Cid and the other squad's medics were tending to the wounded as best as they could. That left Blade, Nerphy, and I to fight with the other Soldeirs. We were defending our sector, although poorly. Our sector was located at the edge of a lake. The Ranions were crossing the lake. Even though they were exposed to us and had no cover, we were still losing because the Ranions outnumbered us one to four. Around the lake was a forest of eighty two foot tall trees. Who knew within the hour those trees would be my savier?

"Nerphy! Shades!" Blade yelled, warning us about the six Ranions that came out of the lake. Mine and Nerphy's backs were turned, we didn't see the Ranions creeping up on us. But Blade did. On instinct I turned around to face my enemies. I shot off five ShadowArrows, three of which had struck down the Ranions. Blade took down two enemies with his Sword. Nerphy zero. And he was the one with the best weapon out of the three of us.

"Get your head in the field!" I snapped at Nerphy.

Nerphy grumbled at me in response.

I turned my attention back to the battle. The Ranions were gaining up on Blade. I shot Arrow after Arrow. Nerphy actually killing an enemy one in three kills I do. But no matter how fast Nerphy and I killed Ranions, Blade was still surronded by Ranions everywhere. There was no escape for Blade. But Blade could take care of himself. After all, he wasn't completely alone. That doesn't mean I would leave a member of my squad behind willingly. I watched in horror as Blade was shot down by two Ranions. With Blade down, hopefully just unconscious, it was just Nerphy and I left in our squad. The Ranions were more focused on us. Nerphy lost his head when he saw Blade go down. If he continued to stand there he was going to get himself killed. I backhanded him, bringing him into focus.

"What was that for Shades?" Nerphy growled at me.

"Focus!" Was my reply. There wasn't time to say anything else.

I turned back to the Ranions, there was too many of them. We would have to retreat. But where? We were completely surronded. Or. . .

I grabbed Nerphy's weapon and chucked it unto the highest branch of the tree he was standing by. His mouth opened in suprise but didn't have time when I hoisted him up over my shoulder. I shimmied up the tree-with Nerphy and my ShadowBow on my shoulders while avoiding shots from the Ranions. When we got to the highest branch I threw Nerphy off of my shoulders. His back slammed against the trunk of the tree.

"What-?" Nerphy starts to say.

I silenced Nerphy,

"There's plenty of enough cover for us here. The sun is setting now, they won't see us very well. It'll be dark soon."

Just as I had said that, instant pain flared up in my upper shoulder. It was not from hauling Nerphy's ass either. Okay then maybe we didn't have as much cover from the Ranions as I had originally thought. I steered my head to get a closer look at the location of my pain. It was only a flesh wound, nothing life threatning.

"Plenty of cover huh?" Nerphy mocks me.

Even when I was injured he had to be mocking everything I did. More weapon fire was aimed in our direction. I attempted to set up my ShadowBow but pain kept shooting up in my shoulder, making it nearly impossible to aim properly. Nerphy's weapon was at my feet. I chucked it at his face. Nerphy caught his weapon in mid-air. His face looked questionably at me, as though he has no clue what to do.

"SHOOT!" I yelled at Nerphy. "YOU WANT TO DIE UP HERE?!"

"No. . . " Nerphy trailed off.

He held his weapon and began shooting his weapon. While he was doing this, I was patching up my shoulder. With my shoulder on the mend with the aid of fast-healing drugs, I could fight with my ShadowBow. Now that I was back in the fight the enemie's numbers were slowly dwindling. After all it was just myself. . . with Nerphy.

Then things went bad.

A Ranion's lucky shot hit me on my left side. I didn't know it had happened until I saw Nerphy's expression of shock. I placed a hand to my right side. I felt my blood sweep unto my palm. I was loosing blood fast. Next thing I knew I was on my back, gazing at Nerphy, who was attempting to fix me up to no avail. There was no more medicine left. The drugs I had taken for my shoulder were gone. My body was shaking. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't stop shaking. The shaking and chills kept getting worse. The more seconds went by the more clamy and cold encoursed throughout my body.

