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  • "Stellarlune," Oraile whispered into the cache. The words seemed so soft and harmless, yet made such a big impact.

    Click.

    The tiny inner crystal popped open and into Oraile's hand. It twitched, and then, to Sophie's amazement, it began to grow until it was as large as a child's fist. Suddenly the crystal flashed clear and a scene began to play.

    Out of the thick fog swirled the shape of a tall, immaculate woman with raven black hair and dusty blue eyes. Her hair was in a severe bun, and she wore dark blue clothes that covered every inch of her body.  The woman was walking towards some figure sitting on a pink crystal table, and Sophie was pretty sure about who the other figure was.

    "Oraile, my friend." The strange woman embraced the pink Councillor. The Oraile in the crystal image was wearing a bright pink gown that reminded Sophie of an enormous rose, and she was wearing a rose-shaped circlet. Her soft blonde girls cascaded down her face, and her pink lips were pulled into a sweet smile.

    "It is good to see you, Rayana," Oraile told the woman. "Why are you here today?"

    Rayana's smile faded, and her features tightened. "Because of this." With a flourish, she removed the glove from her right hand. From the wrist to the tips of her fingers, Rayana's hand was stark white, with black and silver veins patterning the skin.

    Just. Like. Keefe.

    "What caused this?" Oraile wondered as she gently touched the hand.

    "Stellarlune," Rayana replied. "A substance too great, so great... the power, Oraile. You should have seen the power. It is a whole other thing, not an element, more of a... dark source."

    "Like the Primal Sources?"

    "Exactly like them, except darker."

    "Like shadows," Oraile guessed. Rayana nodded.

    "I experimented by melting some of my stock of ethertine, and shadows, and acquired a flasher to poison this vial of water." Rayana brought out a bottle of inky darkness, which occasionally flashed a color of the spectrum.

    "Amazing," Oraile whispered. "May I show it to the other Councillors?"

    Rayana hesitated. "I have a gut feeling I should wait a while," she finally answered. "And so should you."

    "Of course," Oraile promised. "But... what does Stellarlune do?"

    Rayana held her gaze. "The power it contains," she said in a quiet voice. "Is enough to maybe create a new ability. Using a Source. A prime source. But this time? The ability will not be pure. It will have shadows mixed in light. And the result will change everything."

    The crystal scene ended, and the jewel turned black and crumbled to dust. The ashes whipped around in the breeze, drifting away. The two stared at Oraile's empty palm for a moment.

    "That just happened," Sophie finally said as she looked away. "That's what's Lady Gisela's planning for Keefe. She wants to use a Prime Source to create a new ability for him- and that will change his legacy."

    "I hate that word," Sandor grumbled from the shadows behind them, making them both jump and realize that he had been listening and watching the entire time. "Would you like to go back to the Healing Center, Miss Foster?"

    "I should hail my teammates and update them," Sophie realized. "And I should seriously consider getting a notebook for writing things down."

    "Would... this help?" Oraile hesitantly pulled out a scarlet red notebook with the familiar black patch of a dire wolf sewn on the cover. "I was going to give it to you... but there was no time before."

    "Um... thanks." Sophie hesitantly took the book.

    "Anytime- Sophie." Oraile offered only a sad smile as she held her crystal into the light and let the rush carry her away.

    A few minutes later, Sophie had all her friends settled in her room. She had used the spare time to scribble every previous thing that had happened down in her notebook. And none of them seemed that good... but it was nice to have everything organized, right?

    "So... we were supposed to wear our circlets and pins and cloaks, right?" Wylie asked, nervously fidgeting with his starlight pin as he adjusted his position on the floor.

    "Yep." Sophie tapped her moonlight circlet, along with her own starlight pin and sunlight cloak. "And I got you here all today to explain about Stellarlune." She pointed at the enormous section of the wall that had papers, signs, pieces of string, drawings, and formulas scribbled all over it, interconnecting with pins. "It's complicated, I know."

    And she told them the story.

