Secrets of the Elemental Stone: Tale Rewritten
by Lunar Wave


Once More Through the Cave

Arche stretched as she practiced her sword skills outside on the fields between school and the cave. This time, she'll be careful not to end up in the same situation yesterday. Thrust, Slash, Wide Slash. Thrust, Slash, Wide Slash, Backthrust, Up Slash. Jump and Downstab. She repeated this pattern over and over as she perfected her sword skills.

"I wish dad would help me with this…" Arche sighed, as she continued striking and hitting, at nothing, as she had already cleared as many monsters as she could. She walked slowly, not minding if she looked dumb doing so. Why was she out here doing nearly nothing? She had looked every nook and cranny of the cave and there wasn't a single suspicious place except the pond. It looked too deep, and it seemed to disappear somewhere. She may be confident in swimming, but, if she did so, that would mean leaving her sword behind, and she is not confident in her skills beyond swords. Arche walked back to school as she killed as many slimes on the way. The thing about slimes is that people aren't sure if they are alive or not. They are said to be made when a wizard somehow screws up in a powerful summoning spell. And this was common in the past until people discovered how to use magic differently (It was only now that Arche learned that it was because of Elemental Stones). But what's done is done. The slimes are here to stay. The worst part is that they are pretty much unkillable as well. Unkillable, in the sense, that, kill one, it will regenerate in about an hour or so when all its parts have assembled at the same place. It's like a very blobby and ugly phoenix. She scattered the slime's body all around, to delay the revival.

If there's something Arche is smart about, it's dungeons and monsters. With all the stories her father told her as a child, she knew exactly what the abilities certain monsters have, how to get rid of them, what kind of traps exist, and other dungeon secrets. But her father had avoided talking about those things ever since the accident. It's almost like he doesn't want her to learn anymore about dungeoning. That's silly, Arche thought in her head. Dad won't hate her for going in adventures. For now, she'll concentrate on getting that elemental stone from that mysterious cave. She had come back and forth from the school and cave, but no matter what she did, there was nothing.

"It's already 3 in the afternoon and I still can't do a thing about the cave…" Arche sighed. She soon reached the school once more, hoping that Nurse Remi still hasn't gone home. She's delighted to know that she was there in the first place. The nurse would get fussy over all her injuries, but at least the nurse didn't mind it as much as her mother did, who scolded her at the same time. And now she was made to promise to go to her whenever she gets too injured. Each time she went, there would be a new scratch on her body, knees, elbows, or legs. The reason for this is her rolling, avoiding danger, but in the end, scratching herself on the rough surfaces of the caves.

"Another injury, Arche?" The woman sighed, as she pointed to the bed. Arche nodded, showing her a few more scratches. She placed some oil made from herbs on the injuries. "Arche, soon, I may have to start charging you money for this. You've come to this infirmary more times today than everyone else did in a month!" Arche laughed.

"I can't help it." Arche smiled, "I'm using a sword, not magic."

"You gave those same words to me every time I complain as well." The woman nodded. "Well, just rest a bit." Arche nodded, sighing. She'll have to stay on the bed for 30 minutes again, but that's better than not being healed at all. The magic in the oil was starting to work as the scratches made way for clean skin, without so much as a mark on it. About 25 minutes later…

"Nurse Remi, can you look at this for me?" The nurse turned to find another girl in the infirmary.

"Oh my, Sana, you don't come here often." The nurse smiled. Arche almost sat up upon hearing Sana's name. "What is it this time?"

"Cluckadoodle was eating out of my hand and she accidentally pecked me." Sana laughed and winced a bit.

"Oh, yes, you were the one in charge of the chickens, right?" The nurse looked at her hand. "It doesn't look serious. Just a bit ointment and it would be fine." She rubbed it on the injury, and the magic cleaned the wound completely.

"Much better." The nurse nodded. Sana nodded, staff in hand. The nurse turned to her, "Oh, and are you going home soon?"

Sana nodded. "Cluckadoodle is finally eating her meal, so I suppose I should go home now." She looked at the clock in the room, "It's 3:30 after all."

"Sana!" Arche called from behind the nurse. Sana looked to find Arche, standing up from the bed.

"Arche? What are you doing here?"

