The Return Chapter 24

For The Past...

By Firstborn Dragon

Ione Paua returned to the realm of the Guardians. He knew the most difficult part of this task would soon arrive. Convincing the others that Rudy need their help. He didn’t know who’d been in contact with Rudy, or the two he’d traveled with during the last war.

He was surprised to see the other Guardians already assembled, and waiting for him when he returned. Zephyr stood up as Ione Paua entered. "So, you’ve returned already."

Ione Paua was confused. "I never knew you took so much interest in my actions Zephyr."

Zephyr laughed. "Oh, it’s not your actions. Rather one of the people you just met with. I know the half demon well. It was his courage that summoned me during the last battle. I’d dare say many of us came in contact with his during the last war. Isn’t that right?" Several of the Guardians nodded. "You see, Rudy is of great interest to us. He’s proven that he’s willing to lay down his life to protect his friends. And sometimes those whom he has great reason to hate. That is why we are interested in him. Tell us, of what did you speak?"

Ione Paua wasn’t sure what to say. "Fine. Zed, the first demon to change sides during the last war, called me. The only reason I answered him was because he’d lived in Saint Centour, and had risked his life to protect Laura. But I never expected the other two. I arrived, and spoke to them. Then Zed told me the reason the three had come. I still find it difficult to believe. But Zed said the three had come to try and save Rudy’s life."

Zephyr, like may of the other Guardians, looked puzzled. "Save his life? Why ask us?"

Ione Paua shook his head. "Zed told me that the gate to the realm of the Elw had been destroyed. Rudy’s only chance of survival lay with us. Apparently the Forsake did something to him."

Zephyr was lost in thought. "So they’d ask us to save him. Strange that the demons would come. I would have thought the humans would have come instead…"

Nua Shakks stood up. "I don’t trust them! They may be the current holders of the weapons, but I say we kill them, and give the weapons to the humans! At least, we know where they stand!"

Several other Guardians agreed. Ione Paua looked around. He didn’t want Zed’s death. "I don’t know about Boomerang, but I do know Zed has changed! He risked his life to protect Laura, Rudy, and Mariel! Further more, he helped to save Rudy’s life! I cannot agree to his death!"

Zephyr surprised them all with his next words. "I agree with you. I say we test them! Should they pass, we shall aid them, and allow them to continue the battle. But should they fail, they shall be destroyed. All in agreement?" All the other Guardians, save one, nodded. "Nua Shakks?"

"I shall agree, under one condition. I lead the test for the one who helped destroy me!"

Zephyr nodded. "So be it. Nua Shakks, Justine, and I shall conduct the tests. Ione Paua, go and get them."

Ione Paua nodded, and returned to the human world.

Zed, Boomerang, and Lucid had made themselves comfortable. Since the disappearance of Ione Paua, the tension between the three had only grown. None of them were comfortable awaiting Ione Paua. They had no idea whether of not the Guardians would aid them, and it they would, at what cost. Finally, the Guardian returned. The three quickly stood up.

"A decision has been reached. The Guardians shall aid you, under one condition."

Zed swallowed. "And that would be?"

Ione Paua looked at him. "That you each pass a test. Should you succeed, we shall aid you. Should you fail, you shall be destroyed." Zed looked at Boomerang. Boomerang was making no attempts to hid his fear anymore. Zed shook his head. "I owe Rudy much. My life is a small price to pay in return."

Ione Paua nodded. "And you?"

Boomerang looked down on the still figure, and remembered the battles, and their outcomes; Rudy standing up to Jack and Zed for him; and Rudy returning Lucid to him. And looked up at Ione Paua. "I agree."

Finally, Ione Paua looked at Lucid. "And what of you?"

Lucid looked at Ione Paua, the Zed, then Boomerang, and finally Rudy. Rudy who’d risked his life for Boomerang. Who’d reunited them. And she nodded.

Ione Paua nodded. "Very well. Bring him, and come."

Boomerang picked up Rudy, and the three followed Ione Paua… into the realm of the Guardians.

Zephyr, Nua Shakks, and Justine were waiting as the four entered. As soon as Nua Shakks saw Zed, his eyes glared hatred. Zed took an unwilling step backwards.

Zephyr glance at Nua Shakks, and he stopped glaring at Zed. But he continued watching the one responsible for his destruction. Zephyr looked at the three. "Ione Paua, take Rudy. We shall begin the test."

