Author's Notes: Alright, this update took a bit longer than the previous ones but, as everyone knows, real life likes to get in the way at times. For example I did upgrade my computer with a new graphics card, RAM, and went from Windows XP to Windows 7 which meant that I had to reinstall and backup a few of my files during the change such as what I had already written for this chapter. And I was also finally getting around to beating Dark Dawn.
My thoughts on the game was that it was good but, unfortunately, I don't think it was as good as the previous Golden Sun games. I think Camelot tried to shove a bit too much in there at once and they went through it way too fast. For example, upon getting Himi, between retrieving her and getting to the end, I couldn't help but have the humorous thought of "Wow, you came along for nothing didn't you?" Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the game and it definitely had its moment but I hope Camelot does better next time.
And yes, for those that are curious, I did enjoy the ending, specifically with what happened concerning Matthew and Sveta. I thought Camelot had set that whole scene up well and it was simply amazing. This of course had finally pushed me over the edge to be a real Matthew/Sveta fan.
Anyway, enough with my ramblings. As you can see, this chapter is quite long and took a lot of work. So get to work folks! Enjoy!
Eoleo's cry not only startled the group but the three scorpion-like shadow monsters that had appeared on the deck of Briggs's ship.
My dad's ship! Eoleo thought with vehemence. Landing upon the deck, his axe in hand, Eoleo let out his own strangled roar of despair and rage as he charged forward. Behind him, he thought he heard Matthew's order of the others to back him up but he hardly heard it, his focus concentrated directly on the lying body of his old man.
And the monsters that stood in his path.
"Out of my way!" Eoleo shouted as he charged right into the trio of monsters, focusing on the one that was right in the center of the formation.
Like the scuttlers, these new monsters were creatures that should not exist. Though twisted and warped by whatever darkness it was that empowered them, the monsters still held a resemblance to the scorpions that he had used to crush upon sighting them. They possessed two pincers that could easily crush or even snip off any of his limbs…or his head and there was what he assumed would be a tail on its back.
Except instead of one there were two tails that were probably smaller than one would've been. But he had to assume that the sharp, wicked-looking tips at the ends were just as sharp…and probably just as venomous as any normal scorpion. Perhaps even moreso. Briggs would've been proud with how Eoleo ignored such odds and went in headfirst anyway.
He will be proud! came the fierce thought. He'll get up on his feet, have a laugh, and then we'll head down to get a drink, wondering how mom will take this latest adventure.
Eoleo's axe came swinging upon making contact with the first scorpion who already had a pincer poised and ready to take in the pirate to crush him. Upon the pincer reaching out to snag him, however, Eoleo's axe met it head on. The black, armored carapace – thicker than that of the scuttlers – kept the pincer from being cleaved in two but the strength and ferocity that Eoleo put behind his own swing had nonetheless deflected it, sending not only the pincer back but even the monster skittered back a couple feet to put some distance between it and the pirate.
Not that Eoleo would give it any kind of break. The pirate immediately leaped forward, his axe coming up and down in an overhead swing to drive the blade through its head and into whatever it had for a brain. Unfortunately, the pincers came into play as the monster raised it protectively over its head, catching Eoleo's blade before responding by stabbing at him with the twin tails at its back.
Pulling his axe away, Eoleo sidestepped, letting the vicious tips fly past him and strike the deck of the ship. Before it had a chance to pull its tails back, Eoleo swung down and completely severed them. Screeching, the twisted scorpion skittered backwards, the severed ends of its tails dripping black gore all over it and its red eyes, temporarily blinding it. Seeing his chance, Eoleo lifted a hand.
His dad had mentioned how Felix and the others had used such powers and that Eoleo had apparently gained such talents in the use of what was called psynergy. As a pirate who continually clashed with armed resistance, Eoleo had gotten plenty of training and found much usefulness with his powers. He had even found djinni which had better supplemented his powers.
And as Eoleo concentrated, he made use of those powers. Behind the pirate, flames suddenly ignited from out of nowhere and these flames shifted and morphed to create the exact replica of a dragon. It was this dragon that flung itself over Eoleo and at the scorpion. Twisting and roaring as it shot forward, the dragon enveloped the monster, bathing it in flames before it exploded, sending a shower of sparks and fire along the deck of the ship.
When the smoke cleared, the scorpion was still alive but barely standing, its carapace now charred, completely blown apart in some areas. And when Eoleo brought his axe down on its head, it was too weak to bring up its pincers in defense, especially as one of them was missing, allowing the pirate's blade to cut straight through.
While Eoleo struggled to pull his axe from between the creature's eyes, one of the other two suddenly appeared at the corner of his eye. Still healthy and possessing all its appendages, the scorpion ran at Eoleo, its pincers out and open and its tails raised.
And, after leaping into its path, Sveta punched it in the face.
Despite how her arm had just been in a sling – which was still hanging from around her neck – it was apparently well enough for her to put it to good use. And though such an attack would've injured any normal human's hand, the strength that Sveta inherited from being a beastman and her brass knuckles allowed her smash her fist into the scorpion's face. There was a brief flicker of pain that crossed her features nonetheless – perhaps her arm having not fully healed after all – but the girl was already following her attack through with a vicious right hook.
Eoleo's first instinct was to help her and return the favor, but as the scorpion turned to face this new threat, Matthew was suddenly at its other side, stabbing his blade in between sections of the carapace and apparently striking home as black blood flowed where his weapon struck. With the third scorpion facing similar opposition – Amiti launching an arrow into one of its eyes while Tyrell slashed at its newly-created blind spot –, Eoleo was fine to leave it in their hands now; he had more important things to worry about.
Tossing his axe to the side, Eoleo knelt down next to the laying body of his father. There was movement, the steady breathing that caused Briggs's chest to rise and fall, and it was a sign that he was alive.
"How bad is it, dad?" Eoleo questioned as he hovered over him, trying to find a sign of any injury that may've befallen the legendary pirate.
He nearly sank with relief when Briggs opened his eyes, though they were only half opened. But he breathed and that was fine with Eoleo, and he saw the recognition in Briggs's eyes when the father looked at the son and that was fine with him too. Any sign that showed that his father was going to live was fine with him.
The first words that his father spoke, however, immediately put that fear back into him.
"I had a good run," Briggs breathed out and Eoleo's heart was taken by an invisible hand and crushed at how weak those words sound. "Lived my life free…answered to no man…"
"What're you talking about?" Eoleo asked; his own words nearly just as soft as he addressed his father. "You're too tough to let this end."
