Yep, that's right! another Karol story! (: the boy seriously needs more love ^^

In this story (RP) me and The Killer Bunny decided to play around with what happened when the party had to explore the ghost ship. It's not exactly canon (you'll see why at the end). Really, this idea was so much fun and there were many ways we could've taken it! Truthfully, I'm thinking of playing around with this plot idea in the future, but we'll see ^^

Summary: In which the dead crew of the Atherum confuses "Captain Karol" with their own Captain.

Requirements: Take Karol and Raven along with you.


Their ship had stopped. The fog in the air was thick, and the ocean was eerily calm. The creepy atmosphere sent shivers down many a people's back.

It was worrisome that the ship's blastia had stopped working.

"Alright, why don't four of us go investigate while the rest of us stay and keep watch?" Yuri suggested, ignoring Kaufman's protests. They all looked at him wearily, and Rita looked more than a little pale in response.

"That's fine." Kaufman finally conceded, a resigned look on her face.

"Okay, so Repede and I'll go." Yuri said. "Who will be the third?"

"I'm NOT going! NO way!" Rita said immediately, turning away to hide the flush of embarrassment that had formed at her cheeks.

"Yuri, why don't you decide?" Raven suggested, smirking at the mage's reaction.

"Gotcha." Yuri thought about it for a moment before he spoke. "Old man and Karol. You two can come with me."

Raven's shoulders slumped in disappointment. "Aww, no girls~?"

Karol took a step back and gulped, feeling chills run down his back. "W-what? Me?" Why did Yuri pick him?

"Yeah, Karol. Come on." Yuri smirked slightly, looking at him. "It'll be okay."

Raven patted Karol's head. "Yeah, come on. It'll be fun!"

Karol sighed, and nodded his head. "A-alright…" he mumbled reluctantly.

"Please be careful.." Estelle voiced in worry, clasping her hands together as if praying for their safety.

"Don't take too long!" Judith smiled, a little disappointed that she couldn't join them.

"So it's settled then. Let's get going." Yuri said before he picked up his sword and turned, walking off, up the ramp. Raven and Repede followed.

Karol trailed behind them, holding his own weapon close to him just in case something popped out to attack them. "This place sure is creepy…" he voiced nervously.

"It's okay, kid. See? Not a monster in sight." Raven said, motioning around.

"Let's check the inside." Yuri said, heading over and opening the door to the inside cabins.

Karol followed, though his stomach continued to flip-flop nervously. Despite the eerie quiet that engulfed the ship, he felt that there was something off with it. Inside the cabin, it was dark. There were a lot of cobwebs covering the walls, and the mirrors were pretty dusty. The room was empty though. Nothing to be scared of, Karol thought to himself, trying to reassure himself.

Yuri held the door open for Repede, Raven, and Karol to enter. But when Karol walked through, Yuri grinned and stalked right behind the small boy before grabbing him by the waist. "I've got you now~~~" he whispered in a spooky voice. "How dare you trespass on my ship~~!"

"Aaaaahhh!" Karol let out a startled cry as he felt something grab him. He dropped off his weapon in surprise, which made him panic even more. "Raven!" he called out for help, eyes closed tightly.

But it was then that he noticed that it had been Yuri all along and his face heated up in embarrassment. He struggled out of the other's grip. "That wasn't funny Yuri!" he scowled at the other, glaring petulantly at the swordsman. He bent down to pick up his weapon.

Raven looked back and couldn't help but to snigger slightly. Yuri, on the other hand, couldn't stop laughing. "I'm sorry!" he said between breaths, "I didn't think you'd be so scared, Captain!" he grinned.

Karol crossed his arms over his chest, about to protest, when suddenly all of the creaks and noises of the ship stopped completely. The changed had been so blatant and abrupt that Yuri stopped laughing as the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.

It was getting cold. Freezing in fact. And the silence was pressing in on them. The lights began to flicker and even though they were the only people in the room, smoky figures could be seen in the mirrors. With each flicker of the lights, the figures multiplied, before it all just suddenly went dark.

"What's going on!" Raven looked around. The dark fell over them like a blanket. They couldn't even see their hands in front of their faces.

"Stay together!" Yuri called through the darkness. "Repede, can you find us a way out of this room?"

