Disclaimer: I don't own Star Ocean or any of it's charachters. i'm simply borrowing them for my own ideas.

Chapter 14: Travel through the secret path:

"Someone has infiltrated Kaddan!"

At the words of the soldier everyone in the room fell silent for a second. The Aquarians and Lucifer knew exactly what it meant if an enemy had infiltrated Kaddan. Kaddan was the sacred temple of Apris. According to what Lucifer had read about it, Kaddan was a fortress in itself and was protected by powerful magic and guardians alike. And besides that there were always soldiers posted there as well. Even Aeryglyph had never dared attack Kaddan.

"What!?" Lasselle yelled at the man.

"Who?" the Queen asked.

The Soldier quickly bowed onto one knee and spoke, "It was one of those Celestial Ships, Your Majesty. They have landed right next to the shrine. The troops inside the Shrine believe that they are headed for the Sacred Orb. We have just received word from them by carrier Pigeon."

"The Sacred Orb?" the Queen repeated, fear evident in her voice. Lucifer didn't really know what exactly the Sacred Orb was. He had read a mention of it somewhere but so far he had only been reading about the recent happenings of the country and the villages and town's of the country. Most of the books about the religion of Apris he still hadn't read.

"According to the report, they wear strange armor and use glowing weapons. It seems that the Runologists have them stopped for the moment, but they are powerless against those weapons. At this rate they'll reach the Sacred Orb in no time!" the soldier quickly finished his report. "Glowing weapons." Maria looked like she was thinking for a moment.

"Those would be disruptor Rifles. They must be remnants of the Vendeeni fleet."

"In that case, why are they going after the Orb instead of us?" Cliff asked.

"What's Kaddan?" Fayt asked, "And what's this Sacred Orb?" he added.

"From what I know, Kaddan is a sacred area for the Church of Apris. Even Aeryglyph has never attacked Kaddan before. It's a strong temple and according to some of the books it's been made as a fortress as well as a temple. It's difficult for an army to overcome Kaddan and there are rumors about powerful enchantments that also protect it from evil." Lucifer answered Fayt's first question. "But I don't know what the Sacred Orb is either. I didn't read anything about that."

"Yes," Nel replied. "Kaddan is the holy land of our Church. It is where the Sacred Orb is enshrined--a mysterious sphere that emits the purest light. Holy water flows freely from it. It is said that in the hands of Aquaria's ruler, the Orb is capable of all kinds of miracles. The water of this lake which surrounds Aquios also come from the Sacred Orb.

"Hmm..." Maria again looked like she was in deep thoughts. "You Majesty, which way is Kaddan?"

"To the east of Aquios...".

With that Maria kneeled down and pulled some strange device out of a pocket of her coat. She started pressing buttons on it as she held it to the east. 'What's she doing?' Lucifer thought.

"I see." Maria mumbled to herself as the device started making beeping noises. Maria gave a wave to Mirage to join her on the ground. As soon as Mirage saw what was on the holographic screen she had a look of surprise mend on her face.

"What in the world?" she exclaimed. "What is it?" Cliff asked.

Maria looked up from her screen as she answered. "I'm picking up an energy reading in the location you described that is too technologically advanced for this planet...It's even beyond our ability to identify."

"What?" Fayt exclaimed. 'Beyond their ability to identify? What does that mean?' Lucifer thought.

"Maybe it's a so-called 'Out-of-Place Artifact,'" Maria said, "an OPA. I would bet that they detected this reading while they were searching for us."

"What does that mean?" Lucifer asked, not quite knowing what she was talking about.

"Throughout history" Mirage told him, "there have been cases of people who were traveling through space that found items that were too advanced to be on a planet. Those things were called OPA's. Because they are Artifacts that shouldn't be there. And also… anyone who has found an OPA has always been able to obtain incredible power."

"So you think that they're after the Sacred Orb?" Nel asked, looking at Mirage.

