As Sactsi's last word left his lips, the columns of lightning shot high into the sky, seeming to reach the heavens themselves, and fanned outward, blasting across the now well-lit-up sky and reaching all the way to the edges of the horizon, each individual, little bit crackling loud enough for everybody to hear. With another explosion, a ripple ran through the lightning and surge into the pillars and down to the ground, hitting the land in a blast of hot air that washed over everyone, blowing some back. As the lightning cleared, still crackling across the sky occassionally as single arcs, and the dust was swept away as the air rushed back into the five spots, everybody saw the five level hundred players that emerged from the strange teleportation magic Sactsi used.

The first to appear was a short girl, definitely not a pygmy, instead about ten or eleven. She was dressed in black tights and black boots, a pink skirt flapping in the dusty wind. She wore a silver breastplate that didn't cover her shoulders or anything else rather "lumpy," if that mattered. Black gloves almost reached her shoulders, and her gauntlets were small and golden-spiked, made from jammed-together-looking black metal. Over her musty green hair that fell about her chin and face rather heavily was a gray-and-green wool cap, as if her ears were always cold. She carried a sword as tall as her. The handle was long and about a foot and a half long; the rest was a silver blade a foot wide and glowed gray-silver light, practically pulsing with a rythym that hurt some people's eyes. This was Allysa, a ten year old prodigy who reached level hundred by doing nother but fighting dragon after dragon.

After her was an angel. Unlike Silly Puff, including the name, he looked like the majestic angels you would see flying around the upper palaces of Celestia. Above his long, white hair that was constantly moving around his thighs was a brightly-glowing gold halo. His eyes were marigold yellow, a stern light being produced from within their depths, and his skin was like alabaster that too gave off its own light, albeit much fainter than the eyes and halo. His wings were majestic, if a little short-appearing, just like his body, all white-feathered and glittering with silver and gold dust. He wore a pure-white toga with a gold pauldron on his left shoulder and a matching belt and knee-high very very very old-style Greek sandals. On his back was a gold, white, and silver quiver with arrows and bow tucked in, and a sword in the same color scheme on the belt. He was named Arkhayriel, angel of domination who defeated Gordaeliek, demon king of Frazeon in the Sixth level of Hell.

The third to emerge was a very non-interesting-looking player with an aura of intenseness surrounding him. He was dressed in all black leather: pants, boots, jacket, shirt, hood...everything. There was not a single bit of skin they could see on him. As he walked out of the dust cloud, the grass around him whithered and died in simply a moment with each step he took, and the air seemed to get darker, even in the light of the fading lightning, filled with a blackness that made everyone want to be sick to their stomachs. He carried no weapons except for three rings on each hand, each one shining a dark yellow and blue light through the blackness that surrounded him. Xison Rixbliges was he, a necromancer of power only obtained by throwing away all cares for his own body; rumor has it he had had symbols of power carved into his body and set so they would forever stay open so his vampiric regeneration couldn't heal them.

A towering minotaur emerged fourth, following closely by a strange-looking monster. He had gray fur tainted with dark brown markings that looked oddly arcane and half of one of his very large and impressive horns was broken in half. Either he did that himself, had that done to his character's appearance, or that happened in a fight and it hasn't grown back because he simply hasn't respawned yet. He wore nothing but a flap of fur over his waist like a kilt and a vest that left his furry chest uncovered. He carried a short staff, about two feet long, a plain, brown stick that widened towards the top and was all knarled into a thick knot. By his side was a mass of black-blue smoke that was three feet across at the top and drifted into a little tiny point like a tail that barely touched the ground. Twin, red orbs glared in the midst of the mist, and large, blocky hands that weren't actually connected, each bound by a wide, gold circlet. That demon was a shreugrd named Ormphaug, a gaseous monster whose body burns the throats of those who breathes in the fumes, and its owner was Winn Greymyst, minotaur warlock and only known survivor of the Quests of Thalnax.

