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CHRONO COMPENDIUM
Script Perfection Project
Radical Dreamers Demiforce Translation
© December 25, 2003 Aitrus, ZeaLitY
http://www.chronocompendium.com
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CONTENTS
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1. Legal information
2. How to use this script
3. Radical Dreamers script
4. Credits
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Legal information
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This is an unofficial game script guide to the game Radical Dreamers, which is
a product of Squaresoft. The translation was done by Demiforce. It can be found
at http://radicaldreamers.sourceforge.net. The Chrono Compendium has released
this edited script, devoid of programming information pertinent to the game, as
part of its project to release all complete scripts of the Chrono series.

12/25/03: Version 1
-Release
01/09/03: Version 1.1
-Minor Edits

http://www.chronocompendium.com
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How to use this script
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Instead of cordoning off scenarios, Square left the various scenarios jammed
together since they borrow text from one another. The script is as-is done by
Square and translated. These are the scenarios:

0) Title Screen/Ending
1) Kid: Le Trésor Interdit
2) Magil: Caught Between Love and Adventure
3) Kid and the Sunflower
4) SuperXtreme Alphacosmos Police Case EX Ultra
5) Homecoming: Shea's Light
6) The Enigmatic Gigaweapon: Paradise X
7) The Shadow Realm and the Goddess of Death
8) Bonus Feature Text
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Radical Dreamers script
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2003
SQUARESOFT / DEMIFORCE
PRESENT

It was then that I opened the notebook my mother had given me...she said she
found it while cleaning out the closet. Crumbling and covered with dust, it
turned out to be the diary of my long-lost grandfather.

Do you still remember...?
How we first met, and all of our adventures since...
It all seems like such a dream nowadays...
You were a piece of a star that fell from the sky.
Whenever I want to return to those days long gone, I close my eyes and whisper
your name into the evening sky...

Kid...
Kid...

...Kid...
...Hey, Kid!
"Are you ready, Kid? I know you're anxious, but stay on your toes."
"Yeah, likewise, mate! Mess up, and I'm leavin' ya behind!"
"C'mon, Magil. That bastard Lynx is gonna get what he deserves!
 Say yer prayers...Not that it'll do ya any good!"

And so, the curtain closes on another tale.

However, another time, after the spotlight had faded from Kid, Magil, and
Shea...

However,
another time, after the spotlight had faded from Kid, Mick, and the Martians...

However,
another time, after the spotlight had faded from Gilbert, Riddel, and Noelle...

However,
another time, after the spotlight had faded from Kid, Magil, and Pollon...

However,
another time, after the spotlight had faded from Kid, Gange, and Paradise X...

However, another time, after the spotlight had faded from Kid, Magil, and
Riddel...

...In another place and another time... a similar band of adventurers had come
forth, equally unsuspecting of their other selves, and life went on as they
strode out into the great unknown.
But, that's a story for another day. For now, I shall put down my pen."

As I softly close my grandfather's diary, I hear my mother's voice call to me
from downstairs.
"Didn't you hear me? Your friend is here!"
I turn around, already knowing who it is. My door opens quite energetically,
where I see a strangely nostalgic young girl barge in.
"Serge! We found some ruins of an old mansion up in northern Kitsune Forest
today! Come on, let's go exploring!"

1) Kid: Le Trésor Interdit
2) Magil: Caught Between Love and Adventure
3) Kid and the Sunflower
4) SuperXtreme Alphacosmos Police Case EX Ultra
5) Homecoming: Shea's Light
6) The Enigmatic Gigaweapon: Paradise X
7) The Shadow Realm and the Goddess of Death

"Boy, did her information help. I thought the perimeter's counterspell would be
quite a problem."
Kid's braid sways gently from side to side in the cool nighttime breeze.
So far, we've managed to slip through the magical shield network undetected and
sneak into Lynx's domain. Still, this inner region can make for some pretty
rough travel.
Kid, Magil, and I comprise this party of three...

However, while walking behind Kid, I can't help but notice her ponytail
endlessly swishing back, and forth... back, and forth... back, and forth...
I'm starting to get sleepy... so, so sleepy...

*Mmm, sleep...
*I can't fall asleep! Not now!

It's too dangerous to fall asleep now, I keep telling myself over and over!
Kid had a name for this sort of thing, but I can't seem to remember it at the
moment...
Man, that was close. Shaking my head, I try to stay alert.
Still, all this is really something. Walking through a forest like this on a
night like tonight reminds me so much of the first time I bumped into her...

"...Serge..."
"Serge!!"
"Huh!?"
"Snap out of it, lazy bones!"

Looking up, the tall, shadowy mansion of Lord Lynx looms before me. I can't
believe we're there already... I must have been really out of it.
"The hell were you daydreamin' about, mate? Let's go!" Kid says, disappearing
into the mansion.
"Hey, wait up, Kid!" I shout, frantically chasing after her. However, she's
already deep inside.
The darkness engulfs me...

It's been something like three years since Kid and I met. Back then I was a
drifter, wandering wherever my music led me. During my stay in the remote town
of Regiorra, I ended up running into a girl who later joined me, leading to the
beginning of all this.
That girl was Kid...
Kid is a thief, of course.
Not even seventeen years old, already she's widely renowned as a top
professional. To make matters worse, she's cute, devilishly stylish, and has a
sparkling personality. And boy, can she cook... if you ask her, that is.
Well, to be completely honest, she has her share of problems as well. She likes
to think of herself as a kind of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving
to the poor, but that's just not the case.
At times her sharp tongue can get the best of her, viciously lashing out at
anyone who stands in her way. She exaggerates every other word, and sometimes
lies outright... and as for listening to other people, well, forget it.
When it comes to money, well, I've never met anyone greedier in my life. Her
relentless pursuit of wealth is ironic, considering she's a nomad, like me...
I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on her. She has her good points, too.
She can really shine sometimes, when she wants to...

Glancing back over my shoulder, I notice a silhouette silently emerge from the
grove.
Magil...
This associate of Kid's is known to us only as `Magil of the Shadows'.
I know next to nothing about him, except for the fact that he somehow knew Kid
before I came into the picture.
A high-class magician of some sort, he looks to be about thirty. He usually
keeps to himself, though.
The top half of his face is covered with a mask at all times. I've never even
seen what he really looks like.
At times, it seems as though I'm hanging around someone from another world --
traveling with this pack is definitely an interesting experience.
Kid's quiet about her past too, but it's like I know her entire life story
compared to how little I know about Magil.
From time to time I find myself wondering who he is, where he came from, and so
on. I'd ask Kid, but I get the impression she knows as little about him as I do.
You might be wondering, how did I end up where I am now? Well, there's a lot of
reasons, I suppose...
I guess you could say that life doesn't always go how you plan.

*I guess you could say that life doesn't always go how you plan.
*It's like the old saying, `April showers bring May flowers'.
*Well, once you fall off the horse, it's hard to get back on.

My life definitely hasn't turned out the way I thought it would... not that
it's been a terribly bad life, at least not so far, but still...
Remembering back to when Kid and I first met, my face breaks into a wry smile.

"Hey mate, what's with the funny face all of a sudden?"
"Oh, nothing... I was just thinking how strange life is."
"Life? What're ya thinkin' about all that for? You sure yer not turnin' into
some kinda pansy or somethin', are ya Serge?" she says over her shoulder before
rushing on ahead.
"For example, lately it's been pouring down hard. But someday, the sun's bound
to start shining on me! It'll come someday, I'm sure of it!"
"Yeah, likewise! For now, I'm just a small time thief," Kid adds. "But someday,
I'm gonna strike it rich... and then, watch out! Heh, heh... ahahahahaha...!"

Life is like a stone on the side of a hill. If it comes loose, there's really
no chance of it stopping until it's tumbled all the way down to the bottom.

"What're ya talkin' about? It's like yer sayin' we're messin' up yer life just
by bein' here!"

Gulp...

"H, how did you know what I was thinking, Kid?"
"Because you were saying it, not thinking it," Magil says from behind.
Oh no... what have I been saying!?
"If you don't like bein' with us, why don't ya do us a favor and take a hike!
Hmm? We could do just fine without a third wheel!" Kid shouts, stomping away
angrily.
"Kid, wait up!" I call out, running after her.

"Hey, what's that bright flash over there?" Kid suddenly asks, pointing towards
a thicket in front of us.
"Huh? I don't see anything..."
I look around closely, but all I see is a bunch of trees and rocks, extending
on into the darkness.
"It was a bright flash. It was right over there, I tell ya!"

*Go check it out.
*Pay it no mind and insist we move on.

I walk over beside Kid, trying to see whatever it was she saw. Magil approaches
as well a moment later.
"We are already fairly deep into Lord Lynx's territory," he says. "It's
dangerous to start blindly wandering around. You are aware of that fact, are
you not?"
However, Kid doesn't budge an inch, keeping her eyes on the bush.
"Do you feel something here?" Magil asks, changing his expression a moment
later.
Kid's eyes meet Magil's for a moment, but before long she returns her focus to
the forest.
"So be it," he finally says. "If we are intended to stray from the path, this
may prove to be worth something in its own regard."
But before Magil even finishes speaking, Kid bolts, disappearing into the trees!
"Hey, wait up!"
"Be careful, Serge. Foul things lie down this path..."
Nodding, I cautiously start to make my way through the trees.

"I don't know, Kid... this is Lynx's property. Who knows what kinds of things
are lurking around here at night..."
"Hmph. It's prolly somethin' valuable no doubt, but oh well... the Flame is
more important."
Puffing her cheeks, Kid returns to my side.
Without even the moonlight to guide us, we proceed on through the thick forest,
trying not to make a single sound.
As I stop for a moment to look around, a gust of icy wind howls across my face.
In this dark, hostile forest, it seems that even time has stopped.
It's the world of the night... Kid's world.

Suddenly, Kid comes to an abrupt stop.
"Seems someone wants to say hello."
Out of a nearby thicket, two shimmering eyes catch my attention. Whatever it
is, it's staring at me silently.
After a few moments, a few more pairs of eyes appear. They seem to be surveying
the area.
A deep feline growl breaks the uncomfortable silence, and I realize we're being
hunted by a pack of feral cats.
A few of the figures slowly approach from behind the trees. I look behind me,
only to see that they've already encircled us.
A few more slowly creep in, now totaling about ten...
Chills run down my spine. In a daze I clumsily unsheathe my knife, grasping it
tightly as I bite my lip.
Kid stands ready with an air of composure.
"Careful, mate. These buggers are prolly rabid."
The growling increases, now a constant rumble all around us.
Their yellow eyes shimmer like jack-o-lanterns while saliva drips from their
snarling jaws.
The middle one's stomach gurgles as its eyes widen, fixed directly on me.
"Looks like we ain't gettin' outta this one without a fight!"
What do we do!?

*Attack!
*Magic!
*Defend!
*Run!

"Come on, let's go!"
Kid suddenly dives into the pack, delivering an awesome kick to one of the
beasts!
A painful howl fills the air, adding to the already heated commotion!

The cat crouches, readying itself for a pounce. With its claws extended, it
suddenly leaps towards me!
I instantly dive out of the way!
The razor-sharp claws miss my chest, yet still manage to tear a painful scratch
into my side.

"Dammit...!"
Gritting my teeth, I regain my focus.

*Attack!
*Magic!
*Defend!
*Run!

Hearing growling behind me, I turn around to realize there's another one right
at my heels!
My muscles clench as the animal tears into my shin!

"Dammit...!"
I struggle to compose myself and stand firm. However, the growls continue to
increase, petrifying me.
"Quit stallin', Serge!"
Kid's voice returns my focus.
What now!?

*Attack!
*Magic!
*Defend!
*Run!

Out of the forest, a ferocious cat charges at me!
I narrowly slip by!!
"Phew..."
However as I look down, I see another snarling at me, right at my feet! In a
panic I scramble to ready my knife!
Quickly!!

*Attack!
*Magic!
*Defend!
*Run!

I slash viciously at a nearby cat!
Startled, it leaps back with incredible reflexes. I stay my ground, not getting
any closer to the beast.
Hearing a howl, I know I've hit my mark.
Licking its wound, the animal recovers after a moment of pain.
I ready my knife, waiting for my next chance to attack.

As I try to remember a spell, a cat suddenly leaps directly at my head, its
huge jaws wide open!
"No!!"
I raise my arm to guard my face!
Pain sears into my arm!

Struggling and tangling with the creature, I manage to pry it off and keep it
at a distance.

"Hey, get in here and fight, Serge!"
I turn around to see Kid driving her fist into a cat's head, narrowly escaping
its jaws.
"Ha!"
The strike didn't connect perfectly, but still, the beast is dazed.

As we start to head towards the rear of the pack, one of the cats notices what
we're doing and sneaks up on us from behind.
I turn around to see that there's one of them going straight for my legs!
"Ahhh!!"
My calf screams with pain!
I frantically thrust my knife into the animal!
Screeching and flailing, it falls backwards, releasing
its grip on my leg.

"Serge, behind ya!!"
I turn around to see that I'm now face to face with a pair of those ravenous
yellow eyes!

*Attack!
*Magic!
*Defend!

There's no time!!
I duck as the cat lunges and snaps at me. I smell the bloody odor of the cat's
breath as it passes overhead. Just as I think it's past me, I feel its back
claws dig into my back!

Scrambling out of the way, I manage to shove my knife upwards, planting it deep
within the animal's belly!!
The sound of death can heard as the cat falls to the ground before me, barely
moving.
Almost delirious, I lose balance and fall to my knees. Rolling over, I manage
to shake off the confusion before any of the other cats can get any closer to
me.

I barely miss a set of claws as I dodge a quick attack. As it lands and starts
to turn around, I take advantage of the opportunity and chant an old spell of
mine, hoping to get the incantation right...
However, nothing happens!
The feline pounces again, but because of my fumbling magic, it takes me by
surprise! Its massive body is suddenly on top of me, forcing me to the ground
as it tears into my shoulder!
Shuddering, I throw it off of me before it does any serious harm.

Here comes their next attack!
As I try to secure my footing, I accidentally trip over a rock and become dazed
for a second or two. Regaining my composure, I see that a cat has already
started to charge at me! It'll be on top of me in a matter of moments unless I
do something fast!
Suddenly, I feel an intense heat from behind me, followed by a bright red flash
that darts out, striking the cat in mid-air!
It drops to the ground, burning from head to toe, making hideous howling noises
as it tries to extinguish itself.
I take a moment to watch the smoldering feline run away in fear. I look up,
only to see Magil towering over me. He shoots a glance at me, and then moves on
with a cold gaze in his eyes.

In desperation I raise my arms in a cross, guarding my face!!
The beast catapults onto me, throwing me down and pinning me to the ground!
I scream from the bottom of my lungs as I feel the sharp jaws clamp down on my
skin!

The beast straddles my body. Its teeth are now sunken deeply into my arm, my
blood staining its fur as it growls. The pain is unbearable!!
I do everything in my power to struggle and break free, but the jaws are like
an iron trap, gnawing and ripping flesh deeper and deeper with every passing
second!
Whoa! What was that?
All of a sudden the cat is hurled off me, thrown backwards by some incredible
force. It cowers in a heap, away behind a tree, with a gaping hole in its
belly. It roars helplessly.
I look up to see Kid standing behind me, her knife
dripping with blood.
Squeezing the wound on my arm, I rise to my feet.

The cat has suddenly pinned me against a tree, making me painfully aware of its
huge fangs and horrible smell.
Its large mouth opens widely, ready to take its first bite. It snaps at me
sinking its teeth into my shoulder!
"Aaaahhhh!!!"

In desperation I push the cat off of me, and I collapse to the ground.
"God dammit!! Now's not the time for foolin' around!!" I hear Kid's voice shout
at me amidst the howls and screeches.
I look over to see that the beast now lies on its back, blood pouring from its
mouth, with a knife planted in its belly.

I take a deep breath and try to tighten my grip on my knife, now slippery with
sweat.
Then, out of nowhere, Kid flashes across my field of vision, landing a direct
hit onto a cat beside me!
The cat screeches in pain as Kid pins it to the ground, stomping and kicking it
with all her rage! Without a moment's delay, she boots the animal up underneath
its jaw. It moves no more.
All of a sudden, the crazed atmosphere gives way to a war cry behind me!
I whip around to see Magil's inferno spell setting a cat's head ablaze! It
jumps up, screeching and howling in madness before running away wildly. In
confusion, it runs directly into a tree and knocks itself out cold!
I look around, and see that only one of the pack hasn't been taken care of yet.
As Kid and I start to close in on the beast, it bolts, fearing for its life.
"Well that was some workout, eh mate?" says Kid, coming towards me as she tends
to her arm.
I take a deep breath as I look around, trying not to step on too many of the
bodies.

I groan as the adrenaline wears off, and I start to feel the pain from all my
injuries. I don't know how well I'll do if we get ourselves into another one of
these things... I feel a little light-headed, standing here.

Am I going to be all right?
I sure took some blows back there... I'll be the first to admit, I really
haven't been in too many of these situations before. Danger wasn't my calling,
I suppose.

I'll admit I was a little worried back there at times, but nothing too serious
happened.

I try talking to Magil, despite knowing how he'll react.
"Are you all right?"
With an expressionless face, he looks down at me blankly.
"You need not worry about me."
Wow, the affection is just overflowing from that guy.
However, I probably shouldn't start complaining now. We've still got a long way
to go... We haven't even set foot inside Viper Manor yet.
Kid glances over at me, seeming eager as ever, ready to tackle what's next. "Ya
gonna hang around all night or what, mate?"

*"No way! let's go!"
*"Not just yet, all right? I need a minute..."

"Hey, c'mere."
Trying to ignore my aches and pains, I head over towards Kid.
"Good job back there, mate."
She comes closer. I can see the reflection of the moon in her eyes, as she
gives me a warm, comforting smile.
"But c'mon, we can't just stand around all night! There's treasure waitin' to
be found!"
I'm still lost in her eyes as she starts to set off...

"Aw, quit whinin', Serge," she says, glaring down at me coldly.
...
"You're always saying that. `Mess up, and I'm leavin' ya behind.' Well, then
what? You'd be alone, that's what. You never have any respect when talking to
me..."
I wish I could say these thoughts to her... but...
In my heart, I let out a sigh.
I look up to see that from behind me, she's already started to head off into
the forest.

Magil continues behind her without a hitch.
I hurry to catch up behind the two. In a place like this, getting separated
would be a bad idea...

We continue to make our way through this natural labyrinth of wood and rock.
Somewhere, quietly waiting within this huge forest, Viper Manor beckons us.
Deep within lies the treasure we've come for...
Lord Lynx, as he's formally known, is an aristocrat who governs the Regionna
outlands. From the way Kid talks, he's apparently an old adversary of hers.
Tonight, our goal is Lord Lynx's most prized possession, a scarlet jewel known
as the Frozen Flame.
Besides being priceless, some say this beautiful stone harbors some sort of
mystical power.
They say many people have sought after the Flame, but none have been victorious
in stealing it. Viper Manor has claimed many lives...
...But we will succeed.
We pride ourselves on making the impossible possible. Besides, the way Kid
talks about Lynx sometimes, it sounds like she's got an awfully personal
vendetta against him.
We can't lose... We've come too far to lose.

And so, after having spent countless hours crossing this dreary, lonesome
forest, the silhouette of a towering mansion finally comes into view through
the trees.
"We made it!" Kid shouts. "Yer days are numbered, Lynx!"
We quickly make our move, quietly dashing out from behind a thicket. Once at
the mansion wall, we creep stealthily along the perimeter, searching for an
entry point.
After a short while, we come upon a terrace near a garden which looks
relatively inviting.
It doesn't look like there are any guards on patrol. Still, the mansion gives
off a strange sort of morbid feeling. It's as quiet as death.
Magil gazes up at the towering fortress. "We can enter into the west wing from
here. There's no need to look elsewhere."
"Okay, let's go!" Kid says, jumping over the terrace handrail.
"Halt!" shouts Magil from behind, staring at Kid. "Our goal is the Frozen
Flame, not vengeance on Lord Lynx. Remember this, Kid."
"Aye, no prob," she says, glancing over her shoulder.
"Ain't gonna be nothin' to it... like takin' candy from a baby. We'll be outta
here before that slimy rat knows what hit him! Yeah, ya low-down,
good-for-nothin' bastard, I'll make you pay!!"
There she goes again...
"C'mon, I'm gettin' tired of waitin' around!" she yells, before bolting into
the mansion.
Magil shakes his head in silence as I chase after Kid, already deep inside.
The darkness engulfs me...


"Get yer head screwed back on, Serge! We got a score to settle with Lynx! We
don't have time to hang around outside!"

"What're ya talkin' about, turnin' back now!? If you wanna chicken out, you can
just go back yerse..." Kid says, before suddenly stopping to look at something.
She whips around, her eyes fixed steadily on the wilderness before us.
Her gaze follows a tiny, glittering light, floating in the air momentarily
before zipping off into the forest.
"The Golden Beetle!!"
Suddenly, Kid jumps over the handrail, furiously running into the forest where
the light had disappeared!
Could it really be the legendary Phantom Golden Beetle, said to show itself
only once in a thousand years?
The legend goes, he who captures it will come to enjoy more wealth than one
could ever need in an entire lifetime...
"Wait up, Kid!!" I call out, frantically chasing after her into the woods.
Beside me, I hear Magil let out an exasperated sigh as he follows after us.

Passages extend to the left and right. Wherever we turn, darkness awaits...

*Let's try the right passage.
*How about the left passage.
*Let's get out of here...

As though we're inside a gigantic snake, the passageway twists and turns,
stretching deeper and deeper into the mansion.
We now stand in almost complete and utter darkness. Just a trace of moonlight
manages to illuminate the path. I stop for a moment, and realize it's now
completely silent. I feel as though we're being watched silently by every
single being in this dreadful house.
Taking a deep breath, I move on...
And I set my foot down slyly. With the stealth of a cat yet so valiantly
composed, Kid follows behind in stride. Drifting in and out of the shadows, the
macabre figure of Magil looks out from behind.
The Weaver of Fate has surely by now taken notice of us, cradling us carefully
in her arms...

We make our way down the dimly lit passageway. After a few moments, we come to
an old, dusty door on the right. Kid quietly presses her ear against the door.
"Quiet as a church mouse. No one's there, mate."

This is the clock tower storeroom, if I remember
correctly...

*Open the door.
*Keep going down the hallway.
*Head back towards the terrace.

"Aw, come on... there's nothin' here. Let's try someplace else."
We leave the room.

"What's with all this junk? Must be a storeroom or somethin'..."
It seems like this is the inner mechanics of a clock tower. However, the gears
look old and rusted, and cogs are spinning randomly without connecting up with
their proper teeth. I doubt the clock's still in use today; the room seems to
be currently used as a storage area.
A large object catches my attention, off in a far corner of the room. It's too
dark over there to see what it is, though.

"Do not touch anything out of the ordinary," Magil says abruptly, sending a
sudden shock down my spine.
However, just as he says this, I see Kid emerge from the shadows, dragging the
large object out into the middle of the room.
It's a large antique sword of some kind.

"We've got no use for that old thing, Kid. All it'll do is slow us down.
Besides, we probably wouldn't even get much money for it."
"Hmph. I reckon it's worth a lot to the right buyer, like an antique collector
or somebody..."
Sulking, Kid quietly lays the sword down.
"What do you want?"
I look around, startled. That was definitely not any of our voices.
Kid and Magil immediately take position, focusing their attention towards the
source of the voice.
"Who's there!?"
A figure suddenly appears out of the darkness. It seems to be a short old woman
with a large hood over her head. Although fully covered, it's obvious she's
quite old.
"Aw, It's just some old hag," Kid says. Magil's sharp gaze on the woman remains
unchanged, however.
"Heh, heh... what an energetic young lady. You haven't come here this late in
the evening to drop in on some friends, I'd imagine..."
I glance at Kid.
"Perhaps you have some score to settle with Master Lynx...?"
My heart jumps...
This is definitely not good. Will she warn the rest of them about us?

*Tell the truth.
*Play dumb.
*Pretend to have not heard her.

Kid's eyes narrow. "If we did have a score to settle with that bastard, what's
it to you?"
"Heh... just as I expected."
The old woman cackles in amusement.
"Children... they're always so interesting like that. So imaginative, yet so
predictable."
...???
"What're you talkin' about, old lady?"
"Oh, it's already been four or five years, I would gather. According to what I
was told, one night a young thief came to the manor, looking for trouble... The
thief was a little girl, about ten years old."
Surprised, I glance at Kid. There's a trace of an ice-like radiance in her
eyes. Staring at her makes me feel like it's suddenly dropped below freezing in
here.
Unfazed, the old woman continues her story...
"The girl was an orphan. She set off to face Master Lynx all alone, hoping to
avenge the girl who had cared for her like a big sister.
But, after all, she was all alone. Outnumbered and overpowered, she was
eventually defeated and captured by Master Lynx's henchmen...
As an ally, Master Lynx can be quite an asset. However, as an enemy, he can be
one of the most fearsome men alive. If not for a friend who sneaked in and
secretly rescued her, she surely would have perished.
From what I've heard, this mysterious figure who could allegedly slip in and
out of the shadows was the subject of many whispers throughout the manor, long
after this incident had come to pass."
Not moving a muscle, I try to look for Magil. He's nowhere to be seen. I can
only guess he's sporting one of those trademark expressionless faces, somewhere
off in the darkness.
"The inhabitants of Viper Manor don't condemn the unfortunate, because no one
can win all the time. However, from time to time, the Goddess of Fate has been
known to cast down those who have too much good luck, throwing the cogs of time
out of order. It's not wise to try and stand against fate, continuing to repeat
one's mistakes time and time again."
The old woman continues, staring straight at Kid, smiling sweetly. "If you want
to steal the jewel, and if you really want to beat him, you too must give up
your most valued possession, Kid. As long as you cling to it, the hands of your
clock will never budge. They'll stay frozen, trapped in the distant past..."
"...Who the bloody hell is this old hag...!?"
"Me? Oh, just an old lady... pay me no mind. Thank you for listening to this
old maid for such a long time. I certainly hope I haven't delayed you at all.
But before you leave, which one of you..."
With that, the old woman looks in my direction.
"Ah, yes. You look like you've got a bit of a scrape there. Won't you let me
have a look at it?"
What should I do? I don't know whether to be petrified or comforted by all
this...

*"Yes, please do, ma'am."
*"No thanks, it's okay."
*"What should I do, Kid?"

The old woman clasps her hands together. Bowing her head, she mumbles a few
words in a low tone.
Suddenly, a gentle pale blue light surrounds my body, filling me with a strange
warmth!
"Wow... look at that!"
My wounds are being healed before my eyes! It feels as though there's some sort
of soft music being played all around me, putting me into a strange serenity.

When I come around, the woman is gone.
"Hello? Lady?" says Kid, relentlessly looking around. However, there's no trace
of her. All signs of her presence are gone.
"Wonder what was up with that old hag..."
Looking around, I can't help but wonder what she was talking about, with all
that talk about a prized possession and everything...

"Let's get our arses outta here! This place is givin' me the creeps!" says Kid
all of a sudden, already heading for the door.
"Hey, wait up."
As I catch up with Kid, she gives me a friendly poke in the ribs. "Hmph, ain't
no fair you were the only one who got healed."

The old woman narrows her wrinkly eyes, barely visible from under the hood.
"Is that so? Well, so be it. I won't keep you any longer. However, it's not a
wise idea to pass up generosity, especially in such a place like this. And, as
I'm sure you know by now, the only one who can help Kid and the shadow walker
is you, Serge."
With that, the woman vanishes.
"What the...? What was up with her?" Kid asks, puzzled.
"We must not linger. Let us search elsewhere."
Magil heads toward the door as though nothing has happened.
"Yeah, let's get our arses outta here."

"Jeez! Yer a man, aren't ya? Decide for yerself!"
However, as I look back towards the old woman, she's nowhere to be found.
"What was up with old granny there? She sure left in a hurry," says Kid, biting
her lip.
"We must not linger. Let us search elsewhere." Magil calmly says, heading to
the door.
"Yeah, let's get our arses outta here."

"Lynx? Who's this Lynx bloke?"
Kid plays dumb with all her might. If I didn't know her better, I'd say she's
quite a convincing actor. After all, she really isn't the kind of person who
worries much about lying in the first place...
"From what I've heard," Kid says, "that bast... er... bloke sounds like quite a
character. I don't know anyone stupid enough to go up against someone like
that. Ain't that right? Heh..."
"There's no need to try and deceive me, young lady."

*Confess and admit the truth.
*Be stubborn and still play dumb.

"Are you calling me a liar!?"
"Well... all right then. I apologize if I was rude, but it's just Viper Manor
has seen more than a few unwelcome guests over the years. Surely you can
understand my apprehension. I hope the rest of your stay is an enjoyable one...
heh, heh..."
Hissing these words, the old woman's figure melts into thin air, vanishing
without a trace.
"M... ma'am?"
Kid and I glance at each other.
"It's a waste of time to stay here any longer. Let us search somewhere else,"
Says Magil, as though nothing happened.
"Yeah, I've had enough of this place..."

"Huh? What was that? Sorry, I'm hard of hearing. Sure is a nice moon out
tonight, huh..."
"Please don't mistake me for someone who is fooled easily. Now, I won't be
asking you again. Do you plan to go up against the Master?"

*Be honest.
*Continue pissing her off.

The room is quiet except for the sounds of the gears. There's no sign of the
hooded lady anywhere.

"Hello?"
"...Ma'am?"
"Well if yer not here, say so, ya old hag!!"
The silence is deafening...
"This is a waste of time. We should investigate elsewhere," says Magil, turning
on his heel.
We follow him out.

From here, the passageway stretches to the right and left. The right path
continues on into the mansion, while heading to the left will take us to the
terrace.

*Proceed to the right.
*Head towards the terrace.

With Kid leading the way, we descend the stairs...
At the bottom of the staircase, a quite sturdy looking door stands on the
right. The hallway also continues on ahead, which will take us back towards the
terrace.

*Open the door.
*Proceed ahead to the terrace.
*Turn around.

After a little while we come to a door on the left. The terrace lies ahead.

*Open the door.
*Proceed on towards the terrace.
*Go back.

After a short while, the terrace comes into view on the left. The cool evening
air trickles in through the doorway, giving me a subtle reassurance...

*Proceed on through the hallway.
*Go out onto the terrace.
*Turn back.

We rush over towards the sword. Looking down at it, Magil starts to speak.
"This may be what we're looking for. By the looks of it, this sword could be
the fabled holy Einlanzer, or perhaps the demonic Masamune..."
"Wow Magil, you know about the Masamune?"
".............."
"Did ya ever know its owner?"
".........Yes."
"Was he yer mate?"
".........."
"So he was one of yer enemies then?"
"..........No."
"Hmm... well, hey Serge, take this thing!"
"Huh...?"
"Come on, ya don't expect a fair maiden like me to carry this bulky thing all
over the place, do ya? Well?"

*"Fair maiden!?"
*Swallow my pride and pick it up.

I grit my teeth and remind myself it would get me
absolutely nowhere to argue with her...
So, I go to Kid's side, and pick up the sword, just as I was told to.
"Oof!"
Jeez, it's heavy...!
"Okay, let's get our arses to that bloody torture chamber! I can almost smell
the Frozen Flame from here!"
I follow Kid out of the room, dragging the heavy sword.

Without a moment's notice, Kid punches me straight in the stomach!

I tumble to the ground in a daze.
"Wha, What are you doing!?"
"Hmph!"
Kid snorts, turning the other way. I look over to Magil for sympathy, but he
offers none, as usual.
"Hurry up and take it, Serge. It'll be morning soon, ya dummy."
I struggle to my feet, reluctantly picking up the sword. Jeez, this thing is
heavy!
"Okay, let's get our arses to that bloody torture chamber! I can almost smell
the Frozen Flame from here!"
I struggle to drag the heavy sword out of the room, still dizzy from the blow.

Proceeding ahead on the path, we come to a staircase going up, and...a
firm-looking set of doors on the left.

*Open the door.
*Proceed ahead to the stairs.
*Head back through the passageway.

"There better be treasure here. The smell of gold's thick in the air, mate."

*Go inside.
*Proceed ahead to the stairs.
*Head back towards the terrace.

"Hmph, just like I thought... locked," Kid says after jiggling the handle.
Frustrated, she kicks the door.
"This might slow us down, but sure as bloody 'ell won't keep us out!"
"Well, unless we find the key, there's nothing we can do, Kid."
"Let's get to it then. I bet Lynx's got it stashed up in his room somewhere,
the bastard..."
Unable to do anything, we leave to look elsewhere.

*Proceed towards the terrace.
*Return to the stairs.

*Proceed ahead to the stairs.
*Head back towards the terrace.

From the treasure vault, paths extend to the left and right. The right path
proceeds back towards the terrace, while an ascending staircase lies to the
left.

*Head towards the terrace.
*Proceed to the stairs.

"It better open now," says Kid, putting the key we found into the lock.
As the lock clicks, we're suddenly showered in all colors of light!
"Musta been an enchanted lock... Whatever's on the other side of this door's
gotta be good!"
The heavy doors open, slowly...
Inside the room, I gasp at the awesome spectacle laid out before our eyes.
Despite the sparse light, a brimming mountain of silver, gold, and other
precious-looking artifacts shimmer and twinkle throughout this huge treasure
vault. Kid is almost drooling at the sight. But to be fair, a sight like this
would captivate most people...
Enormous heaps of riches are piled before our eyes, in amounts most people will
probably never see in their entire lives. It looks to be authentic...
"Remember, our goal is the Flame. Do not waste time with frivolities," says
Magil flatly.
"Jeez, I told ya, I know..."
Regardless of Magil's warning, Kid can't help but be taken aback. She gawks at
the room's contents in awe, until...
"Hey, what's that? In the back, on that pedestal..."
There, a palm-sized jewel radiates a pale crimson light, resting patiently
behind the other treasure. It looks as though it's a roaring flame that's
somehow been frozen in time...
The Frozen Flame!!
As Magil glides over towards the pedestal, I nervously call out...

*"Come on, take it, before someone realizes we're here!"
*"Be careful... we can't afford falling into a trap."

Come on! This is what we came for," Kid says, joining in with me. "It's ours!
Take it!!"
Magil reaches his hand out towards the Flame, slowly...
Suddenly, an alarm bell rings out! The room lights up, and heavy metal bars
fall in front of the door! Our only exit is blocked!
Out of the corners of the room, four mechanical birds suddenly come to life!
"INTRUDER ALERT!! INTRUDER ALERT!!"
Their loud metallic screeching only adds to my uneasiness!
Dammit!! This is nothing but another trap...
Kid immediately turns to me.
"Bollocks, Serge! This is all 'cuz you were sayin' we had to hurry!"

*"What!? You were the one who was egging him on!"
*"We all could have been more careful..."

"Damn straight! I can't believe how many times you've bungled things up for us!"
"Will you two please quiet down? Lynx's minions will be here any minute..."
But before Magil can even finish his sentence, we start to hear deep, snarling
voices, somewhere outside the room...
"Which way is it coming from?" a heavy voice asks.
"Sounds like the treasure vault's alarm to me."
 The voices continue to get louder and louder as we stand motionless inside the
room. We silently gawk at each other, hoping any one of us has some sort of
plan.

"What was that? What did you say to me, Serge!?" Kid says, raising her voice.
"Uh.. Nothing, really!" I say, lowering my eyes.
"Will you two please quiet down? We need think about how to get out of here.
Someone is bound to be on their way," says Magil, annoyed.
But before he can even finish his sentence, we start to hear deep, snarling
voices, somewhere outside the room...
"Which way is it coming from?" a heavy voice asks.
"Sounds like the treasure vault's alarm to me."
The voices continue to get louder and louder as we stand motionless inside the
room. We silently gawk at each other, hoping any one of us has some sort of
plan.

"Hmph, fine," Kid frustratedly says, glancing back at the door. "Just remember
we're short on time!"

After investigating the pedestal for a little while... "Serge was correct. It
does seem to be trapped."
Magil steps back, mumbling something in a low voice while placing his hand near
the base of the pedestal.
Slowly, an inscription begins to emerge on its surface, shining brightly for a
moment.
"It should be disarmed now," he says, before cautiously lifting the scarlet
jewel from the pedestal.
Serge's party got the Frozen Flame!!
Whew... we did it! With a sigh of relief, I turn towards Magil. He's looking
intently at the Flame.
"Way to go, Magil! All right, let's..."
Suddenly, the gem shatters into a thousand pieces in Magil's hand!
"It's a fake. Indeed, that fiend Lynx would never have left the real Flame in a
place like this."
"Damn..."
Suddenly, an alarm bell rings out! The room lights up, and heavy metal bars
fall in front of the door!
Our only exit is blocked!
I look around, only to see Kid holding a fancy crown, suddenly realizing what
she's done...
Serge's party got the Golden Crown!!
"That, that dimwitted dingo!!" I say to myself.
Suddenly, out of the corners of the room, four mechanical birds suddenly come
to life!
"INTRUDER ALERT!! INTRUDER ALERT!!"
Their loud metallic screeching only adds to my uneasiness!
"It doesn't look like it will open," says Magil, checking the iron bars in
front of the door.
But, before Magil can even finish his sentence, we start to hear deep, snarling
voices, somewhere outside the room...
"Which way is it coming from?" a heavy voice asks.
"Sounds like the treasure vault's alarm to me."
The voices continue to get louder and louder as we stand motionless inside the
room. We silently gawk at each other, hoping any one of us will have some sort
of plan.

Kid hides herself under a mountain of gold coins.
"Quick, hide, mate!"
I frantically look around the room.
There! Over in the far corner, there's an empty treasure chest behind a post. I
dash over towards it, climb in, and close the lid.
"Looks like there's no one here, boss."
"That's strange. No one's ever been able to escape this old thing..."
Softly opening the lid of the chest, I take a peek outside through the small
crack and see five goblins, bedecked in armor, having unlocked the iron bars
and standing just a few feet from me.
They look around the room restlessly, peeking into the shadows. Eventually, one
of them raises his head to speak.
"Maybe a rat set it off. The cook was complaining about rats just the other
day."
"Rats? Are you trying to tell me a rat set off the trap?" a fat goblin
questions the other with a doubtful face.
And, with that... "Squeak... squeak, squeak," comes from the corner, over by
where Kid's hiding...
Taken aback, the goblins stop moving, and look at each other. After a little
while, the chief slowly strokes his chin and says, "No, actually, wasn't it
stray cats that the cook was complaining about?"
"...Meow, meow," comes the voice a second time.
Again, the goblins glance at each other. "That's strange, what I heard was that
it was a vicious Heckran that raided the pantry, I think."
Not a peep this time... I can only picture Kid racking her brain, trying to
think of what a Heckran sounds like...
"Just as I thought -- a thief," says one of the guards. But, just as they start
to approach...
"He... Hekeikekekekeke... heke, hekeike, ranranran!"
"Oh, well then, it certainly is a Heckran! Without a doubt!" one of them says,
exchanging a smile with the others.
"Well, that's pretty frightening then. Come on, let's get out of here."
The pack begins to file out of the treasure vault.
But then, suddenly, the goblins all spring on the pile of gold!
"Well, what do we have here?"
"Hey! Get yer hands off me, ya slimy freaks!" Kid says, struggling to break
free.
"Slimy? A thief like yourself isn't in much of a position to criticize!" one of
them hollers at her.
Kicking herself free of their grasp, Kid inches back into the corner of the
room. The goblins start to corner her off, laughing to themselves...
I quietly sneak out of my hiding place and unsheathe my knife. Taking on an
entire troupe of armed goblins is a lost cause, even for Kid.
What should I do? Frankly, I'm in a quandary...

*I've got to save her...
*I've got to save myself!

Hmmm... I think I'll leave this to Kid and Magil, while checking on the
situation outside...
I sneak over to the door, left open by the goblins...
"Serge!!"
Gulp!
I timidly turn around, only to see that all the goblins are now staring at me
intently.
I guess it didn't exactly occur to Kid to sacrifice herself in order to let her
friends escape. Well, it's too late for any of that now! I reach for my knife,
gritting my teeth!

Yeah, I can't abandon my friends, especially at a time like this.
Gripping my knife tightly, I charge into the center of the room, shouting,
"Hey, you stupid oafs!"
They all turn around, staring at me blankly for a moment, before their
expressions turn to rage.
"You just came out here to die. Didn't you, little man."
Gulp...

"You really want us to trample over your head that badly? Well, I suppose we
can accommodate you," the goblin boss says, giving a deep laugh.
Without a moment's hesitation, Kid shouts back. "Don't think you can easily
pick a fight with the likes of the great Kid and get away with it!!"
"Wait a minute, so you're the elusive Kid?" the boss asks, as its eyes softly
narrow. "How sweet this is. Perhaps if I deliver your head to Lord Lynx, he'll
give me a nice reward..."
The boss goblin takes its morning star from its side. The huge iron ball
jangles down to the floor.
"Please don't confuse us with just any ordinary goblins. Striking fear into the
hearts of men everywhere, we are Lynx's Elite Security Force, the fearsome
Magical Gobbler Team!"
"If ya got time to spout off all that nonsense, then ya sure got enough time to
get yer arses kicked!" Kid shouts, exploding with a fierce roundhouse kick!
The goblin teeters and staggers, dizzied by the brunt of her attack!
"Let's get 'em, boys! Start with that little twerp over there!"
Metal balls begin to swing around, swooshing through the air with deadly speed!
"Jet Gobbler Attack! Now!"
Sliding across the floor like the wind, the goblins simultaneously rush us!

Looking up, all I see is a goblin coming at me head on, ready to bash its
weapon into my skull!!

*Dodge!
*Parry!

It's no use -- my timing's off!
A side shot from the goblin's morning star slices through the air!
I try to dodge, but...
Intense pain shoots into my side! I hit the floor with a tremendous thud!
Oh no!
As the blood begins to trickle down my head, everything I see before me becomes
soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

"Serge! Get up!!"
Hearing Kid's words, I somehow totter to my feet, cradling my wounded stomach.
I can't let myself falter now... I've got to stay focused!

I feel the gust of wind from the metal ball as it closely grazes by me!
Somehow, I manage to dodge safely! However, I fall off balance and hit the
ground with a thud.

The metal ball rams into my shoulder, throwing me off balance!
Writhing in pain, I'm barely able to lift my head in preparation for the next
attack.
"Gahahahah, good boy! Come on, let's have some more fun!"

As the blood begins to trickle down my head, everything I see before me becomes
soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

"Long live Lord Lynx! Glory to the Magical Gobblers!" says the last of the
goblins as it comes crashing to the ground in a bloody mess!
Phew... that's the last of them.
However, as the blood begins to trickle down my head, everything I see before
me becomes soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

Frantically parrying the goblin's attack, I try to lunge with my knife...
However, before I can do anything, the goblin snaps me up in its thick arms and
smashes me as hard as it can into the floor!
My mind goes completely blank from the shock.

Quick as a mouse, I slice into the goblin's side! It lets loose a gnarling
scream of pain as its putrid face contorts in agony!

Kid comes to my aid, delivering a lightning-quick strike to one of the goblins!
"What's the matter, huh!? Where's yer Magical Gobbler skills now, or whatever
ya call it?"
The goblin can't help but collapse onto the floor in pain. Kid boots it in the
jaw before backing away for her next attack.
"Quit screwin' around, Serge! Keep an eye on yer own trouble!"

Beside me, an arrow of light jumps out from Magil's fingertips, instantly
pulverizing the goblin!
The goblin topples to the ground, half vaporized. Magil stares at it with his
ever-present eyes of steel as his dark cape flaps in the breeze.

Just then, I start to hear an odd howling noise from behind me. I turn around
to see Magil's Black Wind spell streaking out from his fingertips, transforming
in midair into a countless number of razors! They fly like homing missiles into
one of the goblins, cutting it to shreds!
"H, how can a human have such power? Who are you!? Aaauughh!!"
The goblin shrieks in fear as its body is effortlessly torn to pieces! Magil's
expression remains unchanged as he silently surveys the scene, looking for his
next target.

Another huge iron ball whizzes through the air, swinging down towards me!

*Roll over and dodge it!
*Ram the bastard!

Dammit, I'm not gonna make it! The heavy large iron ball tears through the sky
and swings down on my head! I try to bend down quickly to dodge it, but...
The next moment all I see is stars, as I lie on the floor in a daze.
"Serge! Watch out!"
I hear Kid screaming at me to get up. My hands are pressed against my head,
trying to ease the wincing pain.
Doubt and resignation will get me killed in battle. I can't end up like this!

As quickly as I can, I roll over and try to dodge the attack!
Yes! The iron ball smashes into the floor, sending sparks flying everywhere!
It misses me by a hair's breadth. I frantically scramble away from the weapon.

However, the iron ball strikes me square in the back, sending me clear off my
feet!
I hit the ground with a hard thud, as the back of my head smacks against the
hard stone floor!
I roll over and try to recover, but the throbs of pain are unbearable...
"Sing, boy! Sing the song of pain!"

Scampering away, I suddenly see a dark shadow cover the ground in front of me.
Fearfully looking up, a huge goblin towers directly above my quivering body!
"Die!!" the goblin roars, swinging his weapon down!
No...! I won't go that easy!
Somehow, I manage to reel to my feet and avoid the blow.

I've got to think of a better strategy than just standing around! I quickly put
my weight onto the goblin, trying to force it off balance!
Unfazed, the goblin moves only a little as I collide with it. I, however, bump
off and tumble onto the ground!
"Aaarrgh!" I scream, as the goblin kicks me in the ribs!

Gritting my teeth, I butt my head against the goblin's face!
My head feels like it's been hit by a hammer. However, as I open my eyes I see
that the goblin's in a lot worse shape than I am. It falls backwards in a daze,
its mouth a bloody mess.
My head feels like it's on fire. I take a second to regain my wits.

"It seems we've fallen prey to another one of Lord Lynx's traps."
Kid and I turn to Magil.
"Huh? What the bloody hell are you talkin' about?" asks Kid.
The scarlet jewel Magil holds in his hand breaks into a thousand tiny pieces
with a loud snap.
"It was a fake."
"That cheapskate... I shoulda known!" Kid shouts.
Kid's the last person in the world Lynx would probably think of hearing that
word from...
"Anyhow, let's go. The real one's still gotta be in this mansion, somewhere..."
"Yeah."

"They said they were Lynx's personal guards, yeah? They might have some
valuable stuff on 'em..." but before she even finishes speaking, Kid starts to
search through the head goblin's clothes.
Sheesh, there's really no need to be such a scavenger...
"Hey, what's this?" she says, removing a small metal object from the goblin's
pocket. It's a hand-shaped medallion of some sort, covered in archaic-looking
symbols.
"It's a key," Magil says, walking over towards us. "These markings suggest it
unlocks a certain magical seal."
"Wow... well, their loss," says Kid, casually putting the plate in her pocket.
"Dammit, they don't have any other good stuff. Cheap goblins...."
She stands up and looks around, sighing. "It'd be a waste to leave all this
loot behind, though!"
"We can always come back for it later, Kid."
Kid turns around and grins. "Yeah, yer right. Okay, let's go. The night won't
last forever."

"Easy... easy," says Kid, wiping some sweat off her brow.

Suddenly, Kid shoots an angry look at me. "So, ya wanna double-cross us,
leavin' us to die when we need ya the most?"
"No...! That... that was just an act! I only wanted to throw them off guard. I
was trying to divert the attention from you! Of course I intended to help you!"
I don't like the way Kid's looking at me one bit...

"We must be on our way," Magil says. "There's no way of knowing who else knows
we're here now."
"I know. That bastard's causin' us too much trouble..."
Phew... that was close. Kid's not the type of person to let something like that
slide very easily...

"Hey, fool," she says, staring bitterly at me. "I can take care of myself."
Her eyes start to quiver, and she turns away.
"But... thanks, mate."

"Dammit Serge, yer such a loon, thinkin' you could rescue me from those goons
like that. Heh, it worked out pretty well though, eh mate?"

"Serge, ya goof, I can take care'a myself. But thanks, mate," she says,
cracking a smile.
Her face hits me like a glimmering beam of light, cleansing my darkness and
filling me with joy.
"I'll never forget what ya did back there... even if I never see ya again after
tonight."

With Kid in the lead, we ascend the narrow staircase...

"The treasure can wait. We must first find the Frozen Flame."
"I know. Sheeze, yer no fun."

*Proceed towards the terrace.
*Proceed to the staircase.

The cracked stone stairs seem to endlessly twist upwards. It feels like we're
heading up to a scaffold to be executed...
Atop the staircase, an old but solid door waits for us silently. This damp
place fills me with a feeling of dread.
"There's a faint voice comin' from the other side of the door," says Kid. I
fear the worst.
"Maybe we should check somewhere else..." I say.
"What'sa matter, ya chicken?" she says while glancing at me, but I can tell by
the sound of her voice that she isn't feeling much better about this than I am.
There's something wrong about this place, and we all know it...

*Go back down the stairs.
*Open the door.

I really think we ought to come back some other time," I say hesitantly. Magil
doesn't look too enthusiastic either.
"What, you wanna turn back? Arrite, guess I got no choice," Kid exclaims while
shrugging her shoulders.
How rare, Kid listening to other people for a change.

It's a small room, one you'd find in a stone tower. It's empty, and I can't
find a single window in it.
"What the hell kinda room is this?"
Although she's trying to hide it, I notice a shiver running down Kid's spine.

"There may be something of use here. Let us search more closely," Magil says
quietly.
"Ya really think we'll find somethin'? Hrmf..."
Kid proceeds to the middle of the room, while I examine the walls and floor.
The stone floor is filled with countless scratches, covered by splotches of a
dry dark ink.
"Hey Magil, would you come over here please? Something is carved into the wall
here. I think it's an inscription of some sort..."
Magil kneels down in front of the wall and examines the writing. Looking closer
at it, it appears to be written in blood.
"Indeed. This text has been worn down with age. Most of it is unreadable."
Here's what I can make out:

                 ...won't la...   mu... onger...
            ...cia Dragoons....  nee...he encha...
                swor... order to... ...proof...

Without any warning, the door slams shut! We stand up, taken by surprise!
Then suddenly, a low rumbling starts to fill the room!
"What's happening!?" Kid shouts, looking around frantically.
"What's that above us!?"
"What now? There's no time to lose!"

*Try to stop the ceiling!
*Break through the wall!
*Try to ram the door!

Kid flies like an arrow, ramming against the door!
Her small body bounces back -- the door is far too
heavy!
"Bollocks!"
Magil streaks across the room like a hurricane, dashing against the solid oak!
The door creaks, but holds tight!
My turn.
I ram into the door with all my strength!
"Aaarrgh!"
A heavy shock shoots through my body, but the door doesn't budge an inch!
The rumbling continues to get louder and louder, reminding us of the rusty
blades, eager to greet us!
"Serge! Magil! Come on, together!"
The three of us start to ram against the door
simultaneously with all our strength!
The door hinge gives! We stumble outside, barely escaping certain death!
Behind us, we hear the gut-wrenching sounds of the blades meeting the stone
floor. I watch the morbid scene in a daze, gasping huge breaths of air.
Finally, the grinding sound fades away. It seems the ceiling has stopped.
"Damn that Lynx, toyin' with us like that..."
"So, this is the torture chamber. I wonder how many of the Acacia Dragoons it
has claimed," Magil whispers.
"Who?" I ask.
"The Acacia Dragoons. They were once an elite force serving General Viper, a
powerful man who used to rule the western territory of Gerzbuehle. They were
defeated more than ten years ago, by the very hands of Lord Lynx. By the looks
of things, we have apparently found their resting place."
"Eh, who cares," says Kid as she stands up. "Generals and Knights and
everything, it sounds like some old bedtime story."
Magil shrugs his shoulders in silence as we start down the stairs, eager to get
away from this awful place.

"We've got to stop the ceiling!!" I shout.
"How!?"
"I don't know... shouldn't there be a secret release lever somewhere?"
We quickly search the floor and walls as the rumble of the dreaded ceiling gets
louder and louder!
"Aaargh!!"
One of the blades slices into my shoulder! There's no time to look for a lever!!
Oh no...
A shock shoots through my body as my clothes start to take on a dark hue of red.
Everything I see before me becomes soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

What do we going to do!?

*Try to stop the ceiling!
*Bash the wall!
*Ram the door!

"Okay! Let's try to stop this thing!"
I stand firm and raise both of my hands high to support the ceiling.
"Stop it Serge! It's too strong!"
She's right! The ceiling is too heavy -- I'm not making any difference! It
continues to descend onto us more and more!
"Aaaahhhh!!"
It's getting too close! I can't get out!
Help!!

"There has to be a way out of here!"
We start ramming up against the walls. However, the stone mesh holds tight!
This isn't working! The ceiling is getting too close!
"Aaahhh!"
A blade has sliced into my neck!
Dammit...!
As the blood begins to trickle down my neck, everything I see before me becomes
soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

What are we going to do!?