    Dex was... understanding.

    Biana was... skeptical.

    Stina was... nervous.

    But Wylie was... terrified.

    "How's Keefe?" he asked instead.

    "Fitz is with him," Sophie said, regretting the words when Biana turned green. 

    "If you want to talk," her teal eyed friend said in a low voice, flashing a sad smile. "I'm here at any time."

    "Thanks," Sophie whispered back, smiling at Biana. "That means a lot. And... I've missed you. We haven't hung out in a long time."

    "Tomorrow?"

    "Tomorrow. At the Healing Center, though- I'll probably be staying there again."

    "Do I hear that you're staying in the Healing Center again- with Keefe?" Stina asked, smirking widely.

    "He's unconscious!" Sophie argued, flushing red. "And I've been sleeping there since Loanmore. Oh, whoops."

    "YOU'VE BEEN SLEEPING THERE SINCE LOANMORE?" Biana squealed. "SO. CUTE!"

    "Fitz would kill you for saying that," Dex added, but he was grinning hugely. Sophie blushed redder, ducking her face behind her hair- which had gotten pretty long, almost at chest length.

    "HAHAHAHHA- OH MY GOD, WE NEED A SHIP NAME!" Stina yelled, snatching a paper and pencil from Sophie's desk.

    "Is this really necessary?" Sophie whined. "Stop it!"

    "Quit your whining, Lady Fos Boss," Dex chuckled and added 'Team Foster-Keefe' to the list. Then Biana wrote 'Keephie' and 'Sokeefe', and by then Sophie wanted to kill them all. But what really ticked her off was when Wylie added 'The Snarky Moonlark' to it, and then she tackled him and tried to kill them all. But her teammates were already killing themselves with laughter, so she didn't really need to do that much.

    "I hate you guys so much," Sophie grumbled as Biana flicked a tear from her eye, unable to stop laughing. The rest probably looked like their ribs would crack from laughter. Sophie hoped they did.

    "Your welcome," Stina said, way too smugly. Her frizzy curls had been shaken loose from her braid after rolling around on the floor so much. "I am so amazing."

    "So, let's see," Wylie said, snatching the list. "We have... Team Foster-Keefe, Keephie, Sokeefe, the Snarky Moonlark, Fearless Snarky Fosters, and The Sassy Swans."

    "I personally vote for the Snarky Moonlarks, the Fearless Snarky Fosters, and the Sassy Swans," Biana chimed in.

    A chorus of 'YES!' ran through the room.

    "Can I die in peace now?" Sophie groaned.

    "You may," Dex said, patting her back. "I should go. BUT DON'T THINK WE'LL FORGET ABOUT THE SNAKRY MOONLARKS BECAUSE WE'RE COMING BACK TO TAUNT YOU TOMORROW! RIGHT, GUYS?"

    "NO!" Sophie encouraged them.

    "YES!" everyone but Sophie answered.

    "I'll see you tomorrow," Sophie told Biana as she hugged her friend good-bye. The rest of her team had already glittered away.

    "Yeah. Don't forget," Biana answered with a smile as she pulled herself into the light. She was about to disappear completely when Sophie whispered something she doubted Biana could hear.

    "I won't."

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    • Chapter 2 ........................................................................................................................................

      "Hi, Soph!"

      Sophie whipped around, immediately straightening her silky blue tunic and leggings, and adjusting her boots and belt. For a minute, she really wished she didn't have her circlet, cape, and pin on as she stood up from her perch on Keefe's cot, and gently planced the cold water soaked cloth on his forehead before hugging Fitz. He looked handsome and perfect- like usual, and his voice still had that crisp accent. He was wearing his blue and golden jerkin and dark pants and boots- the same outfit he had worn during the showdown in London. "Hey, yourself," Sophie replied. "Is Biana with you?"

      "Ah, you just had to remember," a voice next to Fitz grumbled, before Biana appeared out of nowhere, twirling in her sleeveless baby pink gown- which had a v-shaped neck. Her dark hair was twisted into a bun that balanced at the top of her head. She was also wearing her circlet, card, and pin. "I was planning on scaring you both."

