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"What are you working on that's so important?"
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The Bitterness of Ferb Fletcher is the first book of Tears of Bitterness.
Chapter 1: A New AdventureEdit
A teenage boy with short, blonde hair and nerdy glasses was strolling through Danville, wondering what had happened there. When he had left this town months before, it had been in ruins, and ruled by a cruel dictator named Heinz. But now, things were being repaired, and he had overheard conversations about finally being free from Heinz.
What have I missed? he thought.
Suddenly, he came to Heinz's old building, and stopped. Next to it lay an almost unnoticable lump. He bent down to examine it--and realized it was a person! He carefully rolled the person over to look at his face.
"Irving..." he whispered, recognizing him. "Little brother...can you hear me?"
There was no answer. Irving just slowly breathed in and out, his body covered in blood. He mumbled a bit. His brother could only make out his own name: Albert.
"Don't worry, little brother," Albert whispered tenderly. "I'll get some help."
He gently picked up his brother and carried him in his arms, as he jogged through the city. His eyes scanned every corner, looking for a doctor or something.
"Can I help you?" a female voice suddenly said.
Albert turned, and saw a teenage girl in black clothing, with flowing, raven black hair, and sparkling brown eyes. Albert was stunned. He thought she was very beautiful.
"I uh...need a doctor..." he stammered. "M-my brother is h-hurt..."
"I'm secretly a doctor," the girl said. "Come with me," she added, turning and beginning to walk away...
Albert followed her as quickly as he could. She was hard to keep up with, but it wasn't her speed that amazed Albert. It was her cat-like movement that was interesting. Her feet made no sound as she trotted towards a little building up ahead. When she got to the door, she opened it and let Albert step inside. Then she followed, shutting the door behind her. Then she led Albert to a room with a hospital bed in it, and Albert gently lay Irving down on it.
"I never got your name," Albert said to the girl.
"I'm Stacy," said the girl.
"I'm Albert," said Albert.
Stacy smiled a little, then became serious again when she glanced at Irving, who was barely alive.
"I've got banages," she said, "But I'm gonna need to do a blood transfusion too. Do you have the same blood type as him?"
"Yes, yes I do," Albert replied. "So uh...I guess I need to be brave then..."
"Yup," said Stacy.
"Well, if it'll save my brother, I'll do it," said Irving.
"Good," said Stacy.
Sometime later, Albert had one banage on his arm, and Irving was covered in them.
"Your brother should be fine, thanks to you," said Stacy.
"And you," said Albert, grinning.
Stacy smiled back. Then she went into a closet, pulled out a couple chairs, and sat in one, motioning for Albert to sit in the other one. They quietly sat there, waiting for the patient to wake up.
"So what happened to your brother?" Stacy asked.
"Well..." said Albert. "I'm not sure. But I know he's been missing for a while. In fact, I just found him not too long ago. You see, some months ago, in another town, shortly before Heinz took over, a strange girl attacked our home when our parents were't there. She was younger than us, I believe. She first came in the form of a raven, and somehow got into our house. Then she morphed into a human and said, 'I have come to settle a score with your family and mine.'
Then she turned back into a raven, and began to attack us.
'I wish we'd never moved away!' my brother, Irving had shouted.
'Is that really important right now?' I yelled.
'Yes,' Irving answered, 'Because Phineas and Ferb would be able to--'
Then, he was interrupted when the raven knocked him against some device his friends Phineas and Ferb had built. It went haywire and zapped him. He started acting strange, like something had control over his mind suddenly. Making noises that sound like a howling dog, he bounded outside of the house and never came back. Then the raven said in a freaky voice, 'I'm finished here for now,' then she flew away and I never saw her again.
"Wow...interesting..." said Stacy. "I know a Phineas and Ferb. Also, I believe a boy named Irving was after Phineas. Phin himself said that Irving was..." Her face suddenly turned pale, as she realized who her patient was.
"What? What is it?" Albert asked.
Stacy jumped up. "Albert," she said slowly. "Your brother is a psycho."
