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Deviant for 4 Years
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“Hey you reached the voicemail of Soren Thain. I’m not picking up for a number of reasons but if you leave a message I’ll be sure to get back to you…or leave a text because voicemails aren’t used these days so…your choice. ‘BEEP’”
“Hey Soren it’s…2:30 and Gareth and Lily are here before you so…if you’re not here soon I’m going to destroy you!”
“Smooth.” Gareth said snickering, “I mean just the best way to say it ever.”
“Shut it Gareth! It’s my message.”
“And you sound like you want him dead.” Lily added surfing through my box of books, “Maybe you should just be honest?”
“Yeah I’ll just tell him that I was worried that he hasn’t shown up yet and that I even get worried when he leaves late at night and want him to stay here so he doesn’t get hurt.” ‘BEEP’ “What was that?”
“Message sent.” Oh no, looking at my phone I saw the call end and the message fly off towards Soren’s phone.
“No, this is not happening!” I yelled at my phone, “I refuse to let my life turn into a bad romantic comedy where I’m pulled into one awkward situation after another! I will get that message off his phone.”
“Isn’t that what would happen in a bad romantic comedy?” Lily said and I shot her a glare making her slink back to her chair.
“So is there a hair brained scheme to be had now?” Gareth asked a little too excited.
“Not hair brained…we just need to destroy his phone…nothing hair brained.”
“Oh this is going to be fun! So how do you plan to do this?” Is Gareth mocking me?
“You sound too excited about this…what are you up to?”
“What? Nothing…I just want to help my friend in her time of need. Is something so wrong with that?”
“Then why are you grinning from ear to ear!?” He was on the verge of laughing out of his chair; he was enjoying this too much.
“Never mind that, also how are we going to find Soren if we don’t know where he is.”
“That is a problem. His schedule doesn’t give any idea of where he might be.” Lily pulled out a small folder and handed me a piece of paper labeled ‘Soren’s daily schedule (Mon.-Fri.)’
“Wow you have it down to the minute.” I said impressed by her dedication at which she blushed.
“I-It’s my pension for detail. I even have Gareth and your schedules.” She handed me two more papers with labels for Gareth and my schedule; wow she really had a detail that couldn’t be matched…I didn’t even know I stared off into space for a full two minutes each day.
“Whatever, Gareth I want you to check…his house and the park while Lily checks the library and…his school.” I said looking at the schedule; he really didn’t do much besides going to school then heading to the park for a bit followed by the library and then here for the rest of the day, his time here was almost double anywhere else he went. He went to school from 8-12 since he had his credits to pass high school, then 12:30-1:00 at the park followed by 1:15-2:30 at the library doing research and then finishing 3:00-10:00 here. He spent more time here than collectively anywhere else in the day; so the only thing I can assume is that he either fell asleep in the park or is still doing research at the library…but that still means he should be ANSWERING HIS PHONE!
“We’ll get moving.” Gareth said as he and Lily got up and headed out my door leaving me in my room…at least Lily left our schedules with me…Gareth spends more time at the library then I expected.

I gave a knock on the door and waited for someone to answer; as I stood there I looked out to see younger kids playing in the middle of the street, suddenly the door opened to reveal Soren’s mother giving me a gentle smile.
“Hello Gareth. What are you doing here?”
“Hello Ms. Thain, I was looking for Soren actually. Is he here?”
“I’m sorry but I haven’t seen him since this morning when I dropped him off at the bus station.” So he hasn’t been home yet.
“Well thank you ma’am. Do you know where he might be?”
“…He hasn’t been there in a while but you could check the Seven-Eleven up the street. He used to go there regularly for a slurpee. Oh, before you go would you like something to eat for the road?”
“Yes please, thank you ma’am.”
“Wonderful. I’ll get started making something for you.”
“Thank you…can I borrow your phone for a moment?” She nodded and I walked inside heading for the land line phone she had hooked up; guess I should let Alice know he wasn’t at his house, I dialed up Alice’s number and waited for her to pick up.
“Hello? Soren?”
“Nope guess again.”
“Gareth. Did you find him?”
“No he wasn’t at his house. His mom said he might be at the Seven-Eleven nearby so I was going to check their next.”
“Alright then…by the way, why didn’t you call me on your phone?”
“I didn’t charge it.”
“Are you serious? I got you that phone so we could all stay in touch when we needed to! You’re on my plan you know!”
“You know I have a problem remembering things. Also Soren’s kind of breaking that whole ‘staying in touch’ thing because we can’t reach him.”
“Don’t worry I’m going to hit him hard enough that he never forgets to pick up again!”
“Yeah because that’s how you show someone you care.”
“JUST FIND SOREN BEFORE HE HEARS THAT MESSAGE!” My ears are ringing now; I heard a click and a long dial tone; looks like she hung up, putting the phone back down I walked into the kitchen as the ringing began to dissipate in my ears.
“Geez Alice can get angry.”
“Hehehe. Soren says the same thing about her. Here, also give this to Soren when you see him.” She handed me a bag with a sandwich inside and a phone…Soren’s phone, “He left it here before he went to schools.”
“…Do you happen to know his passcode?”
“Well…his password is very…complicated.” It can’t be that complicated.
“Thank you ma’am. I’ll make sure Soren gets his phone.” With that I gave a wave and headed out the door.
“Thank you Gareth. Have a good day.”
“See you Ms. T.” With that I dashed off heading for the nearby Seven-Eleven where hopefully Soren was…and I might pick up a slurpee while there; I looked down at Soren’s phone and turned it on to see it had a pattern combination lock…maybe this will be harder than I thought.

As I neared the park I saw it was full of people; more than normal for a weekday, I looked around to see a sign for a music festival nearby, so I guess a lot of people were going to show up…quickly covering my face with my hoodie I shuffled to where Soren usually sat. When I approached it I didn’t find him but I did find a book on the ground; I picked it up to see it was a copy of Ready Player One slightly worn; I remember I had given this to Soren because I thought it would be right up his ally…judging by how far in the book he was I was right…good. Pulling out my phone I moved to my contacts and dialed Alice; it gave a few rings before Alice picked up.
“Did you find him Soren…or more importantly his phone?” Alice asked.
“Sorry no…all I found was a book I gave him so he was here…but not anymore.”
“So he WAS there. That means he’s either nearby or at another location…check in with Gareth at the Seven-Eleven.”
“Okay…which one.”
“I’ll text you the address. Just head towards Soren’s house and you should get the address before you reach it.”
“Damnit Soren where are you?”
“Alice…you forgot to press end call.” I heard slightly upset stuttering and then the call ended…Alice was very interesting when she was flustered. Once I got the Seven-Eleven address I entered it into my GPS and rushed to the location; when I approached it I saw Gareth walking up to it as well, “Gareth.” I called to him and he turned to me giving a wave as I walked over to him.
“Hey Lily. Alice send you here?”
“Yeah. Have you found Soren?”
“No…but I did find his phone.” Gareth replied pulling out Soren’s black phone.
“Oh! That’s what we needed! Let’s erase the voicemail.”
“Yeah…I kind of have a small problem with that.”
“You don’t know his password?”
“Exactly. Can’t get into his phone without the password.” He handed me the phone and I looked to see it was a pattern lock, “Any clues, you live with him.”
“Well…he moves too quickly for me to see what it is…did you let Alice know you found it?”
“I was going to…but I forgot to.” I gave a giggle at his forgetfulness and pulled out my phone texting Alice; ‘We have Soren’s phone.’ I pushed send and almost five second later my phone chimed; ‘BRING IT BACK NOW!’ Gareth chucked looking over my shoulder, “She’s completely lost it.”
“She kind of has.” I agreed giggling.
“Who lost what?” We both jumped slightly looking over to see Soren standing there with four slurpees in his arms.
“Soren!” Gareth said overexcited.
“Gareth!...What are we doing?” Soren asked confused, “What are you two doing here anyway?”
“We…thought…you…” Gareth stuttered unsure of what to say.
“We thought we would try a slurpee since you told us about them.” I said quickly and Soren chuckled.
“Great minds think alike huh?” He replied handing me a slurpee, “Kiwi Strawberry for Lily, Hawaiian Punch for Gareth, Lemonade for Alice and Mountain Dew for me!” I took a sip and actually enjoyed the flavor; I looked over to see Gareth sucking his down with a smile, “Alright let’s go. Bfore we head to the hospital I have to stop by my house and grab my phone real quick.” !
“Wait!” I said stopping him, “If you do that…the…slurpee will melt.” He gave a deep thought.
“You’re right. Eh…I guess I’ll just go without it for now.” He said and Gareth and I gave a sigh of relief; that was too close. We all walked to the hospital and as Gareth and Soren talked I stood behind them swiping across Soren’s phone trying to figure out his password; I’ve tried every possible combination I could think of but none of them worked…how complicated did he make it!?
“And apparently that’s not the only secret still left in Mortal Kombat.”
“That’s way too complicated for some fatality screens.”
“Maybe but to think they put that much work into a game makes me respect the people who made it…Lily what do you think?”
“WHAT!?” I said in a panic putting the phone behind my back.
“What do you think about somebody making something and going over the top to make it look awesome and full of interesting secrets?”
“W-Well I put a lot of work into my journals and make sure every detail is exactly how I want it…and if I can include more detail then I will.”
“See Gareth? You have to give it your all!”
“I just think it’s too much work for an arcade machine is all.”
“Oh right…Soren I found this.” I said pulling out his book.
“My book! Thanks Lily I thought I lost it…but I read it in the park last…when did you-”
“Hey Soren!” Gareth quickly said grabbing his attention, “Have I told you about my new plan for our fight against the lich?”
“Gareth for the last time; you can’t just have us cast haste as you pound against the lich. We need light spells to defeat him.” Whew…that was close.

