Actions

Work Header

The Adventures of Abigail Mara Lake

Chapter Text

She couldn’t sleep that night.

Her mind made it its mission to throw every possible scenario through her head on loop. Switching between unknown horrors and reimaginings, she couldn’t calm down enough to sleep, much less gain any semblance of peace. The overwhelming fear that something terrible was going to happen to them plagued her through the night.

By the time the faintest edges of pink had brushed across the horizon,  Ab was already downstairs staring out the window. She was scrutinizing the front yard, particularly the two gashes on the decorative rocks outside. 

So it wasn’t a dream after all. 

She felt the warning signs of a migraine impending. This one was going to hurt.

Abigail had, originally, considered grabbing a mug of coffee, but the potential disastrous side effects might not be worth it. Plus, she had off again today. Plenty of time to nap.

She checked her messages for a response from Toby’s contact regarding his dentist visit. Finding no reply, she quickly shot off another text knowing very well it was way too early for him to be awake, much less in any lucid state to reply.

Abigail sighed before turning her phone off and tossing it on the low table in front of the couch. She flopped on said couch and wished it would swallow her whole. She was so tired but her mind refused to rest, and eventually it wandered back to the coffee option. Was it really worth it? It wouldn’t hurt to unwind and cause mass chaos at the same time. Ab pondered the possibility of drinking coffee for the next ten minutes.

Just as she was reaching a decision her ears registered the sound of footsteps upstairs, making the decision for her. There was no way Ab could make coffee fast enough before Jim managed to stop her.

She heard him come down the steps in the loudest manner possible. Causing her head to pound harder. Maybe she’ll take Strickler’s advice and actually take her pills for once.

“Could you be any louder.” She complained.

“Sorry.” Jim said meekly, entering the room.

He looked so much like a kicked puppy in that moment she groaned, “Naw, I’m sorry little brother, I’ve just had a long night.”

His expression grew worried, knowing how bad Ab’s headaches could get. He grabbed the bottle of pills that always rested on the counter for her, sighing when he found it was almost still almost completely full.

“Don’t you dare start. I was already chewed out by Strickler at school.” Ab called from over the sofa.

“It’s been a few days, I’m pretty sure it’s high time for another.” Jim commented while screwing the lid off.

He walked over to her and dropped two of the pills in her waiting hand. 

“No fucking lectures.” She grumbled, popping the pills into her mouth and swallowing. 

“Just promise me you’ll actually take your pills.” Jim demanded.

“I don’t make pill-related promises.” She muttered.

But after Jim glared at her for three minutes, she relented. Damn, she was rubbing off on him.

“But I promise, for one week—” Jim opened his mouth in protest, Ab held up a hand effectively silencing him—“that’s the best your going to get. I’ll take the pills for one week and we’ll work up from there.”

Jim groaned but nodded, “If that’s the best you can.”

“It is.”

“Then I’ll take it.”

Jim retreated to the kitchen where the sounds of him reheating what was left of the pancakes from yesterday emitted. The pounding in her head slowly receded as the meds kicked in. Five minutes later he dropped a plate of pancakes lathered in syrup and whipped cream in front of her. He placed a glass filled with ice water next to it along with a fork.

“Thanks.” Abigail rasped.

He smiled softly, and kissed her forehead before leaving towards the front door.

Before she could ask about where he was heading off too he spoke up, “I’m going to the dentist. Hopefully I’ll be back in an hour.”

Ha! Ab thought while watching the door close, With our luck you’ll be back in six.

He was back in three, moaning about how Toby’s dentist appointment was going to take all day.

“That doesn’t sound good.” Ab commented from where she was watching the latest episode of ‘Nailed It!’. (Anyone else watch that?)

Jim paused in prepping his late breakfast to respond, “His mouth is a city engineering project.”

Ab chuckled, “So there is time for tacos.”

“Don’t torture him like that.” Jim scolded from the other room.

“What Tobias doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”



#####

 



“Eight hours! I can’t believe it takes eight hours.” Jim was pacing around in a rant of his own for once.

It was past nine, and the sun had already set. Tension from waiting so long to share the secret practically radiated off him. She couldn’t blame him, Jim only had patience for so long until he snapped like a twig.

“You said it.” Ab muttered. 

Tobes seemed unbothered by Ab’s crabby attitude. Her headache had come back in full force after one, and she’d yet to take her pills.

“Two molars, plus insertions, and some cleanup.” Toby ticked off three fingers with each statement, seeming far too unconcerned for the unusual amount of procedures, and time, that it took.

Jim grabs Toby by the shoulders, “Okay, Tobes. You are never going to believe this.”

“Of course he isn’t, just show him.” Abigail grumbled as she  watched Toby’s eyes commercially widen as Jim nearly shakes him.

Jim releases Toby only to go to his bag and grab the amulet.

“My mouth. Still feels a little sore.” Toby complains. 

She pointed towards the freezer in an unspoken suggestion. When he headed to the freezer she opened the top cabinet and started searching for medicine.

“Check this out.” Jim had grabbed the amulet and was staring intently at it. Ab huffed at his tremption. If it had worked before, it would work again.

Toby complains, “Do you have any aspirin?”

He looked absolutely miserable with the frozen pizza box against his mouth. She took pity on him and tossed the bottle at him. Which then hit him in the eye. She cringed in guilt at the bad shot.

“Ow, Abby!” Abigail shot him a look when he used that stupid nickname. Any bad feelings she’d had about hitting him were gone. She actually wanted to do it again, where it hurts.

“Tobes, pay attention.” Jim calls from where he was—still—staring at the amulet.

“Just say the magic words again, Jim!” Abigail grumbled, she watched Toby suddenly realize what type of frozen box he’d pulled out of the freezer. 

Jim begins whatever the incantation was, but Tobes attention was solely focused on the pizza he threw in the microwave. The sudden ding from the microwave interrupted Jim right before the last word.

Too slow! Ab thought cheerfully, and man was that microwave fast. She gave the kitchen appliance a suspicious look.

“Go on.” Toby looked a little sheepish at getting caught, but that didn’t stop him from eating the pizza.

Jim’s face twisted in confusion, “It worked last night.”

He lifted the G. T. in the air to examine it closer.

“Are you fucking with me right now?” Toby seemed rather nonchalant as he attempted to close the microwave, it was common for Ab to play practical jokes, he supposed, it might’ve rubbed off on Jim.

“Okay. Wait, wait, wait, wait.” He started shaking the supposedly malfunctioning device.

Ab rolled her eyes, “That’s because you spoke the full incantation last night, silly.”

Jim took a deep breath in and seemed to be focusing hard, because the next thing she knew her hair started floating along with Toby’s pizza slice and the Aspirin bottle. The hair floating thing was new, she didn’t particularly like it. She glared at the G. T. that had attached itself to her brother’s chest and summoned the armor.

