Tales of Crystalis

Felly

not in love tonight
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
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Author’s Note: I originally intended this story to be for NaNoWriMo last year, but that ended up not happening because I was just far too busy to really work on it. I didn’t want to leave it unfinished though, so I decided to wrap it up now. Many of the chapters have already been written and just need to be polished up before I publish them, so that’ll make this a lot easier for me to do. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy!


---


Millions of years ago, when the sky and the sea were created, when animals and humans were born to walk the Earth, a single, sparkling blue crystal was also created. Its shrine was also created in the forest’s only clearing, and that was where the crystal was always found.


It wasn’t until the 1000s that the crystal was first discovered in what is now known as Harsader Forest. A young man studying the forest’s inhabitants stumbled upon the shrine and took the crystal back to his people. For years, researchers studied the crystal and its shrine, uncertain of what the object did or where it even came from.


In the 1300s, researchers happened upon the crystal’s powers when one of them wished one of their more chatty colleagues would stop talking for five minutes. The crystal glowed, the colleague was unable to speak for five minutes, and the crystal was gone. The researchers searched far and wide for it, following a brief conflict between the wishmaker and the silenced (once he was able to speak again), but they could not find it for another four years.


And thus, they discovered the crystal’s powers.


They called it Crystalis, and for 300 years, until the mid-1600s, the crystal and its shrine were protected by the best troops that what is now known as the Elemental Country could provide. The country’s leadership wished for it to be protected against any forces of evil, but after 300 years of nothing happening, the king lifted his order of protection and the crystal sat unguarded.


It is now 2400, and times have vastly changed. Technology has advanced, but medieval weapons like swords and lances have survived the changing times. Magic still reigns supreme in the world, but those that can use it spend years learning how to hone their gifts. The Elemental Country has developed very much over the past hundreds of years, and Crystalis is something one reads about in books.


Until now.


Crystalis is threatened. A group of people known as the Spirit Bringers seek the crystal. Their goals are unknown, but what is known is that their motives are not good. The Elder of Elemental City has called for the country’s best to convene in Elemental City for a mission that could decide the fate of the country, not just for the next four years, but for the rest of everyone’s lives.


Elemental City was perhaps the largest city in the Elemental Country. Located in the center of the country, it was the hub of all things. Shops lined the streets, and many came to the city for trading. The country’s top school for magic could be found in the city, and the country’s most gifted magic users traveled the country to study there. A fountain could be found at the center of the city.


This fountain was one of Kumiko Mirakala’s favorite spots in the city. It was a place that she could come to sit and relax, despite all of the hustle and bustle of the city that continued to happen around her.


It also served as a place where one of her childhood friends could meet up with her. A young, red haired girl approached Kumiko as she sat at the edge of the fountain, with one of her many spellbooks in her hands.


“Hey, Kumiko!” the girl said. She sat down next to Kumiko, who didn’t bother to look up from her reading. “Whatcha reading?”


Kumiko held up the book so her friend could see the title, Spellcraft 101. Her friend rolled her eyes. “Haven’t you already read that book? You’re like, the top mage in all of Elemental City, if not the whole country. Do you even need that book?”


Kumiko closed the book, finally bringing her attention to her friend. “It doesn’t matter if I’ve read it once or a hundred times, Flame, a little refresher never hurts. It might do you some good to actually pick up a book every once in a while.”


Flame waved her hand dismissively. “Nah, I’m good.”


Kumiko sighed. It was a wonder how the two were able to be friends when they were such opposites. Kumiko was a bookworm, and Flame barely picked up a book unless it was interesting. One was a mage, and the other preferred katanas, though Flame was quite skilled in fire magic, unsurprisingly so given her name.


“What do you need, Flame?” Kumiko asked.


“For you to come with me to gramps’ place,” Flame replied, jumping up. “He sent me to come find ya.”


“For what?” she sighed.


“Dunno, wouldn’t say. All he said was to find you and bring you to him,” Flame replied.


With her interest piqued, Kumiko got up, and together, she and Flame made their way to the Elder’s Headquarters. Located near the center of the town, it was a large building that had people coming in and out of it day and night. It was the busiest place in town, even busier than the shops. The Elder’s office was on the top floor, and when they arrived, two others were in the room as well.


“Good afternoon, Kumiko, Flame,” the Elder said. “I’d like the two of you to meet Gareth and Atticus of Dragonfire City.”


Gareth and Atticus both waved to the girls. Dragonfire City was a nearby city in Elemental Country, and it was closely allied with Elemental City. As the name suggested, Dragonfire City was home to the country’s dragon experts. Though not everyone there worked with dragons, as people were still needed to work in shops and keep the city maintained, Dragonfire City was known for its world renowned expertise on dragons.


Gareth was a young man with brown hair and brown eyes. He was muscular, and his tanned skin was marred by a few scars from his work. He wore simple plate armor that glistened from the rays of sunlight that entered the office, and his sword hung off of his belt.


Atticus was very much similar to his companion, but his clothes were more flowy. A katana hung off of either side of his body, and there was a pouch full of extra supplies hanging around his belt too. His body was slender, unlike Gareth’s more muscular body, but there was still some muscle there on Atticus’ body. His eyes were green, and his hair was brown.


