Disclaimer: I don't own Those Who Hunt Elves, or Rune Soldier.

Soul Games.

Those Who Seek Vengeance/The Adventure of the Soul Games.

By Jedd Shual-Iyiste

Lightning clashed as the red fog surrounded them. The blonde elf screamed as the crimson light emitting from the book in front of her grew and encompassed her as well. Pain lanced through every pore of her body. But she wasn't distracted, turning away from the disrupted spell, she made a chopping motion with her hand, clearing a path within fog.

"Run! Escape while you can!"

Ritsuko started, then looked back, "What about you! We're not leaving you!"

Celcia gasped as she felt herself start to burn within the light, "There's no time!" Reaching up and grabbing her energy necklace, she threw it to Regina, "Remember the promise you made to me!"

"CELCIA!" screamed Junpei, running towards her.

"No, Junpei. Not this time. You can't fight this time. You can't save me, it's too late..." she said softly, as she raised her hand... and sent a bolt of energy at Junpei, knocking him through the opening she had made. "RUN! Run while you can!"

Time was running out, the fog was closing again, and she didn't have much strength left. Trying to ignore the pain, she raised both her hands and pushed, using her powers to keep the path open. Her friends looked at her, torn.

"RUN!"

Airi nodded, grabbed Ritsuko, then ran dragging the teen behind her. Ritsuko struggled, reaching towards Celcia as she was led to safety with the others.

Celcia smiled sadly as she watched her friends, then let go of the barrier holding the path clear. She had true friends. They had been on many adventures together, trying to get them back home. This had been the third time they had conducted this ceremony, and the third time it went wrong.

But this time it happened because of an outside force.

She could still hear them screaming her name, calling for her. So many obstacle they had passed. They had been a perfect team, capable of stopping anything. But that was over now...but she would not die cowering.

Standing tall despite the overwhelming pain, she turned to face her killer, "Who are you?"

The figure smiled, "I'm afraid that won't matter soon enough, my dear. You are nothing but a game piece now, one of three. As are your friends."

Celcia started, "You leave my friends out of this!"

"But I can't! They are very crucial, for they have been decided to be key players in a game. A game of good and evil."

Celcia began gasping for breath, her vision blurring, "They... won't play any game with you."

The figure laughed, "Oh, I believe they will, with your soul in the balance!"

break

It was over.

Both the fog and strange light were gone. And so was Celcia. They found her lifeless body laying by the alter that held the ashes of what was a book of spells. They all stared, crying softly. Ritsuko was hugging the tank, Junpei staring down at Celcia's body, and Airi was off to the side.

Regina watched them. She wasn't one of them. The elf had only recently met the notorious group, Those who Hunt Elves, and had promised to watch over them should anything happen to Celcia during the battle with the legendary sorcerer. And apparently Celcia was holding her to her promise.

She held the necklace the Elder of all Common Elves had thrown to her. It was Celcia's energy necklace, and with this Regina's magical powers were increased. Even if she didn't have Celcia's experience wielding the magic strength. Turning her gaze back to the mourning other worlders, she frowned sadly.

Most of them had argued continiously amongst themselves, especially Junpei and Celcia, but it was obvious that they all cared for one another, and after everything they had done it was to be expected.

But now one of their member was gone. The green haired elf closed her eyes tightly as she hugged the necklace to her breast, 'I promise, Celcia. I promise to watch over them and help them get home...I promise!'

"Well, I guess this is a perfect time to introduce my proposal."

Regina whirled around, the others doing so as well behind her. She stared at the person in front of her. He was sitting down on a boulder, his long blackish green hair falling down behind him. Glowing white eyes watched her as the others walked up to him.

She didn't know why, but she got a REAL bad feeling from him.

Junpei glared at him hatefully, "You... you're the one that did this?"

"Yes... yes I am. And before you do anything, I can restore her."

Junpei cracked his knuckles as he approached the strange man, "Then I suggest you do so, and fast!"

The man yawned, obviously not daunted, "Like I said, I have a proposition for you."

Airi cut in before Junpei could say anything, "You kill our friend, then say you have a proposition for us. Obviously, if we do what you say we'll get Celcia back, but what do you want?"

The man jumped up, clapping his hands together gleefully, "I thought you'd never ask! What I was is a battle between good and evil! You are one of three groups I have selected to do battle with my legions. If you win, then you get your friend's soul back, and her life will be restored!"

Airi frowned, there was something he wasn't telling them, she was sure of it. But she couldn't back down, not with Celcia's soul on the line...and the stranger obviously knew that.

"We accept."

Ritsuko nodded, "Yeah!"

Junpei glared, but also nodded, "No one hurts Celcia but me!"

Regina stepped forward, "Count me in!" The others looked at her, shocked. She didn't look at them, instead staring at the man, "I made a promise to Celcia, and I'll keep it!"

The man smiled, "Then prepare yourselves, Those who Hunt Elves. You're journey is about to begin!"

Those who Hunt Elves. A group of elf strippers trying to find spell fragment on girl elves so they can return home to Japan. One is a martial arts expert of extreme skill, strength, and speed. Another is a high school student with a real taste for military weaponry. The third an oscar winning actress capable of playing any role. The fourth a cat spirit inhabiting a tank. The fifth...a little cute thing that craps toilette paper. And the last was the mage. The leader of all common elves. Was.

Now Regina has taken her place in this group. A group of elf strippers. Those Who Hunt Elves. Those who now hunt for the person responsible for killing their friend.

Those... who seek vengeance.

