Author's Note:

1, I do not own any of the characters (with the exception of, maybe,Akiko) or the world in the story; they belong to Clamp, Ruby Party, LiuMing Kuong, Obawa Miho, the creators of the series "Daria" (if there's a name, please tell me), and Squaresoft. This story is written purely for entertainment purposes.

2, I also do not own the Runes. The runes used in this story resemble the Anglo-Saxon Runes. Those who are interested can check this site out:http://www.earth-dancing.com/

3, Although both series are from Squaresoft, the Romancing Saga series is different from the Saga Frontier series.

4, Couplings that will appear in the story include S+S (from CCS) and Hayama+Sana (from Kinomoto no Omocha) (Moonclaw: "But this couple doesn'thave that many appearances in this story, do they?").

5, Things I have to clarify before this chapter goes on...

-Multius is the name of the realm for this story.

-Rosalia is one of the countries on Multius

-Obil and Crystiline are cities in Rosalia, Crystiline being the capital

-the Steppes of Galesah is right north of Rosalia, and Northpoint is the northernmost town on the same continent.

6, Finally, this is my first fanfic. Please do read and give me some comments on it.

Now, enjoy...
 
 

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Dear audience,

The following story took place on a land called Multius. Here, the people lived by the way set by ancient deities. To start the story from the beginning will take too long; in more recent terms, this story started with Saruin, the god of Destruction that was sealed into a deep sleep.One night, his minions led an ambush on a fortress named Isthmus. One of the survivors from this ambush was the son of the fortress' lord. He later discovered the reason behind the fall of Isthmus - the fortress was also where Saruin laid, and the minions planned to wake their master by shattering the Runic Seal. To prevent Saruin's awakening, the lord's son needed at least three shamans, whom each carried the ability of the three gods who ministered the power of the Runic Seal. During his journey, the lord's son found three shamans who would aid him and, eventually, all the missing pieces of the seal.

Then something went amiss when they tried to repair the Seal. Asthe Runic Seal was restored, a curse felt upon the three shamans and the Runic Seal shattered into pieces instead. During all this, the lord's son gave off his own life ether as a desperate attempt to save the shamans. Although he succeeded in saving their lives, he lost traces of them and his own life was in jeopardy.

This story took place two years after this incident. Saruin was truly awaken, and fiends roamed everywhere on the Land of Multius under his command. Rumors about Saruin's army leaving towns and settlements in ruins spread everywhere. Meanwhile, people learnt about the shattering of the RunicSeal; wizards and mages set off in search of the pieces of the Seal.....

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The Rune Seekers

by Jia Li Labyrinth

Chapter 1

Wandering Exorcist

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"Umm.... It looks peaceful here." In the middle of the plains near Crystilinelies a worn-out paved road. By the road stood a short haired girl, holding an optic device and scanning the surrounding. After a long silence, the girl jumped onto her carriage and started the two horses pulling it.

"This sure doesn't look like a place where monsters will appear. Could my sources be wrong?"

A magnificent-looking city came into sight. As the carriage enters the gates, the gatekeepers stopped it.

"Akiko!" said one of the guards. "You're capturing mirages out there again?"

"I came here for my father's business as well," replied the girl, "But now that you've mentioned it, I could use a chaperon. So far no one volunteered for the job, though. Maybe you can accompany me out there..."

"You know well enough that's not what I meant! How would your father think of all this - a girl wandering in the wilderness all alone, where she's exposed to danger?!"

Akiko only gave a discerned humph. "My father wasn't that much of an obedient child himself when he's at my age. Besides, he doesn't get as paranoid as you do."

"You should still be cautious about all those field trips," another voice replied from behind the carriage. "Crystaline is protected by divine power that will hold the monsters away, but that doesn't guarantee thes uburb more than five miles away to be safe."

Akiko sensed the familiarity of the voice and looked back. A brunette girl with eyeglasses walked towards her.

"Daria! You're back from home so soon?"

"That place can't keep me long."

"There you go again," Akiko said coyly. "What's so bad about Obil anyways? I personally find the town a pleasant place. You just have to make everything sound so miserable and depressing."

"Nice technique. Diverting attention from your behavior to my shortcoming. But there's still the monsters out there," Daria replied in her monotone fashion.

"Come on," Akiko said. "Get in the carriage. I'll gave you a lift to your apartment."

Daria climbed into the carriage and the carriage moved slowly through the streets.

Daria: "Still searching for the Bartha Fiends?"

Akiko: "Oh! It has been so disappointing. I received news that..."

Daria: "You mean 'rumors'..."

Akiko: "Whatever. They said that some monsters are lurking in Rosalia now, so I went and took my shot out there. Came back empty handed."

Daria: "I won't be surprised. Compared with all the other countries, Rosalia has always been free from demons. And what makes you think those monsters are the Bartha Fiends?"

