Category Archives: Shadow and the Grand Magus Saga

Shadow and the Grand Magus Saga

This is the beginning of Aluna’s and Shane’s side of the Young Guardian Saga/Trilogy.  Does not have the Draconian storyline added.  Unfinished, but what’s in bold has been written here.  Enjoy!

#1: A Thing Called Destiny
BOOK I: The Beginning of Destiny
Part One: Shadow and the Mystic
Prologue #1: The Mystic Twin
#2: The Shadow
#3: Destiny Awaits
Part Two: The Wars for Power
Prologue: Lord Guardian’s Sphere
Chapter: The First War for Power
Story #1: The Time Bandits
#2: The Second War for Power
#3: Shadow’s Secret
Part Three: Birth of the Grand Magus
Prologue: The Dream Locket
Chapter: Magic Immeasurable
Story #1: Dreams and Visions
#2: Luna’s Admission
#3: The Unknown Twin
Epilogue: Sweet Sixteen
BOOK II: Worlds Apart
Part One: The Return Home
Prologue:
Chapter:
Story #1:
2:
3:

The Shadow and the Grand Magus Saga:

#1: A Thing Called Destiny

BOOK I:

The Beginning of Destiny

Part One:

Shadow and the Mystic

Prologue #1:

The Mystic Twin

The blonde girl, only five-years-old, felt so alone as she waited in the car. Just an hour ago, she did a terrible thing. Using a potion of her mother’s, she took the memories from her own flesh and blood. Now she sat staring at the Shore Point Orphanage, tears in her tiny eyes. Already she felt a giant piece of herself was missing. The Forgetfulness Spell worked that quickly, and Aluna Star Woods was sad to see her twin sister go.

They’d done everything together, learning their powers and teaching each other if one of their siblings weren’t around. They were inseparable, but it had come time. Aluna knew it from the moment she woke up that morning with a terrifying premonition in her head. She knew she’d have to give up her other half in order for Destiny to kick in.

Aluna wiped the tears from her silver-blue eyes, catching her reflection in the mirror. She stared at her eyes and wished with all her might she could change them. She didn’t need any reminders of who she once was. With a blink, they changed colors. From silver-blue, the color that showed the Mystic Magic in her soul, they turned ocean-blue, the color of the California shoreline. When she opened them again, she saw her mother walking out of the building.

Without a word, Susan Woods sat behind the wheel and started the engine. Before putting the car in gear, she turned to her young daughter. Aluna saw the tears in her mother’s eyes as Susan’s hand caressed her cheek. She, too, was sad to see Ariana go. This set of twins may have been the Mystic’s most powerful, but the pain of losing one of them still hurt.

Susan put the car in gear and drove away. Aluna was left staring at the building where she abandoned her twin sister.

Someday, Aluna thought to herself, we’ll be together again.

She closed her Empathy power to save herself from the amount of pain she felt deep inside.

II

Why must I do this, Lord Guardian?” Susan Woods asked that night. She visited the Dream Realm to see her grandfather, Lord Guardian O’Dell, and tell him what transpired that day. “You know how much it hurts losing a child. Now I’ve lost two. Can’t it be different? Can the twins be together at all, even in thoughts?”

Lord Guardian O’Dell shook his human-male head. He was a Centaur in this form, trying to answer his granddaughter’s many questions. His arms embraced the woman.

Not even in thoughts, Susan Faith.” O’Dell supplied. “Young Ariana Moon must learn to survive on her own, without her family to stand beside her. I have explained this to you many times, do you still not understand?”

I understand Destiny, Grandfather, but it still hurts.”

As it will, but it is for the sake of Destiny.” O’Dell said softly. “I must have a successor, in case I perish. Orthos has already threatened the young lives of many Companion families. I need both of them to learn in order to fully destroy him.”

Susan looked to the ground. O’Dell kissed her forehead. “Dry your tears, Young One. The time will come for them to be together again. It is not far.”

Susan looked back up at him, wiping her eyes on her gown-sleeve. “I only want to be sure they survive the separation.”

You have no faith in them?” O’Dell teased her.

I do, my Lord Grandfather, but these times are tough. No amount of Magic is going to help.” Susan said.

He saw how stressed she was and hugged her.

Go home, Susan.” He kissed her cheek and pet her hair. “Morning comes, along with many other things.”

Don’t I know it?” Susan remarked. She waved her arms, covering her face and body with a dark mist before disappearing into thin air.

III

When the girls woke the next morning, Susan took Aluna to her Grandmother’s house. Susan pulled up the narrow driveway that led to her mother’s house. She looked to her young daughter when she asked the question.

“What are we doing here?”

“It’s your turn, Aluna.” Susan replied.

“My turn, Mommy?”

“Your turn to be away from me.”

“Why?”

“Needn’t ask questions, darling one.” Susan tried to hold in her tears. “Your grandmother Dixilynne, my mother, is going to take you for awhile.”

“Why can’t I stay with you?” Aluna asked sadly.

“I told you.”

“Destiny, Mommy?”

“Yes, darling. Destiny.”

Susan pulled up the driveway and stopped the engine. “It’s going to be hard honey, but we have to do it.” She stared into her young daughter’s eyes, which had turned a different color. “Why did you change your eyes?”

“No reminders.”

With that, they headed up to the house.

To Aluna, it was a creepy house. It looked like a castle from another land, deep, dark and mysterious. There were even bats in the bell tower, and the faint ring sounded in the air. Aluna was confused and scared. The gigantic bell wasn’t even moving. She shivered, moving closer to her mother’s pant leg.

“Okay, young one?” Aluna nodded her head, following her mother up the stairs.

Susan knocked on the door and waited.

“Come now, Aluna. It’s not all that bad.” Susan replied, trying to smile for her. She squeezed the girl’s hand. “Everything will be as it should soon. Just watch.”

When the door opened, Aluna saw the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen. She was tall, with long black hair, silver-blue eyes and sparkling smile. Only, when the woman saw who it was, her smile turned to a frown.

“Susan.” The woman gestured for them to follow her inside.

“You know why I’m here, Mother.”

“Aye.”

From afar came a young girl’s voice. “Who’s there, Aunt Dixie?”

A little girl a little older than Aluna came from another room. She greeted her visitors.

“Hello Susie.” The girl smiled. “What are you doing here?”

Susan smiled at her young cousin. “Nice to see you, too, Shannon.”

“Don’t dawdle. Come on in, you two.” Dixilynne closed the door behind them. She gave Susan a look.

Is this the one? Dixilynne sent to Susan in her mind. It was called telepathy, and all four of them had it. Only, Shannon couldn’t hear the conversation.

Susan nodded. This is Aluna, the younger one. Just as Shannon was the younger of Aunt Sara’s girls. Grandfather doesn’t want Shannon to know the truth.

I understand. Dixilynne supplied. “Tell me, whose child is this?”

“A friend of David’s family.” Susan said, making up a lie as she went along. “Her name is Aluna Star Sister.”

Dixilynne gestured to Shannon, who was standing aside, watching the little red-blond haired girl watch her from behind her cousin’s skirt.

“Shannon, why don’t you take Aluna down to the building and show her around, okay?”

