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Eterno is the twentieth chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 20, 2016.

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Chapter

Zak's POV

Ok, well, right now, me, my mom, Fiskerton, Komodo, Sarah, and Zack are going to meet the Haci somewhere in Africa, because most of the water in the Middle East has dried up and we’re trying to figure out why.

Mom was driving the DRV through the desert and me, Sarah, Zack, Fiskerton, and Komodo were in the car with her. We were currently talking to Dad on the video phone, who was at home, having a meeting about the water with the Secret Scientists.

That’s actually one of the reasons why Sarah and Zack are with us and their mom and pets went home for the day: They don’t like the Secret Scientists. Not because they’re scientists. They just annoy them. A lot.

“Shouldn’t you be paying attention to your driving?” Dad asked Mom, who wasn’t really, probably because we were in the desert.

How many other cars would there be in the desert?

“Don’t worry, Dad,” I assured him. “She’s got back up on this mission.”

“Now, Zak, you know you’re not really on this—” He faltered, then looked at Mom. “You haven’t told him?”

“I, well, the timing hasn’t been . . . no,” she replied.

“Wait,” I said. “Tell me what?”

“Zak, honey, your father and I feel you’ve gotta a little, well, reckless.”

“What?”

“Breaking into the cortex disruptors, stowing away, going off plan,” Dad said, giving examples.

“Off plan?” I asked. “Is this still about Uncle Doyle’s bad influence?”

“Yeah?” Sarah agreed. “I mean, he’s your brother, Drew, and you’re sometimes as reckless as he is.”

Mom glared at her through the rearview mirror. Then she turned back to me. “It’s about a lot of things, Zak. We’re afraid we’re giving you too much leeway, tried to make you grow up too fast. You’re still a child.”

“So that means I’m useless?” I asked.

“It means your mother and I are running the show for now,” Dad replied. “And you, well, you’re in the audience for a little while.”

“The audience?”

Mom had the car jump over a sand dune and we landed hard.

“Zak, I’m sorry, but I cannot have this conversation right now,” she said. “Doc, we’re in their territory. I’ll call you back when I’ve got something. Kisses.”

The video call ended.

I was mad, and also confused.

“If I don’t get to be part of the mission, why am I even here?” I asked Mom.

“It’s a good cultural experience,” she replied.

If you say so, I thought, but didn’t say.

Then we were attacked. Not literally this time. But about four or five cars, each half the size of ours, surrounded us.

We entered into a village. Mom stopped the car and got out. The guys in the other cars that surrounded us got out of their cars as well, and Mom started talking to them, telling them why we were here. They understood and let us by.

The rest of us got out of the car. Then a man approached us. Maboul, who I assumed was the leader of this village, because he looked like he was.

“I apologize for our enthusiastic greeting,” he said. “But we Haci have been on high alert since this crisis began.”

“With good reason, my friend,” Mom said. “It’s why I came to see you. No one knows water like the Haci, and I need your counsel.”

“Of course. But only over tea.”

He clapped his hands and two of his men, who were standing between the opening to a large tent about ten feet away, opened it by pulling away the drapes. The man gestured for Mom to enter it and she went.

We tried to follow, but the man stopped us.

“I apologize, young ones,” he told us. “But the Haci do not allow children in our private discussions.”

“Children?” I asked.

“Zak,” Mom told me in a stern voice. “I’ll find you if I need you.”

Then they proceeded toward the tent.

Sarah and Zack didn’t look any happier than I was.

I sighed. “Fine.”

I looked around and noticed our car. I smiled mischievously.

“And no driving the DRV,” Mom said, appearing behind me.

I frowned and handed her the keys. She took them and went inside the tent.

“Why did you have the keys?” Sarah asked me. “Your mom was driving.”

“I saw that she didn’t take them out of the ignition, so I did,” I replied.

“Ok.”

“So what are we gonna do while we wait?” Zack asked.

“Well, we’re in the open desert with no supervision,” I said. “I guarantee I’ll find us some fun in five seconds or less.”

Fiskerton started counting down with his fingers. I looked around and noticed a tall cliff and I had an idea.

