Author's Note: I started writing this story a year or two ago, don't really remember. I don't know why I stopped. I guess I needed some time to improve my writing.

This story is pretty much centered around Nikki, Miki, Fargo, my own character, and the scenes where you save Marbule in the game. Needless to say, Zelbess, the Demi-humans, and countless others will be involved.

Please take the time to read and review. I'm revising the current chapters and adding new ones. I hope you'll notice some improvements.

Thank you.

RN

Chapter 1: Life In An Open Notebook

"It's almost midnight, Nikki," Miki whispered gently, stroking his hair, "you really should go to bed. We have a show tomorrow. It won't go too well if you're tired."

"I'll be fine, Miki," Nikki replied gruffly, staring into his mirror, "it's just...forget it..."

He watched Miki's expression grow more concerned, and he could feel her soft hand gently squeezing his shoulder, her red silk kimono brushing lazily against his slightly muscular arm.

"Well, at least you're starting to fill out a little," she sighed, "You don't look so puny anymore. You actually have some muscle."

"Yeah," Nikki said, "I've been doing a lot of work on the ship. The Captain's been working me hard, but the build is a plus, I guess. Miki...man, how long has it been since we've had the time to talk?"

"Four years..." Miki said wistfully, "Ever since I came back, I've been rehearsing with the dancers. I haven't been able to see you much. Yet here we are now, talking like we did before I left...time flies, doesn't it? It seems like it was just yesterday..."

"Miki," Nikki said, a warning tone in his voice, "we agreed not to relive the past. It was too painful for both of us..."

Miki nodded and rubbed his back tenderly, and Nikki noticed, through the mirror, that her face looked rather plain without her makeup. In fact, this was the first time he'd seen her without it. He never knew her face was so pale, so pure. The bit of moonlight shining through the window cast a gentle glow on her, and her eyes seemed to sparkle in the light.

Nikki rid himself of his thoughts and concentrated on his own face, refusing to look at Miki's.

Those days are in the past, he thought, I must not relive them...not after all the pain and suffering we went through. It was never meant to be.

He slumped down in his seat and continued to stare into the mirror.

"I'm sorry," Miki said, "I've just been missing those days."

"So have I," Nikki replied, placing his hand on Miki's and grasping it firmly, "but we shouldn't risk more pain. I don't want to hurt like that ever again, and I'm sure that you don't want to hurt me."

"I don't," Miki whispered, and they both went silent.

Miki began to stroke Nikki's hair again, and he could see her delicate fingers flying leisurely through his black hair, gently parting the red highlights.

He frowned at his image in the mirror. His normally Gothic look was lost without the black lipstick, the dark eye shadow, the normal clothing. All he wore now was a black, yet graying, pair of pants and an open black vest. He wondered what his fans would think if they saw him like this...with nothing but casual attire and a guitar.

Yeah...I'd be laughed off of that stage, he thought.

"So...are you ready for tomorrow?" Miki asked with the air of one who had run out of things to say.

"Of course," Nikki said confidently, grinning, "how about you?"

"I know the show like the back of my hand," Miki said, "I know the words and choreography by heart."

"Rockin," Nikki whooped, smiling, "we're going to rock tomorrow. Our fans will definitely remember this show."

"Definitely," Miki agreed, kissing his cheek, "now...please get to bed."

She left the room, smiling back at him as she walked, and disappeared from sight.

That Miki...she's one in a million, Nikki thought, smiling.

However, he dispelled the thoughts as quickly as they came and walked to the window, his arms folded across his chest.

He stared up at the dark sky, and he could see billions of stars shining down on the vast sea.

The sea...it was the most beautiful place in the word to Nikki. To him, it was home. For four years, he had been stuck on his own ship, which was chained to a cruise ship owned by the Captain he was indebted to.

The day Nikki had become trapped was the day he'd given up gambling.

On the ship, he performed for fans far and wide, and he always put on a happy face for the media, pretending that he enjoyed his life, pretending that everything was perfect.

The only thing that was perfect was the sea. It made everything tolerable for him. If only the ship weren't chained to the Captain's...

He sighed and observed the cruise ship. It was beautiful, the wood highly polished, the deck empty. The broad oars were at rest, and there was no sign that humans had ever inhabited it. All of the fans were below deck, in their rooms.