“Sure thing, Aunt Dixie.” Eleven-year-old Shannon Ryan smiled at the little girl, holding out her hand. “Don’t be afraid, Aluna. I won’t bite you.”

Aluna looked from her mother to her grandmother and finally to Shannon before smiling back and holding out her hand.

And so, from that day on, Aluna would remain an almost-sister to little Shannon Ryan, who was six years older. The story went that her parents died in a horrible wreck just outside of Los Angeles, leaving the only child to be orphaned. Rather than see that happen, Susan brought the child to her own mother after the legal trials had finished. According to Shannon, the story was that Susan was a lawyer in the case, and fell in love with the five year old child.

As for the girls, Shannon led Aluna through the many vast tunnels and underground mazes that lead to a grand building.

“Wow.” Aluna gasped, staring at the entrance in awe. “What is this place?”

“Aunt Dixie calls it the System.” Shannon replied. “It used to be a college, but that was before I was born.”

“How old are you?” Aluna asked, smile on her face and inquisitive look in her eyes. Her blond hair was up in pig-tails, and her blue eyes were wide with excitement.

“Almost twelve, why?”

She shrugged. “Just asking.”

Shannon rolled her eyes, thinking. My peace and quiet, sweet privacy was lost and gone forever. I’ll probably have to share everything with her. I never had to share before, but I guess now is a good time to start.

Shannon showed her to her room, letting her in the door with a key. Aluna found a bed and started to jump on it.

“You aren’t supposed to jump on the beds, Aluna.”

“No one will know but us.” Aluna continued to jump. “Don’t you ever have fun here?”

Shannon stood above her and thought for a minute. “Not really, but I can.”

She surprised both of them by taking off her sandals and jumping on the bed beside it, which turned out to be her own.

“There. All better!” Aluna cried as the girls burst in giggles.

They only stopped when there was a knock on the door.

“What’s going on in there?” It was a male’s voice.

“Nothing, Doctor Swanson.” Shannon yelled back, winking at Aluna.

“Behave, okay? Don’t make me turn to Dixie, Shannon Ryan.”

“I won’t!” Shannon cried, giggling.

“We’ll behave, sir!” Aluna added when she stopped bouncing.

Later, Dixilynne told Shannon what was to happen with the child.

“She’s going to live here with us for a while.” Dixilynne explained. “I want you to be nice to her. She’s had it rough these few months. Do you understand me, Shannon?”

Shannon took her new almost-sister’s hand. “Yes, Aunt Dixie. I’ll make her feel right at home.”

From the mischievous grin on her niece’s face, Dixilynne could tell Aluna would fit in just fine.

Shannon led her new sister back to the room that night to unpack. She noticed the girl was quiet as she unpacked her small suitcase to the dresser beside the bed.

“You miss your folks, don’t you?”

Aluna looked at her and nodded, wiping the tiny tear from her little eye. When she blinked, Shannon swore she saw the pupils change color. The child blinked again, turning them back to the original color.

How strange? I must be seeing things. Shannon deducted.

“Shannon?”

“Yeah, Aluna?”

“Call me Luna. I like it better.”

As any eye or heart could see, Luna and Shannon became like sisters practically overnight.

Prologue: #2:

The Shadow

He had always been shy, and not really the center of attention.

He grew up like one of the happiest young boys anyone could encounter. He was intelligent, always keeping to himself. He would pretend the world was his and take over. Little did he know his childish pretending would bring grief and despair.

His parents, who he loved dearly, thought he was just playing with pipe-dreams, getting himself into too much trouble for a boy of 8. He was often teased in school for being a dreamer. He had the best grades, no doubt, but his mind still drifted off in classes. He can’t remember ever having a real friend at school. He never really wanted or thought he need them. But he did, especially when he turned nine.

When he turned 9, Shane Morehouse’s parents were killed instantly when a semi-truck hit them head-on after a fancy party. Of course, he was devastated, especially when he found out there wasn’t a soul for him to go to.

He was alone. They put him in foster care after the funerals, and he had no choice but to let them. He was in a foster home, hidden in his room when he met the woman who would change his life forever.

He was reading a book when she knocked on the door.

Shane looked up, not saying a word.

“Hello Shane.” She said to him.

He stared, watching as she sat next to him on the bed.

“My name is Dixilynne Ryan.” She replied. “I’m the owner and executor of a teenage detecting agency just west of here.”

Shane’s eyes widened at the word detecting.

“I want you to join the System, Shane.” Dixilynne supplied gently. “You’ll have a home there, with everything you need at your fingertips. You will be one of the many who will become the best in the country, if not the world.”

“What about Cheryl and Kyle?” Shane asked. Those were his new foster parents, who were mean to him.

“They aren’t here, and as far as I can tell, they could care less about you. Am I right?” Dixilynne stated.

Shane looked down to his lap.

“I know about your nightmares, Shane. I want to help you overcome them, and learn to be a better person.” Dixilynne said. “I’ve been watching you here in this house, and I have one question for you.”

He sat up, interested a little.

“If you had the chance for a better life, would you take it?”

Shane stared into space for a few moments, contemplating. He looked at Dixilynne and nodded excitedly. “Definitely.”

She smiled, then brushed her palm against his cheek. “Meet me after school. Name the place, and I’ll find you.”

It was a cool day in November when Shane started his new life.

“Ready to go, sport?” Dixilynne asked with a grin.

Shane tightened his bag on his shoulder and took a deep breath. He nodded and followed her to the awaiting limo.

“Adam Landry, this is one of the new recruits I rescued.” Dixilynne gestured for Shane to shake Adam Landry’s outstretched hand. “His name is Shane Morehouse.”

Adam nodded his head, taking the cigarette out of his mouth to speak. “Nice to meet ya, kid. The girls are goin’ at it again, Dix. Why don’t you do somethin’ about them?”

Dixilynne nodded, winking. “I plan on it.”

Adam laughed. “Atta girl.”

Dixilynne opened the door for him. “Climb on in, Shane, and I’ll introduce you.”

He climbed inside and saw two girls sitting across from them.

“Shane Morehouse, I’d like you to meet my niece, Shannon Ryan,” Dixilynne pointed to the girl with dark hair and a dark, serious expression on her face.

Shannon turned from the window to nod at him.

Not very talkative. Shane thought to himself.

Dixilynne went on. “And our first-ever New Recruit Manager and one of the youngest recruits, Aluna Sister.”

Shane’s heart jumped when their eyes met.

Aluna smiled back. She had hair the color of gold, and eyes the color of the ocean. She had a gentle smile, but had a certain mischief about her that intrigued him. “Call me Luna.”

“Sure.” Shane stammered. He shook his head, coming back to his senses. “What is the System, anyway?”

“To the city of Shore Point, it is a home for underprivileged kids. I take in the kids no one else wants, and give them a home where they can learn and grow healthy. In reality, it is a place where those same kids can grow into the world’s most prominent detectives. If you do not want to be a detective, we have loads of positions to fill. Whatever talent you possess, we will teach you how to hone it and make it your specialty.” Dixilynne replied.

