I really like LirexLass =) Sorry to all the ArmexLass fans out there! Haha.

"Dammit! Damn it all!"

Elesis ground her teeth in frustration as she smashed her blade into the ground. Nor was she alone in her anger. They were all close, so close to killing Kaze'Aze, Queen of Darkness. Yet she had eluded them again, mocking them as she fled.

"Your quest for 'peace' is merely an illusion." She sneered. "No matter what you do, humans will never escape the strife that they make!"

But, as Lire had pointed out, it wasn't a complete failure. Kaze'Aze had possessed a human and attacked them, probably thinking that the Grand Chase wouldn't possibly kill a human on their conscience. But in the end, though she was gone, the human was still here. Badly hurt, but still breathing. He was saved, but at what cost? The victim was a boy, a child. He was at an age where he should still be enjoying his childhood without pain. But Kaze'Aze had taken that away from him, tainting it with innocent blood.

"I'm a murderer." He had yelled when he stirred from unconsciousness. "I remember them…people…I killed them!"

"Please, calm down." Ronan stepped forward. The child cringed away with the eyes of a wild animal that was caught in a trap. "You did not kill them, it was her. She made you do this."

"Yes, it's all right now. Please come, you need to heal." Arme also walked towards the silverette with the kindest expression she could make. "It's all right now. It's over. See?"

"No..." He did not see. He still looked frantically at the members of the Chase. Did these people understand what he had done? The destruction he had caused? If the purple-haired girl said it was over, why did he still feel so bleak and tense…? It didn't feel over. He could still feel the darkness threatening to swallow him…why couldn't they feel it? The evil was still here!

"Wait!" Another girl stumbled in this time. Her dishevelled yellow locks waving about, her eyes were a mix of concern and caution. "It's not over." Ah, someone finally seemed to understand this madness. The boy looked up, sapphire eyes meeting jade. She smiled weakly at the boy, then to the others, "Don't you guys feel it?"

"Feel what?" The rest of the Chase had similar expressions of confusion and bewilderment.

"Ryan!" She turned towards the group, looking at another person with very orange hair with an expression of exasperation and anxiety. "Don't you feel it?" Ryan just stood there, looking as helpless as his other teammates.

"Lire, I think you just need some rest." Amy said sympathetically. "I mean, look at you!"

The blonde elf was a rather sorry sight. Battling the possessed boy had taken a toll on all of them; his dexterity and quickness exceeded far beyond their own as he leapt and dodged, inflicting small but numerous cuts on each of them. But Lire had received the worst end; noticing her incapability of extreme close combat and her tendency to attack from a distance, Kaze'Aze made the boy attack her most, riddling her body with deadly slashes and gashes. Even now, her movements seemed awry and weak, which made the silver-haired boy's guilt multiple by tenfold. She looked like she was about to faint.


"We all have to go back to Serdin Castle; the Knight Master'll have to know about this. We're running out of potions anyway."

"Yeah, Lire, just hang in there…"

"Uhn…" Drained, injured, unable to endure the pain any longer, Lire crumpled onto the ground. Her bow clattered from her hand as she fell with a dull thump.

So much for 'hanging in there.'

"Lire!" Horrified, Arme turned to help her friend. "We need to heal her!" Forgetting her own fatigue, she was about to take out her staff when Ryan stopped her.

"Not here." he said gently, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Elves are more receptive to evil energies than humans, it'd be best to get out of here first." Arme, about to argue, decided to shut up; he had a point. Lire was getting paler by the minute, and even Ryan looked a little queasy, being also an elf.

"Well..." Abandoning attempts to heal the archer, the mage now attempted to carry Lire on her back. Not that she was exactly fat or anything, but she was a good foot taller than Arme, and she wasn't in her best state.

"Here, let me." Striding over, the thief picked up the unconscious elf into a Firefighter Carry as if she were weightless. His stature was small, so to see him lift her like nothing raised expressions of awe on their faces.

"It's the least I can do." he said defensively; these people had tried to help him, rescued him, yet he had paid them with injuries, this elf most of all. Out of them, he wanted to help her, whom they called Lire, most of all. "Are we going?"

"R-right." Covering her confusion and concern with her usual brisk attitude, Elesis lead the Chase back to the Castle. All the time, Lass never let go of Lire, and kept by her side as Arme slowly healed her wounds, ignoring his own. Why he suddenly felt this attachment to the elfin girl, no one had the slightest idea, including him. He'd never seen her before, and it wasn't like she showed a particular interest…right?

