(A/N): I'm sorry for this taking so long! My computer got some viruses, preventing me from working on this for a few days, and then I got writer's block. Also, school's started, and I have class now. Yay.
Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss are both owned by Namco-Bandai.
"Luke, wake up. It is almost time for us to leave." Lorelei calmly said into my mind, waking me up. Shaking myself awake, I put on my clothes, grabbed my item bag and sword, and walked out of the inn.
When I got out of the inn, I saw Colette, Raine, and Kratos waiting outside.
"Good morning Luke!" Colette said happily, "Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah, no worries." I responded, "So should we get going?"
"The whole village is waiting at the gate to send us off. It won't take long, but we should leave now in order to remain on schedule." Raine said.
"Are you prepared, Luke?" Kratos asked, staring me down.
Kratos didn't say anything, but began to walk towards the southern gate. The rest of us followed.
(Colette, Raine, and Kratos joined the party!)
When we got to the southern gate, as Raine said, the entire village was there to see us off. Iselia didn't have a huge population, so the crowd was about as big as a larger-than-average pond. Colette walked ahead to us towards the Mayor, who was standing in front of the gate.
"Chosen," The Mayor began, "We, the people of Iselia, wish you a safe passage while on The Journey of Regeneration. All of our prayers go to you and your guardians," I saw him glace at me when he said that, "wishing for your success in regenerating the world."
The four of us stepped up to the gate and Colette walked up in front of us to address the crowd.
"People of Iselia, thank you. You have all helped me prepare for this journey that I must partake in, showing me kindness all throughout my life, and now I must repay you. And I shall repay not only everyone in this crowd, but all of the people in the World of Sylvarant, with the regeneration of the world." Colette bowed at the end of her speech. The crowd bowed back, but that was all.
"Huh. You'd think that they'd be a bit more excited about all this." I thought.
Afterwards, the guards open the gates, and we were on our way.
As we made our way to a few kilometers outside the village, we found ourselves on a dirt pathway.
"According to the map, we need to follow this pathway in order to reach the Triet Desert." Raine told us.
"Sounds easy enough." I responded.
Kratos then spoke up: "We should travel in a formation that will protect the Chosen."
"A good idea, Kratos." Raine agreed, "Is that okay with you, Colette?"
"Nope!" Colette smiled.
"Well then, we shall form a triangle around The Chosen. I'll lead, and Professor Sage and Luke will stay in the back. The Chosen shall be in the middle. Are you alright with that?" Kratos asked. We all agreed. "Good." He then looked at me. "Luke, may I ask you something?"
"Do you know about Unison Attacks?" Kratos gazed.
"To be honest… no." I answered truthfully, scratching the back of my head as I did so.
"Then this won't take long. Simply put, it's when two or more people combine their attacks to perform a new attack that will deal much more damage than normal attacks or artes."
I continued to scratch the back of my head, "Okaaay, I kind of understand it." I said sheepishly.
"You will see an example when we inevitably encounter monsters on our path. I will show you when that happens."
"Gotcha." And with that, we set off. The scenery was actually pretty beautiful. Everything was green, lush, and somewhat peaceful, taking into account the monsters and such.
Luke (Awe): Whoa.
Colette (Confused): Luke? Is something wrong?
Luke (Surprise): What? (Normal) Oh, sorry. I was just looking around at the scenery. You know, I was thinking, for a world that could die from a lack of mana, it's still pretty beautiful.
Colette (Smiling): I know! The lands around Iselia are really pretty. I love going up to large hills and admiring the view. I did it with Lloyd and Genis all the time when we were little!
Luke (Grinning): That sounds awesome! (Normal) You know, when I see all this wonderful scenery, it gives me motivation. Motivation to keep on going, motivation to try my best, stuff like that. Hell, it gives me the motivation to keep on going on with this journey, so that I know that everything we've done paid off!
Colette (Looking down, frowning): Um, yeah…
Luke (Concerned): Is something wrong, Colette?
Colette (Surprised): No! I'm fine!
Kratos: What are you two doing?
Luke (Confused): Huh? Nothing, we were just talking and-
Kratos: If you fall behind, it'll only delay our progress and hold us back. Don't get distracted by the scenery.
