The Value of Friends

Note: This is rated T for possible references to themes, and if you look closely, a bit of inappropriateness. I'll try and avoid that seeing as I hate that kind of stuff myself. There's also swearing. xD Anyway. My favourite character is Lance (and I'm a girl by the way - I've played all the games, too!) so he will be the main character in this. I do not own any of the characters/monsters or weapons and what not. Anything related to Epic Battle Fantasy is copyright to sudo07. This is purely a non-profit fanfiction. :D

"What are you doing?" His impatient voice seemed to resound off empty cave walls in the middle of the forest, probably alerting any nearby foes to their position. He didn't care though. The object of his anger was the orange-red haired girl in the white dress who stood in front of a furry slime. The thing had just jumped into the cave and bounced in to him, hitting Matt in the process, but when he turned his gun-blade on the white blob of slime, she was standing there blocking his shot.

"You don't have to kill him!" Natalie responded angrily, kneeling down in front of the small, quivering slime.

Lance grudgingly lowered his gun. He wasn't going to shoot her, even if she deserved it. "Him?" He echoed blankly. Slimes had a gender?

"Yes, him." He couldn't believe it as he watched her begin to pet the slime. It was slime for goodness sakes!

"Oh, fine!" he muttered and turned to walk away, swinging his gun-blade over his shoulder.

"Where are you going?" Matt called after him, watching with puzzlement as Lance headed in to the forest. Lance considered ignoring him, for just a moment, but then decided he might just deserve an explanation, so he turned his head a little.

"I'm hungry," he mumbled.

He thought he heard Matt say something else, but he had already left the cave and entered the trees, and he no longer heard anything.

Sometimes, he just didn't understand Natz. She was always the one telling them they couldn't kill this or shoot that, or steal something, or eat something else. He almost rolled his eyes. It's not like they had any food to go around, seeing as all they did was save everything that wasn't on a mission to kill them. And the forest consisted of no creatures that were capable of killing them.

Matt was no better. He always catered to her every wish.

He sighed to himself. His friends were all a bit crazy and sometimes he couldn't get them.

Just as it occurred to him that he was walking alone through a dark forest, he heard a rustling sound in the bushes. He turned slowly, looking in to the trees and wondered for a moment if Matt and Natalie had followed him. They never went anywhere without each other, so it had to be both of them.

He saw nothing.

He carried on.

Then there was a flash.

He flinched as a large red laser beam struck down on his position, and he had to jump forward, rolling as he landed, to avoid getting hit. He spun to his feet, his gun ready and pointed at - an eyeball!

What the fuck is that doing around here? He thought. They certainly weren't common in the forest.

He pulled the trigger, aiming a fantastic headshot at the... eyeball... and he grinned with satisfaction as it burst in midair. An easy kill. They certainly weren't a difficult foe, especially with the power of his snipe, as well as his aim. It was hard to miss anything vital in a floating eyeball, anyway.

Just as he lowered his weapon with a small, triumphant grin, something long and red whipped him across the face and sent him sprawling down on his back. He was dazed, and by the time he gathered his senses, he saw the multiple tentacles, each with an eye, all attached to the largest eye and body of a beholder.

Fantastic, he thought, raising his gun. It could have been anything else. But it had to be this... thing.

He now wished he hadn't left his friends. Together, they were unbeatable. But all alone, against a beholder, and already at a disadvantage of surprise, he was powerful as a slime. No one was here to watch his back this time.

He shot two rounds before a tentacle exploded from the earth and wrapped around his arm, tightening quickly and he gasped as he dropped his gun. The tentacle wrenched him forward, and he was now being held in the air by his arm as the beast slithered closer. He rapidly struggled to free himself, and with his free arm he grabbed his secondary gun and shot it at the beholder's face. Immediately the tentacle retracted and he fell to the ground, landing on his gun as he fell face first.

His breathing was harsh as he rolled over on his back, paling with horror as he saw the beholder, standing over him and bleeding from its eye.

It was definitely pissed.

Before he could react, he was lifted off the ground as a thick tentacle wrapped around his chest several times, squeezing him. His eyes bulged, and as he gulped down a breath of air, he managed to call Matt's name once before another tentacle found its way around his mouth.

Shit, he thought, thrashing and fighting hard to free himself. His secondary gun had already slipped from his hands, and now he was defenseless as a third tentacle pinned his arms against his sides. The beholder slammed him in to the ground, and held him there as it attacked him. He could do nothing but writhe and trash weakly as his entire body ached with pain and he could feel tears glistening in his eyes.

His body was on fire! He felt as though he was being crushed by the creature, and he probably was, because he was no longer able to draw in a breath. His mind was too distorted to think of a way to free himself.

Why had he decided to go out here alone?

Suddenly he was lifted in to the air again. He could hardly see and his brain was fuzzy from a lack of oxygen. He was still on fire though, from head to toe, and he wondered vaguely how the monster hadn't killed him yet. He felt like he was dying.

Then, all at once, the tentacles released him and he dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. He felt completely limp. He couldn't move an inch, except to slowly and painfully fill his lungs with air. His mind cleared for a moment and the realization of what happened hit him. He managed to move, curling into himself and cringing as he did so. His body felt strange and was tingling slowly through the fire that began to burn just a little less - but dammit! It hurt!

He coughed as he breathed, wishing he had never left; wishing he had more patience.

Was the thing gone?

He didn't have the energy to check and see. His eyes were already beginning to drift shut, succumbing to the pain and the exhaustion - at least for a little while.

Just before everything faded, he thought he saw something long and red flicker before his gaze.