Starting A Destiny
by Nightshade

Part 7

Watts the Blacksmith

So they walked up to the lone door and knocked. An old dwarf with graying hair and bushy eyebrows opened the door. He looked at them, then gestured for them to come inside. Inside there was little in the way of furniture and supplies for everyday use - most objects had something to do with smithing. On the far wall were lined up a vast array of weapons and armor of every kind. A bed was in one corner, and opposite to it a small lava lake and a steel workbench near it led the pair to believe that the dwarves used the lava's heat to forge their creations.

Settling his eyes on Keven's sword, the old dwarf nodded in approval and said, "That sword's covered in so much rust, it'll break in no time."

"I know. I came here to see if anyone here can fix it." Keven replied.

"Then you came to the right place. My name's Watts, and I'm considered the best blacksmith in this village," blushingly he added, "And some say also in Mana, but I don't like to think of myself as that good."

Shrugging, Keven handed him the Sword. "Doesn't matter to me. Can you repair this?"

Watts took the blade and examined it. "Hmm... I think I can do something to it." He walked over to his workbench and laid down the Sword on it. "Yes sir. Whoever forged this was a master beyond my belief. There are devices on here that I have never seen before!... " He looked up at Keven and Leanne and smiled. "For you two, my price is 100 GP."

They looked at each other for a few moments. "It's your choice. It's your sword." Leanne said.

Thinking less than a second, Keven nodded. "You got a deal." Leanne counted out the money.

Watts worked quickly and efficiently on the sword, all the while talking. "I've never seen such a fine piece of work in my life. I hope I my skill is good enough one day to forge something like this." he then lifted it up for inspection, "There, good as new! If you ever need this sharpened again someday, come back here. I'll work on anything with this quality... hey?!" both the hammer and the Sword were glowing brightly.

The dwarf looked at them suspiciously. "I don't believe this! My hammer's glowing! It's never done that before, only now that I've worked on this blade... wait a minute," Watts glanced at them questioningly, "What is this sword's name?"

"Ask him." Leanne pointed to Keven.

Keven looked down at the ground. "Well... I doubt you'd believe me if I told you... "

"Try me. I've seen hundreds of blades in my life, and none come close to this one."

"It's the Mana Sword."

Watts' face shot up and studied them for a moment. "I... believe you. The Mana Sword?! To think I would see the day it would be revived!... "

"He couldn't help it. It chose him." said Leanne.

"I know that fact. The Sword is said to be sleeping until the end of time, when it will chose the next hero to save us all." he looked at Keven. "Sorry, but I didn't think a boy like you would be the Mana Knight." he then looked at his axe, which was now glowing very brightly. "I wonder if some of that sword's power went into my hammer... hmm. Come back in awhile. I'm going to try to make an axe." and he started to look for a piece of metal to work on.

"I think he's lonely," Leanne commented when they'd left the room, "For all the talking he did."

Keven examined his sword. "Maybe, but he's a nice guy, if you go by his work. Think we'll be in time to see a theater show?"

"I hope so. C'mon, hurry!"

Real or Fake?

They went into the only door in the village with two signs to the left of the door. The top one read Elder's Room, right while the other one said World Famous Exhibition, left. On the other side of the door they encountered two doors, just like the signs had implied. They flipped a gold piece and went to the right. The Elder, a dwarf with very white hair, kind face and a stooped back, greeted them warmly.

"Welcome, welcome! Have you been enjoying yourselves?" he smiled warmly and seemed to be in some sort of hurry.

"Yeah... " Keven was interrupted by the surprisingly eager dwarf.

"Yes? Ah, then that's good! Well, I would recommend a show next door. One's just about to start!" They thanked him and went out and into the left door.

A stage was to their right, as well as a podium. A man suddenly appeared on the stage, and he looked a lot like the Elder. When they asked him, he just denied it. "Me? I only run this place, here." he motioned his arms to the walls, "The show's just about to start. You can stay for only 50GP."