      "So were we- but that was kind of spoiled," Dex added from the doorway. He was wearing a green tunic, along with black pants, a cape, boots, and his Regent attire, along with the rest of the team. Stine was wearing purple, and Wylie was orange. "And we came to talk about THE SNARKY MOONLARKS!"

      "YOU SHALL NEVER BE DEPRIVED OF-" Stina was about to add, when she noticed Fitz. "...them," she finished lamely. 

      "Them?" FItz questioned- but Biana was already moving onto another subject.

      "Anyways, bro, we didn't tell you about Stellarlune. Sophie?"

      We discovered something yesterday- a cache secret, Sophie added telepathically as she replayed her memories. Fitz's mind fell silent.

      "I should ask Dad about it," he said finally. "See you. Hope Keefe wakes up soon." He hugged Sophie before rushing out of the Healing Center.

      "Now that the Fitzter's gone..." Stina said wickedly. "HOW'RE THE SASSY SWAN DUO? OR DO YOU PREFER THE SNARKY MOONLARKS?"

      "Give me a second..." Sophie said as she rushed to Keefe's side. He was moaning now, writhing in bed as sweat poured down his face. "Shhh, it's okay," Sophie whispered, pressing the cold cloth to his forehead before turning to her friends. "He's been sweating all day. Really, really hot. And his dreams are always the same- some desert wind cutting him to pieces.

      "I feel so bad," Biana whispered as everyone else echoed their regrets. Sophie resumed her perch on the bed, gently stroking Keefe's hair before taking out her notebook.

      "Since they attacked the dwarves," Sophie said, scribbling something down on her notebook. "They're going to want to attack the goblins. But here's what I've been thinking. There are three different species living in the Lost Cities. So why not attack them all?" She unfolded a map from her pocket and put a large circle over Eternalia. "And they're going to want a big event, where everyone shows up. And that means the gnomes, goblins, and the elves. And they're going to make it so the Council can't cancel it. So how are they going to do that?"

      "Hmmm... maybe another summit?" Biana wondered. "Or a festival?"

      "Maybe," Dex admitted. "But I feel like it's going to be something completely unexpected."

      "All right," Sophie replied. "So what kind of big event, including elves, goblins, and gnomes, is going to take place?"

      "Wait- but the trolls weren't really part of an event," Wylie reminded them all. "The festival was only a ploy."

      Keefe screamed from his cot, and everyone else yelped as Sophie hurried to pour some Youth down his throat. After a minute, Keefe curled up, tears running down his face as he rocked back and forth. Sophie felt as if she were crying, too. Nothing was waking him up.

      "He'll wake... soon." Stina awkwardly patted her back.

      "Yeah." Dex hugged her, followed by Wylie. "But we're leaving- I need to go, and Stina and Wylie have the meeting with Lady Zillah on stellarlune, like you asked."

      "Great. Biana?"

      "I'm staying," Biana said, flashing a smile. "Just for a bit."

      "Thanks," Sophie answered, slightly relieved. 

      "Of course," Biana replied, settling herself on one of the cots when everyone had left. "So... you and my brother?"

      Sophie mimed a heart breaking in half.

      "Ouch," the teal-eyed girl said, wincing. "What'd he do?" Sophie quickly explained, and by the end, Biana looked ready to blow. "You're kidding me?" she exploded when Sophie finished. "He-can-be-such-a-******************************!" Sophie winced at her choice of words.

      "We're okay now, though. Just friends," Sophie promised, and Biana slightly relaxed. She hugged Sophie tightly.

      "Well, my mom'll kill me if I'm late... but if you need to talk, I'm always here. Always."

      "Thanks, Biana," Sophie called as she was about to walk out of the Center. "Thanks."

      Biana turned around, a smile curling on her lips. "Any time."

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    • Chapter 3 ........................................................................................................................................