That's when he saw it. His father having had his hands at his chest, Briggs slowly slid them off to reveal the injury. There were two puncture wounds at his chest, easily piercing through his uniform and into his flesh. There was hardly any blood but Eoleo could make out the faintest signs of something much more terrible. At the edges around the wounds the skin had become a sickly, green coloring and there was even some of that color mixed within what little blood flowed. It was venom.
More specifically, it was the venom of one of the monsters that the others now fought. One of them must've snuck on board when his father had docked, had confronted him and managed to wound him. And now he was dying.
He came to save me, Eoleo thought to himself. I saw him come to save me when I was in that cage and he came back to try again. But now he's dying because of me.
"Tell your mother I'm sorry to leave her alone…" Briggs spoke again, bringing Eoleo back to the present. "…and take care of Champa for me…"
His father had always been a strong man and he was what Eoleo had wanted to be like when he was a kid. Considered as a hero of Champa, Briggs spent more time out at sea then land with his crew. Like any other pirate he did his attacking and plundering but it had always been for the good of Champa. He was inspiring, liked by not only the citizens of Champa but, more importantly, his crew. They trusted him with his life, even if it meant throwing themselves at an enemy like the beastmen at Belinsk.
The image had never changed, even when Eoleo had grown older; his father was still the charismatic, strong, brave man that everyone knew him to be.
But now, lying at his feet, he could see how old his father had become more clearly than ever before. The gray beard and hair, the wrinkled skin, all on a body that now looked small and weak; a fact that was usually masked by Briggs's uniform and cape. And it was a body that was starting to finally fail as Briggs's eyes closed, his breathing slowing even more, his body coming still.
"Dad!" Eoleo cried, sounding more like a plea to the inevitable. He tried to think of something, anything to say and his mind whirled with thoughts of what final words he should be saying. And yet another part was denying all this, denying that Briggs was actually dying.
But the truth made itself known when Briggs finally stilled. When he finally stopped breathing. When, right in front of Eoleo's eyes, he died.
For one moment, everything ceased. Only able to stare with wide eyes in disbelief, Eoleo's raging thoughts paused, his mind blanking. For that one moment he wasn't sure if he was alive as he felt everything inside him stop; his mind, his heart, and his lungs.
And then it all hit him at once. There was regret at having managed to drag Briggs into this, for getting him killed, for not being able to save him, for not even being able to give his father some decent parting words. There was disbelief that Briggs was actually dead, that this would be the end of his old man, that maybe Rief or one of the other Adepts could bring him back. Rage for who was responsible for this whether it be Tuaparang, Volechek, or the monster that had poisoned his father.
And, finally, there was the bottomless, infinite pit of pain and sorrow that swelled within him, threatening to consume him until he felt his body try to expunge it, to release it unless it truly destroyed him. Raising his head to the dark skies, Eoleo released that it all in a scream that took his pain and formed it into one, simple word that conveyed all that tormented him.
Cinderbloom, Eoleo thought after he took a sip, looking at the pint that he held in his hand. Dad's favorite.
Cinderbloom was a rare herb that was found around Champa. It added a nice kick when added to your standard rum and Briggs had liked it a lot when Champa, having gotten back on its feet, started harvesting the herb. Expensive stuff but Briggs always had at least a couple bottles around the ship at all times. It helped when you were considered as a hero in Champa.
He would still be remembered as a hero but what good, exactly, was it now that he's dead
How am I going to tell mom about this?
Eoleo hadn't been able to dwell on such thoughts, only now having the opportunity to do so. Their troubles had hardly ended when they did manage to set sail from Belinsk as monsters hadn't been the only thing that the Grave Eclipse – as Kraden had called it - produced what could only be described as a maelstrom that had been waiting to greet the traveling Adepts. And despite being Adepts the storm had nearly sunk them. Pushing thoughts of his father's death aside, Eoleo had been on the deck with the rest, shouting orders to the teens and hurrying them along in tasks that were meant to increase the chances of them staying above the water.
Somehow his dad's ship had managed to hold and even Eoleo had exerted the same disbelief as the other Adepts that they had come out of it alive. Having seen his father come for him when he had been a captive, Eoleo knew that his father had failed and his ship had suffered from the doomed attack. Upon inquiring Matthew, he had been told that his father had brought his ship to Port Rago for repairs…which he didn't complete as he had set sail for Belinsk before said repairs had been fully completed.
Somehow the old girl managed to stay together. For once Eoleo was starting to see why his dad had his heart to this old ship despite its age and his refusal to replace it; it held plenty of surprises. Hopefully the ship would continue to surprise him as they continued on their next mission.
Which involves making the ones responsible pay, Eoleo thought and his hand tightened around his ale, almost threatening to crush the flagon itself.
"Eoleo, are you sure this is what you want?" Kraden asked, his old eyes staring at the pirate with concern.
Eoleo didn't reply, not right away, and he just continued to stare at the wooden coffin that was balanced precariously on the edge of the old pirate ship. Finally, however, he nodded slowly before replying, "Dad lived his life on the sea…this is how he'd want it."
It was a notorious truth between the citizens of Champa that Briggs spent more time out at sea then on land. As a child, Eoleo had stood upon the docks of Champa with his mother countless times as they saw Briggs heading out on his latest adventure. Each time Eoleo would wear this grin on his face and look upon his father with awe before the old man would board his ship and sail out, waving to his family and all of Champa as he did so.
"One day, son," Briggs would always say as he ruffled Eoleo's hair.
Sure, such an arrangement may have kept Briggs from spending too much time with his boy but that all changed when Eoleo was old enough to go with his father on his adventures. Father and son, both having the blood of seafaring pirates, working side by side as Briggs passed down all his skills and knowledge to him. Seeing the world together, getting in all sorts of trouble, always smiling and heading to bed with the latest batch of spoils tucked away in the hold.
Always talking about what they would do next…
Bowing his head low to the point of where his chin was touching his chest, Eoleo placed a hand upon the coffin. "Dad, I-I wish I'd known you'd be gone so soon. Guess I thought I still had time…" His hand clenched into a fist and he gave the coffin a quick, hard pound. "But I swear I'm going to make the ones who did this pay. However long it takes."
Eoleo paused to swallow hard, trying to cut off the knot that was starting to gather at his throat before it could fully form. His hands started to shake but the pirate held them tight to the corners of the coffin to keep them still.
"So rest in peace, Dad," he finished, his muscles flexing as he pushed. "I've got it from here."
