He was laying face up from what he could tell, upon a soft bed; his head neatly propped up upon an equally soft pillow. His body still felt very weak from his encounter on the hill, but he was not quite exhausted enough to go back to sleep. There were things that needed doing; what they were exactly, he could not remember, but he knew that it would come to him soon enough.

Danaush opened his eyes to the bright sunshine radiating into the room. Cautiously, he lifted up his head, testing his strength so that he would not push himself too far.

"Don't you even think about getting up!" The voice that spoke was heavily accented, the speech horribly slurred on to the point that Danaush knew that it could only belong to one person. Fuli.

"What?" Danaush responded, letting out a yawn. He had not even realized that Fuli was in the room, and turned his head to the right to look the man straight in the eye. "Why?"

"Because I said so, go back to sleep."

Rolling his eyes, Danaush threw his head back onto the pillow; however, he still refused to go back to sleep. For the first time since he had opened his eyes, Danaush surveyed his surroundings; in hopes that he could figure out where he was. The room that he was in looked to be the room of an inn; with two oaks beds on either side and a simple writing desk facing the window behind him. Scattered on the wooden floor were travel bags, presumably those of his companions, and a few articles of clothing. The walls of the room that he was in were painted white, and the ceiling painted a dark blue. Next to him, in a wooden chair sat Fuli, who seemed to have darkened even more since he had last seen him, and whose green eyes were staring down at him intently at that precise moment.

~When I last saw him~.Hadn't he last seen Fuli over a month ago? Had he not left Fuli behind in Selen? If so, why was Fuli in this room, staring down at him?

"I thought I told you to go back to sleep, why aren't you sleeping?" His words were unusually clear this time, the accent faded, and very demanding. Indeed, the voice belonged to Fuli- it was no imposter- but, in Danaush's mind, it did not make sense.

"Why are you here?" Danaush demanded, looking the other man straight into his green eyes.

"To take care of you and make sure you don't injure yourself again."

Danaush sighed. "I will rephrase.how did you get here?"

"This room; by walking from my room to yours. This inn; on horseback."

Danaush rolled his eyes and shook his head in frustration. "How did you find me and Dunni?" If Fuli had managed to find him, it was only logical that he had found Dunni as well.

"I didn't find you; Haliha did." Fuli smiled, and then continued, "She knows how to track, and I don't. I let her do all the work."

~Haliha?~ Was that possible? ~Probably not the same person.~

Nevertheless, he had seen her, or someone who looked like her, right before, ~right before I died.~

He had died. No, he could not have died. But he remembered distinctly having been in the Underworld.but that could have easily been a dream. Indeed, it had been a dream.

It had seemed so real.

~It was a dream, nothing more~.

That brought him back to the other issue at hand, Haliha. Indeed, he had seen a woman who had looked like here, but in the state of mind that he had been in at the time, it could have easily been a hallucination. There were probably many other women with that name; and it came as no surprise that there was another Haliha in existence with red hair. If anything, Haliha was the name for girls with red hair; the original Haliha having boasted red hair herself.

Therefore, this woman was not Haliha after all; well, he could not know that exactly unless he saw her, but it was safest to assume that that was so. Yet still, quite strangely, Danaush felt disappointed; it would have been rather nice to see his old friend, considering that he had made no serious attempt to contact her over the past four years. She had been like a sister to him, a replacement for his mother after she had died. If he did ever manage to get out of this mess with Snana, he would try to find her.

Danaush let out a deep breath. But who else other than his Haliha would have been willing to rescue him and Dunni? Unless Fuli had managed to hire a mercenary with the same name and red hair-and from what he knew, the man had no money of his own- it was probably the Haliha he had known.

~Mala, perhaps?~ Danaush quickly decided that that was quite preposterous; Mala would not try to help rescue the man whom she was convinced was responsible for the murder of her daughter.

That left him to conclude that this was his Haliha after all. ~But how did he find her?~

At that precise moment, the indoor opened; erasing any doubts that Danaush may have had to the red headed woman was not his old friend. It was Haliha, of that he was certain; but she looked tired and worn out- her eyes normally expression lively eyes etched with deep sadness. Nonetheless, she smiled as soon as she saw him; and walking across the room in three steps, she went to his bedside and gave him a hug.

"It's been too long." Haliha's voice sounded nearly as pained as her face, and rang with sincerity. Summoning as much strength as possible, Danaush lifted up his arms and returned the embrace.

"Indeed it has," he replied.

After a few, long seconds, Haliha let go of Danaush; and the young wizard let his arms fall to his sides. Whether the mere act of lifting of his arms had caused it or not, Danaush did not know, but he suddenly felt tired. He did not know how long he had been asleep for, but he had assumed that he had been for at least a day or more, and did not want to go back to sleep. Slowly, however, it felt like the choice was being taken away from him more as his eyelids got heavier and his body weaker.

