[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Chapter Five

" Get your grubby claws OFF me!" Chaz screamed as he kicked at the soldiers who were holding him. Chaz desperately tried to break free from their grip. He had already bashed one soldier's knee and another won't be using his arm any time soon. Panting heavily, Chaz did everything he could to get away. Chaz and Hahn were in a dark torture room. It was dark, dank, and smelled like something was rotting. ( Which something probably WAS!) The floor was made of dirt, and the walls and roof were made of brick.

" Stop it, you snot-nosed brat! OW! He BIT me!" the soldier holding on to Chaz's left arm screamed. Hahn had given up fighting. Every time they fought, they were severely punished. Hahn was on the edge of consciousness and about to slip off. Chaz took the punishment and dished it out. Even though he had a black eye, he continued to fight. Zio and Questar entered the room.

" My my! You can't even control a child?" Zio said.

" He may be a child, sir, but he fights like a bloody DEMON!" a soldier yelled. He was instantly kicked in the shin by Chaz. Zio walked a little too close to Chaz and was tripped.

" What's the matter, Zio?" Questar sneered. " Can't YOU control a child?" Zio slapped Chaz. Zio frowned. He didn't like being laughed at by a monk. He turned to Questar.

" I didn't see YOU do anything!" Zio said.

" I don't want a favor from Corrosion. YOU do!" Questar snapped. " I am merely here to perform the ceremony," Questar stormed off. Zio watched him go.

" I had better keep my eye on him," Zio muttered.

" He is very dangerous, boss. OWCH!" the guard yelled as Chaz slammed his knee in the soldier's stomach. Chaz was rewarded with a slap across the face.

" Hold him!!" Zio yelled. Chaz kicked Zio in the chest. Zio flew back and hit the wall. He was now VERY angry. Furious, he pulled out a dagger and pressed the flat end against Chaz's throat while a soldier held Chaz's head up by his hair. " You don't know how easy I could kill you. One flick and you're dead!" Zio hissed in Chaz's ear, his face a mask of anger.

Chaz narrowed his eyes. " Then why don't you?" he snarled.

Zio smiled viciously. " Because that would be too quick. I plan on making you suffer! Perhaps I'll ask Questar to kill you slowly at the sacrifice in three days," Zio hissed.

" I thought we were going to sacrifice the school kid...," a soldier said.

" I was, but I decided on a double sacrifice. What a fitting end for the one responsible for the death of the Profound Darkness!" Zio laughed.

Chaz stared at him. " Rika... where the heck are you?!" he thought.

Chapter Six

Grandfather Dorin had lead them all the way to Termi. It had taken half a day to get there. They had ran most of the way, which was hard on Grandfather Dorin. After a while, he began to lag behind. When this happened, Dazzle stopped running and unceremoniously picked him up and slung him over her shoulder. Screaming in protest, Grandfather Dorin was carried all the way to Termi. She dumped him back to the ground and stared at the town. A shadow seemed to pass over her eyes and she wasn't half as cocky as she usually was.

" Why am I here again?" she whispered. Only Rika heard her. Dazzle sounded distant and her eyes were troubled. Rika looked at her.

" Gryz, Grandfather Dorin, can you go get some supplies at Termi? Dazzle and I will wait here for you," Rika said. Gryz turned to her, a question forming on his lips. Rika quietly pleaded with him not to argue. Grandfather Dorin looked from Rika to Dazzle.

" Let's go, boy," he said as he grabbed Gryz by the sleeve and pulled him toward Termi.

When they were gone, Rika turned to Dazzle. " What's wrong?" she asked.

" Wrong?" Dazzle asked quickly. She stared in surprise at Rika.

" If something isn't wrong, then why don't you like being at Termi?" Rika asked. Dazzle looked away.

" Why do you want to know?" she snapped.

" Look, I know it isn't my business but I saw the way you froze when you saw Termi. I'm worried. Problems always seem less a problem when you talk them out!" Rika said. Dazzle regarded her. There was silence.

" Will you promise me to at least THINK about talking about it?" Rika asked.

Dazzle smiled. " I promise," she said. She instantly became more of herself. " Let's go find Gryz and Grandfather Dorin," she said. Rika smiled. They found Gryz and Grandfather Dorin at the gate to Termi. Dazzle was very skittish in Termi. She tried vainly not to let anyone in the town see her face. She constantly looked around herself. Gryz watched her act like this.

" Grandfather Dorin explained why you wanted to be alone with Dazzle. Did you find anything out? Why she dreads coming to Termi?" Gryz said.

" No. But, I did get her to think about telling me. Maybe she'll tell me, later. No good pushing the subject," Rika said. Gryz nodded. Rika turned to look at the statue of Alis Landale. Suddenly, Rika gasped. She stared, shock and surprise on her face. Gryz looked at her, then at the statue. He instantly froze. Dazzle and Grandfather Dorin approached them.

