AHHHH! Look, I'm back from the dead with a new chapter! Okay, that sounded cooler in my head... anyway...

The point is, I haven't written anything for a while! And now I have, so rejoice!

DISCLAIMER: Sadly, I don't own Tales of Symphonia....I can't think of a clever comment...-SHAME-

Enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 4 – Silver and Gold

"What a dump."

"This is the Temple of Earth. It's a sacred place; you really shouldn't call it a dump," the brunet said with a small sigh.

"Well, no other word comes to mind..." The reluctant chosen commented as he avoided a crumbling piece of rock. "Seriously, you guys couldn't have put a little more effort into building this?"

"I didn't build it."

"Yeah, but Cruxis did, so..."

"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Riiiight," Zelos said, eyeing the boy. "Well, either way, I'm still not sure how comfortable I am about this 'temple'. What assurance do I have that's it's not gonna cave in on my beautiful face?"

Lloyd thought for a moment. "This place has been here for more than four thousand years, so if it was gonna fall, I think it would have done so already. Also..." he smirked a little, "I'm here to protect you."

"...Fine," the red head finished after a moment, Lloyd's face brightening with success as the two headed into the mouth of the cave. It didn't get any better as they continued. All that changed was that it was getting darker, rockier, and generally more unpleasant. It was surprisingly dry for a cave, though. Zelos' eyes adjusted to the new lighting, and he noticed that not far head there was a really weird-looking device.

"What the heck is that?" Zelos asked slowly upon their approach.

Lloyd frowned as he answered, "It's an... uh..."

Zelos laughed a little. "You don't know?"

Lloyd hung his head. "It's a... thing... Look, just put the sorcerers ring in it."

Still laughing lightly, the red head pulled his bag from his shoulder and shuffled through it for a moment before finding the ring with a small "Ah-hah!".

Lloyd watched him curiously. "Why don't you just wear it?"

Zelos shrugged. "Rings aren't really my thing. Besides," he smiled, "it doesn't really match my outfit."

Complying with the boy's first request, Zelos held the ring out into the glowing ball of... whatever it was. Instantly the ring began to glow brightly and burn a little before Zelos brought it away from the machine again.

"Woah!" He exclaimed. "What happened?"

"Use the ring," Lloyd informed him, looking slightly amused.

Frowning a little, Zelos turned and aimed the ring into the nearby chasm and activated it. Surprisingly, no ball of fire came out the end, just this weird sort of... force that circled him as it headed into the ground, causing a fairly powerful earthquake.

"WOAH!" He exclaimed even louder than before, quickly backing away from the chasm as the whole cave shook. "That is SO not safe!"

"I-it'll be fine!" Lloyd said, attempting to reassure the both of them. "Like I said, this place has been standing for over four thousand years; there's no way one little earthquake is gonna-" He stopped as they both watched four tall stalagmites crumble ahead of them.

"You just had to say something, huh?"

Lloyd smiled weakly. "C'mon, it's not all bad! We would've needed to knock those down anyway, see?"

Zelos looked. He was right; the pillars of stone had been blocking the only available path. "Whatever, let's just get this over with," he said, walking forward and tossing the small yet dangerous ring over to Lloyd, who caught it easily. Noting the brunet's look of confusion, Zelos explained, "I saw the way you looked at that thing; you totally wanted to try it out. Plus this way, when it causes half the mountain to collapse, I can just tell people you did it."

"Thanks," Lloyd answered dryly, though Zelos saw him smile as he slipped the ring onto his finger. Neither of the boys were paying close attention to where they were going, and so neither of them noticed the small gnome-like creature before they were nearly on top of it.

"HEY!" Came a squeaky voice from bellow. Zelos jumped a little in surprise, and turned his gaze downward to find... well, he wasn't exactly sure how to describe it. It looked like a really little... man, or something.

"Woah..." He heard Lloyd say beside him. He sounded as bewildered and scared as Zelos was. "What the hell is that thing?"

"Who you callin' 'thing'?! You wanna fight or something?!"

"... Did that thing just try to threaten you?" Zelos asked, debating whether or not he should be backing away slowly.

"I'm not a 'thing' damn it!! I'm Gnomelette 5!!"

"Is that even a name?" Lloyd asked quietly.

"Hell yes it's a name! It's a million times better than your name!" The small creature shouted.

