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Chapter 10: The Failing Flirter

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The enemies between Lora and Mora provided excellent practice for us to use our Wands. Helen used her wand in sync with her whip and Chris was having fun freezing the foes. Jennifer had the hardest time seeing as she had to switch between her bow and wand as you can't use a bow single-handed. Seeing her having trouble with this, Andrew suggested we head back to Dora.

"There's a Blacksmith there that can fuse weapons with magic," he said. "When we're done, we can use the Bora Gem to warp close to Mora." We all agreed and I used Dora's Gem to warp us there. When we got there, Chris decided to give his wand to Kyra.

"It was fun using it," he said. "But you might benefit from the fusing more. Besides, my bones won't let me use weapons for long. I'd rather stick to my Possession Gems." Kyra accepted the wand and followed Helen, Andrew, Jennifer, and I into the blacksmith. Stan said he'd rather keep his weapons how they are. Inside, the blacksmith said the altogether cost of the fusing would be 150 Sers. Andrew paid for the cost and told us to give the blacksmith our weapons. He said the fusing will take awhile, so we went to Dora's house to check in on her. Helen was happy to see her grandmother again. Stan decided to show Sobie the Pyramid that we went to earlier, taking the Desert Map with him. Chris decided to take a quick nap on Dora's couch and Lacey joined in conversation with Dora. Andrew, Kyra, Jennifer, and I went out to train some more. The way everyone was acting toward each other made it seem our time spent with each other was giving us more strength than our swords. Kyra seemed to like Andrew more than the rest of us likely because of how he tried to save her in Iora. Sobie didn't seem interested in Stan at first, but as time continued, she seems to be growing on him. Helen still tries to avoid Chris due to his trick in Gora, but Chris still tries to apologize. Jennifer seems to be nicer to me at times, but then tries to focus on the task at hand. Lacey is a bit of a mystery, but is otherwise welcomed in the group.

When it came time to pick up our weapons, the blacksmith gave Helen an Air Whip: A longer whip than her last one and capable of shooting out wind bursts with each swing. To Jennifer, a Fire Bow: A stronger bow that can burn a target upon contact. For Kyra, she received an Ice Katana: Lighter and faster, this sword can freeze a foe if it hits. The sword Andrew gave me has been turned into a Lightning Blade: Constantly shooting sparks out of the blade, it is able to paralyze any foe. Now we felt like we could tackle any challenge! We thanked the blacksmith, said good-bye to Dora, regrouped with Stan and Sobie (who seems more attached to each other than before), and we warped to Bora and headed back out for Mora.

The town of Mora was almost always in shadow because of the large mountain next to it. The mountain is tall enough that you can see it anywhere in Moneo or in its neighboring lands, like Shadurn. When we asked Mora where his Gem was, he said,

"A stone Golem came to me one day and took it. A large man came to me soon afterward and said he'll fight the golem and get the Gem back as long as I provide girls to watch him do it."

"Girls?" Andrew asked. "Why?"

"Beats me, but as big as this guy was, I don't think he can do it alone. He could use some help."

"Where is he now?" Stan asked.

"Likely at the top of the mountain at this point," Mora said. "I watched him as he went up. I can hike that mountain and back in an hour, but he looked like he flew up it."

"He must be pretty strong," I said. "We might as well go help him, the Gem is what we came here for." With a somewhat reluctant nod, the rest of the team agreed and we headed for the mountain. Looking up, we saw that certain paths looked unstable and rocky, but led straight up. Another path was mostly flat, but winds up the mountain. Being the tough guy he is, Stan started climbing the rocky path. We called for him to come down, but he wouldn't listen. The rest of us went up the flatter path. Halfway up the mountain, we decided to take a break and Andrew handed us all some Health Vials. I wondered how Stan was doing on the rock path; he doesn't have any Vials and any monsters he faces, he'll face solo. After our break we continued up the mountain. Took us about a half hour to reach the top and, when we did, everyone's feet were hurting except for, strangely, Sobie's.

"What took you guys so long?" I looked up and saw Stan sitting on a rock. "I arrived about ten minutes ago! You guys are late!" He let out a large laugh. "I'm just joking. You guys alright?"

"Y-yeah..." I said, nearly out of breath.

"There's a big man over there trying to break through a rock," Stan said pointing ahead. "That must be the guy that's going to get the gem." We continued forward and saw a red-haired, Mohawked man whose muscles were bigger than Stan's! When we walked closer, he turned to us and smiled.

