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Chapter Two

It was very dark outside. Night was upon the town of Tonoe. Everyone in town was asleep. The stars twinkled brightly and the crickets chirped. Inside the inn, Chaz was curled up in his bed, sleeping. Rika slept soundly, every so often sighing happily in her soft bed. Gryz mumbled quietly to himself in his sleep. Dazzle had a big smile on her face as she dreamed pleasant dreams of far off places and fond memories. Suddenly, something quietly leaped out and grabbed Chaz. Chaz woke with a start. He was slammed down against the bed by rough hands. He struggled and tried to shout out. A bit of cloth was shoved against his mouth and nose. The cloth smelled very strongly. It was of a putrid fragrance. The smell was so bad, Chaz felt as if his senses were on fire. He kicked out and tried to get the cloth off of his face. The strong hands held him down. Desperately, Chaz tried to scream to those around him. No one heard him. Chaz tried to pull his head away but the hands grabbed his head and held it still. His eyes began to get very heavy. The last thing he saw was some shadows sneaking up to Gryz's bed. Then, he drifted into unconsciousness.

Five shadowy figures walked towards the guards to the cave entrance. Three looked as though they were heavily burdened. One approached the guards.

" We desire passage," it said.

" A bit late for travel, isn't it?" one of the guards asked.

" We have a deadline to keep. We have been ordered to get these supplies to Aiedo before tomorrow night," the figure said. One of the guards gazed at the other. " Grandfather Dorin will be very angry with us if we don't get there on time!" the figure added.

" You may pass," the first guard said after a few moments of silence. The shadowy figures bowed as they passed the guards. Inside the cave, one of the figures spoke.

" Why aren't you carrying someone, Fiaco?" he asked.

" Shaddap! I carried the sacrifice here, didn't I? You can do your share!" Fiaco snarled. He turned back to the front and walked. A bio-monster appeared, quite suddenly, and charged Fiaco. Fiaco grabbed his sword and slashed the bio-monster's head off. Kicking the body aside, he continued on his way. It was four hours away from daybreak when they exited the cave. One of the more stupid soldiers, most likely Dolic, spoke up.

" Do we really have to get to Aiedo by tonight?" he asked.

" No! I made that up!" Fiaco said, irritated.

" How about the part where you said some guy named Dorin sent us?" he asked again.

" DOLIC!! Is that you?!" Fiaco yelled. There was silence. " That's better. We can take our time now. We'll camp for the night around the mountains by Nayal. Then, we'll go through the mountain pass and head for Kadary. We'll need to be fresh when we go through. Those bio-monsters seem to be getting more aggressive," Fiaco then said. He pushed back the hood to his cloak and stared at the sky.

" Do you think their friends will follow us?" Gabi asked.

" Maybe. That's why we should get as far away as we can. Let's go," Fiaco said. They began walking again.

" Rika! Wake up! They're gone!" Dazzle screamed. Rika leaped up from her bed. She turned to Dazzle.

" Who's gone?" she asked.

" Chaz and Gryz! They've been kidnapped! Look! His sword's on the floor, along with Gryz's axe! They wouldn't leave those behind!" Dazzle said as she pointed. Rika began to cry.

" Chaz! Gryz! What are we gonna do now?" she said, sobbing.

" We'll find them, that's what! Go tell Dorin what happened! I'll pack up then go look around the outskirts of town!" Dazzle said. Rika ran as fast as she could. When she returned, Grandfather Dorin and some guards were with her. " They're definitely gone," Dazzle said.

" But how?!" Grandfather Dorin exclaimed.

" Where you approached during the night?" Dazzle asked the guards, sternly. The guards stared at her.

" Only by a group of traders..," one of the guards said.

" Fools! Those were them! They've taken Chaz, Gryz, and Hahn! What are we going to do NOW?!" Dazzle yelled, her face a mask of fury.

" Don't get excited!" Rika said. Dazzle turned to her.

" Get excited? I won't get EXCITED! I'll get EVEN! When I find those no good, cowardly, baby stealing, rat faced dirt bags...," Dazzle yelled as she threw her slashers. The slashers neatly sliced a broom stick in three pieces. The guards shifted nervously as they stared into the cold, angry eyes of Dazzle. Grandfather Dorin put his hand on her shoulder.

