We seperated, pushing through the frantic scene. I was confused; what had happened? What was going on? My heart racing, I plunged through a cloud of inky black smoke, screams calling me that way. Coughing, the thick smoke clogged my lungs and made my eyes water. Fire still licked hungrily at me, trying to catch onto my annoying gown.

 I came upon the place of frantic calls, a few limp bodies scattered like dolls here and there. A young woman was weeping over one of them, pulling at her hair and shreiking toward the sky. Sadness flooding me, I knelt at her side, her dress charred and face unrecognizable as it was masked by ash. "Is he dead?" I rapidly asked, trying to feel for something of a pulse. I answered my own question; the man was nearly cold with lack of life. She only sobbed harder, as I attempted to convince her to leave him, though she pulled herself closer. Exasperated, I went to the others to check them. One man moaned as I placed my hands upon him, his eyes flickering open.

 "Come help me!" I called to the woman, though she did not appear to hear or want to hear, hiding her face against the dead man. I suddenly realized the edge of my skirt had caught fire, flames crawling closer and closer, threatening to bite my skin. Swearing, I stood, stripping my dress from me and tossing it away so I only wore the scant, white underdress. I panted, anxiety thudding through my veins as I wished I had taken one of the men with me to help carry this man as the wall of fire began to grow larger.

 Gritting my teeth, I slung the man over my shoulder, his heaviness almost bringing me to my knees. I wobbled under his intense wieght, taking each step slowly so that I did not fall over. I slipped my left hand out, grabbing the woman by her hair and pulling at it. She snapped to attention, falling onto her back. "Come! Or you yourself with die!" I snarled. The woman stood, grabbing the body and dragging it behind her. Anger flaired inside me; it was worthless to take him! Help me with the live man!

Finally I made it far enough out of the flames, collapsing as I dropped the man as gently as I could to the ground. There was not much I could do to him at the time, so I left the woman in their charge and went back to help more. I looked around, unsure of where to go.

"Give me the ring," 

I jumped, whirling around. The old man from before stood in front of me, smoke flitting around him like a skirt as his indigo blue eyes sparkled and crackled. I fumbled for my dagger, hidden in my underdress.  "No," was all I could reply.

He smiled, "Your motley crew of fools expect to catch me? You think you can defy me without conseqence? Take things that aren't yours and call me the criminal...?"

My dagger at hand, I lunged at him, preparing to sink my dagger in his flesh. Laughter filling his eyes, his form disappeared like smoke, swirling out of sight. I fell to the ground, my chest heaving, as I continued to choke on the poison smoke. 

"Arien?" Lace familiar's voice came, his hand grasping around my arm and helping me up. "Are you alright?" He for a moment glanced at my underclothes, blackened with soot, and could not help coloring, but I was to tired and wound up all at the same time to mind (though I could not help being thankful it was not Rerin who found me instead).

I nodded briefly, almost too out of breath to reply, "Yes. There is a man and a woman who need some help. They are currently out of danger, but the man is hurt. And....there is also a body."

Lace cringed, but continued, "They can wait for now. Jevin needs our help to find Odael. No one can find were she has gone off to."

I swallowed, my stomach knotting. I had just met Ukaor, whether it had been his illusion or truly him, and worried if he happened upon Odael yet.

The End

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