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Fanfic: Will's Secret
Fanfic: Will's Secret
Disclaimer - The W.I.T.C.H. cartoon was released by Disney, based on the comics by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. No infringement of the copyright is intended.

Author's Notes: This story is based on the cartoon continuity.

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"Hey, check out the new girl!"

That wasn't something Will Vandom was terribly keen to hear, particularly from the clown with ginger hair all spiked up. The sort of person that gave redheads a bad name.

"Hey, Wilma."

"Like I've never heard that before." Will didn't even bother to look in their direction. It wasn't particularly original either. Every class since elementary back in Fadden Hills, someone had seen red hair, a pointy face and large eyes. Then, without fail, they thought of that cartoon character. Will had never liked watching the  Flintstones.

They snickered mindlessly anyway as Will walked past, hands buried in the pockets so no one could see them clench. Letting them see they were getting a response would only encourage them.

"That's Uriah," a slim asian girl at the table across the way. Will paused, giving her a second look. Pretty, garish colour choices in her clothes... including a very short green miniskirt. Yeah, this was the girl Will had been looking for. The girl grinned at Will's raised eyebrow, presuming it was in regard to the identification. "Ignore him."

"Yeah, evolution did," agreed the nearest of the three girls (Will mentally labelled them Blonde, Brunette and Glasses - the brunette was the one talking) at the next table along. "One day we expect him to slither back into the swamp."

"Can't happen too soon." Fishing around inside a jacket pocket, Will produced the scrap of notepaper that had brought the redhead into the display of school science projects to begin with. "I got your note, Hay Lin. Thanks for inviting me." It wasn't exactly normal to have one slipped into your locker in the first day at a new school, but given how the rest of the day had gone so far, that was a welcome change. "When were you thinking to eat?"

"She invited new girl too?" Blonde explained in what was probably intended to be a whisper.

Will flinched. Not this again.

"Cornelia!" Glasses snapped reprovingly.

An awkward silence fell over the five teenagers, Will trying to decide if the friendly invitation was worth swallowing a little pride. A lot of pride. Might be better to clear up the confusion now.

"So... what are your projects about?" Will asked at last. So much for pride.

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Hay Lin's home was a little chinese restaurant, on a busy corner in the middle of Heatherfield. The building looked completely out of place, surrounded by much taller and more modern structures but in a way, that was its best adverstisement: no one going past it could ever mistake it.

Conversation wasn't exactly flowing as the five of them sat around the kitchen table in the apartment above the restaurant. There was a plate of fortune cookies on the table but Will didn't want to look like a mooch by being the first to take one... and no one else had.

"So Will," asked Glasses - her name was Taranee Cook and perhaps stereotypically it was plain she was the brains of the four girls. "Where did you go to school before Sheffield?"

"Hello!" Cornelia cut in. "Who cares? Have you guys noticed a bunch of real strange stuff going on around me lately?"

Irma - Brunette - gasped in feigned shock. "Oh dear! The conversation has accidentally wandered away from Cornelia's life. Whatever were we thinking?" she finished, sarcasm almost dropping from her lips.

Cornelia pouted and the other girls giggled. Will snickered a little too and then inspiration struck. She picked up the plate and offered it to Irma first.

"Thanks!" Irma grabbed two and Will leant over to offer the plate around before putting it down and picking one up.

The door opened behind Will and Hay Lin's grandmother - Yon Lin, Will wasn't sure if that meant Lin was a family name or something else - walked in carrying an ornamental box. "Enjoying your food?" the old woman asked cheerily.

There were polite mutterings from everyone except Cornelia, who hadn't taken a cookie, and Will whose mouth was full and didn't think that spitting crumbs across the table would make a good first impression.

Irma leant forwards, raising one finger. "But the important thing is: how is Cornelia enjoying her food?"

"What's your fortune?" asked Hay Lin, pointing at the paper Will had left on the plate.

"Er..." Will unfolded it and raised an eyebrow. "Well, that's... fortuitious. 'You will make a new best friend'."

Irma winked at Will, who shrugged and offered the paper to her as evidence.

