Hey guys!

Yeah, it's been a long time. Sorry for the long wait but this chapter turned out longer than I thought it would turn put. But, I am a little proud of how this chapter turned out. So enjoy reading it!

Beta'd by Goldenflower123

Ch. 16 - Where Now . .?

Maxxor didn't care for his position of leader of the Overworld, as he collapsed next to Chaor on the ground, exhausted. His body was protesting against any movement in the near future he had to do. But seeing what just happened, he could guess that he won't be getting any rest when he got up.

"I'm starting to think these humans have some sort of trouble magnet on them," grumbled Chaor, beside him. "It can't just be a coincidence that humans seem to be involved in every problem we've had since they arrived."

"Though they did help solve said problems," replied Maxxor tiredly.

"Some of those problems wouldn't have been a problem in the first place if it wasn't for them," pointed out Chaor. "But, yes, they did solve those problems."

". . . We're going to have to fix this new problem," Maxxor said, feeling the ache his body was in. He probably had a few cracked ribs from the hit he had taken earlier. And he was pretty sure that the claw wound he had on his back was still bleeding. That wasn't even counting all the other scratches he had all over his body. And that wasn't even counting all the other scratches he had covering about 95% of his body.

"Hmmm I don't think this could be really called a problem," stated Chaor as he turned to look at Kaz. The boy seemed to be trying to relax, his eyes were closed as he took deep breaths. His friends Sarah and Peyton made sure he had a wide berth from everyone else on the battlefield.

"Perhaps you're right," replied Maxxor, watching as Tom made his way up to them. The boy's weapons put into their holster, locked and in handgun form on his hips.

"Hey Maxxor, Chaor," said Tom, his voice sounding concerned. "You guys okay?"

"I'm fine Tom," replied Maxxor, seeing the worried look his friend had. Chaor merely grunted, letting the boy know he was alive at least. "Really, I'm fine just a few scratches."

"Your back is still bleeding," Chaor pointed out.

"What?!" Tom exclaimed, immediately going to check the wound Chaor had mentioned. Maxxor glared at the Underworld leader, while said Underworlder smirked.

Tom looked at the sluggishly bleeding would, it wasn't too deep but it wasn't exactly shallow either. Even so it was still deep enough to need stitches at least.

"Well it didn't hit anything important," said Tom. "But you'll be needing stitches." Maxxor didn't know what stitches were but it didn't sound very pleasant considering the way Tom had said it. It was a good thing that he brought that cream Najarin had given him. Its healed wounds worse than the ones on his back before.

While the two were occupied with each other, Chaor had stood up and wandered over towards Kaz to see what was wrong. The boy still seemed to be tense, as if he was fighting with something that wasn't there. Chaor was worried despite what his appearance may say otherwise. The young teen had always been his "favorite" for a reason he never quite understood.

Kaz wasn't the usual kind of Underworld player he had ever seen. Chaor had encountered many chaotic players before and they always seem to exhibit more than a few Tribal traits from the tribe they play for in their game. Sure, some played more than just one tribe but they all usually had one tribe they mainly associated with. A tribe that was closest to themselves. However, Kaz wasn't like the typical underworld player Chaor's met before.

Kaz was sly and cunning, though he wasn't exactly ruthless the boy had quite the temper when the occasion called for it. However, there was something about Kaz he never saw in any Underworlder or Underworld player.

He was forgiving.

Despite everything Chaor had put him through, he still looked at Chaor like he was a great hero though Chaor knew he more suited for the villain role. You wouldn't normally find an Underworlder, or any Underworlder that is, who could forgive so willingly like Kaz did.

By the time Chaor had reached Kaz, the Underworld leader noticed something different about the boy, something . . . Feral.

