Blades clashed together loudly, sparking flying as the metal collided together, the weilders of the swords putting all their strength into pushing the other back. Hiro grunted, digging his feet into the ground as he tried to force Aex back but the demon was putting just as much of his strength into countering the angel. Several creatures paused from their own fights to glance over at the beings of light and dark as they tried to overpower each other.

"Idiot Seraph! Why won't you just die?" Aex grunted, gathering his strength and finally shoving Hiro back before shoving an orb of black energy towards him.

Hiro spun around on his heel, bring his elbow down upon Aex's arm as it shot past him before bringing his sword back up to swing it down. "I can say the same for you, Aex!" Aex parried the blow with the flat of the blade but was suddenly left gasping for breath as Hiro landed a swift kick to his gut, sending him flying back a few feet. "Who the hell released you in the first place?"

The demon's grin widened, flashing fangs as he jumped back from Hiro's attack. "Oh, why your dear sister did! Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the Cetra standing in front of the gate? But I thought I told you this already."

"I still think your lying! Tia would never even think of unleashing you!" Hiro spat, opening the palm of his hand where a white orb formed. "Being locked up for thousands of years must have rusted out your memory!"

The seraph dashed forward, thrusting the orb towards the demon which Aex countered with his own sphere of darkness. When the two energies collided, they almost seemed to swirl together before exploding, sending the two combatants flying back from each other as a cloud of dust was thrown into the air. It took only a second for the two warriors to recover before they rushed at each other again, this time, blades drawn.

Nick glanced towards the two mortal enemies as a break in the line of his own enemies appeared. Alcana, Terrance, and Eria stood nearby, breathing heavily from the continious fighting and also turned their gazes towards the fight. Eria tried to move forward towards them but Terrance quickly grabbed her arm.

"Eria, don't. Uncle Hiro can handle that demon himself!" The young teen tried to reassure his sister. She glanced over towards her uncle as he skidded back a few feet from Aex's attack before nodding in agreement. "We're more needed here anyways."

"Yeah, you're right." She launched herself forward suddenly, pulling herself from Terrance's grasp before her fist made contact with the side of a humanoid's head. "How many times do I have to save your butt, Terri?"

Nick chuckled as he overheard the comments before launching himself into the new hoard of approaching foes, Surge being stained a light tint of red as she cleanly sliced an enemy in two. The FORGE sword seemed to have no trouble at all of disposing of the creatures that dared cross her and her wielder's path. Hearing footsteps behind him, Nick spun on his heel, Surge racing to make contact with the new attacker. But the attack fell short as it rebounded from a strange unseen force.

"You seem to be growing careless, Nick." A man stepped forward, the emerald in the silver armlet he wore on his right arm glowing brightly before fading and returning to a normal state. The man was tall, just over 6 feet and wore khaki cargo pants and a sleeveless black shirt. His eyes shone the same color as the jewel embedded in the armlet while his white, unkept hair fluttered lightly in the breeze. The last thing the man wore was a tattered brown cloak that currently hid his left arm. Waving his right arm like he was swatting something to the side, the unseen barrier seemed to shatter like glass before dissolving into tiny snowflakes of blue energy in the wind. "Getting to cocky with you power? Is it because you possess Surge?"

Nick's eyes narrowed as he lowered Surge though he was ready to raise his blade at just a split seconds notice. "What are you doing here, Dag?" His brown gaze shifted to the silver armlet around his opponent's arm momentarily before returning to meet Dag's. "And just how the hell did you get Navitas? I thought Is-"

A small smile crept across Dag's lips as he interrupted. "Always full of questions, aren't you, Nick?" He walked a slow circle around the swordsman, ignoring the fighting around them as he reminisced. "As for Issac, well…." His smiled grew into a full grin, his emerald eyes flashing as he recalled how he came about the armlet. "That fool wasn't worthy of wielding a weapon such as Navitas. I asked him to give it to someone who could use it to it full potential but he refused. So I had to use more forceful methods to convince him to hand it over." He paused in his pacing as he chuckled, turning as he did so to once more face Nick. "I'm afraid Issac is no longer amongst the living, Nick. But don't worry, you'll see him soon enough!"