And then there was the girls. Flame was a teenage ninja in training. Though she kept her katana secured on her back, kunai, shuriken, and other supplies were in pouches on her belt. Red hair that matched her fiery, fun-loving personality fell to just below her shoulders, not too long to where it was in her way and not too short to make her look like a boy. Her attire today consisted of a red top and jeans with the ninja sandals, and the city’s ninja headband, a deep purple cloth with a silver plate that had the city’s logo engraved in it, was tied around her forehead. Flame hated the headband for the color clashed with her hair, but she only wore it for she had to attend classes at the academy.


Kumiko was a young mage. She wore the academy’s typical uniform, a white polo top with a plaid pleated skirt. Her long silver hair was tied up into a high ponytail, and her blue eyes reminded those that looked at them of the ocean. At times, one could see flecks of purple in her eyes though, and sometimes, they even turned purple.


At a young age, before she could even remember, she became the vessel for a cat demon that threatened the city. The Elders had two options: allow the demon to destroy the city and possibly the rest of the country or choose a young child to become the vessel for the cat demon. Kumiko’s father volunteered his daughter, and thus, Kumiko became the vessel for the cat demon. For the most part, it remains dormant in Kumiko’s body, only communicating with her, but if need be, the cat demon makes its presence known, and those that have met this spirit know that it is not a fun time to be around.


However, despite their young ages, Gareth being the oldest at nineteen, Kumiko just behind him at eighteen, Atticus at sixteen, and Flame the youngest at fourteen, each of them were perhaps the top, most skilled fighters in their respective cities. Gareth picked up the basics of dragon riding at a young age and became a skilled fighter too. Those that face him in battle fear fighting him for they know they’re in for a rough fight.


Kumiko was the top mage in Elemental City’s magic academy, and she learned to communicate and control the cat demon living inside her at a young age too. She was a magical prodigy, and she was well versed in all forms of magic.


Atticus was one of the top ninja from Dragonborn City. Recently promoted, Atticus was perhaps the brightest student in his class, though he rarely showed it for he preferred not to flaunt his intelligence in front of his classmates. He was the kind of guy that knew when he had to crack down and do his work and when to have fun.


And then there was Flame, the girl who was skilled in both hand to hand combat and fire magic, but loved to have fun. She was a frequent visitor to the Elder’s office for her antics around the city, and no punishment deterred her from her harmless antics.


These four heroes were called to Elemental City for one task, one that required the best and the brightest of Elemental Country, for what the world feared was coming to fruition.
 

Felly

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Kumiko, Flame, Gareth, and Atticus gathered in the Elder’s office in Elemental City. A pair from the city and a pair from nearby Dragonfire City called here for one very special task.


“I’ve called the four of you here because you’re the best this country has to offer,” the Elder said. “Crystalis is in danger.”


“Crystalis?” Flame asked. “The hell is that?”


Kumiko nudged her friend, who rolled her eyes. “It’s a crystal. I’ve read about it in books. It was discovered hundreds of years ago, and on an accident, researchers discovered what it does. If someone with a good heart discovers it and makes a wish with the crystal in their hands, their wish is granted and the crystal disappears for four years before it returns to its resting place.”


“Yes,” the Elder said. “And when someone with evil intentions gets their hands on the crystal, the world as we know it is at stake for it could cease to exist.”


“So who’s after it that you need us to go and stop ‘em?” Flame asked. “Surely some of the newer ninja could go and handle some baddies, right?”


“That’s the thing, Flame, we’re not one hundred percent sure we know who’s after it,” the Elder replied. “We have heard rumors of a group called the Spirit Bringers, but we don’t know too much about them.”


“Spirit Bringers? What are they gonna do? Bring back the dead?” Flame asked. “Ooooh, spooky ghosts.” Flame rolled her eyes. “Come on, gramps, surely someone else can take care of this.”


“Surely you can take things seriously for five seconds and shut up,” Gareth chimed in.


“She can’t,” Kumiko sighed.


“If you don’t wish to go on the mission, Flame, that’s fine. I’m not forcing you to go,” the Elder said. “But what you should know is this: rumor has it the Spirit Bringers are also recruiting the best they can find. Tough battles lie ahead.”


“So how do we reach the crystal? What’s the mission here exactly?” Atticus asked, crossing his arms.


“You are to travel to Harsader Village. From there, the Crystalis shrine is only about a half a day’s walk,” the Elder said. “Once you arrive, it’s up to you what you do. Do you accept this mission?”


“Sure, I could use a challenging fight, but how do we find where the shrine is?” Gareth asked.


“Assuming all of you accept the mission, there’s a member of your party who has a talent for finding crystals,” the Elder said, his green eyes wandering to focus on Kumiko for a brief moment. Her face paled, but she nodded.


“I accept,” she said.


“Me too! Can’t let Kumiko go out there alone, after all!” Flame said, wrapping an arm around Kumiko’s shoulders. “These big baddies might try to hurt her!”


“I’m here, so I may as well tag along,” Atticus said with a shrug. “Haven’t gone on a mission in a while, might as well take advantage of the opportunity.”


“Very well, your mission starts immediately,” the Elder said. “The sooner you get going to Harsader Village, the sooner the world can feel more at ease. Not many know about the dangers the Spirit Bringers hold towards our world, but the longer we wait, the more people will find out, and the more they find out, the more panic will rise.”


