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Thread: Another Hunter's Story

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    Mushmom XxKiraYamatoxX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Shield Legacy Of The Ancients II

    Disclaimer: MapleStory belongs to Wizet. I make absolutely no profit from this story whatsoever. However, I do own the concept of this story and some of the characters.

    Rating: PG-14 due to sexual references.

    Read the prequel here!

    Status: OPEN
    Remaining slots: 1 (Artemis's split personality)
    Remember to post your character's description, gender, level, job and side (Good/Neutral/Bad) and origin [Old Mapler (Born IN the game)/New Mapler (Login normally)/Other (You name it)]. Optional info include age. Try to keep the descriptions short.

    If possible, try to make the character have something to do with the story. It makes adding them in easier for me.


    It's the year 2020. A young adult was strolling around the grounds of Jubrenan University. He was about 180 centimetres tall and had short, black hair that was swept forward. He was wearing a blue T-shirt and a matching dark blue coloured trousers. 19-year old Ivan sat on a wooden bench on the grounds and took a pocket book from his pocket. It was entitled, "MapleStory - A full guide to the game"

    Although his figure was perfect for a basketballer, he was actually rather addicted to a game called MapleStory, one of the best Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games, commonly called MMORPG, in the world.

    As the years passed since the particular incident that had somehow claimed many real lives, it had taken a downfall, but the game managed to climb back up with waves and waves of upgrades, including the recently added Colosseum, a Player versus Player, or rather PvP, area. It was a special map in which players would fight and defeat each other. The security had also been beefed up and the current hacker population was next to none.

    "Hey! Whatcha doing there all by yourself?" a female voice rang from across the campus's park. Ivan quickly stuffed his book into his pocket and stood up to greet a female with long brown hair that fell to her waist. She was wearing a red-coloured one-piece dress.

    "Hi, Alexis." Ivan smiled at her. "You really shouldn't zone out like this. Come join the crowd!" she grabbed his hand and dragged him towards the campus's main building. "Wha...?" his face turned slightly red and he followed her. Alexis was Ivan's girlfriend, but somehow the two looked alike so much some might think that they were twins.

    After a bit of a chat with Alexis at the canteen, Ivan quickly ran to his English class as the bell rang. He sat down at his desk just as the teacher walked in. "Class, today we'll be receiving a new transfer student!" the teacher announced. Some of the students went "Oooh" and "Aaah" as the transfer student walked into the class.

    "Hello everyone, my name is Lacus." the pink-haired girl in front curtsied politely. At a glance, you could tell she was Japanese. Her long hair fell down behind her in a ponytail and she spoke fluent, but slightly accented English. As her introduction went on, Ivan couldnt help but notice Alexis was staring at her.

    "Ummm, teacher, where should I sit?" she asked the teacher timidly. "Let's see...... Why don't you sit beside Ivan over there?" she pointed at the empty seat beside me. A second later, Ivan found that all the boys in the class were looking at him fiercely. Lacus took her seat and smiled at him. He smiled back and felt a dozen pairs of eyes on him.

    Lacus asked Ivan quite a few questions during class, and most of the boys started to get rather fierce on him. He was glad when classes ended and he quickly scuttled back to his room in the university's dormitory, getting tripped quite a few times on the way.

    "I'm glad that's over!" Ivan declared as he switched on his Latrinox 2200, the latest gaming laptop. It featured a widescreen monitor, a extended keyboard with extra hotkeys, a speaker with a subwoofer, a special add-on of his own, a slide-out minimap window along with a touchscreen. It was also rather light. The processor was quite powerful too and the laptop had a built-in wireless connection.

    Author's Note: This laptop is merely fictional, and does not exist in the real world.

    Ivan quickly booted the laptop up and pressed his finger on the "MapleStory" icon. Suddenly, the door opened and Alexis walked in. "Huh?" she looked at my laptop. I quickly closed it but it was too late, she had already seen it. "You never told me you play it too!" she blurted out. "No way... You too?" Ivan gasped and flipped his laptop open again.

    "Ivan-kun, how to do this...?" Lacus walked in the door, carrying an exercise book. She dropped it when she saw Ivan's laptop. Ivan quickly closed it again. "You too? I thought I was the only one!" she gasped. He heaved a sigh of relief, flipped the laptop open and continued playing like normal. "So you're a Hunter?" Lacus looked at Ivan's cartoon-like character on the screen. He nodded and pressed a hotkey. The character representing him in the game launching two arrows into a cartoon-like monster on the same screen.

    "So, you play too huh?" Alexis smiled at Lacus. "You too?" she stared at Alexis. "Yep, Fighter here." Alexis grinned. Her white teeth showed for a moment. "Oh! I'm a Cleric!" Lacus smiled. "So, you girls wanna show each other your characters?" Ivan pressed a button on his laptop's screen and it reverted back to MapleStory's login screen. "Sure!" both girls said simultaneously and Alexis quickly took the seat he had just vacated. "No peeking!"

    Chapter 1: Strange Occurence

    "Rage level?" Lacus piqued. "13 and counting." Alexis grinned. As her cartoony character on my laptop screen slashed and killed a small cat, the words "LEVEL UP" appeared above her head. "Congrats!" I smiled. "Thanks!" Alexis replied. "Let's see now...... 2 points into Rage and another point into Power Guard......"

    "Hey, Lacus, what's your full name?" Alexis asked. "Lacus Mikael." Lacus replied. "Why'd they give you that name anyway?" Alexis, curious as she was, asked again. "My parents gave me the name of one of the main characters in an anime they liked while they were little." Lacus shrugged and typed in her login ID along with her password. "They also decided to make my hair exactly like Lacus Clyne's hair." she added.

    "Gundam Seed Destiny right?" I piqued. "Yep. I like that anime too." Lacus smiled. "Huh?" the program suddenly closed. "I forgot there was a server check scheduled today." I scratched my head. "Oh well, Alexis-san, Ivan-kun, do you want to go to the swimming pool tomorrow?" Lacus asked us. "Sure, why not? Tomorrow's Saturday anyway!" Alexis replied. My head jerked up. Swimming pool? Oh god...... not water!

    "I don't know how you girls managed to talk me into this......" I groaned as Alexis and Lacus grabbed my hands and pulled me towards the campus's swimming pool, one of Jubrenan University's many facilities. There were basketball gyms, tennis courts, archery ranges, the works. Somehow I liked being around bows, so I joined the archery club. Probably because I'm a Sagittarian. "Hey wait, you didn't give me time to get my swimming trunks!"

    "You're going to swim in that?" Alexis eyed me. I was holding out a pair of swimming trunks that were too small for me. "Hey, I only swam once in my entire life, and I almost drowned!" I said gloomily. Lacus raised an eyebrow. "Why don't we teach you?" Alexis offered. "But, I won't fit into these!" I pointed at my swimming trunks. Lacus took one quick look at my waist and ran off. She came back a while later with a pair of swimming trunks that were just my size.

    I put on my clothes over my new swimming trunks and stepped out of my room. Splashing sounds from the nearby pool beckoned and I ran towards it, followed by Lacus and Alexis. Both girls had already changed and were just wearing their normal clothes over their swimsuits. "If you don't run faster, the pool's gonna get too full for us!" Alexis teased me, easily overtaking me, being a member of the girl's track team. Surprisingly, Lacus also overtook me effortlessly, her pink hair flowing in the wind.

    "Not you...... too!" I panted. "Ex-girl's basketball team member!" Lacus explained and ran off with Alexis, leaving me behind in a cloud of dust. "Hey there! Even girls run faster than you!" a bunch of boys smoking beside a corner laughed at me. "Shut up!" I shook my fist at them and ran as fast as I could.

    When I finally reached the pool, Alexis and Lacus were already in the pool. I walked into the changing room, panting and showered after grabbing a locker key and stuffing my clothes into locker number 34. I gave the keys back to the attendant for safekeeping and ran to the pool. "Cowabunga!!!" Alexis yelled, hopping off the diving board. Her body was arced straight downwards and she hit the water with a splash. A shower of recently chlorinated water sprayed me. I spluttered and shrank back from the pool's side. "Sorry!" Alexis surfaced and hurriedly apologized. Lacus was laughing at me. This isn't funny.

    "1...2...3...4... You can only hold your breath for 4 seconds?" Alexis was obviously exasperated at me. "What? I've never swum before!" I choked on a mouthful of water and quickly spat it out. After a few minutes time practicing, I could hold my breath for maximum 10 seconds. "That should be enough for a few basics." Alexis smiled. She taught me how to tread water, which I learned eagerly.

    Alexis borrowed a snorkel from an attendant and put it on me. "Okay, now watch how I swim closely." Alexis took off into the water, her body forcing a graceful arc as she dived into the pool. I ducked under the water level, using the snorkel to breath. She resurfaced and began kicking her legs, propelling her forwards. She kept most of her body underwater and held her breath for about 30 seconds in this way. Her brown hair drifted on the surface of the water as she swam past. Eventually, she surfaced and floated on the water on her back, gazing at me. "Now, you do it!" she smiled. At this point, Lacus got out of the water and shouted to us, "I'll get towels!"

    I thrashed in the water, yelling, "Help!" for a few seconds before I realized the level of the pool water I was on only reached my neck. "Oookay...... watch me do it again." Alexis sighed and started to swim again. Suddenly, I saw a black hole appear in the pool, directly under her. I'm so tired I must be seeing things....... Then, I spotted a black scaly claw reaching out of the hole. Again, most probably a hallucination.

    Something odd happened. The claw groped around for a few seconds before a claw latched onto the top of her swimsuit! For some odd reason, she hadn't noticed it. Her swimsuit's top started to stretch. The sight of her swimsuit stretching gave me a bit of a mental shock. Hallucinations can't do that, can they!? I quickly ran as fast as I could towards the claw. Running in water is hard and I soon exhausted myself, but I managed to grab the claw and I punched it as hard as I could.

    The claw shot back into the hole and Alexis's swimsuit snapped back into it's original state while the black hole disappeared into thin air, or rather water. She didn't seem to have noticed anything, strange! She looked at me. "Now, can you do it?" she asked. I decided not to tell her about the freaky claw and I tried to swim.

    "Weird, I feel a bit top-heavy." Alexis admitted as we got out of the water. I was panting and trickles of water ran down my chest and back. Lacus reappeared with towels and we dried ourselves. "I guess I'll wear the swimsuit back to my room." Alexis put on her clothes and walked off towards the dormitories. Lacus, on the other hand, had put on her clothes when she had left to get the towels. I got dressed quickly and ran back to my room, thinking about Maple.

    "Master. I have found Alexis and Ivan."

    Chapter 2: Dawn

    The first few rays of sunlight poked through the clouds in the sky and penetrated into my room as I got up, gently rubbing my eyes. A quick glance at my table clock told me that it was 15 minutes to 7 in the morning. I don't usually wake up this early...... I got out of bed and flung open the curtains. A new day awaits! I opened the bathroom door and walked in to brush my teeth and grabbed my tracksuit from my closet.

    I stopped by at the girl's dormitories to pick up Alexis. She normally wakes up at about 7, then comes out for a little jog. There were already a few people up, and I could see a lamp shining through a window on the 3rd floor. Speaking of floors, Alexis's room was on the 1st floor, so she was quick to come out. Which she did just as I reached the dorms. She was quite surprised to see me up this early.

    "You're early today." Alexis looked over me. "And you're wearing a tracksuit."
    "Yep. Thought I'd go for a bit of exercise."
    "Lacus told me she wakes up early every day and takes a jog too."
    "Oh...... Wanna wait for her?" I beamed.
    "Seems like you're getting a bit attached to her..." Alexis eyed me suspiciously.
    "No, no..." I groaned.

    Lacus chose that precise moment to appear, wearing a pink tracksuit. Her long pink hair was tied up in a ponytail. "Good morning, Alexis-san, Ivan-kun." she greeted us. Somehow the way she spoke soothed me. "Morning." said Alexis and me simultaneously. The three of us jogged to the nearby park and jogged about 5 rounds. I was already panting by the 2nd round. Sweat ran down my face. I sat down on a bench to regain my breath. "You need to work on your stamina." Alexis bent down to my eye-level.

    I was breathing very heavily by the 5th round and I collapsed onto a bench. Exercise is good for the body...... I fainted after that thought.


    "Ivan, arise." a strange voice said. I opened my eyes and sat up. I was standing on nothing, and the world around me was a kaleidoscope of swirling colours. A woman holding a golden bow was standing in front of me. Hold it...... This wasn't just any woman...... It was Athena Pierce from Maple! "Hey wait, how do you know my name!?" I gasped. "The world needs your help again. Saevio is back." she said. For some odd reason, the name "Saevio" sent chills down my spine. Athena's image suddenly began to move further and further away from me. I chased after her. "Wait! Who's Saevio!?" I yelled.

    I sat up, panting slightly. "Oh, so the weakling is awake." Alexis mocked. "Yeah yeah, I'm weak. So what?" I snapped at her. It took me a while to realize I was in my own room. Lacus was sitting on my computer chair. "I had to carry you back here. You're lucky no one saw us, or it'd be real embarrassing." Alexis rested her hands on her hips. "You're heavy, you know that?" she groaned.

    A bell dinged. I ran to the door and opened it, but no one was there! Instead, there was a small box wrapped in brown paper at the door. There was no note on it. I brought it inside my room and placed it on my table. Alexis and Lacus gazed at it for a brief second. "Package for you?" Lacus asked. "Not sure, there was no note." I replied. "Maybe we could open it and see whats inside." Alexis suggested. "Wouldn't that be kinda rude? Maybe it was delivered to the wrong guy." I looked at it. "Might as well just open it. I'm curious."

    Alexis reached for the package and ripped the brown paper off to reveal...... "A perspex box?" I looked at the tiny box, surprised. There was no visible way to open it. Close inspection revealed an image of a maple leaf on it. "That's weird." I placed my index finger on the image. The moment I touched it, the box started to emit a faint glow and it burst open. "Wow!" I pulled back my hand.

    "What's this?" Alexis picked up a necklace. A steel maple leaf hung on it. The edges were smooth and lined with gold while the middle part of the leaf was red coloured. "This is nice......" Lacus turned it over. There was writing on it, but it was barely visible.

    The only person who can open the box is Ivan. The fact that you can open it proves that you are it's rightful owner.

    "This belongs to Ivan?" the two girls turned to stare at me. "I didn't order this!" I insisted, but Lacus crammed it down over my head anyway. The string became shorter as it came to rest around my neck. I fingered it gently and suddenly felt an urge to play Maple.

    I suddenly felt like I wasn't in control of my body anymore. I walked over to my laptop and flipped it open. "Ivan?" Alexis stared at me. I couldn't reply. My hands flicked the power switch and my laptop booted up. Trance-like, my finger pressed against the "MapleStory" icon on my desktop. However, it didn't enter the program. A small indent appeared in my computer screen and my necklace's string grew longer. It seemed to come alive as the string thrust itself around Alexis's and Lacus's necks, pulling them close to me. "What in the world......" Alexis didn't have enough time to finish the sentence as the steel maple leaf flew into the indent on the screen. A perfect fit. We blacked out.

    Chapter 3: MapleStory

    "Uggh...... my head......" I opened my eyes and sat up, scratching my head. I was in a place surrounded by rocky cliffs along with a few Indian-like huts. Alexis and Lacus were lying on the ground beside me. A strange stump-like monster with an eye walked towards me. I shrank back. Hey wait...... stump? The cliffs...? We were in Perion! In MapleStory! What the heck is going on!? Oh yeah...... That weird necklace must have something to do with this...

    I punched the stump. It was barely knocked back. However, the second I pulled my fist back, it began to chase me. I bashed it on the head and it collapsed to the ground, its legs broken. "Where...... are we?" Alexis slowly got up, raising herself on her arms. "See for yourself." I pointed at the stump I had just bashed. Alexis's eyes widened in horror. "Don't tell me......" she gasped, taking in the surroundings.

    Lacus stirred, clutching her head. Alexis pulled her to her feet and she immediatly gasped. "Perion!?" Lacus glanced around wildly. "I think we should find shelter before any of those monsters decide to attack." I pointed at a few nearby snails. When one opened its mouth, I could see a row of small yet sharp teeth. "Agreed." the girls nodded. "I see a smoke spiral." Alexis pointed at a pillar of smoke rising up from behind a mountain.

    We reached the source of the smoke, but not without injuries. We had to run away from wild boars and Alexis had a small wound on her leg from kicking away a wild boar that got too close to her. Lacus was limping, having tripped over a rock and twisted her leg. I was half-carrying her. The smoke spiral appeared to be coming from the chimney of a brick house, which was highly unusual in Perion. The house was rather big and there was an archery range behind it.

    We knocked on the door. I immediatly heard footsteps and I noticed the door's hinges. I pointed at the hinges and we quickly stepped back. The door flung open towards the exterior of the house. Good thing we took a step back, or the door might have hit us. A man stood in the doorway. He was middle-aged with black hair swept backwards. There was a steel glove on his right hand, which I recognized as a Sapphire Gigantic. He was wearing reading glasses and holding Ilbi throwing stars in his claw hand.

    "What the......" the guy's glasses nearly fell off. He raised them and stared at us through blue eyes. "Ummm...... Excuse us, can we stay here for a while?" it was kinda awkward asking like this. "Ivan!? Is that you!?" the man exclaimed. "How do you know my name?" I was aghast. "It is you!" he grabbed my shoulder and shook me. He then noticed Alexis and Lacus standing beside me. "Alexis, you too!?" he stared at Alexis. "How do you know our names!?" she demanded. "Oh, you probably have amnesia or something. Just come in." he motioned for us to go in.

    The moment I entered the house, I felt a warm fuzzy feeling inside me, as if I belonged here. "There's nothing much, but please, make yourselves at home." the man walked off to the kitchen. I took in the sights around me; a picture of a boy and a girl wearing wedding clothes...... Hold it! The boy and the girl inside the picture looked exactly like me and Alexis! Only... they looked younger. There was a Golden Arund hung on a hook on the wall and a Devil's Sunrise on another hook beside it.

    "I think I've been here before......" Alexis and me said simultaneously. We stared at each other. Lacus's eyes flicked between the two of us and the picture on the wall. She had apparently noticed it too. "Okay, this is weird." I mumbled. The man came back with three teacups on a tray. He set them down on a coffee table and took a seat on a sofa. "Just in case you don't know, my name is Roy." he smiled at us. Roy... the name seemed familiar......

    "Well, well, look who's back." an ethereal double-headed dragon suddenly appeared beside him. It had scales all over it and a head was blue coloured while the other was red. It had two pairs of wings, red and blue coloured respectively. The body was gray. "WAAAAA!!!" I tipped the sofa over when I saw it. Lacus and Alexis were also sitting on the same sofa as me and fell over with me. "Twin Dragon, don't scare them like that!" Roy scolded the dragon as Alexis got up and pushed the sofa back into position. She didn't scare easily.

    Suddenly, a roar came from outside. Roy's face whitened. "What's a Crimson doing here!?" he ran outside and was then thrown back in by some kind of wind! "Oh my god......" Alexis breathed. "If it's a Crimson Balrog...... RUN!!!" I took off towards the kitchen, hoping to find a back door. I found one and tried to open it, but it was locked. The windows seemed to be reinforced too, so no way out there. A hideous face appeared in the window. Its breath formed mist on the windowpane.

    Chapter 4: First Encounter

    A deafening roar erupted from the Balrog's mouth and it took a swipe at the wall. The wall completely fell in, almost crushing me. I was too shocked to say anything though. A black, scaly claw reached in and closed around me. Hold on a second...... That's the exact same claw I saw back at the swimming pool! But how'd it get there? The claw's grip on me tightened and my breath was squeezed out of my lungs. I felt certain I was going to die here.

    "Oh no you don't! Shadow Partner! Lucky Seven!" Roy yelled from behind the Balrog. He was holding a rock that disappeared as soon as he said "Shadow Partner" and his shadow solidified behind him. It matched his every move exactly and when Roy threw two of his Ilbis, the shadow followed suit. The Ilbis stuck themselves in the Balrog's back and it roared again, relinquishing its grip on me. "Go! Quickly!" Roy jumped over a claw swipe.

    I took a few deep breaths and stared at the Balrog. It was launching black lightning at Roy every now and then, and he was dodging them pretty easily. "Ivan, we need to get away from here!" Alexis called to me. I picked myself up, grabbed Lacus's hand and half-carried her away, for her leg hadn't healed yet. Alexis scowled.

    When we hadn't even gotten 20 metres away from the house, I heard a scream. Roy's scream. "No......" I gasped. There was a roar from the Balrog. Suddenly, a fire blazed up in my heart. "We need to go back." I said, walking back towards the house. "Are you serious?" Alexis's jaw fell open. "I can't just leave him like that!" I protested. "In that case, I'll go with you." Alexis walked towards me. I smiled. "Lacus, stay here. We'll see what we can do about that Balrog." I put Lacus down softly on a rock and we raced off towards the house. For some odd reason, I could run as fast as Alexis now!

    We reached the house to find Roy on the ground and the Balrog rapidly advancing on him. "I just remembered. We don't have any weapons." I groaned. Alexis hit me on the head. "Think before you leap next time." she mumbled. I looked around for anything I could use as a weapon. The only weapons around were the Golden Arund and the Devil's Sunrise hung on the wall. "You think you can use that?" I pointed at the Devil's Sunrise. Alexis nodded and we sneaked behind the Balrog into the house. Roy saw us out of the corner of his eye and stared at us.

    Unfortunately, the Balrog caught his stare and turned around. I had just grabbed the grip of the Golden Arund and Alexis has just unsheathed the Devil's Sunrise. Strangely, the weapons felt comfortable in our hands. I twanged the bowstring and smiled. "Soul Arrow." I mumbled. Arrows made out of light appeared in my hand. "Hey...... How'd you..." Alexis stared at the arrows in my hand. "I don't know." I shrugged.

    The Balrog was now flying towards us. "Get ready." Alexis nudged my elbow. I nodded and closed my eyes, trying to visualize the Balrog's flight path. As if in a trance, I nocked four arrows to my bowstring with my eyes closed. I opened my eyes to see its eyes widening in fear and let fly without a millisecond's hesitation. "Strafe!" I shouted. How do I know how to do it? The arrows flew through the air and embedded themselves in the Balrog's chest. It roared and yanked the arrows out. "What in the world......" Alexis gasped.

    "Combo Attack! Power Strike!" Alexis shouted and jumped into the air. She brought her sword crashing down on the Balrog's bone helmet. A floating blue rune immediately appeared in the air around her. Her eyes widened as she realized what she was doing and she pulled off another Power Strike. The Balrog's helmet cracked and another blue rune appeared. It roared and flung Alexis back into the wall.

    "That didn't hurt at all!" she jumped to her feet. There weren't any injuries! "Alexis...... have we..." I stared at her. Suddenly, a black lightning bolt hit Alexis smack in her chest. She was blown backwards, and she didn't get up. "Alexis!" I shouted. I glared at the Balrog, nocking a single arrow to the string. "Inferno!" I shouted, launching the arrow. Red flames licked around it and the arrow disintegrated in mid-air, but the fire continued its trajectory. It missed though. I had barely enough time to dive aside as a black lightning bolt hit my chest. I fainted.

    In Ivan's mind......
    "Ivan, wake up." someone said. I rubbed my eyes and sat up to see a pitch-black dragon hovering in the air in front of me. Its entire body was covered in scales except for the head. The eyes were red and it had sharp claws. "It's been quite a while." it smiled. I stumbled backwards. "Being the reincarnation of the actual Ivan, I suppose your memories are sealed up inside yourself somewhere." it said. What? Reincarnation? "What are you?" I asked, trembling. "I am the Dark Dragon." it spread its wings out wide.

    Back to the Maple world......
    I woke up. Pure energy was venting from my every pore and I could barely contain the excitement in myself. The Balrog shrank back as I got up, brushing debris of myself. My wounds healed themselves. Great black wings and a tail burst out of my back and I started to hover in the air. My hands and feet morphed into claws while my body grew longer and grew black coloured scales. My head became dragonish while my eyes became red. I pounced on the Balrog and bit its neck. Black blood flowed from the wound and I clenched my right claw into a fist and gave it an uppercut punch to the chin. It's head flew up and stuck there, looking up into the sky. It could no longer look straight, thats for sure.

    I whipped my tail around and hit the Balrog on the wing roots. It roared and fell to the ground. It reached a claw up and knocked its head back into position with a sickening crunch. I felt like vomiting at that moment. It shot a punch at me, but I ducked it and kicked its legs out from under it. It collapsed to the ground, but as it did, a black lightning bolt hit me in the chest. The energy merely dissipated across my chest. The Balrog let out a roar of dismay and I grabbed hold of the Balrog with my claws, taking it into the air. Once in the air, I began to gather energy in my mouth. I looked at the Balrog's head and opened my mouth. Black fire shot out and completely vaporized the head. I let the body drop to the ground and swooped down, landing beside Roy.

    "Eheh...... So you're back, the real Ivan." Roy grunted. I could see a chest wound, probably from a lightning bolt. "Hold still, I'll try to heal you." I placed my claw on his chest and focused. Energy flowed down my arm and into the wound, healing it. The skin knitted back together and severed fibres and veins reconnected. His heartbeat sped up and he slowly got to his feet. Luckily, there was only one wound on his chest that I had to heal. I suddenly started to feel very weak and I collapsed to the ground.

    Chapter 5: Reincarnation

    Alexis's PoV.
    I woke up inside the house to see Ivan's head resting on my lap. He looked so peaceful when he was asleep. I looked around for a second and spotted a headless body on the ground outside the house. Roy was pouring another cup of tea, and there was a rip in his shirt, yet no wound. "You're awake now?" he asked. I nodded. "He just mangled that Balrog as if it was a snail." he pointed at Ivan. "So..... that headless body..." I stared at the dead body outside the house. "Yep." Roy nodded and told me the whole story.

    I spotted Lacus limping towards the house and I went to help her. "I heard a couple of roars from that Balrog, what happened?" she asked as I propped her back to the house. Then, she spotted the headless body. "WAAAAAA!!!!!!!!" she screamed. I quietened her down. "Ivan saved our lives back there..." I pointed at Ivan, still sleeping on the sofa. Lacus went to the kitchen to look for a first aid kit.

    "Do you know how we can get back to the real world?" I asked Roy. "The Dark Dragon, namely Ivan, can travel between dimensions, but I doubt he'll be able to open the portal now." he glanced at the sleeping Ivan. I hope he'll wake up soon. "By the way, you might wanna check your rankings on the MapleNet. Some of the wizards in this world managed to set up a connection to the Internet of the real world and make a website. It's only accessible by old maplers though." Roy smiled. "There's a computer in the library."

    I switched on the computer. While waiting for it to boot up, I decided to explore the house a bit. I walked up the staircase and found a hall opening into a few rooms. One was labeled "Ivan & Alexis". I opened the door and walked into the room. There was a queen-sized bed that obviously hadn't been used in a while and a few photos. One of the photos was an exact copy of the wedding photo downstairs. I picked it up and blew dust off it. I spotted engraving on the frame. "Ivan & Alexis, married on 20th April 2001"

    The wardrobe was filled with dresses of all colours. Strange, if the Ivan in that picture DID live here, why aren't there any boy's clothes? "You can try them on if you like, you are Alexis after all." Roy was leaning in the doorway. "Oh... sorry for..." I stammered. "It's okay." he left.

    Back to Ivan...
    I woke up in a room that looked strangely familiar. "Oh yeah, I'm in Maple now." I muttered and got up from the sofa. I rubbed my temples and noticed a light coming from an open door at the end of the hallway. Curious, I approached it to find a computer. The screen was occupied by Internet Explorer turned to a specific website. "" it read.

    Author's Note: That website doesn't exist, so don't go thinking about it.

    I gasped when I saw what was on the computer screen.

    Ivan - Level 80 Ranger
    Alexis - Level 80 Crusader
    Lacus - Level 80 Priest
    Roy - Level 80 Hermit
    "I'm a...... Ranger?" I looked at myself, surprised. "Yes, you are. The original Ivan and Alexis managed to bring some of their own power with them when they died. It's enough to allow you to achieve these levels the moment the moment you came." the Dark Dragon spoke. I jumped. "Then... Lacus?" I asked. "Some of your powers were probably transferred over to her when the three of you arrived in this world." it explained. At that precise moment, something shattered inside my head.

    Strange pictures shot through my mind. I collapsed to the ground, clutching my head in pain. "I see. Your old memories have returned to you." the Dark Dragon smiled. When it finally ended, I got up, a different person. "I think it's time for the Siren to awaken again." I focused my energy on my mind.

    A scream came from upstairs and I ran up to see what was happening. It came from my old bedroom and I walked in cautiously. Alexis was in Siren form, and extremely embarassed. Her blue scaly tail was out and her arms were blue and scaly. Her hair was silver coloured and waist-length. She was also naked. "Hey! Don't peek!" she pulled her arms around herself. I grabbed her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "What...? Ivan?" she stared right back into my eyes.

    Something sparked inside her eyes and her eyes lost focus. She fell to the ground, her entire frame quivering violently. She reverted back to normal and one of her old pale-blue coloured dresses appeared on herself. I haven't seen her like that for 19 years...... "I get it now." Alexis got back up. She seemed more mature. "It's been so long......" she fell into my arms. "Why are we still alive anyway?" I looked over myself.

    "The sacrificing spell you performed 19 years ago did not affect your spirits, and they were allowed to roam free." a hovering image of Athena Pierce appeared in front of us. "Somehow, the egg you laid was transported back into your real world and hatched at the exact same time Saevio died. His body was transformed into pure energy and it slammed into your spirits." she continued. "A magical chain reaction occured and your spirits were sucked into the egg and reborn as the people you are now." her image disappeared.

    "That explains it." I hugged Alexis tighter. Roy appeared in the doorway. "Sorry to eavesdrop, but I was curious." he smiled. "Long time no see, old friend!" I hugged him. "Same to you!" he replied. "So where's Mother and Father?" I asked. Roy's smile drooped. "They died a day ago. A Tauromacis showed up here and mauled them when they weren't expecting it." he started to cry. I was aghast. Daniel and Fielda...... dead? "Oh no......" Alexis burst into tears.

    I retrieved Fielda's crystal ball from her bedroom and wiped it clean. An image of a Tauromacis sneaking up behind Daniel and Fielda while they were drying the clothes appeared. What happened next caused Alexis to cry harder. The Tauromacis stabbed both Daniel and Fielda with its spear. The spear resembled an Eclipse, but the tip was black-coloured. The image fizzled into nothingness. "That was Saevio." I breathed. Roy's jaw dropped.

    Lacus walked up the stairs, looking rather surprised to see the three of us huddled up around a crystal ball. "Took me a while to find the first aid kit, but when I did, I snapped my fingers and the next thing I knew, a green light surrounded me and my leg was healed." she explained. We turned around to face her. "Why are you all huddled around that anyway?" she asked. "Long story." I replied, but Alexis stepped forward and took her to the living room, presumably to explain the whole thing to her.
    Chapter 6: Return To The Real World

    "So what should we do now? Alexis, Lacus and me are supposed to have university classes now." I asked the Dark Dragon. "I have been peering into your memories and that necklace appears to be able to transport you between dimensions. I wonder who sent it?" it replied. I fingered my maple leaf necklace. "Maybe we can use it to go back!" Alexis clapped her hands together. Lacus was still a bit surprised from all that we've been through during the Ragnarok. "I still can't believe you were actually there." she had said.

    I rubbed my necklace gently and felt power shooting up my arm. I struggled to keep my arm straight and a portal appeared in the air. "Time to go back." I stared into the space inside. "Are you sure it's safe?" Lacus asked. "Only one way to find out." I leapt in. The world around me began to swirl as I was sucked into the portal. I spotted Alexis jumping in behind me. Lacus hesitated for a moment and Roy pushed her in.

    The three of us tumbled onto the ground in my room back in the real world. "Was that a dream?" Lacus stared at both of us. "Nope. It was real." I pointed at my maple leaf necklace hanging around my neck. Along with that, I had access to vast memories from my past life. "Lucky it's a Sunday, or else we'd have to miss classes." I glanced at a calendar. I suddenly remembered that the archery club had a meeting today at 7 pm. I looked at a clock. It's 6:54 pm now. WHAT!?!?!?

    "Track team practice starts at 7 pm...... oh crap." Alexis looked at my clock. She immediatly raced back to her room, trailing dust clouds behind her. On the other hand, I ran towards the archery hall, where practice usually was. I reached the door just as a bell dinged inside. "Ya know, you made it exactly on 7 pm." a boy called over to me. I ignored him and ran into the hall.

    "Okay...... Jack, you take attendance." the instructor breathed. There was an entire rack of bows in the corner of the hall, and the archery targets were already set up. "Reef!" "Here!" "Dean!" "Present!" "Lopez!" "I'm here!" Lopez jumped up and down behind the group. Typical of him, he's the shortest one in the club. And he's Italian.

    I quickly retrieved a bow from the rack. The others did the same and ran off to their assigned groups. Each group consisted of 6 people and each group was assigned to a specific target on the shooting range. I was in a team with Lopez, 2 other boys and 2 girls. 6 people in total. "Hey, you look different today." Lopez tapped my shoulder. "Really?" I looked at him. One of the girls in our team grabbed an arrow from a barrel and launched it at the target. It missed, not even hitting the target. "Not sure...... Seems like theres an aura shining around you." Lopez grinned.

    Each of the other members of the group had shot. Lopez missed the bullseye by a full ring. Finally, it was my turn and I stepped up, grasping my bow. I picked up an arrow from the barrel and nocked it to my string. Around me, the other people were doing the same. One wasn't doing too good though. His hands were shivering and his arrow wasn't aiming straight. This is my field. This is what I'm really good at.

    "Fire!" the instructor yelled. Suddenly, energy shot up my arm and I fought to keep my aim true. I had to delay my firing for a few seconds because of that. "You there! Just shoot!" the instructor shouted at me. Obviously me. I closed my eyes and let fly the arrow.

    An eerie silence fell over the crowd in the archery hall as I launched the arrow. When I opened my eyes, I gasped in surprise. Time seemed to pass by in slow motion as my arrow burst into flames and flew towards the target. I had unknowingly used Inferno!

    The arrow scored a direct hit on the bullseye and the target burst into flames, which died out in about 5 seconds. It didnt have time to spread to the building. Silence was imminent. "How...... how did you do that!?" the instructor decided to break the silence. Immediatly, there occupants of the room crowded around me. Lopez poked a finger into my pocket, probably thinking I brought a lighter or something, and touched nothing but the inside of my pocket. "You probably brought a lighter or something." a boy stood up. He was big-sized and he had muscles that could snap someone's arm in half. One of the bullies in the university, and he was one of the best in the archery club. He had a black Elvis-hairstyle. His name was Arno.

    "Do it again!" someone begged. Someone brought another target to replace the one I had just scorched. The ashes were still on the ground. I shrugged and aimed my bow at the new target without any arrows. "What's he gonna shoot, thin air?" Arno mocked. I was determined to show off what real skills were to him. For my first trick, Strafe. I twanged the bowstring four times in rapid succession. Arrows made out of light appeared in my bow as I twanged and shot out. The first arrow hit the bullseye, the second one split it in half, the third one split the second one in half and the fourth one also split the third one in half. Each one hit the exact center of the bullseye. Arno was stunned, and so was the instructor. "Your bow must be rigged." Arno grunted.

    He was wrong. I focused my energy into a shape behind him. He suddenly felt something amiss and turned to his back to find a scarecrow. "WHA!!" he jumped. When he landed he took a good look at the scarecrow and found that it was just a scarecrow. Everyone laughed. "I'll get you for that, you little runt!!!" he shook his fist at me and ran off. The room fell silent. "He'll be wanting to pick you off sometime." Lopez nudged me.

    It took me quite a bit of talking to get out of that crowd. Virtually everyone was asking me how I pulled off those shots. Some which played Maple asked how I used the skills in real life. Those questions are practically the same though. When the meeting ended, it was raining heavily. "Stupid rain." I grumbled, shuffling through the covered walkways. Jubrenan University's walkways were covered to provide rain cover for students. Unfortunately for me, the walkway leading to the boy's dormitories was flooded and I had to take a detour. Through the rain. I sighed.

    By the time I reached my room, I was dripping wet and shivering. I took off my clothes and jumped into the shower for a quick hot bath. While I let the water wash over me, I mulled some thoughts over. Saevio had somehow managed to stay alive, and was now somewhere in Maple. It already cost me one sacrificing spell and a body to beat him the first time, how was I going to beat him now?

    Chapter 7: A Contest

    That night, I tried to enter the Maple world again, but when I pressed the icon, the program just started up like normal. Maybe I need to have Alexis and Lacus with me to go in...... Oh great. 11 pm. I'd better go to sleep. As I flopped onto the bed, I wondered what Roy was doing now.

    In Maple......
    Roy sneezed. "Huh? It's not even cold here!" he said to himself.

    The next morning in real life......
    Another new day of classes... Sometimes I wish schools don't exist. I quickly got dressed in a black suit with a gray tie and picked up my bag. I checked the timetable I had stuck on my bag. First period today is...... Chemistry. I ran off to the chem lab on the other side of the campus. By the time I reached, the lab was half-filled with students already. Arno, Alexis and Lopez were in the same class as me, but strangely, Arno and Alexis were absent. This meant that I wouldn't need to be picked on today! However, Alexis was never late for classes. Maybe something kept her up or she got sick or something. As I took my usual seat beside Lopez, he nudged me and slipped something into my pocket. We stood up as the lecturer entered the lab. "Class, today we'll be doing an experiment. I want you to watch me closely and then perform the experiment for me afterwards."

    I glanced at him. He shrugged and turned to look at the lecturer. He was pouring a purple substance from a conical flask into another one with a clear liquid inside it. I felt like I was being watched all of a sudden and whirled around. Practically everyone was staring at me, including the lecturer. He accidentally poured too much of the chemical he was holding into the other conical flask and it exploded in his face. The lecturer collapsed. "Is he okay?" "Someone call the medical section!"

    That period was canceled for a moment while the lecturer was taken to the medical section of the campus. I pulled out the object Lopez had slipped into my pocket. It was a folded cut-out of the campus's magazine.

    Archery club member demonstrates strange powers

    Yesterday night, while I was walking past the archery hall, I heard a small explosion and walked in to see what was happening. It turns out that someone had actually managed to set an arrow on fire and pulverize a target completely. Later witnesses say that the fire lasted for only 5 seconds. Later, I saw that same person create four arrows out of thin air and launch each of them in a straight line towards the target. Each and every one of them hit the exact center of the bullseye. Further interviewing of the witnesses reveal that the archer's name is Ivan.

    Article written by Jullian
    I groaned. Now I would surely be chased by the Reporter's Club for interviews. Oh well, nothing I can do about it. Suddenly, I sensed something approaching my head from behind and I ducked. An arrow embedded itself in the exact same spot on the tree trunk where my head had been a second earlier. A message was tied onto it.

    I have your girlfriend. Meet me at the grassy area behind the toilets now, or I'll kill her.

    Girlfriend? Oh no...... Alexis! No wonder she was absent at chem! I took off towards the toilets so fast I left an image of myself where I had just been. Someone gasped. Too late for the publicity now, I need to save Alexis!

    "I know you'd come." Arno grinned at me, flexing his muscles. I stood there panting. Alexis was tied up to a pole behind Arno, and she was trying to talk. "I'll save you!" I shouted and took a step towards her. Arno blocked me and sent a punch flying into my stomach. I coughed out blood. "Now, I want you to teach me how you did those tricks, or I'll punch her until her mother won't recognize her!" Arno threatened. Alexis started to cry. "Darn......" I muttered.

    "Look, I don't know how to teach you those shots okay!?" I shouted. "Liar. You teach me, and I'll release her." Arno smiled. "How can I teach you without bows?" I asked. Arno produced two bows and a few arrows from behind Alexis's pole. I groaned. "Oh yeah, along with teaching me those shots, I want you to quit the archery club." he laughed. "What!?" I was aghast. Alexis squirmed in her binds. "And don't try to shoot me or anything. I've got cameras stationed every here. Kill me now, and you'll be facing a murder charge." Arno grinned. Darn...... he thought of everything......