"It's the most likely explanation." Maria said. "Just like Mirage said, if you look back at history, anyone who got their hands on OPA has acquired incredible power. It would pretty much go without saying they'd want it."

"That's terrible!" Lasselle exclaimed. "We can't let them steal our Sacred Orb! Your Majesty, we must send soldiers immediately!" there was a clear sound of panic in his voice as he spoke.

The Queen spoke up. "Yes, you are right Lasselle. We shall send soldiers right away. Lady Nel, Sir Adray and Sir Lucifer. Take your units and make for Kaddan at once. I am sorry to ask this of you Sir Lucifer, but We are in need of your skills right now."

"Of course, Your Majesty. I'll leave at once." Lucifer answered and as one he, Adray and Nel left to leave the room. They stopped when Fayt suddenly spoke up. "Please wait a moment, Your Majesty."

"We are sorry," the Queen said, "but we must attend to your business later. Responding to these thieves at Kaddan must take precedence."

"I know that." Fayt said, not looking at the Queen or Lasselle, but rather staring at the ground in front of him. "I don't think Aquaria's military could stand up to them with their current equipment. I know that Adray, Nel and Lucifer are great fighters but they alone will not be enough to defeat the Vendeeni."

"Fayt," Lucifer spoke up, hearing Fayt's worries, "I know that the Vendeeni will be tough, but as a soldier of Aquaria, I've sworn to fight for this country. Just like I promised that I'd help you save your dad as best I can. I can't break a promise I've made, I guess it just goes against my nature."

"I know. But if you take all those soldiers with you, they'll just die. I'm the reason that the Vendeeni came here in the first place, so I'll go after them as well. Please take me with you."

"What are you thinking?" Nel said, but as she opened her mouth to continue, she was interrupted by Cliff.

"I agree. Why are you suddenly going all selfish on me? We crashed here and that's what made the Vendeeni come here. So I'm going with you, you are not going there alone. Or were you planning on going there and taking all the fun away?"

"He's right." Maria said, "Going alone will be suicidal. If you die, then I've come here for nothing. I'm going to, to make sure that you'll survive."

"Thank you" Nel said.

"Very well. Then we shall leave it to you." The Queen said as everyone was preparing to leave.

"Your Majesty, we will leave immediately for Kaddan." Nel said.

"Yes. Please do." The Queen said. She looked like she was in deep thought and she spoke up again. "As the situation in grave," She began, with a heavy voice "We give you permission to use the Sealed Cavern. Show them the way."

"Sealed Cavern?" Lucifer had never heard of a place like that. By the look on Nel's face, neither had she. Adray looked like he had remembered something.

"The Sealed Cavern," Adray said, "is a secret passageway to Kaddan, the use of which is only allowed to the Royal family."

"Yes, it is." The Queen said, "But I'm making an exception. ...Do not fail us. The priestess in the Chapel will tell you how to reach it"

"Your Majesty!" Nel quickly bowed and left, the rest of the group going with her.

"So, how long will this route take us?" Maria asked.

"Normally a trip to Kaddan would take almost a week with a carriage around the lake. But this passage runs directly under the lake, it'll only take us about a 3 or 4 hours tops." Adray explained. "The lake isn't exactly a perfect circle form. Kaddan is build on the other side of the lake, but it's only about 5 or 6 kilometers away as the birds fly. In the other directions, the lake is almost 30 kilometers wide. The lake also isn't as deep as you would think. It's 'only' about 500 meters deep."

"I see. That way, we should be able to come up to them quickly enough to handle the Vendeeni. And how big is Kaddan itself? Would we take a long time to reach the Orb?" Maria said.

"I don't know. I've only heard about the Sealed Cavern a few times before. I know that it hasn't been used for the longest time and no one knows where we'll actually enter in Kaddan. If we end up on the wrong side of Kaddan we would lose almost an entire day just trying to reach the Sacred Orb." Adray said, taking a break from running as they had just entered the Chapel. Nel walked to the main Priestess to ask about the Sealed Cavern.

