Meanwhile, on the other side of Selidoria, Ely was still looking for a hiding spot. And before he knew it, he was at the edge of the Black Forest. So she turned to go back into Selidoria and heard a voice behind him.
“Where are you going?” It was a Teradox—a giant wolf, black as night and with glowing green eyes. It was standing on its hind legs and its head was grazing the branches of the trees around it, tall enough to make Ely nothing but a puppy in front of it.
Ely gulped in fear and began to back away.
“I’m going back to Selidoria,” he told it. “I shouldn’t be here.”
“Because King Elyon said so.”
The Teradox laughed. “So many rules. You can’t go in the Forest, you can’t touch the trees, you can’t eat the fruit—you can’t do anything.”
The fruit. That was when Ely noticed the trees around the Teradox. They were thick as buildings and stretched so high that he couldn’t see where their tops ended and the night sky began. But closer to the ground there were shorter trees with twisting branches spiraling towards him. Were they reaching for him? And on these branches were the brightest red apples Ely had ever seen. They were practically glowing in the darkness and his mouth began to water just looking at them. Was this the fruit King Elyon didn’t want them to eat?
He shut his eyes and shook his head quickly. He had to get a hold of himself.
“We can’t eat the fruit because we’ll die,” he explained.
“On the contrary,” the Teradox chuckled. “You won’t die. King Elyon knows that once you eat the fruit, you’ll be just like him and have all his powers.”
Ely didn’t believe him, but he was curious now.
“There are children in this forest just like you,” the Teradox went on. “But they have all the powers they want and can do whatever they want. Everyone is eating the fruit and having more fun than you.”
There were other children in the Black Forest? King Elyon had never told them that. And slowly, Ely began to wonder if King Elyon had been wrong and if the Teradox was the one telling the truth. What if the fruit would give him more powers? What if the Black Forest was more fun than Selidoria?
The Teradox picked one of the apples off the twisting branches and held it out to Ely. Ely’s eyes remained fixed on the bright, juicy red fruit and his mouth continued to water just from the sight of it. Even if he didn’t want the powers, he absolutely had to try this fruit. How bad would it be if he just tasted it? So he reached out, grabbed it and took a bite.
Instantly, his eyes flew open wide and flashed green like the Teradox’s. A black cloud of mist swirled around him and lifted him off the ground and he felt power that he’d never had before surge through his body. He was flying! He had to show the others!
So he flew away and found Levy, Lea and Eva and brought them the fruit.
When they saw his green eyes and the black mist around him, they screamed, “Ely, what have you done?”
But he told them, “You absolutely have to try this!”
“No,” they said as they backed away.
“Ely, the mist is coming!” Eva screamed.
And when they looked, they saw a thick cloud of dark mist billowing out of the Black Forest behind them. It came rushing towards them like an avalanche of smoke, sizzling everything that it touched.
“Run!” they screamed.
Levy grabbed Eva and Lea in his arms and took off into the air with a blast of fire from his feet. He shot away from the Black Forest, weaving between the trees, and headed towards King Elyon’s castle as the mist raced after them.
When they made it to the castle at the top of the hill, they collapsed at the door and watched the mist swallowing everything underneath them. All the Selidorian children were screaming and wailing as it touched them and transformed them into whatever it was that Ely had become.
And at the edge of the Black Forest was the Teradox, watching everything with an evil grin on its face.