AN: Okay... I lied. I missed doing the author's notes at the beginning of each chapter. Here's the legal stuff. All characters are copyright Kate's and mine, save the ones from Persona and Breath of Fire. Please e-mail all comments to FrankMayn@comcast.net
After finishing up their ice cream at Bruster's in the Sun Mall, the group of adventurers made their way out of the mall and to the northwest section of Lunarvale.
Eventually, they made it to the construction site. Since there were no more demons in the streets of the city (save for the people around SEBEC, but they're a different breed of monster), the group was free to explore without really having to keep their guard up.
"Frank?" Kate asked after tugging on the sleeve of his jacket.
"Yes Kate?" Frank replied as they entered the construction site. All around, he could see half built homes, housing frames, and snow covered mounds of dirt.
Kate shuffled her feet before answering. "Actually..." Her tail began to wave. "I just wanted to know... are you sure you're okay? You had that look when we left... what was it again? Se... Seb..."
"SEBEC???" Frank replied. "Kate... I... I don't know..."
Janet overheard the conversation beginning between the two. She decided to listen in from a safe distance.
"Frank..." Kate said quietly.
"Kate..." Frank started. "I've got many bad memories from that place..."
Kate looked at her boyfriend and noticed that he was beginning to shake, and it wasn't from the cold weather either.
"Frank... I know... I remember what you saw when we went looking for the Diamond of Truth..."
Janet raised an eyebrow in interest.
Diamond of Truth? I heard about that... I thought it was just a myth...
"Tell me about it Kate..." Frank said quietly. "I learned a lot that day... a little too much... About what happened to my mom and dad..."
Kate took the time to embrace her boyfriend. "Frank... It's okay..."
"I don't know, Kate... I just don't know anymore... He... he killed both of them... Just because... I was out to stop him... along with my friends..."
Kate continued to hug her boyfriend as he continued to ramble on about his old life before coming to Windia.
"He... he shot both of them, Kate..." Frank sobbed out. "He shot both of them in cold blood... and what got me the most? He was happy about it! The bastard had a smile on his face when he put a bullet in my father's head! And that smile grew even more when he shot my mother in the head! It's like he enjoyed filling them full of holes!!!"
Janet began to back away from the couple, her eyes wide in shock.
Ladon!!! Holy... I didn't know... Poor Frank... That's why he was reluctant to go into SEBEC... and why he's so protective... Damn... he didn't deserve anything like that... I can't believe it... his parents... that Guido person...
Janet decided not to say anything about it to anyone. She had respect for the Persona User, and would possibly consider him a great friend. She continued to think to herself before a voice shook her from her thoughts.
"Janet!" Brad said as he made his way over to the Windian. Immediately, he noticed her distraught face. "Hey... are you okay?"
"Brad... I'm fine. Don't worry about it, okay?" Janet replied to the Persona User. This caught him off guard, since usually, he was on the receiving end of an insult or a brush off from her.
"All right..." Brad replied as he pulled his comb out and began to comb his hair. "Remember, if you see anything that looks like it could take us underground, let us know, okay?"
"Right..." Janet said. Gotta get my mind off what just happened... Entrance to the ruins...
By now, Frank was somewhat calmer, thanks to the comfort that Kate had given him. Together, they were both looking for the entrance to the ruins.
"Hey? Wha's this?" Diane said as she looked beyond some block-off tape.
"Um... Diane..." Alex said as his tail began to wave slowly. "They say caution... maybe..."
"Alex... Alex Alex Alex..." Diane said innocently. "I wasn't thinkin' about goin' in there... at leas' not by mahself..."
"What did you find?" Yuki asked as she approached the blocked off area.
Tellka looked into the area and noticed a well concealed staircase that looked to be ancient.
"I think we just found a way in... look." Tellka said as she pointed out the staircase to the others.
"But... what will we find in there?" Ellen asked no one in particular.
Frank and Kate approached the rest of the group. The only way that one could tell if he was crying is if they took a close look at his face, or asked either Kate or Janet.
"So... did anyone find it yet?" Frank asked his friends before he picked Kate up and took her over a snow pile. He then set his girlfriend down gently, and she just offered him a smile.
"Meow! Yep! Diane found it! Look!!!" Neko-Chan said as both her tails waved around.
Frank looked, and sure enough, he saw the ancient staircase descending into the earth.
