-1It's been a while, sorry. Just wanna something real quick. In the last couple of chaps Valeria was supposed to lose her helmet. I forgot to include that so I'm gonna get to rewriting that into it. So remember no helmet.


Bright lights illuminated the city. In the center of the town square, a beautiful fountain made of mermaids pour water from stone vases. People sat atop roofs of stone buildings, enjoying the breeze and looking down at the ant-like forms of people below. Three wide streets split away the square, leading to the west, north, and east. A mass of people crowded the square, there was barely enough elbow room to squeeze between. A particularly large group of onlookers gathered at a store down the east road. Shiro stood in awe at the amazing structures and beauty of everything. It had been long a long time since he had been this far into the empire.

"I'm going to check around. See if there is any empire soldiers posted here on the look out." Valeria explained turning herself to the east road. She looked at the large crowd of spectators "I'm gonna see what that's about too."

"Huh?" Shiro remained snapped out of his daze and back to reality..

"I would suggest that you stay here and wait for Carrillo, but that won't happen right?"

"There are a few things I want to see. I'm sure we'll run into him eventually." Shiro struggled to stand as people pushed him back and forth while passing. He held his arm protectively at his side.

"It should go without saying, but don't do anything stupid. Also, we'll meet back here in an hour, okay? "

"Alright, I'll be sure to stick to those guidelines. Be safe." He turned to the east and proceeded forth into the mass of people. He took a moment to turn and wave a goodbye before disappearing into the bulk of heads and bodies.

Valeria watched him leave and wondered whether he knew his way around. She figured what he said was true; she'd run into him eventually anyway.

Shiro walked through the crowds uneasily. He constantly knocked people and found himself apologizing constantly. Still holding his arm he began to adapt to the town and swim into the small pockets of space.

"I almost forgot how crowded this place is." Shiro looked at the signs posted about the street. "Should be around here."

He spotted a small store at the corner. A smile overcame him and he rushed through people and into the shop. Almost instantly he lost excitement when he saw that the store now operated as watch repair and sale. A glance at the counter to his left showed a young man lazily flipping through a newspaper. Shiro approached him and stared at the boy silently.

"Got a thing for young boys, huh?" The boy asked suddenly.

"I've got a thing for kicking their asses." Shiro answered back. "Why aren't you doing your job?"

That's not what he really cared about or wanted to know, it happened purely as a reaction to the earlier comment.. He was more interested in what happened to the place. It used to be a home to jewels from all over the continent. It's transgression into a tiny aluminum clock and watch shop seemed to be a terrible downgrade.

"Who are you to tell me what to do?" The boy stood up and attempted to look him in the eye. He realized too late that the height difference was too great.

"You know a guy named Mister Artopi?" Shiro asked nonchalantly.

"You can't just change the subject like that! We're still arguing!"

Soft steps could be heard from the door behind the young clerk. The door swung open slowly to reveal a stout older gentlemen with a full, thick, gray beard. He rubbed at his glasses profusely with a silk cloth. He squinted at Shiro his beady eyes could hardly focus.

"I'm sorry if my young assistant has caused you any trouble, sir. May I, perhaps, be of service?"

"It's his fault. He was bein' a jerk. The other guy was cooler." The boy stood next to the older man.

"You must learn to be respectful or you'll never run your own business."

"Mister … Mister Artopi …It's good to see you're well." Shiro said abruptly.

"Hmm? Who might this be?" The rosy cheeked man replaced his glasses onto his bulbous nose "Shiro! How are you, lad? It's been years! Why the sudden reappearance?"

"I'm well, sir. I happened to be in the area, so I thought you deserved a visit."

"How splendid! Two visits in one day. I never would have guessed I was so special. Are you two here together?"

"Together? With whom?" Shiro asked with a questioning look.

"Well Syph of course he visited me just a few hours ago. I'm surprised you didn't know. Don't you two keep in touch?"

Shiro didn't answer, instead a barrage of thoughts raced through his mind. It seemed his luck had finally begun to work for him. To find that guy or a least a lead is too perfect. Shiro's brow furrowed as he thought of where Syph may be.

