Disclaimer: I never have and never will claim rights to Tales of [insert name non-relevant to the game], or in this case, Tales of the Abyss. I only own Arkhydr…

Summary: In which Anise has freaky minisode dreams, almost meets an orphan, and Tear is disappointed.

Reviewers (from oh so long ago):

Culinaromancer: Glad to see you think so, and I'll try the best I can.

Nirvana Fox: I know, don't you love the whole premise?

Lord Mordaq Sevillate: Thanks (I think) and I'm pretty sure that I'm a devout Jade-ist, so his sarcasm will be featured heavily whenever he does show up. Because he will...whether I want him to or not.

The Game Begins

His hands beget miracles—Selfsame and whole,

Healing with nary an ill word—Confidence in his hold,

His voice is a thing of beauty—He sings all songs and one,

His being can mold the world just simply—A creator and destroyer in one.

-"The Golden Gate"


"Rise and shine, kid!"

"Wha—?" She opened her eyes and was in what she was sure was a dream, a lush garden filled with vegetation of all kinds, spread all over the landscape for as far as she could see. The room was bereft of a source of light, but she could still see everything as clearly as if it had been high noon. A small patch of Selenia flowers was close to her, and for some reason they were blooming as she watched.

Anise murmured nonsense, and flipped onto her side, her mind drifting lazily as she reentered the world of her dream.

she gaped as she tilted her head back, hair shuffling back as well, to the figure floating over the meadow with wings brighter than the sun.

"Yo! Midget, ya in there? I got a new kid here to see you." This earned a heated snort from the girl buried under her blankets. Alas, the blue-haired menace was not enough to wake the sleeping princess. There was then a scraping and jingling noise that could be heard coming from the other side.

He wore a crown of gold, seven gems placed into it and archaic symbols dancing on its surface. If her eyes tried to focus on the symbols, she would faintly recognize them and they would flash out of existence and change. His arms were gloved white lined with gold, the motif of his outfit, and a robe covered most of his clothes. His wings were bright like light but also flared occasionally like a flame.

This image perturbed her for some reason, and even in real life her hand clenched as if holding a weapon.

"I beg of you to watch over my sister," He said, his voice growing quieter. The shimmer of his wings dimmed, and she felt the atmosphere darken almost visibly.

"I beg of you?..."Anise parroted sleepily, waking slowly and suddenly aware of warm breath by her ear.

"Boo." Came a whisper, and she jumped and collided with the opposite wall, her hands trying to gain purchase so she could scramble further from…Anise heard muffled snickers, and the gears in her mind slowly, but surely, began to crank.

"ARKHYDR!" The girl growled with a promise of pain in her wide-eyed, brown gaze. The blue-haired offender raised his hands in an attempt at supplication, and yet backed away slowly as she parted from the wall and began to kick off the covers and stalk towards him.

"I know you like to fight, but in that? That's just asking for some ideas." He pointed while wriggling his eyesbrows, and she looked down. Anise was wearing naught but a thin shirt that went close to the middle of her thighs and some underwear (that, thank the gods, he couldn't see), but even as her face began to redden, she made no move to hide. An incantation on her lips, Arkhydr took this as his chance to make a run for it, leaving his unfortunate victim to ride out the last waves of her heart tremors. He left with some parting words, "Just remember to tell Ms. Noir that I tried to do what she told me!"

"The bastard." She commented to the air, mildly, "As if I'd tell her now." Anise shook her head, her hair, dried after the debacle of two days ago, swishing about her head like a streaked curtain. She turned to begin the new day, however unwelcome it was, and sighed. Anise just knew that something bad was going to happen. The days when she got caught off her guard always seemed to turn out that way.

Just look at the day before all the world-saving adventures started. She'd woken up with a monster's muzzle in her face and had promptly cussed out all her surroundings.

So, yes, she was pretty much cursed.

Later, after cleaning up and dressing up, Anise found herself wandering the hallways, bored again. Her half-skirt swung loosely around her hips, and the knee-high boots made little sound on the metallic floor. She was wearing no weapon, save for the dagger hidden in the seam of her short jacket, and felt hopeless when she found that was so, "It's not like I can do anything now, grounded like this." The sounds of smaller footsteps on the metallic floors of their hideout echoed from behind her, and she turned in time to see a small body careen down the hallway. Another came immediately after that, but bumped into her leg, so Anise found herself looking into large blue eyes. She pointed silently, down the hall, and shoved the kid in the direction the other had gone.

The small kid, only up to a little over her hip, blushed and muttered stuttered apologies. Anise waited patiently (a trait that had only come with many bruises and her own fondness for children), with a hand on her hips and an eyebrow raised while she waited for the boy to get himself together. She never knew why the kids always hero(ine)-worshipped her as she never had that sort of fixation on Noir who would have logically been the one she would have respected the most. She wasn't

"Sorry, Ms. Anise!" Anise shivered, still not used to being addressed with a title, but smiled. The kids always managed to make her feel better. The kid stared up at her for a while longer but shook his fair head and took a few steps to catch up to his past speed. However, he did not leave without a parting remark.

"And Ms. Anise!" He called hesitantly as she nodded her head, absentmindedly brushing away a few short, loose strands of hair from her face, "Mr. 'Hydr is saying that you need to go back to our rooms, for the new girl." Anise paused.

