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By: Ella the Elephant and Bananazilla the Telepath

Chapter One

Leila Vacker is the daughter of Tam Song and Biana Vacker. Tam ended up taking Biana's last name because it held more authority. Leila takes after her father and is a Shade. She has black wavy hair, light freckled skin, and silvery teal eyes. She is a Level 5 at Foxfire and her favorite class is Elvin History. Leila's power is very strong and she knows she's not normal because of it. All the other kids think she's weird too. Her father is a Mentor. She loves to annoy her dad, so she calls him Sir Song.

One day after school Leila went into the forest, just to get away, and saw her cousin, Coral, and some pale boy she had seen at Foxfire. She wanted to talk to them, but she knew she couldn't. Her parents said she had to be back by dark, and it was already sunset. So she ran as fast as she could but quietly as she headed for her house. When she made it to her big house, she tried to sneak upstairs to her room, but her mom and dad were waiting on her bed.

"Hey guys," Leila said shyly.

"Do you know what time it is?" Asked Tam. She glanced at her watch.


"Exactly. We told you to come straight home, and you didn't. Now, where did you go?"

Leila really didn't want to tell her parents she went in the forest, since she wasn't supposed to, but did anyway.

"Greenwood Forest." She said.

"WHAT?" Both her parents said in unison.

"Lei, why would you do that? You know we don't like you going in there!" Her mom said.

Leila looked at her feet. "I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry about, Lei. Just....don't do it again please. Understood?"

She sighed. "Yes."

She hated that her family had so many rules, and wished that night that she could just get away from them.

And maybe, her wish came true.

Chapter Two

Leila couldn't sleep. She was tossing and turning for hours on end. Finally, Leila couldn't stand it anymore. She got up and was going to walk to get water when she noticed a small pad of paper on her desk that definitely hadn't been there when she had gone to bed. She looked at the words, and they were clear: Come join us. Tell no one. Get away from it all. And then, to sign it, was a strange symbol she recognized from her father's work as the sign of the Neverseen.

Leila thought for a moment. Her original reaction would have been to tear up the paper, but the last line caught her attention and made her pause. Leila kept rethinking of the possibilities. It was as if a small, ghostly whisper kept bouncing around Leila's mind, saying, Get away from it all, get away from it, get away from it all. Leila knew this was impractical, to actually be considering this, but what if her parents never knew she had gone to join a band of evil villains? What if they just thought she went to school early? She was developing a plan in her mind, and now she was fixated on getting away from all of the rules her parents had made for her. Leila wrote, Ok. on the note, and tried sleeping again.

When she awoke, small beams of sunlight shining through the room. Leila saw the note, with a new message. The Four Seasons Tree. That must be their meeting point! Leila was so excited, so she got to packing a small bag. That was, until she heard a voice from downstairs.

"Lei, dear, you're going to be late for school! Come down here!" Biana called.

Leila was too focused on leaving, that she didn't hear the footsteps of Biana's high heels, until it was too late. Biana opened her daughter's door, and exclaimed, "What are you doing?"

Leila's heart rate jumped. "Um...packing?"

Chapter Three

"Where are you going?" Biana asked.

"To Coral's house for a sleepover." She replied.

"Oh yay! You haven't seen her in a while."

"I know and I'm really excited to see Aunt Linh and Uncle Wylie!"

"Do you want me to help you pack?" Biana asked.

"No I think I'm good!"

"Okay." Biana walked back down the stairs and Leila let out a breath she hadn't known she'd been holding in. She didn't like lying to her parents, but it was the only way to get out safely. She finished packing and got ready for school and went downstairs to eat.

"Leila you're going to be late for school!" Said Biana as Leila came down the stairs.

"Oh no! Okay bye then!" She grabbed a banana and gave her mom a hug. She raced back up the stairs to the Leapmaster 500 and shouted "the Four Seasons Tree!". Immediately the crystals spun until it found the right one, and created a path of light. Leila stepped into the light and felt the warmth whisk her away.

When she got there, she saw a tall boy in a hooded cloak, the sleeve bearing the same symbol she saw on her note from them. She squinted, trying to see his face, but all she could make out were ice blue eyes with brown flecks. She walked closer to the tree, and marveled at the different seasons all on one tree. The boy walked closer to her.

"Who are you?" Leila asked.

"You really want to know?" The boy asked.

"Yes, I do." She replied.

The boy pulled back his hood. "Keefe Jr."

Chapter Four

"So you're the Vacker girl, huh?" Keefe Jr. asked. "Leila, is it?" She nodded. "That's a pretty name. Ok, so I was sent here to retrieve you from the meeting point, and take you to our hideout. Come on, I'll show you!" Keefe Jr. reached out for Leila's hand, but she hesitated. "What? Don't you trust me?"

Leila nodded slowly, and reluctantly took his hand as he took out his clear pathfinder, and spun the crystal a few times until he locked it into place. Keefe Jr. pulled them into the beam of light refracting from the facet of the clear crystal, and warmth surged through her as the light whisked her away, and to the edge of the Greenwood Forest. It was a familiar sight for Leila but seemed darker than before. Even the breeze seemed creepy as they trekked toward the strange waterfall she had seen Coral and the boy near earlier.

