I held my staff to my chest as bullets fired at my surroundings. I was huddled in a ball, my knees curled up to my chest, helping me hold onto my staff as hard as I could. Some survivors and I were behind an old, wooden shelter, trying not to die, or at least die in one bullet hit. I counted heads. Ten, not including me.

"Is everyone okay?" I yelled. They all looked around and then nodded.

Waiting for the signal to go was always tiring.

Right on queue, an archer flew over the shelter. She landed neatly in front of us before stumbling to the floor a second later, gripping her shoulder.

"It's safe to go!" she yelled as loud as she could. I nodded, but before leaving I ran over to her.

"Ranking?" I asked her, holding her shoulder for her to momentarily stop the bleeding.

"Seventy Six." she answered. I nodded and quickly touched the end of my staff to her bleeding shoulder. In a flash of green light, all that showed she had been even damaged was the rip and blood on her cloths.

"Cleric?" she asked.

"Bishop." I corrected her and added, "Ranking one seventy nine."

She blinked before nodding. She thought a little before adding, "Get them back alive, okay?"

I quickly nodded and saluted her before signaling the beginners to follow me. They all listened. I had thought that out of the corner of my eye I saw her salute back. Odd... normally the helper classes salute to the fighter classes. Maybe she's new to Victoria...

But then again, I was the youngest one in this war. They normally don't let you go out until your eighteen, and I am not eighteen, that is obvious. I'm fourteen, though my small structure made me look like a twelve year old. No one would guess I was over the thirtieth rank, let alone over the one hundred seventy fifth. She might have been saluting me out of sheer pride that someone of such dedication as myself would be fighting alongside beside her on the battlefield.

Dedication... I thought to myself, How funny. I don't want to be here. I'm here because I have to be here.

The bowman quickly leaping back over the wooden wall snapped me back from my mind. I hastily went to the edge of the old wooden shelter to take a look and see if everything was clear enough to go, knowing that even though it was supposedly clear a second ago didn't mean it was clear now. I almost instantly jerked my head back and heard the wheeze of a piece of metal pass by my face, inches away. Whether it was part of a metal monster or a stray bullet I didn't know, but I'm glad I cheeked to see if it was safe because it was clearly NOT safe at the moment.

Why do you care if it's safe? My brain asked me, You really don't care about these people, the one's you're leading. You could just let them all die, and get out alive. You can leave Victoria. You can survive.

I silenced my brain. I knew what I had to do, and I didn't need it telling me that this wasn't it. I knew I needed that book. That one book of Grandles. But I needed his trust first, and that would take a lot of work.

It's been years since you stole the last books. My brain reminded me, it's been years since you started saving lives here on Victoria. It won't be long until he announces that he trusts you again. You know it.

I smiled. I did know it, but until I was sure I had the old mans trust, I would make sure that at least half of these dumb asses got through alive.

"Okay, this is what we're going to do!" I yelled at the beginners, "We're going to make a run for it! I'll heal you if you get hurt, but just try not to die in one hit!" I yelled at them. They all nodded, but you could tell they were nervous. A girl with her hair up in two scrunchies started to cry. I really didn't have to much time to waste cheering them up. As if I cared.

"You guys ready?" I asked. They sure as hell didn't look ready, but they all nodded anyway. That'd have to do. "Run!" I shouted, and they all made a dash for it, me behind so I could quickly tend to their wounds if they got shot. More like when they got shot. Most don't get back without me having to heal their wounds. There's just to many stray bullets around here.

Yelling and screaming and gunshot was, all in all, the only thing heard for miles. We'll have to run for half a mile to get to the final shelter, and some of the beginners would go deaf, and maybe some would die, but that's just the cruel way things work out around here. But, a long time ago, it wasn't like this.

A long time ago, people would be able to train here, on Victoria Island, be able to get levels up just to brag to their friends, or just cause they wanted to, or maybe to make their parents proud. Some people wanted to be the best, so they aimed for that, but most people knew that this was a dream that could never be reached, so they stuck to themselves and their friends, not trying to get fame with their muscles or magic, but trying to make it a game by being the best in a small group.

Some with the dream of becoming a hero reached their goal. Some did not. But the only difference from back then and now is that they had a choice. Something the people from Victoria Island never had in the past hundred years or so. We fight to live. We hunt to eat. We get up in ranks to reach the top. And when we reach the top, we end this cold blooded war faster, and then we rest in peace or pieces, depending on how you went down. Most of the time it's not a very peaceful death unless you die in your sleep. But even in that, there's gunshots. Because, as people say, the night before you die here, you dream of getting shot in the heart. And then you never wake up. Simple as that. And do I believe it? No. And I don't care, because I won't be dieing anytime soon.