…Where were they? They should have been back by now with Soren’s phone, if we’re quick enough we can get it off his phone before he shows up; the door opened and I felt relief as Gareth and Lily entered…then a feeling of fear and worry came over as Soren came in behind them.
“Hey Alice. I got you a slurpee!” He said holding out a cup of crushed flavored ice at me.
“What took you so long!? I was…wondering where you were.” I said quickly recollecting myself as he handed me the slurpee, “…Thanks for the drink.” I replied quietly.
“No problem, I remember you said you said you would like to try one so I got you one.” He was late because he was thinking of me…and now he had an embarrassing message from me ON HIS PHONE!
“IDIOT!” I clocked him on the head with a pillow and he fell back in his chair.
“Oww…” He said standing up, “What did I do this time?”
“…Sorry it’s just…” I gave a heavy sigh, “Would you mind grabbing me some saltine packets…I’m feeling slightly puckish.”
“Sure…I’ll be right back.” He walked out and I turned to Gareth and Lily who were quietly laughing.
“Smooth Alice.” Gareth said sarcastically.
“Shut it. Lily do you have his phone?” Lily pulled out his black phone and tossed it to me.
“We couldn’t open it because we didn’t know the password.” Lily said.
“That’s okay; he has a very complicated password.” I said quickly swiping along his phone until it opened to his home screen.
“You know his password!?” Gareth asked surprised.
“I’ve watched him open his phone dozens of times when he wants to show me something and he always sits directly next to me so I can see his phone easily.”…Why are my cheeks heating up?
“He always leaves last as well.” Lily added making my cheeks flare up.
“Not a word Gareth. NOT. A. WORD.” I quickly opened up his voicemail and looked to see only my voicemail was there; pressing it I heard the message I left from earlier.
       “‘BEEP’ Hey Soren it’s…2:30 and Gareth and Lily are here before you so…if you’re not here soon I’m going to destroy you!”
“Smooth. I mean just the best way to say it ever.”
“Shut it Gareth! It’s my message.”
“And you sound like you want him dead. Maybe you should just be honest?”
“Yeah I’ll just tell him that I was worried that he hasn’t shown up yet and that I even get worried when he leaves late at night and want him to stay here so he doesn’t get hurt. ‘Click’” With that the message ended.
“God it sounds even worse this way.”
“And that’s why it’s funny.” Gareth added chuckling, “You guys are just too much fun.”
“Glade you think so.” I turned to see Soren at the doorway holding a few saltines in his hand and I felt my face heat up impossibly high.
“Your face looks like a tomato Alice.” Lily said and I rubbed my cheeks hoping to cool it but with no luck and Soren’s chuckling wasn’t helping.
“I figured something was up when Gareth and Lily showed up at Seven-Eleven. Didn’t know it was all over a message from Alice.” Handing the saltines to me he grabbed his phone and swiped along it.
“You seem unusually calm about this.” Gareth said surprised…oh no, nonononono!
“Well this isn’t the first time.” Soren replied; damn it. He swiped along his phone moving to an archive of voice mails and clicked on the first one.
“‘BEEP’ Hey Soren. It’s just Alice and I was just practicing calling your number…that doesn’t work…I’d better not send this. ‘CLICK’” That was a few days after we started hanging out after our adventure in Hyrule.
“‘BEEP’ Hey Soren make sure to bring over your N64 tomorrow so we can try out those games you brought over…with the…N64…how do I delete this message? ‘CLICK’”
“‘BEEP’ Soren I woke up this morning and I had your jacket…did something happen last night with us?...! That’s not what I mean I was just wondering…if something…well this voicemail is going to be trashed now. ‘CLICK’” Soren chuckled listening to everyone as I turned redder and redder with every one he played.
“You really need to learn how to get rid of a voicemail before it gets sent.” Soren said and I started hitting him.
“Y-Y-You colossal jerk! Why do you have every voicemail I ever sent you!? Do you enjoy making me look stupid!? Idiot!”
“No! Why would I enjoy that?” He replied and I stopped hitting him.
“T-Then why do you have all those voicemails?”
“Honestly…I enjoy listening to them.” He replied.
“W-What?” I said slightly stunned by his reply.
“These voicemails show me a whole new side to you and it’s really interesting to hear. It’s like getting to see a whole other side of you.” As he said that I felt my face heat up…idiot.
“Well that’s nice.” Lily added and Gareth just shrugged.
“I-I will admit it’s sweet…but I can’t allow those voicemails to exist.” Grabbing his phone I hurled it out the open window surprising everyone as they looked at me, “…What?”
“Jokes on you. My otter box can survive a five story drop.” Soren said rushing outside.
“…Damn it.” I said crossing my arms and sitting back as Gareth howled with laughter.
“Just too much fun.” Gareth said and Lily began to giggle.
“You to Lily?” I said surprised at her sudden amusement at my current situation.
“Sorry…it is kind of funny.” She said giggling as Gareth laughed; GLAD TO SEE THEY WERE ENJOYING THE SITUATION!...Soren holds onto every voicemail I sent him…I’m REALLY glad a majority of them were deleted before they were sent…that list would be a lot longer if I hadn’t.
“I believe I owe you some answers.” A girl with green hair sat in front of us in a clear white empty room; she sounded exactly like the voice that followed us throughout my first adventure and the voice that introduced us to our second and first adventure. After all this time it’s weird to think we were standing in front of the person who was our guide into familiar worlds; now was our chance to get all of our questions answered.
“So you’re the girl who controls us?” Gareth asked.
“Well…I don’t control you…just…I guess the best way to put it is I shepherded you into these worlds.”
“So we’re sheep.”
“Gareth she means t-that she transported us to these worlds.” Lily explained.
“So what should we call you?” Alice asked and the girl seemed to go into deep thought for a minute.
“Well I don’t really have a name but…how about Mary?”
“Is something wrong with that name?”
“No just…kind of random.”
“Well I like it.” Mary said proudly, “Now I know you guys have a lot of questions so I want each of you to ask one question at a time. Who wants to start?”
“I will.” I said stepping forward, “I’ll ask a simple one to start. What are you?”
“In your world I’d be known as a god…but in truth I’m just a being of a higher plane of existence.”
“That’s what a god is.” Alice said.
“Well gods are immortal, I don’t age but I can still die just like humans.”
“So what does that make you?” I asked again.
“Well…hmm…that’s a good question.”
“Well then I guess I’ll ask next.” Alice said, “What are travelers?”
“Travelers are what you guys are.”
“I mean what are travelers described as?”
“Travelers…are people who I’ve chosen to be taken to another world in order to resolve its problem.”
“How do you choose who you send?” Gareth asked.
“Well I use to send the strongest people I could find…but I ran into the problem of it didn’t make them any better as people…I felt bad for using them like that. So I decided to send those who needed to become stronger.”
“What do you mean?”
“All of you were sent to another world for separate reasons. Lily was sent because of her dependence on others and her weak will; she refused to let others beside her family in because she thought her voice wasn’t needed and was broken for it.”
“The sound of my voice was gone from my ears.” Lily added.
“Gareth was sent because he saw himself as a hero and thought he was better than everyone else; he didn’t believe anyone else was worth his attention because others didn’t see him as anything so he did the same to them.”
“The sight of others was missing.” Gareth added.
“Alice saw the world around her as boring and not worth her time; because of what happened to her she found herself doubting her world and those who lived in it, the wonder of the world fell away.”
“The scent was absent.” Alice added; all three of them looked down sadly as they remembered their pasts.
“…What about me?” I asked scared to hear her reason, “Why did you choose me.”
“Soren, you…were an interesting case.”
“W-What do you mean?” Lily asked.
“As you all found out, Soren was split between two personalities; there’s Soren, a boy who tries to act as the strong pillar that those he cares about can rely on and trust; then there was Jarek; the embodiment of your anger and frustration as those who have abused and used him. You not only closed your fears and problems to the world…but you closed off your true past and lived in an illusion because you couldn’t handle the truth.”
“To find out I killed both my sister and my dad in cold blood. It still hurts…and to think I completely closed it off for so long…but because of Alice I now know that even if I’m unsure of who I am my friends will be able to reassure me of who I am.” I turned to my friends to see Gareth giving me a grin, Lily giving me a nod while Alice looked away while twirling a strand of hair between her fingers…weird.
“That’s right.” Mary said, “Honestly when I first chose you to go to another world I was worried. Worried that Jarek would surface…and when Owen saw it he would use it against you…and I would fail again…but thanks to Alice you’ve made it this far…and all four of you have made me proud. Soren, you have stood tall against Owen and protected each of your friends from their own destruction; by doing this you have stopped his recruiting plot twice and even pulled somebody back from his side. Alice, you have stood by your friends since you met Soren; you’ve trusted in their judgment and protected them when they were in danger, even when the world turned against them you never lost your faith in those you had come to trust. Gareth, you have been the beacon of positivity in the face of strife; when others were in despair over the situation you have always found a way to make others feel better, whether it’s through a sparring match or just simple conversation you always tried to make others feel better. Lily, I owe you an apology, I have caused you much strife by pulling you in so quickly; I gave the other three a choice…but you were forced. Yet you have risen above it, you let go of your past and saw something worth protecting…and that’s exactly what you have done. You have used your knowledge and experience to protect your new friends and realized that there’s more to fight for then to rewrite your mistakes of the past.”…Owen.
“Who is Owen?” I asked and Mary had a pained look on her face.
“Owen…was my first mistake. Owen was chosen back when I needed the best candidates the Earth had to offer…I didn’t mean to drag in Nina though. When I took Owen in he was saving Nina and they were both transported.”
“So Nina was never supposed to be chosen?” Alice asked and Mary gave a nod.
“I couldn’t remedy that problem until the adventure was over so I let her be. I was honestly surprised by how well she was doing; she seemed weak when it began but…something happened.”
“W-What?” Lily asked.
“She seemed distant but with time she opened up and shared herself with Owen, Sukia, Shifty and the Gemini twins. Eventually she came to terms with her strife…and it was amazing; she became much more powerful than before. Thanks to her I learned that those capable of overcoming their personal problems can become more powerful than any I’ve recruited in the past.”
“…So what happened?” Gareth asked.
“…Through her power and resolve she and Owen became close…and near the end of the adventure she gave her life for Owen…and it hurt, it hurt me, Shifty, Sukia and the Gemini twins. Out of everyone though it completely destroyed Owen; he screamed with everything he had and suddenly he seemed to change.”
“He became stronger than ever before…and destroyed the world around him turning everything to ash and dust.”
“WHAT!?” We all gave a shocked response; we were told that the world was gone…but Owen took it out? How powerful did he become!?
“It was the rage in his soul that pushed him to destroy everything around him…except his friends.”
“So that’s how they survived.” Alice said.
“But that wasn’t it…with Nina gone he now only had one goal…bring her back. He was determined to do this by any means possible and with that determination he was able to tap into the powers every traveler is given.”
“What powers?” I asked.
“Travelers are handpicked by me. They are given the ability to travel to other worlds as well as maintain the knowledge and experience they gained while there. That’s why even when you went home you had the strength, skill and speed you had gained in the previous worlds, but there’s something more travelers are able to do. You’ve all seen it, Lily has even seen Owen preform it…it’s how he’s been able to follow you across multiple worlds.”…!
“He can cross dimensions on his own.” I said feeling the realization move over me; Mary gave me a sad nod.
“Even now you four have only been able to cross to other worlds by another’s help. Owen has the ability to move from world to world on his own. That’s how he was able to recruit so many in such a short time.”
“So he was the last person you sent based on strength?” I asked.
“Correct. Now I send them based on if they need to become stronger. Some don’t and so their lives are untouched but some do…and that’s why you four stand here now.”
“But I’m guessing we aren’t the first to be chosen that way…right?” Alice asked.
“…There were…many others before you guys. Thousands…too many to count…they all fell for Owens deal; they joined him for different reasons but…they all joined…I’ve lost so many to Owen.”
“S-So why d-did you keep trying?” Lily asked.
“…My job is to remedy the problems each world faces; some worlds manage fine on their own…but some need help, I was given the power to send people from one world to the next…some were more than eager and some completely ignored it…then I found Earth, there were many different versions of Earth but they all held something very similar…hope. Earth was abundant in people brimming with hope and so I started using people from Earth; they came through amazingly and I knew that if I was going to find anything I needed on Earth. When Owen started taking worlds apart I sent others to stop him…but they all fell into his trap…the trap I had put them near; Owen had expected that of me and I had fallen for it…but I couldn’t give up. So I kept sending travelers in hopes that one of them would be able to stop him; I even sent them in pairs in order to keep them even more protected…but it never worked…until Soren and Alice appeared.” She pointed to the two of us, “You two showed incredible resilience in the face of danger and the willingness to protect each other. You two were the first in a long time to actually save a world from the danger Owen put it in.”
“Is that why you sent us to the Mushroom Kingdom?” I asked.
“Yes, I knew you two would be able to save the world…and save another traveler.” She motioned to Gareth.
“…Hang on a minute.” Alice said in thought, “There was no traveler in the land of Final Fantasy. Why did you send us there?”
“…First I would like to apologize…it was a gamble.”
“A gamble?”
“Yes, I sent you there knowing that Owen would show up…and so would Lily. I saw the hesitation that Soren, Alice and Gareth had made her exhibit and realized she could be saved…I was glad to be right in the end. Thanks to you four another world was saved…and so was Lily.”…It’s been a long adventure…
“Alright, I only have two questions left…do you guys have anything to ask?” I turned to my friends and they all thought for a minute before shaking their heads, “First, how does time work when we travel to different dimensions?”
“Time moves along the same the same spectrum for all dimensions. All I do is put you into a certain time within that dimensions…it’s how Owen’s long term plans are accomplished and how I’m able to place you back where you were before you left.”
“So as a traveler you can hop to dimensions and different times in those dimensions?” Alice asked and she gave a nod.
“And my last question…what is Owen’s goal?”
“…He’s trying to become a god.”
“A god?”
“I don’t know how he’s going to do it but he’s trying to become a god…he wants to bring Nina back but I don’t know what becoming a god will do for him.” So he’s trying to become a god…but we don’t know how…and we don’t know why…back to square one.
“Actually I have a question.” Gareth said making all of us turn our attention to him, “With the thousands of travelers that have been chosen how do you make them come back to Earth like nothing happened?”
“Well…that’s not how it works. Every time I lose a traveler I choose another dimensional Earth to get travelers from…so far I haven’t had to choose another dimension since I got Soren and Alice.”…
“Hold on!” I shouted surprising Mary and the others, “That would mean…Lily-”
“Is from another dimension.” Alice said in surprise; we all turned to Lily who gave us a patient smile, “You knew all along didn’t you?”
“…Sorry guys…I know you want to help me but…it seems this is as far as we go together.” No, I said I would save her-
“If that’s all the questions you have to ask…then I’ll send you all back.” Mary said and Lily started to fade away.
“Thank you guys…for everything.” With those words she was gone…Lily…!
“Mary! When did you send Lily to Wonderland? I need the date, time and year!” I said in haste.
“What are you doing?” Gareth asked.
“We’re going to save Lily.” I said confidently making everyone gasp.
“How are you going to do that?” Alice asked.
“Multidimensional travel.” I answered making Alice raise her eyebrow, “Mary, I need you to send us back to the date Lily was taken to Wonderland five minutes before she was transported.”
“Soren…looks like I was right to choose you.” With those final words my vision faded to white.

When my vision returned I was standing outside the library I met Lily at; beside me were Gareth and Alice who were dressed in simple clothing, we didn’t have our weapons but I was going to be damned if that was going to stop me!
“Come on guys! We have to hurry!” They both nodded and I rushed down the path I had gone with Lily when I walked her home; coming upon the house I recognized it as the one Lily walked into and I heard various crashing and smashing sounds that made my heart race with worry, “Alice call the police now!” I rushed into the house and opened the door to see a man about to thrust into Lily with a kitchen knife as she clutched a man’s’ body; I bolted forward knocking into the man and sending him into the dinner table breaking it; I turned to Lily who looked up in surprise, I looked all over her body to see she didn’t have a mark on her; good, she was okay.
“You okay?” I asked stretching out my hand to her and she gave a nod; she looked like she wanted to say something but before she could I heard another crash and looked to see Gareth had pinned the man down to the ground.
“Soren get her out of here!” Gareth shouted and I gave a nod grabbing Lily’s hand and took her out of the house; I scanned around for Alice to see she was at a nearby payphone, I moved over and she hung up looking at me.
“Any luck?” I asked and she gave a nod.
“They’ll be here in a few minutes.” She replied and I let go of Lily’s hand.
“I’ll go help Gareth! You keep Lily safe.”
“Got it…be careful Soren.” Giving her a confident nod I rushed back in to see Gareth struggling with the man and looked around to see a nearby chair; picking it up I moved forward, “Gareth move!” He looked back and rolled off as I swung down hitting the man on the head; he gave a cry of pain and dropped the kitchen knife, Gareth swooped in and picked it up as I grabbed a nearby rope that was strangely in a nearby box and moved behind the man; I grabbed his hands and worked quickly to tie up his hands behind his back as he was still preoccupied with the pain. When he came back to his senses he began to flail for a few minutes before slumping to the ground in defeat; taking the opportunity I motioned to Gareth who grabbed another set of ropes and tied up his legs so he couldn’t move at all, we backed up from him after that and he just sat there for a minute…and then began to speak.
“Lissa…I can’t go on without you…it hurts to see your face.”
“…Is that why you killed your son?” Gareth asked and he looked up at us.
“…Do you know how it feels to be too late…to lose someone because of your weakness?”
“…Yes.” I answered standing up, “I’ve made mistakes I can never remedy…but if we don’t move on from our mistakes then who are we helping…it just shows our selfishness. You can cry and scream…I encourage that you scream and cry…but when you finally stop crying then you’ve got to stand up and move on. Become a stronger person for those you still have…because if you don’t you’ll make even more mistakes that you can’t take back.” I motioned to the left at the man’s body and his eyes went wide before he began to sob; suddenly I heard sirens sound and looked out to see police start to show up; Gareth and I grabbed the man and pulled him outside as the police approached the house, Alice, Gareth and I explained the situation to the cops and handed them the man who walked quietly to the cop car with handcuffs.
“So you three heard the dispute and engaged the enraged man?”
“Yes sir I responded.”
“While I appreciate the heroics of your actions I must inform you to be more careful next time. You could have put yourselves in serious danger.”
“Are you an idiot!?” Alice yelled, “He was about to kill Lily! If Soren hadn’t stopped him right there and then she would have been dead!”
“Ma’am please lower your voice. Although I do agree with you…without your help she would have been dead…too bad I can’t say the same about her brother.” The cop replied and I looked over to see a few men with a body bag leaving the house, “What will we do with the girl?”
“Leave her with us; we know a few of her relatives so we’ll get her to them.”
“As kind as that is I can’t leave her with children.” Damnit…We’re only 17…we can’t anything in this situation.
“What about me?” We looked behind us to see a tall gorgeous woman in brown hair and a business suite approach us, “My name is Mary Tesit, I’m her aunt.” She pulled out an I.D. and showed it to the policeman who handed it back and gave a tip of his cap before walking away.
“Who are you?” Gareth asked and she gave a giggle.
“Already forgot me Gareth?”
“Mary…Mary!?” I said in surprise and she gave another giggle.
“What are you doing here?” Alice asked.
“I felt I should help you in this situation.”
“Thanks.” I said and she nodded.
“So what’s your plan?” She asked.
“It’s still about three months before we meet Lily in Final Fantasy so if she can hold out for a few months then I can have her stay at my place instead of being shipped off to some other state by social services.”
“Why do you think that?” Alice asked.
“By the looks of the place and the state of the family from what she told us I’m guessing she doesn’t have any other family in the state.” I answered.
“Um…excuse me.” I turned around to see Lily standing there, “Thank you…all of you…for saving me…I didn’t expect you guys to be able to save me…but you surprised me.”
“And me.” Mary added, “Unfortunately I’m going to have to send you guys back to your time.”
“Lily can I see your journal?” She handed the book to me confused and I flipped to a blank page quickly scrawling a date onto it as well as the address for the hospital and room number, “Lily I know I’m asking a lot but I want you to wait until this date, on this date I want you to go to this address and then come up to this room, we’ll be waiting for you…can you wait till then.” She gave a nod with a smile.
“To see you guys again…I’ll wait for as long as I need to.” Good.
“Then we’ll see you again.” I gave a wave as my vision slowly faded to white.
“Good job Soren…it’s not easy to impress a higher being.”

When I opened my eyes I was back in Alice’s hospital room; Alice had just opened her eyes and so did Gareth we all looked around glad to be back; I looked at the door expecting Lily to open it and walk in.
“Soren you have to give it a minute.” Gareth said with a chuckle.
“I know but…I really want her to show up…I hope she can survive three months on her own.” As I began to worry I felt a hand touch mine and looked to see Alice hand grabbed my hand.
“Don’t worry Soren, she’s made it this far…we all have…she can do it.” Right.
“You know it’s kind of weird to think that she’s was our enemy at one point and now she’s one of our best friends.” Gareth said in deep thought.
“Yeah well…she’s not that bad so we let it slide.”
“That’s not how I remember it.” I said and she knocked me over the head.
“Shut it! You know what I mean!”
“I know.” I replied with a chuckle as I rubbed where she hit me, “Everyone has a reason for what they do…she just found a cause worth more than her previous cause.”
“What do you mean?” Gareth asked.
“Before, she fought to bring her brother back…but then she realized that protecting his ideals was more important than that. She came to terms with that fact that her brother was dead and worked to uphold his ideals; she even found people worth protecting by doing that. Just like Alice let go of her hate of her life here and just like you realized that there’s more to the world than just you.”
“And just like you realized that you don’t have to do everything on your own. You have people willing to stand by you, to help and to…listen.” Alice added.
“Right.” I replied. Suddenly the handle turned and when it opened we were all glad to see Lily standing there; as she looked at us she began to tear up with a smile on her face, we pulled her over and she sat on Alice’s bed as she dried her tears.
“I’m sorry but…I’m just so happy to see you guys again after so long…it’s a bit overwhelming is all.” She replied hiccupping slightly with a smile.
“That’s okay.” I replied rubbing her head, “Alice did the same thing.” Alice gave me a quick punch in the arm.
“Okay…I’m good.” She replied wiping away her tears, “So…what now?” That was a good question…we were all just sitting here now after another adventure.
“Well…now that we have four people we could try Final Fantasy again?” Gareth suggested holding a controller.
“I-I have a book.” Lily said holding up a copy of Alice and Wonderland. I looked at Alice and she shrugged her shoulders.
“At this point I’m up for anything.” She replied and we laughed.
“Same.” I replied; whatever we did we were going to do as a group and that’s all that mattered right now…we were all together and that’s all I cared about.