Repede barked once in response. The darkness did not affect his eyesight, so he could easily find a way out of it. However, the weird figures that had appeared in the room made his fur stiff uneasily. Repede growled lowly as he noticed them approach the youngest member of their group. He lunged at one of them successfully, but there were just too many for him to take care of.

Karol felt hands all over his body. They were cold, too cold, making shiver uncontrollably. He knew it had been a bad idea to explore this ship! "Ahhh!" he yelped, startled, as he felt his body being lifted off the ground. "H-help!" he called out, feeling himself weaken the longer the spirits touched him. "Yuri… Rave…n…" he gasped out as he felt his consciousness slip away from him.

"KAROL!" Yuri shouted, hearing him. That wasn't a normal Karol scream. That was a serious one. Something was very, very wrong. "Karol! Where are you?" Yuri stumbled around to where he last saw Karol standing.

"Dammit, kid!" Raven scowled at this, worried, and fumbled around for a light. But it was needless, for at that moment the oppressing darkness that had surrounded suddenly disappeared and the lights rekindled.

Yuri looked around in a panic. "Karol! Karol, where are you!"

No response, he frowned. They had left as sudden as they had come, and had taken Karol with them."Repede! Can you find Karol's scent?" Yuri was panicking a little, but he made himself calm down.

Repede growled, annoyed that the figures had made off with one of his companions. At Yuri's question, he turned towards one of the doors and walked towards it, expecting the others to follow. Karol's scent had not completely disappeared, however faint it was.

Yuri followed Repede with Raven right behind him, bow at the ready. Although he doubted that a bow and arrow would be useful against the things that took Karol.


Back at the ship, Estelle frowned worriedly. There was some sort of commotion going on inside the ship! "I wonder if everyone is alright..." she murmured.

Judith rarely got serious, but there was no smile anywhere on her face. "We should go check on them." She suggested, starting to become worried herself.

"Hey, wait a second! They're boys! They're strong! We don't need to go after them!" Rita protested quickly.

"But what if something went wrong?" Estelle turned to Rita, frowning as she became more and more worried by the second. As if to emphasize her point, the mast of the old ship crashed down, making both ships tremble with the impact.

Rita looked at Estelle for a moment before the mast crashed and she jumped. "Holy-!" she immediately composed herself though. "Fine! Let's just hurry and go!"

"That's the spirit." Judith said with a smile. Rita shot her a glare.


"Ugh," Karol groaned as he began to regain consciousness. He felt dizzy and cold, he noted as he pushed himself into an upright position. A terrible headache assaulted him as he opened his eyes, making him groan again. He was sitting behind a desk, he noticed, grimacing as he waited for the pain to subside. "Where am I?" he wondered aloud, scanning the room. He could hear soft murmurs nearby, though no one seemed to be around. "Yuri…?" he called out softly, hoping it was him. When there was no answer, he tried again. "Raven? …Repede?" his whispers became more panicked at the lack of response. Karol curled himself up, feeling lonely and scared. He shivered as he felt the air get colder…just like before.

I need to get out of here, Karol thought to himself, as his eyes darted from side to side. He knew there was something there, something was watching him even if he couldn't see what. It was unnerving.

He took a deep breath and shakily got up to his feet. A moment later he regretted the action, as dust got into his lungs and forced him to cough viciously.

Something touched his arm.

Karol jumped. "W-who's there?" he croaked, his voice shaky and scared and trying not to scream. "Whoah!" Karol felt the ship rock underneath him, and something crashed nearby. He felt himself stumble back towards the ground, but something invisible immediately caught him, suspending him in the air. Karol's eyes widened.

/"It is alright, Captain..."/ a soft voice spoke in his ear as he was maneuvered back into the chair. Karol felt his body becoming colder and colder.

Ohgodohgodohgod. "Let go of me!" he whimpered, closing his eyes tightly. He was not flying in the air, he was not. "Don't touch me!" he demanded fiercely.

When Karol's voice turned stern, he was immediately dropped. The presence was still there, but the temperature heated up ever so slightly.

