Bastion and Haruna continue to court, then start living together for longer amounts of time. Their friends supported them every step of the way, naturally as with all young lovers they look forward to the day they marry.

Eventually he asks for her hand – Haruna's Uncle Professor Motosugu Inukai approves, but her parents say no for different reasons.

"She'd marry well, and I'm afraid the two of you are still children."

"You're both still too young to know your own minds, you're both just barely finished the necessary studies."

Of course they probably expected no less, but they were determined to make their relationship work.

"Do you remember the day they held a picnic here with everyone from your school and duel academy? You were sixteen that day – and I believe it was the first time I kissed you."

Haruna blushed, "Such lovely memories."

"I suppose it was in haste, yet we still have many years ahead of us to live and love."

"That's true, we still have time to build a life together. Just think, our own home someday and raise a family. One day, someday soon."

In the seasons that followed, the couple keeps seeing each other, unaware of the jealous suitor watching them from the darkest parts of the forest.

Who was this creature, this trivial thing attempting to touch his rose?

That was how he began to feel another emotion that was both foreign and recognizable: jealousy. And when jealous desire consumes the heart, all else is cast out. It was then and there that he despised the scholar for the way she looked at him…It ought to be himself instead!

He hid both himself and his true feelings the best he could in the days that followed but the gnawing resentment never left.


On one particular autumn evening, Haruna had much on her mind.

First there was the matter of past events, an act of retribution from the guardians against a group of intolerant no-majs that had gotten them in trouble.

As a result, the eight guardians' magic privileges were suspended for a week. However on they were placed on also placed on probation at the suggestion of several council members. How? Their powers were placed within an amulet, the ethereal guardians are the only one who can touch it to take it off, but it zaps whoever else tries to remove it by force. Except once the necklace is off, they're unable to use their powers until they put it back on.

The Pantheon sisters and Theo were the most vocal about this decision and how much it would put them at risk, yet the other girls knew nothing much can be done about it for the moment.

Second, a meeting was arranged between her uncle and Bastion regarding a career in both research and involving her gifted green thumb.

But then she catches a glimpse of something in the forest. Her powers might be misplaced, but that didn't remove the sight – the gift to see magical beings and realms- from her nor her fellow guardians.

Here she can clearly see the Veil that separated the Realm of Magic from another place. It was a mysterious realm, lost somewhere in the clouded panels of Earth's history and unseen by many mortal or fair folk.

And passing through the trees, the Earth guardian saw what appeared to be someone long thought to be deceased pass through the wood. The first time she thought she'd imagined it, but now she was certain.

Walking right up to the barrier, Haruna uses her contained powers to open the grove and walks right through the barrier separating the magic dimension from the Unknown.

Misplaced confidence and inexperience are what caused her not to heed the words of caution. For the hollows, darker parts of the wood didn't have just your average nocturnal animals, there were also corporeal and astonishingly tangible ghosts – many of them from different parts of history.

With every unanswered call, Haruna began to grow uneasy.

She'd hoped to catch up to them before it got dark and she didn't want to spend the night out in the wilderness while her loved ones are probably worried sick. How she wished one of the girls or her Leafeon had gone with her.

"Oh no, I must be careful. I'm supposed to be the steadfast guardian of the Earth element."

She'd almost stepped on small flowers, rare ones that grew at the end of summer. She held out her hands, which started flowing gentle green sparks that caused the foliage to grow considerably.

As she bent over the growing flowers, something slightly brushed the back of her hair…

'Oh! Someone is behind me…' Haruna thought and she felt, 'Someone kissed the back of my neck!'

Alarmed, she spun around. The forest clearing was empty… Do you ever get the feeling that you're being watched, especially in an unfamiliar setting close to dusk? That's exactly how she felt at that very moment.

Deep in the forest of the unknown - where the woods seem endless in the hushed light of the moon – it's quite easy to believe in a lurking presence!

Some hear singing like the four winds—others might catch a glimpse of a shadowed face and glowing eyes peering from beyond the trees…

Wait who turned off all the sound?

"It's an atmosphere I can't describe…both quiet and melancholy…" the young woman whispered.

Haruna paused, placing her hand on the tree. But she felt something stick to her palm, was it sap?

She pulls it away and sees this was not the case. No, it was some dark liquid and it looked like oil. It smelled like it too, save for the awful hint of rotting meat.

To her mild chagrin, some of it got onto her clothes and necklace as well. Haruna took a step back and got a good look at the tree itself. It was of some dark brown bark and bent in an odd shape, but the knotholes were the strangest of all. If she didn't know any better she'd say they resembled faces.

A red flag went off in her head, what was it she was supposed to remember about these trees? She had it at the tip of her tongue, but it vanished like smoke.

Right now, she best just wash off the oil and focus on getting back, surely her family will be wondering what's keeping her. Just a few steps away Haruna saw a creek. In a moment of youthful self-confidence, she temporarily removes the necklace, she removed the oil from it first then placed it on a smooth rock while she washed up.

Once she finished, Haruna reached for the amulet but didn't feel it. She turned and felt her heart sink like a stone in water. "What? Oh no! The necklace! It's gone!"

She spread her hands upon the ground searching fearfully. Without it she'll never leave here! But then Haruna suddenly stopped. She heard a man's voice singing close by. Then she figured something out: whoever it was had must've either snatched the necklace while she'd been distracted, or might be able to help her somehow.

"Hello? Is someone there?" She spied a small light flickering between the trees. It looked like she was getting closer.

To be continued…