I woke up the next morning and quickly got dressed; it was Saturday and I was going to spend the whole day with the gang; I looked on the couch to see Lily sleeping there peacefully; guess she was still tired from yesterday. Heading back to my room I looked down the hallway…and at my sisters door; I opened it up to see an empty room, everything that had been in here yesterday was now gone…as if it had never been there.
“Oh Soren.” I turned around to see my mother standing there, “Is your sister asleep?”
“…Mom…thank you.” I pulled her into a hug and she returned confused for a minute, “…I’m so sorry…I’ve caused you so much grief.” I felt myself begin to cry.
“Is everything okay honey?” I pulled away wiping the tears from my eyes.
“Mom…I want to see their graves…Jennifer’s and Dad’s.” She gave a surprised gasp and gave a nod; we quietly walked out of the house leaving Lily to sleep and got into the car; the drive was a silent one as we drove to the cemetery, “…I want to thank you for letting Lily stay here…she has nowhere else to go.”
“I’m happy to Soren…ever since you met Alice and Gareth you’ve gotten happier and that’s made me glad, every friend you’ve made is clearly important to you, that includes Lily.”
“…Thank you.” When we stopped I looked to see we had parked just outside the cemetery; we both got out of the car and walked amongst the field of graves until we stopped in front of two marked grave stones; Jennifer Thain and Robert Thain. We stood there for a minute and I just stared at the graves of my sister and father…my sister and my father…m-my s-sister and m-my f-father…w-w-who I k-k-k-killed. I collapsed into the grass as I cried with everything I had; every piece of loving emotional distress seemed to pour out of me…as if to make up for the heartless act of mercilessness I had shown them in their final moments; it felt like hours passed before I could cry no more and when it was over…I felt better, I felt like every piece of hurt and pain I had held for so long fade from me. I stood up finding it easier than ever before and turned to my mother giving her another hug before we walked away from the graves…and all the pain I had ever felt since their deaths…it was time to move on.
World Similarities Ch.21 Book 3
When all is said and done we have to continue to move on because we are alive. For all those we've lost it's important that we continue to live, that we continue to share ourselves with the world...and a little bit of them. No matter what we can not waste our lives...after all...we only get one.
“We need to travel 2000 years into the past!?” Lily asked in shock at his plan.
“Yeah let’s just fire up a time machine and back to the future our way there.” Gareth said sarcastically; even he thought it was a crazy plan.
“Time machine?” Wendy asked.
“Back to the future?” Sarah said oblivious to his reference and understandably so.
“Gareth nobody knows what you’re talking about.” Alice said giving him a condescending look for referencing something from earth so openly at which he just shrugged.
“I hear sages be wise an worldly. Ye should know we can go back in time.” Brokkr said
“You believe him?” Gareth asked.
“No, it’s just his accent.” Lily pointed out, “When he said ‘can’ he meant ‘can’t.’ ”
“So Sage why did you suggest time travel?” I asked.
“Because it is possible.” He said with a serious look on his face, “I have lived multiple iterations of this life over and over again and each time it seems to stop a few weeks after we encountered the WOLs the universe doesn’t change.” He then raised his staff to the sky and a large screen appeared above him; it showed Kent, Hana, Pent and Sena all meeting with the sages with a confused look on their faces…as I looked I felt my heart sting and a tear fall down my face. We failed to save them and it still hurt to think that they were gone, “This is a universe where the world was peaceful and untouched by the fiends…and yet these four were decked in armor and equipment that had never been made and only made in another universe. They had changed the past of their world and created a new future for themselves; so they were able to get to the past and do something, we just have to figure out what.” It was mostly sound, I could find a few flaws with his explanation but at this point I was willing to believe anything that could save our friends.
“Soren!” Lily said with a look of realization on her face as she tapped on my shoulder; I turned to her and she opened up her map showing me the four points she had marked earlier, she then pointed to where the points met, “I-Isn’t this the Chaos Shrine?” She was right, the points all met at the Chaos Shrine where we faced Garland and more importantly Owen and Damien…or Shifty I suppose; that reminds me…maybe later.
“The Chaos Shrine. Connects the present to the past.” We turned to where the voice was coming from to see the minstrel group sitting at the edge of the ship; how did they get on without anyone noticing?
“Danny, Jon, Jessie?” I said surprised, Jessie giggled and Jon gave a nod, “How did you get on the ship? We took off a few hours ago.”
“A matter we’ll be sure to talk about at a later time but now I believe we were discussing the Chaos Shrine.” Danny said brushing off the conversation.
“Did you say it connects the present to the past?” Alice asked confused by his statement.
“There w-was nothing like that in the books on it.” Lily said flipping through her notes franticly looking for any mention of the connection of the present to the past.
“You wouldn’t find it in any book…after all the Chaos Shrine is an anomaly in this world.”
“An anomaly?” Gareth asked.
“Yes.” Jon said in a monotone voice, “The ruins were discovered 1500 years ago but they could find no record of it.”
“So it doesn’t belong in this time?” Sarah asked and Jessie waved her finger.
“Well I suppose it could but it mysteriously vanished 2000 years ago. The kicker here is that it disappeared off the world…and out of everyone’s memory.”
“What!?” The sage said giving a gasp that surprised all of us as well; we thought he knew everything.
“Yep, it was almost like it was erased from the world…or taken out of the universe.” …
“What do you mean?” I asked slightly worried by what he was saying.
“If you were to remove something from the universe then wouldn’t it be the same as that thing never existing in the first place.” …
“So…what if you add something to the universe?” Lily asked.
“Well if were talking theoretically then I suppose the universe wouldn’t be affected by their addition or removal their after…it would be just like meeting a…traveler.” ! I felt myself back up in surprise as Gareth, Lily and Alice did the same, “Isn’t that right?” Something obviously different about these three and this confirmed it for me…were they also travelers…or something more?
“…Ay is everyone okay?” Brokkr asked.
“Maybe a little disrupted but I’m sure it’ll be okay. They’ve made it this far after all.” With that the tension in the air dissipated again as the three min- no the three…somethings went back to their usual attitude, “Now I have a question for you eight. The Chaos Shrine disappeared 2000 years ago and reappeared as ruins five hundred years later. It disappeared from the universe for five hundred years taking with it the four fiends. The Chaos shrine has only one piece in tact after it came back…what was it?” The most put together piece of the whole thing…
“The orb?” I asked.
“Precisely Soren, that orb is an artifact that’s one of a kind. Only one exists in this world and it disappeared 2000 years ago…so how is it back now?”
“It came back when the shrine came back.” Alice answered.
“That’s right!” Jessie said, “And do you guys know of a spell that can link items?”
“W-We used it on our weapons.” Lily said.
“Well did you know that spell works across time?”
“As long as two items have the same spell cast on them then they stay connected.” Jon said; is that how they connect the past to the present…no…they couldn’t.
“But it’s the same item, even if it’s the same item it doesn’t work that way. If that were the case we could talk to our past selves.” I pointed out.
“True but what if it’s the same item…from a different dimension.” What!?
“So the orb that’s there right now is from a different dimension?” Alice asked surprised at the news.
“It’s the only way, how else would you connect the same object without splitting it in half?”
“W-Wait!” Lily said in a hurry catching everyone by surprise, “I w-was there earlier…before you guys and the orb wasn’t there when we met up with Garland.” So it only showed up after Lily which means someone brought it there.
“So did Owen bring it?” Gareth asked revealing the fact we needed.
“So Owen has been in league with Garland for 2000 years!?” Alice said shocked at the length; no, it can’t be! He couldn’t have been alive for two thousand years; it’s impossible!
“He sure doesn’t look two thousand that’s for sure.” Gareth said crossing his arms.
“B-But if time is flexible when y-you jump from dimension t-to dimension t-then he could have moved to the past by using another dimension as m-middle ground.” Lily pointed out; without any knowledge of how dimensions work I have no way of proving if that’s wrong or not…knowing her it probably is.
“Is that why the fiends are back?” I asked.
“I’m guessing your enemy in the cloak added a link between the fiends and the crystals making it so they come back as long as the crystals exist. It makes it impossible to get rid of them from this time.” So we have to travel into the past to stop them from linking with the crystals so they can’t regenerate in the future and slowly destroy the world; but we can’t just travel 2000 years into the past…even through a linked item.
“So how are we going to get into the past? A link spell only gives items connection.” Sarah asked.
“It is possible to teleport between two linked objects but it takes a lot of magic to open a connection.” Wendy pointed out, “Fairies used it to link us back to the pond before they started drying up. It took ten fairies to open up a portal.”
“So it’s possible but not easy.” I said out loud thinking.
“What if you had a channel to enhance the strength of your magic?” Alice asked, “Remember the rod in Hyrule Soren?” That’s right! Even my miniscule magical ability came out powerful when I used the rod…but any rod or staff we have won’t be strong enough…if we have any; we’ve been using the same weapons we got from Brokkr ever since he made them for us. The only people who used rods were Hana and Sena…damn it stop it Soren!
“What could we use though?” I asked.
“Wait!” Sarah said getting our attention, “Do you still have the lute I gave you?” Gareth pulled it out showing it to her, “This lute has been passed down for 2000 years…maybe it can be used as a channeling item for magic.” I’ve never heard of a loot or music being used to channel magic…wait…damn it Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rock.
“That could work.”
“Really Soren?” Gareth asked surprised, “I’ve never heard of that working before.”
“Trust me, it’s happened before.” I said feeling embarrassed.
“Then let’s get moving.” Danny said confidently.
“But I can’t play it!” Sarah said hastily, “I may have held on to it but I never learned how to play it.”
“Don’t worry.” Jessie said with a wink, “We’ve got it covered!” With an idea of where to go Lily and I began charting our way to the Chaos Shrine and into the past…not a line I thought I’d ever say.

“Um…we might have a problem.” Lily said with a worried look as we moved over the Chaos Shrine; looking over the edge I was shocked to see a sea of monsters covering the entire area around the shrine, looking closer I could see the four fiends as humans at the entrance. We were being blocked from the entrance; they expected us to show up and were ready to stop us from going to the past; we couldn’t fight our way in, even with twelve people it wouldn’t be possible with how many monsters are down there…maybe we could…! Suddenly the ship lurched making everyone fall to the side and Gareth to stain the ship with vomit; getting back up I looked over the side to see bird like creature crashing themselves into the hull of the wooden ship putting holes into it.
“We’re slowly descending!” Alice said in a worried anger, “At this rate we’re going to crash!” What should we do, we’ll be drawn into a fight against monster hoards at this point.
“At least urp-…we’ll take a few of them out…ugh.” Poor Gareth…wait…that’s it!
“Gareth you’re a genius!” I said and he chuckled before vomiting again, “Wendy, into my pocket, Jon grab Gareth and then everyone move to the edge of the ship  near the shrine!” Wendy soared into my coat pocket as everyone started moving to the side as we were rammed by bird after bird; I rushed back to the helm and as we fell I tilted the ship towards the shrine and it began to turn on its side.
“Soren you’re going to send us overboard!” Sarah said worried.
“Are ye trying to kill us!?” Brokkr said angrily.
“Grab onto the railing; everyone aim for the entry way and jump on my mark!” I answered as the ship moved on its side sending me into the side railing; grabbing it I shimmied over to the group, looking over I watched as we moved closer and closer to the Chaos Shrine as we descended, “Wait for it…” The ship started to touch the ground skidding across the monster hoard and dirt, “Wait for it…” Closer and closer we came and the fiends got a quizzical look on their faces, “Almost…” As the entry way came closer the fiends got a worried look on their faces; as I was able to see the color of their eyes I reeled back, “NOW!” I leapt forward diving into the door way just above the fiends as everyone followed; rolling into the shrine I heard a loud crash and looked behind to see the remains of the ship blocking the entryway; now they can’t enter for a while. I looked around to see everyone had made it in to my relief; as relief washed over me I felt someone punch me across the head.
“Are you insane!? That was one of your top crazy plans!” Alice said angrily, “Geez, every time I leave you with a plan on the fly it ends up in destruction.”
“What do you mean?” I asked rubbing the back of my head and she pointed to the entrance where our ship was currently stuck in pieces, “We don’t need it anymore, we’ve got to travel to the past and I don’t think we can bring it with us.”
“Fine…but what now?” Standing up and shrugging off the pain from the roll I walked into the center room as everyone followed behind with Wendy sitting on my shoulder; as I approached the dark orb the bats in the room flew around us in a flurry. Touching the orb I felt it pulsate with a dark energy and as I held on that dark energy flowed up my arm causing a small electrical jolt to course through my body at once. This was definitely what we were looking for; backing away I shook my hand hopping to end the numbing feeling from the shock; stepping forward Danny pulled out the princesses’ lute and began to strum it with a beautiful melody. As he played the lute Jessie danced while Jon played his triangle to the music; as they moved in sync a soft glow began to radiate from the orb, looks like the music was working. They continued to play but the glow didn’t intensify anymore; we didn’t have enough magic to open the portal…wait…the energy of the crystals would have the magic we need, even a fraction would work. I pulled out the bag Kent threw me before he died opening it up, it had all four orbs that had absorbed the energy of the crystals; hopefully it had the magic we needed to open the door to the past. Handing an orb to Alice, Lily and Gareth we all held them up to the sky as they gave a bright glow blinding everyone; when it died the crystals were dull and grey, they gave no shine of power any more. There was a gasp and I looked to see a giant portal opening up into a giant temporal vortex; that was our portal to the past and to the root of this evil.
“We’re ready.” Danny said with a chuckle; as we stood there a loud explosion was heard behind us, as I turned I ducked as a board of wood flew over my head disappearing into the portal; looks like the block was short lived.
“Sorry but we won’t let you end our fun.” The Lich said walking forward with the other three fiends behind him; we can’t let them follow us through the portal, if they do then we have to deal with doubles of the fiends!
“Save your fun for the festival when this is all over.” Danny said walking forward and drawing two knives from his cloak, Jessie pulled out a Scimitar and Jon drew a great sword, “You eight head into the portal, we’ll hold these fiends off for you.”
“We can’t leave you!” I said confidently drawing my twin longswords; I wasn’t going to let my friends sacrifice themselves for me again!
“Soren, you have to go. I know you want to keep others from sacrificing themselves but you and your friends need to stop this cycle. Besides, I don’t plan on dying here!” That confident voice…was that-
“Soren, trust them, we have to go before the portal closes.” Alice said pointing to the portal as it grew and shrank trying to contain itself.
“…Fine! Don’t die Danny.” He gave a nod as we entered the portal into the past.

…Ow…hng…where…where am I…why does my stomach feeling like crap…standing up I looked around with hazy vision, taking a deep breath I focused until my vision returned to normal; time travel does hell to the body. I took a look around and was glad to see everyone was also here; the area around was ordained and polished, it was weird to think this was the Chaos Shrine that was decrepit and old…but this was the Shrine from two thousand years earlier, it felt more like a castle than a shrine though and the atmosphere was so divided, one minute I felt tense and the next I felt calm then hot and cold, it definitely felt chaotic.
“Owww…geez.” Gareth said standing up, “We made it? Good…it felt weird going through that portal.”
“Oooh…is it over?” Lily got up wobbling with a sickly look on her face, “A-Are we in the past?”
“Looks like it.” Alice said rubbing her head, “Is everyone okay?” We all gave a nod and I looked over to see Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and the Sage getting up.
“I’m too old for this.” The sage said taking deep breaths.
“Ay magic is surely powerful.” Brokkr said rubbing his back.
“You never get used to that feeling.” Wendy said floating up wobbling from side to side.
“I never thought I would travel to the past…it’s more exciting than my lessons.” Sarah said getting up slowly with an excited tone in her voice; Miss Princess must have a wild streak as well.
“All right, we’re close to the cause of all this. Is everyone ready?” I asked and they all pulled out a weapon with Sahara pulling out an elegant rapier, Brokkr pulling out the Excalibur blade, Wendy raised her hands with a magical glow and the sage held out his staff with a confident look in his eye; we were all ready!
…be safe minstrel band.

Exploring the interior of the past shrine I noticed that the exits were blocked off by large impassible pillars; seems this was the only piece of the past we would be able to see or experience.
“Alright we’re going to need to be quick.” The sage said, “We’re 2000 years in the past but we don’t know at what point.”
“And?” Gareth asked.
“It means that we don’t know when this place is going to be taken to another dimension.” Alice pointed out.
“Lily do you know if there are any signs that indicate dimension traveling?” I asked Lily.
“W-Well it’ll l-look like a tear in the world b-but other than that I don’t know.” She answered; looking around I wasn’t able to find a window to see outside, we had no way of knowing when this place was going to be in another dimension so we had to find either the main villain or Owen as quickly as possible.
“Let’s get moving, we don’t have time to waste.” As we all rushed to the stairs I found the area to be very empty; not so much in interior décor but in life, there wasn’t a person or monster to be found, it felt wrong and tense. Moving down the stairs I felt a pinching feeling in my chest suddenly and looking around everyone else had that feeling as well; something was at the end of these stairs and it wasn’t something simple.
“So he was right.” At the end of the stairs stood a dirty blond haired boy with a demented smile on his face; it was the Lich, he’s the only one who could give this feeling of death, “Four wannabes and four meddlers, I guess he was talking about you eight. This should be simple though, you can go if you want.” Before I could draw my blade Brokkr and Gareth stepped forward.
“You guys go, we’ll hold him off.” Gareth said.
“Y-You sure you can take him?” Lily asked with a worried tone at which he gave a big grin.
“It’s two against one; I think we can do it.”
“Aye owe him a nice arse kicking for what he did to our home anyway. He ain’t getting me yet.” Brokkr said with a laugh.
“…All right…be careful Gareth.” I said and he nodded back as we moved past them leaving Gareth and Brokkr to handle the fiend of earth.

