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“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.
“To think you could even give me such an angry look, it’s quiet refreshing.” Jarek said teasing me as I gave him a grimace that even I thought I could never make; this was another version of me that has hurt my friends three different times in less than three months. He had manipulated my anger and weak will to attack my friends and I couldn’t let him out…whether it was my body or his own! I rushed forward at him and took a swing down with my left blade as he sidestepped out of the way of the blow and swung punching me in the face knocking me backwards and making me drop my right blade, “A little angrier than normal aren’t we?” He picked up my dropped blade and twisted it examining each side with a wicked smile on his face; he was just playing with me and treating me like a child, “But if you want a fight that’s exactly what I’ll give you!” He took a swing at me and I rolled backwards as his blade clanged into the stone; I looked behind me to see everyone was still frozen in time and the world was still in black and white.
“What are you? I thought you were just another personality.” I said swinging forward making him back up.
“So did I and maybe I still am, after all I’m just in a copy of your body…but it’s just my mind, no one else to fight with. So now it’s my time to shine!” He jumped at me swinging and I gave a block stopping his blade and he suddenly repositioned pulling his blade back and thrusting towards my chest; moving my arm up he stabbed at my arm hitting my cloak and steel as the feeling vibrated down my arm; good thing Alice and Gareth made me get those arm guards.
“But what are you? I came to terms with realizing I can’t always look strong for others, I have to trust my friends to help me in my time. So why are you still in my mind?” I swung forward as he dodged and I took a few more swipes as he maneuvered around; I gave a weak thrust and he dodged to the side as I swung in his direction catching his blade in a quick block that left him staggering.
“You think I came from that? Out of all of your friends your story has to be the tamest one out…but that’s because you don’t know the truth.” He took a few quick swings as I stood my ground and with a swing that knocked my sword down he kicked me backwards.
“What are you talking about? I’ve known everything about my life and if you were from a traumatic…moment…”
“Realize it now? You wouldn’t remember. You blocked it out when it happened. Any memory of it is lost to you…only I know.”
“That won’t stop me!” I rushed forward making powerful swings knocking him backwards with each hit; I noticed we ended up in the middle of Denys, Penny and Sukia who were unaffected by the hourglass as they activated it.
“You can attack all you want but this fight will end in a stalemate as long as we fight each other, we’re the same person and this won’t end well…for you.” What, “I have three others with me and you are on your own.” He took a swing and stopped my onslaught of attacks with us starring each other down as we tried to push each other’s blade, I looked around to see the other three closing around us slowly; dammit he was right, if I could only get my friend back up then this fight could go better but…! I pushed his blade with all my strength and thought of the spell I wanted and watched as they came closer…and closer…and closer……now! Pushing Jarek’s blade back I swung at Denys as he back stepped and turned grabbing the blade from Jarek in his staggering moment and with my improved accuracy swung catching Denys’s bag and grabbing the hourglass as it fell out and rolling away from them. I smashed the hourglass to the ground as sand and glass flew around hoping it would stop the time stop and was glad when everything began to return to normal; the color returned and everyone around me began to move again with a look of confusion on their faces and then a look of surprise then anger from Alice.
“Why are there two Sorens?” Lily asked and Gareth gave a look of confusion as Alice pulled up her katana and enchanting it with an electrical quality.
“That’s not Soren…that’s Jarek!” She said glaring at him as she rushed up by my side and gave my blades an electric enchantment like hers, “How did he get out?”
“The mirror.”
“Of course.”
“I’m flattered you remember me Alice, it touches my heart.” Jarek said with a sly smile.
“Shut it!” Alice yelled, “You’re outnumbered now and we’re not going to let you walk away!” He began to laugh slowly and then gave a strange uproarious laugh.
“You think I didn’t know he would do that? I wanted him to do it! I want all of you to be here when I tell you the truth…I will shatter you all in one blow!” We backed up in surprise at his declaration and suddenly heard a loud stomp and turned to see the Kraken with an angry look on his face.
“This wasn’t part of the deal! You will not freeze the fiend of water without facing the consequences!” He shot his tentacles at the four of them and Sukia suddenly disappeared and cut apart each tentacle as the Geminis fell down and grabbed Denys cleaver using their combined strength to cleave his head from his body.
“Sorry but we don’t need you if you try anything like that.” They said in unison as the creature disappeared; they cut it down like it was nothing, how strong were they?
“Pay attention Soren, you’re going to want to hear this.” Jarek said snapping his fingers to get my attention, “I’ve got a very interesting story to tell now that I’m free.”
“Why now that you’re free? Seems like you have some ulterior motive.” Alice said in a harsh tone.
“Too clever girl, I want to watch as everything that Soren is crumbles and see the despair and sorrow wash over him and knowing his friends they will crumble right along with him, like a house of cards you will crash.”
“Then I won’t let you tell your stupid story!” Gareth shouted rushing at him and swinging his axe down on Jarek who grabbed the hilt before it hit him and pushed it to the side as it crashed into the floor next to him.
“I will admit that you are powerful but I’d rather not be interrupted!” With that he kicked Gareth in the face knocking back at us as Alice and I caught him and Lily caught his axe as Jarek threw it at us, “Now where should I start…”
“Nowhere!” Kent rushed in for a stab but he sidestepped and grabbed his arm spinning him around and back at us.
“I said I don’t like being INTERRUPTED!!” We all shook at his voice; it was filled with rage and authority, he turned his head to Sukia who nodded back and held up her scythe.

“Hold!” I felt my body suddenly go numb and I collapsed to the ground, I heard seven others fall and realized everyone else had gone down; she had enough magic power to make a single target spell affect a group!
“Time for a story…well a story add on would be more accurate, our young Soren here had a sister and a father that he hated more than anyone…and yet he loved them because they were family; but it became harder for him to love them because of how they brought down his life. But he took in on with what little and pathetic confidence he could. It worked for a while…until one day his sister came in, she had just broken out of prison and was looking for revenge.”
“What do you mean!? My sister never went to jail!”
“Ah but there’s where your memory gap begins Soren. One year ago to the day she was arrested for slipping up again and she left with a look in her eyes that you feared; but she was gone and you all moved on with your life. Then one day during a prison riot she escaped and worry filled your soul for her but also for yourself…and you were right to fear for your life because only two days later she burst into the house with that same look in her eyes when she was taken away…and a pistol in her hand.”
“Wh…what?...” …
“In that moment you felt despair wash across your body and when you looked at your mother and saw a tear fall down her face it became clear. You convinced yourself that you had to be strong for your mother and as that tear fell down her face you did what had to be done.”
“What…do you mean…what had to be done?” He gave a smile that made my bones chill under my skin; I don’t like where this is going.
“You fought your sister and wrestled the gun from her hand and as you held it she still had this look of rage, she ranted and raved about how unfair the world is and how she got the short end of the stick…but you weren’t listening, it all came out a intelligible noise and she never expected for what you would do.” …No.
“No…no…”
“…You shot her.” !, “You fired five rounds into her in such rapid succession that the stunned look was still on her face when you were done; in that moment you didn’t feel any regret or sorrow at her death, you felt strong, you felt like you had given her what she deserved…you were happy she was dead.” …
“…”
“Too stunned to talk? Well that’s not the end, you weren’t done…or maybe I should say we weren’t done, in that moment of bliss at her death I was born…but not as a traumatic piece but as you…and we weren’t finished. Your father came up hearing the gunshots echo and we looked to him and took that final bullet and shot him directly in the forehead. He fell to the ground with a thud and all that was left was us and your mother who looked at us in horror; her little boy had exploded and from the explosion two corpses had been found. The cops wrote it off as she shot the father and then was killed by us in self-defense…we had gotten away with murder and it felt great…but mother had decided that therapy would be our next step. For a few weeks we spent hours in that office until one day he had taken the extreme measures…have you ever heard of electroshock therapy?”
“…”
“Well with that they were able to get rid of the violent impulses we felt by snipping me out of your mind…but to you it never seemed like you shot them or that it never happened before. As far as you were concerned your sister and dad were alive and being the same useless people they had always been…but for me I remembered it all and I still existed as a catalyst for those memories. I lied dormant for months; I was just the base feeling of anger and vengeance…until I awoke for the first time. In that moment I came out swinging and wanted to attack anything to sate these feelings of anger…even lash out at a friend.”
“!”
“Oh, a reaction; that’s right Soren, the onslaught against Alice is when I first awoke and even after pushing my weakened form back to the recesses of your mind I began to think and grow…to become a much more coherent being than just rage and vengeance. I want more than that now…if I would have had my way in the beginning I would have been fine with just becoming powerful…but you stopped me. Not only then but therapy and electroconvulsive therapy were both your ideas, no matter what I said you led us to this moment, all I wanted was to exist and you and your mother and your friends have been putting a stop to that for months! Now I can finally exist and the first thing I want to do is take you out!”
“…”
“Nothing to say? Fine, die in silence!” CLANG!
“Back off!”
“Out of everyone who has stood in my way you have been one of the largest thorns in my side girl! You would still stand up for him after everything you’ve heard? Even those two are stunned by the news!”
“Sure it’s unsettling to learn that Soren has hurt people and I can’t imagine him doing that…but that doesn’t mean I’m going to turn against him! I’ll protect him because he’s my friend and most trusted partner!”

