Member No.: 16
Joined: 17-May 06
Chapter 1: The Journey Begins
(sorry...it won't keep the formatting...I MIGHT go in and fix that, but it's just SOO long...and there is SOO much formatting I'd have to do.)
So, even after an adventure with them, they think they can cut me out of this one, huh? Valerie thought as she walked towards the inn of Daltros, which was a small island to the southwest of the Main Continent of Versumi, also known as Jinosa. Valerie opened the door to the inn and walked in. Zach and Jessica were standing at the end of the stairs, waiting for Mike. “Out of my way!” she shouted and Zach and Jessica saw her.
“Whoa, where are you going?” Zach asked.
“Out of my way,” Valerie spoke, and her eyes seemed to shift colors, changing from brown to blood red, then back again.
“Zach, it might be a good idea,” Jessica spoke. “Remember her powers when she gets enraged.”
Zach sighed. “Fine,” he spoke and moved.
Valerie continued up the stairs and kicked on one of the doors. “I know you’re in there!” she shouted. “Open up!”
The door opened, and Mike was standing there. “Hi, Val,” he spoke.
“You jerk!” Val shouted and slapped Mike. As her hand moved closer to Mike’s face, her fingers changed into demon-like claws, which struck his face, leaving scratches. “Why did you try to leave without me?”
“Zach wanted to!” Mike spoke, loudly. “He didn’t want you to come, because you might get in the way!”
“Oh, so now it’s all Zach’s fault? Since when did you really start listening to him?” Mike gave no response, and Val’s eyes shifted to blood red again, then back. She growled, and her teeth seemed to change to fangs. She closed her eyes and let herself calm down. Her fingers returned to normal, as well as her teeth. She opened her eyes again and looked at Mike. “Michael, I love you. I want to come with you. Don’t leave me here on my own.”
Mike sighed. “I can’t, Val. I have to go without you. I don’t want you getting hurt.”
“What if you got hurt? What if you died? I would have know way of knowing how you are. I’ll be worried the whole time, and if you never return…then what?”
Mike sighed. “I don’t want you to get hurt, though. What if you died out there?”
Valerie just looked Mike right in the eyes. “At least you’d know, and you wouldn’t be here wondering if I’m okay, like you’re planning to do to me.”
Mike sighed and looked down. Damn it, she’s right.
“Michael, please, just let me go with you. Zach may have said that I can’t go, but who says you have to listen to him?”
Mike sighed and looked back up. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Besides, it might be nice to have a mage on the team. You never know when we might need one.”
Valerie smiled. “Well, I did come in pretty handy when that blob attacked us in the cave on our last adventure. If it hadn’t been for my magic, you three would have been goners.”
Mike nodded. “Yeah, I remember that. None of our weapons worked on it, and I even lost my best dagger because it absorbed it. If you hadn’t come by with your fire powers, it would have killed us.”
Valerie nodded. “Thank you for saying you’d take me,” she spoke and hugged Mike. The two embraced each other, then entered into a kiss. After a moment, they pulled away and Val ran off. “I’ll be back! Wait for me!” she shouted as she left.
“I will!” Mike shouted back. He then headed downstairs, only to come face to face with Zach and Jessica.
“Why?” Zach asked, a very angry tone in his voice.
“Why what?” Mike asked as he walked passed them.
“Why did you tell Valerie she could come?”
“Well, let’s see. First of all, she helped us out a lot when we were all trying to get the Fruit of Ganji from the Cave of Baradol. If it hadn’t been for her, we probably wouldn’t have defeated Golithe, or the blob that attacked us before him. Secondly, she’s my girlfriend, and I’m not going to leave her behind and make her worried while I’m away. Lastly, she was right about not needing to listen to you all the time. If I did, then we never would have even gotten to Golithe in the first place.”
Zach growled. “She’ll be trouble! She’s a mage, and you know mages are no good without their magic.”
Mike turned around so his back was facing Zach. He then pulled out his dagger. The dagger was different then most, in that it had a long blade, and the handle had two small pieces that came off it and curved up about halfway up the blade. It also had a strange, purple substance on it, which was a deadly poison Mike had found that, at that time, had no cure. “So you say.” He began to twirl the dagger around in his hand. “Valerie is a very powerful mage. Think about it for a moment. She not only is a follower of Zephyr, meaning she’s a Summoner, by the way, there has only been two summoners in history, her and Elyon. But she is also the apprentice of all four of the Lords of the School of Elemental Mastery and Sorcery, who are stronger then any wizard.”
“Except Dragona Dragmus,” Jessica chimed in. Zach gave her a glare. She then cleared her throat.
“That has yet to be seen, Jessica,” Mike spoke. “He may have defeated the four greatest wizards of his time, but these guys are tons stronger then those four were.”
“Still, I’m in agreement with Zach, she shouldn’t come. She may be powerful, but think about it. Summoning a monster is difficult. If it isn’t done right, she could get herself severely injured, especially since there is no one to teach her how to summon properly. Also, she may be powerful in magic, but what if her magic runs out? Mages run on an inner mana pool. What if she depletes it? She won’t be able to regain it back until she rests for a while, and in that amount of time, she may die, as she won’t be any help without her magic.”
Mike growled and made a fist around the hilt of his dagger. He turned around and tossed his dagger at Jessica. The dagger just barely missed, hitting the wall right next to her neck “Just let her come! She will be a great help to us, you’ll see!”
Zach sighed and closed his eyes. “No,” he responded.
Mike growled. “Either she comes, or you two can go on your own!”
Zach growled and got right up in Mike’s face. “Fine, we’ll go without you then.”
Jessica quickly ran over to Zach. “Bad idea, Zach,” Jessica whispered. “Without Mike, we can’t do much. He knows Drandor better then anyone here. If all the monsters are coming from Drandor, then we’ll need his help to get around.”
“And Valerie knows more about Jinosa then even I do,” Mike spoke; acknowledging that he had heard Jessica. “I’m a simple thief that’s been to Drandor several times now. However, that still doesn’t mean I would know enough to get us everywhere we’d need to go. Valerie might.” With that, the door to the inn opened, and Valerie stepped in.
