15: Unstuck


My head pounded as I got back up. What happened? Oh yeah, I fought those Moriya Worshippers. And? Well the cave collapsed and...

"Maribel?" I called out as I looked for her. She was nowhere nearby.

I got up and began to search. Only a few feet away, I found the drained body of CReimu. I returned her to my orb, slightly disturbed and even more worried about Maribel now.

I walked for a while calling out for Maribel before I finally got a response.

"Renko!"

"Maribel!" I cried, running toward the voice only to find a rock wall, "Are you okay?"

"Yes!"

"Don't worry! I'll get you out soon!" I said, grabbing a rock.

"Don't. One wrong move and the rocks will come falling on top of us."

"Who was that?" I frowned.

"It's Kai! He's stuck with me."

"Oh. ...Tell him I said 'Hi.'"

"Renko says-"

"I know."

"More importantly how can I get you out of there?"

"Find help." Kai suggested, "There's got to be a rescue squad that can...you know...rescue us."

"Okay. I'll be back. Just wait!" I said as I got up.

"Okay!" Maribel called.


I ran back the way I came, trying to memorize anything important that I passed by so I can return just as quickly. I wandered for a bit, almost lost before I stumbled upon the exit. I walked out, taking a moment to look around me.

"...Doesn't look like Route 5..." I noted, "Is this route 6 then?"

I took one more glance back towards the mountain before I ran off. For the longest while, I ran, my mind completely focused on finding help...and fighting the inevitable fatigue. My mind was relieved of one of their tasks quite soon.


"Hm? Ah!"

I almost fell as someone grabbed my arm.

"Wow. I'm impressed by how quick you are!"

I turned around, ready to tell the person to leave me alone before I actually saw her.

"...Romania?"

"I didn't expect to meet you again the next day!" Romania smiled as she let me go, "How'd you get though the mountain so quickly?"

"Something...happened."

"Did it have something to do with the earth-shattering kaboom I heard earlier?"

"...Yes."

Romania laughed softly, "Why am I not surprised?"

I felt myself relax for a moment before panic began to come back and I remembered my original goal,

"Look, it's nice to see you again, but I have to go." I said and ran off again.

"What's wrong?" Romania asked, easily keeping up with me in her rollerblades.

"That earth-shattering kaboom?" I gasped, "One of my friends got trapped."

"Oh dear!" Romania cried, surprised, "There should be a rescue station up ahead. It's off the beaten path, but it also serves as the rescue station for any incident in Murreus Mountain."

"It's not meant for Murreus?" I asked.

"No. The woods around Murreus is a popular camping spot for the people living in Viridus. The rescue station is for the campers more than the mountain."

"And how far is it?"

"Turn now."


Not far from Route 6 I entered the woods and quickly found the rescue station. I pounded on the door, calling for help. No one answered and when I looked through the windows there wasn't anyone here.

"I guess they left for another emergency?" Romania suggested.

"That can't be it." I muttered.

"What?"

"Nothing." I sighed as I sank to the ground, exhausted from my running, "What can I do now?"

Romania watched me as I tried coming up with a plan. She sighed before she offered her hand, "There's one more thing we can do."

"What?"

"I have Dolls in my box back at the Center." Romania explained, "And I just might have a Doll that can help with the situation."

"Really?"

"Trust me."

I took her hand and she helped me up, "Not like I have any other choice."

Romania smiled, "She be a great friend if you're going so far to help her."

I was stunned for a moment as Romania began running off. Great friend? Well...Maribel hasn't really proven much use for me. A part of me spoke up asking me a chilling question,

Why are you going so far to help her then?

I gritted my teeth and began to follow Romania again.

What kind of person was I?


"We're here!" Romania cried as she stopped in front of the Center. I gasped as I caught up, drenched in sweat. Romania watched me before she spoke,

"L-Let's go inside. I'll buy you a drink."

"No time." I wheezed.

"There's plenty of time." Romania assured me, "Come on."

"Here." Romania said as she handed me a drink, "Rest up. You need it."

She spun around and then made way for the Center's PC.

I took a sip, the drink helping immensely as my heart calmed enough for me to begin thinking again. But with that the voice in my head returned.

Are you sure you should continue adventuring with Maribel?