"Here it is," Keefe Jr. said. "Hideout sweet hideout."

There didn't seem to much special about the waterfall, but maybe that was it. Who would suspect an evil hideout would be there, somewhere. Untouched and seldom seen by the world.

"Ready?" Keefe Jr. asked, holding her hand tight. Before she could answer, he jumped, pulling Leila down with him. Leila thought he was insane. They were falling down a waterfall. She knew they would surely hit the rocks and break many bones, but it never happened. They simply kept falling. Down, and down they went until they hit a sponge that dried them off, and they bounced off it together. Like in Atlantis, it was harmless and fun. But what she saw before herself--the hideout--was truly outstanding.

There was a giant cave, a system of tunnels breaking off from the main one.

"We've been trying to get new recruits--like you--for quite some time," Keefe Jr. said. "We have been more successful than our new leader would like to admit, and that is why he believes that after you have sworn loyalty to us, you may be a big asset in the upcoming."

"What is going on?" Leila asked.

"You'll see soon enough," Keefe Jr. said.

Keefe Jr. showed her around the cave, and it was truly amazing. That was until someone in a black Neverseen cloak came up to Keefe Jr. and whispered in his ear something.

"Ah, yes," Keefe Jr. said, beckoning Leila to follow. "The leader wishes to see you, Leila."

They walked up a few spiralling stone staircases until they reached a polished wooden door with a pristine golden trim and door knob. Keefe Jr. pushed it open, and there was a wheelie-chair faced the oppoiste direction.

"Sir," Keefe Jr. said. "She is here."

"Ah, finally," the man said. "Thank you, Keefe. You are so much more dependable of a member than your father ever was. Now, leave us."

Keefe Jr. obeyed, and the wheelie-chair swerved around. In it, sat the new leader of the Neverseen.


"Hello, Miss Vacker," Gethen said. "You are one of my new prized possessions."

"If you'll allow me, um, sir," Leila said, struggling to stay formal like Biana had taught her to around strangers. "I am no prize."

"I'll give you two options, girl," Gethen said. "You either fight for us, or I make you fight for us. And it will be painful if you choose the latter."

"Fight?" Leila asked.

"Oh, but of course, Miss Vacker," Gethen said. "If Keefe has not told you so yet, I suppose it is my turn. We have been hiding for far too long! No more hiding! Every day we wait, they will just get stronger. Soon, we will stage an attack on the Black Swan."

Chapter Five

"Why?" Leila asked. She didn't want to attack her family.

"Well, we have been winning an awful lot lately, so why not take advantage of it?" Gethen countered.

"But my parents work for the Black Swan. I can't do that!" Leila was horrified. She didn't want to attack her family and everybody she loved.

"Miss Vacker, this is the only way to join the Neverseen. You have to show ruthlessness and power. So, will you join us?"

Leila was torn. She didn't want to hurt her family, but this was the only way. "Okay. I'll do it."

"Wise choice, Miss Vacker. I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do. Now, let's go start your training." He stood, and held up a pathfinder.

"My what?" Leila asked.

"Training. We need to get you stronger." Gethen said.

"But my ability is strong enough." She covered herself in shadows for added effect.

"Yes, Miss Vacker, I know your ability as a Shade is very powerful, but you also need to know how to fight, not just with your ability."

"Okay." Leila didn't know what else to say, so she took his hand and stepped into the path of light.

When they got to the place, there was a woman waiting for them under a tree.

"Hello Umber." Gethen said.

"Hi Gethen. And who's this?" Umber looked at Leila curiously.

"Hello Miss Umber, my name is Leila Vacker." Leila decided to be brave, mostly because she knew Umber was a Shade, and that Umber would probably be training Leila in her ability, and fighting.

"Call me Umber." Umber said sternly.

"Okay, sorry."

"Okay so Gethen, will you leave us? Leila and I have a lot of work to do."

"Fine." And Gethen was gone in a blink of an eye.

"Okay," Umber said. "Are you ready to start? Yes? Okay good." She help up a crystal pathfinder and reached out her hand. Leila took it and they both stepped into the light.

Where they landed felt really dark and sad, probably because it was dark and sad. There was nothing there, just darkness for miles.

"So...what am I supposed to be doing?" Leila asked, confused.

"Feel the darkness." Umber said.

Leila didn't know what that was supposed to mean, but that was all Umber said. So she closed her eyes and imagined herself covered in shadows and it actually felt good. It was like she could forget about her real life and go to a fake one where everything was happy and peaceful. She wanted to stay there forever, never go back to real life. But something pulled her away from that, and she tried to hard to go back, but she couldn't.

"What were you thinking?" Umber shouted. Leila could tell she was angry.

"I thought you told me to 'feel the darkness'?" Leila said back.

"Yeah, that! Not almost fade into darkness!" Umber screamed.


Chapter Six

Umber pulled Leila back, and they were whisked away back to their place back under the tree. Umber was fuming.

"Miss Vacker, if you are to succeed in your training, you must listen to my every command!" Umber said angrily. "In that instance, you did not."

