A/N: Trying to get out of a creative slump, so I figured, why not indulge my inner y-word fanbeast? Mostly inspired by Flynn breaking Yuri's spine repeatedly in the 100 man melee because I don't have Yuri's Recover skill yet.
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Namco Bandai, nor do I make a material profit from this work. It is purely fan made fun.
No one wanted to admit it, but there were a lot of nerves shaking up--the time was nigh upon them when they had to bet every life on Terca Lumereis on Rita Mordio's theory of using the Vesperia No. 1 to convert all the twisted and warped aer of the Adephagos into mana. The ominous tower floating in the skies, blotting out the full moon and many of the stars was a constant reminder of what they had yet to face.
There was no better way to relieve these nerves than to kick around thirty, fifty, eighty, or even a hundred opponents in Nordopolica's Coliseum. And even if some weren't fighting, watching in the stands and cheering on the gladiator was just as exhilarating. One had to wonder just where and how Pallestralle procured all the monsters and other combatants for this fighting arena.
Entering the arena battles seven at a time was pricey, but money was no longer a problem for Yuri Lowell's group. They'd discovered a nice, easy, efficient way to rack up a ton of chips, a ton of prizes to win and sell for Gald in their turn, fast. And all they had to do was count the cards as the dealer shelled them out. It was funny ... gambling was not a very moral thing to do, and every time they won (or even lost) at the poker tables, Yuri half-expected the new Commandant of the Imperial Knights to burst in through the doors, a shout and a disapproving lecture ready on his lips. But the knight never showed up.
"All right, it's time to get serious." Granite grey eyes skimmed over the spaces of the application, not even really paying much attention as he filled in the information, like he had a dozen times before. The receptionist looked as if she had just seen a ghost.
"S-sir, you are aware that you are--"
"Applying for the Hundred Man Melee, yes." Yuri put a hand on his hip, tapping his foot impatiently. "It makes the most money for your guild, so why the long face?"
The receptionist readily shut up then, shoving the papers away as she told him a hushed voice to proceed for the arena. The others didn't really have a knack for stopping him from doing reckless things, not that they really tried. Karol wouldn't stop ranting about how brave Yuri was, Raven said in a wistful voice some nonsense about the power of youth, Estelle said she'd be lying if she told them she wasn't worried, to which Rita replied that Yuri survived so far, and Judith added that the swordsman survived the fall from Zaude, didn't he?
The last few bits made a few butterflies jump around in Yuri's stomach, but he masked it well, as he always did. There were only two people alive who could match his poker face. The prospect of facing a hundred consecutive opponents, getting progressively stronger as he defeated one batch after the next ... it was a little unnerving, to say the least. Even if Estelle had been a little slow in completing her challenges in Nordopolica, she had healing artes, while Yuri had only Guardian Field. He didn't even have any arte to get rid of pesky ailments, like Karol did.
"Welcome to Pallestralle's ..."
As the emcee announced his entrance, Yuri stood in the center of the arena, relieving his nerves by shouting a loud, excited, "Whooooo!" There was the great screeching of rusty gates opening, and enemies among monsters flooded out into the battlefield. The onlookers gave deafening cheers; they'd seen Yuri win the other melees before. He raised his sword, the Second Star katana, and with a mighty howl, charged.
Twenty minutes would have sped by had he been doing anything else. But as he sliced through monster after monster, rolling to dodge one with the potential to poison or petrify, he found the idea of another twelve minutes or so of nothing but more continuous fighting pretty difficult to deal with. His muscles were screaming, his hair was tangled and matted, sticking to the back of his sweaty neck, and he was positively overheating in this strong afternoon sun. Why did he ever think to wear dark clothing in Nordopolica, on the Desier continent?
But from the booming cheers of strangers' voices, he could sometimes pick out a familiar voice, Estelle, Karol, Judith, Raven, Rita, or even Repede's howling, and he somehow found the strength to persevere. Still, he knew he was going to have trouble once the Druids started showing up. Were it the Druids alone, or even with a pack of wolves protecting them, they wouldn't stand a chance. However, this time they were protected by two wild Unicerous, a giant red kraken (on land, nonetheless), and a spearman. The spearman was felled easily enough, but the two Unicerous darted here and there, weaving in and out of Yuri's attack patterns.
He was in trouble when the Druids' magic spells began to take up much of the battlefield, and the Unicerous and kraken's huge tentacles made maneuvering around them rather difficult. More than once he was trapped by an Eruption or a Stalagmite; the last Druid would cast a lower level spell every so often. With Azure Storms and a Wailing Havoc Yuri slew the two Unicerous. The only thing was the kraken, then he could start working on the Druids.