Keven took the money out and gave it. "I don't like this, Kev. Something's wrong." Leanne whispered.

"I know, so I figure we can find out what that is after we see this show." he whispered back. "Besides, a break is a nice change. So relax, you might not get to see this with Dyluck."

"Welcome to the world-famous theater! We have a few acts up this afternoon. Act 1: What do you get when you mix a Rabite with a man? A Rabiteman, of course!" a dwarf-sized person came out with a Rabite helmet on.

"This's so fake." Leanne murmured, but Keven only whistled and cheered. "How can you cheer at something that is so obviously fake?!" she whispered back.

Keven didn't look at her. "Just wait and see. I have an idea." Leanne only rolled her eyes as the show continued.

The Rabiteman had left the stage, and in his place was a tiny little child. The announcer acted eager as he continued his speech. "And now for our feature act: a real sprite child!"

A small, pink-haired being came out and did a front flip, back spin and a kick towards the onlookers. "Oh, you look like gentle people who may be able to help me. I have a 50,000GP debt, and I cannot go home to see my family until I pay it off. If you could help me, even in a little way, I would be grateful." it asked innocently, its eyes big and wide.

Keven couldn't help it. He pulled out a 50GP coin and tossed it to the small being. His eyes glistened as though he was about to cry. The sprite suddenly grew and took the money. "Thank you! You are most very kind. Thank you!" it must of said a few too many times for Leanne's disgusted ears, because she yelled at Keven when the show was over and they were outside.

"That was 100GP that we could've used somewhere else! I can't believe you're going to cry!"

Keven just looked at her calmly. "I like to think I'm a good actor myself, when I have to be. It is all part of my plan. Did you notice the Elder directed us to the theater, and the man there looked like him?"

"Yeah, so?"

"So during the show I noticed a passageway behind the announcer's stage. If we sneak behind there we should be able to find out if it's a scam or not."

And a scam it was. Keven had to put a hand over Leanne's mouth to quiet her rage as the sprite and Elder talked about the show. "This's great! I knew I was a great actor, but I didn't believe it when I saw the guy actually cry!" the sprite cried uproariously.

The Elder just smiled. "I know, little one, we're going to make a fortune!"

"Oh really?"

Keven stood a few feet from both of the con artists. Their faces made laughing almost impossible. The Elder looked from one to the other in horrification, and proceeded to give them their money back. "I'm sorry. I don't usually do this sort of thing, but I wanted to help this sprite get back home..."

"Hey old man, lighten up! It was only a joke." the sprite shrugged its shoulders as though the scam was nothing to be upset over.

The old man face was grim as he looked at the sprite. "If I apologize, then so do you." he spoke sternly.

"Fine. I apologize." it rolled its eyes and sighed.

Keven smiled, and felt like his part was done. "Thank you, and be seeing you."

Outside in the main area, Leanne laughed. "Their faces were so priceless!"

"But I have the feeling we haven't seen the last of that sprite." he announced darkly.


Suddenly there was an earthquake, and all the Dwarves took cover. "Tropicallo! Tropicallo's back!" they cried.

The earth in the middle of the main area opened and a plant-like creature with a spiky shell appeared. It looked at Leanne, who was leaning on Luka's spear for support.

"I want that spear!" it cried, then dug back into the ground. Several seconds later a vine wrapped around her left ankle and she was being pulled to the centre of the area. Keven cut the line. "I've got an idea." he said calmly.

"How can you be calm at a time like this?!" she yelled hysterically.

He ignored her. "The next time he comes up and opens his shell, nail him in the heart. I'll get the rear." and he ran off just as Tropicallo came up. "I'm going to tear this village apart! GIVE ME THAT SPEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!" it cried.

"Oh no you don't." taunted Leanne.

The monster turned towards her and opened his shell. We've got ya now! "Now!" she heard Keven cry. The fiend disintegrated into nothing after the sword and spear plowed into it. A funny-looking orb and a sack of gold was all that was left of the battle, not to mention Leanne's cut ankle.