“Holy shit!” Toby exclaimed.

“Oh-oh-o! How cool is that?” Jim was reliving the excitement all over again, this time, with Toby.

“What…” Toby’s mouth dropped in shock as he stared at Jim, “Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!”

He jumped closer, lifting Jim’s arms. Staring at the armor he almost couldn’t believe it, “So cool, so cool, so cool !”

“Dude, you know what this means, right? You have a sacred responsibility here.” Toby exclaimed.

“That’s what they said!” Jim yelled back excitedly. 

“Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!” He basically repeated it on loop before abruptly taking a bite of his pizza halfway through another gosh, “You need to use these powers for the benefit of all mankind.”

Ab had situated herself on the island counter for a better vantage point. She had watched in disbelief as Toby started fanboying all over the armor. Then she’d had a sneaking suspicion that the ‘benefit of all mankind’ meant something vastly different from what Jim was thinking of. She saw the look that Jim got when he was fairly certain a Tobes was about to say something crazy appear on his face. She was just waiting for the beat to drop.

“You have to use this to kick Steve’s ass.”

Bingo.

“Really?” Jim exclaims, staring at their crazy friend in disbelief, “I show you a glowing sword and a suit of armor that could only be magic, and that’s how you respond!”

“Seriously!” Tobes gestured wildly with his pizza, “It’s ass-kicking time.” 

Ab was getting annoyed at this point, “You know, I already kicked Steve’s ass plenty of times before. Right?”

“No, we need to prove ourselves as men. We fight our own battles!” Toby declared, throwing a bunch of wild flinging motions with his entire body.

“To protect your fragile masculinity I have chosen not to comment.” Ab declared, lazing on the island counter.

Toby pulled a face at that while admiring his pant’s flexibility, “These pants are so elastic.”

“Thank God for that.” Ab muttered.

Toby paused, “Wait. Also, who’s ‘they’?”

“Well that’s the part that I’ve been freaking out over!” Jim said, waving his hands around.

That’s when a knock sounded on the door.

“What, what, what the hell is that? Don’t open the door!”

“I’ll assume that’s the ‘they’. Right on time too.” Ab commented, the kitchen pillar blocked her view of the backdoor.

The knocks escalated and with a crash, she assumed ‘they’ had made their entrance.

“Master Jim!” An overly chipper voice exclaimed.

 Oh yeah, that’s them.

“I’m calling nine-one-one.” Toby started panicking like she knew he would, “No. Animal control!”

He dove behind the counter Abigail was currently on, still panicking.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. They talk!” He peeked over the counter using Ab as a shield.

“I knew it was but a matter of time before the amulet called to us.” Blinky came into view, solely focused on Jim. Ab saw her chance and took it.

“What? G. T. over there?” The surprised yelp was music to her ears, as Blinky jumped away from her. The pillar in the kitchen obscures both ways.

Jim shook his head, used to Ab’s antics he tried to steer the conversation back on track, “‘Called’ to you?”

“Erm..” Blinky figited, still edging away from her, “Actually, no. We’ve been spying on you.”

“Spy on you.” Ab leaned forward to see Aaarrrgghh wedged in the doorway.

“Well, keeping a close watch.” Blinky summarized. 

Ab rolled her eyes at his attempt to downplay what they did, “That’s called spying, dingus.”

A large crash from the backdoor stopped whatever retort Blinky was about to fire back.

“Door small.” The giant moaned.

Abigail leaned backward to check on her panicking best friend, “How’s it goin’ back there, buddy?”

Tobes seemed dead set on his phone as he dialed a number, “Animal Control.

“Monsters, at my best friend's house! I need you to send a squad!” Tobes practically screamed into the receiver.

Is this a joke, kid?” Was the predictable response.

“Make that the National Guard!”

Ab heard the dial tone.

“Animal Control hung up on me.” He said in disbelief.

It seemed to be going well then.

She returned her focus to the conversation up front.

Blinky turned to Jim with a disapproving face (How he managed that with six eyes was beyond her),“You told your stout little friend about us.”

“You find one of us, you get all of us. Also you barged in.” Ab called out to the duo.

Jim scratched the back of his neck, “Um, is that a problem?”

Polite as ever, I see, Ab thought in exasperation.

She watched as Aaaarrgghh started sniffing around the floor. 

“Master Jim, we trolls have gone to great lengths to keep our existence secret from your kind, lest there be panic.” Uh oh, this was lecture mode.

Ab wondered if stabbing him with a knife would shut him up. Before she could get into further debate of which knife to use, Aaarrrgghh leaned over the counter and promptly picked Toby up. You better watch it, she thought, glaring dangerously at him. But other than squealing in a very undignified way, Toby appeared unhurt. She relaxed and called that payback for calling her Abby.

Aaarrrgghh dropped him on the counter with her. He could’ve picked anywhere else. She internally rolled her eyes at him while externally leaning away from Toby as he tried to duck behind her on the counter, again.

“Oh my god. Oh my god…” He frantically chanted under his breath while holding out a metal ladle.

“Like that.” Apparently this proved Blinky’s point.

Jim walked over while reassuring him, “It’s alright Tobes.”

“They're like, nine feet tall.” He whispered frantically.

“This is my best friend Toby D.” Jim introduced.

But before he could do the same for her, she took matters into her own hands, “An’ I’m Abigail Mara Lake, Jim’s older sister.”

“He has like eight hundred eyes! We’re gonna die.” Toby was still definitely freaking out.

Blinky had walked over next to Aaarrrgghh, “Hardly. Your friend is the Trollhunter. His noble obligation is protective.”

Ab did her typical Abigail thing, and reassured Tobes in her own, erm…, special way, “Don’t worry Tobes, I’ve got a knife.”

“Uhh…” Tobes inched away from her when she revealed it and lifted it in the air.

Blinky was quick to step behind a shield, which just happened to be Aaarrrgghh. Toby was nearly falling off the counter in his desperation to get as much space between him and Abigail with a knife. Jim lunged forward, he was quick to grab her hand holding the knife, gently lowering it, 

“Let’s put down the knife, Ab.” He said placatingly.

Crisis narrowly avoided, the rest relaxed, although Blinky still looked slightly traumatized.

Toby steered the conversation back on track, “Like ‘protecting’? You mean like a superhero? Oh, can I be his sidekick?” Toby sat forward, his excitement escalating, “With a cool superhero name like Deathblade or Snipersnake?”

Jim tried to slow his roll, “Just wait. Who would I be protecting?”

“Us.” Aaarrrgghh gestured towards the fantasy part of their group.

“And mankind, from bad trolls.” Blinky elaborated, “As well as goblins, gruesomes, and the occasional rogue gnome.”