Soren and the group ran by and the Lich took a turn to throw a spell at them; not on my watch, I moved up and swung knocking him into the wall.
“Oh I’m definitely not missing this.” That voice! From the shadow stood Damien with a sly smile on his face, “Long time no see brute, I see you’re stronger than when we last met but I’m guessing you’re still a fool.”
“Shut it shapeshifter!”
“Oh and still holding that angry attitude from before. I hope you put up more of a fight than last time.”
“Brokkr can you handle Lich?” I asked and he nodded as he ran towards where the Lich crashed leaving me and Damien to fight one on one; he licked his lips as he looked at me and I felt my hands tremble slightly; come one Gareth, you can do this! I stood my ground focusing my defense as he rushed forward with his twin short swords; I’ve practiced against Soren who uses dual blades but he uses longswords, Damien was going to be quicker…but I’m guessing less precise. He slashed and hacked quickly trying to catch me off guard as I quickly blocked each hit I could with a few nicks and cuts along my chest and arms; pushing him back I focused on strength and took a swing at him with everything I had, he backed up dodging my cleave but I quickly switched to speed and swung up cutting along his chest making him stumble backwards.
“That’s better! Show me all of your strength!” He said laughing manically as blood slowly bled from his chest wound; rushing at me he struck me in the face with his hit and sliced up my arm leaving a large gash along it, damn it now I can’t hold my battle axe with both hands! Switching back to strength I held my axe with one hand and swung trying to catch him as he moved around with ease, “Is that it? I take one arm and you become weak? Pitiful.” He thrusted forward and I changed to defense blocking his attack but sending me stumbling backwards; time to change tactics, I switched to speed and dropped the axe confusing him. Charging forward I swung with my good fist as he tried dodging having trouble matching my speed; I knew accuracy fell with speed increase but close range made accuracy unnecessary; as I saw an opening I swung in fast and switched to strength delivering a powerful punch to his cheek sending him tumbling to the ground.
“How…about that you shapeshifting bastard!” I said laughing as he stood up with a serious look on his face.
“Fine let’s kick it up a notch.” As he said that two more arms popped out of his back grabbing his extra blades; he tried this before against us but I wouldn’t let him get me this time! Popping a potion open I poured it onto my arm wound feeling a slight sting as it healed; picking my axe back up I switched back to speed as he rushed at me swinging wildly as I blocked each blade one by one, he sliced along my leg and arms when I blocked one blade; for every two I blocked another two got through, guess I should go on the offensive! Pushing him off I switched back to strength and swung at him as he blocked with all four blades; with all of those blades he could handle me with a strength boost…guess I should put my body into it! Swinging with all my strength his blades flew up leaving his chest open as I took a wide swing slicing directly across his chest leaving a deep wound, “(Cough) Well…didn’t(Hack) expect that to happen. It’s very powerful…this isn’t over Gareth, you may have won this round…but I will come back more powerful…and I will defeat you.”
“I won’t give you the chance!” I yelled rushing at him as he chuckled.
“Don’t forget that this body is Damien’s. You kill me and you kill him.” What? With a stop inches from him I felt a sword go through my chest, “Let your guard down.” I fell backwards and he stood over me, “So you are weak. Here I thought you would have to guts to take me out but you don’t seem to have the strength to do it.”
“I…won’t hurt…someone who is innocent!” I stammered out through the coughing fits of blood, “You control Damien like a puppet and I…won’t hurt him!”
“…That noble spirit doesn’t suit you.” He replied coldly, “You think you can protect someone already lost?”
“Soren and Alice did it…and now Lily is with us. Besides…it’s what heroes do.”
“You aren’t a hero. You’re just a boy who’s in over his head.”
“Maybe but…doesn’t mean I won’t try.” He raised his blade and pulled it up ready to stab; “Besides…I’m not alone.” As if in cue Brokkr rushed stabbing the shapeshifter in the arm knocking him off me.
“I’m getting sick of backstabs! Why won’t you die!?” Shoving an elixir down my throat I felt my body burn as the bitter medicine moved down my throat; standing up I grabbed my axe and pointed it at him.
“There’s too much at stake to just give up now.”
“Ay! An ye won’t stop us here!” Brokkr added; with a scowl on his face the shapeshifter disappeared into the shadow, “I took care of the Lich, he won’t be up again.”
“Good, let’s catch up with the others.” Putting our weapons away we ran towards the stairs.

Descending to the third floor I felt a cold chill make me shiver; this felt familiar…it must be him, coming to the end of the stairs at the end of it was a boy with blue hair and holding a whip.
“I’m not letting you get past me!” He said holding out his whip at us; we couldn’t waste any time with him now…guess it was my best chance to help! I moved in front of the group as the sage did the same.
“W-We’ll handle this guy! Y-You four k-keep going!”
“D-Don’t worry, I’ve got to do this…it’s worth it for my friends who have protected me this far.” With that they gave a nod and rushed past leaving me and the sage to take on Kraken…breath have to do this!
“So she did stay, just like boss said.” Where was that voice coming from?
“Yes, he has never led us astray before.” Another voice, suddenly two figures walked out from behind Kraken revealing Denys and Penny the Gemini twins, “The traitor is within our grasp.”
“Then let’s grasp it brother.” It was two on three now; as I backed up scared the sage put his arm on my shoulder.
“I shall handle the Kraken, you deal with those two.”
“A-Are you sure? You’re a healer though.”
“You don’t make it to my age without learning a few moves. I know enough martial arts to handle myself.”
“O-Okay…j-just be careful.”
“Same to you Lily.” Splitting up I dashed forward and slashed down separating the twins and Kraken; pushing my blade I moved the Kraken over to the sage leaving me and the Gemini creatures.
“Seems you think you can take us yourself.” Penny said pulling her javelin out.
“Not very smart considering our last encounter.” Denys said pulling his cleaver out; I had to be careful, they excel at team work; Penny’s javelin made her quicker while Denys’s cleaver made him stronger, they balanced each other out so while one person defends against Penny’s quick attacks Denys can make a strong blow without them noticing. I took my stance and Penny dashed at me swinging her javelin around trying to hit me with both ends as I blocked with my staff like hilt; keeping an eye on Denys was hard with how quickly she kept striking which meant I would have to feel him approaching me...oh no, I’m no good at that! Taking a quick glance backwards I saw Denys approaching as Penny’s javelin struck me on the arm; moving quickly I swung my scythe down touching the end to the ground as I vaulted over them. Once my feet touched the ground I took a swing catching Penny and sending her flying against the wall; Denys reeled back for an attack but I swiftly swung my scythe around and thrusted with the staff end knocking him backwards. Looking at my arm I saw and intense red mark where I was hit; even a glance left me open to her attack, if that had been a stab it would have punctured and made it useless.
“Seems she’s better than we gave her credit for.”
“We’re going to need to change our tactic then.” With that Penny threw her javelin at me and as I dodged it I felt her slam into my back knocking me over and pinning me to the ground; using all my strength I tried to push her off but she had pinned my arms leaving me to only flail as Denys rushed forward. When he came close enough he raised his cleaver to take my head off; what do I do!?
“Why did you betray the boss, he would have given you what you wanted.”
“…But not what I needed.” I replied making her give a quizzical look, “I wanted my brother back but it wouldn’t have helped me…when I met Soren and Alice my world began to change and I went from scared and desperate to strong and with something to protect now! Maybe I’m still meek and scared but I’ll give everything I have to protect those I care about!”
“…Foolish girl…you can never protect what matters…no matter how hard you try.” I can’t reach my weapon and I have no way of defending myself…wait…it’s my best bet right now! I wriggled my right arm free and pulled the glasses off my eyes holding them in front of the cleaver as it crashed down on them stopping as it clashed with the thin metal.
“What!?” With her shocked state I took my chance and kicked her off and rolled out of the way of the cleaver; guess I was right, these glasses were Sena’s spare pair but her first pair didn’t even looked scratched from the combat she faced, they had to be magically protected and lucky for me they were…I feel like I’m going to pass out now…no! Slipping them back on and noticing a small crack in the glass I dashed back and grabbed my scythe swinging it and cutting Denys arm with a deep cut; he won’t be using that cleaver anymore, “You seem to be challenged brother.”
“It would seem so sister…shall we switch?”
“We shall.” What? Handing her javelin to Denys Penny took his cleaver wielding it just as well as Denys had; they were Gemini twins so of course they could use each other’s weapon, Denys moved forward taking Penny’s job and striking quickly as Penny built up her heavy attack. If I was going to survive any longer than I either needed to start dodging or go in the offensive; guess I could go on the offensive…maybe. With his next hit I blocked and swung my dull end of the scythe knocking him in his jaw making his onslaught stopped and I turned to see Penny jumping at me raising her cleaver and I felt time grind to a halt in that instant. My reflexes seemed to heighten in an instant…was this another ability of the reaper; as she slowly descended I reeled back and jumped at her swinging my scythe and landing back on the ground as she crashed to the floor with a large cut along her stomach and blood flowing from it.
“Did we lose sister?”
“No…we have…only been temporarily…stopped.” With that she stood up and Denys grabbed her; they rushed away into the shadows leaving me and the sage alone; looking behind me I noticed the Kraken was gone now, looks like the sage took him out.
“I’m not a sage for nothing you know.” He replied with a chuckle.
“Th-Thank you sir.” I said giving him a bow, “Y-You showed that Kraken who’s boss!”
“Well you lass I couldn’t have done it without you keeping those two off my back so thank you.”
“O-O-Oh it w-was n-nothing…r-r-really.” I replied flustered by his comment; I was never going to get used to it…but I guess I wouldn’t have to after this.
“What are you doing here?” We turned to see Gareth and Brokkr standing there with shocked looks on their faces.
“Gareth! You’re okay!” I said relieved to see him safe at which he gave me a grin.
“Told you I wouldn’t go down easily, especially with this guy backing me up.” He gave Brokkr a noogie at which Brokkr pulled out and chuckled, “We took care of the Lich and the shapeshifter and followed to catch up.”
“Shapeshifter!? Damien was here too?”
“What do you mean ‘too’?”
“The Gemini Twins were with the Kraken.”
“So he wasn’t the only fiend?” With that thought a realization came over me; Soren, Alice, Wendy and Sarah just headed down and the other two fiends are probably there!
“We have to hurry and help the others!” I said and they all nodded in agreement as we rushed for the next stairs down.    

Bolting down the stairs the air began to feel hot and musky strangely enough; the area felt well insulated to keep the cold and hot at a constant temperature…which meant that another fiend was just below these stairs and the heat only meant one could be there. Reaching the end we all stopped seeing a girl with bright red hair like fire at the end of the hall; it was Marilith from the castle and fiend of fire, guess it was my turn.
“Yeah we get it.” I said stepping forward with Wendy on my shoulder, “You’re here to stop us but guess what? I’m going to keep you busy while the others get moving.” Before Soren could say anything I put a finger to his lips, “I know you’re going to try to convince me to let you help but I want you to keep moving and if you don’t I’m going to hit you so hard you forget your own name…got it?” He gave a small laugh and smiled as he and Sarah started to move.
“You know me to well Alice.” He said that as he ran passed Marilith leaving me and Wendy to deal with the fiend of fire.
“I guess that makes two of us.” That voice! Suddenly I heard the sound of metal dragging along the ground and out of the corner of the room stood Jarek holding a great sword; his hair was now shorter and groomed and he no longer wore Soren’s signature black coat. He just wore a t-shirt, jeans and fingerless gloves as he lugged the great sword over his shoulders, “Alice it’s good to see you. It seems you’ve been picking up the shattered remains of Soren.” He gave a chuckle and I gripped my katana in anger, “A pointless goal. You think if you keep picking him up you can’t lose him? Well no matter how much you pick him up he’ll keep going into the fight. Do you know why?” Of course I knew why.
“…He’s doing it to protect us.”
“That’s right. He keeps fighting and fighting and fighting…all to protect his friends…which means he’s going to throw himself in dangerous situation after situation. You can’t save him forever.”
“Geez…you’re more of an idiot than Soren.” He gave me a quizzical look as a smiled, “You’ve been with Soren for two adventures and half of this one and you forget one critical thing he has that will make sure he can always come back…us. It may sound cheesy but it’s the truth; it isn’t just us backing him up though, we’re actually going to stand by and fight with him so he’s never fighting alone! We’ll all protect each other which means in order to protect Soren, Gareth and Lily I won’t let you win!”
“…I’m getting sick of you…not only did you stop me two separate times but now you stand in my way and even after all the turmoil and strife Soren has caused, everything he’s done and every tiem he’s hurt you, you still STAND BY HIM!?”
“You hurt me…not him.” He gave a loud scream and charged at me as I gave my blade an earth attribute blocking his heavy attack; with his attack strength I skid back from the force feeling my arms sting slightly, “Wendy I know you’re a fairy but do you think you can handle Marilith?”
“She won’t know what hit her!” Wendy said flying off to face the fire fiend leaving me to take Jarek. He charged again and swung down as I slid to the side and went for a strike as he moved the hilt in his hand catching my blow on it; with a quick push I stumbled back and he swung under my legs sending me to the ground.
“I don’t understand if you wanted to break Soren why are you facing me?” As he stabbed at my face I rolled to the side and slashed sending a fire wave at him at which he jumped over it.
“Even if I were to pound him to dust you would just bring him back up. Owen noticed that nice little fact; no matter how many pieces we take off of him you keep bringing them back together; so to take out the lead thorn we have to take you out!” He pointed his blade at me and a small ball of fire formed from the tip; moving quickly I switched my blade to ice and as the fireball collided with the ice they dissipated.
“But- Soren couldn’t use magic that strong.”
“Who do you think made it that way?”
“You blocked his magic channel?”
“And made my magic all the more powerful. Think you can still take me?” I rushed at him taking swing after swing as he dodged and blocked with ease; it was like he knew each and every technique I had up my sleeve, suddenly I felt a punch to my gut and stopped my assault grabbing my stomach as he reeled back to slash. Ducking down I rolled backwards standing up at the end of it, “I’ve lived in Soren’s body for months watching every technique he and his friends had. Out of everyone in the group though he knows your techniques the most.” Damn it…we’ve been together for three adventures of course Soren knew ever singe technique I had…just like I knew his…and Jareks! Stepping forward I took my defensive stance and he charged forward going for an overhead strike; stepping to the right he took note and quickly swerved to hit my new point…just like I knew he would! Taking a second slide right at the last second the great sword crashed into the ground leaving cracks along the pavement as I swung up catching his chest and upper arm in my attack, “Hng- how the hell?”
“You may be another personality but you’ve been in Soren’s body for years which means the only technique you know is ones Soren has used. The only difference is that they’re slower and since I know every one of Soren’s moves then all I have to do is adjust my plans.”
“Even if the only difference is speed that’s still something big to get used to.”
“Try me.” Changing my blade to wind I jumped and swung down gaining some extra air; facing down I changed to ice and took a swing spraying an area of icicles over Jarek as he blocked with his blade. Suddenly there was a mist and as I fell back down a ball of fire came up hitting me in the left arm, “AH!” Falling down with a crash I slowly got up and when the mist cleared Jarek stood there with a malicious anger in his eyes.
“YOU IGNORANT GIRL!” He swung as I blocked knocking my blade out of my hand, “I’M BETTER THAN THAT FOOL, BETTER THAN ANY OF YOUR STUPID FRIENDS!” Taking another swing he sliced me across the left eye blinding that eye and sending me to the ground, “AND BETTER THAN YOU!” As I looked at him with my left eye my vision was slightly blurred as he raised his blade to thrust into my body. Suddenly a blinding blast of fire shot at Jarek consuming him and as he screamed and put up an ice wall I grabbed my katana and with what vision I had aimed for his chest as I cut across his ribcage making a spray of blood burst, “Agh! Hng…this…isn’t…over!” As he stumbled away I tried to stand back up but fell feeling my head swirl as my vision was now cut in half; with a blink he disappeared and I looked over to see who had saved me to find Wendy floating there.
“W-Wendy? H-How…how did you?” I stammered through feeling the blood loss from my eye begin to make me woozy.
“Let’s get that fixed up first.” Wendy said getting closer and then disappearing behind my left eyes vision, “Full-Life!” Suddenly I felt an intense light surround me and all of my injuries and wound disappeared; even my left eye healed revealing the fairy within its sight, “Not even a scar left, sweet!”
“…You just used a level 8 spell without any problem. How did you do that?” I asked amazed; the last time someone used a level eight spell was when Hana used Flare and…that didn’t end well.
“Fairies are magical creatures, with our magical strength we can pull off the most powerful of spells with ease.” She answered, “I even took out Marilith without a problem thanks to the Flare spell which I used on him but…he seemed to take it just fine.”
“Yeah…he’s not easy to take out.” I replied standing up; hearing footsteps behind me I turned to see the others catching up to me.
“Oh good, Alice is safe.” Gareth said sighing in relief.
“W-We were worried that you might face a-another fiend.” Lily said.
“Well we did…and Jarek.” Gareth and Lily gave a look of surprise.
“You f-faced Jarek?”
“Yeah…he’s more dangerous when he’s angry.”
“Like the hulk?” Gareth asked and I rolled my eyes.
“Let’s hurry guys; Soren went on ahead with Sarah so we should catch up with them quickly.” Sheathing my blade I led the group as we ran towards the stairs that went towards the bottom.