Keven picked up the orb as Leanne healed her wound. "I think it's a Spear Orb." Seeing her puzzled face, he explained, "After you defeat some things, you get orbs. Orbs, when merged with a weapon, make that weapon stronger."

To Trust or Not To Trust

The Elder and the sprite rushed over from out of seemingly nowhere. "I have a proposal for you both... " the Elder started to speak, but Keven cut him off.

"Why should we trust you with anything? What's the scam this time?"

The old dwarf looked worn out and as though he had ran out of options. "I know that you don't trust me after the exhibit, and I wouldn't blame you. But you have my word and honour that what I have to say isn't a joke. Little one here's lost all his memories since the floods brought him here. Tropicallo broke out of a sealed place of power, which is more than likely the Underground Palace, since it's the only place that it could be... "

That last comment perked up Keven's interest. "What about the Palace? How do you get in there?"

Elder looked at him with slight humor. "I've never seen anyone so impatient to visit one of those places... they're said to be haunted by the Ancients. But, who am I to say, since I've never been to one of them?" He shrugged and glanced at the sprite, who was now jumping up and down to get the gathered's attention.

"I want to go! Let me go!" it wailed.

"No! It's too dangerous!" Elder almost shouted. The sprite stilled and became silent, and the Elder turned to Keven and Leanne. "You see, years ago Elinee the witch sealed up the Underground Palace with Ice Magic. There were monsters down there before, and there's sure to be more now. I don't have any magic skills, nobody in this village does, and if little one here does, he doesn't remember how to use them... the only way I can see of breaking the seal is to ask Elinee to remove the seal. She's turned cruel all of the sudden and there's been no reason at all. What happened to her I can only guess."

Leanne spoke up, "Don't I know! She's put a curse on Pandora!!!" she muttered in anger.

Elder looked at her in confusion. "It's not like Elinee to be doing that!... If you want my advice, you should visit her."

Keven nodded. "We were just on our way to do that after we came here."

The old dwarf looked surprised. "Oh? Well, you do seem like the adventuring types... will you please take little one with you? Maybe you could help him with getting back his memory." the note of desperation in the old voice didn't go unnoticed by Keven.

"What do you think?" Leanne asked Keven, a hint of fear was in her voice.

Probably the sprite won't get along with her, since their two of a kind. "Well, we were going to see the witch anyway, so why not." he shrugged as though the decision were nothing.

"Did you hear that?!" the Elder exclaimed joyfully. The sprite only nodded.

Elder then produced a boomerang and a bow with a quiver of arrows. "Here are two things that belong to the little one." the old man handed the items, the bow to Leanne, and the boomerang to Keven. "Now, take good care of yourselves and the little one! I believe I am forgetting something?... Ah, yes. Watts the blacksmith is looking for you. Got something to show you, or something like that... well, just give him a visit. Thank you, you are always welcome here to our village. We are in your debt always! Be seeing you!" and with that the Elder hurried off to his house, and Keven thought he heard the sound of a lock snapping shut.

"So, hey lady, where are we going?" the sprite asked Leanne.

Leanne looked furious. "My name is Leanne! You are SO rude! What's yours... twerp?"

"I guess so!" the sprite grinned mischievously

Keven grabbed the small being by the collar and looked him straight in the face. "I don't have time for any games, especially not by you. Now, tell us your real name, or I'll just have to get it out of you."

The sprite seemed to shake and gulped in pure fright. Leanne tried not to laugh at the sight. "My name is... um, is, ah, James." he replied shakily.

"James?" Keven asked skeptically.

"Yep, I remember being called that somewhere, but I can't remember. What's your name, cutie?" the fear was now replaced with a cocky attitude.

Yet Keven looked unfazed. "It's Keven, and I say we should go see Watts right about now." Leanne didn't argue, and James didn't have anywhere else to go. Both companions were wondering to themselves how they could put up with each other. All Keven could think about was how long he could keep his temper down.

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