~Just a few minutes, at least~, he decided. He had so much to catch up on with Haliha, and many other things to attend to; some of which troubled him so to the point that he did not want to think about it. He would just have to deal with it all after he woke up.

"You could have died, you know," Dunni said, stepping out from behind Haliha. There was a resemblance between the two; something that Danaush decided immediately had to do with their shared Thérish blood. However, the resemblance seemed more than that; the pair sharing deep brown eyes, red hair, and a few other features of the face. Then yet knowing how small the Thérish community was, the two could easily have been cousins.

Danaush shook slightly, startled a bit as he registered Dunni's statement. "You shouldn't have used all that energy," Dunni finished.

The young wizard yawned. "Well, what else would you have proposed; sticks and stones?" he then asked, trying not to sound annoyed.

"There were other ways that you could have dealt with it."

"And those would be?"

Dunni narrowed his eyes, glaring at Danaush in frustration. "The point is, you need rest and lots of it."

~I thought point was I could have died~, Danaush thought, deciding that it was better that he not voice his opinion.

It was time to change the subject. "How long have I slept?"

"Three and a half days, but you need more."

Danaush could not help but roll his eyes; Dunni just had to win the argument. ~Well, he does have a point~.Danaush yawned.

"Maybe we should leave the room, so that we don't keep him up," Haliha said suddenly. Fuli and Dunni nodded, turning their backs to their friend and walking out the door; Haliha right behind them.

Danaush closed his eyes, patiently waiting for sleep to overcome him. Eventually, the calm and blackness came over him, washing over him in a much-needed cascade; taking his into the realms of dreams and deep unconsciousness.

~*~*~*~

When Danaush opened his eyes once more, he found the room dark; the only source of light a dim lamp. On the other side on the room, seated on a bed were two silhouettes; chatting in soft murmurs, so that they would not awaken him. It was immediately obvious to Danaush who the two people were; Fuli's small, short figure was unmistakable, so was Haliha's robust one.

Feeling a lot better than he had earlier- how much earlier was still a question lingering in the back of his mind- Danaush sat up.

The murmuring stopped immediately, and Haliha and Fuli turned to face Danaush.

"You're up," Haliha said in her usual sweet, matronly voice. Rising from her seat, Haliha walked towards the light and a bedside table, picked up a cup, and walked to Danaush's side of the room.

"Here, take this." Danaush then took the glass from her hands and carefully brought it up to his mouth; slowly letting the refreshing water stream into his body. Some of the initial weakness still lingered, but he felt nowhere near as tired as he had before he had fallen asleep earlier.

How long could he stay here for, like this? Being weak was the last thing he wanted; it was never safe for him to stay in one place for too long. With Dayan gone, Snana was sure to send her demons after him again.

"What happened to Dayan?" Danaush asked, realising that he had never learned what had become of him. He vaguely remembered seeing the man taken down by an arrow, but that could have been a delusion. Considering the fact that he had hallucinated being dead, seeing Dayan die had probably been a hallucination as well. A simple arrow to the heart would have been too easy; especially for Dayan.

Haliha's eyes widened immediately, and turned her gaze away from Danaush. "He's dead," she said, looking Danaush in the eye once more, sadness filling her voice.

Danaush was shocked. ~No.that was too easy.~ "Are you sure? How did he die?"

"She took him out with an arrow." With Fuli's voice sounding so casual, it sounded almost as if the man took it as a joke. "It was so nice to see that bastard dead. It was the best I had ever seen him."

Haliha turned to look at Fuli, with a mixture of anger and sadness marking her face. "Fuli! Do you realise how much trouble this is going to cause us? I killed the Prince of Selen!"

"So, it is not like any one knows you did it. Besides, it is not as if anyone knows he is dead either. How many times do I have to tell you this?" Fuli's accent came out in full this time, his words slurred together and hardly comprehensible.

Haliha took a moment to pause, presumably to piece together what Fuli had said. "Well, they are going to find out eventually. Perhaps when their dearly beloved prince never comes back?" Haliha snapped sarcastically.

"But they can't trace it back to you."

"Of course they can!" Haliha screamed. Danaush felt his heart skip a beat; what if someone outside their room heard their conversation?

The young knight took a deep breath in and continued. "My superiors within the Order were well aware of my trip to rescue Raven, and if.when, it comes out that the Prince is dead, they will trace it back to me. And if they don't figure out that connection immediately, I am certain that Mafiqua will fill them in."

"If Mafiqua was going to tell the Order, she would have gone a long time ago. She would not have stayed here with us."

Danaush decided that it was time to jump into this conversation. "Who is Mafiqua?"