*Try to stop the ceiling!
*Bash the wall!
*Try to ram the door!

Aren't there any cracks in the wall? Come on... there have to be at least one
or two!
"Forget it, Serge! We don't have time!"
"Aaahhhh!!"
I feel a flash of pain throughout my left temple! I stumble to the ground as I
press against the side of my head, trying to stop the blood from gushing out!
"Serge!!"
Kid's screaming fades slowly away into the distance as I lay there, stunned...
The deep redness overcomes me...

I nearly slip and fall on one of the damp stairs. Bracing myself against the
cold walls, I keep on climbing...
We come to the old, stoic-looking door, waiting for us silently atop the
staircase.

*Enter.
*Head back down the stairs.

"We have no business here. We should search elsewhere," says Magil.
"Yeah, it'll be morning soon. Let's go."

"I don't care how many clues are hidden here. Unless we find a way to disarm
that bloody trap, there's no way I'm goin' in there again."
"General Viper's daughter... I wonder if she knows anything."
"Yeah, her name was Riddel, right?"

"Without that ancient sword Einlanzer, it's hopeless..."

"Yeah... well, come on, let's go."

"You wanna go in there again? Are you serious!?"
Then, suddenly, in a quiet voice, as though she's afraid others will hear it,
she asks, "Yer not a masochist or somethin', are ya?"

"There's no way I'm goin' in there," Kid says, turning back.
The two of us follow her down the stairs.

Wh, what do we do now!?
"Serge!!" Kid screams desperately. The sound of blades is getting louder and
louder! I don't know what to do!!
"Arghhh!!"
A blade has sliced into my neck!
Oh, no...
As the blood begins to trickle down my neck, everything I see before me becomes
soaked in a deep, dark redness...
Kid's voice quickly becomes farther and farther away, as I begin my descent
into a never-ending darkness...

What are we going to do!?

*Thrust the sword into the ceiling!
*Thrust the sword into the floor!
*Thrust the sword into Kid!


*Try to stop the ceiling!
*Bash the wall!
*Ram the door!

After a while, the path splits into three directions. To the left is a
descending staircase, while the path on the right extends into darkness.
Another passageway lies ahead...

*Take the stairs.
*Proceed on ahead.

*Proceed ahead to the cathedral.

ballroom.

*Turn and head down the right path.

*Turn right, heading towards the study.

*Head back towards the terrace.

As I start to slowly descend the stairs in the dim light, I stretch my hands
out in front of me to try and feel for something. However, all I'm greeted with
is the moist feeling of these grimy stone walls.

We've descended the staircase. To the left lies a huge stone archway, and to
the right we can see a narrow path twisting into the darkness.

*Enter the passage on the right.
*Go through the archway on the left.
*Head back up the stairs.

We continue through the passageway...After a while we
arrive at a beautifully decorated set of double doors.

ballroom.

*Enter.
*Turn back.

We head down the path. After a while, it ends at a stained wooden door. This is
the study, I think...

*Go in.
*Turn back.

"Guess this's the study."
This huge room is faintly lit by the moonlight, shining in through a tall
window. In the back of the room stands a large, ornately decorated desk.
Row after row of bookshelves house thousands of thick, dusty books. A painting
is hung on the rear wall, sharing space with various exotic curios.

*Examine the desk.
*Walk over to the bookshelves.
*Check out the painting.

I walk over and open a drawer in the mahogany desk.
The drawers contain writing materials and documents, arranged in an orderly
fashion. Unfortunately, they don't seem to contain anything worth mentioning.
But then, a small picture in the drawer catches my eye. It's a portrait of a
friendly-looking girl with a faint smile on her face.
I hold it up, wondering who it could be...

"It's prolly Lynx's adopted daughter," Kid says, looking over my shoulder with
her nose crinkled. "...Pedophile."
A faint gasp from behind me suddenly catches my attention. Turning around, I
see Magil walking over to us with his eyes fixed firmly on the picture. I don't
think I've ever seen him like this before...
"What is it, Magil?"
My question visibly startles Magil, but after a few moments, he returns to his
usual wooden face.
"...Nothing."
His firm response doesn't leave much room for questioning.
"We're wasting valuable time. We should look elsewhere," Magil says abruptly,
turning towards the door.
Kid and I look at each other, perplexed.
"What's his problem?"
"Don't ask me..."
"Hey Magil, wait up!"

Suddenly, we start to hear footsteps coming this way. Though they aren't that
loud, they boom like thunder in the night.
Kid and I jump up. Magil swiftly conceals himself in the nearby shadows.

*"Quick, behind the door!"
*"Quick, under the desk!"

I walk over to one of the bookshelves and start looking through the rows of
books. Most of them are written in languages I've never even seen before.
I pull one of the books off a shelf. It's so heavy I have to support it with
both of my hands. I clumsily turn up a random page.
The book contains page after page of strange scribbled symbols. They twist and
dance, almost as though they're alive...
Wait... what? I blink my eyes, bringing my face closer to the book. It had to
have been my imagination. They're not actually moving. Wait, are they?

I turn up another page. It features the same kind of strange contorted symbols.
It's making my head hurt just by looking at them.
"What could this be...?"
"Huh?" says Kid, coming to my side.
"Ah, it's a magically coded book. Ya can't read it. Besides, all these magical
books are prolly cursed. Wouldn't do ya any good to read em, even if ya could."
"Watch yerself around these books, mate. There might be somethin' in one of
em..."
"What are you talking about?"
And then, just as I turn my head to ask Kid about it, the book starts to moan
in a dreadful way. I immediately slam it shut, jamming it back in the bookshelf!
Magil, who had been watching us the entire time, approaches the shelf and
reaches out for a time-worn, leather-bound book.
"You know about this stuff?" Kid asks, looking up at Magil like a duck in a
thunderstorm.
"Some. This is an ancient tome from a far away land. It was once known as the
Book of the Dead. I never expected to find it here, in Lord Lynx's possession."
Magil gazes at the timeworn, leather-bound book.

*Ask him to open it.
*Recommend putting it back.

I walk over and examine the painting, illuminated by the pale moonlight.
It's an oil painting of a very strange landscape. I've never seen anything
quite like it before.
It's a depiction of an endless, scorched desert, filled with red sand
stretching out to the horizon. There, unbelievably tall mountains soar upwards
for miles and miles, meeting a blazing orange sky.
It seems surreal, almost out of this world. But even more than that, it seems
like a very sad, lonely painting, as if it's depicting a fleeting memory of a
desolate soul. What kind of person could have painted this?
And furthermore, why's it here in the study? None of the other stuff around
here matches it...

It's a watercolor painting, depicting a peculiar scenario. Within the painting,
it appears to be day and night, as well as spring, summer, autumn, and winter,
all at the same time. Everything looks melted away, fading into everything else.
At the core of this swirling, chaotic maelstrom, there's a small black gem,
burning with a deep red flame inside of it.

"What is it, mate? Find somethin' valuable?"
Kid comes over to my side and reaches out for a fancy plate.
"The ransom for just one of these could feed a family for an entire year, I
bet..."
Suddenly she stops, looking over towards me.
"Come on, there's no wrong in takin' it..."
"Let's focus on the Flame, Kid."
After a moment, she hesitantly puts the decorated plate back on the shelf.
Suddenly, we start to hear footsteps coming this way. Though they aren't that
loud, they boom like thunder in the night.
Kid and I jump up. Magil swiftly conceals himself in the nearby shadows.

*"Quick, behind the door!"
*"Quick, under the desk!"

Kid and I quickly hide behind the door with our backs pressed against the wall.
I hold my breath as the door creaks open.
A quivering candlelight spreads in through the doorway. However, whoever opened
the door doesn't seem to have any intention of entering the room.
"Mmmh... thought I heard something. No reason for anybody to be in here though,
since the Master is away. Still, with those Porre southerners on the move, it's
better safe than sorry..."
The door closes softly, blanketing the room in darkness once again. The voice
becomes more and more distant as the footsteps fade into silence. Still, we
wait, without moving a muscle.
"So, Porre is up to something," Magil mutters, emerging from the shadows.
Porre is a large country governing the southern continent. I hear it's a pretty
well-developed and fairly prosperous place. What would they be after in these
outlands? Surely not the Frozen Flame...?
No matter how valuable it may be, in the end it's just a jewel... a piece of
rock. How valuable could it really be?

Kid and I scurry down underneath the desk. Curling up, I wrap her up in my arms.
"Hmph... smaller than I thought."
"What? Hey! I..."
The door opens with a sudden creak. We sit motionless without making a peep.
The quivering light of a candle spreads in from the doorway. Soon after, a hand
holding a candlestick comes into view from behind the door.
Tightening, I nervously hold my breath.
When I look down, my heart skips a beat. With Kid's lips right in front of me,
I feel myself starting to lose control. So full... and pink... and glossy...
My heart starts pounding faster and faster. I force myself to stop staring and
shut my eyes tight.
Whoever opened the door doesn't seem to have any intention of entering the room.
"Mmmh... thought I heard something. No reason for anybody to be in here though,
since the Master is away. Still, with those Porre southerners on the move, it's
never too safe to be sorry...."
The door closes softly, covering the room in darkness once again. For a while
we wait, not moving an inch.
The footsteps echo away into the distance.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I can't stop thinking about how great she
smells...
"Hey, how long are you gonna stick to me like that?" Kid asks, pushing my jaw
upwards.

blowing into my ear.

folding her lips around my ear.

"Huh? Uh... I mean... sorry!"
I quickly get up, bumping my head against the desk with a loud bang.

I crawl out, rubbing my head.
"Man, that stings."
Kid comes out next. Crouching, she looks me over and says, "Ya goof... you
arrite?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"So, Porre is up to something," Magil says quietly, emerging from the shadows.
Porre is a large country governing the southern continent. I hear it's a pretty
well developed and fairly prosperous place. But what would they be after in
these outlands? Surely not the Frozen Flame...?
No matter how valuable it may be, in the end it's just a jewel... a piece of
rock. How valuable could it really be?

"We've seen enough here," says Magil. "Let's search somewhere else."
We leave the room, heading back through the corridor.

"Come on mate, we don't have time for this. Randomly searchin' a place as big
as this is stupid. We need to get a move on!" Kid says, irritated.
 She's right, I suppose. If we keep on dawdling, it'll be morning before we
know it.

We leave the cathedral, heading back through the corridor.

We leave the ballroom, heading back through the passageway.

We head back through the passageway.

After a bit of walking, we come to a three-way split in the path.
To the right is a set of stairs leading down, while a narrow passageway on the
left leads off into darkness. The path up ahead will take us towards the
terrace.

*Take the stairs.
*Proceed towards the terrace.
*Head into the left passageway.

*Turn left, heading towards the study.

*Retrace our steps.

We retrace our steps through the dark passageway. Finally, the we come to a
three-way branch.

We leave the study, retracing our steps through the dark passageway. Finally,
the passage comes to a three-way branch.

There's a descending staircase in front of us, in addition to passageways on
the right and left. The one on the left will take us back towards the terrace.

*Descend the stairs.
*Head towards the terrace.
*Enter the right passageway.

*Enter the right passageway, proceeding towards the cathedral.

ballroom.

*Retrace our steps.

"Maybe it's better if we don't open it, Magil..."
Magil stares silently at the book cover for a moment. Then, nodding silently,
he returns the book to the shelf.
"Perhaps it's best to leave such ancient knowledge alone."
"I swear, you sound just like an old hermit sometimes, Magil."
Suddenly, we start to hear footsteps coming this way. Though they aren't that
loud, they boom like thunder in the night.
Kid and I jump up. Magil swiftly conceals himself in the nearby shadows.

*"Quick, behind the door!"
*"Quick, under the desk!"

Prompted by curiosity, I ask Magil to open the book.
He hesitates for a moment, but then nods silently and opens the thick leather
cover.
The large book opens with a long creak. Suddenly, a strange sort of breeze
seems to leap out from it, howling all around us.
Curtains, papers, and even the chandeliers sway as this odd, directionless gust
of wind scurries around. After a few moments, it whisks out the door.
I fearfully turn to Magil, wondering what we've done now...
"Hey, there's nothin' written in it!" Kid says. "What gives?"
Shifting his attention back to the book, Magil turns up another page. They're
all blank.
"Sheesh, what a waste! Let's write somethin' in it!" Kid says, already
scribbling something down.
"Dear Lord Lynx, go buy some real books while you're out! Jeez! And by the way,
the jerk store called, and they're all outta you!"
Suddenly, we start to hear footsteps coming this way. Though they aren't that
loud, they boom like thunder in the night.
Kid and I jump up. Magil swiftly conceals himself in the nearby shadows.

*"Quick, behind the door!"
*"Quick, under the desk!"

"Okay! Time to find that key!" Kid says as she steps into the center of the
room, surrounded by row after row of books.
"Where did that crazy mirror say we could find it? Hey, Serge, pay attention
when I'm talkin' to ya!"
"Huh? I thought you remembered which one it was..."

"So which is it?"

*The blue book in front.
*The red book in front.
*The purple book in front.
*The green book in front.
*The blue book in back.
*The red book in back.
*The purple book in back.
*The green book in back.
*The white book in back.

"Errrr... wasn't it the one in the front shelf with the blue cover?"
"The front shelf, eh. The blue one... the blue one... here it is! This one?"
Kid pulls the book from the shelf. I watch closely as she opens it up. Her eyes
become narrow as a cat's as she starts to read the mysterious symbols. Then,
she begins to read a passage in a low, steady voice.
"In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying
about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the
mother of the boy, Paul.
It was a warm night at Castle Caladan, and the ancient pile of stone that had
served the Atreides family as home for twenty-six generations bore that
cooled-sweat feeling it acquired before a change in the weather..."
Kid's voice trembles as her speaking becomes softer and softer. Looking over, I
see she's sunk into silence with dim eyes.
Suddenly she notices me looking at her. Turning away, she quickly closes the
book.
"This ain't the right book, Serge. Which one is it?"

"Errrr... it's the book with the red cover in front, isn't it?"
Kid heads to the shelf.
"The red one... the red one... got it!"
Kid pulls a book from the lower shelf. She opens it as we watch closely.
Leafing through it, a passage catches her eye, which she begins to read in a
low, steady voice.
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and
a nice Chianti. Fly back to school, little Starling."
 .........
"Yuck! What the hell is this!?" Kid yells, slapping me.
I feel sick.
Yuck.

"Sheesh, Serge! You shouldn't let a lady read such things. Now which book is
it!?"

"Errrr... it's the book with the purple cover in front, isn't it?"
Kid heads to the shelf in front.
"The purple one... the purple one... here it is! This one?"
Kid pulls a book from one of the shelves in the middle. I watch closely as she
opens it up. Her eyes become narrow as a cat's as she reads page after page of
strange, convoluted symbols.
The Neo-Epoch was damaged and expelled into space without any phase changes.
Warning! Warning! Engine severely damaged! Output has been reduced to 30%! Only
six Antiparticle shells remain!
Shield range 16 sectors! L-spin reaction at the starboard bow! The enemy fleet
is moving towards us!
Gyado, wake up! Hiyu Corps, use your final power..."
.........
"What is this? It reminds me of..."
"Of what, Kid?"
"...Nothin'! Quit yankin' my chain, Serge! Which book is it!?"
Sheesh...

"Hmmm.... that book over there, the green one... maybe that's it..."
"The green one... hmm. This one right here? Okay..."
From the bottom of the shelves, Kid pulls out an old, decaying book. She coughs
a little as she opens it, trying to avoid all the dust released.
After looking through it for a while, she begins to read a page in a low,
steady voice...
"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western
spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly
insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended lifeforms are so
amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat
idea..."
........
"Serge, ya dummy! This ain't the right book!!"

"Hmm... it could be that blue book on that shelf over there..."
"Well -could- it be the right one, or -is- it the right one?"
"I don't know. I 'm pretty sure. Yeah, the blue one. Yeah."
Kid heads over to the shelves, already fuming.
"The blue one... the blue one... got it."
Kid pulls it off the shelf. I watch intently as she opens the dusty cover. Her
eyes become narrow as a cat's as she reads page after page of strange,
convoluted symbols.
"...It was only then that I realized that in this incredible game of life, the
bonus is contained within love and adventure. Cordially enthralling myself into
the temptations of the flesh despite a momentary rush of suspiciousness,
finally I moved my fingers downward... ever more downward. Until, gulping down
my many feelings of apprehension and vulnerability, into this pleasureful
ocean, I..."
......
..........
..................
Kid's face turns red.
"What is this rubbish? What in blazes are ya havin' me read now!?"
Abruptly, she rises to her feet.
Thwap!
Stars explode before my eyes!
I fall backwards, into a never-ending darkness...
Kid's shouts are becoming more and more distant, as I slowly sink into the
eternal silence...

"Enough of this! Where's the real book!?"
Barely able to stand, I frantically try to reassemble my thoughts...

"Maybe it's that red book over here in back. Yeah, that sounds like it."
"The back shelf... the red one... the red one... here we go!"
Kid pulls a book from the shelf. I watch closely as she opens it up. Her eyes
become narrow as a cat's as she starts to read the mysterious symbols. Then,
she begins to read a passage in a low, steady voice.
"...Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a
matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a
subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. The art of war, then,
is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's
deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
These are..."
.......
............
"What the heck is this? Some sorta witchcraft? Quit havin' me read all these
stupid books, Serge! Which one has the key!?"

"Hmmm... I'm pretty sure it's that purple book over there... I think..."
"Which one? Oh, I see it."
Kid pulls out a purple book, towards the bottom of the shelves. I watch closely
as she opens it up. Flipping through the pages, suddenly an old brass key falls
out of the book, hitting the ground with a clank!
"All right! The key!!"

Throwing the book aside, Kid bends down and grabs the key. Her eyes light up as
she stares at it in her hands. We race out of the study, eager to see what
awaits us in the vault.
Magil follows behind a moment later, after returning the book to the shelf.

"I'm pretty sure it's that green book over there in back."
Kid heads over to the shelves.
"The green one... the green one... here, got it!"
Kid pulls a book from the back shelf. I watch closely as she slowly opens it.
Her eyes become narrow as a cat's as she reads page after page of strange,
convoluted symbols.
"I refuse to be a victim. When this becomes your mantra, constantly running
through your head, you will shift towards me-centered living. Only by taking
full responsibility for your problems, and their solutions, will you break free
from the constant cycle of victimhood. Remember, you are only a victim if you
choose to be."
"Aaahhh!!!"
......
............
"What is this drivel? I can't stand any more of this!!"
Kid puts the book back.
"C'mon, Serge! Where did you say it was?"

"Let's try that big white book, down there in back."
"The back shelf... the white one... the white one... here we go!"
Kid pulls a book from the shelf. I watch closely as she opens it up. Her eyes
become narrow as a cat's as she starts to read the mysterious symbols. Then,
she begins to read a passage in a low, steady voice.
"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for
what might have been parsecs in all directions. White; blinding; waterless;
without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched
themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams,
nightmares, death..."
Kid continues to read, getting lost within the book.
"Hey, Kid, shouldn't we be looking for the key?"
"Hold on, mate! It's startin' to get good!"
"But, Kid..."
"All right already! Sheesh! Which book did you say it was?"

This seems to be Viper Manor's ballroom.
Beautiful decorative ornaments rest on a large table in the center of this huge
hall. Rows of huge pillars are lined up on both sides, adorned with sculptures
of birds and various other animals. At the far end of the room sits a gigantic
organ, taking up the entirety of the wall. Its pitch-black aura beckons us.
A countless number of candles provide a soft, flickering luminescence to the
room. Everything around us shimmers in the dim candlelight.
Various portraits have been hung high up on the walls, depicting all sorts of
well-dressed people. From what I can gather, they're high-quality oil
paintings. They all have a similar sort of morbid gaze in their eyes, though.
Who could these be? Lynx's relatives, maybe?
Of these, a portrait of a young lady in a pink dress catches my eye.
Wait, what was that?
I swear she looked at me just then!
...Come on, Serge... time to put away the ghost stories.
It's just my imagination acting up again, I tell myself.
It was probably a trick of light, caused by a flickering candle or something.
The oils' glossy finish distorted the image for a second or two. Yeah, that's
what happened.
But... I don't know...
"This room's bloody strange..."
Kid sees it too... she has to have seen it.
"I suggest we look elsewhere," Magil says suddenly. Kid and I offer no
objections.

Pushing her way through the massive doors, Kid steps into the huge hall.
"No one's here, still..."
With a countless number of candles illuminating the room, everything around us
flickers and sways in the ever-changing light.
Placed high up on the walls, many large portraits mysteriously stare down upon
us.
Wait, what was that? I could have sworn one of the faces moved just a second
ago!
...Come on, Serge... enough with all this. It was probably a trick of light,
caused by a flickering candle or something. The candlelight distorted the oils'
glossy finish for a second or two. Yeah, that's what probably happened.
But, maybe...
"These paintings are bloody strange..."
Kid sees it too... she has to have seen it.
"I suggest we look elsewhere," Magil says suddenly. Kid and I offer no
objections.

After continuing on through the passage for a while, the terrace comes into
view on the right. I take a deep breath of the fresh evening air, hoping to
calm my senses.

*Continue on through the passageway.
*Go out onto the terrace.
*Retrace our steps.

We walk quietly out onto the terrace, instantly welcomed by a cold nighttime
breeze. The dreary forest we came through lies directly ahead. A light chill is
sent down my spine as I watch the treetops rustle in the howling wind...

*Talk a little with Kid.
*Try talking with Magil.
*Head back into Viper Manor.

Peeping in from the arched entranceway, Kid looks
astonished. "Wow, look at this! I heard about these things, they're called
atriums."
A large fountain sits in the center of this beautiful room. Looking across the
way, another archway similar to this one leads off into darkness.
"Whoa, cold!" Kid exclaims, taking her hand out of the water.
Coming to her side, I kneel down and peer into the pond. Leaning over the
beautiful marble edge, I too feel the chilly water.
From deep beneath the surface, a number of fish start to swim towards us.
"These buggers look expensive..."
I can't seem to see the bottom of the pond. I wonder how deep it is...

The fish are a little restless, splashing here and there.
Suddenly, Kid tugs at my arm, jerking my hand out of the water. Before I can
ask why, one of the fish leaps out, snapping at me.
We scramble to our feet and take a few steps back from the fountain.
Many other fish soon follow, jumping out of the water, snapping at us. A few
land outside of the pond. I kick one of them into a corner. Watching it
violently squirm around, it appears to be a piranha.
More and more of them emerge from the apparently
bottomless depth.
Having gotten a fresh scent of game, the piranhas start to splash around more
viciously now, getting water everywhere.
I wonder how many of these things could be in there... It looks like there are
more and more of them emerging every second.
Suddenly, a dark red liquid starts to erupt from the fountain! Kid leaps back
at once. I'm shocked as well, staring dumbfoundedly at the erupting fountain...
The gushing red liquid shoots higher and higher! The water level in the pond
rapidly rises, taking on a disgusting red hue!
Before long, the water level has started to overflow onto the floor! A bead of
sweat rolls down my brow as I realize that the room is about to fill with water!
We might be able to make it to a safe distance before the piranhas reach us.
Quick, what do we do!?

*Make a run for the far exit!
*Head back to the staircase!
*Take care of these suckers!

There's not enough time to think! Already the water's risen to my ankles, and
piranhas have started to come at me!
Kicking and splashing, I ward them off for the time being.
However, suddenly a terrible pain runs into my left ankle!
I lift my foot up, tearing off the freakish thing and smashing it with the heel
of my boot!
However, looking up, I see three more coming my way!

What do we do now!?

*Make a run for the far exit!
*Head back!
*Get these suckers!

"Are you serious? There's no way in hell I'm goin' back there to be eaten
alive!"
"Yeah, losing a leg or two wouldn't do a thing for your girlish figure."
Having stopped before the atrium, we once again come to the ominous Mouth of
Truth...

"Come on, we're outnumbered!!"
Splashing through the water, we turn back, heading for the passageway from
where we came.
However, a few of them manage to sink their teeth into me before I can get away!
I kick off the last remaining few as I bolt out of this vile room!

"Phew... what a close call."
"That rat bastard... Whatever trick he's got up his sleeve, it won't stop us
for long. We're comin' for ya, Lynx!"

"Quick, the exit over there!!"
With the water now up to my calves, I find I can't move very fast at all! The
dyed water, now sticky like blood, splashes violently as I make for the
opposite end of the room!
Below me, I can feel the sharp stab of those tiny, razor-sharp teeth digging
into my legs!
One of them suddenly jumps out of the water, clamping down on my face! Shocked,
I frantically try and get it off without tearing into my skin!
However, as I'm doing this, dozens more swarm around me, biting into me from
all angles!
I try to make a run for it, but unable to see, I bump straight into the
fountain, coming down with a huge splash...
All I see from then on is the bubbling red water, as the small fish devour me...

Wincing in pain, I turn around. Quick, what do I do?

*Make a run for the far exit!
*Head back through the entrance!
*Start kicking ass and taking names!

"Let's get these things!!" I shout.
Kid looks at me like I'm crazy. "This ain't no joke, Serge! We're gonna get
eaten alive here unless you do something quick!"
She's right, attacking these things head on is too difficult! They're far too
fast to catch!
A look of scorn fills Kid's eyes.
"Get over here, ya runts!!"

Dammit, they're biting me! Help!

These things are fast! What do I do!?

*Make a run for the far exit!
*Head back to the entranceway!
*Grab my knife and start making some sushi!

"C'mon, we've gotta get outta here! NOW!!"

Dammit... it's hopeless!

Setting my sights on the far exit, I start frantically splashing through the
murky water.
With the water level now risen up above my calves, I find I can't move very
fast. The room has taken on a nasty smell, too -- an awful mixture of blood,
fish, and saltwater.
"Aaahhhh...!"
Two fish have simultaneously bitten into my left thigh and right ankle! Hacking
away at the two, I rid myself of their visceral grip and continue to make a run
for it!

From behind me, Magil's arrows of light dart into the water, disintegrating the
lightning-fast fish!

Oh, no! Just now I slip on a fish, sending me splashing into the water!
The next moment, from all around me I start to feel sharp stabbing pains as a
dozen fish swarm at me... and then a dozen more... and then...
"Aaaaahhhhhh!!!"

However, it's still a ways to the exit. What do I do!?
*Try and head for the far exit anyway!
*Head back to where we came!
*Skin these guppies!

We proceed through the dark passageway...

We retrace our steps through the passageway.

The passageway makes a sharp turn to the right, before stretching on through
this subterranean maze...

Before long, we're greeted with a beautifully ornate set of doors on the right.
Strange... there's a distinct smell
of flowers coming from here.

This is the room Kid saw something
strange in.

These are the quarters of Riddel,
Lynx's adopted daughter.

*Continue on through the passageway.
*Enter the room.
*Head back to the staircase.

After a little while, the dark passageway ends at a polished, robust set of
doors.
Kid crinkles her nose in disgust. "Somethin's strange about this place... it
don't feel right, mate. Prolly just my imagination though, heh..."
Standing here in the cold darkness, Kid's hollow laugh does nothing but add to
my fear.

Lynx's quarters... Oh man, I can feel Kid's blood boiling from here.

*Go into the room.
*Turn back.

Heading back, we travel through the passageway, eager to shake this feeling of
dread.

After walking a ways, we come to a beautifully decorated set of doors on the
left.
This is the room Kid found something unsettling in...

This is Riddel's room.

*Enter the room.
*Keep on walking.
*Head back.

Continuing on through the passage, eventually we come to a branch.
We see an upwards staircase on the left, as well as a stone archway directly
ahead.
*Take the stairs.
*Enter the archway.
*Head back.

I follow Kid up the narrow set of stairs, hoping not to lose my balance...

We've ascended the staircase. In front of us, paths extend in three directions.
To the left lies a dark corridor, and the right path leads out to the terrace.
This path also continues on ahead...

*Take the left path.

*Head left, towards the

ballroom.

*Turn right, heading towards the terrace.
*Proceed ahead into the dark passageway.

*Proceed ahead, towards the study.

*Go back down the stairs.

We come to a branch after a ways. To our right lies a staircase going up, while
the start of a dark passageway is directly ahead.
*Take the stairs.
*Head down the passageway.
*Turn back towards the atrium.

*Head back.

From here, the passageway stretches to the right and left.
Heading to the right will take us to Lynx's quarters, while turning left will
take us back to the ascending staircase.

Heading right will take us further into darkness, while turning left will take
us back to the staircase.

*Let's head right, towards Lynx's quarters.
*Let's head to the right.

*Let's head left, towards the atrium.

*Let's head left, back to the staircase.

Following through the dark passageway, we come to a
staircase leading down...

*Take the stairs.
*Turn back.

Having crossed through the atrium, eventually we come to a split in the path.
We can either go left or right from here.

*Head down the left path.

*Head down the left path, towards the catacombs.

*Take the right path.

*Take the right path, heading to the staircase.

*Turn back.

After a little ways down the passageway, we come to a descending staircase...

*Take the stairs.
*Turn back.

We slowly walk down the stairs, taking us deep below ground. It's as though
we're descending further and further into an endless abyss...
Once we reach the bottom, we come to another split. We can go left or right,
but both paths look equally dismal.

*Let's try the right path.
*Let's head down the right path, towards the kitchen.

*I think we should try the left path.

*Let's head left, towards the Armory.

*Turn back.

Continuing on through the passage, eventually we come to a branch.
If we turn left, we'll be taken back to the atrium. Heading straight through
will take us to the catacombs.

Heading straight through will lead us into darkness...

*Turn left, towards the atrium.
*Proceed on ahead.

*Proceed on ahead, towards the catacombs.

*Head back.

"Okay, the goblin's key should open this door," Kid says, putting the key into
the lock.
With a click, the door unlocks. The door opens with a deep creak...
Damp air creeps up from below. Peering into the dark, decrepit place, I wonder
how I ever got talked into coming to a place like this...

No matter how many times I return here, I don't think I'll ever get any more
used to this place...

*Turn back.
*Go in.

After a bit of walking, we come to an old-looking door with a brass handle.

"Dammit, another locked door."
"I don't get it, there's no smell of gold or nothin'."
"This leads to Viper Manor's catacombs," says Magil hesitantly.
...He's right. Standing here in silence, I realize there's a faint scent of
death on the air. And then, putting my ear to the door, I start to hear deep,
tortured moans from far beyond...
I jump back, looking at the door. "Umm.... let's try somewhere else."

Heading away from the catacombs, we eventually come to a split. Turning right
heads back to the atrium, while proceeding straight through will take us to a
downward staircase.

ahead of us, I can see nothing but a dark, stone corridor, leading off into
darkness...

*Turn right.
*Keep on going towards the staircase.

*Keep on going forward.

*Turn around.

After heading down the dark, dingy passageway for a while, eventually I start
to smell the pungent odor of dead flesh...

dead fish...

We return to the atrium.
From across the way, we can see another archway that will take us to an upwards
staircase.

Ahead of us, we see another archway which will take us back to an upwards
staircase, and eventually Lynx's and Riddel's quarters.

*Continue on through the room.
*Turn back.

We return to the atrium.
From across the way, we can see another archway leading off into darkness.

*Go on through the room.
*Turn back.

After a little while, the passage ends at a small door.
"Hey, I smell home cookin'..."

*Enter.
*Turn back.

After a little ways, we're presented with a sturdy set of doors.
A wooden plaque has been hung above the door frame. Only one word is written on
it -- ARMORY.

"Armory, eh. The key to the catacombs has gotta be in here."

"Armory, huh... I dunno..."
I couldn't agree more -- Kid will probably start spouting off some headstrong
nonsense, getting us into some sort of terrible scenario where we'll eventually
be surrounded by a dozen guards, at least.
"I dunno, mate. If we go in there, you'll just get into some sort of whiny
panic or somethin'..."
.........
Incredible, this mutual admiration we have for each other.
We turn around, heading back through the passageway.

Kid places her ear on the door. "Not a peep."

*Turn back.
*Go in.

Before long, we come to an ascending staircase on the left. The passageway also
continues on ahead...
*Go up the stairs.
*Go forward.

*Go on towards the Armory.

*Turn back.

Heading away from the Armory, we come upon an upwards staircase on the right.
This passage also continues on ahead...

*Head up the stairs.
*Proceed on through.

*Proceed on towards the kitchen.

*Turn back.

We head up the narrow stairwell with Kid leading the way.
Coming to the top, we're faced with a dimly lit corridor. We head down it,
quietly masking our steps...

We start down the long, dark path in front of us.
The air down here carries a thick stench of death. Somewhere, further down this
passageway, Lynx's subterranean hideout awaits.
Kid's got a strange look on her face. I can't imagine what must be going
through her head right now. Magil, on the other hand... I can never read him.
But still, we usually talk a little, lightening things up... but right now,
nobody's making a sound.
I try to offer some conversation, hoping to avoid the increasing tension.

*"So, what really is this Frozen Flame thing?"
*"Why are we after the Frozen Flame?"

...No response.
Just as I start to think no one is going to answer, Magil starts to speak, his
low voice echoing throughout the stone corridor.
"It was said to be a gem which soothes all scars, granting eternal life to its
owner...
...Or so people believed.
The Frozen Flame is more than just an object. It's not of this world.
It descended from the heavens long ago, part of a huge meteorite.
Once, there lived a people who sought to harness its power, hoping to tap into
their yet unknown potential. And so, it became a treasure of great importance
and dreams.
However, whether a gift which bestows power is actually a blessing or a curse,
is another question altogether.
Since the birth of humanity, at least one entire race has fallen because of it.
These people once built a great thriving metropolis with its power, but now,
all knowledge of this era has been completely lost within the sands of time."
A faint feeling of distress comes across Magil's voice, throughout his speech.
"But then, how do you know about all this?" I ask.
Again, no answer.
Keeping silent, I continue walking. Our footsteps once again become the only
sound filling this dark path...
"Well, whether any of that's true or not, it'll all lead us to the same place.
Say yer prayers, Lynx! We're comin for ya! That's all I know, and that's
plenty!"
The Frozen Flame... what in the world could Lynx see in that mysterious rock...?
Remembering the painting in the study, the one with the black gem which had a
burning glow inside it... could that have been the Frozen Flame?
If that's the case, in the painting, it seemed like all the world was at its
mercy, flowing and melting into it...
I start to wonder if this is such a good idea, coming here, toying with this
ancient artifact...

Flooded with thoughts, I pause for a moment to take a deep breath and calm
myself.
Continuing on a moment later, I feel as though I'm a bit more at peace...

My question is met with nothing but a cold gaze from Kid.
There's no response from her. Actually, now that I think about it, I haven't
heard Kid talk much about anything in her past, ever. But then, just as I think
I'm not going to be answered, she starts to speak...
"I made a promise with my big sis... to get the Frozen Flame, and bury it for
her..."
"Bury it for her? Where?"
"At her old friend's grave..."
Kid looks down at her feet, continuing. "I was still little at the time, so I
can't remember much of it... But there was this friend of hers who she'd grown
up with, who died a while back. She said she wanted him to be able to rest with
the Frozen Flame...
I don't know what she meant by that, but after what happened at the temple, I
vowed to get my revenge, and honor what she wanted."
I stay silent, not knowing what kind of reply to offer.
"I shoulda talked more about it before, before I got you involved in
everything, I guess," she says after a while.
"It's bad, Serge..."
......
With nothing but the sound of our footsteps echoing around us, we continue on,
deeper and deeper into the passageway.

Suddenly, Magil comes to a stop. "Do not move."
"Huh...?"
Kid and I look around suspiciously. Around us, bones are scattered in all
directions. Many of them have been cut cleanly in half.
Looking around more, amidst the dim light I start to see that the walls have
been splattered with blood.
Then, suddenly, a trace of light catches my eye from behind.
There's a bolt of electricity approaching us, sparkling like a lit fuse on the
ground.
Coming within a few feet of us, the spark splits off into two, forming a circle
around us. Once the circle is complete, an odd glow starts to shine at our
feet! Then, from where the sparks had traced, light shoots upwards, forming a
wall of light all around us!
"It's a Devil Circle!"
We try to move, but we find ourselves caught within the rays of light!
With the scalding, noisy winds whirling all around us, all I see are rays of
shimmering light in every direction I look!
"Wh, what do I do? I can't see anything in all this light!"
Magil grabs me by the shoulder and returns me to the center of the circle.
Thankfully, he seems to be able to see just fine; his mask is probably
shielding his eyes from the radiance.
"There is always a way out of a Devil Circle -- we must find the gaps to walk
through!"
"If you say so...!"
Suddenly, Kid's elbow grazes one of the walls!
Sparks scatter in all directions! She instantly snaps her arm back, wincing in
pain!

Unable to see any gaps whatsoever, I hesitantly start to make my way towards
the blinding wall of light...

*Two steps to the left.
*Take three steps to the left.
*Take two steps to the right.
*Take three steps to the right.

*Take three steps to the right.
*Take two steps to the right.
*Take three steps to the left.
*Take two steps to the left.

*Try to forcefully break through!


"Dammit!"
Bolts of light strike crash into me from all directions! Without anywhere to
go, I bump off wall after wall, screaming out in pain!
"AAAHH!!"

I'm excruciatingly bounced off of the shimmering wall!

A single angel appears out of the sea of shining light, gazing down upon me
sadly...
"Serge...!!"

I manage to pass through the wall, despite my botched attempt!
"I made it... I'm not dead!"

However, there's yet another layer of swirling light just in front of us!

"There! Come on, now!"
From where we stand, a small gap in the wall can be seen all of a sudden.
Holding my breath, I leap into it with my arms shielding my face!

All right! We made it through!!
However, I open my eyes only to see even more of these glimmering walls
swirling before us!

"Come on, to the right a little...!"

"To the right, slowly...!"

"Come on, we might be able to break through!"

"To the left, slowly...!"

"We've got to go to the left a little...!"

I scurry away from the bloodcurdling thing as fast as I can. Looking back, I
see it vanish in a puff of smoke, just as quickly as it arrived! The wind
instantly dies down as well, and all the dust and grime that was blowing around
falls back to the floor in a flash. Everything has returned to a quiet
stillness. Too quiet.
And so, heading down the hallway further and further, eventually...
"At last..."
Kid steps toward the mighty set of doors, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Beyond this door... the Frozen Flame..."
From behind his mask, Magil's eyes let loose a cool radiance.
"Okay... let's go!" Kid says eagerly, grasping the handle.

"Whoa..."
This cavern sprawls out to great lengths before our eyes. A forgotten world,
hidden deep below ground...
And, with a scarlet radiance, a single small gem shimmers in the darkness.
The Frozen Flame!
"Finally, we're here!"
The jewel shimmers warmly, almost as if it's responding to Kid's voice...
Taking a few steps into the moist cavern, Magil whispers, "Remarkable... intact
ruins of the lost Magical Kingdom."
Just as I start to ask Magil what he means, a taunting laugh can be heard from
high above us.
"Lynx!!"
Kid immediately pulls out her knife and hurls it through the air with all her
might!
As it approaches Lynx, he easily swats it out of the way, almost too quickly
for me to see!
"Always the same... such a savage little girl. Can't you give a gentleman an
honest greeting?"
"You bastard!!" Kid interrupts.
"And what have we here... the notorious shadow walker. I wouldn't be trying
anything like last time, if I were you."
Beside me, I see Magil come to a stop.
Lord Lynx...
Viper Manor's deadly owner...
The very same man who murdered Kid's sister, deceived Riddel's father, and
eradicated the Acacia Dragoons...
"Welcome back, Kid. I see you have successfully taken the bait, gluttonous as
ever."
"What...!?" Kid says hesitantly, taking a step back. Lynx stares down at her
with those frighteningly piercing eyes of his.
"You see, Kid, I brought you here because of the rock you carry."
"Which rock?"
"Surely you remember, the one you received from your sister, all those years
ago... the priceless keepsake you carry with you dearly, even now...
The Chrono Trigger!!"
"How'd ya know about that...?"
Kid's gaze returns to a scowl.
"No matter... we're here for the Frozen Flame! Yer finished, ya bastard!"
"Ah yes, toss your little threats around. But remember, no matter how many
times you think you have won, I have generously demonstrated how gravely you
are mistaken."
And with that, Lynx unsheathes a beautiful golden sabre.
"Previously I've overlooked doing away with you, letting you scurry on with
your pathetic little life. However, this time, I may not be so generous..."
Kid takes another step back, glaring at Lynx as he approaches.
"Lynx!! Ya murderer, I'll never forgive you for Lucca... This ends here and
now!!"
And so, Kid leaps into the air in a fit of rage, aiming a kick between Lynx's
eyes!
However, just as she reaches him, he swiftly dodges!
Kid stands there, wondering how she could have missed. Beside her, Lynx laughs,
taunting her!
Jumping up once again, Kid lets loose a fierce kick!
Skimming the tip of his nose, her kick cuts through nothing but air!
In a parry attack, Lynx sends his razor-sharp golden sabre through the air!
But Kid's already leapt back. The two face each other, only a few feet apart.
"If only you had been a bit faster, Kid," Lynx says, smiling.
All of a sudden, a line of red streaks across Kid's face!
"Kid...!?"
Wiping off the blood, Kid angrily rushes Lynx in a flash through the air!
Effortlessly dodging, Lynx drives the sword into her back as soon as she lands!
Kid bends back in alarming pain!
Somehow staying on her feet, she stumbles back and readies herself to charge
again!
"Stupid little brat...!!"
Lynx lands an elbow onto Kid's shoulder, knocking her clear down to the ground!
I feel her pain from the pit of my stomach, as I start to see blood trickling
from her lips...
"What's wrong, little girl!?"
Once again, Kid tries to lash out at Lynx, but he easily kicks her, sending her
back onto a pile of rubble!
Lynx then looks upward, focusing his concentration on the ceiling. As I look
up, I see a number of rocks have come dislodged from the cavern, tumbling down
onto her!
"Kid...!!"
I call out as I start to rush over to her! However, just as soon as I start to,
I see Magil's already there. He's streaked across the shadows, putting himself
between Lynx and Kid!
Saying nothing, Lynx shoots a thread of white light out of his fingertips!
The threadlike substance entangles Magil, binding his feet together. He hits
the ground with a thud!
In a dazzling radiance, a countless number of threads fly out from Lynx's
fingertips! They immobilize Magil completely, leaving only his head visible!
"How does that feel, shadow walker? Have you felt my web start to drain your
life energy yet?" Lynx says, smiling ominously.
"Grrrrr...!!"
 Kid... Magil... What am I going to do!?

*Stand up to Lynx!
*Try to free Magil!
*Help Kid!

Dumbfounded, I completely blow my opportunity!
Finished with Magil, Lynx again turns his attention to Kid!
"Really, Kid. Some time ago, you were actually something, but where has all
your power all gone now? Where has that happy little girl gone?"
Lynx smiles coldly at Kid, collapsed at his feet...
"Well, do you feel like handing over The Chrono Trigger yet? Surely you know by
now it doesn't pay to be stubborn with me.
Since I am a gentleman, stealing from an innocent girl just won't do. Perhaps
your companion, the filthy looking one, maybe he knows where it is? Will he
require my persuasion as well?"
Lynx starts to walk over towards me, trampling over Kid's head.
Kid's dazed voice can be heard faintly...
"Lynx... Lucca's treasure... you..."

Gulp... what am I going to do!?

*Stand up to Lynx!
*Try to free Magil!
*Go to Kid's side!

"Kid...!!"
She looks over towards me. With blood trickling from her mouth, she only moves
a little.
"Kid... are you all right?"
She lies there motionless, wincing painfully.
"...Serge..."
"It's okay, Kid! I'm here for you!"

"How kind... however, I think you should be more concerned with your own well
being, young man!"
An icy chill runs down my spine as I hear the evil voice behind me. I stand up
and turn around...
"So you, whoever you are. Opposing me is quite useless, as you obviously have
seen."
And in a flash, Lynx grabs me by the neck!

I hurry over to Magil!
"Magil, are you okay!?"
"Don't worry about me...!"
"Dammit...!!"
Behind me, Kid moans in pain!
"Go, Serge! You're forgetting what's important...!"
Magil's eyes look straight over my shoulders.
"Don't repeat the same mistake I did! Protect... Kid..."
Wiping the sweat and tears off my face, I quickly rise to my feet!

*Stand up against Lynx!
*Go to Kid's side!

I look over to Lynx, and fearlessly start running towards him!
However, Lynx instantly sees me and takes a quick swing!
Immediately dodging, the sword barely misses my shoulder!
"Shit...!!"
Just like Kid, he's unknowingly managed to slice into me!
Tumbling down onto the rubble, I look up to see a huge boulder ready to fall
onto me!
I roll out of the way onto my stomach, but then I realize Lynx is now just
above me!
I try to scramble to my feet, but it's only when I'm on my knees do I feel his
cold blade enter my back and exit through my sternum. I start to cough blood as
I grip the blade in vain...

"Young man, spare yourself, and give up now!"

Lynx brings his sword down in a flash!
Her back arching, Kid screams painfully before coughing up blood!
"Kid...!?"
Kid's face slowly turns to me... Those huge, pearly eyes stare straight into my
soul.
Something is being said from her barely trembling lips. Those lovely small pink
lips, now stained red...
And there, from her back pocket, she takes something out.
"......!!"
Kid's thin hand falls to the ground, and her gripped fingers open. A small dark
jewel falls out.
Lynx's eyes light up.
"The Chrono Trigger!!"
Then, suddenly, a dark area starts to form around the gem. Its swirling
darkness grows bigger and bigger!
The darkness consumes everything around me...

"Kid...!!"

He strangles me with his long, disgusting fingers!
"Urrghh...!!"
Then, he starts to lift me up by my neck! Struggling for air, I painfully hang
there, unable to tear myself free of his powerful grip!
"Look, Kid. Look at your pathetic little companion suffering. You can make this
all stop, if you want."
With blood dripping from her lips, Kid opens one of her eyes. Painfully gasping
and coughing, she lifts her head up to us.
She still wants to get up, but she's hurt far too badly.
"Serge...!!"
"Hand over the Chrono Trigger, Kid. Little do you know, but that rock is
actually a tiny, condensed universe. When combined with the Frozen Flame, it
gains the power to bend space-time, allowing its owner to reshape history. This
all could have never happened, if you merely wish it..."
Saying this, Lynx looks towards me, expressionless.
"And what about you, young man? Perhaps you know where the Chrono Trigger is?"
he asks, tightening his grip!
"...Serge...!!"
"What are you going to do, Kid? Can you afford to let this little boy die
without helping? How will it feel to have his blood on your hands?"
As Lynx grasps tighter and tighter, I find myself starting to lose it...
Lynx's face becomes a blur...
Suddenly, Kid's voice snaps me back to attention!
"I'm sorry, Serge...!! Wh, what should I do?"

*"Don't give it to him!"
*"Do what he wants, Kid!"

I try to speak, but I can't! Lynx's grip is getting tighter and tighter...
Suddenly. I hear a soft voice. From far away, something is calling my name...

"Don't... don't do it...!"

"Do... it...!"
I don't want to die. There are still places want to go... things I want to
see...

My consciousness... fading...

"Serge... I'm sorry... please forgive me...!!"
I can hear Kid call out to me, but her voice continues to fade, getting further
and further away...
Kid...

"Stop!! The stone... here!"
Lynx looks over to Kid. His eyes light up as his hands loosen around my neck.
Abandoning me, Lynx rushes over to her side.
"Here it is, Lynx..."
Kid reaches into her pocket. Lynx draws closer.
Despite being drained of nearly all strength, Kid manages to whip her knife
out, fiercely slashing at Lynx!
Screaming viciously, Lynx falls back, cradling his mangled face! Blood starts
to trickle down from between his fingers!
"You...!!"
Lynx staggers to his feet, keeping his right hand on the wound.
"I will have such fun killing you all...!!"
With as much power as she can muster, Kid kicks at Lynx, sweeping him off his
feet!
"Hah!"
Spitting blood, Kid coughs a little, but still, a smile manages to come through
her agony.
"K... Kid..."
I run over towards her, still feeling the burning grip on my neck.
Lynx turns to Kid, staring at her with his cold, evil gaze.
"Child, you shall beg for death soon enough. Every flavor of pain shall be
yours. Prepare to join Lucca!!"
Hearing this, Kid's eyes slowly open, and catch sight of Lynx. A red-hot gaze
burns in her eyes. Slowly, she rises to her feet!
A shimmering light suddenly spurts out of the Frozen Flame!
At the same time, a golden light bursts out of Kid's chest!!
Swirling around her, the light rises up, spreading outward in a glistening
spiral!
"Wh, what is this...!?" Lynx gasps.
Kid's voice calls out from deep within the shower of light... "You will not
win, Lynx!!"
She trembles, her eyes flowing with red tears.
And then, a single voice can be heard. It's a deep, profound voice... the voice
of undeniable honesty and truth.
Long ago, in a far off kingdom, lived a girl. Because of her power, the kingdom
had come to an end, crumbling under its own weight. Many became engulfed in the
temporal vortex that was created, never to be heard from again...
...But not the girl. She lived on, enduring a much sadder fate... Running from
her past and fearing her future, she wanted nothing more than to be swallowed
up in the surging waves of the vortex of time...
Hating what she'd done, refusing what she'd said or heard, to simply continue
living was her curse. But the stone, It had other plans for her...Turning back
the hands of her clock, scattering her memories, she was granted another
chance. Since the precious stone was in her possession, she carried with her
all its will and power. And so, she was born into this era, returning to
reality as a mere infant...
And with that, the fragments of the shattered Chrono Trigger fall to the ground
softly.
The cavern before us slowly starts to come apart, bending inward and outwards
like a tear in reality, until we are completely removed from its existence...
A single girl's voice resounds in the darkness...
"Please...
This dark energy...
Make it stop...!!"
Losing all sense of reality and presence, I become engulfed in this realm,
drifting aimlessly through the ages...
The world flows, time dissolves, and people live and die... I can see it all
within this mysterious ocean...
The origin of time... Every one of life's tranquillities is here...
I can see myself as a baby, crying at my mother's side, where she gives a warm,
proud grin...
I can see myself as an old man, softly smiling, knowing that death will come
soon.
Infinite versions of myself extend like ghosts throughout this endless corridor
of time...
Everywhere I look, I see another life, another era... In this unfolded
existence, I see countless lives, and countless dreams.
Resting in eternity, a kind voice calls out to me...
A single song...
...Kid!
...Kid!!
Can you hear my voice!?
...Kid...!?
Answer me, Kid...
Please...
Who...?
Who's calling my name...
"......Serge...? Wh, where is this...?"
"Kid!? You're here!!"
"That song... that beautiful song... it was Lucca's favorite..."
Kid softly smiles, closing her eyes. I can see she can't help but shed a few
tears for this long lost reminiscence.
This song is actually something I composed in my earlier years, back when I was
a musician. Kid seems to be very fond of it...
"You called out to me, Serge. You called my name. Thank you. You won't leave
me, will you?"
"I'm here for you, Kid."
"It all makes so much sense now... I know who I am, Serge... I know what I'm
here for."
"Let's go back now, okay? I'm ready."
"Urrrgh...!"
Lynx has pinned Kid to the ground!
"And now, you see your death!"
What do I do!?

*Square off with Lynx!
*Protect Kid!

I run over to Lynx, hoping to catch him off guard and ram him!
"What do you want, child?"
With a side blow, he strikes me down to the ground!
"K, Kid...!"
I frantically try to make my way over to Kid!

Lynx will have to get through me if he wants to get to Kid!
"Oh, will I get to put you both out of your misery at once?"

