The Next Generation Part 10

Secret In The Jungle

By Krazy Sam

The next morning, Lana, Maro, Sari, and Elena said their final good byes to Zala and her family. After thanking them for such a wonderful time, they walked off into the blue sunrise and to the Mystic Mountains, to disappear in a flash of blinding blue light. They emerged in the End of Time seconds later, to be greeted by Robo.

“You’re back!” he exclaimed happily. He shook Sari’s hand, and then Maro’s in turn, and last, Lana’s. He then lowered his brass head. “Sari’s family is starting to worry. I think that you should escort her to her home for a while, don’t you think?” he asked solomnly. Lana nodded.

“Fine. We’ll go. Maybe, we can just have a little bit of fun. I just want to forget about Lao for the moment,” she sighed. Maro smiled.

“Fun…that would be nice,” he agreed. Sari lowered her head.

“What would my parents think when they see that I have a robotic arm?” she muttered. Robo tried to laugh, but his attempt was unsuccessful.

“They know. I told them,” he answered. Sari raised her head and smiled.


“Well, go. You can go through the center gate. Sari’s family is waiting,” Robo urged.


“Well, we’re back at the gym!” Sari sighed after emerging on the other side of the Gate. She grasped Maro and Lana’s hands and pulled them through the deserted halls of her school. When they had exited the doors, she, Maro, and Lana began to float a centimeter above the ground. “Try to look like you’re running,” she whispered as they began to move forward at an incredible speed. To the astonished onlookers, it actually seemed that the three were extremely good sprinters.

After two minutes, the three arrived safely at Sari’s house. Sari opened both sets of doors and called through the front door. “I’m HOME!” she screamed. Two pairs of footsteps were heard scurrying around upstairs, and soon, Sari’s parents thundered down the stairs along with a startled black and white cat.

“Are you all right?” her parents shrieked in unison. As if to scold Sari, the cat mewed loudly. Sari grinned.

“Naimo!” Sari shrieked happily, lifting the cat. It protested loudly by meowing, but Sari hugged it closer. “I see that you’re glad to see me!”

“Figures. We’re worried about our firstborn, and she hugs the cat,” Sari’s mother muttered. Sari’s father, who was tall with diminishing dark hair and blue eyes, just frowned.

“Sari…where were you?” he finally asked gruffly. Lana and Maro stepped forward.

“It’s our fault,” Lana admitted, “you see, we went down to Trann to investigate what was causing the damage and to see if we could do anything, and it took a long time to rescue the few survivors…” she lied.

“It’s horrible down there,” Maro added helpfully. Sari’s father’s face softened.

“Well…” he muttered, “don’t miss school.”


“It was awfully nice of your parents to let us stay for as long as we need,” Lana remarked back at Sari’s room an hour later. Naimo was in the small room, and was batting at a piece of dangling string. Maro gazed around Sari’s room for a while, noticing things that he never saw before. His attention moved to a big wire cage.

“What’s in that?” he asked suddenly. Sari followed his gaze to the cage and smiled.

“It’s my hamster, Lucca…” she muttered. Lana looked at Sari strangely.

“You named it after my mother?” she questioned. Sari laughed nervously.

“Yeah. After learning of your mother, and Maro’s parents in school, I was so awed that I named my pet after her.” As if in reply, the hamster poked its brown face out of a plastic white house. It crawled out and began to sniff at the cage. It finally raised its tiny pink front paws and stood on its hind legs. Sari grinned. “She’s so cute when she does that!”

“She is cute…” Lana murmured. Sari finally stood up and crossed her room. She pulled a small box from a drawer and opened it. She then lifted a tiny cone from inside it. She placed the cone in a ceramic holder and a spark leapt from her finger to ignite the tip. The flame burned out, but the tip of the cone continued to burn. The sweet scent from the smoke arising from the deep jade cone filled the air and relaxed Lana in ways that she had never imagined.

“What is this?” Maro asked, speaking Lana’s exact thoughts. Sari smiled.

“It’s incense. I thought you guys had it in your era,” she answered. Maro nodded.

“I thought so,” he replied, “only the priests can use it, and I’ve never seen incense before. Does everybody burn it in this era?”

