Darksday, 18xx.

Nearly a year has passed since Sharmin's disappearance. I have been passing the time by collecting and reading as many texts as I can that may shed some light on inter-dimensional travel. I cannot, nor will I ever believe that Sharmin is lost to us for good.

The subject of dimensional travel, although so widely used every day through the Gatekeepers of the world, seems to be something that is highly guarded. Almost all books that mention the subject either merely define it, or have been censored so that any information on it can not be procured. Finally giving up on finding anything in the libraries and Magic Guilds on the mainland, I've returned to Talking Island and am currently studying though the books left behind in the Elven Ruins.

The guy who killed my headmaster five years ago was the last person to ever come in here to actually read, and it looks like he pilfered many books while he was here. Einhovant's keeps a tally sheet on the books that remain within the Ruins, and many the sheet says are there, has disappeared. The hell if I'm going to give up though, there's GOT to be something down here, if not the actual information then at the very least a clue.

To catch up what I've been doing since my last entry, after what happened in the Garden of Eva, I met up with Ryonai again after not seeing him for years. You remember Ryonai, right diary? That cute boy that I had my first kiss with? Well, he's all grown up now, and seems to be dating this pink-haired ditzy Elf named Shizuka.

I don't like her though, there's something about her that gives me chills more than Zaken's crew ever could. The face she displays doesn't seem to be her true one…I just hope I'm wrong, Ryonai seems really taken with her.

Ryonai was in Heine for some reason, and he somehow convinced me to join his Clan. Yeah, his visions of grandeur are still very much alive, I can see. He seems to really like Heine, and kept wandering near the south gates of the city to gaze at Innadril Castle. So here you go Diary, you get to be the first to know that I am now Komugi of Haibane. Exciting, I know. They seem to lack a decent Prophet. We'll not count that rice-for-brains Koyori. I'm surprised they're not all dead yet with just her to rely on.

Narlafayn went into this mild shock after what happened in the Garden, and Vuylay said she was going to take her back to the Elven Village to recuperate. I'm surprised more of us aren't in a mild state of shock…we all faced a god, saw a window into another world, and lost someone to it.

Melissan is…dead, I think. Amari told me that when they passed her again, she had been turned to clay. Some part of me wants to skeptically wonder if she was ever alive to begin with, or if she were just a clever ploy used by the gods to lure us into that room.

I haven't seen Valimos since the Garden, luckily. He seems to have finally gotten it through his head that I'm NOT his personal heal slave just because he knows me. If he was that protective over someone who was just a useful acquaintance, I can't begin to imagine how he'll be whenever he finds himself a girlfriend.

Speaking of relationships, I suppose you could say Zaken and I are in one ourselves. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to work, with him being a vampire and all. We haven't seen each other since the Garden of Eva, and I'm beginning to wonder if he thinks I've abandoned him again or something. He's incredibly pessimistic for a Grand Pirate, and is quick to believe the most dreadful outcome for any situation. I forgive him because underneath it all, he's a cuddly little boy. But you didn't hear that from me; I think he'd die a 2nd time if he knew I called him 'cuddly' instead of 'feared'.

As I search for inter-dimensional travel texts, I've been making sure to keep an eye out for any information regarding the Giants and the curses attached to their technology. Haven't found anything yet, but I'm not surprised. Anything dealing with the Giants is extremely hard to find in a casual setting. I'm sure the Ivory Tower has tons of information on it. If only I could somehow get into their library…

Komugi sighed and stretched against the bookshelf she'd seated herself against. She leaned her head back against the knotted wood and stared lazily to the ceiling of the Ruins' library. Somewhere beneath the Ruins, it was said there was a demon named Baphomet lurking in a dungeon, sealed away for all time. This legend frightened many people from venturing as far into the dungeon as she did, but Komugi didn't believe it for a second. Perhaps a demon named Baphomet lived there at one time, but surely enough time has passed that a hero had already emerged and done the demon in. Still, people were frightened of the possibility, and it left the Ruins blessedly quiet save for the sounds of swordies fighting in the rooms near the entryway.

Snapping her diary shut, Komugi stowed it in her travel pack and pushed herself to her feet. The time she allowed herself for a break through, she blew her hair from her eyes loudly, and picked up a book off the shelf she'd left off on.

Some time had passed before she heard the sound of someone exerting themselves in battle. She didn't look up as the person entered the library, their leather armor squeaking as they slowed from running.