Breaking me out of my own mind, the youngest and slowest beginner fell to the floor. A bullet hadn't hit this one, a piece of flying metal had. Wherever it had come from or what it was didn't really seem to matter at the moment, though, because that beginner was out like a rock. I quickly healed him, and like what happened to the archer, a flash of green light made the ugly, long cut going over this ones right eye turn into a large, thick-corded scar on his face. He didn't wake up, though.

I didn't worry about it. I've had cases like his where they don't wake up after being healed. It's not abnormal-

I sensed something hurling towards my face all of a sudden. I did a back flip, the young one quickly gathered into my arms, and whatever it was whizzed under my feet mid flip. I had no time to think before I heard a blood chilling yell up ahead, and I turned to see the girl who was crying earlier.

I teleported and I was at her side in a second, quickly using heal. She had been shot in the chest, which was a lot more severe then being hit with a piece of metal across the face. She didn't wake up. It's very possible that the impact gave her such a shock that her heart died out. I cheeked for breathing. None. I cheeked for a heartbeat. None. My eyes opened, and I gently picked her up in my arms. She was dead. Good for her, her life would have sucked anyway.

I looked up ahead only to see that the others were waiting for me to start running again. My eyes narrowed as I saw the last shelter, much newer and larger than the last, not to far away from them.

"Keep going, don't wait for me! That could cost you your life! The next shelter's up ahead, now go!" I yelled as loud as I could to them. They all started running, some giving a few back glances, but nothing otherwise. They would make good warriors when they grew up, maybe a few okay archers. I didn't see a magician or a rouge in any of them, though.

Getting out of my own mind, I stood up, switching the boy to a single arm and picking up the girl as I went. My staff was still in my right hand, the same one the girl was in, and I lightly tapped in on the ground.

"Genesis." I said. I felt my mana power leave my body and soar to the sky. The blue mana turned to a piercing light, and around it a small cloud appeared. In one blindingly fast moment, a huge pillar of light struck the ground and left one deep, narrow crater. I hopped in and gently lowered the girl onto the floor of the deep hole, and then said a few words for her short (and in my opinion, useless) life. I then jumped out of the hole and gathered a holly arrow in my hand. I let it go, and the powerful glowing arrow hit the rim of the hole and knocked most of the edge inwards. I did the same with the other side, and then the other, and then the other. When the hole was filled I got up and walked away. I didn't make her a grave stone: no that's to much time. I had to get back as soon as possible so that Grandle would be pleased.

Then I remembered the others. I looked over, grateful to count eight heads over there waiting for me. I was over there before there before anyone could blink when I teleported.

I gently lowered the knocked out one to the floor and cheeked his pulse, which was fine, cheeked his breathing, which was slightly uneven. That was about all I could do without the proper items to make a legendary potion that healed anyone completely, so instead I healed his whole body again to make sure there was no torn muscles that his body would have to work hard to fix.

"Did anyone else get hit?" I asked

One boy took the time to make sure everyone was okay, asking them each and making sure. "Everyone is okay, but the black haired one is having a hard time hearing." he answered. I saw a little bit of a cleric in him. Only the four masters would be able to tell for sure, though.

I clenched my teeth, and smirked. He was just like me...

"Good." I said, turning towards the wall, "Now let's get out of here."

Keeping my staff in one hand, I outstretched my arms toward the wooden wall as if about to hug it. I released some mana power, directing it towards the wall, and then the wood split open, splinters and nails flying everywhere. As the wood continued to spread, a beautiful blue vortex began to come into view. The varying colors of dark, light, navy and so many more blues made an astonishing effect that, no matter how many times I opened this portal, left me momentarily breathless. I stared at its perfectness for a moment. Grandle had made the portal, and it came as no surprise. Only a master could create something of the swirling blue pools stature.

My hands dropped to my sides as I turned around to the beginners. While I spoke I went over and picked up the passed out beginner. "We can enter now, but be careful. If you take the wrong step, then you fall in."

The black haired one was the only one who didn't blink or flinch back, I noticed. He's brave... just like me... so much like me...

"How will we know if we're going the right way?" the only surviving girl of the group asked.

