The Origin Of Mount Woe Chapter 19
The agonized scream came from half a dozen throats at once, but especially painfully from Zeal. Schala just stood in disbelief, no longer paying attention to the Weapon behind her. Even Jade temporarily ceased his attack, to pay his respects to a worthy foe. As tears began to form in Schala's eyes, she saw three objects racing out of the explosion toward her. First, the Sun stone landed at her feet, but empty of all light. Next, the pendant, with most of the chain melted off. Last was Vigo's dagger. It imbedded itself in the earth in front of Schala's feet, nearly stabbing into the pendant. Schala stared at that for a little while, before crying out.
"No!! The pendant made it worse!!" Zeal turned her tear filled eyes toward Schala.
"How could anything have made it worse?!"
"The pendant!... It wasn't enough to save him, but it kept him alive during... oh no." With an angry look on her face, Schala yanked the dagger out of the ground and pointed it at Jade. "You sir, have just made the biggest mistake of your life."
Before anyone else could say anything, Melchior broke in from his perch on the rooftop. "I hate to break it to all of you, but that explosion isn't dissipating." As everyone turned to look at Vigo's funeral pyre, they saw that the explosion did indeed seem to just be hovering in midair. To everyone, including Jade's, surprise, the explosion suddenly raced outward, destroying the plateau as it came.
As Zeal viewed the burning chunks of rock flying toward her, she only thought 'Good. At least I won't have to wait long to be with him.' Zeal began to run toward the blast, welcoming her own death. Schala quickly flicked her wrist, and Zeal froze in place. Her small voice managed to carry above the sound of the encroaching destruction.
"Yes, Mr. Weapon, this was a very big mistake on your part."
"King Karak! Karak, wake up!"
"Huh?" Karak wearily rubbed his sleep filled eyes. "What's the matter?"
"Its Enhasa! The mountain is-"
"You know I've told you all never to bother me with that floating piece of-"
"But sire! The mountain broke off and the plateau is on fire!"
"Come outside and see!" Karak followed the excited messenger outside. When clear of the caves, he could see that the plateau had indeed broken free of the mountain, and was now beginning to sink toward the ground. Karak stared at the ground for a few minutes.
"Organize our emergency relief forces." He finally said. "Because those people are definitely going to need our help when that thing lands."
Many of the mages from the bunkers continued to run toward the relative safety of Enhasa, even though it was too late. The explosion engulfed them as well, and finally dissipated only about fifty feet from the walls of Enhasa. The still form of Zeal was right on the brink; the rest of the plateau had broken up and fallen away. "Good work Gaia." Serges complimented the huge beast. "We can handle it from here." With that, he and Violen jumped to the remains of the plateau, and the Gaia slowly sank back into the mountain.
As survivors ran every which way in panic, with Melchior desperately trying to get things organized, Schala strode calmly toward Jade, who had walked back toward the plateau, for some unknown reason. Suddenly, she was thrown from her feet as Serges and Violen landed right in front of her. But before he or the Weapons could do anything, a voice came from the far end of the plateau. "Oh Serges, Vigo wasn't the only one who could fight back!"
Looking up, Schala saw Masa sitting on top of what she assumed was the odd man's ship. A light came on inside, and she could see Mune and Doreen sitting in the cockpit. Serges took a precautionary step back, to no avail. A huge beam of energy launched from each side of the ship, knocking Serges and Violen to the ground. From the top of the craft, Masa fired a smaller weapon continuously, keeping the two Weapons down. Schala began to cheer, but stopped suddenly. 'Where's Jade?!' Her mind screamed.
As Jade suddenly jumped up behind the ship, a thin vein of jade erupted from the ground, forming a scimitar at the top. Jade broke off the scimitar on the way down, swinging it in a tight arc. The ship was cloven in two, energy sparking out of severed connections. "I take it there are no more hero wannabes out here?" Serges demanded angrily. Schala stepped forward.
"No. But I am my father's daughter, and you must pay for what you have done!"
"Tough talk for someone who's never been in a battle. Violen, you can sit this one out. Jade, resume your attack on Enhasa." As Serges spoke, he began shrinking back to the size he had been when he first appeared, about fifty feet tall. "Now, li'l princess, let's see how you do against me!" Schala accepted the invitation. Purple bolts of energy flew from her hands. The impact seemed to snap Serges' head back, until she realized he was leaning back to laugh. The laughter stopped as quickly as it had begun. Serges extended his arm, and his most powerful lightning spell raged across the plateau in a huge blue explosion. Schala was burned and buried under several feet of earth. After healing herself and crawling out, she had no energy left. She wanted to cry and run to her mother, but she was too tired even for that. Serges raised his foot to crush her where she lay. "That was almost too easy!"