    "Sharp Eyes." I muttered. My vision instantly sharpened and I could see further. I took quick glances around and saw quite a number of cameras around the place. Simple. If I just shoot them all up fast enough, he'll be begging me for mercy. "And no, the cameras are made out of reinforced steel. A creation of mine during workshop hours. Fireproof too." Arno smiled. I groaned again. "How dare he take my wife......" the Dark Dragon thought angrily. "Keep your cool, if we attack now, we'll be caught on camera and we'll get in deep trouble." I thought.

    I remembered the cut-out article. It'd only be a matter of days before this made its way to the government. It wouldn't matter now anyway. I took a deep breath. "What? You're gonna blow wind at me now?" Arno was amused. "Dark Dragon, I need your power." I thought. "You do not need to say anything." the Dark Dragon replied. Instantly, great black wings and a long black tail burst out of my back. At the same instant, a net fell over my head. I roared in disbelief. Arno had been expecting this...... I flapped my wings as hard as I could and managed to break a few ropes on the net. Alexis managed to get her gag off. "Ivan!" she shouted. "And I thought full dragon mode wouldn't be necessary. Oh well." the Dark Dragon grunted.

    My body grew longer and became black and scaly. My wingspan widened and my tail grew longer while my hands and feet changed into claws. My head became dragonish and my neck extended, becoming black and scaly. I let out a tremendous roar and broke through the net with a mighty flap of my wings. Arno stepped backwards, obviously terrified. I scratched Alexis's binds to pieces and she ran towards me, hugging my neck. "I have no intention of taking your life now, Arno." I growled and Alexis climbed onto my back, sticking her tongue out at Arno. I spread out my wings. However, the second I did that, something stung me in my chest. I looked down to see a tranquilizer dart. I whirled around. Arno was smiling. He was holding a black box with his finger on a red button. Men in Kevlar suits stepped out from the forest, each holding a rifle. I had been set up...... More darts punctured my skin and my vision blurred. Alexis was crying again. I tried to take off, but my wings felt like lead. When I tried to run, my legs wouldn't move. Eventually, after a few seconds of thrashing, I fell to the ground and blacked out.

    Chapter 8: Research

    Scientists take over Chem lab

    The Chemistry lab had been temporarily commandeered by a team of government scientists for reasons unknown. We do know there was a small commotion behind the toilets earlier today and a crate was seen being moved into the lab. More info will come.

    Written by Jullian
    "Amazing! It's genetical structure is like nothing I've ever seen before!" someone exclaimed. I struggled to my feet, which for some reason hadn't turned back into my real feet. I was still in Dark Dragon form! I looked around and realized I had been put into a cage in the Chemistry lab. The windows were blacked out and Alexis was nowhere to be seen. I let out a roar and tried to bash the bars open. However, when I touched the bars, electricity shot through my claws. "Kid, you'll surely receive the Nobel Prize for this amazing discovery!" a scientist was talking to Arno, who was standing grinning in a corner. Something about him seemed strangely wrong. For a second, a fleeting image of Saevio appeared in my mind.

    The dart stuck in my chest was paining me slightly. I built up energy inside my mouth and launched a fireball at the bars. They were scorched, but still intact. I groaned. "I think it's a dragon!" a red-haired female scientist with a hair bun remarked in Chinese. Obviously a scientist from China. "English, please." someone mumbled. "Sorry." the female scientist apologized. "We're in a bit of a tight situation here." the Dark Dragon noted. I rolled my eyes.

    When a scientist reached a syringe into my cage, I snapped my jaw at him. He backpedalled into the Chinese scientist, who was holding a tray of petri dishes. She dropped the tray and the first guy fell on her. His face turned red as he realized what he had fallen on. "SE LANG!!!(This means 'pervert' in Chinese)" she screamed and started punching the poor guy in the face. I couldnt resist snickering.

    After a few failed attempts at poking me with the syringe, the guy finally wisened up and taped the syring to a long pole. I stamped the syringe to the floor and smashed it and he groaned. "Can you speak?" someone said from behind me and I jumped. The Chinese scientist was standing behind me, and she was holding a syringe full of black blood. My blood! "What the..." I stared at the syringe. "You CAN talk!" she exclaimed.

    "Get away from me!" I screamed as Arno advanced on me, smiling. His incisors were exposed. "Now that Ivan is gone, I can finally be with you!" he grabbed my wrist and pulled me off towards the boy's dormitories. Painfully. He's lucky its the middle of the night. I was thrown onto Arno's bed and he grabbed my shirt's sleeve. "Saevio said I could have fun with you when Ivan was gone!" Arno grinned. Wait a second...... Saevio!? What the hell is going on here!? Arno ripped my shirt's sleeve off.

    Back to Ivan......
    A crowd of scientists had gathered around me, some taking notes, some flashing cameras at me. I curled up in a pile and pretended to sleep. I flicked an eye open to find the Chinese scientist staring into my open eye. "We've only found that dead dragon before, but this one is alive!" some of the other scientists were talking excitedly. Arno was gone, probably back to his room to tell his parents about me.

    "Dr. Stenworth, I think we should let it go. It looks peaceful enough." the Chinese scientist told another scientist. The other one seemed to be older. "You saw the cameras. It left that kid alone!" she pleaded. "Look, this is a scientific discovery of the century. We can't just let it go like this, Mei Ling!" Dr. Stenworth replied sternly. "You haven't used my first name in ages." Mei Ling stared at the other scientist. "This is serious. We'll be paid heaps for this find and the archaelogy division will be wanting to examine it." Dr. Stenworth added.

    At the same time...... Alexis.......
    I screamed and tried to kick Arno off. He flew into a wall, but got back up uninjured. He proceeded to rip off my trousers and fling them into a wall. "You're not my first victim, ya know." Arno grinned and pointed at an open drawer. There were quite a few sets of girl's underclothes inside. Gosh...... "You're sick!" I tried to punch him. The punches didn't seem to have any effect and Arno ripped off the front of my shirt.

    Back to Ivan again.
    Mei Ling seemed to want to stay behind and she did. The other scientists all left to temporary rooms in the campus's dormitories while she stayed in the lab. I overheard her telling the last one to leave, "I want to do further examination on it." She stared into my eyes and moved towards the lock of the cage. "I'll get into trouble for this......" she sighed and took a block of steel from her pocket. She pushed it into the lock and the door swung open. "I can't just leave an innocent beast in a place like this, can I?" she smiled at me. "You sure? You'll be chased down for letting the experiment loose." I looked at her.

    "Yeah, but innocent people or beasts should never be locked up for no good reason. I learnt that from my dad." she looked glumly at the ground. "He told me that scientists should be helping people by discovering new things and substances, some to make medicine with." she added. I stared at her for a second. "Come with me. I'll take you somewhere where you can do good research." I smiled at her, thinking of the supposedly technologically advanced Omega Sector in Maple. She immediately looked up. "Really?" she asked. "Yeah. But first, I need to save Alexis." I closed my eyes and concentrated. The world around me seemed to shift as I peered into Alexis's mind. She was being raped by Arno in his room! I looked back a few minutes and found out that Saevio was involved in this.

    "Get on my back and hold on tight." I pointed at my back. Mei Ling eagerly got on my back and I flapped my wings hard. She held on for dear life as I shot through the air towards the boy's dormitories. By pure luck, I spotted Lacus taking a midnight walk in the park and settled down next to her. I pulled the surprised Lacus onto my back and took off again. Mei Ling stared at Lacus and she stared back. "Cous?" Lacus looked happy. I grunted as I dodged a tree. I could see Arno's room now and I hovered in front of his window. Lacus poked me. "That you, Ivan-kun?" she asked. I nodded and nudged the window. Mei Ling seemed surprised that I even had a name. Lacus climbed onto my head and peered in. She gasped. "Alexis-san......"

    "That settles it." I bashed the window with my tail and took out the wall too. Rubble flew out as I reached a claw in and grabbed Arno. He looked real scared. "You've just crossed the line." I roared and threw him into the air effortlessly. I then reached my claw in again. Alexis shouted, "Wait! I need to put some clothes on!" There was some scrambling sounds and Alexis came out, dressed in Arno's clothes. He would be surprised. She jumped on my claw and I put her on my back along with the other two. "Hello, quite a crowd here." Mei Ling grinned. "Who's she?" Alexis asked.

    "Meet my cousin, Mei Ling." Lacus smiled. I swung my head around. "Cousin?" I was curious. "Yeah, my aunt migrated to China and married there. Their family used to come around for visits until she got a job." Lacus explained. I took a good look at Mei Ling. At a closer look, she seemed part Japanese. "Sorry I didn't write to you for so long, Ma forgot to ask what university you transferred to." she scratched her head.

    A few blocks away, Arno landed in the campus's swimming pool. A big splash ensued and the caretaker scuffled out of his shack and started whacking Arno on the head for being out during curfew.

    Chapter 9: Back to Maple

    I descended to a low hover and landed. "I feel......" I muttered and fainted. I don't know how I even stayed in Dragon form this long.....

    "Ivan...... Wake up! They're coming!" I awoke to the sound of people bashing on my room's door. The door had been barricaded by a few furniture I had left around. Alexis and Lacus were holding suitcases, they had apparently packed, knowing full well that we would never return. "Mei Ling and Alexis explained everything to me. That jerk Arno......" Lacus went into a silent tantrum. Mei Ling was empty-handed, but she was studying my laptop. I quickly got up and walked over to the laptop. "You sure had a long history." she remarked and stepped aside. I glanced at her curiously. "Alexis told me about your past lives." she shrugged.

    I put a key in the laptop's lock and twisted it open, flicking the power switch. The girls watched nervously as the door banging got more intense and the laptop booted up. Once on the desktop, I immediately pressed the "MapleStory" icon and grabbed my necklace. Its string expanded and Lacus pushed Mei Ling into the loop of the string, walking in herself afterwards. Alexis ducked into the loop as I moved the necklace towards the indent in the screen......

    The door burst open and a figure stumbled in. He tripped over a table and stumbled into my necklace's string's loop just as my necklace touched the indent. "Lopez?" my eyes widened. "I saw those scientist guys banging on your door and tried to block them, but then they broke the door open and I tripped over your table, hey whats with the girls?" Lopez scratched his head, looking at the girls. "And whats with this necklace?" he looked at the string loop curiously. He almost fell over and grasped the laptop for support just as we were all yanked into the Maple world. I felt something on my foot, not my shoes.

    Alexis and me landed expertly on the rocky plateaus of Perion on two legs while Mei Ling, Lacus and Lopez collapsed into a heap on the ground. I then saw what had fallen on my foot. It was a parcel from my real life home! "Dear Son, I think it's time you learnt about how you arrived in this world. We found you floating in half of an eggshell towards our home 19 years ago. This meant you weren't our real baby, but we still took care of you lovingly. The eggshell half you floated to our house in is in the box. Love, Mum and Dad." a note was written on the parcel.

    I ripped the parcel open and found...... Half of an eggshell with a single wing on it, on which was etched the word "Ivan" Alexis noticed the eggshell and took a similar parcel from her suitcase. She ripped it open after reading the note to find HER half of the eggshell, also with a wing with the word "Alexis" etched on it. "I haven't seen the egg for so long. Surprising how we were twins in our past lives and now we're twins again." Alexis pieced the eggshells together. Perfect fits.

    Lacus, Mei Ling and Lopez stirred. They got up and looked around wildly. "Where are we?" Mei Ling and Lopez asked simultaneously. "We're in MapleStory." I replied loudly. Suddenly, I noticed that Lopez had fallen on something. I looked at it to find my laptop, slightly scratched but still functional. Thanks to the strong and light polymer the casing was made of. I closed it and flicked off the power switch to save energy. "I think I can install a solar panel on it so you don't need your normal adapter, seeing as we're in a totally different world." Mei Ling inspected the laptop. "How'd we get here anyway?" Lopez asked. Alexis pointed at my necklace. The string had retracted to its normal length now.

    "I don't believe it......" Lopez groaned. "How about classes? My parents'll be mad." he grumbled. "We can't go back anymore, I'm wanted for research and Arno would surely have told the administration that I was the dragon......" my voice trailed off as I realized Lopez hadn't heard about what had happened inside the chem lab. Mei Ling took him aside and explained. His face grew slightly white. "I suppose I don't have a choice." Lopez raised an eyebrow. "Perion eh? I've always wondered how it'd be like to be inside the game." he said. "I play Maple too." when he caught the looks on our faces.

    We walked towards our house in Maple and saw a few trucks moving the same way too. "I wonder whats going on." we walked faster. The trucks stopped at our house and Roy was there to welcome them. We ran towards him. "Back so soon?" he raised an eyebrow. "I'll explain everything later. What's with the trucks?" I looked at the trucks. Men were walking out. "We're moving to Kerning!" Roy announced happily. My jaw dropped. "The house isn't secure anymore. The only reason I've been upgrading the house's security is because I'm scared Saevio will come back again. And that Balrog smashed right through the wall. We're gonna have to move and hope he doesn't find us." Roy replied. "Who're they?" he looked at Mei Ling and Lopez.

    While Mei Ling and Lopez were looking around the house, Alexis and me went up to our bedroom to pack. "It's great to be back in a boy's body and thinking normally for once." I looked at Alexis's clothes. When my heart had been turned into a girl's in my past life, I had thrown out all my boy's clothes, and hence I don't have to pack much. I flipped open my laptop. Somehow it was still able to maintain an Internet connection with the real world. I looked at the MapleStory icon. When I pressed it, it fizzled into non-existence along with the data on my hard disk.

    "I forgot! Is Afrodita okay?" Alexis exclaimed, grabbing Roy by his shoulders. "I think she joined the Fidelo Gang. Somehow they persuaded her to join the bad side." his face turned slightly pink. "Great. And Jullian?" I asked, thinking back to the person that had Resurrected me. "He's an explorer now. From what I hear, he was swallowed up by a sandstorm and never heard from again." he replied glumly. Alexis tripped over a box while scrambling around to look for extra items. The box opened to reveal a few syringes. "This is still around!?" Alexis stared at the syringes. One was empty. Roy shuffled uncomfortably. "Lynx and Afrodita wanted to try some." he said. "Let's just take them along, just in case we might need them." I pocketed a strange gun and Alexis put the syringes back in the box and slipped it into her bag.

    When I walked down, I found Mei Ling and Lacus hogging the library excitedly. Lopez was checking out the archery range and testing one of my old bows, a Vaulter 2000. Bows...... "Archaeion, come to me." I held my hand out and concentrated. My hand vibrated for a while, then stopped. Nothing happened. "Didn't you throw it into oblivion?" Roy asked curiously. I grunted and grabbed Daniel's Golden Arund, walking off to the archery range. The house was almost entirely finished packing up. Now the men were moving into the library to take the bookshelves and the books. Mei Ling and Lacus walked out obligingly and let them do their stuff. "I wanna try something." Mei Ling snapped her fingers. A tiny flame appeared, hovering over her palm, flickered briefly and vanished. "Nice, you're an apprentice Fire Mage." Lacus grinned. "More power transferred?" I asked the Dark Dragon. "Yep."

    Lopez quickly found out that he could handle crossbows better than bows and was soon pulling off Sniper techniques. "Hey, Ivan, check this out!" he launched a bolt from a crossbow. The bolt froze in mid-air and ice fell out of the sky, shredding a target to pieces. "Nice." I applauded. Lopez grinned and loaded four arrows. "Strafe!"

    Chapter 10: Sister?

    The air in Kerning City smelled of smoke and pollution. Our new house was supposed to be a bungalow on the outskirts of the city, with enough room for me and Lopez to practice archery, for books to be studied by Lacus and Mei Ling, and most important of all, there was enough room for all our belongings. Lacus and Mei Ling had a room to themselves, I slept with Alexis and Lopez slept with Roy. Mei Ling seemed a little uncomfortable to see the two of us sleeping together and said that Alexis could move into her room. "Nah, Ivan IS my husband in my past life after all." Alexis declined politely. The next three days was spent unpacking all our stuff, for we had quite alot.

    When I was exploring the house one day, I uncovered a trapdoor in the cellar, opened it, slid down a rope to find an entire swimming pool, built underground and filled by underground water. The last owner probably had it constructed secretly. There was even a changing room built into the rock with lights, although some were sparking every now and then. Fixing the lights was a simple matter, and we were soon enjoying ourselves there. We removed the trapdoor and the rope and added a steel ladder.

    "This is the life!" Lopez remarked, diving into the pool from a diving board we had rigged up. "Yeah!" Alexis agreed. She was floating on the water on her back, wearing a yellow swimsuit. Once, she took a swim when she was sleepy and ended up falling asleep on the water. That times, the Siren had to take control of her body and swim back up to lie on the ground, which we had added white tiles to. She woke up cold and shivering the next morning.

    I wondered where the book of Inner Beasts went. It would be a great help to us now, since we needed to find out what Saevio was capable of doing. Right now, I was at the archery range having target practice with Lopez. He was doing as good as me, sinking bolt after bolt into the direct center of the target bullseye. He misses occasionally though.

    Alexis's PoV......
    I decided to go shopping today, since its a Saturday. The Kerning City Market is rather far from our house, so I had to take a bus. As I took a seat, I felt slightly nostalgic. The day I had lost my first 'baby' to a bomb explosion was etched into my mind forever. I shook my head and stared out the window. Chinese noodles today!

    I wove through the crowd of people around the market. I had hidden my purse somewhere safe, so that the pickpockets around here wouldn't have a chance to steal it. I stopped off at the supermarket and bought a few bundles of noodles and a tin of mushrooms along with some sauce. An unfortunate pervert that tried to touch my chest received a sharp pinch on the back of his hand.

    Vegetables were next on my list. As I took off towards the stall, I spotted a familiar face that ducked into the shadows of a dark alley when it saw me looking at it. Afrodita! I ran into that alley and bumped into her. "Sis!" I said excitedly. She turned around. It was then that I noticed her eyes. They were emitting a faint yellow glow and unfocused! "What the......" I took a step back. "Who're you?" she snarled. "Don't you remember me? I'm your sister, Alexis!" I quickly replied. "I don't have a sister. Go away or I'll kick your sorry arse into oblivion." she went on her way. Did I get something wrong? But...... that face was obviously Afrodita's! Was she being controlled or something? I followed her silently.

    I gasped when I saw where Afrodita was headed. She was walking in the front door of a giant needle pointing towards the sky. A sign hung over the entrance read "Fidelo Corporation" I then remembered Roy telling me that Afrodita had joined the bad side. I wiped a tear from my cheeks and hid behind a corner as a few men in black suits walked out the door. "I don't believe it......" I said to myself and turned around. I accidentally stepped on someone's foot. "YOWWW!!!" that person screamed and held his foot painfully. I quickly clamped a hand over the guy's mouth, but it was too late, the men in black suits had already started running towards my hiding spot. "Mmmmph!" the guy's voice was muffled. "Did I interrupt an intelligence operation or something?" he broke free and looked around the corner.

    "There's nothing there." the guy looked at me. I peered back and saw the men getting closer. Maybe the new maplers couldn't see them. "We need to get away from here!" I hissed. "Whatever." he rolled his eyes, grabbed my hand and we disappeared. We reappeared at the base of a skyscraper near the market district. "Secret portal. You stepped on my foot the moment I passed through." the guy winked at me. "Sorry." I hurriedly apologized. "It's okay." he grinned. "By the way, my name's Xorten." he smiled. "I'm Alexis, nice to meet you." I shook hands with him.

    Chapter 11: Shocking Revelation

    Xorten escorted me home and promised to drop by sometime. By the time I reached home, it was evening already and the others were seated at the dining table, waiting for me to come back. "Sorry, I got held up." I explained. Lacus got to her feet and went to the stove, asking me what I wanted to cook. "Noodles today!" I smiled and put a plastic bag on the counter. "I wanna help!" Mei Ling said in Chinese and elbowed me away from the stove. "I used to cook noodles when I was a teenager." she grinned.

    Mei Ling's cooking was great! I made a mental note to ask her to cook our noodles the next time I bought some. Lopez seemed to be rather hungry for more. After dinner, we discussed some matters. "So...... How do we find Saevio?" Ivan asked. As he spoke, the Dark Dragon appeared in spirit form beside him. Lopez, Mei Ling and Lacus jumped when they saw it.

    "I do not think we need to find him. He will find us." the Dark Dragon said "But one matter is certain, he will be stronger than before, and you will need to train and become stronger as well to beat him. Last time you defeated him was only because Alexis had the Lightbringer, the combination of both Kidousu and Kotetsu melded together. This time, he will find a way to remove the sword from your possession."

    "Speaking of Alexis's weapon, I need to find my Archaeion!" Ivan said. "The weapons will return to your hands when they feel it is neccessary." the Siren appeared in spirit form beside me. Again, Lopez, Mei Ling and Lacus jumped. Lopez got a slight nosebleed. "Tell your Inner Beast to put on some clothes please." he mumbled. The Siren ignored him and disappeared. Lacus stared at the air where it had been a moment ago.

    Ivan's PoV......
    I placed a puppet at the end of the garden for target practice. I easily impaled it smack in the head with a Strafe. Lopez cradled his new Gross Jaeger lovingly and launched a bolt into the puppet's chest. Right now, Lacus and Alexis were poring over books in the library and Roy was having a short nap. Mei Ling was in a laboratory she had set up in the basement. I wonder what she's doing?

    I received an answer a few minutes later. Mei Ling dragged me down to her laboratory. "I analysed the blood I took from you back in the campus's lab. You have female DNA in you." she said. I replied sharply, "I know. At least it's not-" "If your body receives a strong enough stimulus, the DNA will start acting up and you'll turn into a girl." she interrupted me. My jaw dropped. "What kind of stimulus?" I asked. "Stuff related strictly to girls for example." she answered, pulling out a syringe of clear liquid. "Hey, that looks like-" I stared at it. Mei Ling cut me off, "I took some of it for analysis. It's a-" I interupted her, "I know what it does, I've seen the effects. So you're saying if that gets into my chest, I'll turn back into a girl?" "Precisely." she replied.

    I took the strange gun I had stolen from the Fidelo labs 19 years ago out of my pocket and studied it carefully. If I turned back into a girl, would this be able to change me back? I made a puppet and fired the gun at it. The puppet was reduced to a smoking pile of ash in a split second. Ok, maybe I won't try it on myself. Who knows what could happen? Alexis sat down beside me. "I overheard your conversation with Mei Ling." she said. "I prefer staying the way I am......" I pouted. "I know, but who would want to turn you into a girl?" Alexis smiled. "I guess you have a point." I got up and took a step forward. "Hey...... watch it!" Alexis exclaimed. I fell into the swimming pool and water filled my lungs. I started to drown. I had totally forgotten I was sitting right beside the swimming pool! The world around me blurred and I fainted.

    I opened my eyes. Alexis was on top of me, her lips on mine. "I need a refreshing...... What are you two doing?" Lacus slid down the ladder and stared at us. Alexis broke away and I got to my feet. "This.... It's not what it seems!" I spluttered. "He drowned. I was giving him CPR." Alexis quickly explained. Lacus raised a eyebrow and walked into the changing room, coming out later in a pink swimsuit. She dived into the pool gracefully.

    Alexis and me left the swimming pool after that awkward explanation to Lacus just in time to hear the doorbell ring. Alexis scooted off to answer the door while I walked upstairs to our bedroom. A queen sized bed occupied a quarter of the total space in the room and a wardrobe was in a corner. I had to buy new clothes for myself and they were in it. Pictures decorated the walls and sunlight shone in from a rectangular window.

    "Xorten!" Alexis shouted from downstairs and I ran down. Alexis was greeting a Hunter excitedly. "Hi there." the Hunter smiled at me. "Erm, hello." I nodded curtly. "Nice house." he looked around. "Who're you?" I asked. "Ah sorry, I'm Xorten." the Hunter replied. "He got me out of a tight spot earlier yesterday." Alexis grinned. "I didn't think that was a tight spot." Xorten grunted. Mei Ling climbed out of the basement ladder, holding the syringe. "Ivan, where did you get it anyway?" she asked. Then she spotted Xorten in the doorway. He eyed the syringe. "What kind of weapon is that?"

    Mei Ling got so surprised she threw the syringe into the air. "Ohhh, my bad." she tried to catch it. The syringe flew through the air towards me. I stared at it for a second before I realized what was going on. I tripped over the carpet and fell over. "This is not good." Mei Ling lunged for the syringe and caught it a centimetre over my back. However, she tripped over the carpet as well and gravity carried the syringe straight into my back. "Crap." I cursed.

    Chapter 12: Feminine

    I felt slightly agitated, but nothing else happened. Mei Ling plucked the syringe out and stared at it. "Everything went in." she remarked. I noticed Xorten standing in the doorway looking curiously at us. "What's going on?" he asked. "Nothing..." I quickly replied and Mei Ling pulled me into her lab. She stuck a syringe into me, drawing out my blood and placed a drop under a microscope. "I guess the serum lost its effect after all those years of not being used. Your female DNA still got slightly pumped up though. It'll be way easier to turn you into a girl now." she explained, looking up from the microscope. "How easy?" I had to ask. My chest was tingling slightly. "Let's say you accidentally walk in on Alexis taking a bath." she said thoughtfully.

    Xorten stayed to look around the house for a bit and then he logged off normally. Roy, who had gone out earlier to try and get some info on Saevio's whereabouts, returned. "No good, his whereabouts are known to everyone as much as pigs knowing what quantum physics is." he shook his head. "Nice simile." Alexis remarked. "I DID overhear something though. A black market rumour says that there's a special armour that's supposed to make the wearer invincible. Some guy said his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather got his hands on it once, then it got stolen. I have no idea where it is now, although it would help to have it." Roy sighed. "Think we should go look for it?" I asked. "The guy said the name was Torteliangra's Armour or something like that." Roy mumbled.

    A few minutes later, while I was taking a dip at the pool, "That suit of armour is cursed! Ivan, do not approach it!" the Dark Dragon suddenly burst out. "Cursed it may be, but it might be the only way to beat Saevio." I said. "You have a point, but that armour is supposedly only usable by female archers. You're an archer, but you're male." the Dark Dragon thought. "But......" I remembered Mei Ling said I could turn into a girl again if I got the right stimulus. "That's an idea. I can sense a strange energy floating in the air, probably that armour. It was probably brought up just recently, since I didn't pick it up all those years ago."

    "I think I'll go out for a walk." I grabbed my Golden Arund. Just as I put one foot out the door, I remembered to tell Alexis to follow me. "What is it?" she asked as we proceeded to the taxi. "I'm going to find Torteliangra's Armour now. The Dark Dragon said it's only wearable by female archers, and that little episode with the syringe just made me easier to turn into a girl, soooo......" it was kind of awkward. Alexis just smiled at me and said, "Typical of you." "The strange energy is coming from the golem's temple." the Dark Dragon thought. "Right where the Demon Stone was."

    We arrived at the golem's temple after half an hour of trekking. As usual, the place was crowded full of golems. We easily dispatched them and went where the Dark Dragon told us to go. "Hey, isn't this......" my jaw dropped. We were standing in front of a temple with a pedestal on the summit. "The Demon Stone used to be here." I stared at the pedestal. "That way." the Dark Dragon pointed my head at a stone door. We walked towards it and I put a hand on the stone. Runes immediately lit up all over the door and it swung open. However, once I tried to walk in, a barrier blocked my path. Alexis couldn't get in either. "I think...... this is where I have to turn into a girl." I muttered.

    "Are you sure?" Alexis asked. "I need to see a naked girl for me to change now." I nodded. She nodded back at me and flicked open her armour straps. Her armour completely fell off, leaving me staring at a naked Alexis. My arms and legs seemed to grow shorter as I felt a new energy inside me, changing my very body. My chest inflated and my hair grew longer. "I guess you can put your armour back on now." I said in a girl's voice. "Hello again, Artemis." Aleixs grinned, fixing her armour back on. I let out a low grunt and walked through the door. I passed through the barrier without a problem this time and walked towards a door at the end of the corridor. As I walked, torches lighted around me.

    I opened the next stone door to find a huge amount of bones on the ground and a single golem that was shining gold in front of the next door. The view was sickening. Blood and disembodied organs lay on the ground everywhere. I accidentally stepped on a liver and felt like vomiting. The golden golem's eyes opened and seemed to scan me. "You may pass." it stepped aside. "Huh?" I stared at it. "Just go." the Dark Dragon urged. I opened the next door.

    The entire room seemed to be made out of ice and there was even icicles hanging down from the ceiling. A coffin lay in the very middle of the room and I walked towards it cautiously, noting the spikes in the wall. I stepped on an icy floor panel, which dropped a centimetre and held my breath. Nothing happened and I took another step towards the coffin. Suddenly, the coffin swung open and a golden glow emanated from inside. There was a skeleton inside, and it was wearing an armour that reflected light. The top area was nothing more than a sheet of gold-lined metal around the back with writing on it and a piece of cloth covering the chest. Gold-lined steel plates served as arm and leg plates while again, the lower torso was just a bikini lined with gold. The waist and neck were uncovered. Quite revealing on a girl. I shrank back a few centimetres.

    I slowly reached my hand into the coffin and touched the chest of the skeleton. The golden glow intensified and the skeleton disappeared. The armour was left there like a shell. "Come, put me on, young one." a strange voice said in my head. I seemed to lose control over my body as my hands reached to my back and slipped off my Dark Linnex. It dropped to the ground, leaving me naked. I grabbed the top of the armour and unbuckled the cloth front and slipped the steel part onto myself. The cloth front flew back on and the top became skintight. It exposed quite a big portion of my chest.

    Next, my hands reached into the coffin again and drew out the bottom part of the armour. I lifted a leg and stepped into it. Instantly, it shot up my leg and came to rest on my lower torso, instantly becoming skin tight, again, exposing part of my buttocks. Next, came the leg and arm plates. I slipped my arm into the arm plate. It extended a few centimetres to follow the length of my arm and tightened. The leg plates were easily buckled on and became skintight. Once it was all done, I reached my hand into the coffin again and pulled out some golden gloves, pulling them up over my hands. The entire suit of armour instantly began to shine and a mirror appeared in front of me. I stared into it for a second. With this armour on, a large portion of my chest, part of my buttocks and my belly button was exposed. The armour was skintight and I realized removing it wouldn't be an easy matter. It appeared that my chest and my buttocks were growing larger. The armour hadn't finished with me yet!

    I walked into the room with the golden golem. My new armour jingled on me, and I was holding my Dark Linnex over my shoulder. The golem was silent this time and I walked out of the temple. Alexis gasped when she saw me wearing the armour. "That's......" she smiled at me. I smiled back and we returned to Kerning City.

    Chapter 13: New Armour

    I opened the house's door and stepped in to find four pairs of eyes staring at me. Roy was especially surprised. "Hey." I smiled and Alexis walked in beside me. Roy looked around and found everyone's jaw wide open. "Who's she?" Lacus decided to break the silence. "Ivan, turned into a girl just like in his past life." Roy explained. Lopez's jaw dropped further. "So he's a pervert?" he asked. I moved to his back in the blink of an eye and hit him lightly on the head. "This armour can only be worn by female archers, I had no choice." I cast a glance at Mei Ling. She quickly explained the rest.

    "You DO know that's kinda revealing, don't you?" Roy remarked. "I know, but at least it'll help to beat Saevio." I replied. I felt hot and decided to go for a swim. Since I was a girl once again, I would have to borrow one of Alexis's swimsuits. However, when I tried to take my armour off, it wouldnt budge. I looked in a mirror and spotted writing on the cloth barely covering my chest.

    She who wears this armour will never be able to take it off until death.
    The bearer of this armour shall be forever immortal.

    I realized with a shock what the curse that the Dark Dragon had been talking about was. When I tried to call it, it wouldn't respond. I tried slipping the swimsuit on over my armour, but the swimsuit dissolved into dust. I sat down and began to cry. Being immortal wasn't something I wanted! I spotted more writing on my right arm plate and looked at it.

    Other clothes shall be worn no more, this armour shall be your one and only garment.

    I gasped. Now I would have to go out wearing this!? How do I break the curse? I decided to ignore it for the moment and take a swim.

    I got out, the armour dripping wet. It easily dried itself in a matter of seconds. I tried to rip the armour off, but again, it wouldn't budge. The cloth parts displayed remarkable strength. I remembered the strange gun that had turned me into a girl in my past life and walked into my bedroom, looking for it. I quickly located it. If this didn't work, I would probably turn into some sort of monster or something though...... I took the risk and shot myself with it.

    The armour buzzed for a second. The energy from the gun dissipated across it and my chest started tingling. I looked down at myself to find my chest growing. What the heck!? I quickly checked through the rest of my armour for more legible writing. Most were runes though. Eventually, I found a understandable line on my bikini.

    This armour was forged to withstand any spell and absorb its energy, transferring it to its own power reserves in the chest. The larger your chest, the more energy you have in yourself.

    I groaned. This reminded me of the Akasha Charm. A strange voice sounded in my head as I read through the runes on my left arm plate. "I am the demon Jakito who possessed Queen Torteliangra and used her to create chaos in the world. These are my last words. Before Torteliangra died, she managed to transmute my very soul into this set of armour. This armour was enchanted to absorb magical energy and transform it into pure energy. I have managed to hijack this system and allow the energy to transfer into me. When there is enough, I will be able to control the female that puts on this armour."

    I gasped. So this was the curse of the armour! I didn't dare to shoot myself with the gun again, knowing full well that if I shot myself too many times, the demon would awaken. I searched the armour for more information, but my back plate was out of sight. A mirror revealed a logo of a shield embossed on the back of the armour. Sure, there were runes on it, but I couldn't see them. "Artemis, I think Mei Ling would agree to us sharing rooms now." Alexis walked in the door. I tried to hide my horror, but she saw through it. "What's wrong?" she asked. I pointed at the runes on my left arm plate. She walked closer and took a look. "No way......" she gasped.

    "We need to find a way to get it off you!" Alexis exclaimed. She stared into the shield logo on my back for a while, trying to make out the runes. "These are like nothing I have ever seen before." the Siren admitted. "I don't think we can do anything about it at the moment......" I sighed. Alexis caught sight of the writing on my bikini. "Reminds me of the Akasha Charm." she remarked. "Anyway, we'd better sleep. It's getting late." she laid down on the bed and motioned for me to get on. She pulled the blanket over us.

    Chapter 14: Unfriendly Neighborhood

    I woke up the next day, feeling rather cold, natural since the armour exposed quite a large portion of my skin. I preferred my Dark Linnex. I got up and walked downstairs. Alexis was spreading butter on some bread. The others were still asleep, it was rather early in the morning. The clock on the kitchen wall read 5:23 a.m. "You're up early." I remarked. She nodded and gave me a slice of bread. I ate it quietly.

    I decided to take a walk as it was rather early and most people wouldn't be awake. Maybe a few vandalizing gangsters, but hey, I can beat them up easily. The nearby park was neat and tidy, but I doubt it'll be for long. There were rumours flying around the neighborhood that a notorious gang had moved into one of the bungalows around here forcefully.

    Sure enough, there were four people kicking up the swings. I tried to keep out of their sight, but one saw me. He was obviously the group leader, as there was a insignia on the back of his shirt along with a badge on his front. "Hey, hot chick." he called over to me. His cronies immediately turned around and saw me. I quickly walked away. "Where are you going?" the leader appeared beside me. "Somewhere away from you." I replied and turned my face away to find one of his cronies on my other side. "Now now, it's not nice to talk to the boss like that." he grinned.

    I walked faster, but another guy appeared in front of me. They were all probably using Haste. Then, someone touched my buttocks and I whirled around. Another guy was grinning at me. I was blocked on all sides! "Hey, what are you doing!?" I shouted. "The boss just happens to be a little unhappy at the moment, you should be able to entertain him..." a guy grinned ominously. I snorted and put some spring into my leg. For a second, the leader looked down and then he jumped with me, pulling me to the ground. I landed on my back, rubbing my head. He's smart. "Tie her up, boys! I want her back at the hideout!" the leader ordered. Maybe this would be a good chance to take out a couple of bad guys. I let myself be tied up and they carried me to a bungalow with blinds drawn across the windows. My hands were tied behind my back and my legs were also tied up. Should be an easy matter to break free with the armour's help.

    I was thrown down roughly into an empty room and the leader bent down. "What's your chest measurement, gorgeous?" he smiled. "Like I'd tell you." I snapped. "Ooh, she's fiery. Someone bring a measuring tape!" he called and bent down again, removing a dagger from his sheath. "Let's see how thick your armour is......" he placed the tip on the cloth covering my chest and slashed downwards. I held my breath. The cloth held without a single scratch. "What the......" the guy looked at his dagger. The blade had melted and I felt a tingling sensation in my chest. Great, it absorbs physical energy too!?

    "That was my favourite dagger!" the leader shouted. "I'll kill you for that!" he grabbed another dagger and threw it at my stomach. Again, it was absorbed. "THAT WAS MY SECOND FAVOURITE DAGGER!" the leader was getting more agitated by the second. He pulled back his fist, and punched me in the face. Something cracked. Not my head. The leader retracted his fist, blowing at his knuckles. "IS YOUR SKULL MADE OUT OF STEEL OR SOMETHING!?" he yelled in pain. At that moment, one of his cronies appeared with a measuring tape. The leader snatched it from him with his uninjured hand.

    "Take off your armour." the leader bent down to me again, cradling his injured fist. "I can't." I replied sharply. "Liar. I'll just have to take it offa you then." he grunted and grabbed the cloth covering my chest. Without knowing it, he had used his injured hand. He screamed and pulled back. "Tch, boss, you're week. Let me do it." one of his buddies laughed and grabbed it. I felt his fingers make contact with my chest. He smiled and pulled. What happened next left the other members of the gang's jaws hanging.

    The cloth came off easily as the guy pulled, presenting the others with a lovely view of my chest. I was totally surprised. The other whooped for a second and then the guy pulling my cloth got a shock. The cloth snapped back onto my armour with a ping sound, taking the guy with it. He flew straight into my chest and got stuck there, his head buried in my chest. "What the heck?" someone yelled and grabbed his leg, trying to pull him out. However, the armour was already tightening, and I knew what would happen before it did.

    My chest started to tingle again and the body of the guy was completely sucked into me. I was horrified. A blue spirit flew out of the body and hovered in the air beside the leader. "What...... I'm dead!?" the spirit gasped. "No way......" the leader was stunned. He suddenly noticed my chest growing and he pulled the measuring tape around my chest, ignoring the pain in his injured hand. "She's delicious...... 1.3 metres......" he licked his lips, forgetting about the dead guy. I quickly snapped the ropes binding my hands and punched the leader in the face. His face shot in and he was blown into a wall, decimating it. "She just......" one guy gasped. "I'll kill you for beating up the boss like that!" another guy roared. He grabbed me by my bikini and bashed my head into the wall repeatedly.

    "Oh, bad move, buster." I mumbled and kicked my legs free, landing a kick on something soft. "YEEOWW!!!!" the guy screamed and I felt something shoot out of my forehead. I wasn't in control of my body anymore...... My head bent down and my legs kicked against the wall, propelling me towards the guy. My head hit his stomach and I quickly closed my eyes, not a second too soon. Blood splattered onto my face and I got to my feet. At this point, I regained control and I put a hand to my forehead and felt around. There was a...... long white horn sprouting out...... and it was splattered with blood...... The last guy standing died of shock and collapsed to the ground.

    I ran into a bathroom and quickly washed my horn of blood. Suddenly, someone grabbed my bikini again. I whirled around to see the leader. He was flat-faced on the ground, probably dead. I bent down to check. He was dead all right, and he had managed to pull my bikini down before he died. His dead body shot up into my buttocks and the bikini was forced to extend its waistline few centimetres as my buttocks grew. More exposure. I groaned. Just before I left the bungalow, feeling positively spooked, my back tingled for a second and I looked around to see a long white dragonish tail growing out of my back.

    "What......" Alexis stared at me as I walked into the house. It was 6:30 a.m. and she was in the library, studying cookbooks. I grunted and walked upstairs. My tail dragged along behind me. I flopped onto the bed and lay there, face down in my pillow before I realized what I had done. There was a circular hole in the pillow now. Alexis walked into the room cautiously and caught me sobbing.