Alice
I stood against Jarek with an angry look on his face as he held one of Soren’s blades against me; I wasn’t going to let him kill Soren, I won’t lose him to Jarek! Soren was currently unfit to fight with his spirit and mind shattered from the news of his concealed past, the warriors were still stunned by the spell and Gareth and Lily looked too stunned to move; something about the news made then reluctant to fight which meant it was just me right now!
“Fine, I’ll take you out and watch Soren be destroyed from the inside as he was too weak to save you.”
“Like hell! I won’t lose to you here!” I dashed forward with a horizontal slash as he blocked and I swerved my blade going for an upward slash that he narrowly blocked and altered between them until I was able to knock his blade away and take a slash at his chest causing it to bleed; it wasn’t a deep cut though so he quickly recovered and started attacking swinging at me and thrusting as I maneuvered around nicking his arm with a counter attack. In the moment of that attack he brought his elbow up hitting my nose and slicing my cheek as I narrowly dodged but he then pulled back and thrusted the blade into my leg making me fall to the ground in pain as he pulled the blade out; damn it, I was sloppy!
“Finally, I’ve had you in my clutches three times already and now I can get rid of you once and forever!” He raised his blade and swung it down as I swung up knocking his momentum loose and rolling behind him and slicing along his back with a deep cut making him fall to the ground, “No…I can’t lose…here!”
“You won’t Jarek.” I turned behind me to see the Geminis looking over me and as I tried to stand I felt the wound in my leg flare up and I dropped to the floor unable to move; they and Sukia moved past me and picked up Jarek, Denys pulled out a stone and spoke quietly into it and a portal appeared out of nowhere, they all stepped beyond it and the portal closed leaving us to deal with the problems they had left behind. I turned to the group to see they had begun to move as the numbing feeling wore off; Gareth and Lily had conflicting expressions on their faces while Soren…he looked broken…like everything he knew had completely disappeared and everything had turned to dust…he was in a desolate world with no hope in his eyes…his eye’s had glazed over…his soul had dulled.

There was no conversation after we had restored the water crystal, we walked silently back to the airship while I led Soren who seemed reluctant to even breath as he gripped my hand; it was like if he let go then he might get lost on his own. As I sat in the airship room with Soren he sat in a chair staring down at his lap; he had slow breathing and didn’t blink at all, he shook occasionally but stayed still most of the time.
“…Soren?” No response, “Look, I know you’re hurting right now but…look how much you’ve done since then…I mean…you saved me and Gareth and Lily and brought us all together.” As I stumbled over my words trying to cheer him up the door opened to reveal Gareth and Lily entering the room with serious looks on their faces, “Gareth and Lily will say the same thing! Go on guys; tell him that it doesn’t matter, that he’s still a good person!” They gave each other a frown and looked back at me.
“Alice…we can’t do that.” Gareth said.
“What!? Why?”
“Alice, I never had a family but I always wanted one and the fact that he would kill two of his own flesh and blood isn’t something I can just look past.”
“A-And I can’t just think that killing an s-sibling is no big deal…especially since I lost my brother.”
“I’m not saying to not think about it! I’m just saying with everything he’s done he’s shouldn’t feel this guilty!”
“Shouldn’t he?”
“Gareth!”
“I can’t just think that, especially since he killed his sister, why did you do that Soren?”
“…”
“Damn it Gareth he fell just like the rest of us! You want to judge him for that!?”
“I-It’s not just that Alice…he killed a family member, when we lost control of ourselves we didn’t kill anyone.”
“Really Lily? You’re going to say that even after you attempted to kill us before!?”
“Alice don’t accuse Lily of that, she was being controlled by Sukia.”
“And Soren was being controlled by Jarek when he killed them! You want to take back what you said now!?”
“It’s different Alice, he was the first one to pull the trigger and then it was him and Jarek in tandem, he knew what he was doing.”
“NO HE DIDN’T!!!” As I yelled they took a step back in surprise, “…I refuse to believe that Soren would ever do that…Soren isn’t like that, he’s impulsive and sometimes makes stupid decisions in the heat of his emotions…but he’s not a cruel killer…Jarek is a killer…but Soren isn’t. He’s trustworthy and caring, he puts himself in harm’s way for those he cares about and even those he doesn’t know...I refuse to believe that he did any of that and I don’t care what anyone says.”
“…Alice.” I turned in surprise hearing Soren’s voice, “Thanks for defending me…but I pulled that trigger…it’s my fault.” No.
“But you decided to go to therapy and you took electroshock therapy to seal him away. You made up for it.”
“Alice…I killed my sister and father, I may have resented them but I never wanted to kill them…something inside me…snapped and it was just gunshots and sounds of pain coming to an abrupt silence; the silence of death. My nightmare makes so much sense now…I killed her and even if I erased it from my memory my dreams kept showing me the truth…I’m a murderer.” He began to shiver and I felt anger overtake me; grabbing Lily’s journal I clocked him on the head with it shocking Gareth and Lily.

Soren
As I lamented in my truth I felt something hard clock me on the head suddenly and looked up in surprise as Alice gave me an angry look; it was her usual angry looking but something about it felt more serious.
“Idiot! You’re not a murderer and I know it, I’ve been to three worlds with you and I know you aren’t a murderer. When I was lost in my own rage you protected me form a blast of fire that would have killed me; when we met Gareth you told me not to kill him because you felt he was trustworthy and you stopped me from killing Lily even when she had attacked us multiple time, just because you saw a difference in her eyes. If anyone is a killer it’s me…and you’ve stopped me every time from ending a life, would you call me a murderer Soren?” How could she say that!?
“Of course not! I know you Alice, you don’t attack without good reason and you wouldn’t kill indiscriminately.”
“And I know you Soren…you aren’t a mindless murderer and you wouldn’t kill even over a grudge. Do you trust me to tell the truth Soren?”…Alice…
“I do Alice...I trust you completely.” I replied and she smiled.
“Then give a grin…for me?” I gave her a smile and she laughed.
“Thanks…what about you two…do you think Soren is a murderer?” I looked over at Gareth and Lily who had shameful looks on their face.
“No.” Gareth said looking down, “Soren protected me more than once and never dealt a finishing blow to me in any practice bout…even against Damien. I’m sorry I doubted you Soren…I feel ashamed.”
“Me too.” Lily said shamefully, “You protected me from the collapsing ruins and stopped Alice from attacking and even came up to me despite the fact I was your enemy to see if I was okay…you wouldn’t murder any of your family.”
“It’s okay guys…I doubted myself too. It happens…but we can’t give up, if we do then they can destroy this world…I don’t want to see us fail…or watch our counterparts die.”
“R-Right!” Lily said confidently.
“We can’t let them win! We’re helping the heroes right? We would be pretty lousy if we let them die!” Gareth said with a confident smile.
“We can’t let them drive us apart or break us down. We’ve come too far to give up now.” Alice said giving us perspective; she was right though, if we falter then we give up on ourselves then this world is done for.
“Come on guys, we can do this! We have to stay strong!” They all gave a nod and we headed for the cockpit but as we left the room we ran into the Warriors of Light waiting at the door and then Kent spoke up as we stood there surprised at their appearance.
“I think it’s time you explain everything to us.”
Other people were always avoiding me or just treating me like garbage but I never let that affect me, I was the hero, maybe I would face hardships but in the end it would all be worth it. So I didn’t mind the hollow look in their eyes and bland personalities; they were just background characters in my larger story. As far as I cared they could be formless and husks and I wouldn’t care, the world was more interesting than any of them; at least beyond my world. With that feeling I will stare at the stars and continue to wish for my chance to be a hero and see those empty looks turn to praise and admiration at what I was able to do.

My name is Gareth, at least as far as I know that’s my name, that’s what the house mother gave me when I was old enough to understand words. I don’t have a last name though; kind of the back draw of being an orphan from birth, there’s nothing to clutch onto your past life but that didn’t faze me like some of the kids that came in. When I turned five I would watch as friends around me would leave with a happy look on their faces and see other friends come in with despair and sadness permanently stuck on their faces. They would come around eventually but when I looked at their eyes I would always see a small hint of sadness in their pupils; the house mother said I always had a big heart and that’s why I could tell when others were feeling down. When others weren’t feeling there best or looking sad I always acted happy and tried to cheer them up; sometimes it worked while other times they didn’t even respond and continued to sulk…but that didn’t stop me! I wanted to be like the house mother; she cared about everyone and worked to make sure we were all happy as we stayed there; she helped us all with getting adopted and made sure that those who adopted us were good people. I remember when she turned away a husband and wife outright after five minutes, it wasn’t till later that I found out they only wanted to adopt a kid because they needed a happy family image to get ahead in their careers. That’s another reason I loved the house mother, she protected us and kept those who would try to hurt any of us away, she was our guardian and my hero.

As I watched friends come and go I grew up into a young man as the house mother would put it; two days before my thirteenth birthday was my last interview with a couple, the house mother dressed me up and made sure I looked clean as she took me to meet the couple. I talked with them about my hobbies and who I looked up to which made the house mother blush and they smiled and laughed as we talked. They loved me and I was all set up to leave with my new mom and dad as I waited the next day for them to come back…hours passed and even the house mother had a worried look on her face but then the lady from yesterday came in with a pained look on her face and a sad glint in her eye. The man had died when they were leaving the orphanage and now she had to prepare the funeral and put him to rest, I walked over trying to cheer her up but as I gave her a smile I felt a hand slap across my face and she gave me a look of disgust.
“How dare you smile like that! This is all your fault!! WHY DO YOU EVEN EXIST?!!!” She screamed and I felt my heart jump in pain at that accusation…my fault; did he die because of me? The house mother demanded she leave and had to push her out as I sat there in a daze at what had happened; the mark on my cheek stung and I could hear those words ringing in my head, why do I exist? As I was held by the house mother I heard the chime of the wall clock and looked to see it was twelve the next day. I was now thirteen.

