Guardians Banner

By Zacky


Chapter One



"Some time in the past"

"Don't go!"  The small 7 year old boy pleaded as his slender, nicely tanned arms hugged the smooth, yet boyishly firm bare chest of his larger friend.  Zao only smiled warmly while rubbing his hands through the short black hair of his younger friend.

The scene was nearly a picture perfect scene from out of a book, two tanned boys in bathing suits standing face to chest, hugging each other.   One of the boys seemed to be around 7 while the other, nearly a 1/4th taller, was probably closer to 10 or 11.

"Can't we swim a little longer?"  The young one asked almost pleadingly as he looking up and peered into the dark blue eyes of Zao.  Zao hated when he did that, as he knew the melting effect it had on his heart.  Truth be known, Zao would have loved to do nothing more then spend the rest of his days with his young friend, swimming and playing as normal children tend to do, but he also knew the heavy weight of responsibility that was on his shoulders, and the tasks that lay ahead of him.

"I'm sorry Tiger, but we've been swimming all day, and now it's time for me to go."  Zao finally replied as his dark brown hair blew gently in the breeze.

"To do your special stuff?"  The boy asked sadly.

Zao nodded while softly and lovingly patting the boys tan back.

"When can we play more?"  The boy asked.  Zao knew that his young friend was smarter than this, but also that he would typically resort to acting younger than his age when he felt hurt inside.

"Don't worry, I'll be back."  Zao replied.

"That's what my brother said too", the boy answered as he put his face in Zao's chest, knowing that he would not be successful in keeping hold of his older friend.

"I know", Zao replied, as he hugged the smaller boy tightly, "I know…"

*                    *                    *

Chapter 1

Thursday, June 17th, 20047:30am

Nathan Price had been awake for several minutes before he heard his mother calling him downstairs for breakfast.  He liked lying in bed for a few minutes before getting up trying to remember as much as he could about the dream he had that night, not only that, but since like most other boys his age, he tended to wake up with a stiffy, and liked waiting for it to get soft before actually getting out of bed.  Beyond knowing that most of the other boys at school liked to tease each other when they saw the bulges in each other's pants, his younger brother was even worse at pointing to the fact to everyone else around when he saw Nate stiff.  At the moment, however, that took a back seat in his thoughts, as he struggled to remember as much of the quickly fading dreams as he could.  Last night seemed especially interesting, he had dreamed that he was a night in shining armor, protecting the weak, and defeating the corrupt.

Unfortunately, Nate had very little time to try to remember his dream before he heard the soft hammering of footsteps as his younger brother went running down the stairs.  Having recently turned double digits, Nate was an old man now, or at least an old boy, who no longer saw it as necessary to spend the energy to try to race downstairs, especially if it meant getting out of bed stiff, or worse, going to school sooner.  Stiff or not, however, it was no big deal to Nate, because he knew for a fact that it happened to his younger brother as well, especially when he would occasionally find him walking in his sleep late at night.

By the time Nate made it down to the table, everyone else had already started breakfast. His younger brother, Scott, had half finished eating his bowl of cereal.  Scott appeared to be a smaller version of Nate, as he had Nate's short dark brown hair, and dark green eyes.  Also like his brother, he had fair skin, and a smaller than average build.  The main difference between the two was that Scott had a few freckles on his cheeks, and slightly larger eyebrows.

"About time you made it down, sleepy head!" Nate's mother said jokingly, as Nate grabbed a cereal bowl.  After years, Nate had the morning routine worked out pretty well.  Everyone would meet downstairs for breakfast, father would have his coffee and English muffin, Scott would start his sugar high with his marsh-mellow cereal, and mother would find some small little detail about Nate to fuss about, with today being no exception.

"Nate dear", his mother stated, "make sure you comb your hair before you leave, it's sticking up all over in back".

"Yes mom", Nate replied as he took his first bite of cereal.

