This is the final chapter of Lords of Nature. I hope you enjoy it!
Note: When making a spin-off crossover, make sure that the guest characters don't upstage the main characters. This isn't easy, I can tell you that.
Many ages ago, the Hand of Eden Gaia had tried to unite the ancient people of Earth by bringing all their lands together under an empire she called Pangaea. She had already shaped the large masses of land so that they could fit with each other, but before she could bring the pieces of the puzzle together, two Crimson Gods intervened: the Flame of Heaven Alastor and the Snake of the Festival.
After a long battle, she was sealed away by the Snake of the Festival. Locked away for many a millennia, she waited for one of descendants to inherit the title of Hand of Eden. But even as she waited, she continued to watch the Earth, for a part of her had always stayed in it, like its spirit.
She watched as man had continued to slowly destroy the once rich, beautiful and bountiful planet, like a poison. She believed that this was because the people did not care about how their actions affected their neighbors. She watched as men and Crimson Denizens tore apart the land and each other. She became more and more desperate to bring the world under the Empire of Pangaea, under her rule, as soon as possible, so that the Earth may grow and prosper.
Now she was free again, free to rule the Earth with an iron fist and a green thumb.
In present-day, Leanan-sidhe ran as fast as her legs could carry her, dragging Khamsin along. Although the Flame Haze had recovered enough strength to run with her on his own feet, he still did not have the power to fight back against Gaia.
The Crimson God flew above them, bombarding them with fire, water and ice. She also brought up walls and pillars before her targets, driving them to a corner. Khamsin and Leanan-sidhe soon found themselves trapped between the base of a tall, steep cliff and their enemy.
"Because you are my son, Behemoth, I will give you one last chance," Gaia said with a sympathetic voice. "Join with me. If it is up to your Flame Haze Khamsin, then, if you join me, I will spare you all, including the Denizen girl you hold so dear."
"We won't join you," Khamsin said resolutely.
"Why? You want to make a peaceful world, don't you?" Gaia said. "We can make that happen."
"Make?" Leanan-sidhe said. "You're going to establish peace by force, aren't you?"
"You can put it that way," Gaia replied.
"Then it would make you no better than the Snake of the Festival," said Leanan-sidhe.
"That is exactly what our allies are fighting against," Behemoth said. "We plan on helping them establish peace through peace. Please, join our side mother."
Gaia laughed a bit before speaking again. "I'm afraid I cannot do that," she said with a sad tone. "It seems that this will only end with the demise of either of us. And so, Behemoth, Khamsin and Leanan-sidhe, prepare for the final test of your strength, for only the strongest may change the planet and guide its fate. That was the whole point of the contest," she muttered the last sentence.
"Farewell," she said as she conjured up an enormous ball of green fire above her head with two hands.
Before she could throw it, a storm of blue energy beams fell upon the Hand of Eden from above, and the green fireball dissipated. Half a second later, a girl with long burning red hair, blazing eyes, a black cape and wings of flame swooped down and slashed at her with a long katana. Gaia withdrew and the girl chased after her, followed by another girl with cyan hair, green eyes, a white hat and mantle and a gold staff, who was shooting more beams of blue energy while in pursuit.
A young man with brown hair and gray eyes, wearing a long gray coat, flew down to Leanan-sidhe and Khamsin. He quickly began to heal them with a Flame of Purification.
"Are you two alright?" he asked them.
"Other than the fact that we've nearly been killed several times, Leanan-sidhe being low on Power of Existence and that my control over earth been taken away, we're just fine," Khamsin said sarcastically. "How did you get here so fast anyway? I was expecting us to die before you kids came."
"Says the old man trapped in a little boy's body," the young man mumbled. "Leanan-sidhe-san, your teleportation portal worked perfectly." He referred to the spell circle she had planted atop a hill earlier.
"I was hoping it would," Leanan-sidhe said.
In the distance, the two girls continued to battle the Crimson God whilst flying through the air. Green, red and blue flames flew in various directions in the night sky, like a fireworks display.
"So, what's the problem here exactly?" the young man asked.
"Ask the Flame of Heaven for the details," Behemoth said. "I'm sure he has figured the general details by now. Besides, you don't have any time to waste talking to us, do you?"
The young man nodded and flew to help his comrades against the Hand of Eden.
"She said that this is a test to see who is strong enough to change the world," Khamsin said as he watched him leave.