The quartet headed back outside of the Elder’s office. Once outside, Flame stepped between Gareth and Atticus and wrapped her arms around their shoulders.


“So, you boys are from Dragonfire City, yeah?” Flame said. “So y’all got dragons. Where’d ya park ‘em at?”


Gareth stepped aside out of Flame’s grasp while Atticus’ face turned red as he looked away from the group. Kumiko just rolled her eyes.


“We walked,” Gareth replied. “Dragonfire City is only a half a day’s journey from here by foot. We didn’t want to waste a dragon’s energy on such a short trip. If we leave now, we can get there by nightfall.”


“What?” Flame asked, stepping away from the boys. “But I need supplies!”


Gareth rolled his eyes, but Kumiko nodded. “She has a point. The two of you are heading back home, and you’ll have the night to prepare for the mission. If Flame and I leave here without having prepared, we’ll have to stop here in the morning for us to get our supplies, wasting a dragon’s energy on a short trip.”


“Alright, fair enough,” Gareth said. “Where can we meet up then?”


“There’s a fountain in the center of the city, you can’t miss it. We’ll meet there in one hour,” Kumiko said.


“One hour, fountain, got it,” Gareth said. “Atticus, let’s go do some sightseeing, I guess.”


And so the two groups split paths. Gareth and Atticus went to the right, and Kumiko and Flame went to the left. In an hour’s time, they reunited at the center of the city at the fountain.


“Ready to go?” Gareth asked.


“Ready!” Flame said, grinning. Kumiko nodded.


“Great, let’s go,” Gareth said.


And so they walked. They passed through the shining gates of Elemental City and walked along the path towards Dragonfire City. Though the path between the cities was relatively safe, the group stuck together as they ventured towards their destination. Elemental City was a hub for traders, and it wasn’t uncommon for common thieves to be roaming the paths leading to the city at night, waiting for those that appeared to be alone to come and rob them of their possessions to sell for gold, sometimes more gold than the item was actually worth.


As expected, they arrived at Dragonfire City shortly after nightfall. Upon arrival, Gareth and Atticus split paths with the girls once more, heading to their respective homes for the evening. Flame and Kumiko made their way to the inn, where they’d spend the night preparing for their mission and getting some much needed rest.
 

Felly

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At night, one could see the red and orange lights that shone from Dragonfire City from a mile away. Even the gates glistened in the moonlight as travelers passed through. The city was quiet as those that traveled through the city knew not to mess with a sleeping dragon. Though the majority of the dragons housed at Dragonfire City were tame, there were some that weren’t trained yet and had the risk of lashing out at those that messed with them. Dragon trainers were always around and working 24/7 in case someone did mess with one of the less tame dragons, but those that traveled through the city typically knew it was better safe than sorry to not mess with the dragons unless they were with someone who knew what they were doing.


By day, it was a completely different atmosphere. Humans and dragons were awake. One could hear the roars of a dragon from a mile away, and if one was a traveler, it was impossible to sleep through the roars of a dragon during the day. The city’s residents learned to sleep through them for they knew the difference between a dragon roaring for the purpose of roaring and a dragon roaring because danger lurked on the horizon. The latter rarely happened, thankfully, but on the extremely rare occasion that it did happen, Dragonfire City’s best were ready to fight any that opposed them.


Though the city was smaller than Elemental City, it still had just as much hustle and bustle. In the center of the city was a large golden statue of a dragon, and it was the meeting place for the quartet before they traveled to their first destination: Yurasi Village.


“Big dragon, huh?” Flame said, her hands in the pockets of her jacket. “And golden too. Are there even real golden dragons?”


“Yes,” Kumiko said. “Not completely golden, but there are dragons with gold scales.”


“And they’re rare too,” Atticus chimed in. Kumiko jumped as she turned to face Atticus, and Flame waved. “I think of all the dragons we have here in the city, we only have one. This one is the first dragon ever seen in Dragonfire City, and ironically enough, it was a golden dragon. By the way, sorry to scare you, Kumiko.”


“It’s fine,” she said.


“Gareth’s on the way, he’s just securing our dragons for transportation,” Atticus said. “He said he’ll meet us at the gates.”


“Dragons? Why do we need dragons?” Flame asked. “Can’t we all just fit on the back of one? I mean, this guy,” she pointed to the golden dragon. “Is pretty big! Surely y’all got dragons his size!”


“Beats me,” Atticus said with a shrug. “Gareth does his own thing sometimes, but it’s whatever. We have transportation and that’s all that matters. Anyways, we should get going to the gates. Gareth should be there by the time we get there.”


The trio walked and made their way towards the gate. Upon arrival, just as Atticus said, Gareth was there waiting for them. In a nearby large clearing were two large dragons, one with blue scales and the other with red scales. Both glistened in the morning sun. Atticus nodded in approval, nodding to the red dragon, who grunted in return.


“The blue one is Margello, and the red one is Virelia. I’ll be riding on Margello, and Atticus is gonna be riding on Virelia. You two can choose which you’ll ride on,” Gareth said before mounting the blue dragon.


“These are our personal dragons, that’s why we’re bringing them,” Atticus added, suddenly understanding why two dragons were bring brought along. “Virelia is mine, and Margello is Gareth’s.”


