THIS IS DEDICATED TO ALL MY LOVELY REVIWERS! :::waves to Jaymes, Nikki, Will, Wess, Eddy, Kwan and Emily


Harkan shouted Lee's names several more times but received no response. He then tilted his head up, squinted and shouted Sadi's name. He couldn't see the magician and he was positive that the man hadn't fallen near them, if he had fallen at all. Suddenly, he heard a faint voice shouting behind him.
"Harkan! Harkan!" he turned around and saw Van and Korin moving towards him. He ran to meet them, braving the sand.
"Are you all alright?" he asked, using the shawl as a mask. "Where is Slate?"
"We lost him when a tree grew," Korin said, grabbing his wrist. "Come on."
"Where are Lee and Sadi?" Van asked, worriedly.
"I lost Lee and Sadi might be in a tree."
"What!" the king exclaimed.
"Hey! Harkan! Van! Korin!" they looked up to see Indy calling to them from far ahead. "Come on!"
"What is it?" Korin shouted back as loudly as she could.
"I need to show you this! Get over here!" They ran through the flying sand and the hot rain to get to her. It took an insanely long amount of time because they soon realized she was farther away than they suspected. They did reach her. She was standing with her feet nearly completely buried in sand. She pointed out ahead of her. Everyone gasped. They were staring at a gigantic opening. Stone walls stretched in separate directions, blocking their view of what may lie inside.
"Now how the hell did that get there, I wonder," Indy said, puzzled.
"It looks like a . . . like a labyrinth," Korin said, completely awed.
"The question is should we enter it?" Harkan said.
"We have no other options," Indy said, moving towards the entrance.
Van grabbed her arm. "What about Lee, Slate and Sadi?"
Indy smiled, "I am sure they shall be able to handle themselves. I can bet my life that we shall with them again during a inconvenient moment for reunion. Those happen often, so I am not worried."
The other three nodded to one another and then they all entered into the labyrinth. They did not know what lay inside, where the exit was or whether the decision would bring them death. At the moment it had been wise, the reason unknown to them because a minute or so after they entered, Rune, Zanzen, Cassan, Verana and Halain emerged from the sandstorm, moving towards the entrance to the labyrinth.

Lee continued to walk down the deserted road, looking out at the fields full of grass swaying in the wind. She sun was slowly drying her skin, clothes and hair. It all felt so sickeningly familiar. She walked past several barns but not yet houses. She actually dreaded passing them; she might remember who lived there.
She couldn't understand what had brought her here or if it was really her childhood home. Perhaps it was an illusion and Rune had snuck up on her. That was it! It had to be. She must be experiencing some sort of illusion/flashback similar to Indy's experience in the Ice Caves.
She followed the road and soon the outline of a small town appeared on the horizon. It took her about twenty minutes of walking before she could see it clearly. There were hardly any buildings along main street and those that were there were old. The architecture was at least twenty years old. She looked over her shoulder and shouted, "This is a good illusion, Rune! Did you draw the names of the stores from my memory?" Her voice echoed against the road. She didn't bother to wait for an answer but went off the highway and down to the main street of the town.
This definitely was her childhood town, illusion or not. The store names were the same and apparently there had been absolutely no new development. It was actually quite sad. She saw no one on the streets, it was the equivalent of a ghost town, except sometimes she would see lights on in a building or a pair of eyes staring down at her through the blinds.
She didn't enter any of the businesses with open signs and instead continued along main street which soon turned into residential street. The unpaved road of residential street was dusty and golden brown. Most houses were spread apart, just like she remembered them. With fields and barns separating the residencies. No new houses had been built so she soon discovered. They were all rickety and old. Some appeared abandoned. She soon, to her horror, found herself looking for the house she had once lived in.
The sun beat down on the back of her neck when the light breeze would blow her hair. She didn't find this sun unpleasant. She had never given the Kentucky a second thought in her entire life until that moment. It truly surprised her.
Lee stopped on residential street and looked to her right. Set far back from the street, a large old farmhouse was erected and appeared to have been so for some time. The car in the driveway was now a dark shade of gray and rust, though Lee swore it had once been white. The paint on the large porch was peeling. She squinted her eyes and saw that there was actually someone sitting in a rocking chair on the porch and slowly rocking. Whoever it was, was wrapped up in a blanket. Lee could not see their face but she decided to take a gamble anyway. She began to walk up the rocky driveway.
"Excuse me," she called to the person rocking back and forth on the porch.
"Yes?" the weary and weak voice of an old man replied.
"Is this the Conner Residence?"
