That's it. That's SO it. I've had it. If I'm to ever live with myself about this failure of a story, I'm going to have to FINISH it. So no matter how bad it may suck, no matter how little I get reviews-wise, it will have an ending! Yeah…here goes nothing and everything.

(The story keeps getting harder to write because I have to check the previous chapters to make sure I'm not including things that have only happened in the comic-version of this.)

Oh yes, I'd also like to thank Tzusuki and DarkRavenna because:

1) Tzusuki has always supported me since she first read this story

2) DarkRavenna's review was probably the best I've ever gotten on any site and probably what inspired me to finish this fanfic.

THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

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Crickette was the first to notice the gate which led to Payon. The deep wooden carvings arched their ways up the sides of two poles that connected at the tip.

"So, do we have enough money to pay a kafra to get us to Morroc?" questioned the novice, who had earlier appointed herself as the NEW leader due to the other's incompetence.

"Uhmm, just barely," Santo concluded, finishing counting up the couple hundred zeny in his hand. He began to ponder why they didn't think of this in Alberta let alone during the beginning of their adventure of mishap.

"Good, then let's go-Aromia?" Crickette stopped as she noticed their third companion was still in her sitting position on the ground with her eyes closed.

And so Santo decided to kneel down to her level and poke her promptly in the shoulder.

She swayed just barely from the force of his finger, and then began to sway back towards it.

Swaying...

Swaying some more...

Until at last her head had fallen against Santo's knee.

"I think Romi's asleep…," he whispered to Crickette, pulling down his sakkat to hide the pink that tinted his face.

"Romi…?"

"Well, yeah. Aromia is four syllables, she could do with a nickname," Santo replied. Both of them turned to face their sleeping friend and then to one another.

(A/N: Yeah, it's true, Santo and Crickette are only two syllables, so I thought Aromia's should be, too.)

"Fine," huffed Crickette, finally giving up "we'll stop at an inn while we're here."

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Eventually, the three of them had fallen asleep at the local inn. Yet after midnight, tremulous vibrations could be felt throughout the town. Many fragile shelved items used for decorations within the building fell to the floor with harsh crashes; thus the residents were woken up.

"Aromia? Crickette? Where are you?"

"OW! Damnit Santo! That was my FOOT!" Aromia hissed through the darkness of the hallway.

"Not MY fault the earthquakes somehow cut the power!"

"Both of you shut up!"

"Yes Crickette."

"Yes, oh mighty fierce servant of Bapho-OW! My spleeeeeen," moaned Santo, clutching his side as Crickette holstered her mace.

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Outside, the usually deep crystalline Payon sky now appeared to be a forever sunset, boulders of burning flame soared through the air to hit the earth with tremendous force.

Sages and wizards alike were being summoned from all across the lands to aid the forest city in their unexpected attack, casting Water Ball and Deluge. Those such as alchemists and priests supported the spell casters with potions and blessings.

As Crickette, Aromia, and Santo made their way onto the scene, they were shocked to find most of the nearby buildings ablaze and partially ruined from the large smoldering rocks that had crashed into them. Crickette immediately went off to join the group of priests leaving Santo and Aromia to do nothing.

"So…what do you want to do now?" Santo cast a brief glance at his remaining partner, receiving a twitching eye from her.

"Half the town's burning and you're BORED!?" Aromia almost shrieked.

"Well, how could we help? By cutting the fire?"

"You can't even CUT the fire because you don't have anymore shurikans left!"

In the meantime, to say the least, none of the first-class job-and-above men would give Crickette a chance to prove she could perform acolyte skills required to help out. Besides, the fire had been maintained by then, so she calmly took out an apple from her bag and leaned against the closest base of a tree to witness the argument at hand.

"WELL...YOU…..JERK!"

"You're calling a GIRL a JERK!?"

"So what if I am!?"

"PANSY!"

"SISSY GIRLY-GIRL!"

"NINNY!"

"Ninny?"

"Yes, NINNY! Have at you, ruffian!" and with that aside, Aromia tackled the snow-haired assassin.

Crickette's mouth gaped openly trying to acknowledge that her two teenage friends, one being a year older than the other, were rolling around on the ground desperately flailing their fists in every possible direction and angle.

While the twosome's fight began to tumble away from view, a young mage donned with a large-brimmed wizard's hat made his way over to the same tree Crickette was sitting at. The long blue braid trailing down his back was dusted with ashes from the town's previous incident.

"Oi, they do that often?"

"No, but I suppose it was to be expected of sooner or later."

"Ahh, I see," the mage nodded in the direction of the squabbling before returning his hidden gaze at the strawberry blonde, "By the way, I saw you try to help with halting the fire. Yet what could someone like you, a novice, possibly do?"

The statement hit Crickette as an insult due to the belittling she had received earlier during the fire, causing her to stand and turn her head sharply in the stranger's direction. Raising one hand, she was able to gather enough spiritual energy into her outstretched palm and face it towards the magician.

"HOLY LIGHT" The blast knocked him off his feet and several yards back.

The blast seemed to have stopped whatever damage Santo and Aromia were doing to each other, mainly pulling at another's hair, as they themselves separated and sat crossed-legged on the ground to watch the dispute between the two magic users.

Currently, they were taking turns at casting spells. Crickette was dodging rather than attacking, with the mage's casts being launched repeatedly after one another. The only thing the poor novice could do was try and cast buffs unto her.

Yet soon, that process had cut short when she had found herself surrounded by three blazing partitions of fire. And to make things worse, underneath her, in the center of the burning triangle, appeared a summoning circle.

"So you're a novice who can cast acolyte spells," the mage stated as he waited for his thunderstorm spell to finish. The spell had been perfected enough that it would buffet the girl into one of his firewalls and end this pitiful battle and the novice's life once and for all.

(A/N: Ok, I know jupital thunder is the one that pushes you back, but he's a mage, and that's a wizard's spell.)

However, he wasn't expecting an assassin and a thief to interfere.

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Oh jeez, only 1,000 words? Crud, I was hoping for more.

Well, duh, this isn't the LAST chapter or anything, but I AM gonna begin working on this again, to at least finish it before starting anything new. And I'm probably going to get TONS of flames from people who just want me to delete the entire story all together…..but I can't. This story's like, the first one I ever posted on the internet; no matter how bad my writing was over a year ago, it means a lot to me. That's why I'm determined to get it done, regardless of how long it'll take! PLEASE R&R, PLEASE!