[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Chapter Twelve

The battle with Dark Force had grown very gruesome. Chaz was limping badly. Rika had a cut along her forehead while Rune had a broken arm. The new Dark Force was mopping the floor with them. Gryz had a black eye and Hahn had a slash across his stomach. Dazzle, who was getting angry, had a bruise on her face where Dark Force had smacked her. Zio watched everything, giggling.

" Nothing we do hurts him!" Rune yelled as he clutched his broken arm. Chaz looked at Rune out of the corner of his eye.

" We have to try!" Chaz cried.

" That's the spirit," Dazzle said as she watched Dark Force's every move. Rika gazed at Dazzle, then back at Dark Force.

" Do you have a plan?" she asked.

" My original plan was to slash him up. Not working," Dazzle said. Dark Force leaped at Rika and threw her against Rune. As a counter attack, Chaz tried to Nafoi Dark Force. It merely bounced off. Fenrir, who had received three broken ribs, sunk his teeth in to Dark Force's foot. He was kicked away.

" My magic doesn't work!" Chaz cried.

" Give it up! You will die!" Zio cried, gleefully. Dazzle narrowed her eyes.

" I am beginning to get angry," she said, menacingly. She saw Dark Force grab Hahn and throw him across the room. Gryz tried to protect Hahn, but received a blow to the chest. " Rune! Can you use the Psycho wand? He must have a force field around him! I'm embarrassed that we didn't try to use it before...," she called. Rune used the wand. Dark Force flashed. Rika leaped in and managed to cut Dark Force. He grabbed her leg and began to slam her against the ground. Something in Dazzle snapped.

" Maybe YOUR magic doesn't work, but mine will," she hissed.

" You have magic?!" Chaz exclaimed.

" Only a certain kind," she said.

" A certain kind?" Rune asked.

" You'll see!" Dazzle said as she dashed towards Dark Force. She wrapped her arms around Dark Force's waist. Surprised, Dark Force dropped Rika and tried to rip Dazzle off. " Rune! Get them out of here!" she screamed. She began to glow.

" Not without you! What are you doing?!" Chaz cried. Daystar flew in. She saw Dark Force, then Dazzle. She knew.

" Dazzle! NO!" she cried.

" Daystar! Put up a barrier! Don't argue! Put it around Rika and Chaz! Rune needs some protecting too! All of them! HURRY!!" she yelled. Before anyone could react, Dazzle screamed. " SACRIFICE!!!" she cried. Her body flashed, and she and Dark Force exploded. Rika screamed. Daystar quickly put up a magic barrier around the group. Zio stared in horror. The explosion grew huge, absorbing everything around it. The entire town was encased in the explosion. People fled in panic as the buildings crumbled. Chaz saw Zio stare at him, then scream as he evaporated. Within seconds, the phenomenon was over. There was nothing left. The town, the temple, Zio, Dark Force. They were all gone. Including Dazzle.

" Dazzle? DAZZLE!!" Rika screamed as she fell to her knees and sobbed. Chaz tried to comfort her. Daystar stared off, her eyes full of emotion.

" What happened? Where is Dazzle?" Gryz demanded.

" That was 'Sacrifice'. It's a magic spell few know that causes the user's body to explode," Daystar whispered.

" Isn't it like Explode? When I use Explode, I come back, unharmed!" Chaz said. Rika gazed up at Daystar. Daystar seemed to be looking around. Rika cried some more. Rune stared at the place where Dazzle had been.

" Rest in peace, Dazzle," he managed to say. He cradled his broken arm.

" Who you crying about, Shorty?" Rune jerked up, surprised. Rika stopped sobbing and cried with joy. Dazzle was standing behind them, smiling her impudent smile. Chaz's jaw dropped.

" You're alive!" Rika cried. She ran and hugged Dazzle.

" Who's crying?" Rune asked.

" Dazzle! What happened?" Chaz exclaimed.

" Who's crying?!" Rune repeated, getting irritated. Dazzle continued to ignore him. She smiled at Chaz.

" Hah! You should know that a little explosion like that couldn't kill me! I'm the greatest thief in the world!" Dazzle said. She smiled, mischievously at Rune. " And Rune, YOU were crying," she said.

" Was not," Rune snapped. Before any fight could begin, Daystar intervened.

" Let's go to Nan. We need to get you healed," Daystar said, as she turned towards Piata. " We can use Ryuka...," she stopped moving when she saw Chaz staring at her.

" I know you," he said. Daystar didn't move. Fenrir walked over to her and stared at Chaz. " Who are you?" Chaz asked.

" I am Daystar. You can not know me," she said.

" I do! When I was a child, I remember seeing your face! I do!" Chaz said. Daystar shivered.

" How can that be?" Rune asked.

" I don't know. Let's go!" Daystar said, quickly. She began to chant. Before anyone could say anything, they were warped to the Ancient Esper town.

" Where are we?" Chaz gasped.

" The Ancient Esper town!" Rika answered.

" Doesn't it have a NAME?" Rune asked. They looked at Daystar. Fenrir looked up at her, too.

" No race other than mine has ever been told of an Ancient Esper town's name. I guess this is a good time to start," Daystar took a deep breath. " Welcome to the Ancient Esper capital on Motavia. It's name is Radian," she said. Fenrir nodded.