Zach growled and turned around. “Fine, she can come, I don’t care.” He walked to one of the tables and sat down.
Mike sighed and looked at Valerie. Valerie frowned and Mike walked over to her. “I’ll be right back,” he spoke and walked out. Mike then walked down to the Dragon’s Ale Tavern, and Valerie sighed.
He’s drinking way too much, Valerie thought. She turned to look at Zach and Jessica, who just ignored her. She turned and walked to the tavern, entering in and looking around. She felt uncomfortable now. Her outfit was sure to attract the perverted and the drunk. She held her arms together, rubbing them nervously. She walked forward, hoping she could find Mike and get out before anything happened.
“Hey, cutie,” a man spoke as she entered, and she turned to her right to see who it was. In front of her was a man with brown hair. He wore the usual peasant clothes, which consisted of a white shirt, brown pants, and a small brown jacket. “Hey, come here.” The man spoke. He was obviously drunk.
“Go away,” Valerie spoke and turned away.
“Aww, come on!” the man grabbed Valerie’s hair, and Valerie’s eyes went wide.
“Let go!” Valerie shouted, quickly kicking the guy in the gut and forcing him to let go.
“Oh, a feisty one, huh?” the man smirked. “Well, that makes it all the more fun.” The man grabbed Val’s arm and pulled her close. “How about it, girly? Let’s have some fun.” The man reached up and slowly moved his hand down her back until he found the back of her dress down by her waist. Val growled and she made a fist.
“Let go of me!” Val shouted and attempted to punch the guy, but before she could, the man swung his foot around and tripped her.
“Now, then, let’s have some fun.” The man knelt down and got on top of her, grabbing her arms and pushing them to the ground next to her head. Val squirmed, but she couldn’t get free. Suddenly, she felt a dark energy pass through her and she growled.
“Last chance. Let go of me.”
The man laughed. “Not until we’re done.”
“Very well.” Val’s eyes began to glow blood red as she quickly pushed upward with her body, and the man found himself overpowered by a strange strength that had gone through her. She stood to her feet and her fingers becoming demon-like claws. Her claws slashed at the man’s neck, and he quickly moved back, grabbing his neck as it began to bleed, but very lightly, as she had almost missed.
“No one but my boyfriend may touch me.” Valerie moved her fingers slightly, and her knuckles cracked. Her other hand changed to a demon-like hand as well, and she growled.
“What the hell are you?” the man shouted as he stood to his feet.
“Your worst nightmare,” Val spoke, her eyes glowing even more. The man quickly pulled out a small dagger and, in a single move, Valerie pushed the dagger out of the man’s hand, and gripped her claws around the man’s throat, lifting him into the air by only the throat. “T-the…hell?” the man choked some.
Valerie growled with a demonic growl. “Die,” she spoke, her voice now deep and demonic. She hissed and crushed the man’s neck. The man’s body went limp, and she tossed him into a table, slamming him into it hard. She then turned, her eyes seemed to search the tavern for more blood to please her thirst. She hissed again, and everyone backed up.
“Valerie,” a voice spoke, “you need to calm down.” Mike came out from inside the crowd, staring directly at her. “You don’t want to transform, do you?”
Valerie hissed. “Die mortal!” she shouted and ran forward. Mike ducked and sent a kick into Valerie’s stomach. He fell back onto his arms, and he pushed up with his foot and tossed her completely over him. She crashed into a nearby table, and Mike stood to his feet. He walked over to her and grabbed her hair gently. He began to pet her hair lightly, and soon his hands moved down her body as he began to kiss her neck.
Valerie hissed again, then her eyes returned to normal. Mike’s hands gently touched her chest, massaging her very lightly in a hope to calm her down. Soon, she calmed down and Mike picked her up. He carried her out and everyone just stared. She blushed when she realized what was going on, and he carried her over to the inn. He sat down in a chair, then set her on his lap, and she smiled.
Zach and Jessica had been waiting, and when they saw Mike and Valerie, they sighed. “Are we ready to go, yet?”
Mike gave Zach a glare, then kissed Valerie on the cheek. She blushed a little and he smiled, holding her. “Not yet,” he spoke to Zach. Zach sighed. Valerie and Mike just enjoyed the fact they were together for the moment. After a little while, though, Valerie stood to her feet and brushed her hair back. As she did, her back became visible for but a second. Zach’s eyes widened when he saw her back. “Now we’re ready.”
“Huh?” Zach asked, snapping out of a trance that he had found himself in after seeing Valerie’s back. “Oh, sorry.”
“Is something wrong, Zach?” Valerie asked. She knew what had happened.
“No. Not at all.” Zach walked to the inn door. “Let’s go!” Jessica followed shortly, and then Mike and Valerie followed behind them. They made their way from the inn to the docks that were at the end of the port.
“What was that all about?” Jessica asked Zach as they walked.
“What was all what about?” Zach asked.
“The way you stared at Val’s back. I noticed your eyes go wide, and when I looked at Val’s back, I didn’t see anything, except her hair against her back anyway.”
“Val brushed her hair back, and, for a second, I thought I saw large scars on her back, as if she had been whipped by someone.”
Jessica blinked. “I haven’t noticed. Perhaps that’s why she keeps her hair as long as it is.”
“If she wants to hide it, though, why does she wear a dress that has no back to it?”
“I don’t know, maybe you should ask her?”
“Welcome!” a voice spoke and Zach and Jessica looked forward. In front of them was a man with short, blue hair. The front, right side of his hair went over his eye, but his left eye, which was a handsome blue color, was visible. He wore a simple pair of black pants, as well as a large coat that went over him. Underneath the jacket, though, he had no shirt on. He was a very muscular man. “I am Drakus Delandra, Lord of the Waters!”
“Lord Drakus,” Valerie spoke and walked forward. “It is good to see you again, my lord.” Val bowed to him and he smiled.
“Ah, yes, Valerie Seaborn, my wonderful young student. It is good to see you again. How have you been? Your magic has increased in power, I bet.”
“Yes, Lord Drakus, though I am still weak in my earth magic, my water magic has increased considerably.”
“Very good, and I assume your fire magic is still your strongest, is it not?”
