|Darkness of the Ethereal
Author: GuardofLiberty PM
A new enemy appears, heralding terrible times ahead. An evil, vast and omnipotent waits in the wings. To meet this threat, two very different groups of warriors must converge and overcome their differences. Failure will doom the universe to eternal sorrowRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Mystery - Chapters: 31 - Words: 153,470 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 06-23-11 - Published: 03-15-10 - id: 5819592
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sorry this has taken over three months to update. I've been busy in post-college life and with other personal projects such as making the RPG for this fic, my webshow Deadliest Fictional Warrior, and other stuff as well. But I told you I am committed to finishing this.
Piccolo's cape blew and fluttered in the snowy wind as he and his companions stood on a hill overlooking the town of Shiverton which Aeolus had told them to visit.
"Should we stop here or just keep going?" Hotaru asked.
"I think we should stop here, get some food, and rest, and get some general directions about the area." Trista advised, her long green hair blowing in the wind.
"Yeah, plus it seems like this is only the beginning of a major storm." Hotaru observed as she peered much darker clouds on the horizon, which would bring heavier snow.
"I'm all up for getting out of this cold and eating something!" Goten chimed.
"Let's go into town." Piccolo said.
Off they went into the air, gliding through the flurries of snow into the town. It was a simple town with mostly small, wooden or stone buildings. Travelers could see fires burning indoors and smoke rising from chimneys. Rini thought it very heartening and cozy.
"So, where should we go?" Trunks asked as they were in the air over the town.
"To an inn so we can get things settled." Piccolo answered.
The six of them landed in the middle of the town, with the townspeople looking up in astonishment and even fear as the strange-looking visitors landed, their feet making prints in the snow. Trista immediately recognized the inhabitants, followed quickly by Rini.
Snow Dancers- the same type of beings they'd once faced when Snow Princess Kaguya tried to turn Earth into an ice ball. Piccolo recognized them too. Hotaru, Goten, and Trunks seemed to be in the dark but they'd have it explained to them later.
"They don't appear to be hostile, unlike that other time." Piccolo commented as his eyes darted back and forth, always alert.
"Well, remember King Aeolus told us that this Kayoko was causing terror to the surrounding region in the vicinity of Snowstar Mountain. Perhaps not all of them are bad as we might have thought." Trista responded.
"Excuse me." Hotaru asked one of the nearby Snow Dancers, who was startled by her odd appearance. "Where is the nearest inn?"
The startled Snow Dancer stammered out some directions and the group quickly took off, heading in the proper direction.
"It's like Ismara." Rini said. "Everyone here seems to be so scared."
"Maybe it's of us." Trunks responded.
"That's probably true." Piccolo agreed. "I think once we get settled we should find whoever's in charge around this town."
They arrived at the inn. After the usual incident by now of surprise followed by Piccolo creating money to pay their stay, the group ate a meal and rested the night, the children especially enjoying the feeling of the blizzard. When morning arrived the group gathered around, with Piccolo forming warm winter clothes around each of them.
"Let's eat some breakfast and get going." Trista ordered. "It may be our only meal of the day."
Everyone agreed with this. The Saiyans, as expected, munched down mountain-portions of food at the inn's café. Piccolo only drank water, as was customary for a Namekian to do. When they were finished, all six went outside and took to the sky. They floated for a short while and then came upon what was marked to be the Shiverton City Hall. They went inside, with the Snow Dancers of course being taken aback by their strange appearances.
"We'd like to see whoever is in charge." Piccolo grunted.
"What business would you have doing that?" One of the skeptical guards asked.
"Would getting rid of Kayoko suffice?" Piccolo grunted once again.
This got their attention.
"So let me get this straight." The mayor of Shiverton, a Snow Dancer by the name of Arshe stated again toward the strange group of newcomers, who had apparently been sent by King Aeolus of Aeolia. "You six- four of you being children, plan on confronting Kayoko and ousting her and her followers out of the Frozen Mansion?"
"Yep." Hotaru answered in the affirmative. "Is that a problem?"
"It isn't a problem at all. There's not much I can think of that would be better than breaking her stranglehold over the surrounding countryside. I just wonder if you people can actually do the deed."
"All we're asking is for some information about the mansion and the surrounding area. We expect nothing in return. There's something we need to do there anyway." Trista stated.
"I wonder what that can actually be…?" The Snow Dancer muttered to herself.
"That's not your concern." Piccolo quickly answered. "Just be sure that we'll take care of it."
"I assumed that would be your attitude." Arshe smirked. "I'll give you all that you need."
Hotaru smirked. "We appreciate it."
Some time later, as the strange group left, Arshe noticed the outfits of three of them as belonging to the legendary warriors known as Sailor Soldiers, who she heard, had defeated the most fearsome Snow Dancer of all- Princess Kaguya and permanently iced her habits of collecting frozen planets. If there were anyone that could stop Kayoko, it would be those Sailors and whoever their companions were bound to be.
