AN # 1 Ok so I'm saying that their language which IS actually English is called Aselian so you know. And Balacrufian is latin.

AN#2Also please remember that not only is this fanfiction, but it's also about a year after the journey, so if people seem OOC or different, then they're supposed to be that way. This is only like my 2nd or 3rd whack at trying to write Yuan so I'm not super good at him yet, which means that him especially will be at least a little OOC though it shouldn't be too horrible.

AN# 2½ - OK, so I didn't realize until I'd written Kratos being alone for so long that Yuan actually had a communicator, and lost contact right about now. So if you happened to notice that just ignore it. I'm saying he's had no contact at all. Also I'm not using my big map for this. It's about as short as during the regeneration journey that they (the creators) say lasted for about a week. (….? WOW they must walk fast…?) However I must extend the journey a LITTLE – say it took about six months. Plus this is also going to push back the Vanguard plans a bit, say all the DotNW stuff happens around two and a half – three years after the game.

AN#3 Yea, and in case you didn't get it from before, DotNW gets a move on in this chapter, so beware of possible spoilers to come in this chapter and on.

AN#4 OH YEA! ANDDDDD, it'll all make sense when I'm done! I SWEAR! I even PROMISE (Mostly…)!


Chapter 3

Back to Tales

Zelos was in the ruins, floating at the ceiling and slowly working his way through the angelic text on the walls. He worked through the text not noticing Raine and Colette leave until almost five minutes later… But he had touched a smidge on something that both worried and interested him; a message seemingly from the people who'd build the giant stone ring.

'We were once a great people, we came to this galaxy with the hope of spreading new life, soon the new life grew, prospered here, and we placed the stone gates so we could travel to the worlds easily. We wanted to trade, exchange knowledge, and friendship.'

He stopped and took a short break, translating it into something that could easily be read, and understood was very difficult. Especially since some of the words had to be translated to Balacrufian before properly running into Aselian, and the fact that Aselian had so few letters compared to the other language was also a little difficult. He sighed, and after shaking his hand went back to work rewriting every word one or two times depending on what it took.

'In due time a thousand worlds bore the fruit of life in this form. Then one day our people set foot upon a dark world where a terrible enemy slept, never before had we encountered beings with power that rivaled our own.

'In our overconfidence we were unprepared, and outnumbered. The enemy fed upon the defenseless human worlds with a great scourge until finally – only two outposts remained. One of these outposts floated through space, giving what we had called mana, a form of life energy, and supplied it to the worlds that needed it to survive through great trees from which this life giving energy flowed. The second was Kharlan's sister ship – Atlantis.

'The Atlantis Stargate was the one and only link back to earth from this galaxy. And most of those who remained used it to return to that world that was once home. There, the last survivors of Atlantis lived out the remainder of their lives; both cities were left to slumber, one resting far beneath the ocean, and the other floating slowly around the worlds supplying mana where needed, both left in the hope that our kind would one day return…'

Zelos took another break noticing the carving style change; this was more like quick slashes into the rock, as though the one writing them was in a rush.

'However some of us stayed on this world, we joined the humans watching over this world and worked beside them, fighting off the evil before it was able to truly do too much damage. However we knew that eventually our lives would end, and so, we became Crystal Holders, and watched over this world for many, many, thousands of years. However, slowly we've been lost to the evil, taken prisoner and at no hope for a rescue.

'Beware the scourge. Beware the power of the ones who steal life. For should they ever discover we are no longer here they would surely…'

Zelos had paled considerably at this new revelation. The last of the warning had been destroyed over time, and he moved past it suddenly not feeling well. He looked at a diagram which it seemed, explained the route of Dherris Kharlan. It was a very intricate pattern, running through and around stars, and planets, going closer to some than to others. He drifted to the ground much like a piece of paper would and barely landed on his feet. Was this why the Stone Gate had been buried deep beneath the city, hidden away where no one would ever possibly find it? To keep the 'great evil' away? He groaned and walked to the inn, it was about halfway up the mountain, one of many that had substantially expanded the city since the merging of the worlds.

He found Colette and Raine sitting in the main room. Zelos walked up to them, and Raine looked up at him taking in his pale pallor and worried gaze.

"What's wrong did something happen to the ruins?" She asked, standing up.

"N-no… Nothing of that sort… It's just… I found something… Something a bit worrying…" He handed over the notebook he'd been using to write on and allowed Raine to read it while he sat in a chair.

Colette worriedly looked at Zelos as the professor read, and her brow furrowed. When Raine handed the notebook over to Zelos Colette started to read, double checking the translation with him as she went while Raine looked at Zelos.

"And you're sure this is correct?"

"I'm pretty darn sure," Zelos said looking up momentarily.

Raine's mind came to the same question Zelos had thought of… "Then is this maybe why they buried the Stone Gate? To protect our planet…?"