And the last was a short, gorgeous woman who could only be described as a literal angel of beauty. She stood with a perfectly straight back, head held high, in her shiny, full suit of bright, gleaming silver armor. Her long sword had a matching blade, with a white handle and an intricate wing-shaped crossguard. She flexed her gauntlet-gloved hands in the air, sighing with a rush of hot steam that made the knees shake of the half of the guys present. Behind her ears were small, white-feathered wings, peeking out from her lushious, shoulder-length brown hair, and above her head was a halo of bright white light that shined everywhere in a thirty foot radius around her, clashing with Arkhayriel's own gold light. Even though she was less than five feet tall, making even Jill feel kinda big, she had more power in her pinky than most dragons had in their entire bodies. This woman was Lolidra the Celestian Valkyrie, the one and only Companion of Yamma Kammichi.

"Sactsi," she said, looking around her with unwavering, extremely bored eyes, taking in the players and undead all at once, "what did I tell you about teleporting me without my consent?"

"Lolidra wasn't answering," the shaman said, taking a a great big sniff as if deeply offended. "I had to improvise to keep the mourg from winning."

"And we were the best bet," Arkhayriel said, his voice almost as sultry as Lolidra's. It was hard to believe that a Celestial, a human with only some angel blood in them, could be hotter than an actual angel. He finally seemed to notice the soul eater and whistled. "Quite the opponent you set us up for, Sactsi."

"Indeed," Winn Greymyst said, thumping the ground with his cloven hoofs. "The advesaries of life, those who have partaken in death and drank from the pools of undeath—they shall find the cure for their infliction beneath the heels of my demons of Lo'azrorg, Fifth level of Hell!" He snorted and roared like a bull, making everybody else cringe with how deep his role-playing was. Not even Sactsi was that into the game.

"So we just have to kill that monster?" Allysa asked, pointing a finger up at Qualistix while jumping up and down like a kid.

"Of course," Arkhayriel responded. His answer made the little girl bounce even higher and faster and make squeeking noises. He gave her a sideways glance.

"This is why little girls shouldn't play," Lolidra said.

"Hey!" Allysa yelled, stopping and pointing a finger at her. "I can still play if I want to."

Lolidra shrugged. "Whatever."

"Inferior people!" The five of them glanced over from their conversation to where Wittadora was stumbling down the slope, glaring at them with her dead-light eyes. "Who do you think you are? Get out of here before Qualistix slaughters all of you!"

"So..." Arkhayriel said, turning away from with the other four to look at Sactsi. "This is the situation?"

"Actually," Sactsi said, "Jill Iian knows the situation better than Sactsi." At once, all six of them turned their gaze to the wood elf, and she suddenly felt very small, as if a pressure had descended upon her shoulders and made her hands and knees start to tremble.

"Stand up," Nos suddenly hissed in her ear. "Your teacher's one of them. And one day, you'll be standing next to them." As he spoke, all the pressure faded, and Jill realized all of that pressure had just been fabricated by her own brain.

"Thanks, Nos," she said, giving him a smile before taking a deep breath and walking up to the six hundreds (even though Sactsi was still at level seventy, for now). "Wittadora wants to open a portal to the Dead World. She had the orcs backing her up. The centaurs and gnomes weren't getting along together that much, so I had the players in the region to get together and formed our own army. We were winning, but then Wittadora summoned Qualistix, and..." She looked sideways at the tentacle-waving soul eater and sighed. "We can't win this without your help."

"Well," Lolidra said, stepping towards the taller player, "you should have told me what was taking you so long. I would've come up here and gotten you after killing the mourg."

"You two know each other?" Arkhayriekl asked. He was still hovering in the air right over their heads, just as Silly Puff did.

"Of a sorts," the Celestial responded. "I'm getting paid to teach her. But that's enough. Xison!" Everybody jumped with the sudden increase of volume in her voice. "What to do?"

A rush of air zoomed in towards the necromancer's completely shaded hood, a very eerie action that made Jill shiver even though she felt rather warm so close to Lolidra. "Qualistix wasn't just summoned. He was Sent here. We cannot simply Banish him. We must defeat him." The rest of the air from the breath-in came rushing out. Jill took a step away from him.

"That's a pain in the ass," Arkhayriel said.