Colette (Flustered): Oh, sorry!
(Colette and Kratos leave)
Luke (Deadpan): …Well, thanks for killing the mood! Jerk…
It didn't take us long to encounter some monsters blocking our path. Luckily, we spotted them from a good distance away and Kratos stopped us to give us instructions. "You see those monsters over there?" he asked the three of us, "We can get the preemptive on them from here. If they don't see us coming, they'll be easier to take down."
"If we have to fight, let's try to make sure that with always try to get the offensive on our opponents." Raine added, "But we should also be sure to watch ourselves as well. We could easily fall prey to a surprise attack as much as our enemies."
"Alright." Colette nodded in understanding. This was all stuff I've heard before, but it was still important to remember, and was probably a good survival tip for Colette, who told me that she didn't really like to fight.
With Kratos leading the way, we got the first strike for our opponents. The fight wasn't so bad, but it was during this fight where I learned something new.
"Luke, remember what I told you!" Kratos called out to me in battle.
"Huh?! Oh, right!"
"Follow my lead!" Kratos commanded us.
"POW Hammer!" Colette called out as she summoned a squeaky hammer from… somewhere.
"Photon!" Raine summoned a burst of light.
"Sonic Thrust!" Kratos stabbed quickly.
"Rending Thrust!" I shouted as I charged energy into my hand and lifted the wolf into the air.
"Luke! Use that arte again!" Kratos shouted. Not even thinking, I did what he said.
"Rending Thrust!" I charged mana into my palm and lifted the wolf upwards. Immediately, Kratos ran up and used Sonic Thrust on the wolf, killing it. We won the battle. Collecting the gald they somehow had, we continued on our way. I then decided to ask Kratos about what happened.
"Was what we just did a Unison Attack?" I asked Kratos.
"Yes." Kratos replied, "You did better than I expected for a first attempt. Keep practicing to improve upon it. And remember, you could potentially perform a Unison Attack with not only me, but with Professor Sage and the Chosen as well. Do not forget that."
"Right, I gotcha."
As we continued walking, we eventually made our way to the desert, occasionally fighting a monster of two along the way.
Skit: Desert Heat
Luke (Tired): Damn it, this heat sucks…
Raine: Is something wrong, Luke?
Luke (Frowning): No, it's nothing like that. It's just… deserts and I really don't mix. I've been in the desert before, and I really didn't enjoy it.
Colette (Worried): Are you going to be alright, Luke? I'm sorry if…
Luke (Normal): Hey, don't worry about me. I won't slow us down. How're you doing, Colette?
Colette (Smiling): I'm fine!
Raine (Serious): Please, if any of you get heatstroke, let me know. I don't want anyone to get sick.
Luke: Do we have any towels? We could wet them down and wrap them around our foreheads if we get too hot.
Colette (Surprised): Oh!(Smiling) Like how people dress in hot springs?
Raine (Sighing): Well, you could look at it like that…
We soon arrived in Triet after hours of walking. "Well, we're here." I said, "Where should we go-!" I was soon pulled aside by Kratos.
"Be quiet!" He commanded "Look over there!" I looked to where he pointed and saw some Desians roaming the town.
"O-oh… sorry." I apologized.
"We need to be careful around here." Raine told us. "Triet doesn't have a non-aggression pact with the Desians like Iselia does. For now, let's just see if we can find some information about the Triet Ruins. We can check into an inn and shop for items later."
"Alright. Let's go."
We walked around town for a bit. Admittedly, Triet reminded me of Chesadonia, mainly because it was a desert town with trade outposts. I decided to let the memories suppress themselves before continuing on.
Soon, we found ourselves in the market area. And soon enough, this happened:
"Wha-!" Colette let out as she tripped. Again. But this time, she tripped right in front on someone who I guessed was one of the many merchants around here, causing him to stumble, and nearly drop his goods.
"Hey! Watch it!" He shouted as I helped Colette up. Apparently Colette fell so hard that she actually left an imprint in the sidewalk. I hope she's okay… Raine immediately stepped forward to apologize to the man.
I didn't really pay attention to the conversation, but soon I heard the man gasp.
"Wait, you're the Chosen?!" He exclaimed. Suddenly, all eyes were on us. The merchant immediately stepped forward, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were the Chosen."
