Chrono Corruption

Act 1: The Frozen Flame

Chapter 1: Secret of the Sea

The Frozen Flame, a mythical treasure that draws the attention of all treasure seekers. Said to be merely a myth, the Frozen Flame is regarded by some as nothing more than a 'Fool's Errand', a 'Wild Goose Chase', and even a 'Tall Tale'. It's said it's a treasure that could grant any wish, what a laugh right? Just like a child's fairytale. That would make it a treasure to end all treasures. No known origin of the flame has ever been proven and it differs from storyteller to storyteller, from liar to liar, from scholar to scholar and from hunter to hunter. Most people believe it's nothing more than a rumor and that's the one's who have even heard of it, which aren't many.

People that know of it, all have different theories and stories as to its origin. Some believe it to be from an ancient magical kingdom that once floated in the skies. Nonsense…, I'm a Treasure Hunter and Archaeologist and while I've uncovered lost artifacts from distant, ancient civilizations, I've never found anything that says people lived in cities that were elevated in the skies. Still, that would be cool though… Nevertheless, others claim it's far older, like some ancient gem stone from the ages of the dinosaurs. This theory isn't entirely impossible; after all, I don't believe ancient man was as dull as the stones they used. I believe humans were always smart and clever. Other stories include things like the Frozen Flame being a highly advanced machine from far in the future that was sent back to record time and what not… That's a wild one, heh, heh, heh… Its purpose and appearance also differ from tale to tale. Some say it can grant wishes, but at a price, like your life for instance, to me that would make it worthless you can't even keep it then, or enjoy what you wished for. Others believe it's a rare mineral that can be used as a source of energy and that finding it would change the way the world works, which is very likely. Some even think it's some kind of weapon of mass destruction, which is laughable. Oh and get this, I've even heard that it's something that fell from the heavens, like a meteorite from some alien world. Yeah right, that's the most unbelievable one yet! Ha!

You want to know what I think... I believe the Frozen Flame, if it exists and that's if it 'does' in fact exist, it's a large uncut gemstone of incredible rarity, or a rare mineral of some kind. A mineral that, if found could easily be used to further technology in a number of ways. If found we may be able to trace it to where it can be found naturally. Then again, on the other hand, I also believe that it may just be some old man's hoax. A rumor started by some old troll under a bridge to confuse humanity and tease their greed. Then again, there is always some 'Grain of Truth' to these old myths and that, to me, is the real treasure. The truth… as corny as that may sound to you. But hey, am I really so wrong? The truth is a hard thing to find after all… and so many covet it… because so many conceal it.

*The Great Blue Ocean*

A medium sized water faring vessel made from strong wood and thick sails bravely sailed towards the most dangerous and treacherous part of the world's oceans. These waters were called by sailors, The Sea of El Nido. In these waters lie anomalies that defy what man knows about nature. Calm waters swallow ships whole with seemingly no warning. Navigators and their equipment are thrown off by strange readings that make no sense and many are lost. Many more are lost to terrifying storms that make mice out of even the most seasoned sailor. Today, it is the year 1005 A.D. and it is a calm day with not a cloud in the sky and a band of treasure hunting explorers called the Explorer Corps intend to go scuba diving in hopes of unveiling its mysteries.

A young man lies sleeping on the expansive bow. He hopes to abate his case of sea sickness. He appeared to be in his early twenties, had a sturdy build and was quite tall, measuring at six feet and four inches in height. He has brown spiky hair that was swept to the right side and he has soft dark green eyes. He wears a forest green scarf that is wrapped loosely around his neck with the tail end reaching down his back. A tight charcoal colored t-shirt hugs his wide shoulders, torso and deltoids. Over that shirt he wears an ash grey short sleeved jacket with a white woolen interior and brown leather covering the shoulders. The jacket's sleeves were rolled up at the hem and two small straps, one on each sleeve, both buttoned to the jacket itself indicated that the jacket had sleeve extensions for cold weather. His worn azure colored shorts were lined with deep pockets and were held up by a plain black leather belt. He wore two tin plated charcoal colored dagger sheathes, one at each hip, with two used and worn daggers sheathed in them. Other items included his personal favorite pair of yellow rimmed goggles placed around his forehead, charcoal colored finger-less gloves, forest green rolled down socks and charcoal colored boots with tin metal plates adorning the toes and heels. As he lay in the sun a seemingly ancient artifact in the shape of a simple skeleton key with a gleaming colorless gem stone set in it seemed to absorb the suns rays as it lay on his chest. It was hung around his neck by an iron chain.

