Pyras, Hydras, Terras, Glacias, Tyler, and Kylie followed Attractas as she led them through the jungle to the temple to Shadow. They went in the general direction of Tenebris’ stronghold, but their target was a little to the west of the stronghold. The temple was built in an area that was full of rolling hills and dense trees.
“Okay, we’re getting close,” said Attractas. “The temple’s not an enclosed building, so Tenebris and the rogue Elemental Masters will be standing right out in the open.” They crossed another hill and came into view of a small valley between hills. The “temple” built in the middle of it all was more like a shrine that consisted of an altar, a sculpture of Shadow standing victoriously over Light, and a couple walls flanking the sides. Tenebris was standing in front of the altar, with Clockas, Sonas, Toxas, and Titanias standing before him.
Pyras turned to Tyler and Kylie. “Do you still have ammunition for your weapons?”
“Yes,” said Tyler.
“Good,” said Pyras. “You two can go on top of that hill and give us cover fire.” He indicated a hill just to the side of the temple. “Hydras, Terras, Glacias, you’ll join me to charge them head-on.”
Terras started spinning his drills. “Let’s get them.”
“Attractas, are you with us?” Pyras asked. He still didn’t trust Attractas as far as he could throw her (which, granted, wasn’t that far, but still).
“I’m not with Tenebris anymore,” said Attractas. “And you know what they say-my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”
“Good to know,” said Pyras. “Now, let’s roll.”
Tyler and Kylie went off toward the hill where they would snipe from, while Pyras, Hydras, Terras, Glacias, and Attractas began running down the hill, ready for the ultimate showdown with Tenebris.
Tenebris was facing the altar, chanting an incantation that would activate the temple’s pipeline to where Light and Shadow slept in the Great Creators’ realm. Tenebris said the words with reverence, but in his heart, he felt elated. This was what he had been trying to do for a long time, only to be thwarted by the Elemental Masters time and again. But now, thanks to the Outsider’s willingness to bargain, Tenebris had what he needed to accomplish his goal, and the Elemental Masters wouldn’t be able to stop him.
“And I, Tenebris, creator of the Rahrok, patron of Shadow, future ruler of Mahra, do open this temple to the sleeping place of Light and Shadow, so that Shadow can be awakened,” Tenebris finished, spreading his hands out before him. He could feel spiritual power emulating from the temple, doing the very thing it was built for. “Now, Titanias, you know what to do,” said Tenebris.
Titanias stepped forward with the Spear of Life in hand. He had volunteered to use the Spear of Life’s power, since Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas had refused to do it. They knew that, if they were to use the Spear of Life’s power, then they would be giving up their lives. The Spear of Life may have been powerful, but its power had its drawbacks. Bringing someone back to life or awakening them from an unnatural sleep-especially if said someone was a primordial being-would require the user to give up their own life force to generate enough energy. Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas had all wanted to live to see Shadow’s reign, but Titanias didn’t care so much. He understood that sacrifices had to be made for the greater good.
Titanias stepped up to the altar and held the Spear of Life against the altar. “Farewell, friends,” he said. “Prepare to serve under Shadow.”
Titanias closed his eyes as he prepared to give up his life. But before he could tap into the Spear of Life’s power, he heard someone shout from behind. He opened his eyes and saw the sight of his life. Pyras, Hydras, Terras, Attractas, and Glacias were running down the hill towards the temple, ready for a fight.
Tenebris cursed. “How many times do I have to get rid of you upstart pests?” he roared.
“You can’t get rid of us,” Pyras said as he raised his sword. “Defeat us as many times as you like, and we’ll still come back.”
“Kill them all!” Tenebris ordered as he drew his spear. “Titanias, use that spear!”
But Pyras wasn’t going to let that happen. As his comrades engaged Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas, he rushed toward Titanias with sword lit on fire. But as he was running, Tenebris stepped in his way. “You stay away from him!” Tenebris growled as he swung his spear at Pyras’ face. Pyras parried the strike and stepped backward. He started to conjure a torrent of fire like the one he’d made on the beach, but Tenebris was ready. He grabbed Pyras by the face and pinned him to the ground.
