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150 G
Ersatz Sobriquet

Chapter 1

"Oh god, no!!!" The scream was soon muffled with a firm backhand across the face. The woman fell to the ground, long, flowing brown hair out of place, sticking on her sweat filled face. Fear gripping her, she tried to crawl away when the imposing force leapt on top of her. Another scream, and another backhand sent blood spraying out of her nose. The man quickly ripped open her blouse, revealing her bare bosom.

Relishing in the magnificent sight before him, he was a bit taken aback when she struck him on the temple. Stumbling off of her, she again tried desperately to get away as she started crawling through the grassy field. Not even two feet from her attacker did she feel him grab her ankle and herself being pulled back into his grasp. Twisting her around once more, she again resumed the position she once was in. This time, the maniac pinned her arms to her side.

"Why'd you hit me, girly?" he asked psychotically, a slight smirk on his face. "Why would ya wanna harm me, missy?"

She only twisted a bit and thrashed, knowing what was going to happen to her. Not wanting to feel yet another blow from her attacker, she made no attempt to scream, but only a simple request. "Please leave me be and I won't say a word about this, Vashti, I swear." she concluded, hoping such a worthless promise would free her of the torture she was going to experience.

"I want to love you," Vashti innocently replied. "I want you to know that there will never be anyone better than me." he laughed slightly. "Look at you." He paused as he looked at her pretty face that was slick with blood and sweat and continued looking down to her chest and then back to her face. "You are too pretty not to know what it feels like to make love to someone."

The moment, too much for him to bear anymore, went and bit her neck in a savage, lust filled rage. The pain was too much, and she cried out. No, why is this happening? she questioned herself over and over again as the mad man bit so hard that soon blood was drawn. When she thought that she couldn't bear it anymore, the weight of her attacker was suddenly… gone.

Eyes once shut tightly opened slowly to see her attacker neck swiftly forced into a position that shouldn't be. He then fell to the ground, obviously dead. She looked up in awe and amazement at her savior. He simply looked at his fallen victim as he lay there, oblivious to the woman still on the ground. Realizing that her blouse was still open, she tried to button it back up. Realizing that attempt was futile as her buttons popped off after her assailant ripped it open, she merely tried to close her blouse up as best she could.

Struggling to her feet, she looked at her mysterious hero. He wore a tan tunic accompanied with loose fitting black pants. A small black band was wrapped around his head. His shoes, nonexistent. His head was bowed, eyes closed and she could see his lips move silently. After a moment, he looked at her. His eyes had a slight slant to it. The light brown eyes seemed to be wise and instinctive. His skin looked soft, like it was well oiled and had a natural tan to it. His hair fell short of his shoulders and it blew freely in the breezy field.

Trying to mouth words to thank him, she finally stammered out, "Th… Thank you, dear kind sir."

He simply looked back into her fear-ridden eyes. She wondered what he planned to do to her. Is he going to do to me just like he did to him, she pondered slightly.

Finally, the man spoke after nodding slightly, "You are welcome." His words were spoken with a delicate touch, the likes she can only relate an older one would use. "What were you doing out here? Who is he?" he inquired, looking again back down at the fallen foe.

"Oh," she began, shuddering slightly as she cast her gaze on her attacker as well. "We were to wed over a year ago, before he started to act badly." she left it at that simply, not answering his first question.

Looking back at her, he simply nodded slightly and stated, "Well, if you are fine, I will be on my way," he trailed off as he began walking away.

Seeing that he was leaving, this unknown stranger that had saved her life, she quickly ran in front of him and began to prod a bit more as to who he really was. "What's your name, milord? Where are you from? Where are you off to?"

Stopping and jerking his neck back slightly at the barrage of questions, he answered, "My name is, Weturo. I am only but a simple student in the ways of martial arts. I am only looking for a suitable instructor to further my skills." he stated informatively.

"Well, milord. My father is such, a fine instructor in the ways of martial arts." she began. "Maybe he'll be your instructor, especially after he finds out you saved me." she smiled slightly. There was something about this fellow that drew her to him. Maybe it was his charming good looks. She wasn't too sure, but she liked this fellow, despite his rather cold responses. She also felt dirty inside. Not but so much ten minutes ago was she being violated and she's now staring at a man she knows nothing about that she feels for… deeply? She wasn't sure. But, she felt something.

Her smile was pleasant, this he did perceive through his thick wall of training that shielded his mind from such thoughts. But, this proposition is interesting, he thought to himself. Someone to teach me. "What is your father's name?" he inquired of her.

"Master Kenryo, of the Obtainne Clan."

Those words made a being inside Weturo rejoice with happiness and glee. Master Kenryo is a legendary figure throughout the world of martial artist. He was able to defeat a whole dojo full of worthy students in one incident. He is also able to defeat any animal that ever walked the earth. To be under his tutelage would be a dream come true.

Immediately, Weturo agreed to meet her father. As they began to walk to Master Kenryo's domain, Weturo felt bad that he hadn't inquired on the status of this lovely lady. "Umm… how are your wounds?" he asked trying to sound sympathetic. Looking at her neck, he could see that it was still bleeding slightly. "Your neck…" he said simply.

She stopped to feel it. She had forgotten that her attacker had bitten her there. Now that she recognized its presence, she felt a slight sting. Weturo reached into his pouch that fell along side his hip and took out a plant simply known as "Medicine" and rubbed some on her neck. In a matter of minutes, the pain subdued and the blood dried up.

Trying to make conversation, Weturo softly said, "I do not know your name. May I ask what it is?"


The journey to Master Kenryo's domain proved to be quite peaceful and relaxing for the two. They spoke very little on the way, though it was mostly Weturo asking about Master Kenryo. What was he like? How old was he? What's his disposition? She found all the questions to be quiet amusing, but heartily answered each and every one. There was just something about this stranger she felt a close bond to, the likes she never felt before. Not even with Vashti, she remembered as the thought lingering for a moment.

"Vashti," she said softly, not realizing she had thought aloud.

"What was that, Mai?" Weturo asked Mai inquisitively.

"Huh? Oh, oh nothing." she stammered. "I was just thinking about Vashti... the one I was to marry." The thoughts of her being attacked prior polluted her mind quickly, and she soon stopped and began crying slightly.

Slightly surprised at her recent actions, Weturo stood there for a second, wondering how he could console her. This was something his years of dedicated martial art training never prepared him for. He started looking around, probably hoping to find someone that could relive him of this awkward situation. Of course he was met with an empty crowd carrying on their nonexistent business, and he was left to find a way to mute her sadness alone. Slowly, he walked over to her and touched her shoulder slightly.

That touch warmed a part of her heart she hadn't realized still existed, and she quickly fell into his arms, hugging and holding him tightly. The tears now began to flow freely and slight sobs escaped her person. She tried to wash all the images of the attack from out of her mind and heart. Why did he do such a thing? she questioned herself. If he wasn't so stupid, he wouldn't be dead now. Dead. Dead... The word floated throughout her subconscious for a moment before continuing on it's way.

