Three figures slowly faded to solid in a blue expanse. The two boys looked around as Eric looked down to his empty arms. His expression changed from happiness to fright as panic struck.
"Don't worry, Eric, he is safe on Earth."
Eric looked at William, searching his expression for an answer but found nothing. "How do I know you ain't lying to me?"
"You don't. You have my word for it. We cannot waste time here."
Matt had been looking around ignoring William and Eric. He was fascinated by the area and the feelings he was getting from it. They weren’t bad feelings, but he also knew they weren't in any danger. It was strange, even for him. His attention was drawn back to William as he heard his final comment.
"What do you want us to do? Why does it hafta be us? Why can't it be someone else? We’re just kids!" Matt finished as Eric shot him an approving nod.
William warmly smiled and rolled his eyes at the same time, "That's easy, both of you are my distant grandchildren. I'm not going to add "great" to that word because it is too long. There is no one else on Earth who can handle the knowledge and power I contain. If it weren't so, you both wouldn't be here. I wish it weren't so, but it is the nature of our power. In some way, we are human, and in other ways we are not."
Both boys exchanged glances, then returned their attention to William with questioning looks. William caught their unspoken question and answered for them. "All will be explained and revealed later. We must hurry as our time is running out."
"What does time have anything to do with?" Matt asked scrunching his face up to stop a tickle in his nose.
"Well…" William began, "…time has a meaning here. Earth's time is equal to this plane and we've been discovered. There is no time to explain that!" William began to sit, as there was nothing behind him. Suddenly, a chair faded out of nothing, came sliding to a halt, and William sat in the comfortable red leather chair. The boys did the same, but they were sitting in black leather chairs.
William leaned forward in his chair after he got comfortable. "Let me explain what will happen. This will take an hour to do and after that, I will fade away. Don't be alarmed, for it is the way of things. I've had a long and fulfilling life. Yours might be much longer than mine, only time will tell. You will receive all the knowledge I've had and much, much more. You will end up with a headache, but it takes a week for your brains to process all the information and during this time, your abilities will grow and sometimes startle you. It's quite normal, but very dangerous at the same time. If you were to be engaged in a fight with anyone, you could be doing more harm to yourselves than to your enemy. The reason is simple: your mind is training your body so it can handle the stresses and power you develop. As I've learned, you both gained new abilities from being in the Time Void, but it takes a while to surface and some do not. Boys, you must refrain from engaging in any fights, but I can see it can't be helped. I'll have to do a special transfer and make your powers active right away." William sighed as Eric and Matt sat in stunned silence. They realized almost all their questions had been answered, except for a few here and there.
William smiled as he saw the boys deep in thought. "I do suggest however, engaging Sid is off-limits for a week. I can still see you engaging him much sooner." William looked down towards his feet with sadness before continuing, "Normally, we are stuck here for a week, but the problem is, this realm is directly connected to the cave we arrived in. I do have some powers of foresight and the last thing I saw was an army of beasts entering that safe place. Once it is destroyed, this realm and everything in it gets destroyed. The first thing you must do is choose a new spot because without it no one will be safe. Also, you must consult with the Oracle for guidance and someone else."
William looked up to see the boys' blank stare as he chuckled a bit. "Furthermore, you will age very slowly and once you reach adult level, you will stop aging. Don't let my appearance deceive you, I chose to look like this so I could get around" Almost immediately, William's features changed from a fifty something to an eighteen year old. His light brown hair fell to his shoulders, as there were no visible wrinkles across his face. The boys were very surprised at this, causing William to smile.
"It's time." William said as he lifted his left arm and extended his finger towards his head and making contact. Seconds later, he slowly pulled his finger away, followed by a silvery strand of energy. He then repeated the same with his right hand. Once it was done, both boys' chairs started sliding towards William. Once they were within arms reach, William spoke up for the last time.
Eric frowned as Matt shook his head in silence, "Not really."
William smiled again, "You'll do okay. Please, trust me."
Both boys nodded and William slowly moved forwards making contact with both boy’s heads and the silvery energy leapt forward at an accelerated rate, causing Eric and Matt's eyes to widen with surprise. Sometime during the exchange, both boys slumped into the chair with their eyes closed as William looked on. He knew his life-force was ending soon as the exchange was almost over.