Sari laughed softly. “No. Some people think that burning incense and meditating is weird. I, personally, believe that it is good for relaxation.”

Lana sighed and stood from her spot on the green-carpeted floor. “It’s working.” Sari smiled and strode back across the room to a small black box. She pressed a button, and strains of a soft melody filled the air. Lana took an immediate liking to the music, as did Maro.

“What is this?” Lana questioned. Sari closed her eyes softly.

“This is classical music. Not many people listen to it anymore. It’s about seven hundred years old. Most people listen to songs with a heavy beat. I don’t like it too much,” she replied. She walked over to her bunk bed and lay down on the bottom bed. Maro, who was sitting on the top bunk, climbed down and joined Lana. She sat down again, and Maro sat beside her. He slid his arm around her waist and she leaned her head on his shoulder. The music softly played in the background, and the three sat in silence.


Night fell quickly, and Sari began to show signs of fatigue at around nine o’ clock. Lana also felt tired, and Maro seemed worn out. Sari finally walked to her room with Lana and Maro close behind her.

“Are we going to sleep?” Lana questioned. Sari turned to her and nodded.

“I’m sleepy. How about you guys?” she asked, also directing her question at Maro. They both nodded in unison.

“I’ll take the top bunk…” Sari murmured, and then her eyes took on a sly glow. “If you guys want, you both can share the bottom bunk.”

Lana allowed a small smile to slip. “Okay…”

Sari suddenly frowned. “That wouldn’t be okay…two teenagers under the influence of hormones…that’s not good!”

Lana shook her head. “Not until I’m married.”

Maro nodded in agreement. “We could get arrested if we don’t wait.” Sari smiled at that remark.

“Well, it seems that people in the past have more sense!” she exclaimed. Lana shrugged and Maro looked down at the carpet. Sari walked over to a brown dresser and opened the top drawer. She pulled out two long shirts, one jade and the other black. Sari tossed the black shirt over to Lana, and rummaged in the drawer some more. She then pulled out a large pair of dark denim shorts. She then threw the shorts to Maro, and he gaped at the shorts with surprise.

“I’m not going to fit in these!” he exclaimed. Sari sighed and closed the drawer. She opened the next one down and pulled out a pair of blue and green plaid boxer shorts.

“You’ll fit in these,” she said without emotion. Maro raised an eyebrow, but walked off to the bathroom to change. Sari removed her short shirt and pulled the short sleeved nightshirt over her head. She did not put her arms through the sleeves, but allowed a small white piece of cloth fall to the floor. Lana stared at the cloth with small straps, and tried to figure out what it was.

“What is that?” she asked softly. Sari shook her head.

“Nothing.” She removed her shorts from under the shirt, and finally put her arms through the sleeves. The shirt tumbled down to her knees, and Sari grasped her robotic arm firmly. She then twisted it violently to the right, and yanked down. The arm came off of her shoulder, and the sleeve fell over where her arm should have been. Sari smiled. “Robo wired it so I could take it off to sleep and to play soccer.”

Lana nodded, and removed her shirt; copying Sari’s every move, short of yanking her right arm off. Soon, both girls were clad in similar shirts. Lana pulled her hair out of the neck of the nightshirt and undid the holder. Her long purple hair then fell freely over her back. At that moment, Maro strode in, carrying his clothes and only wearing the boxer shorts. Sari whistled.

“Looking good, Maro!” she laughed. Maro glanced down and stared at his muscular chest and bare legs. His face turned as red as his hair and he grinned self-consciously.

“Don’t worry about it, Maro,” Lana said kindly. Maro was still blushing, but he let the armload of clothes fall to the ground.

“I hope you’re going to pick those up!” Sari called from across the room. Maro frowned, bent down, and lifted the pile again. He moved the clothes to the farthest corner from the bed and set them there. Lana moved her clothes to the same location, and Sari put hers in a green basket. She then floated up to the top bunk. Lana walked to the lower bed, and Maro followed slowly. Sari glared at the light switch on the wall near the door, and it flicked downwards, shutting off the light. She shut her eyes tiredly, and fell asleep quickly.

Below her, Maro shivered with cold. Why had Sari given him such a cold outfit? He turned to Lana, who seemed to be peacefully asleep. He shook her lightly, and to his surprise, she rolled over quickly.