With Sarah following behind I moved down the stairs but as I descended I didn’t feel a weird vibe around me like I did when we descended the last few stairs; I knew who would be at the end of this though…and if they’re hiding their aura then…
“Sarah, grab my hand.” As I extended my hand to her she gave me a quizzical look and the turned red.
“A-Are you c-courting me Soren?”
“What? No. Trust me on this.” I grabbed her hand and picked her up bridal style; coming to the end of the stairs I leapt out of the door way and looked up to see a guillotine crash down, so he tried that again. Putting Sarah down I cut the rope connecting the guillotine to the ceiling and kicked it to the side out of the door way; hearing a sarcastic clap I turned to see a green haired boy standing there; Tiamat.
“Don’t fall for the same tricks twice do you? That’s fine it makes it more fun for me.” I drew my blades as Sarah pulled out her rapier taking up proper stance, “Are you just going to stay on the roof or are you going to help out?” Looking up I saw two giant batwings fly down from the ceiling; when it touched the ground they opened up revealing the succubus…Sukia standing there with a serious look on her face.
“Sukia…” I stepped forward to approach her but she quickly snapped her whip at my feet stopping me in my tracks.
“I told you before Soren, I won’t betray Owen…that means that I have to get rid of you!” She gave me an intense glare telling me she was deathly serious; I guess some people will fight to the end for what they want…that goes the same for me!
“Sarah I need you to take care of Tiamat for me…do you think you can do that?” She swung her rapier around at blinding speed with a smug look on her face.
“I’d feel insulted if someone could match my speed. I’ll keep him, it seems like this is something personal.”
“It kind of is…sorry.”
“It’s okay; it’s personal for me to.” Separating I turned back to Sukia who was still giving me the intense glare; I rushed forward as she snapped her whip trying to catch my feet or arms as I zigzagged not wanting to get caught like Gareth did, once I was close enough I jabbed the hilt into her stomach making her stumble slightly and as I swung with my other blade aiming for her arm; stretching her wings at me I fell backwards and quickly rolled back onto my feet as she extended her nails. She flew forward and swung down as I blocked with my right blade and went in for an upper swing at which she flew up dodging it and as she charged down nails ready to puncture me I rolled to the side as they stuck into the ground.
“Why do you keep fighting like this? You really think you can save your friends who died or even the friends you have now?”
“What do you mean?”
“You heard from the sage yourself, realities upon realities exist, universes don’t reset because the past was changed you can’t bring them back!” Removing her nails she thrusted forward too quick for me to dodge and puncturing my left arm as I skid back; the blood poured from the wound and I pulled out a potion pouring it over the wound…that stings, “And your just causing more problems for your friends now.” What was she talking about?
“I came this far to help them.”
“And you’ve only made more issues! Not only have your friends been pulled into world after world because of you but you’ve made even worse problems for them!” Taking a swing forward she back flipped and I thrusted forward forcing her to block with her wings and I cut along them causing her to shriek in pain, “Alice is totally dependent on you, she can’t handle her own problems and you continue to be her support making her weaker.” Retracting her wings she came at me again swinging her hands wildly trying to catch me as I ducked and weaved trying to avoid each hit with a few marks on my face and arms, “Gareth sees you and the others as not only friends but family. When you finally drift apart you’ll end up making him broken and weaker than before.” As she took a wide swipe I ducked rolling backwards and felt something coil around my foot; looking down I saw her tail and was dragged towards her and spun, when she let go I was slammed against a wall and felt my spine slightly crack, “And Lily, you heard her story and yet you treat her like a friend? You give her hope for the future…but there is no hope for her, when she gets back she will die!” She picked me up with her tail again and proceeded to slam me against the ground, “AND” again, “THERE” again, “IS” again, “NOTHING” again, “YOU” again, “CAN” and again, “DO!!” She let go leaving me in a bruised and battered state as she panted and wheezed from her outburst; I did the same but from the feeling of my body ready to quit…but not yet. Grabbing a phoenix down I chugged it and a hi-potion feeling my body slowly try to recover as I stood up grabbing my blades.
“You’re wrong.” I said and she gave me a wild look of anger, “I refuse to believe I’m weakening my friends!”
“The truth!” I yelled startling her slightly as she launched her tail at me; sheathing my blade and grabbing it quickly I muttered a short strength boost spell and swung her by her tail into the ceiling, “I will not stop standing by Alice in her time of need; I will be there to help her whether she wants it or not and we will both become stronger from the experience!” As she fell back down I sheathed my other blade and spun around giving her a roundhouse kick sending her to the ground, “Gareth won’t ever feel alone or without a family because he IS family. I refuse to just let us drift apart after all we’ve been through and I’ll do everything I can to keep us all together!” As she stood up and took shaky steps towards me I grabbed her pushing her against the wall and plunging my blade into the stone right next to her face, “And that means I’m going to save Lily, she won’t die when she gets back, I’m going to make sure of it! So I know for a fact that the four of us together is the best thing that could happen and I refuse to doubt that ever again!”
“You still can’t erase your past mistakes.”
“…I know…but I refuse to sit back if I can protect the future. I won’t let the fiends or Owen destroy any more worlds. If I can stop it then you better believe that’s what I’m going to do!” With those final words I stepped back sheathing my blade again as she slumped to the floor; she didn’t have the strength to keep fighting.
“…You know we won’t give up…right?”
“I know…and neither will I.” With that she slumped away dragging her foot into the shadow; as she crossed the threshold I felt her aura disappear from the area.
“Um…well that was…interesting.” I turned to see the rest of the group standing there with Gareth and Alice with light blushes on their faces and Lily with a look of shock on here, “Whether I want it or not…you really are an idiot…but thanks.”
“Of course Alice, you know me.”
“I know…but you’re still an idiot…but I guess that makes you my idiot.”
“Stay together huh?” Gareth said with a half-smile.
“To the grave and beyond man.”
“Hahahaha! Works for me!”
“S-Soren…y-y-you r-r-really mean it?”
“Lily I refuse to let you end up dead; if you’ve become a better person and overcome your weakness then you deserve the second chance you were promised. Even more important is that you’re my friend and as long as you’re alive I refuse to just stand by as you accept it. Even if you were fated to die I’m not going to let fate have its way, so I promise that I will save you!”
“Hey don’t think you’re going in alone!” Gareth yelled at me, “I’m not going to let that happen either.”
“Ditto.” Alice added, “If I have to I’ll risk my health to save you Lily.” As we all looked at her she tiered up and threw herself at us hugging all of us tightly.
“I…I don’t want to die…I want to live.” Putting my hand on her head I rubbed her red hair softly.
“And you won’t…I promise.”

With the four fiends out of the way we rushed to the final four and dashed to the center determined to end this quest; slamming the door open I looked at the end to see Owen and…Garland!?
“So you made it…I didn’t expect them to win but I thought at least they would slow you down.” Owen said chuckling, “No matter, we are almost done anyway; once the crystals are linked with the fiends we will be finished.”
“Sorry but your fiends are history…or I guess they aren’t a part of history anymore.” Gareth said sounding snarky.
“Without your fiends you have no control over the crystals!” Alice exclaimed pulling her katana out, “All that’s left is you.”
“You think we need the fiends alive to complete this?” I don’t like the sound of that.
“What do you mean?” I asked slightly worried.
“When you link a dead body to an object then as long as that object lives so does the person. The only difference is a loss of control. Thanks to you we can now control the fiends with ease in the next world!” So we played right into their hands…again, “I don’t even know why you came this far after losing the WOLs without them you can’t stop us.”
“Hey! Don’t use my acronym!”
“It doesn’t matter anyway; they were the only ones who could stop the god of chaos…you already failed…you should have just laid back and died in the world you doomed before!”
“B-But you don’t have the god of chaos with you!” Lily said looking around with a scared look on her face.
“I guess this is where I step in.” Garland stepped forward standing in front of us.
“Garland?” Sarah said confused, “But they killed you.”
“Ay everyone heard about that. Ye shouldn’t be alive.” Brokkr added.
“Garland…so you were the vessel.” The sage said his gaze becoming grimmer, “Every iteration of worlds and you were the one who absorbed the power of the four crystals in each universe.”
“G-Garland? H-He’s appeared in the pool of visions various times but we never knew why.” Wendy said shaking slightly.
“Pool of visions?” I asked.
“A sacred pool that gives a glimpse into future tragedy; when Garland was killed we assumed it had been dealt with.”
“Well you were wrong.” Garland said interrupting our group chat, “For so long I have absorbed the power of the crystals multiple times in order to become stronger; this is not the first world in which has been ravaged for its power. With the help of this man I will become the most powerful being capable of dominating everything.” Pulling my blades out I took a dash forward and sliced at Garland causing a large gash across his armored chest that bled openly; he must have some weak armor.
“We’re not letting it happen!” I said and Owen chuckled.
“You seem determined…let’s see how determined you are when you’re stuck in another universe!” Raising his hand to the sky the ground began to shake and a bright light exploded from Owen’s hand blinding all of us.

As the light died the room around had disappeared and was replaced with empty red space as far as the eye could see; the ground below us was still the same but we definitely weren’t in the same world anymore…if we were in a world at all.
“This is the space between dimensions; an ideal place to show how powerful the go of chaos is and if you die it will be like you never existed.” Chuckling loudly Garland began to twitch as his body expanded growing larger and larger every time until we were small animals compared to him; his body continuously morphed and changed retaining the same shape but not color or aura. There was no way to figure him out; he was the god of chaos in name and form. We stood there trembling slightly in fear at him; pushing that fear aside Gareth, Sarah, Brokkr and I dashed to strike at his leg but as I took a swing his body seemed to morph around the blade making it pass through him without hitting him, when I went in for a second swing the same thing happen and again on the third, fourth and fifth strike. We couldn’t hit him with physical attacks at all. Alice and Lily cast various spells at him but they all seem to dissipate upon contact with him; nothing was working, “You see? the god of chaos can’t be touched by your attacks; you can’t win!” He swung his arm at us knocking us all backwards; as I tried to get up I felt my body resist me as it went mostly numb, even his most basic attacks were way too strong for us to take…damn it…we failed still. As I thought that Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and the sage all stood up shakily with a determined look on their faces.
“I…will protect my father…and all our subjects in other worlds from you! I don’t…want to watch…them die again!” Sarah exclaimed.
“I still…got blacksmithing to do…for those who…need armor…and weapons…I won’t let you take another world…without a fight!” Brokkr said raising Excalibur.
“The fairies…protected me…and I won’t…let their sacrifice…go in vein…I will protect those in the next world…because the people in this world gave me a chance!” Wendy exclaimed charging up her magic.
“I’ve seen the future…hundreds of time…now I have a chance…to change it…instead of just watch…and I’m going to make sure the prediction I see comes true!” The sage yelled casting a large healing spell over the entire group. Standing up I felt invigorated by their proclamation; they had a reason to fight for the future, they wanted to make a brighter tomorrow. Suddenly the bag of orbs began to glow each with the color of its respective crystal…so that’s how it works…looks like we still had a chance!
“Sorry Chaos but you think just because you took care of the WOLs that you won. Well you’re wrong!” He laughed as I gave a confident stare, “The Warriors of Light aren’t some preordained group of heroes all born to save the world; the Warriors of Light are any group of people willing to fight to the end for their world and even if not their world then for a better future, their light is their courage to fight for what matters. Sarah, Brokkr, Wendy and Sage all fight for a better tomorrow…so as far as I see it they are the Warriors of Light!” He gave me a quizzical look and Owen gave a grimace, “But let’s get a second opinion on this!” Throwing the orbs at the group of four they all held them up; as they held them a bright light shinned from all of the orbs that seemed to scare Chaos and make Owen worried. When the light died we were back in the Chaos Shrine’s fifth bottom floor to the surprise of everyone including Owen and…Garland, stripped of his power.
“NO! My power is gone!” Garland exclaimed in anger.
“I think it’s time we got out of here.” Owen said raising his hand again but as it was raised nothing happened shocking him, “My dimension hopping powers have been blocked!? The crystals affected my power!?”
“There may be no difference between each world but you still have to play by this world’s rules Owen.” I said giving him a confident grin and he gave me an angry look.
“My name?…SOREN!” As he rushed at me with the Master Sword I felt Alice, Gareth and Lily all gather with me; Alice gave my blade a powerful light enchantment as Gareth switched my focus to power and Lily sharpened my focus somehow, as he came closer I muttered a small strength boost spell and swung clashing blades with him. As we both pushed I felt him push me back slowly and his presence begin to overwhelm me; no, I won’t let him; taking a proud stomp forward I put all my strength into pushing him back and as I gave one final push I saw a small crack form on the master sword and took the opportunity swinging with all my strength breaking the blade into two and knocking him backwards into the far wall, “…You…broke the Master Sword.” He stood there in mild shock and then dashed past us and out the doorway; looks like the Master Sword wasn’t the only thing I broke.
“I cannot lose here!” Garland shouting picking up the shattered end of the blade, “I will become a god and you cannot stop me!” With a dash forward Sarah lunged stabbing directly into his heart making him cough slightly before going completely limp.
“That’s for kidnapping me! Hmph!”

As we came back to the present the world was green and vibrant; monsters were no longer plaguing the world and no one had even heard about the four fiends, we had succeeded in saving this world from a grim future. After a bit of asking around we even heard the Kent, Hana, Pent and Sena lived in their peaceful village living simple lives; the peace they fought for would never be forgotten by us though.
“So this is the world we live in now…what should we do?” Sarah asked.
“Ay, I can’t exactly go back to my forge, with two of me there it’ll be strange.” Brokkr said.
“Same for me.” Wendy said sitting on Sarah’s shoulder kicking her feet.
“In this new world we are out of place. We do not belong.” The sage said…but he was wrong.
“You four fought to protect this world from turmoil. Even with Chaos gone it doesn’t mean the world is instantly fixed forever.” They gave me a confused look.
“All kinds of problems are going to arise in this world; how about working to make sure that the problems don’t become world ending like last time.” Alice explained.
“Yeah! You guys are the only WOLs in the whole universe! It’s your job to be heroes!” Gareth said wrapping his hands around each of them.
“T-Technically s-speaking they’re the only Warriors of Light i-in the m-multiverse.” Lily added pushing her glasses back up, “B-But every world n-needs heroes…if you’re up for it.” They all looked at each other giving a nod.
“If it’s a world you love then it’s worth protecting.” I said.
“Then that’s exactly what we’ll do.” Sarah replied, “Because this place is definitely worth protecting…thank you four…for everything you’ve done. For saving me.”
“And me.” Wendy added.
“For bringing me the rare metal.” Brokkr said holding Excalibur proudly.
“For saving an old man like me and showing me a future I’d never see through visions.” The sage said and they all gave a bow.
“And for saving our world.”
“Nope.” I said shocking everyone, “You saved this world, we were just support.” They all chuckled as did the others at what I said, joining in I felt a sensation begin to cover my body; looking down I saw my body begin to fade as well as Gareth, Lily and Alice’s body; I guess we were done, “Looks like we’ve got to go. See you guys!” I gave a wave to them which they returned.
“We will never forget you!” Sarah said and with that my vision turned white as I left the world in good hands.