Zelos smirked. "Yeah, okay. Well, if you'd like to step aside, we've got to be going now..." He stepped forward, but the little man made no movement whatsoever; he just laughed.

"Ha! I'm not going anywhere, and neither are you two losers."

"Why not?" Lloyd asked.

"'Cause!" The Gnomelette answered, crossing his miniature arms. "Big Brother said not to let any Desians in the temple."

Zelos stared at the creature. "We're not Desians."

Gnomelette 5 blinked. "What? Oh... really? But..." He frowned deeply and stamped his foot. "Oh, fine then! Be that way! Off you go... damn humans..."

The creature stepped aside (grumbling all the way) and Zelos and Lloyd continued down the increasingly narrow path, choosing to go straight first instead of to the right. The monsters of the Earth Temple, to Zelos' dismay, lived up to their name; they were extremely dirty. Within a few minutes, Zelos was noticing that very same dirt covering his pants in small patches of brown. After a small panic attack, he decided that Lloyd, as his mercenary, could fight all the enemies himself, and Zelos would attack with magic and heal. Much better than getting covered in muck, he thought.

Not long after that, they entered into another room and found a Gnomelette blocking their path once more. At first Zelos had thought it was the same one from earlier – but, upon closer inspection, he discovered that while they looked eerily similar, they were different.

"What are you losers looking at? You wanna fight?" This one said as the two came closer.

Lloyd frowned. "Are they all like this?"

Zelos shrugged. "They must've had a bad upbringing. Hey, you there, let us through. We have to get to the seal."

The Gnomelette laughed. "As if! You're not getting anywhere for free, bucko."

"What do you want then?" Lloyd asked with a small sigh.

The creature frowned a little in deep thought before asking, "What is 'spicy'? Does it taste good?"

"You want something spicy to eat?" Zelos clarified, raising one brow.

"That's right. Make me something 'spicy' and I'll let you pass!"

So now they had to cook for the little midget. Wonderful. Zelos rolled his eyes at the Gnomelette and turned to look expectantly at his companion, who raised his hands in front of him and gave a look of panic.

"Don't look at me!" He said loudly.

Zelos rolled his eyes again. No way in hell was he cooking this thing a meal. "You're a mercenary, right?" The boy nodded reluctantly. "Mercenaries live pretty much on their own, right?" Another, even more reluctant nod and Zelos gave him a hard stare. "And you can't cook?"

The boy shifted his gaze. "Not well..."

"Great!" Zelos said, clapping his hands together. "Lloyd, make this thing something spicy!"

"Like what?!" The boy asked, still panicked.

Zelos shrugged. "I dunno. Curry?"

Lloyd gave the redhead one last pleading look searching for mercy. When nothing happened, he hung his head. "Fine..."

A few minutes later, Zelos was more than glad he'd forced Lloyd into doing the cooking. The teen was a hilarious sight as he tried his best to cut up the ingredients and cook them into something edible. This proved to be a wonderful distraction for Zelos as he tried in vain to not think about what was coming. The first seal. There were only four in total. Then the Tower of Salvation, and then... nothing. His entire existence reduced to a few lines in a history book. Zelos paled.

"Zelos?" The redhead looked up; Lloyd appeared to be offering the Chosen some of his 'food'.

After seeing the teen work so hard on it, Zelos couldn't bring himself to refuse the brunet's hopeful expression. He accepted the bowl with a small "Thanks."

"Alright, alright, me next!" The Gnomelette cried impatiently. "Give me 'spicy'!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Lloyd grumbled, holding out a bowl of the curry. The Gnomelette grabbed it immediately and gobbled it down, bowl included.

"Ah! So this is 'spicy'! Not bad, kid!" The tiny man told the brunet. "What's your name?"

Lloyd smirked. "Give me your name and I'll give you mine!"

Zelos wasn't sure if it was the corny line, the stupid smile, or the prideful tone, but something about the brunet's demand made him laugh amusedly, much to Lloyd's dismay. The Gnomelette, however, didn't seem to notice.

"Heh, I'm Gnomelette 4! Pleased to meet'cha!"

Zelos laughed a little more at the name, and Lloyd answered with a grin, "I'm Lloyd Aurion."

