The crystallized path seemed to disappear a few years back and now only the path made of the trees remain, which meant more and more fiends. As we made our way up, the first things that seemed to jump out from above were two Bashuras, their four arms waving in the air, getting ready to punch. "Oh man, you've got to be kidding me!" Iyana shouted as she dodged an incoming punch. I backed up a little and raised my sword in the air, holding it with both hands.
Finally, I started charging towards one of them and shouted, "Armor Break!" as I slashed the Bashura's body. The Bashura grunted and tried to punch me, but Xanxus shot a few fire bullets to distract it. "I had that you know." I mumbled as I slashed it once more, making it disappear into pyreflies. I watched Analise wrap her whip around the Bashura's legs and pulled, making the fiend fall to the ground. Followed by Analise's actions came Sargent continuously shooting the fiend with his gun. Iyana and Analise finished it off by attacking it from above, using the trees to their advantage. I was about to let out a cheer of excitement, when Xanxus tackled me to the ground.
"Whoa! What was that-…oh my…" I stopped myself as I got up from the ground and found three Marlboros surrounding all of us, their eyes waving in the air and their tentacle-like legs sliding on the ground.
"Seriously…" Vidina mumbled as he lifted his staff up. I almost collapsed, but pulled it together and set off the attacking as I charged at one of the Marlboros first. My sword glowed slightly red as I hit the Marlboro.
"Armor Break!" I exclaimed as I struck the Marlboro at its huge mouth. Analise performed a front flip and brought down Iyana's wrench onto the Marlboro I was attacking. She threw the wrench back to Iyana and Analise grabbed her whip from the ground. I looked at the others and saw that they had broken up into pairs as well: Sargent with Iyana and Vidina with Xanxus. I saw that Marlboro throw his head back and prepare to unleash its Bad Breath. I looked around and saw the other Marlboros doing the same thing.
I gasped, "GUYS! WATCH OUT!" It was too late. Vidina had no time to prepare a shield as all three Marlboros unleashed their Bad Breath. I tried to hold my breath, but the gas stayed in the air for too long. I deeply exhaled and couldn't help but to inhale the gas. I heard Iyana coughing and figured she had breathed it in as well. I started to cough as I slowly collapsed to the ground. The gas finally disappeared, but my vision was hazy and I felt terribly sick.
"Dannie! Hold on ya! –cough- I…I got…" I heard Vidina struggle to say. I hurriedly tried to get out a Remedy from my pouch. I barely got it out and drank it quickly as I stood up with my sword in hand. I tossed a Remedy to everyone except for Analise and Xanxus, who were already up on their feet fighting the monsters. *They didn't get affected!* I closed my eyes and raised my sword up, concentrating my energy into my sword.
*I hope this works…* I inhaled deeply and plunged my sword into the ground, creating small cracks that led to all the Marlboros. I lifted my sword into the air again and struck the biggest crack, filling it with fire, and creating lava as a result. The lava rushed to all three Marlboros, causing one of them to explode into pyreflies. I quickly got out of the way as another Marlboro's eye tried to squirt some poison on me. I watched Iyana and Vidina attack it; Iyana rushed at it with her wrench while Vidina cast Firaga continuously. Seeing him get weaker, I tossed him an Ether and ran over to help Analise, Sargent, and Xanxus, but they already had the other Marlboro taken care of. At the same time, the two Marlboros exploded into pyreflies. Just as they did that, I quickly cast Watera on a Gold Elemental that tried to sneak up behind me. I tiredly walked over to the others and collapsed in front of Vidina. He panted as he helped me up and put my arm over his shoulder.
"I found a small space over here with no fiends. We can rest over there. There're tree branches." Sargent explained as he pointed to a nearby, closed space. I looked towards Analise and saw even she was tired from fighting two battles in a row, especially since the fiends were pretty tough. I lied down on the ground, using my pouch as a pillow. Looking up, I saw Xanxus and Analise climbing the tree branches and finding a good place to sleep.
