HELLO! I'm back from the dead! I'm really sorry that this is so late, it's been sitting on my computer for like the past month and I've just been neglecting to upload it. I'm the worst person. But I'm nearly done with the next chapter, but then again who knows when I'm gonna upload it. For those of you that are still reading this thank you for sticking with me. I hope you enjoy the chapter!

Disclaimer: I don't own anything associated with Mianite!

Chapter 7

Everyone was shaken after the spontaneous call from Tom and the news of Rayna. Elizabeth had run off somewhere with Xander in tow, Jordan was having a mini meltdown and Redbeard was absolutely nowhere to be found. Tucker was the only one with a shred of sanity and he immediately called for Waglington and the priest. But waiting for them was giving him anxiety. Ianite had blinded Rayna, and who could tell what she would do next.

Tucker glanced over at Jordan who was staring at the wall muttering to himself. He just shook his head and continued pacing back and forth. Both Tucker and Jordan jumped when a loud knock sounded on the door and Tucker ran to answer it. Declan had arrived with Waglington and another wizard in tow.

"Why have you called us here Tucker?" Waglington asked when they were situated in the dining room. "We have things to be doing, if this about us finding Thomas and-."

Tucker cut him off. "We've had contact from Tom."

Declan shared a look with the head wizard and they looked back at Tucker.

"What do you mean you've had contact?" Declan asked.

"I mean Tom somehow managed to call us over mirror-phone or whatever it is. I don't how he did it so don't bother asking." Tucker replied and explained everything that Tom had told them nearly word for word.

"If Tom had the power to contact us then why didn't he do it sooner?" The other wizard asked. Tucker didn't respond. "So how do we know Ianite didn't put him up to this?"

"It was him. I know it was him. Ianite would never have let him do something like that and not give away vital information that could lead us to a trap." Tucker insisted.

"Indeed." Waglington agreed. "If Ianite were planning anything she would have made it a point to make sure Tom told you exact details."

"Exactly." Said Tucker, who was now getting cocky.

"But still, why would he wait? It doesn't make sense." Declan nearly yelled.

"I don't know why he would wait. But with the new information about Rayna, he's obviously more concerned about us finding them." Tucker snapped. "Rayna will always be his first concern in a situation like this. If he didn't think she was in danger he wouldn't have wasted what little magic he does have left on contacting us."

"And that's what worries me. If he only made it a point because of Rayna then there had to have been something else." Waglington said.

"That's the thing, there was something he was about to say but Redbeard walked -." Tucker cut himself off and began mumbling to himself.

"Tucker?" Declan pressed.

"It had to have been important, and something he couldn't have said in front of Redbeard." Tucker muttered louder. He began pacing through the kitchen, his mind racing with thoughts of treachery and betrayal.

"Tucker what is it?" Waglington added.

"Tom was trying to tell us something about him, but I don't know what." Tucker told them stopping at the counter. Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement, and he glanced over at the door spotting the familiar hat that adorned Redbeard's head. "It was probably something to do with the incident with Rayna." Waglington looked at him about to open his mouth to add something else when Tucker motioned for him to be silent.

"So you're sure Tom didn't clarify where they were being held?" The other wizard asked, playing along to outwit the eavesdropping pirate that they were all still unsure of.

"No, he didn't directly name a place, but from the looks of it, it had to have been somewhere in the nether." He lied.

"I'll see if we can spare a few wizards to send out on a search." Waglington said.

"Good. I'm going to go locate Elizabeth and my children." Tucker told them wrapping the conversation. And in a low voice he added. "We'll continue this later."

"Come, we must send out the search immediately." Waglington stated, rising from his seat. He led the other wizard out greeting the pirate on the way. Declan departed after saying goodbye to a still rattled Jordan. Once they had left Tucker went to find the pirate; unlucky for Redbeard he was still standing outside the door.