Lynx raises his sabre overhead, ready to plunge it into us!
"I wouldn't do that if I was you."
Quickly turning my head, I look in the direction of the voice.
"You...!?"
There, under a large hood, stands the old woman from before!
"So, Vera. Looks like Porre couldn't keep their hands out of this after all,"
says Lynx, flatly.
"Good to see you again, Master Lynx. Seems you've seen better days..."
The old lady... she's from Porre?
"The Frozen Flame, we will take custody of it now. It seems none of you can
decide on who the rightful owner should be."
The old lady gives a small signal, and dozens of armed troops rush out from
behind her, securing the cavern.
"I will not forget this, Vera!" Lynx shouts, floating up into the air.
Brimming with hatred, Lynx's glance turns to us. "And you! You will see death
by my hand!"
Saying this, Lynx vanishes into thin air!
The soldiers untie Magil, and start heading towards us.
The old woman gazes down on us from under her hood. "I believe you all ought to
come with us."
Looking up, I notice the armed soldiers have swarmed around us, with their
weapons ready!
Seeing this, Magil instantly waves his hands in the air, calling out some sort
of incantation! "Darkness, envelop under my command!"
Suddenly, all light in the cavern is put out! It's now or never!
"Quickly, Serge!!"
I grab on to Magil, who's holding Kid. Together, we flee the cavern, vanishing
into the darkness!
Led by Magil, we make our way out of the mansion...
Back in the forest, we see the search party's torches here and there, hunting
for us. Their militant barking can be heard as they continue to get closer and
closer to us.
We stop behind a tree for a moment or two, catching our breath. I look down to
Kid, who's taken quite a beating...
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, mate... fine."
"We're completely surrounded," Says Magil. "We must be on our way."
Looking around, I suddenly see torches all around us, starting to close in.
Kid suddenly lifts her head up. "Go, Serge... save yerself. The troupe is only
after Magil and me. If they find you alone, they'll let ya go."
"Wh, what are you talking about!? I can't leave you now! Not like this!"
"I told ya I'll be fine, mate..."
"But...!!"
"Don't worry. I remember now, Serge... who I used to be, long ago..." she says,
staring up into the night sky.
Seeing the reflection of a hundred thousand stars in her eyes, I can't help but
be taken in by that lonely, one in a million expression of hers...
"Kid..."
"Don't worry, I'm okay... I'll see ya again," she says with a smile. "Someday, 
I know I'll see ya again... without a doubt."
She softly closes her eyes. "Lucca's Chrono Trigger was lost... we couldn't
even get our hand on the Frozen Flame... but, it's okay... it's all okay,
because tonight, in my heart, a shiny new treasure was born, Serge... the
single most valuable unstealable treasure in the entire world."
Saying this, Kid's stares at me firmly at me with those eyes of hers... those
bold, straight, honest eyes.
"Knowing who I am... It's bigger than all this... bigger than Lynx, bigger than
the Frozen Flame... and, nothing can take that away... not as long as I'm
alive..."
At this moment, listening to her under the starry night sky, I find myself
wanting nothing more than to be here with her right now. Staring into her eyes,
I only wish time could stop right at this instant...
"Goodbye, Serge... thank you..."
And with that, Kid turns her back to me and disappears into the darkness.
"Kid...!"
"Don't follow me! Please, don't follow me..."
Unable to control my feelings, I start to rush after her, however, a shadow
abruptly blocks my path. It's Magil.
He slowly shakes head, a sorrowful look in his eyes...
With that, his shadowy figure draws back, dissolving into the darkness.
"Magil!?"
"Kid!!"
Kid...!
Kid...

Ouch... My body is screaming at me from all of my cuts and bruises, and I'm a
mess upstairs, too. I don't know how much more of this I can handle... I really
need to watch myself from here on out.

Kneeling down, I rest for a minute to tend to my wounds.
"Hey, no whinin'. Yer not that bad, mate. I've seen worse hangovers than how
you look right now."
I wish I had her determination... After I finish applying my bandages, I get
up, hoping I'll be okay.
I can't start to give up now. But boy, these cuts are really starting to hurt...

"Phew... you okay, mate?"
"Yeah, I'm not bad. I've got some bruises here and there, but nothing too
serious. You?"
"Aw, are you kiddin'? I kicked that thing's arse so bad, it didn't even have
time to say its prayers!"
Yeah, we did pretty good back there, didn't we...

I really think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole fighting thing. I'm
barely hurt at all!

"Dammit, Serge! When are ya gonna bloody grow up and start fightin' like a man?"
Kid's glare shoots into me like an icy lance. I swallow a dry gulp, and
continue down the corridor behind her.

"You got a thing or two to learn, but yer gettin' there, mate."
Kid's mischievous eyes sparkle as I glance at her for a moment in the dim
moonlight.
I set off down the corridor with her, ready for what's next.

"Not bad, Serge... not bad at all," Kid says, catching my eye.
A few moments pass, and... she's still staring at me, smiling. Oh man, what do
I do? Should I say something?
"...Uhh, heh..."
I look away after a nervous moment, but full of glee. I can never handle this
kind of thing -- those baby blues of hers get me every time...

"Wait a sec, what's that?"
I bend down and pick up a small leather sack. Looking inside, I find a small
bottle filled with a clear liquid.
"Well, go on, mate! You found it, you drink it!"
I hesitantly gulp the potion...
Oh, wow! I feel great! It's making my wounds heal as fast as lightning!
"Want some, Kid? Oh, sorry, it's all gone..."

"Hey, hang on a second... what's that thing?" I ask, pointing to a small pouch
over in the corner.
I bend down and pick it up. Opening it, our eyes widen as I take out a small
gem!
"Oi, look at that!" Kid exclaims, her eyes wide as melons. "Good eye, Serge!"
Wow... Kid saying something nice about me is sure nice for a change. Seeing her
smile brings twice as big of a grin to my face.

                          And so, I died...

"So, how powerful is Lynx?"
"What are ya, chicken?" she taunts, her sharp gaze piercing into me like an icy
lance.

"We gotta get that bastard. He's in here somewhere, I'm sure of it. Before
long, we'll be right on top of ya, Lynx!"
I can see the fire in her eyes from here. Man, she's cute when she's angry...
"C'mon, what'd ya drag me all the way out here for?"

"Seems we got ourselves into a bit of a mess here, eh Serge? Better get our
arses in gear!"
"Yeah..."
To tell you the truth, I can't think of anything better to say, hopelessly lost
in her eyes once again. I hope she doesn't notice I can't take my eyes off
her...
Man, she's so strong. Why can't I be more like her...

"We should head back inside. The sun will be up soon," Magil adds.
"Yeah, really. C'mon mate, time to go."

"You've been injured, haven't you? Try to give your wounds some rest, at least
for now."
He's right... I can barely even pull off the appearance of looking okay
anymore. My whole body is shivering, and these aches are hardly getting any
better. Honestly, I don't know how much more of this I can handle. I need to do
get some help soon...

"You've been injured, haven't you? Try to give your wounds some rest, at least
for now."
Taking his advice, I lean up against the wall and try to relax.

"The air is thick with fate, Serge. Be wary of what lurks in these shadows..."
Hearing him say this reminds me of the weight of our situation. Still, aside
from a few cuts and bruises, I've managed to keep myself in reasonable shape so
far...
"Yeah Magil, I know. It's really going to be something when we finally find
that Flame..."

"Well, uh... um... nice moon tonight, huh," I say, not knowing in the least
what a guy like Magil would ever want to talk about with anybody, ever.
A faint smile emerges beneath the shadow of his mask.
Looking up at the tall, looming figure of Magil, the weight of my situation
strikes home once again. Here I am, standing here with a powerful mage on the
doorstep of a deadly mansion, trying to steal a priceless jewel, all while
sneaking around, avoiding a maniacal tyrant...
"Well hey, it's been a wild night so far. I wish all my life could be this
interesting..."
"Do not confuse fun with recklessness, Serge. It may be nothing more than mere
luck that has allowed us to avoid death so far."

"C'mon, we don't have time to loaf around. Let's get back to work!" I hear Kid
say.

Suddenly, Kid comes to a stop.
"Shhh..."
I stand as stiff as a pole with my ears wide open. Before long, I hear it too...
Footsteps...
Somewhere in this huge, dark labyrinth, something's out there. Does it know
we're here?
It's louder now. It's coming for us, I'm sure of it...
Oh my God! It's right here!
Shivers run up my spine as I stare at the atrocious fusion of a lion and an
eagle, easily twice as tall as me!
It looks like it hasn't taken notice of us yet... What am I supposed to do!?
*Rush it!
*Try to hide and hope it goes past us.

Suddenly the footsteps stop. I look up to see its eyes are fixed directly on me!

"Aw shucks, yer no fun..."
"Come on, Kid! Hurry!"
Kid reluctantly hides with me behind a corner. I squat down next to her,
patiently holding my breath. Magil is nowhere to be seen, probably already
hidden in the shadows.
I hear it approach from around the corner, flapping its wings wildly and
billowing smoke form its nostrils. I can feel its immense body heat as it
slowly draws closer and closer...

But then, I let out my breath in relief as the gryphon slowly passes us by,
vanishing into the darkness.
"Phew... that was close. I'm not sure we could have handled something that big."
"Aw, mate! Where's all that rough-n-tough attitude you were showin' me before
we set out? C'mon, let's go!"
After making sure the coast is clear one last time, I slip out from behind the
corner and quietly continue on my way.

"This thing ain't got a prayer! Let's get 'im!!"
Fearlessly laughing, Kid hardens her hand into a fist.
Hearing a low chant of some sort, I look over and see Magil stepping out from
out of the shadows with a fireball already brewing in his hands.
As the chant becomes louder and louder, the fireball swells to a raging blaze.
His voice nearly shakes the walls as the fireball darts towards the gryphon!
Although it didn't set its on fire, the fireball leaves a huge black mark on
its thick neck.
I wish we'd done more than just anger it, though. It's starting to charge us,
head on!

As quick as a cat, the huge monstrosity easily avoids the fireball.
"Damn!"
I wish we'd done more than just anger it, though. It's starting to charge us,
head on!

Just as it's almost on top of us, it stops charging, rising up on its hind legs
and extending its wings out fully! Jesus, it's got to have a fifteen foot
wingspan, at least!
All I can think about is running, as this huge thing towers over me, but
somehow I find myself unable to move even the slightest bit...
"Kid...!"
The gryphon begins to flap its wings, conjuring a huge gust of wind! I cover my
face with hands, shielding myself from the airborne dirt and rocks!
After rubbing the dirt from my eyes, I realize the huge gryphon is now towering
in front of me, inches from my face!

Suddenly it stops moving. Something's not right... it knows we're here. It
raises its head and surveys the area...
Oh no! We've been discovered! As its eyes become fixed directly on me, it
stretches its wings out, readying itself for an attack!
The gryphon lets out a bloodcurdling screech! All I can do is stare at it in
fear, unable to move a muscle!

What am I going to do now!?

*Jump out of the way!
*Ram it!
*Hit the deck!

The gryphon leaps into the air and starts to descend onto me with its talons
spread wide open!
"Aaaahhhh!!"
It's tearing into my shoulders and arms! I beat the thing off me just before
its huge beak lunges at me. Blood starts to stain my shirt as I fall onto the
floor!
I look down, only to see splashes of red all over my clothes...
Amidst the calamity I can hear Kid call out my name, although her voice is
sounding more and more distant as I lay on the ground, motionless...

The gryphon swings at me with its right claw! A flash shoots through my eyes as
my head crashes against the wall!
I rub my head. Looking at my bloody hand, I realize my head is bleeding
profusely. I fall to the ground in a daze, moments later.
Amidst the calamity I can hear Kid call out my name, although her voice is
sounding more and more distant as I lay on the ground, motionless...

"Serge..."
A voice calls out to me, suddenly. Who it could be...
"Serge!! Come on, snap out of it!!"
Wait, that's Kid! Where am I? Oh, no... we're still fighting that gryphon!
Looking around, I realize Kid has momentarily distracted the gryphon away from
me. Now's my chance!

I instinctively leap back!
And not a moment too soon... I barely miss a swing from one of the gryphon's
log-like legs!

However the gryphon is easily large enough to reach me! It thrusts its head at
me, boring its beak into my chest!
"Aaaaaahhh!!"
I swing madly at the vicious creature, hoping to release me form its
excruciating grip! I land a blow on its head, and it releases me as I'm thrown
backwards onto the floor!
Amidst the calamity I can hear Kid call out my name, although her voice is
getting more and more distant as I lay on the ground, motionless...

I swing madly at the vicious creature, hoping to release me form its
excruciating grip! I land a blow on its head, and it releases me as I'm thrown
backwards onto the floor! Rubbing my wound, I grit my teeth and ready myself
for an attack.

The gryphon's right wing
swoops down at me, with its feathers cutting through the air like a thousand
steel blades!
"Urrgh!!"
I tried to dodge, but I was already cornered into a wall! The feathers have
left a number of slits in my arm!
"Kid, I'm hit...!"
The blood starts trickling out of my arm at a frightening speed. I collapse to
the floor, disoriented and dizzy...
Amidst the calamity I can hear Kid call out my name, although her voice is
getting more and more distant as I lay on the ground, motionless...

I brush off the feathers and face the gryphon. My knife is hungry for blood.

I start sprinting towards the gryphon, hoping to bash it with all my weight!
It snaps at me as I come in close, wanting nothing less than my head in its
beak. It catches only air, however!

As I come in close it swings at me with one of its claws!
"Aaaaahh!!"
The razor-sharp talons tear across my torso!
I drop to the floor, grasping my belly in pain as I try to stop the bleeding.
I hear Kid calling out to me, but her voice is getting more and more distant as
I lay dazed on the floor, motionless...

Pulling my shirt down over the wound, I try to ignore the pain and regain my
focus!

The gryphon's wings cut through the wind, with its razor-like feathers cutting
effortlessly into my side!
"Aaaaahhh!!"
The feathers have left countless tears in my skin. Huge red blotches start
staining my shirt.
"K, Kid... I'm hit...!"
My whole body seizes in pain as I roll on the floor, almost unconscious...
I hear Kid calling out to me, but her voice is becoming more and more distant
as I lay dazed on the floor, motionless...

Backing away from the vile creature, I remove the feathers from my body. This
isn't looking good...

The gryphon's wings flair up, coming at me for a swatting attack!
The moment I go to duck down low, I see its wings graze the air just inches
above my head!
That was such a close call! I quickly get up and ready myself for what's next.

Before I realize what's going on, the gryphon snaps at me with its huge beak!
"Aaaahhh!"
The gryphon bores a huge crevice into my shoulder!
"Kid...!"
I back away from the creature, gritting my teeth as I grasp the wound. The
bleeding isn't stopping!
I hear Kid calling out to me, but her voice is getting more and more distant as
I lay on the floor, motionless...

I put some pressure on the wound, trying to think of how I can take a piece out
of this overgrown bird.

The gryphon swoops down, aiming its razor-sharp talons directly for me!
"Aaaahhh!"
I tried to duck, but it only allowed the horrid claws to dig into my back!
"Kid...!"
My whole body seizes in pain as I roll on the floor, almost unconscious...
I hear Kid calling out to me, but her voice is getting more and more distant as
I lay on the floor, motionless...

Rolling around on the floor, I shake myself free of its grip! Scampering away,
I grit my teeth and try to ignore the blaring pain.

Trying to break free of that ferocious, visceral gaze, I remember the knife I'm
holding and grip it tight!

*Attack!
*Protect myself!
*Run!

Quickly switching my knife to a backhand grip, I swing at the gryphon's neck
with all my rage!
The gryphon writhes in pain as blood starts trickling down its neck!
All right! A weak spot!

The gryphon starts to slowly move in on me, one step at a time. But then,
suddenly, it stops. With a blank look in its eyes, it stumbles a bit, and then
comes crashing to the ground with a huge thud!

Twitching in pain, the gryphon tries to get up. Kid steps over to it with my
knife in hand, ready to finish the job.

However, seeing its fate, the gryphon desperately recoils, leaving me with
nothing but a fumbled attack! It then swings at me, eager to defend itself!
I dodge, but then accidentally slip and fall to the ground!

I send my knife arcing through the air, hoping to connect with raw flesh!
It reels back in pain!

The gryphon starts to slowly move in on me, one step at a time. Then, suddenly,
it stops. With a blank look in its eyes, it stumbles a bit, and comes crashing
to the ground with a huge thud!

I back away as I watch the blood start to gush from its wound.

I take a moment to duck out of the action and catch my breath.
"Serge, get yer arse back here!"
I look up to see Kid squaring off with the beast, landing an uppercut directly
into the base of its right wing!
Her blow was well placed, adding injury to an already open wound the gryphon
had suffered. It reels backward, screeching in pain!
It's now or never, I tell myself! I sneak up on the gryphon from behind, trying
to stay within its blind spot.
But then, all of a sudden, the gryphon snaps around, billowing its scalding
breath down on me!

Kid and Magil should probably be able to handle this one just fine. I start to
back away from the scene, but then... "Hey, mate, where do ya think yer goin'!?"
Damn, Kid's got to have eyes on the back of her head!
The gryphon takes a swing at her! Then, its infernal red eyes turn towards me,
paralyzing me as it draws ever closer!

Suddenly, a bloodcurdling screech cuts through the darkness! Scared stiff at
the deafening sound, I look up to see two gigantic, maddening red eyeballs
staring straight at me!
It's a gryphon!!

Before I can even unsheathe my knife, it starts to flap its wings viciously,
conjuring a tremendous gust of wind!
I'm knocked clear off my feet, banging my head up against a wall!
I wince as my head throbs in pain!
I hear a voice start to call my name from the dark depths below me. Calling out
for me to join them, I soon forget the calamity of the fight as it becomes ever
more distant...

"Serge! You okay?"
My body aches from head to toe. I struggle to ignore the pain as I hastily get
back up!
I bend down to grab my knife. As I stand back up with it in my hand, I suddenly
realize the gryphon has already cornered me off! It stands no less than a few
feet in front of me, its enraged red eyes glowing like ember!

I hastily fix my stance, ready for another attack within moments.

"Serge! Move!!" Magil's thundering voice booms from behind!
Not knowing what to expect, I immediately hit the deck! Suddenly from above, a
blazing streak of red shoots through the air, straight into the heart of the
gryphon!
Its body bursts into flames! It rises up on its hind legs, screeching in pain!
Engulfed in fire, the gryphon crashes onto the floor with a huge thud!

The beast tramples around madly, now a crazed mess of rage and agony. Then
suddenly, regaining its wits, it starts to charge furiously at me!

"Don't move, Serge!!" I hear Kid shout. Suddenly, she vaults over my shoulders
from behind!
"Haaa!!"
All right! She's landed a powerful jump kick on the side of the gryphon's neck!
Its head snaps backwards, letting loose a terrifying howl!
The gryphon starts to slowly move in on me, one step at a time. Then, suddenly,
it stops. With a blank look in its eyes, it stumbles a bit, and then comes
crashing to the ground with a huge thud!

Madly rambling around, the gryphon's fiery gaze suddenly zeroes in on me,
angrier than ever!

All of a sudden, a chilly wind blows past me.
Not only that, but also, a thick fog has started to accumulate all around us.
We're in trouble...
It swirls around us faster and faster. After a few moments it coagulates before
me, forming into some sort of humanoid shape.

"It's a poltergeist... Don't move."
Kid's whispering does nothing but add to my increasing feelings of fear and
dread. How are we supposed to fight something that doesn't even have a body?

From beside me, a low voice starts to echo throughout the dim hallway. It's
Magil -- he seems to be starting some sort of incantation. But, what am I going
to do in the meantime!?

*Hide behind Magil!
*Hope to scare if off by unsheathing my knife!
*Try to escape!

Dammit, I don't know what to do! It's starting to draw closer!
Oh no, it's coming faster and faster!
Its body begins to diffuse as it approaches, surrounding us in a thick haze!

I'm starting to feel light-headed...
Suddenly, I feel incredibly tired. I open my eyes, only to see that there's a
chilly fog all around me! It must be starting to drain my life force!
I've got to stop it before it sucks me dry! I try to dissipate the fog by
waving my arms around, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything!
Getting... so... tired...

So... cold...!
I'm so unsteady, I could stumble off my feet any second now. My eyes are
getting heavy...
I come to, seeing Kid frantically waving her arms, trying to dissipate the haze
around us. It seems like she's shouting something, but I can't seem to hear a
thing...
I shiver and tremble more and more as I start to succumb...
It feels as though I'm sinking deeper and deeper into an icy tomb, as I
continue to get sleepier and sleepier...

The cold air hits me as though I've been thrown into an ice-cold lake.
Beyond the thick haze, I can now just barely make out the figures of Kid and
Magil. I'm getting... more and more... tired...

"Don't you think Kid has thick ankles, Serge?"
What the heck is Magil mumbling about...

*"...Huh?" I ask after a moment, scratching my head.
*"...Yeah, those cankles couldn't get any worse," I answer immediately.
*"...Milk, milk, lemonade," I start to recite playfully.

C, cold...

Oof!
Having Kid kick me in the back is more than enough to snap me out of these
delusions.
"Dammit Serge, bloody snap out of it!"
Okay... I think I'm all right now.

Ohh, my aching head...
I open my mouth, but all that comes out is gibberish.

Suddenly I seem to snap out of it, realizing I'm not dead yet.
Beside me, I see Magil standing completely still, holding the back of my neck
as he chants. Then, all of a sudden, a powerful looking burst of energy shoots
out from his other hand, blazing towards the poltergeist!
The searing hot burst of psychic force brushes by my face, almost singeing me
as it collides with the shrieking enemy!
The apparition writhes about in the air, violently injured. It looks as though
it's boiling all over.

I run and hide behind Magil, but this only seems to draw the poltergeist's
attention! It blows a gust of wind in my direction, and suddenly I find myself
hurling through the air, crashing into a nearby wall a moment later!

It feels as though I'm sinking deeper and deeper into an icy tomb, as I
continue to get sleepier and sleepier...
...C, cold...
A moment later, I feel the warm grip of Magil's hand seize the back of my neck.
He begins to chant, and a soft blue light surrounds my field of vision. His
words reverberate inside my head, and suddenly, the fog dissipates!

"Serge! Hey, Serge! Ya still with us?" I hear, as I realize someone's slapping
me again and again.
"Kid!"
Dazed, I stumble back to my feet.
"All of this magic is making me dizzy..."
"I had to counter the poltergeist's attack directly through your body, Serge,"
Magil says. "You will survive."

"C'mon, what're we waitin' around for?" Kid stammers blankly.
"
"Serge! Hey, Serge! Ya still with us?" I hear, as I realize someone's slapping
me over and over...
"Kid!" I shout, groggily getting up.
"Serge! I thought... Bein' under for that long and all..."
Wow, she seems concerned... almost really distraught. How long was I under?
"But hey, no loss! Yer back, good as new!"
Well I don't know if I'd say that, but...

How long was I out for? I feel so weird...

I reach for my knife, trying to put on my game face. With my weapon extended
out in front of me, I focus my attention of the tip of the blade...
Suddenly, an icy chill blows through me. The temperature seems to be dropping
at an alarming rate...
C, cold...
As I start to shiver more and more, I realize my knife isn't going to do me a
bit of good against this thing's magic!
So... cold...
It feels as though I could tip over and shatter into a thousand pieces...!

"Serge! Come on mate, snap out of it!"
The sound of Kid's voice pierces into my consciousness like a hot knife through
butter.
However, I quickly start to lose it once again. She runs to my side as I start
to tumble over.
With my last few bits of energy, I open my eyes, and see Magil letting loose
some sort of spell, streaking towards the poltergeist!

I bolt down the hallway, trying to get as far away from the horrid thing as
possible!

Uh oh...
The misty haze stretches out to me, overcoming me much faster than I can
escape! I'm taken into the fog as the ice-cold wind penetrates me...

The poltergeist's body dissolves into a haze as its body expands, diluting into
the air all around me. As I feel an icy wind tingle my skin, I start to feel
drained...
I've never felt such a bitter cold in my entire life! Unless I do something
quick, I won't last much longer...

Knowing It's now or never, I struggle with all my might to break free of the
poltergeist's deadly haze!
I kick and shout, trying to tear through the fog! And then, suddenly, I break
free! The poltergeist shrieks and howls, its transluscent body torn in half!
However, once I break free of the haze, I realize I'm headed straight for a
wall! I crash into it with a thud, unable to halt my momentum!

I groan as I feel the life energy being drained from my body...
Sanity... unraveling...
...Where... am I...?

"Serge! The cat's asleep!" Magil says to me. What the...?

*"Anaconda!" I reply immediately.
*"...What...?" I ask, confused.
*"I think it's a 34 B-cup," I say after a moment.

M, Magil...? What's going on?

"How can you be sure?"
"After going through her clothes one time, I saw the tag."
Oof!
Dammit, I forgot Kid's here too...

"...Anaconda!"
Kid instantly jumps back upon hearing this. Accidentally, she collides with a
wall, falling down in the process.
Getting up, she comes over and slaps me in the face!

Ahead of me, I hear Kid come to a sudden stop.
"What's wrong!?" I ask in a whisper.
I look over, only to see Kid pointing down the dark hallway. Squinting my eyes,
I try to look for something. After a while, I start to see some sort of a white
mass, a ways ahead of us.
"What is it?" I ask, readying my knife.
And then, as if reacting to my voice, it starts to quickly scurry towards us,
growing taller and taller as it approaches!
It's a skeleton!!
Quick, what do we do!?

*Fall back!
*Ram it!
*Examine it!

I take two or three meager steps back, hoping there aren't any walls behind me.
Seeing an opportunity, the skeleton deftly raises its sword overhead!
The tip of its sword grazes my cheek as it brings its rusty blade down, sending
me back even further!

All of a sudden, Kid comes out from behind, landing a roundhouse directly onto
its mid-section!
"Thanks, Kid!" I shout out as the skeleton topples over!

I immediately start rushing, hoping to catch it off guard!
"Arrrghh!"

Noticing me staring at it, the mangled skeleton stares down at me, its blazing
red eyes striking fear into my heart! Even without a face, It harbors an
unquestionably evil aura...
Staring into its two deep eye sockets, a feeling of dread starts to creep its
way into me...

Then, suddenly, the skeleton starts to rush me!

"Aaaahhhh!" I scream, shutting my eyes as I'm pushed up against a wall!
As I open my eyes, all I can see are ribs. The skeleton has sandiched me
between it and the wall, and is trying to viciously bite into me!
I immediately start to flail my arms, trying desperately to get the awful thing
off of me!
I manage to knock the skeleton away with a lucky punch! The set of bones tumble
back onto the floor! However, I don't see the skull anywhere...
"Serge! Above ya!!"
Oh no! The skull has clamped down onto my hood! What am I going to do!?

*Carefully try to open its jaw and get it off me!
*Rip my hood off!
*Start crying like a little girl!

With a hollow clatter, the skeleton comes toppling down to the ground! Ribs fly
everywhere as its spine breaks in two!
"I think you've had enough!" Kid shouts, looking over the crumbled heap of
bones.
Suddenly, as if somehow reacting to her taunts, the skeleton's remains begin to
stir once again!
I back away in shock as the skeleton's torso starts to prop itself up with its
left hand! Its right hand then grasps its dislodged skull and holds it up,
staring straight at us!
"What the..."
Suddenly, the skeleton hurls its skull at me with blinding speed!
What do I do!?

*Catch it!
*Dodge!


"Ooof!"
The skull crashes against my forehead, causing me to stumble down to the floor
in a daze!

"Hey, what do ya think yer doin' down there?" Kid teases, before walking over
towards the skull and shattering it under her foot!
At the very same moment, the skeleton suddenly loses all sense of life, as it
comes crashing down to the floor! I look up, seeing nothing but a lifeless heap
of bones!
"Awright! Let's go!"
"Ooohhh... just a second," I say, rubbing my head...

I nimbly catch the skull in my hand!

*Throw it back!
*Smash it onto the floor!

I do my best to dodge the incredibly fast moving skull!
"Hah!"
I've managed to dodge the skull. However, looking behind me, I see that it's
struck Kid instead!
"Bollocks!" She shouts, slapping me in the face!

Magil quickly slides over to the skull, smashing it under his feet!
As soon as this happens, the skeleton falls to the ground, now nothing more
than a lifeless heap of bones!
"Awright! Let's go!" says Kid, after vengefully scattering the remaining bones
everywhere.

I throw the skull back at the skeleton, but unfortunately its catlike reflexes
allow it to catch it and hurl it back towards me, almost before I have time to
react!
I barely manage to catch the skull! But, what do I do now!?

*Throw it back!
*Smash it onto the floor!

I kneel down to the ground and raise the skull high above my head! Then, with
all my might, I hurl it down to the ground with blinding speed!
As soon as I do this, the remains of the skeleton crumble lifelessly to the
ground! Kid runs up to the pile, scattering the bones everywhere.
Relieved, I crawl back a ways, staring at the shattered skull before me.
"Now you've had enough," Kid says.

Again, the skeleton manages to effortlessly catch its skull, and volleys it
back at me, quicker and quicker each time!
However, this time, Kid comes between the two of us and intercepts the skull in
her outstretched hands!
"Since when did this become dodge ball?" she asks, heatedly lobbing the skull
at me! I'm unable to react in time, and it slams into my head, exploding into
countless pieces!

With the skull gone, the remains of the skeleton fall lifelessly to the ground!
"Yeah, I guess that fight went on a little too long," I say apologetically,
rubbing my head...
"Looks like that's that. C'mon, we don't have any more time to waste!"
"Urrghh... okay..."

"Aaaaaahhhh!"
I run around in circles, desperately trying to get this crazy thing off of me!
No matter what I do, nothing seems to make it let go!
Amidst the confusion, Magil suddenly calls out, "Serge! Don't move a muscle!"

I carefully try to pry the tightly clamped jaw open, but all I succeed in doing
is helping the skull bite my fingers!
"Aaaaaahhhh!"
I run around in circles, desperately trying to get this crazy thing off of me!
No matter what I do, nothing seems to make it let go!
Amidst the confusion, Magil suddenly calls out, "Serge! Don't move a muscle!"

"Aaahhhhh!"
I frantically grab my hood, but all I succeed in doing is provoking the skull
into biting at my fingertips!
Amidst the confusion, Magil suddenly calls out, "Serge! Don't move a muscle!"

All of a sudden, Magil sends a bolt of light streaking out, precisely above my
head where the skull is! It instantly explodes, sending fragments of the skull
into my hands and head!
"Aaaahhh!"

I... I feel dizzy... I fall over, dazed...
However, luckily enough, the moment the skull had shattered, the remains of the
skeleton had fallen limp! It's now nothing more than a lifeless heap of bones!
"Urrghh... Magil..."
"Serge, for your own safety, next time I say stand still, please do so. My
magic would have vaporized the skull instead of shatter it, if you had not
stirred so much."
"No matter, it's over with," Kid adds. "Let's go."

Just ahead of me, I bump into Kid, who's come to a complete stop.
"Somethin's wrong, mate."
I stop my breath, trying to listen for anything.
Then, out of the darkness... "Clunk... clunk... clunk..."
Something's ahead of us on the path. Whatever it is, it's coming for us.
I nervously unsheathe my knife, trying to ignore my anxiety for this inevitable
confrontation, now only moments away!
"It's a skeleton!!"
Quick, what do we do!?
*Run!
*Look for a weak spot!
*Attack!

The skeleton takes a step forward with its sword in hand!
Just as Magil begins to move in on it, it raises its arms overhead. Staring at
him with a strange look in its eyes, Magil suddenly stops dead in his tracks!
"Magil! Snap out of it!" I shout, but his eyes are totally glazed over,
completely unaware of his situation! What am I going to do!?

*Run!
*Attack!
*Keep trying to snap him out of it!

"We've gotta get outta here!"
However, as soon as I try to flee, I feel a tugging on my shirt! I look back,
only to see Kid, frustratedly trying to keep me in the battle!

I shout out, fearlessly dashing towards the skeleton!
As soon I come within attacking range, the skeleton immediately swings its huge
sword down at me!
The tip of the sword skims my cheek!

"Aaaahhh!" I cry, leaping to the side in haste!
"Whoa, way to dodge, mate!" Kid shouts from beside me.

"C'mon, what're ya waitin' for!?" Kid stammers, quickly rushing the skeleton!
The skeleton, unfortunately being much quicker than her, leaps to the side just
as she approaches it. However, seeing an opportunity, she leaps behind it and
quickly brings out a powerful roundhouse kick!
The skeleton's body buckles as its spine breaks in two! It topples down to the
ground, now severed completely in half!
"I think you've had enough!" Kid shouts, looking over the crumbled heap of
bones.
But suddenly, the skeleton's remains begins to stir! I back away in shock as
the skeleton's hand begin to prop its severed torso up! It picks up its rusty
sword with its other hand, and throws it straight at me!

*Dodge!
*Duck!
*Stand there like a bump on a log!

"Come on, mate! Chicken out now and I'm leavin' ya behind!"

She's right... I can't keep on running from everything!

I start to bolt towards the gruesome creature!
Avoiding a deadly slash by its rusty sword, I aim a kick for the skeleton's
mid-section!
And with that, the skeleton breaks in two, toppling down to the ground as I
carefully back away!
As the skull hits the ground, it shatters into countless pieces!

"Magil! Hey, Magil! Wake up!"
No matter how hard I shake him, his glazed expression remains the same!
"It's no use... that thing's got him good!" Kid says, turning her eyes towards
the skeleton.

Scared out of my wits, I shut my eyes tight and start whimpering!
Suddenly I hear the sound of a sword cutting through the air!
"Aaaahhh!"

I slowly back away, gritting my teeth while cradling the newly formed slash in
my shoulder!

No sooner than I move out of the way, does the sword fly across where I was
standing!
"Damn that was close!" Kid remarks.

All of a sudden, Kid quickly comes out from behind, darting towards the
skeleton with a furious kick!
"Yeah! All right!"
It's a direct hit! The skeleton's skull flies off its spine, exploding at the
far wall!
The rest of the skeleton teeters for a second or two before falling to the
ground!
We've done it!
"Well, looks like that's that, eh mate?"

"What was up with you back there!?" Kid shouts at Magil, her eyes firmly
planted on him. "Snap out of it already!"
Magil blinks a few times, dazed. He seems to be all right now.

No! It's coming too fast!
"Aaaahhh!"
The sword cuts deep into my shoulder, spewing blood almost instantly!

I cry out in pain, falling to my knees!

I try to dodge the oncoming blow.
Dammit! I wasn't fast enough!

I clamp my hand down on my left thigh, but the blood is spurting through too
heavily!

"AAAAaaahhhhhhhh......"

Before me, Kid comes to an abrupt stop. My knife's ready, but all I can see is
darkness.
Then, from up ahead, I start to hear a clattering noise. Whatever it is, it's
coming closer and closer.
Goblins...
It's the sound of iron armor clanking against stone floor, I'm sure of it.

*Try to suggest we run.
*Grip my knife and stand ready.

"Aww, quit bein' such a fraidy cat! They already know we're here, mate."
Her words stab into me like a rusty nail.
"C'mon, let's get em!" she yells, insanely bolting down the passageway!
Uh... um... let me get my knife ready...

Instantly getting a taste of the situation, I grab my knife and fix my stance.
Exchanging glances with Kid, she seems to be ready for anything.
"Don't get ahead'a yerself, mate," she says with an ornery smile.
"Okay... let's do this!"

The goblins amount to five in all. They seem more intelligent from the usual
fare, probably due to some awful form of education in human torture and
suffering. Each of them is as tall as Magil, but at least twice as thick.
Each of them is equipped with a morning star as well as a mace at the side.
These chain-bound spiked metal balls look deadly enough from here -- I hope
they aren't as skillful with those things as I think they are...
Laughing heartily at us, the one in front starts to swing its morning star over
its head, taking a step towards me. What do I do now!?

*Deflect its blow with my knife!
*Jump back as it swings!

I raise the knife up over my head just as the goblin lashes its weapon down at
me!
The knife is effortlessly smacked out of my hand as the grisly iron ball comes
smashing down onto my head!
A deep red washes over my eyes, as I drop to the floor in a daze...

But, nothing happens! I look up, only to see the goblin had swung its morning
star too hard, flying out of its hand and landing clear behind me! It looks at
me and quickly backs away, hoping I won't take advantage of the situation.
Heh...

Magil's thundering voice booms out, "Serge! Take its weapon! Now!"

*Go for it!
*Look to Kid.

Not a single moment after I leap back, the iron ball smashes into the stone
floor!
I can't rely on this little knife to parry those huge morning stars. There's no
way I'll survive, fighting like that!

*Run my knife into the goblin's chest!
*Quickly slash at its hand!

I dash over to where the huge ball and chain was dropped and snatch it up,
careful not to take my eyes off the enemy. I start swinging it above me, faster
and faster...
The iron ball rams into the goblin's helmet with a dull echo!
The creature falls to the ground instantly. I don't think it's going to be
getting up any time soon.

*See if Kid needs any help.
*See if Magil needs any help.

Kid's currently busy with two goblins of her own. Nimbly evading both their
attacks, she escapes from between them, forcing them to smash into one another!
There's no doubt, `Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee' are words she
lives by, here in the thick of combat. Without a single problem handling
herself, Kid's truly a natural.
However, the two goblins are down but definitely not out. Taking advantage of
the situation, I dash over and snatch a morning star one of the goblins
dropped, joining the brawl.

Before I can let this opportunity pass me by, I instantly lunge my razor-sharp
blade straight into the goblin!
I plant the knife deep within its chest.
......
Pulling it out after a few seconds, a rugged hand suddenly seizes my arm.
Glancing up, the hideous, wretched face of an adrenaline-filled goblin stares
down at me, waiting to deliver its revenge upon me. Its glistening saliva drips
down from its huge fangs, mere inches from my face.

*"Help! Kid!!"
*"Help! Magil!!"
*Punch it in the face!
*Kick it where the sun don't shine!

Seizing the opportunity to score a hit against unprotected flesh, I slash at
the goblin's extended hand before it has a chance to recoil its weapon.
I tear open a huge gash, revealing muscles and tendons!
Recoiling its violently bleeding hand, in a shock of hysteria it lets go of its
morning star!

*Lunge my knife into the goblin, aiming for its heart!
*Throw my knife at it while trying to recover the dropped morning star!
*Hurl my knife at it, snatching the mace dangling at its hip!

Magil, faced with two goblins of his own, has already managed to reduce one to
a bloody mess on the floor. The remaining beast looks as though it's already
received its share of dents and bruises as well.
Even with no physical weapons of any kind, Magil looks as though he's having no
trouble pulverizing the enemy with hand-to-hand tactics.

Before I can even come over to help, Magil appears to have taken care of
things. He's managed to put an effective sleeper hold on his foe, forcing it to
its knees as its face slowly turns a deep shade of purple.
Kid dashes over, delivering the final blow -- a slit across the jugular.
I take a deep breath, relieved that we're okay. However, it's not over yet.

"What do you think you're doing!?" it yells at the top of its lungs, drowning
out my calls for help.

Just as I call out, something appears to hit the goblin on the back of the
head, instantly knocking it out!
It falls forward after teetering for a moment, painfully sandwiching me between
its huge carcass and the wall behind me!

All of a sudden, smoke starts to arise from behind the goblin. I look over the
thing's shoulder, and see Magil's sent a volley of fireballs streaking straight
at it!
Roaring in a terrible bloodcurdling voice, it grips me even tighter as it whips
around, trying desperately to put itself out!
Before I can help it, a frenzy of sparks fly around through the air, igniting
my shirt as well!

I give thing a good smack or two upside the head. Unfazed, I resort to poking
it in the eyes.
Oh man, it did not like that at all.
However, for the time being, I'm freed of its grip. I leap away from the thing
and ready my knife.

*Lunge my knife into the goblin, aiming for its heart.
*Throw my knife at it while trying to steal the mace hanging at its hip.

Hey, in love and war, anything's fair. I kick upwards with all my rage!
Hah! Its knees buckle, yelping in a voice I didn't know a goblin could even
make!
However, it recovers quickly. My foot, on the other hand, isn't so lucky! As it
starts to painfully throb, the goblin fixes its tight grip on my neck. I can't
take much more of this...

The ferocious goblin picks me up by the neck, ramming me up against the wall!
I've had the wind completely knocked out of me, but the goblin doesn't let up!
It continues to punch me in the gut as I hang there, utterly defenseless!
It releases me, laughing down at me as I lay there on the stone floor, trying
to catch my breath.

"Hey, ya bastard!" I hear Kid yell all of a sudden.

I scamper back to my feet during the time she's bought for me.
However, the goblin doesn't fall for the distraction. I've barely caught my
breath when it starts to come at me again.
It moves in for a lunging punch, but with a lucky burst of power, I quickly
duck.
 Its fist connects with nothing but air. I slip through its line of sight,
avoiding the blow. Coming up behind it, I nimbly snatch away the mace that was
dangling at its hip!
Before it knows what's going on, I've raised the mace high above my head and
sent it flying down through the air!
Ugh... not a pretty sight. What's left of the goblin falls to the floor.

However, the goblin doesn't fall for the distraction.
Trapped here, I try calling out for Kid, but I can't seem to shout... All that
comes out are mere whispers.
Just as thoughts of my own mortality start to run through my mind, I see a
shadow whisk around.
The next moment, a knife comes darting out from nowhere, striking the goblin
directly between the eyes!
As the goblin falls to the ground, the shadow materializes into a solid figure.
Magil...

The knife's edge disappears into the goblin's chest.
The goblin looks down, but then looks back up towards me a moment later,
infuriated. It picks me up with both hands, sending me flying through the air!

I crash into a wall but try to instantly pick myself up, my adrenaline acting
on reflex due to the weight of my situation.
Blood is rushing out of the goblin's gaping wound. It's in a lot of pain,
but... these things just never seem to die...
Fear starts to run through my body as the hideous, bleeding thing starts to
take a step towards me. I've got no weapon left, and I'm no match for this
thing, toe to toe...
But then, it stumbles. And then again.
Its whole body starts to tremble, before falling to the floor moments later!

I quickly flash my hand out, throwing my knife at its face!
As it dodges the oncoming blade, I quickly dive to the floor to retrieve the
dropped morning star. Once I have it, I scurry away from the beast as fast as I
can.
The goblin turns towards me, instantly realizing what just happened, angrier
than ever.
Gulp...
Aiming again for its face, I start to swing the heavy chain around and around.
But... there's not enough time to get this thing going! The goblin pounces on
me, grabbing its weapon back! It then starts to strangle me with the chain!
Arrgghhh!
I pull at the chain, but the goblin's got it wrapped around me much too
tightly!!
Help!!

Suddenly, Magil walks up, directly in front of us.
"Lower your weapon," he orders.
Grunting a short laugh, the goblin tosses me aside to take care of the
seemingly frail, unarmed man. It rushes Magil, reaching for the mace dangling
at its hip.
Just as it this happens, Magil instantly throws a high kick towards the
goblin's face!
The mace flies into the air as the goblin falls flat on its back!
Magil nimbly catches the mace. He swings it descent downwards, crushing the
goblin's head only a split second later!
This entire incident takes only a few seconds, unfolding right before my eyes...

I throw the knife as hard as I can, but the goblin easily knocks it out of the
way with the back of its massive hand!
However, with the diversion I've bought for myself, I quickly scramble around
behind it, snatching its mace!
Realizing something's going on, the goblin instantly turns around, where it
meets a solid blow from my mace...
Ughh... what's left of the goblin falls to the floor, lifeless.

Coming up from behind, I take aim. The goblin hasn't taken notice of me yet.
It's now or never...!

*Stab it in the back.
*Swing the morning star at it.

I arc my knife high over my head and bring it down with a rush of power.
The goblin lets out a deafening roar as it instantly starts to scurry about,
trying to get the deeply implanted blade out of its back.
Suddenly it whips around, staring down at me with a disgusting snarl. As we
lock eyes, I realize I should have run when I had the chance.
But then, suddenly, something comes swinging down, knocking it over the head!
As it falls to the ground, behind it I see the tall figure of Magil. I let out
a sigh of relief as I take the knife out of the goblin's back.
However, just as I look up, I realize another goblin's taken notice of me and
started to come my way, eager to settle the score!

With all my might, I swing the morning star downwards.
The heavy, spiked iron ball strikes the center of the goblin's helmet with a
loud clank!
Its cold, dangerous eyes suddenly take on a hazy look as it stumbles and falls.
I look down upon the lifeless mass, staring into the whites of its motionless
eyes.

Get it off me... please... I'm starting... to... fade...
The next thing I notice is what looks like Magil, shoving the thing with an
incredible burst of strength. He grunts from behind his mask as he shoves the
monstrous goblin off of me!
I lay there, trying to catch my breath.
"Get up! Quick, get up, mate!" I hear Kid say, while slapping my face.
Grabbing my collar, she mercilessly returns me to my feet.

Aaahh!!
I stop, drop, and roll, trying desperately to put myself out.
"Hey! Whaddaya think yer doin down there!?" Kid shouts.
"I'm just trying to..."
"Get up and fight! There's no time for that!"

I'm starting to lose it... Exhausted, I drop the mace, and barely keep myself
from falling to the floor.

Looking around at the victory before me, I let out a sigh of relief.
"So ya got one, eh mate? That showed 'im!"
I want to say something back, but I'm so tired, I just stand there, ready for
anything.

Kid tugs at my arm, helping me to my feet. I look up to her with a thankful
look, but I'm met with nothing but a scowl.
"Serge, we gotta rely on each other!"
Hearing her words, I nod solemnly before returning to the fight.

"Hey!" Kid shouts out. "Next time you decide to do somethin' like that, be sure
ya can handle what yer getting yerself into!"
Really, Kid! What great battle strategies. Just a little positive encouragement
once in a while wouldn't help...
I wish I had the guts to talk to her like that... But, I remember if I did, I'd
probably just end up having one more bloodthirsty beast after me...

I let out a sigh of relief, saying "Magil, thank y..."
But before I can finish, Kid comes up and elbows me in the stomach!

"What the... You're more of a danger to us than you are to them, Kid!"
"Aw, c'mon, mate! It was only a lil love tap. How's about a nice kiss to make
it all better?"
"No way!" I shout, grimacing.

"You okay?" I ask Kid. However, she says nothing.
Cleaning the blood off her blade, she walks over towards me, with a frightening
look on her face...
She glances down at the heavy iron ball dangling from my hand, and says "Well,
somebody had to do it."
And so, looking back up into my eyes...
"Serge, ya need to learn how to pick yer fights. You don't have any experience
with a morning star... Yer lucky it wasn't yer head bashed in."
I was sure she was going to yell at me for something, but for some reason, she
didn't this time.
"Don't get too excited, yer not all that. But... good job, mate," she says,
pressing her soft, warm lips against my cheek.

Suddenly, Kid comes to a stop.
"Somethin' ain't right..."
Hearing this, I immediately unsheathe my knife. I try to look ahead and behind,
but all I can see is darkness.
Wait, what was that? Up ahead, it looked like part of the wall moved! Yeah,
right there -- one of the square tiles is moving right in front of my eyes!
Wait a second, that's not a tile at all... it's armor!
"Hey over there, Mister G-o-b-l-i-n!!" Kid shouts. Come on, Kid... It looks
awfully big...
Having been discovered, the massive goblin squares off with us, coming out into
full view.
Uh oh... It's got friends.
Two sets of footsteps behind me make me realize they amount to four in all. I
keep my focus on the two in front of me, while Magil turns to face the rear.
How could things so large camouflage themselves so well...
Readying my knife, I set my sight on the goblins before me. They've certainly
got us in a pinch -- they've already blocked off all the escape routes in this
tight corridor. We'll have to fight our way out of this one!
Magil begins to confront the rear pack while Kid rushes the front two, knife in
hand.
I rush out with her, hurling myself into action!

One of the goblins whips its morning star out, swinging its spiked iron ball
down at me!
Whoa!! I nearly miss it, leaping to the side at the last possible second! It
comes crashing down, shattering the stone floor under it into a cloud of dust!
Beside me, Kid leaps nimbly into the air, dodging a close attack! The scene
here has been reduced to a barrage of weapons and chains flying through the
air, thick with the dusty haze of shattered stone flooring!
Looking over towards Kid, a glimmer of light flashes before me.
And there, in front of us, a knife has suddenly been implanted deep into a
goblin's left eye!
Writhing in pain, the goblin hits the ground. I try not to look at it, keeping
myself focused on the fight.
 here's no doubt, `Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee' are words she
lives by, here in the thick of combat. Without a single problem handling
herself, Kid's truly a natural.
Another one of the goblins draws near soon after, already wildly swinging its
morning star above its head!

*Do what Kid would do!
*Leap back!

That's right! If Kid can do it, so can I!
On the verge of its attack, I confront the goblin with my knife ready!
It hurls its morning star down at me! I leap to the side, thinking to myself
it's now or never!

The goblin is busy trying to bring its morning star out of the rubble, leaving
me wide open for my attack.
I hurl the knife at it as hard as I can!
All right! I did it! A wave of adrenaline runs through my body as I watch the
goblin scream in agony, with my knife sticking out of its right eye!
"Wow, mate... Did you do that!?"
Kid's praise rings through me, filling me with a rush of power.

"Now quit standin' around! We're fightin' here!!"
Dammit, I was just...
"Get over here and fight, mate!"
She's right. I leap back into the frenzy, just as the goblin painfully pulls
the knife out of its eye and tosses it aside.
In a desperate attempt to get my weapon back I make a dive for the knife over
in the far corner. But now, the goblin's all but cornered me off!

Dammit! Just as I go to make my move, I slip and fall flat on my back!

I see the goblin stand over me, laughing to itself as it raises its morning
star overhead.
I've got to do something fast!
Thinking a mile a minute, I somehow remember my knife, and ram it into the
goblin's shin!

*Get up and stab it in the heart!
*Scamper away!

Despite how much I know I need to be strong right now, I can't help but leap
back a couple feet out of fear.
Laughing, the goblin before me advances a step and instantly closes the gap I
had created.
Come on, I can't keep fighting like this! I've got to stand my ground!

While the goblin tends to its painfully wounded ankle, I seize the opportunity
and leap up with my knife!
Urrghhh...
I've planted the knife deep within the thing's chest. Thick blood pours out in
spurts. However, at the same time, I feel a tremendous thud on the top of my
head!
Delirious, I stumble to the ground, barely able to notice the goblin before me
collapsing as well.

Not wasting a single moment, I scurry away on my hands and knees.
Dammit! Shards from the busted stone floor are stabbing into my hands and knees!
Stopping for a second to remove the painful rock splinters, I find myself once
again at the feet of another vicious goblin!
Before I have time to react, it brings its mace down onto my leg, then my hand,
then...

I quickly get back up once I'm at a safe distance, pulling the bloodied shards
out of my skin.

The goblin starts to rush me, swinging its spiked iron ball over its head. I've
got to do something, and there's nowhere to run!

*Stand ready, stabbing it as it comes near, and then sneak around behind it,
trying to snatch its mace.
*Dodge its attack, kick it in the gut while it's off guard, and try to stab it
if I can find a good shot.

I take aim as the goblin comes near, wary of the split-second action I'm going
to have to perform.
I fling my knife into the air just as the goblin thinks he has me...!
Oh, gross... I look up and see the goblin's left eye, bleeding profusely thanks
to my dagger sticking out of it.
The goblin takes a second to remove the knife from its eye socket and toss it
away.
Seizing the opportunity, I scramble around behind the madly writhing beast, and
snatch away the mace that was dangling at its side.
The goblin snaps around, aware of what's going on. I swing the mace almost
immediately, aiming for its face!

The goblin laughs as it catches my mace in his powerful, bare hand.
Dammit...!

*Let go of the mace!

Leaping out of the way at the last possible second, I avoid the goblin's
charge. Once it's past me, I throw a kick into its mid-section.
However, it hardly stuns the adrenalized warmonger! I barely have time to
retract my leg before it has time to grab me and pull me in!
It's still coming at me, fists flying in full rage!

*Duck!

I instantly let go of the mace, just as the goblin yanks it from me with
incredible power. I jump back as it fixes its grip on the deadly weapon.
With the mace madly raised over its head, the goblin starts to charge me!
Dammit! Where's my knife!? I've got no more weapons on me!
"Here, use this!" I suddenly hear, before a knife is tossed into my field of
vision!
Nimbly catching it, without a moment to lose I thrust it into the goblin!
The mace drops to the ground before my eyes, as the pulverized goblin slowly
backs away in shock.
"Serge, duck!"
Instantly ducking, I look up and from overhead. A huge rock comes flying
through the air towards the goblin, just inches above my head!
It hits the goblin square in the face, and send the towering beast flat on his
back. I look up, relieved to see Kid standing over me.

I duck, and not a moment too soon! Looking above me, I see its arm swing out,
that most definitely could have given me a death blow!
Ah! My knife! It's here on the ground, where the goblin had tossed it! In a
split-second decision, I reach down and grab it!
Then, fixing my grip, I ram it deep into the goblin's belly!
The goblin's legs start to give way as it lets out a painful moan. It falls
backwards, clenching its belly, before hitting the floor with a ground-shaking
thud!

Picking its mace up off the floor, the ferocious goblin starts to charge me,
screaming at the top of its lungs!

*Hurl my knife at it, and while it's distracted, snatch the morning star!
*Aim to kick it in the face, and while it's stunned, ram my knife into its
heart!

I chuck my knife at the goblin, sending it spinning through the air, aimed
directly for its face.
Oh, gross... The knife's been planted deep into the goblin's right eye. It
growls in pain, desperately trying to remove the deadly thing from its skull.
Seeing an opportunity, I quickly bolt towards the towering beast, slipping by
its side and snatching the dropped morning star.
The goblin turns its bloody head towards me as it pulls the dagger out of its
eye, tossing the puny weapon aside. Aiming for its face again, I swing the
heavy ball and chain outwards!
A horrible sound echoes throughout the corridor as the weapon connects with
flesh and bone. With its skull utterly shattered, the hulking beast falls to
the floor, dead.