“Yes, my lord, however, my air magic hasn’t grown in strength any.”
“That is sad to here. What of your summoning power? How has it been?”
“Fine so far. I haven’t had any real problems with it. I can summon a lot of smaller things, but I’m still having difficulties summoning anything large, yet.”
“Still unable to Omega Summon, huh? That is sad, but you’ll make it one day.” Drakus looked forward at the others. “So, what brings you four here?”
“We need a boat,” Zach spoke. “We need to get to Jinosa again, however, all boats to Jinosa from these islands have been cut off.”
“Yes, sad to say, there are no boats other then the Mayweather who dare tread to the forsaken continent of Jinosa. However, you are in luck, for my ship is the Mayweather!”
“So that’s it. That’s why Valerie recommended it,” Jessica spoke. “The Mayweather is the only ship going, and you’re captain of the Mayweather.”
“Not exactly, Jessica,” Valerie spoke. “To be truthful, I knew Lord Drakus had the Mayweather, but he’s also one of my masters at school.”
“School?” Jessica asked.
“The wizarding school, the School of Elemental Mastery and Sorcery, or SEMS for short.”
“Oh, I see.” Jessica looked at Drakus for a moment, then looked at Zach, then to the others. “So…now what?”
“Now, we set up the boat,” Drakus spoke. “Though, the trip is a two day journey, and my ship is more of a…how do you say…cargo ship? It’s not really meant for passengers other then the crew.”
“That’s fine, we’ll figure something out,” Valerie spoke, smiling.
“Two days?” Zach asked. He looked to Drakus. “Only two days? Most ships take four days, or more to get from here to Jinosa.”
“Yes, well…you see…” Drakus looked down. “When you’re as good at water magic as me, you learn ways to speed up boats that other people don’t know of.” Drakus looked right at Zach. “This includes the ability to control the storms themselves, and keep the waves just the way you need them.”
“Interesting,” Zach spoke.
“Well, then,” Drakus spoke, then clapped his hands together. “I shall have the boat ready for you within the hour.”
“Thanks, Lord Drakus,” Valerie smiled.
“Your welcome.” The four walked off, hoping to find something to do. “Uhh, Valerie…” Valerie turned to look at Drakus.
“Yes, my lord?”
“Might I ask you a few…private…questions?”
Valerie nodded. “Of course, my lord.” She looked to the others. “I’ll only be a moment. You guys go ahead, I’ll catch up.”
“All right,” Zach spoke, and Mike and Jessica both nodded. The three walked off, and Valerie walked over to Drakus.
“What is it, my lord?”
“That girl that is with you…what’s her name?” Drakus asked.
“Jessica,” Valerie responded. “Why do you ask?”
“She is a lovely creature. Her eyes are beautiful, and her figure is amazing. Perhaps…do you think…she could love me?”
Valerie got a confused look on her face. “Well…I guess…I’m not really sure… She seems to have a thing about staying away from men, though.”
“Really? You mean she prefers women?”
“No!” Valerie quickly spoke. “It’s just…” she looked to where Jessica and the others had been. “I think she’s been hurt…I don’t know if she is capable of love.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…I think she’s one of those people who has promised herself never to fall in love…”
“That’s dreadful…” Drakus paused for a moment. “Oh! How is that demon of yours? Has it gotten lose much lately?”
Valerie sighed and looked at her hands. “Yes. It’s gotten lose a lot lately. These last few days have created a lot of anger…”
“That’s dreadful. However, it would appear you have managed to re-contain it each time.”
“Yes, my lord. However, I wonder if maybe I won’t be able to re-contain it anymore soon. I fear it may break lose soon, and that will be it.”
“Nonsense, remember what Shea said, my daughter. ‘Never will the demon become so powerful that she will not be able to re-contain it.’ Those are Shea’s words, my daughter, and remember, she is the only fairy who lives within the Silver Tower, and is the true protector of the Seer.”
“I know…but I still think that maybe she’s wrong…”
“Impossible. The day Shea is wrong will be the day the world comes to an end.”
Valerie smiled. “Thanks, Lord Drakus,” Valerie spoke and hugged him. “I’m glad that you aren’t just my Lord of Water, but you’re also a close friend.”
“Of course. It is wrong for us to only be Master and Apprentice. We should be friends who will help each other if we need to. Always remember, I am your friend. I will never harm you, nor will I let harm come to you. I’ve promised this before, and, once again, I promise it.”
“I know, my lord.” Valerie blinked. “Oh my gosh, I must get back to the others.” She quickly let go of Drakus.
“And I must prepare your boat!” Drakus spoke, raising his hand. He turned to the crew of the boat. “Let’s get this ship ready, mates! We sail in an hour!”
“Yes, sir!” the sailors shouted, though, for some reason, they all looked exactly the same.
“Thank you, my lord. I’ll be back in an hour!” Valerie then turned and ran off, heading to meet with the others. About an hour later, the four of them returned to the docks, ready for the boat to leave.
“Welcome once again to the Mayweather, young ones,” Drakus spoke. “We have prepared the ship and are ready to depart for the Main Continent of Jinosa.”
“Thank you, Master Drakus,” Valerie spoke, giving a bow.
“Well, then, come aboard, everyone. Come aboard. We are ready to shove off.” At that, the group made their way onto the boat. Once on, Drakus gave the order, and the plank was brought up. Then, the ship began to move as they slowly moved away from the docks. Drakus closed his eyes, and power surged through his body. The boat began to move faster, and soon, it was going much faster then a normal boat. “That should get us going well enough.” Drakus turned to look at the group. “We shall arrive in two days. I’m sorry that the ride there will be long and boring, but it is the best I can do.”
“It’s okay,” Zach spoke. “It’s faster then any other boat would have taken if they were still running.”
“This is very true, Zach,” Drakus spoke. With that, they went on about their own business. Zach spent most of the day polishing his sword. He could feel a strong energy running through it, and he knew why. The strange, blue blade of the sword was enough to give away that it was a sword of great power. However, the fact that the hilt of the blade was a dragon head made it even more impressive. The runes carved on the blade and the hilt clearly showed the world that it was a blade not to be taken lightly.