Tucker pinned him against the wall by the throat. "If I find out you had anything to do with any of this, there will be hell to pay." He let the pirate go and stalked away upstairs. Redbeard held his now sore throat and watched as Tucker headed off. The pirate narrowed his eyes, they were on to him and he couldn't let them get away with something as severe as that. He hurried outside and summoned a portal unaware that Laina had witnessed the whole thing from the bushes. She sat and waited for nearly twenty minutes and nothing happened. Then she was abruptly grabbed from behind a hand covering her mouth preventing the scream from escaping her lips. Laina struggled in her captors grasp and fought whoever it was as they dragged her into a corner. They turned around and shoved her into a wall.

"If you so much as make a peep ill kill ye on the spot." Redbeard stated reverting back to his pirate speech.

"If you so much as lay a hand on me, Tucker will know it was you who did it." Laina retorted rubbing her arm where she had been grabbed. Her tail twitched in annoyance and her ears were lying flat against her head. She had accidentally overheard the whole conversation between her father, the priest and the wizards and knew that something was up with the pirate. The younger kitsune had dived behind a wall to avoid being spotted by Redbeard when he appeared from seemingly nowhere. And now that she had witness the pirate jump through an End Portal she knew that something was not right with him.

"I don't care what ye do, but if you mention anything about what you saw you will be next." He hissed.

"Why would I say anything? I have no reason to." She said, planning to reveal what she had seen later to her father in private.

"Good." The pirate stated bluntly.

"Laina!" Tucker called out.

"I have to go." She told the pirate brushing past him.

He grabbed her by the arm. "Remember what I told ye."

Laina shrugged out of his grasp and hurried off to find her father, circling around to make it seem like she came from a different direction.

"Hey there you are." Tucker said when she was close enough. "Where've you been?"

"Out." She replied curtly.

"Don't take an attitude with me. I don't want anything to happen to you." He told her. "I already lost one member of my family; I don't need to lose another.

"I know, but I saw-." Laina stopped abruptly when she spotted Redbeard watching her from the path.

"What did you see?" He was confused why she suddenly stopped talking.

"Just a build someone was doing." She lied smoothly her gaze drifting back to her father. "I'll tell you later." She whispered leaning up to give him a hug. The girl bounced away tail swishing back and forth.

Tucker was more than concerned about their so called pirate 'friend' Redbeard. It seemed there was more going on then what he let on and Tucker planned to get to the bottom of it.

The pirate had watched the interaction and knew from the girl's body language that she intended to tell her father everything at a later point. He would have to eliminate her from the situation; the pirate didn't want to have to interfere with Tucker's children, in fact he quite enjoyed their presence. But Laina was a threat to his Lady's plans and couldn't be left to her own devices. Tucker had turned around and he waved to him as he climbed up to the house.

"Is something wrong laddie?" The pirate asked clapping him on the back.

"No." Tucker replied curtly. "I just have no freaking clue where Xander is. He ran off after Elizabeth."

"Best be going to find her. No doubt she could get into a heap of trouble if she wasn't careful." Redbeard said. "I better go grab Jordan it's nearing night and we don't want to be getting caught outside." He paused. "We don't need another death."

Tucker suddenly went rigid; he didn't like the topic of Sonja to be brought up in casual conversation. He was still convinced that she hadn't actually been killed and instead imprisoned by Ianite. Tucker stalked off and headed inside leaving Redbeard standing alone on the steps. He bent down to pick something up off the floor and winced when his side started to ache. After the incident he had never really been the same, physically speaking. While Elizabeth had done a good job of healing the wound to a point where it wouldn't kill him, there was still the lingering effects. If he moved just the right way, his side would begin to ache and it would last for a few hours afterward. Jordan was departing the kitchen when Tucker walked by clutching his side.

"You okay there bud?" He asked, seeming to be back to his old self although his eyes said otherwise.

"Yeah, I just moved the wrong way." Tucker explained attempting to lessen the achy feeling.

"Maybe you should have Declan check it out." Jordan suggested. "I'm not saying Elizabeth didn't do a good job fixing you, but it's been a few weeks since everything's happened and it shouldn't be hurting you this much."

"It doesn't really hurt; it's more or less an achy pain that just won't go away." He responded.

