Boy do I hate bugs, especially when they're around my size, thinks Nantuck as he slices the wings off another Wasp which fall pitifully to the ground.
"Keeeeyyyaaa!" cried Flip as he gave another Wasp a flying kick. Landing almost catlike on the ground he grins at Nantuck.
"Show off, aren't Monks suppose to always show humility?" remarked Nantuck. Flip simply gave a shrug in answer.
Clap Clap Clap "Very good, Bravo!" says Crimson from behind.
Nantuck places the Claymore back in his scabbard as he studies his companions. Flip with his raven black hair and simple robes says little except when in battle. At which point his cries of rage often surprised his opponents. As he turns around he can see Crimson combing her short red hair. She returns his gaze with a look of superiority as she placed the comb back into her black robes. Nantuck always considered her a snob, even among Wizards. He wasn't an expert on magic, but even he could see she was very skilled at what she did. Just not disciplined when it came to it. Just the three of them in the Eastern Woods. With vegetation so thick you can barely make out the sun. Why didn't I become a Painter like my Dad, thinks Nantuck as he looks at his companions. Oh yeah, now I remember, its because I can't paint. Ah well, guess its the life of killing and looting for me, he thinks with a grin.
"Too busy uncurling a lock of hair to help?" ask Nantuck.
"You boys seem to have been doing OK on your own. Why should I waste my power?" answers Crimson. Nantuck scratched his blue hair in frustration. Normally he kept away from people like Crimson. They were sometimes unreliable in a tight situation. This time though he didn't have a choice, unless he wanted to kiss one large ruby good bye. Just his luck that the other part of the map ended up in her hands.
"So what are we waiting for? I want to get to the Temple of Jadus by today. Of course if those little wasps made you too tired to go on maybe you should give the parchment to me and I'll get the Ruby for us." she says with a mischievous grin.
"Heh, no I'm quite all right. Thank you for your concern though." he says with every word dripping with sarcasm. Giving a noncaring shrug Crimson starts down the path.
"uuuggghhh...." Everyone stops as they hear the groan. Flip silently gestures to the bushes east. Moving quietly Nantuck quickly slices the bushes with a single stroke. Behind them lies a teenage boy, bleeding from a wound on his shoulder. With spiky blond hair and a blue cowl marking him a priest he lies on the ground deathly pale. Flip quickly pulls out a red vial and began pouring the contents into the boy's mouth. His pale skin soon takes a healthy color and the wound stops bleeding.
Opening his eyes, the boy finds two people looking at him curiously and one looking at him like he was a annoying insect. "Um Greetings, Am I dead?" ask the boy.
"Hehe, no boy you're not dead, but it was close. What's your name." ask Nantuck as he thinks of what they are going to have to do with him.
"Palin, Priest of Light, at your service sir. Oh just a sec sir." Palin says as he places his hand over his closed wound. "Light I Summon, Bind my Wounds"
A light glow comes from Palin's hand and when he lifts his hand the wound is gone. "Well you can heal, but can you fight?" ask Nantuck as he considers Palin joining their group. They do need a healer, but can the kid really help? They are already halfway to the temple. Palin shows a wooden stick with pride. Laughter fills the air.
"HaHaHahahahahahaha, a stick! Oh yeah Nantuck, this kid is REALLY going to help us out on our quest. Maybe we should find some rocks for him to throw too." says Crimson as she begins having another fit of laughter. Palin starts to blush with embarrassment.
"Aw don't feel bad kid, we'll take you along. Just stay in the back and let us do the fighting." Nantuck says with a smile.
"WHAT! If you think I'm letting that half-pint have a single coin of my share your very much mistaken!" screeches Crimson.
"Relax Crimson we're just taking him along so he can have some protection going back to the village. After we finish are quest." Nantuck says smoothly. "Well kid I'm Nantuck the Warrior, the quite one is Flip the Monk, and the screeching wind bag is Crimson." Crimson gives a glare that could fry Ice Golems in response. Flip makes a gesture to go down the path.
