Isaac rolled out of his bed in his hometown of Vale and rubbed his sapphire eyes with both hands. The young hero yawned and stretched; after awaking his senses, he walked over to his bedroom window and gazed down. His best friend, Garet, was practicing his Psynergy skills with a huge stone column; he used Move, Carry, Force, and just about any other power he had under his belt. Isaac smiled to himself.

*Garet's still practicing his Psynergy, even six months after we returned from defeating Alex in the Jupiter Lighthouse.* Isaac thought to himself, happily. *I'm just glad Felix reformed afterward. Jenna was very pleased when he agreed to come home with us. I'm just glad everyone believed us when we told the bogus story about him just being a puppet. I still feel bad about lying, but; what else could I do?* Isaac turned around and slipped his tunic on so he could go outside. He struggled to pull on his boots as he left his dwelling to head over to see his friend. After he finally got his boots on properly, he pulled his yellow scarf tighter so as not to lose it to the winds from the north. Isaac turned around Garet's house; Garet was using Move to play around with his stone training pillar. Isaac snuck up, quiet as a panther, until he was right behind his best friend.

"Hey Garet!" Isaac exclaimed, causing Garet to jump three feet into the air, breaking his concentration. The stone pillar fell to the ground with a loud crash, almost landing on his sister's flowers.

"Isaac, you know I hate that!" Garet shouted as he spun around to see his friend, grinning ear-to-ear. "How are you doing, bro?" Garet's continence changed from anger to a wide grin.

"Quite all right. I see you're still practicing your Psynergy consistently."

"Like you don't, Isaac?" Isaac just smiled at his friend.

"Yeah, I still practice a lot. I can't get that by you, can I?"

"Nope. So, what are we going to do today?"

"I don't know. It's been boring around here since we got back and Ivan and Mia left for home. After you see the world for awhile, being back in one place gets old real fast."

"Craving for adventure, Isaac? I know what you mean; at least things are back to normal around here with Jenna, Kraden, and Felix back home. Though, you're right that it has become boring around here since we returned. I'm thinking about getting a job at the blacksmith's place. Maybe you should apply too! You probably could forge some killer weapons, Isaac!"

"I just may do that, Garet. I need something to do besides sit around the house or waltz around Vale."

"You two are always doing nothing; a job would suit you well." Jenna smirked as she approached the two friends.

"Hey, Jenna! Nice to see you!" Isaac turned to her.

"Good to see you. How are you this morning, Jenna?" Garet spun.

"Same as usual. So, you two lazy bums are thinking about getting a job?" Jenna asked, broadly smiling.

"We're thinking about it. We really need something to do, after all. Hey, Isaac, How about we go right now?" Garet asked his friend.

"Sure. I don't have anything else to do. Before we go, let me check on my mom." Isaac returned.

"She's been sick for awhile now, hasn't she?" Garet asked. Isaac nodded, and walked back to his house. Jenna's purple eyes glared at him.

"You've got the biggest mouth, Garet! This has been bothering Isaac since before we even returned home! He's genuinely worried about his mother; don't make things harder than they already are!"

Isaac's mother, Dora, had come down with an illness while he and his friends had been questing against Saturos and Merandi months ago. Isaac had promised his mother he would not return until he finished his quest. When Isaac broke his promise by returning to Vale after rescuing Master Hammet from the clutches of Dodonpa, he was shocked to learn his mother had fallen under the weather. Concerned, he returned home, to find his mother down with a fever and a cold. Dora forced Isaac to continue his quest and to ignore her sickness. Later, after retrieving Babi's draught from Lemuria and defeating Alex after he lit the Jupiter Lighthouse, Isaac returned to his home, and his mother's condition hadn't improved. In fact, it had worsened; she was now confined completely to bed, with the innkeeper and the Sanctum healer dropping by daily to administer food and healing. The Sanctum's healer informed Isaac that her condition was unknown, but it was probably caused by loneliness. The healer said there was little he could do. He described her symptoms as constant fever, occasional nausea, total lethargia, minor muscle dystrophy, a constant cold, terrible cough, and in a worst-case scenario, pneumonia.

