Last chapter, finally, been a while…
Disclaimer: I own nothing
He was relieved to see Kratos with them, not so much Zelos, but when he went to voice his opinion on the matter Raine had cut in, telling him that Zelos had in fact assisted in all their escapes and while they were unhappy with him, they had bigger matters at hand.
"We're going to Heimdall, to Origin's Shrine," Kratos explained. "Yggdrasill is going to be preparing an attack on us soon, no doubt, and to attack him directly at this point would be suicide."
"Origin? You mean…"
"We're going after the Eternal Sword," Raine said with a nod. "Kratos and Zelos have both gathered materials that Kratos says can be used to make a human wield the Eternal Sword, since I doubt Genis or I could handle that kind of weapon…"
"Time is of the essence, once we are able we need to get to the Torent Forest. Once we get to Origin's shrine I will release the seal on it, then the rest of you should be able to make a pact with him. Either Altessa or Dirk will have to make the ring of the pact, which should enable Lloyd to use the sword."
Lloyd jerked a bit, surprised.
"Well who did you think was gonna use it?" Genis said.
"You're the only one who can handle swords, the only one we'd trust with it anyway." Sheena crossed her arms over her chest, glaring pointedly at Zelos.
"Yeah yeah, I know, no matter how many times I save your fine ass now it's never gonna make up for it," Zelos shrugged, putting his arms behind h is head.
"I- wait, Dad? But if you break the seal on Origin won't you die? You can't do that! You-"
"It's necessary," Kratos interrupted flatly. "I know you dislike the idea of sacrifices, Lloyd, but the fact of the matter is we have no time and the only way we have a hope of stopping Yggdrasill is to turn the Eternal Sword against him."
"There's gotta be another way!"
"Lloyd," Kratos said firmly, frowning. "Don't. As much as you wish it the world can't always be like that. This is how it must be, I've lived long enough as it is."
"Oh so it's all about you then, huh?" Lloyd snapped. "You may think you lived long enough but I've just barely gotten to know you! Just-…"
Kratos' frown deepened and a rather discomforting silence fell. Lloyd had forced himself to take deep breathes, trying to calm himself. He felt cold, how could he prevent this? There had to be a way to save his father and the world, there had been for Colette, but they were right…they had no time, Yggdrasill could come for them any time.
Almost on cue, he heard someone approaching the door to the inn room. On edge, as well as everyone else was, they all turned to the door, hands on their weapons, pulling them out when the door was knocked down.
"God damn stupid doors, don't make them like they used to, flimsy ass things-"
The Seraph looked terrible, covered in cuts, bruises and burns, his hair and clothing disheveled.
"Are you all gonna gape like idiots or help me? I could use a healing spell-"
The half-elf staggered and Lloyd rushed forward to catch him, Kratos assisting a moment later.
"Professor could you-?" Lloyd began.
"Help him sit down, I'll help him," Raine frowned, taking out her staff.
"What happened?" Genis asked.
"I take it dear old Yggie found your base?" Zelos raised a brow.
"No thanks to you I'm sure, you stupid Chosen," Yuan snapped icily, wincing as Raine tended to him.
"Hey hey, I had nothing to do with that." The redhead huffed.
"They bugged me, Yuan," Lloyd said, frowning. "I didn't realize it until-"
"I figured that was the case, stupid of me not to search you," Yuan hissed in pain as Raine tended his injuries. "Ow- dammit woman can't you be more careful?!"
"If you'd rather I leave you then by all means," Raine snapped back at him.
"We were planning to go to Origin's seal," Kratos informed Yuan.
The half-elf responded with a harsh laugh, shaking his head.
"Oh right, the goal I've had since the beginning, getting my ass kicked and now all of a sudden you're going to do it willingly? Geez I should've just asked Lloyd to ask you, do anything for the kid won't you?"
"Do you know a way to do it without killing him, Yuan? There's gotta be something!" Lloyd asked.
"Lloyd leave him alone, he's not going to be any help to any of us if he's dead."
"I'm not going to die from this," Yuan huffed, gritting his teeth in pain. "It just hurts like a- ow! Watch it-"
Raine responded by wrapping the bandage around him more tightly, making the Seraph curse.