The young man noticed the sunlight became blocked by a shadow that loomed over him. The shadow belonged to an irate young woman. She called out to him, "Ty…! Ty you bonehead are you feeling any better?" she scolded as he opened his eyes. He squinted as the girl moved as he couldn't look into the sunlight directly. He rubbed his eyes to ward off his grogginess.

Ty responded with a yawn as he sat up from his 'pillow' made from a coil of rope, "Yeah Tomo, what do you want anyway? You know I don't do well with sea sickness…, a nap is the only thing that cures me."

"I just wanted to let you know my dad says we'll be at our destination in a few moments, so you better get your gear ready," Tomo informed as she placed her hands on her wide hips. Tomo was also in her early twenties and was much shorter than Ty; she came to about five feet and two inches tall and had a very fit build, amber colored eyes and she has honey brown colored hair that was styled in a short spunky haircut with her neckline fraying outwards and curled upwards slightly, more so from the right side than the left. She was dressed in a white plain sleeveless leotard and a pair of charcoal black colored stretchy form fitting pants with an olive green waistband. An olive green purse was strapped to her hip on the left side and a brown leather whip at her right. Two large olive green pouches also lined her belt above her rear. She also wore a brown short jacket with short sleeves, a hood and zipper with two black horizontal lines running alongside the chest and white fluffy hems. Her arms were covered with charcoal black fingerless gloves that reached her elbows and she wore brown leather boots with fluffy hems around the ankles. She sported heavy beige sand filled arm weights and anklets to match and she had a wooden Ogan's Hammer strapped to her back alongside an olive green leather rucksack that was slung over her left shoulder. Lastly, the most mysterious item she carried was an ancient artifact in the form of a small sand filled hourglass. It too seemed to absorb the suns rays as it shined brightly in the sun. It was strapped to a small light silver chain that was hung around her neck. "My dad says that we'll be reaching our destination soon and he wants everyone ready!" she informed with her hands still on her hips as she tapped her foot repeatedly.

"Oh yeah? Well, Toma can just wait a few more minutes that's what he can do!" Ty said with a playful grin.

"Okay then, but you know how my dad gets when he's mad!" Tomo said as she pouted.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm up..," Ty responded with a stretch.

"I can't just leave you here to have naughty dreams all day!" Tomo teased with a smirk and a wink.

"Oh, but those are the fun ones! I think you were in one of them once!" he said returning her teasing. "Would you like to hear about it?"

She retorted with a mocking laugh and a slight blush, "Ty you're so much a prude that I sometimes wonder if you're even capable of naughty dreams!"

Ty placed his arms down as he cracked his knuckles. "Dreams about copious amounts of food are 'naughty' to you Tomo!" he ended with a chuckle.

The two began walking slowly to their destination while keeping conversation, "Well then just excuse this little piggy!" Tomo replied while she playfully stuck out her tongue.

Ty teasingly knocked on Tomo's head as if it were a door. "Careful now, you should really watch how much food you eat. After all, you know what they say, 'A moment on the lips, forever on the hips'!" Ty teased back. As Ty said that he caught a gaze at Tomo's plump posterior and thick thighs.

Tomo caught his blushing, but nervous gaze, "Hey there, where do you think you're looking?" she asked with a giggle.

Ty shot her a rather cheerful gaze, "Nowhere special, but I'm not gonna lie your backside fills out those stretchy clothes really well!" he said politely.

Tomo felt a little irritated as she crossed her arms. "Humph! I wear these skin tight clothes because they are sporty and comfortable. Just so you know! So don't get the wrong idea and lose your self control!" she said confidently as she flexed a little.

"The only one around here who can't 'control' themselves Tomo, is you!" Ty grinned with a chuckle.

