Warrior's Heart:

Chapter 12- The final battle

Kilik eyed Talim disapprovingly as she ran past Maxi and Xianghua and was keeping even pace with himself. Her weapons were lost and she had replaced them with a pair of wooden practice elbow blades she had found on Maxi's ship. He had tried to reprimand her and make her stay behind with the other youth but she wouldn't listen.

"Talim, please, just go back and wait with Link," Kilik tried again. The young woman merely glared back at him, her chocolate eyes revealing her determination.

"I must fight. It's not over yet. This is my destiny." Talim told him, her features set. Nothing would stand between her and this epic battle.

"Is there no other way?" He pleaded in a last effort attempt. She merely glared at him impassively in answer to his obviously foolish question. "Fine. But, with your lack of weapons I want you to let me handle this."

"Power does not come from my weapons but in the way I weald them." Talim declared stubbornly.

"If anything happens to you, you know I'll never forgive myself," Kilik told her softly as they ran side by side, hopefully not to their doom.

Talim smiled at him serenely. "I know; that's why I won't let anything bad happen." She reached up to cup his cheek and they both stopped running and stared deep into one another's eyes. Talim stood on her tiptoes and raised herself to meet his lips. Kilik's arms wrapped tightly around her frame, drawing her close to him.

He pulled her flush against his bare chest as he explored the cavern of her mouth with his inquisitive tongue. Two throats clearing behind them caused them to break apart for much needed air.

Maxi was idly twirling a pair of his nunchukus as Xianghua had a red stain upon her cheeks from seeing their public display of affection. "If you don't mind, we have an enemy to destroy," Maxi informed them casually.

Kilik adjusted his red vest and tried to compose himself as if he wasn't embarrassed by being caught in such an unholy act. "Well we were waiting for you to catch up," Kilik replied.

"Yes, you two are very slow," Talim agreed as she idly twirled her wooden blades.

Maxi shook his head at the two but decided to not waste any more time arguing.

It wasn't long after that much sought after enemy crossed their path.

Standing before them with a large axe in his grasp stood the imposing figure of Astaroth. His spiked hair made him look like an outer space reject. Maxi took up his fighting stance once he spotted the mammoth.

"He's mine," Maxi declared as his eyes locked with hatred upon the beast that murdered his crew. His revenge would be won this night.

Xianghua stood beside him. "Not alone will you fight him," she told him as she unsheathed her blade. "Side by side will we defeat him." She glanced at him sadly for a moment when he looked to protest. "He is responsible for my loss of a dear friend as well."

Maxi nodded.

Kilik pointed past Astaroth to another room on the other side of the chamber. "Something of immense spiritual power is beyond that door," he informed Talim. She nodded her head and together they went in that direction, leaving their two companions to battle with the monster.

"Have you come to play boy?" The golden warrior asked as he shifted his sickle upon his shoulder.

"What are you?" Kilik asked, confused by the aura the warrior gave off. He was not human, that much was certain.

"He is what stands between us and our destiny." Talim replied not caring what the monster was, only desiring to defeat it.

"You speak bravely for one so small," the being addressed her. "I am known as Berserker. Remember the name well for it is the last you shall hear before I end your pitiful lives." He swung his sharp weapon towards them an instant later.

Talim and Kilik jumped away from the clumsy attack, heading in opposite directions. Something in the distance caught Talim's attention while Kilik prepared his staff to knock the brute in the head.

The item in the corner was calling for Talim.

Berserker turned to strike at Talim but his weapon was intercepted by Kilik after he used his staff as a pogo stick to land on the other side of the golden fighter. "Your opponent is me." Kilik told him coldly as he jabbed the long bow into the gut of his enemy.

Maxi twirled his weapons in his hands and managed to deflect the attack aimed at his heart. However, he was unable to stop the ax from grazing Xianghua's upper arm. She held it in pain, hoping to stop the blood flow.

Astaroth laughed manically at his little victory and took aim to finish the job.

Maxi could not allow another person he cared about to fall victim to this tyrant and pushed the woman out of the way. He then focused his attack to destroy the heart of the creature that destroyed his happiness.

Astaroth didn't have a chance.

An onslaught of memories came rushing into Maxi's mind. He not only remembered his crew clear as day, but now, he could remember four years ago first fighting alongside Xianghua and Kilik.

He remembered his love as a brother for Kilik and his love for Xianghua.

A smile spread across his face as the memories returned and he turned to share his excitement with Xianghua only to notice her unconscious form slumped against the wall. Her head had crashed into the unforgiving stone.

He rushed to her side and lifted her carefully in his arms. He cradled her limp body close to his chest. Maxi's gaze went to the chamber in which Kilik and Talim had disappeared. He wouldn't be able to help them now. He was needed here, with Xianghua. He wouldn't abandon her again.