"Hello there." A soft-toned male voice came. Komugi glanced up to find a Dark Elf with spiked auburn hair looking at her in surprise. Komugi eyeballed him without expression until he sheathed his sword at his waist, and approached her with a friendly smile.

"Hi." She said flatly, returning to her book. It was odd for a Dark Elf to be hunting in the Elven Ruins, and she didn't trust him despite his friendly face.

"What are you doing down here?" he asked curiously, leaning over to look at the title of the book she held. "Studying?"

"Yep." Komugi grunted, shutting the book and returning it to the shelf. She scooted to the side as the Dark Elf stood next to her, staring at the titles displayed on the spines.

"My name is Zaren, what's yours?" he introduced, his voice still light and without malice.

"Komugi." She answered with a sigh. One thing that always aggravated her was to be interrupted while she was studying. She hated it when Sharmin would do it to tease her, and she hated it even more when someone was trying to be social. Socializing would happen on her own terms, not while she was trying to study.

"I'm down here a lot; can I help you find something?" Zaren inquired politely as Komugi put the book back on the shelf with another aggravated sigh.

"Like I believe that, I've been down here for days and have never seen you before." Komugi said, rolling her eyes. If this guy was trying to pick her up, he was doing a really bad job of it. Why was it always Dark Elves as well? She was always told there weren't many of the race in comparison to the other races, but she seemed to see them everywhere. Maybe they were like cats, and just were drawn to people who didn't like them, just to be annoying.

"I was on the mainland, receiving my next training lessons." Zaren said without hesitation, and smiled. "As good as the teachers are here, they can't train me like I need to become a Shilen Knight." He sighed, as if saddened by that fact. "It's a pity too, I'd much rather become a Paladin, but despite the open minds of the now, tradition still remains the ruling factor of the world." Getting irritated that he wouldn't be silent while she read, Komugi grumbled inwardly and exchanged books once more. She quickly thought up a task to give him, just so she could have some peace and quiet.

"I'm looking for any information on the Pirate King, so if you know where that is—"

"Ah, the only book with that in it would be History of Demonology on the second level." He said, moving quickly towards the ramp that led to the second level. Komugi blinked at him with large eyes, stunned as he appeared again on the second level and scanned a shelf quickly before plucking a book from it. "Here you go." He said, dropping the book down to her. Komugi caught it with both arms, clutching the bound papers to her chest and wincing as dust flew up from it. Zaren plopped onto his bottom to dangle his legs over the side of the second level, and grinned at her.

"Thanks." Komugi said honestly, impressed.

"You'll find the article on him in the chapter about Vampires." He said as she opened the book.

"Read this book often or something?" Komugi asked, lifting an eyebrow. Zaren chuckled and propped one leg up to rest his elbow on.

"Not really, I just have a good memory." He said bashfully. Komugi looked back down at the book and flipped through the pages until she found chapter she sought.

"Grand Pirate Zaken." Komugi read softly to herself. "Also known as the Pirate King of the Neutral Waters. Turned to a Vampire by obtaining forbidden Giant's treasure, this man has made his home in the nearly impenetrable Devil's Isle. Many people have ventured in to steal his treasure or destroy him, but few have returned and no one has succeeded." Komugi shut her eyes into a thin line, remembering the party that came through to fight him, a battle which resulted in Zaken drinking her blood.

"Something wrong? You look like you swallowed sour milk." Zaren asked.

"Just recalled something unpleasant." She answered as she turned the page. She took a breath before focusing on the next paragraph. Her eyebrows raised in interest as she read. "The Grand Pirate is originally said to be from Gracia. The last recorded person to ever be in his presence was the Witch Wimere, a Dark Elfin woman who disappeared not long after returning from Devil's Isle." Komugi raised her head to squint into the air, not focusing on anything. "Wimere…why does that sound so familiar?" she said loudly to no one in particular.

"Witch Wimere lives in a cave underneath the Sylph Waterfall on the edge of the Dark Forest." Zaren said. Komugi blinked several times before focusing on him. "You are doing a report on Zaken? Kind of a dangerous subject, don't you think?" Komugi snapped the book shut and handed it back to him to replace on the shelf.

"Well…nobody really knows much about him, so I thought it'd be a good subject…" she said casually, playing to his suggestion. Searching for inter-dimensional travel texts suddenly seemed boring, now that her curiosity at Zaken's past was piqued. "Thanks for your help, but I think I'm going to get going now." Komugi said with a curt smile.