Akiko: "I have to take my chances! I might get the perfect mirage out of it." She then stood up. "My dream is to become the Number One mirage collector. To achieve that goal, I had been searching for these Bartha Fiends as long as I remember."

Daria: "Yes. I have heard that only for a thousand times. Many people suffered as a result of those monsters and fiends in Multius. What makes you so eager to get into danger anyways? ....Here's my stop." She got off from the carriage. "I suppose you've already heard of that other rumor as well, knowing your fanatic passion for stuffs like this..."

Akiko turned with a flash in her eyes, "What other rumor?"

Daria: "You haven't heard? Now that's new... An exorcist is coming..."

Akiko: "Yes, I heard of that..."

Daria: "His name is Li Syaoran, as I recalled..."

Akiko: "Li Syaoran?! (Serious) The mysterious sorcerer that roamed around the world recently ?!"

Daria: "Maybe.... As I said, it's a rumor...." She looked around. "Well, I won't keep you waiting in front of the doorsteps, else my landlord will come complaining about the horse's smell."

"Hey! Daria!" Akiko shouted to Daria, whom was just about to turn and leave. "What are you going to do, then, if you're not staying at Obil? Concentrate on your apprentice job in the Temple of Nissa?"

Daria: "Yeah yeah...," she waved her hand to signal Akiko's departure. "Go. The landlord doesn't look happy."

Akiko: "Okay... Bye!" She whipped the rein and took off with the carriage.

On her way, Akiko was occupied with her own thought. "Li Syaoran...from an ancient sorcerer family in Northpoint. Some even said he's involved with Albert of Isthmus - son of Rudolf of Isthmus and leader of the 'RuneSeekers' two years ago..." After much reflecting, Akiko, staring atthe sky, made a pledge:

"I WILL get Li Syaoran's mirages, no matter what it takes! This is my mission as one who is to become the No. 1 mirage collector!!!" (And look, there's ocean waves breaking behind her as well...)

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In the middle of the green steppes of Galesah stood the village of the nomadic tribe - the Tarrar tribe. The men are busy tending the herds while the women brushed around with their cooking and tanning. Some children helped the adults while others played carefreely among the tents. In one of the tents sat an old man and a teenage boy. They sat facing each other across the fire that dimly lit the tent.

"Li Syaoran the exorcist?" A lean yet sturdy old man asked, as he looked at the boy sitting across the fire.

"Yes..." The boy answered dimly.

"I believe my granddaughter has explained why you're here."

"I heard from Aisha," the boy said, "that there has been signs of fiends lurking on the steppes, though there's no concrete evidence or eyewitness account for that..."

"Good, then I'll get right to the point," said the old man, as he reached for the teapot that hung over the fire. "You want some tea?"

"No thank you," replied the boy.

The old man poured some water into his own cup. "Prince Neidhart from Crystaline came here, personally, to tell us that the aura in this area is altering in a strange way, but at this stage nothing obvious can be concluded. Nevertheless, as chief of the Tarrars, I have to take precaution. Some of the adventurers we came across with recommended you to investigate the phenomena here."

"Why do you have to hire another exorcist when Neidhart is concerned with this as well?" asked the boy. "I was under the knowledge that Rosalia is a powerful sovereign. Surely with the Prince's support no harm can befall the Tarrars."

"Oh, Sir Li," the old man sighed. "You don't know the political muddle we have with Rosalia." The chief sipped his tea and continued, "We don'tknow how long this business will take, that's why we will settle you here and take care of your accommodations for the time being. First thing you should do, perhaps, is scout this area, then we can see if there's anything else that needs to be done."

"Sounds plausible to me," the boy replied.

"Good~~~" the old chief slapped his laps. "That's all I have to say for now. They should have your things moved to your tent already. Have a good rest tonight. Tomorrow Aisha will guide you around and tell you the details of our trouble."

Then a red-haired girl, seemly the same age as the boy, came in. "Aisha, take Sir Li to his tent."

The girl obeyed and led the boy through the village. On their way, the Tarrars looked at the boy with curiosity, some whispering to each otheras they watched the chief's granddaughter leading the exorcist.

They reached a small tent at the corner of the village. The girl lifts the cover and lit the torch inside the tent.

"You don't mind my people," Aisha turned to Syaoran smilingly. "Lots of travelers who have to go through the prairies stopped by our place,and you have been quite a celebrity out there."

"...Oh..." quite unable to find the right reply, Syaoran only shrugged.

"Well, here's your stuff. If there's anything else you need, just come and tell me or Grandpa." The girl turned to leave. "I wish you good luck, for whatever turns out tomorrow."

"Same to you," replied Syaoran as Aisha walked away. He then turned to inspect the tent. It's a small tent supported by a wooden pole in the center. The floor is bare, and a fireplace was dug on the ground near one corner of the tent. Across the fireplace was a straw bed covered with a tapestry. On the straw bed laid his backpack.