"I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm wondering too. Although I know a part of that is missing there was some damage and the last of it was unreadable. But there's text on a lot of that wall so I would assume that the things we want to know are in there, but there is a fair amount of damage all around so I'm not sure we'll find it."

"What about Kharlan?" Colette asked. "You don't think it meant Dherris Kharlan do you?"

"What's this I'm hearing about Dherris Kharlan?" Yuan asked, from above, and then went down the stairs with Genis behind him. Colette handed him the notebook and he read it with Genis doing the same over his shoulder. They finished a couple minutes later after re-reading it twice, and finally both looked up.

Yuan looked strangely worried. They'd never really known him well enough to see him with emotion on his face, but now the worry was clearly there.

"I think we should contact Lloyd and the others. I left all of them Transmitters, they're one way and connected only to the one I have at the tree, however, they should call everyone no matter where they are in the world, even if it takes a few days to get them here."

"Uhm, I've sort of got to go and officially extend my vacation. I'll vaguely explain the situation to the king and then meet everyone else. You guys can head to the meeting place while I do that end everyone else comes. Though I'll stay until tomorrow, I want to try and find some useful information. I'll go and skim the ruins right now. Just tell me when its noon tomorrow and I'll leave. By then I should have a decent amount of information.

"Alright, makes sense, the chose- erm Ms. Brunel should probably stay and keep working on it for another day while you're busy."

"Ok, and please call me Colette."


WWCWW


The four assorted beings got ready to take off as they started their engines and spread their wings. As they had decided the day before, Raine and Genis would be riding a Rheaird beside Yuan while Colette would join them in a couple days and Zelos not too long after her. In the time they took to get there hopefully everyone else would be on their way. And by any chance everyone would be gathered by the end of the week; longer though if anyone was too far from the tree.

"Alright, let's head off." Yuan stated flapping his wings once and shooting up into the air. Raine kicked on the engine and they flew up, where Yuan waited to greet them.

They flew for a couple hours watching the clouds and scenery below float by before landing near the grove where the sapling was at. They descended slowly and Genis and Raine went bug eyed at what had grown around the tree they had been there when it had been planted a year ago and already full sized trees and bushes were already grown despite the short time those plants had had to mature. Circling the sapling was a stream that ran gently around the mound that it was on. The shrubbery was cut off suddenly by a small cabin that rested in a grove of trees.

"OH MY! IT'S MARVELOUS! JUST WONDERFUL!" Raine gasped as she got a theory. "The excessive amounts of mana must cause the shrubbery in the area to grow at an excelled speed! MARVLOUS!" Raine shouted running from bushes to trees to flowers, and thensome.

"The cabin yours?" Genis asked, ignoring his sister.

"Yes; does she do this often?" Yuan asked.

"Yeah, can we go inside before it gets dark?"

"Yes; but what about your sister?"

"She'll come in eventually, if nothing else I can drag her in for dinner and put a sleeping 'aid' into hers."

"I'll contact the others while you start dinner." Yuan said.


WWCWW


Lloyd and Sheena were sleeping when a vibration woke Lloyd, as his hearing was still uncontrollable at night. He got up wondering what would be making that noise at three in the morning, and left his tent to Sheena's where the noise was coming from. He found Sheena already awake and searching the giant bag for the thing that was buzzing. They searched together and finally found the pager that Yuan had given them. Since he had to put in the number frequency and continue to broadcast they had to keep a careful eye out, but the message they got was:

U-r-g-e-n-t-m-e-e-t-i-n-g-c-o-m-e-t-o-s-a-p-l-i-n-g-r-o-v-e

They looked at each other.

"It says urgent… We should probably go as soon as we can." Sheena reasoned.

"Yeah… I'll carry you for a while and that way you can sleep the rest. Yuan taught me how to turn off my need for sleep." Lloyd said.

"Alright," Sheena agreed. "But if you get too tired tell me and I'll fly on my rheaird."

"Ok!" Lloyd said.

They got to work and packed the tents in the bag, and the bag in the rheaird, and the rheaird in the wing pack. Noishe bounded up to them from the woods.

"Noishe?"

Noishe whined.

"Huh? What's wrong?"

Noishe whined again.

Lloyd waited a few more seconds before becoming hyper aware of a large group of people headed their way, from his estimate they were about two mile off.

"Who could be out here this far, let alone make Noishe scared…?" Lloyd muttered; he turned to Sheena and Noishe, "I'll be back in only a minute or two."

"Alright Lloyd," Sheena said as she climbed up onto Noishe's back. She knew he could make a quicker escape than her, even with extra weight.

Lloyd flew up above the trees, and there was far off shouting a few minutes later as something shot up in the general area Lloyd was in and exploded. The flames swirled and Sheena could just make out Lloyd swerving side to side to avoid them.