"I wouldn't bother trying to find Wimere; she's said to not be sane anymore." Zaren warned as she retrieved her bag from the ground.

"Never said I was going to go find her." Komugi lied. She paused as she slung the bag over her shoulder. "You wouldn't happen to know if books on inter-dimensional travel are in here, would you." Zaren thought for a moment and then stood. He wandered over to a bookshelf and scanned it. Frowning, he put a hand to his chin and scanned it again.

"I could've sworn there was…" he said in a distracted voice. Komugi tsked and sighed heavily.

"Damn him." She grumbled, thinking of Vlad. "Well thank you, I'll see you around." She said, managing a friendly smile of gratitude. She slid to a halt as a wild-eyed teen stood in the hallway ahead of her, blocking her projected path of travel. He held a dagger in one hand and panted heavily with a sadistic grin on his face.

"Watch out!" Zaren cried as the teen let out a high-pitched giggle and launched himself at Komugi. Rolling her eyes in annoyance, Komugi let her travel pack drop to the floor and quickly cast a binding spell on the advancing teen. His feet were suddenly rooted to the spot by magic, and he looked down at them in confusion, struggling.

"Hey! Leggo!" the teen shouted, pulling on his feet. "Come on man, play fair!" he whined. Komugi rolled her eyes as she past him, the teen swinging his dagger out in an attempt to cut her. "Come on, this isn't a fair fight!" the teen shouted angrily. He looked around himself desperately, searching for another insult to grab her attention. "NOOB!" he bellowed. Komugi halted and turned slowly. He had a triumphant grin on his face.

"Noob, huh?" she responded, pushing a piece of her rose-colored hair from her face.

"NOOB!" the teen shouted again, and then snickered, as if he had come up with the best insult that nobody could ever counter.

"Hey Zaren, take cover, would you?" Komugi called sweetly before walking out into the hallway. The bound teen began shouting his one insulting word at the top of his lungs, until Komugi dashed back into the library with a triumphant grin on her face. Behind her came a train of skeletons and Orcs, drawn out from the rooms they hid themselves in. The bound teen's eyes widened and he began struggling against the magical binding with all of his might. "Bye now." She said with a smirk, spreading her arms out as she cast a spell that would return her quickly to town.

"Aw no fair!" she heard the dagger-holding teen whine as everything disappeared into darkness.

If only I understood the mechanics of my Return spell. Komugi thought to herself several days later. She sat on the deck of the ship heading back to the mainland, and stared into the clouds thoughtfully. A dark elf with black hair cropped close to his head stepped out of the passenger's quarters below deck and took a breath of fresh air. Finding Komugi to be the only other passenger on deck at that time, a tight grin crossed his face and he wandered over to her. Damn it all, not another. She groaned inwardly. She quickly lowered her face to hide behind the book she had on her lap, pretending to be too busy studying to pay attention to him.

Surprisingly, no voice came to interrupt her, and Komugi peeked up curiously to see if he'd passed her or gone back into the cabin. She drew in a loud gasp and slammed her back against the rough mast she'd propped against, her shoulders scrunched close to her body. Floating in front of her was a chained, demonic-looking black being. The chains dangling from its shoulders rattled as it hovered above the ground, drawing in heavy breaths.

"Fight it." A voice as smooth as ice stated. Komugi shifted her eyes to glance around the shadow, and found the Dark Elf leaning against the mast across from her, his arms folded across his chest with a smirk on his face.

"Not interested." Komugi said woodenly, her eyes large. The man tsked and stood up straight, strolling over to her.

"The ward of Zaken isn't even strong enough to take on even the weakest shadow of a Summoner?" he asked mockingly. Komugi's eyebrows drew downwards as she looked at the Dark Elf smirking above her.

"I don't know what you're talking about." She said darkly. The Dark Elf chuckled deep in his throat before crouching down to be eye level with the Prophet.

"Don't play innocent little one…Many of us saw you traveling with Zaken before, when he'd go out to feed. Oh don't try to hide your surprise; I can see it trying to show on your face. His glamour enchantments were about as strong as a child's. Anyone with dark magic within them could see right through it for what he really was." He said. Komugi kept her jaw clamped shut and did not respond to his sentence. "Oh well, pity you're not strong enough to fight him." The Dark Elf sighed, turning away from her. Komugi watched him go warily before lifting up her book to read again. Once her guard was dropped, the Dark Elf whipped around and shouted something in Elfish, which caused the shadow he had summoned to dive towards Komugi, fists raised.