"Oops,' Raine said flatly. "Now just try not to move around, hm?"
"Tch…" Yuan fell silent, frowning.
"Yuan-" Lloyd began again.
"He has to release his mana to break the seal, Lloyd," he said, looking at him. "That's the only way it can be done, and if he loses all the mana from his body he will die-"
"Then can't we get him some more mana?!"
Raine scowled at her pupil and Genis buried his face in his hands, clearly embarrassed by his friend's exclamation. Lloyd's cheeks turned red, realizing he had said something that was probably stupid.
"Lloyd haven't you ever paid attention in class? If someone loses all the mana in their body, they die, that's it-"
"But we use mana for spells all the time! You just did, and you don't die!"
"That's because if a mage uses mana for spells they have time to recover. They replenish their mana through rest and food."
"So isn't there some way for him to release the seal but have enough mana left to make himself more?"
"I can't believe it but he might be onto something," Yuan said.
The group stared at him.
"Well…there's no way he can release the seal without releasing all his mana, but if, immediately after, we managed to donate some of our own mana to him, it should be enough for him to survive. Once he does that he'd need to rest but he'd be alive." Yuan frowned, thinking it over in his head.
"Donate mana? You can do that?" Lloyd blinked.
"In theory yes, but that might take more mana than we can supply." Raine pursed her lips, musing the idea.
"You can't you mean, I could probably manage it," Yuan said.
"So we have a plan," Raine said flatly. "We'll head for Origin's seal-"
"Still a problem, we have no one to make the ring of the pact. Altessa's in no shape for this."
"..So that means…" Lloyd frowned. "…We'll have to go see Dad, in Iselia."
The teen tensed up at the thought. He hadn't seen his foster father since he left Iselia, before the Desians had attacked the village. Even after the whole incident with the tree, he hadn't gone to see him. The very idea made him feel ashamed. How could he go see him, and explain why he hadn't gone with them then? Then he would have to end up telling him about all his time in Cruxis, about how he had put his friends through all that and had worked for that damn twisted evil psychopath.
"It looks like that's the only option," Raine said with a nod.
"Let's head there as soon as possible, we can talk more if we need to while we're waiting for Dirk to forge the ring," Sheena said.
There was a murmur of agreement. No one seemed to notice Lloyd's discomfort except for two: his father and Colette. Colette was giving him a reassuring, but weak smile. Kratos did nothing more than a glance but the teen had learned to read his father well enough by now. Besides, there was no real point in him worrying about it right that second. They had to get the ring and the pact with Origin to stop Cruxis and reunite the worlds, they didn't have time to be worrying.
"All right, let's go."
Despite how he tried to remain calm by focusing on their goal, Lloyd still felt his heart pounding and his mind racing as they approached his wooded home. Should he go in? Should he stay out? Should he talk to his adoptive father or would that just be a distraction right now, with everything going on? If he stayed out would the others tell the dwarf he was there? Would they tell him what he did? Would it be better if he told him himself, or...would it be best if he never knew about it at all?
Lloyd sighed, shaking his head. No, he had to come clean about it, and he owed it to hid adoptive father to tell him about….Kratos, he wanted them both to know each other, about each other. They were both his dads, after all, it only seemed fair. And even as apprehensive as he felt, he did miss the old dwarf an awful lot, it seemed like years since he left after Colette, like ancient history… How did Kratos feel, he wondered? How did Kratos feel after centuries and centuries with stuff like this? It seemed impossible to even get his mind around it.
"So, Lloyd…did you want to go in first?"
He twitched a bit, looking at his friends. They were all looking at him, expectant, some with slight frowns like Raine and others more anxious, like Genis and Colette. Lloyd knew he was out of time to be debating…
"I-…" he sighed. "Yeah, guys if it's okay let me…talk to him first, I'll tell him about the ring and stuff. I just-…I'll be quick. I promise."
He flashed a wiry smile and turned toward the house, swallowing and stubbornly walking for the door, ignoring the pounding of his heart in his ears. Still, he knew they didn't have the luxury of time right now, he couldn't afford to falter or be hesitant right now. He reached the door, forcing himself to take a deep breath and then knocking.
