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Chris 2.1
27th February 2005, 07:00 AM
Ok here is Monica's Vendetta.

Book 1 - Monica's Army
Book 2 - Monica's Revolution
Book 3 - Monica's Vendetta

These three fanfics make up The Monica Chronicles. Now we are back on the new server, however, we have a slight problem as the maximum length for a post(or Chapter, per se) has now been lowered to 20,000. Now I had to edit the first post in order to change the title (to fit with the latest Chapter posted) but to save the changes I had to modify Ch1 in order to keep within the 20,000 characters limit.

So after editing it, getting rid of double-space paragraphs and doing everything I could it's STILL not enough. I could try splitting it up and inserting the second part of the chapter into a new post and (using my magi- I mean, mod powers) insert it inbetween this post and Ch2.....

EDIT: Shucks seems I can't do that. Okayyyyy, Ch1 is sort of .. hmm in the voids of time? I'll put a link to it from the old TPM. That'll do. Sorry to any readers!

Mire
27th February 2005, 05:59 PM
I believe I might have not posted much during Revolution, even though I did get on board a little late. This time I vow to be constant!

Poor Monica getting called back to the line of duty already, lol. Tekaru sounds like he'll shape up to be a pretty interesting character, and is this new evil supposed to be REALLY evil? I mean Dimitri was EVIL, this guy threatened to kill Tekaru so far (and I'm getting the notion he might have killed Tekaru's mother?) ... with you I can bet he's done worse though. Interested to learn about Evayard.

Seems Nat hasn't changed, really disliking Alan here... stupidhead.

A new badge for Al is nice, considering he definitely needs a couple. I'm curious as to why Monica didn't battle, she doesn't have the Verdant badge yet does she? Just trying to avoid it maybe?

Anyway, looking forward to the next chapter already, and interested to see how the badges are expected to have more impact. Hope you bring back some of those contests as well, lol. Cheers to your writing!

Dragonfree
27th February 2005, 06:58 PM
YAY! Monica's Vendetta!

Anyway, this is a nice start. I especially loved the beginning. This Tekaru seems interesting, and... well, we've got to wait for the next chapter to properly see what this fic is going to be about...

Chris 2.1
28th February 2005, 12:29 PM
Mire: Hey! Don't recall ever seeing you with Revolution, but it's nice to see you in Vendetta! Yea, everything's still quite soon after the end of Revolution, because as you can remember, Revolution still had a lot of loose ends. Vendetta ties them all up, and there will be many parts starting where Revolution left off (Phoenix and Lee both have journeys to begin). There are many references to Revolution and even Army, so visit the archive to buff up your knowledge.

The new evil is in many forms, one being Roger Megallo - Tekaru's future Father-In-Law. Of course, we don't know how serious the situation is, and when the group arrive in Evayard, they can assess whether or not the AU need to regroup to take Roger on...but as you'll also learn, smaller, side characters are also part of the grand tapestry. As for Roger killing Teresa? I won't say...

You'll see a change in Nat, she is different after Revolution. Is she just hiding it well?

Celadon Gym was a grass gym, and therefore Al could benefit from it (Quaker's deal with grass/ground/rock adeptry). Monica can't use a Verdant Badge because she is a Ghost Mage, and is therefore only aided by ghost or psychic-esque badges.

Try and see it this way: an adept cannot collect all the badges like a Gym Trainer would. Mortimer is level 22 - he has 21 badges, then. He has travelled the entire world collecting badges to help his Ghost Adeptry. There are infinite badges in the world, and each Adept carries with them the badges that helped them get here today.

I'm glad you're looking forward to Chapter 2 - it's a pretty cool one. Thanks for taking the time to read!


Dragonfree: Hey! It takes a few chapters to get off the ground (as opposed to Revolution, when the group travelled to Perlei in Chapter 1), but I hope you enjoy it. Tekaru develops an interesting personality which may cause trouble for other people around him...

Mire
28th February 2005, 06:58 PM
I shouldn't exactly have expected you to remember me I guess, lol. Considering I only had a couple posts, as in literally a couple, and my name was formerly Djinn. Name changes, lol...

I'm going to have to slap myself in the had for the fourth time today for not noticing the badge thing... I really do remember knowing that now, if only I had remembered when I posted X_X

I was actually expecting this to start off with something Phoenix/Lee-esque but Tekaru is good too... especially if he develops an interesting personality, which is obviously a promise due to your reply to Dragonfree.

Powarun
28th February 2005, 07:30 PM
That was a very well written first chapter of a third book in the series. I still think that dude who was looking for Monica is only going to get her in trouble.
Nah, this seems to be a very promising story, I like how you started it off with a nice gym battle, and I felt that the fight versus Erika was too short, but then again it was better than a cliff hanger... I also like how that messenger dude heard about the AU, and how he is trying to solve his problem by getting help after realizing that he is too weak for the finishing off his opponnet, although it would be strange if his opponent was part of the AU, where many leads can be formed on who he is. Keep up the good work and Hope this goes along well, Thanks Chris.

Chris 2.1
1st March 2005, 12:35 PM
Mire: I remember Djinn! Hehe you popped in often. Weren't you Seryun? I wonder if he'll ever return...

When will we hear from Phoenix or Lee?


Powarun: Thanks very much - the chapters have all been redone and redone until it's just right. I want this perfect, and I want to keep you in the dark for a while....but most the questions you want to know NOW are answered next chapter. Of course, there is so much to ask...

I think starting it with a Gym Battle also helped give the readers a reminder of how adeptry works. Now Al can use that ferocious Leaf Blade attack, among other things. It also helped redefine his logical character.

Hmm granted Erika's match was short, but hey, it worked out ok in the end. Why did Monica envision the Gym, though? Is this a sign?

Tekaru was weak when facing his foe but....as you'll learn, Tekaru isn't weak at all. A strong foe seems to be the main advesery but will the AU be able to learn of the situation in order to help?

Chris 2.1
4th March 2005, 04:05 PM
Update people!

There is, first of all, a small announcement to make! Early for a good reason, a contest will be going underway between the readers of Monica's Vendetta, new or old. Ever wanted to create your own adeptry type? What about your own city or town? How about a unique adeptry attack?

If that's a yes, then keep it here to find out how you can do that and more!


Meanwhile, it's been long enough. Chapter Two is below for all your viewing pleasure!




Monica’s Vendetta
Two
Karma Air



Monica and Nat had stayed up all night, keeping a close eye on this strange character in their home. Al, convinced he meant no harm, went to bed and awoke some 8 hours later feeling fresh and rejuvenated. Alan, who didn’t care about much anyway, just spent the day watching TV.

“He said he was looking for the AU,” Monica repeated, for possibly the 100th time that night. “That could be good or bad.”

“Well we won’t decide what it is until he wakes up,” Nat said slowly, giving a long, tired yawn. “Don’t you think we should get some sleep?”

“No!” Monica snapped. “If we let our guard down, he might attack.”

“Stop getting so edgy,” Alan told her lazily. “This guy will be alright.”

Monica gave Alan a disapproving glare, before focusing on the figure that slumped itself into their couch. Whoever he was, he looked very hurt.

“Look!” Nat cried suddenly. “I think he’s waking up!”

Turning, all four housemates watched the young man roll around slightly. He gave a long yawn, ran a hand through his gingery auburn hair and slowly opened his eyelids. He blinked the sleep towards the corner of his eyes, rose into a sitting position, and stared at the four people looking at him.

“Oh, hello,” he said in a very well-spoken voice.

“Are you ok?” Al asked him.

“I’m quite sore,” the boy replied. “Thank you for letting me recover last night.”

“You said you were looking for the AU,” Monica began. “Before you collapsed. Why do you need the AU?”

The boy looked at her.

“The AU has a reputation,” he explained. “After the defeat of Dimitri, most of the Adeptry Community know and acknowledge the Adepts who United to take on evil. I come seeking the help of the AU.”

“What has happened?” Nat asked urgently.

“An awful lot,” the boy said.

“Tell us everything,” Monica asked of the boy.

“Very well,” he said softly. “My name is Tekaru Farrimond, and I am the Prince of a beautiful continent called Evayard. Also known as the Nirvana on Earth, Evayard is famous for the almost unreal peace and serenity throughout the entire land. Nobody hears of conflict or violence. My mother, Lady Teresa, is the Queen, and she rules it with great care. With my father long deceased, my mother was keen to meet somebody new in her life, and she did. Roger Megallo. He is a stiff, uptight man and he is the main problem. He’s hard to trust, and for a while I was unsure of his motives. Now, though, I’m positive he is going to abuse his position as future King of the continent. Mum and Roger are already engaged, and they’re planning a marriage. I kept telling Mum that Roger is a bad man, and I have heard him say things he wishes he hasn’t…but Mum was sick of my ‘lies’ and told me to leave if I wasn’t going to stop tormenting her like this. I apologized and tried to forget about it…but…thing’s turned ugly.
“Roger led me to the Evayard Wasteland – it isn’t technically part of Evayard, but it is a horrible, deceased area one should avoid at all costs. Home to evil spirits and adepts alike, I was surprised to be here. Roger told me to leave, but I wouldn’t. He dueled me, and I tried my best to overcome him…”

“But you lost,” Alan said blatantly.

“Yes,” Tekaru replied grittily, seeming to dislike Alan’s bitter, blunt side. “That’s why I was so exhausted and look so beaten up. He told me that if I tried to come back to Evayard, he’d kill me.”

“Oh my god!” Monica cried.

“He has to be stopped,” Tekaru said weakly. Nat, however, brought up an interesting point.

“How did you get here, then? Surely if you were so exhausted, you couldn’t leave the continent of Evayard.”

“I…” Tekaru began. “Well there is a way of reaching Evayard from Saffron City itself. I will show you it when you decide to take on Roger.”

“WE will take on Roger,” Monica stated. “You’ll come with us!”

“I…but…Roger said he would kill me!” Tekaru cried. “I cannot go!”

“If you want our help,” Al began. “You unite with us.”

Tekaru looked somewhat taken aback, but mustered up some inner strength and cleared his throat.

“Very well,” he concluded. “I’ll join you and together we shall defeat Roger!”

He stood up as he said this, thrusting his fist into the air. As he did so, an eerie chime rang through the room. The Adepts exchanged worried and intrigued looks as an orb of golden energy floated down from the ceiling. Tekaru grabbed it in his fist and, despite showing signs of it being hot, clutched it tightly.

“It’s…a badge!” he exclaimed, opening his hand and revealing… an AU badge . Golden, with a silver outline, the letters AU glimmered like a beacon of hope in everybody’s hearts.

“Tekaru!” Monica cried.

“I’m…an AU member?” Tekaru asked wearily.

“It looks like it!” Nat said happily. Alan, meanwhile, did not share the group’s happiness.

“Why haven’t I got one?” he snapped. “I’ve been living here about four bleeding months!”

“You haven’t earned one,” Nat snapped. “This is a sign, Tekaru! You have been recognized as having a pure heart, a noble spirit…a true soul.”

“So…when can we go to Evayard?” Monica asked.

“We should train up first,” Tekaru told them. “I can teach you some pretty cool Adeptry, like the Karma Air.”

“What’s that?” Nat asked keenly.

“It’s a form of adeptry anybody can use. The user creates an orb of their natural Adeptry type, and then plunges that concentrated energy into a certain part of their body or weapon. Come on, I’ll show you.”

“Wait,” Monica began. “I need some sleep first…”

And with that, she collapsed onto the couch. Al and Nat showed Tekaru around the house, but Alan, looking rather upset, left their company, muttering something about fool’s gold.

Meanwhile, a figure clambered out of a drain cover down a back alley in Saffron City. Wearing rather grand clothes, this first figure was of about 20 years old. With light blue hair streaked grey and tied in a small ponytail, he wiped dirt and sludge from his silky-looking baby blue clothes. With grey battle armor under his shoulders and stomach, he looked tall and broad. His eyes were piercing and he came across as a very controlling person.

“We’re here,” he said imperiously. “Saffron City.”

Helping a second figure up, the first man observed the city. The second, slightly younger by a year or so, had wild, thick spiked orange hair. Wearing more of a rough material on his burgundy clothes, as opposed to his partner, whose clothes were soft and graceful, it resembled a thin jacket. He had armor on his chest, over his breasts mainly, as well as his forearms. This adept had light brown eyes.

“Stay down there, in the sewers,” he shouted down the manhole. “We’ll chase Tekaru down there.”


*

Later on in the evening, when Monica and Nat had both had a good rest, they had gone with Tekaru and Al to an area in Saffron City which was trashed and deserted. This area had little or no occupants, so they decided to practice their Karma Air technique here. Alan had left the house and decided not to come out with them.

Tekaru stood facing Monica, Al and Nat, his weapon out. It was the hammer of Tartarus – a golden hammer with a long handle. Gripped in two hands, it looked phenomenally powerful.

“Ok, so you hold out your hand,” Tekaru began, taking his hammer in one hand and holding it out. “And summon as much of your energy as you can. KARMA AIR!”

Suddenly, swirls of energy swept from all around Tekaru, the energy being yellow and gold in colour. It collaborated in his hand, which Tekaru brought from being held forward to being held upright. The energy formed into a large orb.

“Into the hammer!” Tekaru roared, bringing the orb and plunging it into his hammer. As this happened, a brilliant glow of golden energy swept all around Tekaru and his weapon. Re-gripping his hammer in both hands, Tekaru leapt high into the air and swung the weapon to the ground, smashing it into the ground as a brilliant bolt of thunder shot down.

“Wow!” Monica exclaimed.

“My adeptry was focused solely into my weapon, so it deals impressive damage,” Tekaru explained. “Try it.”

Spacing out, Monica summoned her long, deep violet coloured staff. It was Apsu’s Scepter, and although she did not use it often, it was an elite weapon she did treasure very much. She held it out and threw her hand forwards.

“Karma air!” she cried, feeling a breeze whip up around her. Her free hand soon glowed as swirling energy peeled from her body. It was a calming, almost ticklish sensation, but nevertheless enjoyable. Her hand soon began to hold a ball of glowing purple energy, and as she threw her hand up into the air, she really felt its power surging above her.

“Into the rod!” she cried, pushing the orb into the diamond tip of her scepter. The energy took over in a dynamic sweeping motion, engulfing both her and her weapon in purple light.

“Signal beam!” Monica cried, holding her staff forward. A brilliant jet of silver light sped from her staff and smashed into an abandoned building. Dazzling silver sparks illuminated the gradually darker sky.

“Nice work,” Nat commented. There was a sudden rumble.

“What was that?” Al asked, looking around.

“Something big,” Monica muttered, hearing another almighty roar. They looked ahead to see, in actuality, a huge flaming figure, ten feet in height, stomping towards them with a human standing on each shoulder.

“That creature is composed from fire!” Nat cried alarmingly.

“That isn’t a creature,” Tekaru noted. “It is a form of adeptry. He has manipulated his adeptry into a solid form.”

“How do you know that?” Al asked.

“Those are two of Roger’s sons,” Tekaru began. “Scott is the Flame Champion, and Karadon is the Water Deity.”

“Roger has sons?” Monica asked. “And they’re…here?”

“After me, probably,” Tekaru admitted. “I wonder where Luke and Therebus are, though…”

Monica had not the time to ask who Luke or Therebus were. The two figures leapt off the flaming golem, which then formed into a huge fireball before hurling itself through the air towards the group.

“Get out the way!” Monica screamed, diving to the left. She smashed into the ground and gave a heavy groan, feeling strong surges of heat as the fireball swept over her head and smashed into the abandoned department store behind them.

“Is everyone ok?” she asked, getting up and observing everything around her. Tekaru had grabbed Al and helped throw him to the ground, while Nat had pressed herself down and also avoided any damage. The two figures were approaching the four now.

“Tekaru…” came the voice from the Adept who was quite clearly the Water Deity. Blue hair tied back into a small ponytail, streaked with grey, he wore armor over a well-defined chest. He observed the group.

“Karadon,” Tekaru growled. “What are you doing here?”

“We’ve been sent by Dad,” Scott, the Flame Champion, replied in a sharp, deep voice. He had wild, long spikes of a deep orange hair colour shooting from his head. He was stockier than Karadon and looked a year younger, give or take. While his older brother looked like a more commanding type, Scott came across as more of an order-taker, with his slightly shorter, stockier frame and big frown.

“Father has indeed sent us…” Karadon began. “He believes you’re falling in with the wrong crowd. This…AU we’ve heard of…it’s too dangerous to let you befriend.”

“Well too late!” Tekaru snapped, standing forward. He showed them the AU badge he had received. “I was admitted into the AU earlier today! Somebody somewhere has seen my noble heart and rewarded me!”

Karadon smirked.

“That means one thing,” he said simply. “We will kill you, too.”

“Oh no you won’t!” Nat cried, getting up to join Tekaru.

“You’ll fight us fairly,” Al snapped, getting up too.

“Four of you…” Karadon said idly. “And…four of us.”

He clicked his fingers and threw his hands to the ground. Two large explosions send two clouds of smoke into the air, one purple and one green. Appearing either side of Scott were two other people, roughly the same age as Scott and Karadon. The first, looking the same age as Karadon (perhaps 20) was thin and not wearing any armor. Dressed in grey and purple, he had a gaunt, sunken, chalk-like face with deep, burrowing brown eyes. He had a short black cape fluttering from one of his shoulders, which had a domed shoulder pad over the top. His hair was an inky black and was easy to lose oneself within. It was messy and scraggly.

“Hello Tekaru…” he said, in a rattling whisper, a snake’s voice.

“Therebus,” Tekaru growled. “The Ghost Whisperer.”

“Roger’s sons all seem to span into different Adeptry Clans,” Nat noted, watching the fourth figure form. With a similar built to Scott, Luke had fair hair which was short and flat. He wore clothes of a rough texture, brown and green in colour, resembling camouflage.

“Oh, Luke’s here, too,” Tekaru said sarcastically. Karadon, Luke, Therebus and Scott stood facing Monica, Al, Nat and Tekaru. Monica stared at Karadon, who she was facing. He had a pleasant smile on his face.

“So it’s settled,” Karadon announced. “A fight to the death!”

“Monica…” Tekaru murmured. “Don’t fight them! They’re too strong!”

It was too late. Karadon brought out two short swords, one in each hand of course, and summoned a geyser of water to erupt from underneath his feet. He swept up into the air and leapt off the column of water, soaring down upon Monica.

Monica was slashed across the face, screaming out loud as she flew backwards and smashed into the ground. Crying in pain, she looked up to see Karadon standing there. Meanwhile, the other adepts had all begun battling. Tekaru fought Luke, the Quaker, Al dueled against Therebus the Ghost Whisperer, and Nat went against Scott, the Flame Champion.

“Elementa!” Monica cried out loud. Holding her hands out, Monica powered up the elemental beam of ghost energy. Small beads of energy formed in her hands, getting larger and larger and materializing into a plate of pure power. She gave a roar, firing the beam from the energy on her hands, sending it through the air towards Karadon. It smashed into the young man, blocking him from view with an enigmatic purple light, which convinced Monica he would not be standing up when the attack faded away. Surprisingly, when the light did die down, Karadon was standing there, looking utterly unharmed.

“How did that happen?” Monica asked weakly. “That was one of my strongest attacks!”

“You have a lot to learn,” Karadon rasped. He drew his two short swords and crossed them over above his head. Swiping them down, making a strong slash one can hear when rubbing knives together, the two blades were enveloped in a blue energy. Karadon swept through the air, his swords gleaming, racing towards Monica.

“Will-O-Wisp!” Monica retaliated. Blue flames popped into life around her body. There were eight in total. They slowly got bigger as they span around, glowing a cool, icy colour and lighting up the night around them. They were released upon the girls command, swarming around Karadon like mosquitoes and bursting into life before him.

“Blade Jitsu!” Karadon snapped. He hurled both his small, dagger-like swords into the air. They spun around and swept after Monica, homing towards her like missiles. The young girl summoned her Scepter with its sleek, purple handle and large diamond tip. Turning and running away from the blades, she leapt up high and spun around, swiping her scepter horizontally and knocking the blades back.

Monica landed safely and looked around. Karadon stalked towards her, his two blades jammed in the ground between them both. She looked around; searching for Tekaru, Nat and Al, but none could be seen.

“Where is everybody?” Monica asked.

“My brothers are chasing your friends towards Saffron City Hotel.” Karadon began. “Such a high building…they won’t survive that fall…”

Karadon smirked, but he froze suddenly. Monica leapt into the air and began her Feverize attack – she took a gaseous form and floated around, before re-appearing in the air and delivering a sharp kick to Karadon’s face.

Simultaneously, the girl charged up a shadow ball and threw it at her foe. Karadon leapt over the attack and landed, but by then, Monica had already run into the distance towards Saffron City Hotel. Her friends were at stake, being led into a trap, and she had to alter the odds.


*

“Leave me alone!” Tekaru cried, tearing through the city. His soon-to-be stepbrother Luke was charging after him, an ugly grin on his face. Tekaru dashed down alleyways, being very lithe, agile and nimble. His stockier enemy was less light on his feet, smashing things away with his axe. It was the Golem Axe – composed of a black rock, it was durable and very strong, as well as heavy.

Where can I go? Tekaru thought to himself. Somewhere public…somewhere where people will see me…

He looked to see, just ahead of him, a large building with a neon sign reading ‘HOTEL SAFFRON’, in glitzy, curled yellow letters. Tekaru knew he should dash in there to avoid being attacked.

Meanwhile, both Al and Nat were in an alleyway. Cornered by Therebus and Scott, they turned to see an un-scalable brick wall. The only way to smash it down would be to use adeptry, but using it would make them vulnerable to the adeptry of their foes.

“Ha!” Scott shouted. “End of the line.”

“Your time is up, Adepts…” Therebus hissed softly. Nat frowned, summoning her sword and holding it slanted, panting heavily. Al had not got his sword out, but was watching the two carefully.

“Let’s pick them off separately,” Scott boomed. He summoned up a pair of large, silver pincers on his hands. He snapped them a few times, smirking at the noise they made. They looked like Scizor claws. “Guillotines!”

Therebus also summoned a weapon – a crossbow strapped to his left arm. It was golden in colour.

“Crossbow of Titans,” he whispered stealthily. “Arise…”

“Nat,” Al said softly. “Just do what I say, ok? I think I can get us out of this.”

The girl looked across at her companion, unsure weather or not to trust a less experienced adept. Swallowing, she gave a grave nod. Al mustered up his strength and summoned up a dome-like shield over himself.

“Karma air!” Al roared, charging the energy into an orb. “Enter the shield!”

He threw the orb up and it reached the top of the shield, absorbing into it and strengthening it overall. Now within a very durable shield, Al grabbed Nat’s hand and dragged her in, too.

“That’s pathetic!” Scott shouted. “GUILLOTINES OF THE FLAME!”

As he took over a Blaze form – when a Flame Adept shrouds themselves in living flames – his claws remained in their silver, metallic state. His eyes, dark patches on his face, flared with violence as he charged forward to shatter their shield.

“Wait…” Al said softly. “Wait until he gets in range…”

And as Scott got ever closer, Al suddenly shouted out “NOW!” Nat swung a sonique from her sword, sending the concentrated blade of silver energy through the shield at Scott. He was hit in midair, giving a cry of pain as he was thrown backwards.

“MERCURY ARROW!” Therebus cried manically. Legs apart, he blasted a silver arrow through the air. Al and Nat saw this coming, but did not know what to do. Al knew he could not counter this, but then turned to see the large brick wall behind him.

“Use a Karma Air to strengthen the shield,” he told Nat. “I’ll break this wall.”

Nat charged up a Karma Air orb, plunging it into the shield around her and Al. The Mercury Arrow struck through the shield, making a few cracks, causing Therebus to repeat the attack while Scott got himself ready again. As he raced forward, Nat unleashed another sonique to keep him back.

Al, meanwhile, crept out the confines of the shield and charged up energy all down his arm. It grew in size, turning into a scaly, rocky texture. This was his stone justice attack. He leapt high and slammed his fist into the brick wall, shattering it completely. Therebus and Scott saw this, leaping into the air to stop Al. Nat wasn’t going to let this happen, however, and jammed her sword into the ground. Roaring out loud, she sent columns of silver energy bursting up where Therebus and Scott were. Each of the adepts was hit, falling to the ground. Nat took this time to run with Al past the red rubble from the bricks making up the once solid wall. As they ran and came into a new street of Saffron City, they saw Tekaru sprinting past.

“SONIQUE!” Nat bellowed, charging up her attack and leaping to the right, sending the attack at Luke, who she knew would be chasing Tekaru. As Tekaru ran off to her left, and Luke blocked the attack to her right, Nat led Al after Tekaru.

Scott, Therebus and Luke met up.

“They are indeed agile,” Therebus whispered.

“But agility brings fatigue,” Scott replied. “They’ll tire soon. When has the mouse ever triumphed over the cat?”

“Never,” Luke snapped. “Come on, let’s go.”


*

Three days ago…

In the hidden continent of Evayard, AU members Mortimer, Boko, Afee and Lee were training. This hidden sanctum was a haven for all things fresh and beautiful, often referred to as the ‘Nirvana on Earth’. The group had earned the right to live and train here after stealing three strong, precious artifacts. As a result they were, at first, enemies to Monica, but the groups seemed to have patched things up since then, particularly because Lee used to be among Monica’s group.

Lee was half-hidden behind a pure white theatrical mask. It covered the left side of his face. While training under the guidance of Mortimer, Lee was caught up in a particularly rigorous session. A seed from a species of poisonous plant was latched onto the young boy, sending a searing purple scar down his face and lodging beneath his skin. Mortimer had managed to forge this mask for the young boy, which would neutralize the seed in its infant stage, but as the seed grew and its powers and poisons stirred within Lee, his mask would become more and more useless. Finding the second half of the Mask of Babylon would ensure Lee’s purge of this horrible seed.

Today was a special day for Lee, as he was leaving the company of Mortimer, the ghost adept who had become something of a guardian to him, Afee, the purist (an Adept dealing in dark, painful curses and spell-like Adeptry), who was wise, intellectual and fair, and finally Boko, the stocky Flame Champion who fought with a Scythe as his weapon. The three had become sort of like fatherly figures to Lee, who was, like Monica, 16 years of age.

Lee had decided to pursue the Mask of Babylon on his own. It was rumored to be in Evayard, which was where the group was anyway, but Lee had decided to search the Northern mountain range of Mahanui.

“Well Lee,” Mortimer said in his crisp, sharp voice. “Make sure to keep in touch with us while you’re gone.”

“I will,” Lee told him. “I shouldn’t be gone for too long. It may take up to a week to reach Mahanui, so I’ll be taking frequent stops along the way.”

“Lee,” Mortimer said softly. “Remember what we have both foreseen. There is…something on the horizon of time, and remember what we discussed. Be alert at all times and trust nobody.”

Lee nodded and turned to wander from the large, grassy plain where the four were training. Mortimer, Afee and Boko watched him leave, slightly disappointed that they would not see him for some time. Lee had soon left their sight altogether.

“Well, he will be back soon,” Afee said, his voice being quite high and screechy.

“Yes,” Mortimer said softly. “Now I think we should head east. Lee and I both received very odd and rather perturbing collection of visions as of late. I think we should travel to Agrotatio town and see if we can decipher our thoughts.”

When the three agreed on their destination, they began to wander off towards the eastward town. Mortimer and Lee were both Ghost Adepts, like Monica, and were able to get visions which sometimes foreshadowed things to come. They made their way towards Agrotatio town to see an elder named Greta who could help decipher what Mortimer saw.

Suddenly, there was a sharp pop noise. Green sparks erupted all around Mortimer, Afee and Boko as guards emerged on all sides. They had swords drawn and pointed them towards the three.

“What is going on?” Mortimer demanded.

“You three have been found guilty of treason,” one said. “We have evidence from witnesses and bystanders that you were plotting to overthrow Lady Teresa from the throne.”

“We would never!” Boko roared. “Who told you that?”

He looked past the guards but could not see anybody around.

“The peoples names will not be told,” said the guard. “Identities must be kept a secret.”

And with that, the guards unleashed strong Adeptry attacks over the three – special attacks which constricted adeptry and disabled it from use. Mortimer, Afee and Boko could only stand idly as they were led from the grassy plain towards an unknown fate. Mortimer’s head was swimming. Who had framed them? To their knowledge, they were not disliked by anybody they had met, so who would plan something like this?

Somebody who doesn’t want us here, Mortimer thought. But who?

The answer lay in the form of four figures, standing on a large rock overseeing the proceedings. One, the leader, began tying his blue-grey hair back into a small, sensible ponytail, smirking as he observed everything.

“I think our work is done here,” he said softly.

Powarun
5th March 2005, 01:49 PM
Um, I know this may seem pretty stupid but you added that a person pure of heart and someother mumbo jumbo stuff could earn an AU badge, so how was Ray able to lie to the gods and join the AU?

Other than that question you made this chapter pretty easy to understand, and it is pretty good that the story is progressing rather than having a filler the second chapter. I think that Tekaru shouldn't put all his strength into a weapon though, but then again you haven't made a character like that so far so that seems pretty fair. Oh and s Karma Air just like a stat raiser for the weapons?

Ultra_Poke2000
6th March 2005, 01:11 AM
hey Chris, long time no see! I've been bogged down by homework for the past few weeks and whenever i did have any free time there was always something else i had to do. but now, at last, I've been able to come and check to see if Vendetta is up and what do you know, IT IS! yes!!!

The beginning was great, and left a lot of unanswered questions, which is always good for the plot. :) I see you've made Alan into a permanent character, but he seems to be a bit of a jerk. eh, what am I saying? he's a total jerk. not quite what I expected, but maybe he'll mature a bit as the fic progresses. there's always room for improvement, isn't there? besides, he's also one of the younger ones there, isn't he? (younger than Monica is, I think). yah... It was kinda funny when he complained about not getting an AU badge, though. heh heh...

speaking of badges, Al's gym battle was pretty good, and it was nice to see Al being assertive with his logic skills. it's about time he gained a new badge, too, IMO. That leaf blade attack sounds like it might come in handy sometime.

Tekaru seems to be an interesting character, and his background story seems to be a complicated one. I'm sure there's still plenty we don't know about him, like why his step father is doing this, what he has planed (his step father, Rodger was it?), and what it means for us.

Lee has left on his quest to find the rest of the mask. will he be successful? and what's happening to Mortimer and the gang? will they be found innocent, or be wrongly convicted by Rodger. I'm sure he just wants them out of the way because he knows A) they're part of the AU B)they live right there in Evayard and C) they're very powerful and could probably tell what he was up to and try to put a stop to it before he had a good chance at evil domination.
What about Lee? will he learn of this? if so, will he turn back and try to rescue them or press on? or maybe he'll try to contact the rest of the AU for help?

Those four step brothers seem to be quite a team. they've got a plan for taking everyone out at once, and Monica's gotta stop it. GASP! will she get there in time? and what about Alan? he seems to have dropped off the radar in this fight. maybe he'll come in and be a deciding factor in the fight. eh, wishful thinking on my part, but hey, you never know...

Powarun, if you've ever played Soul Calibur II, Karma Air is a lot like the soul charge: it's a temporary power boost put into a weapon to give it extra power, except Karma Air is a lot more versatile than a soul charge, because it can be put into anything, not just a weapon. Weapons were used as an example because that's probably the most common use for it. Karma air is basicaly a little ball of energy that supercharges something. It's not all that person's strength, just a power boost. It can be used on a shield too, as Al showed us with his when he and Nat were up against the brick wall. I wonder what would happen if you put it into a nice hunk of rock though. would it just explode after a minute? or maybe on impact, like a makeshift grenade. hmmm... idea!...

Chris 2.1
6th March 2005, 07:18 AM
Powarun: I think you're quite confused here. When the AU was established, it was when all the groups combined forces to rescue the 6 emblems. Ray wanted to rescue the emblems too, because he needed the world to stay together so he could get to Dimitri again.

However, now the AU is established, it is hard for any old Joe Bloggs to get in. Tekaru showed that he is pure, has an untainted body and mind, and will be a valuable assett to the team. That is how he earned his badge. There are other ways, of course.

Karma air is....sort of when you take some of your energy and force it into say, your weapon, increasing strikes with your sword. The more energy you use in Karma Air, the less you can do it. However, you can use smaller amounts when summoning a Karma Air, and be able to use small amounts more often. Do you see?

It's sort of relative to level. The stronger you air, the more energy you can summon, too. It might sound complicated but the story will explain it.

Monica, for example, could make her Spirit Punch stronger by using a Karma Air and entering it into her hand. The concept is one I was keen to try, and as Ultra said, I almost got the concept from Soul Callibur II (well, there is a similar concept in Shaman King also....) but I didn't steal it, I twisted it to a more easy form.


Ultra: Hey Alan! Lol. Alan is 15, Monica is 16, Nat is 18, Al is 19, Tekaru is 18. Alan is young, but his upbringing is so different to that of the others that he clashes with them so horribly. I'm sure he will be more mature in the future.

Indeed, Tekaru's stepfather was Roger. We don't know hs motives yet, but we don't actually know if he IS taking over Evayard or not. All we know is that he is engaged to Tekaru's Mother, Lady Teresa, and Tekaru believes he will abuse his position after marriage.

Hmm Roger wants Mortimer, Boko, Afee and Lee out of the way, but Lee has unknowingly escaped the trap. What is going on? Why would Mortimer & co's being in the AU be a threat?

If Lee does find out, will he show loyalty? You'll have to wait and see.

It does seem as if Tekaru's acceptace into the AU has upset Alan. What will he do? Can he save the day, will he save the day? The Four Brothers also seem to be strong and will stop at nothing to eliminate Tekaru and his friends. But why?

That's quite a good description there, thanks. It is, though, different in a sense, more versatile and easier to use.



Ok thanks for the replies! I know there are a lot of complicated names so I will perhaps make a post recapping on everything soon.

Dragonfree
6th March 2005, 08:53 AM
Nice chapter! We get to the plot, which is good. I'm liking Tekaru so far, and the thing with Roger and his sons seems interesting enough. Will Lee's quest to get the other half of that mask be an important point in this story?

Chris 2.1
6th March 2005, 03:11 PM
Dragonfree: Hey! Glad you liked the chapter. Umm Lee's quest is not as big a side story as Phoenix' is, but it serves a purpose. Character development for Lee, as well as introducing a character I think you'll all like named Gauld. Phoenix's side story is much bigger and important, and can therefore be introduced slightly later.

Mire
6th March 2005, 09:34 PM
Powarun already has my Lee question covered, and besides the fact that you've pumped out another awesome chapter.

I'm wondering what level Roger's sons are, though its been established that they're relatively powerful, probably an understatement.

Mortimer/Boko/Afee arrested for treason? Interested to see how that plays out, and wondering about the "Lee showing loyalty" answer to Ultra's post.

I'd have to agree I like Tekaru, but the goody-good level is a little overwhelming.

Chris 2.1
12th March 2005, 03:07 PM
Mire: Roger's sons are very strong, it seems. You will learn of their levels in due time. And will Lee try and save himself, or his comerades?
Tekaru is as goody-good as you would expect for the Prince of a continent believing strongly in non-violence. You'll also learn he's very religious, which is where he can take some of his adeptry from...


Chapter 3 will be up soon.

Chris 2.1
12th March 2005, 04:58 PM
Hey...I'm in a good mood :D




Monica’s Vendetta
Three
The Darkness in your Heart



The chase ensued through Saffron City. Al and Nat, after finding Tekaru, followed him as he ran mercilessly through the large city, heading towards the Hotel. Hot on their heels were Therebus, Luke and Scott, all ruthless in killing their foes.

“He’s…heading to the…hotel!” Al cried, seeing Tekaru head down another left. “Any ideas why?”

“No,” Nat said urgently. “But we have to stay together. It’s vital.”

Al knew what the young girl meant, and proceeded to head on, wondering where Monica and Karadon were. Could Monica survive against him? Al didn’t think so. A month or so after returning from Perlei, Al and Monica had tried to talk about where their relationship stood, but it was a difficult affair. While not an item, the interest between the two was shrouded in mystery and confusion. Nevertheless, Al still cared for her and hoped she was doing ok.

There was a shout from behind them. It sounded like Scott, the Flame Champion, was summoning up an attack. Al stopped, as did Nat temporarily, ducking as a flaming discus swept towards them and headed for Tekaru. The young boy took a sharp turn to the left and disappeared. As Nat and Al continued to run, they came to Hotel Saffron – the glitziest hotel in Kanto. Seeing Tekaru disappear beneath the automatic doors, the two Quaker’s followed suit.

Instantly, the two were bowled away by the elegance of the hotel. The lobby was long, wide and spacious, with many crystal chandeliers suspending opulent light for all to see. A coy pond was in the center, with a velvet carpet leading towards it, around it and to the reception desk. However, it was empty.

“Al! Nat!” Tekaru cried happily. He was standing at the foot of a stairwell.

“Why are we here?” Nat asked. “Why did you come here?”

“I thought it would be crowded,” Tekaru explained. “Bustling, busy, you know. But it isn’t! The Hotel is deserted!”

“It’s midnight,” Al said suddenly, looking at his watch. “Everyone will be asleep!”

There was a resounding crash. A huge fireball, the size of a small house was hurled at the doors of the hotel. Smashing them open, tearing their polite, neat beauty into a form of reckless destruction. The three adepts watched, horrified, as the three enemies appeared in the torn doorway.

“Run!” Al cried, turning to the stairs. As Nat and Tekaru bolted towards the next floor, Al summoned a barrier-form of his shield to coat the entrance to the stairwell. The vines crept upwards and blocked off the AU members, who made their way to the top of the building.

“Damn them,” Scott snapped, clicking his fingers. Instantly his fist flared up into crackling flames, which he hurled forward at the shield. As the flames made contact, they began burning up the vines and slowly destroying the shield.

“I’ll break it,” Luke said, running forward. He leapt up and tackled the shield, shattering the barrier beneath the vines. Seeing a pair of feet disappear up the staircase, he led the way after Al, Nat and Tekaru.

At the top of the staircase, the three stared at the long, elegant corridor before them. The staircase was at the other end, but it was vital that they reached it in time. They heard a loud crash and saw three figures emerge up the staircase.

“Run!” Nat cried. “I’ll take these guys on.”

“Forget that!” Luke cried. He conjured up a ball of clay and threw it through the air. Nat ducked beneath it, but it smashed into Al and threw him to the ground. He wearily got up and, with Tekaru’s help, fled towards the upper floors. Nat stayed here.

“We’ll go after them,” Scott growled, smashing Nat in the face and tearing down the corridor with Luke. The eerie Therebus stood there, grinning with his thin lips, which had turned almost blue with his coldness.

“So…you think you are strong?” He asked quietly.

“Yes,” Nat snapped, drawing her sword. “I’ve slain many people with this blade, and I’ll slay you if I have to.”

“You cannot kill me,” he said softly. He floated up a foot or so into the air and held his hands forward. Purple bolts of energy swept from each hand and threw themselves at Nat. They were close together, and the corridor was thin, so Nat did not think she was able to dodge them. Instead, she leapt backwards and let the bolts scar the velvety carpet. She swung her blade and released a sonique, but Therebus melted into thin air and the attack smashed into a wall.

“I am….experienced, you see,” Therebus whispered, sweeping through the air invisible. He re-appeared right in front of Nat to deliver a sharp punch to the face. Nat fell backwards, giving Therebus opportunity to summon up his crossbow and take aim with a mercury arrow.

“What can I do?” Nat whispered to herself. As the arrow was released, it flew towards her, but the girl suddenly formed into stone. The arrow bounced off the pewter layer that seemed to have formed over Nat.

“What?” Therebus cried. Nat just lay there. He fired a shadow ball, but it dissolved upon contact with the large piece of rock, perfectly sculpted to represent Nat. Confused, Therebus landed from floating in the air and bent down to examine her.

“HA!” she cried, dissolving back into a human form and swiping her sword across Therebus’ chest. It scraped against a plate of armor, but threw him back surprisingly. Nat regained her posture and jammed her sword into the ground. A sword, comprised of energy, burst from the ground and struck Therebus. Nat brought her sword back up and pointed it towards her foe.

That stone attack was certainly interesting, Nat thought to herself. How did I do that?

“You may have good sword control,” Therebus cackled. “But I can change the odds!”

He held one hand forward, and the instant it glowed with a golden energy, Nat knew what was coming, having seen a similar attack used by Monica before. Nat’s sword was absorbed in a golden energy and slowly dragged towards Therebus. Despite resisting, and gripping tightly onto her blade, Nat found it hard to let go.

“GET OFF!” she screamed. She then had an idea. She let go of it suddenly, hoping it would fly at Therebus and hopefully hit him…but alas, it steadily drew to his hands, where he gripped it enticingly. Seeing this sick adept hold a treasure from her parents made Nat very angry indeed.

Could she summon an elementa?

Secretly, Nat had been studying the elementa technique, and knew she was able to summon an elementa into her sword. Was it possible she could do it without the sword? She had to hope so. Nat held her hands as if she were gripping her blade and muttered the words.

“ELEMENTA OF THE SWORD…ARISE!” She roared. Green energy began to form and circle around her hands, forming into a sword comprised of green energy. Nat watched curiously as brown engravings gave it shape and definition. She held it proudly, and knew how to make this count. Racing at Therebus, Nat was ready to strike him down.

She plunged the energy forward and into Therebus’ skin. He gave a loud cry as he took the damage, giving Nat the chance to grab her sword and leap back.

“I’m going,” she snapped, turning and heading down the corridor. Therebus stood back up, weaker but still strong, sending a Night shade through the air at his target. Nat leapt to the side as the Night Shade smashed into the wall. She kept going towards the end of the corridor.



*


Through the city, Monica ran from Karadon as he spurted jets of water from both his palms. The Ghost Mage found it hard to keep going against the onslaught of water that was being sent at her.

“Stop trying to evade,” Karadon boomed. “You are going to tire soon!”

Sure enough, Monica found it hard to keep dodging this string of attacks. A thick jet of water smashed into Monica and pressed her through the air, where she then fell onto her knees.

“You see?” Karadon said tauntingly. “You are tired, Monica.”

The girl got up and swung a punch. She hit the surprised adept in the face, but he grabbed her wrist soon after that and kept a firm grip on her.

“Now why not just close your eyes for the final time?” he grinned. Monica gave him an ugly look, but Karadon threw her to the ground in fury. “I’ve been sent to KILL YOU, for god’s sake! Die with dignity…”

“No!” Monica snapped, bringing up her scepter and smashing it around into Karadon’s ribs. He gave a long, aching groan and opened his eyes to see Monica disappear down an alleyway.

“WATER PULSE!” He roared. The ground trembled, and water gushed upwards like a geyser. Throwing his hands forward, Karadon ordered the spurt of water to gush down the alleyway after Monica, who hurried away.

As she ran, she noticed a ladder heading right the way up a building. Seeing this as one of the few ways she could avoid this water Karadon kept summoning, Monica grabbed onto a rung and began to clamber up carelessly, charging up a shadow ball in case Karadon tried following her.

As the Water Deity ran down the alleyway, he noticed Monica, half way up a set of flats. He let out a long, drawn-out laugh, watching her with glee.

“She’s doing the hard work for us,” he muttered, beginning to run after her. Once Monica eventually got onto the top of the building, she looked around. She was stuck…unless…

She held her scepter forward. Shouting out loud, she summoned a Karma Air with her free hand. Would this work? Could this work? There was only one way to test it out. She sent the large orb of Karma Adeptry into her left foot, and then summoned the next orb of concentrated Adeptry energy, before pushing it into her right foot. On the edge of the skyscraper, and eyeing the next one along (a shopping center), Monica took a few steps back and ran.

Karadon eventually got to the top of the ladder. He smirked, bringing both his blades from his badge and brandishing them stealthily. As he got onto the top of the building, however, he saw Monica leap from the building and onto the roof of the shopping center with a magnificent jump.

“Tekaru taught them Karma Air…” he growled fiercely. “DAMN HIM!”

Karadon looked around. Monica was, in actuality, heading towards the hotel. Karadon knew she was going there to stop his brothers hurting her friends. Karadon descended the ladder slowly, mulling things over. He would have to get to the Hotel before Monica.



*


Meanwhile, Al and Tekaru sped along another floor of the hotel. They both stopped, turning to face their foes. Luke and Scott, Quaker and Flame Champion respectively, grinned as they charged up attacks.

“This won’t take long!” Scott snapped, flaring up and summoning his guillotines. Luke got out his Golem Axe and watched them. Al, seeing this, summoned his Assassin Blade, and similarly, Tekaru brought out his Hammer of Tartarus.

“So, a 2-2 duel?” Al asked.

“That should be all it takes,” Luke told him. “GOLEM BLOW!”

He leapt high into the air, axe above his head, charging energy up in its blade. As he slammed downwards, Al held his sword horizontally to try and block the attack. Severe damage was dealt to Al’s weapon as Luke dealt the blow. Staggering backwards, Al noticed Tekaru swiftly evading Scott’s similarly agile blows.

“Leaf Blade!” Al cried suddenly, forming green energy on his forearms. The energy curved into green blades of energy, and as Al crossed his arms he flew through the air. He connected with Luke, slashing him in the face, dealing good damage, before pushing against Luke’s chest and propelling backwards to his original stance.

“You’re quite good…” Luke mumbled, feeling the mark Al let on his face. “Your actions aren’t based solely on strength…”

“Stop analyzing everything,” Scott snapped, opening his arms wide and releasing Ember Bowl. A flurry of embers streaked through the air, charring the walls of the corridor as they headed towards Al. Al brought up his shield and let the embers smash into it, before racing forward and slashing at Luke’s side. Slashing at an unprotected part of his body, Al smirked as he landed towards the staircase leading to the next floor.

“Al, stay back!” Tekaru cried. “LIGHTENING JOUST!”

His hammer formed into a lance as electrical energy crackled around it. Tekaru sped through the air, his feet barely grazing the velvet carpet. He shot his weapon forward as it formed into a golden lance of crackling lightening. Grinning, Tekaru swiped it forward at Scott, sending searing pain into his opponent and throwing him back ruthlessly.

“That’s right,” Scott growled. “You always had potential.”

Tekaru watched, but Scott gave off a small glow. He suddenly grew white-hot and exploded. The embers that followed disappeared into the air, and it seemed to Tekaru that Scott had simply disappeared.

“Where did he go?” Tekaru asked. Little did he realize, Scott reformed behind him and, summoning his Guillotines of the Flame, prepared to strike. Al, seeing this, charged up another leaf blade and swept through the air at tremendous speed.

“Surprise!” Scott cried, raising his claws. Tekaru turned, gasped and stepped back precariously just as Al smashed right into Scott’s back. Scott flew forward at Tekaru, who released a large bolt of electricity from his palm into the stomach of his foe.

As Scott collapsed, stomach paralyzed, it became apparent he was temporarily defeated. Luke was bleeding very lightly, and his clothes were ripped, but he wanted to concentrate more on helping his brother than getting their enemies. As Luke aided his brother, Tekaru and Al sped through the Hotel.

“That was amazing!” Tekaru cried. “You’re a very skilled Adept, Alexander.”

Al blushed at being referred to by his full name. Seeing Tekaru, and fighting for the boy’s life had filled him with a satisfaction he found difficult to explain. All-in-all, as he ran to the staircase, he felt stronger than ever.



*


Meanwhile, Nat was tearing up the staircase leading to the floor Al and Tekaru just left. Therebus was right behind her, summoning a variety of attacks her way. Having to block them was difficult, especially when you are facing away from them. She was struck in the back by another shadow ball and dropped to her knees.

As the wicked foe drew near, Nat got her sword ready and prepared to strike. She leapt up and swung her sword down, but the split second before her blade reached Therebus, he leapt to the left and managed to take no damage. Nat took this time to run.

Heading up the stairs, she noticed how disrupted this floor was. As it leveled off and she found herself in the corridor, she noticed charred marks all across the walls and doors of residents. Why hadn’t anybody heard them?

Starting to wonder if the four Adepts had somehow fixed this entire hotel, Nat was getting more and more wary of her surroundings. She ran down the corridor, but as she did, she noticed Luke and Scott on the floor. Luke was whispering to his brother, who was groaning in pain. Luke had a bandage across the side of his stomach.

“STOP HER!” Therebus screeched from behind her. Luke instantly got up and created a ball of sloppy mud. He hurled it towards Nat, but the girl slashed with her sword and managed to block the mud away. She slashed a sonique as she ran, smashing into Luke and giving her space to run.

“She’s going right into the trap…” Scott groaned. Therebus knelt down and began a strange ritual using a large crystal pendant. He held it by a loop from the top, and as he muttered, a strange glow took over the three men.

“Thanks,” Luke said, feeling his bandage fall to reveal a healed wound. Scott got up straight away, smoothening his stomach to find the paralysis gone. The crystal Therebus used had seemingly healed the three.

“Let’s unite on the top floor,” Scott said firmly. The three ran towards the top of the hotel.

Meanwhile, Nat had managed to catch up with Al and Tekaru. They exchanged stories as they ran, hearing adeptry behind them and knowing safely that the other three were hot on their trail.

“I just hope Monica’s ok,” Al gasped, as they ran up another staircase.

“I bet she’ll be fine,” Nat said.

“While Karadon’s adeptry is potent, I think Monica can at least get to safety,” Tekaru told them. Nat gave this no acknowledgement, as she knew fine well Monica was an extremely strong Adept.

“We must be on the top floor!” Al commented, slowing down slightly. The rooms were bigger and therefore further apart. There were crystal chandeliers lining the ceiling every few feet. While Al and Nat looked impressed, Tekaru was nonplussed about the style of the hotel.

“Look!” Al cried. He saw a staircase at the end of the corridor leading up a few steps, where bright white light was visible. “This must be the way out!”

“Why do we want to go out?” Nat asked. “Onto the top floor? We’ll be stuck!”

There was a loud roar, and a huge fireball flew through the air from the staircase. Tekaru responded by firing a thunderbolt to pierce the fireball into sparks and embers, destroying it completely. Knowing that Scott, Luke and Therebus were nearby, they sped off in the only direction they could.

They got ever closer to the four or five stone steps leading outside to the roof of the Hotel. Soon, within mere seconds, they had run up the few steps and flew out a double doorway. Straight ahead of them was Monica, standing with her staff ready, looking worried.

“Monica!” Al cried.

“Stay back!” Monica cried loudly, sweeping her hand.

“What? Stay back?” Al asked, stopping. Nat and Tekaru turned to see Karadon behind them, standing above the doorway they had just run through. He smirked. The three gasped as the other brothers ran up the steps and through the doorway, too. Karadon landed, closing the doors and blocking them with his fellow adept brothers.

“It was a trap!” Nat cried, leaping over to where Monica was. Al and Tekaru did likewise.

“Very well done, Nat,” Therebus said softly.

“Karadon, why are you doing this?” Tekaru cried desperately. “Roger is using you! Can’t you see that?”

Karadon’s eyebrows dropped down heavily.

“How dare you insult my father like that!” he roared. He charged up energy in his palm, sending a huge ball of scalding hot water at Tekaru. Tekaru let the attack splash into his face, sending searing pain across his skin.

“We’re here to end you,” Scott growled. “Orders have been given.”

He instantly clicked his fingers. From his feet, flames swept up his body and cloaked him completely. His two Pincers were also activated, gleaming a brilliant silver and snapping wildly. His thick, long, orange spikes shot off in all directions.

“Shall we keep the same foes as previously?” he asked sickly.

“I think so,” Karadon replied calmly. He signaled towards Monica, who looked utterly petrified. “Swords of Damocles arise.”

Holding the two small daggers, Karadon eyed Monica with intent on the large, wide, spacious roof of the Saffron City Hotel. Monica clutched her sleek weapon with fury and tried her best to stay focused.

“Brothers,” Karadon boomed. “Let us summon all of our strength into a final blow to the Adepts United.”

He charged up energy throughout his body. An elementa seemed to form – energy in every shade of blue and silver rose from Karadon’s body to take a large, ten-foot solid form. It was a golem. With long, thin, fan-like arms reaching to the ground, it was thin but powerful. Its legs were shorter, and its body was decorated with various silver angelic patterns. It had slits as eyes, a dark red in colour, which looked focused and ready.

“Our Elementa take solid forms,” Karadon said softly. “This is Behemoth.”

Karadon leapt high into the air and onto the shoulder of Behemoth. Monica remembered a fiery golem that rode into the city, when they first saw the four brothers. That must have been Scott’s golem. One-by-one, the other three brothers did exactly like Karadon – coloured energy formed from their bodies, leaving them and taking large, human-like forms behind them. Scott’s was what it had been previously – the slightly smaller figure, with a longer head and shorter arms. Thick, black horns rose from either side of its head, and a combination of gold and bronze marks drew themselves on the golem’s body, looking straighter and less graceful than those on Behemoth.

“Arise, Delvil!” Scott said gleefully, as the huge towering golem, composed completely of fire, allowed its owner to leap onto its shoulder. Monica, Nat and Al watched with fear as the figures rose one by one. Tekaru looked frustrated at seeing these huge figures of power.

“I’ve never seen Adeptry so potent before…” Nat muttered. “Solid adeptry, a physical form…”

It was evident that Nat was impressed by the new Golem’s arising before them. Luke’s was next – the dull, muddy-green energy took a medium sized build, with four pairs of arms stretching and morphing from its body. Red eyes, round and bulbous, formed on its thin face as spindly, clawed legs materialized. As the energy began to fade down, its skin looked to be composed of bark.

“The Tree Insect, Forrai,” Luke announced proudly, as spindly wings popped out of its back. The familiar glow of green Quaker energy took Forrai over instantly while Luke reached its shoulders. Therebus was still charging his energy up.

Suddenly, the shape Therebus was summoning reached its final form as limbs and details materialized. It was the strangest of the four Golems, as this one seemed to be a human, as opposed to a creature of energy. The large woman, nine foot in height, was made of chalky purple colours, looking like something from an abstract painting more than anything. She had long, flowing black hair and a piercing face, with a tight purple dress on and long, black boots. She had such a well-defined face; it was hard to believe this woman was no woman at all, in actuality being comprised of adeptry energy.

“Spirit of Mother,” Therebus said hoarsely. “I summon thee!”

And so the four brothers had their four spirits - the elegant, water spirit of Behemoth, the evil, brutal fire spirit of Delvil, the insect tree spirit of Forrai, and the Spirit of Mother. The four large spirits watched over the four Adepts facing them. How could they defeat them?

“Everybody take your aim,” Monica said urgently. “Although it’s hard to miss, really.”

She launched a Night Shade through the air. The wavering bolt of purple energy pierced the chest of Behemoth, but it did little or no damage. Karadon laughed coldly as Monica sent two more attacks towards her foe.

“You cannot fight against such force!” Karadon bellowed. Al leapt up and charged up a leaf blade, hoping the green blades of energy down his arms would help him against Scott. He soared through the air blissfully, arms crossed, waiting to unleash his strength. As he got within range of Delvil, however, the large golem swung its large, flaming fist and smashed it into Al. The young man was thrown towards the ground relentlessly, groaning in pain as his leg cracked.

“It’s broken!” he wept, moaning out loud. The other three watched on in horror. Al was already taken down…what could they do?

“We have to combine attacks!” Monica cried desperately, watching Tekaru summon his hammer and race towards Forrai and Luke. With a swing, Tekaru smashed into the spirit, but with an attack from Luke, the young boy was thrown backwards.

“Monica!” Tekaru shouted suddenly. “Look out!”

A sudden beam of chilled ice swept from Behemoth. Tekaru saw this, collecting his strength and running through the air at her, hammer ready. Leaping forward, Tekaru sent a bolt of lightening forward, destroying the ice and shattering it into mere powder before their eyes.

“Tekaru!” Monica exclaimed, stepping back. “You…took an attack for me?”

“Mistress of the AU,” he began softly. “I would take a thousand attacks for you!”

“EVERYBODY RELEASE THEIR ELEMENTA!” Karadon roared. “OUR FINAL SHOWDOWN WILL OBLITERATE THIS LOT!”

“No…” Tekaru mumbled.

“What is ‘final showdown’?” Nat asked urgently.

“A combination of all four Elementa,” Tekaru said with fear. “Everybody watch out!”

Each of the Four Brothers leapt from their respective spirits. The four spirits then glowed in bright colours, before melting into huge, bungalow-sized perpetual orbs of their respected colours. Behemoth materialized into a silvery blue ball of misty hue, while Delvil became a deep blood-red orb with bronze streaks. As Forrai slowly morphed into the large, muddy green orb of Quaker energy, Spirit of Mother formed into a slightly eerie silver and purple orb. Each floated above their owners, before slowly forming into each other and melting towards a final orb of floating, white energy which the four seemed to be sustaining.

“Good god,” Monica gaped.

“That thing’s colossal!” Al whined.

Suddenly, there was a sharp whooshing noise. A figure was leaping from roof to roof behind them, cloaked in flames with a thin sword. Only when the figure leapt onto the roof of the Saffron Hotel did it become apparent who they were.

As the flames died down, Alan stood there, between the two groups, a slightly curved sword held ready. He wore a deep red and dusty brown tunic, instead of the usual clothes he wore like baggy jeans and a hooded top. He actually looked like an adept. He had skillfully styled his usually messy brown hair, and put contact lenses in his eyes to replace his glasses.

“Alan!” Nat exclaimed.

“I’m here,” he announced darkly.

“You look…great!” Monica said hoarsely. But their friend looked upset.

“I tried everything I could,” Alan said. “I wanted to become one of you so badly. I met a man who could change me, and I’ve been seeing him a bit lately. Ever since HE -” (he shot a glance at Tekaru) “– got into the AU so easily, and I, after months, hadn’t been admitted, I felt my outlook was lacking something. This man changed me for the better; I had it in me to become a different person!”

He turned right around to face them. The moonlight cast a silvery, ghostly look over his sad, distraught face.

“I did everything I could, but it was all in vain,” he explained. A tear slipped from his weak eyes and trickled down his face, reflecting the moonlight. “And now, all I can do is protect you.”

“What are you on about?” Nat asked. “Don’t take on those four!”

“It is what I’m here for,” Alan explained. “There is darkness in my heart, and to purge it…”

Alan sent flames whooshing up his somewhat curved blade.

“…I must do this.”

“Alan, don’t do it!” Al cried. But it was too late. Alan swept up into the air and soared towards the Final Showdown attack the four brothers had been powering up. He held his sword high, ready to strike, but as the huge white, roaring orb of amazingly potent energy was thrown down like a meteorite, everyone knew Alan had no chance of escape.

“THE DARKNESS IN MY HEART!” Alan screamed, as he threw himself at the attack. “I CAN FEEL IT LIFTING!”

Alan’s impact on the large attack only seemed to re-direct it slightly. Now, as Alan had run in with his adeptry blazing from the right, the awesome spectacle of energy swept down to the left, away from the group. Tekaru leapt towards Monica, grabbing her and leading her away, while Nat helped Al out of the way. One side of the hotel was torn apart ruthlessly as the cataclysmic battle began to end. Alan and the energy were hurled down towards the ground.

“ALAN!” Monica screamed, as Tekaru shielded her from harm. It was evident that he could not have survived the blast. Nat, meanwhile, was watching Karadon and the other three brothers’ talk to a blue, ghostly figure – a pathian form of someone. The pathian technique involved summoning the presence of a person to communicate with them, almost like a telephone or web cam.

“Who is that?” Nat asked.

“That person they are talking to?” Tekaru asked. “It is Roger himself.”

“I’m so, so sorry,” Karadon began, turning to face the Adepts. “It appears we are needed elsewhere.”

He glanced around the wrecked roof, as well as the left side, which was smashed and ploughed through nastily. As the orb of energy hit the ground, a resounding crash signaled an explosion. The group stood back.

“We’ve done enough. Although we killed an innocent, non-AU member, we have at least established that we won’t be going away while you are all alive. You have seen how strong we are. Don’t underestimate us. Good bye.”

Karadon threw something down to the ground, which caused him and his brothers to teleport instantly, as well as the pathian image to fade away. The four spent the next ten minutes just lying there, panting, catching breath, and trying to deny what they witnessed.

“Alan…” Al sighed.

“He didn’t…” Monica sighed. “He was jealous of Tekaru?”

“There’s more to it than that,” Nat snapped. “He met somebody…a man who taught him how to change himself, or something.”

She sighed as she got up.

“And what about ‘the darkness in his heart’?”





Next Chapter:
-Fools Gold
-Phoenix
-A voice in your head? Or an unwelcome visitor?

Ultra_Poke2000
13th March 2005, 04:07 PM
:oh:

^yah.

all I can say is: shnargloopofozlotinjelnotztoogudfaryintopolin! yah, it's a mouthful, but hey, cheese!

*ahem* The battles against the four brothers were pretty cool, and the four solid elementa type things were pretty cool. too bad we didn't get to see them in action. as a matter of fact, besides to showcase all the golem/elementa/giant things, was there any purpose in showing them? maybe they were necessary to summon before they could complete their Final Showdown attack.

But then, Alan shows up, and as I'm reading my face looks like the one at the beginning of the post. dang. but is this really the end of Alan? I'm sure you're not going to snuff out a character just like that. and also, didn't he say something about the "darkness in his heart" lifting? surely that could only be good. besides, we've seen characters survive/come back from gigantic attacks/things like that, so we know it's not immpossible. perhaps we will see him again.

on a side note: didn't Alan have black hair? and I thought his weapon was a bow/double bladed saber thing. Maybe the sword was a gift from that strange man he was talking about...

The mysterious man, who could he be? Phoenix, maybe? or maybe a totally new character. hmm... I have a feeling the AU will meet him some time soon.....

The way the four brothers left was a little abrupt, but as they sometimes say, "Orders is orders." I wonder what they're being called off to do, though. maybe it has something to do with Mortimer and the gang? who knows? well, yah, sure, Chris does, but he's writing the fic! lol.

Powarun
13th March 2005, 06:14 PM
Awesome chapter, here I was thinking that Alan was a Fadept or what ever you call them, who was just a side character. I would like to see how his body appeared after that attack though, just to make sure he is dead. I have a small idea who taught Alan, and I want to say that he was from the orginal Monica's Army. The four brothers seem like a good match for the AU, maybe a few gym battles could help them.

Chris 2.1
14th March 2005, 12:34 PM
Ultra: Hmm well Chapter Three did leave many loose threads, but they get tied up at the right time. The reason the Four Brothers summoned their solid Elementa were probably to intimidate their foes. They don't need this stage to set up the final showdown, but it is evident that they mean business. While the battle was cut short, you'll be seeing them again soon.

The issue with Alan is confusing, but as you'll see, it is an important event. His final words were odd, but they make perfect sense as the fic progresses. Next Chapter the group decide to act on what they heard, and find out who caused Alan's suicide.

Did I say Alan didn't have black hair? I'm sure I said it was black. It is usually messy, though, and atop the hotel he decided to style it. He also had contact lenses in and changed into adeptry clothes. His Flame Saber was discarded for a curved blade...but why?

Phoenix behind this? Maybe. It is explained in due time.

I felt that it was written badly when Karadon & his brothers just left, but as you'll learn, they had a good reason. The story unfolds slowly, but I give you just enough to entice you!


Powarun: I wonder if Alan IS dead? And you think Ouranos was the one who twisted Alan's mind? Remember, Alan was driven to some sort of kamikaze attack....would Ouranos do that?

The Brothers seem like strong foes, and with 4 of them, and 4 in Monica's group, are they destined to fight? They'll have to if they want to het to Roger....

Ultra_Poke2000
17th March 2005, 03:53 PM
On who it was Alan was speaking of (the man who changed him), the thought that it was one of the original in Monica's Army never crossed my mind. Ouranos? I certainly didn't expect him. Could it have been someone else though? maybe even a ghost? hmm...

btw, here's the quote where it said Alan had brown hair. It was when you were describing him when he first let down his Blaze (that's what it's called with all the fire around them, right? I can't remember... heh heh. :sweat4: )


He had skillfully styled his usually messy brown hair...

Dragonfree
18th March 2005, 12:39 PM
I'm kinda late, but oh well. Nice chapter; I liked Nat's turning-into-stone thingy. Alan's part seemed clichéd, but knowing you, it's going to have a good explanation, so... *waits for chapter three*

Oakbark
20th March 2005, 03:10 PM
Hello Chris, you know i must've been watching for Vendetta to start every day up until around about the day you started it, and now i'm disappointed i've missed out on the first few chapters to analyse and talk about :( .
Anyways, i'll be watching from now on, so you won't be getting rid of me that easily!

******Also hello to Dragonfree, Powarun, Ultra_Poke2000 and Mire!!!!******

Just a few quick things, regarding Roger, he reminds me of Claudius from Hamlet, don't know why, guess it's cause i'm studying the play at the moment. His sons sound very interesting, and the reason behind his power-hungriness would be nice to find out - does he have a reason or is he just plain evil? Also regarding his first wife (i assume there was one - he has four sons!), where is she or is she dead? (Edit: hope we hear more about Spirit of Mother)

Alan really annoyed me, he just doesn't work in this fic at all, he was like an outsider that had been dropped into the fic from a Metallica concert or something, but why must he die *coughormaybenotcough* when he finally came good? Strange how my opinion could change so fast.

Nat has really changed, she's not the gentle, caring type she used to be. At the end of MA she lost her close friend, Lee. At the end of MR she lost Dimitri, her brother. I hope her bitter and i-hate-the-world attitude changes, for her sake. Her Stone Freeze attack was kewl to say the least. I love Nat. *ahem* As a character.

Tekaru is. . . well he's not really much yet, apart from a cardboard cut-out. I couldn't understand why he didn't want to help the AU at the beginning - surely he wanted to relieve his mother of the evil Roger?

Wow, chapter three ends with a giant battle which usually happens at the end of a fic - super cool! Cannot wait for chapter 4, and now that i'm re-hooked on Monica's adventures, there's no way i'm keeping away.

Oh great, didn't i say i'd cut it short this time? I've got to stop voicing all my thoughts!

Damien.

Chris 2.1
20th March 2005, 03:30 PM
Ultra_Poke2000: I sort of mentioned that THOUGHT in response to Powarun...but is it a returning character whom we already know, or an entirely new face? A ghost does also sound plausible...you'll just have to wait and see.

Oh right....ok, so I messed up ^^ and yea, you get +1 point for Monica Fic knowledge! Blaze is when the user covers themselves in fire, but what is it called when the adept becomes a water-like creature capable of breathing of water? Or when a Purist turns into steel?

Dragonfree: Hmm yea, Nat has found an ability she never knew about! Gasp. If she can master it, she'll be pretty good. Alan's story folds out to so much more....

Oakbark: Hola! And may I say welcome! Please keep up these BIG posts; I like replying to them :)

Hmm yea, Roger seems like Claudius I guess. I suppose the whole 'royalty' thing is really what makes it so. I think, however, the situation will be rather different as the fic progresses. It gets deep, you see, deeper than Hamlet ever got.

Roger's wife? The boy's mother? You've touched upon such a big subject ;)....I want to say, but I won't. It should be cool :D

Yea, why should Alan die when he became likeable? Because he was made likeable? Because he changed? Hmm. I admit I always liked Alan, and I didn't like killing him off, to be perfectly honest. True, it was easier than killing off Monica or Phoenix, but it still felt as if it wasn't right. But it was.

Nat's ruthless now. In Army, she was very ferocious and savage; she'd been living in wilderness for many years. In MR, we saw a development in her character as she was enclosed in the large fortress. I really liked showing that side. But now, it seems as if her attitude has changed again. She never lets her guard down. Monica was almost the same, accusing Erica of being an enemy in Chapter 1, as well as her initial reaction to Tekaru. Was it that Ray's true character drained Monica's trust in people?

I think Tekaru went to see the AU to get them to go and sort Roger out. I think that, without a real father figure, and four soon-to-be-stepbrothers towering over him, he never felt confident. When the AU explained they work together, and Tekaru vowed to work with them, his new outlook on life came in the form of an AU badge.

As for Ch4, it delves much deeper into the incident involving Alan. It's shorter than the others, but it is the right length. People think a fic should have chapters all X pages long. But the right amount of things should be said in each chapter: I could reveal EVERYTHING in Chapter one, like how Roger is raising a swarm of ravenous frogs, or how Tekaru's middle name is Sourbury, even that Monica and Phoenix get married at the end, but I'm letting them unfold gently, unlike in Revolution.

Oh, and those are all made up :P

And as I said, please post BIG posts I can read, I love seeing all you guys thoughts. :D


Chapter Four will be up sometime during next week I imagine. I won't say anymore than what I said in the Ch3 post:

-Fools Gold
-Phoenix
-A voice in your head? Or an unwelcome visitor?

Powarun
20th March 2005, 06:33 PM
Why did you answer all my questions with questions. I was thinking that Ouranos, when I wrote that question, keying in that he wasn't in MA, but seemed to support Monica quite alot. I figured Alan died though, reminds me of Sid, just he wasn't a murderer, just a kid who went in a portal at the wrong time. Which will brink up the question on how will Monica deliver the news to his parents or those whom which cared for him.

Although the 4 brothers and the 4 AU members seem like a liable match, it would be much more cooler to have the whole AU just destroy Roger. Although Roger may not be as bad as Tekaru says he is, maybe he just might be jealous that his mom is paying more attention to Roger than himself, and he wants to create lies to get what he wants.

When Nat turned to stone it reminds me of SUper Mario 3, when you get the tenuki suit, aka the raccoon suit. If you hold down and B you turn inot a stone figure.

I still say you have to create a super powerful adept who's weapon is a sling shot.

Chris 2.1
21st March 2005, 11:34 AM
Powarun: Usually I want to build on the ideas you bring up. I can't directly answer them because that spoils things.

I think before destroying Roger, the AU have to confront the brothers. I wonder if the AU could take them on...

And who says I haven't planned a character with a slingshot? ;)

Oakbark
21st March 2005, 02:40 PM
Just a quick note: I love the new weapons, especially the pincers (could you explain how they are held in an adept's hand?) and the super cool hammers, which not many people seem to use. My personal interpretation of hammers would be two handheld hammers which can be thrown like boomerangs or rubbed together to form a static charge, but then again the variety of interpretation is endless.

Damien.

Chris 2.1
21st March 2005, 04:23 PM
Oakbark: Yea I had the Hammer Bros idea too, but I like Tekaru's two-handed Hammer a lot, too. The pincers are sort of worn like gloves, but they are metal. They are bigger than gloves, twice the size, and Scott snaps them because his hands are in with his fingers in the top and his thumb in the bottom. They are also jagged, not smooth blades on the insides. They are almost like teeth....

Dragonfree
21st March 2005, 10:39 PM
what is it called when the adept becomes a water-like creature capable of breathing of water?
Ooh, I know that one! Zorian, wasn't it? Or something really close, anyway... ;)

Chris 2.1
25th March 2005, 11:15 AM
Dragonfree: Well done :D I'm just making sure you all remember things. A lot of the fic will rely on your past knowledge of the other 2 fics, and it needs to be accurate! So try and read the odd chapter of both Army and Revolution to make things easier.

And here it is! Chapter 4!






Monica’s Vendetta
Four
Pyrites


Together in a graveyard just outside Saffron City, Monica, Al, Nat and Tekaru stood by a neatly cut grave that Alan had been lowered in. After going to the base of the hotel and down the side alleyway, they found his oddly neat corpse lying there. Furthermore, the side of the hotel was torn apart, yet nobody had reported it.

“Goodbye, Alan,” Monica said softly. “You were always with us in spirit, even if you never had a badge to welcome you into the AU. You will continue to stay with us in our hearts and memories.”

Al and Nat began loading soil into the grave, covering Alan slowly. Monica had to admit, while the occasion was indeed sad, she didn’t feel ready to cry. Alan had been arrogant, irritating and unapproachable, but there was something in Monica’s heart that made sure she missed Alan’s presence. She knew nobody felt the same.

The gravestone was light gray, with the following inscribed on it beneath a small flame:
‘.:Alan Michael:.
Let your spirit soar always’

“Hold on a second,” Al said, stopping. “What’s that?”

He was referring to a golden light shining from Alan’s chest. Monica’s heart suddenly leapt – was it an AU badge? Al leapt down into the hole and checked his pocket. Monica’s mind was racing…Alan had killed himself in vain…

“Is it an AU badge?” Monica cried uncontrollably. She anticipated Al’s response.

“….No,” he said eventually. “It’s a business card. ‘Pyrites, the Soul Adept:
Come to me to heal the darkness in your heart’”

He looked up at Monica. Neither knew what to think.


*

The four had stayed indoors for the past two days, thinking over possible hypotheses relating to the information they now had.

“When Alan attacked, he mentioned the darkness in his heart,” Nat said firmly, having been thinking and dwelling on this the most in the group. “My guess is that this…Pyrites person is some kind of conman…or woman.”

“It’s really diverse,” Monica noted. “But we need to find out who Pyrites is…”

Al, who had broken his leg while fighting the four brothers, went towards a somewhat mysterious end of the large city alongside Tekaru to meet a healer. Healer’s were a very special type of Adept who could heal wounds with ease. There was a man who was known as a healer by many Adepts. This man lived in Saffron City, so Tekaru accompanied Al towards finding him.

Meanwhile, Monica and Nat decided to try and train up some more. Monica was level 9, and her class was upgraded to Ghost Mage. Nat, who was also level 9, was still a Quaker. Her class change would occur at level 10, but she had not been to a Gym for a long time.

“We must find you one,” Monica said excitedly. “I wonder what class you’ll become.”

“I have no idea,” Nat said softly. As they wandered the streets of Saffron together, Nat’s attention was drawn to a nearby newspaper stand. A banner across the top illustrated the headline:

‘PHANTOM PYRITES STRIKES AGAIN’

“Pyrites!” Nat cried. “There!”

“What?” Monica asked, turning and seeing the headline. “Oh my god!”

Buying a copy of the newspaper, Monica and Nat sat themselves down on the nearest bench and eagerly scanned the article:

PHANTOM PYRITES STRIKES AGAIN: FIVE HOSPITALISED

Five more people have been found in Saffron City following attacks from the mysterious ‘Pyrites’. This odd person has been leaving people in mental states of irreparable damage. One man looks as if he shall never even use the full capacity of his brain again, while generally the other victims seem mentally perturbed.

Simon Ovens, 44 from the city, found one of the victims in an alleyway on Thursday night. “It was a horrible sight,” he told The Saffron City Guardian today. “He was jibbering away about the darkness inside of him, and how sinful he was. It was like he had been hypnotized, or brainwashed or something.”

The man behind it is, as of yet, unknown. No victims are in the correct state to actually give a description of their adversary yet. The Chief of Police had this to say:

‘We currently have no leads, except that the name of this…perpetrator…is Pyrites. It is a name of one of the elements, meaning ‘Fool’s Gold’. Whether his name is any reflection on what his motives are is still a mystery. For now, we urge anybody with information to contact the Police, and general public to be on the lookout.’


“What do you make of that?” Nat asked Monica.

“Well I don’t know,” she said slowly. “But this looks bigger than anything we would have thought.”

“Oh, isn’t it just terrible?” said a kind voice behind them. Turning around swiftly, Monica and Nat were faced by a motherly-looking woman. She wore red, orange and brown clothes, looking loose with fitting. “Excuse me, my name is Martha. Martha Michael”

Both Monica and Nat gasped.

“I’m looking for my son, Alan,” she said kindly. “He was teleported away from home some months ago, and we’ve only just tracked him down.”

“R-Really…how awful,” Monica winced.

“Why, hold on a second,” Martha said politely. “I remember you two! You were from the AU, weren’t you? Alan got teleported here with you, didn’t he?”

Neither responded, feeling almost threatened by this ferociously kind woman.

“Could you tell me where he is?”


