A/N: Bonjour mes amies! Ça va? ...Yeah….Sorry, for not updating sooner…. I just have had other things on my mind and hit a major block. Anyways, just a warning guys…. This chapter is going to be kind of short….Well, shorter than the last two that's for sure….( I did try to make it as long as possible, though)…. Why, you ask? Well, until people take the poll on my profile, I can't continue with the story….
*LE GASP~~!* She's making us work!
Yeah, yeah, I know….but I want my readers input! And if you guys were paying attention a couple of chapters ago, the poll will actually make sense.
I think that's all for right now…. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to include it in the footnotes….
Big Green's Summit
Once again the Sun has risen over Big Green, bathing the dome in a myriad of vivid calming colours. Purples, blues, pinks, several shades of yellows and oranges danced across the sky and reflected off the surface of the water behind the command center. As the Sun slowly inched higher into the atmosphere, a single paintbrush slowly inched its way over a canvas.
'The extensive of array of colors are unusual… The Sunrise… It seems almost…happier?' The paintbrush stilled in its course, and Lin Chung slowly raised his head to stare at the picture the scenery was making…. 'Indeed.' He smiled and went back to his creation. '….Much happier…'
Lin Chung's smile faded as time went on and a soft sigh escaped from his lips, '….It really is too bad…. I wish I could have painted Lady Lark and Lord Huojin…' He smiled sadly and looked down, '…Of course, I could never do them justice…' Lin Chung glanced at the landscape and then at his work.
'….The past is the past…but…perhaps I could pay them a visit one day? ...' He shook his head, 'Never mind… I'll just continue working on this. I can't let an opportunity like this one pass. Who knows when I'll get another chance to just sit here in peace and paint?' Lin Chung smiled once more and carried on with his project….That is until….
"HEY UGLY! WAKE UP!"
"GET OUT OF MY ROOM, BANANA BRAIN!"
"HAHAHA! MAKE ME!"
"GRRRRR! YAKSHA! GET HIM!"
And so, all of Big Green was awoken from its slumber once again, and consequently Lin Chung's tranquil morning ruined.
'…. Of course….' Lin Chung sighed and started to put his things away. '…No use delaying the inevitable…'
First Squad's Meeting Room
After leaving his nearly finished art work and utensils in his chamber, Lin Chung walked into the meeting room and was met with complete and utter silence.
'…..Now, why couldn't this have started fifteen minutes ago….' Lin Chung thought in an exasperated tone.
"What….?" Lin Chung let a surprised look flit across his face at the scene. Sonia and Mighty Ray were bound and gagged, tied up in the corner struggling to get free with Red-faced Kwan finishing up a triple knot in said ropes.
Apetrully and Woo, who had been previously watching the spectacle with amused looks, turned towards Lin Chung, "Hallo, Lin Chung! How has your morning been so far?"
"…Good morning, Commander...About the same as every other morning, I suppose…" Lin Chung nodded at Woo and Kwan. "…So, what's going on?"
"Oh! Well, you see-"
"They were being annoying, so I shut them up." Kwan interrupted. The other three sweatdropped.
"Well, yes…umm I guess you could say that…" Apetrully mumbled.
"You guess? HA! Of course, they were!" Kwan replied indignantly.
"You seem a little…angry…today, Kwan." Lin Chung stated as he looked up at said man.
Woo nodded his head in agreement, " Indeed! You look more red-faced than usual!"
Kwan sputtered out a response, "Sh-shut up! I always look like this! And it's none of your business anyways!"
"Perhaps it is because of the recent lack of fighting we are experiencing?" Commander Apetrully wondered out loud while stroking his chin….(or where his chin would be anyway).
"That is true. Ever since that last run-in with Highroller, we have not seen nor heard anything about him or his plans…." Lin Chung said whilst balancing on his staff.
"That's right!" Kwan burst out making everyone jump, "He could attack any day now!" Woo and Apetrully starting running around in circles screaming. That is until they both ended up smacking into each other and hitting the floor of the meeting room with a loud THUMP.
"….I doubt it." Lin Chung said in a deadpanned voice.
"Oh? And what makes you so sure, huh?" Everyone turned to look at Alpha Girl standing in the doorway with the rest of her squad.
"What are you doing here, Alpha Girl?!" Mr. No-Hands yelled getting up to stand in front of her.
"Oh, shut up! And besides I asked Lin Chung a question! Well? Answer me!" Alpha Girl huffed and pushed Mr. No-Hands out of the way. Second Squad then made their way into the room as well. Everyone looked at Lin Chung.
He calmly got down from his staff and replied in an almost exasperated sounding tone, "Highroller would never outright attack us, not now that we have made friends with a God. He would have to find another and convince them to join his side….which would take time. A long amount of time."