Yon Lin placed the casket onto the table, standing between Will and Taranee. She placed one hand on Will's shoulder. "I am sure that you will make many new friends in Heatherfield, Will. Let me tell you girls a story. One I believe has a special meaning for all five of you."

All five... girls. Will restrained a groan but couldn't hide a slightly pained expression.

Hay Lin mis-interpreted it. "Grandma, they really don't want to hear a story."

The old woman held one finger to her lips. "Shush." Then she reached out with the finger and touched... something. Will couldn't see anything there - it seemed to be empty air, but there must be something because light flared into existance in the air.

Will almost fell out of the chair as the light took the form of several glowing orb in the air, much like a picture of the solar system. Except that this wasn't a flat picture, as the thirteen year old moved it was clear that this was three dimensional. Irma caught hold of Will until the redhead was steady. Even after Will was back in the chair, their hands remained clasped together.

"The universe was once a single kingdom, ruled by good, but evil began to take root." As Yan Lin spoke, a black sphere moved into view in the picture and swept up to engulf the golden light at the centre of it. "A veil was created to isolate the evil kingdom of Meridian from all other worlds." The golden light vanished from sight and tendrils of darkness began to snake out towards other globes. "Without the protection of this veil every world, including Earth, is in terrible danger." All of the lights were consumed by the darkness, leaving the previously comforting kitchen lit only by a sinister red light. "Meridian has been overtaken by a powerful entity named Phobos, but he is not the legitimate ruler. They believe the true heir to the throne is somewhere evil her on Earth."

"Um... I'd like to wake up now," Irma requested nervously.

Will reached over and pinched the brunette's cheek lightly.


"I was kind of hoping you would wake up, then maybe I could too."

Yan Lin's wrinkled face twisted into a grim smile at the two. Behind her a glowing silver shape, more or less circular, formed. "Portals have begun to open in the Veil. Doorways through which evil can pass between worlds. There are people called Guardians whose job it is to close these holes using their powers." She snapped her fingers and the strange lights vanished as if they had never existed. "I became a Guardian when I was your age. But now the duty is passing to your generation."

Cornelia burst to her feet. "Well, thanks for the snacks, I gotta..."

"Ah ah ah!" Yon Lin waggled her finger reprovingly and the blonde sat, chastened. Will tried to give her a sympathetic look - the new arrival in Heatherfield had been quietly edging the chair back from the table with the same idea in mind.

Yon Lin opened the box and lifted out a pendant by the string around it. Will's jaw dropped. It shouldn't have been cause for surprise but the glass - or was it crystal? - orb in the pendant was glowing with pink light. "This is the Heart of Candracar, which contains the elemental forces of nature." The old woman's smile twisted into a mischievious grin. "In the last few days you have all had unusual experiences. Am I right?"

Irma's hand squeezed Will's. "Not counting this one?"

"All five of you are starting to notice extraordinary abilities. Irma, you will have noticed any water near you behaving strangely."

The girl used her free hand to stir at the juice in her glass. When she lifted the straw out, the water followed it, a ball of liquid hanging above the glass for a moment before dropping back into it. Well, mostly into it.

"Ohhhhkay," she murmured, eyes wide. Will squeezed her hand reassuringly. Irma took a deep breath and gave the red head a grateful look. "Alrighty."

"Taranee," the old woman continued. "I believe you've always been afraid of fire. But focus now on the candle."

The brown-skinned girl eyed the stub of the candle in the middle of the table nervously and then extended one shaky hand in its direction. Will's eyes went wide as she saw the other girl turn her face away, screwing her own eyes closed.

"Uh, don't you think we should..."

A streak of fire rocketed from Taranee's finger, streaked past the candle and set fire to the stem of a banana on the plate behind it. She looked chastened at the miss, but Irma grinned and gestured sharply. The water from her glass splashed suddenly upwards and doused the flame. Along with the middle of the table, but Will wasn't inclined to be fussy.

"My little Hay Lin, this morning you noticed your power over air." The old woman held up something made of red paper. Will didn't recognise it until Hay Lin took a deep breath and then blew. Air almost visibly streamed inside the paper, inflating it into a full chinese lantern.

Yon Lin smiled fondly and then indicated for Cornelia to look at small potted plant on the shelf behind where she was sitting. "To you Cornelia, is given the power over earth."