Weturo, on the other hand, was still surprised at her recent actions. He wasn't sure what to say or do. Something deep down inside, though said that that was probably best in this situation. So he just held her close and began to stroke her soft brown hair. Something deep down also let him know that he liked this. Holding someone. Something he hadn't experienced before. He liked this. He liked her.

What the... Where did that come from? he questioned himself. Trying to shake the thought out of his head, her tears and sobs began to die down and she tried to speak.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to impose on you like this, milord." she spoke, voice muffled as her head was buried within his tunic. "I just need someone... I need someone to know that I... that I..." she couldn't get the words out as the tears once again began to choke her very speech.

The thoughts becoming clearer on how to console her, he said simply, "Don't speak. Just relax and empty your mind of all the demons within." Again, the sobs slowly died down and the tears subsided as she rested in his arms.

After a few moments, she released her grasp slightly and looked up at him, all smiles. He is so considerate! she thought. Then, she quickly gave him a slight peck on the lips and resumed her joyful expression.

A bit shocked, embarrassed and happy, he looked down, her face suddenly becoming unworthy of his eyes viewing. That's when he saw it. Her bosom. It was exposed, blouse flying freely in the wind. Quickly, he covered her up, clumsily doing so. She, in turn became red in the face, forgetting that her blouse wasn't buttoned. She again resumed holding her blouse together with both hands and they both stood there for a moment before silently agreeing to continue on.

The house truly was a house for the martial artist. It stood upon it's foundation with the utmost authority and commanded everyone who ventured nearby to respect it's imposing visage. Yes, Weturo thought. This will truly be a learning experience for me.

They stopped a bit before walking on the grounds as Mai obviously stated, "We're here." Smiling, a slight glint in her eyes, she grabbed his hand and began to run towards the house. Weturo was unprepared for her recent actions and stumbled a bit behind before gaining his ground once more. After the short sprint, they arrived at the entrance of the house of Master Kenryo. Throwing the door open, she cried out for her father, where ever he may be.

Following a bit behind, Weturo stood at the entrance of the door for a moment, not wanting to venture in too far inside the house without the Master's permission. He was going to take every liberty he could possibly take to ensure the Master would not be upset at him. Mai, though ran around the large spacious living room still calling her father's name out, wondering where he could be.

Within moments, a voice was heard off to the side. "Mai, dear. Why do you call for me so?" his voice was a bit shaky, which surprised Weturo. Not at all the kind of voice he would think a legend would possess.

Mai turned to see her father walking out from amongst the shadows. She ran over to him and hugged him tightly. The old, short, bald man stumbled away once she released him and he looked up to her in surprise. "Well," he began. "I'm happy to see you, too." he chuckled. Noticing that she was a bit unraveled in appearance, he asked, "Just what happened to you?"

Looking down at her person, she did notice that her skirt was slightly torn on the side, something she hadn't noticed before and her shirt still lay in it's deplorable state. She blushed slightly and again felt the shame of the attack return but only momentarily. After the thought transpired, she looked up at her father and said, "Vashti, father. He attacked me. He was trying to... to.., force his love on me. I would have been violated if it weren't for the courage of this fine man." she finished, directing her attention to Weturo. Weturo peeked into the little room, wanting to make sure that all was well.

A slight smile landed on Master Kenryo's face as he summoned Weturo to come within the living room. He obeyed and immediately began to prostrate himself before the Master. Master Kenryo quickly scolded him while raising him up saying, "Never allow any man to become the master over you. Though you may call me a 'Master', I am only a Master when it comes to martial arts not over you. When you call me Master, please, only recognize that I am a master at my skill and not you, my son."

A blow already! Weturo lamented to himself. Already I have made a fool out of myself.

"Father, this young man's name is Weturo." she continued on, obviously accustomed to hearing that speech. "He has come, not only to escort me here," Mai said with a slight smile while staring at him, "But, also to see if you would be so kind as to teach him the ways in the martial arts."

The old man simply nodded, never taking his sight off of Weturo's downcast face. Finally, after a moment of silence, he spoke and said, "I will teach you, Weturo. I will teach you many things. Already you have proven to be worthy of my training since you saved my daughter," he said, placing an arm around his daughter. His words were slow, but yet continued to come out, "I know you will be a fine student." Looking back at his daughter, he suggested "Why don't you change into something a bit more comfortable?"

She silently agreed and began to make her way up the stairs. "Tell me, Weturo," Master Kenryo again began. "Just how did it come about that you saved my daughter's life?"

"I left my village about two years ago after my sensei died. There was no more purpose for me to stay there, so I left in search for opponents to increase my skill and, if ever possible, find a suitable instructor to show me the proper ways in which to fight." Weturo started. "While I was about on my journeys, I heard cries off into the distance. A woman crying, no less. That was when I went to investigate and saw the scene of Mai's attacker ready to assault her in ways more worse than physical attacks ever would."

Master Kenryo nodded simply. "And how did you stop him?" he asked, already having in mind what it was he did.

"I lifted him off of her and broke his neck." he stated simply.

"Why?" he asked calmly, starting to walk around Weturo. "Why kill him?"

"He was a threat to someone's safety." he began his defense. "I was trying to eliminate that threat. Words do not always work, and I concluded that if I tried to reason with him, he would have simply become provoked. It would have erupted into a fight, and wasted time would have transpired if I what I did wasn't done."

With those final words spoken, Weturo was tripped by Master Kenryo. Dropping to his knees, Master Kenryo stepped on Weturo's shins while quickly placing him and a neck grip. Weturo knew that if he moved even slightly, Master Kenryo would no doubt break his neck. "Tell me, Weturo. What prevents me from breaking your neck?" the words were spoken with no malice, no contempt. He simply posed the question to him.

"I did nothing to you, Master Kenryo," Weturo stumbled out, voice shaking a bit. "There's no reason you should kill me."

"You mean you never attacked me, my son?" Master Kenryo simply asked.

"No, Master. I would never attack you." he assured him. What did he do to deserve this, he wondered.

A few tense moments passed by before Master Kenryo released his grip as Weturo fell to the floor.

"Lesson One. Never, ever attack someone without being attacked or provoked first. You saved my daughter's innocence, but at what loss? A man's life." he answered his own question.

Quickly, climbing to his feet, he again stood straight and attentive and replied, "Of course, Master. I'll never do such a thing again."

Smiling slightly, he nodded his head and said, "Fine. Fine. Now, go rest up. Tomorrow we have lots of training to do."

For months, Weturo was constantly working hard under the direction of Master Kenryo. Meditation on Weturo's part was greatly increased which resulted in better concentration in the heat of battle. Kenryo proved to truly be a worthy teacher. One of the many lessons Weturo went through was the "Sense Test" where only Weturo's limited senses were used in battle. Blindfolded, he had to estimate where his opponent lied just by using his ears and nose. The slight smell his opponent carried was used to pick up where he was and his ears picked up any slight nuance he may have made.

Master Kenryo was very pleased with his pupil. He took his training very seriously and constantly strove to become better, stronger each and everyday. But, Master Kenryo wasn't the only one who took notice of Weturo. Mai also noticed him, especially his body.

