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Rated: ASR · Chapter · Fantasy · #2176001
Shellie ends up in a place where her life becomes turned around.
Chapter One

“What kind of experiments are you talking about?” Shellie inquired after the white clothed scientist led her to where she would be staying.
“These are specific types of potion magically enhanced to react with each other to make you stronger and healthier. You will also live longer,” he replied after pulling the door shut behind him.
“Hmph. I still have a very bad feeling about this,” Shellie muttered as she turned around to examine the room.
The tiled floor glittered in the light and the wooden walls were smooth and glossy. The room was very well kept tidy. A small bed went the length of the outside wall, stopping at the other side of the window. Light blue curtains hung down from the ceiling and covered the window. Shellie went over and lifted the rich purple blanket off. Lavender colored sheets and pillows lurked underneath. She smiled. This might not be so bad after all. Then she turned and examined the dresser. It was light colored brown. The drawers were similar to the ones she was used to. Next thing to examine in the room was the closet. There were coats hanging along the first row, sweaters in the second row, and then shirts in the third row. Dust shed off from the clothes as she backed away. Her nose bugged her until she let out a few sneezes. Then she looked down. Her family was not here. She should try to run away from this place and return to her house as soon as she could.
The bathroom had the normal bath, toilet, and sink setup. Behind the mirror was a medicine cabinet. There was nothing on the shelves. Everything was the color of aqua blue. It felt like she was walking in water. Shellie loved to sit down on the edge of a lake and watch the water cover her feet. She turned the sink faucets to check and make sure there was hot and cold water. This will help her be able to stay clean. Then she pulled back the curtains so that light could shine through. The sky seemed empty and there were no birds around.
What is this place? Shellie did not see anything familiar. It felt as if she was stranded in the middle of nowhere. She closed the curtains and sat down. Already she was bored of the place and feeling unhappy. Then her friend, Darkie stepped through the door.
“Hey Shellie. How things a doing?” Darkie sat down right next to her on the bed.
“Good, I think. Well, feeling unhappy,” Shellie sighed. Then she turned and looked into a floor mirror on the ground. Her blue, glossy eyes shimmered in sadness and rich-black wavy hair lay in her arms. Her skin matched the burnt sienna color of the mirror frame. Her passion to become an explorer with an ability to fly remained like a fire in her heart. She missed her father Andria and mother Angelica whenever she was away from them. Breezy Village also came into her mind. Surrounded by Silver Mountains was the safest place considering the fact many travelers spoke about horrendous dark magic beyond the Silver Mountains. Still, even then it was hard to believe any of their stories.
“Do you think we will be able to explore the area soon?” Shellie asked to break the silence.
“Yes, I am. In fact, these scientists will let us travel around the area right now,” Darkie tugged on Shellie’s sleeve.
“Alright, let us start now then,” Shellie smiled. Maybe exploring will help ease this feeling she had about the place.
They went downstairs and looked around at the decent looking rooms. The door hiding stairs to the basement creaked. Shellie wondered if exploring the area was a good idea after all. She refused to go down the stairs. Her instincts told her something sinister was lurking, waiting to eat them up. They went through the kitchen and went outside. A stone wall towered high above their heads. The ground was covered in dead grass. A few trees stood with bare branches. Shivering, she let Darkie know she wanted to return to the bedroom she woke up in. Her friend was enjoying the scenery. Sighing, she decided to go ahead and return to the room by herself.
The walk back felt eerie as she sensed this place was a death trap. She wondered if there was a way to escape quickly before something sinister happens to her. One wrong move and she would be doomed for life. Then she stopped. Someone’s shadow overlapped hers. She turned around quickly with her heart pounding.
“Good morning Miss. Did you have any food today?” the tall man wearing a white scientist robe said.
“Oh, no I haven’t yet.”
“Downstairs is where the food is served. Many have already eaten but you are able to eat any time of the day. Do not wait,” after saying that the man turned and went downstairs.
Why did he not even give a proper introduction? Most people will at least give their name when you meet them. Okay maybe not. There are those crowds where people ignore you. I do need to know what is going on though. Better head to the kitchen, Shellie sighed and went back downstairs. At least the creepy feeling was gone. Maybe this place will be alright after all. She followed the directions he gave her and ended up in the kitchen. A scaly looking creature that stood on two legs greeted her. Then she ordered what she wanted to eat and sat down at the marble table on a cushioned chair. It looked very much like a mansion. Darkie appeared later on, yawning as she sat down.
“Had a good time?” Shellie noticed her friend looked bored.
“I guess so. There were these huge dogs that threatened to bite me while I was exploring the backyard. I have a feeling they are guarding something.”
“Interesting. I think we should go somewhere if they will let us.”
The conversation naturally went from treasure chests to the stories the travelers told when they stayed in town. Shellie had her omelets and spinach while Darkie had burritos. Then the same person she had met earlier came in and introduced himself. He led them out the back door, calmed the dogs, and then brought them to a secret entryway leading down to an underground room. That room was filled with gadgets and potions. Anything and everything related to science could be found. Shellie looked at each area with interest. She wondered how she could find these items out in their natural environment.
“I am thirsty, do you have a drink?” Darkie broke the droning sound of Hardy’s voice.
“My bad, I should have given you two a drink.”
He turned and disappeared from view. Shellie went over to her friend’s side. She felt thirsty too.
“There are some benches over there where we could sit on,” Shellie felt a bit nervous about standing and drinking. She did not understand why.
“Sounds like a good idea to me.”
The two went over and sat down on the bench. Neither of them talked though. Although Shellie preferred everything to be quiet, she eyed her friend and could tell she should start making some noise to help her friend feel more comfortable. She picked a soft but lively music she remembered from a band concert and started humming it. Darkie began to relax and sighed. Then Hardy returned with a couple green-blue drinks that glittered in the light.
“Drink up, Ray Were- I mean Ray Juice available. Should be sweet and delicious,” Hardy smiled in the manner that Shellie hated. Since she was thirsty she drank it all anyway. Her stomach rumbled and complained after she finished.
“I think I want to go to my bedroom now,” Shellie said weakly.
“Not a problem. You are free to go. Sorry the Juice did not go well with your stomach,” Hardy replied.
She walked all the way up to her bedroom slowly. Then she collapsed onto her bed and laid awake. She thought about the Ray Juice and wondered why she was being affected by it badly. She tried to forget but the pain lasted all night long. The rest of the week did not improve much either. After a month, she felt like herself. Smiling, she went to the kitchen. Her friend was smiling huge when they met.

Chapter Two

“That was the worst sickness I ever felt in my life,” Shellie said after she was alone with her friend.
“I agree. He said he may have the cure so that would not happen again. He said the potion was brown.”
“Let us hope that will not have any bad side effects,” Darkie smiled.
“I agree. It looks like he is coming right now.”
Hardy appeared around the corner with two bottles of brown potion. The two friends eagerly drank as he sat by them and watched, apologizing for giving them the Juice. When they finished he took the empty bottles away.
“What do you think?” Shellie felt very relaxed and calm for knowing this was a potion.
“I think this potion actually worked. At least I am not feeling anything.”
Darkie dashed off. Shellie decided to go ahead and go down to the basement. Exploring seemed to be the only option while she stayed. Together with her friend they used shovels to see who can create a large hole going from one side of the wall to the other side of the wall. So far they had made little headway. The stairs creaked a little as she headed down. At the bottom she found a rusty old book in a very worn condition. She decided to open the book. The markings on it made no sense at all. After a little bit of reading she recognized the writings dated back to the ancient times when the ancient civilization was in its peak. She wanted to study this language on her free time but was not old enough to go into the Ancient language section of the library. A few more years and she would be able to learn about it.
All of a sudden the book flipped to a specific area toward the end. Shellie decided to go ahead and see why. As she spoke the language softly to herself, she began to understand what it meant. The Ray Juice was actually potion and this other potion given was actually another ingredient. There were many other ingredients listed too. Then she looked at the title of the recipe: How to transform into a Ray Werepyron. She shut the book immediately. If she was going to become an explorer she needed to stay human. Not be transformed into a creature.
“Who is down there?” Hardy’s voice echoed through the room.
“It- it is just me,” Shellie flinched. This version of Hardy was mean and cruel.
“Get out. You do not belong here,” Shellie dashed up the stairs before he could do anything else to her. The hole was not big enough for either of them to escape yet. She could not sleep during that night as she thought about what just happened down there in the basement.
The next day after Shellie woke up she decided to go over to the mirror. She still looked normal. Smiling, she headed downstairs to breakfast. Darkie was not there this time. After grabbing a nut and butter sandwich that was already made she headed out the back door, grabbed the shovel, and went to where they were trying to create an escape route. Sudden movement caused her to freeze. She hoped it was not the mad scientist who kept them hostage to create horrible monsters to do his own will.
“Read the book? Well, I am not going to let you escape,” he snapped his fingers and several dark beasts snatched her and took her into the laboratory.
“No!” Shellie tried in vain to escape. “Why? What are you doing?”
“I need an army. A very strong army. You are going to help me achieve my dreams. The ancient sorceress will be very happy and promote me as her leader once I wake her up.”
When Shellie woke up she was trapped inside a cage. Now she would have no choice. The only hope for her was to stay sane. It was bad enough to have an already insane family. Now it was an insane scientist who lost touch with the world. Or maybe the scientist existed in the ancient times serving this legendary evil sorceress. She could not tell which. Then the creatures returned with Darkie and put her friend into a separate cage. Then they left. Her friend was still unconscious.
That hole… I was not able to make that hole reach the other side of the wall and escape. Now I am trapped in a cage and going to be forced to do whatever experiments that insane scientist plans to do, Shellie scowled herself. Then she remembered the park. She wished she had not gone to the park and stayed home. She decided to lay down on the cage floor after a while. All of the excitement had drained her energy.
“Shellie,” a quiet, scared voice woke her up.
“Darkie- are you okay?” Shellie found her friend staring back at her.
“Yes, I think so. What happened? One minute we were having everything we wanted and now I am all caged up.”
“It is that insane scientist. I forgot his name. Remember that hole we were digging? He caught me there,” Shellie heard a small scratching sound that started while she spoke and looked to see if she could find the source of the noise. A rabbit-like creature hung upside down. She gulped. “Stay silent. He has followers. Now he will know about that hole.”
Darkie nodded. Shellie looked up to see what the creature was doing. It moved its head and noticed her. Then it flew down and became obvious. There was straggly hair covering its body, bat wings connecting to its legs, long tail, short head, and long floppy ears like a rabbit. She shivered at the thought of what would happen, then hoped the scientist’s plan will fail.
“Who- who are you?” Shellie wanted to see how she could manipulate this creature so it would not tattle tell on them.
“Rocky. So, you were the one who tried to resist against his crazy experiment, did not you?” it replied.
“Yes, I did. Can you get us out of here?”
“I shall try my best. I think he is going too far. He was not this crazy before the sorceress. After the sorceress he become, somehow, inhuman due to a virus. He used to fight against the dark magic and now he is for it.”
“Thank you. Please get us out of here before he does anything else.”
“If you stand a chance to live, accept that third potion, do not accept any food from him. I will make sure you stay fed. These cages are magically created. I will have to try finding the spell book that will break the magic so you can be set free.”
“Sounds good to me.”

