Chapter 1: Welcome to your new lives
That's what surrounded Phineas when he was aware of his surroundings.
He was completely eclipsed in darkness.
He took a step forward, expecting something, anything to happen.
Phineas continued to walk in the darkness, silent.
The darkness soon changed its shape into a town.
The darkness was changing into Danville.
But, this Danville was grey. Blank. Ghost-like.
"This town is empty." A young girl's voice said. Phineas looked around. Nobody in sight.
Phineas walked around, looking for the owner of the voice.
"There used to be people here, but they are now gone." The voice continued. "They were consumed by 'it.' 'It' was telling them to trust 'it.' Now, this city is gone. Eaten away by the spirit of 'it,' which can never be truly satisfied."
Phineas ran down an alleyway to find a young girl standing there, reading from a small book in her hands. Her back to Phineas, unaware.
"This town is empty, so I will keep searching." She said. Her short brown hair blew about her softly. "Searching for a town with people in it, one that has not been consumed by 'it.' Searching for the one for me, and only me." She turned a page. "The one for me, and only me is the only one to defeat 'it.' Not only that, but the one for me and only me... also holds onto my heart." She turned around, her opaque eyes glued on Phineas, her voice distorted with Isabella's. "Tell me, are you the one who took it?"
Phineas sat upright and gasped, holding his head in his hands. He looked around his room, half asleep. Ferb was still fast asleep, Perry on his bed. He woke up and walked over to Phineas' bed, chattering. Phineas smiled and patted the bed, which Perry knew as in invitation to come up.
"I'm fine, Perry." Phineas said, petting him softly. He laid back down again. "It was just a bad dream..."
As Phineas drifted off to sleep, he thought about the dream, and how much darkness had surrounded him during it.
"A dream filled with the stench of darkness..." Phineas muttered, and soon, he was asleep once again.
The next day, Isabella walked into the backyard to find Phineas sitting underneath the tree alone, fast asleep. She smiled at the sight of him.
He's like a cat, sleeping whenever he wants to... She thought, giggling softly.
She walked in front of him, bent down, and said, "Now, how'd I know that you'd be sitting under this tree, snoozing?"
Phineas woke up, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Gwah!" He said suddenly, moving to the side. "Hey, Isabella. I don't sleep under here all the time..."
"Oh, please, almost every time Ferb's not here, you're asleep right in this spot." Isabella replied, laughing and sitting down next to him. "So, besides taking a nap, what'cha doin' today?"
"I don't know." Phineas answered, putting his hands behind his head. "Ferb's going to be gone all day since he's hanging out with Emily, then doing a few errands for Mom. It's a shame, because we were going to finish that rocket today, so that we could go into space and everything. That's alright, though, I guess. It can wait."
"Phineas, let's finish it together and leave, right now!" Isabella said, looking at him, smiling.
"Wait, what?" Phineas asked.
Isabella giggled. "I'm kidding, Phineas. You're so gullible sometimes, you know?"
"Not all the time..." Phineas said.
"Ferb's changed." Isabella said suddenly. She looked up at the sky, her ultramarine eyes shining with a sudden look of sadness. "He just...doesn't really seem like himself lately, you know?"
"You're the one that's been changing, Isabella." Phineas said. "Though, maybe it's just all of us."
"Perhaps." She said. There was a pause. "Phineas, don't change. I like you just how you are right now." Isabella added. She stood up. "Come on, let's go the mall. No use just sitting here being all depressing, right?"
Phineas got up, as well. "I agree. I'll go ask Mom if it's okay."
Linda was busy tossing salad in the kitchen when Phineas and Isabella walked in.
"Oh, Isabella, are you and Phineas planning something today?" She asked as she poured a little extra virgin olive oil in the salad. "A date, maybe?"
"I-It's not a date!" Both of them exclaimed at the same time. Linda laughed.
"That's the exact same reaction Ferb and Emily had." She said. "So, where are two you headed?"
"The mall." Phineas said. "Is that all right with you?"
"Sure. You're taking the bus, right? Do you need fare, or are you going to use your school passes? Oh, I almost forgot, Candace and Jeremy are there on a date, so if you see them, don't bother them, okay?" Linda said hurriedly, looking for her purse. "Do you need any money?"
"No, we both have about, what twenty-five dollars each?" Isabella said. Phineas agreed. "Yeah, so we'll be fine. Thanks for offering, though!"
"Okay, have fun, and be back by sundown, alright?" Linda called out as they left. "You know how I am about having you out after dark on your own."
"Okay, we'll be back by then!" Phineas shouted back. "Hey, Isabella, first to tag the bus stop sign wins!"
"You're on!" Isabella replied, and they took off, laughing. At first, it was Isabella in the lead, then Phineas gained the advantage in the corner. Isabella caught up downhill, and it was neck and neck afterwards.
As they turned the second corner, Isabella noticed out of the corner of her eye the bus, slowly lumbering along.
"Look's like our race has gained a new competitor!" Isabella said, running faster.
A few yards ahead was the bus stop sign. Phineas and Isabella reached out their hands to tag it, and they grabbed it at the same time, then ran around it, showing their school passes to the bus driver and sitting down, laughing softly.
"Why can't we do stuff like that more often?" Isabella asked, leaning her head against the window. She watched the scenery change from the suburbs to downtown.