    Chapter 15: Cursed Armour

    I didn't leave the room for a week and Alexis had to bring my food up for me. I would occasionally tip my horn with a finger and start crying again. Every night, I left a few holes in my pillow and once Alexis woke up with my horn on her chest. After that night, I slept on the floor. "We need to find a way to get that off." Alexis complained one night after my horn pierced a hole in the wall. "I don't like it either." I grumbled. Mei Ling came up one night and tried to cut the horn off with a chainsaw. "No, don't!" I protested. The vibration shook me from head to toe, but there wasn't even a scratch on the horn. On the other hand, the chainsaw disintegrated. "That's one hard horn." she remarked, tapping the point. She withdrew her finger. "And sharp." she licked a small wound.

    My tail was also causing a few problems. Sometimes, while I was going through doors, the tail would slam against the frame and break it. Roy had to replace my bedroom door's frame 3 times already and he was getting annoyed. I tried to pull off the armour every day, but I always failed. I gave up after a week and sulked in a corner. Alexis tried to comfort me every now and then and once she even tried the Purge spell. However, the energy was absorbed into my chest again. My hair turned silver and grew so long it reached my foot. I groaned.

    "I give up!" Alexis groaned after that episode. I fingered my new hair timidly. It was silky smooth. When Lacus came up, she didn't even recognize me until Alexis told her. "Let me try Heal." she placed her hand on my chest and concentrated. I tried to stop her a second too late. My back armour plate was absorbed into my skin, leaving nothing but a string tying the cloth over my chest together. I couldn't untie the knot either. "Sorry, my bad." she scratched her head.

    I finally mustered the courage to go to the archery range to practice. Even so, I occasionally felt eyes boring into me. I tried to ignore them as much as possible. Alexis was looking through the library for anything that might be able to get my armour off me. Fruitless searches. Once, she turned up an enlarging spell that she thought might be able to get my armour large enough for me to slip it off, but it ended up melding my arm plates into my skin.

    Another one with a shrinking spell to turn me small enough to squeeze out of the armour turned the back of my bikini into a string, totally exposing my buttocks. The others were afraid to try anything else after that. I winced every time I sat down on the cold steel of the kitchen chairs and I tried to keep out of Lopez's eyesight, knowing full well that he would get a nosebleed.

    "I'M FED UP OF THIS STUPID ARMOUR!!!" I shouted, slamming my fist into a target in the storeroom. It disintegrated into dust. It was now a full 2 weeks since I first put on the armour. Every night, I shivered while I was sleeping, which made it almost impossible for me to fall asleep. I resorted to stargazing and one night I thought I saw a winged figure speeding through the air. I suddenly realized that my hair was emitting a faint white glow. I grabbed a fistful of it and pulled. It didn't come out.

    "Okok, I think I've found something." Alexis placed a spellbook in front of me. The page was open to an incinerator spell. "You sure? I don't want myself getting more exposed." I glanced at my own body. "It should work. The description here says it can burn through anything." she placed her hand on my chest. "I doubt it." I thought aloud. "The spell was the most powerful spell in the ancient times, probably way more ancient than the armour." she explained. "Oh all right......" I said sullenly. Alexis closed her eyes and began muttering an incantation. A few seconds later, my chest armour was inflamed. A tingling sensation shot through my chest and I pushed Alexis away. "It failed......" I stared at my leg plates. They had melded with my legs and the remaining parts of the armour were shining white. Also, two transparent wings had appeared on my back. "I don't think we should try anything else." Alexis shrank back. My fingernails extended by 3 centimetres and became pointed. "Agreed." I could only stare as my chest expanded again.

    I couldn't eat properly now due to my fingernails. Trying to clip them off only resulted in an additional 1 cm to my chest measurement and pale skin. I emitted a faint light aura no matter where I was. I tried using Strafe on some targets during archery practice. The target was completely pulverized by the first arrow and the second left a hole of a metre in radius on the ground while the other two pulverized a tree. I was stunned. A simple Strafe doing that much damage...... I felt a pair of eyes on me and whirled around in time to catch a leaf falling from a nearby tree. I ignored it and walked back into the house.

    "My name is Jakito, the White Demon. May I ask what your name is?" a strange figure was staring at me. I realized I was back to normal, and I was naked. "Jakito? That means...... the armour......" I gasped. "I had nothing to do with the armour, Torteliangra merely sealed me inside." it sighed. I realized that it had a single white horn protruding from its head and two transparent wings along with a white dragonish tail. "White demons are by far, the only peaceful family of demons. Because of that, the main families despise us and hunt us down. There are barely any of us left. I was thrown into your world a few thousand years ago and I seeked the Queen to shelter me. However, she flew into a shock when she saw me and attempted to cast a spell to banish me. The spell created a chain reaction with my demonhide cloak and caused me to meld with the Queen herself. My presence inside her caused her to hate me even more and I accidentally awoke her dark side." Jakito explained. "But the history in the book......" I thought back to the history page of the Inner Beast book. "A misunderstanding. The Queen transferred my spirit into the armour just before she died and caused words to be written with her magic, wrongly explaining me. I come in peace." Jakito smiled at me. "Then how do I get this armour off?" I asked. His face fell. "There is no way. The Queen enchanted her armour with a cursed spell. She would be immortal as long as she wore the armour, but the price was she would not be able to take it off." he grunted. I groaned. "The armour can never be destroyed, except if by an exceptionally powerful weapon. You still haven't told me your name, young one." he stared into my eyes. "Sorry, I'm...... Artemis." I replied. "I see. Well, Artemis. Your armour does not siphon the power from spells and kinetic contact directly to me. It is your power, and it is safe to charge yourself up like that without causing me to control your body." he grinned at me and disappeared with a 'poof'.

    I woke up with a start and stared at myself. My mind projected images of my normal skin for a second, then I was back to my cursed form. I sighed and got up. I couldn't move. I turned back and found my tail stuck in the wall. I grumbled and pulled it out, quickly patching up the hole with a little magic. Was that a dream? I flapped my wings and hovered down the stairs. I saw Lopez at the table and quickly covered myself. However, at a closer look, he appeared to be asleep. There was a small hole in his neck. Mei Ling, Roy and Lacus were also asleep at the table. Alexis was sleeping on the counter. Each one had small marks on their necks. I blinked and stared at the mark. The next thing I knew, a door opened under me and I fell into a steel cage. "What the!?" I punched a steel bar. It sparked slightly, but held.

    "Good work, Afro." a man's voice said. I fell silent. Afrodita walked out of the darkness, holding a syringe. A man turned his head towards me from her side. He was fat and short, and he was wearing a monocle. "I live to serve you, master." Afrodita knelt down before him. I was shocked. "The labs should be happy to see her." the fat guy grinned.

    Chapter 16: Total Evolution

    My cage was pulled through a dark tunnel for what seemed like an eternity. No matter how much I bashed the bars, they wouldn't fold. "Quit punching or I'll put you to sleep!" Afrodita pulled out another syringe from her jacket. I ignored her and continued punching. As expected, she flicked the syringe at me, landing a hit straight on my neck. My chest tingled and the cloth covering my chest assumed the perfect shape of my chest while the strings disappeared. "If I can't put you to sleep like that......" Afrodita slammed her fist into a button on top of the cage, releasing a strange gas into the cage. I stumbled. "Cyclopropane, sleeping gas." the fat guy explained. My vision blurred and I collapsed to the cold steel floor of the cage.

    Note: I got the sleeping gas name from Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony too.

    I woke up tightly strapped to a table. "No breaking out, I made the straps myself with nanotech. They're as strong as the steel bars on the cage." the fat guy grinned at me. "What do you wanna do to me!?" I demanded. "Oh, nothing really. I just need a sample of your DNA. It should work wonders on an average mapler." he pointed at Afrodita. She was asleep in a chair. My eyes widened in horror. Hey wait, this armour absorbs physical contact too! I don't have anything to worry about. "Sorry if I haven't told you my name. Hugo Fidelo. And you're in one of the most advanced buildings in the world. The Fidelo Needle."

    An hour later, after quite a few lost syringes......
    The armour had completely melded into my skin and I was naked on the table, grinning at the red face of Hugo Fidelo and his many scientists. "CAN'T YOU GET A HAIR SAMPLE!?" he was rather angry too. "We can't! Her hair is just too slippery to pull out!" a scientist replied hurriedly. "THEN SCRAPE HER TAIL!" "No can do, too slippery to get a grip." "THEN CLIP HER NAILS OR SOMETHING!" "Tried that, the clippers just seemed to meld with her fingernails......"

    While Hugo was bickering with his scientists, I felt a strange energy inside me. Jakito appeared in ethereal form in front of me. "What if someone sees you?" I hissed. "I am visible only to you. It would appear that you have 3 beings residing in your body by the way." he chuckled. What? 3 beings? "Oh yes. Your body has completely evolved. You can now use my abilities as well as the ones from the other two." he grinned and disappeared. I flexed my arm muscles. Sure enough, I felt stronger and faster. I tried to snap the straps, but they were still too strong.

    A sudden warmth fell over my heart and I quietened down. This was one energy I hadn't felt before...... "Hello, Jakito's magic seems to chain react with everything. He accidentally sealed me in when he entered your body." the Dark Dragon whispered. "Seems like that same chain reaction created a new Inner Beast too." it smiled. I felt like my entire body was on fire, yet I didn't feel any pain! "Meet the Phoenix." That was Jakito.

    "You can create a combination of elements using any pair of the three of us now." a soothing voice spoke in my mind. Probably the Phoenix. I concentrated on my right hand and it burst into flames. The straps burnt off easily and silently. Hugo didn't turn around. I used the same power to burn off the remaining straps and got up quietly. I sneaked up behind Hugo and clapped him on his temples lightly. He fainted and the scientists gasped. "I don't want to hurt you. Just show me the way out." I smiled at them. They nodded. "I'm not working with that bastard anymore!" one declared. They led me to an underground cavern and pointed me in the right direction.

    I thanked the scientists and took to a low hover, flitting through a dark tunnel, my horn emitting enough light for me to see. Even so, I bumped into stalactites every now and then. "This should help." the Phoenix lit a flame on the tip of my horn. I smiled and continued. How had they constructed a tunnel like this?

    Suddenly, I heard footsteps in front of me. I directed the light towards it and found Alexis running towards me. She stopped dead when she saw me though. "Where's your......" she stared at me. "Completely absorbed. I'm still in control though." I smiled at her. "How do I know it's the real you?" she blinked in the light. "It's her all right." the Dark Dragon said. Its voice echoed in the tunnel. "If it says its you, then I know it is." Alexis smiled and grabbed my hand.

    Suddenly, a red beam of light shot through the tunnel and hit me in the back. It was absorbed again, but I seemed to have done something wrong. My wings were vibrating violently. "That laser seems to have overloaded your energy. If you don't transfer to someone else fast, you're going to blow yourself up!" Jakito warned. Alexis's grip around my hand tightened and instinctively, my grip tightened too. Sparks of energy shot down my arm and into Alexis. She stared at my arm for a brief second and her armour pulsed.

    "We'd better get out of here!" Jakito yelled as more laser beams hit my back. The Dark Dragon looked to my back. "I can see words on those guns. RX-10 Laserlock rifles." it whispered to me. The description said it all. "Laser sniper rifles!" I grunted as another beam hit me. My wings began vibrating again. Alexis gladly allowed the extra energy to flow into her and her armour shedded a layer. "What the..." I looked at her. "When I was sucked into Torteliangra's body, the extra energy generated created the armour you were wearing earlier. It seems that the extra energy generated here is creating the same cycle." Jakito explained.

    "There's the house's exit. I marked it." Alexis called to me, pointing at a square hole in the ceiling of the tunnel. Another beam hit me and Alexis's armour seemed to become ethereal. She stared at herself as I flapped my wings and flew us through the hole. Just as I was halfway through, another laser beam hit my leg. Alexis's armour disappeared and she gasped. "I feel......" she collapsed to the ground, twitching. I slammed the trapdoor close and turned a table upside down, placing it over the trapdoor and sitting on it.

    Alexis was vibrating strangely. Gold-lined steel arm and leg plates were starting to form on her body out of nothing and a bikini appeared on her along with the cloth-and-steel top that used to cover me. Golden gloves appeared on her hands. She groaned and sat up, scratching her head. Her set of armour was completely new and had no writing or etches on it, just runes. "Now I know what it's like to be you." she tried to take off her top. "Weren't you supposed to be asleep?" I asked. "I was faking it. I felt Afrodita poke me with the syringe, but I didn't fall asleep. The others are still sleeping though." Alexis glanced at the sleeping Lopez.

    Now, I realized that I could put on my clothes like normal again and I gladly put on my Dark Linnex. The moment I put it on, it sparked slightly and turned into a Dark Lineros. I was surprised. "Girls should wear girls clothes now." Jakito smiled. Alexis was examining her new armour. "Do you think...... I'll grow stuff like yours?" she asked. "Yes, you will." Jakito replied. Alexis groaned. "If Lynx saw this, she'd go nuts." she grumbled.

    The others were still asleep when we went down. Alexis prodded Lopez with a finger. He didn't stir. I placed my hand on his heart and closed my eyes. "Analyze." I commanded. My hand emitted a golden light. "That's one strong sleeping concoction." I remarked, pulling my hand back. "They'll probably wake up in a week or so." I diagnosed. "A week!? How strong was that stuff?" Alexis was shocked. "Real strong." I mumbled. "Jakito, can you do anything about it?" "Nope. That's one exception to magical laws. No spell can wake up or put a person to sleep."

    Chapter 17: Duplicated Armour

    "How did Queen Torteliangra die anyway? I thought the wearer of the armour was immortal?" I asked Jakito. "She absorbed too much energy and overloaded herself." he replied. I stared at myself. "Her breaking point was much higher than yours." Jakito added. I fingered my horn gently and ran a finger through my silver hair. "Artemis!" Alexis called from upstairs. I ran up to see a horn growing out of her forehead! "What the!?" I stared at her. Already, she had a tail exactly like mine! "What did you do!?" I asked. "Nothing!" she answered, horrified. I stared at her chest. It was expanding all right. She ended up with silver hair and her transformation stopped there. Her armour was still normal. Now we really looked like twins!

    "But I didn't do anything!" Alexis sobbed. I patted her on the back and placed my hand on her chest, closing my eyes. "Analyze." I commanded. Golden light bathed my hand. "There's more water in there than normal......" I said. "Maybe the Siren?" Alexis raised an eyebrow. "I didn't do it." the Siren squeaked. Alexis's armour suddenly flashed and her armour completely melded into her skin. Transparent wings shot out of her back. "Whoa!" I gasped. "That fast!?" even Jakito was astonished. Alexis ran for her wardrobe and put on a new suit of armour. The top couldn't buckle together, her chest was too big! She was forced to leave it open.

    I spotted a black scaly claw reaching out of the hole. The claw groped around for a few seconds before a claw latched onto the top of her swimsuit! For some odd reason, she hadn't noticed it. Her swimsuit's top started to stretch. I quickly ran as fast as I could towards the claw. Running in water is hard and I soon exhausted myself, but I managed to grab the claw and I punched it as hard as I could. The claw shot back into the hole and Alexis's swimsuit snapped back into it's original state while the black hole disappeared into thin air, or rather water. "Weird, I feel a bit top-heavy." Alexis admitted as we got out of the water.

    I gasped. That claw was probably coated with magic from the dimensional jump and when her magic-tainted swimsuit snapped back to normal, it probably pushed some of the water into her chest too. I quickly told her about it. She folded her arms. "NOW you tell me about it." she pouted. "I thought you might get scared or something that time." I placed my hands on my hips.

    "Your armour bears the same enchantments as the one Artemis is wearing, so you are now also immortal." Jakito smiled. "I don't like this." Alexis sobbed gently. She grabbed a box and started whacking her horn. A few seconds of whacking her horn left her hands empty and a larger chest. "Is there a way to discharge extra energy other than transferring it to someone else?" I asked. "I remember Torteliangra using an artifact called the Akasha Charm." Jakito scratched his head. WHAT!? THE AKASHA CHARM!?

    "You have got to be kidding me." I stared at Alexis. She stared back at me. "Using the charm, the owner of the armour can store a significantly larger amount of energy in the stone itself. A Demon Stone can also suffice, but that's extremely dangerous." Jakito said thoughtfully. "The armour neutralizes the powers of the charm and turns it into a storage, so don't worry about accidentally sucking in people's souls." he smiled. "In fact, I can create one using the armour's energy." he added. The next thing I knew, there was a stone stuck on my chest and my chest had expanded again. "Sorry i didn't tell you earlier, I was panicking."

    "Wha?" Alexis stared at the stone. Sunlight reflected off it. "You'll need one too." Jakito made a stone appear on Alexis's hand. She quickly placed it on her chest. It gleamed in the sunlight. I suddenly felt tired. Some parts of my armour reappeared altogether and my wings vanished. I quickly slipped my Dark Lineros off as a metal plate with a cloth reappeared around my chest. and my bikini reappeared. "Creating those stones takes a lot of energy...... I almost depleted your supply..." Jakito was panting.

    Alexis still wasn't happy with her horn and tail. "I look hideous." she mumbled and slammed her head into a wall. She poked a hole in it and quickly fixed it. "Watch the horn." I warned, tipping my own. It wasn't shining as bright as it was earlier. I placed my index finger on the Akasha Charm on my chest. White smoke roiled around inside. I concentrated on it. My wings immediately sprouted out again and my armour disappeared. I quickly slipped on my Dark Lineros.

    The pool was refreshing after all that commotion and Alexis and me dived in. She was in her swimsuit and I had to borrow one of hers. Our tails helped to swim better and the horns illuminated the water ahead of us.

    Chapter 18: Reclamation

    Alexis and me took turns going out to shop. However, every time we went out, there would surely be eyes fixed on us. After a week or so, the others woke up. "What happened?" Lacus jerked awake and her eyes flitted around the room, eventually coming to rest on Alexis and me. "I'm seeing double......" she groaned and rubbed her eyes. "Nope, you're not. That's Alexis." I shook my head and pointed at Alexis. Mei Ling gasped. Roy and Lopez fell over in surprise.

    Roy stared at me, then at the Akasha Charm on my chest. "Must be working since my soul isn't flying into you now." he scratched his head. "I saw Afrodita in there." I told Alexis. "Knew it." she grunted. "I wonder if anyone's sent me any email?" I quickly flipped my laptop open and checked my email. There were a few ones, but there was one that intrigued me the most, Jubrenan University's E-Mag. The campus had a e-magazine corner. I checked it. The contents gave me a shock and I pulled Alexis to the screen.

    Ancient Artifacts Discovered

    Earlier today, members of the photography club stumbled upon a strange bow and a golden sword in the school grounds. The bow's hilt was black-coloured and had a red-eyed dragon's head carved on it. The limbs were white. The sword, on the other hand, had a golden blade and a silver hilt. These artifacts have been moved to the Archeology Club's safe for safekeeping until experts can come to examine them. Carbon-dating is expected to be used.

    Written by Jullian
    Right below the article was a picture of the Archaeion and Alexis's sword side by side! We gasped. "Going back now?" Lacus folded her arms. "We don't have a choice. Once that gets moved to government labs, we'll have no chance to get them back." I closed my eyes. The maple necklace around my neck shone briefly. "Everyone, stay here and wait for us to come back." Alexis nodded to the others as a black hole appeared in the air. I hopped in. Alexis followed swiftly. "You know we'll draw attention like this!" she hissed. "I don't want to draw attention either." I rolled my eyes. "But it's not like we have a choice."

    Lucky for us, we landed in a storeroom, unseen. Alexis was rubbing her buttocks gingerly. "I think I landed on something......" she looked down. The mangled remains of a broom lay on the ground. "Am I that heavy?" she thought aloud. I ignored her and took a quick peek out. We were in one of the main corridors, which was bad because we couldn't get out without being seen. Students were ambling up and down the corridor, some chatting.

    "I need to be invisible." I thought. "Invisibility is no problem." the Dark Dragon winked. My body fizzled for a second, but nothing happened. "No problem?" I raised an eyebrow. "Some skills won't work in your world." the Phoenix explained. "Like Dark Sight." I grunted.

    Suddenly, someone outside the door said, "I think I heard voices in here." and the door opened, revealing the two of us. "Ah well, so much for stealth." I waved at the three surprised girls, grabbed Alexis's hand and sprinted down the corridor. "Who was that?" someone asked. "Probably some people dressing up as weird...... fairies or something." another someone replied. I was tempted to punch him in the face. Eyes flicked onto us as we wove and ducked through the traffic, moving towards the Archeology Club.

    I opened the door, let Alexis in and slammed the door shut. The room was empty, save for a single snoring student sitting beside a large safe. "Burn through it? Piece of cake." the Dark Dragon snorted, having read my mind and I pointed my index finger at the safe. A small pillar of dark red fire shot out, slowly cutting through the safe. However, doing this managed to trip the fire alarm. Students began to scream and shout and run away from the room. "Hurry!" Alexis called to me. I glanced out the window. Some students had spotted me cutting through the safe and were trying to bash the door open. I wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead with my free hand.

    I burnt a circle of steel out of the safe and stared in. Glowing inside, were the Archaeion and Alexis's sword. Just as I reached in to pull both weapons out, the door burst open. 10 armed security guards stood in the door, gaping at me. One was keeping his nerve, or maybe not. He was aiming his gun at me, but his hands were shaking. "Freeze!" another one barged in. They all regained their senses and pulled their triggers. Darts flew out of their pistols. I tossed Alexis's sword to her and twanged the bowstring of the Archaeion ten times in rapid succession. Soul arrows flew out and sliced the darts perfectly in half and impaled the guards in their gun hands.

    Alexis's PoV......
    Artemis tossed my sword to me and disarmed the security guards. One daredevil, who had hidden behind the group, suddenly appeared with a significantly larger gun. "Eat this!" he shouted and pulled the trigger. A big dart launched from the barrel and flew towards Artemis so fast she didn't have time to knock it out of the sky. It landed in Artemis's loading arm and her arm fell, limp, to her side. Even so, she wasn't about to give up. She launched herself towards the guards and whacked them on their heads. I grinned as the guards toppled one by one, until the Archaeion bounced off a helmeted head. That particular guard was the one who had shot Artemis earlier. Smart guy.

    He had a smug look on his face, but it wasn't quite so smug after Artemis recoiled her fist and punched him in the face. "I just put them to sleep for a while." she stood in front of a row of unconscious guards. "Ah, the Jikyeon Sword. I never thought I'd see it again." Jakito remarked. "What, this sword?" I looked at my sword. Artemis's head nodded. "Cut the chatter short, we need to get back!" the Siren barked as a wave of students swarmed into the office. They were holding anything they would use as a weapon, some wielding brooms, some dustpans, some hammers.

    "I don't want to hurt them." Artemis relaxed and closed her eyes. "But we do! CHARGE!" a student shouted. Artemis opened her right eye and looked at me. "Get back." the message was obvious. I stepped onto the broken safe. She slammed the Archaeion into the ground. A sonic shockwave shot out of the ground and flung the mob of students backwards. They were clutching their ears and spitting broken teeth from gums in a second. "Sorry." Artemis called and grabbed my hand, pulling me out of the room. The sonicboom had shattered the windows and knocked people off their feet. Some were still on their feet though, including a dangerous-looking Arno blocking the doorway.

    "No way you're getting away with those! The bow is mine!" Arno lunged for the Archaeion. Artemis bashed him on the head with it, but he still got up. I tried whacking his buttocks with the flat edge of my sword. He flew into the wall, leaving a small crater, yet he STILL got up. Whats up with this guy!? Is he on steroids or something? Arno spat blood and ran for Artemis's neck. She jumped to dodge the supposed blow, but Arno ended up wrapping a large arm around her waist. "Argh!" Artemis grunted as Arno squeezed menacingly. "This actually...... hurts......" something cracked.

    "NO!!!" I shouted and punched Arno in the face. He didn't flinch. "What the......" I gasped and grabbed his face. A mask came off. Saevio was smiling. "Took you a while to realize it was me." his smile widened as another crack came from Artemis. He was snapping her bones! "Argh...... Alexis......" Artemis reached a hand towards me weakly. "I thought you were Arno, so I went easy on you. Now I know you're not." I primed the Jikyeon Sword and sliced Saevio's arms off. Sickly blood flowed out and his severed hands relinquished their grip on Artemis. She fell to the ground, coughing blood. There were two bumps on her stomach, probably broken bones. "This body is too weak for me." Saevio mumbled as his arms began to...... regrow!

    "Get us out of here!" I yelled. Artemis wasn't doing too well though. She appeared to have fainted. "Crap..." I swore, put her on my shoulder and ran out the window, strapping the Jikyeon Sword to a niche on the back of my armour on the way after stowing Artemis's Archaeion in her Dark Lineros. Once out, I took to the air and landed on the rounded roof of the archery hall to put Artemis down safely. One of the broken bones had actually punched through her skin and the wound was bleeding deeply. I could even see part of her insides! "Eww." I winced.

    "That man...... his strength is incredible......" Jakito said weakly. "He's done so much damage I can't heal it all on my own with the energy I have now!" he panted. Great, now we'd have to stay in this world for a while. I placed my hand on the bone that was poking out, focusing energy into it. Her bones bent back into place and I heard a crack as they reconnected. There was a deep red welt in her skin where Arno had almost snapped her in half. That would take a while to fix.

    Artemis came to, groaning and clutching her waist. "Welcome back." I smiled at her. She quickly got up, but went down again with a stifled scream. "Don't get up, Arno almost snapped you in half." I pointed at her waist. "We need...... to go back..." she croaked. "I know. But you need to heal first." I insisted. "I put us down on the archery hall's roof for a while." I said. Artemis looked down and froze. "Archery hall?" she asked. "Yeah." I replied. "There's a staircase that goes up to the roof." Artemis was shocked. The effects of the dart that had hit her loading arm was gone now and she crawled over to the center of the roof. "We need to go." she grabbed my arm and tried to stand up.

    I looked down where Artemis had been looking and was horrified to see Arno, or rather Saevio leading a large group of guards up the staircase. He had put his Arno mask back on. When I saw the artillery cradled in the guards elbows I was even more shocked. They were equipped with sniper rifles! I quickly grabbed Artemis and flew down to the nearby forest. Even before I got there, there were darts whistling through the air. Most of them bounced off my armour, but some hit areas with cloth connections, like my legs. They were absorbed into me and I winced as the front of my armour creaked open a few centimetres.

    One of the darts managed to hit Artemis's shoulder. One of the buttons on her Dark Lineros flew off and I could see her chest. "The armour will only start transferring energy into the Akasha Charm when it's capacity reaches its limit, so expect a bit of chest-growing." Jakito grunted as another dart hit Artemis's leg. We finally landed under a tree to find two students smoking. Juvenile gangsters. I don't like gangsters. "Hey there, gorgeous." one of them advanced towards me, stubbing out a cigarette on the ground. I sent a kick flying into his stomach. He flew back and snapped a tree in half. His friend shared the same fate and we continued forward. The darts had stopped, but I was sure Saevio and his team of snipers weren't going to give up easily. They would have advanced into the forest to chase us.

    I made fake tracks leading into a cave and walked back in my footsteps, ducking into the forest. A classic decoy trick. I laid Artemis on the ground and watched silently. Saevio did not appear to be foolish enough to fall for it. Some of his men started to search the surrounding area while two went into the cave. "Shyt." Artemis swore. We ducked low in a bush as one of the men passed by us and crawled to another bush. Too late. Two darts flew out of nowhere and landed in Artemis's neck and also mine. They were both absorbed. We ran for it.

    I hoped that Saevio would think of the lake since I WAS the Siren, I could breathe underwater. Sure enough, he did. We went back into the cave from earlier and went in deep. Artemis was panting slightly as I laid her down on the ground. There was a stinky smell in the air. The sky was getting dark. "How long will it take to heal?" I asked. "I don't know." Artemis replied, but the Phoenix answered, "2 hours." "That fast?" I was surprised. "Jakito is a white demon, and white demons specialize in healing magic." the Phoenix explained. "One thing, I don't suggest you light up the ceiling." the Dark Dragon suddenly said, which of course, had me looking up at the ceiling.

    Bats were hanging upside-down on the ceiling of the cave. I stifled a scream and turned to the floor on which I was sitting. I had narrowly avoided sitting on bat droppings, but Artemis was lying on a whole pile of them. "No wonder I felt something soft under me." she groaned.

    Chapter 19: Recovery

    Alexis dragged me to another part of the cave without bat droppings, wincing each time her foot sank into a pile. "I stink." Alexis complained. "I stink even more." I rubbed my back. The welt in my skin was hurting real bad. How did Saevio get into this world anyway!? I glanced at my chest. The last escapade was stretching my Dark Lineros to breaking point and I quickly unbuttoned the area above the part with the missing button. The top part slid open. Alexis unbuttoned the area at the waist to check on the welt.

    "Looks a bit better." she remarked and buttoned my Dark Lineros shut. "I hope we don't have to stay here for long, I think I can hear footsteps." I mumbled. Alexis immediately whirled around. There was a man walking around outside. He was one of the guards that was with Saevio! Luckily, he hadn't seen us and we stayed silent. A dart suddenly shot out of the barrel of his gun and into my chest. "Whoops, forgot to switch on the safety." the guy mumbled as Alexis closed her hand around my mouth.

    We heaved a sigh of relief when the guy left. Another button popped off on my Dark Lineros when I breathed. I groaned. "Another hour and your wound should be healed." Jakito remarked. That got my hopes up and I waited patiently. A roar suddenly echoed through the night sky. "What was that?" Alexis whispered. The bats suddenly flew out into the sky, probably shaken awake by the roar. Alexis gripped her Jikyeon Sword tighter.

    Right now, it was raining and the rain was somehow trickling into the cave. I blinked as a drop landed on the bridge of my nose. A few minutes later, the cave was submerged to waist height. "This cave can flood!?" I was shocked. Alexis wouldn't have a problem, she was the Siren after all, but I would be in trouble. I shook water out of my silvery hair and crawled to the cave entrance to peek out. A deluge instantly crashed onto me and I withdrew back into the cave, spluttering. I was soaked, and so was Alexis.

    I tried flapping my wings, but they were too wet and heavy. They stuck to the back of my Dark Lineros like glue. Alexis was pacing up and down. Jakito was humming a song in my head, and it was rather annoying too. "Sorry." he quietened down, having heard my thoughts.

    Finally, my waist felt better and I could stand up again. A second later, I stumbled and fell onto the ground. Alexis propped me up. "Can you cast the spell now?" Alexis asked. I nodded and held out my right hand, gripping my necklace with my left hand. A swirling dark portal appeared in the air. Alexis propped me in. We tumbled out at the other end at a construction site in Kerning, right beside a bunch of people huddling under a wooden board propped up by a few girders. "Hello." I nodded and walked off with Alexis. They were too surprised to do anything. It was also raining now.

    Sure enough, the others were waiting anxiously for us to return. Lacus gasped when she saw me being propped up by Alexis. "What happened to you?" she asked us. We were too tired and drenched. Roy carried us to our room and laid us down on our bed. We fell asleep instantly.

    We woke up the next morning in pajamas. Our tops were just...... left open though. Alexis tried to button hers up, and failed. When Roy came up with a tray of breakfast, I demanded, "Who undressed us?" "I did." he grinned. Alexis punched him in the face. "I was just kidding! Lacus did." he grunted, rubbing his nose. I looked down at myself and found that I was wearing a black bra. "I don't wear these." I grumbled.

    Lacus and Mei Ling were giggling when we got down. "You know I'm a boy!" I protested. "But you're in a girl's body!" Lacus laughed. "Haha. Very funny." I said sarcastically and went to the archery range, clutching the Archaeion. I walked a step or two before collapsing to the ground though. I guess my wound wasn't fully healed yet...... Roy carried me back to bed.

    I buttoned up the front of my Dark Lineros as far as I could. I made a mental note to extend the front. My horn was shining like normal again and Alexis was sitting beside me. The front of her armour was also open. She caught me staring at her chest. "I know you're thinking the same thing as me." she grunted. I nodded. She flitted her wings and sprayed water on herself. "Doesn't seem like they dry easily." I remarked, looking at my own wings. I felt them with one hand. They were dripping wet.

    Alexis tried to tie her hair in a ponytail, but the hairclip slid off. "Jakito, can't you make the horns disappear?" I fingered my horn. "Nope." he shook his head. "Didn't you say something destructive enough would be able to destroy the armour?" I asked, staring at the Archaeion and the Jikyeon Sword. "Yes, I did, but now you're wearing the Akasha Charms, you will instantly lose control over your bodies if you destroy them now." Jakito replied.

    "You were once a male?" Jakito asked me. "Yeah. Long story though." I sighed. He took a quick peek into my memories. "I see. The armour will only show its full potential to someone is female by both body and heart." Jakito said. "No thanks." I quickly declined.

    Chapter 20: Rescue Team

    I carved an extra cave in the wall around the swimming pool with a few Arrow Bombs and set to work smoothening the rugged edges. It was tiring work, but we would have a place to put all the gym equipment left in the storeroom. "Sometimes, we might wanna work out a bit." Roy grinned, chipping at a jutting piece of rock with an Ilbi.

    We would also need to find jobs to keep our income up. The mesos Roy had saved up over the years from hunting was almost gone now. Alexis and me refused to go out, since it would mean more people staring at us, so Mei Ling went and got herself a job as a teacher at an Ellinia wizarding school. Roy decided to become a mercenary. Lopez and Lacus were still finding jobs.

    One day, Roy came back frowning. "Someone just hired me to break a friend of his out of the Fidelo Corporation." he explained over dinner. Alexis spat some water she was drinking out and my jaw dropped. "I know from you guys that the place is a fortress, so I'm going to have to ask for your help on this. We have to save a guy called Sevin. My client says he has......" Roy consulted a piece of paper. "Angel-like wings. The reward for the job is 10 million mesos." he added. I nearly fell out of my chair. "10 million for one person!? I wonder if the Fidelos sealed the access tunnel." I quickly hopped into the trapdoor under the kitchen table. Sure enough, the tunnel was blocked with a steel wall.

    "I don't wanna go back in there again, but this is for everyone..." Alexis groaned. She was cutting a hole through the steel wall with the Jikyeon Sword. The metal folded easily to her touch and we stepped through the hole to find...... "Another steel wall." I breathed. We cut through that one too.

    After we cut through a dozen steel walls or so, we finally found the trapdoor leading into the Fidelo Needle and tried to open it. There seemed to be something heavy sitting on the door though. Alexis stuck her sword up through it and heard a sickening noise, followed by something breaking. She withdrew the sword, covered with blood. "I think we accidentally killed someone." she remarked, wrinkling her nose and tapping the sword on the walls. I kicked the trapdoor and it flung open. We climbed into it.

    There was a dead body lying on the ground and a chair lying askew close by. The chair had a sword-shaped hole in the seat. A sandwich and a mug that was in pieces lay on the ground. "Probably sneaking a coffee break. Sorry." I mumbled as I stepped over the corpse. We headed up a nearby staircase and fell back as a pair of guards walked past. "Dark Sight." Roy whispered and when we turned to look at him, he was half-invisible. Alexis and me followed suit. Our horns did not disappear though. "Just hope no ones sees disembodied horns floating through the air." Jakito remarked.

    We stepped into the corridor and sneaked around the place in a group. Eventually, we found an elevator. Lucky for us, it was empty. We checked the lift buttons. "That guy should have been taken to the R&D Department." I murmured and pushed the corresponding button. "They wanted my DNA when they first got me." I explained. However, the lift stopped before the right floor and a few guards walked in. We quickly went silent and flattened ourselves against the elevator walls.. "Hey Chix, how was that show last night?" one asked the other. "It was pretty good! Lotsa hot girls!" the other one giggled. I spotted Alexis clenching her fist. The lift started up again and stopped at the next floor. Four people got in. They hit it off with the first two and started chatting up a storm. I stared at the elevator info. Maximum 10 passengers. 9 were in here right now. If more people got in, our cover would be blown.

    Luck did not favour us. Two people got on the elevator at the next floor and a beeping sound came from the control panel. One smart guy looked up at the info. "10 max...... but there's only 8 people in here now!" he exclaimed. Someone else said, "Is someone invisible here?" and started staring around. Suddenly, he spotted our horns. "Shyt." I swore under my breath. "Hey guys, are you seeing two horns floating in the air?" the first guy rubbed his eyes and pointed. Someone grabbed my horn. "It's real all right. Is someone invisible here?" that guy said and groped around under my horn. His fingers latched onto my chest. "Hey, yeah!" he picked me up and flung me into Alexis and Roy, probably unintentionally. Nevertheless, Dark Sight was extinguished.

    "Hello." Alexis said timidly. The people in the lift stared at us. "INTRUDERS! SOUND THE ALARM!" one guy yelled. His index finger moved towards a red button on the control panel...... I jumped into the air and slammed my foot down on his head. He fell to the ground. Roy instantly hopped around to their backs and silently jabbed a weak point at the base of their skulls. Everyone collapsed. "Nice boobs." someone groaned before he collapsed. Alexis kicked him in the face. We quickly shoved a few people out of the elevator and activated Dark Sight again.

    Chapter 21: Progression

    We waited beside the elevator doors as it opened at the R&D Department's floor and swept out. A dozen small lasers positioned at various points on the wall immediately hit me and I ducked back in with a tingling chest. "Nice defenses." Roy remarked and threw an Ilbi into the corridor. It was instantly vaporized. "I don't see any way past them." Alexis peered into the corridor and ducked to avoid a laser beam.

    "Roy, stay behind us." I suddenly thought of a way. Alexis stared at me, then nodded. We charged into the corridor with Roy following us. The turrets started firing again, but they seemed to focus on the person that was closer to the end. I ran for the door, my armour absorbing laser bursts as I ran. I kicked open the door and I shoved Roy and Alexis in before going in myself.

    This room felt really hot. The reason, twelve walls of fire blocking the corridor, fuelled by vicious flamethrowers on either side. I realized that we would have to shield Roy again. He threw an Ilbi into a flamethrower, but it rebounded off and stuck itself in the ceiling. "Armoured." he breathed.

    Alexis took one look at the flamethrowers, closed her eyes and held her palm up. A rushing wave of water shot from her palm and flowed through the corridor, disappearing right at the end. "Too easy." she grinned at us. The flamethrowers had short-circuited and couldn't be used anymore. We continued on through the next door.

    We never expected what was waiting for us at the next door. As we ran through, my foot sank into something like a sponge and the next thing I knew, a laser cage dropped from the ceiling. Alexis and Roy had gotten through safely though. "Artemis!" Alexis yelled, taking a step towards me. Her foot hovered over an abnormal pad. "Stop! Just go on! I'll find a way out!" I shouted. She hesitated for a second and then turned around. She flapped her wings gently and took to a low hover. Roy hopped from floor to wall and ran there using Haste, occasionally hopping to the ceiling.

    "Use your mental powers." the Phoenix suggested. "How?" I asked. "Just concentrate on the spot in front of that door." it turned my head towards a door at the end of the corridor. Roy and Alexis were halfway there. I closed my eyes and focused on that spot. "Now, try to imagine your body is in that space and turn on the spot." the Phoenix urged. I did it and a blue light bathed me. "Congratulations, you've just Teleported." Jakito grinned. Roy and Alexis sure were surprised when I appeared in front of them.

    Alexis tried to Teleport the way I did, and she did it. She spent the next few seconds teleporting around the next room, which was filled with laser trip beams. Roy had no trouble navigating through either. His Haste did the work for him. I simply Teleported across the room, but I narrowly missed a beam that seared my buttocks.

    The next room was total craziness. Spikes popped up through the floor at random intervals. Each spike was as tall as the ceiling! When I tried to Teleport, I ended up back where I started. "Something's interfering with the spell." the Phoenix mused. Flying wouldn't work either, the spikes reached the ceiling. Alexis's Tsunami wave didn't do anything and a burst of fire from my mouth rebounded off the nearest spike and dissipated into the walls.

    Roy dodged, rolled and jinked to avoid the spikes. Once, a spike nicked an Ilbi on his belt and another came very close to his foot. Alexis tripped over a spike that just came up from the ground and the next spike hit her back. The spike was absorbed, leaving only a blunt base that could do nothing. She eased up and just simply walked through them, letting her armour absorb the spikes. "They're gonna get a surprise when they see this room." I chuckled as I just stepped over the blunt bases.