When my vision returned I looked around shocked to see a giant white room that looked endless; around me stood my friends who all looked equally confused.
“I don’t think this is home.” Gareth said looking around.
“No, it isn’t” A voice said casually and I turned to see a girl about our age with long bright green hair and innocent eyes wearing a long white dress sitting in a chair backwards, “But I believe I owed you some answers.”
…It’s been a week since we watched the sky fortress explode and we were still stuck here; it took a day or two but we had figured out that technically we had finished our quest…even if we lost the Warriors of Light at the end we had brought all four crystals back. For the first few days we spent time lamenting over the fact that every warrior had died; I stayed silent, Alice hid her pain as well as she could but it came out in more anger than sadness, Gareth was lost on how to cheer us up…as well as himself as he was unsure of how to come to terms with what happened…and Lily cried. For her it felt like watching her brother die over and over again and she was unable to do anything again; when we finally came back together as a group we decided to figure out why we were stuck here…it was the only thing we could do now, we had no leads on where to go and what to do. We headed back to Cornelia to find people were celebrating the crystals return while others seemed to be shackled in deep despair; apparently even with the crystals restored the earth was still rotting, the seas produced no fish, the land was turning colder and the air was foul. Even after defeating the fiends the land fared no better, the world continued to die even with the return of the crystals…was the bared right, was it too late when we began?
“So we’re stuck in this world.” Alice said as we sat down on a nearby field as people passed by, “We have no way home and we don’t know what to do next.”
“Maybe this is our punishment for letting the heroes die?” I said sulking.
“But…um…I’m sure…ah.” Gareth said stumbling on what to say to cheer us up; no matter how many days passed we all still felt less enthusiastic about our situation with the others gone; it was different to experience coming close to death and letting others die. When we survived dangerous situations we came out with more confidence and courage but when we let others die the only thing I felt was shame and failure at how badly we had acted that led to their death. To think we had gotten so far only to lose everything at the end; even if others say we succeeded it didn’t feel like we had, it only felt hollow and unfufiled.
“…Maybe if one of us had finished the game we would know if there is more.” Gareth said in a low tone as he sighed; he was right though, in the last two worlds we only knew what to do because we had knowledge on the whole story but now we were working blind…without Sena even Kent was lost on where to go. As we sat in our own sorrow I could hear a passing conversation.
“Did you hear about what happened in Gaia?”
“Yeah, apparently monsters had crossed the mountains and attacked it, the town was razed to the ground.” What!?
“Gaia’s been destroyed?” Lily said with pure shock across her face.
“Isn’t that where the fairies live?” Alice said standing up…Wendy!

We boarded the airship and made a straight line for Gaia as fast as we could; as we traveled through the sky the clouds became darker as we approached the area over the town; was it going to start raining soon?
“G-G-G-Guy? Y-You might w-want t-to see th-this.” Lily said starting to shiver as she pointed over the edge of the ship; stopping the ship and moving over to where Lily is we all took a look at what she was pointing to. In the distance the town of Gaia was burning with an intense flame, the smoke from the flames flowed into the clouds above, guess it wasn’t going to rain; Alice and Lily covered their noses suddenly while Gareth had a confused look on his face as he sniffed. Taking in a deep whiff I reeled back at the familiar stench; no matter how many times I smelled this I could never get used to it and I don’t think I ever will, it was the smell of death and burning flesh. Suddenly Lily convulsed onto the deck of the ship and Alice moved to rub her back as she took shaky breaths; I don’t think she could take it if we went in there, looking over Gareth was trying to hold back as he took deep breaths trying to collect his stomach; I’m guessing it wasn’t just motion sickness he was feeling there.
“Alice, you and me have to go in on our own.” I said and she gave a nod understanding my reasoning in an instant; Gareth and Lily wouldn’t be able to handle it and…this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen burning corpses. Landing the ship we rushed out and headed into the burning town; We held up our coats to keep us from breathing in the smoke as we looked for any survivors, we moved around finding the town empty of people as well as monsters; only fire seemed to inhabit this town, we still have one place to check. Rushing to the forest we brushed through the trees until we came to the fairy lake; as we approached it we saw a boy in light green hair standing amongst the flames looking out to the small lake; as we moved closer I looked around to see fairies scattered around on the ground.
“Look out!” I looked around at where the voice was coming from to see Wendy flying towards me; she crashed into me and scurried into my coat as the green haired boy turned around; he looked at us and his face curled into a wicked smile as he began to laugh at us.
“It worked! I knew that if I attacked a village you would come scurrying like hapless whelps who think they can do anything…you couldn’t even save the warriors from destruction.” No…it can’t be!
“That’s right, sadly I can no longer dull the wind crystal but at least the warriors are dead.”
“How the hell are you still alive!?” Alice said enraged.
“You blew up with the sky fortress!” I added drawing one sword.
“You don’t think that’s enough to kill a fiend do you? Ever wonder why no corpse is left when you kill us? We’re stronger than that, you can’t kill a fiend!”
“But…we’ve killed three!”
“No, you just set us back…and now that the crystals are restored we have to resort to plan b. In my opinion it’s the much more fun plan.” What did he mean…what was plan b? Suddenly my longsword and Alice’s katana began to glow; the others were trying to contact us, looking into it I saw Lily with a panicked look on her face.
“Soren, Alice, we need your help! Get back to the ship!” The connection suddenly cut off making Alice and I panic; Tiamat gave a howling laugh as we rushed away towards the airship outside of town; waves of monsters poured in from all corners of town as we rushed to get back to the ship hacking apart monsters that tried to attack us, they were lying in wait for us! Once we made it to the ship we saw it surrounded by monsters of all shapes and sizes as Gareth and Lily fought them off on deck; we climbed onboard through the hordes of enemies and pulling enemies off Gareth and Lily.
“Thank god you two are okay.” Gareth said with a huff, “These monsters just showed up once you entered the town and they just keep coming!” He took a wide swing slicing through five ogres and then moving next to Lily and taking one half as they sliced a perfect circle of enemies; this wasn’t good, even if we took out the group around our ship monsters keep swarming to the area, we were going to need a change in location.
“Gareth switch out with Alice and switch to a defense stance, Lily switch to support until I say! I’m going to get us air born!”
“Air born!? I can’t fight motion sick!” Gareth yelled back at me.
“That’s why I’m switching you to defense.” With that I moved to the helm and began to take off; as the ship started rising I rocked from side to side shaking off monsters that were currently trying to climb on. Getting high enough off the ground I moved from the helm back to the deck and began taking out the monsters still onboard; block, block, wide swing; haste, double strike, double strike, spin! After half an hour we had cleared the deck of all monsters; falling to the ground with Alice and Lily we all caught our breaths putting all our energy into breathing and regaining our strength.
“How…how many monsters are down there now?” Alice said getting back up and sheathing her katana; as I stood back up I moved over to the side of the airship to see the entire peninsula the town was on was covered in monsters. There was no corner that wasn’t covered in a group of monsters and them grouped together created a darkness that felt endless as I stared.
“Is it safe to come out?” Wendy asked emerging out of my coat and flying around, “I’m glad you guys showed up, Tiamat would have killed me.”
“Well it’s good to see you’re safe.” I replied calming her, “…I’m sorry we couldn’t save the others.”
“I-It’s okay…they tried there hardest…but no one can match the strength of a fiend.”
“How are they back?” Alice asked.
“The fiends are beings who have been connected to the crystals since they dulled their powers. As long as those crystals exist so do the fiends.”
“So we can never defeat them!?” Gareth asked shocked by the news.
“…I’m afraid not…but they cannot stop the crystals once they reactivate.”
“S-So it’s a catch 22.” Lily said in reference to…a book?
“That must be why their attacking the surface now.” I said thinking, “With the crystals reactivated and the warriors dead they only have one choice.”
“G-Global takeover?” Lily asked sounding already aware of the answer…if they took the area over this quickly then…
“We have to check Cornelia!” I said in panic as everyone gave the same look back at me feeling my tension and worry. As we soared over the world Lily took record of every monster covered area and what towns were in ruin; as we hovered over Cornelia I jumped from the helm over to the side of the ship looking down at the town. The entire town was covered head to toe in monsters but the castle seemed untouched by the horror; using the telescope on top of the crow’s nest Gareth looked down at the door to the castle.
“…The doors are barred but a group of giants are trying to break it down. It looks like the doors are made of steel but they’re bending them.” Gareth reported, “I don’t think we can get in through that door…we could try the upper window?” I looked out to see a light coming out of the top window; if we enter through there than we can evacuate anyone left through a ladder up to the ship.
“Soren do you think you can get us close to that window?” Alice asked on the same page I am; I moved back to the helm and started to slowly descend until we were a few feet above the top tower, I heard Alice let down the ladder and looked to see her and Lily move down the ladder, “We’ll grab who we can while you keep the ship steady.”
“You realize I barely know how to fly.” I informed her and she shrugged.
“You’ve been doing well so far. Just keep the ship next to the window!” Moving back to the helm I took hold of the wheel keeping it steady; as I kept my concentration I suddenly heard a creature cry.
“We’ve got…company Soren…urp!” Oh crap!

I slid down the ladder and jumped into the window rolling onto the carpet and Lily followed behind slowly moving down the ladder; she took a breath and hopped onto the edge of the window, pulling her in I looked around feeling a strange chill in the air. I looked down at the carpet to see a fresh blood stain coating the carpet but it wasn’t monster blood…it was human blood; only human blood has that deep crimson color. Lily gave a small gasp as I pointed her attention to it, following the stain path it followed to the throne where the king sat with a large gash in his arm and a vacant expression in his eyes; he was dead in his own chair. Lily averted her eyes from the corpse I moved up and examined the body; he seemed to have been killed recently, his body is still warm; which means that his daughter should be here as well. I looked behind the throne to see the green haired princess sobbing quietly behind the throne; touching her shoulder she recoiled and looked up with a terrified look on her face, as she looked at me her expression calmed.
“Thank goodness. I thought you were my father’s attacker.” She said in relief.
“Yeah well he’s not here anymore and your father is dead. Is there anyone else in the castle still alive?” I asked helping her up.
“…N-No, it’s j-just me now…”
“Then let’s get you out of here while we still can.” Suddenly I heard the loud cry of a creature and looked over at the window to see a falcon like creature fly at us; Lily swung her scythe quickly cutting it in half.
“You aren’t leaving here alive princess.” Over at the doorway I saw a girl with long bright red hair and a cocky smile looking at us…if green was Tiamat then this was…
“Marilith.” I said with a scowl and her smile became larger.
“It’s nice to see you remember me, I’ve been meaning to pay you back for what you did and I intend to.” She threw a scimitar at me which I blocked sending it into a nearby pillar where it stuck out, “No matter how many times I have to die.” As much as I would love to kill her again I don’t think we can waste time right now; grabbing the princess I slung her over my shoulder and tilted my head to the window at Lily. She hopped out grabbing the ladder and climbed up as I followed; Marilith threw her swords trying to stop me as I grabbed onto the ladder with one hand.
“Lily, pull me up!” She pulled the rope ladder up as Marilith continued to slice at me as I dodged the best I could occasionally getting sliced along the leg and arms; as I handed Sarah over to Lily and climbed over the edge I felt an intense pain in my right leg, I looked to see she had impaled a scimitar into my leg. Kicking her in the face she fell into the town below laughing manically; she knew she would come back…but why were they coming back as humans? I climbed onto the deck and flopped to the floor pulling the blade out of my leg and held back my instinct to scream as Lily and Soren rushed over to help.
“Oh no, the wound is really deep. I can’t heal this as easily.” Lily said with a panicked look on her face, “M-M-Matoya gave me s-some h-herbs to n-numb the pain but w-w-we need all the m-magic we can use.”
“Then I have an idea.” Soren said confidently.
“Soren…if this is a-hng! Half-assed plan…then I will personally-ah!” Soren grabbed my arm and looked me in the eyes with a calming look.
“Calm down Alice, you’re going to hurt yourself if you get to angry.” As he talked to me I felt my cheeks flare up.
“I-Idiot…you better know what you’re doing.” I replied looking away trying to keep my face from turning into a tomato…damn it every time he does that I turn into a mess.
“Lily I want you to pour as much healing magic as you can into her, I’m going to pour ether into your mouth when you start to get tired. We’ll keep going until the leg is mended.” Lily gave a nod and they turned to me to get my consent on the plan; feeling another twinge of pain go up my leg I gave a hurried nod ready to alleviate this pain. She held her hands out and a small glow surrounded my leg and I felt a warm numbing feeling surround my injury, “You okay Alice?”
“Yeah…it feels numbing and soothing…where’s Gareth?”
“Currently keeping his stomach content down; I left Sarah with Wendy in one of the rooms. Right now we have to focus on healing you.” Lily began to pant heavily and Soren popped off the top to an ether and poured it into her mouth holding her jaw to keep her head steady, “You can do this Lily; don’t worry I’m here.” After ten minutes the leg wasn’t bleeding but the wound was still open; Lily stopped as she woozily tilted from side to side.
“I…think I need…a break.” Lily said panting heavily; even with the ethers to keep her magic energy up it took a mental and physical strain that her body couldn’t take for very long, moving quickly Soren bandaged up my leg and picked me up bridal style as Lily caught her breath.
“Looks like you’ll be out of commission until Lily can use her magic again. I’ll put you with Sarah and Wendy for right now.”
“O-O-Okay just h-hurry up!” I responded, “A-And don’t t-think th-this will b-be a regular thing you m-moron!” Damn it.
After leaving Alice with Sarah and Wendy I headed back to the deck to see Lily back on her feet and taking deep breaths.
“Okay…I-I’m ready for another round.” Lily said her face still red from strain; patting her on the head I gave her a gentle smile.
“Take a break for right now. I need the map with markings of areas with monsters.” I said and she handed me the map she made; spreading it out on the floor I looked over the entire area, it seemed like every town was surrounded by a gaggle of monsters while others were completely destroyed by monsters. We couldn’t go anywhere…wait…Mount Duergar is still clear…the blacksmith, “We’re headed for Mount Duergar.” I informed and she gave a confused look, “Trust me on this. Can you go make sure Gareth is ready by the time we land?” She nodded still lost on what I was doing but pulled out a book of fairy tales and rushed off; that was…confusing, I moved to the helm and took off heading for Mount Duergar at full speed and landed right outside the mountain entrance blocking anyone from getting in. Once I landed Gareth and Lily rushed on deck to regroup with me, “You two stay here and protect the ship; I’m going to go see who’s left alive in the mines.” Leaving them their missions I jumped off the ship and moved into the mines to find who was left.

The interior was dimly lit and some areas were darker than others; even if the mines were usually dimly lit there were definitely less lamps lit then the last time I was here with…Kent…hold it together Soren! Moving further in all I could hear was the clanging of metal and the echo that it created; the blacksmith was definitely here still, I opened the door to see him still hard at work turning mythril to weapons at an alarming rate.
“Blacksmith we have to get out of here.” I said approaching him and he didn’t stop at all even as I approached him, “Monsters are attacking and everyone else has run, please come with me.”
“I ain’t leavin laddie. Should monsters invade I shall not rest until I have created the greatest weapon in history!” That’s right! I pulled out the adamantite and showed it to him; his eyes lit up as he stared at it, handing it to him he took it and started his work at a rapid pace. It was like watching the flash run around a room cleaning it with how fast he moved and worked eager to complete his masterpiece but in those moments of stopping he still looked like he was putting the time care and energy into making this an amazing blade, “It’s done…take a look laddie, it be the best piece I ever created.” He held the blade up as it shinned with its own radiance and light all its own; it was truly a legendary blade.
“Too bad no one will get to see its power.” The door creaked open revealing a sullen looking man with shaggy brown hair in a black cloak; as I looked at him I felt a deep despair and fear trying to overcome me with a cold wind…I remember this feeling.
“Good to know I left an impression; perhaps that will last in the afterlife once I’m done with you.” He shot a wave of death at me and I grabbed the blade from the blacksmith and took a swing overwhelming the death wave and hitting Lich knocking him down, as he burn to death from the overwhelming light power of the blade, “HAHAHAHA!!! This won’t stop me! I can’t be killed this easily, none of us can…death will come for you! HAHAHAHAH!!!” He cackled insanely as he shriveled into dust.
“Thank ye laddie. I owe ye me life. Take the blade. You may need it in your travels.” I tossed the blade back to him and he gave me a confused look.
“I’m here to save you, if you want to repay me then come with me and survive.” He gave me a wide grin and laughed.
“I like ye lad, all right, I’ll leave this place. Me job is done, so I’ll follow you.” He held out his hand and I gripped it in solidarity, “Call me Brokkr me boy.”
“Okay Brokkr, let’s get you out of here.” We moved back outside and boarded the airship where Gareth and Lily were currently dealing with undead enemies; moving in I sliced them up with all my speed but they kept attacking. Damn it, without Alice we had no way of enchanting our weapons with light to take on the undead…light, “Brokkr! The blade!” He drew the weapon and did a wide swipe as I moved Gareth and Lily out of the way; as the wave of light hit the undead they disintegrated into pure dust.
“Holy hell! What was that?” Gareth said impressed.
“This be the holy blade Excalibur, blade of kings and pure light.” Brokkr said raising his blade to the sky.
“Wow, th-that’s amazing.” Lily said impressed.
“Where are we headed next boy.” Brokkr asked; Lily handed me the map and I took a glance for other still populated areas…Crescent Lake is still clear?
“Looks like we’re headed for Crescent Lake.” I said handing back the map; I looked up at the sky to see lightning fill the skies…something bad was about to happen, “We’d better hurry. Lily go help Alice; Gareth keep Lily magically charged while she’s healing Alice. We’re going to need her up and about just in case…also I’m guessing being stuck in a bed is the last thing she wants. Brokkr go and meet up with Sarah and Wendy while I take us to Crescent Lake; Gareth I want you and Lily to find any survivors when we get there…I need a little thinking time to figure out where we should head after that.”  They nodded and I felt a twinge of pain in my mind; I think I needed a break later. I took to the helm and took off into the sky hurrying to Crescent Lake before the monsters would consume it; as I drove the skies turned darker and the air became colder, come on ship hurry. Hovering over the town in the middle of the lake I looked around relieved to see nothing swarming the simple village; touching down Lily and Gareth geared up ready to head out, “Find anyone you can guys. I’m sure someone is still here…it’s the only place left.”
“…Don’t worry man.” Gareth said putting his hand on my shoulder, “We’ll bring back who we can. Count on it!”
“W-We’ll try our best.” Lily said trying to be confident as Gareth wrapped his hand around Lily.
“We’ll do better than our best!” As he spoke confidently Lily turned redder; hehehe.
“Thanks; I know you guys can do it.” With that they headed off leaving me to think on our next step…this was the last area that wasn’t claimed by monsters…wait…the points where the lights touch.