"LLOYD! Noishe get over that way!" She yelled urgently. Noishe got low before taking off in a very long sprint, the men were almost a mile off and they didn't know how Lloyd was doing since the canopy of trees blocked their view to the sky, all they saw were brief glances of light from the fire.

When they made it to a clearing there was a large group of men and women in a strange uniform. She didn't think about it though as she found the cannons that were firing the mana enhanced balls at her fiancé. She jumped from atop Noishe's back and went to the first one. She pulled out her cards and in her rage found the strength to bring out a summon spirit without straining the sapling.

"I call upon the Heavenly Messengers. Come, Sylph!" She said, grinning devilishly. The three sisters descended on the attackers and scared them senseless, and then they went for the cannons, destroying them swiftly and efficiently.

"Is that good Sheena?" Sephie asked.

Sheena looked and saw that all of the people were gone and the cannons were all either rolled away or destroyed beyond repair through being sliced in half, bashed into sheet metal or more full of holes than a sponge.

"Yep that's good." She said grinning. "But can you go up and find Lloyd, I can't have him trying to find me and being unable."

"Sure Sheena!"

The sisters flew up and Sheena waited. She stood in front of a tree and waited there patiently with Noishe. However what she hadn't been expecting was what happened three minutes later…

"Found you!" Lloyd said, grabbing her shoulders from behind.

Sheena jumped a bit, but managed not to seem too surprised. "Lloyd!"

"What? I was just having some fun…" He muttered. Sheena melted as he got a kicked puppy look.

"Ah fine. Anyways we've got to go."

"Alright, let's head off." Lloyd agreed. He took a hold of her and flew off with Noishe running on the ground below.

Sheena didn't manage to sleep for at least half an hour as she was still too worked up and worried over the people who assaulted Lloyd. They could just be happy Lloyd wasn't hurt, and especially not hit by the exploding cannon balls. She was sure they would have damaged or even destroyed his wings making flight impossible until they repaired themselves – if they ever could.

They had just passed over Altamira sometime around noon when Lloyd had to put her down. Sheena woke up as she felt them descend.

"Want to drop in on Regal and Presea quick?" Sheena asked.

"Yea, and then I can have a rest too. My arms are really starting to get tired." Lloyd said, a bit whiney.

"You're the one that volunteered to carry me." Sheena said.

"Yea and we did make it about half way." Lloyd said as he flew in circles around the Lezareno Company Headquarters where he knew at least Regal and probably Presea would be. Once they landed on the sky terrace Sheena dug out one of their access cards and they entered the elevator. The doors slid shut and they were waiting only about a minute before the elevator stopped at the President's Office.

They walked in and found it empty.

"Huh, I wonder where he is… Think his pager went off too?"

"Quite likely, I mean it was an urgent message."

"I'm beginning to think that I wouldn't be too surprised to find everyone at the tree when we get there."

"Me either. But do you still want to ask George?" Sheena asked.

"Yeah, we probably should, let's go find him."

"No need, I'm right here." George said as he entered from the other elevator.

"George! You know where Regal is, and if Presea is here?"

"In fact, they both left just this morning, quite early in fact, I'd say around six a.m." George informed them.

"Great, we missed them by almost six hours… They're probably already halfway there." Lloyd said with a bit of a groan.

Sheena patted him a bit on the shoulder and looked a George. "Do you mind us staying in the hotel for five or six hours?"

"Of course, come with me." George said.

Once they had a room Lloyd took a nap while Sheena went out and around the resort looking for something to do. She knew that Lloyd liked having sleep, even if he didn't usually need it, so she was sure it would be at least a few hours before he was ready to go again.

She went to the entrance of the city and sent Celsius to find someone. She came back with a partially frozen woman in ninja gear.

"Sheena," She said.

"Hey there Zelda," Sheena greeted; but her face turned very serious. "Listen, I need you to look into something, and take a squad." Sheena said, as she pulled out a map and unfolded it. She drew a circle that was in the forest south of Iselia and West of the Triet Ruins. "In that area Lloyd, Noishe, and I were attacked. We made it out just fine; however, I want to know who might want to either capture or kill Lloyd that badly that they were shooting with mana enhanced cannons."

Zelda shook her head. "No need. Chief Igaguri has had squads on the Vanguard for months. I'm out on assignment for them, but I didn't want to ignore your call. Look, they have many goals, and two of them involve Lloyd…"

"They need Lloyd out of the playing field – one way or the other, they plan to have someone impersonate him and then use a 'clone' of Lloyd to spread bad things about the church… That's all I know so far. I've had a hard time making it up the ranks and we can't spread the information around without risking a slip up, we're only able to periodically get information to the village, well, that and Lady Alice has had me on her bad list since I started…"

"How have I not heard about this?"

"Well the chief was going to tell you next time you visited, but he didn't want you worrying until you had to." Zelda replied.

"Okay, we'll I'll have to tell this to Lloyd… We can talk with everyone else about it later."

