Xathos got off the bus along with his comrades. As they were now at Archanea, they had to travel to the capital, Altea, which happened to be a bit far away from the airport they had landed, at the state of Gra, but Altea was where the capital resided.
Victoria scanned the area around as they went on the bus. As she looked at the area around, she saw a bunch of rough-looking men with techno-weapons going around something.
She pointed at the group. "I think we should go investigate, guys." Getting off the bus, they approached at the burly looking men, and as they got closer, they could see a cavalier, fighting them off with her sword.
Crispian took off his shirt, and yelled at the men. "Hm..Hey! What're you doing?"
They turned towards the trio, and glared. "This ain't none of your business, travelers. Beat it before we decide to rob and kill you."
Victoria giggled. "Ooooh, sounds scary." She walked forwards. "See if you can really kill me, bastards." The bandits directed their attention towards her, and brandished their techno-weapons, growling.
taking advantage of the distraction, the cavalier took out a sword, and then smashed it into the ground, creating a shock wave that sent the bandits close to her flying. "Amateur."
Xathos lifted an eyebrow as he saw the cavalier. She had white hair, but not of an old woman's. Instead, her white hair resembled white silk, silk cocoon threads. Snapping back into reality, he activated his special skill, blazing thunder, and prepared to charge forward, damaging his enemies in a horizontal pathway. "I'm better than you, that's all."
He charged forward, reducing the enemies in front of him into dead bodies. He twirled his sword, and looked at his HP. For such a powerful technique, it had also drained him of much of his stamina, not to mention that it took about 2 minutes for him to perform it again. Taking a vulnerary, he drank it, and prepared for more fights.
Before a bandit could attack Victoria, Crispian whacked him out of the air with his axe, and threw his axe up into the air, slamming it right down on his enemy, splitting his skull into two.
Victoria then jumped ahead of him, transforming into her black dragon form. As a bandit still foolishly charged towards her, she dodged his attack, even with her large size, and retaliated with a stream of blue fire, reducing the bandit into a bunch of ashes.
The cavalier held her hands to her mouth in awe. "Wow..." she said, and went back to fighting. Taking out her techno-sword, she took a bandit out, and her cyborg horse slid back automatically, with the program of hit-and-run. "You know, this really isn't necessary anymore."
As she approached the big one, Xathos ran towards him as well, attacking him with his sword. To his surprise, he missed, and the big bandit attacked with him with a halberd, a weapon designed to damage horses and their riders at the same time.
Rearing back, Xathos was hit anyway, reducing his HP to one. He ran around the bandit, and the female cavalier ran up him. "Pair up!" Xathos yelled back, "What?! I don't even know you!" "Do it anyway!"
The two charged together, and prepared to skewer the bandit. "You won't win like that!" "Will I remember you?...NOPE!" Flanking him, they both attacked his sides as the bandit attacked in front of him, missing by a mile.
As the bandit looked around, he realized that he was bleeding from his sides, and he looked around. "What's...happening?" Holding her electric-shockwave sword, the female cavalier blew him up by emitting a shockwave right as the blade connected.
Wiping her blade, the cavalier looked at them. "Well...thank you for your help. Without it...I might have still be stuck here." She tied her hair into a braid, and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you all. My name's Lawliet, Tactful Hunter. And...what are your names?"
Crispian shook her hand. "My name's Crispian, Hulking Beast." Lawliet stared at him. He did have a point...he was a really big for a teenager, the biggest out of the trio.
Xathos shook her hand. "The name's Xathos, All for Honor. Pleased to meet you."
Victoria shook her hand, and said, "I am Victoria, Tide Turner. You're welcome. What is that weapon you're wielding?" Lawliet smiled. "I'm glad you asked. This...is a Levin Sword. Well, instead of dealing physical damage like these generic electric swords, this one deals magic damage instead. You can't find many of these around."
Crispian asked her, "So, how did you end up against the bandits?"
Lawliet sighed. "Well, it turned out that apparently my pathetic excuses of familial elders had gotten in trouble with the bandits due to debt and sh#t, and they found me instead. Of course, I didn't want to pay anything, so we got into a fight."
She looked at them, adjusting her outfit, which consisted of a black jacket and a short skirt that only reached her lower thighs, with shorts under them. "So, where are you all going? I have no intention seeing these bastards again."
Xathos said, "We're heading to Altea. It would be nice if you joined us, as more people is always welcome." Lawliet shrugged. "Alright, I'm fine with Altea." She noticed their clothing, all stuff from Nikie's, a popular brand in Valentina. "Wait...are you from Valentina?"
