It's been like forever since I last updated this thing. . . Hahaha. Sorry, I've been really busy- college, studying, and a billion other things that put this story on hold for a while. I know it's not a good excuse but it's all I have. LoL. I'll try to update this, but it's going to be slow.

Disclaimer: If I owned it, then would I be writing fanfiction about it?

"I'll kill him." Asch growled for the hundredth time that morning, eyes dangerously flashing. His temper was extremely foul; the noble blew up at the slightest possible reason. "I'll make sure that he never walks again. I'll chain him to the manor once we get home. He will suffer for this. I'll make sure of that. What is he thinking? Running off like that? Can't he show a little bit of restraint? With the Fon Master none the less! Does he even know the trouble he's in?"

Everyone let Asch seethe by himself. It was for the best that Asch got this out of his system before they actually found Luke or else Asch might actually carry out his threats. Even Jade kept his mouth shut, keeping his sarcasm to himself. Guy silently endured the redhead's ranting with a solemn frown, looking straight ahead into the horizon. Only Anise interrupted Asch's angry soliloquy time to time with questions ("So. . . Your brother. . . he's going to be the Duke one day, right?").

"And if he gets hurt, who gets blamed? I'm going to kill him!"

Jade wryly said, "Yes. You've well established that fact. Perhaps you might also wish to add exactly how we might find him so that you may administer his torture- I mean punishment?"

"Don't encourage him." Guy deadpanned. Jade was smiling too happily for his comfort, while Asch was on the opposite spectrum. Somehow he and Anise worked out to be buffers- the blonde glanced at the girl.

She was ogling at Asch.

No, scratch that- he was the only sane one here. He tried not to wince when Asch single-handedly took down a swarm of monsters, finishing everything off with a very heated Explosion. Oh man, was Asch ever in a foul mood. . .

"But it's rather touching to see such an emotional display of brotherly love." Jade's sarcasm dripped from each word. The colonel watched the redhead storm into the general direction of Cheagle Woods, woe to whatever got in his way. The noble was carving a path out; why not sit back and let him do all the nasty work for them? "Sibling affection. . . sometimes I wish I had some when I was growing up."

Guy couldn't come up with a reply. Carrying on a conversation with Jade Curtis was impossible, he decided. The swordsman trudged ahead, trying to keep up with Asch's breakneck pace which was speeding up by the minute. His life was really screwed up. Someone up there must've really hated him in his past life because he was paying for it now.

-----

-----

"Hyya!" Luke finished the last of the monsters with a flying leap, landing on his feet and while expertly sheathing his sword. He grinned at Ion while dusting his hands. "That's the last of them." The young noble hadn't felt this great since ages! No bossy Asch or stalking Guy in sight! Best of all, he felt like he was actually being useful to somebody, even if it was only a kid. "Are you feeling okay Ion? We could take a break if you want." Luke said, concern lacing his tone. True enough, the Fon Master was pale.

Shaking his head, Ion reassured Luke. "I'm fine. There's no need to worry." The boy straightened himself and moved ahead.

Luke frowned. No need to worry? "Hey. . . there's no need to rush things. I'm supposed to protect you, remember? If you fall over because you pushed yourself too hard, that'll just make me look bad." Said Luke in a low voice, worry reflecting in his green eyes. "Let's rest for a while." He adamantly suggested, his tone clearly said he wasn't taking excuses. "Apple Gel?" The redhead offered Ion who gratefully accepted.

The young noble took the time to study the Fon Master. The kid was pallid- obviously cooped inside because of his poor physical condition. Obviously his mana levels were shockingly high: he was the Fon Master after all. But to tell you the truth, Luke first mistook Ion for a girl. The boy was wearing something that was highly questionable and had long bangs. Well, he shouldn't be talking about long hair, but still. No one ever mistook him for a girl. Ion was a pushover, probably a complex that sprung up from his position at Daath. Truth be told, they were as different as night and day: Ion was short, weak, and too nice- Luke was tall, strong, and sometimes a bit demanding at times.

"Luke?" Ion questioned politely, turning to the other with a soft smile.

"Yeah?"

"Ah, I would like to thank you for accompanying me."

Luke shrugged. "No problem. It's not like I had anything better to do."

Ion looked thoughtful. "You haven't had the chance to be outside much, haven't you?" He finally asked, the sudden question catching Luke off guard.

