Note: Here's a bit of absurdity for a holiday weekend. Also, I wrote this story for my friend, Lucas, who is a big fan of the many wonderful monsters and enemies in the Phantasy Star series.


Naval Tower was a most boring place to spend the better part of a millennium, Ki-Gal decided. The ghoulish fiend placed one of its skeletal hands on the sill of an open-air window of the round, stone tower and looked out into the typically overcast sky. The fiend enjoyed clear, bright days, as the light from Algol created interesting shadows inside the building once used by the Espers for their many rituals. However, light-filled days were few and far between, and most of the time the supernatural beings inside Naval were left in the bland, shadowless gray of their surroundings.

"259,961 days..." The fiend sighed forlornly. A voice nearby tsked at his comment.

"You're not counting again, are you?" the voice asked. It was Dimme, another fiend and the closest thing Ki-Gal could call a friend, if evil, undead creatures had friends.

"So what if I am? What else are we going to do?" Ki-Gal said as he turned to Dimme, shrugging his bony shoulders hidden under the thick, carpet-like robe of emerald green he and the other fiends wore. "You know, if we had been assigned to the Edge we could at least-"

"Ugh, here we go again. The Edge?" Dimme interrupted. "Do you really want to hang around with those simian prophalli for eternity? Those things are so annoying, with their 'I'm a child of Dark Falz!' egotistical attitudes, and that breath of theirs. My stars, Ki-Gal, their breath... it's, it's... profound to say the least!"

Ki-Gal snorted. "Of all the strange things about being a fiend, I'm not sure why we still have a sense of smell... hey, wait. Did you just call them 'prophalli'?"

"Yes, prophalli. It's plural for-"

"Wouldn't it be prophalluses?"

Dimme stared at her companion and shook her head. After a brief pause, she continued, "You really are bored, aren't you? You want to have an argument over grammar. That's just sad, Ki."

Ki-Gal leaned a hand on the wall and rapped his fingers. "Let me ask you something, then. Why am I bored and you're not?"

"How should I know? I didn't ask to be a fiend, and we didn't get a handbook when we were reanimated from our human forms. Maybe some of us get bored and maybe some of us don't. I think I used to get bored, but if I did, it's probably been a few centuries." She wasn't getting through to Ki-Gal, who was staring into the clouds.

She tugged on his sleeve. "Maybe you just need to accept your lot here at Naval. It's not so bad, you know. Sometimes the sakoffs and mesomen go outside and play tackle football, and the dragons are always doing something idiotic, like playing with the wind currents in the middle of the tower and then getting sent into a wall." She laughed. "Ah, good times."

"Hm," said Ki-Gal. "I suppose."

The fiends left a big lull in the conversation. It happened often; after all, they had all the time in the universe. Sometimes their pauses would last days, even. However, floating up through the middle of Naval towards Ki-Gal and Dimme were two other fiends, Scox and Sayf-al-Ghul. One of them was holding a pack of cards in its withered, spindly hand. Ki-Gal groaned.

"No, no, no. I'm not getting into another game of Spades with you," said Ki-Gal, waving his arms in front of him.

"Oh, brother," said Dimme. "You were just complaining about having nothing to do, so now you're turning down a game of cards?"

Scox moved toward Dimme; his red, glowing spheres for eyes squinted at Dimme and chuckled. "Let me guess; Ki is brooding again."

Dimme returned the laughter and shook her head. "Does he do anything else?"

"You know," Sayf-al-Ghul said, "I can think of something you could do to cheer him up, if you know what I mean." He nudged Dimme with a pointy elbow. One of his eyes winked at her.

"Knock it off, Sayf." Dimme pushed the fiend away. "We all look the same under our robes, anyway. I just happened to be a woman back on Palma."

"Yeah? Well, then I guess there's only one way for fiends to swing, huh?" continued Sayf. "Besides, I bet you were hot as a woman." He put his arm around Dimme and pulled at the hood of her robe.

"I've only heard this joke a few million times. Now quit touching me," said Dimme as she sent a weak ball of flames into Sayf's middle. Sayf immediately pulled away from Dimme and let out a grunt as he batted at his burning robe. Ki-Gal suddenly laughed.

"Aha!" Scox exclaimed as he pointed at Ki-Gal. "His mood can be changed! So, how about some Spades?" He waved the deck of cards in the air and then released them. The cards floated into position, four hands dealt, as if the four fiends were sitting around an invisible table.

Ki-Gal sighed. "Oh, all right. But, I don't trust you shuffled, so allow me." He raised his hands and sent the cards into a mini-whirlwind in between the fiends. After a few seconds the cards fell back into place. Ki-Gal brushed his hands together as if he had finished a hard job. "There," he said, pleased.

If fiends could glare, then that's what Scox was doing as he turned his attention to Ki-Gal. "Happy?" he asked.

"Very."

"Whatever," said Sayf as he picked up his cards and began sorting them. "Let's just get this going already. Dimme and I are paired up, and-"

"You always call Dimme," said Ki-Gal. "She's with me this time!"

"Stop fighting. I-" said Dimme, but was cut off by Scox.

"No, no. Last time Dimme was with you, Ki."

"No she wasn't! I'd remember that!" exclaimed Ki-Gal.

Dimme tried to get into the argument again. "Actually, last time-"

Sayf interrupted. "She was with you, Ki! If you don't want her paired with me then it would be Scox's turn, anyway."

"You're both wrong! You only want Dimme to play with you because you're so bad at Spades a vorcano could beat you!" said Ki-Gal.

Dimme snorted. "How in the name of Darkness would a vorcano-"

"That's it, Ki! You're toast!" Sayf tossed his cards aside and flung a fireball at Ki-Gal. The fiend narrowly dodged Sayf's attack as he watched the flames hit an unsuspecting sakoff behind him. The stout, green goblin let out a painful cry as he nursed his now singed shoulder.

"Oops." Sayf gulped.

The sakoff angrily snorted and leaped through the air like a gorilla toward Sayf. Its shoulder was still on fire as it spat a silver stream of venom at the fiend. Sayf quickly threw up a protective barrier of magic. The venom splattered across the invisible barrier; meanwhile, the other fiends moved out of range of the two fighting creatures. Sayf readied a very large amount of magic on his right index finger and hurled it straight at the sakoff's head. The goblin's head was immediately crushed by the vortex of white fire, and it exploded into a shower of strange green flesh and bone. The rest of the sakoff's body dropped lifelessly to the cold stone floor; a small plume of smoke rose out of its gaping neck hole. The four fiends stared momentarily at the sakoff's corpse. Dimme was the first to speak up.

"Congratulations, Sayf. You've just introduced a smell worse than prophallus breath," she said as she brushed off pieces of the sakoff from her arms and front, staring sorely at Sayf-al-Ghul.

"That was way more fun than cards!" Ki-Gal said.

The other fiends groaned at Ki-Gal as they pushed the sakoff's body over the inner edge of their floor and sent it two stories below. It took almost no time after the body hit the ground for the fiends to hear a dragon turn the sakoff into a crunchy midday snack.

Scox took a deep breath as he gathered the cards magically into his palm. He exhaled then asked, "Who's up for Hearts?"


Note: Yes, I get that I just used the phrase "prophallus breath." Though my maturity level can often dip to below that of a 6th grader's, I swear that's not the case here. I'm not even sure why I'm mentioning it, other than I'd prefer not reading about it in the reviews, I guess. Not that it would happen, but... oh, never mind. Just ignore me!