*

Meanwhile, far, far away from Saffron City, a familiar character wandered across a wooded area. The surrounding space dotted with sharp, proud trees, the man did wander with a certain sense of being, as he was heading to the ancient civilization just ahead.

“I’m here,” he croaked suddenly, parting the darkness and emerging into the light. The man had long, silvery hair which spanned in a manner of directions. Thick bolts of his sleek hair shot down either side of his smooth, handsome face. His chocolate brown eyes looked, for the first in a long time, surprisingly hollow and empty. His white, grey and silvery shirt was a tone darker than his hair, and his dark brown trousers were somewhat lighter than the colour of his thick brown boots. This man was Phoenix.

Phoenix was a Storm Angel – to date, this was the highest class of electric and weather adeptry. He was on a mission to find out who he was. A few months ago, he faced who he thought was his rival, Dimitri, believing he had the power to kill this manic person. It turned out that he was wrong, and the link between his family and Dimitri’s was still shrouded in mystery.

While looking this entire process up, Phoenix realised something. He was, to his knowledge, a Storm Angel who had inherited ghost adeptry from his father. This wasn’t true; Phoenix could well use telepathy, and mind techniques on his foes, but he didn’t have any ghost adeptry in him. The techniques he had, as well as other mysterious forces he had decided to keep to himself were something else.

And so, to help understand the connection between himself and Dimitri, as well as who he was, Phoenix went to seek his father, Tohweid. Hearing that his father used to live in Gritzwald, the ancient city stuck in the past, Phoenix made his way there to get information.

However, as Phoenix arrived at the main gates to the city, a small, fiery demon was jumping up and down. It was a spirit, composed of fire adeptry and standing at two foot tall.

“What is that?” Phoenix asked, looking and seeing many more sweeping through the air. They were all red. Like this one. With intricate bronze decorative markings, it looked sort of sacred…

It leapt up high and smashed into Phoenix, alarming the young man and pushing him back. Retaliating straight away, Phoenix held his palm forward and sent a brilliant bolt of lightening bursting from the surface of skin. The bolt gave a long crackle as it pierced the surface of the small fire spirit. A small pop followed, sending a shower of embers into the air and exterminating the creature.

“Curious,” he said slowly, realizing what just happened. “The creature was composed entirely of fire adeptry…”

He cleared his throat.

“SHOW YOURSELVES!”

There was no answer. Phoenix thought hard…someone had to have controlled that spirit, for it had no brain of its own to do what it wished. As Phoenix took another step into the city, he felt a sharp, piercing pain streak into his head. It was like an extreme headache, and Phoenix had never felt such pain before.

Entering the city precariously, Phoenix wondered if he was not wanted at all.


*

Unfortunately for the young Phoenix, the city he had spent a lot of time visiting as a child was much different. Many large houses and buildings had been attacked by fiery attacks, demolishing some areas. It looked like a large wreck. After gathering information from the locals, Phoenix learned that the city had a low population and, to his horror, the Library was destroyed. He had been hoping to find some clue to his Father’s whereabouts from the sources in his old hometown, but it looked slim now.

“Hey, you look strong,” remarked a young boy. Phoenix turned and looked down to see a boy dressed in raggy clothes. He had fair hair and a glitter of hope in his dark eyes. “Who’re you?”

“I’m Phoenix,” he replied gently. “What is your name?”

“Harley,” the boy replied. “Have you just arrived in Gritzwald?”

“Yes, I have,” Phoenix began. “What has happened?”

“It’s because of Thorrus,” Harley replied bitterly. “A few months ago, this strong guy named Thorrus arrived in a large golden chariot, pulled by magnificent black horses. He said he was a Shamanic Adept, and demanded all our riches. The Mayor of Gritzwald didn’t let him manipulate the city like this, and Thorrus struck.”

“Tell me more,” Phoenix asked desperately.

“He slaughtered our Mayor and other villagers – my grandfather perished. He created creatures from various elements, like lightening or rock, and had them attack the city. He fled towards the graveyard to set up living quarters there. Ever since then, he’s made demands of us…and whenever adepts take him on, they get killed.”

“How horrible,” Phoenix said bitterly, staring towards the large ridge which was the graveyard. It watched over the now crumbling ruins of the once impressive city with blatant superiority. The Graveyard used to be a Gym, belonging to a Ghost Adept who gave you a badge if you escaped the Graveyard alive. Monica and Lee both earned badges there, back when they were young, weaker adepts.

“What level are you, Phoenix?” Harley asked innocently. Phoenix averted the young boy’s eyes.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he said intriguingly. “I’m strong enough to duel this Shamanic Adept. Lead me to the gates of the Graveyard, Harley, and I’ll go and defeat him.”

“No!” Harley cried. “He’s too strong!”

Phoenix realised the young boy’s faith was weakened. He had to impress him and help in whatever way he could. Throwing his arms down to his sides, Phoenix charged up the energy inside of him. Squeezing his shoulder muscles, two fluffy white eagle wings formed from his shoulder blades and unfolded spectacularly. A long, sky blue staff with a round pearl on the top also materialized in Phoenix’s hand.

“Oh my god!” Harley cried. “You’re an angel!”

“I’m not,” Phoenix corrected Harley with a smirk. “I’m just a lost soul. I’m going to find Thorrus and defeat him.”

With that, Phoenix gave two long, sweeping flaps of his wings and rose into the air. Enjoying the look on Harley’s face, Phoenix swept through the old remnants of the destroyed city towards the graveyard.

Meanwhile, a figure watched from the shadows.

“He needs to see clearly,” he said hoarsely. “I hope Thorrus tests him adequately.”


*

Monica and Nat had, luckily, given Mrs Michael an excuse that they had fallen out with Alan when they arrived in Saffron City, and that he was traveling with new friends towards his home. Monica couldn’t explain to herself why she had lied to Mrs Michael, but it just felt as if a lie made them both happier than the truth ever would. Mrs Michael thanked Monica and headed off, albeit bitter.

“A whole day and no traces of Pyrites AT ALL!” Nat sighed.

“He acts under the cover of darkness, remember?” Monica reminded her friend. “Maybe we should look for him now?”

“Wait until Al and Tekaru get back,” Nat said angrily.

“Nat…” Monica began, seeming to place her words down carefully. “Why is this so important to you? Alan and you never got on…”

“He died for an unjust cause,” Nat said bitterly. “He was…manipulated towards his death. Ok, so he sacrificed himself to save us, and if he hadn’t we might not have been here today…but still…nobody deserves to end life like that. Sacrifices are bold, courageous things to do, only when you intend to.”

“Do you think Pyrites may have brainwashed Alan so he would save us?” questioned Monica.

“Well it is possible,” Nat said. “I did think perhaps Pyrites was just a codename from an AU member…like Phoenix, for example.”

“Hey, good thinking!” Monica cried. “He did follow me to Perlei to help rescue you…maybe he’s helping us again?”

“It is possible,” Nat said vaguely. “But we need to locate this guy. Why would Pyrites kill others?”

As Nat mused over this, realizing her theory was crumbling apart in her hands, Al and Tekaru walked in the door. Al began shaking his leg frantically, showing it was healed completely.

“We’re back!” He cried.

“Al’s all better now,” Tekaru declared.

“We’ve been discussing this ‘Pyrites’ character,” Monica explained. “We’re not sure what his motives are but, well, we intend to go and search for him.”

“Good idea,” Al said. “He might be hard to find, though…”

“Worse was the arrival of Alan’s mother to Saffron City,” Nat told them grittily.

“WHAT?” Al roared.

“Alan’s…mother?” Tekaru asked.

“We gave her an excuse that we haven’t seen Alan for months, and that he’d gone traveling with some new friends.”

“Why?” Al asked weakly.

“I…well…it just seemed right,” Monica said firmly.

“So you could get her out of the way?” Al asked her. “That’s pathetic.”

“Don’t speak to me like that!” Monica cried.

“Then don’t act like you deserve to be spoken to like that,” Al snapped. “C’mon.”

The four left the flat together, Monica locking up. They made their way out the apartment block and onto the streets of Saffron City, keeping their weapons away until they were needed. A secluded hush fell over the large city as funnels of smoke puffed up from the industrial buildings. In the north, there was the industrial clank, clank of machinery. A hard, bitter edge resided in the city, but from a not-so-distant alleyway, one figure watched them with intrigue.

“Target sighted,” he said jovially, with a strong British accent. “Alan’s old rival Natasha…I shall make short work of her.”

And with that, he slipped on a single silk glove over a smooth, manicured hand. Blood stains had dried and crusted over his right glove, turning a deep maroon colour in some places. He slipped out of the alleyway and into the street.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” came a bright voice. Monica turned to see a suave looking man pacing towards them. He had a smooth, fresh white shirt over his chest, with a tight, thin, powdery purple suit over that. His cuffs from his shirt stuck out in cone-like shapes, and his thin, brown hair was styled down in a curve over one of his eyes. He wore black trousers and smart silver buckle shoes. He looked very smart. His eyes sparkled with something…something inciting.

“Can I help you?” Monica asked firmly.

“Yes…yes, I was wondering…” the man said softly. “I seem to have lost one of my gloves…have you seen it?”

“A white glove…silk…” Monica said as she examined it carefully. The man held his hand out, but as she stared, he swung his hand up in a chop and hit Monica in the jaw. She stumbled back in pain, screwing her eyes shut as Al, Nat and Tekaru got their weapons out. The man opened his arms wide, in greeting, sending large particles of golden powder sweeping at them. Upon contact, the powder popped and banged, sending a cloud of golden smoke around the group.

“What’s going on?” Al coughed. The man leapt high and appeared behind the group. He summoned a small staff, perhaps 40cm in length, coloured a sleek black.

“You have crossed paths with Pyrites!” the man smirked.

“You?” Monica spluttered. Nat summoned her blade, but when the cloud of golden dust cleared, Pyrites was nowhere to be seen. He pointed his weapon like a gun and sent a large screaming blast of red energy at them. It smashed into Tekaru and sent a red shock all over his system.

“I can’t move!” he cried. “I can’t move!”

“Shooting star!” Pyrites cried happily. As he waved his little wand over his head, sparkles of silver danced in the sky. Giving a loud roar, a larger, silver star rocketed down upon the group. It smashed into the ground and exploded, sending the four in a variety of directions.

“You bastard!” Monica snapped. “Why did you drive Alan to suicide?”

“Me?” Pyrites asked. He laughed briefly. “Alan opened his HEART to me; he told me every little secret he longed to tell. Ever since he was transported to this place, he felt lonely, and sad. You have no idea how depressed Alan was. When he came to me, I helped him through his problems – we got him a new sword, a new outfit, and a new attitude towards life.”

“What about all that ‘darkness in your heart’ stuff?” Nat asked angrily. “You brainwa-

“I did no such thing,” he replied curtly. “Everybody has darkness in their heart. It is the way of this wicked world. Society has formed into a devouring monster just waiting to take a bite out of your innocent soul. I have tried sustaining the perfect balance, and believe that I can help others around me. Take criticisms, for they are the only hint at how to create perfect unity with oneself. I tell people what is wrong with their life, tell them the darkness in their heart, and help them.”

“Most of your victims are brain-dead!” Nat retorted. “You’re a sick freak, Pyrites!”

“I am no such person!” Pyrites said angrily. “But I’ll tell you one thing. Alan may have been ridden with jealousy, but there was something far worse in his body.”

Knowing he had the four’s full attention, the mysterious man went on.

“He despised you; Nat. Alan hated every cell in your body. He wanted revenge on you for giving such a hard time, just for being himself. He can’t do that, and I’m taking it upon myself to personally hunt you down and kill you.”

“Don’t you dare!” Al shouted.

“You’ll have to get thro-

Monica was interrupted when Nat burst through her and Al, drawing her sword from a diagonal sheath strapped to her back. She paced towards Pyrites angrily.

“You wanna try and kill me?” she asked musingly. “Go ahead.”

Pyrites conjured up an orb of energy. It flashed magical colours of red, orange, yellow and so on through the spectrum. Nat watched it precariously, not knowing what to expect from such an odd Adept. However, as she glared at the orb, the colours swirled in almost hypnotic patterns. Pyrites chuckled.

“What adeptry is he using?” Al asked Monica.

“No idea,” Monica replied dully. “Watch out, Nat!”

It was too late. As Nat stood, mesmerized, Pyrites hurled the orb at her face. It exploded in a shower of brilliant, illuminating sparks. Nat was thrown through the air and landed on her back. Her blade sunk into the ground a few meters away. Tekaru went to retrieve it.

“Nat! Are you ok?” asked Monica, bending down to check her friend.

“I’m fine…” Nat said surprisingly. She thanked Tekaru after he handed her the sword that was hers. She ran at Pyrites, angry and bearing her sword, but the man disappeared and re-appeared in mid air. He soared down and delivered a double kick to Nat’s face. Landing, he turned swiftly and sent a flurry of silver stars shooting at his foe. Nat slashed them away.

“Sonique!” she bellowed. Slashing her sword horizontally, a silver streak of energy flew at Pyrites. He let the attack, this time; simply hit him in the stomach. Although he gave a groan and shuffled back a little bit, he showed no signs of damage.

“What is he doing?” Nat asked, as Pyrites threw a ball into the air. It exploded, and a flock of doves soared out majestically. As they flew, sparkles of white shimmered from them and they eventually turned to black crows. They sharply turned and rained down upon Nat.

“Hey!” she cried, slashing at the birds. They were evading her moves and pecking her while she swung the other way. Not settling for this, the other three released their weapons – the scepter, the blade and the hammer, and attacked Pyrites.

“Don’t cheat!” he cried happily. “IMPRISON!”

Throwing three objects violently, Pyrites sealed the other three up. Stickers slapped onto their foreheads, mysteriously immobilizing them and preventing them from defending Nat.

“Stop this!” Monica cried. “Nat, get out of here! You could get hurt!”

“I’m fine, ok?” Nat snapped, leaping high to evade a thin beam of golden energy.

“Anger clouds your thinking!” Pyrites mentioned, throwing his hand down and sending a streaming ball of red energy. It hit Nat and exploded, throwing her to the ground again. Wearily, she got up. The numerous explosions were hurting.

“Give it up!” Monica cried desperately.

“NO! Stop telling me how to do this, Monica!” Nat roared. Pyrites held his odd wand forward and released a series of round proximity mines. They floated eerily through the air, circling Nat and making bleeping noises.

“Listen to your friend…” Pyrites said softly. “DETONATE!”

A series of long bangs issued. Nat screamed as her sword was thrown up in the air. Flying back from the huge explosion, Nat had a smoky face and looked beaten. She gave a weak cry and collapsed.

“NAT!” Monica screamed. “She looks seriously hurt!”

“But we can’t save her!” Tekaru noted. “We can’t move!”

“Hands of Justice!” Pyrites said manically, releasing energy into a building. A pair of clock hands formed on the side of the building, ticking down approximately ten minutes. “When the hands of justice reach 0…a flurry of those Mine Balls will throw themselves at her from the sky!”

He turned to leave.

“I’ll be watching you,” he told the group stealthily. “If she doesn’t die, I’ll be back.”


*

Meanwhile, in Evayard, Roger and his Sons were exchanging words regarding the events in Saffron. Lady Teresa was softly sleeping in another end of the castle, which was good. Roger had much to discuss.

“So let me…summarize the whole situation,” he said thickly, running a finger across his bristly moustache and pacing the large chamber they were in. The four sons were in a line, facing Roger as he surveyed the scene. “Tekaru is actually [i]in[/u] the AU?”

“Yes, Father,” Karadon said firmly.

“So that means,” Luke continued importantly. “That whoever gives out the AU badges has seen Tekaru’s cause and acknowledged it.”

“That’s right,” Roger said painfully, wishing this was not true. He stopped for a second, dusting dirt from one of his golden shoulder pads. The dirt fell past his regal blue outfit and to his feet, one of which stood over the dust and trod it into the stone floor.

“What are you going to do, Father?” Karadon asked.

“I do not know,” Roger sighed. “Sending Tekaru away was a mistake – I should have maintained a hold on him.”

“We can go back there, finish the job,” Scott pointed out.

“He’ll be on his way now,” Roger explained. “There is no point.”

“That damn Alan ruined everything!” Scott snapped viciously.

“He’s dead now,” Luke admitted. “That’s him out of the way.”

“Quiet!” Roger barked suddenly, turning and facing a thick tapestry on the wall. “We must meet Tekaru and his friends. Not here, in case Teresa catches on. No. I have a better plan. We’ll give them some time, you know, to train themselves up, and then I’ll let you loose on them. For now, though, I want Therebus and Luke to make your way to the Library on the fourth floor of the castle. Research as much as you can about…well, you know what I mean. As for you two, I want you to try and get a map of Perlei for me. You know why.”

Karadon and Scott nodded and disappeared rather soon after Therebus and Luke. Roger turned to the tapestry.

“Keep up the good work,” came a strangled, choked voice.


*

Meanwhile, in Lavender Town, Mrs Michael sat in a tent with a ghostly looking woman. The woman was feeling an orb on the table.

“Yes…” she said softly. “Yes…your son…”

“Where is he?” Martha barked. “Tell me!”

“He is…” the lady said softly. She jerked suddenly and cleared her throat. “Mrs Michael, your son Alan is…dead.”

Martha showed no signs of shock or surprise.

“He died in Saffron City, and he is buried there,” the lady went on.

“I could almost tell,” she said airily. “Tell that he was dead.”

She began pacing the room.

“And I can tell that Monica lied to me,” she continued. “Lied to me about my son’s death!”

She turned and ripped open the curtain.

“That Monica will feel my wrath,” she growled. “She has never fought a grieved mother before, and once I learn of everything, I will sort her out!”




.:.Next Chapter.:.
-When a deal becomes broken, trust often follows
-Don't watch another so long you stop looking at yourself
-The path to Evayard...

Oakbark
25th March 2005, 04:41 PM
Ha, gotta make a good first impression in MV by replying first to the new chapter, having MV to look forward to makes a big difference when i'm on the net!

Yes, that was a good chapter, i especially liked Pyrites and his freaky magician-like appearance, what age is he roughly? And why would Alan trust should a strange person? And why would Pyrites, a relatively new acquaintance of Alan, want to help Alan get revenge on Nat? And why am i being hit with endless questions? Ahhhhhh!! :oh:

Alan's mother is on the warpath, and so would I if I was her. Monica didn't need to lie, and now she's in a whole load of doo-dah with Mrs. Michael. I wonder what kind of adeptry she has, and how powerful she is?

Who is Roger talking to? His former wife? Scary. I'm beginning to warm to the four brothers (yeah weird i know). I think it's important that they all have unique characteristics, and that they aren't simply copies of each other, all thinking in the same mindframe and saying the same thing. Working on their individual personalities is something i'm very much looking forward to.

Nat really has changed - she's so angry and becoming independent to the point that she's splitting from the group, as seen when she rebuked Monica's advice. However she always seems to be on someone's death list. . .

Something i think you should work on (i hate saying these things, it makes me look like a moaner - its constructive criticism) is cutting down on all those adverbs in passages of speech. When you have someone talking they always seem to say something softly, or airily, or grittily etc.
Something useful i found out a long time ago is that these adverbs are unnecessary and actually take away from the flow of reading. I mean, on occasion they work, but it doesn't need to be told to us that Nat spoke angrily as she questioned Pyrites, we assume this by the context. Focus more on getting the wording of the characters right - a simple "Monica said" or "said Al" is usually enough after that, as the reader focuses on what the character is saying, and not the adverbs (or whatever) between the speech quotations. Do you understand? I'll try to re-word better it if you want me to again.


********SUPER IMPORTANT EDIT*****************


It's finally happened! Just like Dragonfree, I too have had a dream about Monica and the gang!

It was so cool, i was in this huge building, and i was a new type of adept called a Thermal Adept. It's really cool because I never thought up this type of adept before. I was wearing a full-length overcoat which was dark red and/or brown. Anyways, i was on my own in a corner of the building, and i was looking out the window at another part of the building jutting out from the main area. All of a sudden i could just "sense" that there was someone in that part of the building (apparently due to the thermal heat waves i could sense in that proximity, i was like a heat sensor), and i raced to that area to find out who was there.
I was on guard as i walked underneath a staircase on my search, and both me and Nat (woo hoo, it's Nat! In my dream!!) managed to stop ourselves attacking each other as we came face to face! There was some kind of guy sitting under the staircase holding a book, and Nat and I knew him (we had to protect him i think). He chanted some mumbo-jumbo and three fist-sized teddies appeared (i think they were enchanted or something). We heard disturbances upstairs, and Nat picked up the guy that was sitting down and dragged him up the stairs. I followed holding the book and enchanted teddies.
Upstairs there were three small rooms, and i entered the first, and saw Monica fighting two assassins - one coloured green and the other one coloured some other colour (cant remember). Basically there was an assassin for every person (for example a green assassin with quaker adeptry for Nat, a red one with fire/thermal adeptry for me, etc.) and they were after the guy we had met downstairs. I left Monica's room and passed Al in the corridor (i presume it was him anyways). I went into the third room and there was a portal opened up in there, and our job was to get the assassins into that portal. One of the assassins came into the room and tried to attack the teddy-guy, and as i defended the teddy-guy i woke up. . .

Now wasn't that just the coolest dream ever? This Thermal Adept that I was, the only power I used was my heat sensor ability to detect people in the area, perhaps he has Fire powers as well? And that guy we were protecting with the enchanted teddies, weird huh? Lol. Well tell me what you think of the dream anyways!

Chris 2.1
26th March 2005, 01:21 PM
CHAPTER 4 ON PREVIOUS PAGE. THE BELOW POST CONTAINS SPOILERS:












Oakbark: Yea, I use adverbs way too much, I've noticed that myself. But if its a problem...

With the brothers, I made sure they debuted with differing personalities. There was no real build on that in Chapter 4 because it was a general conversation. You may have seen how Karadon is portrayed as a more dominant person; Scott seems to be a violent order taking person; Luke is strong but seems to be less agitated than his brother Scott, and Therebus is a soft spoken individual with control over himself. The four don't stay together all the time, and this allows me to help build on them seperately. And yes, they DO get character development ^^

Pyrites is youngish. I'd say he's slightly younger than Phoenix. As for Mrs Michael, she's a Flame something. A strong female class! Alan had fire adeptry and so does Martha.

As for Roger....hmm, I shan't say!

Nat is different. I wonder if she's going to be ok?

Ps: cool dream! Dragonfree's dream, remember, plays a part in the fic at some point, but I won't say when! I want a Monica dream ;_;

Oh yea...some good news for you guys! I'm starting to learn how to draw Manga, which means I'll be working on drawings of the Monica fics! I don't have a scanner yet but when I do any I'll somehow get them up here!

Oakbark
27th March 2005, 08:56 AM
Woo hoo! I tried learning manga, but i just don't get the time to practise! I cannot wait to see your pictures!!!

Yes, i realise that the brothers haven't had much character development yet, but that's perfectly natural until the fic gets underway in the next few chapters.

Yes Nat is changing - i wonder if that will affect her relationship with Monica and the group? If only Lee would make contact with her and they patch things up. . . .

Lol must be tough having a cool fic and hearing how others have dreamt about it! That dream was sooo cool!!!

Are you using any specific websites o help with your manga drawing? PM me with some good ones if you can, i might give it another shot. . .

Gotta stop writing these monster replies! Bye.

Damien.

Chris 2.1
30th March 2005, 02:48 PM
I wonder where everyone is?

Oakbark
31st March 2005, 01:39 PM
Yeah it's been 5 days and i'm the only replier. . . .and this has been a very enlightening chapter!

If there are any closet readers out there - reply!!!

Ultra_Poke2000
3rd April 2005, 07:12 PM
I'm here, don't worry, I'm not gone! last weekend i only remembered to check for a new chapter at about 9:00 pm and by that time my parents made me get off since it was late and the next day was a school day. (I'm not sure if you remember this, but I'm allowed to play videogames or go on the internet only on the weekends).

anyway, Monica lies to Alan's Mom! *GASP!* and about his death, too! *GASPIO!* Why? we do not know. Even Monica doesn't know. But no time for that now, because we have Pyrites to deal with!

A soul adept, huh? sounds interesting, especially with the Magician like appearance he has for himself. He acts very oddly, and, as OakBark said, why would he be so taken up with Alan's cause? His powers are very interesting, and seem to be based on the magician theme, which seems almost contrary to is title of soul adept. In the end he has them in a ten-minute trap, and then a cliff hanger! dang it! We can only speculate until next chapter, I suppose. We know they'll get out of it, though, since the good guys always do... right?

Phoenix continues his quest for identity, but finds his destination under seige by some Thorrus guy. Phoenix seems confident, but we know that often leads to a beat down. But who knows?... And we can tell there's something more going on from the shadowy figure on the side. But what?

Rodgers plan seems to be to arrogantly give the AU time to train, and then go on an all out attack. We don't know what he's trying to research, though. I'm pretty sure it's either some sort of secret weapon OR some law that would give him total control of Evayard.

Then, at the end, Mrs. Michael finds out the truth from a fortune teller. Far from being crushed, however, she vows revenge. Thus begins (one of) the Vendetta this story is named for. As far as I can tell the other one is between Tekaru's family and Rodger and his sons. I don't know what may come of Mrs. Michael's grudge, but I'm sure it's going to be bigger than just a little thing on the side.

on a side not on Alan Michael's name: Alan-Michael, together, is my hyphenated first name. I guess it was rather convenient to split it into a first and last one so as to avoid having to make up a last name. Great idea!

Oakbark's Dream was an interesting. Thermal Adepts sound interesting, and could have a whole set of subtle, different powers seperate from Flame Wariors. heh heh, the teddy bears were funny.

I'll see all of you guys later. bye!

Chris 2.1
3rd April 2005, 07:53 PM
Ultra: Hey stranger!

I think out of the 4, Monica was the only one truly touched by Alan's suicide. Al, Nat or Tekaru could break it to Martha, but I think Monica found it hard, and thus managed to lie about it. Evidently, it wasn't bought, and Martha has gotten the wrong end of the stick. Oh dear.

Pyrites is a character I really liked the idea of. The whole soul thing comes from the Darkness in your Heart he claims to see in some people, which is built on in the near future. His whimsical pops and bangs are rather odd, aren't they? As you'll learn, Pyrites has a lot to his name. Didn't Monica and Nat read that there were other victims? What would they have in common with Alan and his past? Could there be a specific thing Pyrites is aiming towards?

Hmm the shadowy figure. And Thorrus. He seems interesting. I wonder how things will turn out...

Roger, for the meantime, seems preoccupied, so I think keeping an eye on the AU for now until he can attack them is the best bet. But will Roger himself carry out the task, or will his four sons do the dirty deed? Hmm, a weapon or a law? I wonder if he's researching ways for him to abuse his status as future King?

While Martha's fued with Monica is not what initially sparks the title 'Vendetta', the fic does deal with a lot of conflicts; some between a mother and her son, Teresa and Tekaru, as well as inner conflicts in oneself like Alan. Group conflicts like possible ones between the brothers, and even ones between cities is something we will touch on. But the big Vendetta is later. A big vendetta of gigantic proportions.



N E W S ! ! !

The new Monica's Vendetta competition is underway!

You have the chance to have a BIG say in Monica's Vendetta.

The first prize is the chance to create your own town, city, village or settlement in Evayard, which the group will visit during the fanfic. The second prize is the chance to create your own species of Adept. Not a character, but a type of adept to be introduced during the course of the fic.

And to enter and stand a chance, it is simple!

"Please state in no more than 25 words why you would like to win this competition."

Thanks! Entries will be collected in about a Months time.

Dragonfree
4th April 2005, 02:58 PM
I'm here, sorry I'm so late... @_@

Anyway, the chapter was interesting. Naturally, I loved Phoenix's part; Alan's mother getting involved is also interesting and so was the scene where the brothers were talking to Roger. I'm liking Pyrites, too... I'm hoping he gets involved more.

Are we supposed to post our entries in the competition?

Mire
4th April 2005, 06:35 PM
Must catch up! I have the tendency to forget everything important, which is a cockeyed sort of compliment to this work. Sorry for the lateness, reply to two chapters, yay!

I have to admit that I was surprised when you killed off Alan, so soon? Must get more development of his background. Might have been able to predict had I payed a little attention to the title. I have to say I wasn't hugely a fan of him, but still interesting to see him go (notice I didn't say sad, lol). I'm curious as to how the energy from the supposedly "evil" brothers could have purified him, are they more innocent bystanders than you're revealing? Does that mean Roger is less evil than it seems (I hope he really is raising that army of ravenous frogs, lol)? Especially with that voice from the tapestry... isn't it common for henchman to die? XD

Tekaru seems all well and dandy but I wouldn't be too surprised should he be an evil manipulative kind of guy. Did I notice a slight bit of Monica/Tekaru admiration in chapter three? Is there love triangles in the future (teasing)?

I like Nat's new personality side now with the ruthlessness, can you make her evil too? I like evil a little too much I think. Go evil! I'll settle for her kicking butt and taking names. Course with her current situation she won't be doing much of that...

Monica the liar, problem there. I hope she gets what's coming to her for that, bad, bad, Monica. At least she was grieving though, I'm glad she missed him. I'd like to see a duel between her and Martha personally though, just for fun.

I like Pyrites, even though he's kind of evil, lol. I want to hear more about his background. Go pops and bangs! It'd be surprising to see Nat get blown up, but like Ultra mentioned the good guys to usually win... I like tragic endings. XD

Phoenix's duel with Thorrus should be interesting; will he blindly rush into battle as usual? I hope you don't kill of Thorrus right away (distant cheering of "THOR-US! THOR-US" can be heard).

I liked Oak's dream, must become dedicated enough to get one of those, lol. The teddy bear guy was very curious, you should use it for the contest, that or the thermal adept. Both were cool.

I need to go prepare that contest entry now (doubting I'll win, people in here are more creative than I, actually everyone probably).

As a final note, can't wait for chapter five and the big vendetta namesake later (I don't get to have a nice long post when everyone asks questions before me, XD).

Chris 2.1
5th April 2005, 05:21 PM
Dragonfree: PM me your entry. Oakbark did, so you might as well too ^^

Hmm yea Phoenix's part was something I thought you'd all like. The Forgotten Hero's debut in Vendetta. Naturally his subplot does get very interesting, even in the next installment. Martha's appearence was, in actuality, very spontaneous. I fancied having a freakishly weird relative looking for him, and since Revolution was full of brothers, sisters and the like, I thought his mother would stir things up :D

Oh and Pyrites turns into a big character!


Mire: Oh just so you know, Alan's past is sort of reflected upon slightly. Just so you know the full picture. I didn't want it appearing so random. Hmm well the Darkness in Alan's Heart wasn't necessarily lifted BY the attack...can you think of any other ways?

Hmm could Tekaru be leading Monica to Roger, Ray style? Hmm. I haven't got such writers block that I reuse plot ideas so soon (the exact thing happened in Revolution...) But as for Love Triangle: think Love Hexagon! :D

Also: I don't do requests to 'evil up' characters ^^. I can't and won't say if anyone turns evil because that's just not fair!

To be honest, a lot of people have wondered why Monica is a leader. And it's because of her strong compassion - one reason, anyway. When Alan was an egotistical jerkoff, Monica could see a good side to him, and trusted him. In Revolution, Ray deemed this quality weak, but I think it's a strong factor.

There IS more on Pyrites, don't worry! Also, the Phoenix/Thorru duel is.....it's worth reading, put it that way :P No spoilers yet!

And please enter the contest. Everyone has an equal chance of winning, just think of what you want to say and make a good impression!

And yes, I'll see you in Chapter 5 ^^



Guys! I'm drawing up the Perlei map. Horray!?! Previews for some new Evayardian species of animals, as well as future locations and a general outline!

Mire
5th April 2005, 06:05 PM
Oh did I sound requestish when I said Nat should turn evil? Whoops, XD. It was meant as a joke really. Thanks for clarifying to pm the contest entries to you, and about the Alan I see I need to read more closely... lol. Hoorah for more Pyrites, and for love hexagons, lol. Oh, and a cheer for the map and other stuff.

Oakbark
6th April 2005, 02:54 PM
Yay! Cannot wait for the map!

Hmm....i know Monica has been trusting and optimistic about people in the past, but i think she's compromising this trait recently after the "OMG Ray is evil" thing, proven by her vigil at Tekaru's side when he first arrived and her untrusting attitude to Erika. Perhaps she was the "There's good in everyone" type of person before, but the Ray thing has really shatered her confidence and i think she's untrusting of her own judgement at the moment. Or maybe i'm reading into things too much....

Chris 2.1
15th April 2005, 11:37 AM
Guess its time for a new chapter.

Chapter 10 is being written and the map of Evayard is coming along nicely.

EDIT: Will edit chapter in tonight.

Chris 2.1
15th April 2005, 03:29 PM
New post ^^


Monica’s Vendetta
Five
Deeper, Deeper


“I just don’t understand this,” Mortimer sighed to himself. In a large, spacious prison cell beneath Lady Teresa’s castle, Mortimer, Afee and Boko stood and sat around in deep thought. There were three beds, a toilet (separated with two other walls, making it more of a cubicle), and they had a lot of space. Within the walls of the cell were, however, forms of adeptry-restricting barriers and seals, preventing Mortimer or the others from attempting an escape.

“We’ve been framed,” Afee declared, deep in thought, sitting on his bed. “Somebody either wanted to shift the blame for their own treason, or simply needed us three out of their way.”

“But who?” Mortimer asked. “I can’t think of anybody who would want us out of their way.”

“Maybe we don’t know them, but they know us,” Afee suggested. “A new enemy.”

“If that is the case,” Boko began. “We have to alert somebody.”

“Our pathian ability doesn’t work in these walls,” Afee groaned. “We have no chance!”

“There is always a way,” Mortimer told the two wisely. “We just have to make sure we can get past the seal around these cells long enough to contact other members of the AU.”

“With all due respect, that would be hard to do,” Afee mentioned. The three sat in deep thought, wondering how they would manage this incredible feat.

As this was going on, on a higher floor of the magnificently luxurious Farrimond Castle, Lady Teresa was writing a variety of letters to friends and relatives in her bedroom. Roger had sent his sons off, and had decided to head to a room near the top of the castle.

“So,” he said absently, delving into his pocket. He withdrew a small, golden AU badge and admired it. Holding it up to the light, he analyzed it carefully. “Who made you? What secrets do you hold?”

For a few more minutes, he stared at it with longing. The light caused the badge to heat up soon, but still Roger tore his gaze through it, hoping to decipher its deep messages that it contained within.

“We can do so much now we have an AU badge…” he said quietly. “I shall have to thank the…donator.”

As he turned, however, a blue shape started to morph in front of him. It was somebody using a pathian to communicate with him. The shape started to form…messy black hair atop a tanned head…the form of Seryun Kutsoru sharpened.

“Greetings Roger,” he said firmly.

“What is it?” Roger snapped.

“It’s Splinter,” Seryun began. “He’s dead.”

“Dead?” Roger asked, raising an eyebrow. “How awful.”

“Don’t feign concern!” Seryun snapped. “I know very well you had a part in all of this.”

“Prove it,” Roger hissed.

“How about because a large looming fire demon incinerated him?” Seryun retaliated. “Your son killed him, then and there, all because of a stupid little feud?”

“He was a no good liar,” Roger said thickly. “And showed me NO respect.”

“For god’s sake, you’re not king just yet!” Seryun cried in exasperation. “You know what, Roger? I quit. I’m not doing this without my partner in crime.”

“Oh yes you are!” Roger said manically. “Don’t you DARE try to weasel out of this! My sons can pay you a visit if you’re not careful…”

“Fine,” Seryun snapped, having been screwing his face up with displeasure. “I’ll do it. But I’m quitting after this!”

“Of course,” Roger said mockingly. “Remember; there are only four of them. Keep your wits about you, and don’t forget the consequences of a failure…”

As the pathian faded away, Roger smirked. He took the badge again and continued to stare at it longingly.


*

The clock was ticking – roughly 8 minutes left. As Monica, Tekaru and Al struggled within their imprisonment, Nat lay unconscious on the floor. The hands were slowly getting towards the top, and when they did…

“Try your outburst again!” Monica said desperately.

“I can’t do it well enough!” Al snapped, clenching his fists and trying to roar out loud. No use. While his roar sounded strained and oddly constipated, the green energy he produced did not expel him from his paralysis.

“Nat will get killed if we can’t stop this!” Monica wept. Tears began streaming down her face as she stood motionless. “NAT! WAKE UP!”

It didn’t work. Sweat began to trickle down Monica’s forehead as she worried for her friend’s safety. Al and Tekaru also struggled as the stickers slapped on their foreheads limited their movement.

“The clock’s ticking!” Monica announced. Al watched her. Surely there was something they could do? Limiting their movement didn’t necessarily limit their adeptry. They could still use attacks that did not require movement.

“The clock is at 5 minutes, 31 seconds,” Tekaru noted. “Monica! Al! I know what to do!”

“What?” Al asked.

“I have an attack called refresh. It calms spirits and soothes the soul…but it may work to soothe our muscles. If it does, they’ll relax and we will be undone by this imprison attack.”

“Ok, go for it!” Monica said enthusiastically. “But hurry!”

Tekaru, hands by his side, closed his eyes and began to envision perfect serenity. As he pictured a calm, cool forest clearing, a white glow took over both of his hands. His face screwed up as he concentrated harder, and the white energy slowly began to spread around his body.

As Tekaru let the energy envelop him completely, it was issued out in a long, horizontal wave of white light. Monica felt it pass over her, and instant relief washed through her body, cleansing her soul and slowly relieving her of the paralysis. The sticker faded from her forehead, and she was free.

Unfortunately, that refresh attack had taken some time. Now Al, Tekaru and Monica were free, the clock looked at around 3 minutes to go before the bombs were released. Dashing over to where Nat lay, the three began picking her up and carrying her away.

“Hold on,” Al said. “Pyrites told us the bombs would fall from the sky…I bet they’re locked onto Nat!”

“What? You think so?” Monica asked weakly.

“It would be so easy to move Nat a few inches to get out the range of the bombs,” Al explained. “So yes.”

“What can we do then?” Monica said, seeing the hands on the clock tick ever closer to the top. There must be less than 2 and a half minutes now.

“Erect a shield around her,” Al said, holding his hands out and charging up his energy. As he dragged his hand up over his head, the green dome of energy began to form. Then, ivy crept up the side, covering it in an extra layer of protection and enclosing Nat, Al, Monica and Tekaru. “We should be ok now.”

“Now all we need to do is…wait,” Monica replied.

“Once we wipe out this Pyrites person,” Tekaru began. “Can we head to Evayard? I hate to sound so rude, but it is essential we go there.”

“Of course,” Monica said kindly. “We’ll head there and assess the situation. If it’s worse than we thought, we’ll bring in the whole AU to Evayard.”

Soon, the timer wound down, and the ground shook lightly. Monica looked up at the sky to see a flurry of round, tight cluster bombs soaring at them. The shield was almost like a one-way mirror; one was able to see out, although it was hard to see in. Monica crouched down by Nat, watching as the bombs began to explode over them.

“They’re releasing bombs inside them,” Al noted, seeing a bomb explode and send three spiraling out of control. More and more bombs exploded and rained down on the shield. Al powered up a Karma Air in his hand, feeling the cool, yet oddly warm orb of his energy pulsate in his hand. He plunged the orb into the shield and reinforced it. Tekaru bit his lip nervously as the onslaught continued.

“We have to end Pyrites,” Monica said with determination, running her hand over Nat’s face. “Oh…I hope Nat wakes up soon…”

And then, as each of the adepts winced in fear, waiting for the next set of bombs to cascade manically from the sky…it never came. Looking upwards, Al saw no bombs falling down to earth and his face broke into a smile.

“The bombs have stopped…” he said slowly. “They’ve stopped!”

Cheering, the group wandered out of the shield and let it slowly fade away upon Al’s command. Nat was gotten into a sitting position, and Monica continued to attempt waking her up.

“I wonder; should we look for Pyrites again?” Tekaru asked Al.

“He’s going to come back for Nat,” Al replied, gritting his teeth. “He can find us, and when he does, we’ll be ready for him. I say we head to Evayard anyway.”

“What do you think, Monica?” Tekaru asked sincerely. Monica looked up.

“I think Al has a point,” she said. “I know we originally wanted to…avenge Alan’s death, but it seems that his death was as much of a shock to Pyrites as it was to us, considering Pyrites is avenging Alan’s death by hunting down Nat.”

“Fair point,” Al murmured.

“Furthermore, we have a mission to carry out,” Monica reminded them. “Roger may be up to a number of horrible things. Tekaru, we’re going to have a light meal, sleep and then set out to Evayard tomorrow. Is that ok?”

“Yes!” He cried. “Thank you, Monica, thank you.”

He knelt down and kissed her hand. Monica began blushing, and Al began turning green with envy. Monica smiled lightly as the sun disappeared over the horizon and another day was done.


*

Meanwhile, Lee was on his way through Evayard towards the mountain range Mahanui. Here, he was hoping to find the Mask of Babylon, and had spent the last few days walking across the main grassland of Evayard. He had been through a small forest, which was refreshing as there had been a small brook for him to wash up.

At the moment, he was in a grassy mountain route, high above the ground but nowhere near the large mountain range ahead. The sun was beating down frightful rays of powerful sunlight, and he was beginning to tire.

Lee sat down on a large, ugly rock and sighed. Wiping sweat off his forehead, or the half of his forehead he could wipe sweat from, Lee was relieved this whole ordeal with his mask was soon over. He had to admit, the mysterious aura the mask gave him was certainly interesting for a while, but he felt too lifeless and depressed with it on. When the two halves of the mask fused together, Lee would be healed; until then, his health would deter more and more.

In the distance, the young boy could hear a noise. It sounded like a person, grunting and roaring as they executed an attack. Lee got back up again, noticing the path took a sharp wind to the left as a small tree grew over the Cliffside. He decided to go and see what was going on.

As he wandered along the elevating path which wound up and around a large jutting piece of mountain, Lee heard the boy, or perhaps man, making swift lunges at something. Eager to see what this commotion was all about, he turned to see a figure standing with his back to Lee, holding an impressive and presumably expensive sword in both hands. It was very long and thick.

With long, light brown hair to his hips, tied back at the base of his neck, the man turned suddenly and looked like he may be quite an arrogant man. He wore a bitter look on his face, and his clothes, being long and billowing like a men’s kimono, was an olive green with decorative patterns in earthy brown and crème colours. The man’s nose was short and slightly pointed, while his eyebrows were thin and his eyes a chalky brown. He was not too tall, although he looked around 25-30 years of age. His build suggested he was very athletic.

“Oh,” Lee said suddenly. “Sorry.”

“What is it?” the man asked. His voice was not as irritable as Lee expected; in actuality, while being sharp and to-the-point, the youthful tone told him he was not as bossy as he appeared.

“I…I just heard you training,” Lee said, stepping back. The man scanned Lee.

“Nice mask,” he noted. “What’s it for?”

“It’s…it’s neutralizing a poisonous seed in my skin,” Lee explained, feeling glad only one side of his face was blushing a deep red. “I’m searching for the other half to cure me.”

“Dear lord and I thought I had problems,” the man said absently. “What is your name?”

“Lee,” replied the boy.

“My name is Gauld,” the man replied. “I am a Metal Edgemaster, and have a strong reputation with my sword.”

“Wow,” Lee murmured. “You sound really strong.”

“Physical strength comes from inner strength,” Gauld scoffed. “And inner strength can only be obtained by inner peace!”

“Most people who talk about ‘inner peace’ tend not to wield such big swords,” Lee pointed out. “Do you get inner peace by slaughtering people?”

“I do no such thing!” Gauld cried. “I fight in tournaments at the Evayard Coliseum, but…I am far too clever for those thick, dimwitted idiots. I set out on a quest to help my sister, who has trouble with her adeptry, but we got separated along the way. I am now training to become the best fighter I can be, but search for my sister along the way.”

“I can’t believe this,” Lee said, shaking his head. “Any decent person would abandon their quest for ‘becoming the best fighter’ to find their own sister! You’re a gigantic airhead, that’s what you are.”

“How dare you?” Gauld roared, turning fully and drawing his sword. It was tall and thick, looking hard to pick up, with an elegant silver jewel encrusted in the center of the hilt. Gauld watched Lee with fierce malice.

“A duel?” Lee said mockingly. “Very well.”

He spread his legs and got into a fighting stance. As the warm, pleasant wind blew Lee’s way, he began to concentrate on summoning up his nun chucks. The thick, sleek, black weapon formed in his right hand. Lee looked ready.

“Jitsu charge!” He cried, sweeping through the air at incredible speed. Gauld watched keenly as Lee leapt up, swinging his nun chucks and aiming for Gauld’s face. Unfortunately, Gauld evaded at the last second. He leapt high up into the air and did a flip, landing where Lee was previously.

“Sol Shine!” Gauld roared, slashing his sword downwards. A strip of energy hurtled across the rocky area, building into a rolling wheel of golden energy. It felt hot as it rolled towards Lee. Sensing no way of stopping the attack, Lee bit his lip and felt the ground shake as his foe’s attack swept towards him…

He gave a long bellow as the attack smashed into him, driving him back and into the rocky Cliffside. Lee cried out as he fell to the ground. Gauld paced towards him. It was so hot, the air was fluttering slightly. Sighing, Lee squinted to see his foe walk closer and closer, magnificent sword ready.

“Say it,” Gauld snapped, pointing the sword to Lee’s throat. “Go on. Say I’m not an airhead.”

“You are,” Lee snapped, struggling to breathe. “You ARE an airhead!”

Gauld narrowed his eyes maliciously. He turned away from Lee and walked off. Lee massaged his throat gently, not believing how close he had come to death. Gauld was incredible, leaving Lee in pain after one attack. The attack itself was impressive. As Gauld looked to be walking off, he turned suddenly, slashing his sword and sending a horizontal, golden attack similar to a sonique flying through the air. Sitting down, and having been caught off-guard, Lee took the attack to the stomach and gave a long moan.

“Never underestimate me,” Gauld said darkly. “Got that?”

Lee gave a strained nod and watched this fantastic specimen of adeptry wander away from his life.

He’s so strong, Lee thought to himself. Maybe he can help me become strong, too.

Slowly getting up, Lee began to come to his senses. He dusted himself off, gave a groan as his rib began to ache, and followed Gauld, even though he was heading away from Mahanui.

“I can spend some time with Gauld,” Lee persuaded himself. “He’ll make me stronger.”

Even as he said this, Lee knew time was running out to find the Mask of Babylon.


*

“Are we ready?”

The group was on the outskirts of Saffron City. Monica, Al, Nat and Tekaru had all eaten a hearty meal and showered before they left, knowing it might be a while before they came back. Monica wasn’t sure how serious this was. She thought to herself for a minute. When she went to Altonia, she was chased out of Lavender with Lee after it was under attack. She had leapt into the vortex taking her to Perlei after realizing it was about to close up. Now, though, she was choosing to go to Evayard. The group was prepared. Hopefully.

Tekaru led them through to a red light district. Of course, in the daytime, it wasn’t quite so…dirty, so the group didn’t feel bad. They went to a large strip club. Monica was shocked – could the entrance to Evayard really be here?

Of course not. Tekaru signaled to the alleyway to the left, and feeling stupid, Monica went after the prince into the darkness. Even in the morning, darkness crept around the alleyway and shrouded the place in mystery.

As they neared the end of the alleyway, Tekaru sighed in relief. A large manhole cover was all that was there.

“Tekaru…” Monica said slowly. “PLEASE tell me that isn’t the way to Evayard.”

Tekaru just smiled at Monica’s tiresome expression as he summoned his hammer. The golden energy surrounding the majestic hammer lit up the alleyway, and as Tekaru recaed forward, he slammed the hammer down and smashed the manhole into pieces. The pieces all fell down the long shaft that was the way to Evayard.

“Tekaru…remind me never to get on your bad side,” Al murmured. “You’re amazing!”

“Thank you,” Tekaru said softly.

“I have to ask you, though,” Al began nervously. “What did Scott mean when he said you ‘always had potential’?”

“Well,” began Tekaru, “When I was first introduced to the brothers, they were thrilled to learn that I was a Storm Tamer. With me, they had coverage of all 5 of the mainstream adeptry groups. For a while, I trained under them, and became something utterly fantastic. Although when I started not to trust them, I left their circle of ‘friendship’ and took what they taught me with me.”

“So what level are you?”

“Level eleven,” Tekaru said.

“Really?” Monica gasped.

“Really,” Tekaru said modestly. “I’m nothing compared to the V4 –

“Who?” Nat asked.

“The V4 – that’s what Karadon and the others call themselves. They represent Violence and, although Evayard does not believe in violence, the V4 carry out their tasks in as many violent ways as possible.”

“So, the V4,” Monica said to herself. “And what level are they?”

Tekaru cleared his throat, looking disgusted as he spoke.

“Each is level twenty,” he explained.

“Good god,” Monica gasped.

“That’s astronomical!” Al sighed.

“Mortimer is Level 22, is he not?” Nat recalled. “Afee and Boko are Level 14…and I always thought them to be incredible.”

“Wow,” Monica said slowly. “Level Twenty…”

“Roger trained them very hard,” Tekaru said sorrowfully. Monica’s lip trembled as she tried sending the next words out, despite almost not wanting to hear the answer.

“…and what level is Roger?”

Tekaru closed his eyes briefly.

“I don’t know,” he replied. He turned to the open manhole. “Come on. We should make our way down the manhole.”

Agreeing, the other three watched as Tekaru gripped the first rung of the long journey down the sewer. Tekaru’s head slowly disappeared beneath ground level as he was swallowed up by the darkness.

“COME ON DOWN!” he called. “It’s surprisingly light!”

Obliging, Monica went down next. As she clambered down, Nat and Al’s worried faces got smaller and smaller. She then saw Al signal for Nat to go down next, and then her view was mainly obscured. The smell was getting unbearable – a foul stench of rotting flesh accompanied flies that buzzed around her head.

Soon after hearing Tekaru thud onto the ground, Monica approached the end of the ladder. She leapt off and landed on a slimy floor, looking around and taking in her new surroundings.

It was a long, wide, dark corridor. A constant dripping of water was heard behind them, and the stone floor was slimy and somewhat sticky. The smell, while being foul and decadent, added to the eerie surroundings. The roof was dome-like, and the corridor overall was high up and semicircular. The sound of roaring water crashing down could be heard in the distance.

Nat leapt off the ladder.

“Nice,” she said sarcastically.

“We have to head down that way,” Tekaru said, pointing forwards. Al leapt from the ladder and commented on the stench. Already, Monica wished to go back home. They wandered towards the sound of crashing water, noticing how strong the smell was getting.

As they reached the end of the long corridor, an amazing sight revealed itself. Beneath them was a ladder going down quite far to a round platform. There were thin walkways going to the left and right, meeting back up on the opposite side of this long shaft that was the central sewer area. All around them, water was gushing from various openings, out and down, down the long shaft towards a darkened bottom, where a deep sloshing could be heard. The group watched this with keenness.

“Wow,” Monica gasped.

“This is the main hub of the sewage system for Kanto,” Tekaru announced. “Anyway if we keep following it we’ll soon arrive in Evayard.”

Taking the left walkway around the shaft of water pouring from above, Tekaru took Monica, Al and Nat through the sewage system. They arrived at the other end, and wandered through a dimly lit tunnel. Despite there being a lot of water, there were torch brackets set high up in the walls. The tunnel was smaller and tighter. Monica felt slightly more nervous.

“Can you…hear something?” Tekaru asked suspiciously.

“Just a dripping noise,” Nat said softly.

“No…it’s worse,” Tekaru began. He looked behind them, as they were now nearing the end of this long corridor, and were approaching a perpendicular turn to the left. He looked ahead, and saw it. A huge body of water was speeding through the tunnel towards them.

“RUN!” he screamed, tearing off through the sewers. Monica, Al and Nat followed. Monica’s heart was racing – this huge wave of sloshing water was not dirty, like the sewage water. Instantly the young girl believed Karadon and the rest of the V4 were behind this, and were probably in the sewers preventing them from reaching Evayard.

Al stopped, building up a vertical shield to hopefully subdue the water. The green solidified light was swathed with vines and the young man quickly dashed off after his friends. They headed downwards as the labyrinth made a steep incline.

They came out in a large room with pipes of sewage being swept left, right and center. Wondering where to go, Tekaru remembered that they needed to head to the top of this room. As they spied a ladder to their right, Tekaru hurriedly climbed it as the group heard the water flowing towards them, despite Al’s shield.

“Quick, quick!” Monica cried, helping Nat follow Tekaru up the ladder and guiding Al up next. She made sure she went up last – for a leader, she really put herself first too often. As Tekaru swept up the ladder, Nat quickly followed, and Al took after her. Monica watched as a roaring filled her ears. The water was nearing them…

She gripped as high up as she could on the metal rungs of the ladder and yanked herself up, watching as, seconds later, water sloshed over the edge of the platform in a cascading waterfall.

“Oh my god…” Monica sighed, gently clambering upwards as she saw Tekaru disappear onto the top level.

“Karadon had to have set that up,” Nat said bitterly.

“He may be here,” Tekaru warned them. “That water was a booby trap, activated after we got so far into the sewer.”

“Look, let’s just try and get out of here alive,” Monica sighed. Once the group had all congregated atop the ladder, they found themselves on a narrow platform leading across this room (still the many piped room) to a staircase at the other side of the room.

Soon, after navigating the beam and arriving by the staircase, the group looked up. The staircase was very long, leading to a splendid archway, white marble, decorated with carvings of…well; one could not see them from here.

“This is the end!” Tekaru cried happily. “Once we go through the archway, we’ll arrive back outside.”

And together, the group happily ran up the staircase and headed towards freedom. Monica couldn’t help but smile as she leapt up step by step. Al and Nat were by her side, and although Nat did look determined with her sword readied, Monica saw no reason to get ready to fight.

Although, then it seemed to happen in mere seconds.

A roar filled the chamber, and a creature leapt up to attack the group. Being first, Tekaru was slashed across the stomach and thrown back down the stairs. Monica fell down and landed painfully on her behind, while Nat and Al looked up in surprise.

A large creature resembling a Sphinx watched them, standing by the gates.

From afar, at the foot of the staircase, a figure slipped one of his bloodied silk gloves on and dashed off.



In Chapter Six...

-An unexpected comeback for The Tank
-Of all the power in the world...faith is the strongest
-Karadon puts a plan into action
-And what is in Roger's chamber?

Oakbark
16th April 2005, 08:11 AM
Hmmm....how can i put this Chris, that wasn't your best chapter to date.

The chapter overall seemed rushed, and more in-depth description of scenes were left out. For example, after all the commotion with Pyrites, he seemed to disappear very quickly, and then a quick shield was enough to stop his cluster bombs. Considering he was going to destroythe place, i assumed a shield wouldn't hold off that onslaught.
Also, when Tekaru kisses Monica, you mentioned Al "turning green with envy". This description really doesn't give us any info on Al's feelings, rather that you use a cliché to justify his reaction. A more suitable alternative might be "Al watched the chivalrous Tekaru carefully, gritting his teeth and muttering something under his breath". I know that isn't a great example, but i hope you get what i mean. Don't tell us how Al felt, show us. Show his reaction through his posture, body language, etc. Can you see how it brings Al's character to life?

Lee's encounter in the mountains was so short, I was hoping to learn more about his opponent's abilities and strength. I know he was meant to only attack once to show the readers his power, but a longer battle would have been better. And Lee simply follows him without thought - it would have been nice to see him walk away, then wrestle with his conflicting desire for health and strength, and then turn back. We were never let inside Lee's mind.

The sewers were confusing, for me at any rate. The Sphinx seems interesting, and if Karadon set up that booby trap, then he's obviously the smarter one of the group. Was that Pyrites in the background at the end?

Ooooh, such a quotable quote in the preview of the next chapter "Of all the power in the world...faith is the strongest". You're good at those.

Damien.

Chris 2.1
16th April 2005, 05:39 PM
Oakbark: I'm displeased you didn't like the chapter as much as you usually do. Pyrites dissapeared quickly, and he was easy to overcome. He was easy to overcome because he didn't finish everyone off himself: you saw how strong he was, and he could have killed everybody else on the spot. What made him delegate his priorities? Why did he abandon something so important?

As for the Tekaru/Monica/Al thing, that sentence shows Al fancies Monica. Uhh he doesn't. Basically the focus isn't on Al; Monica and Tekaru were the sole focus of that part. It grows over time and I didn't want to portray things incorrectly. Imagine if I had typed "Monica blushed, fluttering her eyelashes and feeling Tekaru's lips push against her hands." Sometimes, overdescripting can really ruin things. Also, while I know about bringing Al to life, I'm trying to achieve the opposite -_-;,. I don't want to build on whatever he might be feeling now, because if I did it would be severe overreacting. Tekaru might just be being polite, not necessarily showing his affections. And is Monica blushing because she likes Tekaru, or because she's worried what Al thinks? I want the readers to come up with those conclusions themselves.


Plus, Lee's was added in sort of last minute (a larger version, the full scene, was in another chapter but removed) to Chapter 5 as I need to make sure everyone is at a certain point by each chapter, so when they do meet, it all fits. It was short, yes, and it does not really give much information on Lee's new foe. Regarding the conflict in his decision, he had none. He didn't need to make a decision because he knew this person was strong. Has Lee always been this power hungry? If not, when did he change? Why did he change? It's evident he is power hungry now, and there was no need to consider things. His greed overcame what he needed to do.

Also, yea that was Pyrites. Where is Karadon? Has he hired Pyrites? Whose does the Sphinx belong to?

Ultra_Poke2000
17th April 2005, 12:56 AM
CHAPTER 5 IS ON THE PREVIOUS PAGE! TURN BACK AND DO NOT LOOK! SPOILERS!












I told you not to look!






You heard me!






Shoo!












Hey Chris! ah, a new chapter. let us see what we have here...

Mortimer and the rest are all locked up, but we still don't know why. Rodger, apparently, is trying to find the secrets behind the AU badges by...... staring... at.. it. yaaah... I'm sure that'll get some answers. *snrk* ha ha.. way to go, Rodger.... Yah, way to many "..."s, but still....

ah, but we learn that Seryun has a job, however it's very obvious what it is. could this mean, however, that he has something to do with the water, the Sphinx, and/or Pyrites? hmmm....

Monica and co's escape from Pyrites's little trap seemed a tad too easy, and leaves a question: Why? As you said, Pyrites had them all pinned down and could have easily killed them all. Two possibilities come to mind: 1) Pyrites is WAY to confident in his traps or 2) It was all a show/test for some greater purpose which happens to escape me at the moment. you never know what plans may be unfolding beneath our collective nose.....

Lee's encounter with that Gauld guy was odd, especially the way Lee just hauled off and called him an airhead. Sure, he's got his priorities mixed up a bit, but still. It just seemed way to out of character for Lee. And then he just follows him because he's strong... yah, really out of character. But maybe Lee has changed without us knowing. Or perhaps the mask is changing him. Surely something like the mask has to have some kind of curse or catch. Interesting thought, isn't it?

The journey through the sewers was a bit ironic, seeing as it's supposed to lead to Evayard and all..... but what's with the traps? I'm pretty sure that the Sphinx is connected to Pyrites, but what about the water? was is Pyrites who was behind it, or did Seryun do it? or, as I mentioned before, is Pyrites in Seryun's employ? And if so, why did he mess with Alan? Or was that just one of the things he does? (you know, brainwash people and... stuff.)

No news on either Phoenix or Alan's mother. I'm pretty sure we'll hear about them in the next chapter. Or we might not. You know, anything could happen. maybe....

Oakbark
17th April 2005, 07:17 AM
Sorry Chris, i didn't mean to sound that bad, i do realise the massive input and responsibility there is in writing a fic, and i just say what i feel afterwards. I really do hope anything i say is taken as constructive criticism, and not some kind of dig at your writing.

Regarding Al, i'm sorry my sample alternative portrayed him as liking Monica, my real point there was that the phrase "turning green with envy" is really quite a redundant phrase, and that phrases like that don't work in writing. I mean, what does turning green with envy really tell me as a reader? That he literally turned green? It's a spoken phrase, but not one to be used in writing as a description.

I never thought of Karadon hiring Pyrites. . . perhaps. And as Ultra said, where's Al's mother? So many people just waiting to kill the AU members, lol. I guess it isn't funny for them.

Damien.

Chris 2.1
17th April 2005, 12:22 PM
Ultra: Hmm Roger has an AU badge, but from WHO? Mortimer? Perhaps. Did Seryun keep Damien's when he robbed him in Revolution? Or has he killed somebody and taken it? Did he make his own?

I admit Pyrites was easy to overcome, but it is for a reason!

As I sort of mentioned to Oakbark, Lee is a little too set on his decision. Will it reap success or worse things to come? You'd be surprised...

Hmm it is odd how the passageway to the most beautiful place known is via a sewer :-P. Kanto seems to be a gateway to a number of places. Remember the Lighthouse between Saffron and Lavender? That led Monica and Lee to Altonia back in Army. Hmm...the commercialist, non-adept community is a hub for every adeptry land known to man.

And yes, the unfortunate thing is we have the following side stories:
-Monica's group
-Mortimer's group
-Roger/The V4
-Martha
-Pyrites
-Phoenix
-Lee

AND there are many more, as you'll learn. It's hard to juggle, but when some situations come together it helps :). On avarage, every 2/3 Chapters you'll hear from everybody.


Oakbark: Yea, I understand. I was a bit snappy last night anyway. What would be nice is if you'd balance negative and posetive points together :D

Powarun
17th April 2005, 06:10 PM
Ultra_Poke2000, I have to disagree with you, Lee following Gauld does fit his character, remember how he ditched Monica to become more powerful? Lee would do something like that, but i do say he must learn to keep his manners around people stronger than he is. Honestly if it weren't for the fact that real conversations are boring to really hard to write and read I would say that it made no sense for Lee to call Gauld an airhead, but I think Chris was getting to the point.

For Nat's escape, although it seemed easy, I would probably would have done maybe soemthing different, like go underground.

An AU badge in Roger's possesion somewhat elimates an idea of Mortimer's group radioing Monica without interference through the badges. Hope they get out alive. Pyrites reminds me of someone, Scabb, maybe they are brothers.

Chris 2.1
5th May 2005, 12:44 PM
Time for a new Chapter guys :D



Monica’s Vendetta
Six
Old Friends; New Hope


Far away, in the remote continent of Perlei, a group of four Adepts sat around a fire. It was a strange thing, for the group of people, varying in age, could not be more different in appearance, personality and habits. Even their adeptry contrasted magnificently.

They were at the famous Serenity Lake. This wonderful place housed the six emblems of life; six stones containing power from fire, water, earth, lightening, spirits and shadows, these were locked down to the temple, where they transmitted and released their energy into the ground, giving life to the continent.

Master Jackson, a small, stout, irritable old man was the sensei at this temple. He trained up water and ice adeptry with his students, mainly by fighting on the surface of the beautiful, calming lake itself.

It was here that the AU first formed, as it were. When enemies united to realize they had a similar cause, they made a pact to fight for justice and destroy any negative relations between the members. Somewhere, from a place or persons still unknown, golden badges formed for each member and showed their true dedication.

Now that a lot of the AU had gone their separate ways, the four who actually resided in Perlei – Zuuki, Salo, Damien and Chrome, were sitting with Master Jackson after reuniting. They had received news of imminent threats, and grouped together to discuss their options.

“So…who exactly authenticated this…threat?” Chrome asked. Big and broad, while also being covered in a layer of steel, Chrome’s real name was Shadow, and he was Afee’s brother. He was a well-spoken man who, in order to hide his purist identity, used an ironize attack to coat himself in steel.

“These are friends of mine,” Master Jackson said, indicating a man and woman standing beside him. Both looked rather ill. The man, with sunken eyes and pale skin was standing just taller than the woman. Both were dressed in ragged purple clothes suggesting they came from a Ghost settlement in Perlei called Sieta. “This is Kyuvan, and his fiancée Yin-Sa.”

Yin-Sa stepped forward. As her name suggested, she was oriental and had slightly more tanned skin than Kyuvan. Her short black hair was scraggly and looked unkempt, but she approached the four Perlei members of the AU with pride.

“As you know, Ghost Adepts can foresee things,” she began. “Myself and Kyuvan, as well as many of the more experienced Ghost Adepts in Sieta have had visions and soundscapes foreseeing great tragedy to come for the Four United Ones.”

“And just who are the Four – oh…”

It was young Salo that had embarrassed herself like that. Only 13 years old, Salo was the youngest member of the AU. She was unusual, as she did not have the bright, aquamarine hair that water adepts had. She was a Water Cleric, being level 8, and instead of bright blue hair she had a modest, dark chestnut colour hair. Her lilac coloured eyes also indicated something else about her. She wore a strict, moody blue one-piece-dress, which was wide enough at the bottom to allow for fast movement. She had a bright blue bangle on each wrist, and had a silver chain around her neck with a sapphire pendant on the end.

The young, bashful girl had realised that the ‘United Ones’ referred to herself, Damien, Zuuki and Chrome. The four members of the AU in Perlei…

“So, what type of Tragedy are we looking at here?” Zuuki asked. She was a very…precise girl; Zuuki Dragonfree always got to the point and never hung around. Her flaming red hair reached the end of her shoulder blades. It used to go to her hips, but Zuuki had fancied something of a change. Her eyes were, as usual, concealed behind stylish, silver shades. Zuuki had a pretty smooth, lightly tanned face and was nice and slender. She wore a red jacket zipped up to her chin, as well as dark, maroon coloured trousers. Her sword, the Flame Sword, rested in the scabbard down her left leg. Zuuki was 17 years of age, and although she was only referred to it by her mother, her full name was Zuukiyasha. While helping Monica salvage the Aqua Emblem from her home town, Zuuki faced expulsion from the community she grew up in, and after Dimitri had been defeated, began traveling the continent of Perlei. She was now level 11, having trained against many other Adepts for their badges, and visiting Gyms.

“We do not know the tragedy it refers to,” Yin-Sa said sorrowfully. “But we know all we need to. It is important to see that, from the visions, it is you four who are targeted by…someone.”

“We have an upper hand,” Kyuvan pointed out. “You can leave the continent now, before their plan can be put into action.”

The group of four showed expressions of fear, particularly in Salo’s case, while fear among Damien and even Chrome grew, though Zuuki seemed to show an intrigue into the whole thing.

“I think that is best,” Master Jackson said softly, stroking his long moustache.

“We could go and visit Monica in Kanto, maybe?” Zuuki suggested keenly.

“My brother Afee and his comrades in Evayard would seem a better idea,” Chrome said thickly.

“If you want my advice,” Master Jackson began. However, before any of his advice could be given out, there was a resounding crash as a thunderbolt seared through the air. It struck Yin-Sa through the chest and she let out a scream, dropping to her knees.

“Good god!” Master Jackson exclaimed. “IT CAME FROM THE ROOF OF THE TEMPLE! EVERYONE READY THEMSELVES!”

In a flash, the four AU members sparked in brilliant light as their weapons were summoned. Zuuki drew her Flame Sword, the long sword whose blade resembled that of still, dark ruby flames. Damien brought out his jeweled sword, a family heirloom he cherished above all, Chrome got out his weapon, the Nucleus. It was an orb of feverish energy Chrome could manipulate into various weapons. Salo, meanwhile, summoned her Frost Wand – a staff of an icy blue colour, with a large pearl on the top.

“Keep a good watch,” Zuuki ordered. A figure leapt high from the top of the temple, whipping out a katana and slashing electrical surges of energy down upon them. Retaliating with slashes of fire, water and ice, Zuuki, Damien and Salo counteracted. Chrome, meanwhile, charged his Nucleus into a lance and flew up into the air, having the power of flight.

Chrome swept forward, lance ready as he prepared to joust at the intruder. As the figure swept down through the air, Chrome gasped. The messy black hair, the blue kimono…the sandals…

“Seryun?” he asked weakly.

“Yes, this is he,” Seryun replied sharply, speeding forward and tackling Chrome in mid-air. Chrome’s lance disappeared as he flew back slightly, watching Seryun continue to fall to the ground.

He landed, pointing his Katana at the group. It was a surprise; actually, for the group all recognized Seryun from the Colina Tournament. All four of them had been there. Zuuki and Salo had also fought each other, but it was in the past. Despite this rivalry with the cocky young man, Damien was the angriest at the Storm Tamer’s appearance. Seryun and his partner in crime, Splinter, had stolen nearly all of Damien’s badges in a hold-up style robbery many months ago. He had, luckily, recovered them.

Damien watched Seryun with anger. He held his sword ready.

“Hello people,” Seryun announced.

“What do you want? A duel?” Zuuki asked sharply.

“No, I kill for fun,” Seryun said sarcastically. Damien spoke up.

“Where’s Splinter?” he demanded. “Killing other innocent people?”

Seryun’s face twitched.

“No,” he said firmly. “Splinter…was murdered by somebody.”

“Oh,” Damien said suddenly. “Well…I bet he had it coming to him!”

“Did he hell!” Seryun snapped. He raced through the air at tremendous speed, unleashing a bolt of lightening from his body as he went. It sped down towards Zuuki, who charged up a large fireball. She hurled it at the thunderbolt, but the attack from Seryun pierced the flames and smashed into the ground, sending the dirt and soil flying up as the group split.

“I’m stronger than I was BEFORE!” Seryun spat. “I’M HERE TO KILL YOU!”

“Dear me,” Master Jackson said, subdued by the events. “This must be what Yin-Sa and Kyuvan talked about…”

Kyuvan was standing before Master Jackson, stopping harm from coming to him. Yin-Sa was already covered in dried blood and splatters of mud. Zuuki charged up her sword and let real flames take form. She sped through the air at Seryun, angry and determined, while Damien, Salo and Chrome prepared a counter-attack.

True to their prediction, when Zuuki slashed forward, Seryun evaded. He pounced up and over her head, rolling as he hit the ground and getting up. Unfortunately, as he did, Chrome was standing there, and he slammed his fist into Seryun’s face.

As Seryun lay in the ground, Damien threw his arm forward and released an eagle composed of icy cold water. It soared down and splashed over him, losing its solidarity upon contact. Salo then held her Frost Wand out and sent a flurry of biting snow and ice to shower over Seryun.

“I’M NOT DEFEATED!” Seryun roared, smashing the ice and throwing a spark at Salo. It shocked her briefly and then began to paralyze her, keeping her locked in place as she shook slightly.

“TIGER!” Seryun screamed, leaping up into the air as electricity swept from his body. The yellow glow took the form of a large, yellow tiger, rearing its head as Seryun landed there. It was quite big, about five feet high. It was well detailed, with different yellows making up for shadows and tones. It was amazing that this was comprised of pure electricity.

“How did he do that?” Damien asked weakly.

“I can remember when he fought Ray Gordon, his elementa went in the form of a normal-sized Tiger,” Chrome recalled. “But this is huge! How he got access to this power is beyond me.”

“Should we stay and fight him?” Zuuki asked, for once being at a loss to make a decision. The large tiger turned, however, and a bolt of electricity, shimmering a golden orange as it left Seryun’s hands, smashed into the spot where Kyuvan and Master Jackson stood.

“NO!!” Salo screamed.

“MASTER JACKSON!” Damien cried out. “NO!”

“He couldn’t survive that,” Chrome thought, seeing the two lying in a small crater in the ground. They were both quite clearly dead, judging by their limp, pale figures.

He turned to face the rest of the group.

“We have to leave,” he announced. “Killing Master Jackson…that would ensure we fight out of anger. Never fight out of anger, it clouds the senses. Seryun is anticipating we fight for our Sensei, and he can manipulate our decision.”

“We SHOULD fight!” Salo cried. “Master Jackson was Damien and I’s mentor…our teacher…”

“You have to think carefully,” Zuuki snapped. “Seryun has been sent to kill us, and he will if we hang around.”

Salo sniffed a tear away, now starting to loosen from her paralysis. Damien put his arms around her and began rocking the young girl.

“Look at what he is capable of!” Zuuki emphasized, just as Seryun turned on his tiger. Another large, seemingly boosted bolt of electricity gave a searing roar as it pierced the air. It swept at Salo and Damien. Chrome, thinking fast, hurled his Nucleus forward at the bolt. The bolt was absorbed by the nucleus, which soon expanded and turned golden, before exploding and sending a shower of sparks into the atmosphere.

“RUN!” Chrome roared.

“NEVER!” Salo screamed. “Oracle of Water!”

A shadowy form appeared. A woman slowly materialized out of the water coming out Salo’s hands. Salo nodded at the woman, who gracefully swept through the air as she drew a long staff. She smashed into the large tiger but did very little.

“Tiger! Athlete Joust!” Seryun roared, pointing forward. As Salo watched a large, golden bolt of electricity pierce the atmosphere and speed towards her, she put her arms around her body and screwed her eyes shut…

But as she opened them soon after, she saw a metallic dragon shoot from Chrome’s body. It smashed into the tiger and destroyed it in a flurry of sparks, throwing Seryun to the ground. He looked up.

“Damn you,” he growled. Bringing his Katana out, he charged. “I’LL KILL YOU!”

“Salo, Damien,” Chrome said quietly. “Go home and say your goodbyes if you wish. Meet me and Zuuki in Colina.”

“Understood,” Salo said hurriedly, as she and Damien ran through the forest clearing. Goodbye, Master Jackson, she thought softly.

Zuuki sent a stream of flames through the air, which Seryun leapt up and evaded. As he did this, Chrome fired his dragon Elementa through the air and smashed it into the boy. As his Elementa was formed from a liquid metal which solidified as it reacted with the oxygen in the air, to Seryun it was like being smashed in the body by a metal girder. He fell to the ground.

“Leave us be,” Chrome snapped. And with that, both he and Zuuki ran off.


*

Meanwhile, things looked grim on the way to Evayard. Monica and Tekaru were further down the staircase that the Sphinx seemed to be guarding. Both Al and Nat watched in surprise.

“ATTACK!” Tekaru roared, leaping back up and summoning up his Hammer of Tartarus. He swept up the staircase with speed and grace as he swung accurately at the white lioness. She was a few feet tall, with a golden pharaoh’s crown set around her beautiful women’s head. Her paws were cat-like and concealed sharp claws, while her tail, thin and ending in a clump of soft fur looked deadly. The Sphinx leapt back as Tekaru smashed his hammer into the ground.

The Sphinx then leapt over Tekaru and tackled Nat to the ground. She screamed in protest just as Monica got up and fired a jagged bolt of ghostly energy at her foe. The night shade attack hit the Sphinx and she leapt back defensively.

“She is very lithe,” Tekaru noted, charging again but missing by a mere inch. Al then slashed upwards and stunned the pretty creature momentarily, giving him chance to perform a Leaf Blade to its face. As he delivered the attack, the Sphinx slashed forward and Al received a deep gash across his cheek.

“Is this Karadon’s work?” Nat asked, slashing a sonique through the air and hitting the mythical creature in the face.

“I don’t think the V4 are behind this,” Tekaru commented in response to Nat’s question. “No, I don’t think they’re responsible at all.”

The Sphinx gave a long purr as angelic wings burst from its shoulder blades. It flapped up to the roof of the chamber, momentarily, before darting forward with its claws out. The four watched, Tekaru running forward as it neared and delivering a sharp smash with his hammer. The creature spurted violet coloured blood as it flew back, hissing with discontent.

“It’s injured!” Monica cried. “ELEMENTA!”

From each hand, a plate of energy formed and aided in blasting a beam of sizzling purple light through the air. It struck the Sphinx, who gave a long screech of discomfort as both Nat and Al readied their swords.

“Ok guys,” Monica said slowly. “ATTACK!”