Those Who Hunt Elves.

break

Louie took another swig. Taking several large gulps, he slammed the now empty mug on the table, "Oooh, YEAH! That hits the spot!" He had just gotten back from another 'adventure' of exploring old ruins, which hadn't ended well. There was no way Merrill would ever let him live this one down!

Sighing, he was about to order another drink when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Looking up at the man, he raised an eyebrow, "Yeah? What do you want?"

"I beg your pardon, are you Sir Louie?"

"Yeah, yeah I am. What do you want?"

The man looked down sadly, "I'm afraid I have bad news about your friend Ila."

Louie immediately stood up and grabbed the man by the shirt, pulling him closer. "What! What about Ila!"

"There's...been an accident...at the Magicians Guild. She was working on something and it exploded..." he looked away.

"Is she all right!...IS SHE ALL RIGHT!"

"She...didn't make it..."

Louie stared at him, then with a howl threw him to the side as he ran out of the tavern. It wasn't possible. If it had been anyone BUT Ila, he could understand. But Ila was a genius when it came to magic, nothing would backfire enough to kill her... It wasn't possible.

He ran as fast as he could, shoving past people who yelled angrily after him. But he didn't care. He had to get to the Magicians Guild!

After what seemed like an eternity, the massive building finally came into view. The long haired brawler mage ran up the steps, threw open the doors, and ran in.

Break

Merrill and Genie walked by Melissa. Earlier Melissa had summoned the two after being called by Mistress Jenny. Apparently the High Priestess had felt something...unusual happen that night and wanted the three to investigate.

And if there was unusual, there was usually Louie.

The three approached the Magicians Guild and stopped. Even here, Melissa could feel something was wrong. Where there were students studying notes and homework, there were now only empty seats. Looking back at her companions, who merely shrugged, Melissa continued on.

It wasn't any different inside, there wasn't a soul to be seen. They made their way to Louie room and knocked on the door. There was no answer. Opening the door, she looked in.

Louie was sleeping in a corner, a bottle of some type of liquor lay next to him.

Merrill walked over and picked one of the bottles up. Sniffing it, she made a face, "It's pretty strong stuff. Wonder what got into him."

Genie shook her head distastefully, "I don't even want to know."

Melissa sighed, "What kind of conduct is this for a valiant champion? Drinking himself into a stupor like this!"

A voice spoke up from behind her, "Yes, yes it is quite disgusting for a champion to behave as such? I'm so glad you agree."

Melissa, along with Genie and Merrill, looked at the door, where a stranger was leaning against the frame. He smiled sweetly at them, but all Melissa could feel from him was cold darkness, bottomless evil.

Genie stared at the individual, one hand itching to grab the sword on her back, but she refrained, "Who are you?"

The man glanced at her, "I'm the man who killed Ila."

The three woman stared at him, shocked. Ila! Dead!

Before they could say or do anything, a voice came up from behind them, "Damn you... Why!"

They looked back to see Louie stagger to his feet, his face contorted in rage.

"WHY!"

The man grinned gleefully, "Because I want to have a game!"

"People's lives are not games!" Melissa said angrily, "Ila is our friend, and you...you..."

The man chuckled softly, "Play my game...and I'll restore your...friend. I have her soul captive you see. And if you don't, I'll put her through unimaginable torment for all eternity. So you don't really have much of a choice. You are going to play my game...whether you like it, or not."

This time, Genie allowed herself to reach for her sword, "You will release her soul now, or I'll cut you clean in two!"

The green haired man yawned, "This is so deja-vu, you know?" He looked around to see if the others understood, but was greeted with glares, "Oh fine, be party poopers. Now then, you're to travel to the Rian Ver Tristal, a gateway will be there to take you to a dimension of my choice. And when I'm ready, my champions will fight you. You win, you get your little magician girl back. Lose, and she's mine!"

Louie growled and grabbed for the mans shoulder, but his hand went right through him, "What?"

Merrill stared, then pointed out the obvious, "HE'S NOT REAL!"

Louie growled, "A hologram? Too cowardly to come here yourself!"

"No," Melissa said calmly, her face white.

Everyone looked at her, a knowing smile was on the green haired mans lips, "No what?"

Melissa swallowed, "You're not a hologram...You're a ghost."

Every stared at the man in shock as he laughed happily, "Yes. Yes I am. Now...Will you play my game?"

Louie nodded, "Ghost or no ghost, I don't let anyone get away with hurting, and especially KILLING my friends!" He choked on a sob, but he continued on, "I will play your game, but when I beat your champions or whatever, I will find a way to shove my fist in your face, so you can feel it!"

Melissa nodded, "And where my champion goes, so do I. So is my will!"

Merrill grinned, flashing several throwing daggers in her hands, "Where Melissa goes, so do I! I can't leave her alone with the pervert, after all!"

Genie glowered, but nodded, "And I agree with the green horn...no one hurts my friends!"

Louie, partly glaring at Merrill, smirked at the stranger, "So you have it. We'll play."

The man grinned, "Then adventurers, let the game begin!"

A group of adventurers always on the look for money. A thief, as quick and deadly with her daggers as she is greedy. A swords woman, bridling uncommon strength and skill with her great blade. A Mylee priestess, chosen by her God to be the champion of a brawling magician. A brawling magician, always ready to fight with his fists, and maybe using a magic wand as a club.

They had a friend who helped them, laughed with them, and cried with them. A friend that would do anything to help them. A friend who was taken from them. The adventurers. The adventure for a friend.

The Adventure of the Soul Games.