Just some stupid thing I had lying around in some stupidly obscure folder on my computer for literally months now and, for whatever reason, didn't upload until now. Read at your own risk, any eye-herpes or other nastiness you might catch from this are your own damn fault.

Golden Sun: With A Friend Like You...

Felix heaved a tired sigh as he wrung seawater out of his still not quite dry cape. Today had been many things, but between a near-death dive that seemed nothing short of absolutely suicidal in hindsight, the actual death of his partners-in-crime at the hands of his childhood friend, and getting stranded on some unknown continent by way of tidal wave, 'good' was just about the farthest possible word from what he'd use to describe it. Seriously, how did Idejima even get dislodged from Gondowan in the first place, massive earthquake or not? Wasn't it sort of... you know, attached to the seafloor or something?

"Meh." The dark-haired Venus Adept shrugged as he stood up, not wanting to think about it too much. Maybe he'd ask Kraden about it later; god knows he'd have an answer, if anyone would. His gaze turned to the rest of his entourage, for want of better term. "Ladies, Kraden, let's get going. Daylight's burning, and we need to find a town to get our bearings."

"N-no! Not yet! Not without meeeee!" The high-pitched begging definitely wasn't coming from any of Felix's companions, not with the way it was so obviously being telepathically projected if the slight echo was any indicator. "You need my help out there! Seriously, I won't steal your chips or anything! Please!"

Oh, right. There was that thing, too.

Felix only just managed to resist the impending facepalm as he watched the small, vaguely toad-shaped yellow light flit energetically around the group. He wasn't quite sure what these 'chips' were, but they sounded oddly delicious. "You're a stubborn thing, aren't you, Echo? I told you, I can manage just fine without your help!"

Echo sniffed. "And you're not even gonna hear me out, are you?" Of course, it had one other devious trick up its metaphorical sleeve: the dreaded cute card. It flitted over in the direction of Jenna. While exasperated over her brother's hell-bent insistence that they move along, the Mars Adept also had a hand over her mouth in a visible struggle to stifle a fit of giggles. It's showtime, the djinni mentally told himself, and donned the biggest, most nauseatingly soulful pair of puppy-dog eyes he could possibly muster. "Are you gonna just let him be all mean to me like that?"

The auburn-haired girl patted Echo reassuringly on the head. Hook, line and sinker. "He's lost all his friends, Felix," said Jenna with a sigh. Only too late did Felix realize what was happening here, when his sister broke out the pout. Elements, not the pout, anything but that! "It couldn't hurt that much to just let him tag along for a while, right?"

Off to the side, Kraden offered a sagely nod in agreement. "Jenna's got the right idea - having the aid of a djinni could be very helpful, you know, Felix. Even if he is quite... eccentric."

"We've got a mission here, remember?" Felix took a moment to consider his next words carefully. All that simply repeating 'no' would accomplish at this point would be provoking his younger sister's ire, and that was one temper he was in no mood to deal with, even if he couldn't figure out for the life of him why she was actually siding with the pest. "Fact of the matter is, we don't have time to go looking for his friends. Not while we've still got lighthouses to light, and certainly not with Isaac still chasing after us. Prox can't..."

The immediate frown that crossed Jenna's face cued the Venus Adept in that bringing up the ever-controversial 'Isaac topic' was probablynot in his best interest; the last time it had come up, shortly before their arrival in Lalivero, she damn near set his ponytail on fire for being so insistent on disagreeing. With an irate huff, she stalked off, grumbling angrily under her breath. While Felix couldn't quite hear most of the words, he was positive that they most likely involved some choice verbal abuse that he'd simply be better off not hearing. Not that he wasn't already used to it by this point, of course, but she just didn't seem to understand that Isaac himself wouldn't understand their motives.

Echo, on the other hand, seemed to visibly perk up at the mention of lighthouses. "That's you guys that are lighting 'em up? I could'a sworn I heard it was some scary lizard people!" The djinni zoomed right up into Felix's face with no warning. The Venus Adept shot Echo a narrowed glare in return. Even if he didn't quite agree with their methods in the end, he hardly appreciated the offhanded insult to Saturos and Menardi's memory, inadvertent or not. Still, Echo prattled on, completely oblivious to Felix's warning look. "But that's perfect! You'll probably find my buddies along the way just fine anyway!"

This time Felix actually did facepalm, complete with kung-fu aggravated groan action.

"You know what? Screw it, fine." The Venus Adept's patience was wearing thin fast, and Echo clearly had nothing better to do. Namely, searching for his own elements-damned friends, for one thing. "But don't forget that we've got our own agenda here, and there's no freebies on this ride. You'll have to earn your keep while you're with us."

"Great! Thanks, pal!" Echo grinned just before he dispersed into motes of earth psynergy. As the lights fused into Felix's body, he couldn't help but feel he'd made a grave mistake even as he felt his psynergy reserves bolster significantly.

"Isn't this great?" the djinni gushed, his voice this time coming from inside Felix's own head. Yup, terrible, horrific mistake. "I think this is gonna be the start of a bee-eautiful friendship, pal o' mine! Don'tcha think, Felix? Hey! Hey! Do you hear me? Felix? Feeeeeeeelix..."