"Oh, and don't forget you need to stay and wait for Scott after school today until his Lion Cub meeting is over".

It was these small minor details that his parents always seemed to throw in at the last moment that threw him off guard. "Mom!  I was going to go to Kevin's house after school today", Nate protested.  Kevin had been one of Nate's best friends that he had known since first grade.

"Nathan, if you want to go to that bike meet thing with your friends this weekend, you will do what your mother tells you", his father barked between sips of his coffee, not even bothering to look at any of them.  That pretty much ended the argument.  It was very seldom that father jumped into things, but when he did, it was like an iron fist being laid down that did not allow for any further disagreement without severe consequences.  Besides, he could still have a little fun hanging out with the other older kids waiting for their younger bothers as well.

That's pretty much how early morning life went at the Price house; just an average, every-day morning.  Little did anyone in this house know that this morning would be one of the last of such mornings for a long time to come. Now however, it was time to head off to school, so Scott, Nate, and mother were off to the car for the short ride to Walnut Creek Elementary.

                                 *                    *                    *

Overall, compared to other Thursday's, this day seemed to go by pretty quickly.  There was only one test in history class that day, which Nate thought he did pretty well in, but then he typically did well in history and literature.  On the other hand, his friend Kevin usually did not do so well in those types of subjects, but was an ace when it came to any subject dealing with math or science. This was also probably the reason that the two boys had completely different class schedules from each other this year. Last year they had two classes together, and in second grade, they were in the same class.

The time that was lost in school was certainly made up for afterward.  Both boys were regulars at each other's house, both after school, and the occasional sleepovers.  Today was no different, as Kevin Heart, with his slightly long, jet black hair, whirled his bike into the Prices front yard, and run up the small steps to the door, and let himself inside as if he lived there.

"Hi Mrs. Price!"  Kevin said with his boyishly high, cheery voice.  Even though Kevin was probably about a half inch taller than Nate, his voice always tended to have a little higher tone to it.

"Oh, hello Kevin", Mrs. Price replied back as she walked out of the kitchen and into the front dinning room, "Nate's still at school with Scott and his Lion Cub meeting."

"Oh", Kevin replied slightly less cheerfully, "I'll just wait for him up in his room."  Kevin started to head for the stairs, when he caught the look on Mrs. Price's face, the look that told you that even though you were there a lot, you still can't be there when their son is not home.

"On second thought", Kevin stated, as he stopped dead in his tracks, "I think I'll go catch up with Nate at school."

Mrs. Price nodded and smiled ever so slightly, as Kevin headed out the door, and jumped back on his bike.

                                            *                    *                    *

Nate, along with several of the other older boys were hanging out in the school playground.  Not that they actually used the swings and such: those were for the little kids, but the playground was still a pretty cool place to hang out when none of the little kids were around. Things were going pretty well until the end of the Lion Cub meeting, when all the younger kids came out.  Nate was not sure what started it, but two of the older kids had pushed one of the smaller kids down.  It wasn't Nate's brother, but it might was well have been.  The older kids were both at least twice the size of the smaller.

"Oh, let's hear the little lion cub roar!" teased one of the boys.

"Come on, get up!  Let's see you do some of those power ranger moves on us!" the second boy teased.

The kid got up to try to run, only to be pushed back down by the other boy.  Nate could clearly see tears starting to form on the kids face.

"Oh look!" said the first boy, "the little lion is going to cry!"

This was getting way too much for Nate.  He did not recognize either of the two boys, but he knew that the smaller kid could not have done anything to deserve what was happening to him.  Other kids were starting to gather around to see what was happening, but no one was doing anything.  Would a teacher come to break this up?  Nate did not think that was too likely, since there were probably only one or two still here, and they were both inside finishing up with the Lion Cub meeting. He was not sure how much more of this the poor kid could take.

"Come on little cubby!  Get back up, I dare you!" the second boy teased again.