Syaoran opened his backpack and took out his things. There's a cylinder made of bamboo that stored all his talismans. He fiddled more to see if there's anything else he can use for tomorrow's scouting, then he came across a soft, stuffy object. He pulled it out for inspection.

It was a pink and rather tattered-looking teddy bear with a pair of wings. Syaoran cannot recall where or when he get this teddy bear; however,just looking at it gave him a warm feeling that he could not name.

After staring the teddy bear for a few minutes, Syaoran took a deep sigh and put the teddy bear back to the backpack. He put out the torch fire and lay down on the straw bed. "Get some rest, Li Syaoran. You'll need it for tomorrow."

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The next morning, two persons mounted on horses stood in the midst of the steppe, which is dyed red by the dusk sun.

"We have ran into monsters many times," said Aisha. "But that doesn'tget in the way of our grazing. Recently, however, not even our cattle will approach this area. Every time we reach here, they start panicking and wouldn't move on."

"As if they sensed something here?" said Syaoran. "Animals do have such intuition."

Syaoran and Aisha kept on scanning their surrounding. "We haven't been able to find anything new for the past two weeks," said Syaoran. "How long has this been?"

"Months!" replied Aisha. "This is so frustrating! Especially when you know there is something wrong, if only we know WHAT it is."

There was a long silence, till Syaoran asked, "May I ask you something?"

"What?"

"Why didn't the Tarrars accept help from Rosalia when Neidhart offered it?"

"Neidhart has always wanted his authority over the Galesah; the steppeshas military significance for Rosalia. Grandpa doesn't feel comfortable of the idea, though," then an expression of glee went over Aisha's face,"although Neidhart HAS saved my life before, and he is a REAL gentleman."

"....." Syaoran somehow found the conversation becoming irksome. Then,his heart trumped in an uncomfortable way.

"Sir Li?" Aisha, seeing Syaoran's expression tighten suddenly, asked with concern. "Are you o.....," but before she finished, Aisha turned around with alert.

"Aisha, you sensed something, too?"

"Shhh~~~" Aisha hushed Syaoran and sank into deep concentration. "Did you hear that?"

"Huh...?"

"Something is going that way." Aisha point to a mountain ridge that stood near the horizons of the steppe.

"Do you know what it is?" Syaoran asked, but Aisha only shook her head."Well, now is the time to check it out, then..." After that, both of them took off towards the ridge.

As they got closer, they started to hear a beast howling.

"This doesn't sounds like any of the beasts or monsters I have encountered on this steppe!" said Aisha.

Syaoran looked tentatively ahead. Then his eyes caught sight of something."It looks like a buffalo, but from this distance, I reckon it being somewhat larger."
 
 

Meanwhile, a boy ran feverishly on the grassland, "Ahh~~~ This time I'm really through!"

Behind him is a bull-like creature with dirt-like skin texture (or is it the beast is made of dirt?) The beast's green fur can practically be taken as grass and plants growing from the bull's skin. This bulky beast of four meters height has a surprisingly swift dexterity, and is now pursuing the boy; of course, this is also the same beast that Syaoran took as a"buffalo".

"Damn it!!! I have to do somethi.... Huhhh~~~?!" The beast gave outa roar towards the sky, which then started waves that spread in spherical directions. The grass were twirled and pulled into the sky, while the strong pulses of the waves swapped the boy forward.

Syaoran and Aisha had just reached close enough to have a good lookof the beast. "Oh my god..." Aisha could only exclaimed at the sight ofthe peculiar looking creature. At the same time, the boy fell hard on the ground that was within yards from Syaoran and Aisha. "There's someone there!!"Syaoran noted.

"I'll go help him," being the more experienced horseman, Aisha volunteered."Cover me, Master Li."

She slashed the rein and the horse sprinted towards the boy, while Syaoran took out his sword and talisman, chanting,

"In the order of the Jade Emperor, from the divines of the Four Seas..."

As the horse ran by the boy, Aisha reached down and grabbed him up, just in time for the horse to turn back and run away from the mad beast.

"Ji ji ru liu ling, come to my aid - Spirit of Thunder!!" At this, electric bolts were released from Syaoran's talisman, all of them hitting the bull-looking beast.

Although temporarily stunned, the beast's anger was fueled by the electric bolts; it gave out another roar. This time, even Syaoran and Aisha could feel the vibrations of the sonic wave.

The pulses basically brushed Aisha forward. As she rode pass Syaoran, Syaoran shouted to her, "Get the kid and yourself to somewhere safe! I'll handle this monster from now on."

"Be careful," leaving that, Aisha's horse continued to dash away.

Syaoran took out another talisman and chanted again, while the beastcharged towards him.

