AN: Yay, now I get to play with the plot! (evil laughter ensues) And sorry about the spelling mistakes in the last chapter. My computer is being stupid, and well, I didn't run it through the spell checker after typing it in notepad… Anyway, Thanks to all who review, most notably C.R. Carter and the Chaotic Ones! And now, on with the show……
It was dark. She hurt everywhere. There was a cool cloth on her forehead. She heard people whispered.
"Is she gonna be okay?" asked a child's voice.
"She will wake up soon," replied a woman's voice. It was a calm voice that had authority in it. It reminded her of the voice of the mayor's wife.
"Where am I?" she managed to groan. Her throat hurt when she spoke. She opened her eyes and squinted against the sudden bright light. Things were very blurry. She could make out the form of a blurry purple haired woman above her.
"Hush, now, little Rydia. It will be all right. Now that you have awakened, my healing should work better." Rydia felt a rush of warmth. Her throat stopped hurting, and things began to clear around her. She blinked a few times and sat up. The woman was beautiful in her long purple gown. She had the oddest pink-ish eyes. As Rydia stared in wonder, her eyes came to the golden crown in the woman's hair.
"Are you a Queen?" she asked softly. The woman smiled, and Rydia was struck with the oddest impress. . . that the Queen was not quite human.
"I am. We are glad to see that you have come to. How do you feel?"
"My head is pounding."
"That's to be expected. You nearly died, little one." Rydia stared at the queen in sudden realization.
"How did you know my name?" She faltered, "is Cecil here? Or Yang, or Edward?"
"None of your friends are here, Rydia. Except one." She crocked her finger, and a chocobo came into the room. Rydia stared in disbelief. She grinned and threw her arms around her best friend.
"Chocky? How did you get here? I don't remember summoning you. . ."
"You didn't, Rydia," the chocobo replied. Rydia blinked.
"You can talk?"
"Yes, but only in this place, my home. You are in the Land of Summoned Monsters." Rydia shook her head. This had to be a dream. She was going to wake up any minute now, safe on the boat. . . . No, that had never worked before, wishing she was in a dream. It certainly wasn't about to start now!
"Then, you must be. . . Queen Asura?" Rydia whispered, turning to the woman. She simply nodded. "Then Leviathan, he brought me here. Why?"
"You are certainly very intelligent, Rydia, but I would expect nothing less from the last trained Caller." The Queen sat down on the edge of Rydia's bed. "Leviathan went to the surface to try and stop the evil that threatens all of creation. Instead, he became possessed by this evil, and he attacked the ship. But when you fell into the water he regained his mind. He took you back with him." She sighed, "but there had been much water in your lungs. We feared you would not make it."
"But, why did he bring me here?" Rydia asked softly. "I should be up there, helping Cecil save Rosa, and the Crystals."
"The battle you fight goes far beyond your friend Rosa, or the Crystals. Rydia, if the Dark One gathers all the Crystals then the world will be doomed, all the world." Queen Asura smiled sadly. "For some reason, Rydia, your fate is entangled in this battle. But if you fight with them now, as young as you are, you will not survive. You have seen the power the Dark One has, have you not?" Rydia nodded, and looked down. Golbez was really strong, but Rydia had been getting stronger very quickly. "You are still too young, Rydia, to handle the magic that is going to be needed to stop him."
"But there is no way that can change," Rydia said softly. She hugged Chocky closer to her. "Does that mean I'm gonna die?"
"There is a way, Rydia," Asura replied. She sighed softly. "Time runs differently in this land then it does anywhere else in the world. It runs however the Master of Summoned monsters wills it to run, and right now time here is passing much quicker then in the outside world." Rydia looked up at the Queen of Summoned monsters, surprised. "So if you were to remain here, it would give you a chance to grow up a little," she continued.
"Stay here?" Rydia asked. "But what about my friends? I don't want to abandon them."
"You would not be abandoning them, Rydia. This could very well save them all." Asura rose, and looked over at Chocky. "Chocky here, is the only monster with a summoner. If you were to die, then no one will ever be able to summon again, except that terrible Golbez man. We can take you back, Rydia, but who will teach you to summon other monsters? If you wish to go back, Leviathan can take you. And then he will be forced to kidnap one of the remaining caller children. Because for the coming battles against the Dark One, there must be a caller. It has been foretold. And a child who can summon only one monster stands no chance against the darkness, so we will be forced to take another child into our land, and train them to call."
"But, then you would have to wait a really long time for the kid to grow up enough to cast anything at all, and they would die in the battle too."