"Oh, come on!" Allysa exclaimed. "It'll be fun!"

"Don't get killed," Lolidra warned her. She looked up at Jill, who suddenly found herself being pulled by much superior strength down to be nose-to-nose with the woman. "Go wait on the sidelines, Jill," she said. "You've done enough. Now let us do our job." Releasing the wood elf, Lolidra held her long sword out, pointing it at Qualistix, and said, "Let's get this over with. I want to get back to hunting."

"Yay!" Allysa yelled. She suddenly sprinted forward, a blur across the ground, jumped at least hundred feet in the air without any apparent effort, and suddenly roared. The sound was louder than thunder, a booming of the vocal chords that made everybody yell and cover their ears. Wittadora shrieked and did the same, even when the level hundreds simply winced.

A blaze went up around Allysa's blade, fanning out to not touch a single part of her and continuing for another ten feet. She eyes were lit with the same, orange fire, and then her form flickered. A moment later, she was on the ground, broadsword held at her side and still on aflame as a tentacle fell to the ground next to her, the spot where it was sliced in two burning and smoking.

At once, all of the other limbs went for her, some going to bash her, others going point-first, ones going to pick her up and slowly crush her. None reached her. She easily evaded all of the attacks and cut off another tentacle just as the first one was reforming.

Xison breathed in again. "I forgot to mention. Soul eaters regenerate health and limbs very quickly."

"Don't do that again," Lolidra said. She lifted her sword to point towards the sky. Within a single moment of concentration, all of her energy flooded out. The ground around her was crushed, making a crator twenty feet deep with only a little bit of earth supporting her to stay at ground level. "Let's go."

Arkhayriel released a huge arrow that struck through two of Qualistix's tentacles. The ammunition had to have been at least ten feet long and blazed with a yellow light that made Yvaun's most powerful arrow seem like a flashlight compared to the sun. As the monster turned a tentacle towards him, Xison stepped forward and raised his hands. They were clasped together at his stomach, the backs turned to face the ground and sky. He pulled them apart suddenly and the rings on his fingers burst into dark yellow and blue light that swirled around him to suddenly shoot off him and slam into the earth in front of Arkhayriel. It took on the shape of a zombie dragon that roared and took the blow meant for the angel on its side. It was almost as big as the soul eater, and just as terrifying with its decayed sides and the maw filled with giant teeth dripping with blood. Its tail and wings were half-skeleton, and its over a hundred-foot-long body made everybody back up immediately.

As the dragon charged, so did Ormphaug, the warlock's shreugrd. It floated up into the air and slashed at the tentacles at the top, thus keeping those occupied. Winn was saying something under his breath, then lifted his hand in a claw-formation towards Qualistix. It was glowing a sickly black color, and the magic suddenly blasted outwards and hit one of the tentacles. Immediately, the soul eater was diseased, with over a hundred HP damage being done every five seconds. He released another curse that dealt a total of two thousand fire damage over the next minute as Xison summoned two dozen skeletons, each one level fifty, that attacked the undead army.

Allysa was busy slicing at the waving tentacles, so she didn't move when Lolidra said, "Move." Everybody glanced at the young girl, then Lolidra sighed.

"Move!" she shouted, causing Allysa to jump, pause, and get smacked back fifty feet.

"Lolidra!" the ten year old whined, getting up. "I was on a roll. I had my Power at sixty four percent." Allysa was a beserker, and as they attacked they gained Power. If they got hit, they gained Rage, which then would allow them to go Beserk and attack everything, ignoring all damage with a increase to their own damage-dealing. If their Power got high enough, they could go into a quick-paced controlled attacking spree called Low Beserk. Longer and harder to get to, but not as hurtful.

"Wonderful," Lolidra's off-handed comment was. She stepped forever, seeming to simply skip the space that was the crater around her as if it wasn't even there. She suddenly disappeared, reappearing behind the soul eater and giving a small cut across a tentacle. When she was attacked, she vanished again. She repeated this seven more times, each one at a different location: three more at the base of the mass, then four on tentacles waving in the air.

