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Sunday, September 03, 2006 Temperance Saves the Fool (Part 2)

Chris is shocked and tries to slash through it, but two other imps seize Chris’ hands. As death is very, very near, suddenly something sticks out from the imp’s mouth. It’s an arrow. The imp is dead before it can scream. Before Chris can even blink a shower of arrows comes and finds its targets. The imps surrounding Chris fall like dry leaves from the trees.

Chris is amazed, and knowing that he’s given a chance, he holds his Wyrthal with two hands, launches multiple slashes while rotating his body several times, creating a whirlwind around his body, accurately cutting several imps into pieces.

The rest of the imps are terrified and run away, scattering everywhere. Chris sighs in relief. It seems someone saved his life. Before he can see who his savior is, Chris hears someone clapping hands in a distance.

Chris turns back and he sees a girl sitting on a tree branch. Chris approaches, trying to get a better look on her. The girl looks like in her early teens, beautiful, clad in a beautiful dress that also functions as armor with shoulder pads. She has a unique green hair with two ponytails, and a pair of beautiful, big, green eyes. And she is apparently not a girl at all; she’s a she-elf. Her long, pointy ears flutters as she talks loudly,

Whirlwind Slash! Bravo, very impressive! I didn’t reckon any human can do that, did I?’

She swings her legs playfully and lazily.

Chris is surprised on this remark, but he decides to be polite in front of this beautiful elf.

‘Er, thank you for saving my life, miss...’

‘Iris. Lavennia Iris’ the name. And you?’

‘Cristo... er, Christopher.’

‘No family name?’

‘Er... no, just call me Chris.’

‘I thought humans ought to have family names. Christopher, Chris... what a DREADFUL name for a handsome man like you.’

Chris blushes as Iris pauses in thought and then she continues,

‘Hmmm.... maybe Ariel, yeah. Ariel should be perfect.’

‘Eww... If you don’t mind, Miss Iris, Ariel’s great, but I prefer my own name. It’s more familiar.’

Iris’ face changes at once. She glares at Chris and says curtly, ‘Your name’s Ariel! I deliberately took it from our Great Defender, The Archangel Avariel! Don’t you dare insult my judgment!’

‘Ok! Ok! I got it. Ariel. Yeah.’

‘Well, now that I saved your life, I need you to do several things for me to return the favor. The first thing I need you to do is, collect all the arrows you can find around here and give them to me. I’ve enchanted them, so I’ll need them again, you know!’

Hadn’t she saved Chris’ life earlier, Chris would utter curses to her and call her ‘a lazy mommy’s girl’. So, naturally, the curses never come out from Chris’ mouth, and without speaking or showing any protest, Chris goes on plucking each and every arrow from the imps’ carcasses. And Iris just leans back, resting her shoulders lazily on the tree trunk.

And suddenly Iris’ long ears are fluttering again. It seems she hears noises from afar. Judging that the noises are not hostile, she leans back, watching Chris wearily tries to pull out the enchanted arrows that penetrated deep in the dead imps. Her long ears flutter again, and Iris smiles with satisfaction, thinking, those must be Ariel’s friends.

And she is right. Iris sees Chiel the micha cheerfully flies towards her and then perches on her outstretched hands and open palms. Iris speaks softly and in a friendly way,

‘Hello again, cute little micha, darling of Yggdrasil.’

Chiel responds to her affectionately, ‘Chi... chichi... chiii!’

‘Your master’s right there, safe and sound as I promised.’ Iris points at Christopher.

Chiel immediatley flies towards Christopher, lands on top of Chris’ head. And the micha’s body begins to glow and the energy ring appears again on top of its head, a soft, serene glow with an effect to rejuvenate and invigorate the whole body from weariness and minor injuries.

Chris’ wounds are totally healed, and he doesn’t feel hungry and tired anymore. But instead of thanking Chiel, Chris grumbles, ‘I should’ve known,’ and goes on collecting the arrows, ignoring Chiel altogether. Chiel puts on a sad face, and returns to Iris for comfort. Iris pats Chiel as though it is her pet, saying, ‘Don’t worry. Your master loves you, and I kinda like him too.’

As soon as it is said, Robert, Carolyn and Andreas arrive at the spot and cannot believe their eyes: Dead imps all over the place, and Chris collecting arrows from the carcasses.

Carolyn yells, ‘CHRISTOPHER! What are you doing here?’

Christopher doesn’t turn towards Carolyn and doesn’t answer, only points upwards to the trees. Carolyn and the others are confused, and Robert intuitively looks upon the trees and finds Lavennia Iris the elf is still sitting there.

Iris smiles on seeing Robert and says, ‘Praise Enia, we meet at last, Robert Chandler. I’m your agent and guide.’