"Still, I would have Declan see to it, just as a precaution." Jordan said before bidding him good night and leaving for his own home with Redbeard in tow. Tucker didn't like the idea of Jordan being alone with the pirate but he couldn't do anything about it unless he wanted to rouse suspicion. Instead he carried on upstairs to check on Laina and search for his missing son and adopted niece. Tucker saw light coming from the bottom of Xander's door and went to investigate. He gently pushed the door open, finding Elizabeth curled on her side presumably asleep with Xander looming over her from the side. He made a motion of silence to his father and tucker just shook his head turning the light off and closing the door behind him. Tucker then made his way to Laina's room; he put his hand up to knock on the door but dropped hand at the last second. He wasn't in the mood to put up with Laina and instead chose to go bed early. When he arrived in his room, he found the little fox that Elizabeth had so cleverly named after Sonja, curled on the foot of his bed. Tucker was careful not to disturb it as he climbed into the bed but accidentally tapped it with his foot. The fox lifted its head and saw that the man had joined him in bed and it padded up the bed and curled itself into Tucker's side. He was shocked that the fox liked him so much. It hated nearly everyone else but the fact that it was so cuddly with him made him wonder if somehow the fox could be his wife. But he brushed the thought aside; he knew almost everything there was to know about Kitsunes including the well-known fact that they couldn't gain a second form unless they had lived for over 100 years. Tucker didn't bother with the thought of it anymore and fell asleep.

When Tucker got up the next morning he immediately headed to Declan's house and called for Waglington.

"What is the meaning of this? Do you realize what time it is?!" Waglington snapped at him. And honestly Tucker hadn't even considered what time it was. He just up and left, insistent on talking to the two men he considered the most powerful beings in the realm below the gods.

"I wanted to get the both of you together so we could finish our discussion from last night." Tucker told them.

"Right, why did you cut us off?" Declan asked.

"Because of Redbeard."

The head wizard just looked at him. "What's the pirate got to do with any of this?"

"I don't know. But Tom was about to tell us something important when he walked in. If he doesn't trust the pirate I don't either." Tucker replied.

"What do you want us to do about it?" The priest crossed his arms over his chest.

Tucker's gaze bounced back and forth between them. "I want you to be there when I confront him."

Waglington put a hand up to cover his face. "Confronting him is the absolute worst thing you could do. It could put Rayna or Tom in even more danger!"

"Do you have a better suggestion?" Tucker retorted knowing the wizard was right.

"No, but-." He cut the wizard off.

"Good. I want the both of you at my place tomorrow at noon." He looked to Waglington. "I want every spare wizard you can bring in case he tries something."

"What about your children and Elizabeth?" Declan reminded him.

"I'm sending them off tonight on a supply run, it'll take them a few days and hopefully then this situation will be dealt with." Tucker nodded to them both and departed for Jordan's house. He needed to give Jordan the rest of the plan that he had neglected to tell Declan and Waglington.

Jordan was awake and answered the door when he arrived, but Tucker had forgotten that Redbeard was staying with Jordan. The pirate was sitting at Jordan's table eating steak and eggs.

"What brings you here this early?" Jordan asked.

"Not much, just wanted to see if you wanted to do something later? I need some guy time, with someone who isn't my son." Tucker said, failing to come up with a lie.

"Yeah what do you want to do?" He asked.

"I don't know man, how about you come to my place and we can go horseback riding." Tucker suggested.

"Sounds good, ill head back with you now if you want?" Jordan told him. "I'll be back later Redbeard."

Tucker thought that was easier than it should have been and was surprised that Redbeard didn't suddenly poof into existence when they got back to his house.

"Why the urgency this morning?" Jordan asked as they were saddling their mounts.

"I don't know how much you were paying attention to my meeting with Wag and Declan but there's something up with Redbeard."

"I don't remember Tom saying anything about him." Jordan replied.

"He didn't. That's what worries me." He paused what he was doing. "Tom was about to tell us something when Redbeard walked into the room. I managed to spot him out of the corner of my eye in the mirror."

"So what you're telling me is Redbeard is working for Ianite?" Jordan turned to look at him skeptical.

"I don't know what he's doing, but every time something happens he's always around." He said. "Rayna comes back and the next day and then her and Tom are gone. We go off to look for them Ianite's army attacks and I nearly die. We finally manage to get back and Sonja goes missing."