Toby got a little too curious and started poking Blinky with the ladle.

“Do you mind?” His face got a little too close to Toby’s for her comfort.

“Watch it!” Ab growled, stepping forward threateningly, knife back in her hand. She didn’t believe they were here to harm them, but she wasn’t taking any chances. Abigail was willing to kill to keep her loved ones safe. 

Blinky took the clear warning and immediately backed off. He kept several feet between himself and her before beginning, “The mantle of Trollhunter is a sacred responsibility, one which has never been passed to a human before. This is a—”

Ab cut him off, taking a one-eighty with her emotions now alarmed, “Wait! Wait, up a sec. Why does this have to be my brother?”

Before Blinky could answer a sudden flash of light had Jim exclaiming, “Oh, it’s my mother! Upstairs, quick!”

He ushered everyone up the steps. Wood cracking drew her attention back, but Jim pushed her forward. Not before she caught Aaarrrgghh fixing the banister. The bathroom door slammed shut with a boom that shook the entire house.

“Jim! It’s me!” Mom’s voice called from downstairs.

“Great job on being stealthy.” Ab threw at him.

“She’s not supposed to be home until midnight.” Jim panicked.

She heard a great snuffling sound from behind her, “Mmm. You smell like cat.”

“My nana has a Siamese.” Toby replied uneasily.

“Tasty.” He licked his lips, visibly unnerving Toby.

Abigail’s maternal instincts cut in, prompting an immediate reaction.

Ab snarled lowly, “Back away from the Domzalski.”

Approaching footsteps cut her off from launching at him. She watched as Aaarrrgghh quietly inched as far away from Tobes as possible in the tight confines of the bathroom.

“I forgot my phone. Are you in there?” Mom’s voice came from right outside the door.

“Um, fine. I mean, my stomach’s a little, uh…” Toby started using the toilet cleaner to make fart noises, Jim frantically made the ‘cut it out’ motion, while Ab just smacked her forehead, “Uh, you know, I might have a food poisoning situation.”

“Honey, I’ll get you some medicine, okay?” Barbara’s need to help might be their downfall.

Her footsteps retreated down the steps only seconds later.

“Okay, what’s this going on here?” Jim gestured to the stubborn armor still attached to his body.

“The amulet reacts to your emotional state.” Toby turned off the bathroom lights and stared, transfixed by the glowing amulet, “You appear to be in some distress.” 

“You think?” Jim snaps sarcastically.

“I have another question.” Toby announces.

“Speak, Theodore.” Ab held back a snicker.

A large stony arm reached out and started flicking the light switch.

“It’s Toby, actually. Or Tobias.” Tobes brushed off the mistake, the bathroom lights started going on and off.

“If Jim’s the first Trollhunter, like you said.” He smacked Aaarrrgghh’s arm away from the light switch, leaving the light off, “Then who or what was the Trollhunter before him?”

“The glorious mantle has been passed from troll to troll for hundreds of years.” Blinky declared excitedly emphasizing with his top pair of arms.

“So, the previous Trollhunter, what, retired?” Jim asked.

Ab started chanting in the back of her head, please be retired, please be retired.

Both trolls saddened, “Was felled.”

It took a second to register in Ab’s mind, “Oh hell to the no!”

She had practically yelled it. Jim covered her mouth and shushed her. She was too angry to care that she may have exposed them to mom.

They all stood in tense silence for a minute, listening for the sound of approaching footsteps. When none came everyone visibly relaxed.

“Felled?” Jim inquired.

“Means killed.” Aaarrrgghh rumbled sadly.

“Turned to stone and smashed.” Blinky emphasized that statement with his two top hands, “Kanjigar the Courageous was his name. Brutally slain by a ruthless troll named Bular.”

Abigail’s mind whirled with the new information. A horrible dread settled over her as her mind quickly fitted the pieces together. 

Toby’s hand landed on her shoulder, startling her out of her thoughts, “Don’t worry guys.”

“This Bular guy probably just got lucky.” Toby switched the bathroom light on.

Everything clicked into place. The amulet had been under the bridge within the stone pieces of what must’ve been the predecessor of the amulet. What that meant for Jim, she didn’t know.

“The creature in armor made of Daylight.” Ab whispered in horror.

“The evidence does not suggest—” Blinky’s voice became background noise along with Jim’s response.

Abigail was about to seriously freak out, until she saw Jim’s expression. He was scared out of his mind, his face rotating between terror and disbelief, and if she was freaking out, who would help him? Maybe Toby, but his methods are to be questioned.

“—ost alert and able of all the Trollhunters.” She caught the tail end of Blinky’s words and did not like it.

“But not the best, I’m betting.” Jim asked desperately.

She saw Blinky’s face and had her answer, “Shut it!”

His mouth quickly closed before she continued, “Is there some way he can get rid of it?”

Blinky seemed to at least understand the weight of her question and looked remorseful, “I’m afraid once the mantle has chosen you, you can not refuse it. It is yours, until the day you die.”

Tobes got between her before she could gorge out one of his six eyes, “Is there some sort of training he can—”

Ab turned to see Jim hyperventilating on the bathroom floor, she knelt next to him, “Hey bud, it’s okay. Take deep breaths. I’ll stab them for you.”

That jerked him out of it.

“Don’t do that!” He yelped.

“Aha! There’s my little brother, still not letting me stab people, or… trolls.” Ab muttered the last part.

She heard Blinky behind her, “Great query, Tom. Tobias! It’ll take decades.”

What the heck takes decades? Abigail turned to look behind her.

Tobes glanced at her and Jim before turning to them, “And how long does Jim have?”

“A day or two.” Blinky replied.

“Mmhhmm.” Aaarrrgghh made a so-so gesture behind him.

There was a knock on the door, “Jim, I have medicine and ginger ale. Come on out.”

“I’m fine. Really.” He yelled in exasperation.

Ab grimaced, “Oh he’s so going to get it now.”

“I’m a doctor. I’m going to treat my own son.” Barbara scolded. 

Abigail quickly glanced around the bathroom. 

“Into the shower!” She hissed quietly to them.

“I just need a little privacy.” Jim replied in a desperate attempt to buy time.

Ab ushered the trolls into the shower, climbing on top of Aaarrrgghh herself. Jim started taking deep breaths, and with a flash of light the armor came off.

“You’re worrying me. Oh” There was a brief pause, “I’m coming in.”

Abigail desperately hoped that Mom hadn’t seen the flash of light.

The door opened and Jim’s blobby figure through the curtain walked out of view, “Ooh! See? All good.”

“Huh, okay.” Mom’s skeptical voice retreated as they both walked downstairs.

There was a great sniff and Toby grumbled, “Stop sniffing me, giant troll dude.”