"What?!" Albert responded, shocked.
"He seeked to kill anyone who had 'Phineas' in their name," said Stacy, "But he became afraid when the name 'Ferb' was mentioned."
"Weird..." said Albert. "And scary. What will we do when he wakes up?"
"We need to make sure he doesn't go anywhere," said Stacy. "Though I suppose he can't in his condition. We should still keep watch though."
"Good idea," said Albert.
They silently watched as Irving slowly breathed in and out. After a while, his eyes blinked open. He looked a bit stunned.
"Hey Irving," Albert said, softly. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel like...I gotta kick some Phineas's butt," Irving said, in a somewhat unnatural sounding voice.
"Irving, think for a minute," said Albert. "Trying to kill someone is wrong. You shouldn't be doing that. I'm telling you this for your own good. Calm yourself, and think about that."
Irving said nothing. His face had the look of a wild animal gone--well, wild. Then his face slowly began to look more human, a look of realization replacing the wild one. After a few minutes, he spoke again. "I guess you're right," he said. "But I have this uncontrollable urge, and it's too much for me. I-I'm scared Albert. If I can't get back to normal, I might destroy a good friend--and even myself, in a way."
"I'll try to make sure you don't," Albert promised. "I will stick with you as long as possible. But for now, you need to get better."
"Thanks," Irving said with a yawn, as he fell asleep.
Albert smiled and turned to Stacy, who gave him a thumbs up.
Meanwhile, two boys named Phineas and Ferb were in what had been the Resistance Hideout when Heinz was ruler of the Tri-State Area. They were busy packing for a special trip--a mission to find their parents, as well as many other people who had gone missing when Heinz had taken over.
"Boys, are you sure you want to do this alone?" asked Alem, their old leader and close friend. His light brown hair had grown a bit longer since the last adventure he and his friends had had. His handsome face wore a concerned expression.
"We're teenagers now," said Phineas. "I think we can take care of ourselves. And as long as I've got Ferb, I'll be fine."
Alem sighed, then smiled a little. "Alright, good luck to you!" he said.
"Thanks, we'll need it," said Ferb. Then his cheerful face turned into a worried one. "Phineas, you okay?" he asked. "You look a bit pale."
"I-I'm okay," said Phineas, who sounded a little worried himself.
Ferb didn't look convinced, but he shrugged and stood, holding his bag. "I'm ready," he said. "Are you?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," said Phineas with a weak smile. He was starting to look pale.
Alem looked worried now. "Phineas, are you sure you're alright?" he asked. "Tell me the truth."
"I-I think I'm starting to feel kinda sick," said Phineas, fear glowing in his dark blue eyes.
"Maybe I should go with you, if you're still going," said Alem. "You might end up needing a doctor." Though Alem was only seventeen years old, he was already very skilled at treating and diagnosing patients. No one knew where he had learned this skill, but it had become very important during Heinz's reign.
"Only if you want," said Phineas. "That would be okay--right, Ferb?"
"Yes, yes it would," said Ferb.
"I'm coming with you then," said Alem. "But first, let's go see Candace."
The younger boys smiled. Their sister, Candace, and Alem had fallen in love and were now officially dating.
"Sure thing, future brother-in-law!" Phineas teased.
Alem laughed, then the three boys grabbed their things and headed outside. Candace was waiting for them. She smiled, and picked up Phineas, then spun in a circle.
"My little brother is a teen now!" she said, happily. "Soon you'll have a driver's license!"
Phineas laughed, as Candace put him down. Ferb pretended to look angry.
"Hey, I became a teen one month before him!" he said, in a mock angry tone.
They all laughed. Then Candace walked up to Alem and kissed him on the cheek, which made him blush.
"I'm gonna miss you guys," said Candace. "I'd come with you, but I gotta find Stacy and Jessie. Who knows what they're up to..."
"Well, we'd love to have you girls join us at any time," said Alem. "That is, if you can find us."