He's gotten so big since he's been here! And looking cuter. she would often think to herself. By this time, it was apparent, even to thick headed Weturo that Mai liked him. A lot. And, as much as he tried to fight the natural urge, he too felt a special something for the lovely lady.

"A man of training should not be distracted by such a woman's wiles." he often scolded himself. It was all in vain though. Pretty soon, he found himself accepting invitations for picnic lunches with the young lady. Being with her, happily in Mai's as well as Master Kenryo's eyes, made his heart less formal and military-like and more human. Why, several times, out of complete shock to Mai, she found him making jokes, something he never attempted to do before.

Mai was twenty-three years old and Master Kenryo didn't want her to go through life without having someone. But, he didn't want her to have just anyone. Weturo seemed, though, like the perfect match for her. A twenty-two year old man with a serious shoulder on his head, is how Master Kenryo often saw him. He hoped and prayed that Weturo would take responsibility and try to pursue his daughter. But alas, that would not be for a while.

One day while, after a taxing day of training was over, Weturo went up stairs to take a shower. That was when they came. As Master Kenryo was meditating within his training chamber, ten men in black mask arose from their hiding places and sought out Master Kenryo. Wearing a completely black outfit, they slid inside the house with little to no effort and soon arrived within the training center. Confronting Master Kenryo, the leader of the pack spoke up.

"Master Kenryo, please give us the orb and no harm will come to you." he spoke, deepness and anger in each word.

Without opening his eyes, still remaining in his folded leg position, he replied, "Hentre, do not cause trouble once more. Remember what happened last time." He let the last comment linger in the air for a moment, as thoughts of Master Kenryo subduing Hentre and his five other lackeys invaded Hentre's mind.

Shrugging it off, he continued, "This time it is different. My companions and myself have trained hard and long for days and nights continually so we may be a worthy opponent to you. We know for a fact that you would die if you dare resist us. That fate can be avoided if you merely hand the orb over to us."

"If fate would have me die," he spoke, eyes opening slowly while facing him, "Then I greet death with open arms."

v "Baka!" Hentre yelled. "Then let fate take it's course!" and with that he rushed to Master Kenryo, unsheathing his sword in the process. With a fierce swing, he nearly struck his target if it weren't for the fact that he leapt to his feet and was above him within seconds. Time seemed to have frozen for but an instant, Hentre looking up at this old man's outstretched leg waiting for the blow to strike him across the face.

As soon as Hentre fell to the ground, the other men immediately rushed at Master Kenryo. One by one they fell to the wayside, Master Kenryo moving very smoothly, very effectively, very precisely. Soon, sprawled bodies lay within the training room as Master Kenryo stepped up to Hentre and raised him to his feet. Looking square into his eyes, he told him, "The fifth time, Hentre. This is the fifth time you've attacked me. How many more times will it be before you realize the orb will never be in your possession?"

Blood dripping slowly out the side of his mouth, he replied, "The orb rightfully belongs in my family's possession! Vashti was to marry Mai and you were to give the orb to my family. That was the original agreement. Even though my brother is dead doesn't mean the arrangement doesn't still stand!" he spat, words now full of hate and malice and contempt.

"You will never receive that orb, Hentre. I was a fool to ever agree between the marriage of your brother and my daughter. Now, though that it's over, my family has nothing more to do with your family. I grow weary fending you off, Hentre. Never come back again." he said, walking away from him and to some of his fallen companions. "Or I'll make sure you won't have to worry about coming back."

Hentre spat on the floor as he kicked a few of the men lying on the ground to get up. As they all began to leave, Hentre looked back, anger filled eyes and said, "Pray that your loved ones live." And with that threat, he left.

Master Kenryo sat down once more, folding his legs and closing his eyes, but not for mediation purposes. No, his mind was to concerned with the threat Hentre just made. He knows all too well that that threat might be carried out, and his daughter, the only one he has left would be gone if it wasn't handed over. The orb. This smoky black orb was becoming too dangerous to keep. He needed to get rid of it, hopefully alleviating the threat of death off his daughter. But how? How could he get rid of such an accursed item without it falling into their possession?

As he sat there, contemplating the dilemma, Weturo sauntered in, oblivious to the previous engagements. That was when it came to him all to clearly. "Weturo," Master Kenryo started. "Please, sit down for a moment."

Weturo did so, and asked, "What is it Master? You look concerned."

Chuckling slightly, he replied, "I am, my son, I am." He was always amazed at Weturo's innocence. "A threat has fallen over my daughter, and only you can prevent it."

Weturo's ears perked up over this recent news. He has gotten incredibly close to Mai over the past two months. His life was once bland with his whole goal in trying to be the best martial artist ever. Now, he wants to be the best martial artist, while living his life with the loveliest lady any storybook could have ever conjured up. If anything were to happen to her, he knew his life would again be bland and monotonous. He didn't want that, and if he knew he could prevent anything from happening to her, he would do everything in his power to do so.

Losing a bit of his composure, he blurted out, "What is it, Master? What is it that I need to do?!"

Not realizing Weturo's feelings for his daughter were so strong, he replied, "There is an orb I have in my possession. I want you to take it and leave this place."

He couldn't believe the words he just heard. Leave Mai? And his Master? All forms of composure now gone, he questioned, "But, why? Why must I leave?"

Master Kenryo knew this was going to be hard on Weturo. He began to explain to him the orb and the agreement that he had between Vashti's family and Mai and how this orb that was past down from generation to generation was to be given to Vashti's family as a gift. Vashti's family wanted the orb so much so because they heard rumors that it could bring wealth and power to anyone who holds it. That was concluded generations ago when Master Kenryo's family enjoyed great success at almost anything they did.

Master Kenryo soon realized that his daughter's life was going to be either ruined forever if Vashti wasn't the man she wanted to spend her life with. Reassuringly, he asked Mai if she wanted to marry him and if not, she didn't have to. She said that she never did and wished not to. Once this was made known to Vashti, he lost all sense of decency and sought out ways to be with her. The pressures from his own family to be reunited with her, as well as his inner demons prompted him to ask to speak with her in the forest one day.

"And that was when you found him violating my daughter." he ended the history lesson. "I need you to remove the orb from our presence. Go somewhere, anywhere. Your original goal was to become the best martial artist in the land. If you take this orb, your powers will no doubt increase ten fold. I predict you will even become a Master like me one day." he said, trying to use that as reason to leave Mai behind. Weturo could do nothing but hold his head down.

"Do not worry, my son." he again started, trying to reason with him. "I feel in my heart that you will be with Mai once more." Weturo looked up surprised that he knew his feelings for his daughter.

"How did you..." Weturo trailed off.

"You should not wear your heart on your sleeve, son." he answered simply. "Will you do this thing for me, son?"

Hesitating for a moment, he replied, "Yes, Master. I will honor your wishes."

Mai cried profusely when Weturo told her he had to leave. He didn't tell her why, though. The recent string of attacks on Master Kenryo were oblivious to Mai. Weturo did tell her that he will certainly come back. He confessed his love to her and said that his life now had meaning with her in it. Certain she was going to beg for him to stay, he was surprised when she simply nodded and wished him a safe return. A long kiss was drawn afterward and Weturo immediately left from before her presence before he talked himself out of agreeing to Master Kenryo's wishes.