Turning thirteen changes the world around you drastically; from the day I turned thirteen the interviews were no longer coming and the other kids in the orphanage gave me looks of fear or distain and as I passed through the halls or played games in the main room I felt more alone than I ever did before. I didn’t let it faze me though, heroes never gave in and held strong in the face of adversity; that’s what the house mother would do and that’s what every video game hero would do to. With everyone acting so cold I spent most of my time playing games and emulating with those I played as; every game I played made me feel more like the fearless adventurers and selfless heroes that made me feel like I had potential if I never lost myself. It was calming and exhilarating to think there was more out there than just this world and I dreamed about it with every fiber of my being. I joined the boy scouts to gain this feeling and become more skilled…granted there was a girl scout portion I’m not particularly proud of but I had a goal to achieve. To be strong and fearless…to be loved by those around me and praised instead of treated like garbage everywhere I went; turning thirteen make people see you less as an innocent child and more as an untrustworthy teenager as they gave me shifty glances and scared glances. As I saw this everywhere I went the looks began to blend and become hollow of feeling, just a normal boring look I was used to seeing on everyone no matter where I went; just people who were hollow; background characters like Toad or shopkeepers in video games, just people that were there to be saved by a hero. I avoided people as much as possible and spent time at night enjoying the stars in the sky; the stars too far away for me to reach but told me that there was more out there for me and more chances for me to be a hero…to be like the one person who cared about me…my mother. Maybe she wasn’t my actual mother but the house mother felt like the closest thing to a mother I would ever have and the one person who was my hero and a main character in my life…at least until that day.

I was seventeen, at this point I didn’t even bother with other people and neither did they, as far as they were concerned I was another faceless person and I didn’t care…I didn’t care if they didn’t care about me, no one had to care about me. I only had one person I cared about anyway and I didn’t mind, she was the only one who needed to be a main character with me as far as I cared, she was the only one who knew I was there anyway and that’s the only person I needed to notice me. I fell asleep that night on the hill and woke up around the time that it was time for the house mother to make her rounds; I had to hurry back before she noticed I was gone and punished me when I got back. I rushed back in a hurry and opened the door slowly and tiptoed inside towards the sleeping room and was shocked to see mother making her rounds at the bed and she moved from one kid’s bed to the next. The next second passed by slowly as she moved from my neighbor’s bed to mine and then kept walking onto the next one. She had skipped my bed, as though I didn’t exist…like everyone else looks at me; in that moment she darkened and her eyes became hollow, she had become a background character, my hero was now a background character and I felt my heart shatter. No one cared; I was alone for the second time in my life…what’s that light?

<FINISH THE STORY>

The long brick roads, the towering castles, the clear sky and bottomless pits stretching along a long path; I knew where I was and I felt like I was given a chance, I looked around to see Goombas and Koopas roaming the land which meant that the Mushroom Kingdom was in turmoil and the princess was kidnapped. As long as I was here I could become a hero and be surrounded by those who know me…those who want me…those who don’t see me as a waste of a human being. Those who don’t scorn my existence…and whose eyes are not hollow.
“Are you okay?” I sat up and looked to see a short man in overalls and a red hat looking at me; it was Mario, the hero of this world, the one who could take my dream away from me, “If not I’m going to rob you.” What!?
“Rob me!?”
“Oh, you’re okay, that sucks.” Was this really Mario; he seems less heroic and more…sleazy than what I imagined, “Well guess I’ll just go back to robbing houses.” As he walked away something in my brain told me to stop him and I outstretched my hand grabbing his overalls, “…Yes?”
“Aren’t you going to rescue Princess Toadstool?” I asked eagerly awaiting his response; he burst out laughing at that question and after wiping away a fake tear he gave me a strange smile.
“Listen kid, this kingdom is going under, no amount of rescue or diplomacy will change that, I’m getting mine while I have the chance and saying goodbye to this dump of a kingdom as fast as I can.” So he didn’t want to be the hero and he wanted to get out of here; seems like Mario is much less noble than I ever believed him to be, “That said with everyone abandoning their houses whatever is left over is mine as long as I get to it. If I’m going to run out I might as well make out like a bandit in the process.” He gave a dark chuckle as he said that and I felt the skin on my neck crawl as I stood there; something about Mario rubbed me the wrong way…but now I could take his place and be the hero!
“Looks like it’s up to me to save the princess then!” I said triumphantly; Mario scoffed at my outburst.
“As long as you don’t get in the way of my looting I don’t care.” As he walked away he stopped suddenly and turned around with a sly smile on his face, “That being said, we should work together on this venture, you clear the area of the enemies and I lift them of their valuables as well as any house valuables along the way, deal?” It sounded like a fair trade to me; thinking it over didn’t make my decision any less sure either so I shook his hand with a firm grip.
“Deal!”

We walked across the first few areas without any problems and dispatched of most of the troops by kicking them over the pit; this would work better if I had a weapon to work with but for now all I could was punch them off the platforms as Mario did the same only adding kicks to his combos. In the clear moments between enemies I took the time to come up with a brand new name for myself in this world; if I was going to live here I was going to reinvent my identity and make a new name for myself, I’m thinking…Glitch. In this time I also decided to put my sewing skills to use and grabbed some yarn from the houses creating a handful of flags; if I was going to take down Bowser’s flags I was going to put up my own! We traveled from pole to pole eventually coming to the first castle which was leagues beyond the size I was expecting; I felt slightly intimidated as I stared at the massive structure but was jolted by Mario moving past me and entering the castle without a hint of fear. I followed behind and we walked into the castle which was devoid of enemies at all; walking further in I could hear a strange creaking sound and another sound of popping bubbles; what was happening in this place? We approached an area with a wooden bridge suspended over a pit of boiling lava, at the end of the bridge stood a Goomba who was larger than any other Goomba we came across.
“Who are you?” He asked with a sense of authority in his voice, “No one may cross by order of King Koopa!” As he finished his decree Mario shot forward and punched the creature making it wobble back.
“Grab the battle axe!” Mario yelled as he continued to wail on the goomba; I dashed past them and grabbed the enormous axe raising it up and swinging it wildly with no control; after a moment I decided to use the axes momentum and swung using it to my advantage. As I got the hang of it I heard a sharp slicing sound and turned to see my axe had cut across the goomba a spray of blood following the open wound as the creatures eyes rolled back and it fell to the ground limp and dead, “Good job, let’s keep moving.” As Mario passed me I got a thrilling feeling in my body and looked into his eyes hoping to see something but as I looked I saw a hollow look like the rest, even with this world I was still bound by my speculations and life in the last…guess it will all end when I am a hero. We moved on seeing the princess wasn’t in that castle and moved through the next area with ease, now with my battle axe I was able to rip through enemy after enemy with little resistance making our trek across the area even quicker than before; this adventure would be over soon at this rate, it wasn’t even the end of the day and we had already cleared the first castle! I slid down the pole after putting up my flag and looked back to admire my work; I was going to line this world with my new name. As we walked away I heard a strange noise and we turned around to see a boy had jumped onto the flag pole and pulled off my flag as he slid down the pole. He didn’t even notice us as he got in the position to run.
“Hey! That’s my flag you jackass!” He stopped in shock at my outburst and looked at us in surprise before going into deep thought as he looked us over; he was starting to piss me off, “Earth to moron! Answer me!” He gave a small jolt and I looked down at MY flag in his hand, “What the hell did you think you were doing! You ripped my flag off of the pole!” I pulled it out of his hand and climbed up the pole sticking it back on top; I jumped back down as Mario was now examining the boy intently.
“Who are you? You aren’t a resident of the Mushroom kingdom, and you don’t look like you’re part of Bowser’s army.” Really? I looked over the boy and he was right, he looked out of place…kind of like me.
“My name is Soren and I was actually looking for you.” Soren…sounds like a fake name.

After an arrangement we agreed to let ‘Soren’ travel with us but he had one condition that seemed ludicrous to me.
“You two are not allowed to kill any of Bowser’s men. No bloodshed, inner bleeding or decapitating limbs.” He didn’t want us killing any of Bowser’s men; that seemed crazy, they were the enemy and to be a hero I have to defeat any enemy in my way. He spoke with a sense of seriousness in his voice…but background characters don’t speak like that, he’s out of his bounds, “NO BLOODSHED!” With his outburst I felt my inner voice die down looking at his eyes, for once they weren’t hollow; I could sense an intense feeling behind them that I couldn’t determine; as he came back to his senses his eyes hollowed out again…what was that? After that outburst we agreed to his terms and moved as a group from then on; it didn’t take long for that to break apart though.

It took two days to fall apart; Mario was revealed to be a shapeshifter, I had attacked Soren, a girl named Alice had saved him and then Soren saved me, now I was traveling with Soren and Alice as we continued down the path. Alice said Soren had sparred me but I don’t understand why, the shapeshifter had said that he wanted to stop me…and I still believed that; his reasons had convinced me of that. I would have killed both of them there but something had caught my eye…their eyes. It wasn’t all the time but Soren and Alice would occasionally reveal a glint of something beyond the void of their eyes…they were the first people to have depth in their eyes in a long time…but why!? Everyone around me is a background character, small insignificant pieces in my story but these two were different; they showed more than their own desires, their eyes yearned and showed depth while fighting, they fought with purpose…but it wasn’t their own purpose. It showed mostly when they spoke to each other, a swirl of emotions and depth that I couldn’t believe could be conveyed through conversation…no, they’re just characters in the bigger story I play…I am the hero!

We continued to travel and as we did I learned more about Soren and Alice, their past was still a mystery but their emotions rang loud enough for me to pick up; Soren was dim and seem to carry on air of mediocrity about him, he wasn’t anything special and the way he talked and moved showed, he was average…and yet he wasn’t. He was overly trusting and wanted to know as much as he could find out about me…even in times where I felt skeptical I never completely distrusted him; something about him made me feel safe and when we laughed…it made me want to laugh along…like friends do. Alice was almost opposite compared to Soren; she came off cold and distrustful of me, whenever we walked she would glance back at me and then back to Soren; she seemed loyal to Soren and yet she was still cold to him as well. She wasn’t as cold as she was with me but she seemed almost harsher to Soren than to me; I’ve caught plenty of times when she hit him on the head, I thought they were friends!? As I looked at her eyes though they seemed to light up when she talked to Soren and when she laughed and smiled at him it completely changed her personality. Her eyes told the whole story in those few seconds of smiling; she became much less cold and likable…almost girlish which was weird considering her normal cold attitude; there was also a caring quality that seem to shine in her eyes more than anything, she really wanted to protect something important to her. These two seemed like more than almost anyone else…maybe they weren’t background characters, they couldn’t be heroes though…that’s my job!