    The next room was another laser web. This time, there were no blank areas large enough for any of us to move through. There also seemed to be another teleport jammer in this room too. "The difficulty of these rooms seem like the guy's daring anyone to try it out!" Roy remarked. Alexis launched another Tsunami at the room, but the water just evaporated when it touched the lasers. I tried sticking my horn into a beam. Part of the beam bounced off, but my chest grew again. Right now, my Dark Lineros could barely cover my chest. Alexis's armour was also stretched to breaking point.

    Chapter 22: Rescue

    "Roy, I think you'll have to stay behind here." I nodded to Roy and stepped through the laser webs. They hurt slightly as I passed through, absorbing them. Alexis followed and we soon reached the other end of the room. I opened the door and the laser web deactivated. Roy ran through. "I guess the electrical wiring was in the door." he remarked, checking the side of the door.

    That was the last room. When we stepped through, we were in an expansive room that occupied at least 3 floors. A central shaft ran up through the middle of the massive room, probably the elevator. Two guards were staring at us. We knocked both unconscious and fanned out to search the room. Most of the people were were too busy staring into computer screens to notice us sneaking past. Roy gave a light chuckle.

    There was a box of steel welded into a corner of the room. It had laser barred windows and a laser barred door. A sleeping guard was lying beside it. A light crying sound came from inside the box. Roy silently and deftly pickpocketed the guard's keys and we peeked into the box. A teenage boy with angel-like wings was inside. He looked up as we approached and he shrank back. "GET AWAY FROM ME!!!" he screamed. The people in the room instantly turned around to look at us. Someone dropped his glasses. "Great. We come to break you out and this is what we get." Roy grumbled as he unlocked the door. A klaxon sounded and armed guards ran into the room. The teenager walked out, surprised. "Who're you? Why are you here?" he asked. "I'm Roy, she's Artemis and that's Alexis. We're here to break you out." Roy smiled at him. "Oh. Where are you taking me?" Sevin asked again. "Not now!" Roy pushed him to the floor as a flock of bullets came sailing towards us.

    I quickly retrieved the Archaeion from my quiver on my back while Alexis unsheathed the Jikyeon Sword. "Strafe!" I yelled, twanging the bowstring four times. I socked four guards at once as Alexis charged towards them, planted her feet and pirouetted. She spun around in a circle on the spot, grasping her sword tight. That move managed to knock a guard's gun out of his hand and slit another's throat.

    "Nice!" Sevin laughed. "What job are you?" Roy asked, jumping into the air and throwing a huge throwing star at a group of guards. Most were decapitated. "Hunter." Sevin replied. I reached a hand into my quiver, dragged out a Red Viper and threw it to him. "Use it!" I shouted. He nodded and flapped his wings, soaring into the air. He closed his eyes and seemed to concentrate. "Strafe!" he shouted, opening his eyes a second later and launching four arrows at a guard. One impaled his heart, another shot through his leg and two whizzed past his head and hit another guard behind him in the legs.

    "Sorry, I'm not that accurate." Sevin scratched his head. "Oh, it's...... ARGH!" Someone had ducked under my guard and stabbed me in the stomach. Roy yelled. The dagger was absorbed into myself. "Wha? What the heck are you!?" I looked down to see an astonished Bandit with his hand in front of my stomach. I launched my foot upwards and kicked him hard, but he disappeared just as my foot hit him and reappeared behind me. "Too slow!" he yelled and stabbed my back with another dagger. Again, it was absorbed. "You gotta be kidding me." the Bandit groaned and disappeared again.

    Alexis was plowing through guards like a bowling ball and a group of bowling pins. Her sword shot left and right so fast it left images where it previously was. The Bandit suddenly appeared behind her and punched her in the stomach, disappearing again. She coughed slightly and turned around. Another punch, this time in the head. I launched an Inferno towards her before I knew what I was doing.

    The flaming arrow soared through the air towards Alexis and her eyes widened in horror as she saw it. She bounced the arrow off to the ground with her sword and glared at me. "Sorry! I wanted to hit the Bandit!" I hurriedly apologized, bashing a guard on the head. Her frown turned upside down and she tripped the Bandit neatly with a foot. "Ow." he said in disbelief, struggling to his feet. Alexis tripped him again and ran off. Sevin saw me using Inferno and he closed his eyes again. The next second, he had blown a group of guards apart with an Inferno. How could a Hunter pull off Ranger skills? Then again, I had done the same in my past life.

    A missed Inferno from my Archaeion blasted a hole in the side of the building. The air rushed out through the hole, blowing some guards out. The scientists had mostly run for cover now though. "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?" Roy looked at me. "Alexis, Sevin, let's go!" I shouted to Alexis. Sevin descended to the ground and followed us. Alexis kicked a guard into a wall and then ran after us. I flapped my wings violently and lifted off the ground. Sevin and Alexis followed suit while Roy ran down the side of the building with Haste, giving us two thumbs up. "How do you know my name?" Sevin asked as we decreased altitude slowly. I heard a dull thump from the ground. "Roy?" I swooped down. My horn broke the wind neatly as I flew. Roy was face-down in the dirt on the ground, and he appeared to have blacked out. His nose was bleeding.

    Our troubles weren't over yet! A hailstorm of bullets cascaded around us as we ran for cover. A few guards were also on the ground, bleeding severely. There was even a severed hand on the ground! "Where are you taking me again?" Sevin asked, eager to catch up. "To safety." I replied. I was carrying Roy while Alexis guided Sevin. A bullet smashed into my leg and was absorbed. "Why do you have horns and wings?" Sevin asked again.

    The bullet storm stopped after quite a while. We eventually reached the house, tired and panting. I walked into the house and put the injured Roy on a sofa, placing my hand on his broken nose. "Heal." I breathed. His nose mended itself and stopped bleeding. Lacus and Lopez ran down and stopped when they saw Sevin. "Who's he?" Lopez asked. "Who're you?" Sevin asked back.

    "Mei Ling isn't back yet. Said she had some sort of meeting." Lacus said. Sevin was running around the house, rapid-firing questions at us. Alexis and me retreated to the swimming pool for a quick and refreshing bath. Lacus followed. "You scared me with that Inferno back there." Alexis said. "Really, I'm sorry." I replied. "Apology accepted." Alexis grinned at me. Lacus looked at our clothes. "You need front extensions." she remarked. "I know." I replied. Suddenly, Alexis's wings began to vibrate. "Huh?" she craned her head around to look. The Akasha Charm on her chest appeared to have a small hole in it! "Bullet." I realized. "Quick! Make another one for her!" I shouted at Jakito just as her Charm shattered.

    "I can't! It's too late! She'll have to transfer to someone else!" Jakito snapped. Lacus stared at Alexis's wings. "I can't force you to do it." Alexis turned to her. "Can't you transfer into me?" I asked. "Impossible. A person wearing that armour cannot transfer extra powers to someone who is already wearing one as well." Jakito sighed. Alexis's wings were vibrating faster now. The vibration was already spreading to her body. Lacus quickly grabbed Alexis's hand and nodded. "Do I have a choice? You can't die now, you two need to beat that Saevio guy." she smiled. Streams of white energy flowed through Alexis's arm and into Lacus. Her body vibrated for a few seconds, then her Dark Requirre seemed to fade away. It stopped mid-fade. "Huh?" Lacus looked at herself. Alexis's wings weren't vibrating anymore, and the armour hadn't appeared on Lacus.

    "I forgot. Magicians can handle magic much better than the other 3 classes, hence they do not need the armour to conduct their powers for them. Transferring powers to Magicians will cause that Magician's power to increase." Jakito explained. Lacus heaved a sigh of relief. "The energy flowing through the armour is white magic, so it will benefit Clerics, Priests and Bishops more." Jakito added.

    Chapter 23: Some Fixing Up

    After a refreshing swim, and a bit of a ruckus about swimming naked since our swimsuits were too small, we checked the MapleNet website on my laptop again. I found out that our levels had increased quite a bit. Sevin's info showed up when I ran a search on him. A search on Xorten turned up nothing, but I found his info on the Universal Rankings. Sevin stayed for dinner, then Roy called his friend to come and pick him up. He waved at us as he left.

    Ivan - Level 105 Ranger
    Alexis - Level 103 Crusadress
    Roy - Level 97 Hermit
    Lacus - Level 101 Priest
    Lopez - Level 78 Sniper
    Mei Ling - Level 71 F/P Mage
    Sevin - Level 30 Hunter

    Xorten - Level 50 Hunter

    Seemed like Mei Ling hadn't been training much. Not much of a surprise really, Lacus explained she was pretty much a pacifist by nature. She wouldn't even kill an Orange Mushroom if it was in her face! The armour appeared to have given our levels a boost too, and Roy's job as a mercenary was racking up his experience. Lacus probably got her level boost from Alexis's released power. A Level 30 Hunter using Strafe and Inferno? Just what is Sevin?

    The website had also added a news section to it since we last checked it. A title stood out from the others. It was flashing and coloured dots were orbiting it. That one detailed an explosion from the Fidelo Needle, but when I pressed the refresh button, it was gone. "Huh?" Roy hobbled over. His leg had broken when he fell from the Fidelo Needle's wall and it was bandaged neatly by Lacus.

    "Hurricane!" I yelled, twanging the bowstring rapidly. A few arrows shot out, flickered briefly, and disappeared before they hit the target. "Don't try fourth job skills when you're a third jobber. Our powers need a bit of your own powers to spark, unless in extreme need." Jakito said. "But I managed to use Sharp Eyes and Hurricane while beating Saevio the first time!" I protested. "That scenario was different. You had used the sacrificing spell and you were basically one with me." the Dark Dragon interjected.

    Mei Ling got home almost at midnight. Her Red Anakarune was slightly askew. She caught me looking at her. "Rapers. I Teleported away before they could catch me, but one of them threw something at me and managed to cut my leg." she showed us a small gash on her leg. "You need to be careful at night." Lacus told her, placing her hand on the gash. Green light bathed the wound and it was healed instantly. "I know, I know." Mei Ling groaned.

    Alexis, Lacus and me stayed awake for a while to extend the front of our clothes. Lacus was quite deft with a needle and quickly extended the front of my Dark Lineros enough to cover my chest. Alexis's armour was patched up at the front with a piece of cloth temporarily until we could find a sheet of metal.

    The next morning, we woke up late and hurried down to find breakfast already over. Roy was smiling at us, two packages on the dining table. "What's that?" I asked. His smile widened and he ripped the packages off. A hat and a helmet sat on the table. "Is that a Dark Patriot for me?" I stared at the hat in disbelief. "Is that Mithril Planet mine?" Alexis was staring at the helmet. Roy nodded. Alexis quickly put the helmet on her head. It slotted comfortably over her cranium. Her horn was untouched by the helmet. I put the Dark Patriot on my head. A comfortable fit that also allowed room for my horn. Roy grinned. "I like it!" Lopez smacked me on the back. I stumbled forward a step.

    "I also bought new hats for Lacus, Mei Ling and Lopez." Roy grabbed more packages from a bag, opening them. Lacus received a Dark Seraphis that matched her Dark Requirre perfectly. Mei Ling liked her Red Seraphis immensely while Lopez almost drooled on a White Polyfeather Hat. "Matches my Red Anakarune, dontcha think?" Mei Ling gave a little twirl.

    Chapter 24: Abduction

    "Should I bunch up my hair inside my helmet or just let it out?" Alexis asked, fingering her silver hair gently. "Maybe you should let it out. It looks nicer that way." I replied. "Really?" Alexis checked a mirror. "Why are we even bothering about looks if we don't go out anyway?" I sighed. "Good point. I think I'll let it out." Alexis shrugged. Right now, I was wearing a white tank-top coupled with a black skirt. Alexis was wearing a pale blue dress.

    The house was rather quiet today. Lacus and Lopez were out shopping while Roy and Mei Ling were working. Roy was recently hired to guard someone on the Orbis ship, and probably would not be back until tomorrow. "Lacus shouldn't have fixed the bra on me." I grumbled. A tag on the bra read Sticky Elastic Inflatable Joke Bra. "Which idiotic pervert manufactures these anyway!? I can't get it off!" I tugged at it. It stuck to me like glue.

    Suddenly, there was a noise behind me and I whirled around. The door was open. "Did you close the door?" I asked Alexis. She nodded and the next thing I knew, there was a piece of wet cloth around my mouth. "Wha...... th...." I started to feel woozy. Some sort of concoction in the cloth. I felt the gas flow into my nose, ordering my brain to shut down. It complied. I fainted.


    I awoke to find myself in the back of a car with blacked out windows. I was tightly bound. Alexis was also beside me, but she was asleep. "Let me out!" I poked the car door with my horn. It seemed to be made of some kind of reinforced plastic! I tried poking the windows, but they held. The back of the car was isolated from the front by a reinforced glass partition that seemed to be soundproof. The ropes binding us were too tough to break through.

    When the car finally stopped, a passenger door was flung open. A Bandit that I recognized as one of the people that I beat up while rescuing Sevin stood outside, smiling. "Hello there." he grinned and grabbed the scruff of my neck and dragged me out of the car. I was dragged roughly along the ground and so was Alexis, by a Warrior. The back of my skirt was torn as the Bandit pulled me along the pavement. He stopped at a wall and bent down. "Open up!" he banged on the wall. The wall......swung open on hinges and we were dragged in, bumping against some stairs leading down.

    "Hey! Let me go!" Alexis had woken up and was struggling. "Quiet!" the Warrior slapped her cheeks. She fell silent. A few minutes of dragging and bumping on steps brought us to a few steel doors, which the Bandit bypassed with a card. Another minute or so of dragging led us to an expansive underground lab, much larger than the one we broke Sevin out of. "Good, good. You have been of great help to me, Kon, Leo." Hugo Fidelo came running with a briefcase in his hand. He passed it to the Bandit. "10 million mesos for such an easy job. Piece of cake!" Kon grinned and patted Leo on the back. They both left.

    Seemed like it wouldn't be easy to escape this time. The cage bars were lasers and Hugo had inserted some sort of pill into my chest. I noticed that he made sure to touch me. Pervert. "Remotely-activated sleeping pill. Hugo just has to push the button and you'll drop to the floor." the Phoenix analyzed it. Getting out really would not be easy. The back of my shirt and the back of my skirt had been torn so much they did not exist anymore and Alexis's dress had multiple rips in the back.

    "Now we'll be able to finish the genetic mutation project." Hugo said gleefully as he held up a syringe full of blood. My blood! How had he gotten it!? I stared at the syringe in surprise. Someone reached a hook into the cage and latched onto Alexis's dress. She whirled around and lunged for the guy, but the laser bars held her in. Her dress was yanked off. "Why does this happen every time we come here!?" I complained, sitting sullenly in a corner of the cage. It was only a matter of time before they completely stripped us anyway.

    "Hey, sexy. Take off your bra." someone challenged me. Those perverted people had repeatedly tried to yank off my bra, but thanks to the sticky stuff, it wouldn't come off no matter how hard they pulled. "I can't." I replied. Alexis's bikini was yanked off and she tripped. "Okay, the DNA injector is ready. Who wants to volunteer as a test subject?" Hugo Fidelo smiled. Everyone shrank back from the cage. Someone managed to pull off Alexis's bra though.

    "No one wants it? Maybe I'll just pick someone...... Hey you!" Hugo pointed at a guy standing in front. He shrank back. Someone pushed him out and Hugo grabbed his arm, forcing him into a strange cylinder-like machine with a glass door. As he was pushed in, Hugo pressed a button and the glass door revolved into position, settling in a special groove for it. The guy inside banged on the door, but Hugo just chuckled and pressed another button. A pink gas wafted into the cylinder and the guy was covered in a couple of seconds.

    "Now, let's see what you look like." Hugo smiled and pressed another button. The glass door opened again and the pink gas flowed out, immediately getting sucked into a ventilator. A strange coughing sound came from inside the cylinder and a naked figure stepped out. It looked almost exactly like me! Except...... it had no horns, no wings, no tail, no silver hair. The men 'oohed' and 'aahed' when they saw it. The figure pressed a hand to its chest and felt around. "I have big boobs." it muttered. "What?" Hugo was surprised. He stared at the Artemis-clone and then at me. "I want the horns and stuff!" he exclaimed. The fake Artemis left the facility, naked. Someone else stepped forward from the crowd. "I want that body!" he ran into the cylinder. More people quickly followed. "Perverts, the lot of them." I muttered under my breath as Hugo pushed the guy out.

    The rest of the day was spent trying to take my blood again. Apparently, some degree of protection had worn off from the armour and my body wouldn't absorb physical contact anymore. All of the attempts to add my horns, wings and tail to people failed for some reason. "These powers don't come from your DNA, they come from your armour." Jakito chuckled lightly as a red-faced Hugo flew into a tantrum as another Artemis-clone without all my special body features stepped out from the cylinder.

    Chapter 25: Tortured

    "Okay...... HOW DID YOU GET THOSE HORNS AND STUFF!?" Hugo finally demanded of us. A large group of Artemis-clones stood beside him, running fingers over themselves and smiling. "Like I'd tell you." I scoffed. "I'll just get the info from you. Forcefully." I could see steam shooting out of his ears. Comical, if you ask me. Hugo and a few of his men jumped onto the laser cage as it was dropped through a hole in the ground and came to rest in a smaller room. "Oh my god......" Alexis gasped. The room was filled with all sorts of torture devices, including a stretching rack, a spiked table and even a whip and a heavily spiked mace. "Now, will you talk?"

    An hour or so of torturing left us unable to talk, mainly because of the pain. We sank to the floor, bloodied and bruised, but still alive. My silver hair was stained with blood and my wings were crooked. Hugo had whacked me in the stomach repeatedly with the mace while one of his men whipped Alexis. After that, he took me to the stretching rack and nearly pulled my arms off, but the armour managed to stop that happening. "I...hate...immortality......" I panted. "All that and still living? You're strong, but I'm resourceful." Steam was shooting out of Hugo's ear's again.

    "Do you like to eat fish?" Hugo asked as the laser cage was towed into another room. "Yes." Alexis answered. "Pity, because the fish are going to be the ones eating you." Hugo pressed a button and the cage dropped into a pool. A pool full of piranhas and sharks. "You gotta be kidding me." I groaned. We were too tired to move, let alone fight. "Talk, and I'll send off the fish." Hugo smiled. Obviously he thought he had the upper hand. Which, in fact, he did, at least until I could find a chance to summon the Archaeion unnoticed.

    "How...... did you...... manage to get all those torture devices in here......" I moaned as I was hauled out of the fish pool by two musclemen. "I'll tell you if you talk." Hugo was practically steaming. Alexis groaned as she was dragged out of the pool. "Ne...ver.." I snapped. "Bosh, let me deal with 'em. Mebbe 'ey talk if I shoot 'em up." one of the musclemen took a big gun from his back. "Eeep." Alexis squeaked.

    The guy that was shooting us appeared to be one heck of an idiot. A big gun like that, yet he missed every single shot. The bullets punched into the wall behind us. "Idiot." Hugo muttered and grabbed the guy's gun. "Hey bosh, watch the......" Too late. Hugo's face slammed into the ground. The gun was simply too heavy for him. "Hahah." Jakito smiled. Hugo appeared to have fainted. One of the idiotic men quickly punched in a number on his cellphone. A minute later, two people appeared with a stretcher. "You know, it would have been easier if you just carried him to the medical bay." one sighed as he rolled Hugo up onto the stretcher. "Shorry?" the first guy asked. "Never mind......" a medic sighed and carried Hugo away.

    "Typical. People with big muscles have small brains." the Phoenix chuckled slightly. The musclemen left the room without even pushing the laser cage somewhere guarded. "I need a healer......" I thought. "Heh, easy." Jakito scoffed. My wounds began to heal and I placed a hand on Alexis's stomach. Her wounds also began to heal. In a minute, we were all ready to go. I flexed my arm and focused energy on my hand. "Archaeion, come to me." I whispered. Sure enough, the black-and-white bow appeared in my open hand.

    "Dagger Mode." I whispered. The limbs of the bow sharpened and the bowstring disappeared, leaving a double-bladed dagger in my hand. I dug the tip of a blade into the steel top of the laser cage and slowly applied pressure. The dagger cut through the metal like a hot knife through butter. "Piece of-" a circular sheet of steel fell on me. "cake." I finished the sentence as I sliced the sheet into pieces. "Nice one, clumsy." the Dark Dragon smirked. I hoisted Alexis out the hole. "Shut up." I muttered and climbed out.

    Chapter 26: Surprise

    "As long as Hugo's out, he won't be able to activate the sleeping pills." the Dark Dragon smiled as Alexis and I ran through the corridors of the complex. "Ouch!" I turned around. There was a dented pipe on the ceiling and Alexis was on the floor, rubbing her head. "Watch where you're going next time." the Phoenix remarked as I helped her up. Suddenly, a cold shill ran through me. Alexis froze. "Did you feel that?" she asked. I nodded and quickly pressed her against a wall as a cloaked figure appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the corridor.

    "The air...... Something's not right." Jakito whispered. The cloaked figure turned towards the shadowed area where Alexis and me were hiding. "No need to hide, I can see you. Clear as day." a strange hollow sound came from the figure. I stepped out of the shadows calmly, grasping the Archaeion tightly. "Who're you?" I asked. The figure threw its cloak off.

    "What the......" Alexis spluttered. A beautiful young woman stood in front of us. She was wearing a black skintight suit and her short hair was swept back neatly behind her head. Light from a lamp reflected off a shiny pair of black boots and a pendant decorated her neck. What was really shocking was her teeth. Two pointed razor-sharp teeth poked out from her upper lip. A vampire! "I am Fiona. I suppose you know William?" the woman smiled, exposing her incisors. Alexis's eyes widened in horror and she shuddered.

    "William was the one that turned me into a vampire by the way." Fiona smiled and took a single step forward. She opened a flap on her chest, exposing it, and a bite mark. She then closed the flap and placed her right foot behind her, taking a position to make a jump forward. I braced myself. "Now, I'll turn you into one!" she winked and made the jump.

    I raised the Archaeion in front of me and prepared to block, but Fiona put her feet down at the last second to stop and quickly sidestepped me. "What?" I stared at her in disbelief. "You're mine." she said and opened her jaw...... I quickly bashed her on the back with the Archaeion, but it appeared to be a bad move as her head flew closer to me. "Nice one." Fiona remarked and sank her teeth into my shoulder. Time seemed to freeze for a moment. "YEEEOOOWWW!!!!!!" she screamed and backpedaled. I looked at my shoulder. An armour plate had materialized on my shoulder. "Vampire-proof." Jakito smiled.

    Something was wrong though. I suddenly felt agitated. I put a finger to my mouth, fearing the worst. "Oh no......" I breathed. Two sharp fangs had sprouted out from my mouth! "Don't worry. The armour just absorbed the magic from that vampire. You'll have those teeth for a few hours until the magic is completely assimilated." Jakito reassured me. The stunned Alexis had now come back to her senses and was staring at my new teeth. "You're a......"

    I felt a craving for blood all of a sudden and stared at Fiona. Her fangs had broken off and she was on the ground, coughing. I slowly walked towards her. "Whad...... You're going do....... No...." she spluttered. I bent down to her eye-level. "If I did durn you indo a vambire, you shoulb be unber ma condrol now!" she shrank back. A voice in my head was urging me to open my mouth and bite her. "Don't! If you bite her, you'll stay a vampire forever!" the Phoenix yelled. I opened my mouth......

    Someone got me into an armlock and pulled me back. I glared back and saw Alexis, face red with determination. "Stop it!" she shouted. I tried to break free, but she was holding me too tight. "Do you want to be a real vampire!?" she continued. My eyes widened in horror and she let go. I slumped to the floor. "Thanks, Alexis......" I breathed. "You saved me......." Fiona whispered. "I wasn't saving you, I was saving her." Alexis pointed at me.

    We tied Fiona up with some spare cables and walked off. "Are you sure we should leave her like that?" Alexis asked. I nodded and accidentally walked into a wall. "I feel a bit woozy..." I admitted, massaging my head. "Normal for someone who just got bitten by a vampire. Remember, don't bite anyone." Jakito said grimly. I tipped my fangs nervously. "I think we're in a bit of a situation here." Alexis nudged me and pointed forwards.

    Chapter 27: Ambush!

    "Don't move! Put your hands up in the air!" said one of the many guards standing in front of us. He raised his gun and pointed it at us. "Those RX-10s again. Laserlock." I noted. "If you know that much about these guns, maybe you'll know that we can set them on full auto anytime!" another guard grinned and flicked a switch on his gun. The muzzle blared red. "Surrender and we won't be forced to shoot you."

    "Like that'll happen." I scoffed and leapt forward. They opened fire, red laser beams beaming out of their muzzles. I ignored them, knowing that my armour would absorb the shots. One of the guards tried to whack me with the butt of his gun but I broke his hand. A minute or so later, I had either decapitated or knocked out the entire group. "She tripped the alarm......" I murmured. "A silent alarm. Impressive." Jakito nodded towards a beeping object in a guard's back pocket. "We need to get outta here." I grabbed Alexis's hand and ran. My vampiric instincts started up again and I turned towards the unconscious bodies, longing for blood.

    Alexis snorted and slapped my cheek, bringing me back to normal. "I hate this." I grumbled. "You know, we can't go out there naked like this." Alexis remarked. "Good point. Let's 'borrow' some clothes." I smirked and turned towards the unconscious guards again.

    "I'd like to see the looks on their faces when they see this." Alexis giggled as we ran. I had stripped two guards of their clothes and given Alexis a set. She had turned her back to me when I took off the guard's trousers though. We were dressed in identical black vests that stretched and a jacket made out of some sort of dull green material. Green trousers covered our legs. We couldn't take the helmets though, our horns wouldn't permit it.

    The facility was quite large and the corridors were long and winding. "We need a map." I panted, resting up against a wall. "Yeah, but who'd have a map here?" Alexis was breathing heavily. "I do." A strange voice came from the other end of the corridor and we turned towards it. Fiona was walking calmly towards us. Her fangs had regrown. "I guess I owe you one for saving me." she smiled. The fangs poking out of her mouth did not help her smile.

    "Actually, I don't want to fight. But that Hugo kidnapped my parents and I......" Fiona started to sob. Alexis patted her on the back gently. "That William guy seemed to be a good friend of him... and he wanted a vampire of his own so......" Fiona sobbed harder. "So that's how you came to be here." I bent down.

    "He asked William to bite me while his cronies held me tight. I couldn't break free." Alexis had finally managed to calm Fiona down. "He showed me to my parents and they turned their backs on me... I felt like my whole world just shattered, but I still wanted to protect my parents." she continued, "That's how I'm here now."

    "That bastard......" My blood was boiling. "We'll help you get your parents out." Alexis smiled at Fiona. "Really? Thanks!" she hugged Alexis tightly. Suddenly, I saw her open her mouth. I slapped her cheek. "Sorry, vampire instinct." she shook her head. My vision suddenly blurred and something fizzled under the skin of my arm. "Hugo just woke up and pressed the button on the sleeping pill." Fiona consulted a digital pad she had retrieved from her side pocket. Alexis was wobbling. "We need to get you somewhere safe." Fiona quickly grabbed us by the scruff of our necks just as we fainted.

    I got up with a jump and quickly looked around. I was in a room that was painted pink. A few soft toys sat on top of a cupboard and there was a computer in a corner beside a door. I was lying on a bed together with Alexis and Fiona was sitting on a chair, nodding her head. "Sorry, I couldn't resist......" she said and fell asleep. I looked at Alexis. She had fangs too!

    "So we're all vampires now? Great." Alexis fingered her fangs tentatively. She suddenly lunged for my throat and I slapped her cheek. She fell onto my lap. "Vampire instincts, I know." I finished Alexis's sentence for her. "You'll be able to assimilate the magic faster, the power in your blood is significantly stronger than Artemis's." Jakito said. "Nothing to worry about then." Alexis grinned. Fiona was apologizing on the floor.

    Fiona led us to the small prison where her parents were being held. "Who're those with you?" a guard asked as we approached the cell. "Friends." I smiled and kicked the guard in the shin. He flew up into the ceiling and stuck there comically. That reminded me of a little scene from my past life...... Haha.

    "Thank you." Alexis smiled and took the guard's key chip. She placed the chip in the cell lock and turned it. The door opened, revealing two figures huddling in a corner. Fiona ran in. "Oh my...... Is that you?" a woman asked. "Yes, mum. Sorry I'm late." Fiona laughed. "Just so you'd know, Papa and I would never disown you. You're our one and only daughter and we love you no matter what you may be." the woman said. "We just turned away from you then because......we were too shocked." Fiona's father explained.

    Fiona left the cell with her mother, propping her father up. He appeared to have a broken leg. "These are your......" the father looked at us. "Friends. We need to get out of here." Alexis explained. "Vampire friends?" I overheard Fiona's mother whispering to her. "I....ummm......well......" Fiona spluttered, obviously at a loss of words. The next second, Alexis's and my fangs disappeared. "Assimilation complete." Jakito reported.

    Fiona's father was well-built, easily 170 centimetres tall and he had neat black hair. Her mother was thin and timid, her long purple hair tied back in a ponytail. Both were wearing ragged clothes that had obviously been through a long period of imprisonment.

    Chapter 28: Escape

    "Right, here's a map of the place." Fiona opened her chest flap (Her father's face turned red and her mother's expression twisted into one of enormous distaste when they saw this), reached in and pulled out a folded piece of paper. "This suit doesn't have pockets." she shrugged, catching her father's look. A quick look at the map told us that we were really far away from the exit. "Great. We'll have to go through a damn barracks." I groaned.

    "This is a completely different facility from the Fidelo Needle by the way." Fiona explained as we ran through the corridors. "I think the guard you knocked out tripped the alarm." she added, running a finger over a vibrating part of her stomach. Suddenly she opened her mouth and reached for her father's hand. He slapped her cheek. "Good thing your friends told me about it." he muttered as Fiona rubbed a red slap mark.

    The corridor still appeared to be empty even after the alarm sounded. "Strange, there should be guards running around by now." Fiona remarked as we took a right turn into a wider corridor. "We're in the main...... Whoa!" she hit the ground, pulling us down. Her parents looked in front and ducked not a moment too soon. A dozen laser bursts flew through the air where our heads previously were. A second later, I found my arms being pinned to my back. "Gotcha." someone grinned and I felt a hand on my chest. "Oh, bad move." I muttered, grabbed the guard by the throat and flipped him over my head into the floor. Something crunched. "That's gotta hurt." Alexis got up, having done the exact same thing to her guard. She brushed a bit of dust off herself and turned around to deal with the ones pinning Fiona and her parents. However, her mother appeared to have learnt martial arts. Her guard was lying on the ground in a daze and she was in a fighting pose. Fiona didn't need saving, she had turned around and bitten her guard on the arm. He flopped to the ground feebly. "Only used the anesthetic bite on him, don't worry." she grinned.

    The guard pinning Fiona's father was shivering violently as the 4 of us turned to face him. "SPARE ME!!!" he screamed and ran off. "Coward! Come back and fight!" Fiona's mother shook her fist at the running guard. Alexis laughed so much she got a stitch in her side. Fiona was attempting to hide her laugh, and failing at it. "Anesthetic bite?" I looked at her. "Yeah....HAHA! I can use the vampiric bite and the anesthetic bite when I'm in control, but when my instincts trigger, it's just the vampiric bite. HAHA!" she had a fit of the giggles.

    "Jakito, is there any way to cure a vampire bite?" I asked as we hurried along the corridor. "Yes, there is. To cure a vampire bite, you must kill the vampire that bit the victim in the first place. If you want to cure Fiona, you're running out of time." Jakito scratched his head. "Why?" I had to ask. "There's a full moon tonight, in 3 hours. Vampires reach the height of their powers during the full moon and most half-vampires fully transform during that time. Fiona's a half-vampire right now, she hasn't been through a full moon since she was bitten so far. If you kill this William within 3 hours, you can save her. Fail, and she turns into a full vampire like him and then we can't do anything more about it." he added.

    "Problem is, vampires can only be killed by either a wooden stake through the heart, a cross or extremely powerful magic, none of which we have." Jakito sighed. "I think we have an answer to that." I looked in a nearby room. It was packed with field equipment. "Tent pegs, anyone?" I grinned and quickly located a few, stowing them inside my jacket. "Smart." Jakito laughed. "Soo...... where's William?"

    "How do I know?" Jakito grunted. I turned to catch up with the others, but they were gone. "Wha..?" I blinked and took a few steps forward, just stopping on the edge of a pit. "Whoa!" I backpedaled and fell to the ground. "I'll get us out." I heard Alexis's voice and a fluttering of wings. A few seconds later, she was hovering in the air in front of me, using her wings. Fiona was clinging to her leg. She floated to the other side of the pit effortlessly and went down again. "Nice idea of a trap." Fiona brushed herself down and looked down the pit.

    I quickly flew down to help and carried Fiona's father up while Alexis took her mother. "Hugo didn't count on a few people having wings." I smiled. "But you didn't count on me being here." a strangely familiar voice said from behind me. I whirled around. "William." I breathed.

    Chapter 29: Vampiric Nightmare

    William had grown a lot since I last saw him. He was now way taller than me and his hair fell to his neckline. His fangs were bloodied, a sure sign of having been used often. He radiated some sort of vampiric aura, that Fiona obviously felt. She was on the ground, coughing. He was dressed in black clothes along with a black cloak. "Give me the girl." he said quietly.

    "No way." I took a step to the side to shield Fiona and Alexis moved to escort her parents to safety. "Do not let him get her. If he does, he will become more powerful than ever." Jakito hissed. I nodded and summoned the Archaeion. William's eyes flicked towards my bow and his malicious grin widened. A pair of blood-red daggers appeared in his hands. "These daggers haven't tasted blood for a few months and they're really eager for it." he laughed. The daggers seemed to grow longer as he spoke. "Those daggers are cursed! Don't let him injure you!" the Phoenix warned.

    William rushed towards me, baring his fangs and raising his daggers in front of him in an X shape, probably to deflect any arrows I might shoot at him. I nocked an arrow to the string and fired it at the ceiling, then quickly nocked two more and shot two niches in the wall. "Where were you aiming?" William laughed. "Look behind you." I grinned. "Nice try." he scoffed. Suddenly, there was a 'ping' sound from behind him and then an arrow hit him in the leg from behind. "What?" he turned around.

    "The last two arrows deflected off the niches in the walls and collided neatly in the air right where the first arrow's steel tip was, having deflected off the ceiling. This caused the first arrow to fly back in my direction, and since you were charging towards me, it hit you." I grinned. "You bastard!" William plucked the arrow out and continued his advance a little slower due to his injured leg. I quickly grabbed a tent peg from my jacket and stabbed an arrow into the flat area, creating an arrow with a tent peg for a tip. William's eyes widened in horror as I nocked the modified arrow to my string.

    "Take that!" I shouted and let the arrow fly. It shot through the air towards William, but he deflected it with his daggers and charged into me. He elbowed me in the stomach and I keeled over, coughing blood. It hit me then. He wasn't after me...... he was after...... "HELP!" Fiona shrieked from behind me. William had got her in an armlock and was holding a dagger to her neck. "When the full moon arises tonight, you'll be one with me." he cackled. "What do you mean!? Let me go!" Fiona kicked and screamed.

    "Vampires can consume a person that they bit during the full moon to increase their own powers. The victim's body is completely destroyed as a result of the consumption, but the victim must be a full vampire for this to work." the Dark Dragon explained. William retreated towards a lift, Fiona's parents calling out to her. "Don't take a step further, or you'll be looking into her insides." he threatened, moving his dagger from Fiona's neck to her chest.

    "You sicko!" Alexis yelled as William rotated his dagger and cut a perfect slit smack in the middle of Fiona's suit. "So what?" he grinned as the front of her suit fell open. Fiona was utterly embarrassed and she tried to close the rip. William's eyes flicked down and he grabbed her arm. "Might as well let them have a good look at you before you die, eh?" he grinned maliciously. I nocked an arrow to my bowstring, screwing another tent peg to the tip and aiming at William's head. He caught this move and moved Fiona so that she was shielding him. "You're despicable!" I yelled, quickly angling sideways and firing.

    "I won't fall for the same trick twice!" William sneered, turned around and knocked the arrow out of the air with a swipe of his dagger. He turned around in time to see me in his face, holding a tent peg. "I must be getting old." he muttered. "Say bye-bye." I punched him in the face, and then rammed him in the stomach with the tent peg. His stomach skin just...... turned into dust and fell to the ground! Trying not to look at his insides, I pushed the peg further in. There was a sickening crunching sound.

    Suddenly, I felt fangs sink into my chest. William had bitten me! Immediately, pain shot through my body and was replaced by a curious euphoric sensation. I felt like I was floating around blissfully in oblivion.

    (Alexis's PoV)
    I gasped when I saw William sink his fangs into Artemis. Both wobbled for a second, then Artemis toppled to the ground, breathing rather shallowly. William stumbled backwards and then collapsed into a pile on the floor. Looking at his insides made me feel like vomiting. However, he was still alive. Artemis's tent pegs fell out of her jacket and I quickly picked one up and threw it to the released Fiona, nodding at her. She nodded back and stabbed William in the heart while holding the rip across her suit.

    William's entire body seemed to crumble into dust. Fiona swayed on the spot for a moment and quickly leaned on a wall for support, regaining her breath. Her fangs vanished, and her body jerked for a split second. She felt around her mouth. "I'm........ I'm normal again!" she rejoiced and ran to hug me. "You should thank Artemis...... Oh god..." I gasped and ran to Artemis's side. She wasn't looking too good. Her skin had turned pale, as if the blood had been sucked out of her!

    "What the heck......" Fiona and her parents raced to Artemis's side. Fiona's mother laid a hand on her chest. "She's barely breathing at all...... We need to get her out." she nodded to her husband and he put Artemis on his back. We hadn't moved a few steps when we heard some cackling from a nearby room. I ran to investigate, and found a man in a white coat jumping around in happiness holding something in his hand. There was a naked woman on the floor beside him, which I realized was one of the Artemis-clones.

    Chapter 30: Escape

    Suddenly, the Artemis-clone turned back into a man and the scientist stopped jumping around and started to scratch his head. "Huh? What's going on?" the Siren spoke. "Were you sleeping or something?" I thought. It nodded. "Even spirits need rest too, you know." it folded its arms. I looked straight at Artemis's limp body. "Gods above...... What happened to her?" the Siren was stunned. "Bitten by William." I answered, looking at the dust pile that was once William.

    Fiona was checking her map. "We'll have to go through this....... urgh..." she leaned on a wall, panting. "Are you ok?" I ran to her side. "Yeah...... I'm fine...... We'll have to go through this room to get out." she pointed at the room with the weirdo. I sneaked in behind him, followed by Fiona and her parents, with Artemis on her father's back.

    I accidentally stepped on a petri dish, which shattered. "Who's there?" the weirdo turned around and jumped when he saw us. The object he was holding dropped to the ground and bounced for a few seconds. I took my eyes off it, moved to his back and sent him sprawling over his table with a quick jab to the weak spot at the base of the skull. When I turned to nod at Fiona, I spotted the object sticking onto Artemis's leg.

    I ran to pull the object off and accidentally depressed something. It came off easily and I took a look at it. However, before I could check the label, Fiona threw herself onto me and we both fell to the ground as a cascade of bullets flew over our heads. "Be careful!" she warned. To my annoyance, the strange object had stuck itself on my stomach now. I decided to ignore it for now and just focus on taking out the guards shooting at us.

    I jumped forward and snapped one of the 4 guard's gun in half, dispatching him with a spinning kick that also battered another guard. Fiona tried to help, but without her vampiric powers, she wasn't much use, although she did manage to get a guard to put his face down in the floor with a neatly placed kick to the groin. I bashed the last guard on the neck while Fiona's mother went crazy on the guard on the floor.

    "Nice work, mama." Fiona stared at the severely pummeled guard. "Thanks. Let's get on. We need to get her to safety." her mother jerked her thumb at Artemis. We all nodded and continued on. I closed my hand around the object stuck on my stomach and pulled. I depressed something again. A strange feeling shot through my body, but I ignored it and pulled the object off, stuffing it into a pocket on my jacket. I would investigate it when we got back.

    Fiona consulted her map again and happily told us that we would only have to go through the barracks now. "The barracks. Get ready to fight." I nodded and continued walking. A few security devices had activated as we walked past, but I had cleared them. Sure enough, the barracks was filled with guards. I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes, holding up my palm. "Get back." I muttered. Fiona and her parents took a few steps back. The guards raised their guns, some their fists.