The two bickered playfully until they parted ways at their respective cabins. The ship came to a stop and Ty and Tomo each came from their cabins now wearing swim wear. Ty simply kept his azure shorts on along with his daggers at his sides and his skeleton key artifact around his neck. Tomo wore a simple white one piece bikini with her olive green rucksack, her hourglass artifact and Ogan's Hammer still with her alongside her weighted anklets and wristlets.

The two met up outside and made their way to the Main Deck to meet with other co-workers. They continued to bicker playfully as they did so. As the workers gathered on deck, a muscular heavy set man with a big belly and strong burly arms stood at the bridge overlooking them. He had spiky dark brown hair with a scruffy mustache and beard and he wore round rimmed glasses over his dark eyes. He dons a beige bandanna wrapped around his forehead leaving the tail end to dangle off the back of his head. He is wearing a dirt stained, sleeveless white shirt with a burnt orange leather jacket that had many pockets with archaeological tools stuffed into them. A stone grey stretchy cloth sash held up his worn tan baggy pants and he wore baggy brown gloves with orange weighted arm guards with silver plating and orange boots with grey socks. Lastly, he carried a massive backpack with all kinds of equipment as well as small bags around his waist. "Well, thanks to you all for coming out here despite all the terrifying legends surrounding these parts, but that is what we explorers do!" he said strongly.

Ty leaned in towards Tomo and whispered in her ear, "Your dad really knows how to ham it up!"

"Shh, pay attention!" Tomo responded with a heavy whisper.

As Toma XIV finished his speech, two more explorers made themselves known as they approached Ty and Tomo. A male and female, they are siblings and around the same age as Ty and Tomo. The way they dressed and carried themselves indicated they were very wealthy. The male has wavy blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, was about five feet and seven inches tall and has a lithe build. He wears a lavender tunic with a black belt over a baggy white long sleeve shirt, a pair of tan baggy pants, white gloves, lavender boots and a dark purple cape with white animal skin trimmings with black spots both around his neck and at the tail end of the cape. He also carried a blue satchel at his left hip and a Mithril Rapier at his right hip. The woman was exactly the same height as the man, but her leather strapped indigo steeple mage's hat made her seem taller than she really was. She has long black hair with curled sideburns that framed her face, blue eyes and possessed a very voluptuous yet fit build with a large bust she proudly showed off. She was scantily dressed with only a blue long sleeved crop top that bared her midriff and matching loin cloth with an indigo cape. She also wears a black leather belt, a pair of white frilly gloves, black thigh high stockings and purple boots. She also brandishes a Mithril Rod for protection and had several pouches tied to her belt.

The man approached Tomo, "Ah, Tomo my sweet! I, Gosh Lords, have the honor of seeing you in swim wear today and even though it is of the simplest and most common of design your natural beauty makes it seem like one of a kind!"

Tomo seemed unimpressed and completely unaware of his affections, "Thanks Gosh!" she said casually.

The female approached Ty, seemingly with the same smitten affection. She inspected him and seemed disappointed, "Aww, I was hoping to see Mister Drayguard in his swim wear today! How come you are still in your shorts?" she pouted as she fidgeted with her fingers.

Ty also responded casually, "I am wearing it, Posh. It's under my shorts instead of my usual underwear. It's just a…, tad snug so I'm going in with my shorts on to cover it! It shrunk in the wash…," Ty said embarrassed as he blushed.

Tomo turned to Ty with a smug smirk, "That's what you get for not doing your own laundry!" she said in a playful tone.

Posh blushed, but kept her calm composure, "Well then, allow me to show you mine first, perhaps then, you won't feel so self conscious!" she said as both she and her brother threw off their own clothing in a spectacular fashion. The two struck poses as they revealed their revealing swim wear. Gosh wore nothing but a pair of lavender swim briefs and his rapier while Posh had a skimpy indigo sling bikini that barely covered any part of her body. All crew members both male and female gathered around in pure admiration and lust to witness the scantily dressed duo.

Both Ty and Tomo blushed with embarrassment, "Wow, I didn't even know they made swim wear like that! Is that even legal?" Ty said as he gazed at Posh's design.

Tomo looked at Ty with a mischievous smile, "Are you wearing the same thing he is?" she said pointing to Gosh.