As Nel was talking to the priestess, receiving instructions on how to enter the Cavern a Maid came running in, holding a few bags that were made to be carried on the back.

"These contain some food for your trip." She explained. "Most of the food is dried so it won't rot and be lighter to carry. The bags are a designed to not bother you too much when traveling and fighting." She explained, as she handed every one of them a small bag.

Just as she was done explaining they heard a loud noise coming from the center of the room. Looking around they saw that a big staircase had suddenly appeared in the middle of the chapel.

"This is the entrance to the Sealed Cavern." Nel explained, shouldering her bag. "Let's go."

With that everyone went down the staircase, entering the cave.

As Adray had predicted, after 4 hours Lucifer and everyone else had reached the Shrine of Kaddan. There were no real difficulties traveling through the Sealed Cavern, except for the lack of good quality air, because the place had been sealed for so long.

About half an hour after entering the Shrine, Lucifer and the other saw the first proof of the Vendeeni having been here. On the ground lay a group of soldiers, all of them killed.

"What has happened here?" Nel said. Her voice was shaking, sounding afraid and shocked. "Who could have done this?" she asked.

No-one answered her question; everyone was too stunned to speak. Looking around, Lucifer noticed that there was hardly any blood around. It didn't do much to reduce the gravity of the scene, but it showed that whoever fought these soldiers had not used weapons from this world.

"La…. dy… N…. el?" a voice suddenly sounded from the group of fallen soldiers. Looking at the group again, Lucifer saw that one of them had his head turned towards Nel. A small stream of blood was flowing from his mouth, indicating an internal injury. There were burn marks on the man's armor, along with a hole near the stomach. The wounds would not be fatal quickly, but with the time that had passed, it was already to late to save him.

As Nel ran over to the soldier, Maria looked at the scene stoically.

"This is the work of the Vendeeni. No weapon on this planet could do this kind of damage to these men without severe bloodstains." She said as she walked over too another of the bodies and crouched down, investigating the body.

"What happened to you?" Nel asked the soldier.

"Stra… nge beings…." The man tried to answer, having trouble with every word. "they us…ed some str…ange…weapon. It sh…ot light … like a suddenly the man coughed up blood. Fayt almost looked like he was going to be sick at the sight of it.

"tried to… stop the…m. our wea…pons and run…ology didn't work…. They went on… the Orb… Lady Nel… prot… ect it." With that the man's head dropped. He had died in the arms of Nel, asking her to protect the Sacred Orb.

When Nel stood up, Lucifer thought he could see the tiniest mark of a tear in her eye.

"I will." She said, her voice laced with anger, hatred and determination. "I will avenge your deaths. They will pay for this."

"Again." Fayt spoke up. "Again so many people die. Just because I'm here." He sounded like he was on the brink of tears.

"Don't fool yourself kid." Cliff suddenly spoke up, looking at Fayt. "The Vendeeni or anyone else would have eventually found these energy signals anyway. This Sacred Orb gives of a lot of energy. It only happened a little faster because they came looking for you."

"But if I weren't here, the Vendeeni wouldn't have found it. These men wouldn't have died in vain, fighting something they could never hope to defeat." Fayt yelled, almost sounding in despair.

Suddenly Adray charged forward and lifted Fayt of the ground, slamming him into a wall.

"These men did NOT die in vain!" he bellowed. "They died fighting a force they could not defeat, yes that's true. But they died for what they believed in, holding of an enemy from something they believed was important. A death like that is never in vain." And with that, as if his anger suddenly evaporated, he put Fayt back on the ground. Fayt instantly crashed down, his legs not capable of so suddenly bearing his weight. Adray turned around, looking at the men, his back still turned towards Fayt, when he suddenly spoke up again.