Kaz's semblance was, in one simple word, shapeshifting. He could turn into anything. And he quite literally means anything. Be it a bird, fish, reptile, hell even fantasy creatures as he had displayed earlier. As long as one could imagine it, Kaz could become it. But this great gift came with a price. Kaz could only maintain his animal forms for a certain amount of time without any repercussions. Should he stay within his animal form past his limit . . . Kaz begins to lose his "human" mind and become more animal like. He becomes more vicious and dangerous the longer he stays, even if he returned to his human form it would take hours for him to calm down. To regain control over his animal instincts that had begun to take over. Kaz feared that one day when the battle went on for too long he will just remain an animal, a wild vicious animal destroying everything in his path.

Kaz had spent well over his limit in his animal form, and now he struggled with controlling his instincts. He had toed the line today; he was so close to losing control but somehow he managed to reel his feral urges in. However, that all seemed rather wasteful when Kaz sensed a presence within his vacancy. Kaz felt his hackles rising again and a growl emanating from his throat, he could barely stop himself from attacking whoever had approached him. Kaz's eyes opened to be face to face with Chaor, one of the people he did not want face right now in his condition. Attacking the Underworld leader was out of the question and not to mention suicide. While Kaz may be more powerful now with his aura and weapons with him now, Chaor was still a tough opponent not to mention several times his size. Plus, he didn't want to piss off the Underworld's king over a stupid mistake of attacking him.

Kaz mentally locked down his wild instincts, surprising himself that he could. He held on tightly to the metaphorical leash, struggling as if playing Tug of War against an Ursa or two. While Kaz continued his inner battle against himself, Chaor had stopped and taken a closer look of Kaz. He noticed the struggle Kaz seemed to be having within himself, a struggle he has often seen before.

Without hesitation, Chaor sat down in front of Kaz, finally gaining the attention from others. He ignored Tom's frantic shouts as he reached for Kaz and held the boy's hands in his. The metal of his armor was warm against Chaor's skin.

Kaz was stunned, and apparently so was the feral part of him as well. For a moment, just small moment, Kaz's mind was completely blank. Chaor took advantage of that lapse of attention and did something no one expected the Underworld leader to do in public.

Chaor pulled Kaz into a gentle embrace while massaging Kaz's tense back. Kaz was so confused and baffled what the heck was happening, that his body ended up relaxing. His animal side seeming to be under Chaor's control even purred under the Underworld leader's attention. Kaz brought a hand to clamp over his mouth, horrified and embarrassed.

While Kaz was having a rather embarrassing moment and Chaor looking confused why Kaz was turning so red, everyone who had been alarmed when Chaor had approached Kaz stared at them with disbelief, amusement, and . . . Well, you get the idea.

Tom stared at the two for a moment longer, surprised, before sighing. He did not have the mental capacity for this right now. Tom looked around him, seeing injured and tired creatures. He looked to Maxxor, who was already talking to another creature already trying to get everything organized.

Tom looked to Kaz, who was now busily stammering out an excuse as he pried away from Chaor's hold, his entire face still the color of a cherry. He watched as everyone began to make their way back to the Underworld and thought to himself;

What now?

A few hours later . . .

It was late at night when everyone was finally settled in.

Every participant of the earlier battle, from creature to human, was finally treated for their injuries and Maxxor and Chaor had organized rooms for the chaotic players for them to rest. By the time the leaders of the Tribes had gathered together to deal with the suddenly stranded players, they were all completely drained. Despite their exhaustion, they had gathered in a random room inside Chaor's castle. They would have used a meeting room but most, if not all, of them, were being used as temporary infirmary rooms. So they had found an empty room, a guest room from the looks of it, and sat down at the table inside. Other than Queen Illexia, who was in charge of defense rather than fighting, every leader looked as if they were on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion. Illexia had taken to go the meeting herself as Odu-Bathux was tired from the battle, just as the other leaders before her were.

"Perhaps it may be best to postpone this meeting until tomorrow?" inquired Illexia. "You all look rather tired at the moment." She wasn't wrong. Chaor looked like he was already half way to dream land, while Maxxor looked no better. Mudeenu looked a little better but everyone could see his eyes drooping. Iflar seemed to be the most awake out of all of them but even he looked weary at the moment.