Ty's attention was now glued to Tomo, "No, I wouldn't say that...,"

"You are aren't you? Oh, you naughty boy…" Tomo whispered mischievously.

"Now listen here you…!" Ty retorted defensively. "Mine at least covers my thighs too!"

Both Posh and Gosh became irritated at being ignored so they decided to make a move. Posh interrupted Tomo by hugging Ty and this irritated Tomo, "So what do you think of my swim wear? I designed it myself! It saved me a lot of money on material!" Posh explained proudly. "Not that I needed to save money mind you!"

He blushed furiously in response, "Oh wow, yeah, I'll bet it did, barely anything to it, front or back!"

"Strong words from someone who chose practically the same thing as my brother, only yours is blue instead!" Posh said as she carefully inspected her crush's waistline.

Ladies in the crowd of onlookers urged Ty to remove his shorts, "I'm surrounded and everyone has the wrong idea now thanks to these two," Ty said hopelessly.

Gosh focused only on Tomo, who was growing more irritated with every passing second, "You needn't bother with that bonehead Tomo! It doesn't matter what he wears, I do it better!" he reassured poetically.

Before Tomo could respond, her father interrupted in an outburst of rage. "Will you morons quit clowning around and get your air masks on?! Especially you Drayguard, you slacker! As much as I love seeing Posh in her new little number we have a job to do!" he scolded furiously as he plugged his bleeding nose with a handkerchief. Ty vanished before anyone noticed and everyone dispersed in a hurry to please Toma.

Several workers moved four bronze crates up to the deck and placed two each on the port and starboard sides of the ship. They flipped open the top to reveal a mechanical three cylinder air pump inside. They attached air hoses to the bottoms of the crates and began to slowly crank them. Ty, Tomo, Posh and Gosh each placed an air mask on and attached the hose to the apparatus. Ty placed his goggles over his eyes, "I've always wanted to go diving!" he said with excitement as he placed black fish-like flippers on his feet.

"It's great and really refreshing too!" Tomo stated excitedly also placing the flippers on her feet.

Toma came forth with his orders, "Now, I want you guys to find as many artifacts as you can carry. Anything that might be of interest is valuable! Also, if the sea life is bustling, off some of them so we have some extra supplies for meals! Those are your orders, now get to it!" he finalized.

With everything checked and double checked, the party of four jumped into the ocean and it was warmer than expected. "Nice, I was hoping it was warm!" Ty thought as his muscles relaxed and the tiny bubbles tickled his skin. "Well, we are near the equator so I guess it would be weird for it to be freezing!" he thought. Ty then began to dive downward as did his co-workers, but they found the waters to more turbulent than they first thought. It wasn't long until they reached a shallow bottom however. "Alrighty, now it's time to look for goodies!" Ty thought with a smile under his mask as he swam around. He quickly lost himself to the beauty of the ocean floor as he gazed at the undersea structures and its inhabitants. Its most interesting inhabitant had to be the large amoeba like creature known as the Jelly Blubba. Its gelatinous body was shaped like a large gorilla but with no head and it had two large nuclei that acted like a pair of 'eyes'. Other creatures were mostly fish although one had to avoid contact with the Puffies as their poisonous spines would cause serious harm. The party continued to search for some time until Ty started coming to man made items half buried in the sand. "There we go, jackpot!" he thought as he eagerly began digging up all sorts of items, most of which included trinkets and ancient coins lost on ships over the years. Eventually, he filled his sack with all kinds of stuff until he made his way to a steep and dark cliff. Ty peered down into the watery darkness, "Wow, that sure is deep I must be at the end of the continental plate or something. I wonder how deep it goes?" he thought quizzically.