"Alright," Zelda got a bit of a feral grin. "Congrats on the engagement by the way; Chief, Zula, Tyson, and basically the entire rest of the village send the same."

"But… How…?"

"He asked the chief for permision, and it spread like those wildfires in the Gaoracchia Plains, you remember those, right?"

"Yea, but I would prefer not to."

Zelda nodded, remembering also when the village had been forced to relocate. "Alright, well I have to go. Oh! But be careful! Warn Lady Colette – she'll be the next target I'm sure!" She said, and then took off at a run back towards the docks.

Sheena went back to the room and found Lloyd still snoring away peacefully. She knew she was getting too soft when she decided not to wake him up. He woke up on his own though sometime around six; probably because that usually meant dinner…

"Sheena… Is dinner ready?" He asked half asleep.

How did I guess…? Oh right, because his cooking is only better than Raine's because it's not poison and has taste enough to eat.

"Nope,"

"Wait a second…" He realized suddenly as clarity came back to his mind that they were in Altamira. "Let's go to the restaurant downstairs. And then we can hopefully get most of the way to the cottage before night?"

"Sure." Sheena said.

They went down and had a quick but delicious dinner, Sheena took that time to explain the situation, and then she stopped and grabbed some food before they packed up and headed off for where the tower of salvation used to be. Sheena was now on the rheaird and Lloyd was flying beside her and sometime below and above as he had some fun and flew spiraling circles around her; they made good time and were only about an hour from their destination when it got dark.

"Lloyd, do you think you could fly long enough to make it all the way?" Sheena asked.

Lloyd paused as he considered this for a few minutes. "Yeah, but let's take a little more of a roundabout way, our friends are following us again, and this time they sound to have heavier weapons." Lloyd said grimly.

"I see, so we're going to have to route them away from the sapling." Sheena said, determining his plan.

"Yeah,"


WWCWW


Yuan sat on the roof of the cottage, everyone else was sleeping, taking up all the room. So he'd decided not to try and even sleep at all. He enjoyed watching the stars, back during the war it had been a group event, everyone would just stay up all night and look at the stars in silence… Well, except for Mithos, he was always pointing out the constellations and explaining them.

He always pointed out a very bright star called Brave Vesperia; it was a star said to be fueled by mana, however no one could see if it was true since it was so far away. He wondered if Kratos had passed close enough to it to find out, although, taking into account the newest information Colette had brought he was fairly sure that Dherris Kharlan had passed the star and given it mana to last until it came around again. Yuan sighed and sat back quietly. He heard a single cricket chirping somewhere near the cottage, which was strange since usually there were thousands that he could hear, this meant that there could be a large group of intruders which would send the crickets all running out of the forest until they were gone... He snuck back into the cottage through the second story window, and glided to his weapon, the double edged blade shone in the moonlight as he took a minute to look it over properly in case he needed to use it. He got back out to the roof and went quiet. Now he heard the issue. There was what sounded like fifty or maybe more people out in the woods, and they had heavy artillery from the other sounds he pick up, he heard a familiar voice as well, from somewhere above him.

"-have to route them away from the sapling."

"Yeah,"

"Great… Should I go warn Yuan?"

"No, that would give the location, I'm just going to hope he's either awake already, or wakes up with the sound of fifty plus people marching through the forest with heavy weapons."

Yuan got the point, and began activating his perimeter – if anyone attempted to get within a mile of the sapling Yuan would know. He'd started the perimeter only a week after the sapling had been planted, and finished after about six months of work. It was a magical net; anyone that came within a mile of the sapling while it was active would begin thinking of all sorts of things that would cause them to turn around, about a quarter mile into towards the sapling's grove they would begin feeling a bit dizzy, and a bit sick, and have some very light hallucinations – all thanks to about ten different types of wards.

If they went in another quarter mile they would begin to get drowsy, and the hallucinations would go full on as they would see all sorts of thing that would either scare or emotionally send them away– the drowsiness would slowly get worse as they went until the spells an eighth of a mile from the sapling activated and put them to sleep, then Yuan could move them a safe distance away before they could wake up.

Finally, if anyone managed to make it past the sleep wards and spells and into the grove – which a half drunken group had – they would meet Yuan's blade. This would all last as long as Yuan was channeling his magic in. It had only one limitation – air, it couldn't do anything to anyone over fifty feet up. But he wasn't too worried, he could hear fliers, and it worked to allow friends access when the wards were raised; just so long as they descended into the one sixteenth mile radius of the grove.

"Yuan…? What are you doing?" Raine asked as she climbed up onto the roof.

She was followed by the rest of the group. Yuan though just ignored them as he scrutinized the forest. They were confused, but left him be for now. He turned to them three minutes later with a very serious face.

"Something isn't right out there…"

Genis gave him a look, "Yea, you made that kind of obvious."