“Smell like cat.”

She growled warningly from on top of him.

Twenty excruciating minutes later that consisted of Ab barely holding back the urge to stab Blinky, and eventually leaving the bathroom altogether to go wave Mom off passed far too slowly for her sanity.

“Ow. Your cave, too small.” Aaarrrgghh had bumped into the ceiling again, and then relieved the table nearby of its contents.

“So, Master Jim, are you ready?” Blinky clasped his hands together, “We should begin your training immediately.”

Abigail stormed up to Blinky, murderous intentions written across her face, “No, you should get out of this house. After what you’ve dumped on us I have half a mind to stab you with every knife we have, twice.”

Blinky took a good few steps back, looking fairly afraid of her.

For once Jim didn’t try to stop her rampage, “And it’s a school night.”

Blinky leaned around her figure to see Jim, “I assure you, the relevance escapes me.”

“He’s a kid! He has a life, and shouldn’t be running around in a suit of armor, fighting trolls or whatever.” Ab threw her hands up in frustration.

She paused at a fleeting thought, “Take it back.” 

Blinky hastily backed away from her, and she had a feeling that what he said next would not be something she liked, “Like I said before, Lady Abigail, this mantle is one for life. Your brother cannot refuse it.”

Jim suddenly snapped from behind her, “Well the whole ‘getting killed by a vicious troll named Bular’ might be a dealbreaker.”

Toby breaks through the conversation with an unwanted comment, in a completely unwarranted cheerful attitude, “Dude! He eats VHS’s!”

“Shut it!” She snapped at him.

“Dealbreaker?”

“I don’t want to die!” Jim yelled, coming to stand next to her.

There was a pause where everyone was quiet before Blinky burst out laughing, “Goodness gracious. Who does?”

Ab very nearly stabbed him on the spot, and if Jim hadn’t put a calming hand on her shoulder, she would have.

“Maybe you should take this back.” He held the amulet out to Blinky.

“The amulet called to you, Master Jim.” Blinky pushed the held out hands back to Jim, “It chose you. It is your…”

“Please don’t say ‘destiny’.” Jim pleaded.

“—sacred obligation.”

Jim covered his face with a hand, “Or, that.”

“You cannot refuse it. You cannot give it back. It is yours until you die.” 

Ab very nearly screamed in frustration at those words. Why her little brother? Why ?

“And I would like to get a little further past puberty before that happens.” Jim nearly loses his cool again.

“Master Jim, you are now responsible for the protection of two worlds, human and troll alike. If you do not keep the balance, evil trolls like Bular will come into yours and wreak havoc.” She knew he had Jim’s complete attention when he heard people could get hurt.

“You’re saying this Bular could hurt people?” Jim’s voice grew meek at the thought of potential harm coming to anyone.

“Like you.” Aaarrrgghh commented.

“Not helping.” Blinky hissed.

“What is he talking about?” Jim pressed.

“With the amulet now in your possession, Bular will seek you out, and you will face him, one way or another.” Her body went cold at the thought of that shadowy monster seeking out her little brother.

If there was anytime for a vision it would be now. She willed herself to reach out, desperation fueling her attempts to force a vision. An incredibly brief image shot through her subconscious. Her eyes glowed for a mere millisecond, nobody caught it because they weren’t looking directly at her.

“What if there is more than one person who can wield it?” Ab found herself blurting out.

Blinky blanched, “That’s preposterous! Only one may wield the Amulet of Daylight.”

Ab didn’t listen to him, turning to Jim and holding out her hand, “Jim give it to me.”

“Uhh...” He paused.

Toby was over there in an instant, placing a hand on both of their shoulders.

“Maybe what Jim needs is a little time to process all of this.” Toby empathetically explained, “You know, you laid a lot of heavy stuff on him tonight.”

Blinky paused for a second and seemed to think it over, “Fine, fine. We shall return tomorrow then, to begin your training!”

“Awesome sauce.” Toby said unenthusiastically.

Toby was trying to shove Aaarrrgghh out the door, when Blinky turned back and seemed to notice Jim brooding. He made as if to make his way over to him, but Abigail stepped in his path. Her expression was less murderous, but it still wasn’t friendly.

Blinky took that as a good sign and attempted to reason, “I merely wish to talk to him.”

Ab mulled it over for a second, glancing at Jim with worry.

“I’ll be watching.” She warns him, stepping back.

She watched him like a hawk. Whatever he was saying to Jim hadn’t caused a breakdown so Ab decided to help Tobes with Aaarrrgghh.

They finally managed to push him out the door when they both came back. Jim looked marginally better, and Blinky seemed proud of himself for some reason. Ab gave him a nod as he followed after Aaarrrgghh, towards the fence line. He waved enthusiastically at them, and Aaarrrgghh seemed to think he was taking too long. A hand appeared over the fence and yanked him over.

“They’re pretty stealthy. How’s that? I bought you a night.” Toby broke the silence, far too chipper for Ab’s taste.

“A night?” Jim said incredulously.

“Dude…” Toby gestured, “You’re the one who’s always talking about wanting adventure and something more. Well wish granted. Hmm...”

Ab very nearly smacked him for that last remark.

“So, trolls are a thing. Who knew.” Toby headed back inside.

“I did, like—three days ago.” Ab turned following him, leaving Jim to his thoughts.

“Visions don’t count. They could be faulty.” Toby threw back.

Abigail grew insulted at what he was implying, “Once Tobes! Name one time they were wrong.”

“I did get hurt in the canal.” Toby grumbled.

“It was a faceplant! Not a wedgie.”

Jim walked through the door, closed, and locked it.



#####



Abigail had laid awake during the entire night again, and she was fairly certain there were bags under her eyes. Once the sun had rose above the horizon was when she finally decided to move. The early morning light had glinted off the single piece of jewelry she actually owned. It hung on one of the few spare hooks in the room, its onyx crystal shimmering. She’d decided, why not take a little luck along with her. God knows she would need it.

She tucked it beneath her shirt. Ab didn’t make a habit of flaunting her jewelry. She grabbed her latest finished pottery piece off her trimming wheel. She would drop it off at the kindle on the way back from school. Maybe she’d give this one to Nomura, it’s design had been modeled off one of the museum’s. She was definitely proud of the handles, which were actually symmetrical, for once.

The trip to school was uneventful, Toby had started firing off questions the moment they had met outside the Lake’s house all the way to school.

“So what did you decide?” Toby asked for the fifth time.

Jim sighed, “That if anyone finds out what happened in my kitchen last night, we’ll all be committed.”

“I meant about kicking Steve’s ass.”

“Give up the dream, Tobes.”

Ab got a pit feeling in her stomach. She checked the clock on the courtyard wall and cursed.

