The airship lowered to the bottom of the clouds. The group was preparing to jump to the ground from fifty feet in the air.
Miskit peered over the edge. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea," he said, stating the obvious. He realized that there were only three parachutes. "Um, guys? Maybe Leon was right. I forgot to think about how we would get all of you to the ground safely."
Leon walked up behind him. "Nonsense. This is just one way to teach Emily and Trellis how to use their stones." He took the parachutes from Miskit and gave one to Emily's mother, one to a robot, and kept the last one for himself. "Ready?" he asked all of them with a sly smile. No one responded as he flung himself over the side of the the ship. Everyone ran to the rail to see him as he pulled the string and the parachute flew open.
They all stared at each other. Finally, the robot went, and then Emily's mother went with great causion. Before she jumped, she looked at Emily and told her, "Be careful."
Emily ran up and gave her a hug. "You too."
After the parachute people jumped, Trellis and Emily engulfed themselves with the stone's power.
"On three?" the Elf Prince asked.
"On three," she confirmed. "One...two...THREE!"
They sprang over the railing and plummeted to the ground, unafraid since their shields were up.
Emily did a double-take when she heard an unnatural sound; Trellis was laughing.
She had to take it in for a moment, making herself remember that sound for any time that the two of them were arguing. Just to make sure she wasn't hearing things, she adked him in a loud voice, "ARE YOU LAUGHING?"
He couldn't hear her over the roar of the air. "WHAT?"
"WHAT?" she couldn't hear him either.
He turned his head downward and screamed, quickly putting his shield back up. She did too when she saw how close to the ground they were.
They slammed into the ground and sat up slowly. Emily groaned and held her head, not used to the impact.
Trellis stood and offered her a hand. She took it and he pulled her up.
"Thanks," she said akwardly.
He expressed embarassment and walked to where everyone else had landed.
Leon was giving careful instructions to Emily's mother and Theodore. Then they left to buy supplies.
Leon approached the two and congradulated them for using their shields and plummeting into the ground. That caused the two stonekeepers to smirk.
"Alright. Now it's time to begin training. Emily, you need to improve on protection skills. And Trellis, you need to improve on fighting skills. I can't help both of you at the same time, so I'll start with the least experienced," Leon stated and turned to Emily.
"Ha, ha," she replied sarcastically as he chuckled. He moved towards the trees and came out holding a bunch of seeds, setting all of them down in a pile except for one.
"Emily, I want you to protect this seed as Trellis tries to burn it. This can also teach you how to be cooperative. Understood?"
She nodded and picked up the seed with her amulet, trying hard to concentrate on keeping it safe. The Elf Prince then used his amulet to try and burn the seed. Nothing happened.
The fox man put his head in his hand, thinking. He said, "You know what? This is a faulty test. Both of you can quit." The seed dropped. "I have a better idea." He drew his sword and commanded Emily, "You shielded yourself when you were falling. It will also be neccessary to protect others, although you are the main point of concern. Place a shield around Trellis."
Trellis jumped. "What?!"
Leon turned to him. "Relax. She has great capabilities. If her force field fails to protect you, you will use your stone to defend yourself through attack." No objection was made. "Okay. Let's begin."
The young stonekeeper wrapped her power around the Elf Prince, making him become uneasy, but he said nothing.
The mentor swung his sword in Trellis' direction, penetrating the shield. Trellis used his stone to zap the sword out of Leon's hand. It flew into the trees.
"Excellent job, Trellis," he said. "Emily, you will need more practice."
She sighed in disappointment and offered to go get his sword, then disappeared into the woods. The weapon was laying in a bush, and as she neared it, a pink slug emerged from behind a tree. She ignored it and reached for the sword, and as she did, the slug bit her in the leg and she cried out in pain.
The boys heard it and ran into the bushes. Trellis got there first and spotted the slug. He ripped it off her leg and chucked it as it screamed, "CHEEE!" He shook her and called her name, but she was unconscious.
Leon found them and checked her pulse. "Her breathing is normal, but she is most likely poisoned." He removed a radio from his belt and spoke to Miskit. "Training is over for now. Emily has been bitten by a slug and needs medical attention. The other group isn't back yet, but Trellis and I will stay on the ground in order to wait for them."
Msikit replied through the radio, "How will we get her back up here if she's unconscious?"
"I'll take her," Trellis volenteered.
Leon repeated the words, "Trellis will take her."
There was a moment of pause and then Miskit answered, "Alright."
The Prince of the Elves picked up the young stonekeeper and surrounded their bodies with a force field. Then he rose off the ground and flew to the place where the ship was waitng. On the way up he thought to himself, "I like her so much more when she's not glaring at me. Too bad she can't stay like this. Wait, what am I thinking? We can't win if she's unconscious all the time."
"Yes you can, if you give me control," his stone whispered. "If you really care for her, you will let her complete her mission on her own."
Trellis growled at his stone. "You're no help. I'm not going to leave unless she tells me straight up that she doesn't need me here." To that, the stone had no reply.
He looked down at her face, and noticed that it had changed slightly. The poison was making her age. He started to panic and flew faster, setting her down on the floor of the balcony. Miskit and Navin were there, taking her to a special room and hooking her up to a machine that extracted the poison.
Miskit told him, "This might take a while, but she'll be fine. The bite isn't too serious and by the time all of it is out of her system, she might be slightly younger than you."
That didn't come as good news to Trellis.
Leon's voice came out of Miskit's radio. "Tell Trellis I need him back down here. The group is almost here and there might be some gaurds behind them."
The Elf Prince hesitated a moment and then left to help Leon.