“Hey, Sarah, Zack, can you two summon us a couple sleds that we can ride on sand?” I asked them.

They both looked in the direction I was looking and realized what I wanted them for.

They nodded. “No problem.”

They activated their powers and two sleds appeared.

We climbed the cliff. Once we got to the top, we decided to race each other in teams. Sarah and Zack teamed up together (no surprise there), and I teamed up with Fiskerton and Komodo. They handed me one of the sleds, and we all got ready.

“On the count of five we go,” I said. “Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . launch!”

We sledded down the cliff.

We were ahead, but Sarah and Zack were catching up, and, were now, in the lead. I knew we were gonna lose. Then I happened to look over at our DRV and noticed a girl jumping out of it.

“Hey!” I called. “Fisk, big left.”

He did as I told him and turned us left, almost hitting Sarah and Zack in the process, but he missed them and they followed us.

The girl noticed us and ran, but we were faster. We caught up to her. I tried to grab her, but she suddenly stopped and we went past her, going down the cliff ahead of us. A few feet down, me and Fisk grabbed onto the side of the cliff, and Fisk also grabbed Komodo.

“Hello?” the girl called from the top of the cliff. “Are—are you alright?”

We climbed back up and Fiskerton picked her up by her foot.

“Fine, thanks,” I said.

Sarah and Zack had stopped their sled before reaching the cliff.

“I—I didn’t mean to,” the girl said after Fisk put her back down.

Fiskerton and Komodo growled at her.

“Relax, relax,” I told her. “Just give us back what you stole and we’ll call it even.”

“Stole?” she asked. “You must be mistaken. I didn’t take your, uh, this.”

She held out my video phone to me.

I took it. “It’s an MVP.”

She stared at me.

“Mobile Video Phone. Why would you steal something if you don’t know what it is?”

“I see it, I like it, I take it. Why is this complicated for you?”

I noticed she had the claw in her hand. I hadn’t realized I left it in the car until now. I took it and hang it on my belt.

I looked back at her and noticed she had my video phone in her hand again and in her other hand she held up my belt. Then my pants fell down, revealing my underwear.

“Hey, stop it!” I complained.

Sarah and Zack diverted their eyes from me.

“Why is it always hearts?” Sarah asked.

“I know,” Zack agreed.

I pulled my pants back up quickly. The girl began walking away.

“Komodo,” I said.

He moved in front of her, licked his lips in anticipation, and drooled.

I walked up to them and grabbed my video phone out of her hand. “Whoa, whoa. I didn’t say eat her.”

He looked disappointed and also seemed to be telling me to make up my mind. I also grabbed my belt and put it back on.

“Look, nobody’s gonna hurt you,” I told the girl. “We’re just killing time while my mom talks to your people about this dried up water thing.”

“What?” she asked. “But why would I—I mean, any of my people have done this very bad thing?”

She asked that in a very odd way, like she was hiding something, and the rest of us were suspicious about it.

“Is there something you’d like to tell us?” I asked her.

“Why—why would you think—” she stammered.

“The dragon is still very hungry.”

Komodo looked at her tastily.

She signed. “Follow me.”

And that we did.

She led us to a lake while she was telling us about a salt crystal she found that caused all the water in the Middle East to dry up and she showed us the crystal.

“I put the crystal in the water right here.”

“Wow. I really expected a better story than that,” I said.

“You don’t believe me?”

“No. Why would I believe that a little girl and her magic crystal turned half of the water in the Middle East into salt?”

“I didn’t say I did that. I put the crystal in the water, the sea started turning to salt, and then the salt man broke out and he—”

“Wait, wait,” I interrupted. “Now there’s a salt man? I take back what I said about the story. So what happened next? He a-salted you?”

Fiskerton gave me a high-five.

Sarah glared at me. “Zak, stop that. She’s telling the truth.”

“How do you know?”

“My powers told me, and they don’t lie.”

“Yeah, same with mine,” Zack agreed.

“It’s ok,” the girl said. “He’s no different from my father. He wouldn’t believe me either, just because I am a child.”

Sarah looked at me like she knew that I knew what it felt like to be treated like that by an adult. And I did.

I turned back to the girl. “Look, um, Thief Girl—”

“Wadi,” she corrected.