"That . . . Is probably a good idea," commented Chaor, as he dropped his head onto the table not caring anymore. "I call this room. All of you get out."

Maxxor grunted annoyed, not liking the thought of moving but loved the idea of going to bed and sleeping for the next few hours . . . Maybe days.

"As much as I would like to sleep in a bed right now, I think we can all agree that we must at least come to a decision of what to do about the chaotic players before going to bed," said Iflar tiredly.

"I think we all know that they're here to stay," said Mudeenu, rubbing his eyes.

"What is there to talk about?" Chaor said grumpily. "They're staying with us. What else is there?"

"That is assuming they want to stay with us," countered Maxxor.

"Where else would they go?" Chaor asked confused.

"There's still a lot about the humans we don't know about and for all, we know the humans may not adapt well to the environments Perim provides," Illexia replied.

"Even so the cities and villages we've established are safe locations," Chaor answered. "Humans have a fairly high chance of adapting to our environment considering what we've seen. They're smart, they'll know their limits and tell us if anything is causing them any problems."

"Chaor's right," said Iflar. "Even if they did want a place for just humans, it would take time and resources which we are kind of short on supply considering the Grimm destroy our crops and homes when they arrive on the scene."

The others hummed in agreement, thinking over what Iflar had said.

"So until the Grimm situation is dealt with or when we've grown more accustom to them, the chaotic players will be staying within the four tribes?" Illexia clarified. The rest of the leaders said their agreements. But now the topic was said, the leaders were all now wide awake. Their next order of business was to decide what to do about the Grimm.

"Now for the Grimm," Mudeenu sighed. "I think this topic would be best discussed with some human input."

"True, but most of the humans should be sleeping right now," Iflar said.

"Well the situation isn't urgent right now," said Maxxor. "We can continue this discussion first thing tomorrow, but I believe the Underworld should be fine for the time being."

"The Grimm have retreated," Chaor huffed. "My people aren't in any danger as of this moment. We'll survive."

"Then I believe we can all retire to our chambers," said Illexia standing up.

"I do believe that my bed is calling me," Mudeenu said, standing up as well. Iflar nodded standing up as well.

"Yes, all of you get out so I can sleep," shooed Chaor.

"This isn't even your bedroom," grumbled Maxxor as he began to walk to the door.

"My castle, I can damn well sleep wherever I want," said Chaor, lazily glaring at the overworlder.

"Have a pleasant night gentlemen," bid Illexia as she left. Iflar and Mudeenu said their pleasantries with Maxxor and Chaor before the other three left the room they had their improv meeting in leaving Chaor in the room alone. Chaor slowly got up and moved towards the bed. He collapsed onto the bed, asleep right when his head hit the pillow.

Another Room . . .

Kaz sighed as he sat up on his bed.

"Well I'm not falling asleep anytime soon," said Kaz, looking towards the bed beside him. Tom rolled onto his stomach and sighed as well.

"I don't think any of us will," he said, as Sarah and Peyton sat up from their beds as well.

"Yeah I'm too wired to sleep," muttered Sarah.

". . . You wouldn't happen to know where they keep the food here do you Kaz?" asked Peyton, looking at his friend hopeful.

"No," deadpanned Kaz, giving his friend a blank stare. It was just like Peyton to turn to food. "Plus, I don't know about you guys but the food here is rather tough and scarce enough as it is. There is also the fact we have no idea if we can even eat what the creatures in the Underworld eat."

"But I ate just fine when Iflar and Mudeenu gave me food," pouted Peyton.

"Yeah but that was before your real body was here," said Tom. "And I think that Mipedian food and Underworld food would be vastly different."

"You better just wait until tomorrow at breakfast to eat," said Sarah. "We were lucky enough that the food they gave us was already approved for human consumption by the Codemasters." Peyton let a whine leave his mouth, orally displaying his discontent on the fact. His friends rolled their eyes before silence dominated the room once again.