As her Elementa wore down, Al and Nat ran past either side of Monica and delivered a strong slash at their worn out foe. As they struck it, Tekaru withdrew something from his pocket. It was a golden cross, about the size of his hand. He held it forward and held his other hand out beside it.

“Karma Air!” he cried. His free hand soon began to fill with charged up yellow energy. “ENTER THE CRUCIFIX!”

The energy was pushed into the cross, which vibrated heavily and took an eerie yellow glow. Tekaru looked oddly majestic as he brandished the cross forward at his foe.

“Sacrificial Light! Awaken!” Tekaru cried, sending a brilliant beam of white light, in the shape of the cross, projecting out his cross and shooting at the Sphinx. The Sphinx gave off an almost human scream as the light burned right through its velvety white fur and skin.

“Good god!” Monica cried. “Tekaru!”

“Of all the power in the world,” he said darkly, turning to face them. “Faith is the strongest.”

Monica knew both Al and Nat were surprised by Tekaru’s strong religion. Monica was actually, as well as being surprised, somewhat impressed by Tekaru’s faith. They followed the boy up the steps, now dribbling and trickling with the violet blood left behind by the Sphinx. It lay halfway up the stairs.

And as they got to the top, facing the white archway, none of them had any regrets as they passed through it and left Kanto completely. A warm sensation flooded through them and transported them away from what they knew. The next time Monica was to feel this was when she would return, fresh from victory…


*

Meanwhile…

“Gosh, I just cannot find any of them!” Martha cried. “…Monica or any of her friends. They’ve gone!”

Nobody was with her. Martha was getting rather upset her vengeance was not able to be carried out successfully. She sat down on a bench and sniffed quietly, feeling her rigid, sausage-like black curls in her hair. Her face showed age, but her spirit was as fiery as ever.

Suddenly, Martha heard something that piqued out interest.

“Alan? ALAN? Where are you?”

It was the voice of a young male. Martha saw a man wandering down the street, looking, if she may say so, rather handsome. He was young, but he had light blue hair tied back in a small ponytail. His firm face showed logic, control and domination, while his well toned body and arms seemed to suggest he was also extremely strong.

“Excuse me,” Martha called. “Who are you looking for?”

The man turned to face her.

“Oh, my friend, my best friend in the world!” he said weakly. “His name is Alan; Alan Michael.”

Martha gasped.

“My goodness! I…I am Alan’s mother! I have come looking for him.” She said. “But…I may have bad news for you, Mr…”

“Karadon,” he said softly. “Please, call me Karadon.”

“Karadon,” Martha said. “The name is so lovely. I am Mrs Michael, Karadon, but I fear that he has, in fact, died.”

“Oh my,” Karadon said dramatically. “Dead? Y-You’re sure Alan’s dead?”

“I had a psychic come and locate him,” Martha explained. “But…she sensed that his life signal was low, yet his presence was still…well, present.”

“Oh, Mrs Michael,” Karadon said softly. “Please, tell me who did such a horrible deed!”

“I do have a shrewd suspicion it was Alan’s old ‘friend’ Monica Ward,” Martha said crisply. Karadon recoiled somewhat.

“Why, I know Monica!” he said. “And I’ll tell you something, Mrs Michael –

“Please, call me Martha.”

“I’ll tell you this, Martha – Monica has just fled Saffron City.”

“She has? I knew it!” Martha cried angrily.

“Calm yourself; make your mind easy again,” Karadon continued. “She has gone to Evayard, and I know the quickest way there.”

“Can you take me?” Martha asked innocently.

“Of course,” Karadon said silkily. “Follow me.”

Good-hearted people are so easy to manipulate, Karadon thought to himself. And now we need not worry about Monica…


*

As Monica walked out the archway, she found herself in a lush, verdant meadow. Staring up, the sky was a vibrant, pastel blue, and any cloud floating in the sky was not a wispy, gaseous cloud. Each was fat, bloated, and ready to burst with sparkling rain. The grass was bright and smelled so strong Monica felt blissfully unaware of their mission. Everything seemed so…perfect here. It was easy to see why this was the Nirvana on Earth.

“How beautiful,” Al said, smiling as he walked through the grass, which reached his kneecaps. Even Nat found it hard not to comment.

“It’s so peaceful, and serene,” she said. “Why would anybody want to harm this serenity?”

The meadow overlooked the entire continent. As Monica, Al and even Nat raced to the brown picket fence at the end of the cliff, they gasped in awe as a magnificent cityscape fell beneath them.

Skyscrapers no longer tried vainly to climb to heaven and beyond. Not a single skyscraper in sight. There seemed to be a few small towns and villages on the outskirts of the continent – presumably these would rely on the water to get fish. The sea was a brilliant, carefree tone of blue that made Monica wish she was a Water Adept. Being able to endlessly swim in this tranquility would be pure bliss.

“What is that big city in the middle of the continent?” Al asked, pointing to a magnificent castle set on the landscape.

“That is my home city, Crufia,” Tekaru said mildly. “Although we cannot go there yet.”

“What? Why not?” Monica asked suddenly, jerking out of her daydream.

“W-Well we need to go to, to the other cities first,” Tekaru mumbled. “The first one on our journey is Agrotatio Town – that one just off the lands edge. It’s a colony of Ghost Adeptry and we can start training up there.”

“But what ab –

“A-And then,” Tekaru interrupted nervously. “I…I suppose we’ll go to Crufia and see Roger.”

“Damn Right!” Nat snapped. “Take him on.”

“I wonder if we’ll see Mortimer.” Monica said aloud. “Boko, Afee and Mortimer are in Evayard.”

“And Lee,” Al reminded her.

“Oh…oh yea, yea Lee too,” Monica mumbled.

“We can ask my Mother if she knows where they are,” Tekaru said. “She is very wise. I just hope she will forgive me…”

“…for lying?” Nat asked. “I’m sure she will, even if you know you are speaking the truth.”

“Come on,” Monica said. “Let’s take the path down here and get going to Agrotatio town.”

“Yea, let’s worry later,” Nat said, smiling at Monica. Tekaru bolted in front of the other three.

“Monica…I will lead the way,” he announced. “That way I can make sure nothing harms you on the way.”

“How thoughtful!” Monica said sweetly. “Thank you.”

“I am in your debt, Mistress Monica, for helping me when I needed it most,” Tekaru said bravely. Al looked stunned, but Nat seemed to be smiling uncontrollably.

“Cute couple, don’t you think?” Nat smirked at Al, watching Tekaru lead the way down the mountain. Monica followed keenly behind, and as Al saw the two together, found it hard to deny.


*

Although, further away in Evayard, in Crufia, to be exact, new plans were already underway, in more ways than one.

“Roger,” Teresa said softly. Her hair was the same colour as Tekaru’s – an auburn shade. It was soft, sleek and shiny, flowing to her shoulders and looking lighter than air. Her face was naturally smooth and well-defined. Her eyes, a twinkling blue. She was only in her mid thirties. She wore an elegant blue dress to match her eyes.

“Yes, sweetheart?” Roger asked busily, stepping out of his private chamber and into the corridor. This was the room he had spent a lot of time in – the room he and the V4 congregated to discuss their plans, as well as the place that the AU badge was kept. He explained to Teresa he needed personal space, and asked if she left him be when he was in there.

“I…I was thinking about what you said,” Teresa said softly, watching Roger’s eyes with her own.

“What I said? What did I say?” Roger asked.

“You asked me when we should set a date for our wedding,” Teresa laughed, her lips bursting into a smile. “Silly!”

“And?” Roger asked, injecting suspense into his answer.

“…How does next week sound?” Teresa asked.

“Next wee- oh honey!” Roger said exuberantly, embracing his fiancée and kissing her tenderly. The two shared a closed hug and enjoyed the warmth coming from each others bodies.

In the chamber, Therebus had his hand to the door.

“A marriage,” he said. “Next week.”

“Next week?” Scott barked. “That’s soon, isn’t it?”

“Obviously Father is in love with Teresa,” Luke pointed out.

“Yea, but…” Scott began, trailing off.

“All that this means is that everything happens a bit quicker,” Therebus hissed.

“But what is ‘everything’?” Luke asked.

“We won’t know…yet,” Therebus countered acidly. “Father will not divulge it.”

“I wonder when Karadon will return.” Luke asked, missing his older brother, feeling closer to him than Scott or Therebus.

“Soon, probably,” Scott muttered. An awkward silence fell over the three as they had not a single thing left to talk about. However, despite their silence, a noise was still detectable in the room. A rapt breathing, taking long intakes and heavy, snort-like outtakes.

“Is that you?” Scott snapped.

“No,” Luke counteracted. “I thought it was…”

“It was none of us!” Therebus cried. “I could sense another presence over there.”

He pointed at a tapestry hanging from the wall, from ceiling to floor. It was old and very big, a dusty maroon colour with a pattern in mustard yellow. As the three brothers fell silent, across the room a heavy breathing was detectable.

“Who do you think it is?” Luke whispered.

“I do not know,” Therebus said. “But we cannot see the outline of anybody.”

“Perhaps they’re cloaked, and just by the tapestry,” Luke said quietly. “Or…maybe there’s something behind the tapestry!”

“I think so,” Therebus replied. As the three crept towards the tapestry, Therebus and Scott stopped to let Luke advance and draw a corner back. Gently, his fingers gripped the lower corner of the thick, rug-like tapestry. He felt the dust in-between the fibers and knew it must be old. Slowly peeling it back, Luke prepared to see who was behind there...

“LUKE!”

Luke dropped it instantly. Roger was in the doorway.

“Father!”

“Never fool around in here,” Roger snapped. “NEVER! Do you hear me?”

“Yes, but we heard someone behind there,” Luke explained.

“Balderdash,” Roger snapped. “How can someone else be there? No, all three of you, go. Scott, contact Seryun and ask for an update. As for you two, go to the Library again.”

“We’ve been,” Luke sighed. “We’ve looked!”

“THEN LOOK AGAIN!” Roger screamed, grabbing a book and hurling it. It hit Luke sharply on the forehead. Groaning, Luke wandered off with Therebus as a red mark appeared on his face. Scott walked off to another room. Roger sighed.

He wandered to the tapestry and peeled a corner apart. He slipped beneath it and found himself deep within a stone passageway, a narrow one at that. He wandered down, feeling around the walls.

“You nearly got busted,” he said warningly.

“Make sure…” the voice said sluggishly. Roger hung onto every word. “…it never happens again.”




.:. Next Chapter .:.
-Phoenix faces his newest foe at Gritzwald Graveyard...
-Tekaru learns a lot about status after a visit to Agrotatio Town
-Monica and Tekaru are blessed
-Martha seeks her revenge, but it seems she should have stayed at home
-Damien visits home...with incredible results


Thanks!

Oakbark
7th May 2005, 10:41 AM
Yeah! New chappie! I was getting worried when i hadn't seen a new chapter, but now it's here!

I gotta make this quick, so sorry:

**Chrome and co. at Serenity Lake was nice, the AU is slowly re-forming. Master Jackson! *sniff* Its a very good sign when my thoughts mirror the actual reactions of the AU, well done on that!

**What is Karadon up to, bringing Alan's Mother to Evayard? Surely she cannot be strong enough to keep Monica at bay, can she? I like Karadon, he's a crafty ol' chap lol.

**The other V4 almost found that secret passage thingamajig, i wonder will their curiosity bring them back to find out the secret? Especially Luke, who can't betoo pleased by getting hit with a book, and chances are he'll tell his big bro Karadon about the incident, as he seems to be closest to him.

**The Sphinx is dead! But if Karadon didn't put it there, who did?

**Lots of kewl Elementa's and Seryun's strong! How are Roger and his troupé getting this strong???

Yeah, keep it short i said, so bye!

Damien

Powarun
7th May 2005, 12:42 PM
“Obviously Father is in love with Teresa,” What a lie, heh, or at least it seems like a lie. I think that if the V4 find out what or who is behind that wall they may reconsider about fighting the AU, which would be an interesting meeting. The fight wtih Seryun was a bit unexpected, and it is pretty good that the rest of the AU other than Mortimer's group are somehow against the Evayard gang. I still can't wait until Phoenix's fight, think that will be one of the best fights to date.

Chris 2.1
7th May 2005, 05:27 PM
Oakbark: Kool, bullet points! Easy to answer ;)

-Yea, Master Jackson is dead! And the AU in Perlei return. But Seryun is working for Roger? And Splinter is dead? Why did Roger kill Splinter? It was a good part of the fic, but I wonder how Chrome will react when he learns his brother is in jail...

-Perhaps Karadon is simply delegating his task to Martha. Either way, he is a strong foe, both in strength and logic.

-It does seem as if Luke has stopped trusting his Father, especially after the reaction he displayed. Yea, Luke does seem close to Karadon, but Karadon is close to Roger...

-Hmm, the Sphinx, as you'll learn, actually belongs to somebody....

-Oh, you'll sort of learn how Roger's V4 and Seryun are this strong. Not just yet, but you will learn at some point.



Powarun: Hmm...are you sure Roger is lying? Maybe he is doing what he is doing out of love for Teresa. Hmm I'm sure you will learn everything when you need to.

Indeed Phoenix's duel is well-anticipated. I have it written already, and if it does not promise to deliver what you want, don't worry. Phoenix has a lot planned ;)

Oakbark
8th May 2005, 07:34 AM
**Hmm, i don't think Roger is not in love with Teresa, i mean there has to be a spark in there somewhere, otherwise Teresa would be a little suspicious. I mean, she seems to trust Roger as much as (maybe more) than Tekaru. Either Roger's in love with her or he's a really good actor. . .

**Yes, Karadon seems to be the carbon copy of Roger in terms of evil, and is the most likely to be heir to Roger's throne in terms of family leadership. Plus he has that motherly Elementa. . .

**Luke is a biblical name, one of the apostles. Coincedence or a reference to his religious side??

**Perhaps the Sphinx is Pyrites' , or possibly belongs to someone not featured yet in MV. Hmmm. . .

**Tekaru seems to have taken on a leader-ish role in Monica's group, will she be happy about that? Well i guess he knows Evayard best, but is he taking over slightly?

**Lovely dig from Nat to Al about the Tekaru/Monica thing - it's the first time some humour has emerged in her, perhaps she's becoming a little happier?

**Yeah, Phoenix is in the next chapter!! Where has Lee gone to?

Oh my, i think i've reviewed the chapter again, lol. Oh and one more thing (the reason i replied in the first place) - i don't think i've ever told you that reading your chapters give me the motivation and inspiration to write - something i'm sure a writer will find quite a compliment. I can't wait for the summer, when my exams are over i'm gonna unleash my ideas onto paper, or MS word, or somethng, lol.

And wasn't there a competition sometime? I can't wait to see the winning entry, my lacklustre piece of scrap probably wasn't a pach on the others' entries. . .

I'm gonna stop now before my reply surpasses your chapter. Later!

Damien.

Chris 2.1
8th May 2005, 03:45 PM
Oakbark: More bullet points! Huzzah.

**You're right. There has to be a certain degree of love between Teresa and Roger.

**Therebus has the Spirit of Mother. Karadon has Behemoth ^^.

**I think Luke's name is a marvellous name. Luke. I think it sounds sort of brave, and gallant. Karadon is an imperial, mighty name, but Lukes has a sort of compassion in it. It sort of reflects his personality. One element of the fic is how these four monsters soon develop into real people, with real feelings and real opinions.

**Hmm a new character? I wonder...

**I think Tekaru has made sure Monica is safe. He's definitely protecting Monica, and now they have a guide with them (like Ouranous, I suppose) Monica has become less in control. She doesn't seem to mind, though, but does Al?

**You know, Nat DOES seem happy. Is she finally remembering what she said to Dimitri in the fortress?

"You cannot choose your family, but I had to. I chose my family to be the friends that love me for who I am."

Perhaps its dawned to her that she should act on what she said. Especially after, in Revolution, Monica put herself first for execution....

**Lee is, at the moment, persuing his new idol, Gauld. Phoenix does indeed appear next Chapter....and his battle with Thorrus begins!

**Oh, wow! I'm very, VERY flattered I've inspired you. I just hope you all like my work, and like how I do things. Sure, I make mistakes, and I ain't perfect, but I'm just a guy with an idea. A story. A story about Monica and her Vendetta...but who or what is the Vendetta against?

Powarun
8th May 2005, 04:38 PM
You can lie about love, besides what is love if you are using your partner for something? Look at Nat and Lee, there seemed something between them and Lee ditches Nat to become more powerful. And didn't MOrtimer's group go to Evayard to become stronger right? So almost logically Monica's group should become stronger, or did it have to do what Mortimer's group do when in Evayard the first place.

Monica and Therebus would be a pretty good couple, but then again Therebus may be a bit too protective of her existance...He is going to lead her to her demise. As an act to prove himself to Roger

Dragonfree
11th May 2005, 01:50 PM
*is late again* x_X

Oh well, I just read chapters five and six. I'm really liking how the plot is developing; I'm still eager to see more of Pyrites and the person-in-secret-passage-behind-tapestry seems interesting. I wonder what Roger is up to exactly...

Heh, I like Tekaru's thing for Monica. Could make for some interesting twist, but poor Al...

I liked his religious battle against the Sphinx, too.

Fwee, Zuuki's back. ^^

Oakbark
11th May 2005, 03:47 PM
Yes Zuuki seems to be more focused and stronger this time around, doesn't she?

And as for Roger keeping secrets from his sons...bad move don't you think?

Chris 2.1
11th May 2005, 04:45 PM
Powarun: Is Roger using Teresa, though? Well we don't know yet, and we might not for a while. What are his motives? Surely he has a reason to destroy the AU...

Mortimer's Group went to Evayard for a number of reasons, and one was to become stronger. Another was to make a fresh start in life, as the group consisted of a lot of loners (Reef, who fled Kralakorn after killing the Mayor, Afee, who was banished from Gilliard after wanting to be more than a foot soldier, and Lee, who left his friends to get stronger.....). Together they were no longer loners.

I mean the group should get stronger, as I have planned a few Gyms.

Monica and Therebus? Because they're Ghost Adepts? Hmm I think they're very different. Therebus is reclusive and shy, but Monica can be boisterous. If any of the AU were to date Therebus I'd think it would be someone like Nat. I can't see it happening though.

Although....


Dragonfree: You're VERY late young lady! hehe jk.

Hmmm more on Pyrites soon I believe. Ever wondered how he met Alan? You'll find out. The person behind the tapestry is also explored into more as the fic progresses.

Lol yea Tekaru and Monica? Poor Al. Monica....as a princess? Could you see that ending to the fic? Hehehe you never know what I have planned.

Tekaru's pursuit of religion is interesting, an I will definitely build on it during the fic. I have a good point to go into more depth, roughly halfway into the fic I believe. So it is quite a while away.

And Zuuki is back! She's a lot stronger, too: Level 11! Didn't I mention that? She has travelled Perlei for a bit (she was banished from Bayne, remember? Hmm maybe she should join Mortimer XD) and has grown.


Oakbark: I agree. Zuuki was always a fiercely determined girl, but she is even moreso now. Her role in the AU and her rank seems to have risen. She is an incredibly valuable asset.

Roger will undoubtedly learn the wrongs of keeping secrets...

"You depend on our protection, yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth."

Ultra_Poke2000
14th May 2005, 08:14 PM
Hello Chris! It's been a while, hasn't it. Finals week is coming up in school, so I havn't had too much time to read your chapter and reply. anyway, enough about that. On with the Chapter!

With the four at Serenity Lake, Seryun's attack was rather unanticipated. I had almost forgotten about them, and I had assumed that Seryun was going to take care of Monica and co. Master Jackson's death seemed kind of a shock, like it happened too fast or something. However, they only assumed he was dead, and didn't actually go check. Might he still be alive, clinging to life by a thread? Surely his student's have some expertise in healing, don't they? Or at least enough to keep him alive until help arives? then again, he could just be dead. *sniff*. I guess we'll have to see.

Monica and the gang's fight with the sphinx was pretty good. Tekaru's sacrificial light attack was powerful! pretty neat. His devotion to religion seems pretty intense, much more so than most that we've seen so far in this fic. I wonder how this will figure in later... Nat's jibe to Al about Monica and Tekaru seems kind of revealing. could Tekaru be developing feelings for Monica? and what will she think of this? will it eventually lead to a bad rivalry between Al and Tekaru? Only time will tell.

Karadon's plan seems simple enough: get Alan's mom after Monica. We still have no idea how strong Martha is, so I have no idea how "effective" she'll be at stoppign Monica. Also, will she ever find out that Monica had simply made an honest mistake? Maybe eventually she'll join Monica's side. maybe that's just wishful thinking, but hey, it's been stated several times that Martha is a good person at heart. maybe she'll learn the truth...

It appears that Roger has some strong feelings for Teresa, but since we still don't know Roger's plans, we can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing. The brothers said somthing about this just making things go faster, but what does that mean, really? Even the boys don't know. now THAT'S revealing. Roger doesn't even trust his own sons with what he's going to do. As Powarun said, maybe if they knew they wouldn't be on his side anymore. this could be very interesting, as I'm sure that the boys' curiosity will get the better of them soon. Luke especially might want to find out about it since his dad hit him in the head with a book. Anyway, judging from the way that Roger reacted when thing-behind-curtain-number-one was talking, even HE might not be in charge. If Roger is searching for a way to give/restore power to thing-behind-curtain-number-one, I have a feeling it might go something like this (note: Roger is the wizard on the left):

http://instagiber.net/smiliesdotcom/contrib/edoom/Wizard.gif

lol. anyway, in the next chapter it seems that we will see Phoenix in all of his glory! ;) and then we have some happenings for Monica and co. however, it appears that Martha won't be having to good of a time. and then Damien; what could happen?

*sigh* I suppose that's enought for me to write. I'll cya guys later then. in the mean time, may the force be with you. http://instagiber.net/smiliesdotcom/ups/unknown/lsvader.gif

Chris 2.1
15th May 2005, 07:49 AM
Ultra_Poke: Hey, I have "finals" in a week or so, too!

-Hmm Master Jackson could still be alive...but Water Adepts cannot uae healing powers. Generally it is a new form of adeptry all together, which you'll see later in the fic, but also some adepts can learn it (Like Therebus and his Crystal Pendant).

-Tekaru is Level 11, so he does have a lot of inner strength. Much of this spawns from his religion, and this will be built upon later on. However, when did this religious side awaken? What brought it on?

-Also, do you think Monica and Tekaru will go out? Al wouldn't like that. I wonder....

-Hmm Karadon seems to be delegating important tasks to Martha. Perhaps he needs to pool his energy into something else?

-Interesting, and very difeent theory on Roger. It is evident he is implementing a heirarchy system between him and his sons by keeping away crucial information. However, if Roger is to be the future king, I don't think there could be anyone he's working for...

-Luke definitely seems to be the most curious. Can he lead his brothers to unmasking what is behind the curtain? Or will Karadon's imperiosity over his brothers mean that he decides what happens?

-Roger not in charge? I wonder. Restore power? Interesting assumption indeed, but why would he bother? Is it perhaps his "dead" wife behind there? Is that why he doesn't want his sons to learn the truth?

-Hmm well I personally think you wanted to just use that sprite :P

-Next Chapter is fantastic, IMHO ^^;, I hope you enjoy it! Ch12 underway.

Ultra_Poke2000
15th May 2005, 12:30 PM
*sigh* Alright, you caught me with just wanting to use the sprite, but it was funny, wasn't it? :)

Anyway, there's an idea I didn't think of. Roger's "dead" wife? Now that is an interesting idea. If that is the case then... yes...... it all makes sense now.......... uh, well, I'll just keep that to myself. heh. Don't want to give anyone any ideas. lol. ;) I'll cya later!

Powarun
15th May 2005, 02:53 PM
Oh snap, I didn't mean to say Therebus and Monica no, Tekaru and Monica would be a good couple. The long T names got me confused.

Chris 2.1
21st May 2005, 06:23 PM
Just a preview for Chapter 7 guys. Instead of quotes from it, I'm going to do sort of a review of the Chapter.

"It's Chapter 7, and things start to heat up as Phoenix challanges Thorrus to a duel in Gritzwald Graveyard. But is Phoenix ready to take on this mighty Adept? Meanwhile, as the group arrive in Agrotatio Town, Monica tests her abilities as a Ghost Adept, and both her and Tekaru reap their rewards. However, it seems every high has a low, which both Tekaru and Monica learn one night. Martha Michael makes a return, and Karadon's scheme starts to come into play...but it is interrupted by something the V4 couldn't even prevent. And in Perlei, Damien says goodbye to his arrogant Father, Margus, who is outraged at his sons departure. Margus leaves his son with an ultimatum, but what will Damien do?"

:D



Ok, I'll post it soon!

Chris 2.1
26th May 2005, 06:03 PM
Time for a new chappie.




Monica’s Vendetta
Seven
Deceit and its Many Forms

Meanwhile, in Altonia, Phoenix approached the gates of the large Graveyard. He grabbed the bars and rattled them angrily, shouting out to the Adept within.

“I AM COMING TO CHALLENGE YOU, THORRUS!” He yelled. “OPEN YOUR GATES!”

It was no use. Phoenix sighed to himself as the wind picked up, spreading a chill through the atmosphere. It was midday, but the graveyard was darkening already. Phoenix attempted to slam his fist into the gate, but achieved nothing short of a sore fist.

Suddenly, as Phoenix nursed his knuckles, he saw a strange, purple form floating towards him. It was on the other sides of the gates, with an eerie set of red eyes. It looked like a little creature comprised of energy.

It gave a slow cry, and slowly the doors opened up. The creature waggled its long, sinewy tail and sped off through the ever increasing darkness. Phoenix watched the gates, waiting until they opened to their fullest before darting inside.

There was a stronger wind here. Wandering past old, battered gravestones was slightly unnerving. They were worn and greening slightly, their words and inscriptions becoming distorted. From behind a thin, whispish layer of cloud, a pearly white moon began to appear.

As Phoenix walked, the steady incline in the hill became notably more obvious. He wandered past larger, fancier gravestones, looking behind him to see the gates closing already. The shattered, destroyed city of Gritzwald was completely different to the one Phoenix had visited once before. When he had last visited, Mortimer kidnapped him and, knowing he hailed from Cloudina, pressured him into revealing the whereabouts of a sacred Armlet. Phoenix was saved by Ouranos, Monica’s guide, and Lee. Back then, Gritzwald was a bustling metropolis set in the pages of history. Back then, Phoenix might have been able to find out about his father…

It was useless denying the tear that fell from Phoenix’s cheek. He stroked it away with his finger and kept walking until he reached the crest of the hill. As he looked, he saw that a bowl-like formation formed. All the hills in the graveyard went down into an area in the middle. Thorrus must be there. Phoenix looked, and saw many of these purple spirits floating around the graves, clustering around the biggest ones. The young man came to the conclusion these spirits were comprised of ghost adeptry.

Looking down the hill towards the center of the Graveyard, an eerie light was causing each gravestone to glow a brilliant white. Wondering what this was about. Phoenix decided to investigate. He rubbed his hands together, building up a static charge, and held both hands high above his head.

“THUNDER OF THOR!” he roared, commanding the clouds to darken and drop bolts of lightening from the sky. All around the graveyard claps of thunder shook and bolts pierced the ground. Phoenix watched around for any movement.

“My name is Phoenix,” he shouted, standing high up and searching the area. “I come to challenge Thorrus to a duel!”

It was quiet, save for the crackles of thunder. Phoenix watched darkly. There was a spark of light down by the glowing gravestones.

“THIS IS THORRUS!” a voice boomed. “PHOENIX, YOU MAY DUEL ME DOWN HERE.”

Sensing a trick, Phoenix threw his arms down by his side and let his large, soft, white eagle-like wings come out of his back. He also gripped the long, thin staff that emerged and flapped up into the air. He could not see Thorrus from here. He headed down towards his foe.

As he got closer, he could see a figure sitting on the ground. The grass had been cut out in an enigmatic circle which Thorrus sat in the center of. It was large, with a round border inside. Lines zigzagged up and down the border and geometric shapes seemed to be placed randomly inside the circle. Phoenix flapped down slowly and stood there, facing Thorrus.

The first thing Phoenix saw was that his face had been obscured almost by his brown hair. As he looked up, the hair cleared and his piercing brown eyes seemed full of inner fury and conflict. His face was well-defined and he looked like he may once have been a handsome man in his youth. He must have been forty years of age, around about there. He wore a short-sleeved, thin black kimono and had a few small scars on his face.

“You’re my challenger?” Thorrus asked.

“Yes,” Phoenix said firmly. “You destroyed this opulent city. You have ruined it and it can never be the same. I came here for a reason, and now I will never learn what I need to.”

“What did you need to learn?” Thorrus asked.

“That is none of your business,” Phoenix replied curtly. “Now let me destroy you and bring peace to Gritzwald again.”

Thorrus gave a smirk.

“You can’t beat me,” he declared. “Not when I have the power of every element in my grasp! Spirits arise!”

As Thorrus said this, the whole place began to glow and shake. From the soft grass, white beads of energy formed into small, two-foot high creatures that glowed green as they charged through the air. These ones had sharp, cat-like ears, with round bellies and sharp claws. Phoenix swiped his staff to send a wave of silver energy slashing apart the creatures.

“When there is grass, I can summon spirits from nature itself,” Thorrus said softly. “And the spirit that let you in is comprised from the ghostly energy of every corpse in the graveyard!”

As he said this, a plethora of creatures swept forward and tried attacking Phoenix. He flapped upwards and threw a ball of electrical energy at them, which exploded and obliterated each one. Thorrus seemed impressed.

“Your attacks have passion,” he declared. “You obviously feel strongly about this. But I have caused every adept and non-adept who challenged me to perish by my feet. I will not lose to another one!”

He summoned a sword straight away. Holding his other hand out, he charged up white energy.

“KARMA AIR!” Thorrus roared. “Spirits of the Graveyard!”

The orb of energy suddenly turned a dull purple colour. Thorrus plunged the orb of energy directly in his stomach and became shrouded by a muggy purple aura. His clothes faded into a grey, his hair folded back slightly and no longer hung around his face, and eerie, bat-like wings formed from his shoulder blades.

“Karma Air?” Phoenix asked. “Interesting.”

“I’m taking my strength from the spiritual energy in our environment,” Thorrus boomed. He swept through the air, flapping his wings to propel himself forward. He held his sword ready and headed towards Phoenix.

“Justice Punch!” Phoenix roared, holding his hand out and letting silver energy take it over. Clenching it into a fist, he drove it forward and ran as Thorrus got closer. Phoenix smashed his fist into Thorrus, sending him flying back. He stopped in mid-air, flapping his wings and watching.

“SHADOW BALL!” he roared back, charging up a round ball of ghostly energy in his hands, slipping his sword in a sheath. Phoenix held his palm forward and sent a thin bolt of electricity surging through the air. As Thorrus threw the shadow ball, the two attacks merged and caused a small explosion.

“Night shade!” Thorrus roared, holding his hands out and blasting two jagged bolts of purple energy. Phoenix, wings still out, swept to the left in an air-evasion, crouching behind a gravestone which was, soon after, reduced to rubble.

His attacks are stronger than Monica or Lee’s, Phoenix thought to himself. Thorrus must be a high level.

Phoenix leapt up high, activating his wings and flapping up higher. Thorrus saw this as a challenge and swept up to meet him. Phoenix knew this would be hard. Both competitors raced towards each other from up high; Thorrus got out his sword, while Phoenix released his large staff and raced at his foe.

“Soul Reap!” Thorrus roared, holding his sword steady with two hands. It glowed with brilliant violet light as he neared.

Phoenix, sensing he could not pull a retaliatory attack out in time, was shocked when the sword slashed at him. Oddly enough, it did not hurt…in fact; Phoenix did not even feel it. It sliced through his stomach and came out the other end a brilliant white.

“Oh!” Phoenix gasped, surprised at a strange feeling in his stomach.

“That’s right,” Thorrus said. “I attacked your soul.”

Phoenix fell from the sky limply, eyes eventually shutting. He smashed against the worn, rubble on the floor. He knew no more as Thorrus hovered in mid-air above him, watching as his sword pulsated with new energy and hope.

A new voice rang out from the darkness.

“Go, my student!”

There was a sharp cry and a figure leapt into the air. Thorrus gasped as he was smashed in the side by a long, red Zanbatou. Roughly the height of an average door, the Zanbatou was a staff with a deadly blade on the end. Thorrus fell to the ground and gave a roar of pain.

“What the?” he asked weakly. The figure landed opposite him. She flicked her neat blonde hair and watched him. Her sweet, sugary blue eyes were now focused and ready.

“That’s it, Serena,” said a woman behind her. “Finish him off.”


*

Meanwhile, in Evayard, the AU members Monica, Al, Nat and Tekaru were making their way across the continent. It was, in a word, picturesque; Monica felt revived from the dingy, grungy Saffron City. The air was crisp and delightful when inhaled.

“Agrotatio town is just ahead,” Tekaru pointed out, leading the group through a delightful plain.

Within another half an hour, the four made their entrance into Agrotatio town. It was a quiet, peaceful village. As they entered, a man was playing a lonesome, emotional tune on a small wooden recorder. Al gave him some change.

It seemed to be a village which liked being tucked away out of all the kafuffle the big cities often had. There were no shops; instead, the main street had various markets selling crafts, weapons, herbs, fruit and meats. The village was pretty much in the shape of a crossroad, with markets lining the dirt paths. It seemed to rely heavily on its agriculture.

“Prince Tekaru!” A lady cried, throwing herself at the young man’s feet. “How good of you to heed our calls!”

“What’s she talking about?” Monica hissed to Nat. The girl shook her head in confusion.

“I have been praying for so many weeks,” the lady said, blinking heavily to stem the tears running down her wrinkled face. “Praying that you’d come to see us.”

“Whatever is the problem?” Tekaru asked politely.

“EVERYONE! Gather round!” the woman cried. She was dressed in brown raggedy clothes. “PRINCE TEKARU IS HERE!”

A small crowd was accumulating.

“It’s my grandson,” the woman said loudly. “He’s been having these terrible visions…we were wondering if you’d help us out.”

“W-Where is he?” Tekaru asked, unsure of how to solve this.

“Come with me,” the lady said. “I’ll show you our house.”

As the lady parted the crowd and led the AU to her house, Monica noticed how many people were interested in her in particular. While Al and Nat received no stares or were not talked about, Monica felt as if she was being discussed. Whispers followed her, and she began thinking it was because of her adeptry class.

In a small, dusty house, one storey high and only with a few rooms, a boy lay on a bed, groaning and weeping into his pillow. A young woman, presumably the boy’s mother, sat on a chair watching him.

“Greta!” the woman cried. “You came back!”

She got out of her chair.

“Your boy has been crying,” the woman told Greta, and it was then that it transpired the woman must be a nurse of some description. “Please, I cannot bear it anymore!”

“Berah, Berah,” Greta whispered softly. “Berah, this is Prince Tekaru, from the big city.”

“Hello…Berah,” Tekaru said, not sure how to address the situation.

“Can you help him?” Greta asked.

“I might be able to help him,” Monica said softly, approaching the foot of the bed. “Berah, my name is Monica.”

“Nnnghh…” Berah groaned, clenching his teeth. Greta saw Monica and raised her graying eyebrows. Apparently Tekaru was the savior, not Monica.

“Can I ask you a few questions?” Monica continued softly.

“Yeah…” Berah said.

“How long have you been having visions?”

“He has had them for a week or so,” Greta said calmly, albeit quickly.

“Can you think back to a week ago? What happened a week ago that could have triggered this?” Monica went on, ignoring Greta. Her approach seemed rather ignorant.

“I…We went to the next town over,” Berah whispered.

“It is Samyura Town,” Greta went on. “A martial arts community with a master Sensei. Our Berah went to the Gym there to try and get a martial arts Gym badge, to take him to level 2. He was successful.”

“I think that could be the problem,” Monica said. “When I was first level 2, I had horrible visions. That was before my town was attacked by terrorists.”

She approached Berah.

“Let me share your pain.”

Holding Berah’s head in both her hands, Monica closed her eyes and hoped she could participate in Berah’s visions. Nothing was happening, so the girl blocked out all sound and concentrated as hard as she could. Then, it happened…

A sudden rush of adrenaline surged through her brains as Monica felt white-hot pain sealing her eyes shut. She was sweeping low over a destroyed city, watching as crumbled buildings were shrouded in silky flames. The sky was a Turkish pink, and a horrible creature rose from the ground and flew through the air…

Despite trying to pull away, Monica was almost clamped to Berah’s head. Her forehead felt sweaty and she knew she was getting extremely hot. The scene soon switched, and Monica was somewhere else. A long, stone corridor. Walking forward, she heard her footsteps echoing along with a pair next to her, belonging to Berah. The two advanced down the corridor as a slow, stirring noise began hissing and gradually climaxing ahead. As they turned a corner, a piercing noise filled Monica’s ears, a white flash illuminated the corridor, and her grip fell from Berah’s head.

She fell back onto the ground and thudded against the stone floor. Gasping for breath, she noticed Nat, Tekaru and Al watched her with intrigue and concern. Berah was also panting; face shining with sweat as he stared into space.

“Grandma,” he said softly. “Grandma! I am not seeing horror anymore!”

“You…aren’t?” Greta asked. “Oh, thank the heavens! Prince Tekaru sent this blessing.”

Greta knelt and kissed Monica’s hand.

“How did you know that?” Al asked, bewildered.

“I’m not sure,” Monica said slowly. “I just thought it might work…and it did…”

“Are you ok?” Nat asked from afar.

“I feel dizzy,” Monica replied. “But I’m sure it will be ok soon.”

“What did you see?” Nat continued.

“I…it…it’s not clear anymore,” Monica said slowly, massaging her temples. “But it was horrible.”

“Come on,” Tekaru said. “Let us find a place to stay for the night.”

“Prince Tekaru…” Greta said slowly. “I am so grateful for your help. I am a talented Ghost Adept myself. I am the third class, Ghost Prophet, and know a lot of techniques you may find useful.”

“What like?” Tekaru asked keenly.

“The Pathian Ability,” Greta spoke softly. “I’m sure you have heard of it.”

“Yea, yea!” Monica cried. “Please, Greta, teach us it!”

“It is a very strong attack,” Greta told them. “Do you all want to learn it?”

“…I won’t,” Al declared. “I’m not as good as anybody else.”

“I think Monica and Tekaru should learn it,” Nat explained. “Monica is our group leader, and Tekaru is at high enough a level to handle it with few problems. I won’t, though.”

“Why not?” Monica asked sincerely.

“I just…well, maybe I’ll learn it later.” Nat said. “Greta, can we learn it off each other?”

“As long as someone has it mastered, then yes,” Greta replied calmly.

“Then I’ll learn off you another time,” Nat said, oddly happy. “Come on, Al, should we go and find a place to stay?”

“Yea,” Al replied, confused somewhat. “Yea, we’ll see you guys’ later, ok?”

And that was that. Monica and Tekaru were led to a quiet place with Greta as Al and Nat headed to the town to find an Inn for the night. Meanwhile, down a tight alleyway, a woman watched Monica from afar. Sweeping her long hair from her face, she slipped a pair of shades on and kept her hand around something in her pocket.

“There she is,” hissed the woman. “Monica Ward. Perhaps if she masters the Pathian ability well, she is a good candidate.”

The young woman’s thoughts were interrupted when she glanced across the street to see Martha Michael watching Monica, from a discreet alleyway.

“Who is that?” the woman snapped irritably. “Hmm. If she proves a liability I shall take care of her.”


*

Later that evening, Monica and Tekaru were still practicing their Pathian technique. Greta observed how they did it, making sharp, decisive criticisms and never failing to point out their flaws.

“CONCENTRATE!” Greta cried. “Open your mind and see the person you are communicating with!”

Monica was envisioning Nat, presumably at an Inn. She saw Nat, staring ahead with determination. Monica let her mind open and slowly muttered Nat’s name…

…but then everything fizzled out. Monica collapsed on her knees, exhausted and having failed to work the Pathian ability.

“Monica, your technique is poor,” Greta snapped. Her long, beaky nose was rather uninviting as the gnarled woman stared down it at Monica. Her sharp eyes seemed full of disgust. “Tekaru, you are doing much better.”

Tekaru, who was trying to communicate with Al, let the attack fade and sighed happily.

“I nearly nailed it!” he said triumphantly.

“It is late,” Greta said, staring around her. “Meet me here tomorrow at midday. We will continue your training then.”

As the moon cast a pearly glow over the little town of Agrotatio, Monica and Tekaru turned and headed through town towards the Inn. There was only one in the town, so they knew where to go.

“This place,” Monica began. “Evayard, I mean. It’s fantastic.”

“Yea, I know,” Tekaru sighed. “I’m so happy living here…or…I will be, once Roger is out of the way.”

“Did you say we’re going to Crufia straight from here?” Monica asked. “It looks an awful long way.”

“I did think, at first, we should simply train up,” Tekaru began. “But this cannot wait. Roger must be stopped.”

As they wandered through the town, Monica peered down an alleyway to her left. A firey red glow was spreading. Intrigued, Monica took a step forward…

…Martha Michael leapt out and smashed her fist into the young girl’s face. Falling onto her knees, Monica gave a surprised cry as Tekaru summoned his hammer. Leaping up, Tekaru sped through the air and swiped his hammer. Martha, not being incredibly agile, was hit in the side and thrown to the ground.

“Monica! MONICA!” Tekaru cried, kneeling down. “Are you ok?”

She seemed to be unconscious.

“You bitch,” Tekaru growled. “I am the Prince of Evayard! I could have you killed for this.”

“Shut up, you ignorant little boy!” Martha snapped, producing a fireball in her palm. “That stupid little girl KILLED my dear Alan!”

“What?” Tekaru gaped. “Monica didn’t kill him!”

“Don’t protect your girlfriend,” Martha spat, throwing the fireball at Tekaru. He leapt up and avoided it. Landing, the boy held his hand forward and sent a jagged bolt of lightening at Martha. However, Martha managed to take a quick 3-step to the left and evade it. She clicked her fingers, summoning her weapon – a long kitchen knife. She took careful aim…

“Monica!” Tekaru cried again. “FRENZY BOLT!”

Three golden bolts of lightening pierced the air as they rocketed from the boy’s hands. Striking Martha, the woman gave a shriek and dropped her knife. It clattered against the dusty earth.

“Leave here,” Tekaru growled. “Your son died at the hands of a group called the V4, led by a man named Karadon.”

“NO!” Martha screamed. “Karadon is a savior.”

“Y-You’ve met him?” Tekaru asked.

“He helped me come to Evayard,” Martha said darkly. “AND he told me the truth about my beloved Alan.”

Tekaru sighed.

“Martha, please, our group was targeted by Karadon and his brothers. They tried killing us all, but Alan got in the way of their attack and sacrificed himself for us –

“LIAR!” the irritated woman screamed. She picked up her knife. Her curly hair was ragged and unkempt, while her eyes were filling with a fierce malice. With the unconscious Monica between Tekaru and Martha, it looked as if Martha was ready to strike.

“I came here to settle the score,” Martha snapped. “AND I WILL!”

Holding her knife above her head, Martha’s eyes widened by the second as the seconds whittled by.

“Give Alan my regards, Monica,” Martha growled.

Suddenly, there were rapid shots from the left. Martha turned and was stuck in the chest three times, before groaning and falling to her knees. Tekaru gave a gasp as he stared down the alleyway to the left. A figure wandered out slowly.

“Get out of here,” she snapped. “NOW!”

Her face was smooth and almost in the shape of a heart. She had well-defined cheekbones and looked both glamorous and youthful. Her hair was long and silver; she wore a dazzling black sequined skirt/top combo. The woman was holding a gun comprised of a blue crystal material.

“Didn’t you hear me?” the woman repeated. “Go, or you’re next.”

“Why did you shoot her?” Tekaru asked, feeling weak.

“She isn’t dead,” the woman replied. “This gun fires bullets of concentrated adeptry. It doesn’t have the ability to kill. Not unless I fire it ten times into your skull.”

“Who are you?” Tekaru said emptily. He saw the woman pick Monica up and drag her. “What are you doing?”

“Taking her away,” the woman replied.

“Leave her alone!” Tekaru replied, charging golden energy into his hammer. “Lightening joust!”

As he ran through the air, the woman pulled her gun out and fired three shots. Tekaru was stunned in the chest and fell onto the harsh earth. Feeling his shirt rip, he watched as the woman dragged Monica back into the alleyway she had emerged from.

So sore…, he groaned. He needed to get up, but Tekaru’s chest was very uncomfortable after the woman had attacked him. Finally giving in, Tekaru slumped into the ground as he heard a car rev up. The woman then tore from the alleyway in a midnight blue Ferrari and sped off out of Agrotatio and into the distance.

“MONICA!” Tekaru shouted. “I failed her…”

And with that, strength exhausted, Tekaru blacked out. Monica, still unconscious, was being driven away by this clearly dangerous woman. Al and Nat were probably settling in to their surroundings, unaware of the tragic turn of events. In the Crufia Prison, Mortimer, Boko and Afee had to wait for the right time to try and stage an escape long enough to contact other AU members. Lee, putting aside his health, continued following Gauld from afar as he led himself farther and farther from the Mask of Babylon. Serena still fought Thorrus in Gritzwald Graveyard, and the V4 worked on separate projects for their father as he discussed wedding plans with Lady Teresa. In Perlei, Chrome and Zuuki made their way towards Colina, and Damien and Salo made a quick visit home before setting off with the other two. With Master Jackson’s death fresh in their minds, the four wanted to work as hard as they could to overcome any threats.

Damien and Salo arrived in Guellion, their home city on the sea. Salo went to visit her grandparents, whom she lived with, while Damien visited home to see his Father, Margus. An irritable man, Margus had a lot of leverage over his son. When on the way to Asterid Fortress to fight Dimitri, Damien gave in to all the things his father had said and ran from the AU. He never had a part in Dimitri’s death. After the overcome of Dimitri and the destruction of Asterid Fortress, Dimitri continued to train under Master Jackson. Unfortunately, many people (like Chrome, for example) never fully accepted Damien again.

“So,” Margus growled, as Damien wandered back into his small living room. The fire was burning steadily, casting an orange glow over the room. Margus had been reading the newspaper. He was disabled, confined to a wheelchair after he tried using a strength enhancer, and always left a key under the doormat so that Damien could get in. “You’re back.”

“Actually,” Damien said, looking away from his steely glare of his father. “I’m not staying.”

“Where are you going?” Margus asked impatiently.

“To Evayard,” Damien replied. “The AU members in Perlei have been targeted by an evil group. We have to flee.”

“You’re staying right here boy,” Margus snapped. His wiry grey beard was somewhat intimidating.

“N-No! I’m not, I’m going,” Damien mumbled. “Father, it is my duty to go! I wear this badge like I wear my pride; if I disown it, I throw my pride away!”

“Are you questioning me?” Margus asked.

“Yes.” Damien replied, after a while. “I used to be scared of you, Father; you were always so overpowering. But I can stand tall now, and make my own decisions. I’m through with being afraid of you!”

“If you leave here,” Margus said angrily. “You will NEVER be welcomed back.”

Damien’s brow furrowed.

“You think you can boss me around?” he asked. “You think you can set rules and expect me to obey them? Father, I’m nearly 17 years old. I will NEVER surrender my life! I will not live for you any more!”

Damien grabbed his sword and ripped it from its sheath.

“Damien?” Margus asked, his voice weakening.

“I won’t feel bad for betraying you,” Damien muttered. Holding his sword ready, his breathing was deep and slow. “YOU ARE NO FATHER OF MINE ANY MORE!”


*

As Damien left his house that night, he tried telling himself it was not his house any longer. With his sword cleaned of all its sins, Damien slotted it back into his sheath and dashed from the cul-de-sac he lived in. A few meters away, Margus’ corpse had been thrown into the large fire, which had eaten up the flesh and taken away the last of Damien’s family.

And yet, so soon after the dreadful deed, Damien was already questioning his motives as he ran off to meet Salo. If he was feeling bad now; feeling remorse for his actions, then how would he feel in a week? A month?

Much worse, a voice told him. Damien gave a heavy sigh, longing more than ever for the stinging guilt in his mind to disappear.





I'll do a preview for Chapter 8 in a week or so.

Oakbark
27th May 2005, 04:28 PM
I'll start at the end, with Damien and Margus - was it really necessary for him to kill his father? I mean, Margus wouldn't have been able to stop him physically or with adeptry, so why not just walk out on him? Surely there would be a lot less guilt felt that way.

Thorrus is strange, and his Reaper attack is weird. Phoenix!!!!!! Thank God Serena turned up (yay Serena's back!), but what did that attack do to Phoenix? Will he be okay?? And just who is that woman that is mentoring Serena?

Tekaru seems to have quite the celebrity status in Agrotatio Town, almost like a God. (the religion seems to be strong too "i prayed for you to come").

Monica's stolen vision seemed weird, i'm not even going to try and interpret it. . .

I'm wary about this new 'modern' adept that uses solidified adeptry and a car (surely there are no proper roads for one??). I feel like she's breaching the medieval style feel to Evayard, but she's an interesting concept none the less. Why is she helping Monica?

Martha and her kitchen knife - classic. She's so motherly i guess it seemed fitting she used a kitchen utensil for a weapon!

The Pathian ability will be useful for communication with the other members of the AU. I guess Nat didn't want to learn it because of it's association with Dimitri (and to a far lesser extent Melanie from Asterid Fortress).

I wonder will this alone-time help Nat and Tekaru to bond? They seem to be getting along okay so far.

Gotta go, major exams in less than two weeks time and i'm here disecting your new chapter lol. Bye!

Damien.

Powarun
28th May 2005, 02:25 AM
I'll start at the end, with Damien and Margus - was it really necessary for him to kill his father? I mean, Margus wouldn't have been able to stop him physically or with adeptry, so why not just walk out on him? Surely there would be a lot less guilt felt that way.

Oakbark, I think that Damien killed his father because his father was what kept him back and stopped him from helping out those that would help him out. HIs father brought him fear, and he stood against his fear and well did what he wanted.

I like how MOnica and Tek, were kidnapped, hopefully they will become more stronger. Magic bullets, those would be cool, just for fun though.

Chris 2.1
28th May 2005, 08:41 AM
Oakbark: Damien walked away from Margus before, in Perlei, and he still caved in to his father's constant pressure. In that scene, I was establishing how emotionally fragile Damien is. His anger rose as his confidence did, and soon he was so angry at his father's dominance he went beserk. Of course, now he has already begun to feel remorse. How will he cope?

A lot of questions with the Phoenix/Serena scene. Thorrus seems strong, but if Phoenix fell to him, will Serena be able to stand up to this foe? Hmmmm....

Monica's vision was very weird and hard to decipher. It is relevant and could perhaps be a taster of things to come.

Hmm yea I know the woman's car is a little odd for Evayard. But it is a concept I've been saving for a long time, something no other character has. It demonstrates just how important this woman is. The pistol, while being more modern, doesn't kill, but simply fired adeptry in a bullet form (think of it like a bullet seed attack, almost). This character is important, and has a very big part to play.

Lol yea Martha's weapon, the knife. Pity she never got to use it.

Also, I think you might be right with the whole Pathian thing. Perhaps since Nat is quiet anyway, communicating with everyone isn't really something she would like to do.

Wait, what do you mean? Al and Nat are at the Inn. Tekaru is lying in the street, and Monica has been kidnapped. Well, I suppose Tekaru could get to know Nat and Al a bit better.


Powarun: Yea I think so too.

Only Monica was kidnapped :P


Chapter 8 Preview soon.

Oakbark
28th May 2005, 09:58 AM
Lol must be the brain-draining studying or something, dunno why i said that about Tekaru and Nat, i mean i knew it was Al and Nat at the Inn . . .oh well, mistakes happen i guess.

Yes, Martha can use her Slice and Dice attack! Lol.

Hmm, Damien has so much to cope with, losing partial respect of the AU, guilt over disobeying his father, guilt over killing his father, etc. But he has that AU badge for a reason, i hope he can put his fears and guilt to one side.

Yes, Nat has lead quite the solitary life, both in her home forest and through MR in Dimitri's prison. Maybe she'll find the special someone that she can open up and confide in, although after the Lee incident she might have trouble trusting. . .

Ultra_Poke2000
29th May 2005, 07:58 PM
Garsp! stuff happened, so let's see what's up.

Ah, the great Phoenix challenges the odd Thorrus. Thorrus seems to be quite strong, and he commands more than one adeptry. Kind of like Sid, but possibly to a greater extent (i.e., Sid only had command of three, maybe four types of adeptry (fire, water, electricity, and some psychic stuff at the very end), while this Thorrus has so far displayed the following adeptry: fire, plant, ghost, dark(?), etc...). Who knows what else he can do? This brings up a question: Just what kind of adept is Thorrus? He's obviously not an elemental knight (they've only got the main three). Perhaps he's some kind of Absorbing Adept or something like that. He did say that he was getting his spirit energy from graveyard. We'll just have to see....

Oh yah, Serena just appeared. From nowhere. And with a mentor of some type. Obviously she just saved Phoenix, but will she be able to take on Thorrus? Phoenix has always been one of the "big guns" of the group, while Serena was more of a mid-level adept, along the ranks of Nat, Monica, and Lee. Then again, she did go to Cloudina to train and join that group (sorry; I forgot what it was called :sweat3: ). Maybe (most likely, actually) she's gained some levels and experience. But is she on par with Phoenix? Perhaps she has even surpassed him. That would be impressive. And who is that mentor of hers? will she hold some answers to certain mysteries? You know, stuff like that? And is she even really a on the good side? All questions we'll learn the answers to, I'm sure.

As the group arives in Agritatio town, that woman greets them with cries of “How good of you to heed our calls" and, “I have been praying for so many weeks.” When they first emerged from the sewer into Evayard Tekaru seemed rather anxious to get to this town. Maybe their praying is what urged him there and he just made up the excuse of "leveling up" to get them to follow him. Intriguing....

Anyway, Monica's shared vision with Berah was creepy, and obviously forboding. That creature... could it be that it was actually Thorrus? or...

HUGE MAYBE SPOILER! : It could have been the thing behind the curtain!

We're not sure which city it was that was burning, or where that corridor was... but we've only heard of one true city since where they are now is only a town. But Berah was with her.... could that mean that they'll be teaming up with him. We don't know his age (he was only referred to as a boy), but for some reason I got the impression that he was very young, like around the ages of 10-11. I could be wrong, though. Another thing, though; if Greta herself was a ghost adept of an aparently high level, why couldn't she do anything? Maybe there's something special about Monica that we don't know of yet.

Monica and Tekaru are learning the Pathian technique, which could prove useful in the future. Oakbark, your hypothesis about why Nat might not want to learn the technique was very insightful. I know I wouldn't have thought of that. Kudos to you, Oakbark.:)

With Martha's attack on Monica, the kitchen knife weapon was priceless. I think it was just the right amount of humor for the moment. When that mysterious woman shot Martha my stomach dropped for a second. I was kindof shocked that you would kill her off all the sudden and so quickly, but it turns out you didn't, so I'm good. That "modern" adept concept is actually kind of cool. plus she has a ferrari; that was awesome, if slightly out of place. Now that I think about it, she was kind of mentioned in the shadows earlier, and said something about Monica being a "good candidate". But for what? and who? Is she working for Rodger, or is she part of a third group with it's own agenda? We can only guess...

Now for the really shocking part: Damien killed his own friggin' father! I did not expect that to happen. What reprecussions could this have later on? He's already having severe guilt pains, which we know will affect him in battle and in decision making. But what about the local law enforcement? I'm sure that's not going to go down too well with the police/whatever they have around there. That will probably cause problems too. *sigh* So many problems... but, what can you do?

I suppose that's all I have to write about for now. I'll see you guys later, and take care! Until we meet again.....

Chris 2.1
31st May 2005, 08:30 AM
Oakbark: Heh I know, studying is hard for me atm too. If there are any glaring plot holes around Ch13, tell me :P

As for Damien; you're right. He has a lot on his plate, and needs to gain redemption from the AU, particularly Mortimer's party and Chrome. How will Damien get through this uphill struggle?

Nat finding love? Hmm I did promise some romance in this part of the Saga, and I won't lie to you: Some characters will get together. But as the characters learn, love isn't easy...


Ultra: Hola! When Phoenix talked to Harley in Gritzwald (Ch4), Harley recalled Thorrus announcing himself as a Shamanic Adept. But what can this mean? Is it a fancy name, concealing some hidden type Phoenix has never faced? Only time will tell...

Hmm...Serena...I wonder if she IS stronger? She was still a Storm Sage (ie: Below Level 10) in Revolution, and we do know Phoenix is the 3rd and highest class - Storm Angel. I don't think, given the time scale, Serena could be stronger, but pure strength never decides the outcome of a match.

I think Tekaru asked the group to head to Agrotatio Town because it was the nearest town :P

Hmm Monica's vision...well, we'll see.

Martha is by no means dead, but the introduction of the mysterious woman can only be bad. I wonder who she works for. Maybe herself? You're right, she could be working for Roger....is she....Rogers wife, the V4's mother? Well you might find out soon enough when Ch8 comes out.


Ps: I'm not saying that theory is true. I'm also not denying it!


Hmm well Damien lives in a secluded part of the city. How long before Margus is found?


Attention! The Evayard map has been completed, but creatures and a few more locations are being added still.


Well here is the Preview for Chapter 8:


After the horrific kidnapping of Monica Ward, Tekaru, Nat and Al are left shocked and deeply confused by the girl's dissapearence. Meanwhile, in Crufia, Luke decides to take action against his father, and attempts to put the pieces together. Unfortunately, Luke finds out things he does not want to hear, and is struck with inner conflict. Lee's pursuit of Gauld continues, but how long before his health deteriorates beyond repair? Meanwhile Roger discovers some shocking truths - have his brutish ways cost him? And Pyrites has a new customer to meet, and greet...and kill.


Don't miss Chapter 8 - Current Events. Coming soon.

Oakbark
31st May 2005, 02:18 PM
Never even thought of that theory lol.

Yes, i think Ultra's right, that stone corridor sounds like the "behind the curtain" area. What is that hissing? Makes me remember the Chamber Of Secrets in HP.

Neways, without Monica, who'll take on the leadership role? I mean, Al will feel responsible, but Tekaru has acted as temporary leader so far as he knows the area better. Problems in store?

Lee better not die, and neither should (slightly off track) Mortimer (remember the Don't Kill Mortimer Club? Lol.).

Map! Yeah!

Chris 2.1
11th July 2005, 08:06 AM
We lost Ch8, which was up previously IIRC. I'll post Chapter 9 tomorrow I think.







Monica’s Vendetta
Eight
Current Events


Luckily for Tekaru, his Pathian technique had worked. He contacted Al and Nat straight away and urged them to come and get him. Still lying on the floor, defeated from before, Tekaru had not the strength to be able to fight back against the woman who kidnapped Monica.

Tekaru reeled off the events that happened, going from the arrival of Martha Michael, and her attempt on Monica’s life, which had been halted by the appearance of the woman. The woman stopped Martha (she was sent to the nearest hospital right away; her wounds looked serious) and then fought Tekaru off, before taking Monica off in her blue car.

“Don’t blame yourself!” Nat cried. “Tekaru…”

“I’m the PRINCE of this continent,” Tekaru moped. “And I couldn’t save Monica!”

“What can we do?” Al asked slowly. “I mean…we have no idea where she went.”

“She headed north,” Tekaru said. “But I don’t know anything other than that.”

“Maybe she has a connection to Martha,” Nat suggested. “When Martha wakes up, we can ask her some questions.”

“I don’t know…” Al muttered. “She’ll be furious to you, too, for lying to her about Alan.”

“I think Karadon sided with her only so she would take care of Monica for him,” Tekaru concluded.

“Lying to a woman who recently lost her son!” Nat shouted. “And the son was killed at his hands!”

“He does play rough,” Al noted. “The V4 will be hard to beat.”

“We’ll manage,” Nat said bracingly. “But we need to find out who took Monica, why they took her, and where they took her to.”


*

Meanwhile, in the Crufia Prison, Mortimer, Afee and Boko sat in silence. Wandering down the stairs was Luke of the V4; ever since discovering the tapestry in Roger’s private room, he had become very curious as to what lay beneath it, and was sure it related to Mortimer’s imprisonment. While he hadn’t actually had a role in the false jail sentence, Luke’s brothers Karadon and Scott had actually set everything up.

After seeing the fury on Roger’s face, Luke knew something was up. Karadon was too loyal to his father to believe he would hide something from them, and it was because of his older brothers’ say in the matter that the Flame Champion Scott agreed with the Water Deity. As for Therebus, the Ghost Whisperer, he just avoided any fights with his father, knowing fully the extent of his anger.

Luke arrived facing the cells. Boko rose instantly in defense.

“Mortimer,” Luke said softly.

“Yes? Who are you?” Mortimer asked.

“Luke,” he replied. “Luke Megallo. I’m one of Roger’s sons.”

“I see,” Mortimer muttered. “What do you want, Luke?”

“I wanted to ask you…” Luke began. “…If you know why you were kidnapped.”

“Well, Luke, we don’t exactly know,” Mortimer said plainly. “Sorry.”

“Oh,” Luke said sadly.

“Why do you ask?” Mortimer asked.

“I…no, it isn’t important,” Luke muttered, turning to leave.

“What? It must be, Luke, if you came all the way down here to ask us a couple of questions.” Mortimer replied. This got a response from Luke. He turned and looked at Mortimer. His worried eyes showed inner conflict. It was hard for him to admit it, but he wanted to talk to Mortimer.

“It’s…it’s just that…” Luke mumbled. “Father is hiding something from us all. Yesterday, at his private chamber, my brothers and I discovered an old tapestry hanging from the wall. It goes from the roof to the floor and is very large. I lifted the corner only long enough to feel a cold draught. There is something behind there, but when I tried investigating, Father caught me and severely punished me.”

Mortimer saw Luke feel a bump on his head.

“And you thought it may relate to our kidnap?” Mortimer asked.

“Yes.” Luke said, firmly.

“I see,” Mortimer said lightly. “Luke, I admire you. You have gone a long way to talk to us, and I believe you are a very honest and good person.”

“Thank you,” Luke replied. Suddenly, Afee’s hands glowed a bright blue. Luke stepped back suddenly as the form of a human head formed in between Afee’s hands. Bathed in blue light, Chrome appeared.

“Afee!” he cried.

“Shadow!” Afee cried back. “What is the matter?”

“Master Jackson was killed,” Chrome said. “Zuuki Dragonfree, Damien Oak, Salo Kirke and I were ambushed at Serenity Lake by Seryun Kutsoru.”

“Oh my goodness,” Mortimer gasped. “Seryun…”

“…he was a thief, remember?” Afee said. “He ambushed Monica and Lee with a friend, Splinter, did he not? And Damien Oak lost his badges to the pair.”

“Indeed,” Mortimer said. “Shadow, continue.”

“That Splinter you mentioned…Seryun said he had been murdered. Damien and Salo have headed home quickly – they are saying their goodbyes. Myself and Zuuki are in Colina; keeping a low profile until we reunite with the other two. We were to take a teleporter to Evayard and meet you.”

“You must come to Evayard as quick as you can,” Afee said urgently. “Mortimer, Boko and I have been falsely imprisoned for treason.”

“How odd,” Chrome muttered.

“We can’t use adeptry, so we cannot communicate with you,” Afee explained. “Please contact us frequently.”

“I will,” Chrome replied. “But for now, I will leave you. I shall be on my way to Evayard as soon as I can. I will not fail you, brother, especially after your friends helped with the six emblems.”

“Goodbye,” Afee said sadly, as his brother faded away. He sighed.

“Luke,” Mortimer said to the boy, who was still there, having heard the entire conversation. “Do you know why Master Jackson was killed?”

“You’re getting help,” Luke uttered. “Your friends are on their way to try and defeat us.”

And with that, the young boy ran up the staircase.

“I have to tell father.”


*

Monica opened her eyes. Mouth taped shut, and hands cuffed behind her back, the young girl was very confused about her surroundings. She was in a dimly-lit room; only two small torch brackets on the adjacent wall provided any light. The faint orange glow did not reach far, but in this small room, that was not a problem.

A door opened, and a woman walked in. She wore a sparkling black outfit and had a very desirable figure. Looking young, she had flowing silver hair to her hips which was glossy and very well looked after. As she walked into the room, the light cast a glow across her well-defined face.

“You’re awake,” the woman said.

“Mph! Mmmphh!” Monica mumbled.

“I’ll cut to the chase,” replied the woman. “My name is Silva, and you’re staying here for a little while. You won’t actually learn much with regards to what I’m doing, but we are quite far away from Agrotatio Town, I can say that much. Your friends probably won’t find us until we’re gone from here completely.”

Silva clapped her hands. Torch brackets all around the room sparked to life and Monica could see in the previously dark region of the room was a large rock with two chains coming from it. Silva grabbed Monica and hoisted her up; she was uncuffed and led towards the rock.

Monica saw the chains from the large rock had hand-brackets on the ends. Without having a chance to protest, they were clamped around Monica’s wrists, so that her back was to the large rock and she was face-to-face with Silva.

“I’m going to need a somewhat stronger Monica,” Silva explained. “I’ll come back tomorrow.”

And as Silva suddenly walked off, Monica was left wondering what the mysterious woman meant. All of a sudden, there was a spark of light behind her. Monica felt a somewhat mild electric shock course through her body and cause her extreme pain. As she clenched her fists, screwed her eyes shut and furrowed her brow, a violet glow swarmed over her body. Feeling herself sweat heavily, the Ghost Mage was in horrible pain, her screams being muffled by the black tape over her mouth.

Suddenly, the shock got stronger. Body jiggling and shaking to vibrations caused by the shocks, Monica felt herself weep and cry as the pain got too much for her. Swaying on the spot, Monica began to know no more as the pain caused her to faint and black out from exhaustion. As she stood limply, still restrained, the shocks still swept into her body. Silva watched this from another room, deeply immersed in the girl.


*

Meanwhile, Lee trekked along the path, weary and tired as he followed the incredible adept, Gauld. Putting the Mask of Babylon out of his mind, he focused on keeping a steady pace so he would not fall too far behind.

It was night. Lee had followed Gauld all night, but the Metal Edgemaster did not know, for he was quite far ahead. The young boy’s rib was aching after an attack from Gauld, but his enthusiasm was not deterred whatsoever.

“I must go on,” he convinced himself. As he wandered, staggering sometimes as his eyes sagged with fatigue, he saw a light up ahead telling him someone had lit a campfire. Quickly darting into the darkness to avoid being seen, Lee wanted to make sure he followed Gauld discretely, although they were traveling along a long plain stretching between towns, cities or any civilizations nearby.

“You can stop hiding,” Gauld’s voice boomed. Lee shook in fear as he stood, tired and weary in the darkness. “I know you’re there, Lee.”

Slowly, the young boy emerged from the shadows into the large radius of opulent orange light emitted by the camp fire. He looked nervous as he paced towards Gauld, who was sitting down cross-legged by the fire.

“What are you doing?” Gauld asked, his voice deep and accusatory.

“I…I wanted to follow you, to see if you’d train me,” Lee mumbled.

“I made it clear I do not like your attitude, Lee,” Gauld told the boy. “Our views were very different on life, were they not?”

“Yes,” Lee muttered.

“Then why do you seek my help?” Gauld asked.

“Your skills as a swordsman are the best I have ever seen,” Lee admitted. “And I’ve seen a few people in my time. I trained not with blades, but with nunchucks. They’re very different, and while I stick to my traditional fighting style, I wanted to learn the ways of an Edgemaster. Who else is a better tutor than you?”

“I agree I would be a good tutor,” Gauld said, eyes shut as he began to brag. “But I do not want to teach you, Lee.”

“Please,” Lee sniffed, dropping to his knees and shuffling forward. “Please, Gauld, I want to learn the ways! It is my only chance of true love.”

“What do you mean?” Gauld snapped. Lee got up slowly, turned, and stared into the fire.

“There’s a girl,” he said emptily. “I’ve known her a long time. For ages I have known we are right for each other, but I worry she doesn’t feel the same way about me. I know that, by learning the ways of an Edgemaster I can start to be more to this girl. I can protect her. I left her a long time ago, in order to train with a Ghost Prophet. He has helped me a lot, but I need you to help me, too. My search for knowledge, and my search for strength is all for her.”

Gauld looked at Lee. There was a deep understanding in his eyes.

“You speak very passionately; I can see it in your eyes,” he said softly. “Your love for this…girl in your life is intriguing, and if it is true that your love is the source of your strength…I will help you.”

“It is true,” Lee stated.

“Then tomorrow morning I will come with you to Mahanui,” Gauld began. “I will help train you up on the way, and when you are cured we shall find my sister.”

Gauld lifted a sash from under his kimono. It was covered in all of his badges. He took a grey one off and tucked his sash back under his clothes.

“This is my old sword, before I used Faust,” he explained. “It is the Spirit Sword. You can use it while we train.”

Lee pinned it to his chest and shouted ‘ACTIVATE!’ activating the sword and meaning he could only use his nun chucks for backup. When an adept has two weapons, they only gain one level. One weapon is activated and the other deactivated so that they cannot ever use more than one weapon in a duel. Lee summoned the sword, and felt it form in his hands. The sword was thinner than average but longer. It was sleek and shiny with a bronze hilt. There was an inscription on the inside.

‘To my best student, Gauld:
Let your sword take you to new heights’

As Lee grasped the sword in his hand, he felt thoroughly prepared. A new sense of purpose rose in his chest, and a new chapter opened in his life. Standing in the semi-dark, Gauld by his side, Lee felt indestructible and was ready to take on his destiny.

As his eyes traveled to Gauld, he wondered why Gauld had changed his mind so suddenly. The man in question had a relaxed, happy smile on his warm face as he watched the flames. Lee raised his eyebrows in question, but then recalled why he was doing this in the first place.


Continued in next post

Chris 2.1
12th July 2005, 06:40 AM
Continued from last post


In Crufia, Roger was in his private chamber. He wandered out of the tapestry, having been down there for personal reasons. As he was back in his room, the door opened and Karadon entered gravely.

“Father, I have some bad news.”

“What is it?” Roger asked.

“Seryun just contacted me. He says he failed to assassinate any of the AU members he was assigned to.”

“WHAT?” Roger bellowed. “Give me an explanation!”

“H-He says,” Karadon began lightly. “…that Splinter’s absence had a large impact on the situation. He attacked them, but says due to the numbers 4:1, he lost.”

“This is foolish,” Roger snapped. “He was given similar training to all of you!”

“Father, perhaps killing Splinter was a mistake?” Karadon asked quietly. Roger turned in an instant.

“Are you questioning my decision?” He barked.

“Sorry father,” Karadon replied shakily. After minutes in silence, Karadon began to talk again. “What are you going to do?”

“I have plans for Seryun,” Roger spat. “But…about the AU…we need to sort them out quickly. If Seryun failed they’ll get here much quicker -

The conversation was interrupted as Luke burst through the doors.

“Father!” He cried. “The Perleian AU…they are on their way to Evayard!”

“What?” Roger snapped. “How do you know this?”

“Chrome used a pathian to contact Afee,” Luke said. “And they explained each others situations. Now Mortimer’s group knows about Seryun and Chrome’s group know Mortimer is in prison.”

“That’s all very well,” Roger began. “But what were you doing down there?”

“I was going to check on them,” Luke muttered.

“LIAR!” Roger screamed loudly. “Luke, your information came at a price. The means you went to in order to find that out will cost you. Now both of you go.”

As Luke and Karadon went out into the long corridor, they began walking to the large Library on the left tower of the castle.

“Why did you really go down there?” Karadon asked.

“I think something’s going on,” Luke said spitefully. “The tapestry in Father’s chamber, the false kidnapping…”

“And coupled with the attack in Perlei,” Karadon continued. “It looks like the AU is being slowly wiped out group by group.”

“Father must have hoped to get the Perlian AU members killed before they could get to Evayard,” Luke said, as comprehension dawned on his face.

“So he wants the AU out of the way, then.” Karadon concluded.

“But why?” Luke asked. “They’re good people. Could Father possibly be doing something which he cannot have the AU ruining for him?”

“You cannot think like that!” Karadon argued. “Father is a wonderful man. However sour or displeasing he may be, he gave life to us, and he also helped train us up to be who we are today.”

“I know you have a lot of respect for him,” Luke admitted. “But neither Scott nor Therebus will agree with me until you do. We all respect you the most, Karadon, so please tell Scott and Therebus what is going on!”

“We don’t know anything IS going on,” Karadon spat. “Luke, I know something is up, but it is none of our business.”

“No, you’re right,” Luke replied. “We’re just the ones who take orders and do the dirty deeds. Why should we be given ANY idea of what our actions are for?”

And as Luke turned to head off to his bedroom, it suddenly arose to Karadon that his younger brother was right. They were being used, manipulated, even; to try and carry out what Roger wanted them to do. Worse of all, they didn’t know any of the full picture.

Karadon thought to himself.

Now was the time to act.

“LUKE!” he roared. His brother, halfway down the corridor, turned and looked. “You’re right.”

“So you’ll convince Scott and Therebus?” Luke asked.

“Better,” he replied. “Together, we’re going to ask Roger for all the answers.”


*

Meanwhile, at the gateway to Evayard that Monica, Tekaru, Al and Nat had emerged from, Pyrites sat in the grass quietly. His slain Sphinx was laid out across the grass in front of him.

“I have made the biggest mistake of all,” he sighed to himself. “Underestimating my opponents.”

Staring out across the large area of Evayard, Pyrites slowly got up and wandered to the edge of the cliff. He let out a long, heavy sigh as he stared out.

“Alan was no good on this planet,” he began, contempt rising in his voice. “As were all of my other…acquaintances.”

He slammed his fist on the fence.

“But there are still many more people out there who just don’t understand the concepts of life. People exist, with no purpose, or any motivation whatsoever. Alan lived without even being the person he was supposed to. I can offer my services to people…and help them see this darkness in their hearts, and I won’t stop until the world is cleared of these foolish people.”

He sighed again.

“I need to be stronger,” he groaned. “One adept cannot make such a radical difference at all.”

As Pyrites thought back to how far his journey had taken him, he remembered when he met Alan for the first time.

“Seeing that pathetic imp wandering the streets at night on his skateboard,” Pyrites recalled. “His adeptry was pulsating through his body…I could sense it so much. What adept never braces their heritage? Fadepts. There he was, hanging out in the town and eating fast food. That’s when I knew I had to sort him out.”

F L A S H B A C K

Pyrites stood in the alleyway, watching as Alan was wheeling past on his skateboard. Whipping out his small wand-like instrument, Pyrites pointed it at the boys wheels and sent a silent wisp of energy to hit it. Alan was sent tumbling as the wheel flew off his board.

“Are you ok?”

Pyrites feigned concern and ran towards Alan. Helping the boy up, Pyrites saw, from close up, the boy’s messy black hair and dusty spectacles and was able to control his hatred.

“I just fell off my skateboard,” Alan grumbled. “Leave me alone.”

Surprised, Pyrites found that he had to provoke a conversation out of the arrogant boy.

“No wonder you have so much inner conflict,” he said sharply. Alan span around instantly.

“What do you mean?” he snapped. “Inner conflict?”

“My dear boy,” Pyrites began. “I am a special Adept. I can sense the darkness in your heart.”

“This is stupid,” Alan said, turning away.

“You are plagued by your impure spirit,” Pyrites said maliciously. “Your greatest weakness is hindering you from living a passionate life.”

“You don’t even know me,” Alan stated rudely.

“I know this much,” Pyrites began. “You’re worried that you’ll never be accepted in life.”

Alan looked at him, frozen on the spot.