"I have a sixth sense, so I'm sure I will, Candace said with a wink. She bent down onto her knees by Phineas, and looked her brother in the eyes. "Remember that sixth sense I told you about?"
"Yeah?" Phineas answered.
"Well," said Candace, "I've discovered that it's more powerful than I knew. Not only can I feel when you're nearby or in danger, but I can also hear your thoughts sometimes. I can detect you wherever you are, and I am wondering if I can speak to your mind too."
"Try it," said Phineas.
Can you hear me? Candace's voice said in his head.
Phineas was startled, but thrilled as well. He nodded.
"Now you try it," said Candace. "I'm wondering if you might have the same ability."
Hello? Phineas said in his mind.
I can hear you, Candace said.
This could be very helpful, Phineas mused.
Yeah, said Candace. She smiled. "Now be on your way," she said, standing up.
"What was that all about?" Ferb asked.
"A mystery has begun," said Phineas. "Candace and I possess some kind of special mental ability, and it could come in handy."
"Step lively, boys!" said Alem, who was leading the way. Phineas and Ferb trailed behind him, trying hard to keep up with him.
"Hey, our legs aren't as long as yours!" Phineas teased.
Alem laughed. His laugh is hard to describe, so the best description I can give is that it was a joyful sound, one that could cheer even a depressed heart.
As the boys continued walking, at first they were all very cheerful. But then Phineas began to look full of despair.
"Hey, what's wrong buddy?" Ferb asked gently.
Phineas stopped in his tracks, as did his comrades.
"Ferb," said Phineas.
"Yes?" Ferb responded quietly, putting a hand on his brother's shoulder.
"Do...do you think we'll ever find our parents?" Phineas asked. "I mean, it's been nearly a year since we lost saw them. Do you think...they could be...you know..."
Ferb swallowed nervously. He had tried not to let this thought cross this mind, but Phineas had a point: what if their parents were dead?
"We just need to have hope," said Ferb.
"You guys are more likely to find your parents than I am to find my father," said Alem with a sigh. "I don't even know who he was. But yes Ferb, we need to have hope. Maybe they're dead, maybe not. We shall have to see."
"And I have deep hope that we shall find them," said Ferb. "But...if we don't..." he added, pulling his brother into a hug. "I'll always be here for you."
"Thanks Bro," said Phineas, smiling weakly. When he looked up at Ferb, his face had become pale again, only worse this time.
"Phineas, are you okay?" Ferb asked nervously.
"Not really," said Phineas, worry in his eyes. "I feel sick, and I feel some pain too."
"Good thing I came along," said Alem, rushing over to his friends. "Ferb, please stand aside while I figure out the problem."
Ferb obeyed, and waited for Alem to finish the diagnosis.
"Ferb, come here," said Alem.
Ferb obeyed again. "What is it?" he asked anxiously.
"Somehow, he's been poisoned," said Alem with concern. "I can't figure out what kind. I've never seen this type before. It is similar to Doloris I believe, but this is still new to me."
"Do you think there's a cure?" Ferb asked, sweat pouring down his face.
"I-I don't know!" said Alem, who was also sweating. "We're going to have to find one. Hopefully we'll find someone who knows more about this. In the meantime, this poison seems to work very slowly, so we have some time--but not forever."
"We should get moving then," said Ferb.
"Yes, yes we should," said Alem, glancing at Phineas, who was shaking terribly, his face still pale.
Ferb ran to him and stood very close, hoping his presense would comfort him a bit.
Suddenly, Alem cocked his head. His eyes darted back and forth. Ferb listened with his strong hearing ability, and detected footsteps.
"Might be an enemy," said Alem. "Stand back, boys. This could get dangerous."
Suddenly, ropes came out of seemingly nowhere, tied around them, and began to pull them away, as if a cowboy had lassoed them. The boys struggled, but couldn't get free. A raven flew over them and dropped a glass jar on the ground. The jar broke, and a horrible smell pierced the formerly fresh, summer air.