"Okay... we've got the entrance... shall we press on?" Frank asked.
"Hold on a second!" Janet exclaimed. "What if we can't see in there?"
"Then we come back up and go to the mall. We can buy flashlights there." Frank explained. Janet just gave him a confused look.
"Flashlight?" The Windian asked. "What the hell is a flashlight???"
"You know..." Ellen explained. "Battery operated? Portable light source? Doesn't need fire to run?"
"Ellen..." Janet said as she turned around. "I still haven't got a clue... we don't have these... flashlights... back home..."
"Anyhow..." Frank started. "Let's head on in... The last piece is in there..."
The group of adventurers descended the ancient staircase. Amazingly, when the teenagers, one demoness, and a woren warrior landed on B1, a green glow lit the ceiling, illuminating the way.
"I guess we don't need to go back for those lights..." Alex said as he rubbed the back of his head.
"Stay on guard, love..." Ellen said from beside him as she unsheathed her rapier.
"Yeah hon, I know..." Alex replied. "We don't know what to expect down here."
"Well..." Brad said as he put his spear away. "We're safe up here. All I've seen so far are pixies, ghosts, the occasional zombie, and a few jackfrosts."
Diane's ear's flicked in confusion. "Um...in common language?"
"What he's saying..." Yuki replied to the confused woren. "Is that there are only low level demons on this level. Nothing will attack us, unless they have a deathwish..."
"That's good to know... anyway..." Janet started.
"I get the idea. Let's get moving. I have no idea how deep these ruins are..." Frank said as he moved down one of the branching caveways.
Unknown to the group, a tiny demon was watching them.
"Wee hoo!" The demon said to himself. "They look like interesting people, ho... It's not everyday that you see a Nekomata with some humans. Hi-ho? Some weren't demons... but they're not human..."
The demon came out from hiding. It was small, completely white, and had little black dots for eyes and tiny fangs showing from a small smiling mouth. The demon was wearing what looked like a blue jester's outfit, and brown boots.
"Hi ho! I'll wait for them then follow them! I'd like to see where they're from..."
JackFrost: A minor demon, ice based. He likes to play pranks on unsuspecting people. What does he have in store for the future?
**********************************The Persona Users and their friends made their way down into the depths of the ruins. Considering that the caves were extremely twisty, and they got lost a couple of times, it took them awhile to get to the stairs descending to the next floor.
The group traveled in complete silence, not wanting to alert any demons to their presence. As they continued to descend deeper into the ruins, they noticed that the demons were getting stronger. Around the time that they reached B5, the demons were leaping at them from around every corner.
"Ladon..." Janet was the one who finally broke the silence as they were descending into B7. "These things don't take no for an answer, do they?"
"Tell me about it..." Frank replied. "I mean, how many times have our negotiations failed already... and in battle, I completely ran out of Summoning Power a few times..."
As the group came down into B7, Janet made her way to the front. She was thinking about something, and before she knew it, the subject of her thoughts was right beside her.
"Um... Frank?" Janet asked before adjusting the necktie on her uniform.
"Yeah?" The Persona User replied. He turned his head to look at the Windian.
Janet was about to say something, when she caught herself in mid-thought.
No... It's not right... Now is not a good time to bring up the past...
"Nothing..." Janet said before wiping her brow. "Ladon... is it me, or is it getting hotter the deeper we get?"
"It's getting hotter." Frank replied. "The deeper this cavern goes, the hotter it gets, I'm guessing."
Janet was about to reply when she felt the ground shake. "Damn!!! Did you..."
Frank nodded. "I felt... AGH!!!"
Unfortunately, a pitfall opened up beneath both Frank and Janet, dropping both a level.
"Dammit! Not again!!!" Was all Janet said before the trap closed.
"FRANK!!! JANET!!!" Kate screamed. She began to pound the floor where both were standing a moment ago.
"Tellka... it... it won't open!" Kate said in hysteria.
"Calm down Kate... we'll find them! They fell a floor, so I guess they're down one more level." Tellka said as she tried to calm Kate. After doing so, she turned to the group.
"Look... we need to find them. Let's get to the next staircase as fast as we can." Tellka said to the remaining adventurers.
The group agreed in unison, and began to follow the warrior who had taken the leadership responsibilities when Frank had disappeared.