Vidina lied down next to me and Iyana sat near Sargent. "Do you think there's going to be more fiends on the way?" I called out to Analise.
"Probably." Analise answered. "Don't worry, I think from here on there should be weaker fiends. I just wonder if the Travel Agency is doing okay. I heard back in Guadosalam that they've been ambushed by fiends."
Iyana scoffed, "Eh, they'll be fine. Uncle's over there." I sat up.
"Seriously? We're going to see Uncle?" I asked. Iyana sighed in annoyance and nodded.
"Unfortunately." Iyana replied. Vidina let out a cheer and Sargent looked at us curiously.
"Who's Uncle?" Sargent questioned.
I looked up towards Analise and Xanxus, seeing them have their own conversation. I turned back to Sargent, who was on the opposite side of the rest area from me, and answered, "Uncle is Auntie Rikku's brother. He's a weird one." Sargent nodded in understanding.
Analise cleared her throat as she suggested, "We should all sleep now. Let's get some rest before we fight some more fiends." We all nodded in agreement and I lied back down next to Vidina. I turned on my side, facing Vidina. He was facing the other side, so I could only see his back. I sighed and closed my eyes as we all took a rest. However, my sleeping was disturbed as I heard someone whispering.
"You think they're sleeping?" Xanxus whispered.
I heard Analise reply, "Yeah. Danaya sleeps real easy." I mentally smirked. *That's what you think* "Xanxus, I just hope we find Lady Yuna, Sir Tidus, and Sir Wakka soon. I don't know how much Danaya and Vidina can take, especially Danaya. Having all those visions must be so tough." I bit my lip as I took in what she said.
"I know. Hopefully we'll find them soon. I just wonder what's going to happen after that." Xanxus wondered. Analise chuckled
"I might have a thought." Analise answered mysteriously. "But it's just a thought."
"What is it?" Xanxus asked. I heard some rustling and I was tempted to open my eyes.
Analise giggled, "It's nothing. Go to sleep."
"What? Hey. No fair." Xanxus whispered fiercely. There was some more giggling and after that, there was silence. I mentally pouted. *Man! I wanted to hear some more…* Eventually, I fell asleep.
I awoke to arms wrapped around my waist. I opened my eyes and quietly gasped as I saw Vidina facing me with his arms around me and a slight smile on his face. My eyes softened as I saw how soft and innocent his face looked. His red hair became a bit shaggy and covered one of his eyes. I quietly lifted my head and looked around; everyone was still asleep. "Vidina…" I whispered. Vidina wouldn't budge. I tried to take his arms off my waist, but they stayed put. My cheeks started to become really warm. *Vidina! Please get your arms off!* I pleaded inside my head. Just as I was about to give up, my pleads were heard as Analise woke up, jumped down from the branch, changed her whip into a club, and slightly hit Vidina on the head. Vidina let out a small noise as he quickly released me to hold his head.
"You're suffocating Danaya." Analise reasoned out as everyone else woke up. Vidina groaned, got up, and stretched. Analise smirked and grabbed her pouches and changed her club back into a whip. The other's reactions were a mix of chuckling, laughing, and smirking. Vidina rubbed behind his neck as he apologized to me.
I held my hands up in defense and laughed nervously. "It's all right, Viddie. We should get going." I picked up my sword and nodded to everyone. Xanxus dropped down from the trees and removed his leather coat, throwing it over his shoulder. I led the group out of the small area and back into the forest. As we walked, everyone took note of no fiends showing up.
"Huh. There aren't any fiends. Weird." Iyana commented as she swung her monkey wrench around. Vidina kept his distance from me and just stuck to talking with Sargent. As I walked beside Iyana, we talked about how Uncle might greet us when he sees all of us. Once we got to the path that leads to the Travel Agency, Sargent stopped everyone. "What is it?" Iyana asked.
"I saw something shimmer over there! Hold on!" Sargent exclaimed as he went inside the path that led to the Lake of Macalania.