Alem sniffed. "Knockout Doloris!" he exclaimed.
As if in response to him, everything went black after he spoke.
Alem blinked. At first, everything looked fuzzy, but his eyes adjusted quickly to the room. It was dark, except for a very dim light somewhere. He couldn't make out where he was. He tried to move, but he couldn't. It dawned on him all of the sudden that he was tied up! He turned his head, and saw Ferb lying next to him, also tied up. He was already awake.
"How long have I been out cold?" Alem asked him.
"I'm not sure," said Ferb. "All I know is that that stuff didn't affect me for very long."
"Where's Phineas?" asked Alem.
"Check next to you," Ferb suggested.
Alem turned his head the other direction and spotted the redhead next to him.
"He's there," Alem said.
"How's he looking?" Ferb nervously inquired.
Alem gulped. "Very bad, I'm afraid," he said.
Ferb began to feel anxious, but he kept his cool.
Alem stared at Phineas, worried. The poor boy was still very pale, and had a look of pain on his face. Suddenly, his eyes blinked open, and he turned his head towards Alem.
"Wh-where are we?" Phineas asked.
"Beats me," said Alem.
"Are you okay, Phin?" Ferb asked from the other side of Alem.
"If by okay, you mean feeling sick, weak, and in pain, then I'm just groovy," Phineas replied sarcastically.
"That's...not what I meant," said Ferb.
"I know," said Phineas, sighing.
"Ah, I see our guests are awake," said a familiar, male voice.
"Can I see them?" asked another, unfamiliar male.
"Well, your first real task will involve them, so yes, yes you can," said a female voice. She sounded a bit familiar as well.
Then three teenagers walked towards Alem, Ferb, and Phineas. Two of them were boys, and the other was a girl. One of the boys had short, blonde hair and light blue eyes. The other had short, brown hair and dark blue eyes, one of which had a scar over it. The girl had long, brown hair and dark blue eyes. The first boy and the girl were all too familiar, especially to Alem.
"Jeremy and Vanessa? And...some other guy I've never seen?" was what came out of Alem's mouth.
Jeremy smirked. "This is what you get for taking my girlfriend, it looks like," he said.
"She dumped you a couple years ago, from my understanding," said Alem.
"So what?" said Jeremy. "She might still want me back someday, but I'd have to get you out of the way first. But that's not important right now."
"Alright, enough jabbering," said Vanessa. "Let me handle the dirty work."
Jeremy stepped back and crossed his arms. "Yes, Oh-Daughter-Of-Heinz," he said.
"Shut it!" Vanessa snapped, which startled Jeremy and made him cower.
Vanessa turned to the other boy. "Alright, Cain," she said. "Here's your job: take the older one and the green-haired one to the Interrigation Room. Jeremy'll force answers out of them there. But bring the redhead to the lab and leave him there. I'll take care of him. Meet Jeremy in the Interrigation Room. Got it?"
"Y-yes Sir," Cain stammered nervously. He grabbed one of Alem's arms, then one of Ferb's, and began to drag them away.
I've gotta help Phineas, Ferb thought. There's no telling what they'll do with him!
As if she had read his mind, Vanessa called out: "Oh, and don't worry about your little sick friend. He'll be just fine. I'll take good care of him, and make him feel more better than he ever did!"
With a new fire in his eyes, Ferb began to kick wildly. He freed himself from Cain's grip and rolled over to a sharp sword that had been carelessly left on the floor. Without warning, the ropes sliced, and he wiggled free. He stood, breathing hard, his teeth gritted. He kicked Cain in the stomache, sending him tumbling backward. He freed Alem, who stood in a battle stance. Jeremy and Cain charged towards him, but soon found they were hardly a match for the 17 year old.
Ferb turned and saw Vanessa stalking away, carrying Phineas with her. Ferb growled and bounded after her as fast as he could. When he stopped, he saw they were standing in another room, in which they stoof on a platform surrounded by lava.
"Put my brother down!" he demanded.
