FF1 fanfiction? Yeah, unheard of, eh? Okay, so listen. I will never continue this. I might edit it occasionally, add in a few new parts, fix a few things... other than that, I'll never be touching this again. So. Meet the crew, bitches.

The four Warriors of Light walked courageously through the dimly lit hallway, different expressions firmly implanted on their faces. Each of them had continued into this room for their own reasons.

Their leader, Nolum, continued on in front of them, pausing to look around each corner. While he may not have been "intelligent", he had been raised in the way of the thief, and was sly. He gripped a green sword in one hand silently, and held it in a way that suggested he had much experience with it. And unfortunately for any beast that may cross his path, he did.

Directly behind him stood Kain, a smirk on his face. He flexed his fists repetitively, making his arms and wrists bulge with not-so-subtle muscles like a lion's. The monk walked along, almost bouncing with anxiety to battle again. While he had been trained to be a pacifist, Kain had always loved to fight... to a point where he had difficulty staying still.

A few steps behind Kain was the next member of the Warriors; a black mage named Clyvia, whom was also the only girl in their entire group. A sneer remained on her face as she stepped along delicately, careful to avoid stepping in puddles or touching the walls. Her head bubbled with remarks and spells, but she avoided saying anything. It was clear she was aiming to get out as fast as possible.

The last one in line was Lydos, their white mage. He had his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth in thought, trying to remember if they had started with a turn to the left or the right: a strategy he had been taught to avoid thinking about certain things. Mostly the fact that he was slaughtering- or helping to slaughter- innocent creatures. That, and the way the other mage's hips were swaying. He blushed slightly, looking up at the ceiling. White mages were, after all, lovers, not fighters.

As they passed more and more bats, the white mage became more and more nervous. Every time they passed a door, Nolum would push it in slightly and look inside, then close it quietly. Being a thief, Nolum had a tendency to enter any and all rooms to get the treasure inside. He wasn't greedy, Lydos thought, just making sure we won't miss anything necessary. However, with the amount of doors they had ignored, it was doubtless that at least one of them contained a chest. So this new lack of entering was, of course, making him weary.

Unbeknownst to the last in line, Nolum knew why he was ignoring the multiple tempting chests. Treasure had a tendency to have a guardian, if not multiple guardians... and the thief knew that the group was a bit worse for wear. He was their leader, and he was damned if he would get any of them killed. His face set in determination, he continued on slowly.

As they kept walking, Clyvia suddenly let out a hiss. "I loathe this despicable cavern more than I thought I ever could an inanimate object. Place, whatever." Her hoarse voice echoed eerily. Though one could blame it on the walls of the cave, the group knew that it always did that. No one quite knew why, but blamed it on her magic.

Lydos snapped to attention, to avoid bumping into her, and put his arm on her shoulder. "Everyone does-" a small protest sounded- "except for Kain. But we need to keep going to save the earth from that terrible decay!"

She raised an eyebrow- or he thought she did, as her face was hidden in the darkness- and shrugged his hand off her shoulder. "Don't touch me."

Flushing, his eyes shot to his feet, and folded his hands behind his back, the exact image of a guilty child. A small silence followed in which Clyvia slowly looked away from him, and he scuffed his shoes self-consciously on the floor, unseen beneath his cloak.

In front of them, Nolum turned around. "Hurry up. We can't have our group separated."

Kain turned to him, looking genuinely confused. "Why not? I mean, I think we can all hold our own against a creature..."

It seemed that had struck a cord. The group went silent as the thief squared his jaw and narrowed his eyes. "You think you can hold you own against a group of cobras? What if you get poisoned? What if you get paralyzed? What if you die? What then, hm?"

Complete silence. Kain stared, stunned, as though he had never been yelled at in his entire life. Behind him, Lydos looked as though he was about to burst into tears. Clyvia merely kept her annoyed air. The thief finally lost his fierce expression and sighed, turning around and continuing to walk off.

"I don't..." he mumbled, then sighed again and walked faster, without looking to see if anyone was following him.

After a moment, the mages scurried after him, significantly worried that he would run off without them, in one case, and with their items with the other. The monk of the group looked over at him, flexed his hand, and followed after, slowly.

