A/N: Yes… I should be working on Holiday, but I just had to write this! Its set while the group is in Peterny, training for end game.

Disclaimer: I (sadly) do not own Star Ocean or any of the characters, places, or anything else related to it! But I do own everything to do with any of the OC's this story contains!


The Meaning of Symbols

Chapter 1: Unexpected Symbols

Albel had been watching Sophia. Usually he watched everyone, he didn't really trust any of them that much. Of course he still watched everyone, but Sophia warranted extra attention because she had been acting a little different lately… She was detached, something weighed on her mind, heavily. Albel was leaning in a doorway unobserved by his target and thinking, "I guess I'm sort of… Curious, no. Not that, intrigued, no not that either… More like… Paranoid… Yea… This could be dangerous to me… With those symbological powers and all… I've got an idea…" After satisfyingly convincing himself, he abandoned his watch post and went off into the crowd that is Peterny.

Sophia had left the Inn in the early morning only to sit at a Café table in the middle of the square and think about her new theory, with some reference material on hand. The queen had given her permission to borrow whatever symbological books she liked. "A new type of symbol… It would work if… I used my… Connection… Gene… I hate that thing! But… If I could make it do what I want… Aim it at the right place, or at least right direction…" Sophia thought about this for a long time. After many drinks of lemonade, many pages read and many hours of deliberation she had not made any more progress just thinking and decided to experiment the next day. She paid for her drinks and took a short walk around the town to stretch her legs before returning to the inn, it was getting dark after all. The rest of the crew had arrived back from the Sanmite Steppes after another day training, and were just about to start dinner, so she joined in to try and get her mind off topic.

Albel had returned to the Inn just in time for dinner to be served, which he took, and ate, with no thanks given. But that was just Albel, everyone knew that. What they didn't know was that while they had been training, and Sophia was thinking, Albel had visited every skilled smith he could find in the whole of Peterny and the surrounding area and made some… improvements to his claw. "I have a lot of lost training time to make up for… And I want to practice with these new improvements before we have to kill the next powerful maggot or that Sophia wench does anything…" Albel smirked at the assembled table before heading upstairs and leaving his plate for someone else to take care of.

"Did he seem… A little more… Arrogant just now, to you guys?" Fayt asked the group. The worry was clearly displayed on the boys face and in his voice.

"Don't worry bout it!" Cliff reassured him jovially, and patted Fayt on the back; "Albel was just being himself, probably thinks he's done something extra special today…" Cliff had no idea how close he was to the truth.

"Seriously Fayt, you do worry too much…" Added Maria, an evident look of concern for the most concerned member of the group showing in her eyes. She really did like him, and most of the group had their suspicions about her feelings for Fayt.

"I suppose your right… Well, we've got more training to do tomorrow. Are you going to come with us Sophia?" Fayt questioned, he knew she needed more training. She was very good with her symbological skills, but everyone else still kept improving.

"Wha…? Uh, um, no. I still have some things to do in town, but I might come train in the afternoon, ok?" Sophia replied after being awoken from her thoughts. "I hope I can make this symbol work by then…"

"Well… Ok. But I'm getting an early night, you all should too. Especially you Cliff, no tavern for you tonight, you delayed us so much this morning…" Fayt told the group as he headed upstairs. Cliff just grinned sheepishly and busied himself with clearing the table to avoid further mention.

0o0o0o0

The next morning Sophia breakfasted with the others then lounged around till she was sure they would be a fair ways from the western gate of Peterny. When she decided it would be safe for her to go without being seen, she headed out. Unbeknownst to her, Albel was watching from a rooftop opposite the Inn. He knew how to spy, a war will teach you these things and people rarely look up, therefore Sophia was oblivious to his presence yet again. "Why is she leaving town? If it was for training, she would've gone with those other maggots… I'd better check this out…"

Albel waited a bit before following, but when he reached the west gate, she was nowhere to be seen. "Bah, which way has that damn maggot gone?" Albel looked for a clue until he saw a dead bird ahead and it was charred badly. "That wench must have gone this way… I'll find out what she's up to…" Albel set of in that direction, looking for more corpses that were victims of Sophia's powerful symbology.

A short while, and a few freshly mutilated corpses, later, Albel heard muttering from the other side of a bunch of boulders and snuck on top of them to peer at the scene below. There was a huge symbological circle drawn in the grass and Sophia was muttering to herself while adding touches here and there. Albel was shocked, not only had he not known about Sophia's immense knowledge about the science of symbology, he had no idea what such a large symbol could possibly do. Albel promptly skidded down the boulder to confront Sophia, as she had already started chanting and it was beginning to glow.

"What is this thing wench!" Albel yelled at Sophia. Sophia was startled by the sudden interruption and stopped chanting in shock.

"Albel! What are you doing here? Get out of the circle!" Sophia yelled at him, before either could do anything more, a vortex sprang up within the diameter of the circle, it wasn't strong, but it did draw their attention. It was quite loud too, Sophia had to yell at Albel, "Albel you idiot! You broke my chant, I didn't even have time to aim this!"

"What? Aim it? Is this some kind of weapon, you fool?" Albel yelled back above the rising wind. The wind never gave Sophia a chance to reply, the air began to glow and the vortex twisted in different directions before locking its tip in the general direction of Peterny. A loud ringing sound that was sort of like a chime was briefly heard then the vortex vanished leaving behind a barren circle in the field of grass. No symbol. No Sophia. No Albel.


A/N: Curious as to what just happened? Well, it was short, but I didn't want to give too much away in the first chapter. If you've been intrigued, review this! The rating may go up later, not quite sure what will happen. But there will be two OC's in the next chapter! What relation do they have to Sophia's circle? Review and find out!