"Can all of you still fight well?"

"I believe so." Presea responded.

"Good, it seems Lloyd and Sheena have run into trouble on their way, they are trying to keep the enemy away from here, however I think since you're all alert I'll go and help them. I've activated the wards, just stay near the cottage, and keep an eye out in case someone does actually decide to come here, and manages to make it through."

"So, before you go, do you know what kind of trouble Lloyd and Sheena are in?" Genis asked. There was a sudden explosion and two flying figures became lighted by it, one of them took a tumble in the sky, but managed to right itself.

Yuan took off into the night to try and help them before they were literally blown out of the sky.


WWCWW


Lloyd dodged another exploding cannon ball as he tried to guide their aim more on him so Sheena could land. He continued flying in their line of vision, bobbing and weaving through their fire and buying as much time as possible. He saw Sheena land safely and began flying away from the area in a direction that led them away from the sapling and Sheena.

WWCWW

Sheena finally reached the ground and hopped off her rheaird to put it away in the Wing Pack. Lloyd and she had an at least semi valid plan. She noticed they'd brought Bazooka's this time – probably because of the thick forest, however she could see from the aiming that they were also used much like cannons, and probably didn't aim very well from the shoulder.

"Sheena!" A voice yelled behind her.

Sheena turned around and saw Yuan land several feet away.

"Yuan! Good; I could use your help! How good are you at cutting through metals with that sword of yours?"

"I can make metal pancakes."

"Perfect."

WWCWW

Raine, Genis, Presea, and Regal waited atop the roof as they kept an eye out for any intruders that might come. It was quiet aside from the far off blasts, and the croaking of a single frog.

But eventually those stopped too… And it was completely silent… An almost eerie feeling of exposure hung over the group as they had to wait.

"Do you think they'll be here soon?" Genis asked, sometime around sunrise.

They'd all sat down after a while just in case they were needed.

Raine sighed. "I hope so…"

"They will come very soon, I hear their footsteps." Presea said. She got some looks as everyone wondered why she hadn't said anything before. Almost as though reading their minds she said, "You didn't ask, and they only just began to enter my hearing range a few minutes ago."

"Well, we know they're safe, that's really all that matters." Regal said.

"I'm in fact not sure… I think one of them may be unconscious. I can't tell all that well, but I believe I'm only hearing two pairs of footsteps, and one of them is very heavy, as though they are carrying someone." She explained.

Regal stood up and started towards the hole in the roof.

"We should all go down and go to them, in case someone was injured."


Four Hours Ago…

Sheena and Yuan talked over their plan before putting it into action. It involved using Lloyd as bait, and Sheena and Yuan going to destroy their weapons, and knock everyone unconscious and leave them outside the forest. Yuan had an ancient spell he could use, and as a result they would all feel very tired, very fast. This was all a varied plan from the one Sheena and Lloyd had originally created. However Lloyd's role was not changed, he was still bait.

"Alright, you give Lloyd the signal. I'm going to go and take care of the attackers, you get those cannons, and we meet up with Lloyd."

"Alright Yuan," Sheena agreed.

Yuan took off for his assignment, and Sheena began making her cards work as her part began. She used her light seal to make her cards light elemental; then she lifted them to the sky, and with a burst of her own mana sent a white light into the sky bright enough to illuminate almost a one and a half mile radius. And what happened next made her wince even though she knew Lloyd had done his best to keep the blast from hurting him too much.

Sheena turned with a single thought, Don't die Lloyd…

She headed off for the cannons that had stopped shooting as soon as Lloyd had started falling; and had her target as soon as she got there, most of them were gone now, probably off to find Lloyd – and there were only ten men and women guarding the cannons. Sheena jumped out of the foliage and knocked one out, and then she moved on to the next and then jumped into the branches of a tree, looking down on her next target. Two down eight to go.

Sheena knew it would now be more difficult because they were on high alert. Sheena dropped down and knocked out the third one with a jab to the neck. After that the next two were child's play for her, they were dumb enough to stand back to back and she knocked them out too; they were down to five, but it didn't seem like she'd have any more issues, one of them – the one in charge she guessed – ran towards where she presumed the majority had gone, and the last four decided that was as good a time as any, or perhaps even the best time, to jump ship.

Sheena now turned her attention to the cannons, they would be easy. She stepped back and took a deep breath.

WWCWW

Yuan deposited the last of the attackers outside the forest before going to find Lloyd. As much as he was worried about what Kratos was going to do to him when he got back and heard about this, he was more worried about keeping the sapling safe and Lloyd out of enemy hands. He found the young man unconscious in the middle of a bunch of trees that had grown together into a large hollow tree like nook. Yuan managed to get him out without doing too much damage.

Sheena found them around the time Yuan was loading his charge onto his back.

"I-is he ok?" She asked, looking more worried than usual.