Chapter Three

Shellie shivered. Her first thought was the first fall season. Then she shook her head. It had to be the beginning of the wet season, there was no such thing as fall in Breezy Village. It did get colder, but not cold enough to wipe out any outdoor tropical plants. Hardy appeared with some water inside some bottles. She remembered Rocky saying to accept the third potion, but go no further. This had to be the third potion. After taking it in her hand, she peered into the bottle. This stuff looked dangerously like venom. After thinking about it, she went ahead and drank it. Then she handed it back to the scientist. Even Darkie stayed silent the entire time. Hardy talked about how it was just pure water to help keep them protected from the cold. She rolled her eyes. Venom destroyed lives, not save lives.
“Go ahead and keep lying to us, but I know what you are up to and it will not happen,” Shellie said to the scientist.
“You will have no choice but to accept what I give you. If you do not accept, you will die,” Hardy turned around and headed out.
Rocky will free us. As soon as he finds the spell book to free us from these cages, we can escape. You are dead wrong about this, and you will pay for it dearly, Shellie hoped her thoughts carried through into the scientist’s mind.
After a while since Hardy left he came back with some raw meat and threw it into the cage. Then, after disappearing, Rocky flew in with some food for both of them. Shellie watched as her friend was fixed on eating the meat.
“Do not eat that. Remember what Rocky said,” she warned her friend.
“I know. I cannot get rid of this feeling though.”
Shellie sighed. Hoping that feeling was not a temptation to eat it, she turned and thanked Rocky for the food. While it, too, was meat, most of the fur and skin was off and it appeared as if it was cooked over a bonfire. Biting into it, a stream of juiciness flowed. Some parts of the meat were raw, but most of it was cooked. Somehow the rawness appealed to her more and she ate the whole thing, leaving behind the bones for Rocky to take. She felt like she could eat more of that meat. It was safe because it was cooked, but the touch of raw flavor seemed to make the entire meat taste good. Then she glanced to where her friend was. Not only was that meat eaten, but the one Hardy brought was not there as well.
“I want more…” Darkie murmured.
Oh no. What was in that meat Hardy brought? Rocky clearly warned us not to eat it, Shellie looked at the meat. She could see dark worms crawling all over it and shuddered. Dark magic was strongly present in them. Then she looked to her friend Darkie and noticed her friend was falling into a deep sleep.
“Darkie, you need to stay awake.”
“Oh dear. We must stay away from Darkie as much as possible now,” Rocky noticed the empty meat.
“What did that meat do?”
“It corrupts and creates a hunger that cannot be satisfied. Also, if the scientist finds a way to raise the evil sorceress, she would be easily consumed and controlled by that sorceress. Other than that, it all depends on her behavior and what her heart was interested in the most. Even that I cannot tell what will happen. She cannot control that hunger of hers now, she will not be able to control it later.”
“Wow, long speech. Anyway, found the spell book?”
“Yes, I did. I also am proud to say I have all the ingredients needed to break the cage. I brought a couple companions with me. Come on over Sparky and Jolt.”
Two cobra-like creatures came forward. They appeared powerful enough to smash stone walls. The three went straight to work on the spell. As Shellie watched, she saw the magic working and the cages soon evaporated. Darkie woke up with hunger in her eyes.
“Jolt- you help us distract Darkie. Sparky- help me help Shellie escape. We need to be fast. We will have freedom at last,” Rocky said. Despite the calm tone his lips quivered a little. She can sense fear in him.
“Send them to the base. They will be comfortable with a lot more space than those cages,” Hardy stood in the entryway, trapping them from escaping. He had others with him. They lost their chance to escape. Rocky shed a tear at the failure to be able to escape.
“Yes sire,” Jolt and Sparky replied. They picked up Shellie and her friend and headed to a different secret spot. Hardy was not giving them any chances to escape now, their hope was doomed. At least the new space did not have magical cages. The bars were tough as metal. Metal could be melted with fire. So much for that, she knew some fire spells she could try, despite the lack of any magic in her.
Tired, Shellie decided to sleep in the corner. Staying up all the time for a chance to escape and then being caught escaping wore her out. Sparky showed an interest in staying beside her while Jolt stayed beside her friend. Rocky hid up in the ceiling. She huddled up into the corner and fell asleep.
Shellie, an unrecognizable voice drew her attention.
Shellie turned to see where that voice was coming from. A large mirror became visible. Instead of the normal human self, she stared straight at a Werepyre with draconic features. Markings also covered her dark appearance. She glanced at her arm. It was covered in hair. Then she saw the moon and howled at it.
“Shellie wake up,” Sparky’s voice entered her mind. Then she was back into the place she was before she fell asleep.
“What was I doing?” Shellie felt tired and grumpy from the sudden awakening.
“It looked like you were having a nightmare. I was concerned.”
“Oh, that dream… It was weird. I do not know how to explain it.”
“That is okay. Just stay awake next time.”
“I will.”
I hope I turn into whatever that monster in my dream was, Shellie yawned. Then she looked at her hands to make sure she did not show any hairy signs. To her relief, they were normal. She still felt odd in one sense. Her taste for raw food grew increasingly strong each time she saw meat. The others seemed to sense it too.

Chapter Four

"What do you want to play while we wait for Rocky to come back?" Shellie asked Sparky.
"Oh, I love guessing games. I want to play guess the number," Sparky replied. "You go first."
"Okay. Wait a sec... I am going to need to come up with one... and then come up with a range... Okay got it. Try to guess what number I am thinking of between 1 and 25," Shellie smiled. Sparky usually picked every number available before saying the right one.
"I will first guess 20."
"Wrong."
"Food for you two. It is freshly cooked meat. Enjoy," Hardy's voice could be heard in the back as he tossed some meat covered in purple into their cages. As Shellie was used to by now, she saw her friend eating the meat in a rush.
"What is in that meat? And I am so glad I am not at all tempted to eat that," Shellie asked.
"I will see if I can find that answer. It looks very poisonous. Do take care," Sparky sped off and disappeared down the hallway.
"Now I am by myself. Rocky, I would love for you to be beside me, but I know you are busy trying to find a good escape route."
Minutes passed by, and Shellie began to feel very bored. Yawning, she decided to remember some of the music she enjoyed the most. This kind of music did not have any words to them. The main melody was soft and sweet. She loved lullaby songs. On the contrary, she also enjoyed listening to pure rock music where the beat was off and lively. One of her hobbies was to see just how fast a note can be played. She decided to pick a hybrid between the two different kinds of music and started humming. Jolt raised his head and looked at her with interest as she hummed the melody. Being watched did not matter to her. She loved to go for the challenges someone else would cringe of trying. One challenge she loved the most was to see who could write the most words in 30 days. It only happened during the summer when school was out. Unfortunately for her, 50,000 words was the most she was ever able to accomplish. During school they had a lot of sprint exercises and sports as well as games to accomplish learning all of the subjects being tossed around in the mixing machine. That was the highlight of her day. If she never heard of it, then she would do research and study it until she was able to gain the knowledge of how that worked.
"Knock, knock," Rocky appeared, startling Shellie and her friend Darkie.
"Oh, hello!" Shellie felt happy to see him return.
"Good evening. I found what I needed to find. Unfortunately will have to find enough sticks to make the fire hot enough to melt these metal bars. Otherwise everything will be all set."
Rocky turned and left. Shellie considered that a good headway into escaping from the prison. Then she noticed her friend was asleep and mumbling dangerously. Still, she wanted her friend with her and hoped once they were free they could gain immediate access to help and have the effects of whatever potions and poison given erased. She smiled timidly at the idea of being able to play together and then grow up, move away, and have their own jobs. Most of the time friends become separated and, while they still are friends, they have no way to communicate to each other or anything, she would be the best explorer out of all of the explorers that existed. The top one gave his stories and wrote books about these adventures.
"I want to become an explorer, see things no one else as seen, fly high into the sky like an eagle, run like a cat, and experience all kinds of groups and be able to interact with them," Shellie sang very softly so none of the others could hear her. Then she sighed. This was going to be impossible if she was not human. Then Rocky came back.
"Here is some specially cooked meat for you. I will have the fire ready in no time at all. We will do this at midnight when the scientist is asleep. After all this trouble you deserve to have freedom beyond your imagination. I am afraid it will not be long before that potion fully shows through, but we will make it."
Rocky turned sideways. Shellie could make out some kind of pain in his eyes. Then she realized when he said we, he referred to her and her friend and not himself. She wondered just how long ago was it when the ancient civilization thrived, and how old he was when the sorceress took over and tried to wipe out all life on the planet. She realized, from the ancient writing, the humans were not originally living on the planet either. Life had adapted greatly and wondered what would happen if she became a Space Commander. It would be fun to stick around to see that project becoming developed and eventually successful. They had attempted two times and failed.
"The meat is delicious."
"Thank you."
"So much for whatever the scientist was planning. I will be free from evil. His plans will be ruined after so much attempts to keep us in his control. However, it will take a long time to recover from all of those things he did to us."
"Welcome back Sparky," Shellie caught the movement of her companion in time.
"That purple liquid contains the virus needed to wake the sorceress and bring her back to life. Darkie will need to be contained as much as possible. If he gets to her grave, the place where he lay, he will enable the sorceress to wake up. It takes time, and a lot of thought and chants too."
"Darkies needs to be contained... this means that my friend will be drawn to her grave now that she ate it does not it?"
"Yes, I am afraid that is correct."
"Oh no, this will be much harder than I thought. Is there a cure?"
"No."
"Drats."

Chapter Five

"I have all the materials we need to melt all of that metal and get you all out of here," Rocky announced. Jolt and Sparky laid out all of the ingredients and set a match on them. The fire rose and melted the metal bars enough to create a hole.
"Great. Now let us get out of here," Shellie said.
Smiling, Shellie went onto Sparky's back. She saw her friend Darkie climb onto Jolt's back. Then they followed Rocky into the tunnel and went outside on the opposite side of the wall.
"I will destroy the ingredients now," Rocky said, hovering in the air.
"What can we do?"
"Do not worry about it. All of the hard-earned ingredients I will stack onto a table and then light those on fire. I will also be lighting the lab on fire so that they will be destroyed. Your job is to run as far away from here as possible. This might cause an explosion that could be potentially devastating."
Jolt and Sparky did not even give them a chance to protest. They slid on the ground very quickly while Rocky stayed behind and worked on destroying the ingredients. After an hour they stopped.
"I want to eat something," Darkie said, her stomach growling.
"I will go grab some food."
Jolt dashed off. Shellie watched as her friend started to eat some plants. She flinched at the idea of her becoming sick from eating without watching. That was not a good sign. The birds kept really quiet. Sometimes she could hear the hoot of an owl or rustling in the leaves. Darkie seemed intent in staring in one direction. She hoped this would not cause something serious like her friend running away in search of that grave due to the virus already. This world did not need an ancient destroyer to rise from the grave and threaten the precious lives of innocent plants, animals, and creatures alike.
"Is there any way to distract my friend? She is looking intently as if she wants to disappear in that direction," Shellie said to Sparky so that her friend would not hear what she was saying.
"No, I am afraid not. Not unless it is food," Sparky replied. She sighed. This escape plan was not working very well. As soon as they were in town and rescued she will need to try to convince the authorities her friend needs to stay contained in a well-protected area at all times.
Soon an explosion coming from where they had gone could be heard. Smoke filled the air. The two had a rough time breathing for a few minutes and could not see. Then the smoke let up. Shellie turned to where they had come from. The path was filled with ash, dead trees, and dead animals.
"I would like to see how much damage this explosion caused."
Shellie directed Sparky to return to the building. Instead of a nice place thick with forage and bushes there were stones, burnt branches, dead animals, and marks of potions everywhere. She would not have to worry about that scientist gaining the ability to resurrect the sorceress anymore. Then she directed her ride to return to where they had left. Her friend was nowhere in sight. Jolt had some meat in his mouth.
"Where did you two go? And where is Darkie?" Jolt was not happy.
"Sorry, we went to examine the explosion. Darkie was just standing there and doing nothing so we thought it was safe."
"Here I am. Darkie was safe and sound with me," Rocky flew in with Shellie's friend on his back.
"Oh, glad to see you. I grabbed some food for her. Shellie needs to eat too," Jolt said happily, forgetting about the incident.