After he had pushed the coffin over the side, Eoleo had watched it float away, his father now at rest. When the fog of the Grave Eclipse made it too difficult to keep track of it, the pirate had turned and sworn his loyalty to Matthew and made a vow that he would assist him in his quest. Matthew had, of course, accepted.
Not that he had a choice; the ship that they were using was now Eoleo's after all.
Even if the ship currently had no clear destination. Their plan had only really consisted of leaving Belinsk and getting out of the blight that was the Grave Eclipse that had expanded outward for miles over both land and sea. The storm had not been their only concern either as the shadow-spawned monsters were quite adept at attacking them on not onlyland but on sea as well. But now that they were sailing on smooth waters and clear skies, their plan had mostly transformed into finding what settlements they could and warn the people about the Grave Eclipse.
Until finding such a settlement, Eoleo was quite happy to just sit back and consume what alcohol he could.
"Would you happen to have something that didn't have such a high concentration of alcohol?"
Eoleo closed his eyes and his head thunked solidly against the table upon hearing the voice. Taking a deep breath, he slowly blew it out through his nose before raising his head and looking at the speaker.
"Oh great," he sighed. "What do you want?"
Amiti's brows lowered briefly, the beginnings of the usual glare that he tended to throw at Eoleo's way. Strangely, the Mercury Adept seemed to catch himself in the midst of that action and his features softened into a more neutral stare. "I was looking to see if you had anything I could drink."
Eoleo rolled his eyes. "Haven't you heard the stories? I'm sure you people liked to joke about how we only had more rum then loot on our ships. Maybe something about how our desire for loot is just a way to gather funds in our eternal quest to be completely and constantly smashed?"
Amiti's brows once again lowered and his mouth opened to deliver a quick retort. And yet again he stopped himself, his lips immediately closing before he could. "I'm just looking for some water."
Eoleo tilted his head to the side, confused. "What? Not feeling up for some insults? A good verbal spar against a living blight that visits upon the shores of the innocence to rape and blunder like the uneducated barbarian that he is?"
This time Amiti couldn't hold his tongue and muttered a quick, "A wordy one today aren't you?" He recovered though and, louder, he said, "No. Just water."
Now it was Eoleo's turn to lower his brows but instead of anger or annoyance he displayed a narrow-eyed, searching face that examined Amiti, wondering what his game was. The Mercury Adept, to his credit, kept his neutral stare and waited quietly and patiently. Allowing a minute to tick past and still receiving no kind of verbal rebuke whatsoever, Eoleo finally nodded his head to one of the shelves that lined the wall. "Third one on the left; we store up some fresh water because, in a surprisingly display of intelligence no doubt, we know that there are some things that water can work better for then alcohol."
Amiti kept his silence and walked over to the designated shelf, scooping up an empty flagon as he did so in order to procure his drink. Still in his seat, Eoleo kept track of Amiti's path, his eyes still narrowed and seeming to try and search for any signs of funny business that Amiti might be wishing to try. But if Amiti was looking to start trouble the pirate saw no sign and when the Mercury Adept started pouring his water, Eoleo finally pushed it out of his mind and turned back to his ale, happy to continue with his peaceful drinking.
That was until Amiti took a seat next to him.
His flagon having been about to touch his lips, Eoleo froze upon seeing the Mercury Adept at the corner of his eye. Looking to Amiti, he soon found that the teen was there to meet his gaze.
"You don't mind if I sit here do you?" Amiti questioned. Not waiting for a reply, he quickly faced forward and picked up his water, taking large and yet quick gulps.
What is he on? Eoleo thought, bewildered at the attitude of the Adept. His ale forgotten, Eoleo placed his flagon on the table and simply stared at the teen, wondering what was going on. For as long as Eoleo had known him – which wasn't really long -, Amiti had said nothing unless it was some form of insult to throw at Eoleo. In fact, he had always been prone to throw one out at every opportunity that he could get.
Where did this change come from all of a sudden?
"What?" Eoleo questioned. "Now that I'm captain you afraid I'll toss you overboard if you insult me?"
"No," Amiti replied calmly, taking another sip of water.
"There it is again!" Eoleo pointed a finger at Amiti. "No, 'Like you can try' or 'Good luck' or 'If you can manage to not fall off yourself'? You going to say anything like that to me?"
"Are you trying to slip poison into my ale? Sore that I didn't get boiled in Belinsk?"
"Then what?" Eoleo asked, exasperated now. "Why are you even sitting with me? I figured you would want to be with the rest of those kids?"
This time Amiti made no reply. Eoleo waited for it but when the silence only continued between them, when all Amiti did was continue to take sips of water, the pirate threw up his hands in defeat. Content with just ignoring the blue-haired teen, Eoleo retrieved his flagon and was about to stand up and go find another table that wasn't this one before Amiti spoke again, stopping him.
"In Ayuthay," Amiti started quickly though his eyes were focused on his water, "I suppose I…well…I didn't really know a lot of things that I had originally thought to be true. I mean it was only recently that my uncle had told me that my mother wasn't who I thought she was. She died before I could really get to know her and I kind of just…all I had were the stories that people told about her. Stories that I thought were true only to discover that they were in fact false."
"Your point?" Eoleo asked though there was no heat to it.
Amiti glanced at Eoleo, then back to his water, then back at Eoleo, and then repeated. Finally, the teen sighed and faced Eoleo fully. "I never met a pirate before. All I've heard were stories, especially about you and your father. The great scourges of the Eastern Seas, bringing about terror and hardships to the innocent, the king and prince to the most abominable kingdom of ruthless scoundrels and thieves, and other things like that."
Eoleo nodded but remained silent, wondering where this was going.
"And now I find myself owing my life to one. So I just thought I'd come down and…" Amiti trailed off and seemed to struggle with the next set of words. "…I guess what I want to ask…is…well…about you. About other people like you, I mean. And also about the man who I owe my life to."
Again Eoleo was only able to stare at Amiti as the pirate tried to process the request, not able to understand despite how the teen had just told him exactly what he wanted. Looking particularly embarrassed, Amiti drew his focus on the table, already coming up with an excuse to leave. Then there came a sudden, painful slap on his back that nearly knocked Amiti from his seat.
"So you want to hear the truth about us pirate lords, eh?" Eoleo asked loudly, suddenly in good cheer. "Well come no further, kid! Here!" Taking his flagon, Eoleo knocked it against Amiti's knocking the teen's to the floor and spilling water everywhere. The Mercury Adept was about to leap up and clean the mess but Eoleo put an arm around the teen's shoulders, keeping him in place while he placed his ale in front of him.