    "Avalanche!" I shouted and concentrated all my energy into my palm. A massive wave of ice and snow shot out of my palm, blowing away practically everything in the room, including the guards. I had to fight to keep stable, the spell was very powerful. The snow disappeared after a while, leaving a row of guards piled up against the walls. I fell to my knees, panting. Fiona pulled me up and we ran up the stairs and out the exit.

    "Whoa there!" a familiar voice yelled. Roy was standing in front of us. "Don't ask, we need to get Artemis to safety." I said hoarsely. He turned to look at the pale Artemis on Fiona's father's back. "I suppose the questions can wait, I got a van here. Pile in." Roy pointed towards a truck parked not far away from the exit. Fiona's father hoisted Artemis onto the back seats, then climbed into the seat beside Roy while Fiona helped me into the middle seats. There was a shout from the facility.

    "Hold on tight!" Roy shouted and floored the accelerator, burning rubber down the street. "How'd you know where we were anyway?" I asked. "Idiots left tire tracks. Tracing them was a piece of cake. I just got there when you blew the wall out." Roy replied and glanced in the side mirror. "Good, we don't have company." he heaved a sigh of relief and turned his eyes back on the road. "What happened to her anyway?" he asked.

    "I don't know. Seems like William sucked the blood out of her or something when she almost killed him." I answered, feeling like I was going to faint. "William!?" Roy jumped and almost crashed into a streetlight. Fiona was holding her head in her hands, swearing. "Sorry. He was in there?" Roy apologized. "Yeah, Artemis gave him a big injury before she went down though. Fiona here finished the job." I patted Fiona on the back. She smiled.

    Mei Ling, Lacus and Lopez were waiting for us anxiously back at the house. They got even more anxious when I carried Artemis out. "What the...... Is she okay?" Lacus asked nervously. I laid Artemis down on a sofa and Lacus quickly placed her hand on Artemis's chest. "I hope so." I replied, watching a green light bathe Lacus's hand. The Heal spell had no effect. "Maybe Purge?" I tried my luck. A golden light bathed my hand, but nothing happened to her either. I quickly did some explaining of what happened to us. Fiona paced up and down the room nervously.

    "Hold on, I'll check the library." Mei Ling scuttled off to the library and came back a few minutes later, looking rather pale. "Your theory was correct. Vampires can suck the blood out of their victims, effectively killing them. Artemis was lucky, real lucky she got out alive. She's running very low on blood though. We need a blood transfusion. No healing spell can do anything for an injury like this." she cast a glance at the bite mark on Artemis's chest.

    Chapter 31: Fallen Heroine

    "Who's blood can we use?" Fiona asked. "Maybe Alexis's, but they'll both be needing a few days of rest later, and we'll be totally defenseless." Mei Ling replied thoughtfully. "Not really. I have an Inner Beast too, ya know." Roy smiled. "But......" Lacus scratched her head. "He's up to the job, I know it." I reassured her.

    I laid Artemis down gently on our bed and then got in beside her. "Okay, swallow this pill, and you'll fall asleep." Mei Ling handed me a pill. I quickly swallowed it and took a comfortable position, feeling the pill take effect. I fell asleep.

    When I woke up the next day, there was a throbbing pain in my arm. I looked beside me and saw Artemis back to normal. I smiled. Hold on a second! Her horn, tail and wings were gone! Her hair had also changed back to black and she was wearing the armour again! "What's going on!?" I ran a finger to my forehead and felt around. My horn was gone as well and my tail and wings appeared to have disappeared too. I also found that I was wearing the armour under the same clothes I had escaped with.

    "Surprised? Seems like your blood forced me out of his body." Jakito's voice sounded from beside me. I jumped. He was standing beside me, in spirit form. "With me out, the armour lost its powers. Not to worry, the Akasha Charm exploded when it happened." he caught my glance at my chest. I jumped to my feet, but collapsed back onto the bed almost immediately. "Don't move, you need to recover. The blood transfusion went...... WHAT THE HECK!?" Lacus had walked in the door with a tray of food and got a shock when she saw Jakito.

    I managed to sit up on the bed and take off the armour, feeling rather happy that I would be able to go out like normal again. A quick look at Artemis revealed that the joke bra Lacus had planted on her was now stretching over the top of her armour. I grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped the joint apart, then detached the armour from her body. "I forgot where the blowing tube for that was, so I couldn't inflate it." Lacus remarked sadly as I slid the remaining parts of the armour off Artemis.

    "Mei Ling found this in your pocket by the way. She did some checking." Lacus handed the object I had taken from the Fidelo facility to me. I turned it over in my hand, noting that Mei Ling had removed the rubbery cover. The inside of the object was filled with what appeared to be blue liquid and a button sat on top of it. Probably what I had depressed twice. "She says its something to do with nanotechnology or something. I forgot what she said." Lacus scratched her head. Nanotech? Interesting......

    I suddenly realized my waistline was a lot thinner than before. Was it because I had gotten hungry? No, wait, my stomach wasn't grumbling. There appeared to be a faint line running down my stomach too. Something to do with the object? I'd better ask Mei Ling. Turned out she had an answer waiting for me in her lab. "Whoever made that is either a pervert, or someone who's gone crazy over her body." she declared, pointing at the object in my hands. "Why?" I asked. "Didn't Lacus tell you? Oh never mind, she probably forgot." Mei Ling sighed.

    "The nanobots in that thing were created to shunt body fat from one place to another in your body, and also to change skin texture. They follow a preset program, namely...... that." Mei Ling pointed at her computer monitor. I took a look. "So that's why I'm thinner." I gasped. "Yep. Some girls might want to use it-" I cut her off. "Most girls, to be exact." I pointed out. "I don't think Artemis is going to like this." I bent down to examine the screen again.

    Some of my trousers wouldn't fit me anymore, they either couldn't slip up past my legs, or they just fell to the ground after I tugged them up to my waist. Even stranger was the voice in my head that kept telling me to walk around naked. I ignored that voice, but apparently Artemis couldn't. The first thing she did when she woke up was throw her clothes off herself. "What am I doing?" she asked herself a minute later, standing naked in our room. "Where am I?" was her next question. A few minutes of explaining passed by. I was right, she did not like the nanobots. "Is there a way to get them out?" she folded her arms grimly. "Mei Ling's working on it." I told her.

    However, when I got down to the lab to ask Mei Ling about her progress, I saw her trip and fall. When she got up, I saw the object stuck on her chest. She quickly pressed the button and removed it. "I'll just find a way to get that voice out of our heads, it's about time I did some slimming down." Mei Ling shrugged when I told her about the voices.

    Chapter 32: New Job

    Mei Ling managed to find a way to stop the voices after a few days or so, but she couldn't find out how to remove the nanobots completely. Artemis couldn't leave the house during that time because she kept stripping. The boys kept getting nosebleeds too, but Roy learnt to close his eyes whenever Artemis reached for her Dark Lineros's buttons. Lopez had fainted from blood loss. Jakito was't having any trouble though, apparently he didn't have much room for emotions in his mind.

    "How do you remove it then?" Artemis asked excitedly. "I modified the nanobots programming. I'll need to send some more into our bodies to actually stop it." Mei Ling held up the object and placed it on Artemis's arm. She pressed the button and removed it again. "I changed them to let them spread the reprogramming I did like a virus, so just wait a while." Mei Ling explained, placing it on my arm. "Problem is, the more nanobots there are, the more fat is shunted at any single time, but you'd rather have that than stripping everywhere, right?" she grunted as she did herself.

    "If this keeps up, I won't be able to fit through the door." Artemis sighed. "I'm gonna go have a swim." I stood up and climbed down the ladder leading to the swimming pool's cave. I grabbed a swimsuit in the changing room, then slipped into the pool. However, just as I was completely immersed in the water, I received a bit of an electric shock. I quickly got out of the pool and stared at the water for a few seconds.

    "Surprises, surprises. Immersing your body completely in water short-circuits the nanobots." Mei Ling stared into a microscope. "Good!" I smiled. "I'm gonna go take a dip. I think my hips have gotten too big already." she looked down at herself. I noted that her hips were about the size of two basketballs now. "Also, I think I glitched the programming." she tossed her hair, which I just realized was way longer. "It lengthens hair now. I wonder how long Artemis's hair got?" she ran to the pool.

    Artemis did not look happy with her new hair length. It was so long it reached her feet, and the front covered half her face. Indeed, I saw her tripping over it a few times. "I've had enough of my hips swelling up already!" she declared once I told her about water short-circuiting the nanobots and ran off towards the pool. A few seconds later, I heard a bumping sound from the stairs, followed by loud swearing. "Looks like she tripped over her hair." the Siren remarked.

    30 minutes later, Artemis walked up. She tugged at her hair. "I need a haircut." she grumbled and tripped over her hair again. I helped her up, hiding my laugh. "Again." the Siren snickered. "Haha." she snorted and looked around for a pair of scissors.

    Artemis passed the scissors to me, admitting that she didn't want to accidentally cut too much hair off. "Oh, so you care about looks now?" I smiled. "I guess I'm destined to be a girl, the way things keep turning out, so might as well make a good one." she shrugged. I cut the part of her front hair that was hanging over her eyes off. "Do you want short hair, waist-length hair, or do you just want me to shorten it a bit?" I asked. "Maybe just a bit. I don't wanna trip over it again." she grunted.

    Roy arrived at home a few hours later, holding a piece of paper. "I found a job for you, Artemis!" he said triumphantly and passed the piece of paper to Artemis. She ran her eyes over it for a few seconds. "You sure about this?" she asked. "You should make a great teacher." Roy nodded. "But I don't really know how to teach!" Artemis protested, throwing the paper into the air. I caught it.

    South Henesys School for Young Hunters
    Teacher wanted.
    Call 9876-54321 for more details

    Author's Note: Fictional phone number. Kinda obvious.

    Chapter 33: Teaching

    "I don't know HOW you managed to talk me into this......" I groaned as Roy drove me to Henesys. Owing to his proficiency at managing jobs, he could earn a lot more money than we could. He had bought the car, a MP9000 Gurand a few days earlier. You could say its luxurious too. MPS (Maple Positioning Satellite) system, DVD player, a mini bar, and even an autopilot system. He had the windows strengthened as well to prevent car theft and upgraded the door locks to a brand new access chip type. Only the chip with the required data could open it. The dashboard was walnut with a digital monitoring system that included a touchpad, voice-recognition and a rear-view camera. The seats seemed to have liquid suspension and the air conditioner blew cool air into the car silently. This car cost a lot more than our house, but Roy was pretty rich.

    "I wonder what else I can add onto this baby. I think I saw a stealth generator on the upgrade list." Roy glanced at the computer screen on his dashboard. It instantly cut off a portion and showed a list of parts for the car. "Turbo charger...... Oil leaker...haha...Spike shooter?" he pressed a rectangle on the MPS window and an electronic voice said, "Autopilot engaged." Roy began looking further down the list. "Machinegun support!? Hood Bazooka? Whoah! This car could cram in enough weapons to blow up a skyscraper!" he exclaimed. "Focus...... You're supposed to be taking me to work." I sighed as he went crazy over a laser-designator missile cannon.

    For the occasion, I had cleaned up my Dark Lineros and replaced the original belt with a blue one. Since I shouldn't show the Archaeion in public, Roy bought me a Dark Nisrock. It felt relatively strange in my quiver, I was used to the Archaeion. The reason I'm decked out in all this; I'm going to teach archery at a hunter's school.

    Roy dropped me off after exclaiming over a mobile fireworks launcher that could be placed in the trunk or on the roof. The school was quite expansive, boasting quite a few archery ranges. 5 wooden buildings sat around the archery ranges, forming an E shape. A few men were at it on a 900m range, and most of them were either missing the target, or failing to hit the bullseye. Their heads turned as I walked past. "Hey Nick, who's that?" someone asked. "No idea." another someone shrugged. "Hi there. Let's see what you can do." one daring guy challenged. "Sure." I said, surprised and stepped up to the range.

    "Let's see if you can hit that bullseye." the guy smirked. I grabbed my Dark Nisrock from my quiver and muttered, "Soul Arrow." Then, I looked straight at the bullseye and twanged the bowstring. An arrow materialized on the string and streaked out towards the target. "Wow." someone muttered, looking at a screen. The screen showed the target from a few metres away. My arrow had not only hit the bullseye dead centre, it had knocked down the target itself.

    "Ikki, even a girl beat you at it." a man laughed. "Shut up, you missed too." another shook his fist at him. I left the men to do their bickering and walked off towards where I presumed the staff room to be, in the centre building.

    "Okay...... You called earlier yesterday right, Miss Artemis?" the secretary raised his glasses. I nodded. "The principal will interview you in a while. Please wait here." he pointed at a sofa and I sat down, shifting uncomfortably at the feeling of a few pairs of eyes staring at my back. I noted the Dragon Shinebow on the wall of the room.

    "Excuse me, where's Mr. Anderson?" a strangely familiar voice asked and I turned around. "Sevin?" I gasped. "Artemis?" the winged Sevin gasped back. The secretary raised an eyebrow. "Third row, fourth down from the front." he said. "Catch up later, bye for now!" Sevin waved at me as he left the office. "Poor guy. Not much friends here, so he's alone most of the time. The other students seem to think he's a freak with those wings of his." the secretary sighed. "Oh......" I looked at Sevin as he started talking with a middle-aged Ranger.

    Suddenly, the door beside the secretary's desk burst open, giving him a jump. A Hunteress ran out, crying. "Next!" a bearded man with a Dragon Shinebow in his quiver shouted. "Off you go then. Good luck." the secretary smiled at me as I followed the principal into his office. "19 years old and already a level 108? Interesting." he checked his computer afer I told him my name and age. "Well......" I shifted nervously. "Do you have any teaching experience?"

    "He let you in just like that!?" Roy gaped. "Apparently he thought I could learn how to teach by observing the other teachers for a few days. Nice guy." I smiled. "You lucky girl..." he sighed. "I kept getting the feeling I was being watched though." I glanced back at the school. "Probably because you're so sexy." he remarked. "I'll take that as a compliment." I grinned. "Really becoming a girl now? Alexis told me." Roy muttered.

    Chapter 34: Reflection

    Alexis welcomed me back home eagerly. I hung my Dark Nisrock on the wall. "How'd it go?" she asked. "I've been accepted. Starting work after a week of plain observing the other teachers." I smiled. "That long? Oh well, you've never had any experience before anyway." Alexis frowned. Roy drove off to work after dropping me off at home, his car phone had received a job message.

    I went to take a bath, but my half-naked reflection in the mirror caught me for a minute or so. "Am I really that......" I couldn't bring myself to say the word, I just turned around, noting several points on my body. My abdomen was perfectly flat, hips the size of two basketballs with a single bikini stretched across...... "Maybe Alexis could go for a modelling job. Her body is about the same shape as yours." the Dark Dragon suggested. "I wonder how Jakito is." I murmured abesent-mindedly, removing the rest of my clothes.

    After a quick shower, I put on a white blouse and a blue skirt that reached my knees. Most of the blouse's front part was taken up by the size of my chest, and part of my stomach was exposed. I combed my hair deftly and walked downstairs.

    "You two can no longer use my powers since you are no longer wearing the armour. I can, however, use my own if I can find a dead body to settle in." Jakito explained to the four of us. "Dead body?" Lopez shuddered. "Dead bodies lose their souls, so I can settle easily in one without having to force the soul out, which would be killing someone. My magic can revitalize the dead organs." Jakito ignored Lopez. "But where would we find a dead body?" I asked. Lacus was eyeing me. "A graveyard, obviously. But...... I'd feel wrong if we become gravediggers." Alexis stared at the floor.

    "What did you eat?" Lacus cornered me silently after the little meeting. "Sorry?" I c0cked my head to one side. "How'd you get your body like that?" she sighed. "Ask Mei Ling." I replied. A few hours later, Lacus walked out of Mei Ling's lab smiling.

    Later that day, Alexis flipped through Maple Times, the local newspaper. "Looking for something?" I asked. "Job." she replied breathlessly. "You can just use a MapleNet search for that." I pointed at my laptop, sitting unused on a desk. "Oh, thanks." she scurried off to it and quickly booted it up. She brought up the MapleNet website and selected the Job section.

    "None of the jobs here are ones I like." Alexis complained mournfully. "You could try modelling? Jakito thought of it." I suggested. "Maybe..." she said thoughtfully and rechecked the job list. She looked at the phone number and ran off upstairs to call the agency. I wondered if I had received any new email......

    2 months worth of Jubrenan University's E-news sat in my inbox along with a few emails from school friends asking why I was always absent from classes. The dates on those emails appeared to be earlier than the second E-news. I ignored the friends' emails and checked the first E-news. When I saw something, I nearly fell out of my chair. When Alexis and I retook the Jikyeon Sword and the Archaeion, we had left fingerprints behind. I really fell out of my chair when I saw the second one. The fingerprints had been traced...... to us. We were now wanted criminals back in the real world.

    Chapter 35: Newbie

    "Crap." Alexis mumbled when she saw the E-news. "It's nothing. We're not going back there anyway." I smiled at her. "Yeah...... I need to go to an interview tomorrow." she smiled back at me. "Good luck then." I smacked her on the back lightly. "Thanks." she replied.

    The next morning, I woke up at the sound of a muffled sceam from Lacus's room. I broke the door down to see....... "What the heck?" Alexis gasped. There was a massive pile of red hair on Lacus's bed. The scream had come from inside it! Mei Ling quickly ran into the room and tossed a part of the hair aside. "This is what you get for being too greedy." she muttered. I understood at that point. Lacus had overused the modified Sexifier and grown too much hair.

    Mei Ling put the pile of red hair on her back and motioned for me to help. We carried Lacus into a bathtub and let the water run for a while. When the tub was filled to the brim, I saw a small pillar of smoke rise up from Lacus and we carried her out. "Scissors." Mei Ling muttered.

    "Sorry...... I had no idea that would happen......" Lacus hurriedly apologized after Mei Ling gave her a haircut. Right now, her hair was at knee length. "Overdosage much?" Alexis stared at Lacus's torso. Her hips and chest were about as wide as three basketballs and her waistline was about 20 centimetres wide. Her pajamas had burst holes. "Your Dark Requirre won't fit on you." I remarked. She pouted and ran off back into her room. A few seconds later, I heard the sound of fabric being ripped. Luckily, Lopez hadn't woken up yet.

    "I think her clothes need some patching up." Alexis ran into Lacus's room as a wailing sound echoed throughout the house. "Maybe I can do something about her body, but I'm not sure." Mei Ling slid down the ladder to her underground lab. I had a quick breakfast and walked out to see Roy waiting impatiently in his car. I noted a roof scoop on his roof and a shiny blue spoiler on the trunk. "What kept you?" he asked as I piled into the car's back seat. "Lacus got an overdosage of the Sexifier." I replied hoarsely, slinging my quiver over my shoulder. Roy rolled his eyes. "I hope she's okay."

    Roy dropped me off at the school like yesterday and I hurried to the staff room. "Ah, you're here, Miss Artemis." the secretary raised his glasses as I stumbled into his office. "One of our teachers will take you on a tour of the school to get familiarized, then you shall follow him to his own class for observation purposes." he explained, motioning for me to take a seat. "You called me, Mr Aber?" a guy walked into the office. "Yes, Ikki. Mind taking her out for a little tour of the school?" the secretary pointed at me. The guy turned around and gasped. My jaw fell open. He was one of the men I had seen yesterday at the range!

    "Fancy that, you're a trainee teacher here." Ikki smiled as I followed him nervously. "Yeah... My name's Artemis by the way." I said. "Oh. How do you do? My name's Ikfarion, but call me Ikki. Everyone does." he shook my hand. As we walked past a class, a young hunter called out. "Yeah, boys, I'll be back in a while. Showing this lovely soon-to-be teacher around the school." Ikki grinned at him. I suddenly felt my cheeks turn hot. Am I blushing? I checked my reflection in my watch, and it turned out I really was blushing! Luckily, Ikki didn't seem to notice.

    Ikki showed me around the school for an hour or so. He took me to the workshop, where I noted a few crudely fashioned wooden bows and a few bowstrings. "Of course, archery isn't all we teach here. There's History, English, Tech classes for the seniors and quite a few more." he explained. "Archery lessons take up the first 3 hours of teaching time, the next 20 minutes is breaktime and then we continue on with normal classes for 2 hours." he added.

    When we walked into Ikki's class, there was a loud cheer and everyone ran out. "They're eager to go to the archery range. They can't go for archery unless their teacher's around, see?" we chased after the kids. They were already at a range. I noted the class name engraved on a metal plate on the ground. "Class 2 Chrono." I read. "Alpha, Beta, Chrono, Delta, Eta. Those are the class names, from best to worst. We're average." Ikki smiled as an overeager kid smacked another in the face when he drew his bowstring back.

    All around us, teachers were watching students shoot down the ranges. "This side of the school sports only the 500 metre ranges. The other side has 1 kilometre ranges while there's a crazily long range of 2 kilometres behind the school." Ikki explained further. I nodded, not really listening. I was looking him down. He had black, matted hair that swept over his forehead coolly, somewhat like the hair I had when I was a boy. His arms were rather muscular, and an elbow guard covered his left elbow. His Blue Arzuna suggested a level 100+ with the Golden Nisrock in his quiver providing stronger evidence to that.

    I noticed a red-haired young boy having trouble with his bow. He appeared to be holding it the wrong way, and his shots kept arcing into the other lanes. "Derek's having trouble again......" Ikki sighed and took a single step towards the kid, but I was already there beside him. "You should hold it like this to keep your aim straight. If you keep holding the bow like that, your shots will curve off in other directions." I smiled at him, repositioning his fingers around his War Bow. Derek looked at me, bewildered. I just kept my smile and stepped away to let him try it out. His next shot flew straight hit the target, although not the bullseye. "And I thought he'd never learn!" Ikki stared at Derek, apparently impressed. "Nice one!" Ikki put his hand around my neck. I felt my cheeks turn hot again.

    "Ummm......" I was at a loss of words. "Oh, sorry." Ikki removed his hand. "I still don't understand why he gets the gorgeous new teacher!" a voice blurted from the next range and I turned around. There was a man argueing with another man, and the first guy's finger was pointed at Ikki. "Got a problem with that?" he called over and the two men immediately fell silent. "Heh, that's Class 2 Delta's homeroom teacher, and also my rival...... sort of. His name's Conrad." Ikki whispered in my ear.

    A few hours later, Ikki and I stood at the school canteen's counter, deciding what to eat. "Ramen's good here, but I suggest fried rice." Ikki suggested. I nodded and he bought two packets of fried rice. We took seats at one of the tables allocated for teachers. When Ikki pulled out a seat and smiled, I felt my cheeks turn hot yet again. Why do I keep blushing? I sat down and picked up a plastic spoon from the packet.

    Ikki not only proved to be rather handsome, he was quite a joker as well. There seemed to be nothing he couldn't make a joke out of. When the bell rang, indicating the end of breaktime, I followed him quietly to his class. He sat me at an empty desk behind the class and gave me a notebook, winking at me. I felt my cheeks turn red again as I took my seat. This time, Ikki noticed, but he said nothing, but I spotted a faint smile on his face. A kid wolf-whistled.

    Amidst the sounds of Ikki's teaching, I found myself slipping into a dream-like state. Everywhere I turned, I saw Ikki's face. I blushed yet again, and a kid in the back row burst my bubble. He made a point of ogling my legs stretched out under the desk. I scowled and retracted my legs. Whats getting into my mind?

    Chapter 36: Temporary Peace

    "MapleStory to Artemis...... Hellooo, wake up." Alexis's voice sounded from far away. I hastily looked around. "What happened to you? You just kept blushing and sighing." Alexis stared at me. "What...? Was I?" I scratched my head. Oh yeah, Roy had driven me home a while ago. "I passed the interview by the way." Alexis smiled. "Congrats." I gave her the thumbs up.

    "I think I'm gonna head up and have a rest. It's been a hectic day." I lied. Alexis nodded and I quickly ran up to our bedroom. "What's going on inside me? Am I...... in love...?" I asked myself, confused. All the times I kept blushing when I was around Ikki... Am I really a girl again? I stared at my own hands. They were smooth and soft from the effects of the Sexifier. "I guess I'm destined to be a girl, the way things keep turning out, so might as well make a good one." those words echoed around inside my head.

    I got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. Checking the mirror again, I noticed I looked more like a girl in ways I didn't know how to explain. I ran a finger through my leg-length black hair and pulled a few strands to the front of my eyes. I made a mental note to dress as well as I could tomorrow. For Ikki.

    When I walked down for dinner that evening, Mei Ling was injecting something into Lacus. "Oh, hi there. I found a way to shrink her hips and chest." she waved at me and Lacus gave a yell of pain; Mei Ling had accidentally pressed the syringe in too far. "Oh man... Sorry." she hurriedly apologized. Just before I went to the dining room, I booted up my laptop and checked the MapleNet website for Ikki's info.

    Ikfarion - Level 119 Ranger

    I gasped. He was just one level away from getting his 4th job! Roy looked over my shoulder and saw what I was looking at. "Gonna go snog this guy now? Good luck." he winked at me and walked into the dining room. I stared at his back for a few seconds, then powered down the laptop.

    Dinner that night consisted of seaweed, chicken nuggets, "Hong Kong Kailan" as Mei Ling called it and a few more, including rice. I tucked in ravenously, but Alexis just picked at her food. "Something wrong?" Mei Ling asked. "It's just...... I don't know what they'll get me to wear during my job...... What should I do if the clothes are revealing, like a swimsuit or something?" she stared at her food blankly. Mei Ling and Roy looked at each other, and for a split second, I caught their cheeks turning slightly red. "Hoho, would you look at that." the Dark Dragon smirked. "Dunno." both of them said simultaneously, and their blushes became slightly more visible. Lopez was eyeing them curiously.

    Lacus had her dinner taken up to her by Mei Ling because her body still hadn't recovered completely yet. I brushed and rinsed my teeth, then flopped onto the bed and pulled the blanket over me. Alexis followed suit and accidentally hit my butt with her foot when she jumped on, knocking me down onto the floor. I swore briefly, then got back on, ignoring a hurriedly apologizing Alexis.

    "Wake up, sleepyhead. You need to go to work." Alexis shook me awake the next morning, smiling. I jumped to my feet and ran into the bathroom purposefully to brush my teeth. "You don't normally do this every morning." she eyed me curiously as I flung open the wardrobe. I flicked through the enormous selection of blouses and picked a blue one with a V-shaped neck. Then, I selected a matching dark blue skirt that fell to my knees. "I just wanna look my best for someone today." I explained, strapping my watch to my wrist. "New boyfriend? So you're really a girl now. Well, enjoy your life." the Siren quipped. I stared at Alexis.

    Lacus's body had returned to normal, for she was back in her Dark Requirre. She spared us a meek glance and returned to her task of laying the table. "Think we should throw it away?" Mei Ling was juggling the Sexifier. "Careful. It'll fall...... on you." she had promptly dropped the Sexifier, this time, on her head. "No worries, I disabled it." she removed it without pressing the button. I heaved a sigh of relief.

    Chapter 37: Ikfarion

    Roy drove me to school as usual (I noticed a new antennae on his car's rooftop, and there was a fold-out TV screen on the ceiling), and Ikki brought me to his class range. "Mmm, you're wearing something new today." he remarked. "Hehe...... yeah." I blushed. "Do you like blue?" he asked. I nodded. "Why ask?" I asked him. "Nothing." he smiled.

    Ikki challenged me to an archery match today, and it was pretty close. His arrow hit the dead centre of the target first, and mine sliced his arrow smack in half. "I was just going easy on those guys you saw me having a match against the first time you got here." he smiled. "Oh." I mumbled. I noticed Conrad looking at me with a hint of the deepest loathing in his eyes. "He's making me nervous." I whispered in Ikki's ear. He turned around and looked at Conrad. Conrad quickly returned to his shooting, but his next arrow dropped on his foot. "Need a doctor?" a guy ran over and asked him. Ikki and I were stifling laughs.

    "That doesn't happen every day!" Ikki was laughing as we made our way towards the school canteen. I was laughing with him too. "Normally he's too focused on his shooting to do something like that though...... Does he have a crush on you?" he said thoughtfully. "Errr.... No way!" I exclaimed, trying to pick out my next few words carefully. Ikki bought 2 plates of spaghetti. "Can we finish this in 20 minutes?" I eyed it. "Ah well, we have 50 minutes. I don't have class next period." Ikki smiled.

    I ate my spaghetti slowly and daintily. Hold on! Daintily!? "Girl instincts. Get used to them." the Dark Dragon whispered. Ikki finished his in 20 minutes and started staring at me as the bell rang. "Erm... Do I have something on my face?" I asked. "Oh, nothing. It's just that I haven't had time to really look over you just yet." he grinned. I felt myself blushing again. "You know, you're really beautiful." he whispered in my ear. I jumped. "Really?" I asked him excitedly. "Yep." his smile widened. I nearly fainted right there.

    Ikki insisted on walking me home that day, so I was forced to give Roy a call and tell him not to pick me up. "Boyfriend walking you home? That Ikfarion guy? Happy lovey-dovey day." he smirked through the phone. "Hey, wait! It's not..." Too late, he already hung up. "You live in Kerning? Me too!" Ikki smiled when I told him where I lived. I was totally speechless. Conrad attempted to accost me while I was walking out the school gate, but Ikki gave him a dangerous look as he grabbed my arm, and he quickly walked off, whistling. "Weirdo." I looked at the red mark on my arm where Conrad had grabbed me. "Just ignore him. He's jealous coz I got a beauty of a woman to check out my classes." Ikki smiled. I blushed.

    "Sooo...... How's your family?" Ikki asked as we walked through Kerning's dark thief-infested streets. He had fended off most of the thieves by simply glaring at them. "Well...... My family's elsewhere in the world." I lied. I didn't want to scare him by telling him I was from another dimension. "Oh. So, you're alone?" Ikki asked again. "Nope, I live with a few friends and my twin sister." I replied, truthfully this time. "I see."

    Surprisingly, Ikki just lived a few blocks away from our house, in a small house. Apparently, he lived alone. "You're welcome to come over anytime!" I smiled at him. "Thanks." he grinned and walked off home, waving at me over his back all the time. I opened the door and heard a muffled noise from the other side. "Huh?" I looked behind the door. Lacus had been leaning on the door when I opened it, and I had slammed her into the wall. "Sorry!" I pulled her to her feet. "It's okay. I shouldn't have been leaning on the door anyway." she dusted herself down crossly.

    Chapter 38: Old News

    Alexis looked the exact opposite of happy. "They want me to model a swimsuit tomorrow." she explained unhappily, showing me a picture of a black-coloured swimsuit. It was an overall type, with a diamond-shaped hole over the chest area. The bottom of it was just like any normal swimsuit, except the part covering the buttocks was a bit too small. "It'd look good on you." I remarked. "No! It's too revealing!" she snatched the picture back.

    "Doesn't look too revealing to me." I said. "Okay, fine. I'll just model it tomorrow and show you exactly how revealing it is!" she stormed off to our bedroom. I checked a calendar Roy had hung on the wall. Tomorrow was a Saturday, and there would be no classes. "Thinking of going on a date?" Roy tapped my shoulder. I jumped. "Don't scare me like that!" I shouted, red-faced. "So you are thinking of going on a date." he smirked. "He...hey.... It's not.... It's not like that!" I stammered. "Anyway, go get him." he winked at me.

    "So who's the lucky guy?" Mei Ling leaned over and whispered in my ear during dinner. "What...... You know?" I whispered back. "Roy told me. Good luck on your date." she smiled and got back to her food. Geez...... The rest of the day flew by quite fast and I was soon in bed beside Alexis. "You know...... If you're really going for a new boyfriend, think of our first marriage as if it never happened. It's old news now." she murmured. I looked at her quizzically, but she was already snoring.

    The next morning, the doorbell rang while I was reading the newspaper. Roy and Mei Ling winked at me and went to the swimming pool. I ignored them and opened the door. "Ikki?" I gasped. Ikki was standing in the doorway with a smile on his face. "Thought I'd drop in for a moment. Hope I'm not interrupting anything." he grinned. "N...not at all!" I stammered and let him in. My face turned red again. "Oh, that must be your twin sister!" he had spotted Alexis coming out from the dining room.

    A bit of an awkward talk later, I showed Ikki around the house, taking care to avoid the lab and the swimming pool. "This is your room?" he asked as I led him into Alexis's and my room. I nodded. My Dark Lineros hung on a hook on the wall. "My twin sister sleeps with me." I explained as Ikki began staring at the queen-sized bed. "Oh." he mumbled. Suddenly, he took something from inside his Blue Arzuna and pressed it into my hands. "Huh?" I looked at it. It was a parcel.

    "Just a welcome gift to the school." Ikki smiled as I began to unwrap it. "What the......" I stared at the contents, dumbfounded. The soft fabric of a Blue Armis rested in my hands. "This is......" I stared at him. The faintest trace of a blush was on his cheeks. "Being almost a 4th jobber, I get a fat paycheck from the school. And besides, I like you." he grinned. I laid the Blue Armis down on my bed and took a good look at it. The entire overall was made out of a soft, comfortable, yet durable blue material. The leather wing-shaped left shoulder emitted a faint white glow. "Ikki, I really can't accept it......" I looked at him. "Who gives a damn about the price? I just hope you like it, that's all." he had obviously anticipated my words.

    All of a sudden, Ikki swooped down on me and hugged me close. "I knew, from the first second I saw you......" he whispered. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Roy peeking in the door. He winked at me and left. My arms seemed to automatically fall around Ikki's back and we both looked up. His hair carried a faint smell of cologne. "I....I..." I stammered. "that you would be a person I could......" he continued. My eyes widened. I knew what words would come next. "love forever." his lips closed in on mine and the next thing I knew, he was kissing me. Bliss. I closed my eyes. "I knew too." I whispered. The entire world around us seemed to escalate into blissful oblivion.

    My heart was doing backflips when we broke off. I reached a hand to my lips unbelievingly. "That, was a real one." Ikki breathed. I looked at the Blue Armis on the bed, and began to slip off my pajamas. "You're going to see them eventually anyway." I winked at the gaping Ikki. My chest bounced under my bra slightly as I removed the top and I reached for the Blue Armis, noting that Ikki was keeping his eyes wide open. I unzipped the sides of the top of the overall and slipped it on over my head. A perfect fit. I moved my arms out of the Blue Armis and zipped up the sides. My arms were laid bare for all to see, but it didn't really matter. Not like they're private or anything.

    Next, I pulled on the skirt of the Blue Armis and the trousers along with it. I buttoned the top and the bottom together and checked the mirror. "You look great." Ikki remarked. I smiled at him and gave a little twirl. He moved to stand beside me. "We sure look like a pair." I laughed. He grinned. I glanced at my Dark Lineros. "Erm...... Ikki......" For a few minutes, I had completely forgotten that I was once a boy. However, those thoughts and memories disappeared after a moment and I could remember vaguely that I was born as a girl. "Yes?" he looked at me. "Nothing." I smiled.

    The others were surprised when Ikki and I came walking down the stairs. "Wow." was the only word Roy could think of. "Where'd you get that......" Lacus gasped. I winked at them and we left the house, holding hands. "Let's go on a date." I pressed against his chest lovingly. He nodded.

    Chapter 39: Date

    Ikki took me for lunch at a lavishly decorated restaurant downtown. Over lunch, I provided an explanation of the rest of my group's jobs. After that, he brought me home in time to catch Alexis leaving for her job. "Let's tag along." he nudged me. We walked up to her. "Tag along? Sure." she muttered and we followed her into a large building right beside the restaurant we ate in earlier. She took us through a long corridor and through a door.

    I blinked. We had just entered a dazzling room with a long stage up the middle of it and rows of seats surrounding the stage in a U-shaped formation. "Miss Alexis, you're right on schedule. Go get yourself dressed up." a short, stocky man in a black coat made note of our entry and Alexis hurried off into a door labeled "Changing Room". "Are you two her guests?" the man asked Ikki and me. We nodded and he pointed at a few seats in the rear of the room.

    People continued to enter the room until all the seats were full. After that, the lights dimmed and bright spotlights were pointed at the stage. "Welcome to......" an emcee got up onto the stage. We ignored the rest of his speech, it was too boring. Ikki brought out a Playstation Portable and started thumbing away on it.

    A few minutes later, the emcee left the stage after announcing that the show was about to begin. Ikki put his PSP back in his Blue Arzuna and sat back to watch. First, a red-headed girl wearing a flowery overall swimsuit walked out onto the stage and took a few poses for the cameras. Next, another girl walked out in a swimsuit that I recognized as the one in the picture Alexis had showed me. I wondered why she wasn't wearing it. A few members of the audience leaned in for a closer look, not including Ikki. He was just leaning back.

    More girls walked out one by one, in swimsuits of varying types, colours and thickness. Several people got nosebleeds after seeing a girl wearing a half-transparent one. Finally, Alexis walked out, the last of them all. She was wearing a smile that I could clearly see, wasn't sincere. She was wearing a bikini and a bra that was the same colour as her skin, only they seemed metallic. She took a few poses, then walked back in. Apparently, she was the last one, for people were already standing up to leave.

    Alexis wasn't happy when she joined us outside. "They made me wear that other one." she murmured. The sky was already darkening. "Let's get you two home." Ikki smiled and grabbed our hands. For a moment, I saw Alexis's cheeks turn red. What the heck? He hailed a taxi and insisted on Alexis going in first. She hesitated for a split second, then climbed in. Ikki told the driver where to go to, and whispered something I couldn't hear in his ear. The driver nodded and Ikki suddenly slammed the passenger door shut. "Huh?" I looked at him curiously. "I'll walk you home again." he winked at me as the taxi drove off with Alexis banging on the windows.

    The route Ikki took me lead to our house all right, but he took a wrong turn. "You're going the wrong way." I pointed out. He just hushed me and brought me into a small house. I followed without complaint, wondering what was going on. The house was rather shabby. I wondered why Ikki, who I always thought to be rich, lived in a place like this. He pushed me upstairs into a bedroom, closed and locked the door. "What?" I stared at him. He forced me onto the bed and pinned my arms. "Isn't it a little too early for......" I was cut off by the glint in his eyes. Something was not right. He grabbed a dagger and started to hack away at the Blue Armis he bought me. "What are you doing!? Help!" I screamed. "No one can hear you. This room is completely soundproof." Ikki breathed.

    The only shred of clothing left on me was the wing-shaped leather shoulder part of the Blue Armis, which I just realized, had a jewel on it that was glinting strangely. Suddenly, it hit me. "This is......" I tried to reach a hand to it, but my arms wouldn't move! "Akasha Charms work wonders eh?" Ikki smiled dangerously. "You're not Ikki!" I shouted. "Damn right you are. I killed the real Ikki days ago." he laughed. "Now, for the final stage of the plan." he started to lower his body...... onto mine. He plunged an ethereal hand into my chest. "Thats..." my eyes widened in horror. His hand touched my heart, and I felt something being slipped into it.

    The next thing I knew, I was screaming at the top of my lungs, screaming in a voice that wasn't mine. Pain blazed through my entire body. My skin started to turn black. Blood burst out of my back as a pair of new, black, demonlike wings erupted out of my back. My fingernails sharpened and became claws. My eyes became red. "Arise, Queen of demons, Dark Angel." the fake Ikki breathed as I got to my feet, a completely different person. I took one look at myself and gave a terrific roar that echoed throughout the night sky and brought the house tumbling down. A single mental thought of Shield created a magical barrier that caused rubble to disintegrate on impact. A single flap of my wings allowed me to soar into the air.

    I was......

    The Dark Angel.

    Chapter 40: Dark Metamorphosis (Yes, I know I copied it from TGP's fanfic)

    AN: Here on in, it's Alexis's PoV until I say so.

    I could sense something was wrong with the guy Artemis was with. Because of that, I let the taxi drive me around a corner, and then I punched the driver and jumped out. I would have avoided it if possible, but Artemis wasn't in her right mind. I tailed Ikki as he took her into an abandoned house near my home. "The sky......" the Siren pointed my head upwards. The previously cloudless skies had now filled with clouds and black lightning was shooting around. "We need to get out of here." it directed me in the direction of my house and I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, and not a moment too soon.