"I tried to--" Leila began.

"Silence!" Umber nearly shouted. "Yes, you can fade away while light-leaping. But it is much easier to fade away in the darkness, especially to a Shade. I was going to teach you how to Shadow-leap, but perhaps you are not as ready as I thought."

"No, I'm ready," Leila said.

"Alright," Umber said. "Shadow-leaping is much more effective than light-leaping, because you need no pathfinder. You only need to imagine the place of which you need to go, and you will move to a shadow nearest to that position."

"How?" Leila asked.

Umber snapped, and shadows encased her, and when they moved, she was gone. She walked out from the other side of the tree.

"In battle, this will be quite useful," Umber said. "The Black Swan does not know how to perform this little trick. Now, you try."

Leila willed shadows to surround her. They swirled and swirled around her. Leila couldn't decide where to go. Her mind racing as the shadows were beginning to whisk her away, she thought of the first place that came to mind. Leila disappeared, plunging into the darkness. When she came up, she was behind a house. She peered out from her post, and a small medium-dark skin beautiful girl came walking around the corner.

"Leila?" the girl asked.

"Coral!" Leila said.

"What are you my house?" Coral asked.

"Practicing light-leaping for homework," Leila lied. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Are you busy?"

"No, not really," Coral said. "'re a part of the Neverseen, aren't you?"

"Who told you that?" Leila asked.

"My mom," Coral said.

"Well, she was wrong," Leila said. "I'm still good. Who's that?"

The same pale boy from the waterfall was standing out, waiting on the porch for Coral to come back.

"Blake," Coral said, blushing a bit.

"Ooh, sounds like someone has a crush," Leila said. "He is quite handsome, really."

"Shut up," Coral said, blushing. "He's just a friend."

"Sure," Leila cooed. "Anyway, I ought to be getting back to my homework."

"Okay," Coral said, walking back to Blake.

Leila went back to the tree via shadow-leaping. It was quite simple now that she knew how. She could do it in a matter of seconds.

Umber smiled when Leila returned. "Good."

Leila let out a small sigh of relief. Perhaps training was over.

"I also saw, from watching you, that you have gained the trust of one of the young members of the Black Swan," Umber said. "It is vital that your connection remains. You shall go visit her once a day, every day, from now on, so you do not lose that bond. The war may depend on thois one relationship. We trust you."

" training over?" Leila asked.

"You want a break, huh?" Umber asked. "Well, I suppose it was rather successful for as first session. I'll put in a good word for you to Gethen. Great progress today!"

"Why was it bad when I almost faded into the darkness?" Leila asked. "Is that a bad thing? Has it happened before?"

Umber's face went from joyful, to quite horrified. "Your inquiries will not be answered, and are not appreciated. Off to your sleeping quarters, immediately!"

Why was it such a touchy subject? Leila obeyed, but while she was in bed that night, she was determined to get the answers. The next day, she would ask Gethen, and maybe he would be able to tell her. But the more she thought, the more that train of thought seemed less important. Umber's words bounced around her head, as teh realization set in.

She was faking a friendship with her cousin, to gain her trust. And then she would have to fight her.

Chapter Seven

Leila woke up to her cold, dark room. She slowly got out of her bed and into the bathroom. She quickly got ready, wanting to see Gethen. She heard a knock on her door.

"Yes?" Leila asked. "Who is it?"

"It's Umber. Gethen's ready to see you." Umber replied.

"Okay, I'm coming." Leila opened her door and stepped out.

"Close your eyes and picture Gethen's office in your mind. This will be part of your training for today." Umber commanded. Leila closed her eyes and snapped her fingers. 

Leila found Gethen sitting behind his desk scribbling something down on a piece of paper. As soon as he saw her, he frantically tried to hide the piece of paper.

"What's that?" Leila asked.

"Nothing. What do you want?" Gethen asked sternly.

Well good morning to you too, Gethen. Leila thought.

"You know how I almost faded away yesterday?" Gethen nodded. "Well, when I did, Umber looked sad and horrified. I was wondering if you know why?" Leila asked.

"I supposed it's not my place to tell, but I'll tell you anyway." Gethen said.

Wow, this guy really doesn't care about anyone. Leila thought.

"80 years ago Umber's brother, Finn, faded away. He was also a Shade. He wasn't concentrated enough so he started to fade into darkness. By the time Umber found Finn, he already lost too much of himself. It was such a tragedy. Finn was also working for our order. He was a great, powerful Shade. We were all very sad we lost him. And that's why Umber always'​​​ makes sure everybody she teaches has full concentration before shadow-leaping."

"Wow. Uh, thanks for that explanation." Leila said, overwhelmed. That was a lot of information to take in at once. "What do you want me to do now?" She asked.

"Remi will take you to your training spot. She will be here…now." Gethen said as a girl around Leila's age stepped into Gethen's office. She has red hair, brown eyes, light skin, and freckles.

"Hi!" Remi greeted. "I'm Remi!"

"Hi! I'm Leila. I hear you're going to take me to my training spot?" Leila asked.

"Yes, are you ready?" Remi said.

"Let's go!"

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