Hanali leapt from behind the cubes and rushed to Evalieh’s side. The purple sparks wrapped around Hanali like thorny ropes, trapping him. Adam Beve and Adam Xam caught him and pinned him to the ground. Trembling from the electrical sparks shocking his body, Evalieh looked over at Hanali.
“What is one of our own doing here?” Proton said. He flicked his cape back and placed his hands on his hips. He tapped Evalieh with his foot.
Beve cackled wildly and rolled her eyes. She huffed, blowing a plume of her hair out of her face. “There’s no way he’s one of ours. They’re just rowdy locals,” she said.
Hanali wiggled beneath Adam Xam’s weight and tried to spread the ropes apart. He groaned and cried out as the sparks grew more intense. Evalieh wiggled around after watching Hanali, he tried to break free.
Beve whipped out a fuzzy orange fan and laughed. “Don’t tell me, one of our own has gone rogue,” she said. She tapped Evalieh’s face with her foot. “Who knows how long he’s been here with these savages—watch yourself, he’s probably contagious or something.”
“Enough,” Proton said. He plucked one of the steel tassels from his shoulder and it extended into a staff. He pointed it at Hanali and moved his finger over the glowing buttons. “Clearly, you two are the cause of this disturbance. We must eradicate you and restore balance.”
Hanali cried out and rose to his knees, fighting against the electricity. He pushed Adam Xam away and staggered towards Proton, breathing heavily. “He’s no disturbance—he’s one of your own. He wants to go home,” Hanali said. He brushed the purple thorns away and rubbed the red wounds they left behind.
“You think we’re here to take him home?” Proton asked.
Acting over dramatic, Beve laughed and hobbled around as if she were about to faint. “Oh, I can’t believe little ol’ me had to leave the cozy comforts of my bed for the likes of these two.” She placed her arm over her forehead and sighed. “Oh, Proton, won’t you hurry and take care of them so we can return,” she said.
“Enough!” Proton said. “I’ll put an end to this here and now. Then, we can leave this awful place.” He pointed his staff at Hanali once again and pressed the button. Hanali winced at the few sparks that sputtered out of the staff’s tip. He expected something to strike him, but nothing happened. Proton frowned with anger and started smacking his staff. “Why isn’t this working?” He looked over at Adam Vam.
Vam frantically ran his finger through the records in his holographic checklist. Then, he hurried over to a container and unlocked its many nobs. Smoke poured out from the creases in the chest, revealing little diamond-like crystals laid out in rows. He plucked three from the chest and threw Beve and Xam one. “We’ll use these,” Vam said.
Evalieh felt his strength returning and his vision clearing. His excitement and fear faded, allowing him to stretch and break the thorny electrical ropes surrounding him. He rose to his feet, standing firm alongside Hanali.
“Tell me, why is one of our own working with a savage?” Proton said. He began circling the two. “How did you get here?”
Evalieh looked over at Hanali and took a deep breath. He clenched his fist and shot Proton a sharp look. “He-he’s, my friend. We’re trying to find me a way home before the Shaman Clan catches us,” Evalieh said.
“Preposterous. Only us and the elite have access to this space.”
“I was thrown in here against my will!”
Beve cackled and covered her face with her fan. “You must have done something very bad to be thrown in here then. Though, I cannot fathom why you’d be put here and not somewhere else,” she said.
“To think one of our own would be afraid of these savages. How pathetic,” Proton said. He turned, holding his hands behind his back. “It is not my place to question, but perhaps, you weren’t meant to land here. Your time in this space has already caused enough trouble.”
“Then, take me home!”
Proton refused to turn around and stepped towards his office cube. “I cannot allow that. We must make sure any trace of you, or your disturbance is eradicated,” he said. With a snap of his finger, the other three placed their gemstone atop their forehead.
A gust of magical wind swirled around Beve, Xam, and Vam. They transformed into crystalized versions of themselves. With her fan, Adam Beve stirred up a whirlwind and tossed the young men across the camp.
Evalieh and Hanali landed with a thud, feeling the impact ache across their bodies. Evalieh’s knees buckled, and his legs quaked. He stumbled into Hanali and helped him up. The other Adams lunged towards them. Evalieh gasped, feeling his heart sink.
Hanali held up his necklace. “Sunlight, adorn me!” He transformed into a light warden and pulled out his rapier, clashing blows with the others.