"It's alright. It was my fault for tripping." Colette apologized.
"Is that all you want?" Kratos asked the merchant.
The merchant suddenly clamed up at the sight of Kratos, "W-well, if you stop by my shop, I can sell you discounted items for your journey, Chosen."
"Thanks!" Colette cheerfully replied. Raine then spoke up.
"Excuse me; do you know anyone in this town who might able to point us to the Temple of Fire?" She asked.
"Ask the Fortune-Teller in the north of the town. Her family's attended to the temple for generations. If anyone can help you, it's her."
"Thank you." Raine said, and we went to go find the fortune teller, dodging people who tried to shower us with gifts for Colette, most of which we took.
(Obtained 1,000 gald, Apple Gel x 3, Orange Gel x 3, Bread x 3, Map of the Desert, and Headband x 1)
We soon made our way to the Fortune Teller's tan-colored tent, as the town itself wasn't that large.
Skit: The Image of the Chosen
Raine: It would appear that word of Colette's appearance doesn't carry out far into the world, despite being the Chosen.
Luke (Confused): So the people in Iselia and Triet don't send out letters to each other? You'd think something like who the Chosen is would be important for stuff like this.
Colette: The Church of Martel doesn't reveal my identity to Sylvarant because the Desians might find a picture of me and use it try to kidnap me. They've done that ever since the Third Chosen was killed that way.
Raine: Yes, the protection of the Chosen's identity is one of the most important parts of being of their guardians.
Luke (Shrugging): Makes sense. But what if someone tried to impersonate Colette? No one would know the difference, and for all they know, Colette is the fake and the fake is Colette!
Kratos: I seriously doubt anyone would be dumb enough to impersonate The Chosen of Regeneration. It is a crime among crimes, and death is the go-to punishment for those cases. And besides, every Chosen is identified by their Cruxis Crystal. That's how the village found Colette's identity.
Luke (Angry): …It could happen!
Kratos: We're done here.
"I'll guard the entrance. You three go inside." Kratos ordered. Raine nodded wordlessly, and disappeared inside the tent, with Colette and I following close behind.
It was way cooler inside the tent, which I welcomed immediately. The tent's inside held some boxes, pots, and small mirrors on the perimeter, but what drew most people's attention was the rug-covered table in the middle. A crystal ball sat on top of the rug, and behind the table was a woman who looked to be in her forties.
"Welcome to the House of Fortune. What would you like me to divine for you?" She asked calmly, gazing at the three of us.
"Um…" Colette began, but The Fortune Lady interrupted her.
"Colette Brunel, The Chosen of Regeneration, am I correct?" She asked tilting her head. Colette gasped, and my eyes widened. Raine just put her hand to her chin.
"H-how did you-?!" I stuttered.
"I foresaw your exact arrival in my crystal ball, and your Cruxis Crystal." The lady explained, "Now, I assume you would like to know where the Temple of Fire is located?"
"Yes. Are you going to help us?" Raine questioned.
"Of course. Do you have a map?" Raine took out the map we got from the villagers and gave it to the Fortune Teller. The Fortune Lady looked at the map for a few seconds before pointed at a blue spot to the east, which I assumed was an oasis.
"Here, to the east. The Temple of Fire lies at the oasis that was destroyed when Efreet lost control."
Raine peered at the map, "That's a long trip, at least a day or more."
"I can guide to you along the shortest path to the Temple." The Fortune Lady said, "But once you are inside, I am forbidden to assist you in the trials."
"Yes, I'm aware of that." Colette spoke up.
"When should we leave for the Temple of Fire?" I asked.
"Tomorrow would be best." Raine answered, "We shouldn't keep Colette in a town with Desians roaming around much longer.
"I agree. Early tomorrow morning, we shall depart. Is that alright with you, Chosen?" The Fortune Lady asked Colette.
"Yes." Colette responded immediately.
"Understood. I'll meet you at the inn tomorrow. Please, head to the market and prepare for the Trials at the Temple. Thanking her, we left the tent.
"The Fortune Lady's going to show to the Fire Temple next morning." I said to Kratos on the way out.