"Act like normal kids, you mean?" Phineas asked. "I don't know. We just try so hard to seize the day in every way we can that we just...forget, I guess. Forget we're kids, and act like something we're not. All just to make the day more fun and memorable."
"I'm sorry." Isabella suddenly said. The bus stopped, and more people got on. "I'm trying to change you, aren't I? After I said that you were fine just the way you were, too..."
"No, it's alright." Phineas said. "I know what you mean." The bus started moving again. "You're so filled with light that you trick yourself into a feeling of naivety and poor self-esteem. Because of that, you try to act as kind as you can be."
"Oh?" Isabella asked. "So, what are you filled with?"
"Light." Phineas replied, looking out the window. He reached up and pulled the cord to have the bus stop. "Light...and dark."
"So, we've arrived, have we?" Gaia said, looking out the window. She turned towards the young man leaning against the window across from her. "Aeor, have you picked up their scents?"
Aeor looked up, his long dark blue hair flopping into his misty pale sky blue eyes. "We've been following that same scent for five years, Major. It has all but faded by now."
"You mean that we've just been following some stale scents for all these years, then?" Another officer asked. His short dark chestnut hair was in a bun and kept out of his face. "What good are you to us, then?"
"He's important because he can track down the scents better than we can, and you know it, Le." A young woman said, tying her navy blue hair up in a ponytail. "Besides, he's the only one who can talk to the songbird. That should really be the only thing to keep him alive, you know."
"Andressa's right, you know." Gaia said. "The Elements are useless without the songbird's power. Speaking of which, Andressa, how is the songbird doing? Is she finally doing as we asked?"
"Yes, she's finally started." Andressa said, sighing. "Seriously, it's like pulling teeth with her to get her to follow orders. She says that the first signs of corruption should appear soon."
"Excellent." Gaia said. "Now, if only we knew where they were... Aeor, keep searching for those scents. We need to find them, and soon."
"So, they're around here, right?" Misti asked. She looked at the readings on the monitors again. "I'm not seeing them on these readings. That might be just because their powers are still dormant, though. Vince, are you ready for the power starts?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Vince said. "Help me calibrate them to hit all of them at once."
"Alright. I'll give you the signal when we're ready." Misti said, laying down the four files she was looking at. "Finally, we'll be able to achieve this goal at long last...we have to do this before they show up. If they get here while we're setting this up, it's all over."
"I'm quite aware of that." Vince said. "Now, then, let's get started..."
Phineas and Isabella walked around the food court, silent.
"Come on, let's go and look at some other stores for a bit." Isabella said, practically pulling Phineas away. "We can come back to the food court later."
"No, it's not that...it's..." Phineas said, trailing off. "Darkness...the scent of darkness is everywhere..."
"What?" Isabella asked. She turned around to face him. "What are you talking about?"
"I mean that there's an unusual amount of resentment in the air right now." Phineas hastily explained. "I guess it's one of my powers due to being part dark. I can sense the dark auras of people. Not to mention, I can pinpoint the scent of darkness, and right now, there's a lot of it in this room, and I'm not sure why."
"So, you think that something's going to happen because of this collection of darkness?" Isabella asked. Phineas let go of her hand and walked over to the center of the food court. "I'm guessing that's a yes."
As Phineas and Isabella walked over the center of the food court, somebody accidentally bumped into them, dropping something on the floor. She muttered a half rushed apology and ran off.
"Hey, wait, you dropped these!" Phineas called out, running after her.
"Oh, you can keep them. My friends, who I got them for, didn't want them." She said, then ran off again. Phineas looked at what she had dropped. They were two necklaces, one shaped like a crown, the other shaped like a heart, with an X in the middle.
"Oh, Phineas, what'cha got there?" Isabella asked as she walked over. She looked at the necklaces. "Ooh, pretty!"
"That lady who dropped them said we could have them." Phineas said. "I'll get the crown, if that's okay with you."
"Alright, then." Isabella said, picking up the heart-shaped necklace. They put their necklaces on, then looked over to see Candace and Jeremy sitting in the food court, Candace looking at them with frightened eyes.
"Candace...?" Phineas asked. Suddenly, a large shock went through him, causing him to fall to the ground. He slowly got up, panting slightly. He walked forward, then passed out, just a large earthquake hit the mall, causing everybody to panic.
"Ph-Phineas?!" Isabella cried out, then sank to her knees, weary. It felt as if all the energy in her was being slowly sucked out of her. The room swung and pitched helplessly, and Isabella gradually let her eyes close, slipping into darkness...
Ferb and Emily walked through the park, laughing. They each wore a necklace shaped like a splintered, upside-down heart.
Emily said something, and Ferb nodded. He looked up, then suddenly grabbed Emily just as a large earthquake hit, causing panic to spread. Ferb just held onto Emily silently, then the two of them passed out, their necklaces glowing slightly.
The songbird sat in her cage, holding her sketchbook out in front of her. She sighed as she put the finishing touches on her drawing, drew her knees up to her chest and put her head down.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, her voice monotone and hollow. "I have no choice but to do this. I'm so sorry..." She suddenly sat up and crawled over to the edge of her cage. "Those scents... They've awakened again..." She sat back and began to draw again, almost feverishly. "I must escape from here...I must save this Story...!"