A/N: Wow…it's been a while, huh? Well, I'm back now and I can get rid of that nasty cliff hanger.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Code Lyoko series or any of the show's characters. However, I do own the entire plot of this story and all original characters that are featured. So please, NO STEALING!
Yumi and Ulrich ran through the darkened festival using Yumi's cell phone as their light source. They could hear the panicked cries of the young children as they clung to their parents, fearful of the darkness. Yumi's phone began to vibrate in her hand and she swiped the call open.
"This is Yumi." She answered.
"Yumi, it's William. Please tell me that you and Ulrich aren't trapped on the Ferris wheel because of this power outage."
"Well, we aren't anymore. I convinced Ulrich to climb down after Jeremy called and alerted us about the activated tower."
"Even though I'm upset with you for doing something so dangerous, I'm glad you made it down safely. Now, what's going on with tower? I didn't quite get your message."
"Jeremy discovered two activated towers on Lyoko with a purple aura around them. Apparently, they're called hiatus towers and Aelita doesn't have the power to deactivate them."
William was silent for a few seconds before updating Odd on this new information.
"What do you need for me and Odd to do?"
"Right now, Ulrich and I are heading towards the bathrooms. There was an explosion earlier and we saw it from the Ferris wheel. Ulrich told me that Sissi and Aelita had been seen going there last so we have to get there and make sure XANA hasn't caused any harm to them."
"Roger that. Odd and I are just a few minutes away. We'll meet you there."
Yumi nodded before hanging up her cell and reactivating her flashlight app. "I've suddenly got the feeling that we aren't about to like what we see."
"We just have to hope that we aren't too late." Ulrich said encouragingly.
Yumi and Ulrich rounded a corner and caught sight of William and Odd jogging ahead of them. After calling out to them, the two of them slowed their pace so their two friends could catch up.
"If Aelita can't deactivate the hiatus towers, what are we supposed to do?" Odd asked in between breaths as they neared the bathroom.
"I haven't the slightest idea." Ulrich said as the flames from a fire came into view. "Jeremy might be able to tell us."
"Look!" Yumi shouted as she pointed straight ahead of them. Everyone stopped running when they caught sight of Sissi stumbling out of the rubble. She was carrying something a lot larger than she was, but she didn't appear to be struggling.
"Sissi?" Ulrich called out to her, fear in his voice.
Sissi froze for a moment before turning around to reveal Aelita in her arms.
"Aelita!" Everyone shouted.
Odd made an attempt to run towards her, but Sissi raised an arm and released a wave of electricity. The attack struck Odd and caused his body to twitch in pain before it fell to the ground.
"Looks like you were right about your girlfriend working for XANA." Yumi said to Ulrich.
"Wait a second, you knew that Sissi was possessed by XANA?" William said angrily as he turned to Ulrich.
The brunette sighed before shooting a glare a William. "I had a few minor suspicions, but that isn't what we need to be worrying about. Sissi has been given orders to kidnap Aelita and we have to get her back."
"Try all you want Ulrich dear." Sissi spoke, the words sounding monotonic. "I will fulfill my mission and there's nothing you can do about it."
William dashed towards Aelita and Sissi fired another blast. William rolled out of the way of the first blast and back onto his feet, but Sissi had anticipated the move and released another blast, striking William.
Yumi screamed in horror as his body fell limp to the ground a few feet away from Odd.
"XANA has business with this pretty pink princess and unless you have an appointment, I suggest you stay out of the way."
Ulrich and Yumi gasp as Sissi suddenly disappears in a flash of light.
"Where'd they go?" Ulrich shouted as he ran towards where Sissi had been mere seconds before.
"Where do you think?" Yumi said as she knelt down beside William and tried to shake him awake. "Sissi has probably teleported herself and Aelita to the factory so they can be materialized on Lyoko. I'm afraid she's going to hurt Jeremy in the process. We have to get to the factory and fast."
Aelita groaned as her vision slowly came into focus. She was moving, that much she could tell; but she also knew it wasn't of her own accord. Her legs felt numb, there was a ringing in her ears and her head was pounding so hard she felt like getting sick. As her eyes finally came into focus, she realized that she was in the super computer room moving away from the monitor. Her eyes moved around the room and she gasped at the sight of Jeremy laying in a heap on the floor. Her eyes then went back to the monitor where the self-virtualization process could be seen counting down from sixty.
