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Chapter 16: Six-Fingered Man in the Sky

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Our group of allies and friends is now quite large and varied in terms of personality. We have me, Stephan, the one responsible for starting this adventure; Andrew, my friend, guide, and mentor; Jennifer, the self-proclaimed warrior of Bora in search of her sister; Stan, a mercenary from the town of Norende who slays monsters for a living; My cousin, Helen, who is timid and somewhat shy; Chris, the oldest member of our group and enjoys playing tricks with his Possession Gems, mostly toward the women; Sobie, a zombie girl Exitilus brought back who can absorb magic and use it to her advantage; Kyra, a wandering swordswoman who seems to be keeping her origins secret; Lacey, a woman turned goop-creature who can morph into whatever she wants; Matthew or Matt, a lady's man with a positive outlook on everything; Octavis, a strong, silent man who fights for his wife and daughter; and now Marina, a Magic-happy woman who went through a divorce not long ago. This group of rag-tag heroes all has one primary goal: defeat Exitilus and bring peace back to Moneo. Our group is pretty big at twelve members, but I'm pretty sure we will have more join us later. I'm still keeping an eye out for this Hamilton that appeared in both mine and Helen's visions earlier.

Our next destination is the town of Sora, which is close by. If we manage to recover this Gem, we can use it to get closer to Kora, where Hunter is waiting for us. We walked outside of the Inn and, though it was morning, it was hard to tell what time of day it was.

"There's a lot of clouds in the sky," Helen said.

"Hope it doesn't rain on us," Chris said.

"If it does, Marina can just make it so we don't get wet," Stan said.

"Or I can let you get wet then take the water off," Marina joked.

"We'd best hurry to Sora before it does rain," Andrew said. "We can't afford to waste any more time." We all nodded in agreement and headed northeast toward Sora. Sure enough, almost as soon as we entered town, it started raining. We knocked on Sora's door wanting to get out of the rain, but there was no answer. Stan pounded on the door, nearly making it cave in, before we heard him say to come in. We entered and took our boots off at the door, except Sobie and Lacey.

"What can I do for you guys?" Sora asked.

"Fora sent us to get your Gems," I said. "Do you have yours?" Sora crooked his head.

"I do, but I don't remember Fora saying anyone was coming to collect it,"

"Did Fora not tell you?" I asked.

"Guess not," Sora answered. "But anyone can claim that they were sent to collect the Gems. If you want it, you're gonna have to prove yourself to me."

"Figures," Sobie said flatly.

"What do you want us to do?" Jennifer asked.

"There is a dragon that has been terrorizing the townsfolk lately," Sora said. "He makes his residence in the sky. There is a device that can send you up there."

"You want us to go to the sky and fight a dragon?" Kyra asked.

"Simple enough," Stan joked. We agreed to his terms, we said goodbye to Sora and headed for the device. It was built into a hill and a cave held the two buttons needed to activate it. Pushing them both at the same time, we felt the hill rumble. We stepped outside and saw a twister form on the top of the hill.

"Oh-ho, no!" Chris exclaimed. "I'm not getting in that!"

"It's our only way up to the sky," Helen said. "We have to defeat that dragon if Sora's gonna give us the Gem."

"If this is what it takes," Octavis said and he hopped into the twister sending him skyward.

"Come on!" Andrew yelled and he took off. Kyra went next and the twister kept blowing her dress in to her face and her hair was wrapping around her head. I jumped in followed by Jennifer, Stan, Sobie, Lacey, and then Helen. Matt almost jumped in, but let Marina go first.

"Ladies first," he bowed.

"You just want to see up my skirt," Marina growled. "Besides, don't you want to make sure it's safe for me?" Matt hesitated a bit then jumped in. Marina followed shortly afterward.

When we landed, we were on one of many joined platforms leading farther up the sky. The platforms were almost all different colors making it look like we were walking on a rainbow. The twister was just a lift, we're gonna have walk the rest of the way up the sky. Matt flew up and belly-flopped onto our platform, shaking it and nearly making us lose our footing. Marina gently glided down.

"I... get sick..." Matt mumbled.

"Motion-sickness, huh?" Marina asked. "But you've been warping with us since you joined."

"Couldn't feel it," Matt said.

"What about on Skipper's Boat?" Kyra asked.

"He was throwing up most of the time," Stan said. "Not an enjoyable sight." We heard a loud roar up ahead and turned to see the dragon Sora was talking about. It was circling around; dodging what looked like laser blasts. We ran ahead to see what was happening, but the winding path of the platforms made it difficult. Then we felt a small rumble. The platforms were moving and sliding with the wind! Looking ahead, we saw it was just the white ones. We waited for our chance to continue then we hopped onto the blue platform. When we landed, we heard a buzzing noise.

"Ouch!" Jennifer yelled as she dropped her bow. Stan dropped his Wand and Matt dropped his sword as well. Stan tried to pick his wand back up, but the Fire Wand shocked him.

"Magic dampeners," Andrew observed. "The platforms will short out the magic with its opposite color."

"So, blue shorts out Fire," Matt said.

"Yes, but I'm feeling a great power come from my wand," Marina said.