At the very end when the silvery strand stopped flowing, William immediately removed his hands from their heads and divided himself in half. As he began to fade, he quickly sat on top of the boys then merged himself with them, with his last thought reassuring the boys and wishing them lots of luck.
A young boy with brown hair and golden brown eyes walked the lone streets without a care in the world. He knew what he had to do, he hated it. He hated being a slave but part of his new genetic makeup told him he had to follow orders. He could not control it as much as he wanted to or even hoped to. All too often, his genes overcame his willpower to control them. He was no more than five foot tall and his clothes were tattered. Suddenly, two strangers in black cloaks with hoods over their heads appeared out of nowhere, causing the boy to stop in his tracks.
The two cloaked strangers looked at each other and nodded then causally walked towards the boy. At first glance, they thought they saw a small smirk across the boy's face, but when they re-doubled their glance, it was gone with an extremely sad and terrified look and so they approached him with caution.
The man on the left spoke first, "Are you okay? Hurt anywhere?"
The boy shook his head no as he struggled to fight the urge to attack.
Having their response, they could see the boy fighting something but they shrugged it off as nothing more than a traumatic experience.
The one on the right spoke, "We'll take you someplace safe. We are overstaying our welcome." He causally moved to the boy's side and placed his left arm around his shoulders.
The boy simply nodded as the other man moved to the back and put his hands on both of them. He looked around at the area; it looked like a scene out of the old west, except there were newer yet abandoned buildings and vehicles with dust swirling across the ground and the sky bleak. A cold shiver ran down his spine, as he was sure his companion felt it. Right when he looked back to the boy's back, his eyes widened as he caught sight of a certain mark on the boys' neck. Curious, he started inching closer to get a better view; the mark looked like a dark sun with fiery flames extruding outwards from the round sphere. Before he could warn his companion, they disappeared from sight.
Unaware to everyone that the oracle had been silently chanting her premonition, Chad approached with jogging speed, causing Max and Simon to turn to his attention.
"There is a problem." Chad waited for a moment for some sort of acknowledge from either men, but received none and continued, "One of our scouts picked up something disturbing. They found a child with Sid's mark on him and wondered what either of you wanted to do about it? They claim he escaped, but there's something troubling them about it. It doesn't make any sense."
"Oracle…" Simon called to her and received no response. He turned to look, "Oracle, if you ignore me…" he was cut off in mid sentence as his eyes grew wide at the sight of the oracle's white eyes were glowing along with her whispering something and before Simon could move in to listen to her, she spoke much louder this time.
"The seeker shall find us and all will be lost. The seeker will be the death bringer of guardians. I must pass my power onto the one who loves him." Her cryptic message ended there as she began whispering again.
Max groaned, "Her time is ending as well. She is tied with the founder and as his life ends, hers shall follow unless she passes all knowledge onto the chosen one."
Simon sighed as Chad looked around in shock. "No one knows who the chosen one is… Chad?" Simon looked at him curiously as he watched him look for someone or something. "Who are you looking for Chad?"
"Umm well… this Jason person…"
Max piped up, "Yeah well, I've been holding him in my arms for quite some time now so…"
Just before Chad started speaking and Max was finishing, the Oracle began to glow white. It started out as a soft white glow, then it grew to a very blinding white glow to the point where everyone in close proximity had to shield their eyes from the brightness. Just as soon as it started, it finished with a flash passing through everyone.
Chad looked around rubbing his eyes as did everyone else. As soon as his gaze fell onto Jason, he slowly walked close as if he was afraid of what the outcome he thought would result in. "Oh shit."
Simon wasn't sure what to make of it, but Max remained silent. "Just what does that mean?"
"I see you haven't had time to read the archives or even look into my memories during the transfer." Max piped up, knowing fully well what was happening.
"I don't understand…" Simon said becoming slightly annoyed.
"For starters, Jason is the oracle now." Chad bluntly stated as Jason slightly shifted in Max's arms.
"That's not possible."
"Oh, it is very possible, Simon." Max stated. "It is exactly as she said, even if it were in riddles. The difference is he is sleeping and she wasn't at the time. He will need a lot of help."
"Nothing ever goes right here." Rand playfully piped up, causing Simon to shoot a death glare at him. "Bel and I are feeling somewhat uneasy being here since we can actively sense something amiss. I really want to go over our options before, as you humans put it, shit hits the fan."