Just as she turned her head to see who was carrying her, a volt of electricity shot through her body and she was once again greeted with endless darkness.
Yumi, Ulrich and the others ran across the factory bridge and into the opened door. After sliding down to the main floor on the hanging ropes, they made their way into the elevator. Odd punched in the code and the doors slid shut. The tension in the air was heavy as they silently rode down the Super Computer room and when the doors opened, they all couldn't help but to panic at the sight of Jeremy laying in a heap on the floor.
"Hey Einstein," Odd said as he and Ulrich tried to wake the genius, "come on Jeremy, you have to get up!
Jeremy began to stir, much to the teen's relief and the rest of them rushed to help him back into the computer chair.
"It's about time you guys showed up." Jeremy mumbled as Yumi helped him adjust his glasses.
"Jeremy, what the hell happened?" William asked.
Jeremy placed a hand to his forehead as his memory slowly came back to him. "I was waiting here for you guys to show up and go to Lyoko when all of a sudden, the elevator doors opened. Sissi came out carrying Aelita and before I could make sense of what was happening, she shocked me. I take it she's being controlled by one of the hiatus towers."
"It looks like Sissi materialized herself and Aelita on Lyoko." Ulrich said as he pointed at the screen. Aelita's avatar card had been completely loaded along with an unfamiliar avatar that apparently represented Sissi. The avatar's hair was in a high ponytail and there was a yellow headband near her forehead to keep her hair from falling out of place. She was wearing a full-armored bodysuit similar to Yumi's, only a skirt was attached to her uniform and the colors were burgundy and yellow, similar to Sissi's favorite outfit. It appeared that the avatar was holding a bow and there was a quiver of arrows on her back.
"What do you think XANA is trying to do with Aelita?" Odd questioned Jeremy as the genius began pulling up screens in attempt to locate the two of them.
"I've located them in the ice sector heading for the portal to sector five. My only guess is that Sissi's trying to take her to the core of Lyoko or she's trying to access the Skid."
"There's no way she can pilot the skid." Odd said. "She hasn't been trained to do so."
"Odd, maybe you've forgotten that Sissi really isn't in control of her actions right now." Yumi pointed out. "XANA has possessed her mind and there's no telling what he's trying to do now."
"Then we'd better get to Lyoko fast before something happens to Aelita." William said as he ran back into the elevator.
"William's right." Jeremy said. "Head down to the scanners and I'll transfer you immediately. Thankfully, I can materialize you directly in sector five, so you should run into them."
Odd, Yumi and Ulrich run to the elevator to join William. They all take a deep breath as the elevator door slides shut and they descend down into the scanner room.
William, Ulrich and Odd step in first and Jeremy announces their materialization. Yumi then steps into the first open scanner and is sent into the virtual world as well.
When Yumi touched ground on Lyoko, Ulrich, Odd and William were waiting for her in the first room of sector five. The main door had already been opened, signaling that Sissi had already arrived with Aelita.
"Let's move." Ulrich instructed as they took off running. "They couldn't have gotten far."
"Jeremy, do you have a lock on Aelita's coordinates?" William asked as they entered the puzzle room. Yumi and Odd took off in search for the key while Ulrich looked around for any signs of his girlfriend and Aelita.
"Sissi and Aelita haven't gotten too far from the room you're in." Jeremy's voice emerged from overhead. "They're boarding the elevator now. As soon as Odd and Yumi activate the key, you won't be more than two minutes behind them."
"Found it!" Odd shouted from above them. Ulrich and William looked up and spied their purple cat friend hopping around across several elevated blocks. Yumi hopped down and landed beside William while they waited for Odd to activate the key. As soon as he shot a laser arrow at the key and activated it, he went back to his friends and they waited as the room shifted.
A door appeared on the east side of the room and the four of them took off for the elevator corridor. They could hear the electronic sound as the platform moved above them. William looked up and pointed as it approached them.
Ulrich began counting down and he shouted for them to jump as the platform whizzed by. They rode the elevator in silence for two minutes until Jeremy instructed them to jump off. They then made their way into the holosphere.
"There she is!" Yumi shouted as she pointed at Sissi riding into the sphere on the back of a manta. Aelita was still unconscious in her grip.
"Jeremy, materialize our vehicles please." Ulrich instructed. It didn't take more than a few seconds for the over wing, hover board and over bike to appear before them. Odd and Ulrich took off immediately while Yumi hopped n the over wing to wait for William. When he didn't get on behind her, she raised an eyebrow and turned around to face him.