“Don’t bore him, aunt Dixie.” Shannon said. “What she’s saying is simple. You’ve just been taken from people who don’t care about you to a place where they do. Easy as that.”

“Easy.” Luna and Shane echoed.

From that day on, they were the best of friends as well as detectives. Soon, because of his demeanor and lack of trust for many people, Shane was nicknamed the Shadow.

Having a different name made him feel like a new person.

II

Two months into his new home, the phone beside the bed rang. He was sharing a room with a computer genius named Alan Deneson.

“Get that, will ya?” Alan mumbled.

“You’re closer, Chips.” Shadow mumbled back, using Alan’s preferred nickname.

With a groaned “I hate you,” Chips answered it. “Yeah?”

“Wake up, Alan.” It was Dixilynne’s voice calling. “Wake up Shane while you’re at it.”

“What’s the big rush, Dixie?” Alan sat up and clicked the lamp on before putting his glasses on his face.

“Ask questions later. Just get down here.”

With that, she hung up.

“Dixie?”

“You got it. Let’s go.”

Shadow groaned. “I hate waking up early.”

“Get used to it, Slick.” Chips replied as the boys dressed.

“I’m only nine!”

“Dixie doesn’t care about age. You know that.” Chips supplied. “Look at me. Dixie found me four years ago.”

“Ready to tell me your story?”

Chips looked at him, frowned and shook his head. “In time, my friend. In time.”

“I get it. The whole ‘different place, different face’ bit, huh?”

Chips smiled. “You’re catching on.”

The boys arrived at the Computer room in no time. They met up with other new agents, plus Dixilynne’s new boyfriend Michael McNathaniels. Michael, who everyone called Mick, was the leader of the rival detective agency, the Network.

Shadow saw some of his agent friends when he walked in the door. As soon as he saw Jamie Stewart at a computer, Chips went to him, taking the keyboard from his best friend’s hands and typing away. Jamie paid attention to both his best friend and the elder couple at the same time.

This left Shadow alone to sit in a silent corner by himself. His eyes surveyed the room. Loraine Joyce, a book-smart red-head who was training to be a junior-doctor, had her nose in a medical journal. Her glasses slipped down her nose when she reached to turn the page. Beside her was her partner and best friend Cindy Marshal, who was a suave, sophisticated girl with short-cropped black hair and big blue eyes. She was staring at Dixilynne intently. Then there were Shannon, Dixilynne’s niece, and her best friend Bridget Guy, a New Yorker chic Shadow thought had a cool attitude. Mick’s son Nick was whispering into Shannon’s ear, holding her hand and making her smile.

“Isn’t Luna going to join us?” Shannon asked.

Shadow’s sensors perked when he heard the name.

“I’m sorry, Shannon. Not this time.” Dixilynne sounded sad.

“We could use her help.” Bridget supplied after her best friend Shannon. “She’s good at this kind of thing.”

“If I may be so bold, what is going on?” Chips asked.

“I’ve brought you here to introduce you to a new project.” Dixilynne supplied. “You know Mick and his son Nick. They have agreed to help us.”

Shannon let go of Nick’s hand when he cringed. She went to her aunt. “Help us with what?”

“There’s trouble in the Dream Realm. Each of you has certain talents and abilities that will help in the Wars for Power.”

“What, may I ask, are the Wars for Power?” Loraine looked up and asked.

“Yeah, and what’s the Dream Realm?” Cindy echoed.

Shannon and Dixilynne looked at each other. “Do you want me to tell them, Aunt Dixie?”

Dixilynne shook her head. “No, I will tell them. The Dream Realm is a place where your every dream comes true. Every wish can be yours. It is the place where you live your dreams. Everything is perfect there. No hunger, no famine, no disease, nothing can get in the way of the perfect paradise.” She started. “Unfortunately, with the forces of good in the Dream Realm come forces of evil. Destroying, decaying, torturing, excruciating evil. That evil is threatening to destroy the Dream Realm and its ruler, my father, Lord Guardian O’Dell.”

“Yeah, right.” Jamie sniffed.

“I see you do not believe, Mr. Stewart.” Dixilynne said curtly. The use of his last name made him wince. She was known to only use first names with her family of recruits. “Tell me, if it is not true, how do you suppose I know of your own dreams to be an electronics professor?”

“I-uh-I don’t know, ma’am.” Jamie shook his head.

“What about the actual world in which you dream?” Dixilynne asked. “In it, you are powerful, using anything in your environment to fight off your nightmares. Every night, you dream in the same world, am I mistaken?”

Jamie shook his head again.

Chips looked from his best friend to their boss. “What can we do to help?”

So began which would ultimately become known as the Dream Realm Crusades.

Prologue: #3:

Destiny Awaits

It was night in the Outer-World, eight years later. Luna Sister, as everyone in the System now called her, was dreaming in her bed. The dream became a nightmare when Luna turned into her lost twin sister Ariana.

In the Dominion, Sabrina met her brother Damian and enemy in a secluded place west of Dark Tower. She saw Luna in the glowing cage and laughed. “You told me to do better, so you only have yourself to blame.” Sabrina crooned.

“I ought to zap you.” Luna grumbled.

“Do not even try using your precious powers against me. You will pay severely.” Sabrina replied, her red eyes twinkling.

“Let me go, Sabrina!” Luna demanded angrily.

“Out of my hands.” Sabrina raised her hands to the air. “You are now the servant and lover of my dear, lonely brother Damian.” She laughed maliciously before saying. “Tah-tah, darling!”

With that, Sabrina left. Luna glanced at Damian’s smiling face and did the only thing she could think of to do. She started to cry angry, scared, and lonely tears.

When that scene faded into black, another came to view. Again, Luna felt as if she were her lost twin, living the horror.

In the Dark Tower, Luna was busy finishing her chores for her new (gulp) boyfriend. She had absolutely no feelings for Damian at all, but was too afraid for her life to stand up to herself. It was her very existence in both world’s that kept her listening to Damian. She didn’t want to die before seeing her love, Derrick, again. Not to mention her daughter, Kelina Erin.

Damian took her back to the cell, after only an hour of freedom. She sat lonely, depressed, and hungry. Luna tried to think of something to appear in front of her, but using her powers meant pain.

Luna sighed, noticing a faint shadow coming toward her, and was helpless as to sense who it was. She was frightened and backed away until she could faintly see the figure of a cat in the dim light.

“Katherine!” Luna whispered, excited. She recognized the feline friend of every Mystic Dreamer. “Am I glad to see you!”

Katherine put a finger to her lips and whispered. “My cousins must not know I have found you.”

“Have you come to rescue me?”

“I apologize, but only Damian has the key to this decrepit dungeon of yours.” Katherine purred sadly. “I have come only to bring you some edible food from the Garden.” She handed a bowl to Luna, who began to eat hungrily. “They also must not know I have brought you this. It must be kept a secret, understand?”

Luna nodded, grateful to have such a noble friend in Katherine.

Katherine left then, hurrying back to the door.

It was too late. Orthos grabbed her by the arm and stopped her. “Well, well, what do we have here? An accomplice to crime, I presume?”

