Iccorp2: Thanks for the compliments and constructive criticism. :) I know I need it…

Teshgirl: YES! TEEN TITANS FANS FOREVER! :D :P

James (From my CoP replacement): Oh great; now she'll NEVER stop!

DG: -.- Jay, don't you have to get into your own story?

James: Oh yeah…I'll leave you with a very angry Karen and Darrel.

DG: 0.0 Why is Karen mad?

James: Oh, a certain somebody set her closet on fire…

DG: YOU DIDN'T!

James: (Grins evilly) No, I didn't, but (whispers in my ear) Darrel did! (Runs off)

DG: James…JAMES! GET BACK HERE, YOU IDIOT!

Karen: DRAGON GUARDIAN!

DG: (Winces) What?

Karen: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! WHY?!

DG: YOU REALLY THINK I WOULD SET YOU CLOSET ON FIRE?! YOU'RE THE BEST CHARACTER I'VE EVER WRITTEN!

Karen: 0.0 You really think so?

DG: YES! AND, ACCORDING TO JAMES, DARREL DID IT!

Karen: (Turns) DARREL! (Tackles him)

Darrel: What the-?(Is attacked)

Sarabré: (Groans) Since when do you believe James on anything, Danielle?

DG: (Ignores her) Anyways…thanks. :) And yay; the WB is gone! :P :)

Lieth: Uh…I'll think about it?

DG: You've already been thinking about it.

Lieth: Yeah, but I don't know whether or not you're going to make me stupid enough to do it.

DG: -.-

Wondering Wolf: Thanks. :) And my policy on updating is the same here as for the rest of my stories: I try to update as fast as I can, but unfortunately, when I get writer's block, I get it really bad. :(

Sorry for the incredibly long time between updates, guys. (Blushes) I got really, REALLY bad writer's block…I'm hoping to update multiple times this week. :P

"Talking"

'Thinking'

-Talking Telepathically-

Dreams

Flashbacks

"Talking over a phone"


Chapter Eight

Welcome News

'Three days left. Only three days left until…' Karen didn't want to think about it. Despite the fact that she and Sarabré had been planning next to non-stop until they ran out of ideas, they still didn't have a foolproof plan to escape. They didn't even have a "high-risk" plan up their sleeve…

Karen's only consolation was that Sarabré was talking to her now, even when they weren't planning (which they usually were). Sarabré didn't seem to enjoy small talk, but at least it happened…even though Karen usually did most of the talking.

In fact, when the major events of that day began to happen, Karen was speaking-telepathically-to Sarabré about a good book she had once read. Sarabré only listened because she knew Karen was bored, and so was she. Karen had forgotten that Sarabré looked at the world through Karen's eyes…meaning she read everything Karen read.

Suddenly, the door opened. Karen turned, and they saw a young boy in the doorway. He had black hair that was a little longer than most boys wore their hair. His eyes were partially covered by his hair, but she could tell that his eyes were hazel. Karen couldn't help but notice he looked a little shabby, but she'd gotten used to it. Everytime a meal had come in, it was carried by someone that looked like that. He also had another thing everyone else she had seen had: a black collar around his neck.

The boy was carrying a small, round, stone disk with a strange mark that glowed. As far as Karen could tell, it was the key to open the door, as everyone that she'd seen come into her cell had one.

The boy was holding a tray. As he moved towards her, the door closed behind him. He handed her the tray, and in that brief moment before he turned around and left, Karen could almost see a little sympathy in his eyes.

The boy walked towards the door, then held the disk in front of the area where a doorknob would've been (these doors didn't have knobs, bolts, or anything like that). The disk glowed again, and the door opened. Karen watched, bored, as he walked out the door. She noticed that his hand was behind him as he walked out. He dropped something…

The door closed behind him. Karen instantly ran over to the door, just to make sure…

Sure enough, the boy had dropped the disk. Karen now held what could possibly be her ticket to freedom. On the back, she saw a note attached to it. All it said was:

Follow me.

Karen was a little stunned. –Should we trust him?- Karen wanted to believe that this boy was honestly trying to help…but she also knew it could easily be a trap of some kind.

Sarabré was a little puzzled. –Well…I think so. Why would Shadarin give us the key if he wanted to lead us into a trap?-

-Good point…- Karen quickly pointed the side with the mark at the door. Sure enough, it opened for her. She kept the disk in her hand and she dashed out. She heard it close behind her, but didn't look back. Instead, her eyes darted about as she looked for the boy.

He was further down the hall to her left. He was about to go down another hallway; one to his right. Karen walked as quickly as she could without running or making a lot of noise to get closer to him. Just as he made it around the corner, Karen was close enough to see what part of the hallway looked like. It looked like a run-down apartment building. These doors had handles, unlike the door of her cell.

Karen saw the boy open a door four doors down on the left side of the hallway. She followed him, ducking under the windows on the doors, hoping that there was no one home.