Jessica spent most of the day practicing her healing magic. She was determined to get better. She was already pretty good, but that wasn’t enough. She was determined to be just as good as Dracon, the very first cleric who lived twenty thousand years ago. It was said he had the ability to call upon Lily’s power and actually injure those of evil and those of the undead with his healing magic. She wanted that same power. Though no one had ever gained it other then Dracon, she was determined. Something in her said she could do it.
Mike spent most of his day with Valerie, however, he also spent his day practicing some stealth. It was, after all, two days to get there, and that’s all a thief needs to go from the best to the worst. Even if he was the best, he was determined to get better. He had to get better.
Valerie spent most of her day with Mike, however, the time she didn’t spend with him, was spent practicing her magic. As her air magic hadn’t grown at all in strength, she began to practice that. However, every time she thought she got her air magic to finally get stronger, it was still just the same. She was dumbfounded on this, and, after a time, she gave up. However, her magic was not limited to the four elements. She closed her eyes and began to practice her other magic lore, Summoning.
Valerie was a rather good Summoner. She had not yet mastered the art of it, however, as the art had been lost for twenty thousand years, she was on her own to learn it. Not since Elyon, the First Summoner, has the power been seen, not since the Great God of Destruction was sealed away by the four heroes, Saria, Dracon, Elyon, and Gladius.
That night, when all four of them were in bed, a great danger began to brew. Valerie awoke in the middle of the night and looked around. The others were fast asleep, so she stood to her feet and walked off. Valerie was now wearing her night gown, which was a very loose, low cut dress that had no back, and a single strap that went around her neck and down to her dress and attached to two parts of the front of the dress. The bottom of the dress was somewhat see-through, and under it, Valerie wore a white dress that was split on the sides, and only went down to her knees.
Valerie walked out of the room and forward until she reached the staircase, then cast a spell on it. The staircase changed to a large, stone staircase, and at the top was a stone archway. She walked up the staircase, and, when she walked through the archway, the staircase vanished, along with the archway, and her.
* * *
Valerie now found herself in a large cavern. In front of her was a long, narrow path which lead to a small formation of land that stuck out of a sea of lava that surrounded it. She walked forward, walking across the narrow path that was so narrow, that a single wrong step would mean ultimate doom. However, she walked it with, what seemed to be, an elf-like grace. She didn’t flinch, she didn’t walk carefully at all. She just walked across normally with no fear of falling in. “Master Tenari,” she spoke when she reached the small formation of land.
On the formation was a man. He had a long, flowing, fire-red cape, along with short, bright, fire-red hair that ended just above his neck. He turned to look at Valerie, and his fire-red eyes became visible. He looked no older then thirty-three, but no younger then twenty-five. He wore a long, king-like robe, which was fire-red and had trimming of gold and rubies on it. “What is it, my daughter?” Tenari asked.
“Master Tenari, my boyfriend and I are having difficulties,” Valerie spoke. “You see, Mike has these two friends, but they absolutely hate me. I can’t seem to show them I’m a good person.”
“You see…I think they’re trying to break us up. They seem to be watching us, trying to find something we do that they can point out to Mike that would get him to break up with me. I need your help, Master. What should I do?”
Tenari sighed and closed his eyes. “I do not know, my child. I am not the best for advice on this.” He opened his eyes and looked at her. “After all, I’ve been alive now for more then a thousand and five hundred years, and still I have not had so much as a girlfriend.” He sighed. “Alas, it is the price I must pay for the immortality that Zephyr gave to me at birth.”
“Yes, immortality such as that, though, must be a horrible experience.”
“Not when you’ve gotten used to it. I’ve loved many of the girls who have come to the School of Elemental Mastery and Sorcery, however, none have loved me in return. It matters not, though, I am too old for any woman. Though I may look to be in my thirties, I am, after all, over a thousand and five hundred years old. In fact, I believe I will be reaching my one thousand and six hundredth birthday in three years from now.”
“That’s awesome!” Valerie smiled. Then, the original thought of why she was there returned to her mind and she became somewhat sad.
“My daughter, I wish I knew more of what to say. All the advice I can offer would be to keep him away from them. Do not leave him alone until you’ve shown you are a good, and trustworthy person. Perhaps, then, they will leave you two alone.”
“Perhaps…” Valerie sighed. “I wish I had a spell that could make them like me.”
“With the power of water, there is such a spell. However, I bid you, before you go asking Drakus about the spell, remember this. The vow you took when you entered this school has made it so you cannot cast such spells without the one it is being casted upon allowing you to.”
“Yes, I know that, Master.”
Tenari smiled. “That is good. So, how is your boyfriend?”
“Good, sir, especially now that we’re all on an adventure together.”
“Oh? And what adventure would that be?”
“We are going to try to deal with the threat in Drandor. We wish to see if there is anything we can do to stop those beasts.”
“Oh, I see,” Tenari put his hand to his chin. “Yes, that is a noble thing indeed. I bid you good luck with that task.”
“Thank you, Master Tenari.”
“Now, away with you, my child. You musn’t leave your boyfriend alone much longer.”
“Right, thank you, Master,” Valerie spoke and hugged him, then ran off, back through the archway she had come from.
* * *
Meanwhile, back on the boat, Mike stirred slightly. He awoke from his slumber and looked around. Sleepily he sat up, his eyes searching for Valerie. When he did not spot her, though, he quickly stood up. Mike was now wearing a black, short-sleeved shirt, along with long, sweater-like pants. His dagger had been sitting by his head the whole night, sitting in its jewel encrusted case. He quickly picked it up and strapped the belt around his waist so he had his dagger with him. He quickly brushed his long hair back, then quickly made his way out of the room and began to call out for her. Had he awoken only moments earlier, he would have watched Valerie climbed the staircase, but now, she was no longer on the boat.
“Valerie!” Mike shouted out. He began to search the boat, hoping to find Valerie somewhere. He searched, until finally he had searched every cabin of the boat. He sighed and slowly began to make the walk upstairs. He had to find her. He had to make sure she was okay. He got to the top and looked around, the starry, night sky shining above him. There was no one around but the crew of the ship. “Valerie! Where are you?” he shouted, but there was no response.