The emerald on his arm began to shine brightly as Dag flung his right arm towards Nick, sending a wall of unseen energy flying towards him. The barrier seemed to shimmer as Nick made contact with it and went flying back a few feet before it shattered once more into blue snowflakes with a flick of Dag's wrist before his flung arm skyward, sending Nick into the air. The swordsman twisted in the air like a cat, cursing to himself for letting his guard down as he struggled to right himself. The breeze that blew behind him seemed to pause as Dag moved his arm once more but this time Nick was ready. He flipped, allowing his feet to come in contact with Navitas' barrier before pushing off of it and towards his opponent.

Rippling waves could be seen as Surge made contact with yet another barrier, this one just an inch from Dag's outstretched hand. The ivory haired man narrowed his eyes as Nick continued to try to press Surge into the energy barrier before grinning. He opened his mouth to say something but was short as a large blue crack appeared in his relatively invisible barrier before it shattered, allowing Surge to continue her downward strike. But instead of meeting flesh, a strange ringing sound filled the air as the black blade made contact with a strange metal object that was currently being held in Dag's left hand.

Nick blinked in surprised as he looked at what appeared to be a large tuning fork with the sharp edges of a sword. "What the hell is that?"

"A FORGE sword," Dag laughed as the ringing finally stopped. "Sonica. A very…unique sword if I might say so."

Nick looked at the man in surprise, glancing quickly at Navitas and then at Sonica and finally at the strange sword's wielder, Surge still locked with Sonica. "Two FORGE weapons? Don't tell me you stole that one from someone as well?"

"Nah, found this one fair and square. It was buried behind a bunch of abandoned instruments and sheet music in an old closed down school."

He tightened his grip on the hilt of Sonica, causing the large tuning fork to suddenly vibrate, a high pitched ringing now coming from the blade. Nick grimaced at the combination of the noise as well as the vibrations that traveled up Surge and through his body from contact with the strange sword. As Nick tried to ignore Sonica, Dag flicked his right wrist, shoving Nick back a few feet before swinging Sonica, the blade still ringing.

The air visibly moved as the wave of sound rushed through the air and crashed into Nick, forcing the air from his lungs as it collided into him. He glanced up just in time to see another wave of sound heading towards him and rolled under it and towards Dag. A faint golden glow could be seen around Surge as a similarly faint green glow could be seen coming from Nick's arm as he swung the blade. A wave of energy flew from the black sword, catching Dag off guard and breaking through Navitas' barrier.

Dag screamed as the Deathblow energy came in contact with his right shoulder, crushing the entire joint as well as leaving a large gash that covered Navitas' in its wielder's blood. The glow of the emerald died down as Dag's cries of pain changed to growls of anger as his right arm hung at his side.

"You bastard!" He swung Sonica downwards, sending another wave of sound towards Nick, this one racing vertically along the ground and throwing dirt into the air as it gave off a high pitch ring.

Nick jumped to the side only to rebound off one of Navitas' barriers, the emerald once more shining as its wielder growled and slowly raised his right arm. Dag clenched his teeth tightly as he fought through the pain till his open palm was level with Nick. The white haired man grinned as he looked at his rival, who merely looked at him in shock that he could still use his right arm. Nick's grin vanished suddenly as Dag's right hand closed suddenly into a closed fist and he suddenly found it much harder to breath.

His lungs screamed for air as he tried to inhale but Nick realized that he was sealed in a box of invisible barriers by Navitas. Dag merely grinned and laughed as he watched Nick slam his fist into the barrier. He even tried to use Surge but the sword seemed much heavier then normal now that his muscles were no longer getting much needed oxygen. He could feel his legs wobble and give out from under him as his vision blurred and Dag's laughter filled his ears. He could see Surge faintly in his blurred vision, the blade still in his hand, this time a strange slow eminating from it.