Just as Komugi raised her hands to shield her face, there was a strange neigh from the cabin door, and the sound of clopping hooves. Komugi lowered her hands as no attack from the shadow wounded her body, and discovered a unicorn colt, a summon of a Light Elf, fighting off the shadow.

"Now now, just because I rejected your flirting doesn't mean you take your aggression out on the first innocent face you see." The smooth voice of a woman came. The Dark Elf made a nasty face as a blonde Light Elf emerged from the lower cabin. The colt returned to her side and she patted its head lovingly while smirking at the Dark Elf. "Behave yourself Bisclaveret or I'll have to get serious." She said in a low voice. Bisclaveret scowled at her for another moment before spitting and walking back down into the cabin. "Are you injured?" the Light Elf asked as soon as Bisclaveret was below the deck.

"No, thanks." Komugi said, blinking large eyes. The Light Elf's smile warm, she dismissed the unicorn with a wave of her hand and sat down next to Komugi.

"My name is Fr…" she halted and thought for a moment. Komugi lifted an eyebrow at her and frowned. "My name is Deedlit." She finished with a smile. "May I inquire yours?"

Her trust of the Light Elf had diminished to zero in that one hesitant introduction, catching the woman's obvious disguising of her name. "Koyori." Komugi responded, and returned to looking at her book. "Thank you again for your help, but I must study this spell." Similar to Zaren, 'Deedlit' did not move and leaned over to peer at the book she held.

"Oh, you are a Prophet?" she asked in surprise.

"Duh." Komugi answered, not looking at her. "What'd you think I was?"

"Well, judging by your armor, I thought perhaps you were a Witch or a Sorceress." Deedlit stated with large eyes. Komugi had traded in her teal Karmian robe set after the events in the Garden of Eva and now wore silver Full Plate armor. Modified for spell casters, it consisted of a metal bodice and a heavy skirt that ended below her knees. Determined to journey alone, she'd given up wearing robes for the more protective set of clothing. She was still very weak in her dual sword wielding, but her determination was stronger than most monsters that had come at her.

"Sorry to disappoint you." Komugi said lightly, sighing through her nose.

"I couldn't help but overhear the name 'Zaken' as I came from below…are you perhaps somehow connected with the Legendary Pirate King?" Deedlit suddenly asked bluntly. Komugi stiffened inwardly and glanced up at Deedlit again. Her expression was not one of curiosity, but almost a cold animosity that caused Komugi's temper to flare.

"No more connected than you are." Komugi responded flatly, lowering her eyelids at the Elf. Her eyebrows twitched slightly as she swore that Deedlit's blue eyes flashed an almost crystalline shade of the color for a moment.

"I see." Deedlit said, shutting her eyes as she smiled. She was silent after that, and Komugi returned to her book, assuming their conversation through. The Elf did not move from her spot, and Komugi could feel her staring a hole into the top of her head.

"Can I help you?" she finally snapped, looking up at Deedlit once again.

"Where are you heading to?" Deedlit asked sweetly, ignoring Komugi's tone of voice.

"I'm grateful for how you helped me with Mister Phantom Summoner, but I really don't think it's any of your business where I go." Komugi said in a hard voice, staring at her book. Why can't people just let me READ? She thought in irritation.

"I apologize; I was just wondering if we were headed to the same destination is all." Deedlit said with a smile. "I'm switching boats in Gludin to head to Giran, are you doing the same?" Komugi sighed heavily and looked up at the Light Elf once more, who smiled sweetly at her.

"I'm going to the Dark Forest; I've got some things to study there." Komugi finally answered, shutting her book with a snap. Her temper flared again at the look of relief on Deedlit's face.

"I'm sorry to hear that." Deedlit said despite the genuine smile on her face. "I had hoped we would've been able to get to know one another a bit better."

Yeah I'll bet you do. Komugi thought bitterly, forcing herself to sarcastically return Deedlit's smile. Aloud she said "Perhaps we will cross paths again one day."

"Oh, I'm sure we will." Deedlit responded, her smile darkening slightly. Creeped out by all things' Elfin, Komugi pushed herself to her feet and retreated to the hammock she'd been given for the boat ride. Why do I always attract weirdoes? She thought angrily as she climbed into the bed. Can I ask for NORMAL people for once? Just one normal person? Can't you gods be nice enough to grant me that? When she received no reply, she stuck her tongue out towards the ceiling, imagining the gods in the heavens could see her action. Fine, who needs you? She thought as she made the most hateful face she could muster.