"You should be able to feel it." the black haired boy answered before me, "You should be able to tell which step is wrong and which is right." he looked at me, "Right?"

I faked a smiled at him. "Correct. Keep your mind on the other side. Don't lose concentration." I added. He's to much like me...

It wasn't strange to see a kid who knew all this stuff by instinct. It just meant that he was meant to be a magician, as I had predicted he would be earlier. This only proved that I was right. Which meant I had to kill him.

I've been killing all the Beginners who showed even the smallest of magician traits. And I see, not only a magician in this one, but a master. If I killed him early, then it would save me trouble later, when I tried to kill the old man. If he was a magician, he might try to defend him... no, no, that can't be happening. I might actually die then.

"I'll go first." I said. "If I fall in, keep going okay? Do not wait for me." I knew that the chances of me falling in were... zero. I was positive I wasn't going to fall in on my own, but there might be something else that would push me in: some invisible force that broke through into the passageway of the portal and decided not to leave, determined to end the life of anything passing by. These things exist and if any were to find their way into Grandles' portal and if I fell in, I wouldn't want the beginners waiting around for me to come back up. I'd want them through that portal ASAP so that I would get at least some of them through.

I took my first steps, and they left me engulfed by the brilliant blues of the portal. I signaled behind me for the beginners to follow, and the black haired one headed in next closing his eyes and letting his mind tell him what was right and what was wrong. I turned the other way and kept moving forwards.

He's right behind you. My mind reminded me, kill him here before you get through the other end! You can push him, he'll lose his balance, and take the wrong step! And when you take the wrong step in a portal, you fall into nothing! It's perfect. No one will know it was you.

Well, people would have their suspicions about me. They normally don't fall in on their own...

Go after him. It offered, Make it seem like you wanted him to live. Then kill him while your down there and teleport back up.

I smiled, listening to that evil part of my brain. I releaseda rather large amount of mana out of my back, and then I heard the beautiful sound:

"Aw- AHHH!" I turned quickly, pretending to be alarmed, just in time to see the boy with the black hair go tumbling off the edge of nothing. I watched with my eyes wide in fake horror as the boy fell. Everyone else trembled as they watched the boy go flying. I didn't waste anymore time after that. Got to make it at least look like I care about his life.

"I should have double cheeked- what was I thinking? Everyone, keep going, I'll get him!" I said, and without thinking I handed the knocked out one to a beginner. "At the end of the portal there should be a girl. Tell her I went to go save one of the kids and I'll be back. Okay?"

He nodded, "I'll tell her. Should we wait for you?" he asked.

"She'll make you wait anyway. I'll see you later, okay? Right now... I don't know how deep he is." I lied to shut him up, "I've got to go."

He nodded. "Good luck." he hastily added before I was over the edge of the invisible path that would have otherwise lead me to safety.

I dove headfirst into the nothingness that awaited me below. I didn't fear what was down there, I had been down there plenty of times before, but it always creeped me out- that atmosphere... it seemed like time and space bended there, and it felt like, at any moment, the entire place would collapse on you and leave no trace that you had even existed in the first place.

I smiled, though, liking the challenge. It only gets harder and harder every time you're down there. The monster never rests, the time never stops, sometimes it slows or speeds up, but never stops. It's disorienting, but every time I make it through, I get stronger. And I plan to make it through every time.

Just then I caught sight of a small black dot.

I teleported and was suddenly at the dot, which, as I had guessed, was the beginner who had fallen. I grabbed his shoulders so that he somehow didn't float away from me.

"Are you okay?" I asked. He didn't answer, and I think I know why. He looked green, and by my guess he had motion sickness. "Don't worry! I'll get you out of here." I reassured him, even though I knew that wouldn't do much and that it was a lie.

I teleported again and then was at the bottom of the vortex. It otherwise would have taken me hours to fall to the floor. I'm glad that the beginner was to sick to notice that I could have just teleported the the invisible path.

What was down there looked nothing like the beautiful design of blue as it did farther up. The sky was black with small spots of light- almost like stars. The floor was pink, and it stretched on and on and on. There was nothing... but I knew there was something.

"Genesis!" I called out and pillars of light struck down. One, as I had expected, made something invisible wail. The floor began to shake and I gripped onto the beginners' shoulders out of reflex.

I'd know that rumbling anywhere. That's the rumbling of TIME.

Had to defeat the beast before you rescued anyone right? Well I guess in this situation I really wasn't rescuing anyone... but that's what everyone thought...