The nurse answered for the girl, "Playing around the cave in the back." Arche sheepishly nodded as she grabbed the sword and placed it on her back. Sana looked at Arche and wondered why she was so interested in that cave.

"So… did you find one?"

"It was a dead-end." Arche sighed. "It was a pretty straightforward cave, but there were no other paths. But there's this pool of water and I was hoping to find a way through it, but I couldn't really swim with a sword…" Sana looked at her thoughtfully and nodded.

"Then, would you like some help?" Sana asked her.

"My, my, you two…" Nurse Remi sighed. "Arche, what influence are you to Sana?" Neither heard her, as Arche excitedly looked at Sana.

"What kind of help?" Arche asked.

"Water elemental stones, like Sana's Eolamest," Nurse Remi pointed to the staff, "can let you dive through pools. There's an advanced magic that allows you to let others breathe in water as well, but Sana is obviously not experienced enough to learn it."

"Really?" Arche stood up, her eyes in amazement. "That's AMAZING, Sana!" Sana sheepishly nodded, beaming brightly.

"Well, I'll still be here until nighttime. I DO sleep here after all." Nurse Remi chuckled. "Have fun!" The two nodded and ran out the door. Arche immediately registered Sana as a Party Member again.

(On The Fields Once More)

"Sana, would you like to be a permanent party member?" As the two walked across the now barren fields (due to Arche's excessive training session), Arche asked the girl a question.

"Eh? Permanent Party Member?" Sana asked, sending a few water bolts onto a snake, knocking it off a cliff. Arche pulled out a card. "Permanent Party Members are members that the leader trusts to the point that if you were around, you would immediately be registered as a Party Member, rather than me doing it all the time. Right now, you're a Temporary Party Member, which means, I share some of my strength to you, but you lose it when you leave." Sana nodded, remembering the strength of her attacks when with Arche. It wasn't normally that strong, especially her Diamond Dust. Normally, she can only summon one or two ice shards, but she summoned a hail back then. She tried the spell again when she was going home yesterday and it was as she expected, a few shards. "If you were a permanent party member, I can let you keep some of the strength permanently." Sana nodded, then looked at the card.

"About that card… What is it again?"

"Oh yeah, I haven't told you, huh?" Arche scratched her head, she looked at the card she was holding, only to shove it back in her pocket. It was the letter she received from Colm this morning. She pulled out another card. She could see that it was glowing yellow. Phew, correct.

"This is an Adventurer's License." Arche showed the card to the girl. "It is proof of being recognized by the Adventuring Guild. It is the first step to being an adult in Knight Schools like my old school."

"It's required?" Sana blinked.

"My Knight School was one of the high standard places…" Arche nodded. "It's kind of like Elemental Stones in Magic Schools I guess…" Arche sulked at this, as she remembered that she needed one again.

"Oh, I see." Sana nodded. Then she noticed that it was starting to turn orange. "Umm… Arche, the card…" Arche turned and looked at it. "Oh, looks like we're near a dungeon…"

"What?"

"At school, it was green, correct?" Sana thought back to yesterday when Arche pulled it out. She didn't know what she did then, but she knew that the card was glowing green then.

"Yeah."

"In fields, it would be yellow." Arche shrugged. "It means it's slightly dangerous, but people pass by all the time, so it can't be called a dungeon. When it turns orange, it means the field is close to a dungeon." Arche looked at Sana as she pocketed the card. "Well, I'm sure we can handle it." Arche points to the cave. "Well, I'm sure we'll have a fun time, Sana! That's all that matters!" Arche grinned.

"But we're going there to look for an elemental stone, right?" Sana asked, when she realized that maybe, Arche is just using her to get what she wants… Arche's answer cleared that feeling.

"If we find one, then that's a bonus~" Arche smiled. "I'll protect you so don't worry about it, ok, Sana?" Sana nodded, casting water bolts once more to clear away the slimes that are blocking their path. Arche immediately pulled out her sword and swatted them away. "Let's go!" Arche rushed in the cave, leaving Sana to trail behind. Sana looked at the girl's back with a smile. This will be her first adventure outside of school trips, and there may be plenty of dangers involved, but she knows that Arche will protect her. If there are monsters in there that will eat little kids named Sana, Arche won't be easy to get past.