"Ouch!" Karol grimaced as he was dropped abruptly. He looked around suspiciously, searching for whatever it was that had grabbed him. There really was no one in the room however, at least no one visible… He bit his lip nervously as he stretched out one of his arms, trying to at least touch the mysterious figure. He shivered when he came in contact with a pocket of cold air. Not cold…freezing! It made him pull his hand back to his chest, back towards the warmth. "Who are you…?" he asked uneasily towards that direction.

/"We are your crew... We must finish delivering the box, Captain."/ A mysterious voice echoed through the room and what sounded like ten or so others murmured in agreement. They all sounded around Yuri's age, but with a lot more maturity in their voices. As if they had a purpose.

"C-crew?" Karol asked, beginning to get nervous again. There was something very wrong with this situation, and he didn't like the way they kept calling him Captain.

/"We should go, Captain..."/

/"Yes Captain. Let's go."/

/"We must hurry, they are waiting for our return."/

The voices increased in both quantity and volume and the room began to get colder and colder.

Outside, the ramp that had previously clung so close to their ship began to loosen. The Atherum was beginning to try and move again.

Karol could not stop shivering. He backed away, trying to get away from the cold and the voices. His headache was becoming worse than before, and his vision was beginning to fog. "No…" he protested as he felt himself weakening again. "I don't…understand!" He fell to his knees, unable to support himself anymore. "Yuri…" He breathed heavily, lacking air. "Guys…" He felt so cold…

"KAROL!" Yuri shouted, calling for him. They had been following Repede the whole time but after not seeing the boy for a long time, he was beginning to panic again. He gripped the hilt of his sword.

"Yuri?" Judith blinked, hearing the shout and hurrying down the hall. "Yuri! There you are!" she said, when they saw the three.

"The ship's starting to move! We have to get out of here!" Rita nearly shouted before she did a head count. "Where's the brat?" she asked, trying to ignore the sudden knot in her stomach.

"We're looking for him. We got separated!" Yuri frowned, feeling guilty.

"Oh no!" Estelle gasped, but didn't have time to add anything else as Repede barked loudly and agitatedly. He dashed towards a couple of stairs, whining loudly.

The ship began to tremble, making the party stumble on their feet. "What's going on?" Estelle voiced, hanging onto Rita and trying not to fall.

Rita quickly caught her. "The ship's moving! We're going to get stranded in here if we don't hurry!"

"I have to find Karol first!" Yuri said and ran after Repede without another thought. "Get them back on the boat, old man! I'll be back with Karol!" he called over his shoulder.

Raven frowned slightly at this, as did Judith. "Why does he always think he has to do this alone?" she said with a frown.

"Don't know, Judy-darlin'. Don't know."

"We aren't seriously going after him!" Rita scowled. "He's an idiot! We have to get back to the boat!"

Judith looked at Rita and smiled. "Go back if you like, we're going to go with Yuri." she said before she and Raven ran off after him.

"Rita…" Estelle both pleaded and scolded. Rita growled, becoming even more frustrated when Estelle shot her that look. "Oh, alright! Let's just hurry up already!" She grumbled before dashing after the others.

Inside the Captain's cabin, Karol felt his consciousness being to slip from him once more. He took a ragged breath, cold air pushing past his lips. He felt numb with cold, and his shivering was beginning to stop due to his weakening strength. "S..t..o..p.." he tried to command, remembering it had worked last time. The voices just kept getting louder though. They were all too rallied now to listen to Karol's weak command.

Just then, Yuri burst through the door and his eyes widened at the pale Karol, floating a few inches off the ground. "KAROL!" Yuri ran over to him but something hard slammed into his stomach and threw him across the room. The voices became louder and more agitated.

Karol struggled to keep his eyes open as he heard a familiar voice nearby. "Yu…ri…?" His eyes snapped open as he saw the other fly across the room, slamming painfully against the wall. "Yuri!" he called out, a little louder.

His body ached as he tried to ignore the numbing cold that engulfed his body, and he struggled to get out of whatever grip he was in. "Stop it!" he commanded again, his voice loud enough to resonate throughout the whole room.

The hold loosened a bit, allowing Karol to move around a bit more freely, but he still wasn't released. Yuri wanted to take Karol away. That couldn't happen.

"Let him go!" Yuri growled, standing up but the force shoved him down again. How could he fight something he couldn't see!