Cool air suddenly rushed over Nick and into his starving lungs, clearing his vision and leaving him in a fit of coughing as he regained his breath and full awareness. Dag still stood where he had been when he had sealed Nick in the energy barrier but once again, he was screaming. As Nick pushed himself onto his hands and knees, he looked up at his opponent and gasped. Where Dag's right arm are had been was now just a blood stump. Casting a thankful glance at Surge, he got back to his feet, though still slightly unsteady.

"Sorry about that, Dag. Surge can be a bitch sometimes. But I'm not complaining. This fight is over. Give up."

Dag stopped his screaming and turned his rage filled gaze towards Nick, raising Sonica. "You….." He growled, ignoring the pool of blood gathering at his feet from his severed arm. "DIE!" He swung Sonica, unleashing a wave of sound toward the black bladed swordsman. "Die! Die! Die! DIE!" He continued to swing the blade over and over, sending sound waves towards Nick who merely dodged the careless swings.

"I'm sorry, Dag…" Nick walked slowly towards Dag as he started to tremble, Sonica falling from his grasp as his strength failed him from blood loss. The white haired man could only stare at Nick as he fell to his knees and Surge was raised for killing blow. But the attack never met its intended target as a length of black flames parried the blade. Nick looked at the flames in surprise before turning his gaze to the wielder of Acerbus Ignis.

"I'm sorry but Dag's too strong of an ally for you to simply kill him like that." Lukon's normal smirk was plastered on his face as he twisted his sword and shoved Surge away before crouching down quickly to grab Sonica. "Too bad I don't have time to play with you myself. You are always such a fun opponent, Nick."

Nick's eyes narrowed as he watched Lukon claim the over sized tuning fork, tightening his grip on Surge. "What the hell did Dilex do to Dag?"

"So you noticed?" He twisted Sonica in his hand while he spun Acerbus in the other. "Your friend is just under the spell of Psychic Song."

The black bladed swordsman looked visibly confused by Lukon's word. "Psychic Song? Is that what Dilex is using to control all those people?" Lukon nodded and twisted Sonica over his shoulder where it seemed to latch itself onto his back while Nick lowered Surge just the slightly as he thought about the unknown spell. "It has to either be a spell of Dilex's own creation or a Forge weapon…"

Lukon shrugged and chuckled. "Not sure. Never seen it being used myself. All I know is that it exist and that's what Dilex used." Crouching down quickly to sling Dag's one remaining arm over his shoulder, Lukon picked the taller man up, dismissing Acerbus Ignis at the same time. "Anyways, as much as I would love to stay and chat or even kill you, I'm afraid Dilex would skin me alive if I let such a powerful ally die so…toodles!"

With that, Lukon vanished with Dag and Sonica, leaving Nick cursing to himself for letting them both slip through his fingers.

Hiro grunted as a blast of energy pushed him back a few feet even though he had used Nagareboshi to parry the blow. Aex merely laughing, launching another black sphere but this time, Hiro was ready with his own orb of energy. Smoke filled the air as the energies collided, leaving both fighters temporally blind.

Aex took this to his advantage as he dismissed his sword and summoned a new one into his hand. The sword itself was over 5 feet long with a wide blade and the appearance of an overgrown broadsword. To the untrained eye, the sword could almost pass as a variation of the Buster Sword. None the less, the hilt of said sword was currently in the hands of the demon, Aex.

He twirled it easily in his hand, laughing in amusement at the surprisingly light weight of the weapon while he waited for the smoke to clear just enough for him to catch a glimpse of his opponent. Seeing the opportunity, he launched himself at Hiro, swinging the blade once he was in range.