"No Serges!" A restraining hand was placed on his shoulder. Serges whipped around to see Violen, who had shrunk to about forty five feet tall, standing behind him. Jade, who was far enough away not to hear them, assumed there was a reason for this and also shrank back to his original size before continuing his attack.
"How dare you stop me?!" Serges screamed.
"She's only a child!" Violen yelled back.
"She must perish! There must never be another Jenova!"
"You're wrong about her Serges. She is both Jenova and Cetra." Violen placed herself protectively between Schala and Serges.
"Are you defying ME?!"
"You still want to kill her?" Violen drew her own weapon, a long, jagged spear.
"Of course!" Serges drew his sword again.
"Then yes!" Violen ran forward, casting a fire spell at the same time.
"I always hated that you could do that." Serges grumbled, then charged forward to meet her.
Karak ran toward the plateau as it neared the ground, but not too fast. He didn't want to be crushed underneath it. He couldn't see anything on top of it, except for one figure balanced precariously on the edge. He stopped as the plateau finally came to rest on the ground. It didn't land hard enough to break it up, but the impact was pretty great all the same. Karak saw the figure perched on the edge topple off, and come alive again in midair. He rushed to catch the person.
Her landing nearly tore his arms out of their sockets and strained his back. "That doesn't work quite like the stories tell, does it?" He groaned, then set the person down.
"No, it certainly doesn't." Zeal rubbed her back. "Thank you Karak. I haven't seen you in a while."
"You either. So what's going on here? Is Schala... and... any other kids, you may happen to have... all right?"
"Bad time to bring up that touchy subject." Zeal scowled. "No, there's still just Schala-maybe,"
she said, looking up at the destruction, "and now that Vigo's dead, it looks like she's all I'm ever going to have." Zeal had decided that since she had just been spared from death twice, she might as well go on living.
"Well then we better get up there and save her!" Karak shouted, surprised to find himself angry about Vigo's death.
"WE? You're coming along?" Zeal looked up, surprised.
"Of course! And more of my people will be ready down here to help." Looking back toward Algetty, Zeal saw torches blazing and people hurrying out toward the plateau.
"Provided there's anyone left to help."
"Huh? Why do you say that?"
"Well there's... You better come see." Zeal changed her mind in the middle of her sentence. 'We weren't prepared. Why should he be?' She asked herself. Now some of the other earthbound ones had run out to where they were.
"Sir, are we going up there to help?" One of them asked.
"No." Karak gave Zeal a funny look. "Not until I come back and tell you so." He turned back to Zeal. "Ready to climb up?"
"Climb up?" Zeal said scornfully. "No way! Just don't drop your sword in the void!" With that, she teleported them both away. The earthbound ones milled around the base of the plateau for a few seconds, before they filed back to Algetty. So there was no one to notice when one boy, about eight or nine years old, and another, a small toddler, began to slowly scale the side.
Melchior leaped down the stairs as a stray fireball from the Weapon battle smashed into his perch. He tumbled down to the bottom of the flight, realizing he was lucky to be alive. The Weapons were doing almost as much damage fighting each other as they had when they were openly attacking. The remaining mages did not want to break up the fight now that every powerful mage had already been killed or wounded badly. Melchior got up and began to run outside, only to trip over a red lump on the floor.
"Hey, what's the big idea?" Spekkio yawned as he stretched out.
"You've been in here sleeping this whole time?!" Melchior almost screamed.
"Yeah. What's the problem?" Spekkio added, seeing the look on Melchior's face.
"We really could have used your help out there! We need a powerful mage now!"
"Why didn't you say so? I am the Master of War! Just lead me to the battle!" Melchior sighed and they both ran out of the building.
Zeal and Karak arrived back on the plateau in full view of the battle. "Well, this is an interesting development." Zeal smiled. Jade and Serges were facing off against Violen.
"What the hell are those?" Karak asked, jaw agape.
"Those are our little problem. They call themselves Weapons of the planet." Karak just stood, watching the battle for a minute.
"I can't hope to fight anything like that without magic." Karak sighed.
"You may have to." Zeal said meanly, but without malice.