“I’m awake,” she whispered. She gazed at Maro. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m cold,” he complained. Lana laughed softly.

“You’re always cold,” she teased. Maro shrugged.

“Well, look at what Sari gave me to wear to sleep!” he argued. He then lifted the plain blue blanket and Lana stared at him- all of him. She then pushed his hand down and moved closer.

“I’ll help you out,” she whispered. Maro smiled gratefully.

“Thanks…” he murmured back. Lana pulled Maro close to her and he sighed happily. “That’s better!” Maro then gazed into Lana’s eyes. They seemed to sparkle with a peaceful light, and he suddenly felt connected to her. He brought his face down to hers and kissed her lightly. “Good night.”

Lana sighed as she rested her head by Maro’s chest. “Good night.” She shut her eyes and soon fell into a heavy sleep.


“Wake up, you crazy lovebirds!”

The next morning seemed to come quickly for Lana and Maro. Sari shook Lana roughly with her one arm and Lana groaned in misery.

“Why do you have to wake us up now?” she complained. Maro mumbled his agreement from beside her.

“It’s ten o’ clock,” Sari answered patiently. Lana’s eyes snapped open and darted to the small alarm clock.

“TEN?” she shrieked. She flew out of bed in a frenzy and Maro fell back asleep. Sari slapped him across his peaceful face. His eyes slowly opened and he got a good look at Sari. She was wearing a white tank top and a pair of cutoff blue jeans. Her robotic arm wasn’t attached, and Maro shrieked, seeing the wires stuck in her arm.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” he asked quietly. Sari shook her head.

“I have no nerves from my right shoulder down. Those have been replaced with wires. I can’t feel a thing, but I have improved coordination in my right arm. It’s actually kind of cool. I can’t get hurt!” Maro laughed and rolled out of the blankets. Sari moved out of his way, grabbing her robotic arm, which was lying on her desk, and firmly pressed it into her shoulder. A loud click was heard and Sari flexed her fingers. “Perfect!”

Maro grabbed his clothes and began to dress over the boxer shorts. They were actually pretty comfortable! “Can I keep the shorts?”

Sari laughed and pulled him to his feet. “Sure. I don’t mind.” Maro pulled his blue vest over his long sleeved green shirt and began to fasten his white belt. “Um…Maro?” Sari finally called. Maro lifted his head.


“It’s hot outside. I wouldn’t be wearing all that stuff,” she said softly. Maro shrugged and pulled off both shirts. He then put on his blue vest and tied the belt.

“Better?” he asked. Sari nodded.

“You’re still going to be hot…” she muttered. Maro frowned.

“So what am…” he started, but before he could finish his question, Sari had dashed into her brother’s room. She soon emerged with a large blue baseball jersey. She tossed it at Maro, who gratefully put it on. Sari then walked over to her own drawers and pulled out a pair of shorts and a short tie-dyed shirt. She walked across the hall to the bathroom and knocked lightly on the closed door.

“Lana…” she called softly, “are you in there?”

“Yes,” Lana replied. Sari twisted the metal knob of the door and it opened easily. Inside, Lana was hastily trying to put on her clothes. Sari laughed and set the outfit down.

“It’s hot outside, so wear this,” she instructed. Lana shrugged.

“It looks weird, but I’ll wear it…” she murmured. Sari quietly exited and shut the door softly behind her. When she arrived back in her room, Maro was sitting on her bed gazing at a large framed picture of a small dark-haired boy.

“Who’s this?” he asked innocently. Sari’s eyes suddenly filled with tears and she turned away.

“It’s…” she started, “an…old friend. He’s dead now, and it’s my fault…” her voice broke and she covered her face with her hands. Maro shrugged and put the picture down. Sari shook her head.

“It happened so long ago… I hardly remember it, except that I lost the ring that he had given me the day before he…disappeared.”

Maro narrowed his eyes. “What happened?”

Sari laughed bitterly. “His family and my family were camping out in the Dorino jungle, and I was five. He was seven. We decided to play hide-and-seek, and we played for hours…”

“Who’s he?” Maro interrupted.