Orthos’ eyes glowed red, and Luna gasped in horror for her Balinese pal. “Don’t you dare hurt her, Orthos!” Luna screamed.

“What will you do about it?” Orthos replied sarcastically, releasing Katherine. Katherine stayed, just to watch. “My crafty son has you locked in a cage, unable to use any of your power to escape.”

Katherine ran away then, afraid for her life.

Orthos’ attention was to Luna. “You are as helpless as a newborn babe.” He faced her, and she tried to move back, but was frozen by his stare.

Orthos moved closer, and whispered in her ear. “Admit it, I have won.” He cackled, then left her alone again.

Being unfrozen, Luna slumped in her spot, defeated. What was going to do without her new powers to escape?

Luna woke up in tears. Snuggling in her sheets and being very silent, she cried herself back to sleep. She hated her Clairvoyance with a spite, especially now.

There were going to be big changes in her life, and Aluna Star was scared spitless.

II

Shadow was awake, feeling his dear friend Luna was in pain. He didn’t know how he knew, but he did. Perhaps it was her Mystic powers that did it?

Then again, maybe it was all his imagination?

Shadow shook his head, making his way from the bed to the kitchenette without waking Chips. The dream seemed so real, he could have smelled Orthos’ breath in her ear. It was like nothing he’d ever experienced before. He took a seat on a barstool once getting himself a glass of water.

Without thinking, he clasped the Dream Locket around his neck and closed his eyes, thinking of her. He saw her in bed, crying herself back to sleep. To his own eyes, he saw and felt the strange necklace around his throat. He grasped it in his mind, thinking about Luna. Right away, his heart melted.

He sighed. If only she knew how he felt about her! He didn’t know what to do, so he gulped down his water and set the glass in the sink. He was much too chicken to even open his mouth around her but in friendship or on the job. It was pitiful. If only he could bring up the courage to ask her out!

He shook his head. It was too late at night to contemplate his pathetic existence. Time to get back to work in the Dream Realm.

Something told him the Crusade from eight years ago was far from over.

In the morning, he was dressed and facing Shannon in her office. He told her his dream, to which she smiled.

“How can you smile like that, Shan?” Shadow asked her. “I felt her pain. Luna’s going to be in danger soon, and I want to be there to stop it.”

“I can understand that, Shadow. Really, I do, but there’s something wrong with that dream.”

“What’s that?”

“It wasn’t her.” Shannon replied. “I don’t know how I know, but I do. It’s not Luna; it’s someone entirely different.”

“How would you know?”

“I dreamed it, too.” Shannon supplied. “Soon, Shadow, I promise. I can feel it in my bones.”

“Like you felt Orthos’ destruction back in the Crusade?” Shadow remarked sarcastically. “Your feelings were wrong then, and they’re bound to be wrong now.”

“We’ll just see about that, Shadow Morehouse.” Shannon stood and faced him. “On a lighter note,” she grinned, sitting back down in her chair, “I believe that dream told you something.”

“What was it supposed to tell me?”

“Make your move already!” Shannon laughed. “I know for a fact she likes you, and can tell you like her. Why not make it official?”

“You know I can’t do that.” Shadow said. “My knees turn to Jell-o whenever she’s around. I can barely talk to her, let alone ask her out.”

“You saw a strange necklace in your dream?”

Shadow was curious. “Yeah.”

“What about your feelings? Were they so intense, you could have sworn you were there beside her, feeling her every ache and pain?”

Shadow’s arms crossed his chest. “Your point?”

“Let me put it to you this way.” Shannon started. “Have you seen the necklace Nick wears?”

“Looks familiar.”

“Like the one in your dream?”

“Almost exactly like it. Why?”

“It’s called the Protectors’ Pendant.” Shannon supplied. “No one knows how or why, but it links soul-mates together.”

Shadow was silent in thought. “You mean to tell me…?”

“You and Luna were made for each other!” Shannon stood and hugged him. “Isn’t that great!”

“Yeah, great.” Shadow remarked. The watch around his wrist beeped, and he looked at it. “I’ve gotta run. See you later, Shan.”

Shannon winked. “See you, and good luck with Luna.”

Shadow laughed lightly. “Yeah, whatever.”

Shane left her office with a smile. As soon as he opened the double-doors that led into the hallway, he could see Luna running toward him. He watched as her long red-blond ponytail whipped in her face as she ran.

It was only a matter of seconds before she would collide into him..

“Hey!” Shadow cried, grasping her. He hoped to stop her, or at least slow her down some. “Where’re you going so fast?”

“Sorry Shadow. I can’t talk now.” Luna, known now as “Jen-Jen,” puffed, catching her breath. “I’m in a hurry.”

“Oh, okay I guess.” Shadow replied softly, looking down.

She’d grown up beautifully in the last several years, and he’d been watching her every move. Shadow always had a crush on the petite Aluna Sister, but was too shy to speak up to her except in friendship.

Now is your chance Morehouse! Go for it!

She started to leave, but he stopped her. He suddenly screamed, “Stop!”

Luna turned. “What?”

“Are you doing anything tonight?”

Jen-Jen blushed. “No, Shane, I’m not.”

Luna was the only one that he would let call him by his real name. “Well, did you want to do something later tonight?”

Luna looked to the ground, cheeks reddening. “Sure. See you later, Shane.”

Shadow smiled at her and waved. “See you.”

Luna shook her head and headed in the direction of Shannon’s office for her main mission.

Shane Morehouse smiled to himself.

III

Late that night, he heard a knock on the door. Without waking Chips, he unlocked it, opening it carefully. To his surprise, it was Luna.

“Hi.” She said softly.

Shane was nervous. “Hi.” I repeated.

She smiled. For a 15-year-old, she sure was pretty. He thought to himself.

“Wanna go for a walk?” She asked in a whisper. “I know a great place around here that no one ever goes to.”

He nodded, not really sure he wanted to do it or not. She took his hand and they were on their way. Shadow had no choice but to follow her.

Luna took him through many corridors and hallways before announcing. “We’re here. Welcome to my personal paradise.”

He looked around. It was a warm spot where the ocean met the shore, and the crisp California air made the night almost bursting in romance. He didn’t know what to expect.

“It’s beautiful, Luna. How did you find this place out?” Shadow asked her.

Her blond hair was in a short ponytail. “On my own.” She replied, sitting down on the sand. He sat beside her. “I originally came to the System, to that house, actually,” she pointed to a small house in the distance, “when my mother gave me up at the age of 5. It’s been abandoned since Dixie died, so I had to move into a dorm room in the System building with Shannon.”

He sat quiet, listening.

“Well,” She continued. “I began to wander, bored of all the nonsense around here, not really caring for what happened. I found a secret passage from the house to the System, and often went where I wanted, curious. One day, I went the wrong way, and ended up lost – in this paradise.”

Luna closed her eyes then, and as a surprise, Shadow kissed her cheek.

She immediately opened them and looked at him, a hand on the kissed cheek. “What was that for?”

“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Maybe because, even in this paradise of yours, you’re prettier than ever.”

She blushed, turning away. “Thanks, I guess.”

