Disclaimer: No, I don't own PODW, sadly enough. This is the last installment of my trilogy, and I should soon hope to get another story out soon enough, after I've finished twenty other fictions. This song fic is by Savage Garden, Truly Madly Deeply.

I'll be your dream

I'll be your wish I'll be your fantasy

Tula was slowly starting to nod off. She had been watching over Ren for the past day, refusing to let anyone take over for her. He had been unconscious since she managed to drag him from he beach. She was still in shock from seeing him lay there on the sand.

The door opened from behind her. She gave an irritated sigh. "Ay jitata Ioz, I told you-" She turned to face him, but found it was Jenna she was facing. "Oh! Jenna, I'm sorry."

Jenna nodded understandingly. "You need some sleep child. You're going to make yourself sick of you don't."

Tula shook her head stubbornly. "I want to be here when he wakes up."

"That may not be for days yet. Go on, get some sleep." This time it was more of a command. Sighing, Tula did as ordered and went to her rooms.

Yet, in her rooms, all she could do was pace. She was too excited for sleep, too worried. What had happened to him? Why did he show up now, just after she was losing hope of ever seeing him again? Was it a sign of something? She pushed these disturbing questions out of her mind and laid on her bed, making her first attempt at sleep.

I'll be your hope I'll be your love

Be everything that you need

Ren, in the midst of his unconsciousness, was having nightmares. To him, he was still in the Dark Dweller's domain, running. The Dark Dweller was still screeching out his revenge.

Then his fever broke.

When he finally opened his eyes, he almost thought he had gone blind. His surroundings were dark save a silver light through a window. He was confused. Where was he? He couldn't still be in the Dweller's domain, could he? Soon his eyes focused to the darkness and he dimly recognized his surroundings. Was he finally home?

He sat up, wanting to be sure he was safe from the Dark Dweller. But gently hands pushed him down. A candle was lit and he saw Jenna.

"Jenna?" He asked, confused. Was this another trick?

"Shh..." She said. "You need your strength, Ren."

"Where am I? Home?"

She nodded. "Yes, after thirteen years, you're finally home."

Ren shook his head. "Thirteen years?! Impossible! I was only down there for three days!" His head started pounding.

She gave him some water. "We'll talk about this later, when everyone has awakened. For now, rest." Ren let himself slide into unconsciousness again; praying it wasn't a dream.

I'll love you more with every breath

Truly madly deeply do

"Tula!" Niddlar called through the door excitedly, pounding on it. "Wake up!"

Tula groaned. "What is it Niddlar?" She asked, just wanting to go back to sleep. She was having the most wonderful dream...

"Ren's awake! Come on Tula, get up!"

This shot her wide-awake. "Why didn't you say that in the first place?" She demanded, muttering to herself about monkey birds. She quickly got dressed and hurried to Ren's room. Ioz and Niddlar were there. For once, Ioz was an image of his former self, though it wasn't much of a change. Niddlar was practically bouncing up and down. When I entered, Jenna smiled and nodded her head, then left.

"Ren!" I went over to him and hugged him. I couldn't contain my tears. "By Kunda I missed you!"

Ren hugged her back. "I missed you too Tula. I missed all of you."

Ioz gave his usual scowl. "I still don't understand how you managed to survive thirteen years in that cretin's domain."

"I told you Ioz," Ren said, though not without some humor. "I was only down there for three days total. Some how the Dark Dweller managed to warp time."

"Does it matter?" Asked Niddlar. "He's here now. Let's get together a celebration, with plenty of food!"

Everyone laughed. Niddlar was back to normal.

I will be strong I will be faithful

'cause I'm counting on

A new beginning

As soon as Jenna permitted, Ren was able to get out of bed and walk again. He was still having his doubts if all this was a dream, but he kept them hidden. After all, if this was a dream, it was better then the dark caverns and dark water. He spent some time wandering the castle, which he hadn't entered in since returning the first eight Treasures. He smiled at the people who addressed him, and exchanged a few words. He was becoming aware of his new predicament: he was going to have to rule an entire kingdom soon.

He caught sight of Tula, talking to a man with six arms. He had a bluish tinge to his skin, a hard face, and long brown hair. He was very alert and his eyes darted around as if keeping everything in check even when listening to Tula.

"And when we've--" Tula stopped talking when she heard Ren clear his throat. She smiled. "Nice to see you up and walking about finally." She said.

The man turned about face and fell to one knee. "You're Majesty." He greeted.