The four hovered near the last door on the path. After having peeked in all other doors, Nolum had come to the conclusion that there were no other possible paths. And all four knew... just KNEW that this would be the only possible route. However, this particular door felt strange. Lydos bit his lip nervously as he waited.

The air around them felt cold... dead and musty, as though something that should be dead was hovering near them. He rubbed his arms beneath the folds of his white cloak silently, attempting to soothe the goosebumps that had arisen in the dampness.

A shuffling to his right caught his attention. Clyvia was holding her hands against the steel of the door, Nolum watching intently. Kain seemed occupied with looking around for bats. However, the white magic practicer was more concerned with whatever Clyvia was doing. He shuffled from his perch against the wall and took a step closer, a nervous look upon his face.

"Um... guys?" he mumbled, as quiet as possible. Clyvia ignored him.

Nolum turned to him almost silently. "She's trying to see if she can sense the magic signature of the creature inside." He shrugged in a way that could be considered careless if you didn't see the expression of cold focus on his face. "I get the gist of it, but I'm not entirely sure."

Lydos nodded, a grateful smile drifting on and off his face. He turned to the other magic user and put a hand gently on her shoulder, making her flinch slightly, but not look away from her work. Seeing he had her attention, he placed his hands on her shoulders and focused on pressuring some of his own signature through her and into her mind, trying to ignore her stiffness and all around distrust.

Noticing the other two's curious expressions, he gave them a little grin. "I'm helping," he whispered softly, trying not to get her attention. Nolum turned to Kain and made a pair of air-quotes, a mischievous look on his face. He rolled his eyes good-naturedly and turned back to the task on hand, a lot calmer than before.

White mages were known for that. When anger and mistrust abounded, their magic was significantly weaker. Now that there was less negative feelings around him, it was obvious that Lydos would be better at using his magic.

Finally, Clyvia pulled away from the wall quickly, turning to the rest of the group, the other mage removing his hands far more hesitantly. She gave him a weak glare, and Lydos looked down to the ground nervously.

"It's a vampire," she hissed, rolling her shoulders.

Nolum raised an eyebrow. "I heard rumors, but..." He sighed. "How powerful?"

"Physically? It can deal out... a LOT of damage... but can take less than an Earth Elemental." She let out a sigh and flexed her fingers, as though that would make it leave from their way.

Finally, Nolum stepped ahead of her, hand against the door. "Is everyone ready?" he called quietly, not even looking back to his team. And the lack of protest, he pushed it forward softly. "Then let's go."

They promptly entered the cavern in their usual order. Nolum stiffened suddenly. "A... bat?"

A bat it was, as Lydos saw. An oddly large bat, but a bat nonetheless, like all other bats they had seen. It flitted in the air, staying in one small area. Its dark, navy wings flitted quickly in the air, its red eyes narrowed. As they all began to let their guard down slightly, it spoke.

"All things in the world are meant to die..." it hissed, sounding as though it hadn't spoken in ages. "The seal cannot be broken, and so the earth shall rot."

Kain opened his mouth, presumably to ask what it was talking about, but Nolum placed his hand on his shoulder to silence him.

The bat seemed to almost float a few steps back, before it shone. It quickly faded and its leathery wings became arms, its head becoming pale and human-like, its legs lengthening significantly, and a cloak seemed to appear out of nowhere. Its red eyes shone at them malevolently, almost crimson coloured. Its red hair and pale skin reminded Lydos sorely of a doll.

"Destiny will not be denied," it growled finally, taking a threatening step forward. "Mere mortals cannot kill the undying!"

Nolum promptly jumped forward and stabbed his sword into it... only for his favored weapon to create but a small scratch on it. He leapt back, alarmed, as it tried to scratch him with a hiss. "Okay, so it might be stronger than I thought it was."

Growing panic ate at Lydos' brain, making him shake slightly. "He said 'undying', didn't he? He said 'undying'?"

"Undead!" Kain blurted, punching it and managing to make it wince in alarm. "I think it meant undead!"

Clyvia smirked. "And to me, 'undead' means flammable." She raised her hands into the air. "Fira!"