They were all deep in thought, thinking of their homes and people they left behind.

Tom, in all honesty, didn't have much to go back to. Sure, Kaz's family was like a second family to him and Kaz was practically his best friend and brother rolled into one but other than them there was no one else. No else that he would miss as much as he would as Kaz's family. After his mom went to the mental institute, Tom could never let anyone else in. He could never trust someone and love them since his mom's incident left him afraid that his luck will just make them disappear and die like his own family. Even with Kaz and his mom it had been an uphill battle to let them in again. But now, he cherished them like they were the most precious jewels ever found and to Tom they were. They were there for him when they needed him the most, and though it wasn't perfect they made his life so much more bearable to live. They made him see the light and enjoy life once more . . . Tom would miss that warmth, just as he's sure Kaz will too.

Tom was right. Kaz missed his mother immensely. He missed his siblings as well. He missed his brothers' mischief and his sister's laughter when their pranks were successful. He missed his mom's singing when she was cooking or folding laundry. Kaz was going to miss the times when all of them would curl up in his mom's bed and just be close to one another. To feel the other and know that they were there. The habit started after his incident with the Deathstalker. His nightmares had been really bad back then and most of the time he wouldn't get any sleep at all. But then one-night Tom, who had started to live with at the time, crawled into his bed and they held each other until they fell asleep. And when their nightmares became too much for them both, his mother bundled them up with warm blankets and cuddled with them on her bed. And the habit continued and when his brothers and sister came into the picture they began to sleep with them on those nights as well, providing their own comfort to him and Tom.

Sarah was going to miss her foster parents and the family she had back on Remnant. Her foster parents had taken her in after she had lost Haley. They helped her . . . Move on in a way. They had told her that though her friend was gone, Haley would still be with her. That she would be in her heart. Sarah didn't appreciate it at the time, she had all but lost her whole world when Haley had died that day. She and Haley were than just friends, they were family, sisters, despite not being of the same blood. After Haley's death, Sarah just didn't function. She had rarely slept or ate, and she would episodes of panic and anxiety and just lash out at everyone around her. Her foster parents never lost patience, they never yelled or punished her for her actions back then. Instead, they waited. They waited until she calmed down from her tantrum and then tuck her in bed when she fell asleep. They would leave food outside her room every day, not forcing her to eat but giving her a choice. When Sarah began to heal, life with them was . . . Good. It was, well it wasn't perfect, but she had been happy. Sarah would never forget her foster parents; she only hopes they don't worry about her too much.

Peyton wasn't worried about his grandparents; after all, they knew he would be fine. And he knew that they would be fine as well. He had left them a letter before leaving, that he was going somewhere that they can't follow. But even if he knew they would be fine, he couldn't help but miss them. He couldn't help but feel that emptiness in his heart. Peyton knew that this emptiness wasn't going to go away. The presence of his grandparents have always been a constant in his life and now, they were suddenly gone. It will take a while, but Peyton knew he would slowly move on from the pain. That one day he would be able to think of his grandparents and not feel the blinding pain in his chest.

The night went on and the four Chaotic players all migrated to one bed taking comfort from one another. Tears were shed despite knowing what they did was the right thing to do. That coming to Perim was the right answer. It didn't stop the pain from the loss of their families, their friends, their home, but it did ease the pain a little.

That night every huntsmen and huntress all mourned the loss of their home . . . And yet they could not find a trace of regret of their actions today. They would never forget where they came from but Perim was a new beginning. And though the pain was still so fresh and vivid, one day it won't be.

Because no matter where they go, home is where your heart is. And Perim has been the heart of all Chaotic players since they arrived.

Well, what do you guys think? It took a while but it's done. I was staring at a blank page for hours before I got anything done.

Please review! It gives my soul the energy it needs to keep moving forward!