A few minutes later Lloyd and Zelos were both enjoying their own servings of curry, and Zelos discovered that the teen's previous assessment of his cooking abilities was wrong. Zelos liked it; he even had seconds. It was on this second helping that he noticed the very odd look Lloyd was giving him. Somewhere in between sadness, regret, and a heck of a lot of guilt. The redhead gave a small, humourless smile. The teen was so easy to read, and it was clear that he was nowhere near heartless. He was the exact opposite of what Cruxis should have sent. Actually, he was the complete opposite of what Zelos had imagined Cruxis to be. But maybe Cruxis was full of people like Lloyd. That, of course, was nonsense, but it was a nice thought. That maybe Cruxis wasn't as mean as it seemed to be. Maybe there were a few people there who actually felt bad about what they were doing. Once again, though, that was nonsense. No one who felt guilt would last in something like Cruxis. The proof was right in front of him. Lloyd was just a teenager, and Zelos could see that he had had to bear far more than anyone his age should have to. He looked sad. All the time, even when he was smiling. It was one of the reasons why Zelos liked having Lloyd there – he didn't have to be depressed so long as Lloyd was there doing it for him. Just like now; Zelos could enjoy the meal, and Lloyd could show the horrible truth of what was really happening.

But of course, Lloyd had nothing to do with Cruxis. Riiiight.

"You know, Lloyd," the redhead began cheerily, "this curry tastes pretty good! You'll have to make it again for me sometime!"

He'd meant to cheer the teen up, but his words seemed to have the immediate opposite effect, much as the boy tried to hide it. Lloyd's eyes avoided Zelos and his eyebrows knitted together in a clear expression of guilt.

"Y-you mean it?" He asked, determined to keep up the conversation Zelos wished he hadn't started.

"Yeah..." Zelos nodded, frowning slightly. He felt like he was missing something here. There was something he didn't get, for whatever reason, and it was that something that was making Lloyd so uncomfortable. Was it just the guilt of knowing what was waiting for him in the Tower of Salvation, or was it something else? He wished suddenly that Yuan had been a little less cryptic when answering his questions about the truth of the restoration process.

"C'mon, Lloyd, let's go," Zelos announced, standing quickly.

Lloyd looked at him confusedly as he followed. "What's the hurry?"

Zelos stared ahead of him. "No point in putting it off, is there?"

Lloyd didn't answer, but made no further protest and quickened his pace before the two ran into yet another Gnomelette.

"Hey! Losers! You wanna fight?"

Zelos sighed. "This is just getting silly. How many of these things are there?"

"Too many," Lloyd answered.

"Oi! I said, do you wanna fight?!"

"No one wants to fight you," Zelos answered after rolling his eyes.

"Humph." The creature squinted up at them. "You guys wanna get past, right?"

The two men narrowed their eyes. "Yeah…" Zelos answered warily.

The Gnomelette smiled. "You wanna get to seal, right?"

"Alright, what do you want?" The Chosen asked, folding his arms over his chest.

The miniature man looked up at him innocently. "Nothin'. Just thought I'd offer my services and guide you to the seal room, Chosen One."

The redhead did a double take. "What? How did you… How do you know who I am?"

"Please," the Gnomelette said, laughing. "Everyone knows the Chosen. Anyway, do you want my help or not?"

"What's the catch?" Lloyd asked cautiously.

"No catch. It'd be my pleasure to help the Chosen complete his journey of restoration. After all, us Gnomelettes suffer too when there's less mana, not to mention Gnome's asleep, and there's even more monsters than before."

"Oh…" Zelos said, surprised. He realised that it had never occurred to him before that his sacrifice would be helping the other creatures in Tethe'alla; not just the humans and the earth, but the monsters and animals as well. Everyone was depending on him. "Thanks…"

"No problem!" The little man said, smiling as he led them away and down the path. It was a pretty good agreement, as it turned out. Gnomelette 3 led Zelos and Lloyd to the seal room and all he asked for in return was that they protect him from monsters. The temple turned out to be pretty small, and it didn't take them long to get through it. After more than a few handy earthquakes (which Lloyd seemed to thoroughly enjoy making) and a couple of less-than-safe drops from high places, Zelos could see the platform up ahead. It was nearly identical to the one found at the top of the Martel Temple.

"There it is…" He mumbled to himself as they got closer.

"Yep!" Gnomelette 3 cheered as he stopped walking. "This is the seal of Earth. The rest is up to you, Chosen One!"