Out of the corner of his eye, Serges saw Zeal arriving back on the plateau. "Jade, you resume your attack. I can handle this traitor myself!" Jade relcutantly but obediently turned back to Enhasa, leaving the two to battle.
Jade saw Zeal and a person he didn't recognize stand waiting for him.
"Zeal, how can I possibly kill this thing?" The man's voice drifted up to Jade's ears.
"You can't human, so surrender now!"
"Just run up and fight!" Zeal shouted at him. "You never seemed to have any trouble fighting Vigo, now go! I'll help!"
Unsure of himself, Karak ran up to the Weapon and jumped in the air, sword held high. As he began to bring the sword down, a small ball of fire flew from Zeal's fingertips. It flew onto the sword just as Karak made the cut, and onward into Jade's midsection. Jade staggered back, clutching his stomach, and then collapsed to the ground. "What happened?" Karak demanded.
"Unless you've got power like Vigo, its pretty hard to blast through that Weapon armor. So I just let you carve a way." Zeal explained, as if he ought not to have asked.
"Where is Schala anyway?" Karak scanned the area. Zeal just shook her head.
Schala slowly opened here eyes as a Weapon foot landed right in front of her, showering her with rocks and shaking the ground. Looking up with a vacant expression, Schala was surprised to see Serges fighting one of the other Weapons. They took no notice of her. Schala didn't know who the other one was, but she knew Serges was bad news, and decided to help out this other Weapon however she could. Looking higher up, she saw the stars had come back. 'My magic wasn't powerful enough earlier.' She thought to herself. 'I need something that packs more of a punch.' As if on cue, a shooting star appeared overhead. Before it vanished from sight, Schala latched on to it with all her power.
Serges kicked Violen to the ground, and raised his sword high over his head. "This is the price you pay for - Augh!!" Serges was knocked into the ground by a huge rock falling from the sky. The boulder broke into many pieces in a huge explosion. Serges sat up, panting, but was obviously badly hurt. Looking everywhere for the source of this attack, he spotted Schala, standing quietly. "Now do you believe me Violen? She used Meteor!!"
Violen stared at Schala for a minute, but just shook her head. "That looked more like Comet. And anyway, she used Holy earlier. Sorry Serges. You no longer have the interests of the planet at heart. You're just interested in destruction. Maybe its not a good thing that we were given this intelligence. Weapons should rely on their instincts, not their brains."
"Shut up and fight!" Serges yelled, staggering to his feet.
Violen quickly stabbed her spear into his torso. "I don't think so. You're not exactly in fighting shape anymore." She kicked Serges over, then raised him above her head. Using all her strength, she threw him forward.
"Incoming!!" Karak turned to run.
"Extremely large incoming." Zeal said without excitement. She judged that Serges would not make it to where they were. Lucky for her, she was correct. Serges' sword landed first, stabbing into Jade, who suddenly came to life screaming. Next, Serges landed on top of the sword hilt, driving it through Jade and into the ground. Jade's screams died as he exploded in a blinding green flash, casting green sparks everywhere. The force of the blast threw Serges into Enhasa, where he lay unmoving. Melchior and Spekkio came running out of the building as rubble fell around them.
Melchior was about to say something, but Spekkio interrupted. "There's someone here without magic! I say, how can you hope to fight that thing without magic?"
Karak realized the odd creature was talking to him. "I really can't hope."
"Well, you'd better let me give you some then!"
"You can give people magic?!" Zeal, Karak, and Melchior shouted simultaneously.
"Of course!" Spekkio smiled. Then he peered at Karak. "Hmm. You would be perfect for that new type of magic Schala just discovered! Ipso facto meenie- How did it go again? It's been a while since I had to do this- mo, Comet!" Fire sprang up in Karak's eyes, and for a minute, Zeal saw some of Vigo in him. Off in the ruined building, Serges began to stir. Karak immediately began running over, and Zeal followed closely.
"Coming Spekkio?" Melchior asked, following them.
"I'll be there in a minute." Spekkio answered. Walking around and slightly behind what was left of the main building, he was surprised to see two kids running across the grass, trying to avoid being seen. "Sheesh, more people without magic?" He asked, annoyed. "What are these Enhasans trying to pull?" The kids froze in place. Spekkio turned to the smaller one first. "What's you're name?"
The little kid remained silent until the older one poked him in the ribs. "Ertai, Mr. Creature-"
The older one poked him again. "-sir."