Lee walked quickly up the steps, her boots making loud thunks against the wood. "I was wondering if you might be able to answer some questions of mine . . ." the hunched over old man turned to her and she instantly realized he was blind. She sucked in a breath and leaned against the rail across from him.
"What questions do you have?" the man asked, rocking back and forth, unfazed by her presence.
"First of all," she began, trying to remain completely emotionless. "What happened to all the people in this town?"
The old man shrugged his shoulders and then pulled the large blanket tighter around his body. "The young people who didn't get married left . . . or got married then left." He chuckled, "things certainly have changed."
"Indeed they have," Lee said, folding her arms across her chest. "What happened to the family that lived in this house?"
"I have lived in this house for practically my entire life. I intend to do so until I die. However, fate had other plans for the members of my family."
"Please continue."
The man sighed. "Two of my three daughters got married and had families of their own. One of them, Carol, died in larbor with her third child who also died. Her two children left this town an I lost touch with them. My other Daughter, Joanna lives two houses down by herself. She married tragically and her husband left her years ago for another woman from New York. My son John works on main street and lives above his small business."
"What does he do?"
"He is a banker. He handles everyone's money as well as any other problems the people still living here have. He visits me often but I am afraid he is terribly unhappy."
"Did you have a wife and another daughter?" Lee asked, her voice completely free of expression.
"Yes, yes," the old man croaked. "My youngest daughter ran away when she was about eight years old. Her name as Lee though everyone here called her Lee-Anne. I am sure she hated that name and wherever she is now, she has changed it. My wife got very sick after she left, sick with grief and worry. She died about a year later. She couldn't take everyone disgracing her, saying her young daughter was raped, killed or dead on the highway."
"Do you miss her? Lee-Anne?" she struggled to say the name without a note of disgust.
"Of course I miss her. I have missed her for years. How old would she be now? Twenty-seven or so?"
"Odd," Lee muttered, "when I left I was twenty-five."
"What was that?"
"Anyway," the old man continued, "I am sure she ended up in a better place. At least that is what I hope and that the gossip flying around wasn't correct. She was much too far ahead of her time for this town. I do wonder though . . . it would have been interesting to see where she went, what she has become."
"I could tell you if you like."
The man tilted his head up, a joyous look passing over his face. "Really? Do you know her?"
"Yes, I know Lee Conner."
"Please tell me about her!"
"She did survive the highway. She caught a bus to the Kentucky Derby where she found a few nice people who came her family, a bit of an unconventional family but a family all the same. She learned to wield two vicious blades of steel. She killed people throughout her life and still does, but not at random and it is not murder.. She lost emotion for many, many years. Adventure struck her one day a year or so ago and her life has been rerouted. She knows adventure, friendship, love and all the other depressing things she already was aware of."
"But is she happy?"
Lee closed her eyes. "If she can finish her current task, one that requires every ounce of her strength . . . then she might be happy. Though she does not care to bet on her survival." Lee looked at the sky for a moment. "If you would excuse me, I must be going. I have urgent matters I must return to."
She walked across the porch towards the steps. "Wait," the old man requested in a feeble voice. "What is your name?"
Lee looked at him over her shoulder. "I doubt my name is welcome in this world ever since I have been taken to another. My name is Lee Conner and I must go." She walked down the steps and up the rocky driveway. She passed a thin woman with dark circles under her eyes, her hair wrapped up in a bun and dressed in a long dress who walked with a man in a nearly ancient suit. "Good day," she said as she walked past them.
They both followed her with their eyes as they walked down the driveway. They came up onto the porch and looked at the old man. "Who was that father?"
The old man grinned. "That was a woman who doesn't belong here anymore."
Lee made it up to the highway about twenty minutes later and began to walk in the direction of the setting sun. She began to wonder to herself, not of what had just passed but of what had yet to be. For everything she had just seen and heard of, was now sealed away in a box somewhere in her mind, never to be bothered with again.
Now, Lee wondered how long she would walk on that stretch of road before she would return to the world she had just come from. Would she ever return at all. Something told her this wasn't merely an illusion. She didn't believe and illusion of her father could have spoken so genuinely.
As she walked, she felt a blasting pain in the ring finger of her right hand. She looked at it and once again saw that the ring Harkan had given her was gone. In its place however, a green ring was beginning to form. She stopped and started at it baring the pain. The light consumed her like a second skin and she vanished from the world of her birth.

Sadi had his eyes and his mouth tightly shut. Sand was blowing in his face and since he couldn't close his ears well, grains were piling there. He was clinging to the leaves of the tree as best he could but he was at the wind's mercy from that height. He didn't know where his friends were or what was going on beneath him.