"Go and show her just how strong our alliance is, Mystes of the Reiji Maigo Yuji, Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter Shana and Supreme Throne Hecate," said Leanan-sidhe.
Final Chapter: To Change the Planet
Hecate and Shana circled around Gaia, attacking her at range. At Gaia's flank, Hecate unleashed a barrage of Aster beams in her direction. The Hand of Eden countered by summoning around her an exceedingly strong cyclone of wind that not only deflected the beams, but also tossed the Priestess away. Shana then came from behind, slicing through the wind with her blade before her.
Before she could come within range, Gaia hit her with a blast of water that came out of her hand. By this time, Yuji had already joined the battle. He entered the hurricane from below, just above the sea, which had turned extremely violent as an effect of Gaia's wrath. He flew up through the eye of the storm where it was the least intense. And then, he breathed in before letting out a blast of grayish-blue fire from his mouth.
Gaia met the fire with her hand. With her power over all elements, she took control of the flame and sent it back at the Mystes, who braced himself by holding up his arms like a shield. The fire pushed him down, but he was able to resist enough to stay airborne. And thanks to the gray long coat Hecate had given him, which was made of the same material as her own clothes, he did not take much damage.
Gaia followed the counterattack by dropping meteorites from the sky. Yuji did his best to dodge them, and every now and then, he had to destroy an incoming projectile with a fireball, or several at once with a barrage of Aster beams from an outstretched palm. However, he found difficulty in getting within range of his enemy again.
Hecate came in from above while Shana attacked from the side at the same time. The falling meteorites stood no chance against Hecate's mastery of Aster, and Shana literally cut her way through any obstacle while heading straight at her foe. Both girls were shrouded in blue and red flames, respectively, as they flew.
Just as Shana got within melee range, the Hand of Eden vanished in a cloud of mist. As Shana's attack missed, she was pushed back by a bolt of green lightning that came from Gaia's fingertips. Fortunately, Shana had managed to shield herself with her sword and suffered little damage.
The powerful cyclone around Gaia turned into a wild snowstorm, and soon the blizzard was filled with lightning as well. Both Hecate and Shana were forced to withdraw to a safe distance by Yuji's side.
"It hasn't been that long since we last fought a Crimson God," Hecate said.
"Speaking of which, Alastor, you mentioned that you and the Snake of the Festival had to team up to beat her, why?" Shana asked.
"Because his all-consuming flame wouldn't work on her," Yuji answered ahead of the Flame of Heaven. "Apparently, she is capable of controlling all elements, including fire."
"Indeed, even I had a difficult time against her," Alastor said through his pendant vessel. "And this time, we don't have the help of another powerful being."
"We'll figure something out," Shana said. "Right Yuji?"
Not waiting for her enemies to attack, Gaia took the offensive. She unleashed a wave of wind, water, ice and lightning at them. In reaction, Yuji threw his fist at the oncoming attack, unleashing raw Power of Existence that parted the wave. At the same time, Hecate channeled Power of Existence into a gold and bronze bracelet Hougu on her left wrist and created a translucent barrier around them, ensuring their survival.
When the attack passed, Shana flew to Yuji and mounted her feet on his hands. The Mystes threw her at their enemy with all his might, and the Flame Haze flew like a rocket, piercing through anything in the way with a sword of intense blazing fire.
The Nietono Shana sliced right through Gaia's abdomen, splitting her in two. The two halves were then swallowed by two dragons of pure blue flame from Hecate. And finally, both halves were hit by a massive ten-foot ball of fire from Yuji.
As the fireball exploded on the Crimson God, Yuji, Shana and Hecate withdrew to a relatively safe distance. As the smoke and flames from Yuji's finishing move subsided, it seemed that nothing was left of her.
"Yuji, you didn't hold back," Shana said.
"With an enemy like this, I have to give it my all," Yuji replied. He was still on the alert. "Besides, a Crimson God would never be defeated this easily."
"True," said Hecate.
Suddenly, a twister of water came up from the sea below and met with a twister that formed in the place where Gaia had once been. Clay from the island also flew up to the joining elements, and soon, a green fire reappeared.
Gaia had quickly regenerated her form, and now she was twice as large as she was just a moment earlier.
"Insolent fools," Gaia said as she prepared to attack. "Do not underestimate the power of the elements."