…I’m not the hero, I can barely be considered a hero…Soren is a real hero; he fights with a purpose more than his own and gives his all to protect those around him. In my foolishness I was supposed to end up dead; burnt to a crisp and turned to ashes by a breath of fire…but then he appeared. He moved in front and took the creature out and in that moment after the battle the quality in his eyes seemed…unquestionably heroic; I had thought about this through our travels and I had decided to get rid of him if he ever showed any sign of being in my way but as I stood there in bewilderment I didn’t feel mad…I was sad. Looking back at both of our actions side by side I honestly feel like I was never a hero…I was just selfish. I was willing to take out Soren and Alice just because they might be in the way; I never even thought about their strife, all I wanted was to be a hero and these guys worked to protect each other…and me. Yet despite my best efforts…it happens again.

I was fighting Soren again with pure rage making my blood boil and fester, my mind was hazy and unclear, the only thing I remembered was the comment about my family and then my body became enraged. Family…the one thing I don’t have, because of my parents and because…because of me; it’s my fault that man died, she said as much and I deserved that slap…I wasn’t supposed to exist. Not as a human being and definitely not as a hero.
“Don’t you want to be the hero? If you kill your own ally then what type of hero are you?”…He considered me a hero? No…he never let me give up on my goal, he still let me think I could be a hero…I can’t hurt him…I won’t hurt him or Alice! I felt my body return to me and looked to see Soren had pinned me down…my friend had saved me.

We stood there in despair as the boss and Damien disappeared, everyone was feeling like we failed and we couldn’t win…and they might be right, how can we go up against someone that powerful! As I looked at Alice and Soren I felt a different type of fire make my blood boil, as I looked at their defeated looks I felt my mind begin to race; we can’t give up, if we give up then they won’t be the same. I stood up and approached Soren.
“You’re not giving up are you? If we’re going to save this world than we can’t give up.”
“We already have, it doesn’t matter how far ahead we are, they’re always going to catch up and beat us.” He said that and I felt my mind agree but my heart seem to shout a different response.
“Bull crap! We can’t just give up because we feel like we can’t win, if we don’t keep trying then they win and people die! Are you willing to let all those people die because you decided to give up, because I’m not! If you’re going to spare our enemies to save them then you better be ready to save those you’re trying to protect to! Got it?” I saw a spark light in his eyes and I felt my heart leap; looking behind Alice gave me a confident smile, these two meant more to me than I ever expected anyone else to, they had more emotions and were the main characters that I didn’t want to see fall; as far as I was concerned these two were worth protecting, both physically and emotionally.

We traveled as fast as we could across the land eventually meeting up with the actual Mario and Luigi, their eyes were hollow as I looked at them but I didn’t care, Soren and Alice were the only ones I wanted to see with depth in their eyes and they did, every time I looked at them they conveyed depth that didn’t disappear and I was fine with that, other people are still just background characters after all. As we traveled I told them my story and how I came to be here and they didn’t seem fazed, as I spoke they listened and at the end they told me that they wouldn’t let me die…that I was important to them…thank you so much…both of you. Eventually we made it to the end, the town just before the final castle and I felt exhilaration course through me, with this triumph I could become a hero…that’s what I’ve wanted this whole time and I was so close to it. As we moved through the town I came to a halt looking at a building and getting a feeling of deja-vu looking at it…that can’t be!

I rushed into my orphanage to see it was exactly like the one back home, from the rust to the broken wood planks everything was here, it was my home and prison; abandoned. As I stood there a shriek broke through and I looked at the direction it came from rushing towards it until I came upon a group of Toad children being surrounded by piranha plants. I felt my body go into auto-pilot and jumped in front blocking the toad children from harm…why though? I didn’t even think of being heroic before jumping in I just leapt without thinking, did my mind want me to protect these children…or my heart. Eventually Soren and Alice showed up and dispatched of the piranha plants…thank god. After everything was settled Alice and Soren explained that every world shows similarities and that no matter where I go I can’t escape them…so I would never escape myself…wait…why did I want to escape myself?

I stood there over Bowser with my ace in hand; the cloaked man had said if I slay Bowser than I can be the hero, I could achieve my dream with a single blow…but is that what I wanted? If I do this then I lose Soren and Alice, the two people who care about me, because of my selfishness…but it’s more than that. It took me this long to find out but what made me so interested in them wasn’t their depth…but their caring nature…like I use to have. The house mother always said I had a big heart…I cared about other people, not just my friends but everyone…for these past years I sealed away that heart to try to become a hero. I became cynical, self-centered, the hollowness in others eyes were just me rejecting them…belittling them and reducing them to background characters…but there are no background characters; everyone was a main character. That day when that woman slapped me I hadn’t become unimportant…I began to run from myself…and I think it’s time to stop running from Gareth. I lifted my axe over Bowser…and swung backwards cutting the cloaked guys left arm right off.

…I woke up and looked around to see I was back in my bed at the orphanage, back in my normal clothes and back to my normal self, it was over; I was back on earth and I was glad, I missed home.
“Gareth!” I looked over to see the house mother with a shocked look on her face, “Oh thank god you woke up!” She rushed over and pulled me into a hug, “You were out late last night and when you came back you collapsed in the living room! You’ve been asleep all day, I was so worried!”
“You knew I was out?”
“I’ve known since you were fifteen, I let you do it because I knew you would be safe…but you worried me so much by just collapsing in the den! Are you okay?”
“I’m okay.” As she pulled away I looked into her eyes and the hollowness from before was replaced with more depth than I could begin to comprehend, “Better than ever.” That’s right! I looked around franticly and looked up at the clock; 1;13 pm, perfect, “I’ve got to go meet up with someone, I’ll be back before bedtime though.” I said hastily getting out of bed.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ve got some friends to meet.” Before I left I turned around and gave…mother a big hug, “Thank you mother.” She returned the hug and gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead.
“Be safe.” With that I left the orphanage and rushed towards the hospital cutting through some backyards and parks until I came upon the building; I rushed in and dashed up the stairs coming to a door with the name Alice Blair adorned on it. I opened the door and looked to see Soren standing there as Alice was in the hospital bed…it didn’t matter though, these were the people I trusted most and no matter what happens I will consider them to be…my family.

From that day on Soren and Alice became the reason people’s eyes became deeper than the ocean floor.
Monotone, black and white that dominate the world as the most noticeable colors; yet when they are alone they’re seen as bland and pale. On their own they give the world a boring and simple taste…or maybe it’s because those who see the world that way associate it with those colors of intense light and intense dark. As for me I see black and white as remnants of the flavor of the world sapped away; every piece of color taken away leaving a husk that has no use and those in it who have caused it are no better…everyone is bland and tasteless.

My name is Alice Blair and I see this world in pure black and white colors; there’s no exception to this, the people, the sky, everything is either a shade of black or white. Faces didn’t matter to me, after all…what’s left to see from a hospital window; everything around me is just another moment or experience that I have been denied since I was a child. Nothing was worth it anymore, everyone was just useless…of course…that included me; when I look into mirrors all I see is a strange black shape in the reflection where I should be, I came to expect that, after all…I was the most worthless of all.

Ever since I was able to walk I was fascinated by the world and everything it had to offer; nature was vibrant and green and gave me the feeling of an area to explore and an experience to live through and challenge. Everything I saw shinned with color and flavor that gave me thrills and pushed me to taste life. When I looked at my mother and father they shinned the brightest of all, even as lawyers they never let new experiences pass them by and always had the strength to take it on, they never feared the world or found it boring because they always had the courage to find something new about it; I wanted to be like them with all my heart.

One day as I was playing with my mother and father at the park when as my left foot stepped to the ground in a run it went limp and then I felt my other leg do the same; as I plummeted to the ground I felt something that only happened when I had no control of a dangerous situation…terror coursed through me as I fell to the dirt. My parents rushed me to the hospital and they ran multiple tests on me; when I looked over at my parents I saw that same look of terror across both of their faces and in that moment they shinned a little less than before. When the tests were over I was admitted to a room and stayed there for a full week as doctors and nurses checked in and did various test with me; as the days passed by I felt my appetite grow, the world was beyond those walls but I wasn’t able to reach it. In that moment I watched as the room I was in turned monotone before my eyes for I had spent a week in this room and the flavor it had when I first arrived was now gone.

My parents took me home and when I entered our house everything seemed…less colorful, nothing had the same shine it held before and that’s when I felt another rare emotion, fear; it enveloped me as I thought about how the wonder this place had before was now dimming and I couldn’t comprehend why. I pushed those thoughts aside and got back to finding everything the world around me had to offer; however as I did this everything around me seemed dimmer and less vibrant than before, even new experiences seemed duller and devoid of the same amount of flavor I had sampled before. Luckily my parents shinned as brightly as ever, and then it happened again, my legs gave out and I felt terror seep back into my skin but as that happened I felt my body go numb and for the first time my mind did something I had never felt the need to do…it panicked.

When I awoke I was back in the colorless hospital room and to my right I could see a female doctor talking to my mom and dad; then the doctor shook her head sadly and my mother cried as she clutched my father with all her might…that was the first time I’ve ever seen my mother cry; I’ve been to plenty of mother’s court cases but this was the first time I’ve seen her so weak in a situation of tension. After that my mother and father never shinned as brightly in my eyes as they did before.


Three years later I was still lying in that hospital bed in the monotone room, the world had turned less colorful year by year but I never gave up as my parents would always visit me giving me a chance to hear what they had done and the new experiences they had flavored giving me a small taste of the world outside leaving it still colorful in my eyes. Even after three years my parents never shinned like they use to after that day but I didn’t mind, I still wanted to be like them and see the world with my own two eyes, I held that hope for five years longer as I sat in that bed waiting for the day I would leave and go back into the world full of the flavor I craved…then I read my file.