"Have yourself a drink, a real drink and I'll tell you all that you need to know! Let's see…I think the best place to start is at the beginning. You see, there was this little village called Champa. A poor village back in the day believe it or not and my old man sought to change it all with a new ship and some fateful encounters with the legendary Warriors of Vale!"
After taking a peek into one of the bunks, Tyrell looked to Karis. "Yeah, he's in there."
Karis sighed. "I was afraid of that. And you hadn't seen him come out at all?"
Putting his hand to his chin, Tyrell gave it a moment of thought before shaking his head. "No I haven't. I mean yeah he was out there helping us get through the storm but once that passed he kind of disappeared. Haven't seen him since whether it's to get some chow or just walking around."
"So he's been in there for at least a day." Leaning against her staff, Karis looked towards the room, a look of concern on her face. "I had hoped that he would be fine after we left Belinsk but it seems that he's still a bit distressed about what happened."
"So…what are we supposed to do?"
Karis gave Tyrell a glare. "What do you think? We're going to talk to him!"
Tyrell looked towards the room and then back at Karis, raising a brow. "You want me to talk to him? I'm not sure if I'm exactly the person meant to do that."
"Just come on!" Karis snapped and gave Tyrell a shove. "I'll do the talking! Just be there for moral support!"
The shove had caused Tyrell to stumble through the door and into the room. In fact, upon completely losing his footing, the Mars Adept slipped and fell on his face.
Despite such a display, however, Rief didn't even move from his spot atop of his bunk. Like back at the graveyard in Belinsk, the young Mercury Adept had his body curled into a ball with his arms wrapped around his legs, pressing them against his chest. Upon Tyrell's entrance, Rief glanced at the intruder but otherwise made no noise or any kind of acknowledgement towards him. When Karis stepped in, giving Rief a wave, she only received the same treatment.
"How's it going buddy?" Tyrell asked from his position on the floor. Propped up on one elbow, he waved at Rief.
"Fine," Rief replied, his voice muffled behind his gathered legs.
"We came to check up on you," Karis explained, walking across the room so that she could take a seat on the edge of the bunk. "We haven't seen you all day."
"Or the day before or the day before that," Tyrell interjected and would've continued had Karis not extended a leg and kicked the elbow that he was using to support himself, dropping him back to the floor with a thud.
"I'm fine," Rief spoke again over the two's antics.
"Come on," Karis pressed, a gentle smile on her face. Patting Rief's knee, she jerked her head to the door. "We can go get something to eat. You have to be starving."
"I'm not hungry."
"Well I'm starving!" Tyrell spoke out again.
Though not lashing out with another kick, the intensity that came from the glare that Karis sent his way silenced the Mars Adept. But almost like magic, that same violent intensity that hinted to unimaginable pain if the Adept spoke out again was suddenly erased when Karis looked back to Rief, care and concern gracing her features as well as her voice as she continued with, "Come on Rief, it's not healthy to be cooped up in here for so long."
"I'm fine" Rief insisted, his eyes averted to avoid looking at Kari in the eye. "I just want some time for myself to…think."
"About the girl?" Tyrell questioned. Having managed to get back up to his feet this time, the red-haired Adept had approached closer to the bunk and was now standing over Rief with his arms crossed over his chest. "It wasn't your fault Rief, everyone knows that. You did what you could and…" He shrugged helplessly, "Sometimes bad things happen."
Again Karis gave him a look though this was more for warning him away, obviously not liking Tyrell's direct approach. Her worries seemed to be justified where there was a noticable shift from Rief, the Mercury Adept clutching at his legs just a little tighter while burying his head just a little further.
"It's not that," Rief spoke softly. "Well…it is, I guess. But that's only part of it. It's just that it shouldn't have happened."
"Of course it shouldn't have," Karis quickly cut in. "We were just tricked; we all were. No one could've expected Blados and Chalis to try and bring about something like the Grave Eclipse. Tyrell's right, it's not your fault for what happened."
Rief shook his head. "No, that's not the problem either. It's just that…" Trailing off, Rief visibly struggled, fidgeting on the bunk, his eyes closed, trying to think of an expalantion for what troubled him so. Finally, Rief pointed at Tyrell. "Look at you!"
Both Karis and Tyrell blinked in surprise at that. Turning her head, Karis looked at Tyrell to find that he was already looking at her before looking down at himself and then at Rief, wanting an explanation. When none came immediately, Tyrell looked down at himself again while scratching at his head. "What about me?"
"It's not just you!" Rief insisted. Seeming to be given a sudden fire, Rief unfolded from his ball, letting his legs hang over his bunk while his hands gripped the sheets. "It's you and Karis and Matthew! Even Amiti and Eoleo!"
"What?" Karis asked, her eyes wide and blinking rapdily while her mind tried to make sense of what he was saying. "Rief, I don't understand. What are you saying?"
"I don't belong!" His hands raising from the bed, Rief smacked them against his chest. "I'm not like you guys! " Pointing at Tyrell he continued, "You and Matthew had trained for this! Your fathers had trained you and taught you when you were children so that you may follow in their footsteps to defend the world just as they had done!"
Rief then swung his finger to Karis who couldn't help but jerk back as if she had been about to be slapped. "You too! Everyone says how smart you are, just like your father! You and Matthew had went through Tanglewood together to save Tyrell even with the appearance of a Psynergy Vortex! You can use the soarwing and were probably going to be the one to help train the others on how to use it!"
Finally, Rief pointed at himself. "But what about me? When I saw my first Vortex, I nearly fell into it like an idiot while you guys were defeating soldiers of Tuaparang! I was the one who got captured by them and left in a box to distract you and lead you into a trap! And I wasn't even being trained as a warrior! Kraden was teaching me to perhaps be a scholar just like him! That's all I am!"
"Rief…" Karis tried andfailed to speak. Next to her, Tyrell just stood in stunned silence.
"I don't belong!" Rief continued. "Especially with what we're facing now! The Grave Eclipse that's leaving most of Angara in darkness with thousands of monsters dwelling within! The threat that it will happen to the rest of the world and lead to the deaths of every single person! I'm not someone that's meant to stand up to something like this, to save everyone from it! I couldn't even save one girl…"
The depression that had enveloped Rief moments ago seemed to be returning. The sudden fire dying in his eyes, Rief hung his head, his hands letting go of the sheets and resting limply upon the bunk. "What possible difference can I make? This isn't something that I was meant for and never will be."