"Fighting and dying happens kid, life with it. A soldier knows that his life can end early, but he joins the army none the less. They join because they believe in something. Whether they want to defend their country, avenge a death or simply get into a fight, they all have a reason. A reason they think is worth risking your life for. You say you don't want too see people die, don't you? Then get up on your feet and prevent their deaths to the best of your abilities. And if they do die, remember them with honor or avenge their death. Those are the rules of a soldier in the battlefield. I don't understand everything that's been going on and I certainly don't understand all this stuff you're saying about Vendeeni and everything, but I know this. Cliff said that they would have found their way here regardless of your presence. They could have gotten here next weak, or maybe a hundred years from now, but they would have come none the less."

Suddenly Adray looked over his shoulder at Fayt with a grim face as he continued.

"Do you wish for future generations to suffer from this? They would have come later, perhaps when Nel and I are no longer on this world. Others would have fought them. And they would have died, just like these men. But with you here, we can fight these things. If you weren't here we would be hopeless. But with your knowledge of their weapons you can avenge these men. So don't mope and cry, saying you're the cause of this all. Instead if you do feel like you're responsible, take responsibility and deal with it."

Everyone was silent, waiting for Adray or Fayt to say anything. Adray was still looking at Fayt, who was now studying the ground at his feet. Nel was still standing next to the soldier that died. Maria, who was still examining a few of the other corpses, was silent as she looked at the man and the boy. Lucifer stood there, not knowing what to say, next to an equally silent Cliff.

"I suppose," Fayt said, as he looked up again. Marks of him being near tears a moment ago were still there, but everyone could also see a fire burning in his eyes again. "That's true as well. So I'll go and defeat the Vendeeni, no matter what! I'll make them pay for what they did." With that he walked to the closest of the bodies, the one at Adray's feet. He spoke again as he crouched down, closing the eyes of the woman with a soft sweep of his hand.

"I'm sorry for insulting you like that." He said, his voice still as determent as before. "You're deaths were not in vain and I'm sorry for saying such things. May you rest in peace, knowing that we will avenge you and your comrades. I'll make the Vendeeni pay for this. Even if it means I'll die myself, they will pay!"

"You know that we'll help you, right Fayt?" said Cliff. His voice was also serious. "Whatever comes, we've been through too much trouble to give up on you now. Anyway." with that he turned to Maria "Maria, have you managed to find out anything about the weapons they've used?"

"Yes." Her answer came. "Judging from the lack of damage to the surrounding area and lack of blood, along with the burn marks inside the wounds, I'd say the Vendeeni are indeed using Disrupter Rifles. This would mean that, most likely, they're carrying Disrupter Guns as well. It'll be tricky to fight them, but if should be far from impossible."

With that Maria turned towards the door, hand already on the doorknob when she said,

"Well, let's go then. The longer we bigger the advantage of the Vendeeni gets."

And with that, the entire group left and went through the door, continuing on their way..

However big the shock of seeing the soldier die was, Lucifer managed to find some form of sick relieve and bigger shock in the next room. Like all other rooms in the Shrine this room was big and high, with a few decorations standing near the walls. It was, however, the center of the room and the southern wall that drew everyone's attention. Next to the southern wall there lay a body with a big hole in the chest and in the center there was another body with a squashed head and torso.

Lucifer got the small sense of satisfaction from the fact that the bodies were not those of Elicoorians. No, these body's were cleanly Vendeeni and there guns were damaged just as badly as their bodies. Near the body in the center of the room was another strange thing. Laying there was a small pile of small Crystals. And there was something buried underneath them, but it was unclear what it was. With the distance that laid between the crystal pile and the group, it looked like an Orb.

"I wonder what happened here." Cliff said as he walked closer to the body against the south wall. "I don't think that soldiers could have done this kind of damage. Breaking through their armor AND their bones like this requires a hell lot of strength. And the size of this hole is bigger then any hand-held weapon I know off."