Reluctantly the blonde held her hand over the little plant and it visibly sprouted into a full fledged flower. The ill-humour fell off Cornelia's face... but only until the pot began to shake and finally burst, roots forcing their way out and spilling dirt down off the shelf and onto the girl's long hair and skirt. "Ugh."

"All five of you will get better with your powers," promised Yon Lin. Will thought she might have been the only one close enough to hear the two words that the old lady added under her breath. "I hope."

Of course that wasn't the only distinction that she had.

"Did you say five?" asked Taranee. Four pairs of eyes turned to Will.

"I... have no idea," the redhead admitted. "Maybe you have the wrong person."

It was Irma's turn to squeeze Will's hand and Yon Lin patted her hand against the thirteen year old's shoulder again. "One of the five binds the others and with the Heart of Candracar unites them, summoning and magnifying their powers." She lifted the pendant into the air and then simply released it.

Somehow Will wasn't surprised at all when the glowing jewel simply floated in mid-air for a moment and then - instead of falling - commenced a slow orbit of the group. It seemed that there was notes of music filled the room and then, having passed each of the four elemental guardians in turn it came to a halt in front of Will's face. 

"Uh," Taranee rose to her feet  as Will reached out nervously and took hold of the Heart. "Recap: we've gotta protect the world from evil by mending holes in some kinda veil."

"This doesn't involve sewing, does it?"

Irma let go of Will and stood up, ignoring Cornelia's dismissive tone. "This is so cool! When can we start?"

"You already have," the old woman told them.

"Why'd you tell us all this now, grandma?"

"There is a rebellion in Meridian," the old woman explained, stepping back a little from the table. "But their leader is in danger. I fear a dark and difficult time is coming. Many good people will need your help. Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia, Hay Lin... you have been chosen as the new Guardians of the Veil."

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"Oh yes! The perfect place to practise our powers!" announced Irma.

"You know, I still don't believe any of this stuff." Cornelia, to no one's surprise, remained skeptical. "No offense to your grandma or anything, but she's like... completely deluded. Probably not enough Vitamin D."

"What about the flower that grew when you just looked at it?" Taranee ticked off points. "Or the water in Irma's glass? And that picture Mrs. Lin drew in the air."

"Magic tricks. Ten bucks on the internet."

"You must know some interesting websites," Will told her drily. "I don't particularly want to believe this... but I gave up thinking this was all a set up for a practical joke some time around Taranee's flamethrower interpretion." Unzipping the warm grey windbreaker the redhead had picked out that morning in light of the, then torrential, rain the Heart of Candracar came into view. "I don't suppose your grandmother told you anything about how this is supposed to - whoa!"

Pink light - why pink! Will thought - burst from the Heart, levitating the surprised new Keeper into the air. Without knowing where the words came from, Will declared: "Guardians! Unite!"

Light burst from the orb, engulfing each of the Guardians in a blaze of colour. Silver for Hay Lin, orange for Taranee, blue for Irma and green for Cornelia.

Will lost sight of the others as pink light enveloped the redhead, tearing a cry from the Keeper's throat. The cry was not one of pain though, but of exaltation as a rush of warmth shot through blood and flesh and bone. Curled into a ball at the heart of the light, Will felt limbs lengthening, muscles growing lean and strong...

It should have been painful.

It should have been terrifying.

But as Will burst from the crystal's brilliant cocoon everything felt right. A new facet of life had been added to Will Vandom: that of Keeper of the Heart, leader of the Guardians. No, not added... revealed.

"Did you feel that?"

"I... think so..." admitted Taranee. The girl had grown and rather than one simple braid by the side of her face, her blue-black hair now stood up from her scalp in six fierce dreadlocks. Instead of the fairly conservative blouse and slacks she had worn earlier, she was now clad in long blue and green striped tights, teal hotpants and a tight pink top that left arms and mid-riff bare. She was still wearing her glasses but they didn't detract from the fierce warrior-woman appearance and more than the small, butterfly-delicate, leaf-shaped wings on her back.