"My partner," once said, Haliha immediately turned her attention back to Fuli. "Mafiqua is only here to gather evidence against me."

"Then why don't you make her leave?"

Haliha sat down next to Fuli. "What's the point? Let her gather evidence against me; they are going to get me in the end anyways."

A very deep and profound sadness was etched on Haliha's face. Danaush could not help but realise that he had dragged another friend down with him. He had killed Julina, and now he had ruined Haliha's life.

"I will take full responsibility." It was the right thing to do.

"No, you can't!" Haliha exclaimed. "I killed him. It was my arrow."

~Women, they never know what is best for them~.Danaush sighed. "Hal, you have a future; I don't."

"Well said, Danaush," Fuli piped in, smirking.

~*~*~*~

Jarred shook his head, and moved his ear from off of the door. He had known since those children had entered his inn that they were up to no good. He had known that they had lied when they said that thieves had attacked them; known of them had a mark on them, not even the half-dead one. What had made the half-dead one half dead, he wasn't quite sure, he had a feeling that it had something to do with magical burnout- his niece had had it once.

~Foreigners~.except for the small one- well, he was small in comparison to the rest of his company, but he had the look of the desert. The desert people were traitorous, and if the boy was one of their kind, he was not to be trusted either.

But the Prince of Selen? Murdering the Prince of Selen? Now that.he did not know what to think of it.They had killed a Prince!

Jarred sighed,~ perhaps it would be better if I just stayed out of this~. He was an innkeeper, not a snitch. But what was to happen if the Lady of Selen caught word that he had knowing allowed her son's murder's to stay in his inn? Selen and Dergito were allies, and it would take no time at all before his King's guards arrested him.

Moreover, what of the reward? Surely, there would be a reward for the capture of the Prince of Selen's murders. And also, the fact that as of yet, no one knew about his death. He could become famous.

No, he did not want fame and notoriety; he wanted to be a humble innkeeper. However, the reward would be nice; his inn was in need of a few repairs, and could use a few additional rooms.

But how could he be sure the Prince was actually dead? Well, from the way that they had talked about it, it sounded like truth. But no, he and the authorities were going to need actual evidence.

~I wonder what the Prince looks like~, Jarred thought. He would need to know that if he was going to use the body as evidence. What a peculiar question that would be to ask, "Do you know what the Prince of Selen looks like?" to ask his patronage. But he was going to have to ask around, and he was going to have to trek into the forest to find the scene of the murder.

Tomorrow was going to be a long day.

Author's Note: Indeed, October has come early this year, I know. Anyways, I hope you liked the update and that you didn't mind my absence! ;-) Um, this is the second time I am uploading this and a lot of the formatting has been lost because stupid fictionpress won't upload it was a webpage.sorry

Liquid Genesis: Tee hee.new reviewer. Yeah, I know that the first part of the story went too fast.very little realistic planning on my part..hopefully you have found this part to be at a more reasonable pace! Danaush is not from Dergito, he is Seleni.Fuli is Dergitese, but I guess you probably saw that in chapter sixteen. Umm, Fuli Danaush and Dunni's past is boring in my opinion.well, actually they don't have much of one as a trio, but Danaush's early life is in Sorcerer of Selen, and I may write a story chronicling Dunni and Fuli's life- how they met each other and their lives before they met. Anyways, thanks for your reviews!

Theatre of the Absurd: Answering the review for chap17.Dunni is, umm.I haven't decided.either a year or two years older than Danaush.Danaush is 20, and Fuli is 23, and Dunni is the in the middle.hold on *refers to mental timeline of events in Fuli and Dunni's life*.let me write this out.Dunni came to Selen when he was 16, and Fuli had just entered the asylum. hmm.Fuli's parents died when he was 13.actually, 14, which means he.Okay, the only way it logically works out is if Dunni is 22, making him two ears older than Danaush.And no, none of the above story tidbit is in hard copy yet, all in my head until.hmm.soon.Indeed, Haliha is yet to kill anyone, and indeed it is a peace time. How did Haliha turn up in the house? The door was left open, and well, Haliha had very little concept of a house and a door, and just walked inside. No, his mother didn't kill herself, but she knew what was coming.she was murdered, but I haven't figured out when I will put in that part of the back-story (which will be hard considering that none of my characters witnessed it).Long live the black blobs!!!! I'd doubt that even Fuli could resist Snana, and he's gay! Anyways, thanks for the review!

Cutlass: Who's related? Dunni and Haliha? Haliha and Danaush, no.they are metaphorical siblings. Julina Valore (the first) was killed because of her associtation with Samien Valore, and the fact that she was married to him. Danaush is pathetic. Look up pathetic in the dictionary and you will see his picture ;-) Oh, Snana's son is fairly neutral, but there will be more on how the Underworld works later.

Thanks to everybody who reviewed!