Vanessa laughed. "I don't have to take orders from you," she replied.
"Put him down, or I'll make you!" Ferb said firmly.
"Oh, I'm frightened," Vanessa said mockingly.
Phineas opened his eyes. He felt very weak, but he punched her in the face. The teen staggered backward, dropping him as she fell and landed on her seat. Phineas landed hard on the floor, letting out a painful grunt.
"Normally, I wouldn't hit a girl," he mumbled. "But I didn't have much choice."
Vanessa stood, an angry look on her face. She ran towards Phineas, and raised her fist--but was sent flying backward by a blow from Ferb.
"I echo you, Phineas," he grunted.
Vanessa was furious though. She lunged towards Ferb, screaming out a battle cry. Ferb leaped to the side, and Vanessa fell flat on her face.
"Oof!" she cried out in a muffled voice.
Then she stood again. Practically roaring, she ran at Ferb again and pushed him near the edge of the lava bank. He strained and strained, trying to push her back. He felt his muscles complaining, but he could also feel the blistering heat from the death that was right behind him.
"D-don't hurt him..." a weak voice said.
Vanessa and Ferb looked, and saw Phineas, who still lay on the ground. His face was less pale now, but he still didn't look too well.
Ferb ducked around Vanessa and dashed at Phineas. Vanessa ran after him, then stopped. A mean smile grew on her face, as she jogged to a lever that the boys had not noticed until now. She pulled it, and an alarm sounded, as the lava began to rush towards the three of them!
Meanwhile, Alem had Jeremy and Cain pinned to the ground.
"How did you escape prison?" he inquired harshly.
"Cain got us out," said Jeremy. "You never checked to see if we were still there."
Alem mentally slapped himself in the face. Oops! he thought.
"Who's Cain?" he asked.
"A newer recruit," said Jeremy.
Cain grinned awkwardly. "Hi," he said, as Jeremy rolled his eyes.
"What is your plan this time?"
Alem asked them.
"If we tell, the Mistress will kill us for sure," Jeremy answered nervously.
Suddenly, a loud, blaring alarm sounded.
"The lava bank!" Jeremy and Cain both exclaimed.
Alem gave them one more dirty look, then stood up and ran towards the sound of the alarm. He saw the room that the boys and Vanessa were in. Then he turned and saw a staircase some distance away, with a sign over it marked "Lava Arena View". He ran up the stairs and came to a platform attached to a wall, above the lava bank. He saw the boys trembling in terror at the nearing lava, while Vanessa smirked at them. Alem frantically looked around, and saw a button on the wall marked "Emergency Exit". He pushed the button, and a new staircase suddenly "grew" out of the platform and neared the lava bank.
"Come here boys!" Alem shouted.
Ferb picked up his sick brother and carried him in his arms as he sprinted towards the stairs. Vanessa began to follow just as Ferb reached the top and stood next to Alem.
Alem pushed the button again, and the staircase retracted.
The three boys escaped down the staircase that had lead Alem onto the platform, never daring to look back as they heard a splashing sound and a blood-curdling scream behind them.
Out of seemingly nowhere, Jeremy jumped at Ferb and knocked him to the ground. Ferb stood back up and galloped towards the door ahead. He opened it, and escaped outside. Jeremy grabbed Phineas and held the shaking boy tight.
"One step towards him, and I'll--" he began. He was cut off by Alem smacking him in the nose, which made him lose his grip on Phineas.
"Run Phineas!" Alem shouted, dashing out the open door. He looked back, and saw that Phineas was too weary and dazed to follow him. Alem ran back inside to help him--and was met by a loud bang and a throbbing pain in his head. He collapsed, and blacked out for the second time that day.
Jeremy stood over him, holding a frying pan.
Cain held one too, and proceeded to copy Jeremy and knock Phineas out.
"Well done, Cain," said Jeremy.
"Let's go find the Mistress," said Cain.
"No, you stay here and watch these guys," said Jeremy. "I have a feeling whatever happened to Vanessa won't be pretty."