However, the weapon doesn't have enough momentum to make even a slight impact
on the hulking goblin!
The goblin catches the chain in midair, rendering my attack utterly useless. It
laughs down at me with its bloody, smelly face.

*Drop the morning star!

I instantly let go of the morning star, just as the goblin yanks it from me
with incredible power. I jump back as it fixes its grip on the deadly weapon.
With the morning star madly raised over its head, the goblin starts to charge
me!
Dammit! Where's my knife!? I've got no more weapons on me!
"Here, use this!" I suddenly hear, before a knife is tossed into my field of
vision!
Nimbly catching it, without a moment to lose I thrust it into the goblin!
The mace drops to the ground before my eyes, as the pulverized goblin slowly
backs away in shock.
"Serge, duck!"
Instantly ducking, I look up and from overhead. A huge rock comes flying
through the air towards the goblin, just inches above my head!
It hits the goblin square in the face, and send the towering beast flat on his
back. I look up, relieved to see Kid standing over me.

Picking the ball and chain up off the floor, the ferocious goblin starts to
charge me, screaming at the top of its lungs!

*Hurl my knife at it, and while it's distracted, snatch its mace!
*Aim to kick it in the face, and while it's stunned, ram my knife into its
heart!

I chuck my knife at the goblin, sending it spinning through the air, aimed
directly for its face.
Oh, gross... The knife's been planted deep into the goblin's left eye. It
growls in pain, desperately trying to remove the thing from its skull.
Seeing an opportunity, I quickly bolt towards the towering beast, slipping by
its side and snatching its mace!
The goblin turns its bloody head towards me as it pulls the dagger out of its
eye, tossing the puny weapon aside. Aiming for its face again, I swing the
heavy weapon outward!

The goblin yanks at the morning star, jerking my body from side to side! It's a
game of deadly tug of war, and I seem to be losing!
The goblin reels me in, and sends me flying into a nearby wall! I crash into
the wall with a thud, and my wind is knocked out. I collapse to the floor,
laying there in a daze...

Lying there, barely conscious, I seem to be able to make out the goblin
towering over me, but after that...

Lying there, barely conscious, I grasp my stomach, unable to breathe! And the
goblin's still coming at me! What am I going to do!?
But then, suddenly, the goblin bursts into flames!
As it madly tramples around, I look over behind where it was, and see Magil
standing there, ready for anything.

The goblin grabs at me, seizing me by the shirt! It headbutts me, and throws me
down on the floor like a ragdoll!
It stands over me, laughing heartily. What am I going to do!?
Suddenly, the goblin bursts into flames!
As it madly tramples around, I look over behind where it was, and see Magil
standing there, ready for anything.

Suddenly, I see stars flash all around me. And then again. And again!
"Serge! Wake up! C'mon, this ain't no time for daydreamin'!" Kid says, slapping
me on the cheeks.
"Urrghhh... All right! Quit slapping me!"
"What!? You oughta be grateful for gettin' an awakening by a fair maiden like
me!"
Fair maiden!? Please...

That seems to be the last of them. Looking around, I straighten my shirt, and
let out a deep breath.

Boy, that was something...
As I stare into the hollow eyes of the deceased goblins, I can hardly believe
we managed to finish them all.
I let out a deep breath, and try to relax.

"Thanks, Magil," I say, trying to swallow my pains.
"Hey, all in a day's work," Kid says, a little too confidently.
I can tell she means to ask me if I have any injuries, but it's just her way,
to be like that.
Girls...
Well, to be fair, both guys and girls can be like that, sometimes. In any case,
it's usually in one ear, out the other when talking about Kid.

A horrible sound echoes throughout the corridor as the goblin's face is turned
into a putrid mess. With its skull utterly shattered, the hulking beast falls
to the floor, dead.

Suddenly, Kid stops dead in her tracks. I look to her, wondering what's wrong.
Magil already has assumed his battle stance. I do so too, trying to see what's
ahead of us.
Suddenly, I realize what they were triggered by -- a barely audible voice of
some kind can be heard, far up ahead.
Advancing a bit more, we come to the source. There, barely illuminated in the
dim light, is some sort of a thin blue monster. It seems like it's been waiting
for us, kneeling on the pavement as it chants to itself in a low, quiet tone.
Its long, bony fingers seem to be etching something on the floor before it.
"It's a Demon Warlock!"
I unsheathe my knife, getting ready to face off with the vile monster!

*Attack!
*Size it up!
*Run!

As we continue through the passageway, everything's going normal, until...
Suddenly, something drops onto my hood.
I run my fingers through it, and manage to peel off a cold, slimy object.
I look up at the ceiling. There's thousands of the disgusting little black
things up there!
"L... leeches!!"
"Aaaahhh!!"
The slimy, bloodsucking animals continue to fall onto our bodies as we panic
more and more! We desperately try to shake them off, but it's hopeless --
there's too many of them!
They crowd around us, homing in on our presence from every direction -- from
the ceiling, the walls, the floor... everywhere!
"We've got to turn around!"
However, looking back the way we came, a countless number have started to crowd
around the passage back behind us as well, blocking our only exit!
"We've gotta get out of here!" Kid yells!

*Make a run for it!
*Carefully tiptoe out of here.

I can't stand this any more! I've got to get out of here now!! I start to bolt
down the slimy, leech-filled corridor as fast as I can!
As the leeches continue to rain onto us, wiggling their way down our shirts,
sucking our blood with their tiny teeth, I continue to run, and run, and run!
We frantically scurry down the passageway, worried for dear life!!
Squishing their damp bodies under my feet, I suddenly take a bad step and slip
on one of them, sending me flat on my back!
"Aaaahhh!!"
Coming up from behind, Kid doesn't seem to see me!
"Kid!" I yell, but it's too late! Unable to stop in time, she topples over me,
falling onto the leech-covered floor too!
"Serge!!"
Standing up, we try to clean ourselves off, but it's useless! I'm barely able
to get any of the bloodsuckers off before more and more begin to drop down from
the ceiling onto us!
I've never been in anything half as foul as this! Never!
"Auughh!!"
Oh no, two have squirmed into my mouth! They wiggle around violently as they
latch themselves onto my tongue! Ack!!
I spit the mouthful out and suppress the urge to open my mouth and scream
again, despite the sharp pain now in my mouth from the cuts they've left!
Suddenly, something strange happens. The leeches all simultaneously begin to
squirm out from my clothes, hair, and skin, heading back away from us. They
travel a few feet down the corridor, and there begin to accumulate into some
sort of mass.
"What the...?"
As the last few leeches make their way over to the mass, it starts to form into
a humanoid shape. The figure solidifies moments later into some sort of a blue
monster, holding a huge scythe!

The polished scythe suddenly comes arcing through the air, aimed straight for
me!

*Duck!
*Parry!

I take a deep breath, reminding myself I can't lose my cool now. Kid would
never respect me again If I did...
I start to slowly walk down the corridor, carefully placing my steps between
the slimy, slithering leeches.
"Serge," Kid whispers, "I don't wanna do this... I don't wanna be here..."
.........
"Come on Kid, hop on," I say, bending over. She eagerly leaps onto my back.
Urgh... She's a little heavier than I thought...
I take a few steps, getting used to the weight. However, suddenly Kid starts
screaming.
"They're all over me! Get me outta here!!"
"Kid, I'm going to fall over if you keep squirming around like that!"
"I can't help it! Go faster!"
I pick up the pace a bit.
Jogging along, my arms are starting to burn. Then, suddenly, I start to lose my
grip on Kid!
"Aaaahhhh!!" Kid shrieks, falling to the leech-infested ground!
Oh man... They're all over her. She's covered with thick, green slime, as well
as a frightening number of leeches, squirming and crawling all over her body.
She's barely visible underneath all the muck.
"Get em offa me!!" she yells, spitting out leeches as she scrambles back up
onto me.
Petrified, she clings tightly to me, strangling my neck!
"Can't... breathe...!"
The leeches continue to fester their way underneath our clothes, in our hair,
on our faces, until...
All of a sudden, the leeches start to recede! They simultaneously drop out of
her hair and from underneath her clothes, and start to wiggle and crawl over to
a few feet ahead of us, and there begin to accumulate into some sort of mass!
"Halt!" Magil shouts!
He points towards the mass, and suddenly a blazing stream of fire comes
streaking out from his fingertips!
The mass erupts into flames!
However, a strange sort of low, garbled voice starts to echo out from the
burning mess.
Moments later, some sort of monster comes springing out of the charred pile of
leeches, armed with a huge scythe!

It swings its scythe out, aimed directly for me!

*Duck!
*Parry!

The razor-sharp edge skims my chest, cutting cleanly into the flesh!

No more than a few feet tall, this ominous looking creature stands there,
cackling at us, letting its long tongue hang out as it drools onto the floor!
Its scythe is easily larger than its torso and longer than both of its arms,
and from the look of things, it knows how to handle itself!
Suddenly, it swings its scythe out, aimed directly for me!
What am I going to do!?

*Duck!
*Parry!

Pain sears through my body. As my open wounds gush more and more blood, I start
to feel dizzy...
...Everything... ...so cold...
As I collapse to the floor, I can see Kid calling out to me, but her voice has
already faded into obscurity...

I instantly duck down low, hoping to avoid the huge scythe!

As the demon brings its huge scythe around, I bring my knife forward, hoping to
parry the blow!

All right! The scythe only manages to cut through my shirt! But still, that was
too close!
"Hey, stubby! Ya call that a scythe!?" Kid yells.
Come on, Kid... It looks disturbed enough already...

*Attack!
*Size it up!
*Run!

However, the demon easily anticipates my move, and shifts the scythe downward
at the very last moment!
"Aaahhh!"
Blood spurts out of my shoulder as the demon recoils! I grasp the wound, hoping
to stop the blood!

Suddenly, leeches start to come out from behind the demon, inching their way
towards us once again!
"This can't be real...!" Kid shouts, shutting her eyes tightly!
Suddenly, the leeches vanish into thin air! They mush be nothing more than
hallucinations...!

*Attack!
*Size it up!
*Run!

Before I have time to react, the demon whips its tail around, knocking me off
balance!
I hit the floor with a thud as it stands there, cackling at me!

I get up, rubbing the bruise on my calf. A brutal smile streaks across its face
as I fix the grip on my knife.

*Attack!
*Size it up!
*Run!

I switch my knife around for a backhand attack as the demon grins a disgusting
smile at me.
The second I see it break its focus, I lash out with my weapon!
However, my dead-on attack only seems to graze the demon's skin.
"What're ya smilin' at, freak!?" Kid yells, as it gives us a twisted,
fang-laden smile.
I clean the sweat off my brow, and try to keep focused.
However, I can't help but notice the demon's eyes, amidst all this. They've got
such an unsettling quality to them, almost as though this thing harbors some
sort of unimaginable intelligence...
Wait, what am I saying!? I can't get lost in that thing's mind now. Everybody
knows these things can trap your spirit with their eyes alone!
All of a sudden, the demon starts to mutter something. A second later, it
bursts into flames!
Within a few moments, the flames die out, and the demon is no more, gone
without a trace!
"...What the...?"
A vague uneasiness sets in as I look around. Not a single scrap of evidence
remains from that entire encounter...
Was any of that even real?

The demon stands there with its long tongue waving in the air, beckoning us to
try and attack it.
Beside me, Magil has just finished chanting a spell. As he extends his arm, a
furious streak of fire shoots out from his fingertips!
The blaze smashes into the demon!
With the stench of burnt flesh thick in the air, I stare down upon the demon,
now revealing a twisted smirk over its sharp fangs.
Despite its agony, the demon starts to mutter something in a low, controlled
tone. I look to Magil, worried this is going to turn into a battle of magic!

*Prepare for its attack!
*Rush it before it has time to finish!

Unable to think of something in time, I leap aside to a nearby wall, hoping
I'll make it through what it has in store for us!
The demon stops chanting. Soon after, the sound of a whirlwind echoes through
the corridor, getting stronger and stronger as it approaches us!
A violent, sandy whirlwind assaults me, tearing into my skin!

Rubbing out the grit out of my eyes, I open them only to see that the demon has
started to chant once again, conjuring yet another deadly spell!

*Prepare for its attack!
*Rush it before it has time to finish!

Expecting the worst, I run to a nearby wall, squat down low, shielding my face
with my arms.
Suddenly, from all around us, strange chirping sounds reverberate throughout
the corridor.
Looking up from behind my arms, I notice that the walls have changed -- they're
now painted in flashy vibrant colors!
Wait, that's not paint... It's moving!
"F... frogs...!!" Kid shrieks!
She's afraid of frogs, too?
Upon closer inspection, I can see she indeed has something to be scared of --
these are no ordinary frogs -- the vivid yellows and reds on the frogs' skins
mean they're highly poisonous! And, they're all around us!
"Aaahhh! F... frogs!!" Kid yells in a painfully shrill voice as they start to
jump down onto her! Half crazed, she shakes violently, casting the countless
poisonous frogs off of her!
The frogs continue to come, now piling up on the ground. First they're up to my
ankles, then my thighs, then my waist...!
"Do something, Magil!"
One of his blaze spells quickly streaks down the dark passage.
The gust of flame hurls towards the demon! It collides with the little blue
monster with an explosion of flames!
Screeching in pain, the demon breaks its concentration, and the frogs suddenly
vanish!
Kid slowly returns to normal. I take a deep breath, relieved that's all over
with.
However, the demon's not done yet! In a whirl, it extinguishes itself, madder
than ever!
Then, from down the corridor, I see it start to trace something in midair. A
complex design starts to radiate, and suddenly...
"Aaahhh!" I shriek, jumping back.
The floor is starting to melt! We try to back out of it some more, but the
floor is like taffy, keeping us from moving as it turns more and more into a
molten pit!
The floor starts to bubble as it grows redder and redder, like a boiling
saucepan!
A drop of sweat rolls down my cheek, evaporating with a hiss as it hits the
floor!
"Magil!!"
Magil, trying desperately to ignore the calamity all around him, closes his
eyes, and starts to chant.
The demon continues to volley its black magic at us, now trying to incapacitate
Magil with a barrage of icicles!
Just as the icicles are about to reach Magil, he opens his eyes and extends his
hands! Shouting at the top of his lungs, a furious looking web of fire is
hurled outwards, utterly dwarfing the icicles and streaking back towards the
demon!
The web wraps itself around the demon's writhing body!
As the floor returns to normal, we stare at the demon, trapped within the web
of fire. As its skin melts, a horrible stench begins to fill the corridor.
"Pew... There's one awful lookin' pot roast for ya," says Kid.
Seeing the charred corpse keel over, I take a deep breath, hoping that's the
last we'll see of this thing.
Ouch... My right ankle, it was singed during that last incantation. I limp a
few steps, remembering to be careful of it in the future.

"You okay?" I ask Kid. She seemed more shaken back there than I think I've ever
seen her before.
"Huh? Me? Yeah, fine, mate. How you doin'? I thought for sure you were gonna
wet yer pants back there!"
Err... yeah. Now's not the time, I keep telling myself...

"Come on, let's get him!" I shout, already sprinting towards the vile demon.
Kid comes running behind me at full speed, hard on my heels!
The demon angrily swings its scythe out at me just as I approach! Stunned, I
try to stop running in time, but the huge scythe manages to graze my cheek!
Shocked, I rub off the blood dripping from my face.
Kid, who's flanked the demon from the other side, starts kicking the thing with
her hard boots!
A terrifying shriek is given off as the thing falls to the floor!
"Hah! How'd ya like some of that, eh?"
The demon coughs up dark blue blood as it collapses onto the ground.
"Kid..." I say, remorsefully. "This thing's no match for us... It's barely half
as tall as we are."
We gaze down at the creature. What should we do?
Noticing we've stopped, the demon starts to write something in the ground with
its own blood.
Is it trying to communicate with us? Beg for mercy, maybe?
The symbol it's drawing suddenly takes on a strange glow. A glimmer of light
appears.
And then, a crack of lightning strikes upward from out of the symbol!
Kid looks at me, then looks back down towards the demon.
Just as it completes drawing the symbol, she pelts the demon in the belly!
It's hurled through the air, violently colliding with a nearby wall! After a
few moments, it moves no more.
Kid scuffs out the symbol on the ground with her boot.
"It was him or us, mate."

I start to take a few steps back, but just as I turn to run, I see Kid
fearlessly bolt towards the demon!
I can't run at a time like this... I wish I could be more like her!
I look down at my knife, hearing her shout "Yer goin' down!"
However, as I look back, I see the demon has plans of its own! In a flash it
swings its razor-sharp scythe out at her!
Although Kid manages to avoid the attack, she's caught off balance!
Before she can fix her stance, the demon whips its tail out, wrapping it around
her left ankle!
Before long, Kid is dangling upside down, suspended from the demon's long blue
tail!
"Kid!!" I shout, running back towards them.
I want to do something, but I have a feeling that scythe would make short work
of me.
Nevertheless, the demon taunts me, waving Kid around like a pendulum as it
cackles its disgusting laugh.
"Eat this!" Kid suddenly yells, slashing her knife out at the tail!
The demon screeches in pain, recoils its tail. Kid drops to the ground, and
scurries away instantly!
However, the demon instantly recovers, and lashes its tongue out at her!
With dreadful speed and accuracy, the long, pink tongue wraps around Kid's
neck, strangling her!
"H... help..." she calls out, choking in tears!
At the same time, it turns towards me, and starts to conjure a spell!
From behind me, I start to hear noises. A few moments later, I see some sort of
creatures scurrying along the ground, running towards us in masses.
They're giant rats!!
Hundreds of tiny brown eyes stare up at me hungrily. Their disgusting brown
teeth begin to snap at my heels, hungry for their next meal!
Two of them bite into my shoes. I kick them off, but one manages to climb up my
other leg as I'm doing so!
I swat at them, but it's no use -- they continue to climb up on me, gnawing
away at my clothes!
A few of them have climbed all the way up to my shoulders now, getting up into
my hood and my hair!
"Ayeaaahhhh! Get them off me!!" I shout, as they make their way through my
tattered clothes and begin to gnaw away at my flesh!
Amidst all this, I hear a voice. "S... ser... ge..."
Oh man, I forgot all about Kid! She's still being strangled by the demon's
tongue!
And... I can't even help her!
Wait, no! I have to do something! I shake off the rats, and try to forget about
the ones I can't. I clench my knife, walking straight up to the demon, and
slash out at its tongue with all my might!
The demon shrieks in agony before running off in a painful frenzy!
Kid falls to her knees, gasping for breath. I run over to her, scooping her up
in my arms as I tear off the shriveled remains of the tongue from around her
neck.
Throughout all this, I barely even notice the rats have mysteriously vanished
without a trace, my clothes returning to normal.
I hold Kid and try to ease her trembling, using my handkerchief to wipe some
tears off her face.
"Serge... thanks..."
"Hey, don't mention it," I say back to her. Wow, I saved Kid...
She rises to her feet a few moments later. She's still pretty shaken up, but
we're safe, at least.

These are apparently Lynx's quarters. No one seems to be here, however.
"We're right on top of ya now, Lynx! Say yer prayers, ya bastard!"

"Still no one here, huh...."
 Kid's voice is greeted with nothing but silence.

Looking around, it's a very dilapidated room. Furniture is thrown about in all
directions, and almost nothing matches. Taking a look at the room as a whole,
there's no sense of harmony whatsoever. It's very suggestive of a chaotic mind.

"Okay, looks like we gotta search through this mess."
I sift through a number of odd items adorning the room. There's a cluttered
desk, a painting that's hanging unevenly on the far wall, and a pitcher on a
side table, among other things.
In one corner of the room stands a tall, curious object of some sort. A scarlet
cloth has been placed over it, covering it up.
As I slowly reach my hand out to uncover it, Magil suddenly says, "Please avoid
reckless interference."
Taking his advice, I return my hand to my side.
However, the cloth suddenly starts to fall off on its own.
"I didn't touch it, I swear!"
"What, did it just leap off all by itself?" Kid asks, rolling her eyes.
A large mirror has been uncovered. Fancifully decorated, it looks to be a
high-priced arabesque antique.
"I got a bad feelin' about this..."
Then, all of a sudden...
The reflection of the Venus statue opens its eyes, staring at us through the
mirror!
"Is there something you seek?" the statue's reflection asks, in a soft womanly
voice.
The voice seems to be coming from the statue in front of me, but only the
mirror's reflection seems to be moving.
"It... it can talk!"
"It is a Mirror of Whispers," Magil says, examining it closely.
"What is it, though?"
"It is a looking glass that harbors a living spirit. The spirit is free to roam
throughout nearby mirrors, able to see into our everyday lives. They are known
to be quite wise. Is there anything you wish to ask?"
Wow... a million questions come to mind...

*Ask about Kid.
*Ask about Magil.

"What in blazes are ya askin' about me for!?" Kid shouts with a red face.
"Very well," the statue's reflection says.
Ignoring Kid, who's slapping and pulling me, I focus on the mirror.
The reflection of the statue begins to ripple a little. Gradually, the mirror
fades into darkness.
Before long, the jet black surface of the mirror is filled with what looks like
Regionna. One by one, shadows of trees, houses, and people materialize...
The mirror focuses in on a young woman, surrounded by small children. The
children are dirty and poorly dressed, but they're all smiling and playing
happily nonetheless.
Then, abruptly, the building they're in bursts into flames. Armed troops are
all around. Everyone scrambles for a way out, but...
Against her will, the young woman is abducted. The children, however, meet a
much darker fate...
Time passes. After the fire has burnt the building to the ground, the mirror
shifts focus to a small girl covered in soot, crying behind the charred remains
of her home. She lets loose a bloodcurdling scream into the open sky, as her
right eye narrows like a cat's...
"Stop!!!" Kid shouts.
I look back to the mirror, but the image has already started to fade...
Squeezing her hand into a fist, Kid slumps downward. The room is silent.
"Kid... I'm sorry..."
"Let's go," Kid says abruptly, heading towards the door.
"Wait! Wait for me, Kid!" I shout as I chase after her.

"Very well."
The reflection of the statue begins to ripple a little. Gradually, the mirror
fades into darkness.
However, after a minute or two, nothing materializes...
What could this mean?
"Worthless piece of junk. C'mon, let's get back to work!" Kid says, flexing her
quick temper. We resume our search, disregarding the mirror.

"I see."
The mirror starts to ripple and sparkle like water, brilliantly illuminating
the room.
Once the light has faded, we're treated with a scene of a vividly colored,
beautiful courtyard...
Amidst a number of trees' shadows, a boy and a girl are sitting and playing.
Somehow I know that the boy is Magil. Even as a child, his trademark spirit
shines through.
The girl, however, looks strangely familiar. Where have I seen that face
before... perhaps that painting in the study?
They're talking happily together. We're too far away to hear what they're
saying, though.
Then all of a sudden, he says something with a serious look suddenly in his
eyes.
Although surprised, the girl listens to what the boy has to say, and then nods.
The two press their hands together, linking fingers. It looks as though they're
making a promise of some sort.
What could this be about?
The mirror's reflection ripples, and before long is back to a normal reflection.
"I'm envious, Master Magil. I would very much like to have had memories of this
splendor," Venus says, humbled.
Saying nothing, Magil acknowledges neither us nor the mirror.
"We do not have time to play around. We must continue our search."
Kid shrugs her shoulders as we continue to look around the room.

I take another extensive look at the room, reminding myself it's important not
to miss a single detail.
What should I do now?

*Rely on Kid's intuition.
*Rely on Magil's experience.
*Rely on myself for the time being.

Ah, Kid... with her thieving genius, able to find a needle in a haystack...
"Hey, lookit!" Kid shouts, turning around with a mischievous grin on her face,
and two big pens in her hands.
"Hah, haha! Lynx, ya bastard, howd'ya like some redecoratin'?"
She takes off the caps and begins to scribble all over everything with both
hands. The walls, the furniture, and even the ceilings are all given equal
defacing.
"La, la la... yer next, ya crazy old mirror!"
"Nooooo....!! Please, no..."
"Ah, perfect," Kid says, looking around the room satisfactorily. Satisfied, she
runs out of the room.
 Feeling sorry for it, I wipe off the mirror and the statue. The rest of the
room, on the other hand...

"What's the best thing to do now, Magil?"
Magil promptly disappears into the room's shadows. One by one, from the desk,
to the display shelf, to the statue, I see his shadow shuffle around the room.
Before long, Magil materializes from behind the desk with something in his hand.
"Something was dropped here."
It's a few small envelopes. Opening them, we find a map of Regiorra, three
copper coins, and other recently unsent mail.
"Worthless bastard... where's all yer good stuff?" Kid grumbles.

Sure... if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
Hmm... where would I hide something if I lived here...
Over by the window, a particularly inviting looking sofa catches my eye. I
might as well take a break, I suppose...
Wow, it's really comfy.
...Except for this thing poking me in the back...
 I reach around behind me and pull off the cushion.
There's something hidden here! It's a little green bottle, filled with a clear
liquid.
"Well? You gonna drink it, or what?"
I inspect it carefully, reading the fine print.
"Effective against: malnutrition, weak constitution, loss of appetite,
insomnia, headache, buttache, arthritis, sensitivity to cold."
"Is there anything it doesn't do?"
I shrug, downing the sweet-smelling stuff.
As I drink the liquid, I start to feel a strange warmth circulate throughout my
body...

"Well?"
"I don't know... I feel a little weird. But wait, yeah, I feel better than I
did a minute ago! A lot better!"
"Aw, yer just playin' around. C'mon Serge, there has to be somethin'
interesting around here somewhere..."
I follow Kid out of the room, amazed at how good I suddenly feel.

"Arrite, the key to that vault's gotta be in here somewhere," Kid says as she
starts to search. "Frozen Flame, here we come!"
I sift through a number of odd items adorning the room. There's a cluttered
desk, a painting that's hanging unevenly on the far wall, and a pitcher on a
side table, among other things.
In one corner of the room stands a tall, curious object of some sort. A scarlet
cloth has been placed over it, covering it up.
As I slowly reach my hand out to uncover it, Magil suddenly says, "Please avoid
reckless interference."
Taking his advice, I return my hand to my side.
However, the cloth suddenly starts to fall off on its own.
"I didn't touch it, I swear!"
"What, did it just leap off all by itself?" Kid asks, rolling her eyes.
A large mirror has been uncovered. Fancifully decorated, it looks to be a
high-priced arabesque antique.
"I got a bad feelin' about this..."
Then, all of a sudden...
The reflection of the Venus statue opens its eyes, staring at us through the
mirror!
"Is there something you seek?" the statue's reflection asks, in a soft womanly
voice.
The voice seems to be coming from the statue in front of me, but only the
mirror's reflection seems to be moving.
"It... it can talk!"
"It is a Mirror of Whispers," Magil says, examining it closely.
"But... what is it!?"
"It is a looking glass that harbors a living spirit. The spirit is free to roam
throughout nearby mirrors, able to see into our everyday lives. They are known
to be quite wise. Is there anything you wish to ask?"
Wow... a million questions come to mind...
*Ask about Lynx.
*Ask where the key to the treasure vault is.
*Ask about Kid's measurements.

"If you know where the key to the treasure vault is, could you please tell us?"
The mirror's surface begins to ripple. The whirling smoke soon takes shape into
a picture of a large room, decorated with rows and rows of books.
In a beautiful womanly voice, the mirror responds, "The key you seek, as you
see before you, rests within this room. Towards the rear of this great
sanctuary of knowledge, within a large purple book, you will find the item you
so desire."
The image slowly fades, and returns to a normal
reflection.
"The spirit has apparently moved to another mirror," Magil says.
"Okay, let's head for the study!"
As I head for the door, I suddenly get the feeling I'm being watched. I come to
a stop and look around.
Then, suddenly, a faint whisper reaches my ears. "...Be careful, they know..."
Whose voice was that? It wasn't any of ours...
The mirror... it wouldn't double-cross us, would it?
Kid heads out the door, bolting down the corridor. I frantically chase after
her, easily as eager as she is.

"What's going on inside Lynx's mind right now?" I ask, as my curiosity
momentarily overcomes my fear.
The surface of the mirror ripples gently, before fading into darkness. Before
long, a sentence of white text begins to materialize.
"Huh?" Kid asks, frustratedly staring at the text. "What's `Be so kind and find
him by yourselves' supposed to mean? That's yer answer!? Ya damn mirror, you
just wanna good smashin', don't ya!" she yells, stepping towards it.
However, the mirror's clarity begins to fade, and all of the remaining text
becomes too foggy to be read. Kid shakes the mirror in anger, but the mirror
seems to have lost its vision.
"The spirit has transferred itself to another mirror. It's useless to try and
speak to it now," Magil says.
"Damn mirror! Come on, Let's find another one!" Kid insists, rushing out of
Lynx's quarters.

"Kid's measurements!" bursts out of my mouth with a big smile.
I duck out of the way as Kid begins to slap and punch me, desperately trying to
keep my eyes on the mirror.
Suddenly, its surface begins to ripple. Could it really know this much? Boy,
this is going to be good...
Slowly, numbers start to form on the dark surface.
"66... 5... 9..."
66, 5, and 9? What kind of measurements are those? Momentarily catching her
attention, Kid also stares at the numbers, scratching her head.
After a moment, Magil offers a simple answer in an apathetic monotone. "Height,
shoe size, ring size."
What!? Oh man, what a gyp...
"Umm... excuse me, Miss Venus... Ma'am..."
However, the mirror has already returned to its normal appearance, reflecting
nothing but the ugly room back at me.
"The spirit has apparently migrated to another mirror," Magil says.
"Really? It can do that? Damn..."
Laughing at my misfortune, Kid adds, "Aw, come on, what more could a guy ask
for than to know the great Kid's ring size! So, which did you want to buy me,
Serge? Clothes, shoes, or jewelry?"
Me and my big mouth...

No matter how many times I return here, this room still doesn't seem any more
appealing to me.
The only redeeming point is that Mirror of Whispers in the corner, always good
for a chat.
I walk up to it and remove the crimson cloth.
"Is there anything you wish to know?" the mirror politely asks.
"Well, there's lots of things I could ask," I say hesitantly.
The statue's eyes shimmer in the dimly lit room like candles.
"Very well, I will answer one question."

*"Why only one?"
*"Well, in that case..."

"If I were to answer every question anyone has ever asked me, people would
spend their entire lives asking me questions."
Magil smiles.
"And so, I have answered your question, Master Serge."
"What? Oh, you've got to be kidding me..."
"Ya cheap talkin' head, I should crush ya right here and now!" Kid shouts.
"How unfortunate, you are out of opportunities...."
"I'll give ya unfortunate!!" Kid yells, clenching her fists.
"Let's go, Kid... I've had enough of this place..."
As I leave, I can't help but think I was cheated. But, we'll be back...

"In that case, I'd like to know about your past."
After a moment of silence, the statue's reflection starts to speak in a very
humble tone.
"You have interest in my past?"
"Yeah, what in blazes are ya?" Kid interrupts.
"Well, it's probably been three hundred years already since I was crafted in
the Realm of the Looking Glass," the statue's soft voice explains.
"The Realm of the Looking Glass?" I ask.
"It's the flip-side of this world... a world which harbors the objective
contents of thoughts," Magil quickly answers.
"Passing through the hands of many owners, I traveled far and wide throughout
many lands..."
"So how did ya end up here?" Kid asks.
"I came here with a kindred spirit, but now... I am alone."
"Furthermore, now that I am without others of my own kind, I have begun to
fade... I am so lonely..."
Tears trickle down the statue's face as it begins to weep quietly.
"If we come across any other mirrors like you, we'd surely come back and tell
you," I say, trying to comfort it.
"Thank you so much... your kindness shines, truly."
The Venus statue bows its head deeply, and with that, the reflection returns to
its normal appearance.
"Indeed. We have yet to explore much of this mansion," Magil says, heading for
the door.

"Lynx's quarters... I sure hope that key's in here somewhere."
"Bet that mirror could tell us where it is!" Kid says, removing its large silk
cloth.
The dark mirror looms before us like a still lake on a moonless evening.
"Is there something you wish to know?" the Venus statue's reflection asks.
*Ask about Lynx.
*Ask where the treasure vault key is.
*Ask about Kid's measurements.

No matter how many times I return here, this room still doesn't seem any more
appealing to me.
The only redeeming point is the Mirror of Whispers in the corner, always good
for a chat.
I walk up to it and remove the soft crimson cloth.
However, the statue doesn't seem to respond. All I see is a normal reflection
of the room.
Wait... there's something different about the reflection.
"Hey, look, there's a hole in one of the walls!" Kid stammers.
However, looking back at the actual room, all I can see is just another solid
wall.
We walk over to the wall.
Knocking and pushing against it provides us with no answers. It's solid.
"I don't get it..."
Kid kicks the wall. Then throws a painting at it. Then a chair. Nothing.
"Come on, Kid... I don't think that's going to do anything. Maybe there's
another way..."
"Well what do you recommend, Mister know-it-all? How 'bout we tickle it open!"
she yells sarcastically, taking a feather pen from the desk and tickling the
wall with it.
Remarkably, the wall begins to tremble and wobble! Kid jumps back at once,
easily twice as stunned as I am!
The wall continues to shake as a low laughing voice starts to come out from all
around us.
"The wall, it's... laughing!?"
Kid cautiously approaches the wall, again tickling it all over with the quill...
The wall begins to contort all over, now more violently than before, as its
laughing becomes more and more hysterical.
Suddenly, as if bursting open, the wall starts to crumble into dust, opening up
a secret passageway as the sand-like substance falls to the floor!
A hole just big enough for a person stands where the wall once was.
"Whoa, a hidden door," Kid remarks, looking around at the passage. She
fearlessly walks through a moment later.

*Go through with her.
*Try to get her to come back out.

This is certainly a big find... I wonder what's in here...

We return to Lynx's quarters through the secret passageway.
As soon as we're all through, the pile of dust suddenly scatters up, completely
concealing the hole as though it never had dissolved in the first place.
"Wow... it looks so real..."
"C'mon, Serge... we gotta get goin'."

"Kid, I don't like the look of this. There could be anything in there..."
"Quit bein' such a baby, Serge! Come on, this is a great find!"
...I have no choice, do I.

"Lynx!!"
What? Lynx is here!? I rush into the room behind Kid, unsheathing my knife in a
flash of adrenaline.
"Where is he!?"
Beside me, Kid says, "Gotcha."
"Tee hee... were ya scared?" she asks, giggling.
"Oh sheesh... don't do that to me, heh..."
"Has Lord Lynx returned to the room?" A high alto voice asks.
Kid and I glance at each other, giggling. "No, he isn't here right now."
"Ah, Master Serge. Is there something I can answer for you?" the statue asks in
a pleasant voice. "Or, perhaps, you'd be interested in this lovely gift I have
for you?"
"Huh? A gift?"
"Only a modest token of my appreciation for you and your comrades. I present
you with a personal invitation into the Realm of the Looking Glass, if you are
interested."
"Wow, really?"
"Yes, but we must hurry. Time is of the essence."
I look towards the dark, rippling surface of the mirror. Slowly, I reach my
hand out towards it.
It feels like my hand is being submerged in water, passing straight into the
mirror...
Suddenly, there's a slight pull. I try to retract my arm, but the harder I
pull, the further I seem to be getting drawn in...
"Master Serge! Take your hand out, quickly!!"
Just then, a crack streaks across the mirror!
"What's... going on!?"
Amidst my struggling, I see a crack start to streak down the mirror's glass...
"Save yourself, Master Serge... Please, before I am forced to consume you..."
"What!?"
Kid starts pulling with me, despite the increasing force drawing me in! I'm now
up to my shoulder in this thing!
"On the count of three," I yell!
"One, two, three!!"
We tumble backwards, falling onto the couch. I look at my arm in a daze. It's
fine.
Shaking myself off, I return to the mirror, now even more cracked since I last
saw it.
"Lynx planned to seal you all in the mirror," the statue says, sobbing.
Each time it speaks, another crack seems to be running into it!
"This isn't all... I had alerted Lord Lynx of your presence, long before you
had known of me..."
"Why?"
"Lynx has already taken away everything I have..."
"He refused to allow me to leave Viper Manor, coercing me to be the mansion's
eyes and ears, promising he would someday set me free..."
Hanging her head low, the Venus statue speaks in a quiet, solemn voice.
"However, it was simply another one of Lord Lynx's schemes. No freedom is worth
stealing another's for. I would rather destroy myself than become another
murderer..."
As yet another crack appears, a large piece of the mirror breaks off, falling
to the ground.
"No.... don't...!" I yell, grasping the mirror!
A huge crack streaks across the entire mirror, preventing me from seeing almost
any of the statue...
The statue's lips can be seen moving faintly from beyond the now heavily
cracked mirror, but no words can be heard...
I silently bend down and gather up all the shards. Putting them on the desk, I
look into the kaleidoscope of reflections...
"Serge...?" from behind me, I hear Kid's voice.
"Let's go, mate..."
As I leave the room, I quietly look over my shoulder, looking at the smashed
mirror. I stop for a second, hoping to hear a voice, but...
All I hear is silence.

I cast our eyes around the room. It's as still as death.
Magil puts his hand on my shoulder. "Serge..."
I turn and silently leave the room, letting Venus rest in peace.

*The sunflower

Much to my surprise, we're able to find it right away. It turns out to be a
beautiful beetle, colored solid gold, perched on a high tree limb.
"The Golden Beetle!!" Kid cries out, climbing up the large tree.
The beetle certainly glitters like real gold... Kid seems quite caught up in
the sight. No, not caught up in the sight -- rather, caught up in the greed, I
should say...
"Man, she's fast..."
She's already climbed up about five or six times my height, heavily baited with
hopes of gold.
"Ah hah!"
Kid catches it, but almost instantly the beetle shakes free, buzzing out of her
hand!
"Wait!" she yells, reaching out her hand further and further, hoping to catch
the golden insect. But suddenly, she loses balance and falls!

*Try to catch her!


"Hold on!!" I yell, leaping forward.
But then, she begins to curl herself into a small ball, spinning around in
midair like a cannonball!
This is bad! She'll knock the both of us out if I have to catch her like that!
Seeing this, I jump out of the way, fearing for my life!
However, Kid opens herself up mere feet from the ground, gracefully landing as
nimble as a cat!
She doesn't seem hurt in the least. If I hadn't run, she probably would have
landed flat on my face...
"Kid..."
"Wait! My beetle!!" she yells, continuing to chase after it without even
acknowledging us.

It's okay, I remind myself. Falling from this kind of height is no cause for
concern.
Just as I suspect, Kid revolves in the air just like a cat, landing without a
hitch. She then immediately takes off running without even looking at me.
"Wait! My beetle!!"

Relentlessly chasing the beetle, she plunges deeper and deeper into the forest.
We follow after, desperately trying to keep her in sight. For all I know, it
could be the Golden Beetle, or just another common insect...
However, we're so deep in the forest now, I can't see anything but an endless
assortment of dark trees and jagged rocks, stretching out in every direction. I
doubt Kid herself can even see the beetle at this point.
How could she still be tracking it?
As soon as I start to ask myself this, I realize what she'd tell me --
intuition.
Suddenly, Kid stops in a clearing.

*"Did you find it!?"
*"Kid, we really should be getting back..."

"Naw... I found somethin' gold, but it ain't the Golden Beetle."
I look over Kid's shoulder. There, in a small spot of light, stands a tall
golden plant. My first impression is that it's a sunflower, but those don't
usually bloom at night, do they?

*"What is this thing?"
*"What's so special about it? Haven't you ever seen a sunflower before, Kid?"

As soon I say this, she comes over and slaps me!
Jeez, what did I say...
I walk around a little, trying to catch my breath.
Suddenly, in a small clearing off in the distance, I spot a tall, golden plant.
"Hey, isn't that a sunflower? Nah, it couldn't be... they don't usually bloom
at night, do they?" I ask.

"Sheeze, yer as thick as ever. There's somethin' special about this thing,
can't ya feel it!?"
Hmm... I close my eyes, trying to get one of those feelings she's always
talking about...

*Take a deep breath.
*Concentrate.

"Of course, ya dummy!" Kid says, hitting me upside the head.

"Mmmm... forest smell..."
Kid suddenly jabs me in the arm.
I have to admit, I haven't had much luck being intuitive... especially while
being beaten up...

I close my eyes, trying to concentrate.
"So, do ya feel anything?"
"Hmm... well, I feel a little tired..."
"Not that kind of feeling, ya dummy!" she says angrily, slapping me upside the
head.
I have to admit, I haven't had much experience being intuitive... especially
while being beaten up...

Hmmmm... I try to wonder what she can possibly be feeling all the way out here
in the middle of nowhere.
I walk around the enormous plant, taking another look at it. But then,
suddenly...
"What the...!?"
A face suddenly emerges in the center of the flower! It's a ghastly sight,
complete with drunken, drowsy eyes, purple eyelashes, thick, pink lips, and a
long bent nose! A cross-dressing sunflower... now I've seen it all!

*"What is this thing, Kid?"
*"What is it, Magil?"
*Take another good look at it.

I take another look, not that I'm interested in this sort of thing... (not that
there's anything wrong with that...)
Ugh, I feel strange... what kind of twisted mind would make something like this?

I go to ask Kid, but she's too busy laughing at it. She's truly something else,
without a doubt...

Apparently unfazed by the strange sight, Magil calmly starts to rack his brain.
"Ah, what was this sort of thing called," he says as he strokes his chin, going
into a sort of quiet trance.
I sure hope he remembers soon... that's Magil for you, though. He's got a head
full of knowledge, wiser than most I've ever met. However, it takes him a good
bit of time to remember certain things, and until he remembers, he'll remain
completely useless. He's led us into danger a few times because of that...

"Bonsoir, mademoiselle."
Wait, it can talk too!?
"Madam-what?" Kid asks, smirking.
"Ah, ma che'rie, I was just zneaking a peek at your petite breast. I hope that
you are not angry! Uhuhuhuhu!"
"What!? Get yer eyes offa me!"
"Oh, my zweet mademoiselle... how young and fiezty you are," the sunflower
answers back playfully.
"You perverted freak'a nature! Watch what ya say around me!" Kid says as she
flashes her dagger, dangling down at her side.
Kid squaring off with a sunflower... now I've seen it all.
"Ah, my dahling... perhapz you and I could converse zomewhere a bit more...
private?"
Suddenly, Kid whips out her dagger, slashing clean through the sunflower's
stalk!
"Gyaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Its blaring screech is as excruciating to hear as a hundred hands
simultaneously scratching down a chalkboard!
I feel faint... my knees are going to buckle if I hear any more of that
deafening screech!
But then, suddenly..."Oh hoo hoo, you must not be so violent, ma zweet-chested
fille! Zat tickles!"
Somehow, another sunflower has instantly sprouted and replaced the one that was
cut down, perfectly identical to its predecessor!
"Bastard!!" Kid shouts, slashing her dagger through the air once again!
"Gyaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
More and more of that awful screech fills the air. But then, moments later...
"Non, I am not yet married... but, if you insist..."
Kid continues hacking away, tearing down every new sunflower that pops up!
However, for every one she mows down, two or three instantly sprout up in its
place!
All this screeching... I can't take it any longer! "Stop, Kid! Please..."

*Try to stop her!
*Get Magil to do something!

"Gyaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Stop, Kid!" I shout, trying to intervene.
  However, she heatedly shoves me aside, becoming more and more infuriated
as she hacks through the never-ending crop of sunflowers!
*Try again!
*Get Magil to do something!

This is kind of pathetic, but rationalizing with Kid is useless. All I can
think of is to ask Magil for help.
  I look over at him and ask "Magil, what do we do!?" but he just stands
there with his finger on his chin, staring down at the ground, as still as a
statue!
Shaking him, I shout "Hey! Magil!!" but it's useless. Beneath his mask,
those eyes of his sport a blank, foggy gaze, silently staring off into
nothingness. I can't believe it -- he must be still trying to remember what
this thing is called!
  We have to do something here! I can't just sit here and let this happen!

"Kid! Come on!!" I shout, trying to shake her, but she only shrugs me off as
she continues to whack away at the sunflowers, getting more and more
infuriated!

"Ah, ma che'rie... why must you zhake your puny little zword at moi? We do
not need such love games. Wit ze sweet feelingz we have for each other, zere
is no use for la violence, n'est-ce que pas?"
Kid's face turns redder and redder as she buries herself further into the
sunflower patch.
"Ah, I remember now," Magil says, finally snapping out of it. "This is what
is known as a `Mandora Monster'. Please do not make the mistake of trying to
cut it down."
"Uhh... Magil..."
I point to the humongous crop of sunflowers, where Kid has now resorted to
gripping one of the sunflowers' stalks and shaking it with both hands.
However, the sunflower does nothing but laugh down at her.
Suddenly, all around us, the ground starts to tremble and quake! Dirt
loosens as the ground gives way, creating a sort of quicksand beneath our
feet! I leap back instantly, but I then realize Kid's still in the thick of
it, ignoring everything except the sunflowers!
"Kid!!!" I yell, but it's too late! She's caught up in the entanglement of
stalks! After a moment, she slips and falls on the unstable ground, getting
swallowed up into the newly formed pit beneath her!
I try to go after her, but just as I approach the patch, a great number of
plants and vines quickly shoot up around Kid, blocking me!
Then, suddenly, a mess of vines leap out at me, trying to wrap themselves
around my arms and legs!!
However, I feel a set of strong arms take hold of me and jerk me back almost
immediately. "Thanks, Magil..."
"There's no time to lose! Run!"
"But Kid...!"
"I know!"
Running up onto a nearby hill, I stop for a moment and look back. The whole
mess is nothing but a billowing cloud of dust now. All I can make out are a
multitude of vines waving crazily in the air. I can neither see nor hear
Kid.

*Head back in and try to rescue her.
*Call out to her from here.

As soon as I try to make a run for the dusty mess, Magil reaches out with
his large hands, restraining me.
"We must wait for the dust to settle. It's useless to try and find her now."
He's right, it's way too crazy in there right now. I try to remind myself
that the only reason I want to do something is out of shock. I need to
relax...

"Kid! Kid!!"
I call out again and again, to no avail. I want to rush in there and help
her, but...

After a minute or two, the dust starts to settle.
"Hey, what's that?"
A large silhouette is starting to appear from out of the dust cloud. It's
big... a lot bigger than what was there before.
As the figure is gradually exposed to the moonlight, I start to see a more
defined shape...
"Kid!!!"
This thing, whatever it is, is easily seven or eight times my height.
Its body seems to resemble a gorilla's. Its exposed muscles are wrapped in
ivy, and its digits remind me of pointed shellfish. Golden sunflower petals
are lined up the back of its neck.
However, instead of a head...
...It's her!
Kid's stark naked upper body has been fused into the top of the monster.
Other than the two small sunflowers covering her chest, she's wearing
nothing at all...
"Serge, listen to me. The Mandora Monster has fused with Kid. We must save
her quickly, otherwise she'll be lost forever, consumed by her own hate."
"Serge! Quit gawking and pay attention!"
"What? She's going to die!?"
I frantically try to think of what to do. It's hard though, I can't seem to
take my eyes off those two sunflowers...
*Take another look at it.
*Ask "How do we save her!?"

Kid's expressionless face teeters listlessly back and forth as the monster
establishes its footing. Those usually fiery eyes of hers now appear
desperate and hollow. Her skin is a dark grassy green, like that of an
amazon goddess...

"Calm down. There is a way."
"The monster has managed to intertwine itself with Kid because of her strong
sentiments of anger. Unless we separate Kid from her anger, we will be
unable to save her."
"How do we do that!?"
With love."
"Love..."
"Yes... it's the only way. I shall go and make preparations. In the
meantime, protect Kid's body, and show her love. Also, you must prevent her
from using any magic. In her current state, the more she casts spells, the
more she'll be lost to that beast."
"What? Kid can't use magic."
"She can now."
How can this be happening...
"Serge, show her your love," Magil says, leaving me with those words as he
sinks into a nearby shadow.
"Wait! Magil! Magiiiilll!!"
Alone and afraid, I look up at the huge atrocity as I shudder in the chilly
nighttime breeze.
Love... I couldn't think of a more awkward place to think about love. The
sound of the word makes me cringe, as it dances through my mind...
While lost in thought, I suddenly hear a soft muttering from far above.
"Ya say they're small..."
"They're not small, I tell ya..."
"Others' are big... too big..."
"Stop makin' fun of me..."
"Stop making fun of me!!"
"I'll kill you! I'll kill you all!!"
Kid cries out madly, her eyes filled with flames of rage!
Suddenly, her gaze shifts towards me. The monster instantly lashes out a
giant stone hammer from behind, arcing it down towards me!

*Parry it!
*Jump back!

I can't parry it... not something that size!
I leap to the side at the very last second! The giant hammer comes crashing
down, kicking up heaps of dirt and sand with a ground-shaking thud!

I instantly jump back just as the giant hammer comes crashing down, kicking
up heaps of dirt and sand with a ground-shaking thud!
"Kid! It's me, Serge!" I call out to her, waving my arms wildly. However,
the only reaction I get is of increasing anger!

Just then, I start to hear a low voice call out from beyond a nearby hill.
"What's going on over there!?"
Oh no... goblins!
"Look, it's the Mandora! What's got it all acting up?"
Noticing the goblins, the monster begins to moan. Kid's cheeks puff up, and
then, suddenly...

Kid sends a giant fireball streaking out of her mouth, crashing into the
goblins! It instantly reduces them to ashes!
"Dammit... magic!" I say to myself as Magil's warning flashes through my
head.
Finished with the goblins, the monster suddenly remembers me, turning around
and returning its gaze my way!

*Run away for now!
*Shout "I love you!"

I've got to get out of here...!
I quickly turn and head for the trees.

I can't help but feel embarrassed, professing my love to a hulking monster
who's ready to kill me...
I nervously shout "I love you!" up into the night sky, hoping she'll hear
me...
Suddenly, the monster starts to draw closer and closer to me! Did I do it?
Is she coming back to reality?
...No, it really doesn't look like it! Help!!

I run and hide, plunging into the deep, dark labyrinth of the wilderness.
However, behind me I can hear the thunderous sounds of trees being crushed
and boulders being broken. I continue to run as the gigantic monster chases
after me!
I've been running for at least five straight minutes now, dodging trees and
jumping logs. I'm starting to lose my breath...
Just as I begin to think I can't run any more, the end of the forest comes
into view!
However, as I come to the clearing...
Lined up before me is a troupe of fearless-looking goblins. They're carrying
a huge cannon with them, easily twenty feet tall. I try not to think of how
easily I'd be obliterated if I ever accidentally stood in its path... or was
forced to stand in its path, for that matter...
"There! Lock on target!" shouts a goblin. Oh, great...

*Try to tell them what's happening.
*Run away!

I collapse at the goblins' feet, out of breath.
The goblin leader, decked in a full suit of iron armor sporting Lynx's
insignia, comes over towards me.
It glares at me with piercing, intimidating eyes, as though it's ready to
whip out its mace if I do so much as breathe the wrong way.
I really don't know about this, turning to goblins for help... but, I've got
no other choice!
"Please, help me save my friend!"
The goblin guard stares at me blankly. I continue, gasping for air between
sentences. "We were chasing after this beetle, but then a sunflower suddenly
appeared, and captured my friend, and started to chase me through the
forest! Please, you have to help us! She's the most important thing in the
world to me!!"
The goblin's eyes relax. "Is that right... your friend was captured? I
understand. We'll help you. Don't worry."
"Thank you!"
Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't judge this book by its cover.
However, just as I say this...
"And how much would zis lovely beetle of Kid's zell for, hmm?"
That voice!
Suddenly, the goblin shouts out! "What!? Your friend is that crooked thief,
Kid?"
A wave of shock goes through me. Just when things were starting to seem okay
for once...
I try to see behind the goblins, searching for that strangely familiar
voice, the one that sounded just like the sunflower's. However, all I can
make out is some sort of strange psychedelic light, emanating from behind
the troupe.
The light seems to be coming from a figure, whoever (or whatever) it is. As
he makes his way through the crowd, I finally get a good look at him. His
hairstyle reminds me of a tall green chimney, and his red and green
pinstriped costume is like that of a harlequin. An over-the-top, long purple
cape drags behind him as he approaches me.
"Are you... the sunflower?" I ask, confused.
"Sunflowah? Who iz a sunflowah!?" it cries out.
I can't help it... this person... no, this thing -- his face looks exactly
like the sunflower's!
Caught off guard by the sight, two goblin guards flank me by surprise,
wrestling me to the ground.
"Ah, monsieur... you are mademoiselle Kid's friend, non? I do not believe we
have met. Bonsoir, Je m'appelle Pollon. T'roughout ze world, I am known as
`Ze Green Terreur'. Perhapz you have heard of moi, non?"

*"Screw you, pervert!"
*Glare at it.

Huff... huff...
There's no way I can run any more. Besides, with that thing right behind me,
there's no escape!

"Pervert? Moi? Non, monsieur, you zimply do not underztand ma elegant
nature!"