Ione Paua nodded, and carefully carried Rudy out of the room.

Zephyr ignored this, and continued studding the three. None of them moved. "Very well, we shall begin!"

With those words, the three vanished. And the three Guardians turned, and left the room.

"Oh my head. What happened?" Zed got up and looked around. He was in a dark room. He reached for Striker, and felt it’s weight reassuring on his back. Suddenly, the room lit up. And a figure walked in.

"So Zed, we meet again."

Zed turned to look at the figure. And instantly recognized him. "Zeikfried! What do you want?"

Zeikfried laughed. "I never though I’d say this. But you are magnificent. I have come to ask you to rejoin with me. I was wrong about you."

Zed reached for Slayer, and drew it. "What do you mean?"

Zeikfried was walking around Zed, keeping his distance. "What do I mean? You have the ability to control the greatest tool on this planet! The final cross breed! With Rudy’s ARMs, and your Slayer, we could destroy the forsaken, and rule the world!"

Zed shook his head. "I’ve heard that before! Right before you nearly killed me! I’ll never trust you."

"Even if I gave you what you wanted? To be a quartet knight?"

Zed looked very carefully at his ex leader. "I don’t believe you. You’ll just take what I have, and throw me away!"

"How can I do that? It’s in you! You’re blood is the key to controlling him. Think of it. Everything you ever wanted! Power, glory, revenge!"

Zed looked surprised at the last comment. "Revenge?"

Zeikfried nodded. "Yes! Revenge on the others for calling you a traitor. Revenge for calling you a coward!"

Zed held slayer up in the light. "And if I refuse?"

Zeikfried pointed behind Zed. "Then you’ll die!"

The other demons emerged from the darkness. Zed was cut off. He took one look around at the others. He closed his eyes, and lay his head against Slayer’s hilt. "Laura, forgive me." He then looked up, with fire burning in his eyes. "Zeikfried, I’ll never follow you again! I wouldn’t follow you if you were the last leader on earth!"

And Zed rushed towards Zeikfried, murder in his eyes…"

"Boomerang awaken! I would speak to you."

Boomerang awoke. He was laying in a bed, much like the one he sleped in at training school so many centuries ago. "Master?" There above him, stood his old master. A master he hadn’t seen since leaving his old planet. "But how? I though you’d gone to a different world from me?"

His old master nodded. "That I did. But I heard you were having some problems here. Betraying your own kind to help the humans!"

Boomerang nodded. "It’s true. But, Zeikfried lacks honor. How can I follow a leader who doesn’t fight honorably?"

His master shook his head. "My child, is it any more honorable to betray your kind? Zeikfried was very hurt by your betrayal."

"Master, you don’t understand. He betrayed Mother! He allowed the humans to attack her. He didn’t act with honor around his own kind! How can I follow a leader who can’t lead his own troops? You also told me to fight for a cause I believe in. And I believe that the humans are right! Unlike demons, they can forgive their enemies! And unlike Zeikfried, they know all warriors deserve a chance!"

The master shook his head. "I was afraid you’d speak so. So be it. I shall carry out your execution. As a traitor to our race, you must die!"

Boomerang sat their in shock, as his old master advanced on him with Slayer in his hands. Coming in for the kill…

Lucid stood up. For the first time in centuries, she was herself again. She looked around the room she was in. A door opened behind her. Lucid turned around, to see Boomerang entering. "Lucid, I’ve come to speak with you."

Lucid looked up. "What is it Boomerang?"

He shook his head. "I cannot allow you to follow me any more. I just discovered why I lost to those humans! You betrayed me. All these years I’ve fought beside you, and I thought I could trust you! But it turns out you were only betraying me!"

Lucid was shocked. "Wh…What do you mean?"

"I know you know what I mean traitor! Zephyr told me of your mission! To ensure that I failed at my tasks!"

"No, no that’s not true! How can you believe him?"

"He proved it to me! He showed be battles where you helped in my defeat! To think I could ever trust you!"

"Boomerang! I swear! I’d never betray you! I…I, I love you! That’s why I betrayed the Guardians! I wanted to be with you, even if I were a wolf because of it!"

"You lie! I shall hear no more of this! I shall kill you myself!"

With that, Boomerang drew Slayer, and advanced on Lucid…


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