Still frozen in place at the edge of the bunk, Karis was only able to stare at Rief. Her lips parting ever so slightly, a shadow of an attempt to make an argument to these outrageous claims, the Jupiter Adept was only first able to say, "That's not true…"
"Damn right it's not!"
There was a sudden movement that Karis noticed at the corner of her eye but before she could even look, could even react, she was only able to watch as a pair of hands seized the front of Rief's shirt and lift him up from the bed.
The Mercury Adept seemed just as bewildered as Karis. Suddenly finding himself hanging a foot above the floor, Rief 's feet kicked uselessly at air while he gripped at the hands that now held him so. Though his glasses were slightly skewed, Karis could still see the open shock and underlying fear in his eyes as he stared wide-eyed at Tyrell. Tyrell, his hands holding tight to Rief's shirt, shook the smaller Adept violently.
"What you're saying is nonsense!" Tyrell shouted in Rief's face. "Not making any difference? Is that what you just said?"
"I-uh-but-well," Rief babbled only to be cut off when the Mars Adept shook him again, causing his glasses to fall completely off his face this time. Karis, having come to her senses in time, managed to quickly reach out and catch them before they hit the floor.
"There were more than just our dads that saved the world!" Tyrell continued, not at all relaxing his grip on Rief. "Your mom is considered as a Warrior of Vale isn't she? She helped them by healing their most grievous of injuries so that they could keep going right? Well, didn't she?"
"Well yes but-!"
"But nothing!" Tyrell pulled Rief forward so that they were now staring eye-to-eye with each other. "Who healed up my leg when it got crushed by that Mountain Roc? Or healed those ungodly amount of poisons and diseases that we all got? Karis may be good with those plasmas but even one stomach ache can ruin it all for her!"
"Hey!" Karis started. "I'm standing right-"
"I could toss you around the room if I want to!"
Rief nodded vigorously in agreement. "Yes, please don't!"
"Of course I'm not going to! I'm just saying that when that wolf nearly took off my hand I couldn't do it! But who healed that so that it was as good as new in a minute?"
"Me?" Rief spoke uncertainly.
"Of course you! What about when Matthew, our fearless leader, twisted his ankle during the mountain climb to Passaj? " Tyrell gave him another shake. "You healed that too didn't you? There's been so many injuries and plagues that you've healed and allowed us to keep going! You're an important part of this team Rief! Right?"
This time Rief nodded his head quickly at the Mars Adept's encouragement. "Okay okay yes! I am!"
And then Tyrell headbutted him.
"Tyrell!" Karis cried in alarm.
His own eyes having gone wide upon realizing what he had just done, Tyrell quickly let go of Rief, letting the younger Adept drop back to the bunk. While Rief laid there and held his head, Tyrell looked to Karis and held up his hands defensively. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean it! I went overboard!"
"You're going to be tossed overboard!" Her violet eyes narrowed in anger, Karis jumped to her feet and glared at Tyrell, her hand gripping tight on her staff. Electricity briefly crackled around the Jupiter Adept, a visible display of the psynergy that was gathering…and her intent as she stepped towards the Mars Adept that now cowered before her.
"You do this all the time! Such as when you set fire to Patcher's Place and, speaking of which, weren't you nearly about to do that again when we went to the Psynergy Training Grounds? And, oh yes, who was it that got us on this quest in the first place when they stole my father's soarwing and completely and utterly wrecked it?"
"I'm sorry!" Tyrell apologized quickly as he backed away, his hands up as if they would be able to ward off any blow – whether physical or magical – that Karis may decide to send his way. "I'm so sorry! Please don't kill me!"
"Don't worry, I'm saving that one for last with what I'm going to do to you," Karis threatened, raising her staff.
Her staff in mid-raise and Tyrell in mid-cowering, Karis froze at the voice that interrupted her. Though she kept her staff raised and a command for a Whirlwind that would launch Tyrell off the ship at the tip of her tongue, she turned to the bunk where Rief had been dropped by Tyrell. Having apparently recovered, Rief had managed to bring himself up to a seated position, his one hand rubbing at his forehead where Tyrell had struck him.
"Are you all right?" Karis asked in concern though a heated glance at Tyrell clearly showed that she hadn't forgotten about him.
"Fine." A blue aura glowed around the hand at his head and Rief held it there for a few seconds. "Nothing that I can't fix." When the aura vanished, Rief slid off the bunk so that he could stand on his two feet. "You don't have to hurt Tyrell."
"You sure?" Karis brandished her staff at Tyrell who flinched at it, expecting some bodily harm "I can give him a bash on the head if you want."
"No…it's fine. I think that actually cleared my head a little." Taking a deep breath, Rief looked over at Tyrell who still remained where he was, afraid that the barest twitch of a muscle would incur Karis's wrath. "Tyrell…thanks."
Glancing at Karis to make sure that she stayed where she was, Tyrell thought it safe enough to speak. "For what?"
"You're right." Smiling, Rief shook his head. "I may not have been trained as a warrior like you and Karis but that doesn't mean I can't help. Mom had been Imil's healer when she joined with Isaac and the others but, you're right, she still managed to prove herself with the psynergy that I've inherited from her. Maybe that's all I need to prove myself as well…"
Finally lowering her staff, Karis looked from Rief to Tyrell, wondering what to do next as silence reigned between the trio. Seeing that as a sign of safety, Tyrell finally relaxed and focused on Rief. "Sooo…you want to get out of this room?"
Rief nodded. "Yeah…that sounds like a good idea. I've actually been thinking about my sister. With all that happened I didn't think to ask Kraden where she went when we met up with him. Maybe I should go find him and ask him."
"A good idea," Karis agreed. Stepping aside to let Rief pass, she watched as the Mercury Adept walked passed her and Tyrell and exited the room. When he did, she turned back to Tyrell who continued to look upon her with uncertainty and fear. "You said you were hungry right? Let's get something to eat."
Not yet daring to move, Tyrell waited to be sure that Karis wasn't about to lash out at him. When she didn't and actually motioned him to the door, he finally relaxed. "Food sounds good; I'm starving."
"Well let's go."
"So we're good right?"
Karis nodded. "Yeah, we're good." Pausing, seeming to struggle with something, she couldn't help but add, "Good job by the way."
"Thanks. I guess might overreactions aren't so bad after all."
Karis jabbed him with her staff. "Don't push it."
It's just like the Magma Orb. Makes me wonder as to what kind of horrific weapon it activates.