Ugh... That same strange feeling I got with that sunflower arises...

"No matter! Soon, le terreur shall be planted in your heart, for Kid'z death
iz at hand! As a gentleman, I shall grant you the privilege of seeing zis
happen before your very eyez."

*"No! You can't!!"
*"Isn't there anything else you can do?"

"Well, well, well! Look who knowz zo much all of a zudden! But alas, if you
do not have the right kind of weapon, to defeat a monster such as ze Mandora
is very difficult! Perhaps... how do you say... impozzible, non?"
"...However!" Pollon says, pointing towards the cannon. "With one zingle
shot of ma Hyper Magic Cannon, zat will be zat!"
That cannon? I knew it was powerful, but... magical?
Taking another look at it, I notice that it's definitely not an ordinary
cannon. There's no fuse at the end of the barrel. Instead, some ivy vines
are connected to a pedestal, where a mysterious crystal ball sits.

I plead from the bottom of my heart, begging to let her go.
"Ah, It iz very beautiful zat you feel zis way about her. But, alas, I am
under employment, and I must deal wit' intruderz. I am zorry, but I cannot
grant your wish," Pollon says, with a cheerful gesture of consolation.

"Captain! There it is!!"
The goblin's shout strikes into my heart like a death sentence.
"To the cannon, sir!" the guard says to Pollon.
"Stop! Please!!" I holler, hopelessly trying to break free of the guards'
restraint. However, they only tighten their grip on my arms, and tears begin
to stream down my cheeks as the pain shoots in.
"Monsieur, I offer you zis. Are zere any final wordz you would like moi to
zay to zis friend of yours?"

*"Au reviour, scoundrel Kid..."
*"Adieu, petit-chested mademoiselle!"
*"Please, I beg you... stop..."

"Oh, oui. When I fire ze cannon, I will say zat. I can tell, you must have
had quite a few terrible experiencez wit zis fille, non?"

"Oh, oui. When I fire ze cannon, I shall say zat. I can tell, you must have
had quite a few fiezty experiencez wit zis fille, non?"

"Ah, you really have true feelings for zis fille," Pollon says softly,
taking out a handkerchief to wipe his tears.
"I am most moved," he continues. "Perhapz when I finish her, I shall zay for
you, `Adieu, ma che'rie! Wait for moi in hell, ma sweet!'"

With a bittersweet smile on his face, Pollon skips toward the pedestal.
"No! Stop!!"
My grievous cries resound unanswered, echoing throughout the starry night
sky. I can see some of the goblins have felt my side of the story, but
Pollon remains unfazed.
"Well zen, let us begin!" he shouts, grasping the crystal ball with both
hands.
"Gonyogonyogonyogonyo... Fireball!!"
"Au reviour, scoundrel Kid!"

"Adieu, petit-chested mademoiselle!"

"Adieu, ma che'rie! Wait for moi in hell, my sweet!"

The barrel of the magical cannon flashes as a tremendous fireball is let
loose!
It shoots directly towards the monster, crashing into its torso with the
impact of a two-ton battering ram! Explosive flames engulf the area, blowing
me back with a gust of hot air!
"Kid!!"
"Oui! Oui! Finally, we are rid of zat horrible little mademoiselle! In ze
past, such terrible experienzes have stemmed from her, non? But now, we
shall worry about her no more! Ho, hohohoho!"
"...Kid..."
I fall to the ground, devastated. But even moreso is the dreadful feeling of
regret I'm filled with.
However, suddenly, the goblin guards simultaneously call out in surprise!
"Captain! Look!"
A giant figure of some kind seems to be emerging from the blazing explosion!
As the smoke subsides, there stands the monster, completely unharmed!
Just as I thought, that pompous freak is no match for Kid! I breathe a sigh
of relief, but then I realize I'm no further away from doom than before...
"What? She livez!? How can zis be!?" Pollon screams incredulously, running
toward me. The relaxed smile from earlier has now been replaced with nervous
sweat.
"What kind of twizted magic iz zis!?" he frustratedly asks me.

*"There's no way I'll ever tell you."
*"It's impossible pour vous..."

I answer spitefully, trying to imitate his greasy smile.

I answer sarcastically, trying to imitate that pompous accent of his,
complete with landing a few drops of saliva on his putrid face.

Pollon turns bright red. "What!? Zpit it out, you little zwine!" he demands,
furiously shaking me by my shirt!
But then, all of a sudden...

                     Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh...
Like a howling wolf, Kid's voice echoes out throughout the grassy plain.
A chill runs down my spine. Could it really be her, trying to break free
from the monster...?
As I stare up at her, silence and fear take hold. She's waving her hands
around in the air, saying something in a slow, deep voice...

               "The dead who lurk in the dark..."

Quietly and solemnly, Kid's voice begins to echo out. That's her voice, all
right, but it doesn't sound like her at all... that monster's still got a
hold on her. It must be using her to summon another spell! As she continues
to chant, a blue aura starts to form in front of her, shimmering with deadly
beauty.
"Eh? How can she do zat?" Pollon shrieks, now turning blue with fright. "No
one can ztand up againzt ma cannon!"
"Adieu...!" he shouts, before quickly fleeing!
The goblin chief follows soon after. "All troops, fall back! Retreat to the
manor, on the double!!"
Following the goblin chief's orders, the soldiers abandon the cannon and
flee to Viper Manor.
I'm left alone with this gigantic monstrosity, listening to it starting to
summon who knows what. What am I supposed to do now...?

*Run away!
*Call for help!

I'm out of options, it seems... I don't stand a chance against this thing on
my own. Hearing Kid continue to chant, my situation is looking worse and
worse...
Just as I'm about to bolt for the mansion, something grabs hold of my
shoulder!
"Going somewhere?"
I slowly turn around.

My cries ring out in the night sky as I gulp down desperate gasps of air.
However, the only response I hear is Kid's...
Just as I think I'm about to lose it, a voice echoes out from behind me!
"There you are."
Alarmed, I whip around instantly!

"Magil!"
Relieved, I try to catch my breath.
He's changed -- a strange sort of glittering silver robe drapes down from
his shoulders, and a bright ring shines across his entire back.

*"Magil, what are we going to do!?"
*"You made me wait here all that time just so you could change into that
thing!?"

I want to ask him about his new clothes and everything, but now isn't the
time. Instead, I tell him all about what happened, the chain of events
relentlessly overflowing from my heart.

From behind his mask, Magil remains composed as ever, ignoring my question.
He shifts his gaze over towards the beast. "This is a volatile situation,
Serge."
Clenching my fists, I try to forget about all this and keep in mind that
Kid's the one who's important here.

"I tried to do what you told me to do, but..."
"Yes. However for now, we should leave this area. It is not safe here."
Scooping me up under his arm, Magil briefly recites a spell, and soars high
into the air!
From far above, I look down upon the ominous landscape, hearing Kid continue
to recite her strange incantation...
I can barely make it all out from up here. But, from what I can tell, a
faint, pale light is starting to drift all around the monster, causing the
ball of light in Kid's hands to grow stronger and stronger. I wish I could
do something, but... I don't know what to do!
With the sound of a thousand tortured voices of madness crying out in
unison, Kid's surging ball of light begins to grow larger and larger, eating
away at everything around her!
The pale shimmering light slowly stretches outwards, swallowing up
everything in its path, melting Viper Manor like fire on ice! It
indiscriminately evaporates the huge mansion, along with everything else in
its wake...
Stretching out more and more, the gigantic void eats away at everything,
before disappearing into the ground...
"Unbelievable..."
If Magil hadn't been here just now... Oh man, just thinking about it gives
me chills.
A giant fissure has been created where Viper Manor once stood, continuing
down into the ground farther than I can see.
And there, on the brink of this newly-formed ravine, stands Kid...
"She seems to be holding out," Magil says. "She's wrestling with the monster
for control, but she's almost at her limit."
I can barely hold back the impatience in my heart, looking down upon all
this...
"What's going to happen to her? Don't let her die!!"
"Quiet, child!!"
Magil's unexpected outburst snaps me out of my nervousness.
"Calm down, Serge."
He's right, I need to keep my cool. I don't think he needed to go about it
like that, though...
"Allow me to cast a levitation spell on you," he says, before muttering some
arcane words. Shortly after, he gently releases me.
Whoa, I'm floating!
"To fly, simply think about the direction you wish to travel."
Nodding, I carefully try it out. He's right! This is amazing! I dart here
and there, flying circles around him with ease!
"Now, please let me see your knife."
I take it out and hand it to him.
Magil takes out a white jewel from inside his robe, and again mumbles some
strange sounding words. Suddenly, the jewel attaches itself to the hilt of
my knife as though it were magnetized!
He hands the knife back to me, saying "I mentioned this to you before, but
let me emphasize it again. Kid is bound to the monster's body because of her
anger. As long as that bond exists, we will be unable to save her. To break
it, I told you to show her your love."
"But I don't understand how to do that!" I yell, pressing him for an answer.
"A kiss."
"I have to kiss that thing?"
"Yes. It is the most effective way."
"But... its arms are as wide as my waist! Why didn't you tell me this
before!?" I yell, hitting him upside the head in a fit of rage!
And with that, I accidentally knock Magil's golden mask off, sending it
falling down through the night sky to the ground!
Gulp... did I just do that?
This is the first time I've ever seen his true face.
Even for a guy like me, I'm taken aback by his looks. His hair sways in the
moonlight, as his piercing blue eyes survey the environment below.
His beauty is different than a woman's... there's some sort of a fierce,
intrepid quality about him.
He is truly... a beautiful person.
Magil's hand suddenly comes across my face, eagerly returning the blow.
"Serge, listen to me!"
"I'm okay now, I swear! I wasn't gawking!"
"If Kid uses one more spell, we will not be able to save her. Be sure to
kiss her before that happens! However, if you are unable to do this before
she finishes concentrating her magical power, you must thrust your knife
into her heart! The jewel embedded in your knife holds the power to steal
souls. Doing so will be dangerous, but it will be our last resort!"
Listening to Magil's words, the possibilities run through my head.
Two choices...
Even though I can fly, it's going to be incredibly hard to get close enough
to that thing to kiss her.
But, the alternative... I don't even want to think about that.
"I'm going to start preparations for the exorcism. I will not be able to
come to your aid during this time."
Oh man... he's got to go away again? Could this get any more hopeless!?
Taking a deep breath, I try to convince myself I should be facing Kid on my
own anyways.

*"I... I can't do it...!"
*"Got it... I'll do my best!"

"How can you hope to save her with feelings of doubt in your heart?" Magil
shouts, seizing me by the collar. "You must save her! No one else can do
it!"
Magil's words are as much of a scolding as they are a reinforcement. But
still, I'm a nervous wreck.
He's right, I've got to do this. Just as he has things he must do, I too
must face my destiny. I'm the only one who can do it! If i don't, we'll lose
Kid forever!!
His grip loosens, seeing the change in my expression.

"Yes, Serge... your determination is at the very core of this matter," he
says, with his deep blue eyes fixed solidly on me. Strange, behind that
seemingly impenetrable gaze of his, I swear I see a hint of compassion,
somewhere within him...
                "Well then, let's go."

        "Protect the girl you love with all your might,
                         and all your heart."
As Magil's words resound into my head, an uproar of might rushes into my
spirit.
I'm going to save her... even if it kills me.
The will to save the one and only Kid pulses through my body. I flash Magil
a huge smile, and begin my descent...
        For Kid...
Soaring down through the air, I spot Kid at the edge of the chasm.
She's aware of me as well. As the monster rises to its feet, she stares up
at me with an infuriated look on her face.
She's changed...
Countless red veins have streaked across her body, pulsating with anger.
The monster's right hand arcs upward in a flash, trying desperately to grab
me. I dodge at the very last second.
I zip behind its arm, coming within a dangerously close range.

*Try to cover her mouth up.
*Unsheathe my knife.

Come on... time this right...
I reach out my right hand and carefully cover up her mouth, hoping to
prevent her from completing the spell.

*Try to talk to her.
*Kiss her.

As I stare at my unsheathed knife, a sudden wave of uncertainty comes over
me.

*Rethink this.
*Cut her up.

Yeah... the only way to really save her is with love!

There's no end to the turmoil brewing inside me. My uneasiness turns to
impatience as the grip on my knife tightens. I can't bear it if she was to
die, but...!

"Kid... I feel so much for you... I..." but before I can finish, she starts
to strangle me!

*Grab her arms and pry them off of me!
*Kick her in the face!

She relentlessly strangles me with both her hands! I can't take much more of
this, for sure!

*Grab her arms and try to pry myself free!
*Kick her in the face!
*Unsheathe my knife!

Urrghhh... she's so strong! There's no way I can break free!
No... I can't give up! I have to do this!!
I try again, this time with such ferocity, I use strength I didn't know I
had!
There! Her grip is slipping! Yes! I free myself and instantly fly back a
ways!

"I'm sorry, Kid," I say in my head as I shove my heel high up in her face!
Reeling backwards, the grip on my neck is loosened! Taking advantage of this
momentary opportunity, I quickly move out of the way and fly back!

Moving up towards Kid's chin, I try to give her a kiss.
However, she has other plans. She thrusts her right hand upward, clocking my
jaw from underneath!

*Raise up my hands, hoping to shield myself from any more blows.
*Pull back for now.

I desperately try to drive away her hands, but she manages to poke me in the
eye!
Ouch!
Tears roll down my cheeks as an intense pain shoots into my right eye. Could
this get any worse?

However, before I have time to react, the monster's left hand suddenly whips
out at me!

*Dodge!

I can't back away any further! I have no choice but to head back and
confront her again!

*Take a deep breath, and try to kiss her once again.
*Unsheathe my knife.
*Fly around behind her.

Suddenly, a tremendous pressure assaults my torso!
Looking around, I realize the monster's caught me in its huge hand!
It brings me up towards Kid, with her morbid stare fixed solely on me...
Her lips turn into a gloating smile, before changing into a billowing,
hateful laugh. She reaches out and places her right hand on my forehead, and
then, a stream of red starts to pour from her mouth!
Oh no... she's starting another spell!

*"Kid! No! Listen to me, don't cast that spell!!"
*Try to break free!

I holler out with all my heart, hoping there's any part of her real self
still left!

Twisting and turning with all my strength, I struggle to escape from my
bonds. However, the monster's grip isn't loosened one bit!

However, her expression remains unchanged as her unblinking eyes dance
around erratically.
Suddenly a trace of light begins to form in the palm of her hand. Red
streaks begin to rise up along her body!
"Kid!!!!!"
Then, suddenly, a ring of light comes flying at us from overhead, cutting
into the monster's arm like a hot knife through butter!
I fall to the ground with the monster's arm, instantly released from its
excrutiating grip!
"Serge! Now!!" Magil shouts from high above!

*Dart upwards and try to kiss her again!

Soaring up in an instant, I deftly position myself near her head.
Bam!
I'm knocked backwards in a daze as I try to recover from the headbutt she
just landed on my forehead. My vision suddenly turns dark...
Amidst my daze, something seems to have been snatched from my side.
Oh no... where's my knife!? Oh no, she's trying to stab me with it!

*Dodge!

The knife pierces nothing but air as I quickly dart to the side.

That familiar feeling of dread runs through me again, but I then start to
think of how I could never manage to make my way past that hulking monster.
As I stare into those fearfully dark eyes of hers, I ready my knife...
I lunge the knife outwards! Kid raises her arms to protect herself from the
blow, but it strikes her square in her heart! Fresh blood gushes out onto my
hand and the blade!
Then, suddenly, the white jewel begins to sparkle!
I regretfully watch Kid writhe in agony, her hands now a dizzying mess of
blood as the jewel shimmers brighter and brighter!
"Kid! Kid!!" I call out, but to no avail. She only continues to cry out in
pain, writhing madly. I just hope I didn't choose the wrong path, resorting
to violence...
Suddenly, her body goes limp, and the jewel turns a solid milky white. I
soar over, gathering her up in my arms, hoping everything will be all right.
"Please, God! Save her!" I shout, with tears flowing down onto her limp
body.

It's not long after I've zoomed around behind her that the monster's
gigantic hand starts swatting at me!
This is my last chance! If I don't act now, it'll be the end for sure!

*Swiftly move in!

Heeding Magil's order, I go for it!
Reaching my hand out towards her ever beautiful face, I hesitatingly move in
towards her lips.

*Please, God... save her...
*Kid... come back...
*I can't do it without you, Kid...

I confront her head on, placing my left arm on her shoulder while supporting
her chin with my right.
And then, with a deep breath, I move in toward her lips.

*Please, God... save her...
*Kid, come back, please...
*I can't do it without you, Kid...

                  I silently pray to myself...

              The words echo out in my head...

My knife, which remained faithfully at my side until moments ago, is now...
...Deep within my chest.
It doesn't hurt...
But, my heart... it's so cold. All I can think of is how cold my heart is,
as I stare at Kid, still holding onto the hilt of the knife. My chest is so
warm, but... so... cold.
Kid...
The thoughts in my head fade into the increasing chaos...
All I wanted to say to her has all but faded with the coldness in my heart.
...No... it can't end like this!
Wait... what's that? The jewel! The one in the knife's hilt! It's sparkling!
Somehow, I feel a momentary burst of energy flow into me. Trying desperately
to stay coherent, I lift myself up, and reach out to her.

*I'll trade my life for hers. Please, God... save her...
*Kid... come back, please... I love you...
*Please don't die, Kid. Together, with my soul...

                  I silently pray to myself

              The words echo out in my head

                 I silently pray to myself

...

"Well done, Serge! Hold her tightly to you, and leave the rest to me!!"
Hearing that voice, I slowly open my eyes. All I see before me is Kid's
face, hollow and listless...
I'm so scared... I hug her tighter than I've ever hugged her before, quietly
sobbing as I kiss her again and again.
Looking up, I see Magil floating among a sea of clouds. Hanging there in
midair with his arms folded, his dazzling figure glitters like gold.
Suddenly, the clouds beneath him open up as he darts downward, aiming
directly for us!
"The moon comes forth... Its goddess speaks...
I am summoned by the will to vanquish evil...
Goddess of the Moon, lend me your power...
Scourge the insolent evil from this world..."
                      "...Now!!"
The golden ring printed on Magil's cape shines brighter and brighter as he
swoops down onto us!
Centered on Kid, the collision creates a huge explosion, spreading over the
monster's entire body!
My first instinct is to back away, but I remain by her, hugging her body
tighter than ever! Somehow, the explosive flames don't seem to harm me!
Soon after, the flames begin to subside. I slowly open my eyes, only to see
the spell on Kid has been broken! She's been separated from the monster!
I hold her body tightly to me as I fly away with her, far out of the reach
of the incapacitated monster.
Looking back, the monster begins to pulsate with a white light, causing the
battered monster's body to shake and tremble. Shimmering sparks dance around
its body, circling the beast faster and faster, until the entire scene is a
glistening ball of light!
Soaring further and further away from the calamity, I look back again only
to see the monster implode into a single point of light. Having left no
trace of the disaster that took place before, the small point of light
briefly zips around like a firefly, disappearing into the night sky in a
flash.

...Dry leaves drift down from the trees, covering the vast landscape bit by
bit. Autumn turns to Winter, then to Spring, Summer, and finally Autumn once
again. Time travels on, the everlasting impartial arbiter...
Somewhere in a vast forest, a small, isolated hut stands in solitude. Built
by the men of a nearby village, it's used mainly for when loggers come to
fell the trees of the forest.
However, on this particular day, it has a different use.
The front door opens from the inside, and a large framed man steps out.
Obviously not a man from the nearby village, he wears a dark gothic tunic,
and a porcelain mask on his face.
Inside the hut, a girl sits with her back turned to the door. Wrapped in a
blanket, her shoulders shudder uncontrollably...
Grasping a knife with a peculiar jewel embedded on its hilt, she weeps
endlessly.
"Magil told me everythin' after I was pulled from that monster.
Serge... you sacrificed yerself to save me. But now, it's yer soul's that's
trapped in here. Why me... why'd I have to live... He tells me that yer
bound to that jewel because it's a magic artificial body. But, if we make a
clone for ya, we might be able to bring ya back..."
"I wanna go, to help Magil... to help you..."
"But... I'm so sad..."
"I can't stop cryin'..."
Serge... Magil never told me, but I knew... I always knew... Yer final
thought, after you'd been sealed in the gem...
      "I'll trade my life for hers. Please, God... save her..."

           "Kid... come back, please... I love you..."

      "Please don't die, Kid. Together, with my soul..."

Looking down, I can't help but grin as I see the familiar sight of Kid's
face. The green in her skin is rapidly fading, returning to the normal color
it once was.
"Kid... it's going to be okay..."
"There is no need to worry. Once her spirit settles, she will awaken. Here,
put this on her. It wouldn't be too good if she was to wake up like that,"
Magil says, holding out his silver cape.
Yeah, if she wakes up like this, it'll be slaps and bruises for everyone...
I take the cape and quickly wrap it around her limp body.
"M..."
She's coming to!
My heart races. I look at her face, seeing her eyelids start to tremble.
"Good morning, Kid!" I say, still a bit nervous.
"Serge... Magil..."
She groggily moves her eyes around, left and right...
And then, after that brief, subdued moment...
"You two... dammit, ya saw me naked, didn't ya..."
Shocked, I look up at Magil, but he's nowhere to be seen...
How could he leave me alone with her at a time like this! Why can't I be the
one with the power of the shadows...
Kid stares at me with those ever-fiery eyes of hers...
"Hey, you kissed me too!?"
How could she remember any of that... dammit, Magil...

*"Yes... I kissed you."
*"What? You must have been dreaming or something..."

Letting out a deep breath, I answer truthfully...
But before I can finish, "Yeah, just like I thought! Tryin' to sneak in a
quick peck when I'm knocked out!!" she yells, rising to her feet, slapping
me again and again!

Kid stretches her arms out, grabbing me by the collar! As she begins to slap
me senseless, I remind myself that I'd probably be getting the same
treatment even if I had told the truth...

"...And I'd never been kissed before!
The nerve!
Ya bastard! Ya bastard!! Ya bastard!!!"
Suddenly, she stops and looks at me. It's over...
"Hell no, this ain't over!!"
She lands a solid punch square on my jaw, as her shouting continues to tear
through my eardrums!
Amidst all the commotion, the silver cape she was wearing accidentally slips
off. Momentarily thrown off guard, she quickly bends down to cover herself
back up.
Heh.
Wait, what's that on the ground? Kid seems to notice it as well, completely
forgetting about me.
She bends down, picking it up. It's some sort of large black and white
striped object. Holding it up, I try to see what it is (from a safe
distance). It looks like it's some sort of seed...
Yeah, it's a sunflower seed. But it's so big... bigger than a fist!
However, this only seems to add more fuel to her fire...
"Grrrr..... rrraaaaaaaahhhhh!!"
She stomps on it! And stomps! And stomps! And stomps and stomps and stomps
and stomps and stomps and stomps and stomps and stomps and stomps!!
Then, she picks it up, and hurls it upwards with all her might!
"Gonyogonyogonyogonyo..."
"Kid!" shouts Magil, suddenly behind her.
"Kid! No!" he roars. But it's useless... she's locked into another one of
her tantrums!
"Gonyogonyogonyogonyo... fireball!"
Disregarding him completely, she sends a huge fireball streaking upwards to
the seed!
"That sunflower seed! It's worth 1,000,000,000 Gold!!" Magil shouts, just as
the seed explodes!
Kid suddenly looks over at Magil, but... it's too late.
The look on her face is one I don't think I've ever seen before.
Having just realized what she's done, her anger fades into a trememndous
feeling of regret. She slumps over, silently staring into her hands.
I can't believe a single seed could fetch such a price. It was a pretty big
seed, though...
"Be calm, Kid," Magil says. "As you see now, you've had the power to use
magic in you all along. The sunflower merely brought it out of you. However,
as you see, magic is a very temperamental thing. In time, you may learn to
control it."
"Hey, come on, Kid! We didn't come away from this empty-handed! You've
learned how to use magic, that's nothing to be down about!" I add, trying to
make the best of things.
Magil softly puts a hand on her shoulder. However, she quickly turns away
from us without saying a word. Her eyes are overflowing with tears...
Sigh...looks like it might be a while before things get back to normal.

"Kid..."
There's no response.
I timidly put my hand near her mouth. She's... not breathing...
And... there's no pulse...!
Kiiiiiiiidddd!!!!
I hold her body tightly to my own, as the rest of the monster's body
collapses and crumbles away...
I cry... and hold her tightly... and cry.
Suddenly, Magil comes up from behind me. "Serge, Kid is not dead. Her spirit
has moved on from that body, but she continues to lives on, inside that
jewel."
I stare down at the knife I hold in my hand.
The white jewel is there in the hilt, sparkling brighter than ever. But
despite what Magil says, I can't seem to hold back my sadness and tears...
Hugging Kid's lifeless body, I cry...
Suddenly, he forcibly pulls Kid away from me.
"Magil! What are you doing!?"
"How long do you intend to whimper over this? If you've decided to save her,
then save your tears for another day! It's not over yet!"
I stand up, realizing he's right.
"Kid's body is as replaceable as her clothes. If we can find her a new body,
we will be able to bring her back," he tells me, softening his tone.

*"I see... I'm sorry, Magil."
*"New clothes!?"

I apologize for my outburst.
"If I were Kid, I probably wouldn't have let you get away with all that,"
Magil says jokingly.
Hey, I was just hugging her...
"Let us go, Serge. There is no sense in staying here any longer."
"Go? Where?"
"To search for a clone for Kid."
"A... clone?"
"I will explain later. But before that, we will need to store this body
somewhere."
"All right. I wonder, what could this new clone be?"
      "A dragon, maybe?"

"Kid's new body."
"What!? Kid has another body?" I blurt.
"Please listen and try to understand what I say. Kid doesn't have another
body. currently, Kid is bound to this jewel as a magic artificial body.
However, we may be able to bring her back if we find a living body that
meshes with her spirit. For this, I will be performing a ritual of an
ancient magic legacy, known as a `Sacred Host' spell."
Wow... ancient magic. I'd heard of this kind of thing before, but I had no
idea there was anyone alive still capable of performing it...
Hesitant to believe him, I ask "Do you think you can do it?"
With an intimidating look in his eyes, Magil turns his glance away from me
as he begins to chant to himself. The leaves all around us begin to rustle
up from the ground, scattering up in a vortex.
"From Dragon, to Wolf... from Beetle, to Imp, to Lizard... from evil men, to
a man among men..."
In succession, Magil's enchantment echoes all around us. Hearing his low,
rumbling voice, I find myself more and more hypnotized by his presence...
But Kid... I can't have her turning into any one of those. If she's turned
into a Dragon, I'll be nothing more than her next meal!
We'll have to find an absolutely stunning clone for her...
The world's a huge place. There has to be a clone out there that'll do...
there has to be!
"From Imp, to Heckran, to Lavos... choose any one you like. I recommend the
Lavos host; it's the strongest of all."
     "Thanks, Magil... I've made up my mind."

             "Hatred and jealousy in my hands..."
         "Gather into a thousand dark prayers..."

                  "The fallen angel, Arcmyst..."
      "Answer my prayer, and grant me thy power..."

                  "Death to all living things..."
                  "Destruction to all creation..."

                        "Devour all light..."
"Phantom... Break...!"

"Gyyaaaah!"
                    Lunachant Ringforce Kick!!

"Oh, it's just a small kitchen."
"For the servants, probably," I add.
I look around the tiny room. There's a sink, pots and pans, and a bunch of
food in the cupboards. A rat hangs in a cage off in a corner, but aside from
that, it's a pretty average kitchen.

We've returned to the kitchenette.

Kid walks over to a deep saucepan and peers inside.
"Mmm... smells fresh. Want some grub, Serge?"

*"Uhh, sure..."
*"What!? No way!"

I timidly peer into the saucepan. It looks like some sort of stew. Using the
ladle on the stove, I reach in and take a big scoop...

*"Mmmm, delicious!"
*"Barf!! What is this stuff?"

Kid looks at me again. After a moment of hesitation, she comes over. "Quit
hoggin' it all for yerself, mate!" she says, taking the ladle and sniffing
the warm mixture.
"Want some, Magil?"
"No, thank you."
We take some bowls from the shelves, and serve ourselves some more.
As we eat more and more, the stew's warmth flows all through us! I feel
great!

My belly starts to bulge as I eat scoop after scoop of the warm, delicious
stew.

"Aw, c'mon... It's not so bad. Yer always such a picky eater..."
We continue to walk around, searching through the cabinets and drawers.

"In a place like this? Are you kidding? Rats like that one over there are
probably the main ingredient!"
Ignoring me, Kid smacks her lips, taking a scoop of the stuff.
"You havin' any, Magil?"
"No, thank you."
"Awright, well, I don't see why. It's great!"

But then, all of a sudden, a quiet shrill voice echoes out. It seems to be
coming from over by the cage. "Ah, what an independent young lad... are all
the boys wearing braids these days?"
I stop and look at Kid.
"Who's there!?"

"You still think she's a boy!?"

Looking over in the direction of the voice, we see nothing but the single
rat. It stares at us with its small, beady eyes...
"Ah, excuse me... you're a girl, not a boy."

"I forgot she was a girl."

It looks like Kid can't decide whether to be puzzled or infuriated by all
this. But just between you and me, I don't think this is the first time her
personality has led someone to think she's a guy...
At any rate, the brown rat continues. "Listen, please, kind humans! I am
trapped within a most unfortunate situation. While on my way to the kitchen
this morning to bring home some food for my mother, goblins seized me and
trapped me here in this cage! Unless I can escape, I am to be a side-dish
for their next meal!"
Still a bit agitated at its last remark, Kid stares at the rat suspiciously.

A side-dish...?
Listening to the rat, Kid walks over to the sink.

"Please, you must help me! My desperately ill mother awaits my return!" the
rat pleads, its eyes twinkling in the light.
Kid shrugs her shoulders, letting out a sigh.

However, I look over towards Kid. She's over by the sink, her face getting
redder and redder...

"Aw, don't cry. Here, we'll let ya go."
Setting the cage down on the floor, Kid opens the cage door.

"Stupid rat! Don't even know a lady when ya see one!" Kid yells, stomping
out of the kitchen.
"Oh, young lady... I did not mean to..."
With Kid gone, the rat turns towards me. "Brother... help me..."

*Help it out.
*Abandon it.

"I understand."
I open the cage door.  The rat quickly scurries out.

"I'm sorry, I have to check on my friend," I say reluctantly, hurrying after
Kid.

"Heh, heh," the rat laughs, as a strange smile comes over its face. "You
really are a bunch of fools."
Spitting out those words, the rat suddenly starts to tremble, before rapidly
growing in size, growing larger and larger by the second!

It's a gryphon!!
"Stupid humans. You're just in time for lunch! My mother's, that is!"
"Damn these monsters...!"

"Dammit Serge, ya walked right into its trap!!"

Oh man... what was I thinking?

The gryphon rises up onto its hind legs, screeching and flapping its huge
wings! Suddenly, its sharp talons swoop down out at us!

*Hit the deck!
*Jump back!

I frantically try to dodge the beast, hoping to avoid those terrifying
three-inch claws. I manage to avoid its blow, but I'm now cornered into the
back of the room!
As it inches near me for a strike, it rises up onto its hind legs once
again, this time even higher than before!
However, in a moment of blind luck, the gryphon suddenly loses balance on
the slippery floor and comes crashing to the ground!
"Urrghhh..."
Wow, talk about close calls... I let out a breath of relief as I stand over
the gryphon, wondering what to do next.
"So, ya ugly little rat... now who's stupid?"
"Uhh.... wait! Please, I beg you, kind, beautiful human girl!!"
"I am aware of valued information! If you promise to spare my life, I will
tell you a special secret of the mansion!"
"I dunno... you lied already, ya bugger... I'd rather just kill ya and have
it be over with," Kid says, taking a step closer.
"Kid, let us hear what he has to say," Magil says, coming between them. Kid
pauses for a second, and then steps back.
"Th, thank you!"
"That woulda been fun..." Kid says, shrugging.
"One day, you too may find yourselves within my situation, caged in on all
sides! If such a fate comes to pass, remember these directions, and your
lives shall be spared!
Right three steps...
Left two steps...
Right two steps...
And then you'll see!"
No sooner than it says this, the gryphon transforms back into a rat,
scurrying off into a crack in the wall.
"I sure hope sparin' that thing was worth it. Who knows when it'll sneak up
on us next..."

Heading out of the kitchen, we head back down the passageway...

We return to the kitchenette.
The rat and its cage are gone. The stew is also nowhere to be found.
We leave the kitchen, wary of whoever else that could have been here...

Various trinkets are scattered around this decorative room, adding a bit of
charm to an otherwise dreary mansion.
A luxurious desk and a light, fluffy bed add to the elegant nature.
"Is someone there?" a woman's voice asks all of a sudden. Kid and I
instantly hide behind a closet, ready for anything.
A fair girl comes into view from out of a dark corner.
"Hmm... it must have been my imagination," she says, apparently not yet
aware of us.
I remain perfectly still while holding my breath, wondering what to do next.
Then, all of a sudden, a shadow over by the desk begins to tremble!
Magil...!
He suddenly materializes, placing himself directly across from the girl.
She's overcome with shock, seeing this. In desperation, all she can do is
muster out the words "Who... what... what do you want...?"

*"We're thieves, but..."
*"We're here because of the invitation in the newspaper."

"Ah, you're just in time," she replies without question, nervously playing
along with my lie.
Kid subtly jabs me in the side. "Why do ya always have to be tellin' those
clumsy lies!?"
Staring at the two of us, she backs away in fright. "Who are you people...?"
she asks, unable to mask her increasing fear.

I hope this girl can recognize a good thief when she sees one...
"We're thieves, but we mean you no harm," I say hesitantly, wondering if
that came out right.
Kid stares at me doubtfully, most likely confused by what I'm getting myself
into.
Seeing the situation unfold before her eyes, the girl stands there with a
blank look on her face, pale as a ghost. "Who are you people...?" she asks,
unable to mask her increasing fear.

Magil steps in and speaks in a comforting tone. "I apologize on behalf of my
party if we startled you. We intend no harm, my lady."
Despite his persuasiveness, the girl seems to remain unconvinced, and starts
to panic. "Stop, thieves! Don't come any closer!"
This is hopeless...

*Tie her up and gag her.
*Threaten her, hoping she'll faint.

I move over to the bed and start to pull off the sheets. Kid comes over and
helps, saying, "Whaddaya say we toss her in the dresser."
Magil approaches us and grabs the sheets out of our hands before we can make
our move. With a look of pity in his eyes, he looks back towards the girl.

I unsheathe my knife, bringing it up to eye level as I take a step closer.
Seeing me, the girl buries her face in her hands, retreating back.
But suddenly, Magil darts over to me and strikes the knife out of my hand,
hurling it towards the floor. With pitied eyes, he again looks towards the
girl.

She seems shocked at this turn of events to say the least, not knowing what
to think.
"Sorry Magil, I was only trying to do what's best," I say, ashamed.
However, before Magil can respond, the girl takes a breath, and turns to us
to speak.
"Magil? You're Magil? ...Did you once go by the name... Gilbert?"
Hearing that name, Magil takes on a look of shock.
"Riddel? Is that you?" he says in a surprisingly vulnerable tone.
"Gilbert! It's really you! My dear, dear Gilbert," she says, taking his
hand.
Gilbert? What the...?
"I have worried about you ever so much," he says in a deeply sentimental
voice.
Kid, suddenly tinged with anxiety, interrupts the two.
"Hey, lovebird! We're here for the Frozen Flame, not damsels in distress,
remember?"
"The Frozen Flame?" asks Riddel, bewildered.
"Ah yes... these are my companions," Magil says in his usual, dry tone a
moment later.
Kid and I glance at each other.
"This evening is a blessing, bequeathed to us by that shimmering red jewel's
fate," Magil says to Riddel.
Oh, brother... All this girl stuff is starting to unravel him...
Kid's starting to get agitated, however. I've got a feeling there are few
things that could keep her from getting the Frozen Flame tonight, and none
of them wear high heels.
Despite her increasing impatience with the situation, Magil goes on... and
on... "...Ever since my childhood, I have thought of you...
My heart has yearned ever so madly, only for you."
"Oh, Gilbert..."
"It is true, my dear Riddel. Therefore... about the promise..."
Suddenly, Riddel turns away from Magil. "Promise?" she asks in a voice so
quiet it's almost inaudible.
"Yes, my dear... surely you haven't forgotten our secret
promise... the one we made to each other on that beautiful day in the
garden. You have not forgotten the vows of marriage we bestowed on one
another, have you?"
Riddel continues to avert her eyes form Magil. "I will hear no more of this
childish nonsense!" she shouts, burying her head in her hands once again.

*Ask if there is any interest at all left in her.
*Ask if there is someone else.

"You... you do not want me?" Magil asks in a trembling voice.
"Magil... this is all so sudden, to meet like this..."
"So our promise was meaningless?"
Despite Magil's logic, he's overshadowed by Riddel's bitter tone.
"There are some things in our past that I will not forget, Gilbert! Once,
you were given some delicious-looking homemade cookies for your fifth
birthday, but you would not share them with anyone! And another time, at one
of the village festivals, I remember wanting to dance with you, but you
never asked me to. I waited all night!"
Why does she still hold grudges for things that happened so long ago...?
"It is all a misunderstanding, Riddel! I wanted to ask you to dance, but I
did not have the confidence...!" Magil frantically explains.
"And you suddenly appear, hoping to fix everything with a mere apology!?"
Riddel counters, despite the glistening tears beginning to form on her long
eyelashes.
"Bollocks, mate. Ya sure got yerself in a tight spot here, with all this
marriage talk," Kid adds, supporting Riddel.
"Yes, but... I... I believe you, Magil," Riddel says softly, starting to
smile as she wipes her tears. Kid scowls.
I'm staying out of this, I say to myself. I've got enough problems with my
own love life...

"...Is there someone else?" Magil asks after a moment or two, barely able to
keep himself composed.
"Gilbert, I..."
She breaks off, unable to finish the sentence. Her shoulders sag as she
starts to lament again.
"Sheesh, Magil... talkin' to her like that ain't gonna help! Save yer issues
for Lynx!" Kid interjects, bringing Magil back to reality.
Riddel continues to sob, more and more bewildered by the moment.
"This is hopeless, mate! We've wasted enough time here, we gotta get goin'!"
"But as it is, leaving this lovely lady alone would be a mistake. She may
tell someone about us, or perhaps she's in danger," Magil says to Kid,
staring at Riddel.
"Sheesh, I know why you wanna stay here, and it ain't that," Kid says,
rolling her eyes.
"Kid, please, leave this to me!" Magil shouts.
Riddel, watching all this, stares at Magil intensely, probably now wondering
if he's the one with something to hide.
Magil feverishly explains. "Please allow me to introduce Kid, a business
associate of mine."
Kid, bored to tears, does her best to get us out of this situation.
"Business associate? Is that what yer callin' me now? Aw c'mon, mate... just
last night you were..."
Dammit! I can't believe she's saying this!
I rush to cover her mouth up with my hands, saying, "Er... she's a little
confused right now, don't mind her... heh..."
After a moment Kid stops wrestling me and I let go of her. Teeth marks as
red as blood stand out on my fingers...
"Gilbert... you really think I'm a lovely lady?"
Seeing a new ray of hope before his eyes, Magil picks up where he left off.
"Only of the loveliest kind, my lady. Indeed, it's true, you have blossomed
into a fair and delicate young woman."
I'm staying out of this, I say to myself. I've got enough problems with my
own love life...

But then, suddenly, another voice echoes out, entering in through the
doorway! "Mistress Riddel, you will remember to mind your manners around our
guests, won't you?"
Who's this?
"Oh Noelle, you know how I dislike it when you call me Mistress!" Riddel
exclaims.
She continues, slightly embarrassed. "This is Gilbert, Noelle. Surely you
remember him from long ago, when I was but a child."
After a while, it dawns on the elderly woman that she once knew this man,
and an expression of recognition comes over her face. "Ah, yes... Master
Gilbert. All grown up, I see. And what a fine gentleman you turned out to
be!"
"Aw, now we're never gettin' outta this," Kid says, sitting down on a couch
with her head in her hands.
Could this still be a trap, I wonder...

*"Don't relax just yet, Kid. I think we're being double-crossed. Do you
think we could manage to take Riddel hostage?"
*"Let's let Magil do what he thinks is best, Kid..."

I stoop down to where Kid's sitting and whisper, "Magil's got more
experience than us... I think we should let him handle this."
Kid goes utterly numb.
The maid notices us whispering to each other and takes a step backwards.
"Well... who is this young lady?"
"Ah, these two are my business associates," Magil says, offering a simple
introduction.
"...I... I see. Since Master Gilbert says so, I will extend my welcome to
you. I am Lady Riddel's personal servant. My name is Noelle."
"Nice to meet you."
"I have known Master Gilbert ever since he was a wee lad..."
She goes on, telling us about various things from their past. It seems like
they've had quite an illustrious upbringing.
"...And so, Master Gilbert and Lady Riddel often shared one another's
company, stealing each other's eyes. However, one day, he was whisked far
away..."
"Could this get any more exciting?" Kid asks.
Noelle and Kid exchange looks, but she continues momentarily after
recomposing herself.
"...Once, in a secret meeting at their favorite flower garden, an oath was
made between the two. In that beautiful courtyard, future prospects were
indeed planned upon..."
However, the maid's eyes darken as she continues.
"But, as everyone knew, Lady Riddel had already been assigned a suitor!"
Riddel's shoulders sink upon hearing this. "Noelle! Why did you have to
mention that! Now our oath is void!"
Magil's eyes shimmer in the dim light.
Through all this, Kid has been just about pushed to her limit. Unable to be
obedient any longer, she stands up, eyes flaring.

I stoop down to where Kid's sitting and whisper my plan to her. However, the
maid notices us conspiring and takes a step backwards.
We stop once we notice we're being stared suspiciously by just about
everyone in the room.
"Umm... er, no, we're not what you think, ma'am!" I stutter, trying to level
with her. "We were simply here for the Frozen Flame, and..."
Wait... what am I saying? Why can't I just keep my mouth shut next time...
"Fool," Kid says with an icy glance.
Glancing over her shoulder, Kid takes a deep breath. "This's useless. Quick,
let's get em!"

Kid leaps out ahead of Magil, confronting the two. "Listen up! I'm the great
thief, Kid! And we're here tonight in this mansion to..."
But she's broken off by the maid! "How dare you, you rude young lady! Surely
you know better than to act in such a way before the Lady of the House!"
"Hah! You got somethin' comin' to ya, you old wench!" Kid snarls, now eye to
eye with Noelle.
Magil quickly comes between the two, first addressing the maid. "Please, do
not worry. I have never shown any malice towards you or Riddel, nor have I
ever meant any harm and I will not allow any to happen in the future. Please
accept my apologies on my accomplice's behalf."
"Master Gilbert..."
Continuing on, he then turns towards Kid. "Perhaps it would be best if we
left."
"Huh!?"
Kid and Noelle exchange glances.
Then, at the same time, one single idea seems to pop into both Noelle's and
Kid's minds.
"What in blazes are ya thinkin'? Runnin' off with Riddel!?" Kid yells, at
the very same moment Noelle shouts "What in the world, m'lady! How could you
think of elopement at a time like this!?"
Magil's mouth drops wide open. "No, that is not what I meant..."
But it's useless. The yelling resumes, louder than ever, hopelessly drowning
out Magil's reasoning.
"What kind of a gentlemen do you think you are!? Honestly, thinking of
eloping without telling a single soul!" Noelle ensues, before stomping out
of the room in a rage.
"Dammit, we gotta think about the Frozen Flame here!" Kid shouts, tugging on
Magil's shirt.

Riddel doesn't seem to be very happy either, having once again regressed
into tears.
Magil's vow of love seems to be on its last leg. I'm starting to wonder if
there's any hope for this situation at all anymore...
In any case, Riddel can't possibly want to be burdened with all this
torment. If I could just talk her down out of all of this commotion, it
might be all right. If only I had more options...

*"It won't be a bad life, living with him. He's a good guy."
*"You do want to escape this terrible mansion, don't you?"

"A good thief, perhaps! Everyone I know would be ashamed to talk to us!"
Riddel whimpers.
"Whaddaya got against thieves now!? Ain't nothin' wrong with bein' a thief.
It's an honorable job, ain't it, Magil?"
If Riddel wishes it, I will hereby end my career as a pilferer. Therefore,
we..."
"M... Magil??"
Kid and I are floored. This girl must really, really be something...

"I do not intend to leave this house!" Riddel says in a strict tone. "What
kind of lifestyle could you hope to provide for me, compared to this?"
"True, my lady, you do live in the lap of luxury here. But look around, is
this truly where you want to be?"
"My foster father will not allow it... it would not work out... Oh Gilbert,
why must you do this to me!?"
"Please, be calm, Riddel. I have more than enough savings to cover a down
payment for marriage funds and a new home," Magil reassures. "In addition,
honeymoon travel expenses will be provided from wedding gift money!"
Mentioning the wedding gift money, Magil glances at us.
Gulp...

Magil's presented a good case, but I just don't know if Riddel's swallowing
it all.
Suddenly, alarms blare out all around us!
"Damn that bloody maid!"
What do we do now!? Flustered, I look to Magil.
"We must be on our way," he says.
Riddel nods after a moment. "Indeed, it's best for you to leave tonight,"
she says. "In time, perhaps you may return. Then, I might be able to look
upon you as a friend."
A friend... a friend...
Hearing that word in terms of their relationship seems to strike through
Magil's heart like a searing hot knife.
"No! I will not leave here without you," he yells suddenly! "Riddel, please,
I beg you! Come with me, now!"
Footsteps can be heard from down the hallway.
"The guards are coming for us! Quickly!"
Magil lightly picks Riddel up, putting her over his shoulder as he makes for
the door!
"They're getting closer!" Kid says, peeking around the corner.
With his cape gallantly fluttering behind him, Magil bolts down the hallway!
Come on, they're right behind us!
Oh no, there they are, right there!
Hah! Like a hurricane, Magil effortlessly rams one of the guards into the
wall while I knock the other senseless without even stopping!
At last, we've slipped out of the huge mansion.
I'm utterly exhausted. I gasp huge breaths as I stumble down onto a nearby
grassy clearing, deep in the woods.
But suddenly, thunderous booms start to echo out from far behind us!
Looking up into the open nighttime sky, fireworks of all colors adorn the
starry evening.
I stare upwards, dumbfounded.
"What's goin' on?" Kid asks.
Then, through the trees, I look up at the mansion, and all my questions are
answered. There, we see all the occupants of Viper Manor, waving and
cheering for us.
"Long live Mistress Riddel!"
"Hip hip, hooray!"
"Good luck!"
"We'll all be over for brunch once you're settled!"
Then, Kid nudges me, pointing to the rooftop.
And there, Lord Lynx sits solemnly with a tear in his eye, waving to us.
"The father of the bride..."
Riddel lifts her head up to speak, briefly pausing from her joyful sobs.
"All this fuss... all this fighting..."
"It is I who should be apologizing, my lady," Magil says, putting his
forehead to hers, wiping her cheek with his handkerchief.
"Oh Gilbert, it's the same old you," she says, sighing.
From far across the landscape, a deep, shimmering light begins to fill the
sky.
"Look, Riddel... there's our Frozen Flame," Magil says, pointing towards the
morning sun.

          Magil: Caught Between Love and Adventure
                                The End

We come to a comfortably decorated room. Small trinkets have been placed on
the desk and shelves, adding some charm. The owner of this room has
obviously gone to great lengths to try and bring a somewhat graceful
lifestyle into this otherwise dark mansion. Still, the room seems to carry
an unsettling stillness with it.
"Bet it's Lynx's daughter's room," Kid says, surveying some of the items.

The letter on the desk and the warm teacup hint of a woman living here.
However, after searching the room, no one is found.
All we find are various odds and ends: a beautifully arranged set
of flowers, a white handkerchief carelessly tossed aside, a small bottle of
perfume, and so on. Although this stuff adds atmosphere to the room, none of
it is really worth anything to us.
Kid also seems to feel this way, disregarding most of the stuff in here. She
picks up a small box, decorated with a serpentine coat of arms. However,
like the rest of the items in here, it looks like it's of little worth to
us.
Hmm... what should I do now?

*Check the bed.
*Ask Kid to open the small box.
*Check the dresser drawers.

As Kid slowly opens the box, a comforting melody fills the air.

"That song..." Kid suddenly says, standing up beside me. I look over to her,
seeing her expression has changed to vulnerable curiosity, chasing a
long-lost memory...
"You know this song, Kid?"
"Yeah... a long time ago, someone I knew used to sing it to me..."
She turns away from me, rubbing her eyes.
.........
"Kid?" I say softly, putting my hand on her shoulder. After a moment or two,
she looks back at me. Tears are running down her cheeks.
Without saying a word, Kid walks quickly to the door.
"Hey, wait up, Kid!" I say, chasing after her.

I open up the dresser.
All sorts of differently colored garments have been placed in the drawer.
Frills, lace, and just about every color of lingerie...
"Wonder what kinda dress is this," Kid mutters, holding up a silk garment
from the bottom of the drawer. Examining the dress, I can see she's
fascinated with it.
"I've never worn anything like this before," she says, running her hands
across the fine floral lace.
She slides the dress down her shirt, and pulls it up over her shoulders.
After a moment or two of shuffling around, she undoes her shirt and I see
her wearing nothing but the silk dress. She looks as graceful as a fairy
with it on...
"Wow, look at me... I'm a lovely maiden! Not a scrap of roughage on me!"
"None whatsoever... a perfect fit!"
"Aw, Serge... quit teasin'!" says Kid, blushing.
"C'mon, let's go," she says after a while, putting her old clothes back on
with a smile on her face.

The plush bed seems very soft and fluffy. Abandoning my caution, I walk over
and examine it.
I push my hands into the mattress. Wow, it's softer than it looks. I could
sure use a good night's rest right about now...
Lifting up the edge of the sheet, I can't believe how light this bedding is.
And the smell... wonderful...!
Suddenly, Kid jabs me in the side.
"Hey! Whatcha doin?"
I fall onto the bed, laughing a little. I motion for her to come and join
me.
"What're you smilin' about...!?"
"Huh?"
"Serge, I can't believe you!" Kid yells with a red face, storming out of the
room.
"I didn't mean anything by it! It was a misunderstanding!!"
Hoping I can clear this one up, I chase Kid out of the room, abandoning the
search...

The letter on the desk and a warm teacup hint of a woman living here.
However, after searching the room, no one is found. A breeze coming in
through a slightly opened window refreshes me a little.
Wait, that window wasn't open before! Someone was just in here, it seems.
"Let's come back another time. We don't want to get caught snooping
around..."
For the time being, we leave Riddel's room.

"Is someone there?"
I instantly hide behind the door, trying to figure out where that voice came
from. It sounded like a girl, but it wasn't Kid...
It's Lynx's adopted daughter, Riddel! It has to be her!
"Odd... I could have sworn I heard someone come in," she says. Apparently
she hasn't seen us yet...
What do we do? I keep myself hidden behind the door.
Suddenly, Kid bolts out from behind a chair! She silently comes up behind
Riddel, putting a knife to her throat!
"We've come for the Frozen Flame -- where is it!!" Kid yells in a low,
strict voice.
"Kid... there's no need to be like that," I say, trying to calm her down.
"Quiet, Serge!"
Riddel giggles at the two of us.
"What's so funny!!!" Kid says in a tight tone.
"Oh, come on, you can't be thieves -- you're far too noisy!"
"I wouldn't be sayin' such things if I was you!"
"Well then, go ahead and cut me."
At that moment, I picture in my head Riddel collapsing with a blue face,
smeared in blood.
"Kid, look at her. She's not going to hurt us."
"Dammit...all right! Still, don't think I'm not keeping an eye on
ya!"
"The feeling is mutual," Riddel says.
"Don't worry, we're not your enemies. We're not after your power," I say to
Riddel, trying to keep cool.
"We've just come to talk. If there's anything you could tell us about the
Frozen Flame, or perhaps the Acacia Dragoons..."
Hearing these words, a somber look comes over Riddel's face. After a moment,
she begins to speak...
"The Frozen Flame... it was kept in a kingdom to the north for centuries,
legend has it...
With its subtle, mysterious power, it allegedly could guide people and
change history, all while somehow remaining elusive to those who sought it,
or so I have heard.
At the time of that kingdom's downfall, it was seized from its resting
place. Passed from hand to hand, finally it came into the possession of my
father, General Viper.
Lynx approached my father as a friend, years ago. Blindly trusting him, my
father was taken advantage of by Lynx, unable to realize his true
intentions...
And so, on that fateful day, struck down by his alleged friend, my father
was robbed, and left for dead..."
Averting her eyes, Riddel buries her face in her hands.
"I didn't know... I didn't know Lynx was behind all this at the time he took
me into custody. I was just a child...
That cursed rock, I didn't know anything about it, and I don't want to! I
don't want to have anything to do with it!!
I want nothing more than to see this all come to an end," she says with
tears in her eyes.
I'm taken aback, hearing these words.
Suddenly, Magil comes forward to speak. "Do you know of the old man who
currently is locked away in the catacombs?"
"That traitor! Because of him, my father... my dear Zorander...!!"
"Please, Miss..."
Turning her back on us, Riddel pauses. After a moment, she turns around,
letting out a deep sigh.
"...Yes, I know the man of whom you speak."
"He is an Acacia Dragoon, is he not?" Magil asks.
"He was, before he spent countless days and nights locked up in the torture
chamber, losing his mind as well as his identity in the process...
I remember the day they removed him from that dreadful room, beaten within
an inch of his life..."
"The torture chamber?"
"Yes... a terrible room upstairs, where Lynx breaks down peoples' hearts and
bodies..."
Riddel shivers, but quickly recomposes herself.
"Perhaps we may find a clue to his past there," says Magil. I'd hoped it
wouldn't come to this...