      "I cannot believe that girl!"  Linh grumbled as she plopped down to the cot next to Keefe.

      "Mm-hm?" Sophie asked, gently pressing the water-soaked cloth on Keefe's forehead. "Glimmer?"

      "YES." Linh ranted, standing and pacing. "I am ready to MURDER HER."

      "Who are you, and what have you done with Linh Song?" Sophie asked, wincing.

      "The girl won't take off her hood and I am read to TEAR IT OFF WITH MY BARE HANDS. Like, what the heck, girl? You need to STAY AWAY FROM MY BRO." Linh stormed, waving her hands as she talked. Two spheres of water were placed on her palms and they showered the room with a slight sprinkling of water.

      "Where's she living?"

      "WITH US."

      "Oh, Tam didn't."

      "He DID. And I practically KILLED HIM."

      Sophie patted her friend on the back. "Has she at least told you her name?"

      "Olyvia," Linh replied. "She said to call her Olyvia."

      "You're not going to?"

      "I call her Miss 'Sparklie, ​​​​​" Linh replied, looking proud of herself. "It's amazing."

      "I'm sure it is," Sophie agreed, snickering. She couldn't belive that the pettie, fragile water elf had such a dark side. It was like... the ocean when it was angry- except ten times WORSE. "Did you learn anything from her?"

      Linh sighed sadly and shook her head. "I'm working on it," she replied, twisting her fingers together and fussing with the sleeves of her slightly wet, but very blue tunic. "I'm soooo sorry, Sophie."

      "It's FINE, Linh," Sophie replied, hugging her friend tightly. "And Keefe will be all right."

      Cue the more moaning and thrashing from Keefe.

      "... soon," Sophie finished weakly, running back to his side and continiously applying the cold cloth to his forhead.

      "You guys are so cute, by the way," Linh grinned as she stood to leave. Sophie froze, registering the words- and then she sprinted after Linh, trying to suffocate her Hydrokinetic friend. However, Linh was fast, and she yelled, "SOKEEFE!" before hurridly leaping away. Sophie's empty hands clutched on thin air and she growled in frustration.

      Why did people keep shipping her with Keefe? It was soooo frustraiting...

      It wasn't like she even liked him!

      Did she, though?

      And the butterflies in her stomach- what did that mean?

      What about Keefe's theory about the mind and the heart having two different feelings?

      Could it be that- her mind wanted to like Fitz... but her heart truly liked Keefe?

      "That's ridiculous," Sophie said aloud, trying not the panic when the words felt... wrong. Like a puzzle piece that refused to fit in with the rest of the group.

      Yet, when she stole a glance at him, her traitorous heart seemed to blur its smooth, rhythmic beating.

      Stupid, stupid heart.​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​ ​​​​​

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    • Chapter 3 ........................................................................................................................................

      "I cannot believe that girl!"  Linh grumbled as she plopped down to the cot next to Keefe.

      "Mm-hm?" Sophie asked, gently pressing the water-soaked cloth on Keefe's forehead. "Glimmer?"

      "YES." Linh ranted, standing and pacing. "I am ready to MURDER HER."

      "Who are you, and what have you done with Linh Song?" Sophie asked, wincing.

      "The girl won't take off her hood and I am read to TEAR IT OFF WITH MY BARE HANDS. Like, what the heck, girl? You need to STAY AWAY FROM MY BRO." Linh stormed, waving her hands as she talked. Two spheres of water were placed on her palms and they showered the room with a slight sprinkling of water.

      "Where's she living?"

      "WITH US."

      "Oh, Tam didn't."

      "He DID. And I practically KILLED HIM."

      Sophie patted her friend on the back. "Has she at least told you her name?"

      "Olyvia," Linh replied. "She said to call her Olyvia."

      "You're not going to?"

      "I call her Miss 'Sparklie, ​​​​​" Linh replied, looking proud of herself. "It's amazing."