Ren was taking aback a little. "You don't have to bow, sir." He said.

The man rose and took a stiff form of attention. Tula shook her head. "Ren, this is Arak. He has been captain of the guard since we managed to get the Treasures back. He served your father before he went in search of the Treasures."

Ren nodded. "Nice to meet you." He said.

"With your permission, sire, I would return to my duties." Arak requested.

"Er- sure." Arak saluted and marched off. Ren couldn't suppress a smile. "What was that all about?" He asked when he was out of earshot.

Tula chuckled. "Arak is deathly loyal to the crown. He takes his duties seriously. You'll never meet a more zealous person."

"He seemed it. You'd think we'd be at war with him marching like that."

A reason for living

A deeper meaning

Ren took the first close study of Tula that he had been able to in days. She seemed... older. Things had certainly changed around her. He couldn't quite place his finger on it and it troubled him.

"You're the King now," Tula replied. "You should see him while he's training. He's managed to teach Ioz a thing or two."

"I'd watch my tongue if I were you, wench, or I'll be teaching you a thing or two." Ioz growled, walking by. Tula just shot him a dirty look. "At any rate, woman, Jenna wants to see you. Something about tonight."

"I'll be there in a minute," Tula said in a tone to Ioz that she wanted a few more minutes alone with Ren. Ioz, however, either ignored it or didn't get it, because he engaged Ren in a conversation and started walking down the hall with him. He is such a jitatin creep! Thought Tula. And age isn't making him any better either. She sighed and went to see Jenna.

Jenna wanted to make sure everything was ready for the celebration. Tula helped with the rest of the preparations. That included making sure there was enough food for everyone, even Niddlar, to get full on. Tula smiled at the thought of Niddlar actually getting sick to his stomach from too many minga melons.

I want to stand with you on

a mountain

I want to bathe with you in the sea

I want to lay like this forever

Until the sky falls down on me

Ren laughed at the tale Ioz was telling; recounting for what happened after Ren vanished. He personally couldn't believe Bloth was finally gone, even though his name still brought quieted whispers in taverns. A set of strong arms suddenly clapped around him, and he was brought into a tight hug and lifted into the air slightly.

"Ren, you sea dog!" Zoolie exclaimed. "You had us all worried sick!"

Ren managed to save himself from being crushed and turned to face him. "Nice to see you too, Zoolie." He said. "When did you get here?"

"Aw, a few hours ago. I was roaming the place for a while. And Ioz, you still owe me money!"

Ioz scowled. "I owe you nothing. It's you who owe me money."

Zoolie laughed. "Right. And who's that fella' out there with all the swords? He nearly took my head off for asking if you were in!"

Ioz shook his forehead. "Ignore him. He is too protective of the newly found king."

Ren blushed some. "Now who said I'm going to rule over all of Octopon?" He said, perfectly serious.

Ioz got a look of shock. "Tell me you're joking, because I didn't slave over trying to keep this place from civil war just for you to show up and not rule!"

Niddlar squawked from behind them. "Guys, Jenna wants too see you. Ren in particular. And I want to get the feast started so let's go!"

Ioz grumbled about Niddlar's appetite while he parted ways from Zoolie. Ren followed Niddlar. The monkey-bird was squawbbering over how much he missed him and how he thought he was never going to see him again. Ren had never felt such an onrush of emotions from anybody. Especially Ioz; he had been acting just as emotional as of late as well, no matter how he tried to hide it.

And when the stars are shining

brightly in the velvet sky...

Eventually, the feast had started. Allies of Octopon were at all ends of the table. Ren was at the head of one end. Ioz was at his right, Jenna besides Ioz. The seat left of him was empty. Niddlar was next to it, Zoolie next to him. Ren was wondering where Tula was when she showed up. She was wearing an outfit made of a light blue silk type cloth. It cut down into a V-shape along her neckline and the sleeves were longer then what she was used too. The pants of her outfit were as they always were, just in a different color. Ren was having trouble keeping his eyes in his head.

She took her seat next to Ren, apologizing for being late. Niddlar seemed to be choking on his bread. Zoolie was laughing into his cup, but it was Ioz who managed to bring him back to the real world.

"Noy jitut, Ren," He said. "You might want to concentrate on your other guests then just the wench there."

Tula scowled at him, but bit her tongue because Jenna was giving them both disapproving looks. Ren blushed and went back to eating. Tula was seriously going to hurt Ioz the next time they were alone. She watched Ren from the corner of her eye, wishing she could put into words how she felt about him-- and tell him.