The huge beast was disposed of after a multitude of strike artes, even a few burst artes. Yuri was going to make sure he thoroughly enjoyed fried squid and all other manner of seafood from now on. The Druids were a tricky lot, though, even without other monsters to buy them casting time. One of them was more sensible and began firing lower level spells at a faster rate in a bid to try and stall Yuri long enough for her teammates' stronger magic to take effect. The ex-Knight wasn't going to have any of it. He fired off an Azure Storm, the long-range blasts of aer exterminating her. The last two executed their spells, Eruption and Stalagmite. These he dodged with difficulty, and at close range they stood no chance at all.
More than halfway through now, the strain in his body began to ebb away with the nice idea that soon the melee would be over. Some opponents were stronger than others, and there were some people he'd never expected to see in the arena--Nan, Tison, and even Gauche and Droite--but so far he'd won through. With ninety opponents down, only ten more would declare Yuri Lowell of Brave Vesperia the ultimate champion of Pallestralle's melee challenges. Blood marred the stone ground of the arena. The bodies of the other monsters slain before now were long cleaned up by Pallestralle's lower guild members. In the fury of battle, Yuri never really noticed them. He raised his sword as clouds of dust announced the arrivals of the three boars.
Just ten more ... one slash, a Destruction Field crushing the shoulder blade of the first boar ... just ten more ... a Shining Fang, hot blood droplets flying every which way, the thick coarse fur of the boar's hide slashed unevenly ... just ten more ... a flash of light accompanied the level one over limit, his sword glinting with an unearthly glow as his burst arte vanquished two boars at once. All right, eight to go. He may or may not have noticed the steady clinking of metal armor, greaves on stone. It didn't register that the other combatants to fight in the last ten stretch were not monsters but in fact humans like himself. He focused solely on the overgrown pig before him, remembering quite vividly the epic battle with the Lord of the Plains in front of Deidon Hold. Too bad Rita's magic couldn't help him out here.
When that mound of flesh was disposed of, the full scope of the exhaustion of fighting this many enemies all in one go hit him. He staggered, his field of vision blurring, unfocused. Unconsciously his hand reached into his pocket, grabbing for the one Miracle Gel that was among the other items Pallestralle so generously supplied him with prior to entering the arena. He swallowed the gel, feeling its replenishing effects almost immediately. He hefted his sword on his shoulder, wondering if Second Star's white hilt would be drenched red.
A clinking of armor, the unmistakable noise of a sword slashing through the stagnant air--Yuri plunged his blade into the ground, the bright blue light of Guardian Field opening in a splendid radiance, repelling the Knight Fencers that had charged him. Chanting cut through the other noises; he bit back a curse as he wheeled around, throwing Azure Storms at the Knight Bishops that supported the Fencers. He was so close ... he was almost done, and he was running out of time, and he didn't need damn mages making things more complicated than they needed to be--
There was a great euphoric satisfaction echoing in Yuri's very being as he knocked out the Knight Fencers, then the Knight Bishops that were bent on supporting with healing artes. Human combatants were not killed, though they were dragged off the battlefield just the same. Yuri sighed, crouching on the ground, catching his breath. Sweat and blood mingled, dripping onto the stone floor of the arena. So much blood, sizzling, drying in the harsh sunlight beating down on Nordopolica. It was late afternoon already. Evening would be upon them soon. Wiping the sweat from the back of his neck, Yuri stood, mentally recounting all the enemies he'd vanquished. He frowned: ninety-nine. He was still one enemy short.
The clinking of armor behind him, the sound of a sharp steel blade vacating its leather scabbard--Yuri expected another Knight Fencer. He whirled in place, sparks flying as his sword bounded off the other blade. Then force was applied to a shield shoved in his face; he scuttled backward, squinting as the sunlight glinted off the white and gold shield in a blinding edge. When he stood up straight again, he saw the Imperial Knight he was to fight in the face.
Granite grey eyes locked with deep sapphire blue.
Despite Yuri's grand poker face his shock showed through as he said, flabbergasted,
The blond knight smirked, hefting up his shield again as he spread his feet, making ready to charge again.
"Ready for a real fight?"