      "I'm sure it is," Sophie agreed, snickering. She couldn't belive that the pettie, fragile water elf had such a dark side. It was like... the ocean when it was angry- except ten times WORSE. "Did you learn anything from her?"

      Linh sighed sadly and shook her head. "I'm working on it," she replied, twisting her fingers together and fussing with the sleeves of her slightly wet, but very blue tunic. "I'm soooo sorry, Sophie."

      "It's FINE, Linh," Sophie replied, hugging her friend tightly. "And Keefe will be all right."

      Cue the more moaning and thrashing from Keefe.

      "... soon," Sophie finished weakly, running back to his side and continiously applying the cold cloth to his forhead.

      "You guys are so cute, by the way," Linh grinned as she stood to leave. Sophie froze, registering the words- and then she sprinted after Linh, trying to suffocate her Hydrokinetic friend. However, Linh was fast, and she yelled, "SOKEEFE!" before hurridly leaping away. Sophie's empty hands clutched on thin air and she growled in frustration.

      Why did people keep shipping her with Keefe? It was soooo frustraiting...

      It wasn't like she even liked him!

      Did she, though?

      And the butterflies in her stomach- what did that mean?

      What about Keefe's theory about the mind and the heart having two different feelings?

      Could it be that- her mind wanted to like Fitz... but her heart truly liked Keefe?

      "That's ridiculous," Sophie said aloud, trying not the panic when the words felt... wrong. Like a puzzle piece that refused to fit in with the rest of the group.

      Yet, when she stole a glance at him, her traitorous heart seemed to blur its smooth, rhythmic beating.

      Stupid, stupid heart.

      But she couldn't ignore his face, which made her heart race and her palms sweat. His sad, miserable face. And that made Sophie pity him. Feel bad. Feel upset. Because he didn't deserve any of it.

      She sighed, returning to Keefe's side and continuing Elwin's instructions- water and cloth, water and cloth.

      And hope.

      That little.

      By.

      Little.

      It.

      Would.

      Soon.

      Get.

      Better.

      And just hope...

      Keefe would wake up.

      Before he was lost in the darkness...

      Forever.

      Forever.

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    • Chapter 5 ........................................................................................................................................

      "Miss Foster."

      Sophie screamed, and very loudly, as she jumped up from her position next to Keefe, eyes dashing to the door.

      Mr. Forkle was waiting, and he looked very amused.

      "I see you are working with your team well?" he asked, pointing at the notebook in her lap, and she showed it to him. Sadly, there were scarce leads, and only half a page of short scribbles about stellarlune.

      "Perhaps you should experiment more with the source instead," Mr. Forkle hinted, gently tapping on etherine.

      Etherine.

      "NUBTI!" Sophie called, dashing outside as fast as possible and stamping her foot in a specific, arranged pattern that meant, We need to talk. Bring king's battle crown, on the soft earth.

      Seconds later, a shaved dwarf queen popped out of the earth. Sophie cringed at her bodyguard's baldness, but Nubti didn't notice as she handed Sophie the etherine crown. "Is this it?" Nubti asked. "Why so urgent?"

      "An experiment," Sophie explained.​​​

      The dwarf barreled back into the ground.

      "And," Mr. Forkle added as he watched her go inside. "Shouldn't you be thinking about the unexcepted, instead of the excepted?"

      He left her to think about it, glittering away.

      In a few minutes, Sophie had Team Valliant, plus Fitz, Marella, Linh, Tam, and Maruca gathered in the Healing Center. She paced around Keefe's cot, waving her notebook in the air as she talked. "The Neverseen knows that we'll probably suspect the goblins- the species that they haven't attacked yet. And the most logical explanation is that they're going to go for the goblins- and the elves and gnomes- all in one go. But that's what we think they'll do. And we're expecting the expected. We can't do that. So think- what do the Neverseen usually try to show during each attack?"

      "Their power over the Council," Maruca chimed out. Sophie scribbled that down.

      "That their 'vision' is going to save the elves," Linh added.