"…Good. We should get prepared." The next few hours at the market were spent looking at equipment, buying items, and renting a caravan for the trip to the Temple of Fire. Thankfully, we didn't run into any Desians. We've actually been making some pretty good time; we got to Triet at around 3 o'clock, and checked into the inn after talking to the Fortune Lady and getting our supplies at 4:15.
After buying our supplies, the four of us checked into the inn. Kratos and Colette got one room, while Raine and I got the other. Raine sat on the bed reading a book while I sat on the floor and sharpened the Key of Lorelei. Deciding that now would be best; I decided to ask Lorelei some questions.
"So, because I forgot to ask before, how does this world have a Sorcerer's Ring? (1)"
"Back during the time of Mithos, a meteorite impacted the planet. The meteorite was found by Mithos and his companions, and they soon discovered that the meteorite radiated powerful mana. Mithos was able to carve it into a magical ring that could be used by anyone; human, elf, it didn't matter. Since it was used by Mithos when he regenerated the world, the Sorcerer's Ring has been used by every Chosen since. As for the name, complete coincidence."
"Alright, I think I understand… so what about Colette? Why is she the Chosen specifically? She doesn't seem like the kind of person you'd trust in saving the world."
"Agreed. As for why Colette specifically was selected… I do not know." Lorelei sounded regretful.
"More stuff not in the memory, huh?" I asked.
"Precisely, my scion."
I finished sharpening my sword and put it back into its sheath. "I'm going to go see how the others are doing." I told Raine as I stood up.
"Go ahead. I'll stay here to study a bit more." Raine said without even looking up from her book, pushing her reading glasses up as she did (2).
I opened the door to our room, only to have it bump into something on the way out. "OW!" A familiar voice yelped. Quickly looking around the door, I saw a familiar person in a blue sweater lying on the floor.
"Genis?!" I said in surprise.
"Luke!" Genis hopped up onto his feet, "We have a serious problem! Lloyd…" Genis shouted frantically.
"Is this problem more serious than disobeying what I specifically told you and stay in Iselia, Genis?" Raine questioned venomously as she walked to the doorway, glaring at Genis.
"I'll explain to you later! Right now, Lloyd was captured by the Desians!" Genis was almost shouting at this point.
"WHAT!" I shouted. Grabbing Genis by his shoulders, I began questioning him, "What happened?! Do you know where they took him?! How…"
"Calm down, Luke." Raine ordered. I let go of Genis and turned to her, "Stay calm so that can get the proper information from Genis." Turning to the kid in question, she began interrogating Genis, "So what happened that made you and Lloyd come to Triet and have Lloyd get captured by the Desians?"
Looking away from Raine's stare, Genis began: "…On the day of the Oracle, Lloyd and I went to the Human Ranch. I've been going there for the past few days to visit one of the prisoners there, but this was the first time Lloyd went with me."
"So you violated the non-aggression pact Iselia had with the Ranch?" Raine questioned.
"W-well, Marble –the name of the prisoner- was punished for goofing off while talking to us. Lloyd got angry with how the Desians were treating her and wanted to save her, so we devised a plan to distract the Desians from Marble." Genis's voice got sadder and sadder as he went on.
"So that's what Lloyd was doing…" I muttered.
"Do you know something about this, Luke?" Raine asked.
"…It's nothing. So what happened next, Genis?"
"I guess Lloyd got spotted, because the next day the Desians attacked Iselia, demanding for Lloyd since he violated the treaty. Then they sent a monster on us." Genis looked like he was ready to cry, "A-and then… the m-m-monster… it was Marble." I could see Genis holding back tears, "They put an exsphere on her, and then removed it, turning her into that monster. And we killed her!" Genis suddenly shouted. "And then Lloyd and I were banished from the village! That's why we're out here!"
My eyes widened at what I was just told. My mind began racing. If we had stayed in Iselia for a little longer, we could have-! I gritted my teeth in frustration that I couldn't have saved someone innocent.
"What's going on here?" Kratos's voice sounded as he and Colette quickly came up to us. Colette was obviously surprised at seeing Genis here, while Kratos looked annoyed.
"Genis and Lloyd violated the non-aggression pact and were banished from Iselia. Now Lloyd's been captured by the Desians." Raine stated matter-of-factly.
"What!? We have to save him!" Colette cried out.