Chapter Six

"Where do we go first?" Shellie looked around, uncertain. There were trees everywhere.
"Straight in that direction," Rocky replied, showing the small path that looked worn and abandoned.
"Thanks."'
Shellie and her friend started down the path. Tall vines and weeds grew around the trees. Due to the unevenness, the walk was slow. The weather did not gain much heat during the day. Birds chirped quietly and slept as the night passed by. Night predators worried her a little bit. They were easy target. She knew they were being watched by their friends and would not have to face them alone. If they were lucky, it would just be a day or two and then they would be in town. Any trouble and obstacles would make it longer.
"How are you feeling?" Shellie wanted to bring up a conversation.
"Good. How about you? Well, I think it is pretty chilly," her friend said.
"I am okay. We should be at town in a day or two. Luckily we have our friends to keep beside us."
"I agree."
The silence went longer than the chats. Shellie could not think of much to say and walk at the same time. She loved to see the scenery. The trees were tall and provided shade. The tops prevented the view of the sky. The only lights possible came from fireflies. Sometimes, when they rested, she stopped and examined some plants. The purple colored leaves had intriguing patterns and highlights that had a neon glow on it.
"These are beautiful plants. What do you think?" Shellie said out loud without thinking.
Rocky appeared by her side. He explained to her the purpose of the plant and the healing properties. In the ancient times, it was used to cure all sorts of diseases.
"Where are we?" Shellie asked.
"I do not know."
"We should scout around. Or eat and sleep here. The trees here give a pretty good spot to rest our head," Shellie examined the roots and soil. The soil felt very soft and the roots of the trees acted like a hard-shelled pillow.
"I would love to do that. I think I will hunt for food now," Sparky turned around and flew off.
Shellie could not forget her dream, but she had not told any of the others about it either. Did they expect to see her transform into a monster or do they think she would still remain human? That question nagged at her since the explosion. They seemed to treat her with great respect, but do not talk much due to their background. Rocky was the best one to ask in what will happen now since he had lived long ago when the sorceress lived. She was saddened to find that they would not go into town. The travelers and townsfolk would love to know everything about what had happened and what life was like before the sorceress lived. Maybe they, themselves, were kept alive underneath that spell.
There were some mushrooms growing from fallen logs already covered with moss. Animals scurried around them. In this part of the forest there were no ants. Shellie wondered if they were in the tree-covered portion of the Silver Mountains now. That would be the only explanation as far as why there were no ants or other annoying bugs around. She smiled when she saw a rat looking up to her curiously. Then it scurried off to someplace else. Her friend sat down and waited outside. They had been walking for a few days now and still have not had much luck finding a nearby town. Rocky said they were very close though. The town he said was fairly small but heavily fortified. Then he had paused and continued by saying he hoped that town was still there. It had been a while since he had last ventured further than the walls of the building. He did not know just how much longer exactly though.
"If you are from when the ancient civilization, it will most likely would not exist now. I know on the map there are tiny villages and then the capitals, but only a few places are marked as far as where the ancient civilization is."
Darkie was being very sarcastic, but Shellie wondered about how true her friend's words were. It was a long time since she talked to anyone herself. She knew she would half to try to convince her friends she was back when she reached her hometown. Most of the time people change when they are away. Staying healthy and living a good life was all she cared about. The memories made her smile even more.
"Time to take off. The next stop should be the town I am thinking of," Rocky said.
"Sounds good. I am looking forward to it," Shellie said. She loved the thought about being able to reunite with her other friends. Her friend beside her looked fairly sick, so she gave her friend encouraging words to help keep her cheered up.
After a few hours of walking and fighting the plants in the forest they came across an old stone wall. Both, Sparky and Jolt stopped. There did not seem to be any opening and there was vines covering the stones. Rocky flew toward the top, and then jumped down by their side.
"Well, this used to be a very lively town. Even after all that had happened. Stay on Jolt's and Sparky's back. I do not want any of you to get hurt. For now, it would not hurt to savage this place and see what we can find."
Rocky moved from stone to stone, testing their weakness. Finally, one of the larger stones gave away and he pushed it until it fell. Shellie admired his strength. The group entered slowly. Inside were stone built buildings and what looked like maze entrances to go further deep inside. Skeletons occasionally moved in the air. Thick grass grew right by the stones and inside jars. Otherwise, where the stone did not cover the ground, it was bare. Arches covered the entire place. Sometimes there was water to be found. The only movements that existed were bugs everywhere.
"Hey, do any of you talk?" Rocky asked some of the bugs and then none in particular. None of them replied. "These are all wild. Guess the ancestors of these bugs were able to communicate."
"What if we captured some of these bugs and then taught them to speak?" Shellie thought of something.
"Ancient language can be easily forgotten, but I will try to speak to them that way. It had been so long ago and with little time to spare, I think we are better off continuing this journey. I doubt if they had ever gone outside the walls. Noticed how in this part of the forest there are no bugs? This is because we are on Silver Mountains still. Civilization thrived in the mountains where they were protected from harm and plenty of food and water to go around."
"Wow. Were there any mysteries to this town? If so, maybe we should try to solve them," Shellie admired all of the artwork and how everything looked.
"Yes, there were quite a few. I think we should escape from this place before those mysteries trap us forever. I do not like the idea of us being stuck here just like the bugs."
"I understand."
Shellie knew, in her heart, she would love to return to this place and solve some of those mysteries this place held. Maybe it had the key for getting rid of dark magic altogether, or how the sorceress came to being able to destroy the world. She whistled as they gathered a bunch of bugs for snacking on, drying the meaty part of them in the sun, and holding the meat bag and escaping from the ruins. Now was the time to search for help before her friend gives up fighting whatever illness she was under. So far, to her relief, she had not tried to find the grave and do whatever the virus wanted her to do. Her friend was very quiet though and even talking and trying to cheer her up all the time seemed to not give promising results.
"Where do you think the nearest, modern not ancient, town is?" Shellie asked.
"Ancient, what do you mean ancient?" Rocky stopped and turned to look at her.
"Well, there was this civilization that thrived in the past before the sorceress. That was at least 6,000 years ago!"
"You mean somewhere between then and now the sorceress destroyed the world that long? I would never have guessed that. Okay Sparky, you lead. I hope you know this area well."
"I do not, I have lived in Breezy Village where there was plenty of wind, rain, and sun, but there was not this kind of trees or ruins. I do not know where we are. I believe we are well away from the ocean though," Shellie said after giving some thoughts.
"Eating bugs," Shellie mumbled as she took some meat out of the bag. They were now out of the ruins and around a campfire resting for the night.
"They taste like fowl."
"Sure. The only fowl I had for what I remember was Web legs. That was enhanced with magical spices so I did not have to worry about what that tasted. Sure tasted like candy."
"Do think this differently. I am not much of a cook but those bugs had a taste of their own. Way different than Web legs. I think that, well, it just does not sound very good to me. Those animals did not exist when I thrived in the ancient civilization. Oh well, cannot be too picky out here," Rocky spoke with an increasingly noticeable accent.
Shellie smiled, then took a bite. It had a very sweet and juicy flavor unlike the Web legs she remembered. Then she took some more out of the bag and ate those two while staring into the fire. The wood crackled as the fire danced around in the chilly breeze. Because this type of fire was magical, the warmth from it radiated in a circle so that everyone was able to stay nice and warm and smoke was very friendly to the air. It also did not consume near as much energy as normal fire did. They had enough wood for the fire to last at least 8 hours. It would be enough for the two friends to gain a good night's sleep, or during the day rather since they traveled until midnight. Midnight to sun peak was all considered morning. Afternoon lasted six hours and then evening lasted from afternoon to midnight. Some time wasted as they oversleep into when it was past sun peak.
"Quick, we better continue on. It looks like this was the last of the bug meat too. A river would be really handy if we can find one."
Rocky took off to hunt down the nearest river while Sparky and Jolt hunted for food so they could have enough meat to last the day. After they came back Shellie filled the bags up with the raw meat and let them enhance it so that the meat would all be cooked and preserved by the time they were ready to eat next. Then they waited for Rocky to come back.
"Not bad, there is a creek just a few miles from here. We can follow this creek down to the outer edge of the forest, or town. I think we are on the right track," he said to the others.
"Sweet, then I can see my other friends and Darkie will be safe from harm."
"Yes, that is correct."
"Hey, you do not need to be so serious about that," Jolt said teasingly.
Rocky led them through the trees and then stopped suddenly. Slowly, they approached the creek he had found. The water was pure and cool. After drinking and filling their stomach, they started down in the direction of the flow of the river. The quiet rush of the water kept their feelings calm as now they did not need to worry about dehydration. Taking their time and eating on the move, they told stories about the civilization and the cities that Shellie knew would now be ruins. Either ruins or completely gone. She decided to ask him about how he was able to remember these things and keep his sanity. He stopped for a moment. It apparently was a very tough question for him.
“I had a friend. We became separated a long time ago as he disappeared in search for a way to destroy the sorceress’ dark magic powers. He discovered these mountains had a link to someplace far far away from here. That place was as cold as can be, yet it held the pureness and key ingredient to destroying this magic. He saved my life so I could live freely without worrying about becoming under control of that evil mage. I never did get to say thank you though.”
“That is sad. Your friend is a hero and should be proud,” Shellie smiled as he looked over his shoulder.
“Thank you. Yes, I am proud of him,” Rocky smiled back, then turned to focus on leading the way to town.
After a while of slithering or riding the group decided to hang out by an underground cave. It appeared to enable all of them to fit in smug. Each of them felt very comfortable. Shellie could not forget about the dream and had trouble falling asleep. She just did not want to see the same thing over and over again.

