You mean you haven't figured it out yet?" Will smiled and opened her hand to show them. "I told you, it's an old friend who has returned."
A pink crystal sphere with curved metal frame singed its presence with light again, bathing the five Guardians with its gentle glow.
"The Heart of Kandrakar is back," said Will. "C'mon, let's close that portal."
At first, everyone was silent. Just as Will flew closer to the swirling port in the sky, the shock started to settle. Irma was the first to react.
"How can there be a portal?" Irma demanded as she watched Will closing it with the Heart of Kandrakar. "I thought they all vanished when Himerish lifted the Veil."
"You don't suppose Elyon's in trouble again, do you?" Cornelia asked with concern.
"I don't think that was a Portal to Metamoor, girls," Hay Lin answered when Will landed. She and the others gave her a confused look.
"What do you mean by that, Hay Lin?" Taranee asked as she massaged the bruise on her shoulders with a magically heated hand.
"All the creatures from Metamoor are lizard-liked and their lifestyles are similar to our version of Medieval Europe, remember?" Hay Lin tried to explain calmly. "But that ox-creature was just like one of those demons I've read from Asian folklore."
"Now that you've mentioned it, the portal in the sky didn't look like one of the Twelve Portals we've sealed up in the past," Taranee pointed out. "It looked as if it was made from the aurora borealis."
"You mean those colorful Northern Lights?" Irma questioned. Taranee nodded.
"So this one is probably a portal leading to a different world," Will stated. "The question is where?"
"That's not the only question," Taranee pointed out. "What's wrong with our powers? They're weaker and we don't know why."
"You're right, Taranee," Will nodded. "The only reason we won against that beast was because the Heart of Kandrakar came to our rescue."
Suddenly, the Heart of Kandrakar illuminated another wave of light. It was quickly apparent that they're being summoned.
"I don't know about you girls, but I want some answers and Kandrakar better have them or else," Will frowned, clenching her free hand. The others nodded.
"You said it, Will," Irma agreed. "After all we've been through today, they don't know what's coming from us."
"Take us to Kandrakar," Will said, curling her fingers around the magic pendent before it began to teleported them through dimensional space.
To be continued…
Author's note: Originally, the plotting of this story started back in 2007 and wasn't finished until 2010. Additionally, the writing of this chapter started over a year ago and wasn't completed until now due to intense university studies and work schedule.
This story takes place sometime after the Guardians defeated the White Queen from the Teach 2b W.I.T.C.H. comic saga. If you read the original comic series, you'll know why Will doesn't have the Heart of Kandrakar during the fight with the ox demon since she and her friends received their New Powers. It returned to Yan Lin after she became the new Oracle of Kandrakar because Will no longer needed it to transform or get them out of sticky situation…until now. As for Elyon, Caleb, and some of the other characters…well, they and the Heart of Kandrakar are not the only characters/object that I've planned to bring back into this series.
I was getting sick of the Guardians' magical school bus as it pretty much did NOTHING important but just sit there and exist in the original comic series. It didn't even play any role in the defeat of the White Queen, the Runics, Nihila, etc. It's a liability so I'm getting rid of it by having the magical students finally graduating!
The ox demon is an Ushi-oni, an ox-headed monster that appears in Japanese folklore.