"Sana!" Arche called from the cave, "Hurry up! We don't want to go home late!" Sana blinked and nodded. Arche was a friend she never experienced before. Most of her friends at school weren't the adventurous type, preferring to keep their lives as safe as possible. Sana was the same, but something about Arche inspires her to stay by her side. Why? Sana shook her head and ran after the girl.

(Inside the Cave)

"Adventuring with Sana~" Arche sang as she walked through the cave. It seems that the bats had finally learned their place and avoided the sword wielding girl and her companion. Arche told the girl to turn off a few of the torches so that the bats can sleep in peace. That way, only the slimes would be trouble. Arche continued walking through the path till they finally found the end of the place. The water glowed bright under the flame of the torch.

"This is the end of it." Arche pointed to the pond. Sana nodded, walking slowly to the side. The water was clearly deep.

"Sana, be careful." Arche told her. "If there's something dangerous, get back here as quick as possible." Sana looked at the girl and nodded.

"Alright, here I go." Sana jumped into the pool. Her staff immediately glowed bright, enveloping her with a bubble that preserves her underwater. Arche clapped above, but Sana could barely hear it, as she jumped deeper. But what she could clearly see was a straightforward tunnel, and a brighter part of water at the end. Light. There was light there. Sana walked through, turning this way and that, being careful of monsters. She soon reached that bright spot. She jumped up, and out of the water. Sana stepped out, completely soaked. Sana sighed and used magic to remove as much water from her clothes.

"Huah…" Sana looked around as she "dried" herself. There was no doubt, the tunnel continued beyond. Sana was sure of that. Is it possible for Arche to get here though? She could hear a few sounds from the other end of the path. She sighed, looking at the torch that indicated the presence of an area. Her eyes wandered. Rock. Rock. Rock. Odd Machine. Rock… Wait, what was that? Sana blinked walking to the odd contraption, and seeing a standard lever.

"What… What's this doing here?" Sana blinked, inspecting the thing. And like any person, when you see a lever, you flip it. Which Sana did post-haste. She then turned, hearing a sort of draining sound from the pond. Sana turned to see that the pond was indeed draining away.

(Back to Arche)

"Whoa, what did Sana do?" Arche looked as the water seeped away for one reason or another. But whatever Sana did, it was welcome. Arche jumped off and ran through the slightly damp passage. She soon reached the end, seeing Sana.

"Sana!" Arche called as she jumped next to Sana, who still seemed confused. "What d'you do? How did the water drain away?" Sana turned to face her.

"I dunno… There was this lever over here…" Sana pointed to the contraption. "I simply flipped it…"

"Don't flip a switch if it looks dangerous comes to mind…" Arche mutters. Sana sweat drops, "Well whatever, we got through!" Arche grinned. "Let's go then, Sana!" Arche drew her sword and walked to the next passage on.

"We're going to do more exploring?" Sana asked as she walked to Arche's side.

"If a dungeon has something that is conveniently lying around, then that means there's something special about this dungeon." Arche replied with a smile. "If it was a normal monster dungeon, there wouldn't be such cheap tricks."

"Maybe there really is an elemental stone here!" Sana smiled, looking at Arche.

Arche nodded. "Maybe!" The two ran through the dungeon. There were plenty of monsters in this place, mostly slimes and snakes.

"Don't turn out any torches now. Snakes are way too slippery in dark…" Arche muttered, grabbing her sword.

"Okay." Sana nodded, preparing to throw a few water bolts at the enemy. She certainly feels stronger. "Arche…"

"Yeah?" Arche turned, after throwing a snake as far as possible. Sana thought for a bit and shook her head.

"Never mind. Let's go!"

Arche nodded. She could see a wooden platform below. "So people have been here… Those torches prove that… Well that means this place is a legal dungeon!" Arche jumped onto the platform, and slipped below it again. Sana mumbled, jumping below as well. Sana found Arche in front of a wooden gate.

"Eh?" Arche groaned. Her sword is useless against wooden gates, being blunt and not really powerful enough to create a slash on it. "I flipped that lever though…" Arche sighed. Arche looked around the sun symbol that adorned the gate. "What does this mean… Do we have to look for a lever with a sun symbol?"