The first thing that came to Yuri's mind as he and Flynn exchanged blows, some landing, others deflected by either the sword of blue steel or that damn shield, was that it just wasn't fair. Fighting Flynn at all was tough in and of itself, that little tussle just outside of Aurnion was proof enough of the acting Commandant's physical might. But this was just absurd. He had to fight Flynn now, after holding his own against ninety-nine others, all nearly as or just as strong as Flynn Scifo?
Still he found the smirk, the sarcastic remark leaving his lips before could stop himself, leaning in against Flynn's shield.
"So, is the Commandant just killing time or what?"
Flynn returned the smirk, a greatly welcome change of pace instead of the grim, deathly serious look he always gave before. Once more he pushed Yuri back, the sun glinting off his armor as he replied,
"I have a very important mission, you know. I have to capture dangerous people--people like you--and punish them."
Yuri rushed in with a Destruction Field, smashing part of the stone floor beneath his feet. Flynn had dodged it quite easily, sidestepping as gracefully as if he were dancing. He had a straight shot at Yuri's back; this chance he didn't waste. Blue eyes went wide in surprise as his sword was in fact blocked. Yuri had to hold his own sword quite awkwardly in just as awkward a position to do so, but he did it.
"Okay, you know this is really hurting my back," the strain was obvious in his voice, "but anyway--associating with someone like me, wouldn't that make you dangerous, too?"
Flynn's grin was bent. He scraped his sword against Yuri's the sparks showering on the ground. His childhood friend sprang up just like his namesake flower, and they faced one another, one at the peak of his strength, the other obviously worn down.
"I think it's time for swords." He said coolly, brandishing his azure blade.
And for once, Yuri didn't have any snappy comeback, saving his energy for weaving in and out, over and under Flynn's relentless attacking. The swings, hits and slashes he managed to deflect were hard hits, and Yuri felt the sheer raw power of those attacks lancing up the length of his entire arm, to his shoulder even. He winced, ducking another sidelong swing, leaning on his sword as he unfurled another Guardian Field. Pity his wasn't nearly as strong as Flynn's; like Estelle, the blond just seemed to have a knack for healing artes of any kind.
He also seemed to have a knack for breaking things in Yuri's body. Yuri could have sworn he felt something snap when he was roughly thrown down on the floor after getting a Demonic Chaos in the face. He saw stars, which made him blink--stars? In broad daylight? Daylight wasn't even as bright as it should be anymore, not since the grand barrier of Zaude stopped working, those ugly currents of blackish purple blocking out much of the sunlight. Pity it didn't take the heat from Desier, though.
Pain flaring in his body, Yuri ignored it as he rolled, dodging another of Flynn's strikes. Bastard still had to hit him when he was down! Didn't they have some sort of etiquette in knight school anymore? He remembered the stuffy sword style the instructors tried to force down his throat--hold the sword like this, parry like that ...
He wanted to move faster, because Flynn waited for no one, but his exhausted body just wouldn't allow that. Slowly he got to his feet, his head throbbing with the searing pain of being on the receiving end of the Commandant's attacks. Once more he reached into his pocket, downing a lemon gel. He blinked a few times, waiting for his vision to focus. When there was only one Flynn standing before him, he made ready to attack again. But there was one thing he hadn't counted on.
There was golden light in a complicated circle drawn under Flynn's feet, he held up his sword and shield in that particular way he always did, the bohdi blastia embedded in his overcoat glimmering ever so slightly--Yuri's eyes went wide.
"O divine spear, run mine enemy through!"
He had to stop the spell. Holy elemental magic was a mean beast in Estelle's hands, but despite her innate powers of magic without blastia, Yuri knew from personal experience that Flynn's magical prowess far exceeded that of the Princess's. His brain actually frazzled at some point; he was standing still like a dummy when he knew what he had to do. He gripped his sword, screeching as he threw Azure Storms at Flynn. But dammit, even as he dodged those hits, he still managed to keep his formula together. Even Rita had trouble pulling that off. Damn Flynn and his stubbornness!
When the flares of light appeared above him with a glory to rival that of the sun's, Yuri knew his only chance was to run and hope it missed. He was half-right. He was almost out of the bounds of the huge glyph scrawled into the ground, but the blast of the magic floored him nonetheless. Flying across the arena, he somehow managed to flip his body in the air, landing on his knees with dusty skids. He cringed at the pain in his knees. If it weren't for his pants, he'd probably have skinned them. He hated skinned knees, ever since he was a kid.