"That is true as well, Rydia," the Queen admitted.
"You said that a Caller will fight. Who are the others?" Rydia asked. She had to know if her friends would survive.
"From the visions we have been sent, we know there will be five who will stand against the ultimate Darkness," Asura said, something in her eyes changing, as if she were watching something far away. "A Knight of the Light whose heart shines with the power of right, a man of martial arts, a man whose heart has been touched by Darkness, who will fall prey to the darkness, a white wizard who has the love of the light and the dark, and a caller who has been orphaned by those touched by Darkness."
Rydia stared at the queen. She frowned. She knew who many of them were. A man touched by darkness could only be Cecil, and the white wizard would be Rosa. The man of martial arts was no doubt Yang. If she did as the Queen asked, then she would be the Caller. The only one left was the Knight of Light, a Paladin, like in the stories her mother used to tell her.
"Then my friends, they are almost all part of this, all but Edward…" Rydia murmured. "Then, Rosa will be okay. . ." She looked over at Chocky. "I, I will stay here, Queen Asura."
The queen smiled, and nodded over at Chocky.
"Take her into the town. We can start training later, Rydia. But for now, go meet the rest of my people."
"All right," Chocky replied. He bowed his head and then put his wing around Rydia, drawing her in closer.
"Don't worry, Rydia. I'm here for you." Rydia smiled, suddenly feeling very nervous. All her people could only mean one thing… the summoned monsters would be expecting to talk to her. All of them….
Rydia followed Chocky up through a stair case. She suddenly found herself inside what looked remarkably like a house from her village. There were book shelves lining the walls, more books packed into the selves then Rydia had seen in her life. It was strangely quiet.
"Where is everyone?" Rydia asked softly.
"Outside, waiting for you. The Queen said no one could come through, except me." She glanced over at Chocky, and it seemed her chocobo friend was smiling, though he had no lips. "The others all are jealous of me."
"Because I am the only one with a Caller," he replied, his childish voice turning serious. "All of the others lost their callers is the terrible fire. Many are grieving as if they lost a brother or sister. Some don't do anything. Others, particularly the oldest ones, simply gave up on life, and died."
"They died? How?" she squeaked.
"Broken hearts." He nudged her softly with his feathery head. "Come on, we shouldn't dwell on this. The others want to see you." She nodded, and tried to look brave, but her insides felt like jelly. "It's okay, Rydia. I promise I won't let anything happen to you."
"I know you won't," she replied, hugging his neck.
Rydia pushed open the door. She was greeted by nearly a hundred different faces, almost all of them wearing heavy cloaks. But through the cloaks she could see glowing eyes, and Rydia knew these were all monsters, that they were hiding their real shape underneath the cloaks.
"Hi," she said, her voice sounding very much like a squeak in her ears. "I'm Rydia." The monsters began to chatter excitedly. Rydia moved closer to Chocky. She was very nervous. There were so many of them! Most of them were in different coloured cloaks, except the chocobos who were scattered throughout the mass of monsters.
"Rydia, Rydia, Rydia," someone began to chant. Rydia stared in amazement, unable to move, as the monsters all began to chant her name.
"Chocky, this is amazing. They all, they all want to know me, don't they?" she whispered.
"They do," he replied. "They all want to be chosen to be called by you."
"All of them?" Rydia repeated. "I wish I could be partnered with all of them." She looked out over the mass of cloaked head. "Take me back inside? I'm not sure I'm up to this yet."
"No problem." Chocky pushed the door open. "But you'd better say goodbye, or they'll think you are rude."
"Oh… okay.." Rydia swallowed the lump in her throat. "It, It was wonderful to meet you all. And, as soon as I feel better, I'll try to talk to you." The monsters cheered for her, some of them roaring. Rydia smiled as much as she could, and then she ran inside, back to the comfort of the quiet house. The inside of the house had somehow changed, the stairs going below gone. There was a bed and a night table set up, a fire going in the fireplace that had not been there before.
"You should rest, Rydia," Chocky said, pulling the blankets down. "You are very pale."
"Okay," Rydia replied, not sure what else to do. She climbed into the bed. It was very large. "Chocky?"
"Will you stay here with me, at least until I fall asleep?"
"I will never leave you, Rydia. I'll stay as long as you want me to."
AN: Okay, guys, let me know what you think. I'd like some more reviews…. And how much would you guys like to see of Rydia growing up in the Land of the Summoned Monsters? Let me know!