“Wadi. I’m Zak. This is Sarah, whose brother’s name is also Zack. And this is Fiskerton and Komodo. So, where did you say you found this crystal?”

She led us to a small cave near the lake.

“The crystal was right there,” she said, pointing to a spot on the ground that had a little pile of salt.

“Well, it does look like salt,” I admitted.

Fiskerton wiped some of it up with his finger and put it in his mouth. He didn’t seem to like it very much.

“You see? I am a thief, not a liar,” Wadi said.

Komodo pulled at my pants.

“What is it, Komodo?” I asked him.

He led us further into the cave and showed us a rolled up scroll lying on the ground.

“Whoa. Nice find.”

I picked it up and unraveled it. There were inscriptions and words written on it, but in a language I couldn’t understand.

“Can you read this?” I asked Wadi.

“Yes,” she replied. “It is very close to the language of the Haci. It speaks of a warrior king from an age long past. His thirst for power could not be quenched by conquering nations. He knew that only water equals power, and so he sought the greatest power of all: the Methuselah Tree. A plant whose soap is said to be the fountain of all water on earth. As the warrior king sailed across the Dead Sea, the protectors of the tree caused a violent earthquake, entombing him in the salty sea bed where his body would be kept alive by the salt forever. His undying thirst and eternal reminder of the price of greed.”

“So you think this warrior king is what you saw rise from the sea?” I asked her.

“Ab-salt-olutely,” she replied.

Sarah and Zack laughed at her response.

“Nice try,” I said. “Come on. Let’s get that scroll back to your camp.”

“Why?” Wadi asked.

“What, you don’t wanna show everybody the huge important evidence that the children found?”

“Uh, I don’t think we can do that,” Zack said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because something’s wrong,” Sarah replied.

They both were looking intently in the direction of the camp with worried looks on their faces.

Mom, I thought.

I didn’t ask anymore questions and I ran toward the camp. The rest of them followed behind me.

When we got there, I noticed that everyone was turned to stone. No, not stone: salt.

“Mom,” I called. “Mom!”

I looked around until I finally spotted her. She was also turned into salt stone.

“Mom, what—are you ok?” I asked. “Can you hear me?”

Wadi was looking at her father, who was standing next to my mom. Sarah and Zack looked almost as horrified as I was.

Fiskerton grabbed my sword out of its sheath from around my waist and began doing who-knows-what with it to Mom, trying to get her free.

“Fisk, careful,” I told him.

He broke my sword, which at the moment I didn’t care about, and he stumbled back, knocking into another statue.

“That one just moved,” I noticed, then I walked up to it. “Are you alright? Can you speak?”

“Zak, no,” Wadi warned. “The salt man.”

The statue turned to face me, but it was different from all the others.

“I thirst. I burn,” he said in a hoarse voice. “I am Eternal.”

“And I don’t care,” I said. “Whatever you did to these people, you are gonna fix it right—”

“I drink, but still I burn,” he interrupted, then slammed his hand down on a canteen of water and turned the water to salt, which surprised me. “Only the sap will satisfy. Where is the Methuselah Tree?”

“Maybe you didn’t hear me the first time,” I said, grabbing the claw. “But you still got people to fix, or else—”

Fiskerton, for some reason, came up behind the salt man and licked his head, which was so uncalled for and unnecessary. The salt man threw a punch down on me, but I dodged it, extended the claw, and broke his arm.

“Whoa,” I said. “Did that just—”

He tried to punch me again with his other hand. I rolled to dodge, then broke his other arm with the claw. Fiskerton kicked him in the chest, he stumbled back, tripping over Komodo, who was invisible at the moment, and the salt man crashed against a boulder and crumbled to pieces.

“Hey,” I said. “Nice team work.”

“Uh, Zak?” Sarah said, gesturing to the pile of salt.

The salt man was reforming.

“Eternal,” I repeated. “Now making sense.”

I slingshot the claw at him and it went straight through his chest. He grabbed the cable and pulled me toward him. Komodo tripped him again and he fell to the ground again. Komodo became visible, which was a mistake. The salt man grabbed onto his tail and turned him into a salt statue just like the others.