"I have no idea." Lucifer said as he walked closer to the second body and the pile of crystals. "But what on earth would have happened to this guy?" with that Lucifer crouched down to get a better look at the Vendeeni's body, examining his head. He didn't notice the small shock going through the crystals. "It looks like there's a hoof imprinted on his head. It almost looks like a horse or a lum stepped on his head."

"Look out!" Lucifer heard Adray yell as a large shadow suddenly towered over him. Looking up he saw a giant crystal horse about to stamp on his head. Reacting quickly, Lucifer jumped back just in time to evade the horse's hoofs. As Lucifer landed he stayed crouched down, a hand on his katana's hilt, ready to draw his sword. Behind and around him, everyone else also got ready for a fight. Taking a better look, Lucifer saw that this opponent wasn't just a horse. It looked like the crystal's that were lying on the floor had come to live and formed a body to fight with. The lower half, that had nearly crushed Lucifer, was indeed the form of a horse. The top half however looked like a human, wielding a giant crystal shield and lance instead of it's hands. In the center of the Human part's chest there was a blue Orb, shining.

"I guess this is what happened to the Vendeeni then." Maria said. "But if they've destroyed it, why did it restore so quickly?" before anyone could even begin a speculation on what happened, the crystal centaur charged at Maria. Not being used to quick action in close combat, Maria hardly had time to react as the centaur charged. Fayt quickly pushed her aside as he too, jumped away and drew his sword.

"Maria!" Cliff yelled as he charged towards the centaur, ready to deliver a powerful punch. "Got it!" she yelled back as she pulled her laser gun and begin firing to cover Cliff. However her gun shot laser beams, which were made of light. The centaur, being made out of crystal didn't face as the lasers were reflected of his skin and redirected towards Cliff and Nel.

"Watch wear you're firing will you." Cliff yelled as he had to take an awkward position, having raised both of his arms above his head and spread his legs, as if he were being interrogated by the police, to show that there were holes in the wall just above his head and below his crotch. There was one shot that didn't get reflected, but instead made contact with the Orb on the centaur's chest. It made a small crack instead of reflecting.

When Maria had stopped firing Lucifer and Fayt quickly charged in, preparing to attack the centaur from both sides at once. The massive beast simply raised his shield to block Fayt and swung his lance, trying to hit Lucifer with it. He quickly ducked underneath the lance and prepared to attack, but saw the centaur change directions. The beast turned his head towards him, nearly slamming his horse side into Fayt who had just jumped away, and prepared so slam the crystal shield into Lucifer's torso. Suddenly a spike erupted from the ground, blocking both the shield and the lance from the crystal centaur. "Now Lucifer," Adray yelled, "That orb is the only weakness, hit it!" Lucifer didn't need to be told twice, he instantly slammed the handle of his blade into the crack that Maria had already made. The force of the impact on the already weakened Orb instantly shattered it. Almost as fast, the centaur itself fell apart as well.

"What was that thing?" Maria asked, as soon as she was sure that the coast was clear.

"It was one of the guardians of Kaddan" Adray answered. "Long ago, when Aquaria and Airyglyph were one, the kingdom of Aquor, by Apris's divine power these guardians were made. They could not die of age, hunger or thirst. These beings are one of the reasons that no enemy has ever dared enter Kaddan. But if there is danger these things will attack anyone that has not received Apris's blessing."

"And what exactly is that Apris's blessing thing then?" Cliff asked

"It's a special mark given by the Holy Mother or one of the other representatives of Apris. It requires a grand ceremony of about 4 hours, but afterwards those who have received the mark can enter Kaddan freely. And according to legends the guardians will also obey the commands of those who can give the markings. But besides the Holy Mother, who is also the Queen, no other representatives of Apris have been seen for many years." Adray continued.

"So," Fayt said, "These things are out to kill us AND the Vendeeni?" After receiving a confirming nod from Adray he continued, "But how did they get past this thing? From the looks of it, he made a few victims but they didn't destroy it."