But while the Magma Orb had been red, the orb that Matthew held in his hand was blue. Able to be held in the palm of his hand, the Venus Adept allowed his fingers to caress its smooth surface while dark thoughts clouded his mind. The small size didn't fool him as he had come to realize what power could be possessed by such ancient artifacts that had come from an equally ancient civilization.
The Magma Orb had been the key to the Alchemy Dynamo's activation, Matthew continued thinking to himself. And it caused the darkness that had enveloped Belinsk and then annihilated it with the monsters that came from it.
It had only been a couple days since they had managed to evacuate from Belinsk and thus the memories were still fresh in his mind. Fresh and brutally harsh.
While everyone else had decided to retire below the deck of Eoleo's ship, Matthew had decided to remain up top. So it was here that he found himself, leaning against one of the rails of the ship, surrounding by the smell and sound of the sea and this grim reminder of all that they had caused weighing heavy in his hand and his heart.
I'm sorry dad. I failed you.
How could've they screwed this up so completely? The time that the past couple of days had given him allowed Matthew to review the events of…everything. In the face of the horrors that they had inadvertently unleashed upon not only Belinsk but nearly all of Weyard, Matthew had wondered how such a thing could've possibly happened.
All this only started when dad and I took a trip to town, Matthew remembered the event that felt like a whole lifetime ago. We came home, Garet came to greet us, and then we looked up to find Tyrell with the soarwing and Karis trying to stop him from taking off.
Which of course led to Tyrell wrecking the soarwing, Matthew and Karis having been sent out to Tanglewood with Isaac and Garet to save him, their first ever viewing of the Psynergy Vortex while fighting a giant, carnivorous plant. That's what had all been that concerned them; the strange Vortexes and the fear of another Mourning Moon. Not secretive, militarized nations or secret weapons and machines that had been built and then forgotten over the years only to be uncovered by those who had no idea what they were dealing with.
They had been sent to retrieve a feather; that was all. To make another soarwing all they had to do was get a feather from the legendary Mountain Roc. They had been sent to meet up with Kraden who would help them on their quest. For fun they stopped at Patcher's Place, completed the Psynergy Training Grounds while they were there, and then they got sidetracked when Rief was captured and used to lure the trio away from their main path.
Harapa, Passaj, the activation of the Alchemy Forge, then the matter with Ayuthay and Kaocho. They made new friends such as Amiti as well as new enemies in the form Emperor Ko and his general while activating another ancient device known as the Alchemy Well. At Te Rya they met Sveta who they had yet to realize was the princess of Belinsk when they first came face-to-face within the Teppe Ruins. They had also met Hou Zan and Ryu Kou who's sister was held in Belinsk. At Kolima Forest they purged the dreaded nightmares that had plagued the innocent villagers and met with Tret and Laurel, the former having known so much about the children and their parents. At Port Rago they made with another family "friend" known as the pirate Briggs who told them about his son being held prisoner. And then they got to Talon Peak…
That's where everything went wrong, Matthew thought sourly. Instead of just retrieving the feather, they had killed the Mountain Roc. And, upon venturing into its gullet, hoping to possess the Magma Orb so that Blados and Chalis couldn't use it, Ryu Kou stole the orb with the thought of using it to save his sister. Though they tried to sneak through the ruins beneath Belinsk to stop him…it had been too late.
That's how it went. A nice, beautiful day in town with his father and then the terror of the Grave Eclipse. Belinsk, which had been in the throes of celebration, found itself being invaded by monsters with its population overrun and killed. And now all of Weyard was in danger.
And this orb has to power to save us…or make it worse.
Volechek had never said what it was, just having assumed it was a key for a weapon that Blados had hoped to activate before the king had stolen it. In what he hoped was a final act of redemption, Volechek had given the orb to his sister and told her to flee with the rest so that they may fix what he started.
Throughout these reconciliations Matthew constantly thought of Sveta…which was quickly followed by guilt and shame whenever he did. When they had first met she had thought she had found friends that she thought could help her with what was going on with her brother; specifically his dealings with the Tuaparang agents and his quest to claim a weapon of vast, terrible power. And instead they doomed her brother, her people, and her home, leaving her an orphan that had lost everything.
She must hate me.
The Venus Adept nearly jumped upon hearing the voice behind him, almost causing him to drop the blue orb that he held into the sea which would've been a huge blunder. Holding it protectively to his chest, Matthew turned around to come face-to-face with who he found to be constantly on his mind.
Clutching the blue orb to her chest, Sveta looked up into the darkened skies of Belinsk. Having refused to look at him ever since they had buried the dead, Matthew could now see the torment that was displayed on the girl's face. Though her ears were high and alert, her face was pale and even with the fog Matthew could see the tears that brimmed at her eyes.
"Where are you going?" Sveta asked aloud. "You can't stay in Belinsk!"
Normally it would've been impossible for Matthew to see what tormented Sveta so. But like before what had to be Sveta's sporadic Spirit Sense affected him just as it did her. When he turned to look in the same direction that she was, it was like Matthew was given a superimposed image of the Eclipse Tower that stretched high over Belinsk.
On top of it was Volechek. Though with Sveta where you can see clear signs of a more human appearance of her form, Volecheck certainly possessed the more bestial appearance of his race. Possessing a face that was more lupine and fur that completely covered his face and body, Matthew would've never known that he was Sveta's brother had he not been informed of it before.
"Where can I go but here?"
Despite the sheer distance that separated them, Matthew was able to hear Volecheck as if he was standing right next to him. It was not as if he was hearing the words through his own two ears but was also hearing them in his mind.
Matthew watched as Sveta bit her lip, her arms holding the blue orb tight as if afraid to let it go. To let her brother go. "Come with us!"
Again this strange enhancement to both sight and sound allowed Matthew to see the king's head slowly shake in negative and hear his next words. "I am king of Morgal. I cannot leave our capital when my own misjudgment may have destroyed it."
"Then I will stay with you."
Turning to Matthew, Sveta thrust the blue orb towards him. Surprised, Matthe was not expecting it and haphazardly threw up his hands to take hold of the orb when she thrust it against him. By the time he had taken possession of the orb and sought to place it in his pouch, Sveta's focus was back to the side of the ship, her head moving this way and that to try and find a way back to Belinsk. Easier said than done as they had already been floating away from the dock before they even took notice of Volechek. When he looked Matthew was able to see a fuzzy silhouette of what had to be the docks.
"No, dear sister," came Volecheck again. "I am the king, and you are the last of our line. My duty is to stay…yours is to live."