Tomo managed to make her way over to Ty and also carried a couple of sacks worth of watery goods. She waved cheerfully as she began heading towards him. The current got the better of her however and toppled her. With all the heavy stuff she carried and her weights on she fell off. "TOMO!" Ty shouted underneath his mask causing bubbles to escape. Ty dropped his bag and dove in after her as she struggled to untie her bounty from around her neck. The pressure of the deep quickly began to increase making it hard to breathe. Tomo gave Ty a desperate gaze until he finally was able to grab her foot. He quickly grabbed her body and unsheathed his dagger and cut the cloth from around Tomo's neck and freed her from the heavy bags. She then grabbed hold of Ty with her super human strength in sheer appreciation. Ty tapped her elbow comically and she quickly realized that the pressure of the deep was already causing him trouble. She let go and Ty tried taking a slow deep breath as best he could. As the tension lifted Ty caught sight of something looming out of the deep dark depths. It was just barely noticeable. It was a long skinny structure that stuck out of the darkness. Ty pointed it out to Tomo and while they could not discern exactly what it was, they both agreed that it was a man made structure. Excited but unable to withstand the deep pressure anymore, they grabbed each other in a hug with Tomo blushing as they slowly began rising to the surface. They did not want the Benz so they took their ascent very slowly and breathed regularly. After plenty of time, Ty and Tomo reached the surface.

The Explorer Corps workers helped them aboard and Toma was there to meet them. Ty and Tomo were physically drained from their endeavor. Posh and Gosh came up to see them as well each caring for their respective interest's condition. Posh knelt down and rubbed Ty's back as he breathed heavily, "Oh Ty, we were so worried! Why were you both gone for so long?" she said with worry.

Gosh did the same for Tomo, "Tomo my sweet is that bilge rat responsible for this?"

Ty then spoke, breathing heavily, "Toma, there's a man made… structure down there… get the bathysphere up and running!"

Tomo followed, also breathing heavily, "Yeah dad… I think it might be a ship… of some kind!"

Toma reacted with astonishment, "What, but the bathysphere is kind of a new invention we don't even know if it works! And just how far down did you two go?"

"I got pushed off the continental plate by the under toe…," Tomo began. "I sank for a wile until Ty finally caught up… I really don't… know how far it had to be… but the pressure was a real killer down there!"

"I'm just glad we didn't… get oxygen poisoning… even my skills with poisons can't cure that," Ty claimed.

"We could have been poisoned with… air?!" Tomo said in shock.

"Everything can become a poison Tomo… all you need is the right dosage…," Ty said with a smirk.

Toma interjected gruffly, "And yet somehow with a body like yours Ty, I would not be surprised if you or the rest of your family would be immune to oxygen poisoning!" Toma started. "I'll get the bathysphere ready. I want to know what's down there, but whatever it is its way too deep for a man to reach, so get some rest in the meantime!"

*At Sunset*

The bathysphere was a spherical vessel made of very thick steel plates riveted together with a bronzed finish and had a small very thick window with flood lights attached. Inside it only had room for two people. Ty and Tomo were aboard and they completed their tasks in preparation for the dive. Using the crane, Toma began lowering the sphere into the ocean, "You two be careful now especially you sweetie!" he said to his daughter over the radio transceiver.

"Right dad, we'll be okay!" Tomo responded over the transceiver.

The bathysphere slowly submerged while Ty and Tomo gazed out the window. In time, it dropped 100 feet, 200 feet and then 300 feet. Ty looked around and could barely see anything, "No I don't see the spire yet, keep going!" Ty said into the transceiver.

"Just how deep did you two get?" Toma growled.

Once the bathysphere reached a few more feet the structure that Ty viewed earlier came into view. "Found it Toma, keep lowering us!" Ty urged with excitement.

"I'm gonna turn the lights on!" Tomo informed, also excited.

Once she flipped on the lights the structure was now visible. The structure was a tower of some kind, definitely man made. It was covered with minerals from the ocean indicating it had been here for many years. The anticipation became disappointment however, once they reached the floor and the light revealed it to be nothing more than a small tower of twisted metal. "Aww, it's nothing but a hunk of metal!" Tomo whined as she stamped her foot. The shaking of the bathysphere made the ocean floor give way and continue the decent. "Uh, dad, you can pull us up now it's a false alarm…, dad?" she voiced into the transceiver only to hear static. "Rats, it's on the fritz!" she panicked.

Unbeknownst to them however, a large storm brewed and hit the boat hard. Toma suddenly lost control of the crane and the descent was continuing without control. "Everyone, help me get control over this thing! We have to get them back up here and get out of this storm!" Toma shouted in an orderly fashion.