Chapter Seven

"As soon as we can get you to the hospital, the quicker we can get you recovered from that virus. I am sure, after time passes by, you will be feeling better and can do what you had always wanted to do," Shellie noticed that while Darkie did not appear to feel any better than usual, he was not feeling worse anymore.
"Thanks. Well, I think I am recovering. I have not transformed or anything so I do not think that the potions and meat or anything had any effects on me," her friend said.
"Do not be too sure about that. Rocky knows about this stuff better than you do even."
"I do not like Rocky much. He should stay out of my health."
"If it was not for him you would be transformed and under the virus' control now. We would have to destroy you before you wake up that sorceress."
"That is just legends. Remember nothing of what those travelers talk about can be 100% true."
"I am beginning to think all of their tales and stories have some truth to it. After all, only one person could make it up, but seeing how each of their stories has some connections in one manner or another, I think we should pay attention to them."
Shellie thought about their short conversation. Before, her friend Darkie believed in that stuff. Now she was saying they were false. Her attitudes toward everything had changed. She wondered if she had done the same thing. However, she could not forget about the ruins and how Rocky knew the place. After this was all done and gone, she would love to go back to those ruins with Rocky by her side and try to solve all of the mysteries. Caves and haunted places were a consideration as well. Those other places felt a bit spooky and she did not care much about spooky places. Mysteries intrigued her quite a bit. Then she shook her head. This was not the time to think about traveling as a detective and solving ancient mysteries. She needed to stay focused about her goal as an explorer. Then decided it was okay to have the curiosity for solving mysteries. She could do that on the side as a hobby.
"What was that?" her friend asked. Everyone stopped.
Shellie looked around to see or hear whatever her friend Darkie asked about. Then she saw her friend jump off and stared at the river. She closed her eyes for a moment. The image of this dark creature with special markings appeared inside her head, inviting her to come to it. The thing seemed to be patiently waiting, smiling, as if sooner or later she would have no choice. She opened her eyes. Rocky was talking to her friend as they sat at the river's edge. Her friend appeared annoyed, but did listen.
Glancing up, Shellie noticed a rainbow colored parrot landing on the tree across the river. Maybe that was what caught her friend's attention, she decided. Somehow the parrot stared straight back at her and then a smile seemed to form in its cheeks. Then it flew off.
"Did you see that parrot?"
"No," Sparky said, looking around.
"It was the colors of the rainbow and had landed on a tree for a few minutes, then flew away. It might be able to help us if it would come talk to us," Shellie knew Sparky would love to see the parrot.
"Well, it could be any kind of parrot that exists in your bird guide. Back in the ancient times, as you would like to call it, rainbow parrots that did existed only could be seen and met by a pure heart. They could heal any illness. Unfortunately the world had changed so the parrots could be extinct now."
"Heal any illness; does that include what kind of illness that is caused by dark magic too?"
"Yes, it does."
Looking back into the sky in search of the parrot, Shellie wondered if it could heal both, her and her friend Darkie. She sighed. The potions had been affecting her after all. If she saw the exact type of parrot just now, that meant that the potions had affected her positive, not negatively. Darkie needed that healing power as soon as possible though.
Darkie made a move to head away from the river. Jolt immediately went after her while Shellie, Sparky, and Rocky stayed behind. Shellie watched her friend disappear into the bushes. She wondered why the sudden strange behavior of tuning everyone out and trying to run away when they were trying to help.
“The virus is catching up to her. She must stay with us or we will all be doomed. There is nothing on this planet that could stop the sorceress from destroying the world again. While there were many who resisted her last time, she had effectively spread her dark magic so that this time there would be no one who could resist and stand up against her. Unless there are people who have trained themselves to become powerful mages now and can use unlimited access, time passes quickly when you do not know what is happening around you.”
“There are none.”
“We are doomed then. Well, no time to waste, we must keep going,” Jolt came back with Darkie as they headed down the side of the river once more.
Shellie examined the lush growth of the foliage surrounding the river. Trees towered high in the sky marking the edge of the forest. Birds chirped cheerfully as they fluttered from one tree to the next. She noticed a frog jump into the creek. As they went further down the creek turned into a small river, then eventually became a large river as more combined into it. Jolt and Sparky were excellent swimmers and not concerned about whether or not the current would affect them. They used a special skill to make a pathway across. The air was filled with happiness and an aroma that made the two friends feel very sleepy. After crossing a medium sized river they stopped.
“You must go on in your own now. We sense civilization near.”
“Thank you for your help,” Shellie hugged Sparky and Rocky.
“Not a problem.”

Chapter Eight

“Stop!” a harsh, deep voice called out to Shellie and Darkie. Both of them froze from where they were.
Civil police officers appeared and surrounded them. They wore bright, yellow vests over their uniforms. Shellie immediately recognized those vests. That was what the civil police officers wore when they were on the hunt for someone who had disappeared. She looked down on herself. For the first time she realized from escaping a scientist to exploring the ruins to searching for help she was in a huge mess.
“Come with us. Everything will be just fine,” the police officer said in a more gentle voice.
Along the way Shellie told them everything they had done except for the ruins. She felt the ruins should be kept hidden from society until she was able to have a chance to explore it and solve the mysteries it possessed. The officers wrote everything down and listened intently. Then she saw they were entering a town and fell silent. This place reminded her of something, but she could not remember what.
“We found a couple girls walking along the river. They need immediate medical attention right away,” the officer told the others. She smiled. Now they were safe and sound from the wilderness.

Chapter Nine
“We need to make sure you are okay. Shellie, you come over here. Darkie needs to go over there were the other nurse is waiting,” Low said.
Shellie did the standards of what they usually do whenever a patient comes to the doctor office. Then she went through a series of exams and magical tests. All of the tests came up negative to her relief. Now she would not have to worry about losing her insanity after all. Then she remembered Rocky’s words, the modern tests would not mean anything due to the fact this was done at a chemical level and very subtle. Back then they knew how to alter the genetics in such a way that magic or test could not detect.
“How is Darkie doing on her tests?” Shellie said once they were done and she had some time to hang outside.
“Darkie had been infected with a virus, like you said. We put her in a containment room. She will be kept there until we can figure out how we could cure her,” the receptionist said. She knew Darkie gave them permission for her to learn about her status and wanted her to visit regularly.
“I hope there is a cure,” Shellie looked back into the sky for signs of the rainbow parrot. There was none to be found. Though a little disappointed, she figured she should expect that anyway. Then she went with the civil police officer to learn where she was going to be staying until they could figure out what to do from the capitol.
“What is there to do around here?” Shellie did not want to just waste her time.
“Oh, maybe go to the Halloween party. It is free and open for all. You will have time to figure out what you would like to wear. Darkie will not be allowed to join due to the virus since it could be contagious.”
He had already answered her next question, so Shellie decided to ask about places she could go to prepare for the Halloween party. One week was a bit short of notice in her opinion, but she really wanted to go in order to get her mind off of the whole ordeal. She needed a breather. After shopping around and gathering materials and such, she went straight to work on creating her outfit. Every so often during the day she went to the hospital and visited with her friend. She learned the part of her hospital where her friend was kept held a secret entryway going straight to where the Halloween party was. The magical barriers seemed strong enough to prevent her friend Darkie from intervening. As each day passed she worked hard to get back into the civilization, her costume, and visiting her friend with hope in her heart. Halloween night was also the exact same night a moon was predicted to be full. All sorts of stories about what happened during a full moon came from travelers who really enjoyed exaggerating stories.

Chapter Ten

“It is 6:20 p.m. now, we better head on out to the party,” Shellie told Stylie, the civil police officer assigned to watch over her so she would be safe. He was to make sure she did not start behaving strangely or she ended up hurt. Occasionally she could see Sparky and Rocky watching in the shadows. She sensed that they were still concerned about the side effects of the potions. She realized she had kept her dreams and what she kept seeing a secret, even though they could mean something.
The walk to the party was fairly short. Shellie dressed up as a ghost creature. The costume was just a misfit of sorts and did not belong to any specific category. The appearance of it did resemble a bit the creature she kept seeing though and that made her nervous. Maybe it was just the costume after all that she envisioned and nothing more.
“Greetings,” the host’s volunteers said, mimicking their costumed characters a bit.
“Greetings back at ya,” Shellie loved a little entertainment.
Then they entered the building. Shellie stopped, taken aback at the huge room and highly detailed decorations. Then the lights went off and spooky lights activated.
“Welcome to the party. It has officially begun!” the announcer said and then spooky music started playing.
“This is awesome,” Shellie said quietly. The music flowed through her.
“It is our best one yet.”
Halloween derived from those who were able to survive the sorceress’ reign before she accidently put herself into a deep sleep. They wanted to remember the day the world changed forever and a reminder of what exactly could happen if another one likes her rose in power and intent to destroy everything. The world itself could have the power to destroy and create universes. Dimensions also played a key role in what went on around them. So far they knew of three dimensions. One of them was the one they were familiar with. Another one was called the spirit world. The last one remaining was the dream world. Science now argued about the possibility of a fourth dimension. Rumors had it that a human who was evolved into a creature during the reign of the sorceress named Rocky started it all. In her mind she knew who that was.
Yellows and oranges covered the entire area. Pumpkins with faces carved into them and fire was very common to see. To her surprise, there were no bugs or spider webs present. Then she remembered this part of the forest did not contain any bugs. Bats hovered in the air by string and snake decorations covered the ground. Shellie tripped and fell to the ground. Looking over her shoulder, she saw she was on some type of black cloth. A scaly hand that appeared familiar reached down and helped her back up.
“Are you okay?” Shellie immediately recognized the voice.
“Yes. I am very glad you came. I, umm, what are you dressed up as?” Shellie felt her cheeks turned pink as she tried hard to pretend she had not met him before.
“A phantom,” Rocky smiled as he said that. Then he turned to Stylie.
“Mind if I take her upstairs for a bit? I am well versed in security as I have skills of a Knight,” Rocky said it smoothly and deliberately.
“Yes sir. Be sure if something happens you report though. I will wait around,” Stylie said with a nod.
Shellie followed Rocky into a very small room, said some incantations to prevent their conversation from being overheard, and then sat down across from her at the round table. He pulled out some snacks and gave some to her. It was half-cooked meat.
"Thank you," Shellie said, accepting the meat and eating it happily.
"You like the taste of raw meat already I see," Rocky said, observing her reaction. Then Shellie stopped, realizing what he was doing.
"Well, yes, sort of. I do know there are people out there who eat meat not cooked too. I did not think anything about it," Shellie was not sure what to say exactly.
"This is one of the side effects of the potions the scientist gave you. I will not be surprised if you are close," Rocky half said it out loud.
"What is it?"
"For now, keep your head low. I will not allow you to disappear from my sight. I just have this feeling. Remember when you said you saw a rainbow parrot? I will say, I am going to let it happen," Rocky stood up and then took down what he had put up. "Please, enjoy this party. This will be a very fun night."
"I will," Shellie smiled, getting up from the table and walked to the door. Then she thought about his words, he was pretty much stating something will happen to her. What exactly, she could not figure out.
"Did you have a nice time?" Stylie said after she appeared.
"Yes, I did," Shellie said.
Shellie decided to pick the furthest corner away from the dance floor and peered out. Everyone was having a good time and enjoying themselves. She had a lot to think about, but did enjoy watching the different costumes dance and whirl around without a care in the world. For once, she felt like at home. Rocky sat nearby and Stylie was busy hanging around a group of fowls, as they called themselves. The floor vibrated with the drums and guitars. Sitting back until she was at a very comfortable position, she closed her eyes and felt the music in her mind. Any thoughts or doubts about whatever problems she might end up facing later on disappeared.
After a while the song slowed to an end. Shellie opened her eyes. Now they were lining up along both sides of the stage. Some walk up to the stage and then pulled out a piece of paper. Then they acted out a scene with the character they drew and others tried to guess what it was.
"That looks like fun. Why do not you try it?" Rocky said.
"No thanks. I would rather sit back and enjoy the show."
"Tough luck. You do not know what you are missing then," he said in a sarcastic tone.
"No worries. Hey, why not you try it?"
"I started this event in the first place. Wait, I mean I was the one who started Halloween on this planet," he said. Then he turned to the side. Shellie knew the memories hurt him deeply, yet he had to live with all that he had seen and experienced.
"Just relax and enjoy yourself," Shellie wanted to calm him down.
Just then the music started to play. This time, the music had a very soothing quality like a lullaby. Shellie could not help having trouble resisting the temptation to relax and close her eyes. Finally, after a few minutes, she decided to give in to the temptation. She sighed a bit as she relaxed herself. A voice in her head appeared, inviting her to enter a different dimension. This dimension offered a comfortable place to sleep right where she was. Then she opened her eyes. Rocky was shaking her gently and saying her name.
"Did I do something?" Shellie asked.
"No, but I was afraid you would lose your sanity if you fell asleep. This is a party, time to enjoy yourself. Go dance," Rocky smiled while he said that.
"Okay, I will, since you are so insistent," Shellie punched him playfully as she stood up and headed to the dance floor. She did not have any clue how to join in though. She stood and waited as she watched everyone dance to the tone. Shrugging, she headed toward the opposite wall. No one seemed to notice her. Then she wondered if she was in a completely different dimension from them. Yawning, she decided to go ahead and return to Rocky's side. There was plenty of time left to enjoy the party and all of the goodies it offered.
"Oh well, I do not have a partner anyway," Shellie said after she sat down.
"Not a problem."
"This is the longest music I have ever heard that had a lullaby in it. Wait, I mean has," Shellie reminded herself not to insist on auto-correcting herself just for saying the wrong verb.
“Okay, after this song is over, go over and dance. I will come with you,” Rocky moved a little bit from where he was sitting.
They waited until the music finished up. Then they went to the dance floor together. The crowd opened up and let them in as if they had been missing all of this time. Then the music began and they started to dance, one step at a time. As Shellie danced and began to enjoy herself, her stomach started to growl. The next thing she felt as if her clothes shrunk. The song still played, but she needed to do something just to make sure she was okay.
“I better stop dancing now. I- I really do not feel well,” Shellie said quietly.
“Not a problem. It must be the jitter bugs- or the side effects of, well,” Rocky pulled back.
Shellie made her way to the nearest table. Secretly, she was shaking all over and felt very nervous about what she just experienced. Her stomach was still complaining a bit, so Rocky gave her some more of the meat he brought to eat. After chewing and swallowing the meat her stomach stopped complaining as much and she felt as if she could move around freely again.
“That was a close call. For a minute I thought something was going to happen,” Shellie said quietly.
“I said you were close. There is a full moon and the timing is about right. I suggest if you feel it again you should go into this family bathroom, as they call it, and hide in there for a bit. I do not want something bad to happen to you,” he said in a low, soothing voice.
“Hey, not fair how you talk like that. We are supposed to be enjoying the party,” Shellie teasingly punched him in the shoulder.
“We shall continue dancing now. How about it? I have not had such a good dance for centuries,” he said.
“You mean millenniums,” Shellie smiled.
“Oh, whatever you would like to say it, my cute vampie,” he stood up.
“I dare you.”
Shellie swung herself into his arms and then grinned, thinking about how to describe his costume in a joking manner. Then she shrugged her shoulders and started to dance with him on the dance floor. The dance lasted for the rest of the song. Then everyone returned to their seats. Rocky and her went over to the very back where it was dark. She nudged him gently to pry his attention away from any thoughts about the past and waited for the announcer to reveal who won which prize.