Judith and Raven entered the room and quickly assessed the situation. Judith went over to help Yuri stand while Raven ran over for Karol. For some reason, the ghosts didn't affect Raven as much.

Repede followed after Judith, moving to attack the figure that had been pushing Yuri against the wall. He growled at it, before unsheathing his blade and attacking it. The figure wailed.

Karol groaned as he felt whatever was holding him tighten his grip on him. It was beginning to make him pass out again, but he struggled to stay awake. "Raven…?" he breathed, as he noticed the old man coming towards him. He felt safe now that everyone was here.

"Just what the hell is up with this ship?" Rita demanded, trying not to stammer. This was way freaky. She began casting fireball, sending them off in different directions but making sure not to hit any of her companions. Not only did this action light up the dark room, but also managed to burn off some of the sheets on the wall which had been covering mirrors. Rita tried not to scream when she noticed a multitude of people being reflected by the glass. She heard Estelle gasp at her side.

Most of the people where holding onto Karol and one was backing away from Repede.

"Get offa him!" Raven growled, grabbing Karol and lashing out his leg in a quick kick, making the ghosts scatter. "Let's go!" Yuri hurried over to Raven and Karol before nodding, letting Raven carry Karol out of the room. Yuri made sure everyone left the room, including Repede, before he followed. The ghosts chased them, grabbing and tugging at their clothes, trying to take Karol back.

Karol felt so warm, it was relieving. He pulled himself closer to Raven, trying to absorb the older man's heat into his own deprived body. "Ugh," he groaned, wanting to get off this boat already.

But the ghosts weren't going to make it easy for them.

By the time they had gotten to the top of the ship, the ship was already moving away from the Fiertia. They weren't far enough that they couldn't jump but… by now, it probably wasn't very safe to do so. Especially not when the fog thickened and appeared to engulf the other ship, blocking it from their sight.

Rita groaned as she tried to ignore her bubbling panic. She was not going to get stuck in this ship with these things! She began casting her fireballs again, wanting to take out her anger on the damn g-ghosts that were impeding their departure. She knew this was going to happen!

When they got to the edge of the ship, Yuri scowled slightly. "Everyone jump! Just GO!" Yuri grabbed Karol, allowing Judith to grab Raven's hand and jump off the boat into the Fiertia. Repede would be able to jump just fine so Judith jumped back and grabbed Rita and Estelle. "Hold on!" she warned before jumping back onto the ship.

Yuri held Karol close to his chest and did a running jump off the deck. He twisted in the air, landing on his back so that Karol was on top of him, safe and sound.

/"Captain!"/ The voices called after them.

/"The box...!"/Another droned.

/"We must return the box!"/ They cried.

Karol shivered again, just by listening to the voices. Everything had happened so fast. He felt a little guilty for some reason, but mostly relieved to be away from them. "Yuri, are you alright?" he asked, trying to get off of the swordsman.

"Why are you asking ME that?" Yuri grabbed Karol's shoulders, sitting up. "Are you okay? Jeez.. You scared me, Karol."

"Sorry," he replied automatically, before frowning a little. "I'm okay now…" he hesitated, wanting to continue, but instead shivered once more. Guess he was still cold…

Yuri sighed slightly. "The farther away we get from that ship, the better." he said, picking up Karol. The boy was freezing...

"Yeah, I agree." Raven muttered, a hand ghosting over his chest.

Karol bobbed his head in agreement, although it was a half-conscious gesture. He was still inexplicably cold, although not as bad as before. His eyes were beginning to close. He felt so tired…

Yuri carried him off to their cabin and laid Karol down on the bed, covering him up. "I'm sorry, Karol. I should have let you stay on the Fiertia..." he mumbled, frowning.

Karol was too sleepy to make out Yuri's words, but he recognized the tone and frowned sleepily. "Yuri…" he complained in his sleep, as if reprimanding the other.

Yuri hummed slightly but smirked a bit and stayed right by Karol's bed, sitting on the floor and leaning back against it. He kept his sword in his lap as if to protect the small boy as he slept.


Omake:

"The box…" Karol mumbled in his sleep. "They're waiting…"

Inside the Atherum, a small box began to glow.