Zelos paused for a moment and looked to Lloyd, who nodded him forward. No turning back now, he thought. Then he frowned; when was he going to stop thinking that? He was doomed to complete this journey since the day he was born, and there was nothing that could possibly get him out of it now. He could die, of course. But dying was the end result anyway; why make Tethe'alla suffer more with a meaningless death when he, more than any other person, could have a death that actually meant something? He had to do this, for everyone's sake.

The redhead approached the altar slowly and warily. Something didn't feel right. It wasn't just his own nervousness; something felt… odd, but he didn't really know what. Behind him, suddenly, he heard Lloyd draw his blades and dash towards him, calling his name. That was when Zelos saw it form in front of him, a mass of mana taking the shape of a terrifying monster. It was large, with mangy orange fur covering its entire body. It looked sort of like an eyeless prairie dog, but the group only got to see it for a moment before it dove claws-first into the rock. Now the creature was underground, tearing through the cave floor as if it was butter. It was easy to tell where it was, though, because it left in its wake a trail of upturned and dangerously pointy rock that seemed to be running around aimlessly. For a moment, the two men were unsure how to attack the mysterious creature known as the Bnyenea Tuk. Zelos chose to start the action by beginning a spell; Wind Blade. It was the opposing element of earth, but he wasn't sure how well it would work seeing as he'd be aiming it at the ground. Soon after Zelos began chanting, Lloyd decided to attack as well using Fierce Demon Fang at the head of the fast-moving mounds of rock. The moment he released the attack, however, the mounds direction immediately switched direction- it was coming straight at Lloyd. From then on the creature's movements were direct and accurate as it pursued the red clad teen. No matter where Lloyd ran, it seemed to know exactly where he was going. Even this, however, turned out to be useful. The creature was following Lloyd's movements perfectly, which made it perfectly predictable and for Zelos' spell, an easy target. He released his spell just behind Lloyd; it hit the creature's path accurately while at the same time tripping Lloyd up.

The spell's effect on the Bnyenea Tuk was immediate, and far more successful than Zelos had hoped; it brought the creature out of the ground. Lloyd (after recovering from his fall) was quick to notice this and smiled to himself; out of the ground was a creature he could easily take down with his swords. Zelos chased towards the two as Lloyd began a barrage of attacks starting with a whirling "Tempest!"

The creature had little time to react, much less dive back into the ground, and it was forced to use other tactics. This being the Earth Temple, neither of the boys were surprised when the Bnyenea Tuk's other moves included a variety of earth element spells and simply chucking dirt at them. The latter, surprisingly, turned out to be the most effective, because it hindered the swordsmen's sight for a few moments, allowing the creature to attack with its claws. Even with these attacks, however, the two still managed to bring the monster to its knees fairly quickly. Or, they would have, if it had any knees…

"RAGING BEAST!" Lloyd yelled as he delivered the final blow. The Bnyenea Tuk squealed in anguish for a moment before disappearing into nothingness. The entire cave floor was a mess, but the creature was defeated. Zelos was panting a little when he saw the look Lloyd was giving him. It was his turn now. Slowly, he turned towards the altar once again, no feelings of unease except the ones that he would have had anyway in this situation. Bowing his head in taught reverence, Zelos prayed.

"Oh Goddess Martel, great protector and nurturer of the earth, grant me thy strength!" Zelos spoke loudly. These words he knew like the back of his hand; the words that formed the holy prayer of regeneration. As he spoke, a gentle light glowed from within the seal, and the angel Remiel descended from above, somehow ignoring the fact that there was an entire mountain between them and the sky.

"Zelos, son of the Mana lineage, you have done well." Remiel said to the red-haired man.

Zelos raised his head to look at the winged man. "…Thank you, my lord." The words felt awkward in his mouth, but they seemed to be necessary in this situation.

Remiel didn't really seem to be paying attention to anything the redhead said; he was more preoccupied with the sound of his own voice. "The guardian of the seal has fallen, and the first seal has been released. Gnome will surely awaken soon. In the name of Cruxis, I shall grant you the power of the angels!"