Once he was finished speaking, he mounted his own dragon. Flame joined Atticus on Virelia, and Kumiko joined Gareth on Margello.


“Alright, Margello, we’re going that way today!” Gareth shouted, pointing to the northeast.


“Virelia, follow alongside Margello!” Atticus said.


“Don’t dragons know directions?” Kumiko asked.


“No, I’m afraid not. It’s something they have to be taught, and it’s a little difficult to teach them,” Gareth said. “I’ve been trying to teach Margello, but it’s easier said than done. Some dragons go their whole lives not knowing directions.”


Kumiko nodded. “But as long as they know where they’re going, travel time is much faster.”


“Yep, it just takes a little more guidance than it would for you and I sometimes,” Gareth replied. “We should be crossing over Elemental City in another minute or so, and we’ll be at Yurasi Village by the end of the day.”


And sure enough, they did pass over Elemental City in the coming minutes. From just over a thousand feet in the air, the city looked very different. They couldn’t see the people wandering the city, but the skyline was clear as day.


The travel time was certainly much quicker too. The half day walk between Elemental City and Dragonfire City only took minutes by flight on a dragon. A trip to Yurasi Village would take days by foot, but by dragon, just as Gareth explained to Kumiko, they would arrive by the end of the day. Sure enough, they were landing in a nearby clearing, and they were making the rest of the short walk to Yurasi Village.


As the sun set over the horizon, they entered the village’s gates and made their way to the inn, where they’d spend their evening.
 

Felly

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Author’s Note: I’d intended to post this last night, but I wasn’t feeling well, so I ended up going to bed early instead of staying up after work to work on it. That said, it’s just gonna be a two chapter weekend instead of a three chapter weekend as originally planned. I’d post two chapters today, but I can only do one post per 24 hours, so I'm just gonna do one chapter today and one tomorrow. Better than nothing at all!

---

Yurasi Village was a small, quaint village in the northeastern region of the country. From Elemental City, it was a three day walk. There was nothing special about the village. It was relatively crime free. For the most part, it was just a stopping place for travelers as they made their way around the country. Unless they lived in the village, few stayed for longer than a day for the village held nothing of importance.

At least not for the typical person.

For Flame, it held a wealth of knowledge. She was in the ramen shop the morning after the quartet’s arrival in the village when she spotted a wanted poster just outside of the shop. There was a bounty out for the leader of the Spirit Bringers, though there wasn’t much information on the leader on the poster. The poster itself had “BOUNTY” in large, bold red letters, and a silhouette of a spiky haired person. The bounty itself was 10,000 gold.

“Yo,” Flame said when she sat at the counter. “I’d like a bowl of miso ramen, please.”

“One bowl of miso ramen coming right up,” the man behind the counter said. After a few minutes, a large bowl of steaming hot miso ramen was placed in front of Flame, and next to it, a pair of chopsticks.

“Enjoy,” the man said.

“Yo,” Flame said just as the man was about to start walking away. He turned to face her. “What’s up with that poster outside? Who are the Spirit Bringers?”

The man’s face paled. “People you don’t want to get involved with.”

“Yeah, I gathered that much, thanks,” Flame replied, rolling her eyes. “I mean, who are they? What do you know about them?”

The man sighed. “I’ll tell you what I know.”

Meanwhile, Gareth, Atticus, and Kumiko were waiting by the dragons to set off for Harsader Village. It would be about a half day’s travel to get from Yurasi Village to Harsader Village by dragon, and they planned to spend their evening preparing for a fight at the Crystalis shrine.

“Where’s Flame? She’s late,” Gareth said, checking the black watch on his wrist. Atticus and Kumiko shrugged.

“She was gone by the time I woke up this morning. I don’t know where she went,” Kumiko said. “There was no note or anything.”

“I’m here!” Flame said, waving her hand in the air. “Sorry I’m late, I was a little preoccupied with having breakfast with a side of juicy information.”

“Information? What kind of information?” Atticus asked.

“About the Spirit Bringers that gramps told us about. I dunno if y’all have noticed, but there’s wanted posters up around town for their leader, but there’s no information about the leader on the posters,” Flame said.

“Wow,” Gareth said. “She’s actually observant and has a brain in that head of hers.”

Kumiko shrugged. “She doesn’t show it very often, but she’s actually a pretty smart girl.”

“Thank you, Kumiko, I appreciate your praise,” Flame said, bowing dramatically. “But anyways, enough about me and more about these Spirit Bringers. Guy at the ramen place couldn’t tell me much about the leader because he didn’t know much about it, but what he did tell me was that it’s a large group of people headed for Crystalis to take it so they can wish for the spirits inhabiting humans to be released from the bodies they inhabit.”

The color drained from Kumiko’s face.

“So what happens with the spirits? And what happens with the bodies inhabited by these spirits?” Atticus asked.

“The spirits will be released back into the world to wreak havoc on it,” Kumiko said softly, just loud enough for her three companions to hear. “And the vessel will die.”

“So they’re in the business of killing people,” Gareth said. “Let’s just kill them before they kill us then, or get to the crystal before they do. Or both.”

“Yeah, they’re a large group and there’s four of us,” Flame said. “While I don’t doubt that we can handle a large group of Spirit Bringers, all gramps told us was that they’re strong people, and the guy at the ramen shop said they’re not people we want to get involved with.”