Briefly pausing next to the other hundreds, she warned, "Get your summons away." Ormphaug was called back, but Xison just ignored his summoned undead, and Lolidra didn't give the same warning twice. She turned so her left side was facing Qualistix that was trying to move towards her—and doing a horrendous job at it, then shook her sword once and it...poofed!

Simply put, it turned into a cloud of white smoke that quickly faded away to reveal a spear. It was as if the sword shape shifted into a spear, a rather miraculous and interesting act. "Ninth Point Certain Hit," she said, then twisted and threw her spear. It seemed to go even faster than Yvaun's arrows, and went straight through the tentacles, missing every single attempt from Qualistix to take the hit on its limbs.

It struck the central mass of the soul eater with all the force still behind it after amazingly missing everything else. A blast of power swept inward with an intense explosion following, and about a fifth of its health was depleted in that single instand. The spear winked out of existance and appeared back in Lolidra's hand. With a shake, it turned back to being a long sword.

"That's something new," Arkhayriel said.

Allysa crowded in close to Lolidra. "Did Uhj'lahn make that for you? I want one!"

"Pay him. I had to."

"Yonder monster of undeath is still in existence," Winn said. "We should stomp out its dead light before it infects us too with its unholy existence."

"Winn," Arkhayriel said, "tone it down. The others aren't impressed."

"Uh..." Zenith suddenly yelled, "I don't think Qualistix is, either!" The five turned their heads towards the crawling mass of liquid-filled sac, then nodded.

"After this, you can talk," Lolidra said.

"'You?'" the angel, fluttering back up into the sky, asked. "You aren't gonna stick around?"

"I want to get back to Dumont as soon as possible to start Jill's training," she answered, glancing at Jill with an expression that nobody couldn't quite read. Jill backed away, trying to remain inconspicuous as much as possible.

"Let's make this count," Allysa yelled—and with that, the five of them, armed with their summons, magics, and weapons, rushed forward to do battle with Qualistix who had healed most of the damage done to him because of their reckless talking.

"Well, looks like we have nothing to fear anymore," the gnome cleric said, and he breathed out a long and loud sigh. "Man, this was an epic battle."

He suddenly screamed as a hand burst through his ripcage, black glvoe covered in his blood. Wittadora lifted him into the air, sniffing his body. "Too dirty," she commented, tossing him aside. "Well, you said this battle was 'epic.' Let's make it even more epic with your deaths...and Jill's sacrifice."

"Hold!" Sactsi yelled, stepping between her and Jill. "I shall take you!"

"Impossible!" Wittadora shrieked. "You don't have a shard of magic left, gnome! All you have is just your little wooden stick!" She dashed forward and slammed her hand downward. Sactsi barely managed to dodge; his hat was caught by her blade-like fingers and was smashed against the ground. Little rocks spewed from the small hole, tapping against the mourg's arm and Sactsi's front. "I'll kill you first!" she hissed, slashing out with her other hand and giving his cheek a shallow cut.

"Back away!" Jill punched straight at her face but the attack was easily dodged. "Sactsi," the wood elf said, placing a hand on his shoulder, "you're not alone in this."

"Yeah." Silly Puff landed next to Jill as the others closed in around Wittadora. The undead looked around her, then gave her shrieking laugh.

"I could kill all of you without even breathing hard," she said, looking around from one face to the next.

"Then do it," Yvaun said.

Wittadora gave her patented sneering smile before becoming a blur. Sactsi pushed Jill back and she felt wind pressure against her nose as a black blur slash the air where her face had once been. Others went down as they were cut across arms, chests, legs and such. As the mourg paused, Sactsi released a spark that traveled through the air and latched onto Wittadora without any harm. She glanced at it, laughed once, then went after the gnome.

Sactsi looked as if he was just dancing with Wittadora as she attacked him. Maybe it was because of his high level, if even he did have that minus thirty thing because of Jill, but he seemed to be just playing with her; which is what she probably thought, because she stopped and roared, "I'll slaughter you!"

Stopping suddenly, the shaman flicked his finger and from seven points around the battlefield, lightning struck out through the air and hit her right on the air...right where the spark had landed. She was flung through the air, landing roughly next to Zenith Victor, with a smoking and obviously broken arm.