Meanwhile, Ferb had run very far, and was out of breath. Gasping, he plopped down on the ground, trying to catch his breath, clueless of where he was. When he did, he became aware that neither Phineas nor Alem had followed.
His heart skipped a beat. He had left them behind! He scolded himself for that, and tried not to cry. What would become of them now? And would Phinea survive long enough for Alem to find a cure if they ever escaped?
Ferb began to feel tired. Despite his panicked mind, he decided to lie down and take a nap. He would decide what to do after he rested.
Chapter 2: The Call for HelpEditPhineas groaned, and rubbed his throbbing head.
Where am I? he wondered.
He sat up, and looked around him. He tried hard to remember what had happened. Then he began to feel sick, and he felt pain inside of his body. Then he remembered that he had been poisoned. But what else had happened? He thought harder. Then he heard a moan next to him.
"Oh, hey Phin," said Alem, rubbing his head.
"Any idea what happened?" Phineas asked.
"I think...it's fuzzy," said Alem. "But I think we went on a trip, and got attacked...ugh, I am not sure."
"Well, I remember being poisoned," said Phineas.
Alem's eyes widened. "My goodness, I remember now!" he exclaimed. "We went on a mission, and discovered you were poisoned, then got captured!"
"And what of Ferb?" asked Phineas.
"He must've gotten away," said Alem. "Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to communicate with him, so I doubt we can get any help."
Communicate... Phineas thought. "I have an idea!" he said.
"What?" asked Alem.
"Candace and I can communicate with each other with our minds!"
Alem's jaw dropped. "That...is freakishly cool," he said.
Phineas laughed a little. "Now, let me concentrate," he said.
Alem nodded. Phineas closed his eyes, and thought very hard. Then he felt a strange feeling. It was familiar somehow. It was what he had felt when he had mindspoken with his sister earlier that day. He had made contact with her mind!
Candace... Phineas quietly said to her.
Candace was asleep in a hotel room she was staying in. Her house was still being rebuilt, as were everyone else's, so they were forced to live in temporary homes until the houses were finished. She was having a very disturbing dream. A brown fox chased her through the woods. Candace screamed, running as fast as she could. The fox was gaining on her. Suddenly, a beam of light burst out from nowhere and hit the fox. When the light died down, the beast was gone. Just as Candace was about to breathe a sigh of relief, she suddenly heard a voice calling her name.
"Candace, can you hear me?" Phineas's voice asked. "I'm trying to speak to you."
"I can hear you!" said Candace.
"Candace," said Phineas. "If you can hear me, we really need your help. Alem and I have been captured, and I'm not sure what happened to Ferb. Please Candace, answer me!"
Maybe he's mindspeaking, Candace thought. Can you hear me? she asked with her mind.
"Yes!" Phineas said, overjoyed. "Please, come save us! I've also been poisoned, and we don't know if there's a cure. It's weakening me. And Alem and I can't find these guys alone, even if I wasn't sick!"
Oh, no! said Candace. I'll come and find you, Phineas. I will.
"She hears me!" said Phineas.
"Good, cuz the baddies are coming back I think," said Alem.
Just then, Jeremy burst in the door, a furious look on his face.
"Just wait till you hear what you've done to the Mistress!" he yelled.
CANDACE! Phineas screamed in his mind.
Phineas, what's wrong? asked Candace.
"CANDACE! COME SAVE US! CANDA--" Phineas's voice suddenly stopped.
Phineas screamed loudly in his thoughts. Suddenly, he realized his mind had worn out. He moaned, and passed out.
Candace gasped. "PHINEAS?!" she screamed. "ANSWER ME!"
She tried to run toward where she had heard the voice, but felt anchored into place. She sank to her knees and began to weep.
"Oh, Phineas..." she whispered, her voice trembling. "This...is just a bad dream," she tried to convince yourself.
"It may be a dream," a voice said behind her. "But that doesn't mean this isn't really happening."
Candace turned, and saw a tall man standing there. He looked like an adult version of Phineas, but with Candace's hair color.