“Good thing we’re not getting involved with them then,” Atticus said.

“Okay, so what do you propose then, Flame?” Gareth asked.

“Well, let’s get to Harsader first. I believe our original plan was to get to Harsader Village and prepare for fight there. Since they’re closer to the Crystalis shrine, they probably have the most information on all of this,” Flame said.

“Alright then, let’s do it,” Gareth said. “Tomorrow, we’ll see what we can find out on the Spirit Bringers at Harsader Village. Now let’s get going.”

With that said, they mounted the dragons, Gareth and Kumiko on Margello and Atticus and Flame on Virelia, and set off for Harsader Village to the west.
 

Felly

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Harsader Village could be found in the western part of the country. It was one of the oldest places in the country, second only to Elemental City. Though it was called a village, it had the traffic and population comparable to a city. Over the years, Harsader Village became a hub for researchers from around the country. Those that lived in the village were very aware of the Crystalis shrine, and while they were aware of it, none of them were interested in the crystal’s powers for the village gave them everything they could ever want and then some. It helped that traveling to the shrine without specific permission from the village’s elder could result in harsh consequences that deterred people from doing so.

Two loud crashes were heard followed by roars from dragons. It was early evening and the quartet was making their approach to Harsader Village.

“What the hell?” Gareth asked as their dragons descended to the ground. “Why can’t we get through?”

Kumiko slid off of Marcello’s back. “We have to walk from here. There’s a no fly zone set up around Harsader Village and the Crystalis shrine. It’s not that far though.”

And so they walked. They arrived at the inn in Harsader Village shortly after it became dark outside. There was a small restaurant downstairs, so they sat at a table for dinner after checking into their rooms.

“In the morning, I’ll go and speak with the Elder of the village. He was the one that reached out the Elemental City’s Elder for this mission, so I think he’ll have more information for us,” Kumiko said.

“I’ll go with you,” Gareth said. He nodded to Atticus and Flame. “You two can go around the village to see what you can get from the villagers.”

“Nah,” Flame said, standing up. “I’ve got some plans of my own. I think Atticus will be fine on his own.”

She made her way upstairs to the room she would share with Kumiko. Atticus looked to Kumiko. “What was up with that?”

Kumiko shrugged. “I have no idea. I guess maybe she has something she wants to do here on her own. She likes to do that sometimes, or so I’ve heard from others that have gone on missions with her.”

“Well, whatever,” Gareth said, waving his hand dismissively. “She can do her own thing. We’ll meet back in our room tomorrow night to share information on what we’ve learned.”

Atticus and Kumiko nodded. “I’ll let Flame know,” she said.

The next morning, as discussed in the previous evening, everyone went their separate ways. Flame was gone once more by the time Kumiko woke up. Atticus made his way out into the village to gather information. Gareth and Kumiko went to the Elder’s home, where Kumiko knocked on the door.

“Yes?” the Elder said when he opened the door.

“May we come in? We’d like to have a word with you,” Kumiko said.

“Of course,” the Elder said. He stepped aside, opening the door wide enough for Kumiko and Gareth to enter. Once inside, they seated themselves at the dining table. “How can I help you all today?”

“You reached out to the Elder of Elemental City about danger being presented to the Crystalis shrine and Crystalis itself. Myself, my friend here, and two more are here to head to the Crystalis shrine to protect it,” Kumiko said. “We were just wondering if you had any more information to share with us. We were told of the Spirit Bringers, but all we know is that they’re a large, dangerous group.”

The Elder sighed and shook his head. “I’m afraid I can’t give you much more information than you already know. I can only caution you to take your next steps forward carefully. The path forward is a difficult one.”

“But you’re the one who assigned the mission!” Gareth said.

“I’m sorry, you know just as much as I do about the Spirit Bringers,” the Elder replied.

Kumiko sighed and stood up from her seat at the table. “Thank you for your time, Elder, we appreciate it.” She looked to Gareth. “Come on, let’s go.”

“But we came here for information and got nothing!” Gareth replied.

“It’s okay,” Kumiko replied. “We’ll figure things out.”

Gareth grumbled beneath his breath, but he complied with Kumiko’s request to leave the Elder’s house. Together, they returned to the inn to wait for their friends. Atticus had already returned to the inn by this point.

Meanwhile, Flame was among the trees in the outskirts of the village. Before her were several small red birds, each with a note tied around one of their legs. The notes read “I need your help. If you can come, send the bird back with a note and meet me at the spot with the X carved into the trees.”

She sent the birds away and took out a kunai. On one of the trees, she carved an X into it. She didn’t bother with the rest of the trees. Her friends would know this was the meeting place based on the one carved X into one tree. One by one, the birds came back with her friends agreeing to help and agreeing to meet her at the designated spot the next day. By nightfall, she’d received all of the responses and made her way back to the inn.

“Finally!” Gareth said. “Where have you been? I hope you have some information for us!”

Flame shrugged. “Eh, not really. I just took care of some business. What about you guys? What did you guys find out?”

“Nothing,” Atticus replied before Gareth could get in another word. Kumiko placed a hand on Gareth’s shoulder in an attempt to calm him. “None of the villagers would talk to me about the Spirit Bringers. It was almost as if they were fearful of these people.”