“See ya guys, I have to split.”

A chorus of byes and see ya later followed her rushing figure. She was late to Homeroom, and did not want to be caught by Mrs. Janeth. So much for luck. Her eyes caught the Romeo and Juliet poster on the wall. Is the date… yes! Thank you, luck!

Abigail caught a flash of brown out of her eyes, right before she rammed right into Strickler. Damn you luck.

Unsurprisingly they both fell to the floor.

“Well, if I didn’t have a headache earlier,” She winced while touching her forehead, “I do now.”

“My deepest apologies, Abigail.” Mr. Strickler was quick to get up to his feet, “But I’m afraid I can’t stay for pleasantries, there is an urgent manner I must attend to.”

“Well that was abrupt.” She muttered while watching him retreat towards the boy’s locker room, wait was that Toby? Pushing Jim?

She decided that she didn’t care enough to find out before heading towards the cafeteria. She had a vague memory of Mrs. Janeth announcing that Homeroom would be moved there because of rehearsals.

A temporary stage had been set up, along with a few rows of metal seats. Someone was already onstage and reading off their lines. She selected her seat in the far back, hopefully out of any main attention. A few of her homeroom classmates were peppered around the rest of the seats. 

She was headed towards her chosen seat when her eyes began to wander around the room. Ab’s gaze landed on a very familiar set of pigtails, and she tripped in surprise. All of her books tumbled out of her arms and somehow managed to echo throughout the entire cafeteria.

Her face burned as students turned to stare, even the actor onstage paused and looked in her direction. She quickly ducked down to retrieve them. She was reaching for her science textbook when a different more slender hand lifted the book off the ground.

Abigail prayed to every entity that those hands that were now holding out that cursed book did not belong to whom she thought.

Abigail looked up and met Shannon Longhannon’s eyes. 

Lucky necklace, you had one damn job.

“I got your uhh...—” She looked slightly nervous as she read the title— “‘Physical Science’ textbook.”

Ab’s entire face went beet red when she held it out to her. Her mind turned to complete mush at her attempt to form a coherent response. Oh god, she was just like her brother.

“I-uhh… thank you.” Ab sputtered out, thoroughly embarrassed.

Shannon’s mouth stretched into a small grin, “Your welcome.”

“So, whatcha doin in the cafeteria?” Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why the hell did she say that? Lucky necklace, you motherfu—

“Oh.” A red flush flared on Shannon’s ears, “I was signing up for the stage crew. Mom wanted me to join at least one club at school. I was apparently ‘too much of an introvert’ for her tastes.”

Abigail was yanked out of her personal insults and met Shannon’s gaze. Wow, her eyes are so pretty. Wait, WHAT! Abigail nearly smacked her face at that thought. What the hell is wrong with me? Break the silence Abigail, or you’ll look like a dope to her.

“Where’s the sign up sheet?” The words escaped her mouth before she could stop them. She blushed suddenly, hoping Shannon hadn’t caught onto her eagerness. Was that too obvious?

Luckily (ironic, I know), Shannon seemed oblivious and eagerly showed her the way. Abigail wondered if it was too much of a stretch to compare herself to a tomato yet. She followed Shannon down near the stage. A small table was set up with the crew sign up papers. 

“So I know that being on the crew isn’t the same as actually performing on stage, but I hear that it's really fun. I can’t speak from experience, but I met one of the regular crew member’s and he tol—”

 Abigail nodded along with what Shannon was saying, but never quite heard it. She was too focused on the way her mouth moved and the light in her eyes when she retold her meeting with some guy. She had a small dimple on her left side when she smiled. Ab absently wondered what it would be like to kiss her. What the ever-loving FUCK ! Did she seriously just think that? Ab, control your expression. She was halfway certain that a dopey smile was painted on her face, and she did not want to act like her love stricken brother.

Ab reigned in control of her expression, just as Shannon asked a question.

“Hey, isn’t that your brother?”

No way, Ab thought as she turned towards the stage. But, apparently, there was a way. There was her little brother, standing in the middle of the stage, wearin the daylight armor, fidgeting nervously as he answered Mrs. Janeth’s questions. He was going to have a whole lot more questions to answer from her because she needed an explanation.

“Well, we are all ears.” Mrs. Janeth said, flipping the paper on her clipboard.

“Whoa. What is he wearing?” Ab heard from behind her.

“Uhh…” Jim started nervously.

“Destiny—” He took a deep breath—“Destiny is a gift. Some go their entire lives living an existence of quiet desperation, never learning the truth, that what feels as though a burden pushing down upon our shoulders—” He drew the sword and pointed it towards the audience.

“—is actually the sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights. Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor. That to strive in the face of fear is what it means to be a hero.” He lifts the sword up, the audience gasps. 

“Don’t think.” He swings it through the air in an elaborate show before sheathing it on the final word, “Become.”

Abigail watched in shock as the rest of the students burst out into applause. Mrs. Janeth was hiding behind her clipboard. She caught sight of Claire in the audience. She gave a small smirk as she saw their eyes meet. Well, that explains the audition, …but not the armor .

There would be an explanation, in serious detail, and maybe a few knives. 

“He’s cute.” Shannon commented offhandedly.

Abigail sputtered, nearly choking on her own spit. Her little brother and cute, did not compute together. Nope. She was not going to think about that.

Shannon noticed her expression, and burst out laughing, “It’s okay. I’m not into him like that.”

Her reassuring words were enough to stop Abigail’s coughing fit.

“Plus, anyone can see he’s already taken.” She nodded towards Claire.

Ab grinned, “Yea, he’s had that crush since forever. He gets all tongue-tied when she’s within ten feet of him, that or the dreamy eyes.”

Shannon laughed. It was bright and full of mirth, and it made Abigail’s heart do a flip.

“Yeah, love’ll do that to ya.” She said, turning to look at Ab.

Abigail’s breath caught as Shannon’s eyes met her own. Her heart stuttered to a stop in her chest as their eyes remained locked. She saw something flicker in Shannon’s eyes. It was gone before Ab could puzzle out what it was. Would she like to have a taco later from Stuart’s Taco Truck? Right as she had summoned up enough courage to ask, a cough broke their trance.

Moment ruined, Abigail turned a glare onto a very unfortunate Toby. 

“Hey. Uhhh… can I borrow Ab?” He asked uncomfortably after noticing her glare.

Ab’s glare sharpened after Shannon murmured goodbye before making her exit. 

“What?” she snapped at him.

He took a quick step back at the venom loaded in her words, “I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were talking to her!”

When her expression softened he added, “But did you ask her out?”

Ab whacked him with one of her books. She watched in amusement as he rubbed the back of his head with a small ‘ow’. 

“Stop being nosy.” She scolded before walking backstage.

