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Chapter Seventeen

Chaz felt something cold and damp touch his forehead. He moaned as he opened his eyes. To his surprise, he wasn't dead. But that wasn't as surprising as who he saw standing over him. A Dezorian. A familiar Dezorian.

" Seems you're always landing on my temple! What, it there a sign that says 'please land here' on my roof?" he said.

" Raja?!" Chaz cried.

" In the flesh! What, did you expect Shirley Temple? Or perhaps, Destroyed Temple 'cause that's precisely what I got!" Raja said. Chaz gazed around. He was in a room.

" Where am I?" Chaz asked.

" The inn at Ryuon. Had to take you here when your ship smashed in to my temple.. AGAIN," Raja said. " Oh, that dog boy left. He said he was heading back for the ship. Don't know why. It's damaged bad!" Raja added.

" Daystar's going to kill me! She wanted me to take care of it!" Chaz moaned.

" It's fine! Nothing's wrong with it... ANYMORE!" Yakkara said as he appeared in the door. " I warped with Wren to the ship. We got it all fixed! It's just fine! I left it parked, though," Yakkara said.

" What about...," Chaz began.

" We crashed on a temple! A holy place! Questar is not allowed to be on holy ground, since he's an evil ghost. When we crashed, his shadow was thrown out of the ship. I don't know where he is now, but, he isn't in control of our ship!" Yakkara explained.

" He didn't stand a ghost of a chance!" Raja said.

" He's dead meat if he comes back!" Yakkara added.

" He's always dead meat! He's dead, remember?" Raja said.

" This is no time to joke!" Chaz yelled.

" It's the perfect time to joke!" Yakkara answered. Chaz closed his eyes and tried to imagine that both Raja and Yakkara were not in the room. Rika, Rune, Gryz, and Dazzle walked in. Dazzle was in a cast while Rika was bruised. Rune had a nasty cut along his forehead. Gryz had a bandage around his waist.

" How did you do it, Shorty? You were the only one who wasn't hurt!" Rune said. Chaz laughed at the irony of it. Questar had intended for him to die yet he had come out as the only person unscathed! Everyone caught the irony and laughed. Yakkara smiled.

" We'd better head for the Mansion!' He said. Raja nodded.

" I'm coming! No way I'm going to sit down on my rear! Perhaps I'll make myself even more famous like I did when I joined you against the Profound Darkness! Yakkara's explained everything. I want to help finish the job! And you can't tell me no!" Raja said. Yakkara laughed.

" Let's all go after you get some new armor!" Yakkara said as he pointed at the others. Chaz nodded. They would need new armor. Yakkara reached in to his pocket and pulled out a bag of money. " All those monsters we met as we tried to fix the BLACK ROSE. Thought we were an easy target," Yakkara sneered at the idea as he handed Chaz the money. Then, he flopped down in a chair that was in the room. The group left the inn, going to various shops and buying ( and selling) gear. When they came back, they were all well equipped. Yakkara met them outside the inn and they headed out of town.

" Gryz, would you mind taking the BLACK ROSE back to Zelan? We need fuel. Most was damaged or lost during our crash. There's only enough to get you safely to Zelan. Motavia is out of the question," Wren said. Gryz nodded. He headed towards the BLACK ROSE and Raja's ruined temple.

" Chaz, I was wondering. I've noticed that you haven't used either the Land Rover, Hydro Foil, or Ice Digger! Why?" Rune said, suddenly. Dazzle shivered slightly and wrapped her new coat she had bought around her, in order to keep warm. Chaz smiled sheepishly.

" He gave them to me, all except the Land Rover, just before we left after we killed the Profound Darkness," Wren explained.

" I put the Land Rover back in the Machine Center," Chaz said. Wren pulled out a small box and pressed a button. A huge vehicle with drills on it's front appeared. The group boarded the Ice Digger and headed towards the thick wall of ice. As they plowed through it, Chaz gazed at the sky. " I wonder how things are with Hahn and Demi," he thought.

" Demi! Come look at this!" Hahn cried out. Demi walked over to the computer. It showed something large approaching the satellite.

" What is it?" Demi asked.

" I'm not sure...," Hahn began. Hahn peered closer at the screen, then gasped. " It's a Dark Force!!" He yelled. It was. It flew towards them. It looked almost like the one that Hahn and the others had fought at Kadary except it now had two heads and larger. Ten times as big as it originally was. Demi rubbed her eyes, unsure what she was seeing. Then, she turned on the defense program and activated the force field. A shimmering blue light surrounded Zelan and Kuran. The Dark Force stopped drifting and stared at the force field. Hahn wasn't sure but he thought he saw it grin. It raised one of it's claws and struck the force field. Zelan shook.

" Force field down to 80%!! It's destroying the force field!" Demi cried. The Dark Force swung again. The force field jarred.

