All characters from Seiken Densetsu 3 are courtesy of Squaresoft, the company that published the game (in Japan, but not the U.S., I guess we're not good enough_ _). Anyway, this story is mine, and I'd appreciate it if I were to receive credit if it gets posted (translation: DON'T PLAGIARIZE, IT'S EVIL AND IT WILL ROT YOUR SOUL!). Enjoy!

How Many Rabites...?

The tall girl in green scowled at him, and he allowed a soft chuckle to escape his mouth.
"Riesz, it's only a rabite. We've seen how many of them since we got into this forest?"
"That's the twenty-fourth." Said the other girl, young woman really. She was possessed of a figure a goddess would envy, with hair as violet as the sky just before the sun sets, and eyes to match. She knew it, and she capitalized on it. But under that soft exterior was a sharp and calculating mind.
"You were counting?"
The thief appraised his other traveling companion, and was not displeased at all. While she did not carry herself in the lurid, risqué manner that Angela used to catch the interest of males, Riesz was the one who had caught his eye. There was a certain peace, a purity that hung over the amazon. Princess Angela might be quite willing to hop into bed with a man if it furthered her interests, but not Riesz.
"Of course I was counting!"
"But why?"
"Because we need to get an idea of how many there are! What if we need to set up camp or something?! Just what did they teach you over in Gustyville anyway?"
"I'll show you what they taught me, you..."
"Ladies, I think the enemy is that way." He pointed at yet another of the yellow creatures, and the dueling females dove at it viciously. In no time at all, the poor creature was thumped, smashed, spitted, and slammed as they unleashed all of their formidable rage on it.
Glad I'm not a rabite right now.
"Gah!"
"Yargh!"
"Guess what's on the menu tonight!" cried the amazon, lifting the pulped rodent on the point of her spear.
"Rabite on a stick! Rabite on stick!" chanted the "princess" Angela.
Yeah, I'm definitely glad I'm not a rabite.

Several hours later, they had made their way out of the forest, only to find the ruins of a small town.
"Goddess!" exclaimed the amazon.
As they surveyed the destruction and desolation, they finally began to realize the full ramifications of the task they had undertaken.
"This...this is horrible!" said Angela, "Is this really Astoria?"
The bustling, little fishing town from the day before was no more.
"This was no ordinary attack. Look here."
Hawkeye pointed to one of the maimed houses with one of his daggers. The marks of great claws marred the simple wooden structure, massive rents that could not have been made by any animal.
:You're right, Hawk.: The voice of the faerie that they all heard, in their minds, was sad, but not overly surprised. :These marks were made by beastmen, armed with bagh nahk. They were equipped to do as much damage as possible.:
They searched the town for signs of life, and found nothing. Not even the aggressive dog that had barked at Riesz had survived the attack. When they found a body, Angela was forced to excuse herself, and they could hear violent retching noises emanating from the bushes beyond. Hawkeye and Riesz, who had encountered death often enough, were hard-pressed to contain the contents of their stomachs. The body was hardly recognizable as human, rent limb from limb as callously as its house had been. All over it were the tiny marks that they were all-too familiar with, the bite-marks of a rabite.
:This could happen to one of you, you realize.:
Each of the three warriors felt an invisible force probing their minds, weighing them against something immeasurable.
"I think we knew that, when we agreed to this mission." replied Hawkeye.
"Or we do now." Angela had returned, and she looked more than a bit green.
:And you choose to go on, even knowing that one day you may fall in battle? You can still turn back. I won't force you to go on.:
"We all know that can't be, Faerie. Even if we did go home, the guilt would haunt us, and the world would be in constant danger... I can't live knowing that I could have done something to help." Riesz propped her spear up over her shoulder and glared at the tiny, floating woman before her.
"We stand to lose everything, or gain it." said Hawkeye, "If I were a gambling man, I wouldn't put odds on us, but we have to try anyway, don't we? Duty or some such."
"I don't really even have a place to go home to, even if I wanted to. And if I get to meet even one elemental, I'll have something special just for me. Even Koren couldn't say he ever met one in person!"
:Then you're all agreed?: They nodded. :That's a relief. Now let's get out of here before I gag!:
No one argued. No one cried. They just moved on. But the image of a young girl's mangled body would hang in their vision and in their dreams for days.
How many rabites...?