"Most likely" Nel spoke up, "they didn't defeat this guardian at all. You said that they used weapons similar to Maria's no? They had almost no effect on the guardian so I assumed that they fled, leaving these few behind to distract it."

"You're probably right Nel. Let's go, we still have to get to the Sacred Orb" Fayt said, sheathing his sword as everyone continued on to the next room.

About half an hour later, they still had not encountered any resistance, or any traces of either the Vendeeni or more Guardians. It was then that the party entered a room where they saw a similar image to the room of the first guardian. A Vendeeni soldier lay on the floor, slain with a huge hole in his abdomen. Again there lay a small pile of crystals in the center of the room, indicating that there was another guardian here.

"Another Guardian room." Cliff said, "Let's try to get through here before that thing wakes up, maybe we won't have to do any trouble."

Almost as soon as he finished talking however, the pile of crystals jumped up to form another centaur guardian. Without pause it immediately charged towards the group.

"Shit!" Cliff exclaimed as he leaped aside to prepare a pincer attack with Lucifer and Fayt, who had both unsheathed their weapons.

"I'll handle this thing" Maria suddenly said as she raised her gun to eye level and took aim at the charging guardian.

"But didn't your shots get reflect…"

"Scatter Beam!" Fayt was cut of as suddenly Maria's gun shot. But instead of 1 light beam there were 5 beams that looked more like solid then the one she had fired at the previous Guardian. 3 of the beams directly hit the core and destroyed it, while the other 2 instead hit the exposed body of the Guardian. Unlike last time though, this time the beam didn't get reflected, but simply hit the being.

"What was that? I've never heard of a Pulse gun shooting like that!" Fayt exclaimed.

"I know. And you'll never find another gun that can do that, unless I'm wielding it." As she looked at Fayt's confused look she continued, "It's the power that your father gave me, the power that allows me to change the structure of matter. If I focus my power on my gun, before I fire, then I can change the effect it has. I can change the type of round fired, how it's fired, whether or not it's explosive or piercing. It can be quite useful, especially in situations like this."

"Sounds pretty nice" Lucifer remarked, before they continued to the next room.

The next room, however, was anything but nice. As they enter they saw yet another guardian standing ready to fight. There were however a few differences this time around. The first thing that everyone noticed was that this guardian was black, instead of see-through like the others. It's core a faint purple instead of the clear blue. The other thing was that this guardian, unlike the others, was already standing when the group entered the room. The room itself was designed like a long, thin hallway. There were 4 Vendeeni bodies lying on various points in this hall, al showed that the Vendeeni had died terrible deaths. The black centaur turned towards the group and apparently was preparing to charge at them, from halfway across the hall.

"We'll deal with this guy the same as we did with that last one." Maria calmly said she once again took aim with her gun. Again she exclaimed the name of her attack as she send 5 beams flying towards the centaur, expecting to have defeated it.

The centaur didn't go down that easy. In fact, none of the beams even managed to hit the core. The black guardian had instead raised its massive shield to take the attack. It looked more like a knight in one of the old knight tournaments that Fayt sometimes saw in movies then anything else.

"Damn." Maria said as she too quickly jumped aside. Everyone had drawn their weapons and scattered, preparing to attack the giant knight from many different sides. Looking around, the centaur made a quick dash towards Nel, who instantly fell into a defensive stance. The guardian didn't reveal the orb once during its charge always keeping it's shield in front of it, so instead of attacking, Nel waited until the last second and quickly jumped aside, causing the black mass of crystal to crash into a wall.

"This is bad." She said. "It doesn't reveal it's weakness until the final second before its attack. It'll be hard to penetrate its defense with that crystal shield."

"That thing looks like it's made out of diamond or something and if that's true breaking its shield would be practically impossible. Even for me." Cliff said.

