Disclaimer: This is fanfiction, guys. If I owned this, would I be posting on a fan website? Hmmm… I think not.

Chapter 17

He was tall, perhaps an inch or so over six feet, and had platinum colored hair that seemed to radiate light. He was clad in an old-fashioned outfit: black boots with a swirling design of silver, black pants, and a navy-blue shirt with a silver emblem representing Cruxis. There were sky-blue wings, barely visible, on his back that beat a steady rhythm.

"They've been waiting for me for so long, thinking me to be someone else," he whispered. He reached out and let his hand pass through the wall. "I'll have to let Morphia know that the holographic interface with the base systems works just as well as the system that the Mirror created… not that it really matters.

"Everything will end today; one way or another."

/o/

Seles narrowed her eyes and slammed up her mental shields as best she could. Her control was tenuous, but what she lacked in knowledge she made up for through instinct and sheer power. "There is someone coming this way," she announced. "He's around the corner and down the hall. And this guy doesn't seem very friendly."

Lloyd readied his swords, Presea brought out her ax, and both Seles and Genis pulled out their kendamas.

"It's just one person?" Lloyd asked, for clarification's sake.

Seles nodded. "Just one. He seems cocky: overconfident in his abilities. I don't think this guy knows that I'll be able to see him even if he is using a spell for invisibility."

"So he isn't expecting you to be able to tap into your psychic abilities," Genis sounded relieved. "There's one ace up our sleeves. Can we get anything else on our side?"

"Doubtful," Presea said unhappily. "The odds are in our favor already, so we ought to be okay."

"Then what's wrong?" Lloyd gave the pink haired girl a worried look. "From your tone, it sounds as though something must be."

"The enemy has underestimated our section of the rescue party… but what if they haven't with the others?"

"She's right," Seles agreed. "There are probably others waiting to attack the rest of our friends. What if they try to use us to force Zelos to help them?" Silence descended upon the group as the ramifications of that statement sunk in.

Finally Lloyd spoke up. "Then that means Zelos is still fighting against them despite having been captured. We'll simply have to do the same and make sure he knows that, no matter what, destroying the Mirror is more important than anything else."

Slowly, the group walked around the corner. There was no one in sight, but Seles could still sense the Anubian Warrior, who was several yards away. With as little movement and sound as possible, Seles unleashed her first attack. Fire lit the ground beneath the Warrior's feet and his invisibility spell faltered and dissipated to leave him open to more attacks.

/o/

Theirs was an odd group. Kratos was half-carrying, half-dragging Ibis down the corridors while Raine and Sheena followed.

"I think we're lost," Sheena offered. "We've seen these doors before."

"That's what we get for letting a man take point," Raine teased. "We're going in circles. Would it really hurt to stop in one of these rooms and ask for directions? Or at least find a map on a computer terminal."

"I've been here before, long ago," Kratos snapped stiffly while adjusting his hold on the still-unconcious Ibis. "I know where we're going."

"Oh look," Sheena pointed at a shiny silver coin on the ground. "I dropped that here the last time we passed through this corridor."

There was a long silence and then Kratos ground out the word 'coincidence.'

"This is why we need a map," Raine pointed out.

"Fine. We'll check the rooms for computer terminals and, if there is one, we'll call up a base map," Kratos grumbled, a slight pout appearing on his face.

Raine latched onto Kratos' free hand and hurried a few steps to stand next to him. "We're probably just taking one wrong turn somewhere; I'm sure we aren't too lost." Somehow, Kratos didn't exactly look appeased as he picked a room for them to check first.

Still holding onto Kratos' hand, Raine followed the Seraph and Ibis into the room with Sheena at the rear of the group. None of them considered for one moment that there might be danger.

Sheena froze mid-step, unable to alert her companions to what was happening. Someone lifted her into the air and silently spelled her for invisibility. Light and air bent around to show reflections of the hall instead of her. Panicking and unable to react, Sheena found herself being slowly floated down the hallway.

What felt like an eternity later, but was in reality perhaps a minute, Sheena heard Raine and Kratos' worried voices yelling her name. By then, however, she knew it was too late.

/o/

Lethian and Isis sensed the hidden Warrior long before he came within range of their group. Yuan had cloaked both Isis and himself in an invisibility spell while Isis made them invisible to the Warrior's telepathic abilities.