"D-Daddy?" Candace stammered in recognition.
"Yes, my little princess," said Phelan. "This is a nightmare, but Phineas was really calling you. He needs you more than ever. Go and find him. Bring someone with you if you want. I shall guide you."
"How?" asked Candace.
"You two got your mental abilities from me," said Phelan with a chuckle. "I may be only a phantom, but I am a special kind that can connect with the living world in a few ways. I can talk to you in your dreams, as you can see, and that is how I shall guide you."
"So, I should take lots of naps during this journey," said Candace with a smirk.
Phelan laughed. His laugh had certainly been passed down to Phineas, no mistake about that.
"Well, I must be going now," said Phelan. "You may bring at least one other on this journey, but choose your companions wisely."
"Oh, Daddy!" said Candace, throwing her arms around him. "Thank you."
Phelan kissed her on the head. "No problem, my little princess," he said tenderly.
Candace's eyes blinked open. She slowly sat up and looked around. It had been a dream. But she knew it had been a vision. She would set out to find her brother tomorrow. She couldn't fall back asleep, however, consumed with panicked thoughts. Was Phineas okay? What were his captors doing to him? And what about her new boyfriend, Alem? And what about Ferb? Where was he?
She sat up. She was clearly not going to get any rest. She began to pack her most important things (which was pretty much all she had), including food and filled water bottles.
Now, she thought. Who should I bring with me? I know! My sister, Jessie! She can try to communicate with Ferb! She can't reach him from a very far distance, but that could help us determine if he's near or not!
Candace checked out of the hotel and headed to the one next door, where she knew Jessie was staying.
Meanwhile, Albert and Stacy were still sitting in those same chairs they were in when we last left them. They sat there in silence, their hands folded in their laps. They restlessly watched Irving as he breathed in and out. He was very much alive, but would he stay that way?
It was now dawn. A dim light shone through the curtains on the windows. It slowly grew brighter and brighter, washing away the darkness.
Finally, after a long, tedious wait, Irving's eyes blinked open.
"How are you feeling?" Albert asked him quietly.
"Better," said Irving, "But I still feel that weird urge. I think I can control myself for now, but only God knows how long that'll last..."
"There may be a cure, but there's nothing I know of," said Stacy.
"I think we should search for one," said Albert in a determined way, standing up.
Stacy also stood up. "I'll go with you," she said.
"You sure?" asked Albert.
"I'm sure," said Stacy. "Believe me, I can handle myself."
"Okay," said Albert. He walked over to the bed where Irving was, scooped up his brother in his arms, and set him down on the floor gently.
"Can you walk?" he asked.
"Kinda, but I'll need some help not falling over," said Irving.
"I'll just carry you," said Albert, picking him up again.
"Okay," Irving mumbled tiredly.
"Okay, I think we've got everything we need," Albert said to Stacy. "Are you good?"
"Yes, yes I am," said Stacy. "Let's go!"
Was it a dream? Ferb thought sleepily. No, there it is again. That howling sound...
He stood up slowly, and looked around him. He couldn't tell where he was, or if he was really alone.
He heard a rustling sound behind him, and whipped around in that direction. He looked all around him.
"Phineas? Alem?? Anyone?!" he called.
No answer. All was silent, except for the moaning of the wind. He was all alone in that quiet, dark forest. He shivered, not just from the cold, but from fear. What could be lurking in those shadows? What was making that howling sound? And would he even make it through the night without dying somehow?
All of his childhood nightmares ran quickly through his head. He had never thought he'd be frightened by them as a teen, but he'd been wrong. He normally wasn't scared at night nowadays, but he had never been left all alone in the middle of nowhere in the dark. It was very unnerving.