“I really mean it, Luna.” He told her. Now was the time, and this definitely was the place, so quiet and peaceful. “Ever since I saw you my first day here, I’ve been thinking of no one but you. You may have your selfish times, but I know you don’t really mean to hurt anyone.” He looked at his lap as she stared. “I guess what I’m trying to say is…” He took a deep breath, and looked into her eyes. “I want you to be my girlfriend.”

Luna gasped. “You really mean it?”

“Yes, and why wouldn’t I?” He asked her. “I like you, Luna. A lot.”

“I like you, too, Shane.” Luna said simply.

Wrapping his arms around her waist, he kissed her full on the lips, eyes closing in ecstacy.

I’ve been dreaming about you all my life. He heard her voice in his head.

When they parted, he looked into her eyes, amazed. “Did you say that?”

Luna smiled, and explained. “I’m what’s called a Mystic Sister. I normally have the power of clairvoyance, but my telepathy is just as strong. You must be someone special to me, Shadow. I haven’t used it in a long time.”

Shane was confused. “I’m special to you?”

She nodded, smiling. Taking his hand, they watched as the California shoreline rose on the sand, and the sun disappeared in the ocean.

Part Two:

The Wars for Power

Prologue:

Lord Guardian’s Sphere

Lord Guardian O’Dell felt it hit like a ton of bricks. In his Pegasus form, he flew down to his Castle Chambers, ready to take on evil. O’Dell was angered as he took on his human-male form. When he barged in the door, he saw his Dream Realm’s Sphere glowing intensely in the corner.

The vision in the Sphere gave him the creeps, and its image weighed heavily on his mind. The image of his twin brother Orthos, known as the Dominionite Master, wasn’t one O’Dell wanted to see. It told him Orthos was again up to no good.

O’Dell waved a hand over the Sphere again, changing its image to one he could tolerate. A beautiful young belle named Enchantra, with her sparkling black hair, stars twinkling in her silver-blue eyes, came into view, melting his angered thoughts. She was the only one that had captured his heart so long ago. He took a deep breath as the vision of Enchantra turned to give him a smile. She and her three sisters, Mystica, Jezebel, and Challandra, had been separated during the War for Province. Jezebel had gone to Orthos’ side, to be his wife. Challandra stuck by her twin Enchantra and the youngest, sweet Mystica, had blended into the Dream Realm by becoming a Provincian, a common villager of the Province.

Sweet, innocent Mystica. The mere thought of her sent his heart aflutter. Since the War for Province, Mystica alienated herself from her sisters. Thinking of her once again made him remember the task at hand.

Changing form again once free of his Castle walls, O’Dell soared the skies, looking for someone in particular. A boy no longer a boy, but a man. A Companion-born male named Braken Joel Hawk. Deep in the Realm of the Ancients is where he found the kit who was his true son. He was there with his sister, Laurynne Silver-Hawk, the Secret Child of the Realm.

The siblings had the same Mystic powers their mother had, as well as the Wizard powers O’Dell had. It proved to be a very interesting combination in the first Companions born of the Dream Realm.

My Lord!” Laurynne cried, bowing to him as he touched ground. “What brings you to the Realm of the Ancients?”

Serious news, Laurynne.” O’Dell supplied. “Braken Joel.”

My Lord Guardian.” Braken Joel knelt at O’Dell’s feet.

I need you, Joel.” O’Dell said.

After the War for Province, you would have nothing to do with me.” Braken Joel stood and spat. “Now, you need me? Tell me, Lord Father. What do you need me for?”

Your mother has bore a pair of twin kits.” O’Dell ignored his son’s behavior. “I need you to keep them safe.”

Are they, uh, yours, Father?”

O’Dell shook his head at his daughter. “Nay, they are Braken Hawk’s.”

You are certain this time?” Joel asked, frowning. “It took too long for you to tell me my true parentage.”

Absolutely. They were not born human, as you both were.” O’Dell pointed out. “They were indeed born kittens. Twin kittens I might add, who will help stop Orthos one day.”

How do you know this?”

My Sphere told me a tale I did not want to hear.” O’Dell supplied. “I do not wish to tell you this, but I must.” He took a deep breath before continuing. “I will die in the next War.”

Laurynne gasped. “Nay! Father!”

Is there anything we can do?”

I only ask Joel’s assistance in this, Laurynne.” O’Dell said. “For now, you are needed more here than anywhere else.”

What did you want me to do with the kits?” Braken Joel asked. “Besides keep them safe.”

That is all for now.” O’Dell replied. “That will be enough.”

Laurynne and her brother Braken Joel nodded.

Braken Joel knelt in respect. “Your will is my own.”

Thank you, son.” O’Dell placed a hand on his shoulder. “I will return soon.”

Laurynne hugged him. “Luck, Father.”

Spreading wings, O’Dell was on his way to the Mystic Palace.

He appeared in front of the Palace of the Mystic Sisters, Enchantra and Challandra. Glad for the pleasant distraction, he rapped on the brass knocker.

“Coming!” Came a distant female voice from the other side. A moment later, the door opened and a gorgeous belle greeted him with a bright, sunny smile. “My Lord! What a nice surprise!”

Was this the face of his love, Enchantra?

No, he thought sadly.

“May I come in, Challandra?” He pleaded, desperate. He changed his figure to a human male.

Challandra could sense the urgency in his voice. “Aye, certainly. Come in.” She watched as his hands shook, with nerves bulging. Challandra took one of his hands, leading him inside. “Would you like something to calm your nerves?”

O’Dell shook his head, holding it. “No. Thank you anyway, Challandra.” He followed her to the living quarters. “Is Enchantra around by any chance?”

“Right behind you, O’Dell.” Came Enchantra’s voice from behind him. She saw the worried look on his face and placed a hand on his arm. “Is there something bothering you, my love?”

Sadly, O’Dell nodded. “I am afraid so, Sisters. I have reason to believe Orthos is up to his tricks again.”

The sisters exchanged a glance and Challandra gasped.

“What can we do for you?” Enchantra asked, worried herself now.

“The Mirror. I must see the Mystic Mirror.” O’Dell commanded, searching the Palace. His mind was whirling thoughts for a plan of attack.

“Certainly.” Challandra replied. “Right this way.”

With her sister behind her, Challandra led him to the Mystic Mirror Room. She opened the door with a short melody and the trio stepped inside.

The sisters watched and waited patiently as their Guardian stared into the Mirror.

“I see . . . I see . . . ” O’Dell muttered under his breath, waving his arms in front of it. “I see it’s time for another war against my brother.”

“You do not mean–?” Enchantra asked, unsure.

“Aye,” Lord Guardian looked from one twin to the other.

Challandra sighed. “Have you not fought with him before, without our help?”

O’Dell glared at her. “It’s not a joke, dear Challandra. It’s a matter of dreams and death.”

“My apologies, my Lord.” Challandra bowed her head.

“O’Dell, certainly you do not mean your own death?” Enchantra asked gently, worried for him. She put a caring hand on his shoulder. “Do you?”

O’Dell closed his eyes and nodded sadly. “Aye.”

“Not to worry.” Enchantra assured with a nod. “We know what to do.”

“We will help.” Her sister said, reluctant to go along. She knew the importance of O’Dell’s visions.