Master Kenryo gave him the orb and told him to return. He knew he was going to return in fact, and only wished him the best of health on his long and no doubt arduous journey.

Chapter 2

The flames were so high. So intense. So unbelievable. It had to be unbelievable. It just had to, the little imp thought to himself. He had only left the village about fifteen minutes ago to pick some berries, and now his home was all gone. Who would have done such a thing? the little imp lamented to himself. Oblivious to his surrounding, he didn't notice a figure creep up behind him.

Heh, this is going to be easy. the figure thought.

The little imp took a step forward before he was jerked back and a knife was thrust into his back. The imp didn't wail or scream or anything. No sound emitted from him as he simply looked at the brand that was sticking out from his stomach. He just looked on as his green blood slowly seeped its way from his inner being. The thief then removed the knife from the little imp and immediately, the imp slumped to the ground. Bending over, the thief used the imp's shirttail to wipe the spilled blood from his knife.

Afterward, he began to rummage through his pockets in hopes to find anything that might be valuable. In a little sack that fell a bit low from the imp's waist, he found something very interesting. An orb. Black clouds swirling around inside it, which captivated his senses somewhat. A marvelous beauty indeed. Worth 400 Gold pieces easily, he thought. He tossed it into his sack full of other treasures he took from the imp's village and started walking away. "Hmmm. Maybe that wasn't necessary..." he said, looking back at the burning remains. Then he shifted the bag on his shoulder and remembered all the goodies he acquired and how much money it would undoubtedly gain him. After a slight pause, he concluded, "Yeah. It was necessary." a slight smile creeping up his face as he ate one of the berries the imp picked.

"Ahh, this is the life," the thief said, stretching his arms and legs as he laid at the foot of tree just short of a gentle river. The soothing waters always calmed his heart some, and it was working it's magic on him that day. Slouching back on the tree, he placed his hands behind his head and stared up at the sky through the leaves of the tree. The sky was patchy with clouds that day and he made out several figures the clouds produced. One was a rabbit, though the ears weren't totally right. Then he saw a fox, though the tail was a bit long. Then a bird... a raven to be precise. It was all very relaxing.

But then, he saw an image of a man. A very tall, skinny man. The thief narrowed his eyes as images of his father surfaced to his mind. That man, he thought. That cursed man. How dare he leave me and ma. Suddenly, the thief was sitting up, staring at the sky full of rage and hate. The cloud seemed to have moved one of it's arms high up as if to strike him.

"I swear if your still alive, old man, I'll kill you myself!!" he declared to the sky. As if the sky were startled at those words, the arm came down and soon the cloud dispersed. He then hung his head low, trying to wash away the thoughts he had of his father. His father, a man who left him and his mother to fend for themselves against a world that was against them from the start. A man who used other women to fulfill his sexual desires while he still laid claim to his wife. A man who was verbally and physically abusive to his wife. All during a time when young Terimy was helpless in stopping anything from happening.

It had to have been easy for Terimy's father to live his life, because his life was a living nightmare. Who knew the anguish and frustration one had to go through being called "The Bastard's Child" and hearing his mother called "The Whoring Wife" day in and day out? When he was old enough, he refused to let people say such things to him or about his mother. Every other day he would be caught in a fight with some local bay who called him that name or his mother that name. He would always defend his mother's honor, the little that was left of it.

He suddenly laughed to himself. "I'm suppose to be enjoying the day, yet I'm allowing my demons to ruin it." Taking a deep breath, he again resumed the position he held earlier and watched the clouds float on by.

Living that life with his mother was hard on young Terimy. People automatically assumed that he was bad and evil, just like his dad. And while he tried to defend his mother's and his own self's honor, people still thought of him as a little devil child that would never amount to anything. A junkie he would be, just like his pop.

The worst thing about the whole situation was that he soon believed it. He soon believed that he wouldn't amount to anything in his life. So he started committing crimes. Small ones that wouldn't draw attention to him, though he still did it. He was quick, no doubt about it, and being a thief was the first thing he tried. He was a natural, able to do the best "lift's" that anyone in his small town could manage.

His town was too small, though. There was only so much he could lift with their limited supplies. He needed to go somewhere bigger with more expensive things. So, he set off from home in search for the best places a thief would reign supreme.

Just as he was about to drift off to sleep, he heard a slight splash on the opposite side of the river. Looking across, he saw a big, well tanned man rinsing his face, arms and chest. Upon closer inspection, he knew he knew this fellow from somewhere. The way he carried himself was too reminiscent of that fact. But who?

Of course! It was Weturo! He met the slightly formalistic individual a few years back while on his thieving travels. They shared a room at an inn one day, the two of them not having much Gold to buy one full room. Terimy overheard Weturo being rejected for not having enough money and suggested combining their moneys and share a room. They did so, and thus how this... "friendship" was born.

Gathering his things together, Terimy proceeded to make his way to the other side of the river. A few minutes past and Terimy finally crossed the other side via a bridge a few hundred yards down from where he once laid.

"Hey, you ol' fart!" Terimy bluntly called out from a distance. Weturo looked up and around startled. A bit confused at who would call him such a name. Thinking for a moment, he instantly remembered the one person that would call him.... a "fart".

"You still searching the world for people to beat up?" Terimy asked as he came around a few trees.

Closing his eyes, he acknowledged him, saying, "It's... good to see you, too. Terimy."

Slapping him on the back, Terimy laughed, "Ha! Still the same ol' guy, huh? So whatcha been up to these past few years, man?" Terimy set his sack of goodness down as he slumped against a tree.

"I've been training to be a better fighter." Terimy left it at that simply. He didn't want to revel to him his love interest of Mai. If Terimy ever knew he was actually interested in someone, he wouldn't hear the end of it.

"You mean to tell me, you never liked anyone before?" he remembered Terimy asking him years ago.

"My training is much too important. I would become distracted if there were a woman in my life." was his reply.

"Well, it won't be long before you do find that special someone." he recalls Terimy saying.

"Never. I will never let anyone get in the way of my studies."


"Never." was his firm resolve.

"Ha! I bet as soon as a pretty girl walks by showing interest, you'll jump at her."

"I am not a skirt chaser like you." he bluntly retorted, hoping that would silence him.

"Hey man. I gotta do what I gotta do, ya know?" he shrugged off the comment. "Anyway, I bet you.... 150 Gold pieces that you WILL be attracted to some chick in little less than three years." he challenged.

"I do not bet." he replied.

"Scared, huh? I understand." he said, somewhat consolingly.

"I am not afraid. I am simply not a betting man."

"Uh-huh, I believe you. Some people can't stand the risks."

"It's not about that, it's..."

"Man, you don't have to convince me. If your scared, your scared..." he interrupted, leaving the words hanging in the air with his perfected guilt maneuver.

Silence on Weturo's part, then the answer to the challenge, "Fine. 150 Gold pieces."