Flinching, Lydos stepped back as a column of fire shot from the ceiling onto the vampire, whom roared in pain. The white mage raised his hands hesitantly, afraid of angering the undead even more than it was.

Unfortunately, it seemed to have already become extremely angered. "ENOUGH of your foolish endeavor, mortals!" It suddenly met the white mage's eyes, its red gaze boring into him.

As Nolum leapt onto the vampire, slashing at its white face, the crimson gaze drew off of him, probably the thief's intent. Lydos moved to thank him and continue on with his movement, but found that he couldn't move. His muscles were taught and a buzzing in his brain was keeping him from thinking straight.

Kain noticed his pause and looked over to him. "Lydos? You okay?" Attempting to move, Lydos only managed to blink and breathe faster. The monk's eyes widened and he looked over to Nolum in panic. "Lydos is paralyzed!"

Looking over, Nolum swore viciously. "Dammit, our healer! We have to finish this quickly..."

Clyvia ignored him and repeated her earlier spell, "Fira!"

The vampire screeched as the fire burnt his pale flesh once again. This time he turned his attention on the other magic user, who took a step back, as though to weaken the effect of his gaze... but instead, the vampire leapt into the air and slashed at her, making her call out in alarm and fall to the ground, holding her arm in pain.

As Nolum prepared to give her a potion, Kain leapt at the vampire, intent upon punching its face in... and punch its face in he did. Hearing a loud crunch, all four Light Warriors looked towards the 'undead' creature, who was turning into an extremely soft-looking dust as they watched.

There was a small silence as they looked at the pile of dust, as though it would turn into a vampire again any second. Finally, Kain pulled his fist back with a disgusted look on his face. "Eww... I have vampire dust on my hand now..."

Nolum snorted in amusement, a small grin on his face, and watched as Lydos slowly began to move again. "Hey, you might want to heal up Clyvia."

Nodding, Lydos walked sheepishly to the other mage and muttered, "Cura."A soft green shimmer of light swirled around the other mage, and the slash mark faded away quickly. She sighed and nodded her thanks to the other, getting up and dusting off her navy robes.

"I guess this means that the earth should be going back to normal now?" Lydos asked, dusting his own robes off.

Nolum paused and shrugged, then walked over to the chest in the corner of the room that they had missed before. He tossed open the top and grabbed something out of the bottom. "A... star shaped ruby...? These are pretty rare... I wonder why a vampire had one?"

Both mages told him they were running out of magic and said that they should leave to heal back up, letting the leader agree with them.

The sound of a door opening caught the trio's attention. Kain tromped back into the room carelessly through a door they hadn't noticed in the battle. He pointed his thumb over his shoulder. "There's a big stone tablet blocking the path over there." Walking to the center of the three, he seemed to ignore their surprised looks. "What was that vampire saying about a seal?"

Nolum gave him a strange look, then sighed. "I don't know, and right now I don't care. We have to get back to Melmond as soon as possible." He paused. "I just need to do one thing." As the other three went to the door, he came running back with a small glass jar filled with grey dust.

"..." Kain shuddered and gave him a weird look. "Vampire remains?"

Their leader shrugged. "In case we need to prove it was us who killed it."

Nodding, Clyvia and Nolum walked on, though Kain and Lydos gave each other disgusted looks and followed soon after.

As soon as the group of four reached the town, they knew something was wrong. The villagers looked, if anything, even more miserable, and the sparse bits of green they had seen when they had first gone to Melmond were now a dead, sickened brown.

Nolum quickly darted off, calling over his shoulder. "Go do whatever you want. I have some business to attend to."

Merely looking confused, Kain wandered around for a while, before going off to chat with the locals.

"I'm going to the bar," Clyvia announced. "Come if you want."

Looking after her for a moment, Lydos looked around to see all the others going their separate ways. Afraid of being left alone, he soon went following after Clyvia, if only to make sure she didn't get entirely too drunk to be left alone.

An hour later and who knows how many drinks, Lydos was extremely bored. Cross from him, Clyvia sat downing yet another beer, a bored air around her. The white mage had no clue why she wasn't stumbling around singing sea shanties by now, not that he endorsed such behavior.