“Thank you, Sisters.” O’Dell replied, giving each of them a kiss, on the cheek for Challandra and the lips for Enchantra. “I knew I could count on the two of you!” He turned to leave. “For now, I must ready my successor. I will be back to look in on you.” O’Dell gave Enchantra another kiss as he exited the Palace. He changed from a human male to a Unicorn-Pegasus and flew away.

Enchantra looked at her sister as they watched him leave. “Do you remember what must be done?”

Challandra nodded, reluctant. “I remember. Find Dixilynne and explain ourselves.”

Enchantra could tell her sister wasn’t happy nor interested in O’Dell’s implied suggestion. “I will go while you stay here and guard the Palace.”

“Thank you, Enchantra.”

She sighed as she left for the Outer-World.

II

O’Dell stopped first to tell a frightened, seven-year-old Ariana Moon her promising future. Before he went back to the Dream Realm, he saw Ariana’s unknown twin Aluna. He found her crying in bed, trying hard to keep her tears silenced.

“Why do you cry, Young One?” O’Dell changed his Unicorn form to human in order to help calm her. The girl hadn’t seen him in nearly two years, so he didn’t want to scare her.

She looked up from her pillow and glanced at him. He put his index finger to his mouth, silently telling her to be quiet. He then pointed to the bed next to hers, which held a sleeping, thirteen-year-old Shannon Ryan.

Luna looked from Shannon’s sleeping form to her Lord Guardian, smiling and nodding her little head. She wiped a trail of tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.

I cry because she is in pain.

“She, meaning your sister?”

Luna nodded. I can still feel her, my Lord. I turn my Empathy off, but I can still feel her. I don’t understand. Why can I still feel when she is in intense pain?

O’Dell grinned. “You are both twins. Powerful in your own rights, as well.” He hugged her. “I came to give you something, Young One.”

He closed his hands in front of her eyes, which lit up in delight when they glowed. When he opened them again, he held a necklace. It was a locket shaped like a globe, and had a unicorn with a jewel in the middle of its head. The jewel was made of a kind of crystal she’d never seen before, and it was all incased in a Dream-Catcher’s webbing. It was beautiful in a mystical way, hanging from its silver chain.

Luna took a deep breath, taking it and hugging him tightly. It’s so pretty! Thank you!

“It’s not only to look at.” O’Dell told her, placing it around her neck. “It’s for you to wear. It’s called the Dream Locket, and it holds the magic of the Dream Realm inside the gem.”

She took it in her hands to admire it. Does she have one, too?

“Aye, Ariana Moon has one as well.” O’Dell told her. “I gave it, and her title, to her. She knows nothing about the Mystics, and it will stay that way for many years to come. Is that understood, Aluna Star?”

Luna looked him in the eyes. Aye, my Lord.

“I know you miss her, and love her very much.” O’Dell supplied. “She needs to learn her magic on her own, with no help from you or any other Mystic in this world.”

I promised not to tell, and I haven’t. Honest! I’ve kept my distance for two years, not even using telepathy to talk to her. Luna told him. I’m learning a lot about my powers, Lord Guardian. Gramma Dixie is so proud of me! She even says my Clairvoyance is stronger than the rest of my powers.

O’Dell couldn’t help laughing at the child’s enthusiasm. “Calm down, Young One. Dixilynne has kept me updated on you. She tells me you are ready to learn more.”

Oh, yes! I am! I want to learn it all! Luna nodded ecstatically.

“I have another surprise for you then.” O’Dell said. “Your sister is my successor. That is why she has to learn on her own. She will have to be tough in order to be the Young Guardian.”

What about me? Luna asked in her mind.

“That is the surprise.” O’Dell supplied. “You are the Grand Magus. Capable of learning and using many kinds of world magic. You also must learn on your own. No one must know about your magic, except Dixilynne. From now on, I will address you as the Grand Magus. Soon, when you have your Mystic Oath, you will be introduced as that title. It is one you will earn, not just have. Only you will be able to control the magic within.”

Luna yawned. So much information. I don’t think I can remember it all.

“You will, I promise.” O’Dell said. “I must go. Use your new Locket to travel to the Dream Realm. The Dream Chant will come in time, and you will be able to use it as well. For now, I bid you good night and pleasant journeys.”

Pleasant journeys, Lord Guardian. Luna snuggled into her sheets, clasping her new Locket.

O’Dell stared at the young child who would grow to become one of the most powerful Mystics in Enchantra’s line. Aluna Star was his great-granddaughter. She held great potential for powerful and intense Magics.

If only she didn’t rely on mind-touching with her twin. Both the Young Guardian and the Grand Magus should be able to fight on their own, without help from their sister.

He sighed, tucking the sheets to the sleeping Luna’s neck. Patting her head and kissing it, O’Dell disappeared, ready to take on death.

Chapter:

The First War for Power

Enchantra worried for Lord Guardian O’Dell. The love of her life, Lord of the Dream Realm and father of their three now-Earthbound daughters. She also worried for her dear twin Challandra, who missed O’Dell’s youngest brother Lord Byron and their four young children.

O’Dell had seen his own death in his Sphere and it depressed her. Sure, Enchantra assured him she and her sister knew what to do, but did they really? What could she do to stop the hands of fate from killing her lover?

For the first time since sending her daughters Earthbound, Enchantra visited the Outer-World. She hovered above her eldest daughter’s bed, watching as Dixilynne Ryan slept peacefully beside her new beau, Michael McNathaniels. Michael’s arm was protectively wrapped around her waist. Enchantra smiled, floating herself to Dixilynne’s side as she gently woke her with magic.

Dixilynne took a breath, opening her eyes. She sensed someone near, and used her power of Empathy to feel who it was. When she saw her mother’s form hovering over her, she smiled.

Enchantra nodded with a solemn look in her eyes. You have grown beautiful, Dixilynne. She sent to her daughter’s mind using telepathy. Time here has aged you gracefully. What is your Earthbound age now, daughter?

Knowing Michael was sleeping, Dixilynne answered only in her mind. I claim fifty-three Earthbound years. Mick says I do not look a day over thirty. With Empathy, she could sense something else was on her mother’s mind. Why would she visit the Outer-World now? Has something happened, Mother? Am I needed at home?

Nay, daughter. Enchantra shook her head. You will be safe here.

Dixilynne’s eyes narrowed. Safe from what?

Orthos has declared war upon Lord Guardian. Enchantra explained. O’Dell has foreseen his own death in it.

Dixilynne gasped, sitting up. “No. It cannot be true.” She whispered.

Enchantra put a finger to her lips and pointed to the sleeping form of Michael McNathaniels.

He sleeps soundly and peacefully, Mother. Dixilynne supplied in her mind with a loving grin to her beau. She turned back to Enchantra. Is there anything I can do to stop Father from dying?

Enchantra shook her head sadly. I am afraid not.

At that statement, Enchantra disappeared back to the Dream Realm.

Dixilynne lightly caressed Michael’s sleeping form as she pondered her mother’s words. Mick never knew of her Mystic heritage, and how she was born in the Dream Realm. He never knew she was thrown from that perfect world when she was a child, left on the cold streets with her twin and younger sister. He never knew she was more special than he realized.