The redhead nodded slowly. "Not since I was ten. . . After when I was kidnapped. . ." He quickly became silent; obviously embarrassed that he let that slip by. For a moment, he let the awkward silence grow in the air before clearing his throat. "So. . . The Cheagles. . . Are they close by? I mean, they're kind of hard to spot. How are we going to catch one?"

"Well, their nest is nearby. They live in groups, and they have a village elder who's responsible for the wellbeing of everyone." Ion responded, whether or not he noticed the quick change in topics or not he didn't mention it. The Fon Master began to cheerfully explain to Luke about Cheagles.

Luke half listened while keeping up the appearance of paying apt attention (a skill he learned while listening to his tutors). Inwardly, he was wondering what Asch would do to him once his brother discovered his note and empty bed. Probably raise hell and chase after him with a sword. Assuming that Asch could remain level-headed enough to get prepared. Out of the two, Asch was notorious for his foul temper and quick tongue. Luke liked to think of himself as 'kindhearted' and 'sweet' but his brother had other words in mind like: 'brat' and 'baby'. "Hmm. . . That's interesting. I never knew that." He said every once in a while, absentmindedly walking in the general direction of the Cheagle's nest.

Ion giggled softly. "Luke, you aren't paying attention are you?" His eyes were bright and shining with amusement. "I asked if you've ever seen a Cheagle before. They're very important to the Order of Lorelei."

Caught red-handed, Luke guiltily grinned back. "Sorry. . . I was just thinking. . . about stuff." He sheepishly scratched his nose, trying not to look too embarrassed. "And I haven't seen a Cheagle before, in real life I mean. Being in the manor doesn't really give anyone a chance to see the outside world." He sounded slightly bitter towards the end, but managed to shrug it off as nonchalance. He used to be able to run outside whenever he wanted, go down to the lower levels of Baticul- it made his 'imprisonment' all the more difficult because he once knew what freedom tasted like.

It was probably harder for Asch.

Luke's insides did an uncomfortable twist. It was his mostly his fault. If only he hadn't been kidnapped. . .

They were walking along a wooded path, enjoying the streams of sunlight filtering through the forest canopy. So far, other than the monsters that attacked them before, nothing else was bothering them. With only Luke as a suitable fighter, it seemed more of a blessing (but he really wanted some action!). Time to time, Luke thought he saw something in the bushes, but he passed it off as part of his imagination. Maybe it's a Cheagle. . . he thought humorlessly, readying his sword just in case though. Knowing my luck. . . Luke didn't have the time to sigh before a monster charged out, with all intent to kill them both. "It's always a monster!" He yelled as he swung his sword out.

The young noble quickly glanced around his surroundings; what started out to be a single monster quickly led to a mob. If only he had some backup. . . Having Asch here might not have been such a bad idea. But then, no doubt that the older twin would painfully disembowel him afterwards- maybe it was a good thing he wasn't here then. "Fang Blade!" Luke yelled over the battle, hitting the target right between the eyes. "Havoc Strike!" He attacked again, leaping into the air.

This really wasn't good. He was running low on TP, and he used up all the Orange Gels already. Luke panted heavily as he surveyed the remaining monsters left. He really wished that there was a fonist nearby for backup. Perhaps running off without his brother really wasn't such a good idea. . .

Green eyes widened when a monster leapt at him, claws bared and ready to kill him. A gasp escaped his lips as he realized that he wasn't going to be able to defend himself in time. A shadow loomed over his figure.

----

---

"Is there something wrong?" Guy asked Asch when the redhead suddenly paused and looked grim- a terse frown on his face.

Asch had a bad feeling settling in the bottom of his stomach. A while before they entered the woods, they had decided to split up as a group to cover more ground. He and Guy went their way while Jade and Anise ("But Asch, don't you need someone to protect you?") took off the other direction. "Yeah. . . Let's hurry." He offered no further explanation as he picked up a breakneck pace.

If knowing his twin at all, that stupid moron probably got himself in some horrible mess by now; which is precisely why he was running to where he thought his idiotic brother was.

---

---

Luke closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable pain.

It didn't come.

Huh? Luke blinked in confusion. What the. . . T-the Fon Master! He gaped at the rather fragile young boy who was. . . err, kicking ass to say. Around the Fon Master, glowing Fonic symbols incinerated all the enemies within the vicinity. For a brief moment, Luke forgot that the other boy was so fragile and girly looking. Right now, he looked dangerous and ready to fight. And just why the hell couldn't he have done this earlier? Luke thought, his mind still in disbelief at what he was seeing. "Fon Master Ion. ." There was a good reason why Ion was the Fon Master after all.