As he spoke a bright light seemed to form around him before flowing softly into the Cruxis Crystal on Zelos' chest. It was not contained in the crystal, however. Like before, Zelos felt the foreign energy throughout his body, even more fiercely than before. It was coursing through him, changing him. Into an angel… Zelos realised just as the pain he felt from the light increased and concentrated heavily in the area between his shoulder blades. The pain was blinding, but it lasted only a moment, then Zelos felt something entirely new and strange… he felt…

Wings… Zelos thought, his eyes going wide as he craned his neck to look at the glowing appendages flapping between his shoulder blades. He had wings… The thoughts stunned him for a moment as he watched the golden feathers sparkle in the light they themselves created. He had wings. Before now they had been flapping slowly, but now Zelos moved them with more purpose, smiling in wonder as they successfully brought him off the ground. It was so easy to have wings, like moving an arm or a leg, if you somehow managed to have arms and legs coming out of your back. Wings… for a moment it seemed to Zelos the one thing that could justify this horrific journey. He had wings, even if it was just for a little while.

"The angel transformation is not without pain. Yet, it is but for one night. Be strong and endure."

"I..." Zelos swallowed hard, turning back to face the blond man. "I humbly accept this trial."

Remiel smiled; it was cruel, heartless... He was enjoying this. "The next seal lies far to the North East and across the sea. Offer your prayers at that altar."

Zelos closed his eyes. "I'll be there."

Remiel said nothing in response, he just lifted his hands into the air and left the way he came – in a brilliant flash of light. It took Zelos a minute to realise he was gone, and then another minute to figure out how to float back down to the ground. Once his feet were firmly on the ground, he noticed Lloyd standing beside him, his face grim.

Zelos smiled down at him, flapping his new found wings, "Pretty cool, eh?"

Lloyd smiled back, "Yeah, not bad, Zelos."

He wasn't acting nearly as impressed as Zelos had hoped, but that didn't matter too much; Zelos was impressed enough for the both of them. Unconscious knowledge somehow told him that he could hide his wings away with a single thought, and he did so now. He felt... odd, and he remembered Remiel's words well. The angel transformation is not without pain... The words frightened him, because he could feel that they were true, even now. His head felt light and his muscles weak. Something was wrong with him.

"Let's go, Lloyd," he said, frowning. The brunet looked concerned for a moment, then nodded. They made their way over to Gnomelette 3 who followed them as they made their way back. Lloyd's look of concern grew as Zelos made his way across a particularly narrow bridge of rock. He looked like he was about to say something when there was a sudden earth quake, even more violent than the ones caused by the ring. Zelos swayed with the ground, his vision failing.

"Lloyd..." He started, his mind a blur. "Lloyd, I can't-" Suddenly his knees buckled, and the ground beneath him gave out. He was vaguely aware of Lloyd's voice screaming his name, and the feeling that he was falling, fast. He couldn't concentrate despite the fact that he knew he was going to die. His body felt foreign and changed, nothing seemed to be working right.

Suddenly he saw something through his fading vision, a bright light shining in the darkness around him. His mind was working enough to remind him don't go towards the light, but then he realised that it wasn't one light, it was two, and they weren't light's at all, they were wings.

They were huge.

Two giant silver wings were heading towards him. Someone was coming to save him, and he instantly knew who. Nestled in between the light of these two luminescent appendages was a figure clad all in red, reaching out towards him.

"...Lloyd," he heard himself whisper softly before everything turned to darkness.


"Stupid, stupid, stupid! What's wrong with you?! What were you thinking?! Nothing. You weren't thinking anything, of course, because if you were thinking this wouldn't have happened! Dammit Lloyd!!"

Zelos opened one eye to see a rather exasperated brunet sigh heavily and sit down on a nearby rock.

"Dad's gonna kill me..."

Zelos slowly turned himself around in an attempt to find a more comfortable position on the bed that turned out to be the ground. His movement caught the attention of the brunet sitting beside him.

"Zelos, you're awake!" He said happily before jumping over to him. "Are you alright?"

"Fine," Zelos groaned, still half-asleep. "Better than fine, actually..." He added, blinking slightly. Either he was having a very odd dream, or his vision was insanely better than before. He sat up quickly as he looked all around at his surroundings. They were still in the cave, but they were back at the entrance where the daylight from outside lit up their small camp. The daylight was unnecessary though; Zelos could easily see far into the darkness of the cave. Or, he would have been able to, if it weren't for the fact that-

"The cave's gone." Zelos pointed out simply, staring ahead with new found clarity at the wall of rocks and boulders that was once the passage to the Earth Temple.

Beside him, Lloyd groaned. "Yeah..."