"Tucker, don't tell me this is about Sonja-." He cut Jordan off.

"It's not about that!" Tucker nearly shouted. "I'm trying to keep what's left of my family safe from her. And I think Redbeard is somehow involved."

Jordan sighed. "I do have to agree that things seem to go awry whenever Redbeard is involved but it could just be coincidence."

Tucker angrily turned back around to finish saddling his mount. "I plan on confronting him tomorrow."

"What?" Jordan stated his eyes widening in surprise.

Tucker glanced over his shoulder. "You heard me."

"Are you crazy?!" Jordan stopped what he was doing. "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

"I don't care what you think Jordan, it's already happening. Declan and Waglington agreed to be present in case he tries anything." Tucker snapped his response.

"What about Elizabeth and your children?" Jordan raised an eyebrow at him.

"I'm sending them off tonight on a supply run to get spruce wood and anything else they can find from a far off biome." Tucker dropped his voice lower.

"If you want them to get killed by all means let them go, but don't blame me if anything happens to them. I don't want any part in this Tucker. I've already lost Rayna; Elizabeth is all I have left." Jordan snapped, mounting the horse and taking off.

"Jordan!" Tucker called knowing he had struck a nerve with his friend. He finished with all the straps of the saddle and swung himself onto the horse taking off after Jordan. Tucker was flying over the ground trying to catch Jordan. He was pretty far ahead but not far enough that Tucker couldn't see him. Jordan turned sharply to avoid running into Champwan's Village skirting around the outside and taking off into the savannah. Tucker followed him as he veered into the desert still trying to throw Tucker off. The sky suddenly grew dark and shadows trailed down in front of Jordan.

"JORDAN!" Tucker yelled as he watched the horse buck Jordan off and run in the opposite direction leaving him lying on the ground. A large monochrome version of Ianite appeared from the shadows and laughed as she scooped Jordan into her hand. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!"

"FOOLS! YOU CANNOT ESCAPE ME!" The voice boomed scaring Tucker's horse into a rear. He held on for dear life as Jordan was crushed in Ianite's hand the shadowy dust flying back to hit him square in the face. The dust burned in eyes but he ignored the pain.

"NO!" Tucker's horse reared again and pranced in fear. Ianite disappeared and the sky cleared becoming blue and clear once again. He stared in shock at where Jordan had once stood.

"Tucker!" A voice yelled from behind him. He didn't even bother to see that Declan was riding up to him with Jordan's abandoned horse in tow. "Tucker what happened? I saw the sky darken. Are you alright?" The horse danced underneath Tucker. "Tucker?" The priest waved his hand in front his face.

"Jordan's gone..." He muttered vision flaring between clear and blurry.

"What?" Declan hadn't heard him clearly.

"Jordan's gone... Ianite showed up and crushed him." Tucker said his voice emotionless as he tried to take in the situation around him, his eyes going almost completely blurry. "I don't know if he's dead or if she took him."

"Oh no." Declan muttered. He looked at Tucker who was staring at the ground, eyes blank. The priest grabbed the reins of Tucker's horse and slowly led him back to his house where Xander and Elizabeth were waiting with news.

"Dad!" Xander called running down the path to the stable with Elizabeth on his heels.

"What's wrong with him?" Elizabeth asked taking the reins of the horses. Declan refused to meet their eyes instead looking at the ground.

"Declan what's going on?" Xander asked.

"Ianite came. And she took Jordan." Tucker told them finally looking up from the ground.

"Oh god." Elizabeth whispered covering her mouth.

"It was my fault. It was all my fault..." He moaned.

"What's he talking about?" Xander looked up at his father who was still seated on the horse, his face buried in his hands. The priest just shrugged. "We should get him down." Declan nodded at the suggestions and offered his reins to Elizabeth before help Xander. Elizabeth was trying to keep herself together for Xander and the possibility that she would need to help Tucker again.