Dirk must have been sitting at the table, because it didn't take him long to open the door. Lloyd felt his voice catch in his throat, seizing up when the dwarf looked up at him with his small dark eyes. It had to have only been a second or two, but Lloyd could've sworn he had just stared down at his adopted father for at least a minute or two before he quickly spoke.
"H- Hi, Dad." He uttered lamely.
The old dwarf said nothing, merely pulled his arms back to cross them over his barrel-chest, looking up at the swordsman.
"Well, Lad? Ya got somethin' to tell me? Yer friends all showed up here aftah all that mess with that tree and yer nowhere to be found, worryin' me half to death an' all."
"I…I'm sorry, Dad," he said. "I know I owe you an explanation and I'll tell you, I promise, but right now we really need you to do something, it's very important. I'll explain, but-"
"Damn right ya owe me an explanation," Dirk huffed. "Ya end up forced into a mess with them Cruxis bastards and ya think that makes ya so bad ya can't come an' talk to yer dad? Stupid boy, ya really think I'd stop carin' about mah boy fer some stupid ass reason like that?"
Lloyd stared down at the dwarf, stunned, suddenly at a loss for wards as Dirk's sunk in.
"I- wait- what? You knew-? How did you-"
He whipped around, looking at the group. Colette averted her eyes and Raine sighed, rubbing her temple.
"You told him?" Lloyd blurted, alarmed. "How- how could you-?"
"He was concerned about you, Lloyd, we couldn't act like we didn't know where you were or what had happened to you." Raine said, crossing her own arms.
"Please don't be angry, Lloyd," Colette shook her head, upset. "We just didn't want him to worry and we- we just-"
"Ah probably would've been more angry ah suppose, gotten after ya a bit more," Dirk said thoughtfully, stroking his beard. "'Cept Kratos there came an' told me the exact details."
There was another moment of silence, this time the entire group and Lloyd all looking at Kratos in turn, who simply stood there with a slight frown on his face.
"I did not want your...father to think ill of you, the situation was out of your control and largely if not entirely my fault," Kratos explained, his brow furrowed. "I did not wish for it to cause a rift between you, or that he should think less of you because of it. So I stopped by here once after you left with your companions and told him the situation."
"So you basically all told him." Lloyd said flatly, his shoulder slumping a bit.
"I'm sorry, Lloyd…" Colette said again.
He wasn't sure if he was relieved or upset, it was kind of nice not to have to tell his father the story himself but it also was rather…it made him feel even more ashamed, somehow.
"Now, boy, you and yer friends all come inside and tell me what ya need."
Lloyd looked back at the dwarf, who smiled and gave him a hearty and somewhat painful slap on the arm.
"Now don't ya frown too much, we'll have plenty o' time ta talk later, but ya got a job to do, right, lad?"
Lloyd hesitated just a moment, but the reassuring grin on the dwarf's face managed to wrench a small smile from him as well.
"Yeah….and it's a big one. It's kind of to let us use a sword made by Origin to save the world."
"Ay, lad, ah always figured ya were the kind to get involved in this sorta thing."
"It does seem much in his nature," Kratos said, a weak flicker of a smirk crossing his face.
It kind of was, now that he thought about it. The thought somehow made him feel better, light even. Maybe it was because of the acceptance his foster father showed, or the endearing way his biological father had said that, or the way all his friends were looking to him, silently agreeing with what his fathers had said. Whatever it was, in that moment, he felt like he belonged with all of them again.
"All right…let's do this."
Yup, that's the end. I'm sorry it's short and leaving it here like this, but I debated for a long time how to end it. Really after this point nothing would've been much different than in the game, they'd get the sword, Mithos takes Colette, Derris-Kharlan, etc etc. Besides I thought given that it was hinted to how Lloyd was anxious about what Dirk would think of him later, I thought Dirk's acceptance of him would be a good spot to wrap things up. Anyway, it's been a long time but this story's done. I don't know why you all stuck with it so long, but thanks, I really appreciate it.
Have a good one and I hope you enjoyed it