"Swallow my foe in front of me - Lord of Flame!!!" Flame rose around the exorcist and charged towards the creature, and before they reached their target, the creature stopped and roared again. The sonic waves collided with the flame and crushed them into millions of fire crumbs.

The fire crumbs scattered in all directions, and Aisha was doing herbest to avoid them. "Ah~~! Sir Li!!"

"It can repel my spell with its roar?! HUH~~??" Just when Syaoran saw what happened in astonishment, his horse was startled by the fire crumbs and jerked backwards. "Ahh~~!" Syaoran, who nearly lost his balance, tried to grab hold of the rein.

"Sir Li! Let's get out of here!"

"But... Oh~~~!!" Before Syaoran finished his sentence, the beast gave out another roar. The pulse nearly slipped his horse over. Syaoran coulddo nothing but turn away and run.

He soon caught up with Aisha, and the beast was after them both.

"What should we do now?" Aisha asked Syaoran. "If you know some way to defeat this thing, do say it now, 'cuz I have none!"

Syaoran: "Neither do I, but there is no way we can hide from that on a steppe!"

Aisha: "Maybe there is. Follow me! I know this one place where it can't get us."

They galloped and the beast chased, until the riders saw a mountain ridge rising from the horizons of the steppe. Aisha led Syaoran into one part of the ridge that appeared to be a ravine.

"There!" said Aisha. "This place is too narrow to fit that fella in."

Unfortunately, the beast charged into the ravine nevertheless. When it couldn't get in the first time, it rammed its body at the opening ofthe ravine again and again. The collision between the beast and the opening was starting to cause the walls on both sides to crack.

"This guy's gone berserk!" Syaoran yelled while the horses continued galloping, "Obstructions doesn't seem to bother him!"

The beast had been able to shove half of its body into the ravine. It gave out another howl as if to release its frustration.

"Shoot!" said Syaoran. "Get your horse to go faster, Aisha."

The waves shattered the walls of the ravine, gusting sands and pieces of stone into the air. At the same time, bigger pieces of earth that still remained on the wall started to slide and fall into the ravine. The two riders tried their best to dodge the falling pieces of earth, but a huge chunk of earth slid in front of them, blocking their escape. Syaoran's horse got startled again, causing Syaoran to lose his balance and fall onto the ground. Aisha's horse trotted near the chunk of earth as if trying to find a way pass.

"We'll be buried alive, if this goes on..." Said Syaoran, who starred challengingly at the earth flood that was running down into the path behind them.

Then the landslide lowered its speed and brought up a mist of sand.It was not until all the sand sunk when Syaoran and Aisha realized that the landslide had stopped.

"Tsk! All the fuss I had then! That stupid beast!" Syaoran complained defiantly and dropped his head onto the ground.

"Phew!!" said Aisha, "That is a really, really close one."

"Where's that beast?" Syaoran got up and walked up to the piles of earth that now turned the ravine into a valley. "Is he dead?" He was beginning to climb up the pile, "He couldn't have buried himself in the land slide, could he?"

"Forget about it for now, Sir Li!" Aisha came after him. "I don't hear him breathing. Maybe he IS dead. It looks like this boy here is badly wounded. I think we should bring him back to the village first. And we have to tell Grandpa about this."

At this, Syaoran was reminded about the boy who was chased by the beast, now unconscious in Aisha's arms.

"How bad is it?" ask Syaoran.

"He's knocked out... I think he'll be okay with enough rest, though."

"Good," said Syaoran. "Let's head back to the village now. Don't know if there will be more landslide coming."

"Right... Oh oh! I think we can have the horses climb over this spot here..."

After they got themselves out of the ravine and trotted away from the ridge, Syaoran looked back at the ridge in deep thought. This is not over yet, he somehow felt so.

To be continued......

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Author's corner

Jia Li: Hello! I'm Jia Li Labyrinth, the rookie author,

Moonclaw: And I'm Moonclaw, her dragon familiar.

Jia Li: YES~~~~!!!!! The first chapter is done (man, do I sound pathetic...)This piece really is trash that needs to be thrown out of my head.

Moonclaw: Let's see here... In this fanfic, we've got five cartoons and one game...

Jia Li: All right! All right! I admit it's not wise of me to put so many pieces into one crossover... Oh~~~~ I'm not ever sure if I can finish. Okay. Back to business. The story took place in the world of RomancingSaga 1.

Moonclaw: That's a game as old as fossil...

Jia Li: (glare) It's my favorite game - that's all it matters. (Back to normal) Anyhow, after every chapter, this is where I will talk about the story...

Moonclaw: And throw in some nags as well...

Jia Li: That all there is for the first chapter. Second chapter on the road now...(sob). Read and Review please - this is my first time, after all.

Moonclaw: See you next time!
 

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