"No! I refuse!" Turning back again, Sveta looked past Matthew, towards Eoleo who was standing at the ship's wheel, slowly navigating the ship away from Belinsk. "Dock the boat and let me off!"
Matthew looked also in time to see Eoleo stare back at Sveta. Slowly, he shook his head. Matthew did his best to hold back the sigh of relief.
But that wasn't the end of it. Turning to in the direction of the docks, Sveta gripped the rail of the ship. With a quick jump, she got one foot on as well, her eyes looking down at the dark waters below her.
She was going to jump off!
The cry came from Karis and Matthew, as if propelled to act by it, quickly lunged forward. Sveta had been poised to jump, her muscles tensing as she stared at the waters and then the docks, calculating how long it would take for her to reach it and thus her brother. But that was when Matthew wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her away from the edge.
"Let me go!"
Matthew had always admired Sveta's physical strength but when he felt like his arms were going to be pulled out of his sockets, he immediately cursed at it. Her arms pinned to her sides by Matthew's, Sveta kicked and struggled to pull herself out from his grasp. He felt her hands at his sides and he was glad that he managed to pin her arms as he was afraid as to how far Sveta would go to reach her brother to the point of using her claws to break free.
Her feet were still free and Matthew let out a pained grunt when he felt a sudden kick to his shins. Nonetheless he continued to hold on, refusing to let go, even when Sveta kicked at him again. When he felt a third savage kick to his leg, Matthew couldn't remain standing and fell to the deck. He still held on and thus when he fell so did Sveta. Upon landing on the floor Matthew heard a painful gasp from Sveta and the Venus Adept was reminded of her previous injuries, making him afraid that this was further hurting her arm or ribs.
"Good-bye, Sveta. I pray you live a long and happy life."
Whether it was the fall or her brother's words, Sveta stilled in Matthew's arms. Fearing that it was the former, Matthew dared to loosen his grip on Sveta as he turned his head to see if she was alright.
The tears that had been gathering at her eyes now fell from her face as Sveta cried silently. Seeming to no longer wish to join her brother, finally accepting what was happening, the Jupiter Adept had ceased fighting against Matthew and instead just lay against him, her body limp, her ears low and sad while she whimpered.
His arms having been holding fast around hers, Matthew finally released her. Instead, his arms went higher, wrapping around her shoulders. Sveta made no protest and the Venus Adept actually felt her clutch at his shirt as she turned her head to bury it against his chest.
They had stayed like that until Belinsk vanished from their sight, disappearing into the darkness that readily consumed it.
Sveta looked much better than she did that night. Indeed, Eoleo had been the first to comment that she looked as if nothing had happened at all when, after sealing herself in a room for a lengthy amount of time, she had finally gone out to greet them all one morning.
This was the Sveta that Matthew had quickly gotten used to. Just like when they first met, Sveta stood calm and composed in front of him, any trace of her torment and hysteria having completely and utterly vanished. When they had left Belinsk and sailed further away from the Grave Eclipse's influence, Matthew hoped that her erratic Spirit Sense would be put to rest. Apparently it did.
But just like when she had been calm upon meeting strangers, she had been shy. Despite the smile that she now gave him, Matthew noticed how shy or rather…uncertain it was.
He was happy to see her well nonetheless. Offering a smile in return, Matthew finally greeted her. "Hello, Sveta." And soon he found that he himself with plagued with a sense of uncertainty as to her health. "Are you okay?"
She nodded. "I'm fine. I actually met Rief down below and asked him to look at my arm. He said that it was fine and you did a good job healing it."
So Rief's out and about too. Out loud Matthew said, with his smile still in place, "He gives me too much credit I think."
Sveta chuckled lightly. "I disagree. Speaking of which…" One hand reaching behind her back, Sveta retrieved a cloth that she had apparently carried out here. A long, yellow cloth. "I wanted to give you this back."
"My scarf!" His smile widening, Matthew reached out a hand as Sveta approached. "Thank you. It was the best that I can do considering the circumstances but I'm glad to see that it held up for...you…"
Matthew's voice trailed off. Instead of handing him his scarf, Sveta had ignored his outstretched hand and, upon stepping closer, she reached up and started placing his scarf back around his neck herself. Stunned, Matthew said and did nothing, letting her do as she wished while he stared at her face, looking for…something. A hint of any lingering sadness that she may feel about what happened, perhaps. Despair at the fate of her home? Of Volechek?
Matthew also sought for any signs of anger or hate as well whether it be for the likes of Blados or Chalice…or him; the ones who had been responsible.
But Sveta displayed no such emotions. Her face a mask of calm, the only thing that Sveta allowed herself to show were slightly narrowed eyes as she concentrated on carefully looping and tying the scarf around Matthew's neck. At one point their noses came close to touching but neither she nor him made any sign of noticing…or doing anything about it. With one more loop, Sveta gave it a quick tug and Matthew felt his scarf rest comfortably around his neck.
But despite the finished task, Sveta didn't let go. Instead, with one hand gripping the scarf, she used her other hand to slowly run across the fabric. At this strange display and the closeness that he was only now noticing between the two of them, Matthew couldn't help but fidget uncomfortably.
"This scarf…" Sveta started. "It's important to you." She looked up from the scarf to him. "It has some sort of value to you?"
Matthew blinked in surprise but slowly nodded. "Yeah, it was my dad's. It was the same scarf that he wore when he went on his quest to light the Elemental Lighthouses."
"Yes, the Warriors of Vale." Sveta nodded and a small, sad smile appeared on her face. "My father used to tell stories to me and Volechek about them. Even said how he had met them before."
Upon speaking the name of her brother, Matthew fidgeted again as he examined her face, wondering if this would break through her calm. But again, there was no anger or overwhelming sorrow that clouded over Sveta. When her eyes glanced down, however, he did manage to see some sadness but nothing compared to what had caused her to break down at Belinsk. Following her gaze, Matthew saw that she was looking at the blue orb that he still had in his hands.
"You can have this back," Matthew offered as he held the orb to her. "Your brother gave it to you."
"I do not even know what it is," Sveta replied but nonetheless reached out and carefully took the orb from his hands. "Have you managed to figure out what it is?"
Matthew shook his head. "We're pretty much still at Kraden's 'ancient and valuable' designation for it which doesn't exactly say much."
"I see." Lifting up the orb to her face, Sveta examined it carefully. "Volechek said that he hopes it can be used as a weapon against the Tuaparang." Her ears lowered slightly and she sighed. "I'm tired of weapons. I just want this to help end the Grave Eclipse."