The mummy took a step closer to her and knelt down as Logan hopped over to join him. "Think she's dead?" he asked, reaching towards her with his hand while glancing at the others.

"Zenith, Logan, no!" Silly Puff yelled, struggling to stand with a profusely-bleeding leg. Zenith only got a moment to glance at the mourg before a hand went straight through his neck. As his head rolled off his shoulders, hitting the ground with an ugly thump, and blood began pumping like crazy from his neck, making others scream and yell with disgust, Wittadora stood up, letting some of the blood splash across her face and chest.

"A mummy still has running blood," she said, wiping a bit of the blood off herself with the tips of her fingers. "I had forgotten." She raised them to her lips, but an arrow whipped between the space, pausing her in mid-taste.

"Get, that blood, off, your face," Silly Puff growled, limping forward while trying to steady her bow. Getting an arrow out of her quiver, she took aim again, and this time Wittadora easily caught it between two, blood-soaked gloved fingers.

She laughed. "You're just a laugh, angel." Letting the arrow fall to the ground, she took a step forward and blurred.

"Silly Puff!"

The angel gasped as warm blood splattered on her face and dripped down her cheek, tainted her pretty skin and white clothing and armor. She flinched again as some of it went down the front of her shirt. Opening her mouth to speak, she screamed when another glob hit her in the face again, some landing in her mouth.

"Jill!" Nos yelled, running for her as Wittadora backed up, hand dripping, eyes a little wide. He caught her right before she hit the ground, and she leaned right into his chest and coughed up a ton of blood. "Sactsi!" he yelled. "Heal her!"

"After I kill the mourg," the shaman said, face downcasted and completely in shadows, eyes blazing in fury and power. Wittadora backed up, true terror written on her face as the gnome advanced tiny step by tiny step towards her.

"Wait..." Jill coughed off some more blood as she struggled to sit up, using Nos' arms to hold her up straight. "She's...mine."

Everybody looked questionably at her. "I can slaughter her here and now, Jill Iian," Sactsi said.

"No." Jill's eyes turned to Wittadora, and even though she was losing health at a rather rapid rate, they were burning as bright as the sun with a fierceness that made the undead shiver. They bore straight into the soul reborn into a realm of chaos and undeath and made it freeze over with the sheer force they carried behind them. "She's mine."

Wittadora's mouth opened several times as she tried to find the right words to speak. Finally, she gave herself a small shake that nobody but Sactsi noticed and stood up straight. "I agree. This battle is over." She pointed behind them all, and everybody ignored her as they watched Qualistix give one final shake and fall to the ground, fading into smoke. As Wittadora pushed back Dashae, the demon grabbed her arm and whispered, "If you do kill Jill, I'll hunt you down no matter what and slaughter you nice and slow."

"Oh my," the mourg replied, feignting dread and fear. "Revenge out of love. It's cute, demon," she added, pulling the lance-wielding warrior in close for a quick nose-to-nose comment, "but I'm afraid my feelings, will always outstrip yours." Then she left, leaving thoroughly confused player mumbling to herself, trying to figure out what exactly the NPC meant by "feelings" in regard to Jill." As everybody rushed over to Jill, Dashae abandoned those thoughts and rejoined them all, impatiently waiting for Sactsi to be done healing her.

Xison, Allysa, and Winn went off to finish off the rest of the undead army while Lolidra and Arkhayriel met up with everyone, clustering in around Jill. "Sactsi," Lolidra said, "if you teleport me without my permission, I'll take you down to level eighty."

"Anytime, anywhere," was the nonchalant response out of the obviously-not-caring gnome.

"So," Arkhayriel said, "what I would like to know is how the mourg managed to summon a level hundred elite monster? Isn't this region for twenty to thirties?"

"Probably part of the event," Lolidra answered. "If opposition was too much for her alone as the actual boss, she would have to summon something stronger than herself."

"It is senseful," Sactsi said. "There are many hundreds in Second Earth. To have one or more at the battle would have not been taken into account by the company when creating Wittadora and the event."