Excellent. That word was still ringing in his ear down to that day. That was over two years ago, but Weturo knew the bet was still on according to Terimy. He never forgets a bet.

"Really? That's good to hear man," was Terimy's reply to Weturo's previous reply. Placing his hands behind his head, he continued, "Are you pretty good now, I mean with the martial arts and all?"

Placing his shirt back on, he replied, "Yes. I am much better." He then demonstrated a few moves to Terimy, a smooth roundhouse here, a somersault into a upward thrust kick there. Terimy looked on in awe. If there were a real person fighting him, Terimy knew he would win.

After a few more acrobatic moves, Weturo's one member audience clapped profusely. "Excellent! You have gotten much better! Where'd you learn all those moves?" Terimy inquired.

"I was under the tutelage of Master Kenryo for the past ten months. During that time, I learned many things I never knew a fighter could even perform." he spoke, glassy eyed, remembering all the fine lessons learned from Master Kenryo.

"Master Kenryo?? Wow. You really made it big! But, why are you here? His house is about 50 miles away." Terimy questioned.

"Yes. About that." he slowly spoke. His countenance fell slightly as he began to tell him the story of the troubled family that wanted power, and how they thought an orb that was in Master Kenryo's possession might have given them that power. The violence and threats that were made if the orb wasn't given to them. Master Kenryo's request for Weturo to take the orb and go.

"Just like that?" Terimy asked a bit surprised. "And you left just like that?"

"It was his wish for me to do so." he answered. "I would never refuse an request from Master Kenryo."

"Oh. So, umm... What are you going to do now?"

Taking out the orb that was given to him and looking at it, he said, "Find adventures, I suppose. Opponents that will increase my skill."

Noticing that orb looked familiar, Terimy said, "You know, I have an orb just like that one that I stole from the imp village." Reaching over to his bag of stolen goods, he removed the orb, cloudy and black. An eerie calm overcame both of them as they looked at the two orbs. They thought they could hear a slight scream... a slight cry rather come from within the two orbs. But they quickly shook the thought off.

"What are you going to do with that?" Weturo asked.

Cocking his head slightly, he stared into the orb. "Sell it, I guess."

"Your not going to receive much money for that." Weturo stated.

"Unless I sell it to a specialty shop. In fact, I should go before it gets too late." he finished, looking at the sky. Gathering his things together, he looked at Weturo. "You coming? No point in you wandering around with no purpose. Beside, I'm sure there'll be beast and other vile things you can fight on the way."

He thought about his invitation for a moment. Thinking. Thinking even more. Then thinking even more than before.

Terimy looked at the sky for a moment, jittery and anxious about leaving. "C'mon man! Stop analyzing everything. You coming or not?"

Shrugging, a habit he picked up from Mai, he nodded and together they started walking to the specialty shop.

Chapter 3
Age has not been Sein's friend. He was only in his early forties and already the Red Mage's full head of hair was gray. Maybe it was all the magic he's been using. Well, learning anyway. He picked a fine time in his life to begin to learn how to use magic. Well, that's what the sages called it, magic. Sein thought that it was the controlling of molecules in the air via a controlled force in one's body that allowed one to use "magic".

He was, after all a scientist. Scientifically, magic shouldn't exist. And he was going to prove that it doesn't and that his theory was correct. He had started to conduct his experiment with "magic" a little over ten years ago, a bit after his wife died. After her death, he had no more reason to live... except for his daughter. She was his pride and joy. Sein would make sure that she lived her life the way a normal person should.

He was hoping for that anyway, but "majics" as Rilla called it, was slowly moving her away from his desired goal. Once her mother died while she was only six, she needed an outlet for her pain and sufferings. So she read. All day long. She began to read all he books her father had gathered over the years and soon came across recurring themes that piqued her interest.

Already, Rilla's father started to conduct his experiments with magic when he saw that it actually did work, and she wanted to do what he was doing. Rilla, while he was still resided the Coneria Plains, learned much from Lukahn, the prophet and great wizard. The sage and Rilla had many in-depth conversation about the speculation of how magic developed and how it is that people came to use it.

Sein never appreciated those meetings though, maybe it was because he was still trying to prove that magic is linked with science in a way. Either way, the two became very skilled in the limited magic that they possessed. Once Lukahn left for the Circle of Sages, Rilla and Sein had no one to continue to teach them. Already, Sein had opened a shop devoted to rare items that was in operation since before his wife's death, and now that he really had nothing distracting him, his shop became his life.

Rilla, on the other hand continued to learn much about "majics". She hated violence. She remembered when he mother was attacked by the pack of wolves, the screams she made as they ripped her flesh off. They had just gone to the town to retrieve a few items. On the way home was when the incident happened. The cries and the visual image was too much for young Rilla to handle and she ran away, in accordance with her mothers command.

But she ran away in pure terror. And she would have regardless if her mother told her to go or not. After the screams died down, she slowly made her way back to her mother. They had severed her leg, and her back was sliced open. She cried. She cried profusely as she looked on at the mangled body. Had she known that there was something in the world that could revive her mother then, a rare and sometimes dangerous spell if it fell into the wrong hands, she would have used it. Eternal Life was the name of the spell. Some called it Life 2, probably because it gave someone a second chance to live. But, the day she saw the spell called Eternal Life, she knew she wanted to learn all about this... this.... "White Magic", whatever that was.

Sein, though, choose to become a Red Mage because it was the best of both worlds, white and black magic. Oh, sure he wouldn't be able to use the stronger magic later on, but he didn't think he would live that long anyway. Plus, this was all for scientific purposes anyway, he always reminded himself.

This rare item's shop was a nice thing for him on the side. He was able to still bring money in and he was able to concentrate on his studies. Though business was becoming slower, he didn't mind, because that gave him time to be with his daughter more. Even though he constantly implored her to stop pursing the art of magic, his words often landed on death ears.

"Then why won't you stop?" she would often question him, her voice, soft and delicate.

"I told you, I'm only doing this for scientific purposes. I just want you to..."

"'Live a normal life'. Yeah, I know. You always say that." she interrupted, mimicking his words. "But, it's pretty hard to do that when your mom died before your eyes!"

The words stung Sein a little. Partially because he always felt responsible for her death. Oh, sure, how many stories has he read where someone felt responsible for something they had no control over. And how many times had he looked at those characters and called them fools for feeling such responsibility. But, when it actually happens to you, reality strikes.

Lowering his head, closing his eyes a bit, he said, "I... I know, sweetie. But..." the words were so hard to find. They always were. "I just want you to find someone. Live your life with someone." He opened his eyes. "Your almost seventeen. Hasn't anyone ever caught your eye?"

Rilla turned her back at those words. She didn't need anyone. All she needed was her mother. No one could replace her. So she needed no one. She'll be fine with her magic, and that was good enough for her.

Slowly walking up to her, he continued, "I'm just concerned for you, that's all. I want you to know that I care. And..." he was about to place his hands on her shoulders, but something prevented him from doing so.

"If you care, then leave me to my 'majics'," she replied, still using the same term from when she was little, and she then left the room.