Mike turned to walk back, only to find himself staring eye-to-eye with Zach. “Hello, Michael,” Zach spoke. Zach was now wearing a simple blue shirt, along with a blue pair of pants. His hair was relatively flat on his head, as he had not spent the time to brush it forward, yet.
“Hello, Zachary,” Mike responded.
“Can’t find her, huh?”
“Why would you care?”
“She probably abandoned you because she really hates you. Only reason I can see for her not to be on the boat. She is a magic user after all, so she could have very easily just teleported somewhere else.”
“She didn’t abandon me! I’ll have you know that she has other friends. She sometimes doesn’t get to see them. I’m not going to pressure her into staying by me every second.”
“No? That’s why you were searching for her, wasn’t it?”
“No. I was looking for her to make sure she’s okay.”
“And what if she isn’t? Is little Michael the thief gonna come riding to her rescue?”
Mike growled, balling his hands into fists. “Is mocking me the best you can do?”
“No, it’s just what I choose to do right now is all.” Zach smirked. “Besides, we all know you’re love with Valerie is destined to fail.”
“What makes you think that, oh wise one?” Mike spoke in a sarcastic voice.
“Well, let’s see. Why are you two together again? Oh yeah. You touch her everywhere, you kiss her in the craziest ways, you’ve pretty much done everything together. It’s not a wonder you two never have any problems. Valerie only loves you because of what she can get out of you.”
“That’s not true!” Mike shouted.
“Oh? You really believe that? Enlighten me, then. Explain to me why you don’t think she loves you because of what you give her?”
Mike looked down. “I can’t…”
“Because you don’t know one?”
Mike looked up. “Because the reason is a secret, damn it!” he shouted. Zach could see Mike’s hand slowly slipping over to his dagger.
“A secret? Has she ever told you this secret? After all, one may claim they hold a secret, but be lying.”
“Valerie doesn’t lie! Not to me! And she has told me the secret!” Mike shouted.
“Zachary!” a voice shouted from the stairs. Zach turned around, only to see Jessica standing there. She currently wore a blue tube top that had straps that came off and around her arms, along with the same colored, baggy pants that got tight around her ankles. She wore an almost see-through blue robe over it, which was more like a veil in the form of a robe, then a true robe. It was the type of outfit you would expect to see a desert princess wearing. Her hair was currently in its usual state, only her bangs were forward, and in her face, instead of split to the sides.
“Zachary Joseph Ballmonte! I’ve had enough of this!” Jessica stormed right over to Zach. “Now, you leave Michael alone, you hear? You may not like Valerie very much, and even I might not, but just because of that is no reason to try and break them up.” She kicked him in the knee, and Zach gave a groan of pain as he grabbed his knee. “Now, back to bed with you!”
Zach growled. “Yes, Mother,” he spoke sarcastically. Jessica growled and kicked him between the legs, and Zach fell to the floor in pain.
“Never call me that, you know how I feel about my mother.” Jessica grabbed Zach by the arm and began to drag him with her. Mike sighed, the thoughts of what Zach had said were still playing in his mind.
What if he’s right? Mike thought. What if she only loves me because of what I can give her? We didn’t fall in love until I found out her secret, after all…and that’s when I started touching her…to calm her down…. Mike sighed. He had no idea what to think.
“Mike?” a voice spoke from the stairs. Mike looked up, and there, in front of him, was Valerie.
Damn! She’s so beautiful in that dress! Mike thought to himself, then he quickly shook the thought away when the thoughts of what Zach had said entered his mind once more.
“Mike?” Valerie asked as she came up the stairs the rest of the way. “I heard some of what Zach said. You must know I love you.”
“I…I don’t know…Zach’s right. What if we are only in love because of what I give you? We didn’t fall in love until I started that.”
“So? Who cares what started it? It’s what it has become since then that matters.”
“But what if it hasn’t changed? Would you still love me if I stopped touching you?”
“Of course! Why wouldn’t I?”
Mike sighed. He turned away from Valerie. “Valerie…I’m sorry…I just…” he sighed. “I just don’t know…I have to think about it for a little while. Until then…we can’t be together anymore…”
Tears began to form in Val’s eyes as she felt like crying. “No, you can’t say that. We can’t break up.” She ran over to Mike and hugged him. Mike sighed and just closed his eyes. The rest of the night was uneventful, and soon enough, before anything of real importance occurred, day came.
* * *
In the morning, back at Tenari’s cave, trouble was brewing. Tenari stood in the middle of his small formation of land, a spell circle surrounded him, along with six lit candles at each point of the star that was within the circle. Suddenly, there was a loud noise, almost like that of an axe striking a wall over and over. The noise got louder and louder until a girl came up through the doorway which Val had come through only a night before.
The girl looked almost like a teenage human girl. She had short, pitch black hair that came down to her shoulders. She had pitch black eyes, and nails long enough to be claws. She wore a rather small outfit, consisting of nothing more then a swirling fabric that covered her chest, then went down and made a half-skirt around her waist. Her left hip was almost completely exposed, while her right was almost completely covered.
The girl stood up behind Tenari, readying her axe as if for battle. Suddenly, she set the bottom of the axe against the ground and bowed. “Is it done?” Tenari asked.
“Yes, sir, there is no way the boat will make it to Jinosa,” the girl spoke. “You will have your treasure by sundown.”
“I better, or I will have your head, Sadira!” Tenari shouted.
“Yes, Master.” Sadira then stood to her feet, turned, and walked off.
* * *
Mike slowly walked up the stairs to the deck of the ship, and began to look around. He was, once again, wearing his normal outfit. Directly in front of him, he could see a large storm. The storm itself had already reached them, but with Drakus power against the water in the storm, the storm swirled around the boat, leaving the boat and the waters around it completely unaffected by the storm.
Mike walked to the side of the boat, leaning against the railing. He looked out and sighed. Valerie walked up to the deck of the ship and looked over at Mike. She sighed, then laid her hands on her arms. The wind was slightly chillier here then before because of the storm. She slowly walked over to Mike and leaned against the railing next to him. Mike looked away, attempting to ignore her. “Mike…” Valerie spoke, but with a pause. “Are you sure you made the right choice?”
