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Lloyd's POV

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"Do you ever miss him?" The question was simple enough, but I still didn't understand her.

"Miss who?"

"You know, Kratos." Colette looked over at me as we walked along the trail to Meltokio. I wondered what had brought that up.

"Yeah, sometimes I do. I still don't know if letting him go was the right thing to do, but something tells me that he would've done it anyway." I looked down at the ground with sadness. "I wish that he hadn't gone though. I mean… he is my dad and all. I barely had a chance to get to know him before he left us."

"I wish he could have stayed longer too. I never got the chance to thank him for everything he did." Colette said quietly. She sounded a little different than usual, which made me wonder just what she wanted to thank Kratos for.

"What do you mean?"

"He was kind to us… especially you Lloyd. Both the professor and I saw the kind way he spoke to you even before we knew who he was… and…" She smiled, thinking back to our journey. "He never once complained when I asked him to sit up with me on those nights I couldn't sleep."

"Woah, I didn't know he did that!" I was surprised, but I guess I shouldn't have been. After all, I'd have sat up with her too if she'd asked… and if I had that angelic ability to not need sleep.

"Yes, he was very kind. I do hope he's ok out there." She murmured softly. Then, without warning, she exclaimed, "I know, let's pray for him!"

"Again?!" But there was no stopping Colette when she decided she wanted to pray. And it was for a good reason. Relaxing a little, I held out my hand to her. "Ok, but you're going to have to do all the talking stuff…. I'm not really good at that."

She giggled cutely. "Hehe! Ok..." Taking my hand, she closed her eyes and began to chant rhythmically. "Oh holy one, Goddess Martel, listen to our prayers and grant us your strength. Our dear friend Kratos, Lloyd's father, is still trapped on the world of Derris-Kharlan. May you ever be his guide and help him in his times of uncertainty…"

Then she did what I feared she would do. She asked, "…Lloyd? Do you want to say anything?"

I sighed. Again. "Ahh… Goddess Martel… Please watch over my dad… umm… thank you?"

With that, I opened my eyes and unclasped my hands from hers. "Was that good enough?"

She smiled again. "Of course it was Lloyd! Don't be silly! And you know… I think she heard us this time too."

When I saw the confidence in her eyes, I knew she was right. "Kratos… dad…. Good luck out there."

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Kratos's POV

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A week later, we had 'rescued' Mayia, Nallia, Hamia, Lorenia, Kamia, Peria, and Zamenia from their fate as angels. All boys.

I was beginning to see why they were such troubled half-elves.

They had started their own little self-help community of former angels in one of the higher towers of Welgaia's residence halls. So far, they seemed to be doing all right.

I had just returned from taking Zamenia to meet the others, when I noticed that Yuan was still slumped over the table where I left him. Very odd. Usually, he stumbled over to his room, full of cranky curses, and slept for the remainder of the day, but this time he made no sign of moving. "Yuan, what are you doing?"

He didn't respond.

My heart quickened a little, and I flew swiftly over to him, brushing aside some of the aqua hair from his face and taking his hand. "Yuan, are you all right?" He had warned me that using so much of his mana took a lot out of him, but I never thought it would hurt him.

Still no response.

"For the love of Martel! Answer me Yuan!" Grasping him from under his arms, I sat him up in the chair, holding his upper torso so that he did not fall over.

Finally, he mumbled something that sounded vaguely like my name. At least he wasn't dead.

Cautiously, I picked him up, carrying him up to his bedroom. Gently, I placed him in his bed underneath the covers. By now, he had begun to stir just a bit. "Yuan, are you ok?" I asked him again.

Wearily, he cracked open a heavily-lidded eye. I hadn't seen him in this bad of shape since the time he tried to "get back" at me by drinking all of my wine. "Kratos…? Was he… ok…?"

"Yes. Zamenia has joined the other former angels." I responded, still concerned about him. "What happened Yuan? Why are you like this?"

"Bastard…!" Weakly, he attempted to snort. "…I… ran out of mana… and you…. left me there…"

So it was just mana deprivation. I breathed a sigh of relief. He wouldn't die, because I wouldn't let him.

Yuan was an arrogant self absorbed smart-ass, but he was the only friend I had now. He had been with me from the beginning, and I did not want to see him hurt like this.

Softly, he winced, closing his eyes as tightly as he could for a brief moment. Yuan was in pain.

Concentrating on my hand, I focused my own mana into my fingertips the way Yuan had before and grasped his hand. "Yuan, take some of my mana."

He arched an eyebrow at me, as if to say "What? Really?" But moments later, I felt his grip around my hand tighten as he slowly pulled the energy from my body.

It would have been easy for him to take all of it, and leave me laying on the ground in the same state he was just in, but he didn't. After taking a surprisingly small amount of mana, he released my hand and rolled over in the bed. "You can leave now."

"That's all you want?" I asked uncertainly.

"Yeah. Who wants to be awake to hear those former-angels bicker in their self-help group? No thank you. I'd rather sleep." What a Yuan-ish thing to say.

Nodding, though I knew he couldn't see me, I turned around to leave. But as I reached the door, he spoke again.

"Wait…" After hesitating for a little while, he grudgingly mumbled, "Thank you."

"You're welcome." I nodded, feeling somewhat better about what had happened now.

As I walked outside and sat down at the table I'd just left, Martel suddenly appeared sitting next to me, and picked up Yuan's cup of coffee.

Sipping it, she frowned with distaste. "Bleh. It's cold."

I knew I wasn't seeing things this time. "Martel… why are you here?" Not that I wasn't happy to see her, but it was a little weird.

"Because your son sent me here." She responded simply, warming up the cup with a strange pink glimmering energy.

"Lloyd?" I asked incredulously.

"No you're other son." She said sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "Who do you think? Lloyd and Colette were worried about you, so they sent me here to guide you. But… it looks like you're doing a pretty good job already."

She took another sip while I sat mystified that she was even here. Then, turning in the direction of Yuan's bedroom she frowned sadly, "But… it seems like he's not doing quite as well."

"Yuan has been assisting me with removing the cruxis crystals from Derris Kharlan's lifeless beings." I finally responded. "He lost a lot of mana today."

"That's… not quite what I meant." Placing her cup down on the table, she looked straight at me. Slightly unnerving. "Kratos, you should go talk to him."

"I talk to Yuan every day." I sighed, holding my head in the palm of my hand. "It's unavoidable."

"That's not quite what I meant either." She sighed, taking my hand in her own. She certainly didn't feel dead. Her hand was warm, and I could even feel a faint pulse within her body.

Of course, there was something different about her. Vaguely I remembered Lloyd saying something about how she was a multitude of people… perhaps a strange blend of all the failed Chosen, living in the body of Martel. Slightly creepy. "Then… what do you mean?"

"You know him better than anyone, Kratos. I think you'll figure it out." She smiled, standing up to leave.

"Care to give me a hint?" It was worth a try. Honestly, I had no idea.

As she continued to walk away, fading from view, a single word ghosted over my head like an ominous shadow. "Mithos."

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Marika's Notepad:

Sometimes I do need a good kick in the butt to remember to post things. Please, feel free to do so! Oh, and please review!