“You fool,” Tenebris said, looking down at Pyras hatefully. “This time, victory is mine.” He pointed at the altar, where Titanias was vibrating as he held the Spear of Life. Titanias started losing his color as a sphere of golden energy grew out of the tip of the Spear of Life. The sphere glowed brighter and brighter as it increased in diameter, until it was the size of a basketball. The sphere exploded into golden dust that drifted upward in the air like a helium balloon. As the Spear of Life stopped glowing, Titanias went limp and fell to the ground.
“He-he didn’t,” said Pyras, praying that he hadn’t seen what he thought he’d seen.
Tenebris smiled malevolently. “Oh, he did,” he replied. “Very soon, Shadow will descend upon this world and rule over all!”
Hydras, Terras, Glacias, and Attractas stepped back in horror. “I can’t believe it,” said Hydras.
Pyras ground his teeth. “Well, we’re not backing down,” he said as he wrenched himself free of Tenebris’ grip. He quickly stood up and brandished his sword. “It doesn’t matter what you do, Tenebris,” he said. “The Great Creators created us with one single purpose in mind: to combat the forces of evil. Well, we are never gonna back down. We will continue to fight, even after we’ve lost. We will fight against you, Tenebris, even after it’s all over. It doesn’t matter if we die in vain. All that matters is that we fight for peace, justice, and balance, even if it kills us.”
Tenebris smiled at Pyras the way a nasty school board member would smile at a student who made an empty threat to sabotage the school system. “Ah, Pyras, the noble Elemental Master of fire,” he said. “He talks so big, yet his words mean nothing. How would you even begin to-”
“Actually, his words mean everything,” said a new voice. Everyone looked to see none other than Hunter Brooks coming down the hill. He walked with his head held high and his chest puffed out, like he was either proud or confident. He was eyeing Tenebris with a trace of hate, but none of the fear that he’d possessed before. One would think that Hunter had a secret weapon to kill Tenebris and put Shadow back to sleep somehow-and they wouldn’t be far off.
“They will indeed fight,” said Hunter. “They’ll find a way to thwart your plans, and they’ll carry it out.”
Tenebris couldn’t believe his eyes. Wasn’t part of their deal for Hunter, Isaac, and Ellie to hightail it out of here after they had made their exchange? “You-you are wrong!” Tenebris shouted. “Now that Shadow is awakened, nobody can stand in his way!”
“No one,” said Hunter, “Except Light.”
“Light is slumbering in the same method Shadow was!” said Tenebris.
“Yes,” said Hunter. “But we can change that.” He eyed the Spear of Life.
Fortunately, Pyras got it. “Do you mean to say that we’ll awaken Light as well?”
“Bingo,” said Hunter. “And he’ll fight Shadow until the Great Creators can find a way to put the both of them to sleep again.”
Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas exchanged glances. “That’s-that’s a terrible plan!” said Toxas.
“You know nothing, Outsider!” Clockas snapped. “Even if your idea does work, using the Spear of Life will kill whoever uses it!”
“I know,” said Hunter. “Isaac told me.”
“You-you’d give up your own friends?” Tenebris asked.
“I do not want to,” said Hunter. “In fact, I’ll do it myself if I have to. But it’s better for one person to die than for an entire world to be laid to waste by a malevolent being.”
Pyras, Hydras, Attractas, Glacias, and Terras were starting to understand Hunter’s plan. “Perhaps this could work,” said Pyras.
“NO!” Tenebris roared. “Do not let them near the Spear of Life!” He, Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas all stood their ground.
“CHARGE!” Hunter cried as he ran forward with the five good Elemental Masters. The first enemy he ran into was Clockas. She started to wave her hand to manipulate time around Hunter, but Hunter was ready for that. He quickly punched her in the face, causing her to lose her focus for a second. Hunter karate-kicked Clockas in the chest, sending her falling on her butt. Hunter ran past her and toward the ground where Titanias had dropped the Spear of Life. But before he could get there, Tenebris stepped in his way, with the Spear of Life in one hand and his own spear in the other.