"I'm with Colette! We can't let Lloyd die!" I agreed.
"Professor? Mr. Kratos? C'mon, we need to get Lloyd!" Colette pleaded.
"*Sigh* If we don't save Lloyd, The Chosen might not put her full effort into her duty."
"So you're coming with us?" I asked.
"It would appear so." Raine pinched the bridge of her nose as she said so.
"Thank you, Mr. Kratos! Thanks, Professor!"Colette smiled brightly.
"Noishe is with us. He can lead us to the Desian's base." Genis informed us.
"Let's go!" I rushed out of the inn as fast as the others would let me and soon reached the town's entrance. "Don't worry, Lloyd! We'll get you out in no time!"
(P.O.V. Shift: Lloyd Irving )
"Urr… ow!" I groaned as I woke up on a hard floor. Standing up, I saw I was in a jail cell. I Then I remembered, those Desians knocked me out at Triet! I wondered where Genis is. Wasn't he knocked out with me?
"…If so, I feel sorry for that Irving kid." I could hear some Desians talking to each other.
"I don't need pity from a Desian!" I thought angrily.
"Yeah. He can't possibly escape execution." Another Desian said.
"Execution?! What the hell?" I muttered to myself. I looked for a way out, but they took my equipment, and I gave the Sorcerer's Ring to Colette and the others.
"Hey! You two!" An angry, but somehow familiar sounding voice shouted at the two talking Desians, "Get Irving and bring him to Lord Botta! He apparently needs to check this kid out." The annoyed voice commanded the two Desians.
"O-of course, sir." I could hear footsteps coming my way. Soon, three Desians were standing in front of my cell. I turned away from them to show I'm not really interested.
"You're coming with us. Don't even try to escape, someone like you couldn't even comprehend a facility like this." One of the two talking Desians said to me.
"You can make this easier or harder on yourself, kid. Choose wisely." The other Desian said.
"…Just get him to Botta." The Desian in charge ordered. For some reason, whenever he speaks, he sounded familiar…
I heard the cell door opening and turned around to see two Desians dressed like the ones who attacked Iselia draw their whips. "Okay, whatever." I acted annoyed, but was secretly angry at them for attacking the chapel.
"Hey, dreck." I commanding Desian spoke to me, "Just be thankful you're not dead yet. Our leader could easily change his mind about your worth." I looked up at the commanding Desian to see his face and was shocked at who I was looking at.
"Luke?!" I couldn't believe my eyes. Luke was standing in front of me, dressed in red and black Desian armor. His hair was slicked back, but was still as long as it was when I met him. His eyes were glaring at me in annoyance, not like how Luke normally is.
Luke actually looked surprised at this, but immediately turned away and waved the two other Desians away, "Take him to Botta. You know where he is."
"Yes, Lord Asch!" The two Desians then took me to where this "Lord Botta" was, leaving Luke behind.
Luke… where you with the Desians this whole time?
(A/N): Bet'cha weren't expecting THAT, weren't you? I hope this chapter make up for the long wait in between chapters. This was a bit of a pain to write thanks to writer's block, and outside forces beyond my control.
Admittedly, I've hit a bit of a snag. You see, I'm slowly losing interest in writing this story. Between school and my personal life, writing this story is beginning to seem like a hassle for me. I'd like to put out more stories other than this, but I don't want to balance two different projects and end up favoring one over the other. I also don't want to put this fic up for adoption, because I've actually have a storyline planned out for both this story and Tales of Symphonia 2: Dawn of the New World, and I don't want to have someone else potentially ruin something I have going. I'm not sure if I should put this fic up on hiatus and focus on other projects, or try and finish Symphonic Abyss. What do you guys think?
As usual, read and review, blah blah blah.
(1): I actually forgot to put in this little bit of exposition back in Chapter 8, so here it is here. My friend Patrick also came up with a real cool back story for the Sorcerer's Ring, but alas, I forgot it.
(2): Some characters might have minor quirks that I put in just for the hell of it. Here, Raine has reading glasses. Why? Because I think reading glasses suit Raine.
: And for the first time in the story, P.O.V shifts! I might do some more of these in the future, mainly to show off what some characters think of Luke, or in situations like this one.