Slowly colors began to swirl and create a tie-dye effect. Purples turned to blacks, reds turned to browns, blues turned to purple, green turned to red, and brown turned to black. If you take the time, you'll find out that all those colors end in black. I watched as the swirl continued until there was an ugly shadow of darkness standing in front of me, on all fours with claws sticking out and horns pierced out of its head. Its eyes glowed a deep dark red- the only color on the thing at all- that had a mischievous form to them that gave me chills. It reminded my of a bull without hoofs, but thirty times bigger and fifty thousand times more deadly.

But I knew its weakness. I knew that TIME was blind and deaf. You wouldn't think so from the oh-so-red eyes and the oh-so-large ears, but they're there to trick you. They're to make you think that there's no hope. But I know that there's always hope. Grandle taught me that himself. The stupid old man.

I heard its breath, and I tried to stay still. I knew that it's attack was beyond what the legendary monster, Horntail, could create, but it's horrible defense and the fact that it's health is much much smaller than a monster like itself should have makes it a very easy thing to kill. It wasn't the toughest monster. But if it had a few more days, I would be in trouble.

TIME THE MONSTER:

You see, TIME is a monster that is made from the trapped time inside of portals. Every time a magician teleports, they make a portal around themselves using only mana, and as that portal closes you are forced out of another portal that matches your specific mana, or the same mana the portal you entered was made out of. It won't make you go through a portal that isn't your own. But while you're in a small portal, Time won't pass on the outside world: only inside of the portal, but because everything freezes and it's so fast, it really causes no damage to anyone in the outside world. Nobody notices. That's why teleporting is so useful and effective.

But portals that are made to last a long time are extremely large, and as time passes, it traps the time inside of it. The larger portals have to sustain themselves withboth time,and mana, Unlike their little brother portals that are used to teleport with only mana. It needs time because time helps it harvest the true power out of mana. Without this harvest of power, there really wouldn't be enough power for the huge thing to sustain itself, and it would crumble inwards. So now that we have the basics of different size portals and what they need to work properly down, I can tell you how TIME monsters are formed.

TIME monsters are formed out of time, and because smaller sized portals don't use time, there's no possible way for a TIME monster to form in one of them. In larger portals, however, there's a huge quantity of time used, and no matter what, that large portal will continue to suck in time. But the portal only needs so much time to harvest the true power of the mana. Once it has harvested that power though, and there's no more mana to get the full power out of, the portal will still suck in time, but have nothing to use it for. This means the time sits there, and sinks to the bottom of the large portal, and continues to gather and gather.

At first it it not a living creature. It isn't until you disturb the time that it forms into the big creature known as TIME. The thing turns black because of the time it's made out of turning old. Its eyes glow because it drains mana from the portal.

But, of course, when the time piles up at the bottom of the portal, it would eventually disturb itself, anyway: you wouldn't really need anyone to disturb it. The weight of the time on top would stir the time on bottom, and then the stirring of the bottom stirs the top, and then what do you know? You've got a heaping mound of disturbed time, and then it turns to TIME. And like all monsters, TIME has a goal. To destroy every person it can. And it can do that by getting out of the portal, and it can do that by gathering more and more time, and becoming big enough to tear the portal apart and then escape, effectively leaving no trace of the portal and becoming one of the most feared monsters there is.

And that's all I know on the monster. It itself has one of the three ways to destroy a portal- tear it apart using time itself, have the portal run out of mana, or have the portal collapse inward from lack of time. I've never met one of the TIME monsters outside of a portal though... Grandle told me it was because they don't last vary long. Time is a vary unstable and bendable thing, and as the monster lives, it uses up its own time. Eventually the monster begins to shrink and shrink until it is nothing. But at full size and out of a portal, it is deadly.

And once it is out of the portal most people call the thing PAST, because the time it runs off of is from the past.

NOW THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT TIME IS, BACK TO THE STORY!

One wrong move and you could die. If it hit you hard enough, you could be instantly gone.

I silently reached into my pocket. I pulled out a potion I always kept with me. Once the glass broke it would make a cloud of smoke big enough to cover a city. It was normally used so that others can't see... but the thing also had a very strong smell. If I used it, that thing would be basically screwed- not able to see, hear or smell me.

The thing was moving, slowly, sniffing the air, moving closer to me... a little closer.. just a bit more...