Just before Rand was about to continue, Jason began to squirm in Max's arms uttering something about a dragon hidden in a boy with golden brown eyes.
Jason found himself falling through blackness. It was as if, it was endless. He couldn't stop himself if he wanted to or even force himself to wake up. Screaming did no good after a while when he noticed no one was coming to his aid. Time had no meaning and as he continued to fall, something seemed different. At first it was faint, but as the feeling grew, so did a faint speck of light from below him. Half fascinated, half scared shitless, Jason couldn't help but wonder what was happening to him. At first he seemed like he was in a peaceful sleep, then as suddenly as it changed, he found himself trapped in a falling nightmare.
The light started becoming clearer as he continued falling. Darkness faded into light as a bright blue planet began to fill the empty space. Soon, the moon, stars, then the sun took shape and finally Earth. Jason looked around him, astonished he could still breathe. He wasn't sure how or why, but something, a feeling, told him that all would be okay and no harm would befall him. All too suddenly, he started entering earth's atmosphere, but not before catching a glimpse of an armada of ships filling the space from the opposite side of Earth. He wondered what he was being shown, but he became distracted as the cold air hit him. Panic set in, he began to fall much faster towards the ground as if an unknown force was aiding in his fall. He was helpless. He said a silent prayer just before he hit the ground. He slowly closed his eyes and waited. Nothing seemed to happen. He didn't feel anything, not even the initial impact.
Jason slowly opened his eyes to see a strange face staring down at him. He blinked a few times to clear the fuzziness as more faces appeared to be hovering over him. He groaned slowly and moved his left arm to rub his tired eyes. As he removed his arm from his face, he began to move slightly but also found the strange man's lips to be moving yet no sound could be heard.
Half way into the transfer, Eric's thoughts were interrupted by some imbalance. He didn't know what to make of it and Matt felt the unease in his brother. At first he thought it was a distraction from the overload of information, but after a few more minutes, he could still see Eric with the same unease.
'You boys better concentrate! Time is limited! I might be one within both of you, but it can't fully be achieved without your full concentration!' The booming voice startled the boys out of their distractions as they muttered 'yes sir' silently in their thoughts.
The boys felt themselves drifting deeper into the realm of knowledge. They felt like they were a hard drive that was downloading massive amounts of data from the internet at a speed faster than mankind currently has. The data overload was overwhelming as centuries, upon centuries, of information was downloaded into their young brains. Both boys had a stray thought of how could they memorize everything, let alone hold everything and anything that was being passed to them. They were sure the download of data wasn't going to stop, till the final bit of information of how and where the history of the Guardians of Earth came to be.
'You two have absorbed more knowledge than I could ever have.' William mused to himself more than the boys, but they heard him from within their heads. 'You must now rest and let your brains sort everything out. The second you are ready, I will have fully merged all my abilities with yours, enhancing them. However, I must warn you about one thing: only merge with your twin if the moment demands it or all hope is lost, for you shall never have the same attempt the next time you try this. It can only be used once, as the next time, you two will permanently fuse together and will forever struggle to control one body.'
'In that case, how long does the fusion last?' Matt asked as he tried searching for the answer, however, Eric's mind was elsewhere and Matt could sense it again.
'It varies. The last attempt to use it was between me and my twin; however, as powerful as we were, it held for a full hour. With the two of you, it'll be much shorter, I'm sorry to say. Now, Eric if you will please…' William was cut short as Eric continued to ignore him, much more this time.
Matt rolled his eyes, 'It's Jason. Eric can sense something is wrong.'
'Ah I see. The Oracle.' William sent warm feelings towards the boys as Eric's attention was now drawn back to William.
'Why not.' William thought as he giggled slightly, 'It was meant to be. She is tied to me, bound to me by true love as is he to you, even if it hasn't been found yet. Since both of you have spent quite a bit of time in the Time Void, this transfer makes things much longer than I expected, yet the outcome should be more than enough for your enemies. I guess you could say you are no longer human…'
Both boys mentally gasped at the concept but, William stopped them from panicking. 'Relax, it's a good thing really. You two are the first to evolve in so many years. I guess it was time we ascended to the same level as the higher beings in the universe. At the same time, you will continue to discover new powers, both frightening and reassuring. I think that this time, you will never age as will Jason, but he is your greatest strength for his foresight and defenses rival even the greatest foe. I should know, I have been foretold of this.'