All except one...

Nikki spotted a girl sitting on the railing, staring into the water, not moving a muscle.

"What the..." he murmured, walking to the deck of his ship and across a plank that extended onto the cruise ship. He did so quietly, so the girl would not hear him approaching. He moved slowly until he was leaning against the railing a few feet away from her.

She didn't seem to notice him.

She was staring into a notebook, biting the eraser of a worn pencil covered in bite marks. She looked about eighteen, which was also Nikki's age. He couldn't help but stare at her. She was gorgeous. Her eyes were blue like ice, yet warm and inviting. Her hair was so long that it nearly touched the railing. It was a bright chestnut brown, and there were blonde highlights flowing subtly through it. She wore a black tank top and denim blue jeans, and a soft blue shawl hung over her bare shoulders, sheltering her from the brisk autumn breeze. Around her neck was a silver chain, and a sapphire blue gem hung from it, shining a blue light onto the notebook, which the girl used to see her writing.

Nikki had never seen a gem like that before. It looked strange, and it seemed to have a very subtle aura. It looked like something precious, something that should be treasured dearly.

"Life...what is life..." she murmured, writing her words as she said them, "There are so many theories, yet no way to prove them. It is impossible to define it. Life is unique for each person, and sends each and every individual a different message, a different meaning."

"I think life is a journey...an adventure that lasts until the moment the cycle ends," the girl continued, her eyes bright with inspiration, "It is an adventure not determined by fate, but influenced by the choices we make and the paths that we follow. To me, life is consisted of billions of choices, each leading to a different path, and eventually, all of the paths lead to a common point...the end of a cycle...death."

She paused for a moment, observing her words, then continued to write, as though they magically came to her.

"Many think life is predetermined by fate...and that we are meant to choose the choices that we make throughout our lives. However, I believe that the very idea is false. Living organisms have a very special power. It is the power of choice. It grants us yet another power, which is the power to create our own future. A future based on our own interests and desires. Nobody set our future for us. Fate does not control our lives. We are the controllers. We are not like a train; we do not follow a track that always takes us to the same destinations. We do not follow a set path. We are as free as birds, free go wherever we want whenever we want to. We control life. Fate is simply an excuse, a theory. It is not real. It is simply an idea that we choose to accept."

She looked as if she couldn't believe these words were hers. She stared at her writing for a few more moments, and then the lead hit the paper again.

"Life also brings either satisfaction or regret. Satisfaction is gained when one has lived the adventure and explored it fully. It is gained when we have done everything we had set out to do, and all that we'd hoped to achieve. Completing goals, excelling at the career of your choice, and conquering your fears...that is satisfaction."

"Regret is gained when one has not chosen to pursue the adventure, who has given up on it. Too many people experience this emotion, mostly when they are near death. We are left wishing for one last chance to achieve our goals, to follow our dreams...yet it is rare that we get that chance. Regret is an awful feeling to bear. You are left feeling hopeless, defeated, depressed..."

"I was lucky enough to pursue life before it was too late. My life used to be contained...a dangerous secret that could never be exposed, for the penalty would be death...yet it is so special. I was lucky enough to have the option to share my life...to get away from the place that contained me."

"It has been two years since I escaped from that place. Two long years...and I have spent them doing so many things, and meeting so many people. I used to live in a place where I was so different...where one wrong move could have made me an outcast, or put me to death. I realize now that I had to get out of that place to live my life, to embark on the adventure that has led me here."

"Some people would have called my choice the 'right' choice...but it wasn't. No choice is right or wrong. In my opinion, each choice is simply different, unique, and no choice shall be frowned upon. Every choice leads to something different, a new adventure. There is nothing wrong with a new adventure. Some may say the choice to kill, the choice to steal, or any other choice like those is considered 'wrong.' But are they really wrong? How do we know they are not simply different? It is simply the want to embark on a different adventure...it is the want of something new and unfamiliar..."

She thought for a moment, then sighed and shook her head. "The aura is gone..." she murmured, closing the notebook and staring at the sky, "Hopefully, another will come soon..."

"Pretty insightful," Nikki commented, "I don't think I could've come up with half of what you just wrote."

The girl looked at him, her eyes a little narrow, her expression serious.

"You don't know the half of it," she whispered.