The force that drew Talim was stronger than even that of the strongest winds. It was Soul Calibur and it had taken the form of her favorite tools. She lifted the blades and turned back to help Kilik in his battle.

Unfortunately, there was someone in her path. A very ugly being with the face of a lizard and a tail to match.

He lifted his sword and make an effort to slice off her head. Talim leapt over the rushing sword and sliced the lizardman in the lower lumbar region of his back, aiming for the kidney.

"This is a battle I can not allow you to win," Talim told the creature, unsure if it would understand her words. He ignored her warning and lunged at her again, but once more she blocked the attack with one of her blades.

The other she stabbed deep into his midsection. The purifying powers took affect. The life force of the lizardman were being drained and added to her own spiritual powers.

Soon her foe fell at her feet, dead as a door nail.

She stepped over the wasted body to rush to Kilik's aid, but it was unnecessary.

"This rod will be your doom!" Kilik bellowed as he drove home his attack and stabbed his staff deep into the heart of Berserker. His armor held no power against the spiritual powers of the enchanted staff.

He watched as the monstrosity fell to the ground in a heavy thud and then rolled into the lava pit that flowed below the floating stage on which they fought. Kilik then looked past to see Talim watching him with a weary smile upon her lips. She wiped the back of her hand across her forehead that was covered in sweat. "That was easy," she panted.

Kilik walked towards her and held her wrists to look at the weapons closer. His suspicions were confirmed. They were indeed Soul Calibur in the form of her elbow blades.

"Come on, we need to go back to the others before we move on," Kilik told her as he kept a firm grip upon her wrist and began the journey back towards his two old friends.

The sight that greeted them was Maxi cradling Xiangua's form in his arms. He looked up at Kilik with tears in his eyes. "I remember, my brother."

Kilik smiled at him sadly. "Of that I am glad, leave now. Talim and I must face Inferno."

The two warriors marched alongside one another towards the area where they suspected the dimensional portal leading to Inferno was located. There were hieroglyphics on the doorframe surrounding the portal. They explained the process for opening the door.

Kilik turned to Talim, regret in his eyes. "I'm sorry Talim, but I can not allow you continue this mission. This is my battle." He pulled out his staff and prepared to knock the girl he had fallen for into a state of temporary oblivion.

Talim pulled out her Soul Calibur elbow blades and took up her battle ready stance. "I don't think so," she told him with determination as she kept her eyes trained on his movements.

"Hey! Where the fight?" Link asked as he jogged up to his two friends. They both lowered their weapons at his unexpected arrival.

"What's wrong with your eyes Link?" Talim asked, staring at the ebon pools of darkness that had replaced the crystal blue shade she had grown accustomed.

Kilik brought up his staff again, "You are not the Link we know." He declared as he arched his weapon around his torso to gain momentum before thrusting it towards the possessed elf.

Talim took that opportunity to rush through the portal and leave the two men to duke it out.

"Talim! No!" Kilik shouted when he caught a flash of movement from the corner of his eye. He was too late for he when he ran towards Talim she disappeared into the portal and it began to sealed up behind her.

He stood outside the portal at a loss and temporarily forgot about his friend turned foe. If he jumped through now he should be able to make it to the other side. In those moments of contemplation he stood still as a statute, at least until a boomerang knocked him upside the head.

Link stood before Kilik looking incredibly ticked off as he caught the boomerang as it returned to him effortlessly."Talim brings Soul Edge to Link," the elf replied with an arrogant smirk upon his face.

"I don't think so," Kilik replied as he rubbed his the back of his head where he was clobbered with the boomerang. He tried to ignore the dizzy spell that threatened to claim his consciousness. "You'll have to go through me."

"No problem," Link replied as he pulled out Master Sword and prepared to meet Kilik's staff.

Kilik and Link's weapon's clashed together and the battle seemed to last forever. The explanation for Link's odd behavior was a great mystery to Kilik but he didn't have time to ponder such issues at the moment.

The elf's Master Sword was coming uncomfortably close to his neck.

Kilik glanced back over towards the portal worried. He feared that Talim would be lost to him forever and he couldn't follow her now, not with Link gone mad and set to kill him.

However, Kilik knew he had to hold off the elf just a little bit longer. Talim would be victorious, because if she wasn't then he would not only have allowed a great evil to have access to humanity but he would have lost the person he had come to care for most.

He had written off others. The holy man had few friends and many allies. The idea that a woman could have entered his life never crossed his mind. It was a good thing he had yet to take his vows as a Buddhist monk.

"Link you must fight this evil that has come over you," Kilik spoke through gritted teeth as he blocked a particularly painful blow. Kilik managed to keep the Master Sword locked against his staff and began to use the spiritual powers contained within himself and the legendary staff.