"They must also improve their color's magic power," Andrew said. "Kick your weapon and wands onto the next platform, you three." They kicked their Fire weapons onto the next platform: green. "Green is Earth magic, which none of us have. But I'm pretty sure it nullifies Lightning."

"So, I can't pass, then?" I asked.

"You can if you can fight back against the shock," Andrew picked me up. "Let's try something." He said as he walked onto the green platform. "Feel anything, Stephan?"

"No," I answered. "So either it doesn't affect Lightning or..."

"It nullifies by contact," Andrew completed. "We're gonna have to carry each other across to continue. Watch your footing, though. Don't fall." The next platform was red, so Andrew carried Kyra across as she wouldn't let anyone else do it. Next came grey, which Helen couldn't cross, so I helped her. The yellow one prevents Marina from crossing and Matt took the chance to carry her across. When he sat her down, she thanked him then walked away. The black platforms didn't affect anyone, nor did the orange or pink. The white ones didn't affect us, either, but they moved with the wind. It was funny seeing everyone try to lift Stan and Matt across the blue platforms, that is, until it was my turn to do so. Every time we moved Matt or crossed a white platform, he sat still for a minute. Eventually we came close enough to the dragon to see that someone was fighting it: a man with a blaster! We ran up to him to join the fight.

"About time someone showed up," the man said. "I suggest the magic users stay away for the time being, these platforms change color randomly." The dragon continued shooting fire blasts at the man and started shooting at us. Jennifer, Matt, Kyra, Helen, Marina, and I sat this match out, but Stan sat his Fire Wand down and just used his axe.

"There's a reason why I didn't want to fuse," Stan said. Octavis, Chris, Lacey, and the blaster man were the only ones with projectile weapons. Lacey turned into a bow for Andrew to use. Chris shot out his gems which did little damage to the dragon. Octavis shot out both of his boomerangs and made severe cuts on the dragon. Andrew used Lacey's arrows to shoot at the dragon's wings and the man with the gun did the same. The dragon was quick, but not quick enough. The dragon was shot down and crashed onto the platforms. Everyone with a physical weapon surrounding it and the dragon started... whining? Stan and Sobie held everyone back.

"Hold on now!" Stan said. "The dragon... isn't a bad one."

"It's acting like it's scared," Sobie said.

"So, this must not be one of the Jewel Dragons Hunter spoke of," Andrew said.

"Sorry about this, little guy," Lacey said.

"Here, drink this," Andrew had the dragon drink a Health Vial. The wounds were still there, but the dragon instantly perked up. "There! You'd best get out of here. The villagers aren't accustomed to a dragon living about their village." The dragon nodded and took off; though it was flying lower than usual. Andrew turned to the man with the blaster. "Now, who are you?"

"Name's Daniel," he said. "When I heard Fora had told Sora about someone collecting the Gems, I decided to help. He told me to get rid of the dragon to prove how much I wanted to do it."

"You have six fingers on your right hand!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah, I was born like that," Daniel answered. "It's a twitchy one, though, so I recommend not getting on my bad side."

"So Sora did hear from Fora?" Andrew asked.

"Yeah, Sora can be a bit scatter-brained," Daniel said. "He said he's had that problem for as long as he can remember."

"Did you know the dragon was good?" Kyra asked.

"When a dragon's making people worry, you don't normally try to make friends with it,"

"Too bad we couldn't train it," Chris said. "It'd be nice to have a dragon partner."

"Yeah, but imagine what people would say if we brought a dragon into town," Octavis said.

"Well, Daniel, you have anything important you're doing?" Andrew asked.

"Not really, no," Daniel said. "I'm a bit of a free-lancer. I do whatever job I can for money."

"You were willing to help us get the Gem, Daniel," I said. "Would you like to come with us to get the rest?"

"How much you have on you?" Daniel asked.

"Er... five, but that's because Exitilus took the rest of ours,"

"No, Sers. How much of those do you got?"

"Oy, if anyone is getting paid here, it's me!" Stan yelled.

"And who are you?"

"I'm Stan, a mercenary from Norende!"

"Mercenary, huh?"

"I'll assure you, everyone will be well rewarded for their work on this journey," Andrew said. "Will you join us?"

"Sure, why not?" Daniel said shaking Andrew's hand.

"Can we get back down now?" Helen asked. "I'd really like it if I don't hit the ground from thousands of feet in the air."

"Sure," Andrew said. He took out Rora's Gem and we warped to that town. When we landed, we saw that the sky had cleared up.

"Oh, I love the smell of the air after rainfall!" Lacey cheered. We all stood there for a minute, like most anime shows would do after a heroic event, then continued on back to Sora.

When we entered Sora's house, we asked him for the Gem. He said he isn't sure if he should give it to us.

"Come on, man!" Stan yelled. "You just had us fight a dragon! In the sky! Fora's the one who sent us to get that Gem!"

"He sent you?" Sora asked. "Apologies, I can be a bit... Anyway, wait right here, I'll go get it." Sora left to the back room.

"Think he'll return?" Matt joked. "If he does, it won't be with the Gem," Sobie said. After Sora returned with the Gem, we continued on our quest, using Eora's Gem to warp closer to our next destination.

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