Crispian frowned. "How do you know? Was it because..." he looked at his own shirt. "Ah, I get it. Our choice of clothing." As they walked towards the bus stop, Xathos was searching his bag frantically. "Where...where?"
Victoria looked at him. "What happened?" Xathos looked up. "Shit...my gold's gone." Lawliet checked hers. "Yeah...mine is gone as well." They looked at each other. "Where..now?"
Xathos sighed. "Well...maybe...we get into the bounty hunter business." Crispian looked at him. "That's crazy, Xathos!" Veronica hissed at him, "Well, what choice do we have, then? We may have the education, but we don't have the time to sign up for a job and then quit a few days later!"
Lawliet looked at them. "Well...I did find one with the prize of 2000 gold. I just need to get your contact numbers, alright?" After exchanging contact numbers, Lawliet sent the link to them. "Oh...maybe we can do this."
The bounty was on an infamous bandit's head, Carlos Santiago. "Well...dead or alive?...dead it is, then."
Lawliet looked around, as the trio called for Carlos. "Carlos! Carlos! We have a job for you!" "Yeah, just come out! We've got gold!" "It may not look like it, but I'm just going to spit out some roasted marshmallows at you as a extra reward!" "Damnit, Victoria! He's not that young!" "Crispian, everyone's a kid at heart!"
Lawliet glared at them. "Shut up. I have an idea of where he might be. He could be in...Diablo Desert, in Dolhr. Diablo means devil in Spanish, and he sounds like he's a Latino...so he might be over there."
Xathos nodded. "Yeah...makes sense. After all, that place is rumored to be crawling with gangsters." Crispian searched up the bus numbers, and announced, "I think there's going to be a bus that'll arrive in 2 minutes, heading to Diablo desert. I think we can hitch a ride over there, eh?"
Victoria frowned. "But...we don't have any money." Lawliet unloaded her backpack. "Don't worry. I've got some grappling hooks, that can hook onto the bottom of the bus. Now, as long as we switch our cyborg horses into skateboard mode...yeah, this is going to be dangerous."
2 minutes later, the bus arrived. Crispian sat with Xathos, while Victoria sat with Lawliet. Using the grappling hooks, Xathos and Lawliet threw the hooks, hooking onto the back of the bus, and waited for it to go.
The bus started to move, and the horses on wheels started to move as well. Lawliet looked at the map. It would only be an hour till they reached Diablo Desert. Sure, they could run there, but at that point, they would only become easy prey for bandits. They needed their full strength for this.
an hour later, the bus stopped at Diablo Desert. Slamming into the bus, all four of them groaned. "Gah...it smells here." "Gosh...what did they teach about global warming?..."
Picking themselves up, the four of them stared at the desert. "Wow...it's so big..." Lawliet spotted a hole. "Maybe Carlos is over there." As they went down to the hole, the noticed some stairs. "Whoa...this is...awesome."
Lawliet looked at them. "Do all of you have body armor?" They nodded, pressing buttons on their helmets, suiting up.
Xathos's armor was lavender and violet, but instead of bland colors, his armor was shiny, and polished. His helmet had morphed into a a more badass appearance, resembling a western dragon in shape, and his armor covered up his entire body, not even revealing his joints, although the joints were considerably easier to damage.
Lawliet pressed a few buttons, putting her armor on. Her armor morphed around her, all white, but instead of a radiant light, the light was more of a bleached bone that had stayed hundreds of years in a desert. Primarily covering her torso, it also covered up her arms and legs, though it paid less attention to the parts that would be less likely to be attacked, such as the armpit, and the back of the knee.
Victoria revealed herself to have a blazing armor of black, the colors shining brightly even though it was the least likely color to ever do so. It primarily protected her torso and legs, giving her arms a much wider space to move, and also under the visor, she had a mouth guard that vaguely resembled the barrel of an outdated weapon known as a gun.
Crispian's armor formed on his body, with heavy armor on his left shoulder and forearms to give him more weight when swinging his deadly battle-ax, but had much less emphasis on his feet. Notably, his torso's armor was much lighter than others, though this was explained by his tough skin.
The stairs led to a carven, where piles of gold were stored up. "Whoa...we don't even have to get Carlos anymore." As Xathos approached it, sword crashed down in front of him. "Not so fast!"
A bunch of bandits came out. "State the password, freaks!" Lawliet pointed her sword at him. "Out of my way or have your ass kicked." The bandits laughed. "Oh, oh! Sassy, isn't she?" Lawliet then kicked the bandit guard down the stairs, and jumped on him, waking him up and knocking him out repeatedly. "So...is this seriously what you can put up for?"