Somehow, Zelos laughed a little. "Wow..." He then turned to look at the sulking brunet. "I blame you."

"Yeah..." Was all Lloyd said, his head hidden in his gloved hands.

Zelos, still smiling, took a moment to think about things. What the hell happened in the cave? He remembered the seal, and Remiel. He'd gotten his wings. Really awesome, really pretty, really golden wings... hang on, wings...

"LLOYD!" He yelled suddenly as his mind remembered the events of the previous day. The red-clad teen jumped at the sudden outburst, his eyes widening slightly.

"What? What?" He asked as Zelos quickly stood.

"You!" He yelled, pointing. "In the cave! WINGS!"

Lloyd's face fell as he grimaced. "Y-yeah..."

"Angels have wings!"


"So... you're... an angel!"

Lloyd scratched the back of his head. "Well... yeah."

Zelos stood, still in shock at this new information. Lloyd was an angel! An angel! And that meant... that meant...

"So I was right!!" He yelled again, smiling. "You are with Cruxis!!"

Lloyd looked at him for a moment before sighing. "Well, it's not like I can really deny it now..."

Zelos smiled still, circling the brunet "Ah-hah! So I was right."

"Yeah..." Lloyd admitted sheepishly. "You were right."

"Well then!" Zelos said, calming down a little and taking a seat next to the brunet. "You, my friend, suck at secret identities."

"I know..." Lloyd admitted as Zelos slapped him on the back.

They sat there for a moment, Zelos still taking in all the new discoveries of the morning, before they were interrupted by a group of about six creatures he knew as Gnomelettes coming into the cave from the outside. Lloyd looked up at their arrival.

"Oh! How'd it go, guys?"

The Gnomelettes frowned, and one of them that Zelos hadn't seen before spoke. "Bad. All the other entrances are caved in. We're seriously screwed."

Lloyd cringed. "You guys don't think the whole thing collapsed, do you?"

"I doubt it," the Gnomelette known as Big Brother answered. "That Chosen over there woke Gnome up, so he probably protected the main chambers, or some of them."

"'Course none of that matters seeing as we can't get inside."

Lloyd hung his head. "Sorry, guys... I don't know what happened..."

"You got trigger-happy with the sorcerer's ring!"

"I'll make it up to you!" Lloyd tried. "And besides, I'm sure Cruxis will have this place up and running in no time!"

"Humph." Big Brother crossed his arms. "I sure hope so. And until then I hope you can provide us all with a place to stay."

"What?!" Lloyd asked, panicked now. "A place to stay?!"

"Yeah," one of the smaller creatures answered. "We'll stay at your place!"

"My place?" Lloyd repeated, laughing humourlessly. "Look, guys..."

Zelos watched as they got into a full-fledged argument. Poor Lloyd seemed to be in way over his head. It was funny, but Zelos didn't let it continue for too long.

"Well, if we can't stay there then where are we gonna go? You destroyed our home!"

"Hey!" Zelos yelled to get the squabbling midget's attention. "Have no fear, the great Zelos is here! And he has all the answers."

Big Brother scoffed. "That so? Let's hear it, big shot."

Zelos smirked knowingly. "You guys need a place to stay, and I happen to have a very large, extravagant and vacant house in the wealthiest district of Meltokio; sound good?"

The Gnomelettes whooped and nodded their approval, and Lloyd leaned over to Zelos. "You sure? These guys are gonna trash your place..."

Zelos shrugged. "What do I care? It's not like I'm ever going back to it."

"Alright," Big Brother said, apparently speaking for all the Gnomelettes. "We'll stay at the Chosen's house in Meltokio until you and Cruxis can fix the Temple of Earth."

"Sounds good," Zelos answered, finishing the conversation.

It wasn't long after that when the group (Zelos, Lloyd, and a population of Gnomelettes) set out. The little things complained a lot, but Zelos and Lloyd soon got into the habit of ignoring them completely and keeping up conversations of their own. At first they just talked about general stuff, but soon Zelos began to focus on what some of the questions that had been nagging at him since before the journey began.

"So, Lloyd," he asked after the two defeated yet another party of monsters, "you're in Cruxis, right?"

Lloyd grimaced at the question. "Yes, Zelos..."

The redhead smiled a little. "So what can you tell me about them?"

"Nothing," Lloyd answered coldly.