" How can we two possibly defeat something that can destroy a force field?" Hahn exclaimed. Demi peered at him.

" Our chances aren't good!" Demi said.

" You mean we HAVE a chance?" Hahn asked. Demi ignored that. Another blow caused Hahn to fall on his rear. Demi was barely able to keep herself standing up.

" Field at 40%! We have to do something!" Demi yelled. She began typing, trying to get the lasers ( newly attached) operational. Another smack caused her to fall backwards. " 20%!!! One more hit and the shields through!!" Demi screamed as she tried to get the lasers working, finally, she was able to aim at the creature. " Fire!" Demi said as she blasted the beast. The Dark Force was blasted backwards. It managed to stop itself and flew back at Zelan. " The laser did hardly any damage!" Demi gasped.

" Can you get the force field fixed?" Hahn asked, frightened. Demi began to type some more.

" I need time!" she exclaimed as she saw the creature drifting toward Zelan. She began typing faster. The creature raised it' claws one last time to completely smash the field. As it brought it down, electrical currents shot through Zelan, sending Demi flying in to Hahn. The screen flickered, then the creature was back on. Drifting towards Zelan. Demi leaped to her feet and tried to blast it with the laser again. This time the Dark Force only cringed. Demi's jaw dropped. The creature was at Zelan now. Slowly, it dug it's claws in to one of the walls to a cargo bay. It ripped a hole in the wall and climbed in. It managed to leap out of the cargo bay before the safety door slammed shut, saving those on board from the horrible vacuum of space. But, the rip caused all power to shut down instantly. There was no light at all. Only complete darkness. It was a special kind of darkness. Even Demi couldn't see through it. A cat wouldn't have been able to see in the darkness. Silence. There wasn't even the sound of footsteps. Demi inched towards Hahn. They stood still, listening. Hahn shivered as he tried to look about him. He couldn't even see Demi, who was next to him. In his thoughts, Hahn begged the Great Light for some noise, to break the deathly silence. A second later, he wish he hadn't. A 'scratch' sound could be heard now. Scratch... scratch.... Hahn felt his blood turn to ice. He was sure he had stopped breathing. He gazed about him, frightened. He heard Demi gasp and grab his arm. Hahn turned and almost fainted. Two sets of glowing red eyes glared at him from in the darkness. Hahn felt Demi squeeze his arm. The eyes narrowed and Hahn felt dread seep in to him. He backed away, praying it was not who he thought it was. His hand shot to the pendant around his neck, the one Yakkara gave him. It burned warm in his hands. But, the warmth couldn't thaw his blood. As the creature walked towards them, Hahn knew they were dead meat. Hahn felt a small shift and knew the Dark Force had raised it's hideous claw high in the air above them. Hah squeezed the pendant and braced himself. Suddenly, there was a loud scream. The Dark Force backed away from Hahn and Demi and seemed to glance around. It's eyes stopped on Hahn. Hahn noticed that he was glowing a bright red and orange light. The light shot through the darkness. Demi gasped at the phenomenon. The Dark Force seemed to be listening. It jerked around and ran through the hall. It slashed another hole in the hall and leaped through. Another safety door slammed down, sealing the hall. Hahn and Demi were not sure of what had happened. Demi ran over to the computers and tried to get the power back on line. Now that she had the light from Hahn, she could see. After a few minutes, she managed to get the power on. She quickly found the Dark Force and put him on the screen. Another scream came. Demi and Hahn scanned for the source. They found it. Flying at top speed towards them was a huge bird. One of fire. It screamed with rage and savageness at the Dark Force. It swooped at it and ripped with it's claws. Hahn glanced at the pendant and instantly recognized the bird.

" I summoned it!" Hahn exclaimed. Demi stared. " We're going to make it!" Hahn cried. The bird screamed it's war call as it ripped and teared the massive Dark Force. The Dark Force dodged and slashed at the fire bird. The bird swooped away, then dived at the evil monster. Dark Force flew out of the way. The bird flew by, it's back exposed. The Dark Force took this time to attack. But, the bird saw it coming. Quickly, the bird coughed up a fireball and sent it hurtling towards the Dark Force. The Dark Force screamed as it was disintegrated.

" What IS it?" Demi asked, surprised.

I am an Ancient Esper, my dear, a voice said. It was a musical voice, wonderful to hear.

" An Ancient Esper?" Hahn gasped.

Indeed. Actually, the spirit of one. Long ago, I was given this beautiful body because of a sacrifice I made. You are safe. I shall go now, the voice whispered.

" Sacrifice?" Hahn asked. No answer. The bird flapped it's huge wings and flew away, screaming one last time as a good-bye. On Dezoris, all that was seen was a giant fireball flying away. And it was seen by unfriendly eyes.

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