"The torture chamber you speak of, it is the room upstairs with the trap
ceiling, correct?"
Riddel nods silently.
"Perhaps we may find a clue to his past there," says Magil.
I'd hoped it wouldn't come to this...

"If you must search that room, be sure you have the Einlanzer with you
before you do."
"Eye-what?" Kid asks.
"It is a holy white sword, created long ago by ancient sages along with its
demonic brother, the Masamune.
It was the Acacia Dragoons' most prized weapon. It once glided through the
air in Zorander's hand, shimmering like a star...
Now, however, the Dragoons are all but extinct, and the sword has been
stored somewhere in this mansion, as though it was some sort of trivial
memento...
It is much more than a common sword, though. Shielded by its magical
enchantment, its bearer will be protected against many forms of evil."
Thinking of those memories of days long gone, again Riddel hangs her head in
sadness. "I wish I could be more of a help to you. I apologize..."
"Naw, that was plenty!" Kid says, heading out of the room.
"But... I wish I was more powerful, like you people," Riddel says, biting
her lip.
Stopping in the doorway, Kid looks over her shoulder. "Strength didn't get
us here. Power comes from believing in yerself!"
"I... I see. I wish you luck."
As she heads out of the room, Kid mutters, "Hope it ain't bad luck..."

Riddel sits over on the sofa, lost in thought. She seems to be staring at
something on an armrest nearby. Coming over towards her, I see it's a faded
photograph.
She looks up, kindly beckoning us to come over.
"Is there something the matter?"
"Well, about that sword..."
"Yes, the ancient holy sword Einlanzer. I do not know where it has been
stored, but I do know it can be of use when confronting the evils of the
torture chamber..."
"Hmmm... okay, gotcha," Kid says, heading back to the door.

"No... I just thought we'd come see if there's anything new here."
"Hey, are ya crazy? The Frozen Flame's out there, waitin' to be found!
C'mon, mate!"
Riddel gives me an assuring glance as I reluctantly follow Kid out.

"Be careful," Riddel says in a sweet voice.
At the door, Kid comes to a stop.
Without turning around, Kid asks Riddel, "Hey darlin, ya think you could
lend us a hand and tap into that special power of yers that you were talkin'
about before?"
Riddel remains silent.
"Well, why is that old man locked up down there?"
Looking downward, still, Riddel says nothing.
"Hmph... keep silent if ya want, but remember we're not yer tools of
vengeance. We act out of our own will... Don't underestimate us," Kid says.
"...I... I know," Riddel answers in a whisper.
As we leave I can't help but feel sorry for Riddel. Looking at her through
the doorway, she sits motionless, staring at the floor.

Someone is here, however.
With a book in hand, a single goblin sits in a chair, humming to itself. A
sweet aroma fills the room, presumably from the teacup sitting on the table
before it.
There's something different about this goblin. It doesn't seem hostile in
the least.
Looking up from its book, it examines us from behind its bifocals.
"Ah, welcome. It's rare to have visitors all the way down here."
"Too bad we're not guests!" Kid shouts. "If you wanna live, tell us where
the key to the catacombs is!"
And, with that, Kid takes her knife and thrusts it into the desk, slicing
through the tablecloth.
The goblin remains docile.
"Ah, you must be the elusive Kid. I so wanted to see you with my own eyes.
We've all heard so much about you..."
But before it can finish its sentence, Kid grabs the knife and hurls it
through the air.
The goblin sets its book down, now unreadable due to the seven-inch blade
protruding through it. It removes the knife and places it on the table.
"Your reputation precedes you. You are quite a radical young lady.
Nevertheless, it's a shame... I wanted to see how that novel ended up."
"Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Esmeld," it says, offering
a simple introduction.
"Please, I do hate to keep my guests standing at bay. Come, sit, and we
shall converse over tea."
My first thought is that it's poisoned. Despite my concerns, Magil sits
down.

*Take a seat next to Magil.
*Look at Kid.

Trusting Magil, I sit down next to him. Surely he's got something up his
sleeve.
Looking at Kid, she truly doesn't want anything to do with this. She remains
standing, keeping a vigilant eye on Esmeld.

Looking over towards Kid, I see she truly doesn't want anything to do with
this. She remains standing, keeping a vigilant eye on the goblin. I stand
beside her, folding my arms.

Black tea is set for three at the table.
"Ah, there we are."
After a moment, Magil takes the teacup, and brings it slowly to his mouth.
He takes a sip, and then sets the cup back on the table.
Esmeld smiles.
"Ah, Himalayan Chimpanzee. I've not had this blend in quite some time,"
Magil says.
"I see you are a gentleman of fine taste. I will have you know, not many of
my visitors have known of this type of black tea."
Listening to their banter, I stare at my cup.
Could it really be poisoned...? Picking up the teacup, I bring it close to
my mouth. It doesn't smell so bad...

*Take a sip.
*Don't.

I nervously sit down and take the cup into my hands.

Staring at the tea, I stay where I am.
Its mellow aroma enters my nostrils. A little wouldn't hurt, I suppose... If
Magil drank it...
Suddenly, before I know it, Kid sits down and takes a sip!
*Sit down with her.
*Just say no!

Succumbing to my curiosity, I sit down beside her and take the cup in my
hands.

No! I will not drink it...! I can't trust a goblin like this, no matter
what.
I sit down beside Kid, but I leave the tea untouched.

"Delicious!" I exclaim. I've never had anything like this before...
I loosen up a bit, sitting back in my chair.
Wait a sec, what's going on? My wounds, they're being healed!
Looking over towards Kid, she seems to be enjoying it as well.

"So, let's get down to business. Certainly the key to the catacombs has to
be around here somewhere. Whether I remember where it is, however... that's
a different story."

*"Tough luck. Give us the key."
*"Is there something you'd like in exchange?"

"Tough luck. Give us the key," I say, trying not to show my nervousness.
"Well, you can threaten to kill me, but that would bring you no closer to
the key. You could search Viper Manor for a whole month, day and night, and
never find it."

*"I understand. Is there something you'd like in return?"
*Take out my secret collection of Kid's photos.

Walking over to Esmeld's side, I slip him one of my secret stash. "Would
this change your mind?" I whisper.
However, his face shows nothing but utmost reservation. "What I seek is
nothing material."
"Hey mate, what'd ya show him?" Kid asks.
Hoping to avoid Kid's question, I quickly ask Esmeld, "Well, what would you
like then?"

"Hmm... something I want... your life, perhaps," he says, as his eyes light
up from behind his glasses.

*Grab my knife!

"Oh, you misunderstand, young man. I do not wish to harm you," Esmeld says,
noticing the sudden look of shock on my face.
"I enjoy chatting with the many types of visitors that we have in the
mansion. Surely, as an adventurer, you must have plenty of interesting
stories to tell."
Adding to this, he looks in my direction with a smile.
"I look highly on unique stories, and have been known to reward such
storytellers..."
Staring down at the dark liquid before me, I start to rack my brain for a
really good story...
Okay, I've got it!

On one particular evening, a small girl walked through a dark, dreary
forest.

*The girl had searched anywhere and everywhere for the Golden Sunflower, the
only cure for her mother's illness.
*The girl suddenly came across a large beetle.

And so,

*after walking endlessly, the sunflower was nowhere to be found.
*after three days, the girl hadn't eaten a single thing.

Taking it back to her home,

*the girl painted the beetle from head to toe with a shiny golden paint.
*the girl shrieked, complaining about how her house was so rotten and
infested.

"Hmmmm.... a fine beginning, perhaps. Is that all?"
"No! Umm..."
"On one evening, a girl walked through a forest, searching for the only cure
for her mother, the Golden Sunflower.
After walking endlessly, she still hadn't come across the sunflower.

After walking endlessly, the girl hadn't eaten in three whole days!

And suddenly before her, she came across a gold light, shining in a
clearing...
It was the Golden Sunflower!
The girl put a few of the sunflower seeds into her bag.
She was sure it would cure her mother, she thought.
Hurrying back to her home, she crushed a few of the seeds into a drink and
fed it to her mother. Getting better, the two lived happily ever after."

However, it was all a dream. With a happy face, the girl awoke, ready to
start another day!"

"Hmmmm.... a fine beginning, perhaps. Is that all?"
"No! Umm..."
"One evening, while a girl was walking through the forest, she came across a
beetle.
She took it home, painting it with a shiny gold paint.

She then took it back to her shabby home.

The next morning, the girl went to town to sell the beetle.
Claiming it was a good luck beetle, she showed it to many travelers, and
eventually sold it for an outrageous sum of money!"

Selling it to a restaurant, she took the money she earned and bought a
bouquet of flowers.
And so, she went and laid the flowers down at a lake near her mother's
grave."

Oh brother...
"...A fairly interesting story. Very well, here is the key."
Esmeld leans over towards the wall and knocks on a certain spot. There, a
secret trap door opens up. He reaches in, and takes out a key!
However, as I start to reach for the key, Esmeld recoils his hand.
Sighing, the goblin speaks. "Yes, I suppose you could say there is something
more that I wish for."
I glance at Magil, then back to Esmeld.
"Long ago, when I was a young, foolish lad, I was involved with General
Viper's daughter, Miss Riddel."
"Riddel? The General's daughter!?"
"Oh, you didn't know? Indeed, Miss Riddel's true father was General Viper."
"Anyhow, for the sake of harnessing the power of the Frozen Flame, Lord Lynx
abducted Miss Riddel, taking her as his own daughter. Within that strange
rock lies a strong mental connection to this particular Mistress...
And so, I have resided here all these years, silently waiting for the right
time to exact revenge on Lord Lynx for taking my dear Miss Riddel from me.
If you have come in order to find Lord Lynx, promise me you will not mention
any of this. You have come here to slay him, have you not?" Esmeld asks
calmly, holding the key in his hand.

*"Uhh... for the time being, I suppose..."
*"......"

Unfazed by the question, I answer truthfully.
Well this is sure a strange turn of events, hearing these things from a
goblin who's supposed to be defending Viper Manor.
All of a sudden, Kid interrupts. "Hell with the time bein'! Yeah, that's our
plan awright!"

I freeze up, not knowing what to say.
Well, this is sure a strange turn of events. Hearing these things from a
goblin who's supposed to be defending Viper Manor, it makes me wonder if I'm
dreaming...
All of a sudden, Kid interrupts. "You bet yer green arse, that's our plan
awright!"

"I... I see. Well, I certainly don't wish to detain you any longer. I would
help you more, but I prefer not to openly side myself with either party," he
says, handing us the key.
"Well, there still is somethin' you got that I want!"
Esmeld looks up, curious.
"How 'bout some more of that great tea of yers!"
Esmeld thinks for a second, then reaches behind him.
"Very well, one bag," he says, reluctantly parting with the teabag.
"Okay! Leave it to us!"
Putting the tea bag down her bosom, Kid says to Esmeld, "Ya don't have to
worry about a thing, I never lie about my promises!"
Esmeld nods, smiling.
"Let's head out, the Frozen Flame's bound to be around here somewhere!" Kid
says, heading to the door in high spirits. Magil pays his respects and we're
off.

"Yeah, Serge... and I'll bet the girl's name was Kid, wasn't it."
From beside me, chills run down my spine as I hear Kid question me in her
coldest tone.
"I made it up, Kid..." I whisper to her. Maybe she really did do something
like that in the past. Glancing at her, I see her eyes start to cloud over.
Then, suddenly, she starts choking me, wrapping both her hands around my
neck!
"How do you know about all this!?" Kid yells, strangling me!

From behind me, I see Esmeld pull out one of his tea bags. Noticing it, she
suddenly forgets all about me, her eyes lighting up at the sight of the tea.
"Perhaps some of my precious black tea leaves can be used to prevent against
ruckus in here."
Kid immediately snatches the tea bag.
"...It was a fairly entertaining story. I am a goblin of my word, and as
such, I shall give you the key," he says, knocking on a certain spot at a
nearby wall. A secret compartment opens, from where he takes the key!
He hands it to us with a smile on his face. Thanking him, we leave the room.

"And what are these!? Is this what you were showin' him before?" Kid asks
angrily, grabbing the photos out of my pocket!
Oh, no...
"Serge..."
Kid looks up at me. I see nothing but a fierce animal ready to pounce.
"Magil! Help!!"
Pow!
"Aaahhhh!!"
Barf!!
"Noooo!!"
Oooof!
"Okay, stop! Stop!!"
Thwap!
"......"

...Somehow, I'm still alive...
Damn, that hurt. And my photos... ruined!
Trampling over me, Kid turns to the door. Magil picks me up off the floor
and dusts me off.
"Oh, do not forget this," Esmeld says, restraining us.
"In accordance with our deal, here is the key," he says cautiously, giving
Magil the key he had in his hand.
I follow the two out of the room as I rub the back of my neck, still sore.

"Ah, welcome back," Esmeld says.
"Have you any more interesting stories?"
"Well, hmm..."
"Ah, Young Master, allow me to humbly depart some age-old wisdom. How is it
that one can have any experiences to talk about whatsoever, if he simply
sits around all day, telling stories?" Esmeld asks playfully.
We leave the room, puzzled.

Noticing me, Magil comes to my side.
"Sorry... I guess I got distracted."
Noticing his sharp gaze, I get the feeling he's going to berate me for my
stupidity, getting caught up with a silly painting like this while we're in
enemy territory.
However, I'm mistaken.
Even after I start to walk away, Magil doesn't seem to budge, still staring
up at the painting.
I look back at him, and suddenly realize what's going on. Usually, I'm at a
loss to what he's thinking. Up until now, that was the way it was.
But at this very moment, I completely understand him.
...
A slight glow has started to radiate all around him. It seems like his fury
has somehow tapped into the force of Maxwell's Demon, allowing him to
violate the second law of thermodynamics.
Actually, no, it's as though the helium and hydrogen free atoms drifting
around the area are somehow causing a thermonuclear fusion reaction. The
neutrinos of a reaction like this could be visible even in a cup of water.
Fascinating...
The look on his face is the same cold expression he always wears. However,
his internal temperature has clearly risen by more than a few degrees.
"Serge... if anything should ever happen to me, please take care of Kid..."
But before I can even get the chance to ask him what he means...
His face turns red, his blood hot as lava, as though he's being stripped
down to some sort of primal awareness, ready to attack whatever comes his
way.
"Finally... after all these years, I have you," he repeats over and over
again, continuing to stare at the strange painting.
His sharp, radiant gaze seems to pierce through the painting and beyond the
mansion wall, as if he's seeing straight into the ethereal demiurge, Father
Time himself...
Behind that mysterious porcelain mask of his lies a consciousness on the
brink of critical mass, somehow innately prepared for this very day... for
this very moment.
"Hey," Kid says as the flames start to take on a blue hue, like that of a
Cherenkov Reaction. "if ya keep on burnin' like that, yer gonna get us
spotted."
Suddenly noticing Magil's intensity, a giant sweat drop appears on her
cheek, as a vein at her temple starts to throb prominently.
Women... will they ever truly understand the true nature of males?
"Kid, Magil is on the verge of something big here. If you're any kind of
wife, you'll at least console him with one of your bittersweet smiles."
"Magil's wife? What the...!?"
"It was only a joke, Kid! A joke..."
But it's too late... I cry out uncontrollably, glancing down where Kid's
knife had struck me with sublight speed.
The blade's redshifted afterimage brings forth high temperatures from the
nitrogen plasma shockwave, leaving me gasping, breath after breath...
Was I really joking? I can't even tell anymore...
Kid...
In my heart, I hold feelings of both love and malicious intent. Only because
of this am I able to rise to my feet, grasping my wound.

Whap!
"Hey, snap out of it, mate."
Kid had gone to the trouble of removing one of her high laced boots and
hitting me over the head with it. I awake from my daze, rubbing my head.
"Huh? What the heck... I was only joking around, Kid."
"Hrmf."

"...What's goin' on with Magil?" Kid asks.
"...I don't really know, but, something's been awakened inside him.
Something fierce. I think he sees something in that painting... maybe Lynx
himself..." I say, pointing to the bizarre painting as the 50cc of blood per
second routinely flows through my temples.
"That thing? It's just a stupid picture of a desert!" she yells, beyond
bewildered.
At any rate, Magil remains transfixed on the glossy oil canvas, glowing with
that pale blue radiance all around him.
Suddenly, something even stranger happens -- his right fist explodes into a
ball of blue fire!
After the flames abate, a strange symbol has emerged on the back of his hand
-- two diagonally crossed broadswords, with an S shape in the middle,
interlocking the blades.
"Kid! Serge! We will no longer have to worry about keys," he says, as the
pale blue glow continues to radiate from his body.
Ah, Magil... always good for some quality gobbledygook. (^^;)
Magil turns and walks back towards the entranceway. There, he holds out his
hand, and after a few moments, the door starts to burn!
I rush over, eager to see what's going on. What I see next amazes me --
nothing but a hole remains in the space where the door handle once was!
Easily pushing the rest of the door open, we follow Magil out of the room.

Magil steps towards the door with his burning hand extended.
The instant his glowing blue palm touches the door, the lock simply
disappears.
"Whoa, Magil! Why didn't ya ever use that hand of yers before?"
Kid purses her lips, slipping silently into the treasure vault.
The hole left by Magil's new magic is perfectly round, with smooth edges,
almost as though it had been cut with an incredibly sharp blade. Also, there
doesn't seem to be a single scrap of wood left on the floor.
"Even I don't know where the scraps go," he says from beside me as I enter
through the doorway.
Taking our first few steps inside, Kid whistles out loud in admiration.
"Cripes... look at all this loot!"
I'm taken aback as well, despite the fact that this room smells like
insecticide that's been kept alone in a drawer for years and years...
Faintly visible in the dim light, a mountain of gold and silver treasure,
countless works of fine art, and other shimmering artifacts fill the
spacious room.
Magil walks around, amazed at all the items scattered about the room. Oddly
enough, he starts to go crazy over some of the more eclectic, less valuable
looking items.
"Ah... a statue of the hero Kafoul from the planet Tarust... a stuffed
Darmafos from Saturn... a Trifid worm plant from Greylens... Krendathu Royal
Jelly on a Lifemaker-inscribed plate... the Apostle's Crystal... and what's
that over there? Could it really be a genuine Swiss Army Knife, embedded
with Zora's Blue Stone?"
...I had no idea he knew about all this kind of stuff... I had no idea there
was -anybody- out there who knew about junk like this so much.
"Hey, lookie what we have here," Kid says, walking over to an old movie
camera. Feeling a bit camera-friendly, she stretches out across the
treasure, posing with a somewhat awkward smile for the camera.
"The teleprompter's not in order," mutters Magil, abandoning the clunky
machine he'd been checking out.
Suddenly, there's a noise over in the far corner.
I look over, seeing one of the items suddenly being knocked over. None of us
are anywhere near it, though.
I unsheathe my knife as Kid and I exchange glances. She goes goes to check
it out, taking careful, quiet steps.
"Ah, hell, it's just the Assistant Director," she says. "Ya bumblin' crew...
Always gettin' in the way!"
The Assistant Director tries to explain, but is cut off by Kid.
"Yer gonna make me screw up my lines!" Kid continues. "And besides, can't ya
see we're right in the middle of a great find here!? And get me an Evian for
cryin' out loud!"
But then, something catches my eye. Over in the back of the room, behind the
Claire Bible and Ideonite that the Assistant Director had knocked over, a
shimmering red light streaks out, barely visible behind all the items.

"...The Frozen Flame..."
On an intricate pedestal sits a magnificent scarlet crystal. It's so
perfectly radiant, it seems as though it's unreal, like a product of polygon
technology. It slowly rotates on the pedestal, beckoning us...
"Halt! It may be dangerous."
Magil extends his faintly glowing hand out towards Kid, yanking her hand
back just as she's about to grab the fabled item.
"Easy, Magil... remember what that hand of yours can do..."
But then, the scarlet jewel suddenly vanishes into thin air!
We stare at each other, confused.
Magil approaches the pedestal a few moments later, using his hand to burn a
hole into the top of the platform.
We peer down inside it. There, amongst an array of mechanical equipment, we
see a circuit controlling the revolving pedestal, and another controlling a
red light of some sort, flickering on and off.
"Ah, a hologram... A fake, just as I expected," Magil says, looking around
by the back of the pedestal.
"Here's the cord..." he says, following along its path. "It should lead us
to..."
"Ah hah," he says, stopping at the wall where the cord goes into. There, we
find nothing but the stage hand, fumbling around with the power outlets. The
short, oriental man looks up at us with a worried look on his face...
"...Ya worthless piece'a garbage!" Kid yells, shaking the stage hand by the
neck! "What'd ya do with the real Frozen Flame!?"
"Come on, Kid," I say. "He wouldn't know anything about anything that
important. He was probably just trying to fix the lighting in here and
tripped over the Frozen Flame's cord."
Kid reluctantly releases her grip from the stage hand's neck, who gives a
nervous, apologetic smile to us all before quickly scampering away.
"And get me an Evian already!!" she yells as he scurries out of sight.
"The real Flame's gotta be around here somewhere..."
"I have a feeling the real Flame would not be stored in such an easily
obtainable place, Kid. We should search elsewhere."
"Aye..."
We say goodbye to the treasure vault for now, resuming our search.

We return to the treasure vault, where a little while ago we had some
trouble with the camera crew.
"The lighting seems to be fixed somewhat, but still, I think my skin tone is
far too pale in this hue of light."
"Let's go, we'll come back later when they're better prepared."
"I never even got my Evian..."

"C'mon, mate. There's nothin' but old junk here. How 'bout we go find some
real treasure!"

*"Don't you think we ought to check this room some more, Kid?"
*Return to the corridor.

"Come on! I want those riches! Now!!"

*Leave the room, avoiding a potentially painful situation.
*Ignore her.

"Bollocks!" Kid says, fuming.

I follow Kid out of the storeroom, where the dark corridor awaits us.

I start to look around a bit, peering in under some of the covered items.
But then, all of a sudden...
"What's that...? What's going on? I didn't do anything!"
Tension rises as a low rumbling sound starts to echo out through the room.
The light in the room has also dimmed rather suddenly...
Kid looks around the room with newfound interest.
"I feel it too... Where's it comin' from?"
I follow my ears over to the far wall. It seems to be coming from that
direction. Kid approaches the dark, dusty rear half of the room with slow,
cautious steps, attracted by the suspiciousness...
The wall is covered with a large cloth. Whatever's making the noise seems to
be coming from here.
Kid and I look at each other. I hesitantly grip my knife as she gives the
cloth a tug.
"Whoa..."
A vast collection of twinkling lights are lined up in an orderly fashion
across the entire wall.
I've never seen anything like this before... There's hardly any light in the
room, nor does the moon's light shine in on us here, but somehow, these
lights twinkle and sparkle on their own, as if they contain a spark of fire
within each of them.
The hum we heard earlier, like that of a firefly buzzing around, seems to be
coming from everywhere on this wall.
Speaking of fireflies, that's very much how it all looks, as well -- endless
amounts of bright greens, reds, and blues twinkle and sparkle on the
assortment of panels before us.
Metal components of some kind seem to be integrated into the ceiling and the
floor. What could all this be used for?
Lynx... what has he been up to all this time?
Strange paintings, and now strange flickering walls, hidden completely out
of sight...
The atmosphere in here, I suddenly realize, feels strangely similar to when
we were standing in front of the painting. Maybe it's Magil; his radiance
has returned to a bright blue glow.
Looking over at him, he looks as though he never left that room. He stands
there, examining the wall with his lips pursed and a bead of sweat rolling
down his cheek.
"Hey mate, come check this out!"
I turn my head over towards the far corner where Kid was investigating. It
seems she's uncovered something more...
It looks like some sort of huge box. It would probably be taller than Magil,
if it wasn't tipped on its side.
It has a set of doors which open freely on its front face, which contain
strange, colorful mechanics inside.
"Isn't this about the usual size of box that a fridge comes in?" Kid asks.
"Yeah, it's a pretty nice size all right..."
"Don't tell me yer already shoppin' around for stuff like this," Kid says
playfully, winking at me. "Don't get any ideas, mate. You ain't tyin' me
down to no kitchen anytime soon!"
...Wait, what? Uh... I didn't mean anything by it...

"Kid, let's think for a minute," Magil says. "How could this be a
refrigerator box, if refrigerators haven't even been invented yet?"
Good call, Magil...
"Oh yeah, I forgot. Well uh... It looks an awful lot like a... uh...
non-electric refrigerator... box... thing... er..."
Magil and I glance at each other. Magil blinks.
"Aw, hell, what does it matter what I call it!? It's got nothin' to do with
the Frozen Flame!" she yells, kicking the box.
Suddenly, the box starts to rumble! Lights begin to shine and shimmer all
over it, letting out strange noises!

It lets out a wild shrill as two flaps open up on both sides of the box.
There, large legs sprout out! This thing, whatever it is, towers above us as
it rises to its feet!
Then, two more flaps open out, where two strong and sturdy arms begin to
grow outwards, just as the legs did!
Finally, a round dome rises up out of the top, complete with two wide eyes,
a gaping mouth, and a rotating arc-shaped antenna!
Frightened for my life, I ready my weapon against the huge monstrosity
before me!
"Aha, ahahahaha, hahaha!"
Kid, on the other hand, can't seem to stop laughing. Yeah, it does look kind
of clunky... maybe even a bit funny-looking, but still...
Uh oh... I think we rubbed it the wrong way! It looks down on us with a
frustrated smirk on its face. In the center of its torso, the two original
flaps slowly open, revealing a complex network of psychedelic colored gears,
chains, and... a pair of huge gatling guns!
We dive for cover behind some covered items just as it opens fire!

         Reload!

"Aha, ahaha, hahahahaa!"

Kid can't seem to help continuing to laugh and taunt the thing as we scurry
from place to place!
However, suddenly, a clear voice echoes out over the chaos! "Kid! Serge!
Hide, quickly! I will deactivate it!"
Upon hearing Magil behind it, the thing starts to whip around.

"Great Deva of Mars, I come for you!!"
In a flash, Magil has leapt into the air, dashing with full force towards
the fridge, er, non-fridge thing...!
He shoots downward, landing a direct kick on the back of its head!

It teeters for a moment as Magil lands safely away from it. Then,
miraculously, it falls lifelessly to the floor before us, as pieces of its
beaten body fly out in all directions!
Its battery box (two AA, sold separately) tumbles away, stopping inches from
my feet.
Magil stands there, a glowing champion, burning with a blue radiance like
never before.
"Are you two all right?" he asks us.
"Hehehe, my belly hurts, but yeah... Heh, heh..." Kid answers, still unable
to stop laughing.
I silently nod to Magil.
Looking over the junked remains, Kid seems to have found something of
interest. She reaches out and takes some sort of white object, quickly
stashing it down her bosom.
"Hey Kid, what's that?"
"Nothin'. Mind yer own business, Serge."
"Let us search elsewhere. There are many clues left to be discovered..."
Magil says with a cocked eyebrow, before heading to the door.
Thinking back on all this, Magil's been getting stranger and stranger
lately.
What did he call that thing... A `Great Deva of Mars'?
And how could he have known where its weak spot was? What kind of background
does a guy need to have in order to know about stuff like that? I always
knew he was strange, but I'm finding out now just how strange he really
is...
In any case, I'm glad I have him on our side. That thing would have made
mincemeat out of us if he hadn't been here...
I follow the gallant, luminescent figure of Magil out of the room.

We return to the storeroom. It's just as we left it, complete with the
mountainous pile of remains that almost killed us a short while ago.
We might have missed something here... There was an awful lot thrown off
when that deva thing came crashing down to the floor.
"Oi, Serge! Take a look at this!"
"Hahahaha, I'm a Martian," Kid shouts, firing the gatling guns all around
the room!

"Quit it, Kid! I don't want to get hurt!"
"Aww, c'mon, I'm not hurtin' anybody..."
I run out of the room, afraid to get pelted with bullets. Kid follows a
moment later.

Just as we reach the bottom of the stairs, a wall of light suddenly flashes
out in front of us!
I almost run into it, but I barely manage to stop myself before colliding
with the blistering hot thing!
I look a bit closer at it once I've caught my bearings. In addition to the
bright light in front of us, strange markings are scattered around on the
floor within it.
Around the markings, a small ditch runs in a perfect circle, where the
columns of light radiate up from. A weird sort of shrill seems to be coming
from it, as well.
"What is it? Can you break through it with your magic?" I ask Magil.

After pausing for a minute, Magil boldly responds "I apologize, but I have
nothing to counteract a force field of this type."
"...The Frozen Flame... It's here, I know it," Kid says, clenching her
fists.
"In any case, there's little we can do. We should return once we know
more.," Magil says.

Without saying a word, Magil shifts his glance over to Kid.
"What're ya lookin' at me for?" Kid asks defensively.
Magil points to her chest.
"Oh, my bunny?"
Kid reluctantly reaches into her bosom. She takes out a plush bunny
hand-puppet, saying "It's my toy, I found it fair 'n square."
So that's what she found in the wreckage... A toy bunny. But what good would
that be here?
"Kid, this is actually a `Martian Forest League Concealed Lesser Armament
Bunny', and it is far more than a toy."
Kid gawks at Magil, as do I. I suppose I'm expecting him to yell "Gotcha!"
any time now, but he just stands there, aloof as ever.
He puts the white, fluffy, blue-eyed bunny puppet onto his hand with utmost
care.
"So uh... This Martian Forest League, uh... Lesser Armament Bunny..."
"Martian -Concealed- Forest League Lesser Armament Bunny," Magil corrects,
as solemn as a philosophy teacher.
"Right... this Martian Concealed Forest League, uh... Lesser Armament
Bunny... what is it?"
"Please, Kid, such technology is hopelessly beyond human comprehension."
"Well what does it do then?"
"Watch."
"Wait, uh... no, that's okay, Magil..."
Magil turns around, facing the columns of light.
Entirely unfazed by my presence, Magil starts to dance around, waving the
bunny around through the air as he recites some sort of weird incantation.
"Heat cup... provolone... soccer mom...!!"
It's like he's wasted or something...
And then, after a few moments, the glimmering light begins to subside!
.................
...........
...
Well, whatever. I stopped trying to figure out this whole mess a long time
ago.
"Serge..."
Magil turns to me, staring into my eyes with relentless honesty. He holds
the bunny (The Martian Forest League Lesser Armament Bunny, mind you) out in
front of him, saying "I entrust this to you. Please, if anything should ever
happen to me, use it as I have..."
"Magil... I humbly accept this most sacred gift. I shall use it sparingly
and appropriately," I say with a deep bow.
Hey, when in Rome...
"This enchanted seal can never be completely removed," Magil continues. "It
will require one to re-extinguish it from time to time.
By doing what I have done, this instrument can be used to temporarily
nullify the effects of the seal. Please, remember how to use it, for someday
you too may find yourself in need of its assistance."
"So it's safe to cross now?"
"Yes. We must hurry, though."
Walking across it, I feel a little bit of a shock run through my feet as I
take my first few steps, but nothing serious happens.
Once we're across, we come to a solid oak door after a bit of walking.
Kid opens it, slowly...

Having come this far, I take a deep breath. It's almost pitch black inside
this room... All I can tell is that it's very large and very cold. I can
make out something in a far corner... It's a large metallic structure of
some kind.
A billowing voice echoes down from high above.
"Finally, you've made it. I was wondering if you pitiful apes would ever
show up."
And there, amidst the shadowy interior of this spacious room...
...Lord Lynx awaits!
Before him, shimmering off the dank walls and ceiling of this underground
cavern, a scarlet jewel radiates a deep, red light!
The Frozen Flame...
"L... Lynx! I have you now!!" Kid shouts, feral.
"I beg to differ, young lady!" Lynx taunts, leaping down from the rocks,
dashing towards her with amazing speed!
Kid takes on a battle stance as she readies herself for him. However, he
quickly dodges her attack, picking her up and tossing her through the air as
though like a ragdoll!
"Urrghh..."
"Kid!"
She's been thrown backwards onto a wall behind us, as Lynx returns to near
where he stood, unfazed!
I run over and scoop Kid up into my arms.
"Oh, how sweet. The apes care for each other. However, I would be more
worried about yourself, young man!" Lynx shouts, laughing at the top of his
lungs.
That beast... There has to be something I can do. But, he's so fast! I've
never seen anybody move like that...
As Lynx continues to laugh, I try desperately to ignore him and fight off
this sudden feeling of hopelessness.
What would Magil do at a time like this... Wait, where is Magil? I haven't
seen him since we came in...
Wait, what's that?
Is that... a guitar?
Just a second ago, a strange sound echoed throughout the huge cavern. It
couldn't have been Lynx... he seemed to be caught off guard by the sound as
much as I was.
Suddenly, a figure comes forth from out of a dark corner of the room!
Carrying a portable amp at his side and a shiny guitar across his chest,
electrified sounds continue to roar throughout the cavern again and again as
the figure continues to come towards us!
It's... Magil!
Wait... Magil!?
From what I can tell, it looks like him. Sort of.
Although having somehow changed into skin-tight, riveted jeans, trendy
goggles, and a cool-looking shirt exposing his defined torso, it seems to be
Magil in the flesh.
Lights shine up from behind him, dazzlingly illuminating his glistening
spiked hair and ponytail!
"M, Magil...!? What do ya think yer doin'?" Kid asks, recovering from her
daze.
But Magil says nothing, continuing on with his enthusiastic solo.
"Aahhhhhh!! Nooo!!"
"Th, that noise! Stop! Stop that noise!!" Lynx shouts, holding his ears.
"What's that? You'd like a little `Stairway to Heaven'? Your wish is my
command!" Magil shouts with a huge smile, before wailing on the guitar even
louder!
Before long, it seems like Lynx is going mad, listening to the harsh
dissonance.
His head starts to vibrate, before swelling up more and more like a balloon!
Then, all of a sudden, his head pops!
At the same time, a countless number of cracks start to run up his body,
snapping away parts of his body piece by piece, until a number of slender,
green tentacles make their way through his body, writhing all around him!
"Whoa... What's going on!?"
"Serge," Kid says, rising to her feet. "this's a bigger fight than I
expected... I'm countin' on ya, you got that?"
"I don't know, Kid... I can't throw myself into the thick of battle now! Who
would narrate the story if something was to happen to me?"
Suddenly, the remains of Lynx fly out in all directions!
And with that, Lynx has completed his metamorphosis!
A gigantic, slimy, lime green octopus stands before us, eagerly awaiting our
doom!
"I have you now, Martian Conjurer!" Magil shouts! "I have searched the
galaxy for over five hundred years for you, wretched H-Class Space Criminal!
I have hidden my identity as a mere human, traveling with these people in
order to track you to this very spot. But now, such tricks are no longer
necessary! Behold, for I am Universal Detective Mick Van Jovi!"
As soon as Magil, er, Mick says this, light streaks out from all around him.
When I can see again, he's changed again into some sort of polished metallic
body armor!
"And now... I come for you!"
Magil turns towards the grotesque octopus, and hurls himself into the air!
The octopus takes on a look of shock and disgust as Mick reveals himself.
"Ah, my ever trendy antithesis, Mick Van Jovi... so, you have finally found
me.
...It was because of you that I was forced to flee Mars. Fleeing in haste, I
accidentally crash-landed on this hellhole planet! My fusion reactor was
rendered useless, leaving me stranded here, all because of you!"
"I... I was forced to eat my own ship to survive!" he continues, sobbing.
"The control panel... the steering wheel... I even had to boil down the seat
mat for food!"
"...And now, five hundred years later, you come to arrest me just as I have
finished repairing my fusion core?" he yells, nodding to the Frozen Flame!
The Frozen Flame... a fusion reactor!?
Within Magil's eyes, a silver flash of light shines out as a pale pulse runs
down his glimmering armor.
"Ah, the Martian Cyclone Crystal Fusion Reactor. Too bad that after I'm done
with you, the reactor won't be the one needing five hundred years of
repairing!"
"Not if I can help it!" the Martian Octopus shouts!
Not missing a beat, Lynx instantly starts to shoot his heavy grey pistol at
us, showering the room with jagged beams of light!
While we're busy dodging the plethora of light rays, Lynx suddenly snatches
the Frozen Flame, and runs into the huge metallic saucer-shaped object over
in the corner!
In a flash, the thing starts up, rising high above us in a matter of
seconds! The thing could easily weigh ten thousand tons, yet it hovers over
us as easily as a bird!
"How do you like my new and improved Galaxy Mothership?" we hear Lynx's
voice boom throughout the cavern. "I apologize, but I do believe I will not
be coming back to Mars with you, my dear Van Jovi!"
The ship fires an even more intense barrage of ammunition at us, causing the
walls and ceiling around us to crumble and break apart!
Aaaahhh!! The cavern is collapsing all around us! Boulders of all sizes are
frantically raining down on us!
Oh no! Magil's been struck down by a huge boulder! He's helplessly tapped
beneath it!
"Magil! No!!"
I rush over to him and push the gigantic boulder off! The boulder seems to
have crushed some of his armor, though! He's hurt bad!
"Feel like running yet, fools?" Lynx shouts from inside his cockpit.
"We gotta get outta here!"
"We can't just leave Mick though," I shout at Kid! "Look at all that armor
he's got on... it'll be impossible to carry him out! Even with three people,
it would still be tough!"
"...Don't... don't worry about me," Magil mutters, as his armored fingers
suddenly grasp my ankle.
"Serge..." Magil gasps. "Th, the M, Mart, Martian For, Forest League J, Jun,
Junior..."
"The bunny," I interrupt.
"Yes," he says. "The b, bunny... use it..."
Ah! Of course! The bunny!
Taking the soft puppet out of my pocket, I look back over to Ma, er, Mick.
"Serge... Use it... as I have shown you... it is a m, multi-use d,
detonator. And please, look after Kid, if death c, comes for me..."
I clench my fists as I raise my head, looking up towards Lynx's dreadful
ship.
"Lynx! Behold!" I shout, raising my hand up into the air, pointing the bunny
towards the ship!
"You! Where did you get that!?" Lynx shrieks.
"No," he continues, "You must not use it! Please, it will negate the
stability of the fusion reactor! It will kill us all!!"
I look down to Magil. Dammit, I mean Mick. I look down towards Mick, who
nods back at me confidently.
Ignoring Lynx's pleas, I close my eyes, and mimic the enchantment Magil
performed earlier with utmost care.
"Heat cup... provolone... soccer mom...!!"
"Good, S, Serge. The detonation sequence h, has been initiated. It's on a t,
timed delay," Mick says. "We must escape before that ship detonates!"
Kid and I hoist his heavy body up and start to drag him out of the spacious
cavern.
We're not very far out, when suddenly...
A giant explosion rocks the entire area around us!
From far behind, we hear Lynx shriek "My ship...!" over and over again!
The walls around us are beginning to tremble and shake more and more! Oh no,
the entire mansion is collapsing!
"Run, Serge!" Mick shouts, as Kid and I desperately try to scamper away
faster!
Mick seems to have regained a bit of strength and adrenaline, helping us by
limping a bit as we carry his incredibly heavy body through the dark,
twisted corridors of Viper Manor.
Come on... please... don't cave in just yet...
Dammit, just a little longer... please...!
Yes! We're out!
Looking back on the mansion from a safe distance, we watch it collapse under
its own weight! It comes toppling down into what looks like a sweltering
black hole, infused with a deep Martian redness!
I let out a deep breath as I stare up into the nighttime sky.
Suddenly, however, a small group of what looks like flying saucers come
flying out of where the mansion used to be, soaring up into the
stratosphere!
Supporting Mick on both sides, we stare up at the ascending getaway ships.
"Don't take it too rough, Mick. At least we made it out alive. Tomorrow's
another day..."
"Indeed," he replies. "They're pedal-powered escape pods... They won't get
too far."
Looking up as they soar over our heads, I see that he's right. Within the
translucent center of one of the pods, I see what looks like Lynx, crammed
in with a goblin, who's being barked at by Lynx to pedal twice as fast, in
order to keep the ship afloat.
"Hmmm... yeah, I think you're right," I say. "Human power can't be much of a
replacement for a nice fusion reactor, especially when talking about
interstellar travel."
I look over to Kid. But, ironically enough, instead of the pouting face I
expected, it seems like there's a quality about her that I don't think she
had before... something more at ease about her, in a subtle sort of way.
"Tonight, we rest. Tomorrow, the search continues," says Mick, triumphantly.

        And so, for this adventure, we have come to...
                              THE END.
                      (or is it!?!?!?!)

However, I fall to the ground again almost immediately. Apparently that last
blow was all my frail body could handle...
All I can think of is how I never thought it'd end up like this, as I slip
down that inevitable, never-ending chasm of death...

"So, which way do we go now...?" I ask, wiping the chilly sweat from my
brow.
What was that? I could have sworn I saw a faint light illuminating the
hallway just then.
It's probably just the moonlight shining in through a skylight, I tell
myself. However, looking up at the ceiling, no such skylight can be found...
"Hey, Serge! What are ya starin' at? We got a job to do here!"
I look down the hallway only to see Kid, already barely visible down the
long, dark corridor.

*I better not cross her. Go catch up with her right away.
*Take another second to see about that light.

There's something here, I'm sure of it. It was a faint light, sort of like a
camera flash, but much more subtle. It couldn't have been the moonlight.
"Serge, what are ya, paralyzed? Come on!" Kid says, coming back towards me.
"There's something here, Kid..."
Just as I start to think that it could have been my imagination, suddenly...
...Wearing a tattered old priest's robe,
      a figure of a young lady materializes above us.

           "......Finally... you have come..."
That voice... it's so strange! It's like it's resonating inside my head...
"Kid... can you hear that?"
I'm not even sure if I just said that... could this all be a dream?
Before I have time to think, Kid and Magil come up beside me, also staring
at the apparition. Okay, now I know this is real. It's too real to be a
dream.
"Wh, where'd she go?"
Black magic... witchcraft... necromancy...
I've seen all sorts of different types of stuff in the past, but this... I
don't think I've ever been faced with anything like this before.
On the other hand, Magil stands there with his usual cool composure. I doubt
this is the first time he's dealing with something like this.
A wave of anxiety runs through my entire body, standing here in this dark,
damp hallway.
I wonder... should we even be here? Was this a message of some kind to
leave? Just by standing here, we might be desecrating the memory of the
dead...
The girl's face shines out in my mind. She seemed so sad...
"I do not believe this will necessarily help with our mission. Let us move
on."
I've never been so quick to agree with Magil. Kid doesn't seem to have any
objections either.

The door's locked...
...But not for long.
Before Magil can even offer an unlock spell, I notice Kid combing her
fingers through her hair, revealing a hairpin after a moment or two.
Kneeling down by the door, she fiddles around with the lock for a bit, and
after a while, unlocks it with a click.
That was almost too easy...
An amazing sight is spread before our eyes... I don't quite know what to
think of it. We're in some sort of treasure vault, with piles of gold,
silver, and other sparkling treasure stacked in piles throughout the room.
But that's not the half of it...
Looking out towards the far end, an even more remarkable sight catches my
eye.
Halfway into the room, the piles of treasure turn into somewhat of a beach,
followed by a glistening ocean. It's all a huge diorama, with every single
object crafted from gems or precious metal...
The ocean, however, is perfectly calm. No, calm isn't the word for it --
it's as still as glass. The glistening sheen of every undulating whitecap
here seems to be frozen in time, stirred up like crystal valleys against the
jade-like reefs of nearby islands.
I walk out onto the beach and bend down to touch the unmoving water, but
it's not frozen... just motionless.
A polished metallic siren, adorned with scales of mica and hair of platinum,
stands proudly on a nearby island, with a mysterious smile on its face.
In its life-like hand, almost obscured by a crashing wave, is an object of
rare beauty. This stone, gripped tightly by the pearl-colored hand, seems as
though it's capturing this ocean's stormy essence within its deep red
center.
Indeed, this is the object we've been seeking. Yet it's out of our grasp, if
by only a small distance, seized within the hand of this suspicious-looking
metallic contraption.
...The Frozen Flame...
"There it is! Serge, get yer scaffold!" Kid shouts, unable to suppress her
highly strung heart any longer.
However, I hesitate. There's more to this than meets the eye, I tell myself
as I glance at Magil. His eyes tell me the same.

*Look around for a while longer.
*I haven't come this far to fall into fear of the unknown. Do as Kid says,
going for the Flame.

I take the bamboo scaffold out of my bag.
The oriental monocotyledon it's crafted from is extremely light, durable,
and elastic; perfect for travel.
I place it on the ground and we go to work, assembling the bridge-like
structure.
I stand back after a few moments, looking at the finished product spread out
on the beach. Kid tests it by stepping on it lightly, then adding a little
more weight, until she finally stands on it firm. It appears solid enough.
I nod to Kid as Magil and I take the scaffold and swing it over to the small
island, connecting the two pieces of land together.
I let out a deep, shaky breath as Kid takes her first step out. The scaffold
gives a little, but stays afloat. The siren maintains its ominous stare as
Kid approaches.
The distance between the two closes with each passing step. Before long, she
reaches the reef, and is within arm's length of the Flame.
"Come on, take it," I whisper, my fists clenched.
She reaches out, ever so slowly. Her head turns from the Flame to the
siren's face and back, as her hand draws closer and closer.
Those deep, aquamarine eyes remain vacant and still...
But wait! No! The siren is starting to move!
"Kid! Get out of there! It's coming to life!" but Kid's already on her way
back with the Frozen Flame in hand!
The churning of the siren's metallic innards increases, getting louder and
louder by the second. The sound rips through my eardrums as I watch its
movements become more and more fluid!
Just as the siren starts to move, the ocean comes to life as well! Somehow,
the waves start to churn and toil, gaining increasing vigor and momentum the
more the siren awakens!
The siren turns and takes a step towards Kid, who's now back on the
scaffold. She's having trouble maintaining balance above the now violent
body of water, as it crashes and bubbles mere inches beneath her feet!
Pursued by this relentless, inorganic beast, she desperately tries to make
her way home...
......! Oh no! Kid's slipped on a wet spot! She falls into the water head
first with a splash!
he surging waves splash all around her, mercilessly thrashing all around!
The siren starts to come for Kid, trudging ever so slowly into the
whitecapped frenzy.
A sudden wave smashes into Kid, and after it recedes, I can't even see her
head anymore! Please, God, don't let her drown...!
I see her hand emerge a few seconds later, desperately reaching out, trying
to grab onto something!
I have to save her... distract that siren... anything...!
Suddenly a flash flies through the air. It's Magil! He's shooting his silver
needles at the siren!
One of them hits it directly between the eyes! Platinum colored blood starts
to gush out of the hole!
However, it does nothing to stop the unrelenting, robotic beast, now only a
few feet from Kid! Its mouth begins to open to an unnatural extent, like
that of a gigantic snake!
Dammit, what am I going to do!?

*Dive into the water!
*Throw my knife at it!

I dive in without a moment's notice!
I try to open my eyes underwater to find Kid, but the instant I do, I'm
forced to shut them from the salty sting of seawater!

Coming up for air, I try to find Kid among the vigorously crashing waves.
She's a ways ahead of me, bobbing in and out of the water... I have to be
quick!
Swimming over to where I last saw her, a hand suddenly floats up to the
surface of the water! I grab on, and pull up with all my might.
The hand is rotted away below the wrist, however...
Corpses suddenly start to emerge all around me! These half-rotten,
waterlogged bodies should be dead and lifeless, but somehow, they're all
coming for me, trying to pull me under!
I quickly dive underwater, swimming as fast as I can away from the pack of
bodies. I come up for air, spotting Kid just a few feet in front
of me! She's spitting water out of her mouth, only moments away from
drowning!
"Kid! Come on, hurry!!"
I grab her hand and dive deep underneath the stormy water. Swimming away, I
accidentally bump into one of the corpses! Just as I feel all of them start
to crowd around us, I unsheathe my knife and blindly hack away!
Clinging tightly to Kid's hand, I swim and swim until I can't hold my breath
any longer!
Coming up for air, I realize we've made it! I take her up into my arms and
carry her ashore. She's barely conscious...

Lying next to me, Kid coughs a bit, spitting up sea water. I try to calm her
down, and after a few moments, she rests peacefully on the glittering beach.
Suddenly, I notice something... it's quiet. Perfectly quiet. I look up,
wondering what just happened.
The ocean has reverted back to how it once was -- perfectly still, like a
slice in time once again. The corpses are nowhere to be found.
The siren has resumed its original pose, subtly perched on the far island,
with that mysterious smile once again streaked across its face.
After a few moments, Kid holds the Frozen Flame up over her head, staring
into its shimmering beauty.
"Well, we got what we came for."
She's right. I stand up and shake myself off, relieved it's all over with. I
help her to her feet, eager to get out of here.

I take aim, trying to calm my nerves. This one's for Kid, sucker...
I throw my knife with blinding speed, but it does nothing but bounce off the
siren's head!
"Dammit!"
However, it causes the siren to lose balance, and come crashing down into
the water!
Wait a second... what's that!? Corpses are beginning to float up to the
surface of the water! The crashing waves push the half-rotten bodies all
around Kid!
No... the current isn't pushing them... they're swimming on their own!
"Magil! The corpses! Get the corpses!!"
Without a moment of hesitation, Magil sends a focused shockwave blasting
into the water, tearing the rotten bodies to shreds!
Kid scampers ashore, scared stiff of this sudden mess of scattered body
parts!
I help Kid onto the beach. She's exhausted. A wash of relief comes over us
all, as I realize she's going to be all right.

Ouch!
"What was that for? You don't have to slap me every time you disagree with
me..."
"Look, mate! Just let me have yer scaffold and I'll take care of the rest,
awright?"
It's no use... I suppose if I'm going to face pain no matter what I do, we
might as well get the Frozen Flame...

Coming up for air, before I know it a wave comes crashing into me! And then
another! I catch a mouthful of this disgusting sea water, and then another!
I open my eyes but I'm only assaulted by more and more sea water!
I cough and cough, but I can't stop this endless chain of waves from tugging
me down... down into the deep, dark, deadly sea...
Straight down...

The siren and its menacing smile welcome us back to the treasure vault, just
as we left it.
Although this time, the Frozen Flame is in our hands.
"...Let's go, this place is buggin' me out," Kid says after a moment,
exiting before I can even say anything.
We follow her out.

Uhhh...
"...Shouldn't the terrace be here?"
We've been walking long enough, but somehow, the walls seem to extend on
without any end in sight...
"Yer just shook up from what happened back there, mate," Kid says. "C'mon,
the terrace's right up here."
......
"No, that wood handrail with the big knot in it, I remember it clearly. We
just passed it a minute ago. We're going in circles..."
"Circles!? What a load! We're walkin' on a straight path! Can't you see it?"
she shouts, pointing down the dark corridor. "See? Straight!"
"I know, Kid! I'm just... I don't know..."

*Keep on going straight ahead, determined to find an answer.
*Turn back the way we came.

"Here it is again... the same knot."

"Here it is... the same knot..."
"...It's all a big trick! That's all it is! Well har, har, har, ya bastard!"
Kid yells.
What are we going to do...

"This is bloody ridiculous! Why did we come all the way out here!? For
this!?!? Look at us, we can't even find our way out of a blasted house!!"
Kid's going into hysteria... I wish I could do something but to be honest
I'm not that much better off right now...
"This is friggin crazy! We're goin' in circles!!!!! We never should have
come out here, we never should have done this!!! We're lost, God Dammit!!!!
What are we supposed to do now!?!?!?"
"Look Kid, nobody needs all the yelling..." I say, frustrated.
"Who asked you, ya lame-brained sack'a..."
Suddenly, Magil comes up behind us and touches us on the back of our necks.
I don't know what he's doing, but it instantly calms me down... and by the
looks (and sounds) of it, Kid as well.
I lean against the wall for a second, trying to think of what to do. Kid
stoops down, miserable.
"We are being toyed with," Magil says. "Look closely, down the center of the
hallway. See how the walls subtly warp. This is all an illusion of some
sort. Apparently, someone or something does not want us to advance any
further."
"Well congratu-frickin-lations, Lynx! Ya got us walkin' in circles! Bet yer
mighty proud of yerself! So now what are ya gonna do? Play some more games,
or fight like a man?"
Frustrated, she storms down the hallway once again.