"At least we stopped her," Nos said. "If Sactsi hadn't been with us, we would have lost, and a portal sitting where we are."

"What would have happened if she'd actually sacrificed somebody?" Logan asked. Sactsi had finished with Jill and was now working on the others with Russle doing some of the healing as well.

"Wittadora would've needed time and space for a ritual," Rayden spoke.

"Time?" Russle asked, pausing his hands as if drifted an inch above Silly Puff's wing. "Couldn't that gnome cleric have been the sacrifice?"

"Rituals designed to portal-open are long and boring," Sactsi said. "Arkhayriel remembers descent into Bas'gruhul to kill Di'iz For Grawf?"

Arkhayriel nodded. "Oh yeah, I remember."

"I don't care about any of that," Lolidra said, interrupting the various conversations happening between the various members of the gathered, various players: Yvaun, Sactsi, and Arkhayriel had begun to talk about Hell and demons; while Nos, Rayden, Russle, Silly Puff, Likdilka and Logan were discussing rituals and quests; Jill was listening intently to the first three, while Snow Wind and Dashae kept quiet...even though the latter was doing a little bit of glancing at the wood elf to constantly check if she was alright.

"What I really care about is leaving," the Celestial added.

"Leaving?" Yvaun asked. "Don't you want to party?"

Cold eyes turned to look at her, and the archer quailed underneath the penetrating gaze. "There are things I have to do," Lolidra said in a very icy tone. "This next month is very busy for us."

"Us..." Yvaun looked around at her friends and the others, even though everybody knew Lolidra wasn't talking about herself and the conceited elf.

"Not you and I," Lolidra said. She suddenly pulled Jill to her feet, saying, "Her and I." Jill swayed on the spot, and held onto Nos' arm as she pitched to the side.

"Thanks," she said. "I guess I'm still pretty fatigued."

"Jill Iian shouldn't push herself," Sactsi said. "Bad things will happen." Aside, away from the current main conversation, Russle asked if he actually healed Jill completely, to which Sactsi told him about his level reductions and Timroral's Innate Healing which made the body think it was healed, when it really wasn't. A useful spell for a high-level shaman, especially when they were in the thick of battle.

"She won't have that problem," Lolidra said. She opened her mouth to say something else, but whatever it was going to be was lost in the sudden arrival of Gless, Tigger and the others.

Tigger pushed straight through the other players and nuzzled his large head into Jill's face. Yvaun yeeped and immediately fled to crouch down behind Sactsi and turn invisible as best as she could... Which was impossible for her, and her actions just made her look even more air-headed than before. Calming the pet down, Jill looked down at Sactsi. "She's right. I'll be riding Tigger—"


Lolidra's refusal for whatever reason was quite clear in her voice. Jill glanced at her, shivering when she caught the cool, emotionless eyes that belonged to this four foot ten inch woman. "But Tigger goes a lot faster than we could walk or run—"

"He's not a suitable mount," came the answer. "We'll be using my mount. We'll be in Dumont by tomorrow."

"Mount?" Jill asked, utterly confused and, as usual, showing for all to see.

"Similar to pets," Nos said. "Tigger is a combat pet. Most are simply there for decorations. Mounts are similar to combat pets, but are only good to ride. If you're not on, they vanish."

"I've been meaning to get the steel-furred wolf hound from Argra Mourac," Russle muttered.

"I have a white horse charger," Silly Puff said.

"Waaaah," Jill moaned. She leaned into Tigger and mumbled out, "Why do I always find out these things last?"

"We'll go mount questing later," Lolidra said. "But for now, we're going to Dumont. Leave the tiger."

"B-but! Tigger's my friend's, and I promised her I'd take care of him!" Jill complained, earning a piercing stare from Lolidra. "Where's he supposed to go?"

"You're friends are at Dallamax, right?" Nos asked, barging into her whining. He placed a hand on Tigger's neck, threading his fingers through the mane and scratching the purring tiger. "Tigger's ownership was passed to you temporary. You can do the same to me. I'll take him north."

"North?" Gless asked. "What the f&$# do we need to go north for?"