During one of my usual check-ups from my doctor, Dr. Verlais, she looked over a clipboard as we talked and she did her usual check on my body taking measurement and making sure my vitals were stable, standard stuff, her phone suddenly rang and she left the room leaving behind her clipboard with my data on it. Deciding this was worth checking I looked over the files she had on me; I skimmed through the basic stuff when something caught my attention, on my record it had my symptom and time of entry from eight years ago and below it was time of release…it said indefinite stay. Suddenly I felt my heart skip a beat in shock as I read that word and then the clipboard and every word on that page turned white; when Dr. Verlais came back in I asked her about this and she replied that my illness was prolonged due to my weak immune system meaning that my body had robbed me of the world I wanted to see so badly. She left me to contemplate this…and I cried; I cried and screamed in frustration, anger and depression as I realized I was going to possibly spend the rest of my life in this bed; when I finished crying I pulled my hands away to see they were no longer the rosy peach and were now pale white. Pulling a mirror to my face I saw my face was the same and my eyes were a dark black with no pupil…I had become monotone in my own eyes…because I realized that because of my body the world was out of reach and couldn’t taste the flavor of the world…because I had no flavor to call my own. I found out that my parents knew all about this and tried to keep it secret from me, they didn’t want me to worry but I didn’t worry when I found out…everything just became stale. In that moment as I looked up at my parents with those worried expressions on their faces they turned the same monotone as the rest of the world…and stayed that way.

How long has it been? Never mind…I don’t really care anyway; time stopped mattering longer than I can remember ago; this world was too black and white for me to care anyway. Everything and everyone was just a shape, nothing came in clearly anymore; items were just that and people were just shapes…people; why should I trust other? Those I trusted even more than anyone else lied to me, besides…no one wants a weak girl any way, even the games that once caught my attention were just pixels moving on a screen and there was no wonder. Everything in this world whether made or natural had no wonder for me, even if my parents tried to return that feeling it never worked; their shield had broken and I’d seen the scared faces behind them that drained any wonder from them for me. Was this where it ended? Was I done with this world already? Had my broken body done everything it could…this body was weaker than I thought it was…I wish I was someone else entirely…what’s that light?

This world is new…my body can move… I can move freely…I don’t have to stay in that room anymore! I ran through the field feeling the grass between my hands as I rolled along and took in everything I could excited to see something new…but…it was all still monotone colored. This world suffered the same as mine did…this world had no color, no flavor.

I knew that I had to do what the note said, there was nothing else to do; maybe by following the directions I would gain my lost flavor and see what this world had to offer for my new life, after all…I’m never going back to that dull world and that weak body. Deciding to break regular convention I headed for the third dungeon knowing I could go in any order I chose for these dungeons…for once it was my choice on what I wanted to do and I was going to do what I damned well pleased! Passing the threshold I pulled out my sword and rushed into the opening coming to a room with strange gelatinous figures moving around the room; I sliced at one and my blade passed through it like butter but it reformed back together. I sliced hastily hoping that they would break apart and stay that way but to no avail, soon they had surrounded me and I began to sweat with worry. As my brain raced the forms stopped moving around and began to solidify as the room seemed to heat up and turn whiter. I dispatched of the forms and looked over to see a tall figure facing me, someone else was here?

He told me his name was Soren but I didn’t really care, he looked just like everyone else I have ever met…a humanoid form with no detail, didn’t matter what he looked like anyway…if he was like me that made him weak and I don’t want a reminder of my own weakness. He followed me through the whole dungeon and surprisingly showed his resourcefulness a few times…didn’t change his weakness in my eyes. Eventually we came upon the boss room and hearing him scream I dug through the ground to find something round and chalky touch my hands…it must have been a skull…what the hell is this world!? The ground began to shift and a creature rose from the sand; as I rushed at it I felt something hot come at me and the next second I felt intense burning and pain before I passed out onto the floor.

When I woke up I looked to see my body was good as new without any damages or bruises from the fights in the dungeon; next to me was the boy who gave a relieved sigh…was he glad I was okay? After a bit of talking we came to the conclusion to work together for now…I couldn’t trust him…he’s just like everyone else. Acting nice but he’s got to be lying to me…it was the only truth I could trust anymore.

After a bit of traveling we made it to the next dungeon and entered moving through it without too much resistance…it was emptier than it should be but that didn’t matter to me…then we met him. As he spoke I felt my mind begin to lose itself to anger with every word he spewed! …breath Alice…breath…
“This fresh start won’t stop what’s happening in the real world. Your body won’t hea-”
“SHUT UP!!!” My mind went blank as my vision completely faded turning everything black; I was still conscious but I wasn’t in control anymore…my anger now ruled my mind, the only thing I could hear was Soren’s voice trying to break through as I flailed and struck him returning to my assault of this creature in front of me with everything I had…what!? I felt the world return to my vision as someone stood in front of me blocking the attack that came at me…in that moment the boy shinned brighter than before and everything in the room came into full color for the first time in years. The boy in front of me had medium scruffy brown hair and wore a black trench cloak with matching black fingerless gloves and a red shirt with blue pants…he came in with colors that I haven’t seen in years…was this Soren?

After he passed out I took over taking care of the three-headed dragon on my own…it was an actual thing instead of just a figure in the shadows; dispatching of it I grabbed Soren and headed for the golden colored Triforce piece touching it feeling the healing light consume us. When it was over we were outside and everything was back to monotone colors…no color was present anymore and the world still had no flavor. I looked down at Soren to see he was still colorful in my eyes…why? He still had the brown scruffy hair and light pink skin that I saw before and he came in clearer than anyone else or anything…what was he?

…I was right…he’s just like everyone else! I sat in the square of the hidden village pissed off at Soren for not listening to me when I said this place wasn’t good; whenever I looked at this place I saw people with fake smiles and content looks as they became like caged animals, becoming content with their imprisonment underground…like the hospital wanted me to become…and I almost did. Yet Soren seemed to not see it and it pissed me off…here I thought he might understand me, he might be the one I could trust and the one who could bring back the color I longed for…foolish! I left the village and headed out…without Soren, he was content as a caged animal and that was that…but even as I looked at him with anger he still had that color to him. Doesn’t matter anyway…wait…what was that? I stopped and looked at the stationary grave to see it was a monument to the people of Kakariko  Village…but that girl was…oh no! Soren!

As I rushed back everything was deftly silent as I rushed from tent to tent looking for Soren until I came upon it and saw the girl on top of him and kicked her off; I looked at Soren before being thrown at him and then we both looked to see the girl giving us a menacing smile as she grabbed Soren with a tail choking him; not on my watch! I struck her with the hilt of my blade and she dropped him and looked at me…I couldn’t see her expression but I’m guessing it wasn’t good.

After finishing up with her we were ejected from the shelter and I gave Soren and apology for the way I acted…I don’t exactly know what compelled me to apologize but something inside screamed at me to give him an apology so…I did. He apologized as well and in that moment he became brighter in my eyes; he was just like every other boy I had met before but there was something different about him. It wasn’t what he said…it’s what he did that set him apart from the others…he gave his own body to protect me even after everything I did to him and he’s willing to give me another chance even after abandoning him. His trusting nature seemed to draw me in and give me a feeling of safety and wonder as I looked at him…he was courageous and protective and a little dense when it came to some situations…but I couldn’t resist his trusting nature to not be there for me. His voice wouldn’t catch anyone but his actions would speak loud enough to hear the words he tried to express.

I followed him as he led us from dungeon to dungeon, defeating every enemy and becoming stronger…and as I followed him the world became brighter around us. Even as he fought his inner demons I followed and pulled him back from the depths he saved me from and as I felt fear pull me down as he looked me in the eye with rage his color didn’t fade…because this wasn’t him…this wasn’t Soren and I knew Soren would never look at me like that. When I found out his past his shine never dimmed and as I told him my story I felt something inside flicker and begin to burn; as I stared at the fire I saw the fire burn a bright orange and the gray of the cave walls turn to a slight hue of brown…flavor returned around me as I spoke and he listened intently. At the end of it all we stood up and looked at each other with a new sense of understanding about each other and as the sun rose I saw the world turn orange under its light and I almost felt like crying…this was the flavor I had longed for.

The adventure eventually came to an end and as it did I felt exhilaration and sadness as I sat next to Soren waiting to go back to my world…when this began I thought I was going to stay here forever but now I want to go back…I want to see the color return to the world I grew up in. With everything that has happened I just want to see my world with the flavors I had seen return in my own eyes, I’m even excited to see other people and find out more about my world when I leave the hospital because…I can’t give up…I promised Soren I would fight to see the world beyond the hospital again and I want to, with all my heart, be able to experience the world again. As we sat waiting for whatever would happen to take us back Soren asked me a question.
“Tell me where do you live?” He wanted to know where I live? Even if were not from the same world he wants to see me again, “I want to believe in that one in a million chance that we’ll meet again, don’t you?” I held back every fiber of my being not to cry, I’ve acted tough throughout all of this and now with one question I felt like tearing up from the idea that I could see him again…of course I wanted to see him again, I could never forget this boy; he was too trustworthy, more than a little stupid, and completely over impulsive and kind…but I never want to lose him. He helped me regain my own self-worth and flavor, he stood by me through thick and thin to make it to the end of this and I don’t want to lose him after all this…I’ll take his chance.
“I live in Aurora Colorado.