Suddenly Ion's form began to sway back and forth.

"Fon Master!" Luke dashed forward, catching the other boy just before he fell. "Hey, are you all right?"

"Luke!" A familiar voice made the young noble turn around.

Half of him was relieved while the other half was slightly apprehensive. "Asch! And Guy too!" He said, still holding Ion in his arms.

"You!" Asch's voice dropped to a low growl, the older twin's face twisting into a dark scowl now that he knew his brother was safe. "You stupid, idiotic, moronic, Dreck! Do you know how much trouble you've put me through? Just wait until we get back to the manor." The particular emphasis on that word just sent chills up Luke's spine. "Fon Master, are you all right?" He asked the pale boy, fixing his heated glare elsewhere for now.

Ion nodded, attempting to get up. "I-I'm fine. . . It's just that I must have used too strong a Daathic Fonic Art." The boy slowly rose to his feet, dusting his clothes. Light green eyes warmly greeted the newcomers, recognition flickering within those depths. "Ah, you must be Asch; Luke's brother." It wasn't hard for anyone to tell- they were twins after all. But turning to Guy, he cocked his head to the side. "And you are?"

The blonde bowed his head humbly. "I'm Guy Cecile, a servant of the Fabre household."

"Pleased to make your acquaintance." Ion said.

Meanwhile, Asch was glowering at a sheepish Luke- with all intent to murder. "This has got to be one of the most reckless stunts you've ever pulled! How about using your head for once?" He couldn't believe that Luke was even related to him sometimes; his heart stopped beating at irregular intervals and he was able to breathe steadily now. "But somehow I doubt there's anything useful in there anymore."

"Hey!" Luke shot back, managing to pout at the same time. "I left a note, didn't I?"

"A note. . ." His twin ground out between tightly clenched teeth. Before Asch could implode, a Cheagle popped out of nowhere.

It stared at the group of humans, blinked, and ran off into the bushes.

Silence.

Luke was the first to react. "You! Come back here!" He leapt after the creature, leaving everyone behind. Namely, leaving Asch behind.

The same aforementioned noble was desperately trying to reign in his temper before it exploded; which wasn't working out very well least to say. There was a dangerous atmosphere brewing around the redhead, even making the Fon Master wary enough to simply smile weakly in response (instead of actually attempting to reason with him).

It was Guy who finally cajoled the furious boy into chasing after Luke. "Master Asch, perhaps it's for the best if we follow Young Master Luke." He didn't need to add, Or he might end up in more trouble.

"Yes. And when we catch up, we can make sure that Dreck can never be able to use his legs ever again."

Leaving Asch to 'quietly' fume by himself, Guy turned to the Fon Master. "Is there a reason to why you are pursuing the Cheagles?" He asked, curiosity coloring his tone. The blonde kept at a slower pace with Ion instead of keeping up with Asch (who also disappeared on ahead). He'd preferred to have Asch deal with all the monsters in the forest.

"The Cheagles are sacred creatures. If they're harming people, they must have some reason for it. As one who is connected to the Cheagles, I cannot sit idly by and watch." Ion said promptly, steady determination filling his light green eyes. Guy had to hand it to the boy- he was definitely starting to respect the Fon Master; the kid was growing on him.

"Ah. I see. If we find the Cheagles, you can learn what's going on." He said, understanding flickering within his blue eyes.

They had come across a clearing with a large tree in the middle. Luke had his back to the group, but there was no doubt the awe in his face. It was so peaceful here, like they'd stepped into another world found only in dreams- or at least found only in fantasy books. The million shades of greens blended into the soft emerald hue of the woods while tendrils of golden sunlight streamed through the canopy- the flowing of water filled between the gaps of the forest sounds.

There was nothing that could describe the almost magical scene.

"W-wow. . ." Luke whispered softly. "I guess their nest must be in there, huh? Let's go in." He pointed at a hole that he assumed that it was an entrance. It was just big enough for them to squeeze through. The young noble darted in without waiting for anyone to respond.

"You're so hopeless." Asch said while going after and leaving the other two behind.

Guy and Ion exchanged looks. With a polite bow of his head, the blonde offered the Fon Master to go before him. "After you, Fon Master."