"Well," Che Xan said, "there are some decent quests at Dallamax. We could probably get a bxobi skull there." Gless said something about, "What's a bxobi skull?" with much much much stronger language, and Che Xan and Musky spent the next few minutes getting through the dwarf's thick head that a bxobi skull was the skull of a long-dead race that used to live in the mountains near Dallamax and had natural magical energies neccessary to get certain equipment and such.

Everybody began drifting apart. Allysa, Xison, and Winn finished killing all of the undead, who had quickly gotten demoralized after Qualistix was defeated and Wittadora fled, so the players were healing each other up and winding down. Some went off to celebrate, but most just wanted to bask in the glory of winning the Battle of Five Hills while sitting down without having to move a single bit. Silly Puff, Russle, Logan and Likdilka went off to their own friends, bragging how they were in the middle of the entire battle and got to fight Wittadora, meet the six hundreds that fought, and were part of Jill's personal troupe. As midnight came, Jill had slowly turned into hero, confronting Wittadora and saving all the gnomes by herself. Of course, all Jill wanted to do was get along with everyone else without having them be all like, "Can I shake your hand?" or, "Are you available?" or, "Will you join my party?" or, "Tell me about the fight with the mourg!" It was getting annoying really quickly.

According to Sactsi and Arkhayriel, that kind of treatment from others was pretty common when you sort of play the main hero against the evil. Even though Jill definitely wasn't the highest, nor did she look particularly exotic or rememorable in any way—to which she glared at—she still managed to uncover the entire plot behind the four races of the Plains of Nomer.

Speaking of that place, the Grand One and Yuhkooma finally signed a peace treaty that made it so they had the right to question each other about anything at any time, and the other was duty- and honor-bound to answer truthfully. Basically, this treaty made it so the gnomes and centaurs would always work out any problem between them immediately, no matter how big or small it was.

Jill finally found Sactsi and the other hundreds in the town, sitting around a dead campfire. Others were gathered there, including Yvaun and her friends. By now, it had been over an hour since Wittadora vanished, and so the sun was a quarter above the horizon, casting a deep shadow over everyone. Sactsi, finally back at level hundred, was in his queer gnome form—as usual—talking with Winn about some dungeons in Hell.

"Jill," Yvaun said, looking away and ignoring Snow Wind for a moment. "I...I would like to apologize for all that I've said against you." As soon as those words came from her mouth, Snow Wind and Dashae shut each other up and stared intently at an obviously uncomfortable elf. Very slowly, Yvaun turned her head to face them, a bright red face set around hard, glaring eyes, and she growled, "What are you two staring at?"

Slowly stepping away from the now bickering friends, Jill sat down on the ground, holding her hands in her lap, looking down at the large pit filled with a pile of ash. Sighing with her eyes closed, she just wanted to log off and get some rest from Second Earth.

"Hey." Jill's eyes snapped open, making Musky pause slightly. Rubbing at them, she apologized for her appearance. "I haven't had much in-game rest," she said.

"It's cool," he responded. Knealing next to her, he said, "So you know how Yvaun, Dashae, and Snow Wind couldn't beat Wittadora?"

"Hmhm?" Jill mumbled out, nodding her head.

"How come you could fight evenly with her, when when your level was only improved by thirty and she went to seventy-five?"

Jill's mouth opened to answer his question, but the moment she actually thought about it, the less sense it made. Three people with an average level of sixty-five between them couldn't beat a level 60 elite mourg; while a level 29 warrior empowered up to 59 for only a minute could compete pretty evely with a level seventy-five elite fly queen mourg.

"Excellent idea," Sactsi said, suddenly coming up behind and making both jump in surprsie rather horribly. "Lolidra, care to explain?"

Every pair of eyes moved to look at the short, shining woman. Her eyes briefly went to Sactsi's distorted form, then back to her steaming cup of hot cocoa. "If you would like me to." She took a tentative sip, sighed and nodded in agreement with the temperature of her drink, then took a larger drink. This continued for another ten seconds before Allysa snapped.

"Tell us!" she shouted, stomping her foot and creating a miniature crater along with a slight boom.