" What?" Dazzle asked, casting glances around the town.

" RUNE!!!" Rika screamed. Dashing to the statue, she stopped in front of a man wearing a white cloak and had blue hair. The man stared at Rika.

" Ahh! How nice to see you, Rune!" Grandfather Dorin said as he walked up to where Rika and Rune were.

" Who the heck is Rune?" Dazzle asked.

"What are you doing here?" Rika asked, happily.

" I could ask you the same question," Rune said. He looked at Grandfather Dorin and he grew suspicious. " Why are you here?" he asked Grandfather Dorin.

" We came to get the Psycho wand...," Rika began. Rune's expression turned from suspicion to surprise then anger.

"WHAT?!!" Rune yelled.

" Hey pal! I don't like that tone of voice!" Dazzle snapped. She walked up to Rune and stared him in the eyes. She was taller than him. " I don't care who you are! What gives you the right to act that way to her?" she growled. Rune stared, surprised. Before he could answer, she pulled out a slasher and placed it under his chin. " Apologize immediately! I've challenged bigger brats than you! Zio, to name one!" she hissed, her voice deadly chilled.

" Zio? What are you talking about?" Rune demanded, ignoring Dazzle's threat.

" Zio's alive! He's kidnapped Chaz and Hahn and he's going to sacrifice them to a god named Corrosion! In return, Corrosion will revive the Profound Darkness!" Rika said.

Rune stared, completely surprised. " What?" he asked, quietly.

" It's true! And, worst of all, Corrosion can do it! That's why we need to get the Psycho wand! To stop the sacrifice!" Rika said, urgently. She gazed at Dazzle, who still had her slasher under Rune's chin. " Please don't!" she said. Dazzle sheathed her slasher and stared coldly at Rune. Rune put his hand to his throat. He stared at Dazzle.

" So, Shorty's in trouble, eh? I guess if the Profound Darkness is involved, I'd better help. Can't have him revived, you know. We won't have the Elsydeon to help us this time. Who's your new friend?" Rune said as he looked at Dazzle. Dazzle remained silent. She stared at Rune, her eyes cold and hard.

" She's Dazzle, the greatest thief in the world," Rika said, quickly. Gryz leaned over so only Rune and Rika could hear him.

" She doesn't like you at all! She was more polite to Zio! She then at least gave her name!" he whispered. Rune frowned slightly.

Dazzle's foot began to tap. " If he's coming, let's go! They could be sacrificed at any time!" she said. Rika, Rune, Gryz, and Grandfather Dorin followed Dazzle as she stormed out of Termi.

" She's right. Let's hurry," Rika said. Dazzle was the first to the tower. She gazed up at it. Rune and Grandfather Dorin walked up to the tower.

" Let's go," Rune said as he walked to the door.

"What about Grandfather Dorin?" Rika asked. " We can't leave him alone out here!" Gryz smiled.

"I'll stay with him. You three go on ahead," he said. Rika frowned.

" Rika! We must hurry if we are to save Chaz! We don't have the time to argue!" Dazzle said as she shoved Rune roughly out of the way. She pushed against the doors, opening them. They had not been opened in a while so it was rather difficult to open it. Leaning against the door, she motioned to Rika and Rune to proceed ahead. " We'll be right back!" she said as she entered the tower.

Rune led the way because he knew the tower better than the others. As they walked, they noticed something. Something weird. "Where are all the bio-monsters, Rune? Last time this place was crowded! Why are the monsters prospering everywhere else except here? Eeck!" Rika screamed as she pointed. There, no more than three feet ahead, was the skeleton of a bio-monster. Rika's eyes were wide. She gazed around. She instantly noticed what they hadn't before. The place was littered with bio-monster bones! The place was also covered with spider webs. It was as if nothing alive had been there in months. Including bio-monsters. Rika shivered. Rune glanced around. Dazzle immediately pulled out her slashers.

" There is something here," was all she said. Her voice was a whisper. She motioned for them to proceed. " We need that wand. No matter what. Be careful!" she said. Rune nodded. Walking up the stairs, they found more bones AND decaying bio-monster bodies. The smell was horrible. When they got to the final stairs,

Dazzle was completely unnerved. She couldn't stand still and her eyes were roaming everywhere. Even Rune was feeling worried. He walked up the final stairs. There was silence. The horrible kind of silence. The kind when you wish there was SOME sort of noise. Not even the wind could be heard. The room was covered with decaying bodies and bones. Spider webs were everywhere.

" I don't like this. Get the wand and let's go!" Rika whispered. Rune nodded. They walked up to the platform that the Psycho wand was on. Rune walked up the stairs.


Rune pushed the webs away to get to the wand.

SOMETHING watched.

He grabbed the wand and walked down the stairs of the platform.

. " I have it! Let's go!" he said. Suddenly, it happened.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]