I'll make a wish to send to heaven

Then make you want to cry

The tears of joy for all the

pleasure of the certainty...

Ren was staying behind to bid the guests farewell, talking with a few of the representatives before they left. He was relived when they were at last all on their way home and it was just him in the room. Arak walked in and closed the doors. "I trust you are well, your Majesty?"

Ren nodded. "A little tired, perhaps, but other then that, I am fine."

Arak bowed. "Do you want me to take you to your rooms?"

Ren shook his head. "I'll be fine, thank you."

"I'll be making my rounds, if you need me, your Highness."

Ren dismissed Arak and started walking down one of the many halls of the palace. Torches lined the walls to light the way and chase away the shadows. He felt uneasy, memories of being trapped surfacing. Trying to shove these memories away he took a wrong turn by accident and ended up in a wing he wasn't familiar with. He realized he was lost. He took a random direction hoping it would take him back to the main hallway.

Eventually he came to a door along one of the hallways. It was open slightly and a slight breeze was coming from the room within. He knocked on the door to make sure no one was inside. To his surprise, Tula opened the door.

Tula was a little shocked to see Ren there. "Ren! Are you all right?"

Ren grew slightly red without knowing it. "Yeah... I'm just a little lost, that's all."

Tula smiled and opened the door wider. "Come in."

Ren walked in, feeling a surge of emotions over-come him. The room was lit by some torches and the twin moons. The window to the balcony was opened causing the curtains to move from the breeze. Tula was putting some things away at a desk. Ren had to bite his tongue to keep some words he wanted to say from coming out.

That we're surrounded by the

comfort and protection of

The highest powers

In lonely hours

The tear that devour you...

Tula heard Ren walk over to the balcony. She was getting a strange sense off of him. She turned her head curiously, watching as he placed his hands on the railing to look outward at the sea. She hesitantly walked to his side.

"Sometimes I wonder if this is just another one of his illusions," Ren stated. His face was paled with remembrance. "I honestly didn't think I was going to make it."

"But this isn't an illusion," Tula said softly.

Ren looked at her. "I can't be certain. I was delirious when I blacked out and hallucinating." He shook his head as he looked back at the water below and sighed. "Yet somehow I know it isn't."

Tula placed her hand on Ren's shoulder. "Things are going to be rough for a while. It's going to take some time to get used to everything."

He took her hand and placed it in his own. "And you're going to be there the whole way, aren't you?"

"Of course I am." She replied, feeling her heart pound against her chest. "Ren...


A loud yell from below interrupted her. She and Ren looked down over the railing to see what the commotion was about. Tula could just make out the form of someone chasing another from the castle. Another form was chasing the previous two.

Ren and Tula both bolted for the bedroom door. Ren followed Tula to the main hall, mentally remembering the way they went. By the time they got to the main entrance way, Arak and someone who looked like Arak was holding a familiar looking person. He was struggling hard against the two but to no avail. Their grip was strong.

Ioz came rushing into the room, his sword drawn. "What's the meaning of this racket this time of night?"

One of the Araks looked over at Ioz. "Well," He said, voice slightly different from Arak's. "This guy decided he was going to try and break in while we were on guard."

Arak gave him a sharp glare. "If you hadn't of been goofing off, Harashni, he wouldn't have even made it as far as he did!"

Harashni just ignored him. Ioz grabbed a torch, growling about Harashni's incompetence. He put the light on the prisoner. To the group's surprise, it was Mantus! Ioz quickly put his sword to Mantu's throat. "Well, well, well.... One of Fish-Lips former goons."

Mantus, looking pretty much the same as he had sixteen years ago, spat at Ioz. "I came to revenge Bloth's death, and take you out as well, traitor."

"By rafendi, you just don't give up, do you?" Ioz growled. "Take him to the dungeons." He ordered. "I'll deal with this slime when I've gotten some sleep."

Arak and Harashni started dragging Mantus to the lower levels. Mantus, however, had a trick up his sleeves. He kicked Harashni in the knees and grabbed his hidden dagger, randomly throwing it. Tula shoved Ren out of the way and took the hit in the upper shoulder. She let out a gasp of pain as it embedded into her flesh. Arak hit Mantus hard along the back of the head with an iron fist. Mantus fell to the ground, out cold.

Ioz pulled the dagger out of Tula's shoulder. "First brave thing I've seen you do in a while," he muttered.