“Komodo!” me and Sarah called.

The salt man continued to pull me toward him.

“Now . . . you,” he said.

He was about to touch me and there was nothing I could do to stop him. Wadi came to my rescue.

“The river,” she said. “I know where it is.”

The salt man stopped for a moment and listened.

“Wadi, no!” I told her, but she didn’t listen.

“I cannot tell you its location,” she continued.

The salt man threatened to touch me.

“But I will make you a trade. If you let us go free, we will journey to the Mother River and bring the sap of the Methuselah Tree to you.”

“You will return?” he asked.

“You can undo what you have done to our families?”

“Uh, yes.”

“Then how could we not?”

He let us go. I retracted the claw and the five of us went to find the Methuselah Tree.

“Come on,” I said. “We’ll take the DRV.” I stopped when I realized something. “Ah, Mom has the keys.”

“Don’t worry, Zak,” Sarah assured me. “Me and my twin brother know how to hot-wire a car.”

“You do?”

“It’s not that hard,” Zack said.

“Actually, do the keys look like this?” Wadi asked, holding up a set of keys that we needed.

“Aw,” Zack groaned. “I was looking forward to hot-wiring it.”

“Maybe you still can,” Sarah said.

I was surprised by Wadi.

“How do you . . . ah, never mind,” I said.

I tried to grab them, but she held them back. “The river does need to remain secret.”

“Wadi, have you ever driven a car before?” Sarah asked her.

“No.”

“Well, I have, so I’m driving.”

She took the keys out of her hand.

“You don’t know where the river is,” Wadi protested.

“Actually, I do.”

“Where is it?”

Sarah opened her mouth to respond, but closed it when she remember that I was there. She leaned in close to Wadi and whispered in her ear.

Wadi’s eyes widened. “How did you know where the river is? The Haci are the only ones who know where it is.”

“Not anymore,” Sarah said. “My powers know everything, and they told me where it is. But don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone and neither will Zack. Now can we go?”

Wadi still looked surprised.

“You’ve driven a car before?” I asked Sarah.

She nodded. “Yeah, but it’s a long story.”

“It’s not long,” Zack disagreed.

She signed. “Fine. We have a video game at home that’s about racing cars and our mom would transport us into the game sometimes so that we can learn how to drive. Now let’s go.”

She began walking toward the car, but Zack stopped her. She looked at him and he seemed to be mentally challenging her, which he probably was. Then they did rock-paper-scissors. Sarah had scissors and Zack had paper, so she won.

Zack frowned while Sarah smiled triumphantly.

“Best two out of three?” he asked her.

“No,” she replied. “We’re wasting time.”

“I agree,” I said.

We all climbed into the car.

“Oh, wait,” Sarah said suddenly after she got into the driver’s seat. She summoned a couple pieces of cloth to her hands and handed both of them to me and Fiskerton. “Cover your eyes.”

“What?” I asked. “Why?”

“Just because me and Zack know where the tree is doesn’t mean you two have to know too. Right, Wadi?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

I sighed. “Fine.”

I took one of the pieces of cloth and wrapped it around my head, and so did Fiskerton. I couldn’t see through it.

Sarah turned on the ignition and we were on our way. We were going pretty fast, every once in a while going airborne and landing back down. Hard. Me and Fiskerton kept freaking out since we couldn’t see where we were going.

“Oh my God,” Sarah complained. “Would you guys please stop yelling? It’s so annoying. Not my fault that the desert is so bumpy.”

“Ok. But can you take it easy for a second?” I told her. “I gotta make a call.”

“Ok, I’ll try,” she replied.

“Oh, and there’s probably gonna be yelling.” “I’m sure there will be.”

I grabbed my video phone and called my dad, which wasn’t easy since I was blindfolded. He did start yelling after I told him what happened and where we were going.

“What?” he asked. “You couldn’t have given us this information sooner? Zak, this is exactly the sort of recklessness your mother and I are trying to correct. Just stop and stay there.”

Sarah chuckled. “Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.”

Dad ignored her and continued. “I can fly to you in less than—”

“Dad, will you listen to me?” I interrupted. “Yes, I’m sorry I didn’t call right away, but this isn’t me being reckless. I don’t know how much time we have, and we’re the ones who are here.”