“The Elder didn’t have much information for us either,” Kumiko added.

“So we’ve gotten nowhere today,” Gareth groaned. “Great.”

“Well, we still have to protect Crystalis regardless,” Kumiko said.

“I know that,” Gareth replied, perhaps a little more snappily than he’d intended for he saw Kumiko flinch at the tone of his voice. “Sorry.” He stood up for a moment. “Excuse me.” He walked out of the room.

“He okay?” Flame asked.

“He’ll be fine, he just needs to cool off,” Atticus replied. “The Spirit Bringers are in the business of scaring people into not giving us information, I guess. They’re probably expecting us by now.”

“Probably,” Kumiko replied as she stood up. “Excuse me.” She left the room too.

Flame yawned and stretched. “Welp, if that’s everything, then I’m gonna get some sleep. Gonna have a busy day tomorrow preparing for this big old fight we’ve gotta do.”

Atticus nodded as Flame exited the room. Tomorrow would be their final day of preparations before they made their way to the Crystalis shrine for what could be the biggest fight of their lives.
 

Felly

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Flame woke up early once again to head back out into the forest surrounding the village. She was careful not to wake Kumiko, for she knew she would ask where she was headed and attempt to follow. Thankfully, Kumiko didn’t wake up, and Flame was able to leave the inn without being caught by Kumiko, Gareth, or Atticus.

When Flame arrived at the designated spot, no one had arrived, but that was of no surprise to her. It was still early in the morning, and those that she’d called likely wouldn’t arrive until the afternoon at the earliest.

Sure enough, the first people, an older blonde woman accompanied by a young man with white hair, were the first to show up as afternoon approached. They were the only two who agreed to show up, however, and so Flame sighed. Two was better than none though.

“Hello, friends,” Flame said. “I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve called you both here today. A few days ago, the Elder from Elemental City sent myself, Kumiko, and two others from Dragonfire City, Gareth and Atticus, on a mission to protect Crystalis from a group called the Spirit Bringers. All we know is that the Spirit Bringers are a dangerous group of people with the intention to release spirits from their vessels at the risk of the vessel’s life.”

“So Kumiko’s life is at risk,” the blonde woman said.

“Yes,” Flame said. “If they get their way, yes. It’s our goal to stop them and defeat them. We’re headed out to the Crystalis shrine tomorrow, where it’s likely that we’ll meet them.”

“And you need our help fighting them?” the man said.

“Yes,” Flame said. “It sounds like we’re going to be outnumbered. There’s four of us on this mission, and the two of you would make it six people. It may not even out the numbers, but it’ll at least give us a fighting chance.”

“Sounds like you’ve already got a fighting chance. Elemental City’s Elder recruited the best for this mission. I don’t know too much about this Gareth and Atticus from Dragonfire City, but Kumiko’s the best mage in the country, if not the world, and you’re pretty skilled yourself for a fourteen year old, Flame,” the woman said.

“She has a point. What’s the point in dragging us into this?” the man asked.

“There’s strength in numbers, dear friends,” Flame said. “Now are y’all gonna help or not?”

The man shrugged. “Sure, why not.”

“I guess,” the woman replied.

“Great!” Flame said, grinning. “We’re leaving for the Crystalis shrine in the morning. Perhaps you guys can meet us there and prepare to ambush or something if they start attacking.”

“We’ll figure something out,” the woman said. “We’ll meet you guys there in the morning. Come on, Balmung.”

“See if you can find anyone else to help out too!” Flame said as she waved to her friends. “You two were the only ones who responded, so if you know anyone else to help out, recruit ‘em and bring ‘em with you!”

The group parted ways with Flame headed back into the village and her two friends heading into the forest. By nightfall, the quartet reunited once more in the inn in Gareth and Atticus’ room.

“I spoke to the Elder again today to see if he could offer up any troops for this mission,” Gareth said.

“What did he say?” Atticus asked.

“To get out of his house,” Gareth said with a shrug. “Told me he’d already given me everything he could. Threatened to banish me if I didn’t leave right then and there, so I left. I figured being able to stay in the village was more important than getting his help.”

“That’s a little harsh,” Flame said, frowning.

“Yeah, well, it is what it is,” Gareth said. “Can’t really do much about it now.”

“Well, other than that, are we all prepared for tomorrow?” Kumiko asked. Everyone nodded. “Great, then let’s get some rest. Tomorrow could be a big day.”

Everyone nodded again. Flame and Kumiko got up to return to their own rooms. As Kumiko said, it was possible that tomorrow could be a big day for the quartet. They didn’t know where the Spirit Bringers were, but they did know they were making their way towards Crystalis. The longer they waited, the more likely it was the Spirit Bringers and their leader would get their hands on the crystal and make the wish to free the spirits from their vessels, killing Kumiko and potentially many others too.
 

Felly

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Author’s Note: I started this chapter back during NaNoWriMo last year, but I didn’t progress very far during it. Now’s the time for me to finish it. There’s a couple more chapters planned out after this one, so we’re approaching the end!

The day they’d been preparing for finally arrived. Today was the day where they would head out to the Crystalis shrine to either grab the crystal and make a wish with it to allow it to disappear for four years, buying them more than enough time to find the Spirit Bringers and defeat them, or fight the Spirit Bringers and defeat them before potentially making the wish to make Crystalis disappear for four years.