"Sorry, it's not like I was trying, Jenna. I'm worried too; his mother's always been so kind to everyone. Remember, she didn't even get mad when I put those two holes in the roof?"

"All too well, Garet." Jenna sighed, remembering the day all of the adventures had started. "I really wish I could've seen all of the sights you guys did. It would've been more exciting without Saturos and Merandi breathing down our necks 24-7."

"I'm just glad it's all over. Good riddance to those three. I can't believe they used Felix the way they did. If they had any redeeming qualities, it was the fact that they saved your brother's life. That's it."

"Yes, you're right, Garet. That was their sole good quality." Jenna and Garet were silent for a few moments.

"Garet, do you think Dora will ever get better?" Jenna asked, a great tone of concern in her voice. Garet turned and fixed his crimson eyes on his friend.

"I doubt it, Jenna. It's really not looking good right now. She's lost a lot of strength recently, and Isaac's doing his best to take care of her. I don't think even Mia could help her now." Garet's eyes narrowed as he sadly replied. "I honestly don't think she's going to last much longer." Jenna's face had a growing look of depression and she didn't reply to her friend's truthful requiem. Garet's hand clenched tight. "You would've thought throughout all of our travels we could've found something to cure something like this! Dammit, I wish we could do something!"

"Don't be so hard on yourself, Garet. If there was anything that could've been done, it would've been done." Jenna rested a hand on Garet's shoulder. "I just hope Isaac is taking this well."

"He's not. Despite the fact he acts normal when he's around us, I can tell the guy's heart is aching him to no end. First his father, now his mother." He heard footsteps approaching on the path nearby. "Quiet, I think he's coming." Garet shushed. Sure enough, Isaac was dashing down the dirt path back to his friends. Judging by the look on his face, he hadn't heard a word of their conversation.

"Hey, Garet! Let's go get a job!" Isaac exclaimed.

"Your mother approved?"

"You bet! In fact she was rather pleased we thought about it! Let's go apply; I'm sure we can get a position."

"OK! You want to tag along, Jenna?"

"No, I have to get back to the inn. It's almost my cooking shift. See you guys later." Jenna spun around on her heels and slipped down the path directly for the inn. Isaac nodded to Garet, and then they walked down a path to the blacksmith. The two friends marched into the large store. The floors were solid wood, with barrels of swords and bows scattered around between weapon racks filled with axes, hatchets, arrows of varying sizes and shapes, varying short-bows, and even more swords, ranging from minor short swords to man sized bastard swords. The main desk where the blacksmith sat was directly in front of the door, and the man sitting behind the counter was medium-sized, but muscular. His hair was brown, matching his moustache. The man's eyes were brown, and they conveyed his experience at his trade along with his girth. The man saw Isaac and Garet and promptly greeted them.

"Hey Garet! Hey, Isaac! Good to see you today! So, what can I do for you this day?" The man smiled.

"We heard you needed a couple of more sets of hands in the shop, so we came to help!" Garet replied.

"You guys want to work for me?! That's an honor, two heroes like you. I'd be glad to have you aboard! Consider yourselves hired."

"When do we start working?" Garet asked.

"Noon tomorrow is your first shift. Be here and I'll show you around."

"You got it, boss!" Garet said as he and Isaac left the facility.

"That was easy enough, wasn't it, Isaac? I'm glad we could get employed so easily."

"Gee, Garet, that was obvious. It's only because we're friends with the blacksmith. Nonetheless, I agree. It is good that we have a job. Sorry I can't stay and chat Garet, but I have to go home. I think mom is looking a little more sick than normal today. See ya, Garet." Isaac turned away and walked quietly toward his abode.

Garet stared onward at his companion and shook his head. *He knows now too. I guess my hunch wasn't farfetched after all. I just hope for once that this time I'm wrong.*