" Be careful! Zio is not like anything you've ever seen! You don't even have the Psycho wand!" he said. Dazzle nodded. She walked out of the inn and headed for the cave. Rika followed her. After a few minutes, Rika spoke.

" Did you mean that, back there?" she asked.

" Yes. And I still do!" Dazzle said.

" Why? You hardly know any of us!" Rika said. Dazzle stopped in her tracks.

" True. But... I don't like what's happening. Something like this happened long ago, but that time I didn't do anything about it. I promised myself I would do everything in my power to prevent it from happening again!, Dazzle answered. Rika looked at her.

" What happened?" Rika asked.

" We must hurry. We still have a chance to catch them. They're traveling slow since they have to carry three people," Dazzle muttered. Rika didn't push the issue.

At the soldiers newly pitched camp, Chaz, Hahn, and Gryz were awake. They were bound and sitting in a tent hidden in brush.

" Well, now what do we do?" Hahn asked, sighing. Gryz snorted.

" The only thing we can do, Hahn. Sit here and wait. I figure Rika and Dazzle will search us out. By now they must have discovered us gone. Whether they'll get to us in time or not...," Chaz said.

" What the blazes do they want from us, anyway?" Gryz asked, annoyed.

" Funny you should ask," a voice said. Everyone quickly turned to the opening of the tent. There stood Fiaco. He was grinning wildly. Chaz narrowed his eyes and thought how pleasant it would be to smash Fiaco's face in. " Tsk tsk! Such hostility!" Fiaco laughed.

" What do you want?" Gryz snapped.

" I want what Zio wants!" Fiaco answered.

" And that is?" Hahn asked.

" Nothing more than the revival of the Profound Darkness!" Fiaco giggled. Chaz, Hahn, and Gryz stared at Fiaco. They were too surprised to comment.

" Y.. you're crazy! The Profound Darkness is dead!" Chaz finally stuttered. His throat was very dry.

" We have found someone with the power to bring him back to life!" Fiaco laughed. Hahn shook his head.

" That's impossible! Who could possibly have the power to do that?" he asked.

" The Great Dragon God, Corrosion! He is a god of the Ancient Espers, a race you wouldn't have known about! We just now found out about them! In order for Zio's wish to be granted, YOU must be sacrificed!" Fiaco said as he pointed to Hahn. Hahn stared in horror.

" Liar!!" Chaz screamed.

" You'll find out soon enough! Zio will have a great time with you! He always wanted to get revenge on he who killed him!" Fiaco laughed. " You, on the other hand, will be killed. We have no use for you. We merely grabbed you in case we had to bribe our way out of Tonoe!" Fiaco added as he pointed to Gryz. He walked out of the tent, laughing. Chaz frowned.

" They're all fruit cases!" he said. Gryz looked rather pale.

" Well, those 'fruit cases' are going to kill us, one way or another," he said.

Dazzle had been traveling at a very rough pace. Rika had a hard time keeping up with her. When they were attacked, Dazzle killed like a mad man. Rika, at times, didn't even know they were under attack. Dazzle just grabbed her slashers and threw. Soon they were at the town of Nayal. Dazzle stopped and looked back. Rika tripped and panted as she walked up to Dazzle.

" What now? I haven't seen them," Rika gasped.

" They're here. I've seen tracks they left. I'm not only a great thief, I'm a skilled tracker. They're probably on the outskirts of town. I'm stopping here so we can get supplies. You go get some dimates and anything else we might need. I'll go get information from the villagers," Dazzle said as she handed Rika another bag of meseta. Rika nodded and dashed off to the tool shop. Dazzle gazed around. Ahead was a man walking out of a house. Dazzle approached him. " Mister, have you seen any soldiers around here? Some have kidnapped some friends of mine," she said. The man stared at her.

" Really? So THAT is what they were doing..," he said, to himself. He was roughly grabbed by Dazzle. Dazzle was holding him one foot up in the air.

" They?" she asked. The man stared into her eyes, trembling.

" I saw some soldiers over there!" the man said as he pointed west. " They set up camp!" he added. Dazzle released her hold and smiled a friendly smile. She walked towards the tool shop. Rika stepped out and nearly bumped into Dazzle.

" Found them. Let's go get our friends back!" Dazzle said. They both left the town of Nayal and headed west.

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