Alright... this is my newest story! (woo-hoo! XD XD) I am actually pretty new to writing novels... so go easy on me with the critisicm... but tell me the truth! XD This is one of the few novels that I've written that I hope to finish some day... and if it's good enough then hopefully I can get it published... :3 Anyways, I know that it's not the same format that u guys usually use... like pressing enter every time somebody talks... but It doesn't matter because I don't have to do it a certain way... Last time I tried to do it that way it was hard for people to understand so I'm doing a different format... Either way I hope you enjoy it because I've worked pretty hard on this... I will try and post new chapters as soon as I can... but I'm slow at writing so they might take me awhile... XP Okay... sorry for the rant :sweatdrop: Enjoy! ~Prologue~ “Agh!” A girl yelled out in pain as she was thrown against the cold, hard floor. Her eyes shifted upwards, her matted, blonde hair hanging lifeless in front of her face. A look of fear formed in her eyes as she gazed up at a man in a black ski mask who towered over her. “Where is it?!” He asked, pulling her up by her collar. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about…” The girl stuttered, now quaking with fear. The man didn’t seem to be too pleased with her answer. “Don’t mess with me!” He shouted and slapped her hard across the face, causing her to shout in pain. “You know what I’m talking about! Now tell me where it is!” he demanded, glaring down at the helpless girl. She whimpered in fear. “I-I already told you that I’ve never heard of a Fire Crystal…” She replied, warm tears now streaming silently down her cheeks. The man let out a low growl. “You good-for-nothing housewife!” He shouted and threw her to the side. She let out a yelp as she hit her head on the hard, wooden floor, falling unconscious. “If you won’t tell me where it is… then I’ll just find it myself!” He shouted, even though she couldn’t hear him. Then, with nothing more than a glance at her, he was gone. ~ ~Chapter One~ I walked down the street, a steel pan resting gently in my arms. The pan contained a cake that I had baked and I was taking it to my friend for her to enjoy. There was also a small, green bag on my arm that contained a book. This book was a Japanese-English dictionary. It was supposed to help you learn how to speak Japanese. I knew that my friend had always wanted this book, and now was the perfect time to get it for her. Today was actually her birthday. She was going to turn 21, and I wanted this to be the best day of her life. However, I hadn’t gotten the chance to throw her a surprise party. To say the truth, I had actually forgotten about her birthday until the last minute. When I realized that her birthday was the next day, I spent all night searching for the perfect gift to give her. That gift just happened to be this very book. As I turned to corner, her house came into view. It was a beautiful, two-story home. The walls were painted a light shade of Beige and the windows gleamed brightly in the morning sunlight. It was a marvelous sight to behold. Every time I came anywhere near it, I wished that my home was just as beautiful. Slowly, I hopped up the doorsteps, but then I found the door wide open, swinging lifelessly on its hinges. My eyes widened a bit with worry. “Hello…?” I called out, stepping into the house. “Lacy…?” As I walked into the house, I emerged into the living room, gripping the pan tightly in my hands. My eyes grew even wider as I stared in complete shock at the room. It was completely trashed. The T.V set laid in pieces on the floor and the couch was tipped over, torn to bits. Papers littered the ground and furniture was in pieces. My jaw dropped at the terrifying sight. “W-What happened?!” I exclaimed, staring at the mess. “L-Lacy?! Are you here?! Please answer me!” I hollered, slowly making my way around the mess, stepping over broken wood and trying not to slip on loose papers. As I turned the corner, I felt my stomach tighten up. Is she okay…? What happened here…? I wondered, making my way into the kitchen. It was just as bad as the living room. There were pots and pans and dishes all over the floor, and the cabinet doors swung on their hinges. The walls had holes in them and the furniture in here was also broken, but I wasn’t paying attention to any of it. A gasp of pure terror came from my mouth at what I saw on the floor. On the floor was my best friend, Lacy. Her blonde hair