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by wyvern14

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Part 1 (2008)
Part 2 (2008)
Part 3 (2008)
Part 4 (2008)
Part 5 (2008)
Part 6 (2008)
Part 7 (2008)
Part 8 (2008)
Part 9 (2008)
Part 10 (2008)
Part 11 (2008)
Part 12 (2008)
Part 13 (2008)

Chapter 3

Frozen

The crystalline song echoed on and on, as her vision became clearer. She felt the floor harden beneath her feet, and the insubstantial air take weight over her skin. Exhaling, she shivered with anticipation, taking the spectacle at a glance.

"It's beautiful!" The white mage's comment was full of awe.

She found it indeed breathtaking. The rocks all around were covered in fine, shining dust unlike the moon's surface. Light seemed to seep in small bursts all around, as if fireflies teased the eerie cavern with their presence.

We're indeed closer, closer...

She did not tremble, but her heart fluttered and she took her first steps, following Kain's demure pacing. Every sense in her body screamed against the danger but her mind remained blank.

I fear nothing.

A brief flash of so long ago, when the maws of Leviathan had closed around her, made her blink and stop mid-stride. Back then, she had been scared of everything, despite her boisterous bratty behavior.

Silly child that I was...

The whirlwind in her soul raged on, taking mass and erasing the memory. Tiny sparks escaped her fingertips, singing the soft deer hide gloves given to her by Rosa. Her hands closed into fists, it would be time enough soon.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Her eyes kept darting in her direction, in wonder and questioning. There was something about her pose, the tightening of her shoulders and the staccato of her heels stomping the platform she crossed that was both inspiring and frightful.

Nothing can stop her. I would dread crossing her now.

Cecil followed in the summoner's stead, eyes on the move all around them, wrist resting on the pommel of his sacred sword. She herself was right in his shadow, carefully picking her path to avoid debris and flowering crystals. Her paramour walked in the young mage's wake with complete trust.

I wish he walked in my track with such confidence, believing in me to hold my own.

She caressed the string of her bow with a slightly callused thumb, bitter. Such thoughts were not for her, even for an instant. Rosa had no need to worry of rivalry not usefulness, she knew with no doubt that her role was critical, that she had become a pillar of strength and survival for each of them. And yet, she could recall vividly each conflagration that her green-haired friend had thrown toward their enemies.

Each time hell unfurls from her palms, it's like she dances with destruction, yet she smiles in glee.

Then again, any enchantments she could weave to avoid seeing blood were a blessing to her heart, a balm on her nature's weaknesses. She could never abide seeing anyone in pain, no matter whom.

Her abandon never came from causing hurt and death, despite appearances.

Rydia had stopped walking and signalled the dragoon to do the same, slightly bending her knees and furrowing her brows in concentration. She raised her hands to her face, eyes closed and blindly aiming her face toward something unseen.

"There's something toward this tunnel, it radiates magic like a beacon. I've never felt such an aura!"

The rest of the party picked the pace and followed her directions toward the hidden treasure. The distances and directions were misleading in this weird construction and they ended up walking for hours. Twisting in stairs and finding hidden passages, they relentlessly tried to keep the summoner's pace, which never relented.

Rosa spied Kain grimace, knowing he would be too proud to call a half himself, while her lover, beaten, kept his expression blank while climbing. The ninja seemed restless, bringing the rear guard and fixing Rydia with burning eyes at every chance.

Is he sensing something too? He's acting strange and looks more nervous than I've ever seen him.

A pressure on the white mage's temples made her stagger. A sinister presence was ahead, and a diabolic one at that. Clearly, Cecil had also been sensible to hit, since he made his blade scream against his scabbard, peering ahead anxiously. She felt her skin rebel in goosebumps, spied the girl's eyes light up with inner fire when she looked back. In a breath, she ran ahead, graceful green whirling against the gray walls.

She can't wait to throw herself in the throes of magic again, to feel the rush of energy capture her senses and drive all her senses to ecstasy.

The feeling of envy at this self-admission grew heavier. Just once, Rosa wanted to switch place with her, live her experience and FEEL the ethereal force quench her thoughts as she imagined Rydia did. The white mage ran after the others, guided by the darkness ahead, gathering her strength and resolve.

They spilled on the top platform, surmounting many tunnels graced with their previous footsteps. A lone pedestal stood, encasing a glowing weapon smothering them with its presence. An acrid smell filled the area, and then the dread creature escaped from the shades above and lunged toward them. Its purplish aura was not lost to the blond woman.

My faith can also kill!

.........................................................................................................................................................

The roar of the beast deafened scraping of boots on the crude floor but did not break her concentration. Her vision brightened and golden mists gathered around her, warming her skin to a clammy sweat and making her heart pump to a painful rhythm. Mystic verses rolled from her tongue, her wrists waving a chaotic picture to echo her thoughts.

Pain/Flash/White/Sky/Fury/Shock!

The gaping maw dropped to her level, nostrils bathing her face in charnel fumes. Its jaws opened in pain when metal flashed and opened a second eyelid below the left orbit. Seizing her chance, Rydia opened her own mouth, screaming enough to make her lungs burn, as blue lightning burst from her throat and hands in the monster's face.

Static made her green mane stand in the air, creating tiny arcs of energy between her floating feet and the ground under them. Unrelenting, she chanted again, not noticing the frantic efforts of her friends in their own assault, nor hearing another clear voice rise in holy song.

Wings beat the air in a calculated measure, pebbles scratching uncovered arms and legs, and she abandoned herself to her inner presence, screaming for release. Skewered and cut in dozens of place by blade and spear, the creature started taking deep breaths, kindling its inner furnace for a killing blast.

So hot, scalding me... Dizzy...

She swayed on her feet, beads glistening on her brow and her head unsteady. Eyes closed, she danced, the words carried by her murmuring breath rising to a thundering crescendo. Cries of pain and the distinctive smell of blood could not break through her magic-induced fever. As metal sang against scales, she gazed in deadly concentration at their enemy, smiling as she raised trembling hands to the black canopy of the cavern, singing all the while.

Someone else joined her chorus, adding a reverence and cadence unknown to her black magicks. Words in manic eagerness became echoed by a rich chant in high soprano.

Destruction... Flames... Inferno... Meteo!

As the energy was about to burst, she made physical contact with her, embracing her hands within hers, joining their effort in a communion unlike any other. White and black met with crazed eyes and unleashed apocalypse all around them.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Rosa opened her eyes, seemingly hours later, still clutching her warm fingers. Their gazes locked; hers in subdued awe, her friend's in comprehension and respect. Something like amusement shone in the blue-green orbs and a tender smile answered her.

Now, I know.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy IV
Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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