Both boys mentally exchanged glances as only twins could do. They then blocked William out for some privacy, as they wanted to share their thoughts.
Eric decided to go first since he had a lot on his mind. 'Bro, I don't know how to say this but you've always taken care of me, watching over me, protecting me, and most of all, loving me for who I am, not how everyone else treats me. You are my best friend and my bro at the same time. I know we never asked for this, but I guess we hafta do what we hafta do to save the world.'
Matt mentally smiled and blushed some, if that were even possible, 'Don't I know it. But bro, you make it sound like you won't be around any more. Stop with that nonsense, we are both in this together and we will find a way to deal with things in the future together, come hell or high water! I can tell you for a fact that I will never leave your side. I guess Jason will protect us now, but we just can't rely on him. Look at the friends we made during the past…' Matt struggled to find a word to best describe their time spent in the Time Void, but couldn't find it, so he simply continued as if on automatic, 'well… whatever time we spent in that Time Void place as they called it. I did feel different coming out of it, true, but, you're right; we hafta do what we hafta do.'
Eric mentally smiled as he began to suddenly become serious. 'You realize we have our work cut out for us immediately after this? It'll be a battle from then on.'
Matt mentally frowned, 'I had hoped you wouldn't notice. I know I tried to shield you from these things, but there's no chance of doing that now.' He mentally sighed before continuing, 'How do you want to handle that?'
Eric mentally giggled, 'As swift and painless as possible, but somehow I doubt that. We kinda need Jason to help us with that.'
Matt and Eric mentally unblocked William as Matt thought to Eric, 'We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, let’s wrap up things here!'
William mentally scoffed, 'Jeez, even now, things still fall on deaf ears when I kindly inform someone to not ignore me…' This caused both boys to mentally throw themselves into a fit of giggles.
"Are you all right?" Jason finally heard soft words being spoken to him.
"I think so. What happened?"
"What was the last thing you remember?"
Jason thought for a minute and when he finally had his answer, he bolted upright, only to be held by the man in his arms even tighter. "Easy there…"
"I remember everything." Jason began as he looked around him. He could see strange faces looking at him, none to familiar. "There was this huge blast of energy coming from some strange man floating in the sky. It was directed at my friends and I felt powerless to do anything about it, so I ran in hopes to shield them from the blast." He struggled to think of more but nothing was forthcoming. "Beyond that…I…" He shook his head as tears began to flow freely.
From a distance, Jerry watched what was happening and asked his younger boys to follow him. Slowly and carefully, he regained some of his strength as he made his way towards Jason, being held in Max's arms.
As Jason sniffled and slowly looked up, he noticed a familiar face heading towards him and his frown turned into a slight smile. "Mr. Shannon! How…"
The man beamed at the boy's change of scenery. "Shhh, they will explain it all. But that comes later. For now, how are you?"
Jason's smile changed into a frown as he tried to think of the right words. "I don't know, different somehow. I don't know if it's a good different or a bad different."
Jerry rolled his eyes at the complex answer while everyone else looked upon Jason with curiousness. "That's not what I meant."
"I know. I feel a bit dizzy, but other than that, okay I guess." Before Jerry could begin, Jason continued, "Where is Eric and Matt?"
Jerry shuffled with the uneasiness of the question, but Max saved him. "Jason, my name is Max, Those two you speak of are safe, but here, yet not here at the same time."
Jason found himself to be very familiar with the response, but wondered how. "Can I see them?"
"I don't under…" Jason had slight flashes of vision of the previous ten minutes and then the next hour all in a second. "Oh I see." He became very nervous asking the next question he had on his mind. "What… am… I?"
Max was caught off guard as Simon moved closer. "My name is Simon, you are an Oracle now. Something much better than the previous one at that!”
Some lingering memory popped up in Jason's head as he recognized Simon from that memory. "A certain memory tells me to treat you less than a brother, yet I can't understand why."
Max and everyone else roared with laughter, causing Simon to turn red with embarrassment.
Julian spoke up as he and his brother walked towards their dad. "He got ya dad."
Simon simply shook his head and muttered something no one but Jason could hear, causing him to snicker some.