The exchanged blows so on and so forth, but both of them knew Yuri was wavering, his strength diminishing. He'd already tried to use his mystic arte against Flynn, but damn clever bastard he was, the knight stalled and stalled and stalled until at last, the over limit aura dimmed into oblivion. Time was running out (less than a minute) and Flynn showed absolutely no sign of wearing down.
Yuri charged with a Ghost Wolf, swinging his sword, expecting to be repelled by either Flynn's sword or shield. What he did not expect was to be forced back by the crimson aura of the knight's own over limit, which he had not used before now. As the arena zoomed past his field of vision, Yuri muttered a vengeful string of the most foul curses he knew. He recovered in the air, landing heavily on his feet. His eyes narrowed, Flynn's form barely visible in the light of his aura. He knew what he must do, he must do as Flynn did him: stall, stall, and stall some more.
But for some reason his body wouldn't move. He was shaking violently, his breath rattling in his throat. The prospect of dropping to sleep was rather attractive at the moment. Only the thought of beating Flynn into the ground kept him awake, but still his body wouldn't heed his command. Finally he pushed himself to his feet, swaying and dizzy, but he couldn't get away as Flynn's sword glinted with a blinding golden edge.
Yuri's world exploded in a brilliant show of aery dragons shining white gold, tossing him through the air and ripping through his body before he quite positively shattered his spine on the arena floor. The last thing he saw before he lost consciousness was Flynn's metal greaves as the knight ran toward him. Much like the time Phaeroh approached him when he was on the verge of losing awareness, he choked out a bitter,
"Freaking ... asshole."
Shade. Cool shade. That was the first thing he was aware of when he began to wake up, pain searing this frail edge of consciousness. Yuri blinked, grey granite eyes casting around. He was still in Nordopolica, not even Zaphias or Myorzo had such distinctive architecture. Yeah, Entelexeia certainly were an interesting bunch. He tried to move, but quickly gave up, every muscle in his body singed with aching pains. He managed to keep his eyes open.
Moonlight showered into the arena, vacant, and even clean of monster blood and bits and pieces. He wasn't in the battlefield anymore, just under the arches and pillars on its boundaries where human combatants awaited their chance to jump into the fray. In any case the stands were completely empty. He winced when he thought of how thousands of people watched him lose spectacularly against Flynn. Damn Imperial Knight. Where was the prick, anyway? He was the reason Yuri was lying on a cot with a whole-body-ache the size of Brave Vesperia.
As if his thoughts were the cue, the clinking of armor announced Flynn's presence as he approached Yuri, who in his currently injured as all hell state, couldn't move. There was something in Flynn's hands--a tray? Of food? For him?
He groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes. No. No. Just, no.
"You are not cooking for me." His voice was muffled by his arm, but he was sure Flynn had heard. The knight answered with a coarse chuckle.
"Don't worry, I didn't make it. Someone from Pallestralle did. Natz, I think his name was."
Oh god, anyone could cook better than Flynn. Cringing with the pain and effort, Yuri slowly sat upright, accepting the tray the Imperial Knight ever so graciously brought him. It was curry, steaming hot, and looking particularly delectable. As he picked up his fork, diving into his late night dinner, Flynn spoke.
"Sorry. You got hurt pretty badly after my mystic arte. I think I broke one of your bones."
Remembering the agonizing snap of something in his body, Yuri stopped eating. Carefully, he set the tray down beside him, grimacing.
"I think you did. Maybe my freaking spine."
"I don't think it was that," Flynn frowned, "Probably one of your ribs. You still look pretty beat up." He stepped toward his friend, already glowing with the healing arte formula despite the way Yuri waved his hand in dismissal. "Holy power ... First Aid."
"You're as bad as Estelle." Yuri said, not wanting to admit that the healing arte had made the pain ease somewhat. The last thing he needed was another stubborn idiot passing out after trying to heal half the world on his own.
Flynn laughed, ruffling Yuri's hair affectionately. "We both only think of saving you or easing your suffering when you get hurt, that's all. It's what we like to call the heart of the healer."
Yuri's eyes widened incredulously. "Heart of the healer ...? Oh god, you and Estelle really have spent too much time together ... already you have corny sayings and next you'll come up with corny speeches and--" He stopped when Flynn leaned closer, pressing lips against his for a brief moment before the blond pulled away, still wearing that damnable grin on his face.
"Yuri, just shut up. You need to rest."
Yuri pouted, something he didn't do often. He glared daggers at Flynn.
"Someday, I am so gonna kick your ass."
Flynn smirked, his sapphire eyes glinting.
"No, no, no, no ... I'm gonna kick your ass."