"So?! Who's to say that he hasn't already found another God and is on his way here! Huh?!" Kowloon supplied angrily.
"If he gathered an army and was marching his way here, would we not have heard by now?" Everyone mumbled in understanding…some quite reluctantly…
"Besides even if Highroller had managed to win over another God….we would not see him until the next full moon." Lin Chung added while he hopped back on his staff.
"Really? Why is that?" Apetrully asked politely.
"Well, Commander…It's because the closest Ancient, beside Lord Huojin of course, is nearly a dozen days away that is if we rode on our turtles." Lin Chung explained.
"Just waiting around here is making me even angrier! I can't keep still! Grrr! I'm going to go train the new recruits." Kwan yelled. He quickly threw open the door and slammed it behind him. They could hear his footsteps pounding down the hall until they eventually faded away.
"Hmmmm…perhaps Kwan is right! All this standing around anxiously is making us…well…anxious!" Woo stated while stroking his mustache, "Maybe we should go somewhere or do something to release all this tension!"
Second Squad immediately agreed, "You are most correct, Woo! But…how should we go about doing this?" Apetrully asked.
All of a sudden, muffled noises were heard.
Everyone turned and looked in the direction of the sounds.
All of a sudden, boisterous laughter was heard.
Lin Chung sighed and quietly moving around the people who were currently (and quite literally) rolling on the floor laughing, he swiftly began to untie and remove the gags that hindered his comrades.
'I do believe I'm going to regret this…'
"HEY! SHUT UP!"
'….I knew it.'
So, once again a familiar scene unfolded, (You know the one where most of First Squad and all of Second Squad fighting and rolling around in a giant dust cloud), with Mr. No-Hands, Woo, Apetrully, and Lin Chung watching.
"So, what did you have in mind, Lin Chung?" The Commander asked, not taking his eyes from the fight.
"I was thinking that, ouch!" The four spectators flinched as a particularly hard hit was thrown, "….Anyway, I was thinking that maybe we should take Lady Lark's offer."
Almost immediately, Commander Apetrully and Mr. No-Hands got skeptical looks on their faces, while Woo's features were absolutely giddy, "What a great idea, Lin Chung!"
"…I do not know if that is wise considering…" Apetrully trailed off. Woo's mood instantly deflated.
"If we really want to relax and not have to worry, it would be best to stay in Lord Huojin's domain." Lin Chung replied while Woo's mood inflated again.
"Hmmmm….He is right, Commander." Mr. No-Hands interjected, "Highroller may be stupid, but he isn't that stupid. He wouldn't dare go near The Phoenix after what he did."
"…..I guess so…." The Commander still didn't look convinced.
The other three looked at each other and seemed to come to a conclusion. Lin Chung spoke up, "You know, Commander….Technically, you still have not got Lord Huojin to join Big Green, yet..."
"WHAT?! HOW COULD I FORGET?! QUICK! GET SOME GOLD AND LET'S GO!" Without delay, the Commander ran out of the room and towards the turtles, leaving everybody behind blinking in wonder at his wake.
Kowloon looked around, "Sooooo…..What're we doin'?"
"I'm so excited!" Sonia squealed from atop her turtle. "I'll finally be able to hang out with Lady Lark!"
"Pffftttt! Whatever! You guys can do all your girly stuff! ... I get to hang out with The Fire God! I am like Him, you know!" Mighty Ray started to laugh obnoxiously on his turtle, who was rolling his eyes at his behavior….As was everyone else….
Kowloon laughed, "Yeah right! You keep thinking that Mighty Ray!" He started to laugh some more until he was bent over clutching his waist.
Mighty Ray growled and opened his mouth to say something when Apetrully beat him to it, "Is this not nice? Taking a vacation with everyone and having some quality bonding time? Hmmm?" Everyone looked at each other and then at the Commander before reluctantly muttering their agreements.
Lin Chung chuckled a bit, "Indeed, Commander." Apetrully gave a pleased look, which then turned into a nearly crazed expression.
"Ever-everyone! Look up ahead! I think we are he-here!" Apetrully was stammering like a fangirl in his excitement, while pointing toward the end of the trail through the trees.
And sure enough he was right.
Past the towering arborvitae, pagoda trees, and giant rhubarb plants, was the Village of Iridescence.
The Dwelling of the Fire God.
The members of Big Green slowly rolled to a stop in the middle of the town square where a few familiar faces were gathered there to greet them.
One of them, a young girl, started to jump up and down in her excitement, "Look, Grandfather! It's the Outsiders!" She giggled and pulled at the old man's sleeves trying to hurry him up to greet them. The Village Elder merely smiled at his granddaughter's eagerness and slowly made his way to pay his respects to the people who saved both the town and Lady Lark.