As Lily and I walked into town I could feel a distinct lack of presence, the town felt empty and hollow; but that wasn’t surprising, not only because of the state of the world but because all the energy and people in this town was centered around the elders we had met before. Every shop was empty; churches devoid of prophets or followers and inns ransacked for what they had left, this town was empty of anything.
“L-Let’s check for the sages in the forest. H-Hopefully they’re still there.” Lily said pointing to the path leading out of the town; guess it was as good a place to check as any for people, those sages were wise but didn’t look very tough. Approaching the circle of trees the first thing I saw was one of the sages face down in the grass as blood poured from his body; I’m guessing he’s not getting up anytime soon, he was killed recently…very recently if he’s still bleeding. Stopping Lily and pointing to the body she gave a small gasp trying to stay quiet and pulled out her scythe as I pulled out my axe gripping it tightly; we weren’t about to let anything get the jump on us!
“You’re a resilient old bastard at least I’ll give you that…but that doesn’t mean you’re getting out of here alive, you can only cast so many healing spells before you finally run out of energy.” We moved further in to see a blue haired man holding a whip and standing over an old man as he panted and wheezed obviously exhausted.
“No force could predict this; even with the crystals restored the world is still locked in turmoil with you wayward creatures of darkness. With the Warriors of Light extinguished we must now do all we can; until I have met my end I will survive to help those who need it!” The sage said standing up with a look of determination in his eyes.
“Noble concept for a sage. It’s too bad you’ll never get to help anyone. Time to extinguish your light for good!” Rushing in I blocked the whip as it coiled around the handle smacking against my arm as I felt something pierce my flesh; when he tried pulling the whip back I felt my axe try to pull from my hands and my arm try to do the same. I pulled the whip off seeing thin metal blades lining the whip; my arm bled in small cuts from where the whip hit me; that was one cool and dangerous whip, he looked at us and chuckled, “So you showed up...after losing the WOLs I expected you to cower and cry like children.”
“I’m flattered. A fiend is using my acronym.” I return giving him a cocky grin at which he laughed.
“Well I’ve heard it enough times from frightened villagers. Some praying for their help and others curing their weakness to stop this. All sounds the same once they die though, just screams of pain and hopelessness.”
“Then allow me to give you a change of audience!” I leapt forward taking a quick swing knocking him back, “This audience screams a resounding cheer of victory in your defeat!” He stood up and swung his whip at me again; as I moved to dodge it Lily swung sticking her scythe into the ground and hopping back as the whip curled around the staff-like handle of the weapon screeching against the metal. Moving forward Lily grabbed her weapon and pulled it out of the ground yanking the whip end with her; I grabbed it as well pulling the weapon out of his hand; sliding the whip off her scythe handle she vaulted forward kicking the blue haired boy to the ground.
“G-Gareth get the sage o-out of here.” Lily said keeping the boy pinned with all her strength, “I-I don’t think I can hold him for long.”
“…Wait…you! The girl that lopped off my head!” What was he talking about, “You came back to finish me? Didn’t bring your other friends though? Thought you would have killed this one by now.” He…He must talking about Sukia…but that was back with…
“Slow on the upkeep boy.” He said grabbing Lily’s leg and throwing her at me; catching her I fell backwards into the grass dropping my axe, getting up we looked to see Kraken heading for his whip; not if I can help it! Diving forward I pushed Kraken back and punched him in the face knocking him into the thicket of trees.
“Let’s get out of here before he gets up!” I said grabbing the old man as Lily grabbed our weapons; rushing out of the woods I heard a loud explosion and looked to see the forest was ablaze; I think we pissed him off.
“Ah!” Lily gave a small shriek and I turned to see monsters beginning to rise out of the water; she gave a swift kick sending the creature on her leg back down but others began to pop out of the water lunging at us jaws wide open. Ducking a weaving we moved away from any body of water quickly not wanting to become underwater chow; we rushed out of the town heading for the ship as fast as we could, jumping onboard I handed the sage to Lily who helped him to the rooms as I headed to the helm. Bursting in I looked to see Soren looking at the map with an intense look in his eyes; shaking him out of it I told him to get us in the air now at which he gave a nod of confusion before heading to the wheel and raising us into-urp! Okay, my job’s done, time to go vomit.

As Gareth rushed off with a green look on his face I raised the ship into the sky as various monsters seemed to group under the ship reaching up and trying to grab it from what I heard; when we were far enough into the sky I set the ship to hover and looked back at the map crossing off the Crescent town. We had saved as many people as we could going to every area but we only managed to save four people; a princess, a fairy, a dwarf and a sage; out of everyone in the world we could only save four people.
“Damn it!” I slammed my fist down pissed at the lack of people we saved; it seemed like we had tried so hard but got nowhere even after all the work we did, now we were stuck on a ship in the sky as monsters and fiends destroyed the land below.
“Soren.” I turned to see Alice at the doorway with everyone else behind her, “That was the last area and so far we’ve been able to save four people…but we have a bigger problem on our hands.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember when we encountered Tiamat at the fairy lake? Well Lily and I ran into Marilith when we saved Sarah.”
“A-And Gareth and I ran into Kraken when we saved the sage.” Lily added.
“…So they’re back to. I saw Lich when I saved Brokkr back in the mines.” I said and they all gave a worried look, “It’s true, they can’t be killed, we can’t get rid of them.”
“…Maybe not in this time.” The sage said stepping forward, “I fear this may be my fault, no matter how many times we looked into the future we saw this outcome, we believed the Warriors of Light would change this once the fiends were defeated but it seems as though we were wrong.” With a sullen look he took a long sigh, “But as I thought about I realized something.”
“What?” We all asked eager for a next step.
“There is no future here…but there is a way to change that. We need to travel 2000 years into the past.”
“So let me get this straight…” Kent started as we all sat on the deck of the airship, “You four are from a different world and came to stop those guys and the cloaked guy from stopping us from saving this world?”
“Yes.” Alice said nodding.
“Not only that.” Pent began, “You’ve been to two worlds before this and stopped them in those worlds?”
“Well…one for me.” Gareth specified.
“But that’s not all.” Sena said, “Lily was an enemy before coming to this world and held the soul of a succubus until it was ripped out in this world?”
“Y-Yeah…” Lily said looking away embarrassed.
“And you four are doppelgangers from an alternate world where magic and monsters don’t exist.” Hana said.
“That’s about it.” I said closing it up.
“Felt like we spent time on exposition.” Alice said with a sigh.
“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Kent asked.
“We…we didn’t want to seem skeptical, telling people your from another world doesn’t exactly make them say it’s possible.” I explained and Sena gave a nod pushing up her glasses.
“Statistically speaking the likelihood of someone coming from another world is two million seven hundred and ninety four thousand eight hundred and fifty three to one and there are four people from another meaning you have to multiply by four making it-”
“I think we get it.” Gareth said stopping her, “It’s a big number.”
“Statistics only measure the possibility of something to happen but not when it will happen.” Pent said giving another proverb, “How did you come to this world though?”
“Well Lily had her boss bring her here but…we were brought by some sort of entity, we don’t know who she is but by the end of this we’ll have a chance to find out.” I explained.
“So you fight for the truth?” Kent asked.
“No, we fight because we don’t want others to suffer more than we have…and maybe we can’t stop the small problems but we won’t let world destruction be a part of it!” Gareth gave a hearty laugh as Alice rolled her eyes with a smile and Lily giggled, “Something funny guys?”
“No. Just funny how predictable you can be.” Alice said and I felt Gareth slap me on the back still laughing, “That’s good though, it lets us know that you’re okay.”
“That’s your tell man.” Gareth said, “We can read you like a book. Unlike me.”
“Really mister toothy grin?” I said and he went silent; whenever he was feeling especially happy he would get this big grin on his face that he couldn’t control, it made card games against him a piece of cake because he couldn’t bluff.
“Yeah you stink at poker because of that.” Alice said chuckling.
“I don’t think you have room to talk miss red face.” Gareth said with a chuckle; Alice’s tell was that anytime she would tell a lie her face would turn slightly redder, whenever we played Town of Salem together and she was mafia of serial killer her face would turn redder every time she had to lie to the rest of the group.
“That was one time.”
“Not one time.” I said and she hit me on the head.
“Can we move on?” Alice said in a huff; guess it was time to keep going.

With everything resolved we loaded up the ship with nearby water for the shower and headed for Melmond; with the Rosetta Stone Sena had us going to Melmond to give it to a scripter; she found out about him before leaving to fight Garland and heard he had hints on figuring out the language of Lufenias who had a secret to get to the wind temple in the sky. Stepping off the ship we entered the town and were amazed to see the land turning green and vibrant and in the center was the traveling band from the elf kingdom.
“Thank you for joining us today in the revival of the earth of Melmond, we’ve come here to perform the song of the earth to bring this town back from the brink.” Danny said with an invigorated attitude as Jessie began to dance and Jon shook his tambourine, Danny pulled out his guitar beginning to play as everyone in the town began to dance with renewed energy. We walked up to the band as they played and they gave a nod at us as they continued to play, “It’s good to see you again my young friends, it has been too long since we’ve seen each other, how has your quest faired?”
“We’ve been doing well; three of the four crystals have been restored so far.” I answered and he gave a big smile.
“Then I’m glad to hear this world will soon be restored after two thousand years.”
“Two thousand years!?” Gareth yelled in shock and Jon nodded as he shook the tambourine.
“This land first lost the wind crystal when the Lufenians’ flying fortress was taken over by Tiamat; he blackened the wind crystal halting the winds of the land as Kraken headed to the bottom of the sea and darkened the water crystal turning the oceans rank and foul, we were no longer able to travel the ocean. As they ravaged the elements of air and water the Lich and Marilith ravaged our earth and volcanoes turning the earth brown and volcanoes dormant.”
“Wouldn’t the volcanoes being dormant be a good thing?” Alice asked and Jon shook his head.
“In this world the volcanoes affect the climate of the world and keep us from freezing over.”
“A few more years and we would have had a whole new ice age on our hands.” Jessie said as she twirled around to the music, “Thanks for that guys. Can’t dance in freezing cold…wouldn’t stop me from trying though. Hehehe.”
“So you have the wind crystal left?”
“Yep, once we return that one to normal then the world will be set right.” Kent said confidently and the other warriors as well as we gave a nod.
“…Are you sure about that?” Danny said and I felt a sense of seriousness emanate from him, “For two thousand years the land and its people suffered; thousands have died and the land has been decimated by the monsters that now roam as well as the people who have turned to crime in order to survive.”
“What are you trying to say?” Pent asked picking up on his sudden serious tone as well.
“The present can only go so far when the mistakes of our past continue to affect our present.”
“But w-we’re working to stop the effects.” Sena said getting slightly defensive.
“Try as you will it may already be too late.” There was dead silence among the group as the people danced; it felt like we were stuck in time as everyone continued to dance and the music played…despite the fact that Danny and Jon stopped playing their instruments and Jessie stopped dancing…who were they really? Something about them made me feel like these three were more than just a traveling band; after all they did give us the dust needed to reveal Astos in his true form, where did they something like that?
“But for now let us just enjoy the earth revival festival.” Suddenly the hostility and seriousness in the air dissipated and when I blinked they were back to playing their instruments and dancing as if the whole situation didn’t even happen.
“L-Let’s keep moving…I d-don’t like the feeling I’m g-getting.” Lily said slightly more worried than she normally was; she could feel it to, something was definitely more than meets the eye with those three.
“The scripter should be up here.” Sena said leading us to a small graveyard in the back of town, sitting amongst the graves was a young man who seemed absorbed in his work as he scribbled on every piece of paper that was around him.
“No no no no no!  That’s not the right dialect either…what could they possibly use!?” He scratched his head in frustration as he scratched out lines of scribbles and chicken scratch from various papers, “Maybe it’s harmonic? Scrambled text? Ancient tounge?”
“Excuse me sir.” Sena said tapping him on the shoulder; when he turned his head to us he gave us all a shock; he looked ragged and tired, his eyes were wide and bloodshot while his face was covered by a long beard and hair that made him look like a wild animal.
“Gah! Is he feral?” Hana said slightly afraid of his looks, “Does he have rabies?”
“Hana. Is something wrong sir?” Kent asked and he grumbled returning to his work ignoring our intrusion.
“Hey we’re trying to help you!” Alice said pissed at his sudden brush off of us.
“I’m very busy if you don’t mind! Besides unless you can help me in ancient Lufenia language I would like to get back to my work!” He replied getting in her face, Alice’s face scrunched up as she backed up from him.
“Oh, you seriously need to do something about that body odor.” Alice said waving away the stink in front of her face.
“We wanted to give you this.” Kent said stepping forward and holding out the Rosetta Stone; the mans’ eyes lit up as he looked at it and a smile came to his face as he grabbed the stone from Kent’s hands.
“This is the language breaker! The key item to break any language code! It’s the find of the century!” As he raved he sat back down returning to his chicken scratch and talking to himself in language after language with some crossing other…oh it’s making my head spin just listening to him.
“Anyone have any idea what he’s speaking?” Hana asked.
“Elivish, Dwarven, a little spell tongue and pieces of something even I don’t know.” Sena said as we waited for him to finish his work; he had this fire in his eyes as he continued to write with no signs of slowing down.
“…Tiamat.” Huh? Kent had a pensive look on his face as we waited and I looked to see the other warriors all had varying faces of worry or sadness; was there something about Tiamat that had them frazzled?
“I’ve done it!” The man shouted bringing all of our focus on him as he held up the stone and a handful of paper, “I have deciphered the Lufenia language down to its most basic level! It’s just a simple matter of-”
“H-Hang on!” Lily said stopping him as she pulled out her journal, “Okay ready!”
“You’re really going to write down his explanation of how to speak Lufenia?” Hana asked amazed at her dedication.
“Yep, we’re going to need to study up on the language if we’re going there.” Lily explained.
“I think you’re forgetting about the human elephant over here.” Kent said patting Sena on the head.
“I-I still think it’s good to get notes down on it, y-you never know how handy they could be.”
“May I start?” The man asked and Lily returned her gaze to him.
“Please do.” Lily replied with baited breath at his next words, she was definitely and info geek.