Hiro gasped at he saw the demon rush at him with a strange new weapon and quickly raised his sword to defend himself. The sound of metal on metal filled the air as the two blades met and for a moment, it seemed at though Hiro might push Aex back before the seraph himself went flying as Aex forced himself to finish the swing.

As the blond shook out his head and tried to regain his composure, Aex looked at the sword in his hand and laughed. "This sword….why didn't I have this all those years ago?" He let loose one more laugh before returning his attention to Hiro. "Just give up, seraph! With Bigguken in my hands, you don't stand a chance!"

The angel just smirked at the demon's words, seemingly unfazed by the weapon. "I'm guessing that's a FORGE sword, is it?" He shifted his shoulders as he tightened the grip on Nagareboshi. "This might actually be fun now."

Without waiting for a response, Hiro shoved off the ground, two white wings sprouting from his back as Nargareboshi seemed to shine in his hands. He swung the blade upward, catching Aex off guard as the tip of the sword clipped his shoulder when he tried to spin out of way. The ringing of metal on metal filled the air as Hiro unleashed a rapid onslaught of attacks, forcing Aex to block each swing of the angelic blade with a split second deflection with Bigguken. To those who glanced up from the ground, the two seemed to be equally matched.

The exchange seemed to last for hours when really only minutes ticked by. But both opponents were too engaged in the conflict to truly notice what was happening around them let alone the passage of time. Angel and demon barely even noticed the nicks and bruises they received as they were too busy preparing to attack and defend. All they knew was the other needed to die and so they continued to launch attacks.

Finally, they flew apart, breathing heavily as they stared each other down, looking for an opportunity to finish the other. Hiro was the first to move, seeming to shrug off his fatigue as another wing burst from his back and the angelic blade in his hand glowed softly in his hand. Aex didn't even have time to react as his rival disappeared in midair before reappearing before him, bringing the sword down diagonally. The startled demon was sent flying, dark blood gushing from deep wound that stretched from his shoulder to just below his ribs as he dropped Bigguken.

Aex let out a cry as the FORGE sword fell from the sky and shattered as it hit the ground. He instantly turned his red tinted glare to Hiro, growling as blood continued to flow from the gash on his chest. "Damn you, Seraph! You'll pay!" He tried to throw a punch at the angel but he easily just back as Aex gasped in pain from the movement and put his hand to his chest instead. "Don't think this is over, Aoyama. I will avenge Lord Void and Aya will be mine!" That said, Aex disappeared in a cloud of dark energy.

Tiamatt glanced out from under the blanket that covered her as Kratos gently pushed the wheelchair she was currently sitting in. In front of them walked a blue skinned man with braided dreads, a white headband, a sleeveless shirt, and black baggy pants. Spirit trailed behind, his hands stuffed in his pockets as he followed the group down the corridor leading down to the catacombs.

"I was told to lead you to the catacombs and assist you as nessacary." The blue skinned man said, glancing back at those behind him with strangely glazed over eyes. Tiamatt had to resist wrinkling her nose in discuss as a faint smell of decaying flesh wafted past her. However, the man didn't notice any sign of a react from the Cetra thanks to the blanket. "I promise to help where I can cause that's the kind of man I was."

Kratos arched an eye brow, seeming to ignore any sign that the man was abnormal. "What do you mean, Sid?"

"Sid is a zombie. Thought that was kinda obvious." Spirit chimed in as they passed under an archway and approached a door covered in chains and locks. "Anyways…." He stepped around the couple as they paused in front of the door and pulled a set of keys from his pocket. "If you give me a moment, I'll get this open for you."

Tiamatt shifted in her seat as Spirit opened the locks and Sid stepped to the side for the door to be opened. Kratos reached a hand out to grab her shoulder to keep her still but she shrugged that off as she leaned forward and slowly stood up.

"Do you need he-" Sid paused, his hand held out for support as the blanket that covered the woman fell to the floor. "What happened?"