"I will help you over come this evil," Kilik vowed as he was able to channel through his staff to help Link fight the evil that has consumed his soul.

Link grunted in denial as his dark eyes flashed crimson, a released a guttural scream before he collapsed to the stone floor in exhaustion.

He looked up from his position on the floor, eyes the familiar and welcomed crystal blue. "Where Talim?" Link asked as he removed his green cap that tied back his blond locks and them fall around his face.

Kilik's eyes widened in panic and he began to make his way to the portal, but as he got there, the portal sealed. There was no way he can reach Talim now.

Dejected that there is nothing more he can do, Kilik sits on one side of the portal. Link crawled over towards the other side. The two sat in silence on either side of the portal hoping to find a way to gain entrance or that Talim would return soon.

As Kilik sat feeling bitterness consume him in his feeling of helplessness, the spirit of his sister appeared before him.

She smiled down at him and he was startled to see her. "You have no need to worry my little brother. The evil that had tried to poison your soul has been destroyed." Before Kilik could make his brain cooperate to form words she vanished, only to be replaced by Talim with a large smile on her face and her twin blades of Soul Calibur tucked away in her belt.

She reached a hand down for each of the men to accept. They both accept with stunned expressions at seeing Kilik's sister seemingly transform into their beloved wind priestess. They rose to their feet.

"It is finished." Talim tells them, her grin never wavering.

"What do you mean it is finished?" Kilik demanded. Talim chose to ignore him and turned to Link embracing him. She kissed his cheek as a teardrop leaked from one of her chocolate orbs.

"Go home to your people Hero of Time, may the winds forever sing your songs." Link kissed her forehead and then squeezed her tight to him. His crystal blue eyes also shimmered with tears of sorrow.

"If you were elf kind I would take you with me." Link told her as he began to touch the chain fastening his ocarina around his neck. He seemed to be stalling.

Talim looked back at Kilik, who was watching the exchange silently, before she answered, "My place is here with him."

Link smiled and clapped his hand on Kilik's shoulder and then steps back from them both and lifts up his ocarina and begins to play the tune that will send him home. Kilik and Talim stand side-by-side and watch as he disappears through the sands of time and space.

"Is it truly over?" Kilik dared to ask. He thought it was over four years ago and yet here he was fighting the same battle. Talim moved to stand in front of him and encircles her arms around his waist, squeezing tight and leaning against him.

She whispered by his ear, "We can now have our ending."

Kilik felt the corners of his lips twitching to form a smile at the idea before he snaked his own arms around her slight frame and lifted her up on him to lay claim to her lips.

The walls of the chamber they were in began to crumble and the sounds of a the room falling around them knocked the two out of their passionate stupor. "Let's go home," Kilik tells her taking her hand in his and running out of the Egyptian tomb.

"Where exactly is home?" Talim inquired curiously.

"We will follow where ever the winds take us," he answered.

"Took you guys long enough!" Yunsung greeted as the couple came running out of the collapsing temple. Maxi and Xianghua were smiling at them. Cassandra looked confused to only be seeing Talim and Kilik.

"Where's Link?" Cassandra asked.

"That short little elf better not show his face!" Yunsung declared, annoyed that his friend had seemingly betrayed them.

"Did you succeed?" Maxi asked.

Kilik and Talim looked at one another before answering. "The evil of Soul Edge has been destroyed and Link has returned to his home." Talim replied.

Kilik turned to Yunsung, "Do not be angry about Link, he was a dear friend to us all. The evil that has threatened to consume us all had taken control of him temporarily."

Yunsung crossed his arms over his chest and began to kick his toe into the dirt, annoyed that Kilik seemed to think he was so childish to hold a grudge when it was obvious the elf was possessed.

"So where to now?" Maxi asked to ease the tension.

Talim looked up at Kilik, her hand rested upon his chest as his arm was secured firmly and possessively around her waist. "We're going on a vacation." Talim replied evasively.

"Really? Where to?" Yunsung asked, his interest peaked. He wasn't in any hurry to return to Korea. He was looking for an excuse to spend more time the Greek woman.

Kilik began to laugh good-naturedly; all the burden that he held within him for so long was gone. "We've decided to travel wherever the winds take us."

"What a coincidence!" Maxi declared as he rose to his feet. "That's exactly where I plan to go. You are all welcome to join me, my ship can always use a few extra good persons for the crew."

The End!

A/N: That's it! That's the ending! I wanted to have more detail in the fight scenes but I felt it was more important to finally finish and post this chapter. It's been sitting in outline form on my computer for nearly three months! So this is the conclusion, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Also, check out my profile for the link to my original novel Heart of a Wolf available via authorhouse.