"When's this bloody passageway gonna end..."
The terrace is nowhere in sight.

*Continue on through the passage.
*Turn back.

"Dammit... when's this bloody passageway gonna end..."
The terrace is nowhere to be found.

*Continue on through the passage.
*Turn back.

"What's that strange look on yer face for, mate?"
"I don't know... I just... I don't have a good feeling about this place."
"Aw, c'mon, mate. You never have a good feelin' about anything."
"It's just, after what we went through with the treasure vault and all... I
don't know, maybe I am just being a worry wart."

"Well, you sure ya wanna keep on goin'?" Kid asks with an unusually serious
face.
Somehow, I find myself nodding silently, ignoring the warnings in my head.
I remember something someone told me a while ago about this place...
"Everything in that mansion answers to Lord Lynx," he said. "The
creatures... the walls... the statues... everything. If you understand the
concept of power by fear and control, then you understand Lynx."
Magil strokes his chin, calmly examining the gigantic doors before us.
There's bound to be something important in here -- these dark mahogany doors
tower above us, emanating an unmistakable sense of intimidation.

*"Let's try somewhere else first," I say, turning around after all.
*"...All set?" I ask, taking a deep breath, pushing the doors open slowly.

As expected, these are Lynx's quarters.
Or should I say, `were'...
Staring at the sight before our eyes, all I can do is gasp in silence, half
surprised, half terrified.
To put it simply, Lynx is quite certainly in this room.
...However, not as we expected.
Lynx's corpse has been hastily stashed in the couch on the far end of the
room. Only his mangled hand is visible, sticking out from beneath a cushion.
Kid goes over and slowly lifts up one of the cushions.
I don't know if it's the smell or the sight that makes her gag. But yes,
it's definitely Lynx under there.
I never expected any of this when I came here tonight. I mean, rumors of
Lord Lynx's reign have been going around as strong as ever. Although when I
think about it, his reputation alone could probably carry on such a regime.
I wonder how long it's been since this happened...
"It can't be. That genocidal, terror-driven maniac... he burnt the temple
and abducted Shea... how can he be dead already? I wanted my revenge...!"
Kid mutters, tears swelling in her eyes.
Shea... hmm... where have I heard that name before...
"No one knows Lynx is dead except for us... We must be the first ones to
find out about it."
"...Heh, or maybe not," Kid adds.
..................
............
......
...
"Strange..."
Magil kneels down and lifts off the cushions, examining the corpse as though
he was a coroner.
"Hey, I always liked a nice firm seat," Kid says, pretending to sit down on
it.
Enough with the bad jokes already, Kid...
"This corpse has no life-essence," Magil continues.
"Isn't that how corpses usually are?" I ask.
"Generally, yes. When a person dies, one's consciousness, or spirit, is
separated from the body. Normally, as the spirit leaves the body, the corpse
will crumble over time. However, in this case, this corpse is aged, but it
has not even started to crumble at all yet. It is merely without moisture."
"Lynx's spirit has not yet been released."
"So that means..."
"Yes, his spirit is still here, probably somewhere within this mansion."
Magil seems unusually disturbed by all this. First the phantom, then that
whole siren thing, now this... even he's having trouble keeping his cool.
We're in over our heads.
"Lynx was apparently slain by a blade," Magil says, pointing to a gash in
his belly.
Looking around, he finds the murder weapon. It's a bloody sword, stashed
behind a chair. "An Acacian sword... interesting."
Magil tries to remain focused, racking his brain for information.
"If a body and its spirit have been detached in this manner, the body will
yearn for its spirit. It will transform into a sort of bottomless well,
endlessly seeking spirits until it finds its own."
"What does that have to do with us? ...Oh," Kid says solemnly.

Something's happening...
This room, no, the whole house... all around us, the walls are starting to
creak...
There's something in here, waiting for us. I can feel it on the back of my
neck.
I whip around with my knife ready, but nothing's there.
Suddenly, something grabs my arm! Oh no, get it off me! I whip around again,
but it's only Kid!
"Get a grip, mate! It's just me!"
Phew...
"We've got the Flame. Lynx is dead. Why do we even need to be here anymore!?
Come on, let's go!" she shouts. She's right, screw this place!
"If we can get out of here at all," Magil adds, standing up.
And then, the walls begin to creak again. We look around...
The lights flicker. Don't go out... Please, God, don't go out...
"...Kid..."
We instantly whip around. The voice is coming from the mirror!
Finally... you have come."
...That girl... the one from before... It's her! She's here, faintly
floating within the mirror!

*"Aaaahhhh! We've got to get out of here!!"
*"Do you know her, Kid?"

I bolt towards the door!
Dammit! Locked! I pull and pull on the door, but nothing happens!
There has to be a release lever for the door somewhere... something that was
flipped the moment we closed it!
Ah! there it is!
I reach up and pull on the wire! But then...
"Serge! What are you doin'!?" Kid shouts, but it's too late! A faint hiss
can be heard, somewhere in the room.
A booby trap...!
I continue to bang on the door, scratching and clawing... anything to get
out of here!
There's not enough time to think! Help!!
The thunderous explosion engulfs us all, turning over furniture and
scorching the walls as we're hurled like ragdolls across the room!
Urrghh...
I find myself thrown against a wall, upside down. I notice a strange
sensation in my neck... and I can't breathe right... and... I can't move! Oh
my God...!
I try to scream out, but I can't even muster a whisper.
Help... I'm suffocating... Kid, please...!
Help...

Urrghh...
I find myself thrown against one of the far walls. Rolling down onto the
floor, pain suddenly leaps into my shoulder!
It's dislocated!
"Kid! My shoulder!"
She stumbles over to me rubbing the soot off her face.
"Aaaarghh!!"
I thank Kid for popping my shoulder back in, but I'm barely able to fight
off the wincing pain.
Cradling my shoulder, I walk over to Magil. He's not so bad, though...
barely hurt at all.
"Hey, look, at least we can get outta here now," Kid says, pointing to the
gaping hole where the door handle once was.
I groan as I rise to my feet, following my companions out of the
smoke-filled room.

"Sh... Shea...? Is that you!?" Kid says, gazing at the faint apparition with
desperate eyes...
I take another look at the girl, barely visible in the reflection. It seems
she's saying something, but it's too faint to make anything out.
"What? What are you saying?" I ask, taking a step closer.
"...Pain... awful, awful pain... and so...

      "...I welcome your souls!!"

A gigantic hand suddenly materializes out of the mirror, grabbing at me!
Magil instantly pulls me back, just as the huge hand is about to seize me!
If not for Magil's lightning quick instincts, who knows what would have
happened...
I'm at a loss for words. All I can muster out is "Thanks, Magil... thank
you."
I can't tell you how many close calls I owe to him...
All of a sudden, a deep, booming laugh echoes all around us...
"That bastard... it's Lynx, I know it's him," Kid says, looking around.
As the laugh grows louder and louder, a light begins to shimmer from Kid's
backpack. Opening it up, she takes out the Frozen Flame, staring at it as it
shines brighter and brighter before our eyes.
Suddenly, a flash of crimson light bursts out from it in all directions! As
this happens, the ominous laughing continues to get louder and louder!
Kid's being put under some sort of spell! Her body rises off the floor,
motionless, as the stone continues to shine brighter and brighter!
"Magil! What's going on!?"
Magil closes his eyes, and begins muttering something. Before long, he
unleashes a surging aura, arcing directly towards Kid!
A somber red glow casts its light on everything in the room. The laughing is
distorted, and the stone's sparkle begins to lessen!
"Is she okay!?" I ask, but I get no response. It seems Magil's suppressing
the spell. He's having trouble maintaining it, though.
"Serge! Take her, now! I can't hold it off for much longer...!"
I grab Kid and rush her outside the dreadful blood-red room. Looking at her,
she's as white as a ghost...
In her trembling hand, she holds a steadfast grip on the Frozen Flame.
Magil meets up with us a moment later, looking completely exhausted.

"Kid! Hey, Kid!"
"Unnff... huh? Where am I?" In that comfortingly familiar voice, Kid slowly
starts to recover.
"Where do you think you are?" Magil asks.
"Seven."
"Good to have you back, Kid."
I'll never understand these two...
"What was that all about, Magil?"
"I do not know. I have rarely seen magic of such a kind. The luminescent
seal we saw earlier beneath the cathedral had a similar structure."
There has to be some sort of connection...

*Let's head back through the corridor.
*Let's get out of here...

"We're never gonna get outta here. People have probably been trapped here
their whole lives... or longer..."
"Relax, mate. We got enough food here to last us a while."
...Funny, that didn't really relax me very much...
"...Come on, no sense in backin' out now," Kid says all of a sudden.
I take a deep breath as we come to the towering set of doors.
Kid gives a push, and they creak open, slowly...

"This mansion is getting to be way too much for me. I need to get out of
here now or else I'm going to go crazy..."
"Don't get yer panties in a bunch, mate. Let's head back to the terrace."

...The room is just as we left it, with the dry remains of Lord Lynx
dominating our center of attention.
"Well, he's still dead."
"We should look elsewhere. Lingering in this room is an unwise idea."
Magil leads the way out.

And so, the mirror catches our attention once again.

Magil pauses, staring at the door handle.
"What's wrong?" I ask.
"These doors... they're locked, but not with a key. Some type of force field
is protecting them."
"Can't you use your magic on it?"
He closes his eyes, slowly extending his hand out towards the handle. But
then, just before he touches it, a spark jumps out at his hand!
"The solution to this riddle lies elsewhere," he says before turning on his
heel. Kid and I follow after him, a moment later.

We start down the staircase, taking us deeper and deeper below ground...

We come to a long corridor, flanked with rows of cell after cell.
This place as a unnerving atmosphere about it. I can almost feel its
history, where once, somewhere in the past, countless dreadful things must
have taken place...
Crumbling tunics adorn the bleached skeletons in each cell. The weathered,
crumbling garments are so faded, I can't even tell their original color or
make.
There's no mistake -- people died here.
"Well if it's Lynx's jail, you think there'd be more screamin' going on, or
somethin'... anything but this silence," Kid says.
No, to be perfectly honest, I agree with her. I'd almost welcome some noise
other than our own at this point.
"Serge!"
Kid's scream brings me back to attention. I look where she's pointing...
"G... ghost..."
Floating behind the bars is a pale, sad looking ghost. Its resentful eyes
don't look very welcoming in the least. An incarcerated death must lead to
nothing but a sorrowful afterlife...
Kid takes a step back, unaware she's already almost at the wall. She
accidentally bumps into the wall behind her, and suddenly, the Frozen Flame
accidentally falls out of her pocket.
It bounces onto the ground, stopping a few feet ahead of us. The
apparition's eyes go wide, the second it sees it...
"Uwaaaaaa!" It screeches, instantly backing away!
The Flame's red light begins to shimmer brighter and brighter, with bolts of
red light dancing all around the room!
The ghost, suffering beyond all belief, changes its appearance completely.
A look of lodged madness changes to terror as it peeks out from behind a
corner, desperately avoiding the blood-red light.
"P, please... don't... consume me... please..."
Before long, it whisks itself away, vanishing into thin air, leaving us with
nothing behind but our bewildered silence.
"What just happened..."
Kid's question is met with nothing but blank stares from Magil and me.
After a moment or two, Magil reaches down for the Frozen Flame, staring at
its subdued luminescence. "Come, there are more secrets to be gleamed within
this mansion. But, remember what we have seen here."
Kid nods as he hands it back to her. Its glimmer has died down to that of a
soft glow now.

"Yeah, let's get outta here. This place gives me the creeps..."

Horror Scenario - Catacombs - Part 2

The catacombs seem to be empty. These desolate surroundings add no comfort
to our situation.
"Dammit, what do we do? That ghost is nowhere to be found," Kid says,
examining the Frozen Flame. It isn't glowing one bit.
"We must move on. We do not want to attract any more attention to
ourselves."
We scamper back up the stairs even before Magil's finished speaking.

A slight breeze is our only welcome as we enter through the huge set of
doors.
We're met with silence as we look around this spacious, two-story hall.
On the far wall, a monstrous organ stands proudly, beckoning us with its
pitch-black aura.
A countless number of candles are lit all around us, offsetting our
surroundings with a strange, flickering radiance.
"What is this place? A cathedral or somethin'?"
"It seems so. The candles in this room have been placed in such a way to
produce patterns of shadows, consistent with occult teachings," Magil says.
Looking down, I can see he's on to something -- a number of strange,
candlelit patterns dance around on the floor.
"Do not stand there."
I instantly leap back, cold sweat running down my neck. My hand is on my
knife... not that it'll do any good at this point...
"Indeed, a most peculiar arrangement," Magil continues as I back against the
wall. "This is indeed an unholy cathedral, ordained for occult sermons. The
shadows indicate this spot is a focal point of some kind. This entire
mansion is an instrument for defying order..."
"No, wait," he continues a moment later. "I was wrong. This room isn't the
focal point. The shadows don't quite meet here in focus, as though..."

*"Listen Magil, that's great, but what does it have to do with us?"
*Look around with him.

"This may be our only way out," Magil counters.
"Look, what are ya tryin' to get us caught up in!? We got the Flame already!
We need to leave, now! So come on!"

"Look, what are ya tryin' to get us into!? We've already been seein' strange
things around here, and this has nothin' to do with the Flame! We need to
keep movin' here! Now let's go!"

"...Very well," Magil says, continuing to stare at the shadows as we leave.

Although scared, I start to look around the cathedral. Its dusty pillars and
cold, clammy walls send a shiver down my spine.
Setting my sights on the organ, I walk over towards it.
...Strange...
The keyboard is fake. There's no mistaking it, these keys aren't real --
they're bound together. All the whites are one solid piece of ivory, as well
as the blacks.
"Hey Magil, have you seen this yet? I think I found something."

*Try pressing on the black keys.
*Try pressing on the white keys.
*Try pressing on both at once.

As soon as I push down on the keys, the organ's lid suddenly slams shut on
my hands! Damn this God-forsaken mansion!!

Kid and Magil start pulling on the lid, but it's shut much too tightly!
"Get it off!!"
After a moment, Kid pulls her knife out, using the blade to pry the lid up!
She's able to raise it just the bit, and I immediately remove my hands!
I stumble back in an adrenaline-filled daze. Rubbing my hands, I look them
over. They don't seem to be broken, but they're awful sore...
"Thanks, Kid."
"Don't mention it, mate."
I re-approach the keyboard. What a surprise, now it opens without any
trouble at all...

Hmm... nothing seems to be happening.
I take another look at the keyboard.

As soon as I press down on the keys, the wall just to the left of me begins
to rumble.
A secret passage has just opened up!
Peering into it, I can see a stone stairway winding down...
"A secret floor directly beneath this one. Of course," Magil says to himself
as we start down the narrow staircase.

The huge doors open without a sound.
We're greeted with nothing but the flickering luminescence of countless
candles, dimly lighting this huge hall.
The room, organ and all, is just how we left it, imprisoned in time...
"Wanna head downstairs?" Kid asks, sighing.

*"Yeah, we might as well." I have a feeling about something...
*"Nah, no need." Nothing's changed down there either, probably.

Magil steps into the center of the room, resuming his inspection of the
strange symbols on the ground.
"There's a presence here..."

We walk up to the organ, pressing the white and black keys together.
I retract my hands as soon as I press on the keys, wary of traps.
After a moment or two, the wall begins to rumble, and the secret door opens.
The staircase winds down into darkness.
"C'mon, no sense in waitin' around all day," Kid says, heading down the
cold, damp staircase.
Magil and I follow her down, into the forgotten lair.

Once we reach the bottom, Magil casts a spell, allowing us to see into this
dark, damp room.
The faint luminescence allows us to see somewhat. We're in a room not much
taller than head height. However, what's interesting is that this room seems
to have the exact same length and width as the room above us. Even the
pillars are here, in the exact same places as they were above.
Could this be the original floor, covered up with what's there now? Why
would someone do that? What would they need to cover up...?
"Look over there," Magil whispers.
In the direction he's pointing, we see a faint cloud-like mass...
No, my mistake. It's something sketched on the floor, emitting a dull,
pulsating light...
"What is it?" Kid asks.
"...This must be the focal point for the energy above us."
I can tell Magil is affected somehow by it, just by being here. Something
was bothering him upstairs, too, but it seems to be much more concentrated
down here. Something is gnawing away within him, forcing him to pause every
couple of seconds and re-steady himself.
"Sounds great, Magil," Kid says. "Whaddaya say we get outta here..."

"...I cannot be sure. Perhaps it is an inscription, placed here by those
that constructed this place... I must think more on this matter."
Suddenly, a dry wind blows past me. It didn't come from the stairwell, and
there aren't any windows down here.
"Let us come back when we know more," Magil says.
I have no problem with that whatsoever.
We head back up the stairs and out of the cathedral, back into the corridor
within seconds. But still, that chilly feeling on the back of my neck hasn't
abated...

Just as before, the strange markings shine with a dull, somber light in the
center of this dreary, forgotten room.
"These designs here indicate this is to be used for a kind of resurrection
ceremony. I am not sure what these symbols mean here, though..."
Kid and I glance at each other, wondering how much longer we'll have to stay
down here before Magil's ready to go.
"There must be an explanation for this, somewhere in this mansion. Let us
search elsewhere."
We scamper back up the stairs and out of the cathedral.

Suddenly, as if awakened by our being here...
The magic seal grows stronger and stronger, giving off a terrifying shaking
tremor as its radiance intensifies, filling the room with its aura!
Despite our situation, I can't help but be caught up in the spectacle of it
all...
However, at its core...
...He's here.
"...Lynx..."
Kid's tone is as though she's speaking the name of death itself.
This man... no... this thing... Viper Manor's deadly master... the
originator of all this torment...
".....Lynx!!"
Kid calls out to Lynx, her eyes as ravenous as a hawk's as she grips her
knife tight!
Lynx's image wavers silently in the air, apparently undisturbed.
Kid, on the other hand, sets aside her peace of mind, calling forth the fury
of maddening vengeance!
Lynx starts to speaks out, but ironicaly, in a meek and comforting tone.
"The Frozen Flame... please, return it here, young girl..."
"Yeah, right! Ya think I'm gonna listen to a bastard like you!?"
At that moment, Kid reaches in her pocket. Moments later, she pulls out the
glowing red stone.
Shimmering red light streaks out between her fingers, as she holds the
Frozen Flame high above her.
"Yes," Lynx continues. "It is my spirit... please, you must help me."
"...Your spirit?" Kid asks.
Lord Lynx's image pleads with Kid in a pitiful manner.
"Please, hear me... I, too, was once on a quest. Struck down by
the blade of an evil assassin, I failed to reach my goal. Through the power
of secret ancient arts, I was barely able to secure my spirit within the
Frozen Flame, but just barely... In this meager remaining existence, I am
helpless, bound to this magic seal before you. Please, return the Flame to
me... I am helpless without it..."
"Pity," Kid says. "...I'm sure you know all about pity. Did ya ever show any
of those people you maimed any pity?"
Kid's eyes return to their hard stare. "You expect us to believe you? You,
the bastard who tortured countless people!? Death isn't good enough for the
likes of you!" she shouts, squeezing the Flame tighter and tighter!
"Please! Pity me," the faint apparition pleads.

				"Kid!"
                         "Wait... Please!!"
Kid suddenly stops dead in her tracks, hearing that voice. It wasn't Lynx's
voice...
"Aaaahhhh! You...! No...!!" Lynx shouts out!
Lynx's apparition bends and contorts, blurring like a sweltering heat,
until...
...Another figure starts to overlap his image! It's that girl...
She's fighting to come through, wrestling with Lynx...
"Please... you must not trust him. Do not lend any more help to his
revival," the girl says, painfully twisting and turning within the seal.
"Revival? Of course! I understand the seal's meaning now!" Magil adds. "This
seal, it's for a seance... an anti-spirit seance. By consuming others'
spirits, Lynx breaks the seal by which he is kept from returning to the
physical world, bit by bit."
"Consuming others' spirits... it all makes sense now," Magil says. "The
Flame, put right out in the open, was meant for us to take. It all points to
this being one huge trap."
"There must have been others like us... thieves who had come looking for the
Flame," Magil continues. "They took it, but then, found themselves unable to
escape."
Yeah... Lynx must have pounced on them through the Flame when they least
expected it, just like what happened to Kid in Lynx's room. Lynx just didn't
count on someone like Magil who was able to counter his evil magic.

"Yes, Lynx pounces on travellers spirits through the Frozen Flame," the girl
adds. "He has done it to countless others before you."

There must be no one left alive in this entire mansion... they've all been
consumed by Lynx. All those corpses we saw... how many have died, never to
have gotten this far?
"Shea..."
Beside me, I hear Kid say that name again...
"Shea... it's you... it's you!"
...Kid...
I've never heard Kid's voice take on such a soft tone. No, I wouldn't call
it soft -- it's more of the kind of tone a child clings to her mother with.
Now I remember... one of the sisters of the temple where Kid was raised was
named Shea, if I'm not mistaken...
"Shea...! It's me, Kid...!"
"Yes, my Kid... my precious little Kid. What a fantastic woman you have
grown into..."
"Grrrrrr... rrraaaaaahhhhhh!! Get out of my mind...!!" Lynx's shouts out
from inside the seal! He forces his face through Shea's belly, as they begin
to painfully wrestle with each other once again!
"Kid," Shea continues, painfully overcoming Lynx, "thank you for remembering
me... however, I cannot return with you. Please, hear me... the Frozen Flame
must be destroyed. It is through this that Lynx is able to slowly resurrect
himself... Please, destroy it, and save yourselves... I will restrain Lynx
in the meantime."
"But... No! You can't! Come back... come back with me!"
"Kid... just as headstrong as ever," Shea says with a wide smile across her
face.
"I must fall, with Lynx... I am bound to this fate. You see, I am burdened
with this crime -- my father's blood runs just as thickly through my veins."
...Father...?
"Sensing his own impending death, Lynx made preparations for a revival
before he was slain," Shea says painfully, barely able to restrain Lynx's
mortal hatred.
"This anti-spirit seance he prepared was designed to feed off others'
spirits, in exchange for adding to his own rejuvenation."
Shea's eyes take on a somber glow. "To invoke the seance, he needed a blood
relative to consume first. Yes, Kid... I was born unto him illegitimately...
I am his daughter."
Kid's face turns to that of utter shock, hearing this.
"The moment that Dragoon slew Lynx, I felt my spirit being sucked into this
spot, consumed within his seance. But, he did not stop there... all my
people met the same fate. Not even this was enough, however... He continues
to greedily lure unsuspecting visitors of Viper Manor to this very day,
hoping to consume more and more spirits so that he may one day cross back
over."
"This insidious crime... it must be stopped," she concludes.
Mortified, Kid is unable to say a word.
"Thank you for hearing me. The truth is known, finally. Now please, save
yourself, my precious... little... Kid..."
Kids takes a deep breath, staring at the shiny jewel she's been seeking for
so long.
"I choose... I choose to end it," she says solemnly.
"Place it on the ground before you," says Magil. Kid does so, and not long
after, Magil's thick voice begins to echo out an incantation.
Looking over at him, an arc of magic streaks out from his fingertips towards
the Flame! The scarlet jewel takes on a strange, dark color, as it begins to
hum louder and louder...
Shea smiles upon seeing this.
"Thank you... thank you for setting me free...
"I've waited a century for this moment, to put an end to Lynx," Magil says,
smiling broadly. "And now... it is finished."
As the Flame continues to glow darker and darker with its new hollow, grey
aura, Magil shouts "Serge, take cover, and hold Kid to you! The Flame is
losing stability!!"
.....................
..................
............
......
...

I can't remember what happened next very clearly...
The magic seal's radiance...
Lynx's contorted screams...
Magil invoking his magic...
...Shea's comforting smile.

And...

...a tear rolling down Kid's cheek.
When I come to, I find that I'm lying on the ground, holding Kid tightly to
me, rubbing the soot out of my eyes. How long have I been laying here?
Our clothes have been tattered, and our bodies have sustained more than
their fair share of bruises. But... we're all right.
It looks like Magil was thrown over to the opposite side of the room. He
lays there silently, exhausted of all energy, fast asleep.
I pick up my head to glance over to where the Flame was...
...It's gone.
There's no trace of Shea or Lynx either...
I sleep... and sleep... and sleep.
The moon rises for a second time, and I finally feel like I have the
strength to get up. I nudge Kid, who's still groggy, as I sit up on the cold
stone floor.
"All this... and what do we have to show for it... nothing," I think to
myself, remorsefully. But then, I glance at Kid, and realize that's not
entirely true.
Walking through the forest wilderness, I look back over my shoulder to the
towering mansion one last time.
Finally, Viper Manor is at peace.
Walking beside me, Kid gulps painfully as she looks down at her hand,
tracing the outline of where she once grasped the legendary Frozen Flame so
tightly.
Closing her hand, she moves on.

This is a leisurely room, decorated to a fine taste.
An antique cupboard, polished wooden toy animals, and a shiny glass vase add
to its charm.
However, the flower in the vase has long since wilted, and it's been long
since the furniture was dusted last. There are traces of life here, but not
recent ones.
A broken window lies hidden behind this elegant interior. Wind blows in
through the small crack.
"There doesn't seem to be anything useful here... let's go."
"Hang on a sec," Kid responds, kicking open a chest.
I come to her side, peering in with her.
Inside, a pale blue robe is found.
"...Shea..." Kid quietly says.
That name... Shea...
Kid takes notice of my looking at her and quickly composes herself.
"Yer right, there's nuthin' here. C'mon."
Before I have time to ask, Kid leads the way out.

Returning to this run-down room, we find nothing has changed since our last
visit.
"Come, there are other places we have yet to check." Magil says suddenly.

I hear a few splashes here and there.
Kid turns around, facing me. She's stiff as a pole, bloodstained.
"What the...!?"
I rush over to Kid in a flash...
"Aaaahhhh!"
The fish are ravenously leaping out of the water, snapping at our flesh as
they spit up thick blood on us!
Amidst all this, the fountain has started to spew volumes of bloodstained
water!
I back away slowly, too terrified to think.
"The fish... the fish..." Kid says over and over, apparently in shock as she
tries to clean the gorges of blood off her hands and arms. But the fish keep
on coming, spitting more and more blood up on us...
However, what I see next makes my stomach turn.
Masses of bones and half-eaten body parts bubble up to the surface of the
pond. Heads, arms, fingers, feet...
"These fish are cursed," Magil shouts over the commotion. "They are being
influenced by something..."
I take a few more steps back, eager to get away from all this.
"I see now," Magil adds. "These fish are something of an experiment, it
seems. Their minds have been unnaturally twisted and broken. The fear of
death is thick in the air, even for these cannibals..."
He's right... The fish don't seem to be hungry for us -- they're just madly
snapping at anything that moves, even themselves. Not even the body parts
are fully eaten...
I can barely stomach the sight, as the body parts begin to spill over onto
the tile floor...
"Come on, hurry," I say to Kid, taking her arm. We carefully make our way
around the fountain, avoiding it as much as we can by hugging the walls.

*Continue onwards.
*Head back to the stairs.

"Whatcha lookin at, Serge? Aw, it's prolly just another one of Lynx's sick
hobbies, collectin' weird stuff like this..."
"Yeah, but..."
"C'mon, this is borin'. I wanna get that Flame!"
I reluctantly agree with her, giving a forced laugh. Yeah, I could say more,
but... hmph.

Kid's acting strange...
It's that girl... I know it has something to do with that girl. But what
could it all mean?
I want to ask Kid, but now's not the right time.
Aw, why not.
"Hey, about that robe..."
"It is the official congregational robe of the Temple of Four Spirits,"
Magil instantly says. It must have been on his mind as well...
"Isn't that where you were raised, Kid?"
"...Yeah, they took us in... all us orphans."
It seems to be a hard subject for her... I can understand why. She always
seems so moved by this...
While Kid is lost in thought, Magil takes me aside and explains the rest to
me, alone...

"Kid, still a child at the time, was raised by the holy sisters in their
temple.
However, one day, one of the sisters was summoned to Lynx's mansion. Kid
waited day after day, but the sister did not return.
After some time had passed, Kid secretly sneaked out of the temple,
determined to find out what had happened.
She made it almost all the way to Viper Manor, alone and unprepared. She was
still just a child, after all.
But then, she heard an explosion, back in the direction of her hometown. She
looked back and saw fires everywhere, engulfing the only home she ever knew.
Someone had set fire to her entire village, including the temple.
Forgetting the mansion for the time being, she ran back to town, but Kid was
the only survivor.
Back then, I was a regular visitor of the temple. One day, I came to where
the town had been, and came across this sight. All the village had burnt to
the ground, and there appeared to be no survivors. But, following my
intuition, I searched and searched.
And there, among all the cinders and bodies, crouched a tiny, trembling
little girl.
After I took Kid under my wing, it was an entire year before she spoke
again. Ever since then, I haven't seen her cry a single time..."

"What!? There's nothin' here!"
Just as Kid says, it's pretty empty in here. Simple stucco walls run up this
tiny, square room. No furnishings, no furniture... not even a single window.
It could be a holding cell of some kind... or maybe a storeroom. But if
that's the case, then where's the storage?

"Why would anybody go through all this trouble to keep this place hidden?
There's nothin' here!"
"It would seem that way," Magil says.
"There doesn't even seem to be any traps in here."
"Leave it to a fool like Lynx to build have a room as stupid as this," Kid
says on her way out. We follow after her not much later.

The only thing worth mentioning is a large stone slab in the center of the
room.
"What do ya suppose this thing is? A bed or somethin'?"

*Go over by Kid.
*See what Magil has to say.
*Search on my own.

"What is it, Kid?" I ask, seeing her starting to inspect the slab closer and
closer.
As I walk over to where she is, I see there's a small crystal embedded in
the middle of the slab.
We climb up on the slab in order to get a better look at it.
"Hey, look... there's somethin' written on it."
She's right -- faint words seem to be etched into the surface of the slab.
They're in a language I don't think I've ever seen before, though.

*Investigate the stone slab a little more.
*Investigate the crystal a little more.
*Investigate Kid a little more.

"Whaddaya think it says?" Kid asks. "Maybe Magil knows. Hey, Magil, c'mere!"
"Hmm... I have never seen this language before, Kid. However, I do know that
the glow that this crystal is emitting is unnatural. It is most likely
enchanted..."

It's a white, spherical, polished crystal. Only the upper half of it
visible. Its lower half is embedded into the slab.
"It's beautiful," Kid says, eyes as wide as melons.
"It is enchanted," Magil suddenly says from behind us.

"Kid..."
"Huh...? What the!? Get yer eyes off me, ya pervert!"
Kid explodes with a left hook to my jaw.

"Oww...."

*Investigate the stone slab.
*Investigate the crystal.

"Enchanted, huh? Well then it's gotta be valuable!" she says, reaching out
for the shimmering gem.
But as soon as she touches it, the crystal begins to shine brighter and
brighter.
Shortly after, everything before my eyes turns bright white!

I turn to talk to Magil, but he's already got his eyes closed, probably
concentrating on some sort of search spell.

*Go over to where Kid is.
*Search on my own.

I walk around, inspecting all four corners of the room, but nothing
interesting turns up.
I notice Kid over in the middle of the room, checking out a stone slab.
Magil's busy casting some sort of search spell.

*Go over to where Kid is.
*Give up and leave.

Suddenly...
Something begins to shine in the middle of the room.
"Huh? What? I didn't touch it! I didn't do anyth..." but before she can
finish, Kid disappears in a flash!
"What the heck!?" I say, glancing at Magil.
Magil says nothing as he walks over to the stone slab in the center of the
room, staring at it intently.
"Magil, what's going on..."
"She was transported."
"Transported!?"
"Yes. Take a look here. This crystal is enchanted. Touch it, and you will be
transported as well."
"Where to?"
Magil simply blinks at me.
I approach the stone slab, and just as Magil said, a tiny white crystal is
embedded in its center.
What's more, there's some kind of writing written on the slab.
"What does this stuff say?"
"It's in a language I have never seen before," he says.
"I will go to save Kid. Wait here."
Saying this, Magil gets on the stone slab and holds his hand aloft above the
crystal.
"Wait here...?"
But before I can even argue, Magil touches the crystal! It shines for a
second or two, and then...
...He's gone.
What am I supposed to do now...

*Follow after them.
*Wait here.
*Leave this room, continuing to search for the Frozen Flame.
*Leave this room and escape Viper Manor.

I swallow my fear down as I get up onto the slab. I wonder what it feels
like to be transported...
After a moment, I reach out my hand, and slowly lower it onto the crystal.
...What!? Nothing's happening!
I touch it again and again, but nothing happens! What am I going to do now!?
I've got nothing to do but wait here, alone...
...Alone... all alone...
I wonder if they're ever coming back...

I sit down and wait, following Magil's orders.
As I sit here in the dim light, an unsettling silence fills the room.
The longer I stay here, the more likely a guard patrol is bound to come.
Could I handle a goblin all by myself? Or an entire troupe of them, no less?
*Keep waiting.
*Go after them on second thought.

Should I really leave...?
It's not really all that safe to stay here, but are my odds any better out
there?
Even if I can escape the mansion alive, it's going to be curtains for me
once those feral cats pick up my scent...
The more I think about it, the more I realize it's better to stay here. I'm
worried about Kid and Magil, though...
*Keep waiting.
*Go after them.

I keep waiting.
And waiting...
...and waiting.
I wonder if they're all right. Where could they have gone? I don't hear them
anywhere in the mansion, but it is a pretty big place...
Maybe... maybe when you touch the crystal, it evaporates you and takes your
soul.
I don't know... Magil sure didn't have any fear when he touched it. But then
again, Magil really doesn't show a whole lot of fear of anything.
I wonder if he could actually read that writing on the slab. Maybe he read
it but didn't tell me what it said...
*Go after them.
*Keep waiting.

.........
...
...If something were to happen to them, I...

*I have to go after them.
*Keep on waiting.

...

*Wait.
*Wait.
*Wait.
*Wait.
*Wait!$@#$%!#@!

But, what if...

*What if they were vaporized?
*No, they're definitely going to come back.
*Maybe they're somewhere far away... maybe they can't come back!
*Try to stop thinking about it.

Maybe they're dead! They would have come back by now if they could...
No, I can't start thinking like that. They're strong, I'm sure they can
handle whatever they're up against.

Yeah, they're probably going to be coming back any minute now.
I've gotta have faith.

That's definitely a possibility... I don't know what to do...
...I'm scared...

.......
Yeah, no worries...
I look around the room. Wow... it sure has a nice, uh, color... or
something...
Hmm...
......
Oh man... who am I kidding.

......
Time passes...
Suddenly, the crystal begins to glow!
As the light subsides, Magil and Kid have returned!
"Hey! Welcome back!"
I run over to them.
"I'm so glad, I really am..."
"What are you cryin' for, mate?"
"Huh? Oh... I'm just... happy to see you!"
"We had to do a bunch of stuff. We're kinda tired..."
Taking a look, they do seem kind of roughed up.
"What happened to you guys? Where did you go? You didn't like, die or
anything, right?"
"Heh, no, I don't think so. We went to this huge arena where it was daytime
out, and we had to fight this giant monster!"
"Huh...?"
"And look, check this out."
Kid reaches her hand out toward the crystal. She takes it out of the stone
slab as if it was an ordinary gem!
"They said we could have this as a reward. Well, one down, more to go.
C'mon, let's go find the Flame!"
Kid runs out of the room. Magil follows.
Teleportation... battle arenas... giant monsters... uhh...

"Yeah! Who do ya think I am?" Kid shouts, hitting me upside the head.
"You really are useless, aren't ya!" she shouts, glaring at me.
"We battled a giant monster in this big arena, in the middle of the day."
"C'mon, there's bound to be more of these rooms in the mansion somewhere."
Kid and Magil rush out of the room without missing a beat.
I can't begin to imagine what happened back there, but these sure are some
tough cookies...

I can't take it anymore! I've got to go after them!

When I come to, I'm outside! I look around, and I seem to be in some sort of
arena. But the weirdest thing of all is that it's daytime out!
"Wh, what's going on!?"
"What makes ya think I know?"
"We were probably teleported here..."
*"But where's here?"
*"Where's Magil?"
*"What are we supposed to do now?"

"I dunno, I haven't seen him."
"We ought to find him, I suppose. Do you recognize this place at all?"
"No... we're probably in some sorta Illusion World, since we're here in the
middle of the day.
"Illusion World?"
"Yeah, I learned about this kinda thing from Magil. They're places that
don't exist in reality... hollow voids created by a magic user."

"Well, just as it looks, mate. We're in a coliseum in the middle of the day
I guess. I don't think we're in the real world anymore, though..."
"Huh? We're not in reality?"
"Yeah, I learned about this kinda thing from Magil. There are voids that
only exist because magic users create 'em. They're called illusion worlds. A
powerful mage probably created this..."

"I dunno... wanna explore a little bit?"
"What!? I want to get back home!!"
"Aw... okay..."
We survey the area, however, there are no stone slabs in sight. It looks as
though this was a one-way ticket.
"This place can't be real... it's the middle of the day here, for cryin' out
loud! It's gotta be an Illusion World..."
"Illusion World?"
"Yeah, I learned about this kinda thing from Magil. There are voids that
only exist because magic users create 'em. They're called Illusion Worlds. A
powerful mage probably created this..."

Just then, a shrill laughter echoes throughout the arena. "Hee, hee hee..."

*"Who's there!?"
*"What was that, Kid?"
*"..."

I shout out bravely, making sure I can be heard throughout the entire arena.
However, there's no reply. Kid and I look all around, but there's nothing to
be found.

I turn toward Kid, who scowls at me for acting so scared.
"Who's there!?" she shouts out after a while, looking all around. No
reply...
The hot sun beats down on us as we walk, looking around, awaiting our fate.

Kid and I silently search out the owner of the laughter. The arena goes
quiet...
The hot sun beats down on us as we walk, looking around, awaiting our fate.

But then, all of a sudden, a figure appears in the far entranceway! Its
voice resonates throughout the arena once again, "Welcome to my coliseum."

*Confront the figure.
*Stand our ground.
*Shout "Who are you!?"

I try to dash over to it, but I find myself unable to move a muscle!
"Urrghh..."
Kid seems to be stuck, just the same as I am!
"Please, calm yourselves, and listen to what I have to say."


I try to shout out, but I find myself unable to move a muscle!
"Urrghh..."
Kid seems to be immobilized, just the same as I am!
"Please, calm yourselves, and hear to what I say."


"Allow myself to introduce... myself. I am known as Gange, Master
Illusionist. And yes, as the astute young Miss said, this is an illusory
world. The arena you see around you exists only as long as I care for it
to."
Saying that, Gange floats up above us, to about head height.
"This coliseum is a place of battle. Only victors shall gain passage back to
the real world."
"On this day, we have two very adept competitors! You two shall come
together in the ancient ritual of battle on this very ground!" he announces,
pointing towards us!
"Are there any questions?"

*"Why do we have to fight!?"
*"Kid and me!?"
*"..."

"Because you came to the coliseum, of course. If you wish to return, you'll
have to fight for it."

"That's right, you must fight."
"Whoa whoa whoa whoa! Yer tellin' me that I've had to listen to you spout
all this crap, and now I have to fight Serge? It's -us- who are gonna fight
-you-!"
"Ah, but that would be impossible, my girl. And besides, there'd be no
point. Killing me would do nothing to shatter this world."

"Well then, if there are no questions..."
"Whoa whoa whoa whoa! Yer tellin' me that I've had to listen to you spout
all this crap, and now I have to fight Serge? It's -us- who are gonna fight
-you-!"
"That's impossible, and besides, there'd be no point. Killing me would do
nothing to shatter this world. In fact, it would do nothing but trap you
here indefinitely."

"You see, I am conducting an ongoing search for individuals who possess pure
strength. Who knows, perhaps one of you may end up being one of my prized
gladiators."
What the...?
"Well then, shall we begin? Your audience is awaiting bloodshed!"
Just as Master Illusionist Gange says this, a booming roar arises from the
seats in the audience, where I could have sworn not a single person sat just
a minute ago.
"Ah, yes... I almost forgot. It would be difficult for the two of you to
combat each other in that form, wouldn't it? Allow me to transform you.
Today's show will be... what shall it be... ah, yes, how about gigantic
warrior combat? Behold, Serge the Gladiator versus Gigaweapon Kid!"
With a wave of his hands, Master Illusionist Gange disappears into thin air!
"What the bloody hell is goin' on Urgh...!"
Suddenly, Kid's body becomes a glistening ball of white light!
"Grahhhhh..."
Kid starts to make all sorts of loud, contorted shrieks, as her radiating
white body rapidly grows larger and larger!
As the light dissipates, standing there before me is a humongous,
muscle-clad, one-eyed beast!
I look down and realize that I, too, have been transformed! I now have a
sword in my right hand and a shield in my left! Not only that, I'm decked
from head to toe in leather and chains! Power swells up inside my body as I
flex my newly-gained muscles!

The crowd erupts into a frenzy!
Gange's voice blares over the crowd. "The contestants have been rendered!
Commence fighting!"
Kid, the Gigaweapon Cyclops, scowls at me with its huge, round eye.

*Fight!
*Run!
*Talk!

I swing my huge sword up, but it goes clearly over my head, as though it was
made of paper!
"What the...?"
Usually I couldn't freely handle a sword like this with -both hands-, let
alone one. And yet, I find myself somehow able to handle this huge weapon
with the greatest ease!
But there's no time to fool around with any of that now... the cyclops is
coming straight for me! With a swift leap, I dash to the side!
Parrying a swing, I thrust my sword into foot of the cyclops!
"Guaaahhh!"
The cyclops lets out a cry of pain! However, I can't hear a single bit of
resemblance to Kid's voice... I doubt it knows I'm Serge, either!

The cyclops raises its fist above my head, bringing it down with staggering
force!
I succeed in parrying the fist with my shield, but still, a dull impact runs
through my left side!
My feet have been driven into the ground because of the blow, but both my
shield and my body remain undamaged!
I just blocked a hit as strong as an elephant's... I have -this- kind of
strength...!?
A wave of power runs through me as I realize this. I swing my sword out,
slashing at the arm that attacked me!

I bend down, and amassing my strength, I hurl myself into the air!
My body seems to hang in midair, just like Magil! No, even more powerful
than that!
"Wow! This is great!" I yell as I glide through the air! Power wells up from
the pit of my being as I descend to the ground!
Landing precisely at the right point for a swoop attack, I bring down my
sword with all my might into the cyclops' shoulder!
"Gyaaaaargh!"
The cyclops falls to its knees, writing in pain!

I run toward the cyclops, and taking a deep breath, come crashing into it
with all my might!
It's hurled backwards, slamming into the coliseum wall, dazed. I'm beating
the cyclops by an overwhelming amount!
It does nothing but lay there, full of wounds.
It tries to get up, putting its hand out in front of it, but it's obviously
suffering a great deal.
"Huahahahah, I'm gonna win!!" I shout, dancing around madly!

I toss my shield away, grasping this huge sword with both hands.
I still can't believe how easily I can throw this blade around. It must
weigh more than a hundred pounds, but somehow it feels as light as a
feather!
Before me stands the battered cyclops, cringing in pain, full of the wounds
I've inflicted.
If I keep this up, I'm bound to win!
A wave of power rushes into me as I raise my tightly gripped weapon high
overhead.
With a precisely timed leap, I bring the sword down onto the cyclops' head
as I approach my destination!

Crack!
Urrrghh...
I aimed it right, but my sword was somehow deflected, leaving me with
nothing but a terrible vibration running through my body!
I wasn't repelled by the cyclops... there's no way it can block like that.
What happened...?
There, high above me, I find my answer.
"Magil!!"
Floating in midair is the ever-watchful Magil, readied with his blade drawn.
"Magil, why did you do that!?"
"Have you forgotten who you are? Or who that is? Though she has a different
form, that is still your accomplice, Kid!"

The cyclops raises its fist high above its head, and aims to brings it down
on me!
"Graaaaaaaaaah!"
The loud roar from the cyclops' mouth nearly freezes me in my tracks, but, I
manage to leap back at the last possible second!
Slaaaaaaaaaam!!
The giant fist burrows into the ground, kicking up a huge cloud of dirt!

I turn, dashing away from it as fast as I can!
The cyclops chases after me, taking long, huge steps in pursuit.
I arrive at the far wall, leaning up against it to regain my breath.
Just then, from out of nowhere, comes the voice of Master Illusionist Gange.
"You can run, but you cannot hide, Gladiator. This will only delay the
inevitable."

The cyclops stretches its leg out, trying to stomp me!
Thuuuuuuuump!!!
I leap to the side just in time to avoid it.

The cyclops tries a sucker punch!
Whap!
With the giant fist flying towards me, I try to duck. But, I'm a fraction of
a second too late!
The fist slams into my shield!

"Huff... huff... huff..."
I'm getting tired... I toss my sword and shield onto the ground, and run
with all the energy I have left!
I run around the arena for a minute or two, but there's just no escaping
that bloodthirsty thing!
My legs gradually begin to wear out, burning more and more. Soon, they start
to become wobbly, then give out altogether!
The cyclops finally catches up, bringing its huge fists down on me!

"How does it feel to be defeated, Gigaweapon? This fight is mine! Do you
yield!?"
"Grrrraaaaaaaaah!!"
Not persuaded in the least, the one-eyed beast lets out a bloodcurdling
roar!

"Kid! Are you in there? Hey, Kid!!"
I try talking to Kid, who is now supposedly something called a Gigaweapon...
"Can you hear me!? Say something if you can hear me!"
It stands perfectly still for a short while, looking at me. Then, suddenly,
it lets out a huge roar!
"Graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!"
That's not really what I had in mind...
In the next instant, I suddenly see the cyclops' fist coming down on me for
an overhead attack!
Slaaaaaaaaaaaam!
I barely avoid the blow, leaping out of the way just in time!
"Kid! It's me!!"
I can't get to her... all I can see is that ravenous eye, staring at me with
mortal intent!

"Kid! Listen to me!! We have to stop fighting!! You can understand what I'm
saying, can't you!?"
Even though she's changed form, she has to be in there somewhere... I don't
want to fight her.
However, the cyclops does nothing more than stare at me, not seeming to let
go of an ounce of its combative energy!
"Graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"
It lets out a giant roar, preparing for its next attack!
"Kid..."

"Kid... I don't want to hurt you any more, but I've won. It's pointless to
fight any more. Listen to me, please..."
However, the cyclops simply glares at me, unremorsefully.

"Kid! There's no reason we should fight each other!!"
However, the cyclops only continues to grow more and more infuriated! Its
fists come raining down on me madly!
Slaaaaaaaaaaaaam!
I roll to the side, and somehow avoid the pommel!
It stomps after me with its heavy feet, not letting up in the least.

"Kid, your odds of winning are..."
Slammmmmmmmm!
The cyclops tries to punch me again and again, but I easily dodge its slow
attempts.
"Kid, knock it off already!"

"Kid! Stop...!"
Slammmmmmm!
The cyclops' fist lunges out at me!
Clang!
I block the attack with my shield, but, unable to bear its brunt force, I'm
thrown backwards onto the ground!

"Kid, I'm begging you!"
I don't know whether she can hear my voice or not. I have to keep trying
though!
Despite its many injuries, it mercilessly continues to attack!

Not listening at all to what I say, the cyclops comes in for yet another
attack!
Whap!
The top of my shield receives the full force of the punch. I'm thrown off
balance, and I hit the ground hard!

My body flies through midair like an old rag, and hits the ground about ten
yards away!

"Kid... stop... please," I beg, throwing my sword and shield to the ground.
"That's enough already! Stop this!!"
I yell out at the giant monstrosity, holding out my arms wide in front of me
to show that I have no intention of fighting.
Firmly keep my stare on the Cyclops' giant eyeball, I desperately keep
trying to reach Kid...
The pain from my many wounds scream out at me, but I keep a straight face,
intent on getting my message across.
However, However, the cyclops only uses this opportunity to move in for a
cheap shot!
Its giant eye looks down on me, as the hulking behemoth brings down its huge
fist.
It's no use... I don't even have the strength to dodge anymore.

I close my eyes, and wait for the final strike.
         Blang!
"Wha, wh... what happened!?" I yell, opening my eyes as soon as I hear that
sound.
The cyclops' punch didn't reach me. In fact, it seems to be recoiling back
away from me, cradling its fist.
It apparently stopped throwing its punch right front of me.
No... it was stopped by something. But what...?
"Magil!!"
Magil floats in midair above me. He must have blocked the punch!
"Magil, why!?"
"Don't be rash. Value your life."
"But, this is Kid..."
"I know. Leave that to me."
Reassured by Magil, I feel a new found strength return to my body. I scamper
out of the way, eager to see what he's going to do.

*Fight!
*Run!
*Talk!

I throw away my shield, grabbing my huge sword with both hands. I hone in on
the cyclops, eager to make a kill.
I leap with all my might, and aiming for the cyclops' head, I quickly bring
down my blade!

*"Why are you here?"
*"Get out of my way!"
*"Thanks."
*"You saved me..."
*"But, Kid..."*"If I kill the cyclops...
*"..."

"I came to save you and Kid, of course."
Magil's dry rhetoric never sounded so good.
"You were the easy one. Kid, on the other hand, is going to need some more
work."
Staring at the cyclops' rabid gaze, I take a deep breath and let Magil do
his thing.

All I can think about is getting that puny magician out of my way, before I
pommel this cyclops into the ground!
"Pull yourself together!" Magil shouts, slapping me across the face!
"Serge, Look! That cyclops is Kid! Stop trying to kill her!"
What? Oh my God... what have I done to her!?
A huge chill runs down my spine as I look back at Magil, frightened of
myself.

"Don't mention it."

Magil glares at the cyclops in all its writhing ugliness. As the two
confront each other, suddenly a glaze comes over the cyclops' single eye.
Crash!!
The cyclops falls to the ground, somehow losing consciousness!
!??

Magil's here... everything's going to be all right.

"Can she be changed back from... that thing?" I ask.

Suddenly, Magil slaps me across the face!
"Get a hold of yourself. You will not kill the cyclops," he admonishes in a
calm tone. "Even in this form, Kid is still Kid. She's a little bit of a
bother though, I see. Now please, stand back."
Magil turns around, facing the cyclops.

I don't know what to say. Too many thoughts are running through my head all
at once...

All of a sudden, the voice of Master Illusionist Gange comes out of nowhere,
echoing from all around! "Oh, a third has come to play? Well, what shall I
do?"
With that, Master Illusionist Gange appears out of thin air before us.
"Well then, my audience! Let us thank these two with a great hurrah for the
marvelous display they have given us!"
A tremendous cheer arises from the empty seats.
As the applause grows louder and louder, the cyclops' body glows brighter
and brighter, until it's solid white!
When the light subsides, there lies Kid, resting calmly on the ground.
The wounds I had inflicted on her seem to have vanished.

I, too, find I'm back to my original self. It seems as though some of my
wounds have been healed as well!

"Well what a show that was -- Serge the Gladiator versus Gigaweapon Kid!
Quite the marvelous melee!"

"However, I am afraid to say that you, Serge, may not be the warrior I am
looking for. It seems you sometimes indulge in power a bit too easily."
With that, he glances at Magil, and then back to me.
"At any rate, you are proving to be most interesting specimens."

"However, I am afraid to say that you, Serge, may not be the warrior I am
looking for. It seems that you sometimes do not take enough initiative to
remedy a situation."
With that, he glances at Magil, and then back to me.
"At any rate, you are proving to be most interesting specimens."

"However, I am afraid to say that you, Serge, may not be the warrior I am
looking for. It seems that you show little consistency in your technique...
a trait of an indecisive warrior.
With that, he glances at Magil, and then back to me.
"At any rate, you are proving to be most interesting specimens."

"Master Serge, I am honored to announce that you may hold the esteemed power
inside you which I have been searching for. Please, I would be honored if
you would take me with you."

*Yes.
*No.

"But you must!" he pleads. "To say no to a Master Illusionist within his own
illusion is a most unspeakable crime, penalized by an indefinite iteration!"
"...Huh?"
"Allow me to demonstrate," Gange says.


"Well then, it's back to the real world with you! I shall send all three of
you back to where you came, free of charge!"
Before I can even respond, everything before my eyes instantly turns a
bright white.
When I come to, we're all back inside the hidden room in Viper Manor!
"What the heck was all that?"
"M, Mm..."
Kid, still only semi-conscious, seems to be finally snapping out of it.
"Hey, Kid, are you okay?" I ask, kneeling down to her.
"What was all that about... was I dreamin'?" she asks, restlessly looking
around the room.