"Leave the kid alone!" Nate heard himself yell.  That did it, now Nate had no choice other than to act!  Nate never really understood that aspect of himself, but he always seemed to have a soft spot for those younger than he was, especially when they were being taken advantage of.

"Stay out of this dweeb!" the first boy called back to Nate, glancing at him only briefly before looking back toward the small kid sitting on the ground, looking stunned.

"No!", Nate yelled back, as he jumped in between the smaller kid and the two boys. "Not until you tell me what this kid did to deserve this!"

"Who said the shrimp did anything at all?  Now move it before you join him!" the second boy replied.

"You guys need to pick on someone your own size", Nate replied.

"Maybe we will!" replied the first, as he took a swing for Nate's face!

This was too simple, thought Nate as he dodged the boy's swing.  The only problem was that he was not paying attention to the second boy, whose hand landed a solid blow to Nate's chest, knocking him backward.  Nate scrambled quickly so he wouldn't trip over the boy who was still on the ground. Apparently Nate's near crash into him was enough to urge the boy to get up and run out of harm's way.

Nate could tell that neither of the boys were pleased with their play toy getting away from them.  He used this moment to lunge toward the first boy, grabbing his feet, and sending him falling to the ground.  Nate was pretty familiar with this maneuver, as it was the way he had to catch his little brother when he tried to run away from him or his parents!

The other kids standing around were starting to chant "Fight! Fight! Fight!" as they were starting to get into the spirit of things.  The second boy made his next move quickly; he did a running belly flop on top of where Nate was.  This time, however, Nate was keeping an eye on him as well, and managed to roll out of the way just in the nick of time, leaving only the first boy there for the second boy to land on top of with a thud!

Both boys got up from the ground, and were getting ready to go for Nate again when one of them spotted a teacher quickly heading in this direction.  He nudged the other boy, and both darted off toward the opposite end of the playground, but not before they gave Nate a very nasty look; one that said that this was far from over.

"Hey!  Get back here!" the teacher yelled out toward the two fleeing boys, but to no avail.  Nevertheless, the event was over with no major causalities the teacher broke up the rest of the group and sent everyone on their way.

"Great job back there!" one of the other boys said to him.  Nate did not recognize this boy either, but he was glad that at least one person out of everyone that was there was happy for what he did. Nate looked around and found Scott, and they both started for home.  On the way, Nate and Scott met up with Kevin, and they filled each other in on that day's adventures.

                                 *                    *                    *

The next morning, breakfast was interrupted by several knocks at the door.  It was a few of the school officials.  At first, Mr. Price figured that Nate had done something wrong, but he was quickly told that was not the case.  In fact, they were there to talk to Nate about the help he give to one of the 1st grade students yesterday, and to have Nate give them some additional information for a school investigation, since no one seemed to know who either of the two older boys were. By the time they were done, it was time to leave for school, so mother and the kids headed to the car while leaving the unfinished breakfast on the table.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful.  Nate did not hear much talk among the other kids about the fight yesterday.  As usual, the other kids left Nate to himself.  Beside Kevin, Nate had very few friends his own age that he did much with.  Most of the other boys his own age were interested in dumb stuff, like professional wrestling, which he knew was fake, or going out with girls. 

After school Kevin brought his modified chemistry set over to Nate's house where he was showing Sean a few cool tricks with making various colors of smoke.  Although he was good over all in math and science, Kevin's strongest subject was clearly Chemistry.  He had gotten ahold of a second year college chemistry book and had been working through many of the exercises in that.

By the time Nate had finished his own homework, Sean was bored enough with the chemistry set so he left Nate and Kevin alone so that the two could play outside a bit by themselves.

"Oh, I forgot to mention earlier", Kevin stopped just as he was going to jump back up on the monkey bars, "There was some weird kid that stopped me in the hall earlier and was asking a bunch of weird questions about you."