Toby hurried after her. She opened the door just in time to see Jim deactivate the armor. The glare she leveled at him had Jim fidgeting with nervousness.

“What ever it is, he didn’t do it!” Toby cried running between Ab and Jim.

“The evidence—” Ab pointed at the G.T. in Jim’s hands—“Is literally in his hands.”

“Great job at stalling, ditto.” Jim hissed at Tobes.

“Sorry man!” He leaned closer and whispered, “She’s scary.”

“Damn right I am. Now, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT IN SCHOOL !”

“Heh.” Toby chuckled nervously, he patted Jim on the back, “All yours, bro.”

He rushed off, giving her a wide berth as he made his way to the exit.

“TRAITOR!” Jim yelled at the slammed door.

Ab raised her eyebrow at him. Clearly expecting his excuse. Jim gave her a hopeful smile that didn’t deter her stone hard expression in the least.



#####



Jim’s excuse had been fairly acceptable, so she hadn’t needed to lecture him, or steal his phone for the day. Although, she had confiscated the amulet in an attempt to keep the incident from repeating. The last thing she needed was for him to summon freaking armor in the middle of Algebra because Mrs. Janeth made him answer a question he had no idea what the answer was to.

School was almost over when Ab’s thoughts sent her for a spin.

She had realized something just as she opened her locker for fifth period. She’d had an actual conversation with Shannon Longhannon. And she had made her laugh, twice. Abigail banged her head against the locker door, eliciting a few concerned glances from fellow Juniors around her. She simply banged her head again, harder.



#####



“Dude! That was amazing! You were amazing! I’m amazed at how amazing you were!”

They were waiting at the intersection to cross the road. Not even six minutes away from school and Ab wanted to strangle Toby. See how awesome that was, she thought.

“I can’t believe that that just happened.” Jim was just as excited as Toby.

“And did you see how the chiquita was looking at you?” Toby gave an attempt at a sly smile, as they passed the construction zone.

“Toby, this is why you’re failing Spanish.” Ab commented.

Toby rolled his eyes before continuing, “Your armor totally did you a favor!”

“I’m still getting the hang of it.” Jim muttered modestly.

“The multi-eye guy said it reacts to your emotional state.” Toby hit the side of a wooden board on the road and went careening off course, “The armor turns on when you’re in distress.”

They approached the turn, Ab got a pit feeling in her stomach. 

“But I wasn’t in distress back at school.” Jim said, still confused over the incident with Strickler.

Before Ab could say anything, a loud roar cut her off.

Jim blanched, “But I am now.

There was a black silhouette at the end of the street they had turned on, two glowing eyes watched them. The figure moved and growled again.

“Trollhunter. Merlin’s Creation—” He snarled, lowering down on all fours—“Gunmar’s Bane.”

Toby leaned out, next to Jim, “I think he’s talking to you.”

It walked forward, the second its hand went into the sun, it sizzled. The figure retreated immediately. A troll? But why the hell is it out here?

Jim pointed, “Look! He’s afraid of the sun.”

Toby cried, “Not for long!”

Ab was frozen as a name crossed her mind.

“Bular.” She whispered, the others gave her a look of horror as the whole situation finally processed in their heads. Ab felt her pocket, where the amulet laid, her distraction.

Bular once again snarled, “The amulet! Surrender it and I will give you a speedy death.”

“Doesn’t know how to negotiate, this guy!”

“Go, go, go!” Jim yelled.

They took off, making a quick left to head away from Main St. Ab heard the thundering footsteps following, not far behind. 

“Hide!” Abigail hissed at the two.

They were quick to take cover behind one of the trucks that lined the deserted street. Of all the times for people not to be out, why now ? They crouched behind the chosen truck. Ab could hear Bular searching for them. She flinched at the harsh sound of metal hitting concrete as he overturned one of the trucks. 

Abigail knew what she had to do to keep her brother and Toby safe, she just hoped the fucking amulet would listen too. She gripped her necklace beneath her shirt and wished for luck.

Toby clutched at Jim while shaking him whispered desperately, “Armor up, armor up, armo—”

Jim grabbed Toby, forcing him to stop shaking him. He stared desperately into Toby’s eyes.

“I don’t have it!” He whisper-yelled furiously back.

“Oh, we’re gonna die.” Toby lamented.

“Wait!” Jim looked desperately around, “Where’s Ab?”

No sooner was that said when there was a screech of tires from the middle of the street, just out of sight for the boys. They peeked over in time to see Abigail herself reach into her pocket and pull out the amulet. 

“Oh no.” Jim whispered in horror.

“OI! YA UGLY BLACK BASTARD!” Abigail screamed from the other end of the street, “YOU WANT THE FUCKING AMULET?”

They heard a snarl, incredibly close to their hiding spot. Both boy’s cringed away. Abigail cast a desperate glance in their direction. Jim immediately realized what she was trying to do.

She held it above her head, “COME AND GET IT!”

Ab immediately took off, a loud roar following behind her. They watched her turn on the next street, Bular hot on her heels.

Jim whirled around, and this time it was Toby’s turn to get shook, “She’s drawing him away from us. She’s going to get herself killed!”

“Oh, shit.” Toby commented, still in shock.

Jim paused in his shaking, looking desperately into his eyes, “We have to go after her!” 

Toby’s eyes widened in disbelief. 

“You mean you want to run towards the evil troll currently chasing your sister. My best fri—” Toby died off mid-rant when he came to a realization.

“Fuck you James Lake Jr.”



#####



This was a terrible idea.

This was by far the craziest, stupidest, insanest idea she’d ever had. 

And she had actually followed through.

Abigail was half-tempted to just dig her own grave at this point.

No regrets though. Her brother and best friend were safe, for now.

Another roar that shook the ground sounded behind her. Her breath came in quick pants as she pedaled faster than she’d ever had in her life. The pounding of footsteps behind her fueled the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Which was good, because that was basically all she was running on now. Her heart pounded in her ears as she took another turn.

“I’ll flay the flesh off your bones, and shred your skin into ribbons!”

Literally, this guy wouldn’t shut up. She meant, the first few times, yeah, it was scary. But now. It’s just getting old. She was half-tempted to yell an insult of her own over her shoulder. Just to watch his reaction. But she didn’t actually have a death wish.

“Suck it bitch!” She yelled, before taking a sharp turn into a narrow alleyway.

Apparently she did.

There was no way he could fit through here, she thought grimly. A loud crash and scraping noise followed her. A frustrated roar followed her into the next street. She could barely believe it had worked.

Biking through the next few streets was tense as she listened for any sound of perusement. When she heard no thundering footsteps she took a right, towards the canals. 

When she saw that multi-eyed troll again, she would punch every single one of his six eyes. 