"It could very well be such a thing," Matthew quickly assured. "Not all of the Alchemy Machines that we've started back up are anything like the Dynamo. In Passaj there was the Alchemy Forge while there was the Alchemy Well in Ayuthay. When we started both of them up we were able to create lush, fertile land out of more arid conditions."
"That is reassuring. I hope that the reason someone like Blados had this was so that no one could use it to stop the Grave Eclipse."
"I would like to think so." As reassuring as he hoped to have sounded, however, Matthew couldn't help but feel a hint of doubt. One of the reasons they had come to this current situation was because the agents Blados and Chalis had always been two steps ahead of them. Whenever they thought they were ahead they would soon be proven wrong as all they had done was do exactly as the Tuaparang agents wanted them to do.
Were they somehow luring them into another trap?
"Had your parents ever made a mistake?"
Matthew looked at Sveta curiously. "Hm?"
"A mistake." Still holding the orb protectively, Sveta stepped to Matthew's side near the edge of the ship to look out at the expansive ocean. "My father had liked to talk about how powerful and amazing they were just like everybody else. But I'm just wondering if they ever made mistakes."
Matthew shrugged. "Yeah, they've made mistakes. One of the first things that my dad made sure to tell me was that he was trying to prevent the lighting of the Lighthouses."
Sveta looked at him in slight surprise. "But I thought they did light them!"
"They did, but they hadn't been before. They had thought that they were going to save the world by making sure that they stay unlit; they didn't know that Weyard would continue to destroy itself if they remained unlit." Crossing his arms, Matthew rested them on the railing of the ship and placed his chin upon them. "That was one of my dad's greatest regrets, especially since he killed two people that were trying to save the world. Ever heard of Prox?"
"I have heard of it."
"Two villagers of Prox named Saturos and Menardi had started the whole thing. Knowing that the world was dying and that Prox was going to be next to be destroyed, they had taken the Elemental Stars and were using them to light the Lighthouses. They managed to light the Mercury and Venus Lighthouses before my dad killed them. He didn't know that they were saving the world, not until later, and he still regrets having not known the full story beforehand. Instead of being evil as was originally thought, Saturos and Menardi had just been trying to save their village and, in extension, the world."
For a moment Matthew remembered when he, Karis, and Tyrell had went to the Psynergy Training Grounds where they "followed in the footsteps" of the Warriors of Vale. The training grounds being a retelling of the adventures of Isaac and the others, Matthew remembered jumping and running through the obstacle course before reaching the ends of each section. Two of those sections involved crudely drawn pictures of Saturos and Menardi that Tyrell had burned with fireballs in order for them to "win". Knowing the full story behind the two Mars Adepts, Matthew couldn't imagine the amount of regret that his father had felt upon doing the actual deed when just burning the pictures had made Matthew feel bad.
"I see," Sveta spoke, her eyes having grown slightly larger at the story. Looking down at the orb in her hands, the beastgirl caressed the smooth, blue service.
Matthew waited for her to say more but, when she continued to stare at the orb, he thought the conversation to be over. Wondering why she brought up his parents, Matthew refocused his gaze upon the vast ocean, his eyes staring at the horizon. A thought suddenly coming to him, Matthew stood up and looked in the opposite direction.
There it was. Though ahead of the ship there was a clear horizon with a sun hovering above, behind the ship the blue skies were dark and a fog blanketed the entire area. That was the affect of the Grave Eclipse and, if Kraden was to be believed, it was slowly spreading. They were safe now but who knew how long it would take before the Grave Eclipse would encompass the entire world.
"But they fixed it."
"What?" Turning away from the dark horizon, Matthew looked to Sveta.
"They fixed it." Sveta was also looking at Matthew and a thoughtful expression had come across her face. "They tried to stop the Lighthouses but when they learned the full story they had lit the Jupiter and Mars Lighthouses, saving the world."
"They did," Matthew agreed though, again, he wasn't sure what she was getting it.
"We made a mistake," Sveta explained and she waved a hand to the distant darkness of the Grave Eclipse. "We started the Eclipse but we will fix it. We'll find a way to stop it."
Matthew looked at her dubiously at first but quickly understood what she was saying. Perhaps it was he understood or rather the confidence that Sveta now exuded, but Matthew couldn't help but smile and nod his head. "Yeah, we'll fix it."
Smiling, Sveta held out the blue orb towards Matthew. "For my brother."
Matthew had started to reach for the orb but, upon hearing those words, he stopped. Staring at the blue orb, Matthew sighed, dropping his hand to his side which caused Sveta to frown. "What's wrong?"
"Sveta…I…" Matthew started slowly, unable to look her in the eye. "I'm sorry. About Volechek and…everything. I know you wanted to help us and that we could help you but I'm sorry about all that we caused to you. You have every right to blame me."
"Matthew…" Sveta shook her head, her hand still holding out the orb to him. "I do not blame you. What happened was not your fault. I have accepted that my brother's fears had allowed him to be tricked by Blados and Charis. If there is anyone that is at fault, it is not you. I do not hold anything against you. I know that you have a kind heart and that you will do all that you can to make this right."
She stretched her hand out further, bringing the orb closer. "And I know I can trust you with this."
Relief and shock made Matthew speechless. Unable to say anything, the Venus Adept just took the orb from Sveta and held it before him.
This orb could either destroy the world or save it; how he felt so certain now he wasn't sure but he knew that this orb would be the turning point to what was to come. And what, exactly, was to come was something he did not know either. But he could feel confident in something else.
"Thank you Sveta," Matthew spoke as he placed the orb in his pouch. "I won't betray your trust. I'll do whatever I can in order to fix this."
"I would not expect anything less," Sveta replied with a smile.
I can be confident that she will be there to help, Matthew thought as he turned to gaze at the horizon with the Jupiter Adept. I can be confident that everyone will be by my side to fix this.
Author's Note: Well now that I managed to complete this piece of work, does this mean I'm going to try and get more into fanfiction? I might. At the very least I do expect to get another fanfic up sometime in the near future. A oneshot to be specific that involves Isaac and the rest of the old crew. I actually wrote quite a bit of it in my notebook during my college courses; I just need to actually get around and type it all up and finish it.
Until then, however, hope you enjoyed this fic! For something that I felt like writing after so many years of , I'm happy with the results. Hopefully you all feel the same way. If you like what you saw, drop a good review if you want and keep a lookout for whatever else I might decide to throw out on the site!