Felix didn't immediately respond to Echo's gleeful, incessant jabbering. Instead, he walked a little too calmly over to the nearest tree, and slammed his head into it. Repeatedly.

"Remind me why we're doing this, again?"

The trio of Felix, Jenna and Sheba – Kraden had opted to wait for them outside, something about 'his old bones not being as spry as they used to be' - trod once more through the sodden tunnels of the Kandorean Temple's catacombs, a fact that their impromptu leader wasn't happy about. Granted, he generally tended not to be happy about much of anything, being the disgruntled guy that he was, but still. In truth, Felix had kind of hoped that Echo wouldn't be quite so... forward about his own objective. Funny how that works out sometimes, he thought with a quiet, rueful chuckle.

"Because we saw another djinni inside the maze, remember?" Echo called out, his squat, tan physical form seated comfortably atop Jenna's shoulder. An hour and change of almost nonstop and equally nonsensible telepathic chatter had been just about the extent of what Felix's sanity could take without a good night's sleep, and well, his sister had only been too happy to take Echo off his hands for a while. "Maybe now we can get to him, with that... uh, what psynergy was it again?"

"Lash." Bringing up the rear of the group, Sheba tossed the faintly-glowing pebble she held up and down boredly. At least it was better, or at least less sociopathic, than the zapping of distinctly non-monsterish bats for fun that she'd occupied herself with before. "There was a rope right about... yeah, here it is!" The young blond Jupiter Adept paused as she lightly picked up the end of the coiled rope, her brow creased in thought. "Wait... why couldn't you go up there and just ask it to come down the first time around, anyway?"

The earth-aligned djinni did a double-take, nearly falling from his shoulder perch in the process. "W-what? I, uh..."

"That's a very good question, Sheba..." Quite frankly, Felix didn't quite know why he hadn't thought of that himself in hindsight. But if it gave him an opportunity for a little revenge-harassment, well, he was totally okay with that. "Let's hear it, Echo."

Echo visibly shook. Not that he was afraid of anything Felix and Sheba could throw at him, but he hadn't meant anything by it, just a little fun! But he had an idea. "Er, could you help me out here a little, Jenna? Distract 'em for me, pleeeease?"

Her eyebrow arched, Jenna briefly shot the djinni an odd look. "Alright, fine..." she mentally sent back, to which Echo visibly relaxed. "But why didn't you just do that in the first place, anyway? I'm kinda curious now."

The torrent of hasty protests that came in response were too fast, too erratic for the Mars Adept to fully keep up with. With a shrug that prompted Echo to leave his perch for the moment, she reached out with surprising speed to snatch the Lash Pebble right out of an unsuspecting Sheba's hand, ignoring the younger girl's startled "Hey!" as she utilized the psynergy it granted to wrap the rope tightly around a stalagmite up on the ledge by way of weird ghost-hand.

"See? Problem solved, now let's get to it!" The grinning Mars Adept winked as she handed the Lash Pebble back to its rightful owner. "Never thought I'd be the one telling you guys to hurry up. Normally, that's Felix's job..."

With a roll of his eyes, Felix tried to secured a grip and began climbing the now stretched-taut rope. "Cute, little 'sis," he shot back sourly, to which Jenna teasingly stuck out her tongue at him. "But you're right, we do need to finish up here and move on. I'll be right back."

And with that, the Venus Adept's footfalls echoed through the cavern as he walked out of view. For several silent moments, the girls and Echo watched with bated breath, eagerly awaiting Felix and the new djinni's arrival...

In a way, at least they got part of what they wanted.

With a scream strangely high for the normally quiet and soft-spoken teen, Felix reappeared in a noisy ruckus of steel on rock as his sword clattered to the ground, the Venus Adept himself landing roughly with a splash into a nearby puddle. "A-ah! Hang on, Felix!" Wide-eyed in clear alarm, Jenna hastily dug through her bag, presumably in search of a herb or some other restorative for her brother. Meanwhile, Sheba and Echo both watched curiously as the Venus Adept pushed himself up with a pained groan. With a closer look, they realized that in addition to being absolutely soaked, small ice crystals lined the several jagged tears that now marred his clothes.

Sheba extended a hand to Felix, which he gratefully accepted. "It attacked?"

Courtesy of the help, the Venus Adept got back on his feet with a groan. "It attacked."

"Yeah... should've warned you about that." Almost hesitantly, Echo edged his way over. "Some of my pals don't like being bothered like that. Gotta show 'em who's boss, boss!"

If looks could kill, then the hard glare Felix shot Echo would've not only completely disintegrated the djinni himself on the spot, but his children. And for that matter, probably his children's children as well. Off to the side, Sheba sighed and shook her head lightly as she watched the calamity unfold. Between Felix's attempts to wring the neck of a creature that didn't even have one, and Jenna's heedless ransacking of their still-limited supplies, the Jupiter Adept had only one thing to say.

"This is going to be a long journey, isn't it?"