It had always been like that, especially in the past few months between Rilla and Sein. Sein sighed as he walked to the door of his shop and looked out at the setting sun. "It'll be better," something inside him often told him about this situation. "It'll be a lot better soon." Just as he was about to lock his shop up, he saw someone running in the distance toward the shop. "A customer, perhaps? But at this hour?" he questioned himself.

"I told you not to worry about those stupid wolves." Terimy said through short gasps of air. "He better not be closed, cause it'll be all your fault!"

"I only came along to increase my fighting skill, and I must do so at every chance," Weturo replied, voice calm and collective, despite the vigorous run they were in the midst of.

"Whatever..." Terimy trailed off.

Laughing slightly, Sein recognized one of the two men. "You youngin'." Sein said to no one. "Thought you forgot about me." He then opened the door as the two came closer.

Out of breath, Terimy started, "Oh, my. I'm glad your still open."

Smiling, he said, "I really was closing. But for you, I'll open back up."

"Yeah, sure you were, what with all the business and all." he stabbed, as he walked in.

"Oh! How can you say such things about me?" Sein jokingly said as he allowed Weturo in as well.

After Terimy had regained his composure, Sein asked "So, what brings you to my humble establishment?"

Weturo simply stood in the corner as the two conversed and looked around. Everything was so old. He thought he saw a cob web or two in the corners. The floors were rotted a bit and the walls were the same. A few well thought out candle placements were the only illumination the room had as the sun continued on it's downward trek behind the mountains. Books, books and more books were the only things Weturo saw in this little room. Behind the counter were little trinkets and the like. Some looked gorgeous while others looked like little more than disfigured cups.

"I have a business proposition for you." Terimy started, taking out the orb from his bag. "How much for this piece of beauty?"

Sein's eyes lit up. It was another orb! He never expected to find another one, and here it was right in front of him. "Where'd you get that!?" he stammered.

A bit surprised at his reaction, he answered, "From one of the imp's villages. Took it while on my raid, why?"

Gingerly taking the orb from his hand, Sein looked into the orb carefully, making sure this was one of the four. "Yes, yes it was." he happily told himself.

"This orb, Terimy, is the key to destroying a certain evil. A key that will unlock many mysteries." Sein spoke softly.

Looking around, Terimy was wondering why his friend was reacting like he was. "Umm, you okay, man?" he asked.

The question, knocked him out of his reverie. Apologizing, he continued, "It was prophesied long ago that four warriors would each hold an orb like this one and would vanquish the evil the polluted the land. Guess what my friend? You are one of them!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" was Terimy's blunt reply. "I stole that thing from some imps. If anything, whoever owned that is the guy who should vanquish the world from evil!" he said.

"Nope, since you have it, your one of the acclaimed warriors that will rid the land of evil." Sein replied back, smiling slightly.

"Well, umm. You take it!" he sluggishly replied.

Placing the orb down on the counter, Sein said, "I already have one." Reaching down underneath the counter, he pulled one up and showed him one. The same smoky black cloud swirled around inside the orb. "See?" he chuckled slightly.

"Well, your daughter can have it. You know, I never gave her a present before, and I think this is the perfect time to do so, so let me..."

"She already has one," Sein cut Terimy off.

He couldn't believe this. He was a thief, not a hero. Looking back at Weturo, he said, "How bout you, ol' buddy? You want another orb, right?"

Sein's eyes popped out at this news. "He has one as well??!?" he stumbled, pointing to Weturo.

"Yeah, yeah, he does." Terimy replied.

"This is great! We could do this! Together, we could go and save the world!" he rejoiced, jumping up and down.

Terimy simply placed his face in his hands and stood there shaking it. Weturo was still confused at the whole situation. Walking up to the overjoyed Red Mage, he asked him just what it was he was talking about, seeing as how he only caught the last bit of the conversation.

Once he calmed down, Sein told him what the prophet Lukahn told him years ago before on how there would rise four warriors, each holding a darkened orb that would rid the world of the chaos that reigned throughout the land. Since they all had an orb, they were inevitably the ones that were to save the world.

"Do you agree to this, Weturo?" Sein had asked him.

"I was told when I received this orb that my fighting abilities would increase and I would probably even become a Master. My teacher would have wanted me to do something as honorable as vanquishing the world of an evil. Yes, this is a good thing." was his response.

"And you, Terimy?" Sein asked, happy with Weturo's response.

Terimy had been listening on the whole time, not wanting to believe such rubbish. He was, in essence the bad guy. He was a thief, not exactly an honorable profession. This wasn't something he should do.

"I'm sure we'll encounter many treasures along the way..." Sein coaxed, hoping that would make this seem like the right thing to do.

Smiling inside, he knew the "old man" would say something like that. Shaking his head a bit, he replied, "Sure. Why not."

"Very good. Very good, indeed. We start out tomorrow! Now, go get some rest, for we have a long journey ahead of us!" Sein declared.

Rilla wasn't suppose to come, but what choice did Sein have? She did after all also hold an orb within her possession. Of course she would also come. Sein just wished she understood all those nights when he argued for her to find a normal life, he only wanted her to at least experience what one felt like. Here she is, at seventeen years of age, and all she's known is magic and death. Not good at all. She never had friends. Never needed any, was what she always assured him. And now, they were about to go fight for the world.

Sein chuckled to himself. Maybe this is normal for her.

The sun beamed brightly on the party as they made their way to Coneria Town to gather supplies. That morning, Sein had gathered all the supplies he felt he was going to need for this journey, including some money he'd been saving up. They were going to buy some decent weapons for their journey as well as a few medicinal herbs and magic.

After they finish buying the weapons and armor, Sein proudly announced, "Now, let us buy our items!" This was all so exciting for Sein, being out here, becoming a hero. He knew this thing that he was doing would make his wife's heart glad. Taylor and Temi Item Shop, the only item shop in town. Sein hoped that there was no line. The warriors had no time to spare.

The room was dark, the only source of light illuminating the counter where a rather fat, bald man eagerly waited for the next customer. Sein was happy there was no line. He wondered why it was so dark , though. The four warriors walked up to the counter, and Sein stepped up to the man.

"Greetings, good sir! How are you on this lovely day?" he began in his cheerful, positive tone.

"Ahh, I am very good sir! Very good!! I see you are doing well?" the shop keeper smiled back, looking at his condition.

"Yes, yes. I am very well. Thank you for asking!" Sein heartily replied.

"Do they know each other?" Terimy whispered to Rilla, slightly confused at the jovial introduction they were having.

"Nope. But my dad always talks to strangers like this." she whispered back.

"So, good sir. What can I do for you today?" the shop keeper asked.

"Well, my companions and I intend to go on a journey, and no doubt we'll face danger along the way." Sein replied, leaning on the counter with one arm, the other arm gesturing quite vigorously. "Monsters and flying creatures of every kind. The likes mortal man has never seen!"

"God, just get the stuff," Rilla mumbled, placing her face in her hand. "Talk, talk, talk... that's all he ever does..."

"An adventure!" the shop keeper exclaimed.

"Yes!" he grasped his fist at his understanding. "Yes, and though we are skilled at fighting, the evil that lurks is even better." Sein continued, building it up.