Chapter Eleven

When it was time for everyone to stand up and line up against the wall, Shellie moved closer to the edge. The smell of the man’s deodorant was strong, but she could not free herself. She felt her stomach rumble and then moved her face onto his arm for a better view. This time, she felt as if the clothes were slowly tightening up and made it difficult to move. She felt tempted to taste his skin.
“Come,” Rocky’s voice was very hushed, but it broke her attention from the man. Quickly they headed out of the room and down the stairs to where there was a fairly large bathroom. She dashed into the bathroom. There were quite a few stalls, where each stall contained its own separate place. Examining their sizes and which one would be the least likely to be chosen, she found a hidden stall where it said it was out of order. Quickly she opened the door and entered it. Then she closed the door behind her. Hair grew visible as she stared down at her arm. Her clothes rapidly became tighter with each breath. Panicking, she ripped the clothes she wore where it was becoming too tight to continue wearing. Skin and muscles ached and complained about the sudden change.
Feeling very weak, Shellie slowly eased herself down to the floor. The voice in her head sounded louder than before now. After screaming no loudly in her head, it disappeared. She closed her eyes. The only thing she heard was the humming of the heating system above her. The humming sound seemed to help calm her down. After a while she opened her eyes. She did not know what time it was or if the party remained. She examined her torn pieces of clothing scattered all over the floor.
What happened? Shellie wondered as she took deep breaths and looked around. Dark black hair covered her arms and legs. The fact that she even had a tail alarmed her. She still could not quite remember what she wanted to remember or be able to make a sound due to the shock. Then she decided to she had to face it and stood up, giving up trying to remember everything. She opened the stall door and went out. First thing she needed to do was check to make sure she was all by herself. All of the stall doors were open and there was no sound. She figured that there was nothing to worry about. Then she remembered about the party and what had happened before then and shuddered.
“Rocky?” Shellie called out loud. Then she thought against it. He might try to tackle her down the instant he saw her.
“I am here,” Rocky said calmly. Then he came out into visible range and smiled.
“How do you feel?”
“I- I think I am okay.”
“Looks like you will be perfectly fine. I do not think there is any reason to worry. You have a pure heart and will never be affected by evil,” Rocky turned his head from one angle to the next.
“Thanks. I needed that,” Shellie smiled. To her relief, she did not need to worry about becoming a horrendous monster. If Rocky accepted her, that meant she was safe to be around civilization after all.
Do you have any idea what you look like? Rocky’s voice came into her mind.
No, Shellie was not sure if she could telepath her thoughts, but figured he could read it no matter what.
Look in the mirror. You resemble, well, a Ray Dragon, Werewolf, and Vampire at the same time.
What!? Shellie did not want to believe him. Quickly she dashed down to where the first stall began. Then she took a deep breath. If anything, she did not want to become a creature of the night. Then she bowed her head, stepped out and headed to where the mirrors where. Fervently hoping that Rocky was just kidding around, she took a deep breath, then turned to look straight to the mirror.
Noo, she howled as she stared into the mirror.

Chapter Twelve

Shellie stared at a Werepyre like appearance with draconic features. On the outside, she appeared to be a two-legged werewolf. When she looked closely at her skin, she noticed not only was it hairy, there were scales like a Ray Dragon. Her wings were a mix of vampire and Ray dragon features, and tail appeared to be very much like a Ray Dragon. Then she examined the horns jutting out of her head.
“And do you think I am a pure hearted person?” Shellie turned and scowled at Rocky.
“Before you accuse me of anything, I must say we better hit the kitchen quick,” Shellie thought he was just trying to be funny in her horrendous kitchen.
“No thank you. I am a creature of the dark now.”
“Not exactly. The civilization I knew well had creatures like you in every single town.”
“Why am I black then?”
“You apparently chose a dark element when you transformed, but that does not mean anything. All Ray Werepyrons had their colors matching the element they were the strongest in.”
Shellie fell silent. She thought about how casual he said those words, yet the serious, stern face told her he was not lying one bit. So it probably was not a bad thing, but in order to be an Explorer she had to be human, not some kind of creature. What good would it be to be some kind of creature?
Shellie decided to focus on the edge of the mirrors. They were carefully carved out of wood and polished with paint with a very thin layer of glass. She enjoyed trying to figure out patterns and see if she could come up with any ideas by staring at it for hours. She loved the carefully placed lines and details on the decorations. Then she turned her attention back to Rocky.
“So, you mentioned we should go to the kitchen. I do not feel hungry right this minute,” Shellie saw a smirk form on his face.
“Maybe now, but it will soon settle in, just like it had happened to me too when I was transformed into a creature. Unfortunately, it took many, many years to regain my senses. I do not want it to happen to you,” he said.
Rocky turned and went out of the bathroom. Shellie sighed. He would be very insistent about making sure she went to the kitchen right away. The smell of food caught her attention and her mouth became watery. Something smelled delicious and very sweet. Suddenly she felt a very strong temptation to just go out there and eat something that had flesh. This hunger flooded her mind and she searched for where the scent was coming from. She stopped at the kitchen, and then she turned her head. Piles of raw meat laid on the countertops were all ready to eat. Quickly, she made her way to each countertop and ate as much meat as she could lay her hands on until she felt sick of eating as much as possible. There was no more meat in the counter. Then she missed having someone by her side and looked around for Rocky. He was nowhere in sight. Then she looked back and saw what she had done. He did try to warn her. At least he moved out of her way before she turned into a feeding frenzy mode.
“Done yet?” she heard his voice.
“I believe so. Where did you disappear?”
“It happened to me too. The trick to avoiding that hunger is to keep your stomach full on meat. Then you would not have that problem.”
“Why did not you tell me that long ago?” Shellie shuddered at the thought of her truly becoming a raging hunter.
“Okay. Maybe we should go check to make sure Darkie is alright. She might, well,” Shellie did not even want to think about it.
“I agree. Now that you are stable you are safe. I will teach you how to hunt and fly,” Darkie appeared by her side. She had problems just trying to stand up because her stomach was very full from the feasting.
“How much meat did you put in here?” Shellie said, mumbling about feeling stuffed.
“As much as I could find within a very short time. Stay calm, you are actually doing very well.”
Shellie followed Rocky down to where they were able to walk straight into the hallway Darkie was being contained in. Then they walked and stopped to where her friend was being kept in contamination room. Her friend was fully transformed. Instead of the creature she became, she looked very corrupt like the meat that scientist tried to feed her.
“Oh no,” Shellie looked around to see if there was any security guards. No one was around but them.
“I will cast a barrier that should contain her for a little while. That virus is in the process of corrupting her completely unfortunately. Still, there might be one thing,” Rocky stopped talking and casted his spell. Shellie thought about the rainbow parrot.