"Well, your inner character is perfect for the power of Lightning! Ipso facto meenie mo Bolt!" A yellow glow fell on the little kid and he laughed happily.
Now Spekkio turned to the older one. He was very serious looking, as if he couldn't understand what the little one was so excited about. He seemed to be very strong for his age. "My name is Greven." He said with a neutral expression.
"Well Greven," Spekkio began, smiling, "your inner character is..." his expression changed, "..puzzling. The ONLY other person with inner character like this is Schala. I'm not even sure what to call this magic type, but here you go! Ipso facto meenie mo Mysterio!" A purple glow surrounded Greven, and his eyes took on an odd tinge. "Now, you better go join the others before you get in trouble." The two boys didn't say anything else, but just ran off, keeping to the shadows. Spekkio shook his head. He would have to keep an eye on that boy...
Karak held his sword ready as Serges opened his eyes. He saw that the other Weapon was sitting down, resting, and he could now see that Schala was out there, working up the courage to talk to the Weapon. "Unh..." Serges groaned. Then, he closed his eyes again, and his head fell back. Karak began to lower his sword. Suddenly, the ground all around him seemed to explode. Serges roared to life, digging his huge hands into the ground, tearing up huge chunks, and hurling them wherever they could do the most damage. "I... am... not... done!!" He screamed in rage. A huge clump of earth landed on Karak.
Karak shook it off and held his sword high. "You're going to wish you hadn't done that." He growled menacingly.
"Why? What can you do to me human?" Serges laughed, slightly hysterically.
"Allow me to show you." Karak grinned. Serges didn't like this. The human was acting like Vigo. Karak began rotating his sword above his head, then suddenly jumped into the air. He yelled something unintelligible, and six large stones launched from his sword, knocking Serges over and smashing gaping holes in his armor.
"More meteors?" Serges gasped raggedly. "You just don't learn do you?" Serges got to his feet, but he was unsteady on his legs, and probably couldn't do much more damage. He stretched out his arm, a blue glow began to form... and then everyone stared as a bloody spear head appeared in his chest. Violen slowly drew the spear out, a sad expression on her face.
"Serges, this is for your own good, please believe me." Then she turned. "All you humans! Cast your spells now!"
Out from the field, Schala obeyed. Her purple explosion started the attack. Through the various forms of magic that raced at Serges, she thought she saw another beam of purple. She didn't see it again, so she assumed her eyes were playing tricks on her. Blue energy began pouring from holes in Serges' body. Zeal didn't know if he was fatally wounded or not, so she strolled forward calmly. "Well Serges, you put up a good fight, but you lose! Consider this, a present from Vigo!" A sadistic grin came over Zeal's face, and an explosion of Shadow power covered Serges. There was a blinding blue flash, and his body seemed to dissipate into mist. Only his heavy armor remained.
From the crowd of the remaining mages, Dalton stepped forward. Ignoring Violen, he walked over to Serges' armor and peered at it closely. "I bet I could make some great stuff with this." He smiled.
"Do what you want with it." Zeal waved him away. "Well, now that the threat to us is finally gone, we need to determine what we're going to do next. I'm calling an emergency meeting of all surviving high ranking officials. Meet in the secondary council room, if its still there, in a half hour."
Violen peered at the mountain. "I wonder what Serges had planned for Enhasa." She whispered.
Only Schala heard her. "Its not Enhasa anymore." She lowered her eyes. "Its a mountain of woe..."
Melchior stood as medics carried Belthasar and Gaspar in on stretchers. Far too many people simply weren't here. Most of them were dead, a few were too badly injured to come, and a few more were waiting beside wounded loved ones. After waiting for a few minutes, Melchior realized Zeal wasn't going to be on time, so he was in charge. "Well gentlemen, the storm has passed, and those of us left have to figure out what to do with ourselves. Schala tells us the Sun stone has lost all of its energy, so we can't use that for power. The remaining Weapon of the planet tells us that we can't use the planet's energy anymore, or she will resume her attack. We don't have any other options if we want to raise the plateau up again."
"Vigo would have thought of something." Someone said bitterly.
"So what's going to happen to the kingdom?" Someone else whined.
"There is no kingdom without Vigo." One of the older advisors sighed.
With that statement, the doors of the chamber slammed open. Zeal stood in the wide opening. She looked like she had been crying, but her eyes were dry now. "Wrong." She said in an emotionless voice. "Now there's no kingdom without ME."
"You can't give up now! There ain't no gettin' off of this train we on!" - Barret Wallace