Irma laughed, pointing at Hay Lin. "You know, somehow I cannot imagine your grandmother wearing that." Hay Lin's twin pony tails now almost reached to the ground and her skirt, the same pink as Taranee's top - was more like two strips of fabric joined at the belt. Fortunately for the same of decency she was wearing the same sort of tights, and a brief tank-top of teal. Like Taranee - like all of them - she hadwings.

All the girls were wearing the same colour scheme in fact - Irma and Cornelia wore long-sleeved, but shoulder-baring tops that didn't descent much below their busts. Busts that Will was pretty sure hadn't been all that impressive before. Their skirts were pink - Cornelia's angle-length but slit at one side to the hip, while Irma's was a mini-skirt.

"What have we got behind us?" Hay Lin asked, twisting to try to see her wings.

"What have we got in front of us?" exclaimed Cornelia, looking proudly down at her newly enhanced cleavage.

Will looked down as well and froze in horror.

"Wings!" exclaimed Hay Lin in delight. "We've got wings!" She bent forwards slightly and concentrated, the wings beginning to flutter. An instant later she was airborne.

"Oh man! I hate heights!" Taranee brushed her hand across her forehead. "I get woozy in high heeled shoes!"

"This totally rocks!" cried out Irma in excitement. "You do -" Her eyes crossed Will, who was running her hands down her new body and shaking slightly. "Will, are you okay?"

She was startled to see that Will's brown eyes were filled not with excitement or at least understandable fear. Instead the leader of the guardians seemed... ashamed. "Please, Irma, tell me I'm not dressed like I should be dancing on tables."

"Nooo! You look great!" The girl caught hold of Will by the shoulder and pulled her down to the edge of the water, instinctively reaching out to smooth away the ripples and leave an almost mirror-like reflection.

The girl looking back at Will was just as shapely as Irma (Will felt a hot flush at that). She wore green shorts, a little longer than Taranee's and a pink top much like Irma's, except that the sleeves flared out just above the elbow and ended halfway to her wrists. She also looked much the way that Will felt.

"See! You're totally stylin -" Irma broke off as she realised that Will's expression hadn't changed. "Will, are you okay? You look sick."

That word from Irma shattered the last uncertainty in Will's mind. "That isn't me." She dropped to her knees. "It isn't..."

"What's wrong with you?"

"Can't you tell she's not well?" Will heard Irma tell Cornelia off. "Taranee, go get Hay Lin back down here. We have to turn this thing off. It could be hurting her."

Will groaned again, this time the shame for a different reason. If the others felt half as energized as she had by the transformation, then they must be having the time of their lives. Why shouldn't they? They didn't have her reasons to dislike it. "I'll be okay. It's... it's not what I was expecting. That's all." I should have told them. I should tell them now. It's not as if it's a secret.

It's just easier not to have that arguement again.

It's easier to be their friend if I let them believe what they see,

Friendship and lies. When did those things ever go together well?

"Are you sure?" asked Taranee. "You looked like you saw a ghost."

"Maybe I did." Will shook her head. "Go. Practise your powers. Have fun. That's what we're here for. I'll just... I've got a few things to think about."

They hesitated and then Irma sat down at the water edge, plunking her booted feet casually into the river without a second thought. "I'll stay with Will, you guys go practise."

"But what if I start a fire?"

"Then you get to practise stopping a fire." Irma reached out and water churned at her command. "I can do my stuff right here."

"Fine." Cornelia grabbed Taranee's arm. "Let's go find some grass or something I can use my powers on."

Will watched them walk away and then looked down at Irma. The girl... the Guardian... patted the river's edge with one hand in implicit command. To her surprise, Will managed to chuckle briefly as she obediently sat down, legs in the water. The boots kept her feet dry.

"You know, usually I have to say something before people start laughing."

"I was just thinking... being given the Heart and so forth, that I was in charge. Silly of me. Taking orders from you seems to work out better."

Irma shook her head. "Me in charge? Now that's a frightening idea. You'll do fine - you're smart enough to know when to take advice. Power would go right to my head, same for Cornelia. And can you see Hay Lin or Taranee taking charge?"

"You've known me for less than a day, Irma." Will looked sideways at the other girl. "Can I ask... what did you think of me when you first saw me?"

"I liked your attitude. Why'd you ask?"