"How much longer is this going to be?" Rini complained- the shortness of these Sailor skirts were entirely impractical to inclement weather, especially when one was flying at a fast speed.
"It shouldn't be much longer now." Trista answered. "We're deep in the heart of Snowflake Valley. Snowstar Mountain should be dead ahead in a minute or so."
"Let's just get this over with." Trunks muttered. "I'm sick of being out in this cold. Why would anyone even want to build some kind of mansion on top of a mountain of ice?"
"It's easy to find other cultures strange." Trista smiled at her companion. "What's practical or important in one environment might not be in another."
"Look, I think I see it." Piccolo said as a glint shined atop a mountain in the distance.
The team gradually saw it fade into view- a very large structure built on top of the mountain's high plateau. It was truly a work of architectural mastery- an elegant mansion frozen in a glint of ice standing majestically over the mountain range and Snowflake Valley. All six travelers quickly landed in front of the mansion, looking up at the imposing structure.
"I don't sense any elevated power levels in there, but we'll have to be on our guard in any case." Trista said. "Remember what King Aeolus told us."
"A fight is inevitable." Hotaru said as she made the Silence Glaive appear in her hands, holding it upright. "Let's get moving."
Trista just as quickly made the Garnet Rod appear in her hands the same way as Hotaru had done with her glaive. All six cautiously made their way up a small staircase leading up to the entrance to the Frozen Mansion. Piccolo cautiously opened the large doorway, which moved aside without making a sound.
All six of them made their way into the main hall of the Frozen Mansion, preparing to make the attempt at figuring out its secrets.
Gohan stood at the edge of the Lookout, looking very much like his mentor Piccolo. Amara and Michelle flanked him on either side. It had become a common sight since the end of the last battle and with Gohan's return, and no one on the Lookout had any desire to disturb the trio.
"The sea is clouded." Michelle said as she looked down at the dark earth being bathed in the cloudy night. "I cannot anticipate Mordred's next move."
"Oh?" Amara asked with her eyes wide. "What's that mirror of yours telling you?"
"Nothing." Michelle answered. "My visions are clouded. And I know that the wind hasn't been telling you anything either."
"No, the winds have been strangely calm." Amara said.
"And there's no power levels down there at all." Gohan frowned. "It's like they've completely vanished."
"It's absolutely essential that we find out where he's planning to strike next." Amara frowned. "Otherwise we'll have to react the way we did before and thus our plan will be ad-hoc."
"If I had to guess, I'm certain that Mordred will attempt to construct a much grander army this time. He'll be comparably limited in the amount of energy he can use to strengthen his Numba though. He didn't have the benefit of draining it from us fighting the last time around. Nonetheless, defeating the sheer number of them as I suspect there will be, and at their current rate of power, plus reinforcements, is going to be a difficult feat for us to accomplish, especially since in the coming battle, I will undoubtedly be occupied fighting Mordred." Gohan remarked.
"We'll have to get as prepared as possible with a rigorous training program." Michelle concluded.
"Perhaps you'd all like to use the Hyperbolic Time Chamber?"
All three turned backward to see Dende walking toward them, carrying his staff with a smile on his green face.
"I'll have Mr. Popo prepare it so you all can get some extra training in." Dende further declared.
"The Time Chamber is tough, but we might as well go into battle as strong as we can." Amara replied back to the Guardian.
"Perhaps we should just put our worries aside and enjoy the night." Dende said while looking up at the sparkling stars overhead canopying the Lookout.
There was something poetic about the stars shining down on the grey clouds below the Lookout and above the green surface. A calm atmosphere descended on the Lookout, perhaps the eye of the storm, but a welcome one.
"Looks like we need a key." Goten said as he looked at a bright blue door. All the walls of the room were very shiny, and each of the team could easily see their reflections in the walls, floor, and ceiling of every room they'd been in so far. It was aesthetically pleasing, and reflected the masterful architecture of the place.
"We can't afford to blast the walls down." Piccolo said. "Look around for a clue or something."
"But it's just a big room of ice!" Rini cried out.
"There's gotta be something here or they wouldn't have constructed the mansion like this." Trista said.
Everyone began to spread out and look for clues in the very homogenous room whose only standout features were the two doorways on either side.
"Man…this is lame." Trunks huffed. "When can we get back to fighting some guys?" He walked around for a few more steps and then noticed that his left leg sank further into the ground than the other. "Huh?" He babbled with widened eyes. Trunks then put his foot more forcefully down on the ground only to jump back with a yelp as he saw a large tile on the floor topple in the air, revealing a passageway underneath the floor for a moment before gravity put it back in its former place. "Hey!" Trunks shouted. "Come look at this!"