Behind Hunter, his comrades were locked in combat. Hydras and Attractas had gone for Toxas, while Terras and Glacias had faced Sonas. Toxas began to swing her flail, but Attractas magnetically yanked it out of her hand. Cursing, Toxas blasted a torrent of green poison at Attractas’ face. Hydras shoved Attractas out of the way as she blasted a powerful jet of water at the oncoming poison. The two jets of liquid met in midair, sending thick sludge flying everywhere. When the two Elemental Masters had stopped, they eyed each other hatefully.
As Hydras advanced on Toxas with her axes raised, Attractas glanced behind herself and saw Hunter facing Tenebris. “Hydras, I-”
“I got this,” said Hydras. Attractas nodded and took off.
Meanwhile, Terras and Glacias were tag-teaming Sonas. Terras launched himself at Sonas with his combat drills spinning, but Sonas was ready. He slammed his sledgehammer into the ground and emitted a sonic boom. The force of the sonic boom hit Terras with the force of a charging bull and sent him falling backward. Sonas marched on him and raised his sledgehammer, but Glacias was faster. He came up behind Sonas and froze him in an enormous block of ice.
“You okay, Terras?” Glacias asked.
“I’m fine,” said Terras. “You-you go help Hunter!” Without hesitation, Glacias left Terras’ side and joined Attractas in rushing for the spot where Hunter and Tenebris were staring each other down.
At the moment, Hunter was taking a step back. “You overconfident fool,” said Tenebris. “If Pyras couldn’t defeat me on his own, what makes you think you can?” He drew the Spear of Life back, ready to stab Hunter.
But Tenebris wasn’t ready for the new arrivals. He felt an unseen force yank the Spear of Life out of his hand, and he looked up to see Attractas and Glacias coming up behind Hunter. Attractas had used her magnetism to summon the Spear of Life, and she now held it in her hand.
“Give me that back!” Tenebris shouted. He grabbed at the Spear of Life, but Attractas ducked and rolled under Tenebris’ feet.
“Go long!” Attractas shouted as she threw the Spear of Life toward the altar. Hunter and Glacias immediately ran after it. Tenebris whirled around to stop them, but he came face-to-face with Attractas. Attractas hooked both of her combat hooks around Tenebris’ spear and tried to yank it out of his hands. Tenebris pulled against her and ended up pulling her combat hooks out of her hands. As the combat hooks went flying, Tenebris knocked Attractas aside with his spear. He tromped toward Hunter and Glacias, who had already gotten the Spear of Life.
Glacias was the one holding the Spear of Life. “Back off, Tenebris!” he shouted as he froze Tenebris in a block of ice. “That won’t hold him for long,” he warned Hunter. Indeed, the block of ice was already cracking. “You hold him off,” said Hunter. “I’ll use the-”
“No, I’ll use it,” said Glacias.
“No, I should do it!” said Hunter.
“Do you realize that you’ll die if you use the Spear of Life to-”
“You’ll die, too!” said Hunter.
The ice block cracked loudly. “No time to argue,” said Glacias.
Hunter pursed his lips. “Fine,” he said. He turned his back to the altar as Glacias stepped up to it. Hunter summoned all of his courage and adrenaline as he stepped forward to face Tenebris. The block of ice shattered like glass as Tenebris broke out of it. He started to charge at Glacias, but Hunter stopped him. “Stand down, Tenebris,” said Hunter.
Tenebris glared at Hunter. “What has gotten into you, human boy?” he spat as he swung his spear at Hunter. Hunter ducked to avoid it, but Tenebris was fighting to kill. He slashed his spear downward, hoping to slice Hunter in half, but Hunter grabbed the spear just below the blade and held it back. “I gave you a chance to leave all this behind! Why didn’t you?”
“Because I am the Outsider,” said Hunter. “I don’t like fighting you, but if I don’t fulfill my responsibility, then innocent people will suffer, and I’ll be accountable for it.” He put on an extra burst of strength and pushed Tenebris’ spear so hard, the blade smashed into Tenebris’ face. “And I won’t leave until my job is done.”
Right then, there was a burst of golden light. Hunter and Tenebris looked to see Glacias swaying on the spot as golden dust floated into the air. “It…it is done,” Glacias said as he went limp, dropped the Spear of Life, and fell onto the ground.