"I think he'll be fine, we just need to get back to the cottage, and we can take care of injuries, and you can explain what is going on." Yuan said. They set off, walking through the night in silence as Sheena kept glancing over at Lloyd every once in a while. He wasn't that badly hurt, just some burns and a few cuts that weren't bleeding anymore, his clothes had protected him from the brunt of the blast.

"Congratulations on the engagement by the way."

Sheena turned, "How do you know that?"

"He asked me to help him find the ring."

"Really?"

"Yes."

They continued walking for another ten or so minute before they were greeted by Regal and Genis. They stopped in their tracks though, and their eyes looked over Lloyd.

"What happened?" Genis asked, looking a bit worried.

"We needed bait." Yuan said.

"I thought you were going to help them." Genis said.

"Well, actually, this had sort of been Lloyd and I's plan for a while, I destroy the cannons while he plays bait. Yuan just made it easier to get everything done because he took out most of the attackers." Sheena explained.

They continued towards the cottage, and by the time they got there Raine and Presea were back on the roof keeping an eye and ear out for them. Once Lloyd was left in a bed to wake up everyone else gathered downstairs at the table – as cramped as it was to fit them all.

"So Sheena, what's going on?" Raine asked.

"Well… I don't know the whole story, or even close to all of it… But I was able to meet a Mizuhoan informant in Altamira… I haven't been home in a while, so I'm not able to tell you guys all of it. But she's on a infiltration mission into an organization that's popped up recently. You may have heard of them, that vanguard?"

Regal and Presea nodded, "Yes, Presea and I have, they've been causing some trouble, mostly just intercepting shipments so far though…"

"Well… From what my informant told me I can assume that at least one of their goals is to dismantle the church the rest of the way… I don't know how they plan to do it, but she warned me that a part of their plan it to use a clone, or impersonate him in some way to progress that."

"But, how could they do that?" Genis asked.

"I don't know. There is one more thing though. My informant warned me that Colette is probably the next target; and I would guess Zelos is going to become the target aft-"

THUD "Ouch… Oops… I broke it. LLOYD!"

"Colette, come on; we're downstairs!" Sheena called. There were footsteps and the blonde woman descended the stairs and came around the corner while someone else simply dropped from over the banister with a short flap of his wings.

"What happened to my bud?" Zelos asked.

"Yea, why is Lloyd hurt… And no one's taking care of him…"

"We needed to get this meeting done." Yuan said.

"Yuan, I think Lloyd, Colette, and Zelos should stay here for a while."

"Oh-ho; and where will you be?" Zelos asked.

"I need to go back to Mizuho for a day or two and get more information. Maybe if I pool the information I can paint a clearer picture about what exactly is going on."

"You should at least take someone in case you run into trouble. Perhaps you should wait for Lloyd."

"Well…" Sheena stopped in her tracks as a thought suddenly struck her… "Uhm… Actually I think I'll wait on going home for a couple more days…"

"Oh, afraid of being mobbed by well-wishers,"

"Yuan, one day I'm gonna punch that smug face of yours."

"Hey, hey, hey, wait a second I'm confused…" Zelos said.

Yuan for once had a face that wasn't exactly smug; it was more knowing and mirth at watching Sheena.

"Well… Now that everyone is here I might as well tell you all. Lloyd and I are engaged."

"My bud and my hunnie are engaged?!"

After many congratulations they all decided to take a nap and get the sleep they'd missed the night before. The house was fuller than before so Yuan, Zelos, and Colette all stayed up and kept watch from the roof as the sun shone down on them.


WWCWW


Within the next few days Lloyd was back on his feet and doing his rounds through the forest to check on the places at the amplifiers that channeled and as their name suggested amplified the spells and wards that had been cast, and placed. He had just finished one such of those rounds and headed back to the cottage when a giant white and green ball of fur barreled into him and knocked him over and partway into the house. Lloyd laughed as a giant pink tongue began covering his face in slobber.

"Noishe; stop! Stop it!" He said, trying to keep the slobber out of his mouth as he spoke.

"Looks like you're in trouble there." Noishe stopped and turned to the one that had spoken. He pounced on Zelos and Genis and licked their faces too. He was overjoyed to see his friends after so long, and to see Lloyd was something he was also quite excited about.

"NO, NOT THE FACE! GAH!"

"Noishe! You missed us! We get it! Blech!"

Noishe released them three minutes later when he found his next target… Sheena.

Lloyd just laughed outright at them.

"There's dog slobber in my mouth…" Zelos said finding a towel and furiously rubbing his tongue on it. Genis snatched it and found a clean spot to rub his own tongue. Lloyd laughed harder but tossed Sheena a towel as Noishe found a new target. They heard Presea laughing as Noishe attacked her face with slobber. He also managed to get Raine and Regal. By that time they were beginning to wonder what Noishe would do when he saw Yuan…

"Noishe!" Yuan called.