"Aye Flip your right. Let's be off." says Nantuck. Palin walks behind the three as he contemplates his new situation. He was hoping to find some pieces of Beryl here in the Eastern Woods. Ever since Aunt Penny had her gold stolen they haven't been doing too good. Maybe if I show that I'm useful enough maybe they'll let me have a few of these coins they're talking about, thinks Palin. If he doesn't get some gold soon his Aunt isn't going to have place to live.
The vegetation becomes even thicker as they go down the narrow trail. Palin notices that sometimes Crimson leads and at other times Nantuck leads. Each holds an old parchment. After three hours of walking Flip gives a soft whistle. It is only then that the rest of the group notices a large structure up ahead. It appears to be pyramid shaped and has stairs leading to the top. By now the trees are so tall and large that their branches form a roof over the structure which prevents almost any sunlight from entering the area. Nantuck leads the group closer while slowly drawing out his Claymore. Vines cover the pyramid and at the top Nantuck can see the glimmer of red light. Crimson gives a quick intake of breath which indicates that she also saw the glimmer.
A high buzzing sound is soon heard and dark forms in the air can be seen approaching. Palin is momentarily stricken with fear as he recognizes the sound of the Wasps. He almost died only a few hours ago from these creatures. Crimson gives a look of annoyance and begins muttering curses that makes Palin's ears turn red.
"I knew this wasn't going to be easy. Aw well, why don't you show us this impressive 'power' of yours Crimson?" Nantuck says. Normally I like doing the killing myself, but the kid might get hurt if we don't get rid of them quickly, thinks Nantuck. Crimson gives a wicked smile as she puts out her hands.
"Air I Summon, Crush and Push My Foes"
Nantuck and the others grab on to the trees near them in surprise as a strong wind pushes against them. This was only a fraction of the strength though that the Wasps had to face. The buzzing forms hit trees and the ground with a crushing thuds.
Palin and Flip watch the display of magic with awe, but Nantuck was never impressed much by magic and was more worried about what other surprises the temple had in store for them. He could barely make out the sound of chittering ahead and went into a defensive stance. "Boys get ready. We'll soon have some green company." said Nantuck as he looked into the darkness ahead. Flip instantly got into his own defensive stance beside Nantuck looking slightly ashamed while Palin drew out his stick.
Palin never saw a Mantis so large before. It looked upon the group with its yellow insect eyes as it raised its sabre like arms. Several more could soon be seen behind it as Nantuck charge the first one. Palin considered joining in the charge, but changed his mind as Flip gave him a look of warning. Nantuck stab the body of the first Mantis allowing the momentum of the charge to help deepen his stab. Giving a inhuman sound it slice at Nantuck leaving a gash at his side.
"Kaaaayyoooo!" cries Flip at he hits another Mantis with a punch. A cracking sound could be heard as his fist hits the chest of Mantis. Palin raises up his own hands to cast a heal spell on Nantuck.
"Save your power kid! This is just a scratch, wait until we're really hurting." Nantuck says with a grin. Palin grits his teeth in frustration, but complies. So much for impressing them, thought Palin glumly.
While the boys play I think I'll get the prize, thinks Crimson with humor. Crimson stepped away from the others. As she does so one third of the monsters approach her and block her way to the temple. "Your about to see the true power of the elements, Palin." says Crimson smugly. "Fire I Summon, Cone of Burning and Turning"
A cone of swirling fire shot out of Crimson's hands incinerating the Mantis which had walked towards her. Crimson appears to weaken from casting a second powerful spell. While the others are busy fighting Palin watches the flames destroy the Mantis. I wish I could do something like that. I'm thankful for the power of Light, but that doesn't appear to be needed right now, thinks Palin.
Nantuck slices another Mantis in half with his Claymore. Green blood covers both his armor and sword. Flip gives off a powerful kick to a Mantis, sending its head flying through the air. After ten minutes the battle ends and both Nantuck and Flip have several scratches and gashes over their bodies. "Now can I heal you?" ask Palin eagerly.