"Thank you Guy." Ion responded politely, not having to duck through the entrance like the other three boys. His light green eyes took a second to adjust to the dim lighting in the Cheagles' den. About thirty small creatures huddled around the corner, clearly upset that humans intruded upon their home. They were colored differently, their fur ranging from pink to light green. Ion hid a slight smile; sacred creature they were, but also very cute and cuddly looking in his opinion.

Not too far ahead were the Kimlascian twins standing before an old looking Cheagle- if there were any guessing to be done, it was probably the Elder of this particular pack. Luke noticed Ion and Guy standing from the entrance and pointed excitedly at the Cheagle. "Look! It can talk!" He sounded excited, never seen a monster with the ability to speak the human language. "I wonder how though . . . Isn't it cool?"

With a roll of his eyes Asch quietly muttered under his breath, "Honestly you're just like a child sometimes."

"It is the power of the ring we were granted as part of our pact with Yulia. Are you of relation to Yulia?" The Cheagle Elder spoke, clearly addressing Ion. Both redheads and Guy respectfully stood to the side, allowing the Fon Master to walk up to the Cheagle Elder.

"Yes. I'm Ion, Fon Master of the Order of Lorelei. Am I correct in assuming that you're the Cheagle elder?" Ion bent down so that he was able to speak to the Cheagle better. His voice sounded so authoritative that Luke was having a difficult time making a connection to this Ion to the Fon Master he was supposedly 'protecting' a few minutes ago. So maybe he wasn't a total pushover after all. . .

The Elder Cheagle paused before answering slowly. "Yes. That would be so."

Luke was deep in thought. At first when the village was making such a big commotion about the stolen food, he'd assumed for the worst: big scary monsters with insatiable appetites attacking the storehouses but when he found out that they were just Cheagles he had an inkling suspicion that something more was going on. "You guys were the ones who stole food from Engeve, right?"

"I see now. So you've come to exterminate us." The Cheagle Elder sadly said.

A brief look of surprise flashed across Luke's face. "No. . . That's not it. There must be a reason why you would just take stuff."

Ion asked, "Cheagles are herbivores. Why do you need to steal human food?" The question that started this entire trip to the woods. Truth be told, it was Luke who had brought this up the day before. The Fon Master was impressed with the level of insight the young noble had.

A pause.

Slowly, begrudgingly admitting their problems to strangers, ". . . To preserve the Cheagle tribe." The Cheagle Elder said, letting the last words fall heavily around the cave.

Asch and Guy carefully hid their reactions by remaining stony faced, but Luke was much more expressive ("What?! Why?! Can we do anything to help?). Ion silently contemplated the Cheagle Elder's answer, letting various emotions flash within his light green eyes.

It was Guy who finally spoke up. "It doesn't seem that you lack food. I can see plenty of vegetation around here. There's no need to go to a human's village." He said with his usual logic, thoughtfully rubbing his chin. "Unless . . . I've noticed an abnormal number of Monsters while in the forest. Perhaps that might be the reason."

"Yeah, now that you think of it. . ." Luke scrunched up his face, making a connection. "Isn't that weird Asch?"

Dourly, the redhead answered, "Score knows you've experienced it first-hand." Then he addressed the Cheagle Elder directly, "I'm assuming that somehow you know the cause for all this. Tell us, now."

"Asch! Don't be so mean."

"Not now Luke."

A glower played on Luke's lips. "Mother says to be nicer to people."

"Cheagles are not people." Asch distractedly replied, not really paying attention to what his brother was saying; there were more important matters at hand. He was getting impatient. "Fon Master. . . This may directly involve the people of Engeve."

Ion nodded. "Yes, Asch is indeed correct. If you may. . ." He addressed the Cheagle Elder politely and in a much kinder tone than Asch's.

"One of our members caused a fire in the northern region. As a result, the Ligers that lived there moved down to this forest. . . In order to prey on us."

"Then, the reason you stole the food was so your people wouldn't be eaten." The Fon Master realized, eyes widening. As much as he feared. If things continued as they were, these Cheagles wouldn't be the only victims. As soon as the food ran out, those Ligers would seek other means of meals- namely the villagers of Engeve. From the alarmed looks on the other's faces, they've come to the same conclusion.

"Correct. If they aren't sent food periodically, we Cheagles are captured and eaten."

"We have to do something!" Luke exclaimed. "Not only for the Cheagles but for Engeve. Food from there's shipped everywhere in the world, even to Kimlasca!"