"Do not underestimate the strength of our allies," Leanan-sidhe said. She and Khamsin had climbed to higher ground to avoid the gigantic crashing waves that hit the island. They watched the battle over the sea intensely.
Khamsin lay back on a rock. "Behemoth, how do you feel?" he asked.
"The same as you do," his contractor replied. "For a long time, you have been one of the most powerful Flame Haze, because I was also a powerful Crimson Lord. But now that our power is gone, there is a feeling of emptiness."
Khamsin watched intently as Yuji evaded a bolt of lightning before retaliating with his own.
Leanan-sidhe turned towards the Flame Haze and his contractor. "What exactly is the Hand of Eden's plan?" she asked.
"The Empire of Pangaea is slightly similar to the Grand Order Snake of the Festival in that it involves the complete reformation of the physical world," Behemoth explained. "However, she would not touch the people, but the land they live on. She understood that the reason people were always in conflict with one another was because they have always been distant. If she brought them all together under one rule, she believed there would be peace."
"But isn't that somewhat dictatorial?" Leanan-sidhe said.
"Yes it is," Khamsin replied.
"Like the Snake of the Festival, she has good motives, but she's bringing it about by force, as you had said," Behemoth said.
"Can we unite the world without bringing the lands together?" Khamsin said. "If so, perhaps we could get one step closer to true peace."
"A peaceful unified world would indeed be good," Leanan-sidhe said.
Yuji, Shana and Hecate flanked Gaia in various directions. As they circled around her, they attacked at range, but these efforts were in vain, for the Crimson God was able to counter anything that went her way.
"Enough of this," Gaia said as she raised her arms. The starry sky was soon veiled by dark clouds that discharged bolts of lightning, followed by loud thunder. From the sea below, underwater volcanoes erupted, and the lava spouted out with such force that it shot high above the sea. The sea itself turned more violent, and ash filled the air.
Gaia directed bolts of lightning and streams of lava at her enemies. Shana blocked the molten rock with her sword while Yuji merely dispersed it with strong punches. As lightning came her way, Hecate redirected the electricity with her staff.
"We won't last much longer if this keeps up! We need a plan!" Shana yelled.
"Come to think of it, I feel a strangely familiar feeling coming from inside Gaia," Yuji said.
"I sense it too, but not as much as you do," Hecate said. She pushed back a stream of lava with her Aster beams concentrated on one spot.
"Hmm, could it be?" Alastor pondered.
"What is it?" Shana asked him.
"In the past, just before we sealed Gaia away, I remember the Snake of the Festival planting one more Unrestricted Method on her. I asked him what it was, but he merely told me that I would know when the time came," said the Flame of Heaven.
"So he expected her to return," Hecate said.
"I still don't see how that's going to help us," Shana said as she deflected a bolt of lightning, and then flew low to avoid a stream of lava.
"Knowing the Snake of the Festival, that Unrestricted Method is a failsafe," Yuji said as he evaded a shower of ice spears from the sky. "And even though he's no longer in me, I still have knowledge of many of his spells, including how to activate them."
"Then all we have to do is get you close enough to activate it," Shana said.
"You make that sound easy," Hecate said. "But let us try it."
She looked at Yuji. "Are you sure you're alright with this?" she asked.
Yuji nodded. "It's our only chance," he said. "And besides, I'm the only one who can do this."
As he watched, Khamsin continued to feel uneasy. Leanan-sidhe looked at him concernedly.
"You can't seem to relax," she said.
"How can I?" the Flame Haze replied. "Here we are, watching our allies battle against another powerful enemy to protect what they hold dear, while we sit on the sidelines. I feel so powerless, so useless."
He bowed his head. "Could this same feeling have been what drove Yuji Sakai into becoming one with the Snake of the Festival?" he said, glancing at Leanan-sidhe. "I think I understand why he chose to do so now."
He curled up, embracing his legs. "I want to fight, so I too can protect, but I can't do anything," he mumbled.
Leanan-sidhe held him closer to her. He looked back at her and was surprised to see a smiling face. "You've already fought enough," she said. "Rest now."
Khamsin's anxiety was quickly overwhelmed by Leanan-sidhe's warm embrace, and the Flame Haze closed his eyes.
"If only we could get our power back," he muttered.
Shana charged in towards Gaia from slightly below her. The Hand of Eden attempted to blow her back with a blast of wind, followed by a hail of green fireballs. Shana sliced through the wind, and trusted Hecate to intercept the fireballs with her Aster, which she did. At the same time, Yuji swooped in from above. He channeled Power of Existence through his whole body and pushed it all forward, plowing through Gaia's defenses.