“Is there such a thing as a right choice?” Mike asked. “After all, every choice has an unavoidable consequence to it. I don’t see a way for there to be a true ‘right choice’.”
Valerie sighed. She understood exactly what he was saying, and she knew he was correct. However, the way he said it made her sad. This didn’t seem like the Mike that she had come to know and love. He was depressed, and because of it, she could tell the mood of everyone around him was getting grim as well.
Valerie sighed and closed her eyes. “I love you, Mike. I really mean that. Even if you stopped, I’d still love you just as much as before.”
Mike made no reaction. He just kept looking away. The sky suddenly began to grow dark as the clouds above the boat began to close in together. Drakus, who was standing at the front of the boat, noticed this and quickly began to use one of his spells to keep the clouds open, but it was to no avail. They closed, and an unnatural darkness came upon the boat. It had suddenly grown extremely dark, darker then even night itself. Mike and Valerie looked around. They didn’t know what was going on.
Suddenly, Valerie saw a streak of lightning surge through the clouds, and a loud rumble was heard immediately. She and Mike looked up, just in time to witness a large bolt of lightning come straight down at them, striking only inches away from Mike’s feet. A form suddenly appeared on the boat once the lightning disappeared, and Mike readied himself for anything. “What do we have here?” a dark, but feminine, voice came from the figure, whose form couldn’t be made out. “Am I correct in assuming we have a boy and girl here dealing with relationship problems?” The voice began to laugh.
“Who are you?” Mike called out.
“That, my young friend, is of no importance to you. All you need to know is that my wrath will soon be upon you. I have been ordered to destroy this ship, and everyone who is on it.” Suddenly, a large axe appeared in the figure’s hand. It swung the axe, and the darkness seemed to split, showing the face of a girl. It was Sadira.
Sadira smirked at them and laughed. In her hand was a large axe that had a skull engraved in the metal of the hilt. On the blade itself was the crossed symbol of Abolition, the God of Destruction. “Prepare, fools, for your ends is near.”
“I think not,” Mike spoke. He quickly pulled out his poison daggers, ready to do battle.
Sadira laughed. “You fool! Do you really think you can stop me?” She rose her hand into the air, and energy shot up from her hand, then down into the water. The waves grew, and the boat began to rock fiercely. Drakus tried to control it, but it was useless.
“Valerie, go help Drakus, I can take care of this.” Valerie nodded and ran over to Drakus, attempting to help him get the waves calmed down. “Now, it is just you and me.”
Sadira laughed. “Oh really?” she pointed her hand down at the boat, and small, green fires erupted. A moment later, they went out, and small, black creatures, were left. They had two long horns coming over their heads, along with long fingers. Two, small, demonic wings were on their backs, and their arms and legs were skinnier then anything ever seen. It was as if they were just the bones themselves. They were no taller then four feet, if even that. The creatures all began to laugh quietly.
“Imps?” Mike asked. “Is that the best you’ve got? Just a few imps?” Mike quickly split his dagger apart into several, smaller daggers, then tossed each one at each imp. The daggers struck, and the imps quickly shriveled up and died. Mike then retrieved the daggers with a single wave of his hand.
Sadira laughed again. “Very good, but how about this?” she waved both her hands down this time, and this time, two times the amount of imps appeared all around.
Mike growled. “You know, if you keep this up, I’ll just get annoyed.” Once again, Mike split his dagger apart, tossing smaller daggers at each imp, and once again, as each dagger struck, the imps shriveled up and died.
Sadira laughed again. “Take this!” she shouted. This time four times the amount of the original group of imps appeared.
Mike growled. “Get over here and face me yourself!” he shouted.
“You’ll get your chance,” Sadira spoke.
Mike sighed. “Fine, then, I’ll have to resort to something else to stop you, then.” Mike pushed his feet together and kicked off into the air. He did a backflip in mid-air, and as he came around so he was facing them, he launched off his daggers once more. This time, he missed every target. However, when his feet touched the boat, the daggers activated, creating a long electrical current that passed through the daggers, and through the imps the daggers surrounded. With a single dagger left, he tossed it forward at Sadira, but she grabbed it as it was two inches away from hitting her.
Sadira twirled the dagger in her hands and pointed it forward at Mike. “You’re good,” she spoke. “I commend you for that, but you’ll never stop me.” She tossed the dagger away, and the axe reformed in her hand. “Shall we dance?”
“Let’s,” Mike spoke. He waved his hand, and the daggers all returned to him. He then combined them back together to make his poison dagger once again. He ran forward, and Sadira swung at him with her axe. He ducked at the last moment, and brought the dagger up, striking her in the chest.
Sadira just laughed, smirking. “You fool. You think you can kill me that easily?” She grabbed Mike’s hand and began to twist it. This caused him to let go of the dagger, leaving it lodged in her chest. She reached down and grabbed the dagger, only to quickly let go as it burnt her hand. “What is this?”
“No one but me touches my dagger. Not even a demon can touch it without feeling pain. The poison in the dagger will slowly run its course through your body, and soon you’ll be dead.”
The demon growled and brought her nails into Mike’s chest. Her eyes glowed blood red as she dug her nails in as deep as they would go. Mike screamed in pain, and Valerie quickly looked over at him. Immediately, something inside her clicked, and her anger rose to the max.
“Get your hands off him!” Valerie shouted. Her hands began to change into demon claws, and her feet changed to demonic feet. She bent over, grabbing her stomach as two large wings seemed to break out of her back and opened up. She screamed in pain as large spikes grew on her elbows and shoulders. She bent over, her hands touching the ground. She roared loudly, her clothes broke off as he body grew scales that covered it. She stood to her feet and roared, then grabbed near her neck. She peeled the skin off her face, revealing a skull-like demon face underneath. She let out a loud roar as the final thing that changed was a long tail that grew from her back side.