“His name was Stal,” she answered softly. She shook her head. “Soon, he hid, and he found the perfect spot. It was so perfect that I searched for an hour trying to find him, and he got lost. I heard his screams, and when I got there, he was gone. I ran through the bushes trying to find him, and soon, this gigantic…thing…came straight for me. I ran back to the camp as fast as I could…and as I was running, I dropped a small metal ring with a gigantic plastic “stone.” By the time I got back to the camp, the sun had set, and we couldn’t go look for him. We searched the jungle for a week afterward. There was a search party trying to locate him…” Sari sighed.

“Then what happened?” Maro questioned further. Sari sat down on the green carpet and rested her face in her hands.

“Some of his blood turned up. It stained a plant, and it was tested. It was a perfect match. That was when we knew that he wasn’t going to be found, and if he was, it would be his dead body. His family blamed me for the tragedy…and they were right. It was my fault.”

Maro moved over to Sari and put an arm around her shoulder. “It wasn’t your fault. It was innocent, and it could have happened to anybody.”

Sari smiled weakly. “But it didn’t happen to anybody. It happened to him. He and I were practically best friends. We always made plans for the future… when we would get married, have children, what schools they were going to go to… it was so cute… but it isn’t going to happen now that he’s dead.”

From behind Sari, Lana walked in the room. She looked around, and gazed at Sari and Maro in shock. “What happened?”

Sari began to tell Lana the whole story, and when she was finished, Lana had tears in her eyes.

“That’s so sad!” she remarked. Sari nodded miserably. Soon, her frown faded and she plastered a fake smile on her face.

“We came here to have a good time, and that is exactly what is going to happen,” she insisted. Lana and Maro nodded in agreement.

“So what are we going to do?” Maro finally asked. Sari shrugged.

“First, we should get everyone down here,” she said uncertainly. Lana nodded and pressed the gate key. Olana, Elena, and Robo arrived through the gate and gazed around their surroundings.

“Nice room,” Elena remarked. Sari smiled.

“Thanks.” She suddenly grinned wider. “Close your eyes- all of you.” As the group obeyed, Sari raised her arms. A second later, they were all at a sandy beach. Olana shook her head.

“This is no good,” she said softly. She then turned to Sari, her blue eyes glittering. “I have an idea!”

Sari frowned. “What?” Olana laughed in reply.

“Block your mind powers,” she answered. Sari closed her eyes and her head twitched to the side.


“Now, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and teleport us to the place you most want to be.” Sari frowned and shook her head.

“I want to be in so many places at once… that’s no good.”

Olana giggled. “That’s what makes it fun! You won’t even be aware of where you’re going!”

Sari frowned. “Well, let’s see if we turn up on Geno, because that place has a nice climate.”

Elena smiled. “Just do it!” Sari closed her eyes tightly and sucked in a deep breath.

“What’s the mind block for?”

Olana sighed. “So the surprise isn’t spoiled!”

Sari shrugged and began to teleport her friends. She suddenly sucked in a deep breath of damp, fragrant air. Her eyes snapped open and she gasped.

“Dorino jungle…” she whispered. Her eyes filled with tears and she backed up. “I… I can’t go…on…”

“You wanted to be here!” Maro argued. He looked around and smiled. “It’s not so bad. We’ll all be here, so there’s no problem, right?”

Sari shook her head. “I’m not going!”

“Yes you are!” Maro cried, pushing her forward. Sari shrieked in fear.

“NO!” she screamed, “NONONONONONONONONONONONO!!!” Maro shrugged and pushed her forward another step.


Deep within the jungle, the Ilkina, or jungle protector, swung off a branch and grabbed a handful of sweet purple berries. He gulped them hungrily, and the dark juice ran down his deeply tanned face. He leaped off the high branch and landed gracefully on his feet in the soft dirt below. Suddenly, he heard a faint scream.

“Trouble…” he murmured. He strained to hear what the scream was. He made out one word; “No.”

“…Eh?” he muttered. His dark eyes suddenly snapped open. Invaders! There were invaders in his peaceful jungle! He ran to the voice, and his animal skin loincloth pressed against his body as he picked up speed. His long dark hair flew behind him, and the trees and bushes seemed to fly past at an incredible speed. As the Ilkina ran, a tiny metal ring tied around his neck by a black cord bounced against his muscular chest.