Sana looked behind, seeing an open gate. "Arche, there's an open gate over there... That must've been what opened when you flipped that switch." Arche turned, nodded.

"Well… Ok, we're going that way!" Arche nodded, walking down the road. Sana smiled. This was starting to get a bit fun.

(A Bit Later)

"Ok, so that puzzle lead to the lever with a sun symbol. Lucky~" Arche grinned at Sana. Sana nodded, the two walking past the previously closed gate. The two continued through the dungeon, but soon found themselves in front of a big stone door.

"Woah, this is definitely!" Arche pulled out her card, seeing the red glowing fiercely. "A dungeon door!" Arche grinned excitedly.

"Let's try going through then." Sana smiled. Arche turned to her.

"Sana, are you sure? Cave Dungeons are one thing, but a Lair Dungeon is harder…" Arche sighed. "It'll definitely be dangerous." Sana was obviously confused. Cave Dungeons, Lair Dungeons? Seeing the confused girl, Arche gasped. "Oh sorry, Sana, I used Adventurer lingo without meaning to…" Arche bowed in apology. "Cave Dungeons are natural dungeons, with little human help. If humans did anything, it would be little to none."

Sana nodded. "So the cave in itself is a cave dungeon? How are cave dungeons different from normal caves?"

"Hmm… There are caves that are meant to connect two different cities for example, making that a "field" and will only turn the card yellow. There are caves that are used for getting resources, "mines." Mines don't really have monsters as they are maintained by humans." Arche shrugged. "Cave Dungeons are areas that: 1) monsters live in, 2) humans don't need to pass through all the time, and 3) do not look human made." Arche smiled. "Lair Dungeons also follow the first two conditions but it is made by humans, spirits, and looks completely human-made."

"If it was made by humans… why would that make a dungeon harder?" Sana asks.

"Deathtraps." Arche answered simply. Sana winced at the thought. "I myself have never gone into a Lair Dungeon, so..." Arche sighed. "I'm not confident in being able to go through this place easily."

"… I want to play more… with Arche…" Sana mumbled. Arche turned around, having not heard what she said. Sana looked and nodded. "We haven't found an elemental stone yet, right? Let's check it out."

Arche looked at Sana's face and thought for a bit and nodded. "Ok, here goes!" Arche touched the door, and pushed at it. "Huh? It won't budge…" Arche pulled this time. "Still no good… Huh? There's a keyhole here…"

"That means it needs a key?" Sana asks.

"Yeah… But…" Arche looked around. "We haven't found a key…"

"Let's look a bit more." Sana asks earnestly. "We should be able to find one." 'Don't let it end yet... This fun adventure…' Arche nods, leaving the area with the girl.

(Later)

"… Nothing." Arche sighs. "Let's go, Sana, the key's not here." Sana nods, sadly.

"Okay let's go." In defeat, Sana walked behind Arche, who continued to smile, tired, but continued to smile bright. They soon found themselves back at the room that used to have a pond in. They once more went past the formerly underwater passage, only to see three wide-eyed boys as they see two girls they never expected to see. Colm, Leon, and Chupil looked shocked as two girls, a bit dirty and dusty, with a few scratches here and there, appeared from the pass.

"Wha… Why are you here?" Colm scowled, walking up to Arche. "I sent you a message earlier, didn't I?" Arche pulled out the envelope and slammed it into his face. It was the earlier letter.

"This one?" Arche asks with a pout "I wonder if it's me or YOU guys who's not supposed to be here, Colm?"

"This is our secret base!" Colm answered back. "That's what I said in that letter, right? You little girls are the ones who really shouldn't be here." Colm then pulled out a glowing red card. "I'm an adventurer, see? I have a right to go into dungeons and do whatever I want! And I say this is my place!" Arche grabbed the card and read:


Colm Travier
Wizard
This card certifies that the name inscribed above is a
recognized adventurer by the Adventuring Committee.

Travis Reconar
Secretary of the Adventuring Committee


Flipping it over:


Party Members: 3

Leader: Colm Travier

Members: Leon Vestin (TMP)
Chupil Armiro (TMP)

Marks of Heroism: 0


"Give that back!" Colm scowled, grabbing the card.