The two men guided him inside while Elizabeth tended to the three horses. She left Declan's mare outside the stable tied to the fence and was beginning to unsaddled her uncles mount when she heard screaming from inside. Elizabeth tied up the horse and bolted inside and up the stairs to Tucker's room. Once there she found Declan and Xander trying to restrain a screaming and thrashing Tucker.

"Waglington!" She yelled rushing to help the two men. The wizard poofed into existence and before Elizabeth could do anything he waved his hand and Tucker was put into a floating stasis his body going limp.

Declan and Xander stood back, watching with horror as he twitched slightly, his screams silenced.

"What's wrong with him?!" Xander shouted at the wizard.

"I don't know! There's something in his eyes," the wizard got closer inspecting him. "It looks like ender dust..." his voice trailed off and he looked up at Declan.

"You don't think...?" Declan said to the wizard.

"I do..." Waglington replied solemnly.

"What's ender dust?" Xander asked.

"It's one of the rarest and most dangerous substances that can be possessed. And it's only found in the End." Elizabeth stated. Sonja the fox had finally made an appearance and was whining in the corner.

"So what does this mean?" Xander asked in annoyed tone.

"It means someone will have to take an adventure to find what we need." Waglington answered for her.

"We exactly do we need?" Xander asked.

"Bark from a spruce tree, a blue azalea flower and an oreberry all combined to make a poultice to put over the infected area." Elizabeth said.

"How do you know so much about herbs and healing?" The wizard asked lowering Tucker to the bed once more keeping him in a stasis.

"Ianite. She asked that I learn in case of an emergency. I knew she had Ender dust stored away but I never knew what it was really capable of." She replied glancing over at Xander. "We'll have to leave immediately, he doesn't have long."

Xander looked up at her. "I'm not leaving him." She narrowed her eyes. "You're crazy if you think that."

"Xander it's our only option. Declan and Waglington will be here to look after him. We also need to take Laina. It'll be faster if the three of us split up to look for everything. I know where everything should be located; it's just a matter of getting there."

"What's going on?" Laina said out of breath as she skidded to a halt outside the door. She let out a cry when she saw her father. "What happened?!"

"No one knows for sure, but Ianite took Jordan. And he's been poisoned with Enderdust." Declan said.

"What the hell is Enderdust?" She exclaimed shooing away Sonja who had jumped on the bed.

"A deadly substance that can only be cured with the right ingredients. And ones that aren't found anywhere near here." Elizabeth said.

"Can't you just some to the wizards to get the ingredient?" Laina asked.

"No. They must be fresh or it won't work. That's why you, your brother and I are leaving immediately to get them."

Laina whipped around on Elizabeth her tail lashing. "I'm not leaving my father here! The last time I left one of my parents alone they died."

"Laina it's the only way. Believe me." Waglington stated.

"I'm not leaving him." Laina hissed.

"Then let him die." Elizabeth snapped. "And the only one to blame will be you." She turned and stalked out of the room.

Xander turned to go after her but a look from his sister stopped him.

"You're not seriously thinking about going?" She stated. "Are you?"

"I don't see much choice in the matter at this point. I've already lost my mother and I don't need to lose my father here." Xander retorted bluntly. "Besides, Declan or Waglington will be here to monitor him. They will do all they can."

Laina stood up and raced over crashing into his open arms. "I'm scared." She cried into his chest.

"I know." He held her as she sobbed into his shoulder, Declan and Waglington long since gone.

Laina pulled back wiping the tears from her face. "I'll do it." She stated. Xander nodded and the two headed downstairs. He broke away from his sister and went to stand beside Elizabeth who was looking over maps with Declan.

Xander motioned Laina over before they discussed routes of travel.

"None of these biomes are even remotely close to here. It's a few days travel just to get to any of these places let alone allow for travel back and time to actually search for the item." Elizabeth said frustrated.

"You could always try Nether Portals, although they can be quite temperamental." Declan suggested. He pointed to the map. "There's a portal here that will take you to a biome with spruce trees but I don't ever recall seeing a jungle or swamp biome anywhere around where we've explored." The priest turned around to Waglington. "Do you know of any?"

"In fact I know there is a swamp not even a day's journey due east from here. But a jungle will be difficult." He replied.