"You might get injured," the shop keeper stated. "You'll need the best medicine money can buy."

"Indeed, we will! That is why I am here. I have enough to buy..." Looking down at his money pouch and counting it, he finished, "Twenty Pure and twenty Heals. That should satisfy us till we reach the next town." he proudly announced.

"Very good sir! One Pure, coming up!" the shop keeper exclaimed, bending over to reach for the stock Pure that stood under the counter.

Realizing what he just said, Sein quickly stops him, saying, "No, no, no good sir, you understood me wrong." he chuckled.

"Oh?" the shop keeper asked, slowly standing again.

"Yes, you see I asked you for twenty Pure, not one." he chuckled some more.

"Oh, yes of course!" the shop keeper beamed back, again going back under the counter to retrieve the Pure. After a few moments, he rose up placing a Pure on the counter and said, "Here ya go, friend! One Pure!"

Sein looked at the Pure a bit confused. Maybe he didn't ask him right? No matter, he thought. He would just tell him again.

"No, no friend! I don't want one Pure. I want twenty. Why are you only giving me one?" Sein asked, a bit confused.

"Oh, I can't give you more than one at a time." came the reply.

"You what? Why can't you give me more than one?" Sein asked, still confused.

"Oh, it's Taylor and Temi Item Shop policy. We can only give One Pure to a customer per transaction." he stated.

"No it's not!" Sein raised his voice. "Your making that up!"

"It's right here in the book," the shop keeper said, procuring a rather huge book from under the counter. Flipping the pages some, he started mumbling, "Let's see... Page 296, Section 5, Paragraph 2, Line 5.... Ahh! Here it is!" Clearing out his throat, he began to read, "'Thou shalt giveth out only a single Puree and Heale for each transaction. If thee wishes to purchase more than one, thou can by requesting another, hence till thy order is filled.'" he finished reading. Looking back up to the stunned warrior, the shop keeper simply said, "See? I told you."

"What the heck is a 'thou'?" Terimy asked Weturo. Weturo simply shrugged.

"Give me that book," Sein said as he grabbed the book and began to read. Reading the words to himself, he spun the book back at the shop keeper and asked, a bit annoyed, "How old is this book?!"

Flipping to the front of the book, the shop keeper replied, "Copyright date: 219 AD."

"219??! But, the year is 1000 AD! Your still going by that old thing?!" Sein angrily asked.

"Hey, I just follow what was set in place by Taylor and Temi Item Shop and Associates. I don't change the rules or make any up." the shop keeper bluntly responded, a bit annoyed at this unruly customer.

"But it's a stupid rule!" Sein exclaimed. "I demand to speak to the manager!" he yelled, pounding his fist on the counter.

"I am the manager." he replied, coolly.

Trying to compose himself, breathing in deeply, he again started, "I only want twenty Pure and twenty Heals. Your telling me that I have to buy each one, one at a time??"

Folding his arms, the shop keeper again coolly responded, "Yup."

Clenching his fist ever so tightly, he spoke through his teeth, saying, "This is absurd! Give me twenty Heals and Pure before I.... I..."

"You'll what? Beat me up?" he asked, raising his eyebrow. "I'm not scared of you!"

Pounding both fist on the table, Sein leaned in close to the man, shouting, "Give me my twenty stinkin' Heals, ingrate!!"

"Why don't you make me?!?" he exclaimed, getting in his face. Both faces beamed a bright red the looks the three warriors had never seen before. Quickly Rilla pulled Sein away, trying to calm him down before he did anything harsh while Terimy went up to talk to the man.

"Why are you being difficult, fatty?" Terimy asked in his regular, cool voice.

Wiping the sweat off his brow, he gruffly replied, "I'm not being difficult. I'm a nice guy. I try to do good things by following the rules. I'm not going to..."

"Listen," Terimy interrupted. "Either give us twenty Pure and Heals... or else." he smiled slyly at him, patting the knife on his hip.

"Or else what?" he returned the threat.

"You'll see." he just left the threat in the air to linger.

"I'm not scared of you!" he replied back gruffly.

"Fine. Have it your way." Terimy finished, walking away. Looking at the rest of the party, he said, "Let's go, guys."

"But, we didn't get the items yet," Sein stated.

"Don't worry about it, father." Rilla replied.

As the four warriors walked out of the store, the shop keeper yelled out, "And don't you come back, you varmints!"

He watched till they left the store and then started talking to himself, "People. Think they so tough. They don't know. You can't mess with the system. They don't realize that... that..." Something was different about his little inventory of Pure and Heals. Looking carefully, he realized... twenty Pure and Heals were missing!

Falling to his knees, he arched his back and extended his arms yelling out, "Nooooooo!!"

"Was that that the shop keeper yelling?" Weturo asked, worried about his safety.

"Yeah." Terimy chuckled, shifting the bag on his shoulder. "I think he's missing a few Pure and Heals." he finished, Rilla and Terimy laughing.

Walking up to the lady, Sein asked what was wrong.

"Oh, milord! Haven't you heard? The princess. She has been kidnapped! Who will go to save her?!" and with that, she resumed her crying.

Someone dare kidnap the princess, the four thought. That was when Sein realized that this was the perfect opportunity for them to be recognized.

"We need to save the princess." he announced to the other three after speaking with the woman. "Surely, we'll become well known and respected and the evil that we are to conquer will show it's face to us!"

Weturo agreed, as did Rilla. Terimy simply shrugged, and said, "Hey, I'm juts tagging along for the loot. You guys can do whatever you want. Just point me to the treasure, and I'll be a happy camper."

At that response, the four set for Coneria castle to inform the king about their mission and to see if they could retrieve any additional information as to where the princess may be.

"Your majesty, four warriors wish to speak to you regarding Princess Sara." a guard announced.

"Very well, send them in," the king replied.

The king of Coneria. His beard was fat and round, like the rest of his body. He commanded respect in the highest order. But that same strong, authoritative king didn't sit in the chair that day. That day sat a man who felt alone and weak. And all because of the disappearance of his daughter. What kind of king was he, to feel so weak in face of the circumstances. King Hueet wouldn't have acted this way, his great grandfather. He wouldn't tolerate having a rebellious knight kidnap his daughter. He would go to his lair and return her to her home himself.

But, this king wasn't a fighter. He was a commander. He was a great strategist. "But not so smart," he reminded himself. Who else would send his whole platoon of knights to help out the neighboring town, Parvoka with their pirate problem, if he was so smart.

"But, come now. The kingdom has been at peace for decades. You had no way in knowing someone was going to kidnap the princess." something deep inside tried to reassure him. It didn't help much, though. The other voices were much too loud.

"King Hueet wouldn't send his whole army of knights off to help some town with their pirate trouble, that's for sure!" the other voice would say.

He tried to silence the voices inside as best he could as the four warriors walked into the throne room. As soon as he saw them, though, the voices became louder.

"Look at them! Weak. Frail. They are the ones that are going to bring the princess back? Your even more desperate than we thought!" the voices said.

Shrugging them off, the king started, "Honorable warriors. What business do you have regarding my daughter, Princess Sara?"