    A deafening roar issued from the house, bringing it, and other nearby houses down into their foundations. I only just got to cover behind a steel wall in time, and the resulting shockwave dented the metal itself, punching through in a few places. "Demonic energy...... But this power is way above S-rank." the Siren breathed. "That's not good." I muttered. A dark silhouette rose out of the rubble of the building and took off in the direction of the city. I stared after it. "Was that......" I gasped and ran towards the city, bumping into Roy, Mei Ling, Lacus and Lopez in Roy's car on the way. "We know, we know. The shockwave nearly blew the house apart." Lopez said. "Get in!" Roy motioned for me to get in, but I just hopped on his car's roof and held onto the roof scoop. "GO!" I yelled. Roy didn't wait for an explanation. He floored the accelerator.

    We nearly crashed into several cars driving away from the city, which was already in flames. Black flames. Screams of terror could be heard from all over the place. A few Kerning Party Quest hopefuls were already logging off, data fizzling in the air for a few seconds. "This is a disaster!" Mei Ling gasped. Dead bodies were everywhere. "No kidding. I'm guessing that's the source." Roy pointed at a dark figure perched on the highest building in Kerning. "Hold on tight." he added, and I heard a button being pressed. Suddenly, the car's trunk burst open and a few rocket boosters appeared out of it. "And I thought I'd never get to use 'em." he smiled and pushed another button. White-hot flames shot out of the rocket boosters, propelling the car forwards. I held on for my life as Roy accelerated over a coincidentally placed ramp, and into the sky.

    "Now, wings." Roy spat around the wind and two wings shot out of the car's underside, helping to stabilize it. "Okay. Need a dropoff? Lacus brought your sword along." Roy shouted and Lacus's hand reached out of a side window, holding my Jikyeon Sword and it's sheath. I grabbed it and unsheathed it, handing the sheath back to Lacus. The golden blade vibrated unnaturally fast, as if it was thirsty for opponents to kill. "Too much mana in the air. You might not be able to channel spells with your sword!" Mei Ling yelled as we shot through the air towards the demon perched on the building's top. It seemed to acknowledge our presence, and immediately rose up into the air. The car-plane's headlights illuminated it completely now. "It's a girl!?" Lopez gasped. The inflated chest and long hair attested to that fact, but the skin was pure darkness. The demon radiated a powerful demonic aura.

    "Now, kill. Dark Angel." a voice boomed through the air. Roy instinctively looked around for the source, but it seemed to have come from the air itself. The demon flew towards us. I grasped my sword tightly in one hand and hoisted myself onto the roof of the car. "Okay, footgrips." Roy muttered. Two foot-shaped portions of the car's roof sank in and I put a foot in each one. Some sort of gel flowed into the hole and sealed it up again, with my feet inside. "You fly, I fight." I nodded at Roy and pointed my sword at the advancing demon.

    "Incoming!" Lacus yelled as the demon held up a hand and released a massive black jet of fire through the air. Roy killed the engine and the car dropped a few metres, just evading the fire. He activated the engine again and the boosters ignited. "Yikes." Mei Ling put her head out the window and almost got it burnt off as another black jet of flame flew past the car. "I'll keep my head in from now on." I heard her mutter. "Alexis, I can't get any closer! Got any long-range attacks!?" Roy shouted, rolling right to dodge another jet of black flame. Flame...... Water! "Tsunami Strike!" I shouted, spinning my sword. A pillar of water shot out of it, but the demon dodged it easily. "Oh my god...... NOOOOO!!!" Lacus screamed. The demon had just shot a jet of black flame that twisted around, following the car, eventually swallowing it. Roy ejected me off before it happened though, and I was now in a freefall through the air. "ROY! LACUS! MEI LING! LOPEZ!" I screamed their names. There was an explosion from inside the winding pillar of black flame that blew me onto the top of a nearby building.

    "No......" I sank to my knees. The wreckage of the car dropped to the ground. No one could survive a fall from that height. The others were dead. "Don't...... count... your chickens.... before they hatch..." a voice said from behind me. I turned around. I massaged my eyes. I must be either hallucinating or crazy. Roy, Mei Ling, Lacus and Lopez were on the ground. "I added a Teleporter to the car just for kicks. Never thought it'd be used for something like this......" Roy staggered to his feet. I ran to him and hugged him tightly. "Car's in pieces though. No transportation hurts." Lacus got up slowly. She had a small bruise on her arm, but she Healed it easily. "So...... how do we beat that demon?" Lopez stared at the demon circling around the Fidelo Needle, for of course, it was the highest building in Kerning.

    "No way we can get to it without transport, and going up the Needle is too risky." I said thoughtfully. "LOOK OUT!" Lacus screamed and dived aside. "Wha...?" I looked forward and saw another jet of black flame. "We won't survive this time......" Roy said gloomily. I got in front of them and held up my sword. "I'll make it happen." I whispered and launched myself into the flames, sword pointing straight forwards. Impact was silent, and surely lethal, if it hadn't been for the power of the sword. My body began to vibrate along with the sword. A few seconds later, the flames disappeared, sucked into the sword. I then gave it a mighty swing. The flames reappeared, shooting out of the sword and towards the demon. This time, it was gold-coloured fire.

    The demon narrowly dodged it, but the sheer force of the attack caused one of its wings to disintegrate. "Fingers in your ears!" Mei Ling shouted. Everyone stuffed their fingers in their ears as another deafening sonic shockwave shot through the city. Glass shattered and a few buildings collapsed. All of us managed to find cover, except Lopez. The poor guy got hit full force by it and was thrown into the air, writhing. "LOPEZ!" Roy yelled, but his voice was drowned out by the demon's scream of pain. Lopez has hit so hard, he was thrown a few kilometres into the air. Surely, we would find him in another city, if he still lived.

    The demon suddenly appeared in front of us, hovering in the air with just one wing. "Uhoh." Lacus squeaked. She was the first one to get hit by the demon's claws. Her body was flung into a nearby building. Mei Ling was next, slammed into another building. Roy was thrown high up into the air, and he landed with a sickening crunch right in front of me. However, just as it raised its claws to attack me, I saw a figure materialize beside it. "Stop. Enough for today." it spoke. The demon hesitated for a second, then melted into the darkness along with the other figure. I was left untouched. The others were probably either seriously injured, or dead. The latter was not an option I wanted to think of.

    Chapter 41: Going Solo

    "She's awake!" I heard a voice yell as I opened my eyes. I was in a tent, and there were a few wizards running around, attending to the injured. I sat up and looked around wildly for my sword. It was lying beside me on my bed, in a new sheath. "I see you're awake." an old man appeared beside me. I recognized him as Grendel, master of magicians. "Wait..... Roy, Mei Ling, Lacus......" I sat up, but Grendel laid me down again. "We recovered them from the ruins. They were almost dead too." he said grimly. I looked to my right. The others were lying beside me, unconscious and completely covered in bandages. "Lopez...!" I sat up again. "Lith Harbour medics are tending to him now. He was thrown all the way there, and his eardrums were shattered. He's deaf." Grendel explained. I gasped.

    I was discharged a few minutes later after a few witches made sure I was completely fine. All around the tent, people were either running around or crying. The Dark Lord was nowhere to be seen. The city was a ruin. Multiple green tents had been pitched up all over the city wherever they could be placed. The tents all flew the same flag. The Ellinia flag.

    "Wait!" I called over to a witch running past. "Yes?" she walked to me. "Did anything happen to Ellinia?" I asked her. "Yes, yes. We felt the shockwave too, but Kerning was hit the hardest. Henesys, Perion and Lith Harbour also got hit by it, but they took minor damage." she scurried off again, looking harassed. "That demon is way above S-rank." the Siren remarked. "The house...!" I ran off towards the house.

    It was still standing, amidst the smoking ruins of the other houses. Apparently, Roy had done some upgrading. I unlocked the door with a key I kept in a side pocket and walked in. Everything was fine, other than the windows being blown in and a few pieces of overturned furniture. Artemis's laptop was on the ground, undamaged. Lucky for her, the casing was strong. Wait...... Where'd Artemis go to? Was...... Could it be? The Dark Angel......

    I flipped open her laptop and booted it up. I brought up the MapleNet website and gasped. It was filled to the brim with news about Kerning's destruction. 100 pages worth of comments were under it, obviously by panicked maplers. A few witness videos were also listed. I pressed the play button on one and watched in horror as Roy's car was blown into smithereens by the Dark Angel. I couldn't watch any more after that. I turned the laptop off and closed it.

    "" a strange voice suddenly said from the doorway and I turned around. I gasped. The Dark Angel was standing in the doorway, apparently in a daze. "After what you did to the others!? No chance!" I shrieked and grabbed my sword. "No...... you...... don't.... understand...!" she held up a hand. "I understand perfectly well! You almost killed us all!" I screamed and leapt forward. All of a sudden, she fell limp and landed in the hands of...... "Ikki!" I gasped. "She shouldn't have done this. Most unfitting for the Queen of demons." he smiled and disappeared along with the Dark Angel. Queen of demons!? Oh my god...... No wonder her powers surpassed even the S-rank! "Faint magical traces indicate they went somewhere in the dungeon." the Siren murmured. "I'm going." I looked around in Roy's room and found a scroll with the Sleepywood flag drawn on it. I ripped it in half and a portal appeared in the air. I stepped through it.

    Strangely, the residents of Sleepywood weren't panicking. Probably natural, they had no MapleNet access since the town was built in a cave. Wouldn't want to throw them into a state of panic though. I walked into the Ant Tunnel. "Demonic emissions coming from the Cursed Sanctuary." the Siren reported. I advanced in further. The Ant Tunnel was devoid of the usual monsters, and a few maplers who obviously hadn't heard about Kerning's destruction were wandering around asking people, "What happened to the spawn?"

    Further in, it was the same. No monsters, except for the occasional Crimson Balrog that wasn't native here. A few dead maplers were floating around in ghost form, wondering who had summoned a Crimson there. I killed them without much of a problem and took the scrolls that dropped out of their carcasses. "Where do those items come from anyway?" I thought to myself.

    The Cursed Sanctuary was where the supposed prince of demons lived, the Jr Balrog. You could tell there was something suspicious going on, two Death Angels were guarding the entrance to it. "Demons." I breathed and unsheathed my sword. The Death Angels attacked. "Ice Charge." I whispered, using one of the techniques my mother Fielda had taught me in my past life. My Jikyeon Sword hissed for a moment, then a sheet of ice formed around it. I used this to freeze the 2 demons in mid-air, then stepped on their remnants and pushed open the massive door to the Cursed Sanctuary.

    The place was still the same in terms of terrain shape, but the occupants were completely different. Ikki sat on the Junior Balrog's throne, and the Dark Angel was curled up on his lap, asleep and naked. I noticed that he stroking her chest and hips. Pervert. "Ahh, Alexis. I knew you'd come." he smiled devilishly. "Where's Artemis!? What have you done to her!?" I demanded. "She's right here in this cave. But...... you can't reach her right now. She's mine. For eternity." he caught my anxious glance at the Dark Angel. Come to think of it, her hair was exactly the same length as Artemis's. Her face also bore the same features, other than the black skin. "You don't say......" I gasped. "Why don't I let you have a quick chat with your twin sister before she starts destroying Perion?" Ikki grinned. The Dark Angel's skin suddenly turned to the colour of human skin, and it was obvious, at this point, that she was really Artemis. Her remaining wing kept its black colour though.

    "What...... Artemis!" I yelled. Artemis stirred and opened her eyes. "Ale...xis...?" she moaned. Her eyes were a deep red colour. "Where......" she reached her hands, or rather claws out and began to feel around. She was blind...... "Chatting time's over." Ikki smiled. Artemis's skin turned back to pure darkness and she reared up. "Now for the finishing touch." Ikki removed a wing-shaped object from her shoulder and picked something off it. "Stop!" I shrieked, running towards the both of them. Ikki merely looked at me, and placed the thing on Artemis's forehead. Now I realized that it was an Akasha Charm. She let out a purr of delight and huddled closer to Ikki. Her ears became pointed and her entire body became scaly. Another pair of wings shot out of her back and the wing I had destroyed regrew. Two horns shot out of her head and her hair became even darker. Her teeth became razor-sharp and pointed. "Oh my......" I watched her undertake the transformation in horror.

    When Artemis got up again, she was really the Dark Angel. "Artemis! Wake up!!!" I screamed as she suddenly appeared in front of me. She had obvious expected me to be unarmed, for I was hiding my sword inside my armour. I took it out and gave it a mighty stab. "If you even have the heart to try and kill me, you are no longer my sister." I whispered as the Dark Angel reeled backwards a few steps, then sank to the ground. I had managed to puncture her heart. "No!" Ikki screamed as I put the Dark Angel on my back, then ripped a Kerning scroll apart and teleported back.

    "Doing this will put a lot more people in danger!" the Siren warned as I strapped the unconscious Dark Angel to the rocky wall of the swimming pool cavern in my house. Her wound had resealed itself. She may be the queen of demons, but her body was still human, and thus limited in some aspects. "Is there a way to fix her?" I asked. "You can get into her mind and try to fix her up." the Siren replied thoughtfully.

    "Can you get me into her mind?" I asked the Siren. "Yes I can, but it's too dangerous. Her mind is demonic now, and who knows what demons think." it sighed. "Just do it!" I commanded and reached up to the Akasha Charm on the Dark Angel's forehead. "If you pull that off I can't do it. Human minds are quite easily piggybacked, but demon minds are different. I need a valid entry point to demon minds to get in, and an Akasha Charm attached to a demon forehead is one of the few ways." the Siren explained. I placed my hand on the Dark Angel's forehead. "Get ready." the Siren warned. My body began to glow and I was sucked into the Akasha Charm, legs first. For a split second, I saw the Dark Angel's chest expand slightly, but I ignored it and simply focused on getting into her mind.

    Chapter 42: Inside The Demon Queen

    I landed on a smoking red plateau. "We are now in the mind of the Demon Queen." the Siren announced. I looked around. The ground in this place was composed entirely of red rocks. Thunder and lightning echoed in the skies. "Her mind is rather unstable at the moment. Be careful." the Siren warned. All of a sudden, Artemis appeared in front of me. "What...?" I reeled backwards. She was more beautiful than ever, but when she spoke, it was obvious that she was also more terrible. "Leave and don't come back! This woman's body is mine to control for eternity!" Artemis screeched and grabbed my neck. "Give it up, Dark Angel." I whispered and threw her arm off. It broke off from her body entirely with a sickening crunch! She melted into the darkness and emerged again as the Dark Angel.

    "Any plans?" I whispered. "Find the real Artemis and give her hope. Her body is the one being controlled, so only she can overthrow the Dark Angel." the Siren replied. I dodged a claw that came swooping down on my head. "Easy for you to say." I muttered and ran. The Dark Angel followed me through the air, throwing black fireballs at me. "The real Artemis should be residing in an uncorrupted portion of her mind. If the corruption reaches her, we cannot do anything for her any longer, so hurry!" the Siren shouted.

    I followed where my instincts told me to, for the back of her mind. The corruption was most intense where I had landed, with thunder and lightning, so the Akasha Charm was the most likely cause. The back of her mind, further away from the Charm, would take longer to be corrupted. I ran as fast as I could, but I stopped dead when I saw something. Artemis was lying, naked in a corner of her mind, surrounded by green grass. The Phoenix, Dark Dragon, and a small Demon Dragon were floating around her, repeatedly trying to reach her. The corruption had almost reached her now. I looked back. The Dark Angel was gaining steadily.

    The Inner Beasts looked at me as I approached and floated aside. "Artemis!" I shook Artemis awake. She began holding her arms over herself. "Cold......" she whispered. The grass around her was withering. "Don't lose hope. I'm still here." I smiled at her. She looked at me. "Ikki's dead......" she murmured. More grass withered. "The real Ikki never loved you. This Ikki is Saevio." I lied, hoping it would work. It did. For a moment, her eyes glinted a strange blue, and then the withering grass returned to normal. "Saevio...... I must......" she staggered to her feet. I helped her up. The Dark Angel was in front of us now. Strangely, it seemed unable to enter the space we were in.

    "But...... I killed Roy, Mei Ling, Lacus and Lopez......" Artemis's voice faltered. More grass withered. "No, you didn't. They're still alive." I said soothingly. "All the other people in Kerning...... I killed them all......" she moaned. The Dark Angel flew closer. The Phoenix rose up over me protectively, but it could not enter the corrupted region of Artemis's mind. "That was the Dark Angel's doing. You can avenge those people now. Force the Dark Angel out." I urged her on. Her eyes glinted blue again and grass started to grow in the corrupted parts of her mind again. A single toe on the Dark Angel's right foot disappeared. "Go on. Force the impurity out." the Phoenix whispered. "Get that demon. Don't let it control you." the Dark Dragon and the Demon Dragon murmured.

    The grass grew faster. The Dark Angel was repelled backwards by an invisible force. The three Inner Beasts grew larger. "I must......" Artemis got to her feet steadily. The Dark Angel's eyes widened in horror. "You killed those people, and for that, I can never forgive you." Artemis's voice was steady now. She was suddenly wearing a Blue Anes. "For the many lives you've taken using my body, I will now force you out." she whispered.

    A shockwave of energy pulsed outwards from Artemis's body. The Dark Angel screamed and reared back as grass began to grow all over the ground. "We have won." the Phoenix smiled at me. "Without you, she'd be lost by now." the Dark Dragon grinned. I returned the smile. The Dark Angel's wing feathers molted off. "Hurry and get out, or Artemis's energy will shatter the Akasha Charm and you won't be able to get out." the Demon Dragon blew me towards the exit with a strong breath of wind. Now, there was a portal there. I climbed through it as the Dark Angel screamed again.

    The Akasha Charm shattered just as I got out. Artemis's skin colour was turning back to normal again, but her body wasn't. She still had 4 wings, pointed ears, claws, horns and scaly skin. Her teeth had changed back to normal. When her skin completely turned back to normal, she started snoring. "Awww, how cute. She's sleeping." the Siren remarked. "She's had a really bad day, that's all." I smiled and carried her upstairs, groaning under her weight. Apparently, being a demon for a day got her heavy. I didn't want to say it out loud. I put her down on our bed and I laid down on the floor since her wings occupied most of the space on the bed.

    "Umm...... Alexis. Wake up." Artemis woke me up a few hours later. I had dozed off on the floor. "How are you feeling?" I asked. "Fine, although I'm not too happy with this demon body." she twisted her body around, trying to look at her wing roots. Jakito suddenly floated into view. "Leaving me at home for all that time......" he muttered and floated off through a wall. "Maybe he can do something about your body." I said.

    "Can you do something about my body? I don't wanna go around looking like this!" Artemis asked Jakito. He ground his teeth. "I cannot do anything without a physical body, so just go find me one and I'll fix you up!" he was obviously irritated. Artemis shrugged and walked off to study herself in the mirror. As she walked past me, her hair swished around behind her. It was still darker than even black.

    Chapter 43: Blown Cover

    The others still hadn't fully recovered from the attack yet, so we were forced to wait. Artemis seemed to cry frequently as we ran around the house, cleaning it up. Her wings were pretty useful for getting to places I wasn't tall enough to reach, and her demon body was pretty strong too. She was soon pushing up fallen cabinets and drawers. "Can't you get a ladder or something?" she grumbled after another few minutes of cleaning up the top of our wardrobe. "I would, but I'd have to put it back at the store again." I winked at her and continued dusting the underside of the wardrobe.

    All of a sudden, there was a scream from outside and I quickly looked out the window. There was a man pulling a screaming woman along a path. Artemis peeked out beside me. "I think we have a bit of-" I looked beside me. Artemis was gone. "Uhoh." I groaned. She had flown outside. Just giving the man an icy stare made him run away. Now it was his turn to scream. "Ohh, thank you......" the woman turned around and saw Artemis. "AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!" she screamed and ran off. Artemis was beside me again in a blink of an eye. "I hate this demon body, although the wings are pretty useful." she remarked. I slapped my forehead in exasperation.

    "We need to get out of here." I said and grabbed hold of Artemis's arm. "Why?" she asked. "In case you forgot, this body was the one that annihilated Kerning City. There's a wanted poster on the MapleNet website with your face on it!" I shouted. "But...... I didn't......" she shrank back. "I know you didn't, but other people won't believe you!" I sighed. "I do." a voice said from behind us. I turned around. "Sevin?" I gasped.

    "Door was blown off its hinges so I flew straight in." Sevin explained. "What...... what are you doing here?" I asked. "Word's already reached Henesys. The hunt is on." he replied. "What!?" Artemis's jaw dropped. "The hunt is on." Sevin repeated, fixing his stare on Artemis. "The hunt...... Oh crap." I gasped. "I've been with you guys long enough to know that Artemis won't do such a thing as destroy Kerning." he smiled.

    "Thanks, Sevin." Artemis smiled. "How'd you know she's Artemis?" I asked. "Her face." Sevin replied. There was a pounding on the door. "Actually, I live alone, so no one will miss me if I join you two." he smiled. "You want to come with us?" Artemis was aghast. "Yep. I don't really have much to do at school anyway. They've just announced the school's closing due to the demon attack. Headmaster wants to keep us safe at home." he shrugged.

    There was a crashing sound from the front door. "GET OUT HERE, COWARDLY DEMON!!!" someone yelled. "Let's go." Artemis nodded at me and Sevin. He spread out his wings obligingly and started to flap them. "I've never used this kind of magic before...... Stand back." Artemis held her hand up, pointing her palm at the ceiling. Sevin felt it coming and quickly retreated. Steps sounded coming up the stairs. "Hurry!" I mouthed. A black jet of fire shot out of Artemis's palm and created a hole through the ceiling and into the sky. She widened the hole a little, then grabbed me around my waist after I grabbed my sword. A second later, we were in the sky. Sevin followed behind, although slower. Artemis's quad wings were more powerful. "That's......" "GET IT!!!" Arrows and throwing stars started to fly at us. Sevin just flew higher while Artemis closed two of her wings around us and flew with two remaining free ones. I felt her flinch as an arrow hit her leg.

    "I'm going to speed up. Sevin, hang onto me!" Artemis called out and unfurled the two wings that were being used to shield us. Sevin grabbed hold of her leg. Artemis flapped her wings fiercely, generating a powerful blast of wind backwards. Most of the arrow flying after us were blown back to the ground and a few members of the mob were blown off their feet. We were propelled forwards by that burst of wind. A few seconds later, we were hovering over the sacred forests of Ellinia. "My wings were that strong?" Artemis looked at her back. "Ummm...... Yep." I smoothened my hair hurriedly. It was all messed up from the flight.

    "Also, we need new clothes." Alexis looked at herself. My sudden propulsion forwards had caused the wind to rip our clothes to shreds. Sevin got up, his clothes still on. Apparently, his clothes were strengthened for him to fly with. "Hmmm......" I thought for a moment and closed my eyes, peering into the demonic memories left behind by the Dark Angel. Her memories were full of demon magic, Dark magic, torture and bloodlust. I flinched. The Dark Angel was very knowledgeable about spell incantations, ingredients and potion-making, although most were evil. There was a spell for creating items out of nothing at the very surface of her memories. Apparently, she had always used it.

    "Trace, on." I whispered. Alexis looked at me curiously as I held my hands up and closed my eyes again. I imagined a piece of level 100 clothing. A curious sensation filled my hands. I felt a soft fabric taking shape on my very hands. When I opened my eyes, it was just sitting there, although not the colour I wanted. "Dark Armis? This isn't supposed to exist." I murmured, but put it on anyway. It resembled the Blue Armis the fake Ikki had given me, only it was black in colour. I recognized the jewel set in the leather wing-shaped shoulder as a Dark Crystal.

    "How'd you......" Alexis gasped. "The Dark Angel left me all of her memories when I forced her out of my mind." I explained. "There's a lot of Dark stuff inside...... You don't want to see it." I added. She nodded. "Can you make me something to wear?" she asked. I closed my eyes again, but I couldn't really imagine it. I hadn't seen the level 100 warrior armour before. Oh well, might as well. "Trace, on." I whispered and closed my eyes, holding my hands up again.

    What came out was again, a dark item. "A Dark Battle Empress?" Alexis raised an eyebrow. "I don't know what the level 100 warrior armour looks like!" I moaned. "Oh." she put it on. A few black sparks flew out of the armour as she put it on. Sevin suddenly appeared with a few herbs. "Food's here." he announced and eyed the new clothes Alexis and me were wearing. "Oh yeah, where's your bow?" I asked Sevin. "Lost it in the flight." he replied mournfully. "Trace, on." I muttered. Level 30 Ryden Bow? Piece of cake!

    "Cool......" Sevin cradled his new bow in his arms. "Not exactly the colour I wanted though." I shrugged. The bow was again, black-coloured. Apparently, demon magic could only create Dark items. A few minutes later, I had created a tent and an exact replica of my laptop. I flipped it open and checked the MapleNet website for updates. Sure enough, my face was framed on the front page as "WANTED". However, when I checked my ranking, something unexpected showed up.

    Artemis - Level 200 Dark Angel

    My job class and level had completely changed! "What kind of job class is this!?" I looked at myself. "A completely new class. Interesting." the Phoenix muttered. "Can you look into the Dark Angel's memories?" I asked. "No. It appears that only you can access its memories, although I suggest not to." the Dark Dragon quipped. I closed my eyes and looked into the Dark Angel's memories again.

    The Dark Angel was always being picked on during her childhood, which left me rather surprised. She was always being raped by other male demons. The similarity to the humans was staggering. It was also similar to me during my past life. Demons lived without school, just going to hunt and kill every day. The adult demons would learn all about magic and potions by their own experience. The Dark Angel had already mastered 50% of all Dark Magic during her childhood, but only after numerous times of killing the demons raping her. When she reached adulthood, her experience with magic was incredible. She then began to experiment with potions. After a hundred years, she discovered a potion that could bring immortality to the drinker, but was killed before she could drink it herself. The potion was drunk by....... Argh. Those part of her memories were blurred out, although I thought I recognized a scorpion tail. The Ragnarok?

    I was shuddering when I warped out of the Dark Angel's memories. The bloodshed was incredible. She was bloodthirsty and vicious, drinking the blood of every demon she killed. The Trace was one of her favourite spells, creating weapons out of nothing. She could use any weapon thrown into her hands, and that made her unique. I looked at my claws and closed my eyes. "Trace, on." I whispered. I wondered what I could do with a giant scythe.

    I gave the giant scythe a twist and threw it at a gap in between two trees. The scythe spun like a boomerang and returned after doing two rounds around a tree trunk. It seemed I knew how to grab it instinctively. My claws closed around the hilt as it returned and I spun it to my back. Not so much as a scratch on any of the trees. Impressive.

    Chapter 44: In Hiding

    An assortment of Traced weapons lay on a Traced weapon rack beside me. I had tried out every single weapon I could think of, even a Gundam's beam cannon. Lacus would be jealous. I picked up a mace and gave it a little twirl. It dropped to the ground after a few revolutions. I was getting tired. Trace really took a lot out of me, but maybe that was because I used it so many times. I closed my eyes and all of the weapons I had Traced disappeared.

    When I got back to the tent, I Traced a pot and some firewood. "Hey wait, I've never cooked before!" I murmured absent-mindedly, putting some of Sevin's herbs into the pot and conjuring water out of nothing. Fighting wasn't the only thing the Dark Angel was good at. A few minutes later, I had brewed some kind of soup that smelled like honey. "What's this...?" I stared at it. Suddenly, it occured to me that my stomach was grumbling. I scooped a handful of the soup and drank it instinctively. A burning sensation dropped down my throat and my stomach seemed to fill up magically. "Hmmm. So all we need for food is this." I muttered. Alexis walked out of the tent and eyed the potion hungrily. "Just 1 handful, or else you'll start vomiting." I instructed her. Sevin had walked off to find firewood. A wasted effort. He gasped when he saw my Traced firewood. "I didn't find anything anyway." he shrugged and looked at the potion. He lifted the pot up and drank from it hungrily as I yelled at him. A few seconds later, he was vomiting. "Should have told me earlier!" he said angrily, wiping vomit from his mouth.

    "Ok, look. This Dark Angel thing is creeping me out." Alexis told me that night. I had traced a larger tent for us while Sevin took the smaller one. "Same here." I sighed. "Can't you do anything about your wings?" Alexis complained after I lifted a wing she was sleeping on. "Sorry." I apologized and closed my wings around myself. "Wait." Something from the Dark Angel's past flashed through my eyes. It seemed that she was able to take on a human form! I closed my eyes and concentrated. My wings, horns and claws shot back into my body and my scaly skin smoothened out, becoming my normal skin again. I blinked and my hair turned blonde. "Nice. We look alike now." Alexis smirked.

    The next morning was rather uneventful, unless you count Alexis scorching her finger on a cooking pot. Even in my normal form, I could use demon spells. Using the laptop I had Traced yesterday, I brought up the MapleNet website again. The front page still had a picture of my demon face on it, except now, my normal face was shown beside it. Someone had done some checking and found out my face was the same as the Dark Angel's. That someone had probably put that fact with the fact that I lived in the exact same house as the one I had escaped from in my demon form and called the police. "I guess there's no turning back now." I muttered sadly and blinked. My hair turned bright turquoise. "I could get used to this." I remarked, blinking again. My hair turned pink.

    I called a meeting that night and we sat around a table I had Traced on chairs I had also Traced. Alexis was obviously getting spooked. "This chair doesn't feel right." she mumbled, adjusting her position every now and then. "So what do we do now? My face is on every wanted poster on the island." I sighed. "And someone's probably caught the little episode where we busted through the roof on camera." Alexis groaned. "Try to clear your name?" Sevin suggested. "Dark Angel's dead. How am I supposed to get a non-existent person, or rather demon, to bail me out?" I sighed again.

    "I suppose the only thing we can do now is try to find Saevio by ourselves." I grumbled. "How do we find him then?" Alexis asked. I blinked and my hair turned red. "No idea." I shrugged, fingering my new hair. "Might wanna start off by finding out what that is." Sevin pointed at a strange object dangling from a nearby tree. "Probably an apple or...... Crap." I gasped. It was a ball-shaped object with what appeared to be a lens under it. "A Sentry. They found us." I breathed. Sentries were magical tools used to observe people from a safe distance. It was easily mistaken as a fruit. Now how did I know that?

    "We need to move. Now." I closed my eyes. The entire Traced camp disappeared and my hair turned black again. "That's better." I thought. However, just as the three of us turned to leave, a massive heat haze lingered in the air. "DUCK!" I shouted and pulled Alexis and Sevin down. A dozen Fire Arrows collided in the air where our heads had been a moment earlier and an entire ring of Magicians appeared out of nowhere. "Damn." I cursed. The Magicians began chanting an incantation. My demon mind automatically cross-referenced it between the Dark Angel's past memories to check for what the spell did. "Imprison." I gasped. I had no choice now. In my human form, I was almost completely defenseless. Being half-demon did have a few advantages. I closed my eyes and concentrated, hoping I would be able to fully transform before the Imprison spell was completed. Alexis and Sevin were up, staring at the Magician ring.

    I flinched as my wings burst out of my back, taking a bit of my blood with them. My fingernails sharpened, becoming claws. My ears became pointed and two demon horns shot out of my head. My skin became scaly. This time, something was different. My back felt slightly heavier than usual. I grabbed Sevin and Alexis and in a second, I was somewhere in the upper atmosphere. "Can't...... breath......" Alexis gagged. "Sorry." I apologized and let myself drop a few metres. I looked down. A small clearing had been blown out by the force of my wings, and the Magicians were nowhere to be seen. I looked a bit further and saw one sprawled on top of a tree. "You......" Sevin gasped. "What?" I looked around wildly. "Your wings......" Alexis pointed at my back. I looked. Another pair of demonic wings had burst out of my back. No wonder I felt heavier. "I'd say you're about 60% demon right now." the Phoenix said thoughtfully.

    I lingered too long in the air, waiting for Sevin and Alexis to get their breath back. I noticed a few Magicians looking up at me from the ground. They seemed eager to capture me. No doubt a few of them would plan something daring. I wasn't entirely right. One Magician brought a telescope with a strange orb for the eyepiece, and more Magicians gathered around it. Again, my demon mind checked it, but found nothing on it. I presumed it was just a watching tool. I was wrong. A few seconds later, a spell shot out of the telescope and hit my wings. "Uhoh." I started to fall, my wings frozen. "Long-range spell amplifier." the Dark Dragon noted as I hit the ground on all fours. Sevin and Alexis were shaken, but fine. "Argh......" I groaned and collapsed. My wings felt too heavy for me to move them. "Got you now, you demon." someone said. I had collapsed with my frozen wings on top of Sevin and Alexis, and they were immobilized. Trying to break the ice wouldn't work, my demon powers still hadn't completely awoken yet.

    I heard the Magicians chanting an Imprison spell again, but I was unable to move. A minute or so later, there was a shining web of white magic surrounding me. Just being bathed in the light hurt! I moaned in pain. "Get Grendel, he'll know what to do." someone suggested. "No need, I am already here." the familiar voice of the Magician job master rang through the clearing. "This demon...... is the one that set Kerning City ablaze?" I felt Grendel's eyes boring into me. "Yes. We must avenge our fellow maplers!" I heard a staff being stabbed into the ground and braced myself. I tried to call out to Grendel, tell him I was innocent, but my mouth was buried in the ground. "Speak, demon. I want to know where you are from." he spoke. All that came out of my mouth was a muffled "How can I talk when my mouth is buried in the ground!?"

    There was a cracking sound from my stomach and it felt painful. The weight of my frozen wings was starting to crush me! Grendel heard it too, for all of a sudden, the magical prison revolved and I was lying on my back. For the first time in this life, I was staring into the face of the wisest Magician in the world. He did a double take when he saw my face. "Hi, Grendel." I said weakly and passed out.

    Chapter 45: Grendel

    I slowly opened my eyes and sat up. It appeared that I was in Grendel's house, he was sitting on a couch. I was on the floor, but it made sense since I wouldn't fit on a sofa with my wings like this. "So you are awake now." Grendel smiled. "Yeah......" I got to my feet, but I stumbled and fell over. "Easy now, Artemis." he floated over to me. Hold on! "How'd you know my name?" I asked. "I took a quick peek into your memories. If I hadn't, you'd be in prison now." he laid a hand on my forehead. I felt a strange calmness about him.

    "You were being manipulated when you destroyed Kerning, am I right?" Grendel asked. I nodded and buried my head in my hands. I didn't want to think about all those people the Dark Angel had killed using my body...... "I saw everything. That Ikfarion person had a demonic aura about him, but I did not sense any life in him." Grendel helped me up and sat me down on a sofa. I fell back on it. "That means......" I gasped. "He was only an empty shell, controlled like a puppet by a person. No doubt, that person is Saevio." he explained.

    "I also saw into your demon side. The Dark Angel's past is filled with bloodshed and many dark secrets." Grendel floated back to his couch. I concentrated and turned back into my human form. "Your journey to search for Saevio will be filled with hardship. You will require some assistance on your journey......" Grendel trailed off. "Sir, may...... may I study magic under you?" I suddenly blurted out. He seemed mildly surprised. "Demon magic may not always work against demons, so it is natural that you ask me of this. Be warned. Demon magic is quite unstable and can easily create dangerous chain reactions if combined with other forms of magic. Also, only demons can control demon magic. Ah yes, allow me to introduce a friend of mine." Grendel made a 'come' motion with his hand towards the shadows. A familiar figure stepped out of the shadows. "Jakito!?" I gasped.

    "Grendel let me take the body of one of his fallen apprentices that got gored by a Tauromacis." Jakito shrugged. "I just changed it around a little and just walked into it." he smiled. I hugged him tightly. "Oof...... You're... strong..." he gasped for air. "Sorry." I let go. "Jakito here shall be your teacher on your journey, for in his physical form, he is able to use his own magic." Grendel smiled. Someone banged on the door. "Ah yes, the MapleNet website. Your name has been cleared." Grendel ignored the door. "YES!" I jumped up and accidentally crashed into the ceiling. "Slow down. Demons are very strong creatures, and sometimes hurt themselves unintentionally." Grendel levitated me down and fixed his ceiling with a wave of his staff. "Sorry." I scratched my head. Someone banged on the door again. I walked over to the door and turned the knob. Alexis and Sevin fell into the room. "Sorry for eavesdropping, we were curious." Alexis got up and apologized. Jakito floated over using his wings. "I never thought we'd see you for real!" Alexis shook hands with him, but Sevin looked as though he had just seen a ghost.

    Most of the Ellinians gave me furtive looks as we walked past. Jakito had conveniently hidden his wings, horn, tail and silver hair (He had changed it to black) and was dressed in a Black Oriental Fury Coat. "Where can we find Saevio anyway?" Alexis asked again. "Dark Castle's surroundings suggests the Sleepywood forests, although I highly doubt he will be living in the same place as before." Jakito said thoughtfully. "Leafre?" I suggested, then closed my mouth in shock. "What's Leafre?" Sevin piqued. I had never been to Leafre before, why did I suggest it? My demon side again? "It's the place where maplers make the fourth job advancement. It's also filled with very powerful monsters." Jakito explained. Sevin looked confused.

    Jakito showed us to a swirling green portal on the outskirts of Ellinia. "Here's the Leafre portal. We'll need Magic Seeds to go through." he reached his hand into a pocket and pulled out 4 pulsating seeds. "Argh......" I moaned in pain as I touched the seed and collapsed. "Oh. Dark demons can't touch these seeds." Jakito sighed and put my seed back in his pocket. I got up again. "Never mind, I'll take the air route." I said and closed my eyes to concentrate. I turned into a six-winged demon again. "Do you know how to get there?" Jakito asked. "I don't, but my demon side knows." I smiled at him and was in the upper atmosphere in a second. "Whoa!" I dropped a few metres as a plane flew past. Looking downwards, it appeared that I had accidentally blown the others through the portal. I closed my eyes and asked for aerial directions to Leafre from my demon side. As if by magic, my wings flapped once and I was hovering in the air over a grassy town that seemed slightly prehistoric. A few maplers were staring at me in surprise. I waved at them and took off to find the others, sending the surprised maplers flying onto buildings.

    Chapter 46: Leafre (Part 1)

    Despite my flying all around Leafre, I couldn’t find the others. Did I blow them too strongly into the portal? Anyway, I kept flying until my wings got sore and landed in a small clearing beside the town to change back to my human form. Going in as a demon would make me feel weird. Some of the townspeople only glanced at me as I walked past. My first instinct was to go look for the others at a nearby inn. They would need somewhere to spend the night. It was evening now.

    “Leaf Inn.” I read the signboard in front of the building and stepped in the door. A bell dinged, signaling my entry. This floor of the inn was bustling with activity. It appeared to be a bar. People were sitting at tables, chatting and having drinks. A few heads turned as I walked in, but I ignored them and walked towards the bartender. I asked him if he had seen any of the others, but the question was met with a “Nope. Have a drink?” I sighed and took a seat beside a Magician in a black cloak. He eyed me as I looked at the list of drinks on the wall.

    “Hmmm……” I thought for a few seconds. Was I still too underage to drink beer? “A beer please,” I placed my order and the bartender rummaged under the counter for a moment and drew out a mug. He strode over to a dispenser behind him and filled it with some frothy beer. “Here you go. 12 mesos please.” The bartender placed the mug in front of me and I suddenly realized that all my money was with Alexis. Tracing money would make me feel bad too…… “Umm……” I pretended to check through my pockets. “Put it on my tab.” The Magician beside me said and the bartender nodded. “Thanks.” I smiled at him. “No problem.” The Magician returned the smile.

    A few minutes later, I was feeling light-headed and woozy. Great, I was drunk. I hiccupped and dropped my chin to the table. “Just one beer and you’re already drunk?” The Magician said in amazement. “Uhhhhhh…….*hiccup*” I moaned. “I’ll get her to the overnight room.” The bartender stumbled out from behind his counter. “Don’t bother. She can take my room for tonight.” The Magician held up a hand and pulled out his wand, giving it a little twirl. I started to float in the air. He took me up some stairs this way. On the first floor, he took a key from his pocket and unlocked a door, levitating me inside and onto a bed.