Noishe stood up really strait and got very still for a second before he pounced towards Yuan. But the half elf stepped back and Noishe stopped short. The protozoan glared in determination and got sneaky, he lunged again and pounced a second time as soon as he landed catching Yuan underneath his large front paws.

"Noishe, stop; you tricky Arshis! Off or I'll make your fur so charged it'll not settle for a week this time!" Much to Lloyd's surprise Noishe listened. However it certainly wasn't before Yuan was covered in slobber. In fact his bangs were dripping…

It was later at dinner that Lloyd asked him about it.

"So, Yuan, what happened with you and Noishe today? I can't hardly ever get him to fully listen to me." Lloyd said.

Yuan looked up from his dinner. "Well, it's quite simple; him and Kratos pushed me into a mud hole while Mithos froze it, and I used some lightning magic to make their hair frizz enough they didn't dare attempt it for another thousand years." Yuan turned to Colette and Zelos. "So I'm curious as to how you two got here at the same time."

"Well, my Beautiful Angel Colette got a little off course and we luckily met when I was on my way here."

"Sorry."

"Don't apologize you dork." Lloyd said.

"Sorry!"

"Colette…"

They continued with some fun and their dinner until finally the atmosphere turned a little heavier.

"I think I'll have to head back to Altamira tomorrow." Regal said.

"Yea, and I need to head to Mizuho for information; Yuan, Presea, would one of you be willing to go with me?"

"What about me?" Lloyd asked.

"Lloyd, you're grounded for now." Sheena said. Zelos chuckled at Sheena's way of putting it. "Don't think you're free either Zelos." Sheena said.

"What, but… And-HUH?"

"You're probably on that list of people to kidnap/kill too."

"And I am too…" Colette said.

"I would assume you want Genis and me to stay here in case anything happens." Raine said.

"Yea,"

Yuan nodded, "That's a sound plan. Assuming everyone agrees…"

"I don't mind staying here with Lloyd, and Colette." Genis said.

"Hey, what about me, you brat…" Genis stuck his tongue out at Zelos momentarily and chuckled.

"I'll accompany you to Mizuho." Presea said.

"I'll go too." Yuan said. "I need to talk to that grandfather of yours, and I wouldn't mind finding out what is going on."

"Alright then,"

"But guys…" Lloyd and Zelos whined.

"Your stay here is not up for debate, you will stay, and that is that." Yuan snapped sharply, successfully snuffing out any more protests they would have dared make before then.


WWCWW


The next morning everyone who was leaving got ready to do so. Sheena, Presea, and Yuan got ready by taking food for the girls, and pulling out a rheaird. Regal as well got ready – Presea had practically forced the sandwich upon him.

Lloyd and Zelos still weren't very happy about having to stay in the cottage – however Lloyd was beginning to get a little less unhappy since he realized that him, Colette, and Genis could have some fun together like they used to. So basically, Lloyd would start a water fight during fishing and they would all spend the afternoon playing until the sun went down.


WWCWW


Lloyd splashed Genis in the face.

"Alright Lloyd… You're gonna get it…" Genis took out his Kendama and a blue spell circle lit up around his feet… "Aqua Edge!" The disks of water slid through the air, but became taller and thinner – much more like snowballs – before they hit Lloyd and Colette. Each of them got it in the face, and Colette got a determined look on her face as she entered the water further and cupped her hands to splash at Genis.

Raine – who was sitting a little ways upstream reading a book as she soaked her feet – chuckled as she watched the scene before her. Well, she chuckled until a miss aimed water ball hit the manuscript she was reading. The water fight froze, almost as though Celsius had decided to put an end to their fun using her powers over ice… And Raine gave them a glare that promised revenge. She carefully put the sopping wet book down near the tree line and shrugged off her coat…

Well, needless to say that within the hour the three teens had surrendered to their teacher and were laughing as they decided to get out. Zelos, to their surprise, had been absent the entire time, and they had to wonder where he was; however this question was answered when they entered the cottage and found him making dinner.

"Guys! Hey, what do you think my Angel, and Super Coo- OWW!" Raine glared, her fingers still pinching his ears. "I mean Professor…" She nodded and let go, Zelos started rubbing his ear but recovered quickly and got right back on track. "Aren't I amazing?"

"Not bad Zelos…" Genis said, looking at the food the red head had prepared.

"Thanks Brat,"

"Don't push it…" Genis said, still gripping his Kendama from the earlier water fight.

Zelos eyes widened a bare fraction in realization, and he wisely backed off before his hair got it.

After dinner they went to bed. Or most of them did. Lloyd needed to keep watch, and sat on the roof instead.

This trend continued for a few days, only changing much when they got Zelos involved in the water fight.