"Shiro, are you all right? Did you two lose touch or something?" The older man rocked his shoulder until he snapped back.

"Oh! Yeah… we kinda lost touch after The Blaze."

"Oh my, I'd nearly forgotten that affected you all. It was such a terrible thing they did. Tell me how is Goukin?"

"He passed away in incident."

If Shiro wanted any hope of finding Syph he needed to leave now. Perhaps is he got a solid lead and ran fast enough. No… the trail had probably gotten cold by now, but a lead is a lead.

"Mister Artopi, would you please tell me where Syph said he was heading?"

"Oh well when I asked him he said he was going west. He also said he wouldn't be able to leave 'til after sunset tonight though. Something he had to do I think. Though I must say there was something different about him from when you two used to supply me with my equipment orders."

"Thank you, sir! I'm sorry, but I must be going." Shiro said and he turned for the door "I'll be back to visit you again, I swear!"

"Take your time now. It was nice seeing you!" The aging man yelled after him.

"Even though his hair was weird, I still think the other guy was cooler." The forgotten little boy piped.

Shiro ran out into the street full of people after shielding his eyes from the bright lights he ruched through the people, slowly making his way back to the square. A new determination gleamed in his eyes. That tip was just what he need, he'd have to thank Valeria and Carrillo another time, right now he had a chance. He rudely pushed past his fellow pedestrians, he felt as if nothing could stop him now. All he had to do was hit the western exit.

Carrillo slowed to a stop several miles outside of the glowing mass on the horizon. He didn't remember the city being so bright last time. He'd fallen prey to fatigue and could barely will himself to go the rest of the distance. Rather than stop completely and rest, he began to walk at a slovenly pace in the hopes that his energy would return. On the way he occasionally tilted his head up for a look at the stars, the view would become unattainable after reaching the small town he had his sights on. The night became cold, the sudden necessity for an upper body covering revealed itself. Carrillo wrapped his arms around himself in an attempt to keep any warmth he had within himself. A quick look to the left showed a small glimmer of light down a narrow path to his left. While going through an evil looking forest at night towards strange lights was against his beliefs, he figured it might be a home he could stop at for a quick pit stop. After several minutes of walking he was able to make out the form of a small cottage. He didn't get his hopes up, he knew all too well not to put complete faith in the altruism of others. If they wouldn't have him then he'd be on his way. Some time later he'd found himself in front of the home that he'd ventured for. Several strong, solid knocks traveled through the home. Soft steps came close to the door, a squeak emitted from the hinges as it opened. A tall gangly man stood in the door way. He wore loose purple robes and wore an inviting smile, his eyed twinkled just a bit as he looked out.

"I'm sorry to intrude, but could you please allow me to relax here for a bit before I continue on my way?"

"Certainly! I'm always pleased to have guests!." The man looked Carrillo up and down before stepping aside to let him in. Carrillo walked past and scanned his surroundings. The house was smaller inside than it seemed, it was one room separated into sections. The entryway was across from the cooking area, a wall had been set up separating it from the bedroom, in a corner of the kitchen a table with two chairs sat cozily near a window.

"I'd ask for your jacket, but…"

"I'm sorry, if this is uncomfortable, I'll-"

"No, it's quite alright" The man said still grinning.

"Yes. Well my name is Carrillo. Thank you for allowing me into your home."

"I'm Atrel. Don't worry about it, it's no problem at all. Are you hungry? I've got some soup cooking." Atrel made his way to a pot he had over a fire.

"If it wouldn't be a problem."

"Of course not. Think nothing of it." He shoved a wooden bowl full of the beige liquid into Carrillo's arms. He had already stationed himself at the table with his own bowl. "Take a seat."

Carrillo sat across from Atrel. He hesitated to partake in his food until the other man had begun. The dinner was long, silent and uneasy for Carrillo. Halfway through Atrel suddenly began conversation.

"So, what brings you here?"

"I'm going to Souken." Carrillo said resting his spoon back into the remainder of soup.

"Really, with all those bright lights? I much prefer the solitude of nature."