Finally, he reached forward and grabbed one of the many full mugs on one side of her and looked down into it, seeing his reflection. Large bags under his eyes betrayed his extreme lack of sleep, as well as the bored expression on his face.

Unbeknownst to him, the dark magic in Clyvia's body had a habit of burning intruders, anything from the common cold, to the plague, to the intoxicating habits of alcohol. So at this point, she was completely sober, and watching the other mage with significant interest. Truly, she had no clue if light magic would have the same effect in him as in her, and she wanted to know.

An hour or so before, on the other side of the town, Nolum walked into the town's shop silently. The shopkeeper was busy shining a crosier, hoping that the glimmer would attract a customer or two to the strange weapon. Suddenly the thief cleared his throat.

The balding man yelped and spun around, dropping the weapon to the ground. Not noticing Nolum's current lack of weapons, he put both arms in the air. "Take whatever you want, just don't hurt me!" he wailed fearfully.

Nolum blinked. "I'm..." he thought about it for a second, and considered taking the man up on his offer, but remembered that his traveling companions would likely become angry with him if he did. He sighed. "I'm just here to see if I can sell some things, calm down."

The shopkeep stared at him suspiciously for a moment, before slowly putting his arms down and moving behind the counter. "What is it you have... to sell to me?"

Smirking, the thief reached into the group's collective bag, before pulling out the large star-shaped ruby and setting it on the counter with a loud 'clack' noise. He waited for the man to gasp and give him all of his money, but to his surprise, the shopkeep merely picked it up.

After looking at it for a moment, he placed it back on the table quietly. "No sale."

Nolum gaped. "Why not?"

"I can't be sure this is real. Besides that, there's no use for these things nowadays. Not enough good metalworkers to make it into anything good," he said regretfully, shaking his head.

Glaring at him, the thief sighed. "Well... other than that, all I have is vampire dust."

"Vampire dust?" the other repeated, looking a bit surprised.

"We killed the vampire from the cave and it turned to dust. I collected it for proof," Nolum muttered, put-off due to the previous lack of sale.

The shopkeep suddenly laughed. "How much do you want for it? I'll pay any price!"

Nolum blinked. "Wait, what?"

"Around here, vampire remains are used as seasoning." He suddenly winked. "They're a pret-ty potent aphrodisiac, too. But it's pretty rare."

"..." The thief stood in silence, before giving him setting the glass jar on the table silently. The man continued to laugh happily as he handed Nolum a great amount of money in exchange for the seemingly useless dust.

As he walked out of the shop with a heavier wallet, Nolum wondered if he should tell the rest of the group, but decided not to, if only to prevent Kain from whining about having aphrodisiac on his 'good fist'. He sighed and wandered around the other shops, checking out what they had for sale.

Kain was confused, to say the least. He had wandered to the far north of the small town of Melmond, and had found a very talkative man. Who also had a habit of bragging. A lot.

He cleared his throat. "Um, I'm sorry sir, but... I have to go meet my friends now." It was a lie, but he was starting to worry at the amount of air this man had left in his lungs. Instead of pausing, the blond man just continued talking about the Lufenian language, whatever that was.

The monk slowly crept away, unnoticed. He walked up to another man, who looked a little more helpful. After a moment, Kain waved. This set the man off. "There's a cave to the... um... west, I think, with a giant who loves rubies." He promptly walked off.

Kain blinked, flexing his fingers. This had to potential to be important. He promptly wandered to the nearest building to ask if anyone inside had seen a thief... and was kicked out immediately. He tried again in another store, and this time described Nolum.

The man at the counter nodded. "He sold me some pret-ty good stuff, just a minute or two ago. You can probably catch him looking around."

Kain nodded and continued with his self-set 'quest', as he liked to call them.

Clyvia blinked as the other mage downed the beer in a single gulp and grinned. Lydos gave her a look. "These are really good! Can I have another?" She nodded, slightly dumbfounded. Even SHE had the sense to not drink it that fast, and at least SHE disliked the aftertaste.

He drank another... and another... and another. And called for another round, to her surprising lack of protest. He promptly drank about twice as much as she had, and was looking to still be completely sober. Lydos looked over to her, slightly confused. "Is there something on my face? Did I spill some on my robe? Oh, everything is so hard to get out of this thing..." he inspected himself, annoyed.