"Xander, you go to the swamp. Laina will go for the bark and I'll find the jungle." Elizabeth sated.

"Laina isn't going anywhere by herself. She's only sixteen." Xander told her.

"I'll go with her and she can accompany me to look for a jungle. It'll be faster with two people searching." Elizabeth glanced up at him. What Elizabeth didn't tell him, was that she planned to split off from Laina after they made it through the Nether.

The head wizard pointed to an unexplored corner of the map. "Try going this way, we've found nearly every type of biome save for jungle. I'll send User in the opposite direction and if he finds what you're looking for he'll teleport you."

"Alright. We leave now." Elizabeth said.

"But it'll be night soon." Laina reminded them.

"We'll have to go through the night. Tucker won't last forever and the longer we take the less time he has." She snapped brushing past Laina to the head to the stables.

"It won't do him any good if we're dead." Laina shouted to her.

"It won't matter what happens to us if we don't save him." Elizabeth was completely and utterly fed up with Laina. She was making good points but ones that Elizabeth hadn't cared about; she wanted to make up for Sonja's death by saving Tucker, it was the least she could do after ruining the lives of everyone in the realm. Genesis was waiting for her in the stall and whinnied when she spotted her rider. Xander arrived minutes after Elizabeth and began saddling his own mount.

"You don't have to treat her like you do. She's only a kid she doesn't know better." Xander stated bluntly.

"I know she's still young but at her age I was already mastering swordsmanship and archery-." Xander cut her off with a kiss.

"But she's not you. And she's had to deal with a lot in the past few months." He said. "Maybe this trip will be good for the two of you, you can learn from each other."

Elizabeth smiled up and at him and went back to saddling her mount. Laina walked in they were done and they left to give her space to gear her own horse. The three met up outside when they were done; Declan and Waglington were waiting.

"I will not warn you of the dangers of night since you already know most of them. But I will advise you to do this as quickly as you can, if not for your own sake but for his." Waglington told them. "I also gifted you with healing potions to be used in emergencies only as well as some other things that should benefit you." Xander dug through his saddle bag discovering a chest plate made of chain mail. Elizabeth and Laina had similar items; Elizabeth was given a diamond forged blade that glowed with enchantments as well as a bow and a single arrow.

"Why do I only have one arrow?" She asked.

"The bow I gave you was enchanted with infinite arrows; all you need is one to make it work." The wizard told her.

Laina possessed two diamond enchanted swords and sheathed them over her back. "Your swords have a knockback enchantment as well as a few other things to ensure you're able to defend yourself." He said moving down the line to Xander. "You're traveling the least distance but you have to be able fend of swamp creatures so I have given you a diamond sword and enchanted bow similar to the one I gave Elizabeth." The wizard nodded to them all and stepped back.

"Now if you are to get separated use these devices," Declan handed them slim metal devices. "These can be used for communication as well as to locate your coordinates, just turn it on with the button in the middle." The devices turned on with a 'bing' startling everyone. It gave them the option to type in a chat or look at coordinates. Elizabeth shoved the device in her saddlebag and the others followed suit. "These will also let you get in contact with us in case there's a problem. But the only way we will have any idea of where you are is if you contact us first."

"Alright." Xander stated. "The sooner we get going the better.

Declan jumped on his horse and rode up beside them. "I will take you through the nether to the other portal and then I must return."

Elizabeth nodded and walked her horse over to Xander. "Be safe." She whispered.

"I will be. Take care of her, please." He replied leaning over to plant a kiss on her forehead.

She smiled at him and let go of his hand. Elizabeth turned back and motioned for the others to start off. Laina and Declan thundered past her and with one last look at Xander took off after the others to the priest's house.

Elizabeth was forced to duck as she entered the short tunnel into the priest's house and she slowed her horse down once she reached her companions.

"You must be very careful. The nether is a dangerous place. Have your weapons at the ready, we don't need a problem when we haven't even begun." Declan told them.

"I've been to the Nether before Uncle Dec." Laina snipped.

"But Elizabeth has not. She knows not what lies beyond this portal." Dec replied.