Speaking of that troll, she saw all of the four beings she was currently looking for. Ab screeched to a halt in front of Toby, who’s mouth immediately dropped in shock.

“I think I lost him, along with my stomach.” Ab commented wryly, eyeing their stunned expressions.

She saw something shift in Jim’s eyes just before he launched at her. Taken completely by surprise, his momentum nearly made her fall.

“Ok there.” She patted him on the back as he clutched her close.

The hug was reaching past physical limitations when he finally let go. Ab was incredibly confused as to what prompted this action when Toby exclaimed from behind Jim.

“We thought you’d been killed!”

“I’m very much clearly alive.” Ab rolled her eyes at him, “An’ I still have the bloody G.T..” 

She pulled it out of her pocket and held it out to Jim. Much to everyone’s surprise he slapped her hand holding the amulet, in her shock, she lost her grip on it and it went flying into the underbrush. Ab stared in shock at his expression. Jim’s face was thunderous, borderline scary.

“WHAT IN THE HELL POSSESSED YOU TO DO THAT!” His eyes were glassy with unshed tears, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW WORRIED I WAS?”

“WE—” He choked, abruptly cutting off. 

His eyes glistened even more so, “I-I thought you—”

He didn’t get to finish before Ab wrapped her arms around him. That’s when the waterworks broke. He let out a choked sob into her shoulder as he clutched her tighter, his tears soaking her shirt.

They stood there for a long moment, before Ab felt another pair of arms wrap around them. She pulled back slightly to see Toby. His eyes were rimmed with red as well. 

They all melted into the hug, overwhelmed by their near-death experience. Blinky shifted uncomfortably and turned to gaze at the ground. Aaarrrgghh seemed to be slightly upset at their emotional display, reminded of the fact they were indeed, just whelps.

“Alright, physical contact is over, people.” Ab declared, detangling herself from the tangle of limbs and silent tears.

Jim stepped back while wiping his face free of any residue tears. He gave a small grin at her. Toby sniffled before hitting her on the shoulder.

“Don’t ever do that to us again.” He grumbled.

Ab hit him in the shoulder as payback and promise, “I won’t.”

Toby immediately turned to look at Aaarrrgghh, shooting off a question, trying to forget the emotional display. Before she caught anything, Jim stepped up in front of her.

“Shake on it.” He demanded, holding out a hand

Ab immediately grabbed it, giving a reassuring squeeze. They looked each other in the eye for a second, both brother and sister knowing that if it came down to it, she would do it again. She would protect them. Jim hated it, but knew this was the best he would get. 

Ab’s expression changed at the same second as Jim’s. 

“Do you feel that?” Jim questioned, looking at their clasped hands.

Toby focused on them again when Abigail didn’t reply. She released her hold that kept the object in their hands hidden. The cool metal slid into the middle of her palm, revealing the amulet. All three gaped at it for a moment before Ab whipped her head around to Blinky.

“Did you know that it teleports?” She questioned.

Blinky’s observation of the ground ended when he saw the amulet in her hand.

He gasped, “It teleported to you?”

“No, it teleported into both our hands.” Jim piped.

Blinky looked troubled for a second before a loud roar echoed down the street. Abigail nearly got whiplash from how fast she turned.

“Follow me! We’ll be safe in Heartstone Trollmarket!” Called Blinky, the little shit was already getting a headstart.

The trio immediately took off after them, the thundering footsteps giving them plenty of incense to hurry it up. She heard a roar and fizzling, suddenly the light posts started falling past them. She narrowly avoided one by switching to the other side of the road. Ab nearly tumbled off her bike when she saw Toby hit one of the poles, launching off his. She was immensely grateful that Aaarrrgghh snagged him, carrying Toby himself.

“Fucking hell, I thought I’d lost him!” Ab complained, while frantically pedaling.

“Well, it’s very clear that you didn’t!” Toby yelled from Aaarrrgghh’s back as they went off-road, into the forest.

“Master Jim! Don your armor!” Blinky yelled frantically.

Jim swerved next to Abigail after realizing he didn’t have it, “Ab throw it over!”

She immediately yelled back, “No way, let’s get to this Trollmarket before he catches up to us!”

“Lady Abigail, you must relinquish the amulet to Master Jim, or we will all be doomed!” Blinky’s voice unhelpfully added over the crashing of undergrowth.

“Just give it to him!” Toby yelled while desperately trying to keep a hold on Aaarrrgghh’s back.

Ab grew only more defiant as the thundering footsteps grew closer. She saw a flash of light through the forestry. A sense of deja vu came over her, and she knew what it meant.

“No! I know what I saw.” She turned to Jim, “Do you trust me?”

A range of emotions swept across his face, worry, disbelief, a flash of anger, and then realization. His expression turned to determination as the lights grew clearer.

“Do you promise to be safe?” He pleaded.

Ab gave him a mischievous smirk, “Don’t I always?”

“What’s going on?” Blinky yelled.

Jim rode up next to him, “We have a plan.”

“What sort of pla—” Toby glanced at the Lake siblings, his mouth opened when he recognized their expressions, “—oh.”

They burst out of the forest so quickly that Ab barely had any time to stop. She jumped off her bike and kicked it to the side, hoping it won’t get crushed. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure that the rest of them were getting away. The crashing in the undergrowth grew closer by the second.

Abigail unpocketed the amulet and glared down at it.

“You better work.” She threatened.

Abigail knew what she had seen in her vision last night. She also knew that it had portrayed this very picture, along with her own words echoing in her head. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, releasing it, and focused her entire will into the amulet. She envisioned what she wanted to happen before speaking.

“‘For the Glory of Merlin, Daylight is mine to command’.”

‘Bloody hell’ she thought just as she opened her eyes and met another pair of molten ones. The chest plate appeared just as the punch connected, sending her flying through the air. A faint silver clouded the edge of her vision for a split second before suddenly disappearing.

The rest of the armor summoned as she shot through the air, glowing brightly before attaching itself to her body. She noted that the metal shaped itself to fit her more feminine curves before attaching. 

The two humans and two trolls gaped in shock as the armor maternelized around Abigail. Their shock was short-lived when reality hit them like a slap as Bular roared again.

She landed on her feet with a crack. Apparently, pavement doesn’t like magic armor. She saw the length between her and the bridge, and then the length between her an—

“Fucking shit.” Was her exact thought.

She took off towards the bridge, hoping to make some headway towards her escape. It wasn’t five seconds past before Bular cut her off. She screeched to a halt, rapidly backing away.

“Use the sword, Lady Abigail.” Blinky’s voice filtered through her panic.

Was it even strong enough to pierce that monster’s stone skin? It sure didn’t look like it.

“I’ll drink your blood out of a goblet made of your skull!” Bular snarled.