The bathysphere began reaching depths of over 1000 feet and it continued this level of speed. Every fifteen minutes or so caused another 1000 feet to be breached. Tomo became afraid, "Ty…, how come dad isn't pulling us up?"

Ty gritted his teeth in worry, "I… I don't know, maybe something's happened…"

"If it has… we're done for…," Tomo said with a gulp. "I don't want to die I've never even had a boyfriend yet!"

The bathysphere began to moan a little as it reached 8000 feet depths. "H-hey Tomo, look there are fish down here after all…," Ty said nervously, trying to take their minds off the thought of death. "This sphere must be really sturdy, who made it?"

"My dad had it commissioned by Porre scientists, so I don't know how deep it can go…," Tomo claimed.

At approximately 9800 feet the flood lights shined on something unimaginable. Ty and Tomo gazed out the window and were speechless at what was being revealed to them. "Ty, w-what am I looking at?" Tomo asked in amazement.

"Good question, I was kinda hoping you knew!" Ty responded.

The lights shined on a massive structure, a building of some sorts. This was no ship that was hiding in the dark, but a massive facility of unknown origin. It was covered in minerals, sand and coral; nevertheless it was an enormous sight to behold, no other ship or vessel came remotely close to it in size. Small portions of the building seemed damaged while larger structures were intact. The bathysphere came to a stop of what seemed to be a large road that would lead into the facility and the vessel creaked and moaned in protest. The gauge inside the sphere read '10,000 feet' nearly two miles down. "Wow, I want to explore it so badly!" Tomo whined while she hopped up and down slightly in her seat.

"I know I really want to see what treasures lie inside!" Ty followed in her excitement.

"Ty, what if… what if this is where the legendary Frozen Flame is?!" Tomo asked with excitement.

"Oh… it has to be here, it has to be!" Ty said confidently. As Ty flailed in excitement he hit his hand on a switch which caused the bathysphere to transform. It gained four legs and two grabbing arms. "Whoa, this thing is mobile too?" he asked rhetorically.

"Where did the Porreans get this kind of tech anyway?" Tomo asked also surprised.

"Well, whatever, let's move around and look for treasure!" Ty said as he grabbed a control panel with two joy sticks. He moved the sticks around and discovered that they moved the arms. "Heh, neat I got the arms, so that must mean the control panel near you controls the legs!" he pointed out.

Tomo eagerly grabbed the control panel near her and began toying with it. She quickly grew frustrated, "Oh damn it, this blasted thing! What are these inverted controls?!" she complained as the sphere danced around humorously. "Got it, there we go! Now let's look around!"

The two began to use the bathysphere's new form to explore the wondrous new find. The form was slow but stable. Like a crab it scuttled down the road to a coral coated entrance. The two gulped in anticipation as they entered the building. The first thing they saw was a statue of a human with his arms outstretched towards the sky. It stood on a pedestal that had a bronze plaque that was illegible.

Looking past the statue revealed a collapsed bridge and a large open door on the other side of the room. Carefully, Tomo maneuvered the bathysphere across the bridge and into the next room. This room was also covered in coral and mineral growths but ahead lay a hole in the floor. Upon approaching the hole in the floor a faint red light could be seen illuminating the room below. Tomo perked up with a big smile, "Ty, are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Depends..., are you thinking of diving into the scary hole we might not be able to get back out of?" Ty started sarcastically. "Or that, that red light below might be coming from the world's most mythical legend?"

"The latter, let's go!" Tomo said as she plunged the bathysphere into the hole. Luckily, it was not very deep but it did lead to a large room with a very long bridge ahead of them. In the distance of total darkness a twinkle of red light lay at the center of the room. Tomo gunned it and in a matter of moments they came within view of their prize. What they saw was amazing. A strange red object coated with sea salts and corals with an almost otherworldly design suddenly reacted to their presence. It opened like some kind of insect until its shape resembled a 'flame' and had two eye-like structures at the center that seemed to peer at them. "Ty this is it! This is the Frozen Flame! We're gonna be the most famous people ever! Grab it Ty!"