They gathered at the gate on the northern end of the village, closest to the Crystalis shrine. Their walk to the shrine was a quiet one. They didn’t speak to each other, and they remained aware of their surroundings lest someone come from the shadows and strike.

A bright light shone from a wooden shrine that had seen better days. The blue crystal glowed as it sat atop the shrine. It could be seen from a good distance away, but one had to get up close to appreciate the true beauty of Crystalis.

Kumiko was the first to approach the shrine, but as she reached out to the crystal, an arrow shot past her hand, between it and the crystal, and she was forced to pull her hand back. Her companions drew their weapons as Flame and Gareth looked towards the right, where the arrow had come from.

“Who’s there?” Flame called out. There was a laugh as ten cloaked individuals stepped out from between the trees and surrounded the group. Flame looked at the one that laughed suspiciously. “That laugh… it sounds so familiar…”

“Does it now?” the one who laughed said, raising his hands up and holding onto his hood. “I’ll give you three guesses as to who I could be then.”

Another of the cloaked individuals grabbed Kumiko and pulled her back. Atticus tried to help her, but he was pushed away by two others. Gareth tried to attack, but he too was knocked down by a cloaked figure.

“No,” Kumiko breathed. “No, this can’t be. That voice...”


“Oh, but it is, dear Kumiko,” their leader said, looking from Kumiko to Flame. “Three guesses or Kumiko dearest goes down.”

“Like hell she will!” Flame shouted, running at the cloaked figure. She swung her sword, but the figure blocked with a sword of his own.

“Attacking me counts as a guess,” the voice said, grinning beneath his cloak.

“Shut up!” Flame shouted, swinging again. Her attack was once again blocked. This time, however, she also kicked the figure in the stomach. The attack made her stumble back, but it also knocked the figure onto the ground. His hood fell off, revealing a young man with silver hair. Kumiko and Flame’s faces paled as the others dropped their hoods.

“K-Kashiyo…” Kumiko breathed. “Are… are you the leader of the Spirit Bringers?”

“Very observant, Kumiko,” Kashiyo said, standing up and brushing himself off. “I’m glad you were able to put two and two together, unlike this red-headed dimwit here.”

Flame frowned, but she took a moment to look around her. They were outnumbered. Four of then to ten of them, and even if her friends came, they would still be down by half.

“But why?” Kumiko asked.

“Because you’re a monster,” Kashiyo roared. “That thing inside of you is a monster! It needs to be eradicated, and so do all the others like it!”

“Even if it costs Kumiko her life?” Flame asked.

“Yes!” Kashiyo replied.

“Kashiyo, please,” Kumiko said softly. “I don’t want to fight you…”

“She doesn’t, but I will!” Gareth said. With his blade drawn, he swung at one of the Spirit Bringers, who deflected the attack.

“Hold her!” Kashiyo shouted to the one holding Kumiko. “Don’t let her go! We’ll take care of her friends.”

And so the fight began. The Spirit Bringer held Kumiko back, and despite her best attempts to get free, she couldn’t do so. The rest were in combat. Flame’s friends that visited her the day before arrived and joined the fight, but even with five, they were outnumbered and outmatched.

“Inferno!” a voice that sounded oddly like Kumiko’s shouted. Flames surrounded the area and scorched the bodies of the Spirit Bringers. The only ones left unharmed were Flame, Gareth, Atticus, Flame’s friends Zamina and Balmung, and Kashiyo.

All eyes fell to the voice. Flame’s eyes widened. “Kyuu…”

The Spirit Bringer that held Kumiko was knocked out, but the person that stood in Kumiko’s place was still Kumiko herself. The difference was that Kumiko’s eyes were now purple and she held a single blade in her hand.

“Ah, yes, the little kitty comes out to play,” Kashiyo said. “This should be fun.”

Flame pulled her companions back. “Stay back. It’s gonna get dangerous.”

“But why’s Kumiko holding a sword? She only does magic,” Gareth asked as the second round of the fight began.

“That’s not Kumiko,” the blonde woman, Zamina, replied. “That’s Kyuu, the cat spirit that lives inside of her. Kumiko’s learned to control her well, and she only really shows herself when Kumiko’s in true danger.”

“Like now?” Gareth asked.

“Like now,” Zamina said. “She won’t harm us though, she knows we’re friends and allies of Kumiko. Still, it’s best to stay out of her way. Kyuu packs a punch.”

There was an explosion, but the sound of swords clanging could still be heard through the smoke.

“Yeah,” Flame said between coughs. “Kyuu’s pretty cool, but you don’t want to cross her.”

As the smoke cleared though, Kyuu was on the ground breathing heavily and unable to move as Kashiyo had her pinned to the ground.

“It’s over now, you filthy cat,” Kashiyo said. He raised his blade, but as he swung down, he gasped. Kyuu’s eyes widened.

“I’m sorry, Kashiyo. I’m sorry, Kumiko.”
 

Felly

not in love tonight
Rainbow Rocket Grunt
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Author’s Note: I’ve really lost a lot of my drive for writing and this story overall over recent years, but I also want to see this through to the end because that’s what I do, I see things through until the end. There’s only this chapter and one more that I had planned out anyways, so really, I feel like if I don’t finish at this point, it would be a waste because I’ve already gotten so far. At any rate, as I approach the end of this story, here’s to hoping that I find that same passion for writing that I had when I was younger again.