"I'll Try" Adray said and quickly slammed his (still sheathed) sword into the ground exclaiming "Earth Glaive." Again a spike shut up from the ground towards the crystal centaur, but it simply raised its shield. The spike hit the shield hard, but the only effect it seemed to have, was that the guardian was forced back a few centimeters. It quickly turned around and charged for Adray, again shielding its Core with the shield on its left arm.

"We've got to find a way past his Shield" Lucifer said. "If we can get past it, we have a shot at destroying the core."

"I have an idea, but I'll need both of you to help me." Cliff said, looking at Fayt and Lucifer.

"What is it?" Fayt said, as Adray quickly jumped aside on the other side of the room, dodging the spear of the centaur. Nel quickly launched a Runological spell towards it, while Maria took a few shots at it. Neither of the attacks seemed to have much of an effect.

"If you to can try to force an opening on this thing, I can come in and destroy the core in 1 hit. I've got a move just for occasions like this." Cliff explained. "Push his shield aside and, if possible, his spear. I'll come in and destroy his core"

"Right" Lucifer and Fayt both exclaimed as they crouched down and shot of, charging at the guardian centaur.

"Hey Horse-boy, over here" Lucifer shouted as they ran, drawing the attention of the centaur. He turned towards them and charged as well. They were quickly nearing each other; Fayt running on Lucifer's left, heading straight towards the Centaur's spear. Looking at each other, Fayt and Lucifer gave a quick nod, accepting the unspoken plan.

As the Centaur neared, it took a quick lung at Fayt, who suddenly jumped back, going in completely the opposite direction as before. The sudden change in position of Fayt caused the Centaur to miss. Missing its attack caused the centaur lose his balance for a second. That second was all that Lucifer needed as he quickly pushed the flat side of his sword to the lance. Using the speed he had gained from the charge he pushed it to the Centaur's side, clearing one of the Guardian's weapons. Fayt quickly came up and pushed his sword between the shield and the Centaur's Torso, used it as a wig. With a grunt and powerful push, Fayt managed to clear the Shield away, revealing the core of the Centaur.

"Now Cliff!" Fayt yelled.

"Fiery Tackle!" Cliff exclaimed. He pushed of with such force that the ground that he was standing upon was cracked instantly. As he kept running he kept going faster and faster.

He was moving so fast it almost looked like he was a ball of fire. It took Cliff only 2 seconds to cross the entire room's distance. As he reached the Centaur, he suddenly came to a stop and he immediately send his right fist forward. The velocity that he had gained while running added to the speed and power of the punch and as soon as Cliff's fist made contact with the centaur's core, it was shattered to tiny bits. As with the other two the black guardian instantly fell apart when his core was destroyed, but the speed and power behind Cliff's punch caused the crystal pieces to be shot backwards, along with Fayt and Lucifer.

"Gotcha!" Cliff exclaimed as the black centaur exploded.

A/N: I can't believe it's been so long since my last update(well over a year now…). Actually I have had this chapter ready for quite some time now, but because of a series of problems for both my Beta-readers and myself, I could not finish this chapter. The game script FAQ I was using also lacked the entire section that this chapter was at so I had to improvise a lot of it. Thankfully Illusionsky, one of my two beta's was able to get me quite a bit of the lines told in the conversation with the queen. Unfortunately, she was not able to get me the lines of the soldier's death scene and because my own PS2 has major problems(it simply refuses to play SO3) I had to make that scene up completely. I hope you like what I've done with it.

On another note, because both IllusionSky and ThrogmortenMimic are currently incapable of beta-reading, due to personal reasons, I would like to ask for a third Beta reader.

And on yet anther note, I have been writing more fanfics these days, one of Bleach(a one-shot, already posted) and I've been working on a very large, Multi-chapter Dragonball Z story, featuring Gohan and Videl. I've been looking for a Beta for that story as well. So if you're interested and you've got the free time, please let me know through a review or a PM.

Thanks for reading to all my ramblings. I hope that the next chapter will come forth a little quicker. Anyway, please review. All feedback is welcome.