A big gust of sand, wind and rain came towards him and his grip was shredded to nothing. Sadi didn't scream as he fell, sand would have filled his mouth faster than water through a faucet. When he contacted the ground, the wind was knocked out of him and he couldn't keep his mouth closed. The air flew from his lungs and he was left pathetically gasping. Sadi rolled onto his stomach and tried to regain his breath. He was surrounded by tall trees and lying on sand.
Sadi looked up and he could see a figure moving around one of the trees and coming towards him through the sand. He soon recognized him as the white-haired man. Friend. "Hello!" he shouted. "Over here!" his voice cracked with weakness. "Could you help me up?"
Tekk saw the man and instantly recognized him. A malicious grin spread over his face. "Are you asking my help?"
"Yes, yes!" Sadi said, giving the man his completely trust.
Tekk tightened his grip around his sword and bent down, giving the enemy his other hand. Sadi grabbed his wrist and lifted himself up. Tekk plunged his sword through Sadi's side until it was buried to the hilt. Blood splattered onto the sand. Sadi's jaw opened weakly as he absorbed the pain. Tekk sneered for he had missed his target.
"Friend?" Sadi asked in weak voice like a lost child.
Tekk threw the man down and withdrew his sword, allowing sand to cling to the wound. "Friend? Friend? You dare to call me your friend, scum of Hanoshigi! I am here to kill you! I shall kill you just as I have killed your entire family!"
Sadi stared up at him and closed his eyes. Images began flooding back to him as blood dripped out of him. Horror he saw was too much for him to open his eyes again, at that moment. He heard a voice however. A voice of an approaching person and he listened.
"Tekk!" The white haired man looked up to see Lee Connor coming towards him. She was holding her sheathed swords in her right hand. Her black hair blew behind her violently in the wind and her expression was more poisonous than a snake. "You will not kill him!"
"Oh?" Tekk said mockingly, straightening up. "Who are you to stop me?"
"You will kill me before you ever lay your blade on him again!"
Tekk grinned, "do you intend of backing that statement up?"
Lee unsheathed her swords and let her sheath fall to the ground. The blades gleamed in the filtered light with almost as intensity as her eyes.
"My, my," Tekk said, "what has given this daughter of Hanoshigi such a confidence boost?"
"I have gotten rid of several skeletons in my closet," Lee said with a smirk.
Tekk smirked back. "Well, I am here to kill you. I will kill you, then I shall kill him," he kicked Sadi out of the way. "I think I shall leave the others to Rune and Zanzen. You are the one I want."
"Why me?"
"Because," Tekk hissed, his eyes twinkling with malice, "you are challenge. One which I will conquer."
"Prove it to me," she said in a voice of cold acid, "and I shall believe you." She raised her blades and awaited his attack.
Tekk's expression twisted and he let out a cry of rage. Lee blocked his blade but the force was so great that she had to use both of her swords to counter his. He leaned off the weight and she made a swipe for his stomach but he was out of range. He pulled back his swords and slashed for her stomach. She used her right blade to keep his off to the side while she moved around it and thrust with her other. He spun around quickly to meet her and the next thing Lee knew, their faces were nearly touching with only their blades to separate them.
Tekk smirked at her. Lee could feel his smug breath against her skin. She struggled to keep an expression of disgust off of her face. She stared back at him with her icy blue eyes piercing through his. "You can do better than this," she said, secretly taunting him.
"Die!" he shouted and pulled away, thrusting.
Lee pushed his sword down with her left blade and moved around, thrusting with her right. Tekk was quick however, he could move out of her sword's path. He slipped his sword out from under hers and the tip sliced her across the torso. Lee recoiled suddenly, her hand moving to the cut, sword still in hand.
"Lee!" Sadi shouted but she didn't react to him.
"Is that the best you can do?" Tekk taunted, swinging his sword around casually, flaunting its bloody tip. That was what Lee reacted to.
She gripped both swords tightly and screamed a battle cry of her own. She charged towards Tekk with one intention and despite the man's speed, even he couldn't have dodged that stab through the stomach.
Now it was his turn to recoil. He stared down in amazement at the blood that was darkening his clothes. "Impossible," he said looking at her in disbelief.
"What is so impossible?" she asked.
Tekk grinned, "I think I have found someone who fights with a sword the saw they should."
"Please clarify."
"You fight to kill."
"So do you."
Tekk's grin only widened. "Let the best fighter win."
"I thought those rules were already in play."
Tekk charged towards her with a battle cry. Lee blocked with both blades. He tired to duck under and slice her across the torso again but Lee brought one sword down to meet him. The other came down on his back, cutting across his shoulder blade.