Tula ignored him; she was feeling something coarse through her veins. "I-I think that was poisoned."

Arak took the dagger from Ioz and smelled it. "We better find the antidote." He said, sounding somewhere between pissed and grave.

Harashni growled. "I'm gonna rip this guy in two when he wakes up... Jitatin sea slug..." He went on mumbling insults under his breath as he and Arak dragged Mantus to the dungeons. Ren and Ioz helped Tula to her rooms. After making sure she was all right for the moment, Ioz went to look for Jenna and Niddlar.

I want to stand with you on

a mountain

I want to bathe with you in the sea

I want to lay like this forever

Until the sky falls down on me...

Ren cleaned the wound the best he could. He was mentally wishing that Tula hadn't done that, just to let him take the hit. He put some warm water on the wound, causing Tula to take a sharp intake of breath. "Sorry." He apologized. He looked at it closer. It was definitely going to need stitches.

Jenna came in with Niddlar in tow, carrying bandages and some salves. Ren moved out of the way so the two could bandage up the cut. Niddlar was whimpering and wondering why Tula always seemed to get herself into trouble. Jenna felt Tula's forehead taking note of her temperature. Niddlar closed the window and looked over at Jenna. "Is she going to be all right?" He asked.

"If we can get the antidote." Jenna's voice was neutral. "We'll have to ask Mantus what poison he used." She checked Tula over one last time. "Let her get some rest." She lighted a candle by the bed stand and walked out, giving Ren and Niddlar a look.

Niddlar placed his hand on Tula. "Please be ok." He pleaded. He started walking out. "I'll stand watch at the door."

Ren nodded. He watched her for a moment, then turned to leave when he thought she was asleep.

"Ren," she said. "Stay here."

Ren turned and sat on the bed besides her. "You should be sleeping."

Tula shook her head. "I can't. I'm cold."

Ren got up to get an extra blanket and placed it over her. He brushed some strands of hair out of her face. "Sleep." He ordered. "I'll stay here with you."

Oh can you see it baby?

You don't have to close your eyes

'cause it's standing right here

before you

All that you need will surely come...

Sometime later, Ren wasn't sure when, there was a knock at the door. He opened his eyes, wondering when he fell asleep. He was laying next to Tula; she was curled up against him. He managed to move so he wouldn't wake her and got to the door. Ioz stood at the door. "We found the antidote. Mantus was hiding it in his hideout."

Ren took the antidote gladly. He was feeling more elated then he could last remember. "How did you find out which poison it was?"

"Harashni is the worst torture anyone can be put through." Ioz said. Ren gave him a puzzled face. "Never give him any form of sugar." Ren decided to keep it at that, though now he had to meet Harashni and thank him.

Tula woke up some time later, feeling much better and not as nauseous as the night before. She had a brief memory of Ren holding her. She smiled, relishing it before trying to walk. After trying a few times, Tula managed to stand without falling and was able to walk to the door.

Outside the door, there were low voices. Recognizing Ren and Harashni, she opened the door. Ren was smiling at Arak's twin, who was being his usual goofy self. He fell over as Tula opened the door. "You're awake!" He cheered. "I thought I might have to go back down and beat that kreld-eater some more for another antidote."

Tula smiled. "I'm fine, thank you."

"Woo hoo!" He cheered again while pumping all six fists into the air. "I'll go get you something to eat!" Before Tula could protest that she wasn't hungry, Harashni was running down the hall.

Ren laughed softly. "He's really the opposite of his brother."

"That's the only way one could tell them apart," Tula smiled. "Thank you for staying with me last night."

Ren blushed. "I couldn't just let you be there by yourself."

I'll be your dream I'll be your wish

I'll be your fantasy

I'll be your hope I'll be your love

Be everything that you need...

"There's something I've been meaning to tell you.." Tula said, her eyes to the ground. "Ren... I love you."

Ren had a look of pure shock on his face. Tula loved him? Like he did her? Was he hallucinating again?

I'll love you more with every breath

Truly, deeply, madly do...

When Ren didn't answer, Tula felt foolish. She started heading back into her room. Ren grabbed her arm to stop her. "I love you too," he said. He felt a great deal of weight leave his chest now that he told her.

Tula raised her eyes to Ren's. She saw nothing but honesty there. Ren lowered his mouth to meet hers. Tula kissed his back, glad that she got her wish after all.

I want to stand with you on

a mountain

I want to bathe with you in the sea

I want to lay like this forever

Until the sky falls down on me.