Robert only stares at Iris without showing any surprise or excitement, only a cold face, and he feels a bit irritated. Iris leaps down from the tree with a double somersault to wrap the show up. Iris looks around for anyone clapping hands at her spectacular move or staring at ther with awe, but no one is doing either of it. So, with a sour face she talks on.

‘Hmph. Looks like I’m going to work with boring people here.’

Carolyn reacts on seeing Iris, ‘Who said you’re going to work with us, you swindlin’ boyfriend-snatcher!?’

Iris looks at Carolyn mockingly. ‘Well, isn’t this my dear ex-friend, Carolyn? What are you doing here, sticking with these bore-me-to-death guys? Somebody wiped out all your boyfriends in Thyrine?’

Carolyn is real angry with Iris and says, ‘Yeah, you did! Every time I was close to anybody, you always stepped in and charmed them away! Uuh, you really deserve a lesson! Agnios!’

Carolyn points her magic stick towards Iris and shots at Iris with a fireball. Iris wards it off easily with a lazy flick of her hand that created a wind that blew it off midway. Iris chuckles amusingly, saying, ‘What, only this? Several years of hiding in Valanis only for this? You didn’t show this when you return to Thyrine, you just ran away after I beat you in charming boys. How pathetic!’

Carolyn reaches the peak of her anger and is about to cast a more powerful spell, saying ‘Pyroagni...’ as Robert moves in front of her, saying, ‘STOP THAT, Carol!’

Ashamed with herself, Carolyn withdraws her magic stick and only stares at Iris with anger. ‘Let me deal with her,’ says Robert diplomatically. Then he turns towards Iris and says,

‘Miss Iris, we thank you for finding our friend Christopher and... saving him as well. As for your task to guide us to Enia’s Sanctum, please tell your queen that we are not interested. You can guide other hunters for this mission.’

With a disappointed look on her face, Iris responds, ‘But, you don’t understand the importance of this mission, Robert. You’re right on one thing, the risk is too high and the percentage of success is near to naught, but mind that the future of our world depends on it. If we fail to stop the heir, he will swarm this world with scourge and darkness, and your next missions will be guaranteed more risky and death-assuring than this. The spirit of Vordac cannot depart to the underworld where Sodomos already rule supreme. He is meant for this world only, and he can possess anyone or anything and able to select his body at will. No one can find a way to destroy him completely until now, so the only way is to contain him in a relic and guards it with the very best measures we can find, and the efforts of all the heroes of light can bring. Think about your loved ones, protect them, their survival depend on you. So, what say you?’

Andreas says, ‘She’s right. The future and safety of our world is in our hands. Vadis and Enia provide the way, the means – and the guide – to do this, but the thing that really counts is our efforts. We were chosen, so we have no other choice but to do our best; and may Vadis and Enia bless us so we can accomplish this mission safe and sound.’

Carolyn nods. Chris, who just finished collecting the arrows, joins in and listening to all this and adds a comment, ‘This is not only a golden chance to gain fame and glory, this is a struggle to keep the good things going, and I’m already at it all the way although I’m not chosen. So you guys, please help me.’

Robert puts his hand on this chin, and after thinking for a while he decides, ‘Very well, then. Iris, please guide us to Enia’s Sanctum. Although I smell something fishy about this mission and I foresee a trap, but traps won’t stop us. So keep your eyes open, keep yourselves alive and don’t sacrifice your life unless it’s worth it.’

Iris says, ‘Well said, Robert Chandler. We better set off now; we’re running out of time. Follow me, I’ll find you a shelter safe enough to rest for the day, safe from the monsters that desecrate Yggdrasil’s Forest. Oh, yeah, Chris,’ she receives the arrows Chris collected and puts them back in her quiver. ‘Thanks for collecting the arrows for me. It’s really nice of you.’

Iris hugs Chris with one hand and kisses Chris on his lips. Chris is shocked, but a moment later he seems to enjoy it. It’s more shocking for Robert and Andreas, especially Carolyn. Iris must’ve thought that Chris is Carolyn’s new boyfriend from the similarities of their hairs end eyes, so Iris is going to snatch this ‘boyfriend’ away and makes Carolyn jealous on purpose. If it is really so, well, Iris kissed the wrong guy because Carolyn prefers Robert as her ideal kind of man compared with Christopher, ‘the sore loser’. Carolyn tries not to pay attention by giving an apple to Chiel the micha as a reward for its success in tracking Christopher down. Chiel receives the apple happily, but as it can’t hold it in its two tiny, short hands, it swallows the whole apple, inflating its body like an apple-shaped balloon. That makes Carolyn laugh.

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