"Finally, you girls arrive!" he laughed. "Now I can try to break into the cave." He turned back around, let out one big punch, and the cave wall crumbled! The man turned back around and walked towards Kyra. "How'd you like that!" he said, flexing. "I can send a wall crumbling down with just a few punches!"

"Impressive," Kyra said, flatly. "But I don't care about that stuff." Looking somewhat disappointed, he turned to the other three girls.

"I didn't turn out like this just by sitting around," he said, flexing once more. "It takes rigorous training and slaying the local bad guys to get this big."

"Wow..." Sobie said. "You're desperate, aren't you?"

"Sorry, but I think you're too old for me," Helen said.

"I'm with him," Jennifer said, grabbing my arm. I couldn't tell if she was telling the truth or she just said that because she didn't like the guy.

"...Fine, but I'm not gonna go get that Gem until a girl watches me for me," Lacey stands in front of the man.

"There's another girl here, you know?" she said.

"Eh, you're kind of... not... human..." he said.

"What's your name, big guy?" Lacey asked, turning into the man.

"Uh, it's Matt," he said. "And, I must say, you look much better like this." Lacey picked up the large man with her own muscles.

"Tell you what, if you help us get the Gem, I can guarantee you girls will actually like you,"

"And what if I don't?"

"I'll make sure you never get a girlfriend in your life,"

"...Okay, fine," Matt said and Lacey put him down. "To tell you the truth, I like blue-haired girls better." Deciding to take the lead, Matt led us into the cave.

Though it was dark inside the cave, Jennifer didn't complain. When she took out an arrow, it lit up with fire and Stan's Fire Wand provided the same result. Matt had a special flame-branded sword with him that was alight with flames. All three at the same time gave us a clear view of the cave. We came to many places that looked like the wall caved in, so Matt and Stan moved or forced the rocks out of the way. Seeing Matt punch the rocks to move them reminded me of when we met Hunter in Eora Dungeon, though Matt was much stronger, physically wise. Not so much in anything else. We came across a large hole in the next room that seemed to go down forever. Next to it was a pathway that leads to stairs going up. When we were about to go up, Jennifer said,

"How is there another floor above us? There was no more mountain outside!"

"It's the physics of a story," Andrew said. "Probably best not to question it." At the top of the physics-defying staircase was a much bigger room than the one before. In it was a hole as big as the one below and a same sized hole above it. Trying to figure out how this mountain is bigger on the inside is making my head hurt. As we continue along we found unlit torches, but seeing as we could see, we decided not to light them. We came across cave-ins in three directions. Matt decided to take the one on the left and started lifting and punching his way through. Andrew tried to stop him and said we should think about this, but that obviously was not Matt's strong point and he continued to punch away. When the rocks revealed the way forward, Matt turned and said something like,

"How do you like that, ladies?" before we heard some sort of loud screeching noise. We all covered our ears as we saw a very large bat come out of the cave. Because of the size of the room, it had plenty of space to fly around and we knew that any sort of melee weapons would be useless. Only our fused weapons or Stan's Fire Wand would stand a chance. The bat's fangs were dripping poisonous goop as it was flying. Readying our weapons to fight, Kyra yelled to Matt,

"Use your brains next time, you brute!" I let out a Lightning Burst and Helen threw an Air Blast, but the bat was quick and dodged. Flapping its wings violently, it knocked most of us off our feet. Taking its chance, the bat swooped down and grabbed as much of us as it could, but it only managed to get me and Helen. Jennifer shot out an arrow at the same time Stan and Matt shot out a Fireball. The bat constantly dodged our attacks and it reached its head down to me, ready to bite. I blocked its teeth with my shield and its fangs went right through it with poison dripping on my armor. I hit its head with my sword causing it to drop both of us, but I was still attached to my shield so I was hanging from its mouth. Helen kept falling and the drop was high enough to be killed upon landing! Matt ran and jumped up to catch her yelling,

"I got you!" Helen landed in his arms and Matt landed back on the ground. He stood there for a second.

"Um, thanks," Helen said. "...Could you put me down?"

"Uh, yes, right..." Matt let Helen down and the bat's loud screech brought their attention back to me, still dangling from the bat's dripping fangs.

"A little help here, someone?!" I yelled out. Kyra used her sword's Ice powers to craft an ice slide. When the bat was positioned right, I let go of my shield and slid down. The bat constantly ran into walls head first to try and get the shield off. It's banging made the whole cave shake! When it banged against the wall in between the two holes, a boulder fell from above. With a loud screech from the bat, the boulder flattened the monster and made a loud crash several floors down.