was covering her face and her clothes were torn. It looked as though she had just been in a fight and had lost. “Lacy!” I shouted and dropped the pan on the floor as I quickly ran over and kneeled next to her. She seemed to be unconscious. She’s beaten up pretty badly… I thought, seeing that she had gotten a couple scratches and a black eye. She had obviously fallen unconscious by hitting her head on the floor. I need to take care of her injuries… I can ask her what happened when she wakes up… Carefully, I bent down and picked her up in my arms, carrying her sleeping body out of the kitchen. I walked to the stairs and ran up to the bedroom, being very careful as not to drop her. Gently, I laid her on the pink bed in the corner. Then, I ran to her bathroom really quick and searched through the mess until I found some ointment and bandages. Quickly, I dashed back to the room and sat down in a chair, leaning over her. I swiftly applied the ointment on her scratches and wrapped them up with bandages. Her head was the hardest to do. It’s bleeding pretty badly… She must’ve hit it hard… I thought, using a towel I had found to wipe away the blood from her head. The bandages wrapped around her head pretty easily and I made sure that they fit snug. There… now hopefully she’ll wake up soon… I hoped that she hadn’t gotten a concussion. That night was probably one of the longest of my life. I stayed at her bedside until sunrise, not even falling asleep once. She had remained unconscious that whole time, but it gave me a while to think things over. I pondered over what could’ve happened to her that day. A few thoughts came to my head. Could it have been a thief…? Or a murderer…? But if it was a murderer… why did they tear the house up…? I continued to ponder this one thought all not, choosing not to sleep just in case she woke up any time soon. By about nine a.m., nothing had happened. I started to wonder if I should take her to a hospital. Although, I wasn’t able to afford a doctor. My paychecks at work had been getting less and less every week, but I had just enough to get by. Neither of us had insurance, so that wouldn’t work. I didn’t need a doctor, though. A moment later, her finger twitched a little and her eyes slowly opened. She stared up at me blankly, and then scanned the room. “Where… Am I…?” Lacy asked, staring up at me again. “Nami…?” I let out a small sigh of relief, glad to see that she was safe. “You’re in your bedroom, Lacy…” I said. “I came here as a surprise for your birthday, but I found you lying on the kitchen floor… What happened to you?” I asked, curious to know. “Who hurt you?” She sat up and looked at me, but then looked at the ground. “I don’t know who it was,” she said. “It was a man. He was wearing a mask so I couldn’t see his face, but he was after the Fire Crystal…” That answer had given me a complete shock. “The Fire Crystal?!” I said, my eyes wide. What could they possibly want with that…?! I wondered. Gently, I placed my hand on her shoulder. “Did you tell him where it was…?” I asked, hoping that she had kept it a secret. If anyone were to get their hands on it, that would surely be the end of the world. Akari shook her head wearily. “No… I didn’t… I promised you I would do anything to keep it a secret… didn’t I?” She asked, smiling. I smiled back, sadly. “Lacy… you didn’t have to go and get yourself hurt…” I said. “You’re much more important than that… Besides, I got us into this mess… So you shouldn’t be risking your life to keep our secret safe…” Letting out a sigh, I gently took her hand in mine. “You should rest for now… Come stay at my house until yours can get cleaned up…” I said and smiled. She nodded in agreement and I picked her up, walking around the debris and out through the front door. We started heading towards my house. I just hoped that the man wouldn’t come after me next… ~Chapter Two~ That night, Lacy has spent the night at my house. I had let her sleep in the bedroom because she was injured and the couch was so lumpy that it might make her wounds open. So, that’s where I slept that night. All I can say is that it was not a pleasant experience. I roll around in my sleep, so I ended up falling off of the couch numerous times in the middle of the night. I must’ve hit my head on the ground a million times. The next morning I awoke with a groan. My back was killing me from the couch’s lumpy surface. Slowly, I sat up and stretched, cracking my back as I did so. My blonde hair curled in a mess around my face. I should