Sein stepped up, bowed to the king and said, "Your majesty, we have heard the cry of complaint among the peoples of Coneria. They are all experiencing great anguish and are under great vexation since the subsequent capture of their princess. We hope to remedy that problem by attempting to save her."

"See! He speaks with such poise and respect. Very well educated. He knows what he's getting into!" the king's good voice said.

Perhaps. he thought.

"We only wished to gain the kings favor and blessings before we attempted to retrieve her highness." Sein finished, bowing his head once more.

This did seem very good to the king. Something about these four warriors eased his heart a little. Confidence, it was. "They even look better than the other rapscallions that attempted to save her." the good voice again reminded the king.

These four warriors weren't the first to make an attempt to save the princess. As soon as news of the princess being kidnapped spread, many subjects said that they would bring her back. But none ever returned.

"I grant you your request, honorable Mage. You have my full blessings on this matter. It is rumored that she is being held by one of my former knights, a man by the name of Garland. His domain is to the northwest of Coneria. It is a long and hard journey, but I have full confidence in the four of you. Now go, and return Princess Sara to me." he finished.

Garland. The knight that went bad. The king knew that Garland could kill half the town if he so desired, his power becoming to strong for the Coneria Knights. He wanted complete control over the whole army and was trying to pass certain laws on the people that the king as well as his advisors did not see fit. The king soon ridded the kingdom of such a man, and of course Garland did not take that leave lightly.

Over the course of five years, Garland hid and studied. What it was, no one knows. But he was planning something the king knew would tear apart his kingdom... or even him. Unfortunately or fortunately, which ever way you look at it, it was him, and the princess was his key to bringing the king much displeasure.

"It is a very good thing that you have done, your majesty, and I assure you, she will return." And with that, Sein turned to his companions and began to leave the Throne Room. That was when the king saw it. It was hanging out slightly from the black belt's pouch.

Asking his attendant if he saw it too and what he could make of it, the young attendant replied, "Yes, your majesty. It did look like a black orb. Pretty dull, though. Why do you ask, sire? Do you wish to have it?"

"No, no. It's nothing at all, Gaute. Nothing at all." the king trailed off. He felt much better now, his negative thoughts quickly leaving his mind. He was going to have his little girl back.

"Sara," he whispered. "I'll see you soon, my dear. The Light Warriors will make sure of that."


After CHAOS' defeat, the Light Warriors returned back to their own time, with the world around them oblivious to the all the happenings and adventures the Light Warriors encountered. The world and it's natural balance was put back into it's respective order. All traces of CHAOS ever existing were completely gone.

The Light Warriors tried to resume living a normal life, but it was harder for some of them to do so. Rilla and Terimy grew a certain fondness for one another over the course of their journey and neither one wanted to settle down back at Coneria. Rilla had found a purpose in life and didn't want to lose that. Terimy needed the thrill of knowing his life was in peril, as was such the case while fighting such beast like T-Rex's and the like. Adventures were more thrilling for the two of them, so they left Weturo and Sein to look for more adventure.

Weturo, who had kept the romance that was between Mai and himself a complete secret up to that point, confided in Sein, a trusted friend he had gained over the course of their journey, and told him everything and why he truly obtained the orb originally. He told him that since no one knows about them leaving, his going back to Master Kenryo would be only a few months and not the years that they had traveled. He was going to try to rekindle the love that he felt was there before. Sein wished him the best and knew that Master Kenryo would be surprised to see his pupil to have turned into a Master.

When Weturo did return, he related his whole adventure to Master Kenryo and told him that the one thing that motivated him was knowing that he couldn't let Mai down. Mai overheard this and rejoiced to know that he really did care about her. After a few months past, the two were married and unfortunately the only one who could show up for it from the Light Warriors was Sein, for no one knew where Terimy and Rilla had gone off to.

Five months later, there was a knock on Master Kenryo's door. Weturo lived with Master Kenryo after he and Mai were married, particularly because there was no real need for them to leave. Answering the door, Weturo saw an out stretch hand. Looking up, he saw it was Terimy.

Hugging him, forgetting that his hand was stretched out, Weturo exclaimed, "You missed my wedding, friend! How are you? I haven't seen you in quite some time. Please come in!" Terimy couldn't believe Weturo was capable of showing such affection. "Marriage must've gotten him good," Terimy thought.

Coming out of his tight hug, Weturo pulled him inside. After looking around in awe, the simplicity yet sheer beauty of it all, Weturo asked all smiles, "So, where have you been, my friend?"

Smiling? I never remembered Weturo smiling... Terimy thought.

"Just come to say hello, and congratulation. I see you finally settled down, huh?" Terimy asked.

"Yes, yes. Mai, my wife, is wonderful. I couldn't have found a better woman." Weturo answered, a bit to jovial for Terimy's taste.

"I see. Well, anyway, I won't keep you long. I just came by to say hi and collect my money." Terimy casually said.

"Money... What money?" Weturo asked.

Walking closer to him, Terimy replied, "Oh come now. You haven't forgotten all ready, have you?"

Weturo just stood there, a bit dumbfounded.

Smiling, Terimy reminded him, "You said that you would never get married. Never!" Stretching out his hand, and lowering his voice, he finished, "I think you owe me 150G."


Notes D'Auteur

I always thought other fanfics that dealt with Final Fantasy I were a bit on the shallow side. The characters had no real defining meaning, like they were all staple D&D clones. I was trying to fix that little cliché by showing how they originally met and give them some background story and personal feelings. Square provided no real background story for these warriors, so this gives us authors free reign in making them however we want!

One thing I felt the game didn't do was show us just how the characters met. It always stuck me a bit odd that these four warriors all had these black orbs and just banded together to stop an evil. Where did they get the orbs from? How did they come to meet in the first place? Granted, I don't go into much detail on how the orbs came into existence, (Probably work on that with another story) but at least we see how each of the warriors obtained the orbs.

Also, whenever I read a Final Fantasy I fanfic, the author always chooses to write about the staple four characters: the Fighter, Black Belt, White Mage and Black Mage. The other two characters are always ignored, the Thief and Red Mage. You don't always need a staple fighter, people! Thus the reason I choose to write about those characters instead. And also, please forgive me, any White Mage fans. I know I didn't nearly write about her like I did with the other characters. I'll make it up somehow down the road, though.

I would like to now give a special thanks to Dan Simpson for allowing me to graciously use his idea from the fanfic, "One Heal, Please". Thus, where I received the inspiration for that mildly amusing scene in the item shop in chapter three.

A special thanks also goes out to CRITCal for reviewing one of my earlier Final Fantasy 1 stories and recognizing that I erred in the conception I had when the Light Warriors went into the future and killed CHAOS. Once they returned to the present time, no one knew about CHAOS or the adventure of the Light Warriors. That insightful reminder helped me to tie up all the loose knots during the epilogue.

And, finally a special thanks goes out to Wraith for reading and continuing to read ALL my drafts when I write anything and all the feedback given.

I hope everyone enjoyed this story as much as I've had fun writing it.

Ersatz Sobriquet

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