Chapter Thirteen

"We better head back to the party now. Actually, you head back there to the party. I will go find someone to make sure Darkie is not by herself," Rocky said. Then he turned and left the area.
Shellie waited a while to make sure her friend did not try to escape. The appearance eventually stopped changing. Now she was the mirror image of her, only she did not have dark blue markings covering herself. It was as black as a black hole. Then she sighed. Rocky was right, she better head back to the party. What would she do if they discovered she was not human anymore? After debating to herself she finally decided she did not look too much different than when she had her costume on. A doctor came walking down the hall, stopping to meet her as he was busy with his duties.
"Darkie needs to be under watch. I need to return to the party so no one will miss me," Shellie said nervously.
"Who are you?" the doctor hesitated.
"Shellie. I am Darkie's friend," she did not want to have to deal with police and such yet.
"Oh, your costume looks very well. Okay, what is the update?"
"Darkie has transformed. Pretty soon she will be ravaging everything for food. She better not escape or else we would have to hunt her down before she reaches," Shellie stopped. She did not want to even think about the resurrection of the sorceress.
"I will see to it so that the security can contain her. Thanks for telling me," the doctor then disappeared.
Shellie turned to view her friend. The process had completed now and she was waking up. Her friend Darkie stood up, looking dazed and confused. Then her friend looked straight back at her, begging for her to be very close by. She shook her head to let her know she should not enter. Then Darkie gave off a very sad cry.
Shellie flinched to see her friend in such a bad condition, but she knew if she were to step inside, she might end up becoming food for her friend. Then she heard some footsteps. Apparently she had been standing in the hallway long enough for Rocky to already ask for security to come and contain her friend. She sighed. Returning to the party and acting normal was going to be hard. Darkie was right on the fact she would need to try to escape afterward so that she would not end up being humiliated before he had a chance to help her control herself. The first thing she would need to learn how to do was fly and hunt by herself.
"I am going to the party now," Shellie said softly out loud.
Shellie turned and headed out. Glass could be heard breaking. She turned around. Darkie had used dark magic to escape the containment cell she was kept in. The laugh chilled her bones. Quickly she shut the door and then picked a safe place to hide from Darkie. The door banged. She wondered when the security would be able to do their thing and put Darkie down long enough to enhance the magical barriers. Or if the virus in her friend was giving her deadly powers to break through anything, she did not want to consider that fact. Shots could be heard from the lazer guns. Then the door opened and her friend entered and disappeared. The security searched around without any luck. After a little bit the security officers disappeared. The men were going to warn those in the party that her friend was on the loose. She decided to come out from her hiding place.
Shellie was able to quickly return to the party without being caught by the security guard. They have not announced the danger yet. She was able to gather a lot of candy and prizes. Then Stylie appeared.
“Shellie?”
“Yes.”
“What happened to your costume? You do not look like a random creature anymore,” Stylie folded his arms.
“Oh, I sort of, umm,” Shellie thought for a bit. She had forgotten about him after the transformation. “I know I took off some parts and just wanted to look more normal.”
“Okay. I can accept that.”
Shellie could tell her excuse was not very convincing. She knew what the civil police officers do for a living too and did not want to alarm him. Despite that, Darkie was on the loose and everyone needed to escape from the place. The security guards were taking a very long time at it.
“Can I speak to you about something in private?” Shellie said quickly.
“Sure. Enter this room real quick.”
After entering the small room, she explained to him what Darkie did. He replied that if they could not find a way to contain her friend, then they will cancel the party. Just because her friend was on the loose did not mean much unless members of the security guards started to disappear. They were able to detect dark creatures. For this reason, he felt confident that Shellie was not a creature of the night.
"Wow so I can join the dance and the party will still continue?" Shellie liked the idea of not missing out on the party.
"Yes. Speaking of, we better get back there," Stylie said with a grin.
"I will race you to it."
Shellie reached the door first, opened it, and then headed out to the main room. Music played lively and everyone was dancing. She smiled. This time was perfect for her to just sneak in on the fun. Watching, she memorized the moves of the dance. Then she joined in.

Chapter Fourteen

"Everyone gather around the wall-" the announcer began to say after the music ended. A few security guards walked into the middle of the room.ss
"Quick, you need to get out of here. I have a feeling there is something dreadful about to happen," Stylie said in a low tone.
Quickly Shellie headed out of the room. As she did so she ran into a furry beast that smelled like human. It turned out to be her friend, Darkie. Her friend stopped and backed away in surprise. Then her friend disappeared from her view. She turned around. There were many people in the room she had just disappeared from.
"Darkie," Shellie hoped she could stop her friend in her tracks. Then she frowned and turned. The guards were lining everyone up and sending them away.
"No," Shellie said under her breath.
Shellie hung just outside the room to see if she could spot her friend before it was too late. No success. Then she decided to go ahead and poke her head in. There was a much clearer view than before. Suddenly people started to drop down with obvious signs they were being eaten while being attacked. People started to run in different directions, including heading to her. When they saw her they ran toward the front doors. Only a few managed to escape her friend's savage attacks. She remembered Rocky and wondered if she would be able to find him. Quickly she dashed down toward where she had seen him last. A couple security guards stood near the stairs and elevators to her disappointment. She sighed. Now she had to face her friend and lost all hope of being able to warn any of the others. Returning to the main room, she saw Darkie kept feasting on those that were not able to escape. Her friend seemed to be very preoccupied in doing that. After a while her friend stopped and gripped her stomach. She took that to mean her friend was now stuffed from eating meat that was savaged.

Chapter Fifteen

Darkie examined the room and what she had done. Shellie could see regret and panic in her friend’s eyes. She decided to try facing her and see if she could knock some sense and keep her friend from doing any more harm.
“Shellie,” Darkie stared straight into her eyes.
“Listen, you need to stay calm and do not follow that voice in your head or, well, disaster will strike and you would not have any sanity left then,” Shellie said in her best calm voice.
Shellie observed as each second passed, a gruesome looking grin became readily apparent. She sighed, this was a losing fight. The only thing she could hope to do was nothing terrible happen. However, she felt something sinister was around the corner. Her friend was not only listening to the virus, but she would soon not be her friend anymore. They would be enemies for the rest of their lives. Then she turned her head sideways as a way of saying this would not go well with her and she will stop her friend in her tracks if she needed too.
Then Darkie did the unthinkable. Shellie watched in alarm as dark magic flowed from Darkie to the ground. Remembering what her friend was doing previously just a moment ago, she felt like she should escape, fast. This kind of behavior was unpredictable and madness grew apparent in her friend’s eye. Then her friend did the same thing to all the other skeletons that lay. Each skeleton rose and surrounded the room as her friend laughed maniacally.
This is not good, Shellie looked around for help from Rocky. He was nowhere to be found. Then she saw Jolt appeared, striking at her from the side. Unfortunately her friend noticed and transformed Jolt into a minion. Jolt appeared in the most corrupted manner.
“Come, you need to get out of here, fast,” a voice said in Shellie’s ear. It turned out to be Sparky.

Chapter Sixteen

"What are you going to do now?" Darkie's voice said arrogantly and loudly. Shellie stopped. Her friend was right behind her.
"I am going to stop you," Shellie said.
"No one can stop me from ruling the world. I have great power you can't imagine," she then casted the same spell she used in the room to gain minions. Shellie held her breath. Darkness flowed around her as the magic enveloped her. Then she noticed she was not being changed like the others had.
"Hmmph," Darkie stopped casting the spell and stared at her.
"That spell did not work on me. Too bad. You will never rule this world. All you are going to do is wake up the sorceress. We know the sorceress has the power to destroy the universe and will certainly destroy this world completely," Shellie hoped there would be some sense put into the maddened mind.
"We will see," Darkie turned around and then existed through a window. The minions turned their attention to her.
"Sparky, are you okay?" Shellie asked.
"Yes. Look, those minions are going to attack us if we do not get out of here this minute," Sparky tugged on Shellie's leg.
"Right. Coming," Shellie quickly dashed to the other room. The minions were slowly coming after her. Then she looked up and found a way into the air ventilation system.
"I am in now. Close that opening before the minions can enter," Sparky said. Just as Shellie put the cover on a dark cloud of dark magic entered and completely blocked their view. Then it disappeared just as suddenly as it showed up.
"What was that?" Shellie asked.
"Dark teleportation spell. Now they are somewhere wherever Darkie is," Sparky said.
The two went through the air ventilation system to reach outside. They kept hidden while everyone rambled and the military covered the entire premise. Only Rocky stared at where they were hidden. Once the calamity was over then Rocky went over to where they were hiding.
"What are you guys doing? Are you okay?" Rocky mumured.
"I think so," Shellie replied.
"I am definitely glad you did not go as insane as Darkie did. But now we have a world threatening problem to face."
Rocky watched and hung around. Shellie could overhear them talking to him about how her and Darkie needed to be captured and put down. She shuddered. At a time like this she did not want to be put down at all. She wanted to have the freedom to explore all kinds of places and wanted to be led back to the ruins and learn about the mysteries the ruins contained.
"Grrr Why did this happen to me," Shellie mumbled under her breath.
"Stop complaining. You would have no way to prevent all of this from happening. Besides, since you listened to Rocky everything will be okay for you. However, to put down Darkie we must destroy the virus. Unfortunately it is too late to save Darkie. The treatment to destroy the virus will kill her. The only hope now is to see your friend remember who she was in the past and be able to fight the virus off on her own. At this rate it is not happening," Sparky said quietly.
The military remained for a long while. Then the sun came up. Everyone started to do their things. Shellie sighed. She was now unwanted by the people.

Chapter Seventeen
Shellie decided to step out from her hiding spot. Sparky was still fast asleep. She looked around and saw people staring at her. For a while she tried to remember what happened last night. Nothing came to her mind. Then she decided to walk up to the people standing nearby.
“Hello?” Shellie said in a very polite manner. The person she went up to fainted. Then she turned to face the others, confused.
“Uhh,” she was not sure what to say.
“Darkie, it is Darkie!” one of the elder women said suddenly. People started to run in different directions.
“I am Shellie, not Darkie,” Shellie was not sure what to do. Then some police officers arrived in their cars.
Run, a voice in her head said. Shellie watched as the women told their story about how she was Darkie to the police. Then the police began to shoot at her. A magical shield suddenly appeared, blocking off all of the bullets aimed at her way.
Run, the voice in her head appeared again. Shellie decided it was no use to try to resist that voice. She could not figure out a way to convince the others she was not the creature gone mad either. Quickly she turned and went straight into the trees. The police officers kept after her. She found a tree that looked easy to climb and started to climb it. She heard gunshots in the distance and could tell they were getting closer as each second passed by. She needed to find a spot to hide in, quick.
While she climbed up the tree Shellie’s hand fell into the inner part of the tree. The hole was large enough for her to fit in easily. Holding her breath in hopes that hole did not contain any animals or creatures, she slowly made her way inside. After feeling comfortable she poked her head out sideways so she could see what the police officers were doing. They surrounded the area for the entire day. Her stomach began to growl.
I must not move and must not eat until they disappear, Shellie told herself over and over. Then Rocky came flying by and dropped some rabbits into where she was hiding.
I know you are there. Eat, Rocky’s voice came into her mind. Since her problem for needing food was solved, Shellie happily ate the rabbits Rocky brought until she felt full. Unlike last time, she did not become a ravaging monster. She did knew, deep inside, that if she did not eat meat of some kind in time, she would rage with hunger. Her friend did that after she transformed, before she became consumed by the virus.
Thank you, by now Shellie knew how to speak in telepathy. Rocky taught her very quickly.
You welcome. Why did you exit from your hiding spot and tried to talk to those people?
I did not do anything wrong. That woman accused me of being Darkie.
Listen, both you and Darkie are wanted. I know your heart is pure. Darkie is as black as she can be. Please stay hidden and sane. This is for your own safety, Rocky said in a very harsh tone.
I am sorry. I do not remember anything that happened. Okay, I will not do it again.
You do not remember anything? That is a bad sign in itself. The potion must still be working in you. At least you were not afraid to climb. Now you need to fly.
Fly!?
Yes, fly. And hunt too. Well, I will do my best to convince the police officers that you are nowhere to be found. Thank you for putting me in a very bad position.
Then Shellie remembered what had happened the night before. Her conversation with Darkie as she thought she could have Darkie understand what was going on and then the attack she had to deal with.
Now I remember everything. Do I really look exactly like Darkie then?
Yes, you do. If we separate, I will mistake you for Darkie. Please do not forget that.
I hope I do not separate from you then. Worst case scenario would be losing my mind.