"William, what are you waiting for? We have to get a move on now and stop Sissi from doing whatever it is XANA is having her do."
William stared at Yumi, a little unsure of whether he should voice what was on his mind or not. When the look on her face became impatient, he sighed, opting to tell her.
"Why didn't Ulrich tell us sooner about his suspicions about Sissi? Better yet, why did Jeremy wait to the last minute to tell us about the hiatus towers? Yumi…something isn't right about all this. I can feel it."
Yumi's mouth fell open in disbelief. "William, how can you even think of questioning Jeremy? He would have told us if he knew the towers were a threat at the time. Besides, it's not like we would have been able to deactivate them. Aelita tried that already, remember?"
"Okay, but what about Sissi? If Ulrich was having suspicions about her, why didn't he say anything to the rest of us?"
"They were just suspicions at the time William, not facts."
William crossed his arms over his chest. "Yumi…Ulrich withheld information from us. His feelings for Sissi caused him to push all hesitations and suspicions aside and now, she's going to succeed in giving XANA Aelita."
"No William, you're preventing us from saving her by standing here and talking such nonsense. Ulrich wouldn't keep something like this a secret."
"Why, because he's been so good at telling the truth lately?" he shouted.
Yumi stared at William, shocked that he had yelled at her. "What the hell is your problem?"
William walked over to the over wing and grabbed Yumi's arm, pulling her off the vehicle. "Ulrich has been lying to us about the simplest of things the past couple of days and suddenly, he points out that Sissi has been behaving strangely. I thought Ulrich was honest and straight forward with people. Why all of a sudden is he keeping things a secret. If I had known Sissi was acting strange, I would have spoken up, but Ulrich opted to keep quiet as though he wanted to keep it a secret."
"What are you getting at William?" Yumi asked, curiosity overcoming her.
"What if Sissi isn't our true threat? What if it's Ulrich?"
"You can't be serious right now. William, what is this really about?"
"Yumi, you're oblivious to the fact because you still care about him. After everything that he's done to you, you would still take his word and opinions over mine. Your feelings are clouding your judgment in this situation."
"No they aren't William!" Yumi shouted as she stepped closer to him. "Yes, I'll admit that Ulrich has hurt me severely over the past week, but he is still my friend and he wouldn't lie to me."
"Why would he keep his suspicions a secret though?"
"That's the thing William, they're just suspicions! Why do you feel so strongly that he has something to hide?"
"Because he has been hiding things from us Yumi. What if the hiatus tower isn't what caused the power outage? Maybe the two hiatus towers are controlling both Sissi and Ulrich. Look, I know it sounds crazy but I feel so strongly about this that I can literally taste it on the tip of my tongue. Yumi, I care about you so much and I need you to trust me on this."
"You expect me to trust your word over his?"
William's face softened as he took hold of her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Yes Yumi, I do. Haven't I proven over the past couple of days that I am someone you can depend on? I've been the one picking you up when you were down. I've been helping your heart to heal and I've been keeping you sane because of what's been happening between Ulrich and Sissi. I care about you and I need you to trust me on this one."
Yumi stared at William and felt her heart ache at the pleading look in her eyes. Was he right? Is Ulrich being used in XANA's scheme as well?
William sighed before leaning in to plant a small kiss on her lips. Yumi's eyes widened in shock as she pulled away from him.
Yumi shook her head as she slowly began to back away from him. She then hopped onto the over wing and took off towards the holosphere, leaving William behind. William watched her go before turning around and heading back into the puzzle room.
"Jeremy, please send me the transporter." William said as he hopped back onto the elevator.
"Just where do you think you're going?" Jeremy asked him. "The others need your help to try and stop Sissi."
"Jeremy, just trust me on this. I need you to send me the transporter and take me to the forest sector."
"Yumi explained to me earlier that you found out the hiatus tower there had been running for days and you hadn't realized it."
"Yes, what's your point?"
"I'm going to take one last look at that tower. Something's telling me that I have a way of getting inside."
A/N: And so ends another chapter. So, do you think William's suspicions are correct? Is Ulrich really being controlled or manipulated by the hiatus tower in the Forest Sector or is Yumi right to believe Ulrich's theory that the power outage is the attack? Well, leave me a review and let me know what you thought of the chapter. See you at the next update!