Hours later they were walking in a valley, when Ike noticed that the Nettik was following him since they left the area where they spent the night.
"Go away! Shoo!" Ike yelled as the Nettik just hooted at him and kept following at a close distance. Zac smiled running up to Ike wanting to walk near him.
"I don't think he is going to leave you Ike." Zac smiled noticing Ike frowned at him.
"Zac? Just leave me alone." Ike moaned as he looked over at the creature who kept wiggling his ears back and forth staring at him.
"I just thought you might want some company." Zac said still walking with him when he noticed that the others stopped ahead of them.
"Sorry Zac. I didn't mean to sound angry with you. That thing is just driving me crazy. I wish he would go away." Ike apologized as Zac nodded his head.
"Wonder why they stopped?" Zac asked when they both looked at each other and ran up to them.
"I say we should go this way." Demi pointed out on the map looking up at Neque.
"But the shortest distance would be to cut through this area here." Neque informed Demi who looked over at Walker who was listening intently.
"I don't think our friends will be able to travel through that way." Demi declared.
"Why? What is the terrain like?" Walker asked looking from Neque to Demi.
"Well my Walker, Demi has a point. The area here is extremely steep and you don't have long legs like we do." Neque informed him turning a shade of light green feeling concerned.
"But if it will get us to Taylor faster I say we should go that way. Don't worry about Ike, Zac, and I. We can take care of ourselves." Walker declared looking up into Neque's unsure eyes.
"We could help them if we had too." Demi said liking Walker and his courage.
"Okay. We will go that way then. It is about a half a mile to the right." Nadroj said pointing at a crop of mountains in the distance.
Neque put the map into in her backpack and lifted it unto her back taking the lead toward the mountains. Walker looked at his sons who were looking around them curiously. He walked up next to them.
"How are you guys doing?" Walker asked smiling at them.
"Fine Dad." Ike answered looking down at the ground.
"Dad?" Zac asked looking up at him.
"I hate to say this... but I sense Nodrow is keeping something from us." Zac exclaimed when Walker frowned looking back at him.
"Why do you say that?" Walker asked.
"I think so too. I could tell he was very upset when he came back to camp with Que." Ike added in sadly.
"I think something happened to Tay again and he doesn't want to tell us about it, but Nodrow doesn't know that we can feel Taylor too. I know he was in pain Dad." Zac expressed swallowing hard. Walker lovingly ran his hand down Zac's hair.
"I guess he thinks he is protecting us." Walker mumbled looking at Nadroj who was walking next to Mayte.
They finally reached the cliffs as Ike and Zac looked up fearfully at them. The Nettik was still behind them following Ike closely.
"Oh man... those look steep!" Ike shouted wondering how in the world they were going to travel over them.
"We will help you my Ike." Neque crooned in a reasuring voice. He smiled up at her as she watched Nadroj find a path near the right corner of the cliff face.
"Stay close to us my friends. It will be dangerous." Nadroj warned as they all followed in a row with him leading the way. Walker was behind him with Demi and Mayte, then Ike who was followed by Neque, and Zac behind her with Haelz taking the last place in the line. Zac gluped hard as they reached a cliff that was about hundred feet up from the ground. Nadroj turned and looked at Walker with concern.
"I will help you across." Nadroj said reaching out his hand as Walker saw the gap was to long for his stride.
"Ahhhh... I can't stretch my legs that far." Walker informed him when Nadroj stretched one leg across easily to the other side. He carefully lifted Walker as he sucked in a breath sharply being placed on the other side. Mayte and Demi let Ike come forward as Nadroj lifted him too, then Zac was waved forward also. He hesitated looking down fearfully.
"Zac don't look down!" Walker yelled to him. Zac swallowed and nodded back at his father. He felt Nadroj's strong arms lift him and place him gently down near his brother on the other side of the gap.
"Lean your bodies against the cliff so we can take our places again my friends." Neque shouted as they did as they were told. They easily stepped across and continued their journey.
Hours passed as they finally reached the top. Walker plopped down on the ground panting out of breath as his son's sat down next to him feeling just as tired and exhusted.
"What a climb!" Zac exclaimed laying down on the ground sucking in deep breaths of air. Walker patted his stomach lovingly and smiled.
"But we did it guys!" Walker smiled and turned looking toward their friends.
"Oh man! Look!" Ike moaned as the Nettik came bounding up around the rock.
"I guess he will travel the ends of the earth for you Ike." Zac laughed as Ike started to laugh too as the Nettik cocked his head at him curiously.