"..." Clyvia shook her head. "You should be drunk by now."

Lydos opened his mouth, then closed it. "Um... so should you?" he tried. She just gave him a weird look and started sipping at another beer.

Seven drinks later, it hit him light a freight train. Holding it in his hand, he blinked and took another little sip, then made an unpleasant face at it. "Ew."

"Took you long enough. Seriously."

Lydos slowly let his stare move from the hypnotizing liquor to the girl sitting across from him. She slowly leaned away from him as she noticed how dilated his pupils were, surrounded by blue. His mouth opened oh-so-slowly as he sat up more and more...

"Your mortal body has been tarnished with the evils of dark magic!" he screeched, standing up suddenly and pointing at her dramatically. "But it is not too late for your immortal soul! Repent to the lord and vanquish your darkened shell!"

Stunned, Clyvia just gaped at him, her mouth open wide. "...What?"

"If you will not cleanse yourself..." Lydos mumbled, slowly reaching into his robes. "I will do it..." he pulled his hammer out of it... "myself!" then finally smashed it into the table, making Clyvia yelp and jump from her seat.

"Oh shit!" Clyvia yelped, running out of the bar, desperate to get away from her drunk teammate. "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!" She burst through the door, pausing as she heard a masculine yelp and a thump as a person fell to the ground. Looking around the door, she blinked.

Nolum rubbed his ass as he got up from the ground. "Oh, thanks a lot. Well, at least I found you... where's Lydos?" he asked, about to look through the door.

Thumps sounded out as said mage ran towards the door. Clyvia's eyes widened, and she grabbed the thief's arm and pulled them both into a bush against the side of the building. "Shut up and watch if you wanna' see him!" she snapped as he opened his mouth to complain.

Lydos promptly walked- surprisingly graceful- out of the building, then looked around, blinking. "Helloooo? Mortal? I'm here to purify you~! Don't be afraid, it'll only hurt for a second!" he sang, flailing his hammer in the air carelessly, then dropped it on the ground. He blinked at it for a second, then stomped the ground childishly. "Stupid gravity..."

Silence reigned for a moment as the white mage glared at his hammer. Finally, Nolum leaned over and whispered incredulously into Clyvia's ear. "Is... is he... drunk?"

She nodded. "As a skunk." Her attention was drawn back to the situation at hand, and lifted her hands in the other mage's direction. "Sleep."


The two stood up from their hiding place in the bushes to step closer to the unconscious white mage. "Is he completely asleep?" Clyvia asked her leader, a bit annoyed.

Nolum kneeled on the ground next to him and put his hand near the other's mouth, then stood up. "Yep. His breathing is slow enough."

"K-kill... kill..."

Clyvia looked down at the sleeping white mage, but he seemed to be completely asleep, even sucking his thumb. Her back stiffened nervously.

"Des-s-st... destroy..."

The black mage looked all around, noting that Nolum didn't seem to hear it. "Hey, thief. You hear that?"

Nolum merely looked over to her and shrugged, giving a small shake of his head. He promptly looked somewhere else.

Clyvia gritted her teeth nervously. "Oh. Must have imagined it."

"Muuu...ti... late..."

She hadn't.

Nolum blinked, his eyes unfocused and murky, at the rest of his team as they marveled at the blue crystal, as they always did. Shoulders slumped deeply, the ninja's guard slowly dropped, until it was obvious he could barely lift an arm.

While on the outside he could barely move, on the inside, chaos reigned. Visions of the others drowning, flailing desperately... and him looking coldly down at them. They were mere ants. As were everyone else. The sea engulfed the land, leaving nothing left. Crimson curled through the deep blue, a constant mix, resulting in a sickly red-blue mix covering the entire surface. Empty faces were left, not a single being. Arms reaching out for a savior who would never come. Nothing would be-


Clyvia's eyes slowly drifted from the source of power. Their leader, standing off to the side, was perfectly still... if you ignored his wildly twitching hands and mouth. Worry began to overcome her as she realized what was happening, though the calm, cool atmosphere kept her from fleeing.