The only other Earthbound to know her Mystic secrets was her now-dead Earthly Protector, Theodore Ryan. Theodore and Michael were best friends, each striving to be the best detectives in the world. They had different ideas for detecting agencies, but the same devotion to Dixilynne. When Theodore started renovations on the old Shore Point University building eight years ago, he was hit by an I-beam, knocking him unconscious. No amount of Dixilynne’s Healer’s Power would wake him from death’s door.

Since then, it was Michael that stood beside her. He mourned with her, long after Theodore’s funeral. Though busy building his own business from the ground up, Michael helped her finish renovations and start her own agency in Theodore’s honor. Now, Michael’s agency called the Network and Dixilynne’s own called the System were in playful competition with each other. They were even raising Dixilynne’s six-year-old niece Shannon and Michael’s seven-year-old son Nicholas together.

She brought her thoughts back to her mother’s words. It would seem she would lose her loving Father, Lord Guardian O’Dell, eight years after her beloved Theodore.

She would have to tell Michael the truth of her Mystic heritage, so he could mourn with her once again. Would he be willing to understand her complex story? Would he still love her and cherish her once he knew?

Dixilynne snuggled back into her comfortable bed by Michael’s side. She would let the fates decide that, and leave the matter wherever it lay.

II

In the Dream Realm, peace was lost.

The feeling of dread was unbearable. Lord Byron knew he had to fight alongside his brother O’Dell, but he didn’t want to get involved. It was only by Challandra’s pleas he would find himself doing what he hated most.

Minx, my son, come to me.” Lord Byron whispered to his oldest son.

What is it, Father?”

I have to leave the Barracks and return to your mother’s side.” Lord Byron explained. Minx knew there was more to it, so he listened, staring at his father. “Orthos has declared war against his twin O’Dell. I must join the fight.”

Minx nodded. “I will be okay, Father. I will watch over my brothers and sister.”

Lord Byron placed a hand on his son’s head. “You will be in charge, Minx. Stay hidden, for I will return when it is over.”

Aye, Father.”

Lord Byron stood, going to each of his children and hugging them goodbye. They were silent, knowing not to say a word. He looked back one last time before heading out.

Braken Hawk, a Balinese feline Companion, followed his wife Mystica to the Palace of the Mystic Sisters, Enchantra and Challandra. She wouldn’t say a word as she hurried. He wouldn’t ask questions, knowing her visions were strong ones.

When they reached the Mystic Palace, Mystica found her elder twin sisters talking with the Lord Guardian of the Dream Realm, O’Dell. He wasn’t smiling, and neither were her sisters.

Orthos is attacking the Companions.” Mystica cried, out of breath. The trio turned to stare at her. “He calls upon the Stalkers and Djinn to help him destroy our world.”

We will not let that happen.” O’Dell remarked. “I will go to him myself.”

Not without us, you will not.” Enchantra barked. Challandra and Mystica nodded after her. “We stand beside you all the way.”

As do I, brother.” Came the husky voice of Lord Byron.

Do you join the battle, Braken Hawk?” O’Dell asked of him.

Aye, my Lord Guardian.” Braken nodded. “Though it is safe now, our home will not be for long.”

I agree.” Mystica said. She turned to Lord Byron. “Do you still know where we might find Chase Moondancer and his band of Dweller-kin?”

Lord Byron nodded. “Of course. Chase is still raising the young Ramon.” He said. “Should I tell him the Dweller kin-Clans are needed?”

If they decline, tell them the kin-Clans owe us.” O’Dell remarked. “From there, find us at the battlegrounds.”

Aye, Brother.” Lord Byron left on that.

Mystica held her head, suddenly feeling dizzy. Braken caught her before she could fall to the ground.

Hurry, Orthos is coming with his Dominionite Warriors.” Mystica spoke up, trying to stand with her husband’s help. Her sensors were going haywire, and she felt dizzy.

Enchantra sat her down inside the Palace.

Stay here, Mystica, please?” Enchantra asked. “Your Magic is weak as it is.”

I have to fight.”

You are in no condition to battle.” Challandra told her. “Just stay here.”

I will fight for both of us.” Braken vowed.

In front of her eyes, Enchantra, Challandra, and Braken disappeared, going to battle.

Mystica knew she had to go, too, but she couldn’t move. The Magic in her system was weakened by travel.

O’Dell stayed behind for a moment more. “Were there any other visions, Mystica?”

She shook her head. “None I can change.”

O’Dell knew then she had also seen his death.

Go stop Orthos, O’Dell.” Mystica whispered.

If you are sure.”

Mystica nodded. “I will go when I am needed.”

O’Dell disappeared after kissing her cheek.

With that, she sat back, watching the battle from the vision her Staff gave her.

She saw fires of Mystic Magic flying to and fro, and Dominionite Magic firing back. Many Companions were in the middle, which included her husband Braken. Shouts and cries of battle were heard, until she couldn’t stand anymore.

She was needed.

Mystica made the vision disappear before she threw her Staff down. “Time to fulfill my Destination.”

When she reappeared, she was right in the middle.

Across the field, her twin Jezebel was behind Orthos. She had a protective shield around herself, blocking the shots of good Mystic’s Magic.

I told you to stay behind!” Enchantra screamed above the noise.

I could not have you take the credit, dear sister!” Mystica screamed back, blocking one of the Dominionite bursts of fire-magic with a Water shot of her own.

Stop this!” O’Dell cried to them. “Fight them off, as much as you can!”

Upon seeing her twin, Jezebel shot a Dark Magic burst from her palm. The shot ripped through her sister’s heart.

No!” Enchantra and Challandra screamed with O’Dell and Braken.

Braken and the sisters immediately went to Mystica’s side when she fell. The sisters tried to heal her, to no avail.

O’Dell could feel the pain of Mystica’s death in his heart, and his eyes darted to his brother Orthos.

You are not as powerful without Mystica around, are you O’Dell?” Orthos gloated, laughing.

Why kill her over this?” O’Dell roared, angry.

He shifted from his Pegasus-Unicorn to a Unicorn-Dragon, red-eyes glowing. He took a breath and blew fire out of his nostrils at him. Orthos blocked the shot, directing it back to O’Dell, who still hung in midair. O’Dell fell from the sky, his form changing back to a human male as he hit the ground.

Enchantra went to him, crying in pain. O’Dell’s blood was everywhere.

Jezebel just stared at the scene, a look of shock upon her face.

Challandra stood beside her twin’s kneeling form, staring up at Orthos.

You have won, Orthos!” Challandra cried. “O’Dell is dead. Mystica is dead. Hundreds of Companions are dead. This realm is yours for the taking.”

Orthos cackled, his entire gang of Dominionites, Djinn, and Stalkers disappeared with him. At that moment, all Mystics and remaining Companions could feel the defeat on their very souls.

III

In the Outer-World, both of Enchantra’s Earthbound twin daughters woke up screaming.

In Shore Point, Michael McNathaniels was there, waking up with Dixilynne. She was hysterical, crying and shaking. He held her, soothing her cries and drying her tears.

