Chapter 3: Commands

Mount Thanos

Nerissa's eyes hovered over her son. He stood transfixed on the spot, frowning at her.

Suddenly, he exploded.

"I know everything! You...and...My father-"

"Oh, Julian? What a pity that he hid this from you."

She smirked as his mouth hung open. He was speechless – there was no comeback, no insult, or even a simple emotion etched on his face. Instead, all that happened was that he suddenly felt his body fall to the ground.

Confusion filled his every pore, as Caleb tried his best to keep his eyes open.

Instead, he was welcomed with darkness.


Mount Thanos

Blunk's eyes widened in disbelief. His head was sticking out from the entrance of Nerissa's cave, and he had just witnessed the short yet horrific encounter between Caleb and...His mother?

Realisation hit him in the face as he stood up properly, shaking in the cold, but mostly in terror. His eyes darted around him, the snow-white landscape surrounding the mountain making him feel even more terrified.

Without a second thought, he gripped the Tonga Tooth from around his neck and folded himself to safety – the fortress of Candracar.


Heatherfield

"What's...happening to it?"

Will took off the Heart from around her neck and held it in front of her, for the others to see. The girls all gazed at the mysterious glow being emitted by the necklace.

The door to the basement opened, revealing a nervous looking Yan Lin. "Girls, what brings you all here?"

"Something's wrong with the Heart..." Will muttered under her breath.

Yan Lin began her explanation, "This will probably be happening a lot. The Heart can be used to communicate from Candracar to the guardians if there is an emergency."

Hay Lin bit her lip, "So, something's wrong?"

Taranee squinted her eyes and levelled her gaze with the Heart. Suddenly, her eyes widened and she moved her head back in disbelief. "Who is that?"

The girls all stopped discussing the possibilities of what could be wrong and turned to face the fire guardian. She was pointing towards an image of a middle-aged man. His face was being projected through the pink glow of the crystal.

Yan Lin wore a worried expression on her face, "That is the rebel leader's father." She paused, just to make sure if she had seen it right. "I'm afraid there is something wrong in Meridian. Girls, you must leave for the Infinite City immediately."

"Works for me." Irma nodded, "But, let's hope that we don't end up falling in a pile of mud and displeasing her majesty." The water guardian glanced over at the blonde, smirking at her own joke.

Cornelia rolled her eyes, remembering their first visit to Meridian. They had to close a portal a few blocks away from the restaurant, and Hay Lin ended up getting too close and falling right through to the other side. The girls had rushed behind her, resulting in them falling head-first into a swamp. This didn't pass too well with Cornelia, and she had screamed in disgust at being covered from head to toe in dirt.

"Don't worry, girls. The Heart of Candracar will lead you the way." Yan Lin said, snapping them out of their thoughts.

Will nodded, before she created a fold with the flick of her wrist. She turned back to Yan Lin, "We'll try our best to help."

The ex-air guardian nodded in response, "Stay safe, girls."


Mount Thanos

Caleb lay in tranquil and unconsciousness on the side of the cave. Nerissa walked over to him and watched as his chest rose ever so slowly at his breathing. Grinning, she turned and walked over to the side of the mountain. Staring out at the horizon, she began to ponder her plan of action.

Now that she had their leader in her grasp, the rebellion stood less of a chance in finally defeating her once and for all.

Her senses heightened as Caleb made an incoherent sound from across the cave. His eyes fluttered open and close. Feeling the drowsiness begin to overcome his body, he fought as hard as he could to sit up.

A wicked grin crept up on Nerissa's face as she slowly took a few steps towards him.

"It's such a shame that he hadn't told you until now."

Caleb perked up at her voice, the events of the last half an hour sinking back into his memory.

The old hag continued, feeling the desire to dominate the situation. "If Julian couldn't be honest with you about something as simple as me being your mother..."

She paused, turning her back to face him.

"...What makes you think that he hasn't lied to you before?"

The rebel leader frowned and slowly stood up, still not fully able to control his weak limbs.

He replied, through gritted teeth. "My father only did what was best for me!"

She could feel excitement generating in her body. Creating a facade of pity, she turned to face him.

"It must be hard for you, son."

Caleb blinked in confusion, wondering where she was headed to in her conversation.

"For all your life you have been taken advantage of. A great responsibility has burdened your existence as the rebel leader and-"

"It is my duty to protect the people of Meridian." He narrowed his eyes at her.

Sensing his stubbornness, she continued. "Your duty is only for the people around you?" She paused, taking a moment to analyse the situation.

Now was her chance.

"What about the duty you yearn for...for yourself?"


Meridian

Hay Lin glided through the air, enjoying the feeling of being surrounded by freedom. Ironically, though, she was currently on her way to her first real mission as a guardian.

The burden of holding such a great task on the weight of their shoulders hadn't really sunk in as of yet – they had only discovered their duty as guardians a few days ago and since then, their lives had yet remained uneventful.

Will suddenly came to a halt, with the girls behind almost crashing into her.

"Will, what's wrong?" Taranee asked, sensing their leader's frown.

The red head looked down at the Heart that was tugging at her in the direction of, what looked like, deserted land. "Does...does this seem like the right place?"

Irma noticed the isolated ground and grinned, trying to ease the situation. "Maybe that thing is low on batteries?" She pointed towards the Heart around Will's neck.

"Irma, this is no time for jokes!" Cornelia glared at the water guardian, before pausing and muttering under her breath. "Let's just get this over with."

"Cornelia!" Will exclaimed, as she darted behind her. "We have to stick together as a team!"

The earth guardian landed gracefully on the ground, eyeing her surroundings. Barrels filled the dried land – dozens of them. She walked over to one and inspected the contents, kneeling down and creaking open the lid. It was empty, but an aroma of some sort of food poured out.

She turned to face the others, noticing that they were all doing the same. "Someone was definitely here and, by the looks of it, there were a lot of them."

Will stood up, almost forgetting about the Heart of Candracar directing them towards the rebel leader's father.

"Guys!"

She motioned for them to follow and the girls all observed the crystal stop outside of what appeared to be wooden crate, half buried in the ground.

"That's where we're supposed to be?" Irma said. "Inside a box...?"

Taranee shrugged, before realising that she was able to open it up. It was surprisingly heavy to lift, but once she did, she threw it open – revealing an unknown flight of stairs.


A/N: That concludes chapter 3!

Nerissa is trying her best to manipulate Caleb, which might be a little more difficult than she thought. Blunk's seen the whole thing and has reported to Candracar, resulting in the Heart introducing the guardians to Julian.

The next chapter will involve more manipulation, a couple of introductions and towards the end, a confrontation!

Thank you so much for reading! I've gotten quite a lot of views for this story, but I'd love to read what you guys think so make sure to review!

Thank you xaditix for your kind words!

Take care

-Ashley