Valerie growled, giving loud, raspy, growl-like breathes. She rose one of her claws and swung forward at Sadira, who quickly rose her arm in defense, only to realize Valerie’s strength when her very arm was cut off by a single swing from Valerie. She growled as she held onto her arm. “You shouldn’t have done that, you fool!” she shouted. Valerie just growled, raising her other arm to swing at her. Sadira ducked back, just barely dodging the attack.
Valerie roared again, now infuriated. She rose her hand into the air, then smashed it into the boat deck. Her other arm rose straight up into the air, a dark orb appearing in her hand. She quickly pulled her hand up, moving the hand with the orb down and smashing it into the boat deck. When the orb struck the deck, it exploded, causing an enormous explosion which nearly destroyed everything on the top of the boat. When the smoke cleared, Sadira was gone, and so was the storm.
Valerie let out a loud roar, then closed her eyes. Her body began to slowly change form, returning back to normal. When her body was normal again, she fell forward, collapsing to the ground, unconscious. Zach and Jessica felt the shake from the attack that Valerie had launched, and they quickly ran upstairs. When they reached the deck, they looked forward, seeing Valerie and Mike. Mike was breathing heavily, and Jessica rushed to his side. Zach rushed to Valerie’s side, checking to see if she was okay.
Drakus walked over to Valerie and Zach, looking down at them. “You are one lucky guy to have someone like her on your side,” he spoke.
“What do you mean?” Zach asked.
“Valerie pretty near killed herself just a moment ago to protect all of you.”
“What?” Zach and Jessica shouted in unison.
“She and Mike were battling a demon, and the demon attacked Mike. Valerie got enraged, and unleashed the full power of her rage against the monster. She destroyed the entire boat deck with the power, but she gave most of her life force to use that power. To watch her use that power is an amazing sight, and you never forget it afterward. However, it leaves you wondering why she has to have that side of her.” Drakus sighed. “If Valerie hadn’t done that, though, the demon probably would have destroyed the whole boat.”
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing she did that, then,” Jessica spoke and sighed. “You know…I just kinda realized, I don’t know that much about her. I mean, really, all I know about her is that she’s a mage, and how she enjoys to be treated by Mike.” Jessica looked to Zach. “Do you think…maybe…we’d stop hating her if we found out more about her?”
Zach thought for a moment. It was a good point. They didn’t know much about her. He had never really thought of that before. “You know, you’re right. I never really thought about it, but maybe you’re right, maybe we owe Val an apology, and then we should start to get to know her.”
“Yeah,” Jessica spoke, nodding. Suddenly, the boat shook, as if something had run into the bottom of it. Again, it shook, and Drakus looked over the railing into the water. He looked down, but saw nothing.
“Hello, Drakus,” a voice spoke, and Drakus turned around. In front of him was Sadira, still missing her arm. “Miss me?”
“Sadira,” Drakus spoke, growling. “What do you want here, you witch?”
“Now, now, is that anyway to treat a friend of yours?”
“Friend of mine? Ha! You’re the property of Tenari, you fowl, demon witch.”
Sadira growled. “You will pay for that insult, old man of water.” Sadira reached her hand out and grabbed Drakus by the throat. Drakus laughed and grabbed her hand. He seemed to rip her arm right off her, and she screamed. Now, both of her arms were missing, which made things bad for her.
“So, Sadira, after Valerie cut off your right arm, and I ripped off your left one, what will you do?”
“Easy, this.” The flesh around the stubs that were once Sadira’s arms began to change, and soon, two arms sprouted from them. She laughed as she looked at her new arms. “Well, now, it seems you failed to…how do you say…disarm me?” Sadira laughed. “Prepare to die, Drakus!” she shouted.
“Hold it there!” Zach shouted. Sadira turned to look at Zach, noticing his sword was drawn.
“A simple sword? You are such a fool.”
Zach rose his sword into the air, then, as he brought it down, it burst into a blue flame. “It’s no ordinary sword, Sadira. It’s a Paladin Sword, a great weapon for defeating demon’s like you.”
Sadira growled. “You will die!” she shouted. She ran forward at him, and Zach closed his eyes. Zach swung his sword forward, and the blade struck Sadira in the side. She roared as the holy, blue flame struck her as well, causing her to fall to the ground. Zach opened his eyes and looked to Sadira, holding the sword up to her neck.
“Sadira, surrender now, or be destroyed.”
“I will not surrender to you!” Sadira shouted. With that, she threw herself right into Zach’s sword. A moment later, her lifeless body slumped to the ground, and her body slowly seemed to decay away into a pile of smelly mud.
Drakus growled. “Tenari…why did you send your play toy at me?”
“He didn’t,” a voice spoke, and Drakus looked up. In front of the group was a large flame. It began to leap around the boat until it reached Drakus. “Give me the crystal!” the flame shouted.
“Is this what it is? All of this is because he wants my crystal? So, he’s one of the other three…I wonder if that means…” Drakus growled again. “This cannot be true!” he shouted and the water rose above his head. It came down, smashing into him, and pulling him underwater, as well as destroying half the boat.
“Valerie!” Jessica shouted, shaking her quickly. “Valerie, wake up! We have to get out of here quickly!”
Valerie groaned as she looked up. “What’s going on?”
“The boat is sinking. We’re nowhere close to land, either. Is there anything you can do to help us?”
Valerie nodded. “There sure is.” She stood to her feet. She rose her hand into the air, and a large wave came forward towards Valerie and the others. It picked them up, and sped them forward. It took them, surprisingly, only a few minutes before land was visible. Unfortunately, a few feet away from the land, Valerie grew weak, and her spell collapsed on them.
About two hours later, Zach groaned as he awoke, rubbing his head. He looked at Valerie and the others and checked each of them. Mike was still slipping from the world. It was certain. He didn’t have long left. They would be lucky if they could make it to Lily’s temple in Evanna. Getting there wouldn’t take long, but Mike didn’t have long left at all, no more then a few minutes was Zach’s guess.
Valerie groaned as she slowly awoke. She looked over at Mike. “H-how is he?” she asked Zach.
“Not good,” Zach replied. “He’s slipping, and fast. I would guess we don’t have more then a few more minutes.” Valerie pounded her fist upon the ground and growled. Her arm changed to its demonic form and back. “Why does it do that?” Zach asked.