“No-you-you can’t have!” said Tenebris.
“Yes, he can have,” Hunter said as he let go of Tenebris’ spear and dove to the side. As he skidded to a stop beside the altar, Hunter sat up and looked Tenebris in the eye. “And now I’m-”
“You cannot kill me!” said Tenebris. “I am energy contained in armor. No mundane weapon can me!”
Hunter looked at the dropped Spear of Life. “No mundane weapon, huh?” He reached out and grabbed the discarded Spear of Life. As he did, he felt its power once again, and he could sense its emotions agreeing with his desire to kill Tenebris. The Spear of Life may not have thought in words, but it didn’t need words to convey that it was no mundane spear, and if it could give life, it could also take. Tenebris knew this, too. And when he saw Hunter stand up with the Spear of Life in hand, he actually looked uneasy for a moment. “You-you won’t…” he trailed off.
Hunter stood up with the Spear of Life in hand. “Yes, I will,” he said. He swung the Spear of Life at Tenebris’ body, but Tenebris parried it. Hunter stabbed at him, but Tenebris blocked that, too. Hunter brought the spear in a roundhouse move that aimed for Tenebris’ side. Tenebris held out his own spear to block it, but the Spear of Life’s blade cut right through Tenebris’ spear’s handle. Tenebris looked down in shock at his broken spear, then back at Hunter. Tenebris growled and raised the bladed half of the spear. He brought the blade down in the hope that he’d kill Hunter, but Hunter reacted quicker. He stabbed the Spear of Life directly into Tenebris’ chest, allowing it to focus all of its energy into sucking out Tenebris’ life.
Tenebris froze as if he was under Clockas’ powers, too stunned to react to being impaled. He dropped both halves of his spear as the color drained from his eyes. “No…no…no!” Tenebris cried as his life was taken away from him. As Hunter pulled the Spear of Life out, a thin golden mist drifted out of the hole where Tenebris had been stabbed. As it drifted out, the mist lost its color and dissipated into nothing. Tenebris’ body, now a mere shell of armor, limply fell to its knees and crashed to the ground.
Hunter turned and looked at the battlefield behind him. Pyras, Hydras, and Terras had forced Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas into a back-to-back circle, and now they were all looking at Hunter standing over Tenebris’ dead body. “You-you killed him!” said Clockas.
“Yes, I did,” said Hunter.
Clockas growled. “Well, you’re not gonna get us,” she said. She waved her hand and reversed time around Pyras, Hydras, and Terras. The three Elemental Masters backed away from the other three, returning to the positions they had been in just before they had forced the rogue Elemental Masters into the defensive circle. Sonas and Toxas took their chance to make a move. Sonas sent a powerful blast of sound at Hydras, causing her to stagger as if she’d been hit by an invisible fist. Meanwhile, Toxas swung her flail and sprayed toxic waste at Pyras and Terras. The two of them were barely able to dodge the splash of poison.
“You said Elemental Masters will never give up until they win,” said Clockas. “Well, we’re Elemental Masters too.” She stepped forward with her sword raised, but faltered when she heard a loud mechanical whirring noise. Every head turned to see a large blue helicopter flying into view. Hunter immediately recognized it as the helicopter that Kylie had used to rescue them from Dr. Evileye. The helicopter hovered above a nearby hill and fired its weapons at the rogue Elemental Masters. Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas scrambled to avoid the shots, barely avoiding the laser fire.
“Clockas!” Sonas urged. “Slow down time around the lasers!”
“Are you crazy?” Clockas asked. “I can’t even concentrate right now!”
Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas exchanged defeated looks as the helicopter paused its firing. Clockas looked up at the agents’ helicopter hatefully. “It never fails,” she said. “Our enemies always manage to find something big and powerful to defeat us.”
Toxas nervously cleared her throat. “Not that I like it, but perhaps our best option would be to retreat,” she said.
“You’re right,” said Clockas.
“Oh, you’re not going anywhere,” said Pyras as he lit his sword on fire.
“No, let them go,” said Hunter. “There’s already been way too much violence.” Pyras reluctantly extinguished his flame.