With only two of us able to understand the language we decided to leave the town of Lufenia to Sena who had a better understanding of it than any of us; as we waited for her to return Alice, Gareth, Lily and I decided to get some training done as a group. A quick three hit combo, block, switch with Gareth; he makes a heavy hit that takes it out and Alice moves in to take out the one closing in on his left while Lily kept the rear clear and applied healing when needed.
“Gah!” I heard Gareth give a grunt and turned to see he caught a hit from the right, moving in I lopped off the monsters head and pushed the torso away so it wouldn’t clutter our fighting space, the last thing we want is to trip over an already defeated enemy.
“Watch all your sides Gareth!” Alice yelled as she sent out an ice wave, “You may have the best defense but that doesn’t make you invincible!”
“Right!” Gareth replied as he scanned around him for incoming monsters; I heard a slight rustling and turned around to see a wolf pouncing at me; muttering a small accuracy boost spell I thrusted into the falling wolf plunging directly into its mouth as a spray of monster blood covered my hilt, hand, glove and coat arm. Swinging the creature off my blade it fell limp back into the bushes it jumped out of; Alice coated her blade in a gravity enchantment and took a long swing hitting a group of monsters and sending them crashing to the ground. Sending a haste spell Alice’s way she dashed forward and hacked away the immobile creatures; when she finished a spray of blood came out of all of them at once as she gave a huff. Lily stood her ground as a group of imps moved in to attack and as they came within range she gave a long horizontal reaping slice removing their heads from their bodies; moving her scythe backwards she vaulted backwards moving back into formation with us. As we all took a breather I heard a loud thump of a footstep and turned my head to Gareth’s view to see a giant moving out of the forest towards us. Gareth rushed forward taking a swing making the giant stagger as he used the momentum to take another swing, and another and another and another until he was a flurry of heavy blows; it was his signature whirlwind maneuver! Suddenly the giant took a large swing knocking Gareth back but suddenly Gareth got back on his feet and rushed in moving at the same speed as the whirlwind but wasn’t a flurry, he knew every strike he was making. With one motion he swung up with enough strength to lift himself into the air and he used that to swing down cleaving the giant in two.
“Whoa.” I said without thinking amazed at his sudden ability.
“So that’s what it is!” Lily said confusing all of us, “I k-knew there had t-to be more to Gareth’s upgrade then just attack and d-defense. During combat the more he hits the faster he gets, the effect lasts until the end of the battle but he has a huge boost in speed if the enemy c-can take a lot of hits.”
“Wow, that’s actually impressive.” Alice said in genuine appreciation at his new found skill.
“If we pair that up with a haste spell then he could turn into a flurry of powerful hits.” I said out loud thinking up new strategies.
“Only if he can control those hits.” Lily said making us turn our attention to her, “W-W-What I mean is th-that Gareth has powerful attack and defense and now speed b-but no control, he swings it around w-wildly when he gets fast enough meaning he has no accuracy.” I thought back to when he was hacking the giant he used his momentum meaning he let the swings go where they would without thinking about it; she was right, he could get fast but he loses accuracy in the process. Alice, Lily and I are balanced with magic to help us while Gareth must have a trade of system…like Shulk from Xenoblade.
“What if it’s a tradeoff system? If he focuses then maybe he can boost his accuracy in sacrifice of his speed and trade his defense for attack.” I suggested and Gareth’s face lit up.
“So I do have magic! Seems strange though.”
“Not magic, body channeling.” We all turned to see Pent approaching us.
“Body Channeling?”
“It’s a skill that those who can’t use magic can utilize to become a powerful force. Body channeling lets you become a force on the battle field if you use it correctly.”
“So what can I do with it?”
“With concentration you can change the quality of your body; as much as I would love to run a practice match Sena will be back soon so I’ll keep it to the points. Physical strength for magic strength, magic attack for physical strength, physical defense for magic defense, magic defense for physical defense, speed for accuracy, and accuracy for speed.”
“Why would I need magic attack?”
“What if I use my enchanting on your axe?” Alice chimed in, “Then you would need magical attack.”
“Those who do not use all at their disposal will forever be at the worst disadvantage.” Pent said in his usual proverb advice.
“Why do you always try to say something profound?” Lily asked Pent.
“Well as a monk I was taught to not only stay balanced in body and mind but also pass on my knowledge to those in need of it. So far my counterpart seems in need of it most.”
“Hey I’m not that stupid!” Gareth yelled feeling insulted.
“Gareth…come on.” Alice said implying what we all knew and Gareth sighed.
“Y-You’re still th-the strongest of us?” Lily said trying to cheer him up and he gave a small chuckle.
“Yeah, I guess…thanks.”
“What’s happening here?” I turned to see Kent and Hana standing near us with a smirk on Kent’s face and Hana giggling.
“Just figuring some new things out.” Alice replied sheathing her Katana.
“Well after this our quest will be over, I suppose there won’t many opportunities to learn new things when there’s no need to.” Kent said leaning against the nearby tree.
“…Hey I have a question.” Hana said, “If you guys are from another world does that mean after all of this is over that you’ll head back to your world?”
“Well…so far that’s how it’s been; we’ve helped save the world and then we got transported back to our world…as if it never happened.”
“So we’ll…go home…” Lily said looking down and shaking…that’s right, she was transported before her dad attacked her…she wasn’t going back to an ideal situation.
“You can’t stay here?” Hana asked sounding sad, “It’s kind of sad to think we’ll never see you again after this is over.”
“We all have places where we belong Hana, but that doesn’t mean we will never see them again.” Pent said trying to cheer her up.
  “I guess…but I’ll still feel sad when they’re gone.” Suddenly Hana jumped forward wrapping her hands around my waist and knocking me over with her, “I don’t want them to go!”
“Hana!? Please stop squirming so much it feels…weird.”
“Get off him you hussy!”
“A little jealous Alice?”
“Shut it Gareth! Lily help me pry her off.”
“O-Okay.” As they pulled she held on tighter and I could feel her chest-! Down libido down!
“Getting a little excited Soren?” Hana teased making me turn red.
“Damnit Soren stop thinking with your second head!”
“I’m trying but blood travels its own way.”
“Keep thinking that way and your blood won’t move at all when I’m done!” Nearby I could hear Kent, Pent and Gareth all laughing heartily at what was happening and even Lily was giggling at me, great friends I have right now…eh, they’re still awesome, “And what are you laughing at Soren!!” Oh crap.

Sena eventually came back and we all entered the airship; when we came over the desert we scoured the area looking for a clear area to land, finding a small patch of green we landed and headed into the sandstorm ravaged dessert. It felt like the wind and sand was trying to whip us around and stop us from reaching the center; as we approached the center a tall tower came into my vision, was that the mirage tower? Approaching the tower it began to fade and as we came up to it the tower was completely gone; Sena pulled out a small bell and rung it three times, on the third ring a giant whirlwind whipped up directly in front of us blinding me. When it disappeared the tower was standing tall in front of us; the tower was made of sand but it didn’t fade when I touched it even though the sand looked dry and unpacked.
“Let’s head in, we’re almost there.” Kent said confidently as we all followed into the tower; the inside was lined with stone and granite completely making the outside a façade, looking outside would make you think it was like a child’s sand castle with a sand interior…but true to its name the outside was just a mirage while the inside held the truth. As we traveled up monsters attacked us in organized large groups and played working together instead of just attacking us all at once; whoever was in charge of these monsters was on an entirely different level than any of the other fiends. Luckily we were strong enough to take on any challenge that was thrown at us; as a group we couldn’t be taken down and they weren’t expecting eight people. Eventually we made it to the third floor and found ourselves in the center room, within the center of that room I see a glowing bad with a steel robot creature standing next to it…something wasn’t right though…it felt too easy.
“Watch out! I felt someone suddenly push me and as I fell to the floor I looked behind me to see Pent had taken the blow from a blue dragon, “Gah!”
“Pent!” Kent yelled and Pent turned around punching the dragon directly in the faceand climbing on top of it; we moved in to help him but suddenly the dragon rose to the ceiling and shook Pent off making him fall and as we moved to catch him the dragon suddenly whipped its tail around and pierced Pent’s heart…! We all stood there frozen as the look of pain and shock washed over his face and his blood dripped to the floor.
“PENT!!!” Sena screamed loudly and then Pent threw something at us which Kent caught and Pent grabbed at the tail piercing him and pulled himself punching the dragon over and over again as it bit into him in response
“Go!” He yelled at us and I felt Kent grab me as we all moved onto the pad, he held up the cube and a light enveloped us; the last thing I saw was Pent and the dragon crashing to the ground both…dead.

“No! We have to go back for him! I can save him!” Sena said as Kent and Hana held her back from the portal; the rest of us were currently too much in shock to even move, Pent was dead from saving us from the blue dragon that was hidden in the room. He took the hit so we could keep moving…but in that moment we lost a friend…damn it! I hit the ground with my fist in anger and Alice gave me a sad look and nod; we have to keep moving. Once Sena was calmed down we headed out to examine the sky fortress; there were enemies on the ship as well but we were able to take them; the only problem was that now that Pent was-…it was harder to fight without him in our group. The tension was much more apparent with the loss of Pent and even with Gareth trying to cheer us up you could feel something was just…off. On the second floor I was able to find adamantite; the black smith needed this to craft the ultimate weapon, guess I could finally make his dream come true. The third floor had an orb in the center of them room; inside was a view of the entire world, it showed a wide map of the area more accurate than any map we could create. The weirdest part was the four points on the map that seemed to all converge on one point and glow brightly at that point they met; Lily quickly pulled out her map and started drawing most likely getting the point they met at. As we came to the fifth floor I looked around only to see it was a long hallway leading to a room at the end of the hall; the fiend must be beyond that doorway at the end. We walked in silence to the end of the hall and as we reached the end I heard the whirling of gears and the sound of something walking towards us; I stopped everyone and turned around to see a strange metal thing walking towards us. Suddenly it shot at me and in response I pulled my blade out blocking his bullet as it fell to the ground; whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly. I dashed forward and swung at the machine but my blade just clanged against the machine bouncing off it; my physical attacks weren’t going to do anything to it. Alice moved forward and slashed waves of magic at him hitting him with fire ice and lighting; it shook it off as though nothing happened surprising Alice as well as the rest of us.
“Nothing’s working against him!” Gareth said getting worried as was the rest of us; how could we take this thing out?
“I…I know what to do!” Hana said stepping in front of me with a serious face that I didn’t like; what was she planning!?
“Hana?” I said worried and she turned around smiling.
“I guess I don’t get to see you guys leave after all.”
“Hana don’t, we’ll figure something out!” Kent said with a voice of panic as Hana tossed him something.
“Kent…even I know that the more time we waste the more we’ll all get hurt…I…I don’t want to just stand by as that happens…I will protect you guys…so please…trust me.” I heard Kent begin to sniffle and he once again pulled me back as I watched Hana raise her arms as a ball of white burning light formed in her hands, “Flare!!” As the door closed behind me as I could hear was a loud explosion and feel the rumbling under my butt; when it stopped there was another moment of silence, I touched the door but it didn’t open; I’m guessing it wasn’t going to open ever again…and Hana wasn’t going to move again.
“So you made it. Here I thought you would be dead by now.” We turned to the direction of the voice to see a multi-headed dragon looming over us; this was Tiamat, the fiend of wind and our final enemy.

“It’s sad to see that Hana and Pent couldn’t make it here, they were always the ones with the most moral.”
“SHUT UP!” Kent yelled fuming; there was an anger in his eyes that was filled with loss and pain, “How dare you talk about them like they were your friends!”
“But Kent they were my friends…as were you.” What was Tiamat talking about…wait…he was Ventus!?
“…You used us…and betrayed us…and now…you’ve killed two of my best friends, I’ll be damned if you hurt anyone else!”
“That’s right!” Sena said stepping forward, “We came this far and we can mourn when it’s over…but for now we will fight and save everyone else!” They stood against Tiamat ready to fight and the rest of us joined them and stood ready.
“You really want to try this again…you couldn’t beat me the first time and it won’t change this time!” He shot a blast of concentrated air at us knocking us all apart; Gareth dug his axe into the ground and grabbed my hand as I soared by him, when the air blast finished I stood back up and watched as Kent dashed in jumping on Tiamat and slicing off one of the heads and jumping down regrouping with us.
“NullAll!” Sena shouted as a protective barrier surrounded each of us; this should help us keep defended, “We can do this!” I looked back at Tiamat to see the neck flail without its head and then suddenly explode into a new head.
“This might be a bit tougher than we thought it would be.” Kent said swiping the blood off his blade, “We’re just going to have to hit it with all we’ve got!”
“Haste!” I cried as everyone’s weapons started to glow with the speed spell cast on them; Gareth and Kent sped forward at the fiend began to cast various wind spells at them; as they pushed through the spells being cast at them Lily and Sena cast healing spells after each hit to keep them strong. When they came up to the creature it slammed its tail down as they both dodged and climbed onto the tail; as the heads flailed trying to grab Gareth and Kent Alice, Lily and I rushed in moving up the body and positioned ourselves each near a head as Kent and Gareth did the same. With a nod from Kent we all swung with all our strength cleaving off all five heads at once; we jumped off and the body fell to the ground limp.
“That’s it?” Alice said surprised, “It feels sort of anticlimactic.” She was right; even with how strong we were now it still feels like it should have been a tougher fight.
“…Well, let’s get the wind crystal activated.” Kent said as we all approached the crystal; he held up the crystal and it shinned; when the light died I could feel the wind begin to blow for the first time in weeks…it felt nice.
“AHH!!” What!? We turned around and were shocked to see that Tiamat had gotten back up and all of his heads were back…and in his center head he was clutching a bleeding Sena between his jaws.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Kent screeched pulling his sword out and stabbed Tiamat in the stomach making it fall over still clutching Sena, “Sena I’ll get you out!” As Kent approached he was swatted away by a tail and Tiamat laughed with one of its other heads.
“You cannot defeat me Kent, I will come back over and over again to kill you!” As he laughed Kent went silent and rushed forward grabbing something from Sena’s body and digging into his pocket pulling something out.
“Fine…then it’s just you and me.” He backed up and rushed over to me pushing a small bag into my bag and pushing all of us behind the crystal towards a green pad; “Guys…get out of here.”
“What!? Are you crazy?” I asked unable to believe what he was saying, “You can’t take him on alone!”
“No…but I can take him with me.”
“N-No! Y-You can’t die!” Lily said starting to tear up.
“Listen guys…before I met you guys I was content just letting the other warriors be my only friends…but you guy stood by me even after everything I tried to do to you…even after finding everyone I was glad to see you guys stood by you…this is my way of repaying you for standing by me…so run…run and live!”
“Like hell!” Gareth yelled.
“We won’t let you sacrifice yourself, we came this far to stop you from dying! We won’t let this happen!” I said.
“…Sorry Soren…for every time I tried to hurt you.” With those words he pushed all of us back into the pad and the last thing I saw was Kent walking away with his sword and shield brandished as Tiamat roared at him.

We fell into sand suddenly and I stood up in a panic looking around to find out where we were; we were back in the mirage dessert in front of the mirage tower…where was the mirage tower!?
“What happened? Where did they go?!” Gareth said also in a blind panic looking for Kent; Alice and Lily looked up at the sky with a look of horror; Gareth and I looked up at the sky at what they were so shocked at. In the distance we could see a large explosion from high in the sky…the sky fortress was no more…and neither was Kent or Sena…the Warriors of Light were dead…and we had failed.
I hope that everyone I know is filled with holiday joy.
But if your not, that's fair it's not for every girl and boy.

The seasons are for family, friends and close acquaintances.
Enjoy the food that every religion has us stuff our face in.

But no matter what, don't forget to give thanks to those you love.
No matter how far away they are, across the sea, another planet or even up above.

Because in the end we all have those who mean the world to us.
If we forget then those we love might as well be strangers on the bus.

The world is round and full of those with different beliefs and views.
But for those we love we set aside our silly life time feuds.

And on the new year we rejoice for another year has gone.
The next one up is full of hope for those who have felt wronged.

Because every year, nay every day is another chance at hope.
Not just another day to feel you have to cope.

The world keeps spinning and that just means there's more than just today.
There's tomorrow, the day after and many more they say.

So enjoy the new years toast, the Christmas exchange, the eight days of Hanukkah, the week long Kwanzaa and any other festivities I may not know.
Because every day we live is an opportunity to change, to live and to grow.




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stealthclaw96 Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the fave, I really appreciate it! :D
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
It's good art. Happy to favorite it!
HPLovelock Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2016  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch!
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Of course! :) (Smile) 
landobaldur Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2016  Professional General Artist
◖(◣☩◢)◗ *beep* *boop* ##.scanning environment.## *flies away*
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
remanth Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! *throws confetti* :party::cake::dance:
Kidaelo Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist
happy birthday HAppy Birthday Jarad! I've heard having a birthday right next to Christmas is kinda hard. What's your opinion on the matter? Oh yeah ! Merry early Christmas too!!  Merry christmas everybody
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Sorry I'm late in answering. It's hard of course but it just means I get to spend even more time with those I care about, So I'm glad to have it near Christmas.
Kidaelo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist
That's awesome. Well, good luck to ya in the new year to come. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best years ever invented! ^3^
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