To that, Arche pulled out a book, leafed to a page and recited: "… Adventurer Rulebook: Section V. Dungeoning. Article 3. Dungeons are forbidden from being monopolized by an adventurer. If another adventurer wishes access to the dungeon, allow him/her passage." Colm blinked. Where did she get that book?

"That only applies to OTHER adventurers!" Colm pointed out.

Arche pulled out her Adventurer's License. "I'm an adventurer as well, so I have a right to be here." Colm blinked, grabbing the card himself. He compared his to hers.

"Uwah? Marks of Heroism: 2!? What? How?" Colm blinked. "What are Marks of Heroism?"

"I refuse to tell you." Arche shrugged.

Colm blinked. "Uh… You're still angry about yesterday, aren't you?"

As the two bickered, Leon soon enough lost interest, turning to Sana. "So, uh… Sana, you're Arche's party member?"

"Oh, uh yeah…" Sana nodded, smiling. "So you're Colm's?"

"Yup. I didn't think you'd want to go adventuring, Sana…" Leon looked at the dirtied girl. "You… always were the quiet type…"

"Oh uh, yeah!" Sana nodded. "I went today because Arche asked me to."

Leon nodded. "So how did the water level go down?"

"Umm… You know that I have a Water Elemental Stone, right?" Leon nodded. Who wouldn't know? Sana was the third most proficient student when it comes to magic in their grade. She's already capable of casting two different magic spells. The first was Stella and the second was Colm. "So… my stone let me breathe underwater…" Leon blinked, but didn't interrupt. "So I walked through and lowered a lever at the end of the passage… It drained the water, letting Arche get past the water. We did a bit of exploring already but… we found a dungeon door that just won't open." Arche nodded.

"Umm… So you already scoured this place, without our permission." Colm scowled. It was obvious the two party leaders were already done arguing. Then he raised his hands behind his head and grinned. "Well, whatever. Thanks, Sana!" Sana blushed a bit in appreciation, not used to being complimented, "Now our secret base is twice as big!"

Arche pouts at this, "We didn't do it for you!"

"Umm, guys!" Chupil raised his voice. "Shouldn't we go home? We spent too long here… Our parent's might get worried." Arche and Sana looked at each other and nodded.

"No time to argue!" Arche said. "Let's go home!" The five rushed through the paths. A slime suddenly showed up. Colm glared, standing and focused a bit of magic, but Arche beat him to it, grabbing her own sword and slashing the slime and sending it hurtling upwards. Colm readjusted his aim, only for Sana to steal the shot as a burst of water struck the slime, sending it flying away again. Colm decided to stop, to simply observe the two. And it was obvious how the two were synced, as Arche jumped and stabbed the slime as she fell. These two… They were smiling.

(Outside)

"Uwah!" Sana gasped as she looked at the sky. "It's already nighttime!?"

Arche shrugged, "We spent too much time searching for the key, I guess." She then smiled. "The sky's so pretty in the night!" The two girls laughed together as the three boys finally exited.

"Chupil, don't trip on that rock…" Leon sighed. "That ALWAYS happens…"

"It wasn't on purpose!" Chupil sighed. "Oh no… It's so late… I'll get locked out for sure…"

"… That sounds terrible…" Arche sweat drops. "My folks are okay with me going home late, so I don't know much about that though."

"Same here." Leon and Colm said.

"I'm not sure with my Mom… This was the first time I've been out this late…" Sana looked at the sky.

"Let's go home. And no splitting up this time, boys." Arche shrugged. Colm grumbled a bit.

(Fields between Minasa-Ratis and Tonkiness)

"It's a bit quiet, though…" Colm mentioned as they walked. "When we came pass, there weren't a lot of slimes…"

"I cleared them out earlier." was Arche's answer. Colm nodded.

"So it really is true." Colm grinned. "With great power comes great stupidity!"

"You used that insult already. Try something else." Arche replied, walking on. "I still have a sword, Colm." Their three companions sighed.

"They really don't get along, do they?" Leon mentioned to Sana. Sana nodded.

"Arche is the most honest person I ever met." Sana then pointed at Colm, "But Colm is… a habitual liar."