"Donavan?" Lethian questioned.

"That would be me," the Anubian Warrior became visible with a smirk on his otherwise covered face. "Lord Set wants to see you about something or another. Lord Apophis is dead; he must have done something stupid. It was the first time I've ever seen anything faze Lord Set… though he didn't seem particularly sad."

"He isn't sad. He's vindicated," Lethian muttered sarcastically. "Lord Set probably wanted Apophis to do something and I get to be the suicidal 'volunteer' to take the dead man's place. Oh joy…"

"I'll make sure that you receive a nice eulogy."

"How comforting. Lead on, Donavan," Lethian waved his hand dismissively. "Shall we march towards my doom?"

"Goddess, I hope you aren't clairvoyant," Donavan observed, happily leading the way down the hallway.

"You aren't the only one," Lethian assured him. "I'd hate to die only to find out I should have paid my own ravings more attention." In the following silence, Lethian was fairly certain that he could hear mental laughter from Isis.

/o/

Zelos tried not to pay attention to the way Morphia was reading the screens over his shoulder. "So, basically, the Firelight Mirror is impervious to physical attacks and anything magical. How exactly am I supposed to destroy it?"

"Consider your options and remember that the Mirror is already broken inside," Morphia advised. "I'm sure that someone as bright as you can discover a solution."

"Flattering as you are, Madam, I was valedictorian at school thanks to a great deal of cheating," he admitted. "Bright doesn't necessarily apply to me."

"It does. Had you paid attention to your lessons, you'd have still been valedictorian. Your scores would have been higher, too." Morphia snickered at the Chosen's stunned expression. "Never mind my muttering, though. I know that you will find a way to do what must be done. I do not envy you this task, child."

"I'm not a child," Zelos objected.

"I lived for nine hundred years and then some and have lived in death for two thousand more," Morphia pointed out. "Save a few angels, whom you have met most of, all living beings are children in my eyes."

"All right, you've got a point…" Zelos yawned and settled down into a nearby chair. "I'm so tired. Is there any time to sleep or will blowing up the Mirror be one of those half-asleep epiphanies that…" he trailed off with another yawn. Then, his blue eyes widened and he stared at the internal blueprints of the Firelight Mirror in surprise.

"I've got it."

"What?" Morphia looked startled.

"I know how to blow up the Firelight Mirror. It's simple and brilliant and, best of all, anyone with telekinetic power could do it. The Anubian Warriors and the Horus Guards never needed me to begin with!" Zelos pushed his chair backwards and twirled it around in sudden delight. "I'll need to time everything just right so that I can get myself and anyone else in the base out… but seriously, this is genius!"

Morphia frowned deeply. "I'm not following you at all."

"The Firelight Mirror is broken, but it can't be harmed by any external force." Zelos waited and when he got no reaction, he added, "the damage is internal." He gestured to the Mirror, though he avoided gazing at the hypnotic colors that danced like fire within the seven foot reflective surface. "Anything that could destroy the Mirror would have to come from within. If I mentally start an overload in the Mirror's power source than it will explode after a few minutes."

"Why don't you just use the controls to start the overload?"

"The controls can be overridden. My way will keep the Set from being able to recognize the problem until he's already met a fiery end." Zelos grinned and lounged in the slowly spinning chair. "So simple, it just might work, huh?"

"It's times like these where I wish I could still smack my forehead against the nearest wall or desk top," Morphia deadpanned.

Laughing, Zelos returned to the blueprints and began scouring them for information on just how to set up his plan.

/o/

Lethian arrived the same time that Sheena did. He recognized her immediately; she was Zelos' friend… maybe more. "Sir, you sent for me?" he asked, forcibly directing his attention to Set.

"Yes, Lethian, I have a task for you."

"Another? You honor me…" Lethian bowed and, behind the shields that protected his mind, began to pray to whatever was truly holy that neither Isis nor Yuan would be discovered.

"Indeed," Set agreed in a prideful tone. "Until now, I have had you pretended to be my latest second because Apophis was meant to be unseen and Ma'at has always been unstable…"

"And now she's powerless," Sheena mocked, having been freed from restraint… though only after her weapons were confiscated. "Zelos burned out her power and left her with nothing because she attacked him."