“I’m not going! You can’t make me!” Sari protested. Her voice suddenly grew weak. “Stal…” Her tiny plea was drowned out by approaching footsteps. Olana, Elena, and Robo had long gone to explore, and Maro, Sari, and Lana were left alone. Suddenly, a lone figure appeared in front of the three.

“You are invading my jungle,” he said without emotion. Sari gazed up and into the teen’s eyes. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t place the face. She suddenly longed for her mind powers, but like Olana said, she should be surprised. The boy backed into a fighting stance. “Go, or I will kill you.”

Sari sighed. “I don’t think so.” She shot a wave of shadow at him, and the impact knocked him against a nearby tree. He pulled himself to his feet and punched her in her stomach. Sari groaned in pain and collapsed to her knees. Maro drew his sword and pressed it against the boy’s throat.

“We don’t mean you harm. Are you going to hurt us?” he growled. The boy groaned in return.

“No…” he finally choked out. Maro eased the sword, and it cut a small black leather cord around the boy’s neck. It fell to the ground and a metallic clank was heard as it hit a rock. Sari’s eyes went wide as she dashed for it. She picked up the cord and the small metal ring that was on it. Her expression changed as her fingers ran over a jade piece of plastic.

“No…!” she whispered. Her eyes raised to the boy. “How did you get this?”

The boy stared back in defiance. “I found it.”

Sari stood up and slapped him with her robotic arm. “How DARE you steal from a dead person! You’re just some punk kid, aren’t you?”

The boy’s eyes widened. “No. It was mine. I gave it to my best friend… and found it laying on the ground. You see, I’ve been here since I was seven and I got lost. I remember cutting my hand on a thorn, and finding shelter… I also remember talking to my self to combat boredom…”

Sari started to cry. “Stal…?”

The boy’s eyes widened. “You know my name… has my family been asking about me?”

Sari knelt before Stal and wept. “Stal…it’s me…Sari.” Stal shrieked softly and pulled Sari to her feet.

“Sari?” he asked quietly. Sari nodded. Stal nodded. “I recognize you. How long has it been?”

Sari turned away. “Nine years.” She heard Stal gasp.

“Nine? I thought one…maybe two…but nine?”

“Yeah, and your family hates me now. They blame me for losing sight of you.”

Lana cleared her throat. “How come the search parties didn’t find you?”

Stal laughed bitterly. “I got scared and hid. They probably think that I’m dead, huh?”

Maro nodded. “They do.”

Sari cried harder and hugged Stal tightly. “I-I can’t believe it! After all these years…you were alive!”

Stal smiled. “I missed you.”

Sari stopped crying long enough to look him in the eye. “You probably forgot me.” Stal turned away and lowered his head.

“I never forgot you. In fact, you were all that I could think about,” he murmured. He turned back around, his dark eyes wet. “How did you get your metal arm?”

It was Sari’s turn to look away. “My best friend sliced off my arm…” she muttered. Stal frowned deeply.

“Some friend.”

“No, he was inhabited by an evil spirit. We tried to revive him after he was killed…” Sari then told Stal about Lao, the Epoch, time traveling, and Tavi. His eyes grew bigger with each growing detail.

“Will you take me to the outside world?” he asked softly. Sari nodded slowly.

“First, you need clothes,” she said flatly. Her left arm went behind her back and when she put it back out in front of her, a pair of black jeans and a nice white shirt were being clutched by her fragile hand. Stal took them carefully, sniffing them first.

“How you do that? Magic?” he asked in disbelief. Sari’s somber expression didn’t change.

“Yeah.” Sari also created a pair of black high-topped sneakers and tossed them at Stal. Suddenly, something within her snapped, and her head twitched quickly to the right. Emotions, thoughts, and consciousness began to swirl around her mind, overwhelming her. Stal gazed at her worriedly.

“What’s wrong?” he asked softly. Sari shook her head.

“I’m fine but…” she suddenly trailed off and looked Stal in the eye. “Come on, I’m the first person you saw in nine years. How could you possibly…”

Stal’s eyes widened in shock. “You read thoughts too?”