Sadi watched helplessly as the two exchanged blow for blow. The clangs of metal against metal rang in his ears. His own wound was stinging painfully as sand and sticky rain contacted it. His took his white shawl and wrapped it tightly around him, hoping to stop the bleeding.
"Please stop bleeding," he said to himself. "Please."
Suddenly, the hands Sadi was leaning on gave way and he fell into the sand. He cried out in pain as the sand coated his wound. He scrambled up, away from the sand and it hurt incredibly badly. He looked down and noticed that despite the pain he was feeling, the sand was stopping the bleeding.
He closed his eyes and saw certain things slip away from him. More images appeared in front of him. Images of the white haired man, currently fighting Lee, killing a large family of Typhans . . . his family! Images of a blue/black haired man holding him back at times and helping him up. That was . . . his friend. His name was . . . Tex! Images and memories of all sorts of things began flowing back to him and arranging themselves in their correct order. Sadi reopened his eyes upon the sound of an extremely loud clang.
Sadi watched as out of nowhere, Tekk moved and Lee found his sword piercing through her chest, right above her right breast but beneath the majority of her shoulder muscles. The pain was overwhelming and she couldn't hold onto the sword in her right hand but Lee wasn't going to allow him to get away with it. She used the hilt of her left sword and smashed it into his temple. She then brought the blade across him and sliced across his eyes. Tekk shrieked and let go of sword handle. The sword fell out of Lee. She quickly brought up her left blade and thrust it through the man writhing on the sand.
She lifted him up on her blade and looked him straight where his eyes should have been looking back at her. The blood from his sliced eyes dribbled down his cheeks like tears. He smirked as best he could but some of the effect was lost with the blood coming out of his mouth.
"Any last wishes?" she asked for mere effect. She didn't wait for him to answer and pulled her blade upward, slicing through his chest, heart and shoulder. His limp and bloody carcass fell to the ground. She looked down at him coldly as sand began to cling to the blood in clumps. "I wouldn't grant it even if you asked."
The rain began to fall harder and it touched her wounds. She cried out. It stung badly. Lee collapsed to her knees, out of strength for the time. She took both her swords and shoved them back in their sheath. Sadi rushed to her as quickly as he could. He lifted up her chin and looked at her.
"Lee," he said. "Lee, please stay strong."
"Stay strong?" she repeated, looking at him, "it stings."
"Stay here," he said, "hold still." He began to gather sand in his hands and press it against her shoulder. Lee hissed and cried out in pain. She tried to wriggle away from his hand but he held her still with the other. "I promise it will stop the bleeding."
As he continue to apply sand to the wound, the pain didn't cease but Lee's interest focused on Sadi. "Are you . . . back?" she asked. "Do you remember everything?"
He looked at her and nodded. She nodded back.
It was a minute or so before he was finished. He took the white shawl from around her waist and wrapped it tightly around the wound. Then, using both hands, he helped her up. She didn't want to, but Lee found herself draped over the magician. She fought against it, trying to hold herself up on her own but Sadi kept her on his back.
"Lee, relax, try to regain your strength. Our journey does not end here."
She sighed in reply and lay her head against his shoulder. Sadi began to take through them through forest that had sprung up around them. Sand wasn't flying through the air here, for there were too many trees.
"I went back to my world you know?" she mumbled in a cold tone. "I saw my father and my hometown. It changed, lots of people have left. I found out one of my sisters died and my other ended up marrying badly. My brother ran himself into the ground and my mother died too. My father is blind and stays on his porch. But they aren't my family anymore so it is none of my concern, I have put it all behind me once and for all."
"Really?" Sadi said, trying to keep her talking. "Who is your family now?"
"You all," she mumbled, burying her face into his back.
Sadi smiled. "That is nice." He paused before continuing, "You were incredibly back there. I watched. You really were amazing. Tekk got what was coming to him." She didn't respond. Then he asked, "do you still have the first spell in your pocket?"
Sadi looked over his shoulder at her. "I believe that is where your next battle will lie."
"I don't follow but please don't explain." She paused then asked, "Do you remember everything you have ever read about the place beyond the Binding Mountians?"
"Yes, I remember legends I have read as well as the words of prophets. Why?"
"Good. I think Harkan will go crazy if he plays your roll any longer."
Sadi smiled as he listened to her. "You really care for him don't you?"
"Sadi," Lee said in a cold voice, "I have just been stabbed and sand is stinging my wound. I have just jumped between worlds by means unknown to me. We are all probably going to die soon. I don't think this is the right time for you to bring up who I feel for and how."
He chuckled to himself. "Rest, Lee, rest. Let me take care of it." He thought to himself as he felt her relax against his back, I need to figure out what is going on myself.