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Chapter Four

Zio had not lied about dumping Rika, Dazzle, and Gryz in the ocean. What he had lied about was that they were NOT dead. Though, Rika wished she was. She had been unconscious. Last thing she remembered was her battle with the monk. She was now awake and in great pain. Her head throbbed, her muscles ached, and she couldn't see straight. Moaning, she tried to sit up. She was slammed back down.

" Stay down. How do you expect to get better if you don't rest?" a voice said. Rika opened her eyes. Everything was fuzzy. She saw some figure leaning over her. It wasn't Dazzle.

" Who are you? What happened? Where am I?" Rika asked.

" I am Nan. You were beaten and thrown in the ocean to drown. You are now in my house which resides in the mighty kingdom of King Bahum," the figure said.

" Who's Bahum?" Rika asked.

" Ruler of the Motavian Ancient Espers," Nan said. Rika bolted up.

" Ancient Espers?! Do you know who Corrosion is?" Rika demanded, even though her head swam.

" What Ancient Esper doesn't? How do you know about Corrosion?" Nan asked, suspiciously.

" Where are my friends?!" Rika asked, ignoring Nan's question.

" They are in the other rooms, asleep. How do you know about Corrosion? ANSWER!" Nan said.

" A friend of ours has been kidnapped. He is to be sacrificed to Corrosion! In return, he will revive the Profound Darkness!" Rika said. Nan regarded her. " When we tried to save him and another person, we were attacked by a monk named Questar!" Rika added. Nan gasped and grabbed Rika roughly. She forced Rika to look at her. Rika was completely surprised.

" What was his name?" she asked.

" Questar," Rika said, confused.

" I don't believe it.... how could he sink so LOW...," Nan snarled to herself. Rika finally was able to get a good view of her surroundings. The walls of the house were white. The window sill was red and blue. Nan, to Rika's amazement, was a white horse! Nan walked upright and she wore a pretty pink tunic. She had blue eyes, which she used to stare at Rika.

" You're a horse!!" Rika gasped.

" And you're a girl with horns," Nan replied.

" EARS!! Not horns! Ears!" she yelled. Moaning, she grabbed her head. It ached and yelling didn't help. Nan laughed.

" How can I get my beauty sleep if you're yelling?!" Dazzle suddenly hollered. Gryz and Dazzle entered Rika's room. Dazzle smiled broadly. Rika struggled to sit up. This time, Nan didn't try to stop her.

" Time for a rematch with Zio and his new friend!" Dazzle said.

" You're going to take on Questar?!" Nan asked.

" Yep," Gryz answered.

" You'll be slaughtered!" Nan cried.

" We're going to try!" Dazzle said. Nan shook her head and smiled sadly.

" Good luck!" Nan said. Rika, Gryz, and Dazzle left Nan's home. Outside, they were surprised.

" This is an Ancient Esper town!" Gryz gasped. The houses were made from white crystal. The doors and window sills were made from blue and red crystal. The streets were made out of gold and there were flowers, trees, and bushes everywhere. There was a giant castle in the middle of the town. It was made from white, blue, red, green, yellow, purple, and pink crystal. All this was made inside a mountain. There was a huge opening in the mountain, which the largest tower stuck out of.

" Wonderful, isn't it? Much more beautiful that the town on Dezoris," Nan said as she walked up to them. She smiled.

" It's amazing!" Rika whispered. Nan nodded.

" I'll show you to the way out," she said. She walked own the road, followed by Rika, Dazzle, and Gryz. As they walked through the streets, Rika noticed that they received suspicious glances from some of the villagers. Though, most were very friendly. They smiled and waved. Some even asked how they were doing. Soon, they came to a tunnel. " This leads to the outside of the mountain. Please be careful! Questar is no easy opponent...," Nan said. Rika nodded. When they were out of hearing range, Nan shook her head. " Something's going to happen. Something bad. I can feel it!" she said. As Rika, Dazzle, and Gryz walked through the tunnel, they remained quiet. Bio-monsters peeked at them from behind rocks and down dead-end tunnels. When they finally got to the exit, they found themselves high above Piata. Rika gazed down and swallowed hard. Edging her way down the jagged path, she tried not to look down again. After awhile, Dazzle began to laugh. Gryz stared at her.

" I know an easy way down! Watch!" she said. Suddenly, Dazzle leaped off the path. Rika screamed. They looked over the edge and..... found that they were no more that four feet from the ground. Dazzle sat on the ground, smiling. Rika grew very red in the face. Gryz swore and jumped off the path. Giggling wildly, Dazzle ran from the furious Gryz. Rika was close behind Gryz. They ran all the way to Mile. Dazzle glanced back to make sure she was still being followed. Dazzle dashed and ducked behind a house. Rika and Gryz collapsed to the ground, panting. Dazzle walked up to them and gazed down at them.

" What was that all about?" an old woman asked.

" Nothing important," Dazzle said.

" Did you hear the news?" the old woman asked, excited. Dazzle looked at the woman and smiled.

" Nope," she answered. " But I bet you'll tell me, you old gossip," she added silently. The old woman smiled widely.

" Did ya know that the temple in Kadary has been sealed tight? No one can get in!" she said. Rika gazed at them.

" NOW how are we going to get in?" Rika exclaimed. Dazzle looked at the old woman. She had left the group and was now talking with another woman.

" Remember? I'm the greatest thief in the world! What we have to worry about is Questar and that force field," Dazzle whispered.

" Oh yeah! I forgot about that!" Gryz exclaimed. " We must ask Grandfather Dorin for the Psycho wand. Let's go to Tonoe!" Gryz said as he leapt to his feet. Dazzle nodded. Dazzle helped Rika to her feet and they all headed for Tonoe. Along the way, they met bio-monsters but they were easily killed. When they arrived at Tonoe, Grandfather Dorin wasn't very willing to remove his seal on the Ladea Tower.

" But... Rune...," he stuttered.

" Look! Is Rune using it?" Dazzle said.

" No...," Grandfather Dorin answered.

" Do you want Chaz and Hahn to be sacrificed?" Dazzle pressed.

" No...," Grandfather Dorin again answered.

" Do you want the Profound Darkness revived?" Dazzle asked.

" No!" Grandfather Dorin shouted.

" Then what's the PROBLEM?!" Dazzle snapped. Grandfather Dorin stared at her. There was silence. Grandfather Dorin shook his head.

" You're right. I'll remove my seal. Come," Grandfather Dorin said as he motioned to the group. They followed him outside the town.

" Hold on Chaz! Hahn! We're going to save you!" Rika whispered.

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