Didn’t skulls have holes? 

“Incredibly inefficient, you know.” She snarked back.

“Break him like Jerry’s arm, Ab!” Toby yelled.

Ah, poor Jerry. 

Jim didn’t yell any encouragement, he was too busy watching her, and hoping she wouldn’t get killed.

“We must work quickly. Open the portal!” Blinky grabbed a glowing orange stone from his pouch, “The Horngazel!”

He threw it to Aaarrrgghh, who immediately started drawing an arch on the canal wall.

“Whoa.” Toby and Jim gaped at the blue cracks as the once regular stone wall spiraled into a blue portal.

Blinky yelled, “Lady Abigail! Lady Abigail, come on!”

Ab glanced incredulously at him. How the fuck did he expect her to get over there without becoming dark-and-scary’s midnight snack?What the hell is going on inside his brain?

Abigail yelled, “Oi, then you come deal with this motherfu—”

“Ab!” Jim cried, appalled.

“Sorry.”

Bular snarled threateningly, “You are not fit to wield the amulet. I’ll tear the armor off you! Along with your skin!”

“I’d like to see you try, bitch.” If she was going out, Abigail Mara Lake would give them something to write in the history books. Death wish is back.

Bular swung one of his twin swords at her. Ab dodged quickly to the side, simultaneously hefting the sword (while nearly losing her balance which threw off her aim), and lunging forward. He twisted to the side, surprisingly nimble (much to her dismay), and avoided her stab. 

Duck, duck, duck. Duck! Her mind screamed as she flung herself to the ground to avoid a decapitating blow. She scrambled up and wildly swung the sword towards him. 

Needless to say it got stuck in his arm.

Abigail mentally sighed as she ran in the opposite direction, while Bular was distracted with the shiny new addition to his arm. What wouldn’t she do for a large pot of coffee right now. Jim was standing in front of the portal, not in it like Toby, holding out his hand.

The fact that the portal was closing fast only spurred her on. She realized that Jim hadn’t made a move to go through, even when it started to close. He stood stubbornly outside it, holding out his hand to her.

She heard Toby start to yell, “Come on, come on! Let’s go, Abigail! Oh no!”

“Jim, if you don’t get your ass into that portal—” She didn’t finish before slamming into him.

She shoved him all the way against the concrete wall, hoping it was open enough to get at least him through. She felt him hit the wall. They hadn’t made it. She glared at him, but before she could yell, his eyes widened in fear while looking over her shoulder. Her gut sunk as she turned around, putting herself between him and oncoming danger.

Before she could blink, a sword embedded itself into the wall next to her. There was a sharp stinging across her cheek. She hissed quietly in pain. Bular charged at them, wielding one sword. His roar echoed through the canal. So this is how she was going to die.

“Whoa!” Jim startled behind her as the second sword hit the wall next to his head. 

Ab stared head-on at him as he charged them. She was readying to rip the amulet from her own chest and have it materialize on Jim’s, when the sound of stone on stone grinding reached her ears. Just as Bular was upon them, a large stone hand reached through the portal, and pulled her and Jim through.

Ab collapsed onto the ground as a thud rang through the stone wall she’d just passed through. Dust rained from the ceiling as a faint roar made its way through the wall. She heard heavy breathing that she recognized as her own. There was a shrill ringing in her ears as she processed the fact that they’d almost died.

Jim’s voice reached through her reverie, its panicked note startling her, “He nearly…. We nearly…. He almost….”

Jim was stuttering with his hands waving in the air, while Toby had his hands on his knees and dry heaved. Ab stumbled to her feet, bracing herself against the stone wall. 

“Almost what? Speak, Master Jim.” Blinky’s sounded from her right.

“He almost killed us!” Jim burst out.

“‘Almost’! A very important word. A life of almost is a life of never.”

Abigail was very ready to throttle him, when the amulet dinged on her chest, glowing for a fast second, before dissipating the armor. Everyone stared at it as it fell to the floor with a clink and rolled over to Jim. He picked it up and pocketed it. She decided to break the silence with some few choice words.

“There’s going to be no ‘almost’ when I stab out each and every single one of your eyeballs.” Ab growled.

Blinky blinked all six eyes out of sync in surprise.

“Heh.” He glanced at Jim, “She’s kidding, right?”

Ab growled menacingly at him, a clear show that she was, in fact, not.

He cleared his throat while walking back a few steps, “This way Masters. This way.”

Whatever Ab had been about to do was forgotten when Blinky stepped on something that glowed a bright blue. She rushed forward on unsteady legs to what had appeared to be a dark ledge that led to nothing, but was clearly not . Her mouth dropped as she saw the giant crystals that went down in a great spiral. She watched in fascination as the crystals continued to light up down below. The cave was awash in a blue glow that immediately calmed her pounding heart.

“Whoa!” Toby and Jim gaped as they came up beside her.

“It’s beautiful.” Ab whispered.

The boys followed Blinky, while Ab stayed behind alongside Aaarrrgghh. She watched her steps carefully as she made her way down the unevenly spaced crystals. 

“Are you sure we’re safe in here?” She heard Jim’s voice inquire after a few minutes of awestruck silence.

Blinky’s voice rang out, “Indeed. The incantation forbids entry to Heartstone Trollmarket by Gumm-Gumms such as Bular, for they are the most fearsome of trolls.”

Ab was suddenly aware of a faint pounding through her feet. The feeling was strangely familiar when it should’ve been foreign. Her mind scrambled for what it could be before arriving at something that was completely unbelievable, yet not really.

“There’s—a heartbeat.” Ab whispered quietly to herself.

She didn’t notice the pondering glance Aaarrrgghh sent her way.

Aaarrrgghh’s voice rumbled, “Heartstone.” 

Ab must’ve looked like she was about to fire off a thousand questions because he said, “You see.”

Jim’s voice echoed, “‘Gumm-Gumms’?”

“Scary ones.” Aaarrrgghh answered.

They were reaching the bottom and Abigail decided that it was safe enough to look up.

“Okay, wait, wait. So, Bular can’t get in here, right?” Jim jumped in front of Blinky, “Into Heartstone Trollmarket?”

Blinky smiled before placing two arms on his shoulders, spinning him around he answered, “No, Master Jim.”

Ab walked around the bend to see what they were exactly looking at.

Jim’s face went slack with awe, “Whoa.”

There was a giant orange crystal towering over what looked to be an entire civilization carved into the cave walls. The giant stone pulsed with a warm light, washing over her like cool water. Each pulse was in time with the pounding she felt through the ground. The heartbeat came from it, she realized. 

“Wow.” Toby said.

Abigail couldn’t agree more.

“This is the world you are bound to protect.” Blinky declared from behind them. 

“This is Heartstone Trollmarket!”