"Sargent! Wait!" Xanxus commanded. We all ran after him and saw him turn his attention to a sphere that was hidden in some bushes. "Whoa. A sphere?" Xanxus questioned as Sargent picked it up.
"Let's watch it, ya?" Vidina exclaimed excitedly. Sargent turned on the sphere and we all leaned in closely to watch it.
I saw my father and mother in it, with a little me. I wore pigtails and a cute white dress. "Awww is that you? You were still short." Sargent teased. I shot him a look and turned back to the sphere.
"Danaya, my little girl. If you're watching this, you're probably all grown up and old enough to venture out by yourself and with some friends." My father had explained. I almost cried at this part. My dad turned his head to where Mom was playing with me. He chuckled as he said, "You and your mother sure are having fun over there. Danaya, I'm not good with this cheesy stuff, so I'll hand the camera over to your mom." Dad got up and handed the camera to my mom.
*Mom…* My mom sat down on the ground with the camera in front of her as she started, "Danaya, my dear daughter. You're seven years old in this video. Danaya, your father and I love you very much. We know by the time you watch this, you're going to be grown up. Just know that whatever happens or whatever fights you have with us, we love you very much. We're always here for you, baby. No matter what. Ah! I have to go. Your dad is about to make you cry! Tidus!" Mom stopped the camera and the sphere went blank. By the time it was finished, my tears were dropping onto the sphere. Sargent handed it to me quietly and I stared at the blank sphere.
"Danaya…" Analise called out cautiously as she put her hands on her Capri pants.
"I need to be alone. Please?" I asked of them as I sat on the ground, staring at the sphere.
Vidina was the first one going as he pulled Iyana along by the arm, "Come on you guys. Let her be, ya?" He glanced at me for a while before turning back around and walking with the others. I quietly got up and walked over to the lake. I sat on the edge, my boots barely touching the water. I furiously wiped my tears and stared at my reflection in the water. Images of my parents appeared and I couldn't help but smile.
"Mom. Dad. I'm going to find you guys, right?" I whispered to the water. "And we're all going to go home and end up happy, right?" I looked at the sphere and placed it into my pouch. After a moment of silence, I sat up and started to walk back to the others.
"Danaya…" I heard someone whisper behind me. I gasped and turned around. "Danaya…" I heard it again. I looked around me and brought my sword up.
I figured it was just a person so I kindly called out, "Who's there?" I started to bring my sword down when I heard an evil laugh.
Someone whispered, "Danaya…" I brought my sword into a defensive position.
This time I demanded, "Who's there? Show yourself!" I heard a chuckle. "I mean it! Whoever is there, come out now!" All of a sudden, there were no more noises. I looked around suspiciously. *It can't just end like that, but what was that?* I turned back around to go to the others, but some invisible force grabbed me by the back of my leg and started pulling me towards the lake. I started screaming for everyone. "GUYS! GUYS HELP!" I shouted. I tried grabbing something on the ground but nothing was there to help me. Finally, I heard some footsteps and everyone came running towards me.
"Oh Yevon, what's going on, Danaya?" Analise shouted as she grabbed one of my arms, her feet dragging behind her.
"I don't know! Just help!" I shrieked as the force began to get stronger. The guys grabbed my other arm while Iyana helped with Analise. I felt like my whole body was ripping apart from the pulling. After a while, the gang finally managed to pull me away from whatever force grabbed a hold of me. We all ran out of the place and back into the path. Everyone panted, exhausted from the pulling and what just happened.
"What –pant- was that?" Xanxus managed to ask as he handed me my sword. My eyes were wide open, looking around everywhere on the ground. Analise was dusting me off, patting my skirt and top lightly.
I whispered, "I….I don't know." Sargent straightened himself up and looked at the path to the lake.
"Well, whatever it was, it was strong. We should head to the Travel Agency now before anything else happens." Sargent suggested as he was the first to start walking. Iyana followed and soon we all made our way to the Travel Agency.