"I... I'm not who you think."

"What? Because you're not a girly-girl like Cornelia? We kind of knew you're a tomboy. But if this -" She gestured at Will's transformed body "- are any guide, you've got a big future ahead of you." Irma chuckled. "We all do."

Will grimaced. "I really hope not."

"You know, believe it or not, I like the idea of looking like this."

"I rather like the idea of you looking like this. It doesn't suit me."

"Geez, picky much?"

"Irma, you said I was a tomboy?" Will turned her face away, looking out across the river. "You're about half right."

"What do you mean?" Will felt Irma take her hand. "Come on, Will. You can tell me." She hooked her little finger around Will's. "I pinkie swear never to tell another living soul."

Will leant over and whispered her secret into Irma's ear.

"Get away!" If the tone hadn't been so disbelieving, Will would have done exactly that. "Really?"

"Really." Will sighed and held her hand up to quell Irma's next question. "Really really. Really really really. Really, really, really, really. Really really, really..." she counted off on her fingers, "...really, really for real. Does that cover it?"

"But you're..." Irma made a sinuous gesture with her hand. Behind her, part of the river reared up and made an hourglass shape.

"I noticed."

"Ooooh! So that's what freaked you out." Irma paused. "Is your..."

Will gave her a pained look. "I was trying not to think about that."

"Well if you need any pointers, the teachers at school all say I'm an expert at not thinking."

The redhead stared at her and then keeled over backwards, laughing helplessly.

Irma nodded sagely and started playing with the water. It'd probably been entirely too long since her new friend had had a good long laugh and if there were one thing that Irma Lair was best at (other than the demanding sport of eating popcorn) it was making people laugh. (And Cornelia Hale mad. I am a girl of many talents, Irma reflected).

"If you don't want people to think you're, you know, have you ever considered changing your hair or something?" she asked when Will's laughter had died down. It's really pretty like this."

"I tried." Will leant up on her elbows. "You know those pictures of waifish girls who've had chemotherapy and lost all their hair? That was me in sixth grade. I had little old ladies patting me on the head and promising it would grow back."

"Ouch." Irma conceded the point. "So you went the other way? I mean, jaw-length is kind of..."

"It sort of covers my face from some angles."

Irma rolled her eyes. "Do you know how many girls would kill for hair like yours?"

"It's come up a time or two. Believe me, I'd trade if I could." Will pulled lightly on Irma's unruky curls. "Not that your hair isn't lovely."

Irma preened slightly. "Well of course. So, feel better now?"

"Getting over the shock." Will rubbed her face. "Not looking forward to telling Mrs. Lin she made a mistake."

The Water Guardian sat up sharply, "You're going to quit?"

"Well it's pretty obvious that I'm not who she thought, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, the idea of being a superhero is cool..."

"But wearing stripy stockings is a dealbreaker?" Irma asked incredulously.

"That's not the problem."

"Then what is? I get that it's a bit weird, but doesn't it feel great?"

Will nodded reluctantly. "Yeah." Too good, she added to herself. "But this is important. She said the whole world - lots of worlds - could rest on this. If I'm not the right person..."

"But the magic gemstone chose you! If she says it's still supposed to be you, would you quit then?"


"You're not afraid, are you?"

"Of course I'm afraid! This isn't some kid's cartoon."

"Not of that. You're afraid of what people will say about you changing like this."

"Do you blame me? It's bad enough as it is!"

"Well who's going to know? It's called a secret identity," Irma pointed out.

"Uh... how about the others? Don't try to tell me that Cornelia would be okay with this!"

Irma grinned. "She might surprise you. But even if she doesn't, Hay Lin won't mind and Taranee's a sweetheart. Just look woebegone and she'll be falling over herself to be supportive." Shesaw Will's stunned expression and used her fingers to frame the image like a snapshot. "Or like that. That'd be perfect!"

"And it doesn't bother you?"

"Will, you know what I was thinking right after we transformed? It's a shame that there's no one on the team who'll appreciate what a hot babe I've turned into. And then it turns out that there is. And you're cute too. This is perfect!"

The redhead looked even more shell-shocked. "Uh..."

"Well, not right now, obviously. But the rest of the time..."