"He was probably one of the punks that showed up after school yesterday.  What kind of questions was he asking?" Nate flipped himself around and then jumped off the monkey bars as well.

"He didn't sound like a bully, he was just asking a bunch of questions like how you normally got along with younger kids, how far you would go to protect kids, and other weird stuff like that." Kevin answered distantly.

Nate couldn't really think of anything else to say other than agreeing with Kevin that it seemed a bit weird.

The boys continued messing around outside for another hour until it was dinner time and they joined Sean and the rest of Nate's family inside for the traditional Friday night pizza.  After dinner was over, Kevin went home for the night, and Nate decided to go to bed early since he was looking forward to tomorrow's BMX rally.

                                 *                    *                    *

The next morning Nate woke up, got dressed, and immediately headed to the back yard to start getting his bike ready.  He had a really cool BMX dirt bike that he had received earlier that year for his birthday and today the bike club at school was holding a bike rally with several events that Nate was very much looking forward to attending.

Nate first stopped by Kevin's house, since they had planned to go together, but apparently Kevin was not feeling that well, and had decided to stay home, which left Nate to attend the event on his own.

Nate had made it to school just in time to get registered before the events started.  He did fairly well at these bike meets, but during most of the first event (outdoor dirt bike races) he found himself preoccupied with trying to find those two boys here again today, in case they would try to finish what they started.  He also thought about how not even the school officials seemed to know who they were.

"Hey!" Nate heard a voice from behind him say, which caused him to jump slightly.  Nate recognized this boy instantly, as it was the only boy that had complimented him after the fight Thursday for sticking up for the first grader.

"Oh hi!" Nate replied, "I think we met on Thursday".  Nate still had no idea who this kid was.  He seemed to have a slightly out of date hair cut, with short side-burns coming down evenly near his ears, almost like a 70's style.  But the boy was very neat and clean, he had a short mid range hair cut with his hair doming half way down his forehead, and a large part on the left side.  The boy also had lightly tanned skin and dark blue eyes.  His face looked so perfect that it almost reminded him of some kid he would see in a magazine.

"My name's Zao!" the boy replied, as he held out his hand to shake Nate's.  "That was a great thing you did for that little kid."

"Thanks", Nate replied blushing slightly.

"What made you jump out like that? Weren't you scared?" Zao asked.

"Well yeah, kinda, but I hated to see what those bullies were doing to the poor kid.  That could easily have been my little brother", Nate answered.

"That's pretty cool", replied Zao, "I hate bullies too."

"I just hope those two boys don't come back", Nate added.

"Oh, I doubt we will need to worry about them much!"

"Next on the track is the 4th graders, group B!" someone announced on a Mega-Phone.

"That's me", Nate answered, as he headed to the track, with Zao nodding as he left.

For these short distance races, Nate would usually come in at least second or third, sometimes first.  But today he was really preoccupied with thoughts about those two boys and Zao.  As it turned out, Nate came in 7th out of 8 racers.

"Not bad!" Zao said, as Nate came up to him at the end of the race

"I normally do much better", Nate replied, blowing off the remark.

"Care to walk with me and chat real quick?" Zao asked.

"Sure, the next event is not for a while", Nate answered, slightly confused as to what Zao would possibly want to talk to him about in private.  He and Zao then both started walking away from the crowd of boys who were gathered around to watch the rest of the race groups.

"So", Zao began after they had been walking for a few minutes, "do you help out other kids often?"

"Well, not really", Nate replied with uncertainty.

"That's not what I've heard from others", Zao replied with a smile.

"What?" Nate asked with surprise, "Who all have you been talking to?"

"Oh, just a couple of people around the school", Zao replied, "And apparently you have been known to stand up for the younger kids on several occasions."

"Why are you telling me this?" Nate replied with a slight tone of irritation, "and why are you trying to spy on me?"

"Those are special qualities to have Nate", Zao answered, "Very few kids your age think of others like that."