"Run!" the former thief croaked louder.

Slowly but surely, the rest of the team looked over to him. No one moved, hardly breathing.

Cautiously, Kain took a step towards him. "I-is it..." he stuttered, unable to finish. Their leader managed to nod, as minuscule as possible. "...We're not leaving then."

The mages agreed silently, both approaching him carefully.

Their attention all at the matter at hand, they failed to notice the creeping, navy snake-like things slithering along the ground towards them. Only the trained thief and ninja in their group noticed, though the paralysis kept him from warning them. Panic flashed through his mind. He knew EXACTLY what came next...

Lydos was the first one to be caught. Watching helplessly, Nolum could do nothing as he watched his teammate snatched up by the accursed creature, only breathe as he heard his bloodcurdling scream frighten the other two into action.

Immediately, Kain stomped down on one that was trying to tug on his ankle, then jump back, ready for the fighting to really start. Clyvia promptly cast Thundara, missing, though startling all around her to slither far enough for her to step back as well.

From the other side of the cave, a man wearing loose-fitting, navy clothing frowned as he realized he had only caught one of them, though smirked as he watched their eyes immediately go to their caught teammate. Weaklings, enraptured with their sweet little emotions... he chuckled deeply.

Belatedly, Clyvia noted that the tentacles were all coming from the other side of the cave... attached to the dark man's back, and holding him off the ground like a large, sickening spider.

Unnoticed by two teammates, Nolum walked slowly, as though he were wading through deep water, towards the stranger. His eyes deeply clouded and his mind protesting and shrieking, his legs trudged along unwillingly.

Through his panicked, pained squirms, Lydos immediately noticed the ninja walking directly to their enemy. Eyes immediately widening, the white mage's struggles increased tenfold.

Feeling the change of movement through his extra appendages, the dark man raised an eyebrow and tightened his grip, making sure the one he caught couldn't be heard. He looked towards the ninja, who was only steps away from him, still approaching. "Tell me, child of the seas, is the dame I've captured yours?"

The entire team silenced themselves, and Lydos paused in his writhing.

Noting this, the man paused in his speech, feeling around the captured hero, then looked back to ninja, ignoring the deeply blushing white mage. "Ah, I see. Is this MALE I've captured yours?"

"N-no," the ninja managed to hiss out, trying his best to resist. "L-let go.. of him...!"

A deep blue eyebrow raised against pale skin, the man looked back to the last two of the team, who were intent on both their teammates, though looking immensely lost. He managed to break a crack through my hypnosis? Ah, yet another reason to keep the white one in my grasp... "I do not think so, child." He promptly took a step forward, then placed a navy-clad arm around the ninja's limp shoulders carelessly, looking at the other two of the team. "You may call me Kraken."

"We'll call you whatever the hell we want!" Kain roared, his normally calm disposition completely gone.

Frowning, the dark creature tightened his grip on the white mage, loosening it around his mouth so they could hear his whimper of pain.

Both master and black magic user stiffened as they saw the Kraken's grin, Kain growling deeply, a feral noise.

"You aren't comprehending position that you're in..." the watery devil purred, stroking a long, pale finger along the ninja's chin, reveling in the way the entire team stiffened.

Suddenly, a shock of cold ran through Nolum's brain, as though one of the slimy tentacles had worked their way into his brain, curling around and touching everything. Giving him an almost appreciative grin, the Kraken slowly leaned away from the leader of the heroes.

"So tell me..." he paused, as though searching. "Kain." Large, blacked eyes of the tentacled creature twinkled in the reflected light of the water orb. "Who do you want back? One... or the other?"

Complete silence followed as the master's eyes widened, interrupted by a slight hiss of pain from the white mage as the tentacles tightened around his neck, slowly but surely. Kain looked from Lydos to Nolum, a terrified glint in his eyes. "I..."

"Oh, come now. It shouldn't be too hard to choose," announced the Kraken, his voice thick with boredom. "After all, a white mage can be replaced by anyone with a few hi-potions, and I really don't think you could get too far without a leader like..." he leaned against Nolum, a cat-like grin on his face. "him."

