AN: No spoilers, feel free to read and review. I'll move this as soon as Tales of the Abyss gets its own section.


Luke's eyes narrowed as he brought his sword around in an arc, following up with a cry of "Fang Blade!" as he smashed the snarling monster before him to the ground. He took advantage of the brief respite to brush some of his bangs out of his eyes. While his shorter hair didn't get in his way quite as often has it had before, it was still long enough to be a nuisance sometimes. As he brought up his sword again, he suddenly paused, hearing an odd noise to his right. "Jade," he asked, turning his head slightly. "Are you... humming?"

The red-eyed Malkuthian colonel looked up from his own work, which was currently stabbing a wolf-like creature enough times that it stopped moving. His glasses were slightly askew, splattered with a few drops of blood, and his teal uniform bore signs of having been thrown into the mud a few times. "Why, yes, I believe I am."

"Is it a fonic hymn?" asked Natalia from her position to Luke's left, tightening her bowstring and preparing another arrow. Her white stockings were stained with dirt and monster innards. "Are you using it to strengthen your attacks?"

"A hymn? I didn't know the Colonel was a melodist," Anise cheered, barreling past the other three on the back of Tokunaga. The giant stuffed doll flattened the beast Luke had been tackling earlier, grinding its broken body into the dirt. "That's so cool! He's a colonel, a necromancer, a doctor and a melodist too! He can do anything!"

"Well, I wouldn't say anything, but I do seem to come close," Jade said cheerfully. He pulled his spear from his target, and, judging that the quantity of sick-smelling blood smeared around its body proved it sufficiently dead, brought the weapon around to assault another foe.

"Jade does appear to have his fingers in more than his fair share of pies," Tear observed dryly from the back of the group. Her eyes were closed as she drew on the seventh fonon to cast First Aid.

"You flatter me, Tear," the colonel responded. "But be that as it may, it's not a fonic hymn."

Guy, on the opposite end of their battlefield, frowned as he launched himself into a spinning blur of steel that swept over one of the larger monsters. The creature snarled as a line of red appeared across its back. "It sounds really familiar, though," the blonde said, flipping out of the Tempest beside Luke and immediately regaining his footing.

Jade nodded, his spear now held in front of him as he prepared to cast Ground Dasher. "As I recall, it's an old Malkuthian folk song called 'Old MacDonald'..."

"...You're humming a nursery rhyme in the middle of a battle?" said Tear, raising an eyebrow that was lost beneath her bangs.

"Why not?" said Jade, shrugging. The fonic circle beneath him continued to glow. "It's as good a place as any."

"As good a place as..." Luke shook his head. "You are really messed up, you know that?"

"Look who's talking," Jade replied, with an easy smile and a sing-song tone.

"Actually, it's probably more 'messed up' that we're holding a calm conversation while slaughtering monsters," said Guy, flicking a dead beetle-like monster from the end of his sword.

"Not particularly," said Jade. His spell finished and spires of earth shot up from the ground, impaling several of the remaining creatures. "We've encountered so many of these monsters along this road that it's only natural for our minds to start wandering."

"...And so you start thinking of nursery rhymes," Tear finished.

"Songs can be very soothing, as I'm sure you're aware, Tear," he replied. "Maybe the rest of you should try it as well? With the way Luke is swinging his sword around like that, he in particular could use some loosening up."

"Oh, shut up," the red-head muttered, and defiantly hacked apart another monster.

"Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o..." Jade sang, while preparing another Ground Dasher. Luke rolled his eyes. "And on that farm he had a rappig..."

The Ground Dasher unleashed, but it had shifted. The sky turned black as the battlefield was enveloped in the devastating circular lights of Mystic Cage. Realizing what was about to happen, the others ran as fast as they could out of range, before the whole field exploded in a torrent of fonic energy.

The light faded, leaving silence in its wake. The partially stunned party members picked themselves up off the ground.

"Great Lorelei, Jade, you could have warned us," Guy said, surveying the remnants of the battle. The remaining monsters were no more than charred husks; blackened fur, feathers, and exoskeletons leaking smoke that drifted up to the sky.

The colonel merely smiled, allowing his spear to vanish and dusting off his jacket. "E-i-e-i-o..." he sang.