The bandits didn't seem to mind that their comrade was being knocked out and woken up repeatedly by Lawliet, instead, they just raised their swords and axes. "Fire."
Xathos realized there was something amiss. "Get out of the way!" Ducking for cover, he neglected to pull Victoria away, only getting Crispian. Victoria suddenly fell asleep, snoring on the stairs.
Lawliet ducked in the nick of time, a needle whizzing over her. "Damn...these are tranquilizer darts. We can't let them get us!" Crispian looked at the bandit guards, and Lawliet. Aiming carefully, he threw a boomerang, knocking a few of them out. "Yes!" However, this gave away his position, as he was hit with a tranquilizer dart. "Oooohhh..."
Xathos and Lawliet took up Crispian and Victoria, using them as shields against the darts. "Come at me!" two bandits ran towards the unmounted Xathos, and he dodged their attacks, and swung Crispian at them, knocking them out.
Lawliet blocked more darts with Victoria, who muttered out more things like: "You're all filth...don't mention it...not...my family..." As two bandits ran towards the two girls, Lawliet ducked the first swing of the sword, and then stabbed her lance into bandit's body.
The other bandit swung his axe at Victoria, only for it to bounce off her body. She woke up to a start, as she was awakened by the shock of the ax hitting her body. "Okay, what did I miss-" before she could get into action again, Lawliet used her as a shield once more on instinct, predicting the route of the needles, and held Victoria in the way of the needles.
The needles hit Victoria once more, and she went to sleep. Lawliet growled in frustration. Damnit...if only I hadn't followed my instincts... As a few bandits surrounded her, Lawliet jumped up, and then noticed a stalactite.
Knowing that her enemies were still down below her, she attacked the stalactite, letting it fall along with her as she used her techno-sword to slice it off the ceiling. As the stalactite created an explosion of dust by crashing onto the floor, Lawliet pulled out her Levin sword.
"Alright...here we go!" She slammed the Levin sword to the ground, creating a electric shockwave that shocked the bandits around her, who happened to be disoriented by the sudden explosion of dust.
She gazed at their unconscious bodies, before she heard something behind her. A rope was suddenly fastened behind her, restraining her. As she tried to move, she was suddenly electrocuted by the rope, with a voice cackling behind her. "Hm...she'll be a good one in the slave industry..."
Lawliet tried to hit him, but as she made the movement, she was once again electrocuted. "Gah..." The slaver grabbed her by the chin, making her look at him right into the eyes. "You're darn pretty. Maybe I'll have some fun with you before I sell ya off."
Laliet desperately struggled against him, but all she received was a sight of him taking his shirt off, obviously for unsavory purposes. As his hand crept towards her shoulder, she saw something that eased her heart a bit.
Victoria was standing behind the man in her draconic form, and with one swift movement, she grabbed the man by his arm, and brought him close to her barrel at the mouth. He held his hands up. "Mercy...please?"
Victoria laughed, not caring at all for some no-name bandit. Scorching flames came out of the barrel at her mouth, instantly disintegrating the flesh on his body, and leaving him a charred skeleton.
Throwing him aside, Victoria wondered where Xathos and Crispian were doing.
Meanwhile, Xathos was still holding Crispian's unconscious body, using it as a shield against needles. "Damnit Crispian...after this I'm making you wear heavier armor for your body..." he snarled as he fended off a bandit's sword, and retaliated with his spear.
As another bandit came his way, he immediately kicked that bandit in the groin, and then took out another by whacking the butt of his spear straight on his head. To his surprise, the bandit that he whacked didn't back down.
The bandit giggled strangely, and Xathos frowned at this strange reaction to being slapped full-force by a techno-spear. Then, he noticed why he was laughing. 10 bandits surrounded him...and he had no way to get out.
Xathos shook his head, knowing that he had just used blazing thunder a minute ago, and he wasn't exactly sure if he could get out of this alive. Switching to his techno-sword, he twirled it in the air while he kept holding Crispian. "I told my queen and my parents that I was getting back alive. There's no way that I'm breaking that promise."
Before he could charge in, he felt a sudden roar filling across the carven. It was familiar...and so loud. He realized that he was no longer holding Crispian anymore. Instead, that beast of a man was by his side, roaring with anger and bloodlust. Crispian only 2 inches taller than Xathos, but his muscle mass made him seem much bigger than the latter.