Both Clyvia and Kain looked confused at his small speech, more than a bit startled. Finally, the latter of the two turned to the humanoid creature. "Why are you trying to get us to leave Lydos?"

Mentally, Nolum screamed. He flailed, he hit, he screeched, he yelled, he kicked. On the outside, only his eyes showed how panicked he was. He knew what was going on. He knew exactly what was going on. But he couldn't do a thing. Either way, the Kraken had them trapped...

Clyvia really didn't want this to have to happen. She really didn't. But really, she wished he would hurry up and choose Nolum. If they DID have him, he could make a plan for them to come directly back. But then again, if the Kraken was asking them to choose Nolum, he probably had a reason... So she quickly leaned over and whispered in Kain's ear about her thoughts... unaware she was stepping right into the dark creature's obvious trap.

Coal-like eyes shining with delight, the Kraken almost laughed aloud as the two remaining heroes chattered amongst themselves nervously, giving their leader conspicuous apologetic looks. He had this planned out the minute he captured the feeble little white mage in his grasp.

If they chose their leader... they wouldn't get far. Still under the watery beast's control, he would lead them straight to their deaths...

But if they chose the creature in his grasp... he had a little plan.


Clyvia stared at the ground as he said it, though the emotion heavy in his voice made it obvious that Kain was horrified he had said that.

Almost crying, Lydos squirmed in the tentacles, desperate to tell them to shut up, to choose their leader, to do anything but what they had done. As the grip around him loosened, a soft sob escaped his mouth... until he realized he couldn't breathe.

"Let him GO already!" Clyvia shouted, Kain silently agreeing with his panicked teammate.

As a deep, booming laugh filled their ears, dark and amused, all heroes realized that something was wrong. The deadly humour, the self-gratified cackle, the ominous laugh... it stopped, suddenly and shortly.

Just in time for them to hear the harsh crack of the healer's neck snapping under the pressure, and the hollow thud as his lifeless body fell to the ground.

However... the Kraken's eyes widened as his plan went out of hand. Instead of the remaining three being frozen with despair, and him staying perfectly untouched... he was simultaneously skewered through his side, had the cartilage of his nose punched straight into his brain, and had his heart cooked with lightning.

All three remaining warriors looked towards the deceased mage.

Immediately, Kain looked away, holding a hand on his stomach and the other on his mouth, turning a pale shade of green. Clyvia fared no better, having to pull her hat over her faintly glowing eyes. Nolum simply winced sympathetically, setting his jaw with an air of deep disdain.

Their leader immediately took hold of the situation. "Alright, for the down to work correctly, we have to... set the wound. Which would mean... repositioning... the... neck..." he slowed down, swallowing thickly. After looking around at his sickened teammates, he concluded it would be for the best that he would do it.

Minutes later, Clyvia and Kain finally took a peek at the other two, though severely sickened. Lydos, still face down (probably for the best), laid perfectly still, neck looking a lot less broken then it had before. After a moment, they realized that their leader was standing beside him, wobbling slightly on his feet, and looking worse than they had. Giving them a look, he shook his head.

"O-one sec-cond..." he murmured, blinking slowly. Finally, he spun around on his heel, expelling anything that had been in his stomach all over the damp stone.

Wincing sympathetically, Clyvia removed a phoenix down from her pocket. Instantly it reacted to the still being on the floor, dissipating into the air and creating a faint glow around him.

After a moment, a soft groan tore itself harshly from the white mage. The trio who were standing up took a step forward, almost anxious for him to stand up. Lydos slowly pushed himself up, blood dripping from his nose slightly. Putting a hand on his leg, he promptly announced, "Curaga."

Instantly, the atmosphere lightened. Kain promptly pulled the white mage onto his feet, clapping him on the back. The other two did the same, all trying to tell what had happened after the... technical difficulties.

Lydos grinned, flexing his fingers and rolling his shoulders. Looking behind him, he made sure no one was following him. After concluding that, yes, he was completely alone, the white magic-user did a little dance. "Finally, some time to practice!" he whispered to himself.

Complete silence.

Slowly, he began to realize the fact that he was completely alone, armed with a weak hammer and a single damaging spell. Shivers went up and down his back as he realized how easy it would be for a creature to sneak up behind him and just snap his neck. There was no way he was going to go through that again...