Gaia quickly called up a great volume of seawater and hit Shana with it, blowing her away. With the same water, she froze Hecate in a glacier of ice. As she fought the girls back, she also remembered to keep Yuji at bay. She shot a heavy, steady stream of water in his direction. The Mystes was not pushed back, but it was enough to keep him from advancing. Gaia then hit him from the side with a bolt of lightning that knocked him aside.
As the Mystes spun in the air from the counterattack, Shana quickly melted the ice containing Hecate with Alastor's flame. The two girls then proceeded to continue attacking.
"It's no use," Gaia said as she faced them. "Surrender."
Shana only responded by covering herself in fire and charging forward with her sword pointed ahead of her. Gaia attempted to intercept her with various elemental attacks, but she cut and deflected anything that came her way.
At the same time, Hecate circled around her enemy, firing Aster beams like a machine gun as she went, and sometimes letting loose a rain of beams in a single shot.
Gaia barely felt Hecate's attacks, and she knew Shana couldn't kill her, no matter how many times she cut her up. But the two girls were beginning to become a nuisance, so Gaia decided to finish things.
She stretched out her hand and extinguished the flames around Shana, making her more vulnerable, and then hit her with a bolt of lightning. She also blasted her away, towards the island, with a green fireball. She turned to Hecate.
As Hecate continued to fly around her, Gaia pushed her back with a blast of wind that also stunned her for a very brief moment. But that moment also gave Gaia an opening. She called a large meteor down from the sky towards her. Hecate hastily reacted and smashed it to pieces with Aster. Unfortunately, the broken fragments of the meteor, still guided by Gaia, closed in on the Priestess and battered her down.
Although severely hurt, Hecate still managed to teleport herself safety to the nearby island just before she could hit the sea. Leanan-sidhe quickly ran to help the two girls.
Gaia suddenly felt a pain coming from her chest. Yuji had managed to get close enough to her while she had been dealing with Shana and Hecate.
"It's over," Yuji said as a spell insignia spilled out of Gaia's chest and orbited her. "Give up."
"I cannot do that," Gaia said as she blew him back with a strong wind. But the Mystes had already activated the failsafe within her, and the Hand of Eden returned to her earlier size. Her immortality as a Crimson God had also vanished.
The elements within the area began to become less forceful and violent. Two spell insignias came out of Gaia and drifted into the sea and sky, while one more flew towards the island and entered Behemoth's vessel.
Khamsin suddenly felt his strength as a Flame Haze return and jumped up to his feet.
"Our power, it's returned," the Flame Haze said to his contractor.
"But my mother is still at half her power, and the Mystes of the Reiji Maigo is barely staying in the battle," Behemoth said.
"Then we must act quickly," Khamsin said. "I believe it is time we used that power."
He clenched his fists and breathed deeply. With is contractor's power, he brought the land he stood on up in the air. The ground shook as other boulders and platforms of earth followed him up t the same time.
As the Flame Haze raced to aid his ally, Gaia managed to hit the Mystes with a heavy stream of green lightning, released from one hand. In the other, she built up a green fireball and hurled it, bringing down the Mystes with a direct hit.
Before Yuji hit the water, a flying platform of earth caught him. He struggled to look up to see many other rocks and platforms surrounding the Hand of Eden, with Khamsin standing on top one of them.
"It's time we ended this," the Flame Haze said.
"Forgive us mother," Behemoth said, "we must hold to what we believe in."
Gaia looked at him sadly. "Very well," she said.
She threw a ball of fire at Khamsin, who leapt off his platform and over Gaia. The Hand of Eden shot a bolt of lightning at him, but Khamsin had managed to call a stone before him to use as a shield in time, and then shot it at his foe.
Gaia sliced the stone in half, and then whirled around to slash at Khamsin as he landed on the platform behind her. The Flame Haze avoided the attack by turning the platform upside-down, along with him. He dropped down to a lower platform and telekinetically directed several boulders in Gaia's direction.
The Hand of Eden held up her hands and stopped the rocks with the same technique before hurling them back at Khamsin. The Flame Haze reached out with his power and telekinetically crushed the boulders into smaller rocks. He then sent them back at Gaia.