“No I’m not,” he said unconvincingly.

“Oh yes you are!” Pyrites cried happily. “Even when you were little your parents isolated you from other children. You got no support when you fought in the Colina Tournament, and were branded a loser by all your sorry little friends. Even when you lived with Monica, you were never treated well. And look where you are now?”

Alan was speechless. Often his lips parted, and he tried forcing words out…it seemed hopeless, though. Finally, he spoke up, after much difficulty.

“H-How do you know this?” Alan asked.

“I am gifted,” Pyrites replied. “Alan, you are deeply plagued and tainted. With my help, we can begin to unmask your true problems and stop them.”

“…Well, you must be good, if you know all that,” Alan admitted. His hand moved forward. “Very well.”

And with that, they shook hands.

E N D – F L A S H B A C K

Pyrites smirked.

“There is much more darkness to try and clear…” he said, putting his left middle finger to his temple and slowly moving it in a circle. “And I can sense a strong surge of darkness in Agrotatio Town Hospital…”

Meanwhile, in Agrotatio Town Hospital, Martha Michael lay in bed. Little did she realize, her life was now in danger.






I'll do Ch9 tommorrow actually.

Chris 2.1
15th July 2005, 03:45 PM
Finally, Ch9!



Monica’s Vendetta
Nine
The Destiny Amulet


A powerful, feverish pulsation awoke Monica the next day. She looked around. She was on the ground, having passed out the night before. Looking up, Monica still saw the shockwaves of energy flowing into her body, but they did not hurt. Until she looked at them, she was unaware she was still being shocked. She wondered if, overnight, she had become immune to them.

Her wrists were sore, as the wristlets on her had cut into her and left her feeling very sore. She also felt very…odd. Looking at her hands, Monica could see they were brimming with a full, powerful purple light.

The door opened, and Silva appeared. Wearing the same as the night before, she gave Monica a swift look and sighed.

“Very good,” she spoke, walking over to her captive. “You’ve grown two levels.”

Monica’s eyes widened as she heard this. As she looked on her chest, where her badges were pinned, two more had actually formed there. One was a purple and yellow yin yang, while the other was a silver skull.

“The yin yang one is the Equilibrium Badge,” Silva explained. “It helps your focus in battles, and will greatly improve both your resistance against attacks and the strength of attacks. This other one, the Badge of Bones, is one that will increase your weapons strength.”

Monica gave a nod.

“This stone contains pure energy. When you were chained to it, it pulsated, recognizing your adeptry type, and sent pure energy into your body so that your Adaptral Capacity increased. As a result, you grew two levels. You are now level 11.”

Monica gave a gasp.

“I knew you were a strong Adept,” Silva said lightly, turning. “But I also knew you would need to be somewhat stronger to take on what is coming.”

After hearing this, Monica became concerned that she was about to face something worse. Silva grabbed Monica and, using a key, unlocked each wristlet that chained her to the large stone. Finally feeling glad she was not experiencing any pain, Monica found how…focused her adeptry energy seemed to be.

“Come,” Silva said imperiously. “Follow me.”

And with that, Monica got up, tape still over her mouth, and followed Silva. They left the small room and appeared at a staircase. It looked, in actuality, very shabby and Monica was not impressed. As they reached the top of the staircase, Silva pulled open the door and led Monica through it.

It was a complete contrast. They were at one end of a magnificently long hall. A red carpet lined it, and crystal chandeliers were giving opulent light all around. The walls were a refined cream colour, and there were frequent paintings lining the corridor.

“As you can see, I have good taste,” Silva explained, leading Monica down the hall. “These portraits are of every generation that came before me. My family is a large one, and all my ancestors were incredible adepts.”

Silva stopped. She turned so that her eyes met Monica’s, and for the first time, Monica saw a look of sorrow, desperation and fear in Silva’s pretty eyes. No longer was this woman malicious and dangerous. Now she looked weak.

“But the women have it harder,” she went on. “The women in our family have a defective gene which causes us to be born unable to use adeptry. Thus, we have to strive to learn and adapt to being able to control out own adeptry. Our ancestors were clever people, and placed various amulets around Evayard and beyond. When touched by somebody with the defective gene, the amulet restores their adeptry and can revolutionize them into who they were born to be.”

She ripped off Monica’s tape.

“Ouch!” Monica protested.

“You’re probably thinking ‘why does she need me, then?’. Well, Monica, I cannot use any of my adeptry. Except my Devil Pistol, but that tires me after successive use. I need an adept like you to help me fight towards the Amulet.”

“Where is it?” Monica asked.

“…I don’t know,” Silva replied. “Yet. There is a door at the other end of the corridor, and I cannot access it. Only a Ghost Adept with the cloak ability can pass through the door and receive the instructions to tell me where to go.”

Monica looked at her.

“You want me to go through a door?” She asked ridiculously. “I’ve hardly ever used my cloak before.”

“You won’t be going through,” Silva began, smirking. “Now you are stronger, it is an advanced version which can allow one to pass through solid surfaces. Now go!”
She led Monica to the end of the corridor. There were a lot of exquisite doors leading off from this corridor, but the one at the end was the biggest and most luxurious of all. It was large, oak; it seemed, with a glossy finish over it. It was obviously locked.

“Can’t you just break it down?” Monica asked.

“No,” Silva replied. “This is the home of my ancestors. I do not just…tear it up ruthlessly.”

Silva then pulled something out. They were a pair of cuffs, rounded and not joined together like handcuffs usually are. They were smooth and had four rubies dotted around them prettily. Silva clipped one around her wrist, where it hung like a bangle. She grabbed the other and clipped it onto Monica.

“These are bond bracelets,” she said sneakily. “I invented them myself. When two people have them on, a bond forms between them, allowing them to use each other’s adeptry. Now, with this on, I can use your ghost abilities to go through the door and get the instructions.”

“Why did you pick me?” Monica whined. “Agrotatio is full of Ghost Adepts!”

“But they are useless, poverty-stricken and weak,” Silva contradicted. “You were healthy, young, strong and a brilliant person to use. I could…sense something in you.”

Monica sighed.

“Now wait her while I sneak through the door, find the instructions and bring them back,” Silva snapped. “NOW!”

Monica stood by the door, watching as Silva held a hand to her heart.

“Cloak!” She boomed. A grey layer of energy slowly folded around Silva and she began dissolving into the air. Monica watched keenly as the woman was completely invisible. Suddenly, her bond bracelet glowed white and Monica was suddenly drained of energy.

“Did I not tell you?” Silva’s voice said, from nowhere. “Since I’m using YOUR adeptry, YOU get tired from it.”

Having to sit down, Monica clutched her head. Silva had obviously passed through the door now. She heard her footsteps echoing in what was obviously the stone floor of the next room.

She was all alone.

“Now’s my chance,” she said to herself. “I can run off. She won’t know until it’s too late…”

Slowly, Monica rose from the ground and looked at the door. Silva’s footsteps were frantic, and it sounded like she could not find the instructions very easily. The room must be large. And then Monica heard the sound of feet going up stone steps. The room must be huge!

“It’s now or never,” she whispered. Slowly pacing forward, shooting her head back every time, Monica then slowly started jogging down the corridor. Within mere seconds Monica was running; running as fast as she could go, checking doors for possible exits.

On the third door on the right, Monica wrenched it open to find a long set of stairs leading down. They were more elegant than the shabby ones she was led up before, causing her to believe they led to the front doors of this house.

On and on she ran, fear cascading down her forehead in the form of sweat. This corridor was much the same as the one she had been in previously, except there were no portraits of ancestors. It was filled with portraits of landscapes. There were no windows.

“Have…to get out…” Monica gasped, coming to the end of the corridor and arriving at a staircase. It was long, sweeping round in a curve and leading downstairs to what appeared to be a lobby.

Meanwhile, in the old abandoned room Silva was in, she was still searching for the instructions which might lead her to the Destiny Amulet. The room was two floors – a staircase connected the two, and the second floor seemed more of a balcony overlooking the first, only it was the width of the room and about half the length. Tables were covered in white sheets, as were sofas and every other piece of furniture. It was painted a dim white.

“Come on…where is it?” Silva asked frantically. She searched everywhere…or so she thought. Stepping back in frustration, she fell over a medium-sized trunk half-tucked under a clothed table. Nursing the aching pain on her hip, the woman looked to see the trunk was very exquisite and dusty. She smeared the dust off with her hand and saw it had a golden lock on it.

“Hmm,” pondered Silva. “I’d need a key, but…well; I can just ‘cheat…”

She held her hand out. Screwing her eyes in concentration, she focused on the energy from her bond bracelet. Slowly, she began to cloak, dissolving into nothing as she stood there. Hand reaching forward, Silva felt a roll of worn, dusty parchment through the sleek mahogany of the trunk. She whisked her hand back, clutching the parchment with glee.

“Let’s see,” she said quietly, unraveling it. “Is this it?”

It was labeled ‘THE DESTINY AMULET’. Screaming in success, Silva tucked it away and decided to head back to Monica quickly. Still cloaked, Silva hurried down the staircase, passed through the doors in a soft whoosh and became solid again.

“Right! I’ve got it,” She told Monica triumphantly. But Monica wasn’t there. “MONICA? GET BACK HERE!”

She scanned the area.

“Little bitch ran for it!” she cried, summoning her gun and holding it by her side as she dashed down the corridor. Knowing where Monica would have gone, she headed to the third door on the right and grabbed it, opening it sharply and giving chase.

Meanwhile, Monica was fleeing down the staircase, slowly seeing more and more of the magnificent lobby ahead. It was tiled, with a magnificent pattern spreading all across the floor. As she leapt off the last step, Monica forgot about taking in her surroundings and made her way to the other end of the hall as fast as she could.

Suddenly, her bond bracelet throbbed white and Monica felt another lapse of strength. Silva must be draining her strength by using up her adeptry. Monica decided to stop for a second and catch her breath.

No sooner had she stopped than Silva appeared at the top of the stairs.

“YOU!” she screamed. “Get back here!”

“No!” Monica wept, tearing off, despite a stitch in her side. It cut deep, slicing in-between her ribs and causing incredible fatigue.

“Then I shall have to impale you on your own sword,” Silva concluded, charging up…a shadow ball. As it got bigger, Monica felt even more tired, falling to her knees in desperation. Gasping for energy, she turned to see Silva, standing at the top of the staircase, holding a very large shadow ball above her head.

“Look what you can do now!” She cried. “This Shadow Ball is…huge! And to think I’m going to have to use it on you…”

“Please!” Monica cried. “Please just…let me go! Get someone else to fight for you!”

“You are the chosen one,” Silva said raptly, watching Monica with a glare that suggested utter seriousness. “I chose you. I am sticking with you until the very end.”

“Please…” Monica continued, tears streaming down her face. “P-P…Please…”

“Even when you escaped, I knew you would not get far,” Silva said. “You are still not adapted to your adeptral capacity, Monica. Your body is not used to this much adeptry flowing freely inside you. And whenever I use adeptry, I get it from you. As long as I have this bond bracelet on, and you do too, I can effortlessly use very strong Ghost Adeptry. Now, will you come with me, or do I have to hurt you?”

Lying there, Monica looked at Silva, who was ready to hurl. Knowing that attack would knock her out, Monica felt the safe option would be to give in. But by giving in, she would be condemned to pain and suffering for god knows how long. Where was the guarantee she would be spared once this was over? There was none. Seeing Silva’s hands full gave Monica an idea.

Holding her hand forward, she muttered something.

“What?” Silva snapped. “What did you say?”

“I said summon,” Monica said proudly, as a golden aura wrapped around Silva’s pistol and, within a second, it sped through the air into Monica’s grip.

“Put that down!” Silva shouted. Monica wearily got to her feet. “I’ll throw this!”

“I’ll attack you,” Monica replied. Silva watched her.

“Very well,” she said. Still holding the shadow ball in both hands, Silva threw it…up. It smashed into the ceiling and caused rubble to fall, but Silva leapt forward. In each hand the then charged up a shadow ball and hurled them at Monica, who ducked and swerved to avoid them. Holding the pistol steady, she fired two shots, but Silva had hurled another shadow ball to take the bullets. The shadow ball exploded and showered the area with a wave of ghostly energy. As her energy was sapped, Monica felt considerably weaker…

“Cloak!” she gasped, clicking her fingers and slowly dissolving into the atmosphere. Silva gasped. Creeping low to the floor, Monica dashed forward and aimed as many shots as she could. They missed Silva and hit the wall behind her. Seeing the level they were at, Silva knew Monica was close to the ground. But by the time Silva aimed a kick; Monica was standing tall and smashed the woman in the face.

“ELEMENTA!” Silva screamed, her hands behind a plate of purple energy. As she fired off the beam, she spun on the spot, sending it in all directions. Despite trying evasion, Monica was just too tired; the elementa was energy consuming. She was hit, and her cloaked masquerade lifted as she hit the floor. Silva’s pistol flew across the smooth floor.

“Got you,” Silva smirked, clicking her fingers as the pistol zoomed back into her hand. Monica lay there, utterly exhausted to the optimum point. Standing over her dominantly, Silva kept her pistol pointed at her captive.

“Don’t try that again,” she warned a semi-conscious Monica. “You’re right; I CAN find another adept to help me, so you’d better hope I don’t get the urge, or the motivation to use a real gun on you.”


*

Meanwhile, in a Hospital of Agrotatio Town, Martha Michael lay in her bed. Still sore from the attack recently, she was to stay resting for a few more days. Shocked by the events, Martha had felt a loss of hatred towards Monica. Now, her main concern was the woman that attacked her, and who she was.

Sitting alone for the last couple of days had given her a lot to think about. She was so confused…why had this mysterious woman wanted her out of the way?

Idling into the room was Pyrites. As he entered, he entered softly, despite Martha being fully away of his presence. She watched, wondering who he was, staying quiet. The mysterious young man stood by her bedside. He settled down a smart briefcase.

“Martha Michael?” he asked.

“Who are you?” She asked shyly.

“My name is Pyrites, madam,” Pyrites informed Martha. “I have felt your presence for miles and miles. Traveling here has been strenuous and hard work, but…I found you.”

“My presence?” Martha asked. “Is this about my son?”

Pyrites was alarmed, gasping quietly.

“No, no, I know not of your son,” Pyrites said. “It is you that drew my attention. Martha, I am a renowned Soul Adept. My talents are known across the world. I have saved lives, purified souls and untainted existences. My abilities let me see the unseeable.”

He paused dramatically.

“I can see the Darkness in Your Heart.”

“Darkness?” Martha asked ridiculously. “What darkness?”

“Martha, we are in 2005,” Pyrites explained. “There is Darkness in everybody’s hearts.”

“Go on then,” Martha said incredulously. “What’s the darkness in MY heart?”

Pyrites detested her modern-day approach on his ability. He muttered something under his breath.

“I can sense something already,” Pyrites began, giving a groan and taking one of Martha’s hands in both his own, silk gloved ones. “Yes…it’s coming to me…”

Slowly moving away from Martha, Pyrites blinked prettily. He was a very handsome man, and as the moonlight cast strips of opulent light through the shutters of the Hospital window, his face was illuminated.

“Martha Michael,” he said raptly. “The Darkness in Your Heart is that you know you can never bring your son back. Ever.”

“HOW DARE YOU!” Martha screamed, exploding in tears. “You know nothing about my life, NOTHING!”

“And yet I’m right,” Pyrites idly whispered. “Admit it, Martha. Denial is another type of darkness, and you don’t want that, too…”

Sniffing, the distressed woman mopped her face on a flannel.

“H-How do you know?” she wept, tears still streaming down her eyes. Comprehension dawned on her face. “Y-You’re wrong! You’re just guessing.”

“You are in denial, Mrs Michael!” Pyrites snapped. “ADMIT IT! ADMIT I WAS RIGHT ABOUT YOU!”

“OK!” Martha wept, shriveled up in her blankets. “OK! I admit I will never see Alan again!”

Pyrites looked at her, disgusted with this specimen.

“Admitting it won’t cleanse you,” he explained.

“What will?” Martha cried.

“Think about what you are doing to cause the darkness,” Pyrites whispered, stealthily moving around the room. “How can you disregard your darkness?”

“…I could visit Alan’s grave,” she muttered emptily. “Say goodbye…”

“If you think it will work, then I would try it.” Pyrites said. A smile broke across his face. He threw his hand into his pocket and withdrew something. Martha looked at it.

“What is that?” she asked.

“The real cleanser of your darkness,” Pyrites said darkly. He opened his palm to reveal a cloth. He thrust it into Martha’s mouth. She began to gag, so Pyrites took the chance to withdraw rope from his suitcase. He tied both Martha’s hands to the side of the bed, all the while Martha thrashing about. Pyrites had already locked the door upon his arrival…yet Martha never remembered seeing him do so.

“You need to learn that your type is the cancer of this planet,” Pyrites snapped. Opening his briefcase, Pyrites produced a syringe filled with a light yellow liquid. “My goal in life is to eliminate you from our world.”

He jabbed the syringe into Martha’s arm, injecting the solution until it was speeding into her bloodstream. Martha, still thrashing about, slowly started to weaken, losing her passion to thrash until she eventually tired out, halting and becoming still. Her eyelids slowly weighed themselves shut, and she jerked perhaps once or twice before finally stopping.

“One down,” Pyrites murmured. “But a large number still to go.”

He took the gag out, untied the ropes and generally cleaned his mess up, sorting them back into his briefcase. Unlocking the door, Pyrites wandered back into the hospital. He found a doctor and requested a word.

“Mom’s just drifted to sleep again,” Pyrites said softly.

“Ok, Alan,” the Doctor said happily. “We won’t wake her.”

Discover her, more like, He thought to himself, wandering out the hospital.




Continued in next post

Chris 2.1
15th July 2005, 03:46 PM
THE BEGINNING OF CHAPTER 9 IS ON THE PREVIOUS PAGE






Continued from last post


Nat, Al and Tekaru were still nowhere in their search for Monica. They asked everybody in Agrotatio Town and had been unsuccessful. Despite hints she was held captive in Samyura, the next city over, the group then learned that a thuggish group of youngsters had simply lied to them. Nat sorted them out, slicing the hand off the ring leader and threatening to do the same to their heads.

“She must be so scared,” Al said, as the three sat in Agrotatio Town.

“We’ll find her,” Tekaru told the other two. “We will.”

He saw Nat, head in her hands, crying softly.

“Nat? What’s wrong?” Tekaru asked.

“She’s gone!” Nat wept. “I’ve been so horrible to Monica. I mean, she came and rescued me from Dimitri…and when I ran to Obola to duel Keisha, Monica followed me, too. She tried sacrificing herself to let me go…even more recently, when Pyrites attacked, she helped me. And I never told her…how much that meant to me. I act so tough, so…distant from everybody else, and she thinks I’m not grateful for the things that she did! But I am! Every day I remember that I’m here because of Monica…and I want her to know that…”

“I’m sure she will know, deep in her heart,” Al said soothingly, embracing Nat. “But we’ll find her, Nat, don’t worry.”

The three sat in silence, wondering what they could do to help Monica. They had to rescue her, but it was finding the right lead that they needed.

Suddenly, they saw Pyrites ahead, walking briskly through the town. Nat leapt up and dried her eyes.

“It’s him!” she cried. “Come on, we have to attack him.”

“What?” Tekaru asked.

“He wants me dead! He’s come to hunt me down!” Nat shouted. She summoned her blade. “We must take him out.”

“Fine then,” Al concluded, drawing his Assassin Blade. “Tekaru, me and you will attack first. We’ll go for an elemental assault on him, and then let Nat follow up, okay?”

“Got it,” Tekaru said firmly, grasping his golden hammer in both hands. They both raced through the air, Tekaru charging thunder into his hammer while Al sent a white glow all over his blade. Both leapt up as Pyrites saw them. Al slashed downwards, releasing a flurry of multicolored leaves from his blade, which swept towards Pyrites and cut him up. Tekaru then smashed his hammer into the ground, causing a bolt to scream from the sky and shock the whimsical adept.

“NAT! GO!” Al Shouted. Pyrites got to his feet, watching as Nat raced through the air, sword held ready and preparing to deal justice. As Nat got near she swiped her sword, slicing right through Pyrites and leaving a long gash across his stomach. Leaping and landing, Nat watched.

“You shouldn’t have messed with us,” she boasted, watching blood spill from the man’s wound.

“Any last words?” Tekaru asked, watching with fury. Pyrites did not speak. He collapsed on the floor, limp and bloodied.

“That was…quick,” Al noted. The three stood there, motionless, for a few seconds until the figure simply burst into red, silver and gold sparks before them. Nat stepped back but noticed the sparks were harmless.

“He…exploded?” Tekaru asked.

“That wasn’t him,” Nat growled. “It was a substitute.”

“An enemy who can create substitutes of themselves,” Al began. “Pyrites is like nobody we’ve ever faced.”

And the real Pyrites, standing atop a building a few blocks away, heard these words and gave a brief, casual nod to them.


*

Meanwhile, far away in the Gritzwald Graveyard…

“Who are you?” Thorrus barked.

“My name is Serena,” the girl replied smugly.

“I can beat you – I made short work of Angel Boy over there,” Thorrus went on. He drew his sword.

“Oh yea?” Serena retaliated, keeping a firm grip on her Zanbatou. She leapt up into the air as Thorrus flapped his skeletal, bony wings. Swinging her Zanbatou around above her head, Serena proceeded to slam it down on her foe’s head. Thorrus got back up and charged a shadow ball. As it neared, Serena swept forward and split it with the blade of her weapon.

Panting as she landed, the young girl watched her foe. Using his wings, Thorrus swept through the air, blade charged with purple energy. Serena leapt backwards and threw her hand forward, releasing a flurry of ever-enlarging golden stars. They grew to the size of grapefruits and attacked Thorrus, stopping him from attacking.

“CELSIUS!” Serena cried, engulfing Thorrus in a pulsating red glow. He stopped for a few seconds, panting to himself as Serena increased his body temperature. She smirked as this happened. Slowly, Thorrus was drenched in sweat and stood there weakly.

“I can smell fear,” Serena said slowly. Her weapon still pointed at Thorrus, she was enjoying the power she had over her foe. “Now leave Gritzwald.”

Thorrus got back up, sighing to himself.

“I know when I am beaten,” he said grimly. He turned to leave. “I shall get my carriage and leave Gritzwald immediately. I had no idea it was so well protected.”

“Yes, leave,” Serena snapped, watching Thorrus beadily.


*

Once the carriage began to make its way out of the Graveyard, over the hill and to the large gates, Serena turned to see Phoenix.

“Is he ok, Mistress Madeline?” Serena asked. The woman, probably around fifty years of age, had round, dark glasses covering her eyes. Her straw-coloured hair was just above her shoulders and concealed within a silver bandanna. Wearing a loose white robe with electric yellow stitching, she showed signs of aging, yet looked wise, knowledgeable and calm.

“He will be fine,” Madeline replied calmly, easing Serena. “You’re definitely getting stronger, Serena.”

“Thank you Mistress,” Serena replied, bowing.

Madeline watched Phoenix. He stirred and eventually came around. Clearing his hair from his eyes, he got into a sitting position and looked around. Once he made eye contact with Madeline, his eyes widened.

“Mother?” he asked disbelievingly.

Chris 2.1
3rd August 2005, 04:59 PM
Just a reviving post x_x

I'm writing Chapter 18 - Tekaru's Worst Nightmare. I won't say anything except that the title implies a LOT, and a BIG spoiler.

Elsewhere, we're probably at the half way mark, with a LOT gone on between Chapters 9 and 18. Dragonfree: Your dream (that occured in MR) is now turning into a subplot for a minor character - it's not a direct copy and paste but more discreet and coming up in the next few chapters.

There's a lot of interesting character development, and I can safely say the fic is heading in a slightly ominous direction.

Ultra_Poke2000
8th August 2005, 09:03 AM
Hey Chris! It's been a while since I last checked to see if the site was back up, not only because it was taking so long, but also because I was on vacation all last week! My family and my Aunt's went on a road trip (total of 8 people in one car (got squished the whole time)) to go see many of the natural wonders of the southwest USA, the first of which was the Grand Canyon. I've got to say, that thing can only be described by one word: BIG! You have got to go see it. And let me tell you, pictures do NOT convey the hugeness of it. We also saw (let me make a list here): The Petrified Forest, The Painted Desert, The Royal Gorge, Bryce Canyon, parts of the Rocky Mountains, a few thousand mile of road (we went all over the place), the Four Corners (the only spot where four states touch eachother and you can be in four states at once), and a few other places I can't remember atm. It was pretty fun, but tiring. Anyway, now I'm back and there's a new chapter. Let's take a look.


So we find out about Monica and her captor now. It's pretty cool that Monica gained two levels overnight (literally), but as soon as Silva told her she could use almost no adeptry except for the gun, I thought she would just take that and escape. I guess she was so stunned by all the happenings that she allowed herself to be ensnared by the Bond Bracelet. Anyway, with her energy being sapped by the bracelet and used against her, it's no surprise that she was defeated, even with her level 11 powers.

So Pyrites has gotten to Martha. When he tells her about the "Darkness in her Heart", I thought it was a bit rediculous. Ok, so she was sad that her son was dead. Wouldn't anyone be? And because of that, he just poisoned her. What the floozney? Why doesn't he just go around killing everyone he sees? Is everyone supposed to be happy-happy-joy-joy all the time or something? I guess Pyrites really is crazy... I just hope that Martha hasn't died yet...

Now we find that Pyrites has the ability to copy himself. Shnoozy. But what are Al, Nat, and Tekaru going to do now? They've got no leads, and Pyrites is just toying with them at the moment. Maybe they'll be able to meet up with Shadow and help break out Mortimer and co. Who knows?

Thorrus was defeated by Serena in a total of 3 attacks, 1 block, and 1 dodge. She's got to be pretty dang strong to do that. But then we get a surprise: her Mentor is Phoenix's mom!!! GARSP~!!!1

It sounds like you've got some crazy stuff planned for the future, and I hope you keep up the hard work. Most people probably aren't back because the site was down for so long that they havn't checked it in a while. They'll probably be back soon, or at least, they should...

Anyway, you've done a great job, and I'll see you later. Bye!

Chris 2.1
8th August 2005, 09:22 AM
GO ONTO T HE LAST PAGE FOR CHAPTER TEN! MAJOR SPOILERS!




















Ultra: A READER? *GASP*

Ok yea the chapter was pretty....frantic, I'd say. Pyrites killed Martha, but he had a reason. He doesn't kill any or everyone he meets, and as you'll learn, he has a motive and a reason. And while Al, Nat and Tekaru search for Monica, there is a lot else going on...

Phoenix is saved by Serena. Yes, she has got stronger, but this is an attack used in MR and even MA. Celsius. Let me explain. Serena has gotten stronger, but it was not her strength which defeated Thorrus. It was the attack, which caused Thorrus' body temperature to increase rapidly. It wasn't an uuber hyper beam, it was a tactical move. But that aside, she has gotten a lot stronger.


A LOT is going on. Ch19 is underway now, Ch18 having been utterly explosive. A lot is going to go on, and there are major plotlines for many characters - Seryun, Damien, Tekaru, The V4, Roger, Pyrites, Lee, Gauld, Silva....to name but a lot! Of course there is character development for most of the characters as the fic rolls into its halfway point.

Powarun
10th August 2005, 02:03 PM
So this fic is halfway done? Wow, the plot thickens. It is kinda of nice seeing Monica on her own although not treated right and no fighting, it still develops her character. Level 11, that is pretty high, she is now stronger than the current Lee, right?

Pyrites killed Martha, thats good, Martha was mislead, so its not a bad thing she was killed. Its just the poison that Pyrites injects into her makes me wonder if she will become a zombie or not. And let the fight between everyone vs. Pyrites commence.

Don't know what else to say, a lot has happened, may it all work out to a beautiful ending.

Chris 2.1
11th August 2005, 05:42 PM
Powarun: It may well not be. But seeing as we are at Ch19, (and 9 pages in, I may add), I cant see the fic being longer than 40 Chapters. I may surprise myself, as I did think Revolution would only be 20 Chapters long (and It reached 37). Seeing as I am still planning the fic (how it ends, what happens, why, how etc etc yaddah) it could well reach more than 38 chapters (double 19, which is what we're at).

Actually Monica is Level 11 but we don't know if Lee is stronger. He WAS Level 10 at the end of MR but in the space between MR and MV he could have grown levels. We'll have to see.

Pyrites did indeed kill Martha, sneakily, too. He seems very strong, but does he have a side? Who thinks Pyrites will join Roger or Monica's sides? Maybe he'll stay on the fence. Thoughts, anyone?

Beautiful ending? Maybe. Gruesome ending? Maybe. Fantastic, Memorable ending? Definitely :D

Chris 2.1
16th August 2005, 02:28 PM
New Chapter time. One of the parts of this chapter, the part at the end I might add, is something I have tried incorporating into the story since during Revolution. So enjoy it :P




Monica’s Vendetta
Ten
The V4 Strike Again


In Perlei, Damien and Salo had reunited with Chrome and Zuuki at the main capital city, Colina. At this grand metropolis, the four recalled to where this was they first met each other, although back then, each of them were no more than mere opposition to the other. It was here the four each took part in the Colina Tournament. Some, like Zuuki and Damien, were simply competing to showcase their skill. Meanwhile, Chrome and Salo, who were, back then, rivals, each vied for the possession of the Fire Emblem. Perhaps if these two had realized they shared a common goal so long ago (and their respected allies – Chrome was working with his brother, Afee, while Salo worked with Phoenix), then they could have saved a lot of time. Almost like a butterfly effect, it was possible everything could have been different at that pivotal point in the journey.

“Glad you arrived,” Chrome shouted, seeing Salo and Damien. “You were very quick saying your goodbyes; Zuuki and I did not expect to see for you a day or so.”

“I was the one holding us up,” Salo grinned. “Grandma was so sad to see me go…but she knows I will return one day. Damien was really quick; he was less than an hour!”

“Are you ok, Damien?” Zuuki asked, seeing a lack of colour in the boy’s cheeks.

“Fine,” Damien lied. “Father was just quite…rude to me. He didn’t want me to come.”

In truth, Damien was not ‘fine’. Guilt was shredding his insides, and his stomach felt full of angry, vicious snakes. He had to kill his Father – he was holding him back from his destiny. On the journey back to Colina, Damien had been staging this debate in his mind, the debate of whether or not being in the AU was what he wanted. At one side, yes, he wanted to be in the AU a lot. He was a young man of dignity and respect, always wanting the best of both. Redeeming himself with the AU was one way of keeping a firm grasp on these vital things. Helping out now would hopefully sort everything out. However, if anybody was to learn of what he had done to his father…Damien shuddered at the thought. In their eyes, he would definitely be ‘bad’. He was a murderer.

“I said we should go and sort him out,” Salo chuckled to Chrome. “But you were so persistent!”

“Sometimes we need persistence to remind ourselves of the task at hand,” Damien told Salo, eyes locked into Chromes. Damien knew Chrome did not approve of him returning with the AU after his leaving of the group before they arrived at Yilliap Island. In Chrome’s eyes, Damien was a coward. Another reason not to run.

“We’re here,” Zuuki cut in. “The telepathy circle will take us to Evayard. We just need to make sure we all think the same things and hold hands to keep our energy flowing.”

Wandering up the white marble steps in the center of the bustling city, they arrived in the telepathy circle. Holding each others hands, the four stood, surrounded by white roman pillars containing this adeptry energy.

“Everybody think of Evayard,” Zuuki said softly, eyes closed. “Envision it in your mind; let the word soar across your plain of thought.”

And slowly but surely, as the four envisioned Evayard in their minds, a whirring, spinning sensation flooded their stomachs. The world they knew steadily dissolved around them, melting into a completely different environment. Evayard slowly began forming before the AU members, until, within seconds; they were in a completely new setting.

Stepping out of the Stone Circle, Zuuki looked around. A busy market was the backdrop for their new destination. It was crowded, but not overcrowded. Truth be told, the bustle was rather refined and somewhat orderly. The other three - Chrome, Damien and Salo, followed Zuuki into the main part of Crufia.

“Here we are,” Zuuki said. “Crufia.”

“It sure is different to what I imagined,” Salo told the group, looking around. “It’s nothing like Colina.”

“We have to go to the Palace,” Chrome interrupted. “To see Afee and the others.”

“Excuse me,” Zuuki said impatiently to a passer-by. “Which way is the Palace?”

“Business with Lady Farrimond?” The woman asked sweetly. “It’s just outside the town. Follow this direction until you get out of the city. Keep going and you should see it.”

“Thank you very much,” Zuuki said busily, zipping her top up, slipping on her silver shades and leading everyone else through the city. As they wandered through this large market, they noticed not just foodstuffs were being sold. A weaponry sold a variety of quality blades, albeit not adeptry ones like this group had. These were simple swords, daggers, arrows and bows. There was also another stall selling armor and shields. Other places were offering clothes, and other fabrics for sale.

Eventually arriving out of the city, the group began wandering across a plain. In the distance, a set of high mountains shielded a secluded town called Mahanui from view. Little did the group realize that Lee and new ally Gauld were in fact making their way there now.

However, as they walked, there was a sudden buzzing noise. At first it was quiet, as if a small insect was flying by. But soon it got louder and caused intrigue. Looking around, Chrome saw the occupant. A large, tree-like creature flew through the air, glowing with pulsating green energy. It had claw-like feet, with four arms and a scary face. Sitting atop it as it flapped with insect-like wings were four figures.

“What IS that?” Salo asked, bewildered.

“It looks strong,” Damien murmured.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Zuuki admitted.

“Nor have I,” Chrome replied.

“Is it attacking us?” Damien asked.

“We’ll soon see,” Chrome said bitterly. Flying at them, the large creature, roughly ten feet tall, landed with a thud. Its thin face, comprised of bark, it seemed, contained red, bulbous eyes. Three figures leapt from it.

“What are you doing?” The first asked, bearing blue hair in a short, sensible ponytail. This was Karadon. “Do you have business with Lady Farrimond and Sir Roger Megallo?”

“Yes, we do,” Chrome replied. “Our friends are falsely imprisoned; we need to speak with the Lady Farrimond to clear their name.”

“That won’t happen,” Karadon continued. “We are here to stop you.”

“Why do such a thing?” Chrome barked.

“We are Roger’s four sons,” Scott snapped. He was the Flame Champion with wild, punky hair in thick orange spikes. He was standing next to Karadon. “And we have orders.”

Luke also landed, absorbing the energy from this wooden beast. It swept into his chest and he gave a small gasp.

“Scott, you and me will stay and fight,” Karadon boomed. “We can take these four on no problem. Luke, Therebus, head off for now. We will meet again in the Library.”

As Luke, the Adept who seemed to be a Quaker, and Therebus, the pale, sickly looking Adept ran towards the Palace, Karadon and his brother Scott stood ready and waiting. Chrome and Zuuki stepped forward.

“We’ll take you on,” she growled.

“Very well,” Karadon said. “But have you ever fought such power before?”

“Oh yes,” Zuuki replied.

“I don’t think so,” Karadon chuckled. “RISE! BEHEMOTH!”

As an odd rumble shook the ground, energy was released from Karadon into a form behind him. Blue energy started to take a solid form, as thin, wide fin-like arms emerged from the side of a wide body and reached almost to its feet, getting wider as they neared the bottom. The eyes were dark red slits on its ten foot tall body, and a head was not defined much. The bold blue golem had silvery angelic symbols all over its body. It sort of looked like a whale.

“What is going on?” Chrome asked.

“Our elementas take forms of creatures,” Karadon explained, leaping higher than one would think is possible and landing on this golem’s head. “This is Behemoth.”

The creature let out a huge roar.

“And my Golem is Delvil,” Scott sneered. Next to Behemoth was a stockier, red Golem with flames shrouding its body, flickering up into the air. This figure, Delvil, was shorter and had shorter arms, but its legs were more athletic and this one looked fast. It had black horns tearing from its head, and straighter patterns of gold and black intertwined across its body. It made the area around them much warmer.

“I don’t believe it,” Chrome uttered.

“That is very strong,” Zuuki said disbelievingly. “But it is adeptral energy. All we need to do is counter it with our adeptry to destroy it.”

“Ok, I will take on Delvil with Salo,” Chrome explained. “Zuuki, you and him go and fight Behemoth.”

Damien frowned, but held his hands forward as they glowed a bright blue. Sending water energy forward into the form of an icy eagle, Damien attacked. The eagle smashed right into Behemoth and did nothing. Running through the air, drawing his Jeweled Sword, Damien prepared to strike. Behemoth swung a clumsy, heavy, paddle-like arm and smashed into the young boy, throwing him back down to the ground.

“GO!” Zuuki cried, hurling two fireballs through the air. They smashed into Behemoth and did nothing. Zuuki cast a look at her comrade, Damien, and knew physical attacking was useless.

“What can we do?” she asked. Gripping her fists, she concentrated as a circle of throbbing red energy was created on the floor. She moved it with her hand, sweeping it under Behemoth and then punching the air. “LAVA BATH!”

A hot stream of molten lava erupted upwards, engulfing Behemoth. Before it reached past the golem’s waist, it flapped its arms wide so that it flew up into the air. It landed a foot away from the attack and, angelic symbols brimming white, it sent a pulsating beam of energy from an orb that was charged between its long arms. The beam smashed into Zuuki and threw her backwards.

“NO!” she groaned.

“Behemoth, finish them both off,” Karadon snapped.

Meanwhile, Chrome fired a metallic beam of energy at Delvil. The attack did seem to hurt its arm, but it spread its arms wide and released a flurry of football-sized embers. Salo sent an angel of water soaring into the embers, dissolving many, but a majority smashed into them both. Salo was not deterred by this, charging blue energy into her staff and racing through the air. She smashed her staff into Delvil, but it kicked her back and she fell down. Getting back up, both Chrome and her created attacks and threw them at Delvil.

“ALCHAMIST DRAGON!” Chrome cried, creating a steely beam of energy which morphed into a dragon. It swept forward and smashed into Delvil, dealing good damage. Chrome then used his strength to levitate, sweeping up into the air. His left arm flashed and changed into the shape of a long, silvery lance.

He raced through the air, lance ready, watching Salo shoot jets of water at Delvil. Scott, standing on his Golem’s shoulder, saw Chrome coming and alerted his gigantic ally. Delvil looked up, having more of a head and body than Behemoth, and opening his sharp mouth, blasted a series of fireballs at Chrome. Becoming peppered by the onslaught of fire, Chrome fell to his knees.

“Look at them,” Karadon shouted. “Defeated already. And you say you are united?”

The four were gasping for breath, watching the two brothers for mercy, eyes filled with beacons of hope just begging to be spared.

Damien pulled his strength together and rose. Grabbing his sword again, he took a few steps forward as his three comrades lay defeated.

“Damien!” Salo cried. “No!”

“Oh, one has risen again,” Karadon observed. “Ready, Behemoth?”

“Delvil, get ready,” Scott said manically, smile twitching with the prospect of seeing a good, well-fought battle ending in death.

“Get back!” Zuuki shouted.

“Ancestral Oak!” Damien cried, throwing his arms up in the air. A strange glow took over him, and an odd, blue steam rose from the young man’s body.

“What is going on?” Zuuki asked.

“That is an attack in Damien’s family,” Salo explained, knowing Damien best. The two grew up together in the Oceanside city of Guellion. “I never knew Damien knew the attack itself. It allows him to psyche his body up and boost his adeptry.”

“I…never knew Damien had it in him,” Zuuki replied.

“He may not be as physically stronger as you or Chrome,” Salo began. “But his inner strength is phenomenal.”

Damien stood ready, gripping the jeweled sword. He ran at Delvil, knowing element-wise he held an advantage over him. As he leapt high, a watery pulsation engulfed his sword and he swung it down at Delvil. A deep gash emerged across the golem’s stomach, hurting it to the extent that Delvil swiped a flaming arm sideways and swatted Damien out of the air, sending him hurtling towards the ground.

“No!” Salo cried, getting up. Zuuki grabbed the young girls arm and kept her still.

“Be careful!” she warned.

“Pathetic,” Karadon snapped. “Behemoth! Utilize an Absolute Zero.”

As Behemoth charged up a devilishly-numb beam of energy, Delvil watched the on goings as Damien, Salo, Zuuki and Chrome struggled to stay up. Behemoth, after releasing the devastating beam, watched it fly into the group and cause a small explosion, sending ice energy across the field. The four screamed in various pitches as their pain reached climatic levels…

“Still with us, are you?” Karadon asked, patronizing the fallen four. As steam rose from the explosion, the four were still lying there. Salo looked unconscious. Zuuki looked to be giving in to her senses, while Chrome was still awake, screwing his face up and heaving to his feet. Damien, meanwhile, lay there, hovering between conscious and unconscious states.

“Come on, bro,” Scott snapped. “Let me finish them off. I’d use my guillotines…I’d slash their throats and watch the blood leak from their necks…”

He was interrupted when Luke summoned up a pathian. His face looked worried.

“Karadon!” he cried. “Me and Therebus –

“Therebus and I,” Karadon corrected him.

“– We’ve found out what Roger’s been looking for!” he continued. “In the Library! Just now!”

“Oh?” Karadon asked, letting his eyes travel over to the defeated AU members. “We need to finish up here first.”

“It’s VITAL you come now; Roger’s making his way down to see us once he has finished making arrangements with Teresa and with the prisoners,” Luke hurriedly spoke.

“I see,” Karadon muttered in defeat. “Do you know what he is planning with the prisoners?”

“No,” Luke said. “Quickly! Come quickly! He’ll know if we’ve been looking at books, and if he finds out we know something we aren’t telling him –

“You’re saying we use what we know as leverage?” Karadon asked.

“Therebus thinks so,” Luke corrected him. “We can get Roger to tell us what he needs the information for in exchange for him finding out what it is.”

“Very good,” Karadon replied, smirking. “We’ll get these four into the prison with their friends. Being United won’t help them if it’s united in jail…”

The pathian ended, and Karadon turned to Scott.

“Did you hear that?” He asked.

“Yea,” Scott replied.

”Capture the AU members, and take them to the hold,” Karadon explained. He turned to face the hole where the AU members were scattered, but saw that they had, in fact, disappeared.

“Where the hell are they?” Scott barked, turning in all directions. As he did so, he noticed that the four had crawled past them as they talked to Luke, and sprinted towards the main entrance to the castle. Chrome was carrying Salo in his arms, and both Zuuki and Damien looked very tired.

“GET THEM!” Karadon screamed. “Behemoth! Icicle spear!”

As humongous javelin-sized icicles were hurled through the air, the four members of the AU arrived at the castle gates. Turning, Chrome saw the large, god-like figures sending flurries of attacks their way.

“EVERYBODY, HURRY!” he roared, slamming his fist into the gates. Everything seemed to be turning around – Roger, knowing the V4 were ordered to kill the AU members, also knew he could not have security witness murder before their eyes. Thus, he had lowered security, meaning that the AU could slip into the main gates and hide from their foes.

After seeing this, Karadon and Scott both leapt off their Elementas and absorbed the energy back into their bodies. Running towards the castle gates, Karadon proceeded to see Luke and Therebus, delegating the duty of finding the AU members to Scott.

“We’re safe here,” Chrome gasped, slowly jogging through the fantastic lawns of the castle. There were many ornaments, bushes, shrubbery and plant life to hide from. Aside from escaping death, there was no denying what was obvious. Scott was going to find them, and with Salo still out of energy completely, and both Zuuki and Damien drained of strength, Chrome thought everything looked bad. Even as a lavender coloured phoenix-like bird soared across the lawns, with fantastic colours beaming from its tail, the veteran heaved a sigh.

However, he recalled something he heard Luke saying before.

“…Roger’s making his way down to see us once he has finished making arrangements with the prisoners…”

Was his brother, Afee, in danger sooner than expected? Chrome began to fear the worst as he sat, exhausted, in the fabulous gardens of Crufia Palace. Scott was nearby. He could sense it. Staring at Salo’s unconscious figure, Chrome pondered on what he was to do.


Continued in next post

Chris 2.1
16th August 2005, 02:33 PM
Continued from last post


Meanwhile, further South, Nat, Al and Tekaru were readying themselves to leave Agrotatio Town after it failed to yield any successive results with regards to where Monica was being held. However, an unexpected source had come to shed light on some new information.

“Before you go,” Greta said kindly, approaching them. “My Grandson, Berah, has some important information for you.”

“You said that Monica’s kidnapper had a midnight-blue Ferrari, right?” Berah said eagerly. Tekaru, being the one who witnessed this, nodded in agreement. “Well I know a manor just North-West of Agrotatio Town, and the owner has a Ferrari in Midnight Blue.”

“Cars are not very common around here,” Greta began. “I think you have a lead.”

“How do you know this?” Nat asked.

“He was caught robbing apples,” Greta snapped. “Now, we must go. Good luck in your search for Monica. Come on, you little rascal…”

And as Greta left with her grandson in tow, the three AU members smiled in prosperity. Getting a meal down them, and preparing to leave, the three left the North-West path out of Agrotatio town, leaving behind the simple, mysterious Ghost Adeptry settlement.

Walking across the plains of Perlei, the three noticed a rather handsome lake just out of their sight. Nearby, cloaked in a thick curtain of mist was a manor, set on a hill. They knew this was it. Nat drew her Raegan Blade in ready, while Al and Tekaru decided not to bother. There was no imminent danger. Not yet, anyway.

After arriving at the manor, which was a simple, short walk away from Agrotatio Town, they noticed a high wall going around the perimeter and not making this as easy as anticipated.

“I think we’ll just have to ambush,” Tekaru concluded.

“Yea, I second that,” Al added.

“Those gates are cast-iron,” Nat noted. “Very durable. We’ll have to simply clamber over the top of the wall, creep into the mansion and when we find them, we’ll attack.”

“And what if this woman has guards?” posed Tekaru.

“Then we kill them, or maim them,” Nat said briskly. “If this woman has Monica, then she has to pay the price. I think, however, we should spread out. I’ll go around the perimeter and enter from a back door. That way, we can get them from different angles.”

“Are you sure?” Tekaru asked.

“Nat’s an independent girl,” Al told their new friend. “She can take care of herself, right?”

“Damn right,” Nat said, bidding a brief farewell to the other two as she walked down a muddy trail towards the back of the house.

“I’ll send a lightening bolt into the sky to signal the ambush,” Tekaru called out. Nat stuck her hand up in the air to show she heard him. Tekaru and Al readied themselves as they realised what they were doing. Breaking into the manor to rescue Monica. Al thought of seeing Monica’s warm smile again, and was filled with a strong sense of being and purpose. He waited to give Nat enough time to get into position. But as he glanced across at the handsome prince, he made another promise not to let Tekaru get the girl in the end. That was what he wanted, after all.


*

Meanwhile, in Altonia…

Phoenix was starting to feel his drowsiness lift. He saw his mother, standing over him, beaming proudly as if he had just conquered the world.

“What are you doing here?” Phoenix asked hesitantly. Madeline smiled.

“Keeping an eye out for my little songbird,” she told him.

“You’ve been following me?” Phoenix questioned.

“Not quite,” Madeline admitted. “We have been sending our Violini to watch over you, and they reported back to Cloudina to tell us you had decided to challenge Thorrus to a duel. Fearing the worst, we made out way here.”

“Where is Thorrus?” Phoenix asked.

“He’s gone,” Serena replied, wandering over into view. Phoenix smiled at the girl, only sixteen years of age, wielding such a strong weapon in her hands. She wore the same, loose, long sleeved silvery white clothes. Her blonde hair was still neatly bobbed, and her sapphire eyes still shone like ocean beacons. “I drove him to leave.”

“You did?” Phoenix asked, intrigued.

“Yea,” Serena replied coolly. “My Celsius attack…remember that?”

“Serena has been under my surveillance,” Madeline explained. “I have been her mentor since she returned to Cloudina, and she has achieved much stronger inner sanctity since then. The weather control Cloudina is famous for has been enhanced in Serena.”

“I could never master weather attacks,” Phoenix mumbled. “Mother, I am still searching for Father. I still don’t know who I am.”

“Your search has taken you far,” Madeline said, closing her eyes momentarily. “All across Perlei, and through Altonia you’ll have to go. But you must know, Phoenix, I cannot tell you what your Father must.”

“Why not?” Phoenix pled.

“Tohweid never spent any time with you,” Madeline recalled. “Your relationship with him is weak and clouded. As it is he who passed down his extraordinary powers unto you, it is vital he is the one to explain everything to you, my son.”

“Can you tell me where I might find him?” Phoenix asked.

“He went on self-enlightenment,” Madeline said softly, turning to look up at the starry sky. “Through Altonia. I know his destination was the Ancient Fourth Lighthouse of Iger, but he has spent much time in Kralakorn.”

Phoenix cast his mind back to when Monica tried to prevent the sacred artifacts from the three elemental lighthouses being stolen by Mortimer. When the three artifacts; a sword, an armlet and a crown were stolen, and worn by Mortimer on a large peninsula, a large, fourth lighthouse rose in honor of the forgotten soul, Iger. This lighthouse contained the gateway to Evayard, which is what Mortimer hoped to achieve in the first place. But…something wasn’t right.

“How can he be in Kralakorn?” he asked. “The entire city is underwater!”

“There is an Island, in the center of the large lake,” Madeline explained. “It is there your Father spends his time, strengthening himself.”

“Why does he wish to visit Iger Lighthouse?” Phoenix asked.

“I do not know,” Madeline replied solemnly. Phoenix wondered…he did not know his Father well at all. Was he the type to go to Iger Lighthouse for a precious artifact that may lie there? Or was he the type keen to study the fascinating architecture? He did not know.

“Well, I will make my way North-West,” Phoenix declared, getting up. Madeline stopped him.

“I would offer my services,” Madeline began. “But I know my own son well enough to know he won’t want me joining him.”

Phoenix wanted to interject, but he saw his Mother’s smile and returned it.

“I…well…yes, I would prefer to go alone,” Phoenix said timidly, looking up at Madeline. She beamed at him happily.

“I’m just glad I could see you before you go to Kralakorn,” Madeline said softly. “Phoenix…you make me so proud.”

Phoenix kept smiling, albeit weakly, as he was feeling rather emotional at the time. Serena seemed rather embarrassed to be intruding upon the Mother and Son, but the tearful, emotional words soon faded away.

“We should be heading off now,” Madeline said.

“Where are you going?” Phoenix asked. “Back Home?”

“Serena has something she must do,” Madeline explained. “Then I shall go home.”

Phoenix nodded. Tightly embracing his Mother, he felt her shaking as tears spilled down her face. Why was she so upset? Why did she proclaim how proud she was? Did she know something he didn’t?

“Goodbye,” Madeline wept. “F-For now.”

“Goodbye, Mother.”

“Good luck,” came a voice.

Phoenix parted from the hug and looked at Serena, who was admiring him.

“Thank you,” Phoenix said. “Thank you, Serena.”

Serena and Madeline turned away from Phoenix and blew their whistles. While Serena still had a baby form of Violini, called Dragini, Madeline summoned her precious creature – the final form of the dragon family, Dravialo. It was a slender dragon, with big, feathery wings and a horned helmet with a beautiful gold orb on the top. It was a deep purple and was big and friendly. These creatures were signatures of the Cloudina people. Phoenix’s was simply in Cloudina, but awaiting a whistle call if Phoenix ever needed it.

“Come, Serena,” Madeline said softly, helping her student onto the beast. As Serena held her Dragini tightly, who sang shrilly, Madeline clambered onto Dravialo’s body too and summoned it up into the air.

“Make me proud,” Madeline said firmly, as Dravialo flapped its powerful wings and boosted off into the sky.

“I will,” Phoenix whispered, turning to walk out of the Graveyard. He had a long walk to Kralakorn, he knew that. What he didn’t know, and could not explain to himself was why he had chosen to walk there. Staring at the bleak landscape ahead through his chocolate-brown eyes, Phoenix let out a sigh and wandered into the distance. Still perturbed by his mothers words, the young man wondered ever more on his connection with Dimitri, the secrets of who he really was, and the identity of his father,


*

Meanwhile, in Silva’s manor, Monica was unleashing powerful new attacks at wooden targets in a dark room. Her new attacks included a psychic attack, in which she clenched her fists to solidify the air and then pushed her hands forward to expel the solid air in a firm motion, giving the sensation of somebody being punched in the stomach. It was rather like a force field of sorts. Another new attack involved Monica glowing silver, sweeping through the air at supersonic speeds and delivering two punches. Silva mentioned there were more attacks she would master, too.

Silva entered the room. Wasting no time, she addressed Monica.

“Come on. We’re going.”

“What? Where are we going?” Monica asked keenly. Silva slapped her across the face.

“No questions,” she snapped. Turning and heading to the door, Silva continued. “We’re leaving now, to go to the lake.”

“Lake?”

“Tatami Lake, not too far from my Manor,” Silva explained. “It is the location of the Destiny Amulet.”

Silva led Monica through the mansion, taking her down all the corridors Monica had ran down not too long ago. Monica felt the prickly sensation of fear creep around her shoulders as she left the manor. However, to her surprise, they did not leave through the impressive, stained-glass front doors. Silva led Monica to a porch-like area to the right of the main hall, shooting down a long, thin staircase.

“Why are we –

“No questions!,” Silva reemphasized. Silva finally opened up a rather boring-looking door which led into the cold outdoors. It was late at night, dark outside, with a bright glow coming from the opulent moon itself. Silva cast her emotional, sharp eyes around the area.

“I need to trust you here,” Silva continued. “Run down this grassy slope and jump the wall around the perimeter of the mansion. We need to hurry. My house is not safe anymore.”

“Not safe?” Monica asked.

“Somebody wants to stop me getting that Amulet,” Silva went on, a dark undertone hiding in her voice.

The two set off, sprinting down the very lenient grassy slope towards the walls of the manor. In the semi darkness, Monica followed Silva as a tranquil lake was visible, not too far away. That must be Tatami Lake, she thought.

However, as the two were half way down the hill, they turned. The manor they left minutes ago suddenly exploded, sending debris of the fantastic house flying through the air. Powerful yellows, oranges and reds engulfed the structure as a humongous roar filled the air and the darkness became illuminated. Silva gasped.

“My house!” she cried. “My family’s memories…NO!”

Collapsing on her knees, Silva burst into tears as she could not contain herself. Staring at the crumbling remains of the house, she sobbed loudly into the night, feeling the heat from the flames all around her.

Despite tears leaking down her face, she tried to remain focused. Getting up off the floor, Silva wiped the dirt from her skirt and looked around. Suddenly, her eyes met those of Monica, who was a few feet away, with a shadow ball in her possession. She released it and hit Silva, throwing her back, before turning and running off into the grounds. Silva got back up and gave chase.

“Monica!” she cried, getting her pistol. A night shade swept through the night and stunned her, knocking her over momentarily. Meanwhile, Monica fled off into the night, escaping Silva’s strong hold on her. “COME BACK!”

Silva gave a long sigh, blinking her eyes in rapid succession. Soon, within mere seconds, Monica was swallowed by the darkness.

“My house, my hostage…” she wept. “Why?”

Silva delved into her pocket and produced a metal plate, which had a cover over it. A clear jelly-like substance was inside. She stashed it away, and with that, Silva disappeared off into the night, leaving behind the smoldering wreckage of her once beautiful house, and her captive, Monica. Monica ran off into the night, hoping to find her friends. Silva knew Monica had been the perfect candidate for her assistance in getting her Destiny Amulet…and if she still had her way, then Monica would be helping her in more than one way.


* .

“Ok, are you ready?” Al asked, Tekaru by his side. Tekaru held his long, golden hammer ready. It was glowing with a yellowy golden energy, as he had charged up his Karma Air into his weapon. Al did likewise, and his powerful Assassin Blade glimmered green.

“Yes I am,” Tekaru replied. The two prepared themselves…but a humongous roar erupted in the atmosphere, and the manor was plunged into a horrendous explosion. Debris flew everywhere; flames licked all around the building and shrouded it in explosive colour.

“NO!” Tekaru cried.

“MONICA!” Al screamed, falling to his knees in despair. “OH MY GOD, MONICA!”

“There’s no way she could survive that…” Tekaru whispered, tears forming in his eyes. He looked at Al, who as already flooded by his own tears of grief. Tekaru didn’t know what to do – standing up, he put his hand on Al’s shoulder and patted it gently, Al crying loudly. Tekaru sighed, staring up at the stars.


*

“No…” Nat gasped. Watching the flames flicker in the night, the young girl saw, from her vantage point the manor exploding into flames. Unfortunately, neither her, Al or Tekaru were able to see Monica flee the house, or Monica run from her kidnapper.

Nat’s grip on her sword slowly released, and she dropped to her knees. Eyebrows raised in self-sympathy, Nat felt as if a dark void swallowed her up. Her stomach gurgled. Her chest felt stiff and her throat was sore; clogged up and cold.

“…Monica…” Nat sighed, screwing her eyes shut and shaking her head. “NO!”

And with that, she swayed, before falling into unconsciousness and collapsing on the floor. She lay there for some time, roughly half an hour, in silent thought as her world crumbled. Was Monica really dead? It seemed so.

Nat was woken by a pair of children. A boy and a girl.

“Are you ok?” the boy asked. Nat rubbed her head.

“…yea…I’m fine,” she sighed. She felt a sharp sting in her forehead.

“What are you doing on the floor?” the girl asked. “Did you get hurt?”

Nat just stared through both children, shaking her head softly. She felt her wrist, and it hurt. How had it got hurt? She flexed her fingers back with intrigue. The boy and girl continued to stare.

“…what’s your name?” the boy asked, not satisfied with no answer to his other questions. Nat perked up and stared at the boy.

“I…don’t remember,” she said weakly. She looked around her. Nothing was familiar.

“You don’t remember your name?” the boy asked, smirking.

“I believe her,” the girl replied. “She looks really mixed up!”

“Come with us,” the boy declared. “To Samyura Town. We’ll help you.”

“Ok…” Nat mumbled, following both of them across the plains of Evayard towards Samyura Town. With no recollection of what had happened, Nat felt vulnerable and scared. She would feel even more so if she knew Pyrites was following them towards their destination, ready to fully take advantage of the situation. From behind a tree, the whimsical man watched a confused Nat wander away from any protection she may have had.




Next Chapter!

-Roger makes his position clear as his sons try to stand up to him
-An unusual source helps the group
-Lee and Gauld are tested by an age-old legend

Chris 2.1
28th August 2005, 06:16 PM
Buuuuuuuump :P

Just giving an update. Where is everyone? Ch20 is finished, which will please a lot of people, I can tell. Ch21 will be begun shortly.

Powarun
30th August 2005, 09:41 PM
Sorry Chris, Um, I was um sleepy when I read this chapter and well enough excuses.
Nat has amnesia, that is not a good sign, wonder what kind of hostage sitution she will be put into once the villagers discover her power. Can't say much else because I have been busy and have to go.

Chris 2.1
10th September 2005, 08:14 AM
Powarun: Nat really is in trouble now, especially now Pyrites is on her trail again. How will she cope? Well it's nice to see I still have one reader. *sigh*.

Ch21 nearly finished.

Powarun
11th September 2005, 12:03 PM
LOL, I am sure I am not the only reader. Glad Chapter 21 is nearly finished. I am beginning to wonder if Pyrites died how would he die? He doesn't seem to be a character where a mere swordslash could kill him, but more like three sword slashes at once or something, hope we see him a good fight soon.

Chris 2.1
21st September 2005, 10:38 AM
Powarun: How would Pyrites die? I wonder. I wonder if he has, will, or does? Only time will tell.

Anyway I won't update with a new Chappie just yet. Where is everyone? The forums are back, people! Come back!

Chris 2.1
2nd October 2005, 08:31 AM
*Groan* where is everyone?






Monica’s Vendetta
Eleven
The Twin Swords


In the dank, underground prison of Crufia Palace, Mortimer, Afee and Boko still sat around miserably. Their fate was, to their knowledge, undecided, and it had been some time that they had been locked up. Framed, as it were, for a crime they did not commit.

Mortimer looked up when he saw Roger, Teresa, and a group of armed men approach their cell. They looked orderly, formal, and serious. Mortimer walked to the bars, gripping them with his thin fingers.

“Yes?” he asked impatiently.

“We are here to discuss your fate,” Roger said stealthily. “As you may not be aware, Teresa and I were to be wed in a mere three days time. However, due to…events beyond our control, we are now getting married in 10 days time. That means that before the Kingdom of Evayard becomes my responsibility as well as Teresa’s, we want to eliminate any possible threats beforehand.”

“Threats?” Mortimer asked. “You consider us threats?”

Roger carried on.

“You will be trialed for acts against humanity in four days time,” Roger announced. “If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced to execution.”

“What?” Afee roared. “Who is representing us?”

“Nobody,” Roger growled.

“Who is the jury?” Mortimer asked.

“My four sons,” Roger replied. “Good day to you.”

As Roger, Teresa and the guards walked off, Mortimer collapsed in the nearest seat.

“Well we know the trial will be one-sided,” he said grimly. “Hence having a bias jury. Put simple, we are being led to the slaughter. There is no way we can avoid this…”

“Unless Chrome gets here soon,” Afee pined. “He may just do that.”

“We have to hope so,” Mortimer sighed. There were no windows in the cell, being underground, but the three did not realize that Chrome, Zuuki, Salo and Damien were in fact in the gardens of Crufia Palace, hiding from Scott.

Meanwhile, Roger parted from Teresa as she was escorted to a financial meeting in the conference room of the castle. Roger walked towards the Library, where he would be meeting his four sons to see of their progress in researching what he had asked them to.

Pushing the door magnificent, tall doors open, Roger made his entrance noticeable. The Library was large – about the size of a cathedral. There were three levels altogether, but you could see through the middle of each floor up to the large mural on the ceiling. It showed a shadowed knight charging towards a golden angel. In the Library, which was lined with bookcases, the V4 stood waiting for their father. Scott was with them, having had to give up the search for the four AU members to be ready when meeting their father. Roger wanted them together when he met them, just in case they were away plotting something.

“So,” Roger boomed. “Any luck?”

The four brothers looked around at each other. Luke gave Karadon a pressurizing, demanding look. Therebus looked rather scared; fearful and sometimes twitching. Scott was looking as angry as he usually did. Karadon stepped forward.

“Yes, Father, we have found some information,” Karadon announced.

“You have?” Roger asked, excited at the prospect.

“Y-Yes, we have,” Karadon confirmed. “But we want to give you this information in exchange for some answers.”

“What are you talking about?” Roger snapped. The other three brothers stayed silent.

“I speak for the four of us when I tell you we are sick of being treated like your personal do-wrongers. We do not work in unison, Father, but rather we work for you: doing your dirty work, getting our hands dirty and generally shifting the blame from any of your schemes or plans. This ends now. We want to know why you need the Wysha Diamond.”

Roger was awestruck. He took a precarious step back, eyes wide, wondering what on earth he was about to say. Mustering his strength up, his eyes flared and he shot a deadly glare at Karadon. Therebus watched him.

“How dare you!” he screamed. “Threaten me? Negotiate with me? I am your father, and I was the one who raised each of you to be the people you are today!”

Roger looked at Therebus, who was shaking softly.

“What’s wrong with you?” He barked. Therebus’ lip was twitching.

“You never raised me,” he whispered, eyes narrowing and signaling evidential malice. “Mother raised me! Mother taught me everything good I have out of life.”

Roger’s eyebrows rose.

“It’s this kind of…ignorance I really do hate,” he sighed. “Your elementa’s are truly powerful. Essence of Adeptry. Without them, you would be a lot weaker and would not be as godlike with your strengths as you are. The AU could pick you off easily. But it is because of the training I put into you that you have become such omnipotent adversaries!”

“So you are protected even further,” Karadon rasped. “Father, why do you want the Wysha Diamond?”

Roger raised his voice.

“NEVER SPEAK DOWN TO ME LIKE THAT!”

“TELL ME WHAT THE DIAMOND DOES!” shouted Karadon.

“YOU ARE IN NO PLACE –

“YOU INSIST ON TREATING US LIKE –

“I WANT YOU TO STOP THIS, NOW!” Roger roared. “Shame on you! Shame on all of you!”

“We are not working with you any longer,” Karadon snapped. “Brothers, let us go. We need to get our hands on that diamond, and once we do…”

Karadon began to walk out of the door. Roger held a hand out to stop him, which Karadon ignored, flicking his ponytail stylishly and continuing towards the doors. Roger charged energy into his fist and within seconds was levitating Karadon high into the air with the simple power of his mind.

“Karadon!” Luke cried.

“Say you’ll help me,” Roger growled. “Or I’ll drop you.”

Higher and higher Karadon was being lifted. Into the rafters of the ancient Library he rose, his three brothers watching with mixtures of grief, anger, suppressed rage and worry.

“I won’t help you!” Karadon shouted. Roger clicked the fingers on his other hand, and Karadon soon began roaring out in pain. Sparks of energy erupted beneath his skin as Roger’s true power unfolded.

“Say it!” Roger cried manically. Karadon, floating with his back facing the ceiling, held his hands down and fired a barrage of icicle spears down. They rained towards Roger, but he didn’t seem to care. Holding his spare hand in Scott’s direction, he absorbed flame and glowing red energy from his son’s body before throwing it up into the air, all the while keeping his eyes locked on Karadon. The flames melted the icicles and neutralized the attack.

“NO!” Karadon roared. Roger sighed, clicking his fingers and turning to walk away. Karadon fell from a very, very large height – he had reached the ceiling of the library itself. He gave a roar as he plummeted down to the ground. With a sickening crunch he crumpled up into a pile on the ground. Roger reached the door, and turned to see his three sons approach their brother.

“Oh my,” he said, watching the spectacle. “You were such strong people…and now you are mere weaklings.”

“We’ll tell Teresa about this,” Luke cried out. Tears leaked down his face at the sight of his brother. “She’ll find out you’re a monster!”

“I’m already planning Tekaru’s permanent destruction,” Roger snapped. “Don’t make me kill any of you, either.”

He clicked his fingers sharply before walking out the door. The bookshelves – every single one on the ground floor sped towards them as a purple glow surrounded them.

“GOLEM AXE!” Luke roared, summoning his axe, comprised of rough, black rock. He held it ready and swung as the bookshelf got near. He split it into two inanimate pieces, but as they hit the floor, more appeared. Scott flew forward with a punch, but it was too hard. The bookcases actually missed them – some of them anyway, instead choosing to stack themselves in front of the door. Five bookcases wide across the door, seven bookcases high, and coming out about three or four bookcases. Other ones from other floors had also come down the stairs, possessed by Roger’s powers. Now all the bookcases trapped the V4 in the library.

“We’re stuck in!” Luke cried.

“Are you ok, brother?” Therebus asked. Karadon was in bad shape. Arms and legs splayed at various angles, he was very pale.

“I can’t move,” he groaned.

“Do not worry,” Therebus said calmly, pulling from around his neck a pointed crystal. He held it forward and chanted, and soon an azure glow took over the insides of the glass. Karadon gave a sigh as the energy amplified slowly healed his body. “This may take some time…but we have it.”

“I can’t believe that scum of a Father won’t tell us what we need to know!” Scott shouted.

“Scott, we have not told you what the Wysha Diamond is for yet,” Karadon muttered. “When I came here, Luke and Therebus had a book which contained a lot of information on the diamond. A timeline was given of its possession, and it is quite certain we can find it easily. We also know what it does.”

“Well, tell me!” Scott snapped.

“It is on that table,” Karadon pointed. Scott approached the table as Luke began smashing away at the bookshelves. But Scott was confused.

“There’s nothing here,” he pointed out.

“No…” Karadon muttered.

“Father must have it!” Therebus cried.

“Oh god,” Luke muttered, turning.

“I have to get it back,” Therebus said, pausing. “But you need help, brother.”

“This is much more important!” Karadon stressed. “Leave me until later.”

“The longer I wait, the longer it takes,” Therebus admitted.

“We need more time,” Luke pointed out. “If Roger has that book, he could get to work immediately.”

“I will be fine, brother,” Karadon sighed. “Therebus, you are the only one who can help. Use your veil ability to get through the walls and get that book!”

Therebus looked at each of the brothers. Karadon wore a sympathetic look, Luke watched bravely and Scott even showed a stare of awe and inspiration.

“Hurry back,” Karadon cried, as Therebus faded into shadow and slipped through the walls of the Library.

“We must stop the alliance with Roger,” Luke announced. “And form our own society. The V4 must cease to exist.”

“Yes,” Karadon replied. “A new era has begun.”


Continued in next post

Chris 2.1
2nd October 2005, 08:56 AM
Continued from last post



Meanwhile, Al and Tekaru wandered through Agrotatio Town. The night before yielded horrendous results, with both Nat disappearing and Monica presumed dead. Despite looking long and hard for them both, Al and Tekaru found nothing. Al was incredibly upset over the loss of his friend.

“I think we should stay,” he sniffed. “In case Monica comes to find us.”

“Al…” Tekaru mumbled.

“We need to look for Nat, too!” he cried. “She is alive.”

“Where did she go, though?” Tekaru asked. “We searched. She isn’t there. Al, I do hate to shred up your optimism, but we need to get to Crufia.”

“Oh, because me and you can take Roger on ourselves,” Al replied sarcastically. “Tekaru, you said faith was the strongest thing a human can have. Why are you so dry of it now?”

“Faith is strong, but not so strong one is blinded by it,” Tekaru replied solemnly. “But Al, you cannot slash away helplessly at any little bits of hope. You must pull yourself together, take a step back and review the situation.”

“Monica…” Al said slowly.

“Yes, Monica,” Tekaru replied.

“No, look! Monica!” Al cried, pointing ahead. Tekaru turned his gaze and saw the girl, braided hair messed up and swinging around her face. Her clothes were slightly torn, and her face weatherworn, but as she ran through the agricultural town, her face shone with hope.

“Al! Tekaru!” Monica gasped, leaping into Tekaru’s arms and hugging him tightly. Al watched, arms half-raised as if he, too, wanted a hug. He quickly dropped them. “Oh I’m so glad I found you!”

“Oh we thought you’d died!” Tekaru cried. “What happened?”

“I’ll explain everything,” Monica sighed, smiling. “Hey…where’s Nat?”

“We don’t know,” Al admitted. “She went to a different side of the mansion to ambush it. When the explosion happened, we lost track of her. We haven’t seen her since early last night.”

Monica sat down, seemingly upset by this.

“Where do you think she’s gone?” she asked firmly.

“We’re unsure,” Tekaru replied. “Do you have any idea?”

“Well…” Monica said slowly. “I have known her longer than both of you…she wouldn’t cause us any worry unless she was in trouble. She could have been attacked by someone like Pyrites.”

“Maybe someone caused the explosion at that manor to divert everyone’s attention,” Al wondered.

“All I know is, it was as much of a surprise to Silva as it was to me,” Monica began. “That was the name of the woman who kidnapped me. I remember Martha knocking me out…and then I was in a large manor with this woman. Her name was Silva, and she shared the Mansion with her older brother, although I never met him. I was locked up for a while…and then I got chained to this large rock, and it sent electric shocks into my body. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the shocks were forms of adeptry being sent into me. Overnight I collapsed from the sheer exhaustion, and learned the next day I had gone up two levels!
Silva said that she wanted me to help her. She had so very little adeptry in her body, which was a dominant trait for the females in her family. She showed me portraits of her ancestors who had triumphed over these illnesses. Their natural adeptry was restored by means of an amulet. Silva needed a ghost adept to help find the map for where her amulet lay. She used a device called a bond bracelet on us both – this enabled her to leech my adeptry from me. It severely weakened me and she felt nothing as she used my new Veil ability to drift through the heavily locked door and to search for the map. I tried to run, but no avail. She caught me.
The next time anything happened was last night – Silva urgently explained that someone didn’t want her getting her amulet, and we fled the mansion seconds before it exploded. I took this chance to smash the bond bracelet and hurt Silva, catching her off guard, and ran off into the night. However, she did catch up with me, and held me hostage early into this morning. But I prevailed, using my new abilities as a level 11 adept to overcome her and find you guys.”

“Well how did the house explode?” Tekaru asked.

“Mines placed all around the house,” Monica replied grimly.

“Definitely the work of Pyrites,” Al concluded. “He loves explosives and attacks with them.”

“I don’t know,” Monica replied lightly. “I just don’t think it was Pyrites…Pyrites is more like a magician or something. These were like military weapons. But either way, we have to find Nat.”

“I have tried using my Pathian ability,” Tekaru told Monica. “But it has not worked.”

“Hey, Mon,” Al began. “If you went up two levels…then you’re Level 11!”

“Good point, you are!” Tekaru noted. “Equal to me in strength!”

“I suppose I am,” Monica replied, smirking. “But wait a second…I still don’t know everything with Martha Michael.”

“Oh…the night you were kidnapped?” Tekaru asked. “Martha knocked you out…she was muttering about – oh yes! She said that she was brought to Evayard by Karadon – he claimed to be Alan’s friend. You remember telling her Alan had left to travel with new friends, you know, to get rid of her? Well Karadon used that to his advantage and pretended to be one of Alan’s new friends. He led Martha to Evayard and obviously used her to get us out of the way.”

“I see,” Monica said.

“Anyway, Martha tried to kill you, and as she tried, that Silva woman appeared and shot her with some sort of pistol. It used adeptry. Martha collapsed, and I confronted this woman. Then she turned and shot me, before…well, disappearing in her car.”

“Oh,” Monica muttered.

“But we must find Nat,” Tekaru said boldly.

“Nat?” A voice asked. They turned to see a man standing behind them. “You’re looking for somebody called Nat?”

“Yes, we are,” Monica replied.

“I had a vision today,” the man replied, wandering towards the group. “A vision about a girl. She was called Nat; she kept telling me that. She fell to the floor…and then all of a sudden swords rose out of the ground. Samurai swords. They surrounded the girl, and she kept shouting her name…”

“What is your name?” Monica asked.

“My name is Thomas,” he replied. He was about 25, with rather handsome features. His hair was short and fuzzy. His face was pale, and he carried a staff with him. It was a bronze colour.

“What do you think it means?” Al asked Thomas.

“I think it’s hinting where your friend is,” Thomas said innocently. “Prince Tekaru…do you know of Tevaro?”

“Yes, that name is familiar to me,” Tekaru thought. “He is a smithy in Samyura, is he not?”

“Yes, he’s renowned,” Thomas explained. “The swords…they looked like Tevaro swords.

“Then I suggest heading to Samyura,” Tekaru concluded. “It’s the only lead we have.”

“But think about it for a second,” Al interrupted. “This ‘lead’ is a mental state of self containment. And how do we know Thomas saw this? No disrespect, Thomas, but I can’t take your word for it given what we’ve been through in the past. What if we’re being set up?”

Monica glared at Al.

“You’re so rude,” she snapped. “I believe you, Thomas. But since I have to prove your story, I’m going to share your vision with you.”

“No problem,” Thomas said kindly. Monica placed each hand either side of Thomas’ head. She closed her eyes, screwing her mind up into a coil and tensing up her energy. She waded through lost thought, eventually gasping as a vision unfolded around her eyes…

Al and Nat both watched this, feeling somewhat neglected that they could not share this moment with Thomas or Monica. A minute or so later, Monica was jerked backwards in an uncomfortable fashion as she gasped for breath.

“His vision is accurate,” Monica said slowly.

“Did you notice how easier it is to analyze visions when somebody else is sharing it with you?” Thomas asked.

“Sort of,” Monica admitted. “I could see some odd enigmas…I was unsure what they meant, though.”

“Did you see the golden light?” Thomas inquired.

“Yea…now you mention it, I did…” Monica replied absently. “Listen, Thomas, you’re welcome to come with us if you’d like. You know, to help us find our friend.”