"You have done a great service, Chasers. I am pleased." The Knight Master had been duly informed of the recent events, and she gave the Grand Chase a rare smile. "Kaze'Aze is weakened, and you've even managed to save one of her victims. I'm impressed."

The Chase had been gathered in an elegantly furnished room…well, the ones that were conscious. Lire was still recovering, and Arme had also fainted as she had tried to heal everyone, endangering her own waning health.

"But what boon is that? We have failed to destroy her…" The Master raised a hand, silencing the Red Knight.

"…yet you have saved the boy, who would have continued to destroy everything had you not intervened. That alone is worthy of praise. But where is the boy?"

"He is sleeping right now, I saw him to one of the spare rooms." Ronan added hastily, "if that is okay with you, Knight Master."

"Yes, of course. The child must be exhausted from the ordeal." She nodded thoughtfully. "I would like to see him join the Chase…" she trailed off, apparently oblivious to the immediate effect that it had.

"But–but Master!" Elesis spluttered, the first to regain her voice. "Are you so sure? He's…he's killed so many people!"

"Against his will. Kaze'Aze has her way with her puppets. The blood she put on his hands is void; and he is free now."

"But, he is only a child…a couple years younger than all of us, by the looks of it." Jin said in his usual, calm manner. "At such an age, he should be enjoying his youth."

"I agree." Ryan interjected. "Maybe he can live in one of the surrounding villages. Sure more than one family would willingly adopt him and help him rebuild himself."

"And he's killed thousands of people…not by him of course! But…"

"Is it so safe to trust him? He…"

"Enough." Though soft, it quickly silenced the group. "I understand your doubts, but it may be a chance for him to redeem himself. The child had been possessed for so long; living a life in the villages will not suit him. And this is exactly what Kaze'Aze wants; letting the seeds of suspicion and distrust to start another war. The boy deserves a chance, and I shall give it to him. Ronan, surely you remember your time with the Queen of Darkness?"

"I–" He flushed. Long ago, he too had been possessed by Kaze'Aze through the Shadow Orb. It was the only stain on his otherwise flawless honour, and the memories that accompanied it were not exactly fond ones. With the Chase's help (which only constituted of the original trio that time), he had shattered it, but that was the only thing he truly hated.

Seeing that she had scored a telling point, the Knight Master softened. "There is much more to discuss, yet you are all tired. Inform Lire and Arme of this when they stir, and tell the boy…what is his name?"


"You mean you didn't even ask for his name?" she asked, a tad exasperated.

"We– we did, Master." Elesis faltered. "But he wouldn't tell. Each time we tried to talk to him, he would give us the evil eye and turn his back towards us."

"Ah. Well, give him some time." She sighed. "I'm sorry to keep from your rest and healing. Your injuries will be tended to." At the snap of her fingers, a dozen or so healers barged into the room and carried them out, amid their squealing and protests. Sighing again, the Knight Master also departed the room, the massive doors closing with a loud boom.

Above the ceiling, perched on the edge, was the silverette, his expression torn between gratitude and pain.

He had been shown to his room, and told to stay there, which he did…for about two milliseconds before he took off. His agility providing the stealth he needed, he first went out to check if Lire was all right. Then Arme. After aimlessly wandering around, he was about to return to his room…when he heard voices.

"I would like to see him join the Chase…"

"He's…he's killed so many people!"

"…not his fault…"

"Is it safe to trust him?"

"Is it safe to trust him?" That was the statement that haunted his mind the most.

To the Knight Master he was infinitely grateful. She was fully aware of his past, what he had done, and to still give him another chance! It was more than he could have dreamed. If only the Chase were as accepting…

Well, they were fighters. Fighters usually weren't quick to accept things, especially such like him. But it was not their fault. He had committed murder, violence, and other atrocities that even he himself had no memory of. How would they accept someone like him so easily?

"Is it safe to trust him?" He could find no answer. They had said it was over, that he was safe now, but why did he still feel that sickening pull that he got in his heart whenever Kaze'Aze used his body to go on a massive killing spree? Maybe the darkness had been hardwired into his mind, already corrupting his soul. Maybe he really was beyond rescuing, not to be trusted. A threat.

I'm really a murderer, he thought to himself. He could now see flashes of his battle with the Grand Chase, dodging their blows, inflicting painful ones of his own…an arrow barely missing his arm, noticing the archer from a far-off distance, shooting him, the blood that spurted…the blood…the blood…

An unforgivable murderer, he thought to himself as he went back to his room, his guilt weighing heavier than ever, unable to find an outlet for it.