It was at this moment that a passing ogre decided that the bright white thing looked extremely tasty, not to mention all alone.

A small rustle was the only noise there was, but that's all it took to set him off.

"HOLY-" Lydos blurted, just about to swear, his hands in front of his face as a blur of a monster went to attack him...

Through his shut eyes, an amazingly bright light shone, along with the blasting of what could only be described as white noise. After realizing that he felt absolutely no pain whatsoever, Lydos looked around himself...

His jaw dropped.

A large clearing was around him. When only seconds before, he had been miles into a thick, green forest, Lydos was now surrounded by a large, deep crater.

Shaking with pure fear, the white mage scurried back to the village, hoping that no one would ask him what happened to his third spell slot.

Having arrived on a long, flat bridge, Nolum concluded that this was where the fourth fiend was. So, for obvious reasons, he pulled Lydos off to the side, behind a pillar, while the other two of the team talked together about the upcoming battle.

Jaw set firm, the ninja put his hands on the other's shoulders, gripping harshly, ignoring the startled yelp the other emitted. "We know what's going to happen. It's already happened three times- three times- because we weren't careful enough."

"...What did?" the white mage asked, eyes shining with what could be described as pure fear.

Almost shaking his head, Nolum gripped harder. "Possession. You know how, right before every fiend, one of us begins acting... stranger than usual?"

Lydos blinked for a moment. Finally, his eyes lit up with realization. "Oh! You mean every time we do that, one of us starts being all frozen and stuff?"

"Not how I would describe it, but close enough," his leader hissed, attempting to weaken his grip, if only to get the other to stop flinching. "First it was Clyvia... then it was Kain... then it was me. So who's left?"

"...Me?" Lydos tried, looking all the more horrified the more the other talked. At Nolum's hesitant nod, his eyes became the size of dinner plates. "But-but-but I haven't had any... weird thoughts, I haven't acted weirdly, I don't hear stuff! I don't feel possessed! Or hypnotized! Or anything like that!"

A small pause. Instead of looking relieved as the white mage had hoped, Nolum merely looked more anxious. "And for some reason, that just makes me more worried."

"B-but..." he mumbled, scratching his left arm nervously, a bad habit he had developed.

"I'm really sorry about this, but..." Nolum paused, looking shamefully at his hands. "I'm not sure if you'll attack us like Kain, be frozen like me, or just freak out like Clyvia. Just in case... I know for a fact that you can hit pret-ty hard with that hammer, so..."

"Just my hammer?" Lydos asked, almost anxious.

Giving him a strange look, the ninja replied, "Yeah, I'm just taking the hammer. I know you can't cast any actual damaging magic, so..."

It was at this point that Lydos' heart practically stopped, and his mind went far faster. Not wanting to tell his leader about his... personal purchase, he merely passed his hammer to the other, keeping his mouth shut tightly.


All four of the group approached the crystal this time, marveling at the twisting, light shades. So of course they wouldn't have any ability to react correctly as they heard a voice swearing a blue streak from the other side of the room.

A thin, tall male, head covered in long, spiky, light green hair, glared at them, stomping over. "Why the FUCK aren't you doing what I want? From what I heard, at least MARY could get the punchy guy to hit things! And you can't even be hypnotized correctly? What the hell?!"

Clyvia blinked as she realized his pupils were slitted, and his mouth was filled with ridiculously sharp looking fangs. "You're the fourth fiend?"

"Yep!" he announced, mood swinging drastically. "I'm the great, all-powerful TIAMAT!"

Snickering, Kain managed to hiss out, "That's a girl's name!"

A loud growl filled their ears, drowning out the wind whistling across the floating castle. "Fuck you, ass fuck! I have enough power to blow up this entire castle, so you better watch your motherfucking tongue!"

Almost staggering at his language, Lydos gasped. "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?!"

There was a small silence in which his teammates would have face-palmed, given the chance.

"I was born of the sins of many, the deaths of millions, and the horrors of the world. I don't have a mother, idiot."

"Oh, shut up, cockbite."

There was another, larger silence, in which everyone slowly turned to the child-like white mage, gaping wildly.