    “Ahh…… I want to drink more……” I rolled off the bed and the Magician pushed me back up. “You’re already drunk enough. Just lay down.” He said. “I feel……” I dragged him onto the bed. “Hey!” He squirmed in my grip. I started to unbutton my Dark Armis. “You’re not gonna…… Ah well, never mind.” The Magician shrugged and helped me unbutton my Dark Armis. “So hot……” I moaned. I felt the Magician start to grope me, but I was too drunk to do anything about it. “This feels……” I groaned and grabbed the Magician’s robe. He pulled it off willingly and dropped on me, naked. What happened next was way too embarrassing for me to explain. All I could say was that it involved tongues and two pairs of lips. Ewww.

    “What the heck was I doing!?” I sat up in a panic. My Dark Armis was ruffled up and sitting on a chair next to my bed. I held the blanket over myself, wondering what had happened last night. Oh yeah, I got drunk and…… Oh my god. Did I do what I thought I did? I looked at myself. I was naked. My breasts showed obvious signs of having been squeezed. “What was I doing?” The Magician woke up beside me. I yelped and jumped aside, holding a blanket tight around myself. I pointed a shaking finger at him. “You……” I was speechless. The Magician stared at his own naked body and suddenly ran into the bathroom. A muffled scream came out. “Great! Just great! Stupid split personality!” I heard him curse. Split personality? The guy I just unintentionally had sex with had a split personality? “Uhh, mind getting dressed? I wouldn’t want my other personality to come out again, he comes out whenever I see naked girls.” He called out, but I was already jumping into my Dark Armis, red-faced. For some reason, it was a bit tighter now.

    The bartender didn’t seem to be up yet, it was early in the morning. The Magician went out for some shopping while I went to the forest to think things over. I was still slightly light-headed though. I made a mental note not to drink alcohol again. “Hey!!!” Alexis’s voice came out of the trees in front of me. I looked up. Jakito, Alexis and Sevin were standing in front of me. Their hair was messy. “Next time, don’t take off that close to us. You blew us straight through the portal to the Sky Nest.” Jakito folded his arms crossly. “Sorry guys. Can I speak to Alexis in private?” I apologized and pulled Alexis aside. “Something wrong?” she asked. “Very wrong,” I nodded and told her everything. She almost went crazy when I told her I had made out with a stranger. “WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU HAVE TO GET DRUNK FOR!?!?!?” she was suddenly yelling. “I didn’t do it on purpose, okay. I didn’t know I’d get drunk that fast!”

    When we walked back to the inn together, Sevin and Jakito were staying a few steps behind the steaming Alexis. Amusing. Mildly. We rented two rooms for the night and walked out to check Leafre out.

    Chapter 47: Leafre (Part 2)

    Leafre had a supermarket tucked away in a corner of the town, a weapons shop, an armour shop and quite a few inns. Should be natural, high leveled people spent most of their time training at Leafre. I wondered how the others back at Kerning were doing. I still felt a little guilty over letting the fake Ikki take control over me like that.

    Alexis was still rather mad at me for getting drunk last night. The Leafre armour store sold some high-leveled armour and Alexis purchased a Dark Lucida set. I found my eyes running over a custom-coloured Armis, and I eyed my Dark Armis. “Traced items are slightly less powerful than the originals, but in the case of the Dark Angel, they are stronger.” The Phoenix explained. I caught sight of a pair of Blue Arnah Shoes and took a mental picture of it. I would Trace it when we got back to the inn.

    Alexis’s Jikyeon Sword and my Archaeion were in perfect condition, so we didn’t have to visit the weapons shop, although I saw Jakito staring at a Blade Staff longingly. Alexis seemed to have caught the look too, and bought one for him. “Thanks.” He smiled. Alexis pulled me to the supermarket for some lingerie.

    By the time we returned to the inn, it was almost evening and we were very hungry. Fortunately, the inn had an underground restaurant and we went there for a big dinner, for we didn’t eat lunch. I Traced another laptop when we went back to our room to check the MapleNet website.

    Alexis - Level 109 Crusader
    Jakito - Level 115 Demon Priest
    Sevin - Level 34 Hunter
    Artemis - Level 200 Dark Angel

    “Interesting.” Jakito looked at himself. “So I’m the highest level of us all……” I muttered and flipped to the Kerning Hospital’s discharge list. To my delight, Roy, Mei Ling and Lacus had been discharged last night. Lith Harbour Hospital’s discharge list still didn’t have Lopez on it. Oh well, his injuries were pretty serious after all.

    Sevin and Jakito went to their own room while Alexis and I stayed in this room. I Traced a pair of Dark Arnah Shoes and put them on after taking off the Dark Elf Shoes I had Traced in back in Ellinia. The Dark Elf Shoes disappeared after I took them off. Alexis took off her armour and laid down on the bed in her underclothes. “Can’t sleep with my armour on, can I?” she winked at me. I laid down on the bed with her. My Dark Armis was comfortable enough to sleep in. Not long later, I heard a faint snoring sound.

    I tossed and turned that night, but I couldn’t sleep for some reason. Around midnight, I got up and tiptoed to the door, thinking of going to the bar for a quick drink after taking some money from Alexis’s purse. I took the only empty seat at the counter and noticed that the Magician from yesterday was sitting beside me again. “What will you have tonight?” the bartender bustled over. “Just water…” I massaged my eyebrows sleepily. He eyed me curiously then took a mug from under the counter. “2 mesos please.” He filled the mug at a dispenser and put his hand out. I fished 2 mesos from my pocket and gave it to him. I lifted the mug up and drank from it. A few seconds later, I knew something had gone wrong. Light-headedness and wooziness were settling over me again! I hiccupped. “Wrong dispenser……” the bartender looked at the dispenser he had taken my drink from and yawned. Couldn’t blame the guy…… he was sleepy too……

    The Magician carried me up to his room again, since he didn’t know where mine was. “I want…… more…” I moaned. “Why don’t we play a game first? If you win, you can drink more.” The Magician suggested. “Game?” I looked up. “Yes. Just play some cards. With a twist.” He smiled. For some odd reason, that smile sent shivers down my spine. “What twist…?” I asked. “Every time one of us loses a round, we take off one piece of clothing.” He replied. “Ok…” I grinned. I was too drunk to think about the consequences.

    Strangely, the Magician didn’t flinch as I lost my first game and took off my Dark Armis. His smile only widened. A few minutes later, I had lost another game. I took off my panties. “Nice hips.” He remarked. “Thanks……” I smiled, still drunk. In my drunken state, I lost every single game I played against him. “No fair…” I punched the Magician lightly on the shoulder after taking off my bra. “What’s not fair?” he pinned me to the bed and raised a hand.

    “STOP!!! GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU SICKO!” Alexis suddenly burst in the door and rammed her sword through the Magician’s chest. “You… got me…” he spluttered, but no blood came out of the wound. He just collapsed on me and dissolved into sand. There was an…… Akasha Charm where his hand previously was! Alexis’s eyes widened in horror as it fell towards my chest, and she snatched it away a millimeter above my skin. “One of Saevio’s puppets again.” She muttered and helped me up, putting my clothes back on myself. I hiccupped. Alexis brought me back to our room and put me on the bed. “Quit getting drunk like that, ok?” she said kindly, her image blurring. I fell asleep.

    “Close call.” Alexis woke me up a few hours later. I was still very sleepy from last night. A faint taste of beer lingered in my mouth. “Get up. We need to find Saevio.” She helped me up. I stumbled slightly before noticing my Dark Armis was tight. “How’d you know I was in trouble?” I asked. “I dreamt that you were being raped and woke up. When I noticed you weren’t beside me, I just ran out and saw that Magician carrying you into his room. I hid for a moment, peeking into his room through your eyes until I saw him on top of you. Then I burst in and you know what happened next.” She explained. I massaged my eyes. “Through my eyes?” I murmured. “Remember when you saved me from the Dark Castle 19 years ago? You looked through my eyes, so I thought I’d do the same.” She smiled.

    Chapter 48: The Puppeteer

    Jakito was aghast when he heard about what had happened last night. “You need to be extremely careful. Who knows what Saevio will do to you next!” he told me. “One thing’s for sure, he knows we’re here. And he’s close.” I said. “Don’t drink any alcohol.” Jakito warned. “Why? I’ll get drunk? I know that.” I stared at him. “The Dark Angel only has one weakness. She cannot stand alcohol and will get drunk if even just one drop falls on her tongue.” He explained. I gasped. “And when she’s drunk, she’s helpless as a kitten, as you experienced.” He added coldly.

    There was a small commotion in the lobby of the inn as we walked down. Apparently, there was a local puppeteer doing a show in a corner of the room. Jakito stepped in front of me protectively as we walked out the door. However, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the puppeteer staring at me. “Do you think that guy……?” I nudged Alexis. She nodded. “Stay away from him.” She said and threw the puppeteer a fierce glare.

    A search for Saevio ensued. Most of the monsters shrank back from us as we walked past, and some even went to hide. “Your demonic aura is powerful enough to repel them.” Jakito explained. “Oh.” I muttered as a terrified Black Kentaurus dropped its spear and cantered off. The day ended with nothing found and no interesting events. We got back to the inn, all exhausted but me and Jakito. I opened the door to find the puppeteer standing there. “Huh…?” I stared at him, surprised. He just smiled ominously and muttered an incantation. “Get back!” Jakito yelled, but it was too late. I blacked out.

    “How do you feel now, my puppet?” A strange, deep voice issued from above me. I opened my eyes. “Eeeek!” I shrieked. The puppeteer towered above me, a good few kilometers taller than me! When I looked at my own body, I realized strings were attached to my limbs! What’s going on here!? Hold on, did he say puppet? Oh no…… Now I was one of his puppets! The puppeteer snapped his fingers and my Dark Armis was replaced by a bodice and a green skirt. “Now…… Let’s see how you fare as a puppet.” He whispered.

    “More beer!” A customer shouted from a table full of musclemen. “Coming!” I bustled over; holding a few mugs of beer the bartender had given me. I set the beer down and one of the men placed a few coins in the center of the table. I leaned over, scooping up the coins and putting them in the secret pouch I kept hidden inside my bodice, I noticed one of the men’s eyes bulge as I treated him to a lovely view of my full breasts. Wait a second, I’d never do this! All of a sudden, someone slapped my rump. I squealed and turned around. The entire table of men was laughing.

    “I’ll show you where I keep my coins if you show me where you keep yours!” Someone challenged. “Oh, very nice, sir.” I giggled and picked up the empty mugs on the table, turning to leave. A man tried to worm his hand up my bodice, but I slapped him. “Oooh, she’s a fiery one.” He crooned and got me in an armlock. “Hey!” I squealed. “I’ll buy you a drink!” he roared, dumping the contents of an entire mug into my mouth. Not good. A few seconds later, I was spilling my guts to the men, completely drunk. They kept laughing as I rattled on, and some of them took the chance to grope me. “Now, why don’t you show me where you keep your coins? I promise I’ll show you mine!” The first guy repeated. “Yeah…… sure…why not…” I mumbled, jiggling my breasts unconsciously and reaching a hand to my bodice, preparing to unbutton it. The entire world seemed to have disappeared save for me and the laughing men.

    I unbuttoned the middle button first, then the bottom, to tease the men. Sure, parts of my breasts were exposed, but I didn’t care! Wait, did I? My hand froze as I reached the top button, but my body was no longer under my control. My hands unbuttoned the top button and my bodice slid off. “STOP PLAYING WITH HER, YOU BASTARD!!!” a familiar voice sounded from above as the men erupted into laughter. I jiggled my bare breasts again and a money bag fell out from between them. I started being groped again. “Now, let’s have some-“ The world faded.

    I burst into a shack with Sevin and Jakito behind me and found the cursed puppeteer hovering over a box, his hands over it, flashing. I looked in and saw a tiny Artemis stripping. “STOP PLAYING WITH HER, YOU BASTARD!!!” I screamed and jumped in, ramming the unsuspecting puppeteer through the head with my sword. He turned into sand and dropped onto the ground. His box disappeared and Artemis reappeared in its place, unconscious, half-naked and wearing only a green skirt. She was obviously drunk, a heavy smell of beer lingered around her mouth. Sevin walked out of the shack. “I’ll go buy a top for her.” I ran off and returned a few minutes later with a white blouse. I put it on Artemis and Sevin came in again. “Saevio’s using the Dark Angel’s weakness to his advantage.” Jakito remarked as Artemis stirred. “Wha…… what happened…?” she mumbled.

    We helped Artemis back to our room and laid her down on the bed to rest. “To turn Artemis into the demon queen again, she must be willing to accept the Akasha Charm, and she must also be naked. We all know she won’t accept those conditions willingly, so Saevio’s trying to get her drunk, and then plant the Charm on her. If she’s drunk, she’s willing to do almost anything.” Jakito explained.

    Chapter 49: New Companions

    I sat up with a blinder of a headache. Where was I? Oh, I was in my inn room, wearing a white blouse and a green skirt. Alexis was asleep beside me. I smiled at her and laid down to sleep again after a quick glance at the table clock. It read 1 a.m. Thats late...... Suddenly, there was a flash of light from outside the inn. I jumped to my feet and ran out to see what was going on. Everyone else was probably asleep and hadn't seen the flash.

    "Huh?" I stared. There was a small crater behind the inn! Also, there appeared to be someone inside it. "Ohh...... man......" he groaned. I quickly jumped in and carried him out of the crater, laying him on the ground. He was a teenager, about 18 years old, with black hair and blue eyes. He was decked in warrior armour and a huge mace was latched to his back. "Where... am I...?" he murmured and sat up to look around. "You're in Leafre." I said calmly. He jumped to his feet. "I'm in maple now!?" he was shocked. "Yeah." I sighed. He gasped. The next few hours was spent explaining stuff to him inside my inn room.

    Alexis was surprised to see the White Knight when she woke up. "Who're you?" she asked. "Oh yeah, I forgot I never told you my name. I'm Timmias, but just call me Timmy." he smiled. "Nice to meet you, Timmy." I smiled at him. Alexis pulled me aside. "You sure he's not another one of those Saevio clones?" she asked. "I'm dead sure. I found him behind the inn last night. He seems harmless enough." I assured her. She eyed the Morningstar strapped to Timmy's back. I ran into the bathroom, Traced a Dark Armis and put it on.

    Jakito and Sevin joined the three of us for lunch at the bar a few minutes later. "So...... Saevio's powers are spreading to the other worlds now..." Jakito mumbled. "This Saevio guy must be a psycho." Timmy remarked. "You have no idea. He keeps trying to turn Artemis into a full demon!" Alexis said fiercely. "Full demon?" Timmy eyed her suspiciously. She groaned. "You never told him about that, did you?" she whispered in my ear. I shook my head. "What's your half-demon form like?" he asked. "How'd you know I was a half-demon?" I was surprised. "Alexis said full demon, so it means you're already half." he replied. "Smart." I mumbled.

    The 5 of us went to a clearing in the forest so I could show Timmy my demon form in private. He tripped over when he saw three pairs of wings shoot out of my back. I grinned at him as my ears became pointed and my skin became scaly. My hands turned into claws while two horns shot out of my head. "Cool......" he gasped. "GET AWAY FROM HERE, YOU DEMON!!!" Suddenly, an arrow bomb shot out of nowhere and hit me on the head. It exploded, covering my head in a small fog of smoke. "Who did that!?" Alexis demanded, turning around. "You're the cause of the evil thats been polluting the world!" a dark brown-haired Huntress with amber eyes and armed with an Asianic Bow stepped out of the forest as I wiped tears off my cheek. "No, this is a misunderstanding!" I protested. "Misunderstanding, my foot." she snorted and launched another arrow bomb at me. This time, Timmy whacked the arrow away with his Morningstar. "Are you supporting demons!?" the Huntress demanded.

    "I don't support demons, but she's not a full demon." Timmy gestured at me. "Oh, really?" the Huntress lowered her bow and eyed him with an ominous look in her eyes. I closed my eyes and concentrated. I felt my wings and horns shoot back into my body. My skin smoothened out and my claws turned back into hands. My ears became round again. "Oh...!" the Huntress exclaimed. "Toldja." Timmy folded his arms. "Sorry..." she put her Asianic Bow back in her quiver and apologized.

    "I'm Kagome, whats your names?" the Huntress sat down to talk with us. "I'm Artemis, she's Alexis, the boy with the wings is Sevin, the Priest with the Blade Staff is Jakito and the Knight's Timmy." I introduced us all. Kagome's eyes flicked between Alexis and me. "Twins?" she asked. I nodded. "What brings you to Leafre anyway? Whatever it is, I'm sure its not to train." Jakito asked. Weird, its not like him to ask questions like that. Kagome looked at him and replied, "Recently, Henesys has been having some strange disturbances. Pets are attacking their owners, Hunting Ground monsters seem a bit stronger and etcetera. I followed the trail and found out that the activity is strongest around the Ellinia portal to Leafre. I had to fight a giant stump just to get through it."

    I could imagine a giant stump walking around, and it wasn't a nice thought. Hold on. She said the activity was strongest around the Ellinia-Leafre portal. Did this mean that Saevio was somewhere in Leafre? I looked at Alexis. She nodded to show that she was thinking along the same lines as I was. "Kagome, why don't you stay behind? The road from now on might be getting more difficult." I smiled at her. "No way. I'm coming with you guys." she protested. Jakito shrugged. "Oh, alright." I sighed. "Just try not to get hurt or anything serious." Alexis quipped. Kagome nodded.

    Chapter 50: Tainted Faith

    The moment I stepped out of Leafre's boundaries, I started to feel agitated. "Blood......" I murmured. Alexis heard me. "Artemis? Is something wrong?" she asked. The others turned around. I felt a sudden longing for blood to drink. "Must...drink...blood..." I mumbled, louder this time and held my hand up, my palm facing a Rash. It flew into my hands and I opened my mouth...... An arrow bomb exploded on the back of my head and I blacked out.

    I quickly stabbed the Rash with my sword. "What the heck was that?" Sevin asked, terrified. "Dark energy flows around this place now. The town's okay, it has a barrier, but once we stepped out, the energy agitated Artemis's demon mind. I don't think she should go out from now on." Jakito explained, staring at Artemis. Her ears were pointed now, and six buds were popping out of her back. Probably her wings. I quickly carried her back to the inn and laid her on our bed. "Good thing you knocked her out, Kagome." I smiled.

    "So what now? Artemis makes up more than half of the team's firepower, and if she's gone, we'll have a hard time." Sevin asked. "Doesn't look like we have a choice. Those monsters are more powerful than normal, and if we don't search today, they may be even stronger tomorrow." Kagome sighed. "Good point." I said and we stepped out of the town again. "Urgh......" I started to feel sick. "Bear with it." Jakito said and we walked out together.

    I woke up on my inn bed with a bump on my head. "You need to stay put. If you go out, the energy in the air might turn you into a full demon." the Phoenix warned. I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. My ears were still pointed. When I reached my hand to my back, I could feel six small buds of bony skin. "But, the others......" I mumbled. "If you follow them, you might as well just hand yourself over to Saevio. You'll put them in greater danger if you go out." the Dark Dragon said. A few minutes later, after anxiously pacing up and down the room, I was struck with the desire for blood again.

    "Something's not right." the Dark Dragon muttered. My skin started to bubble. "The energy is spreading into the town!" the Phoenix shouted. I gasped as the buds on my back burst and my wings unfolded themselves. My skin became scaly again, but this time, it was black coloured. "If you're a full demon, all Saevio has to do to control you, is slap an Akasha Charm on you, willing or not." the Dark Dragon explained. I concentrated, but I couldn't turn my body back into human form again. I squealed as a tingling sensation shot through my hands and they turned into claws.

    I quickly opened the room's window and tumbled out, unfurling my wings on the way. I soared into the air with a quick flap of my wings. The town wasn't looking too good. The trees were turning brown, and a few monsters were running around. A Rash the size of a Balrog was no exception. All of the monsters seemed to acknowledge my arrival and turn around. They didn't attack me. I stayed silent. The first notion that came into my mind was to tell them to leave the town alone, then another one came to tell them to keep on rampaging. "Leave the town alone. Do not attack." I hissed, but what came out of my mouth were growls. The monsters seemed to understand though. They left the town alone. "The demon tongue." I breathed.

    I took off through the air to find the others. The Phoenix and the Dark Dragon were abnormally quiet. Suddenly, I noticed a small commotion in a valley and I swooped down. Two massive Black Kentaurus were stamping the ground and creating lots of smoke, but I could see through it. Five figures were running around the Kentaurus's legs. I held out my right claw and a giant scythe appeared in it. It was several times my body size, yet I could hold it with just one claw! One swift swing lopped off a Kentaurus head and another neatly placed one cut the other one in half.

    I landed in the valley and ran forward to check on the figures. I heard someone coughing and Alexis stepped out of the smoke. "What the heck?" she stared at me. "I was worried about you guys." I explained and turned towards the corpse of a Kentaurus. "Incinerate!" I commanded, holding out a claw. The corpse vanished in a furnace of black flames. "You're......" Alexis gasped. For some reason, she seemed smaller. "What?" I asked. "Bigger..." she replied. I looked at myself and gasped.

    I was a few feet taller than Alexis now, but for some reason, I hadn't noticed my Dark Armis being ripped. "Its the magic in the air. Those Black Kentaurus's growth were also accelerated by it." Jakito blew away the smoke. "Uhoh." I gasped. Kagome's left foot was crushed and blood was leaking from it. She was howling in pain. Jakito healed it effortlessly. "Thanks." she smiled. "Don't mention it." Jakito replied. Not like him to say that phrase...... "Look, we don't stand a chance against those monsters now. We'll have to let Artemis take care of them." Sevin stared up at me. It felt weird, being the tallest in the party now.

    "Any ideas?" Alexis muttered after an hour of moving through the forest. By now, I was almost as big as a Balrog, and I was holding the others in my hands, flying over the Minar Forest. Also, my Dark Armis had been completely ripped. I felt powerful. Real powerful. "I think the energy might be coming from there." I pointed at a snow-covered mountain. Only, the snow was black. The others started throwing up. "Bleaargh!" Alexis vomited over my hand, and I could have sworn her ears were becoming pointed. "I can't......" Jakito panted. He had turned back into his demon form in front of a surprised and vomiting Kagome. "If we don't get out of here soon, we're all going to get tainted by the energy......." I explained. How did I know that? "Okay, hold on tight." I closed my fist tenderly and flew upwards to the peak of the mountain, only to get stopped by two massive reptilian monsters. "Hold...... Ahh. Queen. Go on through." they bowed as I flew past. "Weird." I mumbled.

    There was a pulsing black crystal on the very tip of the mountain, but it was surrounded by a barrier. Even I couldn't get through it. I opened my fist and was instantly shocked. Alexis had small wings growing out of her back! Sevin's wings were turning black and Kagome was having a bit of a fingernail crisis. Jakito didn't seem to be affected, but he was already a demon. My entire body started to pulse the moment I laid my claws on the barrier. Another pair of wings shot out of my back painfully, and I felt my skin harden. I clenched my free hand into a fist and smashed through the barrier, shattering the crystal. "Saevio, you bastard......" I started to fall, and something landed on my hand. A wind blew over it and my body started to shrink. The reptilian guards I had met on the way up tried to catch me, but I crashed into them and squashed them under me when I landed on the ground. I fainted.

    Chapter 51: Aftermath

    We were forced to stay beside the unconscious Artemis because she was too heavy for us to carry her back to Leafre. She had turned back to her human form, but her ears stayed pointed. "At least the monsters are back to normal." Kagome remarked, head shotting a Black Kentaurus that attempted to get closer. "Yeah......" I sighed. "I'm guessing she's about 80% demon now. At this stage, her body will start to show some demon characteristics. If she reaches 100%, she won't be able to use her human form again." the Siren explained.

    Artemis woke up a few hours later. "Uggh...... What happened?" she rubbed her back. "The crystal had an Akasha Charm embedded inside it. Jakito blew it away before it could land on your hand though." I explained. She wagged her pointed ears. "I feel weird." she mumbled. "We need to get back to the town." I said. She got up and closed her eyes. 4 pairs of demonic wings shot out of her back. "I can control only individual body parts to appear now." she smiled.

    I grabbed Alexis and Kagome by their hands as Jakito and Timmy grabbed my legs. Sevin had wings, so I didn't need to carry him. A few small flaps of my wings lifted me into the air and I closed my eyes again, trying to find Leafre. Sevin followed nervously behind us. Leafre was to the north-west according to my internal compass, so I flew in that direction. The town was slightly ruined, but otherwise okay.

    We booked two single-person rooms for Kagome and Timmy. They wouldn't accept a two-person room because Kagome flat-out refused to sleep with him. Everyone seemed to be staring at my pointed ears most of the time. After dinner, I decided to have a quick peek through the Dark Angel's memories. They were clearer now.

    A dark-haired man of about two meters tall descended the steps to the Fidelo Corporation's underground lab, having blown open the door. His eyes radiated a strong aura of evil, and tap sounds echoed off the walls around him as his steel boots touched the floor. The facility was completely deserted to his delight and he walked slowly towards a massive room with a white hollow cylinder inside. "You are mine, warrior princess." he whispered, placing a single strand of hair inside a box and pointing his index finger at the cylinder. A black bolt of electricity shot out, bathing the cylinder itself in its waves. The man simultaneously pressed a button and the machine whirred to life, shaping a new life form inside the cylinder. The revolving door swung open and a single naked female body stepped out. Blonde hair fell to her waist. "Sixela." the man addressed her. She bowed. Her hair fell to the ground.

    "Anne, come forward." the man made a sign with his hand and a young Thief stepped out of the shadows behind him. "You want me to fight her?" she inquired. "Negative. She will be your new partner." Saevio replied. "Allow me to introduce you to Sixela." he held a hand towards the woman. Anne eyed Sixela's body enviously. "Sixela...... Hey, isn't that Alexis spelled backwards? Nice name." she giggled. Sixela smiled and stepped forward to shake her hand. When Anne grabbed her hand, Sixela suddenly slammed her into the ground behind her, but Anne landed on all fours. "I saw that coming."

    Chapter 52: False Peace

    Since the next day was a Saturday, we decided to take a while off. At least until something bad happened. We spent the day at Leafre's Sports Centre, trying out the badminton courts. It was rather fun, although I had to stop because my shots kept smashing the shuttlec0ck into either the wall, the ceiling, or the floor and creating a mini crater along with decimating the shuttlec0ck. I was way too strong......

    It was almost the exact same thing with soccer, my ball kept smashing through the goal nets. If it wasn't a goal net, it was another player. Once, Alexis fell over from one of my passes, having been swept off her feet by the ball. "You're getting way too strong for your own good." she got up crossly. "Sorry...... But I didn't want to be like this in the first place." I sighed, kicking my ball into the goal with a minimal amount of energy. Still, it punched through the net.

    Archery...... My field. I summoned the Archaeion and was instantly gawked at by Kagome. Every single arrow I shot hit the bullseye, and it was the same with her and Sevin. Alexis had minimal experience with bows, but she still hit the target, although not the bullseye. Timmy and Jakito had gone to the local library to check up on spellwork, but they returned a few minutes later saying that the library was closed for renovations.

    The rest of the day passed by quickly, and we were soon walking out of the sports centre. Everyone was tired, except me. The Dark Angel appeared to have an endless amount of stamina. Just as we were walking back towards the inn, three black-cloaked figures appeared in the street out of nowhere, blocking our path. When we tried to get past, they moved to cut us off. "Whats the meaning of this!?" Alexis demanded. The figures threw off their cloaks to reveal......

    Saevio, a young Thief and...... WHAT THE HECK!? ALEXIS!? Alexis gasped. "Thats......." She was completely shocked. "Allow me to introduce you to my young apprentice, Sixela." Saevio smiled ominously. The Alexis on his side took a giant sword from her back. It was at least 3 metres long and 50 centimetres wide! The hilt was crusted with black crystals and the blade had runes inscribed on it. "What kind of sword is that......" Kagome gasped. "That sword means trouble. Let me handle this." I replied, holding my hands out. I Traced a massive sword to contend Sixela's. Mine was 6 metres long and 75 centimetres wide. "I'll help." Alexis unsheathed her Jikyeon Sword. "Me too." Jakito readied his Blade Staff. "Okay...... Demon Form." I whispered and closed my eyes, resting my sword on the ground.

    My eight wings burst out of my back and unfurled, generating a small amount of wind. My skin became scaly as my hands turned into claws and horns shot out of my head. When I opened my eyes again, Jakito was already in his demon form. "A white demon. I haven't seen one in millennia." Saevio said and a scorpion tail shot out of his back. His arm muscles flexed for a moment, and then a sword larger than even mine appeared in his right hand. Another flex of his muscles, and a similar sword appeared in his left hand. He could hold two swords like that at once! I knew I could do the same, but when I tried to Trace another sword, it wouldn't come. "Your demon powers haven't matured enough to use two two-handed swords at once." Jakito explained. "Now you tell me." I grumbled and hoisted my sword with both hands. Even with the Dark Angel's strength, it felt heavy. I felt sure that no one other than Saevio and me could hold swords of this caliber.

    Chapter 53: Alexis and Sixela

    "Sis!?" Kagome suddenly cried out. Alexis turned towards her. "Huh?" She asked. "What are you doing here!?" The young Thief beside Saevio exclaimed. "Anne. She's my little sister." Kagome mumbled and stepped forward. "What are you doing with that guy!?" she shouted. "He's been like a dad to me! The dad I never had!" Anne yelled back. Kagome sighed. "I want you to go home, right now!" she shouted. "No way!" Anne shook her head.

    What was supposed to be a battle had now turned into a shouting match between Kagome and her little sister. Sevin could only watch in amazement as the two of them started to advance closer to each other, shouting all the time. It was obvious, at this point, that there would be a fight. "Magic Breaker Arrow!" Kagome was the first one to shoot. She probably thought Anne was under a spell or something, judging by the arrow she used.

    @Kagome5062: I watch Inuyasha too!

    Anne blocked the attack by raising a dagger up in front of her. By now, Alexis had started to duel with her counterpart. Sixela had bloodlust in her eyes, and her sword was glowing red. "It appears its just you and me." Saevio stepped in front of me. I gave a battle howl and slashed at him with my sword. It missed. "I'm here." his voice said from behind me. I instinctively shot my foot backwards. Again, I missed. I was getting frustrated. All of a sudden, a strange voice echoed around inside my head. "I have something to settle with this demon." it spoke. My eyes filled with bloodlust and I held my sword up towards the sky.

    "Raihou no Tachi!" I shrieked, flew up and stabbed the sword into the ground. Multiple bolts of black lightning shot out of it, and the ground cracked. The spell pulverized anything within a radius of 10 metres, but I could control who it hit. The lightning bolts crackled through Alexis, Kagome and Jakito, yet left them unhurt. They stared at me in wonder as Sixela and Anne both collapsed to the ground, writhing. Saevio had retreated to a safe distance. "Mmm, interesting." He mumbled and held up his swords. "Blitz Smash!" He shouted, slamming both swords into the ground repeatedly. Shockwaves flew out and the ground cracked again. This time, I was seeing the world in slow motion. The shockwaves came towards me at the speed of snails. Dodging them was a piece of cake, and I jumped into Saevio's face. "Missed me." I whispered and slammed the sharp edge of my sword into him. He blocked it with a single hand and sent me reeling backwards.

    "You're mine!" I roared in the Dark Angel's voice and was instantly shocked. Was I turning into her again!? "Do not worry. I merely owe the Ragnarok something." Her voice said, soothing this time. I felt relaxed and stronger. Pure energy flowed out of my pores. "Amazing......" Jakito and Kagome gasped. I closed my eyes, and opened a mental eye. A barrier had formed around myself. Saevio couldn't get in, but he was bashing away at the barrier repeatedly with his swords. My left hand opened and a spear appeared in it. The sword in my right hand became a giant scythe. Both weapons were glowing white. "There is...... something in my memories that I did not show you." the Dark Angel said. "I am...... part white-demon and part dark-demon." She added. I opened my eyes.

    The eight demonic wings on my back burst into white feathers, now becoming angelic. The two horns on my head melded into one, becoming a horn reminiscent of a unicorn's. My claws became hands again and my skin smoothened out. I retained my pointed ears, but my eyes now blazed with power beyond imagination. Even Saevio took a few more steps back. When I looked at myself, I realized I was emitting a white aura. Anne and Sixela were writhing harder than ever and Anne was screaming. Saevio did not flinch, but I could tell he was in quite a bit of pain. The barrier around me shattered and collected on my body, becoming a suit of shining armour. "Trace, on." I whispered.

    I moved both hands towards each other, and the spear and the pole arm melded into each other. The pole extended and a sharp circular plate appeared on the tip. "Enigma." I said, then held out another hand. The Archaeion appeared in it and I placed it on the pole of Enigma. The two weapons melded together. A crossbow now sat on Enigma's pole, enabling me to shoot and slash at the same time. "Soul Arrow. Sharp Eyes. Focus. Hyper Body. Bless. Hamstring. Enigma Booster." I rapidly formed multiple symbols in the air with a free hand. Gleaming white arrows appeared on the crossbow section of the Enigma as I said the first two words, and the Enigma felt a lot lighter when I said Enigma Booster. It was a completely different weapon.

    I landed on the ground and pressed my foot to the ground, propelling me forwards at a blinding speed. I whirled the Enigma at Saevio, while the crossbow string twanged without me touching it. "HURRICANE!" I roared. The crossbow shot a lot faster, and Saevio was now getting pummeled. He couldn't block the arrows and the Enigma slashes at the same time. Several times, an arrow stuck itself in his body. Suddenly, a barrier materialized in front of him and all my arrows bounced off. I flew over the barrier and held the Enigma towards the ground. "PILEDRIVER!" I shouted. Saevio disappeared in a flash of black light and reappeared beside the quivering Anne and Sixela, grabbing hold of them. All three disappeared in another flash of light. My missed attack pulverized the ground under me, sending me flying a few metres into the ground. I fainted.

    "That was awesome......" Sevin gawked from a safe distance. I quickly ran to the hole in the ground and peeked down. Artemis... No, the.... Ahhh whatever. Artemis was down there, back to her normal self and apparently unconscious. "Someone pull her up!" I shouted and started climbing down. Artemis's breathing was shallow, and sweat glistened on her entire body. Her Dark Armis was in shreds. It couldn't take the power of her transformation. A rope lowered down from the hole and I grabbed hold of it, tying a knot around Artemis. I tugged at it and grabbed hold as it was pulled up.

    Chapter 54: How Old Is She?

    The battle had taken place in a deserted marketplace, and it had lasted for an hour or so. We quickly carried the unconscious Artemis back to the inn. She was a lot lighter now. Luckily, the bartender didn't bother asking questions and we quickly put her on her bed. She was sweating all over, and her forehead was hot. "Fever." I diagnosed. Kagome ran off for a ice pack and Sevin fanned her with his wings. Jakito placed his hands on her head and closed his eyes. A green light bathed Artemis's head, but nothing happened. She still kept sweating.

    Kagome returned with the ice pack and placed it on Artemis's head. Her breathing slowed down. The bed was wet with her sweat now. "Fire Charge." Timmy held out a red-hot hand. The bed dried up, but Artemis started sweating again. "I shouldn't have done that." He groaned and said, "Ice Charge." His hands became cold and he placed them on Artemis's head. She seemed to calm down.

    That night, all six of us slept in Artemis's room. Timmy and Jakito slept on the right side of Artemis while Kagome rolled out a sleeping bag on her left. Sevin furled his wings around himself comfortably and slept at the foot of the bed. I slept on beside Artemis on her bed. Her ears had reverted back to normal now, and Kagome had dressed her up in one of her pajamas. She was sleeping calmly.

    The next morning, I woke up with a hand on my chest. Artemis's hand. Something wasn't right though. I looked at her and jumped out of the bed in shock, landing smack on Kagome's body. She shrieked and woke up. Jakito jerked awake. Timmy knocked his head on the wall trying to get up and Sevin simply furled his wings tighter around himself. "What?" Timmy straightened. I quickly got off Kagome. "What was that for?" She said scathingly. I pointed at Artemis. "What the heck?" Timmy gasped. Artemis was slightly taller now. Her face seemed more mature too. She had grown older overnight! "What......" She mumbled, rubbing her eyes. Even her voice sounded more mature too!

    I got up, rubbing my eyes drowsily. The others were gathered around me, and some of them looked shocked. "Morning." I murmured and got up. I wasn't really feeling well, and there was a cold draft blowing around my waist. I walked into the bathroom to wash my face and take a look at the mirror. What I saw sent me backpedaling into the wall. I ran out of the bathroom. "How long was I out?" I asked anxiously. It was then that I noticed my voice was different. "One night." Alexis said shakily. I ran my hands all over myself. "How......" I mumbled. I noticed I was wearing pink pajamas, and my waist was exposed. The top wasn't big enough. No wonder I felt that cold draught.

    When I tried to Trace some clothes, nothing happened. Alexis was determined to bring me out for some new clothes, and I couldn't reject it. I borrowed some of Kagome's clothes, even though they were a few sizes too small and walked off with Alexis after tying my leg-length hair up in a ponytail. I was wearing a white blouse with a green collar and a green skirt to match. It somewhat resembled a school uniform, although again, my waist was exposed.

    Author's Note: Another Inuyasha reference. Heheh.

    When I got back to the room, I was wearing a pale blue blouse and a blue skirt. Both were plain. There were also other articles of clothing in plastic bags, including a few sets of underwear, a mini-blouse with a matching miniskirt, a long, flowing white one-piece dress and a Blue Armis, although it reminded me of the dead Ikki. "I guess your older self was meant to look more beautiful." Alexis shrugged. I felt myself blushing and quickly looked in a mirror. She was right, I did look more beautiful. I wondered how old my body actually was. "I've never heard of the Dark Angel being part white demon. Maybe this has something to do with that." Jakito tried to shed some light on things.

    I was an adult now......

    Chapter 55: Into Thin Air

    "I don't see any way Artemis being an adult could hinder our mission." Jakito shrugged. I nodded, got up and looked over myself again. I saw Sevin's face turn red and looked at myself. "Sorry." I apologized. My blouse somewhat revealed the top part of my chest. I still wasn't quite used to my new height. For some reason, I couldn't use my demon powers. "Why'd you buy those anyway?" Kagome gestured at the mini-blouse and the miniskirt on the bed. "Maybe for some times when we're going somewhere hot." I shrugged. She looked suspicious. "Attract men, more like." She snorted. Come to think of it, I had spotted a few men gawking at me from outside the shop when I came out of the changing room wearing that particular set to show Alexis. Ah well, that wasn't relevant to the subject.

    I wondered how Roy and the others back at Kerning would react when they saw me. They probably wouldn't recognize me. I went out for a walk along the market district later that day. The mess Saevio and I had created had been cleaned up and people were going about their business as usual, although some paused to glance at the patchy spot on the ground where a crater had been. Alexis was tagging along, looking quite like my daughter to the locals.

    There was a small crowd gathered around one of the shops, and it composed mostly of women. I decided to check it out and I elbowed my way to the front of the crowd. There was a salesman trying to sell off some weird cream. I sighed and walked off. However, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dangerous glint in the salesman eyes. Before I could blink, I was strapped onto a chair beside him. "Wha......" I gasped. "Why don't we have a little demonstration?" He shouted. "Hey, let me go!" I struggled. "Now, now. Don't all women want great bodies?" He wagged his finger at me. What the heck? I stopped struggling for a minute and took a good look at the tube of cream. "This is great stuff! One use and you're guaranteed great breasts! Special offer, 1,000 mesos per tube!" The salesman continued advertising as he screwed open the tube. I groaned. Why does stuff like this always happen to me!?

    "Now, this woman here's got a big chest, but does it have a good shape?" The salesman continued on. He seemed to have the crowd in some sort of trance. Where were my demon powers when I needed them...... I tried to break free again, but the straps were tight. I noticed a few policemen among the crowd. Maybe they had tried to stop the guy, but were caught up in his trance. I relaxed and closed my eyes. "Enhanced Sight." I whispered, then opened my eyes. Some kind of blue clouds were hovering amongst the crowd. Just as I suspected. The spell I performed earlier allowed me to actually see mana. I blinked and my sight returned to normal. Alexis was nowhere to be seen.

    The salesman slowly unbuttoned my blouse and the male members of the crowd 'Ooohed.' Can't blame them, they're under a spell. No matter how hard I tried to break free, I couldn't. The salesman then took off my bra. I sighed. "I knew it. Your breasts are big, but they're not in good shape." He crooned and held the tube over me. I held my breath and closed my eyes. All I felt was something comfortable flowing around my chest. I felt myself relaxing.