Chapter Eighteen

Is it safe to come out now? Shellie noticed there were not anymore police officers patrolling the ground. Rocky continued to provide her food so she would not become hungry.
Yes, he replied.
Good.
Shellie crawled out of the tree hole and down the side all the way to the ground. The climb up felt way easier and quicker than the climb down. Rocky and Sparky waited down at the ground.
“That will not be a good hideout for you for long. Pretty soon they will have reinforcements to check all the trees as well as the ground for you. You are going to need to escape, fast. Either run like a rabbit or fly. Flying would be the easiest,” Sparky said with a grin.
“Well, it should better be running. I have no clue how to fly of course.”
“I can teach you. It is very easy and simple.”
Shellie rolled her eyes. Humans never flied. Yet she did want to be able to soar high in the sky freely as an Explorer. This would be her chance to learn how. Then she grinned herself. Maybe she was meant to be a creature, not a human, after all.
“Okay, I will learn how to fly. After this, please do not say I will need to learn to kill animals,” Shellie agreed.
“Sorry, but after this you will learn to do exactly that. Get used to it. You will need to do this for the rest of your life.”
Shellie sighed. She was afraid that Rocky would reply exactly that. Either way, he was right. Sooner or later she would need to just do it without a care in the world. The wind started picking up, signaling a harsh storm brewing.
“We better hurry. Shellie, flap your wings. Give it all the strength you can muster. You should be able to hover.”
Shellie watched as Rocky did what he was telling her several times. Her first few attempts alone were not enough though. Frustrated, she repeatedly begged to just do it by walking. They did for several miles, rested, and then she tried again. Rocky made it look much easier than it sounded. One day while the others were asleep, she decided to try again. She stood on the rock for a while. Inside, a voice laughed at her for not being able to fly. She turned around. The two were still fast asleep. Then she decided to go ahead and try. No voice in her head would be able to call her cowardice for refusing to learn how to fly or, though she did many attempts, she would become known as the dragon that would never be able to fly no matter how hard she tried.
Shellie took several deep breathes, breathing in and out very slowly and deliberately. Then she stepped onto a rock that had a very smooth, flat surface.
"Time to do this," Shellie told herself out loud. She took in one more deep breath and started to flap her wings. Still did not lift off the ground. Then she decided to kick off the ground while she flapped her wings. Now she was hovering a few inches off of the ground. This time she had success. Continuing to stay focused, she slowly rose higher in the sky. First she felt scared to do anything more than a foot, but after becoming used to it she decided she could go up significantly higher.
"Good morning," Rocky woke up, and then looked around.
"Good morning," Shellie quickly flew down, ending up crashing to the ground. Pain seared her head and clouded her mind.
"Shellie!" Rocky dashed to her side. Shellie could feel blood run across her face as she moved to a more comfortable position. This flight was a disaster.
"Sparky, get the First-Aid kit. Shellie will not be allowed to go for flying for a while now," he said.
Shellie moaned and collapsed. First time success ended in a failure. At least she knew what not to do next time she tried. She could feel the side effects of the first aid kit while the pain remained intense. After a little bit, she began to feel better, then opened her eyes and sat up, still dazed from the fall.
"Take it easy there. You need to rest," Rocky said calmly.
"Sorry," was all Shellie could think of saying for the moment. She leaned against the rock.
They stayed there the entire day. Rocky fed her twice more food than normal. He told her stories about his life and everything he knew when he was not busy tending to her wounds or hunting for food. Sparky stayed right beside her at all times to make sure no predators would try to attack and eat her. They also put up a protective shield so that the police officers would not venture near if they happened to reach the place. There was a concern about the creatures they had sent out to find her.
"Everything will be okay, will not it?" Shellie asked after she felt much better and stronger.
"Of course. You were lucky it was not rock that you landed face first in. Be more careful next time. Congratulations in taking your first step to flying," Sparky said with a smile all that entire time. Shellie smiled back. She could not help herself due to how cute and charming that appeared.
"Thank you," she said back.
The rest of that evening they sat around a bonfire and relaxed. Soon stars appeared in the night sky, well after the sun settled down. Rocky told a story about how each of those stars belongs to a completely different galaxy. Each galaxy had many Solar Systems. According to the ancient science, they lived in a galaxy called SurMagic that contained exactly 300,000 Solar Systems.
"How did they know this?" Shellie pondered where the ancient people derived from.
“Legend has it this planet was barren of life until aliens from outer space arrived and transformed this planet into a place thriving with life. Who knows what it was like beforehand,” Rocky shrugged.
“Well, legends are legends true. I would love to see that hunk of metal someday,” Shellie smiled.
“Someday you will.”
A few days passed as Shellie rested in place to recover from her injuries. They insisted that she did not move or go anywhere until she was feeling herself. Now she felt fully recovered. The sun lowered in the sky. Pretty soon it would be evening, the time they plan on continuing on. The journey across the Silver Mountains was planned to be on foot, very slowly so that they could help Shellie through. The best way to cross was to take one of the narrow roads not used by everyone. This path turned out to be well overtaken by the wild and appeared to be abandoned for years.
“Can we just use one of the modern paths? I have a bad feeling about this one,” Shellie could not help but to have a bad feeling about it.
“Calm down. This is fairly safe and it will not go very high in elevation like some of the other paths.”
“I hope you are right. Maybe the entire path had now been blocked completely though.”
“We will see.”
“I hate it when you say that,” Shellie rolled her eyes.
They started on the path. For a long time the mountains teased them. Even though they were on the mountains, the main central ones were miles away. There were steep slopes surrounding them and unpredictable weather. Even in the night when it was cloudy the rocks glowed a silver glow. Shellie admired the colors of the mountains and how they were able to see where they were going while walking. Suddenly the wind picked up and rain started to pour down on them. Luckily, there was a cave to stay in while the storm raged on. She stayed in the center of the cave with Sparky where it was surprisingly warm. Then Rocky disappeared to go find some food.
“Come on. We better get going, the rain stopped.”
“Okay. Will Rocky be able to catch up?”
“Yes.”
Shellie slowly made her way out and continued with Sparky right behind. Soon Rocky arrived with food for everyone. She found herself eating the majority of the food. After that brief stop they continued to travel on the path. Now the Silver Mountains loomed overhead. A small valley could be seen from time to time. After they passed a turn the valley became fully visible. It showed plenty of life and a stream flowed through with multiple waterfalls along the way. In the very center a very deep lake was visible.
“We should rest here.”
“This looks like paradise to me.”
Shellie stumbled in her excitement, tripped, and then fell. A strong grip around her ankles stopped her from falling completely. Turning her head, she could see Rocky with a worried look in his eyes staring down at her.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I am fine.”
Rocks suddenly covered both, Rocky and Sparky, and threatened to take Shellie all the way down to the bottom. Shellie tried desperately to free herself. Just as she poked her head out above the rocks, she could hear an evil laugh. Then she poked her head out more to see what was going on. After managing to free more of herself, she was able to see, in plain sight, her friend Darkie. She noticed Rocky and Sparky were now under her friends’ control as well. More minions. This time, those who were stronger than her.
More minions? Great, maybe Rocky and Sparky cannot stop you, I can. There is no way you can touch me.
Are you sure? These are my friends. If you join me, you will have everything you desire. Come on out and show yourself.
No.
Be that way.
Darkie laughed again and then vanished to thin air. Rocky and Sparky disappeared too. Shellie looked down toward the bottom of the cliff. The small valley appeared to be a higher level than the bottom of where she was stuck. The only way she would be able to make it would be flying. The wind came up very unpredictable too. This would be her only chance. She struggled out of the pile of rocks and took a few deep breaths. She told herself she can do it over and over again. Then, like last time, she hovered just above the ground in a safe distance. Then she leveled down and then pushed herself to fly forward in the direction of the valley. Soon the cliff gave way to the entrance of the valley. She smiled. Some day she would be successful. Already she had traveled to many places she would never have thought of before. The mountains cleared as she circled lower and lower with the intention to land in the valley. Then a gust of wind came up knocking her balance off course.
"Wow," Shellie said to herself when she landed.
To her right the mountains appeared to be distant, but the details of the trees and rocks were vivid. The silver colors gleamed in the sunlight. Markings of lava appeared on one that appeared to have a caved in top. Volcanoes were not common in this range, but, most of the time, some would be volcanoes. Every volcano went by a special name given by the Ancient civilization. Then she decided to turn and stare deeper into the valley. Houses could be seen scattered all over the place with ant-like creatures walking to and from those houses. She wondered if she could join them and be safe and sound for now. There were a bunch of trees scattered, blocking the view of the stream and lake. Jumping from the ground, she decided to go try making friends with the creatures that lived in the valley. This would give her some time to plan out how she will be able to face the rest of the civilization.
"Hello," Shellie said in a very formal manner, bowing down to the creature dressed up.
"Skeeters," it said. She looked up in confusion. How would she be able to talk to these creatures and make friends with them if she could not speak their language?
"Umm, skeeters to you," Shellie felt frustrated at not knowing their language. She would love to make new friends, but she did not know if all she was doing was insulting them.
"Aye shoo," the creature turned around and left.
Shellie sighed. She figured she was just being a nuisance and an insult to them after all. Looking around, she could see the others gathering and examining her. The stares felt very uncomfortable. Then a creature flew and landed right in the middle of the group and faced her. It looked exactly like her, only the color was silver instead of black. She found herself unable to turn to look away from how beautiful it looked.
Welcome, rare one, it said and bowed. I am She'Ralli, the Silver Ray Werepyron. Who are you?
"Shellie."
She'Ralli twitched his head for a little bit and then smiled, Come.
Then She'Ralli flew high into the air and hovered. Shellie frowned. First time flying ended up severely injuring herself. Second time flying only knocked her out. Now she was expected to fly with him. Again, that name appeared. The books had said Ray Werepyrons were extinct. This frustrated her even further. Still, she would not like to give up a chance to learn from him and possibly find a cure for Darkie to destroy the virus living in her friend once and for all. A couple rainbow parrots flew by him. She decided to go ahead and meet him up there.
My friends Sweetie and Roastie. They have been living with me since I was born. When Sweetie saw you Sweetie immediately told me about you. It is very rare for a human to be transformed into the purest of all creatures, he said, smiling.
I do not want to hear about it. I want to be human again, Shellie suddenly snapped and headed the opposite direction, not caring to look back. Transforming into a creature was bad enough and looked at where it had gotten her. An entire planet was now on the verge of being destroyed if Darkie had success in being able to wake the sorceress from the grave. Her friend believed in ruling the world with darkness now too. She yawned, and then picked a spot well away from She'Ralli and the mysterious creatures. She wondered how he was able to speak her language when all of the others were only able to speak their own language. After climbing onto a rock, she collapsed. Feeling hungry did not help her any either.
So, is She’Ralli your real name? Shellie decided to go ahead and give in from trying to escape him for now. She still felt angry at him for bringing up what the scientist was doing to her all of this time and the results from that experiment.
No. That is the name you modern people understand. My full name is Shelit Little Tone a Ralliance Shiftwalker. She’Ralli is the short version of it. It means Silver, he said.
Wow. That sounds very, ancient.
I am 10,000 years old now. Today is my birthday. Why did you reject me?
I do not want you to bring up that horrible experiment.
I will not say anything about that then. You do, however, have a lot to learn if you would like to withstand confronting your friend. I already know about it, She’Rallie turned and faced her. Shellie stared into his glossy, silver eyes. The sadness melted her heart. How could she have rejected him up front? Then she closed her eyes and shook her head to break his spell. This was not the time to become attached to anyone.
If you think that was bad enough, what would have happened if I died? The entire world will be sunless for a century and the only things that would remain then is underwater creatures for many years to come. That alone would be considered destroying the world. In fact, my death would ripple throughout the universe, all of the galaxies and life out there would be affected. They do not know about us, but I have traveled many places through a ship. Eventually, my crew crashed here, along with other aliens, and we devoted ourselves to making this planet become livable. That is how you exist too.
What are you saying- you know the origins of how life on this planet came to be, and it was only 10,000 years ago that it happened?
Yes, She’Ralli made no motion that he was lying either.
Shellie thought about everything she knew, how much that was compared to what he knew. She could not believe she was communicating to one of the founders who knew, and lived, through forming life on this planet. The core was made purely out of magic, as well as the other planets of the Solar System. Maybe there were planets that did not have magic at all. Then she shook her head, not wanting to think about living without magic.
I do not believe you, Shellie decided it was not worth the trouble to think about everything he told her, stood up, and walked away.
This time She’Ralli did not follow her. Instead, he flew away. Shellie picked a cave that felt very comfortable and laid down. She had a lot of trouble falling asleep though because her stomach started to complain and all she began to think about was eating something, anything that had flesh and blood. She stood up and walked to the entrance. A large cow dropped down from the sky. Without thinking about why, she immediately went over and ate until she felt stuffed. After finishing eating she began to chew on the bones. The bones helped made her mouth feel better and provided a way to strengthen her bite a bit more. Then she returned to where she tried to sleep before and closed her eyes. Sleep came easily this time.
A week passed while Shellie spent her time meditating and waiting. Her hunger grew as she failed to find anything to eat and avoided She’Ralli and the other creatures. She did not know the ancient language at all, yet this was the primary language for the valley. She would need to learn more about it before she dared to return to the creatures. On the seventh day she successfully killed a cow and ate the entire thing. Then she rested for a day and was ready to continue on her journey.
Shellie lifted off the ground and circled the valley once more. This could be the last time she would be able to see the beautiful scenery before she embarks on her journey to stop Darkie. After a few round circles she was able to figure out where she had entered the valley and then flew in the opposite direction. By now she had worked on making her landing smooth and not very awkward and was eager to continue in search for the cure. Then she turned her head and noticed one of the rainbow parrots was following her. She sighed. She’Ralli was not going to give up on her. In a strange manner she actually found that comforting to know someone cared about her even if they were a complete stranger. Then she turned her head back and focused on exiting the Silver Mountains.
“What a coincidence,” Shellie said to herself softly. First off, there are those out to capture her and put her down. Second off, the entire valley, full of ant like creatures, which remained unchanged for thousands of years, accepted her, even though they did not know her. Thirdly, Rocky and Sparky knew the cure to the virus, but are now under her friend’s spell themselves. She would need to find a way to have them return to normal and find out what she could about destroying the virus.
“A long time ago, life appeared on Earth. Then a great civilization rose, destroyed by darkness, now there is another civilization thriving, now at risk to becoming destroyed again.”
Shellie thought about that legend. Then she discarded it. The only place safe from darkness completely was that village. If nothing else, she could bring as many creatures of all kinds as possible and wait for the darkness to pass by. The powers grew rapidly so she would have to figure out a way to keep the dark magic contained at all costs.
You will need to know what you will need to prepare for, a voice in her head came. Shellie recognized it as Rocky’s.
Rocky?
Yes, it is me. Even though I was captured by force from your friend when I was unconscious, she cannot control or enter my mind physically. She’Ralli is my friend. Do not be afraid of him, Rocky said.
So that was why you took that path, was not it?
Yes. Well, he will take care of you no matter what. Please do not do anything dumb, okay?
I will not. Thank you for contacting me, Shellie smiled. She had made a mistake in not listening to She’Ralli, but that did not mean she wanted to hear everything when she needed someplace safe to settle down and think about everything. It all happened very fast when she least expected it.
The breeze made it difficult for Shellie to keep her eyes open at all time as she flew high in the sky. Soon she reached the point where the mountains gleamed in the sun into the shadow side of the mountains. Everything around was pitch black as she lowered in the sky to avoid the risk of being spotted. Then she became at treetop level and stopped for a moment. The landscape was barren. Purely rock with no growth of plants or anything. She doubted if any life could possibly dwell around the area. She continued down, knowing she would eventually be crossing over to the midlands. Remembering the map, she figured she should be hitting the desert very soon. Her friends had visited every year and talked a lot about bare rock and sandy dune hills at the same time.
She focused on her flight, continuing on since she did not want to become lost in the darkness. Many people had bad dreams in the shadows of the mountains and gone crazy, even to the point of losing their humanity. She continued to glide down the slope of the mountain, reaching for a secure place to hold on to when the wind gusted and it became nearly impossible to fly straight. After many hours passed she managed to make it to the very bottom of the area. Sand was piled high and covered the entire place. It was still very dark, but she could see the sun trying to shine through. Plants started to grow just beyond the horizon. She had made it this far. Now she needed to continue on to hopefully find the spot where there will always be plenty of food and water to go around.
In the morning a sharp crack woke Shellie up. She looked around to try to figure out where that noise came from. Then she yawned. Whatever was out there would become a great snack to start out with. She had not eaten any since her flight down the mountain to the beginning of the sandy area. A few more sharp cracks sounded. This time she figured out where they were coming from. Cautiously, she peered at the area. At first she could see nothing. Then she saw a human like beast scouring the area. Due to the memory of her friend, she did not try to attack and eat the beast right away. The fragility nearly made her shudder. This would not be the first time she had to attack something though for food.
"Hello," Shellie wanted to check to see if the beast had any human sense at all.
"I- hissssssss, foodddd," the beast then howled and began to advance in Shellie's direction. Then she decided it was more beastly to keep this creature alive than to just go ahead and eat it. She did not like the idea of letting a killer lose on a feeding frenzy when she could have prevented it in the first place. Quickly, she attacked with all of her strength. It was a success. Then she ate the meat she could find and then flew off so she could move someplace far away from the mountains.
Bored, bored, bored, Shellie thought to herself as she traveled down the sand dune hills surrounding the mountains. Then she came across a metallic feature that caught her attention. Quickly she went over to where the metallic feature lay. It resembled much like a worm with ancient dark magic covering the body.
What is that thing? Shellie went over even closer and wondered if the creature was real. Its body expanded back and forth as she watched it at a very slow rate. Then she went over to where one end was. It gave off a very sinister feeling when she touched it.
Do not mess around that creature. It is an ancient minion of the sorceress. For now it sleeps, but there are quite a few ways to wake a minion up, She’Ralli’s voice came into her mind. She looked up just in time to see him hovering in the air above her, glaring with his arms folded.
Suddenly the ground shook beneath her and she fell to the ground. The creature raised its ugly head from the ground and dark magic flowed in the area. It gave a howl as the sun weakened the dark powers and burned its skin. Shellie did not know what to do and felt as if she was trapped inside.
Great, thanks for touching that minion. Fortunately it is daylight, so we should be able to defeat it easily. You strike at it from below while I will strike at it from behind, She’Ralli sounded very annoyed and angry. Shellie sighed, with all of this dark magic flowing through her she was not sure she would even be able to sit up.
With much struggle, Shellie stood up from the ground and immediately leapt into the air so that she could at least avoid the earth shocks the worm minion created. Still, she could feel the ancient dark magic flow through her and become absorbed into her body.
I do not think I can do this. This dark magic, it is consuming me, Shellie really wanted help and advice to get out of it.
What did you just say?
The- dark magic. I feel it entering my body.
Oh. Still, help me fight this minion. Use light element or fire element.
Shellie frowned. With absolutely no training in magic, how was she supposed to be able to attack? After hesitating for a little bit, she decided to move ahead and try. The attacks she managed to conjure did not seem to affect the minion any. Then she decided to make a risky move and created a ball absorbing all of the ancient dark magic it possessed. The final blow from She’Ralli brought the worm down to its end and it evaporated into dust. Meanwhile, she did not know how to release the dark energy aura and ended up feeling the magic become a part of her. After that the entire ordeal was over.
You do have that ability then, She’Ralli came down to her side and just observed her with interest.
Which ability?
Not everyone can absorb magic. Now you got ancient dark magic attached to your blood. Looks like I better start teaching you right this magic so you do not end up like Darkie.
When he mentioned comparing her to her friend Shellie flinched. Immediately she assumed that being able to absorb dark magic was the worst possible scenario. She could easily be controlled by the sorceress now.
Do not think this ability to absorb the magic is a bad thing at all. However, if you cannot control it, it will control you.
Then She’Ralli disappeared into the sky, leaving Shellie confused and worried. Then she sighed and decided she better go someplace safer. That worm minion crept her out very badly. Then she decided to go ahead and continue on. The sand gave way to bedrock as she traveled. Then grass and other normal signs appeared. She had officially escaped from the desert. Feeling proud, she did not even bother to worry about anything as she flew high in the sky as a celebration to being safe.