Flame pulled her blade from the body and fell to her knees. Her katana fell to the ground in silence. Kyuu pushed the lifeless body from on top of her and pushed herself into a seated position. Everyone else stared in shock.

As Kyuu’s eyes slowly transitioned from purple to blue, she spoke. “What… what happened?”

“I… I’m sorry,” Flame said. “Kashiyo, he… he was going to kill you.”

Kumiko, whose eyes returned to their natural shade of blue, moved closer to Kashiyo’s lifeless body. Tears started to fall from her eyes as she sat in silence next to her brother.

Flame was pulled away by Atticus, and Gareth cautiously stepped forward to wrap his arms around Kumiko. Neither of the girls pulled away from the boys. Flame just stood in silence, and Kumiko’s body shook with sobs.

The remaining Spirit Bringers fled the scene, and Flame’s companions that she’d called out chased after them. Gareth, Atticus, Kumiko, and Flame remained at the scene.

“The mission,” Atticus said, finally breaking the silence after a moment. “We need to do something about Crystalis.”

Gareth nodded, but when he tried to pull Kumiko away from her brother’s body, she wouldn’t move. He turned to Flame and Atticus and shook his head. “I’ll stay with her. You two deal with it.”

Flame pulled away from Atticus and approached the Crystalis shrine. She placed one hand on the glowing crystal and pulled it away from its home. Slowly, but cautiously, she knelt down on the other side of Kashiyo, the side opposite from Kumiko and Gareth, and held the crystal out to Kumiko.

“Here,” she said. “Take it. You can bring him back.”

Kumiko was silent for a moment, but it wasn’t until Gareth nudged her that she shook her head.

“Are you sure?” Flame asked. Kumiko nodded, and Flame stepped away from her. She moved towards the edge of the clearing, gazing out among the trees. Atticus started to approach her, but as he did, the crystal in Flame’s hands started to glow.

Gareth looked towards her, but Kumiko’s gaze never moved away from her brother. There was a burst of energy from the crystal that made even Flame step back. The crystal disappeared from her hands as the energy was released from it. Flame turned back to the group.

“I think we should head back to Harsader Village and let the Elder there know everything’s been taken care of,” Flame replied. “Crystalis is safe, at least for the next four years, hopefully longer.”

“But what did you wish for?” Atticus asked.

Flame shrugged. “For midgets to rule the world.”

Atticus sighed, and Gareth rolled his eyes. Kumiko remained motionless, still focused on her brother. Gareth tried to pull her away again, but she wouldn’t budge.

“You two go back,” Gareth said. “We’ll catch up.”

Flame shrugged again and started to make her way back to the village. Atticus paused for a moment, looking from Kumiko to Flame, then back to Gareth.

“Go,” Gareth said. “It’ll be fine.”

“Yeah,” Atticus said. “I hope so.”
 

Felly

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Rainbow Rocket Grunt
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Author’s Note: Whew, finally going to get this up! It’s been a while, and I’m sorry about that. Life’s been busy, and my drive to write has gone away. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to leave this unfinished, so here I am wrapping it up. I can’t say when I’ll write again with my drive to write being so low, but I’m hoping that one day, I can bring back that spark and passion for writing that I once had.

Three months have passed since Crystalis was found and Flame’s wish for midgets to rule the world was made. Though her companions were annoyed by her wish, they agreed at the end of the day that it was better than the alternative, world destruction at the hands of Kashiyo and his Spirit Bringers or another evil organization. And midgets ruling the world wasn’t awful. It was different, but it wasn’t a bad kind of different. It was nice, actually.

In the months following Crystalis’ disappearance for four years, Kumiko and Gareth grew closer. They started dating about a month and a half after their return from Harsader Village. For the most part, he was the only one she allowed into her home back in Elemental City, and he was a frequent visitor, sometimes bringing Atticus with him. He never joined the lovebirds, instead spending his time wandering the city or spending time with Flame.

Speaking of Flame, her relationship with Kumiko greatly deteriorated after the final fight and she wasn’t sure why. Flame’s best efforts to try and connect with her friend failed, and eventually, she just gave up speaking to Kumiko. She figured she’d come around when she was ready, whenever that would be.

And then there was Kashiyo’s funeral. Despite his recent evil outlook, Kumiko insisted that he get a proper burial. Elemental City’s Elder conceded and allowed the funeral to happen, despite him being the reasoning for the mission in the first place. At the end of the day, he was born and raised in Elemental City, and therefore, he was one of the city’s many citizens. He did deserve a proper burial, and so his body was brought back to the city, and just days after their return from Harsader City, the funeral occurred.

That was the first time Flame noticed that Kumiko was growing distant and she and Gareth were becoming closer. It was because of Gareth that Flame even knew Kumiko was okay in the first place. Without him, she’d have to find other ways to determine if her friend was okay.

But other than small mishaps in the lives of the heroes, all was well now in Elemental Country and the world as a whole. The world was safe, at least for the next four years. After that, Crystalis would return to its shrine on the outskirts of Harsader Village, and from there, who knew what would happen. A new evil organization could sprout up and a new race to Crystalis could begin, but only time would tell.
 
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