“I think I was destined to find you,” Thomas replied, smiling. “And help share what I had seen. Remember, help is always in the most obscure of places. Never be afraid to check everywhere for answers.”

“I’ll remember that,” Monica replied, smiling. The three adepts bode a fond farewell to Thomas as he wandered off to the south. The group, with their sights set on Samyura, headed out of the north entrance of the crossroad town towards their next destination and, with any luck, Nat.


*

Over the last few days, Lee had been training extensively under Gauld, his new ally. While Gauld did seem to keep a hold over his somewhat hostile attitude and snobbish, arrogant stride, he was an excellent tutor. His large sword, named Faust, was a thick, meaty, powerful blade. Very long, approximately six feet in length, many people would not even be able to pick it up. Gauld, however, had a strong yet discrete build and had trained with this sword. The sword, it seemed, had some sort of subnormal soul. When you were strong, Faust could sense this, and made itself somewhat lighter. Thus, through rigorous training, Gauld had mastered his phenomenal sword.

Lee was using one of Gauld’s old swords – the Spirit Sword. A dark grey colour, the hilt was a moody plum colour and was decorated with fancy swirls engraved deep within it. When Lee held it, he felt a thousand memories sweep into his body and boost his own spirit.

They had trained most of the day, and the two were still making their way up to the Mountain community known as Mahanui. They were well up the mountains, but the snow was starting to get heavy.

“I suggest we find shelter,” Gauld announced. “There is a small village just west of here.”

“But won’t that take us off the road to Mahanui?” Lee inquired.

“Very clever,” Gauld said tauntingly. “But if you use that iota of common sense you were blessed with, you’ll remind yourself it will, after all, be better than freezing to death tonight.”

Lee smirked. Gauld showed no signs of kidding around. He walked on, Lee clutching his sword tightly. As he went, he felt it vibrate gently, humming somewhat. Gauld did not hear it, and he was too far away to actually bother bringing it to his attention. As Lee followed his mentor, he considered what he had learned so far. Would it help in the long run?

Unfortunately, as the two wandered through the ever-increasing cold, they met a figure wandering towards them. At first, he seemed like an ordinary traveler. A large jacket covered his face and body. As they passed him, Lee’s sword gave a shuddering vibration that could not be good.

“What is that noise?” Gauld asked impatiently.

“My sword keeps humming,” Lee said innocently.

“Did you say your sword…hummed?” came a voice. Turning around, Lee saw the man they just walked past. His face was obscured by the large hood he wore.

“Yea…” Lee replied stiffly.

“I’ve found you,” the man replied, unzipping his large puffed up jacket. He was revealed to be about twenty years of age, with bleached blonde hair which hung low over his eyes. His face was piercing and he had many scars littering his face. The red clash of his scars against his tanned face was intriguing. He was lanky, but muscled.

“What?” Lee asked.

“You are the bearer of Spirit Sword,” the man replied darkly.

“I…it’s the sword of spirits,” Lee corrected him.

“But you carry it with you?” the man asked persistently.

“Only temporarily…” Lee admitted. The man held a hand up.

“You are oblivious to the responsibilities that sword demands,” he snapped.

“Hold on here, what are you talking about?” Gauld snapped back, equally snobbish and rude.

“You don’t know the tales?” asked the man. “Soul Sword and Spirit Sword…the cataclysm war?”

“No, I do not,” Gauld snapped. “I’ve had this sword a good solid fifteen years, and there has been no mention of any…cataclysm.”

“That’s because the Cataclysm occurs ever one hundred years,” the man explained arrogantly. “My name is Garu. I am the weilder of Soul Sword.”

“Soul sword?” Lee asked.

“Eons ago, when the earth was formed, one wandering warrior, named Kotoki, forged an ancient sword from the elements themselves. He spent his lifetime working on it. His entire life passed by as he worked so hard on this masterpiece. As he got old, and continued to forge his sword, Kotoki placed the last ounce of his strength into the sword – his soul. The soul poured into the sword and gave it an added force within it. Kotoki died, but left his sword to its own devices.

“After a few years, Kotoki’s son Mamoto rose to use the sword as his own. He found its potency incredible, and began spreading its power across the land in the form of deadly tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The sword can bond with nature to create utter chaos. Mamoto wreaked havoc across the land.

“When Mamoto eventually perished, he left his sword to whoever could find it. And since then, across time, man has found the sword, fought with it during their lifetime, and perished only to pass it on to someone else.

“Eventually, Soul Sword was getting out of control, with stronger and stronger adepts utilizing its power in ferocious ways. The world was in danger. A new sword was made to fight it, containing the same sort of powers. However, only those of good will could unlock the fantastic forces within.

“And then, the wielder of the new sword, named Spirit Sword to commemorate the positive spirit within it, journeyed to find the wielder of Soul Sword to end this feud between good and evil. They found each other, and there was a dynamic duel beyond recognition. When the two swords clashed in battle, they exchanged their strengths and weaknesses to each other. The two swords formed a significant bond between each other. After the fight, the swords began feeding on each others powers.

“From then on, every century, the two swords were destined to clash and fight. And it has been so. Every century, the swords have found their way towards each other. It has been destiny. And now, after the tenth showdown, we are now at the 1,000th year since the legendary blades first met. I am Garu Katomo.”

“Katomo?” Lee asked. “Wait…that’s like…”

“…you’re right,” Garu replied, smirking. “I’m a descendant of Kotoki and Mamoto themselves! My name comes from both of theirs.”

Garu held Soul Sword forward. Lee, already gripping Spirit Sword, felt a strong, pulsating throb. The sword yearned to fight, but Lee was very much hesitant. Maintaining his firm grip on the sword, he prepared himself.

“Hold on there,” Gauld snapped. “I was the one who owned this for fifteen years. I lent it to Lee for a brief period while I trained him up in combat! I will fight you, Garu Katomo.”

“I’m so sorry, but Soul Sword has chosen,” Garu replied. “Whoever is in possession of Spirit Sword and Soul Sword must duel.”

Gauld, holding Faust steady, stepped up.

“Say that to my blade,” he replied dangerously.

“Get lost,” Garu replied, laughing. “SPIRIT SWORD AND SOUL SWORD HAVE MET! THE MILLENIA CATACLYSM IS ABOUT TO BE UNLEASHED!”

Lee watched, finding it difficult to comprehend the situation.

“When your sword is filled with an everlasting light, and emits a beautiful chime-like ringing, that will be the signal that the time is right. On that day, meet me in the middle of Mahanui for our destined duel.”

Garu jammed the sword into the ground, releasing an incredible, earth-splitting tremor that shook Lee and threw him backwards. The boy fell awkwardly onto the hard, frozen earth.

“LEE!” Gauld roared, sweeping forward with his Faust held ready. He stood in front of Lee, watching Garu stealthily.

“The time will come,” Garu replied coolly. He turned and wandered off. “Nice meeting you.”

Lee was utterly petrified. Even with his preferred weapon, his nunchucks, he would hardly be able to fight pure elemental energy like he was supposed to with this sword. While Garu wandered off into the distance, swallowed by the darkness, disappearing under a sharp veil of snow, Gauld stood over Lee protectively. Lying on the floor, gasping for breath, Lee fought his instincts and wondered how on earth he would get around fighting this duel with Garu.



Next Chapter:

-Silva tries to reclaim what she lost
-Monica and Al's relationship continues to worsen
-Therebus wanders into a trap
-Monica, Al and Tekaru try to track down Nat...but Pyrites is a few steps ahead...

Powarun
3rd October 2005, 11:31 PM
First I would like to comment, getting the V4 to join the AU would be awsome. But it would take a few trials and errors to work out the whole trust situation.

Lee, after reading this chapter I feel that he should be a bit more comfortable, he has had the most training mentally than any other adept in his age group. He should just trust himself. And can his numchucks fuse with the spirit sword, that would be pretty tight.

The end of this chapter reminds me of Soul Caliber 2

Chris 2.1
14th October 2005, 05:16 PM
Powarun: Imagine the V4 with the AU....Having Behemoth, Delvil, Forrai and Spirit of Mother would certainly be a valuable assett. In fact the V4 would be inexpendable WITHOUT their huge elementa. I wonder if the past can become water under the bridge, or do some scars run too deep to heal?

Lee cannot fuse his nunchucks with Spirit Sword. His lack of confidence comes from many things, like the sudden shock that he has to duel to the death after having never used a sword before. Furthermore, his foe knows the story about the Milennia Cataclysm inside out. Could he be hiding some information, something that could help Lee win perhaps? Hmm. I've written the Milennia Cataclysm and it is, if I may say so, fantastic. Action-packed. I wonder if Lee loses....

And yes, it IS like Soul Calibur 2. :P

Chris 2.1
18th October 2005, 12:38 PM
Where is everyone?

Charizard04621
18th October 2005, 12:43 PM
Lol, Powarun reminds me of Gabi. She's the only one who posts responses to my chapters nowadays. I know I can always count on her to show up ^_^ Chris, I recommend that you record the amount of views every time you just finish posting a chapter, then come back after some time has elapsed and compare the previous number to the current one. That is, if you're not doing that already. Lune jumps like 50+ views after each chapter but like I said, Gabi's the only one that posts. =/

Powarun
19th October 2005, 07:29 PM
Yo, Charizard did you even read this story, if you haven't the series their awsome. Besides, I guess I'll be pkmaster for life.

Chris 2.1
1st November 2005, 01:51 PM
Monica’s Vendetta
Twelve
Sharp Sting Of Reality

Meanwhile, in Samyura, Nat had been led to the homes of the two children who had found her that night. Sam and Gabi were their names. Each was about 11 years old, and they had arrived at their house.

The children’s mother, Eva, arrived with a glass of milk for Nat.

“I’ve heard of this before,” she began busily. “In some cases, people can develop temporary amnesia after witnessing or being in a horrible situation.”

Nosily, Eva’s glance wandered across Nat’s bemused face.

“Do you remember…being raped at all?” she asked.

“No,” Nat said bluntly, unable to elaborate. “I…I don’t.”

“Oh,” Eva said slowly. “Well, please stay with us until everything…you know… sorts itself out…”

“Thank you so much,” Nat replied emptily, staring at the floor. Truth was, she felt so weak, so vulnerable, and so alone. These people, despite being kind, didn’t know her, and were of no help as far as she was concerned. She needed to meet someone she knew so badly…

From outside the house, a figure watched in the shadows. He flicked his stylish hair out of his eyes and tried to wipe a blood stain off from one of his silk gloves.


*

Far away, in Evayard, a tall, attractive woman was busying herself in a cryogenics laboratory. With a white lab coat on over a black top, she looked rather pretty. Her equipment was big, expensive and important. The woman heard a knock at the door.

“JUST A SECOND!” she cried, disposing of her rubber gloves and heading to the door. She wandered to the door, which she unlocked and opened straight away. In a split second, she saw Silva standing there with her pistol. In another split second, Silva pulled the trigger and blasted a bullet into the woman’s face.

“Bitch,” Silva muttered, watching the woman gasp in shock as she fell to the ground. “Don’t worry, you’ll live…”

“What are you doing?” the woman asked.

“You destroyed my house,” Silva snapped, dress torn, face splattered with soil and earth. “I know you did it Keri!”

“You can’t prove anything,” Keri spat, her pretty face twisting into a deadly glare. She lay on the floor, a large wound on her face.

“Oh, but I can,” Silva retorted, aiming and shooting Keri in the leg. Keri let out a long scream. “I went back to my wreckage of a once beautiful manor…”

Silva pulled something from her top.

“It’s a dud mine!” she cried. “And it has YOUR company’s name on it Keri! HOW WILL YOU EXPLAIN THAT?”

Keri watched her. Silva, after not receiving an answer, swung her foot and smashed Keri’s side. The woman gave a heavy moan. Silva held the mine in her hand.

“I checked it and double-checked it, it is a dud,” Silva explained. “I’m going to really get you done for this you bitch.”

“Look,” Keri sighed. “What can buy your silence?”

“MY HOME!” Silva screamed, grabbing her pistol and firing shots into Keri. Keri gave another series of screams. “GIVE ME BACK THE MEMORIES!”

“I can’t do that, Silva!” Keri protested. “What’s done is done!”

Silva crept down to Keri, pressing her face forwards.

“Why did you do it?” asked Silva childishly. “WHY?”

“I was paid,” Keri said calmly. “My family wanted you out of the way. Silva, our families have never got on. Ever since Gauld –

“SHUT UP!” Silva screamed. “I’LL SHOOT YOU!”

“Look, Silva, what can I do?” Keri asked, knowing she was winning this argument.

“I’ll tell you what you can do,” Silva murmured, withdrawing a metal plate from her pocket. There was some sort of jelly in it. Keri eyed it and her eyes seemed to open widely.

“Hang on…” she began. “You want…?”

“Yes,” Silva snapped. “How long will it take?”

“Well…quite some time,” Keri explained. “We have the whole process to do…and even though I can speed it up…Silva we could be here quite a long time.”

“Just get to work,” Silva ordered, holding her pistol forward. “And don’t EVER mention my brother again.”


*

Monica, Al and Tekaru were currently on a short break as they made their way to Samyura Town to get information on Nat. Monica was so upset, having not seen Nat for such a long time. She was very worried, and despite reassurance from both Al and Tekaru, the young girl still felt somewhat pessimistic about the whole thing.

“Come on,” Al said soothingly. “She’ll be ok, you know how tough Nat is.”

“Yea…I suppose,” Monica sniffed, staring at her feet. Al looked around, and saw Tekaru a good distance away, on his knees, talking softly.

“Tsch, he’s praying?” Al asked.

“You saw him against that Sphinx; Tekaru has a strong faith,” Monica pointed out.

“Religion is for naïve people,” Al stated.

“You might think that,” Monica replied coldly.

“And you don’t?” Al asked incredulously.

“I believe in God,” Monica snapped. “There has to be some sort of creator in our world. I’m just not sure what shape or form it comes in. But Tekaru is so faithful…so dedicated, he knows who he is worshipping and why. I admire it.”

She turned to Al.

“If you can’t believe in something…or if there isn’t anyone for you to reach out to in your hour of need…I pity you.”

She got up and joined Tekaru, helping him pray for Nat. Al sat there, on the smooth, flat rock, feeling the space Monica sat at a few seconds ago. He squinted at the girl as she wandered away from him. This wasn’t right.


*

Meanwhile, in Crufia Castle, Karadon lay wounded with brothers Luke and Scott as their other brother, Therebus, used his cloak ability to slip through the walls of the castle and leave their locked, confined area in the library.

Therebus had to run in order to stop Roger finding the bookmark which would lead him to see everything Therebus and his brothers had just learned inside the book Roger had taken from them.

Dashing up the elegant flight of stairs, Therebus arrived at the top and scanned the area for his father. Then he saw him, wandering down the left corridor to his private room. Therebus pelted down towards him, getting closer and closer.

He stopped, seeing Roger stop and look around. Therebus thought for a second. Should he get out his crossbow? Wounding Roger in, for example, the leg would hurt him and Therebus could get the book back…but then again, Therebus used a home-made crossbow bolt that would instantly put him in the frame for the one who hurt his Father. He couldn’t do that. Even worse, Roger might not be found until he died. Therebus could be a murderer. The Ghost Whisperer began questioning his morals as he stood, poised in shadow, waiting for the right time to strike.

“Ok…” Therebus whispered to himself, as Roger continued down the corridor. “Just use Darkness Call…and then grab the book, then run.”

He held a hand forward and charged his energy up. Therebus used his spare hand to grope the air in front of him. Soon the energy built up. Therebus then stopped groping the air with his hand and held that forward, too. The ground shook as a ghostly hand materialized by Therebus. It was about to sink underground when a voice called out behind Therebus.

“Roger!”

It was Teresa. She looked somewhat startled. Roger froze. He eventually turned around as Therebus cancelled out his attack. That was close. Therebus was still calm about standing in the middle of the corridor. He learned to cloak from a young age, something Roger was pleased about, and something he exploited in young Therebus. Due to this overuse of cloaking, Therebus was comfortable with it and knew that nobody could see him. Nevertheless, he pressed against the wall and listened to the conversation.

“Yes, sweetheart?” Roger said.

“You need to come back downstairs!” she hollered. “The Duke and Duchess of Leyworth are expecting you!”

Roger sighed.

“Roger, you must attend these dinners with me! You are about to rule Evayard with me, and we need to stay together a lot more often! Swanning away in the middle of a fancy meal is not acceptable!”

“I was just returning this book to my room,” Roger sighed. Therebus had a brilliant idea. He dashed to the end of the corridor, running past Roger and turned the corner, making sure he was hidden from view. Re-appearing in the darkness, he stepped out around the corner and burst in on Roger and Teresa.

“Oh!” He exclaimed. “Father…”

“Therebus?” Roger asked alarmingly, eyeing his son with a contempt his fiancée could not see.

“Hello Therebus,” Teresa said exasperatedly. “Oh! This is perfect. Roger, give Therebus the book. He can take it to your room for you, and YOU can come back with ME!”

Therebus wandered over and took the book from Roger’s grasp. Roger looked furious, but Therebus didn’t care. He was thoroughly enjoying the dissatisfied expression his father wore.

“Here,” Roger snapped. Therebus took it enthusiastically.

“Thank you Father,” Therebus said softly. “Now, give my regards to the Duke and Duchess.”

Roger’s eyes narrowed, turning and walking off with his fiancée. Teresa voiced her gratitude, and Therebus heaved a sigh. That had worked only too well, giving him ample time to look around Roger’s private room. Therebus gasped. He could investigate the hidden corridor behind the tapestry.

First, Therebus took the bookmark and slipped it out of the pages on the Wysha Diamond. That way, even if Roger managed to re-obtain the book, he would have a slightly harder time finding the right information. Thinking, Therebus then opened the page (he knew it was Pages 50-55 which had information on the diamond), ripped the pages out and clutched them in his hand. Suddenly eyeing a small portrait slightly down the hall, Therebus quickly took it from the wall and opened up the back of the frame. Sliding the pages inside, Therebus hung it back up and looked around. Nobody would see this again, but as long as he and his brothers knew the information they were ok. Therebus grabbed the large, heavy knocker, twisted it and entered the room.

It was dimly lit, with many books strewn around. A neat-looking desk contained a big, old map of Evayard spread right across it, with rocks acting as paperweights in the four corners. Therebus looked at it. It was incredibly worn, but clearly showed Crufia. It was circled in a red marker. Also circled was an Island south-west of the coast which Therebus knew was The Unitan Settlement. Scribbled in an untidy scrawl from a fountain pen was the word ‘Seryun’ by the Island.

“Seryun…the Storm Tamer who failed in Perlei…” Therebus muttered. “Is this relevant to why he has not come to the castle since he failed?”

Already deep in thought, Therebus left the map and saw a picture which brought a tear to his eye. It was of his mother, Yuwana, who passed away. Her face was of such opulent beauty Therebus gave a sniff and stopped the flow of tears. His emotions were overpowering. He put the picture face down and thought of his elementa. The two were so alike…yet so different.

Suddenly, a thought erupted in Therebus’ head. Seryun…at The Unitan Settlement…does that mean Roger is getting close, or is he simply combing the continent?

Confused, Therebus wandered towards the tapestry and swallowed hard. He was never the brave one – his three brothers each had that trait. He was more afraid of things than his brothers, and realizing he may finally uncover some of the hidden truths his Father was keeping.

As his fingers stretched forward towards the old, worn, dusty tapestry, Therebus felt his heart thump vigorously. Feeling his fingers wrap around the side, Therebus proceeded to lift up the tapestry and see the stone corridor leading deeper into the room. Torch brackets on the walls illuminated the thin corridor with an eerie orange glow.

This is for the best, he assured himself. I need to make the most of this time.

Nearing the end of the corridor, Therebus felt sharp stings of regret and knew he wanted to turn back so badly. But there were so many people he was helping here…his brothers for starters, and he might even help put a stop to Roger.

The corridor panned out to a large, circular stone room. Therebus let out an audible gasp as the torches ignited what was before his eyes.

…nothing. It was completely empty. Wandering around, the confused adept searched every nook and cranny, but it was obvious nothing was here at all. Deeply confused and let down, Therebus wondered WHAT was breathing that time his brothers had been in here.

“How mysterious,” he pondered. He summoned a Pathian and contacted Luke immediately. Holding the blue orb in-between his hands, Therebus felt it morph into the shape of his brother’s head.

“Therebus? Are you ok?” Luke asked desperately.

“Yes, I am fine,” Therebus said. “I tore the pages from the book – Father is at a fancy dinner with Teresa and some guests. But I need to speak to you. I’m in the secret corridor behind the tapestry.”

“Really?” Luke asked. “What – or who – is in there?”

“That’s just it,” Therebus admitted. “It’s empty.”

“A-Are you sure?” Luke replied, bewildered.

“I’ve checked it numerous times,” Therebus sighed. “This just does not make any sense.”

“Karadon believes Roger has moved whatever was behind the tapestry,” Luke told his brother. “He knew our curiosity would overcome us. The problem is, where could they be?”

“I have no idea,” Therebus sighed. “Should we look for them?”

“No, Karadon seems to think it is easier keeping our hands clean,” Luke explained. “Did you get the book?”

“Yes, I tore the pages out on the Wysha Diamond,” Therebus told his brother proudly.

“Excellent,” Luke replied. “Please, come back as soon as possible. Karadon needs healed, and we can discuss our plan of action from there.”

Therebus stopped the pathian and sighed, letting his stiff arms drop to his side lazily. He froze, however, when he heard something beyond the veil-like tapestry.

Footsteps. Someone was in the room. The high-heeled click-clack suggested a female, but Therebus was left wondering what on earth they would be doing here. The Ghost Whisperer began to realize he had the element of surprise – a mercury bolt from his crossbow through the tapestry and his foe would be no more. But was it a foe? What if it was Teresa? The boy wondered what to do.

He approached the end of the corridor, a meter or so away from the tapestry, and listened. The woman made no sound, nothing except for her walking around the room. Therebus summoned his crossbow to strap around his arm, holding it forward and deciding to strike.

“Halt! Who goes there?” Therebus cried, leaping out from behind the tapestry. A woman stared back, looking no older than Therebus himself. She had strict black hair and carried a short blade.

“We meet at last,” the woman purred softly. She darted through the air across the room with her sword, prompting Therebus to run to the left in evasion. He fired numerous bolts forward, but his foe swiftly slashed her sword at precise moments to deflect the attacks. She leapt high and charged up an orb of energy before hurling it down to Therebus. Therebus blocked it by crossing his arms and unleashing them to deflect the orb across the room, where it splintered a bookcase.

“What do you want?” Therebus asked weakly. The woman slashed the air with her sword and sent a sonique speeding into Therebus’ ribs. He fell back but regained posture. Throwing a hand forward, Therebus summoned a Demon Days attack, a large demonic cloud of energy, to hover around his foe and lash into her insides. She looked weakened by the attack, but still got up and showed steely determination on her pretty face.

“I want you,” the woman hissed softly, smirking. She snapped her fingers, and her blade began glowing and taking a much longer form. It was long and thin, and as the woman stood facing Therebus, she swung her sword around her, making up a large radius of pain.

“Don’t play with big girls like me,” she said.

Therebus aimed his crossbow, but instead fired repeatedly at the chandelier above the woman. It was sent crashing down and smashed over her head, causing her to stumble and whimper in pain. Blood leaked down her face.

Thinking and acting fast, Therebus aimed his crossbow and fired a bolt into the girl’s foot. She gave a long scream and stumbled backwards. Knowing he had a good edge in the battle, Therebus put his crossbow away and charged up a shadow ball. As he did so, the woman leapt forward with her long sword, suddenly determined, almost as if a wind had blown her status the other way around. She slashed against Therebus’ chest and smirked.

“You’re easily fooled,” replied the woman. “I lured you in, like a sweet nectar to your nostrils, and being the naïve person you are, you though you were getting an edge over me. Let me tell you, I am much stronger than you shall ever be.”

Therebus swayed on the spot and fell down. He looked up to see the woman staring menacingly at him, her long blade by her side.

“If your brothers want to see you again, they’ll need to stop putting the pieces together,” she explained, before Therebus fainted due to sheer exhaustion. The woman’s smirk etched into his mind as everything went black.

Chris 2.1
1st November 2005, 01:52 PM
Monica, Al and Tekaru still made their way towards Samyura, hoping to learn of Nat’s fate there. The city was not too far off now, and each was anxious to find their friend again. After their brief morality argument, Monica and Al still remained somewhat hostile, with Monica clinging to Tekaru to show she was still strong after the quarrel. Tekaru sensed his presence was being manipulated, but knew preventing it would not happen.

Wandering into the city, the three felt purpose and motivation, albeit wandering aimlessly around for any sign of the Smithy was what they had to resort to. The Smithy went by the name of Tevaro, but nobody knew what on earth he looked like. The three did not realize also that Nat was in Samyura, and in more trouble than they could imagine.

Like Agrotatio Town, Samyura had no towering industrial skyscrapers sweeping up into the heavens. It was a simply a community, with many houses and buildings, with a beautiful coy pond in the center of the city. A large fountain spurted crystal clear water up into the air. Many went to the large pond with water bottles to replenish supplies. There was also a temple behind the pond, in the center of town, which had an interesting symbol on the front. The temple was like a dojo and Monica was intrigued.

“Let’s find someone,” she commented. “Ask where the Smithy lives.”

The three approached a man by the pond, who was collecting water. He turned to them, a big smile on his elderly, tanned face. Monica looked up and saw a cloudless sky, as well as a big, white hot sun shining down.

“The water here is exquisite,” he informed them. “You must try it.”

As Al went to fill everybody’s water bottles up, Monica asked the man about Tevaro.

“Tevaro?” he said. “Yes, yes, he is a renowned craftsman. In the east part of the city is his craft shop…but…”

“But what?” Tekaru asked.

“I haven’t seen him all day,” replied the man. “He usually comes outside on a fine day like this…although in Samyura, every day is like this.”

“Sounds like we have a lead,” Monica told Al as he returned with their water. “Thank you very much sir.”

The three ran off through town, leaving the man by the pond. As they ran off in the east, not one realized that, in the west, Nat sat in Sam and Gabi’s house with mother Eva. All the while, Pyrites watched from the window, hiding in the shadows…waiting for the right moment to strike. He dashed from the window.

“How are you?” Gabi asked.

“Still…well, still the same,” Nat said, smiling. She sighed. “This feels so weird…I hope I can get my memory back soon…”

There was a knock on the door. Eva wandered to get it as Nat stared ahead mysteriously. She felt very awkward sitting in these peoples company. There was nothing to discuss, apart from her obvious amnesia, and the more Nat discussed it, she more she felt humiliated and helpless.

“Hello,” said a voice. “I came as soon as I heard. Do you have my sister?”

“Oh, my, yes!” Eva said hurriedly. “Sh-She’s right here!”

Eva led a figure into the room. With his light, powdery purple suit over a fresh, high-collared white shirt, the white cuffs came out the cuffs of the suit and were so rigid they stuck facing up the arm. The man had a smooth, handsome face, with a glint in his eye. His other eye was obscured by his curving brown hair down his face. He wore a silk glove on each hand.

“This is your brother!” Eva said happily. “What is her name?”

The man looked at her.

“She is Natasha,” he replied. “And my name is Dimitri. What happened to her?”

“We think she was hurt in the explosion by Tatami Lake,” Sam piped up. “She lost her memory.”

“Hang on…” Nat said slowly. “I do remember the name Natasha…and the name Dimitri, too. They sound familiar.”

“Oh, thank goodness!” Pyrites said happily, embracing Nat. “Thank you ever so much for looking after her. I think it is best we leave now, and get Natasha home. This must be terrible for her.”

“What about her memory loss?” Eva asked.

“I’ve heard of temporary amnesia,” Pyrites lied. “It does tend to disappear after a day or so.”

“Well we found Nat last night!” Gabi protested.

“Yes, well I’m sure she will be back to herself in no time,” Pyrites replied curtly, getting very irritated by the children. “Come now, Natasha.”

“Thanks again,” Nat said to the three. “You were a great help.”

“I hope you recover soon, Natasha,” Eva said fondly. “Goodbye.”

“Bye Natasha!” Sam and Gabi cried. Pyrites put his arm around Nat and led her out the house.

“You must feel awful,” he said to Nat. “Don’t worry. You’ll be fine in no time.”

“Thank you, Dimitri,” Nat said quietly. “Where are we going?”

“Oh…of course…” Pyrites replied. “You lost your memory. Natasha, outside of town is a large hill, and when we were growing up we used to always visit it and look at Evayard from the top of the hill. I think it might get your memory back.”

“Ok then,” Nat said innocently. “Thank you.”

“I would do anything for my sister,” Pyrites said, with a flicker in his gaze. “Anything…”


*

“HELLO?” Monica asked, knocking on the door of the famous Tevaro Smithy. “HELLO? MY NAME IS MONICA WARD, I’M LOOKING FOR TEVARO?”

No answer. Al and Tekaru both looked impatient.

“Screw this,” Al said, stepping back. “We need to get that door down. Something isn’t right.”

He charged up green energy in his arms as he crossed them in an X in front of his face. He took a few steps back before launching himself through the air, slashing apart the door with his leaf blade attack. The heavy wooden door splintered before him and the three walked inside.

“Thanks,” Monica said lightly.

“No problem,” Al replied. Tekaru looked somewhat taken aback. Inside was a beautiful gallery containing many samurai swords all around the outside of the shop. There was a counter, with a back door behind it.

“These swords are fantastic,” Al noted, as he examined one. Recently the young man had become more interested in swords, and found these ones fascinating.

“I wonder where Tevaro is,” Tekaru asked mildly.

“TEVARO?” Monica asked. A cry came from behind the door on the other side of the counter. Hearing it, the three got their weapons out and ran towards the door, firing slashes of energy, thunderbolts and shadow balls to smash it down.

The three arrived in the back room, and a man was tied and gagged in the corner, a cut across his cheek. The man was oriental, with no hair on his tanned head. He looked scared and fearful, with a long, wispy moustache. He wore a light brown kimono, with sandals on his feet.

“Are you ok?” Monica asked desperately, dropping her scepter and rushing to the man. She ripped the tape from his mouth, pulling a cloth from his mouth and allowing the man to gasp for breath. His face was shining with sweat.

“Oh my goodness,” he gasped. “Prince Tekaru! Of all the people to find me…thank you so very much!”

Monica looked disgruntled.

“What happened here?” Tekaru asked urgently.

“I…I was just in the shop, minding my own business, and a man wandered in, asking for a sword. I told him they were expensive and he should have experience with swords to be able to wield a Tevaro sword, but he didn’t care. He waved a sort of…wand thing around and I was instantly paralyzed. He dragged me into here and gagged me, before preaching to me about society and its many flaws. Then he locked this door and left. He took one of my strongest swords, too – Placid Storm.”

“Sounds like Pyrites,” Monica declared.

“He is a mysterious adept who has been following us for some time,” Tekaru explained. “But why take –

Al interrupted.

“He’s going to kill Nat,” he said darkly.

“Oh my god,” Monica began, as comprehension dawned on her young, pretty face. “We have to find them now!”

“But where would he be?” Tekaru asked.

“If he was to kill someone, he would take them to a secluded spot,” Tevaro explained. “Samyura has such a place…Monumental Hill. It’s just outside the city.”

“Let’s check there,” Monica said hurriedly. The three thanked Tevaro and ran from his shop as fast as they could. Time was running out, and Nat’s life was in danger.


*

On the top of Monumental Hill, Nat stood in silence as a steady wind picked up and flapped her clothing around. She looked over the city of Samyura with a strained expression on her face. Screwing her face tightly, she stared blankly across the misty land before her, wading through the layers of obscurity for answers.

“No luck?” Pyrites called behind her.

“None…” Nat sighed, slumping and turning around to face the fiend.

“I was so sure just being here would bring back some memories,” Pyrites lied, looking bemused. “We come here all the time.”

“Oh,” Nat responded, crestfallen. “M-Maybe I’m just not trying hard enough…”

“I think you’re right,” Pyrites purred, his sharp eyes surveying her. “This time, do not focus your eyes. Simply stare into the void. Keep yourself firmly poised and do not respond to anything, even if I talk to you. Any noises or voices just block them out.”

“I will,” Nat replied firmly, turning and staring ahead. She tensed herself and stared wildly across the land, not blinking, not moving. Pyrites watched this for a few seconds, waiting until he was fully convinced by the girl’s concentration. He grabbed the sheath on the floor beside him and slowly, surely, gently lifted the sword out; making sure its noise was not heard by the girl. Feeling the metal make a harsh slicing noise as it loosened, Pyrites coughed loudly and, in that time, slipped the sword out completely.

Pyrites got up, steadying the sword in his hands. He paced forward gently, moving with the wind, completely silent. In his time, Pyrites had done many stealth killings and knew exactly how to do things.

The space between Pyrites and Nat lessened as the seconds went by. Nat stared ahead, Pyrites paced towards his prey like a hungry lion, lightening fast; lithe on his feet. Nat was still so vulnerable and stood there innocently.

“You’ve been a challenge,” Pyrites whispered quietly. “But recently you’ve become an annoyance.”

He held the sword back, ready to slash. As he did this, Nat stared blankly ahead. Suddenly, as Pyrites’ fingers clasped around the handle of the sword, a sharp sting erupted into Nat’s head. Her concentration ebbed away as if water was cascading down a drain. Admitting defeat, she turned to face Pyrites.

“Oh my god!” she screamed, diving to the left as Pyrites swung. The man cursed as Nat sprung to her feet. Suddenly, as Nat hit the ground, a fresh, cold wave of empty thought swept over her. Her mind pulsated as all her memories flooded back into her head…memories of Dimitri, her parents, Monica, Lee, the AU…Pyrites trying to hunt her down before, Tekaru, Al, the V4…but the last thing she recollected was the explosion near Tatami Lake.

“MONICA!” Nat screamed. “MONICA! NO! NO!”

“What on earth?” Pyrites asked himself.

“DON’T LEAVE ME MONICA! NO!” Nat was sprawled against a tree, screaming in protest to the memories that rushed into her head.

“Stay still!” Pyrites snapped, readying himself once more. However, as he did so, a thunderbolt flew through the air, striking the man in the back. Giving a groan he dropped the sword and fell to his knees as Monica, Tekaru and Al arrived on the scene.

“Monica!” Nat cried, smiling as tears streamed down her face. “You’re alive?”

“Nat, we’ll explain later!” Monica said desperately. “Are you ok?”

“F-Fine…” Nat muttered.

“Come on,” Al said to Tekaru. “Let’s deal with this guy.”

Drawing their weapons, Al and Tekaru watched Pyrites as Monica ran to Nat. Tekaru gripped his large hammer with its long, gleaming golden handle. Al held his black Assassin blade with vengeance.

“You have been on our tail for a long time,” Tekaru growled. “Now you must pay.”

Pyrites got to his feet, holding the samurai blade.

“I am merely trying to avenge an innocent boy,” he said.

He charged at Tekaru, who darted to the left as a golden streak raced behind him. Al leapt forward and slashed at the whimsical man, who blocked the hit with his sword. Retaliating with slashes back, Pyrites was fiercely dueling with Al. His light, thin sword was easier to swish and sway than Al’s heavier one. Tekaru could only watch.

“Do you think I’ll go down easily?” Pyrites rasped. “I’m not an ordinary adept, you know that.”

“We’re not weak either,” Al snarled, smashing his sword forward and disarming Pyrites. He gave a smirk. “SONIQUE!”

Having learned the technique from Nat, Al slashed his blade forward as a silvery strip of energy hit Pyrites in the ribs. Clicking his gloved fingers, Pyrites caused two identical copies to materialize. Al stepped back.

“Everyone attack a clone!” he yelled, sweeping towards the left Pyrites with anger. He slashed at it, but it multiplied into two more clones, leaving 4 standing and smirking. Tekaru’s Mass Smash attack, in which he swung his charged hammer down at his foe, also produced the same result. The copy of Pyrites flashed and formed into two other copies. Now five stood.

“Confused?” the five clones asked. “I’m not surprised.”

“Keep fighting!” Monica said. “Shadow Ball!”

Hurling the ball forward, Monica saw it smash into Pyrites. The real Pyrites. As he gave a groan and clutched his face, the four copies faded away into the air. The man watched the four disgustedly.

“Society has destroyed your souls,” he growled, face contorted with fury. “Look at you all! Even the royalty in Evayard is…tainted.”

“How dare you,” Tekaru snapped, standing forward. “THUNDERBOLT!”

But as the bolt swept down, Pyrites leapt fluidly back. His sword charged up with fading blue and yellow energy, morphing fantastically as a surging wave of powerful energy was slashed at him. Tekaru fell back with a cry.

“Nat, you’re a lucky girl,” he explained. “Such good, strong friends to protect you. Alas, you came together to defeat me, and you are still unable.”

The four watched Pyrites.

“Perhaps Alan will be ok in the afterlife…”

Little did the four realize Pyrites was referring to the fact that he had killed Alan’s mother.

“He did hate you, I shall not deny that,” Pyrites told them. “But…it is not my duty to keep coming after you. After all, if I were to kill you, your three friends would then hunt me down. Do you see my angle here? If you retaliate, you are giving birth to a never-ending feud between peoples. No good can come of this. I was fond of Alan, I must admit, but this cannot go on any longer.”

He held his hand forward.

“May we call it….quits, as they say?” he asked mildly. Nat looked at him.

“Forget it,” she snapped. “Just leave me be.”

Pyrites retracted his hand. He put Placid Storm back in the sheath and strapped it to his side.

“As you wish,” he said simply, turning and wandering off. “However I am keeping Placid Storm…it will prove useful to me.”

“Give it back!” Monica snapped, stepping forward angrily. Pyrites turned. His face had a stony, serious look on it.

“Don’t you dare make demands of me,” he replied fiercely. “Keep your nose out of my business. This is serious. Leave me while you have the chance…there are forces bigger and more incredible than you will ever know acting as we speak. Go.”

Holding the sword, Pyrites wandered down Monumental Hill.

“We have to stop him!” cried Monica.

“I think we should let him go,” Al said. “He’s leaving us be, and while he is out our lives, Nat is safer. He sounded serious when he mentioned his ‘business’. I don’t think we want to get tangled up in that.”

Tekaru turned, casting his gaze across the land. In the distance, Crufia Castle lay. He clenched his fingers into a fist and stared ahead, a smirk on his face and his hammer in one hand.

“We have a destination,” he told them. “Roger needs sorted out.”

Although while Tekaru said this, Roger’s last words rang in his ears like an alarm, reminding him of everything at stake.

“If you come back to Evayard, I will kill you.”





I hope you all enjoyed that. I'm assuming we have a bunch of closet readers, which I still don't get the idea behind, but hey closet readers!

Just finished writing Ch 23. Fantastic Chap if I may say so. Almost solely based on one group, not really any multi-storylines. And it's a whopping 23 pages :O

Thanks guys!

Chris 2.1
11th November 2005, 05:33 PM
Update.


No new Chappy yet. Just started writing Ch25 - The Unitan Settlement. Ch23 was cut slightly - I got rid of 4 pages in total. Perhaps when we get that far, you'll see why. Ch24 is an interesting one, with a lot of action and duelling, and Ch25 looks to be more of the same.

I'll guess the fic will be around 40 chapters. We're on 25 now and it's got a LONG way to go.

Chris 2.1
3rd December 2005, 05:46 PM
Another update:

I saw someone (A Guest) printing some of this topic off. Is that you, Oakbark? I can only assume your account got terminated or something...but why didn't you make a new username? I miss everyone who used to reply to the fic. But I know people are out there!


Currently writing Ch26. I will update with a new chapter very soon. I am predicting the fic will stretch past 40 Chapters, as I have reached a point in a small subplot that will hopefully explain quite a lot. It might also take some time to develop, so I might have to allow a few more chapters in there.

As it stands, there is quite a substantial amount of character development for nearly all of the characters in one form or another. Some are stronger than others, and I do plan on focusing on some aspects of the fic and some characters in the fic in due course.

The map of Evayard will be posted very shortly, too, as it is nearing completion.

Chris 2.1
13th December 2005, 05:25 PM
Monica’s Vendetta
Thirteen
Ninja 5: Part 1


Now that Nat was reunited with the group, the 4 Adepts spent the next day in Samyura, in the cool shade from the powerful sun. Under the canopy of leaves a large, docile tree provided, everybody got up to speed on the current events. Nat explained to the group about her temporary amnesia, and how she remembered collapsing once the mansion exploded. Al came to the conclusion that the amnesia was brought on after Nat thought Monica was dead. She collapsed from grief, and knocked herself out, bringing the amnesia around. Tekaru backed this up, saying he had heard of this before.

“And then, when I leaped from Pyrites, I collided into the ground,” Nat added. “…yea, that’s when I recalled everything and got my memory back…”

“Do you think Pyrites did blow up Silva’s manor?” Tekaru asked Monica, having learned of the woman’s name.

“No,” Monica said simply. “I don’t think he did.”

“Neither do I,” Al said, looking across for Monica’s reaction. “I think he simply exploited Nat’s condition. After seeing Nat in Samyura (he does follow her around, remember?), he probably figured out how to take advantage of it.”

“Yea, I agree with Al,” Monica told Tekaru, for it was he who fielded the question. “For now, I’d say it is unrelated to us.”

Nat looked around the serene city. It was something so simple and relatively easy that made this charming city so appealing. No special ‘feature’; it was purely a wonderful place to lounge around and simply think.

“I wish we could stay here longer,” she sighed blissfully. “This place is…nice.”

“We have more to concentrate on,” Tekaru reminded her. “Crufia lies north of here.”

“This is it…” Monica said slowly. “Our confrontation with Roger.”

“Are we really ready, though?” Nat asked skeptically. Tekaru looked intrigued, and his look seemed to motion for Nat to elaborate. “I mean…Monica and Tekaru are both Level 11. Al is level 7 now, and I am level 9. Tekaru, you told us the V4 are each Level 20. How do you expect us to defeat them?”

“We may not need to,” Tekaru retaliated. “Roger would fight us with the V4 if he anticipated our arrival. Perhaps we can launch a discreet sneak attack so he is not ready.”

“If that is the case, then we’re still stuck,” Nat said calmly. “We don’t know how strong Roger is, but we’ve seen he can beat you up pretty badly.”

Tekaru looked rather embarrassed. He stared down at his feet. Nat watched him, thinking to herself, before finally speaking up.

“Look, Tekaru, I know you want to get to Crufia as soon as possible,” she told him, a soothing sound in her voice. “But we have to be logical about this. If we get stronger, we’ll take Roger on and be triumphant. If we go now, we could all perish at his hands.”

“If you ever come back to Evayard, I will kill you.” Tekaru ran those words though his head.

“Perhaps,” he admitted.

“We still don’t know what Roger is doing,” Monica added. “He may not be doing anything wrong at all.”

Al looked at Tekaru, who was glowing red in shame. He saw Nat and Monica, both trying to assess the situation, and knew he had to do something.

“I know you’re right, Tekaru,” he said boldly, looking at Monica and Nat. “Roger is up to something.”

“Thanks,” Tekaru said lightly.

Yes, he thought to himself, seeing the shocked expression on Monica’s face. He had done the right thing there, giving Tekaru some confidence again. Al was worried that Tekaru might become reclusive if any arguments broke out over the Crufia situation.

Monica, meanwhile, gave Al a faint smile as he stuck up for Tekaru. Al saw this and didn’t really know what to think. The quaint silence was ruptured when both of Monica’s hands glowed a bright blue and faced palm-up. From each hand, a blue head formed. On the left was the wise face of Mortimer. On the right, the determined frown of Chrome. Monica had not been in contact with either of these AU members (or their respected groups) since the mission in Perlei.

“Mortimer! Chrome!” Monica cried out.

“Monica, you’re using the pathian ability!” Tekaru cried.

“Silva’s…training must have helped,” Nat concluded.

“Monica, good to see you,” Mortimer said wisely. “As you may be aware, you are in a 3-way connection with me and Chrome. Little do you realize, a lot has happened since we all dispersed from Perlei. This connection allows a free spread of ideas and news to each party.”

“Ok,” Monica said lightly. “I’m here with Al, Nat, and Prince Tekaru Farrimond. You might know him, Mortimer.”

“Of him, yes,” Mortimer replied. “But…might I ask what he is doing away from Evayard?”

“We’re in Evayard,” Monica explained. “Tekaru found us after being thrown from the continent by his soon-to-be stepfather, Roger Megallo. And –

“Monica, Monica, we know about Roger,” Mortimer began. “You mean to say you’re in Evayard? It might interest you to know Chrome’s group is here, too.”

“So the AU is all in Evayard? That cannot be coincidence,” said Monica. “We’re in Samyura now…there have been complications like a kidnapping and a short-term memory loss, but we’re probably heading to Crufia today.”

“I see,” Mortimer said lightly. “Well, Monica, Lee managed to find a location for the Mask of Babylon. He is currently heading north to Mahanui to locate the Mask before returning to us. Meanwhile, Roger has falsely imprisoned Afee, Boko and I for treason. Prince Farrimond, I assure you we were doing no such act. We have been in jail for some time, underneath the castle, and recently Roger announced two things. One: his marriage to Lady Teresa will be in a few days time, and secondly: the three of us are to be trialed for acts against humanity. If we are found guilty…we will be killed.”

“No!” Monica shouted.

“That is preposterous,” Tekaru boomed. “Roger has taken this too far!”

“We need help, fast,” Mortimer told the groups. “Our time is running out.”

“Monica,” Chrome said. “I am here with Zuuki, Salo and Damien. As with us too, a lot has happened of late.”

As Chrome began, Al was explaining to Nat (in a mere whisper) that Damien ran from the ship and headed home after he got cold feet about fighting Dimitri. He was indeed surprised that Damien’s position in the AU was still maintained.

“In Perlei, at Serenity Lake, Seryun Kotsoru attacked us. He managed to kill Master Jackson instantly. He is still a young man, but has mastered incredible strength in the short time on the earth. We fought him, but sensing a defeat, split up to meet in Colina. Seryun was without his accomplice, Splinter, who we believe to have perished at somebody’s guilty hands.”

On the mention of guilt, Damien felt his face redden and his feet shift around. Taking deep breaths, he found it hard to quell the self-hate rising in his body. No news on his father…had anybody found him yet? Remembering how he dragged the corpse into the fireplace, Damien wondered if his house was burned to a crisp. A tear tried escaping his eye, but he would not allow it. If his Father burned to a crisp…could it be that he, Damien, was also presumed dead?

“Hey…it’s ok…” Salo said softly, putting an arm around him. Damien quickly looked at the girl, who gave a worried gasp and pulled her arm back so fast it might have been elasticized. Pink patches appeared in Salo’s cheeks as she began muttering something about ‘sorry’ and ‘just friends’. Damien looked at her and smiled. That human contact…it had briefly put out the fiery guilt licking his insides.

“We contacted Mortimer’s group to tell them of the news,” Chrome carried on. “And learned of their imprisonment. We made our way to Crufia, but were attacked by two of Roger’s sons. Karadon and Scott. Karadon soon left after we were weakened; apparently he found some information worth looking into. Scott chased us into the gardens of the castle as the four of us lay weakened, but he too was called away to meet the other two brothers. We have been in Crufia resting since then.”

“Ok,” Monica said slowly. “Well, we had an encounter with the V4, as they are known, in Saffron City, where I live. The four of them hunted us down, and killed a boy named Alan Michael while doing so. They want us dead.”

“And we’ve begun to learn why,” came Zuuki’s voice from somewhere on Monica’s right hand. “All of us have been targeted one way or another by this ‘V4’. It’s clear they didn’t want us arriving in Evayard. Not all 3 groups, anyway. With one group already here they had to stop them meeting any of us, and they tried, but things just fell apart. Obviously the V4 know about Dimitri’s collapse, and they know that we are strongest when united. Obviously they wanted to prevent that from happening, and decided to pick us off separately.”

“That sounds correct,” Mortimer agreed.

“Tekaru told us something was up with Roger. He didn’t know what, exactly, and I don’t think we will just yet. But we can tell Tekaru was serious,” Monica said darkly. “Roger is obviously doing something if he doesn’t want a group like us interfering with his plans.”

“And with his V4 helping him, with those huge elementa’s, we’re going to have a tough time,” Chrome added.

“I think not,” Mortimer chuckled. “You see, we were visited by Luke a few days ago. He did, after some persuasion, spill his heart open and reveal more than he intended to.”

“Like what?” Tekaru asked enticingly. Mortimer looked satisfied at having everybody’s attention.

“He explained Roger does not give any information to his sons. It seems he is their puppet master, and they are mere puppets. A tapestry in Roger’s chamber seems to be hiding something…and if you ask me, that is our next lead.”

“You mean our only lead,” Chrome sighed.

“I think that Tekaru can try to get some leeway with his mother to let us out,” Mortimer concluded. “If not, with Roger’s sons on the panel, things would look grim. However, now that an abyss has opened between this father-son relationship, I’m not all that certain we are to be lead to our death.”

“Train up a little bit more,” Mortimer advised Monica. “And then make your way to Crufia. Assemble with Chrome’s group and form two mixed groups – we need some sort of mix between your groups. Team A’s objective is to find the Tapestry, which I believe is in Roger’s chamber. Tekaru will be able to tell you where this is. As for Team B, they are to come to the prison and break Boko, Afee and myself out of prison. Tekaru, I am asking that you are in the Team that goes to the Prison. The guards will let you to see the prisoners. Then, Team B (which will include Boko, Afee and me) will come to the Tapestry and lend backup support.”

“Right,” Monica nodded.

“You must be careful. Roger may nearly be royalty, but he still plays dirty by the sounds of it. Do you know what you have to do?”

“Yes,” came from Monica and Chrome.

“I will go now,” Mortimer concluded. “Be strong. Train up – there is a Gym in Samyura. Head to Crufia over the next day or so and make a difference.”

And with that, Mortimer’s head slowly faded away. Monica stared at Chrome.

“See you soon,” Chrome muttered, before slowly fading too, leaving Monica with her hands free. She looked at Al, Nat and Tekaru, who seemed to be waiting for some confirmation of their mission.

“I cannot believe Mother is marrying Roger!” Tekaru cried.

“I can’t believe Lee has gone solo finding that mask,” Monica sighed.

“I can’t believe we’ll be seeing the rest of the AU so soon,” Al said, almost as if a reunion was foreboding towards what they may have to face over the coming weeks.

“I can’t believe Serena won’t be with us,” Nat sniffed. The four seemed lost in the information both Mortimer and Chrome had helped provide. Monica, still worried about Lee, imagining him fend of biting winds on his own, jumped from her daydreaming and clenched her fingers into a fist.

“Let’s head to that Gym,” she said powerfully. She felt somewhat flushed and, for reasons she could not explain, preferred not making eye contact with Tekaru, who seemed inquisitive.

Now with a new purpose, new motive, and a plan set in stone, Monica’s group made their way through Samyura towards the Gym. Meanwhile, from the Gym, a man watched the group wander closer. He had shaggy black hair and a pig-like snout. He was broad and beefy, with an oriental background.

“It is her!” he cried. “Brother!”

Another man, oriental but skinny and tall, grabbed the binoculars from his brother and pressed them to his eyes.

“I do recognize Monica…” he said slowly. “And Nat looks familiar to. Perhaps we will be seeing a reunion on our hands?”

Chris 2.1
13th December 2005, 05:25 PM
Meanwhile, Roger wandered down a stone passageway in the castle. It was broad and lined with torch brackets and portraits. He used his fingers to style his graying moustache. Arriving at a large door, he eyed the lettering on the front and gave a snort. Opening it up, he commenced his walk through the room, which had a fancy four-poster bed in one corner. As Roger approached it, he held a hand forward and frowned thickly. A pink aura materialized around the bed and it gradually moved to the left a few feet, revealing a large, square trapdoor barely visible in the stone floor. Roger wandered towards it and felt for a handle. He heaved it upwards and propped it upright. He could see a small golden light down there.

Clambering down the hole via a ladder, Roger stopped and made sure the bed was covering the trapdoor once more. He dropped off the ladder and arrived in a dimly-lit chamber. It was large and spacious, with many bookshelves lining the walls. A woman approached him and greeted Roger. She was looking as cute as she ever did, with her sleek black hair now in two bunches either side of her tanned, oriental face. Her eyes twinkled with a familiar majesty, and her white ¾ trousers showed soft, exquisite legs. She wore a white top over her smooth body, leaving her tanned stomach visible to all. A pretty jewel was embedded in her belly button. Now 20 years old, she eyed Roger with intrigue. It was Lusaka-Lae. Dimitri’s second-hand woman. The kidnapper of Nat all that time ago.

“We had to do it,” she explained. Her voice was not cute, but harsh. Like a whip it cracked meaning and demonstrated a core of power.

“He’s my son!” Roger protested manically. “People will find out.”

“People will find out he went missing,” Lusaka snapped back. “Not that he was kidnapped by his father and held hostage.”

Roger sensed the young girl would not back down.

“It will be hard to cover up,” Roger admitted.

“If it goes badly, you’ll get the chop,” Lusaka smirked. “You’ll be interrogated, blamed, and quizzed for answers. Not me. Everybody who knows I fled Asterid Fortress believes me to have been destroyed by the falling of Obola.”

“Can’t you at least empathize with me here?” Roger snapped. “I’m about to become King of Evayard, and marry the woman I love. I have so many skeletons in my closet I’ll need a second one any day now. It’s all secrets and lies.”

“When your son went behind the tapestry, for a few seconds he felt like the biggest idiot in the world,” Lusaka laughed. “All that hype, and nothing there at all.”

“He heard breathing,” Roger replied grittily. “He’ll have guessed we relocated, not that he was wrong about there being someone else there.”

Lusaka feigned an offended look.

“Don’t get snappy with me,” she muttered. “Anyway, we need to think about what we can do with your son. He saw the map, and thinks you know where the Wysha Diamond is.”

Roger stayed silent. Lusaka smirked again.

“Funny, isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically. “Your sons all know about the Wysha Diamond…and I know everything about the Wysha Diamond…yet you don’t seem to know a thing. Do you know why that is?”

Again, Roger stayed silent.

“Because you’re an IDIOT,” snapped Lusaka. “Naive and foolish…”

“Shut up,” Roger said threateningly. “I’m strong, you know.”

“I should know,” Lusaka replied enticingly, rolling her eyes. “I GAVE you all the power you asked for. My Master may have passed away, but he left me something useful…”

Lusaka patted something in her pocket.

“Your sons do not believe in you any longer,” she announced. “In the Library, I watched them. As a dormouse, of course. Karadon, Scott and Luke all think you’re not worth trusting any more. You’re allies have left you, you IDIOT.”

“Well I have you,” Roger said. Lusaka let out a cold, hollow laugh as she watched Roger’s expression.

“YOU have ME?” she asked. “Is that right? Roger, you may be old, but you’ve got no such authority. If anything, I have YOU.”

“W-What I meant, is that we are on the same side, fighting for the same cause,” Roger said desperately. “If the AU attacked me…you’d back me up, correct?”

Watching the hungry expression on Roger’s face was satisfying for Lusaka. Like a cat ready to strike down on a tiny mouse, she moved softly; lithe, yet with a complex mix of sharpness and stealth.

“We’ll see,” she said softly. There was an operating-style table to their left. It had a figure on it. Lusaka turned towards it.

“I could strike NOW,” she hissed. “But I have to restrain myself. Never enjoy the puzzle until all the pieces are in place.”

Roger watched her. He muttered to himself, contemplating his next decision. Before long, he clenched his fist and, as Lusaka wandered around with her back to him, speaking prophetic words and linguistic phrases, he readied himself.

Pacing forward, grunting heavily, Roger held his fist back and approached Lusaka. This is right, he told himself. I am a slave no more. Aiming a punch, he was surprised when Lusaka pounced forward as if she were a cat. Turning on the spot and getting back onto her feet, Lusaka sent four ninja stars shooting from her agile fingers. They cut the front of Roger’s clothing and managed to pin him against the stone wall.

“These are…a special brand of weapon,” Lusaka admitted. “Able to penetrate stone, as you can see. Lucky for me, I have a friend who is very, very good with weapons…”

Roger hung from the wall, unable to get down.

“Where is my son?” he barked.

“He is in a safe location,” Lusaka confessed. “And as long as you never try that again…he should stay safe. But try and turn your back on the promises you made, and the devotion expected from you…and your fiancée, your sons, and your soon-to-be kingdom will suffer at my hands.”


*

At the Gym in Samyura, Monica knocked on the door. It was a large, wooden gate, and the inside looked something like a dojo. As Monica pushed on the doors, she eventually opened them up. They could see a large courtyard with an arena drawn in the dusty earth. The house, or building, was constructed on all three sides around the arena, made from thin walls. It was a typical Japanese-style house from olden times. A wooden porch all around the house had three wooden steps leading onto the courtyard-turned arena. The roof was stylish and a dark slate colour, with a pointed top and the ends curved upwards somewhat. On the roof opposite the gates was a peace symbol and a yin-yang merged together.

“Looks like a dojo,” Monica said. “Any of us could fight here if we wanted to.”

“I’m fighting,” Al said triumphantly, stepping forward. “Level eight, here I come.”

Nat looked at Al, sighed, and stepped forward. “I’ll fight too,” she said. “I need the experience.”

Both Al and Nat watched for any signs of life, but there seemed to be none. Suddenly, the gates blew shut with a bang. Monica gasped as she turned around. Had they been led into a trap?

“Hey! What’s going on?” she asked. A voice came from the shadows of the house opposite the gates.

“Monica Ward…” it said.

“They know you!” Tekaru cried.

“Natasha…” another voice said.

“What is this?” Monica asked desperately. There were five cries, all varying in pitch and tone, and five figures swept from the insides of the house, landing on one side of the arena. Monica gasped as she recognized four of the figures. Nat also seemed shocked.

“It is us, the Ninja 5!” cried one of the men. All of them looked to be between the ages of 14, to as old as 21. There were 4 men – Pheno was the short one and probably the youngest at around 14. Jiin was the fat one, maybe up to 16 or 17, with a sumos build and a squat face. Gohra was the broad one, with big shoulders and a flat nose. His eyes were deep and he looked around 21. Then San Jai was the tall one, perhaps a year or so younger than Gohra, with a spindly figure and a surprised expression. The fifth member was a girl, probably 17 years old, with her black hair short and looking tomboyish. Each wore coffee-coloured kimonos. On their belt, the same symbol of a merged yin-yang and peace sign was visible.

“I remember you now!” Monica cried happily. It was in Kikio, all the way in Altonia, that Monica and Nat encountered the four (the woman was a new face to Monica). These four ran the Alliance Gym, and the four brothers battled Monica, Nat, Victor and Lee. As a result, each earned an Alliance Badge – A shield in a chosen colour. Monica looked at hers, saw Nat looking at her Alliance badge too and smiled. “What brings you to Evayard?”

“After you left Kikio, we spent a few months taking on challengers,” San Jai told them. “But soon after, we felt the need to move on. We heard about the warriors who managed to find their way into paradise -” (this was actually Mortimer’s group; Mortimer, Boko, Afee, Reef and Lee) “- and decided to find that place ourselves. Since then, we have been training in Samyura with weapons given from Tevaro himself. We converted our courtyard into a gym for duels with adepts.”

“Wow,” Nat said, smiling. “And you have a new companion?”

San Jai looked across at the girl.

“Lilla is a very strong adept we met shortly after arriving in Evayard,” he went on. “Gohra is currently dating her. They are very much in love.”

“Congratulations,” Monica said, smiling.

“However, we are all very keen fighters,” San Jai continued. “It is disappointing only two of us shall fight you.”

“I suppose we could duel too,” Tekaru mumbled. “But neither of us can use badges.”

“You would be able to, Prince Farrimond,” Pheno said quietly.

“Well then…” Tekaru mused. “I suppose I’ll fight too!”

“Same here,” Monica said. “A 4-5 duel it is then! Only I won’t be receiving any badges.”

“Firstly to battle will be Pheno VS Al!” San Jai cried. Nat, Monica and Tekaru sat on a bench behind Al’s side of the arena. Similarly, the other three of Ninja 5 sat on a bench behind Pheno, while San Jai refereed.

“BEGIN!” San Jai roared. Instantly, Pheno drew a wooden sword and ran headlong at Al. Al watched, hands by his sides, patiently waiting for the right time to strike. As Pheno got close, Al reached for his sword…but the pint-sized fighter sped through the air and dealt a blow to Al’s face. Being a wooden, blunt sword, this only bruised his jaw, but nevertheless Al still fell down. Pheno leapt backwards, soaring high up, arching back and landing back on his side of the arena as Al got up.

“LEAF BLADE!” Al roared, crossing his arms in front of him. A glow took over as blades of green energy swept out from his wrists. The boy stood, watching Pheno with a devilish stare. Pheno charged again, but Al was ready this time. Pheno saw the leaf blade and leapt up into the air, charging energy into his sword. However, Al uncrossed his arms in a double-swiping motion to expel the green energy right into the ground. The sand was hit by the attack and a small cloud of dust rose around the arena. Pheno, falling down into the cloud of dust, could not see where Al was. He suddenly leapt up from the cloud of dust, slashed his sword lengthways and sliced up Pheno’s wooden sword.

“Nice work Al!” Nat cheered. As both Pheno and Al landed back into the dust, Al gripped his sword in both hands and began spinning around wildly, doing something similar to a swords dance. The dust cleared, and Pheno looked to be still standing, albeit without a sword.

Pheno ran forward again, screaming out loud as a semi-transparent rat creature formed from behind him. It was a bronze colour with large fangs. Pheno let the spirit sink into his body, and it psyched him up.

“What was that all about?” Monica asked.

“We get our power from our Chinese Zodiac signs,” Gohra shouted. “Pheno is born in the year of the rat.”

Pheno’s nails became long, metal claws that he feverishly swiped towards Al. The young man blocked with his broad sword and tried to attack Pheno, but being as short as he was, he managed to weave in all the little spaces and strike Al.

“Hit him with bigger attacks!” Nat shouted. Al heard this and slashed a sonique forward, smashing into Pheno’s ribs and forcing him back. He sniffed the air and slashed with his claws. Al charged energy up in his sword again and swung it from left to right, sending a plethora of magical leaves sweeping towards the young boy. Pheno slashed some away, but a lot managed to slash away his strength. Al took a few steps back, slipping his sword away and charging another leaf blade.

“Yes!” Tekaru cried out. “Leaf Blade!”

Soaring through the air, blades of energy forming from his wrists, Al smirked as he swiped his arms apart and, getting closer to a stunned Pheno, slashed both blades across his foe’s chest before planting a kick and leaping back into the air.

Pheno collapsed, unable to continue, his sword in pieces. Monica’s side cheered loudly for Al, who turned and beamed proudly at them with his perfect teeth. Monica smiled, nodding in approval, while Nat whistled with her fingers, and Tekaru clapped with gusto. Pheno went to sit on the bench with his brothers.

“Great duel!” Nat cried. “That leaf blade into the ground was a brilliant idea!”

“Brains over brawn,” Al said boldly. “Or brains AND brawn if you’re me!”

Monica was surprised what emotions rose out of this little bit of fun. Pheno was not seriously hurt, but the rugged duels seemed to fuel everyone’s lust for fighting. Monica felt that was a good thing. In the weeks to follow, the group would need to be ready to fight – whenever and wherever.

“Are you staying on for the next fight?” Monica asked.

“Yea, bring it on!” Al cried, turning towards the Ninja 5. They looked somewhat offended. The fat one, Jiin, rose from his seat, double chin wobbling profoundly. His kimono looked stretched and Monica thought he had definitely gained weight since they last met. His belt was black. Stomping to the arena, he began slapping his belly like some sort of psyche-up.

“Are both of you ready?” San Jai roared. Al narrowed his eyes, and the rather corpulent Jiin clapped his shovel-like hands together, before giving a firm nod. “BEGIN!”

“Leaf Blade!” Al roared, crossing his arms as the familiar green glow overpowered him. As the long blades of green energy curved from his wrists down to his elbows, Al swiped his arms apart as he flew through the air at Jiin. Jiin looked ready. As Al prepared a double slash, Jiin drove his hands together like a pair of cymbals and trapped both Al’s hands. His grip high above his head, Al was hanging from the tall, bulky warriors vice as his attack failed.

“Oh my god!” Monica cried.

“He blocked the attack!” Tekaru shouted. Jiin then surprised everybody by crouching before leaping high into the air, taking Al with him in his firm grip between his large hands. He then threw Al down towards the ground, who smashed into the worn floor and let out a groan.

“Watch out! He’s coming back down!” Nat screamed. Jiin flew down towards Al and prepared to land on him. He smashed down onto Al and caused the young man to give a roar of pain.

“Al!” Monica cried out. “Are you ok?”

Al precariously got up, swaying on the spot. The Ninja 5 were laughing at him. He looked very hurt and reached for his sword. Jiin stood there, his little slits of eyes showing mirth and pleasure at stopping Al in his tracks.

“Are you going to keep going?” Monica shouted. Al stood weakly, swaying on the spot. Before he could answer, Jiin stamped at the ground with his large feet and disorientated the young Quaker. As this happened, he ran forward with his huge hands and smashed them into Al’s head, one on each side as if he were being hit with cymbals. Al collapsed weakly.

“I suppose he won’t!” Gohra shouted, laughing heartily. Lilla wrapped her arms around his muscular torso, silently watching the group.

“Fine,” Monica snapped. “Al, come back. Tekaru, get out there!”

As Al crawled off the arena, eyes screwed up in pain, Monica and Nat helped him towards the bench, where he sat, feeling his ribs throb with pain. Tekaru walked forward onto the arena, feeling eyes pressed against him as he prepared to take on Jiin. He closed his eyes and bowed his head. He clutched the crucifix that he carried with him at all times.

Dear Father, he began whispering. Help me fight this colossal beast.

Powarun
17th December 2005, 08:45 PM
I like that last line, "help me fight this colossal beast" Glad to know that the AU is reforming, and almost ready to take on Roger. I am not going to say anything spoilerish till someone else replies, but this is a good chapter for foreshadowing, and underingstanding the AU's stregnth and Mortimer's genius. Now it kind of puzzles me how and why they had to get all of the god's weapons in teh orginal story, instead of just getting the V4 pissed off.

Chris 2.1
18th December 2005, 07:38 PM
Powarun: Yea finally we're learning about Tekaru. So the mysterious King Farrimond is finally mentioned...but why does Tekaru pray to his Father? Obviously this plot is explored more and more, and in the more recently finished chapters (Early 20's) we see a lot on Tekaru's Faith when it is truly tested.

And you're right, this chapter really shows the AU working as a single unit; reaching a decision together and finally taking action against Roger Megallo.


Oh and spoil it, please. This chapter is at the top of the page, and you're the only reader anyway. Go nuts! talk about the Roger scene, what did you think of it?

Powarun
29th December 2005, 08:34 PM
I thought the Roger scene was well played out. I especially enjoy the fact that Roger is a puppet, like most kings are. Lusaka again. Hope she gets a good one on one fight with the sister of Dimitri. Although I see the V4 all attacking her to protect Roger whom told the truth about everything to them in order to protect himself. Like I said, glad to see them all acknowledging the fact that they need to get better.

Chris 2.1
30th December 2005, 07:16 AM
Powarun: Hey again. I think one thing about the V4 is that they show just how far the AU have to grow - individually, I don't think any of them compare to the V4, elementa's or not. So it is nice to see these powerful, god-like adepts get some depth. Lusaka is back - something I wanted to leave you guessing about for some time (is she alive? How? Are Ray and Scabb? Etc), but there came a point when she needed to be revealled, which added a new level of depth to Roger's character.

And I do think, since this is the final Monica fic, that Lusaka and Nat will have a duel to end all duels. I am currently half-way (approximately) through Ch27, and can assume the fic will reach at least 35 Chapters. I still have a lot planned, and am currently planning the Final Battle.

The next parts of the fic are some of the best...I really think the quality of Vendetta is improving vastly. I have written a lot already and I have re-read it, and was actually captivated by my own writing, which sounds both big-headed and impressive. I hope you enjoy it.

Chris 2.1
7th January 2006, 11:34 AM
Monica’s Vendetta
Fourteen
Ninja 5: Part 2

“Ready?” San Jai asked, eyeing both Tekaru and Jiin as they stood facing each other. Tekaru’s heart was hammering fast. He had to try and defeat this giant beast; he had already defeated Al in minutes. With pressure now on in regards to his performance, Tekaru took one last look at his friends and cleared his throat.

“Yes,” Again, Jiin gave a firm nod.

“BEGIN!” San Jai roared. Tekaru stood still, waiting for any movements. Jiin stayed where he was, his tiny eyes focused on Tekaru the entire time. Tekaru held his hands out and gave a roar.

“HAMMER OF TARTARUS!”

The long handled, golden hammer formed in both hands as he gripped it tightly. Giving off a golden glow, Tekaru still saw no reaction from Jiin. His velvet shirt, short-sleeved and a plum colour meant he was stiflingly hot in this weather. Similarly, his baggy black silk trousers were heating up. Moving his feet slightly in his nimble, slipper-like shoes, Tekaru thought to himself.

“KARMA AIR!” he roared. “Into the hammer!”

The orb of energy materialized into Tekaru’s hand as he plunged it into his hammer. The hammer flashed a golden colour and started to give off an odd, golden steam suggesting it was full of power.

“Tekaru’s powering himself up,” Nat commented. “Taking advantage of the fact Jiin doesn’t like to attack directly.”

“But he will be able to attack directly, if he needs to,” Monica said thoughtfully. “And he still has his Chinese Zodiac…”

“Was there even a year of the Hippo?” Nat asked, smirking. Al started to chuckle, but it hurt his ribs doing so.

After a third Karma air, a much bigger golden glow shrouded Tekaru as the same golden steam rose from his body. Angry, he clenched his hammer tightly and narrowed his eyes. Jiin still watched, a wide smile on his face.

“He needs to attack,” Monica sighed.

“He will,” Nat replied.

At that moment, Tekaru began to run towards Jiin. Readying his large hands, the big adept waited for the right time. His accuracy and precision was top-notch, and while Tekaru ran, he waited.

Tekaru, however, was not going to allow a repeat of Al’s duel. He leapt up into the air and soared above Jiin. As he did this, he swung his hammer down with both hands, sending himself sweeping down with a bolt of lightening coursing through his hammer. Smashing the hammer into Jiin’s face, Tekaru pushed back and flipped through the air onto the arena again. He slipped his hammer away. Jiin looked shocked, but carried on.

It was then that Tekaru drew the small, golden cross from his pocket. It was roughly the size of his hand, and a shimmering gold in colour. He held it forward.

“Power of Faith!” he roared. The cross began pulsating a feverish white. Legs apart, Tekaru held the cross forward as if he were brandishing a sword. Jiin saw this and gave a laugh. He stomped forward.

“YEAR OF THE OX!” Jiin roared loudly. A large spiritually transparent form of an ox hovered above him, before sweeping into his body and giving him a new found animal strength. As his arms soared above his head, Jiin charged. An orange energy shrouded him as he got closer to Tekaru.

This behemoth was ploughing right at the young prince, hands held forward and covering his face and body almost. It was if Jiin was using these large hands as a shield while he aimed right at Tekaru. However, a golden circle appeared beneath Tekaru, widening its diameter and stretching outwards. As soon as Jiin stepped over this golden line of the circle, he flashed blue and became paralyzed.

“Oh my god!” Nat cried. “Jiin’s stopped in his tracks!”

“What is this?” Gohra roared.

“My Plasma Wave,” Tekaru grinned. “An area of pure electrical energy. Enter the electrical field and face a heavy electric shock.”

“I can’t move!” Jiin cried.

“HAMMER OF TARTARUS!” Tekaru shouted, summoning his huge hammer again. The golden steam rose from his body. “Remember all that powering up? Prepare to feel it.”

Tekaru sped along the arena, hammer withdrawn back. Jiin, still frozen, looked on with pure horror across his face. Tekaru swung and smashed Jiin with his hammer, throwing him to the ground in his frozen state.

“Thunder!” Tekaru roared, as a huge, gargantuan bolt of electricity flew down and struck Jiin. He gave a long cry of pain.

“I SURRENDER!” he bawled. Tekaru clapped his hands and the paralysis wore off. Instantly, with a smile on his face, Jiin leapt to his feet and drew his fist back. Tekaru darted to the left, around Jiin and smashed him in the back with his hammer. Jiin fell down, unconscious.

“Tekaru…wins…” San Jai said emptily, as Jiin was helped off by Gohra. The big, muscled adept looked aghast at Tekaru.

“The Prince of Evayard wins!” Tekaru cheered.

“Great work!” Nat cried. The tone of her voice suggested she really was impressed. Gohra stood up.

“I will not allow such underhand tactics!” he cried. “I’M NEXT!”

Lilla watched stiffy, and Tekaru came to sit back down on the bench, reserving his health for later on in the match. Nat got up, drawing her Raegan Blade from her sheath and wandering forward.

“I hope you’re better than last time,” Nat rasped, legs apart and facing Gohra. He flexed his muscles and gave a shuddering roar. Monica watched from the sidelines, seeing Al looking utterly defeated on her left, and Tekaru full of life and vitality to her right.


*

Meanwhile, in Crufia, Chrome, Zuuki, Salo and Damien hung around a large Inn. They had to lie low. The four had recovered their strengths over the past few days and were back on top form. They wanted to stay hidden in case the V4 tried to attack them again. Salo was petrified of the large elementas.

Their room consisted of four beds, each single and with white sheets. The room was like a cabin, with wooden walls and a wooden floor. There was a picture of Mahanui, the small village in the mountains. Another picture showed a drawing of Evayard itself. Chrome lay on his bed, his shiny, metal body glimmering in the light. He looked somewhat flustered by the lack of any other adults in his own group. However, Mortimer’s words had an impact on him, and he felt, in his mind, stronger than ever. Zuuki sat on the window sill, looking out onto Crufia, her shades over her pretty eyes. A meaningful expression was on her face. Damien and Salo were sitting on a bed together, whispering.

“All we must do now is wait,” Chrome announced, staring at the ceiling. Zuuki, unable to take this silence, leapt from the sill and started doing pushups.

“So…do you mean it?” Damien asked innocently.

“Yea!” Salo replied. “I – think – you’re – cute.”

Damien smiled. Salo gave him a little kiss on the cheek.

“Do…do you like me?” she asked nervously, shuffling her feet. Damien gave a throaty gulp as he glowed red.

“…Yea,”

He pecked her on the cheek lightly. Salo, still young at only 14 years of age, moved her hand onto Damien’s, staring into his eyes and smiling. Damien was bewildered; his red cheeks making him look somewhat exhausted.

As they enjoyed this moment, Chrome intervened.

“Don’t be so stupid!” he snapped. “Fraternizing with each other! You’re about to raid a Castle for gods sake!”

Normally, Damien would apologize and never look at Salo again. But not this time. He stood up, glaring at Chrome’s grey eyes.

“Don’t you dare bully me around,” he snapped back. “I’ll do what I want, when I want, with who I want, and you can’t stop me. You’re not my father!”

“I should bring your father with us,” Chrome replied. “Maybe he could bully you into learning some manners!”

“HE WON’T BULLY ME ANYMORE!” Damien roared. Chrome was stunned. Salo looked apprehensive, shuffling along the bed and stroking her hair back. Zuuki stopped her pushup. Damien was read in the face, breathing deeply as Chrome took a step back.

“I…sorry…” Damien muttered, particularly at Salo. He wandered off outside. “I need some time alone.”

Slamming the door, Damien left the other three with confused expressions. Zuuki got up and sat on the end of her bed as Chrome sighed to himself.

“When did he get so…confident?” Chrome asked.