The cup suddenly flew from Lolidra's hand and hit the ten year old in the side of the head, although it did not do any apparent damage. "Alright, alright," Lolidra said. She sat on destroyed wall, her legs crossed and hands in her lap. "Jill managed to create her character at the best time possible, because she gained Gradus Finis."

The other level hundreds all began saying something—aside from Xison who probably didn't want to have to breathe in enough air to do so—Sactsi just kept nodding his head inside his hood, and everyone else looked at each other, shrugging and just plain confused. Thankfully, Allysa was the only hundred who was also confused, so not everyone felt left out.

"Excuse me," Nos said, stepping forward, "but what is this...Gradus Finis?"

"Yeah," Gless said. "What the f^# is Gradiddily F^#?"

"Yes..." Lolidra gave a short nod. "Gradus Finis basically allows the player to fight more evenly with others. Elite statuses or gap of levels won't matter sometimes. It makes those fighting the player do badly. It's a powerful ability, something that's only given out randomly."

"Jill's lucky," Arkhayriel said. "Anyone doing solo work would benefit greatly from Gradus Finis."

"So," Yvaun said, "this Gradus Finis will let Jill fight like she's several levels higher?"

"Essentially..." Lolidra said, already with another cup of cocoa in her hands, taking a sip, "no. It gives her more luck. In her battle with the mourg, most likely Wittadora was just surprised. No amount of power will overcome surprise."

"Jill Iian will have more luck with many things," Sactsi said.

"Why did I get this?" Jill asked, interrupting everyone's conversations.

The Celestian Valkyrie sipped at her cocoa. "It's decided randomly by a computer while people are creating their characters." Sip. "I've only ever met three others to have it." Sip. "A cleric, who participated in the Battle of Titans," sip, "and a thief who could steal anything she wanted."

"Who's the third?" Rayden asked, his voice the only thing as more and more sunlight beamed out across everyone, having finally gotten to Sactsi' short body.

"Lolidra, who's the third?" Arkhayriel echoed when the warrior said nothing.

Siiiiiip. "Yamma."

Jill sighed heavily before anyone could make a single noise. "Why am I not surprised?" she asked loudly. "That guy has got the best of everything."

"Not that it really matters," Yvaun said, "but why do so few people get Gradus Finis?"

"Lolidra said it's random," Musky said. "And there a toooon of people who play Second Earth. You'd be lucky to meet even five people with this thing."

A stomp that made Allysa's look like a book hitting the ground shattered the peacefulness of everything. Everybody jumped—except for the hundreds—and glanced over at Lolidra who had finished her drink and now standing.

"Enough of this chit-chat," she said, her voice low but still loud enough for everyone to hear. Allysa edged away from her while Sactsi started to whistle. "I have things I want to do in real life. Jill!" she yelled, pointing a silver-clad finger at the wood elf, "meet me here this afternoon. We'll fly down to Dumont and start your training." She turned around, and in a cloud of dust disappeared, logging off abruptly.

"Okaaaay," Che Xan said. "She's a little pissy."

"Being Lolidra is a tiring act," Sactsi said. "Ignore it all. Jill Iian," he said, turning to face her, "find green pastures beyond the battle field. Here I go." He too suddenly disappeared, which led to the other level hundreds logging off as well.

"Guess you better go as well," Nos said. "Just give me Tigger's temporary ownership before you do." Jill glaned at him, then back at the newly dented ground and demolished wall. Slowly, she began nodding.

"Yeah, Nos, yeah," she said, smiling up at him. "I hope we run into each other again!"


Aaaaaaaand there's the end of the battle. I did kinda throw the Gradus Finis thing in there. After all, I was thinking, why could Jill fight Wittadora that easily?

Didn't make sense, sooooooo Hello Gradus Finis!

It's not that powerful. Wittadora just mostly surprised at Jill's sudden increase in level. Plus, Wittadora was barely damaged. If the fight had continued, the cute little warrior princess would have been defeated rather easily...I think...

And I apologize about the shortness of this chapter. I just don't want to give away anything from the next chapter. Anyways, thanks for reading! Ta-ta!