"You're gonna pay for knocking me out, y'all." Crispian growled, whipping out his techno-axe as it sparkled with its energy systems. Xathos held his techno-sword. "Let's get these amateurs."
The bandits charged, beating their axes and swords against the two. 6 of them attacked Crispian at once, only for him to grab one of them, holding him by his neck, and throw him right at his comrades, taking out 3 in total. He then swung his axe, breaking the weapons of the remaining bandits.
As the three bandits tried to flee, he easily swatted one away into being stabbed by a stalagmite, and finished the two other with one slice of his axe. Heading back, he looked at Xathos, who was standing over the bodies of 4 defeated bandits.
"So, I guess that's it, right?" Crispian asked. Xathos nodded, looking at them. "Yeah, now we can just get the gold...maybe they have some in their pockets." as the two began to search the pockets of the defeated bandits, they heard some yelling. "Hey, you two! There's no more need for pickpocketing! We got the money now! Now would you two be gentlemen and help us get this up?"
The two headed up, taking some of the gold from Lawliet and Veronica to help them get it up the stairs. As soon as they got up, they started to feel a bit dizzy. "What is this...are you feeling dizzy too?" Xathos asked.
Veronica nodded, pulling some needles from her skin. "Seriously...again? Gods, I wish I could burn the person who thought of this sneaky little trick." Crispian said nothing, as he had already succumbed to the effects of it.
Lawliet had caught the needles instead. "Man, you bunch of suckers. Now I have to lug you all and the gold off..." She threw a rock at the trap that had shot the needles, destroying it. "Feminists would praise me for this..." she said as she dragged the three off.
Xathos woke up to a start, as he found himself on the sand. "Wait...what happened? Is everyone okay?" The three others gave exasperated looks at him. "Dude, you've been sleeping for hours. You're such a heavy sleeper."
Xathos sighed. "I can't help it. I'm still growing." As he looked at the fire, he smelt a fragrant scent. "Oh? What's that?" he pointed to the piece of roasted meat above the fire.
Lawliet answered, "It was jackrabbit. I was busy lugging all of you, so I couldn't get all of you to a hotel. And when these two had woke, you were still sleeping, and we didn't want to make ourselves look like kidnappers." Xathos edged closer to the fire, as Lawliet looked at him. Even though she was a bit sassy at times, she still had a level of concern for him.
He looked at her. "Well...by your Levin Sword, you seem to be of Archanean royalty." Lawliet nodded. "True. While you seem to be of Valentinian royalty, given your fancy armor."
Xathos lay back. "So, what's your full name?" "Lawliet Enrique. What bout yours?" Xathos replied, "Xathos Sanctus." She glanced at him. "Xathos Sanctus? Are you related to Lord Manuel Sanctus in any way?"
Nodding, Xathos affirmed this fact. Lawliet lay back. "Whoa...I never knew I would ever be able to meet a Valentinian noble in my life." Xathos looked at her. "You seem to have quite a small world, Lawliet."
Lawliet glanced at him. "Xathos, even though I'm nobility, my life still sucks as hell. But...I'm grateful that it sucks, because if it didn't, then I wouldn't be able to have such interesting adventures."
Xathos nodded. "Agreed. I don't think too much about life, but what I do know is that you gotta make use of what life can give you." Lawliet giggled, and Xathos turned over. "What's so funny?"
Lawliet kept on giggling. "It's just your Black Dragon Laguz friend. Who knew that even though she's so dangerous in combat, she's still so playful?" The Black Dragon Laguz played along with a rattlesnake, using it as a lasso, as it tried desperately to sink its fangs into her skin, to no avail.
Xathos laughed a bit, as Lawliet came up with another question. "By the way, Xathos, if you're nobility, why did you come to Archanea?" Xathos looked at her. "you don't know anything about the mech attacks?"
Lawliet shook her head. "My family refrained us from the outside world for a long time. It's not something I like talking about, but we hardly knew much about the outside, which was why I decided to sneak out here. So...you're here as ambassadors or something?"
Xathos nodded. "Yes. Normally we would take a train or some bus, but our predicament has prevented us from doing so. Oh well, then. Will you accompany us to the capital, Altea?"
Lawliet thought of Altea. She had never been there, having been raised in Gra for most of her life. "I suppose I will. I would love to see it." Xathos clasped his hands. "Then it's decided, I suppose!"
Meanwhile, a purple-haired, beautiful woman in a red, long, skirt walked through the forests, singing a sweet song as her wings beat in the forest, providing a fresh breeze to all the animals around. Holding a golden stone in her hand, she looked up at the sky.