My eyes felt like the heaviest weights ever, it was getting harder and harder to stay conscious. Nerphy slapped my face.

"You have to stay awake, Shades."

I tried to speak but my voice wouldn't come. Nerphy was still searching frantically in his belt for gauze and pain-relieving drugs. Unfortunately, there was none. The closest medicine was Cid, who was fully equipped for this type of situation. The pain in my side hurt twenty times worse than my shoulder.

Why couldn't I have saved the drugs for a real emergency? Like now?

I looked up, Nerphy's face was grim. This wasn't good.

I was laid out on the limb of the tree we were in. My arms were spread out, my legs closed together. I attempted to smile at Nerphy, to lighten the mood.

"I don't hurt that much anymore, Nerphy."

Nerphy looked at me sympathetically, like I was drifting away or something horrible like that.

Why was I feeling warm inside? Yet still cold as ice. . .

"Nerphy, are you freezing? I'm really cold inside." My voice came out as a soft moan.

Nerphy stayed silent.

It was dark now and the battle below us was still raging on. The only good news was that all of the enemies by our tree were slaughtered. Slaughtered by Nerphy and I. The bad news was it was too dangerous to go back to our camp. The worst part was I was slowly bleeding out. Nerphy said that my face was stark white. I felt the perspiration drench my temples. Nerphy was doing his best to keep me alive. But without drugs, I knew at the rate I was bleeding I wouldn't last the night.

Nerphy applied gauze to my side. The bleeding seemed to slowly staunch the bleeding. Nerphy had the look of defeat on his face, I was still bleeding. He picked me up. A whole new rush of agony filled within me. I groaned. Nerphy apologized as he set me down closer to the trunk. He leaned against the trunk. He held me in his arms like I was a helpless child. I felt like I was a helpless, dying pet. If Blade or Nerphy was doing this I wouldn't mind. Why was Nerphy the one that was going to watch me bleed out? At least I wouldn't die alone. . .

"There's nothing else I can do," Nerphy pointed out the obvious. His face was now dark and sorrowful. We locked eyes for a long while. Then Nerphy's hand brushed by my wound. More fiery, burning pain encoursed my body. To my dismay I uttered a pittiful whimper. Nerphy pulled his hand back.

Time passed. Neither of us knew what to say. . .

"The good news is that the bleeding has finally stopped," Nerphy broke the silence. I could tell that he was holding something back.

My voice came out as a croak,

"What's the bad news?"

Nerphy wouldn't reply. I knew from the look upon his face that he wasn't ready to tell me.

"What's the bad news?" I repeated, with more emphasis.

Nerphy brushed a strand of my hair out of my eyes. I was to weak to glare at him. I was now aware of something wet penetrating my clothes. A corner of my eye saw what it was. My blood. I had created a small pile of my own blood on Nerphy's lap. My eyes were about to close from shear exhaustion. This time Nerphy didn't stop me.

"Shh. . . " Nerphy whispered. "Its okay to sleep now."

In my dreams I saw my brother.


I still remember that night quite clearly. How Nerphy held me close, making sure I would survive the night. When daylight came Nerphy carried me all the way back to our camp, I was still unconscious at that time. It took me a few days to finally wake up completely. About a week later I had recovered from my wound. Nerphy saved my life.

And he was planning on saving my life again.

"How do you propose on getting me out of here?" I asked Nerphy.

Nerphy shrugged. "I have a few tricks up my sleeve."

With that, Nerphy pulled me against his body and pressed his lips against mine. He pulled away after a second, I had barely enough time to register what was happening.

"Go with it, just trust me, Shades."

He kissed me again. Longer this time. His lips were soft and smooth against mine. And so. . . then all of the sudden I felt a pin prick of pain on the back of my neck. I pushed Nerphy away from me. I touched my neck, I looked at my fingers, which were splattered with drops of my blood. I glared furiously at Nerphy.

"What was THAT NERPHY?!" I bellowed.

My legs then gave way and I tumbled to the floor.