probably go see how Lacy’s doing… I thought and stood up, walking to the bedroom. I quietly peeked my head in the door to see that she was still asleep. Smiling, I silently closed the door again and walked to the kitchen. I’ll just let her rest for now… Once in the kitchen, I headed towards the refrigerator. Then, I opened it, searching for something good to make for breakfast. I began to wonder what Lacy liked to eat. After a while of searching through the kitchen, I finally decided to just make breakfast burritos. As I cooked, I quietly hummed a tune. It was pretty surprising that I could even hum with all that was on my mind. There was a lot that had to be done… The day was starting to draw nearer. We have to be ready for anything… I thought. Suddenly, I heard a noise behind me. I turned around quickly, but my hand touched the edge of the pan I was cooking with. I let out a yelp of pain as I grasped my burned hand with my other one. Lacy ran up to me. “Gomenasai!” she said. “I didn’t mean to startle you! Are you okay?!” She asked. I looked up at her. “It’s okay…” I said. “Just a little burn…” I let out a breath of air and smiled. “So, how are you feeling…?” I asked. “You seem to be doing much better than you were.” “Oh, I feel really well!” She said and grinned. “Thank you for letting me stay the night.” I laughed. “No problem, but you should probably rest for a while. Those wounds could get worse.” She nodded, but then a serious look came to her face. “Nami… You know that it’s not your fault for my getting hurt,” She said. I gave her a sad look. “It’s my own fault for being clumsy. You had nothing to do with it.” I still wasn’t happy. It was because of my stupid stone that she got hurt. When she saw I was still upset, she let out a sigh and remained quiet for a bit. It wasn’t until a long pause that she finally spoke. “Do you remember when you first showed me the stone…?” She asked and smiled, closing her eyes. I turned the stove off and looked up at her, but I didn’t say anything. She kept talking. “I was really surprised. The story of that stone seemed so amazing… and dangerous. I didn’t want anything to do with it at first, but I saw that you really needed help. You’re my friend and it just so happened that you were forced to be stuck with this problem. Well, remember what I said? I promised you that no matter what happened, I’ll help you out. We’re in this together.” She smiled at me. I smiled back as tears filled my eyes. “Lacy…” Gently, she gave me a hug. “Don’t worry… we’ll get through this. We’ll save the world…” The tears fell down my cheeks and I wiped them away. “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had…” I said and broke the hug, still smiling. “Now, how about some breakfast? We have a lot to do today… The day is drawing near…” She nodded and looked at the stuff I had made. “Wow… this is amazing!” She exclaimed. “You’re such a great chef!” I laughed. “Thanks,” I replied. “Go ahead and help yourself to anything you want. There’s plenty here!” We both then sat down and began to eat breakfast. It was almost time to prepare for the day… the day that war would strike this world. After both of us had finished eating, we began to wash the dishes. I would wash them and then I’d hand them over to Lacy to dry and put away. While I was washing a plate, I looked over at her. “You know… if they get their hands on that crystal, we have to do anything we can to get it back…” I handed the now clean plate to her. “We can’t even let them get a hold of it in the first place… we may have to leave town…” Lacy looked at me, frightened. “L-Leave… t-town…?” She asked. I gave a small sigh. “I know you’ve never gone beyond the outskirts of this town, but you were well aware that you’d have to some day… no matter how scared you were…” I said. Lacy sighed and put the dish away once it was dry. “Yeah… I know…” She said softly. “But who do you think it was…? You, know… The guy who broke into my house,” She said. I handed her a clean cup. “Well, it was probably one of Xathor’s lackeys…” I said, rolling my eyes. “Anyways, there’s a strong chance that they might come back… They know where you are now, and they’re pretty sure that you’ve got the crystal. We’re going to have to leave town tomorrow if we don’t want them to find it. We’ll start packing tonight so that we can be ready to go early tomorrow morning.” I paused for a second. “I know you’re brave enough to do this, Lacy…” She smiled at me. “Alright. We’ll leave tomorrow, then,” She said.