Trunks' companions came over to his side as he once again stamped his foot on the floor, with the tile bouncing up in the air once again and revealing the passageway below.
"Hurry up and get down there!" Hotaru said as the tile began to fall back down.
All six jumped down and landed smoothly in the dull passageway. The walls were not mirror-like as they were above.
"Well, looks like there's only one way to go from here." Rini said as she looked down the passageway.
"Be on your guard." Piccolo warned as they began to move forward.
The team cautiously moved forward in the passageway until coming to a lightly lit room with a bright blue chest. Piccolo used his telekinesis to open it, taking caution if there was a trap inside. After a few seconds, Hotaru made her way over to the chest and grabbed a silver key hidden inside.
"Well…that was easy…" Rini said of the passage.
"We still have a ways to go." Piccolo said back.
"Let's get back and put that key in the door." Trista said.
The team sped back down the passageway and Trunks pushed the movable tile up in the air. They all hovered out before the tile came back down to its place. Hotaru put the silver key in the blue door and opened it.
All six widened their eyes to see a huge amount of Snow Dancers chanting and chiming at them, getting ready for battle.
"Well…" Trista said, getting into a battle stance. "Looks like we've got that fight you wanted, Trunks."
"Great! Let's get e'm!" Trunks smirked as he got into battle stance.
Hotaru silently lowered the Silence Glaive to prepare for battle.
Goten and Trunks immediately rushed towards the left and right flanks while Piccolo rushed up the middle. The three punched, kicked, and blasted their way through the ranks of the hostile Snow Dancers. Sailors Saturn, Pluto, and Mini Moon went and eliminated the pockets their companions had left one by one. Saturn sliced off the last one's head with the Silence Glaive- making the hostile dancer fall into a powder of snow.
"I don't like beating up weaklings." Trunks spat.
"We were fortunate there- it makes our job much easier." Hotaru replied.
All six of the team members floated over a chasm that required a not-so-obvious way to activate a bridge. Thankfully the ability to fly meant they had one less puzzle to solve. They all walked through a doorway into the next area.
"It's a…dead end?" Rini asked in bewilderment.
"Great…now what?" Trunks grimaced, looking at himself in the mirror-like shiny wall.
"We look for a clue, that's what." Piccolo commanded.
Trista noticed that one of the walls had snow on it and wasn't covered by ice. She began to dust the snow off while the others paced around examining the other walls. The Guardian of Time continued to push the snow out of position, until she found a white corner that was heterogeneous to the pattern on the walls of the room.
"Guys, look!" She called.
The others rushed over as she polished the snow off the interesting part of the wall. When the snow was cleared, a white door was revealed that led out of the room to the right rather than in a straight line. Trista opened the door but was immediately attacked by a hostile Snow Dancer. She was prepared, however, and reacted by slamming the bottom of the Garnet Rod in the assailant's face, followed by a quick Dead Scream that finished it off.
"Well, that one didn't have too good of a day." Trunks smirked.
"Keep on your guard." The Guardian of Time warned as she walked further inside, followed by the others.
They all slowly went forward and found a sudden drop that would be unwelcoming to those unaware of it- perhaps a trap to keep out intruders. The team all gently floated down to the ground and kept walking forward until they came to another door. They opened it only to find a small, empty room.
"Another dead end?" Rini pouted in annoyance.
"Aw man!" Goten moped.
"Not everything is as it appears." Piccolo reminded.
"Yep, and I think I see that right here." Hotaru said as she walked up a platform and pointed at a red 'X' marked on the floor. The Soldier of Destruction carefully walked toward the X and slammed the butt of the Silence Glaive in its center as a curiosity to see what would happen. What did happen was a very loud grinding sound.
"It's coming from above us." Trista noticed.
"Hey…I think we're directly under the blank room we just came out of." Hotaru pointed.
This raised the attention of Piccolo and Trista, and all six of darted out of the room and up the drop they came from, not needing to take the nearby ladder as they could fly- a skill really coming in handy at this particular phase of the mission.
"Just as I expected." Hotaru said as she opened the door that led out of the passageway.
When all six returned to the main hallway, they saw that the far wall had opened up, leading to a stairway and another door which led out of the area.
"There we go." Goten smiled as they all headed up the stairs.
"I don't understand what's so important about this place that they'd have to make all these puzzles." Trunks spat.
"Probably it's like that Underground Castle place we came from earlier." Hotaru answered back as they went through a large set of double doors.
Once they were in the next room, the doors suddenly slammed shut and then disappeared, leaving all of them stranded in what appeared to be an empty room.
"What the?" Piccolo grunted.
A low, amused cackling could be heard echoing throughout the room as the icy walls reflected an ominous dark color.