"Well lad now that all the fighting... Wait a minute, where's that wind bag gone off to?" ask Nantuck. Palin points towards the temple.
Finally reaching the top of the temple Crimson finds the largest Ruby she has ever seen. It was a foot thick and shaped like an orb. "Crimson! Mind waiting for the rest of the group before claiming the treasure?" shouts Nantuck in frustration.
"You know what Nantuck? I think I did enough to deserve all of the treasure." Crimson shouts back. "Over my dead body," mutters Nantuck "come on Flip, time to give Crimson a lecture in sharing." "You stay down here Palin." Nantuck says as he and Flip climbs the stairs up the temple.
"Yes sir." Palin says with a sigh. Crimson looks down at the approaching Nantuck and Flip. Lets see here, those two really look like they need a bath, thinks Crimson as she prepares her next spell.
"Water I Summon, Knock and Pound these Fools"
The top step before Crimson glowed blue and water gushed from it like a wave going down the stairs. The water hit Nantuck and Flip hard and carries them back down the steps. Normally Nantuck and Flip could possibly have resisted the wave and kept on going up, but after the battle with the Mantis they were severely worn out. Both hit the bottom of the stairs and nearly go unconscious with pain. Palin watched all this with horror. Well I wanted to show them I'm useful, but this is definitely not the way I wanted to do it, thinks Palin with fear. Palin swallows his fear and slowly goes up the stairs. "Now I wonder what I'll spend my new fortune on." Crimson said to herself.
"Ex.. Excuse me, Lady Crimson I must ask you not to steal that Ruby." the boy says in a quivering voice. Crimson turns around to see Palin halfway up the stairs. Giving a sigh Crimson raised a hand. Her body seemed thinner and it was evident that the spells she had cast had took their toil. Wait a minute! I don't need magic to get rid of this brat. I'll just skewer him with my sword if he gets in the way, thinks Crimson. Drawing out an elegant Scimitar she looks at the beautiful gem in her hand.
"I'm wa..warning you, give up the Ruby or face the element of Light." says Palin nervously. Crimson merely scoffs at him and starts going down the stairs. "I hope this works," mutters Palin and he gathers all his mental power for a spell.
"Light I Summon, Let Light Enter You"
"Oh please, don't tell me your going to make me glow in the dark. That's your spell?" says Crimson, "By the Elements, this gem is fiaaagggghhhhh!" The Ruby Crimson holds and admires as she walks down the steps bursts with red light. Looking at it closely at the time, Crimson is blinded and jerks back. She can see nothing but the color red. The gem drops on to the step with a thud looking like a miniature red star. Crimson jerks back and feels herself losing her balance. Unable to see where to place her hands, she tumbles down the stairs. Pain feels her whole body as she hits each step hard. Palin stops her body as she tumbles towards him. A mark on her forehead shows that she hit one of the steps with her head. After checking that she is still breathing Palin sighs with relief.
"Good going kid. Couldn't have done it better myself." says Nantuck from behind.
"Are you two OK?" ask Palin.
"Of course were OK. Going to take more then a little wave to kill us." says Nantuck as Flip nods. "By the way kid, you can heal us now." says Nantuck with a smile.
"EErrr, well you see I sort of spent all my power on doing that." says Palin pointed to the still glowing gem.
"I was afraid you'd say that. Aw well, come on Flip. Crimson has some things to answer to once we get to town." Taking both the Ruby and unconscious Crimson they make their way back to town.
"Well kid here is your share. Hope it comes in handy." says Nantuck as he tosses a sack to Palin. "Thanks, this will help my Aunt big time. Good bye Nantuck." says Palin. "Good hunting kid." says Nantuck as he and Flip walk away waving. Palin quickly runs back home.
"Have fun today Palin?" asked Aunt Penny. Palin looks in his sack and looks shocked. Then he smiles.
"Sure did, look what I found in the Eastern Woods?" Palin says as he pulls out a Ruby larger then his hand.