"Well what do you know, it does exist! It's a whole lot creepier than I thought it would be, meh who cares I'm takin' it!" Ty said with a smirk. Ty grabbed the Flame with the robotic arms and it folded up taking its ball-like shape again. Its red light went out as well, but they had it, the item of legend. The two sighed with relief back to back. Before they could rejoice a tug came on the bathysphere's cable dragging them up back through the futuristic ruins. Ty grabbed the transceiver, "Toma wait a minute, we're okay! Just give us a minute! Stop pulling us up!" he shouted furiously. To no avail, the transceiver only gave off static in return. The bathysphere collided with the statue at the front of the ruins knocking it down on its way out the door. This caused the bathysphere to moan and spring a small leak. "Oh crud, Toma if you heard that last message forgo it, pull us up, pull us up!" he yelled into the transceiver loudly.

"I hope we make it back up before we become pancakes!" Tomo said worriedly.

"Yeah, or else no one will ever know this is down here!" Ty added with concern.

*On the Surface*

The bathysphere finally broke the surface and the door was quickly kicked opened. Water came from the bathysphere and Ty and Tomo leaned out to meet a crisp cool night. "Oh thank heavens we almost flooded completely!" Ty said with relief.

Tomo struck Ty comically over the head with her fist, "We would have had a lot more air if you weren't always yelling into that transceiver you block head!"

The crane brought the damaged bathysphere to the deck and they climbed out breathing heavily. "Thanks guys you're a life saver!" he said as Toma and the Lords siblings came rushing up to them in worry.

Toma came to his daughter and rudely brushed Ty aside, "Are you alright?" he said as any caring dad would.

Gosh rushed to her as well while Posh went to Ty's side, "I was worried sick! You should have just let Ty go! He 'is' the most expendable of all of us after all!" Gosh said belittling Ty.

Tomo simply attempted to quell their concern as she tried to keep her embarrassment down. Meanwhile, Posh held Ty's arm, squashing his upper arm into her bust, "I'm glad you're alright… Don't worry you're not as expendable as he says! Well, errm…, what I mean to say is… Oh, my…"

Ty shrugged off the insults, "Don't worry about it. Let's just get ourselves cleaned up and take a look at our find," he said with a slightly glum tone.

*Later, On the Bridge Deck*

"You found the WHAT?!" shouted Toma and the Lords siblings simultaneously.

Ty sat a large wooden chest on a table, "Yep you heard me, the Frozen Flame! It was stashed in that weird building at the bottom of the sea. I have no idea what it was doing there, but we found it!" Ty said cheerfully.

Ty casually opened the box and pulled out a small sack. Tomo continued the explanation, "We were careful not to touch it because we have no idea what it does or even if it's harmful," she said.

As the sack was untied the contents seemed surprising, but in the disappointing sort of way. The Frozen Flame was nothing but a round chunk of what seemed to be coral and other sea minerals. Toma grew angry at the sight, "What is this? Do you expect me to believe this chunk of coral is the legendary Frozen Flame?"

Tomo stopped her dad, "No daddy, we both saw it! It glowed just like the legends say! It just folded itself back up again. It has this… 'compact' state or something…," she explained haphazardly.

"Compact state…?" Toma said calming down. "It can open and close?"

"I know we just have to get it all cleaned up!" Ty said as he unsheathed his dagger. He brought his dagger down and began chipping away at the coral until a small eye-like apparatus opened up and peered up at him unknowingly. Ty brought down his dagger again and hit the eye-like structure and the room was enveloped by an enigmatic force accompanied by a blinding red light. It was so forceful it placed all occupants on the bridge firmly on their backsides as well as blowing out all the windows. The light cast forth a pillar into the night sky. As quickly as it came, the light vanished leaving everyone groggy as Ty rolled over and struggled to open his eyes. As he sat up he quickly noticed his key around his neck was glowing and his skin felt like it was crawling. The dusty old skeleton key seemed to radiate with power and the gem set in it shined like the bright morning sky. The gemstone even had torrents of energy that resembled clouds moving within. The power made Ty feel strange as he inspected his arms for the source of the tingly feeling. He gazed in awe that his blood veins glowed through his skin with the same bright red light the Flame unleashed. As the light resonated from the key it synchronized perfectly with the luminescence of his veins. "Whoa, what is this? I feel really weird…, like I can move the air or something!" he said as he made a slight push motion with his hands. A small gust of air came forth from his hands and blew some papers off the table the Frozen Flame was sitting on. "That…, that was also weird…," Ty thought out loud as his body went seemingly back to normal. The light also faded from the key, but its gemstone still shined.