"Well, that was a bit anti-climactic," Sobie said. Matt looked at Helen, hoping to get a positive response, but all she said was,

"You're still too old for me," Chris chuckled at the remark. Then I felt something wrong, like my chest was burning. Looking down I saw that the bat's poison had eaten through my armor and was eating through my skin. With a groan, I fainted and Andrew came running to me.

"Stephan? Stephan, wake up!" Andrew yelled as he shook me. Reaching into his bag, he looked for a Medicine Vial as everyone stared in silence. Finding one, he took the cork off and poured the liquid on the poison. The poison vanished almost instantly. Andrew let out a sigh. "He'll be all right," he said. "But he needs to rest and I don't have any more Health Vials."

"I heard there's some magical light in this mountain that heals weary hikers," Matt said. "But the cave-ins make it nearly inaccessible."

"Okay, we find that, we heal Stephan," Chris said.

"Matt and Stan, destroy the other two rock walls," Andrew said. "Look for that light!" Matt and Stan followed their orders and the team split into the three halls of the cave.

When I woke up, I was in a castle. I looked around and saw Jennifer, who looked older than she was before, and we were both sitting on thrones. I leaned over to her and asked her what's going on.

"Well, sweetie, don't you remember?" she asked. "Hamilton and Helen are coming to visit." I was about to ask who Hamilton was when a little boy came up to me and climbed on my lap.

"Daddy, is Denise coming?" he asked.

"Yes, she is," Jennifer answered. "Now why don't you go and get ready, Migue?" The kid nodded and jumped off, running into the castle halls.

"Migue..." I muttered and I was soon engulfed in a bright blue light. I could feel myself being shaken and I can hear someone calling my name. I opened my eyes and saw Andrew sitting over me with a shaken smile on his face.

"Stephan," he said. "You should really stop doing that." Andrew helped me stand up.

"What happened?"

"You fainted from the bat's poison. You were out for three hours. We found the golem and recovered the Gem, then we brought you to Mora's Inn." Looking around I saw the rest of my friends standing in the room.

"So Stephan," Jennifer said. "Who's Migue? You said his name when you were waking up."

"Um... Well... I had another dream and, uh, he was our son..." I stuttered, trying not to sound too stupid.

"Our-our son?" Jennifer asked, dumbfounded.

"Yeah, you called me ‘sweetie' too,"

"Wha-what kind of fantasy world are you living in?" Jennifer yelled angrily before walking out of the room. Everyone laughed and I turned to Helen and asked her if she knew anybody named Hamilton. She said no and I told her she and him had a daughter, Denise. Looking red and very confused, she decided to follow Jennifer. Then I turned to Andrew.

"Oh, don't tell me who I'm married to," he said.

"No, you weren't there," I laughed. "But I'm wondering, the last time this happened, I had a dream of the past, you know, with my father. I just think... Could this have been a vision of the future?"

"If so, you might as well tell Jennifer how you feel now," Stan joked. A castle, my son, and someone named Hamilton... I wouldn't complain about this future, but why do these visions only happen when I faint? And why just to me? Helen fainted in Jora and she didn't have one... did she? Deciding to find some answers, I got out of bed and followed Helen.

I caught up with Helen who was talking to Jennifer. When they saw me, they had an expression that seemed like a mix of relief and embarrassment. I asked Helen if she had a vision as well when she had fainted in Jora.

"Actually, yeah," she said. "That's why I was confused earlier. In that vision, I was married to someone called Hamilton, too. He was... completely covered in spikes and we were in a castle."

"So were we," I said pointing to me and Jennifer. Jennifer just turned away.

"But I didn't hear anything about a Denise," she continued. "How did we have almost the same vision?"

"I don't know, but I had a vision of my dad earlier. Then the building caught fire."

"I think it might be best to just let things happen," Jennifer inputted. "If they happen, great. If not, it's nothing to worry about." Then she got up and walked over to me and pointed at me. "But if we do get married, we're not having a boy, we're having a girl."

"And what would we name her?" I asked.

"I don't know, but it's not like we're getting married anyway!" She marched out of the inn. I looked back at Helen and she just smiled at me.

"I think it would be a nice future to look forward to and I think Migue's a great name," She got up and went back upstairs to prepare herself for the night. Deciding not to think too much on it, I went to do the same. I'm sure Jennifer will come back inside eventually.

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