Tiamatt shot a glare through slitted pupils, her long scarlet scaled tail uncurling from around her waist. Her fingertip ended in claws as the scale like horns jutted out from under her hair and her feet fit awkwardly into her shoes, her legs bending in a way not normal for a human. A growl revealed sharp teeth.

"I'm fine…." She shoved past Sid, Kratos instantly at her side as Spirit moved away from the now open door. "Lets just get this taken care of…" She glanced over at Sid before she stepped through the door. "We'll be fine on our own."

Neither Sid nor Spirit tried to argue with her as the Aurions both disappeared through the door and into the catacombs. Both of them were quite taken back by her appearance and doing a poor job at hiding it. Once the couple had disappeared, the two instructors looked at each other before and heading back up to speak with Lord Death.


Tiamatt couldn't resist letting lose a sigh of relief as they entered the dark catacombs. Their footsteps kicked up little clouds of dust as the torches along the wall burst to life to light up the cobweb lined hallways. Kratos moved closer to his wife, a hand resting loosely on the hilt of his sword, waiting for something to leap from the shadows. But except for the Aurions and the occasional drop of water, the catacombs were silent.

"Tiamatt…." The Seraph's voice carried slightly as he spoke, catching his wife's attention. She glanced back at him, waiting for him to speak. "….You're not going to use the syringe, are you?"

Tiamatt returned her attention directly in front of her as she stumbled forward, her feet snagging on something on the floor. Kratos instinctively reached out and grabbed her arm to keep her from falling and also causing to look back at him once she had regained her balance. "…If I do, its because there is no other option…." She yanked her arm from his grasp and reached into her pocket, pulling the glowing needle out.

The auburn haired man couldn't ignore the distant, pained filled look in his wife's eyes as she looked at the syringe before storing it away again. "Tia-"

"Kratos, I'm likely to die before we find the kids. And even if we do…" She clenched her fist, claws digging into the flesh of her palms. "…She could go after Eria and Terrance….I can't let that happen…" She reached back into her pocket again, grasping the syringe tightly. "Lets get going. We need to find that sword."

Kratos didn't say a word as she started down the corridor. He simply sighed and followed after her. Occasionally, they'd come across a room but for the most part, they were filled with crumbling statues and dust. But as they continued deeper under the school, neither of them could ignore the strange itching at the back of their minds, the feeling growing as they progressed further. A couple times, they even thought they saw someone else wandering down the hallways but this was quickly dismissed as an illusion. Out of the two, Kratos seemed the most disturbed by the feelings he received from the catacombs.

"Lord Death said that the FORGE sword represented insanity. Its possible that we were feeling an insanity wavelength of sorts. Death also mentioned Kinshin." Tiamatt commented, as Kratos shook his head, trying to rid it of the strange clawing at his mind. "From the little he told us about the Kinshin, the being supposedly radiates insanity. He embodies insanity itself."

Kratos nodded, putting a hand to his head as the feeling continued. "Lets just find that sword so we can leave."

Tiamatt laughed lightly before a small hallway off to the side caught her attention. Signaling for her husband to follow, she made her way down the path to a large room. Pillars lined the walls, which were covered in a strange vertical eye pattern. In the middle of the room stood a pedestal where a sword rested. Skull like seals wrapped their way around the pedestal to the sword itself where they covered the entire blade and hilt.

"Well…Looks like we lucked ok, Kratos. We'll get to go home soon." Tiamatt smiled back at the seraph as she approached the pedestal. Kratos smiled back in return, obviously relieved by the news as Tiamatt traced a finger along the seal up to the sword. "Doesn't look so bad to me but….it must be pretty strong if the Keeper of Death himself had to seal it away…."

Kratos leaned over to closer examine the wrapped sword but due to the seal, couldn't make out any real detail. "Just be careful, Tia."