"Yea, well a lot of good it's done me", Nate replied with slightly less irritation.  The two boys walked a bit further without saying anything, until Nate told Zao that the next set of events would be starting soon, and that he needed to head back to the Gym.

"Think about what I said", Zao called out as Nate walked away. 

By the time Nate made it back to the playground, nearly everyone had headed inside.  There were only a few stragglers still outside.  Suddenly, he found himself face to face with two very familiar boys - the two he got in a fight with yesterday - and they had another friend with them.

"Well! Well!" said the first boy, "Look who we have here!  Mr. I-don't-know-how-to-butt-out-of-things!"

Nate just stood there looking at the three boys.  The third boy was about the same size as the other two!  He had enough trouble dealing with two of them yesterday; Nate did not feel that there was any way he could successfully take on all three!

"You don't seem so tough now shrimp!  What's wrong?" the second boy chimed in with his same teasing attitude from Thursday.

Nate was normally the type of kid that would stand his ground, but he had sense enough to know a no-win situation when he saw one!  Thus, the only thing that he could think of to do was to run which he did!  He ran between the boys, who were so surprised they didn't have time to grab him!

He decided to run inside as quickly as he could.  If he could get to where crowd of boys was, there would not be a problem.  But, speaking of problems, something definitely seemed to be wrong!  He was sprinting as quickly as he could, which was pretty fast, but the amount of ground he was covering was slowing down and becoming shorter.   It was almost as if the laws of physics had changed, and speed no longer made you cover as much distance!

Glancing behind him, he could see the three boys standing close by. The boy standing in the center was wearing sun glasses and staring intensely toward Zao, while the other two were giggling amongst themselves while darted toward him. They did not seem to be affected by the problem! Running at full speed, Nate had now completely stopped moving forward, so it was only a matter of seconds until the boys reached him, and one rammed him in the back sending him flying to the ground!

"You boys should learn to play fair!" Came the familiar voice of Zao behind him.  Looking up, he could see Zao now standing behind the three boys.

"It's Zao!" one of the boys said.  Apparently they recognized him as well.

"Yea, a greatly weakened Zao!" the new, third boy added.

"Try me!" Zao taunted.

Within seconds, all three boys were darting toward Zao!  This did not look good at all!  Then Zao took a step backward a split second before the boys reached him, and managed to grab two of them, and bang them into each other.

For the next several minutes, a very wild fight took place between Zao and the three boys.  The speed and coordination in Zao's moves were astounding.  Unfortunately, the other boys still managed to get several shots in on him, but in the end, all three boys were lying on the ground moaning.

"Who's ready for more?" Zao said with a smile, but all three boys got up and took off out of the school yard.

With the other boys gone, Zao collapsed to the ground, as if all the energy within him had been sucked out by some outside force.  Nate was probably the only one to see this, and he ran back to Zao to try to see what the problem was.

"Zao!" Nate called out, "Are you alright?  What's wrong?"

Zao was now lying on his stomach with his hands folded under his head, and his legs slightly bent.  Nate could hear the heavy breathing from his new, mysterious friend. Zao looked like any other normal kid, but from what Nate had witnessed a few minutes ago he was now convinced that there was nothing normal about Zao at all, and that right now he needed Nate's help.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Nate asked as he sat kneeling next to Zao.  At the same time he glanced briefly over his shoulder as if he expected someone else to be standing there, but the only thing he saw was the last few kids disappearing into the school heading to the Gym.

Zao finally looked up, and stared straight into Nate's eyes, almost to the point that it was starting to scare him.  "Now Nathan, this is very important"

Nate nodded slightly but said nothing, not being really sure what to expect, "Do you really enjoy helping other kids, I mean really?"

Nate thought for a moment before answering, "Yeah… I guess so.  Why?"  Nate thought it was a rather odd question.  What did he mean did he like helping other kids? If there was someone who needed help, and he had the ability to help them, shouldn't he?