I woke up in my hospital bed and the world was different, it was my hospital room but everything I looked at had a new color to it I had never seen before, it wasn’t the world I knew, it was brand new…and yet the same. As I looked at everything around me I watched as someone opened the door and he stood there shining bright enough to make everything around him become brighter…it was Soren; I felt myself begin to cry, and I pulled him into a hug feeling my tears pool out of my eyes like a faucet; I didn’t care though…the one person who had brought me back from the brink was here and he was real…I didn’t care if everyone else said he was nothing, that he was only okay or just slightly cool, to me he was the greatest person anyone could ever know and for the rest of my life he will shine brighter than anyone else in my eyes, because he wasn’t just a flavor to dry up, he was an ever changing experience that I could taste over and over again and always go back in again a million times over. He wasn’t just colors or a person…he was more than that to me, he was the reason my flavor returned and he was my most trusted partner that I would never see as dull ever again. My world would never go empty again as long as he was there and I would never let him go because he was my most trusted partner, my best friend, and my reason to walk again.

From that day on, every time I was with him the world shinned brighter than when I was by myself.
Alice (World Similarities Book 1)
Backstories elude more when you hear it from the source. So here's a source.
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Once the warriors returned to the ship I showed them the fairy we had bought and they showed us a strange cube they got from the robot; It was small and only needed one hand to hold it, it was also very light, almost seemed hollow.
“Why did he give you a weightless cube?” I asked and Kent shrugged.
“He just handed us the cube and then went silent, when I tried to get his attention he seemed immobile and stiff; as though he would never move again.”
“So he shut down…seems he was waiting for that moment and when it came he finally shut down done with his duty.” Alice said sure of her guess.
“Well now we have a cube…I’m n-not sure what it does though?” Sena said looking at it from every angle.
“Well we can worry about that later, for now we have what we need to advance to the water crystal.” Pent said pointing to the fairy on my shoulder; now that we had her we could acquire the oxyale and enter the submarine to get to the bottom of the ocean where the water crystal was, hopefully it had the hull to survive the corrosive water, “Let’s head for Gaia to return the fairy.”
“I have a name!” The tiny girl said with an angry pout on her face, “It’s Wendy.”
“Well then Wendy, let’s get you home.” I said and she beamed happily.
“Right!” As Kent began piloting us towards the far mountains Gareth took to the lower area of the ship to avoid getting motion sick while the rest of us stayed on the deck; I made sure to stay near the center to avoid getting vertigo while Lily and Sena sat in the crow’s nest while Hana went to the cockpit while Pent began training. I looked over to see Alice looking over the side with a smile on her face as she took in a deep breath; letting it out I could sense she was feeling exhilarated and energetic as she looked down at the land.
“Are you enjoying the view?” I asked from where I stood and she turned with the same smile on her face.
“Yep, even if it’s dangerous I still enjoy the moments like these when we travel to different worlds; with all the turmoil and fighting we deal with it’s nice to breath the fresh air and walk through the world…and  yet you stand there not even enjoying it, is your vertigo that bad?”
“Well I just think about how I could fall at any moment and my vision starts to blur and my head spins.”
“Oh don’t let that stop you.” Grabbing me she dragged me to the edge and as I looked down I felt my sense begin to spin until she wrapped her arm around me; looking at her she had a redness to her cheeks, “If you’re so scared of falling then I’ll hold onto you so you don’t fall.”
“Well…thanks Alice.”
“It’s just because I don’t want you falling…but you’re welcome.” As I looked out at the tiny far away land I felt safe with Alice holding onto me, guess this view is pretty nice…why is my heart racing so fast then…and why are my cheeks so hot?

Gareth
“Ohhh…this is not going well…urp!” I felt my stomach try to bring up my breakfast as the ship soared through the sky towards Gaia; having motion sickness wasn’t the most ideal of situations and definitely hindered any short travels on buses.
“H-Hey Gareth?” I turned to the door to see Lily standing there with a book in her hands.
“Wh-urp…what’s up?” I asked holding back the vomit currently wanting to make its appearance on the wood floor; not if I could help it though.
“Well…I found this book on the ship and apparently it lists techniques for conquering motion sickness.”
“R…Really?”
“Y-Yep! Here.” She opened the book and as I looked at the words I felt my stomach do even more twists and turns; might not be a good idea to try to look at something while moving, “Oh! S-Sorry, I forgot about that…most car trips aren’t a problem…guess it’s the perks of being a book worm.” She giggled nervously and I gave a weak laugh.
“It’s okay…I think I’ll just sleep until we get to Gaia. Would you mind waking me when we get there?”
“Sure…a-and if you want I can h-help you get to sleep with a story.” She said pulling out a strange book, “I found this a few towns back a-and decided to get it. These stories m-might help you sleep.” A story…sounds kind of nice actually.
“Sure. Give me your best one.” I said hopping into the nearby bed as she opened the book of fairytales and flipped through them.
“This is called: the princesses’ dragon.” She read the story aloud with her eyes glued to the words as she read it to me; it was a story about a princess who’s kidnaped by a dragon only to learn that the dragon was just lonely and wanted someone to spend time with, he chose the princess because of her understanding nature and kind smile that drew him to her. They bonded in the time of her capture and the dragon agreed to let her go but then the king’s knights showed up ready to defeat the dragon and as the princess tried to stop them they eventually slew him as he didn’t want to fight back…he didn’t want to hurt anyone but they wouldn’t listen…because he was a dragon…isn’t that the truth. In his final moments he didn’t regret capturing the princess because she was the first person to care about him; as he died the princess wept tears of sorrow that confused the knights and king, to cry for a beast was strange…eventually the princess became queen and vowed to protect the dragons with every fiber of her being, she would not see them killed for just being dragons, “The end…are you okay Gareth?” Lily gave me a concerned look and I felt something wet fall down my cheek.
“Nothing…this story just hits close to home for me.” I replied wiping it away.
“If it’s not too much trouble would you mind telling me?” She asked meekly.
“It’s something pretty basic is all, racism still exist in very twisted forms; back home I was accused for crimes when I passed by to see what was wrong, all because I was black. I was never taken to jail but it hurt to think I was judged for how I looked, being an orphan didn’t help either; being an orphan meant to the cops that I had nothing to lose so I must have done it but that wasn’t me. I kept my nose pretty clean, except when I snuck out at night to head for the hill but it wasn’t illegal to stargaze. If it wasn’t for Alice and Soren I might have made the same mistake. I would have done something stupid and effectively ended my life because I was alone, but I don’t want to make that mistake.”
“I never thought you would.” Lily replied making me give her a quizzical look at which she became flustered, “I j-j-just mean that you a-always try to find the positive in situations. You try to cheer people up when their down even if it seems impossible and I-I-I believe that you would have made friends regardless because of your g-good nature.” So that’s what she meant…she really can capture the tinniest details can’t she?
“Even so…I’m glad I met Soren and Alice…and you…after everything we’ve all been through as travelers and as earthlings in our normal lives were all still alive, we’ve all made it this far because we persevered. Soren protected each of us at some point and still got back up to fight again despite his own problems that he had to face, Alice overcame her weaknesses and continued to move to not only help herself but help us as well, I learned that there are some things more important than my own happiness and by protecting those I care about we all become happier together instead of my own hollow happiness…and you Lily; you realized that you couldn’t continue to support what you knew was wrong and protected Soren in his hour of need, with that you joined us and became a valuable ally and friend to all of us…you even got rid of Alice’s doubt, that’s awesome. Now we’re all friends and I know we can do anything together!” Once I finished my monologue I looked over to see Lily with a deep crimson blush on her face as she swung from left to right mumbling to herself; she was actually pretty adorable with how shy she was.
“W-W-W-Well th-th-thank you G-G-Gareth…that’s very sw-sw-sweet. I’m glad I met all of you guys to…it feels better than being alone.”
“Hey I have a question. If you sided with Owen then didn’t that mean you were working with a team?”
“No…every mission was a solo mission because we were dealing with new travelers, there was never any need to work together…until you guys came around. When Damien wasn’t enough they sent me to help but I wasn’t much help.”
“That’s a good thing; I don’t think I even wanted to go up against you in a serious fight.”
“Hehe, well even so you guys would have kicked our butts. When we came to this world he tried getting a three on three with him helping but we saw how that ended.”
“Yeah…hey what did he mean by he was going to get something back from you?”
“I’m guessing he meant my succubus part; from Sukia’s backstory I’m guessing he wants her back…which means he’s going to try and kill me…” As she sat there she began to tremble and had a look of fear and despair on her face; moving out of bed I put my hand on hers and gave her a confident smile.
“Don’t worry, we’ll make sure you don’t die,, I’ll personally protect you.” She gave a look of surprise and then gave a small giggle wiping her eyes.
“That makes me feel better…but I can’t rely on you to protect me, I want to help everyone and I can’t do that while I’m being protected.” What?
“Who said I was going to protect you from all harm?” It was her turn to give me a quizzical look and I laughed, “We’re a team; you, me, Alice and Soren are all working together to protect each other. That means each of us are going to get a little dirty but we’ll be there to protect each other when we need it…I expect you to have my back when I need it as well.” She gave me a confident look and nod, “Good then let’s make sure we protect each other…or it might end badly for Soren and Alice as well as us, we’re a team.”
“Right!”
“And we’ll call ourselves the Avenging wrecking balls!” She laughed loudly and I felt my cheeks heat up in embarrassment as she laughed out loud; everyone usually just give me a weird look but she laughed…it was nice to see she found it funny but even more embarrassing than being given a weird look.
“I think you should revise the name…I’ll help you…but then we have to check with Alice and Soren.”
“Alice will just shoot it down.”
“Not if we make it awesome…r-right?” I gave a chuckle feeling my heart race at this bonding feeling.
“Right.”