Valerie looked up at Zach, her hair laid in her face. “What?”
“Your arms…your body…why, when you get angry, does it turn demonic like that?”
“Why do you ask?” Valerie asked as she stood to her feet. “Are you planning on slaying me if I turn out to be a demon?”
“N-no…I was just wondering is all. I mean, I see it happen all the time, but I’ve never really understood the reason.”
Valerie sighed as she brushed her hair back so it completely covered her back. “I might tell you sometime, but not right now.” Valerie walked over to Mike and knelt down next to him. “Zephyr, please, don’t let your energy leave this boy. Please, let him live. If I must die for him, then so be it, but don’t let him die. He’s too important to me to die.” She then bent over him and kissed him on the lips.
Energy seemed to flow between Valerie and Mike as they kissed, and Valerie’s skin grew pale as his became colored once more. The wound that had nearly killed him slowly seemed to close, and Valerie slowly pulled away from the kiss and smiled. “I love you, my sweetheart,” she spoke. She touched her hand to Mike’s cheek, and then collapsed. Zach quickly rushed over to them, and checked them both. He sighed, hoping Val’s choice was the right one.
The next morning, as dawn broke, and the sun slowly began to rise, Mike groaned as he awoke. He opened his eyes lightly, looking around somewhat. “W-what’s going on?” he asked.
Zach slowly opened his eyes when he heard Mike’s voice, and, upon seeing Mike awoke, he quickly sat up. “Mike!” he shouted. “You’re alive! Thank the gods!” He ran over to him. “How are you?”
“Other then a horrible throbbing sensation in my head, and the fact that claws were dug into my chest, making me have extreme chest pain, I’d say I’m fine.” Mike sat up. “Where is everyone else?”
“Jessica is over there,” Zach said, pointing to the remains of a fire he had made the night before. Jessica was laying next to it, a beautiful and innocent look on her face. “You know, I never realized it, but she’s actually a really pretty girl.”
Mike smiled. “Yeah, and you’re in love with her, too, I bet.”
Zach blushed. “No, I’m not!”
“Will you two keep it down?” a female voice called from right next to Mike. Mike turned, and there he saw Valerie, laying on her chest, her face looking in Mike’s direction, but her eyes were closed. She was still pale, but otherwise she was still alive and going strong.
“Valerie!” Zach shouted. “You’re still alive?”
Valerie groaned as she got up onto her hands and knees, her eyes still not opening. “Yeah, Zephyr said it was not my time, yet, and that I had shown him true love. He granted my wish to keep Mike alive, but in return, I had to give something up as well.”
“What is that?” Mike asked.
Valerie looked at Mike, her eyes opening for the first time. Her eyes were completely blank, almost like what one would see from an undead beast of some sort. “My soul.” Mike gasped. “If I did not give up my soul to him, you would die. I couldn’t let you die, so I willingly gave up my soul for you. Don’t worry, though, Zephyr said that, one day, I would gain it back again.”
“You shouldn’t have done that. You should have just gone on without me!”
“I can’t live without you, damn it!” Valerie shouted. “I figured, if I was dead, then I wouldn’t have to live without you. I was willing to die for you to be brought back, but Zephyr wanted me to stay alive. I’m sorry, Michael, but I couldn’t have gone on without you, it’s just not possible.”
Mike sighed. “I see. Well, you still seem normal, even without a soul.”
“That’s because I’m not an undead creature, or a living doll, or whatever you want to call it. I still have a portion of my soul left in me. It is very small, but it is enough for me to live normally and not be a living doll.”
“Well, as long as you are still you, then that’s all that matters, because it is you I love.”
Valerie blushed and smiled. “Thanks, Michael.” The two hugged and Zach smiled. Jessica groaned a bit, stirring in her sleep. Zach lightly shook her awake, and she sleepily stretched. When she noticed everyone was alive and well, she got excited.
“We all made it!” Jessica shouted. “I’m so glad, I was afraid we wouldn’t.”
“Don’t worry, Jessica, we all made it,” Zach spoke and hugged her. Jessica smiled and closed her eyes. She didn’t want to admit it herself, but she had fallen in love with him.
Unfortunately, the happiness would not last long, for just as everyone was ready to go, Valerie spoke up. “Have any of you heard of the Four Lords of the Elements?”
“Four Lords of the Elements?” Zach asked. “I certainly haven’t heard of them.”
“Neither have I,” Jessica spoke.
“I do, but only because we met them several years back,” Mike spoke.
“Well, the Four Lords of the Elements are four men who were born with the strange ability to control the elements,” Valerie spoke. “Each one could control a different element. For example, the Lord of Fire could control fire itself.”
“Wow, that would be amazing,” Zach spoke. “To be able to bend fire to your will, I mean.”
“Yes, it is an amazing thing. It is one thing I have been taught, but only slightly. Well, the four of these people were immortal, as in, they cannot die by natural causes. However, many years back, I believe a thousand years to be exact, a dark wizard defeated them all in battle. As he was going to deliver the final blow to them all, Zephyr himself stepped in and took the man away.”
“Wow,” Jessica spoke, absolutely dumbfounded. She had never heard this story before, and was in awe at the very sound of the occurrences.
“Well, I’m not sure why, but I think one of them may be after us for some reason.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Because, the demon that attacked Mike and I on the boat was Sadira, the Lord of Fire’s right-hand demon.”
“Really? We met Sadira as well!” Jessica spoke. “When Drakus defeated her, this weird fire jumped onto the boat and ordered Drakus to hand over a crystal. He didn’t listen, and he teleported out by using the water.”
“So, Sadira goes after us, and Faia goes after Drakus, huh? That’s it then. Tenari is our foe. We must go destroy him. It is a chance that all four lords are against us, and if so, we’ll have to fight them all, which will be an impossible battle, even if we fight them all in separate battles.” Valerie sighed. “Well, then, I guess it’s to the Dracolich Caverns. That is where we will find Tenari. Are we ready?” Everyone nodded. “All right, then, let’s go.” And with that, the grand adventure began. They journeyed off to face against any of the four lords who would go after them. They began another Journey of Heroes, just as many heroes had done before them.
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