On the second night a woman – who aside from her cricket noises sat absolutely silent in the bushes, watched the little cottage… All three targets are hiding here, Lady Alice shall be most pleased…

She waited until day, when they were playing in the water, to leave her hiding spot, and then she went to go and report the news…


WWCWW


The door opened and Yuan entered with Sheena.

"Hey guys! Where are you?" Sheena called, walking through the cottage.

Tired footsteps alerted her that they were all just getting up, and only because she'd called for them. A few minutes later four people came downstairs…

Genis blinked and looked around finally out of his sleep induced haze… "Hey guys, where is Lloyd?"


WWCWW


Lloyd wasn't sure where exactly he was. He remembered hearing the flapping of wings, some girl giving an order feeling very, very tired and catching a glimpse of a person flying on something before being unable to stay awake. He took in his new surroundings which included a very uncomfortable bed which he was currently sitting on; a second room that he had discovered was a bathroom, a table with a candle, a chair, and a very small barred window that looked into another room that was empty. At least so far; he was pretty sure from the suffocating feeling that he was underground. That and the ever suffocating darkness told him so too; it was exactly the same in Shadow's temple, and in the Toize Valley Mine.

"I gotta get out of here." Lloyd muttered to himself, walking to the bars in the wall. He put all of his weight into attempting to shake them, and to his relief one of them wasn't completely secure, which meant he could break it out, and maybe some of the wall and make his way out.

He took off his jacket, and got to work on pulling out the steel bar…

WWCWW

"LLOYD!"

"Lloyd where are you?"

"LLOYD! IF THIS IS A JOKE I'LL KILL YOU WHEN IT'S OVER!"

"I SECOND THAT!"

"Lloyd?"

"HEY BUD? You out he- "

Everyone froze as Zelos shout stopped. Yuan was the first to arrive on the scene; he found no Lloyd, and no Zelos. Sheena and Colette ran up behind him and he turned.

"I have no doubt anymore that Lloyd was kidnapped…" A quarter of a shout reached his ears, and he turned and took off in the direction.

Colette was directly behind him, and Sheena took a split second before following them. Yuan could hear the Sage siblings moving after them as well. They managed to find Zelos somewhere east of the grove and cottage, unconscious and being locked into back of a type of steel vehicle.

"We'll get the last one just make sure he doesn't get away. They're already on alert." A woman said.

A man got into the front of the vehicle, "Yea we know, goodness, you're my wife, not my mother."

"I'm your, superior in rank dear." She said.

"So, uh I'll make dinner, just, uh, get home by seven."

By this time the man had started away in the seemingly animal powered vehicle. Now Colette was attempting to go after the metal box her friend was on, but Sheena and Yuan managed to keep her behind the bushes quietly enough they didn't seem to notice. They managed to get away undetected and stop Raine and Genis from entering the clearing. Along with that they snuck around the side and began making their way out of the forest and towards the water where they were fairly sure Zelos was being taken. After a few words with a fishing settlement by the water, it was confirmed, that only ten minutes before there had been a boat that had taken off over the water and towards the next continent over.

They were pretty sure that at this point Lloyd and Zelos were going to be nearly untraceable – even for Colette and Yuan.


WWCWW


When Zelos woke up he found himself hearing someone pacing in front of the very uncomfortable bed he was on.

He sat up with a groan and finally was able to see properly. He looked around the mostly dark room and stopped.

"Lloyd, where are we?"

The answer he received was not exactly what he'd been hoping for…

"I have no idea."


END


Jack: You know I just thought of a saying.

Bubblekins1010: Yea, what is it?

Jack: Keep your friends close keep your enemies closer, and kill frienemies, they can be closest and haunt you in your dreams.

Bubblekins1010: *Speechless*

Jack: Was it that unbelievable…? I mean seriously frienemies act like friends and then kill your best friend and then they g-

Bubblekins1010: Yea… But I don't know how I never thought of that before! *Begins plotting*

Jack: Wait no! You can't kill the government! And not DANNY BOY AGAIN; I KEPT HIM OFF THE EXPEDITION FOR A REASON! Bubblekins you-…... She's not listening… I have to go and hide Daniel!


ALRIGHT! CHAPTER 3 DONE! Oi writing Raine in ruin mode causes need to press the Caps Lock button… And I don't like the Caps Lock button. I like Shift and that's it. Actually I think I like the shift button too much.

Ambur: You got that right, have you seen how many Caps she can do all with the shift button in ONE. SINGLE. SENTENCE?! It's CRAZY! (- case and point…)

Oh also, This all started around two months into the expedition on the Atlantis end in case you were wondering about that. Just count us as being at 'Suspicion' *Evil smirk and laugh*

By the way! This MAY seem a BIT like it'll NEVER EVER CROSS… I'm going to tell you now, that comes NEXT chapter. And a fun little extra will be at the end involving our favorite team of OC's! Cool eh?

Anyways, I hope you guys liked it, and my goal is one more chapter before the 20th! Thanks for reading! And please review!