"That last encounter took more out of me than I thought… more than it should have", Zao commented, clearly with great pains.

"Took what out of you?" Nate asked.  Nate at this point was getting very confused at the statements Zao was making.  Was he delirious or something? What does liking to help others have to do with Zao being hurt?

Realizing that he was starting to scare Nate, Zao looked away but kept his solemn attitude. "What if it were possible for you to help other kids in ways that you can't possibly imagine?" he asked.

"I don't understand… what do you mean?"  Nate was now starting to become completely confused, and was starting to wonder if Zao was playing some kind of trick on him.

"I mean", Zao looked back toward Nate, but not as intently as before, "What if you could become a Guardian?"

"A what?" Nate replied puzzled, "Is that what you are?  You mean like being able to do cool things like you did a few minutes ago to those bullies?"

"Yes… well… not exactly… my time is nearly done." Zao replied sadly.

"Your time?"

"I'm nearly 200 years old, Nate", Zao replied.

"Ha! Yeah right, you don't look much older than me!"

"That's because I was 11 when I became a Guardian, and Guardians don't age." Zao answered.

"Wow! That rocks!" Nate replied.

"I thought so as well for a long time, but alas Kordel was right, eventually everyone's flame runs out".


"He was my mentor for many years when I became a Guardian"

"Okay, so what do I need to do?" asked Nate.

"Normally the process is a long one, about a month or so to go through all the preparations, but we may have to speed that up a little. When I saw you in the school yard the other day and I knew in an instant you were Guardian material".

"Yea right", Nate replied as he blushed slightly, "That's why hardly anyone else my own age likes hanging with me."

"That's something to be proud of", Zao added quickly, "It's a quality that very few children possess."

Nate only nodded at this.

"I don't know how much longer I have, so I have to speed things along a little faster than normal.  That last encounter took more out of me than I expected".

"Are you going to die?" Nate asked with a feeling of dread.

"I certainly hope not!" Zao replied with a weak smile.

"Oh how touching!  I think I'm going to barf!" a lanky voice came from the shadows, and out stepped another boy who looked to be around 12.  For a moment, Nate almost thought the boy looked like Kevin, that was, until he came into full view.  His hair was jet black, and his skin was pale white; a very odd combination.

"Randy!" Zao said with considerably more force, as he sprang to his feet.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news", Randy stated with a snarl, "But I'm afraid that you're not going to be able to pass the matrix this time!"

Nate remained kneeling on the ground but turned around to follow the conversation between Zao and this new kid.  Was this kid also a Guardian like Zao and what did he mean by "matrix"?

"I don't have time for you Randy, now be gone!"  Zao's words came out forcefully.  They apparently had literal force since a beam of blue energy shout out from Zao's hand! 

Nate blinked at the light as it flew by him.  Although he really did not have much time to think about it, to him it definitely seemed to be a very beautiful and friendly shade of blue.  Not that such a description really made any sense to him.

A matching red beam of energy shot out from Randy's hand toward Zao.  The two beams of energy hit each other in the middle causing a brilliant array of red, white, and blue sparks.  It did not take long, however, for the beam of red energy to slowly start pushing the beam of blue energy back.

"My, my, my!" Randy commented with a sinister grin, "is this all the great and mighty Zao has left? My little distraction take too much out of you?"  Both boys clearly appeared to be concentrating very strongly, but Zao appeared to be in worse shape and seemed to be struggling very hard without much success.

During this time, Nate had a terrible thought. What if Zao lost?  How could he possibly stand up to this new kid?  He couldn't do any of this magic stuff, nor had he ever known any other kids that could.

The red energy beam from Randy quickly over powered the blue energy, and after a few seconds, Zao was surrounded by a glowing sphere of red energy, and elevated slightly off the ground.

"You weren't kidding about becoming weaker, were you Zaoth!" Randy sneered, "I was kind of hoping that our final encounter would be a bit more challenging than this."