“He obviously began standing up to his father,” Zuuki explained. “What a fiery temper!”

“You’re so horrible to him,” Salo muttered.

“He is nothing short of a traitor!” Chrome cried. “He left us when we needed him the most.”

“His father’s a very pressuring man!” Salo cried back.

“Look, just because you kissed him, doesn’t mean you need to stand up for him,” Chrome said. Salo sniffed in displeasure.

“If Margus is so pressuring, Damien must have said some awful things to get the courage to leave,” Zuuki concluded. “Just…give him a break, Chrome.”

“He is nothing short of a traitor,” he repeated dully. Zuuki gave an annoyed sigh and flumped onto her bed. Salo wandered towards the window dolefully, looking out and seeing Damien run through the city.

“We should get him,” she warned them. “What if the V4 ambush him?”

Perhaps it was because Zuuki was worn out with shouting; perhaps it was because Chrome was too ignorant to back down. Or perhaps it was because Salo knew she was not as strong as her friends, and that her age had an impact on her importance in the group, that nobody left the Inn to find Damien.


*

Meanwhile, in the north, Lee and Gauld wandered through a blistering storm. They forced themselves through the land as they fought against Mother Nature herself. After receiving the challenge about Soul Sword and Spirit Sword a day ago, Lee was left with only the opportunity to wait for a sign to signal the start of the final duel between Soul Sword and Spirit Sword. This duel would be known as the Millennia Cataclysm. Gauld had often explained to Lee that, before the signal was emitted, he would equip Spirit Sword and therefore duel Garu, the possessor of the brother sword. Lee, however, would feel guilty if the situation turned ugly because he delegated a task to someone else. However, he reminded himself of Gauld’s strength. His stomach still hurt from when Gauld attacked him many days ago.

The sharp, biting winds began to simmer down, and it was then that Lee and Gauld noticed shadows in the distance forming into a small village community. Lee gave a sigh of relief. This must be Mahanui.

“We’re nearly here,” Gauld said happily, although his tone was irritable and sharp. The small village eventually appeared as the snowy blizzard came to an end. Shaking off snow from his cloak, Lee wandered into the village and saw the Inn straight away.

They booked a room for the night, but Gauld explained their priority was finding the Mask of Babylon. The two headed out into the town to look for answers.

“Please, Lee,” Gauld said, his voice beginning to get desperate. “Let me shoulder this burden of yours.”

“I just don’t like the idea of willingly leading you into such a dangerous fight,” Lee explained rationally.

“I am a very capable adept, Lee,” Gauld argued. “You have so much to accomplish in life –”

“You’re hardly old – you have a lot to live for too!” Lee cried. Gauld sighed.

“You are only sixteen,” Gauld said. “And you are just about to be freed from this mask! Think of how free you will be.”

Lee gave a heavy sigh.

“Let’s get the mask first,” he concluded. “Then worry about the Millenia Cataclysm.”

“Excuse me?” Gauld asked, moving towards a woman in the village.

“Yes?”

“Can you tell us anything about the Mask of Babylon?”

The woman, with a stern brow and sharp eyes, scanned both Lee and Gauld. She shot each a disapproving look.

“You’re travelers, I can tell,” she began. “Never seen you around Mahanui before. And that half of the mask you’re wearing looks like the half that goes with the Mask of Babylon.”

“Yes, I’m –

Lee was interrupted by the woman.

“FURTHERMORE, if you’ve come here to take the mask from us, then I won’t tell you where it is.”

“We need it!” Gauld roared.

“The toxins beneath this mask will kill me if I cannot the Mask of Babylon to cure me!” Lee cried out.

“We have pride,” the woman retorted. “The Mask is a sacred treasure! We will not surrender it to petty thugs.”

Gauld drew his Faust. The long, thick sword pointed towards the woman, who looked nonplussed. She smiled nonchalantly and looked at Gauld the whole time.

“Threaten me, would you?” she barked. “This village is a small one. If anything happens, like death, people hear about it and boy, do they point the finger. So don’t try killing me big shot.”

Gauld looked taken aback.

“Now that your big sword is useless…you can leave,” she snapped. Gauld clicked his fingers and his sword disappeared into wisps of golden smoke.

The woman simply stood and watched as Lee looked at Gauld for some sort of clue. Gauld shrugged his shoulders and began wandering off through the village, Lee in his wake.

“So…what’s the plan?” Lee asked.

“Let’s just head home,” Gauld said, turning and looking at the woman disgustedly. She laughed.

“What! But…I need the mask!”

Gauld turned to see the woman wander away. Then, he grabbed Lee and pulled him close. He began in a mere whisper.

“We have to let her think we’ve gone,” he hissed. “So we can come back and do some sleuthing.”

“How are we going to find this out?” Lee asked. Gauld smirked, and Lee began to wonder what his mentor had in mind exactly. They wandered towards the outskirts of the village. Meanwhile, the same woman wandered into a building.

“Mayor Ihfra,” she said, bowing. “A man and child came searching for the Mask of Babylon.”

There was no response from the man high in the throne.

“I got rid of them,” she added, looking up into his eyes.

“Good,” came the voice. “They could look all they want…but they’ll never find it. Ever.”



Continued in next post

Chris 2.1
7th January 2006, 11:35 AM
Back in Samyura, Nat and Gohra were furiously fighting each other. Nat leapt forward with her sword glowing silver, but Gohra brought his sword up and blocked the attack. Using his strength, he threw Nat back, but she managed to land on her feet.

“EARTHQUAKE!” she roared, throwing her arms to her side as pulsating rings of energy rumbled from beneath her feet. Gohra jammed his sword into the ground and leapt up high into the air, before sweeping down at Nat with his fists as a white energy shrouded them.

“Sonique!” Nat cried, slashing the silver energy up as Gohra swept down. It hit him in the ribs and he landed awkwardly. Grunting, the large, beefed up adept charged again. Nat turned and slashed at him, but he allowed a slash to sear across his hand before punching his opponent. Nat fell down and gave a cry of pain.

As she sat there, Gohra began powering up Year of the Horse. A ghostly, muscled white palomino reared its head as it formed into Gohra’s body. His muscles on his arms throbbed magnificently as he managed to get even stronger. Nat watched in horror. She was quite out-of-sync with her dueling. She concentrated. Recalling her days in Itshubii Forest, when she was a mere child, she focused her senses as her foe charged towards her.

“POWER PACK PUNCH!” Gohra roared. He sped through the air, fingers curled into fists, flying at the girl. Nat suddenly recalled the Hotel in Saffron City, and began tensing all the muscles in her body…

As she did so, she turned into a block of stone and Gohra smashed his fist forward. He gave a long roar as his fingers shattered on his left fist. Recoiling, Gohra gave Nat the chance to dissolve back into her normal form, leap forward and smash across his stomach. Gohra fell back in agony.

“I am not finished!” Gohra snapped. Huge balls of energy circled him as he roared loudly. The orbs flew off towards Nat, and as the girl stood there, she allowed herself to analyze the direction of each one. Diving forward, she evaded one; a second was evaded by a roll to the left. By standing upright and tilting herself back almost like a limbo, two more missed her. Three more remained, together in more of a clump, but as they got near, Nat unleashed a sonique and slashed them apart.

“She evaded each one!” Pheno cried. Lilla raised her eyebrows in silent intrigue.

“Sledgehammer hands!” Gohra cried, leaping up into the air. A plate of golden energy materialized over his hand as sheer energy began piling up into a devastating attack. Nat crouched, darting suddenly under Gohra and turning to face him. Gohra landed, turning to face Nat as a blade of energy smashed into his side.

Again, Gohra ran at Nat. Nat could not evade him…could she? Scanning the area, she saw spaces either side of the huge warrior. Nat ran to the left of Gohra, but as she did, her foe was ready. He brought a hand flying to the left and smashed it into Nat’s face, throwing her back.

“Nat!” Monica shouted.

“How did she evade those attacks before?” Tekaru asked. Al looked similarly intrigued.

“Because Nat has been a sword fighter for a very long time,” Monica began, smiling. “Her parents died when she was young, and Nat had to fend for herself when she was growing up. She has always fought opponents bigger and stronger than herself.”

As Monica said this, Nat got back up from the punch. She readied herself and wondered how she could stop Gohra. If she could lower his accuracy in some way…perhaps he would be less likely to attack, giving her ample time and space to fight back. But alas, she knew not how to do so. It was then that she remembered an attack Luke used in Saffron City, when the V4 and the AU had their ferocious duel through the city one night. He hurled a ball of clay through the air, and it blinded Nat for a few seconds. Nat slipped her sword into her sheath and held her hand back. Gohra roared and flew through the air at her. Nat focused, trying to solidify the energy in her hand into the form of a ball of mud…

But it didn’t work. Gohra tackled her and sent her flying down to the ground. He summoned a sword himself, standing over her. Nat narrowed her eyes, pushed up from the ground and soared up into the air, over a stunned Gohra. She slipped her sword back out and slashed down, sending a sonique hitting the muscled warrior. As she landed, Nat turned sharply and faced Gohra again. He was still standing, and was not quite done yet.

“Is that all you can do?” Gohra boomed. “ATLANTIS SWEEP!”

Sweeping his sword from left to right, Gohra sent a feverishly white strip of energy at Nat. She leapt over it strategically and landed, slashing away at her foe. Alas, Gohra blocked each one with swipes of his impressive sword. Nat was knocked back after a powerful counter-strike and sighed to herself.

What is happening to me? she asked herself. I can’t beat this guy!

Narrowing her eyes again, and focusing herself, Nat looked at Gohra, who was beckoning her tauntingly. She tightened the grip on her sword, for she was sweating a lot in the sun. As she stood, thinking of some attack or strategy she could use, she wondered what level Gohra actually was.

I have to do this, Nat thought. I have to start using his strategy against him.

Slashing a sonique forward, Nat predicted right when Gohra leapt over it and began his charge forward. Sword ready, face stricken with sweat and frustration, Gohra ploughed towards her. Nat smirked. She had him where she wanted. As he got near, Nat leapt forward slightly to Gohra’s left. As she went, she slashed her sword and smashed it into his ankles. Gohra gave a roar and collapsed to the ground, losing his balance and spurting blood. Nat landed and turned to see blood leaking from his wound.

“You!” Gohra roared, his eyes screwed shut in pain. Lilla ran forward instantly and pressed her hand onto the ankle and muttered something. Flowing periwinkle blue energy took over Lilla as the wound began to heal itself. Gohra began sighing in relief as the blood flow started to stem.

“Thank you…” he said gratefully, kissing Lilla on the cheek.

“It is no problem,” Lilla replied. She looked up at Nat. “That was barbaric.”

“It was strategic,” Gohra contradicted. “Overthrowing my balance, and using my strategies against me…it was clever.”

“Thanks,” Nat said emptily, feeling somewhat remorseful.

“Nat wins,” San Jai mumbled, as Gohra was helped onto the side bench. With Al the only member of Monica’s team unable to fight, and San Jai and Lilla the only ones able to fight of the Ninja 5, Monica’s Team was in the lead. They needed to keep this up.

“I’ll stay on,” Nat said, as Lilla got up and wandered onto the arena. She watched Nat intently, and Nat watched back. “If I go down, Tekaru can take my place.”

Lilla smirked. Nat narrowed her eyes and focused the grip on her sword.

“I don’t approve of the way you battle,” she snapped. “I think you play unfairly. Don’t try hacking me to pieces; I can heal myself.”

Lilla’s voice was no longer flowery and pleasant. Now it was sharp and acidic. She watched Nat with hatred as the Quaker gripped her sword tighter.

“Lilla seems to know healing moves,” Tekaru said to Monica. “That will help.”

“Nat has to be ruthless and not give Lilla a chance to heal,” Monica commented. Al did not say anything, as he was quite hurt. The beaten members of Ninja 5 cheered Lilla on as she stood there.

“Nat versus Lilla,” San Jai said. “BEGIN!”

Lilla sped forwards instantly at Nat. She tackled into the girl and knocked her down. Kneeling on Nat’s chest as the Raegan Blade skidded along the arena; Lilla summoned her weapon – thick leather gloves, like the ones used to train birds, with long claws for the fingers. Lilla ruthlessly slashed against Nat’s chest as the girl screamed out in protest.

“HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT?” Lilla screamed. Nat clenched her fists and started enduring the pain. Powering up energy, she began to use her outburst attack. With a loud boom, Lilla was thrown up into the air. Nat leapt to the left and grabbed her sword before leaping right up after Lilla, sword charging with silver energy.

“TAKE THAT!” Nat screamed back, slashing at Lilla. However, Lilla, despite being thrown up, grabbed the sword with her bare hands (somewhere along the line, she recalled her weapon) and endured the pain of the blade searing into her skin. She threw Nat down to the ground, and as her hands bled profoundly, she soared down after her foe and charged up an orb of energy in her hands. Hurling it down, it smashed into Nat and drove her into the ground. Lilla then jammed her feet down onto Nat’s chest, before leaping back.

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” Lilla sneered. Nat gasped for breath. Standing there, the slender young girl let herself recover fatigue as Nat struggled to get back up. Looking as if she was concentrating highly, Lilla allowed her skin to reform over the gashes from gripping Nat’s sword. Nat let out a groan - she had, after all, taken damage from Gohra’s duel. She readied herself, holding her sword by her side and charging manically. Swinging her sword, Nat aimed a slash, but Lilla leapt up and rolled in the air. Landing behind Nat, she turned swiftly and aimed a double slap to the Quaker’s face. Nat stumbled back, and Lilla proceeded to slap her some more.

Nat slashed a weak sonique, but it did nothing to the girl. Lilla leapt back, doing some back flips across the arena and launching herself high into the air. Her fists started glowing a brilliant white, surrounded by a large aura of charcoal-black energy. Lilla then swept down through the air, fists ignited by white-hot flames.

“COMET PUNCH!” Lilla screamed viciously. She slammed both fists into Nat and the poor girl collapsed. Sword materializing back into badge-form, Nat was instantly helped up by Monica and Tekaru.

“LILLA WINS!” San Jai cried out, as the worn out Ninja 5 cheered for their comrade. Monica and Tekaru helped Nat sit down. Al looked to be recovering although he was in incredible pain. Now it was two of Ninja 5 against two of the AU. Monica let Tekaru go up against Lilla. He had to defeat her, it was essential.

“Go for it Tekaru!” Monica cried. Tekaru nodded firmly before summoning his Hammer. He stood facing Lilla, who watched him with fierce intrigue. Lilla, unfortunately, had not yet demonstrated the full extent of her Chinese Zodiac Spirit. Monica wondered what form it might be.

“Ok then – Lilla versus Tekaru!” San Jai shouted. “Ready and BEGIN!”

Tekaru flew forward with his hammer as it sparkled a golden colour. Racing forward, he slammed his hammer into Lilla, only to discover the girl leapt nimbly to the side and landed on all fours. She leapt at Tekaru and slashed his side.

“BOLT!” Tekaru roared, holding his hammer in one hand and firing a golden bolt of lightening from the palm of his now-free hand. It smashed into Lilla and threw her back, but she landed gracefully. She then darted forward and aimed another slash at Tekaru, but he leapt over her and turned, smashing his hammer into her side.

Skidding across the sandy earth, Lilla got back up to see Tekaru race forward. Hammer now back in badge-form, Tekaru summoned a ball of electrical sparks and charges, hurling it down at the girl. She gave a scream as it shredded into her body and gave her a jolting surprise.

She leapt up. Summoning her clawed gloves she tore through the air at Tekaru, who fired a double bolt of electricity through the air. Lilla, almost like Nat, dived around the attacks gracefully and slashed Tekaru right across the face. Tekaru leapt back but Lilla followed, racing forward. As she got near, she performed a backwards flip, kicking Tekaru in the face and throwing him up into the air. Lilla raced up after him and grabbed him with her hands. Smirking, she threw him back down to the earth and the boy smashed into the ground. Lilla flew down after him.

“This is just like what happened with Nat!” Monica cried.

“Frenzy bolt!” Tekaru gasped. Lying flat on his back, holding his hands up, hundreds of tiny jolts of lightening flew from his palms, forming into a large bolt and sweeping up to Lilla. She fell down right into the attack and screamed in pain. Tekaru leapt out of the way as Lilla landed on the ground. However, she was still fighting strong.

“YEAR OF THE SNAKE!” she screamed. A ghostly, semi-transparent form of a viper materialized behind Lilla, slithering into her body. Snake patterns formed on Lilla’s arms, rather like sudden tattoos. Her left hand changed to a sort of green sinewy tentacle, complete with a snake’s head where her hand once was. She threw that ‘arm’ forward and it extended, rather like it was on a reel. This strange mutation flew forward and wrapped around Tekaru, gripping him tight and throwing him into the ground.

“What is that?” Monica cried.

“Lilla has the most unique zodiac spirit,” Gohra boasted. “She becomes like her animal. She is the strongest of us 5.”

Tekaru was stuck fast. Lilla kept smashing Tekaru into the earth, causing his nose to become bloody and sore. She then released him from her grasp, clenched her body and allowed her hand and arm to re-form from the bizarre snake-like tendril, and raced forward again.

“Whiplash!” she screamed, leaping over Tekaru and whipping him with her arms. Tekaru have a shriek of pain as he struggled to get up. “Go on – give in.”

Tekaru sighed.

“I FORFIT!” He shouted.

“Lilla wins,” San Jai said softly. Lilla cheered as a worn out Tekaru sat on the sidelines. Monica swallowed. She was next, and would have to beat both Lilla and then San Jai in order to win for the AU and get those badges. It was all down to her…as usual. She wouldn’t even benefit from a badge. She walked to the arena and stared at Lilla, who changed her arms into the tentacles. The snake pattern went partway up her neck, too. She smirked.

“Are you ready for this, Monica?” Lilla hissed.

“I have to be,” Monica replied. She stood there in silence as Lilla watched her keenly. San Jai held the flags up, eyed each duelist, and threw his flags back down.

“Monica versus Lilla – Ready…and BEGIN!”

Monica had observed Lilla’s battle patterns and had figured out a way to use them against her. Lilla struck instantly, with amazing speed and ability. Monica decided to try an attack she grasped at Level 11 – Starcross. Both her arms glowed a dazzling silvery purple as she stood there. Lilla did her usual routine and soared through the air, claws ready. As she got close, Monica crossed her arms in front of her face and a projected X of silver swept forward and smashed right into Lilla. She flew backwards, spiraling out of control…but managed to land on her feet.

“Good,” she muttered. Leaping forward, Lilla summoned her claws. Monica was far too slow and received a slash across her face. Stumbling back, she was kicked in the jaw. Lilla flipped backwards into the air and landed in a crouching position. Knowing this match had to be quick before Lilla could a) heal herself or b) Monica could take too much damage, the Ghost Mage charged a shadow ball and hurled it forward. It hit Lilla and caused light damage. Racing forward, Monica charged energy in her fists and feet. The purple energy flickered around her appendages as she got closer.

“SHADOW COMPLEX!” Monica cried. This attack was a combination of shadow punch and shadow kick. Monica delivered a sharp, double punch to Lilla’s face, before flipping backwards (in a similar style to Lilla herself) and smashing both her charged feet into Lilla. She fell back.

“ELEMENTA!” Monica roared. Holding both hands forward, a plate of energy materialized and blasted a huge jet of sweeping purple energy at Lilla. The young girl flipped back but was not fast enough – engulfed by the rush of chilled energy she dropped to her knees.

“LILLA!” Gohra roared. “Be strong!”

A feverish sparkling took over Lilla. They rose up and around her body. It was evident she was healing herself, and Monica took this as a personal insult to her strength. However, it was a key indication the girl was weak. Monica ran forward, charging a shadow ball as she did so. However, as she neared Lilla (a shield was erecting itself around her) jets of light burst forth to try and repel her. Leaping up, Monica avoided these jets and hurled the shadow ball down. It shattered the shield, and Monica soared down to land a double kick into Lilla’s face.

“The time is nearly up,” Monica heard Lilla hiss as she darted away. Monica smirked. Lilla was weakening. It seemed her animal semi-transformation used a lot of fatigue as she was not resorting to it at all. The snake patterns were still etched onto her skin in emerald green ink, but the snake-like arms did not appear.

“NIGHT SHADE!” Monica screamed.

“Guard beam!” Lilla screamed, holding her hand forward too. Her jet of silver light flew towards Monica’s purple bolt of energy and the two smashed into each other, blasting outwards and keeping the duelists at bay.

“Shadow ball!” Monica roared, hurling the orb forward. Lilla smirked.

“Guard beam!”

Again, the silver jet of light flew from her hand, but it seemed to be locked onto the shadow ball, in the sense that it homed onto it and destroyed it before it could even his Lilla. Monica realized the brilliance of this. The guard beam destroyed any oncoming attacks…but how did it deal with multiple attacks?

“COSMOS SWEEP!” Monica screamed, sweeping her hand from left to right. Multiple gold, silver and bronze stars streaked through the air towards Lilla. She rubbed her hands together.

“Multiguard!” she cried. Tiny orbs of silver light sped from her hands, growing in size and engulfing the stars. Monica gasped. Lilla was fantastic, it had to be said. Monica gave a light pant and realized she was tiring herself out trying to defeat Lilla.

Thinking of an attack to use was difficult, as Lilla used an attack called pinball to send many orbs of energy flying at her. Monica then recalled the two newer badges she acquired through Silva. She was, according to Silver, going to learn 4 new techniques overall. She had Starcross, Shadow Complex…of course…

The other attack springing to mind was called “Mime Air.” It involved Monica punching the air and sending an invisible force into her foe. It was rather like a long-ranged punch. Monica did as she was taught, firing a punch ahead of her and watching a silvery force in the air smash into Lilla from afar. Lilla skidded back, giving Monica the chance to tear through the air with her hands and feet throbbing with an overpowering purple glow. Delivering a Shadow Complex, Monica managed to finally overthrow Lilla. She smashed into the ground and gave a weary sigh. San Jai watched. Lilla confirmed her status with a bleak nod.

“Monica wins,” he announced. Nat, Tekaru and Al cried out in unison for their friend, although all three were very sore. Lilla gave a long sob as she ran over to Gohra, weakly hugging him.

“It looks like you’ve done well,” San Jai muttered. “But now you face me.”

“You make it sound like I should be worried,” Monica replied, smirking.

“You defeated me when we last fought in Kikio,” San Jai continued. “But now I fight you. This match has no referee and will be deemed over when one adept can no longer stand up. Lilla, start the match.”

“Commence,” Lilla rasped.

The adept felt a sudden gurgle in his stomach and looked worried. A stabbing feeling provoked his insides. He stared at Monica, who watched readily. Their glances matched for a few moments, but San Jai was beginning to doubt himself. Nevertheless, when Monica sped forward with her hands glowing with purple energy, he knew he needed to act.

Leaping high into the air, he unleashed a barrage of streaming golden stars. Monica summoned her scepter and leapt back evasively, smashing any stars away with her weapon. She then landed and summoned a night shade, sending the jagged bolt of ghostly energy sweeping through the air. San Jai leapt into the air and aimed an airborne kick at his foe, but Monica used her hand to guide her attack after San Jai, smashing him in the back and throwing him down.

“Good…” he sighed. “Good work.”

But San Jai leapt forward again. Monica stood in anticipation, swinging her foot and trying to smash it into her foes ribs, but San Jai leapt over her, landed behind her and sent an orb of white energy into Monica’s back. She fell to her knees.

Suddenly, as Monica scrambled to her feet, she felt her throat tighten slightly. Clutching her throat with her hands, she gave a strangled yelp as she fell back onto her knees again. Face feeling red and hot, she scanned the area for help.

“Monica?” Nat asked, seeing her friend in trouble. “What’s going on?”

To their surprise, San Jai fell down too, seemingly choking as he struggled to keep his breath. The other members of Ninja 5 ran up to help. Nat, Al and Tekaru went to see Monica.

“What did you do?” Al snapped. “What’s going on?”

“We did nothing!” Gohra roared. “Our brother is suffering too! Would we cut our nose to spite our face?”

“Sorry…” Al muttered. Nat was urging Monica to jam her fingers down her throat, to dislodge whatever was in her throat and obstructing her breathing. It did not work.

“There isn’t…anything there…” Monica wheezed. “It hurts to breath…”

San Jai suddenly collapsed in exhaustion. His brothers (as well as Lilla) suddenly gasped in surprise. Monica, on her hands and knees, gasping for release from this cruel lapse in breathing, felt her vision fade slowly.

“Monica!” Tekaru shouted. He turned to the Ninja 5. “What is going on?”

“I have no idea,” Gohra said firmly. His two brothers shook their head, as did Lilla. “This has never happened before!”

“Monica…” Al sighed. “Tekaru, come on, we’ll get a doctor or something!”

“I want to stay with her,” Tekaru replied. “Go with Nat.”

Suddenly, Monica fell to the floor completely and passed out. There were audible gasps everywhere.

“Come on!” Al cried.

“Wait,” Lilla said hollowly. “There is no need to seek a doctor. We have medicine in the house which could restore the twos conditions.”

“How?” Nat asked. “We don’t know what caused it.”

“Calm yourself,” Pheno, the small one, piped up. “Lilla is an excellent brewer of medicines and elixirs!”

“Oh,” replied Nat. “…you are?”

“Yes,” she replied. “I can concoct some medicine for them. Come into the house. Bring the injured ones.”

As Lilla led the way, the Ninja 5 and the AU members helped Monica and San Jai up. Monica lay unconscious, unable to work out how she had been hurt. Or why, for that matter. In fact, there was only one person present who knew why the two had fallen and how.


*

“This is useless,” Gauld snapped. “At this rate we’ll never get back into Mahanui!”

Gauld and Lee had both left the village, planning to strike at night and raid it for the coveted Mask of Babylon. However, guards were around the perimeter, and Gauld suspected the woman they met earlier had asked they did not let either Gauld or Lee into Mahanui again.

“Well,” Gauld continued, turning to Lee. “I suppose you’d better hand me the badge for Spirit Sword. While we have time.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Lee snapped. “I won’t send you to your demise!”

“You’d be heading to your demise, not me!” Gauld hollered back. “Lee, I am a Metal Edgemaster. My specialty is wielding swords. You cannot do that. I fear you will be obliterated by that man, and as the fate of Good vs Evil is at stake, I urge you to reconsider who will represent Good – Me, or you?”

“I stand by my answer,” Lee replied rudely. Gauld moved forward to grab it from Lee, but the badge was not there. Lee clenched it in his fist and grinned. Leaping at him, Gauld attempted to take it, but Lee refused to give in. As the two scuffled, Gauld knocked Lee over and he lost his grip. The badge flew meters away and landed in the soft snow.

Suddenly, as the two shot each other disgusted looks, an odd noise could be heard. A chime-like ringing emanated from the small badge. Furthermore, a purple glow took over the badge. Both adepts let out a cry of surprise.

“The badge…” Gauld muttered. “It’s time for one of us to fight.”

Powarun
9th January 2006, 10:30 PM
Good chapter, it was a nice ending to the gym battle. Monica getting knocked unconscience, along with her oponnent by a mysterious force. I want to say it is that crazy woman, Silvia, or something. She probably is tracking Monica some how. Lee, better get his mask and his sword, so he can kick butt. But Lee being on teh good side, a ghost adept seems a bit odd. Oh well. Rock on.

Dragonfree
11th January 2006, 06:33 PM
Well, long time, no see! I finally caught up, as you can see. Nice plot development.

I've got to admit that for some reason I'm not as fond of your style as I used to be and your errors seem to stand out more, but the plot is as great as ever. I love the twist with Roger being Lusaka's puppet. I'm liking the V4 too.

The battles were nice; I still very much like the way you do action. For some reason, though, the sub-plot I'm most fond of for some reason is Lee and Gauld. Nice cliffhanger there.

Anyway, I won't fall behind again. :)

Chris 2.1
12th January 2006, 11:37 AM
Powarun: Hmm could it be possible Silva was involved? I wonder. It was a really battle-heavy chapter and I was worried it might drag on too much, so I did include other POV's to break it up a little. Who do you think will fight for the Millenia Cataclysm? Gauld or Lee? Hmm. I don't understand the last part though.


Dragonfree: Hey! Glad you're liking it. I'd love to know what parts you dont like, because I do know my style has changed slightly; maybe Vendetta is just a lot different from Revolution and Army. What errors do you mean? Could you PM me?

Hmm the Roger plot was interesting, and I wanted to make sure it was revealled at the right moment. So...was it Lusaka behind the tapestry?

Also, the Lee & Gauld plotline is pretty cool, I guess ^^. A few tidbits of information:

During Revolution, I hadn't planned for Lee to go off on his own to find the mask. It was only when Oakbark's question about Vendetta having seperate missions (Nat, Phoenix, and Lee) that I decided to include one. Instead of the current plot, Lee was going to have had it removed by the time Monica met him, but I prefer this plotline more. I think the mask represents Mortimer's influence on Lee, and as the boys growing up, and leaving Mortimers care less, he is learning how to remove the mask. Meanwhile, Monica and Nat still feel hostile towards him, but by losing the mask, will they see the boy that originally joined the Army?
Gauld was originally going to aid Phoenix in his quest to find his Father, but I decided against it:
1) Phoenix is a loner, and wouldn't ally with another (although the idea was he would need to use social skills to convince an arrogant Gauld to help him)
2) Lee needed someone to accompany him to Mahanui. He's still only 16. But as you may have seen, they've developed a strong teacher-student relationship similar to Lee's with Mortimer's. Hmm

Glad you like the V4. Plenty of storylines for them in the future for them, concerning a lot of the most important plotlines. More on the elemental golems as well.


Preview: Chapter 15

-Who is this new character, and what are their plans?

Meanwhile, the spider grew to the size of a slightly smaller man, roughly a few years younger than the beast-like man. He was very pale, with a shaven head. He was very lanky and thin, with twig-like arms and legs and an unbelievablely thin waist. His fingers were also very stick-like in appearance. The very thin man gave a weak smile on his rather long face as he silently walked.

-As Gauld and Lee argue over who should fight in the Millenia Cataclysm, Lee recalls a similar time when Mortimer, Afee, Boko and Reef risked their lives for him.

“You have such a long journey ahead in life,” Mortimer began. “You cannot jeopardize your life at such a young age!”

-Damien is in despair following the argument:

“I can’t run away again,” he moped. “Not this time. I need to get my head together. I need to prove myself to them.”

-But Al finds a clue to the condition of Monica and San Jai...did the Ninja 5 plan it all?

“Come check this out,” he called to Nat and Tekaru. He ran over to it and saw an odd shower-head-looking contraption sticking out of the solid ground. “What is it?”

Dragonfree
12th January 2006, 12:12 PM
Well, when you refer to the characters I feel like you use the name too much, leading to unnecessary repetitions of the name - this was especially true for one paragraph about Silva somewhere that I can't really find again, but it went too much "Silva this and Silva that because Silva was like this and Silva blah blah blah" which was a bit annoying. Then sometimes proofreading errors slip past you, like how you referred to Silva as "Silver" once in chapter 14 and a few more like that.

Chapter fifteen sounds interesting. *likes that spider guy*

Oakbark
14th January 2006, 11:08 AM
Hey Chris, well I’ve decided against a lengthy reply for the chapters I missed out on, I’ve been talking to you about them before and I think I can’t add on what I’ve discussed as of yet. Can’t wait for Chapter 15, I’ll be back to my usual replies then, yeah?

Hey Dragonfree, Powarun and Charizard, nice to see you all again! Or read your replies at any rate.

Hate to highlight the negatives, but while Dragonfree’s on the topic, I’d like to point out something that you might take into account in upcoming chapters. While your storylines and plot/plot twists are second to none (I mean you literally keep coming up trumps with that aspect of your writing – you’re like a constant story generator!), the one thing I’d like you to think about is the golden rule of writing – “Show don’t tell”. I notice a lot in your chapters that you are inclined to tell us things and justify certain actions in the fic by including titbits of information in brackets.

For example:
“SHADOW COMPLEX!” Monica cried. This attack was a combination of shadow punch and shadow kick. Monica delivered a sharp, double punch to Lilla’s face, before flipping backwards (in a similar style to Lilla herself) and smashing both her charged feet into Lilla. She fell back.

Here we see you give a definition of the attack and including a comparison in brackets, which never happens ordinarily in stories. I’ll explain what I mean by re-writing the lines above while keeping your style of writing (I think that will make it clearer).

“SHADOW COMPLEX!” Monica cried, as she leapt towards her opponent. Monica began by delivering a sharp, double Shadow Punch to Lilla’s face, before flipping backwards in a similar fashion to Lilla, smashing both her shadow-charged feet into the female ninja, who fell backwards with a thud.”

Now I know this looks similar to before, but notice how I didn’t explain the attack – I showed it working in action and that was sufficient to explain how it worked. By telling the reader the definition of the attack, you are not only going to be repeating yourself, but you are taking away from the action of the duel. Similarly, the brackets weren’t necessary and removing them kept the flow of the sentence going.


“Show don’t tell” is a common pitfall, *everyone* does it. But I love your writing, and I feel that fixing this would make your writing bestseller-worthy. When you write a paragraph, look back over it and think – “Am I explaining what is happening/what the character’s thinking, or am I showing it to the readers through flowing descriptions and self-explanatory sentences/dialogue. Don’t tell the readers what is happening – make the story/characters tell it. Readers don’t want to know Lee feels guilty for burdening Gauld by sentences such as ”Lee, however, would feel guilty if the situation turned ugly because he delegated a task to someone else.” You did a fine job showing he felt that way in the dialogue after this sentence. Readers don’t want to be told what’s happening or have it handed to them on a plate. Readers love the thrill of discovering this stuff without it being obviously told to them. It’s a part of the excitement of reading a story.

Yeah, so that constructive criticism dragged on a bit, and I already discussed with you the good parts, so I hope you don’t hate me for the above. I’m merely helping you iron out the tweaks that will get you from amateur to professional! I’m telling you the above because I see your work as a brilliant piece of writing, eligible for print with the right know-how.

Post Chapter 15 real soon, can’t wait!

Chris 2.1
14th January 2006, 11:52 AM
Dragonfree: Oh an excellent character he is. Plenty of action, intrigue and even a surprising amount of back story. An unmissable chapter.

Oakbark: Hey stranger! Yea your advice is all common knowledge to me, but admittedly I have been going over things much less. Obviously I do go over chapters briefly before posting, but the later Chapters will need slight refining.


Anyway, to come in Ch15, which I will try and post on Monday:



--Lusaka feigned upset.

“You perhaps didn’t know that The Unitan Settlement is where the Wysha Diamond is located,” she sneered.

--Nat gets a nice surprise:
“You are a Level 10 Quaker?” Pheno, the short one, asked. “That means your class has changed. Now you are a Justice Quaker.”

-

“A Halo Blade,” Tekaru gasped. “That’s a signature move of Justice Quakers.”


--Tekaru shows us just what he learned from Roger:
“Very well,” he replied craftily. Energy began swarming around his body as Tekaru took the chain from around his neck. He clutched the cross tight in his hand. “ELEMENTA!”


All soon!

Powarun
16th January 2006, 08:33 PM
Tekaru's Elementa may be very deadly, yay. As powerful as the V4's? Can't wait. Yay at Nat getting a class up-date, hope she pwns all.

Chris 2.1
17th January 2006, 12:10 PM
Ch15 everyone!










Monica’s Vendetta
Fifteen
Seryun’s New Mission


In Crufia Castle, both Roger and Lusaka sat in the hidden chamber beneath Tekaru’s very own bedroom. Roger paced back and forth, every so often darting his eyes across the room to the locked, small chamber where Therebus was being held.

“It is time,” Lusaka said solemnly. Roger looked up and nodded, before focusing his eyes back at the door. Lusaka held both her hands out. “Pathian Seryun!”

The blue blob of energy slowly took the form of the handsome young man between Lusaka’s two hands. He looked somewhat surprised to see Lusaka.

“Greetings,” he said curtly.

“How is everything going?” Lusaka asked.

“We are making good time,” Seryun replied. “In fact, we are both in Crufia now.”

“I see – no problems so far?” asked the girl.

“None,” Seryun replied. “But...you said you would give us some more information on our task as we arrived in Crufia.”

“Yes,” Lusaka said raptly. “There are two AU members in Crufia who have a little high-school crush on each other. Damien Oak, who you are familiar with, and Salo Kirke, both of which are from Guellion. This…relationship is definitely something we can exploit. And don’t forget – we need a Water Adept in order to complete the next phase.”

“So, if there are two, is there one you think we should get over the other?” Seryun asked.

“Damien,” Lusaka rasped. “Salo went up to Asterid Fortress, and as a result, she will recognize your…companion. If she were to return to the group, she could alert them and everything would turn upside down. However, Damien has only met you before, and therefore he won’t realize that one of Dimitri’s Noble Servants is working with you. The AU needs to believe we died in Obola until the time is right for our takeover.”

Seryun nodded.

“I will contact you when I am at The Unitan Settlement,” he replied.

“Fine,” Lusaka replied, ending the connection and letting the energy re-absorb into her body. She turned to Roger.

“The Unitan Settlement is –

“I know, I know,” Roger replied. “On one of the Tri-Islands just out of Evayard.”

Lusaka feigned upset.

“You perhaps didn’t know that The Unitan Settlement is where the Wysha Diamond is located.”

Roger gasped.

“It is?” he asked. He thought, and suddenly cried, “What is the diamond for?”

“I shan’t say,” Lusaka smiled. “You’re a pawn, Roger. A pawn on our chess board. But if someone like you is an inferior pawn, I wonder what your four pathetic sons are.”

“Pathetic?” Roger barked. “How dare you?”

“I dare because I know I am right,” Lusaka spat. “Watch your vitriolic tongue, Roger! I am young, but strength is never measured in time, you boorish fool!”

“Stop acting like my boss,” Roger replied. “I am soon to be the King of this land!”

“And if you keep acting like this, I shall tell Teresa the truth!” Lusaka cried jubilantly. “That Roger Megallo is a loyal Dimitri Supporter…that he has been working undercover with me to help aid my plans…and that his lack of trust not only resulted in the murder of Splinter, but his wavering faith with his family caused the demise of his wife, Yuwana…”

“SHUT UP!” Roger bellowed, running at Lusaka with anger. In a flash, she darted to the left and leapt to the wall, pouncing off it and soaring back at Roger. She delivered a slash across the mans face and then promptly kicked him as she did a flip up into the air. Landing on a table, she watched Roger as he nursed a bloody nose.

“Losing your temper?” she asked mockingly. “Roger, you cannot lose me as an ally! I have contacts…”

“Sorry,” Roger said guiltily. “I’m just…stressed.”

“That is no excuse,” Lusaka replied.

“Please refrain from mentioning my previous wife,” Roger sighed. “My marriage is days away!”

“So why are you here? Staying here is merely letting your mask slip further off your true face. Go, go and see Teresa before she cottons on.”

Roger turned towards the ladder.

“If I marry Teresa, my ties with Tekaru will solidify, too,” he admitted. “We have to stop him returning here to brainwash Teresa.”

“Tekaru will be taken care of,” Lusaka assured him. “Now go.”

And as Roger went back up the ladder, Lusaka wandered towards one of the small open windows set into the wall. She stared out across the land, admiring Evayard as night time approached. Looking down at the tranquil city of Samyura, Lusaka let out a sigh. She waited until she heard the trapdoor slam shut before letting herself think.

“I wonder how my little sister is doing,” she muttered, as a gentle scuttling filled the room. The scuttling got louder, and Lusaka turned suddenly. A spider, about the size of a fist, glowed a bright white as it began taking a human form…similarly; an eagle swept through the window and began to glow, too. Lusaka gasped in mild surprise as the big, bulky, shaggy eagle managed to form into a person. With long, shaggy hair of a dirty blonde colour, the man was in his late twenties with a very firm, square jaw and handsome face. His big, muscular arms made him resemble a lion. He wore many layers of browns and yellows, and his boots were big and brown. He smiled at Lusaka.

Meanwhile, the spider grew to the size of a slightly smaller man, roughly a few years younger than the beast-like man. He was very pale, with a shaven head. He was very lanky and thin, with twig-like arms and legs and an unbelievablely thin waist. His fingers were also very stick-like in appearance. The very thin man gave a weak smile on his rather long face as he silently walked towards Lusaka.

“We came as soon as we received your message,” the beast-like man boomed in a thick, deep voice. “It is good to see you again, Lusaka-Lae.”

“Thank you very much,” replied Lusaka. “It is good to see you too, Leo.”

“Now,” the big man asked. “You said there was somebody you needed taken care of?”

“Yes,” Lusaka replied. “His name is Tekaru Farrimond, and is the Prince of this continent. He is a very popular young man so you must be discreet. Finding him is not a problem – we managed to tap into a pathian connection and learned a group of Adepts are making their way to this castle themselves.”

“I see,” the man replied named Leo replied.

“You and Spyda will not work together,” she explained. “But rather, you will work alone, waiting for the AU members to arrive before demonstrating the awesome power of Animaux Adepts.”

The three smiled at each other as Roger, unaware of this, paced back through the Castle to find Teresa. However, Therebus, from his chamber just outside this large room, heard the entire conversation and, pressed against the wall, gasped for release. He had devices strapped onto his wrists like watches, but they neutralized the power in his badges and made him useless.

“I have to tell someone,” he said suddenly. “I have to escape.”


*

Meanwhile, in Mahanui, Lee and Gauld watched as the signal for the Millennia Cataclysm was sent out. Lee eyed his teacher, unsure of what to do. Should he grab the badge, or delegate this terrible fate to the man he had grown close to recently?

“Lee,” Gauld said firmly. Lee was somewhere else. Thinking to himself, trapped in an eternity of hypothetical outcomes. And then it hit him. Gauld was willing to risk his life for Lee. He remembered, roughly 2 years ago, when he last felt so uplifted…


The group pressed on through the rocky canyon. Mortimer, Afee, Boko, Reef and Lee trekked along the rugged ground towards their destination. Mortimer had recently taken Lee’s Unicorn Rod and given him a pair of Nunchucks to train with. Although hesitant, Lee decided to use them.

Since leaving Monica’s Army, Lee felt somewhat empty inside. In truth, he was glad he left – in reality, he was not being acknowledged by his new comrades just yet. They simply allowed him to come with them, but did not really welcome him.

“The journey is a tough one,” Mortimer said firmly. “We still have a few days walk to go before we reach Sitkasa.”

“It will be worth it,” Boko announced. Lee nodded, but received a steely glare from the big man.

As they walked, there was a low rumble. The group scanned the area and managed to spy a figure standing on the top of a side of the canyon. It was a small figure with a wicked look in its eyes. It was rather round and had a somewhat dissatisfied look on its pale brown face. Its small horns protruded from its skull and looked rather blunt. Its stubby arms matched its stubby legs.

“Ahh,” Mortimer announced. “We have a Truba on our hands.”

“A what?” Lee asked.

“Truba,” Afee said, in his rather hoarse, broken-up voice. “A little roguish creature which live in dry areas like this. They often cause a lot of trouble for travelers.”

“I think it needs taken care of,” Mortimer said softly. “Reef, will you do the honors?”

“Indeed,” the handsome young man said softly. He took a step back. “ELEMENTA!”

His hands managed to charge up with blue energy. Reef held them forward.

“NEPTUNE’S SPEAR!”

A searing bolt of water pierced the air from Reef’s hands. As it swept upwards, it surged with fury and rage, building in power and smashing right into Truba. It toppled backwards and out of sight.

“Excellent work,” Mortimer said happily. They continued on with their walk, Lee rather impressed by Reef’s elementa. He still hadn’t mastered the attack himself and felt rather weak compared to these four ‘gods’ of adeptry.

On and on they walked, unaware that the little Truba was actually watching their every move with an angry look. From behind it, a group of Truba (presumably its tribe) started building energy up in their paws.

As a low rumble was heard throughout the canyon, Boko turned his attention behind the group and gasped as the little creatures began getting their own back. Throwing energy into the ground, the Truba were creating a landslide and showering boulders and rocks down the canyon at Mortimer’s group.

“My goodness,” Mortimer exclaimed. “They’re attacking us!”

“We have to attack!” Afee screeched. He held his hands forward and sent streams of buzzing energy bolts flying forward. Reef launched spears of thick ice, while Boko summoned and hurled balls of fire. Mortimer sent a shadow ball flying, and Lee simply stood in awe.

I should help them, he thought to himself. Grabbing the nunchucks Mortimer gave him, Lee ran forward and began swinging his weapons wildly. Leaping up, he prepared to shatter one of the boulders as it rumbled downwards…

“Lee, no!” came the cry of Mortimer. A strange energy enveloped Lee and he felt himself being swept back down to the ground by Mortimer’s doing. As Lee looked, a collection of smaller boulders smashed into the ground where he had been standing seconds ago. Gasping in shock, Lee looked around.

“That was dangerous,” Mortimer explained. “You are still a young boy!”

“I’m 14,” Lee replied. “I thought…”

“Don’t worry about a thing,” Reef said calmly, as Boko and Afee countered the huge landslide. “Until you’re stronger, we’ll protect you.”

“You have such a long journey ahead in life,” Mortimer began. “You cannot jeopardize your life at such a young age!”

“Thanks,” Lee mumbled, glowing red with embarrassment.


As memories of his past came back to him, Lee finally understood that Gauld was willing to do exactly what Mortimer, Reef, Afee and Boko did two years ago. Protect him. While he had not been with Gauld long, Lee felt a strong connection with him.

“Lee?” Gauld asked again.

“Yes,” he replied firmly. “Take the sword.”

“You…want me to now?” asked his teacher.

“If you are willing to fight for me, then so be it,” Lee replied, a smile on his face. “You can do this.”

“Thank you,” Gauld replied, picking up the badge and, while dispersing his other sword (the huge sword by the name of Faust), summoned Spirit Sword and turned to face Mahanui.

“I don’t want you to watch this,” Gauld explained. “When we are in Mahanui, spent all of your time searching for the Mask of Babylon. The girl we met earlier will be too occupied with this fight to want to stop you.”

Lee looked to the ground.

“What…what if I never see you again?” he asked weakly. Gauld watched him. His face showed signs of confusion, possibly over how to answer this question.

“I would never fight if I wasn’t sure I could win,” Gauld explained. “But, if I do happen to die…then please do me a small favor.”

“Anything,” Lee answered.

“Go to Tatami Lake. There is a huge mansion there. Find a woman named Silva and tell her what happened.”

“Tatami Lake…Silva…” Lee recollected. “No problem.”

“Silva is my sister,” Gauld told Lee. A tear began to spill down his cheek. “Come. We have to go now.”

Lee looked up at Gauld admirably as he marched forward back into Mahanui. With the uplifting feeling in his heart, the young boy felt stronger than ever and followed his teacher back into the mountain village.


*

Meanwhile, further South, the Perlei members of the AU sat in their Inn. Chrome, Zuuki and Salo were still without companion Damien, who was still outside. Neither Chrome or Zuuki felt a responsibility to find Damien, whose explosion earlier seemed to have annoyed them. Salo, however, after sharing a brief kiss with the boy, was angered at their decision.

“What if he’d died, and we hadn’t even bothered to look?” she exclaimed.

“Damien wants to be alone,” Zuuki said simply. “Everyone needs their personal space, and he sounds pretty hurt by his Father. We need to let his wounds heal before we meet the others and head to the Castle.”

Salo looked out of the window. She couldn’t see the boy in the busy market, although as night time had well and truly settled in, many people were masked by the darkness.

“You know who we need?” she asked. “Phoenix.”

“Why?” Zuuki asked.

“He had a heart – he’d have cared about Damien. In fact, Phoenix was the one that got Damien’s badges back after he was attacked.”

“He got attacked?” Chrome asked.

“On his way home after fleeing the ship,” Salo explained. “Damien was attacked by Seryun and Splinter, and they stole his badges. Phoenix got them back.”

“He couldn’t even defend himself…” Chrome uttered. Zuuki gave him a disapproving stare.

“Just leave him ALONE!” Salo screamed. “You’re a bully!”

Chrome just shot a glance at Salo, before turning and examining a map of Evayard he had studied previously. It had previously been framed, but Chrome had removed it to examine.

“FINE!” Salo snapped. “I’m going to look for him myself!”

Salo slammed the door as she fastened up her coat. Zuuki looked at Chrome, who was utterly nonplussed about the situation. Zuuki wandered to the other side of the room and began doing press-ups.

Meanwhile, Damien wandered the busy streets of Crufia market alone, hands in his pocket, feeling nothing but despair. He didn’t want to face any of his allies again. Except Salo, perhaps. Chrome was so horrible, and Zuuki, while not as much of a bully, always seemed to look down her nose at him.

“I can’t run away again,” he moped. “Not this time. I need to get my head together. I need to prove myself to them.”

As he walked into the darkness, he bumped into a figure.

“Sorry,” he mumbled. The person grabbed his arm, and Damien spun around to identify the person. With his black, messy hair over his handsome face, with a nice tanned body under a midnight-blue kimono, and well-sculpted feet in wooden sandals, Seryun Kotsuro gave Damien a grin.

“You!” Damien cried.

“Me,” Seryun rasped. “Listen punk, don’t scream. Stay silent. Got it?”

Damien nodded. A figure on his other side, wearing a hooded cloak, pulled out a knife and placed it by Damien’s neck. It was done in such a way that the other person, presumably male, had his arm around Damien like they were friends. However, in the big sleeve, the man concealed the knife.

“We need you,” Seryun continued, releasing his grip on Damien. “So come with us, ask no questions, and you’ll not get hurt. But if you think of trying to act brave, like a hero, or redeem yourself at all, we’ll kill you, and go for Salo Kirke instead. Got that?”

Damien’s nod was easy this time – his frantic shaking looked like he was constantly nodding.

“Release your grip,” Seryun told his partner. The man took his arm from around Damien. Damien saw it had a thick glove over the hand.

“Come,” Seryun said slowly, walking through the market. Damien followed, and the cloaked man wandered behind. Damien turned his gaze up to the Inn, where, if his friends looked from, they might see a fellow AU member getting taken hostage. He sighed. Of all the things to happen…now he seemed to really being tested.

Within ten minutes the three were out of the main bustle of the city. Seryun spoke up as they plodded on through the darkness. Damien felt like breaking down. Like crying. But he was in no such position.

“You can take your hood off,” Seryun barked. Damien looked as the man behind him slipped down his hood. His face was broad and well-defined – the man looked about 30. Perhaps, in another time, this man was handsome and charming, for it did not show now. Thick red scars ran down the contours of his face. There were some blotchy parts on his face, while his skin was cracked. Although he wore a thick cloak, it seemed to hang off his frame. He was by no means thin, but by no means as well-built as Seryun. Conceivably, this man may have simply not kept a once-great build in shape and let himself fade into a less desirable figure. Staring across the moonlit land, with one vivid olive eye and one eye a subdued brown colour, the figure looked somewhat preoccupied.

This character was Scabb. One of Dimitri’s Noble Servants, Scabb was a very confused, almost psychotic man. He was a Chemical Adept – a very rare species of Adept who could release toxins and chemicals from the emotions he felt. Scabb became unstable and was classed by the Government as a Class A Adept – one not to be messed with. Sensing such a danger, the Government threw Scabb in the small city of Phinea and sent a seal right around the perimeter, stopping him from contacting the outside world.

Monica had stumbled across Scabb when she somehow broke through the barrier. Despite trying to run from the psychotic adept, they seemed doomed – until an odd disturbance saved the day. Little had they realized, Scabb had been visited very often by Lusaka, one of Dimitri’s Servants, in order to coax him onto their side. Once he had begun allying himself with Dimitri, he was promised his release from the city – provided he killed Monica and the rest of the group. When Lusaka next visited, she used incredible power to summon a Dragon spirit to cause an array of huge explosions around the city. Monica believed Scabb to be dead and therefore left, but it had been a faked death, and Scabb went to Asterid Fortress.

Although as Damien wandered from the city, he knew nothing of this. Even when Scabb attacked Boko, Zuuki and (the departed) Sid at Dimitri’s Fortress, and the AU dueled Ray, Lusaka, Scabb and Keisha in Dimitri’s city of Obola, Damien had already fled and run home.

As Damien was being taken away, Salo was running through Crufia, looking frantically for the boy. Although it was dark, she still searched and searched, hoping to find him sitting in the alleyways or down the streets. Little did she know she was late by a mere fraction.

Chris 2.1
17th January 2006, 12:20 PM
Meanwhile, in Samyura, the Ninja 5 and the AU gathered around Monica and San Jai, who were on separate tables in a medicine room. Both were coughing up phlegm and blood, each weary and very fatigued.

Lilla was busying herself with a number of powders and elixirs, flicking through some books and hoping to find something of relevance. Gohra took a box from a shelf and opened it up, revealing many badges which looked like the yin-yang peace sign crossed over (the same symbol at the front of the gym). He took three out and gave one to Al, Nat and Tekaru.

“Here,” he said. “The Tranquility badge. Take them.”

“Thanks,” Al said, pinning it alongside his other badge. Nat and Tekaru did likewise. Al was now elevated to Level 7, while Nat was level 10 and Tekaru level 12. As the badges fuelled their energy, Nat felt a strong surge of power rising in her chest.

“Oh my!” she cried. “I feel so strong!”

“You are a Level 10 Quaker?” Pheno, the short one, asked. “That means your class has changed. Now you are a Justice Quaker.”

Nat looked rather taken aback.

“Justice Quaker?” she questioned. Her face broke into a smile. “Cool!”

“That’s pretty awesome,” Al said. “Only three more levels before I’m a Justice Quaker!”

“I’m still a Storm Tamer,” Tekaru said, admiring the badges he pinned on his belt. When Storm Sages reached Level 9, they became Storm Tamers. The level at which the class changes occur varies with each Adeptry group.

“Please,” Lilla said suddenly. “If you would all leave?”

“Yes, yes,” Gohra said, leading his two brothers out of the room. “Lilla needs silence to be able to concoct her remedies.”

“Do you mind if we go and practice our new attacks outside?” Al asked. Gohra shook his head, so Al, Nat and Tekaru went outside onto the arena and decided to see what they could do now.

“Ok then…” Nat said, running across the arena. She drew her sword and leapt high up in the air. Swinging her sword around above her head, Nat created a silvery circle above her. Slashing her sword downwards, she sent the circle of silver energy hurtling down. The attack smashed into the ground and caused a devastating explosion. Nat landed, brushed her scraggly black hair from her face, and smiled.

“A Halo Blade,” Tekaru gasped. “That’s a signature move of Justice Quakers.”

“It’s brilliant,” Nat said, feeling somewhat refreshed. “Come on Al, do you know anything new?”

“Let’s have a look,” Al said, focusing the energy in his body. He moved it forward into his hands and each began glowing with a green energy. Moving his hands in a circle, with his palms facing the ground, Al began drawing a larger, green circle on the ground on the other end of the arena. Roaring out loud, throwing one hand high in the air, a stream of heavy boulders flew out from the ground. Al gave a mixed laugh and gasp.

“Impressive!” Tekaru said. “Mother Gaia.”

“Mother Gaia?” Al asked. “That is awesome.”

“What about you, Tekaru?” Nat asked. “Why not duel Al and test your new skills out?”

Al gave a shuddering gasp as Nat smirked at him.

“He’s way too strong!” Al cried. Tekaru simply laughed at the boy’s incredulousy.

“I’ll go easy on you, I promise you that!” Tekaru said happily. He summoned his large Hammer and held it as an electric charge sparked around it. “What do you say?”

“I was just kidding,” Nat said, seeing the worried look on Al’s face. “We’ve all just been slaughtered and done slaughtering to the Ninja 5.”

“Very well,” Tekaru said, looking somewhat disappointed. The three sat on the bench and looked across the arena. Al, being somewhat bored, crossed his arms in a leaf-blade position and fired off a green X of energy, watching it sweep across the arena. It drove through the thin layer of dust and created a small veil of sand in the process. However, all three were suddenly alerted when they heard a dull clunk from the attack. As the dust cleared, Al got up and wandered across the arena. The thick layer of sand-like dust on the top of the arena had now gone, and Al could see something metal protruding from the ground.

“Come check this out,” he called to Nat and Tekaru. He ran over to it and saw an odd shower-head-looking contraption sticking out of the solid ground. “What is it?”

“I have no idea,” Nat said musingly.

“But it seems to have been covered by this layer of sand,” Tekaru noted. “Hmm…”

The young Prince bent down and looked at the sprinkler, now at an odd angle. Nat told him there was another one at the other end of the arena.

As that happened, Gohra wandered out onto the Arena haughtily.

“Gohra!” Al cried. “What are these sprinkler-things in the ground?”

“Oh,” Gohra said, wandering over. “They are used to keep the layer of sand on top of the arena moist enough. They are under the sand and are timed to release a cloud of water vapor into the sand to keep it healthy. You can alternatively use voice activation to cause the water to rise.”

“I see,” Al replied.

“Have you all been practicing some new attacks?” Gohra asked.

“Yes,” Nat replied. “We are all getting strong now.”

“Good,” Gohra replied. Al was still deep in thought.

“Gohra, where do the pipes from the sprinkler systems lead to?” he asked inquisitively. Gohra looked somewhat uneasy by this but answered.

“Underneath the house,” he said. “Why?”

But by that time, Al had run off towards the house. Tekaru and Nat shared a confused look before running after him. Gohra scratched his head in an inquisitive manner and simply kept walking across the courtyard.


*

Al bolted through into the old ninja-style house. He turned left and ran down the corridor, eagerly reaching the stairs. Pheno appeared from behind a door.

“What are you doing?” he squeaked.

“Which way is the basement?” Al asked desperately. Pheno pointed down the stairwell and Al ran down it. Soon after, Nat and Tekaru ran down after the young boy. They arrived in a rather dank room with dripping pipes above their heads. A rather large metal tank contained water in the corner.

“What are you doing?” Nat asked. “What does this have to do with anything?”

“The water vapor is a gas,” Al explained. “Or it comes out as a gas anyway. This is where the water is stored that is released through the sprinklers. There is a sprinkler at each end of the arena: under each Adept. Monica and San Jai were both poisoned, but Monica said there was nothing in her throat. She also said it was hard to breathe. That means it had to have been something in the air which caused them to collapse. Furthermore, it needed to be released at only the right time. My guess is that something in this water was released when Monica and San Jai fought. But since Gohra told us the water vapor was voice activated, someone needed to have said something different so that the poison was released when only Monica and San Jai dueled, and not anybody else.”

“Wait,” Nat said. “Why Monica and San Jai?”

“Because they were the last standing adepts,” Al continued. “In the final round. Obviously the match was going to be over too soon. Either that, or the Ninja 5 didn’t want to lose.”

“Why would the Ninja 5 poison one of themselves though?” asked Tekaru.

“And was it the Ninja 5?” Nat asked.

“It has to be,” Al said suspiciously. “Unless someone else is here.”

Tekaru instantly thought of Roger. Al, meanwhile, was considering Silva Tatami.

“Maybe Roger is trying to keep us here by poisoning Monica?” he asked. “Maybe he knows we’re on our way.”

“There is no way he could know that,” Nat replied. “Unless he captured one of Chrome’s group…”

“All we know is the water supply was poisoned,” Al began. “And it was done so to stop us from leaving here. Well I say we get Monica and go. We need to get to Crufia. Whether it was one of Ninja 5 or Roger, we have to just keep going.”

“If it was the Ninja 5…” Nat began. “They won’t let us go easily.”

“Can we fight them off?” Al asked.

“Yes,” Tekaru replied, while, unbeknownst to the other two, clutching a small golden cross around his neck. “If we believe we can, we will.”

Nat and Al summoned their blades. They wandered to the foot of the staircase. Nat turned to Tekaru.

“Summon your hammer!” she hissed.

“I have an even stronger weapon,” He replied. Nat and Al shrugged and ran up the staircase.

“Monica is in the room opposite the front entrance,” Nat explained, as they ran through the building. The three ran, with Tekaru at the back, still clutching the cross and whispering to himself. They arrived in the front entrance again, and turned to their left, bolting down the main corridor and heading to the room Monica was being treated in.

Meanwhile, Lilla concocted the potion over a roasting fire. Monica and San Jai were starting to wake, feeling somewhat drowsy and unable to move. Monica gave a long, hacking cough as she felt her insides sting.

The door was burst open and Nat, Al and Tekaru stood ready, swords glowing feverishly with energy. Tekaru simply stood with no weapon. Lilla dropped a conacle flask, watching it shatter into a thousand pieces, she eyed the three with anger.

“What are you doing?” she screeched.

“Taking Monica,” Nat snapped. “Get out the way, you tart.”

Lilla gasped.

“How dare you!” Lilla cried. “I try to save your friend and you threaten me?”

Nat sighed. She then bolted forward at Lilla, who looked somewhat surprised. However, at the last second Lilla leapt into the air and landed on San Jai’s stretcher. She summoned her clawed gloves and hissed.

Tekaru grabbed Monica while Al guarded him with his sword. Al and Nat leapt at Lilla but she pushed San Jai off the stretcher, grabbed the stretcher and used it to block the attacks. Nat gasped.

“Why did you just drop your ally to the ground?” she barked. “Why such a lack of compassion for a friend?”

Then, it began to dawn on the young Justice Quaker exactly what was going on.

“It was you who poisoned them!” she cried.

“Of course,” Al growled. “You said ‘commence’ when San Jai and Monica began their duel, whereas San Jai always said ‘begin’. The sprinklers were activated on the world ‘commence’.”

“Who are you working for?” Nat snapped, grabbing Lilla around the neck and ramming her against the wall. Lilla’s legs dangled helplessly.

“I do not work for anybody,” she snapped. “I am a simple minded Adept!”

“Utter lies,” Al snapped. “Nat, don’t waste time here. She wants us to stay in Samyura. If we go we’ll ruin everything she tried to achieve.”

“Monica isn’t well yet!” Lilla cried. Tekaru ran outside with Monica, while Al and Nat sent slashes of energy across the room. Lilla was hit and gave a cry of pain, but nevertheless ran after them outside.

As they ran across the courtyard, the other three from Ninja 5 – Gohra, the muscled one; Pheno, the short one and Jiin, the fat one saw them. The three looked rather determined as the other three ran forward.

“Stop!” Gohra cried. “Monica is not well!”

“GET OUT THE WAY!” Al spat, slashing energy forward. Jiin held his hands out and blocked them remarkably. Al, Nat and Tekaru stopped suddenly.

“We won’t let you take this girl away!” Pheno shouted. “She is not well, surely you know that? We are friends, are we not, Natasha?”

“Right now, I don’t know what to think,” Nat replied honestly. “But all I know is Monica is in more danger with you than away from you. And we have a mission to carry out, too. Let us past.”

“You’ll have to fight us,” Jiin chortled. Tekaru stepped forward.

“Take Monica,” he asked of Al. Al obliged, holding Monica in his arms. “I’ll take you all on myself. But this is your last chance. Let us go NOW.”

“Tekaru, don’t do it yourself!” Nat shouted.

“Stay back!” Tekaru shouted. “Ninja 5! Are you still willing to fight?”

“Bring it on!” Gohra snapped. Tekaru smirked.

“Very well,” he replied craftily. Energy began swarming around his body as Tekaru took the chain from around his neck. He clutched the cross tight in his hand. “ELEMENTA!”

The ground rumbled as a golden energy shrouded the boy’s body. The heat radiating from Tekaru was strong, and everyone could feel it. From beneath his feet, a gargantuan golden cross rose upwards. It was huge, comprised of gold itself (it appeared), reaching about the size of the V4’s elementa’s – roughly 9 feet. Tekaru stood on the right ‘arm’ of the large cross, his hand reaching to the topmost part and gripping onto that.

“Oh my god,” Nat gasped.

“That is incredible!” Al shouted. Monica started to stir and, opening her eyes, saw the magnificent sight ahead. She smiled as Tekaru stared at the 3 members of Ninja 5.

Suddenly, Lilla appeared out of nowhere with her comrades. 4 members of Ninja 5 versus the 4 members of the AU.

“EVERYONE PREPARE TO ATTACK!” She screamed.

“SACRIFICIAL WIPEOUT!” Tekaru roared loudly. The cross tilted slightly forwards and bolted towards the Ninja 5. Crackling with electricity, Tekaru stood boldly as a crack appeared in the ground. The members of Ninja 5 split and pelted away as the Prince of Evayard smashed through the fence and into the distance. Nat and Al, carrying Monica, gave chase, following the prince out of the Gym and into Samyura.

Catching up to him, the two were impressed. Monica was even rather bewildered as she woke up. Al lay her down and she got to her feet. Tekaru leapt from the Cross and absorbed it back into his body.

“That was brilliant!” Nat cried. She turned to Monica. “Are you feeling ok?”

“Yea…” she said weakly, coughing hard. “Yes I’m fine.”

“We have to go to Crufia, right now,” Al said firmly. “Come on.”

And with that, the four Adepts ran off through Samyura. Monica felt somewhat dizzy and ready to cough again – she had a very sore throat from whatever she inhaled. Al and Nat both found a new respect for ally Tekaru as he demonstrated another fragment of his power. Together they headed to Crufia for their showdown with Roger.








Next Chapter


-In the Library, the V4 are still struggling from Roger's attack. But help is at hand...

“Where is Therebus!” Luke snapped.

“I will tell you where he is,” Roger said calmly. “And hand him back over…if you do me one favor.”


-Meanwhile, friendships and patience is tested within the AU:

She put her hand on Salo’s shoulder, but the girl pulled away.

“If anything happens to him, I’ll blame you two for not even thinking of helping him!” she cried.


-The Millenia Cataclysm begins:

A tingling filled the air. Slowly, each sword let out a long, ringing chime. The gentle, soothing melody reverberated around the metal of the sword. Both Gauld and Garu were bathed in this eerie sound.

“It is time!” Garu roared. Gauld watched firmly, gripping Spirit Sword. “BEGIN!”

-

“You were armed with a sword, but not with the knowledge the sword has. You are, therefore, an unsuitable candidate to represent Spirit Sword. That is nobodies fault but fate. Fate has conspired to arrange this outcome,” Garu snapped.

-

Gauld just watched. As Garu got nearer, Gauld ducked down, evading Garu’s sword, and swung his sword across, slashing across Garu’s stomach. The man gave a cry as blood wept from his wound.

“That was cheap!” he snarled. “But you’ll have to do better than that, Gauld…”


-But things turn even worse...

“Are you ok?” Gauld asked him. “What is it?”

“It’s…the mask…” Lee said slowly, sweat glazing his face.


-- “Sometimes…” he began. “Good and bad is merely a perspective.” --




Extra long preview because of the Millenia Cataclysm :)

Oakbark
17th January 2006, 02:55 PM
Hey there Chris, i loved the chapter!

There is a huge element of Dimitri-ism in this chapter, with Lusaka, Roger, Seryun, Scabb and Lilla all conspiring and trying to prevent the AU from ruining their plans! What is the Wysha Diamond's significance, and why do they need a Water Adept to help them?

Damien's gone again, through no fault of his own obviously, but i wonder if Chrome and Zuuki's opinions on the matter will be biased against him? It kinda looks like he's done a runner again, but hopefully Salo's faith in him will keep their thoughts in check. Damien obviously cares for Salo, he was more than ready to obey orders when they were in Salo's best interests.

Lee and Gauld are still heading towards the Millenia Cataclysm, it was interesting to see how protective Mortimer and the others were over Lee, despite their apparent carelessness for him. Touching in a way.

Roger has really taken a back seat now, far from the powerful calculating person we saw from his son's perspective, he is now merely exposed as a weak and petty servant for Lusaka-Lae. Funny how perspective changes everything. . .

Al was on the ball there, working out Lilla's plan, although perhaps he was a little too smart in working everything out so quickly. Nevertheless, Tekaru's Elementa was quite interesting, although it seems a little less lifelike than the other V4 beings, if you get what i mean. Not that the Cross didn't work well, i thought it was a fine symbol of Tekaru's deep faith.

I'm loving the preview at the end, and also your quotation on good and bad being a matter of perspective. Very true i think.

Well, gotta go, hope this was a long enough reply for you! Don't wait too long to post Chapter 16.

P.S.: Just a quick thought regarding the Monica/Al part of the chapter - i felt it was a little rushed. Don't be afraid to take your time and lengthen the chapters, we all like a good read, and the longer the better. Just don't be afraid to lengthen the dialogue pieces - they are the key to deeper characters and good characterisation.

Chris 2.1
17th January 2006, 04:53 PM
Reply!

-It is interesting to see that Damien did actually go along with Seryun and Scabb purely because they would hurt Salo otherwise. If Salo wasnt involved, Damien would have probably asked to be killed there and then. Yet in the eyes of others, he's run off again. It's a shame what fate can do to you.

-Yea I really wanted to show how Lee sees Gauld compared to Mortimer - they're really quite similar. But what do they not have in common? That's quite a relevant thought.

-I'm sure Lee's quote relates quite well to Roger's predicament. But think about this: Even when Seryun wanted to quit, Roger made sure he stayed and threatened him with death if he decided to quit. And now he's in the same situation. Karma?

-I did think Al worked everything out quite quickly, but he is a sharp lad, and it was a foolish task. So is Lilla working for Roger, or directly from Lusaka? Could she be.....? Also a very good observation - Tekaru's elementa is inanimate. It works, but it is weaker than the V4's. This is very relevant.



Thanks!

Chris 2.1
21st January 2006, 04:34 PM
I had a dream regarding the Monica series. Urgh. This contained tidbits and references to future chapters (because I know what happens, and you dont) luckily nothing will get spoiled.


Ouranos was pacing back and forth in a room before me - I came to the conclusion I was tied up to a chair, as I was very stiff and imobile. Ouranos kept mumbling, but I couldn't decipher the words very clearly. He finally stopped, turning to face me, but when he did, he had become Monica. Monica tilted her head inquisitively, as if I had said something to her. She mildly shook her head and untied me. It was interesting, because she seemed to smell of smoke and ash.

I got up, and stared at my hands. They were black, so I assumed I was a Purist. I felt a thick scar running vertically down my right eye. I followed Monica out the door and it soon transpired we had just left a cave, and were now standing on a large mountain, staring across a beautiful Island, with a small village distinguishable in the center of a thick grove of trees, which took up a lot of the Island.

I could see a body pinned against the wall, with crusted blood over his face. But I know who it was. I just won't tell you.

We ran down the mountain, and before I knew it, we leapt off the last part and were now in a colloseum. Phoenix stood opposite me, but he had a huge metal arm. I was unsure what to do, I remember trying to think of attacks but not knowing any. I threw my hands forward, and a rumbling black bolt of energy (similar to a Night Shade) flew forward, but it simply dissolved into the air. Phoenix' angelic wings grew from his back, and as this happened, a cloud of dark smoke was issued all around the arena. I was plunged inside it, and could see a variety of things:

-Silva unleashing an attack I know to be Chi Dragon
-A fully-fledged army racing through a forest
-A gaunt-looking Monica with tears streaming down her face
-Greta (the woman who taught the Pathian in Agrotatio) with odd, transparent palms, and a smile on her face
-A Quelsoir sweeping through the air
-Delvil and Spirit of Mother locking arms and fighting.

Then I woke up.



Relevance? Urgh well some parts of the dream are events in the fic, so it was quite odd. But some (Like Greta's palms) are details I quite liked, and plan to use. Yes, so you know, she does return with Berah and Thomas from Agrotatio.


Ch16 soon.

Chris 2.1
25th January 2006, 03:25 PM
A much-needed Evayard Map has been completed, but is way too large to attach. I will try and find a way of putting it on the 'net

Chris 2.1
29th January 2006, 11:13 AM
Monica’s Vendetta
Sixteen
The Millenia Cataclysm


Lusaka was alone. She stood in silence as she worked under Tekaru’s old Bedroom. It was evening, and the golden sun started to sink down into the hills. Lusaka had not yet told Roger about her two assassins – Leo and Spyda, who she had hired to take down the AU when they raided the castle. Roger assured her that the V4 would take care of them, but Lusaka reminded him very sternly that Therebus could not leave his confinements at all.

“He’ll tell his brothers everything; he’ll run!” she recalled herself saying. Roger caved in, as he generally did, and had instead gone to the library to try and persuade his other three sons to fight for him.

“It’s no use,” Scott snapped. “I’m too weak to summon Delvil.”

Luke nodded in agreement, having tried the same technique. Poor Karadon lay on a splendid table, many of his bones shattered and broken from Roger’s attack days ago. Since Therebus had gone, Karadon could not get healed.

“We have to keep trying,” Luke said, getting up again. “Father has got hold of Therebus – who knows what he’s doing to him?”

“Torturing him for the location of the Wysha Diamond, no doubt,” Karadon replied weakly. Little did they realize, Roger was working for people who knew exactly what the Wysha Diamond did.

Suddenly, as Luke grunted and tried summoning his spirit, the bookcases surrounding the door all lifted up and drifted across the room in lines. Roger opened the doors magnificently and wandered into the room. He stood proudly, back straight, black boots echoing off the walls. His crisp blue regal clothes looked very grand, with golden shoulder pads.

“Hello, boys,” he said fatherly, running a finger across his moustache.

“Where is Therebus!” Luke snapped.

“I will tell you where he is,” Roger said calmly. “And hand him back over…if you do me one favor.”

They listened in interest. Scott looked distrusting, and Luke too looked somewhat hesitant about striking a deal with this sewer-rat. Karadon spoke up.

“What do we need to do?” he asked.

“The AU is invading the Castle,” Roger began. “I can’t hold them off, and they plan to simply kill me. If you fight for me…I might be able to live. Please, my marriage is so close, and I would never want to perish alone.”

“What do you think?” Scott asked Luke. Luke felt conflict inside himself. Should he give in to Roger’s demands? Or take the noble path, and defy any of this mans words. As his stomach rumbled, Luke realized the three had no hopes of surviving with no food. And they were all very tired. Luke looked into his Fathers eyes and, although he was disgusted by the man…he could never allow his death.

“I…” Luke began. Karadon nodded calmly. “I think we should. Ok Roger, we will fight for you.”

“Ahem,” Roger began. “Call me Father, please. Do you not remember your upbringing?”

“As it stands now, I’m trying to forget my upbringing,” Luke replied sourly. “I personally disrespect you, Roger, but I will fight for you. You are, after all, family.”

“Thank you,” Roger said kindly. “I shall heal Karadon for you.”

Stepping up to the table Karadon laid on, Roger held his hands over the young man. A vivid, pulsing raspberry energy coursed through Rogers’s body and wafted over his son. Karadon instantly sighed in relief as pain leaked from his limbs and he began feeling everything again. Roger took a step back, smiled at him, and wandered to the door.

“Thank you,” Karadon said breathlessly, leaping off the table.

“Come up to my private chamber when you have eaten,” Roger explained. “Goodbye for now.”

Shutting the door, the three brothers exchanged glances. Karadon wandered down in his usual self-proclaimed, busy posture.

“So?” Luke asked, eager for his older brothers input.

“You made the right choice,” Karadon sighed. “As long as we remain loyal to Roger we have a home. We have money. I for one dread the idea of working for oneself…and I wouldn’t allow it. Even though he is rude, and a manipulative man…we will do as he asks.”

“For now, though, right?” Scott barked.

“We shall see,” Karadon said. “If we earn his trust then we can stab him in the back later. After all, we know where the Wysha Diamond is…and we have plans for it, too.”


*

Meanwhile, in the Crufia inn, Salo paced nervously around the room. Zuuki looked concerned for the poor girl, who was very upset about not finding Damien. Chrome, however, simply studied the map in the corner of the room.

“He’ll be ok!” Zuuki said enthusiastically. “He’s a strong boy.”

“He got mugged by Seryun before!” Salo cried, thinking back to when the boy was attacked in Perlei. “What if someone does the same here?”