Soren
Once we touched down near Gaia Wendy started soaring around my head squealing happily; she must be excited to finally be so close to home, I wonder how long she’s been gone, must have been years from how ecstatic she was. We walked into town and Wendy flew away towards the forest getting engulfed in the forest; guess we were going to need to follow her into it.
“I’m going to go magic shopping with Hana.” Sena said as Hana stood next to her waving at us.
“Well I’m going to go see what the weapon shop has to offer.” Kent said.
“And I’m going to go restock us at the item shop; those who aren’t prepared are doomed to failure.” Pent said sounding insightful…monks are weird.
“Then I guess the four of us will go check on the fairy and grab the oxyale.” I said turning to the others who all nodded; with that we all separated with the four of us heading into the forest; eventually we came across a small lake with fairies surrounding it and flying over it happily content with their lives.
“This place is so peaceful.” Lily said in amazement as fairies came over and flew around us examining us all.
“It’s like a tiny paradise.” Gareth said as one of the fairies landed on his hand.
“This place is filled with nature.” Alice said looking around at the greenery and lush forest surrounding the lake; it was kind of mystical with how full of life it was, there was a strange mist that seem to flow over the river blocking the rivers surface from view.
“Soren!” Wendy came flying at me happily as the other fairies surrounded me all giving sounds of surprise and amazement at me, “I’m glad you came by to see my home. This is where every fairy lives; it’s a sacred place that few visit.”
“It’s a peaceful place.” I said admiring her home, “I can see why you like it here.”
“Well thanks…I would like to repay you for helping me get home, is there anything you would like from me?” Before I could answer another fairy came over and whispered in Wendy’s ear and she turned beat red, “No! I can’t give him that…it’s too embarrassing.”
“I don’t like what she said.” Alice said with a glare at the other fairy as she giggled.
“Actually could we get some oxyale from the bottom of the lake?” I asked and Wendy returned to her senses and giving me a nod; she dove into the lake with a small plop sound, as we waited the fairies began playing with our hair…it was like having several tiny monkeys on our backs. Suddenly Wendy cane out of the lake lugging a giant bottle and dropped it into my hands, “There, that should be enough oxyale to last one person two hours.”
“Two hours…Lily can you divide that by eight?” I asked turning to Lily who began counting in her head.
“Fifteen minutes per person…ten if everyone mouth breathes.” Lily responded confidently.
“Hopefully that should be enough to last us to the bottom of the sea and back.” Alice said thinking deeply.
“Well I’m glad I could help. Good luck with the water crystal.” Wendy said wishing us good luck.
“Make sure you don’t get captured by a hack merchant again Wendy. I don’t want to see you in another bottle, got it?”
“Don’t worry, I won’t let another person trick me…but I do hope I see you again.” Wendy said twisting from side to side; suddenly Alice grabbed the back of my coat and dragged me away in a huff.
“I’m getting sick of this world every time this happens, let’s go!” Alice said as my feet dragged across the ground; oh well, now with the oxyale we could enter the sanctuary of water and restore the water crystal.

With everything prepared we headed for the town of Onrac with Sena plotting out our path; the biggest problem we were going to face was getting to the bottom of the sea and finding the crystal.
“Hey why are we headed for Onrac for a submarine?” I asked confused by the whole thing; it just seemed strange we were going below the sea from Onrac when we didn’t know where to go.
“Actually there’s a mermaid colony below Onrac, since mermaids are thought of as a connection between the earth and the water being half-human and half-fish it’s the best bet anyone has on where the water crystal could be.” So were visiting a mermaid colony; sounds like it’ll be interesting.
“Mermaids, one of the most beautiful creatures in both looks and music prowess.” Gareth said with a dreamy sounding sigh at which Lily gave a pensive look while Alice just sighed; he seemed to have a tent for mermaids…I also regret looking down while having that thought.
“Mermaids are total flirts!” Hana said in an outburst shocking all of us suddenly, “With their voice and beautiful looks they make men disappear.”
“Actually-” Sena began, “Those are Sirens you’re thinking of Hana.”
“Sirens?” We asked and Lily pulled out her makeshift beastiary.
“I managed to encounter a few on deck protecting duty when we had the ship. A few enemies were strange looking and with Sena’s great memory she was able to help me with naming them.” She flipped through a few pages before stopping and showing us a page marked ‘Siren’ with a strange fish looking creature sketched out.
“It kind of looks like a skinny fish with its bones sticking out of its body.” Kent said with a grimace on his face while looking at the picture; he was right though, it was a WRONG looking creature, strange how men fell for this.”
“Fun fact-” Sena began, “Sailors who were stranded at sea for days would follow these siren’s voices and when they saw them they saw nothing wrong with how they looked because of how long they had been at sea. They began to turn from ugly sirens to beautiful mermaids; it’s called the mermaid clock.” Wait…what? Isn’t that…
“I still don’t like them.” Hana said pouting making Kent chuckle.
“A man is easily controlled by an unmaintained libido. Only those disciplined enough to hold back can survive being eaten.” Pent said giving out another piece of monk insight.
“If that isn’t true.” Kent said patting him on the back.
“Is it?” I asked genuinely confused by his statement; his messages sound cool but they were kind of cryptic.
“Can we switch topics…this is locker room talk and I and I’m guessing the other females of our group would rather not be a part of this conversation.” Alice said as Sena and Hana nodded their heads while Lily turned redder by the second; maybe this wasn’t the best time to talk about mermaids and sirens…and libido. Touching down near Onrac we all entered the town and Sena led us to a small port with a steel vessel floating on the dark murky water; next to it stood a girl who gave us a quizzical look as we approached her.
“Is there something you two need?” She asked.
“We were wondering if we could borrow your submarine to get to the mermaid home?” Kent asked and she gave a sigh.
“As much as I would love to charge you to use my submarine-”
“Charge us?”
“-it has no air tank that can survive a trip down there, without that you can only last about a minute before you suffocate.”
“Would this help?” I said pulling out the container of oxyale Wendy gave me, “It’s called-”
“Oxyale! Perfect, that should give the submarine what it needs to get to the mermaid sanctuary. You eight are free to use my submarine, save our world.” What? She suddenly moved back and moved behind a nearby pillar; I went to look and she was gone, vanished without a trace leaving us with her submarine…was she there just to help the Warriors of Light? It seemed like everything in this world was another piece to help the warriors in their quest; this world put their faith in the Warriors of Light so much it would be amazing to see how much they would have to bend over backwards to do this without others to help them.
“This thing is small; it might be a tight fit for all of us.” Pent said knocking against the exterior as it made a hollow clatter.
“Tight…fit…I-I-I think this might be a little uncomfortable f-f-for me.” Lily said fidgeting uncontrollably; she must have a big problem with closed spaces.
“Didn’t you spend a lot of your time in libraries?” Alice asked a little amazed at her strange behavior.
“Libraries have large open ceilings and were never crowded. This is…too small and eight people all mushed together makes me a bit…uncomfortable…” She shuddered suddenly and Alice gave a sigh.
“Don’t worry Lily; we’ll knock you out before we get in.”
“What!?”
“What!?” I said and she gave a nod.
“Remember that spell that knocked me out back in the Mushroom Kingdom? We can just do that.” It sounds like a good idea…but problem was that Alice was out for a few hours and it will only take about five to ten minutes to reach the bottom, we can’t have her out for hours when it’s a short trip…maybe we could shorten the effects.
“T-T-There’s a black magic spell for putting an enemy to sleep.” Lily said pulling out her journal and moving to a spell index with one labeled ‘sleep’ with a small black dot next to it.
“You’re okay with this?” I asked Lily amazed at her cooperation in this situation.
“I-I don’t mind; it sounds better than passing out from the stress.”
“See I think you would scream your head off before you faint.” Gareth said jumping into the conversation.
“What if it’s screaming and then fainting?” Alice said with a small chuckle, “Do you scream Lily?” She asked getting a little worry on her face at which Lily gave a shy shrug.
“So are we doing the sleep spell again?” Gareth asked and we gave him a nod, “So this is going to end in another threat against Soren’s ass?”
“Very funny, can we move on?” I asked as Alice turned slightly red from the mention of that moment.
“Right. Well Lily, get ready.” Alice pushed out her hand at Lily aggressively, “Sleep!” Within a few seconds Lily began to fall back and Gareth caught her holding her bridal style…we probably should have asked her how long it lasts before it wears off. I picked up the book and flipped to the sleep spell page…twenty minutes; that should be long enough for us to get down there and it will cut down on air consumption.
“We’ve got twenty minutes so shall we head down?” I said closing the book and putting it into Lily’s bag; with the warriors finally done preparing we had Gareth hold Lily as we all entered the sub, once Hana came in as the sixth person it started to push me and Alice against the side of the ship while Pent and Gareth had their heads pressed against the ceiling.
“O-Okay…l-let’s see how this w-works.” Sena said sounding a little unsure of how to get in and close the hatch; as she got in I heard a lot of grunting and the sound of a squeaky door closing and all outside sound disappearing, “Okay we’re all in…can someone reach the controls?”
“Hang on…” Kent said and suddenly I felt my weight shift as we sunk into the sea, “I didn’t do that.” If Kent didn’t do anything then why were we sinking into the water below; I listened closely for some indication of what was happening but I couldn’t hear anything…not even the sound of spinning blades pushing us.
“Hey Alice can you feel anything?” I asked and she closed her eyes trying to concentrate.
“It…kind of feels like we’re being pulled.” She answered; so something was pulling us towards itself which meant all we could do is wait for it to stop…I hope Lily doesn’t wake up in the middle of this.

When it stopped the hatch opened on its own and I felt as the space opened up and Alice and I fell onto the submarine floor as everyone else fell out.
“Ow…who opened the door?” Alice said getting up and rubbing her back; getting up I looked out to see everyone else groaning in pain as Lily stood up woozy and rubbing her eyes, to the left of the group I saw a gaggle of mermaids standing-well…positioned upright looking at us with one holding open the hatch door.
“It is the Warriors of Light…and four clones…huh?” One of the mermaids said cocking her head looking at all of us as Alice stepped out of the sub and looked around, suddenly she was surrounded by the mermaids as they started checking her all over, “Her skin is even softer than ours and yet she looks so tough and confident.”
“I thought a Warrior of Light would be well toned and muscly but she’s the perfect level of muscly and yet her skin is so soft!” This was weird…it was like the Gerudos all over again…only slightly more hands on.
“Why me!? I’m not even into girls and yet this keeps happening!” Alice yelled trying to push the mermaids off her.
“Maybe it’s BECAUSE you’re not into chicks.” Gareth said with a laugh as Alice tried to give him a glare through the mermaid horde in front of her…I was lucky I was in the back so I could see her…I should probably help her. Grabbing Alice’s arm I pulled her behind me as she gripped my arm; I’m guessing she was ready to use me as a human shield should they swarm again.
“Get back! I’ve got Soren and I’m not afraid to swing him!” Make that a human weapon.