"Is that so?"

"We've got our own lights here as well. The fireflies here are amazing." Atrel turned his head to the window.

"I see." Carrillo followed suit.

"You know… a lot of people don't know that when fireflies glow they're trying to attract a mate."


"Yes, the male fireflies release a hormone that makes their ends glow when they are ready to find a partner. It's quite amazing really. The female firefly is then serenaded by the beauty of the light and comes running. The beauty of the firefly mating astounds even humans." Atrel continued to grin strangely.


"While we're on the topic, it is customary for someone who's staying in another's home to repay the owner."

Carrillo felt something brush against his leg. Atrel keep up his grinning. They stared at each other for a few moments, the awkward tension seemed to strangle feet glided over the forest floor as he pumped his legs harder and faster. A cool breeze fell over him as he proceeded towards his goal.

"Should have never stopped."

Valeria found her way to the front of the crowd that surrounded a rather large jewelry store.

"What happened?" She asked a short lady with makeup plastered about her face.

"It seems some rouge bandits or something came and robbed the store. The owner says they used some kind of energy. I tell you they're out of control, they should kill of the whole lot of them.

Valeria frowned at the lady before her attention was returned to the scene before here.

"Lady Jenna? Lady Jenna! Please over here." An armor clad soldier called her to the front of the crowd. She slowly made her way to the soldier.

"Yes?" Valeria asked still unsure if they were referring to her. She decided to go along with it and see what she could find out.

"Thank you for getting here so soon. The situation seems to be that several 'energy users' pillaged this small storefront."

"Pillaged? Small?" Valeria questioned his words as the storefront the spoke of was anything but modest with its bright lights and extravagant display of jewelry. It seemed that there was more property damage than pillaging. But if she wanted to get away with it she needed to play the part. "Pillaged, no. This was an attempt of destruction for all that we live for! Do we have anything to go on?"

"The manager says on was average height with a katana and gray hair. Unusual, huh?" The soldier explained. "The other wore a brown wide rimmed hat with a long brown trench coat. This one used guns."

"Shouldn't be to hard to find" Valeria wondered if it would be too late to get to them first and recruit them into the army. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a line of people being pushed aside as something topped with a golden brown made it's way past. "Shiro?"

He'd found him, it was only a matter of time. He could now get his revenge for the abandonment. For the pain. He would finally get what he deserved. Shiro had been training and hoping for this moment, even his still immobile arm wouldn't hold him back.

"It's time Syph, you're finally within my grasp."

I might redo this. I apologize to anyone who may have been waiting for this it's like a month late. I only began writing it around the time it should have been done. I suck with deadlines. Tell me what you think. Also if you read below you'll get a special teaser just as a way of me apologizing. It's written in first person view here, but that's not necessarily how I'll write it. It is possible that the teaser may be subject to alteration. Thanks for waiting and the support.






I felt it again. The darkness. It's flowing through me, begging me to accept it. It felt good last time. Too good. I want it again to feel the rush, even if it kills me inside. Just once more. Yes! The energy, it's back, supporting me once again. Standing I faced my enemy. He downed me once; that won't happen again. He's trying to play it cool as if he still got control. He's never been good at accepting when others were better than. It's time to end it. I let out a roar; the essence had begun to take over. In an instant I stood before him swords readied. I swung furiously. He dodged and blocked them all. I must admit, he was sharp as ever. He moved on the offensive now. A swift slash to the side. I blocked it, but I needed the strength of both swords. He pulled back, I moved forward. I felt so free, It felt as if the essence had enveloped me completely. Sparks flew furiously as we matched each pother point for point.

"So you had to become a beast to take me on? You're weaker than I imagined."

I said nothing there were no words that could describe what I was feeling. Rage, sadness, excitement. Just being in this fight excited me, so much that I nearly lost sense of my mission. A new emotion emerged, fear. What if this thing overcame me? Would I be able to control it? Or does it already control me? I saw his sword all too late. I felt the cold of the steel slice into me. My body felt lighter, almost split into half. Then I felt as if I was scattering into a million fragments.