“It was just a nightmare, Dix.” Mick whispered in her ear, rocking her in his arms. “It wasn’t real.”

She made him see in his own mind what woke her up screaming. The entire scene of Orthos’ battle against the Mystics, ending in O’Dell’s death.

“My God, Dixie.” Mick whispered, staring into space and digesting the vision she gave him. “How horrible!”

She wouldn’t speak aloud, only in her mind. O’Dell was my true father. Now he is dead.

It wasn’t the first time in their relationship she’d spoke directly to his mind. He didn’t know what to say. He just held her tight, consoling her the best he could. When the words finally did come, they were heartfelt.

“I’m sorry, Dixilynne.” He whispered, hugging her. “I’m here for you. I won’t leave you alone to mourn the loss alone.”

Dixilynne met Mick’s eyes. Thank you.

Wanting to take away the pain from her heart and mind, he made love to her. For the moment, Dixilynne forgot everything but Mick’s very presence in her arms.

Story: #1:

The Time Bandits

Five years later, Dixilynne was still trying to figure a way to bring O’Dell back to life. The obsession tore a rift between Dixilynne and Michael.

Sure, she had told him everything about the Mystics, swearing him to secrecy. He didn’t seem to understand the reason for her obsession. Men, women, and children everywhere were dreaming terrible things, nightmares plaguing their minds. In their waking lives, they were angry, mean, unrelenting people, hurting everyone in their paths.

Dixilynne wanted to stop it, returning peace to both the Dream Realm and the Outer-World. She wanted everything back to normal again, and the only way to do that was to bring her father back to life.

Her mind reeled with thoughts when the phone rang.

“I just wanted to apologize, Dixilynne.” It was Michael, and he sounded honest. “For doubting you and your visions. For not believing you when you told me about what you called Dreamers were doing in their waking lives. It’s all true. I’ve seen it for myself.”

“I know, Mick.” Dixilynne said softly. “It’s the beginning of Destiny.”

“Destiny.” Mick echoed.

“Hear me out.” Dixilynne said. “It’s all going to end soon. I’ve seen it.”

“That’s good to hear, I guess.” Mick was confused. “You’ve found a way to bring him back, then?”

“Not yet, but soon.” Dixilynne supplied. She smiled. “All will be as it should be.”

She could sense him relaxing. He sighed over the line.

“So, is everything back to normal with us?” Mick asked.

“Yes, Mick, it is.” Dixilynne laughed. “I’ve got to go for now. Susan brought over her daughter Aluna and I want to have Shannon show her around.”

“I’ll see you later then, okay?” Mick wondered hopefully. “I love you, Dix.”

“I love you, too, Mick.” Dixilynne hung up the line and sighed happily, staring at the phone.

A knock on the door interrupted her romantic thoughts, bringing her back to life. She used Empathy to find it was her eleven-year-old niece, Shannon.

“Come in, Shannon.”

“How’d you know it was me?” Shannon asked as she shut the door behind her.

“I always know.” Dixilynne supplied with a grin. “Where is the young Aluna?”

“I left her sitting on the bench, just outside.” Shannon told her, slumping into a nearby chair. “Why?”

Dixilynne groaned, rolling her eyes. “Shannon Cecilia Ryan, what am I going to do with you?”

“What’d I do, Aunt Dixie?” Shannon wondered.

“The girl is only five-years-old.” Dixilynne tried to explain. “She cannot be left on her own like that. Now, go get her and show her around the System.”

Shannon stood. “Yes, Aunt Dixie.”

“Aluna is your responsibility, is that understood?”

“Yes, Aunt Dixie.” Shannon echoed as she left, shutting the door behind her.

II

A year later, Shannon burst into Dixilynne’s office while she was talking with Mick. Two of her new-recruit friends were behind her.

“Aunt Dixie, I may have the greatest news for you!” Shannon cried happily.

“Well, what is it, child?” Dixie asked, looking to Shannon’s friends.

“Jamie and Chips stumbled on something that just might bring Lord Guardian back from the dead!” Shannon cried. She pushed the two boys from behind her to face Dixilynne. “Go on, tell her!”

“We call it the Time Bandits, Dixie.” Alan “Chips” Deneson remarked shyly.

“It started out as just an experiment.” Jamie Stewart responded. “I was tinkering with some old computer equipment, trying to put together the perfect dating machine.”

“When we put characteristics in the computer keypad, there was a flash of light.” Chips continued. “Before our eyes could adjust, there stood two holograms.”

“Actual, real-deal, fully-interactive holograms.” Jamie supplied. “A guy and a girl. We named them Alex and Gloria, and told Shannon about them.”

“Somehow, Shannon could tell they weren’t really holograms, but ghosts from another dimension.” Chips said.

Dixilynne looked to her niece, who was nodding.

“Turns out, they were from the Realm of the Epsilon, trying to find their time-traveling killer.” Shannon said. She nudged Chips.

“We really wanted to help them, so we rewrote the original program and made them electronic bracelets to wear.” Chips remarked, rubbing where she nudged his side.

“What did the bracelets do?” Mick asked. He was amazed to hear two young boys could do things normal men his age couldn’t understand.

“The hologram-like ghosts were pure energy in this world.” Jamie explained. “The bracelets tapped into the energy they were emitting, making them solid again.”

“We made two for ourselves, just to see what they would do to us.” Chips said. “Jamie tweaked our bracelets so they wouldn’t shock us.”

“How are your Time Bandits going to help bring Lord Guardian back to life?” Dixilynne was confused.

“That’s the good part.” Jamie said. “Turns out, the bracelets we wore made us travel back and forward in time.”

“In our own time-lines, of course.” Chips said. “So we couldn’t go back as far as the Middle Ages or anything like that.”

Dixilynne was beginning to understand. “How were you able to control what year you traveled to?”

“There’s a small, numerical keypad on each bracelet.” Jamie said. “As a part of the experiment, I tapped in the year Alex and Gloria were killed. Sure enough, I was whisked there in a flash of light.”

“You got back by tapping in the year you left?” Dixilynne asked curiously. Jamie and Chips nodded. “Do you still have the program, boys?”

Again, they nodded.

“Yes, Dixie.” Jamie supplied. “I managed to keep all the bracelets, too, once Alex and Gloria were returned to their own time.”

“Would you say the program is stable enough to use again?” Mick asked them.

“Why do you think I brought them here to tell you about it?” Shannon beamed.

“Sounds good to me, kids.” Dixilynne remarked. “I need to talk this over with a few people. I will let you know later what we are going to do. For now, back to your studies.”

Shannon, Jamie and Chips left the room.

Mick hugged Dixie, saying after a moment. “You were right, as always.”

“Of course I was.” Dixie said. She thought for a second. “About what?”

“This. The kids finding a way to bring O’Dell back.” Mick teased her nose with a kiss. “You saw it last year, didn’t you?”

Dixilynne remembered. “I Saw a big part of it, that’s all.”

“Who else do you have to talk to?”

“Mother and Aunt Challandra in the Dream Realm.” Dixilynne told him. “See if they approve of the idea.”

“I’m sure they will.” Mick remarked. “In fact, I’m betting on it.”