Clockas, Sonas, and Toxas turned and fled the valley. As she was running, Clockas cast one last glance over her shoulder. “This isn’t over,” she said. Then she, Sonas, and Toxas ran over the hill and out of sight.
Hunter, Pyras, Hydras, and Terras backed away as the helicopter landed in the middle of the valley. The side door opened to allow Kylie to step out, along with her three agent squad members. “Well, Hunter, you actually managed to kill Tenebris,” said Kylie.
“Yes, I did,” said Hunter.
Pyras spoke up. “Kylie, why weren’t you and Tyler giving us cover fire like we planned?” he asked.
“I got a radio call from Agent Jackson,” said Kylie. “I had to go back to the beach where the helicopter was headed. And right as I was leaving, Hunter came with Isaac and Ellie. He told Tyler to keep an eye on them while he went to join the battle.”
As Kylie was saying it, something caught Hydras’ eye. “Hey, there they are,” she said, pointing. Tyler Kane was coming down the hill with Isaac and Ellie following behind.
“Did we win?” Tyler asked.
“Yes,” said Hunter.
Isaac and Ellie gasped when they say Tenebris’ dead body lying on the ground. “Did-did you kill him?” Isaac asked.
“I did,” said Hunter, holding the Spear of Life like an American flag on a pole.
“So, are you going to wake up Light now, or what?” Tyler asked.
Hunter’s face fell. “Ah, about that…”
“Glacias already did,” said Attractas. “And he, well…”
Hunter looked at Glacias’ corpse, lying spread-eagled beside the altar. “He gave up his life,” Hunter said forlornly.
“Oh, Glacias,” Pyras said as he went up to where Glacias lay dead. “You always were a noble warrior.”
“I remember when the Rahrok first came, and he saved me from Pyrok,” said Terras.
“Or in Dino Valley, when we were getting the keystone there. The way Glacias fought those raptors…” Hydras added.
“I used to argue with him a lot during the war with Tenebris,” said Attractas. “I’m starting to regret that now…”
“Yes, we’ve all shared memories with him,” said Pyras. “We shall take him back to Voyo with us, and lay him alongside Aeras and Electras.”
“And then will we go home?” Isaac asked Hunter.
“Yes, we will,” said Hunter. “That is, assuming the Great Creators do indeed put both Light and Shadow back to sleep.”
“I’m sure they will,” said Pyras. “But for right now, we must leave this island.”
“What about the rogue Elemental Masters?” Tyler asked. “Won’t they, you know, try to attack the islanders?”
“We’ll send someone back to capture them,” said Pyras. “And this time, we’ll lock them in the prison in Voyo.”
“And then they’ll know how it feels to be locked in there,” said Terras.
They loaded Glacias’ body inside one of the helicopter’s prison pods. It felt odd, since the prison pods were meant for holding captive bad guys, but the helicopter’s passenger area was pretty crowded as it was, so they had to make room somehow.
As everyone was taking their seats inside the helicopter, Attractas looked at Pyras. “Does this mean you’re accepting me back into your team?” she asked.
Pyras exchanged glances with Hydras and Terras. “I think she’s good,” said Hydras. Terras nodded agreement.
“Well, it seems that you’re regaining the trust of your brethren,” said Pyras.
“Even-even though I…you know…renounced you and the Great Creators?” said Attractas. “Even though I now renounce that renonciation?”
“It’s okay,” said Hunter. “We’ve all done things that we’re not proud of. Even me.”
“Of course,” said Hunter. “Did you know that back in my world, I got arrested for stealing a bag of chips?”
“Yes, I’m not proud of it,” said Hunter. “But I’ve worked past it. Pyras here taught me not to let my past ruin my future.”
Attractas smiled. “Well, I know I’m gonna learn from my past,” she said.
As the helicopter took off and flew out over the ocean, Hunter looked back and took one last look at Mahra. On that island, he had gone through many trials and hardships, but ultimately, it had changed him for the better. He had found new friends in Tyler, Kylie, Scythax, and Attractas. He had single-handedly defeated Tenebris himself. And, most importantly, he had reunited with his brother and sister, realized his love for them, and learned the true meaning of responsibility. Just like his last adventure, these were valuable life lessons that he would never forget.
End of Chapter 17…