"I think we will camp here for the night my friends. We have traveled a good distance today." Nadroj informed them looking at the tiny creature also and smiled.
"Good. I don't think I could go much further." Ike exclaimed as he slowly got up off the ground wanting to help set up camp again.
Once they were settled in Zac felt like he wanted to explore the area. He sat down next to Haelz who was sitting with everyone in a circle.
"Can we look around this place?" Zac asked with a pleading look covering his face.
"I think you should stay around this area young one." Mayte said with concern.
"I won't touch anything and I won't go far." Zac promised looking over to his father who raised his eyebrows slightly.
"I feel like taking a walk myself. I need to stretch my legs again." Walker smiled as Zac hoped their friends would allow them to just roam around only a short distance away.
"I guess it would be alright, but do not explore to far my friends." Demi warned them as Walker stood up with Zac following him.
"Are you sure they will be okay?" Ike asked not liking the idea that his father and Zac wanted to go off by themselves.
"Young one they are safe." Neque crooned when suddenly the Nettik bounded into Ike's lap as he let out a yelp.
"Dang! It almost gave me a heart attack." Ike growled watching it look up at him with a yearning look and hooted at him. Ike didn't know what to do with it sitting on him.
"You should feel honored that a Nettik has found a liking for you my Ike." Neque cooed feeling amused by Ike's frown.
"I... I don't feel the honor Que. I think it is rather annoying." Ike exclaimed feeling a little concerned with it staring up at him.
"Just pet it." Haelz instructed cocking her head.
"I don't know." Ike murmured feeling unsure.
"Just try young one." Mayte prodded with encouragement. Ike looked at it sitting there and slowly brought his hand near it's head. The Nettik hooted again making Ike jump a little. He gingerly patted it gently on the head between it's large round ears. It started to make a purring sound with the hoots. Ike smiled and began petting it softly. The creature layed down making itself comfortable and curled into a ball.
"He is kind of cute. The skin feels very soft and smooth." Ike smiled wishing Zac and his father were here to see this.
Zac and Walker turned a corner of the rock face and both stopped looking at the beautiful garden before them.
"Wow! This is awesome. A garden in a mountain top." Zac said with awe.
"The colors are beautiful." Walker added in as he took a step forward with Zac behind him.
"These are some weird looking flowers though. Mom would love this place." Zac said happily noticing the rich fragrant smell that surrounded them. Zac looked at the flowers with wonder walking deeper into the garden. There were so many shapes and deep rich colors of the rainbow.
"Zac be careful. Remember what Demi said!" Walker warned suddenly feeling a little dizzy by the overwhemling smell of the flowers. Something inside him was feeling like they shouldn't be in this area. A fear overcame him as he watched Zac wishing he would come back toward him. He swallowed hard looking at the flowers with a sense of danger overwhemling him.
"It's just so beautiful." Zac crooned becoming intranced with a deep violet flower that was in front of him. He looked at it almost feeling absorbed by it's beauty. He felt a urge to touch it.
"Zac?" Walker called out noticing Zac had a weird expression on his face as he intently gazed down at a flower. He noticed Zac didn't seem to hear him.
"It... it's so..." Zac murmured reaching his left hand out toward it needing to caress its petals.
"ZAC? NO!" Walker shouted when Zac jumped turning to look at his father. Suddenly the flower jumped lightly touching Zac's palm near his thumb. Zac sucked in a sharp breath feeling a burning sensation fill his hand. He felt dizzy as the pain overwhelmed him. He dropped to his knees feeling the burning pain crawl up his hand. He grabbed his wrist as his heart began to race.
"Ahhhhhhhhhh..." Zac screamed as Walker bolted over to him grabbing him up into his arms and ran desperately out of the garden and placed Zac down onto the ground.
"Ohhhh... Dad stop the burning! Please help me! Dad its burning me!" Zac shrieked in agony looking desperately up into his father's worried eyes.
Walker looked at his hand noticing it was turning white and whatever was in him seemed to be crawling up his son's arm.
"Oh GOD! Stop it DAD!" Zac screamed with tears dripping down his face as his body started to shake.
"Don't worry. I am going to get help!" Walker bellowed lifting his son into his arms and ran toward the camp.
"Oh Lord... why did I let him go in there?" Walker thought desperately, running as fast as he could. He noticed Zac passed out in his arms. He knew something had to be done quickly before whatever it was traveled through his son, maybe killing him. His legs grew tried as he ran and ran. Sweat poured down his face with his eyes filling with tears.
"Oh please Lord, let him be alright! Oh please!" Walker begged as he saw the camp just a few feet away from him as he picked up speed.
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