      "That the Council makes weak decisions and can't act for the best," Marella finished.

      "Those are great points. So how are they going to add up to their next big attack?" Sophie paced around. "They've attacked the dwarves, and allied with King Enki- but that didn't work out. They've poisoned the gnomes- but we found the cure. And the ogres- they disgraced the ogres... and had us flood their city. And they've exposed the troll hive. So that leaves the goblins and elves... and the humans."

      "But Vespera!" Biana countered, holding an arm to display her scars. "Torturing humans."

      "And the fires," Fitz added.

      "Exactly. But here's the thing- you're all opposing to the idea. So wouldn't that be exactly what the Neverseen would choose?"

      "But what loops the humans together with the elves?" Dex wondered.

      "Wait," Stina jumped in. "Haven't you all noticed, that whatever you think the NEverseen is going to do, they're always doing the opposite?"

      "What are you trying to say?" Wylie squinted at Stina.

      "I think," Stina replied, "That there's a spy."

                                                                         *  *  *

      "We can't do that," Dex finally said after half an hour of arguing. "We can't play the blame game and chew each other out."

      "That's their advantage," Sophie realized. "Their spy gets the information. But Dex is right. Even if we figure out that there is a spy, we won't know who and we will tear the Black Swan apart inside trying to find out. And we won't be able to trust each other. So it's a win-win, but only for them."

      "Is this how it always is for you guys?" Maruca winced.

      "If Keefe were here, he'd probably lighten the mood with a joke," Biana said sadly. Sophie fought back a tear as she gently poured more Youth down the thrashing boy's throat. He looked even more miserable, stuffed in the tiny cot, sweating like mad. "Have his dreams changed?" 

      Sophie shook her head.

      "What dreams?" Wylie asked.

      Sophie told him.

      Everyone in the room winced.

      "I feel kind of bad," Stina admitted sheepishly, kicking the floor. "After..." she trailed off, locking eyes with Sophie, and came to an understanding of no more Sokeefe teasing.

      "But we have a lead," Biana said over the sad murmerings. "We know what Stellarlune is.And what it did to Keefe. And what it's made of, too."

      "Nubti also gave me a sample of etherine- one of the ingrediants to make Stellarlune. So I'm betting it's an elf-made source." Sophie dug out a box from her pocket- one of the many ones on her silky ice blue tunice, with cropped sleeves. She opened it up, and resting inside was a chip from King Enki's battle crown. "What do you think?"

      "Wait," Wylie said, rushing over. "Let me try something." He flashed an orb- a sunny yellow one. Nothing happened. Then he flashed a neon blue one. Then baby pink.

      But dark purple did the trick.

      The etherine burst into rich purple flames, erupting in the Healing Center. Sophie screamed, the box slipping out of her hands. Tam sent a burst of energy towards it, and it was blasted to the near corner, where it exploded into dark fire. Others shrieked as the flames crept towards them.

      And then they disappeared.

      "W-what? How come it only works with purple," Sophie asked breathlessly. Wylie stared at his hands.

      "I think, if you enhance me, I could try," Wylie replied. Sophie concentrated on the tingling boost rushing to her fingertips, and her enhancing switched on. She grabbed Wylie's wrist, and his face relaxed, a peaceful expression coming upon his features. He flashed the purple orb again. "I understand," he said quietly. "It's triggered. For specific colors."

      "For what? Etherine?" Biana asked, stumbling to her feet and helping a few elves up.

      "Yes. And if I flash any random orb," Wylie replied, "It'll trigger a reaction with at least five different shards in King Enki's crown."

      "So... it's triggered by flashers?" Sophie asked. "Like the facets in the dwarven throneroom that you triggered?"

      "Sort of," Wylie replied. "But I was wondering..."

      "What it would do with shadows," Sophie finished. "Tam?"

      Tam rose with the help of Biana, tugging on his bangs. "Should I call Olyvia?" he suggested. "Maybe she can-"

      "NO!" Linh inturrupted, scowling. "You've been acting weird around her. Different. What's wrong with you?"