With our group back on their feet we got some information from the mermaids; apparently when the water started to become corrosive they drained the water from the sunken shrine and sent up the submarine with one of their mermaids who would wait for the Warriors of Light.
“You mean-” Before Gareth could say it I covered his mouth.
“Don’t, just…don’t.” He chuckled at my annoyance at went quiet obviously proud he had found something annoying to me. Since then they have avoided the ocean water and it showed with how dry their skin had become, it was like sandpaper with how dry and rough it was; no wonder they freaked over Alice’s baby soft hospital skin…weird how she was pink skinned and strong yet had soft hands…maybe it was a mix of her first seventeen years and previous two adventures clashing perfectly…what was I listening to? The mermaids eventually led us on the right path through the sunken shrine and handed us a strange item called a Rosetta stone...did Rosetta Stone steal their name from Final Fantasy? As they led us through the shrine we protected them from the various monsters that threw themselves at us in an effort to stop us from reaching their leader; I began to notice that the enemies we ran into on each attempt to restore a crystal seemed different in tactic. The Lich threw waves of enemies at us as if they were disposable while Marilith was confident enough in her abilities that she never sent a single enemy at us, now we were dealing with an enemy that was smart, they didn’t give us the chance to become stronger by throwing endless waves at us but wasn’t convinced in their skills that he still had henchmen who even if they didn’t win they still wasted some of our strength that was going to be needed when we faced them. Luckily it was the eight of us, something I’m guessing they weren’t planning on; we were able to switch out each battle and keep our strength up and recover easily and stay in top condition, I even managed to get the hang of having my magic activate on swings thanks to Alice’s help, she was a pro at that. Lily even taught Gareth how to better control his momentum to increase his hit rate; seems the boss didn’t expect us to make each other stronger with his lines of enemies, it was still weird to get use to the monster blood that coated my clothes; it was like I was in Bloodborne. We eventually came to the double doors that meant that the crystal was beyond it…and the fiend of water; we all pushed against it as it slowly opened to our combined strength, it almost felt like every double door was heavier than the one before. Beyond the door stood a giant creature that sported tentacles all over its body  that all moved to their own beat except for the bottom eight that swerved to the right as the entire mass turned around to face us.
“So you came. Just like he said you would; the four of you have stepped into your doom.”
“You can’t stop the Warriors of Light!” Kent yelled drawing his blade and pointing it at the creature, “We will take you out here Kraken!” The Kraken laughed at Kent making us all draw our weapons and Pent put up his fists.
“Your end will come warriors but I was talking to the travelers.” What, he was addressing us? We took a step back in surprise as Kent and the others gave us a confused look, “I was told about you four…they told me you would come and then they would take care of you.” They? Suddenly I felt something strange above me and I guess Lily felt it to because we both looked up to see two shadowy figures sitting on top of a broken pillar. As they jumped down I saw the glint of a weapon and pushed Gareth out of the way as Lily did the same for Alice; when they landed their weapons crashed into the ground shaking the foundation. Two people stood there, one boy and one girl slightly younger looking then us at about 14-15; the boy had messy black hair and wore a simple t-shirt and jeans combo with brown boots and a large cleaver in his hand while the girl had bright, almost white, blond hair that was tied into twin tails on the side of her head and wore a long sleeved sweater with a short skirt and sneakers to finish it off while in her hands she wielded a long staff tipped at the edges like a javelin…it must be an extended javelin.
“We missed Penny.” The boy said turning to the girl.
“It seems they could sense us Denys. He was right when he said they were more competent than beginners.” The girl replied to the boy.
“Lily, who are they?” Alice asked.
“I-I-I…don’t know, they must be new recruits but he wouldn’t send new guys after us.”
“Correct.” They said in unison shocking all of us, “He wouldn’t send unexperienced people after you guys but with twins who work together you don’t pass up the chance like that, especially for creatures that work together.” Creatures that work together…no!
“Gemini Creatures!” I shouted and they smirked.
“So she told them.” Penny said.
“Doesn’t matter, she wouldn’t betray us.” Denys said and they turned to Lily.
“Right?” They both said and Lily gave a scared look, “Why don’t you come out Sukia? The boss is waiting for you to come back.” All three of us moved in front of her and brandished our weapons at them.
“Like hell we’re letting you take Lily!” Gareth said ready to strike.
“She’s not going anywhere.” Alice said getting a spell ready.
“That’s right! We’re not going to let you make her doubt herself again.” I said watching them ready to retaliate against their attacks. They gave a sinister laugh at us.
“We don’t want Lily, we want Sukia.” What did they mean by that, “Time to see if this works.” Penny moved forward and as Gareth took a swing at her she slid under him and swung knocking him to the ground as Denys focused on us and took a heavy swing as we blocked his attack; unfortunately he put full force in and caught us on half guard so we flew behind Lily. As I got up Penny pulled out a small mirror and showed it to Lily; as she stared into it the reflection began to change and morph and then Penny side stepped revealing another Lily behind him; what was that mirror!? I looked down to see Lily holding her body shaking uncontrollably.
“W-W-What…j-j-just…ha-happened?” She said wide eyed with horror across her face, “Something was just…r-r-ripped out of me.”
“I…think that was me.” The other Lily said…wait…those eyes…that’s Sukia!
“How did they pull her out of you and give her a body?” There are no mirrors I know of that can do that…it’s too similar as well.
“Have you ever heard of Lilith’s mirror, specifically Rosario+Vampire Lilith’s Mirror and Kid Icarus’s Mirror of Truth?” Lilith’s Mirror and the Mirror of Truth…
“Lilith’s Mirror had the ability to show a monster’s true form while the Mirror of Truth was able to create a copy of the person who gazed into it…”
“That’s it!” Alice said and I turned to her, “They combined the mirror shards to create one mirror that showed Lily’s other true form which was Sukia and then because it was combined with the mirror of truth it created a copy that she could use as a body.”
“This is…my body?” Sukia said amazed as Lily stood up stumbling around.
“That’s right Sukia.” Penny said moving to one side of her.
“You’re back with us, back to your cause.” Denys said handing her a large scythe like Lily’s.
“I…of course.” Sukia said getting into a ready stance.
“Sukia?” Gareth said surprised at her sudden aggressiveness.
“I told you guys before that I can’t betray Owen, I will follow him to the end and I meant it!” Before she could jump in to attack Penny and Denys grabbed her by the shoulders stopping her as we helped Lily back on her feet.
“Not so fast Sukia, we need to do something.” They said pulling her in; I turned my attention to Lily who seemed disoriented and reached out trying to grab something.
“What’s wrong?” Alice asked.
“I…I can’t see very well.” Lily said, “I wore glasses and without Sukia my vision went back to normal.”
“What’s happening here!?” Kent asked in disbelief at what’s been happening.
“Not now Kent…Sena do you have an extra pair of glasses we could use?” Alice asked and she pulled out a pair from her robes giving them to Alice who placed them on Lily’s face; looking at her face I noticed that Lily’s hair had shortened down…she really was the girl I met at the library.
“Oh Soren?” I turned to see Sukia giving me a sly smile and then Penny dashed forward knocking me on my back with her javelin; as I tried to get up a tail coiled around me lifting me up and pulling me towards Sukia.
“Soren!” I heard Alice yell as Sukia held me in front of her.
“Put him down!” Gareth yelled and I turned my head to see Gareth, Alice, Lily and the warriors ready to charge at them.
“We don’t think so.” Penny said as Denys pulled out a strange hourglass…wait…I recognize that hourglass!
“Bravely Second!” Suddenly the world turned black and white as everyone became still leaving the Gemini creatures, Sukia and me still moving. The hourglass from Bravely Default; it could stop enemies in their tracks and break the damage capacity wide open…but why wasn’t I paused?
“Time to see if what the boss said is true.” Penny said as Sukia faced me towards her and she held up the mirror to my face; I gazed into it and as the version of me twisted and changed into…Jarek…no, no, NONONONONONONONONONONONO! In that instant I felt something inside me rip me apart in an instant as intense pain jolted across my body; when I was let go I dropped to the ground in a crumbled heap as my body refused to move.
“So…this is what he meant…finally.” That voice…it can’t be, “This is the first time I’ve gotten to look at you like this…I’d appreciate it if you did the same.” I struggled as I stood up shakily looking at the copy of me that stood across the way with a wicked smile…no…there stood Jarek.
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.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A GREAT NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!    

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Intrestsofthemind

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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:iconremanth:
remanth Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! *throws confetti* :party::cake::dance:
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:iconkidaelo:
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
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:iconintrestsofthemind:
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.
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:iconkidaelo:
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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:iconintrestsofthemind:
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
and even if it isn't we will make it great! XD
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(1 Reply)
:iconremanth:
remanth Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! *throws confetti* :party: :cake: :dance:
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:iconintrestsofthemind:
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks a lot!
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:iconn-ugatory--vibrato:
N-ugatory--Vibrato Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Student Writer
Happy Birthday to you~
Happy Birthday to you~
Happy Birthday dear Jarad~
Happy Birthday to you! :D

I hope you had an amazing day!
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:iconintrestsofthemind:
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :)
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:iconn-ugatory--vibrato:
N-ugatory--Vibrato Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Student Writer
No problem!
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