Asch frowned. Already, he could see where this was going. Just when was their crazy trip going to end? "We need to negotiate with the Ligers. . ." He said distastefully, not liking how it sounded coming out of his mouth. "Most likely we need to kill the queen. Ligers aren't known for their diplomacy. They're senseless Monsters after all."

But Guy brought up another good point. "We can't communicate with the Ligers. How will we set about accomplishing this?" The blonde was quick to point out a flaw in Asch's plan. The day was just one escapade after another; he wondered if there ever was going to be back at Baticul where Luke was kept inside, away from these types of crazy adventures. Not likely, at the rate they were heading, he thought morosely.

"We can't talk to them directly, but if we take one of the Cheagles with us as a translator. . ." trailed off Ion. Really he wasn't the type to involve others (including Cheagles) but even he couldn't even think of a way to talk to the Ligers without help.

"Then, I shall lend this sorcerer's ring to the one who will be your interpreter. Mieu, mieu, mieu, mieuuu."

Within seconds, a blue Cheagle bounded out of nowhere. It nearly tripped over in its eagerness, which Luke found it kind of funny. Later, he'd realized that the little thing could spit out fire (which burned down a whole forest) and he had a hard time from grinning like a manic (quoted by Asch).

"This child is the one who caused the fire in the north. I want you to take him with you." The Cheagle Elder took off the Sorcerer's Ring and handed it to the blue Cheagle.

At first, the small creature curiously inspected it, even hitting its head against the ring. When the ring was secure around it's belly, it blinked its adorable eyes and tested out the ring's power. "My name's Mieu. Pleased to meet you!" Mieu was practically bouncing with excitement.

Asch felt an in coming migraine forming in the near future. "Something about this. . . Thing is really annoying."

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Mieu apologized, his shrill pitch reaching an octave higher. Luke picked up the blue Cheagle and inspected at eye level.

"Aw, come on! Don't be so mean to the little guy. Look at him!" The younger twin teased, practically shoving Mieu into Asch's face; he turned away from them. "Isn't he just adorable? Somewhere in your ice-cold heart, something must've melted right?" Luke wheedled lightly, green eyes twinkling with amusement. It was just so hilarious to see Asch's scowl darken and see him sulk- he pleasantly forgot about the near murderous aura hovering over his brother like some death shadow.

"We've got pressing matters to attend to." Asch briefly wondered if the Score was too cruel in allowing Luke to be his twin. "Let's hurry. Fon Master, after you."

They left the Cheagle den and started walking again to the Ligers. In between, Luke discovered- much to his delight and much to Asch's dismay- that Mieu could breathe streams of fire. (Luke: "Do you know what I can do with Mieu back home? Think of the possibilities!") Although he wasn't serious about his ideas, it was still fun to mess with Asch. Sometimes his brother was too high-strung for his own good. It used to be all fun and games back then, but now if Luke even thought about breaking the rules. . . The redhead sighed depressingly.

"Mieu? What's wrong?" Mieu floated along (a power from the Sorcerer's Ring?) Luke's head, innocently batting his eyes.

"Ah, nothing! Say. . . Cheagles are herbivores, right? What do you guys eat?" He tactically changed topics with ease, Mieu completely oblivious chirped a happy reply. As well as it might've worked with the blue monster, it didn't with his brother. Asch shot Luke a look, but thankfully he didn't press matters and let it go, no doubt to bring it up again when he himself forgot all about it at a later date. Inwardly, the young noble fidgeted uncomfortably but to everyone else he remained as cheery as ever, save for his twin.

Before they knew it, the small group stood in front of the Liger's den. Luke and Asch led the way, followed closely by Ion and Guy. Cautiously they went in, ready to draw their weapons out at any warning. Sure they were here to negotiate, but they didn't want be eaten either. Luke's green eyes widened at the sight of the biggest monster he ever saw. "That must be the queen. . ." He whispered, instinctively reaching for his sword. "She's huge!" No one quipped on his comment about the inevitable 'never- call- a- woman- fat' rule.

Asch swallowed once, trying to fight down a wave of panic. Sure, he knew that Liger Queens grew larger than most monsters but this was beyond his expectations. Breathing in once, he regain control of his emotions- turning to Ion, he nodded stiffly.

"Mieu, please go talk with the Liger Queen." Ion's soft voice was firm and showed no sign of fear. The same could not be said for the adorable little creature, who was shaking as he approached the monster that could've used him as a breath mint. From where he was, Luke felt sorry for Mieu.