      Tam shrank back, tugging harder on strands of silver hair. "Nothing, Linh. Just-"

      "NO. MORE. GLIMMER."

      "Why won't you just call her Olyvia?"

      "Stop! You're not yourself anymore!" Sophie could see tears forming in Linh's eyes.

      "Linh-" he reached towards her.

      "Go away!" The teary Hydrokinetic burst out of the Healing Center, crying softly. Sophie was about to follow, when Wylie stood.

      "I'll go," he volunteered. "Don't worry. She'll be fine."

      "Tam?" Sophie asked again. The Shade looked a little upset, but he came over anyways and pointed his finger at the shard she had just picked up.

      Shadows of all shapes swirled from each corner, gathering and pouring into the etherine. The material seemed to sparkle, until the blackness seeped inside and spread, like an inky cloud spreading across the bright blue sky. The shard turned soul black and glittered even more. Then Sophie gasped and stumbled back.

      Her eyes turned pure white, and golden veins began to spread from the place the etherine shard was balanced on her palm. Her lungs seemed to clog up, and her skin seemed to glow with light. Then she kneeled over, gasping for breath, and with a thud, fell to the floor.

      Closed her eyes.

      And sank into her subconcious.

      Deeper, deeper, deeper.

      Until she was swallowed by the pain and darkness. It almost felt... a little comforting.

      So she decided to stay there.

      And by the looks of it, she wasn't about to go back.

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    • Chapter 5 ......................................................................................................................

      "SOPHIE!"

      "I'm sorry!"

      "Soph?"

      "Miss Foster?"

      "Sophie!"

      "If you won't wake up for us, wake up for Keefe."

      Keefe?

      Who was Keefe?

      But then something seemed to surface.

      A memory.

      Of a boy.

      With ice blue eyes.

      Tousled blonde hair.

      Infamous smirk.

      Love of... pranks?

      But that was a shell.

      Just a coating.

      An empty case.

      Encasing the scared, angry boy inside.

      Cold.

      Frightened.

      Terrified.

      Scared.

      Who needed her to come back.

      So she would.

      But the voices were no help.

      Wouldn't snap her out of it.

      Too sharp.

      Too painful.

      So she just focused on Keefe and tugged on the warmth the words brought, until they finally scooped her up and carried her away and up to the surface.

      Sophie burst out gasping as her lungs started to move faster, and her heart started to beat hurridly. She gulped in breaths as she jolted up into a vertical position. Familiar faces surrounded her, but Elwin looked the most worried as he offered her some Youth. And Biana threw her arms around her. Sophie tried to hug all her friends at once, seeing their arms were all wrapped around hers, but then she yanked back and gasped.

      Her hands were covered in gold veins.

      From the wrist to the tips of her fingers.

      "What's wrong with them?" Sophie asked, shaking them furiously. 

      "I've hailed Bronte. Surely he will know," Mr. Forkle soothed, patting her back. "I'm sure it's-"

      "No reason to worry, yeah, yeah. I've heard it a million times."

      "Reason to worry about what?" Councillor Bronte strode in, and all her friends scrambled back as Sophie showed him her hands. Bronte paled significantly. "You're serious? All right. Now, everyone look at your hands."

      Everyone did.

      "Hmm, nothing? I assumed it would be one of you... oh, no. It's that boy." Bronte rushed to Keefe's side, holding up his wrists.

      "Why does everyone call him That Boy?" Sophie complained as she stumbled out of her bed to examine Keefe's hands. 

      They were glowing, and covered in veins like hers.

      Except his were silver.

      And dark, rich purple.

      "What happened to him? WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM?" Sophie yelled, feeling her chest tighten. She heaved in some breaths. "What's wrong with our hands?"

      "I don't know, but I think I do," Bronte replied, whispering some names into his imparter.

      Moments later, Councillor Oraile showed up. As much as Sophie was miserable to see her least favorite Councillor, she perked up to see the black haired regal elf stride in behind her.

