Well. Has it really been five years since I started this? A lot has happened and a lot has changed. Including my writing style. I don't have any notes for how I was originally going to take this story, but some recent encouraging comments by a friend on the site have made me decide that it's about damn time I get the ball rolling.

By now this story is a little out of date since there's been a sequel to ToS (that's right, they made a sequel in the time it took me to get back to this story), but I'm going to plow ahead anyways. For those few of you who stayed subscribed to this story, thanks for your devotion (or just thanks for forgetting to delete it off the list for so many years)!

Disclaimer: I still don't own anything having to do with Symphonia, but I still love it to death.

Chapter 2-Warmth

When Presea awoke the next morning, she found herself alone in bed, with a conspicuous empty spot next to her where Genis had been the night before. At first she thought it might have something to do with Raine's influence, but then again, the professor seemed to have mellowed somewhat since Kratos had returned. So Presea wrapped a white nightrobe around herself, tying her hair back into a single long tail, and quietly slipped out of the room.

As she walked downstairs to the main common room of the inn, she noted that it was apparently a little earlier than she'd thought; there wasn't anyone else to be seen. Listening closely however, Presea heard a few slight cracks and the sound of something being swished quickly through the air, so she made for the inn door and stepped outside. There in the clearing in front of the inn was Genis, spinning around and directing controlled slashes and jabs of his mithril whip almost as if he'd never been sick at all. He was completely outfitted for a fight as well, Presea noted; his old battle cloak and Rune Cape he'd worn during the final battles at Vinheim Castle still fit him well.

Genis came to a pause in his workout and turned back to look at Presea, the whip circling it's way around his wrist again as he started back towards her.

"Good morning Genis. You're looking much b-" Presea started, but she was cut off by Genis silently scooping her close and kissing her lips softly. She didn't complain one bit, except for a small whine when he eventually slipped out of it again.

Genis, for his part, grinned a bit. "Morning Presea." He looked her over, apparently resisting the urge to wet his lips at the way the nightrobe seemed to flow over her petite form. His eyes stopped on her hair, looking at it curiously, before he said, "I've never seen it tied back like that before."

"Oh…I didn't think about it, I'll fix it into the normal style." Presea replied, reaching a hand back, but Genis stopped her.

"No actually, I think I like it this way more. Makes you look…womanly? I think?"

Presea blushed, before offering a small wry grin of her own. "Well I hope you'd see me that way considering our actions two nights ago."

Genis's cheeks colored at this as well, before he lifted a hand to gently stroke a finger against Presea's cheek, smiling. "Are you complaining about it?"

"Not in the least."

Once the sun had risen a bit higher in the sky and the rest of the world had woken up and breakfasted, the small group prepared to head out. Raine had apparently had the foresight not to try and cook anything herself, lest they stunt any chance Genis would have. Thankfully, Triet Inn's chefs seemed to know what they were doing and they'd all been heartily fed.

Genis and Raine were prepping the Reihards for flight just outside the city as Presea made her way past the gates, wearing her usual clothes but with a few new additions: her hair was still tied back into a single long tail to her waist rather than the old twin tails, and her old belt had been replaced with a dark red leather belt with two sheathes. Strapped to these on either side were a pair of arm-length silver one-sided axes with shining black blades.

Genis looked up as she approached. "Where did those come from?"

"I commissioned them last night from the local customization shop." Presea replied, drawing one axe out and holding it in front of her, letting the sun gleam off the black edge. "I must accept that we will most likely never find the Gaia Cleaver in the snows of Flanoir, so I had the smiths forge these from raw materials acquired in battle during the Journey of World Regeneration. The handles are white silver; the blades, volcanic obsidian glass."

She put the axe away again as Genis mounted his Reihard, reaching down a hand to pull her up behind him. Once she was seated, he looked over to Raine. "You said we're headed to Mount Dorgan?"

Raine nodded, the only one of the party to be dressed exactly as she'd always been. "It's the closest location with relevance to the element of fire, since the Triet Seal was destroyed."

"Alright then, let's go." Genis kicked the pedals of the Reihard and it smoothly powered up. Within seconds, the two vehicles and their riders had lifted away from the desert city and blasted away for the horizon.

The thing to remember about the phrase "active volcano", Presea would note to herself later, was that it meant just that.

Mount Dorgan was a relatively recent appearance in the Sylvarant region. Perhaps more accurately, it was an ancient fixture in the region; it had simply not been there while the worlds had been split. With the world returned to it's original form however, the tall and thick mountain stood proud a ways east of the old Triet Ruins, near the edge of the desert itself. Tall, black, and perhaps a little stereotypically ominous, the mountain was most notable for the dozens of red thin lines working their way down it's sides like cracks in glass. As the three riders got closer to the mountain, it became more clear that each of these lines was a stream of magma flowing ceaselessly down the mountain.

Genis pulled the Reihard up as they approached the mountain's surface about midway up. "Let's try the summit first!" He called over the loud rumbles and bursts of steam from the volcanic ground. Raine nodded and both guided their craft steadily up the mountainside, keeping relatively low to it.

After only a few minutes of vertical flight however, the Reihards came to an abrupt stop as a sudden massive wall of lava burst forth from the top of the volcano, plunging downwards towards them.

"Look out!" Raine yelled, steering her Reihard sharply to the side as Genis careened his the opposite way, Presea holding tight to him as they turned. The flying craft just barely cleared out before the fiery mass of molten death sped past, hitting the mountain below with a loud hissing bang.

Genis brought the Reihard around, looking down at the now massive puddle of magma. "That was close. Where on earth did that come from?" Abruptly, the magma began drawing itself up from the pool, slowly flowing up into the air as if alive. Genis and Presea gasped and Genis quickly drew the Reihard back as the magma formed into a massive form at least twenty men tall; toned thick muscles, thick arms with clawed hands, ferociously sharp wings, and a demonic horned head.

A vision of the Summon Spirit of Fire, Efreet.

"WHO ENTERS MY DOMAIN?" The avatar demanded, the voice booming outward.

Presea cringed, holding tight to Genis. She was not someone prone to fear, but anyone without at least some fear facing the sight would have been certifiably insane.

Genis on the other hand didn't have that luxury as he yelled out. "I am Genis Arabeus Sage! I formerly traveled with Master of the Pact Sheena Fujibayashi! I have formed a pact with the Summon Spirit of Ice, Celcius! I have need of your power as well, Summon Spirit of Fire!"

The massive image of Efreet seemed to glower at the small-by-comparison half-elf, then it roared back. "I NO LONGER HAVE NEED FOR PACTS! WITHIN THIS MOUNTAIN, MY ANCIENT HOME, I HAVE POWER BEYOND ANYTHING THE WORLD HAS SEEN FOR MILLENNIA!"

As if in response, the entire volcano seemed to rumble even louder.


Genis's eyes narrowed at the towering hulk of lava and fire. "I don't believe you heard me, Lord of Fire Efreet! I have need of your power, and I will have it!"

The avatar of the summon spirit roared again in response, then sank away, the magma forming it splashing back to the volcano's surface with a last loud burst. "THEN BURN TO ASHES!"

And Mount Dorgan erupted.

Yes, I know, evil cliffy. No worries, it certainly won't be another five years before the next chapter - I intend to pump these out and have it finished within days, if that long. Sorry if the writing style takes getting used to - bear in mind, at this point I'm making it up as I go!

Signing off for now! Leave a review at the door please!