"When did my life turn into a comic book?"

Irma grinned. "Right around the time you met me." She climbed up onto the riverbank. "Come on. Enough moping, let's go try this flying lark out. Hay Lin seems to love it!"

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The time left before the sun set - Will wasn't sure exactly since the transformation did away with wearing a watch - was long enough to demonstrate that not one of the other four could touch Hay Lin in the air. Admittedly Taranee wasn't trying very hard, which disappointed Irma a little.

"Let her set her own pace," Will disagreed quietly. "This is our first time. It's more important to get comfortable with what we can do than to try to push the limits."

"But she could pull a Johnny Comet rocket-boots!"

"And she can try it when she's ready."

Irma laughed. "You're really getting into being in charge, Will."

"Perhaps I'm just a soft touch for her big sad eyes." Will put her fingers in her mouth and whistled shrilly to get Hay Lin's attention.

The Air Guardian flitted over to them with a grin that seemed to split her face into two. "Isn't this awesome!"

"Maybe, but it's time to wrap this up for the night."

"But we've barely started!"

Will crossed her arms somewhat defensively across her chest. "The sun wasn't setting when we got here," she pointed out. "And I don't think it's a good idea for me to transform us back if you're in mid-air."

Hay Lin sighed before flying back down to the sheltered spot they'd used to transform in, the other two behind her. Taranee and Cornelia were already waiting for them on the ground.

"So you like Taranee's eyes?" asked Irma consideringly.

Will was glad her ears were hidden by her hair because she was sure they'd turned pink. "Not like that." As soon as she was sure that all the others were safely on the ground she gestured and the Heart of Candracar appeared in her hand like a magician's trick.

For a moment all five of them glowed with a pink light as they shrank back to their usual selves. Will gave a relieved sigh.

"What's that?" Irma asked, pointing across the river.

The others followed the direction of her finger. "What?" "I don't see anything." "Irma?" "YIPE!" Their eyes flicked back to Irma who was buffing her finger tips against her jacket.

"What was that for!?" Will asked, face almost as red as the hair framing it.

"Just making sure! You know, for medical purposes." The brunette gave the other three a faux-innocent look. "I can't believe you all fell for that."

Will groaned. "Well I hope you're satisfied. Come on. I've got a question for Mrs. Lin."

"About whatever was bothering you earlier?"

The redhead nodded in reply to Taranee's question. "Something like that. There's... I think there's been a misunderstanding -"

"Uh, guys...!" Irma called, pausing as she was walking backwards after them.

"We fell for it once, Irma," Cornelia waved her off. "We're not going to fall for it twice."

"I'm not kidding this time! Look!"

Hay Lin was the first to yield to temptation. "She's really not," she told them. "Look!"

Turning around they saw a glowing circle of blue-white light floating above the lot.

"Look out!" Taranee warned, dropping her bag. "Don't touch it!"

Lightning burst from it, followed by a young man wearing a dramatically flapping coat that probably would be far more dashing if he'd not been flung out of what was now evidently one of the portals that Yon Lin had told them and ended up in a heap of garbage.

Irma wasn't looking at the boy though. She was still looking at the portal, where an inhuman face was coming into view. "Look!"

Taranee grabbed hold of Will from behind. "Will! The necklace! Change us back!"

The face came through the portal and it was attached to a monster that belonged to a Harryhausen movie: a scowling face with mane of blonde hair, a giant's torso and from the waist down the body of a snake.

Will fumbled with the Heart.

"Hurry, hurry!"

The necklace slipped out of Will's fingers. "Dammit!"

Unimpeded the monster grabbed hold of its prey, the young man that had preceded it.

"You klutz!" Cornelia shouted.

"Get back!" Will shouted, diving on top of the pendant which had bounced in Cornelia's direction.

Without prompting, without access to their powers, the others obeyed. "Will!" Irma shouted as she saw the snake-man's attention zero in upon the Heart. Cornelia and Taranee grabbed her by her arms as the brunette tried to go back.

"Run!" shouted the young man, trying to wrestle himself loose. Despite his efforts however one large hand grabbed hold of Will by the leg.