"Guys!" Trish called from the corner, now on her feet. "If anyone is hungry, I'll be in the dining hall helping with the staff, because I'm quite sure some of you are quite hungry."
Everyone nodded as Rand spoke up, "While the rest of you are stuffing yourselves silly, I've gotta get moving." He turned towards Bel, "Look, I know you want to come, but only I can survive there."
Bel gasped, "Why are you going where I think you are going? What could they possibly have to help you with that we don't?"
Rand sighed, "For starters, I saved them from extinction. They kindly told me that if I needed any help, someone would be more than happy to help me out."
"You didn't bribe…" Bel started, fully knowing what Rand would do.
"No, not that time." Rand spoke without any hesitation, easing Bel's concerns. "I'll be sure to tell them about you so they are prepared."
Bel couldn't understand what the concern regarding him was. He thought all other beings would be quite friendly, but he wasn't too sure now by the way Rand was talking.
Rand rolled his eyes as he knew what Bel was thinking, "Relax, Bel. It's not that, it's more like jealousy because they wanted me to marry their daughter or son, but I had to kindly turn them down as I was already spoken for at the time. They understood… after much reasoning."
Bel smiled more to himself, causing Rand to smile and steal a kiss from him. Bel had his eyes closed and Rand took this chance to make his leave. Once gone, Bel let out a sigh and looked at the audience he and Rand had created. A blueish blush covered his face. "What?"
Trish made her way towards Bel and gently placed her arm around his shoulders. "That was beautiful, really. You should be proud you have someone like Rand. I know I am of my boys, in more ways than one. I think…" Trish was about to say when a loud thunderclap filled the quiet air.
"How touching!" A brown haired boy with golden brown eyes stared back at the gathered crowd as he dropped the two dead bodies he carried with him. "Now that I found you, my master will surely reward me!" He began to slowly transform into a large brown dragon with the same colored eyes.
Jason immediately recognized him then looked up at Max and tapped him on the arm. Max looked down at Jason and Jason nodded his head. "Are you sure?"
Jason nodded again and Max gently placed him to a standing position. Once he found his balance, he slowly made his way towards the corner. "I recognize you!"
The dragon snorted then laughed, "You do really?! It makes my life so much easier! I've already alerted my master and he'll be here shortly! I've been waiting for that little pipsqueak to leave and it felt like forever, but for that I'm glad."
Bel immediately recognized he was talking about Rand and he started getting angry. He tried calling for him, but something was blocking his ability to reach him. "Both of us aren't a pushover and you should recognize that!"
The dragon's eyes went wide with excitement as people began scattering about, trying to get away from the beast. "Oh, really? By all means… try!"
Trish let go of her embrace on Bel as Bel tried to shift into his energy state. It felt like he was trapped in that one room back on his home planet. It brought back that memory of it as well as another memory of his dad mentioning to him that some beings have the ability to suppress certain being's ability to use their power. Once Bel realized that, he immediately began to grow fearful.
"None of you can stand up to me!" His laughter filled the entire cave, making it shake some as a few puffs of smoke escaped his nose. "Now die!" He drew a huge breath and suddenly blew out fire towards the screaming and frightened people below him.
Jason immediately held up his hands as a shield enveloped everyone in a dome, surprising the dragon. After a few more attempts, the dragon gave up and looked at Jason with wide eyes. "Impossible!"
Jason grinned and shrugged at the same time, "I'm special."
Suddenly, another man appeared besides the dragon. "Special? Ha! Far from it!" He raised his hand as a ball of black energy began to fill the void above him.
Max and Simon immediately recognized who it was as they began to seethe through their teeth. "Sid!"
They took up defensive positions as Sid heard his name being called. "Ah, so you two still live! Mark my words, I won't miss this time!" His expression changed as he concentrated harder. Once the ball of energy was complete, he hurled it down towards the dome protecting the last of humanity's defense. With a laugh, he watched the ball of energy begin to devour and push on the dome, causing Jason to strain.
Max immediately knew what was happening, 'It's too soon! They aren't ready!' He thought to Simon.
Simon grunted an answer as both watched in horror as the dome broke, sending Jason flying backwards. Max tried to move to halt his fall, but the black ball of energy descended towards everyone very swiftly. Death was instant.