"I know a little about the creatures but Ianite never let me set foot through the portal." Elizabeth said. "Although now I know why." She drew her bow and knocked an arrow keeping one hand on the reins to steady her horse.

"Oh and by all means do NOT attack the zombie pigmen." Dec reminded them vanishing through the portal with one bound. Laina followed suit and with a deep breath Elizabeth leapt through the portal landing on solid slightly warm ground. Genesis shifted beneath her and she stroked the horse's neck for comfort.

"Come on scaredy cat lets go." Laina called from in front her. Elizabeth was not fond of this place it was dark and dank and hot. The lava pools that floored the nether could kill any mortal creature almost instantly so she chose to avoid going near any cliff ledges. Elizabeth and Laina treaded carefully across the new terrain watching every move their horses made. When they finally reached their destination they were able to convene.

"Look, I know you think you can handle yourselves out there, but it's not like training in a battle room with blunt weapons this is your life. One wrong move will kill you." Dec stated bluntly.

"We'll be fine Dec." Laina reassured him.

"We'll be together, everything will be fine and before you know it we'll be home to save Tucker." Elizabeth smiled reassuringly at him.

"I sure hope you're right." Dec nodded his goodbye and took off back the way they came.

"You ready?" Laina asked. Elizabeth could only nod in response before following her through the portal. They landed in a biome neither of them had ever really seen. The ground was covered in a thick blanket of snow and the nearby pool of water was frozen over.

"Glad I don't live here." Laina said as she shivered from the child breeze that blew past.

"No time for shivering we need to find at least two spruce trees to get the bark." Elizabeth kicked her horse and took off at a slow gallop. Both she and Laina scanned the snow covered countryside finding nothing but a few pumpkins here and there.

"Where are all the trees?" Laina asked her.

Elizabeth shrugged and slowed her horse to a stop. The younger girl spun her horse around to meet back up with her companion. "I don't know. I think we should split up. We can't waste what precious time we do have looking for at least one tree."

"But Xander said you have to look after me." Laina protested.

"To hell with what Xander said. If you want any chance of saving your father this is the option." She fired back.

Laina looked back at the direction they came from. "How are we gonna get back to the portal?"

"I forgot about that..." Elizabeth muttered. "We can draw an arrow in the snow and when we meet back up here we'll at least know the direction to head in." She pulled out her communicator that Dec had given her and typed the coordinates to Laina in a private chat.

"So what I do when I find the bark?" Laina asked making note of the coordinates.

"Make sure it stays healthy, by keeping it damp and cold; do whatever you have to, to keep it safe." Elizabeth replied. "And if you think you have enough take more. There's always a chance that we might need more."

Laina nodded. "Good luck." the girl kicked her horse and took off East, in search of a spruce tree. Elizabeth didn't bother to look back as she took off west in search of the jungle. She rode for hours with still no sign of a jungle and it was nearing daybreak. Eventually she took to zig-zagging to be sure she didn't miss anything. By the time she reached the edge of the snowy biome it was nearing night. They crossed into a plains biome and kept going. The mobs that night were harsh and Elizabeth killed more things that night than she had killed in her life. By the time morning came, both she and her horse were exhausted, but Elizabeth kept pushing knowing that they would come upon a jungle within a few hours. Luckily she was right, the jungle appeared in front of her and she let out a sigh of relief. It took her another few hours to locate melons; they grew near a small pond of water near the opposite edge of the jungle. She gathered four melons and stuffed them into a bag and she had grabbed extra since they were small. It was nearing midday by the time Elizabeth settled down with her horse for some rest.

Laina was having significantly more luck. After she had split off from Elizabeth, it had only taken her a day across a tiny desert to find a biome with an abundance of spruce trees. She took her time shearing the bark from the trees and packing them nicely in a wrap of wet moss, placing them in her bag. It was night time by the time she had finished collecting her resources and she had blocked herself into a cave to protect against all the mobs.