NOW! My thoughts boomed at me as I threw the potion on the floor. The smoke exploded outwards, and when TIME caught a whiff of the stuff, it threw its head up in rage, and charged forwards.

Grabbing the new one with the black hair (who by now had passed out from fright) I threw him in the air quickly. I barely had enough time to jump over the stupid beast.

I landed on my feat like a cat. A big cat. That was a... a very large jump for a bishop to pull off. The passed out beginner fell back into my arms, conveniently. I heard the thing behind me sniffing like crazy, trying to pick up my sent. When it failed at doing that, it quickly rammed at nothing, hoping to hit me, obviously.

"Genesis!" I called out, and a large pillar of light struck the beast in the back. It screamed as the pillar pushed it to the floor. I used Genesis again, receiving another pained scream out of the beast. With one more blow the beast was left on its knees. I had done about half the dose I needed to kill it, but... it looked dead.

That realization hit me quick: the thing had stopped moving. Now I wasn't about to fall for a play-dead trick, so I observed it for a little while. It wouldn't be getting up for about thirty seconds, so it would be safe.

Ten second passed and the thing didn't move. Now what is it playing at? I wondered to myself, but then, right then, it hit me. The smoke was clearing! It was waiting until it could smell. It's smarter than I had thought.

"Shinning Ray!" I said, needing to kill it before smoke clears. I began to use my mana to destroy that monster from the inside out.

"Genesis!"

"Magic claw!"

"Angel Ray!"

"Holly Arrow!"

The beast was screaming loudly and trying to get up, undoubtedly using it's last little particles of energy, for it succeeded. That's when I realized that I should have just used Genesis as an attack. That attack comes down from the sky... but Angel Ray and Holly Arrow and so on... give the beast a clear idea of where the attack is coming from.

Before another thought was able to course through my mind the monster began to charge at me, trying to kill me, trying to make me die a very horrible death. I jumped as I did last time, but something happened that I wasn't expecting. The beast jumped, too.

Time momentarily froze for me, and no, not the actually monster. Thoughts raced through my mind: The boy... you're going to kill him anyway... use him as a shield...

Time sped back up, and when the thing was a foot away I swung the beginner in front of me. I crashed into the thing, which ended in me getting tossed so far away from it that I changed my entire perspective on the monster. I had thought it could take you out in one hit... this thing was almost dead and almost took me out in one hit...

Almost...

I was fading in and out of consciousness. My staff had been knocked out of my own hands. I weakly crawled over to where I saw it in the dim glow that the small lights in the sky offered. It must have took me five minutes to get the thing: it was so far away. Being a Bishop and skilled at healing I was able to tell that I had ripped a few muscles in my left side, dislocated my left arm, and broke my left leg, too. I had, obviously, landed on my left side. But I felt no injury from the actual impact at all.

I grabbed the staff, amazingly in the same condition, and pressed the end to my left forearms joint.

I used up basically the last of my mana and healed myself. In a flash of green light, I was able to move my arm again. I pressed it to my leg and healed. Amazingly, I was able to get up, though it wasn't entirely better. I still felt like I was going to collapse because of the torn muscle, but I couldn't get every little tear. Where was the beginner...?

I looked around for his black hair. Soon enough, I found him.

I teleported, using some of the remaining mp I had to get over to him. He was dead. Oh well... at least he died in his sleep.

I looked up. With my remaining mana power... I should be able to get out...

I teleported up the large vortex and onto the invisible floor that lead to the the other side. I felt completely drained of energy, and when I arrived on the other side the first thing that greeted me was someone leading me to a hospital room. All I heard out of them was:

"Is he okay?" I don't know what that is...

"...Fine. There's no need to worry... Ripped muscle and exhaustion... Needs and rest... Nothing more..." I didn't recognize that voice, and I was fading in and out of consciousness. I all of a sudden, figured that I didn't care who was talking. I needed sleep... and that's what I would get...

A/n- Yea, I'm just going to upload one chapter every few days, and instead of having one million chapters with 1000 words each, I'll have a five thousand word long chapter (or something like that). This story isn't going to be as long as I had hoped it would be. I have another, like, eighteen thousand words typed for this story. The next chapter will probably only be 4000 words long. I've still got other stories to write... (Btw, if you were smart enough to read the a/n, I'll tell you that the main characters name is Dragon, if you haven't guessed already.) Also, thanks for my reviewers, pointing out my mistakes! I had written: 'Me and some survivors', and now, it's been changes to 'Some survivors and I'. Thank you for correcting me!