“Zak, if you’re trying to prove some point . . .”

“Look, I don’t care about proving points. Mom, Komodo, and a whole lot of other people are in serious trouble, and I just need you to trust me and help me.”

Dad thought about it for a moment and sighed. “What do you need?”

“Everybody in that room, actually,” I said.

The car suddenly slowed down and eventually stopped.

“We’re here,” Sarah said, turning off the engine.

“We have arrived at the entrance,” Wadi said.

My blindfold suddenly disappeared off my face. We all got out of the car, and I was still on the video phone with my dad. I looked around and was confused. There was just barren desert all around us. Not even a cave was in sight.

“This entrance wouldn’t happen to have a door?” I asked.

“Of course,” Wadi replied. “It is opened by an ancient song.”

“Ok, let’s hear it.”

“My people don’t teach the song to children.”

We stared at her in disbelief.

“You’re kidding, right?” Zack asked.

“I know,” Sarah agreed. “They don’t let children into their private conversations, but they let them know where the Methuselah Tree is and not teach them the song that they need in order to get to it.”

“Yeah, how do you expect—do you think it would just come to you?” I asked in frustration.

“You said the Secret Scientists would help us,” Wadi said defensively. “You made very big promises.”

We continued to argue with each other.

“Hey, Spiky Locks,” Dr. Beeman interrupted. “If you’re done with lovey, kissy time, maybe I can tell you about the musical madual imprinted on that rock.”

He gestured to a rock that was lying on the ground a few feet away from us and it had inscriptions on it.

“Huh,” Zack said. “That’s kind of like The Legend of Zelda.”

“I was thinking the same thing,” Sarah agreed.

“It’s pattern is similar to the Verdonian Scale,” Dr. Beeman continued. “I can get the notes, but I ain’t singing.”

“Oh, I don’t think anyone wants to hear you sing,” Sarah said. “But my powers can allow me to be able to read the inscriptions on the stone, so we don’t need you to get us the notes.”

“If you don’t need my help, then why did you ask?”

Sarah glared at him. “I didn’t. He did.”

She turned to glare at me. Wow. She really hates him, doesn’t she? But I could understand why.

“Let’s focus on the song,” Zack suggested.

“You’re right,” Sarah agreed.

She sat down in front of the stone and we sat next to her.

“Are you gonna sing it?” Zack asked her.

“No!” She said it like it was the last thing she ever wanted to do.

“Come on, Sarah.”

“No, Zack. I’ll play a tune, but I’m not gonna sing.”

“Then who will? Because I won’t.”

Sarah looked at me and Wadi. We both shook our heads.

“Fiskerton?” she asked.

He nodded his head.

She summoned a pad of paper and pen to her hands and began writing the song. “You can read, right?”

Fisk looked offended.

“I was just asking.”

She finished writing and handed him the paper. Fiskerton began singing. He sounded . . . weird, but good.

A vortex swirled to life directly below our feet and we fell into a cave. We hit the ground, then coughed and knocked the sand off ourselves.

“That’s weird,” Zack said.

I looked where he was looking and realized what he meant.

“So I knew stalactites grow down, and stalagmites grow up,” I said. “But what are the called when they grow sideways?”

You heard me right, and it was all over a river.

“A gravity defying stalagmal matrix?” Dr. Cheechoo said through the video phone. “Oh, I heard it theorized, but I never thought I’d actually see one.”

“Well, now you have,” Sarah said.

“Zak, how strong is the current?” Dad asked.

Wadi checked. “It seems to be not too bad.”

We heard a sound from above us. We looked up and noticed the DRV falling into the water, crashing against the stalac’s and it blew up.

“Oops,” Sarah said. “Looks like I owe your parents a new car, which isn’t really a problem.”

“It looks like the rocks have different mineral compositions,” Dr. Cheechoo said, getting back on the subject. “Not all of them are stable.”

“Can you find a safe path through the matrix?” Dad asked him.

“From tite to mite, I think so.”

“Then get my son whatever he needs.”

“Actually, I don’t think we need it,” Sarah said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because she wants to lead us through the path.”