" We must go to Nan," he said. They headed for her house. Daystar knocked on the door. Nan opened it and cried for joy.

" You're okay!" she said as she hugged Rika. " You have Chaz!" she added when she saw Chaz looking at her.

" We'll explain when we are inside," Daystar said. They entered. When they were all seated, Daystar explained what had happened. When Daystar told what had happened between her and Questar, Nan gasped in shock and nearly fainted.

" You KILLED him?" she asked. Daystar nodded.

" What's wrong?" Chaz asked.

" He was son of King Levit! Oh dear! King Levit will blame the Palmans for this! He always blamed them for your change of heart!" Nan cried. Daystar nodded.

" I want go for a walk, to clear my mind. While I am gone, please care for them," Daystar said. She walked to the door. She felt Chaz staring at her. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. Then, she quickly dashed out the door and shut it. Fenrir watched her go. Dazzle shrugged at Daystar's reaction.

" Oh my! You are all dreadfully hurt! Good thing my home is actually a hospital! I'll be right back!" Nan said as she ran to the back room. Chaz gazed at Rika, who shrugged. Fenrir smiled reassuringly at Chaz. Nan reappeared, bringing lots of medicine and bandages. First, she went to look at Rune's broken arm. " Does this hurt?" Nan asked as she touched Rune's arm.

" Yes!!" Rune cried as pain laced through his arm. Fenrir giggled.

" Awww, poor baby," Dazzle snickered. Rune gave her a cold stare.

" My oh my! I will have to set it!" Nan said as she reached for Rune's arm. He winced in pain when she touched it and backed off.

" Fine, I will just give you something to kill the pain, okay?" she said. Rune considered this, then nodded. Nan went and poured a drink for him. She handed him the drink, which he sipped. Fenrir watched Rune, smiling knowingly. Nan went to help Hahn, Chaz, and Gryz.

" Ooh! Those cuts will need stitches!" Nan said. She walked out of the room and reappeared with a surgical needle and tread. She noticed the stares the guys were giving her. She sighed. " You want drinks too?" she asked. Fenrir grinned at this. Chaz, Hahn, and Gryz nodded. Nan poured more drinks. Rika watched intently as all the guys sipped the drinks. Nan walked over to her. " You want one too?" she asked, expecting the same response.

" No, I don't want a sleeping potion mixed with an alcoholic beverage! I'm not a finicky patient," Rika whispered, giggling. Nan smiled. Fenrir broke out laughing. Dazzle smiled a mischievous smile.

" How did you know?" she asked. Rika pointed to Rune, who seemed quite dazed. He smiled foolishly and began toasting everything in sight. Chaz, Hahn, and Gryz were acting the same way. Soon, the four were singing some sort of song where only they knew the lyrics. Rika and Dazzle couldn't help but giggle. Rune stood up and wobbled over to Dazzle.

" Hark fair maiden! Does thou wisheth a drink?" he asked, his voice breaking as he nearly fell to the ground. Dazzle desperately tried not to laugh. She helped him back to his chair. Then, he and Chaz, Hahn, and Gryz began arguing.

" It takes FOUR!!!" Chaz bellowed.

" What are you arguing about?" Rika asked.

" How many cups of sugar DOES it take to get to Dezoris?" Gryz demanded.

" I don't know...," Rika stuttered.

" Bah! It's common knowledge! Three and a half!" Hahn retorted. They began arguing again. Within a few minutes, they were all asleep. Rika smiled and let Nan care for her. Nan went over to Dazzle and handed her an ice-pack for her bruise. Nan walked over to Rune, set the arm, then bandaged it. Nan motioned for Rika and Dazzle to help. " I will need you two to help me with this," she said as she picked up Chaz. She laid him on the table, removed his shirt and numbed the wound.

" What do you want us to do?" Rika asked, slightly nervous.

" I want you, Rika, to watch him and tell me immediately when he shows signs of waking up. Just to be on the safe side, hold this vial of sleeping potion under his nose. Dazzle, you can help me sew," Nan said. Rika did what she was told. Then, she watched Nan and Dazzle sew up the wound. When Nan was done, she cleaned the wound and wrapped it up.

" Wow," Rika gasped.

" Now we do the same for Hahn and Gryz," Nan said as she helped Dazzle carefully move Chaz to a chair. She then fixed Hahn, followed by Gryz. Rika watched, intently.

" I wish I could heal like you!" Rika said, as she watched Nan work. When Nan was done, Rika, Dazzle, and Fenrir helped her move the guys to some bedrooms and tucked them in to beds. Chaz and Rune in one room, Gryz and Hahn in another. Rika and Dazzle went in to a third room and laid down in the two beds. " You all need plenty of rest," Nan said. Rika smiled and closed her eyes. Nan tiptoed out of the room. Dazzle propped her feet up in her bed. She looked at Rika, who was in the bed across the room.

" 'Night, kid." she said as she shut her eyes.

" Good night!" Fenrir whispered as he left the room. It was very quiet. All except for the quiet snores from Dazzle. Rika listened to it for a while. Then, she fell asleep.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]