"Wilder has truly amazing capabilities," Set conceded. "A shame, isn't it, that he'll never learn to use them to their full extent. By the time we have left this base, Zelos Wilder will be dead and his body will house the consciousness of the Tenant of the Firelight Mirror. The Anubian Warriors will finally be able to leave the shadows and take our rightful place as the controllers of this new world."

"Can I assume that our 'guest' is going to be your bargaining chip in ensuring Wilder's obedience?" Lethian inquired. When Set nodded, Lethian added, "I have been informed of what happened to Lord Apophis. Losing him is lamentable, but you wish for this operation to proceed regardless, correct? Whatever job you wish for me to complete, I will accept without question."

Set narrowed his eyes and gave Lethian an appraising stare. "I've never known you to be so obedient."

"I've never been so close to such a powerful energy source. The Firelight Mirror is unparalleled;" Lethian smiled internally, at least this wasn't a lie… just not the whole truth. "I understand now, more than ever, just how important completing the objectives you have lain before us, your Anubian Warriors, are."

"It is good to see you so resolved," Set smirked, his eyes flashing. "Since it was discovered that Wilder was the one we sought, your loyalty has been questioned by many who know of your past. Today, you shall prove my faith in you to be justified."

"Why would Zelos affect your loyalty?" Sheena asked.

Lethian didn't look at her; "I went to school with him. We were friends then."

"How can you do this to him?!"

"You don't know me, Fujibayashi. How do you know he hasn't done anything to deserve this?" Lethian met her eyes with his own. "There is a betrayal between he and I; one that I intend to make right."

Sheena flinched. "He's changed."

"I know." Lethian returned his attention to Set. "What is the task you require of me?"

"Power has been cut from this terminal from the other side of the door. I need you to track down the energy block, remove that obstacle, and then lead us to the Mirror." Set scowled fiercely. "Wilder was briefly possessed by the Tenant of the Mirror, but somehow broke free and devised this method of escape."

"Very well, my Lord." Lethian turned away, feeling a squeeze of approval – or what he hoped was such – from an invisible source. Using the smallest amount of his power possible, Lethian sent mental feelers into the wall in order to trace the electrical energy, not so different from the electrical signatures within sentients, to it's source. From there, the task became harder. To his surprise, however, someone subtly began working for him without becoming visible to spectators. Breathing a sigh of relief and pretending to be doing the job, Lethian began to hope that his subterfuge would work all the way down to the lab with the Firelight Mirror.

/o/

"So," Seles said conversationally to the Warrior while Presea and Lloyd kept the man pinned and Genis held an eruption spell at the ready, "are you reconsidering your plan of not telling me where my brother is yet? 'Cause, really, none of us like you or have any inclination to leave you alive… unless you give us something in return."

The man glowered at her and then flinched as Presea's ax moved just a little bit closer to his skin. "I have nothing to say."

"Yet you just spoke," Seles pointed out. She smirked when the Warrior's scowl grew deeper. "Where is my brother?"

"He got away from us at the hallway junction marked with M1 above the end doorway," the Warrior admitted. "Your brother has probably already found the Mirror on his own by now, but my Lord Set will trap Wilder again anyway. No moron such as your brother has a chance of winning against Lord Set's greatness."

"And yet my brother was valedictorian of his graduating class," Seles made a tutting noise and then nodded to Lloyd. The brunette swordsman smacked the prisoner on the back of his head with the hilt of a sword.

The Warrior slumped into unconsciousness and, warily, the group disarmed slightly. "He'll be awake soon," Lloyd warned. "We need to hurry."

"Thanks for letting me do all the talking," Seles smiled. "Being threatening is wonderful for anger management."

"Well, I've never been very good at bluffing, so…" Lloyd trailed off with a shrug.

"Genis and I both appear to young to manipulate prisoners properly. Though…" Presea smiled faintly, "I think my ax helps me make up for that somewhat."

"Definitely," Seles agreed as they began hurrying down the hallway, this time paying attention to the markings on the walls.

A/N Well, everyone should be meeting up again pretty soon. Lethian's pretty manipulative himself, isn't he? Sneaky little… muse creature… (Lethian sits, smirks, and waves.) I'm going to have fun with his character when the big battle occurs. (Lethian's smirk disappears and he swallows nervously.)