Chapter Nineteen

"Wow," Shellie observed all of the grass and movement. The wind felt cool against her skin while the sun shone. As far as she could tell, she had exited the desert and was now in Low Plains, the largest ecosystem recorded on this island. The rain either came from the east or north plenty of times. There are some spots that were on the border of being a transition from a swamp, but even then it was considered plains.
She moved back a few inches and then leapt up into the sky. Here, the inhabitants would not know she was wanted from the forest. She could easily sneak into a town and try to establish a residency despite looking harmful. Shellie would love to bath in the muddy areas too. Rumors had it some towns had some muddy areas where people entered through a narrow hallway from the locker. There, everyone played as if they were in a swimming pool. Nighttime felt better in her opinion. She did not have to worry much about what would happen or if someone was spying on her.
She felt lonely due to a lack of friends with her. She wondered about Rocky and Sparky, how they were doing. Surprisingly, she did not miss her best friend much. Then she shrugged, her best friend was not in her control anyway. She had to move on and try to be friends with people she never met. She continued to fly east as each day passed until she found a very nice town. When she landed everyone turned and stared at her. Blinking, she thought about her friend and wondered if they were expecting her to harm her the minute they let their guard down.
"Hey there, I am Shellie," Shellie said in a very nervous voice. Then one of the people came up to her.
"I am Slickie. Nice to meet you," Slickie held out a hand to shake. She accepted it, and then glanced around to see what the others were doing. They seemed to not be afraid of her much and decided to go on their usual business.
© Copyright 2018 Angelica- Merry Christmas! (dragonfish at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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