“Your fancy tricks won’t work on us,” Beve said. She swung her fan around, sending out three mini tornados.
Hanail backflipped into a tree’s trunk, pulling Evalieh out of the way. He sprang forward, slicing through the tornados, extinguishing their winds. With blinding speed, he slashed into the other two men, clinking his rapier against their crystal swords. On their own, Xam and Vam couldn’t land a hit on Hanali. They joined together and charged at him from both sides, letting Beve knock him off his feet with a gust.
Fearing the worst, Evalieh dove into the bushes and cowered behind the trees.
Hanali rolled out of the way and kicked the swords away before he could be hit. He backflipped out of the way and hurdled his rapier at the enemy. “Brakierie!” he said. It swirled around the area like a boomerang, slicing through the cubes and trees, shattering Xam and Vam’s swords. Beve plucked a feather from her fan and blew on it, causing hundreds of razor-sharp projectiles to explode around Hanali.
Beve danced around, sending out more and projectiles to distract Hanali from the others. A sharp feather grazed Hanali and pinned him down. Another struck his shoulder, causing his transformation to flicker. “See, you silly little savage. Your power is no match for ours. You’re just data for ADAM’s records,” she said.
Evalieh dug his hands into the tree’s trunk, wishing he could transform and help. His body trembled and boiled with fear and rage. Fire and ice escaped his breath and his eyes turned pale and red.
Beve pointed her fan at Hanali, transforming it into a bladed spike. “We don’t care what happens to this place or to you. You’re just another cog in the process,” she said.
Xam and Vam collected themselves and grabbed onto Adam Beve’s hands. Together, they fused their gemstones into one and transformed into a crystal monster. They stomped towards Hanali, rumbling the ground with every step.
Trembling, Evalieh felt an urge of excitement rush through him, forcing him towards Hanali. As the monster reared its fists back, Evalieh pried Hanali from the ground and dragged him out of the way. Gasping, they dodged the incoming fist and were knocked back by its blast.
Hanali fell to his knee, bracing himself against his rapier. His transformation flickered. “I don’t know how much longer I can last like this,” he said.
Evalieh scurried over to Hanali, but the monster knocked him back with a swing of its arm. He slammed into Proton’s office.
Proton came outside fuming with anger. “We don’t have time to waste playing around—finish them and let’s go.” He plucked a knife from one of his tassels and grabbed Evalieh by the neck before he could flee. “I’ve got one—you finish the other.”
“Why are you doing this? We don’t have to fight! I just want to go home,” Evalieh said. He tried to wiggle free and bit Proton by the arm. Proton cried out and threw the knife at Evalieh’s, wounding his shoulder. Raindrops trickled into his wound, making him flinch with pain.
“Have you learned nothing? No one must know about this place. Whether you were meant to be here or not—this place must maintain order,” Proton said. He walked over to Evalieh as he tried to get away. He kicked his feet out and knocked Evalieh onto the ground, driving the knife into his shoulder.
“If only I were stronger—then, you’d be sorry,” Evalieh said. He tried crawling away, but Proton stepped on his back.
Hanali dodged the monster’s arms and clashed his rapier against its crystal body. He flipped out of the way and grabbed onto his pendant, focusing all his energy into his flame. A great light engulfed his body, turning him into a blazing flame. Hanali shot across the camp like a shooting star and pierced the monster in the chest, knocking it onto its back. He then rocketed around the camp, slicing their supplies and buildings into pieces. With everything ablaze, he knocked Proton down and scooped Evalieh up. Before he could escape, his light went out and Evalieh heard a crack. It was as if glass had shattered around them, causing the two to stumble and fall into the trees.
Evalieh came to his senses and wrapped his hand around the knife. He held his breath and pulled the knife out, feeling its jagged blade tear through his skin. Feeling limp and sore in his left arm, he dragged Hanali up and tried wrapping him around his shoulders. “Wh-what’s going on? What’s happened to you?”
Beve, Vam, and Xam, unfused and their crystals cracked. Proton slapped the three of them across the face. “Look at our camp, you let those two get away!” he said. With a flick of his cape, he threw back his silver hair and summoned a crystal spaceship with his staff. From the sky a jagged crystal crashed into the ground, sending shockwaves through the jungle, tossing flames at Evalieh and Hanali. Dusty debris and waves of heat slammed into them as they tried to escape the raging flames.
“Ah, my body—it hurts,” Hanali said.