I smile as Mesa tries to think of something, then suddenly realizes whatever she was thinking of. “Welcome to the Long Beach Academy Of Fine Arts!” she says, imitating Kal’s accent. “My name is Mesa Warren and I’ll be your guide.” I smile, remembering how Kal showed us around the Academy of Illumination.

“Here’s the cafeteria, here’s the science lab, and here’s the cryogenic prison where I put my girlfriend!” she jokes, before saying, “Whatever, let’s get on with the tour.”


“This place closed down about a year ago, due to lack of funds or something like that. Phoenix dug through all the files the other night. We’ve been recruiting members nonstop, since part of the plan is a full blown invasion of The Dark Lands.” Mesa explains as we walk past the auditorium, where a girl whose name is Lilith I think, is explaining a few things to new recruits.

“And that’s a diverse so Kal can get to Kassandra?”

“Yeah, for the most part.”


“Anyway, since this is an art school, there are obviously art supplies here. One of our recruits, Lia, decided to work on weaponizing art supplies. She’s currently discovered a way to turn ceramics mud, oil paint, and Luminescent building materials into a deadly chemical weapon, and she raided the dorms for pressure cookers for… obvious reasons.”


“The gym’s been converted into a training area, which was a good and bad idea. The walls are starting to gain gaping holes, which is… ok I guess.” she motions to a wall next to us, which is sure enough filled with holes.

“Off topic, but Mesa, what happened to The Light Lands?”

“Tang’s hiding, and his domain is in chaos.”


“Wow. Just imagining that place in chaos…” I trail off before getting back to the topic, “now what else is here?”

“There’s a cafeteria, one of the classrooms has been converted into a science lab… actually, scratch that, most of the classrooms have been converted into science labs, the dorms are used for housing, but if we keep up our recruitment, we’ll have to start using the classrooms as housing, the central offices are currently used for handling recruitment, advertising, and stuff… but there’s one thing I really want to show you.”


Mesa led me to a room that had a sign next to the door that read “Sport Equipment Storage”. Above that sign was one that had clearly been put there by someone in the rebellion, which said “Weaponry”. Mesa shoved the door open and led me through rows of shelves, covering in varieties of weapons. At the far back wall were some locked in glass cases.

One of them was a white rifle, adorned with silver accents. Quicksilver was written in calligraphy on the side. “That’s… that was my rifle when I was at The Academy of The Excelled.” I muttered.

Mesa nods. “Phoenix sent a scouting team to DC, since so many members went to The Academy. They brought back scores of weapons. Go ahead, the case is unlocked.”


Opening the case, I feel a barrage of memories rushing back to me. Memories of times long past. I’m pretty sure it’s only been a few months, a year at most, but it feels like millennia since those times. As I take the rifle out of its glass case, a sense of familiarity sets in. I smile, examining every silver detail, before placing the rifle back in.

“What else is there? Anywhere I should visit? Anyone I should talk to?” I ask.

“One person,” Mesa says in a mysterious and sly tone. “Somebody who, if I’m correct, you knew long ago. I think you have some issues you need to sort out. Does the name ‘John McKnight’ ring a bell?”


I feel the color drain out of my face. “Oh shiiiiiiiit…”


“He’s in Dorm Room B 2-6. Or, building B, floor 2, room 6. Come on, I’ll show you.” Mesa grabs my hand and a wave of conflicting emotions flood my mind.

(please explain john and ed’s relationship in detail, i don’t know whether they’re on good terms or not)


(I’d say its far from friendly, last they saw each other normally was when Ed broke into John’s house and John died and got resurrected again and again. And John’s brain got stuck in his cat for a while I think. I think the whole backstory with them is that they were best friends since middle school, and Ed wrote down all the embarrassing things that happened to John in some notebooks, that John later was either given or stole. Ed broke into his house to get them back. That’s all really.)

“I don’t think this is a good idea Mesa!”



“What? It’s the end of the world for god’s sake! Can’t you set aside your petty dramas for one second and team up AT LEAST so you can fight this war together? You’ve known each other for ages!” Mesa said, smiling with this high-energy, almost evil look. Reminds me of Dark Helena.

“Yeah, and we hate each other now! I broke into his house to get that one notebook back, and it felt like the end of the world for both of us. HE DIED!!!” I try to say.

“I know, but it wasn’t the end of the world. This actually is. At least two people have died since him. And that’s a serious understatement.”


Mesa and I continue to argue as she drags me to John’s room. When we get there, she knocks on the door and it opens.


He’s sitting in a swivel chair turned away from me.

John’s voice feels warm and familiar, heating up my blood and heart - to a boiling point. I ball my hand into a fist.

“I’ll give you hell, John,” I say, preparing to punch him, but as I swing the punch, he whirls around and blocks it.

“I’m familiar with hell. I’ve been there and back a thousand times over because of you. So don’t think I wasn’t prepared for it. You, however… you’re just Ed Terrell.”

He slaps me in the cheek, causing me to take a few stumbling steps backwards.

“Rematch. Friday. Training Centre. After that, we’ll call it even.” John smirks at me.

“We might not live until Friday,” I say.

“Okay. Tonight then. Deal?” John says, holding out a hand.


“Fine. Mesa let’s go.” I say, ignoring his hand.

“Actually, you go by yourself. Phoenix wants to meet you in the office.”

“You’re staying here with this guy?”

Mesa nods, and John smiles at her. “Fine! I’m done with this anyways.” I storm out of John’s dorm room, slamming the door behind me. I can hear Mesa and him laughing as I sprint away.


I almost run to Phoenix’s office. I would rather spend every day in Phoenix’s office than speak to John. When I reach the door I crack a smile.

And then I open it.

And Phoenix… Phoenix is crying.


I start to back up, but crash into Kal, who was standing behind me.


“Hi Kal,” I say. “Oh… Kal!”

“She… she… tried to kill me. But still. The plan.”


That’s when I noticed pitch black webbing along her forearm. Like what Kassandra had when she was in The Tank back in Tang’s domain.


“What’s tha-”

“The mark of a shadow. She has claimed me as her own. The transformation will occur in three days.”

“What are you talking about?” I ask, shaking.

“I’ve got three days until I turn into one of those… Dark World people. Like Kass is now.”


Kal wraps her arms around herself, looking terribly sad. “I just wanted to be happy with her. But, not like this.”