"Hey!" Colm yelled back, causing Sana to eep a bit before continuing.

"So their own values clash already." Leon nodded. Sana smiled back.

"Gah… I'm too young to be seeing this!" Chupil yelled. "First, Colm and the new girl are acting like an old married couple and now Leon and Sana are having a cheesy moment! I want home!" That shut up everyone, almost immediately.

"Me and her?" (Colm, looking at Arche, then glaring at Chupil)

"My name's Arche, not 'new girl'!" (Arche, and YES, she's not complaining about the romantic part)

"Wah, wah, wah!" (Sana, arms flailing wildly and jumping away from Leon)

"Don't say such random stuff!" (Leon, mirrors Sana)

All except Arche sported a blush as they yelled their retaliation. During their conversation, a bat was able to get close to them. Glaring with menacing eyes, it swooped down, finding its prey. It struck Arche in the back and she was knocked over on the ground. Arche glanced up, grabbed her sword but…

"Wind Gust!" Colm called, throwing the bat far away. Arche blinked, as she let go of her sword.

"Nice job, Colm!" Chupil grinned. Leon and Sana nods as well.

"Whatever." Arche mumbles, and continues walking.

"Hey, you were hit pretty badly back there. Are you alright?" Colm asked the girl. Arche turns around.

"I'm fine."

"Sana. Heal her." Colm immediately said as soon as Arche says those words.

"Uh…" Sana nods, "Heal Water!" Water exited the staff on Sana's hands and targets Arche. It immediately engulfs her entire body.

"There is no need for you to force yourself." Colm said as Arche threw a questioning glare. "If you are tired, at least heal yourself."

"… We're close to town anyway." Arche shrugged as they neared town. "I could just rest at home."

"I don't want to end up having to carry you home!" Colm scowled. Arche blinked and nodded.

"I suppose… you're not half bad." Arche smiled, as the group walked on, as the place looked clear. "Thank you, Colm."

"Uwah!" Colm gagged, as Arche pulled Sana and ran back into town before the boys.

"This is not helping your case about the old married couple thing." Chupil mentioned off-handedly.

"If you don't shut up about that, I'll make you wish that you fell off that pit over there." Chupil immediately shut up.

(Town of Tonkiness)

"Third Street." Sana said as the two walked towards the archway.

"I guess this is goodbye for the day?" Arche smiled, as the starts shone bright.

"Time sure flies…" Sana smiled. Then she remembered something. "Neh… Arche…"

"Yeah?"

"I want to…" Sana hesitated, not sure how to say it.

"Ah, can this wait till tomorrow, Sana?" Arche waved off the question for now. "Let's rest for the day. Tomorrow's Monday after all."

"Ah, okay…" Sana nodded. "Good night…" Arche nodded and ran off to Second Street.

"… I couldn't say it, huh?" Sana sighed. She walked on, looking at the sky, a bit sad at her own indecisiveness.

Chapter End


Arche's Card

Number in Party: 5

Party Leader:
Arche Plumfield
[Owns: 2 Marks (2 Major) (0 Minor)]

Members:
Sana Poanet (TMP)

Colm Travier (ADV)
[Owns: 0 Marks (0 Major) (0 Minor)]

Leon Vestin (TMP)

Chupil Armiro (TMP)

Marks of Heroism: 2


Colm's Card

Number in Party: 5

Party Leader:
Arche Plumfield (ADV)
[Owns: 2 Marks (2 Major) (0 Minor)]

Members:
Colm Travier
[Owns: 0 Marks (0 Major) (0 Minor)]

Sana Poanet (TMP)

Leon Vestin (TMP)

Chupil Armiro (TMP)

Marks of Heroism: 2


ADV means "Adventurer" It refers to party members that are also registered adventurers. It won't show up if the name is the card's owner's.

TMP means "Temporary" It refers to party members that are only with you, but are not adventurers by default.

PRM means "Permanent" It refers to party members that are OFFICIALLY trusted by the Party Leader.

The "Owns" part only pops up if another ADV or a PRM is part of the team. TMP party members can't have Marks, so it's redundant if this was mentioned. Major and Minor will be explained in further chapters.