He heard another rustling sound, and his heart threatened to stop beating at any second when he saw a pair of glowing eyes staring at him. A low growl sounded, and Ferb tried not to make any sound as the eerie eyes came closer, the growls getting louder and louder. By now, his own eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could barely see the creature it belonged to, but it appeared to be a wolf. Whatever it was, it crouched down, and was getting ready to pounce. Ferb thought his heart would pound right out of his chest. He felt sweat dripping down his face, and his breathing got heavier. Without warning, the creature pounced on him. It had him pinned to the ground, and was surprisingly strong. No matter how hard he struggled, he couldn't get free. He could see now that this creature was indeed a wolf, but something seemed abnormal about this particular wolf. Ferb closed his eyes and prepared himself for the worst, as he felt the wolf's head get closer and closer to his neck. He felt the wolf's teeth coming near--and all of the sudden, he heard a thud and a whimper. He didn't feel the wolf on top of him anymore.
"Bad boy!" a girl's voice said. "You must be one of Idres's wolves. You should be ashamed of yourself, attacking the poor guy!"
Ferb, who was absolutely stunned, opened his eyes and thought he saw a person about his height standing by the wolf. The sky was now brighter, but it was still a bit difficult to see. However, the dim light was enough that he could make out the two figures better, after his eyes had adjusted again. A black wolf, whose eyes were no longer glowing, was staring up at the other figure guiltily. He now looked more like a harmless dog who was being scolded for chewing on someone's shoes instead of a deadly and bloodthirsty creature. The other figure was a girl with very short, brown hair, and bright, green eyes. She wore black and grey clothing, along with a bright, hot pink scarf around her neck (which made Ferb's eyes hurt upon seeing it against the darker clothing). She angrily stared down at the wolf, and continued to scold it.
"You gonna be a good boy now?" she asked it, after a few minutes.
The wolf nodded its head, then jumped up and gave the girl dog kisses, which made her laugh.
"Run along now," she said. "Remember, no more visits to Idres. She is very dangerous, and is not an ideal master. Understood?"
The wolf smiled, and nodded again. It seemed to be more intelligent than wolves usually were. It took off and ran away, the mysterious girl watching. When he disappeared from sight, the girl turned to Ferb.
"You okay?" she asked gently.
Ferb nodded awkwardly. He was a bit confused as to what had just happened.
Chapter 3: Love and HateEdit
The mysterious girl grabbed Ferb's hands and helped him up. Then they froze, still holding hands. The sun had risen higher, and now they could see each other better. They gazed at each other for what seemed like eternity, completely silent. Then the girl slowly let go of Ferb's hands.
"Where did you come from?" she asked him.
"Why do you want to know?" Ferb asked, not sure if he could trust her.
"I'm just curious," she said. "I hardly see anyone out here. If I ever do, it's either the wolves or teenagers who have turned to the Dark Side because of some dictator named...Han, was it?"
"I think you mean Heinz," said Ferb.
"Ah, yes," said the girl. "I also saw some cyborg animals a couple weeks ago. Seriously, I was getting sick of all these bad guys showing up."
"They haven't been showing up lately. I think the wolves scared them off."
Ferb said nothing. He wasn't sure what to say. It was the mystery girl who broke the silence.
"So...are you on their side? Tell me the truth, or I'll threaten to have a wolf eat your spleen."
A smirk teased at Ferb's mouth. "I am not from the Dark Side," he said confidently. "If I am lying to you, let a wolf...uh..."
"Eat your spleen," the girl said with a smile. "Okay, I trust you." She narrowed her eyes. "But beware of the consequences if you betray that trust."
Ferb nodded. "Understood," he said.
The girl took Ferb's hand and smiled at him. "I'm Mara," she said. "Though my brother usually calls me Goth."
"I'm Ferb," said Ferb. "I prefer not to say what it's short for, if you don't mind."
"I don't mind," said Mara.
Ferb smiled a little.
"So...what are you doing out here all alone?" Mara asked.
"It's a long story," he said, his head drooping a bit.
Mara realized that something was troubling him, and put a hand on his shoulder. "Come with me," she said.
She released her hold on him and and began to walk away. Ferb followed her, not sure where she was taking him.
[To be continued.]