    When I opened my eyes again, I saw white creamy stuff all over my chest. My chest felt ticklish as it flowed, but I was too busy trying to get free to bother about it. "Aaaand...... A great example of perfect breasts!" The salesman announced as the cream flowed off my chest. I was surprised. "Fidelo's Perfect Breast Cream! Get it now for only 1,000 mesos!" He shouted. FIDELO!? No surprises they made something like this. I resolved to punch Hugo Fidelo in the face if I ever saw him again.

    The straps released themselves and I quickly put on my clothes, looking rather embarrassed. Several women crowded around the salesman, throwing out sheets of money. Honestly! There were even some men claiming to buy for their wives. I'll eat my hand if a quarter of them really were. Some men in that crowd were most probably rapists. I sighed and looked around for Alexis. She was gone! I stumbled through the crowd, hoping to find her. "You want some more? I'll give you a free sample!" The salesman suddenly crammed a tube of the cream in between my breasts and went back hawking his stuff. Maybe this would come in useful though. You never know what you might need on a journey. I pocketed the tube and resumed my search for Alexis.

    "Alexis!" I yelled. A passerby walked up to me. "Looking for your daughter?" He asked. "Well, she's my sister." I replied. "Maybe I can help. What does she look like?" He nodded. I told him Alexis's description. "Waist-length blonde hair? That's not common in Leafre. I think I saw someone matching your description being led into a dark alley." He scratched his head. "Which one?" I hurriedly asked. "That one." He pointed towards an alley between two shops constructed out of stone and smack beside the perverted salesman and his crowd. I was off before he finished his sentence.

    I was panicking in my heart now. What was going to happen to Alexis? It would be an insult to Jullian's memory to lose her now! After all, he was the one who saved my life 19 years ago! "Alexis!!!" I called out. My voice echoed off the walls. Suddenly, I got that weird feeling that people were staring at me. I whirled around and instinctively reached a hand to my back for a weapon. No one was around, but I didn't lower my guard. I kept glancing around as I moved. A blurred patch of air moved around on the ground beside some shadows. I knew it. A Thief in Dark Sight. I stopped and clenched my hands into fists. I whirled around just as a deep voice cried out, "Assasinate!"

    I dodged the dagger slashes and stabs without much of a problem, but my taller body offered a larger target compared to my teenage body. Dodging the dagger gradually became harder as the unknown assassin used my height to his advantage. Several times I got cut, and the front of my blouse flopped open from a slash that narrowly missed me. The assasin chuckled and I launched a fist towards the source of the sound. I missed. "Come out and fight like a man!" I shouted. "Honor is unimportant. I just get the job done no matter what." The assassin laughed and continued his assault. All I could do now was dodge, the assassin somehow maintained Dark Sight even while attacking. The sleeves of my blouse were sliced off, my skirt became a miniskirt and I received an injury to my wrist. Hope was running out for me.

    Suddenly, there was a cry of "Assaulter!" and a Chief Bandit appeared in front of me. He was armed with a Kandine and had a Seclusion Wristguard strapped to his left arm. "Let me handle this." He said and launched off into battle. The invisible assassin, who previously had the upper hand, was now on the defensive. I could tell because I could see the blurry patch of air that represented him. My saviour was now stabbing the air so fast, pools of wind formed where his hands previously were. "Assaulter! Pickpocket! Mesos Explosion!" The Chief Bandit was unleashing skills so fast, his hands were a blur. Several mesos dropped from nowhere and exploded. Eventually, I saw the blurry air patch move away from us.

    "Are you okay?" The Chief Bandit helped me to my feet. "Yeah, thanks..." I replied breathlessly. "Women shouldn't venture into dark alleys, you know." He sheathed his dagger. "I'm looking for my sister." I looked around for any sign of Alexis and winced. The Chief Bandit caught me. "You're hurt." He looked at my wrist. He reached a hand into his jacket and pulled out a roll of bandages. He wrapped my wound in it. "Thanks." I smiled at him. "No prob." He smiled back. At that moment, I noticed the front of my upper torso was exposed.

    I looked around for a needle and thread, and the Chief Bandit produced one out of nowhere. "You actually bring stuff like this around?" I eyed him. "I get wounded often. That's the trouble with Bandits." He shrugged as I sewed the severed cloth back together. It wasn't a good fit, but it would have to work temporarily. I eyed the remnants of my once long skirt. It was now as short as the length of my foot. "Thanks for saving me again." I gave him back the needle and thread. "Hey, men are supposed to protect women, right?" He winked and pocketed the items. "I think you need to get back. It's getting late. More thugs will be out in these alleys soon, and then you'll be in deep trouble. Even I can't stand up to a mob of those." He shot furtive looks around. "I need to find my sister first." I sighed. "Can you find her if your bones are scattered around on the ground?" He stared into my eyes. "Good point." I groaned.

    "What's your name anyway?" I asked. "Just call me Peps. Your name?" The Chief Bandit winked. "Artemis." I replied. "Artemis...... The name of the Greek goddess of archery...... Nice name." He smiled. Hold on. There was no Greece in Maple! "Thanks." I grinned. "Hmm. Some Artemis's I talk to just ask me 'What's Greek?' You're the first one not to say that." He scratched his head. "Oh?" I eyed him curiously. Was it possible? Was he sucked in like Timmy too? "Ah well, I'd better get going. Maybe your sister's back home or something." Peps suggested after walking me out of the maze of alleys. I nodded. "See ya on the flipside." He took off, jumping around the rooftops. I hurried back to the inn, hoping to find Alexis.

    Chapter 56: Disappearance

    To my surprise, Alexis wasn't in our inn room either. I began panicking again. Without my demon powers, I was quite vulnerable to attacks outside at night. I had lost my Dark Nisrock back when I had first transformed into the Dark Angel, and for some reason, I couldn't summon the Archaeion. Even if I did have a bow, it would be next to useless in close-quarters combat. How was I going to find Alexis now!? I took out the breast cream from my pocket and stared at it for a few minutes. That was most probably a distraction so that I would lose Alexis, come to think of it. I groaned. Now, Alexis was gone, all because of my carelessness...... The others had gone to sleep hours ago.

    I blinked. I was in a dark room, and I couldn't move. How did I get here? The last thing I remembered seeing was Artemis strapped to a table and a weird salesman standing over her with a tube in his hand. My eyes started to adjust to the darkness and I could see that I was in a storeroom. Also, whoever had maplenapped me was standing in a corner, dozing off. I was lying on a bed in a reclining position, and I was half-naked. Typical pervert. I tried to contact Artemis with the Telepathy function developed by our Inner Beast relationship, but she wasn't responding.

    A few minutes later, I found that I was able to move again. I took a quick look around and found my clothes on a nearby chair. I put them on and tiptoed over to my maplenapper. It was Kagome's sister, Anne! Maybe she got too tired and fell asleep there. There was a credit card sized computer on the floor. It was open to a Solitaire game. I fought the urge to laugh and located the door. It was bolted shut. I rolled my eyes. Do I have a choice now? I unbolted the door quietly and tried it again. There seemed to be a lock on the outside too. "Siren!" I thought. "Yeah, yeah....... I'm here...... You woke me up from my beauty sleep..." The Siren moaned. "Can you blow this door off its hinges quietly?" I asked. "Can the Dark Dragon bite its own eyes? I doubt it. All you can do to get out is blow that door off its hinges noisily, and wake up Miss Petite over there." It replied crossly.

    I stepped back and pointed my palm at Anne. "Ice Prison." I whispered. 3 sheets of ice shot out of the wall and enclosed her in a corner. Next, I pointed my palm at the door. "Freeze." I whispered. The door froze into ice. I landed a hard kick on it and it shattered into pieces noisily, but thanks to the Ice Prison, Anne didn't wake up. "I didn't think of that." The Siren commented, impressed. I ran out the door and found myself in a dark alley. To be more accurate, thug-infested dark alley. I put some spring in my leg and hopped up onto a rooftop. It was a full moon. I had no idea where I was currently, but I could see the marketplace. I headed towards it, wondering who would open a market at this time of night. However, I stopped as soon as I got close enough to see it. It was a black market. Guns, bullets, slaves, and even prostitutes were all around the place. I quickly turned around and jumped off as fast as I could. No way I wanted to end up in a place like that looking like some prostitute.

    I was completely lost now. No matter where I went, I couldn't recognize any buildings. The search wasn't fruitless though. Eventually, I saw the lights of the inn. I was immensely relieved and jumped off towards it. It was the right one, all right, and I pushed open the door and walked in. The bar was crowded at this time of the night, and I could see a few gropers doing their stuff on any girl they passed by. One unfortunate one tried to grope me. I sent the guy flying out the door and into an opposite wall. I was given a wide berth after that. I made my way up the stairs leading to the rooms and found Artemis's room. The door was locked. I groaned and knocked on the door. There was a bit of a scrambling sound and the door swung open. "Alexis!" Artemis was breathless. I stumbled into the room.

    "Where were you?" I asked. Judging by Alexis's breathing, she had a hard time. "No idea, actually. Anne tried to maplenap me, but I broke out. I don't think she knows I can break down double side-bolted doors." Alexis panted. I head her stomach grumble. "You're hungry." I remarked. She nodded and flopped onto the bed. I heard snoring. I gazed out the window for a second, and noticed a full moon. My body felt a sudden urging to go out. I complied, and walked out of the inn to stare at the moon. It seemed...... irresistible... My body started to levitate as the moon bathed me in its rays.

    A few minutes later, I was walking back into the inn, feeling more powerful again. Apparently, the moon had reawoken the Dark Angel. However, my body wasn't showing any demon characteristics. Once back in the room, I took another look at the Dark Angel's memories.

    Chapter 57: The Dark Side

    Note: This chapter is completely third person.

    Anne woke up inside an icy prison. "Huh?" She rubbed her eyes and looked around. Her computer was on the ground, still open to Solitaire. "Great, he's gonna kill me." She groaned as the noticed that the prisoner was no longer inside the room. Coincidentally, Saevio walked into the room. "She escaped?" He inquired. Anne shrank into the corner of her prison. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you. It was probably because of me that she escaped. I'll need to break you out, so stay still." Saevio placed his palm on top of the ice. "Incinerate." He whispered. The ice melted and Anne stepped out. She suddenly sneezed.

    Sixela was examining her new room closely. She had it built to her exact specifications. It was almost an exact replica of Alexis's room in her Kerning house. Her 50 metre sword rested on a table, in its sheath. A silver-lined mirror was on the wall and a pink wardrobe sat in a corner. Someone sneezed downstairs and Sixela ran down. Anne was lying on the sofa with a red nose and Saevio bending over her. He placed his hands on her back. "I'll give you some more of my power. It should help fix the cold." He said warmly. Black streams of energy coursed down through his arms and into Anne's body. Her nose returned to its normal colour. Sixela stared at Saevio jealously. "I want some too." She moaned sensuously and grabbed Saevio's arm.

    The house Saevio's group was staying in was in a secluded location near Magatia. Magatia was a bustling town of alchemists, and its technology level was almost on par with Omega Sector. The house itself was built into a cliff, with the entrance in a nearby cave. Of course, it had no windows, but a ventilation shaft supplied fresh air into the house.

    Saevio entered his room and stayed inside for a few hours. When Anne creeped in to look an hour later, he had fallen asleep in front of his crystal ball. She smiled and draped a blanket over him. Suddenly, she noticed the spellbook in front of him. It was opened to a spell that was supposedly able to freeze souls. "Too advanced for me." She shook her head and left.

    Sixela was back in her room, polishing her giant sword. She raised it up and looked over it. It was shiny and hard. Lethal too. She placed her finger on the diamond embedded in the sword's hilt. It glowed black for a second, then the sword's sharp edges became serrated. Even more lethal. Sixela smiled ominously and slid the sword into its sheath.

    Chapter 58: Reawakening

    I opened my eyes a few minutes later excitedly. The Dark Angel had finally revealed its whole memories to me. Her being part white demon came from her mother. Actually, her mother was part blue demon and part white demon. The Dark Angel's father was part red demon and part dark demon. This basically meant I was able to use the powers of four types of demons. She stayed in her dark demon form most of the time to hide the fact that she was part white demon, and her prowess at potion making came from her blue demon side. Weapons forging skills belonged to her red demon side, her white demon side healed her when she got injured and her dark demon side did most of the fighting.

    I tried concentrating on my right hand. While doing it, I imagined a burning flame. Sure enough, a flickering red flame appeared hovering over my palm. However, when I imagined water, it turned into a blue globe of water. Thinking about holiness caused an angelic ring to appear. That one was quite amusing. I flicked through the elements, occasionally trying to combine them. A combination of dark and water created black water, while dark and holy created...... well...... a pile of poop. Obviously they weren't meant to be combined. It was the same with water and fire. I went to bed after a few moments of trying out my new powers.

    The next morning, I woke up to see Alexis's hair turning around the door frame in the direction of the stairs. I smiled. She was probably really hungry. I checked my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Thinking my hair looked a little untidy, I picked up two rubber bands and tied my hair up in two ponytails on either side of my head. It was crude though, I'd have to ask Alexis to do it properly later. The ponytails were each about the side of my head.

    I quickly changed into my Blue Armis and walked downstairs to find Alexis. She was gobbling down a big plate of fried rice ravenously. The others were already seated and eating slowly, except for Kagome, who was staring at Alexis with a surprised look on her face. "Morning." I yawned. The others nodded, "Morning." and continued eating. I took an empty seat beside Alexis. "What happened yesterday anyway?" I asked. She choked on her food. "Don't eat like that." I patted her on the back gently.

    Alexis told us her story, munching food all the way through. Indeed, some of us got sprayed with food, but I was able to dodge the chunks without a problem. Probably because of my reawoken demon powers. When she finished, she quickly started apologizing. Now, the entire table was in a grim state. Kagome seemed unfazed, but I could see fear in her eyes. Sevin's wings were quivering, and Alexis appeared to have noticed it too, for she was patting him on the back, reassuring him that everything was going to be all right. Can't blame him, he's too low-leveled to be on the road with us.

    "Well, now we know that Saevio's here in Leafre." Alexis said grimly. I nodded. We were back in our own room. The others had returned to their own separate rooms. Timmy had escorted a scared Sevin back to their room. "But......" I mumbled. "Yeah?" Alexis turned towards me. "If I were him, I'd move away straight after you escaped." I sighed. "Good point. But where should we look next?" Alexis stared at me. I scratched my head for a few seconds, thinking. "I'd go somewhere where we would be less likely to think of." I said. An idea hit me like a steam train. "Victoria!" I exclaimed. Alexis had also said the very same word at the very same time and was now smiling. "Let's go." I nodded and got up to pack my bags.

    Chapter 59: Parasite

    I quickly went to tell the others where we thought Saevio was. "Why Victoria anyway? Weren't we there a few weeks ago?" Sevin asked. "Exactly." I winked at him and left him dumbfounded. Kagome and Timmias accepted without a question, but Jakito was ecstatic when I told him. "I can't believe you got so smart now!" He roared in happiness and slapped me on my back. Hard. I fell onto the ground. "Ouch......" I groaned. Jakito quickly helped me up, apologizing all the way.

    Suddenly, I felt something sting me on my buttocks and I clamped my hand to my buttock. Something splattered against my panties. I really had to start wearing pants instead of skirts indoors. When I put my hand to the front of my face to see what stung me, I saw a mangled mosquito the size of my fingernails. Strangely, it was red coloured. Probably because of my blood. However, upon closer inspection, I could see small red objects crawling out of the mosquito's abdomen. I nearly freaked out and quickly went to ask Kagome for help after casting a freezing spell on the bug. Something was definitely wrong here.

    Kagome seemed to have a vast knowledge of herbs and plants, judging by the look in her eyes. Sure enough, she shrieked when she saw the frozen mosquito in my hand. "I thought those Posquitoes were stamped out!" She quickly took the ice cube in her hands and turned it around, looking for something. "Posquitoes?" I inquired. "Parasitic mosquitoes...... Oh no...... Did you..." She gasped. She had noticed the green worm thingies. "It stung my buttock!" I complained, rubbing my buttock. Her face turned white.

    "Those Posquitoes inject their own larvae into their victims, complete with a weak poison that enables the injected part of the body to sustain the larvae. That poison is powerful enough to kill after a few months if not remedied. If the poison doesn't get you, the larvae will eat you from the inside. You may have demon hide, but it can't protect against attacks from the inside." Kagome explained grimly, tapping my shoulder. I put a finger to my buttock gingerly. Now that she mentioned it, I could feel something squirming around inside...... I felt like vomiting.

    Later that night, the six of us gathered in me and Alexis's room for a small meeting. First topic, the Posquito attack. Jakito explained that white demons were able to absorb any kind of curse or poison inflicted on them, but they could not get rid of parasites. Kagome turned up a book of antidotes from out of nowhere and started flipping through it. All this time, my buttocks were slowly swelling up.

    I winced as I sat down on my bed. Right now, the swell had gotten as big as my head. "That's unusual. Posquitoes normally don't cause such big swells." Kagome noted. "Like I said earlier, white demons absorb curses and poisons as if they are nothing. When Artemis got bitten by a vampire a few months ago, she turned into one for a short while before the curse was completely assimilated. That time, the armour she was wearing qualified her as a white demon." Jakito explained. "So that means I'm gonna turn into a mosquito for a while? Great." I groaned. "Not really. At most, your buttocks will just swell up more, then turn back to normal." Jakito said thoughtfully. I looked at my poow swollen buttocks and winced again. They were as big as a computer monitor now, and were slightly pointed. I groaned again.

    "They're heavy!" I complained, lying on the bed face down. The size of my buttocks did not permit me to sleep face up. Kagome was in me and Alexis's room again, studying her antidote book. "There's an antidote here dealing with Posquito poison, but there's nothing about the larvae!" She threw her book up into the air, and I deflected it with my swollen buttocks before it hit the ceiling fan. "Ouch." I mumbled, massaging the point of impact. My buttocks chose that moment to shrink. "That's better." I smiled. "Okay, buttock problem solved. How about we try heating your buttocks to kill the larvae?" Alexis suggested. She stopped when she saw the look on my face. "It'd be like dropping a stone on my own foot." I mumbled.

    Chapter 60: Training

    While we packed to leave for Victoria again, I had to deal with the unpleasant experience of worms squirming around inside my buttocks all the time. "Hey, at least without the poison, they can't grow or eat you from the inside." Kagome tried to cheer me up. I nodded glumly and tossed a mini-blouse into my bag. "Maybe Purge can work!" I suddenly exclaimed and held my buttocks with my hands. "Purge." I whispered excitedly, trying to ignore the squirming sensation inside my buttocks. Golden light bathed my hands for a second, then the feeling stopped. "I think it worked." I breathed. All of a sudden, I felt like going to the toilet.

    I came out of the toilet smiling. The annoying worms had finally come out. Still, I wondered how Purge did it. I finished packing and waited for Alexis to finish. Kagome had come with only a backpack, and it was filled with a minimal amount of clothes and a few tools she needed, along with her antidote book and a book detailing herbs. An arrow making kit was also in a side pocket. Alexis had gone shopping frequently and had two luggage bags to pack. I sighed as she tried to stuff a last skirt into an already-bulging bag and I pushed it in. "Thanks." She smiled and we left for the lobby.

    The boys were already waiting for us. Sevin wasn't carrying anything since he had left our house in Kerning without bringing anything with him, and Timmias was just recently transported into this world. Jakito was hefting a heavy backpack. "You sure? I'm a Warrior, I can carry it better." Timmy was saying to Jakito. "I'm fine." He kindly refused his help. "Let's go." Alexis nodded to them. We walked out the door, asking for directions to the ship port from the bartender on the way.

    Once outside, we strolled down the street casually, taking in the last sights of Leafre before we left it. The weapons shop was closed today, but the armour shop was open. The shop owner waved at me cheerily as we waked past, and I returned it with a smile. My Blue Armis had cost well over a million mesos when I bought it from him, so he was sure to be happy.

    The ship port was filled with passengers, and we had a hard time squeezing through the crowd. I got groped several times, and those gropers fainted the second they touched me. I smiled. Just before I had left the inn, I had activated a small magical barrier that made anyone that groped me intentionally faint. Pretty handy too! It took the six of us a while to get to the ticket counter, but when we got there, the attendant sighed. "Six people? We've only got room for five." She shrugged.

    "Should we take another ship?" Alexis suggested. "Fine with me." Jakito said. The others agreed too, so we asked the attendant about the other ships. "There's another one coming in in an hour." She consulted a checklist. "Six tickets please." Alexis seized the chance. Timmy was particularly excited, since he hadn't been to Victoria in person before.

    "We'll have to train hard to beat Saevio this time around." Alexis said. "You only beat him last time because of that Sacrificing spell you did. This time, the Exzas Beasts aren't around." Jakito nodded. Something hit me right then. "I think I'll stay behind at Leafre to train. You guys go back." I said. Alexis looked shocked. "I'll stay with you." She instantly said. I shook my head. "Leafre monsters are too strong for you right now." I explained and hefted my backpack up. "I understand." Jakito said quietly from behind me. "If you go, I won't stop you. Just make sure you keep yourself safe." Alexis smiled. "Thanks." I smiled back and caught a book Jakito had tossed at me. "A book detailing demon powers. You should read it sometime." He grinned. I nodded appreciatively and left the port.

    I stared after Artemis's disappearing form in the crowd. "Will it be okay? She's alone." Kagome piqued. I nodded. "She's part demon after all......" I mumbled. Sevin was almost crying as the loudspeaker announced the arrival of our ship. "L.F.R. Cornian, that's ours." I got up, dragging my luggage bags. The others got up along with me and we walked up the ship's gangplank. A few minutes later, the ship was filled and it took off.

    Chapter 61: Revisit

    3 years since we last saw Artemis...... I gazed at the picture in my bedroom. The first wedding photo we took was still hanging up on the wall. It was hard to believe that so much time had passed already. Timmy was now living with us, being unable to return to the real world, and trained with me daily. Sevin had advanced to his 3rd job already, and was the youngest person in his age group to become a Ranger. Kagome was also living with us since she didn't really have much of a home to go to. Roy was now his organization's top mercenary, and he was frequently asked to go on training missions. Lopez was doing rather fine as a level 115 now.

    Lacus had trained a lot while we were gone and was now at level 149. She still had a scar left from the Dark Angel attack. Mei Ling had stopped training a few years ago to study mechanics and quantum physics and was stuck at level 102. She had excavated a new cave out beside the swimming pool and propped up a laboratory there. Me? I'm level 189 now, and a Hero too. I visited Leafre a few days after I attained level 120 to take the fourth job test. As for my job, I've taken a teaching post at a senior warrior's academy. Also, I'm about as old as Artemis before we last saw her. While I was at Leafre, I tried to find her, but I failed. Her info had also been removed from the MapleNet website for some reason.

    "Troubles?" Kagome asked as I walked down the stairs. She was reading an archery magazine. "Yep, Dennis nearly lopped my head off with a mishandled axe, and another teacher instantly yelled his head off." I sighed. "Ouch." Roy mumbled. "Wasn't his fault though, seemed like that axe was oiled where it shouldn't have been. It was from the weapons locker too. I really need to have a word with Rick about those axes." I placed my sword on top of the fireplace and reclined back on a sofa. "It's been so long..." Kagome sighed. "Artemis?" I asked. She nodded. "I wonder how she's doing now......" I wondered. At that moment, the doorbell rang.

    "Coming!" Lacus suddenly bolted out of the kitchen and ran for the door. She unlocked the door and it opened with such force, she flew back a few feet. "Whoa!" I got up, but an extremely tall and slim dark haired woman was already sweeping into the house and lying down on the sofa. There was a man with her, with a bandaged left hand and holding a staff. "Who're you to come barging into my house like that!?" I demanded. The woman was wearing a blouse that was a few sizes too small, a short pair of pants, and had a black dragon tattooed over her right arm. A massive sword about as long as she was was strapped to her back and her hair swept down all the way to her long legs. She was at least 2 metres tall! The man with her was completely cloaked in black and somewhat shorter compared to her.

    Lacus got back to her feet angrily and picked up her staff. Roy appeared out of nowhere, battle ready and holding his Ilbi stars. Kagome drew her bow. Suddenly, I saw the woman smile. The next second, all our weapons were on the ground, and there was a strangely familiar bow in the woman's hand...... WHAT IN THE WORLD!?!?!? "I'm back." Artemis grinned devilishly.

    "But......but......" Alexis stammered. I wasn't surprised, after all, she'd just seen me after three long years of hardcore training. "You're...... tall..." She went on. "Never knew what's in those herbs I kept eating." I shrugged. "You look..." Lacus gasped. "Like one of those street girls walking around in revealing clothes? Didn't have a choice, my training took me too far away from towns." I smiled. Alexis bent in to examine my body closer. Roy's jaw had dropped when he saw me. "No other word for it but sexy? Jullian said the exact same thing." I grinned, indicating the man beside me. Now, it was Alexis's jaw's turn to drop. "Long time no see, sis." Jullian grinned, throwing off his cloak.

    "But...... I thought he got lost in the desert?" Alexis stammered. "I accidentally kicked him while I was walking through the Ariant Desert. He was buried under a foot of sand!" I exclaimed. "In my hand too." Jullian held out his bandaged hand. "Anyway, she used her powers to revitalize me and then flew me to the nearest town." He smiled. "You didn't bother getting any clothes?" Alexis asked me. I shook my head. "You wouldn't believe how loose desert clothing is. I kept getting them blown off during those sandstorms." I sighed.

    I went up to my old room and took a good look around. The wedding photo was still on the wall and I smiled. I took a good look in the bathroom mirror at my reflection and got a surprise. During all the time I spent training, I had never looked in a mirror. I turned my body around to really look at myself. All the time I spent training had not only resulted in me getting stronger, I had gotten slimmer too! I laid down on the bed and realized that I would need a new one. I was too tall for this bed.

    Jullian and Alexis were chatting excitedly downstairs. Suddenly, I heard the sound of scampering rats on the ceiling. I slipped a slender hand into my breast pocket and withdrew a single needle. One lazy flick of my hand sent it sailing neatly through the air and into the ceiling. The sound immediately petered out. A direct hit. I was still amazed at the multi-weapon mastery I was capable of achieving. Two-handed swords were now nothing more than one-handed swords to me, even those heavy maces warriors had to hold with two hands, I could hold with one, and it'd be fast too. The Buster Sword I had forged myself was the only weapon I needed to hold with two hands, and that was for accuracy.

    I admired the dragon tattoo on my arm. It had been tattooed on by an artist in Magatia, and I had paid a few thousand for it, although it was only a decoration. I just liked it, plus, it matched the Dark Dragon inside me. The herbs didn't just make me taller, a few of them changed my body in small ways. There was one particular one I ate which changed my taste of clothing for some reason, but it improved my physical strength too. Skelesaurus bones were good as potion ingredients, but I never imagined accidentally mixing powdered ones with herbal tea would produce an effect like this. That time, I was powdering a single bone over a hot cup of tea. A few bits of powder dropped into the tea and I drank it when I was finished with the bone. The next thing I knew, I was gagging and my body had grown taller by about 40 centimetres. My chest had also expanded slightly from it. That effect also caused the clothes I was wearing at the time to become too small for me.

    My old wardrobe was still filled with my old clothes, and it appeared to have been dusted frequently. Most of the clothes were in good condition, but were still too small. I tried a pale blue blouse on. It wasn't long enough to cover my belly. An old pair of pants only reached my knees and a miniskirt didn't cover my hips completely. I sighed. Sometimes, being too tall was bothersome. I had to duck just to get through the door just now.

    To be continued……


    *Name* (*Gender*-*Age*) - *Description* - Lv xx *Job* - *Origin* - *Guild*

    Main Six:
    Artemis (F-26) - Ivan's girl form. Normally quiet. Well over 2 metres tall and likes to wear revealing clothes. - Lv 300 Arch Angel
    - Rushuna - Extremely proficient with revolvers and quite childish. (Anime Origin - Grenadier)
    - Sakura - Best at point-blank punching or kicking. She is rather tomboyish. (Anime Origin - Naruto)
    - Arturia - Her abilities are currently unknown. (Anime Origin - Fate/Stay Night)
    Alexis (F-22) - Very talkative and looks similar to Artemis. - Lv 189 Heroine
    Lacus (F-22) - A new friend of Artemis and Alexis. She's Japanese. - Lv 149 Priestess
    Roy (M-43) - Artemis's best friend in her past life. - Lv 176 Night Road
    Mei Ling (F-42) - Lacus's cousin from China. A scientist on the run from setting Artemis free. - Lv 102 F/P Mage
    Lopez (M-22) - Artemis's classmate, quite short. Italian. - Lv 115 Sniper


    Xorten (M-16) - Someone who knows the ropes when it comes to MapleStory, knows a lot of the secret teleport spots and sniper areas. Active when needed, but lazy when it comes to practicing. Above average height for his age. - Lv 50 Hunter - New Mapler

    Sevin (M-19) - A low level hunter. When he first meets people, he is always asking questions and such. He is brave and can be ruthless at times. He was part of an experiment to put humans on the internet it failed causing him to be trapped in MapleStory along with a strange pair of angel-like wings. He can use his wings to fly and also copy most of his opponent's moves. - Lv 90 Ranger - Sucked into the game

    Timmias (M-21) - Black haired, blue eyed, can be a little flakey at times. Always finds a sick minded twist in things that are said. Also unreliable at first but once trust is built is a loyal friend. - Lv 98 White Knight - Sucked into the game

    Kagome (F-19) - Dark brown hair, amber eyes. Quiet and shy, doesn't talk much unless there's a point to make. - Lv 119 Ranger - Old Mapler


    Saevio (M) - The main antagonist of the story. Whereabouts currently unknown. - Lv ???

    Leo (M) - Usually a quiet guy. He can help people at times, but can betray you at any moment. The only time he is not training is when he is trying to kill someone. - Lv 100 Crusader - Old Mapler

    Kon (M) - A Bandit using daggers who wants to live by an old rule: Only the strongest survives. That's why he kills every human who is either weak or begs for something. He hates being commanded by someone except if that someone is stronger than him. - Lv 98 Chief Bandit - Sucked into the game

    Anne (F-17) - Kagome's younger sister. Saevio managed to get Anne to join his side by tempting her with mesos, items, and helping her in her training. Trained from young, Anne would probably be Saevio's strongest fighter in the near future. Small-sized, chatty, obedient and has a "Never-say-die" attitude. Equally proficient with both daggers and throwing stars - Lv 100 Bandit/Assasin - Old Mapler


    Peps (M-18) - Being only 15 years old in real life, this young boy can be easily "persuaded" by either side. He has a tendency to flaunt his "skills" as a third-jobber and is an extremely chatty person. He is also trustworthy. - Lv 117 Chief Bandit - Sucked into the game - Band Of Thieves

    Grim (Grim Reaper-???) - The Grim Reaper had been asleep ever since the end of the first Ragnarok, and has just awoken, sensing death around the corner. He is silent, only responding with grunts, snarls, and otherwise incoherent language. All he does is silently trail Ivan and company, and "reap" anybody/thing which has died. However, why he is trailing Ivan is unknown. - Lv ??? Reaper - Old Mapler

    -YOU for reading it.
    -Arcanisjk for the banner and website.
    -fanficl0ver for some corrections.
    -Anime I watch, they inspire me.
    Monster Hunter Tri Status:
    - Hunter Rank: HR1 (Yay, me noob)
    - Favourite Weapon: Switch Axe
    - Current Most Proficient Weapons: Switch Axe, Hammer
    - Current Armour: Barroth Set + Lagiacrus Set
    - Current Most Hated Monster: Rathalos
    (Stop flying, wings fer' brains!)

  2. #2
    Jr. Necki Tangknight96's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    somewhere in Canada


    W00t first to read
    yay PVP
    Is Ivan still married to Alexis?
    Perfect world international open beta has started!!! Too bad they PWIPED our closed beta characters =[. Gotta start grinding again.

    Dream MS(private server) char: lvl198 Shadower

  3. #3
    Jr. Necki
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Behind you


    yay new story. Are you still going to continue your other story.

  4. #4
    Jr. Necki ThyGamePlaya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    My mommy says I'm not supposed to tell strangers >_>


    After he's done with the other one, he'll do this one.

    Click to enter my YouTube Channel

  5. #5
    Mushmom XxKiraYamatoxX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    This fanfic will take my writing to a new level, as you can see. Ratings on the prologue pl0x!
    Monster Hunter Tri Status:
    - Hunter Rank: HR1 (Yay, me noob)
    - Favourite Weapon: Switch Axe
    - Current Most Proficient Weapons: Switch Axe, Hammer
    - Current Armour: Barroth Set + Lagiacrus Set
    - Current Most Hated Monster: Rathalos
    (Stop flying, wings fer' brains!)

  6. #6
    Jr. Necki Tangknight96's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    somewhere in Canada


    Quote Originally Posted by XxKiraYamatoxX View Post

    After a bit of a chat with Alexis at the canteen, Ivan quickly ran to his English class as the ball rang.
    umm don't you mean that the bell rang? Just wondering, and sry if I'm wrong
    Perfect world international open beta has started!!! Too bad they PWIPED our closed beta characters =[. Gotta start grinding again.

    Dream MS(private server) char: lvl198 Shadower

  7. #7
    Mushmom XxKiraYamatoxX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Whoops, thanks. Fixed now.
    Monster Hunter Tri Status:
    - Hunter Rank: HR1 (Yay, me noob)
    - Favourite Weapon: Switch Axe
    - Current Most Proficient Weapons: Switch Axe, Hammer
    - Current Armour: Barroth Set + Lagiacrus Set
    - Current Most Hated Monster: Rathalos
    (Stop flying, wings fer' brains!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Almost as good as Dreams from Maple.

    Great too though!

    Yay, I'ma be in the first page, I feel famous!

  9. #9
    Drake jhtv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Santa Clara County


    Nice. I like it so far. I wonder what's going to happen this time... Also what happened to the other characters? Or if its going to be mentioned never mind.
    I quit MS...

  10. #10
    Mushmom XxKiraYamatoxX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Got bored. Here's Chapter 1.

    Chapter 1: Strange Occurence

    "Rage level?" Lacus piqued. "13 and counting." Alexis grinned. As her cartoony character on my laptop screen slashed and killed a small cat, the words "LEVEL UP" appeared above her head. "Congrats!" I smiled. "Thanks!" Alexis replied. "Let's see now...... 2 points into Rage and another point into Power Guard......"

    "Hey, Lacus, what's your full name?" Alexis asked. "Lacus Mikael." Lacus replied. "Why'd they give you that name anyway?" Alexis, curious as she was, asked again. "My parents gave me the name of one of the main characters in an anime they liked while they were little." Lacus shrugged and typed in her login ID along with her password. "They also decided to make my hair exactly like Lacus Clyne's hair." she added.

    "Gundam Seed Destiny right?" I piqued. "Yep. I like that anime too." Lacus smiled. "Huh?" the program suddenly closed. "I forgot there was a server check scheduled today." I scratched my head. "Oh well, Alexis-san, Ivan-kun, do you want to go to the swimming pool tomorrow?" Lacus asked us. "Sure, why not? Tomorrow's Saturday anyway!" Alexis replied. My head jerked up. Swimming pool? Oh god...... not water!

    "I don't know how you girls managed to talk me into this......" I groaned as Alexis and Lacus grabbed my hands and pulled me towards the campus's swimming pool, one of Jubrenan University's many facilities. There were basketball gyms, tennis courts, archery ranges, the works. Somehow I liked being around bows, so I joined the archery club. Probably because I'm a Sagittarian. "Hey wait, you didn't give me time to get my swimming trunks!"

    "You're going to swim in that?" Alexis eyed me. I was holding out a pair of swimming trunks that were too small for me. "Hey, I only swam once in my entire life, and I almost drowned!" I said gloomily. Lacus raised an eyebrow. "Why don't we teach you?" Alexis offered. "But, I won't fit into these!" I pointed at my swimming trunks. Lacus took one quick look at my waist and ran off. She came back a while later with a pair of swimming trunks that were just my size.

    I put on my clothes over my new swimming trunks and stepped out of my room. Splashing sounds from the nearby pool beckoned and I ran towards it, followed by Lacus and Alexis. Both girls had already changed and were just wearing their normal clothes over their swimsuits. "If you don't run faster, the pool's gonna get too full for us!" Alexis teased me, easily overtaking me, being a member of the girl's track team. Surprisingly, Lacus also overtook me effortlessly, her pink hair flowing in the wind.

    "Not you...... too!" I panted. "Ex-girl's basketball team member!" Lacus explained and ran off with Alexis, leaving me behind in a cloud of dust. "Hey there! Even girls run faster than you!" a bunch of boys smoking beside a corner laughed at me. "Shut up!" I shook my fist at them and ran as fast as I could.

    When I finally reached the pool, Alexis and Lacus were already in the pool. I walked into the changing room, panting and showered after grabbing a locker key and stuffing my clothes into locker number 34. I gave the keys back to the attendant for safekeeping and ran to the pool. "Cowabunga!!!" Alexis yelled, hopping off the diving board. Her body was arced straight downwards and she hit the water with a splash. A shower of recently chlorinated water sprayed me. I spluttered and shrank back from the pool's side. "Sorry!" Alexis surfaced and hurriedly apologized. Lacus was laughing at me. This isn't funny.

    "1...2...3...4... You can only hold your breath for 4 seconds?" Alexis was obviously exasperated at me. "What? I've never swum before!" I choked on a mouthful of water and quickly spat it out. After a few minutes time practicing, I could hold my breath for maximum 10 seconds. "That should be enough for a few basics." Alexis smiled. She taught me how to tread water, which I learned eagerly.

    Alexis borrowed a snorkel from an attendant and put it on me. "Okay, now watch how I swim closely." Alexis took off into the water, her body forcing a graceful arc as she dived into the pool. I ducked under the water level, using the snorkel to breath. She resurfaced and began kicking her legs, propelling her forwards. She kept most of her body underwater and held her breath for about 30 seconds in this way. Her brown hair drifted on the surface of the water as she swam past. Eventually, she surfaced and floated on the water on her back, gazing at me. "Now, you do it!" she smiled. At this point, Lacus got out of the water and shouted to us, "I'll get towels!"

    I thrashed in the water, yelling, "Help!" for a few seconds before I realized the level of the pool water I was on only reached my neck. "Oookay...... watch me do it again." Alexis sighed and started to swim again. Suddenly, I saw a black hole appear in the pool, directly under her. I'm so tired I must be seeing things....... Then, I spotted a black scaly claw reaching out of the hole. Again, most probably a hallucination.

    Something odd happened. The claw groped around for a few seconds before a limb latched onto the top of her swimsuit! For some odd reason, she hadn't noticed it. Her swimsuit's top started to stretch. The sight of her swimsuit stretching gave me a bit of a mental shock. Hallucinations can't do that, can they!? I quickly ran as fast as I could towards the claw. Running in water is hard and I soon exhausted myself, but I managed to grab the claw and I punched it as hard as I could.

    The claw shot back into the hole and Alexis's swimsuit snapped back into it's original state while the black hole disappeared into thin air, or rather water. She didn't seem to have noticed anything, strange! She looked at me. "Now, can you do it?" she asked. I decided not to tell her about the freaky claw and I tried to swim.

    "Weird, I feel a bit top-heavy." Alexis admitted as we got out of the water. I was panting and trickles of water ran down my chest and back. Lacus reappeared with towels and we dried ourselves. "I guess I'll wear the swimsuit back to my room." Alexis put on her clothes and walked off towards the dormitories. Lacus, on the other hand, had put on her clothes when she had left to get the towels. I got dressed quickly and ran back to my room, thinking about Maple.

    Somewhere in Maple......
    "Master. I have found Alexis and Ivan."

    To be continued......
    Monster Hunter Tri Status:
    - Hunter Rank: HR1 (Yay, me noob)
    - Favourite Weapon: Switch Axe
    - Current Most Proficient Weapons: Switch Axe, Hammer
    - Current Armour: Barroth Set + Lagiacrus Set
    - Current Most Hated Monster: Rathalos
    (Stop flying, wings fer' brains!)

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