The door swung shut behind the boy. Karen was about to follow in suit when he said, "Don't; there are no handles on the inside of the door. You'd be trapped in here."

Surprised (and blushing a little), Karen looked through the windows. The boy was looking through it. She felt stupid for not realizing that he probably knew she was there all along…

"Who are you?" She finally asked. "And why are you helping me?"

The boy sighed. "My name is Lieth." He told her. "And…I helped you because I know what it's like to want to escape."

Karen's eyebrow arched. Lieth explained, "I'm…well, I suppose you could call me a slave. I was kidnapped by Shadarin around a few years before you were killed, Sarabré."

"You know about her?!"

Lieth scoffed. "Who doesn't? Besides, I saw you talking to her a while ago." Karen winced a little at that, knowing that he was right. "Anyways, I knew about your situation. I…I decided to help you. Look; all you need to know is that the only exit you'd have a shot at escaping out of is an entrance just south of here. It's a garbage dump. It's guarded, but it's easy to sneak through all the garbage to get out."

"Gross!" Karen exclaimed, disgusted.

-Well, it's a shot at escape. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.- Sarabré reminded her. Just then, the illusion of Sarabré appeared next to Karen. Karen nearly jumped in surprise. She informed Karen, "I didn't want to relay everything I wanted to say through you."

"Oh…"

Lieth didn't seem as surprised as he should've been about Sarabré's illusion. "What do you want to say?" He asked politely.

"Why is this exit so easy to get out of?"

Lieth looked down at his neck. "Because of this." He said.

Sarabré inspected it through the window. "It looks familiar." She remarked.

"It's how Shadarin ensures we obey him." Lieth grimaced. "He, or one of his men, tells us exactly what they want us to do. If we don't do it-to the letter-we're injected with a lethal and quick-working poison. Anyone who goes near that dump is told to dump the trash, than go back to a superior officer."

Sarabré nodded. Suddenly, Karen got an idea…"Why don't we break it off and take you with us?"

Lieth was surprised that Karen even offered, but informed her sadly, "That won't work. If anyone tampers with it, it goes off. I know; my last roommate tried it." He shuddered at the memory. The screams still echoed in his mind occasionally, and it was a long, long time ago…

Karen was extremely disappointed. After, he had just saved her life. She felt she owed him something…and his freedom was just the thing. Just then, she got another idea…"Sarabré, do you think I could use a little more magic?"

Sarabré was a little puzzled, but she shrugged. "Maybe, if it was a small amount. Why?"

Karen smiled. "Lieth, can the poison penetrate Magic?"

Lieth was catching on…"I'm not sure. No one's tried it."

"Are you willing to be a test subject?"

Sarabré was a little appalled. "Karen, don't tell me you're thinking what I-"

"It'll work!" Karen insisted.

"You have no idea how to control your powers!"

Karen sighed, and said, "It's worth a shot, isn't it?" Sarabré had no answer.

But Lieth did. "Karen," He said solemnly, getting her attention, "if you think there's a chance, I'm willing to let you try to get it off."

Karen nodded. "When I say now," She told him, "pull the collar off with all your might."

Lieth nodded. Karen closed her eyes, and said, "Sarabré, I want to put a protective covering around his neck, between the collar and his skin. How do I do that?"

"Concentrate on it, as cliché as that may sound." Karen could almost hear a smile in Sarabré's tone. Karen did as she was told. She felt a sensation that reminded her of coming out of a pool, except that it was only on her arm.

She opened her eyes, and sure enough, she could see a faint green glow under the collar. She felt like she was going to collapse, but she managed to say, weakly, "Now."

Lieth's hands went under the collar instantly. To everyone's surprise, it was actually about as easy to break as a stick of wood. Lieth quickly dropped the two pieces that had been his collar before it could be injected into his hand. To Karen's pure disgust, a strange liquid began to form all around the collar. She assumed that it was the poison.

"Let's get out of here." Sarabré said. "We don't have until the alignment."

Karen smiled grimly, and said, "Good point." Sarabré's illusion vanished, and Karen opened the door. Lieth quickly ran out, and began to walk-more like power-walk-down the hallway.

"What did she mean by the alignment?" Lieth asked, confused.

Karen looked at him, just as puzzled. "I thought you said you knew about our situation. You know, the alignment of the Circles of Time? Shadarin wants to take me back to when Sarabré committed suicide so that she'd survive."

Lieth stopped walking; Karen nearly ran into him. He spun around, bewildered. "What are you talking about? Shadarin can't travel through time anymore. All of his Time Mages were killed."


Teehee,I'm evil! >:P So, if that's not why Shadarin kidnapped Karen, then why did he? And will Karen, Sarabré, and Lieth make it to safety? Well, as incredibly cliché as this is, you'll have to wait to find out! >:P