Chaz was looking up at the starry night sky. It seemed so huge from
where he sat, on top of the newly constructed satellite dish. The
structure had been built a few months after the conflict with the
Profound Darkness, in order to better monitor the effects of the
weather controlling systems. Chaz knew he shouldn't be up here, but he
loved the unobstructed view it gave him of the heavens.
"Chaz!" a familiar voice called out. "Chaz, where are you?"
It was Rika coming from the tent they had set up. It had been ages
since Chaz had been camping, not since he was being trained by. . .
No, Chaz thought, it's best to leave the past where it is - behind. He
had a whole new future to plan now, a new life to live.
"Chaz. . . Oh, there you are," Rika said. "What are you doing up
"Just looking at the stars," he replied.
"Why don't you just use the telescope Demi brought us?" Rika asked.
Rika wouldn't understand yet. She still had much to learn about the
real world and how to experience life. Seed had been a good teacher to
her, but it had not been able to teach her about how to live life. It
was a task that Chaz was looking forward to.
"Come on up," Chaz called to Rika. "I want you to see this."
Rika climbed up the service ladder attached to the North side of the
dish's stand. Chaz had to help her up the wide lip of the dish, and
Rika seemed to be a little afraid of heights.
"What's so special up here?" Rika asked Chaz.
"Lie down and look up," Chaz instructed her.
She did so, and immediately gasped. "Oh, Chaz! It's so beautiful up
here. I think I can even see Zelan from here!"
Chaz felt like a proud father teaching his child how to walk. He
loved to see the wonder in Rika's eyes at the simplest things in the
world. He also loved being with her as she experienced those things.
Yet, something inside him felt incomplete. Chaz couldn't put his
finger on it, but it felt as if there was something he had yet to do.
What it could be, he didn't know. He had saved Algo by defeating the
Profound Darkness, he had worked through his loss of Alys. But he
still felt that something was missing, unfinished.
A group of clouds began to move over the sky, slowly at first, but
then faster and faster.
"Rika, I think there may be a storm coming," Chaz explained. "We had
better get back inside the tent."
"Ohh," Rika moaned in disappointment, "I wish I could stay out here a
little longer. I almost spotted Dezolis!"
Chaz felt a twinge of guilt for having to rob Rika of her joy, but
those clouds looked ominous.
"We'll come out here tomorrow night," Chaz offered.
They started down the ladder just as the rain began to come down.
Rika was halfway down the ladder when a loud thunder clap boomed.
"Ahhh!" she screamed, and lost her balance.
"Rika!" Chaz shouted, but it was too late. Rika was falling, sure to
be killed upon impact.
"Chaz. . ." Rika shouted, and then stopped. Chaz couldn't see her,
but he knew that she must be dead. He rushed down the ladder and
looked around. He saw Rika's limp body laying in the mud around the
dish. Chaz felt for a pulse, but it was slow and shallow. She was
still breathing, but only barely. He knew she would die if she didn't
get medical attention right away, but there were no medical facilities
"Ryuka!" Chaz shouted, and was instantly transported to the village of
Krup. Chaz ran to Saya's house and knocked furiously on the door.
After a minute, the door opened and Saya appeared standing in her
"Chaz, what. . ." Saya stopped. "Oh, my god, Rika. . . Hurry, bring
They came in and Chaz set her on the bed. Saya looked Rika over and
slowly looked at Chaz.
"I'm sorry, Chaz," she said. "There's nothing I can do. Rika is
holding on to life, but just barely. She probably won't last through
Chaz didn't hear the words, though. It was as if he was watching the
whole scene from somewhere far away. Rika couldn't be dying, she
couldn't! Then, Chaz found himself in darkness. He couldn't see
anything, not even himself.
"Do you want her to live?" a voice called out of the darkness. Chaz
was confused. Of course he wanted her to live, what kind of question
"Then you must survive the trial ahead of you," the voice responded.
Trial? What did the voice mean by trial?
"You have slaughtered many, Chaz Ashley, both good and evil. The
balance of your actions must now be weighed. If you are found guilty,
you will die, and she will die. If you are exonerated, then I you will
both live. Do you accept the trial?"
What choice did he have? To save Rika, he would face the Profound
Darkness all over again by himself.
"No, Chaz, you will not be alone in your struggle," the voice
responded. "You will not be alone, at all. . ."