"Mieu, mieu, mieu, mieu. . . ."

Before Mieu could continue, the Liger Queen got up and roared at them- the entire cavern shook and poor Mieu fell over. Luke was afraid that it would start a cave-in and they'd be trapped with the Liger Queen for lunch. He suppressed a shudder. Not exactly a meal he planned to stick around for very long if his sword had anything to say about it. If things got to be that hairy, she could have a taste of his Fang Blade- negotiations be damned!

Ion exclaimed, "Are you all right?"

"What did she say?" Asch demanded, thoughts running eerily similar to his brother's. His hand automatically reached for his sword at his side, as Guy quickly fell into a defensive stance behind him. Already, his mind was categorizing possible strategies to attack the Liger Queen with. With dismay, he realized that Luke was standing too far away from their group and was probably the first thing the monster would attack. Mentally he prayed to any deity listening to spare his idiotic brother from another horrible death today. Tomorrow could wait.

In a trembling voice, Mieu said, "S-she says her eggs are just about to hatch so go away." His answer made Asch curse inwardly as well as made all the color drain out of Luke's face. Guy and Ion remained stony-faced, taking in the grim news silently. Adding, the little blue creature gulped, "Her highness is really mad that I accidentally burned their home."

"As she should be!" Asch bit out, feeling the eye of the storm to speak. From what things looked like from here, they were going to fight an angry overprotective Liger mother for her eggs. If you'd thought his mother was overprotective of her 'precious baby boys'. . . The young noble ignored Luke's protests of leaving poor Mieu out of this and focused on the matter at hand. "Luke! Get back! Ligers get more violent when they're guarding their eggs."

Much to his mounting stress, that dreck had the nerve to snap back at him! His older brother who was just trying to keep him alive long enough so that once within the confines of their manor, he could kill him for making him age thirty years in a single day. "So what? We just come back later?" Luke's sarcasm couldn't be thicker. "I'm sure if we give them enough time, the eggs will hatch and we can deal with the little monsters attacking the village. Great idea bro."

"Master Asch. . . Young Master Luke? Perhaps we should concentrate on the Liger Queen and . . ." Guy tried his best to stop a civil war breaking out within his ranks but sadly he was overruled by mirrored green glares. "Or not." He muttered discreetly under his breath, rolling his own eyes. Honestly, if he were to die here because two bickering children couldn't pay attention to the enemy and would rather fight with each other, Score wouldn't be surprised if he went to dig himself his own grave, preferable away from the said so children.

Before the two Kimlascan twins could attack each other, Ion being the pacifist he was hurriedly asked Mieu, "Could you ask them to leave this land?"

"I'll try. . . Mieu, Mieu. . . Mieu. . ."

The effect was the Liger Queen roaring again, but this time the tremors throughout the cavern actually shook some overhead boulders loose. Much as they feared, the rocks began to fall down.

"Watch out!" Asch shouted, his body moving of his own accord. Swinging his sword, he cut through the huge boulder that was about to fall on Mieu (and on the Fon Master he'd later protest). Looking down, he snarled, "Get out of they way!"

Mieu squeaked a thank you and scuttled to the safety of Luke's arms. "S-she says she's going to kill us and feed us to her children!" Mieu's shrill voice reached another octave higher as fear overtook his small body. Luke hurriedly tucked Mieu into one of his pockets.

Great.

Just their rotten luck.

Luke wondered if his life's Score was out to get him or something as the Liger Queen loomed closer and closer.

"Careful! Here she comes!" Guy's warning started the battle.

"Fang Blade!" Both redheads yelled at the same time, attacking simultaneously. "Havoc Strike!" Their moved mirrored each other perfectly, hitting their intended targets. If Guy wasn't too busy fighting for his life, he'd be staring at the eerily same movements between the two. Luke snuck behind the Liger while Asch distracted it by casting a Fonic Arte and launched a barrage of combos.

Deciding that he couldn't let Asch take all the credit, he quickly darted in between the Liger's claws and swiftly used a Crescent Strike. The Liger Queen recoiled back, roaring in pain. Guy had little time to back away before Asch's Stalagmite nearly got him too. Shooting a dark look at the redhead, he scowled. Perhaps after the battle, he could 'teach' Asch the difference between enemies and allies. To the side, Ion was watching the battle with a worried look on his face.

"Guy, behind you!" The young boy called out, probably saving the blonde's life.