They had a new orphan in? She was pretty sure none of the members of the Darkwings or its sister operation, The Black Dream, had reported the loss of some family members. And she was pretty sure that they still didn't accept kids without a good reason or connections, a great deal of fuss, and some cursing…

"Thanks, you can go." She said, dismissing the kid who had thus far stayed near with an expression of confusion at her delayed response. Could it be that Noir going full-out on her "grounding". Her hand clenched. This was important business! What right did Noir have to exclude her when she'd said she was part of the inner circle of their organization? Was she not to be trusted?! Brown eyes blazed with thinly hidden fury as she stood her ground against her treacherous thoughts. It was strange how these thoughts just came all of a sudden and so viciously too…She took a deep breath and tried to find her center. 'Think of anything,' she thought, 'a story, a line, a song…' And there it was. She exhaled softly, her chest depressing and the anger seeping out of her. She did not bother to think about why the song that came to mind was what calmed her. "It could be nothing." Anise said, a bit drained. She wasn't used to holding it in when Arkhydr was such a punching bag.

"So I'll just go see her and find out what the deal is." Her foot stopped as it had risen, but she shook it off as she proceeded

If she had truly wanted a life without saviors, she should have heeded that inclination.

Her wounds were slow in healing, yes, but mere physical pain would not be her undoing.

Mystearica strode commandingly through the stone hallways and arches that comprised the large underground of Daath's Great Cathedral. The stone radiated no heat, and instead sucked up all the warmth, but it was no matter to her. Bandages, tightly wound, surrounded her visible torso and her arms down from her elbow. They were no longer the pristine white they had been while she had been first treated, but they weren't so dirty as to require immediate attention—though her hold on the seventh fonon had become increasingly harder to control, a simple First Aid was not a tall order.

There was no one in the immediate vicinity, either hiding from her wrath (as they had become accustomed to sensing) or busy elsewhere with other tasks. It was also of no matter to her. She only had one purpose now, and it would be seen through.

"To the left." She said, remembering the directions she had to take in order to arrive at her destination. A fork in the hallway appeared, and she took to the left with barely contained excitement. Closer to reaching her one purpose. So close!...

The stone walls and floor became increasingly more worn and aged as she passed, and that was to be expected. She was going into a place that all but the highest-ranked of her order could see—the "Holy Archives" of Daath that were a point of awe and envy for those from the other nations of Auldrant. He had told her that she would find what she was looking for, and his price...she had no care if it would get her beloved back to her.

Padding softly as she approached a gilded door that looked untouched by age, she reached out carefully and pushed it. It fell away easier than she thought it would, and so she had to withhold a gasp as the balance that she had depended on the door for slid away from her outstretched hands. Her breath had, before, become a mist on the air outside, but the moment she entered, she noticed the temperature rise significantly. What this meant—whether was closer than she thought, or fire fonons had accumulated over time—she did not know. She only acknowledged the welcomed, but not needed, heat as she walked forward into the large room.

The room was what one could call a thing of beauty. Its bookshelves lined high and mighty above her head; she felt a sense of awe (however muted) as she saw the tomes lined up and ordered in such a scene.

On the walls were paintings of all times and eras, and she did not doubt that she could probably search out and find her ancestor's in such a place. This room was simply—history, and her confidence grew with every step. If any place were to have it, then it would probably be in this collection. Beginning, she wandered in-between rows, searching for that one fonon signature that would tell her she had found her target.

However, hours passed and she was no closer to finding her quarry.

"It must be here!" Her heated whisper came as her search proved unfruitful. Her hands slid over worn and aged texts as her usually frigid eyes scanned the titles in a desperate manner so unlike her. More time passed and she lost herself within her task, and though there was no time-piece in the old room, she knew it was passing faster than she could have thought. Her body clenched as she continued, her eyes filling with righteous rage and her teeth grinding together in mounting fury.

"It said—here!" And it was then, when she almost lost all hope that she had found it, for where the final place it could be caught her eye…She saw a scorched shelf and knew it not to be a coincidence.

Mystearica could not voice the pure fury that welled up within her.

—And the room's temperature increased a few degrees.


Kinda long A/N: Does the woman not know how to speak in an inside voice?...Even I don't know. So here, after a long while, is the 5th chapter. I won't even get on my knees and beg your forgiveness because it wouldn't make it better…:sobs hysterically: So, yeah…Is the tone of the story pretty much constant? I'm crap at humor so I guess trying a story for more serious is what I've decided to focus on.

Anise…yeah. Still at the base, and yeah, I've decided she's going to be the heroine for reasons known to myself (for once). And Tear is looking for something, but are you sure it's what you suspect it is?

Who do you guys want to be focused on in the next chapter? Other than Anise…and real-time Luke ( I wouldn't mind a flashback Luke). And I'm kind of partial to some Asch focus. This part of the story is pretty much flexible as the concrete stuff pretty much happens in the end. And yes, if you are wondering, this is starting into the main story and not just an intro filler.

One more note: I'm trying to keep the chapter lengths around the same size. Do you'll like the way it is, or would you rather shorter and quicker ones?