The heroes, on the other hand, were staring open-mouthed in wonder at the scene before them. Immense and exotic flora and fauna set around a small (but rather large to them) village with cobblestone streets, gorgeous shops with ivy growing along the sides, and even more tall humans. All of which were surrounding a magnificent obsidian fountain with a statue of a Phoenix in the middle that was spouting red-hot lava instead of crystal clear water.
As the others were gaping at the landscape around them, Lin Chung met the girl and the chieftain half-way, "Hello. It's nice to see you again."
"Indeed! We are all very glad that you decided to visit! You and your friends are most welcome here anytime! We owe you Outsiders our gratitude, you know!" The old man shook Lin Chung's hand enthusiastically, which soon ended in a bear hug.
"Ummm… I-I didn't think the situation warranted such-such gratefulness…" Lin Chung struggled to breathe out.
All of a sudden, a certain someone let out a small musical chuckle, "Do not suffocate the poor boy!" Immediately, the old man dropped him.
"LADY LARK!" Sonia screamed. She rushed over to give her a hug.
Lark made her way over to the rest of the group and greeted them warmly, "I am so glad that you took my offer, Young Warrior. Now I can return the favor and show you and your friends the same hospitality that all of you had shown me." She gestured for them to follow her, turned around, and started to walk.
As they walked, Lark pointed out various places and things such as: the Orchards, the Vineyards, the Ritual Clearing, and the Silversword and Firelily fields.
Lin Chung noticed that they had been moving steadily at an incline for a while now and asked Lark, "Why are we climbing up the Volcano?"
"What?! We are doing WHAT?! We-we cannot! There is hot lava! An-and-and…. its-it's just a dangerous place to be!" Apetrully started to freak out about the perils that would lay ahead and soon brought Woo in on the massive panic attack as well.
Lark glanced at Lin Chung and asked a quiet, "Do they do this sort of thing often?"
Only to have both the First and Second Squads to answer in unison, "You have no idea."
Lark looked slightly stunned for a minute until a small smile broke out on her face and eventually she tilted her head back to let out a full out laugh, "Do not worry Commander Monkey-man and Mister Mustache! You will face no harm! The Volcano can be dangerous, yes, but I have tamed Its Master. Have no fear."
"That's right. Lord Huojin makes His home in the Volcano Itself." Lin Chung said as the idea dawned on him.
"Exactly right, Young Warrior! I thought it would be nice change of scenery for all of you to visit Jin in the Heart of His Domain…. Furthermore, we have a special guest that I would like for all of you to meet." After her last statement, Lark started up the slope once more; the others following close behind, except for Woo the Wise and Commander Apetrully. They were lagging a bit, both thinking of the names she graced them with…
Soon the rather large group broke through the trees and entered a circular clearing of dirt and rocks that surrounded the crater at the top of the Volcano. They could just make out a couple of figures standing at the summit.
'Judging by the look on Lark's face, one of them must be Lord Huojin…' Lin Chung thought with a smile. His smile faded a bit when he didn't recognize the other being beside The Phoenix.
He didn't get much time to ponder the fact because Lark began heading up the rest of the way to the top, and they were forced to follow once more.
"Lark! What were you doing?! Did I not tell you to leave my sight anymore?!" Jin yelled striding over to His mate. He began to check her over for injuries before He just decided to take her in His arms and keep her there.
"Sorry. I guess it's our fault." Lin Chung said as he stepped to the side, so the Fire God could see him fully.
Almost immediately, Jin got this huge grin on his face, "Young Warrior!" He looked around and spotted the others as well. "And you brought your comrades!"
The Squads bowed in response while Lin Chung took a step forward and held out his hand, "It is nice to see you again, Lord Huojin." The God just kind of looked at it before He took the offered appendage.
…And lifted Lin Chung completely off the ground.
Huojin laughed and brought him in for a hug, "Of course! And what's with the "Lord" stuff? Call me Jin!"
Eventually, Jin let Lin Chung out of His nearly bruising grip and while the fighter was trying to regain his breath, Lark decided to speak, "Now that our dear reunion is out of the way. I would like to introduce someone to all of you…"
A/N: This turned out to be longer than I expected: a whopping 2,600 words or so. Anyway, so onto other business, I've decided to do a little promotional type thing. Whoever is my 30th reviewer gets to make a cameo in this arc. Because I like reviews and this might be the only way to actually get them… Anyway, I'll be doing this every new "Chapter"/arc. So, to recap: Take the poll and review. Not too much work.
Shout out to all my readers! You guys are awesome as always!