Zelos frowned, racing to keep up with Lloyd as he walked onward. "Nothing? What do you mean? Why?"

"I'm not supposed to tell you anything more than you need to know," he answered, and then turned his head to look at the redhead, "and you already know more than that."

Zelos' frown deepened, "So I finally get you to admit to being a part of Cruxis, and I don't even get to know anything?"

"That's about right."

"That's not fair..." Zelos whined as he followed beside Lloyd. "I think I should get something for finding out the truth."

Lloyd laughed. "You did get something; I saved your life, didn't I?"

Zelos blinked. He was right. Lloyd had saved his life, hadn't he? Zelos had fallen, and Lloyd had jumped right in after him. Then again, Lloyd wasn't the first one to do something like that. Plenty of people were willing to risk their lives to save the Chosen of Regeneration. The only difference with Lloyd was that it was his job, he had to do it. But no... Lloyd wasn't like that, was he? He didn't seem like the kind of person to be so blinded by duty. Yet here he was, refusing to tell him anything because Cruxis told him not to. Maybe Zelos had been too open-minded about Lloyd. He thought that maybe he was different from the rest in Cruxis, but maybe he was just the same. Maybe all he cared about was keeping Zelos alive long enough for him to die in the way Cruxis wanted. Zelos turned his head to the side; he didn't want to believe that. He wanted to believe that Lloyd was as innocent as he seemed, that he really wasn't all that bad. But then again, Zelos barely knew Lloyd, and what he did know about Lloyd was almost all a lie. He wasn't really a mercenary, he wasn't really in this for the money, and he didn't really care about Tethe'alla at all. Everything he'd done he'd done as part of the lie. Well, everything except saving his life...

"Hey! Look! I can see it!" One of the squeakier Gnomelettes cheered. "Meltokio!"

Zelos' head snapped up at the mention of his home city. He saw it too; a horizon filled with the tall outlines of the proud city of Meltokio. With his improved eyesight Zelos could see it pretty clearly, even from this distance. The castle's turrets were like flames flickering in the orange sky, the black smoke of the multiple chimneys billowing into the sunset. Suddenly Zelos stopped walking, his eyes widening in horror.

Meltokio was burning.

I Feel the need to tell you the origins (ahaha) of the chapter title. Its that one christmas song from Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer!!! Do you guys remember that? With the island of the misfit toys? Silver and Gold! It's the song Yukon Cornelius sings!!! Well, I feel pretty lame right about now, but I still love the song. What was once a beautiful childhood memory is now just another reference to Zelloyd. Hurrah!

Right, right, this chapter... well, Gnomelettes! I love the Gnomelettes, they were SO cute. I always wanted to take them with me in the game, and now Zelos and Lloyd can! If only for a little while... They probably wont last more than another chapter, but hey! I'll still have fun!

Oh yeah, you should all know that the completion of this chapter came entirely from ONE REVEIW. Yes, that's right, a few days ago, someone reveiwed this fic, and it ispired me to go on a writing spree and write this chapter. Yeah, one chapter is now a writing spree. So see, everyone! See what happens when you reveiw! Wonderful things happen! Like chapter updates! Though I have to say, I do get a fair amount of reveiws for this fic, and it makes me very very happy. :) So keep it up, guys!

Let me see... ah yes, the reasons why I haven't been writing much lately is cause I just moved (again) to another part of Trinidad (unfortunately). That and i've been distracted by Yuarcy...heh. I've been trying to finish up a few Yuarcy one shots I've got started (none of which are any where near completion) and so that's been taking a lot of time too. But anyway, enough excuses, I'm just really happy I got this chapter done.

As for future chapters...well, I have good news for all you Kratos fangirls (though i REALLY, REALLY DOUBT there are any Kratos fangirls reading this...), and all you Lloyd fangirls (like me) who live off all kinds of fluff (including KratosLloyd!), Kratos will be making an appearance soon!!! Please don't hurt me, faithful readers!!! I just want some adorable father son cruxis!lloyd fluff!!! I promise, he'll be there and gone all in one chapter. And besides, I doubt I'll be able to resist torturing him a little while he's there (even I have my limits.)

So yeah, you can...you know... either look forward to that or dread it, but whichever. KRATOS IS COMING SOON.

Wow! Long authors note! I'm done now though. Hope you enjoyed that chapter, and PLEASE REVIEW! :D