"Hey!"
"What, Kid?"
"The crystal's gone!"
I whip around and see she's right -- the crystal has disappeared from the
center of the slab.
"Do you blokes have it?"
"No."
"I do not."
Kid slowly gets up, dusting herself off as she stretches some sore muscles.
"Well, no sense in hangin' around here all day. C'mon, this place is borin'
me to tears!"
As I follow her out, I wonder if she remembers anything about what
happened... or would believe any of it, for that matter. I'm not even sure
what to believe anymore, myself...

"Though I wish to come with you, I cannot travel through your world in this
form. Upon your return, take the white crystal into your hand. I will be
with you at all times, through it. I may be able to lend some assistance to
your cause -- as long as you have the crystal in your possession, you will
be able to summon the Gigaweapon to fight on your behalf!"
Sounds like a good deal to me...

Kid's eyes widen upon seeing the embedded crystal once again. It seems like
it sparkles now even more than it did before...
"I knew this thing was valuable, but... what a great find!" she exclaims.
With that, Kid reaches out for the shiny gem. It picks it up off the slab as
easily as though it was never restrained at all.
She pockets it, and turns to us. "Well hey, we got somethin' extra for our
trouble. C'mon, back to the mission!" she says lightly, trotting out of the
room.
Magil and I exchanges glances.
"I wonder if she even remembers all about what she just went through?"
"Indeed," Magil says, lifting an eyebrow.

"Uwaaaaa!!"
Kid lets out a deafening battle cry as she breaks into a sprint for the
center of the room.
As we step in, we see what she's running towards. There, a ways ahead of us,
stands a tall man with a very peculiar hairstyle.
"I gotcha right where I want ya, Lynx!"
And, floating in midair just a few feet in front of lynx, a faint scarlet
light pulsates...
"The Frozen Flame!!"
"Indeed it is, young man," Lynx says.
The radiance of the Frozen Flame seems to increase even more as we speak.
"So, you've finally arrived. I had almost grown tired of waiting."
"Hah! Yer gonna get it, Lynx! Bringin' the Frozen Flame here, we're gonna
kill two birds with one stone!"
"Oh, I would beg to differ, Miss."
However, Kid takes a step forward, shouting up at Lord Lynx. "Sorry you went
to all the trouble of waitin' here for us, but, we'll be on our way now,
taking the Flame with us. Oh yeah, after we tear ya limb from limb, that
is," she says with a coy smile.
"Large words, young lady. But can you back them up?" Lord Lynx says,
matching her smile.

"Mecha-Lynx! Go!!" he shouts suddenly!
Kid and I glance at each other, confused.
All of a sudden, the floor between us opens up, and a huge, mechanical beast
with Lynx's likeness slowly rises up through it!
"What the...!?"
The huge, mechanical beast breaks through the ceiling! The floor continues
to rise, however, and the monstrosity continues to tower above us, more and
more!
Rubble falls down from the cracked ceiling. Moonlight begins to shine down
through the huge hole that's been made!
"I never knew he had anything like this...!"

*Run!
*Fight!
*Think!

"We gotta get outta here. This entire room is gonna be nothin' but rubble in
less than a minute!"

"We know what we have to do! Come on!"

"Can you see any weak spots?"

Suddenly, a voice can be heard from behind us.
"Excuse me... may I say something?"
We whip around, only to see the crystal from before, floating in midair!
"It's Gange!"
"Yes, pleased to make your re-acquaintance. I couldn't help but take notice
of what's happening, and thought I might be of some assistance. I am
indebted to your freeing me from that room, and I do have somewhat of a
grudge against the man who kept me captive in there for so long..."
"Assistance? What the bloody hell can a talkin' crystal do for us now?"
"Through this crystal, you can summon the Gigaweapon `Paradise X' as your
gladiator servant."
"Paradise X!?"
"In addition, it will be summoned into the real world, able to fight on your
behalf in the here and now."
"Huh!?"
No sooner than it finishes speaking does the crystal begin to shimmer
brighter and brighter, and once again, everything around me turns a bright
white!
When the light subsides, an enormous, ferocious beast has appeared in front
of us, facing Mecha-Lynx!
"Wha... what is that thing!?" Kid asks, astonished.
"Who cares! It's going to fight for us!"

"No problemo!" Kid says, producing the shimmering crystal from her pocket.
"We're gonna hammer yer arse till ya kiss the moons!"
And, with that, she starts to whisper to the crystal.
"Gange... Gange! Time to do yer thing!"
The crystal starts to glow.
"Yes, I understand," it says in a soothing voice.
The crystal begins to shimmer brighter and brighter, and once again,
everything around me turns a bright white.
When the light subsides, an enormous, ferocious beast has appeared in front
of us!
The crystal glows brightly, commanding "Gigaweapon Paradise X! Go!!"
"Paradise X!?"
The one-eyed giant rises to its feet before us, smashing through the ceiling
like a hot knife through butter!
The Gigaweapon forces us to hide underneath the doorway as the piles of
rubble rain down all around us!
"Whaddaya say now, bastard!?"
However, eyeing our champion, Lynx's nonchalant smirk remains unchanged.
Lynx grins, shouting "Mecha-Lynx! Go!!"
"Mecha-what?"
The ground suddenly starts to tremble. Before us, the floor splits down the
middle, opening up a huge hole!
A huge, mechanical representation of Lynx rises out of the floor, easily as
tall as our own Gigaweapon!
"Th, that's Mecha-Lynx!?"
"Yes... quite a beauty, don't you think?" Lynx taunts, chuckling.

"Mecha-Lynx! Go!!"
"Mecha-what!?"
The ground suddenly starts to tremble. Before us, the floor splits down the
middle, opening up a huge hole!
A huge, mechanical representation of Lynx rises out of the floor, easily as
tall as the ceiling!
"Th, that's Mecha-Lynx!?"
The monstrous creation rises to its feet before us, smashing through the
ceiling like a hot knife through butter!
We're forced to hide underneath the doorway as the piles of rubble rain down
all around us!
"I never dreamed there was anything like this, hidden in Viper Manor..."
"I didn't know there was anything like this, anywhere!"

*Run!
*Fight!
*Think!


"Wait," says Magil. "Kid, let me see the crystal in your pocket."
"What's that got to do with anything?" Kid says reluctantly, digging through
her pockets.
She finds the crystal and hands it over to Magil, who immediately starts
whispering to it in a strange voice.
"Gange...Gange... send us the Gigaweapon."

Pressed for time, I try to think of what we can do.
"What can we do... what can we do... Wait, I've got it!"
"Kid, let me see that crystal for a minute!"
"What's that got to do with anything?" Kid says reluctantly, digging through
her pockets.
She finds the crystal and hands it over to me. I cradle it in my hands, and
try to call on Gange for help.
"Gange... please, help us... please, we need your help!"

Suddenly, the crystal begins to sparkle!
"At your service, young Master."
The crystal shimmers brighter and brighter, and once again, everything
around me turns a bright white!
When the light subsides, an enormous, ferocious beast has appeared in front
of us!
"Wha... what is that thing!?" Kid asks, astonished.
"Well, umm... It's a cyclops monster that the Master Illusionist Gange
summoned from inside your crystal."
"Huh!?"
"The details are unimportant. For the time being, it will fight for us,"
Magil says.
"Whoa... no way! Awesome!!"
"Indeed," says the crystal. "From now on, this beast will be yours to
command, answering to the name Gigaweapon Paradise X!!"
"Paradise X!?"

The two hulking gladiators face each other, ready to tear each other apart!

                     "Gigaweapon Paradise X

                                 versus

                      Steel Lord Mecha-Lynx!"

Lord Lynx hops into the Mecha-Lynx combat robot, Frozen Flame in hand!
"Test, test. 1 - 2 - 3.
(Clears throat)
Gahahahaha! You stand no chance against my Mecha-Lynx, fools!"
"We'll send that toy of yers to the scrap heap in no time, ya bastard!"
"Beat the stuffin' outta him, Paradise X!!"
"Let's go, Mecha-Lynx!!"
The giant bodies crash into one another, and start to grapple!

*"Punch!"
*"Kick!"
*"Dodge!!"
*"Your Light Beam, Paradise X!"

Paradise X sends out a heavy punch, just as I command!
It slams into Mecha-Lynx's shoulder!
Explosions fly out from within the damaged robot!
However, Paradise X's hand seems to have been bruised from hitting the
metallic plating so hard!

Paradise X sends out a jab with its left fist!
Mecha-Lynx raises its arm, blocking just in time!
Paradise X backs away, cradling its throbbing hand. We can't take much more
abuse, punching the hard plating like that!

Paradise X brings its leg up for a high kick!
Clang!
Paradise X's leg bounces off the seemingly impenetrable plating! Its
deafening cry of pain resounds out through the huge room, opposite the
undaunted Mecha-Lynx!
"Wahahahaha, how does it feel to go up against the metallic might of
Mecha-Lynx!?"
"Damn, that thing is tough! Hang in there, Paradise X!"

Paradise X instantly throws its left leg around for a sweep kick.
"Good thinkin', Paradise X!"
Clang!
However, Mecha-Lynx remains upright! Paradise X hops away, its leg swollen
and bruised!
"This thing's one tough ol' bugger, ain't it..."

Mecha-Lynx launches a rocket punch!
"Look out! Get out of the way!!"
Paradise X dodges at the last possible moment!
However, the rocket punch does a U-turn in mid-air, heading back directly
for our cyclops!
"Watch out! It's coming back!!"
However, this time, we don't have time to react!
The rocket punch explodes into Paradise X's stomach!
"Thatta boy, Mecha-Lynx!" we hear over the loudspeaker.

Suddenly, Mecha-Lynx's chest opens up, and a missile emerges from within!
"Watch out, Paradise X!"
The missile is launched. However, it's aimed directly for -us-!
"What the...?"
"Bollocks!"
"Run!"
This is the end for sure!
Slaaaaaaaam!
Slaaaaaaaam!
"What's goin' on...?"
Paradise X has stood in the missile's path, taking the devastating blow for
us! However, this leaves our Gigaweapon reeling in pain!
Paradise X's screams are unbearable to to hear...
"Lynx, you bastard!!"

I order the injured Gigaweapon to use its secret weapon.
"Paradise X! Light Beam! Go!!"
"Urrghhh..."
Oh no! It doesn't look like it can even shoot its beam!
Looking down on our feeble attempt of an attack, Mecha-Lynx approaches for a
cheap shot!
We're done for...
But then, Magil moves forward. "We have no choice, Paradise X!Meta
Transfusion Infernoblast! Go!!"
And with that, Paradise X lets loose a giant fireball from its mouth!
It strikes Mecha-Lynx full force, incinerating the metallic giant with a
gigantic explosion!
Mecha-Lynx collapses to the ground, exploding in chain reaction!
Mecha-Lynx is no more!
"We did it!"
"You did it, Magil!"
"..."
"Thank you, Paradise X..."
"Yeah, thanks for the blood and sweat, big guy!"
"Indeed, it was a valorous effort."
"Great job, mate. You can go back to yer home now," Kid says, holding out
the crystal.
Paradise X begins to get brighter and brighter as the crystal shimmers. A
white light engulfs the area, and when I can see again, the giant cyclops is
gone.
"Well now, back to business. The Frozen Flame's gotta be somewhere around
here, right?" Kid says, starting to walk over towards Mecha-Lynx's battered
cockpit.
"Do you think it's all right? It can't melt or anything, can it?" I ask
Magil.
"It will be fine. The Frozen Flame is far more than a normal jewel."
"I found it! Hey, I found it!!"
We hurry over, finding Kid inside the wreckage of the cockpit.
There, we see the scorched body of Lord Lynx, burnt pitch black by Paradise
X's final attack, with the Frozen Flame tucked away in his pocket.
"I found it, I found it!" she yells, jumping up and down with glee. She
comes over and shows it to us -- a bright jewel about fist size, emanating a
curious scarlet light.
At last, we have the Frozen Flame.
Staring into its glimmering core, it seems to have a curious beauty that
makes me think it's almost too beautiful for this world.
"May I please see it for a moment, as well?" the crystal asks.
Magil brings the crystal up to the Frozen Flame.
"Oh my, this certainly is a magnificent specimen! I'm so glad I decided to
follow after you all!"

come along with you all!"

The crystal's soft voice quivers more and more, the closer it comes to the
Frozen Flame.
But then, suddenly...
Gange's crystal spontaneously shatters into a thousand tiny shards!
After a few moments, only glittering dust remains in the palm of Magil's
hand.
"What the...!?"
"Magil, what did ya do that for!?"
But then, Gange's voice rings out. Not from the crystal, but from somewhere
else...
"Do not blame Magil, my dear. He had nothing to do with it. Whenever I
transfer myself to a new host, the former is forced to expunge itself as I
withdrawal my life-force from it."
...It's coming from the Frozen Flame!
"What the bloody hell...? What's goin' on!?"
"For a Master Illusionist such as myself, my abilities change according to
the stone I inhabit."
"So that I can gain even greater power, I search for greater and greater
stones whenever I can. Seeing a band of adventurers like yourselves, I knew
it was worth my while to tag along and see what luck you would bring me. And
lo and behold, this is certainly the score of the century! This stone is
magnificent... I can feel its power coursing through me! Would you like to
come inside and see exactly what greatness you now possess?"
Uhh...
"Maybe later, Gange. I think we're still aching from that last one..."
"Very well. But at any time, you are welcome to come witness the new,
enhanced powers of the Gigaweapon!"
Kid looks into the Frozen Flame.
"The Flame won't die out or anything 'cuz of you bein' in there, will it?"
"Absolutley not."
"Well then, don't you ever dare leave this thing. I won't stand for you
breakin' this one too!"
"So, what do we do now, Kid?"
"What do ya mean, what do we do now? There are tons of incredible jewels in
the world still waitin' to be found, all eagerly lookin' forward to meetin'
us! It would be mighty rude to ignore their invitations..."
"Our days of treasure huntin' are hardly over, mate!"

"Ohhhh... Gorba... Merkid... Zorander... forgive me..."
A quiet, sobbing voice seems to be coming from the third cell on the right.

"Hey, old timer..."
Still caught up in a maze of thoughts, the old man just sits there, mumbling
to himself in the dark...
"Come on, let's let him be, for now at least. There's got to be some way to
help him..."

"Hey, old timer..."
Still caught up in a maze of thoughts, the old man just sits there, mumbling
to himself in the dark...
"Let's go... for now, at least."

I peer around the corner into the cell. In this dim, damp space, an old man
sits in solitude, quietly mumbling to himself.
"Hey, Mister..."
"Everyone.. and it was all because of me. Every last one of the Dragoons...
Miss Riddel... even the General...! Forgive me... please..."
Ignoring us, the old man continues to mutter, staring at the floor as he
rocks back and forth.
"Hey, can ya hear me?" Kid says, shaking the bars a little.
"He will not hear a thing. He has constructed a wall around himself," Magil
says.
"What do you mean?" I ask Magil.
"A wall, used for shielding one's mind from reality. After being exposed to
horrific events, tremendous amounts of pain and guilt has this effect on a
person. He has made a safe world inside his own mind, where he retreats
into. From there, he refuses to acknowledge anything he does not want to
admit."
I notice that talking about this has given Magil a sort of sad, lost look in
his face. Noticing my glance, he quickly turns away from me.
Strange... Magil somehow reminded me of Kid just then.
When Magil turns back, his usual blank expression has returned.
"Does this make sense to you, Serge?" Magil asks.

*"Yeah, it does..."
*"Maybe if you gave me an easier explanation..."

Magil continues, looking at Kid and me. "We rarely see the walls we're
trapped within. However, given time, some can come to understand and
possibly even break free of these shortcomings... I... ..."
I wait for Magil to finish, but he doesn't end up saying anything. I'd ask,
but... oh well.
The mind... Revealing itself to itself...

"Very well," Magil says, taking me aside. "For example, there was probably a
time when Kid was very different than who she is now. She couldn't have been
a thief her whole life, correct?"
Hearing this, I look over to Kid. Somehow she looks different than I've ever
seen her...
"Kid convinced herself to be a thief. However, on the inside, she's not as
rough as you think."
"I see... so in other words, there's a normal man trapped somewhere inside
all that mumbling."
"Aw, come on, enough with all this jibber jabber!"
"But Kid, we were just saying..."
Thwap!
I stare at Kid, rubbing the red mark left on my cheek.

"We can't help this old geezer. Let's get back to work," Kid says, already
heading for the door.
"Wait, Kid," Magil calls out.
"Somehow or another, we may yet find a way into this man's mind."
"What good'll that do?"
"Didn't you hear what he was talking about? The Dragoons, Riddel, General
Viper..."
"Aw, he's prolly just into old folklore or somethin'..." Kid says, returning
to the door.
"I have a feeling his knowledge will prove to be useful. Certainly he has
heard something of importance concerning our situation," Magil says.
"Well, I guess we oughta help the old bloke out with his troubles while
we're here. What do ya say we do?" Kid asks.

*"Somehow, we have to put an end to this..."
*Say nothing, confused.

"Huh!?" Kid says, looking up. "You got a problem with me!?"
"Eh!? N, no... that's not what I meant..."
But before I can explain, Kid's fist suddenly flies into my face!
Narrowly avoiding the blow, I look up to see Magil starting to speak again.

Thinking through everything that's been said already, I really have no idea
about how to get anywhere with him.
"Well somebody better think of somethin' soon!" Kid says.

"We must find a way to reach beyond his wall. For every locked door, there
exists a key, so to speak. We will never make any progress with this man
until we know what lies in his past."
"What are you talkin' about, a key?" Kid asks.
"I do not know either," Magil answers.
"However, there is at least one person in Viper Manor who does."
"...Riddel!"
"Indeed."

"We must find a way to reach beyond his wall. For every locked door, there
exists a key, so to speak. We will never make any progress without knowing
what lies in his past."
Saying this, Magil walks forward and grips two of the cell's iron bars.
Straining with both hands, after a few moments, the bars bend apart like
taffy!

Magil enters first through the newly-created opening.
Kid follows, kneeling down before the mumbling old man. Putting her hands on
the old man's shoulders, Kid tries to look into his eyes, but he continues
to stare at the floor. Frustrated, she starts to shout at him, shaking him
vigorously. "C'mon, old fella! Get up!!"
The old man's head shakes back and forth like a ragdoll's, but his eyes
remain averted.

*Try to stop Kid.
*Ask Magil if what she's doing is right.

I come between Kid and the old man. Kid looks at me with straightforward
eyes. "Don't get in the way, Serge."
"Kid... look at him, I say. "Being agitated is the last thing he needs right
now."
"Hrmph! After I'm done with 'im, this old geezer's gonna be brimmin' with
old stories!"
As Kid shifts her weight onto her other knee, suddenly the Acacian ring
falls out of her pocket. It falls down to the ground, bouncing once, twice,
three times...
...And comes to a stop right before the old man's eyes.
Trying to get Kid to calm down, I signal for her to look over to the man,
who's now smiling faintly...
"The ring..." he says in a voice so quiet it's barely audible.

"Do not worry," Magil says. "This may also prove to be helpful."
"But is it right to force him out of his wall for our own sake?"
"The fate of the Acacia Dragoons has been woven into our own," Magil answers
simply.
And with that, just as Magil says the word `Acacia', a glimmer streaks into
the old man's eyes. He looks up quickly, apparently waiting for something.
"Oh man, he's been hearing us talk the entire time! Quick, Kid, show him the
ring!"
Kid takes the ring from her pocket and shows it to the man.
"The ring..." he says in a voice so quiet it's barely audible.

However, his eyes quickly return to their murky state. "Finally, my
allies... you have returned. Because of me, the Frozen Flame was seized, and
I have desecrated the name of the Acacia Dragoons. I am the only one left...
but, you have returned..."
"Ah, Merkid, Zorander... now that we are once again reunited, let us all
head back to Staik Lake..."
"Jeez! Listen, Mister! The Frozen Flame, where is it!? Any small hint will
help! Come on!!"
"Frozen... Flame...?" the old man asks. A warm smile streaks across his
face.
"Ah... my dear Miss Riddel... I have not seen you in quite some time. Surely
you have not forgotten the secret entranceway?"
"Uhh, yeah... ya think you could you tell me about that again, gramps?" Kid
asks, trying to sound as ladylike as possible.
"In the ballroom... third candlestick on the left..."
Kid hugs the old man, ecstatic. And so, he resumes his mumbling, in that
distant, shuddering voice...
"Please forgive me, for your father... I beg you, Riddel. The Dragoons..."
"It's high time for you to bust on outta here, old man," Kid says, pointing
to the bent iron bars. However, he once again refuses to look up.
"Come on... we've done all we can do here. He's got to walk through these
bars himself."
"Thanks, old timer..."

We return to the old man. Magil walks up to the cell and grasps the iron
bars. He positions his feet, and starts to pull away at the bars with an
incredible intensity.
After a moment, the bars start to bend like taffy!

We find ourselves in a long hallway, flanked on both sides by rows of
countless jail cells. The cold iron bars stretch on in front of us
endlessly...
One...
Two...

Leaving the endless rows of cells behind, we head back to the passageway.

This has to be the room Riddel was talking about. The chilly dampness of
this place is giving me goose bumps...
Looking around, I wonder what in the world could possibly be in this
dreadful room that has the power to bring that old man back to reality.
Kid proceeds to the middle of the room, while I examine the walls and floor.
The stone floor is filled with countless scratches, covered by splotches of
some sort of dry, dark ink.
"Hey Magil, would you come over here please? Something is carved into the
wall here, I think it's an inscription of some kind..."
Magil kneels down in front of the wall and examines the writing. Looking
closer at it, it appears to be written in blood.
"Indeed. This text has been worn down with age. Most of it is unreadable."
Here's what I can make out:

                 ...won't la...   mu... onger...
            ...cia Dragoons....  nee...he encha...
                swor... order to... ...proof...

Without any warning, the door slams shut! We stand up, taken by surprise!
A low rumbling sound starts to fill the room.
"What's happening!?" Kid shouts, looking around swiftly.
"Wait, what's that above us!?"
"It's a trap!!"
"You think Riddel coulda told us somethin about this, at least!!"
As the ceiling rapidly descends lower and lower, I kneel down, desperately
looking for a way out!
Then, Kid turns to me and calls, "The sword...! Use the Einlanzer!"
"But, how...!?"

*Thrust the sword into the ceiling!
*Thrust the sword into the floor!
*Thrust the sword into Kid!

I look up, remembering the deadly ceiling. I'm definitely not going to
repeat the mistake of overstaying my welcome here, especially after hearing
what Riddel had to say.
Somewhere inside this room, there has to be something that will bring that
old man back... but what?
"Just as I thought," Magil says dryly, examining the cracks in the floor.
Kid and I walk over, kneeling down where he's at.
Between the of cracks between the floor's stones, there's a thick, smelly,
butter-like substance that's been jammed into it, among the stains of blood.
Without warning, the door suddenly slams shut!
"It's started again!"
"Okay, what do we do!?"
"We hafta use the sword somehow!!" Kid yells, her voice almost inaudible
thanks to the ceiling's deafening screeching.
"But how...!?"

*Thrust the sword into the ceiling!
*Thrust the sword into the floor!
*Thrust the sword into Kid!

Thinking of all the painful resentments she's ever caused, I raise the heavy
sword over my head, and start towards Kid!
She and Magil exchange glances, and suddenly flank me from both sides!
I hit the wall in pain, having received a one-two Double Thief Punch! I drop
the sword, dazed.

"You okay, mate?" Kid asks, slapping me back into consciousness.
"Apparently you took in some noxious gas just now. You were starting to
behave rather oddly," Magil says.
"Anyhow, c'mon, mate! We still got this trap to worry about!"
Still unsteady on my feet, I take the sword back into my hands.

*Thrust the sword into the ceiling!
*Thrust the sword into the floor!
*Thrust the sword into Kid!

"Okay! Let's smash the ceiling!" I shout, swinging the sword over my head!
The wooden structure shatters from the huge sword's impact! A number of
rusty blades are now in free-fall, headed straight for us!!
I try to protect myself, but the dozens of tiny razor sharp blades painfully
tear into me!

"Urrrhhh!!"
Frantically gripping the sword, I rise to my feet!
*Thrust the sword into the ceiling!
*Thrust the sword into the floor!
*Thrust the sword into Kid!

With as much power as I can muster, I lift the heavy sword up and plunge it
down into a crack in the center of the floor!
A huge jolt runs through the room! Bolts of light scatter in all four
directions from the sword, running along the floor, then up the walls!
Reaching the ceiling, the deadly contraption groans, and then comes to a
halt!
Exhausted and relieved, I collapse to the floor.
After a minute, I catch my breath and open my eyes.
Strange... now that I take another look at the inscription we found earlier,
there's a certain stone just beside it that doesn't seem to have any cement
around it...
We walk over to it. Kid tugs on it, and finds that it's loose.
Removing the heavy stone, a dim glistening light can be seen from far within
the hole. Kid reaches in, and carefully removes the shimmering object.
A beautifully decorated gold ring sits in the palm of her hand! It's adorned
with a slender set of leaves, like those of a fern, decorated with five
small rubies around it.
"The Acacian coat of arms," Magil says.
Kid tries the ring on, but strangely enough, it doesn't seem to fit on any
of her fingers.
"This ring must mean something to the old man. We could
use it to break through his wall, couldn't we?" I excitedly ask Magil,
already knowing the answer.
He nods in silence. Yeah, this has to be it!
Abandoning the Einlanzer, now proudly standing upright like a beacon of
light amidst this dismal room, we hurry out of the torture chamber,
hopefully never to return again.

While resting on a wall to tend to my wounds, I look up and notice something
out of the ordinary.
"Hey, was this here before...?"
Carved into the wall, a large marble sculpture of an intimidating face
stares down at us coldly.
It looks as though it's been sculpted by a fine artisan. It's very detailed
-- its features are beautifully etched and barely eroded.
"It's a Mouth of Truth," Magil says.
"A what?"
"A Mouth of Truth. The legend is that if you are given to lying, a Mouth of
Truth will know it if you put your hands into its mouth."
"Oh, what a hard idea," Kid says, rolling her eyes.
"Let's see you do it," I say.
Kid looks up worried, but seeing Magil looking at her, feels a resolve and
tentatively puts her hands in the mouth.
However, after a few seconds, nothing seems to be happening.
"Hey, whaddaya know, guess I passed the test!"
Hmm... that can't be all there is to it...
Ah! I know.
"Kid, how many pounds do you weigh?"
"A hundred and four! Err..."
Kid suddenly takes on a worried look, but before she can remove her hands,
the marble set of teeth clamps down onto her wrists!
"Hey, ya stupid face! What's goin' on!?"
The white marble teeth gnaw from side to side, becoming stained with red!
"Dammit, lemme go!!"
Magil calmly offers an explanation from behind us.
"Without saying something truthful to the best of one's ability, a Mouth of
Truth will never let go."
Not hearing him at all, Kid kicks the stone face in a fit of anger.
"Lemme go, ya stupid face! I swear I'm gonna knock yer teeth in!!"
Then, as swiftly as it closed, the mouth opens!
I crouch down to Kid, who's kneeling on the floor, rubbing her wrists.
"Wow, I guess you weren't lying about knocking its teeth in..."
"'Course not, mate... I showed 'im good. Bloody stone face..."
"You didn't put anything inside the mouth, did you, Kid?" Magil asks.
"What're ya talkin' about? No...!"
I walk over beside Magil and peer into the mouth. There, behind its teeth,
is a large pink tongue. I think there's some sort of an indentation in it,
but I can't be sure -- it's really far back in there.
"Maybe it wants us to put something on its tongue... maybe that's the real
test."
Kid begins taking out her things. From in her pockets, under her shoes, and
out of her hair, she gathers all sorts of personal effects. She stretches
the pile of trinkets held in her hands out to me, smiling innocently.
Guess it's my turn to face the test. As long as Kid's safe, I'm happy, I
suppose.
Wondering what the Mouth of Truth could possibly want, I reach for one of
her accessories...

"Maybe there's somethin' we didn't try before," Kid says, taking out her
personal effects and holding them out at me.
"Me again...?"
Kid smiles at me innocently. Amidst my hesitation, I reach for one of her
accessories...

*Try using the small silver mirror.
*Try using the file.
*Try using the centipede.
*Try using the lipstick.
*Try using the special raisins.
*Try using the fishing line.
*Try using a huge explosion.
*Try using the leather scroll.
*Give up.

*Try using the hand-shaped plate.

*Give up.

I take the small silver mirror into my hands and place it into the huge
marble mouth.
"Well, no sign of tooth decay here..."
The mouth doesn't budge an inch. Whatever's supposed to happen, isn't
happening...
Kid takes the mirror from me, and fixes her hair a little. Oh man, she looks
so cute when she does that...
"We should test others before we stop," Magil advises.

I take the file and place it into the marmoreal Mouth of Truth. It doesn't
seem to fit on the tongue. But then...
Dammit! It dropped down the back of its throat!
"Aaarrghhhh! What'd ya have to go and do that for?!"
"Nail files don't grow on trees, Serge! Don't ya know how important one of
those things is to a lady!?"
Whoa.. So now I see her true colors...

"What was that for?" I ask, reeling back from her slap.
"That's the last one of my things you'll be gettin' yer hands on!"
"Come on, Kid... it won't happen again, I promise."
"Hrmf... arrite, I guess," Kid says, showing me the rest of her trinkets.
"I'm only doin' this for the Flame..."

"A centipede? You were carrying around a centipede with you this entire
time!?"
"Perhaps it's a pet...?"
"It's only a toy, silly."
"Oh, okay. But still..."
"It's for scarin' fools like you! And see, it worked! Heh, heh..."
Boy, the things I'm learning about Kid these days...

Anyhow, I take her rubber centipede and place it into the Mouth of Truth's
mouth.
Dammit, it's too slippery! I accidentally drop it down its throat!
"Serge!! Why do ya keep losin' my stuff!?"
"I can still reach it, I think. It didn't go that far down," I say, putting
my whole arm inside. Goose bumps run up my body as I realize this thing
could bite off my entire arm right now...
"Urrh.... hold on..."
"Come on, Serge... just a little more!"
"Aha! Got it!"
"I hope this thing is important to you..."
"Yeah, losing it would be a drag," Kid answers. I wipe the sweat off my
brow, letting out a deep sigh.

"Well, that didn't seem to work, either. What else do you have?"
We could be here all night, at this rate...

I take the lipstick and smear some of it on the Mouth of Truth's marble
lips.
"Hey! My lipstick!!"
Kid explodes at the mere sight of my wasting the lipstick. It's a shame, I
thought I did a very good job of prettying the marble face up.
"That's not what it's used for!!"
"It's just strange for you to have something like this with you in the first
place, Kid..."
"What, now yer sayin' it's weird for me to own
cosmetics?"
Gulp!
"Uh... no! Not really..."
"You better buy me a new one once we get outta here!"
"All right, I'll owe it to you," I answer apologetically. She won't be
letting me forget about this one very easily, I can tell...

I take some of Kid's special raisins out of their cloth bag and place them
in the giant mouth.
Munch... munch...
It seems to be eating them.
"Hey, stop, ya dumb rock head! Those are emergency
rations!"
Kid snatches the pouch back from me. Looking at the single morsel I have
left in my hand, I find myself wondering what these so-called emergency
rations taste like...
Mmmmm.... tasty.

"Serge! Now yer eatin' em too!? I'm not gonna have any left for real
emergencies!!" Kid says, staring at me angrily.
Yeah, right, I say to myself. I've never seen her offer any of them to me
when I needed them...

I take the thin silk thread into my hand and hang it down into the huge,
marble mouth.
"That's a silk fishing line, taken from a royal silkworm. Be careful with
it."
I can feel it hook on to something, as the thread gives a bit of a tug.
Looking in, it appears to be some sort of paper.
"All right! We're on to somethin' for sure!" Kid says, trying to look
inside.
She tilts her head forward, trying to see in better.
But then, the Mouth of Truth stretches out its tongue!
Slurrrp!
"Aaahhh! What the heck!?"
Burrrrp!
Where the tongue licked us, we start to feel a warmth, which gradually
spreads over our bodies!
Whoa... we're being healed!

Oh, no! I lost the thread down its throat...
I silently turn towards Kid, shrugging my shoulders with a red face.
"You idiot!!"
Like an electric shock, she slaps me across the face!
Terrified, I lunge back into the mouth. Reaching in as far as I can, I feel
the thread after a moment or two! I carefully pull it back out, relieved.
The object it has latched onto is nowhere in sight, however.

Leaning against the wall, Magil somberly asks us, "What now?"

I take a ball of gunpowder out of Kid's hand, and place it within the huge
stone mouth...
However, nothing happens.
"Do it, Serge!" Kid says, putting some matches in my hand.
I don't know about this...
"Do it."
I don't know, really...
Suddenly, I hear the sound of a fuse burning! Kid's already lit the bomb! I
quickly run for cover in a far corner!
As the smoke clears, I start to see the hideous remains of the cracked Mouth
of Truth.
From beside me, I watch Kid dust herself off and walk over to the mutilated
stone face with yet another bomb!
"Come on, Kid. We don't need to completely demolish it..."
"Aw, It ain't dangerous, mate! It's just a little fire!"
Kid glances over at my face. I'm practically begging her to stop.
"All right already! Ya never wanna have any fun," Kid says, kicking some
dirt around.
"Well, what next?"

I take the worn leather scroll into my hands and examine it.
"Heh, what's this? Secret Ninja training techniques?" I ask sarcastically.
Kid smiles lazily, rolling her eyes.
I unfasten the tie and open up the scroll.
"Oh, wow..."
Strange symbols are written at length on the scroll. A lot has been written
here; it appears this took some time to write. Judging by my face that this
is something of importance, Kid walks over and takes a look.
"Oh, It's an Imperial code chart primer. It's used for transmitting
information through enemy lines."
"Really? I can't read any of it. You've got to show us how to use this
thing."
"What would I wanna do that for? It would ruin the
secrecy!" she says, walking off alone.
Maybe she can't read it either...
"Okay, well what are we gonna do about this big ol' hunk of rock?" Kid asks
hastily.

Bewildered, I tell Kid to put her stuff away. Something gives me the feeling
that none of these things are what it wants...
"There has to be something in the mansion that fits, we probably just
haven't found it yet. We've got to keep our eyes peeled..."

"No way! Yer not gettin' yer mitts on that again!" Kid says, pulling her
hands away from me.
Oh well... maybe she'll lend me something else.

I take the hand-shaped plate. Its strange, contorted symbols give me a
headache just by looking at them. Nervously, I reach in and place it onto
the tongue...
It's a perfect fit!
Sliding it into place, I quickly remove my hand and back away a few steps.
The huge white eyes start moving around slowly, and a slight vibration can
be felt from behind the wall.
Something's happening... something big. I just wish I knew whether it's good
or bad.
An odd sound escapes from the Mouth of Truth as its eyes continue to roll.
I want to make a run for it. However, I look over and see the ever-fearless
expression in Kid's eyes, and stay my ground.
"Uh... um...."
Suddenly, the marble sculpture stops moving. I stare at it, wondering what's
going on.
Then, its tongue starts to roll around inside its mouth, while its eyes tilt
further and further upwards until its pupils disappear underneath its
eyelids.
We hear the plate sliding down its throat, vanishing into the deep, dark
depths of the mansion!
"Wh, what's happening?"
"Apparently a pious being such as this may roll its eyes from time to time."
The simple fact that Magil tried to make a joke just there makes me stop and
forget where I am for a second.
"All that's gonna happen is yer gonna lose another one of my things. I
coulda got a lot of cash for that," Kid says regrettably.
Suddenly, over by the atrium, we start to hear some sort of a latch being
opened. And then, moments later, the sound of water draining echoes
throughout the corridor!
Taking a few steps towards the atrium, I see the red water has formed into a
whirlpool and is flowing down into the pond. The piranhas are being washed
away!
"What'sa matter, lil fishies? Not enough water? Aw... playtime's over, ya
nasty buggers."
"Come on, I'm dying to see what's past that fountain!"

I stare at the hand-shaped plate. Its strange, contorted symbols give me a
headache just trying to read them.
"Ahhh!"
Just then, a dark figure runs up to me, and before I can even think of
reacting, it steals the plate right out of my hands!
"Dammit! Where'd that thing go?"
"There!" Kid says, pointing towards the far corner. It's some sort of blue
demon...
We start to corner the demon off, but it quickly bolts for the stairs.
"Dammit! Come on!!"
Frantically chasing after the demon, Kid leaps up the stairs with
unbelievable speed and energy.
"Bollocks! Lost 'im!" Kid curses.
"Where could he have gone... which way?"
*Try checking the left path.

*Go left, towards the cathedral.

ballroom.

*Go right, heading towards the terrace.
*Check up ahead.

*Check up ahead, near the study.

*Head back down the stairs.

"Heh, heh, heh... just as I suspected. I had a feeling you would come," the
old woman cackles, quivering.
...?
Kid and I glance at one another, wonder if she's just playing with us, or
not...
"What're ya talkin' about?"
"Oh, it's already been four or five years, I would gather. Master Lynx had
sent for a certain young lady... a very special young lady, you might say."
"This woman, owner of powerful mental and magical abilities, was the object
of Master Lynx's attention for quite some time..."
Magil turns his head away, hastily interrupting the old lady's speech.
"Quiet!" he barks.
"Ah, I apologize. How easily I forget the situation between you two..."
"Which two? Who are you talking about?"
"Oh, I won't bore you with details, young man..."
"But..."
"Ah, you seem to have a bit of a scrape, there. Won't you let me have a look
at it?"
I'm still wondering whether to be frightened or comforted of this old
lady...
*"Oh, yes, please."
*"No, thank you."
*"What should I do, Kid?"

"Great... nothin' here." Kid sighs as we enter the spacious hall.
A countless number of candles spectacularly illuminate this huge ballroom.
An unsettling mood hangs in the air as we walk through it, however. We're
greeted with dozens of high-class portraits, hung high on both sides of the
hall.
A huge, blood-red rose has been left on the floor before us.
"Wonder who left this here..."
Behind us, the door suddenly slams shut!
As we turn around, I suddenly notice dozens of translucent figures
materializing out of thin air, right before our eyes! Oblivious to us, the
couples waltz around the hall in their decaying tuxedoes and tattered
dresses...
"What kind of trick is this!?" Kid flares up, enraged.
Magil touches Kid's shoulder. "They're ghosts," he whispers.
"Gh... ghosts!?"
Hearing this, they suddenly turn towards us, staring at us with their pale,
faint eyes.
"Ghosts!? Nooo!!" they shriek!
Ghastly, tortured screams resound throughout the hall, as the dozens of
ghosts fly up into the air, vanishing through the ceiling!
Then, after a few moments, a voice laughs out from high above. "How are you
finding the dance so far? Enjoyable, I hope."
Looking up, we see a lady sitting on the huge chandelier, dressed
differently than the other ghosts. I get the feeling she's not one of them
at all...
She swoops down, coming within mere inches of my face.
"I was getting so bored watching you scurry around like rodents... shame on
you. I even resorted to having you robbed, just to set you onto the right
path."
The incident with the demon pops into my mind.
"She stole the plate from us?" I whisper to Magil.
"No, I believe she means she sent someone," Magil says quietly.

"Rob us? And just who do ya think you are?"
"I am the Goddess of Death, a servant of the Shadow Realm," she answers. "My
name is Lilith. Although in my current state, I realize looks can be
deceiving. Having been summoned here, I took on the form of this young lady,
Riddel, for my latest hunt."
"Hunt?"
"Yes, and I thank you for it, I had so yearned for the practice. I had not
hunted in so long..."
"Me!?" Kid asks, astonished.
"You are the one who signed the name `Lynx' in the Soul Contract, are you
not?"
"Lynx... you killed Lynx!?"
Lilith simply stares at Kid.
"She's referring to the Book of the Dead, when you signed Lynx's name in it,
back in the study," Magil whispers to Kid. "She's a Shadow Huntress."
"So... he's dead." Kid says once again, almost in shock.
"I wouldn't necessarily call him dead. Well-preserved is a better term,"
Lilith explains as she takes a shimmering scarlet jewel out of her pocket.
"The Frozen Flame!!"
"Ah, so you do know something after all," she says. "Ironic, that a soul
like his, filled with such malice and contempt, could ever solidify into a
stone of such beauty."
Lilith's eyes narrow. A dark haze begins to form in her right hand.
The haze slowly takes on an elongated shape. After a few moments, it
solidifies into a crescent moon shaped scythe.
The scythe flashes downward with a streak of darkness.
With that, the Frozen Flame shatters into a thousand pieces!
"And with this, I solidify my transition into your world, extinguishing both
the vermin Lynx as well as that disgusting puppet, Riddel!"
Treading over the broken shards, Lilith puts out her other hand. The dark
haze accumulates into a large, rectangular shape.
"The Book of the Dead!"
Lilith hands the book to Kid.
"Time to sign a new name. I will effectively hunt and take any soul you
desire."
This is terrible. Hunting Lynx was one thing, but this is entirely another.
I have to do something...!

*Steal the Book of the Dead.
*Speak up and refuse for Kid.

Thinking of the conquest of death that lay before us, I take matters into my
own hands, snatching the book out of Lilith's hands!
With all my might I run as fast as I can towards the doors!
But... they're locked!
"Serge... what are you doin'?" Kid asks. I turn around, and everybody's
staring at me.
Gulp...
I walk back, ashamed.

"We don't need that thing!" I yell!
"Well, what a willful little boy we have here," Lilith laughs.
I can't let this happen... Kid can't start using that thing at will!

Suddenly, Lilith's scythe swings down, mere inches from me!
"What the...!?"
"I can't have any outside affairs meddling with business, young lad," Lilith
casually explains, as she floats weightlessly in midair.
"Hunting souls is my duty, my sole reason for existence. So you see, Kid
will write a new name in the contract."
I wish we'd never gotten involved with this, this thing...

*Seek Kid's opinion.
*Seek Magil's opinion.

"C'mon mate... we've got no choice. Besides, if there's a Frozen Flame in it
for us, I'm sure there's some good-fer-nothin' who's already on his last
leg..."
A cold sweat runs down my brow...
"And then what? She'll kill us also once she finds an excuse to!"

I turn to ask Magil for help, but he's nowhere to be found!
I can't believe this is happening... I have to do something!

Suddenly, Lilith gasps.
Something is wrestling with her from behind! From out of the shadows, Magil
has seized her!
"Lady Lilith! I hereby order you to cease this reckless behavior, and return
to the Shadow Realm!"
Magil, having leapt out from behind her, seems to have changed from his
normal appearance.
"You... a Shadow Hunter!?" Lilith shrieks, looking down at him.
"You... you shall come with me!" Magil growls, wrestling with the
lightning-quick huntress!
"I see you are adept in the ways of the Jade Mirage," Lilith says, "but I do
not think I will be heeding your wishes today, hunter."
"It has been several hundred years since you've come here, terrorizing this
world! Your powers surely have weakened since then!" Magil echoes throughout
the hall!
"You think so?" Lilith taunts, swinging her scythe downward with
lightning-fast speed.
The scythe cleaves through the air. Kid tumbles backward, dazed. She looks
at her arm, and wipes the blood away from the small cut Lilith made.
Suddenly, she falls to her knees. Going into convulsions, a pale light
begins to radiate from her chest!
"What's the matter, little girl?" Lilith laughs, smiling cruelly. "You see,
hunter, my power here is everlasting, thanks to the essences of these puny
beings!"
"She helped you... and now you're doing this to her!?" I shout.
"Circumstances have changed, dear boy."
I take Kid into my arms as Magil and Lilith continue to battle with each
other.
Magil starts to volley deadly balls of fire, which arc though the delicately
crafted ballroom towards the Huntress!
As she nimbly dodges them, the blazing magic inadvertently flies over in our
direction.
"Watch it, Magil!" I yell, dragging Kid out of the way at the last second.
"What a glorious day this will be! Four souls for the price of one!"
Dammit... come on, Magil... get her...
The aura above Kid's chest is getting stronger and stronger. The light is
starting to grow more dense, coalescing into a solid ball of light...

Despite her delirious circumstances, Kid opens her eyes just enough to
recognize me and smile.
"Serge... thank you... protect me..."
"We're not giving up yet, Kid...!"
It's the least I can do, to comfort her... I don't know what else to do.

Kid's body goes limp, as she continues to get paler and paler.
I hug her tightly to me, but there's no response.
"Kid..."

I look up, narrowly avoiding another stray bolt of magic. The two fight mere
feet in front of me with blinding speed!
Scythe and flame violently collide as the fight rages on, a frenzy of
scattered sparks and violent crashes!
I huddle over Kid, protecting her from the blazing fight.
"Kid... stay awake... please, talk to me...!"
But then, the shimmering light finally coagulates into a radiant gem,
solidifying just above her heart!
The glimmering scarlet gem drops onto her chest as her aura ceases to glow.
Before my eyes, I start to realize our dismal fate as I hug her tightly...
From behind me, I hear Magil and Lilith, deep in the throes of death.
"You shall return to the Shadow Realm! Now!!"
With an expertly timed leap, Magil slips into shadow form and crowds around
Lilith, surrounding her on all sides! He then ignites a blaze spell, turning
the entire area around the both of them into an incinerating, chaotic mess!
"Aauughhh!!"
Moments later, a dark body leaps out from the fire.
Magil re-materializes, staring back at the fire, now a putrid, stinky mess
on the ground. He walks over after a minute or two and stamps it out.
But then, suddenly, Lilith leaps out from behind a column!
"Magil! No!" I shout, but she's already got him. He's at the end of his
rope...
"Grrrr... Vile witch, I order you... back to the Shadow Realm... with me!!"
...With him? What!?
Amidst the entanglement, I start to hear Magil's strained voice. "Serge...
grrrrhhh... Only you can thaw Kid... with your feelings... you must...!"
"And you... His majesty is... grrrhh... looking forward... to your
return...!"
And with that, the two phase out of sight in the blink of an eye!
Silent and alone, I wrap Kid's body up in my arms once again, hugging her
body tightly to me.
Staring into those delicate, soft eyes of hers, I can't help but think of
all we've been through...
Tears roll down my cheeks as I continue to hug her limp body.
I look at the shiny gem. Was it all worth it? All of this trouble, all of
this death...
I continue to sob, tears falling onto the Flame...
But then, suddenly, the Flame starts to become hotter and hotter! I let go
of it, but instead of falling to the ground, it hangs there, suspended in
midair!
It travels over to Kid's chest, where it begins to thaw back into an aura of
light!
The blaze glows like ember, containing an aurora of the seven prismatic
colors, before being absorbed back into her heart!
After a moment, she takes a breath!
"Kid!!"
Ecstatic, I hug her again and again with tears of joy flowing from my eyes.

"Hey! What are ya doin', ya grub!?"
"You were brought back to life, Kid. I thought I'd lost you..."
"But why do ya always have to be so clingy!?"
"She's back... just like always.

"Serge!"
"Kid!"
Our hearts beat as one, as we continue to hug each other tightly...

On our way out of the mansion, I explain to her all about Magil, the Flame,
and everything else. She didn't seem to remember any of what happened after
Lilith had struck her.
And so, we bid farewell to Magil. I hope he's okay, wherever he is...
Lilith, on the other hand... I'm sure she got what she deserved.
As for Kid...
I'm glad we've learned to grow and live together. Having started out as a
nomadic musician, I look back at myself and realize I've come so far since
then. We've come all this way, with everything leading up to this moment...
The years go by, and I find myself growing older bit by bit. One day, long
after all these incidents have come to pass, I take a good look at myself
and wonder if I've got any of that adventurer's spirit still left in me.
I sit and look at my trusty knife collecting dust on the mantle above my
fireplace, and think to myself, my days of traveling can't be over just yet.
That old, familiar feeling of wonderment ensnares me as I vow to pack my
bags tomorrow and set out for some new, exotic land, letting fate once again
guide me wherever it wishes.

However, this time I know I'll have someone waiting for me when I get back.

However, this time I know I'll have someone there with me, right by my side.
"Serge, wait up!" Kid calls out, eagerly catching up with me as I set off.

A countless number of candles spectacularly illuminate this huge room.
An old-fashioned grandfather clock stands on the right, ticking away with a
morbid stillness.
I step into the center of the hall, looking upwards at the oil canvases
shimmering in the low light.
"Okay, third one on the left," Kid says quietly.
"One... two... three. Here we go..."
As Kid slowly pushes against the candlestick, it starts to move slowly.
"Wh, what's going on...!?" I stammer, trying to brace myself.
"This entire room is slowly sinking into the ground," Magil says.
The ballroom is sinking? All of it...!?
Suddenly, the room starts to fall much faster! Chills run down my spine as I
look around, seeing the paintings smacking against the walls and the candles
dropping to the floor!
As I start to get used to the sinking sensation, my heart fills with a
violent mixture of anxiety, expectation, and hope. What awaits us at the
bottom?
The Frozen Flame...
Could it really be down here? Is this our adventure's end? What if we
actually take it into our hands...?
Kid... Magil... I wonder what they're feeling right now...
As the room continues to sink underground like an elevator to Hell, I start
to hear Kid speak in a soft, meek voice...
"...Sometimes... ...sometimes, I do struggle to win, even when I
know I've already lost, just like that lady said. Why do I do that?"
Looking over at her, I realize this isn't the Kid I usually see. There, a
faint, shy smile can be seen across her face.
Suddenly, I feel something so powerful go through me, it feels like a wave
of fire, surging through my heart.
*"Why bring us here, Kid? Is it fate?"
*"Don't worry, we can't lose, there's no doubt!"

"...... Fate...? Life...? I don't even know anymore. But with Lynx, nothin's
set in stone.
But... sometimes, it feels like there's somethin' inside me, guidin' me...
no matter what I do, it won't matter because I know it'll be showin' me what
to do next...
Bah, what am I sayin'... crazy talk," Kid says, smiling faintly.
I don't know what to feel, hearing this... Kid's always put on a strong face
no matter what, seemingly embracing terror when it comes. But right now, I
can't help but feel the weight of the situation, bearing down on us.
If you take these matters with a grain of salt, like Kid seems to, it's easy
to live a day to day life, like she does. As I look in her face, that
strange expression of hers relieves me.
"I'm sorry... all this talk, it ain't me," Kid says, scrunching her nose.
Instantly returning to her serious gaze, she says, "But thanks, Serge,
Magil... thanks for comin' here. Because of this, maybe down the road, I'll
have another chance..."
"Huh...?"
"Nothin'... forget it," Kid says as she closes her eyes, smiling. As usual,
she sends me into deep thought.
While only barely visible, Magil stands silently amidst the shadows,
effortlessly balanced with closed eyes.
As I look around at my companions, I wonder what awaits us. We share a calm
silence in our hearts, as we continue to descend far below ground...

"Whatever," Kid says beneath her breath, smiling faintly. "Sayings like
those never made much sense to me. There's never a case where there ain't a
doubt. Not a single one.
But... thanks, mate."
She looks towards me with a meek smile. Looking at her, I realize there
could never be another girl like her in the entire world, ever...
The shy laugh she sported a moment ago has reverted into a sort of
mysterious gaze. As I stare at her, she asks me, "Hey, what's up with you
all of a sudden?"
"Nothing... you just looked like a different person there for a second."
"Really...?" she says in astonishment, tilting her head.
"It's probably because of the Frozen Flame. We're getting close." Magil
says. His low, rumbling voice causes the shadows of the room to tremble.
"What do ya mean?" Kid asks with a wrinkled brow.
"Look inside of yourself and you will find the answer, Kid. The struggle for
your catharsis is upon you..."
"What in the world are ya talkin' about...?"

Suddenly, a metallic grinding sound can be heard from all around us!
The room comes to a stop, swaying a bit.
"Guess this's our stop," Kid says with a hollow laugh.
I stand motionless, staring at Kid and Magil in the dim, flickering
luminescence.
Suddenly, the organ comes to life!
Looking back towards the monstrous thing, no one is even near it!
Nevertheless, it continues to play its strange, twisted tune, the keys and
pedals moving wildly on their own!
"Sounds like a funeral march. Heh, Just kiddin'..."
Bad joke, Kid.
"All right! Let's do this!" Kid says, taking a deep breath as she heads for
the door.
I glance at Magil, nodding my head as we follow her out.
"It's a funeral march, all right! Lynx's, that is!"

-- text speed select

                            Le Text Speed?
                        (Le slow est le pew)
                                                 Le normal
                                                 Le fast

-- set text speed

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4.) Credits
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To find patches for the game, look at

http://www.chronocompendium.com/Term/Patches_(Radical_Dreamers)

Thanks to everyone at the Chrono Compendium and those who have discussed the
Chrono series.

ZeaLitY, Aitrus