She had fallen asleep and was woken by the sound of her spooked horse. She was prancing and whinnying in fear. Laina rose to her feet and unsheathed the sword that she had stored in the sheath on the saddle and dug her way out of the cave only to find herself surrounded by Endermen. The last time she had seen this many Endermen was when her mother had been killed. Laina was trapped; Endermen didn't die in sunlight meaning they would still be there when dawn broke. Her only choice was to make a run for it back to the portal in hopes that she could make it before they got to her. She climbed onto the back of the horse and dug out her path into the night. She launched herself into the herd of Endermen and took off, hearing the angry hiss of the creature.

Laina tore off in the wrong direction dodging trees and other mobs as she fought to escape the forest. As an Endermen teleported in front of her, the mare reared, nearly knocking her off. She yanked on the reins and the horse sped off in the other direction. Laina urged the horse onward leaping over a fallen tree and landing on the outskirts of the forest in a swamp biome. The girl looked around panicked and turned around only finding herself being trailed by a pack of mobs. Swearing, she kept going through the swamp until the sun rose over the horizon giving her a chance to gather herself. Laina swung down from the saddle and searched her saddle bags for the communicator, discovering that it was nowhere to be found. Laina took a deep breath and looked around, noticing that she had been relatively left alone. She snacked on some food and climbed back on the horse taking off through the swamp. By the time she had traversed the swamp, it was nearing night again and she had discovered another biome of spruce trees. Laina didn't want to go through it but there was no choice but to go back and face the army of Endermen that had swarmed her in the last forest.

Hesitantly she trotted into the forest, noticing that it was growing thicker as she got deeper in. The leaves on the trees sheltered her from the light of the moon sending her plunging into darkness. Laina suddenly heard the hissing of an Endermen and turned to find herself face to face with the guards. Her horse reared and Laina kicked the mare's sides sending her into a full on sprint into the forest. It was a repeat of the previous night as she dived over a fallen log. She turned to glance behind her and turned back to a faceful of tree branches. Laina threw up her hand to protect her face and felt a jolt of energy shoot through her arm. A Nether Portal sprung to life in front of her and she was forced to swerve to the right. Again she had to protect her face from the low hanging tree branches and another portal appeared. Laina leapt through the portal landing on the warm Netherrack.

The horse took off in a random direction. Knowing that she was completely and utterly lost, Laina kept going. The Nether was swarmed with mobs, both hostile and not, although the Zombie Pigmen that were normally not hostile unless provoked, were gathering in a small parade behind her. Without her communicator there was no way for her to contact anyone or get her coordinates. But she trudged onward in fear, both herself and her horse taking damage from attacks by the Nether mobs.

By the time they reached the portal in front of the Dianite temple, Laina was slumped over on the horse letting the animal do all the work. It trotted through the nether portal into the overworld which was swarmed with dozens upon dozens of Endermen. The horse picked its way across the field avoiding them at all costs and managed to get Laina back to the house. It let out a loud whinny causing Xander and Elizabeth to race to the door. She had failed to wait for Laina, believing the younger girl could handle herself. Xander was not pleased in the least and hadn't spoken to her since she had returned a few days later.

"Laina!" She cried when she her friend and charged toward the horse. Laina looked up wearily and slid sideways off the horse only to be caught be an Endermen. It grinned creepily and vanished with Laina in its arms.


"I want you my dear." The female voiced whispered. "All of this can go away if you come with me."

"Don't listen to her Elizabeth." Xander warned walking forward to pull her back. The goddess appeared and blocks his path. "Ah ah ah." She chirped. Xander took a step back.

"I'll go with you, just let them go." Elizabeth stated. "Please. I'll do anything."

Ianite smiled. "Now there's a good girl, just take my hand and we can go." She offered her hand. Elizabeth looked back and Xander and closed her eyes lifting her hand to take Ianite's.

"I don't think so." A voice yelled from behind and Elizabeth turned to look spotting Sonja racing toward them. She held up a hand spewing fireballs at the goddess.

Ianite recoiled with a hiss. "You will pay for this trickster!" And she disappeared, leaving both Elizabeth and Xander stunned.

I hope you enjoyed the plot twist at the end but if you were paying attention you probably already had some idea that Sonja wasn't actually dead. If you didn't that's alright too. Hopefully I will have Chapter 8 up soon!

If you enjoyed leave a review!