      "Rayana?" Sophie asked. "She's from the memory, right?"

      Councillor Oraile nodded, squeezing her friend's hand. "We've come because..." she pressed to Bronte. The pointy-eared Councillor looked a little hesitant, before he took Oraile's hand and yanked her glove off. Underneath was smooth skin. Then Bronte pinched her skin and yanked, and hard. Oraile flinched and everyone held their breath as that came off, too.

      Underneath was...

      Still skin.

      Yet it was covered in golden veins.

      And when he did the same to Rayana, her hands were revealed as well- except she had silver and purple veins.

      Just.

      Like.

      Keefe.

      Everyone gasped again, including Mr. Forkle.

      "You too?" Sophie asked, showing her hands, and then lifting up Keefe's wrists.

      Both female elves sucked in a breath. "I remember now. It seems to just trigger!" Oraile said breathlessly. "It's some sort of link between us. And I've never told anyone except Rayana this... but..." She snapped her fingers.

      Golden, glowing, liquid light began pouring out of her hands.

      Rayana did the same, except the liquid pouring out was silver and purple.

      Liquid.

      Colors.

      The colors were so bright, flaring before her eyes.

      But she could deal with that.

      And it was such a breakthrough...

      So it was good, right?

      Right?

      Right?

      Or not?


      ​​​​​​

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    • The reason I haven't had Keefe wake up yet is because if I know Shannon Messenger, she'll probably have him wake up WAY sooner than you would expect, like the time it took to tell Sophie she was unmatchable.

      -SassySwans4lyfee

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    • THIS IS SO GOOD!

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    • Oooo

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    • Aaa that's soo good!

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    • Thanks!

      -SassySwans4lyfee

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    • It is the top one

      -SassySwans4lyfee

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    • WRONG ONE sorry

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    • Pleeeeeeaaase keep going! I need to know more!


      -Lady Sassyfur

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    • Super good plz keep writing. also how do you add a fanfic?

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    • This is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • I need more!!!!!!!

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    • me toooo!

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    • Please write more!

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    • This is awesome! Please write more

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    • Pleaseee more

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    • Please write more!!

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    • Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssseeeeeeeee write more!!!!!

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    • SoKeefeForLifeFangirl wrote:
      Super good plz keep writing. also how do you add a fanfic?

      Go to the fanfics page for book nine, click on the start a disscussion bok type your title in the top box and your story in the big box.

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    • This is so good!!!!!

      Can't wait for book 9!!!!!

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    • PLEASE POST MORE!!!!

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    • YOU NEED TO POST MORE I JUST READ THIS WHOLE THING RIGHT NOW AND ITS AWESOME!

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    • Join the Live chat at 8:40p.m.

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    • thx so much!

      -SassySwans4lyfee

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    • This is really good!

      -ilovemallowmelt

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    • I Love it ❤️

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    • ease post more

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    • Please post more? its really good!

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    • THIS IS SO GOOD!!! I keep trying to find the best keeper fanfic and I think I found it!!😱😱 PLEEAASE WRITE MORE!!!

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    • I NEED MORE ITS BEEN MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • OMG...

      I cannot believe this

      IT'S BEEN SO LONG I GAVE UP ON THIS USERNAME AND MADE A NEW USERNAME FOR MYSELF XD

      And I SWEAR that it's actually me I PROMISE kay? It's actually me and I started a new fanfic cause I was bored. Here's the link: https://lost-cities-keeper.fandom.com/wiki/Thread:904166 and you may or may not recognize my writing? idk and I'm including the part about the gold veins I'm just not sure how to comprehend anything AGAIN I SWEAR it is really me I have a lot of 'a fandom user' names that I made up for myself... so yeah XD 

      -MyLegacy'sCreepierThanYours

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    • this is amazing, you have to write more.

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    • Is this a forgotten one?

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    • Idk......but I hope not because this is the first fanfic I actually appreciate.

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    • A FANDOM user
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