The Cetra nodded, reaching out to grasp the hilt of the sword. As soon as her hand made full contact, the seal crumbled away into dust and the sword could be fully seen. The blade had a light curve as well as a zigzag near the hilt, almost like teeth. The guard held an amber jewel that seemed to have a similar eye pattern as what appeared on the wall. The hilt and pommel to the sword were rather plain but Kratos could have sworn the curve of the blade seemed to deepen to appear almost like a grin for a moment but he quickly dismissed it as Tiamatt lifted the sword fully off the pedestal.

She lifted the sword up to examine the blade better, surprised by how simple it was to obtain the sword. "Maybe Death was wrong. I think teaching a school has rusted his me-" Tiamatt stopped suddenly as she suddenly hunched over, her hair hiding her face as her arm hung loosely by her side even though she still had a tight grip on Irrsin.

"Tia!" Kratos reached a hand out to her but before he could make contact, she arched backwards in an impossible position, laughing manically. "Tia?" She seemed to ignore him as she continued to laugh before going into a fit of twitching as she stood up straight, a cheshire grin plastered to her face. "Are you alright?"

She cried out in pain as she fell forward onto her hands and knees, her face switching constantly between pained due to her condition and laughing manically due to the insanity from the sword reaching into her mind. With her free hand, she fumbled to reach into her pocket.

Kratos' eyes widened as the syringe gave off an errie green glow in the poor lighting and reached for it, hoping to rip it from his wife's hand but the needle tip was already plunged into her skin. "Tiamatt! What are you doing?" He kneeled downside her and grabbed her shoulder to keep her steady while ripping the syringe from her leg. As he did so, she tried to push him away as well as shove Irrsiin away as she reached up to clutch at her head. "Tiamatt!"

She responded simply by screaming, her whole body suddenly convulsing as she collapsed to the floor. Kratos winced at her loud cries but didn't move away, instead gathering her in his arms to try to comfort her the best he could as the Jenova syrum worked its way through her body. As it spread, her body returned to its normal state though her eyes constantly flickered back and forth. It seemed like an eternity before she finally calmed down and managed to sit herself up, a hand to her head.

"Ugh…." She rubbed her temple for a moment before glancing around, spotting Irrsiin a few feet away as well as Kratos, who was still crouched beside her. She lowered her gaze as she faced Kratos, slowly pushing herself off the ground and onto her feet. "…I'm sorry…"

"…." The seraph stared at her for a moment before sighing, standing up beside her. "…of all the stupid things you could have done…." He sighed and shook his head, stepping forward and lifting her chin so that she was looking directly at him. "Just tell me that you're alright?"

She blinked in surprised, fully expecting him to lecture her. "Yes….I'm alright…." Tiamatt stepped away from the auburn haired man and bent over to pick up Irrsiin, flinching as it made contact with her mind. Spotting a sheath that seemed to go with the sword nearby, she stored the blade away but it didn't fully eliminate the clawing at her mind. With the sword sheathed, she turned to face her husband. "You're wondering why I did that, aren't you?" Kratos nodded, folding his arms over his chest expectantly. "The insanity wavelength we felt coming down here is nothing. When I grabbed the sword, it clawed at all parts of my mind. Between the pain and the sword, I couldn't fight both….I had to subdue the pain somehow…. I'm sorry…"

Kratos sighed. "I'm just glad you're alright. We'll deal with Jenova when and if the time comes." Tiamatt couldn't hold back a light laugh as she held her left arm up and dialed the return sequence into the watch that would take them both home.

So its been ages since I updated. I'm sorry I didn't cover all the groups in this chapter but I really hope this helped make up for the wait. I've had a lot going on recently. Some good things and some…really bad things. Needless to day, I am my own worst enemy but all I can do is realize my mistakes and work on bettering myself. I just hope 2012 improves for me cause so far, its been pretty bad. I hope everyone else was able to enjoy the 2011 and what has been of 2012 so far. And hopefully, I can start getting chapters out a bit faster!

Until then, later everyone!