It was Sari’s turn to look shocked. “Whaddya mean, ‘too?’”

Stal laughed softly. “I can read thoughts. That’s why I believed you when you said that you were who you said you were.”

Sari choked out a giggle. “That’s amazing! I thought that I was the only one!” Stal rushed forward suddenly, dropping the clothes. He embraced Sari tightly, and her eyes enlarged. She then closed her eyes softly and returned the hug.

“I…” Stal murmured. Sari cut him off with a tight squeeze.

“Shh…” she whispered. “Like I said, I’m the first person you saw in a long time. Wait a while. Then, you’ll know if you really…”

“Are you finished?” Lana asked with a trace of annoyance in her voice. Sari and Stal pulled apart, and turned to face the impatient leader. Sari nodded.

“Yes, thanks to you,” Sari replied with a hint of anger. Stal blushed and pulled the jeans on.

“Lana!” Maro exclaimed, turning to his friend. Lana shrugged and her face took on a look of naiveté.

“What?” she asked innocently.


Within three minutes, Stal was fully clothed, and Robo, Elena, and Olana had returned. Sari grasped Stal’s hand tightly as a question rang throughout her mind. A second later, it was voiced by Stal.

“How’s my family?” he asked.

Sari’s eyes softened. She remembered that his family lived in Trann… “I…don’t know… Trann was destroyed.”

Stal’s dark eyes filled with tears. “Are they okay?”

Sari sighed. “I guess that I could try to sense them…” she murmured.

Stal smiled brightly. “You can do that?” Sari nodded and closed her eyes. Her mind traveled over the world, and finally stopped.

“They live in Geno. They’re fine,” she said flatly. She then turned back to Stal. “Wanna go there?”

Stal nodded. “Please take me there.”

Sari closed her eyes and began to teleport her friends to Geno.


The heat of Geno beat down upon Sari as she suddenly found herself there. She looked around for a while, and sat down into the warm sand.

“Now what?” Lana asked. Elena, from beside her, giggled, and ran into the nearby ocean. She dove in, and resurfaced, her clothes soaking wet. Olana, Maro, and Lana quickly followed suit, and Robo plopped down into the sand.

“Go ahead. I will be waiting,” he said softly. Sari quickly stood, and led Stal inland.

They both walked for an hour, and finally stopped at a nice white house with a brown roof. Sari stopped at the brown wooden door and turned to Stal, whose long hair was neatly tied back.

“This is the house,” Sari murmured. She took a deep breath, and knocked on the door.

A muffled reply emerged from behind the closed door. “Who is it?”

Sari panicked. “It’s…uh…me…Sari.” The door was suddenly flung open. Standing behind the door was a tall woman with deep black hair like Stal’s. She eyed Sari carefully, and her gaze darkened.

“Sari…” she murmured, “why have you come?”

“Um…” Sari started, aware of the fact that Stal’s mother was still angry at her, “Stal…I found him.”

Stal stepped forward and embraced his mother. “Hi mom!”

The woman leapt back and eyed her son. “No…”

Stal laughed joyfully. “Mama, it’s me!” His mother jerked away violently and glared at the two.

“Listen, Sari,” she growled, “I don’t want to deal with your apathy about the loss of Stal. He’s gone, and any cruel joke that you play on me will NOT BRING HIM BACK!!!” with that, she slammed the door in their faces. The only other sound that Sari heard after that was muffled sobs.

“Mama…” Stal murmured, falling to his knees. He brought his large hands to his face and allowed a small cry to escape from his throat. “Mama…” he repeated. Sari’s eyes filled with sympathetic tears and she put her arm over Stal’s shoulders.

“Stal, I think that we could convince your parents that it really is you…” Sari murmured. Stal shook his head.

“I have no family. I have no home… what difference does it make?” Sari sighed.

“For now, I can be your family…” she offered. Stal looked up with damp eyes.

“Thanks for the thought…it really helps…” he murmured. Sari smiled weakly, and Stal followed suit.

“Want to come with us?” Sari offered. Stal nodded without hesitation.

“Sure. Am I going to help save the world, too?”

Sari bobbed her head. “I don’t know how far we’ll get, but that’s the plan.”


Go To Chapter 11

Krazy Sam's Fanfics