This is an ongoing fanfiction by InkyAtrocity4011. The story is set before Keeper, before Linh manifested.
"Linh, what are you doing?"
"None of your business. Go help Mom with breakfast, I'll be back inside when it's ready," Linh snapped back at her brother, who was hesitating in the patio door's frame, looking questioningly at her.
"It's five in the morning, Linh, why are you up anyway?" Tam huffed, stepping off the porch and going over to where Linh was standing in the middle of the courtyard surrounded by the tall trees and blooming flowers.
"I could ask you the same thing."
The sun was just beginning to rise, the darkness fading as orange rays of light peeked over the horizon. There was a gentle breeze, wafting the scent of saltwater from the nearby ocean over the walls of Choralmere, the world was just starting to wake up.
Tam grumbled and kicked a rock across the garden, watching as it went flying into the fountain at a center with a splash. "That's not the point, I'm asking you. You're never up this early, did you even get any sleep at all?"
Linh had been staring off at the fountain where Tam had kicked the rock into a moment ago, with a strained look on her face, when she turned around suddenly, a scathing look of anger flashing in her silver-blue eyes for a fraction of a second before it vanished.
"Yes, I did, I just wanted to get up early today to watch the sunrise," Linh snapped at Tam irritably, stomping past him towards the side gate of the courtyard, which led to the exterior, the beachside. At the gate, halfway through unlocking it, she turned back and said, "I'll be back, okay?"
Then she opened the gate and ran off.
"Linh! You're not supposed to leave the house without Mom or Dad's permission, get back here!" called Tam as he chased after her, slamming the gate shut behind him. Catching sight of his twin standing knee-deep in the ocean water, he caught up to her. Gasping for breath, Tam asked, "what's gotten into you? You're so mean all the sudden, what's happened? You never act like this."
Linh made a sort of "hmph!" sound and continued taking slow, steady steps forward into the ocean, ignoring Tam.
Bewildered and at a complete loss as to what to do, Tam hesitated before following her into the ocean, which was a rippling orange color from the sunrise. He decided to try a different tactic.
"You're going to get into so much trouble when Mom finds out-"
"Okay, well maybe I'm not myself anymore!" Linh retorted angrily, not once looking back. She had gone out so far that one more step and her head would be underneath the water.
"Now this is ridiculous, Linh! Linh? LINH! Get back over here!"
Her head had gone underneath the surface of the water; Tam frantically dove into the ocean, looking for Linh. There wasn't a trace of her anywhere. Feeling panicky, he swam for the surface, took a great gulp of air, and dove back down. Where was she?
Tam had to have been frantically searching for Linh for ten minutes before he realized that Choralmere was just a tiny speck in the distance, he had swam out too far. But Linh! Where was she? People couldn't just disappear like that-
Unless- unless Linh light leaped underwater? But to where? Why would she just go away like that? Tam's mind whirled as he coughed, staggering back onto the sandy shore. The sun was already up, it had to be at least six in the morning, were his parents wondering where he was?
Of course they weren't, thought Tam bitterly, shuddering and shivering as he stumbled to the front door of Choralmere, his soaked clothes sticking to his skin. They never cared, did they? Linh went missing, he had no idea where she was, and they would just celebrate because they didn't have twins anymore, did they?
Growing increasingly angry, Tam found himself throwing open the front door and stomping upstairs to the Leapmaster, completely ignoring Mai and Quan's questions thrown at him.
Standing on his toes to reach the centermost crystal on the chandelier-like Leapmaster, he tapped four times on its surface and the blue rippled away, revealing a yellow crystal. One that led to the Neutral Territories.
"Ambervere," Tam muttered to himself, narrowing his eyes in determination as the light swept him away.
The Better Linh
"Please state your name, age, and place of residence."
The girl with the silver-tipped hair shifted uneasily in her seat. "My name is Renata Vin," she recited monotonously. "I am ten years old. I live in Roamyere with my mother and father."
"Excellent." The hooded figure in the black cloak jotted some notes down into a leather-bound journal. They had a feminine voice which echoed through the dark, empty garage, which was lit by one single lightbulb.
The girl with the silver-tipped hair made a slow motion to get up to her feet, then stopped and sat back down. She scrunched her face up in confusion, her glassy, bright blue eyes void of expression. "Why am I here?"
"Hm. A few adjustments, then," said the hooded figure curtly, snapping her fingers once. The girl with the silver-tipped hair's eyes went blank for a second before turning into a silvery blue color. The hooded figure frowned appreciatively. "All good. Now, please state your name, age, place of residence, and ability."
The girl frowned, her silvery eyes staring straight in front. "My name is Julissa Tsu. I am eleven years old. I live in Astravenn with my mother, father, and younger brother. I am a Hydrokinetic..."
"Perfect. Now, Julissa," said the woman in the cloak, snapping the leather journal shut and handing it to the girl, "keep this safe for me, would you? Protect it with your life. Do not let anything or anyone separate you from it, understand?"
Julissa stared at the journal in her hands. It was a simple brown color with a swan stitched into the front cover. Didn't look like anything special to her, but she nodded and stowed it in the pocket of her tunic anyway. She only knew of the blankness of her mind... the feeling that something used to be there... memories, loved ones... but ah well. The journal was hers to safeguard now. The journal was what was important...
But why? Why was she here? Julissa had a feeling that she didn't quite belong in this identity, that she wasn't supposed to be here...
The journal. Focus on the journal, said a voice in her mind, and she snapped back to reality. Of course. Thoughts were trivial. The book in her pocket was the only thing that mattered. Swans, said the voice again. Swans, swans, everywhere.
"Julissa? Are we ready to go?" asked the lady in the cloak, hand ready to switch the lone lightbulb off.
Go where? Julissa wondered. Swans, her mind repeated.
Oh, of course, I'm just being ridiculous. Swans, cloaks, journals, swans. Focus, Jules, focus.
"Yes. Let's go," Julissa nodded in agreement, her words choppy like a robot's.
The lady in the cloak smiled before switching off the light, plunging everything into utter darkness, and Julissa was spinning, spinning in the void.