The Serpent of Mt. Mikage was greatly weakened; blood dripped from a gaping wound on its side, and the beast's scales were charred and cut from the battle. But the Serpent was still desperately clinging to life. This was about as much as could be said of the four Adepts facing the beast in battle.
Sheba was nearly unconscious and was being supported by her red-haired friend Jenna, although Jenna herself was breathing heavily wand wincing as something toxic worked its way through her bloodstream. Felix was only just managing to stand after sustaining a nasty blow to the head – the world around him was spinning precariously. Piers was kneeling on the ground, clutching a deep gash in his arm and gritting his teeth against the pain. His usually lustrous blue hair hung in lanky strands around his face.
Piers knew he had to heal himself in order to help the others, but could he do it before the Serpent resumed its attack? Not to mention the fact that he only had one useful hand…
With the last of her strength, Sheba cast a violent Storm Ray and slumped against Jenna's shoulder. Bolts of white hot lightning struck the Serpent from every direction, and it roared in anger. Jenna, extremely irate and having cured herself of the poison, cast a sudden Fume Psynergy directly after. It was not enough.
Piers was preparing to cast Ply Well on himself, but was stopped short as the Serpent reared up to attack. The creature was aiming directly at him.
Felix wasn't sure when he finally calmed his reeling mind and grasped the situation. He wasn't entirely sure why he leapt in front of Piers and took the blow for him. But as he felt the searing pain of the Serpent's claws ripping through him… As he fell to the ground and was abruptly overcome by unconsciousness… Felix realized that he had done something great. He had saves Piers' life.
And then everything went black.
When Felix's eyes fluttered open, he could not have possibly felt any worse. Every inch of his body hurt in some way, whether it was a dull, throbbing ache or a piercing pain like he was being stabbed repeatedly. He looked down to see that his torso was bleeding profusely; the warm blood was running down his legs and dripping on to the ground. With a start, Felix realized that he was being supported on both sides by Piers and Jenna, and they were almost back to Izumo.
"How long was I out?" Felix mumbled, each word an effort. Jenna and Piers almost jumped at the sound of his voice.
"Oh, you're awake," Jenna said, smiling weakly. "You've been out for quite a while… But that's alright. It's a miracle you aren't dead by now, really. How do you feel, brother?" Felix glared at her.
"How do you think I feel?" he hissed, wincing as he spoke. He meant to sound tough, but his normally commanding voice seemed pathetic and weak. Jenna sighed.
"Don't worry, Felix. Piers will heal you soon."
Felix glanced over at Piers, who was remaining oddly silent. He had a troubled expression on his face, but Felix wasn't going to pry. If Piers wanted to tell him, he would. The Venus Adept suddenly grimaced in agony as his leg struck a tree root, sending shock waves of pain through his entire body. That damn Serpent had really done a number on him.
"Hold on… How did we manage to kill that beast? And where's Sheba?" Felix asked as the group entered Izumo.
"Susa struck the finishing blow," Jenna replied. "And he's carrying Sheba right now." She glanced over her shoulder and smiled at the person behind them. So it's all thanks to Susa that we're alive? Felix thought. How intriguing.
The group made their way into the inn and were met the astonished face of the innkeeper. He immediately proffered up two available rooms free of charge.
Felix groaned in both pain and relief as Jenna and Piers laid him on the soft bed. Jenna squeezed her brother's hand reassuringly and flashed him a small smile.
"You'll be fine," she said. "I'm going to go check on Sheba. Take good care of him, Piers!" The Lemurian simply nodded, staring out the window absentmindedly. The door closed, and Piers sighed heavily before drawing a chair up to the bed so he could examine the wound more closely. After a few minutes, Felix's hand shot out and grasped a handful of Piers' shirt.
"Fix. Me," he said, his voice dripping with as much malice as he could manage. "I'm at death's door here, Piers." The Mercury Adept raised an eyebrow but said nothing, instead beginning to focus his Psynergy into a healing aura.
"Ply Well," he murmured. Felix was surrounded by a calming light; light that enveloped him and soothed the hurt. Slowly, Felix felt his pain begin to dissipate until there was only a slight ache in his chest where he had been clawed. Gradually the light faded too, and there was just the inn room, and Piers gazing down at him with golden eyes full of worry.
"You're alright now?"
Felix nodded, sitting up hesitantly.
"You may have a few new scars. Healing can't get rid of those, I'm afraid," said Piers, obviously relieved at his friend's fast recovery.
"I don't mind," Felix said, giving Piers a half-hearted grin. "Scars make me look dangerous." The blue-haired man smiled back at him, although his eyes still held a trace of the troubled expression he had worn earlier. As Felix rummaged through the travelling pack, searching for a new shirt, he realized that he would have to do a bit of prompting.
"So, Piers… Is something wrong? You seem out of it." Felix attempted to sound nonchalant.
"Nothing's wrong," Piers said quickly, glaring at the Venus Adept defensively. Felix simply shrugged and continued his search. Why is there so much unneeded… stuff in here? he wondered, frowning in annoyance. After a few minutes, Piers sighed again in defeat.
"… Thank you, Felix. For saving my life, that is."
Felix took in Piers' discomfort and couldn't help rolling his eyes. It was hard for the Lemurian to thank anyone, especially for major things. They would really have to work on that.
"Don't worry, Piers – we're even now."
Piers let out a deep breath in relief. "Thank goodness. I'm not quite ready to be indebted to you." They both laughed quietly. Even Piers sometimes found his own pride a little ridiculous. Felix peeled his ripped and bloodied shirt away from his body in revulsion, revealing three long, vicious scars across his chest. Piers winced unwittingly when he saw them: reminders of might have been if he hadn't had Felix watching over him.
"Hmm… Yeah, they're not too pretty," Felix muttered, grimacing. He pulled a clean shirt over his head and hid the scars from view, then let out a loud yawn. He fell on to his bed with a flourish, rubbing his temples to calm his raging headache.
"I'm so tired… It's still early, but…" Another yawn. "I might as well go to sleep. See you in the morning, Piers." Felix closed his eyes and dozed off instantaneously.
"… Good night." The room fell eerily silent; no sounds could be heard besides Felix's rhythmic breathing. Piers glanced over at the sleeping Venus Adept and he could not help but smile. He was so lucky to have Felix as his companion. How many people would risk their lives for someone they had known for only a month?
As Piers settled himself in his bed, he was surprised to find how tired he was. But then again, it had been a long day for all of them.
Tomorrow they would finally get some much needed relaxation.
A/N: Here's the thing: I like to switch perspectives a lot. Sorry if this is confusing. I simply like to make the feelings of both the main characters known. Also… This story will closely follow the plot of the game, but with a few extra things thrown in by yours truly. Next chapter will probably be a bit boring and short, and will be posted whenever I get the chance.
Love in a Mist