Why not?

She's proven to have no use so far hasn't she?

That doesn't mean I should leave her trapped under rocks.

I'm not saying you shouldn't save her. Just whenever she's worth having around.

Thankfully Romania returned to interrupt my thoughts.


"Okay! Everything's prepared!"

"Then let's get going." I said quickly getting up.

"Not so fast!" Romania said, pushing me back down, "You need more rest."

"We don't have time for that!"

"Your friend will be saved, I promise you." Romania said, "But you need rest. How else are you going to be able to smile when you greet her again?"

"Smile?" I asked.

"Yep. Your friend is sure to be shaken up after what she's gone though. You can't comfort her without a smile on your face can you?"

I watched as Romania smiled at me. I gave a small chuckle as I settled back down, "Emotional support huh?"

"Yep!"

Maribel may not know anything of use, but the past month has gone by much quicker than I thought. Almost as if no time has passed.

"...Alright." I said.

"Good!" Romania clapped her hands, "Then, Present Time!"

"Eh?" I looked up as Romania gave me a box.

"Open it." Romania smiled.

I tore off the tape and began to open the flaps. I was about to see what she gave me until-

"They're Running Shoes!" Romania blurted, "Opps. Sorry. I get overexcited in times like this."

I stared at the brand new pair of shoes in the box, "T-This is for me?"

"Yep! My parents gave them to me when I started my adventure, but I prefer my rollerblades."

"Are you sure I can take them?" I asked.

"Of course! You're going to be running a lot anyway. Unless you get a bike but those are damn expensive."

"...You really are like Maribel."

"So your friend's name is Maribel?"

I blinked and quickly looked away, "Thank you." I said as I took the shoes out of the box.

"No problem."

The shoes fit surprisingly well which raised small suspicions, but I quickly silenced them.

"Now you look ready." Romania smiled.

"Shall we go then?"

"...Of course!"


"Maribel?"

"Renko?" Maribel cried.

"Maribel!" I called, "I'm back!"

"Stand back." Romania called, "This is going to be risky, but if you close your eyes, it'll be over before you know it."

"Hurry!" Kai cried.

Romania took out a orb, "They need your help, CAya! ExKiene!"

CAya appeared again, this time joined with a green horned girl.

"ExKiene! Headbutt!"

The horned girl snorted as she lowered her head and ran straight into the rocks, tackling a large portion of them away. CAya quickly slipped through the small hole as the wall began to collapse. A huge gust of wind burst from inside, blasting the rocks away in each and every direction, away from Maribel and Kai.


"Maribel." I tried smiling, "You look well."

"Renko!" Maribel cried, running over and hugging me.

"Looks like everything's fine now huh?"

"Who are you?" Maribel asked, turning to glare at Romania.

"Oh." I began, "Maribel, this is-"

"No, it's fine." Romania smiled, "You don't need to tell her."

"What do you mean?" Maribel growled.

Kai laughed, "I am learning so much about you today."

"What do You mean?" I asked.

"Nothing." Kai smiled, "Anyway, Renko."

"Y-Yes." I said, surprised at how Kai addressed me.

"She may be green, but I'll leave Maribel in your hands." Kai said and began to leave.

"What do you mean I'm green?" Maribel cried, "I beat you!"

"He's using a different definition." Romania laughed.

"What do you mean?" Maribel asked, turning to glare at her, "And who are you?"

"Oops. Better leave." Romania smiled as she turned around, "You're lucky to have someone like her around, Renko!"

"Get back here!" Maribel called as she left.


Maribel was silent as we walked back to Viridus.

"...Mari-" I began

"Who was that girl?" Maribel asked.

"Eh? J-Just a friend."

"What's her name?"

"S-She doesn't want me to tell you."

"So?"

"She saved your life. I owe her at least this."

"...Fine." Maribel sighed, "I can't help but think she seems familiar..."

I decided not to tell her about the Gym leader issue. Instead,

"...So...what's the story behind Lunar Phase Forest?"

Maribel looked surprised, "I thought Rikako already told you."

"No...I mean...locally."

"You mean...the legend?"

"...Yeah."

Maribel stared at me blankly before she smiled, "Okay! So a long time ago...