“You mustn’t think like that,” Zuuki said back. “He’ll be back, don’t worry!”

She put her hand on Salo’s shoulder, but the girl pulled away.

“If anything happens to him, I’ll blame you two for not even thinking of helping him!” she cried.

“I blame you for having no faith in him!” Zuuki said, as loud as Salo. The young girl, who flopped onto the bed, ran her chestnut-brown hair around her finger. “If you really loved him, you’d respect his decision and accept he can defend himself!”

Salo sniffled slightly.

“It’s getting late,” Zuuki said. “He’ll be back any time now.”

“He ran off yesterday,” Salo mumbled.

“Which means he’ll be missing you so much he’ll be back any day!” Zuuki explained. Just as she said this, the door of their room burst open. The three looked to see Monica, Al, Nat and a figure they did not recognize, who must be Prince Tekaru, charging into the room.

“Monica!” Zuuki cried. “You’re…here!”

“Good to see you all,” Chrome said deeply. Monica was gasping for breath. Tekaru seemed rather nervous around everybody, and Nat really didn’t know any of them. Al stepped forward.

“We’ve been running all night,” he explained. “People in Samyura were working to keep us there. To stop us getting here. We ran all night to make sure we could get here and begin the operation as soon as possible.”

“Please,” Chrome said, stepping aside. “We have four beds. You can rest for now.”

“We have already got a room,” Tekaru said, twirling some keys on his finger. Zuuki gave a smirk as she eyed the handsome prince up. “Thank you anyway, Mr…?”

“Chrome,” the man replied. “I am Chrome.”

“I am Prince Tekaru,” Tekaru explained. “It is a pleasure to meet the three of you.”

“I’m Zuukiyasha Dragonfree,” Zuuki said, shaking Tekaru’s hand. “B-But…I just get Zuuki.”

“And what’s your name?” Tekaru asked, giving Zuuki little acknowledgement and admiring young Salo.

“Salo Kirke, sir,” Salo mumbled.

“Well it’s nice to meet you,” Tekaru said kindly. She smiled at him.

“Hang on,” Al said. “Where is Damien Oak?”

“Oh,” Zuuki said slowly. “He’s…having a bit of ‘me-time’ right now. His Father was not happy when he left, and he’s been very down since.”

“Should you let him loose in Crufia?” Nat asked. “With the V4 around?”

Zuuki gave Nat a disgusted look. Salo beamed at the Justice Quaker.

“He’s not an infant,” she said snootily. “He can defend himself.”

“Whatever,” Nat said. “I’m going to crash.”

“Listen,” Tekaru began. “We’ll all get some sleep, and when we wake up, we shall organize Teams A and B, sort out our strategy and prepare for the attack.”

“We’ll be waiting,” Chrome said dolefully. As the four left the room, Zukki turned to Salo with an acidic look in her eye.

“You are SUCH a flirt,” she snapped.

Chris 2.1
29th January 2006, 11:14 AM
In Mahanui, both Lee and Gauld approached the center of town. Gauld had summoned Spirit Sword – the sword with angelic carvings down its blade. Now, however, the blade had changed to a sort of glassy purple colour. Garu was present. He took his shirt off and revealed a well-sculpted body, despite only being young.

“So, you showed up,” Garu observed. People were gathering in the village.

“Now, listen to me, Lee,” Gauld muttered. “Everyone in the village will be distracted by this fight. Use that to your advantage. Spend the duration of the fight searching for the location of the Mask of Babylon. We don’t know where it is, but I’ll take as long as I can so you have time to find it.”

“Right,” Lee said firmly. On the outside, he looked determined and ready. On the inside, however, the young boy was crumbling away to his emotions. Gauld was putting his life on the line for him. But…all he should concentrate on was finding the Mask.

“Go!” Gauld shouted. Lee dashed off into the crowd of people. He turned, seeing a faint glow around Gauld’s pocket. Inquisition rising, Lee tried forgetting it and kept running. “Ok then Garu…what are the rules?”

“The rules?” Garu replied, laughing. “Gauld, the rules are simple. One of us dies.”

Stepping back in shock, Gauld let himself recollect his thoughts and regain a firm demeanor. Gripping the Spirit Sword, he frowned and shot a scathing glare towards his young foe. Garu gripped his sword. He had nothing on his torso, which was skinny, yet somewhat muscular. He was still tanned and handsome, with red scars searing across his face. He swept his messy blonde hair from his eyes.

“When a twin chime is heard from each sword…that is the signal for us to begin,” Garu explained. Gauld gave a nod. Townspeople gathered around the two, enclosing them in a spacious circle as glittering snow fell from the skies. Each was with their swords out, waiting in silence.

As seconds turned to minutes, and those minutes sluggishly rattled on, a cold wind picked up and whipped around the two fighters.

And then it happened.

A tingling filled the air. Slowly, each sword let out a long, ringing chime. The gentle, soothing melody reverberated around the metal of the sword. Both Gauld and Garu were bathed in this eerie sound.

“It is time!” Garu roared. Gauld watched firmly, gripping Spirit Sword. “BEGIN!”

Gauld waited, watching as Garu charged through the air. His sword pulsated with a strong surge of energy, and as the handsome young man leapt high up into the air, the energy dissolved into a fiery blend of oranges, reds and yellows. Slashing downwards, Garu sent the mass of fire down upon Gauld. He dived to the left, landing on his side and skidding through the gritty snow. As the fire smashed into the ground, it melted the snow around, creating a circle of dark earth.

“You’re a Fire Adept?” Gauld snapped.

“No,” Garu replied, sneering and charging up energy in his sword again. “Not quite, Gauld…”

Sending, this time, silver slashes of energy through the air, Garu let out a laugh. As they neared, Gauld used incredible reflexes to deliver counter-slashes to his foes attacks. As each slash of energy neared, Gauld blocked it with his sword. Gauld then started charging up energy.

“SOL SHINE!” He roared, sending a vertical strip of orange energy sweeping through the air. It gathered speed, snowballing into a wheel of hurtling energy. It smashed right into Garu and ruthlessly tossed him aside. He fell down but got right back up.

Gripping Soul Sword, Garu let out a roar.

“FISSURE!”

The ground shook. Gauld gasped as a huge rip sped through the earth atop Mahanui. As the ever-increasing crowd screamed and ran to either side of the large crack in the earth, Garu smirked and slashed more strips of energy forward.

How does he do that? Gauld asked himself. Trying to put this aside, Gauld charged up more energy in his sword and slashed feverishly. His attacks soared forward, but Garu slashed his sword upwards, and the attacks flew up that way, before exploding in the sky. Garu then charged at Gauld, sword ready.

“I’ll hack your head off,” he sneered, getting closer and closer. Gauld just watched. As Garu got nearer, Gauld ducked down, evading Garu’s sword, and swung his sword across, slashing across Garu’s stomach. The man gave a cry as blood wept from his wound.

“That was cheap!” he snarled. “But you’ll have to do better than that, Gauld…”

Garu pulled a thick, woolen cloth out from a deep pocket. He tied it around his stomach, tightening it and stemming the flow of blood. He grabbed Soul Sword again and gave a roar.

“LIGHTENING!” Garu roared, holding a hand in the air. Sparks jumped eagerly around his palm, and up in the sky, dark clouds began swirling together. It was as if Garu was controlling the clouds…provoking a storm…

And then it happened. A huge bolt of lightening snapped down to the ground. Gauld felt it smash into his body; searing pain flooded his senses, and he became a slave to the extremity and severity of the attack. Falling to the ground, Gauld panted for breath, or perhaps some sort of freedom from this overpowerment.

“Impressed?” Garu asked, smiling. Gauld lay there, gasping. Being a Metal Edgemaster, Gauld’s attacks generally focused on close-combat and sword mastery. When facing long-distance attacks like the ones Garu was firing at him, Gauld found it difficult.

“How are you doing that?” Gauld asked weakly. “Your sword seems to summon supernatural strength.”

“If I told you…” Garu began, pacing forward in his own time. “…then you might be able to stop me.”

“Then surely you’re altering the odds to our challenge?” Gauld continued. “Is this a true showdown of time if we are unevenly matched?”

“Yes,” Garu went on, still pacing leisurely to his foe. “You were armed with a sword, but not with the knowledge the sword has. You are, therefore, an unsuitable candidate to represent Spirit Sword. That is nobodies fault but fate. Fate has conspired to arrange this outcome.”

Gauld gave a shuddering gasp as Garu stood over him. Gauld lay there, looking up at the young man. He smirked, sweeping his messy hair from his face.

“Time for the final attack…” Garu smirked. “SOUL SWORD! SOUL CATACLYSM!”

A glow started to envelop Garu’s sword. An eerie, grey glow. Gauld watched in surprise, leaping up and observing. Garu slashed a long streak of energy, grey in colour, which eventually merged into a long, grey beam of spiraling energy. It smashed into Gauld, who was thrown back as the ground tore apart beneath him. All Gauld knew was that the ground literally parted from beneath his feet. As he fell, down into the shadowy abyss, he could clearly see Garu’s cackling, manic face from the top of the large crack. Not knowing how to avert this outcome, Gauld began to panic.

It was then that he did something rather odd. Holding both hands up, he summoned Faust – his trusted sword which was very large in size. It materialized, and Gauld then jammed it into the side of the rock and clung on tight as he hung halfway down the large gaping crack in the earth.

“DAMN YOU!” Garu screamed. “Had to live, did you?”

Gauld then realized something. Where was Spirit Sword? Turning his head sharply, Gauld could see the glimmering blade falling down below him, into the darkening blackness. Down it went, getting smaller and smaller…

The Metal Edgemaster wondered if it would still be in one piece at the bottom. He hung on tightly, wondering what he should do. As long as Garu believed Spirit Sword to be in Gauld’s possession, then he, Gauld, could continue the fight. He had to destroy Garu.

But how to get back up?

It was then that Gauld noticed a feverish warmth in his pocket. Wondering what it was, and wishing he had a free hand to examine his pockets, all he could do was hang there, and think of a solution.

“HEY! GAULD!” Garu snapped. “Come back up!”

Gauld said nothing, which seemed to amuse Garu.

“VERY WELL THEN!” he roared. “GEYSER!”

Gauld gave a gasp as he stared down. A rumbling could be heard. Knowing what to expect, the man held tight onto Faust as a huge column of water rocketed up from beneath him, pushing him up. Heaving as hard as he could, Gauld wrenched Faust out the rock and felt himself get thrown up to the surface again.

Soaring high up in the air, Gauld could see the swirling grey clouds of another lightening strike. Obviously Garu was planning this, and by making him wet, Gauld would be even more hurt. Gauld soared back down and landed on the ground. He was tired, and aching, while Garu seemed still rather strong.

“What are you doing with that sword?” Garu barked. “Where is Spirit Sword?”

“I have it in reserve,” Gauld said. “I’m going to kill you with my own sword first, then destroy your sword with Spirit Sword.”

“Liar,” Garu spat, slashing energy at Gauld. He was struck in the chest and stumbled back, giving Garu time to run to the edge of the large chasm and stare down it. Soul Sword glowed as he got to the edge. “My sword detects the presence of yours, all the way down in that chasm.”

Gauld was lost for words.

“I’d better just destroy it now, then,” he said absently, his back to Gauld. “And close the chasm up completely.”

Holding his sword forward, Garu prepared to close up the two fragments of rock, sealing the chasm and shattering Spirit Sword, which lay within. Gauld got up, and gripped his sword tightly.

“SOL SHINE!”

Slashing the vertical strip of energy, Gauld watched as it rolled into a wheel of charged power and smashed right into Garu’s back. As Soul Sword flew out his grasp, he fell down the chasm, screaming in pain. Gauld ran forward and watched as Garu descended. Holding a hand forward over the chasm, Gauld began picturing Spirit Sword in his mind. He imagined it…gently soaring upwards…still picturing it, hand quivering with expectancy, Gauld concentrated as hard as he could…

Finally, Spirit Sword was summoned from the chasm. It soared upwards to the surface, just as Garu flew down. There was a sickening slash, and as Gauld stood there, concentrating deeply, he saw Spirit Sword sweep up out the chasm, Garu’s body impaled on the blade. Gauld stopped his concentration and allowed both to collapse in the snow.

Gauld gasped as he approached the bloody corpse of Garu. He laid there, blood seeping into the pure snow and tainting it with a pinkish tinge. Gauld wrenched Spirit Sword from his foe’s body, and sent Faust back into badge-form. He turned to face Garu’s sword, Soul Sword, in the ground at an angle.

“One blow,” Gauld whispered to himself. He began sending all his energy into the blade, holding it with only one hand and approaching Soul Sword. He recalled Garu using an attack called Soul Cataclysm. Perhaps there was an alternative for his sword. Holding his sword back, he felt the words leave his lips…

“Spirit Cataclysm!”

A rush of howling wind picked up. The earth shook briefly as a huge beam of energy erupted out of the ground from where Soul Sword was perched. It was thrown up into the air, and shattered due to the intense pressure of the beam. Gauld watched as the sword disintegrated, shards of it sprinkling across the battlefield.

As the biting winds died down, and the storm clouds disintegrated, Gauld let out a long sigh, and for the first time since he started dueling, took a look at his surroundings. Most of the space they fought on was snow-less. The hard, dark brown earth was charred in many places, and splintered in others. A large fissure in the ground jutted forwards towards the village. The sun was hiding beneath layers of cloud. The village looked empty, but Gauld knew everyone would be in their houses.

“I did it…” Gauld said to himself. He looked ahead to see Lee running towards him. Excited, Gauld began smiling at the prospect of seeing a new, mask-less Lee, but the boy showed a look of fear on his young face as he ran, half-mask still on, sweat cascading down his face.

“I killed Garu!” Gauld said. “I defeated him!”

A group of townsfolk gathered, ranging from the very young, to the very old. Lee still looked somewhat shocked and worried.

“Are you ok?” Gauld asked him. “What is it?”

“It’s…the mask…” Lee said slowly.

“You found it?” asked his mentor. Lee was shaking his head rapidly, gasping… “Answer me!”

“Oh, he found the mask…” said a low, rumbling voice. Gauld turned. A rather posh looking man, around 40 years of age, wandered through the crowd. With a sneering, pointed face, the man was assisted by the woman Gauld and Lee met in Mahanui itself. After seeing the mans face, Gauld let out a cry of surprise.

On his face was the other half of the Mask of Babylon.

“I am Mayor Ihfra, and I’ve been searching…or rather, had people search for me… for the mystical Mask of Babylon so I can get my half off,” the man explained. “As you may or may not know, the mask can only come off, and the scars beneath healed completely, when it is fused with the other half.”

Lee gave a nod.

“And now, my dear boy, we have a dilemma,” Ihfra said snootily. “We each need each others half of the mask and our own. The only way to remove the mask, aside from fusing it with the other half, is by killing the one wearing it. Now then…which one of us will be brave and sacrifice ourselves for the other?”

He turned to the crowd building up.

“Who should die? This young, irritable ragamuffin? Or a popular, refined Mayor?”

The crowd was cheering. Lee backed into Gauld as he backtracked in fear. He felt a sudden warmth in Gauld’s pocket…what could it be? Before he had time to think, Gauld slashed a Sol Shine forward and caused the crowd to split. Both Lee and himself ran through the crowd frantically as Ihfra screeched and pointed.

“RUN!” Gauld cried. They tore around the side of a bakery. Both panting for breath, they turned to see the crowd searching the town for them. Gauld turned to Lee.

“There is only one option,” he said darkly. “We have to kill Mayor Ihfra.”

“We can’t do that!” Lee hissed. “We’d be…murderers!”

“I would be a murderer,” Gauld corrected him.

“You’ve taken the plunge for me once before,” Lee began. “Not again! You’re weak from the Cataclysm!”

“True…” Gauld sighed. “I could use a rest…”

Lee looked and saw the golden glow in the same pocket where an odd warmth emanated before.

“What is that?” Lee finally asked.

“Oh…” Gauld began. “I felt it when I started the fight with Garu. I never examined it…”

Delving into his pocket, Gauld clasped his hand around the small object and, feeling both the glow and heat in his large hand, he opened up his palm to reveal a shiny, golden AU badge. Lee’s eyes widened in disbelief. Gauld seemed intrigued.

“You got an AU badge!” he gasped.

“What purpose does it serve, aside from being a badge?” Gauld asked inquisitively.

“Well…I have one!” Lee explained, showing Gauld his badges. “I’m in this group called the AU – it stands for Adepts United. We vanquish evil and promote justice. We all started out together…but…well…I don’t understand how you just ‘got’ a badge like that.”

Gauld raised his eyebrows. He pinned it to his chest.

“So…I’m in this…AU now?” he asked.

“Yes, and it’s not really an optional thing,” Lee went on. “I’m just…shocked. A new member to the AU! This is great. Obviously your determination in the fight earned you the badge.”

“So…what does this all mean?” Gauld asked.

“When we’re done here, I’ll take you to my Adeptry Mentor, Mortimer. You remember me telling you about him? He’ll perhaps explain a bit better. He’s located in Crufia.”

“Then it’s settled,” Gauld announced. “First, though…we have an assassination to take care of.”

Lee looked up at him.

“Sometimes…” he began. “Good and bad is merely a perspective.”

Gauld agreed with him, and as Lee repeated the words of Mortimer, he felt an odd twinge that told him something, somewhere, wasn’t right. They pressed tightly against the walls and slipped through the village, avoiding being seen. They had to do this. There was no choice.

Powarun
29th January 2006, 11:33 PM
Ah, glad to see that Lee is in quite the dilemna. Gauld's fight did not seem the greatest, but looking through it as if it was a Soul Caliber Match, it is pretty long. Wow, so Gauld is in the AU too, its kind of cool that they are getting more members. Is Tekaru in the AU yet, or will be one of the traitorous brothers, and lead the AU to its demise.

Chris 2.1
30th January 2006, 07:42 AM
Lee is indeed in a very big dilemma. As for the match, it was quite a good length for a duel, consideirng it was 1-1. The match was, however, a sidequest, and I did not want it taking too much spotlight. More important was Gaulds AU badge and the news that the other half of the mask is on someone elses face. And yes, Tekaru has been in the AU since Chapter 2 :-|

Powarun
31st January 2006, 11:03 PM
Oh, sorry, I forgot Tekaru, well the battle between the swords, or at least the whole meaning behind it seemed too important to make a sidequest. Makes the story sound like a video game.

Chris 2.1
9th February 2006, 05:02 PM
Preview for Ch17:

-As the groups merge before the raid on the castle, Chrome asks a favour of Tekaru:
“I’m level 18,” Chrome informed the young man. “And there is something I wish to manipulate into the form of a solid elementa.”


-Tension escalates in the castle after Roger is introduced to Spyda and Leo:
“How could you employ two assassins without my consent!” he snapped. Lusaka punched him in the stomach and the rather surprised man dropped to his knees, gasping as the wind was knocked out of him.

“I am not your employer,” Lusaka rasped. “I do not work for you. Remember that.”



-Meanwhile, an extra member returns to aid the group:
“Planning on leaving me behind?”


-And the fight at Crufia Castle begins!
Flinging her sword down in a quick snap, Zuuki conjured up a long tongue of flame to snap forward at this odd enemy. The adept leapt up, over the attack, landing on his hands and spinning frantically, kicking Zuuki in the face. Diving forward and beneath Al’s sonique, which consequently hit Zuuki in the ribs, the man slashed at Al’s back and kicked him forward.


From the other end of the room, another figure emerged. Leo. He ran a thick, masculine hand through his bushy mane and tamed it; he stomped forward and cast his powerful eyes around the arena. “Spyda, get up!”

The lanky man scuttled to the other man’s side.


He summoned his weapon, which was, if Al may have thought so, the oddest, if not the most barbaric weapon he had ever laid eyes on. It was a huge, multi-meter long chain, with a devastating, rusty, double-pronged iron hook on the end. Clutching it in his large hands, Leo swung the chain above his head angrily.



-“NO! NO! Stop it, NO!”

“Monica?” Al asked, squinting through the darkness to try and decipher what was going on. “I-Is that you?”

“[i]Someone! Someone help me! I can’t do it anymore!”



--All coming up soon!--

Powarun
9th February 2006, 08:11 PM
ah, the spoilers sound interesting, looks like Monica's group is having a tough time. Sorry about my last post, I was typing on my new laptop and well the keyboard is different, and I was a bit tired too. Hm, wonder what Chrome wants to make into a solid elementa, maybe Tekaru. Ha ha, or make Tekaru's electrity into sharp pins. Have fun.

Chris 2.1
26th February 2006, 02:37 PM
Sorry havent updated in a while.


Some information for the rest of the fic:


-The solid, V4 Elementas will be looked at in more detail when Chrome decides to solidify his. Tekaru's 'faith' is also tested in his elementa in the future

-There is a lot of information on Lusaka and Lilla, and why Lusaka needed her sisters help. You will also learn a lot about the sisters accomplice assassins, Leo and Spyda. They have very big backstories.

-Gauld and Silver's family secret was going to be told through a series of flashbacks through the 20's Chapters. However they hav been scrapped as they lacked motivation and seemed very boring. A confrntation with an old rival will see the truth come out...to the eagerly listening AU.

-There will be romance blossoming for some characters during the fic. Perhaps ones you didn't quite expect...

-A character from Monica's Army will return in this fic. It may not be the most obvious one you are all thinking of, think slightly more discreet and low-key

-Landmarks offshore from Evayard are visited in the fic

-Nat finds problems occur with her Pewturn ability (the ability to turn into stone) when it becomes apparent she has little control over it

-Characters like Greta, Thomas and Berahh (from Agrotatio) and the Ninja 4 will return.

-There will be at least 2 character deaths in the fic. Not necessarily AU members though!

-The end of the fic will leave a door open for a possible 4th book

Oakbark
1st March 2006, 08:31 AM
Hey Chris, i won't reply to the last chapter, i think the most topical points were laid out by Powarun and i'll hopefully reply to the upcoming chapter. Certain things have been getting in the way of replying, like college assignments and so on, so forgive me for not replying.

Looking forward to Chapter 17.

Damien.

Chris 2.1
10th March 2006, 03:28 PM
Monica’s Vendetta
Seventeen
A Serene Return




Monica, Tekaru, Al and Nat spent a considerable amount of time sleeping and recovering from their fight against the Ninja 5. Awaking in the late afternoon of the next day, Monica let out a long stretch and looked around. Tekaru, Al and Nat were waiting for her, milled around the room, smiling graciously.

“Hello,” Tekaru said softly. “How are you feeling?”

“I…” Monica began. Her throat felt throbbing and rather raw. “Okay, I guess.”

Nat’s concerned face broke into a smile.

“I don’t really remember much,” Monica admitted. “What’s been going on?”

“Do you remember fainting in Samyura?” Nat asked.

“Yea…” Monica replied, massaging her throat. “I could barely breathe.”

“We’re not sure of the exact details,” Al began. “But we think Lilla was working for Roger Megallo. A sprinkler system under the arena released a poisonous gas that you and San Jai inhaled. It was activated only when the word ‘commence’ was spoken, which Lilla said at the start of the match. We think she poisoned you both to buy some time.”

“And from that, we’ve drawn a conclusion Roger is putting something into action,” Tekaru continued. Al looked rather irritated at the interruption. “So it is vital we launch the attack before he realizes Lilla has still not got us where we cannot intervene.”

The other three agreed, and, after receiving any other sneaky tidbits of information from her friends, Monica led them out their room, across the hall, and into the room where Chrome, Zuuki and Salo milled around.

“Monica!” Zuuki said brightly, leaping from the bed. “Hey! How are you?”

Feeling herself grappled into a friendly hug, Monica gurgled an “Ok” as the group said their hellos and how-do-you-do’s to everyone else. Having not had much of an introduction to everyone else during their brief encounter the day before, the groups merged together and began chatting.

Al, Monica and Zuuki were chatting to themselves, Zuuki having been very close to Monica during their time in Perlei. Monica recalled how Zuuki was from Bayne, a village around a dormant volcano. Zuuki disobeyed her village’s ways to protect Monica, and was therefore banished from the place she called home. Since then, the young Flame Warrior, who was 17 years old had been traveling across Perlei, earning herself more badges and reaching Level 11. While Monica, Al and Zuuki continued their talk, Zuuki flicking her long, deep red hair back, laughing.

Meanwhile, Nat took a seat on Damien’s bed, sitting next to Salo. Salo watched her with apparent awe at the Quaker’s appearance. Her sharp eyes, her scraggly black hair, even her slightly intimidating appearance. Nat was aware she was being watched and turned, facing Salo. Salo flinched.

“Hi,” she muttered.

“Hey,” Nat said sternly. “It’s…Salo, right?”

“Y-Yea,” Salo said nervously, trying to keep calm. “A-And you’re Nat…right?”

Nat gave an empty nod. Salo nodded back, unsure how to continue the conversation. Nat seemed to sense the girls fear, and spoke again.

“Thanks for helping rescue me,” Nat said kindly. Salo looked surprised, but gave a small laugh.

“Oh…I didn’t really…I was…”

“You did come up to Asterid Fortress, didn’t you?” Nat asked. Salo nodded. “Then you did a lot more than other people, Salo. That was a brave thing to do – to face death like that. You took a chance, and it paid off.”

Salo smiled, but looked somewhat upset. Nat watched as her lip trembled and a tear leaked down from her face.

“What’s wrong?” Nat asked sincerely.

“It’s just…” Salo sobbed. “Sid. Sid died up there. I…we…had to watch him die…”

Nat was surprised at the compassion Salo shared for Sid, whom she had never liked, particularly because she knew Sid as the sadistic enemy who killed her close friend, Victor. She was aware Sid changed his ways, and was even a member of the AU, but she was still somewhat confused.

“I’m sorry to mention it,” Nat admitted quietly. “You were close with Sid?”

“Me, Sid and Phoenix,” Salo began. “We traveled together, at first anyway.”

Nat understood. Salo wiped the tears from her eyes and went on.

“And I haven’t seen Phoenix for so long,” She pined. “Is he coming to Evayard?”

Nat couldn’t bear the eager expression on Salo’s face. She did not know where Phoenix was, and seeing

“I’m…I’m not sure,” she explained.

“Oh,” Salo replied. She looked somewhat disheartened. “With Damien gone…it feels a bit lonely.”

“You think so?” Nat asked. “Even with all of us here?”

“Damien and I were…close,” Salo explained, blushing. “In that way.”

“Oh, it’s like that, is it?” Nat asked, smirking. Salo saw her.

“I’m serious!” Salo cried.

“I know you are,” Nat replied. “I admire you, Salo, for trusting your instincts.”

“You do?” asked Salo, somewhat precariously; wondering if this could possibly be true. “You don’t think I’m just a silly little school girl?”

“Of course not,” Nat said sharply. “You’re one of the bravest girls I know of. You’re so young, with so much at stake, yet you want to fight for good. I admire that a lot.”

Salo seemed touched, and a friendship soon began to develop between Nat and her. As they talked, Chrome and Tekaru were discussing tactics in a corner. Chrome had been intrigued by the elementa of the V4, and wondered how strong one would have to be to be able to use one.

“I am Level 11, and I have a solid elementa,” Tekaru informed Chrome. “Although it is not advised to try it at a level like mine. In truth, you must be somewhat stronger. I cannot use my elementa often, and am reserving my strength now for when we launch the attack. I may need my elementa then.”

“I’m level 18,” Chrome informed the young man. “And there is something I wish to manipulate into the form of a solid elementa.”

“Go on,” Tekaru said keenly.

“I have with me the guardian of the city of Colina,” Chrome began. “Let me explain. I am, as you may have guessed, a Purist, but one who dons the Ironize ability constantly. It was, at first, a way for me to live a normal life in the land of Perlei, all the while helping those who were banished to the Purity Realm. In Perlei, Purist are utter scum, and are banished to a land underneath the continent. I was their savior. I lived on the surface and was also a renowned, mysterious adept in Colina who protected the innocent. I was given the Guardian of the city to control as my own. Its name is Metametal, and it is a huge, steel golem. I want to use it as an elementa.”

“Well…” Tekaru said slowly. “If you’d like, we can go outside and practice.”

“Could we?” Chrome asked, sounding oddly reasonable and human. “So I am ready before the attack on the castle?”

Tekaru agreed, and after explaining that they both wanted some last-minute training, the two went out of the Inn and into a large paddock outside of it. They were in an enclosed space, but out of view of the castle. They would not be seen. As the group continued to bond, little did they realize things were getting underway in Crufia Castle, too.


*

“I’ve told you!” Roger shouted. “I am getting married tomorrow! I cannot be seen fighting my soon to be step-son in the corridors!”

“If I’m not there, and you’re not there, then it will be chaos,” Lusaka snapped. “You really trust your three sons to fight for you?”

“I did, but that was before you kidnapped the fourth one!” Roger replied. Lusaka gave him a scathing look.

“If only we had Seryun and Scabb…” she sighed. “But they are needed elsewhere. And even if the AU learn of what we’re up to…well, it’ll be too late to stop them, won’t it?”

Roger did not answer.

“Where are they going?” he snapped.

“What?” Lusaka asked.

“I said where are Seryun and that…that Scabb fellow going to?” Roger asked. “I am, as you know, soon to be the KING of this continent!”

“Fine,” Lusaka said lazily, as if she were finally giving in to a persistent child. “I’ll tell you. Seryun and Scabb, who happens to be a very strong character, so mind your tongue, are going to the location of the Wysha Diamond and are bringing it back here.”

“What! Here? The Diamond?” Roger barked. “What for?”

“Oh,” Lusaka said absently. “You’ll see. Oh, and on the subject of revelations, I have two people I’d like you to meet.”

“You…do?” Roger asked. Lusaka nodded. She clapped her hands, and there were two blinding flashes of light. In the top corner, where a crafty spider spun a web, and in the lower corner, where a tiny mouse nibbled away, two forms began to emerge from the creatures themselves. The first, materializing from the mouse, was the magnificently tall form of Leo. At 6 foot tall, with his shaggy mane of blonde and brown hair, he clenched his thick, masculine fingers angrily and stared at Roger. Meanwhile, from the spider, a very plain figure materialized. The lanky form of Spyda, with his pale, long fingers and deep, hollow eyes scanned the room. He had pointed incisors, which were dirty and yellow. He was in a sort of crouched position, his long arms laid forward as he looked around.

“My god!” Roger cried.

“Leo and Spyda are…friends of mine,” Lusaka explained. “From my home town. Unfortunately, our kind are less frequently leaving the sanctuary that is Villimaux. Leo and Spyda, though, would do anything for me.”

Roger was mortified by this.

“They are here to help get rid of Tekaru – or any other member of the AU, for that matter,” Lusaka went on. “Leo, Spyda, I want you to go to your stations.”

In two, bright green sparks, the two simply disappeared. Roger was livid.

“How could you employ two assassins without my consent!” he snapped. Lusaka punched him in the stomach and the rather surprised man dropped to his knees, gasping as the wind was knocked out of him.

“I am not your employer,” Lusaka rasped. “I do not work for you. Remember that.”

She turned to go and check up on Therebus, but she was stopped when there was another similar bright green flash before her eyes. Lusaka gave a gasp and stepped back as Lilla emerged from nothingness.

“Lilla!” Lusaka snapped. “What are you doing here?”

“They found me out!” Lilla wept, her face wet with tears. She looked distraught. “They found out everything I did, and accused me…and I tried to stop them but they got away…”

“So they’re in Crufia now?” Lusaka asked. Lilla sniffled and shrugged, but her older sister did not allow it. Lilla received a sharp slap to the face. “ARE THEY IN CRUFIA NOW?”

“I don’t know!” Lilla cried. “I…I suspect so…”

Lusaka grabbed her sister and threw her to the ground. Lilla gave a loud sob as she hit the floor. Roger saw this, still catching his breath, and finally understood where Lusaka got her weapons from. Lilla stole Tevaro swords, sold them, sent the money to Lusaka and sometimes sent her rare items to use herself. Roger also assumed Lilla had been holding the AU back, but it had failed.

“You have jeopardized EVERYTHING we have worked for!” Lusaka screamed. “EVERYTHING!”

“I’m sorry!” Lilla cried. “I am! I am!”

“You have to fight the AU in the castle,” Lusaka rasped. “They’re coming now. We have Leo and Spyda, they just went to their stations, and three of Roger’s sons are also fighting for us. You add that up to six.”

“But…I…”

“You pay the price,” Lusaka snapped. “How can you be so careless when so much is at stake?”

Lilla whimpered as Lusaka suddenly embraced her tightly. Roger looked somewhat surprised, as did Lilla, for he could see the expression on her face. She relaxed and embraced her sister back.

“Our people are counting on us,” Lusaka said slowly. “You know we have to be precise and accurate in our mission. Please try harder.”

Lilla looked into her sisters eyes.

“I will. Don’t worry.”

“I think we’re all ready,” Lusaka said. “Lilla, go now to the dining hall. Attack anybody in the AU. You know who not to attack so you should be ok. Roger, get going to your Fiancée. You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow.”

As Roger turned to leave, he caught a glimpse of Lilla disappearing, and Lusaka watching him sternly, as if she was going to make sure everything went smoothly. Roger was unsure how things would fare, and if he would be involved in the fight, but as he wandered away, he told himself it would be over soon.


*

It was a few hours before Chrome and Tekaru returned. Both red and patchy in the face, it was evident that it was cold outside. Monica was glad to see the two of them – she was worried that they had been kidnapped, hurt, or even killed as the time drew closer to their departure.

“Where is Damien?” Al asked, for the fifth time that night. “He should be here now!”

“Exactly!” Salo cried. “He’s been hurt, I know it!”

“He is doing what he is known best for,” Chrome began arrogantly. “Running away.”

“No! You’re wrong!” Salo cried.

“Ok, ok”, Monica said, standing and ceasing the argument. “We need to split into a group of three and a group of four. How about Me, Nat, Chrome and Tekaru will be Team A. We’ll be the ones who go to the Prison, since Tekaru can get us in no problem. As for you three, you have to go to the top floor and find Roger’s private Chamber. Sleuth around for that tapestry and explore behind it.”

Al looked rather irritated as Monica and Tekaru started joking about a ‘Team A secret Handshake’. He gritted his teeth watching them laugh together, feeling himself redden in the face. He turned to Zuuki and Salo.

“Ok Team B!” He said, overly-cheerily. “Ready?”

Zuuki smirked. Salo just smiled contently.

“I am!” She replied, her voice somewhat light yet sharp and serious. Zuuki gave a nod and slipped on her seductive silver shades over her pretty eyes.

“Is everybody ready?” Monica asked darkly. There was a low murmur of agreement. “Then let’s go.”

The atmosphere was so tense you could feel the buzzing of anticipation in the air. Reminiscing of the familiar feeling they felt when facing Dimitri, Monica marched out of the Inn and across a dying day in Evayard. Through Crufia, the marketplaces began closing for the day, and people often turned to look around at the spectacular array of adepts walking purposefully through the city. From Monica, looking dressed for a funeral, with her hair braided and eyes focused, to Zuuki, with her deep red hair flowing down her back; Chrome, whose metallic body shimmered in the red sunset spreading warmth across the land. Even Nat, who looked rather intimidating and unkempt, staring back at those who gave her looks. The group walked forwards towards the castle when a voice caught their attention.

“Planning on leaving me behind?”

It was a familiar voice, one that caused Monica to spin around in intrigue. Standing on top of a market was their friend Serena! Eyes wide in disbelief at her friend, Monica stared fixedly at the girl, whose beautifully pure blonde hair was bobbed neatly around her face. Sapphire-blue eyes glimmering in happiness, she smiled broadly, dressed in her whites, grays and golds, clutching her scarlet Zanbatou firmly. The sleek, red handle with its dangerous, curved blade on the end looked deadly. Serena ran, leaping up off the market and landing with the group.

“Serena!” Monica cried, running to her friend. Embracing closely, Monica’s heart soared at news that her friend was not only back, but fighting with them. She swept her hair from her eyes and looked around.

“Brilliant to see you all!” she cried, focusing on Tekaru. “But…who are you?”

Tekaru cleared his throat.

“My name is Tekaru –

“There’s little time for that,” Al said, butting in. Tekaru seemed somewhat crestfallen and stepped back hastily.

“Serena, we’ll explain everything back at the Inn. We have a lot going on,” Nat explained.

Monica scanned the group.

“You’re with Al, Zuuki and Salo,” she said hurriedly. “Serena, the soon-to-be king of this continent has been trying to keep the AU apart and kill many of us off. We believe he is guilty of hiding something – some sort of plan. My group is releasing Mortimer, Afee and Boko, who are imprisoned. Your group is going to search around for any…imperculiarities. Ok?”

“I think…” Serena said slowly; evidently she did not understand much of what had been said.

“We have to go,” Monica began. “Come on.”

Together, the 8 members of the AU wandered out of Crufia, staring ahead as the Castle loomed into view. Purpose etched into their hearts, each and every one was prepared for what was about to come. Well…except perhaps Serena.

The gates were open. Huge, golden gates with angelic silver bird statues on the top of the gateposts. A large fence ran around the exotic gardens within. Monica wandered through the gates first, signaling it was ok to continue. The rest followed. To the left and right, a beautiful garden trail was lined with decorated shrubs, powerfully colourful flowers and an assortment of trees. This led around the sides of the main part of the castle, which the group acknowledged and approached. Chrome, Zuuki and Salo each saw the gardens and recalled that horrible memory when they cowered in the gardens while Scott searched for them, narrowly avoiding getting caught.

The castle itself was huge. Towers jutted up into the heavens themselves, while the sheer scale of it was mind-blowing. Huge doors, with knockers resembling the silver bird on the gate posts could be seen on the impressive, sleek, dark wood of the doors. Monica stepped back and allowed Chrome to race forward and smash right into the elegant doors of the entrance. They smashed and splintered instantly, Chrome charging right into the castle itself. The group followed, Tekaru being the last, having watched this with a sting of regret. He sighed.

“If you ever come back here again, I will kill you.”

The same words reverberated around his skull and pounded at his insides. He gulped. Fear was washing over him, and he was sweating profusely. But by now, the group were wandering into the main entrance and looking around. He hastily caught up with them. A grand, elegant stone staircase led up the upper floors, while a door to the left was shut and apparently bolted tight. Tekaru explained it was a door leading underground, used in case of quick escapes. There were a series of hidden tunnels and pathways leading to the secret tunnel out of the Castle. He stressed, though, that it had never been used before. Various paintings, tapestries (short ones, unable to conceal corridors) and suits of armor were located in the main entrance, while a very large Persian rug was spread across the floor.

Tekaru pointed to a small staircase leading downstairs.

“That is the staircase to the Prisons.” He went on. “My group, we will go down that way. Al, your group must head up the main staircase and keep going until you can go no higher. Proceed left down the corridor and you will see a room at the end of the hall. It is Roger’s private chamber.”

Al gave a nod.

“See you soon,” he replied emptily. Tekaru, Monica, Nat and Chrome bode farewell to their allies and soon disappeared down the staircase leading to the prisons. Al, Salo, Zuuki and Serena watched them go.

Chris 2.1
10th March 2006, 03:28 PM
“Ok guys,” Al said firmly. “Everyone get weapons out. We don’t know when, or if, someone will attack us.”

In collective flashes of light, the group was armed – Al gripped his charcoal black Assassin Blade as it throbbed with a green glow. Salo clutched her sparkling Frost Wand tightly, looking serious; Serena held onto her Zanbatou and Zuuki clutched her precious Flame Sword. This amazing blade was red in colour, with a black hilt. Its shape was like that of flames. When Zuuki commanded it, it instantly turned into real flame and she could really deal some damage.

Precariously, they made their way up the wide stairs, looking around for any signs of an enemy. As they went, turning on a landing and then continuing up the next set of stairs towards the first floor, they took in the glamorous portraits lining the walls, as well as the Farrimond coat of arms. However, what they didn’t take in was the sinister figure lurking in the shadows, watching them carefully.

As they got off onto the first floor, the group took a look around each end of the corridor, and could see nothing ambiguous to investigate. They proceeded up the staircase to the next floor.

On and on it went, going up floor after floor. As it dragged on, and the group spent considerable time wandering up staircase after staircase, the majestic elegance of the castle seemed to wear off. Finally, arriving on the fourth floor, the group was surprised to see a doorway at the top of the stairs.

“I guess we’d better go through,” Zuuki said. Nobody answered; perhaps due to the sheer obviousness of the idea, or perhaps due to nerves. Precariously, sword ready, Zuuki grabbed the door and opened it. All four of them let out awe-filled gasps.

They appeared to be in a splendid dining hall. A huge dining table stretched across the room, which had a heated stone floor, the table being able to fit at least 25 people at it. The heads of either end of the table sat in wonderful, throne-like chairs. The sheer size of the room was also rather impressive. Across in one corner, spread out, was a wide area which looked like it was used for ballroom dancing.

“This is just…” Al uttered.

“…fantastic,” Serena finished for him. “Utterly fantastic.”

“I wouldn’t like this sort of materialistic environment,” Salo sniffed.

“Speak for yourself,” Zuuki rasped. “This is living!”

“The door is on the other side of the room,” Salo said. “We must go, quickly.”

Al and Serena agreed. As the four wandered slowly through the room, there was a sudden, loud screech filling the air. Crying out in surprise, Serena and Salo looked around in anticipation for somebody, or something, to emerge. Abruptly, there was a strong gust, and half of the torches went out. As they were contained in old lamps hanging from the ceiling, and candle-lit chandeliers, it was impossible for Zuuki to relight the fire with her natural adeptry. The ceiling was very high indeed.

“What’s going on?” Salo asked, clutching her weapon.

“Someone’s here,” Serena muttered. “Obviously they’re trying to scare us to lower our guards. The screech, the lack of light…everyone keep on your guard!”

Looking around for any sign of life, the four twitched their heads in quick, searching looks. Gripping their weapons, feeling the sweat trickling down their faces…the four were each rather tense and nervous, waiting for an attacker to emerge.

“We have each side covered,” Al growled, eyes locked ahead of him. “No-one can surprise us.”

He was wrong.

The thin, scuttling figure of Spyda leapt from the chandelier, giving a rabid hiss as he did so. The group saw this, some screaming and some leaping aside. The thin, bald man, with his pale face and white clothes, hissed again as he crouched defensively. Thin fingers pressed against the ground, his eyes were bulbous and he scanned the adepts.

“Just one person?” Zuuki asked. “I’m not complaining. Whiplash!”

Flinging her sword down in a quick snap, Zuuki conjured up a long tongue of flame to snap forward at this odd enemy. The adept leapt up, over the attack, landing on his hands and spinning frantically, kicking Zuuki in the face. Diving forward and beneath Al’s sonique, which consequently hit Zuuki in the ribs, the man slashed at Al’s back and kicked him forward.

“Sorry!” Al moaned, as Zuuki felt her ribs ache. Spyda surveyed the scene. Salo was backing away nervously, but Serena looked confident.

“Frenzy Bolt!” she screamed, clasping both hands on her Zanbatou and holding it out to the side. It glowed an electric blue, and consequently fired a flurry of yellow bolts through the air. Spyda sensed them, leaping to evade each one before diving forward into the inky darkness.

“He evaded them!” Serena gasped, catching her breath. “Damn!”

“Who is he?” Al asked.

“He’s very agile,” Zuuki said, her ribs still sore. “Turning our attacks against us like that!”

As it was rather dark in the room now, it was hard to find where this mysterious man had gone. Spyda was scuttling silently in the darkness, maneuvering around the room.

“He went that way,” Al said, pointing forward. “SONIQUE!”

Slashing a silver streak of energy through the air, Al watched as it illuminated the darkness momentarily and revealed that the figure had indeed disappeared. Turning wildly, Al was somewhat confused when he saw the figure emerge behind Salo.

“No!” Salo screamed. Spyda clasped his elongated fingers around her arms and wrenched her into the darkness. “GET OFF ME!”

“Do you need help?” Zuuki asked.

“Yes!” Salo cried. But it was difficult. Despite the three being strong, they could not fire into the darkness, as they were running the risk that they would hit Salo. No doubt this man was using Salo as a shield.

“What can we do?” Zuuki hissed. Al was thinking hard. Logic. That was what he was renowned for, his logic. There must be some way to use his logic in this situation. Some way they can outsmart their opponent…

“I have an idea,” Al murmured. He placed his hand, the sword-free one, in front of him, palm down. Moving it in a circle, he drew a clay brown circle on the ground, and by moving his hand, moved the glowing circle into the darkness. It illuminated the spindly man, clutching Salo tightly, and as Al moved his circle under the both of them, he shouted the attack.

“Mother –

Before he could say ‘gaia’, Spyda threw Salo down into the circle and silently ran through the darkness. Almost on cue, Serena sent a bolt of lightening and Zuuki hurled a fireball through the air. Spyda was hit, and gave a sickening scream as he hit the ground. Salo ran over to Al, who smiled.

“Logic,” Al said, smirking. “Works every time.”

“Is that so?” came a deep, growling voice. Al jumped. From the other end of the room, another figure emerged. Leo. He ran a thick, masculine hand through his bushy mane and tamed it; he stomped forward and cast his powerful eyes around the arena. “Spyda, get up!”

The lanky man scuttled to the other man’s side.

“Yes, it is so,” Al replied firmly. “Who are you to mock my technique?”

“I am Leo,” the man boomed. “And I am an extremely strong Adept, you stupid little boy. Let’s see if Brains truly do rule over Brawn, shall we?”

Al stared at him.

“A 1-1 duel against you?” he asked, readying himself.

“Not 1-1,” Leo replied thickly. “You…and a friend. Against me. Spyda can take on the other two.”

Al turned to the group. Salo was probably not the best choice, as this Leo character looked rather intimidating. It came down to Serena’s valuable experience, and Zuuki’s type, which, Al thought, would easily set fire to this overgrown lion.

“Zuuki,” Al replied firmly, thinking Serena’s experience could benefit Salo. Zuuki walked to Al’s side, both having their swords ready. Serena and Salo stood together against the odd, mystifying Spyda.

“Very well,” Leo purred. “BEGIN!”

It all happened very fast. Zuuki hurled two large, football-sized fireballs through the air as Al slashed a sonique. Leo leapt up, grunting heavily, avoiding the attacks and landing back down again. He held a ‘paw’ back, charging up energy in it and hurling the clear white orb forward. Zuuki leapt up to avoid it and landed on the splendid dining table. Al, thinking that staying together was a good option, sent another slash forward and leapt up onto the table, too.

“If I have one dart, and two targets,” Leo began sagely, holding a hand forward. “I can only hit both at once if the targets are together.”

He summoned his weapon, which was, if Al may have thought so, the oddest, if not the most barbaric weapon he had ever laid eyes on. It was a huge, multi-meter long chain, with a devastating, rusty, double-pronged iron hook on the end. Clutching it in his large hands, Leo swung the chain above his head angrily.

“Watch out,” Al said to Zuuki. Sure enough, Leo threw the chain forward, gripping onto his end. The two hooks rocketed at Al and Zuuki, who leapt back in synch at just the right time. The hook smashed right into the table, splintering it and damaging its beautiful exterior. With a huge heave, Leo pulled it back, ripping a large chunk of the table out in the process.

“Firnado!” Zuuki shouted, spinning her free hand in the air. A gust picked up, wrapping around Leo and controlling him slightly. The wind got faster, and as Zuuki clicked her fingers, fire began to pick up and spread. Leo, however, gave a long roar of anger, leaping through the tornado and at the edge of the table. He smashed the throne away, swinging his weapon and hurling it towards his foes.

Time after time, Al and Zuuki watched the hooks smash into the wood, and before long they had to abandon the table as Leo leapt onto it and smashed right through it with his animalistic strength.

“You heard him,” Al hissed. “We have to attack from different sides,”

Zuuki nodded and ran to the left, ducking under the table. Al ran to the right, around the back of Leo. He seemed rather irritated by them. Swinging his chain out, Leo span on the spot, sending the chain flying around him like a manic copter blade. Al and Zuuki exchanged dark looks as they wondered what to do.

“Aim for the legs!” Al shouted. “SONIQUE!”

Slashing the blade of energy into Leo’s legs, the man roared out in pain and his chain flew through the air, clunking into the ground and lying still. Leo ran at Al, fist readied, but Al held his sword forward, as if motioning that Leo would impale himself on the sword should he choose to attack.

“I’M NO IDIOT!” Leo roared, leaping high into the rafters of the building. He flew back down behind Al, swinging a punch into the side of the boy’s face, causing him to stumble and fall down.

“AL!” Zuuki cried. She snarled at Leo.

“You’re next, missy,” He purred. Zuuki gave an empty laugh.

“Just try it!” she coaxed. Leo nodded, picking up his chain again and swinging it, before firing it forward at Zuuki. She dodged to the left, rolling and watching this colossal beast. Perhaps…perhaps she should finally try her Elementa.

Readying herself, she briefly saw Salo and Serena running around Spyda. Holding both hands forwards, Zuuki let out a cry.

“ELEMENTA!” she screamed. Fire began curling around her body, winding around her outstretched hands and collecting at her palms. As the fire deepened in its colour, it was blasted forward in a magnificent beam of fire, sweeping across the table and consequently igniting it, before striking Leo in the chest.

“No mercy!” Leo roared, getting up and racing at Zuuki. Zuuki gasped – it did hardy any significant damage! She gave a scream as the large chain soared towards her. Leaping up, Zuuki ran across the side of the wall and pounced off, leaping above Leo. Drawing her sword, she ignited the flames on the blade and gave a primal scream.

“NOW!” gave her cry. She managed to stab him in the eye, causing extreme pain from the man. He gave a long, echoing roar and stumbled back in pain. Zuuki felt the chain smash against her leg after Leo released it. She landed, her leg buckling, watching Leo fall to the ground in agony.

“MY EYE!” he screamed. “MY EYE!”

Zuuki was satisfied. As she helped Al back up, who was seemingly hurt, a large bruise on the side of his face, they looked at Leo, on his knees. Suddenly, a figure teleported into the room. Al gave a sharp cry and leapt to his feet. It was, unbeknownst to anybody else, Lilla – the one who poisoned Monica.

“What are you doing here?” Al shouted. Lilla just smirked, bending over Leo.

“This will take a second,” she said sweetly, putting her hand over the scorched eye socket. A bloody mass soaked the floor. Within a few seconds, true to her word, Lilla managed to stem the flow of blood. Leo growled. “Come with me. We’ll sort you out.”

“No!” Al cried, grabbing his sword. “I won’t let you leave after what you did!”

But it was too late. Lilla and Leo both flashed green and disappeared completely. Al gave a roar of irritation as Zuuki consolidated him.

“Come on,” she said. “Let’s help the other two.”

Expecting to see Serena fending Spyda off Salo, they were surprised when they saw Serena lying on the ground, clutching her leg. It had a green-tinged scar down it.

“H-He slashed me!” Serena cried. “And it’s gone septic!”

“How is Salo doing?” Al asked, bending down.

“Ok, I think,” Serena sniffed. As they looked, Salo was leaping back as Spyda aimed a slash at her. “But you should help her.”

“I could…” Al mumbled. “I have a really sore head…and I feel dizzy…but…I could try.”

“Listen,” Zuuki said. We need to get to the 6th floor and investigate that tapestry. Besides Leo and Spyda, we have Lilla and the V4 to contend with. They want to stop us, and we have to stop them stopping us! I think me and Serena should go on. You and Salo stay and fight. When you beat Spyda, hurry after us before anyone else can come.”

“Fine,” Al said, gripping his sword. Zuuki helped Serena up, but she didn’t need any help. Waving her hand from left to right, Serena summoned a soft, flurry cloud which she then leapt up on and hovered in the air. Zuuki seemed impressed.

“I won’t need to use my legs,” Serena explained. “Come on, let’s go.”

Zuuki nodded, running across the dining hall as Serena floated by her side. Al smirked, recalling Serena doing that often, but turned back to the battle at hand. Spyda silently leapt back into the darkness. Salo backed away.

“Let me handle this,” she muttered. “ORACLE OF WATER!”

From Salo’s small frame came a water-built figure, resembling a beautiful woman. The woman formed out of Salo’s body and swept forward, splashing into Spyda and dousing him. Or so they thought.

With no sound, Spyda leapt from their left and wrapped his legs around Al’s neck. He span around and threw Al down into the ground. He leapt up, before soaring back down and aiming a devastating attack down on Al. Al rolled out of the way and kicked Spyda up, who leapt back into the shadows. Salo ran to Al’s side, summoning her Frost Wand again. It sparkled silvery blue.

“Icy wind!” Salo cried, as a horrible chill picked up. Icy particles swept from the Pearl atop her wand, encircling Spyda and throttling him with their bitterness. Spyda gave an unimpressed cry.

“Now, Al!” Salo shouted. Al crossed his arms and charged up energy. Blades formed from his wrists, moving down to his elbows. Al leapt through the air, bladed arms ready. He approached Spyda and gave him a double slash to the face. Spyda leapt at Al and, wrapping his legs around Al’s body, began scratching furiously at his face.

“Salo!” Al cried, stumbling back. “Get him off me!”

“Okay!” Salo cried. She held her hand forward. “Water spout!”

A blast of water flew forward, but Spyda leapt up off Al and Al was struck, falling on his backside. Salo muttered an apology, but Spyda landed behind Salo and kicked her down on her front. She turned, gasping, as Spyda’s pointed teeth extended and he stared down at her.

“NO!” she cried. “DON’T BITE ME!”

Spyda gave a sniff, picking up a scent, and moved down towards Salo, who was paralyzed with fear. Al got up, grabbing his sword and slashing a Sonique through the air. Spyda let the attack hit him, holding a hand forward and squirting some foul liquid from his pores on his palm into Al’s face. He gave a scream and dropped to his knees. His vision was blurred…he could barely see…had he been blinded? As Al toppled backwards, he heard a voice in his head…

“NO! NO! Stop it, NO!”

“Monica?” Al asked, squinting through the darkness to try and decipher what was going on. “I-Is that you?”

“Someone! Someone help me! I can’t do it anymore!”

Monica’s worried voice flooded Al’s senses.

“MONICA?” Al roared. What was going on? His senses were sharp, his breathing fast and desperate, and sweat was trickling down his forehead. He began crying; tears spilled down his face as, unable to see, thoughts of a scared and worried Monica flashed across his mind…

“Al?” Salo asked, her voice floating in through Monica’s screams. “Al? Are you ok?”

Al suddenly blinked and looked up. Salo was standing over him. She looked deeply concerned for him.

“Al? Are you ok?” she asked again. “You were curled in a ball…and you were crying out for someone.”

“W-Who was it?” Al asked, embarrassed.

“I couldn’t tell,” Salo admitted. “But don’t worry – I stopped that Spyda character.”

She pointed to the wall, which Spyda had been frozen against.

“I used some more Water Spouts to soak him, knocked him against the wall and unleashed another Icy Wind,” she explained, seemingly very happy with how she did. “Shall we go?”

“Yea…” Al murmured.

The two then proceeded to walk to the door of the Dining Hall. Al cast a look across the charred, splintered table, the blood-splattered floor, the iced-over wall, and was impressed by the scale of their battle. He opened the door, arriving in a corridor with Salo, and headed up the next staircase to catch up with Zuuki and Serena.

Meanwhile, a figure appeared from the other end of the corridor. They watched until Al and Salo were out of sight, before dashing into the Dining Hall and approaching Spyda’s frozen figure. Pulling out a pair of small daggers, the figure wandered to Spyda and began hacking away at the ice, muttering to himself as shards of ice flew into his handsome blue ponytail. When the ice was chipped away, the limp figure of Spyda fell to the floor.

“Get up,” Karadon snarled. “You have work to do, and so do I.”

He flicked ice shards from his hair.

“I need to find Monica…”

Powarun
12th March 2006, 09:55 PM
Adding Karadon made the ending of this chapter interesting, I thought they were going to betray daddy, and fight with the AU. It is kind of sad that I have seen and read so many stories that I kept on to the details through the chapter, wondering when the crossover to Lee's mission was going to start, and ended up confused when I read the end. Adding a blind Al in there would have been interesting, along with stopping Lilia from showing up and trying to heal that ******* Leo. I hope he gets more than sword in the eye, which was pretty smart thinking. Sadly I am reminded of this one fan fic that was discontinued and it too featured an Eye being taken out, but it was written so much more sicker.

good job, can't wait for the next one. Another sad change is I am no longer reading these at school, for some reason I just quit checking at school and just do it at home.

Chris 2.1
17th April 2006, 02:30 PM
Man this place is quiet.


My other fic is keeping me busy but I'm taking a short break from it very soon to continue working on this. Whoever's out of there....hi!



Powarun: Yea, I kinda wanted to show how Karadon has to put what he wants below what he has to do for his father to achieve what he wants. Lee doesn't meet the group just yet - he has some pretty interesting things in store!

I did actually contemplate a member of the AU (very possibly Al) to be blind, but I felt despite adding a lot to the drama it would take a lot away. It would be interesting though. Hmm Lilla appearing to aid Leo means she's not doing what her sister asks! Lusaka said Lilla would have to battle, yet she's sneaked away from that.

Lusaka and Lilla's relationship will develop over the next few chapters but it will be some time before we see just what their true motives are.

Leo is certainly a bad person. He's also a very interesting character and is involved in a fantastic battle around Chapter 23.








Monica’s Vendetta
Eighteen
Tekaru’s Worst Nightmare

Meanwhile, while chaos broke loose in Crufia Castle, Therebus stood in the small room that he was situated in. Furious with whoever the woman was he could hear on the other side of the walls, Therebus had tried and failed to get out of the small room he was locked in.

The door opened. Therebus gasped as Lusaka entered. She wandered into the dark room, looking around at the dingy place with intrigue. She smirked at Therebus, closing the door.

“How are you?” she asked. Therebus did not answer. Lusaka wandered around the room, taking in what little there was to be taken in at all. “I know it’s been a while.”

“Let me out,” Therebus said hoarsely. “What did I even do wrong?”

“You don’t know?” Lusaka laughed. “Therebus, you became a liability. You learned too much.”

“Like?” asked Therebus.

“Seryun was to be arriving at a place called Brinstead Dock,” Lusaka began. “For you see, that is his first stop on the way to the Unitan Settlement. That is the location of the Wysha Diamond.”

Therebus gasped.

“Of course,” he said lightly. “So…he’s gone to get it now? H-He’s on his way?”

“Yes,” Lusaka replied. “We had to make sure you didn’t stop him. That’s why we kidnapped you. But now, you know about me, and you must have overheard some talks I had with your Father…”

Therebus was shaking. It was a mixture of the common fear he often had, added with an unusual rising of anger in his head.

“Is it true then?” Therebus hissed angrily. “Roger supported Dimitri?”

“Oh yes,” Lusaka said, smiling. Therebus gave an odd twitch.

“And he murdered Splinter, that old accomplice of Seryun?” he continued.

“Yup,” Lusaka replied, a grin on her face. Therebus gulped.

“A-And what…what about my mother?” he asked weakly. “I-Is it true she died from…grief? A-After learning his secret?”

Lusaka enjoyed the weak expression Therebus wore. Slowly and surely, she nodded her head, eyes closed and smile broader than ever.

Therebus fell to his knees. Tears began leaking out the sides of his eyes as he sobbed uncontrollably. Roger had told Therebus and his brothers that their mother, Yuwana, had fallen ill to a horrific illness. But to think she died of a broken heart…and Splinters murder, too…why had Roger done it?

Rising to his standing position again, Therebus wiped the tears away and stared at Lusaka coldly.

“You started all of this,” he snapped. “It was YOU!”

Lusaka retreated.

“How dare you talk to me like that!” she snapped back. “Your Father is an independent man.”

“He was,” Therebus began fondly. “Before he aligned himself with the likes of you!”

“And that was probably before you were even born!” Lusaka spat. She stepped forward. “If you dare make accusations, mark my words, I will kill you on the spot. Roger wants you alive, but I don’t give a damn about you at all.”

She looked utterly furious. Therebus was angry – sweat trickled down his forehead and mixed with the tears making their way down his cheek. Finally unleashing an anger that had been locked away for his entire life, Therebus began daring as he parted his lips to speak to Lusaka.

“Go on then,” he muttered. “Kill me now.”

Lusaka watched him inquisitively.

“Go on!” Therebus shouted. “Do it!”

“No,” Lusaka snapped. “I can’t.”

“You’re too weak,” Therebus taunted her.

“No I’m not,” Lusaka replied.

“You’re too worried my Father will find out,” Therebus went on.

“I don’t care what he thinks or how he acts,” Lusaka explained.

“Kill me then! You bloody coward,” Therebus hissed. This did it. Eyebrows raising suddenly, eyes widening, Lusaka took a step back. Therebus enjoyed the startled look on her face.

“I – am – no – coward!” Lusaka screamed, charging energy up in her hands. “I’LL SHOW YOU!”

Hurling an orb of silver energy through the air, Lusaka’s face was utter malice as she watched. Therebus stood there, smirking as the orb got closer. Giving a high, cold laugh, Lusaka watched with glee. However, at the last second, Therebus held his wrists up, and the attack smashed against the two devices on his wrists that disabled his adeptry. The devices shattered instantly, and although Therebus was driven back by the attack, he gave a quiet laugh as Lusaka watched in horror.

“You tricked me,” she growled.

“Yes,” Therebus hissed, summoning his crossbow. “Get against the wall.”

Lusaka complied, sliding into the corner. She didn’t look scared, but still knew the consequences if she tried fighting Therebus right now. A bolt through the neck, no doubt. She watched him.

“Stay there,” Therebus replied. He paced towards the door, and Lusaka could only watch helplessly. She knew he was going to lock her in here, and without Roger around, how would she get out?

“Nice knowing you,” Therebus growled, in an oddly malicious voice. He slammed the big, thick door shut, plunging Lusaka into semi darkness. She heard the lock clicking thickly on the other side, and desperately threw herself to the ground to look for any cracks that she, as an Animaux Adept could fit through as, say, a mouse. But alas, it was all tightly sealed off.

Fuming, Lusaka sank into the corner and was lost for a few moments. What could she do? She heard Therebus scrambling up the ladder towards the surface, probably going to alert the AU of her existence, stop the V4 from fighting…

But did it matter? Lusaka thought not. All that was important was that Seryun was on his way to the Wysha Diamond…


*

In the castle, the other group, consisting of Monica, Nat, Chrome and Tekaru wandered down the staircase towards the prisons. Tekaru led the way, having the group’s full respect and attention. He did not speak, but instead only walked further onwards.

They came to a large, square-shaped room with a door on each side. The walls and floor was still stone, but the doors were a sleek, elegant mahogany. It was rather cold. Tekaru made his way forward to the door on the left, but it opened abruptly and a green force field projected Tekaru backwards.

“Luke!” Tekaru shouted. His soon-to-be step-brother stood there, grinning. He had used an outburst attack on the door, flinging it open and throwing Tekaru backwards. Monica, Nat and Chrome all gasped upon seeing him.

“Hello,” he said calmly, a thick axe in his grip, comprised of black stone. “Nice thought, wasn’t it? Breaking in, taking the captives, and running back out. There’s a slight problem. Me.”

“Don’t forget me,” came a voice behind them. From the opposite door (originally the door on the right) Scott wandered out. He was already cloaked in red-hot flames, giving off an aura of heat all around. The cold temperature disappeared.

“Not you too?” Tekaru whined. “Fine. Are you ready, Chrome?”

“Yes,” Chrome replied.

“I’ll take on Scott, you take on Luke. Understood?”

“Yes,” Chrome repeated.

“RISE!” Tekaru roared. The ground glowed beneath him as the large, golden cross rose up, Tekaru once again on the right arm of the cross. Luke looked bewildered, and even Scott gave an impressed gasp.

“Rise! Metametal!” Chrome cried out. From a glowing pendant around his neck, the huge steel golem morphed into the room. With its rounded head, with an odd circle of Braille in the center, almost like a single eye, Metametal swung its metal claws and gave an odd hissing noise. Chrome leapt up, jacket billowing, and landed on its head.

“Forrai!” Luke snapped. “Rise!”

From an orb of glowing green energy morphed the odd tree demon. With its bark-like complexion, clawed feet, thin body and four arms, Forrai’s red bulging eyes locked onto Tekaru with intrigue. He (presumably a male) flapped its insect-like wings.

“Delvil!” Scott cried out. “Rise!”

From the heat Scott gave off, the odd devilish spirit materialized in the room, too. Its long, sneering face, with thin eyes and pointed teeth was reminiscent to Monica and Nat of the day the V4 summoned these creatures to fight. But they had never actually seen them do so.

Delvil waited for Scott, who leapt up onto its shoulder and pointed at Tekaru and his Crucifix.

“GO!” Tekaru cried. “That door!”

Monica and Nat ran forward, wrenching the door open and heading down the long spiral staircase. Meanwhile, a massive fight ensured, Tekaru VS Scott and Chrome VS Luke. Forrai gave a screech and slashed forward at Metametal, who leapt back (making the ground shake) and slashed strips of energy forward. Forrai charged up a glowing orb of energy, sending green sparks all over it before shooting it forward at Chrome and Metametal.

“Go for it!” Chrome said. “Alchemist Dragon!”

From the Braille-like eye on Metametal’s face, an eruption of silvery metal burst forth. Forming into a dragons head, the beam wound up into the rafters of the room and then swept down at Forrai. Forrai tried to block the attack, but it smashed into Forrai’s stomach and splintered its body.

“Forrai, use Gaia!” Luke roared. Forrai held all four hands forward, and from each an array of glowing boulders flew out. Being comprised of metal, this did not really hurt Metametal. Chrome felt himself get pushed back somewhat, though.

“Metal Claw!” he roared. Metametal swiped angrily at Forrai and left a large gash in its stomach. Forrai flapped back, rising slightly into the air and kicking at Metametal with its huge legs.

Meanwhile, Tekaru and Scott’s fight was becoming severely one-sided. Tekaru’s moveable, yet inanimate crucifix was firing off lightening bolts at Delvil, but the fire demon was simply avoiding them and pummeling the crucifix with its fists.

“You were always weaker than us,” Scott taunted, as a flaming fist slammed into the metal crucifix. “My Father always said to you, didn’t he? ‘Never use an inanimate object as your Elementa’, but you never listened to him, did you?”

This time, a flaming kick swung up and smashed into Tekaru’s elementa. Tekaru gave a shuddering cry of pain as he stumbled on his Elementa’s arm. Sending a surge of electricity through the air at Delvil, Tekaru watched as another flaming kick rocketed into his Elementa and dealt huge damage. Tekaru hung onto his elementa tightly, praying Monica and Nat would return soon.


*

The two girls were, in fact, wandering down a tightly wound spiral staircase, Nat in front, her Raegan Blade drawn. Thumps and Roars were heard above them – it sounded like Tekaru and Chrome had finally begun their duel against Luke and Scott. Monica’s heart thumped rebelliously against her ribcage as she neared Mortimer once again. She found the man, who was much older than her was a source of comfort, support, but mostly strength. Mortimer, being a Ghost Prophet (the highest level of Ghost Adept) drew much respect from Monica, who was a class below as a Ghost Mage. The thought of releasing Mortimer and seeing him again was tantalizing for Monica.

It was a long trip down the stairs. Monica felt her thighs hurting and aching from the constant jogging down the long flight of steps. Nat seemed ok about it – she was definitely stronger physically. Her arms and legs were discreetly muscled.

The spiral stairs wound to a close, and both Monica and Nat ran across a thin walkway, with dark, echoing chasms beneath them. Nat suddenly stopped, picking up a small pebble, and dropping it down the chasm. A long, loud clunking reverberated around the long room.

“It’s a long way down,” Nat said grimly.

Monica nodded, running across the room and reaching the next door. Wrenching it open, she stared at a stone staircase running down towards the cells. She eagerly ran down them, leaping off the last five and staring around. And there, to her left, watching her darkly through the bars was Mortimer.

“Mortimer!” she cried softly, running to the cell.

“Monica,” Mortimer said rudely. “Do what you must do first.”

“R-Right,” Monica said nervously, smiling. “You mean break you out, right?”

“What else?” Afee asked, appearing by Mortimer’s side.

“Indeed,” Mortimer said lazily.

“Stay back, Mon,” Nat said firmly. Monica darted to the side as Nat’s charged up blade hummed with energy. “SONIQUE!”

The deep slash of energy smashed against the bars. It dented them deeply, but Nat seemed to know more force was needed. Another heavy slash rocketed forwards and hit the bars. They broke into two, allowing Mortimer, Afee and Boko (who had been towards the back of the cell) time to walk out.

The light shining through the small windows cast its gaze over Mortimer. He was thin as ever, the weeks in prison not really helping. His purple and black robes were like that of a ninja, folded here and there, but somewhat loose. His once jet-black hair was streaked with flicks of silver and grey – evidently time was taking its toll on Mortimer. The few lines on his forehead and at the sides of his mouth were only really evident when the light hit his face – other than that, they were discreet and his face retained some youth.

“How good it is to see you again,” Mortimer said wholesomely, shaking Monica’s hand. “How good indeed.”

As Mortimer went to greet Nat, Afee emerged from the cell. Monica smiled at him as he held a hand out. Afee was younger than Mortimer, but still something of a veteran, perhaps being in his late thirties of early forties. He was a Purist – this was evident by his charcoal-black skin. His eyes looked somewhat whiter than usual, probably because they were against the colour of his skin. His eyes were a dull green, while his hair was black and by no means short, but still remaining well taken care of and neat. He wore a sort of formal gown that made him appear somewhat regal – it was white and silver with a black trim. Monica shook his hand.

“Thank you for your efforts,” he simpered. Afee’s voice was high and when speaking in a friendly manner, he often sounded somewhat odd. Afee greeted Nat, and Monica was confronted by Boko. The Flame Champion, who was big and muscled, stepped out the cell and grasped Monica’s hand in one of his. He shook it vigorously and smiled at her.

Boko was a big, hulking man. His hair was short and fuzzy; a dark ginger in colour, but it was rarely seen. He wore a battle helmet which was very good at stopping blows to his head. He had dark blue clothes on, with a heavy gold belt and dark trousers. His boots were thick and heavy, his hands encased in gauntlets. Boko had been a very sullen man when Monica last saw him – Boko’s best friend, a Water Adept named Reef, was struck dead by Dimitri himself. Boko had lost a part of himself, but it seemed, since then, he had overcome it.

“Is everybody ok?” Nat asked urgently.

“We are all fine,” Mortimer said lightly.

“Chrome and Tekaru are fighting two of the V4 upstairs,” Monica explained. “Be prepared to fight, or at least distract them with attacks.”

Monica then gave a thick, heavy cough and doubled over as she hacked loudly. Afee stepped back, pulling a face; Nat patted her on the back and helped her back up.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“Y-Yea…fine,” Monica gasped. She had a horrible, choking feeling for a brief second. Was this the result of what she had inhaled at the Samyura Gym? That…gaseous toxin Lilla released? Monica put the thoughts aside as she led the group out of the prisons.

They went up the staircase, pushing open the doors and arriving in the room with the two gaping chasms either side. Suddenly, as they arrived, five sparks ignited into existence and guards materialized, brandishing swords.

“Guards!” Nat cried.

“Teresa must know you’re here,” Mortimer gasped.

“Get back in them cells, scum,” one guard rasped. He ran full-pelt at the group, who split from their tight knot. Nat ran at him, slashing her blade against his, snarling and overthrowing him. Knocking his sword down the chasm, she grabbed him, headbutted him in the face and pushed him down the chasm.

Monica did a side-step to avoid a slash from her guard. Holding her hands forward as a plate of purple energy was created; Monica blasted the beam of energy into her guard and knocked him flat.

Afee was smirking and toying around with his guard like a cat might toy with an injured mouse. As the guard slashed his sword down, Afee teleported and appeared behind him. Turning, the guard tried another slash, only to find Afee had teleported again. Eventually, as he was getting tired of his opponent, Afee raked both his hands forward, the nails of which were slightly too long for a male, sinking them into the guard. As Afee roared loudly, sparkling black energy jolted into the man through Afee’s hands. While he screeched and screamed in pain, Afee executed a fantastic blast of energy which threw the guard off him and down the chasm.

Boko swung his intimidating scythe downwards, having it clash with his foes sword. Sending a burning sensation through his body, Boko’s scythe burst into elongated flame and his foe leapt back His scythe turning back into energy that swept onto the badge beneath Boko’s jacket, the muscled adept stomped forward angrily. Snapping his fingers, a flame formed on his open palm. Boko let it grow and feed off the oxygen, growing in size. He then hurled it forward, where it hit the guard. His chest ignited and he screamed for help.

“Here’s your help,” Boko snapped, grabbing the man and throwing him down the chasm.

Mortimer leapt back eagerly as his guard approached. Mortimer charged up a shadow ball, watching it increase in size, before throwing it at his guard and knocking the wind right out of him. He fell on his buttocks, looking around at the five adepts.

“You do not have a chance, young man,” Mortimer rasped. “Just go and stay in the Cell Room until we are gone.”

The young man nodded and ran, full-pelt, down the steps and into Mortimer’s old cell. Mortimer gave a smirk, and the group, led by Monica, ran towards the next door. Wrenching it open, Monica led the group up the long spiral staircase up towards the main part of the castle. Taking the lead, with Boko bringing up an aggressive behind, Monica ran onwards towards the battle between Tekaru, Chrome, Luke and Scott.


*

Meanwhile, Al and Salo were running up the stairs after Zuuki and Serena. They finally caught up to them as they were on the landing of the fifth floor. Serena’s leg still looked in bad shape, but everyone else was fine.

They were on the fifth floor landing when a figure arrived from the 6th floor. Looking up, everyone except Serena recognized Therebus as he ran down the stairs quickly. He looked worried, eyeing the group with intrigue.

“Therebus!” Al snarled, drawing his sword.

“W-What are you doing here?” Therebus asked weakly. Zuuki snorted.

“Like you don’t know,” she snapped. “We’re trying to find out what Roger’s up to. We fought Leo and Spyda…are you next?”

“Those must be the animaux adepts…” Therebus mumbled, recalling the names mentioned by Lusaka. “That woman…she mentioned those names…”

“What are you on about?” Serena asked. Therebus looked at them.

“I…” Therebus muttered. “It is irrelevant.”

“You look in bad shape,” Salo commented. “What happened?”

“Your friend,” Therebus said weakly. “Damien. I heard them talking about him. S-Seryun Kotsuro went to get him.”

“What?” Salo asked. “Damien?”

“And as for Roger…he still doesn’t know…”

“Know what?” Al asked. Therebus eyed him.

“When you go to his Chamber,” Therebus hissed. “Look at the portrait on the way. Leave the Chamber – Roger emptied anything important away when he knew we were onto him. Just look at the portrait. If you’re as clever as you look, you might be able to stop Roger with us.”

“With you?” Zuuki said.

“The V4 have been manipulated once too often,” Therebus explained. “And before I was – ahem…erm b-before now, that is, my brothers and I, we decided to work against him, and we are doing just that.”

“Are you asking for some form of cooperation?” Al asked.

“Not here!” he cried. “When you are out the castle, and everything here has stopped, we will contact you. I have to go, in case they find me again.”

He turned to run, but before doing so, walked forward to Serena. Pressing his hands on her wounded leg, Therebus began chanting to himself. The crystal pendant he wore was glowing a pure blue colour as Serena’s leg fully healed.

And Therebus ran off.

“Stop!” Salo cried.

“Thank you!” Serena shouted.

“What was his problem?” Zuuki asked.

“He knew about Damien! I’m going after him!” Salo shouted. Al grabbed her arm.

“No! We have a job. Therebus said we would talk afterwards. Once we’re done here, we will sort out what – if anything – has happened to Damien.”

