PROLOGUE

"Ram the Blade Ship!" Jake's voice was strong, yet also eerily calming. As if you knew you had just been ordered to die in battle, but you not only accepted this fate, you embraced it and welcomed it. The sound of the emergency engines roared like a beast who was about to be released from its cage. Everyone braced themselves as The Rachel was thrust-ed forward and crashed into the Blade Ship. Suddenly, everything stopped. We were no longer in space. At least, not in the same 'space' we had just been. Everything was white, but not your basic white. It was as if we were in an all-white room, with extremely bright fluorescent bulbs beaming all around. Except that there were no walls. No ceiling. It sounds weird to describe, but there might not have even been a floor. There was just, us.

"You truly are an interesting creature, Jake the Yeerk-Killer."

Where was that voice coming from? We knew that it was the voice of The One, but there was no one in sight but us. Even so, as it spoke, it sent a rush of dark emotions throughout our bodies. As if we were reliving our worst memories all at once.

"I've enjoyed watching you all play this game, but I must say, even I didn't expect a few teenagers and an Aristh Andalite to defeat an entire empire. And I can see that you are broken without war, Jake the Yeerk-Killer. So, I've come up with an even better idea than that lazy Ellimist and Crayak originally put together."

No one said anything. We all thought for sure that Jake was going to interject and demand an answer. Hell, I half expected Marco to throw out a quick quip or two. But no one said anything. Maybe it was from fear of the unknown. Or maybe it was from the feeling of despair circulating within all of us. Even Tobias stayed as still as a statue. His eyes laser focused, as if he could see something forming in the distance.

"I've decided that I will let you all live.. For now. But be prepared for the challenges that will soon follow. I don't expect any of you to survive again. However, I never expected it during the first round either. I shall keep your Andalite friend as a means to meet once more if needed. And if you must know, yes, he is still alive. And he sees all that I see. He feels all that I feel. He even knows all that I know. But perhaps I could reward you for your bravery to venture into the unknown depths of space and to challenge a being as great as myself. You see, everything is not as it seems. If you view living as a mystery, than I imagine that you also view death as a mystery. And even with death, there are still plenty of unknown certainties. Goodbye, Jake the Yeerk-Killer. And good luck."

Suddenly, all of the sadness and depression fled our bodies. We all looked around at one another, but no one said a word. What did this mean? What did any of that mean? And, if before was just round one. How much worse is round two going to be?

No way! Tobias shouted. The sound of someone else's voice was a relief. This isn't possible!

Tobias pumped his wings, at what had to have been his hardest ever, given that there was zero air wherever it was that we were. None of us had any idea what he was flying towards, but we couldn't let him head towards it on his own. Not after what we had just been through. We pushed ourselves to run faster and faster. Our lungs beginning to burn up. Our breathing getting heavier and heavier.

Tobias began to morph into his natural human form. Somehow, he was able to continue moving forward, adjusting from a bird in full flight, as if heading towards a prey, to a boy sprinting like he was an Olympic champion. And then we saw what we were racing towards. Better yet, we saw who we were racing towards.

"RACHEL?!" We all yelled simultaneously.

A/N: Not much is known about 'The One', but we all assume he is more powerful than The Ellimist or Crayak. I also didn't want to specify who was narrating the prologue, so that it felt a bit more authentic.