Tomo got up and she was also in the same condition. She gazed at her Hourglass trinket and it too was glowing along with her blood veins. Yellow energy collected in her hands as she smiled with cheer, "Alright the Frozen Flame must have recharged my Crystal Hourglass!" she said.

Ty looked her over as she reverted to normal, "What do you mean 'recharged'?" he asked dumbfounded.

"Oh, was your Cloud Key dead this whole time?" Tomo asked curiously. "My Crystal Hourglass had power when my dad found it for me when I was little. I was able to use a little magic here and there with that power. It was cool so I never let anyone know that. Your 'Cloud Key' and my timer must be made out of the same stuff. I'm thinking they are made out of the ancient minerals the Dreamstone and Sunstone!"

"Nice, I'm glad I collect keys!" Ty said enthusiastically. "So wait then, you could use magic before? What could you do exactly?"

Tomo's expression changed to one of slight embarrassment, "Uh, it's kinda hard to explain, so I'll show you later! If you don't mind that is… So what does your Cloud Key let you do?"

Ty seemed suspicious but decided to drop it in favor of learning what he could do with the Cloud Key. "Well, let's see here now…," he started as he moved his hands back and forth in a pull and pushing motion. The air in the room followed his motions without missing a beat as it howled through the broken windows. He laughed with glee as if he were a child with a brand new toy. "I don't know how I can explain this, but it's like moving a part of my own body! I just know how!"

Tomo brought her arms inward in excitement, "That's so cool Ty! I always knew you were full of hot air!"

Toma and the Lords siblings got up wearily and began growing curious. "What was that?" Toma started in confusion.

"I guess this thing really is the Frozen Flame!" Gosh said as he cowered back.

"Magnificent, should we head back to Choras now?" Posh asked with satisfaction.

Toma stepped forward to see that the Frozen Flame was still in its dormant state. He quickly wrapped it back up and carefully placed it back into the box. "Okay everyone, get some rest! We're headed for home in the morning. We're going to change history once we get back!"

*Later, On the Weather Deck*

Ty was up late that night outside on the weather deck on the ship. He was practicing using his newfound power. "I hope this isn't all I can do!" he said stressed.

Tomo came up to him from behind, "Couldn't sleep, huh?" she said as she placed her hand on her hip.

"Not a wink…," Ty said as sweat fell from his brow.

"Since we have this power now do you wanna practice a bit?" Tomo suggested.

"Sure do! I want to know everything about this!" he said firmly.

"Well let me show you what I can do!" she said excitedly. She placed a large rock on the deck and stepped back to Ty. "Watch closely now!" she said cheerfully as she pointed her index finger outward and a yellow stream of light emanated from it and hit the rock. The rock transfigured into a small craggy piece of red material. Ty was stunned as she went over to retrieve the item. She popped the strange material into her mouth and chewed it up. It had become rock candy. "I call this spell, 'Gastromorph'. With it, I can transform anything into an edible foodstuff. I always got sick of not being able to eat when on long trips with dad so I made this spell so I would never go hungry."

"Can you make different things other than rock candy?" Ty asked curiously.

"It depends on what I hit with it…," Tomo started. "I haven't used it on nearly everything out there but I know that animals become a slab of mystery meat, bugs become gummies, Fiends become pastries and inanimate objects always become hard candies. It also doesn't affect humans."

"Well that's a relief, but you still might want to be cautious you might become a monster if you eat too many!" Ty teased.

Tomo seemed flustered, "This coming from a man who boosts his immunity with self poisoning techniques!"

"All right, you want to spar so I can come up with a spell?" Ty asked as he unsheathed his daggers in a playful manner.

Tomo took her hammer from her back with a wide grin, "You know it! I'll pummel you into oblivion with my strength!"

"Heh, you gotta catch me first woman!" Ty taunted.

*End of Chapter*