Gaia countered by unleashing a blast of wind that blew all the stones away while at the same time, trying to knock Khamsin back. Khamsin brought the platform at his feet up towards the wind. For a brief moment, he glanced towards a recovering Yuji and nodded at him. As the wind passed by his firm defense, he shot his platform at Gaia, who destroyed it easily.
Hovering in the air, Khamsin called together all of the levitating stones and platforms of earth to him.
"So you intend to use Behemoth's most powerful attack," Gaia said. "Have you forgotten who you are dealing with?"
"No, I haven't," Khamsin said, looking past Gaia's shoulder.
Yuji suddenly appeared behind Gaia and held her from behind. "Whatever you're planning, do it now!" he yelled.
"Great beast of earth, guardian of the land, lend me your strength," Khamsin said aloud as the chunks of soil and stone revolved around him. "Manifest your power in this world through me, mighty Behemoth!"
"Earth Sunder!" Behemoth cried, summoning an ability similar to Marcosias' Flame of Illusion.
All of the stones around the Flame Haze covered him and merged together into a gigantic mammoth made of stone. Its hide was covered in fire, and its eyes blazed as well. Its tusks were long, sharp and hard, and ready to shatter anything in its way.
The mammoth charged through the air towards Gaia and Yuji. At the last split-second, the latter released his hold and flew out of harms way in the blink of an eye. To ensure that Gaia would not escape as well, the Mystes stunned her with a fireball as he evaded.
The flying earth mammoth delivered a direct hit to Gaia, and kept on charging. With the Hand of Eden on its tusks, it plunged head on into a hill on the nearby island with a resounding boom.
Some distance away, Leanan-sidhe felt the ground shake beneath her and turned to where the mammoth hit.
"Khamsin!" she gasped before leaving a recovering Shana and Hecate and running towards the Flame Haze.
In a deep, wide crater, made from the forceful impact of his own attack, Khamsin struggled to pick himself up. He was breathing heavily and clutched his aching body. His clothes were gone for the most part, and he was covered in bruises and cuts. Before him lay a severely hurt Gaia.
"It appears that I am defeated," she said with a small smile on her lips.
"I'm sorry it had to turn out this way," Behemoth said through his bracelet vessel, which remained intact on Khamsin's wrist.
"There is no need to apologize," Gaia said. "You have passed the test and proven your strength. The power of friendship truly is something very great. I entrust the fate of the planet to you and your allies."
"Mother," Behemoth said.
As Gaia spoke the last few words, she merged her ailing body with the ground beneath her. While she vanished, the once violent elements in the area stabilized. The sea and winds calmed, and the thick dark clouds broke.
"I will always be watching you," Gaia's voice said through the air itself. Her spirit had become one with the Earth once more.
Khamsin felt a presence and turned to see Leanan-sidhe smiling at him. He grinned slightly in return.
A moment later, Yuji flew down to Khamsin and lent him his long gray coat to cover himself up with.
"You came just in time to help us," Khamsin said to the Mystes as he put on the coat. "Thank you."
"It was nothing really, you're our friend," Yuji said. "And if it weren't for Leanan-sidhe-san and Hecate's coordinated teleportation spells, we wouldn't have been able to get from Japan to the other side of the world so quickly."
Shana and Hecate climbed up to join with them. The former carried a lance in her hand.
"I found this on the shoreline," she said.
"I sense more than one soul present inside it," said Hecate.
Khamsin took the lance from Shana and held it with both hands.
"It's Leviathan, his daughter and another, probably the mother, whom I heard was the Mystes that once carried this Hougu," Behemoth said. "The dream of that family was so strong that it bound them together into this weapon."
"At least they're together again," Leanan-sidhe said.
"Are you planning on keeping it?" Shana asked.
"This was your operation to begin with, so it's your decision," Yuji added.
"Their spirits are at ease together," Khamsin said. "We shouldn't disturb them with anymore violence. We're leaving it."
"You've changed from the last time we saw you," Hecate said, speaking for herself, Shana and Yuji. "You have never been this empathic. And you seem a lot stronger than before."
"Even you were able to change, right?" Khamsin replied. He glanced at Leanan-sidhe. "I only needed a reason to as well."
With those words, he tossed the lance far into the sea before him. As soon as Yuji recovered everyone's energy with the Reiji Maigo at midnight, the group departed the island by air and headed home.
Hope you liked it! The story continues in Shakugan no Shana: Eternal Destiny.