He narrowly missed being slashed by the monster's claws because Luke blocked the attack for him. Ion's warning caught Luke's attention just in time. Grinning widely, the young nobleman said, "C'mon Guy! And here I thought Asch spaced out. . ." Luke didn't see the surprised look on his servant's face because he jumped into the fray again. "Take this! Raging Blast!"

Shaking his head, Guy launched a Demon Fang.

It looked like Mieu wasn't the only one indebted to the Fabre twins.

After what seemed like ages of fighting, the three were breathing heavily. Glaring at the Liger Queen, Asch grounded out with gritted teeth, "Our attacks aren't doing anything. Damn it!" He swore loudly, his sword feeling heavy in his hands. Guy looked haggard and Luke's sweaty face didn't reassure him. If not, it made things worse.

"It's not dying!" This was so not his day. He didn't want to be eaten by a Liger! Luke tried another Fang Blade but the Queen didn't even as much flinch this time. Am I out of energy already? He thought frantically, a sinking feeling making him realize that Asch and Guy were probably in the same state. "Asch! Do something!"

Before Asch could retort something along the lines of: "I would if I could," a familiar voice made his shoulders sag with relief (he'd later deny it).

"Allow me. . ." Jade smirked, pushing his glasses up. He jumped down to the fight, smiling the whole time. "My, my. . . In a bit of trouble are we? Why am I not surprised?" He mock sighed- a typical Jade response.

"About time old man." Asch smirked back as Luke cheered happily behind him. ("We're saved!) Turning to Jade he asked, "Get lost on your way here?"

"Oh no. I was just admiring the scenery."

Both Guy and Luke facefaulted together. Their lives were in danger yet the Asch and Jade dynamic never changes.

"Jade! Save it for later! Use your Fonic Artes while we take care of this!" Luke yelled, breaking the strained conversation between his older brother and the Malkuth colonel. Honestly. . . and people called him immature? Rolling his eyes, he ran forward to distract the Liger Queen so that Jade could cast some sort of mass destructive Fonic Arte. Secretly, he was hoping that the man would use Meteor Storm. It looked so kickass the last time when Jade took out the entire hive of monsters.

"Howl O raging wind and cleave mine enemies with your blade! Turbulence!" Jade called out, the glyps around him glowing green. Much to Luke's disappointment, the wind based Fonic Arte cycloned around the monster instead of massive fireballs falling from the heavens.

Well, you can't win them all. . .

If he wasn't going be eaten a few moments earlier, he would've felt sort of sorry for the Liger. Now that Jade was here, the monster didn't stand a chance. A three-way counterattack from all of them while backed with dangerous (Luke and Asch were not permitted to ever cast these spells within the properties of the manor) quickly turned the tables in their favor.

Asch lunged forwards, catching the monster with his sword just as Guy struck down from above. Luke had the pleasure of finishing if off with a Havoc Strike. Breathing heavily for a few minutes, the three boys took the time to regain themselves. As much as Luke hated to admit it, he was pretty out of shape if something like this tired him out so much. "So. . . That wasn't so bad. Who wants to do that again?" Receiving incredulous looks from Asch and Guy, the young noble hastily retreated before either of them could strangle him.

Surprisingly it was Jade who sighed. "I'd hate to break up a party so soon, but unfortunately time is of the essence. Next time Luke here wants to play with a Liger Queen, I'll refrain from being involved."

"There won't be a next time." Asch grounded out under his breath, stomping ahead with Luke not a step behind him. Probably because the older twin was dragging the other by the collar of his jacket. "Ever. Guy, let's go." He ordered, determined to get the hell out of here. Jade was putting him on edge and he was already testy enough without the Colonel poking fun at him. Asch ignored Luke's protests of letting go and instead found a stronger grip on the jacket collar.

His logic was: the sooner they got back to the Cheagles and returned the little blue annoyance, the sooner they could get Jade to drop them back at Baticul. The said so little blue annoyance hopped out of the Fon Master's arms and was currently insisting on clinging onto himself. If he wasn't so worried on keeping a hold on his idiotic brother, he'd swatted that thing already.

As if reading his mind, it chirped, "Mieu?"

Score help him. He was slowly loosing his sanity.

"Asch, let go of me!"

"No. You'll run off again and then we have to find you. . . again."

"Aw c'mon! It was only this once!"

". . ."

"Fine. Twice."

". . ."

". . ." Luke visibly drooped. "I won't do it again. . ."

"That's what you said last time."