Zao did not reply, in fact he seemed to be in a considerable amount of pain, as the red energy around him tried to devour him. Something told Nate that what was happening was wrong, and that Zao was in grave danger! If he didn't do something quickly, he would be in danger as well! Nate jumped to his feet and did a running dive head first into an unsuspecting Randy, causing them both to tumble to the ground and releasing Zao from the red energy field.

Immediately Randy was back to his feet, throwing Nate off of him in a flash, with a slight look of surprise on his face. He glared straight at Nate, with eyes that seemed to rage with fire in contrast to his pale white skin.  The look told Nate that he was now about to die!

Randy suddenly turned around to look back at Zao.  He only had an instant, however, to see a massive bolt of white and blue blinding light streak toward him before he was hurled backwards and vanished!

Nate looked back toward Zao who had both hands outstretched. "Did you kill him?" Nate asked.

"No, probably just knocked him back a few miles". With that Zao fell to the ground again.  Nate ran over to try to help him.

Zao looked up at Nate with a childish smile in his face. "That was a very brave thing you did back there, you saved both of us, a true demonstration of Guardian material!" Nate only smiled and blushed slightly at this.

"You won't get a chance like that again I'm afraid", Zao concluded.

"Are you okay?" Nate asked, not really understanding what Zao had said.

"I don't … well, for now", Zao replied.

Nate stared at Zao, not sure what to do.

"Nate, I need you to trust me with something." Zao stated.

"What?" Nate replied.

"In the end everything will work out, I will promise you that, but now there are some important things I need you to do."

Nate nodded and listened closely.

"Do you know where Glenn's comic book store is?"


"I need you to go there when we are done. Find Glenn - he'll look about 11, that's the real Glenn - and give him the green crystal that you will soon get, okay?  That's very important for all of this to work. You will learn why later, but I'm nearly out of time now."

"Okay sure, I can do that", Nate replied, "but please don't die on me Zao, There is a hospital not far from here!"

"There is no time for that, and nothing that hospitals can do to help me", Zao answered.

Again Nate nodded, and this time he did (to a degree) understand.  After witnessing what he had, he realized that this was probably a bit out of the scope of standard hospital care.

"Okay, you're a very brave kid Nate! I knew you would be a good choice", Zao replied.

"Thanks", was all that Nate could think of to reply.

Zao seemed to use a large amount of strength to sit up and face Nate.  "Okay, take my hands; this is going to feel warm, perhaps pretty hot. Don't be afraid, and don't let go, okay?"

It was getting harder for Nate to hold back his fear, but he nodded, and held out his hands to meet those of Zao's.  Instantly, Nate could feel that the boy's hands were very cold.  The two boys sat toward each other holding hands only for a few moments before Zao continued.  "Okay good, now close your eyes and please don't be scared".

The constant remarks to not be scared were enough to worry Nate, but he had gone this far already, so he closed his eyes as Zao asked, and prepared for the worst.  A few seconds later he could see a large amount of light through his closed eyelids, so much light that he would probably be blinded if his eyes were open.  He felt Zao's hands starting to become very warn.  He even thought he heard Zao whisper "Be brave", as a searing amount of heat ran through Nate's arms and his entire body.  So strong was the heat that he could not bear the feeling and the sheer shock caused him to instinctively let go. 

The light faded, and Nate opened his eyes, scared to see if he had messed something up, or what Zao was doing.  However, looking around, he saw no sign of Zao.  The only thing left where Zao had been sitting was a small green gem.  Suddenly Zao's final instructions made sense…  Zao had known that this would happen, apparently he had become a gem, and Zao was so weak he had to use some of Nate's energy to do it.

Nate sat for a few moments staring at the green gem; he then picked it up and slipped it in his pocket as he stood up.  Now all that was left was to find this comic shop, and drop off the gem.


Comments welcomed and appreciated at Zacky

HTML Hit Tracker