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The Runaway is a planned co-op story between Deathwalker and Betwixt, it will be the introduction of Friend and the events in this story may have a significant impact on the future events of Fly By Midnight - both are Book IV stories.

Prologue

It was a dark winter's night in 1912 when a young boy lay in bed shivering from the cold, looking out as he often did at the stars - trying to block out the shadows that terrorized him in the night: his door having been locked shut with chains and padlocks, recent marks on his arms showing a recent caning by his authoritive father.

As the boy continued to shiver a small orb of light flickered outside his window and he afforded a small smile, the window suddenly opening as the orb of light entered the room - flying in a circle around the boy, as if examining him.

After a few moments the orb of light grew stronger and the boy began to rise out of bed, as if being lifted by invisible hands - at first he seemed ready to call out but the orb of light flew around his head and although not a single sound was uttered the boy went quite and nodded, as if knowing what was happening.

The orb of light then proceeded to fly out the window and the boy followed, closing his eyes as he drifted into a sleep - floating up into the sky as the orb of light carried him away into the night..

Chapter 1

It was nearly one hundred years later when one dark, cold night the 13 year old Elizabeth May finished packing her backpack, hurriedly taking what few items she could find - the sounds of her parents arguing echoing across the house as she opened the window of her bedroom and climbed onto a nearby treebranch in order to eventually clamber down onto the grass below.

Looking back at the house with eyes filled with tears the girl turned tail and ran into the night, as she did so the moon above shone brightly and a small orb of light flickered, at first much like a star - only to follow the girl from afar, though she was too busy fleeing to even be aware of it.

In fact Elizabeth never stopped running that night, racing out of the suburbs and into the nearby forest, where she eventually lay down under a small tree and curled up for a restless sleep, awakening early the next morning.

As she roused herself from her sleep at early dawn, she could feel something poking her arm; a young woman, whose entire image shimmered like a pink mirage, was squatting down next to her, prodding her with a twig. When Elizabeth finally showed a sign of life, the pink girl jumped up.

"Hey! You're not dead! What a relief!" She clapped her hands excitedly, much like a child despite her apparent age.

Elizabeth jumped slightly upon seeing the glowing woman and scrabbled back, bumping against a tree - her eyes wide with fear as she looks around, bits of twig stuck in her unkempt hair.

Meanwhile a small orb of light flickered nearby, as if inspecting the scene, upon noticing the glowing woman the orb glows brighter for a moment then flies off into the sky at a rapid rate.

"Hey, wait! I'm not here to hurt you!" the glowing woman exclaimed. Floating a few inches above the ground like a spectre, she glided over to Elizabeth. "I'm here to help! I promise!"

Elizabeth's eyes remained wide as she shivered, curling up slightly as if protecting herself "..w-what are you? a g-ghost? am I.. d-dead?" she asks, clearly unsure of the woman's unusual appearance.

"No, silly!" exclaimed the exciteable woman. "I'm Nebula! And if you were dead, then I'd probably be dead too! But I'm not dead, so I doubt you are! We're alive! Isn't that great?"

Elizabeth looks to Nebula for a moment, her eyes still showing distrust as she began to sit up - she was dirty and covered in small scratches, more noticable now as she reached out for her backpack and pulled it close "..you're weird.." she began, only to stop as her eyes grew wide with fear again as a sound alerted Nebula to the arrival of a startling new figure.

Literally flying down from the sky was a young man dressed in a white shirt and denim jeans, clearly quite modern - however his belt has a small wooden sword tucked against it and his ears are slightly pointed, betraying an otherworldly origin, landing on the ground he looked between the pair, a small orb of light floating around his head like a firefly: "..and what's wrong with being weird?" he smirks, bright blue eyes sparkling like diamonds.

"Absolutely nothing!" said Nebula happily. "Um... who're you?"

"Everyone calls me "Friend" and I'm here to take you to Wonderland.." the figure replies, rather blunt, pointing to Elizabeth, then nudges at the ball of light "..well? go on Charm, she's waiting!".

The ball of light shakes itself before flying towards Elizabeth, who starts to back away and cries "Aaah! N-no! Leave me alone!".

"Quit being a baby!  Charm isn't going to hurt you - geeze.. don't you wanna fly?" Friend remarks, clearly not very sympathetic.

"Wait- what!?" asked Nebula.

"I said leave me alone!" Elizabeth cries out, toppling over as the ball of light flies in circles around her - buzzing slightly like an angry bee.

"We're going to fly - to Wonderland.." Friend states, looking to Nebula "..you can come too, in fact - why don't you help Charm get the kid airborn?.

"Oh! Wonderland! I know that place!" Nebula exclaims, clapping her hands excitedly. "I wanna go too!"


"Great!" Friend grins, then looks over to Elizabeth and says "..see? everyone else is having fun!".

Elizabeth continues to cry out as she begins to float awkwardly, the ball of light leaving a fine golden mist that covers her body - "put me down! oh God! help! someone help!".

Friend shakes his head a little, the floating ball of light making its way over to Nebula only for Friend to comment "come on Charm, she's obviously not human - she doesn't need your help to fly.." - he once again seems very dismissive of Elizabeth's obvious discomfort.

"Hey, you okay?" asked Nebula, leaning in toward Elizabeth. "Wait a sec- that's a dumb question...um...can I help you? Fly, I mean? Somehow?"

Elizabeth keeps flailing until eventually she begins to balance in midair - "..t-this is crazy.." she begins.

"There's nothing crazy about flying - don't tell me you've grown up already? don't you believe in magic?" Friend remarks as the ball of light circles him, causing a fine golden mist to surround him as he begins to take flight and circles the pair.

"Of course I don't believe in magic! that's insane!" Elizabeth snaps, ending upside down as she starts to rise up further into the air, the ball of light suddenly circling her again - abandoning Friend, who seems quite capable of flying on his own as he shakes his head and makes a gesture at Nebula as he comments:

"Check this out, she doesn't believe in magic - some people don't have any sense...".

"Well, some people on Earth believe that magic is... um, what did they call it again?" wondered Nebula aloud. "Oh yeah- sufficiently advanced technology. Which is weird. Last time I checked, I was made out of magic, not circuit boards."

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