The group was somewhat confused by the apparent dementia of Therebus. Nevertheless, they ploughed on up the wide, gradual staircase to the 6th floor, where they may finally find some answers. Remembering Tekaru’s directions, they ran down the corridor, noticing, as they went, there were no portraits or pictures.

“Hey!” Zuuki cried out. “There’s one!”

And, as they approached Roger’s chamber they noticed, on the wall, a small portrait. It was of a woman weeping over a dead flower and was very well done. Zuuki looked at it, staring into it, trying to decipher what it might mean…

“Maybe it means Roger’s dying?” Salo mumbled. Serena snorted with laughter, but tried to make it sound like a cough.

“I have no idea what this means…” Zuuki continued. “Like, how is this relevant?”

Al was staring, too, but not at the portrait. Instead, he took a step back and looked at the slightly crooked angle it hung at. Musing things over, Al came to the conclusion that, in a place like this, nothing would be left crooked – everything was pristine. He reached up and took it down from the wall.

“What are you doing?” Serena asked. Al simply did not answer, turning the frame over and noticing that, tucked behind the frame to lodge it in place were a series of pages from a book. Al slipped them out and began reading them.

“Al, how did you know?” Zuuki asked. Salo nodded eagerly as if she, too, wanted to know Al’s knack for working things out.

“Al has a gift,” Serena explained, smiling. “He is so…clever. You’d be surprised how much logic he has.”

“I’m glad you were with us, Al,” Salo said happily.

“Al? Are you ok?” Zuuki asked. But he didn’t answer.

“Al?” Serena cried. “What’s wrong?”

His face was empty and lifeless. Staring in shock at the words on the pages, Al simply stuttered and was unable to answer.

“What does it say?” Zuuki barked. Al gave a jump.

“J-Just look at this,” he mumbled. Zuuki, Serena and Salo each began reading it, Serena being the fastest and taking another page for herself to examine while Zuuki and Salo caught up.

“The Wysha Diamiond?” Serena said slowly.

“I know,” replied the Quaker. “This is what Roger’s been looking for. This is why he wanted the AU out of the way.”

“This is big,” Zuuki said suddenly, having caught up. “But who could he have in mind?”

“I’m not sure,” Al replied. “Come on, we need to get back as soon as we can.”

He folded the papers up and pocketed them.

“Come on.”

And just as soon as they ran there, the group ran back towards the staircase again. Fear pounding at their chests, minds swarming with possibility and bewilderment, the group ran back to the entrance of the Castle. It was essential they found everybody. And fast.


*

“Still alive?” Scott taunted, ramming into the Crucifix with Delvil. Weary, Tekaru clung on tightly. He was drained of energy and had no idea how he could get out of the situation. Chrome and Metametal were doing fine but Tekaru, only level 11, was finding that maintaining his elementa was difficult.

A fist slammed into the base and Tekaru gave a gasp. The crucifix died away in a wisp of golden smoke as the young Prince fell to the ground, groaning in pain. Like a giant, Delvil stood over Tekaru menacingly, Scott enjoying everything very much. Tekaru tried summoning his hammer, but it was no use. He lay there feebly as Scott thudded forward.

And then, a door burst open. Instantly jets of various coloured light swept around the room, mainly into Delvil. Mortimer sent a Night Shade, Monica an Elementa, Nat a Sonique, Boko a fireball (although it did very little) but Afee watched his brother.

“Afee?” Chrome gasped.

“It is I!” Afee cried jubilantly, impressed by his brothers control over Metametal. “Keep it up!”

“Oh no,” Scott groaned. “Delvil! Ember Assault!”

But as Delvil cast the attack, Nat ran forward with a Halo Blade attack. The swinging sword charged up and was slashed ruthlessly into Delvils leg, causing the beast to give an almighty roar of pain. It lurched forward and by doing so, the group fired another assault forward and struck the giant down. Delvil slowly faded into smoke and haze as Scott landed neatly on the ground.

“Luke! Help me!” Scott snapped. Luke and Forrai smashed four fists into Metametal and knocked Chrome off. Forrai disappeared into Luke’s body again as the young man landed. Chrome recalled Metametal and fell on his back.

Now that the giants were indeed out of the way, Scott and Luke watched as the other 7 members of the AU rounded up on them. Each of the AU members stared angrily into the eyes of Scott or Luke. It was their actions which had an impact on all of them.

“This is pretty satisfying,” Monica said angrily, pacing forwards. “I hope you two never get up again after all the pain and suffering you’ve caused us. You killed Alan. He did nothing to you.”

“Calm down,” said a voice. Teleporting by his brother’s side was Karadon, who swept dirt and grime from his cloak. “Please, settle down!”

Monica stepped back.

“Don’t you tell me -

“We need to talk,” Karadon explained, glancing sideways, as if to check for someone. “I am sorry, but we had to fight you tonight. We are doing everything we can to regain Roger’s trust.”

“Re-gain?” Mortimer asked. “What did you do to lose it, I wonder?”

“Well,” Luke began. “He was so secretive with us. So we demanded answers and he…got a bit angry.”

“Since then, Therebus has disappeared, and we know Roger is behind it. We think he is working with other people. He explained to us if we helped defend the castle tonight, then he would tell us where Therebus was.” Karadon continued. His tone, for once, did not sound mighty and in-control. It sounded scared.

“I see,” Mortimer replied. “Is our other group being…attacked tonight?”

“Yes,” Karadon replied. “But not by us. Two adepts by the names of Leo and Spyda are also aiding us. They are, by nature, brutal and don’t seem to be under any…force to help us out. They are fighting to kill. Your friends must be careful. They are doing this because they are strong.”

“They’ll be fine,” Nat growled. “Our bunch are strong.”

“D-Do you know if a girl named Lilla has been working with Roger?” Monica asked. Karadon frowned.

“I can’t say the name rings a bell,” he admitted.

“Oh,” Monica replied, crestfallen. “She was in Samyura, and seemed desperate to try and stop us getting here.”

“Then it sounds as if Roger has got others working for him,” Luke said. “I doubt he would have told us about someone stationed elsewhere.”

“We should go,” Mortimer announced. “We are grateful for your information. But we should go. Before anything happens.”

“Yes, you should do that,” Karadon said. “We are going to get out of the way.”

He paused.

“We are no longer the V4,” he explained. “Violence is not a technique we solely rely on. From now on, our path for justice will earn us the name J4 – or Justice 4.”

“I am glad to hear you have reformed your ways,” Mortimer said kindly, as if the two were talking about bullying, or stealing, or something small and innocent. “Good bye.”

And off they went. In three bright green flashes, the 3 members of the J4 disappeared into the atmosphere. Mortimer gave a nod. The door directly ahead, across the other side of the room was the way out.

As they ran, Monica’s mind was buzzing. The V4 had reformed…they only attacked to trick Roger…they were turning against him…and Al was in trouble, which worried Monica more than she expected. Would the other group fare ok against these powerful adepts Karadon mentioned?

Just then, Mortimer felt a tingling in his head. Afee looked at him, then at the door ahead, and nodded in silent agreement. Boko saw the two exchanging worried looks. Suddenly, the door was blown right off its hinges and Monica, Tekaru and Nat were thrown back into Chrome. Sensing something was wrong; Mortimer backed away and ran towards the door on the right. Afee and Boko followed, and together the three slammed it shut, listening keenly for news on what was happening.

Monica got up.

“Where is Mortimer?” she asked.

“Oh, I’ll tell you where Mortimer is,” came a voice. Monica gasped and looked up. Standing in the doorway was a man and woman, both looking flustered and angry. The woman, whose long, flowing hair was the same colour as Tekaru’s was somewhat upset. Five guards swarmed around the group, clutching swords. They all stared at the 4 adepts, who were wondering where on earth Mortimer had gone. Roger was in the flesh, from his balding hear, to his stiff moustache and irritable golden shoulder pads to his shiny black boots.

“Mother!” Tekaru cried. “Roger!”

“Tekaru!” Teresa cried.

“This is Roger?” Nat snapped.

“Mortimer is waiting to be killed,” Roger continued. “Him and his friends are locked up in the cells, ready to be trialed this afternoon! They are horrible traitors onto this beautiful land.”

“You’re wrong!” Tekaru shouted. “WRONG!”

“Tekaru!” Lady Teresa shouted impatiently. “Stop this revolution at once! You know the three were found with evidence plotting to overthrow me!”

“I know Roger got his sons to frame treason,” Tekaru drawled. “And I also know WE were attacked by Roger’s sons in Saffron City!”

“Oh Tekaru…” Teresa said softly. Monica was in awe of her beauty – her skin looked so soft and gentle, and she seemed such a lovely woman…but she had flared up and looked both distraught and disgusted. “You promised me the lies would stop when you came back!”

“And instead you bring together a gang of ruffians to try and kill me?” Roger barked.

“Tekaru!” Teresa cried. Tears began spilling down her face. “No! No…”

“He is a bad man!” Tekaru cried back. “HE IS A BAD MAN!”

“YOU ARE WRONG!” Teresa shrieked. Everybody fell silent. “STOP TWISTING EVERYTHING, TEKARU! YOU CAN NEVER BRING YOUR FATHER BACK!”

If possible, the room went even quieter. An awkward silence lingered in the air like a circling bird looking for prey. Tekaru was stunned. His face was blank, empty and void.

“You are breaking my heart with these lies!” Teresa wept. “Breaking – my – heart! Tomorrow is the day I am to be getting married to this man you…you incessantly slander! I cannot do this any more, Tekaru!”

“Mother…” Tekaru said fondly, a single, glassy tear rolling down his cheek.

“If you make me choose, then you cannot win,” Teresa said softly. She jerked her head away, burying her head in her hand. The other pointed at the group. “Go on. Do it.”

“W-What’s going on?” Tekaru asked wildly, as the guards advanced.

“You made me d-do this!” Teresa wept, uncontrollably crying as she battled with her actions. “Please…don’t come back again!”

“No!” Tekaru cried, falling to his knees. “No!”

“YES!” Teresa shrieked. “Don’t come back…”

The guards delved into their pockets. Each drew a device looking like a grenade. It was a green colour. Monica, Tekaru, Nat and Chrome looked around wildly. Roger’s face was twisted with fury.

Teresa turned and ran up the staircase. Tears spilled down her face as she cried loudly. Roger stared at the group.

“I might not be able to live up to my promise now, Tekaru,” he said coldly. “But if you don’t stop now, this could all end horribly.”

“YOU CRUEL BASTARD!” Monica shouted. “You COWARD!”

Roger eyed her.

“This ‘coward’ will be King of Evayard tomorrow. Try not to cross me again.”

He looked at the guards.

“NOW!”

Each guard threw the capsule-like grenades forward. They hit the ground and each guard ran full-pelt after Roger, who had run out of the room quickly. The capsules burst open and released a horrible green gas. Monica looked as the gas circulated around the room. It was ensnaring her senses…her eyes felt heavy, and everything lost focus. To her left, the exhausted Tekaru and Chrome fell to the ground, unable to fight it any longer.

“N-Nat…” Monica gurgled. She looked around, feeling blindly for her friend. But she could not see nor hear Nat. Monica felt herself give up as she tipped backwards and knew no more.

“That smells like sleeping gas,” Afee said, sniffing eagerly. “We must get away before it reaches us!”

“We have to fight them!” Boko hissed. “We cannot just…run away!”

”We cannot fight all those guards,” Mortimer said hopelessly. “We can’t portray the image we are bad people. Teresa would think badly of it.”

“She is clearly brainwashed as it is!” Boko snapped.

“The Crufia Marketplace,” Mortimer said dolefully. “We will all teleport there.”

“Shadow…” Afee said slowly, his hand on the door that separated him from his unconscious brother. “…I shall be the one who saves you.”

And with that, the three teleported away in a flash of green sparks.









Next Chapter: Phoenix the Fallagen

Phoenix's quest for answers leads him to a small island in the center of Kralakorn Lake, where he finally meets his distant father, Tohweid. Tohweid teaches Phoenix all about his families ancient ancestry and his complicated Adeptry Alignment which he must earn instead of simply have in his blood.

When Monica fails to return from the Castle, Al fears his hallucination has come true. Luckily, Al, Zuuki, Salo and Serena have recovered the textbook extract Therebus left for them on the top floor of Roger's Corridor. Anxiously, they explain to the group everything they know about The Wysha Diamond, and the consequences it will have for them all...

And Pyrites selects Seryun Kotsuro as his next victim. With Scabb assisting him, and Damien accompanying him (through no choice of his own), will Seryun become another victim to the Soul Adept?

And, in Evayard, Keri's work for Silva is finally unveiled. What hurt Silva so badly that was necessary for the experiment? And will the results prove beneficial?

Chris 2.1
13th November 2006, 03:01 PM
This fic has really gotten old. I want to finish it before I leave so I'm going to start writing again.

This chapter is quite a ground breaker and will set the tone for a lot of future plots. Obviously it's been a while so here is relevant information to understand the chapter:

(I'd suggest re-reading some bits)

-The Adepts United are on the continent of Evayard. It is ruled by Queen Teresa, whose son Tekaru (A Storm Tamer) has joined the AU. She is to be wed to Roger Megallo, a man with hidden motives and four powerful sons. Karadon (Water adept) and Behemoth the water golem; Therebus, the cold, rattling Ghost Adept with a powerful scorn (and his spirit, Spirit of Mother, a manifestation of his mother's love). There is Luke, the earth adept with his spirit Forrai, the tree nymph and Scott, the Fire adept and his devstating fire demon, Delvil. The brothers, known as the V4, are distanced from their father.

-the AU split up to raid the castle. Monica (Ghost), Nat(Earth), Tekaru (Electric) and Chrome (Purist) broke Mortimer (Ghost), Afee (Purist, brother of Chrome) and Boko (Fire) out the prison (where Roger had imprisoned them in a bid to pick off the AU in small groups), but were caught and taken away by the Guards.

-Al (Earth), Zuuki (Fire) and Salo (Water) met up with Serena (Electric), an AU member who had been absent of late. She joined their quest to explore the castle.

-Al's group duelled with Spyda and Leo, two animalistic adepts that had been hired to kill Tekaru. They were hired by Lusaka, who seems to be the one giving Roger orders. She is an enemy of the AU.

-Al's group obtained some notes taken from a book by Therebus, the ghostly son of Roger. They seem important.

-Phoenix, after twice failing to kill Dimitri (who was eventually killed by Nat, his sister), is on a quest to find his Father, Tohweid, to understand his connection with the odd Dimitri.

-Monica was previously captured by a woman named Silva, who needed to find a disc-like amulet that would restore her natural adeptry (sapped by a genetic disposition). Monica ran away, but Silva managed to salvage some hair, skin and nails which she took to a laboratory. An old friend, Keri, got to work on them.

-Silva's brother, Gauld, is a fantastic sword weilder. He met Lee, a ghost member of the AU in his personal quest to remove a cursed mask from his face. They duelled in a fantastic battle against a psychotic sword weilder and won. Lee's mask was removed.









Monica’s Vendetta
Nineteen
Phoenix the Fallagen

Mortimer, Afee and Boko arrived in Crufia within moments and looked around. It was almost daybreak, and a golden line of sunlight was drawn across the tops of the mountains around Mahanui. Mortimer wondered how Lee was doing up there, and when he would return.

“Should we head to the Inn and wait there?” Afee asked. Mortimer gave a brief shake of his head.

“No,” he replied. “We wait here for Al and his group.”

And after about five minutes, Al led his group as they ran from the Castle frantically. They ran across the courtyard, each looking fearful and scared. Al led the way, gripping his black Assassin blade in his hand. To his left, Zuuki raced alongside, hands ignited with orange flames. Salo was on Al’s right, running slightly behind, while Serena ran to Zuuki’s left.

“Good to see you,” Al replied.

“Serena!” Mortimer cried. “To what do I owe this pleasant surprise?”

“Nice to see you again,” Serena said happily, as the group stopped and milled around them. “I’m here ‘till the end now.”

“That is excellent,” Mortimer replied briskly. Al looked bursting to speak, but Mortimer intervened.

“We will go to the Inn,” Mortimer said. “You have rooms, I assume?”

They nodded.

“What about Monica?” Al asked. Mortimer turned.

“She knows where we are,” he replied. “But we need to talk. Come.”

And feeling like children who had been told off, Al, Zuuki, Salo and Serena traipsed after Mortimer, Boko and Afee as they were led to the Inn. Turning back at the castle, Al was filled with a slightly ominous feeling, and remembered that…vision (was it a vision?) he experienced when he was fighting Spyda.


*

At the Inn, the members of the AU were spaced around. Zuuki sat on the windowsill, staring outside. Salo sat on her bed, staring up at Mortimer. Al stood by the door, watching Mortimer too. Serena stood with Al, albeit somewhat more relaxed than the tense Quaker was. Boko sat on a bed with Afee, and Mortimer stood, looking around at them all.

“We have many issues to deal with,” he began, making eye contact with everyone as he said the words. “You will have noticed we were freed successfully, but there have been some complications.”

Mortimer went through everything that happened when Roger and Teresa appeared. He explained how Monica’s group was knocked out with gas, and how their group teleported away before it reached them. The group took this easily; most understood the situation was inescapable, and there was nobody to blame. Al however, thought differently.

“So where is Monica?” Al snapped.

“We have a few assumptions,” Mortimer explained. Afee rose at this point.

“It is important to know there were a lot of guards present. They could have been escorted anywhere in the castle without the force of the sleep gas, so we are assuming, for now, that they have been transported somewhere.” He told them.

“But where?” Al whined.

“We can’t be sure,” Afee told the irritated young man. “In the morning we will attempt to contact Monica’s group via a pathian – although we cannot be sure it will work. For example, if they are still asleep from the gas, they cannot connect to the pathian link. Thus, we must attempt the pathian as many times as we can.”

“So Monica, Chrome, Nat and…and…” Serena mumbled, forgetting the Prince’s name.

“Tekaru,” Zuuki hissed, smirking.

“A-And Tekaru,” Serena continued. “They’re the ones who are gone.”

“Yes,” Mortimer replied. “Did you find anything of intrigue?”

“Yes,” Al replied sternly. “But before we show you, we need to explain everything that happened. Therebus – we met him. He said to us he had been kidnapped by Roger and…someone else. Because he knew something. He mentioned about Damien; he told us Seryun Kotsoru took him away somewhere but didn’t mention anything else.”

“Seryun?” Mortimer asked. Al nodded. “Please, continue.”

“Therebus also told us the V4 were not working directly with Roger –

“Indeed, Karadon said they were fighting us tonight simply to gain Roger’s trust. They are not going to call themselves V4 any longer, as Violence is not what they stand for.” Mortimer interrupted.

Al looked somewhat irritated.

“Anyway,” Al went on. “We have something even more surprising then that. Therebus gave these pages to us. This is what Roger is looking for.”

Al handed the pages to Mortimer and Mortimer read them.

“The Wysha Diamond,” Al said darkly, enjoying the surprised looks on their faces. “A huge Diamond just brimming with dark energy. It’s location is unknown, but this potent source of Adeptry has incredible powers. When Ghost Adepts or Purists absorb the energy of the diamond, they are granted with new powers and change class. They are given the class of Ghost Necromancer or Pure Necromancer.”

Mortimer gasped.

“That’s right,” Al muttered. “The Wysha Diamond grants the user Necromancy. The ability to bring life to the dead.”

“Good god,” Mortimer exclaimed.

“Roger wants to bring somebody back from the dead?” Salo asked.

“That seems to be the case,” Mortimer evaluated.

“We have to find that Diamond and destroy it,” Al snarled. Serena intervened.

“Hang on,” she began. “Is it really our duty to destroy it? We don’t know who he is bringing back from the dead. We don’t know why, either. I suggest we find out what he’s planning first.”

“It can only be bad news,” Boko told Serena.

“I thought so, too,” Serena began airily. “But then again, I was one of the ones who tries to stop you getting those artifacts in Altonia and coming to Evayard in the first place! Back then, your motive was twisted and you were all bad people to me. But when we found out why you were doing it, we realized how wrong we were.”

The group, particularly Mortimer, Afee and Boko, were shocked.

“Do you see my point?” Serena asked.

“I suppose so,” Mortimer replied, giving in. “We should assess the situation before leaping in.”

“Although what about Seryun?” Zuuki asked. “He kidnapped Damien. What is that all about?”

“Obviously there is something about Damien Seryun wants to exploit,” Mortimer began. “I don’t know what we should do.”

“Obviously get some sleep,” Serena said. Zuuki seemed glad of the authority Serena was having among ‘the three veterans’ – Mortimer, Afee and Boko. It seemed she felt as important as them, for she was being rather imperative.

“Yes,” Mortimer said. “We shall go to Monica’s room, and you can all sleep in here.”

Al was not all too convinced that the AU had a hold on the situation. Yes, they all knew Roger was planning to resurrect somebody from the dead. But what worried him the most was that they had no leads, Monica was missing, and things would get worse before they could get better. Finally getting into bed, Al sighed as the golden light of the sun beamed overhead. Something wasn’t right.


*

Meanwhile, across the plains of Evayard, Seryun, Damien and Scabb wandered onwards towards a little dock on the East side of the continent. Seryun wandered in silence, Katana drawn. Scabb brought up the rear behind Damien.

A figure was walking towards them. Seryun caused the group to stop and watched keenly. None of them had ever seen the figure before, with his hair hanging to his eyes, his silk gloves on his perfectly sculpted hands, and his violet cloak on. His white shirt looked magnificently crisp.

“Greetings,” the man said.

“Yes?” Seryun snapped.

“Seryun Kotsoru, am I right?” the man asked.

“Yes,” Seryun said, looking suspicious. “Who are you?”

“My name is Pyrites,” replied the man. “I am a Soul Adept and…forgive me. I was drawn here by the negative aura you were giving off.”

“Negative aura? Get real,” Seryun replied. “I have no ‘aura’, negative or otherwise.”

“But…” Pyrites said softly, giving an airy smirk. “I can sense it. Seryun…you’re not the same anymore.”

“Explain yourself or be shredded!” Seryun snapped, sword pointing at Pyrites. “Go on!”

“Very well,” Pyrites said softly. “You are not the same anymore. Ever since Splinter was murdered, you’ve been struck with fury at Roger, yet you’re powerless to stop him.”

Seryun’s eyes widened.

“H-How do you…?”

“Know?” Pyrites chuckled. “I am a Soul Adept. I can sense the Darkness in your Heart. Seryun, you are overpowered by fear – that is why you’re aligning yourself with Roger, is it not?”

“Shut up!” Seryun barked. “NOW!”

“You asked me to explain myself!” Pyrites cried incredulously, feeling offended. “And there you have it. Once a popular Storm Tamer…then you met Splinter and became a thief…oh, and then you started working for Roger, you know, to get a little bit of money. And then, oh, it’s so sad…then you sunk deeper in your life of crime.”

“SHUT UP!” Seryun screamed. He raced forward, ready to deal a fatal blow to Pyrites. Pyrites summoned a powerful Katana – Placid Storm, the one he stole from Tevaro, and countered Seryun’s slash with one of his own.

“No,” Pyrites snapped. Sword pointed forward, he eyed Seryun with disgust. “Seryun, you disgusting boy. You have not only become a thief, you are now an unbalanced youth with nothing to gain!”

“You…” Seryun growled. Pyrites turned away.

“If you ever do want any advice…” he said slowly. Take my card.”

With a bright flash, the mystical man was gone. In his wake was a golden card, shiny and bearing silver letters. Seryun crept over to it, picking it up rather hastily and reading the words.

Pyrites – the Soul Adept.
Come to me to heal the darkness in your heart.

On the reverse were instructions.

Simply mutter the following:
‘I wish to clear the darkness in my heart’
And I will appear.

Seryun slipped the card in his pocket. Scabb watched animatedly, while Damien seemed intrigued.

The three walked onwards, Seryun plagued with intrigue and confusion as he tried to comprehend what was going on. Did he need help? Counseling for what he was feeling? Pyrites was right – he did regret working for Roger. But what could he do? Sighing, he pressed the group on.

They reached Marishore – their destination. The very tiny village was scrambled around the impressive docks. Beautiful ships lined the shoreline, their masts billowing in the wind. It was light now, but still very early morning. Seryun told Scabb to watch Damien as he entered a small hut.

“Hello,” Seryun said softly, approaching a woman behind a desk. “I’m looking to borrow a ship.”

The woman, with blonde hair in rigid curls, looked somewhat surprised. She was rather overweight and had thin glasses on.

“I-I’m sorry sir,” she began. “But these ships are not for rental. They are all part of the visiting Duke Montgomery’s fleet. He is visiting for the Royal Wedding tomorrow.”

“Oh,” Seryun said lightly. He almost forgot that tomorrow was the day Roger married Teresa. Naturally, people from all over would be flocking to see this marriage. “Well, you see, this is very important.”

“Well you cannot steal one of the Duke’s ships,” The lady informed him. Seryun suddenly held his sword forward, having it touch the woman’s throat dangerously. She gave a gulp as Seryun’s face was twisted with anger.

“Watch – me.”

And with that, Seryun slashed the woman’s throat. She gave another gasp as her head came clean off. A shower of blood spurt upwards from her neck as Seryun was dabbled with specks of crimson. The head thumped against the floor, the body fell back too, and Seryun slipped his sword in the sheath.

Throwing the door of the hut open, Seryun pointed to the most elegant boat, directly ahead of them on Pier 6. It was a fantastic mahogany colour, with a pearly white mast. There was a mermaid on the front, hands across her chest, wearing an expression of utter pleasure.

“We’ll go on this one,” he snapped.

“Y-You killed her!” Damien cried, white as the masts. “Why?”

Seryun turned instantly.

“Button it,” he growled. “Unless you want me to pay Salo a visit?”

Damien shuddered as he felt his emotions overcoming him. He had gone. So far, the AU had not been able to find him. They would come soon, he told himself…soon. Salo would be worrying so much while Chrome…well Damien imagined Chrome to be nonchalant about it. What would everyone say when they found out Damien had been kidnapped?

They went across the pier, Damien glancing back at the small village of Marishore as he left the small, pokey houses which littered the docks. Everyone was still asleep…it was only just daybreak…

They walked up the gangplank. Seryun stopped. The white transparent shield around the ship was still up. This prevented people entering the boat and acted as a security device. Seryun gave a sigh and leapt off the gangplank onto the pier.

“Scabb, go for it,” he snapped. Scabb nodded, lifting his hood down. He pushed Damien out of the way and approached the shield. Pulling his sleeve back on his left arm, Damien saw something utterly revolting and gave a petrified scream.

Instead of a fleshy arm, Scabb had an arm comprised of metal. His fingers, his palm, his wrist…all the way up to his shoulder was a steel arm which looked impressive and very strong. Damien wondered how it had happened.

Scabb sent his steel arm flying into the shield. It made contact, and as Scabb charged up energy, his steel arm conducted the energy and sent it into the shield. Concentrating hard, Scabb’s face soon shone with sweat. The shield began to fade away, losing its passion and its energy. The energy of the shield was slowly being sapped. He stepped back, pulling the sleeve of his cloak back down and turning to Seryun.

“Good job,” Seryun rasped. He leapt up onto the boat and beckoned Damien to follow. The young man wandered up onto the ship. Scabb, who had also boarded, grabbed the gangplank and threw it onto the pier.

Seryun looked around.

“Scabb, get up into the crows nest,” Seryun snapped. Scabb nodded and proceeded to climb up the impressive mast. The young Storm Tamer then turned to face Damien.

“Well?” he barked. “Get up to the Captains wheel.”

Kicking Damien in the back, Seryun watched as his prisoner walked up to the wheel and grabbed hold firmly. The wheel, and Damien’s hands, began pulsating a blue colour. Seryun watched with glee. The boat started to shudder and gently slid out of the dock.

Damien steered the ship out of the dock. Seryun handed him some directions and explained where they were going.

“We’re aiming for the Unitan Settlement on that Island,” he told Damien.

“Right,” Damien muttered.

“I know my bearings, so if you try and steer us somewhere else, I’ll know,” threatened Seryun. Damien gave a doleful nod and turned, almost eagerly, to see if anybody from the AU was running along the dock, trying to save him…

But it was not so. Nobody was there. Nobody was going to help him. Nobody knew where he was. Damien could have broken down in tears as his predicament worsened. And that was that. As the boat sailed cleanly out of Marishore Dock, Damien felt his positive outlook leave him.


*

It had been a long time, a long time indeed since Silva arrived at the LaTrousse Laboratory and attacked Keri. Since then, Keri had been very busy doing work under Silva’s watchful eye. The two were rivals, as it were, not through their abilities but primarily because of their families. Silva’s family and Keri’s family were both very wealthy and very ambitious. But the two families were bound together unwillingly by a dark secret. One they did not want to come out.

Silva was sleeping on a single bed in the corner of the laboratory. Keri, her lab coat on, worked furiously as she used the adeptry she was born with to help aid her. Keri’s adeptry was an odd one, and a very discreet one at that. She had a number of peculiar elements in her blood which allowed her to heal magnificently. She could, for example, heal a wound by the use of her hands; she could clot blood so, if one was bleeding heavily there would be no problem. Similarly, she could exert both heat and chilled air from her fingertips at will. These abilities in particular were much weaker versions of the weather-based attacks Serena and any other Cloudina-raised Storm Sage could use. Keri also used her adeptry which, to her knowledge, did not have a name to help Silva with the collection of DNA she collected previously.

“Silva?” Keri asked weakly, approaching her slowly. Silva stirred. “Silva? I-It’s ready…”

Silva slowly got up.

“Not it,” she growled. “She. She is ready.”

“Y-Yes,” Keri said, voice trembling as Silva gently got up and walked across the room. Keri saw there was a degree of pain between the woman’s legs as she walked. She nodded in understanding.

“I must say, Keri,” Silva said slowly. “I was very surprised at your quickness. Your Adeptry is sharp.”

“Well I had a good upraising,” Keri said, slightly more stubborn now.

“Didn’t we all,” Silva drawled. “Where is she?”

Keri pointed to a large, cylindrical chamber set half into the wall. It was a frosted tint, so all that could be seen was the dim shadow floating in the sloshed waters within. Silva looked intrigued.

“I’m excited,” Silva said energetically. Keri wandered to a control panel and tapped in a code. There was a mechanical clunk and a whirring noise. The cylinder started to rotate around, the frosted part of the glass surface moving with the cylinder and showing a now clear surface. There was a figure floating in the water, wires coming from the thick glass to the figures various limbs. It was still shadowy and hard to determine what gender the figure was.

Keri eyed Silva momentarily before turning back to the control panel and submitting another seven-digit code. There was another mechanical, dull thud as a plug swirled open and drained the water. The limp, shadowy figure now hung only from some of the wires attached to its arms, legs; there were wires going into the chest and stomach, too. Another code was entered, and a light from beneath the cylinder flashed into life, beaming up onto the figure.

She was only young, but as Silva stared at the naked figure, wires all over her, she let out a small triumphant laugh.

“As you can see,” Keri began. “We didn’t have enough of Monica’s DNA to make a complete clone…but since we took an egg from you we were able to produce a human being well enough. And as you got skin tissue from parts of Monica, we were able to replicate her to an extent.”

Silva felt the sting between her legs and understood. She looked at the young girl, as Keri was helping her out the chamber and toweling her dry. A set of clothes were already here. Silva was watching the girl with intrigue.

The girl’s hair was long and black. Her eyes were a pretty dark blue colour, and her cheekbones were high. She looked very attractive. Silva eyed her with intrigue. Keri walked up to the girl and clothed her. After she was given basic clothes like a t-shirt, bra, and underwear, Keri gave the girl a purple zip-up jacket to go over her t-shirt. She then put on a pair of black trousers and black shoes. To top it off, Silva got out a silver visor and put it around the girls head. Her eyes were now not visible. The silvery glass across the girl’s eyes and around the back of her head gave her an odd look.

“Can you hear me?” Silva asked firmly. The girl looked up at her.

“Yes,” she replied. Her voice was sensual and deep. It was not like Monica’s at all.

“I am Silva – your Mistress,” Silva explained. “Nod if you understand.”

The girl gave a nod.

“Your name is Mona,” Silva went on. “And you will answer to me and me only.”

Again, the girl named Mona gave a firm nod.

“You are a Level 11 Ghost Mage,” Silva told Mona. “And you have an array of strong attacks. Here is your weapon.”

Silva took the Pistol from her pocket and handed it to Mona. Mona looked at it curiously, and as Silva handed her a holster, Mona strapped it on and slipped the Pistol inside. Mona then stared at Silva longingly. While Silva could not see the girl’s eyes, she knew they were pressing against her.

“Your first mission,” Silva began. “Is to deal as much pain as you can to Keri.”

By the computer, Keri gave a scream and ran across the room. In a flash, Mona grabbed her gun and raced at Keri, shooting bullets of solid adeptry furiously. Keri felt the adeptry pierce her skin and she gave a long moan. Mona chased after her.

“SILVA!” Keri sobbed, as Mona began shooting at her again. “Why?”

Silva watched from the other side of the room. Her face was set. Meanwhile, Mona shot Keri in the back and the woman fell to the ground, sobbing as blood leaked onto her once-clean lab coat.

Mona stood over Keri, the gun pointed at her forehead.

“It has to be done,” Silva explained. “You are the only one who knows both our families secret…except me, of course. Our parents would not want you to tell it to anyone…least of all my brother, Gauld.”

Keri was panting. Mona swung her fist into Keri and caused a fantastic waterfall of thick, dripping blood to cascade down the woman’s face. Mona brushed her knuckles on Keri’s shirt and swung a kick.

“Gauld needs to know the truth,” Keri said weakly. “You call yourself a ‘good sister’, when you lie and hide from the truth like this?”

“Shut up,” Silva snapped, nodding to Mona. The girl picked Keri up by the scruff of her neck and brutally threw her into a console. There was a smash, a crackle and a flash of electricity as Keri gave a long cry of pain. Mona leapt back and blasted a night shade through the air.

“Come, Mona,” Silva said calmly. Mona turned from Keri’s bloodied body and leapt to her Mistress’ side. The two walked out the door of the Laboratory and out into Evayard. “Our next destination is Tatami Lake, for my Destiny Amulet. I might not be able to be aided by the real Monica…but having you is even better, Mona.”

And with that, Keri’s last words washed away from Silva’s mind as she walked through the night with her new accomplice.


*

For many days now, Phoenix had been wandering through Altonia. After his Mother and her student, Serena left him in Gritzwald Graveyard; the young man decided it best to walk to his next destination in his quest to find his Father. In his opinion, the walk would make it all the more worthwhile – merely flying there on his Violini would seem…cheap.

Having visited many locations along the way to Kralakorn Dock, such as the fiery town of Balazaar (where Victor, Sid and Boko reigned from originally), Phoenix was now anticipating the meeting with his Father.

As he wandered into the docks, he saw a lot of people hanging around. Some simply watched the docked boats, or else booked tickets for the tour boats that often sailed around the gigantic lake. Phoenix, however, was looking for a rowing boat he could use to sail to the small island where his Father was supposed to be.

Phoenix walked along the docks and down a pier. While wandering down the wide, long pier, hearing his boots thud and clank against the wood, the young man stepped on a plank and gasped as it dropped from beneath him, landing in the water below. Bending down, Phoenix looked under the pier and saw, tied to the very end with a thick rope was a small, wet, wooden rowing boat. Grinning, Phoenix walked to the end of the pier nonchalantly. He had to be discreet. He then leapt off the edge and landed securely in the boat. It wobbled precariously.

“Off I go,” he sighed, gripping each oar and rowing firmly. Soon the boat slipped out of the dock and Phoenix was away, sailing across the lake to find the small Island. His mind was buzzing with questions he had to ask his Father as he sailed onwards, feeling his arms soon heat up and ache longingly. They protested this sailing lark. It was not long before Phoenix could see the Island getting closer and closer.

Before long, the shores of a very small Island greeted the young man. The Island was small indeed – the size of a large house perhaps. There were a few trees forming a tight knot of shade towards the other end of the Island. Phoenix leapt off the boat and onto the shore. There were various spears in the sand. There was a wooden rack with a few clothes drying on it, and a man sitting by a roaring bonfire, legs crossed, eyes closed.

Phoenix recognized the man as his father at once. Tohweid. Obviously looking older than when Phoenix last met him, perhaps arriving in his late fifties, his old black cloak was now thin and tatty looking, hanging off his slightly bonier frame. His grey hair, looking as silvery as Phoenix’s did, was tied back in a ponytail and his scruffy grey beard (again, retaining slivers of silver) wrapped around his thick, full lips. Phoenix stared at him from across the fire, and Tohweid stared back with his thin, sharp eyes.

“You made it,” Tohweid said, staring into the fire.

“I did,” Phoenix replied. “What are you doing here?”

“Perfecting my inner mind,” Tohweid said calmly, as if this were normal. “Focusing. This place is quiet, it is perfect. That is why I chose it.”

Phoenix did not really know what to say. “Good,” was all he mustered.

“Please, sit down,” Tohweid said, standing and raising his hand over the fire. As if he were pushing it, the flames compressed and lowered, until the fire was small and not looking out of place in a home. It was an unimpressive size compared to the roaring one, tall as a man that Phoenix had seen previously. But the power Tohweid used was incredible. Tohweid sat down again.

“Please, sit down,” he said again. Phoenix obliged. “What did you think of what I just did? Impressive, isn’t it?”

“Very,” Phoenix said.

“Once you leave my care you will know how to do that, too,” Tohweid told Phoenix. “You are here because I need to tell you something about yourself that will change how you think. It is time for you, as you have proven to be quite capable of holding this information, to find out who you are. Why you are, and how you are.”

Phoenix stayed silent.

“I know that all your life you were told you belonged to two adeptry groups – electric and ghost. Your mother, Madeline, was a Storm Sage, while I was a Ghost Adept. That is a lie. I am not a Ghost Adept, but there were abilities I possessed, such as the ability to teleport, which were passed down to you without you being taught.”

Clearing his throat, Tohweid stared at his son.

“Phoenix, you are a Fallagen. Fallagen’s are people with supernatural potential and awe-inspiring adeptry. The word Fallagen comes from Fallen Angel, and –

“Angel?” Phoenix asked.

“Yes, Angel,” Tohweid said. “You, myself, my father, his father and so on – we are direct descendants from Angels.”

Phoenix felt a thick, heavy lump in his throat he could not fully explain. His Father watched with intrigue before speaking again.

“Did you ever wonder about the wings you could summon from your shoulder blades?” asked Tohweid.

“I thought they were the wings of eagles,” Phoenix admitted. “Or some sort of bird, to tie in with my name…”

“No, they are not,” Tohweid told his son. “They are the sign of a Fallagen. Furthermore, you are blessed with incredible ability.”

“No I’m not,” Phoenix admitted. “I’m strong, maybe, but…I can’t do anything supernatural like a Fallagen.”

Tohweid smirked.

“That’s because you never knew you were a Fallagen!” he cried. “If you did not know you could possess incredible ability, you would not be able to use it! Don’t you see? Now I am here to tell you that you do have potential of such an extensive nature you will become something beyond an adept.”

Phoenix was bursting to speak but…when he found himself unable to think of anything to say, he merely gave a nod and asked for his Father to continue.

“You know this information,” Tohweid said. “And it is time for you to become someone great. Time to become a hero.”

“Why now?” Phoenix asked. “I came to you now only because –

“Because you have failed in your past two attempts,” Tohweid finished for him.

“Failed?” asked Phoenix. “Failed in what? Failed what twice?”

Tohweid just stared at him with his inviting eyes. Phoenix wanted an answer, but was getting no such thing – his father watched him still, inviting him…challenging him, almost, to work it out for himself…

“I…I don’t know what I’ve failed in,” Phoenix stuttered.

“Why did you come and find me in the first place…” muttered Tohweid.

“I told you,” Phoenix murmured. “I wanted to find out who you were, and what powers you had.”

“That wasn’t the only reason,” Tohweid said softly. “Think…”

“It is the only reason,” Phoenix snapped, rather impatient. His father gave a wry smile. Phoenix saw this. “It IS!”

“Calm yourself,” Tohweid went on. “Because you are wrong. Think, Phoenix! You wanted to find out about me, because…”

And then it hit Phoenix.

“Because it would help me,” The young man began. “It would help me to learn about my families past…and…and…”

His next words were matched with the ones coming out of Tohweid’s mouth.

“…the connection to our family and Dimitri.”

Phoenix stared at his Father.

“What does my being a Fallagen have to do with Dimitri?” Phoenix demanded. “Was Dimitri a Fallagen, too?”

Tohweid smirked.

“Very close,” he said. “But not quite. Dimitri possesses several qualities like those of a Fallagen – but he was not a Fallagen, nor was any of his ancestors. Dimitri’s ancestors, dating back hundreds of years now, were part of a small society called Tainted Hunters. This group devoted their lives to enhancing their power. Exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals, practicing incredible attacks, perfecting knowledge of adeptry itself – they even strengthened themselves mentally and spiritually…these people managed to learn so very much about Adeptry that their journals and notebooks were handed down generation to generation, sometimes rewritten when the originals faded into the sands of time. They were, in time, combined into a large book called the Hunters Log, left by the Tainted Hunters for generations to practice and perfect.”

Phoenix listened with intrigue.

“Over the decades, members of Dimitri’s family still strived to achieve much more control over Adeptry. Many decades ago, one of Dimitri’s ancestors, named Mousell, challenged locals to fights to demonstrate his adeptry. Unfortunately, he managed to challenge one of our ancestors – A Fallagen. Needless to say, Mousell was taken care of quite easily. His family were outraged – what power had this person demonstrated to destroy their loved one? Can you guess what they tried to do after that?”

Phoenix shook his head.

“They tried to create adeptry to rival the strength of Fallagen Adeptry. Nearly a decade was spent perfecting this new, man-made form of adeptry –

“Can I ask you something?” Phoenix began. “Sorry to interrupt, but how can you create adeptry?”

“Good question,” Tohweid began. “It isn’t creating it as such – more like manipulating existing adeptry. I mentioned to you how the Tainted Hunters strengthened themselves mentally – this helped as they could manipulate their attacks and change them using their minds. For example, if you had a beam elementa, they would be able to make into an orb, or move it around them in a manner of fantastic shapes. By doing this, they altered their attacks both in potency and shape. The Tainted Hunters essentially created their own attacks in this way.”

“I understand,” Phoenix said quietly.

“A lot of time was spent perfecting this ‘natural’ adeptry until, one day, a child was born. This child’s birth killed his mother – a bad omen, I think you’ll agree. She was in so much pain, and the child was incredibly ugly. This child was to be Dimitri’s grandfather. Little did people realize, Dimitri’s Grandfather (named Tosk) was going to be an adeptral prodigy. Already born with the basic powers of the Tainted Hunters, Tosk learned to take the teachings of the Hunters Log even further, developing the content within as he struggled to contain his power. As you know, Dimitri’s grandfather learned to use levitation, as he levitated Asteroid Fortress and was the one who built the Fortress itself. Those with the blood of the Tainted Hunters in their veins would keep it aloft, for only they contained the unique adeptry that made levitation possible. There were many other physics-defying acts of adeptry that Tosk performed, and learned, updating the Hunters Log as he went. Thus, when his son, John, was born, who you know was Natasha’s Father; he intended to pass down his knowledge.”

“But he didn’t…did he?” asked Phoenix. “John was normal…”

“Yes,” Tohweid said. “Unlike his ancestors, John did not wish to have such…dominating power. Perhaps his personality was inherited from a female ancestor, for every other male seemed to want to learn the ways of the Hunters Log. But John chose not to and, as I am sure you know, was heartbroken when his son, Dimitri, wished to learn the ways that John himself did not adhere to. Dimitri, despite being only 14 at the time, felt his parents had too tight a hold on him and left to Asterid Fortress, remaining loyal to both his grandfather and his origins.”

“So that caused John and Annie, who was pregnant with Nat at the time, to leave Obola and relocate to another area.” Recollected Phoenix, who had recalled Nat explaining this story after they had defeated Dimitri. At that point, she explained about how she learned she was Dimitri’s sister, and that Dimitri told her how her parents had covered him up.

“Exactly,” Tohweid told Phoenix. “So Dimitri went to live with his Grandfather. And for a few years they were in harmony, floating above Yilliap Island and focusing their strengths. However, before long, Dimitri’s Grandfather was murdered.”

“By whom?” Phoenix asked.

“By me,” Tohweid said raptly. “As a Fallagen it was my duty to try and defeat Tosk, for he is a Tainted Hunter. You see, when the Tainted Hunters began perfecting their adeptry, it was to make sure they were not defeated by a Fallagen ever again. I managed to kill Tosk, and Dimitri witnessed the entire thing.”

“You’ve met Dimitri?” Phoenix asked, impressed.

“Yes, but only as a young lad,” Tohweid admitted. “But I did what I had to do - what my abilities asked of me. From then on, Dimitri, who knew that those who defeated Tainted Hunters in the past went by the name Fallagen, researched on the rare adeptry we have and aimed to learn as much as he could about us.”

“So when I fought Dimitri…he knew that I was a Fallagen?” asked Phoenix. His father nodded. “Then the connection between us is that I am the son of his grandfather’s killer.”

“Not so correct,” Tohweid said. “True, yes, but the connection between you was that you were able to kill Dimitri. He knew you were able to, given the knowledge, but by your mannerisms you gave him a weapon. That you didn’t know you were a Fallagen. Dimitri now knew without proper Fallagen abilities he would not be killed by you.”

“I see,” Phoenix said softly. But before he could ask more questions, Tohweid went on.

“You fought Dimitri two times. Both times, you did not kill him.” He said.

“Well I didn’t need to, Natasha did,” Phoenix said irritably.

“I wish it were that simple…” Tohweid said softly. “But it is far from it. Phoenix, my son, Dimitri’s Noble Servants are regrouping. Some have fallen, but some are still alive. They have been plotting, ever since their master’s downfall, a way to bring him back. They are doing so by utilizing the Wysha Diamond – the powers this large diamond contains grants the user the ability to use necromancy. With the power of the diamond, the Noble Servants will summon Dimitri back to accomplish what he could not do beforehand.”

“Domination?” Phoenix asked. “Or producing a child?”

“Unfortunately, I do not know,” Tohweid sighed. “I cannot get into the mind of Dimitri, or his servants, so the reasons are unknown to me. It could be either or both. But when he rises, you must rise too – rise to the challenge and take him on in a final showdown.”

“Why can Natasha not kill him?” asked Phoenix. But then it struck him. “When Nat killed Dimitri…she said something about how her family were never there for her, and her family were the people she lived with and cared about. Not Dimitri.”

Tohweid nodded.

“Is it possible that by saying that, Nat lost her ‘connection’ with Dimitri? That is to say, as he is no longer considered family, her attacks won’t kill him?”

“It is safe to assume so, yes,” said Tohweid gravely. “This is why we must train you, Phoenix. We must train you to the status of Fallagen so you can take on Dimitri and defeat him. He does not know that you know now. We can use this to our advantage.”

Looking at his son, Tohweid broke into a smile.

“You live up to your name,” he said fondly. “Rising up from the ashes of defeat…rising up and learning from the past…”

“What are we to do first?” asked Phoenix, slightly more focused than his father at this time.

“Recover the Hunters Log,” Tohweid said raptly. “The Log contains information on how to channel and fuel adeptry. My thinking is that we can apply it to your training, Phoenix, so you have abilities equal to or greater than Dimitri’s.”

“Ok,” Phoenix said firmly. “Where can we find the Log?”

“It was well-protected from damage, having an adeptry shield around it. So when Asterid Fortress fell into the sea, the log was intact. Luckily it was salvaged, by a man who had no family, no money, no food or no life. A lonely fisherman out at sea, he managed to recover the Log, and since then, he has transformed. A lot stronger, he has new powers and has found a name as a famous thief. I believe you met him once before, terrorizing the land of Altonia with his cruel, twisted ways.”

Phoenix thought for a brief moment. And then it made sense.

“You don’t mean…Thorrus?”








Thorrus was the guy Phoenix duelled early in the story.

Shadow Djinn
14th November 2006, 12:41 AM
Huzzah, you posted another chapter!

Very good chapter overall, though I had to reread the others cause I kinda forgot. ^_^; I really like the character development of Seryun...I'd be mad too if my follower got killed, heheh. Very nice story with the Fallagens and Phoenix, giving more history to Adeptry and what not. Provides a very nice setup for future chapters.

I don't have much to say on the part of Mona...there's so many things Silva could do with her. I hope you update this more often -- your other fic is good, but I'm always a sucker for fantasy.

Chris 2.1
14th August 2007, 09:39 AM
Sorry for being so absent with the fic. I know readers have dwindled but this is for anyone who is out there! This is a standalone chapter in that Monica etc are not in it.











Monica’s Vendetta
Twenty
Back In Power


It was a big day today - not only for Roger Megallo and Teresa Farrimond, but a big day for the entire of Evayard. Today they would have a new King to the throne, having not had one for ten years now. Ever since Teresa’s husband (and Tekaru’s Father) King Duncan passed away, Teresa had led the country by herself. That would soon end. The Royal Wedding was highly anticipated by well-respected individuals from all over. Little did Monica realize, her old friend Tory McCaullie, who was in fact a member of Monica’s Army, was visiting. He was the adopted son of the King and Queen of Altonia, but since then both had died. The King was murdered, and the Queen ebbed away with grief. Despite being 18 years old, Tory was a formidable King. However, because of the circumstances, Monica would not meet Tory. She was far away, with Nat, Tekaru and Chrome, still unconscious from the sleep gas.

Of the two, Roger was clearly the one of the couple who was a bag of nerves. This was seemingly due to the fact he was hiding so many skeletons in his closet, so many secrets Teresa did not know…and Roger felt simply awful inside. An ill feeling ate away – this was his conscience, something he was familiar with. Over the years, despite having a good will, Roger Megallo was a deceptive man and was used to his conscience making itself noticed. Luckily for him, he had also begun fighting back against the guilt. He was now perhaps considered immoral for his lack of emotion and grief towards the situation, but as far as he was concerned, he was doing what needed to be done.

“As you know, you were to stop off at Brinstead Dock,” Roger began, contacting Seryun through a pathian connection. “That can’t happen anymore.”

“Why?” asked Seryun, intrigued and oddly frustrated.

“Brinstead Island is mainly desserted,” Roger went on. “Except for the small area around the dock. The large overgrowth is hard to navigate. When the AU raided the castle we caught four of them and Teresa decided they should be sent there. It is difficult to escape.”

“Damnit!” snapped Seryun. “We need to stop off somewhere! We have to dock at Brinstead.”

“You can’t!” Roger cried. “If the AU see you…”

“But you just told me it’s ‘hard to navigate’ Roger. We’ll be at the dock. They’ll be in the jungle.”

“I would prefer that you didn’t cross paths so closely!” barked the man. “It is cutting it very fine…”

“Damien will collapse with exhaustion if we keep going much farther,” Seryun explained thickly. “If he faints, we’re stuck in the middle of the ocean. And we can’t get the diamond.”

“Stop off at the Helga Settlement,” Roger suggested. “It isn’t far from Brinstead.”

Seryun, however, was not ready to admit defeat.

“Does Lusaka know about this?” he asked. Roger coughed.

“N-No, no she doesn’t. No. But Lusaka won’t be king in mere hours! So watch the attitude.”

“Until you give me a legitimate explanation as to why Splinter died, I will give you as MUCH attitude as I want. GOT IT?”

“Yes,” Roger said curtly, clearly not intimidated. “Now be gone. And don’t stop off at Brinstead.”

And with that, the connection dropped. Seryun angrily told Damien to steer them to Brinstead, insisting Roger was off his rocker. Damien continued to steer, watching Scabb with intrigue. The man had a metal arm…this mysterious character was so intriguing, yet Damien could not ask any questions. Not if he wanted to see Salo again.

Seryun watched Damien sail, pondering in his head whether or not he should believe the mysterious Pyrites or not. The card was in his hand, and the young Storm Tamer examined it carefully as he began considering his options.

In Crufia, Roger sat nervously, waiting to be called down for the ceremony. He was in a small room just off from the grand entrance of the castle, which was where the wedding would be held. Only members of the court, such as the advisor, the doctors, and the other staff would be there with other kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, or friends and family, including the newly named J4. Each were wearing suits of a rather formal nature, sitting proudly (albeit suspiciously) in the Entrance Hall.

Roger was ready. It was time. Nervously he turned to go to the door, wandering forward, preparing himself for the biggest moment of his life. The moment in which he would be crowned King of Evayard.


*

“SOMEONE, PLEASE!” screamed Lusaka. Smashing her fists against the door of her cell, bellowing loudly, tears streaming down her face, the girl had been locked here since the early hours of yesterday morning. Where was Lilla? Leo? Spyda? Had all three been killed by the AU? And why hadn’t Roger come down to see her?

Gasping for breath, she slumped onto the floor. Therebus had smartly angered her – he must have planned his escape. A clever young man, Lusaka thought to herself, but too clever to be an enemy.

As she sniffed tears back, she sat staring at the wall ahead. Nobody knew she was here. Well, Scabb and Seryun did, but they were sailing towards the Wysha Diamond. Roger knew, but he was at the wedding. Leo, Spyda and Lilla knew, but where were they?

She gave a weak sob and looked around. The dismal, grey brick walls were dark due to the lack of light. She felt her heart thumping wildly against her chest. Was all lost? Would this scupper her plans?

Apparently not.

There was a light, scraping noise. A crash. Eyes widening, Lusaka wished so very much that she could see what was causing the crash. Who was here? A guard? A burglar? Either way Lusaka knew someone who knew of this secret chamber beneath Tekaru’s bedroom would not be this loud.

Lusaka heard a thump against the door, followed by a scraping noise. Her eyes darted around – should she hide? She darted to the corner of the room as the door was banged against once, twice, three times…

A lock clicked. Lusaka jumped. The handle turned and slowly the door was pushed open. Lusaka gave a gasp as she saw a figure standing there against the light from the chamber. With wires still leading out his body, scars across his arms, chest and legs, the figure watched. Their breathing was heavy.

“I-It’s…you!” Lusaka cried, breaking into a smile. The figure stepped back, motioning for her to walk out. “What are you doing up?”

The young man named Ray gave a smirk. He swept a hand through his brown hair and turned back to the chamber. He was only wearing a pair of shorts. His body looked very worn – cuts and scars littered him, particularly a nasty scar leading around an area which must have been near his heart. He looked much older now, with a better built frame. Trailing from the wires was a silver tray which had got caught in the wires as Ray got up.

“Are you ok?” Lusaka asked, having got no response from the 18-year old. “D-Do you feel ok now you’re walking?”

“Yes,” Ray replied. “I feel just fine.”

“Do you remember what I told you?” asked Lusaka. Ray nodded. “Good, because we have a very tight schedule to meet. Get dressed and get ready. We’re going to crash the wedding.”


*

“Do you, Teresa Farrimond, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” asked the reverend. Teresa had tears streaming down her face. She looked into her fiancées eyes and smiled.

“I do,” she said firmly, weakly, shaking with happiness.

“And do you, Roger Megallo, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”

Roger smiled weakly, blinking furiously. His mind stung with guilt as he stammered, trying to get the words out. He saw his sons, each furious with their father after Therebus returned from his kidnap. All the boys believed Roger to be a cruel manipulative man…if only they knew he hadn’t kidnapped Therebus at all. If only they knew the truth…

Roger turned back to Teresa. That beautiful woman…her face shone like a beacon of beauty. Her face reminded him of someone…someone he would rather forget. His dead wife, Yuwana…memories of his marriage day with her blossomed in his mind, but a rather disturbing memory flashed before his eyes…


”Y-Y-You told me…” Yuwana wept, in the corner of a darkened room. She was sobbing heavily onto her black dress. “You told me it w-was over, Roger…”

“Yuwana, don’t believe any of it!” cried a much younger Roger.

“I KNOW THE TRUTH!” shrieked Yuwana, cowering as she shook with fury and grief. “You’re working with Dimitri! I know Roger. I know you’re one of his underlings…I know you do horrible things…”

Roger stood there, in the darkened room, tears down his face.

“I now know who you really are,” she said sadly, face stained with mascara that ran down her face. “I thought you a kind, gentle man. A loving man…but you’re a terrorist! A sadistic bastard who hurts others for fun –”

But Yuwana was cut short. Roger grabbed her wrist and dragged her up. She gave a slight scream but Roger surveyed her, angrily scanning her with his narrow eyes.

“Don’t you dare call me any of those things - EVER!” He roared, throwing his wife back into the corner. She hit the wall limply and sobbed to herself, crumpled up like an old rag doll. Her dress was torn and her black hair long and scraggly. “I AM A CHANGED MAN, YUWANA! I AM NOT WHO YOU THINK I AM!”

She watched him, trembling.

“I HAVE CHANGED! I AM DIFFERENT! I AM NO LONGER A MINION TO DIMITRI!” he went on. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that.”


Roger sighed. Yuwana had loved him…until she learned the truth. In his past, Roger had been one of Dimitri’s servants. He had tried to wriggle free from the life of crime, and he had thought that he had got away with it…he thought that surely when he ran from his past life, it would stay away…

“Roger?” Teresa asked timidly. Roger had been quiet for some time. “Are you ok?”

“I…what? Oh…” Roger said suddenly. “I-I’m just…very nervous.”

Teresa smiled.

“Do you take this woman to be your wife?” asked the reverend. Roger emptied his head of all thought relating to Yuwana and his last marriage. He had to empty his mind of Dimitri…

“I do,” he said firmly, smiling at Teresa.

“You may now kiss the bride,” said the Reverend, and the two kissed each other romantically, the guests smiling and applauding. The J4 watched with hard, firm expressions on their faces. Still not content with their father, and after hearing what Therebus told them, they lost all respect for Roger altogether.

When Lusaka and Roger had argued, Lusaka brought up the point that Roger’s faith (or lack of) was what broke his marriage up and brought his wife to deaths door. Therebus heard that much from the locked room and was quick to tell his brothers. Both curious and furious, the brothers decided that, as they knew the powers which the Wysha Diamond had, they would use it to bring back Yuwana from the dead. Despite being fragile, she was a powerful Ghost Adept. Yuwana would be able to put a stop to Roger.

Roger and Teresa were to soon lead the reception out the doors of the Castle and down a red carpet leading from the castle. Crowds were piled around either side of the carpet, waiting to see their new King, but Roger and Teresa were to walk to their carriage and visit some of the towns and cities in Evayard today. The group had a few minutes to chat and talk about the wedding before going out to the public. Roger took this chance to speak to his sons and hopefully clear the air. He knew, from the expressions they wore, that Therebus had overhead Lusaka’s argument and told his brothers everything.

“Hello boys,” Roger said cheerfully. “Well…you’re all princes now!”

“Congratulations,” Luke said bitterly. He contained his fury, Scott too, who was clenching his fists with anger. His eyebrows pressed down firmly, and his teeth were gritted tightly. Therebus stayed silent, blank, expressionless, watching, but Karadon could not do that.

“Is it true?” he asked weakly. “And don’t lie. Is it true that our Mother died because of your dark past?”

Roger’s heart plummeted. How did his sons know about his…past? Had they pieced it together, or had Lusaka told Therebus things that he, Roger, did not know about? Wondering how he could cover it up, Roger mumbled while calculating an answer. His weariness and fear was quelled, however, when Luke spoke up.

“What did you do to send Mother into so much grief and self-denial?”

Sighing, the King could not help but feel somewhat happy. They did not know his previous alignment with Dimitri…

“This is very awkward,” Roger said. “And has come at a bad time. I will be spending much of today traveling, but when I am finished, tomorrow, I will come and tell you everything you need to know.”

“No,” Karadon snapped. “Tell us now.”

“Admit what you did to our Mother!” Luke hissed. “Or none of us shall ever trust you again.”

“We defended the castle for you when the AU raided it,” Scott barked. “And this is how you repay us? More unanswered questions…”

“Please, boys,” Roger said, smiling as he saw people watch their heated argument with intrigue. “Later.”

“Why did Therebus get kidnapped?” Luke snapped. Roger’s eyes widened. His sons stared maliciously at him – Karadon and Luke were voicing their anger more than Therebus, who was silent. Scott flexed his fingers and cracked his knuckles.

“Now look,” Roger growled, voice low, serious and somehow deadly. “I did not kidnap Therebus. There are people that employed me – against my wishes, I assure you, and the reason Therebus was kidnapped was because he saw a map which illustrated my boss’s plans. The people I work for…they are hostile and incredibly powerful. I am going to try and use my position as King to turn the tables on them soon enough…but until then…”

Roger suddenly looked emotional.

“…please leave Crufia. Leave Evayard if you can. Once I turn against those I work for, they will try to hurt me in any way possible. I think they will try and target you. You could fight them, I know it, but they have other ways of killing you, other ways you could not possibly imagine. Please take heed.”

Karadon watched him. Luke spoke up.

“I’m sorry,” he rasped. “But I don’t believe you.”

“All I saw was a map, with Brinstead Island circled and ‘Seryun’ scribbled underneath it,” Therebus said quietly.

“And we figured out that Seryun was going there solely on his way to the Unitan Settlement,” Luke added.

“Going there to get the Wysha Diamond,” Karadon concluded. Roger nearly leapt up in shock.

“H-H-How do you? -”

“We read up on the Wysha Diamond, Father,” Karadon replied. “We knew it was at the Unitan Settlement all this time.”

“What does it do?” Roger asked weakly. “Please, you must tell me. What does the Wysha Diamond do?”

The four boys of the J4 exchanged mysterious glances. Should they finally tell Roger what he wanted to know? Or would his distrust and lack of loyalty earn no answers to his questions?

“We will tell you,” Karadon sighed, sweeping his aquamarine hair away. “The Wysha Diamond is the only relic known to man which contains such high doses of energy. Located at the Unitan Settlement, it gives you the power to bring people back from the dead.”

Roger looked paler by the second. He seemed to find it hard to speak.

“It seems to be a form of Necromancy,” explained Therebus quietly.

“Do you have any idea of its relevance?” asked Luke.

“We first thought – you know…you might want to bring Mum back,” Scott said thickly. “But…since you’re not the one after the diamond…”

But the King was still in silent awe. Of course....Roger’s memory flashed back to when he arrived at Obola - Dimitri’s City - in Perlei, crumbled down and dilapidated. No sky scrapers anymore – each large tower was at least half its original length. Large chunks of land debris scattered the place.

Roger had been expecting Lusaka, Ray, Scabb and Tobias (Ray’s Father) to come and meet him some time ago after the death of Dimitri. Lusaka had explained, over pathian connection, that the Noble Servants old and new must regroup to try and do what Dimitri died upon trying to do. Conquer Perlei. They contacted Keisha and Roger first, but Roger never had them arrive in Crufia. Wondering what could have happened, Roger traveled to Perlei, hoping to find them. Arriving in Obola, he saw the entire city collapsed. Keisha dead, her blood splattered across slabs of concrete. After searching for the fellow servants, using his adeptry to locate them, Roger located Lusaka, Ray and Scabb – eventually.

But they were worse for wear. Scabb’s arm was white, limp and apparently dead. He had broken ribs and gashes across his chest. Lusaka had a broken ankle and arm but was otherwise unharmed physically, while Ray had been the worse. Bordering on death, the young man had a large cut across his forehead and a patch of cracked blood on his neck. Face pale, he was out cold for months. Roger had put Ray on a life-support machine and he had been there ever since. Roger thought back to when Ray had woken – only a few times, it had to be said, the young man had stirred from his unconscious state. Hidden behind a tapestry in Roger’s chamber, Ray’s deep breathing was one thing which stirred intrigue among his four sons. Quickly sensing Ray may be discovered, Roger moved him down in a secret room beneath Tekaru’s bedroom. Ray recovered there, while Lusaka and Scabb were also treated down there, too. Lusaka was not too bad – her sister Lilla had healing powers and soon dealt with the broken bones. Scabb, meanwhile, needed an amputation of his dead arm, having it replaced with a big, hulking metal arm instead.

“Father?”

Roger was jerked back into reality.

“Do you know who the diamond’s powers are being used on?” asked Luke.

Yes, thought Roger. Lusaka, Ray and Scabb would only want one person resurrected at the moment. Yes, there were an endless list of people, but ultimately, if the powers of the diamond did not last forever, then they would want to bring their master, Dimitri, back from the dead to achieve what he could not before.

“Y-Yes,” Roger mumbled, fear creeping over his shoulders.

“Sir?” came a voice. Turning, Roger saw a guard ready to open the doors. It was time for Roger and Teresa to greet the Crufia people as a married couple – as King and Queen. Teresa walked over, taking Rogers hand in her own, and smiling up at his worried expression.

“It’s ok,” she cooed. “It’s just nerves.”

But as Roger was lead away from his sons, he knew that it wasn’t just nerves. Dimitri was coming back. When, he did not know, but all he could think about was that he had become King at just the wrong time.

“We won’t be able to speak to him for a while,” Karadon said to his brothers. “But we need to know what we are up against.”

The other three agreed. The entire wedding reception, led by Roger and Teresa, walked through the doors of the Castle and into the grounds. A tremendous applause met their ears, and as they walked down the red carpet, people screamed and roared in appreciation all around them. Both the Royal Couple waved and smiled at fans, wandering across the carpet of their courtyard.

“I am so happy today, Roger,” Teresa said quietly, so only her husband could hear. “This Kingdom is going to thrive under our joined efforts.”

She looked up to the sky, where a beautiful lilac coloured bird flapped across the sky, a letter in its talons. These magnificent creatures were Raegix – Royal birds. Teresa had many of them, using them as her personal messengers, and had sent this one off with a letter addressed to Tekaru, explaining everything that had happened. It brought a tear to her eye, but things needed to be taken care of.

Roger watched the crowd, each smiling at him, beaming, cheering and crying…everyone was so happy for him. His weak smile was almost stuck on his face – he didn’t feel happy enough to grin for all. His eyes raked across the buildings of the courtyard and he saw, horrorstruck, two figures standing on the North turret. He had no idea what they were doing there, but they looked familiar…

Eyes darting back to his crowd, Roger smiled and waved, kissing Teresa on the cheek. Then it happened. In a sudden flash, a searing bolt of lightening smashed through the air and struck Roger in the chest. The King was thrown off his feet, flying up into the air and hitting the ground some feet back. A wave of groans, shrieks and cries could be heard as Teresa gave a loud cry of shock. Running to her husband, Teresa bent down to see him. A huge wound on his chest leaked thick, crimson blood.

“SOMEONE GET HELP!” she screamed, as other members of the reception crowded around to see what the commotion was. The J4 saw the attack, noticed the figures standing on the North turret and had to act.

“This must be the ones Father was working for!” Karadon snapped. “Scott, Luke, go.”

In an instant, Scott and Luke leapt upon Forrai, Luke’s elementa, and they flew through the air at Ray and Lusaka. Scott charged a huge fireball, while Luke simply drew his axe. Forrai flapped his large wings and clenched his four wooden fists as they landed on the top of the North turret.

“Forrai! Elementa!” Luke cried, as a beam of green energy flew forward. Lusaka dived out the way, while Ray leapt over the huge beam. Luke leapt off Forrai, absorbing the energy, and raced at Ray with his axe. He swung down but Ray blocked with his sword, the Jupiter Edge. Sending electricity coursing through his sword, Ray overthrew Luke and pushed him back. Luke was surprised to see Lusaka was no older than himself, while Ray was easily younger. Were these people the ones who controlled their strong, influential Father?

Scott threw the fireball at Lusaka, who was hurled back. Skidding across the turret, she leapt to her feet straight away. She then threw a flurry of golden stars towards Scott, who ducked as they slashed at his torso. The force was pushing him back slightly, but he clenched his fists and endured the attacks. As fire engulfed his body, he gave a shuddering roar and tackled Lusaka to the ground.

Ray slashed a yellow blade of energy forward, but Luke dodged. The blade flew down towards the courtyard.

“WHY DID YOU ATTACK OUR FATHER?” Luke roared, as the winds were high. Ray slashed forward angrily and just smirked. Lusaka threw more stars at both of them. Scott was thrown off her and up into the air. In a split second he began to plummet off the edge of the turret…

“Scott!” Luke cried. Scott summoned one of his metal claws and used it to grab onto the edge of the turret for dear life. Lusaka smirked, summoning a blade not unlike the one Pyrites had and holding it ready as energy charged up in the tip, sending a whooshing wind around her. As she had been in Samyura, Lilla had stolen a sword for Lusaka from the craftsman, Tevaro. Lusaka held it ready.

“No!”

Luke threw a ball of mud at Lusaka, which sloshed into her face and threw her off course. Scott leapt up and snapped at Lusaka’s sword with his claws, but the sword did not break, being made from a metal that was very durable. Lusaka threw him off.

Ray held his hand forward and a multitude of smaller bolts all flew up high into the air. They arched back down, combining together and forming a bigger, golden bolt which whooshed as it soared down at Luke.

Luke watched. It smashed into him and threw him back. He stumbled, holding his hands forward and blasting a shimmering, leaf-green coloured beam right at Ray. It smashed into him. Luke fell from the turret but managed to summon up Forrai to land on. He flew back up to the turret as Lusaka and Ray stood close and fired two black arrow-headed beams of energy. They both soared at Scott, who held his arms up in self-defense. Scott was thrown back, falling from the tower. Luke caught him on Forrai, and the two swooped up to face Lusaka and Ray.

“Why did you attack him?” shouted Luke.

“We have bigger things to accomplish,” Lusaka spoke. “Roger Megallo did not want to join us again, and he knows so much…well, we didn’t want him talking.”

“As soon as he wakes up he’ll spill the beans,” Luke retorted. “And we’ll stop you!”

“You were the ones who he worked for…” Scott growled. “And we know you’re after the Wysha Diamond. We’ll get it first.”

“Don’t be so stupid,” Ray snapped. He stepped forward. “We have people picking it up right now. Even if you set off now, you’d never catch them.”

“We’ll see,” Scott snapped. “Luke, let’s go.”

Forrai turned and began to fly back down to Roger, but as they did so, there was a tremendous roar behind them. Scott turned, gasping in surprise, as Ray stood there on a huge, long, sinewy Chinese dragon. Lusaka was nowhere to be seen.

“Animaux Adeptry at its strongest,” Ray snarled. The dragon flew up high, high into the clouds, swinging its tail and smashing it into Luke, Scott and Forrai. As the dragon seemingly disappeared, Luke and Scott felt themselves falling down towards the ground as Forrai disappeared…

As they fell, the two brothers were caught in the hands of Therebus’ elementa, Spirit of Mother. The large woman, a rather grim, gaunt looking Yuwana, helped the boys down to the ground as Therebus ran over.

“That was her!” Therebus hissed. “The woman who kidnapped me!”

“Where is Karadon?” asked Luke.

“He is with Father,” Therebus said quietly. “He is bleeding a lot, and is in immense pain, but my healing won’t work against him. The thunderbolt seemed to have something in it which stops Roger getting healed.”

The three ran back to the Courtyard, where Karadon and Teresa were crouched by Roger’s side. Teresa was muttering words of encouragement to him as he laid there, eyes half-shut, breathing thick and deep as blood poured out a wound on his chest, staining his regal blue suit.

“Father!” Luke cried desperately. “We tried fighting them…but they got away…”

“It doesn’t…ma-matter,” Roger gasped, only so his sons could hear. “J-Just promise me something…”

The J4 watched.

“P-Promise me you’ll finish them off for me,” he said constrictively. “Stop them. The Unitan Settlement is where Seryun has gone for the Wysha Diamond. Get there first. You can beat him together.”

“The Unitan Settlement?” Luke asked, who was good at directions. “We will head there.”

“Go now…” Roger wheezed. “I am…s-so proud of you all…”

“Father?” Scott asked firmly, as his fathers head rolled slightly to the left. His breathing was slower, and his eyes began to shut…“FATHER!”

“He’s dying!” Therebus cried quietly.

“Don’t die, Father!” Karadon shouted.

“Roger, NO!” Teresa wept. “Please, Roger, Roger! Stay with me. Stay with me…come on Roger…”

But the King’s eyelids looked as if they were being pulled down by an invisible force and soon his eyes were shut. His chest stopped rising and falling, and as the blood trickled down his chest, Roger Megallo eventually passed away.

“NO!” Teresa shrieked, falling to his side. “NO!”

There was frenzy all around. People crowded around to try and catch a glimpse – was it true that their new King was dead? Karadon pulled himself together, stepped back and stood with his three brothers. People were taking pictures for the paper, some of the Crufia people wept in grief, although most the buzz of conversation and the worried, tense shouting was drowned out by Teresa’s long, hard sobs.

“He knew something,” Karadon said firmly. “And those people didn’t want him to tell us. That’s why they killed him.”

“We have to do something,” Luke said, determined as he always was.

“Get to the Diamond, obviously,” said Scott impatiently.

“We can fly there on Forrai,” Luke said, his voice trembling. “I-I can’t believe he’s dead…”

“Nor can I,” Therebus whispered.

“All we can do is –

“Get the Wysha Diamond first, and revive Father,” Scott said. “That’s what we’ll do.”

“Bring him back?” Luke asked. He looked up to his eldest brother, Karadon, for advice.

“We cannot bring back both Father and Mother,” he said sagely. “The power required could drain you beyond repair, Therebus. That means that, if we wanted to, we could bring back Mother or Father.”

“Father,” Scott snapped at once. “He died from a cowardly assault!”

“Mother,” Luke replied. “She died from grief. Nobody deserves to die of a broken heart.”

“I believe I’m the one who would be resurrecting,” Therebus said, in an oddly orderly voice. “Surely the decision rests with me?”

“If you ask me,” Karadon said firmly. “We should bring back neither.”

The other three brothers watched in astonishment. Karadon watched their awe with a smirk and decided to press on.

“In my opinion, death draws a white line whenever it occurs. As humans we are not supposed to cross that line. If someone dies, be it from an attack, a well-fought duel, a deadly illness or worse, they have died and have died for a reason. It is not, therefore, our duty to reach over this line and pull back those who we wish to see again. I know that I will see Mother and Father again – when I myself die. Be it tomorrow, one year or ten years into the future, so be it.”

After a long silence, in which the group absorbed Karadon’s views, Luke spoke up.

“I agree with Karadon,” he said openly.

“I, too, agree,” Therebus added. Scott remained unconvinced. He watched his three brothers, his thick, orange spiky hair shooting out his head. He stroked his chin and shrugged.

“I suppose we’ll stick to the moral view,” he said, in a bored voice.

“This is the type of thing that can tear people apart,” Karadon explained. “We have to fight this urge.”

Turning from his dead Father, he stared up to the sky.

Luke, prepare Forrai. We have a Settlement to visit.”

In no time the large tree guardian emerged. The J4 leapt upon it and Luke commanded it up. The four flew up and soared off into the distance, Teresa weeping over Rogers’s body all the while.

“Why did I send you away, Tekaru?” she wept. “I wish you were here with me…”

Powarun
15th August 2007, 10:16 PM
Wow, a lot happened. Its wierd from reading your work for years now, I can say that your grammar has improved and that you storylines are wicked. Now some dissapointments I found in the chapter had nothing to do with the plot, but when you described Lusaka's blade being made out of durable metal, I had to scoff a little. That just doesn't sound right nor does it sound majestic, it sounds like a weak excuse to defend something. I thought you made an interesting decision with having Roger's eyes slowly close instead of having them just be lifeless like many others would prefer to include. I really enjoyed reading the chapter before this with Phoenix, it helped describe a lot, and help pronounce Phoenix as special. Though now you are setting yourself up to have many teams after one goal and well lets see what side tracks them. Also your description of Ray was sweet, I felt that he was more pronounced as a hero than a ravaged, recovered monster that he can be thought to be.

Also its a real pain trying to get reregistered for this forum now adays. I had to register for my old email account which expired to come back. Hope all is well Chris.