Prologue: When In Doubt, Just Keep Walking. It's A Good Time We're Looking For, Anyway
Airships down, Kafra services giving everyone a hard time, and the hottest summer in Rune-Midgard history. None could stand the intensity of such circumstances, as everyone yearned for a vacation in Comodo, where the sun never shines; a seemingly eternal night. Many chances for gambling to the heart's content, picking up beautiful women and failing at it, or just having a damn good time with one's party.
"Are we there yet?"
A tribulation over celebration. How long would the lax bard, the brutal priestess, and the ambitious novice survive amidst the sea of sand?
"Sure, Kim. Any minute now." says the young stoic novice with deadpan sarcasm.
With mouth agape from dehydration, the red-head priest says, "Pass the water bottle, I'm thirsty as hell."
"Hell's gotta be thirsty alright," snickers Lee, the group's destination leader and bard, as he concentrates on his map. "Funny, aren't I?"
"Shut up. Renz, give that thing to me or I'll kick your ass."
"I'll give it to you when we're there."
"We won't reach Kokomo Beach till a day after this," Lee says with his nose still stuck on the map. "Saying such crazy things…"
"Will screw you over, Renz."
And as the brutal priest wildly pummels the hard-headed novice, the blissful bard continues forth to his journey with eyes concentrated on the piece of parchment.
A week in Comodo was all they ever asked for, really. Kim was restless, and Lee did not want to rot sitting at home playing the guitar or training alongside the ever occupied Renz. But even the novice thought a break from training would do good for him.
After arriving at the desert-city Morroc, they hurriedly collected supplies (a supply consisting mostly of small containers of water, a band-aid, and a used-up rag.) and continued along with their desperate journey to the haven of Comodo.
Four and a half harsh days have gone by after passing the desolate borders of Fortress Saint Darmain and the magnificent yet monster-infested white sands of Kokomo Beach, and they have finally arrived at the heart of the Papuchiha Forest. Just when they were starting to be convinced that their efforts were bearing fruit, their usual misfortune comes to bite them in the ass, once again, on a very bad time.
"The cave is blocked." Lee mumbles with a slight wince.
"We can all see that." Renz exclaims as he rolls his eyes.
Kim, being the hot-headed woman that she is, lets out a bursting yell. "We've gone this far so I'm not going to let some stupid-ass rocks get in my way!"
As Kim starts to alternately dig and kick the boulders in a fit of anger, Lee falls to a deep thought and flips into his map, tracing his finger to the trails they've been through.
"Any other way to get there?" Renz says as he lets out a sigh, supposedly as a form of complaint. "At all?"
"There's a road to the north, but it'll take us another day till we reach the destination."
With horror-struck eyes directed towards the oddly calm Lee, she exclaims "No! We already wasted four days! I can't take this anymore!"
"Calm down, we're not stranded in the middle of the desert. Not anymore, at least."
"Renz is right, we're not in our worst position yet. Let's just keep going."
Though devastated and close to going mad, she pulls herself together and follows the two with arms and head flopping down.
Unbeknownst to the other two, Lee has been leading them irresponsibly. As the group made frequent turns of left and right, the trees slowly change shape; from palms to ferns and trees whose leaves provide a wider shade. The sands and crystal blue oases slowly disappear and are replaced by grassier fields and deep plateaus. From an olive green, the colour turns darker in shade. And most of all, the sky becomes increasingly hidden by the taller trees, letting occasional rays of light escape. From the moment the group took the new route, Lee was already uncertain of their destination as he has never been to these parts of Comodo fields.
"I have been to the rest of the map, though."
Sure you did. The young bard claims to have been around many places to gain their trust, and so he leads the group aimlessly all for the sake of not crushing their hopes and expectations. A very dumbass move to make given his position in the group.
"Kim's going to friggin' kill me now, isn't she?"
"You bet she will."
And as the brutal priest wildly pummels the careless map expert, Renz rigidly stands on the side, staring at the long wooden suspension bridge across his sight, and becoming increasingly agitated.
"Damn it Lee! Where the hell are you taking us?"