I was confused as to who “she” was. Then I looked where she was looking and noticed the little girl that me and Sarah have been seeing was standing on one of the sideways stalac’s, gesturing for us to follow her.

“How did she . . .” I began.

“I have no idea,” Sarah said.

“Oh, are you two seeing that girl again that we can’t see?” Zack asked us.

We nodded.

“What girl?” Wadi asked.

“Well, about a couple weeks ago, me and Zak have been seeing this little girl that, apparently, no one else can see but us,” Sarah explained. “And we don’t know why that is.”

“Ok.” She obviously didn’t want to ask anymore questions.

“She’s guiding us to where we want to go,” I said. “Let’s follow her.”

Me and Wadi climbed up on Fiskerton while Sarah and Zack went solo. The little girl somehow knew which stalacs were stable and which weren’t. She led us through them to the other side, then she disappeared again.

“I really wish we knew who she was,” Sarah said.

I nodded in agreement. The five of us continued up the river.

I noticed the salt man was following far behind us, but I decided not to say anything. A little while later, Wadi noticed him too.

“Zak, we seem to have a salt trail,” she said.

“I know,” I whispered. “He’s been with us for a while now.”

“You knew? Why didn’t you—”

“Shhh. We can’t risk a fight down here. If he touched the river, even accidentally, that crackly salt thingy he does would spread to all the water on earth. We’ve just gotta get to the Methuselah Tree and hope the sap works for him.”

“Zak, what are you two whispering about?” Dad asked. I forgot we were still on the video phone with him. “Is something—”

“Uh-oh,” Sarah said.

We turned around and saw that Fiskerton noticed the salt man too, and he moved toward him.

“Fisk, no!” I called, but he ignored me.

He grabbed onto the salt man’s foot and tried to pull him down.

“Fisk, let go!” I tried again. “It’s too dangerous!”

“Zak, what’s happening?” Dad asked.

I ignored him and looked at the salt man. “What are you doing here? We had a deal.”

“I need the sap,” he replied. “I care for nothing else.”

“Yeah, and that’s why you became what you are,” Sarah said.

Fiskerton pulled him down, right next to the river, and they began wrestling with each other. Eventually, the salt man touched the river and it began turning to salt. We were so surprised that I dropped my video phone.

“No,” Wadi said. “The mother river.”

“Come on,” I said.

I grabbed her hand and we all jumped into the river and went up a geyser. The salt man didn’t follow us. Once we were up, we got out of the water and onto the shore. There was a bright light. We looked to where it was coming from and saw the Methuselah Tree.

“It’s beautiful,” Wadi noted.

We all nodded in agreement. Then we noticed the salt continuing to expand.

“It’s in trouble,” I said. “Quick, we have to try to dam it up.”

We all rushed to the base of the tree and began throwing large rocks into the water to keep the salt from reaching the tree. Then suddenly, rocks began to fall from the ceiling of the cave.

“What the—We didn’t just do that,” I said.

“No,” Wadi agreed. “It was the tree’s protectors. And if they know we’re here, we are all doomed.”

The protectors came out of the ground and attacked us.

“Guys, distract them,” Sarah said. “I’ll get the sap.”

She sneaked around the protectors. They followed her, but Zack sent fireballs at them, getting their attention turned on us.

“Don’t hurt them,” Wadi said.

“Well, do you have a better idea on how to distract them?” he asked.

“I do,” I said.

I grabbed the claw and activated my powers. I got control of the protectors, and they weren’t really that hard to control.

“Sometimes I really like your powers,” Zack said.

“I got the sap!” Sarah called from next to the tree, holding up a canteen.

“Alright,” I said. “Let’s go.”

I climbed onto one of the protectors. Sarah and Zack climbed onto the same one with me and Wadi and Fiskerton climbing onto the other. I had the protectors go straight up through the ceiling of the cave.

Once we got through, I noticed the salt man and my dad. Apparently the Methuselah Tree was directly under the camp, because that’s where we were right now.

“Zak,” Dad called.

I turned away from him and turned toward the salt man. “I have the sap. We can still have a deal here.”