Irma's face went white as she saw the redhead being dragged back towards the portal, one hand clutching the Heart and the other fruitlessly scrabbling for a handhold on the grass.

Their eyes met for a moment just as the young man managed to twist around and land a kick against the monster's face. It backed up, dragging its prey with it and Will threw the Heart of Candracar into the river waters a moment before vanishing through the portal.

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"I have the rebel leader."

Will still had trouble believing that the snake-thing had transformed itself into a normal looking man. Looking up at the decorations in the bizarre castle that it had dragged to them, somehow the teenager doubted that the authorities here were going to decide this was all a horrible misunderstanding.

"And the other?"

"The other had the Heart of Candracar."

Cedric's master's eyes widened. The tattoos on his forehead gave the unnerving impression of a second pair of eyes and neither of them looked terribly sane. "So, the Crystal has passed to a new generation. You have done well, Cedric."

"Alas, she appears to have disposed of it."

For once Will would be more than happy to let that pass. "Who's the guy on the throne?"

"Phobos," the rebel answered in disgust.

"I was expecting someone taller. Does he have a twin sister called Deimos?"

"What? No, just a younger one."

"How mythologically disappointing."

Distracted from Phobos and Cedric by the feeble attempt at banter, Will was taken by surprise when the towering blue-skinned guard behind them forced the pair forwards.

"You will tell us the names of your fellow traitors in the rebellion," Phobos directed, pointing one finger at the rebel.

"You'll learn nothing from me!"

An arc of magic from the irritated Phobos hoisted him into the air and slammed him against one of the columns holding up the roof.

That... looked like it could hurt.

"Consider that an example to you," the sorcerer warned Will. "If you don't want to suffer a far worse fate then tell me: where is the Heart of Candracar?"

"Well, since you're asking so nicely? In complete and total honesty, I can't tell you." The redhead wasn't even lying. It could still be in the river. Irma could have recovered. She might have given it to Mrs. Lin... The possibilities were endless.

Phobos eyes narrowed. "Always this pointless defiance." He gestured and roses sprouted from the ground around Will, who stared down at them in mystification.

Then the vines lashed out around Will, thorns ripping through the teenager's jeans and sweater.

Will screamed as the roses continued to grow, around and inside the young Guardian.

"Where is it?"

"I don't know!"
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
Huh. Well there's a thing. Worth following up on when you finish or get stuck with Astral Drop, even if it didn't provoke a lot of comment, though maybe not to epic length - just enough to cover the other reactions to the reveal, and reconcile a less immediately accepting one.
"Anko, what you do in your free time is your own choice. Use it wisely. And if you do not use it wisely, make sure you thoroughly enjoy whatever unwise thing you are doing." - HymnOfRagnorok as Orochimaru at SpaceBattles
woot Med. Eng., verb, 1st & 3rd pers. prsnt. sg. know, knows
Needs a bit more work I think. And I'm not sure that it works with 'keeping the secret' from the readers (I think it's pretty obvious), so a rewrite might be in order.
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
Considering that there's an entire, highly successful genre based on it I may not be the best one to ask, but -

"Keeping a secret" from me as a reader alienates me from the story by desttoying the sense of immersion, dropping hints about it like a snickering schoolyard jerk saying "if you can't figure it out, you'll never know" is the number one fastest way to make me put down a book and never pick it up again. Conversely, including me as the reader like a best freind sworn to never, ever tell drastically
"Anko, what you do in your free time is your own choice. Use it wisely. And if you do not use it wisely, make sure you thoroughly enjoy whatever unwise thing you are doing." - HymnOfRagnorok as Orochimaru at SpaceBattles
woot Med. Eng., verb, 1st & 3rd pers. prsnt. sg. know, knows
increases immersion, whether the protagonist is the freind defending the secret or an opponent whose character and persistence earn respect until he deserves to win.

Mr. Last Chapter First, that was my nickname from the mystery genre unit of Modern & Popular Literature...
"Anko, what you do in your free time is your own choice. Use it wisely. And if you do not use it wisely, make sure you thoroughly enjoy whatever unwise thing you are doing." - HymnOfRagnorok as Orochimaru at SpaceBattles
woot Med. Eng., verb, 1st & 3rd pers. prsnt. sg. know, knows

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