He charged toward us. The protectors lurched back, knocking me and Sarah off its back and onto the ground. Sarah dropped the canteen and all the sap poured out of it.

“No!” the salt man said.

He ran to the canteen to see if there was anymore sap in it, but there wasn’t.

“Zak! Zak!” I heard someone calling.

I noticed my dad’s video phone lying on the ground a few feet away and went to pick it up. It was Dr. Pachacutec.

“Look at your mother’s salt shell,” she told me.

I did and noticed some of it peeled away from the sap that splashed onto it when it hit the ground.

“The sap breaks the bond,” Dr. Pachacutec continued. “If you have more, we may be able to free everyone.”

“But there is no more,” I said. “It was all in that flask.”

Suddenly the protectors began circling around Wadi.

“Wadi, what did you—”

I activated my powers again to get them under control again, but it wasn’t working.

“Nothing,” Wadi said. “I did not— Control the protectors again, please.”

“I’m trying,” I said. “But they’re going nuts about something.” Then it hit me. “What—what did you take, Wadi?”

She caved. “It was so beautiful. I had to have it.”

The protectors were forming a vortex right below her feet. Dad and Fiskerton tried to stop them, but couldn’t.

“Wadi, you need to give it up now,” I told her. She was sinking into the vortex. “Recreate Eterno, and it’ll ruin you too.”

She listened to me. “Please. I’m sorry. Forgive me.”

She grabbed something out of her sleeve and tossed it over them, landing right in front of me. It was some kind of flower.

They stopped the vortex. I picked up the flower. It was dripping sap. I knew what I needed to do, and my dad knew what I was going to do too.

“Zak, no!” Dad called, but I ignored him.

“I’m not a thief, and I don’t care about your tree,” I told the protectors, who were advancing on me. “But this flower’s gonna save peoples lives, and you’re not taking it until it does.”

I rubbed a little bit of the sap onto a guy’s hand, and the salt seemed to melt away. He was moving his fingers. The protectors tried to come at me, but suddenly they turned into salt statues, and the salt man appeared from between them. He walked up to me and snatched the flower out of my hand.

“Mine,” he said.

“No!” I said.

Too late.

He started to dump all the sap from the flower onto him. “Now end this haste.”

“No! Wait!” I tried to get the flower from him, and dad tried to help me, but we couldn’t.

The salt man reduced to a pile of salt, and the now dried out flower landed on top of it.

“There’s no man left beneath the salt,” Dad said. Then he picked up the flower. “I’ll have Dr. Pachacutec analyze the sap. If we can synthesize it, we should be able to reverse everything he did.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Almost everything.”

I was looking down at the pile of salt that was all that was left of the salt man. Sarah rubbed my forearm comfortingly.


After Dr. Pachacutec had analyzed the sap, she broke the salt shells around everyone.

“That’s the last of them,” she said. “And the other scientists are already rehydrating the effected waters.”

We nodded.

Then I turned toward Dad. “I can’t believe you flew all the way out here and fought a salt guy just because I dropped a video phone.” He told us that after we told Mom everything that had happened. “So tell me again how I’m the reckless one.”

“I guess it just runs in the family,” he said. “But we’re stronger with you. If you’re ready to come back from the audience.”

“Alright!” Fiskerton gave me a high-five.

Wadi and her dad were walking by us and she turned to face me.

“Good-bye, Zak Saturday,” she said, waving to me, then continued walking.

“Yeah, I’ll, uh, see you around,” I replied. Then my pants fell down, revealing my underwear yet again. “Hey!”

Sarah laughed. “Here.”

She handed me my belt.

“Did you take it?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No. She took it. I just took it back. I can steal things the same way she does.”

I smiled. “Thanks.” I took my belt and pulled my pants back up.

“Hey, that’s what girlfriends are for.”

“You’re right about that.”

I pulled her in close and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Sarah giggled.


Well, this was a bit of a dull chapter. I think the good part was when the Mysterious Little Girl appeared again.

For the next seven chapters, they're just going to be the next seven episodes because I couldn't come up with anything for them to do between them. But after that, the drama's going to start.

Please review here.

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Character Appearances

Main Characters

Minor Characters

Pets

Enemies

Trivia

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